Wednesday, May 23, 2018

An "Extra" Posting (News Moves Very Fast, Folks)


The "End Game Continues"

How often on a TV show, or in a movie, when a crime is committed in the big city do the cops seek out their contacts in the communities involved, or even in the underworld, to help solve the crime?  Informants are usually available to help, sometimes out of the goodness of their hearts, and sometimes in the hope of, or in gratitude for, lenient treatment for their past  and possible future transgressions or those of close relatives.

And this extends to the national scene as well, where our intelligence and counter-intelligence operations depend upon the confidentiality of similar informants to protect our national security. 

The President of the United States, for reasons unknown but becoming increasingly and suspiciously incredulous, when made fearful by the proximity of such informants, is attempting to demand their identity in order to weaken the efforts of our law enforcement agencies to use them to protect our national security.  It is a case where those fearful of being accused of breaking the law, accuse the law enforcers themselves of breaking the law in doing their duty.  This is the last defense of the guilty.

Just as his gullible followers, he claims, would still be loyal to him if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, they are blind to The President’s disregard and disrespect for the intelligence and law enforcement communities, as personified by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and his profound ignorance of the roles of the institutions of our government.

Listening to our President and his supporters on this issue, we are reminded of a lesson attributed to many great teachers of the law, “When the law is on your side, hammer home the law.  When the facts are on your side, hammer home the facts.  When neither is on your side, hammer the table vigorously.”  The facts and the law will ultimately triumph and this entire disgraceful administration will be long remembered for serving to remind Americans of the continued need to fight for and to protect their government’s institutions.  Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Appropriate to these thoughts are the concluding words of the second, not often sung, stanza of “America the Beautiful”: “America, America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm they soul with self-control, Thy liberty in law!”
Jack Lippman




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Jack Lippman 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Sad Future of Reducing Gun Violence, an Apology, Trump's Counter-Attack and the Trouble with Publix





Sort of an Apology

I am really not very skilled when it comes to computer technology.  I can create documents and write things, I can send and receive email, I can create inserts for my documents on “Powerpoint,” I can store pictures I take and receive from others, I can pay bills through my checking account … and I can produce this blog.  That’s about it.  To me, my computer is basically a super typewriter and a way of sending and receiving mail.

Ten years ago, these were excellent skills, but today, they do not gain me entry into the field of social media.  I dropped out of Facebook recently because I felt it intruded on my privacy … but also, it was a cluttered, confusing mess of postings which in the final analysis, were a waste of time.  I am not on Twitter, Instagram nor other things like that because I am too busy with other things, like reading books, magazines, newspapers (real ones, not online versions), writing, occasionally painting and watching plain old fashioned TV, mostly news and sports. That’s about all I have time for, so excuse any technical shortcomings you might find in www.Jackspotpourri.com.  After that, I am maxed out.   (But please click on the ads.)
Jack Lippman




The Sad Future of Reducing Gun Violence

This is a very tough posting to write.  But what I am saying must be said.

Up to now, groups aiming to reduce gun violence have pushed for taking military style assault weapons out of the hands of civilians, primarily because such weapons have been used in mass killings, including those in schools.  Conceivably, such a ban might even be permissible under the Second Amendment as being unusual weapons, not in existence at the time nor anticipated by those who designed the Amendment.  That has been my position for what it is worth.

The school shooting at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas sheds doubt on this kind of thinking because the weapon used there was a shotgun.  

Shotguns are the most common weapon owned by civilians and have many acceptable uses, such as hunting, on farms and ranches and for home protection.  While they can’t fire with the rapidity of assault weapons, the can spray deadly projectiles with each squeeze of the trigger.  They did this in Santa Fe quite effectively.

