lies

The Iran Deal


Iran NuclearReading time – 29 seconds  .  .  . 

We endured the knee-jerks, with their instantaneous, hyperbolic, fact-devoid rejections of the Iran nuclear deal before they had so much as laid their eyes on it and the brainless criticisms have continued unabated. Indeed, for many in DC, self-serving politics designed only to destroy is the norm.

Here’s the real deal about the deal: It’s all we have and all we’re going to get. Pressing for a perfect deal is moronically ignorant. All the attacks on President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and on our supposedly inept negotiating team and the goose-stepping insistence upon getting a better deal from the Iranians is at best a fantasy about a deal that can never happen. None of the lip flappers has offered any alternative to this deal, leaving the implication of war with Iran as the default action.

War? Really? Our only international tool is killing huge numbers of people in never ending war and spending ourselves into bankruptcy like the Soviet Union did? Perhaps there are some people with clearer thinking about this.

Read Steve Sheffey’s article in The Hill, Opposing Iran Deal Endangers US and Israeli Security and think for yourself about this deal. Read Nicholas Kristof’s piece in The New York Times, Why The Naysayers Are Wrong About The Iran Deal. Then write or call your senators and representative and tell them to give the deal their yea vote when it comes up in Congress, because opposing it will likely lead to a nuclear Iran within one year. And that would be a bad deal.

The deal being considered right now is in America’s best national security interests. Let’s not blow this chance for a negotiated peace with yet more cowboy swagger, because we tried that in Iraq and it hasn’t work out too well.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Gaseous


Cassius Clay, aka Muhammed Ali

Cassius Clay, aka Muhammed Ali

Reading time – 109 seconds  .  .  .

Cassius Clay renamed himself Muhammed Ali shortly after becoming the boxing heavyweight champion of the world in 1964. He was known for his speed, his agility and for the prolific and colorful nature of his speech. He was dubbed “Gaseous Cassius” by the press, but the public enjoyed his remarkable presentation. And he was black, a Muslim and he refused to participate in the establishment’s war, so he gave the haters many opportunities to show off their skills. Remarkably, he never returned their hatred. During his public decades he was always a class act, regardless of one’s views of his bombast.

Sadly and destructively, our politics hasn’t had that same class for a long time. Perhaps ’twas ever thus, but it has been much more in evidence for many years, certainly since the Republicans decided that scorched earth was their best strategy. They have made fear, hatred and sheer meanness their tools to achieve power and have consistently appealed to the worst in us.

Doubt that? Donald Trump is all about demonizing, hating and meanness. Amazingly,  one-quarter of Republican voters now favor him to be their presidential candidate for 2016 and he is the personification of exactly the fear, hate and meanness that Republicans have been practicing for decades. He is also the poster boy for the fact-less spraying of of idiotic slurs.

Other examples: George W. Bush knocked John McCain out of the Republican primaries in 2000 by questioning his patriotism, just as he did with war hero and triple amputee, former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). He did the same to former senator (D-MA), now Secretary of State John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.

And it’s not just Trump and Bush who have appealed to fear, hate and meanness. It’s the birthers and the fools now criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, the stupid and fact-devoid attacks on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and the dozens of substance-free congressional hearings and investigations into the Benghazi incident. It’s former Representative Darryl Issa (R-CA) refusing to allow any woman to testify about reproductive rights and former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who continues to this day his baseless WMD accusation, as well as former national security adviser Condoleeza Rice and her imaginary mushroom cloud.

Gasseous

Gaseous

All of that and more is at the heart of Republican strategy. Read Timothy Egan’s column in the July 26 New York Times article, Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted. The only difference for Republicans now is that their own poison strategy is being used by Trump on them. Oddly, they don’t seem to like that.

That Trump is gaseous is self-evident. That he and his Republican cohorts do it without class is equally self-evident.

Blog Bonus: Here is a special quote for our politicians who haven’t grown beyond the narrow-minded notions they had when they were 19 years old:

“Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.”

                                                                                                                Ayn Rand

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Education


Iran DealReading time – 53 seconds  .  .  .

