economy

Live and Die Loud, The Economy and Ottawa


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

The First Thing

That amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
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That’s the complete text. Gun thumpers are big on the second phrase – that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. They view that right as absolute, this in spite of their Supreme Court champion, Justice Scalia, clearly stating that no right is absolute.

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

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

The Second Thing

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

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

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

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

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

It’s The Economy, Stupid

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

Well, maybe.

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

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

DEMOCRATS              11.2%                 4.1%               164,000                   – 0.8%

REPUBLICANS              6.9%                 2.5%                 61,000                   +1.1%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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. 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.

Root Causes


Regular readers will likely recognize that over the years I have tried to understand why citizens on the far right portion of our politics consistently vote against their own interests. I’ve dabbled in guessing why they’re willing to believe fantastical fantasies and why they are so violent in spirit and in actions. Perhaps most important, I’ve scrambled for a foothold of understanding of why they gladly do unpatriotic things, yet consider themselves patriots. I think I’m coming to a more complete answer. Let’s start with a little walk through history.

Seattle Hooverville, 1932

Republican Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928. He had been a mining engineer, a business oriented fellow. Eight months after he took office the economy began its greatest crash and Hoover sat on his hands and watched as the savings from lifetimes of work evaporated and 25% of Americans wanting work were out of work. Their families were in terrible distress. Hoover told Americans to carry on, that things would get better, but in his complete absence of vision he did nothing to help, which led to Hoovervilles all across the country. By 1932 things had become far worse. That’s when ordinary Americans decided that a wealthy patrician understood them and their challenges better than the Republicans did and they elected Democrat FDR to be president. It turned out that they were right.

FDR invented the WPA and the CCC and mounted massive infrastructure projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Hoover Dam that brought electricity to millions of people. More important than that, those projects brought honest work and good pay to Americans, which brought with it the dignity of being able to care for one’s family and oneself. FDR was so popular that he was elected to the presidency four times, with his last victory coming even as the nation knew he was dying. He was that popular.

And that’s why Republicans hated him and his projects that put Americans back to work. They have been trying to kill all social and commons programs since then. And preventing that kind of success for Americans is exactly why today’s Republicans want Joe Biden to fail.

Several Republican presidents wanted to get Social Security privatized to benefit fat cats, like the ones who brought us the Great Depression and the Great Recession. When President Johnson created Medicare, Medicaid and his Great Society Program, Republicans were apoplectic and they have tried to kill all of those programs, too. I don’t know what they want to do about President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System – maybe they want to privatize them and let the fat cats charge tolls. Here’s the thing:

Republicans hate anything that smacks of work done in the commons and things that directly benefit the people. But the people love that stuff. And people become very angry and feel betrayed when things they’ve counted on are taken away. Think about what Republicans have to do, then, to get elected.

That’s right: they lie.

Reagan told lies about non-existent Black welfare queens living like actual queens. He told of “young bucks” – his term – meaning young Black men scamming the welfare system. His doing that makes sense, because it appealed to White fear, which brought him support. Bear in mind that Reagan opposed not just welfare, but also the Brown v. Board of Education decision. How convenient it was for him to latch onto welfare lies and appeal to White supremacy, not bothering to mention that the majority of welfare recipients were White. He just threw out hateful dog whistles that appealed to the fearful and the haters.

Then he stoked distrust and hatred of government itself, even as he was leading the government. He told Americans that, “Government isn’t the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” It was a new verbalization of opposition to all social programs. Surely, we wouldn’t want to support anything that helps those lazy, shiftless “others,” right?

As I said: lies.

Bush II was a lie spewing machine, corrupting the Constitution every day and calling it patriotism. And the patriotic thing played well. He told us, “You’re either with us or you’re against us,” and Americans lined up, not wanting to be left behind and thought of as unpatriotic. Republicans are still playing that card. They do that even as they ended programs that would help Americans.

Manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas and citizens were left with nothing. They were betrayed by their own government. (Full disclosure: Clinton was complicit in that.) They call that patriotism and rugged individualism, “right sizing” and freedom and a lot of other fine sounding names. They use their superb propaganda machine to get people to believe their fantasy, just like a circus sideshow barker. It turn out they really can fool some of the people all of the time, even as they are being betrayed.

All the propaganda and all the betrayal has stoked the anger of the people. Plus, it’s plain that Whites will no longer be a majority in this country in just a couple of decades, so Whites fear their hands will slip from the reins of power. The knowledge of that has brought more levers for Republicans to manipulate the people, like gerrymandering, the filibuster and voter suppression.

People are left in quite a confusing and simplistic mess.

Their anger is so great that they’d rather infect and kill their loved ones and die themselves, than follow simple government health guidelines crafted by doctors and scientists.

They’re so blinded by their distrust of government that they believe conspiracies too loony even for a cartoon and they agitate for autocracy that would make them serfs to the ultra-wealthy.

Their sense of betrayal is so overpowering that they refuse simple and obvious realities and reject as cheating anything that doesn’t go their way.

Their fear and anger are so great that they metaphorically have a middle finger extended at all times just to feel powerful.

All of that is orchestrated and overheated by big money puppet masters who manipulate fears and anger, so that the people blindly follow leaders and a party that literally have no policies other than to obstruct and disempower everyone but themselves.

So, the people cheer and send contributions to politicians who stand against the very things that would help the people, like the infrastructure bill and the good jobs that will bring; like voting rights, gun safety, reasonable cost pharmaceuticals, child care, medical insurance and broadband. With every vote or obstruction to voting on those issues and with every manufactured barrier to voting and with every appeal to fear and anger, the manipulators appeal for donations to Trump-fearing GOP sycophants in congress and in the states and municipalities. Those dollars are then used to further diminish the future of the voters and the voters’ children.

But the people don’t see that, because they are so angry. Worse, they don’t realize they’ve been hoodwinked for generations. And that is why our citizens on the far right of the political spectrum consistently and unknowingly vote against their own interests, leaving them nothing but their rage and whatever weapons they own in order to feel powerful and in control of themselves.

It’s all about anger, fear and hopelessness and how easy it is to manipulate people who feel that way.
.

Do you doubt that? Watch Adam Kinzinger’s short video and his appeal for Country First.

A Tale of 4s In 2021

Unemployment dropped from 6.2% to 4.2%.

– Wages rose approximately 4% – the final annual numbers aren’t in yet.

– The economy is so strong that there are 4 million more job openings than Americans seeking employment.

