Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Democracy Contaminated, a Maureen Dowd Column, Guns(?), the Maryland Guard, The New York AG Acts, a Jazz Spot, Flying Economy and some Random Thoughts ... plus a bit of vulgarity






I will spare you any further pictures or commentary on the tragedy unfolding on the border with Mexico.  There is enough of it available from all media sources.  I will, however, devote a few words to the cause of the situation, the P.O.S. in the White House. 

Some may feel that the strong language and tactics that opponents of the Trump administration are starting to use amount to lowering themselves to the abysmal level which is the daily operating mode of Trump and his believers.  Some would prefer to practice greater civility in their criticism.  I feel that when you engage with dirty street fighters who use dishonest and unethical methods, you are going to lose unless you fight them on their terms.  No more "Mister Nice Guy."  The ends, when noble, justify the means when defeat is the alternative.  This posting reflects that position.  




The Contamination of Democracy

Those of you who read last week’s blog posting know the Founding Fathers were dubious about extending democracy to all Americans. 


They put limits on who could vote and made the election of Senators (since changed) and of the President indirect processes.  How valid are their reasons today?  Did they possess a wisdom which should have transcended the years, but did not? Think about it.

Several times this blog has included a famous quote from journalist H.L. Mencken.  While he, during his lifetime, said and wrote many things which were reprehensible, he also possessed the wisdom to have written: “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.”  Many believe that we have now reached that day.  Re-read that quote and think about it, particularly the words "heart's desire."

It’s time to stop blaming the P.O.S. in the White House and some of the P’s O. S. he has appointed to important posts.  It’s time to stop blaming the Republicans in Congress who do not publicly challenge the President because of fear of losing the crucial votes of his bigoted and gullible base. It’s time to stop blaming the Republican Party, which is no more, having been swallowed into the maw of the P.O.S. in the White House.

It’s time to blame the American voter, the same ones the Founding Fathers feared giving the vote to and whom H.L. Mencken described so unfavorably.  It’s time to blame those who really do not deserve to live in a democracy; what they have done to it proves it.  The questions we must address relate to how the American voter got to be that way.

1. Did economic pressures and changes in how people earned their living push them in that direction?  Hence, are technology and globalization the culprits?  

2. Did “tribalism,” based on skin color, social agendas and ethnic background do it? 

3. Could it be the still smoldering original differences among people in this nation, starting with the thirteen original states, slavery, the Civil War, reconstruction after it, and the civil rights struggle, in which certain people lost what they believed were rights guaranteed only to them be the cause?  

4. Could the always present relationship between religion and politics, despite the First Amendment, be the cause?  

5. Could the First Amendment itself be the cause, allowing lies to have as much credibility as truth, contaminating the concept of a free press?  

6. Could our popular culture (movies, TV, video games, social media) have so disoriented the public that these platforms too share the blame? 

7. Is our educational system to blame?  

8. Is the socialistic idea of the government providing an economic and social safety net for those who cannot make it on their own to blame? 

9. Is our free enterprise capitalistic system to blame where business profits are supposed to benefit all of us, but usually benefit some much, much more than others?

These are questions which much be answered if we are to get our democracy back on the right track in the United States and out of the hands of (alright, enough with  acronyms like P.O.S., I’ll finally say it) that Piece of S_ _ t in the White House to whom the voters’ gullibility and stupidity delivered it. 
  
This must be done at the ballot box by Americans voting for Democratic candidates and those rare Republicans willing to denounce the P.O.S. in the White House for his giving comfort to murderous despots and kidnapping innocent children to use as bargaining chips in accomplishing his juvenile, simplistic fantasies for solving problems.

But as of now, that will be a difficult job because too many Americans are too morally unfit and too intellectually unprepared to live in a democracy.  They have contaminated it.  And they vote. That’s what the Founding Fathers were worried aboutAnd you and I should worry about it as well.
Jack Lippman





Random Thoughts


New York AG Acts Against the P.O.S. : Last week, Bloomberg Opinion posted an online piece by Francis Wilkinson dealing with the New York State Attorney General’s case being brought against the Trump Foundation.  The article suggests this is probably the route that Special Counsel Mueller will follow in his investigation.  (I predict that either or both of these processes will lead to the impeachment, ultimate conviction and exile of the President.)  Read the entire posting by  CLICKING RIGHT HERE.  

