democracy

Restoring the Dream


    • You got trouble, my friend. Right here in River City.
    • Oh, we got trouble with a capital “T” and it rhymes with “D” and it stands for Democracy.

With apologies to Meredith Willson, creator of the wonderful music and lyrics for the wildly successful musical The Music Man, paraphrasing his words became irresistible after seeing Rob Reiner’s tweet from April 20.

He’s right, of course, as today’s Republicans work every day to replace democracy with authoritarianism led by Donald Trump or a Trump imitator. But there’s a problem with Reiner’s tweet: It doesn’t sell.

For many, a threat to democracy is too esoteric, too theoretical to solidly grasp it, much less to be motivated by such a claim. Worse, millions of Americans believe that democracy has already been taken from them, stolen by elitists in the 2020 election, stolen by people who don’t understand or care about regular Americans. That makes Reiner’s tweet sound like a lie to them. Perhaps they hear his tweet and then believe that left-of-center types think regular Americans are stupid enough to believe his vaporous claim.

I was on a Zoom call last week with a couple dozen like-minded people who were bemoaning the continuing threat to our democracy by extremists and self-serving liars. The context was about how to win in our next elections. The problem is that the argument about the far right’s threat to democracy, however impassioned anyone may feel about it, is only motivating to those who already agree and there aren’t enough of them to win an election.

The real battle is not to win over the far right extremists. The battle is for the independents, the middle-ists,* the regular Americans just going about their lives and who don’t like getting bashed by crazy claims from those who would inflame them. To win these folks over will take something more tangible to them than a claim about an idea.

From the Captain Obvious System Operating Handbook:

Appeal truthfully to the middle-ists on the basis of what’s important to them.

Now, there’s an idea that just might be good for both middle-ists and our country. Pair that with some Rock ‘n Roll philosophy from The Rolling Stones’ Ruby Tuesday:

    • “There’s no time to lose,” I heard her say.
    • Catch your dreams before they slip away.
    • Dying all the time,
    • Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
    • Ain’t life unkind?

Okay, what about the American Dream? We figured it was ours, and it was. But some of us, perhaps millions of us, feel like it’s already gone or is being stolen from us and the robbery is happening in plain sight. The millions are angry, just as any of us would be if something dear to us were being taken away. Perhaps life doesn’t have to be that unkind.

What if we were to do something about restoring the American Dream, that sense of limitless possibilities (watch this space on Wednesday)? That might help. But the view of our possibilities is dramatically clouded by the anger and hatred that has been unleashed from the American subconscious by self-promoting thugs. This isn’t going to be easy. Nevertheless, it is necessary, because the alternative is unthinkable.

We have to catch that dream before it really does slip away and we all lose our minds.

Must Reads For Restoring the American Dream

First, Hillary Clinton wrote a wonderful piece about Madeleine Albright shortly after Albright died. Two notes about that.

  1. We have a national obsession to bash Clinton or defend her. Whatever your opinion of her, set that aside and learn about Albright.
  2. Albright lived under authoritarianism until she was 11 years old, so she knew the difference between that and freedom and democracy. She valued democracy likely far greater than those of us for whom democracy has been a given. Read and learn, grasshopper.

Second, Emmanuel Macron won the presidency of France over fascist, Putin loving, bigoted, authoritarian wannabee Marine Le Pen, daughter of fascist, Putin loving, bigoted, authoritarian wannabee Jean-Marie Le Pen. NATO and those who love freedom and democracy can breathe a sigh of relief over that.

David Leonhardt’s piece about that election provides clues to what is going on in the United States. For example, why do far right, angry, hateful extremist politicians get so many votes from ordinary citizens? I encourage you to read Leonhardt’s essay and substitute USA for France as you read and you’ll get a better understanding of how and why our nation is divided and perhaps a clue as to how to deal with that.

Hint: It’s a hard, uphill pull to convince people to let go of our protective “fear of the other,” of our need to blame and our enormous capacity for rationalizing of the irrational. That struggle is connected to restoring the American Dream.

Bonus Section: Gotta Fix This
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Click me for the story

Read that carefully: ” .  .  .  prosecutors may have used false testimony;”  “.  .  .  prosecutors suppressed other evidence that would have been favorable to her.” Oh, and they browbeat her into a false confession – it’s on videotape.

I’m no lawyer or Constitutional expert, nor am I conversant in all the details of this case, but I’m pretty sure that prosecutors cheating is not okay. Nevertheless, it happens. Note that the chief prosecutor in Ms.Lucio’s case is now in prison for bribery and other things no prosecutor should be doing.

There are hundreds of innocent people who have been falsely imprisoned, some nearly executed, but who were exonerated through the work of The Innocence Project. We’ll likely never see the end of cheating prosecutors or inept pubic defenders, but Ms. Lucio’s case and the cases of others are why we need to end capital punishment, even in Texas.

Gotta fix this.

Updated Children’s Book

With the disclosures of recorded telephone calls of House Republican leadership shortly after the January 6 insurrection, we were rewarded by learning of the concern they held for the welfare of others in Congress. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Spineless) was specifically concerned that the ongoing vilification of other legislators by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Pedophilia) could ignite additional violence. McCarthy said that kind of thing would have to stop and that he’d have words with Gaetz. Isn’t it wonderful that McCarthy had concern for the well being of others, for doing the right thing and for stopping Gaetz and others from putting other members of Congress at risk?

Sadly, his moment of morality didn’t last long. It appears he never took any such action and that he later lied about having said that he would. That’s just so surprising.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the states are moving to burn books and Gaetz is still running wild. Do you think the Republicans will ban this book, too?

Gaetz is under investigation for having sex with an underage girl and for sex trafficking. Many thanks to JN for the cartoon.

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* There’s nothing wrong with the word “centrists.” There’s just something pleasing today about “middle-ists,” regardless of the fact that until this post it wasn’t a word. I like it. Might use it again.

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

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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, 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.

Dream Sequence


I awoke from this fully formed dream in the dark of last Wednesday morning.

