Supreme Court

Fun In Far-Right Lunacy


How ’bout a Little Murder?

Right wing crazies continue to be out in force in North Carolina, a state that joyously stole voting rights from tens of thousands of its citizens. That’s a state that does precision, targeted gerrymandering to deliver the majority of Congressional seats to White Republicans, even though they garner only a minority of the votes.

NC Bill 158 was intended by its sponsor, state Rep. Larry Pittman, to be a ballot initiative this November. His bill would make it legal to murder a pregnant woman who intends to get an abortion if you are “defending the life of a baby.”

No, of course you don’t believe that. How crazy would someone have to be to propose such a thing? Well, now we know.

Download that stupid, barbaric, death-dealing proposed legislation here and read that seriously hollow-skull death warrant by a seriously hollow-skull legislator who would authorize murder. It was drafted and submitted to the NC legislature in 2021, but, surprisingly, even in North Carolina most of the state representatives aren’t quite that crazy. Too few of them supported that homicidal maniac law, so it bogged down in committee.

The point is that Rep. Larry Pittman’s insane, legalized murder scheme was proposed at all. For now, the good news is that Pittman is not seeking reelection. The bad news is that Pittman isn’t alone in his dangerous and wacko notions.

Consider Texas SB8, enlisting vigilantes to spy on and bust neighbors for even thinking about getting an abortion. They can then collect a $10,000 reward (that’s the minimum) for doing the dirty work of the state, this to immunize the state and thus allow it to circumvent the law.

Click for the story

Our Murder Industry Good News

We massively cull our human herd via suicides at the rate of one every 21.5 minutes, mostly accomplished using pistols. Easy-peezy, trigger squeezy. That’s testament to something – I don’t know what. While that’s been happening, we’ve had an ever-increasing series of mass murders and now the firearms industry has set a new record.

Those mass murders have largely been done with assault rifles. Here’s what’s noteworthy about that: our firearms industry has sold over $1.7 billion of assault rifles in just the past 10 years. What a success story! I’m sure they’re cheering in Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland Park, Newtown, Parkland, Aurora, Littleton, Blacksburg, Stockton, and Santa Fe. And in Las Vegas, Squirrel Hill, Loveland and more. The mass murder list grows at the rate of 1.5 shootings per day, nearly all by assault rifles.

That billion dollars doesn’t count the money spent to accessorize those battlefield killers, like extended capacity magazines, bump stocks, sniper sights and huge volumes of ammunition. Be clear that the (literally) breathtaking billion bucks doesn’t count any of the other things that go “bang” and which aren’t assault rifles, like hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols and the rest. $1 billion. It’s a true American commercial victory.

It’s great to see that we Americans still have “it”. Indeed, you may have thought that we’re first only in Covid deaths. Not so, because we’re also number one in death by firearms, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Cue the proud, real man music.

This is the country we have created with our intentional injustices, our overt embrace of  dishonesty, our never ending claims of grievance and our bottomless insecurities masquerading in bravado. Is there a way to send an entire country into psycho-therapy? Should we supplement fluoride with mood elevators added to our water supplies? Think of it: we’ll stop tooth decay and rage crimes all at the same time.

Dear Clarence,

The Federalist Society Six – The Rights Bandits – They’re Wrong

You killed our rights as if we weren’t right there seeing what you were doing. You’ve promised to do yet worse, as you metaphorically play your pre-Enlightenment instrument and declare that only 2,000-year-old music may be played. You’ve made it clear to everyone that you want to restore ignorance and fear and you want to hobble our minds, relegating us to a new Dark Ages. But bad news is on the horizon for you, Clarence, because our turn is coming.

Clarence, you’re just not seeing it. We will out-last you. We will out-live you. We will negate you.

Your band of self-righteous rights assassins is having its day and a tiny percentage of Americans who are big mouthed zealots is cheering all of you. But the vast majority of We The People (remember us?) are preparing to supersede you. We will out-smash your smashing of stare decisis and we will revisit and restore everything you crushed. We will overwhelm and reverse your attempt to take us to some fantasy of Biblical purity, your far right lunacy. We’ll do that because:

Far right is far wrong.
.

Clarence. Your day of basking in the glow of your puffed, self-righteous ego and your imagined high tech victimhood will be over and you will be a mere footnote in the history of world cruelty. We will replace you. We will not miss you.

Begone, Clarence.

Many thanks to JN for this

WAKE UP, AMERICANS!

Smell the coffee and see what is really happening right in front of you, because it’s all going to play out in the duplicity of this far-right court. Your pocket will be picked clean of your rights. It will take generations to repair the damage. So, watch this video. It will give you clarity about what the Court is really doing.

And just in case you’re still a smidgen unclear about your important choices, read Ira Leavit’s explainer featuring your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero. I superrecommend it.

Then pass this message along to 3 people, because it’s going to take a massive number of us to prevent a far-right lunacy disaster.

We must do that, because in all ways, there is no fun in far-right lunacy.

————————————

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!)

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.

The Big One


Click, then pitch in

Religion has been the driving force or the excuse for more death, misery and suffering than any other cause in all of recorded history.

I refuse to do the research necessary to numerically substantiate that claim. If it’s important to you, do your own research. If my claim isn’t exactly right, it’s close enough to merit our concern.

Religious beliefs are precisely that: beliefs. They are necessarily a leap of faith that is driven by internal, non-analytical forces, not by observable facts. They are neither right nor wrong but they are customarily held to be absolutely, factually right, regardless of how many language translations and manipulations have assaulted original texts. Therein lies the problem, because personally held certainties overwhelm higher brain functions, which then causes humans to insist on cramming their certainties onto others. See: the Spanish Inquisition and many other forced conversion and murder rackets.

The Pilgrims left England seeking relief from the domination of the Church of England. Seventeen decades later their quest for religious freedom was enshrined into the First Amendment of the American Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof .  .  . “

For the past 250 years we’ve been trying to tie down the various threads hanging off that phrasing.

For example, Congress passed a law adding “In God We Trust” to all U.S. currency in 1955. No, those words were not always there and yes, that sounds suspiciously like tying religion to government. But back in the Cold War days we had to somehow differentiate ourselves from the godless Commies, so there was little opposition to the additional words. Besides, who would object to those words in those days, and thereby risk accusations of being a closet communist?