– We added 4.6 million jobs. Or is it 6.2 million? Not sure, but it’s a good number.

Republicans, please stop telling Americans how awful our economy is and how the Democrats are ruining it, because that’s just another Republican lie.

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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.

Starting To End


As you dust yourself off from your holiday festivities, watching bowl games just before yet more bowl games, enjoying the well-earned satisfaction for having dodged the COVID bullet and the peace that comes from making no new year’s resolutions, we begin to end the year with three critically important topics.

1. Ode To The Justice Department

One of two key pieces needed to protect our democracy is the task of the Justice Department. We need for every one of the January 6 seditious conspirators to be prosecuted and sent to prison for their crimes. And that is most importantly about prosecuting the chief criminal, Donald Trump.

He has gotten away with flagrant violations of our laws for decades, including during his presidency, and has never faced true accountability. Yes, he’s paid some legal settlements, but he’s never faced the criminal music. Absent prosecution now, the message that there is no accountability for those high enough on the food chain will reverberate into the future and invite yet worse violations. Preventing that at the national level falls to Merrick Garland and the Justice Department.

We haven’t seen or heard much to indicate that the bad guys are being pursued, so I wrote this song for A.G. Garland. If you know him, please pass it along. It’s sung to the tune of Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkle.

Merrick Garland

.

And here’s to you, Merrick Garland,

A nation turns its frightened eyes to you,

We’re so screwed.

So hurry, please, Merrick Garland,

Justice calls on you to set things right,

From our Trump and MAGA plight.

.

We’d like to know if anything is hap’ning in this case.

We’d like to see indictments coming down.

Look around you, all you see ‘s obstruction at your door.

Charge the perps with everything they’ve done and more.

.

And here’s to you, Merrick Garland,

Gotta make the bad guys pay the price,

For their vice.

Come on now, please, Merrick Garland,

Step up to the plate and take a swing.

Pound the perps. Make it sting.

.

Hiding in his hidey place at Mar-A-Lago,

Dump him in the courtroom as defendant.

You can drag him kicking, screaming,

Crying like a kid.

Most of all he has pay for what he did.

.

Coo, coo ca-choo, Merrick Garland,

It’s your oath of office, get it done.

Jail the bums.

O’ come on, please, Merrick Garland,

Justice calls on you to set things right.

Don’t sit tight. Go and fight.

.

Sitting on a sofa eating Big Macs and his fries,

Thinking he can get away with murder.

Think about it, shout about it,

Garland, when you choose,

Stomp those guys or every one of us will lose.

.

Where have you gone, Merrick Garland?

A nation looks around but can’t find you,

Woo, woo, woo.

Here’s what we say, Merrick Garland,

Everyone wants justice rained on them.

Put ’em all in the pen.

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“I don’t want everyone to vote.” “As a matter of fact, our [Republican] leverage in the elections. quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Paul Weyrich, co-founder of The Heritage Foundation and leader of voting suppression.

2. Saving Our Democracy

The second key to saving our democracy is to stop the rigging of our elections. If we’re to stop the selfish ones who want to destroy the dream of the Founders and instead want to make this an autocracy to serve themselves, we must quickly pass both voting rights bills. That’s the job of Congress and they need to put on their big boy and big girl pants, carve out a chunk of the filibuster rule and make that happen.

Those two pieces of legislation will do the critical work to reverse the anti-American voting suppression and vote rigging that allows the minority to have control they don’t deserve. Failure to pass these bills will result in a permanent undermining of the will of We The People.

So, contact your senators and demand that they pass these bills. To find them,

1. Go to this page on the senate.gov website.

2. Select your state to find your senators, then click on Contact under their pictures.

3. Say your piece in defense of our democracy. Flames coming from your words are appropriate.

There’s only one reason Republicans are entirely opposed to protecting voting rights: Americans will love their rights being protected and will credit Democrats for doing that for them. Happier Americans with voting rights will make it far more difficult for minority Republicans to get elected, so they’d rather keep Americans powerless.

That’s why the key question to candidates running in all upcoming elections is,

Are you now or have you ever been a Republican?

If the answer is yes, then the candidate is unqualified for office. Vote for whoever opposes him/her. Pass it on.

3. Our Much Maligned Economy

Yes, we have the highest inflation in 39 years. And we have a lot of shipping containers still piled up in our ports. And gas prices are higher. And the supply chain that keeps the wheels turning is still stuttering along. All true. And we and our economy have a few more things.

Overall growth in 2021 will finish at 6% and experts are predicting 4% growth for next year, the best growth in decades – better than China and the European Union – and two to three times better than Donald Trump.

The jobless rate is down from 6.2% when Biden took office to 4.2%, with 4.1 million new jobs, more than Trump and Bush II created in 12 years.

Wages are up 4%

Over 4.6 million more Americans at last have healthcare insurance.

On January 20, 2021 only 46% of schools were open. Now 99% are open.

Companies have the highest profit margins since 1950.

Gas is under $3 in 12 states and has fallen by 25 cents across the country in just the past 30 days.

99% of packages are arriving on time. So much for nothing under the Christmas tree due to supply chain issues.

The Dow remains at record high levels.

So, how come Biden’s rating for handling the economy is so low? There’s just one reason: right wingnuts are spraying negative propaganda everywhere and low information citizens don’t have the tools to wade past the tsunami of crap to see the truth.

There’s only one reason Republicans were mostly against the infrastructure bill and entirely against the Build Back Better Bill: Americans will love what happens when those programs are moving in high gear and will credit Democrats for how their lives have improved. Happier Americans will make it far more difficult for minority Republicans to get elected, so they’d rather keep Americans suffering and prevent our country from continuing international leadership.

Required Reading

I’ve wailed on Democrats for undermining other Democrats and for being wimpy, but Thom Hartmann hits the nail on the head writing about the DC press corps. This is a must read. His questions and suggestions are exactly the kinds of things I referenced in posts like this one about how Democrats have to learn to attack. And we need the press – all of the media – to focus on the national sabotage being done by Republicans, instead of wailing incessantly about Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sindema.

So, press corps, put on your big boy and big girl pants and DO YOUR JOB!

IMPORTANT ADDITION!

If the grotesquely commercial or absurd Christmas advertising has you slightly crazy (or even if not), you absolutely must watch this ad from Dutch pharmaceutical company DocMorris. I promise that it is the best thing you’ve seen in a very long time.

The closing line is in Dutch and translates to So that you can take care of what really matters in life.” Watch the piece, then come back here and reread that closing line.

