Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

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The 2022 Pond Scum Awards


Pond Scum Award #1

The 2022 Pond Scum Awards

Elon Musk put in a bid to buy Twitter some months ago. Then he tried to slime out of the deal when it didn’t look too good for him anymore. However, even in the face of right wing extremists constantly vaporizing integrity, good sense and reality, a contract is still a contract (for the moment). Musk and his co-investors ponied up the cash and Musk has already started the corporate executions. He did that right after his bathroom sink “look at me” stunt, apparently as if to say, “I bought it – let that sink in.” Turns out that does sink in – in a really personal way.

I have a day job delivering leadership keynotes and workshops. I do those in the lofty hope of ending the motivation for any employee to ever again utter that horrible, life sucking sentence, “My boss is a jerk.” If I keep this up long enough perhaps I’ll have made a modest dent with my Fully Alive Leadership offerings. Here’s the connection of that to the change in Twitter ownership.

David Hogg is a survivor of the horrific mass murders at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and a spokesperson for Never Again.

I have Twitter accounts for both my leadership work and for these posts, both in the pursuit of reaching more people. Nobody knows if Twitter is useful in that way, but I do know that I don’t want to contribute in any way to Elon Musk inviting extremists to spew hatred, lies and vitriol. I want nothing to do with a platform that invites Donald Trump to further radicalize violent people and move us to abandon democracy and to embrace authoritarianism.

So, this is my last post to be linked to Twitter, as I will be closing my accounts there permanently.

Will Musk lose sleep over my exit from Twitter? Of course not. But I would lose sleep if I thought I were helping to enable evil that is unscrupulously masked as free speech.

CRITICAL DIFFERENTIATOR: The first amendment guarantee of free speech has to do only with preventing government from restricting our speech. It has nothing to do with Twitter or any other non-government public platform and the speech they allow or disallow. Those decisions are no more than company policies. None of us has a free speech right to publish on any of those platforms.

A boy and his sink enter Twitter HQ in San Francisco. It’s a proud moment for all plumbing.

So, Musk can make all the self-serving, self-congratulatory claims he likes about Twitter and free speech. That’s just a disguise for appealing to extremists in order to maximize his return on his dubious investment. And if his new Twitter handle is “Chief Twit” – he picked that – well, I agree. And he gets this 2022 Pond Scum Award.

Anyway, that’s what I sink.

Adios, Elon.

Pond Scum Award #2

My pal Jim Nathan is nothing if not an excellent unearth-er of great political commentary in the form of cartoons, pictures and clever statements. Here’s one he just sent to me:

Here you see a group of self-satisfied, ego-puffed Republicans congratulating themselves like a bunch of bratty high school juniors having successfully towel snapped all the freshmen boys in the locker room. These congressional embarrassments are so very proud that the only thing they accomplished (other than all the destruction, like trashing high speed mail sorting machines in order to slow down your mail service) was to give rich guys a huge tax cut and to stiff you.

Somebody has to explain to me why middle-class Americans would want to give power to these selfish dopes. These guys are so very worthy of their very own 2022 Pond Scum Awards.

Pond Scum Award #3

Here’s another pic from Jim:

First, that’s right. Second, a generation later your grandmother didn’t fight to be in charge of her own body just so you could sit at home in November, either.

The Pond Scummers shown in the pic in section #2 above are threatening to take away your freedoms, even all forms of birth control. There’s no telling how many more freedoms they will take away from you if they get their scummy hands on power. There is only one way to stop them, to prevent them from making you powerless:

You have to vote for people who will protect your freedom and your rights.
.

You cannot count on any Republican to do that. They are unpatriotic and they are insane for power. They’re still lying about the 2020 election. They’re promoting idiotic child trafficking and cannibalistic child eating conspiracies. They are stupid-claiming that the only possible outcome in any election is that either they win or that Democrats cheated and stole the election.

These people are unpatriotic and they are insane. You must not vote for any Republican. Those guys are 2022 Pond Scum Award winners, all. Here’s why:

  1. Republicans have no ideas and no policies to tackle inflation or any other challenge. They have admitted this. They have abandoned you to struggle in the face of national challenges entirely on your own. This is literally true.
  2. Republicans are spineless sycophants of Trump who chicken out of speaking truth. They want to take away your freedom and your rights just so they can grab more power. And they spew hatred, racism and antisemitism every day. This is literally true.
  3. Republicans want to end our democracy and make this country a dictatorship – Seig Heil, Trump! That would make you a powerless peon. This is literally true.

And you don’t want any of that!

That’s why you have to vote for sanity. Vote for Democrats because:

  1. They aren’t hateful, hypocritical thieves and liars. They won’t pick your pocket and give your money to rich people and they won’t make your kids ignorant and stupid. This is literally true.
  2. They believe in democracy and will protect and defend it and the Constitution – just like you would. This is literally true.
  3. They have ideas and policies in place to make your life better. E.g. gas prices are already falling, major new job opportunities are on the way and your bridges and roads are already being repaired. Every Republican voted against all of this. This is literally true.

Go vote for Democrats, just as your great-grandmother, your grandmother and your mother want you to. Make their work and their sacrifices mean something enduring.

And the answer is YES! Pass this along to every voter you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

————————————

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.

20%


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

When I came across those words of anthropologist Margaret Mead years ago I found them to be so hopeful, a promise that good things that had been so elusive might actually come to be within grasp. Thom Hartmann amplified that hope by estimating that it wouldn’t take a majority of us to set things right. All it would take is about 20% of the population – a “small group of thoughtful committed citizens.” We can do that, I told myself. We can get 20% of us to insist upon what’s right.

