Monday, October 10, 2016

Some Voting Advice, Solving the Job Crisis and a Reprise of "The Meeting"


Deciding How To Vote

The 2016 Presidential campaign has come down to a contest between two personalities.   Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, attack Donald Trump as being unqualified for the Presidency and raise questions about his treatment of women, his business practices and his temperament.   Republicans, including Donald Trump, attack Hillary Clinton as being secretive, dishonest and less than competent.  While these thing might color the way one perceives the candidates, no one, Republican nor Democrat, should let these kinds of things be the final determinant as to how they vote.

Instead, voting preferences should be determined by where the candidates stand on the important issues facing the country. 

A summary of Hillary Clinton’s positions on these issues may be found by visiting the section of her web site devoted to them.  Check it out at  or by clicking right here.

Donald Trump’s positions on these issues can be found by visiting and clicking on the “Positions” tab at the top or by clicking right here.

There are several “non-partisan” web sites which compare the positions of these two candidates, side by side or one after another.  For example, the Council on Foreign Relations’ site does this in regard to China, Immigration, Trade, Security and similar areas of concern to Americans  Check it out by clicking right here. 

You have a decision to make and you should not make it based on rhetoric less sophisticated that that usually found in elections for Middle School student councils. 

Image result for student council election

Also, in watching the candidates on television, be aware that in speaking to their own supporters, in “preaching to the choir,” what they say is aimed at reinforcing their support and not in stating or clarifying positions.  Debates and press conferences, on the other hand, force candidates to more directly face the issues.

Two aspects of this particular Presidential campaign which are important are the inability of a gullible electorate to distinguish lies from the truth and the ability of that same electorate to forgive, or overlook, past shortcomings on the part of the candidates.

Voting decisions should be based on the candidates’ positions on the issues.  But bear in mind that much of what a candidate might want to accomplish might be far beyond the powers of the Presidency, and attainable only with Congressional cooperation.  Beware of positions which are “easier said than done.”
Jack Lippman


Providing Jobs for All ... An Economic Manifesto

When the first settlers arrived in the Colonies in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries, those with money came with land grants from the British Crown and they and their heirs were pretty much set economically for several generations at least.  We knew those folks as the Southern aristocracy, owning plantations and slaves, or as northern businessmen, often profiting from the labor of indentured servants.

Image result for colonial farmers

But as the country’s population grew, there was not enough land available for those who wanted to farm for a living, nor were enough jobs available for those who were willing to trade their labor for a salary, particularly when in half of the country, they were competing with slaves whose labor came at the far lesser price of the modest cost of basic room and board.  Neither did we need many more artisans and storekeepers in what had been the original colonies.  From that time forward, probably at about the beginning of the Nineteenth century, it appeared that there were not enough jobs in America for all of us!  Or, at least enough jobs in the right places.

Image result for wagon train headed west

But the solution to this was to “Go West, Young Man” as Nineteenth century editor Horace Greeley famously urged Americans to do.  If they purchased it or could fight for access to it, land was available from the Appalachians to the Pacific.  And as farms and ranches grew there, businesses and jobs in towns, usually close to the rivers and railroads which were the nation’s avenues of commerce, appeared.  And from the raw material taken from farms and mines, manufacturing grew, adding more jobs.  The country grew richer.

Image result for industrial revolution

But as families grew larger and immigrants came, even the Midwest, the plains, the mountains and the Pacific coast filled up, just as the rest of the nation had been continually doing.  Two problems arose. Continued geographic expansion was no longer possible and advances in technology were making labor less and less necessary.  While new jobs indeed were created by this technology, they were not in numbers equal to the jobs it eliminated..  And many jobs, requiring the least skill, were exported overseas where low-cost labor was and remains plentiful.  And this job outsourcing is now also growing in regard to jobs requiring greater skills, as technology advances overseas as well as here.  Remaining are our meanest domestic and agricultural jobs which immigrant labor is glad to take on, as well as retail, transportation and delivery service jobs but with salaries not so generous as they might otherwise have been in more favorable times.

The wealth of a nation is measured by its gross domestic product, generally defined as the monetary value of all of its finished goods and services produced within it within a specific time period, usually a year. Ours continues to increase although at a slower rate than it had over past years.  But it is doing so, sadly, with fewer jobs while our growing population requires more jobs.  This lack of jobs hurts the consumer and pushes more people toward poverty, or such polite excuses for poverty as forced early retirement or seniors finding it necessary to live with their children and young people often living with parents long after they should be out on their own.  In a nation with a growing gross domestic product, this should not be so!  The wealth may be there, but the real jobs are not, and we can no longer, figuratively nor literally, “Go West.”

So what do we do about it?

