Monday, January 29, 2018

Letters, Columns, Pejorative Nouns Instead of Adjectives and Hoisting by Petards



Two Letters

Here is a letter I provided to the local Democratic group to which I belong for its members’ use in writing to publications.  Followers of this blog are free to use it if they wish.

"Republicans throughout the country are fearful of facing the truth about President Trump.  Doing so might lose them the support of the millions of gullible voters enchanted by the orange-maned real estate developer and promoter who has brought the tactics and ethics of a lower order to the White House. 

As Special Prosecutor Mueller’s investigation gets closer and closer to questioning the echoes in the Oval Office of Trump’s long business relationships with Russians and the possibility of his obstruction of justice in attempting to hamper that investigation, the President is starting to panic.  That’s why Trump’s congressional supporters are working overtime to discredit Mueller’s staff and his investigative arm, the FBI, and the President himself and his acolytes continue to challenge the veracity of what the media (except Fox News, Trump’s house organ) sees as the truth and reports it honestly.

It is only a question of time before Republicans start to abandon the unqualified promoter they put into the White House.  Abraham Lincoln (or some other nineteenth century savant) is supposed to have said, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”  It is now time for Republicans to start to apply that maxim to the President."

And here is another letter, one that I’ve just sent to the Palm Beach Post myself, hoping they might publish it.

"If Mitch McConnell is a man of his word, and I believe he is, the Senate will eventually consider and pass legislation legitimizing the status of the “Dreamers.” But such legislation will not pass muster in the House, so long as the President and the “Freedom Caucus" oppose it.  There is only one solution and that is the election of a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate in 2018. Hopefully they will begin to right the wrongs perpetrated by the present administration and the Congress."



Two Columnists

Providing links to provocative columns saves me the trouble of writing stuff for the blog.  I really am quite lazy. Originally, I used to "copy and paste" entire columns into the blog but I have been told that violates copyright laws.  So now I am content to briefly describe a column, or even  quote a bit from it, but only provide the entire text for you if you click on a link I provide.  Please click on these links when I turn the “opinionating” over to the pros like the two whose columns you can link to by reading further!!

First, we have the Washington Post’s Michael Gerson (to clear the air, Gerson, raised as an Evangelical Christian, is a Republican, unlike some other often-quoted columnists) eviscerating the evangelical movement for becoming “active participants in the moral deregulation of our political life.”  Read the entire column BY CLICKING HERE .



And then, the Post’s Catherine Rampell
places the blame on the government’s brief shutdown, and the government’s ills, where it belongs … on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT . Note Rampell’s hinting at the relationship of where these two leaders are taking Congress to a possible turnaround in the markets.  Not good news for the economy.
JL




Jew Businessmen” and the “Democrat Party

Briefly, the word “pejorative” implies contempt or disapproval. It is descriptive of something derogatory.  A classic example is describing a “Jewish businessman” as a “Jew businessman.”  Both describe the religious faith or background of the businessman, but using the noun form instead of the adjectival form makes clear the prejudices of those using the expression. Such usage is pejorative. 


                                             Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

There certainly are other instances where this distinction comes into play, but the one that most often comes into mind whenever I hear it is when the “Democratic Party” is referred to as the “Democrat Party.”  If someone were to complain about this (which I am doing, I suppose), they might be accused of being overly sensitive or even paranoid.  But the intent to be derogatory is there.  It might not be so strong as calling a Jewish businessman a Jew businessman, but it still is there. That’s what using a noun instead of an adjective accomplishes.

Insofar as I can determine, the use of the word “Democrat Party” originated with Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen  who unsucessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1940.  Since then, many other Republicans have used it full well knowing that it would be unlikely that Democrats would make an issue of it, at the risk of appearing petty, if not silly.  So they continue to get away with it.

You won’t find Democrats referring to their party as the Democrat Party.  They should not.  Only Republicans do.  Media outlets with a rightward orientation use it as well. They are comfortable in doing so because they don’t want to associate the adjective “democratic” which is of itself unobjectionable (if not complimentary) with the “Democratic” party. Consciously or not, they prefer the noun “Democrat” which is less complimentary to the ear than "Democratic."  It is hard to consider things which are "democratic" to be sinister, while things that are "Democrat" can arouse such suspicion.