Turns out that both Mead and Hartmann were right and I was wrong.

About 20% of Americans want to turn the United States into a reality denying, authoritarian thugocracy, not that “insisting upon what’s right” part I’d hoped for. Republican politicians are working at that, cheating and lying every day to make that happen. Most of the 20% is electrified, thinking they’re the true patriots and demanding what they believe to be right. And they just might get their way. That is where I was wrong, because what that 20% wants surely is not right.

The grabbing for ever more power, the denial of truth and reality and the retribution and violence threatened and sometimes exacted against opponents and scapegoats is how Moussolini, Hitler, Orban, Erdoğan, Duterte and, really, all autocrats gain power. And autocracy always leads to despotism and the people always suffer, especially through loss of freedoms and even extra-judicial killings.

It’s so easy to wheedle people to sell out their integrity just by offering the right bribe, like power, position and wealth or by threatening them with loss of all that or even with physical harm. That creates an army to promote the despot. You know all of this because you’ve seen it for decades.

Worse, the pace of deterioration of our government and, really, of our way of life has accelerated dramatically. Now some candidates and voters openly pledge to honor election results only if the authoritarian wins. Now some legislators are manipulating election laws to prevent people from voting, to steal yet more rights and to incrementally take our freedoms. Now the thugs are making death threats and committing mass murders.

Sadly, We the People have allowed that to happen. We’ve done it by failing to speak out against what’s wrong. We’ve done it by 40% of eligible voters (about 100 million in 2018) consistently failing to do the simple primary act of citizenship: vote. It’s the self-deluded who mindlessly declare that they would never vote for a Democrat, perhaps solely because their parents always voted for Republicans; or because they believe the lies they’re fed, so they refuse to see the truth that’s in plain sight. Besides, it’s easier to be lazy and not think for themselves. Or maybe they get a charge from the ignorant obstruction of progress, the middle finger claim to power. Maybe we’ve just become complacent and our blinders have become too comfortable.

The human capacity for selfishness, laziness and self-deception is too great to be overcome simply by making good, common sense. It will take something far more direct and far more muscular.

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was right in 1775 with his “Common Sense” and he’s still right: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” And these times are frighteningly like Paine’s, as we wonder who will fight for democracy.

In these fraught times we have only two choices. One is to sit back and watch as everything we care about, everything we hold dear is lost, as though we’re spectators at a Sunday football game, watching our vastly overpowered team losing to cheaters and hobbled by crooked referees. The other choice is to get onto the field of play to help score touchdowns and eventually to win the game.

This will be hard. This will require us to stay the course for the entire conflict, especially when things seem dire. Make no mistake in understanding this metaphor: we’re backed up to our own goal line right now.

Your vote is how you “Never give in” – see below. Many thanks to JN for this graphic.

But this is no metaphorical football game. This is life and death. People will die and democracy will be lost, with not even a mention in the replacement history books of authoritarian propaganda, unless those of us in the 80% take a stand and get this right. And we better do that quickly, because the Election Countdown Clock is fast approaching the zero hour.

———————————–

Here’s What Minority Influence and Rule Look Like.

Example 1.

For an instructive look at how an enraged, vocal minority can derail the best of how we might be, read The Right Wing Attack on Public Education Began In One Elite Illinois High School, by Isabela Dias in Mother Jones. What began as an educational seminar on diversity for the nearly all White school population turned into a parental hate-fest, the likes of which, sad to say, you’ve seen elsewhere. It was so-called conservative parents (how did “conservative” come to mean “White supremacist”?) objecting to whatever they nightmared* the seminar would be. As you read the piece, take note of the projections, false assumptions and ignorant accusations spewed by these angry opponents of the seminar. And imagine how puffed up on power these people must feel. One now has a podcast. The “look at ME” value of that must be enormous. Yet the teenage students, trying to make sense of a confusing world, are caught in the crossfire.

That’s what happens when “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” decides that tyrannical minority control is the American way.

Example 2.

“The new British prime minister, Liz Truss, has laid out a terrific supply-side economic growth plan which looks a lot like the basic thrust of Kevin McCarthy’s Commitment to America plan.” – Larry “Usually Wrong” Kudlow on Fox News.

Let’s see, supply-side economics has never worked for anyone but the rich and has just been dumped by the Brits for its immediate and obvious failure. But that’s what Kevin McCarthy will bring to us if he and the Rs representing a minority of Americans gain control of Congress.

All of that is why you must follow the admonition of Winston Churchill:

  • “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.”

Winston Churchill, speaking at The Harrow School, October 29, 1941

* Made-up word for this occasion.

————————————

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.

Inside President Biden’s Head


Page 1: Conjuring

He has not invited me into his head, nor has he shared his inner politician or inner President with me. He and I have had no Vulcan mind meld, nor any spooky transmissions. But there’s stuff going on in President Biden’s brain and, blurt-prone though he may be, not everything he thinks gets spewed publicly. We’re left to conjure his intentions.

And conjure, I do! About things like our blatantly political and extremist (did I mention radical?) Supreme Court as an arm of the Republican Party, exactly what the Founders thought they were protecting us from.

People were calling for Biden to expand the Court with centrists and center-leftists even before he was inaugurated, afraid that the things we feared would come about – things like yet more voter disenfranchisement, the end of Roe, more onerous gerrymandering, preventing the EPA from regulating the emission of greenhouse gases, defeating efforts to keep guns out of public places, tearing more bricks from the wall separating church and state and the flood of corporate cash into our politics (what did I miss?). Our fears have been realized, as all of these things have come about.