So we are left with a problem.  It is estimated that there are about 310,000,000 people in the United States.  Discounting children under age 17, that leaves about 225,000,000 adults in this country.  There are at least that number of guns of all sorts in the hands of civilians. Americans have a right to have them according to the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

To deal with this problem without violating the Second Amendment, several approaches are available. They include “hardening” soft targets such as schools and theatre and concert venues with armed guards, metal detectors and armed faculty and staff.  They also include increased background checking, screening and waiting periods at the point of purchase of weapons, and that would have to include gun shows and personal private sales as well as weapons purchased over the counter in stores.  They include requirements that guns in families with children be kept in locked cabinets.  Finally, because those who carry out these acts are usually disturbed in some manner, vast increases in mental health screening, diagnosis and treatment are proposed to enable potential “shooters” to be identified and monitored, including those in school settings as well as those elsewhere in society, where far more shootings occur than in schools.

Another approach, which I haven't heard much about yet, might be to attempt to modify the “gun culture,” the routine acceptability of civilians having weapons, which pervades American society.  It starts with toys.  Check out the toy shelves in Target and Walmart stores and you will find “toys” intended for boys as young as age 3 which simulate weapons and have triggers.  It might be more than coincidental that toys intended for girls, with rare exceptions, do not include simulated weapons, and with rare exceptions, most mass killings are carried out by males, who have been raised in, and remain submerged in, our “gun culture.”  Something to think about.

Honestly, while these approaches have merit and will reduce gun violence to some extent, they are not the solution.  If mental health screening can successfully identify even one percent of our population as potential shooters, that would give us a pool of over two million Americans which would have to be monitored and followed closely on a daily basis.   And really, I believe that there are more than one percent with such problems.  That would be a impossible task.  And this would not include the quiet, silent disturbed ones harboring grudges and evil thoughts of which no one around them might be aware.  Odd behavior might be entirely innocent, but then again it might be an ominous warning.  Who can tell? 




They couldn't in Santa Fe.   They could in Parkland and it made no difference.

No, the solution does not rest in seeking to pick out potential shooters from a pool of 225 million Americans.  At great cost, that will be of minimal help.  The bottom line is that a solution rests with the weapons they use.  What it comes down to, and this would be a hard pill for many Americans to swallow, would be the repeal of the Second Amendment, or at least a drastic reinterpretation of it by the Supreme Court.  
 
We have national armed forces today.  There is a state component to them in the form of National Guard units, but these are really indistinguishable from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps.  Therefore, there is no need for what the writers of the Second Amendment called “militias.” No one is going to “call out the militia” telling them to bring their guns with them.  The closest we come to that is activating National Guard units, and they don’t bring their own weapons from home with them.  Once that fact, and it is a fact, is accepted, the rest of the Amendment’s language isn’t worth anything.  Any interpretation of the Amendment by the Supreme Court to the contrary is wrong, and incidentally, covered with the blood of those massacred at Santa Fe, Parkland, Sandy Hook and elsewhere.  The Supreme Court is not God. Their decisions have caused deaths.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, here is the Second Amendment.  Read it.  Try to understand the words.  Pretend you are on the Supreme Court.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Get it?  This right of the people to keep and bear arms was protected from being infringed upon because that was, back in 1789, a requirement in order to have a well regulated Militia, which was necessary for the security of a free State. 


That was written to appease some of these new “free States” (which up to then had been the thirteen colonies), particularly the ones where human slavery was part of their economies, and which did not trust the Federal government and wanted the ability to have their own militia, if it ever came down to needing one. Well it never did (until the Civil War), but certainly, “States” now neither have nor need “militias” any longer other than National Guard units so no one ought to object to the repeal of the Second Amendment.  It is that simple.  One cannot take the Amendment’s final fourteen words as gospel and totally ignore its first thirteen words, which is what most defenders of the Second Amendment do.   Once the necessity of the first thirteen words of the Amendment disappear, and they have, the rest is superfluous rubbish, except to the National Rifle Association, a lobbying group for the gun industry.  It’s written in English.  Read it!  Make up your own mind.  Pretend you are on the Supreme Court.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Repealing the Second Amendment or waiting for the Supreme Court to drastically reinterpret it in a nation where there are probably close to 300,000,000 weapons in the hands of civilians would have to be done very gradually, over many decades of presidencies and sessions of Congress and State legislatures. 

