Monday, December 30, 2019

Bigotry Raises Its Ugly Head


When the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom in the United States, it does it by stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”   Of course, it is tacitly understood that such free exercise of religion must exclude any religion which advocates harm to anyone who does not follow its tenets.  A religion which encourages its followers to do that does not deserve the protection of the First Amendment.

Extreme versions of Islam which consider those who do not accept it as “infidels,” deserving of punishment, or any faith which justifies the murder of heretics, fits into this category.  During the Crusades, Christians tried, unsuccessfully, to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims.  As they marched across Europe, they had no qualms about murdering non-Christians, particularly Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, along the way, along with anyone else they considered to have heretical beliefs. The historic conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism was also a bloody one.  Believers in such violence today do not deserve the protection of the First Amendment. The murderers of doctors who perform abortions, for example, do not deserve the protection of the First Amendment when they claim their actions were merely acts following the dictates of their religion.

When I am in a crowd, at a theatre, concert hall or sporting event, or even on the street or in a shopping mall, it is hard to identify the religion of those around me.  Of course, sometimes Muslim women can be identified by head covering and Jewish men by the wearing of a small skull cap, but outside of this, we do not usually wear our religion on our sleeves. 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, whose religious observance calls for them to exist as much as possible outside of mainstream society, dress in a very distinctive manner, and are thereby distinguishable by their attire on those occasions when they are out in the general population.   This visibility might be a reason why most attacks on Jews by anti-Semites, it seems, involve Orthodox Jews, even though they amount to no more than ten percent of the nation’s Jewish population.  Similarly, attacks on bearded and turban-wearing Sikhs, who are not even Muslim, might be prompted by their appearance, which misleads ignorant anti-Muslims.  These vile acts are intended for everyone of the faith being attacked, whether or not their religious affiliation is conspicuous.  When a Hasid is attacked in Monsey, N.Y., it is equally an attack on all Jews, even those without black hats, beards and payot (sidecurls) and who believe themselves to be assimilated. 

What we need, in addition to strong laws aimed at reducing gun violence, is more education as to what religious freedom is all about and what the First Amendment protects.  As for those whose hatred of other faiths, even if for social or economic reasons, in addition to religious reasons, leads them commit acts of violence, they should be punished to the fullest extent allowed by law.  Otherwise, the First Amendment is diminished.
Jack  Lippman

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Significance of an Oath and Why Trump Thinks he Did No Wrong


An Oath Means Something

Chapter IV, Paragraph 5 and also Chapter XXV of the Senate Rules, which stipulate that all Senators must take oaths, states: “I solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

This is the oath that 51 Republican Senators, along with their Democratic and Independent colleagues will take in acting on the Bills of Impeachment of the 45th President which the House is likely to soon pass on to them.

Mitch McConnell

It looks like Senate Republican Leader McConnell is planning on violating this oath, along with most of his G.O.P. colleagues.    At least that is what he has said.  He claims he will be working with the President's legal team, which certainly does not make him "impartial."  Hence, these "oath violators" should lose the ability to act on the Impeachment.  Violate the oath?  Lose power to vote on it!  Very Simple.

Chief Justice Roberts


The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,  John Roberts, presiding over the Senate's proceedings regarding impeachment, should take note of this and advise that by violating their oath, he can take away their right to vote on the removal of the President.   I am sure the Democrats will raise a point of order on this, directed to Chief Justice Roberts.





Jack LIppman


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Why Trump Honestly Believes Impeachment is a Hoax

President Trump keeps saying that the whole impeachment thing is a big hoax, and is oblivious to the solid evidence presented to the Intelligence Committee in its hearings.   

The reason for this is that in his head, our 45th president still is sitting at the head of the table in the conference room on "The Apprentice."  He can say "You're Fired" to anyone, anytime, and of course, the scripted actions always reflect things which he honestly believes to be what he thinks, again in his head, are what he wants them to be.  He still is living in the alternate reality of a TV production which he controlled and cannot understand that the nation, of which he is the President, doesn't share that reality, preferring the real thing.   

