Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

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Ed Note: This post begins in a dark way, because there is substantial darkness over our democracy. But keep your hopes alive, because we may be at the start of a new day. Read to the end for the unmistakable rays of sunlight of the dawn.

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Trump has gotten away with an enormous dung heap of wrongdoing. One of the reasons for his constantly skating from accountability is that before anyone can pin up his picture in the post office he’s done something else outrageous and likely illegal, so our attention is thus diverted and “poof!” goes the prior malfeasance.

Now we’ve found that he directed OUR Justice Department to snoop on Democrats and major news organizations. Under both of his Attorneys General, Sessions and Barr, investigations were conducted on those whom Trump saw as opponents. Emails and phone records were snatched and gag orders were issued so that Trump could dig for dirt on Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff, their staffs, their families, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, their reporters, someone’s underage kid and whoever else the Tantrum Tyrant wanted investigated. All are Democrats. Except for the president’s own lawyer, Don McGahn and his wife, on whom he also snooped.

Tweeted Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, “[G]ood God, they were running a police state. Barr needs to be hauled in and at the very least disbarred.” She’s right, and it shouldn’t stop with Bad Boy Barr.

Something to hope for. Image by LORRAINE DAY from Pixabay

This is truly horrible stuff, typical of Trump’s moral bankruptcy. It breaks yet more norms that are fundamental to a democracy. But what I have not heard yet are words like “illegal” or “felony” or even “misdemeanor.” Is anyone going to dig into these corrupt actions and bring charges?

So far we’ve seen nothing from Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland to indicate that he’s willing to bring wrongdoers to justice if they were a part of the prior administration. And what will happen  to the focus of the public, our news organizations and Congress when the next bright, shiny object of Trump’s unscrupulous weaseling is dangled before our eyes? How many prior wrongdoings will we forget?

The Biden administration is a mixed bag of resetting our values. It is blocking Congress in its efforts to unearth Trump’s manipulations to enrich himself at the Trump International Hotel, the DC facility he leased from the federal government. Biden’s Justice Department is asking the judge to dismiss lawsuits against Trump for violently clearing Lafayette Park of peaceful protesters. AG Garland is continuing what the former AG did to block the defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll. One has to wonder why Biden would want to protect Trump from litigation.

This has huge implications for the future of our country. Allowing people in high office – like the President – to “get away with shooting someone on 5th Avenue,” like Nixon getting pardoned by Ford, like Reagan getting a pass on Iran-Contra, like Trump getting away with breathing while in office, which meant that he was doing something illegal, assures that future presidents will commit crimes, knowing that they will get away with them. They’ll leave office, skate free and recast themselves as statesmen, while We the People remain betrayed.

Do you want this to be a democracy? If so, then there’s a lot of bad news for you now, like this from Jewish Dems:

American democracy is in danger. Over half of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen because GOP leaders continue to exploit Donald Trump’s Big Lie, and they are now using it as an excuse to suppress the right to vote. Fourteen states have already enacted 22 voter suppression laws making it harder to vote, and hundreds more have been proposed. New data shows that voter suppression laws enacted in Georgia will have a disproportionate impact on Black voters.

Today’s Republicans have no interest in facts, truth, reality or integrity. They are solely interested in power and money. So, they recast the January 6 insurrection, the assault on our democracy, on the Capitol Police and on that symbolic building as (take your pick):

– a normal gathering of tourists

– a peaceful protest

– justifiable actions because the election had been stolen by (impossible to find) fraudulent votes

– something in the past – we should move on

And the lack of Republicans’ interest in facts, truth, reality or integrity allows them to claim they are protecting our national honor and the integrity of our elections, even as they viciously attack both.

Just be clear that your eyes tell you what you need to know and that “alternative facts” are just a rebranding of lying. But those who wallow in the pig slop of alternative facts have legislative power in two-thirds of the states and they are engineering voter suppression of such magnitude that they may well achieve anti-democracy minority rule that will last for decades. That’s insurrection without the street mobs.

From Confucius:

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

Mobs in the streets, mobs in the state legislatures and the elected Republican mob in the Capitol Building are all insurrectionists. Call them by their proper name.

Our democracy is already compromised and so far there hasn’t been even a hint of a light at the end of our long, dark insurrection tunnel. It’s time for Merrick Garland to break from the cowardly Justice Department he inherited and file five indictments against Trump for obstruction of justice. The details and the prosecutorial roadmap are all in Mueller’s report. Click here for a copy and focus on Section 2.

Now here are those promised rays of sunshine.

Last Friday Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the entire Justice Department Civil Rights Division to drive a stake in the ground for voting rights. Here is some of what he declared:

  1. Because this is a huge battle, he will double the number of lawyers in the Civil Rights Division specifically in order to protect voting rights.
  2. The Criminal Division will prosecute all violations of civil rights laws.
  3. All lawful citizens will have the right to vote, will have equal access to the polls, their votes will be counted, they will have access to voting registration and they will be protected from voter intimidation.
  4. Early voting and voting by mail will be protected, as will the post-election integrity of ballots. (Arizona Republicans, brace yourselves.)
  5. Voting officials, poll workers and volunteers will be protected from efforts to intimidate them.

Just brave words so far, but it’s a good start. At last we have a warrior for democracy with the muscle to do something about it. And we have to hold him to his word.

Garland ended his presentation by quoting from John Lewis’ final address published just after his death.

“[Dr. King] said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

Our country is calling on you and me to do that, to help clean house, hold accountable and name names. So, you and I must do more than just hope and vote. Obey the dictum of the bumper sticker:

Be the person your dog thinks you are.

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Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Fairness Triple Crown


1. Tax Fairness

Everyone likes government programs that benefit themselves; we just don’t want to pay for them. Consequently, President Biden’s tax plan is hugely popular with we common folk, because it calls for somebody else to pay for the goodies. Good for us!

Not so good for the proposed payers.

On the other hand, those proposed payers are the very people who have consistently benefited from government policy and programs that for many decades have filled their piggy banks with massive wealth. It seems to most of us that turnabout is fair play.

