Supreme Court

Let Me Simplify These For You


POST 1082


It Almost Doesn’t Matter Who It Is

Pundits, journalists, editorial boards and experts with bed wetting tendencies have put their advanced stages of hand wringing on public display since the first moments of the debate debacle on June 27.

Full disclosure: We were at a watch party that night with fellow democracy loving people and I confess that shortly after Biden made his opening statement I blurted, “He just gave the presidency to Trump.” He looked and sounded like a great uncle who spends his day staring into the unfocused distance. He’s just not a good model of a strong and vibrant leader for our fractious nation.

My thinking now is that Biden’s apparent cognitive abilities* don’t matter. Here’s why.

Righties will vote for Trump. Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate. Undecideds and independents are counting on us to convince them to defeat the Trump monster.

In other words, it’s time for all of us to put away our amateur psychologist notions, our confirmation biases, our certainties and even that light saber you’ve kept for so long and instead focus solely on banishing the monster. It’s time for reality and it’s time for action and the light saber won’t help us.

There is only one overarching imperative: protect and defend our Constitution and our democracy.

That’s about our way of life, our rights, our freedoms and our safety. This is the sine qua non.

The only way for that to happen is for us to elect leaders dedicated to the America intended by our Founders, the one we know we can become, and send the faux patriots packing.

It almost doesn’t matter who the nominee is for the Democrats. It’s entirely about ensuring massive turnout so that Donald Trump never gets his hands on power – ever. That is the battle. That is the call to duty. That means that we must dedicate ourselves to voting even for a smear of brain cells in a Petri dish if that’s the only candidate on the ballot to oppose Trump. At least we’ll have a president capable of intelligence.

So, abandon your certainty that Biden should quit the race or that he should not. Your certainty is worth nothing if Trump wins.

So, Biden, Newsom, Harris, Whitmer, Moore, Princess Leia – it doesn’t much matter. We must get behind the nominee and we must agitate, motivate and activate literally all registered voters to vote against Trump and all other hateful MAGAs. Then we will have leaders who will take action to reverse the abhorrent Supreme Court decisions violating our rights and intended to obliterate our democracy.

It’s time to muscle up the courage to do what must be done. Abandon your notions of a perfect candidate because there isn’t one.

Any candidate standing in opposition to Trump will do. Go campaign with all the depth and breadth and height of your soul. Put on your big boy or big girl pants and march directly to the Democrat campaign office nearest you and volunteer your very best, your passion and your intellect, to beat Trump. Campaign for that smear of brain cells in a Petri dish, if need be. When we make democracy the winner, with gratitude and relief I will send you a red, white and blue “I BANISHED THE MONSTER !!!” sticker.

Perhaps all of that can give you some comfort in the midst of our national quit/don’t quit mania.

The Immunity Death Star Is Real

Regular reader, periodic contributor and boyhood pal Frank Levy wrote a speech for Joe Biden to deliver. Here’s a piece of it.

Beginning today, shielded by the immunity given to me by the Supreme Court, I will use the Insurrection and Patriot Acts to arrest and imprison in Guantanamo:

• every member of Congress who refused to certify the 2020 Presidential Election

• every citizen not already in jail, including Donald Trump, who participated in false elector schemes and/or the attempted overthrow of the United States government

• every oligarch who sought and seeks to buy influence in Congress and the Supreme Court

• every media/internet mogul who allowed and allows their network and platforms to spread lies and misinformation.

I will then order Congress to:

• pass a rule to end the filibuster

• set term limits on Supreme Court Justices

• impeach Justices Alito and Thomas

• make Roe and marriage equality the law of the land

• eliminate the Electoral College

• secure our treaties with NATO, Europe, Ukraine and other allies

• pass whatever other legislation is necessary to secure American democracy, freedom and justice at home and abroad.

I don’t think that the notorious six Heritage Foundation Supreme Court justices intended for all that to be possible, but they actually did make all that possible through their justice defying presidential immunology insanity.

To add one more log onto this raging inferno of an issue, Sheila Markin, author of The Markin Report, offered a cure.

The Supreme Court must be expanded and the current senior jurists – Thomas and Alito – must go to lower courts. The Constitution says they have lifetime appointments but does not say they must be on the Supreme Court for life.

Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour . . .

Setting aside the implied not-good-behavior disqualifier, it’s a matter of interpretation whether Sheila’s notion of demotion of justices is Constitutional. If it is, too bad for Clarence Thomas. There would be no more obscenely expensive freebie vacations for him, nor a fancy million dollar RV.

To better understand this draconian presidential immunity assault on our nation, watch this video from Rachel Maddow.

Finally

Last Thursday was America’s birthday party – number 248. Perhaps you barbecued, quaffed a beverage of choice, watched a parade and went to the fireworks on a hot July day. Such things are what we do.

We stand on the shoulders of giants whose vision and courage were greater than most of us can imagine. They imbued us with certain responsibilities and the opportunity for greatness.

Read what Steve Schmidt had to say about that in his 4th of July message, Happy Birthday, America.

_____________________________________

* Be sure to check out the Cognition post this Wednesday. You can remember to do that, right? So can Joe Biden.


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • 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!

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Death Knell


POST 1081


The Supreme Court rang the death knell on our democracy on Monday, July 1, 2024. They announced the end of presidential accountability, something neither found nor implied anywhere in the Constitution, and declared the official start of American despotism. It was upon us instantly.

They could have easily decided the deplorable presidential immunity case months ago by not taking it, as the appellate court had rendered a masterful decision unmasking the villainy of it. Alternatively, having accepted the case, the Court could have decided in just a few days that it was trash and then dumped it into the burn pit it deserved.

Instead they put months of delay into both federal cases against Trump:

One is the classified documents case over his theft of secret documents, violations of the Espionage Act, his intent to impede, obstruct or influence federal government activity, his disclosure of secret documents to foreign nationals and illegal removal or destruction of federal government records.

The other is the case against Trump for instigating an insurrection against the United States, conspiracy to defraud the United States government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.

And of course, the Court’s decision bollixed up the Georgia election interference case and made the hush money case, already decided against convict Trump, subject to review and more delay.

But the substance of Monday’s decision is far more impactful and lasting than the Supreme Court’s abuse of justice through wanton delay,

The Court has terminally wounded our country by declaring that presidents – and specifically Trump, the twice impeached, 4 times indicted and criminally convicted felon, defamer and sexual abuser – has immunity from prosecution for his official presidential acts while in office. I don’t know if that means that if Trump were to become president again that he could imprison or assassinate his political enemies as he’s promised to do, and then avoid prosecution for his crimes, but it sure sounds like that.

But wait a second: Joe Biden is president now, not Trump. It appears that the Supreme Court has just given Biden permission to commit illegal acts while he is still president and then avoid accountability. In light of that Court-created insanity, consider this.

Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our Constitution, our democracy and all aspects of our nation. There’s no need to elaborate reasons why that’s true because you already know. President Biden carries the charge to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Given that Trump is a domestic enemy of our Constitution, President Biden should rightly use all avenues to prevent Trump from harming our nation, whether Biden uses legal means or not.

He could use rendition of Trump to Gitmo. A few months of George W. Bush’s “enhanced interrogation methods” should end the threat of Trump.