As I have frequently suggested, what jobs there are must be rationed, so that all Americans have the opportunity to have their fair share of the work available.  This would require a limit on the number of hours each week that a worker may work. Thirty hours seems reasonable.  It also would require a mandatory requirement age.  Age 55 seems reasonable.  More leisure time and more leisure years would not be a bad thing.

Image result for going to work

This must be accompanied by increased training of workers to keep up with technological advances, as well as many projects, public and private, to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.  But these would not by themselves avoid the necessity of job rationing.  But they must accompany it.

This raises the question of how, with a limited share of the available work, Americans will still earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living, paying for food, shelter, education, health care and planning for retirement.  The answer is that It will require a measure of wealth redistribution through higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.  Easily, that group might be defined as those within the top twenty-five percent of taxpayers.

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This will provide for increased Social Security benefits, including health care, and the subsidization of businesses so that they may grow, pay fair salaries and contribute to portable requirement plans as well.  Reduced taxes on business will also assist them to do this.  This will serve to enable them to provide these jobs, maintaining consumer spending. 
The ideal result of this would be a gross domestic product growing strongly enough to provide Americans with enough of the nation’s wealth to maintain a decent standard of living and retirement, even with a reduced work week and earlier retirement.  That should be our goal, incrementally attainable within a five or a ten year period.  Oh, there will have to be some "belt-tightening" in the early stages, but eventually, everything will work out as further adjustments in the work week, retirement age and tax rate are effected.  Nothing will be written in stone.

Sound radical to you?  Please let me know your ideas for dealing with the future of employment in the United States.  Are they any better? Remember, we can no longer “Go West” and that any outsourced manufacturing which we manage to bring back will require far fewer workers here than it took a generation ago, as well as resulting in higher prices for consumers. 

In a nutshell, my solution would be job rationing accompanied by technological training for workers, a rebuilding of our infrastructure and higher taxation of the top twenty-five percent of taxpayers.
Jack Lippman


The Meeting

Jack Lippman

This story originally appeared on this blog about six years ago.  It is worth re-reading since it explains, in part, how we got to Donald Trump.
Image result for mountain view

The meeting was held in a secluded and luxurious chalet in the foothills of an isolated mountain range.   A private airstrip was the only access to the place other than a rugged unmarked road used to bring in the staff, food and housekeeping essentials from the nearest town, sixty miles away.  A number of private jets were parked at the end of the runway where the hangar and fuel depot were located.

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The men, all casually dressed as if they were there for a weekend of hunting or fishing, sat around a large conference table.  They shall remain nameless, but suffice it to say, each one represented personal wealth in excess of the 300 billion dollar level, which made their eight figure annual salaries almost meaningless.  These were the wealthiest men in America.   If I were to identify them, you would not recognize one name.  Each had gone to great lengths to preserve their anonymity, a quality common to possessors of wealth of this kind.
“Gentlemen,” intoned a short gray-haired man sitting at the table.  “In order to get to our agenda promptly and tend to business, I want to remind all of you of what our group is all about.  I am sure you all already know this … that is why you are here … but these ideas bear frequent repeating.”  No one said anything.  A few of the men nodded their assent.

"Although we as individuals are clearly the most charitable people in the world, our prime objective is wealth preservation.”

“Not exactly,” someone interjected.  “I am not in the least charitable.  I don’t care if people out there live or die or starve or whatever.  I donate for tax purposes.  If the God damn government took away the deductions I get for what I give, and what my foundations give away, I wouldn’t let loose of a red cent.”
“Thank you, George, for your comments.  But let’s get on with it,” the discussion leader continued. 
“Ideally, it would be wonderful if there were no such thing as taxes.  Some of you, I know, have moved a lot of your wealth to countries where there are practically none, but we all know there are limits to how much of that you can do.  So long as we are Americans, we must do as much as we can to keep taxes here to a minimum and deductions and loopholes at a maximum.  We must have a government, for without one, we would lose the protection it provides to allow us the freedom to do what we want with our money.  And of course, at a minimum, we need an army and navy to provide that protection.”
George raised his hand, was recognized, and spoke up.  “Bull.  We don’t need the government to provide us with a military.  We can hire our own.  It’s cheaper that way.  There’s plenty of mercenaries around and no one gives a shit if they get killed.”
“George, thank you for your comments.  That’s something to consider, but let’s get on.  Even though the maximum tax rate is down to 35%. that's still a big hit.  Even with deductions and shelters, it takes a lot out our wallets.  The Democrats would like to see it go back up to 39%, like it was under Clinton.  I would love it back down to 25% or even lower.  Single digits would be fine.  And paying into Social Security is something we must avoid.  That’s a bottomless pit. We only pay into it on a miniscule fraction of our income but I would hate to see that changed, and there are those out there who want to do exactly that.”
“Look at the numbers, though. There are only ten of us in this room and there are maybe another 100,000 top-bracket taxpayers out there who are almost in the same boat as we are, and we are speaking for them too.  Our task is to make sure the government keeps doing it our way.  We have to get the country behind us.  That Norquist fellow did a fine job getting a lot of Congressmen to pledge never to increase taxes nor get rid of our blessed loopholes, but he’s beginning to lose his credibility.  Bush helped him a lot to connect to the conservatives out there, but that’s history now.”
The discussion leader paused briefly, looked out of the massive picture windows at the spectacular scenery surrounding the chalet and continued.  