Learn how Trump  used money raised for his allegedly charitable foundation not only for political purposes, but even to pay his son’s $7.00 Boy Scout dues.  Quoting from the posting, This is essentially the portrait that Underwood (the N.Y. Attorney General) paints in the detailed accusations against the head of the Trump Foundation: that of a shady huckster who engages in “persistently illegal conduct” and is buffoonishly sloppy along the way.” 


CLICK HERE to read the Bloomberg Opinion posting about the New York AG's case.



“Zero Tolerance”:  Laws that are “on the books” in democratic, compassionate countries like what the United States of America was prior to the 2016 Presidential election, are enforced from a humane, understanding approach.  They severely punish those whose transgressions warrant severe punishment and are used merely as guidelines in other situations.   This approach was thrown into the trash can by the P.O.S. elected President in 2016.  This is what “zero tolerance” is all about.  Laws should be admistered humanely by judges, not by law enforcement personnel.  This is the same kind of crap which puts first time drug offenders, caught with a little more than a minimum amount of marijuana, away for years.  Guess what party backs up this stern “zero tolerance” approach?  If you are a decent American living in a nation established by immigrants (where did your folks come from?), you should never vote for any candidate running under that evil party’s label, even for dogcatcher, until they specifically renounce this “zero tolerance” abomination.  It is un-American.



Regarding Fox News: They are not journalists. They are publicists for the Piece of S_ _ t  who sits in the White House.  When the President or his appointees lie, they pass these lies on as the truth.  Fox News exists only because of the guarantees provided by the First Amendment. 




  "The Five" misinforms America daily on Fox at 5PM




(The TV and radio stations stealthily being acquired by the Sinclair Group are just as bad.  Beware of them. They slyly slip their evil messages into otherwise normal broadcasting. The CBS TV outlet in West Palm Beach is one of them.)    

                                                                                               
But getting back to Fox, I watch Fox News because I know that in any struggle, it is important to  know the enemy, and believe me, Donald Trump and Fox News are the enemies of all that is good and decent in America.   And those who support him, out of their personal bigotry, gullibility or ignorance, share his culpability.  The worst are the Republicans in Congress who know better but hunger for the votes of his followers.  Centuries ago in the “Art of War,” Sun Tzu wrote that “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 


To know the enemy, one must watch Fox News. Grit your teeth and watch Hannity and Coulter. They are more than the voices of the opposition.  They are the enemy, your enemy, America’s enemy, the enemies of truth and decency.

Of course, if you want a gentler excuse for watching Fox News, you can do it to make a list of the sponsors of their programs and contact these companies, telling them that so long as they support the lies promulgated by Fox News, you will not purchase their products or services.  Disagree with me?  Watch Fox News tonight for a couple of hours.  But please don't scream at the TV screen. You may wake the neighbors.


Comment I’ve heard:  After the impeachment, and the ultimate conviction, and both will probably take place, exile must follow.  Far more humane than incarceration.  That's the "theme" of this posting.  Suggestions: Uzbekistan?  Guantanamo?  North Korea,  the Philippines? Russia?  Place your bets, folks.   My guess is at the end of this posting.


Message to Evangelicals:  It is impossible to be both a supporter of Donald Trump and a good Christian.   Actually, this applies to adherents of all three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  

Evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews, however, have been among his most ardent supporters and therefore must look deeply into their own personal beliefs and try to view a lifetime of what Donald Trump has said and done in the light of those beliefs.  A square peg cannot be fit into a round hole.  


Supporting President Trump amounts to an abdication of true religious faith and worshipping a “golden calf,” representing a leader who day by day seems more and more to be a disciple of the devil! 



Shooting Someone on Fifth Avenue: The President has often boasted that if he were to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, his supporters would still not desert him.   I am certain that if such support began to wane, the P.O.S. in the White House would quickly explain that “a lot of people are saying that the shot actually came from a sniper high in a nearby office building,” and the claim about his doing the shooting was just another piece of “fake news from the liberal media and the failing New York Times.
JL



A Maureen Dowd Column, Guns and the Maryland National Guard

Last week, the brilliant Maureen Dowd wrote a column in the New York Times about psychopaths.  It says everything that has to be said about the P.O.S. occupying the White House.  If you haven’t read it, read it right now by CLICKING HERE.

I am beginning to wonder how long the fury of the journalists (like Ms. Dowd), academics, clergy and plain old rational, thinking Americans can remain under polite, civil control.

