Republicans

Potpourri v16.0


Very late edition – Dateline: America
.

EXTRA! EXTRA!

EXTRA!

Republican Red Wave Just a Little Splash!

Dems Retain Control of Senate!

Control of House Still Too Close To Call

In a stunning surprise on Saturday night the Senate race in Nevada was called in favor of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, giving Dems 50 votes plus the vote of the VIce-President in the upper chamber. Control of the Senate will remain with Dems. That will assure that Republicans cannot universally block President Biden, including in the ability to place judges onto federal benches, all the way up to the Supreme Court if such a replacement comes to be needed.

Still to be decided is the 100th seat in the Senate, as the Georgia seat presently held by Rafael Warnock will be contested in a runoff election on December 6 against former football star and Word Salad Party candidate, Herschel Walker. The outcome of that race will not influence control in the Senate.

This happened in a week that began filled with dread and ended with the most powerful of statements. The Republicans had said that they stood for ignoring the will of the majority, lying, stealing, stripping rights from Americans and ending our democracy.

The American people stood up and said, “Not on my watch.”

Reports are coming in that the flag atop the Capitol Building is flying just a bit higher today and one witness noticed a tear of joy in the eye of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. The Founders are said to be resting undisturbed in the presence of this important news.


Russians and Republicans

From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson on November 7:

Today, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and the leader of the private military company the Wagner Group, who is close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, boasted that Russians had interfered in U.S. elections and continue to do so. “We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.” He added: “During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once.”

Prigozhin is apparently behind the Russia-based “troll farms” that try to affect U.S. elections. Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times writes that Russians did indeed target the 2022 elections to make right-wing voters angry so they would vote to undermine our own national security interests and also to undermine trust in U.S. elections. Their hope is to erode American support for Ukraine’s struggle to repel the Russian invasion by getting us to elect Republicans who side with – even love – Putin.

Did it occur to you before now that Republicans would side with a Russian dictator in his invasion of a sovereign nation? These guys used to be the commie haters, the Red baiters, the muscular bashers of everything east of Poland. How did they go so far right that they now sound more like fictional ultra-extremist wacko lefties from the 50s that Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Hades) invented and lied about?

Militia Letter

Thanks go to the Founders for the Second Amendment that guarantees that anyone can have a gun. This is because we still need a militia at the ready and for the original reasons: just in case the Brits invade for a third try to reverse the revolution and to put down an uprising if southern slaves try to rebel yet again.

The Amendment specifically states,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It’s recognized not just in common sense but also in the writing of our foundational document that we need a well regulated Militia. So, here’s an open letter to our many tough guys in our many so-called militias.

Guys (plus Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene), you aren’t a Militia unless the state you’re in declares you to be so – in writing. And you have to be under the direction and limitations prescribed by your state government – certainly not as prescribed by yourselves. That’s just how we roll in this country.

Indeed, our Militias are now called the National Guard, like the Michigan National Guard and the Kentucky National Guard. You guys aren’t any state’s National Guard. You get that, right?

You aren’t well regulated, as required by the Second Amendment. In fact, you aren’t regulated at all. Being regulated would require civilian government oversight, regulation and a clear chain of command to the governor, and you don’t have any of that.

In fact, you are a perfect example of what is not patriotic. The New York Times is publishing a series of essays on “The Danger Within,” as in: domestic terrorism. That’s you. The first essay is Political Violence Is Threatening Our Democracy. Click the title and read the post and learn how un-American your actions actually are.

Look, just face the fact that your veneer of freedom loving patriotism has been scratched off. We know who you are and what you do and no amount of self-puffing is going to turn you into what the Second Amendment requires. Intimidating voters and pedestrians with your weapons and black ski masks and camo pants and boots and marching in military columns won’t make you a militia or a patriot. You’re just a bunch of pissed off guys skulking around in the woods pretending to be Rambo.

Doing your pretend Special Forces playacting will make you and keep you an enemy of the state, of the red, white and blue. It will make you a threat to innocent people who have done you no harm, nor have they done harm to anyone else or to our nation. Yours is the very stuff of bullying.

It never occurred to the Founding Fathers that any citizen would take up semi-automatic firearms and threaten our state capitols, our polling places and the Capitol Building itself in DC in an act of insurrection. They couldn’t have envisioned a bunch of huffing and puffing thugs making death threats to grannies counting votes or to any elected official who doesn’t toe your line. You’re an embarrassment to the Constitution you pretend to be protecting and defending.

But you don’t have to be that.

Fellow Kari Lake vote denialists displaying their gullibility and their complete lack of evidence.

You can stand down. You can take meaning from the 2022 election and its repudiation of extremist candidates and extremism itself. You can join the tens of millions of Americans who voted for our rights to be restored and protected, including the right not to be intimidated or harmed by you. If you were to do that, you could be – you just might become – a patriot. Red, white and blue all over.

Come to think of it, here’s a note for the 170 members of Congress who cheered on and were apologists for the January 6 insurrectionists:

Each of you could become a patriot, too. All you’ll need is a spinal implant (so you’ll actually be able to stand for something constitutional and decent) and a brain transplant (you know why).

From the most unlikely source on integrity:

“One of the most indelible lessons of human history is that those who adopt the doctrine that the end justifies the means inevitably find the means become the end.” –  Richard Nixon

Speaking of Integrity

As of this writing it is not clear which party will be in the majority in the House of Representatives and it matters who’s in charge. Here’s why.

If the House comes to be Republican controlled, Republicans will enthusiastically revert to being the Party of No. They have said publicly that they have no policies and no positions other than to accuse and criticize. They propose no solutions to our very real problems. They offer only their intransigence to anything even remotely associated with any Democrat, so they will proudly stymie all progress.

If Republicans are in the majority in the House beginning in January, set your expectations to literally nothing getting done for the next two years. Then expect Republicans to criticize the President and all Democrats for nothing having gotten better.

Integrity. It’s just so confusing for some people.

Just Sayin’

I’ve had this perverse notion that all Democrats who lost an election for any office this cycle should band together in a Stop the Steal Movement. They’ll claim there was massive voter fraud and declare themselves the winners of their elections. Each will file a lawsuit against their Republican opponent and their election officials. They’ll demand a recount, an apology from the law-flouting vote counters and a mea culpa from the phony Republican winners, along with a nice box of chocolates and a hand written note of contrition.