Not to belabor the issue, recall that the party that opposed the Federalists in our nation’s early history was the “Democratic Republican” party, not the “Democrat Republican” party.  Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t have had it any other way. This stuff is subtle, but it is something of which we should be aware.

I could go a bit further down this path, but choose to let your thoughts find that route.  Start by looking at the pejorative language our nation’s White Nationalists use. 



Hoisted by One's Own Petard


The expression “hoist by his own petard” refers to someone being killed or hurt in the course of their attempting to do something bad to someone else.  An example might be a bomb maker who is killed when a bomb they were constructing for use in killing others blows up in their hands. “Hoist” implies being thrown into the air.  A “petard” was a small explosive device used centuries ago to breach an enemy’s fortifications.

In Shakespeare’s great play, Hamlet says, “For ‘tis the sport to have the engineer hoist with his own petar … But I will delve one yard below their mines (like land mines?) and blow them to the moon.”  (The word “engineer” in this case refers figuratively to a military artilleryman.) Hamlet is referring to his suspicions about his college buddies, Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, who may be out to do him ill, and to whom he is wise, and upon whom he will ultimately enjoy finding a way of turning the tables.  



Hamlet replaces the letter ordering his execution carried by these two with one ordering them to be executed, in effect "hoisting" them by their "own petards," the fatal letter.   



And of course, later in the play, the poisoned sword tip which King Claudius intended to cause Hamlet's death became the cause of his own when he was wounded by that same poisoned sword, "hoisting" him too "by his own petard."

Read all about this in Hamlet’s brief speech closing Act III, Scene IV of the play.  Incidentally, Shakespeare was always the punster.  In those days, some contend, “petar” (the word Shakespeare oddly uses instead of the actual work “petard”) was slang for “fart.”  So read the expression as meaning “blown away by one’s own fart,” if you wish.  That probably drew a laugh when Hamlet was performed in the Globe Theatre in 1600.

Let me point out that this is one of the few items appearing in this blog which does not deal with President Trump.  Or does it?


HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at JackLippman18@gmail.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Just send it to me by email at JackLippman18@gmail.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

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

Jack Lippman 


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Trump Tower Meeting, Immigrants and Free Money




That Meeting in Trump Tower - A Believable Scenario

After writing the following article, as a result of reading Bill Browder's book mentioned below, I found that the the information relating to the Magnitsky legislation, the Russian government's opposition to it and the Trump Tower meeting in 2016 was no secret to the media in this country.  It has not, however, received very much publicity.
In the many articles in the press and in the TV commentaries dealing with the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between people involved in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and a group of Russians, some of whom may have had government connections, it has been claimed that the prime purpose of the meeting was the providing of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign by the Russians.  

This was initially denied, the Russians claiming the meeting was merely about the adoption of Russian children by Americans, seemingly a much more innocuous subject.  What has been rarely touched upon was what the Russians may have expected in return for their "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

But getting back to the Russian's "adoption" explanation for the meeting, this contained an element of truth, closely related to a major human rights issue on which the United States had taken an anti-Russian position.  If a possible Trump administration would indicate its opposition to this position, the quid pro quoi would be the information defaming Clinton and other support for the Trump candidacy using whatever resources the Russians might offer.  But this had to be hidden in the background.  Hence, the already existing adoption story comes into play.

Even though today’s Russia is far from Stalin’s dictatorship, there is still a great deal of disrespect for the rights of its citizens, coercive use of police power and most of all, an unbelievable level of corruption and dishonesty in its government.  Bill Browder, in his 2015 book, “Red Notice,” chronicles his career as a hedge fund entrepreneur, whose funds were chiefly invested in Russian enterprises, once that country’s communism adopted capitalistic practices.
 
Encountering unbelievable corruption and thievery in Russia, Browder attempted to fight back within the Russian legal system, but with little success. 