Nevertheless, that phrase doesn’t work too well for people who fervently believe that there is no God. If people are to use money, that phrase explicitly denies the free exercise of the religion of no religion every time they buy something. That’s a big chink in the armor of separation.

Here’s another example. George W. Bush managed to get federal money sent to “faith-based initiatives” during his Reign of Doofus. That meant that church run schools were given public money – your tax dollars – for the purpose of religious indoctrination. That sounds a great deal like pre-Pilgrim England. What happened to the separation of church and state during the glorious Doofus Days?

Last month 1 Episcopal (raised Catholic) and 5 Catholic justices of the Supreme Court commanded the State of Maine to pay for the education of children attending private, parochial schools. Insert the same question about separation here.

Now you can add to this hanging thread list the North Carolina public school football coach who wants to pray at the 50 yard line after each game. The religion-powered Supreme Court decided that his ostentatious public display of his private religious beliefs at his public school function was just fine. The Supreme Court implied, “Take a knee in the middle of the field, catechism coach, and implicitly direct your players to do the same.”

You don’t suppose that with all that peer pressure and obeisance to The Coach that impressionable teens might find it impossible to refuse to participate, do you? So much for their freedom from religion. We’re back to the separation issue, except it seems to be fading into a distant memory, now with the enthusiastic support of the “We’re substituting our personal beliefs for the Constitution” Supreme Court.

We have religious fundamentalists all over this country claiming that our country was founded to be a Christian theocracy, which is true only if you ignore the contrary facts offered by the Founders.

Yes, this issue is fraught, as the Founders (at least some of them) believed that ” . .  .  we are endowed by our Creator  .  .  .  ” Nevertheless, they signed off via the First Amendment on individuals being free from any governmental imposition of religion. I’ll support the freedom side in that conflict every time.

The most urgent time for confronting this threat to our liberty is now, as public school boards are inserting both Christian prayer and religious teaching into their curricula. And public school boards themselves are now saying Christian prayers before their meetings. Florida is banning books based on bureaucrats imposing their religious views on public libraries and public schools.

One would hope that all the people at these public, governmental venues would realize that they are not running Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show. If they don’t see that – and apparently they don’t – and if we don’t take action, most urgently with our votes, we will be on the slippery path to theocracy.

Wake up call: Many of your neighbors think that’s what this country should be.

In case you think theocracy would be just peachy, let’s look at other theocracies around the world to see how those work for the people. Try Iran. Or Afghanistan. Or Saudi Arabia. Now how do you feel about creating theocracy here?

Don’t foolishly think that a Christian theocracy would be better than a Muslim theocracy. That’s never been true. We disproved that deluded notion during the aforementioned Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and even as we were burning women as witches in Massachusetts.

TO ALL PUBLIC OFFICIALS: If you want to practice religion, go to a religious institution of your choice or to the privacy of your own home. Or go to that traveling salvation show. But keep your religion out of our government and out of our public squares.

But that is exactly where Christian nationalists want to put it. For a chilling read on this, see The Washington Post piece, After Court Ruling, Activists Push Prayer Into Schools. The subtitle is “They say church and state are already too separate.”

Not so! Cramming Christianity into public school classrooms and onto public school football fields simply isn’t separate. It’s an establishment of religion exactly as prohibited by the Founders. Take that, self-proclaimed originalists!

If you want to fully understand Christian nationalism (which is neither Christian nor nationalist), link here and then click the orange “View the report” button. That will get you a download of the PDF “Christian Nationalism and the Jan 6 Insurrection.” This document is required reading for all patriots and believers in freedom.

————————————

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!)

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.

Are You Seeing The Pattern Yet?


The people at the not-for-profit Citizens United were on a mission. They hated Hillary Clinton. A lot. They filmed what they called a documentary, Hillary: The Movie, and planned to release it in 2008 in an effort to submarine her candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. They wanted to air their hit job film just prior to primary elections in the various states. But they had a problem.

One of the provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly called McCain-Feingold) banned the airing of corporate funded “electioneering communication” for the 30 days before a primary election and for 60 days prior to a general election. The Citizens United people wanted to blanket the airways with their electioneering communication attack piece all the way through the primaries, so in December 2007 they filed suit to challenge that provision of McCain-Feingold. If they won, they would be able to run their electioneering film in the then-upcoming campaign season of 2008.

The district court refused their application for injunctive relief. In the appeals court Citizens United claimed their 90-minute film was a documentary, not electioneering. The court easily saw through that smoke screen and refused that argument, stating what was perfectly clear to everyone, that it was not a documentary film, but a 30-minute attack ad. It was an attempt to affect the election (the very definition of electioneering). Further, the court saw that their intended use of the movie was expressly at odds with established law.

On the case went to the Supreme Court (Citizens United v. FEC), which decided in favor of Citizens United in January 2010, overturning the lower court’s ruling. The court declared that the corporate electioneering communications restrictions of McCain-Feingold were unconstitutional and Citizens United could air their film as they wished. That should have been the end of the case, but it wasn’t.

Chief Justice John Roberts directed the attorneys to return to the court and re-litigate the case, this time specifically testing the rights of corporations and speech equivalency. It’s important to note that those issues were not part of the case brought by Citizens United.

—->  In other words, the court fabricated an entirely new case focused on issues that were not in contest in the Citizens United case.
That is not supposed to happen.
.

And in this fabricated case, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote that corporations have full First Amendment rights.

Let me be clear about this:

—-> The Court majority effectively declared that non-sentient, non-human corporations have all the rights of flesh and blood human beings.
Like you
.

Making things worse, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, reaffirmed that money was effectively the same as speech. He declared that the First Amendment doesn’t allow prohibitions of speech even if the speaker is a corporation.

And that started a deluge of corporate money – dark money – into our politics that persists today.

To be sure there were earlier cases that chipped away at our protection from big money influence in our politics, including Buckley v. Valeo, which effectively declared that money is the same as speech. That assertion, of course, is ridiculous.

While money used for a campaign contribution certainly enables speech, that doesn’t make it the same as speech. Indeed, if you follow the Court’s Buckley logic, they’d have you believe that if I use money to buy a car, that money is the same as a car. Utter nonsense.

