hatred

Indicting Administration Officials & The Extremist Oath


By the end of his term, 138 of Reagan’s administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted or had been the subject of investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations. Reagan had been a B-list actor. Once in office he was apparently attempting to play the part of Richard Nixon.* While there were 26 Reaganites actually indicted for felonies, Nixon had 3 times as many – 76. It’s noteworthy that Obama had zero.

Which brings up some interesting numbers, because over the 49 years since Nixon took office until 2018, Republicans hold the championship, hands down, for the greatest dishonesty, malfeasance and criminal activity: 4.28 indictments per year of Republicans versus 0.20 for Democrats. If foreigners acting on behalf of domestic Republicans are included, the Republicans’ already impressive number surges to 5.22 indictments per year. Clearly, the trophy should be placed in the Republican trophy case and permanently retired there.

Read the documentation by The Daily Kos for yourself. Note that it has not been updated since September 2018 and an updating will surely cause recent numbers to rise. Our newly rehabilitated Justice Department is just getting cranked up. The current number of indictments of Trumpian thugs will likely soar over the coming years, so don’t be disappointed by only 7 indictments of domestic Trumpies and 55 indictments of foreign nationals through 2.5 years ago.

And just so that you don’t think that the numbers are tainted because they come from a lefty-liberal-progressive source, Google ‘political indictments” or “indictments of presidential administration officials” or anything along those lines. Be sure to select and review some known right wing sources. It will look pretty much like the information above.

It’s a sad thing to realize that there were a lot of terrible things done by the Trump mob which will go unpunished. I’m thinking of the bastardization of the Justice Department done by William Barr, as he distorted justice to serve Trump instead of serving the nation. Recall his interfering in the sentencing of Michael Flynn and Roger Stone and his wilful deceit before Congressional committees and so much more.

And don’t forget the toadying of officials in every department of the Executive branch by Trump’s donor lobbyists and know-nothings. Betsy DeVos won’t be indicted for her galactic ignorance of public education and the harm she’s done to school children across the nation, but she should be.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on the count of indictments against these Trumpian malefactors. Gotta wonder if Trump’s leadership will produce a higher body count than Nixon’s. The bar is high, but the candidates are many.

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Another fit of poetry overcame me at the same moment I was contemplating the mindset of Trumpies, of Q believers and of conspiracy lovers. Here is their oath, as much as I can understand it.

We Believe It, And That’s Enough Evidence To Make It True

Covid is a hoax, of course, like landing on the moon.

The holocaust is just a ploy by Jews to be a boon,

To get the gold and subjugate us, masters of we slaves.

Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya in a cave.

He hates we Christians and of course America as well,

And wanted to come take your guns, you know that sure as hell.

He hoped to make us weak and soft, unable to defend

Our families from the governmental tyranny they send.

That hasn’t stopped, of course you know, with socialists’ control,

They speed us down the path of ruin and in a deeper hole.

So, Q is who we trust for truth to give it to us straight.

We loved the pizza shop sex thing, it’s something good to hate.

He said that Jewish lasers started wildfires with intention,

And we believe ‘cus he says so, his newest hate invention.

We don’t need proof, we just believe and that is all it takes

To make it our reality, we bake it in our cake.

We have our facts, alternatives, we draft them on the go.

We know they’re true, rock-solid stuff; believing makes it so.

Like fraud in voting, Trump tells us, made theft of this election.

His true boys say that’s true for sure, so we’re for full rejection.

We don’t need mainstream media or any of their stink.

‘Cus Trump’s our leader, so there’s never need for us to think.

We have no need for evidence of cheating counting votes,

Or cheaters casting votes who should be thrown back on their boats,

Returned to shit hole countries, which is where they all belong,

Instead of their contaminating us, that’s just so wrong.

Science? Really, who needs that for knowing what to do?

Our victimized and picked on former prez will get us through.

Inject the bleach and don’t wear masks, Amer’cans through and through.

We have no need for CDC, so Fauci, you go screw.

We’re rugged individuals, can’t tell us what to do.

We’ll follow Q and Trump, tough me, and also tough guy you

Right down the rabbit hole because we’re very rugged guys,

Until we ruin everything including mainstream lies.

The country fought for many times to save our fabled dreams,

Conspiracies can bring it down and that is what we mean.

So, criticize, you so woke ones, who look at us with scorn.

We’ll make it all come crashing down, Q patriots; now you’re warned

That we don’t give a damn who’s hurt because it’s now our turn.

