second amendment

For Six Justices: Imagine That


Click the pic to hear what they said about Roe and stare decisis during their confirmation hearings. Then decide if they lied to us.

If you see your picture to the right, this is for you.
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Did you ever have little kids? Were you yourself ever a little kid?

I want you to think back to when you were 9 years old, sitting in your third grade classroom. See it in your mind’s eye. You’re at your desk watching your teacher at the front of the room as she is explaining something. You hear a sound and momentarily glance toward the door. It suddenly flies open and a guy in full body armor, carrying an assault rifle and a handgun charges in and shoots your teacher. There’s blood on the wall behind where she was standing and she’s motionless on the floor. Then he starts shooting your friends. He’s firing multiple bullets into each of their bodies and there is blood everywhere. Then he sees you and aims his AR-15 directly at your face. Now tell me how you feel about really strict gun laws.

Front page of the New York Times Sunday Review, May 29, 2022. Cites multiple mass shootings, each with the same lede: “Authorities said the gunman was able to obtain the weapons legally.” Click the pic – read it and weep.

That’s no horror movie scene. Other than the grade level, that is exactly what happened in Uvalde, Santa Fe, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland and more. That’s effectively what happened in Buffalo and El Paso and Aurora and Charleston and Milwaukee and Las Vegas and Pittsburgh and  .  .  .

Nothing in the just-passed gun safety bill would have prevented any of those massacres. To be fair, the safe storage provision might have kept that Bushmaster assault rifle out of the hands of that 19-year-old Sandy Hook murderer. Maybe.

New scenario.

Imagine your child is with you, holding your hand as you’re crossing the street. You look up and realize that there’s a shooter on the sidewalk in front of you and he’s aiming his military style assault rifle directly at you. You’re instantly certain that you’ll be dead in a fraction of a second, that you cannot protect your child and that your little one will be dead a second after you. Now tell me how you feel about really strict gun laws.

Different situation.

You live in the ghetto, the poorest, grimiest part of the city. On a good day there is just enough to eat for your three kids and you. There are a lot of days that aren’t nearly that good. Two months ago a vagrant broke in and raped you and now you’re pregnant with what will be a fourth child. Now tell me how you feel about the right to an abortion.

From The Onion, of course. Click the pic.

I suspect that the self-certain Bible thumpers living in comfortable means are sincere in their beliefs about abortion. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that they want to impose their beliefs on you. They want to take away your rights and they’ve succeeded at that, yet they haven’t even a ghost of a clue about you and how their certainties are completely alien and absurd in your existence. Once again, tell me now, as you sit in misery in the ghetto, pregnant with a rapist’s child and with three hungry kids, how you feel about the right to an abortion.

The comfortable moralizers also don’t haven’t a clue what it’s like to have an AR-15 pointed at their faces. They don’t know what it’s like to see their friends’ bodies ripped to shreds or to know they can’t protect their little ones. Doesn’t matter. They’re certain that they know what’s best for you and the rules you have to follow.

It’s easy to spout platitudes and holy proclamations when you yourself are not impacted by their consequences. But when you’re at the receiving end of extremist policies, it looks and feels quite different. Funny how that works.

Many thanks to KL for this.

So, to you six Supreme Court justices, appointed by Presidents, all but one of whom lost the popular vote, you are administering the tyranny of the minority. To you, who justify your pitiless convictions by invoking obscure 13th century English law and who are supremely extremist and supremely certain that your views are not just right, but that they’re supremely right and mandatory for everyone else: Just imagine.

Imagine that you’re that kid in that third grade classroom seeing your friends being killed, or you’re that parent crossing the street holding your little child’s hand, knowing you’re both about to be murdered, or that you’re that pregnant woman in the ghetto.

One more time: All of your extremist yelping about the Second Amendment and your moralizing about abortion look a bit different now that all that yelping and moralizing affects you. Imagine that.

The same goes for you extremist Republicans both in Congress and in state legislatures. What you’re doing hurts people. What you’re doing kills some people. What you do is cruel and it’s long past time for you to find something better to do with your time than to rile up others with your holier-than-thou and self-serving certainties that harm people. Go home. Don’t come back. When you disappear, that’s when things will begin to get better for the rest of us.

And the rest of us can easily imagine that.

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Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
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Fire the bastards!
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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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.

Gun Ears


‘You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Winston Churchill

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Let’s start with this obvious but enormously powerful basic: Regardless of where we stand, all discussions about guns are loaded with emotional juice, primitive fight-or-flight reactions and mind blanking, logic eliminating passions. We cannot imagine the depth of the stupidity of those who disagree with us.

This is a true “both sides” situation.

Many thanks to Gary Larson for his years of genius exemplified in this Far Side cartoon that just seems to fit our “think-they-know-everythings”

Because of that it’s pretty well impossible to have a thoughtful, logical discussion about guns. Nevertheless, to illustrate my foolishness, I’m going to try just this one time. Plus this other time. Oh, and this one. For more, click on the search box above my pic on the right and search on the word “guns.” BTW, that’s a seagull flying past my nose.

Gun lovers cite the Second Amendment as though that’s all they need to establish their claim that they can keep and bear whatever arms they want. It’s an absolute, they tell us. “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ is unclear to you?” they ask. Well, there are just a few things about that – here’s a sampling.

First: The reason for the Second Amendment

It was included so that southern states would ratify the Constitution. Basic bribery. Those muskets and militias were for one purpose: to put down slave rebellions. To the best of my understanding, that need no longer exists. That means that amendment is no longer required.

I’m now less confident that another reason for the Second Amendment was because our early government had no money for a standing army, so they needed citizens to be ready if the Brits came back, which they did a dozen years later. Go look it up, if you like.

Second: The “well regulated militia” part

Start buy watching this previously linked video.

The hypothesis in the Second Amendment is, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State .  .  .” Well, the Revolutionary version of a militia has morphed into the National Guard. They are well regulated. There are no other state militias.

And there is no other place for the required regulation (i.e. training) outside of the active duty military, so the rest of the hypothesis for gun ownership according to the Second Amendment no longer exists, either.