Brendan Bechtel, CEO, Bechtel Corporation

But not to poor, picked on Brendan Bechtel. He runs Bechtel Corporation. It’s the same company that was happy to get those no-bid contracts from the George W. Bush administration for construction work in Iraq and still more no-bid contracts following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. That Bechtel Corporation.

Mr. Bechtel recently said of the Biden jobs program funding proposal, “it doesn’t feel fair.”

“Fair” is an interesting concept. From my observation post as a behavior geek it appears that “fair” usually means, “That isn’t what I want for me.” In other words, there is no link to the concept of even-handedness or a reasonable distribution of responsibility and obligation. “Fair” is solely about “I get what I want.” Let’s add one more piece of information and then test the concept.

Here’s a chart reported by The New York Times, sourced from Gabriel Zucman of UC Berkely.*

The graphs represent average federal tax rates for top earners, like Mr. Bechtel. Note how low taxes have been in recent decades relative to most of the last century. Note, too, that these are nominal rates, not what anyone actually paid after their highly expert accounting ju jitsu was applied.

Please tell us again, Mr. Bechtel, about how unfair (meaning “not even-handed”) a relatively slight increase in your taxes will be. You and your family and your top executives have been bathing in the flood tide of money that you’ve been able to amass for half a century. And you’ve been able to keep ever more of it for yourselves, because special tax loopholes and lower top rates have sent your actual, send-IRS-a-check tax bill on a near-constant downward trajectory. So has the employee attrition from the IRS that has minimized scrutiny of tax returns of those at the top of the wealth distribution pyramid.

Another way to say that is that the 99% of the rest of us who don’t have those tax loopholes available to us or the cash to pay high priced tax attorneys have borne a higher burden to support the commons because you’ve skated. I’m talking about the roads, bridges, schools, national defense, emergency services and the rest of the things we do together in this country. You haven’t paid your fair share for a really long time. So, “It doesn’t feel fair” is just too much for we common folk to hear.

You could take a page from Warren Buffett’s book and demand higher tax rates on the ultra-rich. It won’t affect your lifestyle a bit and the next generation Bechtel lucky sperm club winner will still inherit enough money to buy a small country.

So, go ahead and publicly demand our legislators and president raise taxes on the ultra-rich so we can fix the bridges, provide pre-K for our little ones and all the rest of the vitally needed actions in the commons that are decried so absurdly by Republicans.

Your gesture would be a most patriotic thing. It still won’t be what you want, but we’ll be most grateful for your having progressed to something that looks a lot more fair – as in “even-handed” – to the rest of us.

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2. A Jonathan Swifty Solution for Pandemic Fairness

Extremists have taken full control of the Republican Party. These people are angry and vocal and violent and they show up in huge numbers to vote. They openly carry guns, they like to intimidate others, they refuse masks and vaccines and they’re certain they’re the true patriots. That’s a problem for the rest of us who prefer boring negotiations to settle differences, rather than mob violence. And we’d rather not be infected by the mask and vaccine refusers. Fortunately, I have a modest proposal to tame all of that.

Caution: snark follows.

Let’s give them their own country. We’ll cede the Dakotas, where they can refuse masks and vaccines and embrace their Second Amendment remedies with wanton abandon. The Dakotas should be enough space, as they’ll kill one another in gun fights and die of Covid pretty quickly, so they’ll cull their own herd. Tucker Carlson will fit right in.

More immediately important is the issue of the pandemic, as it’s estimated that over 905,000 Americans have already died from it and the extremists overwhelmingly refuse masks, social distancing and vaccines. That imperils our ability to achieve herd immunity, which means their stubborn refusal puts the rest of us at risk. Here’s how to fix that.

By late summer we will have had sufficient vaccine supply and the distribution network for all of us to be vaccinated. Anyone not vaccinated by then can be considered a refuser. These are the people most likely to wind up in hospitals, then on ventilators and finally in the morgue. These are the people who will put our healthcare workers at risk and overload them. They’ll tie up our entire medical system, which compromises everyone else’s access to healthcare. Indeed, it’s been reported that 94% of cancer screenings over the past year were not done due to the pandemic. Our refusers threaten to make that permanent, which imperils all the rest of us.

I propose that after August 31 that we refuse to deliver medical service to anyone who contracts Covid and can’t produce a vaccination card.

It’s their choice to refuse to be vaccinated and that choice, like every choice, comes with consequences which shouldn’t be dumped on the rest of us. They made their bed; now they can lie in it – at home in the Dakotas, where they can’t infect the rest of us with the Covid variants they carry.

This is fair to the rest of us who don’t want to deal with the extremists and their Covid threats and their constant threat to our democracy. It provides freedom of choice, a true American value. It’s in line with the absolute freedom demands of our rugged individuals. And it gets all of us what we want.

This is another in an ongoing offering of simple Swifty solutions for complex problems and for fairness in our country. Please sign the petition at www.ExtremistsGoAway.com.

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3. Fairness Quotes of the Week

From David Brooks in the New York Times:

“That [WW II] victory required national cohesion, voluntary sacrifice for the common good and trust in institutions and each other. America’s response to Covid-19 suggests that we no longer have sufficient quantities of any of those things.”

That’s observationally accurate and fair to say.

From John Pavlovitz on vaccine refusal:

“Conservatives: you’ve been brainwashed. You are afflicted with partisan politics and bad theology, and you are unable to think clearly because of it. You are so intent on validating your vote that you will do anything to feel that way.”

Pavlovitz’s words actually apply to Trump brain slaves. True conservatives would be demanding that we all get vaccinated, this as a patriotic duty. It’s entirely fair to say that.

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* Click the link on Zucman’s name and download any of his papers – say, the top one: Tax Evasion at the Top of the Income Distribution: Theory and Evidence. Just read the abstract. Then give some thought to how the Trump administration’s IRS focused on middle income taxpayers and didn’t even glance at most of the wealthy.

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

Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Who Should Get Out of Jail Free?


The triple convictions of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd prompted a variety of reactions including relief, joy, renewed hope, satisfaction, release and more. There was a palpable and stated sense of rightness that justice had been done. And there was another verse to this song.