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The regular army and air force of Ukraine, plus the hundreds of thousands of volunteer citizen soldiers have inflicted enormous damage to President Putin’s vaunted military forces. Thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed and at least twice as many have been wounded. Their tanks, troop carriers, aircraft and artillery pieces have been destroyed and the Russian army is in retreat, its myth of military might destroyed.

President Zelenskyy is taking to the airwaves to address President Putin. The whole world is watching, holding its breath. He speaks fluently in Russian from his office, with only the Ukrainian flag behind him. He is wearing a green tee shirt, over a month of dark beard and his eyes are bloodshot, yet rock solid into the camera.

President Putin, it is time for us to end this war.

Clearly, you began it with the expectation that your military would roll over my country in just a few days; that you could eliminate our parliament and me and install a puppet regime that would be your servant; that the world would stand by and watch while you once again commit unspeakable crimes against humanity. But none of that happened.

You did not count on the pride, the resolve and the unbendable patriotism of the Ukrainian people. You did not expect our fierce insistence upon our sovereignty, our democracy and our freedom. And you did not understand that the fire of freedom that burns in the hearts of people everywhere would cause them to reach out and support the Ukrainian people and punish Russia. Perhaps by now you are beginning to see the truth.

We will not bend. We will not be beaten. We will prevail. So, I am now giving you one chance to end this with some of your military still intact. If you refuse this offer we will continue to destroy your armies.

Here are my non-negotiable terms.

    1. All Russian military personnel, army, navy and air forces, will immediately cease fire.
    2. All Russian military personnel will immediately withdraw from all Ukrainian territory, including the Donbas and Crimea and all of our national waters. They will continue to withdraw until they are at least 150 miles from any part of the Ukrainian border.
    3. You will not interfere with any Ukrainians being repatriated or attempting to leave our country.
    4. You will immediately pay for your indiscriminate bombardment of our civilians, our cities and our lands the sum of $1 trillion dollars in U.S. funds as reparation for the destruction you have caused. It grieves us that we cannot get reparations from you that could bring back our little children you have killed.

The entire world wants you to accept these terms, Mr. Putin, including all of the Russian people. They don’t want this horrible war any more than any freedom loving people do. That’s why you must stop the killing and suffering and end the morbid parade of thousands of body bags containing dead Russian boys being sent back to Russia and their wailing, grieving mothers.

This offer will expire in three days. Take it. Save what you can from this misbegotten adventure and Europe will once again be at peace.

The world awaits your response.

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Then I woke up.

At 8:00AM that day, March 16, I watched the broadcast of President Zelenskyy addressing the U.S. Congress, the American people and the world. His words were brilliant and compelling. His message was clear and unmistakable. And the fierce resolve of his people was reflected in his bearing, plain for all to see.

Putin cannot win – ever – and there is nothing he can do to change that. Ukrainian troops have begun counter-offenses and the Russians are being defeated, even at the cost of so many innocent Ukrainian lives.

America and the rest of the free world have given much and will continue to give to Ukraine to help them to succeed. And perhaps one day soon President Zelenskyy will be able to deliver my dream speech.

May it be so.

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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.

Stop The Steal


What about We The People? When is it our turn? Here’s what’s going on.

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Elections

You already have some idea of the massive voter suppression being visited upon millions of our fellow citizens in Republican controlled states. Voters have been and are having their voter registrations removed without their knowledge for the heinous crimes of not returning a post card within 2 weeks or not having voted in the last several elections or not having a specific identification card or attempting to vote while Black, young or poor. And mail-in voting and even in-person voting are being made onerous, especially in areas of largely Democratic voters.

Every bit as bad is the distortion of who controls elections. Radicals are replacing nonpartisan election officials with Republican Party operatives. Some are double agents declaring their candidacies for secretaries of states.  They intend to ignore the will of the people and will instead declare Republican candidates winners even when they’ve decisively lost. So much for the will of the people, the rule of law and majority rule.

Schools

Public schooling continues to suffer assaults done by those who want to abolish it in favor of for-profit private schools. If they get their way your children’s education will be at best secondary to the maximizing of profit for school owners. And some bureaucrat with an attitude will determine what your kids will be taught and, more ominously, what will not be taught.

They’re banning and burning books in many of our states. They are preventing our children from getting an education that’s based in reality. These thought police want your kids taught only what they, in their supreme myopia, want taught. Children will be protected from the knowledge of actual history, and will be taught some manipulative revisionist history. It is setting up to be far worse than George Orwell imagined in his dystopian novel.

The old saying was, “Save your Confederate money, boys. The South will rise again!” Judging by the number of Confederate battle flags being waved by delusional pseudo-patriots it might be rising right now. So are the Nazi Germany book burning hate fests. Good luck getting your children a full, honest education.

Good luck, too, having a school board of civic minded, dedicated parents. Today’s school board meetings are fraught with hateful screamers yelling idiotic demands, accusations and only slightly veiled threats at board members. At home these school board volunteers are getting death threats.

Congress

Denial of what is plainly in front of them is standard for Republican senators and congresspeople, even when what is in front of them is a mob promising to murder them. Their only purpose is to be in power and deny anything and everything that Democrats propose. They have no policies other than that. Literally, no other policies.

Recall Mitch McConnell pledging that making both Obama and Biden one term presidents was job number 1. That makes preventing Supreme Court justice nominees from even getting a hearing justifiable to them. So does issuing a blanket rejection of any Black woman as a candidate before she’s been selected. So does voting to acquit a clearly law breaking, insurrection inciting, impeached president – twice. So does filibustering everything sent to the Senate by the House. There are no moderates. Only spineless people who long ago sold out their integrity and abandoned their oath of office.

Patriotism

How does it happen that Republican lawmakers and alt-right blabbers are siding with Vladimir Putin and Russia as they lay waste to a sovereign nation? It used to be that partisanship stopped at the water’s edge. Now, though, partisanship and the continual grubbing for minority control of our nation trumps everything for them. Patriotism is only important, it seems, if it serves the narrow, discriminatory purposes of Republicans.