Private citizens possessing firearms aren’t members of a real militia, however earnestly some may believe they are, and they aren’t regulated at all. They bear no resemblance to the Second Amendment or to the National Guard.

Read this thread by a vet as he explains the training our military recruits receive – very much like the description in the video above. They are very well regulated. Compare that to the training – regulation – you’d receive if you were to purchase a handgun, hunting rifle or assault rifle at a gun show or from a gun dealer. Or if the 18 year old next door were to buy those firearms. There’s no relationship of that to the intent of the Second Amendment.

Watch this video of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger as he explains the fraud about the Second Amendment that has been foisted upon the American public by the gun industry.

Third: The “shall not be infringed’ part of the Second Amendment

That does sound like an absolute, but here’s what super conservative, “originalist” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said about that:

Turns out that the right to keep and bear arms may, in fact, be infringed. It already is. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Fourth: The weapons

Go ahead, hold to originalist thinking. Keep and bear arms exactly as intended by the Founders. Stockpile muskets, balls, powder horns and flintlock pistols. I just don’t want that to be extrapolated to any citizen having the right to have any modern weapon. Today’s weapons are killing machines not even imagined by the Founders.

Fifth: Protection against a tyrannical government

The Second Amendment doesn’t say or imply any such thing. Read it above – that’s the entire Second Amendment. There’s nothing about imagined tyranny done by our government or what to do about it if it were real.

Seriously, is some bunch of camo-wearing guys skulking through the woods going to overpower our armed forces and topple what they believe to be a tyrannical government or perhaps bend the government to their will? Doesn’t matter. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with any perceived tyranny of our government,

The Gun Ears Part

This is the hard stuff.

I’ve tried to be logical and level headed about this, even as I became more agitated as I wrote. Like I said, this issue is loaded with juice for most of us and I’m no exception. Perhaps it’s time to hear from someone who disagrees with me.

Try this guy. But first, be clear that your challenge is to listen to him all the way through. Maybe listen twice or even three times, seeking solely to understand him and what he has to say. Your job is not to craft your insightful response to prove him wrong or to impugn his intelligence or to give in to becoming angry and resentful. It is simply to understand.

I warn you that this assignment will almost certainly be difficult, but it’s very important. Click on the pic, watch, listen and learn, grasshopper.

Maybe you noticed immediately that this fellow demonstrates my opening point, that gun ownership – keeping and bearing arms – is a very emotional subject.

Yes, I know you can shoot down some of the things he says, including his redirection away from guns in America to the British gun laws and to our drug problems. Yes, I heard his toxic masculinity about what “real men” do and “going down swinging.” Just ignore that stuff and consider that he is earnest in his distrust of government (aren’t you?) and, by the way, he has some ideas worthy of consideration, like hiring unemployed vets to protect kids.

Could you have a conversation with this guy without it turning into a fight, what with Buffalo, Laguna, Uvalde and Tulsa on your mind? Do you have the courage to listen to him while seeking only to understand? I tell you with complete confidence that’s exactly what it will take for us to begin to mend our deep political divide and learn to live with one another.

I have no illusions about converting this guy. What I have is a notion that we all have plenty to learn and we cannot accomplish that task by yelling at one another. That demand for learning and being respectful is on all of us. So is taking action.

Must Reads of the Week

It is critical that we stay clear about what needs to be done. Read Thom Hartmann’s piece on this because this is going to take a while.

And read the Twitter thread of Sean Castin (D-IL 6). The comments below it are worthwhile, too.

Adaptive Quote

From Monika Bauerlein writing in Mother Jones about the likely Roe decision and minority rule:

” .  .  . I thought about how far gone a democracy is when 54 percent of the population support a constitutional right and 28 percent oppose it, yet the 28 percent position wins out.”

The numbers on gun safety/control are far more lopsided than that, with 80 – 90% of us supporting gun safety laws, yet the minority position continues to win out. That’s deadly.

From Reader FL

For those red-staters who proudly believe that it is safer to live in Alabama than in big, bad, dangerous NYC, here are some numbers to chew on:

The 2021 homicide rate in NYC was 5.5 individuals per 100,000 residents.

The 2021 homicide rate in Alabama was 14.2 individuals per 100,000 residents.

Finally, A Little Lighten Up

Watch Stephen Colbert’s Monday scoop on PuppetGate.

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

DO SOMETHING! – Part 2


Gov. Abbott press conference in Uvalde, TX. Click the pic for the story.

Gov. “Bang-Bang” Abbott of the Shooting Gallery of Texas said he was livid at his press conference following the Uvalde massacre, this because he didn’t get the full, straight story about police actions, if there were any. His cops and his hand picked public safety officials had essentially snow jobbed him, he told us. Of course, we understand anger over not getting a straight story, because most of the time it’s impossible for us to get a straight story from Abbott. That makes lots of people livid.

If he’s livid it may be because this time he got caught as an accessory to the murders of school kids by a really well equipped, Texas authorized shooter. You know, body armor, two AR-15s and lots of ammo, stuff that Abbott wants troubled 18 year olds to have. Of course, Abbott didn’t have what it takes to give us the straight story about that. What we know is that he was livid about looking foolish, mouthing bad information – so very sad for his ego. He gave no indication that he was livid about 19 dead kids and 2 dead teachers. In fact, when he told us he was livid they were still trying to identify those little corpses and eventually had to resort to DNA matching, but he didn’t mention that.

Still, right then and there Abbott promised mental health services for survivors in Uvalde. That’s great, because those people are hurting terribly. It will be generations before the people of that town get over this catastrophe, if, indeed, those folks ever do.

It’s wonderful that Gov. Abbott is promising mental health assistance right there in Texas, which ranks 4th in the nation in prevalence of mental illness, but last in access to care. Plus it’s going to be tougher and extra awful for the suffering people of Uvalde, because Abbott can’t possibly provide the help he bragged about. That’s because he recently chopped the state budget for mental health services by $211 million. It seems we’re back yet again to that business of not being able to get a straight story from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Besides his phantom mental health support, it’s noteworthy that last year Abbott boasted of having signed at least 7 new laws making it easier for Texans to get guns, including one that allows people to carry handguns without a background check, without training and without a permit. Just buy, load and go. More recently he urged Texans to buy more guns because a report said that there were more guns in California than in Texas. Gotta love his competitive spirit. Bang bang.