Tucker Carlson went on a fresh, yet customary extremist rant, this time declaring that public support for George Floyd is “an attack on civilization.” There’s more to his hateful outburst, but I can’t bring myself to put it here. You’ll have to link through if you want to experience his full lunacy and cruelty. And do bear in mind that this hate monger is considered a leading candidate to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.

Click the pic for the story

Of course, it isn’t just Carlson saying hateful things. You can cruise the righty outposts and find lots of sticking up for the police, for example, even if they’re murderers. And no, I don’t mean the “one bad apple” defense. It’s more an absolutist devotion to turf protection, much like George W. Bush’s absolutist, “You’re either with us or you’re against us” polarization and evilization (yes, I made up that word). They are staunch supporters of “qualified immunity” for cops who violate people, giving them carte blanche to do inhumanity as they please without fear of consequences.

Perhaps America has always been this way. I’m reading Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland to find out more. For now, just take it on faith (odd to use that phrase in this age of unreason*) that we have always had such highly opinionated absolutists who believe that whatever thought comes into their heads is a fact – the true reality – just because they believe it.

CAUTION: Don’t believe everything you think.

I heartily recommend that you look at lawfareblog.com for a thorough, even-handed and interesting description of qualified immunity. An argument offered there in favor of qualified immunity is,

” .  .  .  it would be unfair to hold government officials to constitutional rules they were not aware of at the time of the violation.”

I find that monstrously odd, in that if I violate a constitutional rule I didn’t know about, well, you know the deal: ignorance of the law is no excuse. How come it shouldn’t work that way for cops?

Lawfareblog.com also reported,

“The court wrote that ‘there is the danger that fear of being sued will dampen the ardor of all but the most resolute, or the most irresponsible [public officials], in the unflinching discharge of their duties.’”

Aren’t we all supposed to fear being sued for our malfeasance? You know, the accountability thing?

Here’s my favorite:

“When government officials are sued, qualified immunity functions as an affirmative defense they can raise, barring damages even if they committed unlawful acts”

At least that one makes sense, because every one of us has a Get Out Of Jail Free card, right? Check your wallet for yours.

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April 27, 2021

Related to bad cop defenders and to Tucker Carlson in their absolutism are those who refuse to wear a mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19 because wearing a mask is such an awful infringement on their rights and their freedom.

There are tens of thousands of new cases of Covid in this country every day, but, hey, we’re only killing a few hundred of those people. After seeing the number of Covid deaths in the thousands every day for so long, perhaps we’re immune to the grim reality of the deaths of a few hundred. That’s understandable, unless you are one of them.

So, for our mask-less, I have a new offering. Please pass it along to your favorite mask refuser.

A Question For Our Mask-less

It is your right, of course, to mask or not to mask.

There’s just one curiosity, and so I’ll dare to ask.

We know that 81% of deaths are of the aged,

The old folks who succumb by going past the bad end stages.

But you aren’t in that old folks group, you’re young and strong and healthy,

And maybe you’re well-health insured, with no need to be wealthy.

And if you catch the Covid bug it’s likely that it’s true,

That you won’t get much sicker than if you had caught the flu.

All that is true, there is no doubt, and this is also true,

That Covid threat is bigger and it’s not just all ‘bout you.

Because your mask-less face is like a vacuum to the bug,

Thanks go to JA for the cartoon.

Your mouth and nose can suck it in, and you become a thug.

A thug infected even if you haven’t symptom one,

You’ll pass it on, infecting more, a virus shooting gun.

And maybe when you visit Gramps and kiss him on the cheek,

It all seems quite so normal, but that changes when you speak.

Because the bug will slip your lips and entered Grandpa’s nose,

And now he’s been infected and you know where that tale goes.

Which leads us to the question now, so here’s my single ask:

What the hell is that about when you refuse to mask?

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*Nerd readers may enjoy a short book review of Our Age of Unreason; A Study of the Irrational Forces in Social Life, by Franz Alexander. In it the reviewer relates how philosophers through the ages, “.  .  .  were unable to formulate a political psychology which would enable man to bring his repressed destructive and rivalrous impulses under control for more than a brief period.” That was in 1942. Here we are now with our destructive and rivalrous impulses blazing throughout our culture in a war of irrationality.

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

Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Speak


On Saturday I attended the Rally After the Verdict, organized by the Abolition Coalition of Skokie, IL and supported by the NAACP of Evanston. The point, of course, was to open eyes to the need for action, that the verdict isn’t the end of the story.

Indeed, some don’t even see it as a victory. One speaker told us she’s a school teacher and one of her students told her – and this is close to verbatim – that celebrating the jury’s guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin was like applauding a fish for swimming.

Chauvin was so obviously guilty of murder – we all know what we saw – that it’s something of a wonder that there could be a question in anyone’s mind of his guilt. And I know in my bones that this verdict is just a small stepping stone on a very long path, but it is movement. So much is needed in mankind’s eternal struggle and our ongoing national struggle for freedom and justice, which leaves me with a notion of what is required.

Last week I taught a class for a friend who is a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. I focused on how our politics work and how that affects whether we Americans are getting what we want. For example, since the slaughter of those little kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 over 90% of us have wanted universal background checks before the transfer of ownership of any firearm. That we don’t have that speaks both to the power of the gun lobby and the enormous amounts of money legislators have to raise in order to win an election. The point is that there are powerful reasons why we aren’t getting what we want – including liberty and justice for all – and things will remain this way until we make things change.

So, I told the students that they must speak up if they’re to get what they want, and that applies to you and me as well, of course, because,

If you don’t make your voice heard, people who want a very different America from the one you want will be heard, because they will be the only ones talking.

That’s right: If you go silent, they won’t shut up. They’ll continue pushing for what they want and you’ll have disempowered yourself. That’s why we all must speak up,

In 1966 Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, saying,

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

So do I. Go look in the mirror and you’ll know, too. That’s especially true for our younger people, our Millennials and Gen Zs. They are going to live much farther into the future and we are right now, right this minute, crafting the America they and all of our descendants will inherit.

So, give some thought to a definition of your vision for America, the one you want to leave to your dear ones, especially those who will be here long after you and I are gone. They will be “We the People” then. What do you want their America to be?

As an example – and just a guess – you surely want them to have full voting rights. There are a lot of people working day and night right now to make sure that they don’t have those rights and that they will never have a voice. That’s why our future “We the People” need you to speak up for them right now.