“As I see it, we must do everything to promote the idea that tax increases, in any form whatsoever, including removing loopholes and deductions, are extremely bad for the country.  We must drill it into the heads of all Americans that taxation removes incentive to invest and grow the economy at all levels and kills jobs.  That gets them every time.  We have to get that into the schools at all levels, even kindergarten.” 
“Ha,” someone laughed.  “Maybe we should put out an Ayn Rand inspired comic book for kids.”
“Great idea,” the leader chuckled. “But this is no laughing matter.  We must convince America that the Laffer curve, the economic ideas of Milton Friedman and of course, of Frederick Hayek, are irrefutable truths, deserving of as much respect as the Ten Commandments.  And that the Keynesian policies of using government spending and higher taxes as tools with which to manage the economy, and to provide an unearned safety net, are poisonous.”
“The way to do this is to convince a majority of Americans of the validity of our positions.  And this is a great time to continue to do this.  The citizenry is hurting and they, like us, are taxpayers.  We need them on our side. They will buy this argument that taxes are the cause of all of the country’s problems, if we shove it down their throats hard enough and often enough.  Put the blame on the government.  It spends too much.  On anything and everything.  As a wise person out there has said, ‘we have to starve the beast.’ "

"If the funding for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and every government spending program out there were cut at least in half, we would never again need to even think about raising taxes.  We might even cut them significantly.   Frankly, I know people would be hurting and some might even die, and things the government does, like roads and dams and research, would have to be eliminated.  But it is far more important that this nation preserve our freedom to accumulate wealth without having to share it with anyone else through excessive taxation.  It’s our money. We cannot have anything that would even hint at the Marxist concept of wealth redistribution.  That’s what high taxes really are. The French cut off Louis XIV’s head to start this God damn leftist ball rolling and we aim to make sure it is stopped right here.” 
All those around the table rose and applauded the speaker.
“Okay, here is the way we do it.  And it has to be done so convincingly that even the Congressmen and local politicians who come aboard actually believe this stuff with all their hearts.  That won’t be easy, because some of them are really smart, but we need to make them believers.” 

1. We must control the media.  We have to have at least one or two major TV networks in our pocket whose programming we can control.  We must dominate talk radio, internet web sites, newspapers, particularly in smaller cities and towns, and magazines.  Once they get our message out, it gets E-mailed all over the country, multiplied ten-fold.  

2. We must fund foundations and institutes which provide legitimate appearing material and documentation, telling our story, to be provided to the media.  Generously endowing a few hard-up colleges or universities can result in strong support for our position from the academic world.  

3. We must ally ourselves with groups who seem susceptible to adopting our ideology because they are already single-mindedly devoted to one cause or another.  This blind devotion can be easily transferred to our cause. This will increase our numbers and believe me, this is very applicable to members of Congress and local legislators.  The groups with which we must ally ourselves are endless.  They include pro-Israel groups, pro-life groups, creationists, anti-fluouride groups, home schooling and pro-educational voucher groups, evangelical Christian groups, anti-immigrant groups, chambers of commerce, some professional societies, sporting groups, bankers associations and Second Amendment groups.

4.  We must repeatedly attack any opposition to our positions.  Innuendo and stretching the truth can be used to discredit any who disagree with us.  Guilt by association and lies, even ones easily disproven, are effective tools since refuting them takes the opposition’s eye off of the ball.  Individuals who are in financial distress can be coerced. Anything questionable in an opponent’s personal life should be capitalized on.
“Gentlemen, to embark on this program, we have established an off-shore funding center with access to all of our accounts in this country.  Everything is cryptographically protected to a degree beyond the capability of any government in the world to decipher.  You will never be identified as being involved in this program. Take a deep breath, gentlemen, for here is the price tag to do this job properly." 

"If any of you are not willing to contribute $200,000,000 to this effort right now and commit to that amount each and every year for the next ten years, you may get up and leave this room right now. All of your jets out there have been refueled and are ready to take off with you if you so choose. Remember though, what I propose  is not only for your good, but for the good of the country as we know it.  You see, I am firmly convinced of the truth of every word that I have said.”  
He rose and looked at all of the men sitting around the table, making eye contact with each of them individually.  None of the nine other men even budged nor made any motion to leave their seats.  He paused for half a minute and only then, smiled.

