COVID

What Should We Do About That? – v2.0


Source: Wikipedia – click the pic

Basic Human Decency

Naomi Judd died by suicide in April at the end of a long battle with mental illness. That’s bad enough, but this story gets worse.

Law enforcement did their investigative work following the suicide, creating a dossier of private, intimate conversations and information that may be released to the public. Daughter Ashley Judd and others of the family have filed a petition, asking the court to keep private what is so obviously private. She wrote that when such things are exposed to the public,

“The raw details are used only to feed a craven gossip economy, and as we cannot count on basic human decency, we need laws that will compel that restraint.”

The middle portion of that sentence grabbed me: “as we cannot count on basic human decency.” Of course, Judd is right. That plays out in millions feeding on prurient stuff, taking delight in public outrage and the raw hostility that besets our nation. We really cannot count on basic human decency. Just ask our polling place workers.

If you think decency – being respectful of one another – is a critical piece of a solid social structure, one you’d want to be a part of, and we cannot count on basic human decency, what should we do about that?

Fauci

There are millions of frustrated Americans, upset with the changing directions prescribed to us to deal with the Covid pandemic. Is it masks or no masks? Lockdowns or just go about your business? “Social distancing” or not? Vaccine? Second Vaccine? Booster shots? New booster shot with only an emergency use authorization?

The official story has changed numerous times and a lot of people lost confidence in the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci because of those many changes. Plus the lies and conspiracy theories peddled by the twice impeached, disgraced former President and know-nothing muckrakers expanded confusion and frustration exponentially and a lot of people died needlessly.

But wait just a second.

Regardless of the obsessive finger pointing about the origin of the never-before-seen virus, our medical establishment started with no knowledge, no base of information to find answers for how to deal with this disease. Our professionals didn’t know how the disease spread, had no tools to diagnose it (no tests, remember?), they didn’t know how to treat it except to swat at symptoms and they were woefully short of PPE to protect themselves so they could continue protecting us.

The President refused to trace cases, which could have limited spread, and did his best to stop testing so that the pandemic wouldn’t look as bad as it really was just to make himself look better. The scientists and docs didn’t know who was most susceptible or how to cure them and they didn’t even have a place to pile the bodies – and that’s just a short list of the knowledge holes and roadblocks our professionals faced.

And people were pissy because the scientists and docs couldn’t immediately give one absolute and unchanging answer from the very start!
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So, the valuable questions have nothing to do with Covid. They have to do with the hyper-reactive “I want what I want even before I know what I want” people who prefer being pissy. They’re the people who seem to have forgotten about basic human decency. They are part of the reason why Dr. Anthony Fauci is ending his CDC career.

So, it’s the same question as in the first section of this post: If we cannot count on basic human decency, what should we do about that?

Covid Corner

Speaking of Covid and the CDC, here’s a chart showing “Covid positive hospitalizations per week (all ages)” since the pandemic began. This doesn’t include all cases. This reports only the cases that were so severe that hospitalization was required. Over a million of those people died and we know that the pandemic remains dangerous because almost 500 of our fellows are dying from it every day.

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Given our obviously cyclical experience with Covid (reference: the chart above), what do you think will happen this January? What should we do about that?

Quotation Station

“Joe Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” address got at a cold and disquieting truth: the MAGA movement cannot be placated, reasoned with, or politically accommodated in any way. There is nothing its adherents want – and nothing anyone can give them – beyond chaos and political destruction.”

  • Tom Nichols, Staff Writer
  • The Atlantic Daily, September 6, 2022

“They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country  .  .  .  MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.”

  • President Joe Biden,
  • Independence Hall, September 1, 2022
What should we do about that?
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Also see David Frum’s short read, The Justification of Biden’s Speech – So Much of It Was True. 

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Over Just The Past Few Days


Education

Ron DeSantis blasted President Biden’s student debt relief program – just another entrant in the “Nothing So Stupid That the Republicans Won’t Say It” contest.

We established publicly funded public schools 170 years ago to educate our people. From How Stuff Works:

“Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.”

From QuestionAnswer.IO:

“By 1918, all U.S. states had some sort of mandatory attendance law for [high] school.”

Each level of education became necessary for the welfare of our nation and for individuals to be ready for the challenges of our rapidly changing life and world. We funded schools publicly then, as now, because both we-the-public and our nation benefit. Ignorance just doesn’t work well for our country.

The world has progressed and much of what it takes now to succeed simply cannot be supplied solely by a K-12 education. Ever-finer, more advanced skills continue to be required. We’re late coming to the realization that we must publicly fund college just as we do public grade schools and high schools. Here’s an example of why that’s true.

We graduate about 70,000 engineers annually. China graduates about 600,000 and India graduates about 350,000. They are both dramatically out-educating their young compared to us.

We’re in a global competition and we will remain unprepared to compete and win as long as we continue to refuse to fully educate our citizens for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Keeping our people unprepared would be a huge economic and national security mistake.

Doubt that? Read this.

And recognize that student debt relief and public funding of colleges and universities necessarily mean a redistribution of wealth – the haves will be required to subsidize the education of both the haves and the have-nots. Everyone else will have to pitch in, too. That brings us to the never ending conflict over wealth redistribution, which traces its angry origin at least as far back a the Civil War, and that brings us to,

This Gallup Moment

Check the graph below from Gallup’s This Week In Charts and you’ll have no difficulty seeing the massive shift to public approval for heavy taxes on the rich to finance the commons, which importantly benefits our poor and middle class with schools, roads, etc.

I suspect this change in public attitude has been accelerated by the past 50 years of legislation favorable to the rich and which penalizes the rest of us. The change may also be traced to the lack of enforcement of laws to prohibit rich guy favoritism. Example: only one guy went to prison for the massive fraud and deceit of the George W. Bush financial meltdown of 2008, even though many violated SEC regulations and fraud statutes. Then there are all the massive “trickle down” tax breaks, about 85% of which benefited already rich people, not you and I.

