freedom

Nonsense


POST 1078


Regular readers recognize that I occasionally post an essay from other writers, pieces that are enlightening, important and timely. Today we have such a piece.

Ed Gurowitz is a friend and an RSP – “Royal Smart Person.” Today he offers timely insight into our current iteration of Supreme betrayal. If this isn’t top-of-mind for you, reconsider, because this perfidy is not nonsense. This is a five-alarm fire, a fundamental threat to everything you hold dear.

NonsenseEd Gurowitz
By Ed Gurowitz, Master Coach, Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist, Strategy Consultant, Executive and Leadership Consultant

Published Jun 13, 2024

Referencing her husband, Mrs. [Sam] Alito says, “He’s like, ‘Oh, please don’t put up a flag.’ I said, ‘I won’t do it because I am deferring to you. But when you are free of this nonsense, I’m putting it up and I’m gonna send them a message every day, maybe every week, I’ll be changing the flags.’ (Quoted in Rolling Stone)

In all the reporting general outrage over Mrs. Alito’s flag comments (including that she wants to put up a “shame” flag to counter the Pride flags she has to endure for a whole month), no one seems to have picked up on one thing: “when you are free of this nonsense . . .

The “nonsense” in question is her husband’s lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court Justice. Get that one of the top nine judicial seats in the United States Government is, according to dear Martha Anne, “nonsense!” Nonsense that is interfering with her right to fly offensive flags, though it’s not interfering that much, given the upside-down flag at their home and the Liberty Tree flag at their beach house. But, like a good little Maxwell Housewife, she is “deferring” to her husband’s nonsense just as another wife might put up with her spouse’s going fishing or building models in the garage.

This really should tell us all we need to know about [Justice Sam] Alito, Mrs. Alito, [Justice] Clarence Thomas, and Mrs. Thomas and their contempt for judicial ethics. Why would ethics matter when it’s all nonsense?

So to all the attorneys hoping to one day have the opportunity to argue before SCOTUS, to the judges who hope to one day have an appointment to the high court, and to others who hope to bring appeals to the court (including [for damages due to exposure to] Agent Orange), don’t bother – it’s all nonsense.

To women who desperately need health care up to and including abortion, fuggedabotit! It’s all nonsense.

To BIPOC groups hoping for justice and righting centuries-old wrongs, quit worrying – it’s all nonsense.

So, I guess, was the coronation of George W. Bush as POTUS when he had clearly lost to Al Gore – makes no difference – it’s all nonsense, just like Brown v. Board of Education and all the landmark cases.

Given it’s all nonsense, I guess we should just kick back and let Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, along with Nonsense-in-Chief Roberts rule the land according to their version of Christian Nationalism.

Folks, it’s time to end the nonsense – here’s how: VOTE! Take back the House, keep the Senate, and make it a prime order of business to impeach Alito and Thomas and replace them with Justices for whom the highest court in the land is not nonsense. Then Martha Anne can fly a damn pirate flag for all anyone gives a damn, and Ginny Thomas can prostrate herself at the feet of Trump and worship him as the second coming of Jesus until those in white coats come and take her away.

Many thanks to Ed for allowing me to post his essay.

The Nonsensical 74 Million

The Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 and who continue to send Trump their money and attend his rallies and spew the equivalent of Seig Heil! obeisance to him believe that our extremist Supreme Court is taking us in the God-ordained and Founder-intended right direction. They foam at the mouth for a Constitution-destroying New Reich in America. For them, anything less is nonsense.

The point is that our problem isn’t Trump. He’s just the felonious, slimy circus barker, the self-immolation conductor. The problem is actually the large minority of Americans who like the snake oil that the circus barker is selling and who will self-immolate to get it. They’ve been manipulated for decades by self-promoting cons whose only use for the 74 million is to steal their money and power and rule over them. And it’s been easy, because angry people are putty in the hands of skillful con men.

Trump is an easy target for progressives, with his outrages and ever present, addled-brain ramblings. The true dishonor belongs to his followers who: cheer his calls to violence; who ignore or who completely miss his wanderings in dementia and the horror of such a person having the nuclear codes; and who don’t care if their president is a convicted felon.

