democracy

O. J. and Today


Post 1,029

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The verdict came down from the jury at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

NOT GUILTY

Not only I but most people I knew were incredulous. With all that evidence against him, how could anyone believe he was innocent of that double murder? Yet millions applauded the verdict.

The many comments aired publicly were often polarized by race, which seemed nonsensical. Blacks saw the same evidence that Whites saw. Then at last one Black fellow spelled it out in terms I could understand. This is pretty close to exactly what he said:

“You White people think Black people are stupid. We know he did it. We know he’s guilty. We just wanted to see a Black guy beat the system this once.” *

That’s when I got it.

After being beaten down by “the system” for centuries, beating that system meant more to them than Simpson getting the justice he quite obviously deserved. Sometimes long held feelings of injustice, disrespect and marginalization are what is most powerful.

Which brings us to our current national psychosis. **

MAGA people know that Trump is crooked, a liar, a criminal, un-American, someone they would hate in different circumstances. But over and over he gives a middle finger to “the man,” to so-called elites, to those powerful people who have blown off so many of We The People for longer than any can remember. He flips off whatever is proper and MAGAs cheer.

When he’s caught lying, he repeats his lie and even exaggerates it. That is intoxicating to those who feel wronged. It’s more powerful than any rational analysis of Trump’s obvious guilt and reprehensible behavior. Flicking off “the man” and behaving the way Mom said to never behave brings ultimate satisfaction, an orgasm of vitriol unleashed.

They are so enamored of the flick-off that they are unmoved by Trump telling Iowans following the mass shooting in Perry, IA on January 4 that, “.  .  . [they] just have to get over it.” To be fair, we have to question whether that was worse or not as bad as his calling our fallen military heroes losers and suckers, which MAGAs ignored. Somehow that wasn’t enough to disqualify Trump in the minds of MAGAs who think of themselves as the true red, white and blue.

Neither were his claims of grabbing women by the pu**y or “fine people on both sides” at the racist Charlottesville hate rally in 2017, or any other Trump outrage. Favoring Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence services should have told even MAGA people that they cannot trust Trump with our foreign affairs or our national defense. But, of course, there was that compelling extended middle finger seduction to help them forget Trump’s appeasement of a despot and to have them actually applaud his sucking up to the Russian murderer.

The MAGAs fancy themselves patriots, which makes it curious that they would be incurious about Trump wanting the “termination of the Constitution” and declaring he’ll be a dictator. It’s so very satisfying to scream over and over, “F**K YOU!” or to wallow in the mire of someone else doing the screaming. That makes it easy to abandon any requirement of our leaders to protect and defend. Besides, it’s so old fashioned to insist that they honor their oath. It’s so swampy.

O.J. was clearly and plainly guilty of murder and Trump is clearly and plainly guilty of an uncountable number of felonies and impeachable offenses. O.J. got away with it. We must not let Trump get away with it.

From Steve Sheffey on January 7, 2024:

No matter what your issues are, no matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on, if democracy is not your litmus test, you need to question your instincts for self-preservation.

Speaking of Democracy

Have a look at this Gallup survey chart:

Click me for the full story.

Apparently, we aren’t too happy with the way our democracy is working. There is little wonder about that, as we are tormented by minority rule. Our laws and our Constitution have been bastardized to serve a minority and especially the very rich, this at the expense of the rest of us. And all the while big mouth, would-be usurpers continuously vomit a barrage of lies and propaganda assaulting our democracy and our values.

Maybe we ought to do something to make ourselves satisfied with our democracy.

For reinforcement of what commitment to democracy looks like, read Steve Schmidt’s essay that includes Gen. Mark Milley’s letter of resignation from his post as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It wasn’t delivered, but it remains a piece of clarity about patriotism. The old fashioned kind.

For the Hand Wringers

This from Mother Jones:

A bunch of places—22 states and 43 cities and counties, to be precise—enacted new minimum wage increases [as of January 1], according to a report from the National Employment Law Project. Six of those states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington—now have a minimum wage that reaches or surpasses $15, which has been the goal of the decade-long “Fight for $15” movement. The increases should disproportionately benefit Black, Hispanic, and female workers, who make up more than half of the workers receiving pay bumps, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

Another three states and 22 jurisdictions will also raise their minimum wages this year. Twenty of these increases will be to $15 or more for some or all employers; 15 places will reach or exceed $17, according to NELP data.

So, if you know a cynic who loves to bemoan what they imagine is our falling sky, feel free to pass along this win for We The People. And it’s okay to mention Joe Biden, who knows that our minimum wage hasn’t made sense for decades. He’s been a champion for workers and now wages are beginning to be made right. This is a victory for democracy.

__________________________________

* Many thanks to that anonymous fellow who made those days make more sense.

 ** Definition:

psychosis | sīˈ KŌ səs | noun (plural psychoses | sīˈ sēz |)

a severe mental condition in which thought and emotions are so affected that contact is lost with external reality.

– Apple dictionary


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

At Last


Post 1,016

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It took years for our media to stop pointing out the “mistakes” Trump was making in his presentations and to at last state the obvious: He lies and he’s a liar. By the end of Trump’s administration the Washington Post had documented over 30,000 Trump lies. That’s over 20 per day for 4 years. These were not inadvertent errors or little oops moments; they were flat out lies. It took the Post and the rest of the mainstream press years to find the nerve to state that obvious fact. Now we’ve come to another reckoning with reality, this, too, of the forehead slap variety.

It seems that our mainstream media has figured out that Donald Trump and his rabid followers and cowardly tag-a-longs comprise an existential threat to our republic, to democracy, to the Constitution and to our way of life. Journalists have figured out that these unfaithful ones are actually proclaiming their evil intent out loud and promising to deliver destruction.

This promise of a destructive rampage seemed obvious and dangerous to me at least as far back as April 9, 2012, well before the Trump bastardization of our country. Later Trump undercut our intelligence agencies, threatened nuclear war, promised retribution against various opponents and agencies of our own government and far more. Imagine that: it wasn’t enough to demonize Mexicans as rapists and drug smugglers and criminals, as he did during his infamous escalator candidacy announcement in 2015, complete with paid actors pretending to be supporters. Trump has attacked and continues to attack us all directly and repeatedly.