Alternatively, Biden could have SEAL Team 6 do what they did to Osama bin Laden. Or he could invite Trump’s pal Vladimir Putin to send a hit squad armed with nerve gas to visit Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Each of those would be an illegal act – well, maybe not Gitmo, given the official opinion of Dubya’s Deputy Attorney General John Yoo and his “torture memo.” But as president and while fulfilling his oath of office in an official presidential act of protection of our nation, Biden will retain full immunity from prosecution. The Supreme Court says he can get away with it. Note that the Court is silent on consequences for those who carry out a president’s illegal orders.

Of course those ideas are outrageous. But that is exactly the kind of thing Trump is promising to do if he’s re-elected.

Worse than that:

There will be no possibility of removing a criminal president via impeachment, because all presidents will be immune from accountability for high crimes and misdemeanors.
.

We no longer have any recourse.

Questions

– Can our democracy long endure under the great burden of our distrust of our justice system?

– How long do you think our nation can tolerate decisions like this one and also for us to remain free?

– Are you still opposed to Biden packing the Court?

Gazing Into The Crystal Ball

We are suffering terribly from minority rule. We have to give credit to the extremist authoritarian schemers of the past several decades for the success of their evil manipulation of us and of our system of self-rule. They’ve done an impressive job of taking away our rights, our freedoms and our safety and of amassing great wealth for themselves at the expense of the the rest of us. Now they’ve done far worse via this spectacularly un-American, extremist Supreme Court. They have permanently damaged our future.

This isn’t just about Trump’s unhinged, self-serving cruelties. The day will come not long from now when grease from his most recent Quarter-Pounder will fully clog a coronary artery and Trump will be gone. But this Supreme Court invitation to despotism will still be here and some other tyrant, perhaps worse than Trump, will take his place. Perhaps s/he will be an Afghan warlord type or an American version of a Serbian or Sudanese ethnic cleansing maniac or a slave plantation proponent who will find new ways to destroy everything you hold dear.

The pundits and legal experts are dissecting the implications of this deranged decision, but in the end it means that Lady Justice’s imperative of equal justice – blind justice – under law and our oft-announced claim that nobody is above the law are just so much hot air. Those proud declarations mean nothing.

Six supremely partisan justices have betrayed our rule of law, our nation and We The People.

.

The bell has been rung. What do we do now? *

Do you think I’m over-heated, hyperbolic, unglued and reactionary? Then I invite you – no, I implore you – to explain why our country isn’t terribly imperiled. Put your thoughts in the Comments section below. Please.

Quote of the Century

From Justice Sonia Sotomayor:

“In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law… with fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

Clarifying Video

Watch this from Rachel Maddow.

Last Thoughts

Given that six Supreme Court justices enshrined despotism in America and that their act is patently un-American and in violation of their oath of office, shouldn’t they be impeached and removed from office?

CLICK ME! Read David Pepper’s insightful words. Absorb his clarity and wisdom and take action. Apathy just won’t do. Many thanks to JN for pointing out this excellent piece.

_____________________________________________

* Click the pick above and read David Pepper’s post.


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • 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!

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Nonsense


POST 1078


Regular readers recognize that I occasionally post an essay from other writers, pieces that are enlightening, important and timely. Today we have such a piece.

Ed Gurowitz is a friend and an RSP – “Royal Smart Person.” Today he offers timely insight into our current iteration of Supreme betrayal. If this isn’t top-of-mind for you, reconsider, because this perfidy is not nonsense. This is a five-alarm fire, a fundamental threat to everything you hold dear.

NonsenseEd Gurowitz
By Ed Gurowitz, Master Coach, Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist, Strategy Consultant, Executive and Leadership Consultant

Published Jun 13, 2024

Referencing her husband, Mrs. [Sam] Alito says, “He’s like, ‘Oh, please don’t put up a flag.’ I said, ‘I won’t do it because I am deferring to you. But when you are free of this nonsense, I’m putting it up and I’m gonna send them a message every day, maybe every week, I’ll be changing the flags.’ (Quoted in Rolling Stone)

In all the reporting general outrage over Mrs. Alito’s flag comments (including that she wants to put up a “shame” flag to counter the Pride flags she has to endure for a whole month), no one seems to have picked up on one thing: “when you are free of this nonsense . . .

The “nonsense” in question is her husband’s lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court Justice. Get that one of the top nine judicial seats in the United States Government is, according to dear Martha Anne, “nonsense!” Nonsense that is interfering with her right to fly offensive flags, though it’s not interfering that much, given the upside-down flag at their home and the Liberty Tree flag at their beach house. But, like a good little Maxwell Housewife, she is “deferring” to her husband’s nonsense just as another wife might put up with her spouse’s going fishing or building models in the garage.

This really should tell us all we need to know about [Justice Sam] Alito, Mrs. Alito, [Justice] Clarence Thomas, and Mrs. Thomas and their contempt for judicial ethics. Why would ethics matter when it’s all nonsense?

So to all the attorneys hoping to one day have the opportunity to argue before SCOTUS, to the judges who hope to one day have an appointment to the high court, and to others who hope to bring appeals to the court (including [for damages due to exposure to] Agent Orange), don’t bother – it’s all nonsense.

To women who desperately need health care up to and including abortion, fuggedabotit! It’s all nonsense.

To BIPOC groups hoping for justice and righting centuries-old wrongs, quit worrying – it’s all nonsense.

So, I guess, was the coronation of George W. Bush as POTUS when he had clearly lost to Al Gore – makes no difference – it’s all nonsense, just like Brown v. Board of Education and all the landmark cases.

Given it’s all nonsense, I guess we should just kick back and let Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, along with Nonsense-in-Chief Roberts rule the land according to their version of Christian Nationalism.

Folks, it’s time to end the nonsense – here’s how: VOTE! Take back the House, keep the Senate, and make it a prime order of business to impeach Alito and Thomas and replace them with Justices for whom the highest court in the land is not nonsense. Then Martha Anne can fly a damn pirate flag for all anyone gives a damn, and Ginny Thomas can prostrate herself at the feet of Trump and worship him as the second coming of Jesus until those in white coats come and take her away.

Many thanks to Ed for allowing me to post his essay.

The Nonsensical 74 Million

The Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 and who continue to send Trump their money and attend his rallies and spew the equivalent of Seig Heil! obeisance to him believe that our extremist Supreme Court is taking us in the God-ordained and Founder-intended right direction. They foam at the mouth for a Constitution-destroying New Reich in America. For them, anything less is nonsense.

The point is that our problem isn’t Trump. He’s just the felonious, slimy circus barker, the self-immolation conductor. The problem is actually the large minority of Americans who like the snake oil that the circus barker is selling and who will self-immolate to get it. They’ve been manipulated for decades by self-promoting cons whose only use for the 74 million is to steal their money and power and rule over them. And it’s been easy, because angry people are putty in the hands of skillful con men.

Trump is an easy target for progressives, with his outrages and ever present, addled-brain ramblings. The true dishonor belongs to his followers who: cheer his calls to violence; who ignore or who completely miss his wanderings in dementia and the horror of such a person having the nuclear codes; and who don’t care if their president is a convicted felon.

