Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Question of Impeachment, Ratcliffe and Keeping Eyes on the Ball ... with a nod to "My Fair Lady"



Appointing a New Director of Intelligence

Ratcliffe
The President’s nomination of John Ratcliffe as Director of Intelligence is another of his efforts to value loyalty and subservience to his judgement over qualifications for the job.   During the Mueller hearings, Congressman Ratcliffe, in his role on the Judiciary Committee, tried to make it appear that the Special Counsel was on a political mission instead of merely trying to document Russia’s attack on our election process, and that the Counsel’s investigation of the President’s efforts to obstruct that work should not even have been made part of its agenda.  Ratcliffe also referred to the Democratic Party as “democrat – socialist.”  Clearly, he showed that “he was Trump’s boy.” His knowledge of the nation's intelligence operations, of course, is non-existent.

The man is unfit for the job, no more than he is fit to serve in Congress either, but he was legally elected! Blame his presence in government on those gullible enough to vote for him.  That is the problem in the United States today. Trump and people like John Ratcliffe are merely its result.  We may be witnessing the failure of our democratic system.  
Jack Lippman


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Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Cummings
All of the time and effort being spent on answering the President's racial attacks on Congressman Cummings as well as on the four Congresswomen comprising the "Squad" play right into Trump's hands.  He does this to get headlines, squeezing out news unfavorable to him and his Administration.  And there is a lot of it!

His racial attacks are intended to divert attention from the documented crimes of the President and those about him in his Administration which the Mueller Report detailed. 

(That they firm up his gullible base's blind loyalty is a secondary aim.)

Their prime purpose is to get Democrats to take their eye off of the ball and digress from talking about his crimes as outlined by Robert Mueller, his kow-towing to despots, his making money from his presidency, his crippling of environmental and financial regulations, his Administration's weakening health care and economic "safety nets" and his alienating our traditional allies with his disjointed attempts at foreign policy and trade policy.  And on and on ....

Time and energy spent answering his racism means less time and energy spent on these serious problems as well as less time spent describing Democratic programs which will benefit all Americans and not just Trump's wealthy supporters in the top tax brackets.  

Just call him a racist and let it go at that.  Don't debate him about it, guys.  That's what he wants you to do.
JL


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Register to Vote Online


Know any Floridians one who are NOT registered voters?   Refer them to a web site where they can complete the registration process online!    Every vote counts.  https://registertovoteflorida.gov/en/Registration/Index   

ALSO, YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO GET THERE.



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"Impeachment" Won't Go Away 

Okay!  It’s the end of July … the Mueller Report has been available for the public to read, at least in redacted form.  Congress has heard Robert Mueller confirm what the Report contains, which is far more damning of the Republican’s 2016 campaign and the President himself than the President’s lawyer, sorry, I mean the Attorney General, would have you believe.

The Democrats know this and know that the House can certainly pass Articles of Impeachment.  They also know that regardless of the depth of evidence impeachment hearings would reveal, the Republican Senate will not convict the President.  That is because they are afraid that Trump loyalists will challenge them in primaries and cost them their seats.  Most Republican Senators are gutless to the point of being in violation of their oaths of office.

Many Democrats feel that an impeachment process would force witnesses to appear and to answer questions and produce evidence which thus far, House Committee investigations and even the Mueller Report, have failed to document in a solid, nailed-down manner.

Others feel that it would not even create a dent in the President’s and the Administration’s stonewalling.   An interesting and thorough article on this appeared on the “Lawfare” blog in May and may be read  BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE.    It is not easy reading, but this is an historic moment in American history, so give it a try.  

As I see it, the way things stand right now is that without further solid evidence, the Democrats will not move to impeach the President, despite the possible hope, and it is just a hope, that impeachment hearings will bring more facts to the Congress and to the voting public.  

McGahn
BUT, if in some manner Don McGahn can be quickly brought before the House Judiciary Committee to testify and he pins down the President's crimes right then and there as he did in 30 hours of testimony to Mueller's team, the impeachment process will then be ready to be set in motion! 