If things are truly so bad for our democracy as described above, perhaps it’s also time to revisit our stand on guns. Could those NRA right-wingers who believe the Second Amendment's easy access to weapons is crucial to keeping our democracy safe from government tyranny be correct? Is it in the interest of all who are concerned with preserving our democracy, whether from the right or from the left, to oppose further restrictions on weapons possession?  For many, this would amount to a 180 degree turn … but it may be necessary, so long as the party of Lucifer controls our government

 (As I write this, I recall the use made of the few weapons available to them by the inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto against the Nazis during World War Two.)

A related item in the news this week mentioned that the Governor of Maryland, who controls the Maryland National Guard, withdrew those Guard members from active duty with the United State Army involved in border control activities on our Southwestern border with Mexico.   This is a significant development reflecting the metastasis of the P.O.S.’s malignancy into our defense establishment.
JL


Economy ain’t Economy Anymore 

Most passengers who fly do so in the what airlines call the Economy Class.  Of course, there are always those willing to fly First Class or Business Class, God bless them, and the airlines love them.  But the bread and butter passengers still are the ones in the Economy Class seats.

So this is where the airlines looked to make an extra buck.  By moving their seats back three inches or so in about a dozen rows, perhaps one row of Economy Class seating might be sacrificed, but then the airline would be able to charge $40 or $50 more for the 72 seats which now had three inches of expanded leg room.

Well this wasn’t enough for the airlines.  Their current gambit is to eliminate some of the “frills” from the remaining Economy Class seating, creating a Basic Economy Class.  In that class, no carry-on bags are allowed (or boarding is restricted to that point where all of the overhead bins are already filled), seat selection in advance is not available without an extra charge, if at all, and the ability to make a reservation change, even with the usual obscene fees for doing so, is verboten.  There might even be an extra charge for aisle or window seats in this class. The cost of these Basic Economy seats is about the same as what regular Economy seats used to cost.  Traditional Economy Class seating, with carry-on bags permitted and seat selection in advance, now costs about 30% more than it used to cost.  And of course, a checked bag hasn’t been free for some time now, unless one uses the airline’s preferred credit card.

Now it isn’t the schlock airlines like Spirit which charge extra for anything and everything both on board and in making reservations who are doing this stuff.  It’s the old line “legacy” airlines like United, American and Delta which are leading the way.

One might say that this enables more people to be able to afford to fly.  That may be true, but it also enables airlines to squeeze every possible penny out of a flight, while squeezing the passengers both literally and figuratively.  Somehow I feel that they are proceeding in this direction because of the anti-regulatory climate engendered by the P.O.S. in the White House and his appointees.
JL


Good Jazz

I wander off on Sunday evenings to the Blue Anchor on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, a bar supposedly rebuilt here in the style of a British pub.  There’s no cover nor minimum and the drinks are reasonable, passable food is available, but the big attraction on Sunday evenings is “Remedy,” a five piece jazz combo which plays from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. with a couple of breaks.  The music is mostly at least a half century old, (heard a great rendition of “Moonglow” last week) and very reminiscent of the Dave Brubeck quartet, but the bottom line is that it’s probably as good jazz as one can find in South Florida, although the group doesn’t seem to know it.  Occasionally, visiting musicians sit in on keyboard or drums, and although their second set usually features a talented vocalist, it’s not uncommon for guest singers to end up performing as well.  This is not an advertisement.  I’m just passing on something I enjoy.  If you want to try it, tell Lady, the barmaid, that Jack sent you.
JL


For those of you who did not click on the two links provided in this posting, here they are again.  Really, these professional journalists know far more than I pretend to know so I urge you to read what they are saying .  It is very important that you do so.

The Maureen Dowd Column ... CLICK HERE
The Bloomberg Opinion Piece ... CLICK HERE




Crystal Ball: I fully expect the Democratic majority in the next House of Representatives to pass articles of impeachment in regard to President Trump and the  Senate, with both Democratic and Republican support, to approve them.   The impeachment will be based on numerous violations of his oath of office and of the Constitution, developed by Special Counsel Mueller's investigation.  Once out of office, Trump will be charged with and convicted of many crimes, unearthed by the Mueller investigation and charged by the New York Attorney General.  The charges against Donald Trump in the impeachment and the subsequent criminal proceedings will be confirmed by information from Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.  President Pence will then, rather than besmirch his name by pardoning Trump, offer him the option of exile, which he wisely will accept.  Most likely, he will choose to live in Russia.  Ivanka and Jared will accompany him there.  I am not sure about Melania.



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Jack Lippman 



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Three "Must-Read" Columns, Democracy and the Founding Fathers, the Singapore Meeting, Our Friends and Allies and the Children of Immigrants


(For the curious, the expression “P.O.S.” in the following articles does NOT mean “politically obscene soul,” unless you want it to.)

