Friday, August 14, 2020

Russia is Watching and Listening ... as We Try to Get Rid of our Lawbreaker-in-Chief


Getting Rid of our Lawbreaker-in-Chief

Lawbreaker-in-Chief

The Republican majority in the Senate has enabled President Trump to violate provisions of the Constitution and innumerable laws which are on the books.  They will do nothing about it because they need his base to survive primary challenges and in closely-contested States (and Congressional districts as well where this also applies), to try to eke out wins on Election Day.

Normally, an Attorney General who recognized that he works for the country and not for the President would be in the forefront of litigation in these situations, but Bill Barr sees his office as one to protect the President, and will do nothing.  “Bill, *GOD will get you for that.”

The Attorneys-General of many States are already, or will be, taking action to remedy this situation, and will probably ultimately prevail in the Courts, but that will take years.  That is the way Trump has finessed much litigation against him over the years, drowning his attackers in legal hogwash, until they relent, usually running out of money, or statutes of limitations run out.

That is why the upcoming general election is vitally important in terms of turning the Senate Democratic and removing Trump from the White House.  Because of the Covid19 pandemic, “voting by mail” will be crucial in that election and that is why the President attacks that process daily, along with the United States Postal Service, whose effective operation is vital to “voting by mail.”  This action alone should be enough to justify litigation against Trump once he is defeated in November and a new Administration comes into power with the ability to recognize a lawbreaker and treat him accordingly. 

Trump will be dishing out distractions from now until the election, in terms of the Israeli-UAE deal and baseless “birther” attacks on Kamala Harris, and more yet to come regarding Hunter Biden and the motivation into the investigation of Trumpublican links with and support by Russia.  Attacks on the media will continue too.  Trump and his Republican enablers will stop at nothing to turn attention from his malfeasance.  It does not bother them to lie.

At this point, my advice for voters interested in saving the United States from this “wanna be” despot is to vote by mail, but at least three weeks prior to the election, and checking online as to the receipt of their ballot where possible, and if voting “early” in person, to do that as early as possible. Trump will attempt to nullify both kinds of votes, or at least lose them or delay their inclusion in the final tally.  Voters must be sure, however they vote, to “cross their ‘t’s and dot their ‘I’s.  

Republican scoundrels will stop at nothing to win this election and keep Trump and many of his enablers, including Attorney General Barr, from facing the risk of incarceration for the laws they have violated.   The oath government officials take is one of primary loyalty to the Constitution, and not to the President.  This also applies to the military which might be the nation’s salvation, if all else fails.

*Good Old Democrats

JL

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The Russians are Watching 

For all those gullible or ignorant enough to believe Trumpublican lies about there not being Russian attempts to influence our elections by infiltrating the internet, here is some first-hand evidence to the contrary.  Google Blogspot, through which this blog is distributed, keeps track of those who access it.  Here are the figures, by countries, for the past seven days:

United States
217
Russia
69
Germany
7
Portugal
2
Romania
2
Belgium
1
Switzerland
1
Finland
1
France
1
Israel
1

Our intelligence agencies, not Vladimir Putin’s, tell us that the Russians watch our Internet closely, looking for weak spots where they can in some way, shape or form, insert their propaganda, usually attempting to sow discord among Trump’s opponents and making him look good.   

Russia's Internet Research Agency's HQ
in Saint Petersburg
This blog is included in where they spread their net, looking for likely avenues to contaminate.    Note the number of times during the past week they have checked out www.jackspotpourri.com!   Why else would they stop by this blog that many times in a week?  They have not succeeded in their efforts with this blog, but I am sure their message is there, getting through chiefly on right-wing blogs which sop up pro-Trump lies, a specialty of the Russian Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg.  These lies end up in the pronouncements of those who dream of conspiracies by the "deep State" and work they way toward undeserved credibility by being passed on through semi-legitimate media such as FoxNews.
JL

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Beautiful Government Buildings, Post Office Employees, Another Appeal for Cash (?) and How to Bet the Ponies

He's a Tenant, Not an Owner


All of those beautiful government buildings in the nation’s capital cost a lot of money.  Your money, my money!  We provide them so that the Congress, the Courts and the many agencies of the Executive branch can have a place to do the nation’s work.  Included is the palatial residence and office complex we provide for the public servant we elect to serve as President which is paid for by you and by me and belongs to us, not to the person who lives there.  The government employees who occupy and work in all of these facilities, including the always temporary resident of the White House, are guests in buildings which we, America’s citizens, own.

