hate

Haters


POST 1078


I’m finding it ever more difficult to tolerate the haters. It went over the top long ago, when Trump first gave permission to White supremacists to  snarl and spit their real or imagined grievances; to beat up protesters; for cops to bang the heads of perps; and to vomit vitriol attacking “others.” This has often been done in ways that dare us to figure out if haters’ claims are more repugnant or more laughably stupid. Maybe both.

From 1984, by George Orwell:

“In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within 30 seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people, like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”

Sounds much like a Trump rally.

Consider the idiocy unleashed in the wake of the cargo ship destroying the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Both the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland are foolish enough to be Black, so the racist attacks began almost immediately.

From Eugene Robinson’s post of April 1 (and no, this wasn’t an April Fools Day trick):

“This is Baltimore’s DEI mayor commenting on the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge,” one such troll [on Musk’s X platform] posted, along with a clip of [Mayor Brandon] Scott’s remarks [about this “unthinkable tragedy”] to his more than 275,000 followers. “It’s going to get so, so much worse. Prepare accordingly.”

Wait – Black mayor has his job only because of DEI and he’s responsible for the bridge collapse, plus things are going to get “so, so much worse?” That’s both hateful and boundlessly stupid, but there’s more. Another troll wrote as though addressing Baltimore Mayor Scott,

“DEI: Who cares when your city is going to sh-t because of drugs, increased crime, defunding police and poor infrastructure when you have a Mayor that ‘looks like you’, WINNING!!!!!”

I hate to interject inconvenient fact into this hater’s rant, but nothing – no, really nothing – he wrote is true. Other ranters went on to attack Maryland’s Black governor and a Black woman who sits on the Port Commission:

“This is what happens when you have Governors who prioritize diversity over the well being and security of citizens,” posted Phil Lyman, a Utah legislator who is running for governor of his state. “DEI did this,” posted Anthony Sabatini, a GOP congressional candidate in Florida’s 11th District, over a video clip of the bridge’s collapse.”

Pray that the voters in Utah and Florida have enough sense to send these guys packing.

Seeing the racism is one step in understanding our national quagmire of hatred, but there’s more.

Tom Nichols’ piece in The Atlantic on April 1, originally titled Is This Who You Are?, is a must-read essay. He calls for making moral choices, just as if we Americans still have morals and convictions.

The haters claim that this was intended to be a Christian nation. If you want to know what the Founders actually intended, read this. It will disabuse you of any notion that the Founders intended this to be a Christian theocracy. Indeed, avoiding that kind of despotism drove the Pilgrims here.

The mouth foamers want to protect Confederate statues, retain the names of Confederate traitors on schools and military bases and continue the fraud that is their “lost cause” of slavery and cruelty of every sort. Read Jennifer Rubin’s take on these people.

Today’s flamers are as traitorous as their revered Confederate ancestors. They are openly disloyal to our Constitution. In fact, they are pushing for a post-Constitutional America. Lest that sound to you like just so much MAGA conspiracy idiocy to ignore, what they want to do is:

PUT THE CONSTITUTION IN A DUMPSTER AND LIGHT IT ON FIRE!

TAKE AWAY ALL YOUR RIGHTS AND ALL YOUR FREEDOM!

MAKE THIS A NATION WHERE ALL POWER IS OWNED BY WHITE CHRISTIAN MEN ONLY!

No need to take my word for this. Read the Project 2025 document and it’s there in plain language. You might have to skim past the faux patriotic blather to find it.

Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that hating makes people feel powerful. It’s a drug. It is what Orwell said: a “hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture.  .  . “

But What About You and Me?

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves .  .  .

Julius Caesar, Scene II, Shakespeare

So, we rail over the frustration, seeing and hearing those doing harm to others and even to themselves. But rather than hating them, I confess that I’m simply without respect for those who disrespect, somehow comfortable in my double standard. And the self-defeating part is that the sociologists tell us that the haters are the way they are largely because they feel disrespected. I think I may not be helping to calm our national turbulence and devotion to insanity.

I want to be better than that, but for now I’ll settle for defeating the immediate threat.

Best Quote

Inae Oh, writing for Mother Jones about reproductive freedom (you remember that thing, right?):

When knowledge is power, what happens when information goes dark? People, especially society’s most vulnerable, needlessly suffer. And two years after the fall of Roe, this suffering has crept into nearly every crevice of health care and straight into the GOP mainstream. We’ll see if Democrats can successfully get that message across today and every day leading to November.

Perhaps we can help spread the word of what must be done. Think about that as you watch the first presidential debate tomorrow, Thursday, June 27 at 9:00PM EDT on CNN.

Best Read

Take a look at Adm. William McRaven’s (ret’d) essay, How Do We Want America to Be? He lays before us a truth we so often refuse to see and a possibility – even a hope – for something better. That’s refreshing in this time of so many doing their best to dash our hopes.

It will take all of us. As Simon Rosenberg of The Hopium Chronicles reminds us,

The magic pill is us.”

Just For Fun

In case you missed the craziest play in baseball ever, watch this from the Chicago Cubs.

And for more fun and some fine life lessons, watch Adm. McRaven’s commencement address to the graduates of the University of Texas in 2014. Afterward, you’ll want to make your bed.


“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.

Finding Optimism


POST 1069

Third in a series (see Ignorance and Lies and The Underlying Disease)


Stand Up
I asked [my friend] what we would do if 150 crazy people — a mix of deranged narcissists, political extremists, weirdos, conspiracy theorists and other assorted friends of theirs — showed up suddenly on the perfect deck [where we sat overlooking the ocean]. I wanted to know if he thought we’d fight with them or leave.
.