And because so much of what is going on appears on TV, many Americans have difficulty in separating the all-powerfull Donald Trump of the fictional "Apprentice" from the pathetic, dishonest, weakling he actually is.  That is a problem.
JL

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Lessons of History: Afghanistan and Federalist Paper No. 65

Afghanistan

Santayana


The idea that “those who ignore the lessons of history are forced to relive them” has been voiced by many, but George Santayana, 20th century Spanish philosopher gets most of the credit for it.   

It is most applicable to our current “problem” in Afghanistan, recently described in a Washington Post article as repeated defeats which our military cosmetically described as victories.  Check out the Encyclopedia Britannica’s (or any other reliable source's) treatment of the following bit of military history, which I am certain is taught at West Point and military academies throughout the world.  I am sure many West Pointers, now generals, slept through this course.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the British fought three wars in Afghanistan.   These were known as the Anglo-Afghan Wars, also called the Afghan Wars, and took place from 1839 to 1842, from 1878 to 1880 and also in 1919 in the wake of the First World War.  A century later, things have not changed very much there, although India is no longer a tool of Great Britain, Pakistan did not exist then  (It was still part of India) and the Taliban was not formally organized then although its radical ideas certainly existed then. 

Afghanistan borders six nations, and is in the middle of "nowhere."

In these conflicts, Great Britain, from its base in India, sought to extend its control over neighboring Afghanistan and to oppose Russian influence there.  It these wars, the British suffered defeats, significant loss of lives (including diplomats) and the eventual elimination of any governments they had backed.  The Afghans, then and now, will not be governed nor influenced by any outside powers for very long.  
  


It is time for us to accept whatever government, however despicable, the Afghans choose for itself, provided it does not serve as a base for attacks on the United States nor its allies.  If they would agree to that, we ought to let them go their own way, however much we disagree with it.

That is the lesson of history.
Jack Lippman

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Federalist Papers - No. 65



In the Federalist Papers, written to gather support in New York State for the proposed Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote this.  It applies to the Senate, after the House has impeached an office holder.   Significant comments by Hamilton are highlighted and my comments are in red.  In view of what is going on today, it is important that we read Hamilton's words.  It is hoped that the members of the Senate, upon whom an awful responsibility is put by our Constitution, also read it.




The Federalist Papers : No. 65

The Powers of the Senate Continued
From the New York Packet.
Friday, March 7, 1788.

(Written by Alexander Hamilton)
To the People of the State of New York:

THE remaining powers which the plan of the convention allots to the Senate, in a distinct capacity, are comprised in their participation with the executive in the appointment to offices, and in their judicial character as a court for the trial of impeachments. As in the business of appointments the executive will be the principal agent, the provisions relating to it will most properly be discussed in the examination of that department. We will, therefore, conclude this head with a view of the judicial character of the Senate.

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.   Present minority position of Republicans in the House.

The delicacy and magnitude of a trust which so deeply concerns the political reputation and existence of every man engaged in the administration of public affairs, speak for themselves. The difficulty of placing it rightly, in a government resting entirely on the basis of periodical elections, will as readily be perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account, can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.  Reasons for the Constitution's not letting the more democratically elected House do the whole job.  Then, who must make the final decision?

The convention, it appears, thought the Senate the most fit depositary of this important trust. Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it.  In the proposed Constitution, Senate was not elected, but appointed by the State Legislatures. 

What, it may be asked, is the true spirit of the institution itself? Is it not designed as a method of NATIONAL INQUEST into the conduct of public men? If this be the design of it, who can so properly be the inquisitors for the nation as the representatives of the nation themselves? It is not disputed that the power of originating the inquiry, or, in other words, of preferring the impeachment, ought to be lodged in the hands of one branch of the legislative body. Will not the reasons which indicate the propriety of this arrangement strongly plead for an admission of the other branch of that body to a share of the inquiry? The model from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed, pointed out that course to the convention. In Great Britain it is the province of the House of Commons to prefer the impeachment, and of the House of Lords to decide upon it. Several of the State constitutions have followed the example. As well the latter, as the former, seem to have regarded the practice of impeachments as a bridle in the hands of the legislative body upon the executive servants of the government. Is not this the true light in which it ought to be regarded?

Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent? What other body would be likely to feel CONFIDENCE ENOUGH IN ITS OWN SITUATION, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an INDIVIDUAL accused, and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?  (The House of Representatives)  - Hamilton was not dealing with a directly elected Senate, which we have today and DOES NOT HAVE CONFIDENCE IN ITS OWN SITUATION, BECAUSE, UNLIKE IN 1789, IT HAS TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION.  What would Hamilton had written if the Senate were elected as it is today?

Could the Supreme Court have been relied upon as answering this description? It is much to be doubted, whether the members of that tribunal would at all times be endowed with so eminent a portion of fortitude, as would be called for in the execution of so difficult a task; and it is still more to be doubted, whether they would possess the degree of credit and authority, which might, on certain occasions, be indispensable towards reconciling the people to a decision that should happen to clash with an accusation brought by their immediate representatives. A deficiency in the first, would be fatal to the accused; in the last, dangerous to the public tranquillity. The hazard in both these respects, could only be avoided, if at all, by rendering that tribunal more numerous than would consist with a reasonable attention to economy. The necessity of a numerous court for the trial of impeachments, is equally dictated by the nature of the proceeding. This can never be tied down by such strict rules, either in the delineation of the offense by the prosecutors, or in the construction of it by the judges, as in common cases serve to limit the discretion of courts in favor of personal security. There will be no jury to stand between the judges who are to pronounce the sentence of the law, and the party who is to receive or suffer it. The awful discretion which a court of impeachments must necessarily have, to doom to honor or to infamy the most confidential and the most distinguished characters of the community, forbids the commitment of the trust to a small number of persons.

These considerations seem alone sufficient to authorize a conclusion, that the Supreme Court would have been an improper substitute for the Senate, as a court of impeachments. There remains a further consideration, which will not a little strengthen this conclusion. It is this: The punishment which may be the consequence of conviction upon impeachment, is not to terminate the chastisement of the offender. After having been sentenced to a prepetual ostracism from the esteem and confidence, and honors and emoluments of his country, he will still be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. Would it be proper that the persons who had disposed of his fame, and his most valuable rights as a citizen in one trial, should, in another trial, for the same offense, be also the disposers of his life and his fortune? Would there not be the greatest reason to apprehend, that error, in the first sentence, would be the parent of error in the second sentence? That the strong bias of one decision would be apt to overrule the influence of any new lights which might be brought to vary the complexion of another decision? Those who know anything of human nature, will not hesitate to answer these questions in the affirmative; and will be at no loss to perceive, that by making the same persons judges in both cases, those who might happen to be the objects of prosecution would, in a great measure, be deprived of the double security intended them by a double trial. The loss of life and estate would often be virtually included in a sentence which, in its terms, imported nothing more than dismission from a present, and disqualification for a future, office. It may be said, that the intervention of a jury, in the second instance, would obviate the danger. But juries are frequently influenced by the opinions of judges. They are sometimes induced to find special verdicts, which refer the main question to the decision of the court. Who would be willing to stake his life and his estate upon the verdict of a jury acting under the auspices of judges who had predetermined his guilt?    Reasons for not letting the Supreme Court have the final word. And today, this may be applicable to the Senate as well.

Would it have been an improvement of the plan, to have united the Supreme Court with the Senate, in the formation of the court of impeachments? This union would certainly have been attended with several advantages; but would they not have been overbalanced by the signal disadvantage, already stated, arising from the agency of the same judges in the double prosecution to which the offender would be liable? To a certain extent, the benefits of that union will be obtained from making the chief justice of the Supreme Court the president of the court of impeachments, as is proposed to be done in the plan of the convention; while the inconveniences of an entire incorporation of the former into the latter will be substantially avoided. This was perhaps the prudent mean. I forbear to remark upon the additional pretext for clamor against the judiciary, which so considerable an augmentation of its authority would have afforded.