Many thanks to friends Allen, Marty and Ozzie for pointing out this masterpiece.

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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.

Dirty Diapers and Upside Down


Monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19 is astonishingly effective. It must be administered within 10 days of the onset of symptoms and requires a 1.5 hour infusion process. It loads the body with the very same kind of critters that would naturally fight the disease, were that body capable of doing so for itself. The treatment is saving lives. But the thing is that it doesn’t provide protection against the next time that body gets infected with Covid-19. It just fights the virus and then is gone. And it costs 100 times what a simple vaccination to prevent infection would cost.

This treatment is a very popular choice for our infected citizens, especially those in states where so many have refused to be vaccinated. Their choice is both understandable and upside down.

Mr. Lanson Jones of Houston, TX

Said Mr. Lanson Jones of Houston, TX about his infusion, “The people you love, you trust, nobody said anything negative about it. And I’ve heard nothing but negative things about the side effects of the vaccine and how quickly it was developed.”

He’s right in what he says about monoclonal antibody treatments – nobody says anything negative about them – but he’s completely off base in his understanding of vaccines. That’s a problem.

Both the vaccines and those infusion treatments were developed in a hurry and for obvious reasons. However, what we’ve heard from the experts and learned from months of experience is that both are safe and effective.

In contrast, what we’ve heard from medically ignorant blabbers is stuff they just make up, dirty diaper loads of  .  .  .  stuff. They don’t care about us; they only care about their ratings. To which group would you trust your life, the experts or the all-about-themselves blabbers?

Mr. Jones and millions of others have refused the safe, proven, effective vaccines because of those aforementioned blabber supplied diaper loads of made up stuff. They are good with continuing to take crazy chances with their lives, expecting to get an expensive antibody infusion whenever they need it. And they continue to risk infecting others.

In contrast, those who have been vaccinated don’t have to worry about the need for repeated, expensive infusions to save their lives and they are highly unlikely to infect others.

And did I mention the 100 times cost of an infusion versus a vaccination? Why, yes I did. Let’s imagine a scenario about this.

Imagine that Mr. Jones is told that upon entry to an infusion center his credit card will be dinged for $2,100 in order to save his life. He’d make the purchase, of course, but consider if he had had a bit more straight information earlier.

Imagine that he was informed in advance that the wailing of the blabbers about vaccines is a diaper load of stuff and that the vaccine is both safe and effective. Imagine further that he is told that the vaccine is either free or would cost him just $21 and that it would confer on him long term protection from the virus. If Mr. Jones is a good little shopper, what do you suppose would be his choice to protect his life and his loved ones: repeated purchase of the expensive antibody treatment or the free vaccine?

Bear in mind that for Mr. Jones to have a fair chance to make good choices he needs to have good information, rather than an ongoing presentation of dirty diaper stuff from blabbers.

Read the report on this foolishness and recognize that we are all paying the price in dollars, suffering and death, as media and online blabbers make their living misleading people like Mr. Jones. We’ve had way too many dirty diapers thrown in our faces and this “infusion instead of vaccination” business is completely upside down.

A Quote For Our Time

Perhaps Mr. Jones is listening to the wrong people.

The other day I heard yet another blabber (disgraced, convicted liar Michael Flynn) spewing idiotic lies, connecting them to yet more idiotic lies. Not long after I ran across this piece of wisdom I’d heard years earlier:

Not everyone making noise is making music.

If you can supply an attribution, it will be included in the next post. Meanwhile, we desperately need more music and a lot less noise.

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More Covid Upside Down

Just in case you’re unsure about the insane costs to treat unvaccinated infected people, have a look at the chart on the right. It spells it out, broken down by the complexity of the case.

This is from a study by FairHealth and you don’t have to dig deep to see what increasing complexity of treatment does to the cost. As you know, if vaccinated people become infected, they almost never wind up in the hospital, so treatment costs are quite low – the bottom row of numbers. In contrast, unvaccinated people become really sick and are the ones with complex (read: VERY expensive) cases – the middle and top rows of numbers.

In other words, our refusers have decided to roll the dice, knowing that if they become infected, they’ll be treated and that you and I will empty our wallets into the healthcare labyrinth so that our refusers can scam the system just that way. That’s upside down.

Even More Upside Down – Covid Death Fun Facts
  1. 1 in every 500 Americans is dead from Covid-19. Multiply that by a lot to honor the grief and sorrow of loved ones.
  2. More Americans have died from Covid-19 than died from the 1918 influenza epidemic.
  3. We have three safe, effective vaccines to choose from. They didn’t have any vaccines in 1918, but we still beat them in body count, now averaging 1,900 Covid deaths per day. Almost all of those who die are vaccine refusers.
  4. In Alabama, more people died in 2020 than were born. NPR reports, “The coronavirus, which is spreading in Alabama as well as much of the country, is what’s behind those numbers.”

Click me for the death report.

Economy Fun Facts
  1. We’ve added over 4 million jobs in the last 7 months.
  2. The Republicans are threatening to trash the economy with yet another (wait for it  .  .  . ) Republican shutdown of the government.*
  3. THE FORECAST: Republican economic stupid designed to kneecap President Biden’s presidency is forecast to remain at 99.7%. A dark gray overcast will persist, with continuing downpours of alternative unfacts. The self-righteous Cat-5 hurricane-force winds are expected to exceed 183 mph for over 13 months, with peak gusts to 220. National flooding is expected. All residents are advised to move to higher ground and are urged to assist emergency personnel. See the countdown below.

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*  From Professor Heather Cox Richardson:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says ” [a government shutdown] could trigger a spike in interest rates, a steep drop in stock prices and other financial turmoil. Our current economic recovery would reverse into recession, with billions of dollars of growth and millions of jobs lost.” Financial services firm Moody’s Analytics warned that a default would cost up to 6 million jobs, create an unemployment rate of nearly 9% and wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth. [emphasis mine]

Read her full post and be sure to also read the comments below it, which include a Dan Rather commentary. Another comment is from reader Daniel Friedman, who offered:

A Turkish proverb:

The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe, for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them.

If you have friends who still call themselves Republicans, show that to them.

————————————
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. 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.
  4. 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.

Can We Stop Wringing Hands?


Economy Hand Wringing

The August jobs report said that we added a net of “only” 235,000 jobs. That’s a big decrease from the 962,000 added in June and 1.05 million added in July. That has caused innumerable hand wringers to wail, sob and bemoan a looming catastrophe in our economy.

The truth is that our economy is continuing to expand, albeit at a slower rate in August. Unemployment went down from 5.4% to 5.2% in August and – did I mention? – a net of 235,000 people found jobs and employers found 235,000 employees. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has regained all the losses due to the pandemic.

Of course, there are lots of factors related to the pandemic that affect our economy, including ever-more people working from home, which impacts lunch revenues at restaurants and gym memberships. It also includes the economic impact of all the people who are not traveling due to Covid, as well as the enormous supply chain disruptions of the past 18 months due to Covid. Still, our economy is expanding.

The slowdown follows perfectly the immense expansion of sickness and death due to the Delta variant. If we really want to keep the economy growing robustly, all we have to do is to follow the direction of the CDC to curb the pandemic. It’s as simple as that.

Take that, economy hand wringers!

Immigration Hand Wringing

You know where you were and who you were with when you learned what had happened on 9/11. The horrific images are burned into your brain and your heart and perhaps passion still rises in you when you see those painful pictures. Maybe you remember our senators and congressmen on the steps of the Capitol Building late that day, singing God Bless America in an impromptu, non-partisan, heartfelt song of solidarity. You can see that again here. In an odd contemporary way, that was a most peculiar moment.

Israel Bellin was born in Telochin, Russian Empire in 1888. He arrived in this country with his family at age five. Fourteen years later he published his first song and went on to become one of America’s most prolific and beloved songwriters. His name was misprinted on a piece of sheet music from one of his early works as “I. Berlin” and the name stuck. Irving Berlin wrote God Bless America in 1918 during WW I and it has been a national favorite ever since, with many believing it should be our national anthem.

The peculiarity is that Berlin was a Jewish immigrant raised in poverty. There was no job waiting for his father when the family arrived at Ellis Island and Berlin had to drop out of school at age eleven to help support the family. According to a large segment of our politicians and citizens today, the only thing that would make him an acceptable immigrant is that he was White.

What would happen to this poor, non-Christian immigrant under today’s discriminatory immigration laws?  And, more to the point, how many others, who could contribute so much to this country, are being kept out now? What would they build here?

Under today’s immigration paranoia would we have Sergey Brin from Russia to co-found Google? Or Hamdi Ulukaya who left Turkey and founded Chobani Yogurt? Would we have jeans to wear if Levi Strauss had been forced to stay in Germany? Would we have the microprocessors that power everything that uses electrons if Andy Grove hadn’t come from Hungary and remade Intel? Would you be able to sell that baby crib on eBay if Pierre Omidyar’s Iranian family had been forced to stay in France?

Would members of Congress have God Bless America to sing if Berlin’s family were to apply to immigrate today?

Take that, paranoid immigration hand wringers!

Afghanistan Exit Hand Wringing

Other than the permanent hard right Biden detractors, nearly everyone agrees that ending our war in Afghanistan and bringing home our troops and extracting the Afghans who helped us was and is the right thing to do. As the president said, the alternative was to continue to bleed people and money with no possibility of any gain. He was not willing to put yet another generation of our best into harms way for nothing.

The main criticism has been over the messy exit that left 100 – 200 Americans and thousands of Afghan helpers and their families in Afghanistan. That is truly awful and even some Democrats have been critical, while the hard line accusers and demonizers, the Trumpyist of Trumpists, want Biden impeached. Don’t bother looking for valid reasoning there.

There’s just one thing: Not a single one of the denigraters has an idea for how the extraction process could have worked better. Not one. All they have is fatuous, flamboyant criticism. That brings to mind the admonition to either lead, follow or get out of the way. Perhaps we should have a congressional rule like that.

Some have said that we should have started the evacuation sooner, but that would only have generated the chaos at an earlier date. Some have said that we should have stayed there to prop up the charade of an Afghan government, but that would just prolong the bleeding and dying and deepen the bottomless money pit. Some say Trump should have included the Afghan government in the negotiations with the Taliban to underscore its legitimacy. They’re right, but that wouldn’t have prevented the chaos.

Got a better idea? Glad to hear it. Post it below. But let’s stop this national hand wringing over a war that we should have exited many years ago. Better yet: We should not have invaded that country at all. There were other ways to get bin Laden. In fact, George W. Bush turned down two of them before starting that war.

Take that, Afghanistan exit hand wringers!

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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. 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.
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JA


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

The Performance of Our Economy


We all know that the Republican Party is no longer the Republican Party. It has become a mob dedicated to obstruction, hate mongering and voter suppression, all in pursuit of clinging to White supremacy and power just a little longer. Minority rule. Anti-democracy. Gone is the party promoting small government and low taxes, conservation of traditional norms and fidelity to the intentions of the Founders. No news there.

The Republican mantra chanted mechanically for decades has been that the evil Democrats were the tax-and-spend party, the socialism devils who will bring down our economy. Perhaps that’s a relic of conservative opposition to the New Deal nearly a century ago. They were against pretty much everything proposed by FDR and have never let go of that reflexive, unexamined opposition. You can check with Barack Obama for verification of that. He’s the president toward whom the Rs dedicated 100% of their effort to make him a one-term president, the needs of the people be damned. All opposition, all the time.

But were the Rs’ predictions of Democrat-driven job killing, economy destruction and a slide to socialism accurate? Do we suffer more economically when Ds have the reigns of power? Let’s check with the Office of Management and Budget and some other sources for data – you know: facts – to help us understand what has actually happened.

Here are four bar graphs comparing how we’ve done under both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations from when Truman took office in 1945 through Trump. See if you can spot a pattern.

Graphic courtesy of David Doney and Karl Faulstich of NWSOFA-Indivisible

Because these charts use data over such a significant span of time they pretty well neutralize the impact of spikes, like the high tech expansion of the 90s and the bust of 2008-9 and any of the tax rate adjustments.

We all get that pat political phrases are useful for bumper stickers and they’re great for frothing up true believers at political rallies, but sometimes they bear no resemblance to actual happenings on planet Earth. While saying that is not much of a revelation in our post-truth era (and that goes back way before Trump was lying and leading his cult of personality), what’s important is that those of us still within shouting distance of reality understand the empirical data: Democrats deliver a far better economy and all the goodies attendant to that, including jobs.

If you are a Republican and are choking on this information, please respond in the Comments section below about how Republicans are more fiscally responsible or more advantageous to the American people. For example, show us how George W. Bush started two wars and also reduced taxes twice, making it impossible to pay for his wars and how that was somehow good for us. Help us all understand how we’ve been duped by Democrats and why we should believe the Republicans’ bumper stickers.