“Obviously,” I told him, “we would leave.” He agreed. Crazy people make normal people want to leave.

That’s exactly what we must not do if we hope to provide a cure for our terrible national disease and exit the craziness. Leaving would guarantee a ramping up of the crazy, the vitriol and the siege against the design of the Founders. They had lived under the thumb of despotic King George III and they knew the perils and the pain of autocracy. Our leaving would be capitulation to the forces seeking to undermine the very strength of our nation, our democracy.

So, don’t leave. Stand and fight back. Fight forward. Fight in every direction for your freedom, your rights and for everyone and everything you hold dear. That means standing up to the ignorants and the liars, like Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan, J.D. Vance, MTG, and all the rest of the extremist crazies. Stand up for equity and justice. Stand up to the 50-year-long war to disempower you, make rich guys richer and impoverish the rest of us. Stand up.

A Parallel

Today’s shrill voices and the violence, the threats and the chaos, the crazy and the stupid are all around us with propaganda and lies and visions of doom. Those voices aim to scare good people into capitulation. Those who give up – who leave, to use Steve Schmidt’s term – are today’s version of Neville Chamberlain and his capitulation to Hitler and tyranny.

Click me

Having given away the Sudetenland (then part of Czechoslovakia) to Hitler, Chamberlain came back to England from Munich in 1938 claiming, “Peace for our time.” Less than one year later Germany invaded and overran Poland and a year later began bombing London in the Battle of Britain. Here is the message, the learning:

  • Capitulation never works. It never brings peace. Never.
  • It only emboldens the bullies to do yet worse.

On October 29, 1941 things looked overwhelmingly dark for Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited The Harrow School, which he had attended years before. Here, in part, is what he told the boys that day:

.

” .  .  .  this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Steve Schmidt is right: “Crazy people make normal people want to leave.”

But we aren’t going to do that. We’re going to stay and stand up to protect our democracy and our self-rule. We’re going to stay and stand up to the hatred and thwart the cruelty. We’re going to stay and stand and fight. We must not – we will not – leave.

We will never, never, never, never give in.

Optimism

I received a private reply from very long time friend Frank Levy to a recent Disambiguation, Ignorance and Lies. He’s given his permission to post some of his comment – many thanks to him for that..

My experience living among these American ethno-fascists [he lives in a deeply RED state], seeing their racism, watching them legislate for destructive and terrible policies for anyone that does not look, vote, pray, or love the way they do, watching them commit crimes of violence and hate against those very same people, watching them live out their misogyny and need to subjugate and humiliate women, and experiencing their virulent anti-Semitism leads me to two truths.
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One, these people are who they are and they do what they do because they have been taught by their mommies and daddies to hate all the people their relatives hate (thank you South Pacific), and who [they believe] their religion teaches them to hate (thank you Christian Bible and Quran).
.
Two, they are who they are and they do what they do because they fear losing their privilege and power to the very people they despise and hate. And they hate democracy, while at the same time proclaiming themselves true patriots, because they know that they are a minority and that in a fair election they and their ideas are losers.
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So, here is why I think your optimism is misplaced: you can’t undo this kind of hate and fear through conversation and education.
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I believe Frank is right, that conversation and education won’t make a dent in the certainties of the fearful, the haters and the dispensers of cruelty, so I replied,
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Our national salvation doesn’t lie in conversions of the BillyBobs and the vitriol droolers – as you put it, the ethno-fascists. Rather, it lies in activating everyone else.
.
We cannot wipe out the hatred and thuggishness in those who feel the imperative to hate and to be thugs. Their identities are wrapped up in that cruel package, making change for them impossible. What we can do is to overpower them at the ballot box and in legislatures, making their institutionalized bigotry and mania for domination of others a powerless thing, perhaps no more than an artifact.
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Maybe the more remote polling places and mail-in ballot drop boxes will be returned to North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kentucky. Maybe millions will have their names restored to the voting roles in Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Texas. Perhaps an overwhelming defeat will make Kari Lake shut up.
.

It’s entirely up to us to make that happen. That’s the reason for optimism.

Obstacles to Optimism

Last Thursday a chunk of the MAGA extremism cult (please forgive the redundancy) came to Manhattan to parade themselves as brainless suck ups to Trump. They violated the gag order that

Judge Merchan placed on Trump and, in effect declared that they renounce justice.

Matt Gaetz (R-Young Girls) announced that he’s with the Proud Boy felons, saying, “Standing back and standing by, Mr. President.” Having already created chaos, these cheaters are attacking our justice system for being chaotic and broken. That’s what the extremists do: they break government, then blame Democrats for the ensuing chaos.

Also on Thursday, the news of Justice Sam “The Insurrection Man” Alito and his upside-down distress flag crashed into our Constitution. Is there nothing that is below him and Justice Clarence “Free Vacations Man” Thomas? Oh wait .  .  .  never mind.

The Republican pollution of the Supreme Court by insurrectionist sympathizers has driven disapproval of the Court to well over half of Americans. A few decades ago being a Supreme Court justice was the most highly respected profession. Now it doesn’t even make the top 20. It’s pretty hard to be optimistic about that.

Since impeachment isn’t going to happen and the Court’s newly drafted ethics guidelines have no teeth, perhaps now it’s time for Biden to pack the court with four additional justices, each of whom, refreshingly, has a moral compass. That would give us something to be optimistic about.


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.