How can Rick Scott (R-FL) resurrect and get away with Mitt Romney’s hateful “47%” rhetoric? How do Trump and the blabbers get away with their racism and antisemitism? This stuff is designed to divide us, to weaken our nation. These and so many other tropes used by Republicans are against both the intent and the letter of the Constitution.

I keep wondering where the bottom is, but we find once again that there is no bottom to which these radical people won’t sink.

Mobocracy

Our millions who threaten, attack and spew the lies do so because they’ve been convinced they’re doing the right thing. They believe that the end justifies the means and they get a fine power trip doing their bullying, too. So did Hitler’s millions and Stalin’s and Pol Pot’s and the followers of warlords everywhere. All of them thought they were doing the right things. As I’ve said often, it’s so easy to manipulate people into doing horrific things. All it takes is a lot of frustrated, angry people and a charismatic leader to stoke their anger and hatred and all can be lost.

And we’re losing.

We’re incrementally and very rapidly losing our democracy, our societal norms and the dream that is America.

The day will come, perhaps decades from now, when people will be recorded saying that they were just doing what they were told to do. Those who knuckled under will say that they feared for their lives in the face of a murderous mob. Some will say they didn’t know what was really going on. The excuses will be the same litany of self-justifications as always, but the harm they inflicted, condoned or hid from will have been done and many will have suffered terribly from our mobocracy.

There are so many attacks coming from so many sides that stopping the legalized insurrection via the courts is next to impossible. That’s why we need Congress to enact laws to stop the theft. The power to do that comes from protecting voting rights. With the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act we’ll be able to negate much of the election tampering now happening in many states. And that will give We The People the power to deal with the rest.

We cannot get that or anything else done when senators like Rand Paul will filibuster and 49 other Republican senators refuse to stand for what they know is right. That means only one thing.

Stop The Steal

We have to stop whining and declaring our helplessness over the coming 2022 election. We – that’s you and I, not some amorphous somebody else – have to get to work now to elect Democrats who will save our democracy.

That’s “now” as in:

NOW

P.S.

Wing nut Marjorie Taylor Green has announced articles of impeachment against President Biden. That’s going nowhere in this Democratic majority House. However, all she and her unhinged co-conspirators need to do to turn our Constitution into a bad joke is to win the House this November.

What are you going to do about that?

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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.

We Know – Really


Credit: NASA – Photo taken by astronaut William Anders aboard Apollo 8, the first crewed mission to the Moon, December 24, 1968

We have records going back nearly 200 years, so it’s with great confidence that the experts say that the seven hottest years on record are – drum roll please – the last seven years.

They brought us ever-more-catastrophic storms, killing heat and more, as well as the deafeningly loud warnings of permafrost melt, releasing methane into the atmosphere, drastic reduction in Arctic ice and a chunk of ice the size of Maryland ready to break off Antarctica and raise ocean levels significantly.

Truly, I’m so done with climate warming deniers and foot draggers. It’s time to completely ignore them or vote them out of office or send them to live in a tornado or hurricane prone place or a drought stricken new desert where they can continue to live in denial right until reality smacks them upside the head. Or all of the above.

Meanwhile, the rest of us better get to work. Here are some ideas we all know about.

  1. Plant a trillion trees to sequester carbon dioxide in wood. That’s how nature has always done it. That’s 1200 trees for every human being (1,000,000,000,000 trees / 7.75 billion people – somebody check my decimal point). Some can’t or won’t help, so figure to plant double that number yourself.
  2. End logging in all rain forests and require reforestation.
  3. End all subsidies, tax breaks, depletion allowances and all other support for fossil fuel extracting companies.
  4. Subsidize research, development, manufacturing and installation of solar, wind, tidal and other renewable energy resources.
  5. Subsidize construction of low carbon footprint transportation to replace fossil fuel technologies.
  6. Require solar panel installations on all new buildings and retrofitting them onto existing buildings. Subsidize as necessary.
  7. Do the research to find efficient, cost effective electricity storage methodology.
  8. Recycle efficiently and thoroughly. That means don’t put recyclable materials into a pile; reuse them instead of extracting yet more natural resources.

This isn’t a comprehensive list. It’s just what came to mind quickly. There are some really smart people with really great ideas who can help us out of the mess we’ve created and continue to make worse. It’s time to start listening to them and tell the people making obstacles to survival to just shut up.

Here is the irrefutable truth:

If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we always got.
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What we’ve been doing has gotten us a planet that’s ready to hard boil itself. We can either change what we’re doing to get better results or we can stew in our own juice and end this singular, miraculous accident of the universe.

We’ve known for a long time what we have to do to survive. It’s time to choose reality over denial, survival over short term profit, courage over self-serving cowardice, cooperation over tantrums, action over self-immobilization, science over ignorance, learning over fantasies, big thinking over myopia  .  .  .  you get the idea, and surely you can add to this list of comparisons. The important thing is to take constructive action now and, really, forever, because this planet isn’t designed to tolerate our destructiveness.

Reading Assignment

Making progress on this and every other issue will require agreement on several things. Reality is primary, of course, because the price of denial is too great to bear or even survive. There is another that, in its own way, is just as critical.

Freedom is now used as a rallying cry, an absolute demand, an excuse to promote ignorance and disease and a justification of power over others. That’s dangerous stuff for our democracy and it, too, has a price too great to bear or even survive.

Read The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America by Elisabeth Anker. She has managed to cobble together words to explain what I’ve been seeing, hearing and feeling for a long time. This reading assignment is mandatory and you will be tested every day.

Oxymoron of the Year (So Far)

Click me for the story

If he didn’t do anything wrong, how come he wants forgiveness? Somebody help me out.

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.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.

Guest Essay: It’s The Right Question


My friend Ed Gurowitz is an insightful guy. He recently had something to say that connects Black History Month with a larger picture. His post speaks to how easily we can lose our democracy or, harder, keep it and spread it to all we men/women whom we long ago declared are created equal.

