Trump

The Through-Line


Last Sunday’s post dealt with the goal of extremist Republicans: destruction. They want to destroy democracy and replace it with autocracy – fascism. They want to destroy the Constitution and replace it with some tool of absolute power only for themselves. They want to destroy facts and truth and replace them with propaganda and self-serving fictions – “alternative facts” – which, as you know, are lies wearing an enemy uniform.

And they don’t care who gets hurt. That was perfectly captured by Trump’s soon-to-be-indicted lawyer, John Eastman, who, at the rally of insurrection on January 6, 2021, proudly declared, “We’re kicking ass and taking names!” I guess that works happily for the kickers, but not so much for the kick-ees. The bad news is that you are intended by the extremists to be one of the kick-ees.

This post is my promised through-line offering to help to explain this behavior, why the self-righteous extremists would want destruction.

I believe this is driven by a primitive, tribal fear of “others.” It is intentionally exclusionary of those not of “our clan.” It is a defense against anything different, anything that might upset what is familiar and feels safe. It is existential tribal warfare.

We pick up a major thread of this to use as example: our 400-year habit of persecuting Blacks. They are different, as White supremacists will have you know. We have bounced around hating many “others” over the centuries, too, including indigenous people (happily misnamed “Indians”), Asians, Irish, Italians, Jews, Catholics and more – really any group that isn’t Anglo-Saxon Protestant and even some who are. The problem now is that Whites are losing their place as our majority racial group and – gasp! – some of those other people have already secured some rights for themselves. Even women! If this is a zero sum game as so many believe, what’s a frightened White supremacist to do?

My stab at understanding this is aided by the pages of Andy Borowitz’s Profiles in Ignorance (see Fine Print #5 below):

“In 2020, Stuart Stevens, who worked on both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, published It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. Stevens points out what few Republicans have acknowledged: the views that people find abhorrent in Trump make him not the antithesis of Reagan but his rightful successor. “What happens if you spend decades focused on appealing to whites and treating nonwhite voters with, at best, benign neglect?” Stevens asks.

“You get good at doing what it takes to appeal to white voters. That is the truth that led to what is famously called “the southern strategy.” That is the path that leads you to becoming what the Republican Party now proudly embraces: a white grievance party .  .  . Today, in the age of Donald Trump, the most openly racist president since Andrew Johnson or his hero Andrew Jackson (to the extent a know-nothing narcissist is capable of having a hero), many Republicans who find Trump repulsive or at least consider him abrasive and uncouth hark back to Reagan as the standard compared with whom Trump is woefully inadequate .  .  .

But in the area of race, there is a direct line from the more genteel prejudice of Ronald Reagan to the white nationalism of Donald Trump.”

“As for Reagan’s ‘civility and personal grace,’ as Peter Wehner put it, which Reagan, exactly, was he describing? The one who used racist dog whistles like ‘states’ rights’ and ‘welfare queen’? The one who said, of student protesters, ‘If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with’? The one who wished that California’s hungry would contract botulism? The one who permitted his press secretary to turn AIDS into a joke? The one who called African leaders cannibals and monkeys? The Party of Reagan seems pretty recognizable to me [now].”

The through-line also picks up grievances against government. “Government is the problem,” declared Reagan at all campaign stops and at his first inaugural. It moves that line through Trump’s efforts to undermine all government, leading the way to today’s Republican Rabid Rabies Caucus. They amplify America’s original sin in order to appeal to White voters. They pick at the scabs of both real and imagined grievances, giving people something to use to justify their tribal fear-turned-to-anger-turned-to-hatred.

It didn’t start with Reagan. He was hundreds of years too late to have begun that. What he did do is to pick up the ball that Richard Nixon had carried (his “Southern Strategy”) and run way downfield with it. That was “Saint Ronny,” as the myopic, “O’ for the good old days” folks call him, but there was nothing saintly about him.

Pogo was right

Be clear that this post looks mostly at the issue of race being used to polarize our citizens. The important part is that this and more were used to lead to a violent attempt to end our democracy, commit murders and subjugate our people. Worse, some of our elected officials participated in this attempted coup to destroy our country. Here’s a list of the 147 Congressional dishonorables who violated their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. They instead chose to surrender their honor and integrity to a would-be tyrant in order to serve their petty selfishness. And they’re still doing that.

History is full of examples of self-serving dishonorables who stoke fear and hatred in order to seize power for themselves. Our challenge today is that many of our dishonorables are still in positions of power and influence. They stoke amygdala stimulated fear and hatred of “others” – that primitive tribal thing – and seek to crush E Pluribus Unum.

That is the through-line.

I’m not sure that John Lewis was right when he declared powerfully, “We’re better than this.”

But we could be.

Finally, this Great Trampling of Rights is well underway by these tribal terrorists. That’s what all the destruction is about. If a right is to endure, there must be a mechanism to ensure it against these assaults. So, here’s a question for us and for our rights:

What is a right without a remedy?

It seems to me that the remedy is up to us.

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Destruction


It’s painfully obvious that the primary purpose of the debt ceiling is to provide a leverage point for Republican wackos to use to pretend to be deeply concerned about government spending. They know they’re unable to club government to death like a baby seal or put it in the dryer and shrink it like a cheap wool sweater until it’s small enough to flush down the bathtub drain. Instead, they pretend that refusing to allow the government to pay its bills and holding the economy of the world hostage until they get their way is powerful negotiating juju.

Just think: They can dramatically harm hundreds of millions of Americans due to the jobs that will be wiped out and interest rates will soar and impoverish everyone. Whole industries could be wiped out. If that weren’t good enough work by the extremists, submarining American trustworthiness around the world will spread financial ruin across the globe, causing a worldwide depression. Plus, our allies will see that we aren’t reliable, so they’ll run for cover, looking for something stable to align with. Maybe Vladimir Putin, who’s stable because he kills his opponents with poison in their underwear. Good thinking, Republican financial and national security geniuses!