I believe McGahn’s testimony is the evidence which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is waiting to obtain, whether it be gotten quickly in a regular hearing or eventually in a protracted impeachment hearing.  If she feels that impeachment would be more likely to produce it than the present dependence on regular Committee hearings, she will reluctantly support impeachment.  She cannot wait forever, though.  She is conscious of the way the Republican 2020 campaign will use the likely Senatorial action, not convicting the President, and is willing to risk that only if McGahn’s testimony would be such that it will convict the President of high crimes and misdemeanors in the voters’ eyes, regardless of the Senate’s action. That’s a tough call.

"Just You Wait, Henry Higgins, Just You Wait "
(as sung by Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady")
inspirational to Nancy Pelosi
I suspect that she has a deadline in mind, after which she will make the decision.   That decision will be governed by ideas such as those mentioned in the “Lawfare” blog article cited above. Go back and read it!  

Would a failed impeachment be worth it?  Would it change anything?   I think that a decision will be made in mid-September.  There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes in our government and in the Democratic Party which can affect Speaker Pelosi’s decision.  I will wait until mid-September to see what happens.  
JL

                                   
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Monday, July 29, 2019

"Capitalism and the Jews," Frank Cerabino, an Honest Man and Voter Registration



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Frank Cerabino's Columns

Frank
I enjoy reading Frank Cerabino’s columns in the Palm Beach Post.  Mostly, I agree with him and his politics.  He has a great sense of humor.  Often, the target of his words are the Neanderthals who constitute the Republican Party in Florida.  The sad thing about it though, is that the truths he points out amount to no more than putting a finger in a dike which is leaking in many places.  The ignorance, hypocrisy, bigotry and political trickery which is part and parcel of the Republican establishment in Florida is like an unstoppable flood. 

There are many people who have moved to the Sunshine State from elsewhere after already attaining most of their goals in life and are not interested in carrying the torches here which Frank’s words ignite.  Were they a generation (or two) younger they might do so, but most who agree with what he says are content to enjoy his humor and sarcasm and hope others might take up his causes and join in those battles to which they no longer have the inclination nor energies to commit their allegiance.
Jack Lippman

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Register to Vote Online

Know any Floridians one who are NOT registered voters?   Refer them to a web site where they can complete the registration process online!    Every vote counts.  https://registertovoteflorida.gov/en/Registration/Index   

ALSO, YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO GET THERE.

JL


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Anti-Semitism - It Goes Back to Economics

A Short History Lesson

Just read an interesting book, “Capitalism and the Jews,” by Jerry Z. Muller (published in 2010). Besides being a historian, Muller also gets involved in sociology and economics.  He points out, in a series of four essays which make up the book, that Jews, having historically been barred from most fields of endeavor in Europe because they did not accept Jesus as their savior, still held a special position because of Christian theology’s reliance upon the Hebrew Scriptures.  While not removing from them the stigma of their being outside of the faith, it did give Jews a special place among non-Christians not available to other non-believers.  While still despised, they weren’t quite the “infidels” other non-believers were.

Biblical bans on usury, based on the Hebrew scriptures and later elaborated upon by such theologians as St. Thomas Aquinas meant that one could not make money from money itself, by lending it and earning interest on the loan.  Further, it was also strongly felt that while one could make money from making things, raising crops or selling one’s labor, no one should profit from buying and re-selling something they didn’t themselves create.  This too was initially sinful to many believing Christians. These activities, essential to the development of any economy, were left to the non-Christians in their midst who did not have to follow the rules Christians did. 

As a result, Jews, who were ‘outside of the faith’ became middlemen, merchants, bankers and moneylenders, playing a crucial role in the appearance and development of capitalism, it being no sin for them to break the rules.  In addition to their refusal to accept Jesus Christ, their involvement in these ‘sinful’ areas, in which they were very successful, added to negative feelings toward Jews and gave birth to anti-Semitism.  It was easy to despise someone who not only refused to accept Jesus Christ but also took money out of your pocket without expending much physical effort to earn it.

Eventually, European countries found ways for Christians to evade the prohibitions on usury and non-Jews started to become middlemen, merchants, bankers and moneylenders.  The commercial ‘edge,’ which Jews possessed was thereby significantly reduced.  Paired with this was the recognition that Jews were basically aliens in whatever country they resided.  Spread throughout the Western world by the Diaspora, their citizenship was open to frequent questioning.  This didn’t matter much so long as their services in business were essential to a nation, but when that were no longer the case, their status was altered.