Speak. And keep on speaking. Let your voice ring out for the America you believe in.

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Bonus Section

Here’s a Star Wars prelude to the prediction of Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter, who said, “My daddy is going to change the world.”

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

Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

RepublicanLand


This is not just another rant about anti-democracy, anti-fact, anti-truth, anti-progress Republicans. Sure, this is a rant and it’s fun to bash the bullies, but what Republicans are doing is amplifying their ingrained dishonesty to the point of imperiling our national bedrock. So, this is a semaphore signal or perhaps the ride of a descendant of Paul Revere. The turncoats are coming! The turncoats are coming! No, wait, it’s worse than that: they’re already here.


Let’s see what’s going on in RepublicanLand.

  1. Republican legislatures in at least 43 states have passed or are in process of passing at least 360 laws to make voting more difficult specifically for people of color, poor people and anyone else likely to vote for Democrats. Read Heather Cox Richardson’s take on this here.
  2. The House passed the For the People Act (the Voting-Rights bill) with zero Republican votes. This law would negate most of the pernicious state anti-voting laws. The Senate has promised similar opposition. Are you seeing a pattern yet?
  3. Republicans voted unanimously against the American Rescue Act, the bill that allows us to dramatically crank up the fight against Covid-19 and to help Americans who have been hit hard economically by the pandemic. This is a bill that has a 70% approval rating by Republican voters and even greater approval numbers from Democrats and independents. And all Republicans voted against it. They are trying to keep Democrats from having any wins to brag about and it’s painfully clear that they don’t care who – perhaps you – gets hurt by their scorched earth actions.
  4. They have vowed to vote in lock step against the American Jobs Plan, the infrastructure building/rebuilding initiative that is already supported by 52% of the electorate and that number is growing. Same reason as #3 above.
  5. The proposed funding for the American Jobs Plan is an increase in taxes on corporations from 21% to 28% (it was 35% prior to the Trump tax giveaway) and on people making over $400,000 per year. This is an overwhelmingly popular idea, but Republicans in Congress oppose it. Same reason as #3 above.
  6. Gun safety has once again come to the front burner and Republicans oppose any form of legislation to curb our ongoing massacre. They continue to do that even as 90% of Americans want universal background checks on the transfer of all firearms and that number has been a constant since Sandy Hook in 2012. Think: campaign contributions and yet again, #3 above.

What all of these and even more Republican manipulations have in common is that they are efforts by a minority of Americans to hold on to power, control, money and a frail, fragile self-image. They either refuse to or are unable to create policies to attract more voters in order to win elections, so,

their sole efforts are to protect themselves at the peril of our nation through obstruction in Congress and obstruction at the ballot box.

.

I bash Republicans regularly because they offer virtually nothing that is praise-worthy. The party has been taken over by a rage-filled mob and traditional Republicans, unable to deal with the craziness, are exiting. Would that this were not so, but this is what passes for the Grand Old Party today. Perhaps that acronym should keep its letters but now mean Grand Obstruction Party.

And that is exactly why we must be vigilant and active. Absent our involvement, this underhanded minority will steal our entire country.

The April “The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks” Award

This month the awarding of this most sarcastic honor is (so far) nearly a toss up.

On the one hand we have Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Hypocrisy) wailing his objections to corporations that are weighing into politics, like voting rights. He says that’s “stupid.” How awful and inappropriate, he tells us, that MLB took the All Star Game from Georgia and Coca-Cola, Home Depot and more big corporations have offered public criticism of Republican voting suppression laws. McConnell waves his political purity for all to see, even as he gleefully solicits and accepts corporate campaign contributions. He doth, indeed, protest too much.

On the other hand we have Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Pluto) and his alleged sex scandals and whatever else the Feds are investigating about him. He’s a purist, a Trumpian blowhard of Olympian caliber who apparently engages in the same or similar practices as Trump himself, including howling his integrity and his victimhood in incoherent rants. His only two supporters are Rep. Marjory Taylor Green (R-QAnon) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Wrestling Scandal). I guess the congressmen to whom he showed pictures of his female conquests in the nude couldn’t speak up on his behalf. Perhaps they liked the pictures and maybe their giggles echo yet in the House cloakroom, but they’re kinda busy just now, it seems. Still, Gaetz caterwauls his abusive indignation to anyone who will stand still long enough to hear about his untaintedness. He doth protest too much, too.

Whom to choose  .  .  . ?

I can’t help but recall televangelist Jim Bakker, who was a fire and brimstone preacher against dishonesty of any kind, right until he was indicted and convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Same for all preachers who extolled purity, then were caught in sex scandals, like Jerry Fallwell, Jr., Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart and more.

And all the Catholic priests preaching against sin while sexually violating children.

Really, it’s all the holier-than-thou types whom we at last learn have feet of clay.

Like today’s Republicans in Congress and state houses, protecting the sanctity of voting by preventing citizens from voting. And it’s all happening in the land of minority rule, RepublicanLand.

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

Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

No Really, Facts Don’t Matter


Over the last 10 years more than a billion votes have been cast in America. During that time there have been 31 cases of confirmed voting fraud. That’s 0.0000031% voting fraud, or 31 hundred-millionths of a percent. That’s the same as 99.9999969% authentic, legal voting.

If these pitifully few cases of voting fraud were lumped together in one small town in one election they would not be enough to alter the outcome of the contest for street sweeper dispatcher. Just understand the obvious: we simply don’t have a problem of voting fraud. What we do have is a tsunami of false accusations of voter fraud.

The former President of the United States couldn’t produce a single piece of evidence of voting fraud in support of any of his over 60 frivolous lawsuits, all of which were laughed out of court. Nevertheless, he and his sycophantic, fact-free supporters continue to make the baseless claim that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election and that the election was stolen.

Here’s one of those sycophants, fact-free Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL 15):

That’s delusional Mary Miller proudly tweeting a claim of hundreds of thousands more votes for Trump in swing sates, a claim for which she has zero evidence. And so it is with every other disappointed Trumpy claiming fraud. They might cloak their claims in patriotic sounding phrases, like “ensure all legal votes are counted,” but the sum total of what they offer in support of their claims of a stolen election is vapor – no evidence, no data, no facts. Because there aren’t any.

