Saturday, May 25, 2019

What the Mueller Report Says, the Impeachment Bottom Line, Altered Videos, Recapturing the Rust Belt, Abortion, Baltasar Gracian (again) and a Great Quote from a Great Floridian



With this posting, for the first time since the inception of this blog in 2009, I am being cautious of my language in an unprecedented manner.   The President has accused some who have spoken against him of being enemies of the people and even accused them of treason and has asked his Attorney General to investigate those who have investigated him.  These are the actions of a frightened man.  His actions mimic those who have aspired to be dictators throughout history.  

The Mueller Report, addressed in some detail below, is not a “hoax” as the President repeatedly characterizes it and his doing so makes, at least in my mind, this time one of the most dangerous in American history.  It appears that he is prepared to act on his words through the Department of Justice.

It is inconceivable to me that other Americans are not already beginning to share similar fears based on what is happening and start watching their words more carefully.  Were it not for the strong legal base our Constitution provides, individuals here might already be taking still more extraordinary steps to preserve democracy.  We think of that happening elsewhere, but not here!  Thoughts like this have been expressed throughout history in times like these.  During the Revolutionary War, Thomas Paine in the first of his series of “American Crisis”  pamphlets, said that “These are the times that try men’s souls.” 

                                                                    *   *   *
The Mueller Report

I have before me my own personal copy of the Mueller Report.  No doubt you have heard of it.  Volume One, dealing specifically with the details of Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, consists of 356 pages.  Volume Two, dealing with Obstruction of Justice in that Investigation, consists of 330 pages.  Following that are four appendices consisting of 67 pages. 

Muelller
Over the next few weeks, a little at a time, I will be going over both volumes.  But here, in the words of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III (or of those members of his staff who wrote the Report under his direction) are his conclusions based on the material provided in each of the two volumes.
  
From an ethical and a historical standpoint, in my opinion, this ‘source’ material is preferable to the significantly opinionated four-page summary Attorney General William Gates provided to the public prior to the actual Report’s release.  (Highlighting is mine.) 

From the Introduction to Volume One, pages 12 -13:
“As set forth in detail in this report, the Special Counsel’s investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations.  First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.   Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton campaign and then released stolen documents.  The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.  Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived that it would benefit from a Trump presidency, and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” 

From the Conclusion of the Executive Summary to Volume Two, page 25:
“Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct.  The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgement.  At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.  Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.  Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
  
In view of this material, particularly regarding obstruction of justice, any statements commenting on the Mueller Report which are at variance with the above actual quotes taken from the Report itself are not to be taken seriously. 
  
Quite specifically, the Mueller Report does not exonerate the President from committing the crime of obstruction of justice.  Mueller writes that if that were the case, “we would so state.”  Anyone who says or infers otherwise, and this includes the Attorney-General, Senator “Mitch” McConnell and the President himself, is lying, which is par for the course for most Republicans in this second decade of the Twenty-first century.  These quotes from the Report are the facts, not spurious Administration-originated “alternate” facts.

Jack Lippman

                                                       


To Impeach or Not to Impeach, that is the Question

A “full blown” impeachment of Donald Trump isn’t in the works … because it would never work.  Sure, the Democratic House could easily pass Articles of Impeachment, but the additional twenty Republican votes needed to get them through the final court of Impeachment, the Senate, just won’t be there, leaving the President wagging his finger saying “Nah, Nah, You tried to impeach me and couldn’t do it, Nah, Nah!” 

Republican Senators, many of whom know what a charlatan Trump is but who love his support of traditional G.O.P. priorities, other fearful Republicans who might face primary challenges from the right for their jobs, and finally those who, down deep, sympathize with the bigots, gullibles and crazies who form Trump’s base would never supply those twenty votes.  So as for a “full blown” impeachment?  Fuggedaboudit!
  
Ah, but still in any thusly doomed House impeachment effort, the revelations which would come out under the broad rules governing such proceedings might so traumatize the American public, even the Trump base, that he would have no alternative but to resign … before the measure ever reached the Senate or was even voted on by the House!  That is the dream of many in favor of impeachment. This is the way the nation got rid of Richard Nixon. 