Becoming alien competitors to Christians who could now do the same things they traditionally did in the business world reduced the position of Jews.  Business practices which had been acceptable in the past became something to be criticized for, along with a renewed recognition that Jews did not accept Jesus Christ, and in the eyes of many of the devout, were responsible for his killing.  Resultingly, laws reducing and restricting economic, professional, educational and occupational opportunities for Jews, as aliens in someone else’s county, returned.  Christianity’s debt to the Hebrew scriptures no longer sufficed to prevent anti-Semitism from flourishing.

There’s a lot more in Muller’s book, specifically in regard to Jewish connections to capitalism, socialism, communism and nationalism and their philosophical underpinnings.  These ‘connections’ all eventually became usable tools for anti-Semites.  Try to read the book.
JL

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An Honest Man

Honest Maybe but Still Dishonorable
I am beginning to believe that Donald J. Trump is an honest man!  Could it be that he is so stupid that he doesn’t understand that his words are racist and that he is a racist?  Could it be that racism is so deeply ingrained in him that he no longer recognizes it for what it is.  In that sense, he is being honest, his ‘better angels’ having long since abandoned him.  

I would hope that any Republicans who continue to support the P.O.S. in the White House are aware that they risk being connected to his views in a manner which makes them racists as well.  All Republicans must ask themselves whether or not they are racist.  It they are not, it is time for them to publicly disassociate themselves from the President and work to get him out of office.  

If they do not, they will eventually join him in the sewer of American history.  A special section, to be named the 'Mitch McConnell Cistern' is now under construction down there.

JL



Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mueller Story Not Over


It Ain't Over Till It's Over


Congresswomen Val Demings, former Orlando Chief of Police, who serves on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, starred in Wednesday’s hearings with the “bottom line” question to Robert Mueller, as to whether his Report was affected by the many lies which witnesses told (and which have sent some to prison for lying under oath), the half-truths which were spoken by others, the intentional destruction of documents and the failure of some witnesses to appear or to give meaningful answers, including the President, who answered questions in writing.  Mueller replied to that question affirmatively.  

Specifically, when questioned by Demings as to the President's written responses to questions answered under oath, note the following exchange between them:

Demings: "Director Mueller, Isn't it fair to say that the President's written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn't answer many of your questions but where he did, his answer showed that he wasn't always being truthful"

Mueller:  "I would say generally."

(Those of you who possess a copy of the Mueller Report are urged to review Appendix "C" where the questioning of the President and his written responses are published.)

This was why, Mueller’s answers made clear to discerning listeners, that “collusion” (which has to be treated legally under the laws of conspiracy) by the 2016 Republican campaign with undeniable and overwhelming evidence of Russian interference in our 2016 election was not proven.  The witnesses were not totally cooperative.  This was despite a tremendous amount of investigative evidence indicating that was the case.

Similarly, it was also why despite overwhelming evidence that the President attempted to obstruct the investigation, an indictable criminal act for any American other than the President (because of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion), Donald Trump was not thusly charged, and in fact, was not exonerated either, despite his not being chargable.  Again, this was made possible because of lies, half-truths, unavailable testimony and the President’s failure to provide meaningful answers to Mueller in writing.

This may all change whenever White House Counsel Don McGahn, who
McGahn - An Honest Witness
provided 30 hours of testimony damning the President to Mueller’s team, is questioned by the House Committees.
  If he confirms to Congress what the Mueller Report documents his having told them, clear and unequivocal grounds for impeachment will be laid in plain sight before the Congress, and the American people.  


The question remains as to when he will testify.  Congress' summer month-long hiatus complicates the issue but that does not mean the Democratic majority will remain idle.  Subpoenas will continue to be issued and legal steps to enforce them will proceed.  it is even not impossible that Speaker Pelosi will call the House back to Washington if necessary to maintain the pace of taking action on the facts in the Mueller Report, obviously the course Robert Mueller anticipated Congress would follow based on his Report.

Joyce Vance, former Federal prosecutor, whom has been a frequent commentator on TV, has written on this extensively.  Please take the time to read what she has to say by clicking RIGHT HERE.