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Thanks go to JN for the pic

During the Obama administration Republicans constantly beat the drum, “Obama is coming for your guns.”

Pop quiz:

Q. Over the 8 years of the Obama administration, what was the total number of guns that were taken from freedom loving gun owners – or any other gun owners, for that matter?

A. Zero

Q. How many gun safety laws have been enacted since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of little kids in 2012?

A. Zero

Q. What percent of all Americans want universal background checks before the sale or transfer of any firearm?

A. 90%

Q. Does that include Republicans?

A. Yes

Q. Does that include NRA members?

A. Yes – 70% of them

Q. Would universal background checks cause the ATF to confiscate anyone’s guns?

A. No, it would just prohibit the sale of firearms to mentally unstable people and to violent felons.

Q. So, is anyone coming for anyone’s guns?

A. No

Q. Doesn’t the Second Amendment guarantee and even encourage gun ownership?

A. Not in the way it’s promoted today. Originally, the Second Amendment was an accommodation to slave states so that slave owners could control their slaves. Plus, the United States had no money for a standing army and they feared the British would come back, which they eventually did. That was the point of “a well regulated militia.” The Second Amendment was never intended to mean that any dangerous half-wit could own assault rifles and hundred round magazines. The arms they were talking about were muskets and even they were not supposed to be in the hands of any dangerous half-wit.

Nevertheless, the fact-free hysterical ones continue to make the same fact-free claims, both about the right to own guns and that Democrats are coming to take them away.

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What about the war on religion? Surely, there really is such a war. There must be, given the hair-on-fire, bible-thumping claims and woe-be-unto-us predictions from fervent believers and big church pastors.

The First Amendment begins with these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion  .  .  . ” That has been interpreted to mean that everyone may practice the religion of their choice, as well as everyone having the right to freedom from religion. It’s entirely up to the individual. Government is Constitutionally prohibited from weighing in on the issue.

Back to the pop quiz:

Q. If an American citizen chooses not to believe in or practice any religion, does that harm those who do believe in a religion or does that harm religion itself?

A. Seriously? No

Q. If government passes a law that is in conflict with any part of any religion, does that constitute an attack on that religion?

A. No. Refer to the First Amendment quote above.

Q. But what if people are allowed to vote or go shopping on the sabbath, activities which are forbidden by several religions? Doesn’t that constitute a war on religion?

A. Seriously, again? Okay, freedom of religion means that the strictures of a religion may not be imposed by law on anyone. So, you can vote or go shopping on Saturday and Sunday and it won’t constitute any harm or threat of harm to anyone’s religion. If you don’t think such activities are okay, don’t do them. Nobody is attacking your religion.

Q. Is America a theocracy?

A. No. Theocracy is another word for religious fascism. This is a democracy.

Q. Wasn’t it intended to be a theocracy?

A. No. Read the Federalist Papers so you stop asking dumb questions.

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Pastor Rick Joyner is the trifecta of crazy claims. His fiery insistence that Trump won, that the election was stolen and all the rest of the unsupported Trumpy claims is a favorite stomping ground for him. He continues to call on true Christians to arm themselves for the coming civil war – he’s falling only slightly short of inciting violence. But best of all he’s thumping his bible, saying liberals are in league with the devil and Democrats are going to “criminalize Christianity.” He says all of this googly-eye stuff and has no facts to support any of it, but of course that’s no obstacle to his mouth.

Don’t just take Nicholas Kristof’s word on this. Google “Rick Joyner criminalize Christianity” and read the pieces that come up. It’s unclear whether this guy is all about an ego-driven power trip or if he’s delusional like Mary Miller. Either way, he’s dangerous because he’s calling for Americans to commit violence against Americans without any justification except that he didn’t get his way. He has fantasies about Christianity that he thinks are real and he wants a shooting war. All based on no facts.

Hair-on-fire people continue to claim election fraud and Second Amendment fantasies and they continue to thump on their bibles, making apocalyptic claims with absolutely no basis in fact. Lack of reality simply isn’t a problem to them in making their fiery, baseless accusations.

There is so much blazing certainty in this country, based on so much vapor and believed by millions. That’s very dangerous.

No, really, facts don’t matter. Not to these people. So facts better mean something to you.

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If you’re open to a some more facts and truth that the folks described above don’t seem to recognize, read this admittedly snarky apology to Trump supporters. There is a pretty good chance you’ll recognize these events as things that actually occurred right here on Earth 1. It would take powerful denial skills to refuse these truths, yet clearly millions are capable of that level of denial.

Thanks to GS for the pointer to this piece.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

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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. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  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.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Take This Personally


Immigration, kids in cages, refugee camps, asylum seekers – these are some of the terms that are at last being taken seriously. We’re finally looking into what is and has been driving so many people to our southern border. We’re actively looking to see what we can do to make life better in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where most of these hopefuls come from, so that more of their people will want to stay home. That’s all good and right, but we Americans aren’t monolithic in our views toward immigrants. Not surprisingly, I have my own views.

Last year I wrote about this issue and since this is a time of renewal, at least horticulturally, and for some spiritually and religIously, I’m offering another look at that. Please take this personally.


Have We Forgotten?

.

If you scratch at the story of nearly any American you won’t have to go very deep – usually no more than 4 or 5 generations back – to find immigrants. And those immigrants not so many years back were not royalty. They weren’t the moneyed elite. They weren’t the connected and the powerful.

Elizabeth Warren was right when she said that our business leaders, our entrepreneurs, didn’t build it by themselves. They got their education because we all funded it. They’re able to find skilled new employees today for the same reason. Their supplies and their goods go to and from their shops on roads we all paid for and their toilets flush because we all got together and decided to build sanitation facilities. The list of the facets of infrastructure, education, incentives and opportunities no one person built is very long. The point is that we support one another and none of us makes it solely on his/her own.

Back to your ancestors. They didn’t make it on their own, either. They didn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps alone; someone gave them a job. Or someone gave them credit to buy a pushcart and fill it with apples. Let that stand as a metaphor for however the story of your far-better circumstances began.