That begs the question of why they would want to drive all that destruction. Hint: It isn’t because they don’t want granny to receive her Social Security checks. It’s for one related and one unrelated reason.

The related reason is that they don’t want those freeloading Blacks to get any form of welfare. Not Social Security, not Medicare, not Medicaid, not food stamps – nothing. That’s because they know those people are welfare queens and young bucks up to no good. Ronald Reagan told them so, even though he was unable to point to a single person matching those descriptions that he repeated at every campaign stop in 1980 and again in 1984. The annoying fact that more Whites than any other racial group benefit from such programs doesn’t influence the calculus of these extremists about Blacks in the slightest.

The unrelated reason that’s driving all this “If I don’t get my way I’m gonna hold my breath until I turn blue!” behavior has nothing to do with debt, be it a ceiling or otherwise. These people are dedicated to tearing down our institutions, our government, our way of life and the stability of our society and our culture. They are chaos agents – anarchists – in a constant rage and without a care about who gets hurt. These are nihilists with a bottomless pit of negativity and a complete absence of moral conviction. Their goal is destruction.

Lest you think this description is overblown, listen to anything that comes out of the mouths of Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks and the rest of the Rabid Rabies Caucus that just extorted control of the House from Kevin McCarthy. Listen to their incoherent rages and what you will hear is tear-it-down cruelty. Think: the stolen election fraud that they promoted. There is nothing they want to build. Their goal is destruction.

Who are you here for?

Democrats in the majority in the Senate and a Democrat in the White House won’t help a bit to staunch the flow of blood from school kids shot up by a mass murderer because the House extremists won’t lift a finger to make things better. Have a look at how Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) spoke to this in a House committee hearing last year. It’s clear that the Republicans on this committee had no interest in creating safety for our kids. They were just fine with the carnage – the chaos. They still are, because their goal is destruction.

DHA Secretary Alejandro Majorkas

Try this for chaos. The Republicans wail White supremacist tears about our broken immigration system (southern border only) and want to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Majorkas (a Cuban American) because it’s still broken and he’s an easy target. Yet they refuse every opportunity to take action to improve our immigration system. That’s “every” as in: every. So, the hits just keep on coming from our southern border, because

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

And it’s funny how the chaos spawners never complain about immigration at any other port of entry. Gotta wonder what that’s about. Or not, because we already know that their White Supremacist goal is destruction.

They dislike democracy because of that pesky business of others having a voice about what happens. You know: that annoying majority rule thing. Besides, democracy is slow and messy, not like autocracy where all that’s needed comes from an absolute autocrat. No, a policy of “tear it all down and leave what’s left in the hands of thugs” suits them just fine because their goal is destruction.

It’s possible that a Senate controlled by Democrats will provide the necessary shield against some of the self-destructive insanity of these people. What it will not do is allow us to raise the debt ceiling and avoid national and international disaster.

  • What was formerly common decency is now under attack from malicious thugs nearly everywhere. You can see it every day in our lying, cheating politicians, in the violent actors, like the thugs who shot up the houses and offices of Democratic politicians in Albuquerque, and in the quiet refusal of school boards to declare heritage months because they “exclude people.” That’s really woke stuff coming from people who claim to abhor woke. Worse, they refuse to teach children the whole truth and they burn books. Want chaos? Just destroy education, take away learning and stoke fear. You’ll get more chaos and destruction than you can imagine.
  • Quotations of the Week
  • But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out
  •                 “Revolution,” Lennon/McCartney
  • .
  • What are the struggles that have your name on them?
  •                      Rev. Dr. Willie Dwayne Francois III
  • Note: Look for the through-line on this destruction business in Wednesday’s post.
  • __________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Full Transcript – First Press Conference


Outside the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
.

Jones:  Mr. Speaker, Cynthia Jones here – Laughing Stock News. We cover the Congress.

You know about the blistering list of lies George Santos told in order to get elected in New York’s 3rd congressional district. You’ve been asked about that repeatedly and have refused to make a statement condemning his dishonesty, much less calling for Santos’ removal from the House. Why are you so passive in the face of this enormous breach of trust?

Kevin McCarthy: We will follow the Constitution for this as for any questionable action. This matter has been referred to the House Ethics Committee and we will abide by their decision. Besides, it’s not as if the Democrats don’t lie. Why aren’t you pursuing Adam Schiff for all the unethical things he’s done?

Jones: What are the unethical things you think Representative Schiff has done?

McCarthy: Miss Jones, everybody knows about his misbehavior. People are saying – many people are telling me – he’s done terrible things.

Jones: Can you name just one thing, Mr. Speaker?

McCarthy: I’m not going to do your work for you, Miss Jones. Look it up yourself. Next.

Altschuler: Mr. Speaker, Jack Altschuler of Disambiguation News. Untangling politicians’ word salads and mis-directions. We’re still recovering from reporting on Herschel Walker.

As you know, your Republican caucus has recently dramatically reduced the power of the Ethics Committee. In addition, that committee is notorious for taking an extremely long time, sometimes years, to decide anything. Please explain why referring Representative Santos and his obvious lying to that committee is a proper path to deal with him and to restore trust in the House.

McCarthy: As I’ve said many times, he was elected to Congress by his constituents and their wishes must be followed, as well as the dictates of the Constitution.

Altschuler: First, Mr. Speaker, to be more accurate about the election, George Santos wasn’t elected to anything. His phony résumé and his phony personal history were elected. Further, the Constitution has nothing to do with a representative being a flagrant liar and subsequently being punished for lying.

McCarthy: Yes, well of course we’ll abide by the Constitution and the recommendation of the Ethics Committee. Don’t be surprised if we find Democrats have lied, too. And what about those classified documents Biden hid in his garage? Who was he making secret deals with? He could have compromised our national security! See, that’s what you journalists do. You let Democrats slide and then viciously attack Republicans.

Jones: Who told you that journalists do that, Mr. Speaker?