One of his Russian lawyers, Sergei Magnitsky, after uncovering many of these evils, was arrested, probably tortured and eventually died, or was murdered, in prison.  Browder crusaded to revenge Magnitsky’s death and eventually succeeded in getting human rights legislation passed by the United States Congress which denied visas to, and imposed sanctions upon, an extended list of corrupt police officials, government functionaries and jurists who had contributed to Magnitsky’s death.  This was precedent-setting and it apparently struck the Russians, at the highest levels, where it hurt. The clear impliction is that Vladimir Putin was enraged when the United States passed this legislation.  Why?  It set a precedent for visa denial and sanctions as a tool in dealing with Russia and some Russian nationals.

Reacting to this American legislation, Putin  after several unsuccessful attempts to minimalize and counter it, decided to terminate a successful program whereby American families adopted Russian orphans, often with physical problems.  Putin, claiming the charges against Magnitsky’s tormentors were totally unjustified, tried to use the carrot consisting of the possible reversal of the adoption program’s termination as leverage to get the United States to reverse its human rights legislation regarding those who had contributed to Magnitsky’s death. That tactic did not work. Meanwhile, other countries, and even the European Parliament, were following the United States’ lead in passing such legislation, much to the embarrassment of Putin and the encouragement of human rights activists within Russia.

We do not know if a question was asked at that June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower about whether a possible Trump Administration would consider reversing the Magnitsky human rights legislation.  If they would, might the Russians be able to provide enough support to put Donald Trump in the White House?    But this kind of quid pro quo would be extremely dangerous.  This is the kind of connection Robert Mueller’s investigation is seeking. So I believe they avoided bringing it to the table (although it might have been discussed elsewhere).

That’s where the somewhat less unsavory story of the resumption of the adoption program in exchange for the eventual reversal of the Magnitsky legislation comes in.  That could have been intended to be their cover story, sweeping away any connection with the 2016 election on the part of the Russians.  At this point, this is no more than conjecture on my part, but it is, at least to me a believable scenario.

Yes, the adoption of Russian children by Americans was certainly a part of the agenda of that Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016 as the Russians claimed.   But the real thrust was more likely to have been Putin’s desire for the ultimate repeal of the United States' Magnitsky human rights legislation. 

Would letting Americans resume their adoption of Russian orphans and helping the Republicans elect Donald Trump be enough to bring about what Putin wanted, a repeal of the Magnitsky human rights legislation by a Republican Congress?  I suspect this had a higher priority for the Russians than getting Donald Trump elected.  Like everyone else, they didn’t think he would win, and any admiration between Trump and Putin is purely one-sided, regardless of what Trump believes.

Mentioned above is Bill Browder’s book, “Red Notice.” It’s a quick read and in addition to the Magnitsky story, it makes very clear the ruthlessness of the people who rule Russia today.  That should not be lost on those concerned with the question of Russian involvement in the 2016 election here and future relations between the United States and Russia.
Jack Lippman



Face Up to It! YOU are an Immigrant

Unless you are a full-blooded Native American, you come from immigrant stock!


George Washington and all Presidents following him came from immigrant stock! 

That stock is a strong one, “pre-selected” in that it is derived from those who, somewhere in the past, had the brains and guts to leave wherever they were and come here, not to be a parasite on our economy as the ill-informed claim, but to better themselves.  (Of course, those who came here as slaves had no choice in the matter, but only the smartest and the strongest of them survived generations of servitude, creating a "pre-selected stock" possessing qualities as strong as that of  the descendants of immigrants.)

Those desiring to restrict immigration must look into a special kind of mirror that not only reflects their image but that of the earlier generations from which they came, back to the original immigrants from whom they are descendants.
JL



"Basic Income" or Giving Away Money - (Precursor of a Jobless Economy)

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that I have repeatedly preached that because of the likely scarcity of jobs in the future, they will have to be “rationed” among us (in this country and in the world!).  I have suggested that a maximum work week of 30 hours and a mandatory retirement age of 50 be instituted in order to create jobs openings for more people.

Lately, the idea that robotics and other automated systems will reduce the number of jobs has been increasingly recognized.  There will only be a minimal number of low level jobs (hotel housekeeping personnel, health care aides, ditch diggers, etc.) as more and more of the mid-level and higher paying positions are replaced by 
machines and computers in the manufacturing, financial and service sectors of the economy. Look how internet shopping has reduced the number of retail jobs while creating a far smaller number of “fulfillment” positions, involved in bringing your online purchase to your front door. And automation, including artificial intelligence, will make millions of other jobs disappear, including the positions of the coders and programmers who create these systems.