Ed gave me permission to share his essay with you. Read it and be prepared to nod your head in agreement. Then do what he says to do.

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Black History Month: Who is an American?
by Ed Gurowitz

Published February 1, 2022

As you probably know by now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the following in defense of his party’s stand against the John Lewis voting rights bill:

“The concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

While McConnell attempted to walk the statement back the next day, what he said is what he said and, I believe, what he meant.

Many thanks to JN for this

For opponents of voting rights, African-Americans are not “real” Americans. Neither are Native Americans, and for some on the Right, neither are Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Asian-Americans…the list goes on and on.

For me, having participated in the civil rights battles of the 1960’s and since, this is profoundly disheartening. For a while there, it looked like things were moving, however slowly, in the right direction – the direction of Dr. King’s famous statement that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

So what happened? I believe that the election and presidency of Barack Obama, with a Black man at the head of the government and a beautiful Black family in the White House uncovered the racism that every Black person knows was always there, and the execution of George Floyd and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and so many other Black men and women exposed the structural or systemic nature of that racism.

In a recent article in Medium [required reading – JA], Peter Burns talked about a centuries-old theory first articulated by a 2nd Century Greek historian called Polybius. The theory, called anacyclosis, says that societies go through a cycle of stages:

Monarchy

Tyranny

Aristocracy

Oligarchy

Democracy

Mobocracy

So, the United States was established under the British monarchy. As detailed in the Declaration of Independence, the monarchy became tyranny, and a group of men, all white and mostly enslavers, got together and, from their position of profound white male privilege, created an aristocracy – rule by an elite few – which became abusive in its own right, so (white) people demanded and got a kind of democracy. Democracy in the United States in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries was still largely restricted to white men, but there was some evolution as women and Black people exercised the right to vote. (It’s worth noting that even US “democracy” was based in the Constitution on protecting the rights of white men and, until the Civil War, enslavers.)

The abolition of government-sanctioned enslavement after the Civil War began a process of degradation of democracy, a degeneration that culminated in the naked racism of the reaction to the Obama presidency, the “populism” of the Right (which was thinly disguised mobocracy), and the full-blown mobocracy of the past five or six years. What, after all, were Charlottesville, MAGA rallies, the Mother Emanuel murders, synagogue and mosque bombings and desecration but mob rule.

The danger of anacyclosis is that it is cyclical – mobocracy is unstable and leads back to monarchy (rule by one person) and then tyranny and there we go. Trump and his followers are angling for a monarchic second term for their leader in the 2024 elections.

Here is hope: If Dr. King was right, then each time through the anacyclosis cycle moves us along the moral arc of the universe toward greater justice, but the cost in lives lost and people’s suffering is too high. The alternative is to rededicate ourselves in this Black History Month to breaking the cycle of anacyclosis and moving the US toward a democracy that is sufficiently stable to not degenerate into mobocracy. This will require all the tools we have – speaking out, demonstrating, demanding justice, and the most powerful tool – the vote, starting with this year’s mid-term elections. So here is how to honor those who, like John Lewis, dedicated their lives and sacrificed for democracy:

VOTE!

Master Coach, Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist, Strategy Consultant, Executive and Leadership Consultant & Coach

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Final Comments

Ours is the current iteration of our schizophrenic national story, the one that both embraces and rejects whomever and whatever is not exactly the same as “us.”

Quoting Lincoln,
.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation
so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

Many thanks to AT for this

.
I submit to you that Ed is right about what needs to be done. And if we are to keep our democracy, if we are to answer Ed’s question properly, and if we are to pass Lincoln’s test, then Ed’s direction needs a couple more steps.
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We must both make it possible for all voting age Americans to vote (Read: eliminate voting suppression laws and practices) and then provide the motivation that gets people to show up and vote. That’s on all of us, because we want to – we must – long endure.

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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 a Free Country


The Jewish Democratic Council of America posted a list of what Congress must do if we are to preserve our democracy. These steps aren’t attached to any party or any religion. They are exclusively about keeping and protecting democracy – the real deal, not the cruel charade that Republicans are making of it by trying to limit voting to White Christian men.

Every one of these items must be done or we will knowingly, intentionally inscribe the name of our country on a plaque. It will hang on an obscure wall off The Great Hall in The Failures of Hope for Humanity Museum. Our failure will lead school children millennia from now to gaze at that plaque and shake their heads in sorrow and dismay. They will wonder how we could have been so petty, so lazy and so foolish as to squander this best hope.

Here’s the list.

  1. Demand Congress pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which together represent a sweeping election reform agenda that would prevent gerrymandering, restrict dark money in politics, and strike down voter suppression laws;
  2. Urge Congress to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would establish crucial checks on executive power and prevent the presidential abuse we saw during the Trump administration;
  3. Support DC statehood and call on the Senate to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act and grant Washington D.C and Puerto Rico the opportunity to become states, which would give political representation to more than 4 million Americans, a majority of whom are people of color;
  4. Support the continued work of the January 6 commission, which aims to uncover the truth of what happened during the insurrection and hold its organizers responsible; and
  5. Call on all elected officials of all political parties to reject and publicly denounce the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. [emphasis original]

If anyone claiming to love democracy has a problem with any of this, just know that, like those school children so many years from now, I will shake my head in sorrow and dismay and I will wonder how any of us could be so petty, so lazy and so foolish.

We like being able to say what we want to say, do what we want to do and believe what we want to believe. We fortify ourselves with the simple declaration, “It’s a free country.” That’s “free” as in rights, not cost. That’s what the Founders intended, with very explicit clarity and direction for we who follow after them. No kings or autocrats or despots for us. No trampling of individual rights. The Founders’ choices and the reasons for their choices were and remain brilliantly clear.

If we fail our country now and let democracy perish, everything they risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create, as well as all we hold dear today, will vanish, because this will no longer be a free country. Instead, all of that freedom will be replaced by the forcing on We The People the beliefs, lies and punitive laws orchestrated by autocrats. We will no longer be free to say, do and believe as we want. You know the historical and present day examples, so you know that this is how it always works when the strongman, the power hungry, the manipulators take over.