You’re right: that isn’t fair.

So the rich have benefited enormously for decades – for generations, really – while the rest of us just muddled by. It seems that now over half of we Americans think that rich people should pony up their fair share for the benefit of all of us. Imagine that!

Click me for the story.

The IRS and (probably not) You

On August 26 German Lopez wrote in The Morning newsletter of the New York Times, opining on the Biden announcement about increasing the number of IRS agents and resources, “Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, tied the increase in [IRS] agents to the F.B.I. search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and warned, ‘Not a single one of us is safe.’”

I sure hope she’s right, if by “safe” she means “protected from being audited and indicted for tax evasion.” I don’t want anyone to be safe from that.

While squatting in the Oval Office for four years, Trump dramatically reduced IRS resources in a stunning effort to protect himself and his rich buddies from scrutiny. That worked. Now Biden is working to restore the agency to a level where it can actually do its job. Got a problem with that, Kari Lake? We can fix your problem by defeating you in November. Go back to your hollow-head TV gig.

Covid Corner

Covid continues to rear its ugly head and promises to keep doing that until all the unvaccinated people either get vaccinated or die. It’s just that simple.

Below are the new cases chart and the death tally chart. These are cases per day averaged over 10 days. We’re still reporting nearly 100,000 new cases every day, and that number doesn’t include the cases identified via home test and those who never get diagnosed (the ones who just tough it out).

Nearly 500 of our fellows are dying every day from Covid. Almost every one of those 500 had refused to be vaccinated. Some have religious objections. Got that. But some just refuse as a demonstration of their stubbornness, masked in a mantle of self-identified freedom. And some refuse to be protected because they believe the cruel and evil lies about both the disease and the vaccine that have been crammed down their throats since Covid was identified and then vaccines became available.

Regardless of the why of their intransigence, our vaccine refusers are over-burdening our medical professionals and institutions and are walking super-spreaders who endanger the rest of us.

Whatever happened to “promote the general welfare” and concern for others and our freedom to not be infected by stubborn people?

Source: STAT, 8-29-22 – click me

Everything’s Okay Now

Following the virulent Republican anti-abortion campaign of fear and moral outrage over the past 49 years, the extremist Supreme Court killed Roe and now everything is just great for Republicans.

Wait – it’s not?

The national outrage over Republicans ending rights and promising to end still more has caused Democratic voter registrations to double those of Republicans and has caused Kansas to declare there’s nothing wrong with it. They defeated the extremist minority, killing the anti-choice state constitution amendment by 18 points.

The mid-term election is just 69 days away and proclaiming an anti-abortion position is threatening to be an anti-get-elected certainty for Republicans. What’s an extremist, hair-on-fire, Trumpy-MAGA candidate to do? Well, they figured it out.

Republican candidates are removing anti-abortion everything from their websites, their campaign literature and their campaign stops, hoping you won’t remember it was there. They haven’t changed their toxic minority position and they still want to force their medieval ways onto the majority of us and they’re just as authoritarian as before. But they think you’re dumb enough to forget who they are and what they stand for, now that they ditched the evidence.

See? Everything’s okay now.

Finally,

All of this happened over just the past few days. This list doesn’t include the Donald Documents crimes and his threat to our national security, extremist violence, mass shootings or stupid Ted “Cancun” Cruz or Lindsay “Weather Vane” Graham statements. It omits Doug Mastriano, Hershel Walker and Dr. Oz inanities, billionaire Barre Said’s $1.6 billion gift to an ultraconservative PAC that avoided taxes, and, and, and.

We didn’t used to have so many unforced domestic errors.

 

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Killing Bubba, a Thought Experiment & Key Moments


Malcolm Nance is warning us yet again and his message couldn’t be clearer. He spelled it out in an online session with the Washington Postwatch it here.

He worked in intelligence for many years and is a terrorism expert. Now he’s laying out plainly what you likely know and what you probably try not to think about: They Want To Kill Americans. The “they” he’s talking about is not some foreign terrorist organization; he’s talking about fellow Americans.

There are a lot of Americans who love violence. You saw tens of thousands of them at the Capitol Building on January 6. About 70 million Americans think violence is okay – even patriotic. That affects some very important legal decisions – like what to do about Trump.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether to charge the disgraced, twice-impeached former president for the various crimes he is alleged to have committed. The concern, some say, is that if Merrick Garland comes forth with indictments, that will catapult us into a lot of violence.

The fear is that the thugs, the delusional patriots, the angry Americans who want to kill Americans will come out of the woodwork, out from under rocks and from Congress and state houses. They’ll bring their 20 million assault rifles that we’ve allowed them to stockpile. They’ll come with their handguns and their large capacity magazines, their mortars and their hand grenades, their bump stocks and their RPGs and all the rest. They will wave their Gadsden flags and shout false claims about a present day 1776 and they will kill Americans. They will crush our 250 year old institutions. They will destroy democracy and with it our rights and our safety. They will make a deadly mess before our military puts a stop to them. That’s what some fear will happen if Merrick Garland does his job.

The counter argument is that we already have violence and more will be visited upon us no matter what we do, so we should prosecute the perp.

Either way, we’re living among American killer wannabees. Yet without accountability for committing crimes we are inviting far worse from the next populist, who will certainly be better at all the deception and manipulation of the system than Trump. That leaves us with the challenge of figuring out how to deal with our violent ones.

And that brings us to a history lesson.

When Europeans began to arrive in what became known as North, Central and South America they brought new things. They brought the European moral and legal attitude of “You have it, I want it, so I’ll take it.” They brought guns and they brought draft animals never before seen by the indigenous peoples. All of that made conquest relatively easy. But the biggest force for overpowering natives was the rich assortment of European diseases like measles and smallpox that infected the virally defenseless indigenous people. Those diseases eventually wiped out roughly 95% of the natives.

