Guppies Eat Their Young

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote a forehead slapper on December 3 entitled:

The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof.

Paul Krugman had a similar message in his piece:

The Bogus Bashing of Build Back Better

Biden has accomplished so much already, even in the face of the blistering torrent of lies and an unrelenting negative attitude by pundits and faithless politicians. Plus, don’t forget that Biden hasn’t been caught in 16 lies per day. nor has he been caught doubling down on any lie. That should count for something, but clearly, it doesn’t. We’re left to wonder where that negative media coverage comes from.

Numerous examples of Biden bashing have arrived in my Inbox since Milbank’s post (that’s on top of the many that arrived before then) to reinforce the message. Here’s a headline from The Economist’s email listing of their stories this week:

The article effectively calls President Biden an Omicron wimp, but that just doesn’t make sense. Our scientists are working every day to learn what we need to know to deal with this variant. At this point they believe Omicron is far more transmissible but likely less lethal than the Delta variant. That’s better news than had been feared, but why the hatchet job on Biden?

There is a lot of talk about inflation now and the woe it’s causing workers. But economists have shown that those same workers are actually better off because of rising wages, even with inflation. Nevertheless, Biden is taking a bashing over the economy. It seems to me that this is common, not just for the media, but even for Democrats and Progressives themselves.

Long time readers of these posts have endured my regular bashings of Democrats for their world class ability to produce terrible communication. Here’s the contrast: Republicans deliver snappy, compelling bumper sticker slogans (“Stop the Steal!”) while Democrats issue three pages of shades-of-gray treatises that not even their authors can remember 10 minutes after writing them. Republicans get in line with one voice and a clear message, while Democrats cheer their big tent under which they are pummeling one another in a chaos of conflicting messages and undermining the Democratic president in the process.

Don’t believe it? Just look at the craziness over the Build Back Better Bill.*

Sausage making is always ugly, but, to mix metaphors, it’s only Democrats who hang their dirty laundry to flap in the public breeze. It’s only Democrats who publicly criticize their own tribe. Meanwhile, the Republicans are saying and doing reprehensible, hateful, anti-democratic things and their leadership can’t seem to utter a word of correction. But at least they aren’t confusing everyone.

Perhaps you’d like to help Democrats with their messaging – they surely need your help. Try your hand at writing a bumper sticker, a slogan that will ring with validation for the true believers and be compelling to the fence sitters. Give it your best shot and then send it to the DNC (click here for their Contact page). Post it in the Comments section below, too.

When you send your offering to the DNC be sure to include a note letting them know that they need to smarten up their communication because they’re boring an entire nation and its democracy to death.

And tell them to turn the lights off while they’re infighting over the sausage. Nobody but the opposition wants to see their ugly.

In an effort to be clear about this and to mix metaphors yet again, only Democrats eat their young – just like guppies.

Now, that’s a bumper sticker!


In 1993 there was catastrophic flooding throughout the Midwest. It was early spring and much of the ground was still frozen. Then came torrential rains and every major river and every little creek rose way past flood stage. The Mississippi, the Illinois, the Missouri – all of them breached their banks, as rain water flowed across barren fields and into the rivers much faster than the water could flow downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. Dirt levees collapsed one after another. Indeed, I recall seeing Harry Smith on assignment near a levee as a section of it behind him collapsed into the torrent of water.

Just days later I had a business appointment in Nebraska. I am a pilot and had an airplane then, so I took off for my meeting. My course took me over the Mississippi River, over Des Moines, IA and past the Missouri River. The Mississippi was so far beyond flood stage that I was unable to determine where its former banks had been. The river now covered corn and soy bean fields miles wide. Flying over Des Moines I saw the entire downtown area under several feet of Des Moines River water. Looking to the north, the tree tops stuck out looking like heads of broccoli where the river had become an inland sea. The Missouri River was like that, too.

I tell you this so that you can understand what I realized on that flight. No matter the skill of the camera personnel, no matter the eloquence of reporters on the ground, the TV screen cannot begin to communicate the magnitude of the devastation caused by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, nor can it make real the depth of the human suffering.

Think about that as you take in coverage of the 275 mile long path of last Friday’s super tornado and the 49 other tornadoes that night as they ripped up parts of six states. Think about what they have done to thousands of our fellows. Unless we’re there, we really don’t get it and it’s way worse than we think. Here’s a link to a way you can help those beaten up folks in Kentucky.

BlizzardsBlizzard3 - NOAA.jpg

Republicans continue to provide a blizzard of cover for Trump, the insurrectionists and the members of Congress who were complicit in the attempt to overthrow our government. The prominent snow job currently underway is to prevent Mark Meadows from being criminally charged for contempt of Congress. But here are the facts and the real deal.


  1. Mark Meadows received a legal congressional subpoena to appear before the January 6 Committee. Subpoenas create a legal obligation to comply.
  2. Meadows refused to appear and has promised that he will not appear. That is to say, Meadows has knowingly, intentionally broken the law.
  3. “Subpoena” means “under penalty.” That means that there is a price to be paid for breaking the law.
  4. If this is to be a nation of laws and not a nation designed to serve only the select few, Meadows must be referred to the Justice Department with a complaint of criminal contempt. And Merrick Garland’s Justice Department must mount a vigorous prosecution of this obviously guilty man. The same must apply to all who refuse a subpoena. They must be held “under penalty” for their lawlessness.