All of that is in the wake of 23 shoppers killed at a Walmart in El Paso, 10 kids killed in their school in Santa Fe and 26 churchgoers shot dead in Sutherland Springs. Now 19 kids and 2 teachers in Uvalde have been murdered. Read this and this if you want to understand how deeply objectionable this guy is and exactly why people like you and dead gun victims simply don’t matter to him.

I pick on Gov. Abbott for several reasons, chief among which is that he deserves it. I want to be bigger about this, but the truth is that I enjoy verbally beating the snot out of this guy – or any guy – who’s all about promoting himself in the face of the ghastly price paid by others for his bravado. He’s a placeholder for all the “real man” chest thumpers and the “my rights and my freedom” guys who still have not figured out that there are a lot of other people just beyond their noses who also have rights.

Like the right to not get murdered. We’d like for our kids to have the right to stop having to do active shooter drills and for our elderly loved ones to have the right to go shopping without it being a death defying act. We’d like for all the you-and-me regular folks to have the right to go to the entertainment district and not get killed by a monster with weapons in his hands made possible by Gov. Greg Abbott and others just like him. I pick on Gov. Abbott because he is a self-righteous tyrant and promoter of death who deserves a verbal thrashing.

We’ll do well to admit that Gov. Abbott and other officials like him, as well as ordinary citizens described in the above paragraphs, are people who we’ll never persuade, so we’ll have to over-power them. That means that way more of us will have to vote.

To our gun culture enthusiasts:
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I get that having and firing a handgun or hunting rifle or assault rifle is fun. It makes young men and lunatic congressmen and women feel powerful, in charge, important. Gun culture is intoxicating. But here’s the thing: If I care at all about the pleasure you or anyone gets from owning, handling and firing guns, it isn’t even in the same universe as my care for little kids sitting at their desks at schools or grannies shopping or people in church or doctors and nurses at their hospitals.

Your right to own and fire your guns isn’t even remotely as important as our right to life, as described in the Declaration of Independence as an unalienable right. That means that you are not allowed to kill anybody. Your puffed chest Second Amendment right is way behind others’ right to safety.
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Quoting Peggy Hamburg, former FDA commissioner, “If you don’t see the light, you will soon feel the heat.”

Half-size caskets with cartoons for Uvalde kids. Click the pic for the sad story.

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The day is coming when all of this will be self-evident. Greg Abbott will be long gone, as will Ted Cruz and all the knuckle dragging congressional and state legislative candidates firing or handling guns in their campaign ads. Be clear that I respect the guns – they’re dangerous – but I don’t respect those people.

They’re not protectors from a tyrannical government, nor do they protect us from immigrants or from anyone else. What they do is to endanger We The People every day.

These chest thumpers are not the opponent; they are the enemy of American public safety. Some day they must be defeated.

We can hasten the arrival of that day. Indeed, we must hasten the arrival of that day, because over 100 Americans are dying by gunfire every day.

From DO SOMETHING! – Part One:

What creative ideas do you have to get candidates elected who are bold enough to pass meaningful, sensible laws to protect our children and grannies and church goers and concert and movie attendees and .  .  .  wait .  .  .  that’s all of us.

Which candidates will you phone bank for? Will you send out election reminder post cards? How about kicking in a few bucks to a congressional candidate in a swing state? You can even do something to elect state legislature candidates who think my little granddaughter and other school kids shouldn’t have to do active shooter drills. Here’s a link to The States Project. These folks are all about that and you can make a difference that just might keep people from getting killed.

Remember: To Fire the bastards! (see below) we have to replace them with good guys. That’s about promoting the right people and voting. That’s on us.

Key Words: DO SOMETHING!
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Like March For Our Lives – June 11
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Click the button to be directed to the closest march to you.
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Marches Near You!

June 11 – BE THERE!

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Must Reads

How Greg Abbott and Under 4 Percent of Texans Are ruining the State for the Rest of Us

The Epidemic of Mass Shootings is Neither Inevitable Nor Unsolvable

He Did Not Act Alone

Post Script

After little kids and grannies were massacred, after dozens of concert attendees were mowed down, after multiple murders in churches, synagogues and mosques, how can it be that there is any political resistance at all to laws to protect us from these killing machines and from homicidal maniacs?

What has happened to us such that we know what to do and yet steadfastly refuse to do it?

Have no misunderstanding, no fog of ignorance: This is a test. It is a test of who and what we care about, what we value, what is precious to us. The answer to the single test question is not yet another string of hollow platitudes or another chest thumping, self-serving speech. The question is critical. I fear the answer.

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

Live and Die Loud, The Economy and Ottawa


We have a Second Amendment and it was enshrined into something holy and untouchable as if directly from God by Justice Antonin Scalia, the NRA, bobblehead Republicans and every red state absolutist. Just two things about that.

The First Thing

That amendment reads:

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.
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That’s the complete text. Gun thumpers are big on the second phrase – that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. They view that right as absolute, this in spite of their Supreme Court champion, Justice Scalia, clearly stating that no right is absolute.

Worse, they always ignore the first phrase – that Militia thing. Our militia is called the National Guard and there is one in every state, so there’s no need for tough guys to be creeping through the woods in camo with their AR-15s, playing soldier and scaring the hell out of bunnies and Bambi.

The reason for the Framers believing that there was a necessity for a Militia is because early on the federal government had no money to maintain a standing army and needed citizens to be at the ready when – not if – the British returned, which they did just 26 years after the Constitution was ratified. That well regulated Militia was never intended to be a force to overthrow our own government, even if the gun thumpers believe that’s what it’s for, and even if they think they’re a well regulated militia (they’re not), and even if the date is January 6.

The Second Thing

This, too, is about that phrase that our Second Amendment enthusiasts love.

