Monday, July 30, 2018

Sexist Commercials, Mobile Phones, What "They" Don't Read, Security Clearances, a Letter and Some Disagreement




Sexist Advertisments?

There’s a TV commercial for Toyota automobiles which shows a couple unloading a very large number of bags filled with groceries from the back of their SUV.  The husband insists on carrying what looks like about fifty bags all at one time, despite his wise-looking wife’s admonition not to do so.  “Gotta do it, that’s who I am,” he mumbles as she smiles and lets him do it.  You know darn well that he’s going to drop half of them by the time he reaches the kitchen.

A similar commercial shows an unkempt husband scratching his head, bemoaning his unsuccessful efforts to find the kind of used car the couple has been looking for.  But his sharp wife finds exactly what they are seeking in about five seconds on a popular website used to locate used cars.  The grateful husband smiles. Gee, why didn’t I think of that.

One more TV commercial:  There’s the husband who is absolutely elated to find from the mobile phone in his hand that “Wayfair ships for free.”  

He acts as if he has discovered the Holy Grail and that the couple must immediately start taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and buy a lot of stuff from Wayfair!  Here’s some news, sir. Nothing in this world is free, and that the cost of shipping items shipped “for free” is always somewhere built into their price. That's how the shippers get paid; they don't work for free! 

I cite these three commercials because of an increasing trend I see on TV of portraying men as dumber than women.  It started years ago with sitcoms such as “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” featuring male buffoons with smarter wives and continues today in many current sitcoms. Even the Progressive Insurance commercials give “Flo” a good measure of intelligence whereas her assistant, Jamie, is portrayed as not very bright.  I wonder why she doesn’t fire him.

I am waiting to see a TV commercial portraying a woman as being stupid or would that be considered “sexist”?  Hmm.  I think the media industry is avoiding doing that and is satisfied to make fun of men many of whom are too busy drinking beer and watching pro football to notice how badly their sex is being demeaned.

For those of you who still read the comics, more an adult pastime than a childhood activity these days, try to envision female counterparts to such boobs as Dagwood Bumstead, the Born Loser or Hagar the Horrible.  There aren’t any.  And of course, their spouses are painted as considerably brighter than they are.

As a sidebar to this story, note the number of female candidates for both Houses of Congress and the governorships.  After all, most of them have raised children, managed a household, often while holding down a job, and succeeded in doing all of this while still looking trim, whereas all their husbands can seem to do is attempt to carry in 56 bags of groceries in one trip.  There’s a message there somewhere. 
Jack Lippman



Will Rides Again and Beyond

Last week's posting included a column by George Will, dean of conservative Republican columnists  (though I doubt that he continues to vote Republican any longer.)

This past Tuesday evening he was on Larry O'Donnell's "Last Word" program on MSNBC where he specifically referred to the President as a "low life from Queens." (Having lived there for a few years, I don't think that NYC borough should be taking the rap for the President.)  Commenting on the tape released by Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, dealing with Trump's attempt to pay off a model with whom he might have had an affair, Will said that he was hearing redundant evidence that 
Will
"Mr. 
Trump is a seedy man whose incontinent sexual appetite gets him into seedy women.”   I wonder how long the Evangelical Christian voters will continue to support the immoral, adulterous President whom they supported in 2016 for all of the wrong reasons.  They should start listening to and reading real Republicans like Will, Michael Gerson, Ross Doutout, Mona Charon and Kathleen Parker.  

Which raises some interesting questions:  Do Republican voters read newspapers?  Do they ever look at cable news channels, other than Fox News?   
Do they automatically give credibility to material they find on the internet (particularly if it is bordered in red, white and blue)?  Are they really aware of Trump's sexual pecadillos, his blunders in the area of tariffs, his cow-towing to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and the revelations being made by his former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen? And of course, the indictments the Mueller investigation has produced?  Or is this the stuff to which only Democrats, academics and elitists pay any attention?  Do they simply accept it as "fake news" as the faker in the White House claims it is?  
JL

The Fourth Amendment and Your Mobile Phone

If you carry your mobile phone with you, regardless of whether or not you are using it, those ubiquitous cell phone towers, some masquerading as flagpoles, bell towers
or even tall trees, know where you are and where you have been.  

Did you know that until June, law enforcement agencies had easy access to this information, without a court issuing a search warrant!  No longer, however!  It’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy and the Supreme Court said so in June, voting five to four that law enforcement agencies could not access such information without first getting a search warrant.