We’ll smash it all, we patriots, and you can all go burn.

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  • * Reagan was not impeached, nor was he indicted for the several felonies he committed just in the Iran-Contra scheme. He did convene his own commission to look into what he did, as if he needed to be told what he had ordered be done and which he obviously already knew. Then, in a Hollywood B-movie moment, he read from his script that the commission said he might have been a bad boy and if that was true, well then, by golly he was sorry.

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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Bridging the Divide


Approximately 40% of Americans identify as Republicans. That includes traditional conservatives, centrists and hair-on-fire extremists. A new poll shows that 44% of them say they refuse and will continue to refuse to be vaccinated against the worldwide pandemic that has already killed nearly 600,000 Americans. Some say they’re all about individual freedom and nobody is going to tell them what to do. Perhaps it isn’t a problem to them if they become infected and spread it to others. (See my question for these people at the end of this post.)

So, let’s do the math. If 40% of Americans identify as Republicans and 44% of them are adamant vaccine and mask refusers, that means that 17.6% of all Americans – that’s 58,150,400 – who identify as Republicans will not get vaccinated.

Looking at all Americans, another poll found that one in four Americans are vaccine refusers, which translates to 82,600,000 Americans who think they’re bullet proof or that they’re the smart ones who know better than the scientists. That blends nicely with the roughly 50 million Americans who believe that the 2020 election was stolen and the 10 million who support an insurrectionist movement.

We are a nation of a great many absolutist, “it’s-true-if-I-believe-it’s-true” propaganda targets. They are easy to manipulate with lies told repeatedly, like the lie started decades ago by a fraudulent British doctor that vaccines cause autism. Or the lies of a megalomaniac telling the Big Lie, leading his chumps to have certainty of their rightness and virtue as they promote the obvious lie. No need for critical thinking here.

For a most informative take on how people are recruited into extremist views and organizations, read this from The Washington Post. Keywords: identity, community, purpose. It’s like the allure of city gangs: everyone wants the feeling of belonging, of community. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal of QAnon and its outrageously impossible and hateful conspiracy theories.

These are our fellow countrymen and -women who are eager to believe the unbelievable. They are ordinary looking people who are unwittingly making themselves the enemy of public health and the enemy of democracy. To state the obvious, that’s not okay. That’s harmful to women, children, men, other living things, our country and the world. It screams at us, demanding a solution.

On Thursday I posted the speech I wish President Biden had given. It betrays my frustration and an impassioned desire to let the facts – actual Earth 1 realities – do the persuading. The only real problem with that is that telling someone with fervent beliefs that both their “facts” and they themselves are wrong is a pretty effective way to prevent progress. Nobody likes to be told they’re wrong.

Which makes me think that President Biden is a pretty smart guy to go about persuasion just by doing a great job and being decent. (Click here and watch the video at the bottom for instruction on this.) I’m sure his having great people skills, a subtle understanding and a gentle touch is why he’s president – and I’m not.

For more on how to bridge our enormous cultural and political divide, have a look at Braver Angels.

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The Zombie Election – It Won’t Die

Surely, by now you know that conspiracy theorists and Big Lie proponents have been hired and paid for by mysterious and unidentified rich people to scour the Maricopa County, AZ 2020 election ballots. They are in search of the tens of thousands of non-existent fraudulent votes cast for Biden that they believe belong to Trump. And they’re on the lookout for the millions of fictional votes cast by non-citizens – illegal aliens – immigrants – people from shit-hole countries – who they believe voted illegally. Perhaps they’re hoping they can get those people deported. For sure they think they will prove the election was rigged, stolen. “It wasn’t fair!‘ they cry.

They have largely banned observation of their chicanery by third parties with no political axe to grind, as they pursue their “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” double secret, occult manipulations of ballots to arrive at their pre-determined conclusions. They will prove that Trump is still the president. Be ready for, “Nya, nya, so there.”

Here’s a read on that which is both entertaining and factually illuminating. Many thanks to RS for the pointer.

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America’s Mayor

The Giuliani-Ukraine-Trump disinformation scheme for undermining the United States of America is another unbelievable that is believed to be valid by many Americans. If you’d like to better understand what actually happened in that scandal, read Asha Rangappa’s Twitter thread. This sordid Ukraine affair is exactly the kind of unpatriotic stuff that compromises our country.

Note that Rangappa is a former FBI Special Agent and a lawyer. She knows what she’s talking about. And unlike the conspirators, she’s a patriot.