“Okay, then.  Let’s have lunch and afterwards, I want to introduce you to a few people who will make sure every penny of the two billion dollars that you have just pledged is well spent … and turn over the chair of our group for the next year to whomever is next in alphabetical order.  That’s you, George, right?”
Everyone leaned back as white-jacketed waiters entered the room, laid down fine bone china and sterling silver table settings and prepared to serve a lunch which did not come from McDonalds. 
Image result for filet mignon and asparagus

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  I'll be taking a little time off next week so don't expect another posting for a while.
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Jack Lippman 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Buyer's Remorse, Misconceptions, the Politics of Deception and a Speech I Hope I Never Hear

Hurricane Matthew is not the fault of Barack Obama nor of Hillary Clinton, no matter what you may think or what may be suggested by innuendo over the next few days.

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Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever been sold something by a smooth talking salesman, gone into a venture you never should have, or experienced what is called buyer’s remorse after it was too late?  We all have at one time or another.  It might have been in purchasing a car, making an investment, buying insurance, changing jobs, going into a business or even buying a house.

Consider the many otherwise smart people who are enticed into Ponzi schemes. 

 Bernard L. Madoff leaves U.S. Federal Court on Jan. 14, 2009, after a hearing regarding his bail in New York. 

Bernie Madoff, now languishing in a Federal prison, dealt with sharp, sophisticated, knowledgeable and for the most part, wealthy people, all of whom should have known better.  But they fell for his line.  He was a smooth talking salesman with a slick pitch, a hard combination to beat.

There are certain things which are common to the pitches of such snake oil salesmen.  Their spiel is short on concrete facts, but often long on the kind of repetition found in phrases like “Believe me, this is a very, very, very good deal for you.”  The deal itself is rarely as clear as those words, and that particular pitch is even prefaced with an appeal for you to “believe” it.  One often goes into such deals with more faith in them than knowledge of them.

In that classic musical, “The Music Man,” Professor Henry Hill sells musical instruments to the kids in a town, endlessly expounding on the benefits which will accrue to the place by having a marching band, but glosses over the necessity of the 

kids learning to play the instruments.    
He just emphasizes the evils getting the band will rid the town of; pool rooms, horse racing and smoking!  He makes the sale.

A dubious buyer is assured that many others have taken advantage of an appealing offer.  “They call me back every day telling me how very, very glad they are that they bought … or invested in … or took my advice and…,” the salesperson claims, and the buyer drops his guard thinking that if so many are happy with their decision, why shouldn’t he be, as well? 

 Image result for salesman on phone

And if a noun isn’t sufficiently descriptive, add an adjective, or even better, an adverb on top of that.  Compare “Mr. Smith, just look at this car”  with “Mr. Smith, just look at this beautiful car and finally, with “Mr. Smith, just look at this unbelievably 

beautiful car!   Image result for 2017 Honda Accord  Hey, it’s still the same car!
But this is what selling is all about.  The problem is that these techniques have never before been so extensively used in a Presidential election campaign, which is supposed to be above them.  And while we can sometimes take steps to remedy a case of “buyer’s remorse,” those who develop “voter’s remorse” may have to wait four years to change things.
Jack Lippman

The Politics of Deception

Image result for michael gerson washington post  Michael Gerson couldn’t have better conservative credentials.  A speechwriter for George W. Bush and former fellow at the Heritage foundation, he represents what the Republican Party always has stood for.  He is not from the “arch-right,” the “Tea Party” nor the “basket of gullibles” (a far more accurate description than Hillary’s “basket of deplorables”) which comprises what passes for the Grand Old Party today.  That’s why his columns carry so much weight.  They are not from Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, E.J. Dionne or any others from whom one would expect liberal, if not leftish, opinions. They are from what used to be “the right.”  So bear that in mind when you read his recent thoughts about Donald Trump entitled, “Out of his Depth, Trump Clings to Deception.”  Check it out by clicking right here.

For those of you too busy to click on the link just above (please consider doing so), here is the last paragraph of Gerson's column, following his documentation of Trump's many lies: 

"Trump’s defenders will charge his critics with elitism. The great public, it is argued, gets Trump in a way that the commenting class does not. But this claim is now fully exposed. The expectation of rationality is not elitism. Coherence is not elitism. Knowledge is not elitism. Honoring character is not elitism. And those who claim this are debasing themselves, their party and their country."
Then figure out a way to fight the illusions in the minds of many who are supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy because they have been taken in by these deceptions.  That’s up to you!  (particularly if you live in a “battleground” state) Contact me if you want direction as to how to help!