One more thing. We’ll send a nya-nya Hallmark card to Trump for his infantile blaming of Melania for telling him to endorse New Jersey candidate hoping to be a senator from Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz. What a weenie!

Just sayin’.

PS

I closed my Twitter accounts, as promised. What message have you sent to extremist promoting Elon Musk?

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And 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. 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


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

Truly Nuts


Where the Hell Are You?

No, not you. The Democratic Party.

President Biden addressed the DNC on Monday and named Trump’s unpaid-for tax cuts for rich people a terrible thing. What percentage of voters do you suppose has a clue what “unpaid for” means in terms of how it impacts them or our country?

Where’s the message, “The Republicans are stealing your future, giving it to super rich guys and making everything you buy cost you more right now“?

Where’s, “These guys have fought against everything that could help you afford food, medications, gas for your car – everything”?

Where’s, “These guys have already stolen your reproductive freedom and are promising to steal  more rights and even your vote. Tell them to get the hell out of your way!”?

This really isn’t hard to do.

“Ohio needs an ass kicker not an ass kisser” Tim Ryan, referring to the proximity of Vance’s lips to Trump’s ass.

In the race for the Ohio Senate seat, Tim Ryan is being outspent about four to one by J.D. Vance and the Republican PACs, but Ryan is making this a race that’s within the polling margin of error. Here’s how he’s doing it: He’s beating the snot out of that Trump sucking weasel, Vance, and doing it all factually and accurately.

In contrast, Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona Katie Hobbs is as milquetoast as can be and is getting whomped by telegenic enemy of freedom and democracy, Kari Lake. Lake is a stop-the-steal conspiracy suck up and should be an easy target, but nobody’s shooting political arrows at her.

Other than Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, John Fetterman and Val Demings (credit to Evan McMullin in Utah, but he’s an Independent), the Ds don’t seem to have the street fighters it needs to win. Worse, their national party seems to be empty of compelling messages. They always bring an organic banana to an AR-15 fight.

I get solicitations from dozens of Democratic candidates and from the DNC, DSCC and DCCC, all with a hand out. Few of these guys have a compelling message to influence me to contribute or support them in any way. Pretty much all they say is, “We can’t let the other guys win,” or, “I need your help.”

That’s your best shot, Democrats? Really? You can’t deliver a compelling message about why I should support you, and all you offer is self-serving grubbing for money? Isn’t there somebody at headquarters who’s a street fighter? Can’t you ask James Carville to pretty please come help you?

It’s the economy, stupid. It always is. And now it’s about crime, Roe and democracy, too.

Everybody knows that, but not everybody knows that the Republicans have done all they could to make things worse for the people. Hint to DNC: You could tell that to the people!

Back in the John Boehner as Speaker of the House days the Republicans filed lawsuit after lawsuit to get rid of Obamacare, vowing to replace it with their own plan. The problem was that the Republicans didn’t have a plan and they still don’t. All they really intended to do was to get rid of the Affordable Care Act that has helped so many millions of Americans. “We can’t have legislation that actually helps people,” Republicans claimed, although they used different words. Finally, someone told the American people the truth about the Republicans and their healthcare plan.

Alan Grayson, former Democratic congressman from Florida, is the one who outlined the real Republican healthcare plan. He presented their plan on the floor of the House, explaining that there were three provisions to it:

  1. Don’t get sick.
  2. If you get sick,
  3. Die quickly.

That’s it. That’s the Republican plan. It still is. And Grayson beat the snot out of Republicans with that accurate depiction of what they really would do to Americans. Where are the people like Grayson now?

Come to think of it, hey DNC: What’s Alan Grayson up to? You really could use his help. Pick up the damn phone. Call him NOW!

Meanwhile, DNC, wake up to reality. Everything is on the line, including the very existence of the Democratic Party. This is a war for America and you can’t win it by holding up your new iPhone and displaying your Whole Foods discount app.

Here’s a crazy idea: Attack Republicans and their stop-the-steal, voter fraud claims. Challenge them to produce evidence – they can’t. Here’s a simple 3-step appeal to voters.

  1. “How do you like being lied to?”
  2. Maya Angelou instructed us “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The Republican Big Lie people are showing you every day who and what they are and what you can expect from them.
  3. If you want to stop being lied to, vote for the people who tell you the truth.
Congratulations, Arizona!

In Recognition of Arizona’s Groundbreaking Disdain for both Education and the Constitution

It isn’t often that a trophy can be retired due to complete and unassailable ignorance and deviousness, but the great state of Arizona will have that trophy in it’s display case in the state capitol building forever.

The extremist legislature of the Grand Canyon State has passed a universal school voucher bill that will award $7,000 of taxpayer money for every child whose parents take them out of public school and plunk them into private school, even religious school. Apparently, Arizona don’ need no stinking separation of church and state.

Extremist Governor Doug Ducey is expect to sign the bill into law, thus making Arizona the very first state to officially begin to dismantle its public school system.

You may recall Betsy DeVos, Trump’s head of the Department of Education. She was the director in charge of overseeing and improving our public schools, but – and this is true – she had never so much as come close enough to a public school to touch the floor with the bottom of her Prada shoes. She did, however, champion eliminating public schools and privatizing all education, just as though she knew what she was doing. Regarding the trophy winning bill, one of her former assistants said that Arizona “just took first place” when it comes to school choice.

“School choice” is a happy sounding name for destroying public education, cheating taxpayers and stuffing undeserved money into rich guys’ pockets. Now the formerly traveling Trophy for Education and Constitution Disdain will forever reside in Phoenix.

This is exactly the kind of thing authoritarian Republicans are doing all across the nation. So, you better vote for Democrats. They’re the only sane, Constitutional choices for you and your kids.

“If we continue in this direction, we already know how it turns out: with a corrupt one-party government that favors an elite few and mires the rest of us in a world without recourse to legal equality or economic security.” – Prof. Heeather Cox Richardson.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And 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. 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA

 


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

Criminals


Did You Ever Wonder .  .  .

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tells Fox News that he was grateful to have been in Washington instead of helping his constituents in Florida during Hurricane Ian. After the barrier islands off Fort Myers disappeared into the ocean he said, “Just think how much worse the hurricane would have been if global warming were real.”