Taking Sides


Post 1,027

___________________________________

Golda Meir, 1964

Golda Meir

As Israeli Prime Minister during the Yom Kippur war and so many other murderous events aimed at killing all Jews and wiping Israel from the globe, Meir said:

“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir, A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography

True and sad words, these. There has been progress, of course, but the Iranians, Qataris and Syrians continue to pour money and tools of murder into the hands of angry, violent men who are all too eager to kill and to force others to kill them, and causing the deaths of non-combatants by the thousands.
.
There Is a Corollary To This In America Today
.
It is the verbal and physical violence of right wing extremists who puff themselves up with claims of patriotism, yet are working every day to demolish our Constitution, to end our democracy and to inflict “retribution” (read: murder) on those they see as, not opponents, but enemies.
.
Peace will come when these extremists
love the Constitution and our democracy
more than they hate the rest of us.
.

The top line reads “During the arrests around the capitol attack, police seized .  .  .” From Every Town for Gun Safety – click me

We are facing an existential threat, a constitutional crisis in the form of extremists who are working every day to tear down what we have painstakingly built for our rights and our freedoms over the past 248 years. We taught the world that people can be free, that self-government can work, that it isn’t necessary to make war both within and without. We aren’t perfect at that, which is why we are tasked by our Founders to continually work to create a more perfect union.

But now we are beset by home grown terrorists, liars and cheats, as well as the cowardice of those who know better but knuckle under. They focus only on their own short term welfare, heedless of the harm they are allowing to be done to our people and to our nation. We are plagued by well armed haters acting out their meanness and cruelty, cowards who lash out in physical and verbal violence, whipped up by those who would be our overlords.
.
Because of the brilliance and beauty of our Constitution we are being given one more chance to set ourselves back onto the path carved out of a wilderness of dominance from others. It will take our dedication and our blood, sweat and tears to set things right. Should we fail, it will lead to an enduring night of suffering.
.

Elie Wiesel, recipient of The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize

Elie Wiesel survived Holocaust death camps, then spent the rest of his life in the role of teacher, hoping to help craft a better world and forcing us to remember, lest we forget. Here’s a little of what he had to say about hatred and suffering:

“In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me – they hate you, too. They hate everybody.”
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Let that sink in. They hate everybody.
.

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

Are you seeing it? We must take sides, whether you or I are being persecuted or if it’s someone else. The side we must take is against the tormentors and in aid to the tormented. We must stand for and with those who need our help. And if that isn’t compelling in and of itself, driven solely by our empathy, it will become compelling when we realize that we are next to be tormented.
.
We Must Take Sides

The next 10 months are all the time we have to stand and be counted, to take sides. Every one of us knows the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Silence favors the wrong and the evil. Therefore, choose right and good. Stand for it and speak for it. Our silence will not do.

It means to talk to your friends and family members. Yes, I know it can be awkward to risk getting crosswise with close ones. And I also know it will be far worse than awkward if we allow our home grown haters and traitors to steal our democracy from us.

It means that we must take the action that our pathetic Congress won’t take.

They use the lives of Ukrainians as pawns for their own political advantage, leaving millions to suffer and die. That isn’t just cruel; it’s self-defeating, because the Ukrainians are fighting to preserve the same freedom that benefits us, too. Link through to Safe Skies and read what Professor Timothy Snyder has to say about how you can help to keep Russian-fired Iranian drones from killing Ukrainian civilians. We shouldn’t have to do this individually, but that’s what our spineless congressional Republicans have left us.

Hurry: People are dying.

Terrible things happen when we fail to take sides. You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor or a history professor to know that’s true. You just have to see how we’ve normalized violent behavior and have refused to do anything to stop it. We’ve accepted lies and outrageous propaganda and allowed the theft of our majority rule. We’ve even allowed our children’s education to be taken from them and for hatred inspired terrorists to kill our children.

Elie Wiesel knew this lesson far too well and suffered terribly from its reality. His righteous call to us to take sides is to make sure such things don’t happen while we can still do something about it.

We – you and I – have to take a stand. Refusing to do so is effectively the same as standing for the wrong side. It’s tacitly helping the oppressor.

Start the new year right:

Take Sides! *
.
The Side to Take Isn’t Republican

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis each took questions at their town halls in Iowa last Wednesday. Each was asked why they don’t go after Trump. Each of them responded by attacking the press. Neither even mentioned Trump.

There is a word to describe this:

COWARDICE!

.

Perhaps you can think of additional descriptors. They apply to all who fail to speak up, to take a side and make a stand.

____________________________________

* From the New York Times, January 6, 2024, This Election Year Is Unlike Any Other:

Re-electing Mr. Trump would present serious dangers to our Republic and to the world. This is a time not to sit out but instead to re-engage. We appeal to Americans to set aside their political differences, grievances and party affiliations and to contemplate — as families, as parishes, as councils and clubs and as individuals — the real magnitude of the choice they will make in November.

Click the link and read the opinion piece. The danger we face isn’t just about Trump. It’s time to TAKE SIDES.


  • 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.

Complacency


Caution: Offensive and Crude Language

There is an old series of hateful tropes passed along as jokes designed to embolden and inflame the already hateful and to attract new, impressionable recruits. They attack people they see as unworthy and make them an object of scorn. The oldest hatred – thousands of years of it – continues to target Jews.

Here’s an example of hate humor that illustrates this. But prepare yourself, because this is truly awful stuff.

Q. What do you call 6 million dead Jews?

A. A good start.

Yes, hatred is as crude and cruel and savage as that. And for those feeling oppressed, marginalized and disrespected, that kind of hate humor is quite appealing. It gives the aggrieved someone to blame – a boogeyman – for their lot in life. It leads to brainlessly shouting “Seig Heil!” and moronically chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” with a bunch of other juiced up skinheads in Charlottesville.

