Monday, March 12, 2018

What's Wrong with Us, Arming Teachers, Who Tunes in to this Blog and Why I Wear a Hat

Blog Survey Results

Well the numbers are in.  Of the 130 recipients of the “Blog Posting Alerts” I send out, twenty-one replied that they indeed read the blog.  Personally, I know of another dozen or so who did not respond but who, from our conversations, I know also read the blog.  And there are those who just don’t reply to surveys, ever.  I feel it safe to say that about 40 individuals regularly follow Jackspotpourri and that is not a bad number, about 30% of those who are alerted to each posting. 

Of course, the totals I see in the statistics Google provides to me include (1) the many times I personally access the blog in preparing it each week [they say they don’t count them, but I believe they do], (2) the robots in Russia and elsewhere who keep an eye on it without really reading it and (3) those who are led to it by a search engine.  Nevertheless, according to Google’s sometimes unreliable statistics for what they are worth, last week’s viewership for Jackspotpourri including those looking at older postings as well as the current one, was as follows:

United States

Go Figure!

Jack Lippman

What's Wrong Around Here!

The United States of America is in trouble.  It is like a car whose steering wheel is broken.  That would be bad enough, but it’s worse because of the fact that its four tires are all flat.  

We have a President who is incompetent and incapable of leading the country and who refuses to listen to those he has appointed to help him do his job. 

He does not understand the difference between campaigning for office and actually being in office and executing the tasks of governance.

And Congress is unable to step in and assume a leadership role of its own because it is bogged down, not only in struggles between Republicans and Democrats, but between factions within both these parties.  Let the allegory end here, although the nation does have the opportunity to fix those flat tires in the 2018 Congressional elections, and to install a new steering wheel in 2020.  Meanwhile, beside being the laughing stock of the world, we are falling behind better organized and better managed nations in areas where we always were the leader.  And how did this come about?

Could it be that democracy has failed in the United States?  It is the best political system in the world, but to succeed, it demands knowledgeable and civic-minded citizens.  We don’t have them any longer for a variety of reasons.  

We are in a fix because of:
(1)  the misinformation which is financed in this country by corporate dollars under the guise of free speech allowed by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision,
(2) unrepresentative legislatures made possible by the gerrymandering of congressional and state legislative districts,
(3) the replacement of traditional reputable sources of information such as newspapers by tremendous numbers of unreliable and opinionated internet media outlets and the exchange of specious information through social media.
(4)  the acceptance in the minds of many of the existence of more than one version of “truth.”

All this works together with a failing educational system, our constantly besieged media, our worship of false gods (and I am not talking about religion) and our failure to properly utilize the technology we have developed Many of those that we have elected to Congress and the man in the White House illustrate these shortcomings.  They are the products of our crumbling democratic process.  Other nations surpass us because they are not democracies and can single-mindedly strive to achieve state determined goals without considering the rights of individual citizens.  This is not to praise them but to point out that we are stuck with a democracy which is bogged down because it lacks enough knowledgeable and civic-minded citizens for it to work properly.  And those impediments can be remedied.

To start down the road to remedying this problem,
we must elect Democrats to Congress, to State Legislatures and to the Presidency.  They, at least, have not made a Faustian deal and sold their souls to the devil in the person of the National Rifle Association for a few dollars and a few votes, and have the interests of the people at heart rather than those of the very wealthiest of Americans.  And the best way to elect Democrats at any level in 2018 is for Democratic candidates to demand that their Republican opponents state their position on the President of the United States.  Will they acknowledge his incompetence or will they continue to support him?  Either response will divide and diminish the Republican vote and enhance Democratic candidates’ chances. 
                                       *   *   *   *

A few postings ago, I suggested that the President would be “going down.”  I stick to that position despite his ability to shrug off problems which would, by now, have resulted in the impeachment or even the incarceration of a less egotistical president.  This one is play acting the role of President and sooner or later reality will set in when they come to cart him off, figuratively speaking of course. 

Meanwhile, Trump thrives on changing the subject every time he is threatened with damning facts and headlines which publicize them.  He will say or do anything to dominate media content.

When Special Prosecutor Mueller’s investigation creeps dangerously close to the White House, he comes up with unprepared and illogical tariff reforms which anyone with even minimal expertise in that area finds laughable. (Tariffs are taxes, ultimately paid for by the consumer through higher prices, and unless carefully tailored, cause significant job loss.  The President never learned this while taking Wharton courses at the University of Pennsylvania where he must have been dozing in class.)

When indiscretions with Stormy Daniels pop up, it’s time to announce that he will meet with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. 

Doing this without prior negotiations and months of preparation is stupid, handing a two-bit dictator the gift of apparent equivalency with the President of the United States, an act all previous Presidents, regardless of party, have assiduously avoided. He approaches diplomacy like a twelve year old playing a video game.  As I said earlier, Trump does not know the difference between campaigning and governing

Yet his gullible base continues to back him for the reasons stated earlier in this posting. 

Those who believe in impeachment (a slam dunk if the Democrats take over the House and come close in the Senate later this year) are stressed, however, by the fact that Vice President Pence represents the ideas of the right wing of the Republican Party even better than does the President and is not burdened by the moral, ethical and intellectual shortcomings so evident in the White House today.  That would make him a far more elusive target for Democrats, who might prefer having Trump around as a continuing menace to the nation, unifying their support until 2020.   Keep your eyes open as to how this dilemma is resolved.  Right now, I do not think the Democrats have an answer.

Arming Teachers?

Arming teachers and other school personal as a means of reducing gun violence?  School boards and teachers almost universally oppose our doing so.  Besides the danger of putting more guns into our schools where they might be misused or fall into the wrong hands, they know it presents the danger of law enforcement not being able to distinguish between a “shooter” and a teacher attempting to “shoot back” at a shooter.  Innocent people will be killed. 

But carrying this idea of arming school personnel further, why are not its advocates asking that personnel in other “soft targets” be armed as well?  Ushers in theatres and sporting events.  Baggage handlers in airports. Clergy in houses of worship. Salespeople in shopping malls.  Doctors and nurses in hospitals.   Drivers on busses.  Ticket takers on commuter trains.  Get the point?  Why stop with school personnel?  The whole idea is ridiculous and only a way for legislators to show some fealty to the National Rifle Association which provides campaign contributions and votes for them. 

Of course, the very best way to reduce gun violence is to ban assault weapons, which have no place in the civilian world anyway, except for arming killers.  But don’t try to explain this to the NRA nor to chicken-hearted legislators who take money from them.

Jack's Hat

Some people ask me why I wear a hat most of the time.   Aside from the fact that my dermatologist advises be to do so because of the intensity of our sub-tropical sun, I do it from a vanity standpoint.  Each remaining hair on my head retains a feeling of independence and after it is put in position by a comb and brush makes its own decision as to how to behave.  Some turn northward.  Others head for the equator. 

I can resolve the problem by using a lot of grease on my hair (when younger, I used a product called Brylcreem which my father used and is still around) or generous spraying with hairspray imparting a shellac-like finish to my head.  I choose to do neither and instead, when I have a mind to, I imprison my remaining head of hair under the protective cover of a hat.

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

Just send it to me by email at   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.)


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.

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 

No comments: