Monday, February 25, 2019

Drug Ads on TV, a Letter and Electronic Musings





Drug Advertisements on TV

Ever wonder about the many advertisements for prescription drugs you see on TV?  These drugs all have several things in common.  (1) They must be prescribed by a physician.  (2)  They are all for serious diseases.  (3)  They all, even though they don’t say it, are very, very expensive and (4) they all include warnings in very small print, or hastily spoken, about the dangers of possible side effects. Often, the word “fatal” in breezed over in these caveats.

Absent from these ads are drugs commonly used for elevated blood pressure or elevated cholesterol.  That’s because most of them are available in generic versions and are not tremendously expensive.  It is inconceivable to me that the folks these advertisements are aimed at are not already under the care of physicians and under treatment for their serious illness or condition.  The aim of the ads is to get the patient to suggest to their doctor to perhaps put them on the medication they saw advertised on television.  If only a few patients do this, and their doctor switches them to the advertised product, the price of these expensive TV ads is a good investment for the pharmaceutical company.  The most common medical histories toward which these ads are targeted are cancer, intestinal disorders (ileitis, Crohn’s Disease), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis of rheumatic origin, diabetes, bladder problems and hepatitis-C, all of which are serious disorders.

Pharmaceutical companies have invested millions of dollars into developing these drugs.  That’s why they are so expensive.  In order to both recoup the cost of the drug’s development and to create profits for the pharmaceutical company, they actively try to increase their use.  That’s what the ads are about. The high cost of these drugs is borne by the patient through their own resources or co-payments and by insurance companies and the Federal government.  (Sometimes, the drug companies offer them at a more modest cost to those without insurance and below certain income levels, but they do it through a charitable “foundation” approach, which provides them with a tax deduction for the full amount of the drug, so the government really ends up footing the bill.)  And of course, nothing is “free” so both insurance and Medicare premiums and Federal taxes to support paying for expensive drugs all go up.

All of this must be accomplished during the first twenty years of a drug’s availability on the market in the United States.  During that period, the drug company can charge its sky-high price.  After that, when the patent runs out, less expensive generic versions of the drug usually will become available and its role as a company profit center will end.  That is why, during the first twenty years of an expensive new drug’s availability in the United States, drug companies advertise furiously to increase its use.  That’s when they make their money.  And of course, they are always busy developing new drugs or modifying existing ones to create more opportunities to lock in a high price for twenty years.  Here's an example:

Opdivo is a cancer-fighting drug
Opdivo is a cancer-fighting drug.  
Three vials of it cost a bit over $8,000.  A year’s worth of treatment can run about $250,000.  The fine print on its TV ads claims it increases life expectancy over more traditional chemotherapy.  That figure is quoted in months.  Note the wan smiles on the actors in the ads, as they enjoy the extra time afforded them to spend with their grandchildren.  But you know that they know their time is limited.  Most recently, studies have shown this drug increases the five-year survival rate for certain types of lung cancer up to 16% from a far lower figure.  That’s not very much, but it is something.  And it comes at a steep price.

Yes, these drugs come at a price.  Here are the monthly costs of five heavily advertised drugs for those without insurance.  You won’t see these prices on the TV ads.  Remember that Insurance companies often negotiate for better prices for their insureds, which helps a bit.

 
Otezla Commercial

Keytruda       $8,369
Taltz               $6,194
Otezla            $3,764
Humira          $5,846
Lyrica            $1,070
Xeljan            $4,915




Jack Lippman



An Unpublished Letter

Someone wrote a letter to the Palm Beach Post last week explaining that the President is legally empowered to keep aliens out of the country and that justifies his declaring a national emergency to do so.  I disagreed and wrote the following letter to the Post, which up to today, they have not published.  I think they are sick of me.