.  .  . how the former Criminal-in-Chief has gotten away with so much obvious lawlessness for so long? Here’s an excerpt from Sheila Markin’s explainer, One Two Punch for Donald Trump:

Of course, the reason he has gotten away with so many travesties is that he was shielded by Republicans who were eager to use his power as president to get power for themselves and benefits for their ultra wealthy funders [emphasis mine]: tax cuts for the wealthy, right wing judges on the federal bench to protect corporate interests, culture war victories, a border wall instead of a reasonable border policy, the end of women’s reproductive rights to keep evangelicals loyal voters and an undercurrent of threat from white supremacy mixed with militias to keep low information aggrieved white men happy. Next, Trump knows how to talk out of both sides of his mouth as every good crime boss does, which allows him plausible deniability. And third, it takes time for investigations to be carried out when they are done thoroughly, factually, and investigators follow the rules which they must do to have an unbeatable case.

More is needed to explain Trump’s years of alleged money laundering, stiffing of contractors and lawyers, bribing skin dancers and calling it a campaign expense and far more, but you get the idea. Meanwhile, I find the part about his Republican shields (a.k.a. cowards and jellyfish) to be most interesting, what with the lying and reality denial. If you want to understand more of how lying became not just acceptable to, but required of Republicans, be sure to read Carlos Lozada’s piece, The Big Joke That Became the Big Lie.

Lozada defines the Big Joke as, “the idea that American politics is, in essence, a joke, and that it can be treated as such without consequence.” He goes on to give examples of the Big Joke, as when,

“politicians publicly defend positions they privately reject”

“they give up on the challenge of governing the country for the rush of triggering the enemy” [“own the Libs”]

“they intone that they must address the very fears they have encouraged or manufactured among their constituents”

“their off-the-record smirks signal that they don’t really mean what they just said or did”

Read the piece. I promise that you will not laugh at the joke.

Meanwhile, the good news is that our very own supremely bad guy – the former Criminal-in-chief – is going down in at least a half dozen really nasty ways. Be patient and be ready to celebrate. I already have a special post prepared for his first of many courtroom defeats. And that’s no joke.

Speaking of Criminals

Republicans have entered a new phase of national sabotage by threatening to refuse to fund the government unless President Biden and the Democrats reverse all their policies.

Yes, really: All!

This refusal to raise the debt ceiling is a favorite bludgeon Republicans use to try to get their way with Democrats. Basically, they threaten to hold their breath until they turn blue (fine with me) unless they get what they want. They’ve been playing this self-destructive game since Newt “Mr. Amoral” Gingrich was Speaker of the House in the 1990s, slyly fingering his never executed “Contract With America”. He and his phony, power grabbing posse acted as though there weren’t always a contract, an obligation of Congress to the American people. But there was and there is. Back then Clinton was president and he was a Democrat, so the extremist Republicans shut down the government. Twice.

To review, raising the debt ceiling (done over 100 times since it was first a thing roughly 100 years ago) is simply allowing our government to pay its debts that it has already incurred. It’s like paying your credit card bill. Raising the debt ceiling is not more government spending. It’s avoiding being a deadbeat. Congress did it 18 times under Reagan and 3 times under Trump. But last year under Democratic President Biden the Republicans refused to pay our bills and they’re refusing again this year. Are you seeing a pattern?

But that’s not important to Republicans. Their propeller hats are spinning wildly now, as are their eyeballs, glorying in this wonderful opportunity to show everyone how testosterone-y they are.

The Senate passed a short-term extension of government funding to December 16. During the week prior to that date look for a most entertaining spectacle of Republicans wildly grabbing the big gun to see who can shoot more holes in America’s foot, telling the world that we are a most undependable nation. “Don’t trust us,” they’ll tell the world, “because we’ll Trump you with non-payment of our debts.”

This is yet another example of why Republicans must be defeated at the polls. That happens in just 37 days and you are the engine that will make that happen.

Speaking of Criminals – Again

22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of the Morality Police in Iran following her arrest for improperly wearing the hijab last month. As I understand it (let me know if I have this wrong), the requirement for wearing the hijab is based on the well known fact that the very sight of a woman’s hair can cause men to go mad with lust. Anything they might do under such a spell is the fault of the uncovered woman. It’s quite like the rapist’s defense, claiming that the way she was dressed or acted caused his assault.

Shifting to a national perspective, our insurrectionist thugs and our Republicans would have us believe that their malfeasance, like sedition, is someone else’s fault.

I think I’ve been clear on these pages that accountability – personal responsibility – is a real thing and that there is a price that must be paid for wrongdoing.

So, MAGA boys, even if you think there are elites controlling poor, oppressed you, even if you’re the most absolutist pickup truck driving, AR-15 toting, Jim Crow loving cowboy, you may not threaten, attack or kill others and claim that the elites or Democrats made you do it. You’re just a criminal thug blaming someone else for your crimes.

Hey Merrick! Make those guys pay the price.

On the other hand, perhaps we can export the “blame somebody else” types to Iran. I’m sure they’ll love it there. Maybe the rest of the Republicans will go, too. They can blame any women who are not wearing the hijab and get away with their cruelty.

Hypocrisy of the Week

“President Biden, I take back all the idiotic and false things I’ve said about you. Okay. Now that we’re buddies, how about some emergency help for Florida? What if I throw in returning those Venezuelans to San Antonio? I could ditch the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, if that would help and I can pressure Florida school boards to stop burning books. What do you say?”

Ron DeSantis was elected to Congress in 2013 and proudly voted against a $9.7 billion federal flood insurance assistance package for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey. Now, as governor of Florida, he’s begging President Biden for emergency help for his state. DeSantis explained, “We all need to work together, regardless of party lines.”

Funny how things work differently when DeSantis is the one in need. Insert your own label for him in the Comments section below.

DeSantis is a “drown government” guy. Leave everything to the private sector – “the market,” he believes. I’m just wondering what part of “the market” is going to pony up $90 billion to glue Florida back together and help all those suffering people.

Required reading on this topic: The White Man’s Burden, Revisited, by Ed Gurowitz.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And 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. 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.

Guest Essay: Elections Have Consequences


Boyhood pal, smart person and activist Frank Levy cares about justice, fairness, inclusiveness, freedom, rights and more. Come to think of it, he’s a lot like you in that way. That’s why I asked his permission to share his recent FB post about what we must do to make sure all those good things we care about actually are ours.

Just to be clear, Frank’s message is motivated by the destructive fact that Republicans consistently vote against all those things you care about. For example, they had to be shamed into passing the PACT Act to help our veterans harmed by exposure to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that happened after they first killed the bill. That’s a fact – the Republicans voted against our vets! That and so much more are why it’s mandatory to remove these anti-We-The-People politicians from public office.