That’s especially important to keep in mind now that Mitch McConnell has announced that he is “100 percent” focused on opposing all Biden initiatives, the needs of the people be damned. How’s that going to work for us and our economy?

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

Oh, Kevin


New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd annually gives her Thanksgiving column space over to her brother Kevin, whom she calls a conservative. I’ve read several of his offerings and have come away with the sense that Kevin is not a conservative; he’s a Trumpy, which is distinctly not conservative. And in this year’s essay he gives us an exquisitely clear example of why it is so difficult for moderates (Republicans and Democrats alike) to have a constructive, seek-to-understand conversation with a Trumpy. That is the focus of this post.

I want to be clear that in my comments below I am cherry picking his essay, this for brevity. Here’s a link to his complete comments. Also, full disclosure: I agree with some of what Kevin wrote. Most of that is not covered here because that isn’t where the problem lies.

Here are some examples of obstacles to conversation. The wording in green is verbatim from Kevin’s essay and the substantiating data that he presents is included in the same color.

  1. Trump gave us a strong economy.
    1. Actually, the economy continued on the same trajectory from throughout the Obama years. Until it didn’t. Trump promised 4% GDP growth. Before our current recession we had an “economy like no one has ever seen,” when we had GDP growth that averaged just 2.5%. Overall it’s 1% since Trump took office. It never hit 4%.
  2. Trump achieved the lowest unemployment in 50 years.
    1. True, but  .  .  .  Actually, unemployment continued to decline on a straight line trajectory passed on from the Obama years. The best you can say for Trump is that he didn’t screw up a good thing. Until the pandemic arrived. Then he screwed up everything, including unemployment.
  3. Trump fortified the border.
    1. There were only 9 miles of new border wall constructed over the 4 years of Trump’s presidency. All the rest of the construction was replacement for old, dilapidated fencing. And Mexico hasn’t paid a dime for any of it. Does that qualify as “fortified”?
    2. Our southern border has been turned into concentration camps on the U.S. side and death in the desert on the Mexican side. Does that qualify as “fortified”?
    3. Our immigration system refuses to grant asylum to most of the people fleeing rape and death in the Central American countries they left behind. No clue how that makes our border fortified. It does make us complicit in assault and murder.
  4. Trump has guaranteed the integrity of the judicial system by appointing over 200 judges and three Supreme Court justices.
    1. Appointing judges does not guarantee integrity of the judicial system. It only guarantees butts on benches.
    2. 10 of Trump’s nominees were rated Not Qualified by the American Bar Association and 67 were rated only Qualified (i.e., they’re marginally OK warm bodies to hold down a bench).
    3. Two of Trump’s appointees had never practiced law or even been inside a courtroom. That doesn’t sound like integrity.
    4. There was a huge deficit of federal judges when Trump came to office because Mitch McConnell had shoved a stick in the spokes of judicial appointments for nearly all of the Obama years. If there was any additional integrity it was only because more judges meant swifter justice for the accused. Trump doesn’t get integrity kudos for that.
  5. Trump had foreign policy successes, including:
    1. Renegotiating NAFTA – into essentially the same agreement but with Trump’s name attached.
    2. Abandoning the Iranian nuclear deal.
      1. Which allowed the Iranians to resume both enriching uranium and building their bomb making capabilities.
      2. Kevin doesn’t mention it, but after abandoning the multi-nation agreement Trump slapped sanctions on Iran that have been labeled “crippling.” On the other hand, they don’t seem to have curtailed any of Iran’s military activities. Not seeing a foreign policy success here.
      3. Kevin claims that we gave the Iranians a $400 million bribe to get the nuclear deal done. That claim was a standard right wing talking point when the JCPOA was being negotiated and was wailed about afterward by the anti-Obama crowd. What actually happened is that because of Iran’s past bad behavior we had frozen their assets during the Obama administration. Returning to them what was rightfully theirs was part of the Iranian nuclear deal. So, it wasn’t a bribe; it was a return of stolen property. And it was $300 million, not $400 million.
    3. Trump brokered Middle East peace deals and was the greatest friend Israel ever had.
      1. Two recently concluded agreements between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain had been in process since 2015. These agreements were essentially “normalization” documents to formalize what already existed. Trump had nothing to do with the negotiating or finalizing of the agreements. He did claim credit for them.
      2. Might not Harry Truman be the greatest friend of Israel, since he was the first world leader to recognize the new state in 1948? Or President Obama, who handed the Iron Dome defense system to Israel in 2011? Or every other president who has sided with Israel against brutal attacks in the U.N.?
      3. Note that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem did not help Israel. It only served to inflame Palestinians and make a 2-state solution even more difficult to achieve.
      4. It’s interesting that the “greatest friend Israel ever had” meme is quoted. It’s word-for-word what Trump has said repeatedly and his followers pick it up as though making the claim is the same as stating reality. It’s akin to his saying that he’s been the greatest president for Blacks, with the possible exception (or since) Abraham Lincoln. Making the claim isn’t the same as saying truth, but Trump’s followers repeat his phony superlative opinions of himself anyway.
  6. Trump made the Republican Party tougher, teaching it to counter punch harder than its opponent.
    1. The Republican Party was intransigent and spiteful long before Trump showed up (think: Gingrich, McConnell, Boehner, anyone from the Tea Party, etc.) and they played dirty before Trump came along, doing things like filibustering everything with Obama’s name on it, essentially exterminating majority rule. For verification of Republican cheating, check with Judge (not Justice) Merrick Garland.
    2. We need to understand why “counter punch[ing] harder than its opponent” is important. Doing so guarantees no cooperation, so America’s problems don’t get solved. This sounds like being macho is more important that doing what is best for America and honoring one’s oath of office to protect and defend. I do understand the momentary puff-up feeling of being powerful that comes from dominating others.
  7. Kevin writes, “The Democrats remain mystified by the loyalty of Trump’s base. It is rock solid because half the country was tired of being patronized and lied to and worse, taken for granted. Trump was unique because he was only interested in results.”
    1. First sentence: I agree. Surely, I agree with the “mystified” part. It is what underlies the question of this post.
    2. Second sentence: How much of these beliefs of being patronized, lied to and taken for granted is due to people being fed a constant stream of right wing propaganda, rather than the facts? Hatred of ordinary Americans by elites is a standard of righty talking heads and that constant drumbeat stokes belief and ratings. And anger and hatred. Show me the facts, though, or this is just another hateful Big Lie.
    3. Counterpoint to #2 above: I don’t know about the patronizing, but there have been a lot of promises broken and without question the Democrats have taken some people for granted. Nobody likes to be treated that way.
    4. Third sentence: Trump was, is and forever will only be interested in results for Trump, not for America. And he doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process (think: playing golf throughout the pandemic). His continuing lies to undermine our election are corroding our democracy and pouring more fuel on the fire of hatred. Further, ask any contractor who worked on a Trump Building and got stiffed about what results were important to Trump. Or ask the State Department, which has consistently been overcharged for everything during the Trump administration. Secret Service personnel were forced to patronize Trump properties and rent rooms at far above standard rates. And I know it’s a small thing that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago billed the U.S. $3 to serve Trump a glass of water, but it’s a satisfactory placeholder for all his grifting. I agree that Trump is focused on results, but are results like these what we should want?