“The President’s broad authority to exclude aliens based on provisions in the United States Code, as cited by a recent letter writer (Friday, Feb. 22), does not extend so far as to give him the ability to take such an action by declaring it to be in response to what he considers to be a national emergency.  There is a difference between what powers the United States Code gives the President and the much greater power available to him through his declaring a national emergency.  He chose to take the latter course only because Congress refused to provide him with the funds to fully carry out the action described in the U.S.C. citation.  According to the Constitution, that is their job.   Sadly, the President does not fully understand the separation of powers laid out in the Constitution which he, and members of Congress, have sworn to uphold.  Fortunately for America, most members of both Houses of Congress do understand it.”
 JL


Brave New World of Technology Department

I used to believe I was sufficiently technologically oriented but when I step outside of the world of retirees, I realize how far behind the times I am.   My desktop computer is about as obsolete as a Princess telephone.  I do have an Apple IPhone, but it’s only a “7” and most younger folks use a “10” now, or its Android equivalent, or more likely a tablet of some kind, which is probably ten times as powerful as my desktop.  Hey, my desktop is really an old laptop, discarded by my son, but far more powerful than the “tower” I used to have.  Somehow, it’s linked to the 24” wide monitor sitting before me right now.  But that works for me.

I played around with Facebook for a while but it was too confusing and overwhelming for me so I cancelled out of that.  I never got into Twitter but wanted to give Instagram a try.  It sounded interesting.  But lo and behold, you can’t (or at least, I can’t) work Instagram from my computer.  It must be used from a mobile phone (my “7” is fine) and is based on sending pictures taken on that phone (or stored on it) out to whomever “follows” you on Instagram, possibly with added pithy comments.

People get to “like” postings and I get to “follow” what posts I like.  And there are all sort of gimmicks possible, using “hashtags,” which are a big thing on Twitter too.  I’ve learned that they call a number sign or a pound sign a hashtag in today’s language. Right now, having posted five pictures on Instagram, I have eleven followers and follow nineteen people who post.  I have been told to “like” (post a heart icon) their postings and thereby grow my following.  On Instagram, I am “jacobelippman.” (or maybe “#jacobelippman.” I am not sure.) Check me out.  Oh, yes, to get on Instagram, I had to resurrect my Facebook account (Facebook owns Instagram) but am assiduously avoiding posting on it again.  I don’t trust Zuckerberg … but Instagram seems harmless enough.

Mobile phones seem to be everything.  Younger people use them where old folks still use computers.  Only professional photographers and really serious hobbyists own cameras anymore.  Young people don’t even use credit cards much anymore.  They just flash their phones and the bartender or clerk just scans it, and even that isn’t always necessary.  Same goes for banking and gas stations. Even I do it when boarding planes (but I usually have a printed boarding pass in my pocket just in case).   But I still have friends who don’t even have the skills to use an ATM.  If they need a cab, they “call” one whereas younger generations have Uber or Lyft apps on their mobile phones.  There isn’t much call for real money any longer. All this electronic spending shows up eventually on a credit card bill which for many, is available only on their mobile phone’s screen … payable from one’s bank account, only a click away.  I dunno where all this is leading.

Meanwhile, I am busy preparing a posting for my dusty old blog which sits on the Internet and to which I alert people by an ancient vehicle known as Email.  I am contemplating moving these alerts to “texting” because that seems to be more the preference of younger people than Email.  First though, I have to figure out a way to get my “mailing list” from my computer’s “doc” file onto my IPhone. Oy!


I will include this screed on the blog.
JL

Is this where it's all heading?


HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
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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. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

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Jack Lippman 


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Emergency Declarations, the Democratic Sweepstakes, Republican Tactics, Wealth Redistribution and Immigration



A National Emergency

Trump Loves to Sign Things

A recent posting on this blog suggested that the need for declaring a national emergency was not on our Southern border, but instead in the area of reducing gun violence.  I note that on the anniversary of the Parkland murders, House Speaker Pelosi said the same thing.  Even Ann Coulter, from the far right and for different reasons, has chimed in saying “the only emergency is our idiot President.” 

Well, our White House occupant is indeed declaring a national emergency on that border, a declaration which is certain to be challenged in courts and in the Congress.  The Judicial and Legislative branches of our government will draw the line and slap down this sleazy and ignorant real estate peddler/deal maker who sits at the head of the Executive branch who daily flaunts the Constitution.  

The only deal he should be making now would be with Robert Mueller.  But that won’t happen because no one trusts him anymore to live up to anything he says, even Ann Coulter.  Soon enough, America will be saying “good riddance to bad rubbish.”  

