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


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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



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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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Monday, April 23, 2018

Gun Violence, a Placard, a Letter and Amendments on the November Ballot





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The following piece was prepared before Sunday's shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville.  The deranged gunman, who killed  four with an AR-15, was the same individual who was apprehended and disarmed by the Secret Service last year attemping to see the President.  He also had claimed singer Taylor Swift was "stalking him."  His guns were returned to his family by the Secret Service and he was convicted of a misdemeanor, for which he performed community service.  Certainly this is the type of person who should have been under continual surveillance and referred for mental health counselling, and probably was. Yet, it turned out to be ineffectual.  It is ironclad proof that the "other measures" mentioned in the first paragraph which follows are inadequate because ...

It’s All About Guns, Not Shooters
(Some of this material originally appeared on the website of progressivemajorityaction.org.)
To me, and to the survivors of the Parkland MSD High School shooting, the most important step to be made in order to prevent gun violence is the banning of assault rifles in the hands of civilians.  Other measures (raising age limit for gun purchases, increased background checks, better school security, increased mental health resources) are fine but they do not address the core of the problem. 

We all know some weapons are too dangerous for civilian use. That’s why, for nearly 80 years, federal law has banned machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, very high-caliber firearms, grenades and bombs. Military-style assault rifles are versions of weapons made for our armed forces that are designed for rapid fire. They are weapons of war, and like machineguns, too dangerous for civilian use and should be included in such bans. 

So recognizing this is nothing new!  We have been banning these kinds of particularly dangerous weapons for years!   Don’t be ashamed of getting emotional about assault rifles. Just consider this: 
        
   Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—20 children and 6 faculty murdered with a semiautomatic copy of the U.S. military’s M-16 rifle.
          Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado—13 killed and 23 wounded with four guns, including 55 rounds fired from a TEC-9 semiautomatic assault pistol.
·          Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California—5 small children killed and 30 wounded with a semiautomatic copy of the Soviet military’s AK-47 rifle. 
·         And most recently, of course, the killer at Parkland used the same kind of weapon used at Newtown, an AR-15 knock off the Army’s M-16 to murder 17 victims.  




                        Students exiting Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. in Parkland, FL at time of shooting.

   That nothing has been done, after all of this and more, about these weapons is enough to make one cry.

What makes these guns "different" is they were originally designed as machineguns, so they have features like large-capacity magazines, pistol grips and barrel shrouds that enable the shooter to shoot a lot of bullets very rapidly and still keep control of the gun. In the hands of someone with practice, an assault rifle can fire almost as fast as a banned machinegun. (You can see this on videos readily accessible over YouTube.)  A "bump stock," eliminating the necessity of repeated trigger squeezing, turns "semi-automatic" (which is bad enough) into "automatic" weaponry.  But even without much practice, and without a bump stock, anyone can fire two rounds per second from an AR-15, emptying a 30 round magazine in 15 seconds or less.

In all likelihood, if and when this issue reaches the Supreme Court, the Justices will probably look to the majority opinion in D.C. vs Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court case which negated the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns.   In that opinion, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, highly respected on the right, wrote:  

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment,  nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.  We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller (another case cited by Justice Scalia) said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179.  We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

Justice Scalia said it all.  Assault rifles are indeed "dangerous and unusual weapons."  If you don't think so, re-read the article above. Eventually, the Supreme Court will ban them in the hands of civilians.  That day will come, but we must work to accomplish it much sooner.  Demonstrate, show your support and make it very clear to legislators on all levels that in the face of preventable tragedies, "thoughts and prayers" are not enough.
Jack Lippman




Florida's Constitutional Amendments (with some tongue in cheek)

Those Florida residents who have spent time in other parts of the country know that despite its fine climate, cultural attractions and recreational opportunities, the Sunshine State is a very backward place.  This is because in its northern regions, generally describable as the areas to the northwest of the I-4 corridor running from Daytona to Tampa, the possibility exists that there has been much inbreeding among the residents, resulting in many having mentalities little removed from Neanderthal man.  Many fine examples of this are found in Florida’s State legislature.

Every twenty years a commission of these dimwits is assembled to come up with proposed Constitutional Amendments to place before Florida’s voters.  This is such a year.  Amendments are supposed to be very basic things but often they deal with subjects most other States handle by simply passing laws.  Florida’s legislature is very weak on passing laws, other than the boilerplate right wing stuff the American Legislative Exchange Council provides for them to act upon.  That’s why there are thirteen proposed Amendments scheduled to be on the ballot in November.  (None are as bad, however, as the Amendment to protect pregnant pigs, passed in 2002 to regulate the hog industry.  That should have been handled legislatively, but to avoid offending some voters, the buck was passed on to the electorate which  made it part of the State’s Constitution.  That’s good for pigs.)