These workers, for years, have used these facilities to carry out the nation’s business.  Those that are subject to election every two (the House of Representatives), four (the President) or six years (the Senate) are supposed to try to do their campaigning for re-election (which starts the day they take office) from outside of their place of business, their government offices.  Senators and House Representatives do a pretty good job of keeping their government work and their election campaigning separated. 

Tragically, our President, the president of all of the people, does not.  This is as much out of his abysmal ignorance as it is by his intent.  From the lawn of the White House, and from other locations we provide for him, from which he periodically addresses the citizenry and conducts press conferences, he repeatedly fails to distinguish between the business of the nation and the business of getting re-elected. 

He doesn’t miss an opportunity to attack his Democratic predecessor in office, his opponent four years ago and his opponent in November from the many pulpits we provide him with for government purposes but not, which he fails to recognize, for campaigning purposes.   

Much of what he says he makes up.  He lies a lot.  He often refers to what he hears and to “what people tell him” but he rarely identifies those “people.”  He says things will happen shortly or within a few weeks but they never do.  His words have no meaning.  The President fails to recognize the limits of presidential power as provided by the Constitution, the law of the land.   He is jealous of foreign heads of state who do whatever they want.

The sooner we are rid of him, the better off the nation, humanity, the planet and the universe, will be.   Do your part to make this happen.
JL


                                    
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They Deliver Your Mail ... and Vote too!

There are approximately 630,000 employees in the United States Post Office Service.  In all likelihood, none of them will vote for Donald Trump.  He is out to get them, part of  his pathetic effort to cripple "voting by mail," at the expense of their jobs.  I would hope that they provide the margin of victory for the Democratic presidential candidate in those states with crucial electoral votes which will decide the election.


                                      *   *   *   *

I Want Another Email Solicitation

Each morning my Email is saturated with requests for money to help a particular candidate or political position.  Most of them I agree with because my online behavior has resulted in algorithms identifying me as a possible contributor.  That is why I get these Emails.  Sometimes, I even make donations.


But here is a cause to which I really want to donate. 

Doctors Fauci and Birx to right, with two disinterested
and uneducable listeners on the left
I would like to see a weekly, or more frequent, major channel TV program featuring Doctors Fauci and Birx, as well as the physicians from the CDC (Communicable Disease Center) voicing their honest opinions regarding dealing with Covid19.  Of course, they would have to break all ties with the Administration.  This would take financial resources to which I believe most Americans should contribute to counter the lies the Administration spreads using your tax dollars.  The telecasts would not avoid criticism of the opinions of those who are neither scientists nor physicians, including the President of the United States.  These worthless opinions, especially those of the President, constitute a disease in their own right which must be fought just as the Coronavirus is being fought. 

Supporting such a cause is something I would do.  You should too.  I’m watching for the Email asking me to do so.


                                                           *   *   *   *


 

It Would be Funny if it Weren’t for Real  (added 8/12 - 11:00 a.m.)


Wednesday’s (I just added this belatedly to Tuesday’s blog posting) “humor/satire” column in the Palm Beach Post by Frank Cerabino talked about Floridians fleeing to Canada over the Winter instead of the usual exodus of Canadians coming to the Sunshine State.  Most frightening, however, were these lines from the column:


“Allowing us to be in Canada between November and March should get us out of the United States during the time the rest of America sorts out its accidental monarchy.  Our imaginary king, after losing by a resounding defeat, will refuse to relinquish his throne, and instead release America’s unregulated militias and *Q-anon crazies to the streets, where they will meet their match in the U.S. military.  It will be ugly.  Even uglier than a winter in Canada.”