Money is property that is used in exchange for other things. That doesn’t make it the same as those other things. Nevertheless, the Roberts court wasn’t able to or refused to see the difference and the Citizens United case became the back breaker of integrity in our elections.

Key Point: That decision was driven by John Roberts legislating from the bench in a case that was not even brought before the court by a plaintiff! One has to wonder if this was a predetermined decision he wanted to reach. Otherwise, where did that secondary case come from?

Put a bookmark here.

Professor Heather Cox Richardson reported this in her July 6 edition of Letters From an American:

“Both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, the flagship organizations of professional historians in the U.S., along with eight other U.S. historical associations (so far), yesterday issued a joint statement expressing dismay that the six Supreme Court justices in the majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ignored the actual history those organizations provided the court and instead ‘adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization  .  .  . ‘ “

” ‘[t]hese misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future, ‘an undermining of the imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of historical scholarship. The Court’s majority opinion…does not meet those standards.’ ” [emphasis mine]

Translation: the Supreme Court ignored evidence that was inconvenient to the decision the justices wanted to make (i.e. overturn Roe). As in the manufactured case derived from the Citizens United law suit, the court clearly had its mind made up to push the doctrines it wanted, irrespective of precedent, facts and even without having a case before it.

And that radicalization is the true danger of this gerrymandered Supreme Court. It appears these justices want to roll back rights and progress 90 – maybe 150 – years.

Are you seeing the pattern yet?

You better see it, because this Court has already invited yet more cases to give them the opportunity to end yet more rights of the people.

For further reading, review Harry Littman’s troubling forecast of Supreme Court malfeasance.

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Special Note: According to an ongoing Gallup survey, public confidence of the Supreme Court has plummeted down to 25%. And this study update was conducted before any of the end-of-term Court decisions were announced, including Dobbs. A fresh study will almost certainly show a sharp drop from the already historically low public confidence in the Court.

A similar drop in confidence is what Justice John Paul Stevens predicted in his blistering dissenting opinion in the Citizens United decision in 2010. As you can see, that is what happened.

Click me for the story

For Nerd Readers

You must read Jeffery Toobin’s explanation of this sordid story in The New Yorker. For a sampling, here’s a section of Toobin’s comments on Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in the Citizens United case:

So it was especially galling that the Court converted Citizens United from a narrow dispute about the application of a single provision in McCain-Feingold to an assault on a century of federal laws and precedents. To Stevens, it was the purest kind of judicial activism.

Or, as he put it in his dissenting opinion, “Five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.” [emphasis mine] The case should have been resolved by simply ruling on whether McCain-Feingold applied to “Hillary: The Movie,” or at least to nonprofit corporations like Citizens United.

Stevens was just warming up. His dissent was ninety pages, the longest of his career. He questioned every premise of Kennedy’s opinion, starting with its contempt for stare decisis, the rule of precedent. He went on to refute Kennedy’s repeated invocations of “censorship” and the “banning” of free speech. The case was merely about corporate-funded commercials shortly before elections. Corporations could run as many commercials as they liked during other periods, and employees of the corporations (by forming a political-action committee) could run ads at any time.

Stevens was especially offended by Kennedy’s blithe assertion that corporations and human beings had identical rights under the First Amendment. “The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare,” Stevens wrote. “Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Congress and the courts had drawn distinctions between corporations and people for decades, Stevens wrote, noting that, “at the federal level, the express distinction between corporate and individual political spending on elections stretches back to 1907, when Congress passed the Tillman Act.”

As for Kennedy’s fear that the government might regulate speech based on “the speaker’s identity,” Stevens wrote, “We have held that speech can be regulated differentially on account of the speaker’s identity, when identity is understood in categorical or institutional terms. The Government routinely places special restrictions on the speech rights of students, prisoners, members of the Armed Forces, foreigners, and its own employees.” And Stevens, a former Navy man, could not resist a generational allusion: he said that Kennedy’s opinion “would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by ‘Tokyo Rose’ during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders.” (Stevens’s law clerks didn’t like the dated reference to Tokyo Rose, who made propaganda broadcasts for the Japanese, but he insisted on keeping it.)

Stevens’s conclusion was despairing. “At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt,” he wrote. “It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.” It was an impressive dissent, but that was all it was. Anthony Kennedy, on the other hand, was reshaping American politics.

————————————

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.

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.
.

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.

————————————

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.

Emergency: The Assault on Stare Decisis


Click me

You already know about the Supreme Court decision striking down Roe and it’s important to put that decision into context.

Be clear that this decision will result in Daisy, raped at age 13 by her father, having to take that incest-caused pregnancy to term. It means that Maryanne, raped in a laundromat by an unknown thug, will have to carry that baby, too. And 53 year old, diabetic Lucy will have to carry her surprise  pregnancy all the way to the point that it kills her. None of these women or any other woman is in charge of her own body any longer. The Supreme Court has established government mandated pregnancy, putting politicians in control women’s bodies.

Clearly, women no longer have autonomy of themselves or full citizenship.

At least since John Roberts was being vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2003, he and all subsequent candidates have been questioned about their views regarding Supreme Court precedent. Every candidate has declared their belief in stare decisis – to stand by things decided – which directs that settled law should not be re-litigated. And every candidate has given clear enough indication that they believed that Roe is settled law. But it turns out that their most serious declarations of fidelity to settled Supreme Court decisions just weren’t true.

And the Republican controlled Senate has consistently allowed that dishonesty.

Roe was decided in 1973 by a 7-2 vote and was unsuccessfully challenged many times (see this ACLU Timeline). The Court repeatedly upheld Roe. That’s a lot of settled law, a lot of precedent, but that was of no consequence to the liars now on the court. Roe is gone.

Also this week, the Supreme Court overturned a 109 year old law that prohibits carrying guns in public in the State of New York. It’s yet another example of extremist Justices ignoring precedent – violating stare decisis, which they claimed they adhered to – and moving us backward to a far more dangerous time.