Be clear about what must be done to save and preserve our democracy. It’s listed above. And emblazon in your heart this quote borrowed from Gene Kranz, Mission Director of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission to the moon:

“Failure is not an option.”
.

Apollo 13 Service Module showing catastrophic damage

It wasn’t an option for those three astronauts whom our scientists and engineers successfully brought back alive and unharmed. And it isn’t an option for us today.

Overcoming all the lies and distortions that are so effective at undermining our democracy is a daunting challenge. Millions of otherwise good Americans have been conned into believing that bad is good and that threats, violence and gaming the political system are fine and honest things. They think they’re the patriots. The constant stream of lies and distortions they’re fed convinces them of that, which is why they are so impassioned in their efforts to destroy our democracy.

Just when you thought that the extremist’s low couldn’t get any lower, read this from Common Cause:

“A Waukesha County Circuit Judge has banned absentee ballot drop boxes in the entire state. That forces all Wisconsinites to vote in person – even during a pandemic – or hope that their ballot arrives on time in the mail.” [emphasis original]

Clearly, we’re not doing a good job of stopping the radical right from its selfish pursuit of money and power. We’re this close to them tossing our democracy into a dumpster, lighting it on fire and replacing it with their minority rule. If we are to save our We The People democracy we need new thinking, new ideas and fresh, out-of-the-stodgy-old-box notions.

An anti-democracy Republican spouting anti-American rhetoric. Click the pic and be appalled.

Required Reading

Tom Friedman has offered just such a path. Read his piece on how to keep our democracy.

And read this, just in case you thought that Republicans aren’t out to eliminate our democracy. They’ve been working to do just that for decades. Recall the words of Paul Weyrich, Republican hate monger and cheat, these from 1980. Click the pic to the right to hear him promote the crushing of our rights that continues to be Republican dogma today. 42 years later the only thing that has changed is that Republicans are now much better at lying and undermining our rights and our values.

Cops

It’s an inherently dangerous job, but cops aren’t dying in the biggest numbers due to violent drug busts. Or due to cop killers or gang member drive-by’s or traffic stops gone bad. Not from heart attacks, strokes or cancer. Read the caption in this screenshot:

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL 10th) is a former cop and was Chief of Police in Orlando. She knows something about the dangers of the job. Turns out the biggest cop killer in 2021 was COVID. It was the biggest killer in 2020, too.

It’s a good thing this is a free country, where cops and the citizens they protect have the freedom to refuse to be vaccinated, then get sick, infect others and die.

Hospitals are overrun with COVID patients, about 97% of whom are there because they were unvaccinated and caught the virus. Likely, 95% of the unvaccinated COVID patients in hospital wouldn’t be there had they been exposed to the virus after being vaccinated. Things would be much different then.

We’d have plenty of empty beds in hospitals for you when you get into that car crash, or for your spouse who slips, falls and breaks a leg, or for grandpa when he has a stroke and for your daughter when she needs an emergency appendectomy. Instead, today all of those folks can just go home and hope for the best, because not only are all the hospital beds full, but all of the gurneys in the hallways are full, too. And the nurses and docs attending to that overload of patients are exhausted and burned out, all because of our unvaccinated fools, including unvaccinated cops.

Q: Why are the right and the far right and the way-out far right fighting vaccines, masks, mandates and they’re promoting lies about vaccine dangers and COVID hoaxes?

A. Prolonging the pandemic slows economy recovery which makes Democrats look bad, which enhances Republican candidacies. Same for cutting all family support programs. Same for voting obstruction. Tell me again how righties love Americans, because I can’t remember.

That rugged individualism, that “You can’t tell me what to do” attitude works if you’re young, strong, healthy and have no sick family members needing expensive help. Otherwise, not so much. When it hits the fan for those folks, those same rugged individuals will be able sit homeless in their refrigerator boxes and hug their Ayn Rand books, recalling the good old days before they were no longer young, strong and healthy.

Finally,

Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca. He was shocked, too. Click the pic.

You have to listen to Mitch McConnell’s tantrum in response to President Biden’s blistering speech challenging those who are attacking our democracy. McConnell’s blathering is a tutorial in Republican snow jobs.

He does what Republicans, Trumpies, insurrectionists and hate mongers always do: instead of focusing on the issues, he made ad hominem attacks; he projected Republican failures and lies onto Biden; he was outraged over what is not outrageous; he misrepresented actual, Earth-based reality umpteen different ways; and he completely chickened out of dealing with the real issues. I’m shocked, shocked! to find obfuscation is going on by Republicans.

Go ahead. Listen to that duplicitous, manipulating zombie and learn.

Then read Eugene Robinson’s critique, McConnell’s defense of the filibuster is pure hypocrisy.

————————————

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


Exposé


BREAKING NEWS!

In a shocking exposé released moments ago, Red State TV, Red State Talk Radio and Red State Cable News simultaneously released the results of a three month investigation. They reported,

“We found that the vast majority of Red State Americans who have heroically refused to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, as well as having ferociously refused masks and mask mandates, have instead been quietly receiving other preventives called “alternative treatments.” This was revealed in an exclusive interview with Kellyanne Conway, the former President’s spokesperson, who introduced the world to “alternative facts.”

Most Red State citizens interviewed for this investigation admitted to some discomfort over their preventive actions. They claimed to have the feeling they may have gone too far beyond the officially sanctioned loud proclamations of their freedom to refuse vaccines and their fierce demonization of maskers.

The most common of the alternative treatments by far (87.1%) is that Red Staters have been receiving brain injections of Botox.

“The medical explanation provided by practitioners is that Botox glaciates the brain, much like subcutaneous injections of Botox in the face. When used cosmetically, Botox prohibits voluntary facial movement, leaving patients looking very much like mannequins. In the case of brain injections of Botox, the brain becomes frozen in a similar manner with similar consequences.