Heather Heyer – pic from her Facebook account

That led to a malicious bigot ramming his car into a protest rally, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 28 others and it led to 11 dead at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. There are material consequences to hate jokes and hate tropes.

The would-be fascists use violence to get their way. They are increasingly bold and some of them get elected to positions of power. That happens for just two reasons:

  1. Angry people are motivated and they turn out to vote for hateful, angry candidates.
  2. Complacent people, those just going about their lives and not paying attention, don’t vote.

That gives the haters the reins of power. And that leads to authoritarians tearing down our democracy, our safety and our way of life. The loss of safety for those hated by the bullies is obvious, but history is full of examples that show that eventually there is loss of safety and freedom for everyone. And all of this leads to radicalized terrorists killing innocent people.

Here’s Heather Heyer’s final Facebook post:

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

Are you outraged?

Hunter S. Thompson observed during the enormously illegal Nixon years that we were, “America acting on its worst impulses.” The same is true for all of the so-called populist tantrums, from the Civil War, to George Wallace standing in the doorway of the University of Alabama to stop Blacks from entering, to the traitorous January 6 insurrection, to today’s Republican reality deniers and voter suppressors.

Were Thompson still alive and chronicling our stumbles (some of them forward), he surely would have used his same words for America today. He would have blistering criticism of the reality denial that is rampant in America and the constant claims of victimhood – “America acting on its worst impulses.”

Joan Didion said, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” The haters have their stories that they believe justify their hatred. The fascist lovers have their stories that they believe justify killing democracy and establishing despotic rule. The victimhood lovers always have their fantasies.

And we who believe that America should live up to its promise have our story, too.
.

Our collective safety hinges on the establishment of that story as our true story. The elements required for that include a shared reality, the rule of law and what Thomas Jefferson called “an enlightened citizenry.” You already know what lack of an enlightened citizenry does to our country.

Most of us believe in science and learning, knowledge and wisdom, cause and effect. More to the point, too many reject all of that.

Millions more of us are needed for the science, learning, knowledge and wisdom story. Specifically needed are the 33% of eligible voters who didn’t vote in 2020 and the 47.8% who didn’t show up in 2022.

Without them we are doomed to be repeatedly attacked by the haters and our democracy will always balance precariously on the edge of a cliff – until that balance is lost. Our country, our story, needs all of us right now.

There’s good news and there’s bad news about this.

The good news is that even in the face of this decades-long assault on reality and our democracy by authoritarian wannabes, our country will continue to stand.

The bad news is that if we don’t do something to stop these assaults, this may not be a country you want to live in. The hate jokes and the hate tropes will metastasize and your freedom will be gone.

It seems quite clear – and history teaches us – that under the yoke of despotism We The People would be powerless and cruelly subjugated. Maybe we should ensure that such a thing never happens in America.

Again, Heather Heyer said,

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

So again, are you outraged?

A Bit of Sunshine

Take a look at the updated Gallup tracking poll of how Americans see themselves on social issues. Could it be that Independents and Democrats combined have the muscle to stop the crazies and their war on Social Security, Medicare and trying to jam Christian nationalism and authoritarianism down the throats of all Americans? Do the math for 2023. Add the percents of moderates and liberals. There are more of us than there are haters and despotism lovers.

Click me

Required Reading For Every American

Every day we are assaulted by the Republican snake venom of outlandish, idiotic lies, distortions and pretend patriotism, like,

Biden crime family

Weaponized DOJ

Senate candidate Todd Akin’s claim, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Anything said by – you know: the usual suspects.

Actual, factual truth is the antidote to Republican snake venom. That’s why you’re going to read Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters From An American” of June 15.

Then you’re going to share it because you are paying attention and you are outraged and you aren’t complacent. To make that easy to do, just forward this post.


  • 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.

Hatred, Christian Nationalists & The Supreme Court


An Open Letter to Christian Haters

Did you go to Sunday School when you were a kid? Or at least attend a church service now and then? Here’s what you did with that.

They told you the stories and the lessons from long ago, like to be kind to strangers. They said to be generous to others, especially those less fortunate than you. You remember that stuff, right?

Do you remember the day they told you what Jesus said about hatred? I’m pretty sure they said that Jesus instructed, “Don’t hate,” although they wrapped a lot more words around the message. You sat in your chair and you heard the words.

Then you walked out of the building and said to yourself, “No way, man. I’m gonna do whatever I want, whatever makes me feel good and powerful and in control.” Whatever message or teaching or directive Jesus had for you was cast aside, forgotten, crushed under your heel. In that moment you rejected Jesus completely.

And you’ve been living without Jesus ever since.

Oh, you put up a Christmas tree and you do the other performative stuff and claim you’re a Christian, but you don’t follow the rules. You live under only your own rules and who cares about what those ancient guys said? You like to hate others. It makes you feel good.

This nation has been hating non-Whites for over 400 years. Asians are squarely in the center of the bulls eye again and antisemitism is up 34 percent (seven incidents per day), according to the most recent data a year ago. The count of those acts of hatred is almost certainly higher now. So, with all that hatred infecting people, tell me again how this is a Christian nation.

Bible thumpers, holier than thou types, those wearing beatific masks, please don’t even imagine you’re fooling anyone. There is a universe of issues on which you try to paint your non-Semitic image of Jesus, but it’s just your ongoing dishonesty.

When you invade a prayer meeting at a Black church and shoot the people there, when you blast away the congregants in a synagogue, when you make death threats and distribute hate literature, when you make laws that crush your out-group, you’re refusing, denying and even giving the finger to Jesus.