Is there some reason ordinary citizens cannot own more sophisticated weapons than rifles and pistols? Actually, not so much. If you want to own a rocket launcher, land mines, machine guns and more you can do it legally. It’s very pricey. But maybe some cabal of super wealthy right-wing oligarchs who want you to overthrow the government and put them in charge will send you the cash.

The point is that the Second Amendment doesn’t say muskets, although that was the state of the art at the time that amendment was drafted. No update of weapons of war was contemplated, so that’s what the Framers had in mind. Still, they wrote “Arms,” not “muskets” or “guns.”

I think we should crank up the volume of our explosions. Come on now, everybody grab your pre-1986 50 caliber machine guns, your rocket launchers and your fertilizer bombs and we’ll make the Second Amendment sing. We’ll live and die loud in a national conflagration of primitive chest thumping and self-righteous rage. Justice Scalia would be so proud! So would Justice Clarence Thomas and his far-right wife, GIni.

Or we could pass sensible gun safety legislation and begin to reduce the bleeding and dying. Over 80% of the American people prefers this choice. I wonder why we can’t get what we want  .  .  .

It’s The Economy, Stupid

Everybody knows that Republicans are the party of business, the geniuses of the economy, the ones to be entrusted to hold the reigns of power to shepherd our national financial well being. The Democrats just give away the tax money collected from hard working people and spend it on their touchy-feely, socialist, tree hugging programs. They’re clueless about how to run an economy.

Well, maybe.

Have a look at this chart. The data covers the period since World War II. CNN recently published much the same information.

                                     S & P 500             GDP            Job Creation     Unemployment
                        Ave. Annual Gain  Ave. Growth  Ave. per month  Rate Movement
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DEMOCRATS              11.2%                 4.1%               164,000                   – 0.8%

REPUBLICANS              6.9%                 2.5%                 61,000                   +1.1%

Note, too, that 10 of the 11 U.S. recessions between 1953 and 2020 began under Republican presidents.

Gotta hand it to those Republicans. They sure do protect us from those economy dopey Democrats. Plus, they have such great claims of fiscal responsibility, low taxes and small government. Just don’t think about deficits (see the tweet to the left from 2019). Bummer they can’t find a sustainably strong economy, even using two hands and a flashlight (thanks go to Aaron Sorkin for the phrase).

Just imagine if the economic and employment growth under Democrats were to continue instead of leaving it to the Republicans to muck it up.

When you’re done imagining, go canvass, phone bank, contribute and vote in order to bring your imagination to life.

Last thought on this: How come Democrats aren’t making enormous noise about all of their success?

The Definitive Solution to the Trucker Anti-Vaxx, Anti-Mask, Temper Tantrum “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa
  1. Impound all the trucks immediately. Keep them while slow-walking prosecutions.
  2. Encourage truckers to show proper behavior that their moms would like by requiring that they publicly apologize for their anti-social, rude behavior and promise to never do such things again. Plus, make them clean up the mess they left in the streets of Ottawa. If they refuse, lock ’em up longer.
  3. Enroll them in Breakfast Club for a couple of months. After that, if they have perfect attendance they can have their trucks back. Then show them the highway out of town and tell them to never come back.

The truckers have selfishly made everything about themselves and the imagined curtailment of their freedom. They’re heedless of the $55 million in lost wages they’ve caused others or the hundreds of millions of dollars of trade they’ve imperiled or the small businesses they’ve caused to be shuttered.

Remember: Lack of accountability promotes more wrongdoing. We either hold them accountable or they and others will be emboldened to do worse.

NOTES
  1. Traditional conservatives would have recommend and enthusiastically supported this solution. Recall, if you’re able to remember that far back, that they used to be all about law and order. Not so much today.
  2. Consider that when people act out, their motivation may be deeper and likely founded on real and legitimate grievances. So, we can swat at the symptom of the traffic clogging – we really have to. More important for the long term is to figure out the driving forces and deal with them. I suspect that disrespect and betrayal are involved.
  3. For an examination of rights (like freedom) and responsibilities, read Tom Friedman’s essay, America 2022: Where Everyone Has Rights and No One Has Responsibilities.
Quote of the Week

From Maureen Dowd’s column of February 12 centered on James Joyce’s Ulysees:

Stephen Dedalus, Joyce’s self-portrait, captures our incomprehensible politics in a remark that burns brighter than ever: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

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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.

That Elusive More Perfect Union


There are always impassioned young men who are quick to anger, who instantly deliver a snarl and vitriol, are over-eager to dominate and impatient for violence. Some remain that way for a very long time. They love their hate and anger and the rush of power they get from that, as their spittle flies. Ignorance is no impediment and they are easy targets for manipulators. They are heedless of who gets hurt in their quest for power and vengeance. Indeed, hurting others is more than collateral damage; it’s their reason. *

Click me and discover our violent reality

It should come as no surprise to any of us that people nurture their grievances today much as the Southern traitors did in 1861. They justify their rebellion in their victimhood. They have the power rush and their absolute belief in their righteousness. They hunker down and plot ways to attack, to hit back. We’re seeing it today in a continuing assault on reality, on our democracy and in their cowardly, selfish retreat from integrity.

Our ongoing mass carnage is testament to our national belief in violent solutions to all problems. The Gun Violence Archive tracks our mass shootings (that means bullets ripping apart 3 or more people in a single incident). To understand the efficiency with which we execute violent solutions, there have been 25 mass shootings in just the past 12 days, with 18 killed and 96 wounded. Click on the pic above or the inline link in this paragraph in order to read the page. Then scroll through the other pages. It might come to you that our killing one another isn’t just horrible; it’s normal. It’s every day. And that’s just the gun violence.

Smug, arrogant Jefferson Davis and his ministers. Nine men, each with a metaphorical White supremacist, self-righteously raised middle finger. Sound familiar? Click the pic for Jamelle Bouie’s essay.

Timothy McVeigh thought he was a patriot and hero for bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killing 168 people. Dylann Roof thought he was doing the right White supremacist thing by killing all nine people present at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. And the January 6 insurrectionists are still sure they are the true patriots, having beaten, bear sprayed, stabbed, blinded and killed the very people they pretended to champion with their Blue Lives Matter flags. May the rivers of testosterone forever flow!