Final note: Expect to see indictments against Rudy Giuliani, then his conviction and a trip to prison. And who knows? Perhaps he and Trump can get adjoining cells and further conspire while incarcerated.

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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.

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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Speak


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bonus Section

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

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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Names


Daunte Wright

Rayshard Brooks

Daniel Prude

Breonna Taylor

Attatiana Jefferson

Aura Rosser

Stephon Clark

Botham Jean

Philando Castile

Alton Sterling

Freddie Gray

Janisha Fonville

Eric Garner

Michelle Cusseaux

Akai Gurley

Gabrielle Nevarez

Tamir Rice

Michael Brown

Tanisha Anderson

and of course, Rodney King*

George Floyd

Those are just a few of the Black people who have been killed in the past few years by police and who never, ever got justice. Neither did their families.

But now man one has. George Floyd is dead, but he and his family got justice. And we now know that justice for Blacks requires video recordings of police murders that are shown to the whole world. That’s what it took this time.

And maybe, just maybe, his little daughter, Gianna, will be proven right, saying, “My daddy is going to change the world.”

Which will be a very good thing. Writing to your senators and telling them to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a good way to help.

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  • * Rodney King was brutally beaten by four Los Angeles police officers, but he did not die from that beating. He’s included in this list because his is an iconic and tragic story. Even with video tape evidence of his beating shown to the jury, neither he nor his family ever got justice. That touched off the LA riots in 1992.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Pizza and Water


The issue is not whether it should be illegal to give a slice of pizza and a bottle of water to an old lady waiting in line for hours to vote on a Tuesday in November in Georgia. Focusing there completely misses the point.

Our brilliant and frightened (read: deranged) White supremacist citizens know that their God given superiority is incrementally being challenged and that it will be gone very soon unless they take strongly discriminatory action. Actually, they’ve known this since 1619 and they successfully led us to our bloodiest war, thousands of lynchings and other murders, the economic suppression of millions, plus police shootings of unarmed Black males at a rate 3.5 times greater than that of Whites. It has all been done in service to a desperate, fear-stoked drive for power for themselves.

Nixon used dog whistles to divide Americans, as did Reagan, H.W. Bush and the beyond-the-edge, far right Republicans, like the Tea Party and now the Freedom Caucus. The calls to discrimination were perfected by Trump. He’s completely out of the slime cave and overtly White supremacist. The incremental claw-back to Jim Crow can be seen every day, now with 361 voter suppression bills in the states.

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is about to sign a bill he initiated last year, the so-called Anti-Riot bill. Extremists will be glad to know that Florida will be protected by this legislation that puts teeth into attacking the First Amendment. Said one critic, “It is racist, extremist, militaristic and dangerous. This is not an anti-riot proposal. It is actually an anti-protest proposal. This is just a Republican effort designed to stop the rising tide of protest prompted by the police murder of George Floyd. The governor wants to criminalize peaceful protestors who are merely exercising their constitutional rights.”

Surely, you recall the protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. Outrage went around the world and people of all colors, races and nationalities were in the streets. Some of the protests included idiots committing vandalism and theft. Too bad, because those fools gave right wing extremists the fertilizer (feel free to substitute your own term) to criticize and attack anyone not on the fringe right and to create legislation against peaceful protesters, like that of Oberführer DeSantis. Indeed, his bill is a dog whistle serenade to his White supremacist base, which I’m sure will help him in his presidential bid in 2024. No need for concern over those whose rights will be squashed along the way, because they won’t be able to vote, anyway.

This Twitter thread is a MUST READ. Just click the pic. Many thanks to Jay Becker (@futureup2us) for pointing it out.

DeSantis, as self-serving and cruel as he is, is not alone. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is desperate for anything that will move the spotlight from his alleged sex crimes, so he’s partnered with QAnon nut case Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Arizona racist Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to found the America First Caucus. It is a blatantly White supremacist, love-to-hate effort cloaked in patriotic sounding distractions. You can download their 7-page manifesto here and get a flavor of it in this video. Either way it’s a call to hate and discrimination. Like DeSantis’ legislative dog whistles, this is a disingenuous “Look at me!” from these extremist representatives that is designed to appeal to “the base.”