That’s your truth that you hide from. But know this: we see you for what you are. So, don’t tell us you want this to be a Christian Nationalist country, because you wouldn’t be allowed to live there.

The Constitution

Now that I’ve inflamed a lot of people, let’s take this one step further.

The Articles in The Constitution primarily describe how our government is intended to work. The Amendments primarily define the rights we have as citizens. Here’s a link so that you can review all The Amendments to understand your rights. And everyone else’s, too.

What neither the Articles nor the Amendments offers is an opportunity to check a box next to the parts you like and ignore the rest.

So, if you are an ardent believer that the Second Amendment gives you the unlimited right to own and carry whatever guns or other armament you like, you would surely check the box next to that Amendment. But in calling yourself patriotic, a true American, you also have to check the box next to the First Amendment, which gives everyone, even the people you hate, the right of freedom of religion. That precludes the possibility of this becoming a Christian Nationalist nation. This country was never meant to be that. Get over it.

The First Amendment also gives us the right of freedom of speech. That means that the people you hate can say what they like, just as you can. And they can publish what they want, even if it goes against your rigid principles. There are limits to what anyone can say, but the limits have nothing to do with whether you like what they’re saying.

The First Amendment also gives us freedom of the press, the right of peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. These are for everyone, not just for you. Nobody gets to pick and choose those rights or deny them to anyone else.

We have senators and representatives who rail every day against the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments. They want to leave some of those imaginary boxes unchecked because it’s inconvenient or annoying that others whom they hate have the same rights as they have. The same goes for millions of ordinary citizens.

Show me the patriotism in that. Show me how demanding that this be a Christian Nationalist country comports with our founding document.

Right. You can’t.

So, Just For You .  .  .
.

Here’s a link to become a card carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Click it and join to protect and defend our Constitution. You’re patriotic and want to protect and defend the Constitution, right?

Question Of The Week

Since we’re talking about hatred, the Supreme Court consistently decides cases in ways that negatively impact Americans. They call themselves conservatives, but I’m wondering what they’re conserving. Think:

Citizens United – gave corporations and rich people the right to distort our elections in their favor and against yours

Dodd v. Jackson Women’s Health – killed abortion rights. And don’t even think of imputing your supposed Christian judgments on that – see the last paragraph below.

Various gun safety laws like Heller and MacDonald – effectively made it easier for haters to kill others

A swamp of voter suppression laws (e.g. closing polling places, eliminating ballot drop boxes, gerrymandering, removing voters’ registrations) and they all seem to be decided in favor of the haters

So, our Question Of The Week is,

Why do the so-called conservatives on the Supreme Court hate Americans?

Supreme Court Fallout

If you’re a woman, they stole your reproductive rights. If you’re a man, they stole those rights from your wife, your sister, your daughter, all the females in your neighborhood, extending from sea to shining sea plus you know where else. Almost as bad, that theft of rights is being imputed into other organizations, driven by far right pressure.

Take Walgreen’s, for instance. They just announced that they will no longer sell Mifepristone, the abortion pill. Not just in states where they’ve been outlawed, but in states where it is still quite legal to sell them. They have allowed themselves to be intimidated by far right big money pressure and they’re caving in.

I’m wondering if enough pressure can be applied the other way by we consumers, who have choices. We can explain to Walgreen’s that those choices include CVS, Rite-Aid and the rest.

Here’s a plea from an activist friend:

We hope you will take five minutes today to contact Walgreen’s headquarters at (800) 925-4733 (press 5 at the prompt) to make clear that those who want to strip away women’s fundamental rights are in the minority.

Women make 85% of all consumer purchases in the US (Forbes), and drive 70-80% of spending among consumers (Entrepreneur, Mar 19, 2021). We demand that our medical decisions be respected. We will not spend our dollars at institutions that do not protect us.

I’ll add that right-to-choose voters poll over the falsely named pro-life voters (the guys who hate abortion but love the death penalty) by 24 percentage points. Seems like we Americans like our rights.

Go call Walgreen’s.


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.


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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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    JA


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

That Elusive More Perfect Union


There are always impassioned young men who are quick to anger, who instantly deliver a snarl and vitriol, are over-eager to dominate and impatient for violence. Some remain that way for a very long time. They love their hate and anger and the rush of power they get from that, as their spittle flies. Ignorance is no impediment and they are easy targets for manipulators. They are heedless of who gets hurt in their quest for power and vengeance. Indeed, hurting others is more than collateral damage; it’s their reason. *

Click me and discover our violent reality

It should come as no surprise to any of us that people nurture their grievances today much as the Southern traitors did in 1861. They justify their rebellion in their victimhood. They have the power rush and their absolute belief in their righteousness. They hunker down and plot ways to attack, to hit back. We’re seeing it today in a continuing assault on reality, on our democracy and in their cowardly, selfish retreat from integrity.

Our ongoing mass carnage is testament to our national belief in violent solutions to all problems. The Gun Violence Archive tracks our mass shootings (that means bullets ripping apart 3 or more people in a single incident). To understand the efficiency with which we execute violent solutions, there have been 25 mass shootings in just the past 12 days, with 18 killed and 96 wounded. Click on the pic above or the inline link in this paragraph in order to read the page. Then scroll through the other pages. It might come to you that our killing one another isn’t just horrible; it’s normal. It’s every day. And that’s just the gun violence.

Smug, arrogant Jefferson Davis and his ministers. Nine men, each with a metaphorical White supremacist, self-righteously raised middle finger. Sound familiar? Click the pic for Jamelle Bouie’s essay.