Those who have a legitimate need for weapons for self-defense, hunting, farming and ranching uses and sporting activities would always be able to have weapons, but they would have to be licensed to do so.  Others would have to have good reason to possess weapons.  Yes, the NRA's fear that "They're coming to take your guns" will be partially validated.  So what.  Lives will be saved. Children will not be shot in schools.  Gradually, over the years, existing weapons would be “bought back” by the government at premium prices.  Ultimately, this is the way our country can reduce gun violence.
 
This is the only way we will reduce gun violence in this country and I confidently predict this process will be fully completed by the end of this century.  All readers of this blog posting will be dead by then. (Some of them will be silently watching from wherever they end up, depending on their religious persuasion.)  It will take that long.  Any other solution is delusionary, and sadly, a lot of blood is going to be shed before the country recognizes that.
JL


Trump's Counter-Attack

It’s a counter-attack on many fronts.  The President insists that it is, and always has been a witch hunt.   The latest attacks are on FBI investigations related to individuals having something to do with the Republican campaign and the Bureau's using its usual tools and methods of investigators.  That’s what law enforcement does when they believe a law has been broken. The attacks on the Special Counsel, his ethics, his background and his methods, accelerate daily. House Intelligence Committee Chair Nunes continues his partisan whitewashing of the President.  The integrity of the Department of Justice and its head by default, Ron Rosenstein, is questioned daily.  Sometimes-incoherent Rudy Giuliani keeps proclaiming that it all will be over soon since there is nothing to be revealed.  Fox TV and chief cheerleader Hannity is aflame nightly with weighty accusations which when put on scale, won’t move the dial an ounce.

If any of these arguments had any merit whatsoever, a normal government would turn them over to a “Special Counsel.”  Well, that’s where we are, gang.  We did that, appointing one a year ago, but the “government” doesn’t like where he is going.  It scares them.
 
ONE QUESTION REMAINS:  WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO HIDE, NECESSITATING SUCH A BROAD ATTACK AS DESCRIBED ABOVE?  It’s right out of Trump’s ghost-written book, “The Art of the Deal,” where Trump says that “when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard." THE ONLY POSSIBLE CONCLUSION IS THAT HE HAS SOMETHING DESPICABLE TO HIDE AND WHEN IT IS REVEALED, THAT WILL BE THE END.  AS IN A GAME OF CHESS, WE ARE NOW ENTERING THE “END GAME.”

(A random thought.  In history, when a bad ruler is gotten rid of, and severe punishment would seem to be out of the question, an alternative has always been exile.  [Napoleon ended up on St. Helena.]  Once we no longer have need for Guantanamo Bay as a facility for captured Islamic terrorists, it can be turned into a luxurious site for the exile of the 45th President and those of his immediate family and associates who fear that the criminal justice system would put them in a less hospitable environment.  It might even be re-named Mar-a-Lago South, and catering would be permitted to keep the exiles occupied along with a mall of upscale shops managed by Ivanka.  Don Jr. could be in charge of the pool and the beachfront.) 




                                                                 The Beach at Guantanamo Bay
JL


The Publix Boycott - Read the Editorial

The big grocery shopping chain down here in Florida is Publix.   Last week, the Palm Beach Post published an editorial revealing Publix’s extensive support of a conservative Republican candidate for Governor, Adam Putnam.  I had seen some of his TV commercials and recognized that he is one horrible candidate.  (Right now he is Florida's Commisioner of Agriculture, a quite suitable job for one with great expertise dishing out bovine manure.)  Check it out by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.  


I have written to Publix telling them they have lost a customer.  They will probably lose many more.  Their cumulative donations to Putnam exceed $650,000, which is far, far more than the token donations some other grocery companies have given to their favorite candidates.  Pick your supermarket:  Walmart, Target, Winn-Dixie (if they still are in business), Aldi, Trader Joe, Fresh Market or Whole Foods.  Vote with your grocery dollar.  But stay away from Publix.


JL




HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
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HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

HOW TO FORWARD POSTINGS.
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Jack Lippman 




Sunday, May 6, 2018

Truth, Lies, Facts, Shakespeare, Robocalls, Operations





Facts, Fiction, Theories and Lies

Facts are “what truly is” and “what truly was” and which is scientifically or historically verifiable.  Everything else is merely “theory,” and though something might seem to be logical, believable or sensible, without irrefutable scientific or historical validation, it remains something less than “fact.”  Calling it “fiction” implies it was “made up” by someone which might not always be the case, so let’s call supposed facts which are unproven, “theories.”  That's what scientists do. That is certainly a better word than “alternate facts” which seems to recognize a thoroughly underserved credibility.