Now he’s promised to take down the Constitution, aggregate all power to himself, kill our generals, imprison political opponents, station our military in our cities to control we citizens, this in violation of the Third Amendment, and more. He’s promising all this in his campaign speeches. If there’s one lesson we should have learned quite well a long time ago it’s that Trump doesn’t do hyperbole. When he promises something outlandish, he means to deliver it, regardless of illegality or harm to others. Now it’s clear that his overriding message is that he plans to tear everything down and build a dictatorship solely for himself; as in: Nothing for you.

No democracy. No shining city on a hill. No last best hope. No lamp beside the golden door. Nothing but serfdom under a mad king, exactly what the colonists rebelled against.

Which brings us to morning in the journalism world.

At last journalists are writing and speaking about the obvious reality of the existential threat promised by Trump.

In the Washington Post Robert Kagan explains that A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending. Kagan’s post is a serious buzz kill, because what he lays out has been in plain sight for a long time – we should all have been able to see this coming – and it’s a deadly serious threat to us and our country.

The entire January/February issue of The Atlantic is devoted to the theme: If Trump Wins. It’s a very ugly picture.

The Economist tells us that Donald Trump poses the biggest danger to the world in 2024.

And you can check the New York Times for Donald Trump’s 2024 Campaign, in His Own Menacing Words.

These are just a sampling of current pieces. If you don’t have online access to these publications, go pick up copies at a newsstand. You remember those, right? The big box bookstores have a whole section of periodicals. Go there.

Spoiler alert: The news you’ll find is clear and terrifying.

Like his constant lying, it appears that the secret is out about the doom of Trump looming menacingly on the horizon. Journalists are finally naming names. At last.

You need to be naming these threats, too, especially to low information friends and family members who don’t see what’s coming and which will clobber them if they let it.


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Connecting Dots


Post 1,005

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Congressional Republicans have pseudo-patriotic, brain damaged explanations for not supporting Ukraine. Of course, they’re either making up “alternative facts’ or clutching their boundless ignorance to their chests, the place where courage should reside but obviously does not. The reality is that Ukraine is fighting our fight for us. It is the fight for Western civilization, for our values and for democracy everywhere. Now why would these elected congresspeople oppose fighting for our values and our democracy? The answer to that question is the first dot for making a picture.

There was an active shooter at a middle school in the Milwaukee suburb of Germantown, WI on Monday the 23rd. The only casualty was the shooter, killed by police, who arrived quickly and acted immediately. We sure could have used those folks at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX last year.

On Wednesday the 25th there were what the experts call “spree shootings” at a bar and grill and at a bowling alley in the towns of Lewiston and Auburn, ME. The suspect, now dead by his own hand, was a former military firearms instructor. He had been committed to a mental health facility last summer. He is reported to be “hearing voices” and made threats against others, including against the National Guard base in Saco, ME.

He was in possession of a military style rifle designed not for deer hunting or target shooting, but to kill lots of people at a really fast rate. Plus, he was apparently carrying a large supply of ammunition. The shooter killed 18 people, injured 13 others and broke hearts throughout the state and our country.

The alleged shooter legally owned that assault rifle, all that ammunition, a hand gun and whatever other killing implements he carried. Why do you suppose he was able to do that?

One of the senators representing the people of Germantown, WI is Ron Johnson (R-WI). He’s a steadfast opponent of any and all legislation that might have kept a gun out of the hands of both of those alleged shooters. There are many dozens like him in Congress. Now, why would so many of our nation’s senators and representatives oppose safety in that way, especially when the overwhelming majority of We The People want it? The answer has nothing to do with originalist Constitution notions or even bravado and chest thumping about the Second Amendment. The answer to that question is the second dot for making a picture.

It took the majority Republican House 22 days to find a replacement for Kevin “Cut Mine Off’ McCarthy. He gave away nearly everything, so it took only eight flaming radical congresspeople to dump him. Matt Gaetz (“he who partied with under-age girls”) led that attack on McCarthy, pretty much only because after McCarthy gave away everything to become Speaker for less than 10 months, Gaetz wanted what was left of his dignity, this in order to please Trump. That’s the third dot.

The extremists supporting their second nominee for speaker, Gym Jordan (R-Hell), threatened other Republicans and their families with violence if they opposed his nomination. That’s thugocracy. Those threats deeply divided the Republican caucus and resulted in a complete standstill in the House during a worsening crisis in Ukraine and the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

Without the Republican paralysis of Congress they would have been able to take action. But the flamers blocked that and all other congressional action for over 3 weeks. Some are promising to ensure that the government is made to shut down just before Thanksgiving. Now, why would they do any of that? Consider that the fourth dot.

Now they’ve elected Mike Johnson (R-LA) as the new Speaker of the House. He’s the guy who led the effort in the House to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He’s an election denier. A Big Lie guy. A Trump toady. A fanatic. A legislative insurrectionist. Yes, every Republican voted for him.*

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox (Many thanks to MG)

He’s a God-invoking hypocrite who is guilty of attempted destruction of our democracy and our Constitution. Perhaps you remember the Constitution as that thing to which Johnson swore his solemn oath, hand on the bible he thumps, to protect and defend our Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Then he enthusiastically led Republican representatives to violate it in legislative insurrection. Consider Mike Johnson guilty of dereliction of duty, a breaker of his word, unfit to serve and the fifth dot.

We could go on, but all the dots inevitably become a picture of destruction, of American terrorist attacks on our nation. These people are robotic acolytes of Trump and Steve Bannon. Doing what is best for America is not their motivation. What they want is to “tear it all down.” They want to demolish our government, our institutions, our rule of law, our notions of equality, our Declaration of Independence and Constitutional guarantees that no person, no race, no nationality, no religion is above others. Our 234 years of laws make clear that White Christian men have no claim of dominion and power over the rest of us. But that’s no obstacle to these extremists. Doubt that?

Those better-than-the-rest-of-us straight (they claim), White Christian (they claim) men – no women – would be pleased to enslave you if you are not one of them. We know that, because that was the very essence of the South before the Civil War and that is what the present day domination seekers promise. They want to dominate you. They want to own you.

The Republican picture is one of destruction, domestic terrorism, hatred, fear mongering and subjugation of the great masses of us by a privileged class that believes they are above us.

That’s what people voting Republican are voting for.
.

When the dots are connected they reveal a democracy and freedom apocalypse, a picture that you and I will deeply dislike.

Quotes Of The Week

From Sheila Markin in The Markin Report of October 27, “The Coup Caucus Won:”

The extremists don’t want government to work. If government doesn’t work then Biden can be blamed and democracy can be seen as a failed form of government. The goal of GOP extremists is to trash the system and crash our government .  .  .  For them, chaos IS the goal.