At the Passover Seder a message near the end of the service reminds us that the longing and search for freedom is never-ending and that it is the responsibility of each of us to do our part to bring about freedom for all.

Here’s another take on that same theme. Jesus said “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). The imperative across religions is remarkably consistent: It is our duty to help others, especially the poor and the stranger.

We are in this world and this life together and irrespective of anyone’s sense of rugged individualism, we are interdependent. We are all called upon to care for one another – we are, indeed, our brother’s keeper.

The next time you hear someone denigrating “those others” as though they are somehow different from and less than “us,” like the immigrants some fear; or when you hear about keeping refugee mothers and babies and bedraggled girls and boys and men from our shores or in cages; or you learn of those who are refused refuge from violence; or you hear the voices rise to block anything that might mitigate the voicelessness of the disenfranchised; when any of that happens, remember that the victims are mostly poor people, like your ancestors. They’re like those who fled serfdom or rape and murder or a potato famine or pogroms or despots of any stripe. Couple that with the imperatives that come to us through the millennia.

We are cautioned at the Passover Seder: “Remember, you were slaves in the land of Egypt.” That isn’t some metaphorical or impersonal “you;” it means you. It’s where you and your people came from, exactly as it is for the poor and the strangers among us now. Have we forgotten who we are and where we came from?

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YouTube

We have social media challenges and they aren’t the simple questions we wish they were. They are complex and our decisions on how to deal with them may have unintended consequences that are dire. Some things, though, are simple enough.

Quoting Common Cause,

“Ahead of the 2020 election, YouTube implemented a policy forbidding videos that mislead voters or encourage interference in our democratic process. But Trump posted video after video with baseless — and as we saw on January 6th, dangerous — lies about the election, all while YouTube looked the other way.

“After the horrific attack at our Capitol, YouTube did finally suspend Trump’s account — but all of his old videos are still up for people to watch and share. Plus, CEO Susan Wojcicki has said that Trump’s suspension will be lifted once “the risk of violence has decreased.

Sign the Petition: Trump has proven to be an ever-present danger to the American people and our democracy. YouTube must permanently ban him from its platform.

Please click and sign. It’s really easy. And it’s really important.

—————————————-

Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section 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. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  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.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Lessons


The Playground Lessons

When I was a kid the grown ups let me know when I behaved improperly and the messages were always very clear and compelling. That didn’t mean that I never did whatever-it-was again, but it did mean that I knew the rules and did whatever-it-was less and less often. I saw other kids learning that same hard way, too. “Betcha grown ups don’t get in trouble that way,” I thought, because, well, they’re grown ups.

Wrong.

Some didn’t learn their lessons,

like the huge community of Trumpist liars who never quite got the message that it isn’t okay to lie.

like the self-certain conspiracy theory followers who use their self-righteousness to bully others, even though they were taught on the playground not to bully.

like the rule benders who victimize others with their barely legal discrimination and hateful suppression.

like the shameful cowards who don’t stand up for what they know is right and don’t stand against what they know is wrong.

There are lots more, of course, but the point is that becoming an adult doesn’t guarantee anyone will leave childhood wrongdoing behind, even though we all know that it should. Some carry around their brattiness like a badge of honor all their lives and hone their skills with pride. They refuse to learn their lessons and you can see that any day in Congress and hear it constantly from the mouths of political blatherers. They all wear adult bodies, but inside some are just bratty kids from the playground.

Go tell their moms on them. Then they’ll be in trouble.

The Government Lesson

President Ronald Reagan famously and repeatedly said, “Government isn’t the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” That was an odd thing to say for a guy wanting to run government.

Surely, Reagan found a useful campaign tool in making government a boogie man. He gave people something to blame for their problems. He stoked the fires of discontent for his own benefit and left the resulting carnage to others. We are living in that carnage right now.

In contrast, President Biden now has our vaccination program humming along at over 2 million poked arms per day. We’re rapidly on our way to beating this horrible virus and restoring our more normal lives, all because government is the solution.

There are some things that even rugged American individualists cannot do on their own. That’s why we have government. Government is why we’re able to roll up our shirtsleeves and get vaccinated. That’s why Biden is decisively proving Reagan wrong. Because it turns out that government wasn’t the problem; Reagan was.

The Texas Lesson

Governor Greg Abbott issued an imperial proclamation that mask wearing is no longer required and all businesses in Texas are free to open fully as of today. That’s more than odd, given that it’s obvious that we have not defeated the coronavirus pandemic.

Worse, there are multiple mutant strains of the virus that are accelerating infections across the nation. They are more efficient in their transmission, meaning that we infect one another with even less exposure than from the original coronavirus. Worse yet, they are more serious and perhaps more deadly to humans. Surely, Governor Abbott knows this. So, why would he put Texans at mortal risk? I think I know.

Abbott knows that eliminating the mask mandate and opening up the state for full interpersonal viral transmission will result in massive numbers of Texans becoming gravely ill and many will die. I’m guessing that will affect fewer Democrat voters, as they are likely to wear a mask, Abbott proclamation or not. His order, then, will result in fewer Republican voters, thus helping purple Texas go Democrat for years to come. I think Abbott is a Democrat in Republican clothing.

Well done, Governor Machiavelli!

The Rights Lesson

Click the pic for a more legible view. Scroll down to the “Feminism vs Corporate Rule” article.

The Politics Lesson

If you want clarity about the realities of your political choices and the future of America, read Sheila Markin’s post here.

—————————————-

Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section 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. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  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.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Trump’s Future, Dead Politician and Curmudgeon Corner


The Future of Trump

Memo to DC, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, New York State, New York City, SDNY, the Justice Department and all the women he raped:

Indict the crook for inciting a riot, election interference, bank fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, incitement to insurrection and sedition, bribery and the rest.

Indict Jr. and Giuliani for incitement to riot, insurrection and sedition.

To the women Trump assaulted, abused and violated: full steam ahead, all guns blazing.

Memo to broadcast and cable news organizations:

Continue to refuse to give that circus sideshow barker any air time. You made the mistake of giving him free, almost constant advertising in 2016, including wall-to-wall broadcasting of his campaign rallies, obsessing over his tweets and televising his every public word for five years. Don’t do it again. Ever.