They are well on their way to transforming the United States of America into a despotic wasteland. You know that’s true because Trump has repeatedly promised to do exactly that. He declares that after he wins he will force this country, this land of the free and home of the brave, this land that’s your land and my land, to become a dictatorship that is his alone; that he will imprison or execute his political enemies; that he will have in our government only loyalists to him, not people loyal to the Constitution; that he will have only nonsense Justices on the Supreme Court who will dance to his nonsensical, despotic loony tunes.

You can dismiss Trump’s cruel, dreadful doom, believing that while he might do those things, that he’s just three Big Macs away from cardiac arrest, so we’ll be rid of him. But he will have laid the foundation for the even worse despot who will follow him, courtesy of the nonsensical 74 million and the nonsensical Supreme Court.

Nonsense Math

On October 1, 2017 a murderer opened fire from a hotel window, shooting into revelers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. He used semi-automatic weapons fitted with bump stocks that effectively turned them into automatic weapons. He killed 58 people and injured over 500 in just 11 minutes. Authorities report that he fired over 1,000 bullets in that time. Let’s do some math.

Assume 600 people were shot over those 11 minutes. That means that someone was shot every 0.9 seconds, or 10 people shot every 11 seconds. 1,000 total shots in 11 minutes equals an average of 2 bullets fired every 3 seconds, which includes time to reload. Apparently, that isn’t swift enough murdering to qualify that firearm as an illegal automatic weapon, according to our Supreme Court.

The assault rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School to murder 20 first graders and 6 teachers and staff. Also used at Robb Elementary school to kill 19 kids and 2 teachers. Imagine how many more could have been killed if this war machine had been fitted with a bump stock. The SC says it doesn’t care.

Writing for the “conservative” majority, Justice Clarence “Mega-donor Gifts” Thomas proclaimed that semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks are not fully automatic weapons. This is so, he would have us know, because of some arcane, nonsensical differentiation the Court majority invented for this case. Bump stocks remain legal for private citizens to possess and use.

Effectively, Clarence says, “Boo-hoo, little blubbering victims. We don’t care about you. The next mass murderer is free to fit his semi-automatic killing machine with a bump stock so that it will fire automatically at the rate of 2 bullets every 3 seconds. That way our domestic terrorist mass murderers can kill more people at a very rapid, punched-man-card rate. Bummer for you if you’re in his fully automatic sights.” Horrifyingly, that sounds a lot like legalized Nazi mass murders.

It’s yet another case of Supreme Court homicidal nonsense.

Clearly, we must end this actual Supreme Court nonsense – this contempt for reality, ethics, equality, honor, freedom, justice and even for human life.

What will you do?
.

Check the countdown clock below. Every time I look there is less time to take action to stop the “nonsense.”


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • 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!


.

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

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
  6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

Click me

JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Finding Optimism


POST 1069

Third in a series (see Ignorance and Lies and The Underlying Disease)


Stand Up
I asked [my friend] what we would do if 150 crazy people — a mix of deranged narcissists, political extremists, weirdos, conspiracy theorists and other assorted friends of theirs — showed up suddenly on the perfect deck [where we sat overlooking the ocean]. I wanted to know if he thought we’d fight with them or leave.
.

“Obviously,” I told him, “we would leave.” He agreed. Crazy people make normal people want to leave.

That’s exactly what we must not do if we hope to provide a cure for our terrible national disease and exit the craziness. Leaving would guarantee a ramping up of the crazy, the vitriol and the siege against the design of the Founders. They had lived under the thumb of despotic King George III and they knew the perils and the pain of autocracy. Our leaving would be capitulation to the forces seeking to undermine the very strength of our nation, our democracy.

So, don’t leave. Stand and fight back. Fight forward. Fight in every direction for your freedom, your rights and for everyone and everything you hold dear. That means standing up to the ignorants and the liars, like Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan, J.D. Vance, MTG, and all the rest of the extremist crazies. Stand up for equity and justice. Stand up to the 50-year-long war to disempower you, make rich guys richer and impoverish the rest of us. Stand up.

A Parallel

Today’s shrill voices and the violence, the threats and the chaos, the crazy and the stupid are all around us with propaganda and lies and visions of doom. Those voices aim to scare good people into capitulation. Those who give up – who leave, to use Steve Schmidt’s term – are today’s version of Neville Chamberlain and his capitulation to Hitler and tyranny.

Click me

Having given away the Sudetenland (then part of Czechoslovakia) to Hitler, Chamberlain came back to England from Munich in 1938 claiming, “Peace for our time.” Less than one year later Germany invaded and overran Poland and a year later began bombing London in the Battle of Britain. Here is the message, the learning:

  • Capitulation never works. It never brings peace. Never.
  • It only emboldens the bullies to do yet worse.

On October 29, 1941 things looked overwhelmingly dark for Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited The Harrow School, which he had attended years before. Here, in part, is what he told the boys that day:

.

” .  .  .  this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Steve Schmidt is right: “Crazy people make normal people want to leave.”

But we aren’t going to do that. We’re going to stay and stand up to protect our democracy and our self-rule. We’re going to stay and stand up to the hatred and thwart the cruelty. We’re going to stay and stand and fight. We must not – we will not – leave.

We will never, never, never, never give in.

Optimism

I received a private reply from very long time friend Frank Levy to a recent Disambiguation, Ignorance and Lies. He’s given his permission to post some of his comment – many thanks to him for that..

My experience living among these American ethno-fascists [he lives in a deeply RED state], seeing their racism, watching them legislate for destructive and terrible policies for anyone that does not look, vote, pray, or love the way they do, watching them commit crimes of violence and hate against those very same people, watching them live out their misogyny and need to subjugate and humiliate women, and experiencing their virulent anti-Semitism leads me to two truths.
.
One, these people are who they are and they do what they do because they have been taught by their mommies and daddies to hate all the people their relatives hate (thank you South Pacific), and who [they believe] their religion teaches them to hate (thank you Christian Bible and Quran).
.
Two, they are who they are and they do what they do because they fear losing their privilege and power to the very people they despise and hate. And they hate democracy, while at the same time proclaiming themselves true patriots, because they know that they are a minority and that in a fair election they and their ideas are losers.
.
So, here is why I think your optimism is misplaced: you can’t undo this kind of hate and fear through conversation and education.
.
I believe Frank is right, that conversation and education won’t make a dent in the certainties of the fearful, the haters and the dispensers of cruelty, so I replied,
.
Our national salvation doesn’t lie in conversions of the BillyBobs and the vitriol droolers – as you put it, the ethno-fascists. Rather, it lies in activating everyone else.
.
We cannot wipe out the hatred and thuggishness in those who feel the imperative to hate and to be thugs. Their identities are wrapped up in that cruel package, making change for them impossible. What we can do is to overpower them at the ballot box and in legislatures, making their institutionalized bigotry and mania for domination of others a powerless thing, perhaps no more than an artifact.
.
Maybe the more remote polling places and mail-in ballot drop boxes will be returned to North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kentucky. Maybe millions will have their names restored to the voting roles in Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Texas. Perhaps an overwhelming defeat will make Kari Lake shut up.
.

It’s entirely up to us to make that happen. That’s the reason for optimism.