A Week Which Will "Live In Infamy"


The past week we have seen the P.O.S. who occupies our White House give totally underserved credibility to the lowest of the low (perhaps except for himself) of heads of state in office today, an absolute dictator to whom murder and torture are routine daily practices.  Millions of Americans should have vomited at the sight of American flags sharing the platform equally with the blood drenched flags of North Korea.  That display, to recall the words of FDR about the Pearl Harbor attack, should be marked as commemorating “a day which will live in infamy.”

We offered the removal of our troops from South Korea and the cessation of the joint training exercises with that nation which the North Koreans consider provocative in exchange for a very general, non-specific commitment on North Korea’s part for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  We also implied that denuclearization (with no specific plans for verification, mind you) could also lead to a relaxation of economic sanctions against North Korea. Twice before, that country has made such commitments and totally ignored them.  If the P.O.S. in the White House thinks that just because he sat down with Kim, we are better off than we were before lowering ourselves to sit down with him, he is mistaken.  We got nothing in return for giving the Korean leader a legitimacy he could get from no one else … and even if we change our minds about withdrawing our troops and calling off the training exercises, we still come out as the losers in these “negotiations.”

I am reminded of the 1996 Tim Burton movie, “Mars Attacks,” in which Jack Nicholson, playing the President of the United States, sits down to talk with the Martian leader … whom he had no reason to trust, but did, with unfortunate results.  Now that our President has sat down with Kim, you can feel better, just as Nicholson initially did, until the Martians gave him a dose of what was really on their minds as shown in these clips from the film.
















The week also saw him walk away from the carefully nurtured economic and political alliances which our county has developed since the Second World War ended.  The support this P.O.S. receives from the unprincipled little P.O.S.’s in the Republican congressional majorities is based on their fear of losing the votes of his blind, gullible and ignorant supporters (which happened on Tuesday to ultra-conservative Congressman Mark Sanford who dared to criticize the P.O.S. in the White House).  

But I’ve vented enough. Click here to read Paul Krugman’s recent New York Times column.  And click here to read Michael Gerson’s recent Washington Post column.  Finally, read Thomas Friedman’s recent New York Times column by clicking here. .  They say things better than I can.  And use more polite language.

Friedman (to left), Krugman (to right) and Gerson (the guy with glasses)






After reading what these three have to say, think about whether or not you are still proud to be an American, and if you agree that your pride in your country has been somewhat tarnished by the P.O.S. in the White House, what are you going to do about it?   Make a list! 
Jack Lippman
                                                 



Immigrants Seeking Asylum Separated from Children

Have you seen pictures of the 
children being taken from their parents involved in attempts to seek asylum by entering the United States?  Does it bother you the way these people are being treated?  To some extent it probably does, and you sympathize with them.  Great!  But how different is your attitude from that of the “nice” Germans who didn’t like what Hitler was doing in the thirties to Jews, but stood by doing nothing, looking in another direction.  We are better than that and MUST act accordingly, despite the lies about what is going on coming from the mouth of the P.O.S. in the White House.

(What would be your attitude if a boatload of illegal immigrants seeking asylum attempted to land on our shores today?  The steamship St. Louis was turned back in 1940 and many of its passengers ultimately died in concentration camps.)  

We need a humane, intelligent examination and revision of our immigration laws, including a better definition of asylum, not the heavy-handed  approach of the P.O.S. in the White House, the Attorney General and some of the P. O. S.’s in Congress.  And of course, an immediate stop to the separation of children from parents until this issue is resolved.  Whether laws should be enforced 'to the letter" is up to the government.  Contrary to earlier administrations, our government has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy.  P.O.S. Trump and P.O.S. Sessions can change that by just saying so.  Instead, they blame it on the Democrats. 

And how “legal” was the basis of the entry into this country, a nation of immigrants and their descendants, of those in YOUR family from whom YOU are descended? Hmm.  To the Native Americans, the original colonists all were “illegals” as would have been most immigrants to this country throughout the nineteenth century, if present standards had then been in existence.  But we welcomed them.  We needed them.   Did you know that many Italian immigrants came here "Without papers," and became known as Wops?   Look at the names of many of America’s business leaders and CEOs today.  Their names do not reflect their ancestors having been passengers on the Mayflower.  That’s what immigration is all about, and it has always given strength to this country.