They are well on their way to transforming the United States of America into a despotic wasteland. You know that’s true because Trump has repeatedly promised to do exactly that. He declares that after he wins he will force this country, this land of the free and home of the brave, this land that’s your land and my land, to become a dictatorship that is his alone; that he will imprison or execute his political enemies; that he will have in our government only loyalists to him, not people loyal to the Constitution; that he will have only nonsense Justices on the Supreme Court who will dance to his nonsensical, despotic loony tunes.

You can dismiss Trump’s cruel, dreadful doom, believing that while he might do those things, that he’s just three Big Macs away from cardiac arrest, so we’ll be rid of him. But he will have laid the foundation for the even worse despot who will follow him, courtesy of the nonsensical 74 million and the nonsensical Supreme Court.

Nonsense Math

On October 1, 2017 a murderer opened fire from a hotel window, shooting into revelers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. He used semi-automatic weapons fitted with bump stocks that effectively turned them into automatic weapons. He killed 58 people and injured over 500 in just 11 minutes. Authorities report that he fired over 1,000 bullets in that time. Let’s do some math.

Assume 600 people were shot over those 11 minutes. That means that someone was shot every 0.9 seconds, or 10 people shot every 11 seconds. 1,000 total shots in 11 minutes equals an average of 2 bullets fired every 3 seconds, which includes time to reload. Apparently, that isn’t swift enough murdering to qualify that firearm as an illegal automatic weapon, according to our Supreme Court.

The assault rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School to murder 20 first graders and 6 teachers and staff. Also used at Robb Elementary school to kill 19 kids and 2 teachers. Imagine how many more could have been killed if this war machine had been fitted with a bump stock. The SC says it doesn’t care.

Writing for the “conservative” majority, Justice Clarence “Mega-donor Gifts” Thomas proclaimed that semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks are not fully automatic weapons. This is so, he would have us know, because of some arcane, nonsensical differentiation the Court majority invented for this case. Bump stocks remain legal for private citizens to possess and use.

Effectively, Clarence says, “Boo-hoo, little blubbering victims. We don’t care about you. The next mass murderer is free to fit his semi-automatic killing machine with a bump stock so that it will fire automatically at the rate of 2 bullets every 3 seconds. That way our domestic terrorist mass murderers can kill more people at a very rapid, punched-man-card rate. Bummer for you if you’re in his fully automatic sights.” Horrifyingly, that sounds a lot like legalized Nazi mass murders.

It’s yet another case of Supreme Court homicidal nonsense.

Clearly, we must end this actual Supreme Court nonsense – this contempt for reality, ethics, equality, honor, freedom, justice and even for human life.

What will you do?
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Check the countdown clock below. Every time I look there is less time to take action to stop the “nonsense.”


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • 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!


.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
  6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

Click me

JA


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

Duty


POST 1070


First: The Prediction – Drum Roll, Please

The tarnished gold con artist drama is all but over. Donald J. Trump’s pick for Vice President will be his son, Donald J. Trump, Jr. The rest of the bootlickers can pack it up and slink back to their standard positions of general sucking up. Nothing more will be needed from them.

Duty

January 6 was an awful day in American History. We each know where we were, likely staring at a TV screen, our mouths agape in horror. I was yelling over and over, “Where the hell is the National Guard?” Of course, at the time I didn’t know that Trump had prevented them from intervening to stop the murderous, treasonous attack on our country.

See Note #5 below.

See Note #5 below.

For some people the event was far more personal, including members of Congress, staff, workers at the Capitol Building and the Vice President of the United States. However, it was most personal for the Capitol Police and the DC Metro cops who battled to defend that symbol of our nation and all the people inside it. Their injuries led to deaths and every one of these officers carries scars, some physical, but all have mental and emotional scars.

Officer Michael Fanone wrote a book. It’s excellent. So did Officer Harry Dunn. He’s running for Congress now. Kick in a few bucks because we need his honorable voice in Congress.