“In a city council meeting in Enid, OK, Dr. I.M. Bubba, Chief Frozier of the Red State Pandemic Treatment Center explained, ‘A medical trial of Botox brain injections was conducted over a 10-month period, following 20,562 unvaccinated people, ages 5 – 79. The trial established that this methodology is effective in alleviating patients’ concerns over both vaccinations and COVID-19. Indeed, the majority of patients contracted COVID-19, but remained placidly unaware of their symptoms and did not need anesthesia when being intubated. That is highly unusual, as most people react strongly to a tube being pushed down their throat. Many died a day or two later.'”

The CDC has peer reviewed the documentation provided to it by the Red State Pandemic Treatment Center and has issued this statement:

“Upon review of the documentation of the Brain-Botox treatment process we have concluded that if a person refuses proven vaccines against COVID-19 and elects instead to take alternative treatment by brain injection of Botox, at least the corpses will look younger.

“The CDC continues to promote the standard panel of vaccinations, including boosters, as the best preventive treatment against COVID-19. In addition, we strongly recommend wearing an N95 or KN95 mask whenever in public and near others who might have come from a Red State. Our national experience over 18 months of pandemic has made clear that Red Staters do not care if they infect fellow citizens, regardless of whether they have taken Botox injections. Therefore, always wear a mask.”

Concurrently with it’s peer review of this treatment, the CDC issued this alert:

CDC Safety Alert: Even if they are in an obviously infected condition and under the influence of Botox, Red Staters probably still know how to get to school board meetings to rage against vaccines and masks. Stand clear of them at such gatherings and protect young children and sensitive others from exposure.”

Watch this space for further BREAKING NEWS! on this treatment protocol and others, including cold turkey refusal and obstinate denial. All of these alternative treatments are likely to accelerate our changing national demographics through significant population attrition and will eventually have a large impact on our politics moving forward.

This Just In, Too

Each Thanksgiving New York Times opinion writer Maureen Dowd turns her column over to her brother, Kevin. I’m not sure what label he uses for himself, as the meaning of words like “conservative” and “Republican” have morphed into something quite different from what they were just a few short years ago. Whatever it’s called now, that’s the side of the political center Kevin falls on.

This year his Thanksgiving offering was delayed due to his contracting a nasty and lingering case of COVID (yes, he was vaccinated). His essay is now available here.

Last year I posted a reply to Kevin’s Thanksgiving offering – Oh, Kevin. As then, this year’s Kevin essay also includes claims that are upside down and accusations that are over-broad and unsubstantiated, but he also has some comments worthy of consideration. I say that even in the presence of the satiric brain-Botox comments above about anti-vaxxers. That was just for fun. Finding common ground is mandatory.

I encourage you to read his piece. Recognize that he’s clear-eyed about many things and he’s no Trump sycophant, nor is he delusional about authoritarianism.

We all know that 68% of Republicans believe the Big Lie that the last election was stolen from Trump via voting fraud. We’ve seen the grim statistic that there are 20 million who believe violence is justified in pursuit of their angry pseudo-patriotism. But there are millions more who aren’t in alignment with the haters and violence promoters. These people don’t have a big, cruel megaphone, so we rarely hear their voices. They are Americans who believe in an oath to the Constitution. Perhaps it’s time – long past time – that we make an overt peace with them and work together to protect and defend the democracy we both believe in.

The midterm election is just 310 days away. Let’s make this a happy new year.

————————————

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.

Now Yer Talkin’


Republicans have done a truly excellent job of demonization. They call anything proposed by Democrats “socialism,” making clear that Democrats want to change America into a socialist state. That’s heavy stuff in this country, where most Americans think socialism is the same as communism, which, they are certain, is the political embodiment of evil. It’s even more potent than that when it comes to getting the votes of independent voters. Imagine how the socialism label plays for Cuban Americans in Florida, whose parents and grandparents fled Castro’s brutal communist regime.

The good news is that the Democrats have snappy labels and taunts for Republicans, too.

“Republicans hate your children and don’t care if they starve.”

“Republicans want you working with infected co-workers so that you get sick and die of COVID-19.”

“Republicans want you to have to work 3 jobs just to get by.”

Yes, it’s thrilling to see those billboards and see those TV commercials, too. Gotta love the over-dub of Trump’s “shit hole countries” speech, where the Democrats made it clear how much Trump and the Republicans hate all Hispanics, right?

No, not right. You didn’t see that video and you have not heard those slogans or seen them on billboards, because the Democrats are the worst political fighters in the history of history. They haven’t an attack element in their entire wimpy Party. And that is why the minority Republicans spanked them and got 50% of the Latino vote in 2020.

Have you heard any push back to the Republican and QAnon claim that Democrats are part of an international sex trafficking, child blood drinking cabal, even just to call them liars? Neither have I. Note, too, how that horrid characterization plays nicely with the ages old, idiotic and cruel anti-Semitic claim that matzos is made with the blood of Christian children. I’m looking for push back from Democrats against that hatred, against that blatant appeal to White Christian supremacy, and have yet to hear even a whimper of opposition. I haven’t heard any attack on Republican dishonesty.

John Kerry refused to confront the fictions of the Swift Boat liars, not wanting to dignify their lies. He waited way too long to speak up, giving the lies time to gain a strong footing and then he lost the 2004 presidential election. Triple amputee war hero Max Cleland (D-GA) lost his senate seat the same way. He waited too long to counter the slime and the lies of his opponent, Saxby Chambliss, and lost his Senate seat.

Survival means we must speak up and attack – or our democracy will die. Quod erat demonstrandum.

If the Democrats play their cards just right, if they stay the course with their eunuch communication and attack-free attacks on Republicans, they will continue to look like buffoons and will give away the government to the democracy-hating Republicans.

Just get this: If we lose our democracy to the authoritarians, there will be no getting it back. Not in the next election, if there is one, and not in any election after that. All will be permanently lost.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are nine quick stick ’em lines for Dems to use:

“Republicans hate your democracy.”

“Republicans oppose every plan to support working families.”

“How do you like being lied to by Republicans?”