Obstacles to Optimism

Last Thursday a chunk of the MAGA extremism cult (please forgive the redundancy) came to Manhattan to parade themselves as brainless suck ups to Trump. They violated the gag order that

Judge Merchan placed on Trump and, in effect declared that they renounce justice.

Matt Gaetz (R-Young Girls) announced that he’s with the Proud Boy felons, saying, “Standing back and standing by, Mr. President.” Having already created chaos, these cheaters are attacking our justice system for being chaotic and broken. That’s what the extremists do: they break government, then blame Democrats for the ensuing chaos.

Also on Thursday, the news of Justice Sam “The Insurrection Man” Alito and his upside-down distress flag crashed into our Constitution. Is there nothing that is below him and Justice Clarence “Free Vacations Man” Thomas? Oh wait .  .  .  never mind.

The Republican pollution of the Supreme Court by insurrectionist sympathizers has driven disapproval of the Court to well over half of Americans. A few decades ago being a Supreme Court justice was the most highly respected profession. Now it doesn’t even make the top 20. It’s pretty hard to be optimistic about that.

Since impeachment isn’t going to happen and the Court’s newly drafted ethics guidelines have no teeth, perhaps now it’s time for Biden to pack the court with four additional justices, each of whom, refreshingly, has a moral compass. That would give us something to be optimistic about.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Not That Giuliani


POST 1065


Giuliani Can Wait. First Crime, Anti-Social Behavior and Cookies

All the statistics tell us that our rate of crime is decreasing. Nevertheless, we rage at one another as though it’s a holy exercise against crime, as some may well feel that it is. What could better demonstrate our goodness and integrity than frothing at the mouth our declarations that we are right and those who disagree are agents of the devil? More important, what is it that drives us to distrust one another so vehemently?

Thom Hartmann explored this once again in a recent post. Here are some snippets to give you a clue.

Poverty doesn’t cause the societal disintegration that leads to most crime, it turns out: inequality does. And America is now, far and away, the most unequal developed country in the entire world.

So how does inequality provoke criminality? The research on the topic is pretty exhaustive, albeit poorly publicized, and the simplest explanation is among the most easily understood: humans are wired to rebel against unfairness. Unfairness thus destroys social trust.

Walk into a preschool class and give one child a pile of cookies while giving everybody else only one each and see what happens. In fact, it’s not just humans; this holds true across all mammalian species from rats to dogs to apes.

In just reading those words about cookies I bet you can feel the words forming on your lips: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” You’ve rebelled against unfairness all your life because, well, unfairness is unfair. It’s offensive. It’s cruel. And you’ve seen a lot of unfairness.

As research across 33 nations published in Oxford’s European Journal of Public Health found, inequality devastates social trust among people, opening the door to antisocial crime, including violent crime .  .  .

While billionaires who pay less in federal income tax rates than you do blast themselves into space on giant penis-shaped rockets, the majority of Americans are struggling to get by. I say “the majority” because a decade ago the number of Americans who could call themselves “middle class” slipped below 50% for the first time since the Eisenhower era. [all emphasis original]

Billionaires now pay a lower rate than the bottom half of income earners. Click the pic for the story and  read Thom Hartmann’s comments here.

Little wonder that we are a nation of pissy people, some violently pissy, looking for others to blame. Just listen to the victim raging at Trump rallies and at White supremacist demonstrations, the bullying at school board meetings and the intimidation of voters. The ragers are brainlessly claiming voter fraud in the presence of exactly zero evidence of it, but they are disenfranchising millions nevertheless, leading to more power and wealth transferred to the rich and more dis-empowerment and impoverishing of everyone else.

We are four decades into the very intentional program of the transfer of massive wealth from our poor and middle class to our wealthy and ultra-wealthy. This has been incrementally baked into our economy and our psyches and we haven’t even noticed the shift because generally the individual changes have been small, except for the trillions of dollars of tax reductions for the rich, engineered by Bush II and Trump. Those led to $ trillions more national debt that you and I are paying for. Collectively they have undermined your prospects and your wallet massively. Somewhere in our innards is our scream, “THAT ISN’T FAIR!” And we are right.

Worse, we are wrongly taking it out on one another. The fair target of our anger over loss of trust in ourselves lies with self-serving politicians and ultra-wealthy manipulators. For a current view of how these people intend to take all the rest from you, see this. Don’t be bamboozled by the apparently patriotic claims in that document. It is a blatantly anti-American plan to destroy our country and hoard all the wealth and power for the already massively rich.

It’s no longer about cookies. But it’s still about unfairness. And, like Justice Potter Stewart commenting about pornography, you know unfairness when you see it.

Yeah, He’s a Creep, But .  .  .

.  .  .  for a moment, set aside the bad taste in your mouth caused by Rudy Giuliani’s behavior over the past two decades and try to remember this.

Click me – watch all 8 minutes of this video – and remember

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack Rudy Giuliani, then Mayor of New York City, attended every funeral for the 343 first responders who died on that awful day. He spoke words of empathy and encouragement that the people of the city and across the nation, wounded as we were, needed to hear. They called him “America’s mayor.” He was what the nation needed in that moment, especially since Dubya had failed us so terribly and allowed that attack to happen.

Giuiliani went on SNL just 18 days after the catastrophe. With him and filling the stage were the fire chief, the police chief and as many NYFD and NYPD personnel as they could fit. Standing in the long and strong applause, he took no credit for himself, telling us that the first responders behind him and those not there that Saturday night were the heroes. His message was strong. He threw a humorous jibe at Lorne Michaels when he was asked if it was okay for the SNL cast to be funny. He told us that New York was open for business. We got the message. It was okay to smile again.

That clip brought to mind our present troubles. We are under attack from a large and sometimes violent portion of our countrymen, now properly labeled domestic terrorists. We have thousands of public servants who refuse to do the will of the people, making them a threat to our democracy, a roadblock to solving our problems and to forming a more perfect union. Indeed, these people are working to create a system of permanent minority rule, the very antithesis of democracy. Even our Supreme Court, once the most honored and trusted institution in the nation, is now distrusted by nearly 2 of every 3  of our citizens. Around 45% of voters intend to vote for a sexual attacker, defamer and likely to be convicted felon. These are very dark times indeed.

When the time is right, who will stand in leadership and tell us that we remain the most important democracy in the world, the place of We The People, the shining city on the hill?

Who will declare that we are the keepers of the flame of freedom and justice?

Who will tell us that we can once again talk with our neighbors and even strangers and that we are still America?

Who will tell us that it is okay to smile again?

We need to be thinking about that and deciding who we want to stand in that place of trust and of leadership on January 20, 2025. Our military professionals are taught “Mission first. People always.” What about the rest of us – what are our marching orders?

Our mission is clear. We need to be doing whatever it takes so that the right person is standing before us and announcing to the world and to ourselves, “We The People are America.”

And that it’s okay to smile again.

Remembrance

Tonight starts Yom HaShoah, the day we remember those caught in the betrayals, the cruelty and the death of the Holocaust. We remember for many reasons, including that genocides continue to occur. But mostly we remember the innocents who suffered and the ones who died – were murdered – then.

They were just like you. They worked hard, they loved their children and their children loved to play. Until they no longer could. Light a candle today in their honor.

We remember, lest they be forgotten. May their memory be for a blessing.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Somebody Has To Tell Me . . .


