Saturday, March 30, 2019

Fashion Notes, Shakespeare on Mueller, Strange Bedfellows, Brexit, Florida Amendment Four and finally, The Mueller Report - A Call to Action



Fashion Notes

As Spring spreads across the country, folks shed their Winter gear.  Will President Trump be willing to give up his big black (or is it blue) overcoat, which seems much too heavy even for late Winter or early Spring weather?  Note the lighter garb others are wearing as the President strides across a lawn or a tarmac in that overcoat, never buttoned.  Does he favor that coat because, hanging open, it hides his seemingly expanding girth?  What would he look like without it?  Here’s the President (6’3” – 243 lbs.) and next to his photograph, note our 27th President, William Howard Taft, who tipped the scales at 340 lbs., making Donald look svelte.   JL

Taft
Measurements Around the Beltway

                                                 
                                                                         

      

A Shakespearean View of the Mueller Report

When I listen to all the commentary on the report of Special Counsel Mueller, as condensed into four pages by Attorney General Barr, I am impressed by the circuitous reasoning of the lawyers on TV, many of whom are former prosecutors themselves or professors in law schools.  Their arguments can make one’s head spin and leave listeners, thirty minutes later, exactly where they were when they tuned in.  We deserve better. 

Shakespeare felt the same way in his historical play Henry VI, Part 2.  Amongst a disgruntled group of ignorant working men, fantasizing about the day when one of them would be “king,” a violent voice arises (in Act 4, Scene 2) shouting, “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.”  Sometimes I feel that way.

JL






The Big Story – The Mueller Report – And What to Do About It 

Aside from not coming up with enough evidence to indict the President for collusion with Russia in regard to the 2016 election, The Mueller Report also did not come to any firm conclusion on whether Trump’s interference with the investigation constituted obstruction of justice.  Instead, it left it for a conclusion to be drawn on this issue based on a "read" of the report.  Because Mueller's "chain of command" led upward through Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Attorney General Barr, the task of drawing this conclusion was taken up by them. In view of Barr’s June letter, strongly antagonistic to the Mueller probe and strongly supporting the President, what more could be expected from Barr and Rosenstein? It’s hard to believe Mueller did not know what Barr would do.

Given that there was not enough evidence to justify collusion, and leaving us in a fuzzier position regarding the question of obstruction, the New Yorker magazine succinctly addressed that latter issue thusly: 

Actually, on the subject of Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Donald Trump obstructed justice, Barr’s letter said this:   “The Special Counsel . . . did not draw a conclusion—one way or another—as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.” The letter went on, “The Special Counsel states that, ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”
Barr’s letter, however, did contain a determination that Trump’s actions—which might include the firing of James Comey, the head of the F.B.I., and trying to fire Jeff Sessions, Barr’s predecessor—failed to rise to the level of obstruction of justice. But it was Barr and Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, who made that determination. As it has done so often in the past, the White House was lying, when it said that Mueller exonerated Trump on the obstruction question.”

Hey guys, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  When Trump ignores his own AG’s statement that Mueller’s report regarding obstruction of justice does not exonerate him, he just lies about it and says that it does.  So what’s new?  He lies.  They lie.  We all know that.  Stop crying about it.  Even if you’re right.  When has the world ever been fair?

When the voters elected Trump as President, and gave him Congressional majorities, which continue in the Senate, and resultingly, the opportunity to name conservative judges, including those on the Supreme Court, as well as choosing his awful revolving-door cabinet, the country voted in his whole package.  And that included the three Attorneys-General he has appointed. 

Don’t sit around hoping the litigation going on in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere will help.  It will go on for years and years.  Lawyers are experts on getting “postponements.”  Weaving threads of evidence into a cloak of guilt is time-consuming and difficult.  No, the Mueller Report, with its Barr-imposed warts was the ballgame.  And Trump and his Republicans won it.  Face it.  That’s why we ended up with a big disappointment. 

Sure, the Democratic-controlled House Committees (particularly Judiciary, Oversight and Intelligence) will make a big issue of getting the full Mueller Report, but enough will be redacted from it (either for secrecy classifications, grand jury testimony or to protect the unindicted) to make it no more potent than a soaking wet firecracker.

"Don't tell 'em that!" - "No, I'll only give them this much!"
A Republican President appointed a Republican Attorney General to do his dirty work and that’s the ball game.  Period.  End of story. That’s what happens when you lose an election, as the Democrats did in 2016.  To the victor go the spoils. That’s the way democracy works.  Blame democracy.  But most of all, blame the American voter.