In a webinar on Friday Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-6) answered my question about what the magic pill is to get the right people into Congress who will pass legislation that delivers what We The People want, like democracy. He made some insightful comments and ended by focusing on hope. It’s not in robust supply in these politically dark times. Here’s his final comment:

“The magic pill is us.”

That rather smacks of then-candidate Barack Obama declaring what was so plainly true:

“We are the people we’ve been waiting for.”

They are both right. It’s up to us.

_____________________________________

* From Steve Schmidt’s The Warning on October 26:

Perhaps the best way to understand this point [of difference in Speakers] is by appreciating how cynicism can fuel fanaticism. Kevin [McCarthy} believed in nothing but power, while [Mike] Johnson sees power as a means to impose his fanaticism.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Boxing and The Danger We Face


Don’t Ask the MAGA Crazies to Come To Their Senses.

Chaos and Destruction ARE Their Senses.

.

“These are the times that try men’s [and women’s] souls.” – Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776. Click, read, think, act.

The Republican Party has published its 1,000 page plan called “Project 2025.” It is a plan to completely dismantle the American government in just six months. They intend to destroy our democratic republic and establish a dictatorship with a Republican despot as absolute ruler. They promise to end your rights and freedom. They promise to destroy everything you hold dear about our country.

All they need to be able to betray us in these ways is to win the presidency, to have a compliant Supreme Court and to have a cowardly congress. That doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

And now, what better way to light the fuse to blow up our country than to shut down the government? Over 20 Republican flamers voted down their own budget plan. They did that to show what tough guys they are, to have their infantile temper tantrum, to puff up their egos, to show the Speaker who’s boss AND TO TEAR DOWN OUR DEMOCRACY, instead of honoring their oath of office to protect and defend it. They are solely about themselves, chaos and destruction.

WHERE IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S OUTRAGE AND COUNTER-ATTACK AGAINST THESE TREASONOUS, POISONOUS PEOPLE AND THEIR ANTI-AMERICAN SCHEME?

Do the geniuses at the DNC think this monster will go away if they just close their eyes and think pretty thoughts? Maybe that’s what John Kerry thought when the Swift Boaters attacked him in 2004 with their cowardly lies. He didn’t want to dignify their filth with a reply, he told us, which is a lovely patrician idea. But his lack of pushing back only emboldened them and they poisoned enough of the American voting public that by the time Kerry at last spoke up, it was too late.

We know what has happened to the courage and patriotism of the Republicans. Those were devoured by their cowardice and hypocrisy. But where did the courage and patriotic passion of Democrats go? The bell for the 15th round has rung. There is only one boxer in the ring and his name is Fascism.

DEMOCRATS: WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?

We don’t have the luxury of patrician patience to wait for the chaos and the evil of these traitors to disappear.

Polite debate never works with bullies. The only way to stop a bully is to punch him/her in the nose.
.

The cult followers make themselves functional morons because they refuse to learn and they goose step along, happy to tear down our democracy and use violence – even inciting murder – to please their cult leader. We need to see immediate and sustained blows to the traitors to knock them out of power and to make sure they never get their hands on it again.

John Kerry refused to take such action for too long and he lost the presidency. We stand to lose our entire country if we remain quiet and passive.

“These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls.”
.

We are on trial right now.

It’s time for a bare knuckle fight for our democracy, a fight for what you know is right. The ring stands before us. Who will enter it to fight the good fight, the patriotic fight, the fight for America?

DNC: GET IN THE RING!

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL AND STATE LEGISLATORS: GET IN THE RING!

AMERICANS WHO LOVE AND BELIEVE IN AMERICA: GET IN THE RING!

From Steve Schmidt’s The Warning on September 26:

The American people face a great test, a great reckoning. The practice of citizenship can be avoided no longer. We stand at an hour where every inch of progress that has accumulated over 250 years of time, that has lifted the human being from a condition of servitude and economic misery to prosperity and freedom, stands to be erased .  .  .

.  .  .  The American people look at Washington D.C. and they see one of the most corrupt congresses in history. They see the most corrupt Supreme Court in history, They see a fascist movement on the march. [emphasis mine]

The practice of citizenship can be avoided no longer because you yourself see the corruption and the fascist march and you know in your bones that something must be done to stop this or terrible things will happen. Here’s an example of why this is important to you.

One of the things authoritarians do is to ignore the wants and needs of the people. They do that because they can. They focus simply and exclusively on what serves themselves. The Founders rebelled against just such an authoritarian.

You know quite well that 80 – 90% of Americans want stronger gun safety laws and regulations. We want Medicare for all, lower cost access to higher education and action to stop and then reverse global warming. We want our hungry children to be fed and we want racial and immigration justice. We want the insane haters to shut up and for the stupid to stop. Plus, as a placeholder for all government functions, we want a budget to be passed without the lunacy and without threats of harm to our people and the undermining of our national defense.

We want these things and consistently we do not have our way. That’s because of a terrorist minority and the cowardice of so many who refuse to stand up to the bullies.

If the fascists get their way, you will never get what you want. The minority will rule for their own benefit, not yours, and your voice will be stilled forever. Look at any authoritarian regime in history and you’ll see that it is always this way. It will be that way here, too  .  .  .  unless we fight and win and keep our democracy.

So, it’s simple:

GET IN THE RING!
GET IN THE FIGHT!
PROTECT AND DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION AND OUR DEMOCRACY!
.

Oh, and DNC:

GET IN THE RING AND LEAD THE FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY,
– or –
BE OBSOLETE AND INSIGNIFICANT.
.

You pick.

One more time:

Polite debate never works with bullies. The only way to stop a bully is to punch him/her in the nose.
.

If you’re unsure about that, check with both Neville Chamberlain and Mallory McMorrow for a shocking comparison.

Most Important
Here’s how you can get into the ring and land some punches – CLICK ME.

Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Right Books To Ban


Yeah, I know that book banning is a tyrannical exercise in mind control that’s typical of authoritarian, subjugation-creating regimes. We all know that it’s a key tool to end freedom and eliminate rights. And none of us has forgotten history’s recounting of murder squads that were a direct outfall of such draconian control of the people. Still, there has to be a way to prevent bad influences from affecting the public. I think banning books is it. The trick is in knowing which books to ban, so here’s part of my list of the right books to ban. The Republicans are always trying to short change We the People, so these 9 represent a Republican dozen.