The bad news from the Court may not be done. On the docket now is a case to decide if state legislatures can take away your vote – literally negate your citizenship (Harper v. Moore). That’s exactly what Republican controlled state legislatures are attempting to do. If they get their way via this radical Supreme Court, it will be a time stamped event that will mark the moment when democracy was permanently crushed and died. The decision is now in the hands of the Court, with oral arguments having been presented on October 4. If this doesn’t scare you, re-read this paragraph.

So, how come President Biden has been silent, not even speaking to something as simple and non-aggressive as imposing ethics rules on our Supreme Court justices – rules like those on judges in other courts? Or establishing term limits so that we can shed grumpy and radical old men? And how come he has refused comment on expanding the court to 13? Two reasons.

First, attempting any of that before the mid-term election would likely produce an overwhelming wave of Republicans in Congress, at which point all progress would grind to a halt and a Republican would win the White House in 2024. Trying to do any reform would be a near-perfect strategy for losing.

That could change following the mid-term election because Biden has Captain Kangaroo pockets full of major legislative wins. But that’s not likely, which leads us to the second reason Biden has been silent.

He doesn’t like any of those ideas. His refusal to so much as have a conversation about any effort to moderate this radical Court tells you all you need to know about what’s in his head. Expect reform of the Supreme Court in about half a century. Maybe a full century. If we still have courts and if we still have a democracy.

That’s what I conjure about Biden’s conjuring about the Supreme Court. I really want to be wrong about this and fear that I won’t be.

Page 2: Hurricane Ian and President Biden

From former colleague Nora Paller:

Community In Action

Watching the scary, dangerous, horribly damaging Hurricane Ian devastate Florida and beyond was tragic. Many people will never be able to come back financially [or] from the emotional trauma of this event. The only good thing was to see all the people who reached out to help – to see community in action. Pulling together to face a larger threat can bring people at odds with each other to let it go and work together. All of sudden, DeSantis wants to talk to Biden. Instead of wasting Florida’s money sending asylum seekers to Massachusetts [link is mine], he is doing something direct[ly] for the people of Florida. Could we stop all this nonsense and work together? Turns out they could and we can.

President Biden, you can lead a Community In Action parade with just your words. Here’s hoping that’s in your head, because the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas need a parade right now.

Page 3: What Is In President Biden’s Head

Securing solid majorities in both houses of Congress is in the front of President Biden’s frontal lobe, because all progress depends on that. Absent those majorities, hateful fools like Republican Joe Kent will get their way and obstruction is all that will happen.

We had eight years of The Party Of No when President Obama was in office and people like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tea Party Republicans were pledged to Mitch McConnell’s hateful commitment to “Make Obama a one-term president.” True to their word, that’s all – that’s everything – they attempted to do. The Republicans opposed everything Obama proposed in goose-stepping, moronic uniformity. They were and are The Party Of No.

And that’s what we’ll get again unless there are solid BLUE majorities elected next month. That’s in President Biden’s head for sure. He knows that. You know that, too.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Guest Essay: Elections Have Consequences


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

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

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


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

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

There are JUST 86 DAYS until the November midterm elections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the pic for the WaPo story.

From the Onion:

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

—————————–

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

————————————

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

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.

This Is OUR Country


In the aftermath of the shooting at the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, IL the reports are that 7 people are dead and 47 have serious injuries. Please explain to me what an un-serious gunshot injury is. If the hole is in you, believe me, you’ll be certain that it’s serious.

There were more than 80 shots fired in 22 seconds, so while you’re in explaining mode, tell me why private citizens should be allowed to possess weapons capable of such carnage.

Highland Park shooter captured. Click for more.

The local fire & police, the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, the Chicago Police aerial unit, the staties, the ATF and the FBI were all over this massacre almost instantly. They sifted through eyewitness reports, surveillance videos, every tip and every bit of information they could find and they got the 21-year-old bad guy in about 7 hours. Massive kudos to all of these professionals. My frightened family and neighbors all over the area very much appreciate the massive, instantaneous response of these dedicated folks.

We don’t know the motivation of the shooter yet. We can reasonably guess that he is angry. And we can reasonably guess that he believes he’s been victimized and thinks that lashing out at those he hates is justified. He wants to disrupt our lives, to punish us for whatever it is that he thinks is wrong. He wants to take from us our sense of safety and our trust in one another. He wants to take away our country and replace it with some macho, wild west cartoon. How else to explain his killing innocents on the 4th of July?

This shooting, while horrid, is not surprising. We are a country that quickly goes to violence when we feel wronged. Think: 9/11.

John Lewis had a lifetime of working for Americans and America and he refused to succumb to hatred for those who attacked him. He was a force for good in a world that wished him anything but. When terrible things were done by Americans to Americans he would rail, “This is not who we are. We’re better than this.”

As much as I honor and appreciate John Lewis, I disagree.

The January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists were absolutely certain that they were true patriots. They believed they had been wronged and were carrying the spirit of 1776 in their veins. They hysterically shouted The Lord’s Prayer in the Senate Chamber, letting the world know that they were certain that their Christian God was on their side as they did their violence, intending to kill yet more Americans.

Click for the Onion story

They came with spears and brass knuckles, AR-15s and Glocks, body armor and sharpened flagpoles and inspiration and intel from the Oval Office itself. There was little difference between them and Bull Connor, the Selma police and the Alabama National Guard, the people who proudly cracked open John Lewis’ head.

Something like 30% of the citizens of this country think violence like that of the insurrectionists is justified. So, it should come as no surprise that our extreme haters do things like hunkering down on a roof in a suburban  town, snuggling with a high power rifle and shooting people in a 4th of July parade.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHO WE ARE.