Frank’s post follows. Read it slowly and let it sink in, because he’s right. And note his number “10”. He’s right about that, too.


Elections have consequences. Legal, untainted elections make a difference. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett would not be sitting on the Supreme Court and Roe would still be the law of the land. Elections have very real consequences.

If Joe Biden had not been elected, Merrick Garland would not be Attorney General and no one would be prosecuting the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor.

There are JUST 86 DAYS until the November midterm elections.

If we are to have any chance of keeping our fragile and imperfect democracy alive, Republicans at all levels of government [the people who oppose what you support – ed.] must be soundly defeated in November.

If we are to have any hope of passing a national law allowing access to safe and legal abortion, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any chance of passing meaningful and sensible national gun laws, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any chance of expanding the Supreme Court, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any hope of retaining the right to marriage equality, retaining legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, interracial marriage, access to birth control, the right to vote, and the right to free and fair elections, Republicans must be defeated at every level of government in November.

If we are to have any hope of living in a thriving, diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just America, each of us must do everything we can to ensure Democrats win state and local elections and increase their majority in the House and Senate.

Here are some things each of us can do to help ensure that Democrats defeat Republicans at every level of government on November 8, 2022:

  1. Make sure you are registered to vote.
  2. If you are not registered to vote, register to vote now.
  3. Make a specific plan to vote on November 8, 2022 or sooner depending on election laws where you live. [Now comes the “10” thing – Ed.]
  4. Convince 10 people you know who don’t normally vote to this time register to vote, to make a plan to vote, and to vote Democratic on November 8, 2022.
  5. Convince each of those 10 people to convince 10 of their friends who normally do not vote to, 1) register to vote; 2) to make a plan to vote; 3) and to vote Democratic on November 8, 2022. Easy as 1-2-3.
  6. Get involved with one or more of the national efforts listed below to get out the Democratic vote.

https://naacp.org/actions/power-your-vote
https://democrats.org/take-action/
https://www.rockthevote.org/get-involved/https://statesproject.org/
https://swingleft.org/


Ed. Notes
  1. Now that Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago hidey-hole and contraband warehouse have been searched by the FBI and sensitive government documents have been recovered and secured, the incitement to violence from elected Republicans and talking empty heads has exploded. So, too, have threats of violence from far right militants. Their self-righteous fantasies of 1776 won’t go away any time soon and their promises of savagery must be met with appropriate protections provided by the proper authorities. That means we need people who believe in the rule of law and who deploy those we count on, like the FBI and police. So that all of us will be safe, follow Frank’s advice and elect Democrats. Our children, grandchildren, our families and friends – we’re all counting on us.
  2. Extra Credit Questions: Some of the classified documents Trump stole are TS/SCI*, so critical to our national security, that neither the DOJ nor the National Archives is allowed to even catalog them. Like things that include the word “nuclear”. And Trump kept them in unlocked boxes in an unlocked, unguarded basement at unsecure Mar-a-Lago. What could possibly go wrong?  Here are some extra credit questions about that.
    1. In how many ways has Trump already imperiled our country by using these stolen documents as bargaining chips?
    2. What do you imagine he thinks he can get for them? To start your thinking, consider things like a Trump Tower in Moscow. Or Budapest. Or Pyongyang. Or Tehran. Or refuge for him and his crime family in a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.
    3. Click me

      Explain why Americans who consider themselves super patriots would froth at the mouth and threaten to kill FBI agents, Democrats and election workers to put this (at best) careless, cheating  moron back in the White House. Earn 5 extra points for each of the following included in your answer: narcissist; authoritarian; despot; over 30,000 lies; “very fine people on both sides”; double-down; criminal; the wall; con-man; unpatriotic; insurrection; sedition; martial law; Mexican “drug dealers, criminals, rapists”; fraud; election interference; jail; autocrat; liar; Muslim ban; babies ripped from mothers’ arms; “my Negro”; infantile; “acting” cabinet appointees; private phone for classified conversations; prison; racist; traitor; money laundering; Russia; suck up; toadies; golf; fake electors; sycophants; thief; tantrums; “do us a favor, though”; “Mexico will pay for it”; high chair; “very stable genius”; Lafayette Square; alternative facts; American Carnage; grab women by the p###y; “losers” buried in Arlington National Cemetery; stopped-up toilet – “toiletgate”; Ivermectin and bleach; Big Lie; “But her emails“. Use ’em all for 250 extra points!

  3. !KANSAS! Read Ed Gurowitz’s take on the message to us from !KANSAS!
    1. Ed’s message comports perfectly with Frank’s.
    2. Hint: This isn’t about Dorothy or Toto and it’s more powerful than a twister, Auntie Em.
    3. Attention: Here’s a special message about Republicans from Oz (no, not Mehmet, the New Jersey carpetbagger in Pennsylvania) – watch this 7-second clip. Couldn’t resist.
Finally,

Here are two pics of a reservoir in northern Mexico. You can find pics of Lake Meade and other reservoirs in the U.S. that look just like these – because the west is in a drought of Biblical proportions, this as Kentucky drowns, as California burns and as coastal waters inundate ever more land. Be sure to show the pic to your climate warming denial friends, especially if they like to visit the west and southwest.

This crisis has been made possible by decades of Republican reality denial and obeisance to the fossil fuel industries. Also look here.

Many fossil fuel captured Republicans simply don’t believe in the reality of global warming and the catastrophes it creates, like how unlivable areas are when there is no water or too much water or fires or hurricanes or tornadoes. Optimistic you, you’re hoping tomorrow will actually happen and that’s why you’re going to vote for Democrats at every level.

Click the pic for the WaPo story.

From the Onion:

“If Trump can get investigated, then by that logic, that implies our country has laws and when those laws are broken, there are consequences. What kind of hell are we living in?”

—————————–

* TS/SCI means “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.” Available only to those necessary to the project. Must be discussed, used, and stored only in secure locations. Its release to the public would cause “exceptionally grave” damage to our national security.

————————————

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, 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.

Getting Attention, Statistics and Projection


Hey! Over Here!

The New York Times gathered for a discssion Four Opinion Writers on How the G.O.P. Fringe Took Over American Politics. Here’s a comment from Ezra Klein from that discussion.

