National Guard

I Admit It – Plus Abusing My TV


I have bashed Trump supporters.

(Parenthetical: Isn’t that backward? Aren’t our elected officials supposed to support us?)

I’ve called them names. I’ve accused. I’ve assumed and projected. And I stand by all of that for the violent crazies. But for millions of them who voted for Trump I’ve been wrong because I’ve largely missed the facts that animate them, although I’ve periodically mentioned those facts.

Every one of these people sees him/herself as a patriot. And their anger is based in the reality of the betrayals that stab them in the back to this day. They really have been taken for granted and left behind.

They lost jobs because of the “offshoring” of jobs, the closing of the factories, the hollowing out of whole towns and the rest of the destruction of abandonment. They lost jobs because of the “right-sizing” of businesses (which means to layoff people, most of them permanently), all condoned by Congresspeople more focused on themselves than on We the People. They never lifted a finger to help those who were losing their jobs.

Former House Speaker John Boehner proclaimed over and over that jobs, jobs, jobs was the number one issue. Then he proceeded to kill every attempt at creating, protecting and enhancing jobs and wages with only one exception: jobs for vets. These were vets coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and Boehner had to be shamed into putting the bill on the floor of the House twice before anything good happened for those vets.

These people suffered while the fat cats grew multiples richer, as three huge “tax reform bills” were promised to increase jobs and wages, but they never did. They just stuffed the pockets of the rich elites.

They suffered because Reagan introduced what became known as “Reaganomics,” which has been an over 4 decades long theft of wealth from 99% of us that has been treansfered to the super wealthy. Nothing “trickled down” to the rest of us.

They watched us slip into a gigantic recession driven by bank bigwigs, some of whom broke laws. Only one went to jail. Then We the People were forced to bail out the banks, the people who sold us fraud.

These people were lied to over and over and fed the red meat of blame wrapped in cultural issues that came rapid fire and were shoved down their throats.

All of that was done by “the elite” of our country. It was done by Congress, the President and the ultra rich corporate titans interested only in their own welfare. Can you guess why Trump voters might hold a grudge against anyone who can be labeled as an elite?

By this point it’s so easy to blame “coastal elites” for anything and everything, as they promote cultural issues that just don’t resonate in the lives of people in the middle of the country. That made it easy for Trump to snatch their loyalty and get them to support candidates whose sole position is a constantly raised middle finger. And all that pent up rage made it easy for them to ignore Trump’s horribles.

Read Bret Stevens’ piece, I Was Wrong About Trump Voters. That essay got me restarted thinking about this issue.

And that rethinking brought back to mind that most of the betrayal of middle Americans has been done by Republicans. That makes it more than curious why anyone would vote for a Republican.

They told people that up is down, that whatever terrible things the Rs did wrong was actually what the Ds did. You know: “alternative facts.” Back in the old days we used to call them lies. And there was shame on the liars when they were caught, but, of course, this is now a shame-free world. Gotta give credit for the stunningly well done Republican propaganda, the Big Lies and the rest that made victims love their victimizers.

I don’t take back any of the things I’ve said about the haters, the violence practitioners or the spineless politicians. They deserve every scathing word.

But the millions who appear to be voting for anti-democracy and against their own best interests believe fervently that they are voting against elites who have stolen America and their American Dream. For the most part it appears that their passion has run too far ahead of their otherwise good sense, but these are not fundamentally flawed people, nor are all of their grievances baseless.

Their anger has roots in a reality that has hurt them. They have been ignored by leaders with policies and ideologies that have  left them far behind, but which has been pedaled to them by disingenuous opportunists.

We cannot abide the destruction done by or promised by angry people. What we can do is to look at the realities that have stolen the American Dream from Americans and take action to restore it for everyone.

Christopher C. Miller official portrait.jpg

Christopher C. Miller, Acting Secretary of Defense stooge for Trump, November 9, 2020 – January 20, 2021

Abusing My TV

As I watched the January 6 insurrection become worse, bloodier, more violent, more destructive, I was screaming at my TV, “WHERE THE HELL IS THE NATIONAL GUARD?” Not long after that I heard rumors that Trump had frozen all of our military so that they could not respond to the crisis. That turned out to be true.

According to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller’s own testimony, on January 3 he was ordered by Trump to “do whatever was necessary to protect the demonstrators” on January 6. The next day, January 4, Miller issued a one page edict that buried the feet of the DC National Guard in cement. They were ordered not to act. They were prevented from stopping the carnage and restoring the peace, jobs that they are trained to do. Here’s a download of Miller’s order to the DC National Guard. Read it sitting down, because it is stunningly evil. Watch Miller’s testimony to the January 6 Committee here.

At Trump’s explicit order, the Capitol Police, the DC Metro Police, the Vice President, every member of Congress, every Secret Service agent, every news crew and every worker in the Capitol Building that awful day were all left bare to the violence of Trump’s murderous mob.

That’s why I was screaming at my TV.

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Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
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Fire the bastards!
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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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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.

We’re A Very Entertaining Species & BHB


Here’s a Fourth of July message, because this is how we define ourselves. This is how we do things. This is how we plan for the future. Be advised that we can be a very entertaining species.