Would it have been desirable to have composed the court for the trial of impeachments, of persons wholly distinct from the other departments of the government? There are weighty arguments, as well against, as in favor of, such a plan. To some minds it will not appear a trivial objection, that it could tend to increase the complexity of the political machine, and to add a new spring to the government, the utility of which would at best be questionable. But an objection which will not be thought by any unworthy of attention, is this: a court formed upon such a plan, would either be attended with a heavy expense, or might in practice be subject to a variety of casualties and inconveniences. It must either consist of permanent officers, stationary at the seat of government, and of course entitled to fixed and regular stipends, or of certain officers of the State governments to be called upon whenever an impeachment was actually depending. It will not be easy to imagine any third mode materially different, which could rationally be proposed. As the court, for reasons already given, ought to be numerous, the first scheme will be reprobated by every man who can compare the extent of the public wants with the means of supplying them. The second will be espoused with caution by those who will seriously consider the difficulty of collecting men dispersed over the whole Union; the injury to the innocent, from the procrastinated determination of the charges which might be brought against them; the advantage to the guilty, from the opportunities which delay would afford to intrigue and corruption; and in some cases the detriment to the State, from the prolonged inaction of men whose firm and faithful execution of their duty might have exposed them to the persecution of an intemperate or designing majority in the House of Representatives. Though this latter supposition may seem harsh, and might not be likely often to be verified, yet it ought not to be forgotten that the demon of faction will, at certain seasons, extend his sceptre over all numerous bodies of men.

But though one or the other of the substitutes which have been examined, or some other that might be devised, should be thought preferable to the plan in this respect, reported by the convention, it will not follow that the Constitution ought for this reason to be rejected. If mankind were to resolve to agree in no institution of government, until every part of it had been adjusted to the most exact standard of perfection, society would soon become a general scene of anarchy, and the world a desert. Where is the standard of perfection to be found? Who will undertake to unite the discordant opinions of a whole commuity, in the same judgment of it; and to prevail upon one conceited projector to renounce his INFALLIBLE criterion for the FALLIBLE criterion of his more CONCEITED NEIGHBOR? To answer the purpose of the adversaries of the Constitution, they ought to prove, not merely that particular provisions in it are not the best which might have been imagined, but that the plan upon the whole is bad and pernicious.
PUBLIUS.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Pensacola Shooting and Impeachment Rolls On




Pensacola Shooting

Sometime in the mid-nineties, we took the kids on a trip to Florida which of course, included a visit to Disneyland!  I recall waiting in line at one of the rides (“40,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” I believe) and the people right next to us in line whom we talked to during the wait turned out to be a group of Saudi Air Force personnel who were in the United States being trained to fly American planes.  So, this has been going on for years.  I am sure the recent Pensacola shooter, a Saudi Air Force trainee, was appropriately checked out before coming to this country, but when hundreds, if not thousands, come here for such training, someone with problems (and all “shooters” in this age of gun violence seem to have some sort of problems which motivate them) is certain to slip through occasionally.
 JL


The Sad Thing About Impeachment

The Senate hearings, once the House passes Bills of Impeachment regarding Donald J. Trump, will be controlled by the Republicans.  Their re-election chances depend on Trump supporters so do not expect fairness in whatever happens in the Senate.  Almost all Republican Senators will vote “not to convict,” even though in their hearts, for the good of their Party, they would be glad to get rid of him.  But they will not vote their hearts, nor vote as Americans, but as Trumpublicans.

Despite the solid, factual revelations which came out of the House Intellligence Committee's hearing, Trumpublicans seem to accept the fact that the testimony of State Department Russian and Ukranian expert Fiona Hill, the incriminating comments of Gordon Sonderling as well as Ambassador Taylor's revelations and those of several State Department officials are all part of what the President calls a "big hoax."  Only Trumpublicans are dumb enough, and un-American enough, putting Party before country and Constitution, to believe that, but that seems to be the case.

The House’s Bill of Impeachment, like a “grand jury’s” indictment, is no more than a charge.  That the President boycotted the House hearings and ordered those in the Executive Branch to do likewise, cannot be taken as an admission of guilt although Trump and his supporters would have been hard put to contradict the facts which the hearings developed.  Guilt will depend on what the Senate does, and that is the venue where the President will make his stand.