With all of our mass murders, so many of us are feeling hopeless, frustrated, furious and even ashamed  of our country. That’s understandable. We may feel like quitting and succumbing to distrusting others, but that lets the bad guys win. That lets the bad guys claim to have made more Americans give up and drop out. That hurts all of us.

That’s why we must not allow distrust of one another to creep into our lives. We must not let any bad guy take away our courage and our sense of patriotism. We must not let bad guys divide us into hate camps.

WE MUST NEVER LET THE BAD GUYS WIN

.

Our violence dates back to before we were a nation, so I have no illusion that we can make that go away any time soon. What must happen instead is to overpower the violence junkies and the haters – not with guns and brass knuckles, but with votes. Last election 110 million people didn’t vote. Never again.

Do not give up.

Do not give in.

Do not let that Highland Park son of a bitch or any other bad guy win.

This is OUR country.

Final Comment

The Highland Park shooter lived 20 minutes from my house. His killing spree happened 12 minutes from my house. And there’s more.

Trump rally, Northbrook, IL – 2020. The Highland Park shooter is in the Where’s Waldo striped shirt. Yet another angry teen preparing for violence.*

In 2020 there was a Trump rally in my town. They came from as far away as the Carolinas in oversized pickup trucks with oversized engines and oversize tires and oversized American and Trump flags. I was unable to not think the words “over-compensating” and “temper tantrums.” They circled through town over and over, honking horns, blocking traffic, being disruptive and eliciting cheers from the Trumpies on the sidewalk.

I had organized a counter protest across the street from the Trumpies. My family was there. What I learned today is that the Highland Park shooter was at that rally, too, across the street from us, spewing hate (see the pic above). Very freaky.

Our national bullying and mobocracy shootings are personal whether they’re in Uvalde or Buffalo or in Chicago’s affluent, very low crime rate North Shore. If you’re a person, this is personal.

From Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s address to Harrow School on October 29, 1941:

“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.”

This is OUR country.
.
Never, never, never, never give in.
.

———————————–

*  Many thanks to super-sleuth Maureen McCabe Nowak for the pic of the shooter at the Trump rally and for the Twitter link.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Lawn Chairs and You


Ed. note: If this post describes you, this is going to hurt. If it doesn’t describe you, it still applies to a minimum of 36% – 60% of eligible voters. What will we do about that?


We were staggering in our rage and sorrow over 10 grannies, 2 teachers and 19 little kids having been murdered. For most of us it was primarily about the kids. Evolution has hard wired us to protect children, so the wanton slaughter of 9- and 10-year-olds more than rankled us.

And it rankled Christine Emba, too. She’s an opinion writer for The Washington Post and she accurately aimed her blame finger directly at those most responsible for the ongoing American massacre, this in her brilliant piece, You. This Is Your Fault.

For example,

“You, the gun-obsessed minority who lord over our politics and prevent change from being made. You, who mumble “thoughts and prayers” but balk at action.

“You, the “shooting hobbyist” or “gun enthusiast” who advocates against gun control because you think anything that makes your weekend amusement even the slightest bit more difficult to participate in is not to be borne.

“You, the performative patriot who believes that background checks, age limitations, training requirements — any reasonable regulations that could help keep people safe — are insufferable limitations on your freedom.

“You, the sophist who says “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” as if those people aren’t killing others using guns, as if it isn’t obvious that the havoc they wreak would be much reduced had they not been given easy access to weapons of mass murder.”

She goes on unsparingly and correctly, but I think there’s a missing step in her logic. You can see it clearly by recognizing that We The People want serious steps to be taken to protect us. For example, 80 – 90% of Americans want universal background checks on the sale or transfer of all firearms and it’s been in that range at least since Sandy Hook. How is it, then, that nothing has happened to deliver what we want?

Note: As this is being written a watered down gun safety bill that will accomplish very little is slow-poking its way through Congress. It is legislation that is carefully crafted not to offend gun “enthusiasts” and will protect almost nobody. Still, it’s a first step. Who knows? Maybe our school kids will live long enough to see a second step.

The answer to why We The People don’t get what we want is that we keep electing toadies who make sure that nothing happens that might upset their “base”. But that begs the question of why we elect those people, which gets to the core or our national problem.

Angry people and extremists take action – they vote. The not-so-angry people are less motivated. They vote in pathetically low numbers. Roughly 36% of eligible voters don’t vote in presidential elections and it’s often much worse than that. About 60% of voters blow off mid-term elections and very few bother with primary elections. That puts a lot of power into the hands of angry extremists who show up and vote.

They show up in big numbers relative to their overall size. They overwhelm the votes of the lazies and thereby get their way.
.
That’s how the extremist, Trump sucking candidates win elections.
.

Translation: the voices of the extremists drown out the rest of us because the rest of us couldn’t be bothered to get up off our butts and vote.

So, to use Emba’s introductory words and mimic her style,

” .  .  .  someone is to blame.

“But who?

“You. It’s your fault.”

You, the self-focused, who are unwilling to look beyond yourself to the grave harm being done all around you.

You, who can’t be bothered to register to vote because it’s a nuisance and, besides, there are millions of others taking care of that voting thing.

You, for whom Roe isn’t a big deal, so you don’t make your voice heard about the outright assault on all women.

You, who think voting rights are important, but you sit mute, as tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are having their right to vote stripped from them in Republican controlled states, resulting in stolen elections.

You, who think global warming is going to be a problem for our children and grandchildren. You worry, too, about our fellow citizens today who suffer and die from monster tornadoes and from once-in-a-century hurricanes that now happen every year, and from our forest fire “season” that lasts all year. But you sit in silence on election day.

You, who hear the horrid lies mouthed by self-serving, self-justifying traitors to democracy and all you can muster is a shake of your head and a click on the TV remote.