“Democrats have a lot of theories of policy. They have a lot of theories of politics. They just do not have a theory of attention. And what I would say for the Trumpist Republican Party is it mostly doesn’t have a theory of policy. It has a middling theory of politics, and it is overwhelmed by its own theory of attention. And I don’t think there’s some kind of grand strategic plan happening over there.

“But I think that one way to think about the asymmetry, or maybe the inversion of the two sides right now, is that Republicans know how to get attention, but they don’t know how to be strategic about it. And Democrats know how to be strategic, but they don’t know how to get attention.”

I maintain that messaging from Democrats is uninspiring and commonly submarines their value to Americans. Klein is adding that they don’t know how to get attention, this in the face of Republicans who are experts at getting attention. I’m certain he’s right.

The key tools Republicans use to get attention are:

  1. Stoking fear of “the other”, be they Democrats or Blacks or Mexicans or Muslims – all the usual suspects. Those “others” aren’t real Americans, Republicans would have us believe.
  2. Saying crazy, even stupid things and being outrageous.

Clearly, Democrats aren’t going to stoke racial fears and hatreds in order to get attention and votes. But what about being outrageous? They can:

Call out Republican lies and label them that way – not falsehoods or misstatements: LIES! And ask Americans how they like being lied to.

Many thanks to JN for passing this along.

As the food stamp program is ending they can make headlines saying, “Republicans don’t care if poor kids starve!”

They can go on the Sunday news programs and tell America that Republicans are banning and burning books, just like the Nazis.

Speaking of books, Democrats can proclaim that Republicans want to cut short your kids’ education – leave them ignorant and prepared to be losers. They even want to close your public school.

Beto can tell Texas women that Gov. Abbott wants them to carry their rapist’s baby to term. And carry the babies from incest, too. Even if they’ll likely die in childbirth. Same thing in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Florida and other states.

Declare that new strains of Covid are already here and it’s killing our unvaccinated, but Republicans don’t care if they die.

Speaking of Covid, Republicans are spreading anti-vaccine and anti-mask disinformation, fighting against everything that would help end the pandemic. They’re doing that to attack Democrats over the inflation caused by the pandemic! Clearly, they don’t care if Americans go broke or die. That last sentence is the important one.

You get the picture. It’s how it’s said that gets attention.

One of the reasons so many liked Trump is that he seemed to them to be strong. No politically correct phrasing comes from him. He’s all about groundless accusation and promises of “unbelievable” and “huge” great stuff that never materializes. And he’s about “hit back harder,” as declared by Kellyanne Conway, as though hitting back harder were a good thing. Many see that stuff as strength.

There’s no need for Democrats to mimic Trump’s cruelty and stupidity. All they have to do to appeal to those wanting strong leaders (that’s all of us) is to speak plainly.

For example, when Ted Cruz was abusing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson over kids’ books, Democrats should have said the same thing publicly as they screamed while watching their TVs: “What a jerk! That guy wouldn’t know the truth if he read it in a children’s book.” I.e., Democrats must speak the outrage plainly.

Instead, we got Dick Durbin doing nothing. When he did speak he seemed to have a mouth full of oatmeal.

He let Lindsay Graham get away with his temper tantrum, false accusations, stealing 50% more time than was his, and then storming off like a 7-year-old brat. We got next to nothing in leadership from the #2 senator at a time when strength was called for. What we should have heard from Durbin was,

“The senator’s time is done – we’re not negotiating more. The senator will silence himself or he will be removed from this chamber. He will not be allowed to come back until he is prepared to apologize for his rude, insulting behavior and write on the board, ‘I will follow the rules, I will follow the rules,’ 100 times.”

That would be outrageous, of course, yet appropriate. And it would have made the 10:00 o’clock news across the nation. The Ds would have gotten some good attention as the strong ones. It would have been clear what they stand for. Instead, it was just another lost opportunity and a show of weakness.

Democrats have managed to disagree with Republicans, but only in nicey-nice Democrat-speak. That gets no attention. But it just isn’t that hard to get attention. The question is whether they have the courage to do what’s necessary.

Must Read

Late find following the writing of this post:

Thom Hartmann writes, “It seems that Democratic leadership is suffering from a serious deficiency of outrage.”

Statistics of the Week

From the Center for American Progress:

“There are 139 elected officials in the 117th Congress [109 representatives and 30 senators] who still deny the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change.”

These Republicans “have received more than $61 million in lifetime contributions from the coal, oil, and gas industries.” [emphasis original]

Projection Speak of the Week

Democracy is failing and authoritarianism is rising because of democracy’s bad moral foundations, said Sergey Karagonov, former advisor to Vladimir Putin, from back in the days when Putin had advisors. Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the powerless Russian legislative body, attacked democracy as the evil against which good guy authoritarians fight. Think: Putin as a warrior for all that is good and right in the world.

Somebody please tell me when there has been an authoritarian whose primary motive wasn’t amassing wealth and power for him/herself. For extra points, name one who made the lives of ordinary citizens better. Name even one authoritarian (another word for “dictator”) who wasn’t amoral or immoral and who didn’t descend into some form of debauchery and cruelty.

Oddly, an authoritarian is exactly what our extremist political righties think they want. Set aside whether that is an American thing to do. Focus for the moment on whether you want to be under the thumb of a self-serving, amoral, cruel dictator. See this Sunday’s post for more.

Sadly, our home grown authoritarian lovers don’t even get to the point of thinking about such things. They get a short-lived jolt of power from their tirades as they demand non-democracy, but they’re left powerless immediately after the power rush fades.

The science is well known about how anger short circuits logic and reason and it is that short circuit that we have to confront if we are to avoid a Vladimir Putin wannabee in power over the United States of America. For more, read this from Heather Cox-Richardson.

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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.

Freedom and At Long Last


Freedom

Passover is nearly here. It offers many messages and one of the most important is the message of freedom.  It is the story of a people living without freedom for hundreds of years and they knew that bitterness. It is exactly that bitterness that the Ukrainian people are now fighting to prevent from overwhelming them.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Freedom loving people all over the world stand with Ukraine and its people. Now is a good time to help, because these days are desperate for the Ukrainian people.

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A Platform, At Long Last

It’s true. Really.

The Republicans at long last actually have a platform!

Pretty much.

Mitch McConnell has publicly declared that Republicans will not have a platform for the 2022 and 2024 elections, just like in 2018 and 2020 when they refused to take a stand on anything. No policies, no positions, no programs, no nuthin’. But opportunist, Medicare defrauder and presidential hopeful Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has made his Look-At-Me! mark with his 11-Point Plan To Rescue America.