Finally, our Fourth Amendment right to privacy is specifically extended to these mobile phone records.   The Court split along its liberal-conservative division, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with Justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan.  Of course, the other justices, led by Clarence Thomas, unsuccessfully voted to allow this encroachment onto Fourth Amendment rights to continue.  This is why it is so very important for Democrats to vote in November and hopefully, gain control of the Senate, the approval of which is necessary for future appointments to the Supreme Court. 
JL 





Security Clearance Removal a Phony Issue

No matter how high a security clearance a government employee or civilian may have, their access to classified information is still predicated on their having “a need to know.”   High officials might retain security clearances given to them after they are no longer performing the work that required them to have such clearances, but they cannot exercise them because they no longer have any “need to know” anything about an area in which they are no longer involved.  It is convenient, however, for such security clearances be maintained in the event the clearance’s holder is asked at some time in the future to reassume duties requiring such clearances.

When I was in the Army in the 1950’s, my duties in communications intelligence required me to have a security clearance.  It did not give me access, however, to any classified information other than that involved in my specific duties.  I didn’t have the slightest idea, for example, of what was going on in the building next door to the one where I worked.  I had “no need to know” that.

When our vindictive and spiteful President threatens to revoke the security clearances of former government employees who disagree with him, he is revoking “nothing,” because these individuals are no longer actively working in positions requiring security clearances.  Of course, Federal law requires them to permanently remain silent about classified matters to which they were privy in their former positions.  This they scrupulously do, but that does not take away their First Amendment rights to say whatever they want about what is going on today!  The President, who probably would not qualify for a security clearance were he not the President, seemed to have no qualms about releasing classified information to those with no “need to know” such as the Russian diplomats to whom he talked about some of our sources of intelligence information.  This may charitably be attributed to the man’s profound ignorance.

His claims that those with security clearances subsequently “monetize” them are ludicrous. Thousands of books and articles have been written by former high government officials after their service who of course, because of the positions they held, had high security clearances.  The President, whose family fortune is based on his “monetizing” his family surname, even while he is in office, should be the last person to make such accusations.

The bottom line for this is that it is just another of the President’s efforts to draw attention away from the inexorable process which is slowly closing in on him and will ultimately lead to his impeachment, conviction and exile.  The greatest danger to the nation is that he will lead it into an unnecessary war to further delay his ultimate fate.
JL 


 

Words from Someone Who Disagrees 

An occasional follower of the blog, whose views are diametrically opposed to mine, recently sent me the following email:

“Not bad eh?   Illegals are being given the vote for the school board elections.  Whom do you think they will vote for?   Why don’t we give away the entire country?   We are being overcome by Hispanics and especially illegals, who work for cash, receive all the benefit that were for working Americans, and send their money back to their country of origin.  The poor Americans do not have the rights these illegals have.  Go ahead liberals.   You want to dissolve a free nation to get a communist or socialist system.   When you do, you will be screaming from the rafters and you will not like what you made of this great country.   Blame Trump all you want, he is trying to make America great like before.   The me generation has not lived under a socialist/communist country.   They think the government will take care of them.  What a mistake.  Ask anyone who lived under it, being Italians, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and from Muslim countries who are living in this country today.  Wake up Americans.   You want to help, yes.  But be careful what you wish for.”


Attached to it was a posting from www.RestoreAmericanGlory.com, a right-wing website, which pointed out that San Francisco was giving the right to non-citizens who had children in their public schools to vote in school board elections.  This is the type of website from which many of the President’s supporters get their information and which their personal prejudices expand into the kind of email reproduced above. (See last week’s posting in which Trump’s support base was dissected, and  above article about the columnists they don't read.)   

Just as I urge followers of this blog to watch Fox News, I recommend an occasional visit to sites like the one mentioned above.  To emerge victorious, one must understand the opposition.    
JL

A Letter Gets Published

For those of you who missed it (and out-of-towners), here is the text of a letter from me published last week in the Palm Beach Post.

"A letter in Saturday’s Post advocated the popular election of Presidents instead of it being done indirectly through the Electoral College.  The writers of our Constitution established the Electoral College because they did not trust “ordinary people” to make such decisions.  In fact, the Founding Fathers didn’t even trust people to elect their Senators, leaving their election to state legislatures which was the case until the 17th Amendment changed that in 1913.  The popular election of Presidents would open the way for the presidency going to the candidate with the most appealing sales pitch who just might not be the one most qualified for the job.  The presence of the Electoral College somewhat reduces that possibility.  Even though the popular election of the President would be the most democratic method, in view of our lax campaign financing laws and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, it might not be best for democracy in the long run.  The caution of the Founding Fathers was a wise thing."
JL

One does not have to be an ostrich to bury their head in the sand.



HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
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Jack Lippman 







Monday, July 23, 2018

Trump's Supporters Dissected plus Three "Must Read" Columns



The Trump Voter


It should be clear to most informed Americans (except those who get their news exclusively from Fox News and right-wing internet sources such as Drudge, Newsmax or Breitbart) that the President is totally unqualified for and unprepared to carry out the duties of his office.  His equivocal and hyperbolic skills (a polite way of calling him a liar) may have been successful in the property development field, but they do not work in the White House.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with Donald Trump as our President until that time when he leaves office whether by resignation, impeachment, defeat at the polls, death or disability.  Similarly, unless the Democrats gain control of Congress in November, the Legislative Branch of our government will not seek to remedy this situation either.  It is pointless for me to continue to dwell upon Trump’s shortcomings as I have been doing, week after week.  Those who do not recognize them by now will never recognize them. 

Rather, our attention should be directed to the millions of American voters, at least 40% of the electorate, who voted for and support the President and put us in this situation. 

IT IS THEY, AND NOT DONALD TRUMP, WHO ARE THE PROBLEM.  


On occasion, I have called them gullible and stupid … which to an extent is true … but some of them do have their reasons, valid in their own minds, to vote for him and still support him.  These reasons make them highly vulnerable to his marketing skills.  Let’s look at these voters, broken down into groups, bearing in mind that the President’s supporters may simultaneously fall into several of these groups.  They are not mutually exclusive.   These are the people who put Donald Trump into the White House and gave the Republicans control of Congress and the Supreme Court.

TO DEFEAT THEM, ONE MUST UNDERSTAND WHAT MOTIVATES THEM.

Read on:

Tax-Driven Voters:  Republican tax programs, passed by the strengthened Republican Congress Trump brought into office with him, disproportionately reduce taxes on the wealthy.  If you are wealthy and your accountant says that under Republicans you will pay less money in taxes to the government, or if you own a business, or are a shareholder in one, and their taxes are being similarly reduced, you will vote for Republican candidates.  It is that simple.  


And Donald Trump was the Republican candidate in 2016.  This approach is also followed by those who are not exactly among the wealthy but believe voting Republican would save them a few thousand dollars (rather than the hundreds of thousands the very wealthy save) in taxes each year. Simply said, it’s better in their pocket than in the government’s and that’s all that concerns them.  End of story! Thus, tax-driven voters end up in Trump’s camp.  They may not belong there, but that’s what makes them comfortable.


Rand


Libertarians:  Historically, they believe in as little government as possible, allowing Americans to be free and have the “liberty” to do what they please to succeed, hopefully for the greater good of all.  

Their bible is Ayn Rand’s  “Atlas Shrugged.” Government regulations, regardless of their purpose, are their enemies. Trump’s elimination and reduction of regulations makes these people happy, and incidentally reduces their taxes.  They are the advocates of “cleaning the swamp” which is cluttered with government bureaucrats interfering with their personal and business goals.


Private Enterprise Voters:  They are against government doing anything which can be done by the private sector of our economy.  Greater public sector “efficiency” over the private sector, eliminating the profit incentive, they feel, is paid for by the tax payer and is unfair.  What regulations may be necessary, they feel, should only be at the state level.   This is manifested by their support of the privatization of schools, prisons and health care.  The President has appointed many officials who believe in this approach, worshipping at the shrine of capitalism as if it were a cult.



















Anti-Safety-Netters:  They are against all but barebones, minimal programs, preferably on the State level, to provide tax-supported benefits for those who lack sufficient skills, income or incentives to share in the fruits of our economy by their own efforts.  They oppose welfare programs, food stamp programs, aid to dependent children, day care programs, unemployment benefits and expansion of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to better provide for the disadvantaged. 
  


Federal dollars fund programs like this
Usually, they recommend private alternatives such as charitable and religious organizations to remove the burden of paying for these things from the taxpayer.  While some are sincere in this feeling, believing such benefits perpetuate a class of non-productive “takers,” most simply object to someone getting something free for which they must pay.  Trump’s position in this area, the Republican position, is closer to their beliefs than that of the more humane Democrats, so they are in the President’s camp.




And here is where we cross the line from those Trump supporters described above who have some sort of legitimate (at least in their minds) reason for continuing to back him, voters who probably would vote for Republican candidates regardless of whomever they might be.  We are now entering the dark world of other, more sinister, groups, probably a majority of Trump's support base, where gullibility and stupidity govern their behavior.