Some “theories” or “fictions” are believed to be facts by many.  The key word here is “believed,” and obviously, all religions fall into this category.  They require “belief” in their being factual without irrefutable scientific or historical evidence.  That is what faith is all about.  This is the only area where fiction or theory may be granted an exception and accepted as fact, and rather than get into lengthy discussions of belief with followers of a religion, any religion, it should be left at that.

Beyond that, no unproven fictions nor theories should ever be accepted as facts.  This is especially true in politics, government and economics, where many practitioners believe their ideas to be facts.  It extends to marketing, sales, banking and finance as well, and when a bridge collapses, we realize it extends to engineering too.

Always be careful what you accept as factual.  It may just be a logical sounding, believable and sensible bit of theory or a downright fiction made up by someone.  They might even be lies.

Which brings us to an interesting treatment of lies, by none other than William Shakespeare.  Read on.
Jack Lippman



Lies and Equivocators (Shakespeare)

In Scene 3 of Act 2 of Macbeth, a drunken gate keeper at Macbeth’s castle, where Macbeth has already murdered King Duncan and is going to lie about it, confuses his job with that of the keeper of the gates of hell, with which Macbeth’s castle, in view of what has happened there, can readily be confused. 

Wondering who is knocking at the gate, he inquires “Who’s there? Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake yet could not equivocate to heaven.  O, come in, equivocator.” 


(I see these words as referring to someone who has committed an act of treason, is capable of taking whatever side is expedient to them but cannot get away with that kind of excuse with God. Shakespeare is philosphizing about this point which obviously relates to his play, Macbeth.)

In the footnotes in the Folger edition of Macbeth, the following appears in explanation of what these words are all about. “Equivocator:  One who intentionally speaks ambiguously, either by using words that can be taken more than one way or by mentally hedging or limiting his or her words.  (Jesuits were charged with equivocation, and many scholars see this passage as referring to the 1606 trial and execution of a Jesuit, Father Garnett, whose defense included the claim that, by the doctrine of equivocation, a lie is not a lie if the speaker intends a second, true meaning by his words.)”

I doubt if Donald Trump has ever read any Shakespeare or looked into the Jesuit doctrine of equivocation (although he did attend a Jesuit college, Fordham University, for two years before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania).  Nevertheless, his repeated lying, at least in his mind, is for the ultimate purpose of justifying what, again in his mind, is a greater truth, his agenda, whatever that might be.  Bottom line: the ends justify the means, and that includes lying or more politely, equvocating.  Why, even the Jesuits did it.  This man must go, and if he were around today, Shakespeare would sign a petition to rid the White House of the equivocator who occupies it.  The drunken gate keeper had it right!
JL 





 
The Ugly Place Where All This "Lyin'" Can Lead

While the Trump team tries to figure out a plausible story as to what actions they took and when they took them, and then fabricate a slew of backdated documentation to back up that story, the country looks on with increasing incredulity.  This pertains to his womanizing as well as to those of his actions which are broadly classified as “collusion” but might be much less or perhaps much more.  The President is not above the law.  It is not “his” Department of Justice, nor “his” anything.  The government is “ours” and we elect a president to run it, serving as its “chief magistrate,” as the Founding Fathers called the position.

Eventually, Trump will be impeached, will resign, be arrested, or whatever, and be put out of office legally.  Ultimately the Supreme Court will support the “law” over whatever claims Trump makes, even the “unconstitutionality” of the office Special Counsel Mueller.  But that won’t be the end of it.

Trump’s gullible base will believe this all to be part of a conspiracy engineered by “the dark state,” the “legacy” media and of course the Democratic sore-losers.  These are people who swear by whatever they see and hear on Fox News.  Truly, they would still back the President, even if he, as he once boasted, shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.  