McCarthy: Everyone knows that, Miss Jones, if that is your name. President Trump knows that. People are saying – many people are telling me – there’s so much unfairness in the mainstream media. You’re so unfair.

Connors: Mr. Speaker, Phil Connors, Groundhog Day News. Again.

Let’s stay focused on the Santos issue.

Last week The Gallup Organization released their survey findings of who Americans trust. Only telemarketers were found to be less trustworthy than members of Congress. Aren’t you perpetuating that distrust by refusing to act promptly and decisively to deal with Mr. Santos for his blatant and pervasive lying?

McCarthy: No, not at all. The American people didn’t send us here in the majority expecting us to eat our young. Besides, he was a solid vote for me when I needed that vote. I won’t forget it, either, unless, of course, I hear from President Trump and he says to get rid of that loser.

Connors & Jones: WHAT!?!

Altschuler: So, you’re saying that you getting the Speakership was more important than the veracity of this entire institution and that you’ll dump Santos if Trump tells you to do that?

McCarthy: I’m saying that Santos can help our country by voting the way I tell him to vote, which is how President Trump tells me to vote. That’s how we’ll begin hearings into the corrupt FBI to get to the bottom of their phony investigations.

Altschuler: Mr. Speaker, you’ve spoken many times about wanting to investigate the investigators, claiming “weaponization of the federal government,” but are you aware that every FBI Director beginning with J. Edgar Hoover and up to the present has been a Republican? Does that information change your desire to make accusatory claims against the agency?

McCarthy: Absolutely not! Those people have been so unfair to President Trump with their witch hunts. They raided his home in the dead of night and all they found were a few pieces of paper, but they’re making it sound like a breach of national security or something in order to persecute him.

Altschuler: Seriously?

McCarthy: Our special subcommittee under the purview of Rep. Jim Jordan will get to the bottom of this weaponization swamp.

Repeat: Mr. Speaker, Ralph Repeat of Culture Wars Review. Reporting the oldies again and again.

Back to Representative Santos.

What do you say to the people of New York’s 3rd congressional district who feel insulted, betrayed and, as of this morning, have made it clear that they realize they have no representation in the House because George Santos has shown that his word means nothing?

McCarthy: We’ll be extra careful to consider their opinions. In fact, we’ve already told them what their opinions are. Plus, we’re ready to investigate Hunter Biden and his incriminating laptop. We’re going to get to the bottom of Benghazi, too. We’ll repeal and replace Obamacare and we’re going to expunge the impeachments of President Trump. Plus, we’ll block any socialist Democrat efforts to raise the debt ceiling. We’ll put a stop to their tax and spend craziness.

Altschuler: Mr. Speaker, your Republican caucus has promised to hamstring our nation by refusing to pay for “things such as Medicaid, food safety inspections, border control and air traffic control, to name just a handful of thousands of programs.” Does that mean you’re okay with the breaches of safety that will cause? And are you okay with the United States defaulting on its debt which the prior Congress authorized and, most importantly, with failing to protect the full faith and credit of our nation?

McCarthy: Of course. My caucus is prepared to make all abortion illegal, end or privatize all those entitlement programs, put prayer back in our school rooms and have good guys with guns everywhere to ensure our MAGA way of life, regardless of the cost to anyone or the whining of liberal economists. We know we’re right. That’s why we never listen to anyone.

Jones and others: HUH!?!

McCarthy: Of course, we’ll listen to President Trump. He’s a great businessman and an expert on economics. He knows how to make great deals to make America great again and eliminate our national debt.

Altschuler: You do know that our national debt grew 40% under Trump, right?

McCarthy: There you go with that unfair press business again. Why don’t you instead ask about Biden’s horrible judge picks and how he’s undermining our nation, like with that Ketanji woman? She’s really black, you know.

Econ: Mr. Speaker, Eric Econ of 4N – No Nonsense Numbers News, cutting through the math.

Last week Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin said, “failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability.” How do you respond to her dire warning as you threaten governmental default?

McCarthy: That’s just socialist Democrat talk. We don’t pay any attention to it.

Altschuler: Back to George Santos, Mr. Speaker. Are you comfortable being in the House of Representatives seated just a few steps from this liar? How can you count on him to honor his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution when nothing he says can be counted on to be truthful?

McCarthy: Easy. Watch me.

(Turning to his right) Miss .  .  .  I forgot your name.

Taylor-Greene: It’s Susie Taylor-Greene, Mr. Speaker.

McCarthy: Right

Taylor-Greene: My sister asked me to let you know that we’re behind you all the way, locked and loaded.

McCarthy: Excellent!

Now, I understand that you had a question for me about the new drapes in my Speaker’s office. They’re really beautiful and they don’t remind me of my awful predecessor at all. Be sure to look at my golden gavel, too. It’s really cool.

Altschuler: That’s not gold, Mr. Speaker. It’s a lot of brass.

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

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


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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Central Cause


“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”

So declares the Executive Summary of The United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Yes, that’s the full name of the Committee and yes, the 161 pages of this Executive Summary, plus over 40 pages of footnotes, are an introduction to the full report. That will be released today and it will be a weight lifting appliance, over 1,000 pages long.

The good news is that this opening report is most readable and is remarkable for its clarity (here’s a link – see for yourself), giving the promise of similar accessibility of the full report. The bad news is the collection of despicable and dangerous people and actions it details, actions that caused the death of five people, injured 140 police officers, were a death threat to all in Congress and to the Vice President, vandalized the citadel of our democracy and nearly ended this brave experiment in self-government.

The Committee is referring the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, Donald J. Trump, to the United States Department of Justice – i.e. recommending indicting and prosecuting him – for:

  1. Obstructing an official proceeding
  2. Conspiring to defraud the United States
  3. Conspiring to make false statements
  4. Inciting insurrection

These charges are well fleshed out in the Executive Summary.