There are undeniable facts which the Republicans in the Senate will latch on to, such as the fact that Joe Biden’s son did indeed hold a seat on the Board of an Ukrainian gas company.  Out of this fact, half-truths, suppositions, suspicions and outright lies will be woven and voiced.  Even if unsubstantiated and unproven, they would be enough for Republicans to use as a basis for standing behind the President.  Also, the historically corrupt nature of Ukrainian politics will be brought up as well as the entirely disproven “Crowdstrike” conspiracy, originated by the Russians, which is still believed by many Republican comrades who prefer to believe Putin’s intelligence services rather than our own.  Republicans will attack Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi too, whose positions are based on proven truths, with their own unproven lies.  That's what we can expect from the Senate.

(The other day, Joe Biden told a questioner at an Iowa town meeting, that “He was a damn liar.”  The poor fellow then claimed the lies he was spouting about Biden and his son he got from MSNBC.   Obviously, and Joe Biden pointed this out, this was not the case.  But somewhere in the web of right-wing misinformation, the gentlemen had indeed been given the idea that even MSNBC confirmed the lies about Biden’s son. Those swimming in a sea of right wing misinformation are difficult to convince of the truth and there are tens of millions of American voters in that category.  Similarly, the reporter ... formerly with Fox, now with Sinclair ... who implied that Nancy Pelosi "hated" the President, was nourished by such information, which, incidenentally, his past and present employers were and are in the business of spreading.) 

Sadly, in addition the letting the President off, the confusion coming out of the Senate hearings will cause many Americans to buy into G.O.P. lies as we enter the 2020 election year.  How to deal with this, without taking their eyes off of the real issues, domestic and foreign, involved in that election, in addition to defeating Donald Trump, is a challenge the Democratic Party must face. 
JL

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thankgiving Reading (between all the other stuff)




Okay, it’s Thanksgiving Day, with a big spread on the table, a big parade on TV to watch and three great NFL football games!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Possibly you can find a few spare minutes to read two really great columns which were published over the past few days.  First is Michelle Goldberg’s New York Times column about two Republican lies.  Click Here To Read It.

Parker
 
Goldberg
 
Then read what the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker had to say about the impeachment hearings.  (I’m surprised she hadn’t been aware of Jim Jordan’s attire earlier.)  Click Here To Read It.   


Now go back to your turkey.



Jack Lippman


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Price of Expanding Democracy?




Founding Fathers and the Constitution
Back in 1789, when the representatives of the thirteen former British colonies got together and established the United States of America, based upon its newly written Constitution, they represented the voters in their States.  Directly or indirectly, that’s how they got to Philadelphia.  Let’s look at those voters who sent them there.  Generally, to be able to vote in those days, one had to be a property owner or meet some other restrictive requirements.  

As a result, it turned out that those who did have the right to vote were more or less educated, they were readers of newspapers and books, conversant with political and economic issues and able to deal with their conflicts and disagreements in a rational, civil manner.  Hence, those who “elected” the writers of our Constitution, our Founding Fathers, were not the common working men nor farm laborers.  The typical citizen of the new nation did not have the right to vote in 1789.  But this somewhat elitist body of voters soon changed.

Jackson
By the time Andrew Jackson was elected President in 1828, the right to vote had been expanded in almost all States to include almost all adults (except women and slaves).  This far broader electorate was generally less educated and less familiar with the issues facing the nation than was the more restricted electorate of earlier years. But politicians like it that way!     Emotional appeal of candidates, campaigning and party loyalties became more crucial in determining the result of elections than knowledge of the issues.

This was the price the country paid for the expansion of democracy to more and more of its citizens. 

If the Founding Fathers of 1789 had been sent to Philadelphia to write a Constitution by an electorate made up of the kind of voters which existed forty years later, I do not think we would have ended up with the same Constitution we have today, or perhaps none at all.   I suspect that we would have gotten a government where the power of the President would have been much greater that the Founders provided in 1789.  With the strength of a greatly expanded body of less sophisticated voters backing them, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and Abraham Lincoln, for example, all stretched the powers which the Constitution gave to the President far beyond that which the Founding Fathers contemplated.  This continued through some subsequent presidencies and continues today, despite efforts by the Legislative branch, and occasionally, the Judicial branch as well, to limit presidential power, which, particularly in times of crisis, seems to know no limit.