All this is occurring in a world where economies are growing along with the wealth they produce.  Unfortunately, with fewer employees receiving paychecks, the means of distributing that wealth “downward” is becoming more and more difficult. Temporary periods of low unemployment, as we are now experiencing, will not change the long range prospect of fewer and fewer employees.

Traditionally, throughout the world, this transfer of wealth has been accomplished by taxes on the wealthy and businesses, and everybody else too, being used to fund government programs such as social security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, food stamp programs, child care programs, public schools, etc.  That is the tradiational way in which wealth has been “redistributed.”

Another idea for dealing with this problem, “wealth redistribution,” which is coming into the foreground is “free money” or “basic income” paid by governments to citizens meeting certain criteria, or even to all citizens, with no strings attached whatsoever.  They can spend the money on beer and lottery tickets if they so choose. In the United States, the IRS ‘earned income tax credit’ goes in the direction of accomplishing this for low income individuals.  Conceivable, the cost of providing such “basic income” might be less than the total cost of the kinds of government programs mentioned above.  But these programs would be removed or significantly reduced, depending on the size of the “basic income” payments.

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek discussed this problem in depth, centering on an experimental program in Finland.  READ THE ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE.  There have been other studies done elsewhere upon which the article also touches.

Giving away money in this manner is nothing new. It has been around for a long, long time!  Quoting from the article, “the idea of basic income crops up when people want to right an economic wrong. It’s there in Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia, which describes a society that has no crime because it can ‘provide everyone with some means of livelihood so that nobody is under the frightful necessity of becoming … a thief.’ There it is again, in a 1796 pamphlet by American political theorist 

 
Thomas Painewho argued for the creation of a ‘national fund’ out of which ‘every person, rich or poor’ would receive £15 once he or she turned 21 and £10 every year thereafter. Earth’s resources were supposed to be available to everyone, Paine argued, so people deserved ‘compensation in part for … the system of landed property.”  

Think for a moment of those who make up the fictional crew of StarTrek's Starship Enterprise, and those who built and created that vehicle centuries from now, if there were any such employees, other than robots and computers.  How were they compensated, or was there any need for compensation?  Was the “wealth of the planet” somehow organized so that it was distributed in a manner by which everybody had everything they needed.  (Note that I didn’t say “everything they wanted.”)  Are "basic income" programs the first step in redefining "wealth redistribution" in a world where human labor no longer exists in a jobless economy centuries from now.
JL


HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at JackLippman18@gmail.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Just send it to me by email at JackLippman18@gmail.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

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

Jack Lippman 


Monday, January 15, 2018

Those "Shit Hole" Countries, Farmers, a Response to my Letter, Heads of State and Two Really Good Columns

A friend approached me the other day saying, "You're a Democrat, aren't you!"  A follower of this blog, he sensed that it rarely included articles favorable to Republicans.  Certainly, if any intelligent pieces supporting Republican positions were sent to me, I would be glad to include them on the blog.  The trouble is that these positions are usually indefensible when looked at from a rational, objective, AND NOT NECESSARILY DEMOCRATIC perspective.   Today's posting includes columns by two journalists with impeccable conservative Republican credentials, and who probably voted for Republicans in 2006. 2008. 2010, 2012 and, 2014, but what they have written will not make today's Republicans happy.




Blockheads in the Farm Bloc

Farmers throughout the country supported Donald Trump in his Presidential race, although it was not in their interest to do so.  Maybe they liked the red baseball caps.  Be that as it may, polls show they still are strongly behind him.  It is very hard to figure out why this is the case when you look at Trump’s and the G.O.P.’s programs which include: 

(1) Withdrawal from NAFTA, which provides enormous markets for American agricultural products,
(2) Restrictions on immigrants upon whom farmers depend to harvest their crops, and
(3) Reduction of crop insurance payments when nature doesn’t do its job and crops fail.  