Memo to all:

Bow your head and join with me in the Accountability Prayer:

Constitutional Fathers, we pray that He-Who-Should-Have-Been-Convicted will spend the rest of his life defending against civil lawsuits and criminal indictments. We pray that he is relocated permanently to federal and state penitentiaries. May he there make new acquaintances with the kinds of people he has diminished, insulted and discriminated against for decades, that he may learn the error of his ways through their traditional teaching methods. Amen.

Dead Politician Walking

Memo to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX):

Perhaps your four years of being a Trump suck-up have combined with your lifelong self-absorption and self-righteousness to cause you to believe that you can jawbone the entire state of Texas into submission. From your various mea culpas it appears that you think you can blame your behavior on your daughters and spin your way out of this. But here’s the thing.

Texans are cold now, desperate for water and sanitation and electricity and Covid-19 vaccinations and they are semi-homeless due to bursting water pipes. They were lied to by their state government, even as the loss of power, heat, water and the rest rolled on, but they didn’t lose their sense or suddenly become stupid. They can identify the difference between you actually caring about them, doing whatever you can for them, and your complete abandonment of them. You went on vacation to Cancun in their hour of greatest need.

They see you for what you are, which is why you are now officially a dead politician walking.

Impeachment Final

The supreme rule, the imperative of imperatives for Republican representatives and senators was, with just a few exceptions, the protection and preservation of one’s own ass. Refusing to act out of integrity was an integral part of the process.

It’s an easy swipe to make at these legislators, but the unavoidable predicate is that We the People put them in Congress. To paraphrase the snake story, we knew what they were when we voted them into office.

Curmudgeon Corner

Flint, Michigan water poisoned thousands of children and adults with lead as a result of the actions of the local dictator appointed by former Governor Rick Snyder, who now faces criminal indictment. There isn’t a lot that can be done for those kids medically.

Other than some immediate liberal outrage and hand wringing, the poisoning happened and kept on happening both there and elsewhere, but our nation as a whole isn’t paying attention. Do you suppose things might have worked out better if this had started in Bloomfield Hills instead of in Flint? I mean, those Flint kids aren’t White.

Same issue for our schools in non-White areas. Mold, 12 year old text books with pages missing, leaking roofs, mice and rats and the rest of the low income education wretchedness goes on and on and never gets fixed. Meanwhile, in White areas the schools and text books are just fine and the roofs don’t leak. Really, if we gave a damn about non-White kids, would we tolerate this?

A large percentage of the people in this country cheered as Trump imposed his Muslim ban. In a First Amendment smack down, the Supreme Court declared that religious discrimination was legal. But, hey, it was against Muslims, so no problem.

QAnon supplies news to many Republicans, which is how they know that Jews funded by George Soros are operating a laser from space, the very laser that started the California wildfires last year. But we don’t care about the harm these pea brains cause with their idiotic conspiracy theories because, after all, they’re only hurting Jews.

There are still children in cages at Tornillo and there are concentration camps just across the Rio Grande packed with refugees fleeing terrorism. They are effectively imprisoned by our Catch-22 immigration system. These prisoners have faded to almost nothingness for most Americans, so there they stay, out of sight, out of mind. But, no worries; they’re just Hispanics.

I propose that we get over our hypocrisy and admit that this nation only cares about White Christians. The rest are only of value as they serve their betters. I mean, somebody has to pick the lettuce and do the landscaping and pick up the garbage and clean other people’s houses and those White Christians won’t do that work.

For decades we’ve allowed minority rule to serve power hungry White Christians, AKA Republicans. Doubt that? The majority of the popular vote has gone to the Democrat in all but one of the last 8 presidential elections, but we still moved Republicans into the White House. That was accomplished thanks to the Electoral College, a vestigial remnant of government having surrendered to low population slave states to give them outsized power. It was then and it still is a racist practice, but it serves White Christians well.

The same can be said for the filibuster, another racism leftover that was created for and historically was employed by Senate segregationists. They used it to oppose civil rights legislation and other racial equity issues. Now the minority Republicans use it to oppose anything Democrats like or that hints at moving toward racial equality. That’s all done by power hungry White Christians for the benefit of White Christians.

Right now thirty-three Republican state legislatures are finding ever more outrageous ways to prevent non-Whites from voting. We elect extremists to Congress who effectively poison the air with racial dog whistles. We tolerate all of that.

From a recent essay by Fahreed Zakaria:

According to a recent American Enterprise Institute survey, 56 percent of Republicans believe “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” Thirty-nine percent backed an even stronger statement: “If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves even if it requires taking violent actions.”

These are White Christians who are fearful their superiority might be slipping. You can see clearly what they’re willing to do to keep their superiority. Too bad for everyone else. And for the Constitution.

If we were actually against these injustices we’d be outraged and would take action, but we don’t. So, let’s just get over that “liberty and justice for all” business and the self-congratulatory “land of the free and home of the brave” declaration, because we really don’t mean it. We really don’t care. Perhaps it’s time to wordsmith the Pledge of Allegiance into something that approximates the truth.

Or we can at long last do something about our perversions of integrity.

If my comments have ruffled your feathers because the words don’t describe you, then good for you and good for all of us. But be sure to pass this along to your crazy Uncle Bubba. He has different feathers.

—————————————-

Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section 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. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  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.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Three Questions, One Answer and A Snow Job


1. Question

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was widely praised for standing up to President Trump by refusing to “find” 11,780 votes for Trump.

Question: When did the bar get set so low that just refusing to commit a felony was cause for praise and celebration?

2  Question

The end of Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution reads:

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the end of their next Session. [emphasis mine]

Question: Trump has been allowed to appoint “acting” secretaries of Executive departments and avoid Senate scrutiny for nearly all of his presidency. Why weren’t his unconfirmed picks challenged when their clocks ran out?

3. A Question and An Answer

How is it that thousands of Americans rioted, defacing and violating the people’s seat of government and threatening murder, yet they see themselves as true patriots, even as they were clearly violating the Constitution and the law?

I have at least a partial answer for that one: These people have grievances that are very real to them. You might not like or agree with all of them, but they are powerful for these people.