You, who sit immobilized as Otero County in New Mexico has become first in the nation to officially overturn the will of We The People, using bogus claims, lies and fraud. And you know that more counties and states will follow the fraudulent pretense, “If we didn’t win, then somebody cheated, so we’re officially claiming victory for our side.” And still you stay home on election day.

Again, if that’s not you, that’s great. But our problem is the passivity of at least 36% of eligible voters in some presidential elections and about 10% more than that in most. That skews outcomes in a self-destructive direction. Roughly 60% don’t show up for mid-term elections and it’s worse for primaries. These people remain idle as our rights and our very way of life are being stolen from all of us. It’s like sitting meekly on a lawn chair watching burglars empty your house and load your stuff into a moving van.

Those voices calling you to register, to vote, to contribute, to rally and more are telling you to take action now, because if you don’t, the angry extremists will not only empty your house of all you hold dear; they will take your entire house and your lawn chair, too.

We are in this terrible fix, where millions believe huge volumes of stupid stuff, including “1776 Returns,” where violence is declared to be okay in pursuit of what they individually and delusionally want, this at the expense of all the rest of us. The angry extremists are doing to our country the kinds of cruelties and injustices that King George III did and against which our Founders rebelled. Worse, our criminal faux-patriot wannabees are going to have their way, taking all your stuff and your house, unless you get off that damn lawn chair.

Thomas Paine spoke to his contemporaries, imploring them to patriotism for their birthing nation. His words live on today, but be clear that they are not for the January 6 criminals or their millions of sympathizers, who try to usurp them. Paine’s words are for you and me.

Click me for the GoodReads page

————————————

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

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

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

Guest Essay: It’s The Right Question


My friend Ed Gurowitz is an insightful guy. He recently had something to say that connects Black History Month with a larger picture. His post speaks to how easily we can lose our democracy or, harder, keep it and spread it to all we men/women whom we long ago declared are created equal.

Ed gave me permission to share his essay with you. Read it and be prepared to nod your head in agreement. Then do what he says to do.

——————————–

Black History Month: Who is an American?
by Ed Gurowitz

Published February 1, 2022

As you probably know by now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the following in defense of his party’s stand against the John Lewis voting rights bill:

“The concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

While McConnell attempted to walk the statement back the next day, what he said is what he said and, I believe, what he meant.

Many thanks to JN for this

For opponents of voting rights, African-Americans are not “real” Americans. Neither are Native Americans, and for some on the Right, neither are Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Asian-Americans…the list goes on and on.

For me, having participated in the civil rights battles of the 1960’s and since, this is profoundly disheartening. For a while there, it looked like things were moving, however slowly, in the right direction – the direction of Dr. King’s famous statement that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

So what happened? I believe that the election and presidency of Barack Obama, with a Black man at the head of the government and a beautiful Black family in the White House uncovered the racism that every Black person knows was always there, and the execution of George Floyd and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and so many other Black men and women exposed the structural or systemic nature of that racism.

In a recent article in Medium [required reading – JA], Peter Burns talked about a centuries-old theory first articulated by a 2nd Century Greek historian called Polybius. The theory, called anacyclosis, says that societies go through a cycle of stages:

Monarchy

Tyranny

Aristocracy

Oligarchy

Democracy

Mobocracy

So, the United States was established under the British monarchy. As detailed in the Declaration of Independence, the monarchy became tyranny, and a group of men, all white and mostly enslavers, got together and, from their position of profound white male privilege, created an aristocracy – rule by an elite few – which became abusive in its own right, so (white) people demanded and got a kind of democracy. Democracy in the United States in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries was still largely restricted to white men, but there was some evolution as women and Black people exercised the right to vote. (It’s worth noting that even US “democracy” was based in the Constitution on protecting the rights of white men and, until the Civil War, enslavers.)

The abolition of government-sanctioned enslavement after the Civil War began a process of degradation of democracy, a degeneration that culminated in the naked racism of the reaction to the Obama presidency, the “populism” of the Right (which was thinly disguised mobocracy), and the full-blown mobocracy of the past five or six years. What, after all, were Charlottesville, MAGA rallies, the Mother Emanuel murders, synagogue and mosque bombings and desecration but mob rule.

The danger of anacyclosis is that it is cyclical – mobocracy is unstable and leads back to monarchy (rule by one person) and then tyranny and there we go. Trump and his followers are angling for a monarchic second term for their leader in the 2024 elections.

Here is hope: If Dr. King was right, then each time through the anacyclosis cycle moves us along the moral arc of the universe toward greater justice, but the cost in lives lost and people’s suffering is too high. The alternative is to rededicate ourselves in this Black History Month to breaking the cycle of anacyclosis and moving the US toward a democracy that is sufficiently stable to not degenerate into mobocracy. This will require all the tools we have – speaking out, demonstrating, demanding justice, and the most powerful tool – the vote, starting with this year’s mid-term elections. So here is how to honor those who, like John Lewis, dedicated their lives and sacrificed for democracy:

VOTE!

Master Coach, Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist, Strategy Consultant, Executive and Leadership Consultant & Coach

—————————————-
Final Comments

Ours is the current iteration of our schizophrenic national story, the one that both embraces and rejects whomever and whatever is not exactly the same as “us.”

Quoting Lincoln,
.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation
so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

Many thanks to AT for this

.
I submit to you that Ed is right about what needs to be done. And if we are to keep our democracy, if we are to answer Ed’s question properly, and if we are to pass Lincoln’s test, then Ed’s direction needs a couple more steps.
.
We must both make it possible for all voting age Americans to vote (Read: eliminate voting suppression laws and practices) and then provide the motivation that gets people to show up and vote. That’s on all of us, because we want to – we must – long endure.