Any non-lawyer can compile a long list of Trump’s illegal actions over the past 6 horrendous years, but the Committee constrained its investigation to solely those related to his actions and those of his co-conspirators attendant to the events of January 6. Of course, these are forehead slappers for anyone who has paid attention and who is not in mindless thrall to this would-be authoritarian. pharaoh, king, monarch, fuhrer, emperor, god – choose your own label.

There are so many outrageous things detailed in this summary. Here’s just one.

John Eastman, Trump’s lawyer who crafted a multi-point, devious plan to subvert the will of the people and the Constitution, told Trump that his plan, if executed by Trump, would violate the law. Trump ignored that inconvenient fact. That surprises nobody.

Neither is anyone surprised by his cruelty toward Mike Pence or his reveling in the riot and its carnage for hours, watching it on TV from the White House dining room. Nor is anyone surprised at his ongoing lies and vitriol and grift.

As I watched the violence unfolding on that awful day I could not stop myself from yelling at the TV, “Where’s the National Guard? Where the hell is the National Guard?” Unsurprisingly, Trump never ordered them to deploy and come to the aid of the besieged Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police. Those officers were bravely trying to do the impossible and were getting severely beaten for their efforts. And they got no help.

There has been talk since the the attack that Trump ordered the DC National Guard to stand down. The preliminary report doesn’t speak to that. Perhaps the full report will.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) tried to get authorization to send the Maryland National Guard to reinforce those officers. He was refused. Perhaps the full report will speak to that, too. I assure you that the police officers who were there that day can speak to that.

When the committee comes to me for my recommendations to prevent another such episode of destruction I will have a ready answer: Install easily accessible fire hoses at strategic locations around the Capitol Building, including doors and first floor windows. Half a dozen fire hoses spraying the insurrectionists on that cold January day would have kept them out of the building and would have put down the riot.

There has been criticism claiming there were intelligence failures, but intelligence that predicted this attack was reported. Our agencies detected the planning for this attack, but they shared it – get this – with the White House and Secret Service. That’s where that kind of information is supposed to go, but this time the recipients of the information, especially the key recipient of the information, had no interest in taking action to prevent the attack. Indeed, he and they were all guns blazing to incite and expand the attack.

There is far more in this Executive Summary and I urge you to read it. You’ll learn much about so many bad guys and felons. These people are insurrectionists. They are traitors to the oath to which they swore and to our country. They are still in Congress and they walk free. So does Trump.

Outrageous, but fixable.

Meanwhile, great thanks goes to every member of the January 6th Committee for their courage, for their insistence upon finding truth, for speaking truth, for grace and clarity in their presentations, for their even-handedness, for their work to wade through over 1,100 interviews and over 1,000,000 pages of documents and for their uncompromised integrity. How very refreshing that is for all of us and o’ the joy of the beginning of a return to justice! That’s good news.

More Good News

Today is the winter solstice, the day when the sun is in it’s southernmost location in our sky, resulting in our shortest hours of daylight and our longest hours of night. The reason that’s good news is because tomorrow is the day when daylight begins to grow longer by a few seconds per day, accelerating to 2.5 minutes more per day by March 20.

That’s good news, indeed!

Meanwhile, it will be nasty, potentially killing cold in most of the country. It started a couple of days ago in parts of the lower 48 and if it hasn’t visited your door yet, it’s going to soon. Give a warm coat and hat to a homeless person – they don’t have central heating – and practice safe winter.

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Divine? Not So Much


Hey – it’s September 11. 9/11. That date rings a bell, right?

In this constant blizzard of the absurd, where everything is BREAKING NEWS! our attention is easily diverted. Nevertheless, it’s important that we hold on to the truth of it – the horror, the political ineptitude, the generosity of strangers, the selfless courage of our first responders and the determination of the warriors on Flight 93.

This is a good day to remember that day.


The Divine Right of Trump

From Wikipedia:

“In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God’s mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy.”

That’s very legitimizing if you’re the king.

King George III, who in 1776 was on the throne by means of just such a right, was considered by many to be a mad king. Ref: the Declaration of Independence for an astonishing and awful list of things he did. The word “mad” just might come to mind.

He manipulated rules and events to enrich himself and his wealthy aristocrats, including the notorious tax on tea that gave the East India Trading Company a virtual monopoly and triggered the Boston Tea Party. Divine source of power or not, sometimes We The People get to the point where, as Bernie Sanders likes to say, enough is enough, although I’ve never cared for that phrase when any at all is way too much.

Meanwhile, you can substitute the disgraced, twice-impeached, former president’s name for King George III in the Declaration of Independence. Then substitute Trump’s egregious wrongdoing, including his illegal, unconstitutional and immoral actions into an updated version and it’s now the Declaration of Expulsion. You’ll understand immediately that he is totally mad and why he was the loser in the 2020 election. Any of him is way too much.

Plus, there’s nothing divine about Trump. So, notwithstanding the mindless and odious Christian theocracy zealots and the “self-defining as patriots” insurrectionists, we turned him out decisively for all those mad reasons. And we’ll do so again via the voting booth, should he beat all the legal raps coming his way.

Click me

All of which is to announce to Trump and to all of his angry, frothing (some just deluded) voter base and to his vile legislative sycophants that there is no Divine Right of Trump. To paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, “These aren’t the leaders we’re looking for. We can go about our business of replacing them.” Here I’m working a Jedi mind trick on you.

Yoda

To be fair, Trump has one inherent right, albeit constitutional rather than divine. He has the right to be held accountable and to pay the price for his wrongdoing. It’s going to be a rocky, uncertain and dangerous road, but, quoting Yoda, “Make that happen we must. On this everything depends.”

Yoda is very wise.

Can’t Catch a Break

King Charles III

The recent anniversary and media saturation coverage of Princess Diana’s death were noteworthy for an unexpected reason.

As their marriage was devolving, both Diana and Prince Charles had extramarital affairs. She was understood and continued to be adored by the public. He was castigated. He never stood a chance, as the public took the side of the pretty princess.