Republicans want very much to restrict voting rights. That’s because they will become an extinct species if We the People actually have a democracy – i.e. majority rule. Republican Paul Weyrich, founder of the self-righteous Moral Majority and other right wing manipulation machines, said it plainly, clearly and publicly in 1980:

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the election, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Which is to say, the only way for Republicans to win is to stop millions of Americans from voting. So, gerrymandering, removing voters from voting rolls just because they missed the last election, closing polling places to make it difficult to vote, requiring IDs that are hard to obtain by poor people and all the other discriminations are just the things to keep those “others” down and to make sure White supremacy powers on. Instead of changing to become attractive to more voters, today’s Republicans are still channeling Paul Weyrich.

The Arizona RNC defended in court some Arizona laws that were undisguised discriminatory attacks on the Voting Rights Act. When questioned by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett about the Arizona RNC’s interest in this issue, attorney Michael Carvin declared – and I’m not making this up – “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”

Translation (as if you need one): Republicans need to suppress the votes of Democrats in order to sustain their minority rule.

So, going back to the slice of pizza and bottle of water for the old lady still waiting hours to vote, the issue isn’t about the length of the line, the hours of waiting, the pizza or the water. The issue is solely that White supremacists want to sustain minority rule, so they don’t want her to vote. They gerrymandered her district to neuter her vote. They closed polling places to make voting take all day. The issue isn’t about pizza or water. The issue is minority rule fueled by racism and classism.

We humans are poor at detecting slow change; we tolerate it quite well. Our relative insensitivity has brought us overt racism in the White House (“fine people on both sides” and incitement to insurrection via The Big Lie), and in Congress. It infects our state houses with bills that are overtly discriminatory, anti-Constitution and anti-democracy. These laws are ready to pounce on our freedom and devour it.

HR1/SB1 – the For The People Act, aka the Voting Rights bill – has passed the House and awaits the Senate. It would eliminate much of our state voting discrimination, but House Republicans voted in lock step against it and Republicans in the Senate have all vowed to vote against it. Now, why would they be against voting rights?

Sadly, meanly, now you can be arrested for giving a slice of pizza and a bottle of water to that old lady waiting to vote and there is no relief for her in sight.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

We’re Still Not Free


Can you believe we’re still having conversations about basic Covid stuff? I mean, we’ve known what to do to defeat this pandemic for most of a year and the rising availability of vaccines has greatly enhanced our ability to fight it, but still over 60,000 Americans test positive every day and our hospitals are filling up once again.

Through most of the past year we sat on our hands and allowed a lot of people to get sick, and a lot of people to suffer very long duration horrible symptoms and we’ve stood by and watched over half a million of our fellow citizens die. Dr. Deborah Birx recently said what you know to be true, that about 450,000 of our 550,000 Covid deaths were preventable. Early on in the pandemic a study at Oxford University said that 70 – 99% of U.S. Covid deaths were due to poor national leadership; i.e. they were preventable, but for self-serving you-know-who.

Given that,

How is it that so many millions of Americans still refuse to wear a mask? Yeah, I know it’s a terrible infringement on their individual freedom, poor babies.

How is it that Republican governors like DeSantis (FL), Abbott (TX) and Noem (SD) are doing everything possible to prevent any requirement for mask wearing in their cities, at work and inside retail stores? Of course, they’re doing it to suck up to their flagrant and vocal constituents in order to collect campaign donations, but they harm those very constituents because they, like so many others, continue to get sick and die.

How is it that the vast majority of White Evangelicals oppose vaccines on self-righteous religious grounds?

How is it that way too many of our citizens are both anti-science and conspiracy believers who refuse vaccines for staunchly held, anti-fact reasons? No, vaccines don’t cause autism, as proven conclusively and repeatedly by – guess what? – science. And Bill Gates isn’t packing nanobots into vaccines so he can track and control you.

In all cases – mask and vaccine refusers, political contribution suckers and science and reality deniers –  these are people ruled by self-serving confirmation bias and a drive for power and control.*

Why are we treating this deadly disease like it’s an optional game of volleyball in the park, where refusing to play is no big deal? There are milliions of our people doing that, and that is why we’re still not free of this awful disease.

Here’s a parallel to that.

President Biden is initiating a series of Executive Orders aimed at curtailing our gun slaughter, but those will only be temporary fixes, subject to the whim of the next President. We need Republicans to act, but they’ve proven to be intransigent on this issue, as they are to most challenges.

Here’s my view about gun safety reform:

We’ll have strong gun safety legislation and the beginning of curtailing our national carnage when we and our legislators at last decide that we love our children, our relatives and our friends more than we love our lust for power and control.

Given the overwhelming public support for gun safety laws, it’s our Second Amendment thumpers and our political contribution suckers whom we have to win over if we’re ever to be free from this brutality.