*One of those Q-anon crazies just won a Republican Congressional primary in a rural "always red" G.O.P. district in Georgia and will be elected to Congress in November.  This is for real.  Trump legitimized the idea of the inmates running the asylum and a third of the nation's voters accept that concept as normal, like ignoring social distancing and not wearing a mask to avoid spreading Covid19.  
JL


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Back to the Racetrack 

Tiz the Law winning the Travers at Saratoga
The most recent Sunday posting (Aug. 8) talked about a racehorse, “Tiz the Law,” winner of most of this year’s big stakes races for three-year-old horses and his sire, “Constitution.” (The Constitution is the "Law," get it, Mr. President?)  I promised I would provide information on watching horseracing on TV for those that are interested.  It is my personal method.  Here goes. No promises:

Prepare to watch an afternoon of racing on TV! 

Horseracing is low priority programming for most carriers so in the course of an afternoon, the same racing program may jump around to different channels.  Fox Sports is big in doing this since a more lucrative program (more ads) always gets the FS1 or FS2 channels.  But look for it from Wednesday or Thursday to Sunday afternoons.  It is there somewhere.  Fox Sports or NBC usually pick it up for “big” races but sometimes you have to look around for it.  (For me, that means ending up on Hotwire channel 503 instead of FS1 at channel 440.  Streaming is also available.)  I get the feeling from the ads that accompany the races that their audience primarily consists of horse owners, interested in what’s going on in their business, and gamblers, resulting in most ads being from stud farms and gambling sites. 

Anyhow, let’s get started.  Pick a number.  That is the horse number you will be betting on (in your mind or for real, via one of the betting apps advertised between races) in most, but not all, races.  Stick with that number all day except as explained below.  Since prices paid to winning bets are based on a $2 bet, let’s call that your betting unit.  Always bet one unit on your number to “win” and one additional unit to “show,” in which case you collect a smaller amount if the horse finishes in the first three.  But there are important exceptions!

Exceptions: 
  1. ·     If your number is “scratched” from a race, just use the next lower number.  In the event your scratched number is “1,” use the highest number in the race.
  2. ·    If your number’s win odds are higher than 9 to one, do not bet on it.  Longshots win sometimes in the movies but not too often at the track.  Just bet your two units (to “win” and to “show”) on the second choice to win in the race, odds-wise.
  3. ·      If the race is a handicap, stakes race or an allowance race, (not a claiming race nor a maiden race!) and the favorite is an even money or even more favored betting choice, bet both of your units on that horse to win, forgetting about your number.  Heavy favorites win in those situations. Remember that this exception does not apply to claiming races nor maiden races, ever.  If the TV programming does not make it clear whether the race is a claiming or maiden race, just get out your mobile phone and google the track’s entries for the day and find out what kind of race it is.
  4. ·        If there are less than six horses running in a race due to a lot of ‘scratches,’ this makes such races less predictable, and perhaps not worth betting.   The only time you should even consider betting on a race with less than six horses is in the circumstances described in the ‘exception’ number 3 described directly above (a very, very heavy favorite in a handicap, stakes or allowance race.)  Otherwise, six is the minimum.  And even then, it might not be a worthwhile wager.


(For a great example, check out the tenth race at Saratoga on August 8, 2020, the Longines Test Stakes, in which only five horses ran, one of which was a 3 to 5 favorite, Gamine, who won paying $2.60 for a $2 bet.  Using my suggested method, you would have wagered $4 to win and ended up with a measly $1.20 total profit.  If there had been more horses in that race, the payoff would have been higher, but perhaps Gamine’s odds would have been higher than 3 to 5 and she would not have fit into the circumstances described above, justifying a bet.  That is why races with under six horses offer a fine time to go wash your hands.)