Let’s Get Some Misconceptions Cleared Up

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Paying a Ransom to Iran: We did not illegally pay 400 million dollars to Iran to ransom some Americans being held by the Iranian courts.   We had been holding that money which Iran had paid to us many years ago in a trust fund along with $1,300,000,000 in interest which it had accumulated over 37 years.  The deposed Shah of Iran had paid us the money for some jet planes which, after he was deposed in 1979, were never delivered.  It was Iran's money.  International tribunals would have fined the United States significantly if we did not take steps to refund the 400 million to Iran, plus the accumulated interest. We finally did this, at no expense to the United States, at a time when Iran was holding several Americans as prisoners in their judicial system.  We not only avoided being fined by an international tribune for not returning the money sooner, but we got the prisoners back.  That the payment was made in foreign currencies via Switzerland was necessary because we do not have a full banking relationship with Iran. This is not paying a ransom as ill-informed Republicans claim.  It was good diplomacy.

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Sanctuary Cities: A sanctuary city is a city which adopts local policies designed to not prosecute people solely for being an illegal alien, a Federal, not a local offense. These practices can exist by law or by custom. Because local police already have enough law enforcement duties to perform, these practices result in municipal funds or resources not being made available to be used to enforce Federal immigration laws, generally by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about an individual's immigration status. The designation “sanctuary city” actually has no legal meaning but that hasn't stopped Republicans from using it for years implying that such cities (or counties) were protecting criminals.   If the Federal government were to fully enforce immigration laws on its own, the question of cities choosing to, or choosing not to, take on this job would not occur.  Certainly, Republican charges that cities which choose not to take on the additional law enforcement task of enforcing Federal immigration law are intentionally being soft on criminals is a gross overstatement.  They are just using their resources wisely.  Certainly, if an illegal alien commits a crime, the "Sanctuary City's" police will go after him for that act, but not merely because he or she is an illegal alien.

Trump’s Inaugural Address

It is not inconceivable that Donald Trump, despite his total lack of qualifications will get sufficient electoral votes to win the Presidency.  I hope not.  But if he does, might not his Inaugural Address be something like this?

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Ladies, Gentlemen, Honored Guests:  
It’s time, now that I have been elected President of these United States, to pay attention to the three really important issues facing our country.  First and foremost, we must find out what really happened that night in Benghazi.  We shall devote huge resources to getting an answer to that question so the former Secretary of State and her boss, the former President, don’t get off scot free.

And while we’re at it, I will appoint a joint House and Senate Committee backed by the CIA and the FBI, to fully investigate the nefarious influence-peddling acts of the Clinton Foundation.
As for those emails, I promise, now that I am President, to fully investigate what all of them, including the missing ones, contained.  It won’t be easy, but we have four years during which these three major projects can be completed. We will take our time and be very, very, meticulous.  And I will keep you informed over the next four years with weekly TV reports on how these three vital projects are coming along.  It’ll be like a weekly “reality” series.  We could call it “The Investigations” or “The Inquisitions” or something like that.  I’ll have my people work on a title.

One of my promises was to bring back jobs from China.  Well, we are doing that too. Right now! I was not just mouthing hollow words!  As of this morning, we have ordered the Coast Guard and the Navy to turn around any ships coming from China, or elsewhere, with Chinese goods aboard. And they are very, very good at that. Shots over the bow, and that kind of thing.  That’s all it takes.  This will enable American companies to hire people to start making that stuff here.  That’s “Job Creation.”  Very simple, isn’t it?

And as for the Middle East, I have instructed the Air Force to bomb the crap out of every country in the Middle East, except Israel, leveling all of their cities. You can’t trust any of them anyway; they’re all Muslims.  That should take care of ISIS, Iran, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of them.  See how simple it is.
By the way, if anyone thinks this stuff might be breaking some politically correct laws, my appointment of Sean Hannity to the vacant Supreme Court Seat will guarantee that all of it will be legal.  See!
Oh, yes, before I forget, I want to announce that from now on, we will have a real Miss America Pageant here in this country, nothing cheesy or second rate.  Each state’s entrant will come to Washington where the finals will be held right here in the Capitol Building on the Fourth of July.  Probably in the House Chamber.  I hear it’s larger than the Senate.  It’ll be a first for both the Pageant and the Capitol.
That’s also how we’ll get to deal with stuff like foreign affairs.  Let me tell you that if everything goes according to my plan, Vladimir Putin will be simultaneously crowning a Miss Russia in the Kremlin.  I’m trying to work something out with him so that the two winners both will get jobs as anchors at Fox.  The Russian girl will of course have to color her hair blond and learn English too, but that’s no problem.  Melania did!  You know, this will be a much, much nicer way to conduct foreign relations than all those dull conferences between older men with bad breath in cheap suits that previous administrations have conducted.

Thank you hugely for helping to “Make America Great” and God, really Bless America!
(We’ll need it.)

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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.