————————————

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.

Existential


Steve Bannon told us long before the 2016 election that he wants to “tear it all down,” meaning the administrative state. That includes our Constitution, democracy, learning and wisdom and the institutions that uphold our moral foundation. He wants it all blown up.

He is a nihilist, a hater of authority and a manufacturer of chaos and hatred. I have no interest in understanding his deep and profoundly debilitating daddy issues that drive him to create destruction, because doing so is useless to the critical task at hand. What is important is to recognize how impactful Bannon is and has been to Trump becoming the first American dictator and what that means to us.

Trump used Bannon first to get himself elected, then to convert the presidency into a money machine for Trump. Neither of them has even a consciousness, much less a concern for all who get crushed by their maniacal, mentally ill lust for ever more power and money. And, of course, Trump has used hundreds of sycophantic goons to subvert every agency of all three branches of government, demonstrating just how easy it is to get people to sell out and be manipulated for what they think are self-serving reasons. Even with regular examples dangled in their faces they just can’t seem to get it into their heads that they themselves will be next to be fed into Trump’s guillotine.

Many of us want to preserve our democracy and don’t agree with the 20% of Americans who are both Trump followers and who think violence is justified in order for them to get their way. That leaves us with critical challenges, chief among which is to answer the question, “What are you going to do about it?”

One option is to give in to the threats. History is teeming with examples of people cowed into submission by the threat or use of force. That means that they willfully made themselves serfs without rights, just pawns to be played and sacrificed for the benefit of the bullies. It’s understandable how fear could make people allow that, but if we do that we invite the despotism the bullies seek to create and which you and I don’t want.

In a recent webinar presented by The Atlantic one of the topics discussed was how to deal with millions of our fellow citizens who accept accusations that are completely untethered to any facts and who reject out of hand any observable evidence that counters their beliefs. The point made by the experts is that we don’t have an option of changing such peoples’ minds because they are set in concrete. They are impervious to all information that doesn’t support their predetermined certainties, so we must do things to appeal to those who have at least one foot on real ground if we are to protect our democracy.

I don’t have confidence in the Democrats’ willingness to face reality and do what needs to be done. Test my lack of confidence by listing all the times in a week you hear or see any Democrat directly and specifically unmasking the insurgents, the liars, the cheats and the haters. Include the times that you see the bad guys get punished for doing things like Lauren Bobert’s attack on Muslims and the White supremacist, anti-Semitic statements of Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene and the homicidal representatives with their AR-15 Christmas cards. Where are the smack downs of Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz? Add up all the incidents of push back to the crazies that you find in a week. I’m betting that the number on your list will be zero or very close to it. I’m afraid that we just can’t count on the Dems to do the right and necessary things – yet.

But what if we can turn up the heat on them?

We need people who will primary our confrontation avoiding senators and representatives. We need those people to be on the fiery point of the arrow aimed at the Trump conspiracy to end our nation. We need people who will organize giant protest marches in the streets of our towns and cities. We need people to show up at the protests and demand justice be visited on the law breakers and that democracy be assured for We The People. We need people to canvas door to door and encourage the non-voters to show up because that’s in their own best interests and because they’re screwed if they don’t.

We need you and I to get up off our BarcaLoungers and make noise. Lots of noise. We need for us to show up at protests and put lawn signs out front where the neighbors will see them. We need to write opinion pieces online and in local and regional newspapers (where they still exist). We need us to call into online talk shows and blast back against the hypocrites and haters so that other listeners might have their eyes cracked open just a bit. We need to go to town hall meetings and smack down the smack of the violent ones.

We need people who will challenge every calm and reasonable approach to our crisis of democracy, because those calm and reasonable tactics are powerless to stop an authoritarian coup backed by 20 million armed people who believe violence is okay. Doubt that? Grab your history book and read about Nazi Germany in the 1930s – and no, that isn’t hyperbolic and yes, it’s an apt comparison. We are in that kind of danger.

This is no thought experiment. This is existential – an actual life and death battle for democracy. Steve Bannon and the rest of the bad guys say they want to tear it down. I say, “Not on my watch.”

What do you say?

475

That’s the number the Associated Press published in an illuminating examination of our bemoaned, hallucinatory plague of voting fraud.

They looked at the 2020 election votes in the six so-called battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where 25.5 million votes were cast. The total of all suspicious votes (like people voting for dead relatives) reported by those states was just 475. That’s 0.00186% of the total vote.

President Biden’s cumulative margin of victory in those states was 311,257, which places the suspicious votes at 0.15% of the margin. Even if all those sketchy votes actually were fraudulent and even if all of them were added to Trump’s vote count in just one battleground state (pick one, any one), they still wouldn’t come close to making a difference in the outcome.

Some of us think that there is a firm reality that can be counted upon, like gravity, verifiable facts and counting. The rest aren’t interested in reality. For them, it’s evidence, schmevidence. So, sadly, nobody’s views will be modified even a little by the AP reporting. Such is the state of our political trench warfare and the failures of education to overcome primitive beliefs. Turns out we really aren’t much beyond beating drums in the jungle.

And Just For Fun

Thanks go to SS for the pointer.

————————————

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.

Winning, Part Three: Pick One


Preface

In the first two parts of this series I did my best to make the case that Republicans cause us to suffer from their two fatal flaws: obstructionism to anything rational; and a complete absence of any policy that would serve We The People or our country. You could throw in hypocrisy and dishonesty, but let’s keep this simple.

At the same time Democrats suffer from two fatal flaws: spinelessness to confront Republicans; and an almost complete lack of self-promotion.