POST 1063


.  .  .  why we are even talking about:

– whether doctors can be criminally prosecuted in Idaho for having made efforts to save the life of a pregnant woman in distress or if they have to wait until death is imminent before proceeding with life saving treatment and by then the woman might never again be able to carry a baby?

– Trump claiming that a president cannot be prosecuted for “official” criminal acts and that a former president cannot be prosecuted unless the House of Representatives has impeached him and the Senate convicted him. Clearly, “Equal justice under law” will no longer have any meaning.*

– that the Supreme Court of the United States has taken this immunity case, this violation of reason, this affront to the Constitution, this kick in the teeth of justice seriously? And they may well grant Trump such god-like power!** Read this excellent explainer.

– whether Texas women can travel to another state for an abortion or whether she can be given consult from others without any of them going to jail? That is to say, why is it necessary to question whether Texans have freedom of speech or freedom to travel? Or Floridians? Or Mississippians?

.  .  .  how it’s even possible that:

– the state of Tennessee has authorized school teachers to carry firearms, when everyone has known for a very long time that the real problem is not unarmed teachers, but over-armed citizens with a vigilante mania or some other mental derangement, like, “I feel like a weenie, and I know I’ll feel powerful if I kill a bunch of people.”

– Fuhrer Greg Abbot of Texas has his police and National Guard in riot gear on the campus of the University of Texas – Austin and they are arresting and are prepared to beat up kids who are in peaceful protest over suffering Palestinians? This looks like it can become like the 1968 police riot in Chicago all over again, with kids beaten, arrested and shot.

– hateful idiots on college campuses across the country are screaming pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic vitriol, hurling threats at and committing physical assaults on Jewish students? Someone taught them to hate. Someone taught them that they could beat up those who are somehow different from them. I wonder who that might be.

– we tolerate the cruelty heaped on Asians, Muslims, Blacks, Browns and Jews? Oh yeah: it’s that “Someone taught them” thing again.

– a large segment of the Republican Party favors Vladimir Putin and Russia over a democratic ally in Europe and even favors Russia over our own country?

– the majority of Republicans (about 70%) believe Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election? Didn’t these people receive an education? Do they understand concepts like evidence, reality and the rule of law? How is it that a jury of his peers found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for defamation – twice! – and they still plan to vote for him? And they’ll vote for him even if he is convicted of felonies – crimes – before the election?

– sitting senators (Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley) are calling for National Guard deployment against peaceful protesters? Cotton posted, “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands.”

– that Speaker Mike Johnson bellowed from the steps of Low Memorial Library, “Columbia has allowed these lawless agitators and radicals to take over. Anti-Israel encampments are popping up in universities all across this country. The madness has to stop.” Mother Jones How come today’s Republicans sound an awful lot like hateful, anti-civil rights creeps of the 1960s? Perhaps Johnson and his snarling Buddies On Repression Extremism Society (“BORES”) will bring Iranian Revolutionary Guards to shoot college campus protesters, just like they do in Tehran.

_____________________________________________

* This from Wikipedia:

OLC memoranda

In 1973, amid the Watergate scandal, the Department of Justice‘s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a memorandum concluding that it is unconstitutional to prosecute a sitting president.[23] Its arguments include that the president “is the symbolic head of the Nation. To wound him by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus in both foreign and domestic affairs.”[24] It says that the statute of limitations should not be tolled while the president is in office, but suggests that Congress could extend the statute of limitations specifically for presidents.[25] After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Clinton, the OLC issued a second memorandum in 2000, distinguishing civil and criminal presidential immunity and determining that it was still improper to prosecute a president due to the adverse affect it might have on his ability to govern.[26]

That is the rationale for the recommended prohibition against prosecuting a sitting president – but only while he or she is still president. My understanding is that there is nothing in either memorandum to indicate that there is a prohibition against prosecuting a president for crimes committed while in office once that president has left office.

More to the point, nowhere is it written that a president enjoys permanent protection from prosecution for criminal activity when no longer in office, as when Trump stole classified documents, brought them to Mar-a-Lago and then lied to the FBI and defied a subpoena. But, of course, Trump’s lawyers have claimed just such protection at the Supreme Court.

Required Reading – click here

Blindfolded Lady Justice – for now

.

The Court heard this case with Justice Clarence Thomas present. He did not recuse himself – again – in his obvious temper tantrum ignoring of his conflict of interest, as his wife Ginni participated in the insurrection at the heart of this case.

Someone has to tell me why the Supreme Court accepted this farcical and cruel excuse of a case. These Justices make it look like Lady Justice is peeking out from behind her blindfold, telling them that it’s okay for them to be political hacks and to undermine our justice system.

If you wish to dig into this further, here’s a link to the full OLC memos, along with pertinent commentary.

** If Trump succeeds with his case in the Supreme Court, President Biden could immediately have Trump assassinated by Seal Team 6, claiming him to be a clear and present danger to the United States. If Seal Team 6 were to refuse such an order, Biden could bring a pistol the the first presidential debate and kill Trump himself. Either way, Biden could never be prosecuted for the murder because the Supreme Court would have made it legal to be a presidential murderer.

Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Reverberation: “Are You Better Off?”


POST 1060


A Bit More About “Are You Better Off?” From March 27

Have a look at this from Sheila Markin’s post, When Will Republicans Give Up on Trump?

Biden has been delivering on the promises Trump made and failed to deliver on. Remember how Trump promised infrastructure week? It never happened with Trump. It is happening with Biden. Remember how Trump promised to lower prescription drug costs? He didn’t get it done. Biden is getting it done. Remember how Trump said he was for the little guy? No, he wasn’t. [87% of his tax cuts went to the rich.] Bidenomics is working to beat back inflation and create more jobs for American workers. Our country is avoiding the inflation hitting post pandemic Europe. Trump gave America empty promises. Biden has created the strongest and most stable economy in the world despite a divided congress.

She also noted that,

President Donald Trump certainly lived up to his self-proclaimed status as the King of Debt during his term in office. The national debt spiked by $7 trillion during Trump’s tenure (CNN).

Do I remember correctly that Republicans have long proudly called themselves “deficit hawks”? If that’s what they are, how did they let such massive debt pile up on their watch? Oh, wait: They couldn’t pay attention to the skyrocketing national debt because they were bent over in cowardly subservience to Trump.

My answer to Sheila’s question about when Republicans will give up on Trump comes from the reality of when addicts at last enter 12-step programs.

Republicans will give up on Trump when they have hit rock bottom, when it hurts so bad, when all is lost, when hope is gone. Of course, it will be easier once Trump is in prison, but other extremists will attempt to take his place. Republicans will have to have experienced rock bottom if they are to stand up to the Trump wannabees and supplicant crazies. Then we will all be better off. Until then, low expectations are recommended.

Our Not Very Supreme Court

Let your illusions of judicial purity vaporize.

They have decided cases where no actual case existed, like Citizens United, effectively replacing Congress and making up their own laws.

They have made extensive use of the “shadow docket” to issue unsigned, unexplained and opaque one-sentence orders over issues of great importance, having heard no oral arguments and offering no rationale or justification to their very consequential rulings.