“If something helps your family, Republicans are against it.”

“If Republicans win it will be like you being sent back to Cuba (or El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Soviet Union, the Philippines, etc.).”

“Republicans will steal your vote – if they haven’t done that already.”

“Republicans don’t care if the sea swallows your house or your children are killed by a hurricane or tornado.”

“Republicans don’t care that there are rats in your kid’s school.”

“Whatever is dear to you, Republicans are against it.”

There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

It matters what Democrats are saying – and what they’re not saying. And they better speak up, or the authoritarian Republican cheats will be the only ones talking, the only ones voters hear.

This post is focused on hitting and on hitting back. Democrats also have to be the party of what is good and right in America and of making things better. That’s for another post. Here’s a tickle of that from the November 17 post:

No, not just the President. Every elected official with a “D” after their name, every pundit, and every cabinet officer has to sell the benefits and call out Republican hypocrisy and lies.

Winning in Three Simple Steps
    1. Call out Republican cheating, lying, hypocrisy, anti-democracy and anti-We-The-People words and actions. Just tell the truth. Forcefully.
    2. Sell Democratic successes and benefits for We The People. No more public hand wringing or endless talk about cost.  Put President Biden’s name in BIG letters on every infrastructure project so that Americans connect the dots from the President to their own well-being. When the Build Back Better bill passes, label those projects “Courtesy of President Biden and your Congressional Democrats.”
    3. Do what’s required to produce massive voter turnout.

For clarity about the danger we face, read this Twitter thread – all of it.

Brought To You Today by the Number Seven

From Common Cause:

“MOST FRIGHTENING OF ALL: if just seven more states sign on, the Koch network, the Mercers, corporate funders, and their extremist allies will reach the two-thirds supermajority required to convene the [Constitutional] convention they need to tear apart the U.S. Constitution.”

Learn more here.

Time

No, not that kind. I’m talking about Time Magazine and their poor choice for their 2021 Person of the Year. Read Eugene Robinson’s clear, compelling case that Eugene Goodman is the real deal and should have been on that magazine cover.

That Manchin Thing

There is lots of room for indignation, wailing about betrayal and more, but rather than having tantrums, let’s stay focused on what’s important. We have millions suffering economically, medically, educationally and more and we have the plan to cure huge swaths of that suffering, so let’s stay zeroed in on getting the cure for what ails us. To that end, read Paul Krugman’s clear explainer of why Build Back Better really is better in, What We Lose If We Don’t Build Back Better.

Finally

We’re on the bright side of the road now. We just passed the winter solstice and we will be gaining about 2 minutes of daylight every day until June 21, when we will have 6 more hours of daylight than today. Flowers will bloom. Children will play in the park. Neighbors will rediscover one another. And we, you and I, will be doing our part to make for a joyous November 9, the day after Election Day.

————————————

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.

Existential


Steve Bannon told us long before the 2016 election that he wants to “tear it all down,” meaning the administrative state. That includes our Constitution, democracy, learning and wisdom and the institutions that uphold our moral foundation. He wants it all blown up.

He is a nihilist, a hater of authority and a manufacturer of chaos and hatred. I have no interest in understanding his deep and profoundly debilitating daddy issues that drive him to create destruction, because doing so is useless to the critical task at hand. What is important is to recognize how impactful Bannon is and has been to Trump becoming the first American dictator and what that means to us.

Trump used Bannon first to get himself elected, then to convert the presidency into a money machine for Trump. Neither of them has even a consciousness, much less a concern for all who get crushed by their maniacal, mentally ill lust for ever more power and money. And, of course, Trump has used hundreds of sycophantic goons to subvert every agency of all three branches of government, demonstrating just how easy it is to get people to sell out and be manipulated for what they think are self-serving reasons. Even with regular examples dangled in their faces they just can’t seem to get it into their heads that they themselves will be next to be fed into Trump’s guillotine.

Many of us want to preserve our democracy and don’t agree with the 20% of Americans who are both Trump followers and who think violence is justified in order for them to get their way. That leaves us with critical challenges, chief among which is to answer the question, “What are you going to do about it?”

One option is to give in to the threats. History is teeming with examples of people cowed into submission by the threat or use of force. That means that they willfully made themselves serfs without rights, just pawns to be played and sacrificed for the benefit of the bullies. It’s understandable how fear could make people allow that, but if we do that we invite the despotism the bullies seek to create and which you and I don’t want.

In a recent webinar presented by The Atlantic one of the topics discussed was how to deal with millions of our fellow citizens who accept accusations that are completely untethered to any facts and who reject out of hand any observable evidence that counters their beliefs. The point made by the experts is that we don’t have an option of changing such peoples’ minds because they are set in concrete. They are impervious to all information that doesn’t support their predetermined certainties, so we must do things to appeal to those who have at least one foot on real ground if we are to protect our democracy.

I don’t have confidence in the Democrats’ willingness to face reality and do what needs to be done. Test my lack of confidence by listing all the times in a week you hear or see any Democrat directly and specifically unmasking the insurgents, the liars, the cheats and the haters. Include the times that you see the bad guys get punished for doing things like Lauren Bobert’s attack on Muslims and the White supremacist, anti-Semitic statements of Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene and the homicidal representatives with their AR-15 Christmas cards. Where are the smack downs of Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz? Add up all the incidents of push back to the crazies that you find in a week. I’m betting that the number on your list will be zero or very close to it. I’m afraid that we just can’t count on the Dems to do the right and necessary things – yet.

But what if we can turn up the heat on them?

We need people who will primary our confrontation avoiding senators and representatives. We need those people to be on the fiery point of the arrow aimed at the Trump conspiracy to end our nation. We need people who will organize giant protest marches in the streets of our towns and cities. We need people to show up at the protests and demand justice be visited on the law breakers and that democracy be assured for We The People. We need people to canvas door to door and encourage the non-voters to show up because that’s in their own best interests and because they’re screwed if they don’t.