Forward to today.

Lots of Americans have gotten vaccinated, while 22% still believe stories about people dying from the vaccine, that there are nanobots in the juice, that the vaccine will make you sterile, that vaccines are an abridgement of their freedom and yet more non-sense from people with no sense. Not surprisingly, these people are dying of Covid. Over 460 per day and trending upward.

The data is as plain and dreadful as ever:

If you are not vaccinated you are 17 times more likely to need to be hospitalized and 20 times more likely to die from Covid.

98 – 99% of present day Covid deaths are of the unvaccinated.

So, stand fast in refusing to be vaccinated, cowboys, Proud Boys, 3-Percenters, freedom hallucinators, and the rest. You’ll stay at the top of the international Covid death curve. You’re Number 1!

Going full Machiavellian, a way out of both the pandemic and our incipient violence is for our fiercely-independent-to-the-point-of-self-destruction people to die of Covid.

Yeah, I know that’s brutal, but that is what these people are doing. Americans just keep getting infected and some live because they’re vaccinated and have antibody protection, while the unvaccinated die. Those of us remaining will dust ourselves off and carry on, but without those who died fiercely independent and without a care in the world for the others they infected.

Regardless, in the end, the White supremacists in Charlottesville chanting, “You will not replace us” and, “Jews will not replace us,” will be proven wrong. The hate spewers will be replaced because they will have chosen to die with tubes down their throats. They will have been (past tense) the Americans who wanted to kill Americans. Instead, Bubba is killing himself.

Thought Experiment

Imagine that you had been one of the January 6 rioters. You were violent. You attacked Capitol Police and DC Metro cops. You entered the Capitol Building through a broken window and vandalized things inside. You did all of that because Trump asked you to come to DC, he told to march to the Capitol Building and told you to “fight like hell.” You followed the orders of your leader.

Your anger was stoked even higher when you learned of Trump’s tweet at 2:24PM accusing V.P. Pence of cowardice for having refused Trump’s illegal order. With that incitement, passion to hang Pence was fire in your blood. And at 6:01PM Trump tweeted that you and your fellow rioters were “great patriots.”

The next day Trump issued a video, saying he was “outraged by the violence” and declaring that anyone who broke the law would be prosecuted.

Question: How did you feel then about Trump having double-crossed you?

Answer: Stabbed in the back? Betrayed? Did you no longer trust him? That would be reasonable, but you don’t feel any of those things. You as a Trump person long ago became a world class rationalizer, so that when facts arise that are contradictory to what you want to believe you simply whisk them away as false or explain them away as an example of Trump’s genius.

End of experiment.

Watch Adam Kinzinger explain about our violent ones (begin at 2:30:03) in his commentary at the January 21 presentation, as the committee focused on Trump’s 187 minutes of dereliction of duty.

” .  .  .  the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away. The militant, intolerant ideologies; the militias; the alienation and the disaffection; the weird fantasies and disinformation. They’re all still out there, ready to go.”

“Trump’s people” are hoarders and vigilantes of grievance, bonded to their self-justifying victimhood and rage. They are irredeemable. Our discussions have to be with others who aren’t going through life with a cocked fist and a loaded assault rifle and who instead engage in realities. They and we are who will save us from ourselves.

Key Moments From Session 8 of the January 6 Select Committee
  1. Secret Service people guarding V.P. Pence sending good-bye messages to their families.
  2. An insurgent yelling, “This is what we trained for!”
  3. Wormy witnesses parsing words to avoid saying anything.
  4. Liz Cheney skewering the bad guys – again.
  5. Trump never made even a single call to law enforcement or national security for reinforcements to protect the Capitol Building or its occupants because the insurgents were doing his bidding.
  6. “We, as Americans, must all agree on this: Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and his complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy.” Adam Kinzinger

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Hartmann Agrees


I think that it isn’t the system that needs reform. It’s the people who are undermining the system who need reform – or replacement. Click for the story – see Item #3.

Not long ago I posted a love note to Millennials and Gen-Zs. It was something of an apology for what we  Boomers have done that threatens them and for the huge pile of political poo we’re piling at their feet. It isn’t pretty and it won’t be easy. But it’s critical that they grab hold of this mess, shackle it in irons and imprison it for the life of this planet.

I laid out some of the key challenges and let our Ms and Zs know that we believe in them, that they can do this. They can restore what has been stolen, they can take the critically important steps to save our planet and themselves and they have the power to replace our national dishonesty, denial and mindless rage with truth and reality.

It turns out that Thom Hartmann agrees with me and he’s laid out far more clearly the reasons that Ms and Zs are so screwed – his word. I encourage everyone to read his message and see it as a laying out of the challenges that must be met.

These challenges should not be partisan or political, but the sad truth is that they are. There is only one party that tolerates and promotes hatred. There is only one party that fights against the advancement of gun safety.* There is only one party that rejoices in taking away our rights. There is only one party that consistently takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the super rich. There is only one party taking away your vote and working to destroy our democracy and replace it with a fascist autocracy.

There is more bad stuff that they do, of course, but the point is that the Republican Party, the one that used to be conservative, standing up for the values you believe in, no longer exists. They stand solely for enhancing their own power and wealth at our expense.

Read Hartmann’s piece and you’ll understand.

While you’re at it, read The Democrats Need to Wake Up and Stop Pandering to Their Extremes, a forehead slapper from The Economist. You’ll understand that one, too.

See? It just doesn’t take that many words. This took 30 seconds to think of and about 15 minutes to construct.

BTW

I’ve pummeled Democrats repeatedly for their astonishingly poor communication skills. They’re nearly always way too wordy, taking what would be said by Republicans in under two dozen words and instead expanding them into unintelligible paragraphs that not even the author can remember and which put readers to sleep.