Gamine Winning the Longines Test at Saratoga on Aug. 8

7F, Dirt, Longines Test Stakes.
Fillies | 3 Year Olds
Purse: $300,000
Exacta, Trifecta (.50), Super (.10), Pick 3 Races (10-12) Double Wagers .NO SHOW WAGERING
#
PP
Horse / Sire
Trainer / Jockey
ML
1
Up in Smoke
The Big Beast
George Weaver
Luis Saez
12/1
2
Perfect Alibi
Sky Mesa
Mark E. Casse
Tyler Gaffalione
20/1
3
Mrs. Danvers
Tapit
Claude R. McGaughey III
Jose L. Ortiz
8/1
4
Wicked Whisper
Liam's Map
Steven M. Asmussen
Ricardo Santana, Jr.
20/1
5
Gamine
Into Mischief
Bob Baffert
John R. Velazquez
3/5
6
Venetian Harbor
Munnings
Richard Baltas
Joel Rosario
8/5
Runner
Win
Place
Show
Gamine
$2.60
$2.10
-
Venetian Harbor
-
$2.30
-
Up in Smoke
-
-
-
Perfect Alibi
-
-
-
Also rans: Mrs. Danvers


Good Luck!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Tiz the Law and the President, Plato and a word from HCR


Horseracing and Trump

It’s time for our overweight, mentally challenged President to give up golf as his recreational pastime.  That sport is better suited to younger men and women.  A great alternative for Trump might be horseracing, and a lesson is ready for him in the well-muscled body of three-year old racehorse Tiz the Law, winner of the Belmont Stakes, the Travers Stakes and likely winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, both to be run later this year. 

Because of the restrictions placed on all of us by the Covid19 pandemic, I have been watching more television than I formerly  did, and I have spent some time watching live racing (no spectators) from Belmont Park and Saratoga.  It’s a fascinating sport and Trump might benefit from it.  Certainly it can provide him with many rich friends, more than golf does, because horseracing is a money-based sport.

Tiz the Law winning the Travers at Saratoga

But getting back to Tiz the Law, that name has meaning in today’s America, particularly when you recognize the “Law” to which it refers.  Tiz the Law’s sire (his father) is a horse named Constitution.  That’s what the “Law” is in this country, our Constitution, and that is a lesson this racehorse can teach President Trump.

Successful racehorses just don’t happen.  There is a royalty of horseracing going back many generations and the often-stated purpose of horseracing, “improving the breed,” has real meaning.   Tiz the Law’s great, great, great, grandfather (okay, grand sire) was the famous Seattle Slew and Tiz the Law’s mother, brood mare Tizfiz, is also a great, great, great, granddaughter of that same Seattle Slew.  Tizfiz also, in her racing career won several important stakes races, something not often seen in fillies, later to become broodmares.  The names of other racing greats, particularly a sire named Mr. Prospector, figure significantly in both Constitution’s and Tizfiz’s pedigree.  If you go back far enough, you’ll find Native Dancer blood in Tiz the Law!  And deeper research brings you to his more distant cousins, including the families of Bold Ruler and Secretariat.  This aspect of horseracing, aside from pari-mutual wagering and winning purses, is what is important to true devotees of the sport.

The point of all of this, which Donald Trump is incapable of understanding, is that just as it takes generations to develop a Tiz the Law for the racetrack, years of history and intellectual breeding (not bloodline except for the Adamses, the Bushes and the Roosevelts) go into preparing one for the Presidency.  Trump lacks this background which, in his own particular field, the racetrack, Tiz the Law possesses.

(In a future posting, I will give you my non-guaranteed ideas on how one can bet successfully on horseracing.  Many opportunities to do so are available online.  And it’s fun too, even if you just make “mind bets” during an afternoon of horseracing on your TV screen.)

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HCR and Trump

Check out Heather Cox Richardson’s latest posting (8//8/20) by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.   Learn how the President continues to screw around with your country as if it were his own business.  (Most of his 'businesses' have failed ... so he enjoys messing with your money.)