Now Queen Elizabeth II has died after 16 years as a princess and 70 years as queen. She endeared herself to the public, first at age 14, as she spoke via radio to the terrified children of the empire during the blitz of WW II. She brought words of comfort, hope and strength to them. Later she greeted the troops coming home and did so much more over the decades that won over the public. And she reigned for such a long time that few can remember any other monarch.

Immediately upon her death her 73 year old son became King Charles III. It really won’t matter what he does or how well he does it. His mother was and will remain so enormously popular that he will be regarded as little more than a caretaker until his son becomes king and renewal begins.

This guy just can’t catch a break.

Here’s Maureen Dowd’s take on this.

————————————

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

Cancel Culture, Crayons, Lincoln & Lemonade


Cancel Culture

It’s about shutting down, shutting up and shutting off opponents.

The power of authoritarians lies in the absolute, unthinking enforcement of their desires and taboos by absolute, unthinking followers who are otherwise average people. We’ve watched this dynamic in constant replay through all the Trump years, as people did and do unpatriotic things just because Trump wanted them to – and they’ve believed their actions were patriotic. All such things require is a nod from the authoritarian and people will do destructive, even self-destructive things. And nobody will push back against the authoritarian for fear of being persecuted and even expelled from the group at any time and for any reason.

For example, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was a Trump sycophant. He regularly carried water for Trump and even talked insurrectionist trash at the rally on the Ellipse on January 6. But he got on the wrong side of Trump and has been kicked to the side by Trump and his followers. Brooks has been cancelled.

That’s cancel culture.

The funny thing is that Trump suck-ups point their sinister, threatening fingers at Democrats, accusing them of cancel culture whenever Dems decry bad behavior, like cops killing unarmed Black men. Then these same Trump wannabees proceed to cancel gays, lesbians, Blacks, teachers, doctors and more using legislation to shut them down, up and off. And they seek to end our democracy and our Constitution, which these cancelers falsely claim they are protecting.

The armies of the authoritarians charge ahead without so much as a single critical thought in their heads. That’s how Hitler got millions of ordinary and otherwise peaceful Germans to do the most despicable things. Threats and intimidation are all it takes. As Lord Tarkin said in Star Wars – Episode IV, “Fear will keep the local systems in line.” And so it does.

Republicans used to be strong advocates for law and order and for the rule of law. Yet on April 6 all but two Republicans voted not to hold Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress for having obviously and publicly refused to comply with lawful subpoenas issued to them by the January 6 Committee. Plainly, these guys broke the law. You would be in jail in a heartbeat if you did such a thing, but 203 Republican representatives voted to let these guys skate.

This happened because the House Select Committee is getting ever closer to Trump’s involvement in the insurrection, so Trump wants to stymie the committee. His unthinking and absolutist sycophants in the House did his unpatriotic bidding by voting against the contempt resolutions for fear of being persecuted and perhaps expelled from the Trump cult, like Mo Brooks. Ask Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney if you need further explanation.

Obeying Trump is more important to most Republicans than obeying the law.
So, they used their NO votes to cancel the rule of law.
.

That’s cancel culture.

Here’s a reminder from the New York TimesBret Stevens. Read these words as the marching orders for today’s Republicans.

.  .  .  we recall the words of Otter, one of the frat house characters from “National Lampoon’s Animal House”: “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”

Canceling the rule of law is really stupid. Our job is to make sure that effort is futile. We have to cancel the cancelers.

Crayons

I don’t know where I found the graphic to the right – at the bottom it says, “Your Tango.” Feel free to explore.

Meanwhile, this is so simple – and frightening – that it could be written in crayon. If I had crayons.

Somehow, I managed to get to this point in life without having read George Orwell’s 1984. While walking the dog recently I came to a house with a Little Free Library in the front yard by the sidewalk. There I found a copy of 1984 and took it home.

Couldn’t resist

Within minutes of starting to read the book I was startled to find a plain description of Trump rallies, the January 6 insurrection and the mindless public recitations of demonstrably and obviously false claims. Here’s just a bit of the description of a Big Brother Two Minutes Hate session.

“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”

” .  .  .  the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of ‘B-B! .  .  .  B-B! .  .  .  B-B!” over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first “B” and the second – a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms.  .  .  it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.”

There is a mob mentality that is alive and murderous in our country. From “Lock her up!” to “Beat the hell out of protesters” to “Can we use the guns now?” we are awash in angry people who deny reality and recite the lies and rage they have been taught to chant by the authoritarian. They are ravenous for power and do not care who or what gets trampled by their stampede, even those things that allow them to rage.

Sometimes, their violence is thinly veiled. Sometimes, they make death threats and they menace voters and school boards. Sometimes, they shoot people.

Would that Orwell were wrong.

Abraham Lincoln and You

No, that isn’t the title of Heather Cox-Richardson’s April 15 post, but it could be.

She begins her post with this: “Early in the morning of April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln breathed his last.” With him could have gone the glue holding the states together and our very democracy, even as the Civil War was all but over.

But it wasn’t over – not really – and we see it being waged today in sneaky, dishonest ways. Except for slavery itself, all the divides of those awful years are with us and they are as threatening and corrupt today as they were then. Richardson’s post is a must-read – here’s a link.

Lemonade

Friday night I found the flyer you see at the right stuffed into my mailbox. The next day I stopped by to find that 3 first grade girls, 7 years old, had created the flyer and had set up a lemonade stand, complete with cookies, surprise packages and bags of dog treats. They and several of their friends flagged down cars, sold their goodies and were devastatingly cute.

“Just a kid thing,” you might say. But when that cold spring day was over these kids had raised almost $800 to send to an outfit doing humanitarian work for Ukrainians.

And the kids had learned a lesson about helping those who need help. They’re a great example for all of us.

Girls, YOU ROCK!

————————————

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 2023 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.

————————————

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.

———————————–

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

Same Song, Next Verse


What Will We Do Then?