Democrat Haters: There are those voters who associate the Democratic Party with socialism or even communism.  They see its liberal and progressive approach to issues as the first steps toward such “Marxist” left-wing economic systems. (See Frederick Hayek's attack on Keynsian economic theory as "The Road to Serfdom.") They cursed FDR’s government sponsored programs to battle the Great Depression of the 1930’s for this reason and basically despise programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and even the Affordable Care Act, all introduced by Democrats, as “socialist.”  They also question the Democratic Party's concern with disadvantaged minority groups as pandering to them, willing to put their needs above those of other Americans in order to get their votes.  These misguided people will stick with Trump until the end.


This is the way they see Democrats



Isolationists:  When the President preaches “America First,” and weakens our ties with our traditional international friends in NATO and the European Union, opposes balanced international trade treaties and won’t participate in worldwide efforts to protect the planet’s environment, he pleases those who think the United States should selfishly ignore everything that goes on beyond the traditional barriers provided by the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.  




These voters believe America is rich and strong, and therefore should “go it alone,” considering the rest of the world as taking advantage of us.  This group also is against sharing our wealth with immigrants and opposes immigration. These economically-naive people will stick with Trump until the end.


Phony Patriots:  Wrapping themselves in the flag, glorifying in the cosmetic pageantry of the military, these folks truly love America, but know little about what it stands for historically, as is the case with the President.  



They like to place little American flags on almost everything from garbage trucks to football helmets. His chastising those NFL players who prefer to kneel during the National Anthem endears him to them. They are happy that he doesn’t object to their carrying guns either, protected by the gross misinterpretation of the Second Amendment the politicized Supreme Court has allowed.  They consider this a patriotic prerogative, somehow in defense of the country.  They will stick with Trump until the end.


Bigots:  Beside opposing immigration, many Americans who are ignorant of our nation’s history dislike anyone who falls outside of the White, Anglo-Saxon, Christian profile of the early settlers of the country.  In most areas, they do accept Catholics but would really prefer if we didn’t have a Jewish population, particularly one so active in the media, entertainment and finance.  They feel the same about other non-Christians.  Many have never gotten over the Civil War and still refuse to accept Blacks as full citizens.  This applies to Northerners as well as Southerners.  They have no love for Latinos either and resent the success many of Asian heritage have accomplished.  

They seem elated when the President gives the appearance of tolerating their violent side and is not repelled by the KKK as was the case in Charlottesville.  Many in this group, and this even includes descendants of immigrants, are there because they have lost their position in the economic hierarchy to technology and less expensive overseas labor.  They are bitter and want to blame someone and Trump, an expert on shifting blame to others, helps them to do so. He doesn’t come out in so many words and say so, but his actions often give aid and comfort to bigots.  They feel that he is with them.  They will stick with Trump until the end.


Charlotteville marchers included some "good people" according to Trump


But as I said earlier, 


DONALD TRUMP IS NOT THE PROBLEM.  HIS SUPPORTERS ARE!

Knowing what motivates them is important if honest, loyal Americans are to be able to work to develop strategies to return our country to the ideals of Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt.  That's what this posting is about.   Readers, your task is before you.  Election Day is November 6.
Jack Lippman                                                


Three Columns To Read Before You Leave This Site

Republican Parker and Democrat Friedman
Of course, no one in any of the groups discussed above would bother to read Tom Friedman’s New York Times column from last Monday or Kathleen Parker’s Washington Post column of that date.  BUT YOU MUST!

 If you missed them in those newspapers, or in any of the other papers that carry them, here they are from the Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel. (easier to link to than the Post or the Times) They say a lot, but unfortunately, those in Congress who can do something about it lack the courage to do so because they are too afraid of losing the votes from the groups discussed above.  No guts.  No courage. 

Read Friedman’s column BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE and read Parker’s column BY CLICKING HERE


Will
Finally, here is the much-talked-about Washington Post column by George Will, dean of conservative journalism, which he wraps up by referring to the President as a "sad, embarrassing wreck of a man."  Check it out BY CLICKING HERE.







(A few years ago, a respected journalist who follows this blog suggested that I provide links to full columns I wanted to pass on to followers rather than fully reproducing them.  Actually doing that would be a violation of copyright laws.  So wherever I suggest CLICKING, please do!)
JL

Clay
Note:  Two blog postings ago (Sunday, July 8), we included a piece about Henry Clay.  Go back and read it.  (It may be right below what you are looking at now, depending on your device or server.) I have since passed it on directly to several Senators in the hope that they will latch on to it for use in putting our "runaway" President in his proper place.




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 
Contact me by email at Riart1@aol.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, though few followers of the blog have done that lately.)

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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