But let us return to 2019, or more specifically, to efforts to impeach the President and the 2020 elections.  The testimony and documentation presented in the House Intelligence Committee’s hearings, based on factual testimony from neutral experts, unequivocally make it clear that there is more than adequate unchallenged evidence present to impeach the President of the United States.

The 45th President
Those who oppose impeachment hang their hats on discredited “fictions,” thoroughly investigated by and proven wrong by our intelligence services.  In the face of logic and fact, they persist in insisting on the veracity of what has been repeatedly proven to be wrong.  Stubbornly hanging on to this position, they will unsuccessfully fight the inevitable Bill of Impeachment which the House will soon pass.  They will be more successful in the Senate, however, where the Republican majority cowers in fear of the losing the votes of the President’s supporters, who believe any and all lies told in his defense.

This is what the Founding Fathers did not anticipate in 1789, that we would have an expanded, misinformed, electorate which makes up its mind based on campaigning, emotional appeal and party loyalties rather than knowledge of issues.  Hence, the President will be let off by the Senate.   He will get away with his malfeasance.  As it developed during the nineteenth century, this is the price the country paid, and continues to pay, for the expansion of democracy to more and more of its citizens. 

Yes, there are dangers to unlimited democracy just as there are dangers to the elitism of the Founding Fathers.   The Constitution which they devised works to deal with both of these dangers with its balancing act between the three branches of government, even in the environment of an expanded electorate.  We must have faith in it.

This dichotomy will persist in the 2020 presidential election.  One side will have the facts and truth on its side.  The other will stand firm in denying facts and truth and their votes will count just as much, even though they are based on a belief, often na├»ve or honest, in lies, usually originating with the President.  

Make sure your vote counts.
Jack Lippman

Friday, November 22, 2019

Impeachment Hearings, Removing Trump, Unmasking Russian Agents and Pig Wrestling



Removing Trump

Well, the impeachment hearings are over and it is clear that the President violated his oath of office and should be impeached.  Every Republican response to the unequivocal evidence presented at the hearings has been torn to shreds.  But Republicans refuse to recognize the truth when they see it, putting their party unity over their American citizenship and its responsibilities.  Today, being a Republican borders on not believing in the Constitution.

The House will impeach the President.  The Senate, however, dominated by cowardly, craven Republicans, will not convict him.  Most of his supporters are incapable of fully grasping what the President did because of the ambiguous way he ordered laws to be violated and pressure exerted on the new Ukrainian president.  Their “pitch” is that whatever the President did was within his authority and no connection of wrongdoing can be directly linked to him.  That straw is enough for Republicans, afraid of losing their seats if the extreme right challenges them.  
  
The hope for the survival of democracy in this country is based on the assumption that enough Americans in crucial States can see through Trumpublican lies, abetted by continuing Russian interference in our election process, and vote as patriots and not as tools of the President.

A few words about how Trump gets away with this:  His claims are ambiguous (“A lot of people are saying …,”) or refer to others (“Ask Rudy”) or based on fictional conspiracy theories disproven by all of our intelligence agencies and believed only by the gullible, of which there are many millions in the United States, who get their news from unreliable sources such as Fox News or right wing sources.  Trumpublican attacks on the rest of the media steer such dullards from the truth.

Summing up, nailing down Donald J. Trump so that he can not only be impeached, but finally removed from office, is like wrestling with a heavily greased pig.   




Jack Lippman


   
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Russian Agents Unmasked

One thing the hearings proved is that the claim that it was Ukraine and not Russia that meddled with our 2016 election is a total fabrication, a "fiction" originated with Russian intelligence to drive a wedge between Ukraine and the United States.  This, of course, would benefit Russia greatly.  All our intelligence services have proven this to be a fiction beyond a doubt.  It only exists in the minds of those grasping at straws in order to support the President.