The nation’s biggest farm organization, the Farm Bureau, is against all of these Republican measures yet they, and most farmers, continue to support Donald Trump. Without using the overworked words “gullible” or “dumb,” can someone explain why this is?
Jack Lippman


What Can Happen When You Call a Country a "Shit Hole"
 (a fictional short story set in Port au Prince, Haiti)

“And whatever economic aid the Americans were giving to you, we will continue to do that.  In fact, two billion dollars was deposited just this morning into the Bank of Haiti at your branch in Rotterdam.  We will of course negotiate a monthly increase for humanitarian purposes in short order.  You’ve had more than your share of disasters.  Our people will be glad to share our foodstuffs with yours until a new agricultural plan is developed for you.  A battalion of our Republican Guard,” Masood continued, “will be arriving soon in Port au Prince to start training your military.  Soon it will be the most effective defense force in the Caribbean.  Look what we did for Hezbollah!  New weapons are on the way too, and they won’t be the out-of-date stuff the Americans were giving you.  Soon, there will be a new Haiti, and many of your people who left the island will be returning for the new opportunities here.”

The Haitian President took pen in hand and signed the document and Masood added his name to the declaration announcing the Iranian-Haitian Cooperation Pact.

“I do not want to be rude, Monsieur President,” Masood added as he rose and strode toward the door.  “But a car is waiting to take me to the airport where a plane awaits to fly me to Africa where I have a lot of similar business to transact.”

“Before you go,” the Haitian President inquired, “take a moment to tell me how this all came about so quickly.  I am still dumbfounded by how rapidly Iran sent you to see me.  And of course, we had every reason to be receptive to your offer.  But what brought it to fruition at this great moment, Masood?”

The Iranian paused and stroked his chin.  “Monsieur President,” he explained.  While most Iranians follow the Muslim faith, there still is some religious freedom in our country, so long as it doesn’t preach revolution nor love of Zionism.  We actually have a number of Iranian Jews in our country, some of whom had immigrated there from Eastern Europe, and they have, in their quaint language, the perfect phrase to explain why this Iranian-Haitian Cooperation Pact came to be today.”

“Tell me the phrase, please,” the President asked.

“We signed this treaty today,” Mamood said in almost a whisper, ”because America’s leader is 'a dumb schmuck.' He handed your country to us with his vile insult of your people.   Au revoir, Monsieur President.”

On the way out of the Presidential Palace, the Iranian diplomat spotted two North Korean military officers sitting on sofas in the hallway waiting to see the President.  He recognized them by the size of their hats.  “You’re too late, fellows,” he said to them.  “I already got his signature on the dotted line.”  

A few minutes later, the president of Haiti was on a conference call with the members of his cabinet.  “Don’t worry about our new relationship with Iran, friends," he said.  “If we choose to, we can tear up those papers in a second and disavow them. The Chinese and the Russians will be visiting next week I understand, and I’m sure their deals will be better than Iran’s.  That "schmuck" calling us a "shit hole" might be the best thing that the United States has done for Haiti in years!
JL


Are Republicans Finally Getting It?

A recent Washington Post column by conservative writer Michael Gerson carried the headline "Trump can’t lose a grasp on reality he never possessed.” 

His concluding paragraph read: “All this presents a particular problem for elected Republicans.  At the beginning, they could engage in wishful thinking about Trump’s fitness.  Now they must know he is not emotionally equipped to be president.  Yet they also know this can’t be admitted.  (Underlining is mine, not Gerson’s) So GOP leaders are engaged in an intentional deception, pretending the president is a normal and capable leader.  I empathize with their political dilemma.  But they will, eventually, be exposed.  And by then the country may not be in a forgiving mood.”

I’ve been saying this for quite a while on this blog (see the last week’s posting) and it’s good to see conservative Republicans beginning to see the light.  Read Gerson’s entire column by CLICKING RIGHT HERE  It will be worth your while.


                                                     And continuing in this vein, New York Times columnist
Ross Douthat (another conservative Republican) in a recent column asks “Can the people who surround Donald Trump work around his incapacity (underlining is mine, not Douthat’s) successfully enough to keep his unfitness from producing a historic calamity?  He points out that the nation has survived “incapacitated” presidents in the White House before such as James Garfield (unsuccessfully recovering from a bullet wound) and Woodrow Wilson after he suffered a severe stroke.  Read the full article by CLICKING RIGHT HERE .