Keep monitoring your shock response, as more decisions come down criminalizing all aspects of abortion. That includes criminal penalties for an Uber driver who brings a woman to a clinic; against friends who lend her money for an abortion; and against supportive husbands and boyfriends. Expect criminal penalties heaped upon women who live in states banning abortion and who travel to a state that allows abortion. Bear in mind that Texas has already empowered vigilantes to spy on neighbors – really, on anyone – and report them to the Texas Gestapo to collect bounties and for the state to levy fines and pile on criminal prosecution.

Expect challenges to Griswold, which will result in the outlawing of birth control. Justice Clarence Thomas, he of the “high-tech lynching,” has already invited such challenges. And don’t be the least bit surprised as this extremist Supreme Court attacks same-sex marriage by overturning Obergefell; or bans inter-racial marriage by overturning Loving; or even bans private consensual sexual activities; encourages more gun violence; and incrementally inserts religion into yet more government arenas.

One exception to that: Loving probably won’t be overturned, because Thomas is in an inter-racial marriage. He wouldn’t want to penalize himself. Penalties are for other people, so expect to hear a proud shout out for stare decisis on that one, as that expected primitive attack on freedom is defeated. Just that one shout out to precedent. It’s personal to Clarence.

Bear in mind that roughly 80% of Americans did not want Roe reversed. This Court is all about minority-enabled bullying of the rest of us, so don’t be surprised at the loss of yet more rights.

The true context and diabolical meaning of the overturning of Roe is the elimination of stare decisis, which opens the floodgates to Republican Party extremist and Supreme Court attack on our freedoms, protections and traditions. Credit for that goes to the decades-long efforts of Republicans to return us to the very worst of American Puritanical, “insecure male” tyranny, accompanied by the continuous drone of self-righteous Bible thumping and the strutting of loud, little men.

The Chicago Protest

Rage was in the air. The fury driven by the theft of rights and a very personal betrayal dominated the Federal Plaza in Chicago on Friday, June 24. It was a day that will be remembered for a very long time, with a permanent distrust of the Supreme Court its lasting legacy. The perfidy of the Republican Party, the cheats who crafted this vehicle for betrayal, will be long remembered as well.

Here are pics of some of the signs from that demonstration. The more foul messages have been excluded, but don’t imagine even for a moment that anger didn’t dominate the event. So did the commitment to vote and to support others in abortion ban states.

This isn’t over.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————

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.

Fixing It – and Another Thing


Fixing It

It’s likely going to take a new Supreme Court that isn’t beholden to extremist ideology and bad influencers to fix our corrupt Congress and state legislatures who refuse the will of We The People, because here is what will be required:

  1. Declare that companies and corporations are not people and do not have the rights of citizens.
  2. clarify that money is property, not speech. It is not protected by the First Amendment. #1 & #2 lead to:
  3. Establish that campaign contributions, whether made directly to candidates or to outside advocate organizations, may be made only by flesh and blood human beings. No company or corporation – no non-human entity – may participate directly or indirectly in electoral politics.
  4. Establish a maximum contribution to any candidate and a total aggregate contribution to all candidates that any individual may make in any election. I.e. fix McCutcheon.
  5. Establish term limits for all elective offices, bureaucracy appointments and for all judges. We have term limits for the president and many governors. I  can’t think of a single good reason not to have limits for all elective offices, appointments and judicial appointments – can you?
  6. Establish a long period following elective or appointed office during which elected and appointed officials are prohibited from lobbying activities on behalf of industries and companies they formerly regulated, adjudicated or affected in an way.
  7. Amend the quaint 18th century, fancifully imagined construct of the Senate as a deliberative body of unusually wise men, two per state. That construct gives added power to rural areas and weakens more populous states, making the Senate unrepresentative. Instead, construct the Senate to be proportional to population in order to represent We The People fairly. Wise people will still be welcome. Here’s an illustration of the why of this.
    1. Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas all together have 3.3 million people. That’s a third the size of just the Chicagoland population. Give those states 2 senators total, not each.
    2. The same for Vermont, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island and Delaware.
    3. Give California and Texas more senators, because they have 39 and 29 million people, respectively.
  8. Make the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico states.
  9. Eliminate the Electoral College and decide presidential elections solely on the basis of the total popular vote, just as for senators and representatives – really, every other elective office.

Clearly, this needs work by people who will see the intricacies and unintended consequences and who can write precise legislation that will both achieve the desired outcomes and will avoid creating what we do not want. These points are some obvious things that come to mind – surely, there are more. And yes, some of this will require amendments to the Constitution.

To get that new Supreme Court will likely require a super-majority of Democrats in both the House and Senate and a president who is a Democrat, because getting this job will be anathema to Republicans and, to be honest, some Democrats. Plus, this may require packing the Court – four new centrist-to-progressive justices who recognize the primacy of We The People.

And Another Thing

Click the pic to watch the entire speech. Every American should see this.

Matthew McConaughey gave a brilliant and impassioned speech to the White House Press Corps on June 7. He made the tragedy in Uvalde clear for anyone listening, leaving no possibility for anyone to miss the reality of the great human suffering this has caused and will continue to cause for a very long time. And he implored Congress to take action to prevent these tragedies from continuing to happen, like common sense gun regulations that will help to keep firearms out of the hands of those who would do us harm.

When he finished speaking and was leaving the lectern, James Rosen from Newsmax, a far right organization, shouted a question: “Were you grandstanding just now, sir?” McConaughey just left the room, but I’ll answer Rosen for him.

“Thank you, sir, for your question. You have just made it clear to all of America, indeed to the world, why we have such difficulty making progress in dealing with our challenges. You have demonstrated that sensationalism, destructive reporting and self-serving cruelty guide your actions and the actions of so many more. These are the over-loud voices with a megaphone but no sense of responsibility – really, no common sense – who vie for attention by widening our national divide. They are a vicious minority doing harm to our people and to our nation and you’ve shown us that you are one of them.

“Shame on you, sir. You could and should know better, but it’s obvious that you refuse to know. Shame on you.”

Be sure to watch Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) shred Republicans’ deadly intransigence on gun safety. His words are clear, compelling, accurate and beautifully impassioned – and they aren’t enough. If we’re to save our kids – like the Uvalde and Parkland and Sandy Hook and Santa Fe and Columbine kids and more – We The People are going to have to make that happen.