This story is not yet over.   And watch a video of Congresswoman Demings’ probing questioning of Robert Mueller, which was limited by the hearing's time constraints BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

This story is not yet over.   Because the cowed Republican majority in the Senate fears that looking favorably upon impeachment would result in primary challenges from Trumpublicans on the right, and put many of them out of jobs, impeachment will fail in the Senate where 67 votes are needed to convict an “indictment” passed by a majority in the House.  

But the publicity attendant to the hearings in an impeachment proceeding, unimpeded by the Department of Justice lackeys of the President, would have a tremendous effect upon the American people.  Fence-sitting Republican Senators will have to take positions with which many Americans will disagree. 

That is why I personally felt that the impeachment question must be resolved by the end of this month, just a few days away.  It cannot drag on through the election campaign.  House Speaker Pelosi will probably give it until mid-September, by which time the case for impeachment will have been strengthened.     
Jack Lippman

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Untrustworthy Guardians?

Washington Post blogger and occasional columnist Jennifer Rubin recently suggested that “we have become untrustworthy guardians of democracy.”  That’s US, that’s YOU, that’s ME …. to whom she is referring.  This goes along with what I have been saying for years, that Donald J. Trump is not the problem, but the American people who for whatever reasons support him, are as well as those unable to find an effective way to thwart his evil machinations!  That’s quite an accusation she makes.  That’s why the Palm Beach Post carried it in the space usually taken up by its editorial.  Read it by CLICKING HERE. PLEASE. Then figure out what you’ll do.  Me?  I’m concentrating on registering voters.   
JL


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Nonsense Question:  What do the usual number two and number three hitters in the Miami Marlins batting order have in common with CNN?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Robert Mueller Testifies Before Two House Committees


It Was All on TV


Robert Mueller has testified before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and we now know that he agrees that his investigation was not a witch hunt, that the Russian interference in our 2016 election was real, not a hoax and continues today and that the Republican 2016 campaign was somewhat receptive to that interference, and those involved in it readily lied about it.   He also reiterated his declaration that the Report did not exonerate the President from claims that he attempted to obstruct the investigation.

The Democrats applauded.  The Republicans tried to discredit the investigation.  The President responded with some more lies.  Mueller, in the final analysis, acted as an investigator and not as a prosecutor, except in some blatant cases not involving the sitting President, immune from indictment until he is out of office.  While still in office, that task was left to unnamed others by Mueller.
 
Trump allies in the Department of Justice and the Senate want it all to disappear and be done with. The Democrats don’t and are divided over whether (1) to pass a bill of impeachment which will pile up more evidence against the President but ultimately be voted down in the Senate, thereby conceivably helping Trump, or (2) be satisfied to just let the damning evidence continue to pile up against the President until Election Day.  Right now that decision is in the hands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Hannity
Will an American public, which doesn’t know the meaning of words like “exculpatory” and the legal nuances with which the Mueller Report and Mueller’s testimony was filled understand what is going on in the face of continued lies from the President and his supporters on Fox News and in the Senate? 
 
 (Foxwatch:  Viewers getting their news from Fox are under the impression that the hearings amounted to a total vindication of the President's position.  Sean Hannnity has finally surpassed Joseph Goebbels.)

Register Voters!  
For those of you who want to get rid of our incompetent, racist, greedy, dangerous and possibly insane President, my suggestion remains a recommendation to become politically active, especially in the area of  voter registration.  That is the only way to beat him and the forces of ignorance and bigotry upon which he depends for support.


Jack Lippman

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Exposing a Hate Group and Two Other Columns, the Mueller Report, Choices We Make ... plus Calling Balls & Strikes

The Nation's Leading Hate Group Is ...


This weekend, the Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts wrote a great column.  Stop whatever you are doing right now and CLICK HERE to read his expose of the largest “hate group” operating in plain sight in our country today! 

And while you have your reading glasses on, check out what Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has to say about Trump’s racism by CLICKING HERE WITH YOUR MOUSE.

And swinging over to a right-wing writer who doesn’t like the P.O.S. in the White House either, check out what Mona Charen just wrote by CLICKING HERE.  If the rest of the Republican Party had half of her brains and integrity, there would be no problem.  But they don’t.