If the link fails you, just copy and paste this on your browser line:
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/WhctKJVzbLTBXrqCglTJJdTdBjFWcsjhmmFwBJnlsMDXHTntwJWbcwBSkFRFLvKfhqwFbwg

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Plato and Trump

Trump-like Evil Predicted by Plato
Twenty-four centuries ago, Greek philosopher Plato in his "Republic" feared that democracy could put power into the hands of demagogues.   Just google those three words in red together and the internet will bring you a slew of academic articles showing that there is nothing new under the sun, including Donald Trump.  Most are a bit too "heavy" to include on the blog but check them out anyway!  Here's a sample of what you might find:  

"In the Republic, we learn that the demagogue gains power by democratic means, claiming to be a champion of the people and making wild promises (‘Freedom!’).  Anyone who opposes him is labelled ‘an enemy of the people’ and exiled, imprisoned or killed.  Such tactics naturally provoke genuine opposition and the demagogue grows increasingly suspicious of those around him, retreating into his palace-fortress and in the grip of his obsessions."

British Philosophy Professor Angie Hobbs

JL

Monday, August 3, 2020

Two Columns Well Worth Reading for Americans ... and "Covid19 Positivity"

Here are two columns, one from the New York Times, by Timothy Egan and the other by  Mona Charen.  They pretty much sum up the situation as it stands today.  Egan's words are nothing new.  (My blog posting of July 30 suggested the military might end up escorting a defeated Trump from the White House.)   

For years, however, I felt that conservative Mona Charen was out of touch with America as it is today, but now, even Ms. Charen has seen the light and she blames the Republican Party, which deserves defeat at every level for continuing to support a President, only elected because democracy ain't all that it's cracked up to be.  

Read them both.  These copies were lifted from the Palm Beach Post's copyrighted web site.  I suggest you subscribe, even if only to their online edition!

But remember what H.L. Mencken said many years ago ...  "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.   On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by  a downright moron."  These gullible and ignorant people still vote so it is important that all others make sure that they are registered and vote so that the horrible miscarriage of democracy which occurred in 2016 can be corrected!

The Egan Column:
Trump, please quit before you’re fired
It was clear when President Donald Trump woke up Thursday morning, with no pollster left to lie to him, and not enough Fox News sycophancy to fill his cereal bowl, that he would have to play one of the last tricks in the dictator’s handbook.
He floated the idea of breaching the Constitution by illegally delaying the national election. It follows his logic on a pandemic that has taken more than 150,000 American lives. If there were less testing for the coronavirus, cases would go down. Ergo, if there were no election on Nov. 3, he couldn’t be booted from office in a wipeout. The stable genius strikes again!
Here’s a better suggestion: As a mortal threat to those looking for life-and-death guidance from the White House, he should do humanity a favor and surrender now. He can quit while he’s only behind by 10 points or so. More important, by walking away today, he can save many lives of supporters who have listened to the lethal quackery from the presidential podium.
He gave up in the war on COVID-19 from Day 1, when he declared that there was nothing to worry about, it would all soon disappear like magic. And his throw-in-the-towel tactics continue to this day, as he promotes the harmful and bizarre suggestions of a woman who also believes in demon sperm transmitted through dreams.
And here’s the net result of a country run by a crackpot: On a single day last week, there were nearly twice as many COVID-19 deaths in just one American state, Texas, than in the five major countries of Western Europe combined. On that same day, Thursday, the COVID Tracking Project reported 1,400 American deaths, the most in a single day since May 15.
Trump publicly quit on his country two years ago, when he chose Vladimir Putin’s word over that of U.S. intelligence officials, the infamous sellout in Helsinki. So it was no surprise when the two leaders spoke by phone this week, that Trump did not even raise the question of Russians paying a bounty to have American soldiers killed in Afghanistan. That is dereliction of duty, son.
He quit on the economy in early spring, when he pushed for a widespread reopening, even though health experts warned that the results could be catastrophic. And thus, this week we saw the largest drop in economic output on record, as people were afraid
to resume normal commerce in a country fevered with viral hotspots.
If Trump were to quit, he would join Richard Nixon in disgrace — he’d be an impeached president (Nixon quit on the brink of impeachment) forced from office. Except, Nixon is a notch higher in the hellscape, given his diplomatic openings in China and his signing of landmark environmental laws.
Quitting before an election would deprive Americans of the satisfaction of rejecting him by an overwhelming margin, a national shower to clean off four years of his grime and grift.
But there’s another image, equally satisfying. Trump could play one last gambit in the dictator’s checklist and refuse to leave office on Jan. 20 — election or no election — as required by the Constitution. If he does this, a weary nation would be rewarded with a presidential perp walk, as Trump is escorted out of the White House and into infamy by military police. 
Timothy Egan
Egan is a Times columnist based in Seattle


