Friday, August 16, 2019

Quotes from Toni Morrison and Michael Corleone, Two Fine Columns and the President Speaks to Pennsylvanians and to BIbi

Yes, Words Matter!

As an addendum to the ”Words Matter” theme of the August 14 posting on this blog, here is a quote from David Remnick, writing in “The Talk of the Town” column in the August 19 issue of the New Yorker magazine.  (Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison passed away on August 5.)

“In December, 1993, Toni Morrison flew to Stockholm to deliver the lecture required of those awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Her subject was the power of language.  Words, she said, have the capacity to liberate, empower, imagine, and heal, but, cruelly employed, they can ‘render the suffering of millions mute.’  Morrison was unsparing in her depiction of people who would use language to evil ends.  Pointing to ‘infantile heads of state’ who speak only ‘to those who obey, or in order to force obedience,’ she warned of the virulence of the demagogue.  ‘Oppressive language does more than represent violence,’ she said.  ‘It is violence.”

What Morrison said is indeed applicable to Donald Trump and she later went on to say so in no uncertain terms.  In that vein, here are two columns about the President which are important.

One is by Maureen Dowd (New York Times) and the other is by Michael Gerson (Washington Post).  Read them both.  They are enlightening. (I don't go to the trouble of including them in Jackspotpourri without good reason!!)

To read the Dowd column, CLICK HERE.   To read the Gerson column, CLICK HERE.
Jack Lippman
Send These, the Homeless, Tempest-Tossed to me

"Hating" Trump?

Whomever ends up with the Democratic presidential nomination will make it clear for reasons such as those stated in these two columns, and because of the opinions of many others, that the President must be defeated in 2020.  To know Donald Trump may be to "hate" him.  Sometimes I feel that way.  But actually “hating” him may not be such a good idea.

Depending on such negative campaigning carries a risk.  Pause.  Stop and think.  Don't let it help him solidify his base.  Don't let it enable him to declare himself a a 'victim' of some 'deep state' plot or of the liberal media' "fake news."

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone

Some advice, albeit fictional, comes from the film,“Godfather - Part III” (1990), in which “Godfather” Michael Corleone advises Don’t hate your enemies.  It affects your judgement.”   And that is precisely where Democrats must position themselves today.  I know that will be difficult, but hatred of the President must not eclipse the issues.  

Americans know now and knew then what a vile person the President is, yet enough voters in crucial states still voted for him in 2016 because they were not satisfied with what the Democrats had given them and decided they would take up Trump’s ‘promises’ to do better, despite their awareness of his defects in character and total lack of qualifications for the job.  They knew, and still know, that the Democrats were, and are, more qualified to sit in the White House and be given Congressional majorities, but it was, and still is, a matter of “what have you done for me lately, and what will you do for me if we put you in office?” Politically, that is a bottom line.

So let’s go there!  Here’s the roadmap to victory for Democrats.

Health Care:  The Affordable Care Act has made health care available to millions of Americans who otherwise would not have any.  It needs to be improved, as does Medicare and Medicaid, but only Democrats, who brought these programs to the American people, can do that job.  All the Republicans want to do is dismantle these programs, so taxes on the wealthy can be reduced.

Gun Violence:  Most Americans are for laws on the federal and local levels to reduce gun violence by such steps as universal background checks for ALL gun purchasers and banning military style weapons.  Only Republicans, nourished by years of donations from the NRA, oppose the people on this issue.

Social Security:  Guaranteeing benefits to those who have paid into the plan over the years is vital.  The income ceiling up to which Social Security contributions are  made should be raised or eliminated in order to balance the growing disparity between the number of those receiving benefits and those contributing to the program.  Republicans, on the other hand, talk of cutting benefits.

The Economy:  G.O.P tax breaks for business, did not "trickle down." (They used the money to buy back stock.)  What the nation needs to benefit all Americans is Keynesian government pump-priming where necessary, job creation through investment in the infrastructure, retraining for today's jobs, a realistic minimum living wage, respect for the Federal Reserve as guardian of monetary solvency, and a balance between globalization and government safety nets to provide protection for workers who might be hurt by foreign trade, which is necessary for our economy and that of the world of which we are a part.  The problem of wealth redistribution must be addressed through tax reform. A successful economy that doesn't benefit all Americans is not a successful economy.