Another January 6 defender of America is Daniel Hodges. The attacks on him were gruesome, including some thug trying to gouge out his eye. You need to hear Hodges himself, so,

Here’s a link to his March 21 opinion piece in The Hill.

Here’s a link to Tom Dreisbach’s interview of Hodges for NPR.

Fanone, Dunn, Hodges and all their brothers and sisters in blue are national heroes, at least to those who think insurrection is a very bad thing and that honoring one’s oath of office means something inviolable. They fought an overwhelming mob of angry, violent, treasonous Americans that day. They did their duty and more for all of us. Now, in this election year, it’s our turn to show up for duty.

Biggest Election Fear

First, Trump will either convicted and jailed in New York or he will plead to a misdemeanor and will lose so much support that he cannot win the election.

Next, the Republicans will scramble for a candidate and settle on Nikki Haley, who continues to grab about 20% of the votes in primaries even though she dropped out of the race in March.

Haley is younger, vital, smart, carries none of Trump’s negatives and attracts millions of voters eager for a fresh face. She will easily beat Biden.

Even worse, excitement for Haley will infect down ballot races and Republicans will also control Congress and the majority of state houses. Yet more of our civil rights, our freedom and our healthcare will hemorrhage away.

Biggest fear. Well, actually it’s the stand-by fear. You know the worst one.

So, Who Will Save Us?

How is it that the Surgeon General of Florida is a vaccine denier/refuser? There’s a measles outbreak there now and this DeSantis suck-up fool both opposes vaccines and won’t even recommend that unvaccinated children stay home from school in order to avoid being measels-infected by sick kids and teachers. How did we come to this?

Or to the willfully ignorant book bans? Or to have a presidential candidate who thinks that as president he can order Seal Team Six to murder his opponents and he actually has a serious chance of winning the election? You know the list of outrages. How come so many people think this stuff is good and patriotic?

As you can see from the Supreme Court acquiescing to Trump’s delays – even aiding and abetting them – we cannot count on the courts to save us. There is nobody coming over the hill to protect us from ourselves. We are the only defense of democracy that exists.

Imploring people to vote is spot on for saving what we think of as our freedom, our rights, democracy and a few other things we take for granted. That’s important, because if the MAGAs gain full control, nothing will be granted. The barbarians are at the gates threatening to crash through and take everything you care about.

If we are to be saved, we’re going to have to save ourselves. It’s our at-bat. Time for us to stand a post. It’s our time. Like it was for our Capitol Police and DC cops on January 6.

This is our duty.
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Biggest Hush M0ney Trial Fear

The evidence against Trump is enormous. It’s unlikely his semi-inept lawyers will be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat for him.

I’m picturing a conversation with Trump and his attorneys as they are about to prepare their closing argument. The attorneys are telling him that it’s hopeless, that he’s going to prison. There is no chance that the jury will hang or acquit.

“Mr. Trump, you have only one chance to stay out of prison. You agree to plead guilty to misdemeanor fraud, accept a punishment of a fine and a year of probation and you’ll never set foot in a prison. Refuse that and you’ll be wearing orange by Thursday.”

Trump has to stay out of state prison so that he can win the election and then kill the two federal cases against him (the Mar-A-Lago documents case and the January 6 case). Plus, if Trump is in office, the Georgia RICO case gets pushed back four years.

So, Trump will cop a plea and we’ll never see his fat ass in an orange jumpsuit. That is my biggest fear about this fraud case and this fraudulent sleaze ball. Pray I’m wrong.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


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

Hope


Post 1,049


Thomas Paine

248 years ago the slightly known young patriot and freedom zealot Thomas Paine* penned the first pamphlet of The American Crisis, a series of 13 pieces published periodically over 6 years. This first was written as Washington and his army were retreating across the Delaware River and was published in the Philadelphia Journal on December 19, 1776.** That dispirited army then had to endure a dreadful winter, with many freezing or dying of disease at Valley Forge.

Click me

Paine wrote Crisis because we in the Colonies were at a flex point of either knuckling under to a capricious and abusive king with his greatest army and navy in the world, or standing up and saying, “No more!” That decision looked to be anything but certain.