This crook (details below) is actually declaring he’s for something other than brain-free opposition to the opposition. And what a plan he’s proposing! Here’s a link to his self-serving, gag-on-the-flag explanation. I encourage you to link through to the details of his “points.” CNN had a look and made some comments of their own in their piece, Rick Scott’s ‘Plan to Rescue America’ will do anything but that. Here are some of Scott’s key points:

The Rick Scott 11-Point Plan To Rescue America
.
  1. First, we’ll raise $1 trillion in new taxes, almost entirely on the backs of the poorest Americans. And o’ joy! There won’t be any financial impact on Scott’s hedge fund buddies. We’ll tax the poor to ensure that “every American has skin in the game.” Yes, he said that.
  2. Next, we’ll end Social Security.
  3. And Medicare.
  4. And the Affordable Care Act.
  5. And Medicaid,
  6. We’ll end every social welfare/safety net program within five years. He calls it “sunsetting.” What that really means is a knife across the throat of all the programs that help people, so call it “murdering.”
  7. Trump stole $15 billion from the Defense Department and built only 80 miles of his wall in places where there wasn’t already a barrier. Rick Scott will finish the remaining 1,500+ miles of that wall and name it after Trump (“Felon’s Fortification”?). And no, Mexico won’t pay for it. You will.

I know you think I’m making this up, but I’m not. This is the Republican dream that they’ve dreamed for decades. It’s been their hearts’ fondest desire to kill FDR’s New Deal, the collection of programs that led this country and all Americans out of the Great Depression. Rick Scott wants to lead Republicans in stopping all the things that help people.

Did I mention fraud? Before he ran for office, Scott’s healthcare company committed the biggest Medicare fraud in U.S. history and had to pay an $840 million fine. Here’s the complete fact check.

So, let’s see, first Rick Scott defrauds you and me and the U.S. government – he’s the Big Kahuna of Medicare cheats. Now he wants to cheat some more by taking from working and poor people who are barely getting by and then he wants to eliminate all the the things that help them. What would you call that?

Now, at long last, we have a clear declaration of what Republicans will do if they get their hands on the reins of power again.

You good with that?

Must Read

“Democrats need to get back to a fundamental message: When in power, they make government work for ordinary people and defend American values (democracy, opportunity, fairness, playing by the rules). They solve real problems. When Republicans are in power, they create division, conflict and chaos. They are not on your side. That’s it. A simple dichotomy.”                                                                                 Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

Gotta add something.

It’s time – long past time, really – to take an axe to Republican lies and cruelties. Call these guys out ruthlessly with the truth.

I know, I know – Democrats like to play nice and they don’t like to be mean.

GET OVER IT!

Because we can already smell the defeat that’s on the way.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And 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. 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.

It’s Almost 1972 – Again


If we assume for the moment that people who promote fantastical and dangerous lies aren’t willfully ignorant or intelligence challenged, we’re left with some unattractive explanations. Why, for example, would Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP Chair, perpetuate the “Biden is an illegitimate president” crazy?

“I want to see arrests. I want to see perp walks. I want to see people in jail for stealing this election,” she demanded.

Is she following orders as a proud soldier in the Army of the Delusional? Does she expect some personal benefit from her performance of reality denial? Has she been bamboozled by the lies, distortions, conspiracy claims and manipulations that have been fogged out for years? Does she think she’s a patriot as she promotes GOP insanity?

Does destroying democracy to save democracy actually make sense to her?

I’m betting all of that is the answer for her and thousands of Republicans. I’m betting that they will keep pounding away until they get their way, and that’s why this spouting of insanity is a serious threat. This kind of thing has happened before.

Coming into the 1972 Olympic Games the USA basketball teams had never lost an Olympic game. They had collected seven gold medals over the years and this team was the odds-on favorite to win an eighth.

They played the team from the Soviet Union in the gold medal game and were behind through most of it. With just one second left the Americans sank two free throws to go ahead 50-49. The Soviets in-bounded the ball but didn’t score. Game over, Americans win. But a judge had the clock reset to three seconds and the Soviets had another chance. Again, they failed to score. Game over, Americans win. But that’s not what happened.

The referee had given the ball to the Soviets for the in-bound pass before the official clock was reset, so the judge ruled that what had happened didn’t count and the Soviets were given a third chance to play the last seconds of the game. This time the Soviets scored and won the game 51-50. You can hear Bob Costas explain all of this.

I remember watching the end of that game and, like most Americans, was screaming at my TV set. How many chances do they get? Do we just keep doing it over until the other guys win?

And those are the same questions I’m asking today, but they’re no longer about a basketball game. They’re about a past election and all future elections. The fraudulent claims and the demand for do-overs continue, and the indignant ones howl for prosecutions of people who actually played by the rules. I’m afraid that this dangerous insistance could bear poison fruit.

Trump started the bogus whining about fraud in 2016, claiming that there was no way he could lose and that if he didn’t win that the election was rigged. That should sound frighteningly familiar, because not only did he claim that same thing in 2020, but other Republican candidates for various offices are now making that claim. They’re insisting that if they don’t win that they were cheated. They’re refusing to concede. They want do-overs. They only accept their desired outcomes as the legitimate ones.

It doesn’t matter that their claims are entirely false. They are inflaming millions with their hateful, fraudulent declarations and the anger is growing. What’s going to prevent rigged do-overs in Republican controlled states until the outcomes are in favor of Republicans? Surely, not today’s United States Senate, where all 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted against allowing a vote on the two voting rights acts that would prevent such thievery. These politicians are today’s version of the 1972 Olympic basketball judge.

There is more

The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, where Palestinian extremists – terrorists – kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Violence is what extremists do – like on January 6 at the Capitol Building. People were murdered. More will die unless we – that’s you and I – put a stop to this. All we have left are just 289 more days to do what must be done.

We’re on the road to 1972 again unless we stop the thieves – the extremists – right now.

What I wanted President Biden to say

The problems we’re having with inflation, the economy and sickness and death from the pandemic are ALL a function of right wing obstruction to fighting the pandemic.

North of 90% of our COVID sickness and death is of unvaccinated people, causing massive spread of the disease. And these people are being instructed, coaxed, mandated and directed to refuse our common sense solutions by self-serving Republican governors and legislatures prohibiting protection of our citizens. Our people are being influenced by Republicans and blatherers who spread lies and disinformation.