President Biden’s July 9 essay in the Washington Post explaining/defending his trip to Saudi Arabia was just such a communication disaster. It demonstrates that in 1,387 words. Yes, over 2 pages of dense text!

What are the communications people in the White House thinking?

I did muscle through it on my second attempt. It is boring. It is W-A-A-A-A-A-Y too long. And it feels like an old prize fighter recounting a win from years ago.

“Joe, I want  to hear about how what you’re doing today will help me tomorrow. And I want to hear about it in a maximum of 60 seconds.”

I think Biden is doing a really good job of doing his job. But he and the Ds are so dreadfully, painfully, self-destructively lousy at communication that even Democrats can’t see the good stuff that’s happening right in front of them. Look at this from the New York Times:

Sixty-four percent of Democratic voters prefer a candidate other than President Biden in 2024, a Times/Siena College poll shows.
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That’s happening as we are in an existential battle to save democracy from the Rs who would crush it. If we’re to win that battle and succeed in saving our nation, voters will have to feel good about voting for Democrats.

Crappy communication won’t help.

NOTE: I reached out to the DNC with an offer to help. So far no reply.

Covid Corner – post-video late addition

In an interview with Politico and discussing his retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lightning rod and target of extremist right wing paranoia, said, “If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this.”

A STAT report commenting on Fauci’s interview response reported, “That statement is a concession that we never flattened the curve of cases and we’re instead living with the virus and its variants.”

I’m left gobsmacked by the profound impact 22% of the U.S. population has had by refusing to be vaccinated and by having temper tantrums over masks. “Living with the virus and its variants” is the price we all pay when the fierce independents and the power and money opportunists hold sway over the common good. Read the charts.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were losing 327 Americans per day to Covid. Now it’s up to 417 per day. And 98 – 99% of those who die are unvaccinated. Have a fiercely independent day, Bubba – while you still can.


* “And I believe it is insane that Republicans in the U.S. Senate — who accept the Second Amendment as a death warrant for tens of thousands of Americans each year — will not even agree to legislation raising the minimum age to purchase such weapons of war [AR-15 style assault weapons] to 21.”

“Shame on this country for refusing to take those guns out of the shooters’ hands — or to prevent them from buying those guns in the first place.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, July 19, 2022

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.
.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Excess Deaths


Excess death is what happens when a virulent killer arrives at civilization’s door. It’s the number of people who have died over and above the number who would have died in the absence of, say, bubonic plague, the Spanish Flu or Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there were 15 million excess deaths worldwide over the first two years of Covid. The Economist has done an exacting study of this issue and concludes the number is 18 million additional dead people.

We just passed the dreadful mark of 1 million Americans dead from Covid in just two years and we know that’s a low number for reasons identified below. For now, let’s put that into perspective by comparing that number to our battlefield war dead.

Here’s a chart from Statista – you can click the chart for details and to read the labels more easily.

For a more thorough comparison, have a look at this WaPo analysis.

Simple addition tells us that our total battlefield war dead from all major conflicts since 1775 is 1,284,702. In all cases the deaths from our wars were horrific and a tragedy and we were shocked by the losses.

It’s crazy that we’re well on our way to surpassing that number solely due to Covid and in just two years. In fact, we could surpass that number this year; certainly by next year. How strange that we continue to mourn our war dead but seem to have accommodated the ongoing massacre of our countrymen from Covid and have relegated their deaths to background noise.

One of the fascinating denials in the early days of our pandemic was the claim that Covid was far less of a threat than the flu, so what’s the big deal? I heard claims that the flu kills “only” 65,000 Americans every year and that Covid’s reach was far less, Eat, drink and be merry.

Turns out it hasn’t been that merry.

The CDC shows us that, depending on the flu variant, between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans die each year from influenza. That’s between 39 and 142 deaths from flu per day.

Here’s a chart of new daily Covid deaths through May 12:

 

As you can see, we’re now at 445 deaths from Covid per day – that’s a rate of 162,425 for the year. That’s more death from Covid than from the flu this year or in any recent year – at least 3 times more. And that math doesn’t take into consideration the escalating number of deaths from Covid expected as this year progresses.

Here’s a STAT chart of our 1 million Covid deaths through March:

Click the chart for the story of wonderful scientific achievement and horrible systemic failures, some willful. Indeed, read Politico’s assessment of the ongoing, conscientious Republican insanity to promote the death of Americans. Key point: “It was a deliberate effort by members of the House Freedom Caucus, in the House, some U.S. senators, amplified nightly on Fox News.”

Yes, it’s true that vaccinated people can contract Covid and a few can die – see the blue lines at the bottom of the chart. The difference is that most don’t die from it. They just need medical help for a while and then they go home and resume their normal lives.

This chart only reflects the officially reported Covid deaths since vaccines became available. They don’t count the people who died without a diagnosis or who died away from a medical facility that tallies the numbers, two of the reasons that the total Covid death count is almost certainly much higher than 1 million.

This chart also doesn’t count those who died because they couldn’t get help for an unrelated affliction, and if the present trend continues we are going to have lots more excess deaths like that. These people will be, for example, heart attack, stroke, cancer and car crash victims who were unable to access the medical care they needed in time to save them because their medical facility was overrun by Covid patients.

Think: Dad died from a heart attack while waiting in his car in the Emergency Room parking lot. He was there because unvaccinated Uncle Bubba had Covid and was in the bed that dad needed and was taking the time, attention and energy of the doctors and nurses who could have saved Dad.

So, don’t imagine that you’re safe from Covid because you’re vaccinated and boosted and you’re a good little mask wearer. You might one day require medical help that you can’t get because of all the unvaccinated people who are sure that Covid isn’t as bad as the flu, or because they think that vaccines cause all manner of imaginary symptoms or are loaded with Bill Gates’ nanobots or because their freedom is more important than anything, including your life – and who are in hospital beds needed by others.