Foreign Affairs:  Economic alliances and military alliances with our traditional friends must be rebuilt, if our country is to be trusted by the world. Our military, our space program and our nuclear program must not be shortchanged if we are to remain a world power. Other nations watch us and look to us for leadership! Objective and professional decision makers must be allowed to create realistic programs to deal with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and to restore respect for us in the Middle East.  Our participation in the Iran nuclear treaty must be restored and the weapons limitation treaties with Russia must be re-negotiated. Our State Department must be fully staffed once more.

The Environment: I once knew someone who worked as a rent collector in some buildings his family owned. Sometimes, lacking the money to pay the rent, a tenant would offer him sex instead, he told me.  He never accepted such offers since he knew better than "to sh-t where he eats."  We must protect the air, the water, the forests, the oceans, animal life, all that surrounds us if our race is to survive, and this is a global concern, not just a national one.  Our species doesn't own the planet.  We are just its most recent tenants.

Climate Change: Throughout the planet's history, climate has changed.  Never before, however, has it been scientifically documented that human activity has influenced such changes to a significant extent.  The seas are warming, the ice caps are melting and as a result, the waters are rising. Storm patterns, across the world, are changing.  The use of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, even wood) seems to be the cultprit, releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere.  We should join the rest of the world in supporting activities to address this problem and the first step is to rejoin the Paris Accord, from which the President withdrew the United States. Our species doesn't own the planet.  We are just its most recent tenants.

Consumer Protection: Government oversight and regulation of the food we eat, the medicines we take, the water we drink, the cars we drive and the toys we give our children to play with should be strenthened and not weakened for the sake of the providers' business success. Health and safety come first.  Banking and all financial services, including investment vehicles, should be regulated so that the savings and other financial interests of individual American consumers are protected, before that of the providers of such services.

This is not to say that the President is not a liar, dishonest, incompetent and a racist.  He is all of these.  But that should not prevent Democrats from presenting meaningful programs in the areas listed above.  They are the keys to electing a Democratic President in 2020 and giving him or her a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress.  

Democrats must keep their judgement clear, concentrate on these goals, and not let hatred of the President, however deserving it might be, cause them to take their eyes off the ball.  Remain inspired by the words of Toni Morrison, but also, don’t ignore the advice of Michael Corleone: Don’t hate your enemies. It affects your judgement.”

If you agree with this, please pass this message on to others.  If you disagree, you can let me know.


I Lift My Lamp

Online Voter Registration

Know any Floridians one who are NOT registered voters?   Refer them to a web site where they can complete the registration process online!    Every vote counts.   


And if you are not in Florida, do the same thing wherever you live.  It’s all on the Internet somewhere!

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Following the President

President Dumbkopf at Shell Oil plant
President Dumbkopf spoke at the Shell petroleum refinement plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, the other day, totally ignorant of the fact that the plant was brought there by his predecessor in office, Barack Obama, and reached into his well of ignorance to comment that the Democrats didn’t care about the people in Western Pennsylvania.  

Shell announced the construction of the plant, which had been in the planning stage for some years, in June of 2016, at which time Obama was President.  Dumbkopf had nothing whatsoever to do with it.  (Also, it should be noted that the Shell employees ranged behind him as he spoke were on the job at the time, collecting their salaries to be there.)   President Dumbkopf took the opportunity to refer to two of his potential opponents in 2020, *if the Republicans haven’t wised up and gotten rid of him by then, as “Pocohantas” and “Sleepy Joe,” either one of whom will easily send him into retirement or a job in one of his failing businesses next year.  

*a distinct possibility as Republicans slowly realize the President may create a disaster for their entire ticket throughout the nation.   