We need you and I to get up off our BarcaLoungers and make noise. Lots of noise. We need for us to show up at protests and put lawn signs out front where the neighbors will see them. We need to write opinion pieces online and in local and regional newspapers (where they still exist). We need us to call into online talk shows and blast back against the hypocrites and haters so that other listeners might have their eyes cracked open just a bit. We need to go to town hall meetings and smack down the smack of the violent ones.

We need people who will challenge every calm and reasonable approach to our crisis of democracy, because those calm and reasonable tactics are powerless to stop an authoritarian coup backed by 20 million armed people who believe violence is okay. Doubt that? Grab your history book and read about Nazi Germany in the 1930s – and no, that isn’t hyperbolic and yes, it’s an apt comparison. We are in that kind of danger.

This is no thought experiment. This is existential – an actual life and death battle for democracy. Steve Bannon and the rest of the bad guys say they want to tear it down. I say, “Not on my watch.”

What do you say?

475

That’s the number the Associated Press published in an illuminating examination of our bemoaned, hallucinatory plague of voting fraud.

They looked at the 2020 election votes in the six so-called battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where 25.5 million votes were cast. The total of all suspicious votes (like people voting for dead relatives) reported by those states was just 475. That’s 0.00186% of the total vote.

President Biden’s cumulative margin of victory in those states was 311,257, which places the suspicious votes at 0.15% of the margin. Even if all those sketchy votes actually were fraudulent and even if all of them were added to Trump’s vote count in just one battleground state (pick one, any one), they still wouldn’t come close to making a difference in the outcome.

Some of us think that there is a firm reality that can be counted upon, like gravity, verifiable facts and counting. The rest aren’t interested in reality. For them, it’s evidence, schmevidence. So, sadly, nobody’s views will be modified even a little by the AP reporting. Such is the state of our political trench warfare and the failures of education to overcome primitive beliefs. Turns out we really aren’t much beyond beating drums in the jungle.

And Just For Fun

Thanks go to SS for the pointer.

————————————

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.

Little


Note: This is the promised follow up to last Sunday’s post. JA

——————————–

Anyone who is watching can see the naked assaults and the unscrupulous dismantling of American democracy. Everywhere, the angry little people are attacking our institutions, taking away our rights and freedoms, keeping power for themselves and replacing all that we hold dear with rule by an anti-democratic minority.

This frightened savagery of little men and little women with little intellect and little vision, club their way through democracy, beating primitive drums to frighten the people and destroying all that is in their path to ever-more power and money for themselves.

Truth has no place in their little world. It has been completely replaced by propaganda, by projections of their own failings onto others and by yet more cruel lies layered upon the carcasses of prior lies. They do this with their faux patriotism and their shams about freedom and independence. The smallness of these little people leads them to constantly scheme to create control over others’ bodies, minds and lives in their conspiracy mania to control We The People.

From Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

And that is exactly how democracies die: gradually, then suddenly. In case you have difficulty seeing the assaults on our own democracy, just look to the recent histories of other countries like Hungary, Russia, Turkey, the Philippines and elsewhere. They’re just a little further down the road to despotism. Here’s the really bad news about that:

Right now we are at a moment of inflection, a tipping point, between gradually and suddenly.

We suffer from a good but distracted populace, too myopic and stressed to notice much of what is beyond their daily lives. If we are to prevent the sudden fall, the crash that breaks everything, we must open the eyes of everyone to the truth and reality of the danger before us and we must then marshal our forces to push back the little people who would bring us tyranny.

Truly, this is a Thomas Paine moment.
.
“These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
.

The bugle has sounded. It’s time for us to stand by our country and by We The People.

You know what to do to stop the little men and the little women of little intellect and little vision from destroying our democracy.* Look at the graphic below and you’ll realize that the countdown is relentless and that there is no time to waste. It’s time to grab your metaphorical musket, report for duty and stand a post for democracy.

Required
A photo of a crowd with a MAGA hat in the foreground and people standing on scaffolding with a Second Amendment flag and Trump banner in front of the smoke-obscured U.S. Capitol

January 6, 2021 – A day which will live in infamy

A lot of people are investigating threats to our democracy, most notably the members of the House January 6 Commission. They’re interviewing, issuing subpoenas and referring refusers for criminal prosecution. Likely, their report is almost a year away.

Other well informed people have plenty to say and you’re in luck, because some experts are convening on the 13th and you can watch this must-see event. From The Atlantic:

The January/February issue of The Atlantic is devoted to examining the crisis of American democracy.

Join Jeffrey Goldberg, along with Pulitzer-winning staff writers Barton Gellman and Anne Applebaum, on Monday, December 13 at 11 a.m. ET for a virtual event revisiting the Capitol riot, one year later. Register for free.

Here’s a link to the cover story of the January/February issue, Trump’s Coup Has Already Begun, and here’s a link to another piece, The Election That Could Break America. Like the virtual event, both of these pieces are a must.

Many thanks to LP for the heads up.

Finally

This can all feel overwhelming and unstoppable, but just in time the right message has arrived.

“December 7, 1941 – A day which will live in infamy” – FDR

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on our naval and air forces at Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field in Hawaii. 90-year-old Dan Rather has some things to say about that. He was 10 years old then and today passes to us some wisdom from his father and from his own experiences. He concludes his piece, writing,

“I call upon those memories many times to return me to equilibrium. Especially on this day. December 7. A day that not only lives in infamy, but a day that also spawned a repudiation of despair.”

So, step off the ledge. Come back inside. We’ll roll up our shirtsleeves and do what Americans did then, what we always do. And we’ll repudiate the despair we’ve felt so deeply.

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* I’m researching the best things for us to do to make sure those who would stab democracy in the heart are defeated. It’s often a confusing and even frustrating fight, because every cause seems to have a story and a hand extended toward your wallet. You want to do what will be most effective so that democracy wins, but you don’t know where to put your support. It’s just plain hard to divine where that is or what to do. If you have a suggestion, please pass it along. Meanwhile, expect a report soon. After all, the mid-terms will determine control of Congress and that election is just 335 days away.

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

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  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.
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JA


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

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