To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The First Debate, Trump's Love for "OPM," 38 Billion for Military Aid to Israel, Hair and a Reading Assignment

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Right Now, Up Front, Here's a Reading Assignment

Image result for reading newspapers clip art

First. check out  a recent New York Times column by Thomas L. Friedman has taken on a green hue with his latest book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded".Thomas Friedman telling us why "ex-spies," who know what really is going on, know that a Trump Presidency would be a catastrophe for the nation and its allies.  Just click here to read it.   

Then move on to           Kathleen Parker's Washington Post column wherein she tells why "opposing Trump amounts to a moral imperative" for her. Click here to read the column.  Now, this columnist, contrary to Thomas Friedman, has probably voted Republican ever since she was old enough to vote. In the column, she quotes a voter who "definitely doesn't want Trump to win and definitely want Hillary to lose." Such voters, as an old fisherman once said, must learn to "fish or cut bait."  Right now they are still cutting bait.  

Here's one who isn't, though.  In a Letter to the Editor recently published in the Palm Beach Post, a Republican writer recently classified Trump supporters as either (1) anti-immigration and/or prejudiced, (2) "anybody but Hillary" people, (3) permanent Republican voters, regardless of the candidate and (4) those who after comparing the candidates, have decided that Trump has the best interest of the country at heart. 

After a few paragraphs of such "cutting bait," he finally starts to fish when he concludes by saying "Let's realize our problems are complex and Clinton is talking complex solutions and working together to make things better, while Trump is delivering one-liners. Hillary risk is far, far less than the Trump risk come November."

(Note about clicking on links to articles published elsewhere:  Up until last year, I frequently included entire columns in this blog.  No one ever complained, but a professional journalist who occasionally follows the blog pointed out that actually, I was infringing on copyrighted material.  So to keep everything "kosher," while I may still quote a few lines from a published column, I switched over to providing links on which readers might click to read the entire original column.  (JL)

The First Presidential Debate
Here’s my take on the first Presidential Debate, written within ten minutes of its end, even before listening to any of the TV analysis or reading about it in the papers.

In very general terms, Hillary looked fine.  I would define her appearance as “unflappable.”  Donald, on the other hand, was “flappable.”   The “split-screen” approach enabled the viewer to see the reactions of each while the other was speaking, and that’s where this was really visible. Trump often grimaced or scowled at what Clinton was saying.  Hillary just smiled, even when in strong disagreement with Trump. 

When not speaking, and just listening, Trump often squinted.  I suspect the lighting bothered him.  Hillary had no such problem.  It occurred to me that his frequent campaign appearances wearing a “Make America Great” baseball cap might be for the purpose of shading his eyes from bright light.  He should see an ophthalmologist.  I believe this was almost as damaging to him as was Richard Nixon’s sweating during his first debate with John Kennedy in 1960.
Basically, Trump did an excellent job of criticizing the direction in which the country has gone during the past eight years.  But, he said nothing any different from what he has been saying throughout his campaign, criticizing government in regard to trade, job creation and national security.  For example, his solution in regard to unemployment was tax reduction at all levels, making it easier for business to create jobs.  As for bringing jobs back from overseas, he blamed Democrats and incompetent people in government who didn’t know what they were doing for letting them go there in the first place.  

Clinton offered detailed proposals for solving the challenges the nation faces, here and abroad while Trump pointed out that they were the fault of prior administrations, and can be attributed to Secretary Clinton to a great extent, so how can she be expected to solve them, he asked.   Clinton’s thrust was forward looking.  Trump’s was retrospective.
If each came to the debate with a “plan” for how they would answer questions, Clinton was able to pretty much stay “on plan” while Trump frequently went “off plan” to respond to Clinton’s charges.  For example, when Clinton criticized a past Trump comment that he had hoped for a collapse of the real estate bubble (which occurred in 2007) as being a good opportunity to make money, he responded that it was simply “good business” to do so.  Clinton’s responses were brief, enabling her to quickly get back “on plan.” 

If this debate had a winner, it would be Clinton.  No Trump supporters were converted, but some undecided voters and Johnson or Stein backers might have been.

                                           *              *             *
And here is an "addendum," written after hearing some of the "morning after" comments on the tube.

The folks at Fox TV actually thought Trump had won the debate.  One of their blonde a.m. anchors quoted a poll from Variety (that's a show-biz magazine) giving Donald a 75-25 edge.  Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, whom she was interviewing at the time, snickered and said that "real" polls were showing the contrary.  Getting to the meat of the debate, however, the general consensus was that Hillary kept Donald on the defensive.  Some wondered why, other than an offer to trade his tax returns for Hillary's 30,000 emails, he didn't inject the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi and the emails themselves into the debate.  On Fox, one "analyst" complained that there were no questions posed by the moderator on those subjects.  Sadly, many Trump supporters don't recognize that the demands of governance go beyond that!  Far beyond that!  Of note is the fact that immigration wasn't mentioned.  I suspect that it's a subject Trump handles well at his rallies before his supporters, but was unwilling to raise with Hillary poised to counter his statements.  And she just didn't have time to raise the subject.