And so it is with masks and vaccinations. The refusers are the key obstacle to our resuming full personal and national health and are the ones we have to win over if we’re ever to be free from this brutality.

Meanwhile, we know what to do to defeat this pandemic – really, both pandemics. The trick is getting people to do the right thing.

Jennifer Rubin explains why it’s so hard to do that here.

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End Note

Each year the local high schools combine their singing and orchestral talents into a marvelous spring concert of about 500 very talented kids under wonderful direction. It’s held in the cathedral of Techny Towers, a massive and beautiful sanctuary, the acoustics of which compel music to sound. It is a singer’s and musician’s delight.

The programs are new each year, but the closer is always The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Written by abolitionist Julia Ward Howe in 1861, it is a prayer for a time when we were ripping ourselves apart, not unlike today. If you have not heard this majestic piece in full, you need to – it’s attached below. As you listen, imagine that you’re surrounded by singers and musicians. They’re in front of you, along both sides and even along the sides of the balcony above and around you. You’re surrounded by a message.

The point of bringing this into the conversation is a line from the Hymn. It is inherently Christian, so feel free to take this in that way. But also read and feel these words as a compelling message for us in these dark times of civil strife.

As He died to make men holy let us live to make men free

That’s free, like: Our people healthy and free from pandemic; You and I free from the danger of firearms in the hands of those who would harm us; Our citizens free and with full and equal rights – all of them. Feel free to add to this list.

Let us live to make men – and women – free.

  • Glenbrook Festival of Music, March 13, 2016
  • Glenbrook High Schools, IL D-225, Choirs and Orchestra

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* Indeed, I believe that lust for power and control was the gut level driver for Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd. Life and death is the ultimate power and control.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Survival


Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)

“The single greatest threat to our security right now is domestic terrorism and the tensions and polarizations between us.”

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), former CIA Agent, now serving on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Given her security background and current access to national security information, it seems likely she knows what she is talking about.

I wrote of that same concern in a recent post and some of my words were picked up in a very clever Star Wars format video that you can see below. Many thanks to reader Bob Beltran for his creativity.

The key words from both are:

In the absence of the Republican Party and with Trump soon to be headed to prison, the nation will face its most threatening foe: domestic terrorism. All that stands against this hateful enemy is “We the People” in a desperate fight for democracy.

The words “absence of the Republican Party” refers to:

⋅  The incremental departure of moderates and conservatives from the GOP, leaving only extremists

⋅   The decades-long GOP negation of anything Democrats propose, regardless of the needs and desires of the citizenry – ”  .  .  .  the modern G.O.P. is allergic to any proposal to spend taxpayer money to advance the public good.” – Paul Krugman

⋅   The de facto abdication of fact and reason as official Republican Party policy

What is left in Congress are people on a self-important power trip that is long on puffery, slogans and inaction and short on observable facts and useful policy. That is increasingly leading us to a two party system of Democrats versus domestic terrorists flying a GOP banner. That’s dangerous stuff, especially in the hands of politicians who believe QAnon conspiracies and are beholden to citizens with firearms and the inclination to use them. Our very survival as a democracy is threatened.

There’s more.

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I continue to be amazed by President George Washington’s prescient comments in his Farewell Address of 1796. He used a great deal of it to direct caution against the nefarious acts of “factions,” by which he meant political parties. His primary concern was the action of men loyal to party over country.

Bear in mind that this was then a new country and the states were only loosely connected, making the union vulnerable to sabotage by vested interests, like political parties. That was his context and his concerns for our republic were well founded. Crucially, his concerns remain applicable for our republic even today. Here is one piece of his warning:

” .  .  .  [parties] are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government  .  .  .  “

Hold that thought.

From The New York Times: On Politics newsletter of March 25:

“State-level Republican lawmakers have proposed hundreds of bills this year that would tamp down voting rights  .  .  .  “

In that same newsletter they report:

“Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, said that states simply ‘are not engaging in trying to suppress voters whatsoever’.”

Really, Mitch? How would you explain to President Washington the over 250 Republican Party/Faction bills in 43 states that have been described by many as Jim Crow 2? Like the Georgia law that makes it a felony to give water to people standing in line for 8 hours to vote. Bear in mind that their wait is primarily due to states shutting down polling places in non-White and poor areas.

Back to George Washington.

McConnell’s posturing and manipulation now look a great deal like the very ”  .  . . [usurpation] for themselves the reins of government” by “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” about which Washington warned us. And even McConnell’s disingenuousness seems almost tame compared to the outright anti-American insurgency that is much of the GOP in Congress. Don’t tell our first president about that. He warned us.