The American crisis was, indeed, most real. Paine sought to reach the masses with his pen, hoping to inform and inspire. He opened his work with words familiar to us even today.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” [caps original]

Of course, Paine was right then – and he’s still right. Today we rebel against no unstable monarch across the sea, yet we are in danger of creating our own home-grown capricious despot, eager to steal our highly revered and celestial FREEDOM.

Here’s how Professor of History Heather Cox Richardson closes her 2023 perspective,  Democracy Awakening – Notes on the State of America:

Click me – and read Note #5 below.

“[Lincoln] called on his neighbors to defend equality before the law and the right of everyone to consent to government under which they live. They must reclaim the history of America so that it would have ‘a new birth of freedom.’

“When Lincoln said those words in 1863, it was not at all clear his vision would prevail. But he had hope because after decades in which they had not noticed what the powerful were doing to destroy democracy, Americans had woken up. They realized that the very nature of America was under attack. They were divided among themselves and at first they didn’t really know how to fight back, but ordinary people quickly came to pitch in however they could, using the tools they had. ‘We rose each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach – a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver,’ Lincoln recalled. Once awake, they found the strength of their majority.

“In Lincoln’s era, democracy appeared to have won. But the Americans of Lincoln’s time did not root out the hierarchical strand of our history, leaving it there for other rising autocrats in the future to exploit with their rhetoric and the fears of their followers.

“So far, the hopes of our Founders have never been proven fully right. And yet they have not been proven entirely wrong.

“Once again, we are at a time of testing.

“How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.”

I’m grateful for the optimism in Richardson’s title, Democracy Awakening, and hope beyond reason that her optimism is well founded. But, as many have said, hope is not a strategy. Hope by itself is allowing inertia or others take over direction and, ultimately, inertia concedes the battle. Hope needs action and awakening requires effort. That’s where we find ourselves today.

The current assault on our democracy isn’t a sudden event. It was concocted through decades of scheming and incremental undermining of our institutions and our culture to make it possible to take away our rights and FREEDOM. The schemers learned how to inflame Americans to fight against America with false claims unmoored to facts. Nevertheless, the usurpers didn’t just sit with their hope of conquest. They took action and oddly, in that way, they offer us a message, a road map for stopping them, for holding fast to our values and promoting our true American hopes and dreams.

Our task as patriots is to hear the call, that these are, indeed, the times that try men’s and women’s souls. Ours is not to grab “a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver.” It is to awaken and to stand a post with a voter registration clipboard to register new voters. It is to canvass and make phone calls and send postcards to voters in battleground states, reminding them that their FREEDOM is on the line, that their American dream is at stake, that their children’s future is in peril of collapsing beneath them before they’ve even started. It is to show our people that they and we can win the days to come by standing for the America that Lincoln taught us we are meant to be.

As Richardson makes clear, “How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.” It’s time for us to put our hands to work, to stand and say to those who would crush our democracy, “No more!” Then we will have put hope to work and we will be worthy of it.

Speaking Of Hope

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Hey Bibi!

We know that you feel like you can’t make peace in Gaza because there would immediately be an election in the Knesset which will throw you out of office and into court to stand trial. And we know there is validity to wanting to demolish Hamas before it demolishes Israel, as it has promised to do. But you cannot kill an idea.

Really, Bibi, does this little kid look like a threat to you? Or does the bubbe standing behind him? Or any of the people in any of the Al Jezeera photos here?

Shocking truth #1: Regardless of the destruction you rain down on Gaza, Hamas will not surrender. Ever. And they will only release the hostages when they feel they no longer need them. Bombs won’t set the hostages free or protect Israel for more than just a short time.

Shocking truth #2: This is not all about you. You’re not the center of the universe. You’re just a guy bombing helpless people. The world needs you to wake up. Step over to the right side. Call yourself a mensch if it helps you to do so. Regardless, turn off the attacks. You know: like a statesman. Or a mensch.

You liked Ronald Reagan, right? To paraphrase him,

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down your attacks.

______________________________________

* For a glimpse into the world in which Paine wrote his charged missives, read this fine piece on that history by Steve Schmidt.