Sensitive Reader Warning

This third post contains both snark and some words Mom told you not to say. In addition there is exaggeration contained herein that may not be intended seriously – maybe – so sensitive readers should squint their eyes while reading.

—————————–

We have a complex national insanity. The symptoms include the very effective tactics Republicans have scammed on the American people and the dreadful Democrats’ messaging and, worse, how they consistently bring a fork to an Uzi fight. They’re really quite pathetic and in each election they live out Einstein’s definition of insanity:

Doing the same things and expecting different results
.

Example

During the Virginia gubernatorial campaign, Trump-lite Glenn Youngkin blew the naked racist dog whistle of Critical Race Theory, pledging as governor that he will put a stop to the hateful indoctrination that makes white children feel ashamed of their skin color. He would never allow CRT to be taught in Virginia schools. He’s so very brave and upright, he wants us to believe, but really he and what he said are just a standard pile of Republican dog doo-doo.

That’s because the actual, on-planet-Earth truth is that there is not even a single K-12 school in Virginia – or in any other state – that even mentions Critical Race Theory, much less teaches it to kids. Not one. Youngkin made hay of it, though, and isn’t he just the perfect little White supremacist hero?

The real point for us and those wanting to beat candidates like Younkin is that no Democrat yelled,

“LIAR!!!”

.

Where was Terry McAuliffe when it was time to call out Youngkin for his lies and challenge voters to decide if they like being lied to by Youngkin? Where is any Democrat when it’s time to call out Republicans – ever? That’s the fork at the Uzi fight, the fights that Democrats are so good at losing.

I have two options for Democrats, offered under the assumption that they actually want to win elections and perhaps stop the 50-50 “dance of the delicate senators.” All they have to do is to pick one of these options.

Option One

Start kicking butt and taking names. Call out the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the Republicans. Nail them for their complete absence of integrity, ideas or policies to deal with our vexing issues. Say it over and over that all they have are culture wars – tricks to drive Americans to hate one another and to ensure their minority rule – and obstruction.

Say the words:

The Republicans haven’t a constructive thing to offer We The People.
.

Forget the statesman-like posture, Democrats. It looks great, but it loses elections. Attack! Just do it. I promise I won’t tell your mom.

Option Two

Let all the former Confederate states secede from the Union.

We’ll build Trump’s moronic wall between us and the new Confederacy, not Mexico, and seal them out, so they’ll have to stand on their own. Of course, they won’t like that, because they’re so dependent on federal subsidies, meaning money from blue states. Too bad for them. Let’s see if they can feed their kids using the bluster of their fierce independence, Trump flags on their pickup trucks and their hatred. Let’s go, Bubba!

Best of all, we’ll win elections and won’t have to deal with all that crap.

So, that’s it, Democrats. Jump into the alley fight – the Uzi fight – with the attitude, resources and intention to win. Do whatever is necessary. If you’re not willing to do that, then let the crazies walk away – urge them to walk away – make them go away.

Pick one.

End of snark.

—————————-

Winning Summary

No other time matters but now – and time is growing short.

The Republicans really are America’s Radical Front and have made themselves the enemy of our country. They’ve stacked the deck against American values in the Senate and minority rule is taking over. It’s fueled by fear and rage and power lust that puts all of us at risk.

Republicans haven’t even a single policy that would serve We The People or the country, so they inflame culture wars to keep us divided. They stoke hatred and fear and division and tribalism to the point of lying Americans into committing violence against one another.

Stop looking for the Republican bottom. There is no bottom, no low to which they won’t go, including encouraging murder. Rep. Paul Gosar made a video of him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with swords. Ted Cruz even attacked Big Bird. Yes, BIG BIRD! And a lot of these elected senators and representatives promoted and supported the insurrection that was intended to end our democracy.

That is the reality and we better stay awake and take action, because allowing ourselves to doze off or to be a door mat to radicals, a typical non-response of Democrats, will end our dreams of a better America. It’s time to wake up.

That leaves us with the key question of our time:

How long are Democrats, Independents and traditional Republicans going to let these radicals get away with killing us and our democracy?
.

Clearly, the point is not that we should act like them to create division, nor should we participate in lying, hypocrisy, dereliction of duty or fear and hate mongering.  The point is that it’s time for Democrats to fight back with a national surgery of truth to excise the Republican festering wounds to our country.

It’s time to go public, loudly, and name what they’re doing so that Americans can see that abhorrent truth for themselves. Call them out every time. Nail these guys for their dishonesty. Shout out their dereliction of duty. Blast them for their anti-democracy, anti-American behavior and their endless streams of lies against We The People. The same goes for the abhorrent talking heads spewing lies and stoking hatred and division.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Start doing what will win elections – scratch, bite, kick, claw. Fight like you want to win. Put them under a national microscope and show their ugliness to everyone. Stop letting them get away with poisoning our country.

And stop waving the cost of Democratic policies and proposals in everyone’s face. Wave the banners of Democratic successes. Sell the benefits. Do it over and over.

No, not just the President. Every elected official with a “D” after their name, every pundit, and every cabinet officer has to sell the benefits and call out Republican hypocrisy and lies.

And for those of us who aren’t Democratic operatives, read the graphic to the right. To make the message plainer for our time, just insert “The ongoing Civil War to kill democracy.” We each have to do our part to ensure massive voter participation in every election. The next one is just 356 days away.