  1. The Art of the Deal; Letters to Trump; The Midas Touch; Think Big; Think Like a Champion; How To Get Rich; and any other publication with Trump’s name on it. Trump earned the descriptors grifter, con artist, liar, cheat, scam artist and more with stunning alacrity. He must not be allowed to have the influence on our people that would occur were his books still on library or bookstore shelves.
  2. The Courage To Be Free and Dreams From Our Founding Fathers. Ron DeSantis is every bit the con artist that Trump is and he’s just as cruel and self-serving. Plus, he hasn’t a clue about the dreams of our Founders. We must protect our vulnerable ones from him.
  3. Woke, Inc.; Capitalist Punishment; Nation of Victims. The last title says it all. There is no reason this nation should be victimized by Vivek Ramaswamy, including subjecting anyone to the brainless machine gun blather of this hateful despot wannabe. Turn off the victim talk and we’ll stop victimhood. Ban not just his books, but him, too.
  4. Unified, Opportunity Knocks and America: A Redemption Story. Sen. Tim Scott doesn’t have the sense to not be a Republican. That alone disqualifies him from any job that requires a functioning brain. There is only room in the Republican Party for extremists and cowards, all carrying a rejection of anyone who is not White. I’m wondering if he’s color blind, delusional enough to believe he can change that party or if he’s just self-loathing. He might dupe more people of color with his books, so we must rid ourselves of these things. Banning his books is the right (as in both correct and politically) thing to do.
  5. Anything by or about Ronald Reagan. That sainthood business given to the architect of Iran-Contra, the blatant lie of trickle down economics, massive debt creation, trillions going to the already rich and the destruction of unions needs to be kept from the eyes of Americans, lest they actually come to believe such crap. And that saint thing: de-canonize him. He’s a fraud.
  6. The Bible. Any bible. This terrifying work speaks of rape, incest, lust, murder, betrayal, adultery, idolatry, thievery and more. Get this off our library and book store shelves, because children might read it for instruction. Worse, middle finger American adults might read it and get some crazy ideas into their heads to commit who knows what violence in order to mimic bible stories.
  7. Do What You Said You Would Do is the chest thumping, I’m-a-tough-guy-absolutist tome from former college wrestling coach and enabler of sexual assault, Jim Jordan. Mothers, don’t let your kids grow up to be like that. It starts with making sure they can’t get their hands on this waste of paper pulp. Ban it.
  8. The US Senate and the Commonwealth: Kentucky Lawmakers and the Evolution of Legislative Leadership. Mitch McConnell is proud of his fiscal miserliness in protecting taxpayers’ money. As if. He’s made sure that Kentucky is one of the biggest federal cash suckers in the nation. Surely, his success at that larceny must not be celebrated by book sales. And our delicate children must be protected from such crookery. Ban that bad book.

  9. Any book by George W. Bush. He lied us into two wars, got tens of thousands killed and millions displaced, ignored intelligence that 9/11 was coming, allowed the Great Recession to happen, ended any illusion of a Pax American and more. DO NOT allow sensitive ones to read anything this frat boy wrote. Get those books off our shelves. Otherwise, the answer to his question, “Is our children learning?” will be YES, but they will be learning the wrong things.

There are so many books that should be banned. Which ones do you think belong on this list? Add them in the Comments section below and say why you recommend the Fahrenheit 451 treatment. Stand strong for the end of knowledge and learning!

Quotes Describing Us

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this:

“If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us.

“It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

Oh Democracy!

From Steve Schmidt, recognizing Mitt Romney:

It isn’t Mitt Romney’s duty to sit there helplessly in a cramped room with demagogues. It is our duty to vote them out. When we do, maybe the quality of character will improve in the MAGA/GOP. Until then don’t expect to see honorable people with an “R” next to their name serving in the US Senate. It is a nest of sedition, cowardice and malice. [emphasis mine]

Two Fridays ago was the United Nations International Day of Democracy and many European nations are leaning heavily toward autocracy now. That brings to mind Harry Truman:

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.

How did autocracy work for those European nations over the course of many hundreds of years of devastating wars?

Which brings to mind Winston Churchill:

.  .  .  democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms .  .  .

Perhaps a UN day promoting democracy is a good thing. Perhaps all of us promoting democracy is an even better thing.

Or we can just let our nation slide into legalized cruelty, with no rights or freedom and rule by mobs, not laws.

Bad idea.

The Great Mar-A-Lago Orange Felon

Judge Aileen Canon must be the world’s most careful judge. It took her a month to craft a rules-of-the-road paper for the Documents Case. Any other judge would have completed that task in two hours. You don’t suppose dragging out this case for the benefit of Trump had anything to do with her delay, do you?

Here’s a very slightly modified movie clip from Raiders Of The Lost Ark that puts this case into perspective. Click the play arrow.

Many thanks to JN for the link.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Idiotica – Part 1


Economy Idiotica

“The biggest picture is that the post-1980 economy failed to deliver the broad-based benefits that Reagan and his allies promised.”

That’s from a piece by David Leonhardt, Explaining Bidenomics. Focusing on the signal and not on the phony Republican noise, look at this chart.

In the 1920s we had our 1%, just as we do today. They got over 20% of U.S. Income and we got the Great Depression. Reagan came along with his brain-free, trickle-down economics lie proposed by an appropriately named propeller hat named Laffer. After the enormous effort of decades to lift people from poverty and strengthen our middle class, instead Reagan made sure that once again the rich got most of the money. We got the Great Recession.

Can we face the fact that when rich people get more money without having created greater value that they like that money and will always do their best to keep it for themselves? There’s no assurance that they will invest it so that anything trickles down to you.

The Republicans still want to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Things won’t be any better for working people, the bottom 95% of us, until the Bidenomics reversal of right-wing grift takes hold and is expanded. That takes time. For now, only wonks are excited by the recitation of improving statistics. That’s a problem.

To the American public that isn’t yet recognizing the benefits of Biden’s economic actions and who still lack confidence in the economy: I get it. But turning this thing around takes years – refer to the chart above. What is needed is for us to stay the course (I hate using Reagan’s phrase, but that one fits). If things are to continue to improve, our job will be to help people see what is hard to see, what they aren’t feeling yet.

“Inflation is down by almost two-thirds since its peak in June 2022, and this has happened without the recession and huge job losses many economists insisted would be necessary. Real wages, especially for non-supervisory workers, are significantly higher than they were before the pandemic,” writes economist Paul Krugman.