As you can see, there are sweeping claims, but almost no supporting facts. That’s standard M.O. for Trumpies and it does not lead to any possibility of a meeting of the minds. In fact, it is one of three major reasons that a fruitful conversation is so difficult. Another major reason is the denial of provable, observable facts, as is a commonly found belligerent attitude.

Kevin ends his essay with dire warnings for the media and especially for Fox News, which has recently been slightly less of a lapdog for Trump. I’m sure Kevin is right in claiming that Biden’s TV ratings will be lower than Trump’s. What is far more disturbing is that anyone would care about such a thing.

It’s worrisome that anyone would equate TV ratings with the quality of the job a president is doing for the country or even whether a president is popular. Nobody paid attention to such things until the circus sideshow barker came to town and constantly bragged about his TV ratings, as though his primary job was to get high ratings. It’s akin to Trump bragging for months about having had the biggest inaugural crowd ever, which, of course, he didn’t. He bragged that way as though that’s what was important. For most of us, it wasn’t and isn’t. It shouldn’t be for any of us.

I appreciate Kevin’s passion and understand that he has his certainties – I have my own passion and certainties – and both of us are sorely infected by confirmation bias, of course. But I need someone to bring us real world stuff to examine and which will help us to understand one another, not bring just sweeping, baseless superlatives.

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The important question is how to deal with people who refuse facts, truth and reality. They are our countrymen and -women, after all, and we are obligated to figure out how to live together.

Roughly 80% of those who voted for Trump believe his lies/fantasies/distortions that the election was rigged and riddled with fraud. They believe him when he says he won the election and that “everybody knows it.” That’s around 60 million Americans who are living in an alternate reality. I’m guessing that to them this is just another example “of being patronized and lied to and worse, taken for granted.” And I’m also guessing that they are very angry they didn’t get their way, especially because they believe they were cheated. That makes conversation extremely difficult.

These folks are supported by the continuing refusal of nearly all elected Republicans to stand up and speak up about the Big Lie that is Trump and Trumpism. They provide tacit approval to believe Trump’s hateful and anti-democratic venom. These elected officials do great damage to our country with their cowardice (read this). They make it ever-harder to have a conversation with Trumpies, because they stoke the macho bravado posturing to “counter punch harder than its opponent.” That relegates us to communicating via fistfights. Or worse, like attempting to kidnap and execute a sitting governor. It’s worth noting again that our macho, bravado angry citizens are the ones who own most of the guns in this country.

So, you tell me how to bridge this insane divide that is America today, with half of us believing the untrue. And if I got any of this wrong, please set me and everyone straight.

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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.

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. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. 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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Forehead Slapping


Reading time – 3:14  .  .  .

We’ve known the basics of this since at least February 2020. Now the Institute for New Economic Thinking has published a clear, well researched and most accessible paper (this is required reading) giving us the roadmap out of our pandemic and economic quagmires:

To Save the Economy, Save People First

This is a statement of what has been forehead slappingly obvious from the start. Consider their first recommendation:

Recommendation #1: Save the Economy by Saving Lives First

Limiting economic damage caused by the pandemic starts and ends with controlling the spread of the virus. Dozens of experiments conducted in different countries across the world definitively show that no country can prevent the economic damage without first addressing the pandemic that causes it. The countries that swiftly focused first on pandemic abatement measures are now reopening in stages and growing their economies. Most of the countries that prioritized bolstering their economies and resisted, limited, or prematurely curtailed interventions to control the pandemic are now facing runaway rates of infection and imminent state and national lockdowns.

We’ve known  this, so how is it that this is news?

Our national politics have focused on the economy and largely ignored the suffering and death that is driving our economic disaster. As much as we have been harmed by Trump’s flip-flopping, disingenuous and stupid healthcare recommendations (injecting Clorox and Lysol, treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, etc.) and his refusal to lead, our disaster isn’t solely about the lack of proper leadership from Trump.

Click me for the story

South Dakota has the third highest rate of death from COVID-19 in the world. Nevertheless, the governor of that state recently bragged about refusing to mandate mask wearing. That kind of political posturing, denial and healthcare myopia has made things exponentially worse in every way. And she’s not alone in her denial.

We Americans demand instant gratification, which is great for popcorn at the movie theater. It isn’t so great for dealing with pandemic disease or national economic issues or even your own personal economic issues. But we don’t have solutions for any of these vexing problems that don’t require both sacrifice and patience.

Further, we Americans don’t like to hear unpleasant news, but that makes us weenies when we need to be courageous. So, it comes down to this: we must buckle up and do what needs to be done. It will be bad, but not nearly as bad as all the other options.

As I wrote in a recent post, “The problem won’t go away without taking the cure. Even if the cure is painful, at least it’s temporary. Without taking the cure, the pandemic is permanent.” That will still be true for a long time, even after vaccines become available. And the economy will remain hobbled unless we save lives first.

Read the entire INET report. The data is shockingly clear and persuasive. Then slap your forehead over the obvious truth we’ve been refusing to see and how Trump’s continuing refusal to lead this country to health is killing Americans and our economy.

Trump is the kid who lost the Monopoly game and is throwing the tokens, houses, hotels, Chance cards and money across the room, because if he can’t win he wants to make sure nobody else can win, either. This is what happens when a temper tantrum brat gets his hands on power. He may be on his way out, but he’s making sure that he continues to get gobs of attention by booby-trapping all he can. And he hasn’t a care in the world how many people get hurt or how badly compromised he makes our nation. It is ever and always solely about him, and he simply can’t deal with being a loser.