** The first pamphlet of The American Crisis was, by order of the Commander – Washington – read to his troops at Valley Forge. It provided sufficient inspiration so that shortly thereafter Washington and his little army re-took Trenton.

The final pamphlet of The American Crisis was published on April 19, 1783 on the 8th anniversary of the first shot of the war, the one “heard ’round the world” from Lexington and Concord. I invite you to link through and read Emerson’s short poem out loud. In a surprising and metaphorical way, we today are required to be the embattled farmers standing by that stream.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


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

A Critical Recommendation


There’s no more whispering or hinting. No more sneaky attacks. No more need to interpret Steve Bannon’s insane “Tear it all down,” rants. It’s all out in the open now.

In an enormously chilling piece in the New York Times, Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025, subtitled “The former president and his backers aim to strengthen the power of the White House and limit the independence of federal agencies” your worst fears for our country are laid bare.

It’s the Heritage Foundation in full Nazi dress uniform declaring that they own the true interpretation of our Constitution and it doesn’t involve any of that messy, inconvenient checks and balances bother. There’s neither need for nor room for democracy. They want nothing to impede a megalomaniac.

Their treachery would create a unitary president with monarchic power. Dictatorship. All power in the hands of one pathological ruler.

Go read the report by Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman. They make clear that what these “extreme unitary executive people” want to do is truly horrifying, anti-American and terminally toxic to rights and freedom. What’s even more upsetting is how many millions of Americans seem to want that.

From an earlier Disambiguation:

It is truly frightening that millions of people are demanding authoritarianism in America. They want an end to our self-rule, our long and noble experiment in democracy. Christopher Ingraham spells out the truth that has been so difficult to define in his Washington Post article, “New Research Explores Authoritarian Mind-set of Trump’s Core Supporters.”

Key takeaway: In the face of this brain-free populist authoritarian self-destruction, we practice apathy at our individual and collective peril.

Apathy and disinterest simply won’t do for those of us who think democracy – that thing you learned about in civics class – is a pretty good thing. Fortunately, there are actions we can take to help us keep it.

If we were all to vote, our popular will would be enough to douse the flames of authoritarianism. Good on you for voting, but it turns out we don’t all vote. That means that you and I have to do a bit more. We have to fight a better fight if we’re to keep our democracy and the things we hold dear.

IMPORTANT NOTE

DO NOT be swayed by claims made by the totalitarians with their chest-thumping calls of patriotism, patriarchy, Christianity, traditional society or any of the other manipulations that autocrat wannabes use. This is simply, clearly and maniacally a grab for all the money and position and power.

They will use any words and any manipulation to get away with their treason, but it will remain treason to all you hold dear. It’s their boundless greed. Their grab for total control. And once your democracy is gone, it will be gone forever. It will be the end of life as you know it.

Don’t believe it? Does that seem hyperbolic to you? Go ask the people of Hungary or Turkey about that. They used to have democracies. Check with survivors of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. It took wars where tens of millions of people died to end those dictatorships and now the Putin dictatorship has revived the cruelty of the Soviet Union.

This threat is existential to you.

These people don’t give a damn about you or anything that’s important to you. Whether your key issue is guns and gun safety, abortion rights, healthcare, immigration, education, jobs, wealth inequity – THEY DON’T CARE! They want to take the power from you and me and use it for themselves. Here’s what that means to us:

We must get democracy supporters and promoters into all offices and dump the anti-democracy thugs.
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It’s the only way for us, our children and our grandchildren to remain free.

This is no thought experiment, nor something that is so far away that we can’t see it. We can already feel it, taste it, smell it and touch it. This threat is here right now. The un-American thugs have declared their intent to destroy our country.

Still not convinced? Review the Project 2025 website, but keep your teddy bear close, because it’s going to really scare you. It’s nothing short of lipstick on a rights, freedom and democracy killing pig.

That’s why you’re going to JOIN THE UNION, where they will show you how to make the difference you need to make.