Here’s a short list of things standing in our way of making things better:

  1. The lack of courage to enforce our laws evenly and fairly.
  2. Politicians whose primary driver is their self-interest.
  3. As a subset of #2, politicians who are terrified of their constituents and are spineless to the point of complete refusal to lead.
  4. Politicians who know they can’t get reelected unless they lie, cheat, steal and undermine our democracy, so they do it all.
  5. A rapidly changing world that has left millions in terrible circumstances. That’s matched with a Congress and state legislatures that are bereft of solutions, are intransigent and useless for everything but stoking the fire of rage in their “base” in order to get reelected.
  6. Idiots promoting guns, encouraging “Second Amendment remedies” and the message that everyone should be packing heat.
  7. Our refusal to energetically teach and promote civics.
  8. Our lack of a requirement for service to our nation, leaving us ignorant of one another and unwilling to sacrifice for our common good.

Clearly, this list could go on for pages. Glad to have your important additions – use the Comments section below.

It’s satisfying to point fingers, especially at politicians, but the truth that we really don’t want to acknowledge is that Pogo was right – see the cartoon to the left.

We met US in Oklahoma City, Charleston, Ft. Hood, Parkland, the Pulse Night Club and the Las Vegas concert, at Sandy Hook, the Capitol Building and in so many other places. And in every case we were and are Americans committing violence on Americans.

It is still true that the behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get. And we have tolerated far too much.

Click me for the story from The Onion.

If becoming an actual United States in a more perfect union is the goal, then that begs the question of what we are willing to do make that happen. We have some congresspeople, mostly ex-military, who get the idea of protecting and defending the Constitution, who are wired for duty, honor, country and who understand integrity and accountability. One thing we can do is to elect more people like them, irrespective of party labels.

It’s painfully obvious that pointing fingers will not be useful. If we are to get better results, we’re going to have to do something different.

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  • The spoken words are often shouted by overheated individuals who evidently believe that the lungs are the seat of wisdom.” George Will
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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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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.

Have A Nice Memorial Day


From Giovanni Russonello’s article in the New York Times:

“QAnon Now as Popular in U.S. as Some Major Religions, Poll Suggests
.

“But it’s not just the notion that the election was stolen that [QAnon] caught on with the former president’s supporters. QAnon, an outlandish and ever-evolving conspiracy theory spread by some of Trump’s most ardent followers, has significant traction with a segment of the public – particularly Republicans and Americans who consume news from far-right sources.

“Those are the findings of a poll released today by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core, which found that 15 percent of Americans say they think that the levers of power are controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles, a core belief of QAnon supporters. The same share said it was true that ‘American patriots may have to resort to violence’ to depose the pedophiles and restore the country’s rightful order.

“And fully 20 percent of respondents said that they thought a biblical-scale storm would soon sweep away these evil elites and ‘restore the rightful leaders.'”

Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are conducting hate rallies. Last week Gaetz began, saying, “We have a Second Amendment in this country and I think we have an obligation to use it.” He was reported by Heather Cox Richardson and all major news agencies this way:

“[Gaetz] told attendees that the nation’s founders wrote the Second Amendment to enable citizens to rise up against the government. ‘It’s not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports,’ he said. ‘The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary.’

“As the audience cheered, Gaetz continued: ‘I hope it never does, but it sure is important to recognize the founding principles of this nation and to make sure that they are fully understood.’”

These are powerful words harkening back to our founding days of tricorn hats and muskets and thoughtful men in wigs, except for one thing: every bit of Gaetz’s chest thumping declaration is false. All of it.

The Second Amendment was included in the Constitution for many reasons, including self-defense. It was also included to keep southern slave states in the Union. White slave masters were vastly outnumbered by slaves then and the slave owners figured they needed a mechanism to counter any slave rebellion. Local militias – essentially vigilantes with firearms – was their solution. The Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to appease the slave owners.

Further, as Garrett Epps writes in The Atlantic. ”  .  .  .  the main—indeed, almost exclusive—purpose of the [Second A]mendment was, in fact, to protect the rights of states to maintain and arm militias.” And, indeed, they’ve done that. Today they’re called the National Guard.

However chest-thumpingly satisfying it may be to our citizens wearing camouflage, carrying military weapons and assaulting our state capitols and the Capitol Building in DC or plotting to kidnap and assassinate the governor of Michigan, they aren’t the militias envisioned by the Framers. They aren’t well-regulated. They aren’t even militias. They are insurrectionists in waiting.

There is nothing in the Second Amendment or in The Federalist Papers or in the words of any Founding Father, nor is there any representation anywhere of a right of citizens “.  .  .  to maintain an armed rebellion against the government,” to rise up in violence against democracy – not a word, however our many insurrectionists and impassioned blowhards think there is. What’s worrying is that our self-righteous believers in citizen tyranny own a huge proportion of the over 300 million firearms in this country.

There is no cabal of Satan worshiping child sex traffickers running the world or our country, nor is there an imminent biblical-scale storm that will sweep away elites. There is no right of insurrection. Accusations are not the same as evidence or proof. Fantasies aren’t the same as facts. Lies are not truths. But some people will believe whatever feeds their passions, hate and anger, good sense be damned.

And all of this fantasy based insanity that promotes tough guy-ism and stokes violence flies in the face of the special day we set aside for our military people who died protecting our nation from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” That refers to enemies of the Constitution.*

Go to your local Memorial Day ceremonies tomorrow, be they in person or virtual. Honor our fallen ones and say thank you.

And have a nice Memorial Day – while we still have our democracy.

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In Case You Missed The Craziest Play in Baseball

Watch this.

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  • * I’m reminded of a line from Aaron Sorkin’s wonderful movie The American President:

“How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can’t stand Americans?”

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Fairness Triple Crown


1. Tax Fairness

Everyone likes government programs that benefit themselves; we just don’t want to pay for them. Consequently, President Biden’s tax plan is hugely popular with we common folk, because it calls for somebody else to pay for the goodies. Good for us!

Not so good for the proposed payers.