These are the numbers. Factual, empirical data. Again, the current daily Covid corpse count is 445 and that number is expected to rise. Making that worse is that we don’t know how many more people will die because the unvaccinated are clogging hospitals. I sure don’t want the people I love or me to be among those excess deaths. Just guessing you feel the same.

Video of the Week

If you paid attention during the Democratic primary season of 2020 you learned that Pete Buttigieg is a really smart fellow. He’s clear, articulate and is a no drama presenter. Take a listen to his discussion of the implications of the Supreme Court’s likely smack down of Roe during his visit to the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago last week. Note especially his metaphor that now might be the last high water mark for rights and freedom in America. Brian Tyler Cohen’s commentary following Buttigieg is well worth the watch, too.

For the full Buttigieg session, click here.

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Frog Legs and You


Maybe you remember that experiment in science or biology class where they zapped a leg of a freshly killed frog and the leg extended like the frog was jumping. Then your teacher zapped it again, and once more the leg sprang to full extension. But soon you saw that additional zaps resulted in less and less leg movement, until at last the leg didn’t even twitch when it was zapped. That’s known by science brainiacs as the “Zap the frog too much” experiment. The reason it’s too much, at least in part, is because of the overload of stimulation.

Turns out, we’re just like that frog leg. You may have become desensitized to things like extremist right wing insanity because of the incessant pummeling you’ve taken over the past few decades and especially now. You’ve learned that there is no bottom, no low that’s too low for these people, so that what was once scandalous and provoked you to yell at your TV, now just stimulates you to grab another handful of popcorn. And that’s dangerous.

Maybe you’re sick of Covid – who isn’t? – so you turn away from news and discussion about the pandemic. That’s understandable. But there’s a new variant on the way here from Europe and my understanding is that it’s as contagious as the Omicron variant. I don’t know how lethal it is or whether our current vaccines will protect us against serious illness and death from it. That’s because I’m sick of hearing news about Covid and have left myself ignorant. And that’s dangerous.

Late addition: Here’s a good report on the new variant. You need to see this.

Let’s connect that to another piece of dangerous human craziness.

I was noodling about our uncivil discourse, our toxic tribalism and our extremists calling for a new civil war. That evolved into some back of the envelope calculations and I discovered a shocking number.

The population of the United States in 1861 was 31,429,891. Our Civil War resulted in approximately 620,000 dead Americans. If we were to have another Civil War and we were as efficient at killing one another as our antecedents were, our current population of 329,500,000 citizens would produce about 6,500,000 dead Americans. It would be the equivalent of the Covid pandemic more than six times over.

So, to those who are calling for secession or a new Civil War, is that what you really want? Seriously? You want six-and-a-half million dead bodies? Are your rage and hatred so enormous that you want to trigger another Holocaust, but this time entirely of Americans?

Maybe it’s time to ratchet down the demonizing of neighbors. Maybe it’s time to turn off your QAnon feed. Yes, I’m aiming at the far right, because whatever far lefties are saying I’m not hearing any them calling for violence upon those who disagree. I’m not hearing preposterous lies from them.  They have some out-there opinions, yes, but not lies. I really don’t think this is a both sides issue. I may well be wrong about that, so I welcome your enlightenment via the Comments section below.

Yes, we should turn down the rhetoric, but here’s the thing. You and I have had our froggy sensibilities zapped so many times by what are demonstrably outrageous lies intended to infuriate that it’s easy, even demanding, that we ignore the stimulus and not even twitch in our disagreement. That’s very dangerous.

If we fail to stand up to the attacks we will invite far worse. It’s like the failure of the world to stand up to Vladimir Putin’s murderous ways in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, Crimea and the Donbas. That we sat on our hands while he committed war crimes led to his invasion and the laying waste of Ukraine.

Challenging as it is, we have to stand fast for what we know is right. We don’t have to respond to every lie or every absurd conspiracy theory intended to stoke hatred. But we humans are designed to act when we sense danger, so we have to recognize it even when we’re saturated and our froggy legs want to remain unresponsive.

Passive is not our job. Our job is to protect and defend, because our Constitution is supposed to be a living document and it only lives if we make it live. It’s time for all of us to extend a leg.

That means taking action, which is the exact intention of the sentences in green that lead the bottom section of all my posts. It’s about full leg extension. Indeed, pass this along to three friends, because they and we need their legs extended, too.

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote comes from Frank Bruni of the New York Times, writing about extremist Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She was caught flagrante delicto in insurrectionist text messages that the January 6 committee is investigating.

“What a terrifying moment, in which the wife of a serving Supreme Court justice unabashedly exploits her insider access, ignores the idea of checks and balances, promotes conspiracy theories and essentially endorses insurrection. Her conduct isn’t some passing curiosity. It’s a sign of the times. And it’s a warning to us all.”

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Symphonietta in the Key of Sarcasm


COVID is OVER!

That’s what they tell us. You know these experts, the screamers at our school board meetings, the politicians sucking up to extremists, the puffed up people crashing maskless into shops having signs on their doors reading, “Masks required,” the temper tantrum idiots at 35,000 feet attacking flight attendants, the fools filing fraudulent lawsuits against our schools and those hundreds of thousands of our unvaccinated with breathing tubes down their throats, yet still in denial. Those people.

They’re sure it’s over. And thank goodness that’s so, because they’re tired of the terrible burden of doing their part. There is no end to their suffering from a little mask.

They really do have challenges with their kids having had to Zoom school or wear a mask all day – that part is real. But these moms and dads are just fine if their kids’ teachers get infected by their unmasked, little Petri dish darlings. At least those moms and dads don’t have the terrible, crushing burdens of both parenthood and citizenship at the same time anymore, because Covid is over. *

On this wonderful end to the pandemic,

No doubt the 31,830 Americans who were diagnosed today will be thrilled to learn that Covid is over. So will the 1,126 people who died from Covid today and all 997,933 who have died since this pandemic began. Oh, wait: they can’t be thrilled to learn that because they’re dead.

