What It’s Really About – Part Two

It isn’t about

banning or burning books,

or refusing to do anything to stop the mass shooting carnage

or disrupting school board meetings by spewing hatred

or restricting or eliminating abortion services and other women’s healthcare

or marching with Tiki torches and swastika flags or moronically seig heil-ing while wearing black ski masks and sunglasses and carrying swastika flags. And no, there weren’t very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville.

or inviting despot Viktor Orbán to deliver a Republican Party keynote address

or banning DEI training or banning the teaching of CRT, even when and where it isn’t being taught

or manipulation of our courts

or discriminating against LGBTQs

or the ethics outages of the Supreme Court

or the cruelty inflicted on helpless people at our southern border

or holding hostage our nation and the world economy

or any of the rest of the deranged things the extreme right wing hollow heads have done and are doing.

We see the cruelties they create and we naturally respond. But often we dilute our own power chasing after the latest outrage, because it isn’t about those outrages. It is entirely about them crushing anyone seen as opposition. It’s about them “owning the libs.” It’s about using whatever brutality is at hand to confuse and enrage the liberals and even the moderates. It’s about using violence and the threat of violence to terrorize people, all for one single goal:

It is all about grabing and hoarding
all the power and all the money for themselves.

It’s about domination.

To facilitate that, they’re driving our government to fail – as with the idiotic, self-inflicted, wholly without integrity debt limit crisis.

They’ve been doing their power and money grab in plain sight at least since Reagan was sworn in on his happy-face version of discrimination and prejudice.

During the 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter he liked to pose the question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Many people weren’t better off, as we had weathered soaring inflation, the Arab oil boycott and more.

His supply side tax windfall for rich people was supposed to be invested to create jobs and better pay for workers, but it didn’t work that way. Supply side economics has never worked that way. It just sent more money to already rich people.

Except for the recent recovery from the pandemic, wages have been essentially flat for over 40 years and the average American’s net worth has declined. While that was happening, the net worth of the top 10% and especially the top 1% has multiplied many times over at your expense.

So, back to Reagan’s (slightly modified) question: Are you better off now than you were 40 years ago?

Answer: Nope.

But the rich have grabbed ever more power and money as our middle class has been hollowed out, because it’s your power and your money that they grab. See the RED font above.

An Example of How They Grab Power

Look at this Breaking News email headline from May 3.

Wait: The Ukrainians attacked Russia not on the battlefield in Ukraine, but inside Russia? In Moscow? In a “planned terrorist attack?” Who’s crazy enough to do that?

Answer: Nobody.

This is a standard bad guys tactic. They accuse opponents and enemies of nefarious stuff – most often of things they themselves are doing – and then they claim victimhood. Think: the Reichstag fire in 1933. Click this link and see for yourself what happened. The headline above is today’s version of the same thing.

Poor Vlad claims he’s been victimized by a Ukrainian drone strike on his capitol – they’re much like Putin’s drone strikes on Kiev – so he claims the right to hit back lethally. But in this case as in so many others, there is never any evidence to support his or any other abnormal psych victimization claim.

We’ve seen over eight years of Trump doing this and before that three decades of Republican extremists doing it, starting even before the performative and falsely named Tea Party bleated out their victimhood.

It’s a highly effective way to justify abhorrent acts to grab power and money. That is to say, it isn’t about the alleged victimizing attack. It’s about using false victimization as a cover.

It is all about grabing and hoarding
all the power and all the money for themselves.

These poor Republican babies claim they are victims of Democrats and all their out groups, like Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, Muslims, etc. You know: the non-White, non-Christians. Woe be unto the Republicans, as they suffer under the yoke of the libs! They use their phony victimization to extort our entire country, like they’re doing with the debt ceiling right now.

That is to say, they create victimization crises and then, in a massive leap of fiction, they tell us that only they can save us.

Legislators are focused almost exclusively on self-interest – getting reelected. That’s why moderate Republicans won’t stand up to the flamers – they’d only be primaried by a far right wacko. Here’s what all of this means for you.

Rallying, protesting, marching and the rest are most often exercises in trying to get elected representatives to change their behavior, which they are extremely unlikely to do. We largely waste our energy on lobbying these minor despots.

As I stated in my “NO!” posts last month (here, here and here),


If you want change, stop chasing the symptoms. Instead, focus your energy on changing the legislators. As Barack Obama implored,

Don’t boo: VOTE!”

And work hard to get others to vote. It’s long past time for tens of millions more of our voices to be heard from that powerful place, the voting booth, saying, “NO!” to the people who want to steal your power and your money. Mark your calendar to do that on November 5, 2024, because either you’ll take action or they will act on you. And you won’t like that.

And that is what it’s really about.

  • You can find What It’s Really About – Part One here.

  • Today is a good day to be the light.


    • 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:
    • Fire the bastards!
    • 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.
      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.
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Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

How The Country Was Lost – in Retrospect

Reading time – 4:03  .  .  .

It started well before the 2016 election. It started with birtherism.

The formal start of Donald Trump’s campaign began with a vile slur against Mexican people coming to this country. That was the first clear indication of the torrent of hate mongering to come. It continued with his Muslim ban and all his racial, ethnic and religious dog whistles and outright verbal attacks, including his infamous Charlottesville “good people on both sides” slur.

His declaration that we need more immigrants from Norway made it clear that the only people who would be welcome immigrants would be white European Christians. His ongoing marginalization of minority populations powerfully served to divide and even polarize the citizens, which weakened opposition to Trump and continues to this day.