But he is. And people are dying.

For those who have refused to see, that’s a forehead slapper, too.

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Fun  Contest

Donald Trump is incapable of admitting he’s a loser, so he will not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden or voice any acknowledgement of the reality that he lost. On the other hand, he will have to leave 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that is the source of our contest.

Check only the circle that most applies:

Ο – Trump will sneak out of the White House when nobody’s looking in order to minimize his humiliation.

Ο – While waiting for the end, Trump will plant loaded mousetraps in the drawers of the Resolute Desk, put Whoopee Cushions under the seats of the sofas in the Oval Office and have his gold plated toilet removed and shipped to New York without replacing it with a new fixture. Then he will attempt to hide the bust of Andrew Jackson under his overcoat to take it as a souvenir. He will allow Secret Service agents to drag him out of the White House by his elbows in front of TV cameras in order to maximize his victimhood and enhance his martyrdom. As he is being led across the South Lawn to Marine 1 he will shout that the election was full of fraud, that it was rigged and that “Everybody knows I won the election.” He will instruct the pilot of Marine 1 to fly over the National Mall in a pattern depicting a human hand with an extended middle finger.

Mail your entry along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, to:

    • Trump Biggest Loser Contest
    • 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    • Washington, DC 20500
    • Att’n: Loser in Chief

Entries must be received by 11:59AM on January 20 to be eligible. Winning entries will be announced  at 12:00 noon on that same day. The decision of the voters is final.

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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.

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. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. 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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Transcript of the Third Debate


Transcript of former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden’s closing argument at the imaginary 3rd and final Presidential Debate, 2020

Well, folks, we’ve gotta give credit where it’s due. It’s only right.

We’ve just heard the closing argument of President Trump, giving you his best story to get you to vote for him. It was so odd that he couldn’t give us a single reason to vote for him, like what he’d do in a second term. He just whined about how he was being treated so unfairly. He offers us nothing and wants us to believe he’s a poor victim. That’s pathetic. But still, some credit is due. Here’s the credit.

Never in at least the last 100 years of presidential contests have so many lies been told in just two minutes. He’s really very good at lying. That’s the credit he’s due.

Lots of his lying is just Trump trying to make himself look good, so he makes up total fictions hoping you’ll buy the nonsense and he does it in such a tsunami of lies that there’s no chance for you to say, “Wait  .  .  .  what?” But that’s dangerous, because it puts you and your family at risk.

Like his lies about the coronavirus. Folks, we’re not rounding the bend; one thousand of us are dying every day and it’s getting worse.

Trump surrenders to COVID-19, February, 2020

We’re in the midst of the biggest surge of infections yet, now over 80,000 per day. He tells us that he’s done an incredible job with this pandemic, but the truth is that he abandoned his post and let the virus attack. He’s literally done nothing to help you stay healthy. And every day he models the very behavior most likely to make a lot more people sick and for many of them to die, like his refusal to wear a mask and like his super-spreader rallies. And just last week his chief of staff announced that they waved the white flag of surrender and won’t do a thing to protect you. All they’re doing is counting on vaccines and treatments that don’t exist.

That’s why some of the kids in your child’s school got infected and were sick for days, perhaps for weeks. Maybe it hit your child. It’s why people’s grandparents – maybe yours – got sick and died alone. It’s why our doctors and nurses are so exhausted and our hospitals are so overcrowded that you can’t get help if you have a heart attack or are involved in a car crash. That’s what has happened because this president abandoned his post. He quit.

He lies to make it sound like he’s done something useful, but he hasn’t helped you at all. He even demeans the true experts who can help you.

And he’s cut way back on testing so that the number of cases reported will be lower just to make him look good. But that doesn’t lower the actual number of people who become sick and die. How dumb does he think you are?

Folks, his lying has made the greatest country in the world look like a helpless 3rd world nation. We’re leading the world in infections, suffering and death. That doesn’t fit too well with our notion of American exceptionalism, our can-do spirit.

Sadly, Trump will never be a real live boy because he lies all the time.

Have you heard enough lies from this president?

Folks, I’ll never surrender. I’ll never wave a white flag or give up on We the People. We’re going to beat this thing together.

How about his lies about the economy? Millions of our fellow citizens – maybe you – have lost their jobs and 42% of those furloughed won’t ever be rehired – and still he lies.

He tells you how great the economy is doing. The tax cut he’s so proud of was supposed to increase your wages and stimulate new jobs. That’s what he promised you. How’s that working out for you? Folks, it was never going to happen.

Instead, he gave billions of dollars to big corporations to buy back their stock in order to increase their stock prices so that big shareholders would become even richer. And the money also went directly into the investment portfolios of other rich guys. Nearly nothing went to you, and still he lies to you about how great the economy is doing. C’mon man, gimme a break!

Have you heard enough lies from this president?

He lies to you about how great our international safety and security are, but he’s alienated all of our friends, the nations who partner with us to protect us all. And he’s sucked up to Putin and other brutal dictators, putting us all at risk and lying to you at the same time.

Have you heard enough lies from this president?

He said he was going to drain the swamp – maybe you wanted him to do that. But what he did instead was to get rid of the competent people who make the government work for us and he replaced them with industry insiders, lobbyists, big donors and incompetents. They’re all swamp creatures! Then he fired them and recruited even worse people and lied to you about that, too!

The We The People Presidential BS Detector

Have you heard enough lies from this president?

He loves to vomit out his strings of superlatives about himself, but they’re all just vapor. There’s no substance to them. They’re just more of his lies.

Folks, we all know how this works. Every one of us has a very sensitive BS detector and the big We The People BS Detector has been pegged out for 4 years. So, if you’ve had enough, if you’re sick of being lied to and cheated and put in harms way for no reason other than so Trump can grab more money, more power and more attention for himself, it’s time for you to take a stand and speak up. You do that with your vote.

This won’t cut it. If you’ve heard enough lies, you have to VOTE HIM AWAY!

Vote this liar out of office right now. Put on your mask and go to your polling place this afternoon or tomorrow morning at the latest. Get in line and stay in line to make your voice heard with your vote. Tell Trump you’re done with his lies.

Folks, this president has broken our country. Fixing it will require an end to his lies. Then we’ll put America back together again. We’ll Build Back Better and restore America’s health and honor and leadership in the world because this is the United States of America.

God bless you and God bless our troops.