                                                       

 Jack Lippman 

                                          


Democratic Horn of Plenty


In picking candidates to run for President and Vice President in 2020, Democrats must accept certain realities.   In my opinion, they are:

1.   For a “West Coaster” to be on the ticket, he or she must come from a Governor’s chair.  Being in the Senate or House is not enough.  Because the West Coast is usually secure territory for Democrats, geographic appeal is not a plus but strong executive experience is.  Following this same logic, for a Texan to be on the ticket, they similarly should offer executive experience in a Governor’s chair. Being in Congress is not enough.  Hence, I do not see Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke or Julian Castro being on the ticket.

2.   There will have to be a woman on the ticket and there will have to be a man on the ticket.

3.    One of the two candidates on the ticket MUST come from the Midwest, because doing well there is a priority for Democrats.  That candidate can be either a man or a woman, so the other candidate must be of the opposite sex.  Right now, there are three possible candidates from the Midwest, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Amy Kolbuchar and South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg.

4.    The other slot on the ticket would have to come from the East Coast. There are many seeking to be on the ticket.  These include Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kristen Gillibrand, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg, the last three of whom have not yet declared their candidacy.

Based on the above realities, here are some of the possible ticket combinations.  If Biden, Bloomberg, Sanders or Booker is the Presidential nominee, Amy Kolbuchar will be their running mate.  If Warren or Gillibrand is the Presidential nominee, Brown will be their running mate.  If Brown is the Presidential nominee, Warren or Gillibrand will be his running mate.  If Kolbuchar is the Presidential nominee, Biden or Booker will be her running mate, the other male candidates from the East not being interested in the number two position.  This leaves out those yet to throw their hats into the ring and some of those who have already done so, but I think the choices will come down to those mentioned above.
 JL

 

Republican Strategy 

The Republican nominees in 2020, whomever they may be, are in a weak position.  Hillary Clinton got more votes than Trump, nationwide, and his margins in the three states which gave him a victory in the Electoral College were so small that there is no chance of their repeating their performance for a Republican, Trump or otherwise, in 2020.  And G.O.P attempts at voter repression nationwide are falling short.  The Republicans cannot win on their own in 2020, and they know it.  What they can do, however, is make the Democrats lose!  And that will be their strategy.

Watch for Republican criticism of all Democratic candidates, picking out and exaggerating details which will soil their image, hopefully turning the process of choosing the Democratic (note that I never use the pejorative adjective “Democrat”) ticket into turmoil. 

Examples:  Biden makes misstatements and gaffes, Bloomberg is a Republican and is really too pro-business for the Democratic left, Sanders is a wild-eyed Socialist, Booker has no real experience governing outside of Newark where no one goes out at night anyway, Kolbuchar is mean to her employees, Warren, another wild-eyed socialist, lied about her racial background, Brown and Gillibrand are too unknown to have a national impact, Harris, another Socialist, plays the race card in an unspoken manner and the two Texans, Castro and O’Rourke, do it openly, appealing to Latinos. 

Republicans will spend millions to lie about the Democratic field hoping that enough of it will stick in the minds of the gullible to enable the Republican nominee to slip through to the White House.  Beware!

This has already started.  Last week, a relatively mild column by National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg proves it.  It is aimed at making voters uncomfortable with Democrats.  CLICK RIGHT HERE TO READ IT.  And if that doesn't work, here's where to find it.  
  
Expect more of this kind of thing, but even stronger, over the next nineteen months.  Texas Senator Cornyn has already quoted Winston Churchill declaring that "Socialism always starts with good intentions but always ends up with the Gestapo" to paint a sordid and dishonest image of the Democratic Party.  Republicans fear any increased role whatsoever which government assumes, and call it 'socialism' because that means higher taxes and that is precisely what the G.O.P.'s supporters and donors abhor with a passion.  That's their bottom line.
 JL

A Favor 

Do me a favor.  I am experiencing some problems with Google Adsense, a service which provides advertisements on blogs.  Last year, this blog included ads on every posting but supposedly isn’t continuing doing it this year.  I understand, however, that some of you are still seeing advertisements on blog postings.  I would appreciate your letting me know if that is the case with you, and on what kind of device (desktop, tablet, smartphone) you are getting them.  Just drop me a note at riart1@aol.com or jacklippman18@gmail.com.  Thanks.
 JL


Wealth, Immigration, Opportunity and Some Ideas

There is a determinable quantity of wealth in the world.  It is based on the possession and extraction of natural resources and crops, the utilization of those resources through manufacturing, consumption and their distribution through national and multi-national economic systems.  It is augmented by the value of intellectual property, a significant recognizable resource in our electronic age.  And through investment of that wealth and increases in its value based on supply and demand, that wealth of the world is constantly increasing.