On the other hand, those proposed payers are the very people who have consistently benefited from government policy and programs that for many decades have filled their piggy banks with massive wealth. It seems to most of us that turnabout is fair play.

Brendan Bechtel, CEO, Bechtel Corporation

But not to poor, picked on Brendan Bechtel. He runs Bechtel Corporation. It’s the same company that was happy to get those no-bid contracts from the George W. Bush administration for construction work in Iraq and still more no-bid contracts following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. That Bechtel Corporation.

Mr. Bechtel recently said of the Biden jobs program funding proposal, “it doesn’t feel fair.”

“Fair” is an interesting concept. From my observation post as a behavior geek it appears that “fair” usually means, “That isn’t what I want for me.” In other words, there is no link to the concept of even-handedness or a reasonable distribution of responsibility and obligation. “Fair” is solely about “I get what I want.” Let’s add one more piece of information and then test the concept.

Here’s a chart reported by The New York Times, sourced from Gabriel Zucman of UC Berkely.*

The graphs represent average federal tax rates for top earners, like Mr. Bechtel. Note how low taxes have been in recent decades relative to most of the last century. Note, too, that these are nominal rates, not what anyone actually paid after their highly expert accounting ju jitsu was applied.

Please tell us again, Mr. Bechtel, about how unfair (meaning “not even-handed”) a relatively slight increase in your taxes will be. You and your family and your top executives have been bathing in the flood tide of money that you’ve been able to amass for half a century. And you’ve been able to keep ever more of it for yourselves, because special tax loopholes and lower top rates have sent your actual, send-IRS-a-check tax bill on a near-constant downward trajectory. So has the employee attrition from the IRS that has minimized scrutiny of tax returns of those at the top of the wealth distribution pyramid.

Another way to say that is that the 99% of the rest of us who don’t have those tax loopholes available to us or the cash to pay high priced tax attorneys have borne a higher burden to support the commons because you’ve skated. I’m talking about the roads, bridges, schools, national defense, emergency services and the rest of the things we do together in this country. You haven’t paid your fair share for a really long time. So, “It doesn’t feel fair” is just too much for we common folk to hear.

You could take a page from Warren Buffett’s book and demand higher tax rates on the ultra-rich. It won’t affect your lifestyle a bit and the next generation Bechtel lucky sperm club winner will still inherit enough money to buy a small country.

So, go ahead and publicly demand our legislators and president raise taxes on the ultra-rich so we can fix the bridges, provide pre-K for our little ones and all the rest of the vitally needed actions in the commons that are decried so absurdly by Republicans.

Your gesture would be a most patriotic thing. It still won’t be what you want, but we’ll be most grateful for your having progressed to something that looks a lot more fair – as in “even-handed” – to the rest of us.

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2. A Jonathan Swifty Solution for Pandemic Fairness

Extremists have taken full control of the Republican Party. These people are angry and vocal and violent and they show up in huge numbers to vote. They openly carry guns, they like to intimidate others, they refuse masks and vaccines and they’re certain they’re the true patriots. That’s a problem for the rest of us who prefer boring negotiations to settle differences, rather than mob violence. And we’d rather not be infected by the mask and vaccine refusers. Fortunately, I have a modest proposal to tame all of that.

Caution: snark follows.

Let’s give them their own country. We’ll cede the Dakotas, where they can refuse masks and vaccines and embrace their Second Amendment remedies with wanton abandon. The Dakotas should be enough space, as they’ll kill one another in gun fights and die of Covid pretty quickly, so they’ll cull their own herd. Tucker Carlson will fit right in.

More immediately important is the issue of the pandemic, as it’s estimated that over 905,000 Americans have already died from it and the extremists overwhelmingly refuse masks, social distancing and vaccines. That imperils our ability to achieve herd immunity, which means their stubborn refusal puts the rest of us at risk. Here’s how to fix that.

By late summer we will have had sufficient vaccine supply and the distribution network for all of us to be vaccinated. Anyone not vaccinated by then can be considered a refuser. These are the people most likely to wind up in hospitals, then on ventilators and finally in the morgue. These are the people who will put our healthcare workers at risk and overload them. They’ll tie up our entire medical system, which compromises everyone else’s access to healthcare. Indeed, it’s been reported that 94% of cancer screenings over the past year were not done due to the pandemic. Our refusers threaten to make that permanent, which imperils all the rest of us.

I propose that after August 31 that we refuse to deliver medical service to anyone who contracts Covid and can’t produce a vaccination card.

It’s their choice to refuse to be vaccinated and that choice, like every choice, comes with consequences which shouldn’t be dumped on the rest of us. They made their bed; now they can lie in it – at home in the Dakotas, where they can’t infect the rest of us with the Covid variants they carry.

This is fair to the rest of us who don’t want to deal with the extremists and their Covid threats and their constant threat to our democracy. It provides freedom of choice, a true American value. It’s in line with the absolute freedom demands of our rugged individuals. And it gets all of us what we want.

This is another in an ongoing offering of simple Swifty solutions for complex problems and for fairness in our country. Please sign the petition at www.ExtremistsGoAway.com.

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3. Fairness Quotes of the Week

From David Brooks in the New York Times:

“That [WW II] victory required national cohesion, voluntary sacrifice for the common good and trust in institutions and each other. America’s response to Covid-19 suggests that we no longer have sufficient quantities of any of those things.”

That’s observationally accurate and fair to say.

From John Pavlovitz on vaccine refusal:

“Conservatives: you’ve been brainwashed. You are afflicted with partisan politics and bad theology, and you are unable to think clearly because of it. You are so intent on validating your vote that you will do anything to feel that way.”

Pavlovitz’s words actually apply to Trump brain slaves. True conservatives would be demanding that we all get vaccinated, this as a patriotic duty. It’s entirely fair to say that.

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* Click the link on Zucman’s name and download any of his papers – say, the top one: Tax Evasion at the Top of the Income Distribution: Theory and Evidence. Just read the abstract. Then give some thought to how the Trump administration’s IRS focused on middle income taxpayers and didn’t even glance at most of the wealthy.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

No Really, Facts Don’t Matter


Over the last 10 years more than a billion votes have been cast in America. During that time there have been 31 cases of confirmed voting fraud. That’s 0.0000031% voting fraud, or 31 hundred-millionths of a percent. That’s the same as 99.9999969% authentic, legal voting.