Our long Covid sufferers who can’t put together 2 hours of feeling strong will rejoice to discover that their Covid is over.

And, of course, our millions of immunocompromised and high-risk folks can now dance on tippy-toes in the grocery store, because buying a sack of groceries is no longer a death-defying act because Covid can no longer touch them.

And those new variants in Europe and elsewhere, I’m sure there won’t be yet another spike in the graphs when they show up on our doorstep – or in our lungs, right?

Yup, Covid is over. Pass the word.

Best Congressional News!

Our proudly dysfunctional Senate has done something amazing: they passed a bill on just a voice vote to make daylight savings time permanent. It is not currently known how many senators actually knew that a vote was being taken.

So, soon we’ll have no more onerous changing of the clocks twice a year and having to fumble with the one on the microwave. Nosiree, not for us. These courageous senators proudly stood for the right of every patriotic American to live in the Founding Fathers’ vision of freedom from clock setting.

We have only to wait for this bill to zip through the House and then we’ll be free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we’ll be free at last from the tyranny of setting clocks twice a year.

Similarly, Congress, in a bold bipartisan act, has bravely marched our country forward with the full-throated renaming of some unknown number of post offices. And isn’t that what we really want Congress to tackle – new names for old post offices?

Never mind that the Senate refuses to deal with gun safety issues, even as more blood baths happen almost daily in our way-too-heavily-armed nation. Not gonna do anything about climate change, either, even as it kills thousands of people every year and which may well drown our coastal cities and much of the Florida peninsula and which will make much of the world uninhabitable.

And with this evenly divided Senate that just loves its filibusters and dithering at the edges of loyalty, we don’t have to worry about any social programs being so much as considered, much less passed. Take that, you food stamp takers! You early childhood education freeloaders! You daycare dabblers! You medical cost moaners!

There’s more, of course, but for now just bask in the comfort of knowing that nothing important is getting done, but – good news! – you won’t have to deal with that microwave clock, thanks to our hard working Congress.

—————————–

* “You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it.”

Clara Barton, 1821-1912

Founder of the American Red Cross

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Live and Die Loud, The Economy and Ottawa


We have a Second Amendment and it was enshrined into something holy and untouchable as if directly from God by Justice Antonin Scalia, the NRA, bobblehead Republicans and every red state absolutist. Just two things about that.

The First Thing

That amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
.

That’s the complete text. Gun thumpers are big on the second phrase – that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. They view that right as absolute, this in spite of their Supreme Court champion, Justice Scalia, clearly stating that no right is absolute.

Worse, they always ignore the first phrase – that Militia thing. Our militia is called the National Guard and there is one in every state, so there’s no need for tough guys to be creeping through the woods in camo with their AR-15s, playing soldier and scaring the hell out of bunnies and Bambi.

The reason for the Framers believing that there was a necessity for a Militia is because early on the federal government had no money to maintain a standing army and needed citizens to be at the ready when – not if – the British returned, which they did just 26 years after the Constitution was ratified. That well regulated Militia was never intended to be a force to overthrow our own government, even if the gun thumpers believe that’s what it’s for, and even if they think they’re a well regulated militia (they’re not), and even if the date is January 6.

The Second Thing

This, too, is about that phrase that our Second Amendment enthusiasts love.

Is there some reason ordinary citizens cannot own more sophisticated weapons than rifles and pistols? Actually, not so much. If you want to own a rocket launcher, land mines, machine guns and more you can do it legally. It’s very pricey. But maybe some cabal of super wealthy right-wing oligarchs who want you to overthrow the government and put them in charge will send you the cash.

The point is that the Second Amendment doesn’t say muskets, although that was the state of the art at the time that amendment was drafted. No update of weapons of war was contemplated, so that’s what the Framers had in mind. Still, they wrote “Arms,” not “muskets” or “guns.”

I think we should crank up the volume of our explosions. Come on now, everybody grab your pre-1986 50 caliber machine guns, your rocket launchers and your fertilizer bombs and we’ll make the Second Amendment sing. We’ll live and die loud in a national conflagration of primitive chest thumping and self-righteous rage. Justice Scalia would be so proud! So would Justice Clarence Thomas and his far-right wife, GIni.

Or we could pass sensible gun safety legislation and begin to reduce the bleeding and dying. Over 80% of the American people prefers this choice. I wonder why we can’t get what we want  .  .  .

It’s The Economy, Stupid

Everybody knows that Republicans are the party of business, the geniuses of the economy, the ones to be entrusted to hold the reigns of power to shepherd our national financial well being. The Democrats just give away the tax money collected from hard working people and spend it on their touchy-feely, socialist, tree hugging programs. They’re clueless about how to run an economy.

Well, maybe.

Have a look at this chart. The data covers the period since World War II. CNN recently published much the same information.

                                     S & P 500             GDP            Job Creation     Unemployment
                        Ave. Annual Gain  Ave. Growth  Ave. per month  Rate Movement
.

DEMOCRATS              11.2%                 4.1%               164,000                   – 0.8%

REPUBLICANS              6.9%                 2.5%                 61,000                   +1.1%

Note, too, that 10 of the 11 U.S. recessions between 1953 and 2020 began under Republican presidents.

Gotta hand it to those Republicans. They sure do protect us from those economy dopey Democrats. Plus, they have such great claims of fiscal responsibility, low taxes and small government. Just don’t think about deficits (see the tweet to the left from 2019). Bummer they can’t find a sustainably strong economy, even using two hands and a flashlight (thanks go to Aaron Sorkin for the phrase).

Just imagine if the economic and employment growth under Democrats were to continue instead of leaving it to the Republicans to muck it up.

When you’re done imagining, go canvass, phone bank, contribute and vote in order to bring your imagination to life.