One more time: Other than trying to ensure this administration fails (that’s the only thing Mitch McConnell declared he’s for), “What are Republicans for?”

Q. Who is paying the price for Republican self-serving obstruction?

A. The American people. And democracy.

The Supreme Court smack down

Trump’s legal team made such a joke of an argument to prevent the House January 6 Select Commission from having access to records from Trump’s presidency that the Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear oral arguments. That decision came down to two things:

  1. Executive privilege belongs to the executive while in office. After that there is little executive privilege and none with regard to materials relevant to Congressional inquiry.
  2. Once out of office, all of a former president’s records go to the National Archives. The former president doesn’t own them, nor has control of them. They belong to We the People.

Smack down.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And 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. 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.

Gerrymandering and Self-Neutering


Gerrymandering

Here are results from the 2020 U.S. House of Representatives elections* in some “swing states.” Have a look.

Texas

Republicans won 53.43% of the popular vote, but have 63.9% of the House seats.

Wisconsin
Republicans won 51.43% of the popular vote, but have 62.5% of the House seats.
North Carolina

Republicans won 49.4% of the popular vote (they lost the popular vote!), but have 61.5% of the House seats.

Missouri

Republicans won 57.98% of the popular vote, but have 75% of the House seats.

Oklahoma

Saving the best for last:

Republicans won 67.31% of the popular vote, but have 100% of the House seats!

This is what gerrymandering does to elections and to the will of We The People. It is what causes constant obstructionism in Congress. In the states, it is what produces the most draconian, evil, voting suppression laws, the “we promise to steal the next election” laws, the Texas “we love vigilantes” law and Mississippi’s attack on Roe v. Wade.

If this looks okay to you, there’s no need to do anything. But if this looks to you like a corrupt assault on democracy and an undermining of the will of We The People and like your vote is being tossed into a dumpster fire, contact the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (former A.G. Eric Holder’s shop) and tell them you want to help to repair this hideous abuse of our democracy.

Self-Neutering

Democrats are wimpy. Their words are too nice and they speak with the confusion of different messages, all with way too many words to remember and all at once. They get steam-rolled every day by strong, anger-inducing and unified messages from Republicans, who have the benefit of not being constrained by truth or reality.

Democrats are talking about the cost of the BBB bill, which at best causes eyes to glaze over and at worst scares the hell out of voters. Instead, they should consistently be talking about the benefits of their program, the stuff that voters will feel and love, the stuff that polls at around 80%. Instead, their time is used to bicker among themselves. I don’t know what they are seeing, but I’m seeing a party in disarray that can’t manage to walk across the street without creating a traffic jam. Do they think they’re convincing voters?

Democrats continue their insanity and while that’s happening the Republicans are picking the pocket of our democracy. The theft is going on in plain sight and most of the Democrats most of the time are squabbling with one another, insisting on their version of perfect, instead of protecting our country from the insurgents. What are we to do with this?

Sheila Markin addressed ways to stop the theft of our democracy in her recent post, but I tell you that I am not encouraged. Here’s a point from that essay.

Congress could pass the new Manchin inspired Voting Rights Act that outlaws PARTISAN gerrymandering but to do so Congress would need to carve out an exception to the filibuster and that looks like a pipe dream right now.

Anybody have time for a pipe dream?

I get that a complete end to the filibuster would make it impossible to stop the barbarian hordes when they are once again in the majority in the senate. Fine. Just do a carve-out for voting legislation. I do not understand the Democrats refusing to do that.

What do you think draconian Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader would do were he faced with a situation like this? Right. And he would get what he wants. What is the point of the Democrats self-neutering? Somebody explain that to all of us.

It seems to me that the only way for us to have free, fair elections and to ensure the continuation of our democracy is for Democrats to find the courage to modify the filibuster with a carve-out for voting rights legislation. Then pass both pieces that are ready to go and DO THAT RIGHT NOW.

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* Charts are from Wikipedia

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

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And 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.
  4. 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 End


Hanging from the rear view mirror of the car parked next to mine.

If you’ve never attended a soccer game played by six-year-olds then you’ve missed the practicing of cartwheels, playing of rock-paper-scissors and spacing out while twiddling hair, all while on the field. It’s something of an athletic and sociological miracle that goals are scored.

When our granddaughter’s game was over we headed back to the car and spotted this rear view mirror hanger in the car in the next space. At first I thought this little forward-vision-impairment item (in lieu of fuzzy dice) was a nice little feel-good.

It is, indeed, that, and its simplicity is appealing, but it has a major flaw. That’s because the end can be catastrophic if we allow that. The simple feel-good must not distract us from the important work we have to do if we’re to craft what must come about, the OK end.

For example, read this from a recent post by Dan Rather:

This idea of conservative and liberal becomes even more strained when we try to apply it to the courts, particularly the current Supreme Court. We talk about the “conservative” justices, as if they are holding back the mobs to protect the sanctity of the Constitution. In reality they are laying waste to settled Constitutional rights and condoning attacks on our democratic process. Doesn’t seem very conservative to me.

Me either. It’s really important that we do something to stop “conservative” justices from trashing the Constitution and our democracy. Complacency on our part just won’t do.

Here’s another example from a recent Paul Krugman essay focused on the Republicans voting not to raise the debt ceiling, this via filibuster. That’s pretty much like you refusing to pay your credit card bill. If you did that you wouldn’t be extended credit anywhere and even worse things would happen. Same for the United States. Here’s a good explainer for that. Now on to Krugman’s comments.

Make U.S. debt unsafe — make the U.S. government an unreliable counterparty [trading partner], because its ability to pay its bills is contingent on the whims of an irresponsible opposition party — and the disruption to world markets could be devastating.

He went on to say,

What is new is the complete ruthlessness of the modern Republican Party, which is single-mindedly focused on regaining power, never mind the consequences for the rest of the country. [emphasis mine]

So ask yourself: If a party doesn’t care about the state of the nation when the other party is in power, and it knows that its opposition suffers when bad things happen, what is its optimal political strategy? The answer, obviously, is that it should do what it can to make bad things happen. [emphasis Krugman’s]

That kind of behavior is now commonly done by Republicans. And similar to the point about Rather’s essay, that’s just not okay and complacency on our part just won’t do.

There are plenty of other examples where complacency won’t do, like the continuing Covid homicides in Red states, White supremacist hate and threats of violence, the efforts to steal elections, the foot dragging on dealing with the climate crisis and more. I think that little mirror hanger sign we discovered following the soccer game, the one that assures us that things will be okay in the end, is accurate, but that won’t – it can’t – happen through complacency. This is going to take a lot of work for a long time.