The largest invasion of a sovereign nation since WW II is occurring, It’s the current iteration of European wars ignited by a narcissist who thinks he’s going to rule the world. People have died and more will continue to die in urban warfare. Meanwhile, Putin has gone cynical and fully delusional.

He’s using the same blitzkrieg tactics against Ukraine that Hitler used to invade Czechoslovakia, Poland and France. He’s claimed this is to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Wait a second: Nazi tactics to de-Nazify Ukraine? That’s such miserable crap that I don’t have words to describe it.

What Putin has said he wants is as disingenuous as it is homicidal. Yes, he wants Ukraine, but not because it’s a traditional part of Russia. Yes, he wants Ukraine, but not for its wheat and industrial capacity. What this ex-Soviet KGB thug actually wants more than anything is a new world order with Russia and himself at the center. Crushing and owning the entirety of Ukraine is the next step on his megalomaniac rampage.

Putin believes that “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” Not the 20 million killed in WW I or the 80 million killed in WW II or the 12 million killed in the Holocaust. All of those happened right where he could see them, but those catastrophes pale in comparison to the end of the Soviet Union, according to Putin. So, he wants it back. We make a strategic mistake if we think he wants anything less or that there is some hard stop in tactics or geography that he won’t exceed. That must be our clarity of what we must stop.

Look at a map (enlarge it to 100% for easier viewing) and it’s plain to see that Moldova and Belarus will be next in Putin’s incremental land grab plan. Belarus is already a Russian vassal state and Moldova is not a NATO member nation. Easy pickings for Putin. So will be nearly any of the -stans and he already has Georgia. How hard would it be for him to grab Azerbaijan and Armenia?

The international push back might be strong enough that Putin would pause before invading neighboring Finland, a non-NATO country. While he’s pausing he’ll contemplate how to “get back” the Baltic states, Romania, Hungary, and Poland, all of which are NATO member countries.

Here’s the key question: If NATO must face Putin and Russia on the battlefield, it will be the start of WW III. What will we do?

I hope the planning for that was done a long time ago. And I also hope that the plans are being updated right now by very smart, well informed, insightful people.

It Used To Be .  .  .

.  .  . that politics stopped at the water’s edge. When it came to international matters, we wouldn’t want any adversary to have any ambiguity about our national resolve, especially in the face of hostilities. Apparently, Republicans, opportunists, conspiracy wackos and self-promoting narcissists didn’t get the message. Apparently, their selfish little aspirations are more important than  our national security. Apparently, they aren’t patriots.

There is traitorous talk from Republican mouthpieces speaking in support of Putin. They are anti-democracy, anti-American useful idiots.

Would that I had a second version of this pic with Tucker Carlson’s face on the little brat. Many thanks to JN for the pic.

Trump has declared Putin a genius, that he’s smart and savvy and his words are being used in Russia to inflate support for Putin. And Trump is not alone in his submarining of American interests.

Margaret Carlson reports on Fox blabber Tucker Carson in The Washington Post:

“And, in a particularly obnoxious rant, he suggested that Putin is morally superior to “permanent Washington,” some vaguely malign force that Carlson claims is manufacturing a global pandemic, teaching children to embrace racial discrimination and trying to snuff out Christianity.”

It isn’t just these two fools. The list includes Sen. Ted Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, SD Governor Kristi Noem and more. They’re in a race to criticize President Biden in order to burnish their extremist bona fides for their runs for President in 2024, So, they praise Putin and Putin uses their words to praise himself. They are quite clearly giving aid and comfort to our adversary and potential enemy.

It used to be that Republicans – conservatives – presented themselves as the iron-spined defenders of American values. They had a  permanently cocked fist ready to punch Russia in the nose. What would those Republicans have said about Trump, Tucker Carlson and the others? Where are the staunch Republicans lining up to support the President in opposing Putin now?

From USLegal.com:

“Treason is punishable by death if a traitor levies war against his state or country or supports its enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

We aren’t in a shooting war against Russia, so the term “traitor” probably can’t be used accurately for today’s conniving Republicans and blabbers. If you have a better word, please post it in the Comments section to help us all.

And Now The Adolphs

Dan Rather’s post of February 18 included this very hard-to-look-at pic of an Elon Musk tweet.

Apparently, Musk was having a hissy fit over a Canadian regulation of financial institutions concerning crypto currencies. Clearly, this regulation must have been so heinous that Musk had to invoke the murder of millions of people and the laying waste of an entire continent. Musk has taken down the tweet, but his damage was done.

This is America and Musk is entitled to whatever crushingly cruel metaphors and hateful views he holds, just like Trump and Carlson. He has the right to see his billions of dollars as proof of his superiority and his entitlement to be rude, disrespectful and detestable. But there are limits, as he should have learned from the $137 million jury award to a former Tesla employee for racism at Musk’s San Francisco area factory. On the other hand, Musk’s hateful post was put up after that jury award. Maybe Musk didn’t learn anything at all from that lost lawsuit.

We have extremists coming out of the woodwork saying false, cruel and incendiary things. We have spine-free politicians and political candidates willing to say any stupid and false thing in order to benefit themselves.

Sometimes it works in reverse, as we’ve seen from the new governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. During the campaign last year he steered clear of Trump and spoke in moderate terms, invoking moderate policies. Once elected he went full-on radical, claiming the awfulness of Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms that were damaging Virginia’s fragile White children. We can’t have that going on, he told Virginians, and he’s promoting a law to put a stop to the evil distortion of children’s brains done by CRT.

There’s just one thing about that: no K-12 school in that entire state was or is teaching CRT, nor was any school even contemplating teaching it. In fact, there isn’t a single K-12 school anywhere in the country teaching CRT. It isn’t even being taught in colleges or universities. It is strictly a law school discussion construct. So, invoking CRT as the evil of evils for Virginia’s delicate, can’t-handle-reality school children goes way past disingenuous; it’s hateful. And Governor Adolph DeSantis is doing the same thing in Florida, as is Governor Adolph Abbott in Texas.