True, but even without such impeachment proceedings in the House, the same revelations might still come out in “normal” Committee hearings there!  But in that case, the governing procedural rules would be stricter and Committee Chairs like Cummings, Nadler and Schiff might have to put up with the President’s game plan of delaying tactics in Congress and court challenges, obstacles which impeachment proceedings would significantly short circuit.   

Hence, although the numbers for a “full blown” impeachment are just not there, impeachment proceedings in the House might be the best course to most expeditiously reveal enough information to possibly result in a Presidential resignation or certainly a defeat in the 2020 elections. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks to
Judiciary Committee Chair Nadler
At this moment, Nancy Pelosi still hopes that the work of the House committees might suffice to achieve the same result.  She might be correct, but only if the obstructive efforts of the Executive branch are speedily rushed before the Supreme Court, bypassing lower venues, and they rule against the Executive branch’s contentions.  That’s a big gamble.
  
On the other hand, impeachment efforts in the House to bring the truth about Trump to light would avoid that tricky route.  If, however, Articles of Impeachment ever reached the Senate, it might end up with a grinning President and the Republicans gloating, “Nah, Nah, we told ya so!”
  
My conclusion at this time is that the best tactic would be a modified “Fuggedaboudit” approach to impeachment which amounts to:

a.   Getting the President’s stonewalling activities before the Supreme Court on a priority basis, in perhaps no more than thirty days, and if they rule against him and his colleagues there,

b.   Letting the House of Representatives’ regular Committee hearings proceed to bring out the truth, and not be sidetracked into impeachment proceedings,

c.    But, if unsuccessful in the Supreme Court, or if the Executive branch defies the rulings of that Court against it, or if Republican delaying tactics still persist, by the end of July, the House Judiciary Committee should immediately and without further delay commence hearings to establish Articles of impeachment but in a manner, however, which would never reach the point of being voted upon in the Senate. 

In either eventuality, the importance of nationwide television coverage and the presence of Robert Mueller as a witness would be fatal to the President.  No matter which way it happens, what comes out is likely to result in either the President’s resignation (in order to prevent criminal charges once he out of office) or his certain defeat in 2020 if the remains of the Republican Party is foolish enough to re-nominate him.  
  
Finally, in expending energy and resources to follow the tactics regarding impeachment outlined above, the Democratic Party must not depart from its much grander strategy of presenting programs which make life better for all Americans and actually acting to do so in the House of Representatives. As desirable as getting rid of Trump may be, its progressive agenda should remain the major thrust of the Democratic Party’s candidates.

Jack Lippman



Winning the Rust Belt

And specifically, the Democrats will need a potent strategy to recapture the “rust belt” states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, etc.) which went for Trump in 2016. (see map below) The Democrats MUST stress what is important to voters there. 


Democrats must recapture the "rust belt" electoral votes of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.  (Indiana and Kentuciky would be nice too, but that ain't gonna happen.)

  
The ones who will make a difference on Election Day are the ones who voted for Trump because he told them he would bring back jobs, reopen the coal mines and do the things for them which the Democrats and even the Republicans whom he had humiliated in the course of getting the nomination had failed to do for them in recent years.  They recognized his lack of ethics, his womanizing and lack of government experience but that didn’t matter.  They believed his lies and voted for him, regardless of their Party.  He wasn’t the first snake oil salesman to make his pitch in the Midwest. 

Waiting for the plant to reopen
These voters don’t care about impeachment.  To them, all politicians are crooks and liars, including Trump.  To quote a Democratic politico from Ohio, all they care about are “paychecks and pensions.”  The result in the “rust belt” rests in getting the votes, again quoting that politician, of “those who shower after coming home from work, not before going to work.”  Think about that, you folks in New York and California.