For example, they really dislike being insulted and dismissed as “deplorables” by “elites.” They respond to that dumping of humiliation exactly as you would. And they most certainly don’t like being lied to, especially by people with a lot of money, which includes members of Congress, as they see it.

For decades politicians have been promising to bring back good jobs, the manufacturing jobs that pay well and allow for a solid middle class life for them and their families. Instead, they’ve watched as town after town lost their strongest employers and their towns became boarded up shells of what they once were.

It’s a huge impact on them to have their economic security undermined. They’re just like you in wanting to be self-sufficient and not needing to be dependent on others. I was reminded of that recently when I delivered a neighborhood collection of groceries to the local food bank. One of the workers told me how humiliated people feel when they have become dependent on handouts to feed their families.

You won’t like the next example.

Over their lifetimes these angry people have seen the increase in power and status for non-whites, women, religious minorities and concessions made to immigrants. To white men viewing everything through a zero-sum lens, that means less power, status and opportunity for them. They see the superior position that they believe is rightfully theirs being compromised and incrementally being taken away.

Yes, that’s racist, misogynist and xenophobic. But it’s threatening to these people and a powerful inducement to rebel. For additional clarification, refer to The American Civil War, which, clearly, isn’t over. We have to find better ways.

There’s far more, of course. Just get that people only act as they did on January 6 for powerful reasons and those reasons don’t include their being stupid. I urge you to read Thomas Edsall’s compilation of insights from expert thought leaders in his piece, “White Riot“.

As much as I insist on accountability, we urgently need to deal with our realities in more ways than just locking up the perps. We need to deal with the root causes of the anger and desperation that drive people to act in this most unpatriotic and dangerous way. Otherwise, we will be condemned to a never ending cycle of hate, violence and suffering.

4. A Snow Job

In the debate over the article of impeachment in the House of Representatives on January 13 I heard Republicans oppose it by invoking:

    • The Wright brothers (yes, really)
    • There is grievous harm being done to Republicans when they are confronted in public by meanies.
    • There was violence and vandalism done at BLM protests.
    • A list of imagined Trump good stuff was recited.
    • There were meanies who wanted Trump impeached from the beginning of his presidency.
    • Moon landings (yes, really)
    • Claims that Trump was cleared of conspiracy and extortion in the Ukraine affair (not true).
    • Claims that Trump was exonerated by the Mueller Report (not true).
    • Nancy Pelosi is a meanie.
    • Republicans are poor victims of a double standard. Woe is them. So unfair. They’re victims. Feel sorry for them. (Yes, they pretty much said those things.)
    • Swift justice is unfair.
    • This is a great country.
    • The economy.
    • Yeah, but Democrats are bad guys, too (the “false equivalence” and “dirty hands” defenses).
    • Trump didn’t conspire with the Russians.
    • Trump didn’t incite violence because all he did was to decry election fraud.
    • The bill of impeachment is a fraud against the people of the United States.
    • Impeachment will be divisive.
    • Trump wanted peaceful protest.
    • The protesters were peaceful. (Seriously, a duly elected congressman said this just days after the rioting mob was looking for him in order to kill him.)
    • There is illegal immigration going on.
    • BLM was founded by Marxists.
    • Democrats have encouraged and endorsed violence.
    • Democrats support defunding the police and taking everyone’s guns.
    • Republicans are victims.
    • We’re in a race to the bottom and we need to do better.
    • The president didn’t incite violence.
    • It’s time to put people over power.
    • This isn’t due process. (Actually, that’s correct, although dumb to say. Per the Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5, due process happens in the Senate.)
    • Can’t we all just get along? This needs to be a time of healing.
    • Democrats are hypocrites.
    • Impeachment will start us down the path of cleansing political speech.
    • Democrats have just realized that riots are bad.
    • We shouldn’t waste time on this and instead should get to work on issues for the American people.
    • There are only 7 days left in Trump’s term.
    • Impeachment will offend the people who voted for Trump.
    • This is just an effort to divide the nation.
    • Democrats are hypocrites.
    • None of the rioters has been asked if they rioted because the president told them to do so.
    • Impeachment is a political act.
    • Democrats are hypocrites – seriously, we really mean it, which is why we repeat ourselves.
    • Two wrongs [impeachments] don’t make a right.
    • Democrats oppose free speech.
    • Trump is pro-life and America First. Democrats hate that.
    • There is a double standard regarding people committing violence.
    • The other side only wants to attack and demean.
    • It’s not fair.
    • Democrat committee chairs lied; Republicans didn’t.
    • The assault on the Capitol was pre-planned, but that isn’t included in the articles of impeachment.
    • Trump did a lot to make America great.
    • We need to tone down the volume and heal the nation.
    • The Capitol police deserve our applause. (Actually, that line got applause.)
    • Many Lincoln quotes were quoted. (Nevertheless, he did not make an appearance.)
    • We should seek higher ground.

The old saying is that if the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. If the law is on your side, pound on the law. If neither the facts nor the law is on your side, pound on the table.

The list above, all from Republican congresspeople, is nothing more than pounding on the table. A few statements might be true; still, they miss the point.

THE ONLY ISSUE before the House in this hearing was whether Donald Trump urged violent insurrection and sedition against the Constitution of the United States and whether he should be impeached for his actions. It was not about any of the distractions listed above.

Not even a single Republican congressman/woman opposed the impeachment on the merits. Not one.

With the exception of the 10 Representatives who stood strong for the Constitution, these whining Republicans haven’t the courage to call out the traitorous acts that put lives and our democracy at risk. Again. They violated their supposedly sacred oath of office to protect and defend. Again. They put on display their profound moral incompatibility with truth. Again. A 2016 word comes to mind to describe these representatives: deplorable. And I’m no elite.

Now conspiracy hangs in the air, as we begin to uncover evidence of members of Congress giving tours – reconnaissance missions – to insurrectionists the day before the insurrection, and of Capitol police opening doors and removing barricades for the intruders. As ugly as things are now, they are going to become far uglier.

———————————–

Best Quote

Thanks to NK for offering this:

“[2020 was] like looking both ways before crossing the
street and then getting hit by a submarine.”


Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

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JA

 


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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