They represent a populist uprising which is willing to sacrifice the democratic process in seeking solutions for their problems.   These people will present a problem regardless of what happens to Trump.  Some of them would conceivably demonstrate against the legal ouster of the President.  Some of them are armed and claim the Second Amendment has given them the right to possess arms in the event of just such an illegal (in their eyes) act on the part of the government.  Some State governments might support this position.  There might even be bloodshed.  This is the great danger the country faces.
 JL

 

Two Operations the President Might Consider on Advice of Counsel

Advice for the President:  Because you are so good at telling your doctors what to say about your health, why not have them recommend two surgical procedures for you to undergo. Your lawyers would probably agree.  First, would be an operation to remedy a supposed maxillary disorder requiring your jaws to be wired shut, impairing your ability to speak.  Secondly would be operations on both wrists for a supposed diagnosis of “carpal tunnel syndrome,” impairing your ability to use your fingers to send out tweets.  Such medical intervention worked well with the diagnosis of “bone spurs” to keep you out of government service at the time of the Vietnam War; it can work now with the result, perhaps, of keeping you in government service in the White House a bit longer until the law finally catches up with you and boots you out. 
JL


Jail Robo Call Offenders  and throw away the key

Robot telephone calls are a pain in the ass.  

While I do get a few on my mobile phone where it is a simple task to block that number from ever reaching me again, I get many, many more on my home number (which we used to call a “landline” but now reaches me, I believe, through my internet connection).  These annoying calls far outnumber “real” telephone calls made to my home number, on which my equipment has the ability to block up to twenty calls.  I easily fill up that quota about every ten days or so and when I try to block a fresh robocall, the message “Blocked Calls Filled” pops up.  I then delete some of the previously blocked numbers to make space for the new numbers I wish to block.  On the rare occasions when I attempt to dial one of these numbers, I get a message saying that that the number has been discontinued.  Unfortunately, if somebody in St. Louis, for example, is actually trying to reach me, most likely I will not pick up the phone and block the number.

I recently read that one of the low-life scoundrels who make money from these robocalls specializes in making them from discontinued local numbers to which he manages to get access.  (He is currently fighting a potential 120 million dollar FCC fine.)  I am less likely to block a number identified as coming from the town or county in which I live than from a distant out of state location.  Putting my telephone numbers on government “do not call” lists does not work because these scoundrels know how to get around that.  Also, I do not know how effective the “call blocking accessories” available on the internet are, and they are not inexpensive.   

I feel the only solution to this annoying practice if for it to be mandatory that the culprits, if they are found to be breaking any laws and are convicted, serve hard time in a state or federal prison, and not be let off easy.  Fines, however large, are not enough.  Jail should be mandatory.  And if there are no laws that they are breaking, there should be.
JL


HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at Riart1@aol.com.

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Just send it to me by email at Riart1@aol.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)

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Jack Lippman 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Guilt, Police Blotters, the Iran Treaty, Our Environment, A Cerabino Column and Advice for Democrats



HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at Riart1@aol.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Just send it to me by email at Riart1@aol.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)

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HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

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Jack Lippman 

Our "Mascot" this week is the ever-present dragonfly, a break from alligators, butterflies and turtles



When Innocence is Clouded Over


Guilt!  A person is presumed to be innocent when accused of something until they are proven guilty. That’s the way it is … and the way it should be!

Therefore, when one is accused of doing something they did not do, they start out from a position of innocence.  It is up to the accusers and the courts to establish their guilt.  Until then, they are innocent.

When one is accused of being guilty of doing something wrong which they actually did do, it’s still the same. They start out from a position of innocence.  They can lie and try to maintain that innocence, and let the courts, the jury system and the public make the decision, recognizing that there is a chance that they can get away with whatever they did.  Many take that chance, causing a cloud to sometimes hover over the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty.”  Let’s look at such “clouds” and think about whether they will blow away or result in a torrential downpour, significantly weakening but not destroying their presumption of innocence.