So my initial analysis was correct.  Clinton won. Unless the remaining two debates can be limited to the emails, the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi, (or Trump can successfully twist them into that) anticipate a steady decline in Trump's numbers.   Johnson's and Stein's support will drift to Clinton, just as will the crucial "undecided" 10%.  Trump doesn't have a clue as to what is required of a President, and it showed.  
Jack Lippman

Donald Loves to Use Other People's Money

Last week “Dangerous” Donald Trump touted the advantages of using “Other People’s Money” to finance things.  Specifically, he suggested that the Gulf States, not the United States nor Europe, finance relief efforts in Syria.  Real estate developers usually use “OPM” to finance their projects.  That’s where he learned this.  This might be a good idea all by itself but it ignores the intricacies of foreign policy which determine how we deal with other countries.  Syria is not a real estate development.

Image result for trump lying

Banks and other financial institutions usually lay out the money, with minimal if any participation by the developer, for residential or commercial construction projects.  And the developer somehow manages it so that the debt ultimately turns out to be someone else’s problem.  This is the business philosophy of “Dangerous” Donald Trump and has no business being injected into our government.  Certainly, “government” has always been financed by “OPM” but in that case, the “other people” are the taxpaying individuals and businesses of the country.

Conservatives have always complained about the government’s annual deficits and the national debt, and these are valid issues.  But from day one, this country has been financed by tax-supported debt.  We didn't have the money to pay for the American Revolution.  So we borrowed from France, ultimately striking a deal to repay them, and individual colonies, soon to become states, issued bonds.  We printed worthless paper money which found a good measure of patriotic acceptance.   But the country had an obligation to ultimately pay its debts, as it does today, which it did and still does today, despite occasional Congressional obstructions.  This is not the way Donald Trump does business.  Ask the folks in Atlantic City or those who were disappointed by Trump University.

Recognize how the philosophy of using “OPM” in the business world differs from levying taxes to pay for government!  I doubt that “Dangerous” Donald Trump understands this, despite his undergraduate education at Fordham and the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania.

Recently, the Washington Post published a lengthy article explaining how “Dangerous” Donald paid off some of his personal debts using money raised by his charitable foundation, some of which had been donated by him to it, but also including a lot of “OPM.”  Because of the tax-favored status of such foundations, this was illegal, but that did not deter Trump from paying bills with Foundation checks (That's how he reportedly paid off Florida Attorney Generall Pam Bondi for not pursuing the Trump University scam and settled the infamous Mar-a-Lago flagpole dispute with the town of Palm Beach by having the his Foundation write checks to a charity, even though the Foundation itself had never put up any illegal flagpoles.  Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago did ... and the Foundation paid to settle.) 

Image result for flag over mar a lago This is known as "self-dealing" with “OPM” and any tax accountant or lawyer will tell you it is a crime.

Perhaps Trump’s attacks on the Clinton Foundation, which doesn’t do this kind of thing with its donations (and is guilty of nothing more than picking up the phone when a big donor calls and pointing them in the right direction), is based on the fact that he thinks their Foundation must be as sullied by financial finagling and misuse as his obviously is.  He is so used to avoiding compliance with the law, that he must believe others must be as scurrilous as he is.  T'ain't so, Donald!  You are one of a kind.

Take the time and read the article from the Washington Post showing how dishonest this pathetic excuse for a Presidential candidate is.  To do so, click right here.  The next day, the Trump campaign issued a response to the Post article, broadly criticizing it without offering any facts and turning it into an attack on the Clinton Foundation!  That response, as well as the Post’s meticulous answer to it can be read by clicking here.

To borrow “Dangerous” Donald’s way of speaking, for any voter to support him, they must be very, very, very gullible and extremely and tremendously na├»ve.

But there are a lot of those folks around, so if you don’t want “Dangerous” Donald Trump in the White House next year, IT IS YOUR OBLIGATION TO GET OUT THERE AND HELP HILLARY CLINTON TO WIN ON NOVEMBER 8, even if you don’t live in one of those crucial “toss-up” states.   (Contact me if you want to know how to do that.)
Jack Lippman


$38,000,000,000 U.S. Military Aid to Israel

The United States has agreed to increase the amount of aid given to Israel for military purposes for the next ten years from about 3.1 billion dollars to 3.8 billion dollars annually.  Tell those folks who claim Barack Obama is anti-Israel to put that in their pipes and smoke it!

  Image result for barack Obama

But, this increase is not quite so much as it appears to be because the 500 million dollars which is paid for Israel’s missile defense each year is now included in this annual number, whereas formerly it was separate.  Nevertheless, 38 billion dollars over the next ten years will purchase quite a bit of military aid, including the missile defense money.

