Monday, July 2, 2018

What Democrats MUST Do, Butterfly Gardens, a Reality Check, Gun Violence Poetry, Tariffs, Gerson's Thoughts and the, Supreme Court's Future

Advice for Those who Dislike Trump

At this point it is senseless for Democrats and those Republicans who want their party back to talk in a energy-consuming endless circle about issues like immigration, tariffs, Supreme Court vacancies, women’s rights, abortion, voter suppression, gerrymandering, world trade, the Middle East, NATO, gun violence, foreign policy, Russian involvement in our elections and the President’s highly suspicious business connections.
The bad guys, and they are bad, control both Houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court. They are going to call the shots and get their way.  They can, do, and will, lie with impunity.  That is because a sufficient number of voters, deeply involved in "narishkeit,"  (google that if you don't know its meaning) don’t know their ass from a h_ _e in the gr_ _ nd and these are the scoundrels they voted into office.  In the last posting I addressed the Founding Fathers’ concern with this ever happening.  Go back and read it. 

So, Democrats and sane Republicans, don’t waste any time arguing about issues.  Right may be on your side but it will not triumph so long as the government is in the hands of the bad guys.  They have what amounts to a royal flush and you have a pair of deuces.  So, don’t raise the stakes.  They are high enough.  
(Pictured to right: "McCarthy-reborn" Congressman Jim Jordan grilling Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein) 

So, what do you do?  You must wholeheartedly devote yourself to making the November elections the tool of change.  No more talking politics.  Know the issues if someone asks you about them but the only thing you should have time for are voter registration programs, phone banks and volunteering to work in candidates’ offices.

Get up extra early and go to bed extra late and work hard between times.  Knock on doors when necessary.  This is not only a dictum for candidates but for anyone who wants to retake control of America’s destiny from the worst gang of bad people in American politics since the Tory Loyalists in 1776 and the secessionists of 1860.   So, shut up and get to work.  If you will be seeing less of this blog in the future, that’s the reason why.   I will be taking my advice.
Jack Lippman

You Can Have a Butterfly Garden !

Bring a little cheer into your life and that of your neighbors.  Plant a milkweed in your yard, or leave it potted outside of your home.  Water it regularly.  No other care required.  Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on the leaves, larvae will form, caterpillars will hatch from them, nibbling the leaves and eventually find  spots nearby in which to molt into hanging cocoons from which new butterflies will emerge.  You can purchase milkweed at most garden stores, including Home Depot.   (When the flowers, which will attract the butterflies to your plant, dry up and seed pods appear, make sure they get planted too and you’ll be on your way to a butterfly jungle.)  Guaranteed!

Supreme Court: What Did You Expect?

(Note:  Usually I prepare blog postings bit by bit during the preceding week.  This item was written after the Supreme Court decision supporting the banning of immigration from seven countries, only five of which were “Muslim,” [a transparent ploy to dupe the Court’s political appointees into ignoring the President’s antipathy to Muslim immigration] but before the announced resignation of Justice Kennedy, pictured below. He is certain to be replaced by a Justice on the list recommended by the Federalist Society, all of whom are Pro-Life.  My comments were timely and are right on the mark.)

When Antonin Scalia passed away during the administration of Barack Obama, conniving, slimy Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell spent a year refusing to consider the President’s nominee for the empty Supreme Court seat.  Finally, when the *P.O.S. was elected President in 2016, McConnell was willing to consider a nominee, and so we ended up with Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.  Gorsuch is not a bad man but he is not an old man either and that appears to guarantee a lengthy conservative majority on the Supreme Court.  Because Court nominees must be approved by the Senate, and the likelihood of several vacancies occurring over the next few years, it is crucial that the Democrats regain control of that body in November and maintain that control for at least a decade.  If that doesn’t happen, regardless of who controls the House of Representatives, there will be what amounts to a permanent judicial brake on liberal, progressive legislation until well after the middle of this century.  Without a Democratic Senate majority, even a Democratic President’s nominees will be stymied and conversely, the nominees of any Republican President will have no problem.  That’s why the 2016 Senate elections are more important than the House races, the governorship races or even the Presidency in 2020.

*see the prior posting for definition of P.O.S.

From a Michael Gerson Column:

Last week, Republican Michael Gerson’s Washington Post column was headed “Values-based conservatives can conquer Trumpism.”    In the column, after a discussion of Christian values (love thy neighbor, etc.), Gerson concludes with these words: “If you believe (as I do) that opposing ethno-nationalist dehumanization is the nation’s central moral and political challenge – and believe (as I do) that the battle will be won or lost on the right – who can most effectively carry this? Not business interests.  Not foreign policy experts.  Not libertarians.  If effective resistance happens, it will come from values-based, religiously motivated conservatives who can no longer stomach the moral putridity of Trumpism.”

Followers of this blog should go back to its last posting where I laid this problem before Evangelical Christian and Orthodox Jewish Trump supporters who should be troubled by the contradictions between their deeply held religious beliefs and all that the President stands for.  (Access Hollywood excerpt to right.  Remember that one, Evangelicals?)  Go back to that posting and read the part right above the picture of the Israelites worshipping a golden calf.  The most frightening words in Gerson’s conclusion are “If effective resistance  happens.”  And what if it doesn’t?