The problem is that this wealth is not equally distributed throughout the world.  Some nations or regions have more of it and some have less of it.  And while some individuals control or possess very large portions of this wealth, other individuals possess far less of it, with some even possessing next to none of it.

The availability of electronic communications in most of the world through computers and mobile phones, augmenting television, and the spread of  the internet, including social media, has widened the knowledge of this wealth, and its uneven distribution, throughout the planet.  People living in unheated huts with dirt floors are now aware that much of the world has housing with floors and heating.  People who know only unpaved roads now have seen superhighways and high-speed trains.  And most importantly, they are aware that in nations or regions of the world possessing a lot of this wealth, there are opportunities and ways of earning a living which are not present in areas with less wealth.

It is natural, then, for people in places without much wealth to want to get to those places where there is plenty of it, and ultimately be able to share in it.  Hence, the desire arises to emigrate to these places, legally or illegally if necessary.  Add to this the impetus to emigrate which comes from living in places where not only is wealth in short supply but where there also is social and political disorder as well, at times dangerous.  Places with wealth appear to be much more stable and orderly and usually are less hazardous for residents. 

'I lift my lamp beside the golden door'
Throughout history, these factors influenced migrations such as the tremendous exodus of Europeans to North America during the past five hundred years.  Today, Africans and Middle Easterners see more prosperous Europe as their goal.  Millenniums ago, Asians crossed a land bridge which is now the Bering Straight to populate North America because things looked more promising there than on the Asian land mass where they were.  These became the “Indians” in both Americas that Europeans found here.  

And why did the Hebrews leave the land of Canaan to settle in Egypt?  The Biblical explanation doesn’t tell the whole story.  Egypt offered more opportunity.  And when they were no longer welcome as immigrants there, they left on a generations-long exodus to the “land of milk and honey.”  This is the same reason Africans risk crossing the Mediterranean in overcrowded and leaky boats to get to Europe, why Central Americans seek asylum, or any excuse, to get into the United States and why Haitians pay smugglers to bring them from the Bahamas to Florida’s shores.  People will try to get to places where the wealth is, because that’s where opportunity lies.  It has always been that way and it always will be.  Immigration follows the money.

Locking the gates will not solve the problem.  A more equitable distribution of the world’s wealth on a national or regional basis would go a long way toward solving the problem.  Institutions like the World Bank and international monetary practices designed to ultimately redistribute some of the world’s wealth on a more equitable, but nevertheless deserving, basis may be the answer.  This is what monetary gatherings such as the one periodically held in Davos are about.  That can lead to an answer to making poorer nations richer.  Nationalism cannot.

As for individual personal wealth, there are many innovative ideas around.  In Germany, companies with over 500 employees are legally required to have significant employee representation on their Boards, sometimes approaching fifty-percent.  This serves to divert some of a firm’s profits from shareholders and highly paid executives to employees.  Another “wealth redistribution” plan involves “Modern Monetary Theory” by which the government prints all the money it needs to provide “entitlement” benefits and guaranteed income, the only brake on this practice being the inclusion of steps to prevent inflation.  Ideas like this deserve a hearing rather than instant condemnation.
JL


 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.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

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. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

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 




 







Saturday, February 9, 2019

Jeff Bezos, the National Enquirer, Robert Redford, Blackface and Donald J. Trump




Robert Redford's Letter and The President's State of the Union Speech

Last week, Robert Redford, wrote a letter to many American newspapers, including the Palm Beach Post, where I read it.  A copy, courtesy of the Salt Lake City Tribune, can be read by CLICKING HERE. Redford, clearly aware of the President’s manifest deficiencies, feels that the likelihood of impeachment is mired in politics, and fears that the report of Special Counsel Mueller will similarly be bogged down once released.  Instead, he urges Americans not to be detracted by these things and to start working vigorously right now to make things right through the electoral process in 2020.  That is the path he recommends.   Read the article.  Click here.