The Real Deal:

We don’t need any more right-wing snow jobs. We need justice.

Must Read of the Week

Read Bart Gellman’s cover story in The Atlantic, Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun. Better: buy a copy of the January/February 2022 issue at a newsstand and subscribe. That’s how we keep journalism – and especially investigative journalism – alive.


* Sens. Manchin and Sinema are the primary obstructionists to passing the Build Back Better Bill and two voting rights bills. That prompts me to wonder how Lyndon Johnson would have handled these road blocks. He was well known both in Congress and as president as a guy who knew how to get things done, like the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. There was enormous opposition to both, but he got them passed. Here’s how.

He horse traded. He cajoled. But most of all he twisted arms way past the “That hurts!” point and senators got in line.

I don’t know what leverage President Biden has available to him to persuade Sens. Manchin and Sinema to see the light, but he better find it and use it fast. This is no time to be Mr. Nice Guy if we’re to keep the anti-democracy crazies out of power.

Read this.


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

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

It’s Just Another Week

Join the Disambiguation Gang right over there (scroll down just a bit)

Reading time 3:11  .  .  .

We have endured an onslaught of one catastrophe or outrageous event on top of another. That both keeps us from focusing on individual events and seeing them through to the end, as well as dulling us to big events. That’s very bad for a democracy. Here’s a small sample from just the past 8 days.

Friday, September 18

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, progressive rights hero, dies. Less than 2 hours later Mitch McConnell promises to go full hypocrite, vowing to cram Trump’s replacement justice through the Senate.

Saturday, September 19

Emails are uncovered that “Detail [administration] Effort to Silence C.D.C. and Question Its Science.”

The Trump “drug pricing deal” is rejected by pharmaceutical companies. Trump had demanded that they supply a $100 prescription drug gift certificate to all 33 million Medicare beneficiaries before the election. The companies refused, so Trump now declares that they are to be called “Trump cards” and will be worth $200. They will be funded by the federal government and sent out before the election.

Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, “barred the nation’s health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, from signing any new rules regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products, including vaccines.” That effectively makes the FDA a solely political agency, not a health agency, this in the midst of a pandemic and right before a national election.

At a rally in Fayetteville, NC Trump declares that the coronavirus, “affects virtually nobody.”

Sunday, September 20

U.S. surpasses 200,000 dead from COVID-19.

Approximately 6.7 million acres of the U.S. west coast have burned. Trump blames the Forestry Service for poor forest management – he says they didn’t rake the forest floor.

Monday, September 21

Attorney General Wm. Barr threatens, “to withhold federal funding from New York, Seattle and Portland, Ore., over their responses to protests against police brutality .  .  . “

Tuesday, September 22

Lindsay Graham asserts his sincere belief that Democrats are as hypocritical as he and Sen. McConnell regarding when to nominate a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court. He declares, “I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same,”

Wednesday, September 23

The Kentucky Attorney General announces charges of wanton endangerment of the neighbors of Breonna Taylor against one officer involved in the police shooting death of Taylor. There are no charges filed relating to the death of Taylor against any of the three officers involved in the blaze of gunfire they aimed at Taylor and her boyfriend, as they executed a warrant against a third person already in police custody. There is a dispute about whether it was a no-knock warrant and also whether the police announced their presence.

Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transition of power unless he wins, in which case he informs us that it will be a continuation of power.

Trump declares that a replacement Supreme Court justice will be necessary to determine the winner of the presidential election.

Thursday, September 24

Trump administration lawyers announce they will attempt to have Republican governors replace electors voted by the people with Trump electors. That would effectively disenfranchise all voters.

Trump  announces that in the upcoming election we must, “get rid of the ballots.”

CDC announces that the median age for people becoming infected with COVID-19 has dropped from 47 to 38 years. In their report they explain, “Given the role of asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, strict adherence to community mitigation strategies and personal preventive behaviors by younger adults is needed to help reduce their risk for infection and subsequent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons at higher risk for severe illness.”

The FDA announces tighter safety protocols for vaccines. Trump attacks the FDA, claiming it is now politicized.

Friday, September 25

The Trump administration rescinds a Courage Award given to a Finnish journalist last year, this  after learning that she had criticized Trump in social media posts.

Trump gives up on repealing and replacing Obamacare, settling for nothing more than a re-branding, saying, “Obamacare is no longer Obamacare, as we worked on it and managed it very well.” “What we have now is a much better plan. It is no longer Obamacare because we got rid of the worse [sic] part of it — the individual mandate.” There is no claim made yet that it will now be called “Trumpcare.”

This is just a bit of the highlight reel of a typical week, a small part of the tsunami that makes Americans numb. This is why there is no accountability. The insanity is why our problems don’t get fixed, why we fail to meet our challenges and what stokes our anger.


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.


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.


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

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