If these pitifully few cases of voting fraud were lumped together in one small town in one election they would not be enough to alter the outcome of the contest for street sweeper dispatcher. Just understand the obvious: we simply don’t have a problem of voting fraud. What we do have is a tsunami of false accusations of voter fraud.

The former President of the United States couldn’t produce a single piece of evidence of voting fraud in support of any of his over 60 frivolous lawsuits, all of which were laughed out of court. Nevertheless, he and his sycophantic, fact-free supporters continue to make the baseless claim that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election and that the election was stolen.

Here’s one of those sycophants, fact-free Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL 15):

That’s delusional Mary Miller proudly tweeting a claim of hundreds of thousands more votes for Trump in swing sates, a claim for which she has zero evidence. And so it is with every other disappointed Trumpy claiming fraud. They might cloak their claims in patriotic sounding phrases, like “ensure all legal votes are counted,” but the sum total of what they offer in support of their claims of a stolen election is vapor – no evidence, no data, no facts. Because there aren’t any.

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Thanks go to JN for the pic

During the Obama administration Republicans constantly beat the drum, “Obama is coming for your guns.”

Pop quiz:

Q. Over the 8 years of the Obama administration, what was the total number of guns that were taken from freedom loving gun owners – or any other gun owners, for that matter?

A. Zero

Q. How many gun safety laws have been enacted since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of little kids in 2012?

A. Zero

Q. What percent of all Americans want universal background checks before the sale or transfer of any firearm?

A. 90%

Q. Does that include Republicans?

A. Yes

Q. Does that include NRA members?

A. Yes – 70% of them

Q. Would universal background checks cause the ATF to confiscate anyone’s guns?

A. No, it would just prohibit the sale of firearms to mentally unstable people and to violent felons.

Q. So, is anyone coming for anyone’s guns?

A. No

Q. Doesn’t the Second Amendment guarantee and even encourage gun ownership?

A. Not in the way it’s promoted today. Originally, the Second Amendment was an accommodation to slave states so that slave owners could control their slaves. Plus, the United States had no money for a standing army and they feared the British would come back, which they eventually did. That was the point of “a well regulated militia.” The Second Amendment was never intended to mean that any dangerous half-wit could own assault rifles and hundred round magazines. The arms they were talking about were muskets and even they were not supposed to be in the hands of any dangerous half-wit.

Nevertheless, the fact-free hysterical ones continue to make the same fact-free claims, both about the right to own guns and that Democrats are coming to take them away.

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What about the war on religion? Surely, there really is such a war. There must be, given the hair-on-fire, bible-thumping claims and woe-be-unto-us predictions from fervent believers and big church pastors.

The First Amendment begins with these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion  .  .  . ” That has been interpreted to mean that everyone may practice the religion of their choice, as well as everyone having the right to freedom from religion. It’s entirely up to the individual. Government is Constitutionally prohibited from weighing in on the issue.

Back to the pop quiz:

Q. If an American citizen chooses not to believe in or practice any religion, does that harm those who do believe in a religion or does that harm religion itself?

A. Seriously? No

Q. If government passes a law that is in conflict with any part of any religion, does that constitute an attack on that religion?

A. No. Refer to the First Amendment quote above.

Q. But what if people are allowed to vote or go shopping on the sabbath, activities which are forbidden by several religions? Doesn’t that constitute a war on religion?

A. Seriously, again? Okay, freedom of religion means that the strictures of a religion may not be imposed by law on anyone. So, you can vote or go shopping on Saturday and Sunday and it won’t constitute any harm or threat of harm to anyone’s religion. If you don’t think such activities are okay, don’t do them. Nobody is attacking your religion.

Q. Is America a theocracy?

A. No. Theocracy is another word for religious fascism. This is a democracy.

Q. Wasn’t it intended to be a theocracy?

A. No. Read the Federalist Papers so you stop asking dumb questions.

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Pastor Rick Joyner is the trifecta of crazy claims. His fiery insistence that Trump won, that the election was stolen and all the rest of the unsupported Trumpy claims is a favorite stomping ground for him. He continues to call on true Christians to arm themselves for the coming civil war – he’s falling only slightly short of inciting violence. But best of all he’s thumping his bible, saying liberals are in league with the devil and Democrats are going to “criminalize Christianity.” He says all of this googly-eye stuff and has no facts to support any of it, but of course that’s no obstacle to his mouth.

Don’t just take Nicholas Kristof’s word on this. Google “Rick Joyner criminalize Christianity” and read the pieces that come up. It’s unclear whether this guy is all about an ego-driven power trip or if he’s delusional like Mary Miller. Either way, he’s dangerous because he’s calling for Americans to commit violence against Americans without any justification except that he didn’t get his way. He has fantasies about Christianity that he thinks are real and he wants a shooting war. All based on no facts.

Hair-on-fire people continue to claim election fraud and Second Amendment fantasies and they continue to thump on their bibles, making apocalyptic claims with absolutely no basis in fact. Lack of reality simply isn’t a problem to them in making their fiery, baseless accusations.

There is so much blazing certainty in this country, based on so much vapor and believed by millions. That’s very dangerous.

No, really, facts don’t matter. Not to these people. So facts better mean something to you.

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If you’re open to a some more facts and truth that the folks described above don’t seem to recognize, read this admittedly snarky apology to Trump supporters. There is a pretty good chance you’ll recognize these events as things that actually occurred right here on Earth 1. It would take powerful denial skills to refuse these truths, yet clearly millions are capable of that level of denial.

Thanks to GS for the pointer to this piece.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

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. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. 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.

JA


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

Sing It With Me


A video of this post is inlne below.

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Our national mania for freedom (“You can’t tell me what to do!“) and  our desire for retribution for both real and imagined wrongs, combined with our obsession over firearms (click for the truth about “Second Amendment remedies“) is a potent combination that is doing exactly what it’s designed to do: it’s killing people.