Image result for Israeli missile defense

Two changes, tightening up this aid package, reflect the less than ideal relationship between the United States and Israel. The agreement is not subject to revision over the next decade and the existing provision allowing Israel to spend up to 26% of the money for military items made in Israel, rather than in the United States, will be gradually phased out.

While the United States is a great supporter of the State of Israel, our government feels that the Nuclear Reduction agreement with Iran will significantly delay that nation having nuclear weapons.  The Israeli government disagrees.  However, many believe that without the agreement, Iran would have nuclear weapons right now, and the Middle East would be in a far greater mess than it presently finds itself, with Israel heavily involved militarily.  There are those in high places in Israel who believe this, but in order to maintain a working majority in the Knesset, they cannot publicly state so.

A better relationship between Iran and the United States seems to be essential if ISIS is to be permanently defeated and the Syrian crisis resolved.  We recognize that Iran cannot be ignored because of the geopolitical make-up of the Middle East.  Look at a map.  Of course, to Israel, Iran is an implacable enemy, and our dealing with them in regard to nuclear weapons and sanctions removal, is offensive.  

Finally, the United States feels a two-state solution is needed to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, and that further Israeli settlements on the West Bank make this difficult.  Israel feels that there cannot be a two-state solution until they have someone with whom to talk who is not dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel, and until then, the settlements will continue.  At this time, no such person exists.  The United States should recognize this, and its granting this military aid package to Israel seems to do so.

So, these are the areas where Israel and the United States do not see eye to eye.  But still, thirty-eight billion dollars is a lot of aid to give to someone with whom we do not always agree.  It is testimony to the strength of our historic relationship with the State of Israel which clearly overshadows the areas of disagreement mentioned above.

Certainly, it is to the credit of the Obama administration that this increase in military
aid to Israel is taking place.

Image result for hillary clinton

Hillary Clinton is in agreement with it.  While Donald Trump, along with Clinton, has indeed pledged to protect Israel, his position on a one or two-state Palestinian solution and on military aid is ambiguous.  In fact, a few months ago, Trump actually was insisting that Israel itself pay for military aid, but he eventually reversed his position on that, as he does with many issues which he does not understand in depth. 

Clinton six-pointed star

One should not forget the anti-Semitic Trump campaign poster released a few months ago, featuring a six-pointed star, originated by an anti-Semitic group supporting Donald Trump.  It leaves a sick taste in one’s mouth.

In addition to his having the support of anti-Semites, many Jews also support Trump's candidacy, primarily because he disagrees with Obama’s (and Hillary Clinton’s) willingness to deal with Iran and their support of a two-state solution.    Image result for eyeglasses for myopia
Becoming myopic, they don’t look much further than that.  But I don’t know of any anti-Semites in Hillary Clinton’s camp.  They are all backing Donald Trump

I wonder why.  I wonder if Ivanka ever wonders why. Image result for ivanka trump wearing jewish star  

She may be the first to wise up to the evil powers which are waiting in the wings, rubbing their hands as their egotistical, narcicisstic and flamboyant candidate does his thing for the gullible and naive.
Hillary's Hair
Living among seniors in South Florida, one encounters a lot of women in Hillary Clinton's age range.  There are many in their sixties, seventies and eighties who remain quite attractive.  That's because they take care of themselves, particularly their hair.  Almost all of them sport relatively short haircuts which look great.  As they grow older, they just don't look right with long hair  (like Ivanka Trump above).  

This is true of Hillary Clinton and most of her campaign pictures show her with short hair.  That's smart!  Jump over to the Trump campaign, or take a look at a lot of the clips used on Fox News, and you will see more of Hillary with long hair.  She looks awful in such pictures and that is why they are used by her opponents. 

Here are two photos to illustrate my point.  The bottom one is from the Benghazi hearings where she is wearing an ugly green suit and has long hair.  Everywhere else she seems to favor blue, but that day, it looks like she went to the Goodwill Center and picked out that green suit. She looks awful in green. Maybe it was St. Patrick's Day? The Republicans are having a field day with that photo!    I believe that Secretary Clinton needs a permanent style consultant. But please, don't let her hair style or choice of apparel on any given day control the way you vote.   Forget the hair on her head.  It's what inside that counts.  

Image result for Hillary clinton  

And in all fairness to her opponent, he has nice hair too.  His colorist should get an award. His or her work guarantees a lot of support for him from alumni of Syracuse, Miami and Clemson Universities.

Wrapping It Up

Looks like "Dangerous" Donald did some uncredited plagerism. 

Image result for make america grate again       

And here is why semi-literate cheese manufacturers are supporting Trump!

Trump: Make America Grate Again!

Thats all for now, Folks!


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