John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement act

Starting To End


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

1. Ode To The Justice Department

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

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

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

Merrick Garland

.

And here’s to you, Merrick Garland,

A nation turns its frightened eyes to you,

We’re so screwed.

So hurry, please, Merrick Garland,

Justice calls on you to set things right,

From our Trump and MAGA plight.

.

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

We’d like to see indictments coming down.

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

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

.

And here’s to you, Merrick Garland,

Gotta make the bad guys pay the price,

For their vice.

Come on now, please, Merrick Garland,

Step up to the plate and take a swing.

Pound the perps. Make it sting.

.

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

Dump him in the courtroom as defendant.

You can drag him kicking, screaming,

Crying like a kid.

Most of all he has pay for what he did.

.

Coo, coo ca-choo, Merrick Garland,

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

Jail the bums.

O’ come on, please, Merrick Garland,

Justice calls on you to set things right.

Don’t sit tight. Go and fight.

.

Sitting on a sofa eating Big Macs and his fries,

Thinking he can get away with murder.

Think about it, shout about it,

Garland, when you choose,

Stomp those guys or every one of us will lose.

.

Where have you gone, Merrick Garland?

A nation looks around but can’t find you,

Woo, woo, woo.

Here’s what we say, Merrick Garland,

Everyone wants justice rained on them.

Put ’em all in the pen.

.

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

2. Saving Our Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you now or have you ever been a Republican?

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

3. Our Much Maligned Economy

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

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

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

Wages are up 4%

Over 4.6 million more Americans at last have healthcare insurance.

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

Companies have the highest profit margins since 1950.

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

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

The Dow remains at record high levels.

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

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

Required Reading

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

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

IMPORTANT ADDITION!

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

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

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

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

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Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The American ISIS – Part Two


This is Part Two of The American ISIS. Part One was published on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. You can find it here.

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Kurt Andersen’s 2017 book Fantasyland is a remarkable journey through our 5 century endeavor to perfect our ability to believe almost anything. It’s about how we blind ourselves to obvious reality and embrace outrageous explanations and fantasies to fill our gaping ignorance and feed our passions. We may be reaching perfection in that right now and could achieve escape velocity.

I recommend Andersen’s book to you but caution that you may find some of his views objectionable. Should that happen, simply focus on the basic American manias of belief in whatever puffs our bubble and our need to be wowed by ever more spectacular wow. There are hard consequences to those vulnerabilities. Our enthusiasm to believe the otherwise unbelievable is especially true when we live in fear of the ground shifting farther away from what feels solidly familiar. We clutch after vaporous memories of an imagined better time that never happened and we demand that it return.

He concludes his book quoting Hannah Arendt, who escaped Germany in 1933, came to America and became a leading political philosopher. In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism she wrote, “The essential conviction shared by all ranks [in a totalitarian movement], from fellow-traveler to leader, is that politics is a game of cheating.” Consider that in the context of our fellow-traveler mobs chanting “Stop the steal!” and their dear leader having whined, accused and lied incessantly since 2015 about rigged elections and who now donkey brays about how the 2020 election was “stolen” from him and his mobs.

Back to Arendt:

“A mix of gullibility and cynicism have been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses. In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and nothing was true  .  .  .  Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable truth of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”

Her references were to Stalin and Hitler but she could as well have been writing about 21st century America and Donald Trump. We’re not a different species from any other people at any other time and this story is a recurring one. The difference is that it is being played out on us today and it is our democracy that is in danger.

The Nazi Brown Shirts and Stalin’s Death Squads and Pol Pot’s Kymer Rouge were each absolute followers of an absolute, tyrannical leader. They were constantly infused with propaganda. So, too, were and are the al Qaeda and ISIS vengeful mobs.

Right here at home our American ISIS is propagandized by Trump. He is yet another megalomaniac who will get his way or he will burn it all down. His followers have promised death to whomever he points a stubby finger at, including the Vice President of the United States. There are over 300 million guns in private hands in America and most are owned by a relative few, meaning that we have propagandized militias with over-stocked arsenals and barely contained rage. Even some of our military and police are fully propagandized.

These American ISIS members have promised ongoing violence fueled by their self-righteous certainties of patriotism and their imagined unity with 18th century revolutionaries. They have demonstrated their eagerness to inflict their violence on others. In fact far right extremists are the biggest perpetrators of domestic terrorism in America – by far. Now consider what will happen when their tyrannical leader, their Caligula, is indicted and convicted of his crimes.

Consider, too, how critical it will be to pass S.4263, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and H.R.1, the For The People Act to stop a Republican steal of our upcoming elections and of our democracy.

The facts are before us, so expecting the American ISIS to make good on their threats is an exercise in reality. Believe your eyes.

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Good News!

On Friday President Biden fired the Trump appointed head of the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul, and solicited and received the resignation of his chief deputy, David Black. Saul spent the past years doing everything he could to deny benefits to seniors, our disabled and others for whom the system is supposed to work. He tried to bust the employee union and more.

Saul’s firing is a fine start to removing all the Trump toadies who have their jobs due to campaign donations and blatant conflicts of interest with the agencies they lead, like Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who spends his days hobbling the post office system and slowing your mail.

Well done, President Biden. Keep purging!

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Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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