He continues, “Poll after poll shows Americans rating economic conditions as very bad” Oddly, “.  .  .  while most Americans feel that they’re doing OK, they believe that the economy is doing badly, where “the economy” presumably means other people.” How do you suppose that’s happened?

There is plenty to chew on here, but one thing is certain: Republicans continue to poison Americans with their stories of American dystopia and carnage, including about the economy. This disconnect between how Americans see the nation’s welfare versus their own experience is yet another example of what a constant torrent of lies can do.

Covid Idiotica

Americans continue to die from Covid. That doesn’t shock anymore, because such news is so yesterday, so back seat to whatever is today’s outrage. But it isn’t going to stay in the back seat.

With the new variants floating just outside our nostrils and people indifferent or even hostile to vaccines, our communal resistance to dire consequences from the disease is pitiful. We could just wait around to see if we become infected and then die, but that would be dumb.

The right wing conspiracy machine is making sure that we continue to be a bifurcated nation. 95% of those dying from Covid are anti-vaxxers. They aren’t stupid people. They are suicidally and homicidally angry and stubborn. The rest of us have rolled up our shirtsleeves, gladly accepted the jab and are unlikely to have serious consequences should we test positive.

Go-Go DeSantis

But not so much in Florida. Democracy hating Governor Ron DeSantis, he of the white go-go boots in a post-hurricane photo op, has buddied up with his brain-free state surgeon general Joseph Ladapo to urge Florida residents under the age of 65 to refuse the new vaccine. That’s the one that will keep people who contract the new variant of the disease from dying. Apparently, DeSantis and Lapado want to ensure that Florida continues to be a major promoter for members of the casket making industry. I wonder if they’re donors.

Republican Idiotica

This brings us to the choices before the American people.

You’re either for supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, or you’re for Putin, Hungary’s Orbán, Turkey’s Erdoğan and Xi and not for America.

You’re either for the rule of law or you’re for autocracy, fascism and lawlessness.

You’re either for championing NATO as key to our national defense or you’re for Putin and Xi and not for America.

You either believe in democracy and America or you believe in a cult leader who is working to bring it all crashing down.

Republican children in geometry class. Click the pic for an easier to read view.

You’re either for all people’s rights or you’re for bigotry and hatred.

You’re either for full citizenship for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people – all of us – or you’re for subjugation and hatred.

You’re either for facts, science, truth and reality or you’re for manipulation and boundless fraud. You might even be in favor of ignorance.

You either have a moral compass or you don’t.

You either believe in freedom of belief or you’re a religious bigot.

You either challenge the un-American, anti-constitutional craziness that’s all around or, at best, you’ve resigned yourself and our nation to insignificance.

You either stand up for what’s right or you’re a hypocrite and a coward.

You either love freedom or you think it’s okay to dominate others.

You either care about our national defense or you’re a performative patriot only out for yourself and you don’t care about putting our military people and our nation at risk.

You’re either a patriotic American or you’re just a liar and traitor wearing red, white and blue.

Sadly, what was once the Grand Old Party is now populated by people who choose what comes after the “or” in the choices above. They are

The Republican Idiotica
.

It cannot be that every election finds democracy at the edge of a cliff tipping toward oblivion. Our task for as long as we live is to push it back from that edge, regardless of how many times that’s required, until the voices of hatred of democracy are at last silenced.

__________________________________

Watch for Idiotica – Part 2 this Sunday.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Core Issue


From STAT, August 21, 2023:

More children are dying from guns, and disparities are deepening
.

In 2020 guns caused the most deaths among U.S. children and adolescents, for the first time surpassing motor vehicle deaths. In 2021, it got worse. A new analysis of CDC data in Pediatrics shows that from 2018 to 2021, the death rate climbed by 41.6%. “With the unexpected sharp uptick of pediatric firearm deaths noted in 2020, rates did not return to prepandemic levels in 2021, but rather continued to increase and surpassed initial pandemic levels,” the authors write.

The breakdown of children who died:

– In 2021, 84.8% were male, 49.9% were Black, 82.6% were 15 to 19 years-old, and 64.3% died by homicide.

– Black children accounted for 67.3% of firearm homicides and white children for 78.4% of firearm suicides.

– From 2020-2021, the suicide rate increased among Black and white children but decreased among American Indian or Alaskan Native children.

– Higher poverty correlated with higher gun-related deaths.

Our obsessive craziness and lethality over guns is a core issue of mine. With over 27,000 gun deaths already this year, it should be a core issue for all of us. The sad truth is that we will never confront and stop this travesty if we continue down the path of ceding our rights to those who fight against what should be common sense. Indeed, we will never tackle any of the issues that the majority of us care about if we cede our rights to those who fight against what we want. That leads us to an uncomfortable reality. Steve Sheffey nails it in his post of August 20:

Democracy must be our new litmus test. We all have non-negotiable issues but democracy must come first and foremost because only in a democracy can we advocate for the other issues we care about and only in a democracy are our other freedoms protected. Under the old paradigm, we could take for granted that both parties shared a fundamental commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

But it’s different now. Here’s the necessary action piece, also from Sheffey:

Only the Democratic Party respects democratic norms today, which means that only the Democratic Party deserves our support. That’s not what we want to hear because it deprives us of agency. But if we support democracy then that means the GOP fails our litmus test and if we believe what we are saying, we have to vote Democratic. That’s not easy to accept but it is reality.

Steve Schmidt weighed in on the core issue of democracy in his post of August 20,

Democracy dies in the plain light of day
.

The masthead of The Washington Post has read “Democracy Dies in Darkness” for the last six years. It stands as a daily monument of naïveté, smug self-seriousness and delusion that will be a beacon to our descendants in the task of unraveling how the country became so lost in this moment. What will be most obvious is that democracy dies at noon, in the plain light of day, slowly and painfully over many long tedious years.

Never one to mince words, in another post Schmidt offered,

There is no fringe in the MAGA majority. It is an undulating blob of layered imbecility, cowardice, vice, extremism, ignorance, ambition, incompetence and scheming, bubbling and gurgling together in a ceaseless assault against democracy. The fringe and its middle are identical. MAGA is round and without edges.

The proposition at hand for the country is whether a majority will tolerate the lies, corruption, malice and cruelty offered by the MAGA GOP because of the imperfections of the Democratic Party. There is no comparison between the two in terms of comportment, ethics and political morality. MAGA tried to overthrow the government, and is running on a scorched earth platform of revenge and retribution. Alongside the confederacy, Jim Crow and McCarthyism, MAGA is amongst the most odious concoctions ever created from the fumes of American nativism and know- nothingness. It is a pestilence.