Timothy McVeigh thought he was a patriot and hero for bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killing 168 people. Dylann Roof thought he was doing the right White supremacist thing by killing all nine people present at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. And the January 6 insurrectionists are still sure they are the true patriots, having beaten, bear sprayed, stabbed, blinded and killed the very people they pretended to champion with their Blue Lives Matter flags. May the rivers of testosterone forever flow!

Here’s a short list of things standing in our way of making things better:

  1. The lack of courage to enforce our laws evenly and fairly.
  2. Politicians whose primary driver is their self-interest.
  3. As a subset of #2, politicians who are terrified of their constituents and are spineless to the point of complete refusal to lead.
  4. Politicians who know they can’t get reelected unless they lie, cheat, steal and undermine our democracy, so they do it all.
  5. A rapidly changing world that has left millions in terrible circumstances. That’s matched with a Congress and state legislatures that are bereft of solutions, are intransigent and useless for everything but stoking the fire of rage in their “base” in order to get reelected.
  6. Idiots promoting guns, encouraging “Second Amendment remedies” and the message that everyone should be packing heat.
  7. Our refusal to energetically teach and promote civics.
  8. Our lack of a requirement for service to our nation, leaving us ignorant of one another and unwilling to sacrifice for our common good.

Clearly, this list could go on for pages. Glad to have your important additions – use the Comments section below.

It’s satisfying to point fingers, especially at politicians, but the truth that we really don’t want to acknowledge is that Pogo was right – see the cartoon to the left.

We met US in Oklahoma City, Charleston, Ft. Hood, Parkland, the Pulse Night Club and the Las Vegas concert, at Sandy Hook, the Capitol Building and in so many other places. And in every case we were and are Americans committing violence on Americans.

It is still true that the behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get. And we have tolerated far too much.

Click me for the story from The Onion.

If becoming an actual United States in a more perfect union is the goal, then that begs the question of what we are willing to do make that happen. We have some congresspeople, mostly ex-military, who get the idea of protecting and defending the Constitution, who are wired for duty, honor, country and who understand integrity and accountability. One thing we can do is to elect more people like them, irrespective of party labels.

It’s painfully obvious that pointing fingers will not be useful. If we are to get better results, we’re going to have to do something different.

—————————–

  • The spoken words are often shouted by overheated individuals who evidently believe that the lungs are the seat of wisdom.” George Will
————————————
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 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Oldest Bigotry


Anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest bigotry. Go ahead – see if you can come up with an example that’s older than thousands of years. It rises and falls in frequency and in severity, but it always shows up.

Here’s a dramatically condensed version of history to put this in context, a story which you might recall from Sunday School and your history text books.

Jews started in Ur – that’s part of what is now southern Iraq and it’s where Abraham came from. He settled in what eventually became Israel. Then the Babylonians came, destroyed the first temple and dragged the people away into slavery. Then the people returned, only to be banished by the Romans, who sacked the second temple.

That’s when Jews became the diaspora, wanderers looking for a safe place to live. But eventually every place Jews settled became dangerous or deadly. There was an Inquisition, pogroms (those brought my ancestors to the U.S.) and a Holocaust, so each time we wandered yet again looking for a safe place to live.

Jews have always been accused of being evil, of being dishonest. The most heinous of those accusations was the nineteen hundred years of the Catholic Church declaring unequivocally that Jews killed Jesus. I was called a Christ killer many times while growing up, although I know for a fact that I wasn’t around 2000 years ago, so I really couldn’t have had a hand in anything that took place back then. Near the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1964 I was absolved by the Vatican of personal responsibility for the crucifixion. It was a shame that a lot of the bad guys in high school didn’t get the message.

Overall, though, life in the United States for Jews has been pretty good and has seemed pretty safe, if at times limited and sometimes threatening. But violence against Jews has taken a terrible turn for the worse in recent years. The frequency of anti-Semitic acts is increasing, as is the severity of its violence.

The Anti-Defamation League reports that, “In 2020 and 2021, there were 7,528 incidents of extremism or anti-Semitism in the United States.” That’s over 14 per day and the rate is increasing. Take a look at the ADL tracker – filter for your state and look at just the recent incidents near you.

“Incidents” is a strange word to use for anti-Semitic violence. If you were the rabbi just walking down the sidewalk and you got pushed to the ground and kicked repeatedly by a couple of toughs,* you might use a different word.

You’d surely use a different word if you had been at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that awful October morning in 2018 or at the Chabad in Poway, CA in April 2019 or in that kosher deli in Brooklyn in December 2019. You would have had a different word, all right, if you had somehow survived the shootings.

Here’s the point: Hate is on the rise in America. I usually write about the anti-democracy hatred and racial cruelty of far right extremists, but it’s concurrent with the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic hatred in our country. And there is a difference.

If attacks like the ones listed above had been against Blacks there would have been BLM marches across the country and perhaps around the world, as there were following the murder of George Floyd, and rightly so. But these attacks were against Jews. There were and are no marches for Jews. Nobody comes to the rescue. It has always been this way. That’s just how it is in the world’s oldest bigotry. Refer to the videos below.

The hatred by angry Palestinians is rising in London following the May hostilities between Gaza and Israel. Have a look at the short videos below to get a feel for reactions to what is happening. As you watch, keep in mind how the public is reacting to this violence.

.

.Many thanks to Mel Zahn for sending the videos.

Note: I’ll appreciate it if you can identify the woman in the first video or provide a link.

The public isn’t reacting to this violence at all, just as these videos report. No help. No support. Crickets.