      

The Charen Column:
Who is really burning things down?
My friend David French, one of the most admirable voices in America today, argues that conservatives need not vote against Republican Senate candidates in order to send a message about Trumpism. I disagree. He writes, “A rage, fury, and a ‘burn it all down’ mentality is one of the maladies that brought us to the present moment.”
This assumes that the reason some plan to evict Republican senators is simply a matter of anger. But voting against a candidate or even a whole party is not nihilism. It’s the legal, constitutional way to express approval or disapproval. The current Republican Party has chosen to become the burn-it-all-down party. The most demoralizing aspect of the past four years has not been that a boob conman was elected president but that one of the two great political parties surrendered to him utterly. David suggests that voting against Republican senators ignores that they had bad choices. It’s certainly true that Republicans perceived their options to be limited. If they speak up, they say, they will flush their careers down the drain. Look at what happened to Jeff Flake, Mark Sanford and Bob Corker!
But this overstates things. A number of Republicans have stood up to Trump and maintained their electoral viability — especially when they challenged him on matters in which he has shown little interest, namely public policy. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., for example, voted against the president’s USMCA trade agreement and (gasp) wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal explaining his reasoning.
Where Republicans have shrunk into their shells was on matters that are even more critical to the health of our republic. They have, by their silence, given assent to his cruelty, his assaults on truth, his dangerous flirtations with political violence and his consistent demolition of institutions.
Institutions are like scaffolding. When a society’s institutions are weakened, the whole edifice can come crashing down.
Donald Trump undermined the institution of the free press, urging his followers to disbelieve everything except what came from the leader. He weakened respect for law enforcement and the courts, suggesting that he was the victim of a “deep state” and that “so-called judges” need not be respected. He scorned allies and toadied to dictators. He has cast doubt on the integrity of elections.
He ran the executive branch like a gangster, demanding personal loyalty and abusing officials such as the hapless Jeff Sessions, who merely followed ethics rules. He ignored the law to get his way on the border wall. He violated the most sacred norms of a multiethnic society by encouraging racial hatred. He made the U.S. guilty of separating babies from their mothers.
Elected officials, terrified of their own constituents, have cowered and temporized in the face of a truly unprecedented assault on democratic values. They believed that they were powerless and acted accordingly. Since they were powerless when it counted, perhaps we should make it official? 

Mona Charen

Ms. Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which describes itself as “dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.” Her new book is "Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense." To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

    

Patting Myself on the Back



Back on July 4, on this blog, I pointed out that the number of positive Coronavirus tests by itself was not particularly informative without knowing what percentage of the total number of tests administered those testing positive comprised.

Five hundred positive tests out of 2,000 tests administered is a “positivity” percentage of 25%.   That’s bad.  Five hundred positive tests out of 20,000 administered is a “positivity” percentage of 2.5%.  That’s good.  Quite a difference.  Go back and read that blog posting.  You can get there by clicking on July postings over on the right!

Is it my imagination, but during the past month, have newspapers (not so much on TV) been increasingly using this “positivity” percentage in reporting on the spreading of the Coronavirus pandemic?  I am not implying that they got the idea of doing that, which they had not been doing earlier, from this blog but certainly, the fact that these journalists’ minds came up with the same thoughts which mine did is validating to me.