evidence

A Different Take


The Atlantic’s Jonathan V. Last Thinks Mike Pence Is an American Hero
.

You read that right.

Pence was on the wrong side of nearly every issue, like reproductive rights, gay rights, failing to prevent an Indiana HIV outbreak from becoming far worse and more. His public religiosity didn’t extend to caring about those who got hurt by his policies. And he sucked up to Trump and his malfeasance for four years plus two campaigns.

All he did on January 6 was to obey the rules of the Constitution to do his clerical job. He could have spoken up at least a month before the insurrection and that might have saved lives, but he refused to do that.

We all know that he was under great pressure from Trump, who didn’t “want to be Pence’s friend anymore” if Pence wouldn’t lie and cheat Trump back into the White House. Pence didn’t knuckle under. That one time. I guess they aren’t friends now.

Sorry, Mr. Last, but this guy’s no hero. His tombstone might read, “At long least I got one right – in the last minute.” The sub-text will be all the things he got so terribly wrong for such a very long time.

Similarly, we learned from the June 23 public hearing of the January 6 House Select Committee proceedings that DOJ men of integrity had prevented Trump from invoking the Department in his efforts to steal the 2020 election. But, like Pence, they didn’t speak up when it could have prevented the injury, death and destruction of the January 6 insurrection.

What If  .  .  .

.  .  .  the January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists had started a large bonfire just a short way from the gallows intended to be used to hang Mike Pence?  What if they had brought with them a poster size version of the United States Constitution? What if they had ripped one page at a time from it and fed it into the flames of that bonfire? Would that have been worse than what they actually did?

They were bashing the Capitol Building, defecating on its marble floor, ransacking offices, bear spraying cops and viciously mauling every person and every thing that stood for our Constitution and our country. They tried to overturn the democratically determined will of We The People. They tried to paralyze the very government that is outlined in the Constitution. They sought to establish authoritarianism in place of democracy. They wanted and still want government by vigilante.

They were motivated and led by Republican officials, the likes of which have been working to overturn and end our democracy since at least 1960 and probably since FDR. The Republican Party may as well have burned the Constitution back then.

So, what if the insurrectionists, the seditionists, had lit a bonfire and burned the Constitution? They as much as did that, as they tried their best to end America. And vacuously, ignorantly, they claimed they are the patriots. That was no 1776 event. It was a Benedict Arnold betrayal.

One More Time

We’ve known all along that Trump knew he lost the election fairly and we’ve learned through testimony to the January 6 House Select Committee that he was told that by an army of his own people. They begged him to tell the insurrectionists to stand down, but he didn’t listen to any of them, not even his own daughter. He sat watching and enjoying the destruction. And there is exactly one reason why.

Trump was desperate to remain president because he knew that as soon as he was an ordinary citizen once again that he would no longer have the protection against prosecution that accompanies that office. He knew that prosecutions for election tampering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit a dozen crimes and so much more would come down on his head and he would spend the rest of his life in prison. That’s why he was and is willing to do anything, bray any unpatriotic lie and more just to stay in office.

Plus, of course, he would have to admit publicly that he’s a loser.

“Desperate people do desperate things.” – Rachel Caine

Special from The Texas Republican Party

From the June 18, 2022 report by Professor Heather Cox Richardson:

.  .  . delegates to a convention of the Texas Republican Party today approved platform planks rejecting “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and [holding] that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States”; requiring students “to learn about the dignity of the preborn human,” including that life begins at fertilization; treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice”; locking the number of Supreme Court justices at 9; getting rid of the constitutional power to levy income taxes; abolishing the Federal Reserve; rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment; returning Christianity to schools and government; ending all gun safety measures; abolishing the Department of Education; arming teachers; requiring colleges to teach “free-market liberty principles”; defending capital punishment; dictating the ways in which the events at the Alamo are remembered; protecting Confederate monuments; ending gay marriage; withdrawing from the United Nations and the World Health Organization; and calling for a vote “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

That’s pretty much the horrific bleeding edge of the GOP today and what they want to do to America. So, right now, this minute, mark your calendar to vote – November 8, 2022 and November 5, 2024 – unless you want what’s in that paragraph above.

From reader and writer Steve Sheffey:

Democracy is not a friend of Republicans, and instead of changing their policies to win votes, they are fighting democracy so that they don’t have to change their policies.

A Republican Song Of Today

To the Tune of This Land Is Your Land

Chorus

This land is my land,

I don’t mean thy land.

It’s just for my clan,

Not for those we can’t stand.

So if you’re all woke

You’re sure not our folk.

This land was made for me and mine.

Verse 1

I schemed and hated

And I agitated.

And scammed and ripped-off

And l lied my ass off.

We won’t be lonely

‘Cause it’s White’s only.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

Verse 2

We band together

To hate forever.

Stick it where it don’t shine,

‘Cus you just aren’t me’n mine.

We are the patriots,

Unlike you idiots.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

Verse 3

So, send the Blacks back

To where they came from.

We don’t need Asians

Making us all feel dumb.

And adios to

Hispanics, all of you.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

 

————————————

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

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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.
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JA


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

Are You Seeing a Pattern? Ug!