The violence in Israel and Gaza last month has been reported mostly in an irresponsibly simplistic way, as though this isn’t an enormously complex problem. Castigation of Israel has been the main theme, based primarily on the fact that there were many more Gazans killed and injured than Israelis.

Using John Oliver as a placeholder for all the grand pontificators who have dumped myopic criticisms on those events, he managed to mangle the logic of that casualty disparity. He specifically said it wasn’t a fair fight because Israel has Iron Dome and Hamas Gazans don’t. I haven’t a clue why he thinks fairness is an issue in this violence. I’m thinking survival should be the issue, like surviving rocket attacks. The way Oliver presented the issue sounds as if he would label it a fair fight if more Israelis had been killed. I’m not sorry to disappoint him.

Be clear that nobody lobbed 4,360 rockets at John Oliver, as Hamas did to Israelis, so he’s fully ignorant and missing the point. So did much of the world’s reporting of those dreadful days. This video and this one will explain that for you.

Key point: If you had been on the receiving end of those rockets, you wouldn’t have focused on playing fair. You would have done whatever it took to stop more rockets from being fired at you and your loved ones.

The leaders of Hamas knew in advance the likely response if they fired rockets into Israel. They’ve seen that movie before. Still, they fired rockets at Israeli civilians. They did it from Gaza apartment buildings and hospitals and office buildings, knowing that Israel would attack to stop yet more rockets from being fired. They knew that Israel silencing the rocket launchers would cause the death of a lot of Palestinians. Indeed, that was made worse because Hamas forced Palestinian civilians to remain in those buildings even after they were explicitly warned by Israel of coming attacks.

If there’s one thing Hamas leadership is good at it’s creating dead Palestinians so they can claim victimhood, gain world sympathy and make Israelis look like monsters. Where’s the fairness in that, especially for Palestinians?

Anger, hate and violence are always present or about to show up wherever Jews have gone. It’s the continuation of the world’s oldest bigotry and it is part of the reason why Israel exists and why Never Again means exactly that. The cavalry is never going to come over the hill for Jews, not in Israel, not in the United State and not in London (although the police did detain 4 suspects after the current anti-Semitic hate fest).

Jews have to take care of ourselves, regardless of whether John Oliver or anyone else thinks violence is a playground game with fairness rules. If the world doesn’t understand Never Again after the murder of the 6 million and Israel being repeatedly attacked by neighbors, there’s nothing I or anyone else can do to clarify it for them.

Palestinians are convoying through the streets of London yelling, “Fuck the Jews! Rape their daughters!” and the world’s condemnation of that vile hatred is  .  .  .  inaudible. It’s the same old crickets of the world’s oldest bigotry.

——————–

  • * Google “rabbi attacked” and you’ll find links to stories of this happening in other countries, too.

————————————

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Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA

 


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

ACTION REQUIRED AGAIN!


The people who organized the Trump rally a couple of weeks ago are calling for another “reopen schools, support law enforcement, and Trump 2020” demonstration, this time on Saturday, October 10 from 3:00 – 5:00PM in the parking lot across from the Coronavirus sign at Shermer Road and Walters Avenue. The first one was organized by a high school junior, perhaps aided by “others.” It was physically non-violent, but was verbally abhorrent. Nevertheless, about as many people demonstrated across the street in a counter-protest. It’s critical that we stand firm again.

Some high school students from Deerfield and Northbrook are calling for a critical counter-protest to stand firm against the bullies. Here’s their call to action:

Bring your sign, your American flag and your peaceful passion and stand firm against the hate. See you there.

—————————————-

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

We’re Perfectly Positioned


Reading time – 4:05; Viewing time – 5:41  .  .  .

Her husband was killed by a street shooter. Later, one of her sons was shot and killed. Relating this to the small audience brought her to tears – again. The mother’s pain she bears will never go away.

When she was able to function again she started a support group for mothers who have lost family members to street violence. There are currently about 75 members of “Sisterhood.” There could be 750,000 members because we shoot someone’s son or daughter or husband or daddy over 100 times per day, every day.

Some of the violence is due to random drive-by shootings; some is done by warring gangs; some is done by angry young people or disgruntled workers. All of it is due to something way beyond wrong.

Another presenter spoke to the audience about his family of origin. Seven kids, Mom and an abusive step-father who hit with chairs, a vacuum cleaner, whatever was handy. The presenter grew up thinking that’s just the way things were – until the night his little sister went into the bathroom to avoid their step-father’s violence and quietly hung herself with the cord of a hair dryer. That’s what random violence can do to people. The presenter now works with at risk kids, people who grew up as he did, assuming that violence was just the way people deal with their anger. Most of it isn’t done by an electrical cord. Most is by gun.

As always, the grassroots efforts are driven by people who have lived the pain and they’re doing wonderful, critically needed work to help others, holding hands and hugging to soothe the sufferers and to counsel people away from violence before they commit it and that’s good. It’s one piece of the horrific puzzle and it isn’t enough.

The cover picture of this puzzle of over 30,000 gun killings per year shows:

The lack of proper education of our kids for a successful life

Lack of employment opportunities where they are most needed

Our refusal to enact meaningful, national gun safety legislation

Our cultural idealizing and reverence for tough, macho guys (think: Charlton Heston’s “cold, dead hands” speech)

Our slavish belief in the Second Amendment as a holy thing and meaning something other than what was intended by the Founders

A political system that rewards the biggest donors instead of We the People

Our limp-wristed way of dealing with mental health

The ease with which we are distracted by the next bright, shiny object

You can likely add to this list. The point is that there are many contributing factors to our gun violence problem and no one thing is going to cure our addiction to pointless death. Still, some useful things are obvious.