Read this from Wikipedia:

The oil depletion allowance in American (US) tax law is an allowance claimable by anyone with an economic interest in a mineral deposit or standing timber.[1] The principle is that the asset is a capital investment that is a wasting asset, and therefore depreciation can reasonably be offset (effectively as a capital loss) against income.

The oil depletion allowance has been subject of interest, because of the relationship of big oil with the US government, and because one method (percentage depletion) of claiming the allowance makes it possible to write off more than the whole capital cost of the asset.[2][emphasis mine]

The oil depletion allowance applies to most extraction commodities – anything pulled from the Earth, like fossil fuels. The allowance is basically a subsidy to those industries and to those who profit from them.

Once we’ve sucked all the oil out of the ground it’s gone. We don’t have another 60 million years to wait for more supply. So we pretzeled our tax code to give the industry billions of dollars in tax reductions so the oil barons would have a soft landing when all the holes are dry a long, long time from now. We surely wouldn’t want to burden them with the awful mental labor of figuring out what’s next. They just want to go on cashing their checks.

It was a simple jump to taxing the profits of the oil companies – income tax – to make governments beholden to the revenues they received from Big Oil, Coal and Gas. That made politicians and the public protective of the fossil fuel industry because of all the services they funded. It also relieved our leaders of that same burden, the terrible entrepreneurial mental labor of figuring out what’s next. They, too, just want to go on cashing their checks.

So, congratulations to all of us for setting ourselves up for sclerotic brain functioning about what comes next. We aren’t in immediate danger of running out of fossil fuels. But we are in danger of running out of a survivable place to live, because we’re cooking ourselves in our own juice, even as we defend the source of what’s cooking us. It’s good for individuals and local, state and federal revenues to protect the status quo. Pay no attention to the people dying of heat in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, or the water reservoirs going dry and agricultural fields drying up.

This is just another chapter in the Book of Reality Denial. Like most of the other chapters, you can get to the root of the foolishness by following the directive of Deep Throat: Follow the money.

We humans can be bought at such a low price. Every day there’s a blue light special in aisle seven and we stampede to it, heedless of our own coughing and wheezing. And that’s the BHB – Basic Human Behavior* – we have to overcome if we’re to save ourselves, because the Oil Depletion Allowance won’t grow food, provide water, stop mega storms or un-foul our air.

Be sure to wave your flag at your town’s Fourth of July parade (if it isn’t cancelled due to the pandemic). Watch for my traditional red, white and blue flag shirt as you pass by.

And wake up to the reality that a few more bucks in our pockets at both individual and governmental levels will be worth nothing if we’re scratching for existence. It’s time for us to see red, white and blue in a new way so that those colors will still be flying for our children and grandchildren.

Because ready or not, what’s next is coming.

If you’d like to have a look at our century-long subsidizing of and our squishy love affair with Big Oil, have a look at this piece from Mother Jones.

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* BHB – Basic Human Behavior

Be clear that we humans have a nearly infinite capacity for self-delusion. Even today we see Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) pledging to complete Trump’s border wall, at least in Texas, and he’s pledged $250 million of Texas tax payers’ money to do it. I guess Mexico just isn’t going to pony up any cash for a wall and, clearly, Abbott’s paltry fund won’t buy much wall, so he’s soliciting private donations. Abbott received $459,000 from duped donors in just a week. To learn why they’re duped, take this math test:

Trump’s border “wall” – sometimes it’s just a fence – cost over $22 million per mile. This was accomplished through the magic of Trump’s no-bid contracts awarded to his donor friends.

The Texas-Mexico border is 1,200 miles long.

How much would it cost to construct Gov. Abbott’s border wall?

Hint: $26,400,000,000

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So, no, Gov. Abbott is not going to build that wall. You can be confident that the money he collects will go to the governor’s favorite campaign fund. And don’t be surprised if all that gets erected along the border is a weather beaten post with a bullet-riddled stop sign.

Politicians will fund raise on anything that tweaks donors. Stoking fear of immigrants has repeatedly proven to be an excellent stimulus for the emptying of citizens’ wallets into politicians’ piggy banks, exactly what Abbott is doing right now. Our BHB – Basic Human Behavior – allows us to be duped in this way over and over. And it gets even crazier than that.

Somehow Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem thinks it makes sense for her to send South Dakota National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border. Yes, seriously.

And Tennessee (not South Dakota) billionaire megadonor Willis Johnson has pledged to fund Noem’s spectacle of trying to look patriotic. Yes, seriously.

VSQ (Very Serious Question): What do you suppose megadonor Johnson expects to get back as a return on his investment in Noem? Hint: Noem thinks she’s a 2024 presidential candidate and Johnson might want to be on Noem’s favorite donor list to get whatever it is he wants. He’s just another grifter and we allow ourselves to get duped by the megadonor 2-step nearly every time.

Click me

Like I said, we’re a very entertaining species.

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More BHB

We Americans are making great progress in refusing vaccines. And we’re doing it just in time for the arrival of the Delta variant which is 140 times more contagious than the “that’s so 2020” Covid-19. Here’s a great summary.

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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