We humans are predisposed to look for causes for what we see, relationships to explain the way things work and patterns of events to help us predict the future. For example, if caveman Ug leaves his cave, turns left and runs into no danger, and if this happens the next day and the next, Ug is wired to see the pattern and he will expect to be able to leave his cave safely, as long as he turns left. Such is the power of repetition.

This observed pattern is reinforced when one day his cave mate Gug leaves the cave, turns right and is attacked and devoured by a very hungry, grouchy carnivore. In that moment Ug will have thoroughly internalized his important lesson on cave exiting.

It’s the same for us today. You find a restaurant you like so you go again with the expectation that you’ll like it again. If you do, you’ll likely eat there a third time. By then the pattern is clear and expectations are reinforced by the evidence and by repetition. We’re quick to pick up on such things, just like Ug.

That pattern recognition can carry over to our politics, although it can be badly warped. For example, Trump continues to make the demonstrably false claims that the election was rigged, that there were millions of fraudulent votes cast against him and that hundreds of thousands of votes cast for him weren’t counted (only in swing states). He whines as though making the claims is enough to make them true. Both his true believers and his cowardly sycophants repeat those lies over and over until they seem to many otherwise sensible people to be true. The repetition, not evidence, drives their belief. That is the essence of The Big Lie throughout history.

Last week the House voted to establish a January 6 commission to learn the full story behind the insurrectionist domestic terrorists that killed 5 people, brutalized police, vandalized the Capitol Building and threatened to kill the Vice President and members of Congress. 175 Republicans voted against that bill, even though they themselves had been targets for violence on that awful day.

From the Washington Post:

Republican leaders denounced the commission as a partisan Democratic plot. [House minority leader Kevin] McCarthy [R-CA] accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of not negotiating “in good faith” and wasting “time playing political games.” [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-KY]  chimed in to accuse House Democrats of having “handled this proposal in partisan bad faith going back to the beginning.”

I count 4 baseless claims and zero evidence in those 2 sentences and the rest of the article puts no evidentiary meat onto those bones. And the bad faith thing – in negotiations over the creation of the commission Republicans were given everything they asked for and – did I mention? – 175 of them, including all of Republican House leadership, still voted against the bill. These are the same people who declared unequivocally following the domestic terrorist insurrection that a full investigation was required. Perhaps they disliked having a bulls eye on their backs that day.

Apparently, giving Republicans all that they asked for was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “partisan bad faith.” Absurdly, their claims about the evil Democrats, having been repeated in the extremist echo chamber, and are now believed. That rejection of the legislation after getting everything they asked for makes me wonder what Republicans don’t want uncovered by a commission.

Georgia Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA) is a guy with a most pliable memory. He delivered the fantastical claim that the violent, murderous, defiling insurgents were only making “a normal tourist visit.” To give credit where it’s due, Clyde did offer cherry picked, misleading “evidence.” Of course, that’s actually worse than offering no evidence. On the other hand, on the day of the insurrection he was screaming and helping to erect barricades inside the House chamber, hoping to stop the terrorists.

Sen. Rob Johnson (R-WI) is always reliable for a fantasy-based quote, now claiming that the insurrection was largely a “peaceful protest.” It’s entirely possible that murdered Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick’s next of kin might see things a bit differently. Nevertheless, it’s likely that huge numbers of believers of evidence-free claims think Clyde and Johnson have it right. Once again, outrageously false and evidence-free claims got repeated and people believed them because of the repetition.

For a clear statement of the insanity of baseless, hollow claims and the harm they do to America, watch this 52-second clip of Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) excoriating Republicans for their detachment from reality and perfidy to the Constitution.

QAnon claimed that Democrats were running a child sex trafficking operation out of the basement of a pizza shop in DC. That  conspiracy claim was extra crispy crazy, if only because that pizza shop has no basement. But those claims were made and repeated in the vaporous, conspiracy-echoing universe and then believed by millions.

Are you seeing the pattern? People with large megaphones are making wild, ought-to-be unbelievable claims, offering no evidence (because there isn’t any). They repeat their fictitious claims over and over and people start to believe. And it’s worse than that.

Otherwise normal Americans are now trained to repeat these evidence-free claims themselves, as though making the accusations alone causes them to be true. These millions of Americans require no factual evidence.

Indeed, for true believers, continuous repetition of fraudulent claims at last becomes its own evidence that proves the claims.

That’s the kind of thing that could cause Ug to foolishly leave his cave and turn right, only to come to a very brutal and ugly end, just like Gug.

Speaking of Patterns

I’m an enthusiastic fan of John Oliver and I commonly appreciate his sense of outrage over very real outrageous issues. Here comes the “but.”

But last week he weighed into the Israeli-Palestinian carnage, making simple judgments about complexities he apparently doesn’t understand. He’s in good company, as most public commentary has done the same thing. I encourage you to view these videos (here and here) for a response to Oliver, because at the very least, they shed some light on the complexities and skewer the simple, easy and misleading judgments that so many are making.

I’m still a fan, but this time, as he sounded like he was making sense, John Oliver was actually making very little sense.

————————————

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Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. 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.

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