Monday, May 22, 2017

The Special Counsel, the Stockholm Syndrome, Stupidity & Cunning, Democratic Success Recipe and Two Bits of Poetry

Two Bits of Poetry Upon Which to Reflect

After the Second World War, this version of a poem by German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller became well known (there are other versions).  The point of it is that when an authoritarian government singles out one group, it portends potential danger for all other groups.  This comes to mind when I reflect on our government’s thinly veiled efforts to effect a travel ban on Muslims.
 
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

And also in this vein is the often and inaccurately quoted meditation of the poet John Donne: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  The quote comes from a more extensive writing, excerpted portions of which I quote below.

"Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.”

No man is an island, entire of itself; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."
JL

Reporting on the "Special Counsel" and the "Stockholm Syndrome"

Okay, the Department of Justice has appointed former FBI head Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to oversee investigations into possible connections between Russia and the 2016 tRump campaign. 


That is an important thing, regardless of what the results of the investigations are because it will clear the air in Washington and elsewhere.  Then, hopefully, government can resume functioning as it should.

What appalled me the morning after the announcement of the appointment was the different treatment it received on the TV news channels.   The appointment was generally applauded by CNN and MSNBC with commentary by analysts and lawyers.

I turned to Fox, however, and was greeted by a collection of “tweets” from and interviews with tRump loyalists throughout the country trumpeting their intent to stick with the president through thick and thin.  This was followed by Fox “experts” outraged by the fact that such a Special Counsel was not appointed to investigate Bill Clinton’s or Barack Obama’s wrongdoings.  One of these “experts” was a journalist from “The Federalist,” a relatively obscure conservative-funded journal usually far to the right of the Republican Party.  Probably encouraged by this kind of support, the president, who initially had been non-committal about the Mueller appointment, got out his IPhone and contributed his own tweets expressing his outrage at the appointment and the “witch hunt” which was being directed against him.

The “Stockholm Syndrome” is a theory which suggests that a hostage, held long enough and exposed to the ideas of the hostage takers, may eventually agree with them and espouse their ideas.  I suspect that this applies to those who get their news from Fox! But don't disparage them!   Here is a challenge for progressives: 
 
For a three-month period, do not look at any news channel on TV other than Fox.  Don’t go anywhere near MSNBC, CNN, NPR, Bloomberg or even the news on ABC, CBS or NBC.  Avoid newspapers.  Watch only Fox!  And at least for a couple of hours daily.  It’s not difficult in view of the mini-skirts their blond anchors wear. 




















I contend that at the end of ninety days of this poison in one’s system, you will be ready to contribute to the NRA, support the president (even if he shoots someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue), campaign to lower taxes,  jail Hillary Clinton, de-regulate banking, finance and the energy industries, and to privatize our educational and prison systems and back up every dictator in the world who has brought stability to their countries by authoritarian means. As a side benefit, you will also find yourself keeping your radio tuned to stations carrying Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage and their imitators.


Try it.  You won’t like it at first.  It will be painful, but it will change the way you think. You will have been recruited into the ranks of the gullible.  And in just ninety days!  It has happened to millions and it can happen to you.  Aftewards, you will have to participate in rehabilitation sessions, be "debriefed" and be exposed to some gentle "de-programming" to return you to sanity.  This is not intended to be funny.  George Orwell (pictured to left) wrote about things like this.






Jack Lippman
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The Democrats should not have lost the 2016 Presidential election.  I feel that by attempting to be the “party of many” as their 2016 Presidential slogan, “Together Stronger,” implied, they ran a multi-pronged campaign aiming at getting the votes of many groups, each of which had its own agenda. It didn’t work. Latinos, women, environmentalists, academics, Blacks, LGBTs, students and union members, all were organized to register and vote but what was missing was a reason for “Americans” to vote Democratic. 



In fact, catering to the agendas of these separate groups sometimes offended those outside of these groups, perhaps even losing some votes. “Together Stronger” turned out to be “Together Weaker” in some crucial States. DEMOCRATS CANNOT AFFORD TO DO THAT AGAIN!

In 2016, “American” voters were interested in three issues.  1. jobs and related job security, 2. health care without a hassle, and 3. avoiding sending their children into wars which didn’t immediately threaten the Nation’s security.  Nothing more! The Republicans sensed this and even though they didn’t have solutions for these issues, they campaigned on the first two of them, nominating a circus sideshow barker as their Presidential candidate whose exaggerated, often dishonest, claims led them to victory.  Any dissatisfaction with these three issues was blamed on the Democrats who were busy organizing “groups” to be “together stronger” and ignoring the general electorate.

Supporting the Republican effort was the gigantic wealth behind the conservative movement which through byzantine strategies, nurtured over the years, funded their campaigns and conditioned the minds of many voters, infecting them with an unbelievable level of gullibility. 

                                                                              The Koch Brothers, David and Charles 

It is no accident that so many Americans listen to Rush faithfully and know no other news source than Fox.  But there will be more about that in a future blog posting.    

Of course, in the final analysis, regardless of what they might say, the aim of the Republican Party remained what is has always been since the early years of the last century, reduced taxation of the wealthy and businesses along with less, if any, regulation of business and finance.