The Democratic candidate for President will have to lay it on the line to these voters and point out that, despite his claims, Donald Trump has not produced for them.  His lies must be documented for them.   The elusive Carrier air conditioning plant and the promised Foxxcom project in Wisconsin are examples.  The coal mines are not going to reopen.  West Virginians, Pennsylvanians and Kentuckians see that every day and they still wait in vain. The manufacturing which moved elsewhere in the country or overseas is not coming back.  Technology, the great devourer of obsolete jobs, isn’t going away.  They must be told the truth.   

But the Democrats, if given the Presidency and control of both Houses of Congress, will embark upon a program of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and restoring the environment which will provide millions of new jobs with generous paychecks and solid retirement benefits … and this will happen not only in the “rust belt” but throughout the country.   And the icing on the cake will be the new jobs created in providing health care for all Americans, not just those who can afford to pay for it.  Democrats can and will make life better for all Americans!  They must deliver this message.
  
That’s how the “rust belt” can be won in 2020.  Is anyone listening?
JL





A Word to the Women in our Audience

Alabama Governor Ivey, a traitor to her sex, signs that State's
obscene abortion  legislation under which, if she should
become pregnant after being raped,
she would be forbidden to have an
 abortion.  Good Luck, Kay! 
Anti-abortion, “pro-life,” legislation in various Republican-controlled State legislatures is aimed at reaching the Supreme Court in an effort to get it to disregard that Court’s history of “stare decisis” (basing opinions on precedent) and overturn the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision which legalized abortion.  


At this point it should be clear that any woman, regardless of her religious beliefs, who votes Republican at any level whatsoever has to be out of her mind.  Ladies, the State does not own your bodies.  You do.
JL





More from Baltasar Gracian

Gracian
Last week’s posting introduced some of you to the writings of Baltasar Gracian.  Here’s another of my occasional quotes from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom,” a compendium of maxims by this seventeenth century Spanish Jesuit scholar.  (The translation from the Spanish is by Chirstopher Maurer.)  Things don’t change over the years, do they?  Note how Gracian ties deceit to vulgarity.  Still true!  (This is number 146 of 300 paragraphs in the book.) 

146: Look deep inside.  Things are seldom what they seem, and ignorance, which sees no deeper than the bark, often turns to disillusion when it penetrates into things.  In all things, deceit arrives first, dragging fools behind it in endless vulgarity.  Truth is always late, always last to arrive, limping along with Time. Prudent people save one of their ears for truth, thanking their common mother, Nature, for giving them two.  Deceit is superficial, and superficial people are quick to run into her.  Discernment lives hidden away in retirement, so as to be more esteemed by the wise and the discreet.
JL


A Quote Worth Thinking About

Bethune
A recent letter published in the Palm Beach Post included the following quote from Mary McLeod Bethune, renowned Florida educator, and of whom a statue will soon be placed in the Capitol rotunda in Washington replacing that of the Confederate General which up to now has occupied Florida’s position among the statues there.


“Some truths are merely true; they inform our minds.  Other truths are nourishing; they feed our spirits.”

I tried to think of some examples of this.  The first kind of truth includes such information as the fact that the earth is spherical and is not flat, and that the second kind of truth is best exemplified by these words from the Declaration of Independence: ('truths that the Founding Fathers found to be self-evident') ... “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


(Traditionally, the above “unalienable rights” were ‘Life, Liberty and Property’ as defined by the English philosopher John Locke. The Founding Fathers, specifically Thomas Jefferson, substituted ‘the pursuit of Happiness’ instead of the very specific idea of ‘property’ in this trio, leaving open its future interpretation.  Basically, within the limits of the law, it means, ‘Whatever makes you happy, go for it!)

JL



The Lower Depths


For years, politicians have published unfavorable photos of their opponents. Sometimes, they are in black and white, often poorly lit and “grainy.”  That’s the way the game is played, even justifying technically altering a photo to make it look even worse than it really is.  This is done because politicians know there are enough gullible people out there who will be swayed, even subconsciously, by such photos

Right now, supporters of the Administration are doing this kind of thing with videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and going so far as to slow the video down to simulate a slurred manner of speech, perhaps indicative of senility or drunkenness. There is no limit to the depths to which the President’s supporters will sink to in order to protect him from whatever results verifiable criticism of his actions will bring about.   