Robert Dold (R-IL) represents the 10th congressional district of Illinois and it is quite obvious that he not only took a speed reading course, but he may have invented a hyper-eyeball version of it. I say that because he delivered a blistering rejection of the Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a 159-page document, on the floor of the House of Representatives mere minutes after it was released. As you know from reading this column, Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) verbally blasted the agreement on Morning Joe on MSNBC immediately after it was announced. How do these guys absorb so much complex material instantaneously?

Of course, the answer is that they don’t. What they do is to prepare in advance carefully worded, vacuous attacks for the purpose of their own self-interest and especially in order to ensure the goal named by the 15 Republicans who met the night President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009 – that he would be a one-term president. Oh, wait – that didn’t turn out too well for them. Regardless, the tactic of opposing anything President Obama supports, the strategy decided by the 15, is still in play, the needs and best interests of America be damned.

The point is that a lot of Rs are slinging partisan red meat into the cages of their “base.” I love that term, as though it forms some kind of foundation. Its true identity is a bunch of knuckle-dragging angry guys who believed Ronald Reagan when he told them that government is the cause of the problems in their lives and who fondly remember good old days which actually never happened.

Don’t bother yourself with the noise of the hyperbolic rhetoric of bloviating politicians. Instead, listen to this podcast from the Wilson Center and consider what a group of well-informed and thoughtful people have to say about the Iran deal. If you’re feeling ambitious, read the deal yourself and make up your own mind. Free yourself from Washington bumper sticker talking points and doomsday idiocy crafted for election season.

This is all about your own education about one of the most important international agreements of the past 50 years, one destined to have critical long term impact for the United States and the world.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Stupidity


Image generated by Ghostscript (device=ppmraw)

Image of a galaxy, courtesy of Hubble

Reading time – 57 seconds  .  .  .

Said Harlan Ellison, “The most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” That is cynical and harsh, yes, but there surely is an element of truth to be found in that statement. Let me offer a simple syllogism:

Doing self-destructive things is stupid

Many Americans are doing self-destructive things

Therefore, many Americans are doing stupid things

Perhaps your mind is instantly pushing back on that condemnation. Fair enough, yet here is a short, off-the-top-of-my-head list to make my case:

  1. We are largely ignoring the threat of climate warming that shows us every day that the planet is going to hard boil us. Evidence of our folly: In the face of the globally warmest years we’ve ever recorded, we continue to subsidize fossil fuel industries and provide next to no support for non-carbon based energy sources.
  2. After nearly forty years of failure, we still practice the same supply-side, trickle down economics that has financially stagnated most middle-class Americans and has forced millions into poverty.
  3. We have waged about 50 years of near-continuous war, largely because we have tolerated a spineless Congress that both abdicates its responsibility and knuckles under to what President Eisenhower labeled the military-industrial complex.
  4. We have allowed our state governments to abandon their financial obligations (that’s “obligations” as in: “duty-bound”) for deferred pay to state workers, an act of irresponsibility that may put millions into retirement age peril.
  5. We have allowed huge corporations not only the First Amendment right to speak, but to control our laws and regulations. That has given us more guns and murders per capita than any other western nation, crops that are designed primarily to resist ever-greater applications of toxic pesticides, rather than delivering safe, nutritious food and so many more examples of the undermining of safety, good sense and democracy.
  6. We have allowed candidates’ need for huge amounts of money to control our elections. Example: notice how press coverage of campaigns focuses more on campaign fund raising than on candidate policy proposals for the betterment of America.

All of that and more goes on because half to two-thirds of us fail to show up on election day. That’s self-destructive. That’s stupid.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Knee Jerks


Knee prepared to jerk

Knee prepared to jerk

Reading time – 42 seconds  .  .  . 

New York, July 14, 2015 – These exchanges took place on the Morning Joe program on MSNBC just moments after a deal between 6 countries and Iran to prevent nuclear proliferation had been announced and before anyone other than the negotiating parties knew its terms.

Mika Brzezinski: “Senator Lindsey Graham, have you seen the deal?”

S. Graham (R SC): “Ah, no.”

Seconds later he continued:

S. Graham: “We’ve ensured that [Iran will] become a nuclear nation, ensured that there will be a nuclear arms race  .  .  . You have created a possible death sentence for Israel  .  .  .  This is a virtual declaration of war against Sunni Arabs.”