So, instead We the People must focus on the survival of our democracy. This is no spectator sport, so, TAG – WE’RE IT.

Special Note: Washington’s Farewell Address is read in full in Congress at the start of every new Congress. Even so, the Republicans just can’t seem to remember his message.

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2022 Winter Olympics

With the reasonable assumption that the pandemic will be under control by February next year, likely many people are planning a trip to China for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. But does attending these Olympics send the wrong message to that brutal and dangerous regime? Would attending be counter-productive for the free world?

I recommend that you read what Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has to say about that before making travel plans. He has a nuanced proposal that is well worth our consideration.

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

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

Liberal and Most Illiberal


Liberal

New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens has an interesting post on our politics. He says we’re not divided by liberal versus conservative; we’re divided by liberal versus illiberal. Here’s what he says liberal democracy is supposed to be:

By “liberal,” I don’t mean big-state welfarism. I mean the tenets and spirit of liberal democracy. Respect for the outcome of elections, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and the principle (in courts of law and public opinion alike) of innocent until proven guilty. Respect for the free market, bracketed by sensible regulation and cushioned by social support. Deference to personal autonomy but skepticism of identity politics. A commitment to equality of opportunity, not “equity” in outcomes. A well-grounded faith in the benefits of immigration, free trade, new technology, new ideas, experiments in living. Fidelity to the ideals and shared interests of the free world in the face of dictators and demagogues.

If he’s right in his definition (and I think he is), then we’re not even hitting the liberal barn door today, much less the center of the bulls eye painted on it. And “illiberal” is probably too cozy a term. It’s more like outright hostility to democracy.

Perhaps ’twas ever thus, but we’re living in an age when outrageousness and high volume dominate. Given our wealth of venues for instant dissemination of whatever drivel dribbles from lips and finger tips, that makes every blowhard a blow torch that easily burns down decorum, critical thinking and even our sense of reality.

Stephens’ column was nicely book-ended by that of Ross Douthat, who wrote that voting restrictions aren’t really as impactful as lefties think they are. I wonder what response he’d get if he were to run that by the people in North Carolina where most polling places in Black areas were closed and people were forced to travel long distances and wait for hours to vote. Did he check in with the voters in Georgia and Florida whose names were removed from the voting roles solely because they missed voting in the last election? So many questions, so little liberal democracy.

Most Illiberal

In an interview on the Joe Pags show Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Racism) spoke of the insurrection against the Constitution on January 6, declaring,

“I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.”

“Now, had the tables been turned — now, Joe, this will get me in trouble — had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”

Never mind that the rioters clearly didn’t love this country – they were attacking it – and rather than “never do anything to break the law,” they were in constant violation of the law. And no, they didn’t honor Blue Lives Matter, either – they attacked over 140 police officers. And let’s ignore his blatant racism implicit in “I might have been a little concerned” if the rioters were BLM or Antifa. Instead, let’s look at how Johnson defended himself against the justified excoriation of his racist comments.

“This isn’t about race, this is about riots. I have been attacked and criticized because I pushed back on the narrative that there were thousands of armed insurrectionists, and that’s just a small part of the 74 million Americans that voted for President Trump that also need to be suspect of being potential domestic terrorists or also potentially armed insurrectionists. This is a false narrative, and so the few of us that push back on that we get mercilessly attacked.”

Since making his disingenuous comments, Johnson has been roundly accused of slimy, miserable scum bucket racism. Full disclosure: those are my adjectives and not necessarily those of all the senators, congressmen/women, pundits and ordinary folk who have called him out.

As you can see by his last sentence, he has advanced to the next step of despotic manipulation as instructed by Trump. After doing his own version of “fine people on both sides,” Johnson has taken refuge in sulking, declaring himself a poor victim. Just look what those unfair critics have done to him!

Ron Johnson is so morally bankrupt that he isn’t worth this much space in a blog post, except for one thing: he speaks for all the Americans who manage to rationalize their fear and hatred and notions of supremacy, somehow justifying their joy in discrimination. Holding him up as a fine example of this cowardliness is useful.

Michael Gerson says Johnson is no outlier. Writing in The Washington Post he says,

“There have always been bigots with access to a microphone. But in this case, Johnson did not face the hygienic repudiation of his party. Republican leaders preferred a different strategy: putting their fingers in their ears and humming loudly. Republicans have abolished their ideological police.”