We are seeing the alt-right assault on democracy happening every day in ways that are far larger than they might seem at first and it’s only coming from what used to be called conservatives.

But they are not conservative.

Today’s alt-righties are promoting a scheme to grab all of your power, your voice and your money. They have been actively working to steal from you and to destroy our democracy for decades and have gained enormous traction in today’s pugilistic, fantasy-driven politics.

Their power grab is what makes protecting and defending democracy the core issue of our time. It overrides everything.

That is why I’ve become active in The Union, the only issue of which is to protect and defend our democracy. Check it out.

Just For Fun

The Behr Paint Company has announced its color of the year for 2024. It’s

CRACKED PEPPER!
.

From the official Behr color palette

The Behr marketing folks would have you know that,

“Cracked Pepper is a versatile soft black that elevates any room and the way you feel in it.”

Huh?

“As we look into 2024, creating a sense of comfort and belonging will continue to drive design decisions—but now, as life returns to its more familiar rhythms, it’s time to allow our senses to come alive,” says Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Color and Creative Services at Behr Paint Company. “From heightening the aromas of a dining room to feeling the softness of a living area, Cracked Pepper enhances the natural expression in any space.”

What does an “elevated room” look like and how does paint do that? How does their product “allow our senses to come alive” and “height[en] the aromas of a dining room?”

C’mon, man. It’s just paint that’s almost black. Seriously, who comes up with descriptions like this for paint? And what are they smoking?


  • Today is a good day to be the light

    ______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Canary plus The Good Old Days


This Is a Get Smarter Opportunity

We are sometimes given a gift – a chance to see into the future, if only we will look at what is before us. That’s what we have right now.

You’ve heard of the many democracy, freedom and rights abuses Ron DeSantis and his rubber stamp Republican Florida legislature have inflicted on the citizens of Florida. He has sucked up to as many White supremacist grievances, fears and hatreds as he could in order to get extremists to support his bid to become an authoritarian president.

His assaults represent far worse than oppression of Floridians: DeSantis and his extremists are normalizing fascism.

DeSantis’ actions leave us with an obvious clarity about what he would do to our entire country were he to get his hands on the reins of power. That is why I believe that

Florida is the canary in the fascist infested coal mine.
.

If you’re skeptical about this, read Thom Hartmann’s take. You won’t be skeptical anymore.

You don’t have to be a Floridian to be worried about this, because we see similar things happening elsewhere. That’s why I’m encouraging you to get smart about this, wherever you are.

My friends Jim and Karen Nathan have co-founded Floridians For Democracy, a group dedicated to protecting democracy in Florida and, by extension, where you live. It is to that end that they are inviting you to two informative Zoom sessions:

    • White Supremacist Activities in Florida: A brave sheriff and a state representative
    • Jun 7, 2023, 7:00PM EDT. Co-Sponsored by SWFL Voices for Racial Justice
    • and Concerned Citizens of Lower Lee County
    • “Saving Democracy” with Author David Pepper
    •                                                          June 15, 2023, 5:30PM EDT. Co-Sponsored by Floridians for Democracy and SWFL Voices for Racial Justice

Here’s a link to full program descriptions and the Zoom link to each session. Note that these sessions come to you without cost and they are not fundraisers. They are education that is offered because you need to know.

Make no mistake: this is not just about DeSantis attacking minorities or even just about Florida. This is about all the anti-democracy bullies all over America stealing education from our children, cheating Americans of their voting rights, reducing women to second class citizens, refusing gun safety and all the rest.

This matters to you because one day DeSantis and the bullies will be coming for you and you’re going to hate it when they crash through your door.

The Good Old Days

As the default/budget bill was being readied for a vote in the House last Wednesday, Ron DeSantis was pontifi-whining about it, stupidly saying that we’re going to go bankrupt. Other idiot extremist Republicans were saying similarly stupid, apocalyptic things.

They all long so dearly for the good old days when fiscally responsible Republicans were in charge and they never added to our national debt. That made me wonder which days those were, so I dug around and the chart below is the product of that digging.

The numbers represent the total each president added to our national debt over the course of their administrations. Harding and Coolidge delivered surpluses. All the rest gave us more debt.

Most notably, each administration added billions of dollars of debt until Reagan came along and ratcheted that up to trillions. He put six times more debt on the U.S. than his Democratic predecessor did. In fact, he added just shy of twice the debt of all preceding presidents combined!

You can blame his supply side economics for much of that. He truly was Saint Ronny the Reverse Robin Hood, patron saint of giveaways to the rich. Republicans still genuflect at the sound of his fiscally larcenous name.

Simple fact: In large measure our national debt is a function of both low and lowered taxes matched with increased spending. Somehow such debt, while a big DUH! to the rest of us, is not easily understood by supply-siders, who believe Tooth-Fairy-like that we will have increased revenue by means of decreased revenue.
.

George W. Bush dramatically lowered taxes while starting two “off balance sheet” wars. I still don’t know what that term means. He doubled our national debt over all previous presidents combined, including Reagan! Oddly, that failed to impress voters.

The debt Dubya left for us is hardly a surprise, given his wars and his tax cuts. What is surprising is how Trump managed to increase our national debt in one term even more than Dubya did in two terms.

The Dubya and Trump tax cuts for the rich cost the U.S. nearly $10 trillion and included tax breaks for yachts and private jets.* We’re left with the glow of enhancing the lives of rich people and with the bill they left for us.

Someone please tell me which are the Republicans’ good old days when they were in charge, were fiscally responsible and didn’t add to our national debt.

Take a look at the chart and see if the “tax and spend” label that Republicans like to staple to the chests of Democrats makes sense to you. Or the Republican claims of fiscal responsibility. Or the moronic belief in supply-side economics. If any of that makes sense to you, you will immediately be sent to a 3rd grade remedial math class to see if you can keep up with 8-year-olds doing flash cards.

Source: The Balance

________________________________

* It’s heartwarming to know that the new budget just squeezed out of the Congress cuts $21 billion in funding from the IRS. That was a critical thing for Republicans. Two points about that:

  1. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that hobbling the ability to go after tax cheats will result in $40 billion in lost revenue, resulting in an increase to the debt of $19 billion.
  2. Gotta answer this question: Why was it so important for the Republicans to inhibit the IRS from chasing down rich tax crooks? Hint: Can you say “donors” boys and girls?