Last thought on this: How come Democrats aren’t making enormous noise about all of their success?

The Definitive Solution to the Trucker Anti-Vaxx, Anti-Mask, Temper Tantrum “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa
  1. Impound all the trucks immediately. Keep them while slow-walking prosecutions.
  2. Encourage truckers to show proper behavior that their moms would like by requiring that they publicly apologize for their anti-social, rude behavior and promise to never do such things again. Plus, make them clean up the mess they left in the streets of Ottawa. If they refuse, lock ’em up longer.
  3. Enroll them in Breakfast Club for a couple of months. After that, if they have perfect attendance they can have their trucks back. Then show them the highway out of town and tell them to never come back.

The truckers have selfishly made everything about themselves and the imagined curtailment of their freedom. They’re heedless of the $55 million in lost wages they’ve caused others or the hundreds of millions of dollars of trade they’ve imperiled or the small businesses they’ve caused to be shuttered.

Remember: Lack of accountability promotes more wrongdoing. We either hold them accountable or they and others will be emboldened to do worse.

NOTES
  1. Traditional conservatives would have recommend and enthusiastically supported this solution. Recall, if you’re able to remember that far back, that they used to be all about law and order. Not so much today.
  2. Consider that when people act out, their motivation may be deeper and likely founded on real and legitimate grievances. So, we can swat at the symptom of the traffic clogging – we really have to. More important for the long term is to figure out the driving forces and deal with them. I suspect that disrespect and betrayal are involved.
  3. For an examination of rights (like freedom) and responsibilities, read Tom Friedman’s essay, America 2022: Where Everyone Has Rights and No One Has Responsibilities.
Quote of the Week

From Maureen Dowd’s column of February 12 centered on James Joyce’s Ulysees:

Stephen Dedalus, Joyce’s self-portrait, captures our incomprehensible politics in a remark that burns brighter than ever: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Groundhog Day Special Edition


Pick a City

Madison, WI

Baton Rouge, LA

San Bernardino,  CA

Des Moines, IA

Birmingham, AL

Rochester, NY

Tempe, AZ

Modesto, CA

Tacoma, WA

Grand Rapids, MI

Tallahassee, FL

Little Rock, AR

Bill Maher and Bari Weiss made quite a lot of noise on his program on January 21. They insisted that we’re so over the need for restrictions against COVID – masks required in public places, having to show vaccination cards, distancing from one another, school children never seeing the lower half of their friends’ faces and more.

Worse, it just isn’t necessary, they said. Hundreds of millions of us are vaccinated and millions have been sick and recovered, so they have some level of immunity. Bill and Bari are just so done with COVID, they told us. Can’t we just get back to normal?

Nope. Not yet. That’s because we’re killing over 2,000 of our fellow citizens every day with this virus. Here’s what that means.

Pick your favorite city from the list above – your choice. COVID is killing our people so fast that it can completely wipe out everyone in your favorite city in roughly 100 days. Everyone. COVID kills at a rate that could eliminate every man, woman and child in Punxatawney, PA in less than 3 days. That’s why we still need to continue to practice safe COVID.

Over and over we foolishly succumb to frustration and have the argument about getting back to normal. That’s why it’s Groundhog Day yet again.

To all the Bill’s and Bari’s, whatever their name, who are just so over COVID, read Dan Rather’s piece. Read some of the many comments, too. Then come back here and write in this Comments section about whether you’re still so over COVID.

BTW – There’s life changing news for our anti-vaxxers who refused because the vaccines were “experimental.” The FDA has fully approved both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, so we should be seeing queues of anti-vaxxers in front of their pharmacies and other freebie vaccine dispensing locations. Check out Walgreens and tell me if you see a line of people with their sleeves rolled up. *

Children’s Brains

From STAT:

“Just as a child tax credit for low-income families prompted by the pandemic has expired, new research points to benefits in brain development for babies whose families received unconditional cash assistance through a randomized clinical trial. The study was small and the changes were modest, but its conclusions align with previous observational studies. Published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the analysis covers 435 1-year-old children and their mothers who got either monthly cash gifts of $333 or monthly gifts of $20 starting shortly after birth. Children in the higher gift group exhibited more high-frequency, rapid brain activity on an EEG, compared with the lower gift group. Because that brain activity pattern is associated with developing high-level cognitive skills, the authors say, the results reveal a link between poverty reduction and early childhood brain activity.”

Good thing we killed the child tax credit. We wouldn’t want babies born in poverty to be smart, right?

That regularly occurring, self-defeating governmental stinginess and neglect of We the People is why it’s Groundhog Day yet again.

And Of Course

Republicans are already criticizing President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, even though he hasn’t yet named one.

Republicans are criticizing how Biden is dealing with Putin, even though they don’t have a clue what he’s doing.

Republicans voted in congressional goose stepping unison to prevent two voting rights bills from even being debated.

There’s no point in extending this list because you already know that Republicans are only interested in opposing everything any Democrat might support, this in order to secure their own minority control. It’s been that way at least since Reagan, that great champion of democracy (for some) and Iran-Contra. And, surely, you remember Mitch McConnell’s brave, anti-democratic words: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

He said that as the economy was in the free-fall of the Great Recession, businesses where closing, millions were losing their jobs and their housing and we were mired in two intractable wars. Nevertheless, all the Republicans focused on was political combat designed to help themselves and harm Democrats. They hadn’t a care about We the People or our country.**

And, of course, now we have (yet again) the flaming Nazi-like,  Fahrenheit 451 Republican states of Florida, Texas, Tennessee and some other wannabe censor states. In their Salem Witch Hunt revival to cast out the evil spirit of education, they want to ban books that speak of that which must not be mentioned. Fine. I’ll do the mentioning.

They want to protect our apparently fragile White children from the realities of racial discrimination, sex, violence, the Holocaust and other topics that might inform students. “Better to keep them ignorant and mindless,” think the geniuses in our book burning states.