Winning in Three Simple Steps
  1. Call out Republican cheating, lying, hypocrisy, anti-democracy and anti-We-The-People words and actions. Just tell the truth. Forcefully.
  2. Sell Democratic successes and benefits for We The People. No more public hand wringing or endless talk about cost.  Put President Biden’s name in BIG letters on every infrastructure project so that Americans connect the dots from the President to their own well-being. When the Build Back Better bill passes, label those projects “Courtesy of President Biden and your Congressional Democrats.”
  3. Do what’s required to produce massive voter turnout.

And do all of that all of the time. That’s how to win.

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

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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Chutes & Ladders, Knives & Guns and Karma


Most of us are taught to play by the rules from a very young age because human relationships and even civilizations require rules in order to prevent chaos and the breakdown of society. So we play Chutes and Ladders pretty much according to the rules.

Robert Frost said it best:

Good fences make good neighbors.

So we make sure that we agree about the fences, just as we agree on the rules of Chutes and Ladders.

But now we have a national problem: one side isn’t honoring the fences. It isn’t playing by the rules. It’s playing with wanton disregard for order, truth and the law. It is actively breaking down society. That is what bullies and insurrectionists do. That is what “all about me” types do. They play dirty. They cheat. They act without regard for others. They throw sand in the sand box, to invoke yet another metaphor, so they can own it.

When Democrats play by the rules, honor the fences and don’t throw sand they keep themselves at a very dangerous disadvantage. As Nicolle Wallace put it, “Democrats continue to bring a knife to a gun fight.” Wallace is right.

Senate Minority Leader McConnell has repeatedly vowed to block all Biden initiatives – he has 100% focus on that. Sadly, that leaves no focus for America and the American people. His message could not be plainer: “We want all the power, so screw you, We the People.”

And Republicans are pleased to do any and everything to make that happen.

They lie, claiming a stolen election.

They enable and lie about insurrection.

They run a spy ring to sabotage our electoral processes.

They project their wrongdoings on Democrats.

They create and encourage conspiracy thinking to stoke fear and hatred.

They filibuster nearly everything.

They enact onerous, unconstitutional laws to prevent those likely to vote for Democrats from voting.

They put partisan conspiracy nut cases in charge of elections.

They enact laws to enable Republicans to overturn the will of the people.

They remove hundreds of thousands of voters from state voting registers.

Those are just some of the dishonoring of fences and throwing of sand – the “guns” – Republicans are firing in this gun fight.

Democrats respond by saying things like, “That’s awful,” and somebody gives a speech from the well of the Senate that nobody hears. That’s the knife Democrats bring to this gun fight. It’s way past time for Democrats to arm themselves properly.

Democrats need to get serious about messaging that will change the minds of the American people. We need talking heads to be everywhere calling out Republican lies and power grabs. We need elected Democrats and pundits telling Americans that Republicans don’t care about We the People and that all they care about is stealing all the power and money for themselves  We need bumper stickers that say:

“Republicans are picking your pocket and breaking your legs.”

“How do you like being lied to by Republicans?”

“Republicans are coming for you next.”

“If you like being a peon, you’ll love Republican rule.”

“You can’t love America and vote Republican.”

“Republicans are why you can’t get what you want.”

“Rs want your rights, so we stand and fight.”

We need talkers pointing fingers at cameras and scaring the hell out of voters by telling them the truth about the horrible dystopian future the Republicans are creating. Failure to fully engage, all rhetorical guns blazing, will lead to nothing less than vigilante terrorist murders and the end of democracy.

So, pass this along to your senators, representative and elected state officials. Tell them to stop playing nice, to put some starch into their spines and go on the offensive. This is not a contest against an opponent in a board game. This is a rhetorical and legislative gun fight against a well armed enemy of the We the People. Lock and load.

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A New Balance

Vaccine refusers have their reasons. Some of those reasons might even be rational and based on something real on planet Earth. I can’t think of any, but let’s assume that not everyone who refuses to be vaccinated is a conspiracy nut.

My guess, though, is that most believe in some sort of conspiracy, like the Bill Gates nanobots-in-vaccines believers and the autism wailers. My favorites, though, are the freedom screamers, the people who are certain that having to wear a mask is a tyrannical government’s abridgement of their freedom. They believe there’s no pandemic, that COVID is a hoax and it’s no worse than “strenuous flu,” as a mentally ill former president described it.

COVID doesn’t care if you’re in New York City or rural Missouri. All that’s required to contract the disease is to be un-vaccinated and in close proximity to an infected person who is still able to exhale on his/her own. And yes, that happens even in rural Missouri. Just ask the people in rural South Dakota what happened last winter. Oh, wait – you can’t do that because so many of them are dead.

Last winter South Dakota had the highest rate of death from COVID in the world. “Who needs a mask?” they said. The rest of us know the answer to that question, but the governor of SD still proudly stands for the right to contract COVID and die. And the face mask and vaccine refusing mania has become yet more perilous, as the Delta and Delta Plus COVID variants have made their way into the lungs of lots of Americans.

What’s significant about these variants is how much faster and efficiently they spread to others’ lungs and that they are far more deadly than yesterday’s COVID-19. Let’s consider what that might mean.

I bet that a huge percentage of vaccine refusers are rugged individuals and Trump supporters. Imagine what would happen if tens or hundreds of thousands of them manage to get themselves infected with the new ultra-deadly COVID variants. Without their being vaccinated and with anti-viral drugs largely ineffective in people with these variants, the die off this winter will be ghastly.

Here’s the Machiavellian craziness of it all: That die off might be great enough to counter-balance the Republican purging of black, brown and young people from voting rolls in swing states.

Not hoping for any such thing, but karma always has its way.

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Commissar DeSantis announcing re-education camps for Florida students and teachers. Click me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not DeSantis’ mother – but the words fit. This was originally targeted at unruly airline passengers. I’m aiming it at an unruly governor.

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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