I know you’re about to read on WITHOUT DOING ANY CLICKING, but please, check out these three links to three commentators who say things better than I can Please.
Jack Lippman

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All You and Members of Congress Really Need to Know About the Mueller Report

Mueller Goess Before Congress on Wednesday

The Mueller Report sums up its Section IV of Volume One (Russian Government Links to and Contacts with The Trump Campaign) as follows: (The highlighting is mine as are the footnoted comments.  The text is the Report’s.)

“In sum, the investigation established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian Government.  Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the Campaign.  In some instances, the Campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the Campaign officials 1 shied away.  2 Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired 3 with the Russian Government in its election interference activities.”

1.     Use of “shied away” rather than “refused” should be noted.  There’s a difference.
2.     The language used in this paragraph, while ultimately justifying the President’s claim of “no collusion,” certainly indicates that the conclusion was not easy.  The path to the word “ultimately” was not a smooth one.
3.     Collusion is no crime, so it was evaluated by the Counsel using the very strict requirements needed to qualify under the definition of conspiracy.

The Conclusion to Volume Two of the Mueller Report reads as follows.  (The highlighting is mine as are the footnoted comments.  The text is the Report’s.)

 1 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 2 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, 4 it also does not exonerate  him.

1.     The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel contends that a sitting President cannot be indicted and prosecuted and therefore, a prosecutorial judgement was not called for.  The available remedy, not mentioned in the Report, rests with Congress and is a Bill of Impeachment.
2.     Resolving these issues would require a trial, which per the above footnote, would not be possible.
3.     These last three tricky, ambiguous, tortuously worded sentences imply that the inability of the Counsel to conclude that the President did not commit obstruction of justice leaves open the possibility that a conclusion might be made that he did ... but does not make that conclusion, while coming close to doing so by refusing to exonerate him of such a judgement.  This is like wading across a stream but not getting your feet wet.
4.     This contradicts the President’s frequent statements that the Report exonerates him.

JL

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Choices

Theologians, philosophers and psychiatrists recognize that people have both good thoughts and bad thoughts within them.  One’s actions can be directed by one’s “better angels” or by temptations within to do otherwise.  Catholics go to confession when they want to admit they have followed their baser instincts in their actions.  Jews confess similarly on their Day of Atonement.  We all have these decisions to make and sometimes, unfortunately, they are made for us, ingrained in our mental make-up from within without our actively making a choice. 

Okay, enough religion and philosophy for today.  Back to politics.  It’s quite a generalization to make but I think that most Democrats’ behavior is based on their better thoughts while the behavior of Trumpublicans is governed by something far less noble. What else would motivate people to scream at their fellow citizens, “Go Back Where You Came From,” and not seek repentance after doing so? The President’s Evangelical supporters should understand this.
JL

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 Enough of Politics Let’s Criticize Sports for a While

The primary job of officials in football, basketball, soccer and ice hockey is to make sure the players adhere to the game’s rules and not do something they should not be doing.  When they do something outside of what is permitted, officials impose penalties.  But if the players play by the rules, there is very little for officials to do in these sports.  The official’s judgement comes into play only when it is not clear whether a rule was broken or not.  Good examples of this would be in football when there is a question of pass interference, and that may only come up a few times during a game, or a lineman going offsides or a back being illegally in motion.  This approach is also seen in the other sports mentioned above.

Strike Three - Y'er Out!
Baseball, however, is a different story.  Rather than an official’s judgement becoming necessary only when there is a question of a violation of the game’s rules, a home plate baseball umpire is called up to decide whether a ball thrown by a pitcher, but not hit or swung at by a batter, is a ball or a strike many times during a game.  An umpire may be required to make this judgement decision as often as fifty to one hundred times in a game! Nowadays, telecasts of baseball games usually include diagrams of the plate area where a batter’s swing takes place.  While these are only single dimensional, it is clear to anyone watching a ball game on TV that umpires are making incorrect calls in what appears to be at least ten percent of their calls, the saving grace being that both teams are victims, or beneficiaries, of these incorrect calls.