  • Today is a good day to be the light.

    ______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Potpourri v18.0


Silence
This is for those Republicans quietly whining in their closets about right wing extremists: you really should be speaking up.
.
You should have voted for a Democrat to be Speaker of the House instead of voting for spineless Kevin McCarthy. You should have been speaking out against Trump’s outrages and those of the alt-right for years, maybe for decades, because you know the difference between right and wrong. Right?
.
Your closet whining instead of speaking up probably helped you keep”the base” votes,  I suppose, but at what cost to your integrity, your legacy and our republic? What will you tell your grandchildren?
.
From Heather Cox Richardson:
.

That today’s Republican leaders have not condemned any of [Trump’s] attempts to cheat speaks volumes about the party. As Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) pointed out [on March 22], when “[Michael] Cohen was arrested, indicted, convicted, and went to prison for participating in an illegal hush money payment scheme to Stormy Daniels, not a single Republican leader complaining now said a thing about what happened to Michael Cohen.” So why the rush to defend Trump in the same case?

From Ella Wheeler Wilcox, author, poet and activist, 1850 – 1919:

To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.

Democracy

I’m not partisan by nature, but the past 40 years have made me a non-Republican, as that party ran headlong into autocracy mania. Even so-called traditional Republicans have ducked and run from what is actually conservative, leaving Democrats the only ones to vote for if we still want a democracy.

Yoda

I get that keeping our democracy is far too ethereal to be sufficiently motivating to most Americans to get them out to vote. We prefer not to expend the effort to be aware of anything not in our immediate lives. It’s just a human being thing. But here’s the real deal: Keeping our democracy is the only way to preserve what we call our American values. “On that everything depends,” said Yoda.

Accountability

What if we actually believed what so proudly we hail about our virtues, values and beliefs – like accountability?

Last week was the 20th anniversary of George W. Bush’s second faithless war. We lost 4,400 Americans in Iraq. More important, they lost everything. We saw 32,000 of our people wounded. Nobody knows how many of our returning vets committed suicide or are still living on our streets two decades later. And, of course, nobody knows how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed or how many millions are still refugees.

Bush looked for an excuse to invade Iraq as far back as 1999, two years before he took office. He wanted to be seen as a strong “commander in chief.” That would ensure his 2004 re-election, and, of course, that was what was most important. Pay no attention to the dead bodies in his wake.

All that death and suffering was based on Bush’s quicksand foundation of lies, fear mongering and his reprehensible swagger. Here’s just a tiny sampling.

Lies

Lie #1: Saddam was a really bad guy and had to be removed. Actually, it isn’t a lie to say Saddam was a bad guy. What was a lie was that Bush contended that was enough of a reason to topple him. There are a lot of other bad guy leaders in the world, but, oddly enough, we don’t depose them for being bad guys.

Lie #2: Saddam was in cahoots with al Qaeda, the bad guys who attacked us on 9/11. Actually, the al Qaeda group was fanatically religious and Saddam was entirely secular. They hated one another. Saddam had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.

Lie #3: The Iraqis will receive us as liberating heroes and will pay us for the war with their oil. Except those Iraqis who were killed or tortured or forced to become refugees – we’re not heroes to them. And their oil was never ours to take.

Lie #4: Waterboarding isn’t torture and torture is legal. No point in elaborating – you already know.

Fear Mongering

Bush told us that Saddam Hussein is “this close” to having weapons of mass destruction (“WMDs”). Actually, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission was continuing its search for WMDs in Iraq before our invasion and had found nothing to indicate that Saddam had any such weapons or was working to acquire them.

From Bush’s National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice: “.  .  . we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Seriously, she said that over-the-top, scare everyone into compliance outrage.

Covert CIA operative Valerie Plame was outed by Dick Cheney because her husband, Amb. Joseph Wilson, unmasked Bush’s and Coliin Powell’s lies about yellow cake and aluminum tubes. That didn’t even momentarily pause the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld march to war. And our almost entirely lapdog Fourth Estate, our press, forgot that it was supposed to be a check on government.

Our Congress bought the lies and fear mongering and voted an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), which Bush was all too eager to use. Congress is only now moving to end that authorization.

Swagger

Bush swaggered across the aircraft carrier flight deck wearing a flight suit, flight helmet under his arm, following his being nothing more than a passenger for the aircraft carrier landing. He stood in front of his false and embarrassing MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner, even as our troops were being blown up by roadside bombs, IEDs and more. The war dragged on for years after that. I guess that mission wasn’t quite accomplished after all.

There weren’t any WMDs. There never were. There never were going to be. The WMDs existed only in the fraud perpetrated on millions of duped people so that Bush could be commander-in-chief in wartime and get re-elected. Plus, Cheney could acquire no bid contracts for Halliburton, but that’s another story. The key story is the death, the wounding and disfigurement and the miserable displacement of millions, all for a fraud.

Two decades later not a single Bush administration liar has been held accountable. Dick Cheney sneers on, without a heart, both figuratively and literally. Bush paints bad portraits of veterans, dogs and world leaders and sells them for ridiculous prices. Condoleeza Rice is the director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Cushy for all, except for an America without accountability.

Here’s the truth about what happened. And watch Rob Reiner’s movie Shock and Awe.

Healthcare Capitalism

Let’s give credit where it’s due: Trump’s childishly named “Operation Warp Speed” worked. We gave vaccine producers the up front money to create new vaccines to protect us from the new, not well understood SARS‑CoV‑2 coronavirus that was killing people at a devastating pace. Indeed, we gave Moderna $12 billion for research and development of their vaccine. That has earned the company over $40 billion over just the past two years. In other words, we paid for the risky up front costs and Moderna has reaped the benefits. Now Moderna has a surprise for us.

Said Senate Health Committee chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT),

“Here is the thank you the taxpayers of this country received from Moderna for that huge investment: They are thanking the taxpayers of America by proposing to quadruple the price.”

The part I loved best is that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), former CEO of a private investment firm, said that Moderna is an example of capitalism at its best.

Moderna has just one successful product, the mRNA coronavirus vaccine, the R & D for which We the People paid. Our government funding of Moderna to produce that vaccine was not a fine example of capitalism.

It was pure socialism!
.

Remember: that vaccine socialism was powered by chief socialist, Republican Donald Trump. O’, those evil socialist Republicans!