Justify -  One Smart Horse

One of you sent me this “joke” the other day.  Usually we don’t include things like this in the blog, but since I am a fan of horseracing, and not so much a fan of the President, let’s make an exception.  

Did you know that Triple Crown winner Justify was invited to the White House to be congratulated by its occupant?  Surprisingly, he turned down the invitation, commenting that “If I wanted to see an asshole, I could have come in second in any one of those three races."  

Playing Ping-Pong with Tariffs 

Bloomberg Business Week (to which I subscribe and recommend to others) provides insightful commentary on almost everything that is going on.  As for the “trade war” that is simmering between the United States and China, they make some cogent comments about the back and forth escalation of tariffs going on between the two countries.  “The problem with ‘tit for tat’ is not irrationality, but miscalculation.  If each country keeps escalating in the mistaken expectation that the other side will eventually back down, the result will be high tariff barriers and a reduction in cross-border commerce that leaves both sides worse off,” their experts write in their June 25 issue.

They see four scenarios as to how the U.S. – China trade conflict will be resolved. 1. Both sides back down (Unlikely), 2. China “blinks” (China fears a downturn in their underperforming economy so they stop raising tariffs), 3. The U.S. “blinks” (Losses suffered by American farmers and a weakening of the U.S. economy and stock market due to tariffs will force the U.S. to stop raising them) and 4. Neither side “blinks” (Resulting in great damage to both nations’ economies as tariffs keep rising).  Their experts point out that “the World Trade Organization was created to prevent exactly this kind of bluffing and brinksmanship.”

Map of counties in the U.S. which will be hurt by Chinese tariffs on our soybeans, their reaction to our tariffs on their steel and aluminum.  These areas include many supporters of the P.O.S., whose idea these tariffs were.  

                                   *     *     *
Rumors persist that the P.O.S. in the White House wants the United States to withdraw from the World Trade Organization which certainly won’t help things for either nation.  He is very good at withdrawals, or threatening them anyway as a tool, as witnessed by his actions on climate change, the Iran Treaty, and his numerous destructive comments in regard to NATO and NAFTA.  (Ask Stormy Daniels about his withdrawals as well.) Bottom line is that when our P.O.S. sits down with Vladimir Putin, he may get his lunch eaten as well as further weakening our tottering relationship with our friends and allies.  (This last paragraph was not based upon the Bloomberg article).


Gun Violence Won't Go Away Until ...

At a recent meeting of politically active friends, a question was raised about how viable the issue of reducing gun violence would be in the 2016 elections since there really hadn’t been any major incidents since the Parkland shooting.  “Wait,” I said, “There’s sure to be another one soon.  Halfway measures are still no solution.”  The Annapolis, MD newpaper office shooting the other day proves the point.  Anyway, it inspired me to write a poem.

Gun Violence Poem

Your thoughts and prayers, they do no good,                                             
Background checks don’t do what they should,                             
Keeping track of cases mental
Seen each day, they’re incremental,                           
And in the long run just a waste                                              
And nowhere for hopes to be placed.                                     
Outlawing the assault rifle
Will help a bit, just a trifle,                                              
But there remains that old shotgun,                           
A fine weapon if you got one.
Lead your life behind steel walls?                   
With armed guards out in the halls?   
There is just one thing to do,                
Change Amendment Number Two.   

A Reality Check and Passing on the Torch

America, during the seventy years since the end of the Second World War, has made tremendous progress in terms of economic growth and guaranteeing the liberties of its citizens.  Many people worked hard for these things, and some have died for them.  Today, many of us take what we have for granted and even worse, some are even willing to throw them away. That is a mistake. 

Here is a copy of the things I listed in the previous posting which I believe may have contributed to our democracy going off its tracks and teetering on the brink of a precipice, below which is the dark, authoritarian world envisioned in such novels as George Orwell’s novel, “1984” and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” 

Theme of  Orwell's "1984"
Are these the reasons many Americans have lost touch with reality and accept horrendous things as normal?  How did this come about?  Here is that list from the last posting:

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?

I don’t have the answers, but serious Americans must seek them out and try to strengthen democracy in our country.  It is not an overnight job.  It isn’t a matter of politics although an unavoidable conclusion is that what used to be the Republican Party has sold its soul to the devil in exchange for votes and is at the heart of the problem.  The party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and spiritually the heirs of Alexander Hamilton and Presidents Madison, Monroe and both Adamses is unrecognizable today.

I have been a registered voter for 65 years. The votes I cast over the years helped, in many instances, to elect people who helped build the great nation we live in and enabled it to survive.  It is up to younger voters to take on the responsibility of restoring what is left of democracy in the United States.  If they do not, they will have to live with the looming disaster and it will not be pleasant.  

 Older Americans must pass this message on to their children and grandchildren so that the work past generations started may be conserved (that’s what true conservatism is about) and further progress made (that’s what true progressivism is about) despite any interruption in this process, as we are presently experiencing.  The United States of America is not a reality TV series. It is reality!

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Jack Lippman 

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