The real issue is teaching the truth about race in America. Youngkin and all the other Republican politicians and far right hand wringers are playing to the White supremacists who don’t want to own any truth that doesn’t puff their chests in Confederate testosterone. It is exactly the same as stoking hatred.

Adolph Musk and the other Adolphs have the same right to free speech that you and I have. There isn’t much we can do to muzzle them and their hatred or to silence Putin’s useful idiots with their anti-American undermining of our country without muzzling ourselves. What we can do is to speak out.

We can do that with our voices, our votes and we can do that with our dollars. We can donate to the campaigns of political candidates whose feet are firmly planted on Earth 1. My love affair with daydreaming of buying a Tesla is over. My fascination with Musk’s Space X won’t thrill me again and I won’t send links to my geeky family members and friends to watch his launches. And I won’t vacation in Virginia, Florida or Texas.

I will do whatever I can to avoid supporting the haters and will actively oppose them. I’ll do that until our politics bears some resemblance to reality. Some kindness would be good, too.

Required Reading

Hillary Clinton co-wrote an essay (or here) with Dan Scherwin in The Atlantic last week that you must read if you care at all about our democracy, our global leadership and national security.

And read Thomas Friedman’s post about why the Russian invasion of Ukraine is different from any we’ve seen and unpredictable in dangerous ways.

————————————

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

Daydream 2, The Rolling Stones & COVIDumb


You can find Daydream 1 here. JA

—————————————–

In Federal Court, Washington DC

It is the jury selection process, where I am being questioned as a potential juror by skilled lawyers for the defendant, Donald J. Trump.

Lawyer: Are you an attorney?

Me: No

Lawyer: Do you now have any legal case pending before any court?

Me: No

Lawyer: Have you ever been involved in either a civil or criminal case?

Me: Yes

Lawyer: Please describe all such cases.

Me: There was a civil dispute years ago with a former employee of my company who violated his employment contract. It’s sad how some people simply can’t be trusted. Know what I mean?

Lawyer: Are there any issues pertaining to that case that remain unresolved?

Me: No

Lawyer: Are you familiar with the defendant, Donald J. Trump?

Me: Yes. I know of him.

Lawyer: How do you know of him?

Me: He was the President of the United States. Pretty hard to miss that.

Lawyer: Do you have any opinions about the defendant?

Me: You’re kidding, right?

Lawyer: Please answer the question.

Me: Yes

Lawyer: Please tell the court what your opinions are, this for the purpose of determining if you will be open to hearing evidence as an unbiased, impartial juror.

Me: Okay.

It’s been established by multiple mental health professionals that Mr. Trump is an amoral narcissist who willfully refuses to consider the harm he does to others while in pursuit of what he wants for himself, which happens pretty much all the time. That enables and encourages the criminal acts he committs in plain sight. He has violated many laws, including sedition, conspiracy to commit lots of crimes, money laundering, various kinds of fraud, incitement to riot, election interference, the emoluments clause of the Constitution, the Hatch Act, at least 20 sexual predator acts and more. So, sure, I’ll be a most impartial juror.

Lawyer: Your Honor, clearly this juror candidate is incapable of being impartial. This goes way beyond a peremptory challenge to his being wholly unfit for jury duty.

Me: No, wait, Your Honor. Don’t listen to him. Put me on the jury. I promise to listen to all of this lawyer’s absurd lies about his client and do it with an open mind. Really. No fingers crossed. I’ll give serious thought to his B.S. evidence before rejecting it. Even more, I’ll consider with an open mind the total crap testimony of the defendant before I vote to convict him and recommend the maximum sentence for each and every one of his crimes. I’m so unbiased that I’ll recommend to the court that the defendant’s sentences run successively with no possibility of parole. That should lock him up with some very unusual people for a few hundred years.

It’ll be great, Your Honor! See? I’m impartial. C’mon, put me on the jury. Please?

The Rolling Stones

In a hopeful article, Build Back Better Isn’t Dead Yet, David Axelrod reminds us of the premature declarations of death of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in 2010. After months of fruitless negotiations with Republicans, no agreement could be found – imagine that! Not even Democrats could agree with one another – imagine that, too! – and many progressives argued at high decibel levels that lack of a public option made the ACA pointless. Nevertheless, the Act passed a couple of months later. In spite of 7,963 Republican legislative efforts over the next 11 years to drown it in a bathtub, the ACA remains the law of the land and continues to grow in popularity.

Obama took heat for years over the lack of a public option, but he consistently responded with the truth: they passed what could be passed. He refused to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

What if we were to apply that same clarity and action to President Biden’s Build Back Better plan? What if we were to pass what can be passed? What if the perfect were set aside in order to achieve the good? What if we were willing to pass BBB piece-by-piece, like FDR did with the New Deal?

The Rolling Stones said it clearly and said it best:

“You can’t always get what you want.

“But if you try sometime, you just might find

“You get what you need.”

COVIDumb

Mark Felt, aka Deep Throat

The U.S. has:

4% of the world’s population

20% of the world’s COVID cases

15.2% of the world’s COVID deaths.

That’s what continues to happen in this first world, wealthiest nation on Earth. For an understanding of how that is possible, do the Deep Throat imperative: Follow the money to determine who benefits from our homicidal dysfunction.

Hint: It might be those who will benefit from a weak economy and an angry citizenry.

.

The big loser states – all with gubernatorial and/or legislative obstacles to vaccinations and masking. There is a terrible price for obstinance and false claims of freedom.

A Tale of Death in Two Same Story Cities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….Can you help with an attribution for this video?

————————————

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

Things Should Not Be This Way


I got to thinking about why I write these posts and came up with a few reasons. One is the hope to persuade others to value a point that seems to me to be important. Another is to inspire people to take action when it’s needed. Yet another, and likely my most important, is to try to understand for myself what seems to be chaotic, senseless and sometimes dangerous – to figure out why things are as they are instead of as they should be. Here are some examples.