They declared that we are beyond our 400-year racial strife. It hasn’t ended, even by imaginary mileposts, yet the Court says that we no longer need the Civil Rights Act. Pay no attention to the millions of non-Whites who were dis-enfranchised instantly upon the Court neutering the Act.

In 2010 they declared that corporations have all the rights and freedoms that you have and that corporations and even foreign big money interests can overpower our elections and effectively steal your power and our elections.

And, of course, they violated stare decisis, which they said they believe in and will follow during their confirmation hearings. They overturned Roe and are looking at hobbling our regulatory agencies that keep us safe. Plus, they have pledged to make birth control illegal.

Don’t forget that they actually took the Trump appeal, which claims he has complete immunity from every crime he has committed. What could they be thinking in considering this rule-of-law abomination of a case?

If you’re hoping that the Court will use this year’s upcoming cases to begin to resturn America onto the path you know it should be on, you are advised yet again to have low expectations.

Clearly, if we are to be better off four years from now, something will have to change.

Co-Conspirators

Sydney Powell, Trump’s lying, scheming, defamation spewing excuse of a lawyer, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges instead of the full panel of felonies with which she was charged, specifically, charges relating to the effort to manufacture evidence of voter fraud. She had to agree to flip on Trump and his co-conspirators to get that deal and will likely testify in both the Georgia RICO case and Jack Smith’s January 6 sedition case. She avoids prison, does a year of probation, pays a $6,000 fine, plus she has to write a letter of apology. Not clear who that will be addressed to. And it’s not at all clear whether her law license will be pulled.

I thrill when bad guys get their just due. While I’m glad she’ll be flipping on the other criminals, I sure would like see her go to prison for a bunch of years for her obvious criminality, to be welcomed there by a spiffy new orange outfit. That woman is seriously bad ju-ju.

All of that goes for felons Kenneth Chesebro and teary-eyed “If I knew then what I know now” Jenna Ellis, too, as well as bail bondsman Scott Hall. Chesebro was the mastermind of the phony electors scheme. Ellis certified the return of all stolen classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, failing to mention the hundreds of super-secret materials Trump kept, some of which he showed to others. Hall was a schemer attempting to access voting machines. All pleaded guilty and I am likewise sorry we won’t see how they look in orange.

So, the Trump co-conspirators’ score: 4 down, 15 to go. Watch for more defectors from Trump, like Mark Meadows, as trial dates close in and the arms of Miss Liberty reach out for the bad guys.

Have a look at Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s update on Trump’s co-conspirators here.

President Eisenhower, 1953

Regular readers might recall that I consider myself an Eisenhower Republican. Of course, today Ike would be considered a radical lefty, a socialist, a BLM sympathizer and far worse. I steadfastly believe he was clear thinking and did a wonderful job for America.

His inaugural speech on January 20, 1953 serves as a warning for us today. He said,

“In the light of this equality [of all], we know that the virtues most cherished by free people–love of truth, pride of work, devotion to country–all are treasures equally precious in the lives of the most humble and of the most exalted”

“And it warns that any man who seeks to deny equality among all his brothers betrays the spirit of the free and invites the mockery of the tyrant.”

“The enemies of this faith know no god but force, no devotion but its use. They tutor men in treason. They feed upon the hunger of others. Whatever defies them, they torture, especially the truth.”

Words for our time. Watch Eisenhower’s 13-minute address here, and take action, especially if you want to be better off 4 years from now.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Consequences v2.0


POST 1057


A Baltimore Bridge Collapse Question

As you know, on March 26 a mammoth container ship, the Singapore flagged Dali, crashed into a pylon supporting the Francis Scott Key Bridge that spans Baltimore Harbor, the country’s 11th busiest port. The ship is 984 feet long (over 3 football fields in length), weighs over 116,000 tons and was traveling at 9.2 mph, so the force of the collision was enormous and it took out a huge portion of the bridge. Six people died, two were saved and both land and sea transportation in Baltimore are severely hampered. The loss of life would have been much greater had first responders not quickly blocked access to keep others off the bridge. And had this collision happened at 1:30PM instead of 1:30AM, losses would have been far worse because the bridge would have been full of cars and trucks.

I had Joan Esposito’s radio program* on for the first few minutes of her program the day after the disaster and she asked an intriguing question. First, some background on what happened.

The ship impacted the pylon around 1:30AM. By 2:00AM Maryland Governor Wes Moore had been alerted, briefed on what had happened and had declared a state of emergency. By 3:30AM Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had called the governor pledging whatever support was needed.

From C-Span:

“NTSB investigators, who are leading the investigation, arrived at the bridge scene at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday [just 4-1/2 hours after the collision]. Twenty-four NTSB staffers were on site, including several specializing in nautical operations, human performance and engineering.” – NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy

All of that is a really fast whole-of-government response.

A little later that morning President Biden said, “This is going to take some time. The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them, at every step of the way, ’til the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt,” and he vowed to send federal funds. Later that day Secretary Buttigieg was on site in Baltimore and reiterated President Biden’s commitment.

For now we can ignore the instantaneous Republican demonizing, finger pointing and vows to help only if they can get other unrelated things they want. So much for whether Republicans give a damn for the people of Baltimore, the people of Maryland or some guy in Alabama who won’t be able to get his new pickup truck because the ship carrying it was supposed to dock in Baltimore but now is stuck at sea.

Now on to Joan Esposito’s question.

Imagine that this exact event had instead happened four years ago on March 26, 2020. How would President Trump’s team have responded? Try this.

Trump didn’t trust Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. After all, she’s married to Mitch McConnell, who by then had greatly distanced himself from Trump. Plus she’s Asian. He didn’t invest her with any significant power to take action, so she wouldn’t have responded to the governor at 3:30AM like Pete Buttigieg did. She would have been reduced to going to Trump for a “Oh leader, may I?” conversation much later in the morning because Trump always watched TV looking for coverage of himself until nearly noon every day.

Trump certainly would not have wanted Chao to get attention when there was an opportunity to snare it for himself. He likely would have called a press conference in the White House to declare how we were going to build the greatest bridge – greater than anyone has ever seen. After grandstanding for as long as he could, he would have left the podium. He wouldn’t conference with then-governor Larry Hogan, a Black man, and he would have promptly forgotten the people of Baltimore. After all, what would be in it for Trump to bother with them? They wouldn’t vote for him, so there was no upside for him. Besides, it wasn’t infrastructure week. It never was.

Esposito asked, “When did Trump ever do the right thing? When did he ever, despite all of his false words, do anything to help any part of the country that was in need?” You know the answers.

The main point of the answer to Esposito’s original question is that elections matter – there are consequences to them. Competence matters. Clarity and dedication to our nation and to our people matter. The present administration is packed with extremely competent people in whom the President vests great power, so they are wonderfully effective and quick to respond. It would devastate our nation to go back to the all-about-Trump unreality show.

Mifepristone

Dear ethically challenged Supreme Court justices,

There are just a few things for you to keep in mind in this case, now that you’ve heard oral arguments on the attempt to ban this FDA approved drug.