Critical Recommendations

The Union is an organization dedicated to our Unionthe U.S.A. It’s an offshoot of The Lincoln Project. Its efforts are focused on exactly one issue: to protect and defend and to strengthen our democracy. They support organizations doing the hard work of protecting our rights and freedoms and advocating for the things you believe in. That’s a good thing. So CLICK HERE and join The Union. I’m a volunteer and I think you should be, too, because:

  1. This is to protect and expand what you believe in.
  2. What you believe in will go away unless you do something to prevent that from happening.

Heavy handed? Sure, but nowhere near as heavy handed as Donald Trump Der Fuhrer. Or any Republican despot wannabe.

More To Do
Paraphrased from Sheila Markin’s post of July 20, here is what you and I need to do:
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  1. Actively tell everyone you know that Biden is the right guy for the job and stop wringing hands about his age.
  2. Canvas, text, make calls and donate to get Democrats elected, because Republicans are trying to murder our democracy – unless you can find a Republican who is overtly promoting democracy. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to find one.
  3. Explain why all Republicans are too scary to elect even if their name is not Donald Trump. They are all part of the movement to dismantle democracy and, at best, they’ve stood silent as the outrages have continued. The threat to our democracy is much bigger than Donald Trump.
  4. Volunteer to be an election worker so that there is a counter to the MAGA GOP election deniers who are going to volunteer to oversee elections and intimidate voters.
  5. Share this post to help people understand the threat.
Strongly Recommended Reading

1. Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American, July 17. She’ll give you context for the extremist power play for 2025.

2. Writing for The Hill, Alexander Bolton explained that GOP Senators Rattled by Radical Conservative Populism. They might be rattled, but these cowards still refuse to speak out against the crazy and the un-American. That may be the biggest obstacle to preventing autocracy/fascism from taking over our country.


Today is a good day to be the light.

______________________________

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

    Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA

 


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

The Canary plus The Good Old Days


This Is a Get Smarter Opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good Old Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Balance

________________________________

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

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

  • Today is a good day to be the light.

    ______________________________

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

    Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


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

I Don’t Know Whether to Believe Justice Clarence Thomas


Now it’s your turn.

Friend, activist, Witness at the Border reporter and founder of Peaceful Communities, Lee Goodman, has a facility for clarity. While I’ve been beating the drum for center-and-left-thinking people to vote for quite a while, Lee’s recent essay is the best I’ve seen to communicate what’s at stake. Here it is as a Guest Essay. All emphasis is his except the last sentence of his post. That emphasis is mine.  JA

I’ve sprinkled throughout this guest essay pics from the White House Fact Sheet on what today’s Republicans want to do to you. This looks mostly at health related issues, but the same kind of Republican “screw you” attitude applies to infrastructure rebuilding, re-shoring of manufacturing and all the great jobs re-shoring will create and more. They offer only cutting anything that will help ordinary Americans and cutting taxes on rich guys. You know: trickle down economics that hasn’t trickled down for over 42 years. This is why you can’t vote for any Republican.


During oral arguments on a case challenging affirmative action, Justice Thomas said he didn’t “have a clue” what “diversity” means. Could he really be that stupid? Former President Trump’s behavior demonstrates that he has no idea what “decency” means. The campaign literature I have been receiving in the mail leads me to suspect that a whole lot of Republican candidates have no idea what “honesty” is. Leaders of the Republican party have shown that they don’t know what “civilization” means. The new owner of Twitter, who has given the green light to hateful incitement, doesn’t care what “responsibility” is all about. An entire political party that says it is “conservative” clearly doesn’t remember what that word means.

The right wing has discarded the vocabulary of normal human relations. It is rewriting the dictionary of political thought. Things that are not “people” are, to them, people. Intimidating folks by carrying assault rifles is peaceful demonstration. Riotous insurrection is free speech. Making it difficult to vote is democracy. Refusing to accept the results of elections is patriotic. Truthful reporting is “fake” news, while nonsensical conspiracy theories are revelation.

See the footnote* below.

Can so many people be out of their minds? Are we surrounded by idiots, oafs, and lunatics? Can it really be that our the Supreme Court is determined to eliminate fundamental rights and freedoms?