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Signs of Trump Insanity Affecting You

From STAT:

Three Western states join California’s Covid-19 vaccine review group

Washington, Oregon, and Nevada yesterday joined California’s Covid-19 vaccine safety review group, which will independently review any Covid-19 vaccine approved by the FDA. Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the initiative last week. The review panel is currently made up of California scientists who specialize in immunization and public health, and the governors of the three states who have joined the effort will also select and name their own experts to the panel. States are taking up this effort to verify a vaccine amid concerns about a politicized and rushed approval for a Covid-19 vaccine. In addition to these four states, New York last month also announced that any FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccine will be independently vetted by state health officials. [emphasis mine]

How insane is it that we can’t trust our formerly world leading Food and Drug Administration to ensure that our vaccines are safe and effective – this because of Trump’s lies and manipulations? There truly is nothing that Trump won’t lie about and ruin, including our confidence in those entrusted to protect us and even your health.

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

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  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. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. 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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Stomach Turning in 4 Parts and 5 Questions


Reading time – 4:49  .  .  .

1. Immigration Vile

We’re all appalled by the forced, medically unnecessary, inept and deceitful sterilizations of would-be immigrants at the hands of at least one doctor at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”),  Irwin County Detention Center. It is a privately owned (LaSalle Corrections), for-profit immigration jail in rural south Georgia. We don’t yet know if such things are happening in other ICE prisons.

First question: Why do we pay private corporations to run this and many other prisons, where they have incentives to lock up as many people as possible and perhaps perform stomach turning additional revenue enhancing acts?

The hideousness of these forced sterilizations – by some counts as many as 18 known and medically unnecessary, non-consensual surgeries – is now known and the full story isn’t out yet. This is a new chapter in American immigration cruelty. The good news, of course, is that this has never happened before.

Except it has. Many times.

In the 20th century alone (and it didn’t start there) tens of thousands of men and women were forcibly sterilized and it will come as no surprise to you who the targets were. From a report on this travesty (and here’s another report on this):

More than 60,000 people were sterilized in 32 states during the 20th century based on the bogus “science” of eugenics, a term coined by Francis Galton in 1883.

Eugenicists applied emerging theories of biology and genetics to human breeding. White elites with strong biases about who was “fit” and “unfit” embraced eugenics, believing American society would be improved by increased breeding of Anglo Saxons and Nordics, whom they assumed had high IQs. Anyone who did not fit this mold of racial perfection, which included most immigrants, Blacks, Indigenous people, poor whites and people with disabilities, became targets of eugenics programs. [emhasis mine]

But that was way in the past, right? Wrong.

Such practices are documented as occurring as recently as 2010. Over 1,400 forced sterilizations were performed in California prisons in just over 13 years. These were all state-sanctioned, non-consensual sterilizations.

To give you an idea of the cruelty of eugenics, the Nazis copied it, using the laws of Indiana and California as models for their 1930s laws that led to roughly 400,000 forced sterilizations. The Nazis weren’t the kind of people to whom we would want to be compared, and yet in this sense we can be.

Second question: Why do we tolerate this cruelty as part of our stomach turning immigration practices?

 

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2. COVID-19 Deaths

Trump’s cruelty and ineptitude remains exactly what the Oxford study said it was. Worse, he continues to do what is counterproductive to beating this pandemic and he avoids doing what would make things better. Nevertheless, there is more to this story and it’s likely not exactly what you think.

If you want to know why some countries have had relatively good results dealing with COVID-19 and why the U.S. has fared much poorer, read this.

Third question: Why have we tolerated a stomach-turning hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths?

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3. RBG’s Seat

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, progressive, civil rights icon of the Supreme Court has died. Separate from her loss and ours we must contend with Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, promising to hurry Trump’s replacement pick through the Senate. He announced that less than two hours after the news of her death broke. His was truly astonishing disrespect.

This is the same Mitch McConnell who declared from a dark corner of his manipulative, power-grabbing mind that in the last year of his administration President Obama couldn’t refill the seat left empty by Antonin Scalia’s death. It wouldn’t be fair to the voters, McConnell told us. The next president should handle that, he said. Besides, he informed us that no president had ever nominated anyone for a Supreme Court seat in his last year in office.

And he was right. Except for Anthony Kennedy, who was nominated by Ronald Reagan in his final year in office. And William Rehnquist and Louis Powell, who were nominated in the last year of Nixon’s first term – you get the idea. But it was really important to the Grim Reaper to prevent President Obama from having a Supreme Court pick in his last year in office, so McConnell made up precedent and put a knee on the neck of Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

Now, though, we’re hearing from the other fork of McConnell’s tongue. Somehow his phony precedent doesn’t matter so much, now that Trump is the one doing the nominating. Now McConnell has promised to ram Trump’s pick through the Senate before the November 3 election.

Fourth question: What does that do to your stomach?

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4. American Wars

From Sheila Markin’s recent post:

Trump has called himself a wartime president. Yes, America is at war. Our country has been beset by 4 huge assaults at once.

First, there’s the pandemic which, because of Trump’s interference and mismanagement, has cratered our economy and devastated the lives of Americans, resulting in lost jobs, lost health care, lost health, lost homes, and food insecurity for millions of Americans.

Second, there’s climate change which has created huge raging fires in the West with smoke that turned into cyclones with their own embedded lightning, more powerful hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and ice caps melting at a rapid rate which will cause sea level rise, imperiling coastal areas.

Third, there is social unrest and mainly peaceful marches to support the Black Lives Matters movement in response to the unfairness documented by cell phone footage proving that people of color are treated horribly and are killed by police in disproportionate numbers.

Fourth, our democracy and cherished “free and fair elections” are being attacked by Russia working in tandem with Trump and Republicans to suppress the vote, discourage Dems from coming to the polls and cast doubt on the reliability of mail-in ballots.

America IS at war and Trump is not on our side.

It’s time for we soldiers to report for duty, leading to the

Fifth question: It appears that we have perfected the art of complacency. It’s time to abandon that dark art in all of these issues before our stomachs go terminal. Are you ready?

From Rosh HaShanah commentary:

“If you want to see God save the innocent, you need to get off the couch and save the innocent. If you want to see God feed the hungry, you need to feed the hungry. If you want to see God stand by while the innocent suffer, all you need to do is stand by and do nothing yourself.” (emphasis original) – by Rabbi Brent Chiam Spodek and Ruth Messinger.

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

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  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. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. 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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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