While Redford is right about the necessity of becoming politically active right now, aiming toward 2020, I happen to disagree with him about possible impeachment.  I feel that going for it now will not impede the 2020 electoral process. Even if stalled in the Senate, impeachment proceedings will at least force some Republicans who really oppose Trump but fear primary challenges from the right, to at last be honest with themselves and their constituents.  To some extent, impeachment might unify Trump’s base, but in Congress and among the population, that base will be shrunken  because of the overwhelming evidence the process will reveal. 

If impeachment is successful in the Senate leaving us with a President Pence, it would at least replace the fraud in the White House with someone who understands politics and government, despite his adherence to many positions I oppose. He at least appears to know the rules of the game, something which Trump does not.  So, efforts at impeachment should not be abandoned.  At a minimum, they will keep the pot boiling. 

The thrust of the Republican position in 2020 will be that, basically, the world is at peace, the economy is growing and unemployment is decreasing, so why change things.  

Trump Addressing Congress
That was what the President said on Tuesday evening before he got nasty. The truth, however, is that this is really just an illusion.  Forget for a moment the destruction Donald Trump and his base have caused to the foundations of American Democracy, the rule of law, freedom of the press and the integrity which always goes with the Presidency, replacing it with the ethics of sleazy real estate promoters and greedy confidence men.  
 

Bear in mind that threats to peace from North Korea, Russia and Iran remain, that nuclear limitation agreements with Iran and Russia are being thrown aside, that the unity of NATO and the solidity of the European Community are being threatened and that Syria and Yemen remain open wounds.  Worldwide, democracy is being challenged by autocracy, to which the President is more than friendly.  Our economy is being threatened by China which takes pleasure in our withdrawing from globalization, leaving the way open for them. Wages here, despite job increases, have not kept up with prices, and gross income disparities have made the plight of America’s have-nots, even the ones with jobs, more painful.  We have yet to establish a firm handle on control of the country’s healthcare costs and the restoring of our deteriorating infrastructure.  Regulations to protect our citizenry and our environment, including undeniable climate change, eviscerated by Republicans,
Abrams
cannot be ignored either.  Republican claims that things are going very well, as Trump did in his State of the Union speech, are not to be taken seriously.  That just is not true.  Stacey 
Abrams’ Democratic “Response” remarks made that clear. 

And aside from Trump’s State of the Union speech’s attacks on abortion rights and his fear-mongering description of those seeking asylum at our Southern border, the address also attacked the investigative process which is slowly creeping toward the Oval Office. He commented that “an economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only things that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations."

Going further in this vein, he offered a very confused (and rhyming) equation which compared the very obvious claim that war is what impedes peace with the illogical analogy that investigation is what prevents legislation. (The President’s actual words were “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”)  I suppose he believes the work of Special Counsel Mueller and the various Congressional committees charged with the responsibility of investigation are what prevents the reactionary laws he wants passed from being enacted.



Let’s get rid of Trump as soon as possible, by impeachment or otherwise, and turn to the job of making America great again, the way it was on the way to being before the Republicans were stupid enough to nominate Donald Trump as their candidate and millions of gullible, Fox News-fed Americans, deceived by Russian meddling in our election process, were foolish enough to vote for him.  
Vladimir Putin

The role of Russia is not just conjecture.  It has been proven.  That’s what our counter-intelligence experts keep telling Trump but he won’t listen.
  
I agree with the President’s concluding plea for Americans to “Choose Greatness.” But the presence of Trump in the Presidency is the antithesis of that.  He is clearly the worst President the country has ever been forced to suffer, a sad and unqualified figure who makes slavery-sympathetic Andrew Johnson and underhanded Richard Nixon seem angelic. 

(Followers of this blog know that I advocate Impeachment, followed by indictment and Conviction, followed by, in lieu of incarceration, Exile.  In short, I.C.E. This is what our system of justice can serially and legally accomplish.  I am sure Russia or Saudi Arabia would welcome him as a resident.)

Jack Lippman




The Blackface Discussion 
Olivier as Othello - 1965
Throughout history, theatrical and operatic performers have used blackface when playing the role of a person of color. In the 1965 film “Othello,” Sir Laurence Olivier played the leading role in blackface.  Today, the presence of many highly skilled Black actors and singers has made blackface a thing of the past in casting those roles.  But historically, the use of blackface in theatre and opera has never been the cause of recrimination.