The time has come for balls and strikes to be taken out of the realm of the umpire’s judgement and be replaced by multi-dimensional laser software scanning the batter’s box.  Umpires will continue to make “safe or out” calls on the bases, and other judgement decisions, but with the availability of today’s technology, ball and strike calls are too important to be left to the eyes of the umpires, particularly when there is a catcher, skilled at manipulating where he catches a pitch, squatting between the umpire and the plate area, partially obstructing his vision.
JL


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Impeachment, a Snail's Testicles and a History Lesson


When to Impeach


Months ago, when addressing the question of impeaching the P.O.S. in the White House, I set a deadline at the end of July.  My thinking was that if by then, hearings in the Democratic House and ongoing litigation did not bring out enough negative information about him to bring sanity back to Republicans in both Houses and the public as well, it would be time for at least an “impeachment inquiry,” if not an actual impeachment action, to be called for.  Ten days remain before that deadline.

Such action in the House would not be subject to the interference of the Department of Justice’s continuing to act illegally as the President’s protector in advising him not to cooperate and insisting his high office precluded his indictment.  Thus far, the Administration’s stonewalling, delaying tactics (including the President’s racism which caused Democratic energies to be temporarily directed away from exposing him) and ignoring of subpoenas have succeeded in preventing this hoped-for return to sanity from occurring.  There are just ten days left during which something might happen, including revelations concerning any connection between the P.O.S. and Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual history.  I doubt if things will change before August rolls around.

Timing is up to Nancy Pelosi
The House, I believe, will act in this manner according to some deadline existing in the mind of Nancy Pelosi.  It might be later than the one I impose.  Nevertheless, it will happen.  Unfortunately, the “impeachment inquiry” or actual impeachment against the President will take a long time, ultimately fail in the Senate, even with the truckloads of evidence which will be revealed in House hearings, finally freed of Dep’t of Justice obstructionism.  The President and the Administration will respond with lies and bluster, Americans will watch the NFL on TV, and the clock will continue to run with nothing really being accomplished.  It will all come down to the 2020 Presidential Election.
 
By then, the Democratic Party, despite claims and efforts to the contrary from Trump and on Fox News, will be united in their agenda of passing legislation to benefit the vast majority of the American people including:

health care guaranteed for all Americans, “real” tax reform, student loan relief, public school improvement, women’s and minority rights, humane immigration reform, realistic gun violence solutions, drug pricing regulation, infrastructure improvements, economic opportunity, living wages, honest regulation of banks and the financial sector, protecting the environment and dealing with climate change.

But the focus for those interested in removing the President from the White House via the election process will be on YOU.  You must take personal action!  It’s not going to happen without YOU.   Listen Up!

     1. If you are residing in a State whose electoral votes are up for grabs (Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, for example), sign up to register voters.  That’s where the election will be won.  Devote your energies to getting enough new voters registered to carry your State.  Until election day, that is your priority.  Call the nearest office of the Democratic Party for information on being trained to register voters.

          2. If you are residing in a State whose electoral votes are highly likely to go to one party (New York, California, Mississippi, North Dakota, for example), donate money to the Democratic candidates in close Senatorial campaigns in other States.  The Senate must be won!

That’s it.  Let’s see what happens by July 31, and what moves Speaker Pelosi makes.

(Some of you have asked why I occasionally refer to the President as a P.O.S.  If anyone “official” asked me what that meant, I would answer “President of Only Some.”  In the minds of many, of course, it also stands for what the French would call a “Morceau de Merde.”
Jack Lippman

 
Crawl Under the Rock, Donald

The P.O.S. has characterized Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments, with which many Democrats also disagree, as a disgrace to the country.  But a far greater disgrace to the nation is a President who tells American citizens, including Members of Congress, to “Go Back Where You Came From.” 

It is devoutly wished that the President would crawl back under the rock from which he crawled when he decided Americans were gullible enough to elect him President.  Once he does that, perhaps sanity might return to the Party which sold its soul to racists in an attempt to guarantee its Congressional seats.  

