Sunday, July 8, 2018

"Illegal" Immigrants and the "Child-Snatchers," a Fourth of July Story, a Maureen Dowd Column, the Democratic Future, Henry Clay Speaks Out (against Trump?) in 1837, Advice for Republicans and a Wiley Comic Strip

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A follower of the blog recently commented that it is getting repetitive.  I suppose he is correct, but the overarching political issues of the day cannot be ignored.  As always, the blog will include your comments (send them to me at particularly if they disagree with what I write.  And “non-political” articles are always welcome.  If you have something “different” to say, please do!   So, let’s skip politics for a few minutes and start off with what has become the blog’s annual Fourth of July short story from  my "archives."
Jack Lippman

Agricultural Usage

“In the good old summertime,” cousin Mike, “we have lots of fun down here in Florida ... barbecues, beer drinking, swimming at the beach, and fireworks right in the backyard too, ‘specially for the Fourth of July. Betcha don’t have all that kind of good stuff up north in New York, right?”

“I guess not,” Mike replied.  “In fact, fireworks are illegal in New York, except for the big displays like Macy’s and what some towns do in the parks.  You know, handling fireworks is dangerous.  You can blow a finger off.  I read about some kid doing that in the papers every year.”

“I know, I know.  They’re illegal the same way here in Florida too!  But anyone can get them from places like the Fireworks Queen over on 441.  All ya gotta do is sign a form saying they’re for agricultural use.  You know, stuff like for scaring the birds away from crops.”

“Is that how you got the stuff you told me you shot off for the Fourth of July?”

“Yesiree!  I just signed the form and came home with a carload of rockets, pinwheels, shootin’ stars and whatever.  You should have been here to see it.  It was great!”

A ringing of the doorbell interrupted the conversation. Miltie got up to answer it and came back into the living room a minute or so later with a piece of paper in his hand and a confused look on his face.

“Mike, there was a guy at the door says he’s a volunteer from the County Fireworks Watch Bureau.  He had that damn piece of paper that I signed over at the Fireworks Queen when I bought the stuff I just told you about.  Wanted to know where my farm was.  I gotta fill out this form telling him where or I’m subject to a $2000 fine or thirty days in jail.  Told me to mail it back to him by next Thursday or he’ll be back with a Sheriff’s Deputy to take me in.  Do you know any farmers around here?

“Miltie, we don’t have this kind of crap up in New York and I don’t know any farmers in New York, let alone down here in Florida, but I have an idea.  Let me get on your computer and maybe I can come up with something.”

Twenty minutes later, after doing some Google searching, Mike smiled.

“Miltie, look what I just came up with on the internet.”  Both of them leaned over looking at the laptop’s screen, where they read the following: 

“Fertile Swamp Farm – 300 acres of farmland growing vegetables all year round.  You can experience the pleasures of being a ‘gentleman farmer’ by renting a few acres of our land for a month or by the year.  Call us at 1-800-555-7226 for info.”

“I get the idea, Mike.  We can rent a little bit of this guy’s farm, and maybe he’ll backdate the papers, and we can say that’s where we used the fireworks.   You are a genius!  I’m going to call him right now.”

The next day Mike and Miltie drove out State Road 80, way past Belle Glade and Clewiston at the bottom of Lake Okeechobee into the heart of Hendry County.  Finally they saw a sign reading “Fertile Swamp Farm – Next Left – 500 Yards.” 

Following the directions, they turned into a one-way dirt road with two well-worn tire ruts leading to a ramshackle farmhouse next to which there was a gravel parking area in which about a dozen cars and pick-ups were parked.  A teen age boy waved them into a spot and pointed to the farmhouse door.  Once inside, they found themselves among a bunch of people who from their attire, obviously didn’t have anything to do with farming.  A bald middle-aged man, seated at a table, greeted them and checked off Miltie’s name from a list before him.

“Glad you could make it.  Let me explain the deal to you,” he said.

“Hold on a minute, we really don’t want to become ‘gentlemen farmers.’ We just schlepped out here because we figured we could rent some farmland from you for a while.  All we want to do is make our use of fireworks for agricultural purposes legal.”

“I know, I know,” said the man.  “Look around you.  Why do you think all these other guys are here?  Can’t grow anything but weeds in this frigging swamp anyway.  It’s all polluted mud.   But I manage to squeeze out a living off of guys like you.  The going rate is $100 an acre a month, minimum two acres for three months, discounted to $500 if you pay in cash, which is the only way I do business anyway.  Okay?  Make up your mind.  There’s a line behind you.  And before you ask, sure, I’ll backdate the deal. It’s quarter the price of the fine they’ll hit you with.  Sign right here.”

Miltie signed and forked over $500 to the farmer.  They got into their car and quickly fell in behind the line of vehicles crawling back down the rutted road leading to State Road 80.  Once the cars cleared the dirt road and were back on the highway, three or four cars which had been impatiently waiting there made the turn onto the dirt road leading up to the farmhouse. Business was good at Fertile Swamp Farm that day!

Meanwhile, the bald-headed farmer was talking on the phone to his brother.

“Bennie, I know the fireworks stores are slowing down now that the Fourth is over, but you gotta keep pushing them.  Tell them we’ll up it to $25 for each one of those Agricultural Usage forms they copy and give to you.  And wait until you see the neat uniform shirt I got for you to use.  It comes with a “smokie” hat so you’ll almost look like a state trooper when you knock on their doors.”
Jack Lippman

Immigration - Zero Tolerance - Profound Ignorance

It is not illegal for citizens of other countries, either at our border or already in our country, to seek asylum for a variety of reasons.  People doing so are not criminals and are entitled to the "due process" our legal system provides.  Those treating them as criminals are acting in defiance of our legal system and are themselves breaking the law.  This includes the profoundly ignorant person sitting in the White House, thanks to the gullibility of many American voters, many of whom are equally profoundly ignorant.  That is a problem.