During the 2016 campaign Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged. He attacked the FBI, especially James Comey. Then he praised the FBI when Comey, announced – twice – the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails right before the election. When Trump won the election, oddly enough, the election was no longer rigged.

Not much later Trump resumed his back stabbing of Comey because he wouldn’t pledge fealty to Donald Trump, instead sticking with his oath to protect and defend the Constitution, which included investigating Russian interference in the election. That’s when Trump declared that the FBI was both corrupt and demoralized because of corrupt, weak leadership and resumed his attacks on Comey, eventually firing him and demanding that he be investigated for some imagined wrongdoing. What is significant about all the criticism is the profound effect it had in undermining public confidence in government.

Over the next four years the attacks on government and the undermining of our institutions were constant, including attacks on the press as “fake news,” which had the effect of reducing people’s trust in those who hold public officials – like the President – accountable. He gutted the State Department, brutally criticized “the generals”, fired everyone who showed so much as a raised eyebrow of disagreement and installed Trump loyalists throughout his Cabinet. That many had been lobbyists for the industries they were now to monitor was a plus for Trump and his control.

The undermining of government was powerfully enforced through vitriolic verbal attacks, many scandalous accusations and a continuous tweet storm of rage. His angry supporters, roughly 38% of the population, loved it. His raised middle finger tantrums spoke for them and their sense of betrayal and their disgust with government. It was tolerated by many centrists because of weak, ineffectual opposition.

Republicans were terrified of crossing him because of his verbal attacks and the certainty that they would get “primaried,” the dynamic that prevented his removal from office following his impeachment. This is exactly how a minority wrests power from the majority.

During the impeachment proceedings numerous State Department and military people testified under subpoena, even though Trump had ordered all Executive Branch personnel to refuse to testify as part of his stonewalling of the investigation. His response following the Senate refusal to convict him was to fire all who had testified and even some who had not. That created a powerful deterrent to anyone who might otherwise speak up in the future, giving Trump complete power over them.

Only one more thing was needed to secure absolute power: control of the judiciary and the intelligence community, the departments of government that have the power to investigate him. After that, there would be no impediment left to stop Trump’s assuming total control of the country.

Trump installed William Barr to the post of Attorney General and Barr wasted no time in becoming the personal attorney for Trump, instead of for the nation. Most notably, when the Mueller Report was released to him, Barr quickly said that he had reviewed the entire document and released a summary, in which he claimed that the report exonerated Trump of any wrongdoing, including conspiring with the Russians.

When Barr at last released the report, it was found that he had redacted so much of the Mueller report that many of Barr’s lies about it couldn’t be fact checked immediately. What was checkable was that Mueller specifically did not exonerate Trump, nor clear him of colluding with the Russians. But Barr’s dishonest summary was out for weeks before the complete report was released and that delay controlled the narrative for Trump.

Later, Barr inserted himself into Justice Department investigations with the clear intent to protect Trump’s operatives and attack his opponents. Indeed, Barr instructed federal prosecutors that all new investigations had to get approval from him or his designee, giving himself the power to protect Trump. This is precisely the way all authoritarians operate, using the legitimate mechanisms of government to dismantle its protections against abuse.

The final act of wresting total control came when the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) reported to the appropriate committees of Congress about Russian interference in the 2020 election. Even though the briefings were federally mandated, Trump fired the DNI and replaced him with a completely inexperienced Trump loyalist. In addition, he fired other long serving Intelligence Agency personnel.

With that, Trump effectively had dictatorial control over all of government. That even gave him the power to declare a national emergency and use that to cancel the 2020 election.

And that, in shorthand, is how the country was lost.

Buy and read this book. Click on it.

Critical notes for 2020 Democratic candidates who want to get elected:
  1. In order to win the 2020 election, it must be – it must only be – a referendum on Trump. You must attack and continue to attack. You must never stop putting before the public his criminality, his racism, his cruelty (at every opportunity decry his putting children in cages), his attempts to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions, his sell out of hard working Americans, his neutering of our national security in order to benefit Putin and the rest of his un-American outrages. Say it with me: UN-AMERICAN. Conservative and center-right voters see themselves as bedrock Americans, so this labeling of Trump will drive a wedge between them and the un-American president. Say it again: UN-AMERICAN.
  2. You must stop the circular firing squad. Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, you must obey the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Democrat. Don’t do Trump’s work for him. Ever.
  3. Of course the primary election is important, BUT, every word you say in the primary season can and will be used against you in the general election. So, if you want to win the general election – you’re going to hate this –  you must stop promoting far left policies and memes, regardless of how fervently you believe in them. That includes Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, free college tuition, erasing student debt, socialism, calling out to “brothers and sisters” and the rest. Promoting those things will ensure that you only get the votes you already have from your base. You’ll drive away all the other votes that you need in order to win in the general election and Donald Trump will be reelected. Stop pissing off the 78% of the electorate that doesn’t embrace those ideas, because you need their votes in order to win.
  4. Stop your wonkiness about policies altogether. You bore listeners (i.e. voters). Okay, your true believers love it and they cheer wildly and you puff up and ride a high with each cheer. Everyone else has changed the channel. In all debates and speeches, you must make every issue solely a referendum on Trump. Park your wonk on your desk and don’t go back to find it until the general election is over.
  5. Following the Milwaukee DNC convention when you’re the nominee, you must make the election solely a referendum on Trump. Refer to points #1 and #4 above for further clarification.


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. 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 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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