JL


An American History Lesson

The founding of this country in 1776 involved such high-sounding ideas as liberty and freedom.  When the Constitution was ratified thirteen years later it included compromises which recognized that liberty and freedom had different meanings for different Americans.  That is why we have three distinct branches of government, and a two-house legislature, one house of which (the Senate) was not popularly elected originally, and of course, neither is the President to this day.  Much power was left to the States.  The reasons for these compromises were the institution of slavery in half of the country and basic philosophical difference between aristocratic Virginian planters and mercantile-oriented economies in the North as to what liberty and freedom meant.

Tensions grew, centering on tariffs, banking but most of all on the expansion of slavery as the nation grew westward.  Behind this all was the conflict over what freedom and liberty really meant.  This culminated in the Civil War, after which the definition of these two words was expanded through the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to include those who had formerly been slaves, the property of others.  

These noble and well-intended Amendments were the foundation of what was called “Reconstruction.”  Here they are.  (Highlighting is mine):

AMENDMENT XIII - Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.
Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XIV - Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, (Changed to age 18 by section 1 of the 26th amendment) and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


AMENDMENT XV - Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--

Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



But Reconstruction failed.  


Andrew Johnson, who survived
impeachment over his approach
to Reconstruction
Assassinated President Abraham Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, never really supported it.  The old “powers that be” in the defeated Confederacy managed to find ways to negate these Amendments. Liberty and freedom in those States, now again part of the “union” from which they had attempted to secede, were curtailed by state “Jim Crow” laws, poll taxes, voting restrictions and segregation of supposedly “separate but equal” facilities … which while separate, were never equal.

And so, the old conflict about what liberty and freedom really meant, and how they were applied to individual citizens, simmered on.  Those who preferred things the way they were before the Civil War organized into racial groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, gaining dominance in State legislatures and in Washington as well.  Their feelings toward the freed slaves had expanded by the beginning of and well into the twentieth century to include the tide of immigrants coming to the United States.  They were not part of what it was like before the Civil War either.

LBJ signing 1964 Civil Rights Act
After the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963, his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Texan, recognizing the continuing conflicts in defining freedom and liberty in the United States over the previous hundred years, engineered the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This strong and clear Act of Congress firmly implemented the intent of the three century-old Amendments to the Constitution printed above.  It officially legislated the end of segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

But those who liked things the way they were before that Act was passed, and in fact were still fighting the Civil War (they still call it the War between the States, legitimizing the secessionist position) would not give up.  In various State legislatures, laws were passed that attempted to creep around the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and even avoid violation of the Thirteenth, Foutteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.  Usually, the Supreme Court supported those Amendments’ language and the language of the Civil Rights Act, 
Our White House P.O.S.
  More like Andrew Johnson than
Lyndon Johnson
but these reactionary forces, under the banner of trying to “Make America Great Again,” have recently made sufficient inroads into the Senate (where Supreme Court Justices are approved) to be of great concern.  As a result, the Court’s continued support of liberal interpretations of what liberty and freedom mean in America is now in doubt, and this extends to crucial areas such as gerrymandering and other restrictions of voting rights which the aforementioned Amendments guaranteed.

The “bad guys” will never disappear, and though he was no angel himself, Andrew Jackson warned us all in his farewell address in March of 1837,
Andrew Jackson
using a trite but true quotation attributed to many, that 
“eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal government.”   (Today, this "price" includes your involvement in voter registration and other activities related to the 2020 Presidential election.)

JL



What is Lower than a Snail’s Testicles?

This may not be of interest to those of you outside of Florida, but it is indicative of the low-life which calls itself the Republican Party in Florida.  The local Palm Beach County G.O.P. just disinvited Anthony Scaramucci from speaking at their upcoming luncheon because he objected to the President’s clearly racist remarks. Wow!

And here is an editorial from Saturday’s Palm Beach Post.   Last year, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to return citizenship rights, including voting, to felons (other than murderers and sex offenders) who had completed their sentences, as is the case in most of the rest of the civilized nation.  This caused the Republicans to panic and attempt to override this public mandate with corrupt racial legislation. It is now in the courts, where the Republicans just attempted to contaminate the judicial process by attempting to disqualify the judge hearing the case.  

Bottom line:  Florida’s Republican Party, including the governor and the G.O.P. majorities in both legislative houses, are all somewhat lower than a snail’s testicles.  CLICK HERE  to read the Editorial, which explains it all.
JL