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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Impersonalization and Technology, a Short Story Contest, the Benghazi/Syria/CIA Linkage and Some Thoughts about 2016

Short Story Contest Announced

Let’s have a short story contest!  All you have to do is write a short story and send it to me by Email at Riart1@aol.com.  There are only two requirements.  It should not exceed 1000 words and it must start with the following sentence:
 “I could hear the floorboards on the porch, weathered by years of exposure, creaking in the night.”
If we get more than three or four entries, there may even be a prize*, and of course, your stories will be published on this blog. 

* probably a bottle of wine

Jack Lippman

Where Does Impersonalization Lead ?

We used to talk to each other, face to face.  When that was impossible, we used to write letters to one another.  Then came the telegraph which enabled important messages to be quickly transmitted over long distances.  The telephone finally enabled people to talk to each other even though they were far apart.  The computer enabled such instant communications to be expanded to include text, pictorial and even live video transmissions.  The next logical step was to extend such electronic communications from a “one on one” basis to a broader audience.  Facebook, Twitter and similar social media “interfaces” enable ideas, messages, pictures and commentary to be exchanged between an almost infinite number of people.   

So, if you happen to be going to dinner with someone, enjoy that opportunity to talk to each other face to face over the table because that kind of verbal contact is becoming rarer and rarer.  In fact, the next time you are in a restaurant, note the number of diners who are ignoring their table mates and busily interacting with others on their smart phones. 

Bullock and Stallone in "Demolition Man"
I recently saw the classic 1990s science fiction film, “Demolition Man” on the AMC channel.  When Sandra Bullock invites Sylvester Stallone to have sex with her, he had no idea that she was not referring to the traditional physical act, but rather to a futuristic version where each participant donned a headset which provided a virtual experience to each of them without any physical contact taking place.  As I said, we used to talk to each other face to face.  We don’t so much anymore.  I wonder where all of this is heading.  Ask your children and grandchildren if they have given this any thought.  It will be their problem, or, their challenge.

 Medical Compensation!

 That third world guy who called me about “fixing your computer” got back to me, I think, last week but not in Sanskrit as I had requested.  Or maybe it was his cousin, but it sounded like the same guy to me.  He announced that he was calling from “Medical Compensation.”  I told him that was great and that he should put me down for some compensation in the largest size they had available.  I cannot figure out why 
he hung up on me. But please, don't be taken in by such calls.

Benghazi - CIA - Syria Linkage

Where did I hear that something was going on in Benghazi a year ago which up to now, no one has discussed?  Probably CNN.  Could it be that the Secretary of State was not aware that adjacent to the Consular office in Benghazi was a CIA facility with a staff of 21 which was engaged in coordinating the purchase of some of the Libyan Army's weapons and transferring or smuggling them to the Syrian rebels?  Could this have been the real target of those who attacked the consulate, killing four Americans?  I have to assume that the President was aware of this and was willing to leave Secretary Clinton in the dark about it.

This is one of the black ops kind of thing which is always going on and which no government officials will ever talk about, let alone confirm, with  knowledge of it available only to those with a "need to know."  I can understand why the President didn't want to open this can of worms during the Presidential election campaign. 

Republicans continue to use the Benghazi attack as something with which they can safely attack the President, knowing that he will never come out with the full story which would call for him to reveal too much about the CIA's activities.  And as for the closing of many of our embassies and consulates in the Middle East because of the possibility according to our intelligence sources of an imminent attack by Islamic extremists, what other course of action could the United States take after the dog and pony show put on by the G.O.P. over the Benghazi attack?  "You want our diplomats out of danger and protected, guys?  Well, thanks to you, that's exactly what we are doing ... whether it is warranted or not," is the message the White House is sending to the Republicans.   And some of them, some of the same Republicans who attacked the President for unpreparedness in Benghazi, are now accusing him of cowardice in temporarily shutting down these diplomatic facilities.  They want to be able to have it both ways, so long as they can attack the President.
First Thoughts About 2016

The other evening, Chris Matthews (MSNBC) predicted that the Republican Party, after nominating “establishment” candidates in all of the Presidential elections held since Ronald Reagan’s terms in office, will turn rightward and nominate a right winger in 2016, eschewing the support of the “establishment,” whatever that means.
Matthews, Paul and Christie

Translated into names, this means that the days of nominees like Bob Dole, both Bushes, John McCain and George Romney are over and 2016 will see a nominee closer to the hearts of the Republican majorities in the majority of the nation’s Congressional Districts.  Matthews went out on a limb and predicted that Rand Paul would be that nominee.

The question which that raises is what the “establishment” non-Tea Party Republicans will do about such a nomination.  Assuming that wing of the party would prefer a Chris Christie or Jeb Bush candidacy, it appears that they would have three choices:  
(1)  Without great enthusiasm, support the candidacy of the right wing nominee, 
(2)  Withhold their support of the nominee, and stay on the sidelines or 
(3)    Bolt the Party and run their own candidates, as Theodore Roosevelt did in 1912.

(Former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, dissatisfied with the policies of his successor, William Howard Taft, bolted from the G,O.P. and ran as a third party "Bull Moose Party" candidate in 2012, splitting the Republican votes and resulting in the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson.  By 2020, however, the G.O.P. was reunited, and elected Presidents up until 1932.)

All three alternatives would guarantee a Democratic victory, but the third choice would go much further and split the Republican Party in two, destroying the nation’s traditional two party system.  And this time, the G.O.P. will not quickly reunite as they did in 1920.  The two party system would ultimately be restored, but only after some “establishment” Republicans drifted to the right joining the Republican Tea Party wing (whose name is slowly morphing into "Libertarian") and others drifted to the left, becoming Democrats.  That might take years, but we would end up with two distinct and separate parties from an ideological standpoint.  What do you think?


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Jack Lippman

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