(Can you name one business of his which has not failed?  Once he’s out of office, his hotel in D.C., his Mar-a-Lago catering business and his golf courses will probably go out of business or be sold off to real businessmen by the Dumbkopf family.  Because Dumbkopf usually uses borrowed money in his enterprises, I would suspect that an examination of these businesses’ books might reveal a ridiculously large debt load  ... similar to that with which he has saddled the country by reducing taxes on the wealthy and on some large corporations.)
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One Step Too Far
Birds of a feather
And in regard to America's relations with Israel, I am ashamed of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's acceding to the President's request not to admit Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib to Israel because of their strongly pro-Palestinian positions. Regardless of my opinion of Omar and Tlaib, that is one step too far.

Obviously, Bibi and President Dumbkopf both need every right-wing vote they can get and this is merely their joint attempt to do that.  The defeat of Bibi in Israel's upcoming repeat election (and possibly his conviction in court cases being brought against him) would reopen the possibility of a 'two state solution' there.  Hopefully, this will happen.  Meanwhile, even Republicans are criticizing the President's actiion. Similarly, It is no sin for Jews to criticize Netanyahu for buckling under to the President's ill-considered request.  His position as Israel's Prime Minister does not bestow upon him any "biblical" immunity.

Beside The Golden Door.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Words Matter and TV Ads

Continued at conclusion of posting

Words Matter!

Here, just a few days after the second anniversary of the white nationalist racist demonstration in Charlottesville, is the video of the President of the United States, a few days afterwards, apologizing for the white nationalists, saying 'there were fine people on both sides' and pointing out that since Washington and Jefferson were slaveholders, it wasn’t such a bad thing to demonstrate against removing a statue of Robert E. Lee, (a traitor who violated his oath and rebelled against the United States  government) and that’s all that these 'fine people' were doing.   

Charlottesville "Unite the Right" demonstrators - 2017
He gave a pass to the highly organized anti-Semites and the violent racists (there was one death) who came to Charlottesville from all over the country to demonstrate.  They went on, given legitimacy and inspired by Trump’s words. to murder people in Charleston, Pittsburgh, El Paso and elsewhere.   Words matter! 

Yes, words matter.   The video will take about four minutes to watch and you must watch it.  CLICK HERE TO SEE IT .  

 Yes, Words Continue to Matter!  

Fox's Tucker Carlson 

The New York Times recently ran an article about how both (1) specific words used by Fox News telecasters were repeated by the President, and (2) specific words used by the President which were then reported on and repeated on Fox, appeared in the alleged social media posting of the El Paso racial murderer.  This stuff seems to feed upon itself, circulating around and around and ending up on many right wing, and racial white nationalist, social media outlets. 

The same thing, the Times article pointed out, was true of other conservative “news’ outlets on TV and radio, such as those of Rush Limbaugh, Sinclair Radio and others.  This is how they turn lies (like calling refugees seeking asylum under our laws “invaders” and stoking fears that immigration will bring about the "replacement" of the traditional Caucasian image of what Americans are supposed to be) into nourishment for bigots and racists, who believe them and lead some to commit murderous deeds as occurred in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Charleston and elsewhere.

The article also correlated the timing of the dissemination of these lies with the occurrence of incidents of racial violence, establishing a connection.  Were it not for the First Amendment, such liars would not have access to the press, TV and the internet … but that is the price of living in a democracy.  But words matter.

Read the Times article by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

Words Matter All Over the Country!

When a Montana resident was recently arrested for attacking and injuring a thirteen-year old for not removing his hat during the playing of the National Anthem, his lawyer’s defense was that the President’s rhetoric led him to do it.  For those with a racist mentality, that made it okay.  Sick!  Check it out by CLICKING HERE.

The Democratic Party should use that Charlottesville video on TV during the election campaign.  It shows the President giving comfort to white nationalist racists in this country.  He continues to do it and the most recent murders in El Paso are the result of this.  (The President’s words directly inspired the killer whom I suspect is right now using that as his "excuse" when he talks to the police.) There is blood on the President’s hands.  Words matter.  Trump MUST go, either by impeachment, resignation or defeat at the polls.

And You Matter!  

Pass this blog on to your friends and relatives!

Like what you see on this blog? 
Check it out a few times a week.

 It is frequently updated!