Debt Ceiling Update

That’s Congress as Dastardly Whiplash, who tied the U.S to the tracks. Click the pic

“Good” Republicans dither while others (the suicidal crazies) continue to threaten to default on and extinguish the full faith and credit of the United States of America. They’ve tied the country to the tracks and we can hear the locomotive coming. It’s just a few months off and the crazies continue to behave as though future spending negotiations have something to do with paying the bills for what Congress itself already bought. Read this explainer to understand that our debts must not only be paid, but that they must not even be questioned. Better yet: send the link to your representative in Congress.

“If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going”

     – Irwin Corey (American Stand-up Comic 1914-2017)

Many thanks to friend and futurist David Houle for the reminder.

A Question From The Future

“Hey Mom and Dad – is it really true that a while back people could be denied health insurance and healthcare just because they had a pre-existing condition? No way, right?”


Today is a good day to be the light.

______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

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    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What’s Going to Happen


I’ve been worrying about politically driven domestic violence for a long time. We have shootings every day and, of course, there was a full-on insurrection on January 6, 2021, where people were badly wounded, some died that day and others died on subsequent days. Many continue to carry scars and debilitating injuries from that attack.

That the seditious coup didn’t work found the thousands leaving the vandalized Capitol Building saying that the assault had been a valuable “dress rehearsal.” Those people haven’t all gone to prison and they haven’t all gone away or changed their minds. They are vipers waiting to attack.

Since the insurrection, the drumbeat of undisguised calls to violence by elected leaders and big mouths with megaphones has been ramped up and it takes many forms.

It’s Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Mean Girls) calling for a “national divorce.”

It’s the proliferation of assault weapon pins, neckties and more in Congress. And it’s Lauren Boebert (R-Hunter/Killer) and many other Republicans refusing to enter the House through the magnetometers.

It’s dictator Victor Orbán speaking at CPAC and calling for the destruction of our Constitutional norms.

It’s the eerie silence of the so-called moderates who have gone AWOL in this hour of our nation’s need.

It’s Tucker the Lying Lunatic, Alex Jones the Evil Bozo and the rest of the foul commenters blasting incendiary idiocy every night and every day, instructing listeners to “Take back our country.” Angry people are listening to these sewer mouths and preparing for “Second Amendment remedies.

It’s Trump at CPAC declaring himself, “Your retribution” for those who feel they’ve been “wronged or betrayed.”

That last is truly stunning, as it calls on everyone with a perceived grievance – victim-hood lovers – to hit back, to attack the meanies who they think did them wrong. It’s about exactly what Trump said: retribution. Read Sheila Markin’s post for additional clarity on that.

This is about every American who thinks/feels they’ve been wronged either directly or through neglect and disrespect. And there are millions of Americans who are angry just llke that and they want to respond with violence. Plus, they think they are the true patriots. And Trump validates them and their victim-hood, making clear that he will lead them to attack.

This is exacerbated by the liars claiming they didn’t lose their elections (Trump, Kari Lake, Blake Masters and the rest). They claim it’s because of massive voter fraud driven by Democrats, RINOs, the “elites,” the “global cabal” – the grand collusion of bad guys. They claim fraudulently, “I won massively, but I was cheated.” *

That victim-hood and its attendant anger and resentment are stoked by the losers saying not just that their election was stolen, but that they were cheated and that the people who voted for them are victims of the crime, too. “You didn’t get what you wanted – ME! Look what they did to YOU!” they tell their supporters. And that multiplies the anger of already angry people. Worse, the losers who refuse to concede are hailed as courageous heroes, undaunted by the evil ones who cheated them and their voters.

What do you think millions of aggrieved people are going to do with that when their candidates lose the next election?

Self-serving politicians (we see you, Ron DeSantis) exploit these angry people by telling them lies about assaults on their children’s education, the danger to them from the unwashed hordes of illegal immigrants coming to take jobs from real Americans, the unholy LGBTQ poisoning of our country, the assaults on their freedom from mask mandates and lock downs, the lies about vaccines and the money they’re taxed that goes to undeserving freeloaders. That’s what they’re told by those slime ball politicians.

What do you think millions of aggrieved people are going to do with that when their candidates lose the next election?

I believe that we are headed for a prolonged period of greatly worsened domestic violence done by home grown terrorists and efforts by some states to secede from the union.

I hope our law enforcement assets are preparing for a very bad 2024 and 2025, but too many of the people in blue would likely be on the side of the violent ones. I think a lot of people are going to die.

Yes, of course I’m being histrionic and vying for the title of Drama King. Just because it happened in Germany in the 1930s as most people were denying what was in plain sight doesn’t mean it will happen here, even as Trump and MAGAs stomp on our values in plain sight.

And none of that will matter if it turns out that I got this right.

More on Thugocracy

One of the ways violence works is to intimidate people into self-censorship, self-immobilization. It’s what Trump does to silence critics when he brutalizes opponents. Just the threat of his verbal violence and the implication of physical violence by Trump’s vicious followers muzzles people who should be speaking up.

There have been arguments over whether Merrick Garland should investigate, indict and prosecute Trump. “Don’t prosecute,” they say, this in order to avoid violence, which, of course, is a cave-in to thugocracy. You might want to check on how such a cave in worked for Britain and all of Europe following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s visit to Munich in 1938.

There will be violence regardless of whether Garland prosecutes. That isn’t a happy picture, but we cannot deny that reality and we must never give in to the thugs. Appeasement never works.

If we give in to the thugs, our rights and our safety are permanently gone and so is our democracy.

National Park Service photo Jan 20, 2017. Click the pic

_____________________________

* Recall that following Trump’s 2017 inauguration he and all of his mouthpieces declared repeatedly that he had the greatest attendance for any inauguration. Ever. Period! They continued to say that, even in the face of the National Park Service photographs of the mostly empty National Mall as Trump was speaking.

Half the seats at CPAC were empty as Trump spoke.

Trump did a repeat performance of that lie following his talk at the CPAC convention this month, claiming there was standing room only to hear him. Here’s a pic of that half-empty “SRO” room as he was speaking. That can be considered nothing more than perverse entertainment for people living on Earth 1, but it’s more sinister than that.

Trump is declaring that his refusal of reality continues and he is leading his minions to spout the same “alternative facts,” which is nothing but truth and reality denying craziness. Unless we stop them, they will take over our country on January 20, 2025 and that will be the darkest day in the history of the United States.


Today is a good day to be the light.

______________________________

  • 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!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

    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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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