Making things into Amendments, rather than just passing laws, is undemocratic because the Legislature at some later date can find it difficult to pass needed laws in the face of existing Constitutional Amendments.  This might subvert the will of the people.  Amendments should be reserved for very basic things, expected to be of a permanent nature.






Florida State House Pictured Above


To become part of the State Constitution, at least 60% of the voters must approve an Amendment.  Other than being put on the ballot by this screwball commission, Amendments can be proposed if at least 750,000 voters petition to do so.  The most important Amendment being proposed this year (Amendment Number Four), and it got on the ballot by petition, would restore voting rights to felons who have fully paid their debt to society (other than murderers and sexual offenders).  Florida’s present method of handling this problem has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

But some of the Amendments proposed by the “commission” are ludicrous.  So that they wouldn’t have too many to propose, these geniuses combined more than one issue into single proposed Amendments. 

For example, banning the use of electronic smoking devices, sometimes called “vaping,” is paired with the banning of offshore oil and gas drilling.



This poses a problem for someone who abhors the smoking of electronic cigarettes in otherwise “non-smoking” areas but who owns a lot of stock in companies aiming to cash in on petroleum deposits off of Florida’s coasts.   One can’t ban one without voting to ban the other.  Of course, neither warrants being an Amendment; they should be individual laws debated and voted upon by legislators. 

Another beauty from the Neanderthal commission calls for three things: (1) Requiring civic literacy in public education, (2) Establishing school board term limits and (3) Allowing the State to operate non-board established schools.  
While most voters probably won’t object to teaching “civic literacy,” some might object to the State being able to bypass local Boards of Education by opening its own schools (“charter schools”?) and setting term limits for members of those Boards.  Some may support one of these things but not the other.  They will have a problem.  Perhaps they should take up “vaping.” 
Of course, in normal states, teaching “civic literacy” is usually an educational “given,” not requiring a Constitutional Amendment, but someone who opposes the State opening its own schools and/or limiting school board term limits, is forced to vote against “civic literacy,” something few would normally oppose.  In this case, the commission apparently wants to use the desirability of “civic literacy” to get people to vote to take power away from local school boards.  This is a political move, and again, something that should not be made part of the State Constitution.

Constitutional provisions, including Amendments, are different from laws passed by a legislature.  They are intended to be permanent bedrock upon with legislation is based, but not deal with specific issues.  Florida politicians are unable to grasp this very basic concept.  This shortcoming goes back a long time.
Stuff like this in backward States like Florida stems from the victorious Union after the Civil War in 1865 not doing away with the treasonous Confederate States and turning them into colonies until they learned to properly govern themselves, which to this day, they have not.  

Blame it on Andrew Johnson and the Republicans who succeeded Abraham Lincoln and permitted the corrupted Reconstruction of the South to take place.
At this point, my recommendation to Florida voters is not to vote on any proposed Amendment dealing with more than one thing, unless you happen to agree or disagree with all of the items covered in that proposed Amendment.   I believe there will be five such Amendments on the ballot.  As for the ones dealing with only one subject, most voters should already have sufficient ‘civic literacy’ to make a choice on them.  The one Amendment I feel must be passed, and which I urge all to support, is Amendment Four, restoring the vote to felons who have fully paid their debt to society, bringing Florida in line with the 39 more progressive States which in varying degrees allow them to vote.

On this subject, here is the text of a letter I sent to the Palm Beach Post last week.
So far, they have not published it.  But I thought it might be of interest to you.
 

Last Sunday’s Post editorial and other articles on the subject made it clear that Floridians will be asked to vote on a daunting number of proposed constitutional amendments in the November election.  This might cause harried voters not to give these amendments the attention they deserve.  This would be a mistake because the amendment restoring the right to vote to felons (other than killers and sex offenders) who have served their sentences in full is by far the most important constitutional amendment proposed in years.  Attaining the 60 percent needed to pass it will be difficult.  In fact, it only got on the ballot the “hard” way, by the submission of petitions signed by at least 750,000 voters.   Its passage should be of great importance to those minority groups among which many felons who have paid their debt to society can be found.   Hopefully, this will bring out an increased number of voters in such communities.  Both major parties will take note of this.


Democrats, recognizing that minority voters generally support their candidates, can look forward to these new voters voting for Democratic candidates as well as voting for the proposed amendment, their motivation for their going to the polls in the first place.  Therefore, beside proposing the restoration of voting rights to felons, this amendment has potent political implications as well.   And they are not bright for Republicans.
JL




Window Sign

Suggestion:  Copy and paste this, enlarged if you are able to, and place it behind the back seats of your car so it can be seen out of the rear window.   You might want to remove it, as I do, when leaving the car parked on the street or in a public lot.  You never know.
JL