When, however, the lines for normal entry to our country to claim asylum are prohibitively long, committing the crime of crossing the border illegally with the intention of claiming asylum immediately when stopped there is perfectly understandable and should not be treated with “zero tolerance.”  Were more facilities available to legally enter the country for the purpose of claiming asylum, many of such illegal entries would not occur.  “Zero Tolerance” is not the American way!

The separation of children from such parents who enter the country illegally in order to seek asylum as well as children of legal asylum seekers who are being held while their requests for asylum are being processed is an act which will blacken American history permanently.  

                                                "Making America Great Again"

And if any of those children fail to be re-united with their parents, regardless of whether or not asylum is granted, those Americans who permitted it to happen, including the President, should be treated as the criminal child-snatchers they are.  The profound ignorance of the *P.O.S. occupying the White House, along with his arrogance, permits this to happen as some in government proceed to follow his direction in defiance of our legal system.   Ignorance, even as profound as that of the President, is not a legal defense.

It is understandable that someone whose career had been in a field where getting away with everything that wasn’t illegal was the usual way of doing business, and where one of the purposes of hiring lawyers was to find a way to legitimize illegal actions, would act this way.  The *P.O.S. doesn’t know any better.

This profound ignorance, sadly and unfortunately for the nation, has spread to the way he handles foreign relations, trade with other nations and most aspects of domestic policy.   Those of you who read last week's posting ("Playing Ping-Pong with Tariffs") read of the danger to our economy posed by the ignorance-based tariffs the President is imposing.  Well, it's happening right now Meanwhile I am sure the *P.O.S. is groping around to find someone to blame for the impending economic disaster he is causing.

But getting back to where this posting started, please remember that it is not illegal for citizens of other countries, either at our border or already in our country, to seek asylum for a variety of reasons.  Never vote for anyone who believes otherwise.

*Recheck out earlier blog postings for definition of P.O.S.

Surprise Upset in NYC Primary and What it Means

Read Maureen Dowd’s recent column about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ victory in a New York Democratic Congressional primary.   CHECK IT OUT RIGHT NOW BY CLICKING HERE(For more than brief excerpts, the blog usually provides "links" to copyrighted articles rather than reproducing them.)

Could this leftward, socialist, Democratic direction be the real answer to the problem Democrats face?  

Ocasio-Cortez is unlike the “Republican-lite” Democratic candidates running outside of historic Democratic urban bastions.  She doesn't need an "independent middle" from which to seek votes.  Most Democratic activists probably quietly agree with her politically but feel that committing the party to the kind of programs she endorses will not be a winning strategy nationally this year nor in 2020.  But, on the other hand, remaining to her right may have the same disastrous results for the Democratic Party as it did in 2016.  That is the Democratic dilemma.

So, should Democrats be honest with themselves and swing leftward?  (More about this, and the damage a third party candidate would have in this age of polarization will appear in the next few postings. These will be the the determining issues in the 2018 and 2020 elections.)

Historical Note – Henry Clay on a Presidency Run Wild 

Henry Clay was never elected to the Presidency although he ran for the office threel times.  He was known to many as the “Great Compromiser” during the turbulent years from 1820 until 1850 when the issue of the expansion of slavery into the Nation’s new, western areas was growing into the crisis which would culminate in the Civil War.  Clay’s compromises postponed that war for several decades.

Never a believer in strong Presidential leadership,  Clay represented the supremacy of Congress over the Executive Branch and of course, was a foe of Andrew Jackson who was our first really powerful President.  Early in 1837, the Senate voted to expunge its earlier censure of President Jackson for his removal of Federal deposits from the private Bank of the United States.  In opposition, Clay spoke these words in the Senate, making it clear that he strongly felt the Senators did not fulfill their duties when they cleared President Jackson. 

Whether Jackson’s censure and its eventual "expunging" were justified is not the point at issue today.  The point being made is that here we have a Senator addressing his colleagues about a President breaking the law and the Senate letting him get away with it, doing nothing about it.  Does this sound familiar in 2018?  Read Henry Clay’s 1837 words. Were such courage present in the halls of Congress today!

“Tell them (the people) … that henceforward, no matter what daring or outrageous act any President may perform, you have forever hermetically sealed the mouth of the Senate.  Tell them that he may fearlessly assume what powers he pleases, snatch from its lawful custody the public purse, command a military detachment to enter the halls of the Capitol, overawe Congress, trample down the Constitution, raze every bulwark of freedom; but that the Senate must stand mute, in silent submission, and not dare to raise its opposing voice … And, if the people do not pour out their indignation and imprecations, I have yet to learn the character of American freemen.”

Advice for Republicans

If Republicans don’t want to be identified …
1.    as members of the party of “child snatchers,”
2.    as members of the party that attacks our world-wide partners in trade and security whose friendship has enabled us to prosper for almost three-quarters of a century,
3.     as members of the party which ignores constitutionally guaranteed rights and
4. as members of the party that fights to reduce health care for millions of Americans,

all that they have to do is recognize that the President must be impeached, convicted and exiled.  It’s that simple.  Then they would have their party back.

And wrapping it up for the day, here's a unbelievably creative Wiley cartoon strip from today's papers.   CLICK RIGHT HERE  to learn what to believe and what not to believe.  


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Jack Lippman 

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