John Pavlovitz thinks that in their list of books to be banned they’ve missed the most ban-able book: the Bible. He writes:

“If Republicans want to ban books that perpetuate violence and inhumanity or tell stories of generational racism and discrimination, and they’re being honest—they’d better start with the Bible.

Thanks go to AT for the cartoon

“Christians who are responsible students of history, know that the Bible is the single most weaponized piece of writing on the planet: responsible for unjust wars, systematic genocide, generational anti-semitism [sic], violent extremism, subjugation of women, and pervasive racism. This isn’t really up for debate. From the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Troubles to The Holocaust to slavery, to racism and homophobia in America, the shadow of the Bible looms large.”

The present craze to ban books is just the newest wash-rinse-repeat cycle of Republican purity hypocrisy. We’ve seen these flames before. That’s why with the Republicans, every day is Groundhog Day, as they display their inner rodent.

————————

* Have a look at this for the entertainment of international temper tantrums based on disinformation.

** Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner regularly declared that the Republicans were all about, “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” Then he and his Republican majority proceeded to kill every bill designed to stimulate job growth, leaving millions of Americans unemployed. They had to be shamed into passing a bill designed to help military veterans leaving the service get jobs, this after having first killed that bill. That’s how far Republicans were willing to go to prevent President Obama from having a win. They have nothing to lift us; only actions to diminish their opponents. And we and our country pay the price.

————————————

STOP THE GROUNDHOG DAY INSANITY!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

It’s Almost 1972 – Again


If we assume for the moment that people who promote fantastical and dangerous lies aren’t willfully ignorant or intelligence challenged, we’re left with some unattractive explanations. Why, for example, would Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP Chair, perpetuate the “Biden is an illegitimate president” crazy?

“I want to see arrests. I want to see perp walks. I want to see people in jail for stealing this election,” she demanded.

Is she following orders as a proud soldier in the Army of the Delusional? Does she expect some personal benefit from her performance of reality denial? Has she been bamboozled by the lies, distortions, conspiracy claims and manipulations that have been fogged out for years? Does she think she’s a patriot as she promotes GOP insanity?

Does destroying democracy to save democracy actually make sense to her?

I’m betting all of that is the answer for her and thousands of Republicans. I’m betting that they will keep pounding away until they get their way, and that’s why this spouting of insanity is a serious threat. This kind of thing has happened before.

Coming into the 1972 Olympic Games the USA basketball teams had never lost an Olympic game. They had collected seven gold medals over the years and this team was the odds-on favorite to win an eighth.

They played the team from the Soviet Union in the gold medal game and were behind through most of it. With just one second left the Americans sank two free throws to go ahead 50-49. The Soviets in-bounded the ball but didn’t score. Game over, Americans win. But a judge had the clock reset to three seconds and the Soviets had another chance. Again, they failed to score. Game over, Americans win. But that’s not what happened.

The referee had given the ball to the Soviets for the in-bound pass before the official clock was reset, so the judge ruled that what had happened didn’t count and the Soviets were given a third chance to play the last seconds of the game. This time the Soviets scored and won the game 51-50. You can hear Bob Costas explain all of this.

I remember watching the end of that game and, like most Americans, was screaming at my TV set. How many chances do they get? Do we just keep doing it over until the other guys win?

And those are the same questions I’m asking today, but they’re no longer about a basketball game. They’re about a past election and all future elections. The fraudulent claims and the demand for do-overs continue, and the indignant ones howl for prosecutions of people who actually played by the rules. I’m afraid that this dangerous insistance could bear poison fruit.

Trump started the bogus whining about fraud in 2016, claiming that there was no way he could lose and that if he didn’t win that the election was rigged. That should sound frighteningly familiar, because not only did he claim that same thing in 2020, but other Republican candidates for various offices are now making that claim. They’re insisting that if they don’t win that they were cheated. They’re refusing to concede. They want do-overs. They only accept their desired outcomes as the legitimate ones.

It doesn’t matter that their claims are entirely false. They are inflaming millions with their hateful, fraudulent declarations and the anger is growing. What’s going to prevent rigged do-overs in Republican controlled states until the outcomes are in favor of Republicans? Surely, not today’s United States Senate, where all 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted against allowing a vote on the two voting rights acts that would prevent such thievery. These politicians are today’s version of the 1972 Olympic basketball judge.

There is more

The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, where Palestinian extremists – terrorists – kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Violence is what extremists do – like on January 6 at the Capitol Building. People were murdered. More will die unless we – that’s you and I – put a stop to this. All we have left are just 289 more days to do what must be done.

We’re on the road to 1972 again unless we stop the thieves – the extremists – right now.

What I wanted President Biden to say

The problems we’re having with inflation, the economy and sickness and death from the pandemic are ALL a function of right wing obstruction to fighting the pandemic.

North of 90% of our COVID sickness and death is of unvaccinated people, causing massive spread of the disease. And these people are being instructed, coaxed, mandated and directed to refuse our common sense solutions by self-serving Republican governors and legislatures prohibiting protection of our citizens. Our people are being influenced by Republicans and blatherers who spread lies and disinformation.

One more time: Other than trying to ensure this administration fails (that’s the only thing Mitch McConnell declared he’s for), “What are Republicans for?”

Q. Who is paying the price for Republican self-serving obstruction?

A. The American people. And democracy.

The Supreme Court smack down

Trump’s legal team made such a joke of an argument to prevent the House January 6 Select Commission from having access to records from Trump’s presidency that the Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear oral arguments. That decision came down to two things:

  1. Executive privilege belongs to the executive while in office. After that there is little executive privilege and none with regard to materials relevant to Congressional inquiry.
  2. Once out of office, all of a former president’s records go to the National Archives. The former president doesn’t own them, nor has control of them. They belong to We the People.

Smack down.

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Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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