Ultimately though, there’s a whole lot of shit (no other word fits) which must be undone by a unified Democratic Party when they regain power in both Houses of Congress and in the White House.  That is the only way it can be done.  It will take years, if not generations to complete the task.  For example, the Supreme Court cannot be changed overnight.  That alone will take thirty or forty years.  Progressive legislation regarding health insurance, drug prices, world trade, education, climate change, immigration, tax reform, the infrastructure, regulatory agencies, the socio-economic “safety net” and gun violence will come about sooner, but not fully for at least a decade or two, assuming the Democrats take and maintain control of the government.


Remember, it was the gullibility and *ignorance of the American public that caused the mess the country is now in, a mess which about 40% of the population refuses to recognize. Their mindset will have to change, and that won’t take place overnight either.  But it can!  Hopefully.


*(Calling people ignorant is not the same as calling them stupid!  The adjective “ignorant” describes someone who is merely lacking in knowledge or understanding of a subject. “Stupid” means lacking in mental capacity.  While an ignorant person can usually seek additional knowledge to become less ignorant, a stupid person lacks the mental ability to do that.  You can fix “ignorant.” “Stupid” you can’t fix.)


Maybe it will take rusty and polluted water coming out of their faucets to wake them up.  Working class Americans must get it through their heads that the Republican Party never was, is not now and will never be on their side!  It is both sad and safe to say that the harm done by giving stewardship of our government and the Presidency to backward-looking and sometimes malignant Republicans in 2016 will not be reversed in many of our lifetimes, certainly not within mine.

What to do?  *Find yourself a Democratic group in your local voting precinct or community.  Go to their meetings.  Volunteer to do stuff to elect Democrats to local, State and National office.  It all counts and adds up.  Even if your State is always “blue” (like New York or California), your State Legislature which apportions Congressional Districts and opts in or out of Federal programs, must be kept “blue” too … and that isn’t always the case, so your muscle is required.  There are more Democratic-leaning Americans in this country than Republicans but It will take your efforts, particularly through voter registration drives, starting NOW, to mobilize them.
 
Democratic Workers at a Phone Bank

If you don’t do that, and just remain on the sidelines complaining, it will accomplish nothing and amount to your accepting everything Donald Trump has done and give comfort to the hypocritical Republican legislators who support him because they need his loyal base to stay in office.  Get off your butt and get to work.

There is no other way.

*Here’s how to do it.  Right now, before you get up from your computer or put down your mobile phone, “Google” the name of the town or city where you live and the words “Democratic Party.”  Like this: “MyTown Democratic Party.”  Copy down the phone numbers you will see and call them, offering to volunteer.  Today!  Now!  This Minute!

Jack Lippman



Once Elected, Republicans are Not Nice People

Floriduh
Sixty-four percent of Florida’s voters approved a constitutional amendment back in November returning the right to vote to convicted felons, except for murderers and sexual offenders, after they completed their sentences, paid their fines and were no longer on parole or probation.   But leave it to the Republican legislature to throw up road blocks to this, negating the will of the people.  Legislation requiring payment of court costs which were not part of the original sentence, full reimbursement of victims (almost always impossible), and adding “attempted murder” to those crimes for which the return of voting rights was excluded is being proposed.  Republicans recognize that the voters which Amendment Four’s passage enfranchised would mostly vote Democratic and that’s why they are proposing such legislation.  When, oh when, will the working people of Florida, and the nation for that matter, learn that the Republican Party is not, never was and never will be on their side.
JL



Brexit

The same dissatisfaction with economic prospects, fear of immigrants and nostalgia for a past which really cannot be recaptured which fueled Donald Trump’s success in 2016, and still today maintains the loyalty of his base of supporters, brought about the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Economic Community and “go it alone.”  Well, it turns out that is easier said than done and probably will bring down the government of P.M. Theresa May.  Ultimately there will be another vote, I predict, and the failed “Brexit” attempt will become just a sad page in the UK’s history, as will the Presidency of Donald Trump in the United States.
JL 

 


Strange Bedfellows

Both Fox pundit Tucker Carlson and Presidential-hopeful Elizabeth Warren agree that social media outlets like Facebook and Google function as public utilities and should be treated as such.  This is probably going to be a major national topic of debate over the next decade.

There are arguments for doing it and equally, for not doing it.  Would doing so violate the First Amendment?  But If the FCC doesn’t allow terrorists to incite violence on radio and TV, why are they allowed to do on social media?  Many "progressives" believe they should be regulated.  Many conservatives feel social media is biased against them.   Here’s a brief Forbes article from June 2018 on the subject.   CLICK HERE TO READ IT. 
JL


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Jack Lippman 




1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like your new format and forwarded it several friends. Carry on Jack!