Conservatives might object to my including columns by Gerson and Douthat as not being representative of Republican thinking.   Some may consider them to the left of what G.O.P. mainline thought is today.  I disagree.  Republicans must distinguish between true traditional conservative ideas and the philosophy of nut-job Republicans who seem to advocate as little government as possible, believing that things would be better in an unregulated Ayn Randish “almost-anarchy” where social and economic benefits would “trickle down” to the general population from a tax-favored “wealthy class” and a socially conscious business community.  Balderdash!  Never happened anywhere and wouldn’t happen here.
JL




My Messages Get Out There!

It does one good to see that their messages succeed in reaching people!  Here is the text of a letter of mine, published Dec. 27, 2017 in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel where it reached about 106,000 readers.  (Sound familiar?  It also had been posted on this blog.)

Democratic process must be kept whole:
When the democratic process malfunctions, that is, when the people make poor decisions, they may get more than they bargained for. The French Revolution in the final decade of the Eighteenth century, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of Hitler in Germany in 1932 illustrate this. None of these “popular” changes in government ended well.

Essential to the democratic process working as it should, ”in the interest of the people,” are a free press, a well-educated citizenry and respect for a legitimate opposition. Their absence can lead to a malfunction of the democratic process which is what occurred in these examples. This is what we are dealing with today in the United States. That is why I am proud to be a Democrat, recognizing the Democratic Party’s understanding of the democratic process, a concept which the President and the Republican Party fail to grasp.

Well, at least one of my neighbors must have read it because this morning, 


eighteen days after its publication, he dropped off a copy of my letter with me this morning.  Jotted down on it was:

“How sick to try to compare Pres Trump to what Hitler did.  Written by a proud Former Democrat M.A.G.A. Get over it you lost.”

I don’t know for what that cryptic signature (M.A.G.A.) stands, but I do compliment the neighbor who at least had the guts to personally hand it to me. Shows that at least he has some character! 

When I voice my opinions, I do not hesitate to sign my name to them. Those who disagree with me and who apparently prefer to remain anonymous manifest a pitiful indication of the depth of their commitment to their ideas. What are they ashamed of?

Also included with the above message was a five page copy of an unsigned (why are these people so ashamed to let the world know they support President Trump?) internet document from a “Former Democrat” entitled “Obama’s Eight Years - A Total Disaster.” This laid out about 20 criticisms of President Obama and the Clintons, all of which have been circulating on the internet for years, ranging from an increase in the number of Americans receiving “food stamps” to “Benghazi.” If someone wants to send me a copy of this online (my scanner doesn’t work), I would be glad to include it on the blog!  (But of course, their name will appear so I don’t expect to receive it.  It takes guts to sign your name to something. This lack of "guts" is something right wing internet posters share with many Republican members of Congress.  See the two columnists' ideas directly above. )

JL

Heads of Government vs. Heads of State




Theresa May, the British PM and the Queen of England


Everyone recognizes that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, is that nation's "head of  government" and leads that country… but that she is not the “head of state” of the UK.  England has its Queen, a highly respected and visible ceremonial position, but without very much power, as its "head of state."  Officially, the United States has no such “ceremonial” head of state.  That role is filled by the President who is in charge of the Executive Branch of our government.  

But hold on, doesn’t our Constitution make that Executive Branch co-equal with the Legislative and Judicial Branches of our government?  That’s what its structure of checks and balances is all about.  Then why, one might ask, is the head of one Branch, the Executive Branch, filing the role closest to what passes as the “head of state” (not to be confused with a “head of government”) in our country?  Shouldn’t the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, at the pinnacle of the other two co-equal branches of our government, have equal claim to that ephemeral position?  

Virginia Postrel, in an interesting piece published on line on Bloomberg View last week, touches on this subject, focusing on Oprah Winfrey, who while no more qualified to be President than Donald Trump despite her oration at the Golden Globes awards last week, might make a fine “ceremonial” head of state.  Check out what she writes by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.
JL


HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by clicking on Riart1@aol.com and sending me an Email.  

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
BY CLICKING ON THAT SAME ADDRESS, Riart1@aol.com   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

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


Jack Lippman