Those who espouse this disproven theory are unwitting, but nevertheless, useful agents of the Russian intelligence operation.  They serve Russia and hurt the United States by spreading this "fiction."  Fox News is equally guilty for allowing them to lie on their programs.  These unwitting Russian agents include comrades Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, and of course, Donald J. Trump, all tools of the Russian intelligence operation, one and all, when they give crediibility to lies originating with Vladimir Putin and his intelligence operations.

JL


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Republicans in Congress and a Butterfly Garden Report - Bees

Most Republican Congressmen and Senators

SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL (but SPEAK a lot of it)





This is not a picture of pathetic Congressman Jim Jordan who doesn't even own a jacket.  If he were younger, it might be Mitch McConnell or Lindsey Graham.  Whomever it is, he is listening to the results of Tuesday's elections in Kentucky and Virginia and and avoiding talking to his constituants who are getting wise to Trumpublican lies.





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Lunchtime at Porterweed Cafe
The Bee Crisis


While our Butterfly Garden is growing nicely, promising flourishing plants in the Spring, and caterpillars and cocoons (we are getting some right now), we also have a bee population which loves our Porterweed plants.  It's a fact that bee colonies throughout the nation have been decimated for reasons yet unknown.  This threatens the pollinization process of many plants, some crucial to agriculural production (such as the nation's entire crop of almonds!).   You can help the bees in their struggle by planting a Porterweek bush (try Home Depot, Lowe's or any garden store).  The bees will thank you and unless you bother them, they will not sting you.  

JL

Thursday, October 31, 2019

What to Believe and Witch Hunts

What to Believe


Some years back, before the dawn of the internet, a wise man told me to believe no more than half I what I read, no more than a third of what I see and no more than a quarter of what I hear.  Today’s political climate requires a further adjustment of these fractions by fifty percent if the speaker is a Republican legislator or official in Washington, and by ninety percent if the speaker is Donald Trump.   

Examples: 1.  The 400-plus page Muller Report clearly documented G.O.P. collusion with Russia in the 2016 Election and the President's obstruction of the process.  Attorney General Barr's cosmetic treatment of it ignored and denied this.  Barr lied.  2. The "transcript" of Trump's telephone call with Ukraine President Zelensky is not a verbatim "transcript" at all but an edited summary of what was said with information damaging to the President deleted.  Every time Trump speaks, he lies.

A clue:  If a government employee, a civil servant, doing a job for his or her country, is referred to as a 'bureaucrat' or his department as a 'bureaucracy,' the speaker is probably lying.  They try to conjure up an image of lazy, do-nothing, civil employees, waiting to retire and shuffling meaningless papers, and waiting for retirement.  Usually such liars are Republicans and down deep, they want the government 'privatized' so their big donors can make a buck out of it. 

Most Republicans, and certainly their big donors, deny the role of the Federal government as being there to serve and to help the people.  They want it limited to national defense and security with everything else left to the States and the private sector.  To them, all regulation is bad. This is libertarianism carried to the ultimate and is really anarchy.  That's why they don't give a damn about the environment, the infrastructure and climate change.




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Witch Hunts

Here’s how to identify a witch.    CLICK RIGHT HERE.  


One of the 'old' ways
Not comfortable with these alternatives?  Then do it on Election Day.   Seriously.  There are witches in Washington!   Or maybe wizards.   We gotta get rid of them.


Witch Removal Technique

                                                                                          Jack
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Added-  10:45 a.m.   Nov. 5



Yes, Yes, Yes,
“Read the Transcript” Tee-Shirt Wearers!
Please Do!
ESPECIALLY THE PART WHERE YOUR HERO SAYS:
“AND I’D LIKE YOU TO DO ME A *FAVOR.”
Really, How Dumb are You, Even for Republicans?
*Now what can that favor possibly be?
         Wash my car?  Date my daughter?  Mow my lawn?
Change a light bulb I can’t reach?
   Babysit my kids?

Really, How Dumb are You,

Even for Republicans?



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Conservatives frequently quote the Washington Examiner and its reporters often appear on TV.  Many folks think it is a real newspaper with the credibility of the Washington Post or New York Times.  

NOT SO!!  It is a weekly with a circulation of 45,000, less than half of that of the daily circulation of the Palm Beach Post!  

Don't be fooled!