Critics of the President do not have to take such steps because undoctored pictures and videos of him suffice to honestly paint him for what he is.
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 


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cuban Reflections, the Future of Democracy and Words from Baltasar Gracian






Cuba

Been away for a few days to a country where everyone gets “free” health care (including abortions) and all education, including college and graduate programs are “free,” where no one (other than the police) have guns and religion is totally a personal matter.  Of course, Cuba is a communist nation, with the resulting lack of the personal freedoms we have in the United States. Sixty percent of the population is, in some way, on the government payroll and private enterprise is very limited. Despite government programs including free housing, poverty and hunger are common.  This is not good.



Just 90 Miles South of Florida
There is no great abundance of natural resources, like oil, to create wealth, and the contributions of rum, cigars and tourism (Americans can visit only for educational, cultural and humanitarian purposes.) to the Cuban economy are limited.  Yet the people seem to be content.  Their infrastructure, often centuries-old, is crumbling and in some places beyond repair.  Cuba is ripe for change.  The Russians and the Chinese are well-aware of this and have economic footholds there.  Our failure to act similarly will ultimately turn the Monroe Doctrine into a worthless bit of history, unless we better our political and economic relationships with that country, only 90 miles from our shores.
  

Note:  Seventy percent of the local commuter buses used in Cuba as well as the sleek, deluxe, modern, air-conditioned tour buses used there were manufactured in China. Since 2005, Cuba has purchased 6,800 of these vehicles from China.  (In my opinion, Cuba couldn't afford to buy them without financial aid from China, possibly via a bond issue which was totally subscribed to by Beijing?)   There’s a message there, Donald.


Jack Lippman






Democracy


The Glory that was Greece
Democracy ran its course and did not survive in ancient Greece nor in the Roman Empire.  Historically, democracies throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, when encountering economic and social problems, have failed and been replaced by more authoritarian regimes.  The heyday of democracy in the United States, the periods that those longing to “Make America Great Again” seek to regenerate, were fueled by Nineteenth century expansion westward in our 

Wagons Westward
 

country and more recently, by tremendous technological and economic growth here once the pressures of the Great Depression and the Second World War were history.  They just did not “happen.”  They were “caused.” But those motivations are not necessarily present today.  Without them, can democracy survive in the United States or will we share the fate of Greece, Rome and so many failed nations throughout the world? 

What do you think?
JL 





Wisdom


Quoting from the cover notes of a book to be described shortly, “Throughout the centuries, mankind has produced three great, timeless “wisdom” books:  Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Sun-Tzu’s “The Art of War” and Baltasar Gracian’s “The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle.”  The last two are far easier reading than “The Prince,” but I recommend that followers of the blog to try to at least taste all three.

Gracian
Gracian’s book consists of 300 paragraphs (Aphorisms) offering words of advice.  Here are two of them.  Read them and try to relate them to things going on today, politically or otherwise.  Gracian, a worldly Jesuit priest, was ultimately given a less public assignment by the Church after publishing this kind of material in mid-Seventeenth century Spain.


  •  #130: Do but also seem: “Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem.  To excel and to know how to show it is to excel twice.  What is invisible might as well not exist.  Reason itself is not venerated when it does not wear a reasonable face.  Those easily duped outnumber the prudent.  Deceit reigns, and things are judged from without, and are seldom what they seem.  A fine exterior is the best recommendation of inner perfection.”
  • #159: Know how to suffer fools: “The wise are the least tolerant, for learning has diminished their patience.  Wide knowledge is hard to please.  Epictetus* tells us that the most important rule for living lies in knowing how to bear all things: to this he reduced half of wisdom.  To tolerate foolishness much patience is needed.  Sometimes we suffer most from those we most depend upon, and this helps us conquer ourselves.  Patience leads to an inestimable inner peace, which is bliss on earth.  And the person who does not know how to put up with others should retire into himself, if indeed he can suffer even himself.”

          *Greek philosopher who advocated “stoicism.”
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 


Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Healthier Democracy, "Cheatin' Donald's" Sister, the "Fumfer" Index, Robert E. Lee, Two Worthwhile Columns and my Latest Letter.



Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?

Those of you who have read the previous posting on this blog  were aware of  the "finagling" the tax laws allow real estated developers and investors to do, tactics which are unavailable to any other indusrty, and which enabled Donald Trump, if it ever comes out, to be shown to not have paid any income taxes in many recent years.  This was apparent to me, and the sources I quoted on the posting, BEFORE the New York Times turned it into a front page story.  Stick with this blog, and keep up with the times.  And today, this is probably the first place where you can read about how our democratic rights will have to be reduced if our democracy is to survive.  Read on.


Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?


Toward a Healthier Democracy - Correcting the Harm that has been Done


Great harm has been done to the nation by

(1) the legitimate election of an unfit individual to the Presidency, accomplished within the guidelines set down in our Constitution,

(2) the ignorance of many of the voters who cast their ballots for him giving him crucial electoral votes,

(3) the blind subservience of most of the Republican Party’s elected Representatives and Senators to the President’s wishes out of fear of losing his supporters’ votes,

(4) the permanent appointment of Federal Judges at all levels, including the Supreme Court, representing unpopular, conservative, if not reactionary, legal philosophies,

(5) the administrative relaxing of regulations intended to protect the health and welfare of all citizens in favor of letting businesses do what they wish and

(6) the disturbing of the delicate world-wide political and economic connections that had enabled the nation to prosper and maintain world peace for more than half a century.

The harm has been done.  Even the ascendency of a Democrat to the White House and Democratic control of both Houses of Congress would not be enough to quickly undo the evils brought about by the election of an unfit individual to the presidency in 2016.  It will take decades to undo this harm, but it will be done. 

The America which will emerge at that point, distantly down the road, will be a different nation from what it was before 2016.  It will recognize the flaws in our democracy which permitted the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. 

The Constitution will have to be amended to address these flaws and this will take many years to accomplish.  In addition to involving the way we select our President, they may include modification of both the First and the Second Amendments to the Constitution. 

Unfortunately, these will result in losses of some of the freedoms Americans have always cherished, because some of those very freedoms have been the cause of the malignancy which afflicted the nation in 2016

Those who created our Constitution and its Bill of Rights envisioned a limited, educated, property-owning, electorate in each of the thirteen new States comprising our nation in 1789.  But what was true then, demographically, quickly changed.  In short order, voters no longer had to be property-owners, educated nor even literate.  And their numbers increased massively, with power shifting gradually from the States to the Federal government.  As a result, Presidents were elected who “stretched the rules” in a way the Founding Fathers had not anticipated.  Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to some extent, subsequent Presidents, have not hesitated to do so. 

This “elasticity” in the words of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights may have well served the nation, particularly in regard to the interrelation of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of our government, at least up until now.  But currently that balance is in disarray, primarily because of the harm done by the election of 2016.
 
The President, through of a combination of his selfish, if not evil, intent and a basic ignorance of the office he holds, has gone too far.  That’s why there will have to be changes in our Constitution to guarantee the survival of the United States of America as a healthier, but more limited, democracy than we have at present.  This may take more than several generations to accomplish, but the 2020 election is when and where it must start.  Othewise, we will no longer be a democracy in any sense of the word very much longer.
Jack Lippman

                                                        *   *   *   *   *

A quick comment regarding "impeachment" - - - Those still tallking about impeachment should be well aware that would be an absolutely disasterous move for Democrats unless and until they are guaranteed at least twenty votes from the Republicans in the Senate - - - and that just won't happen!  The chance of that happening are less than the chances of the Miami Marlins winning the World Series this year.

                       
                                                *   *   *   *   *



Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?






The "Fumfer" Index


“Fumfer” is a Yiddish word meaning “to mumble” which has crept into English usage.  In addition to “mumbling,” it also might include speaking aimlessly, possibly incoherently or ungrammatically as well as pausing unnecessarily, injecting frequent “uh’s” into sentences or even correcting oneself awkwardly after an accidental misstatement.  Sometimes “fumferring” is an evasive tactic, to avoid addressing an issue squarely.  More often it is just sloppiness on the part of the speaker.  Fumferrers rarely recognize that they are fumferring.

