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.)


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.  


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