“It matters whether leaders delegitimize hatred or fertilize it; if they isolate prejudice or mainstream it. If political figures base their appeal on the cultivation of resentment for some group or groups, they are releasing deadly toxins into our society without any idea who might be harmed or killed. Such elected leaders might not have blood on their hands directly, but they are creating a society with more bloody hands.”

To be clear, I do not know if Ron Johnson (or any other illiberal posing as a Republican) is feeble minded, galactically ignorant or if he is a vicious, pandering liar. I do know that he is dangerous because he perpetuates hatred that does more than upset people; it gets people killed and it can upend our democracy. That pleases Vladimir Putin, whose propaganda Johnson and other Republicans trumpeted loudly in the last election and beyond. Johnson, like so many other chaos generators, is actively working against America, and that is very illiberal. Read this from Anne Applebaum.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

FDB – Not a Typo


The Yungr Machine is a modification of the Wabac Machine.

Were I twenty years younger and living where there is a Republican senator or congressperson I would run for office in 2022. I’m licking my lips at the idea of running against any fool Republican who voted against the American Rescue Plan, which includes every Republican in Congress. By November 2022 it will be the single most positive and popular thing to impact the voting public in many decades and its popularity will climb as people get checks, vaccinations. jobs and their kids go back to school. Please, somebody, stuff me into the Yungr Machine so I can become a generation younger and run against an R in the mid-term election.

.

Passing the American Rescue Plan is a huge step in delivering what Americans want and desperately need. It has a 76% approval rating – over 60% of Republicans like it – and those numbers are going nowhere but up. It’s the kind of thing that makes people say, “Hey, this is pretty good stuff – these guys actually can deliver.” Some will say quite reasonably, “It’s about damn time,” and, of course, they’ll be right. We’ve dragged feet for decades on any kind of benefit package that actually helps working people and our most desperate.

This is so good that even stogy economists, like those at Goldman Sachs, as well as non-stogy Paul Krugman, are predicting 7.7% growth in GDP, and that’s nothing but good for everyone.

The key political play is for the Dems to keep the Plan properly framed and its benefits in front of voters for the next four years. That’s critical, because Trump will try to steal the glory by claiming that “only he” could have delivered Operation Warp Speed. Look for that BS coming soon to a communication near you.

Now imagine Biden delivering an infrastructure bill, a critically needed updating and rebuilding of our national foundation that politicians have been wagging tongues about and have steadfastly avoided tackling for at least 40 years. This will be a WPA-like package that puts millions more Americans to work with good wages and benefits and the self-respect that comes with that. That will be next on Biden’s playlist and, like the American Rescue Plan, it will be gigantically popular.

Big projects are what are needed for our big challenges. This is very much like the time of the Great Depression, in that there are big crises afoot, which opens a space for a strong leader with the right message to emerge and champion serving the people. Delivering on that opportunity will cement Biden as the right guy for our time and perhaps the cultural and economic successor to FDR; hence, the title, “FDB.”

Republicans know and fear this, so they especially want to oppose an infrastructure plan, because its popularity would likely portend 8 to 12 additional years of a Democrat in the White House and Democrats controlling Congress, too. That’s why they are scratching and clawing to keep the filibuster. They are desperate to prevent its modification so that they can continue to submarine every Democrat and every Biden effort. Their motto:

Obstruction Я Us

They are all about stopping anything that is good for We the People because that prevents Ds from having a win. They think that will put them in power. Too bad for you.

That is why Democrat efforts to de-fang the filibuster and prevent Republican obstructionism is so important to our nation. Read this to understand fully.

Republican legislators refuse to be responsive to the needs and desires of the American people, but they still want power. They ache for the appalling thrill of minority rule. They are unable to compete on policy, so they’re waging a war using cultural divisiveness, fantastical lying, gerrymandering and overt voter suppression. Sadly, in their complete absence of even a single idea of substance for We the People, they’re now using their lofty Congressional status to attack Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head. Really.*

If you believe in majority rule, you better get into the fight to limit or eliminate the filibuster.

Fun Contest

There’s red wine, white wine and Republican whine, and they have already started their whining campaign about the American Rescue Plan. They are claiming that it’s full of “pork barrel spending.” They are wailing great cries of woe and rending their garments in anticipation of a fantasy mortal hog snort to our nation. This is exactly like Trump and Republican accusations of voting fraud in the 2020 election, in that in neither case are they able to point to even a single example of the horrible thing they decry. All they have are false accusations projected at spit-spewing volume.