Guns are the perfect tool to kill lots of people quickly. Knives kill, but imagine the killer at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School last year with knives instead of guns. He could have killed some kids, but there’s no way he could have killed 17 of them with knives or an axe or any other hand weapon. Getting guns out of the hands of those who should never have one will be a major step toward solving our problem. Refusing to do that enables our truly angry, hate-filled people to carry out their horrible plans.

Three years ago the FBI arrested two men who were planning a race war, expecting to bomb Black churches and Jewish synagogues. Last week they arrested a white nationalist who proclaimed, “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth,” and he was prepared to attack using his armory of assault weapons if President Trump is impeached. He planned to pump himself up with steroids and opioids so he would be ready to unleash continuing carnage. The authorities managed to stop these two nut cases.

But we’ll never run out of angry men who want to do violence and stopping all of them is unlikely to happen. The question we must answer is whether we are willing to do what is necessary to stop them before they start. If we continue to make it easy to assemble an arsenal of weapons of war, if we continue to make it easy for nearly anyone with a few bucks in their pocket to buy a handgun and some ammunition, we will continue to kill the likes of the little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, high school kids at Columbine and Douglass, movie goers in Aurora, CO, factory workers in Aurora, IL, people at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, concert attendees in Las Vegas and thousands on the streets.

By February 17 there were already 43 mass shootings in the US this year. There were 5 last weekend alone. That can feel dreadful and even horrifying but might not be motivating because most it happens at a distance. That’s just how it was for that mom until her husband and son were killed. It’s up close and real personal for her now. That’s the way it always is for victims and their loved ones.

We’re perfectly positioned to get exactly the horrific results we’re getting right now. The only way to get different, better results is to do something about it.

                        ————————————

Ed. Note: I don’t want money (DON’T donate) or your signature on a petition. I want you to spread the word so that we make a critical difference. So,

YOUR ACTION STEPS:

  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 be better informed.

Thanks!


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

The Reason


Reading time – 3:45; Viewing time – 4:46  .  .  .

Bill Maher’s first guest on his program on January 25 was Ann Coulter. She is one of the far right Republican talking heads that Donald Trump periodically takes orders from.

Coulter’s shtick is sensationalist anger and hate and she does it quite well. The point of mentioning this is to direct you to watch that segment of Maher’s show (here) and observe Coulter’s tactics. Here’s a short list:

She talks non-stop, refusing to pause to allow for a normal back-and-forth. She specifically talks over others, appearing to attempt to overpower any opposition with her machine gun mouth.

Her immediate response to a valid criticism is ”whatabout-ism,” where instead of addressing a question or comment, she attacks someone in the opposition to make them seem worse. She never deals with the hard question she’s been asked or she just dismisses it as irrelevant.

She name calls. She demonizes. She revels in her verbal cruelty. That brings her attention, cheers from fellow haters and she gets the satisfaction of knowing she’s angering progressives.

I’m not a professional, but I’m guessing she just might have some control issues, some anger issues and even some daddy issues. And no, that wasn’t snark.

Remember that this is one of the people Trump listens to and whose bidding he sometimes does. Ann Coulter is one of the mean girls whom Mom told you to stay away from. Mom was right. Coulter and Trump are wrong.

Not unrelated to Coulter and her mean spirited far right media friends is the issue of The Reason. I’m talking about what’s behind all the Trump cronies lying to Congress, the FBI and anyone who will stand still and listen. Most of what they lie about isn’t illegal stuff on the surface, which begs the question, then, of why they would lie. What’s the reason for their apparently unnecessary dishonesty? What are they protecting?

Rachel Maddow has done a nice job of exploring this and she’s right to do it. Almost certainly getting to the bottom of this will take the release of Robert Mueller’s report. But you can be sure that all those felons were lying for a really important reason and it’s next to impossible to avoid believing that The Reason doesn’t have to do with protecting Trump and themselves from the exposure of a very large conspiracy involving some truly terrible crimes.

As I’ve cautioned many times before, keep your eye on the ball. Let no distraction, however bright and shiny, divert your focus from The Reason. That includes you refusing to react to the hollow sensationalism of Ann Coulter or any other Trump rationalizers.

From The Onion, of course. Click for the article.

Finally, we end this post on an important story. The reason that it’s important is because it declares to ourselves and to the world who we are and puts the lie to the terrible things people say and do to divide us.

Joseph Walker was 72 years old when he died of natural causes. Mr. Walker had served in the Air Force in Vietnam from 1964 – 1968 and received an honorable discharge. There doesn’t seem to be much record of him beyond that time. He had no family and no known friends, so when he died it looked as though his funeral would be unattended.

News about Mr. Walker spread on social media and a call went out for people to come so that he wouldn’t be buried alone. And over 1,000 people showed up at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery for this man they didn’t know. There were veterans and active duty military. There were people of various ages and races. There was even a flyover.

Marc George of the Christian Motorcyclists Association officiated. George said,”Today, we give him honors, [this] man whom no one apparently knew, but whom no one wanted to forget  .  .  .  once upon a time, like a lot of us other vets, he signed a blank check for our nation.”

And so we relearn who we really are. Over and over, we show that we care. On Monday we honored Joseph Walker and, in the process, we honored one another. Keep Mr. Walker in mind the next time you hear one of those hate mongers spewing vitriol. We’re way better than that. We show up for one another. Kudos to the 1,000 for reminding us who we are.

————————————

Ed. Note: I don’t want money (DON’T donate) or your signature on a petition. I want you to spread the word so that we make a critical difference. So,

YOUR ACTION STEPS:

  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 be better informed.

Thanks!

 

 


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

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