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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.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Republicans Ain't the Same No More, San Bernardino Tragedy and "Spying"


The Unrecognizable G.O.P.
Many Republicans do not realize that being a Republican today is not the same as being a Republican was fifteen or twenty years ago.  It is not the same party any longer.  The expression “cloth coat” Republican (haven’t heard it lately) once described a person, usually a woman, who watched her budget, went to a traditional church, drove a Ford, Chevy or Plymouth, did things “conservatively” and of course wore a stylish and warm cloth coat instead of a more fashionable fur, leaving that ostentatious luxury to Democrats.  Excess of any kind was not her style.  Think of that family eating Thanksgiving dinner in the famous Norman Rockwell painting.  That was the G.O.P.

These folks always voted Republican

  Pat Nixon wore a cloth coat

But over the years, the G.O.P. has found it difficult to get young people and ethnic minorities to vote for them.  Democrats offered these groups much more on a national basis.  Republicans, nevertheless, still have managed to control state legislatures and governorships because these kinds of voters only show up in Presidential years. And since Congress is elected on a local basis, this control held true for the House of Representatives and to a lesser extent for the Senate.

But to expand their voter basis, particularly nationally, where Presidents are elected, the G.O.P. did not turn to the left where the young and the growing minorities were, but looked to the right instead.  They ignored their own "autopsy" results of their 2012 Presidential defeat.  Instead, their “big tent” welcomed the collection of misfits who still hate immigrants, decry women's rights, despise unions, love their guns, hate the government (primarily because the IRS takes money out of their paychecks), dislike the United Nations and buy into the cock-eyed economic theory that allows the wealthy to become richer for the supposed benefit of everyone else ultimately.  They also resent that “others,” whomever they are, seem to be getting things free that they have to pay for.

And now, these people, while not a majority of the G.O.P., are numerous enough to call the tune more than those “cloth coat” Republicans who managed to win ten Presidential elections to three for the Democrats between Lincoln’s assassination and the election of FDR in 1932. Since then, things have been relatively even with the G.O.P. electing five Presidents (Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and two Bushes) to the Democrats six (Truman, JFK, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama). But the presence of these “new” Republican voters is why that Party, at this stage of their race for their Presidential nomination, is focusing on issues which appeal to them but would repel those “cloth coat” Republicans who are still around, and I suspect there are many.

I keep hearing Republicans say that the media is against them.  I suspect they are correct but I doubt that this represents an organized "media" conspiracy.  Journalists are generally analytical people and personally end up agreeing with ideas that are part of the programs of Democrats and traditional “cloth coat” Republicans.  That is why I suspect that some recognized conservative journalists such as Kathleen Parker or David Brooks will end up supporting the Democratic candidate in 2016 or not voting at all, if the G.O.P. nominates a candidate like Trump, Carson, Cruz, Fiorina or Paul.  These pundits would probably support Jeb Bush, possibly Marco Rubio or John Kasich, or even Chris Christie (whom the very conservative Manchester, N.H. Union Leader has just endorsed in that state’s primary) … but not the meatballs who are leading the pack today and pandering to people in Iowa and New Hampshire who wear neither furs nor cloth coats and get all of their news, if they even bother to get it, from Fox.

I will go out on a limb and suggest that the typical "new" Republican voter doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims, couldn't locate Iran on a map, believes Planned Parenthood is part of leftist conspiracy along with climate change and of course, even after eight  years in the White House, believes that President Obama was born in Africa and not Hawaii.   Talk to some of them and you will then know why Donald Trump is doing so well in the race for the G.O.P. nomination. 

And while I am out on a limb, let me declare that Donald Trump's lead in the state G.O.P. polls is indeed insurmountable.  When the delegates to the Republican convention in July in Cleveland assemble, he will be their popular choice as their Presidential nominee.  However, the "establishment" Republicans (who are a bit different from the "cloth coat" variety because they have more money) will not let that happen.  There will be a brokered convention, nominating someone else, possibly Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, or even Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan.  Trump will walk out of the hall and run his own independent race which will do better in many states than the establishment Republican candidate does.   (Sort of like what happened in 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt ran as the "Bull Moose" candidate swamping G.O.P. incumbent William Howard Taft and handing the election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.)   

Of course, this will result in Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide (even without my predicted G.O.P. split, she would still probably win), and the Republicans won't recover, if they ever do, for many, many years, at least on the national level.  This division in their party will leak down to the local level, resulting their loss of control of some state legislatures, governorships and Congressional seats.  Over the long haul, this will not be a healthy development because it may lead to one-party rule.
Jack Lippman


San Bernardino Murders

Last week, an American-born Muslim, inspired and possibly directed by radical extremist Islamic jihadist elements, decided to act out, accompanied by his like-minded Pakistan/Saudi wife, his own version of the recent slaughter in Paris.