Despite the White House being occupied by a totally unfit and unqualified President, the Republican Party’s control of both Houses of Congress and probably the Supreme Court will allow this country to sink to the level of a Third World Banana Republic just so long as taxes on the wealthy and regulations on business are reduced.  That is their permanent agenda, written in stone. They have no reason to act against the President and they will not!  Doing so would jeopardize their solid presence in the driver’s seat of the Nation.  And this is despite anything the Special Counsel might come up with!  Ask Mitch.  Ask Paul.  Ask the “recused” Attorney General.

While the appointment of that Special Counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s (and that includes the FBI’s) “Russia” investigation is a good thing, that action will not “bear fruit” for several months. But at a minimum, that appointment may be beneficial in itself in that it will delay the Republicans in Congress in moving on their reactionary agenda. 


The real answer rests with local Democratic groups (like the one to which I belong) working diligently to elect Democrats in State races and Congressional races where the numbers indicate they have a chance.  Leadership in this effort must be a ‘grass roots’ effort arising from recognition that neither the President nor the Republican-controlled Congress operate in the interest of the majority of the American people. A column by Tom Friedman in the New York Times last week offered a recipe for this. I quote several thoughts from that column:

“Democrats and independents should not be deluded or distracted by marches on Washington, clever tweets or Saturday Night Live skits lampooning Trump.  They need power.  If you are appalled by what Trump is doing, then you need to get out of Facebook and into somebody’s face, by running for Congress as a Democrat or an independent, registering someone to vote for a Democrat or an independent, or raising money to support such candidates.  Nothing else matters.”

“… there are just two choices now: a Democratic-controlled House or Senate that can at least deter Trump for his last two years, or four years of an out-of-control president.  This GOP is not going to impeach him; forget that fantasy.”

                                                                                                     Friedman

I add to that the recommendation that no Republican candidate should ever appear before a microphone without being asked where he or she stands in regard to the President.  Don’t let them separate themselves from him!  And when they evade the question, it must be repeated. 


We may have to wait for Democratic gains in the 2018 elections, eighteen months away, resulting from these local efforts, to thwart Republican damage to the Nation.

There is a very, very, tiny chance that the President will finally become aware of the complexity of his job and wake up to the necessity of performing his duties in concert with the legislative and judicial branches of our government.  He might just recognize that his previous role as a real estate magnate, where he had the final word on everything, and where his "deal-making" skills worked well, will not work in running the Nation! 

Once the awareness of this distinction sinks in, he very well may walk away from the job, leaving it to the Vice President, with whom the Republican party would be quite happy.  In fact, the increasing day-by-day presence of Mike Pence in the public arena suggest that this scenario might already be in the rehearsal stage.  Pence would not digress an inch from the traditional Republican ideas.

V.P. Mike Pence

Therefore, the 2018 elections remain the best avenue for rescuing America from the evil-doers now in control in Washington, regardless of who sits in the White House.
JL
I count on you, kind readers, to pass this blog on to others.  Friends, relatives, wherever they may be.  Just tell them to check out www.jackspotpourri.com.  Please. Or just let me know their email addresses so that I might send them alert notices.
Thanks,  Jack

Stupidity and Cunning  (not the name of a law firm)



Leonard Pitts' Miami Herald column, reproduced in this past Sunday's Palm Beach Post, Pitts drew the following conclusion:  


"People often ask if Trump is 'crazy' or engaged in some deep strategy.  But they are overthinking him.  All evidence suggest the answer is actually simple: Donald Trump is stupid.  No, not 'ignorant.' Ignorance can be fixed.  Trump is profoundly stupid.  Yes, he has a certain native cunning.  But he is simply not smart."

Looking at that quote, here are some synonyms for the "cunning" with which Pitts credits tRump: "crafty, wily, artful guileful, devious, sly, scheming, designing, calculating, etc."  By now, you should get what he means.  

It looks like these qualities have been sufficient for an otherwise stupid person like tRump to reach great heights in the real estate business (where being cunning is apparently more important than being smart) but they are not enough to allow a stupid person to succeed as President.  He is proving that every day.  tRump's arrogance and that of some of his appointees stem from the fact that they honestly believe what worked in the real estate business would work in the "swamp" they went to Washington to drainHow wrong they are!   In fact, a stupid person, regardless of how cunning he might be, would be booted out of the job of CEO of any major corporation in short order.  And so it should be with our government. 

BUT HERE'S THE CATCH.  If the Democrats are to have any chance of taking over the House of Representatives in 2018, it is important that tRump remain in office until then so that Republican candidates will be saddled with his incompetence.  And it would be in the interest of Republicans for him to be out of office as quickly as possible so they might ally themselves wtith the solid, wholesome-appearing, conservative values of Michael Pence.  The Vice-President, a former governor and talk radio host himself, would be a more effective pitchman for the G.O.P. than the unpredictable and unqualified Donald tRump.  Think about it.  The Republicans of course are.  Daily.

It would be very difficult for the Republicans to start an impeachment movement in the House against a Republican President.  And while the 25th Amendment might be used to shoehorn a President out, that could only be used if he were rendered incompetent by disease (ex: a stroke or Alzheimers).  And tRumps stupidity, although it might seem pathological to some, is not a disease. 

So unless, the President walks away on his own, (see end of preceding article) the Democrats will have him around in eighteen months to tie to their Republican Congressional opponents.   Good Luck.
JL

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