With that in mind, I am establishing a “Fumfer Index” and applying it to some of the potential Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2020.   This is highly subjective and subject to change.  Ratings are in the traditional “A” to “F” marking scale, with “A” going to the candidates who fumfers the least.  In choosing a Democratic candidate to oppose Donald Trump in the 2020 election, the “Fumfer Index” will be important, particularly in TV debates.

Candidate                    "Fumfer" Index

Joe Biden                            C
Bernie Sanders                   B
Elizabeth Warren                A
Kamala Harris                     A
Beto O’Rourke                     B
Pete Guttigieg                      A
Amy Kolbuchar                   B
Cory Booker                        D
Kristen Gillibrand                B
Julian Castro                       B

JL

Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?
                                                     


"Cheatin' Don's" Sister Resigns

Judge Barry

Last month, Donald Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, who was still a Federal judge in New York, although on limited duty on the bench because of her age, turned in her resignation.  Because of an article in the New York Times, an investigation was being conducted into her involvement in some of her family’s financial dealings in the 1990s.  With her resignation, the investigation was terminated.  

This of course was much to the relief of her brother.



JL





Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?



Dog Whistles


The President and his true believers now claim his Charlottesville “good people on both sides” remarks actually were spoken in regard to the removal of Confederate statues, such as the many such monuments to Robert E. Lee.  Even if that were the case, such comments are taken by white nationalist anti-Semites as “dog whistles” tacitly encouraging them. 


Lee Stature
Defending Confederate statuary was only incidental to the reason these evil people came to Charlottesville.  The President should remember that Robert E. Lee, in leading an insurrection against the government of the United States of America, broke the oath of loyalty to that nation and to its Constitution which he had sworn to defend as an officer in the United States Army.  Such statues belong in historical museums, not in public parks.
                                                               JL




Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.

What does He Have to Hide?






Defeating Trump in 2020 Will Not Be Easy


Thiessen
Not all Trump supporters and not all Republicans are ignorant, stupid, gullible or any combination of these adjectives.  No, some think rationally.  I don’t agree with them, but it would be delusional for Democrats to ignore them.  Here is a column by Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen (No, they are not all liberals at the Post) which represents the kind of thinking with which Democrats will have to deal if they are to win in 2020.  

Sometimes preserving what has always made America great, the Constitution of the United States, matters more than what may be transient economic numbers.  I urge all Democrats, especially the ones who are sure Trump’s evil nature and abysmal poll numbers will defeat him in 2020, to CLICK HERE to read this column.  
JL





Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?





The End of Everything?



Parker
The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker wrote last week about the same general subject which I entertained on this blog a few weeks ago.  I had pointed out that “homo sapiens” is only a tenant on the planet Earth and that our lease may be running out. 

Parker suggests that this prospective “end of everything” might be the only thing left to unify us.  (To read her column, CLICK HERE.)   

 

Let me add, as I pointed out in my April 20 posting (the one with the ants crawling all  over it), that this will require drastic political steps and technological actions on our part.  Go back and read it.
                                                            JL





Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?




A Letter to the "Post"

Here's the text of a letter I submitted to the Palm Beach Post last week.


Thursday’s “Neighborhood Post” section (at least the South County version I received) included a picture of three high school students honored for their first-place finish in a competition run by the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. Congratulations to them!  Those who oppose a liberal immigration policy should take note from the winners’ last names that their parents or grandparents probably were relatively recent immigrants to this country.  That’s why we should continue to make certain that “the lamp beside the golden door” continues to burn brightly.

JL



Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?



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Commercial Recently Seen on TV:



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CALL 1-800-555-5555 RIGHT NOW


Weelove, Twosou and Fleasum, Esqs.  (Members of the Redacted Bar Association, but with a Florida license purchased at the the big Flea Market in on Sample Road in Broward County, Florida.)

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Tax Returns Not Released.
Subpoenas Ignored.
Muzzling Witnesses.
What does He Have to Hide?




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