Must Read

Read Sheila Markin’s post of June 13. You already know much of the shameful stuff the Rs are doing, but we seem to be living in a post-shame world. More important are her comments about what Dems need to do. Go to a rally or town hall and tell your rep and senators to stop the nice-nice and call things what they are. Tell them that they get points – and votes – for brutal honesty.

————————————

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.

Show-And-Tell


There have been an uncountable number of rallies and protests since the draft copy of the Justice Alito-written decision of the Supreme Court to crush Roe was made public. My observation is that public outrage is on a level with that over the murder of George Floyd (say his name). Even Stephen Colbert couldn’t manage mirth – there were no smiles in his delivery. The chants at protests are angry. The editorials are biting.

This is rage over the abuse of the majority by the activist, dishonest minority that has gone on for decades. This is fury over the horrific betrayal of the public trust and the near certainty that more betrayal is on the way. And this is outrage over the inevitability that women will suffer and women will die because of this Supreme Court’s culmination of the Republican Party’s march backward to Puritanical psychosis.

Don’t imagine that a strike down of Roe will make for the end of abortions. There have always been abortions. The difference will be that without Roe we’ll return to the dark days of back alley abortions. Women will suffer from procedures conducted in filthy rooms by semi-educated quacks, instead of getting the help they need in certified, hygienic medical facilities from licensed doctors and nurses.

Read the complete piece from Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones. Meanwhile, read this excerpt:

“As Ari [Berman] explained, ‘Republicans invest so much energy into voter suppression…because it allows them to enact cruel, unpopular policies with no accountability at the ballot box. The GOP doesn’t need to have the support of a majority of the state’s voters if it skews who actually gets to vote.’

“Same in Washington, DC. Five of the Supreme Court’s nine justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. In the Senate, the 50 Republican senators represent 41 million fewer people than the 50 Democrats. The GOP controls state legislatures and congressional delegations through an absurd degree of gerrymandering: In Wisconsin, 75 percent of districts are heavily Republican, even though Joe Biden won the state in 2020. In Texas, just under 40 percent of the population is white, but white voters are the majority in 60 percent of state legislative seats. (It took me a minute to wrap my head around that math.) The Texas legislature that passed a ‘heartbeat’ bill, which forces women to leave the state for abortion care, is 73 percent male and 61 percent white. It’s hard not to think of apartheid-era South Africa when you look at numbers like that.”

Don’t think even for a moment that this Roe betrayal is about anything but a return to the full patriarchy of White Christian supremacy and the powerless non-citizenship of everyone else. I can’t help but wonder in astonishment at the women who want that powerlessness.

If there is ever to be a more perfect union, this destruction of rights, as well as the destruction of rights caused by voting/voter suppression in all its diabolical forms must be reversed. There’s only one way to do that:

Remove the thieves from office
.

The pictures above are from the rally last Saturday in Skokie, IL, with several hundred in attendance. I’ll leave you with one last image from there. It’s a bit hard to make out the coat hanger at the top of the sign. If you don’t know what it means, ask your grandmother. She knows about the desperation and self-mutilation of women before Roe. That’s why we must never go back.

————————————

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.

Don’t Tell Me


Click me

Stop the Presses!

Before we get to the meat of today’s post, please watch this most timely video. You’ll know what to do after that. Then, come back here for the aforementioned meat.

‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾

Don’t Tell Me

You remember Popeye cartoons, I’m sure. Our hero would be going about his business but then would be attacked by the bully, Bluto. Sometimes Bluto would try to kidnap Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Bluto would beat Popeye to a pulp. Then, at last, Popeye would down a can of spinach and declare, “That’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more!” and he’d proceed to apply some accountability to Bluto.

Well, I’ve reached my Popeye Point (again), where I can’t stands no more. So, put on your thick skin and protective eye wear, strap in and let’s go. This is for people who ostentatiously claim that they are Christians, as though that explains and excuses whatever they do.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you’re spewing hatred at innocent people or objecting to a hearing for terrified asylum seekers.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian and pro-life if you approve of the death penalty or you applaud the murder of abortion providers. And you’re not pro-life if you proudly deny food to poor children. Or you ignore high infant and maternal mortality rates, especially for poor women and children. Or you oppose gun safety legislation. I will concede only that you are pro-fetus and really don’t give a damn about kids after the moment of birth, even in the gruesome reality of Sandy Hook and Parkland.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you plot to assassinate politicians or you lie about elections being stolen. And no, you can’t hide behind claiming you were duped. You’re not that dumb. You’re just horribly lazy, willfully gullible and, pathetically, you need to see yourself as a victim.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you raised your arm and yelled “Seig heil!” or if you think there were “fine people on both sides” at Charlottesville. Or if you just turned away as babies were ripped from their mothers’ arms at the Rio Grande.

Don’t tell me that you’re a Christian if you voted for Donald Trump even after hearing him brag that he can “grab women by the p%$$y” and after hearing at least 19 women credibly accuse him of sexual assault. Or after his multiple hateful Muslim bans. Or after hearing his idiotic and murderous solutions to Covid, like injecting bleach or taking hydroxychloroquine, distractions that caused hundreds of thousands of extra deaths.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you’re making up “grooming” and pedophile lies in order to get haters to donate to your campaign. Or if you donated to any of the liars making such claims.

Don’t tell anyone you’re a Christian if you’re spouting the insane conspiracy BS that Democrats drink children’s blood and are pedophiles and sex traffickers and are in charge of a worldwide cabal against White Christians. Instead, just tell people that you’ve had severe brain damage.

There’s more, of course. But your claim of being a Christian is a lie you use as a self-serving ploy, a cheater’s shield and a blinder so that you don’t have to look at yourself and see who and what you really are.

I love the question you consistently refuse to answer:

What would Jesus do?

Whatever the right answers are, you’re doing the opposite.

One more thing: an open-hearted invitation to redemption.

I know this crap has been crammed into your brain, but it doesn’t have to stay there. The invitation is for you to take the bold, daring step to think for yourself. Critically. That means no more sleepwalking through your life. No more goose stepping because some hate spewing moron told you to do that. Think for yourself. All the time.

Until you do that, don’t tell me anything.

To Everyone Else:
.