  1. The doctors and scientists of the Food and Drug Administration are qualified to determine if a medication is both safe to use and effective. They are slow in their approvals because they are very deliberate in their work. Justices who are neither doctors nor scientists are not qualified to make such determinations. Second guessing the FDA from a position of ignorance is foolish at best and dangerous at worst. As Ruth Marcus put it, “[Alito’s] job is to interpret the Constitution. Would he rather run the FDA?” Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again enter the realm of judging executive branch agency actions.
  2. The plaintiffs in this case have experienced no harm from Mifepristone. They have no standing to be bringing this case. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case where the plaintiff has no standing.
  3. The district court judge decided to ban this drug based on, 1) nonsense written in random, non-medical blogs by people ignorant about the drug and the field of medicine, and, 2) discredited studies that were withdrawn because they were false. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case that is based on zero evidence and the religious beliefs of a district court judge.

The points above were well known in advance of the Court agreeing to hear this case. The really important question now is why the Court would agree to hear this obvious loser of a complaint. I’m hoping it wasn’t to further advance the desire of 6 members of the Court to move us to become a terrifying 15th century theocracy. Think: both Dobbs and the comments of Thomas and Alito wanting to ban all birth control other than abstinence and the rhythm method. Like in the 1400s. And you know how well those work.

There remain significant consequences of Trump having won in 2016. His having seated three extremist Supreme Court justices is a crucial one. We continue to suffer from that and his other punitive actions, like $7 trillion in additional debt. On November 5, think about consequences.

One More Consequence

If you were a real enthusiastic Trump sucker and bought into his Trump Media merger scam, this past Friday was a nasty day.

Lets say you dug into your retirement money and bought $100,000 of stock at the offering price of  $79.38. Two days ago the stock was trading at $40.59, making your investment now worth $51,134. Congratulations: You lost $49,000 in just 12 days. You’re now just like Trump: a loser. And you’ve been conned – grifted – again. There are consequences to refusing to learn.

__________________________________________

* Click on the link and select the March 27 recording. Listen to the first 11 minutes.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Delusion


Post 1,050


Not Looking Too Supreme

Yes, the ballot disqualification decision was unanimous and it may well lead to further disapproval of this ethically challenged court. We don’t know if that unanimity was because every justice dug deeply into their vault of jurisprudence and agreed or because the justices feared a violent public reaction to banning Trump from ballots and office. You know: like it says in the 14th Amendment. That is to say, they chickened out, which is exactly what bullies hope for.

Here’s what CREW, the plaintiff in this 14th Amendment case, said of this decision:

The Court had the opportunity to clear Trump of the finding that he incited insurrection, and the Court chose not to. Instead it simply ruled that states do not have the power to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment unless Congress says they can. [I.e. the Court’s decision was based on a technicality.]

It’s disappointing that the Court failed to bar Trump from the ballot. This was a test for the Court, and it failed to meet the moment.

But in this ruling, there is a win for our democracy: Trump will go down in history as an insurrectionist. [emphasis original]
.

See this for a clear explanation of what this means. Sadly, the Supreme Court effectively erased Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, essentially adding a 28th Amendment. They did it without the formal process required by the Constitution. The notion of doing that should be delusional.

American Terrorists – Constant Delusion

You’ve seen the shaved head militia crazies, AR-15s strapped to their chests, fingers covering triggers, Glocks strapped to their thighs just above their cargo pockets filled with ammo clips. This look is their macho swagger, their tattoos giving messages of death and so-called patriotism. They seig heil their leader, muscles a-popping, brows furled in intensity and they promise death to the elite scum who they say are traitors to the true America.

Sure, it’s a stereotype, maybe a bit immoderate, but you’ve seen these guys in television news coverage invading the Capitol Building on January 6 and in state capitol buildings in Wisconsin and Michigan and just outside polling places (here and here) on missions of voter intimidation, as though that’s their patriotic duty. Sometimes they parade in a forest of Trump flags, American flags and Nazi flags. The mixed symbols clash in a display of confusing bravado, but the testosterone, absolutism and love of violence messages are clear. And while you didn’t see all the automatic weapons they had on January 6 (many were stashed in their hotel rooms in Virginia), these are members of the army of angry people who stormed and desecrated our Capitol Building looking to murder the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House.

These people are itching for a fight and they think they are going to retake control of America (that means control of you) and establish their notion of patriotic purity by means of their might. They have plenty of would-be Rambos standing by and over 400 million guns in their arsenals.

I’m reading an old Tom Clancy novel, Dead or Alive, and it is, of course, a good guys versus bad guys macho tale. One paragraph (p. 115) describes bad guy Islamist terrorists. See if it makes you think of anyone else.

” .  .  .  they thought of themselves as Holy Warriors and sought after their seventy-two virgins but were in fact young people with few prospects, to whom religion was the path to greatness they would otherwise never achieve. It was remarkable that they were too stupid even to see that.”

Strip that description of the seventy-two virgins and replace religion with MAGA and you have our delusional American crusaders. They believe their mission is holy and they can justify it with quotations like a Jeffersonian Tree of Liberty “spilling of blood” phrase and demonization of immigrants bringing their “poisoning blood.” These are the people who will bring Trump’s “bedlam” when things fail to go Trump’s way.

We don’t need any more standoffs, like Cliven Bundy’s chest puffing idiocy. We surely don’t need a Ruby Ridge or a WacoBranch Dividian catastrophe. So, when these guys, these self-styled American crusaders, decide to provoke a confrontation, what are we going to do?

I hope our government people are working scenarios that will result in the security of our nation and that they have a notion of how to accomplish neutralizing these Rambo wannabees with minimal loss of life. But that’s a tough challenge when dealing with people who think their cause is holy and pure and who are willing, some eager, to die for their cause. You know enough history to recognize the delusional pattern.

Now, This Is Delusional So, Bless Her Heart!

Click the pic for the SNL version of Sen. Katie Brttt’s (R-AL) cringe-worthy rebuttal to the SOTU. Start at 2:26 or watch the Biden lead-in first.

Delusional Senator Endorses Violence

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) brought his usual cerebral fuzziness to the issue of aid to Ukraine, as reported by PBS:

MUNICH (AP) — A Republican opponent [Vance] of new U.S. funding for Ukraine argued at an international security conference Sunday that the package stuck in Congress wouldn’t “fundamentally change the reality” on the ground and that Russia has an incentive to negotiate peace.

Ukrainians are dying. Their cities are being destroyed by Russian bombs, artillery and rockets. The country is being obliterated. That’s Putin’s stated goal – to erase Ukraine and rebuild it as part of Russia.

What you need to know is that Vance has never served in combat, so he knows nothing about battlefield realities. He has never served in uniform, so he knows nothing about any nation’s military. And he knows nothing about any incentive for Russia to negotiate peace. He is an ignoramus lacking the sense to keep his ignorant mouth shut.

Many thanks to JN for the pic

That package stuck in Congress is designed to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and to drive the Russian army out of Ukraine. Without that aid, Ukraine will run out of munitions and all will be lost. And Putin has publicly stated that he will then set his sights on the Baltic countries, Romania and eastern Poland. Happily for Putin and the Russians, Trump has invited them to do “Whatever the hell they want.

People are dying as Vance displays his boundless ignorance and cowardly fealty to Trump, who told Vance to oppose military aid for Ukraine. Decide for yourself why Trump would insist on blocking aid to Ukraine and, as a result, provide aid to Putin.