What the P.O.S. in the White House says about “sanctuary cities’ (places where local laws prevent local police from taking on the immigration law enforcement work of the Federal Government) and terrorist gang groups are just cheap attempts to distort the role immigrants have played in this country, including the many who arrived here in the 19th century, including the aforementioned P.O.S’s grandfather who came here from Germany in 1865, before the age of tight immigration restrictions began.

And while on this subject, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, another P.O.S., in supporting the strict enforcement of laws resulting in children of immigrants seeking asylum being separated from their parents, recently referred to the Bible (Romans 13) to a group of believers.

That passage reads: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. ... Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” 

Sessions joins that noteworthy group of pseudo-religious phonies who used Romans 13 to justify the Thirteen Colonies NOT rebelling against the British Crown and those who quoted it in defense of slavery in the United States.  Better obey the laws folks, or you’ll go to Hell! The Bible (duh) sez so.  Sessions should close his Bible and start reading the Constitution. The First Amendment would be a good place for the Attorney General to start.  (These Bible-quoting zealots like Sessions are the best argument athiesm and deism can have.  On this subject, Thomas Jefferson had the correct approach, but that's a story for another posting.)

JL






Our Founding Fathers Distrusted Democracy


Back in 1776 and 1789, the “Founding Fathers” of our nation were working on something new, a free country without a nobility or aristocracy, where democratic principles, as enunciated by English philosophers of the previous century (such as John Locke) would be followed.  But they walked very cautiously, knowing that fully including “everyone” in the democratic process could have dangerous results. With this in mind, they limited democracy to keep it out of the hands of the masses which if they were allowed to participate in it, would quickly become the ruling majority.  It worked well, at least for the country’s first six presidencies, because most States limited the vote to property owners. While this already select group voted to elected the House of Representatives, they didn’t get to vote for Senators who were not elected but appointed by the State Legislatures which this limited group of voters had put into office.  Of course, the Presidency itself was not decided by voters.  Those entitled to vote cast ballots for “electors,” usually from the propertied classes, who chose the President.  

So much for the “democracy” of the “Founding Fathers.”  What were they afraid of?  Well, Southerners felt that a broad enough electorate might take their slaves away.  Some felt they might take their guns away. The two fears were related of course because guns were necessary to prevent slave rebellions.  Sound familiar?  And they all knew what pure democracy had done to France, leading to bloodshed, 

The French Revolution, going on at the same time our Constitution was being developed, was bloody.  Many lost their heads.

terror and ultimately, a Napoleonic dictatorship.  Yes, to our “Founding Fathers,” democracy could be very dangerous.


By the time six Presidents had been in office, the States had broadened the electorate.  Property was no longer a pre-requisite to vote, just being a white male being sufficient.  Many of them worked in factories, coming into existence as the Industrial Revolution reached the United States.  And lo and behold, the very popular war hero, Andrew Jackson, was elected President.  In the eyes of many, putting him in the White House illustrated the evil which letting almost anyone vote could cause. The English were gleefully anticipating the collapse of the United States, brought about by giving the vote to the gullible, unsophisticated and ignorant masses who put “Old Hickory” into office. 

But Andrew Jackson worked out just fine.  He juggled the issue of slavery, encouraged westward expansion (at the expense of the Indians), and convinced the farmers and working people of the country that he would make sure they were not taken advantage of by banks and manufacturers, for whom many worked.  Truly, he was pro-people and anti-establishment.

The country was very lucky in having Andrew Jackson as its seventh President.  Although he had his "warts," still he was a war hero, involved in government for years and a man of principal. Undeniably, the "gullible, unsophisticated and ignorant" voters who put him into office were not unlike the "gullible, unsophisicated and ignorant" voters who put the totally inexperienced and unprincipaled Donald Trump into office in 2016.  The comparison ends there, however.   Trump is neither anti-establishment nor pro-people. He's just pro-Trump, a narcissistic P.O.S.  

If the electorate had not been expanded by the States, we probably would have had John Quincy Adams re-elected in 1828, and gotten Henry Clay and John Calhoun, both Whigs … aghast at Jackson’s neo-Jeffersonian democratic tendencies ... as subsequent Presidents.  

After Jackson, and his liberal successor, Martin Van Buren, the old gang of northern factory owners and southern slave holding plantation owners tried to retake control of our democracy, taking it out of the hands of the people.  They failed, but sadly, it took the Civil War and 630,000 deaths to get us back on track.

When you see things going on TODAY which you dislike, remember that the roadway democracy travels has never, historically, been a smooth one.  But ultimately, if the people care enough for one another, it succeeds.  

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 Riart1@aol.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
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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