Later on the same TV program  .  .  .

Joe Scarborough: “Senator [Tom Cotton, R-AR]*, you obviously heard the president’s speech. What’s your initial reaction?”

S. Cotton: “Joe, this proposed deal is a terrible, dangerous mistake that’s going to pave the path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon, while also giving them tens of billions of dollars of sanctions relief, even lifting the arms embargo at a time when they’re destabilizing the entire middle-east  .  .  .”

JS: “Does [the aggressive inspection regime] satisfy your concerns about inspections?”

S. Cotton: “No, Joe .  .  .  They will have weeks to delay, they’ll be able to decide which sites that we inspect .  .  .”

It’s most impressive that these men along with so many other Republicans seem to be clairvoyant, in that somehow they see all the danger embedded into an arms limitation agreement that they haven’t read and about which they are totally ignorant.

Actually, it is far more than sad that they have a knee-jerk rejection to anything President Obama supports and that they justify their rejections with fabricated facts. The reason it is more than sad is that they are willing – even eager – to counter the president even if their self-serving behavior leads to another avoidable war. They prefer dead soldiers and a plundered American treasury over resolving differences through diplomacy if diplomacy might give the president a “win.”

These knee jerks could reasonably be accused of treason.

* Senator Tom Cotton is the author of the letter signed by 47 Republican senators sent to the leaders of Iran. It indirectly instructed the Iranian leaders not to trust the President of the United States. That could reasonably be called treasonous, too.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

It’s Blindingly Simple


Reading time – 39 seconds  .  .  .

It’s the impassioned extremists who are charged up and faithfully go to the polls. The wackos, the nut jobs, the absolutists are all pissy and  hateful, so they vote because they want to make a difference. That it’s not the difference you want is not the point. The point is that they show up.

Moderate people are, by definition, moderate. They aren’t all revved up and looking for raw meat and prefer instead to be either disinterested, cynical, lazy or all three, so they don’t show up at the polls on election day.

What that means is that to win a primary one cannot be a moderate candidate. Indeed, candidates must not appear to be even marginally sensible. In order to appeal to the people who show up for a primary, candidates have to be wackos or do a really good imitation of a wacko.

That’s why we get extremist candidates.

All it takes for us to get good candidates is for the rest of our eligible voters to show up at the polls on election day and vote their moderate views.

Sixty seven percent of the world’s population would kill for the opportunity to vote. 62% of eligible American voters won’t bother.

The cure for our inane roster of candidates is blindingly simple.

Vote.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Understanding Charleston and That Flag


Confederate Battle FlagReading time – 4 seconds  .  .  .

If you want to understand Charleston, the Confederate battle flag and U.S. history, read this.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Despicable Dick


 One Man Against the WorldReading time – 49 seconds  .  .  .

I just finished reading Tim Weiner’s well written, well resourced and thoughtful new book One Man Against the World. Inside the front flap of the book jacket the headline for the teaser reads, “The riveting story of a dramatic and disastrous Presidency.” Few who remember or who have studied the sordid story of Richard M. Nixon would quibble with either the book title or the jacket headline.

Richard Nixon was, if anything, a polarizing figure and an easy man to dislike and distrust, in large measure because he disliked and distrusted nearly everyone, especially those who weren’t exactly like him. Neither conventional morality nor Constitutional law were limits he honored and he was able to self-justify nearly anything in pursuit of establishing a heroic place in world history for himself. His self-centered focus allowed for the deaths of tens of thousands more of our military in Vietnam and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians.

Perhaps that self-focus sounds a bit familiar, akin to so many of our current politicians who don’t let facts or good sense get in the way of what they say and do in pursuit of their self-promotion; who never leave campaign contribution checks on the table, regardless of the soul-compromising embedded in those checks and the harm their sell-out will cause to America and Americans; who cannot seem to see past the next election to recognize the dangers they are visiting upon our children and grandchildren.

It is an age-old question as to whether the end justifies the means. Perhaps in absolute terms, as in avoiding nuclear war, it does. Absent such end-of-the-world choices, though, it probably does not. Yet it is with such an absolutist mentality that our politicians continue to attempt to justify their reprehensible actions, like torture and never-ending, undeclared war.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Interestingly, there is something we can do about such people and their despicable acts.