Jack Lippman
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Please Click on the Ads

There has been a significant decline in the number of “clicks” on the advertisements which most of you see accompanying the blog.  In the past, it took about eighteen months to accumulate $100 (the minimum amount for which Google AdSense will make a deposit in my account.  That’s a lot of “penny” clicks).  Remember, all that money goes for cancer research.

The way things are going now, it looks like it will take at least twice that time to accumulate that modest minimum amount.  So please, keep clicking those ads that interest you, and maybe some that don’t as well.    (I know the ads don’t show up on Iphones and similar devices, but they do appear on desktop monitors.)  Please click on the ads. Every penny that the blog gets from them goes for cancer research.

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TV Ad Critiques

Intended for Speed Readers
Many TV advertisements for (1) pharmaceuticals and (2) from law firms that are looking for people to include in class action lawsuits (today’s ‘ambulance chasers’) include explanatory caveats.  Some, particularly the in the “lawsuit” ads, are in miniscule type and on the screen for no more than three seconds.  It is impossible for any viewer to read them, but apparently, they are a legal requirement so they are included.

Here is one that I copied.  It deals with a firm looking for people who may have been injured by a specific medical procedure, for the purpose of referring them to lawyers.  Could you read it within three seconds?

I couldn’t.  If this message is important, it should be in larger type and remain on the screen for about a minute. 

The pharmaceutical caveats (which sometimes mention possible ‘fatal’ side effects) are almost as bad, although they usually are “on screen” for a longer period superimposed at the bottom of the picture as the commercial rolls along, sometimes accompanied by the voice of an announcer.  This is an issue because no one really has time to read it while watching the commercial at the bottom of which the words appear. This supposedly serves to get the advertiser off the hook if something “bad” happens.   It’s sort of like the stuff on the back of the ticket a valet parking attendant gives you which says they’re not responsible for anything that happens to your car.  Sure.

Generally, the pharmaceutical ads are highly professional while the law firm ads are primitive, probably done as cheaply as possible by a moonlighting programmer.

More About Ads
I didn't forget that I had promised a few postings ago that I would get back to the nice lady on TV who says that “That’s the best $150 I ever spent.” (The ad was selling a battery of non-invasive medical tests.)  Maybe it was the best $150 she ever spent.  It depends.   But rather than proceed that way, would it not have been better for her to first ask her doctor if she should take the medical tests being offered, not covered by most insurance?

If she had a competent personal physician, his or her periodic examinations and other factors (age, blood studies, family history, etc.) would have indicated whether such tests were necessary and he or she would have ordered them, and they would have been covered by her insurance, and she would not have had to look elsewhere for medical testing.

But if some of the test results were positive, this might indeed be the best $150 she ever spent, prompting her to change doctors to one who would be more adept at and alert to recognizing symptoms which warrant testing for cardiovascular disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, osteoporosis, and other serious illnesses.  It would have been the best $150 she ever spent if it prompted her to switch to a more competent physician from one who did not recognize the need for testing.

I wonder how her tests came out … and what she did with the results.


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Note:  The letter that I sent to the Palm Beach Post, and which appeared on this blog's August 12 posting, was published by them this morning.   It you have an opinion, don't keep it to yourself.

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I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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And You Matter!  
Pass this blog on to your friends and relatives!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Sleeping With Dogs, A George Will Column, Fox News' Bias, Immigrants and Epstein's Suicide

Don’t Sleep with Dogs

Charlottesville, Two Years Ago
A frequent accusation made in political campaigns is that "if you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.”  President Trump’s dalliance with white nationalist racism, which has led to bloodshed because of our *preposterous gun laws, falls into this category.  Even if one accepts his claim that he is not a racist, his support by them, whereby they use his rhetoric to justify their violence, contaminates him.  He sleeps with dogs.  He has fleas.

On the other side of the coin, right wingers (just watch Fox News) think the Democratic Party, which includes some far-left progressives, has been similarly contaminated.  Not so!  For example, Alexandria Octavia-Lopez hasn’t shot anyone, and the ‘socialist’ leanings attributed to her are in the American tradition of Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs for the benefit of the people.  Many of the folks in Appalachia get their electricity from the TVA, a ‘socialist’ power program dating from Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ (yet they always vote Republican).  No, there is no valid Democratic comparison to be made to the bedmates found in the Trumpublican doghouse, a few of whom are pictured top left. 