Vance is not just spineless. He is a promoter of Putin’s butchery.

Nickname Rhymes with “Tucker”

Tucker Carlson outdid himself by directly promoting Vladimir Putin and, in consequence, undermining democracy everywhere. He did so in a suck-up interview witnessed by pinheads in Red states and by some already shaky allies. That has earned Carlson a special award.

Many thanks to JN for the pic.

I wonder if MAGA Americans can remember when we were the good guys and the Russian oppressors were the bad guys, especially when they invaded another country and committed war crimes. The righties used to be good at standing up to Russian tyrants. Now they cower before Trump and his despotic pals Orbán, Erdoğan and Putin and they puff their chests as though they are brave.

Congratulations on your award, Comrade Tucker. You’re delusional.


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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Elections, Amendments & Tunnels


Post 1,037


A little longer today because there is so much going on .  .  .

Winning Elections

A piece in The Economist in December accidentally provided yet another reminder of what wins elections. We used to believe that honesty and moral character were our guides, but we’ve been disabused of that fanciful notion for many years by poundings upside our heads from brutal reality.

We want to say that sound policy and good solutions leading to sensible goals are what get our votes. Surely the right policies for both our nation and for We The People individually are important to us. So, too, is a leader’s strong backbone to lead our national defense. That’s all nice and good, but that’s not what drives most voters’ choices.

In that Economist piece they report from a recent Harvard Youth Poll:

“Most of those who favoured Mr. Biden – 69% – said they did so more out of opposition to Mr. Trump; by contrast, 65% of those favouring Mr. Trump said they felt loyal to him.”

That’s touchy-feely stuff, not policy driven choice.

The Economist also reports from Joe Mitchell, who operates Run GenZ to recruit young conservative candidates, saying:

“Mr. Biden, he says, has passed more progressive legislation than Mr. Obama but is less admired by progressives because he lacks Mr. Obama’s cachet. By contrast, the indictments of Mr. Trump have restored his celebrity gleam.”

There’s that touchy-feely thing again. Sensible judgment need not apply.

If you listen to the comments from Trump supporters being interviewed, what you will hear consistently is visceral declarations of support charged with passion and certainty. If they are pressed for reasons for their enthusiasm they say that Trump kept his promises, that the economy was so much better when Trump was president, that he has the strength to stand up to other strongman leaders, that immigration was under control and our borders were safe when Trump was president. They say these things with great certainty and as though that’s what’s behind their support for Trump.

But they are wrong. Factually, provably wrong. He didn’t keep his wall promise or infrastructure week promise or pretty much anything else. The economy was worse, he was sucking up to dictators, our immigration system was as bad as it is now and Trump was locking up babies. We were far sicker and hundreds of thousands died. Yet even when presented with these and other incontrovertible facts, Trump enthusiasts remain certain in their beliefs. His moral failings like grabbing women you-know-where and raping them somehow don’t repulse his female followers. His nonstop vomiting of racist filth somehow doesn’t inflame his Black supporters.

They don’t follow and support Trump for his policies or for his moral foundation. Their enthusiasm is more about his showmanship and his tough guy talk. His followers think that the victimhood he whines about makes him like them, that when the bad guys from our justice system come after him, he speaks of that as coming after “us.” It’s a “We are a band of brothers under siege” appeal – and they eat that stuff up. They believe it.

It’s that touchy-feely thing again and millions are led to the ballot box by no more than that and an invitation to give their adulation.

Biden can’t come close to that. He just doesn’t have the stuff to strut. He’s further hobbled by the far left in his own party, people who are never satisfied and always complaining and demanding what he cannot possibly deliver.

Thanks go to JN for passing this along

I’ll make the assumption that nobody who reads these posts is a Trump supporter, so I can reasonably expect that even if you aren’t a Biden supporter, you want to see Trump defeated. Maybe you don’t trust any Republicans, so you don’t want Nikki Haley to win when she’s their nominee once Trump is wearing orange. Fine. What should Biden do to win?

Remember: Winning elections isn’t about policy. Winning may not even be about reality or about any version of truth. Winning elections most definitely is about emotion, passion, beliefs, style, entertainment, heart-thumping pie-in-the-sky promises, excitement and pretty much anything touchy-feely.

And that is a huge challenge that not-so-exciting Joe Biden must meet if he is to win a second term, so:

  1. What should Biden do in order to win?
  2. What must you do to ensure that happens, so that you get what you want and, so very importantly, so that you don’t get what you deeply don’t want?

Here’s a little help for you:

Link to this Sheila Markin post and scroll down to the “USE YOUR WORRY TO ACTIVATE YOURSELF” section. Admit it: you’re worried. You’ll find a list of places to go where you can pitch in, take action, alleviate some of your anxiety and make a difference.

Click to join The Union. Their Action Center will give you all the direction you need for where to go and what to do to make a difference.

Link to Mobilize and register so they can aim you geographically and find ways for you to mobilize and make a difference.

Subscribe to The Grassroots Connector and see how you can make a difference.

Are you seeing the pattern? It’s time for us to make a difference.

Supreme Court

It looks quite likely that the Court will strike down the State of Colorado’s decision to remove Trump from its 2024 ballot. The questions of the justices during oral arguments often focused on distinctions without a difference, like whether a president holding office is an officer of the government. And it gets worse.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is a plain language statement that those who have taken an oath to the Constitution – like a president does – and who then participates in an insurrection against our government or who gives aid and comfort to those who rebel in such a way, may not hold office. The framers of this Amendment were exquisitely clear that people like Jefferson Davis must never hold power again. They felt the pain of our Civil War acutely, so they knew how important it was to prevent those who broke faith from holding office.

If the Court decides as it appears it will, the justices will have by-passed the requirement of Article V of the Constitution requiring a 2/3 vote of both Houses of Congress and the affirmation of 3/4 of the states. That is because this Court will have voided Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, something that should require a new amendment.

Think of that: This Court may unilaterally amend our Constitution. That puts every one of us in peril, as it can unilaterally steal our rights and our freedom.

Tunnels

Click me for the story about humanitarian aid that Hamas is keeping from the hostages

The strife in Gaza continues and, like nearly everything in the Middle East, things are complicated and rarely what they seem to be. Bret Stephens posted a most clarifying piece, The Meaning of Gaza’s Tunnels. He wrote,

“Hamas’s tunnels measure between 350 and 450 miles in a territory that’s just 25 miles long. (By comparison, the London Underground is only 249 miles long.”

Here’s another comparison: The entire New York City subway tunnels are only 145 miles in length.

Q. What do you suppose that enormous Gaza excavation is for?

A. To provide command centers, shelter for Hamas fighters and to build and warehouse huge factories to construct rockets and other munitions for the sole purpose of attacking and killing Israelis.

Palestinians have been impoverished for decades by the diversion of resources intended for the benefit of the Gaza people. The resources have been used instead solely to build this subterranean military fortress. Again, its only purpose is to enable Hamas to kill Jews and eliminate Israel.

Read Stephens’ piece, as well as another of his posts linked from the bottom of his current one. I promise you’ll learn important things you don’t yet know. They just might change how you see this awful, ongoing Gaza war.

Late Addition

Take this pledge for democracy and then link through.

Click me


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

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

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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