This isn’t a diatribe against Christianity. It’s a rant against hypocrisy.

Those hypocrites from whom I don’t want to hear are irredeemable, my invitation to their redemption notwithstanding. We should waste none of our time laboring to get them to reform and to support democracy, because they are intentionally blind. We must hope that their children and grandchildren can be saved from repeating the fear and anger and hatred these people spit on our country.

30% of Americans are in that irredeemable category. Our future depends upon our reaching the other 70%.

Yet More Don’t Tell Me

Thanks to FL for pointing this out.

I also don’t want to hear smug assertions of apolitical justice from the five radical Supreme Court justices who lied, dissembled and snow jobbed their way through their Senate confirmation hearings so that they can now eliminate Constitutional rights.

I’m talking about the justices who directly said that Roe and Casey were settled law. And I’m talking about the ones who dumped a blizzard of words to lead us to believe that if challenges to those cases came to the Court that they would defeat those challenges. Instead, they all voted to kill Roe, according to Alito’s leaked draft opinion. These are the justices who brought their Roman Catholic and fundamentalist Christian beliefs to the bench and are now imposing them on all Americans.

Check me on this:
.

I thought that judges and justices were supposed to rule on cases based on secular Constitutional and legal precedents. Did I get that wrong?

Perhaps the liars should be impeached.

But maybe we should save up for the impeachments, as this extremist, not-at-all conservative Supreme Court majority opens the door to stripping yet more rights from Americans, like voting rights (already in progress), same-sex marriage rights, birth control rights and all manner of privacy rights. Give some thought to what will happen when this court pushes more decisions down to radical, minority controlled state legislatures, which will then imperil even more Americans. Who will save Texans from Texas then?

The real problem is the injury these justices do to the Court, (see this Twitter feed, too) to our country and to the American people with their self-righteous Puritanism.

A Special Message To American Women from the RNC Inquisition
.

“We’re sure the Supreme Court Justices will be sorry for all of you who will die or have your lives ruined because of their ruling on Roe. Clearly, these five or six justices and we here in the RNC Inquisition believe deeply that’s just God’s way. He (not She) works in mysterious ways, you know.

“So, bummer for you, honey. Things will go better if you just subsume yourself into the patriarchy of today’s Republican Party and we’ll control you. Just keep your mouth shut and be a good little breeder.”

Must Reads

John Pavlovitz writes fine, insightful essays, but this one is brilliant. It’s a clarion call to all of us. It truly is the time for us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and hold up the sky. Read his piece and you’ll understand.

And do not miss Maureen Dowd’s proper contextualizing of the Republican Puritan insanity in today’s op-ed, Marilyn Monroe v. Samuel Alito,

Jokes of the Week

Q. Why did the Republican cross the aisle?

A. Don’t be silly – they never do that.

Q. How many Republicans does it take to get to the truth?

A. Nobody knows.

Q. What will women do when they have an unwanted pregnancy?

A. They’ll pray for divine intervention for a miscarriage and hope they aren’t indicted for murder.

Ear Worm of the Week

We took in a Rogers & Hammerstein concert last week and lots of show tunes have been dancing in my ears since then. One is Oklahoma! Unfortunately, a lyric from that song has become polluted by our politics in this way:

“We know we belong to the land,

“And the land we belong to is grand,

as long as you’re a straight, White Christian man.

————————————

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.

Here’s Why


Take a look at this downloadable PDF map of NATO countries – they’re the ones in BLUE and follow along.

Putin has made it clear that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was not WW I, WW II or the 1918 influenza pandemic, each of which killed millions of people. No, he’s certain that the fall of the Soviet Union was the very worst thing that happened over those 100 years. He has dedicated his grandiosity to reconstructing that paragon of repression and cruelty or perhaps creating something even more dreadful. I’m sure that in his dreams he hears the sound of Soviet tanks crushing the pavement of the streets of downtown Budapest and has visions of Khrushchev pounding his peasant shoe on a lectern at the United Nations, where Putin hopes to pound his Gucci loafers.

He claimed there are lots of Russian speakers in Ukraine, which means, he says, that Ukraine isn’t a real country, but rather, it’s part of Russia. Using that logic, San Francisco should be ceded to the Chinese, Montreal should become the property of France and Texas, New Mexico and Arizona should surrender to Mexico.

In 2014 Putin grabbed the entire Crimean peninsula and large swaths of the Donbas, the southeastern part of Ukraine. That’s where you can find the rubble that was the city of Mariupol. That’s where you can still find Mariupol’s besieged steel plant, with its hundreds, perhaps thousands of wounded fighters and noncombatants who can’t get food or medical supplies, who can’t get out and who the Russians bomb every day.

When the brutalizing of Ukraine started I said that the Moldovans must be shaking in their shoes because surely they would be next. Sadly, Putin is proving me to have been right. He has announced that he will sweep up the entire east and south of Ukraine all the way to Moldova, where he’s already dropped bombs. Moldova has no army, although they do have a few traffic cops, so stopping Putin’s thugs will be more than difficult for them.

Go back to that NATO map and look at the countries in GREEN that border Russia. These are nations that are not NATO member countries. Looking north from Ukraine and you’ll find:

Belarus

Finland

Sweden

Counter-clockwise from Ukraine there are:

Georgia

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Kazakhstan

The southern “-stans” of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

Left off this list are Mongolia, China and Afghanistan. Surely, not even Putin is dumb enough to invade China or Mongolia. Or Afghanistan – again.

Finland and Sweden are likely to become NATO members by June. But the rest of the GREEN countries would be easy pickings for Putin. Belarus is already a vassal state and he can gobble up the rest without fear of a direct confrontation with NATO.

If you were the leader of any of these GREEN countries, what might you be thinking about NATO membership right now? Maybe that you’ve waited a bit too long to request membership?

Putin thinks that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are legitimate parts of Russia, just like his claim about Ukraine, but they are NATO member countries. I suspect that it’s in these Baltic states where the inevitable Russian confrontation with NATO will occur. Putin and the world will quickly learn whether Article 5 of the NATO Charter means anything. Meanwhile, here’s the reason for this geography lesson.