* and as I said a few postings back, we ought to get it over with and repeal the Second Amendment and replace it with something more in line with today's challenges.  Remember that violent video games, mental disorders, illegal access to weapons for ‘bad guys’ and ‘loose’ security at schools and public places are all present in many countries in the world, just like in the United States.  But the level of gun violence in almost all such countries is far, far below that in the United States.  That is because they recognize the one key factor which must be regulated to reduce gun violence.  Guns!  We fail to do that.  That is why I am for repeal of the Second Amendment.  It is that simple.

Jack Lippman

A George Will Column Worth Treasuring

This might be a good moment to check out a column written by the Washington Post’s George Will on April 5.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT.  Hopefully a few Trumpublicans, remembering who Will is, will also manage to do so (although not from this blog which they don’t read). 

Fox News – Unfair and Biased

Biden in Iowa
And speaking of Fox News, their reporting on Joe Biden in Iowa is particularly biased, stressing every pause, hesitation and grammatical flaw he might make, rather than what he is saying.  We all cannot be snake oil salesmen like the unethical real estate peddler and pompous TV reality show host who is all showmanship and no substance whom Fox News hustles for 24/7!  

After ‘covering’ Biden in Iowa, Fox included a clip of Trump indicating that Biden, like Robert Mueller, was “losing it.”  Donald J. Trump never had “it” to start with and probably doesn’t even know what “it” is.  I urge you all to watch Fox News for at least an hour a day.  Know the opposition!  I must caution those with elevated blood pressure not to watch Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson nor Laura Ingraham.  It might prove damaging to your health.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Suicide

Site of  Epstein Suicide
And now getting to the late Jeffrey Epstein who committed suicide in his cell the other morning.  If this happened in Russia or North Korea, would you believe it?  I would have my doubts.  But it happened in a Federal detention facility in New York City in the United States of America, so I believe it. 

In any suicide, investigators also try to rule out homicide.  This should be easy to do in Epstein’s case since it appears he was found hanging, despite the fact that there were many individuals, some now breathing sighs of relief, who feared that in Epstein’s court proceedings he would willingly or otherwise expose their participation in his sordid activities. I am sure that right now, investigators and reporters are busily compiling lists of such individuals.  They would be negligent if they did not.

But clearly, from all that I’ve read in the media, it was an act of suicide.  Indeed, Epstein had been on a ‘suicide watch’ in the facility for a while because of a possible earlier abortive attempt, which would seem to indicate that quite likely, suicide was on his mind.  Authorities were certainly aware of this and watching him to some extent, but just as his 2008 incarceration in Palm Beach County was made comfortably easy for him, his suicide might have been made easier and facilitated by eyes that were looking in another direction at the wrong, or was it at the right, time.  Accidently?  Intentionally?  There are going to be investigations, ultimately a few books written and of course a film directed by Quentin Tarantino.  (And the victims' lawsuits will go on for years ... which they must.)

And on the Immigration Frontline

Here's the text of a letter I’ve sent off to the Palm Beach Post:

”In response to the letter (Sunday, 8/11) disputing a comparison to 1930’s Germany, there is a frightening similarity between how Germany’s Jews reacted to an unexpected knock at their doors in those sad days and how some Mexican-Americans react today to a similar knock at their doors." 

And in related events, the raiding of meat packing plants in Mississippi resulting in the arrest of 680 undocumented (or illegally documented) workers should have been accompanied by the arrest of the plants’ local and corporate management as well. 
The site of one of the raids
Having a few such illegal workers is understandable, but employing hundreds is not.  These workers would not have been working there if their employers hadn’t broken the law by hiring them, and the feeble excuse that the workers presented forged documents is only an acceptable one to those who wanted to hire them in the first place.  They had to have known.


Online Voter Registration

Know any Floridians one who are NOT registered voters?   Refer them to a web site where they can complete the registration process online!    Every vote counts.   


And if you are not in Florida, do the same thing wherever you live.  It’s all on the Internet somewhere!