We can VOTE!

“Freedom without responsibility is chaos.” Rod Steiger

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

I Can’t Believe I’m Writing This


TrumpReading time – 57 seconds  .  .  .

I’m bugging myself by writing this, as it is yet more free attention for Donald Trump. He doesn’t deserve it, but our national dysfunction does. So, Mr. Crazy Hair, here it comes.

First, read this. It is an excellent essay by marketing genius Bruce Terkel. He’s a frequent guest on FoxSnooze, so, while I don’t know Bruce’s politics, it’s clear that many on the right hear his views and likely not so many on the left. His view on self-promoting, dishonest Donald are worthy of your review, though, regardless of your political hue.

Meanwhile, my addition to the discussion is about how disconnected most Americans are, such that they have any interest in Donald Trump and his manipulation of public attention. Nobody – and I mean that in the absolute sense – should be paying him any attention, because he is nothing but a bad circus sideshow barker enticing people to a freak show. That people pay to get into Trump’s sideshow tent says more about their lack of seriousness about our very serious challenges than it does about Trump’s value. Sadly, our big media rushes its reporters and cameras into that tent and tells us that what they’ve found is breaking news. Cue the dramatic music and serious faces of TV anchor people.

So, big media, grow up. Put on your big boy and big girl pants and start behaving like adults. Cover the real news. Stop pandering to just plain stupid sensationalism.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

And, American voter, wake up and heed the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”

Pay attention to the real news, because we have real challenges that require “an enlightened citizenry.” Stop allowing yourself to be sucked into the brainless vortex of useless sensationalism.

Does that apply to you? Almost certainly not, because you make sure that you’re informed. You’re interested enough to read this blog. But you know people to whom this does apply. Now you have the tools. Give ’em a wake up by passing along this blog.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Far Too Much Love


Reading time – 64 seconds  .  .  .

Concord, New Hampsire, June 26, 2015

Seventeen announced and presumptive Republican presidential candidates for the 2016 election, all campaigning in New Hampshire today, hastily called a press conference in response to the Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage throughout America. Surrounded by the presidential wannabees, Mike Huckabee spoke from prepared text, saying,

“I’m speaking for all of us when I say that this is a very sad day for America. Everyone knows that there is far too much love in America and this airhead ruling by the Supreme Court that makes same sex marriage legal in all 50 states threatens to expand what already has flooded our land. And the story is even worse than that.

“We all agree that it’s sad that those nine people were gunned down in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, but now some southern states are talking about getting rid of the Confederate battle flag. That flag was created and hoisted up the capitol flag posts as honorable resistance to the menace to the United States made by the civil rights movement and in honor of the Confederate dead in the War of Northern Aggression. We were just keeping their memories alive and it had nothing to do with slavery. No, really. The very suggestion of allowing full citizenship of those people now smacks of – what? – maybe respect? It’s just too much.

“Now we may be on the brink of getting ready to think about possibly preparing to have a tentative conversation about immigration – immigrants! – as though there might be room in this country for those people. That would be a horrendous abdication of our centuries old superiority over other people. How can we tolerate dropping that and allowing some liberal wave to drown our red, white and blue conservative bones?

“Perhaps it is time for term limits for our Supreme Court justices. It might even be time to begin impeachment proceedings against a few of them.

“I say again, there is far too much love in America and we are on a slippery slope toward destruction of what we hold dear. It is time to stand strong against this invasion, this attack on our establishment.”

With that the presidential candidates left the room, refusing to take reporters’ questions, although Donald Trump was heard to say that this issue is “huge.” In reply, Rick Perry admitted that he didn’t know what the issue is.

Note: The above is satire. However, Huckabee actually did lose it following the Supreme Court decision. Read about his brainless rejection of the First Amendment here.

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Addendum

Writing for the majority in the same sex marriage case (officially Obergefell v. Hodges right side of the SCOTUS home page under Recent Decisions), here are the closing comments of Justice Anthony Kennedy:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the  highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

“It is so ordered.”

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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