It was hard enough to accept over the years that there were places in our country that were behind the times, populated by intolerant religious zealots and ignorant bigots. It is harder to accept that their worldview may now have the support of the majority.

We are not just squandering our national heritage of accomplishment. We are engaged in dissembling our country.

Actually, they want to be able to eliminate those benefits EVERY YEAR.

I have never been more worried about an election. As in all prior elections, large numbers of registered voters will not vote. Those uncast ballots will decide who wins, just as much as the ballots that are counted. On the news last evening, I heard people say they would not vote because they don’t feel that the people in power are listening to them. I can’t think of a better way to guarantee that you won’t be listened to than to not say anything.

Our country is not alone. Demagogues and dictators are plentiful. Repressive regimes are thriving. People are fleeing danger in their homelands and are being expelled from the places where they seek refuge. The upbeat stories at the end of evening newscasts of firemen giving firetruck rides to sick children do not balance out the reports of drought, floods, famine, war, and other misery.

Despite what Clarence Thomas, Elon Musk, Mitch McConnell, Ron DeSantis, Gregg Abbott, Mike Pence, Alex Jones, Rudy, the pillow guy, and the rest of the Fox News alternative universe say, there is something called “reality.” There must be “dignity.” We cannot let greed, hypocrisy, hate, jealousy, and fear-induced fantasy destroy hope.

If you haven’t decided yet whether to vote, assume that the people you don’t want running your life already have.
.

  • Lee Goodman can be reached at [email protected].
  • Click the logos for more.
  • ———————————–

“Don’t boo. VOTE!” – President Barack Obama

“Voting is what you’re going to do [this] Tuesday.” – JA

———————————–

*As he was headed out of Congress in 2004, 12-term congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) inserted a little addendum into George W. Bush’s thousands-of-pages-long Medicare Part D plan (which nobody read). It said that the government – Medicare – was prohibited from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Tauzin then left Congress and took a new job as president of PhRMA, the lobbying organization for Big Pharma. That gave him an increase in pay of 7,110% and ensured the highest cost of healthcare for seniors.

Extremely Late Addition

Friend Mardy Grothe publishes a weekly offering focused primarily on literature and language, always including memorable quotations. One offered today is from Scotty Reston of the New York Times that captures our solvable problem today:

“All politics is based on the indifference of the majority.”

Indifference simply isn’t an option today.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:

Fire the bastards!

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

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


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

The 2022 Pond Scum Awards


Pond Scum Award #1

The 2022 Pond Scum Awards

Elon Musk put in a bid to buy Twitter some months ago. Then he tried to slime out of the deal when it didn’t look too good for him anymore. However, even in the face of right wing extremists constantly vaporizing integrity, good sense and reality, a contract is still a contract (for the moment). Musk and his co-investors ponied up the cash and Musk has already started the corporate executions. He did that right after his bathroom sink “look at me” stunt, apparently as if to say, “I bought it – let that sink in.” Turns out that does sink in – in a really personal way.

I have a day job delivering leadership keynotes and workshops. I do those in the lofty hope of ending the motivation for any employee to ever again utter that horrible, life sucking sentence, “My boss is a jerk.” If I keep this up long enough perhaps I’ll have made a modest dent with my Fully Alive Leadership offerings. Here’s the connection of that to the change in Twitter ownership.

David Hogg is a survivor of the horrific mass murders at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and a spokesperson for Never Again.

I have Twitter accounts for both my leadership work and for these posts, both in the pursuit of reaching more people. Nobody knows if Twitter is useful in that way, but I do know that I don’t want to contribute in any way to Elon Musk inviting extremists to spew hatred, lies and vitriol. I want nothing to do with a platform that invites Donald Trump to further radicalize violent people and move us to abandon democracy and to embrace authoritarianism.

So, this is my last post to be linked to Twitter, as I will be closing my accounts there permanently.

Will Musk lose sleep over my exit from Twitter? Of course not. But I would lose sleep if I thought I were helping to enable evil that is unscrupulously masked as free speech.

CRITICAL DIFFERENTIATOR: The first amendment guarantee of free speech has to do only with preventing government from restricting our speech. It has nothing to do with Twitter or any other non-government public platform and the speech they allow or disallow. Those decisions are no more than company policies. None of us has a free speech right to publish on any of those platforms.