First things first!  How do we stop this from happening again? Syed Farook had a clean background. But he did have contacts with others in the Muslim community who were not so clean and of whom the FBI was aware.  But these others had contact with many, many other such “clean” Muslims in their daily lives, in stores, mosques, sports, etc.  Tragically, the apparently “clean” Syet Farook and his wife were the perfect terrorists because of their apparent non-involvement in terror.  We do not know how many other “clean” individuals might fall into this category.  It would be impossible, and of course un-American and unconstitutional for our government to approach this problem by putting all Muslims, even apparently “clean” ones, under surveillance.  This would be just a step away from what Nazi Germany did to Jews, and never should nor ever will happen in this country.

So I ask again, how do we stop this from happening again?  Let’s turn to the weapons, bombs, ammunition and military gear Farook and his wife used.  Where did it come from?  Who purchased it?  Where did the money come from to pay for it?  This is the trail law enforcement must follow to find out who was really behind the San Bernardino murders.  And of course, pursue those in the San Bernadino area they were already watching.  The killers were not alone. 

Needless to say, the availability of these weapons, bombs, ammunition and military gear should henceforth be strictly regulated by the government.  Existing laws must be enforced and new ones passed.  Such material should not be available to the public in either stores or via the internet.  

Those who might disagree with such government involvement because of the Second Amendment should remember that Farook and his wife’s actions were not “necessary to the security of a free state” and therefore they had no "right to keep and bear arms” as that oft-misquoted Amendment states.  What they had was far, far beyond a weapon for hunting or self-protection, or something to have handy "if called into the militia," and should be illegal and beyond any Second Amendment protection.

But I do want to point out that the morning after the shootings, Congressman Mac Thornberry appeared on a morning TV show.   Few of the facts about the killers were then known but he was out there in front of the cameras explaining that guns were not the problem and that we should focus our efforts on helping those with mental disorders, rather than go after weapons they use.  He explained that automatic weapons need not be banned since when he hunts quail, he has a repeater shotgun which doesn’t require frequent reloading, and that’s an automatic weapon.  Congressman Thornberry personally suffers from a mental disorder known as “being in denial,” and the medications he takes for it are donations from anti-gun control groups. Even more tragically, this gentleman is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.   God help us.

My point is that we must not let the misinterpreted Second Amendment, supported by five misguided Supreme Court Justices, hamper in any way the efforts of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent San Bernardino from happening again.  And we should also remember that the Fourth Amendment's protection against illegal search and seizure (the right to privacy) also comes into play in limiting the tools law enforcement has available in combating such terrorism.  How far can that be comfortably and legally bent?

The bigger picture involves looking at the San Bernadino murders in terms of what is a worldwide battle to destroy Islamic terrorismI have heard the expression "civilized Islam" used in describing those Muslims with whom we must ally ourselves in combating ISIS and other such terrorists.  But doing that requires defining what its implied opposite, "uncivilized Islam" is.

    For example, if Saudi Arabia is to be an ally in combating ISIS, how do we view its brand of Islam, the Wahabi variety, which in the eyes of many qualifies as "uncivilized" because of its quiet financial support of terror, as well as its quaint practices such as beheading and not allowing women to drive.


Divine Manipulation of the Threads (or what the CIA does)

Chapter 13 of Sun Tzu’s ancient classic “The Art of War” deals with the use of spies.  This is essential in dealing with the threat posed today by Islamic extremists.  Here are some excerpts from that work which Western intelligence agencies are certainly pursuing today.   Except for drones, satellites and electronic communications interception, this material holds true today!

Image result for The art of war

Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.

Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes: (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.  When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none can discover the secret system. This is called “divine manipulation of the threads.” It is the sovereign’s most precious faculty.                                         
Having LOCAL SPIES means employing the services of the inhabitants of a district.

Having INWARD SPIES, making use of officials of the enemy.

Having CONVERTED SPIES, getting hold of the enemy’s spies and using them for our own purposes.

Having DOOMED SPIES, doing certain things openly for purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know of them and report them to the enemy.

SURVIVING SPIES, finally, are those who bring back news from the enemy’s camp.

Hence it is that which none in the whole army are more intimate relations to be maintained than with spies.  None should be more liberally rewarded. In no other business should greater secrecy be preserved.

Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity.  They cannot be properly managed without benevolence and straightforwardness.  Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports.

Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.

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