Which brings to mind the title and key lyric of a fine blues tune:

Your Mind Is On Vacation (and Your Mouth Is Working Overtime)

So, the contest is to find an example of the pork that Republicans claim is in this bill. Submit your contest entry in the Comments section below. The contest winner’s name will be attached to a pork chop that will be sent to the Congressional pork whiner of his/her choice.

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  • *Tucker Carlson responded to President Biden’s Thursday speech, wherein the President offered hope that we will be able to gather with friends and family on the Fourth of July. Carlson said, “This is a free country. How dare you tell us who we can spend the Fourth of July with?” He’s quite good at indignation.
  • That empty headedness is what passes for thoughtful Republican commentary in a pandemic.
  • Okay, I accept your criticism that Tucker Carlson is anything but thoughtful. So, instead consider applying to him the blues tune title above.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

Carrots, Sticks and George Washington


George Washington’s Farewell Address was delivered to Congress in 1796. He offered profound wisdom to our young nation and his words have value that is undiminished by time. Indeed, it reads as though Washington had a telescope to see into the 21st century and address our challenges of today. His address is wordy in its 18th century style, but it is accessible with a little concentration and it is your reading assignment this week (click here to download the PDF).

Washington had great aspirations for the country he served selflessly through war and for years after that when he would have preferred to be in retirement on his farm.  Here is a piece of his hopes for this nation:

”  .  .  .  I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.”

The question now is focused on how we are doing in maintaining our brotherly affection, maintaining a free Constitution, ensuring that every department of government is “stamped with wisdom and virtue,” and that we have the happiness and liberty sufficient to recommend democracy like ours to other nations.

There are many Americans now wanting to bring our democracy and our Constitution crashing down and they are doing so while mouthing their perversely impassioned cries of democracy and liberty. We have politicians and blatherers spouting embarrassingly flagrant and witless lies to enrage our citizens against one another and our country. So much for our brotherly affection. And we have abandoned allies and supplicated to tyrants, hardly providing a recommendation of democracy to others.

It’s possible that we’ve back-slid on the path to Washington’s aspirations for us, so our focus needs to be on restoring the pursuit of those lofty goals. Right now it appears that we’ll need both carrots and sticks to begin to move in the right direction.

President Biden hit the ground running, even in the face of the refusal of Trump administration operatives to help in the transition, even in the face of their withholding critical information, even in the face of a complete lack of prior structure to tackle our national challenges and even in the face of their denials of Biden’s achievement and authority.

We are at last on a path to get the pandemic under control and stop killing thousands of Americans daily. We are on a path to restore economic security for our people and we’ve rejoined the global fight for our planet. We are in hopes of soon having the infrastructure program we’ve declared as critical for over three decades and which will benefit all of us in many ways. And we have begun to mend international fences with our allies and put tyrannical opponents on notice. All of that will go a long way to taming the fiery beast of American anger. Perhaps that will narrow our national divisiveness and make us safer here and around the world at the same time.

All are good things, but those carrots alone won’t be enough. It’s hard to picture Michigan Militia toughs suddenly becoming placid and deciding not to kidnap the governor or storm the state capitol with assault weapons, chanting like goosestepping morons about their freedom. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers won’t miraculously stop calling for a new civil war and threatening to once again attack Congress. Even now they’re threatening to kill Democrats. They are bent on violating Washington’s hope for us, “that [our] union and brotherly affection may be perpetual.” Preventing their violence and chaos will take more than carrots; it will take some sticks.

We need an ongoing and very robust domestic intelligence gathering engine and powerful national policing to crack down on the violent hard heads before they harm more Americans and before they bring down American democracy. That’s the tricky part, because in doing so we risk becoming a police state, compromising the very liberty Washington recommended to us and celebrated. That will be a huge challenge for a very long time.

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Follow Up to the Donald Trump Golden Calf Report

Last week I reported on the CPAC Trump golden idolatry extravaganza and hereby make a prediction based on biblical history.

The T-GOP, like the original wanderers, will take generations to forget their comfort in slavery and their supplication to a false god. Expect no quick miracles.

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Best Opinion Videos of the Week

Brianna Keilar at CNN captures the Pinocchio that Republicans are using to promote minority rule and restore Jim Crow. They are not and never will be real live boys.

And she skewers the jellyfish here.

As you watch the CNN clip, keep in mind the Rudy Question, from the movie The Rainmaker: “Do you even remember when you first sold out?”

Best Political Satire of the Week

Click me for the story

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

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