The U.S. is in the process of authorizing another $33 billion of aid to Ukraine and some are asking why we would spend our treasure this way. After all, they say, this is Ukraine’s war, not ours. That’s where I and many others disagree.

Set aside the humanitarian imperative to help people who are suffering or the important need to right a wrong. It’s more solidly connected to self-interest than that.

Putin’s actions threaten the entire world. He’s upsetting the carefully crafted and tended political peace and economic order that have lasted since 1945. That threatens America.

The Ukrainians are fighting for their country, their democracy, their freedom and their independence. Those are the same reasons every one of those GREEN countries will resist. But they can be picked off one at a time by Putin’s inept but numerically overwhelming forces and his threats of chemical and nuclear war. So, the world either stops Putin in Ukraine or we will have to fight him in the next country and then the next and the next. There will be no appeasement of this monster. Reference: Neville Chamberlain’s Munich appeasement of Hitler in 1938. That didn’t work out too well for the Brits or for the world and attempting to appease Putin would be a similar disaster.

The Ukrainians’ struggle is an existential fight for all democracy and freedom in the world and if Putin isn’t stopped there this will eventually become our own fight. We can either help to stop Putin in Ukraine or we’ll have to stop him later as he directly threatens our own shores.

That’s why.
.

And that begs the question of why Representatives Biggs (AZ), Taylor Greene (GA), Bishop (NC), Gaetz (FL), Gosar (AZ), Norman (SC), Massie (KY), Perry (PA), Tiffany (WI) and Davidson (OH), all Republicans, voted against the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022. They and others also voted against the resolution of support for Moldova. Just guessing that they’ll vote against the additional $33 billion of aid for Ukraine requested by President Biden. And they’ll do so with the enthusiastic support of the supreme, authoritarian loving, Putin and Viktor Orbán suck up, Tucker Carlson.

Here’s the key question:

If all those Ukrainians are doing the fighting and dying so we don’t have to, why would these elected officials oppose supporting them?
.
President Biden’s Call To Action
.

“We’re calling on all Americans to pony up all the necessary military and humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for all freedom loving people. That’s good, and it isn’t enough.

“Because of Putin’s war, there will be precious little agricultural output from Ukraine this year. That country was formerly the supplier of 10% of the world’s wheat, and that’s just a placeholder for all the disruption of food supplies the world will see this year. That’s why I’m calling on all of US agriculture to maximize production. No fields lying fallow. Find ways to produce more. This is your patriotic duty.

“European nations are already moving to get off the Russian gas and oil umbilical cord and move to renewables. We need to make similar changes here to maximize pressure on Putin.

“I’m calling on our fossil fuel companies to stop drilling and start building a carbon-free power infrastructure. I’m calling on Prime Minister Modi of India to do the same.

“And I’m calling on all Americans to support the switch to electric transportation, with all the infrastructure implications that means. This is war and we must lead the way for the world to end its dependence on fossil fuels.”

Hey, It’s Just a Draft

Yeah, but if its provisions become law, as it appears likely they will, we’ll take a giant leap back to women dying from complications of back alley abortions, women dying in childbirth, women delivering their rapist’s child – or their father’s incest child – ruined lives and more. It takes us back to brain-free, iron fisted patriarchy. It opens the door to making birth control measures – even within a marriage – illegal. Having a miscarriage could result in murder charges. And this draft opinion opens to door to reversing marriage rights and more. The Republicans in Congress and the Supreme Court stand steadfastly in their Dark Ages ignorance and will use their legal spears to kill everything they fear.

All of this is the proud result of the extremist, control freak Republican minority and of Supreme Court justices lying, dissembling and snow jobbing through their confirmation processes, falsely claiming that they believe that Roe v. Wade is settled law. Plus, there’s Mitch McConnell’s cheating, refusing to even hold a hearing for Obama’s SC nominee following the death of Antonin Scalia. The depth of their dishonesty is breathtaking.

So, congratulations to the many people who have worked so hard for so long to force their misogynistic way to control others. They think they should be in charge of making decisions for we lesser people, much like the result of the Dred Scott decision that said that Blacks had no rights and which put all power into the hands of White supremacists. Those 1850s guys really liked being in control of others, just like today’s Republicans.

But, hey, it’s just a draft. Who knows? Maybe between now and June one or two of the justices who now favor witch burning will relent. But don’t count on it. Instead, get to work making sure that all the people who otherwise would stay at home on November 8 learn what is being done to them. Inspire them to get off their butts and vote for Democrats, unless, of course, they want some primitive, rich old White guys controlling their lives.

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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.

Elections Have Consequences


April 7, 2022

On Thursday the Senate of The United States voted 53 – 47* to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Without Georgia having elected two Democrats to the Senate in 2020 and the country having elected a Democrat to the presidency at the same time, you likely wouldn’t even know Judge Jackson’s name. But you know it now.

Caroline Randall Williams, Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, said of Jackson’s confirmation that once again a Black woman had, “dragged democracy back into the light.” It’s good to hear from the poets in order to put things into proper perspective.

We’ve taken another small step toward a more perfect union.

Elections have consequences.

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It was early 2000 and Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, had completed the enormous job of removing tens of thousands of Black people from the voting rolls. POOF! Voting rights were evaporated from people – citizens – to whom the right to vote was supposed to be guaranteed.

But these citizens were likely to vote for the Democrat in the upcoming presidential election, so the Republicans put their thumbs on the scale to prevent that from happening. Well done, Jeb, and a really in-the-family thing to do for your big, doofus brother. But even with Jeb’s cheating, the election was a nail biter and a recount was ordered.

With the recount proceeding and the vote count close but slightly in his favor, George W. Bush brought suit to stop the recounting of votes. The case went to the Supreme Court (Bush v. Gore) where Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided and the Court declared that the vote recount must stop.

Instantly, that disenfranchised about 20,000 voters in the panhandle of Florida, because their votes had not yet been recounted. That’s a lot of voter disenfranchisement and it did the trick, because that area was slightly more Democratic than Republican. The state’s electoral college votes went to Bush and he became President. Later, full counts of the vote would show that Gore actually won by over 300 votes. Too bad for him and too bad for the nation. Here’s why.