Final Question

It’s my belief that Mitt Romney, for all the disagreements I have with him over policy, is a sensible man with a clear moral compass. There are other Republicans in the Senate who can be described the same way. But if that’s true, how in the world could they filibuster against raising the debt ceiling, essentially threatening to severely harm the United States and even the the entire world? How would that be okay in the end?

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

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And 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.
  4. 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.

Do You Smell What I Smell?


In another effort to quash the will of the majority of its citizens, the state of Texas passed a draconian anti-abortion law that effectively outsources law enforcement to vigilantes. The Supreme Court refused to issue an injunction to stop the law from taking effect before a full review of its breathtakingly unconstitutional provisions could be examined.* Effectively, abortion has been criminalized in Texas and enforcement of the law has been handed to bounty hunters, who have been offered cash prizes for spying on neighbors.

Historian and Professor Heather Cox Richardson puts it this way:

“The Republican Party is empowering vigilantes to enforce their beliefs against their neighbors.”

Ordinary citizens with nothing more than greed, strong opinions and with no training are now allowed to file lawsuits against anyone even remotely associated with an abortion, even those just having a conversation with a woman who may be thinking about it. They don’t even have to show harm to themselves to have standing to sue others for $10,000 or more, others who are doing Constitutionally protected things, even just having a conversation. That effectively makes these vigilantes the Thought Police** and trashes the First Amendment.

Regardless of how you feel about abortion, the worst part of this law is not that, even as harmful to women as this Texas hypocrisy is. It is about empowering vigilantes to perform the duties of the state in order for the state to avoid judicial review. Now, think about what that could mean.

Texas could enact another law that outsources collecting tax penalties to vigilantes, that encourages armed, ignorant citizens to pursue those they imagine have broken the law, that can allow extremists to sue journalists and news organizations to penalize their adverse reporting of politicians. The state can just turn everything over to crazed vigilantes and effectively do an end run around the courts.

You know, like in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. Like in the communist Soviet Union. Like in all repressive states. Neighbors turning on neighbors.

We already know what mobs of impassioned, self-important people can and will do. We saw that on January 6 at our Capitol Building. Now imagine such people up close and personal. They’re delusional about their patriotism and notions of godliness. They’re untrained and uninformed greedy bounty hunters rampaging through your neighborhood pretending they’re trained police officers and looking for you to sue you into bankruptcy.

Perhaps the worst part of this is that the extremist Republican Supreme Court justices could have stopped this plainly unconstitutional lunacy with an injunction, but they refused to do so. They allowed this law to go into effect without even having heard the case against it, which is coming before the court soon. They have abandoned the rule of law. Clearly, something needs to be done about this extremist court, because they aren’t done “legislating their ideology from the bench.”

Another Texas law makes it legal for gun toting vigilantes to roam around polling places – inside – and intimidate voters. The Texas hits just keep on coming.

These laws are sure to be copied by other minority rule, extremist Republican controlled states and we’ll have Wild West, blatantly unconstitutional actions all across our nation.

Let’s see: The Republicans have given us legally sanctioned vigilantism; minority rule; measures to encourage the infection of citizens with a deadly disease; horrific voter suppression; abandonment of the rule of law; refusal to hold cops accountable; refusal to extend healthcare to poor people; encouragement of insurrection; concealed carry and stand your ground laws that make murder legal; lies and cruel fictions replacing facts and truth; a rejection of science and a celebration of ignorance; bloated enrichment of the already wealthy and the impoverishing of our poor and middle class citizens; the destruction of trust in our electoral system; the teaching of religion in our public schools; the promotion of White supremacy and the glorification of racism; the denial of global warming in favor of enriching their wealthy donors. What else?

In the 2020 general election campaign the Republican Party had no platform. They offered a single page of rah-rah. That’s it. They offered no declaration of what they were about or of their vision for America. Sadly, now we know what they’re about. Now we know their dystopian vision for the destruction of our democracy.

I smell tyranny. I smell authoritarianism and dictatorship. I smell fascism and it stinks.

Do you smell what I smell?

Wanna Fight This Insanity? Here’s How

Sheila Markin is a friend, the publisher of The Markin Report and she smells what’s burning, just as you do. If you haven’t yet subscribed to her posts, you truly need to. She just emailed me with news about a couple of Zooms I’m certain you’ll want to attend.

As you can see from the destructive laws being enacted in Texas and elsewhere to assault our rights and our democracy, there’s much we have to learn and much we have to do. To that end, Sheila has put together two educational 1-hour Zooms for us. These are being offered at no cost and there will be no requirement to donate. This is about making a critical difference. Here is the schedule.

September 17 at 2:00PM CDT – Media Matters will help us understand how they fight disinformation. Did you ever imagine that there would be a need to fight a constant tsunami of disinformation? Well, there is and you’ve known it for a while. We need to get smart about dealing with that.

September 24 at 2:00PM CDT – The 314 Project will explain how they are working to get doctors and scientists elected to Congress, as well as to state and local positions of leadership. Take just a moment to consider what it would be like if doctors had legislative input on medical issues and if scientists had input on issues of science, instead of such things being handled by self-serving, ignorance-loving, know-nothing  politicians. Breathtaking!

Note that in order to attend you need to email Sheila at [email protected] and let her know you’ll be there. That way you’ll be on the approved good-guy list for the presenters and the Zooms.

Please invite your friends, your network of contacts who are concerned about our country, who insist that our democracy survives these assaults from the radical right wing.
.

I’ll be there and will be looking for you.

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* You must read Justice Sotomayor’s blistering dissent. Download a copy of all the justices’ opinions. Sotomayor’s comments begin on page 7.

In reading her comments I was reminded of a college football cheer, paraphrased thusly:

“Rip ’em up, tear ’em up, give ’em hell, Sotomayor!”

** From Wikipedia:

“In the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell, the Thought Police (Thinkpol) are the secret police of the superstate Oceania, who discover and punish thoughtcrime, personal and political thoughts unapproved by Ingsoc‘s regime. The Thinkpol use criminal psychology and omnipresent surveillance via informers, telescreens, cameras, and microphones, to monitor the citizens of Oceania and arrest all those who have committed thoughtcrime in challenge to the status quo authority of the Party and the regime of Big Brother.”

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  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.
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JA


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

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