In the United States with its history of Black slavery, however, in addition to such historically acceptable theatrical uses of blackface, it has been used to by musicians and comedians whose humor included a stereotyped imitation of American Blacks as ignorant and comical characters.  It took a century after the end of Black slavery in this country for this practice to be recognized as insulting and repugnant. 
Joelson Singing "Mammy"
Apparently, it lasted somewhat longer than that in the South, even among educated people.  Even in Al Jolson’s sympathetic rendition of “Mammy,” his use of blackface when assuming the role of a man of color when singing it, while acceptable in the 1920s, would be totally unacceptable today.   
Virginia Governor Northam

Clearly, the use of blackface in any performance during the past half century or so in this country which makes fun of Black people identifies the performer as a racist.  Whether it can be disregarded as a “youthful indiscretion” might depend on the life the supposed racist subsequently led.  Otherwise, it is inexcusable.
 JL


The National Enquirer, Jeff Bezos, David Pecker, and Potentially, Someone Else 

Bezos
Diverting from its usual role publicizing scandal among show business and political people, the National Enquirer recently publicized Amazon billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos’ recent divorce.  Angered by this article, which was a strange departure from the type of people the Enquirer usual “exposes,” Bezos proceeded to investigate how the Enquirer obtained the information used in the article.  This did not sit well with them. AMI, the Enquirer’s publisher, then demanded that Bezos cease his investigations and take back his claim that they had political motivation, threatening further exposure including the release of embarrassing photographs if he did not, an act which in the eyes of some, borders on extortion or blackmail.  Bezos has gone public with AMI’s threats.

This just scratches the surface.  There is much, much more going on here!  Note the following facts, and they are facts:

(1) We know that AMI has entered into a cooperation agreement with the Federal 
A Lovely Couple
Attorney for Southern District of New York thereby gaining immunity from being prosecuted for generously paying 
President Trump’s mistress, Karen McDougal, for her story with the understanding that it would not be published. The funds for this apparently were funneled through former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, accomplishing the killing of a story which would have damaged Trump’s reputation during the 2016 election campaign.  Under this agreement, AMI can be questioned further, and risks losing its immunity.

(2) We know that, again departing from its usual menu of show business and political scandal, the Enquirer published an issue a few months ago lavishly praising the current leader of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, supposed friend of Trump son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner.  (The Saudi prince is suspected of being implicated in the recent murder of Washington Post contributor, Jamal Khashoggi.)

(3) We know that David Pecker, AMI CEO, has access to material in that company’s “safe” which it has not published, and which the Southern District’s staff knows includes the McDougal article and potentially other unpublished material related to Donald Trump, with whom Pecker has had a long relationship.

(4) We know that among Amazon billionaire Bezos’ holdings is the Washington Post, a newspaper in the forefront of criticism of President Trump and which is still investigating the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

(5) We know that Bezos’ investigation was aimed at finding out how AMI’s Enquirer obtained the information which they published about his divorce.  

This is What Moved Bezos to Act
These are the facts. From here on in, it's conjecture. This is where two and two (or actually the “facts” numbered 1 to 5 above) get put together.  Why was AMI so interested in getting Bezos to end his investigation, even to the point of risking being charged with extortion or blackmail and losing its immunity in the McDougal matter?  That is the real question!

With his unlimited resources, Bezos (the world’s richest man) is able to fund the kind of investigation which would go much, much deeper than how the Enquirer obtained the information about his divorce and mistress.  Were they afraid it would also go so far as unearthing the thus-far unspecified and unknown material locked in AMI’s safe?  Only time will tell.  

More Conjecture: If an investigator from the Federal Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York ever gets to question David Pecker further, will he ask if the information locked in that “safe” includes something, however obtained, gotten from someone whose first name is Christopher?  If the answer is “yes,” that might explain why AMI and Pecker are willing to take such a great risk and, of course, the game will be over and Robert Mueller can go home.  Checkmate.  

This will all be in a movie someday and it will win an Academy Award.

Meanwhile you can do your part by not patronizing any supermarket which peddles the National Enquirer or the Globe (which is also an AMI publication) at its checkout counters.  I doubt that many followers of this blog read them, but a lot of Trump voters do.  That figures.
JL





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.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

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. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

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