Not long after that election I was having breakfast with a CEO I coached. The restaurant owner unexpectedly turned on the radio so that all could hear the breaking news of the disaster that came to be called “9/11.” Once we realized what was happening my friend said, “Good thing Bush won. Can you imagine what it would be like if Gore were President now?”

Actually, I could, but that’s for later.

Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, having preposterously told us that secular Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with radical Islamist Osama bin Laden. He made up the “yellow cake” and “aluminum tubes” lies and had his National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, terrify the nation, warning us repeatedly that the the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud.

So, we went off to war against a nation that had not harmed us in any way. Bush told us that the Iraqis would receive our military as liberators from the evil Saddam Hussein and would greet them with flowers. That didn’t happen. And he told us that the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil. But the Iraqi oil belonged to the Iraqis, not the U.S., so it wasn’t ours to take as payment for invading. Anyway, the oil money plunder didn’t happen, either.

And, of course, Bush sent our people after Osama bin Laden. They had him cornered in the caves at Tora Bora in Afghanistan and needed additional military muscle to seize him. Bush refused and instead invaded the entire country.

His lies and ineptitude led us into 20 years of war there and seven years of war in Iraq. Over 6,700 Americans were killed, about three times that many were injured and an uncountable number of Iraqis and Afghanis were either dead, wounded or displaced. He squandered trillions of dollars and managed to destabilize the entire region.

Click the pic to see more. BUT: See Note 5 below.

Bush led Republicans on a new testosterone march, where “supporting our troops” meant no critical thinking was allowed about what we did as a nation. Any challenge to his divine word was unpatriotic, we were led to believe, because “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”

At the same time the NRA was glorifying weapons of war and much of the nation began to equate violence, bravado and bullying with patriotism. Indeed, in Ryan Busse’s frightening book Gunfight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America, he writes,

“By the time Bush left office, the US public bought nearly seven thousand AR-15s every single day [italics original]. The country embraced even larger numbers of the guns as symbols of freedom, symptoms of fear, and statements of patriotism.”

Elections have consequences.

So, yes, I can imagine what it would have been like if Gore had won. He wouldn’t have lied us into those two catastrophic wars, the region might be stable today, there would be a buffer on Iran’s western border and a bunch of people who died would still be alive.

Maybe we wouldn’t have enthusiastically embraced bullying as a main tool of our politics and even our interpersonal relationships. Maybe AR-15s and other weapons of war wouldn’t be so popular and we wouldn’t have far more guns in this country than people.

To be fair, had Gore been president we still would have our pathological daily mass shootings, assault rifles likely would still be the dream of couch commanders and testosterone junkies. The NRA and right wing extremists would still be blaming lefties for every problem in America and they would seek to divide us using their us-versus-them hate speech. But we might have some common sense restrictions on guns and gun ownership. And justice would have found Osama bin Laden in a Tora Bora cave about 10 years earlier.

Elections have consequences.

Next came an intelligent, even-tempered Black President who offered a welcome groundedness. He was obviously guilty of the felony of being President While Black and that lit the racist torches and brought us constant insane propaganda and power grabs. Opposing and making Barack Obama a one-term President became the Republicans’ “job number one” and they completely abandoned their job of dealing with America’s vexing challenges.

And, of course, there was the nonstop blizzard of lies, even about Obama’s birth. The lying was so common that it became a repugnant snowball of hatred rolling downhill. It grew and launched an unstoppable avalanche of cruel fictions and propaganda.

Elections have consequences.

40% of the public loved the lies and cruel fictions and the self-righteous power rush of hatred that brought them. And that brought us Trump.

When he announced his candidacy he let us know immediately what he was about by declaring that Mexicans are rapists and murderers and later told us that he could grab women .  .  . anywhere. You know the rest of the mental derangement, but his Russia-fueled election brought us a dismantling of our societal and constitutional norms that had been honed over the centuries, as well as his incitement to hatred.

What is most striking is the spinelessness of the people who could have prevented his worst. All it would have taken was for Republicans to speak out and act with integrity.

From Busse’s book, quoting a highly respected firearms editor at Field and Stream Magazine,

“A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place.” p. 195

Again quoting Busse, now writing about a revered writer on hunting and guns who spoke out against assault rifles:

“They’re crucifying the guy, and none of us [industry people] dare say anything, or we’ll end up like him!” p. 195

That’s what myopic self-interest looks like and our spineless Republican politicians know it well.

Opposing Trump might, indeed, be an unpopular thing to do in Red State America and doing so has proven disastrous for more than a few traditional Republican congressional careers. But what if all the Republicans had stood as one and opposed Trump’s hatred for others and for our Constitution? Perhaps Trump could have been contained.

The engine section of a Russian missile from Vladimir Putin. It exploded at the Kramatorsk train station, killing 50 and wounding over 100 Ukrainian women, children and old people on April 8. The hand-painted Russian words on it translate to “For the children.”

But they didn’t and he still isn’t. And that’s a key outcome of the 2016 election. It had huge consequences, to the point that our democracy itself is now at risk.

Self-styled American faux-patriots with big mouths and even bigger egos are siding with Vladimir Putin, as he rampages through Ukraine, intentionally killing civilians and committing other war crimes. At the same time, the big mouths are castigating President Biden for doing too much to support Ukraine or too little, anything at all, as long as they are criticizing and belittling the President. There isn’t anything remotely patriotic about siding with Putin or baselessly attacking the President, yet millions listen to these blowhards.

All of that and more are consequences of the Bush stolen election, the racist reactions to the Obama election and Trump’s Russia-fueled election.

Elections have consequences.

They have repercussions that reverberate for decades and can be ruinous if we allow it.

But we don’t have to do that.

We can vote to silence the haters and the demonizers. We can vote to stop the bullying and find ways to actually live with one another peacefully. We can vote so that elections help us move toward that more perfect union envisioned by the Founders. It’s time to vote to move in that direction – while we still can.

Elections have consequences. Choose yours wisely.

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* Senators Collins, Murkowski and Romney are the Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson. Doing so should not have required courage. All the rest of the Republicans voted against her confirmation. When the count was announced, Democrats and the gallery enthusiastically cheered the Justice-to-be. The 47 rudely stormed out of the Senate chamber. Sadly, that’s America today.

————————————

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.

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