15 were killed and 24 injured at Columbine High School

9 were killed at Mother Emanuel AME Church

17 were killed at Marjorie Douglas Stoneman High School

11 were killed and 6 wounded at Tree of Life Synagogue

58 people were killed at the Las Vegas music festival

49 people were killed and 53 were injured at the Pulse Nightclub

20 little kids and 6 teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School

8 people were killed in Atlanta spas

10 people were killed in a Boulder, CO supermarket

Click me

You know that this list could go on and on and you’d recognize the names, like Poway and San Bernardino and El Paso and Aurora and Sutherland Springs, Virginia Tech and Ft. Hood. We’ve already had 25 mass shootings in March alone, over one per day, and here’s the key point: most or all were done with legally purchased and carried weapons. Some of the killings were done by mentally ill people. Some were done by delusional angry people. Doesn’t matter much. The victims are still dead.

President Obama stood before the nation after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of those little 5 and 6 year old kids, wiping away tears as he spoke. He prayed that we would come to our senses and enact gun safety legislation that would begin to put an end to the murdering of so many of our innocents, but that still hasn’t happened. We still don’t have universal background checks. We don’t prohibit concealed and open carry. We don’t prohibit ownership of assault weapons. We don’t limit the size of ammunition magazines or the number of firearms and the amount of ammunition anyone is allowed to own. We do nothing – literally nothing – to stop the bleeding and dying.

A lot of our politicians have had a backbone-ectomy and have refused to do a thing about preventing our national carnage, even as 90% of us want universal background checks and more.

Exactly who do you think is doing all that shooting: lefties? Get real. In fact, get so real that you’ll read the unclassified version of the Intelligence Community assessment of domestic violent extremism. You can download a copy here.

No time to read? Okay, I’ll make this quick. Things are terrible and they are rapidly becoming even worse.*

Here’s a lovely set of statistics. There are enough firearms in private hands in this country to equip every man, woman and child with a gun and still have millions of firearms left over. That’s the first statistic.

Here’s the second: 50% of all those firearms are in the hands of just 3% of the population and a lot of those people are very angry. Worse, they think they’re the true patriots and the proper arbiters of justice and that violence is a fine solution.

We live in the lunacy of unrestricted firearms in the hands of angry people who think a stop sign is an abridgement of their freedom. Or they think that somebody else is the cause of their problems and unhappiness and that all the somebody else’s should be made to pay. Better hope you’re not a somebody else. Meanwhile, sleep well and have a nice day.

Which is hard to do right now if you live in Boulder, CO or Atlanta, GA or even Newtown, CT. And who knows? Maybe your town will make the news just like theirs, so that the name of your elementary school or your high school or your favorite supermarket or spa will be known across the nation.

You know the words of the mass murder song, so sing it with me: Thoughts and Prayers.

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ADDENDA

From Giovanni Russonello in the New York Times – On Politics newsletter of March 24, 2021, wherein he directs a fictional stage play.

“Senators, assemble, stage left and stage right, and face the audience. Now, express your outrage and frustration. Demand change. Or, if you’re standing on the right, direct your outrage at those across from you, ridiculing them for suggesting that changing the laws might even address the problem.”

This is, in fact, a constantly recurring drama that played out yet again the day after the Boulder, CO massacre. This is why things never get better.

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Click through the graphic below to the Mother Jones “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America.”

The Geography of Mass Shootings in America – Click the pic

  • ——————————–
  • * 2020 was a great year for gun murders in America. We’re number one and certain to stay there. Read about it here.

—————————————-

Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

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. Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, educate me and all of us. 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.

JA


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

Anthem


Reading time – 1.38  .  .  .

It is the morning of the Electoral College report to Congress. Donald Trump has encouraged militants like the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis to demonstrate in the streets of DC, knowing full well that they will bring their anger and their firearms. As of this writing it is unknown if violence will erupt, but DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has called out the National Guard. We have a real live political and cultural divide that has the capacity to explode.

Muriel Bowser, Mayor, Washington DC

This kind of contentiousness, this threat to our national welfare and safety has happened before, most notably and disastrously in the Civil War. And during the 1960s we were torn apart over the concurrent crises of the Vietnam War and a renewed fight for civil rights.

It was mostly young people in opposition to an entrenched conservative power structure. That makes sense, in that it was young people being sent off to fight people they did not recognize as an enemy and perhaps to die for no good reason. They faced down generations of people who had been taught to do as they were told and who expected the 60s young to do the same.

That generational struggle also made sense because while young Blacks certainly had suffered racism, they weren’t yet beaten down by a life of racial discrimination and they refused to live with that injustice. So, they stood up to the entrenched conservative power structure, too, and were joined by white activists.

All that opposition led to violent confrontations and a lot of people were injured and some were killed. Some were assassinated by police, like Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, leaders of the Black Panthers. The Chicago Police didn’t knock, didn’t announce themselves, but simply started shooting, firing nearly 100 bullets into their residence late one night as the men slept. Some were killed by National Guardsman, like the student demonstrators at Kent State in 1971. Some were clubbed mercilessly by Chicago Police in what the Kerner Commission labeled a “police riot.” The times were indisputably violent and deadly. People in power don’t willingly give up their power.

There were calls by some for moderation and many tried to find a way forward that avoided violence, but passions ran high and Americans were polarized. Does that last sentence feel familiar? Isn’t that what is going on right now?

It’s clear that we didn’t resolve that basic conflict 50 years ago. George Santayana told us, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, and surely we’re doing that right now. Mark Twain told us, “History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” Take your pick. Either way, our national divide isn’t new and it has all the capacity for delivering terrible results just as before, especially when so many on one side seem to act as though violence is the the best solution. Plus, they’re very well armed.

I have some suggestions for an anthem for our time. Both of these are from the late 60s and even if you know them well I encourage you to listen with fresh ears. Perhaps the messages from these can provide some sane direction.

Maybe you have a notion for how we can move forward safely. Maybe you have a suggestion for an anthem to guide us through these very dangerous times. Please share them in the Comments section below.

For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield – 1967

Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone – 1969

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JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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