A boy and his sink enter Twitter HQ in San Francisco. It’s a proud moment for all plumbing.

So, Musk can make all the self-serving, self-congratulatory claims he likes about Twitter and free speech. That’s just a disguise for appealing to extremists in order to maximize his return on his dubious investment. And if his new Twitter handle is “Chief Twit” – he picked that – well, I agree. And he gets this 2022 Pond Scum Award.

Anyway, that’s what I sink.

Adios, Elon.

Pond Scum Award #2

My pal Jim Nathan is nothing if not an excellent unearth-er of great political commentary in the form of cartoons, pictures and clever statements. Here’s one he just sent to me:

Here you see a group of self-satisfied, ego-puffed Republicans congratulating themselves like a bunch of bratty high school juniors having successfully towel snapped all the freshmen boys in the locker room. These congressional embarrassments are so very proud that the only thing they accomplished (other than all the destruction, like trashing high speed mail sorting machines in order to slow down your mail service) was to give rich guys a huge tax cut and to stiff you.

Somebody has to explain to me why middle-class Americans would want to give power to these selfish dopes. These guys are so very worthy of their very own 2022 Pond Scum Awards.

Pond Scum Award #3

Here’s another pic from Jim:

First, that’s right. Second, a generation later your grandmother didn’t fight to be in charge of her own body just so you could sit at home in November, either.

The Pond Scummers shown in the pic in section #2 above are threatening to take away your freedoms, even all forms of birth control. There’s no telling how many more freedoms they will take away from you if they get their scummy hands on power. There is only one way to stop them, to prevent them from making you powerless:

You have to vote for people who will protect your freedom and your rights.
.

You cannot count on any Republican to do that. They are unpatriotic and they are insane for power. They’re still lying about the 2020 election. They’re promoting idiotic child trafficking and cannibalistic child eating conspiracies. They are stupid-claiming that the only possible outcome in any election is that either they win or that Democrats cheated and stole the election.

These people are unpatriotic and they are insane. You must not vote for any Republican. Those guys are 2022 Pond Scum Award winners, all. Here’s why:

  1. Republicans have no ideas and no policies to tackle inflation or any other challenge. They have admitted this. They have abandoned you to struggle in the face of national challenges entirely on your own. This is literally true.
  2. Republicans are spineless sycophants of Trump who chicken out of speaking truth. They want to take away your freedom and your rights just so they can grab more power. And they spew hatred, racism and antisemitism every day. This is literally true.
  3. Republicans want to end our democracy and make this country a dictatorship – Seig Heil, Trump! That would make you a powerless peon. This is literally true.

And you don’t want any of that!

That’s why you have to vote for sanity. Vote for Democrats because:

  1. They aren’t hateful, hypocritical thieves and liars. They won’t pick your pocket and give your money to rich people and they won’t make your kids ignorant and stupid. This is literally true.
  2. They believe in democracy and will protect and defend it and the Constitution – just like you would. This is literally true.
  3. They have ideas and policies in place to make your life better. E.g. gas prices are already falling, major new job opportunities are on the way and your bridges and roads are already being repaired. Every Republican voted against all of this. This is literally true.

Go vote for Democrats, just as your great-grandmother, your grandmother and your mother want you to. Make their work and their sacrifices mean something enduring.

And the answer is YES! Pass this along to every voter you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:

Fire the bastards!

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

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA

 


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

Dream Sequence


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

——————————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are my non-negotiable terms.

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

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

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

The world awaits your response.

Then I woke up.

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

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

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

May it be so.

————————————

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

We Know – Really


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the irrefutable truth:

If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we always got.
.

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

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

Reading Assignment

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

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

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

Oxymoron of the Year (So Far)

Click me for the story

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

————————————

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

It’s a Free Country


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

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

Here’s the list.

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

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

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

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

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

“Failure is not an option.”
.

Apollo 13 Service Module showing catastrophic damage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Required Reading

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

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

Cops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally,

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

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

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

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

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

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