Admiral Ronnie Jackson, MD, nominated to head the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, was accused of all kinds of nefarious things by unnamed informants.  This was despite his serving two prior Presidents as well as President Trump as White House physician, with these questions never before having been raised.  So he claims his innocence … but in doing so, is he lying or telling the truth?   Yet, still claiming his innocence, he withdraws his name from consideration for the VA job.  Conclusion.  The cloud remains but the man must be considered innocent of the charges which led to his withdrawal of his acceptance of the nomination.  But why then did he withdraw his acceptance of the nomination? Hmmm.

Michael Cohen, the President’s fixer and sometime attorney, being investigated for various criminal acts, announces that he will refuse to testify under the privilege provided by the Fifth Amendment, to avoid incriminating himself.  Unless a person is a high-minded worshipper of Constitutional rights, this places a cloud over his presumption of innocence, to the extent that he can’t be proven to be guilty by his own words.  The evidence will have to come from elsewhere.  Until then the man must be considered innocent.  Hmmm.



Bill Cosby … Finally, Guilty, Guilty and Guilty. 
This was the jury’s decision in the face of his claims of innocence.  But how many other men, in all lines of endeavor, committed similar acts in varying degrees, but will never be called to account for their behavior?  Until then, and until our legal system finds otherwise, they are presumed to be innocent, regardless of the extent of any claims which might cloud that innocence.   Hmmm.

Innocent until proven guilty is the law.  And if that innocence is perhaps obscured by dark clouds, carrying an umbrella might be a good idea. 
Jack Lippman  





Police Blotter "Humor"?

Each Thursday, the Palm Beach Post (to which I subscribe) publishes a “Neighborhood” section.  My paper includes the “South County” version.”  I believe that people should read a local daily newspaper, wherever they live.  It connects them with what is going on in a manner that TV and the Internet cannot.


Anyhow, the aforementioned “Neighborhood” section always includes excerpts from the “Police Blotters” of the Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach Police Departments.  (Unfortunately, they do not include similar information from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which polices the non-incorporated areas of the county.)  Post reporter Sy O’Neill writes this page in a manner which captures the earthy verbatim manner in which police officers report varied incidents.  I include three from recent papers for your information and amusement, all from the Boynton Beach “Police Blotter.”

“Indecent Exposure:  A man was arrested and taken to the county jail after a city worker saw him drop his pants and defecate on City Hall property in the 100 block of East Boynton Beach Boulevard.” (My comment – Could he have been expressing his First Amendment rights about City government?)

“Suspicious Incident:  A man told police he was in the 1000 block of North Seacrest Boulevard when a man cam up to his vehicle and asked, “What you got?”  He said he got out of his vehicle and “boxed” the man for about 15 minutes.  Then they had a few drinks together.  Then his new-found pal pulled a gun on him and robbed him, he said.” 

“Disorderly Intoxication:  Police went to a store in the 100 block of West Woolbright Road where a customer created a disturbance by chugging beers from the cooler without having the money to pay for them.  An old acquaintance happened to enter the store, assessed the situation and paid for the man’s beverages.  Another man gave the beer drinker a ride home, but on the way, the intoxicated man decided to exit the vehicle while in the traffic lanes on I-95.  He was arrested and taken to the county jail.”  (My comment –  As the song goes, “That’s what friends are for.”)

Of interest is that in these “Police Blotter” reports, precise addresses are not included.  Instead, the location is always given as, for example, “the 2000 block of Earthquake Road.”  A recent Thursday’s “Police Blotter” for Boca Raton listed nine “Theft” incidents.  It is clear that four of these “theft incidents” actually took place in the Town Center Mall, which was never mentioned, but which obviously was where the thefts occured from the street locations provided. 
JL 







 
The Iran Nuclear Treaty


Donald Trump constantly derides the Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty which the United States and most of our allies, plus China and Russia, signed with Iran.  

He wants to tear it up.  Some, including Benjamin Netanyahu, agree with him.  Some feel revising it is necessary.  Some feel it should be left alone because it is doing what it was intended to do.  Iran does not have nuclear weapons and will not for almost a decade into the future because of the treaty.  That is good.  True, Iran was relieved of some economic sanctions as part of the treaty, but that is what diplomacy is all about. Give and take. Meanwhile, peripheral to the treaty but not part of it, they continue to develop missile technology and aid terrorist movements in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon (they already have sufficient influence in Iraq) in furthering their geo-political aims.  But that isn’t part of the treaty. 