Vaccine Refusal

In the 50s and 60s nobody questioned whether science was real or valuable. Indeed, in 1955, many Americans had an especially deep respect for science. In those days there was a panic over kids contracting polio and winding up in iron lung machines, so when Dr. Jonas Salk came up with a vaccine, there weren’t parents refusing it. They just got their kids vaccinated and the polio epidemic ended. Cheers for science and reality. And parents.

Years later Dr. British Quack came along and claimed that vaccines cause autism. His claims were investigated and immediately debunked – repeatedly – yet a lot of parents continue to believe Dr. British Quack and they refuse to get their kids protected from potentially killer diseases. What happened to our belief in science and objective reality?

And yes, everything is subjective, except those things that can be proven with observable facts (you remember those, right?). That’s the stuff of objective reality and people are rejecting it. Things shouldn’t be this way.

Here’s another example

This is from STAT:

They shared their expertise on Covid-19. Then the threats began to come
.

Death threats. Racist and sexist abuse. Photos of hanged corpses. These are some of the responses scientists get after speaking out about Covid-19, a Nature survey of 321 scientists in seven countries reports.

Click through and read the report. People have switched to full-on Insane Mode. They’d rather that millions die than be vaccinated. They prefer that to facing up to objectively provable reality. That intentional not-knowing and its rage are not okay and they’re extremely dangerous, even lethal.

Note that opposition to vaccines goes back to the early 1800s and claims of abridged freedom are a constant. What’s new is the violence. Things shouldn’t be this way.

Conspiracy Hoaxes

Why do some people still believe that our moon landings were frauds created on a Hollywood sound stage? There is objective proof of our moon landings that’s just a look through a telescope away in order to see the flags and other things we left there. But the disbelievers don’t do that. They just spew conspiracies. Things shouldn’t be this way

Sandy Hook really happened. So did the Holocaust. So did cruel, miserable slavery and no, the slaves weren’t happy little minstrels, grateful for their masters’ beneficence. The wilful fools spewing crap to the contrary are, well, spewing crap. Things shouldn’t be this way either.

The Big Lie

I’ve been warning about The Big Lie since Trump was elected. It was my failure that I didn’t recognize it when George W. Bush and Darth Cheney were lying about WMDs. I also failed to tag Newt Gingrich’s insanity during the Clinton years. There’s nothing new about Big Lies, as any student of the work of Joseph Goebbels and Hitler can tell you. Now we have one worthy of those maniacs.

The 2020 election was the cleanest on record. It’s been investigated repeatedly and there was no fraud. Nothing was stolen. This has been established with observable facts. So, why are people ignoring the reality?

Facts no longer seem to matter to millions of Americans. Accusations alone are now perfect proof for them. There’s a perverse logic they use that says if they don’t get their way then someone cheated them – the system was rigged. If they say the Covid vaccines have killed more people than the disease itself and are then presented facts to the contrary, they just claim that the facts are a pack of lies. No grounding in reality is necessary for them.

There are dishonest arguments made up, on the spot to counter any unwelcome fact. It’s coming from politicians, radio blabbers, angry parents at school board meetings, irate citizens at town hall meetings, unhinged hate callers to scientists and, importantly, from the Fox News and One America News liars.

The hate is coming from politicians who refuse to condemn racism, anti-semitism and more. It comes from weasel-word politicians who know full well that the election wasn’t stolen, but who exercise their well developed inner coward, which allows The Big Lie to fester and grow. And it comes from angry Americans who love to hate. No, things should not be this way.

Distortions

In a recent post, No, Australia Is Not Actually An Evil Dictatorship, journalist Van Badham details the offshore bad actors fomenting false rage and posting photo-shopped propaganda pieces in his country. He ends his essay with this:

After all, Australia’s lockdowns, masks and social distancing have kept total nationwide deaths from the virus under 1,500. With its slightly smaller population, Florida — over which Governor DeSantis presides — has lost 57,000 already. It’s that cold reality the propaganda, lurid and outlandish and ridiculous, seeks to banish. But it can’t.

This is but one example of the distortions so easily made by those who would gladly scramble your brain in their bid for power and self-puffery. The internet makes that easy, whether you’re in Austin or Australia. But why should we have to wade through online lies to understand truth? Why should we feel at risk for simply embracing reality? Things should not be this way.

Occasionally Intelligent

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was interviewed on Jake Tapper’s program last Sunday. In the face of Arkansas’ current half a dozen required vaccines for school children, he was asked whether the soon-to-be-approved COVID vaccine for children ages 5 – 11 should be mandated in his state. He said this isn’t the time for that, adding some contorted logic to support his statement.

What he left unsaid is the obvious true reason, that doing so will cause him to lose his job in the next election. I yelled at the TV, asking how many more kids have to die before it will be the right time. What is the tipping point at which dead kids are worth more than his career?

Asa Hutchinson occasionally seems intelligent and says the right thing. This isn’t one of those times.

Things should not be this way.

Power

Millions want to put people in power whose only interest is to have power. The millions mindlessly, ragefully cheer the power grabbers, even though the usurpers will soon steal their independence and personal power. This has happened so many times in so many places over so many centuries that it is historically obvious. And don’t imagine that American exceptionalism will prevent us from plummeting down into that swamp. We aren’t exceptional enough for that.

I’ve told myself that writing about these posts is my part, the way I contribute. That’s great, but who will unite us to stop the theft of our democracy, stop the glorification of rage and hate and who will hold the lamp to light the way to the clarity we so desperately need in order to quiet the chaos and self-destruction?

As I said, I write to make sense of what seems to be chaotic, senseless and sometimes dangerous – to figure out for myself why things are as they are instead of as they should be. I don’t have answers for the big questions. We need someone who does.

I’m losing hope. The red, white and blue I’ve loved, the place for which I’ve had stars in my eyes all my life, is fading so very quickly. If we fail to counter this craziness, soon this will be just a hollow shell of boisterous bravado and vigilante violence that has no more value than something meekly going “poof”.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


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

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