We know that Iran is lying about its compliance with the terms of the Treaty.  I believe It would be better for all of the signatories to that treaty to attack these violations within the treaty rather than to walk away from it, thereby letting Iran do whatever it wants to do.   But if we do that, and the rest of the signatories agree with us (unlikely), Iran will undoubtedly quickly develop nuclear weapons.  Then, maybe, they will be able to pressure us into sitting down and discuss how to have them get rid of them, just as we are planning to do with North Korea.  But do we have to let Iran get nuclear weapons before we reach that point, as we did with North Korea?   Getting rid of the treaty will strengthen the bargaining position of Iran in future negotiations, because they will then have nuclear arms. The treaty should be amended to include missile development and strengthening of inspection procedures, but abandoning it would be a bad move.   (And as a side issue, if we tear it up, or drop out of the existing accord with Iran, how much faith will North Korea have when we sit down and negotiate “denuclearization” with them?)

JL 




A Choice for Westerners 

Americans in the states out there in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains love their magnificent scenic environment, the preservation of which has been a government aim since the days of President Theodore Roosevelt.   They also despise government regulations.  That’s why they vote Republican.  But they cannot have it both ways.  Eliminating the regulations which keep our Western environment safe and pristine opens it up to exploitation and ultimate destruction.
JL 



A Column to Read 

Frank Cerabino had a recent column in the Palm Beach Post about the poor taste exhibited by a comedienne at the recent conclave of reporters in Washington.  One of her jokes, about abortion, prompted Cerabino to comment upon how the present administration is bent on destroying programs endorsed by physicians, scientists and educators to deal with teen-age pregnancy, replacing them with dependence on premarital sexual abstinence.  Absurd … unless you are a right wing evangelical Republican, and that’s who they have now running the program.   Cerabino is always a pleasure to read (in the Palm Beach Post) where you can read this column by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.  
JL 






 Advice for Democrats Who Usually Don't Listen


The Democratic Party has to get one thing straight as they enter the 2018 elections, and plan for the 2020 elections.   Should their primary thrust be at the President, accusable of all kinds of many negative things, or should it be toward the programs of the Republican Party, enacted by a Congress and carried out by the administration?

Imagine that we had a “proper” Republican President in the White House, one as respectable as Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney might have been, one that did not lie repeatedly, send off childish “tweets” in the middle of the night, did not have a history of womanizing and had a solid idea of what the job of being President required, and how to go about carrying out its duties as well as a sense of history, which I feel is a necessity for any President. 

Under such a Republican administration, the same tax reform law would have been passed, the same destruction of long standing regulatory procedures would have taken place, the same weakening of the socio-economic “safety net” would have occurred and some of the same unqualified hacks appointed to Cabinet posts.  These are Republican things, regardless of who is in the White House.  But the Democrats would not have so prime a target as Donald Trump to blame for all of this.   These things would be far more difficult for Democrats to attack in 2018 and 2020 without having Donald J. Trump, with all of his warts, as their campaign’s target tied to Republican misdeeds. 

Democrats must attack Trump, or Trumpism, in addressing any and all of these issues.  The tax reform act is the “Trump” tax reform act, benefitting the wealthy far more than everyone else.  Pruitt, DeVos, and Bolton, and their ilk, should always be referred to as “Trump” appointees.  Tariff reform must be referred to a “Trump’s” ill-conceived tariff reform.  Deterioration of our relationships with foreign powers must be blamed on “Trump’s” inconsistent foreign policy.   Criticism of the G.O.P for these things won’t work unless it is paired with that party being led by the most dishonest, vulgar, ill-prepared, weak-minded, nepotistic, ego-maniacal President the country has ever suffered under.  

People who support what Trump stands for, yet who may be bothered by his obvious excesses, must not be allowed to disassociate the Republican Party from Donald Trump.  Today, he owns the Party and therefore, the Republican Party should not be allowed to escape from the stigma of Donald Trump.
JL 





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