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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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Scam, A Dream, A Challenge to Democracy and Remembering Mussolini

A Scam

Occasionally, some of us receive emails such as the one reproduced below.  I am sure that you, just as I do, quickly delete such garbage emails or rout them to “spam.”  Since they keep coming, however, there must be some people gullible enough to respond to them. Otherwise, the senders would stop and seek some other scam to pursue, or go into some other line of work.   If this email were sent to one million email addresses, as it probably was, and 99.9% of the recipients ignored it, this would still leave 1000 recipients gullible enough to respond to the email address provided (which appears to be in Hong Kong).  It’s a game of numbers.  And of those, a few might actually be sufficiently senile, naïve or stupid to be swindled.  Here’s the email, for your amusement or education … whatever.  

Good day Dear friend,

I am Mrs. Deborah Par, from republic of Ireland, born in the state of Ohio USA. I am legally married to Mr. Goodman Khanyile a South Africa citizen born brought up in Switzerland, I live in Switzerland with my husband for 32 years before we move down to South Africa in 1985 after my husband retirement in 1974, I am 76 years old by the grace of God, I am a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast.  All indication from my doctor that my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that I wouldn’t live more than two months, according to my doctors and in all indication regards to medical analysis. This is because the cancer disease has gotten to a very bad stage that no hope for me to be a living person again. My dear husband was involved with the January 2000 Kenya airways plane crashed as you can see on the news line web site.
Http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6627485.stm ) 40 years period of marriage life, still we could not produce any child, my late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited some part of his business and money in the bank.

The doctors has advised me that I may not live for more than one months and 2 weeks and warn me to stop thinking over who is going to inherit my money, today I have decided to donate contribute to the less privileges, charity and orphanage homes. I made this decision after listing to the news line about 100 years old woman who secretly donate her fortune upon her death.
http://www.myfoxspokane.com/dpps/news/dpgoh-woman-donates-secret-millions-upon-her-death-fc-20100305_6410207\http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8o-e-ilsum I choose you after viewing your profile and I have confident in you because I have prayed. I am willing to donate the sum of $20.5million U.S Dollars, to the less privileged.


Please I want you to note that this fund is still in the bank where my husband deposited it. I am going to advice my lawyer to change my last will to your name and file in an application for the transfer of the money in your name. Lastly, I honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used for the said purpose even though I am late then or alive, because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without God is vanity according to the wisest king in Israeli Solomon, and I made the promise to God that the fund will be use to help the needy and the less privilege.

May the grace of our lord the love of God and the fellowship of God be with you and your family, please further discussion contact me with my Email Address: 
epar.deborah@yahoo.com.hk . I await urgent reply.

Remain blessed, 
Mrs. Deborah Par

Why do I address this topic, you might ask?  Well, it’s a matter of gullibility. Swindlers count on people being gullible enough to fall for emotional pitches like this just as some of those running for public office in the United States count on potential voters being sufficiently gullible, naïve or stupid to believe the emotional half-truths and outright lies with which their campaigns are laced. They are no better than those swindling scammers in Nigeria, Hong Kong or wherever.

I leave it to you to draw a conclusion from this and perhaps apply it to the 2016 Presidential race in the United States.

Jack Lippman


I Had a Dream

Here's a dream I had last night. It was about the G.O.P. Convention. 

“Chairman: As Temporary Chairperson of the 42nd National Convention of the Republican Party, I call this assemblage to order (raps his gavel soundly). The first order of business is to act on a resolution of the Rules Committee regarding the name of the Party.

For years we have been known as “the Republican Party.” Briefly, the dictionary definition of “Republican” is “a form of government in which representatives are elected.” While this is indeed true, and that is what we are all about, it has come to the Committee’s attention that other parties, including the Democrats, also are involved in electing representatives. That is not something exclusive to our Party. Hence, the Committee has come up with a new, more descriptive, name for us. They propose that henceforth, our Grand Old Party, the G.O.P., be referred to as the Hypocritical Party, a far more descriptive designation for us. Again turning to the dictionary, this new name would describe “espousing actions or words that go against one’s beliefs.”  Yep, that's what it looks like we're all about today!

Truly, as we “Hippos” gather here in Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie, I pause to ask if that is not what this gathering is all about? We have a very, very big tent … with room for actions and words of all kinds, even those that go against our Party's cherished beliefs, so long as they do not affect Party loyalty.

Before the Chair entertains a motion on this proposal, which I personally heartily support, I would like to yield the floor to several speakers who have asked for a few moments to briefly endorse our presumptive candidate for the Presidency of the United States. Will Senators McCain, Ayotte, Graham, Barbour, Rubio and Cruz as well as Governors Kasich, Walker, Perry and Bush, as well as Ms. Fiorina, and of course our permanent Chairman, Representative Ryan, please come to the dais so that they may appear to heap praise upon our candidate.”

At that point, the power in the Quicken Loans Arena (the site of the Convention) failed, the session was adjourned and most of the delegates repaired to the  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, about a mile away, where a buffet luncheon including barbecue was available for a nominal charge.



Democracy Is So 2005
In an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, Joshua Kurlantzick (Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations) mentions China's and Russia's arguments that democracy eventually leads to chaos.  This was a great fear as democratic reforms spread through Europe at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.  Democracy did indeed run amok in France and the conservative approach of those who wrote our own Constitution reflected that fear.  Today, many "democratic" nations are turning power over to autocratic leaders whom they hope will solve their economic problems which have perhaps been exacerbated by "too much freedom."  This is a real threat to the United States today and I recommend that you read the article. Its provocative title is "Democracy Is So 2005."

 Picture Benito Mussolini

The article suggests that autocratic dictators are being turned to because of the "good things" they might bring about, even though freedom is allowed to go down the tube.  Let me (not the article's author) dwell on an extreme example to make this point.  Today, no one questions that Benito Mussolini was an oppressive fascist dictator, who partnered with Hitler in bringing about the Second World War.  But before then, when he came to power in the Twenties, first legitimately serving as Prime Minister and then as Italy's self-declared dictator in 1925, he did manage to accomplish things which more democratic governments had previously been unable to.   

He reclaimed land for Italy, like the Pontine Marshes, which were drained and reclaimed south of Rome. With resources developed from such projects, he created more railroads, sports stadiums, schools, and bridges. This was thought to be a solution for unemployment.  Also, he made farmers concentrate more on farming specific crops. In the long run this did make Italy a little more self-sufficient. Then, in 1930 he gave industries more money for steel production, while also increasing the use of hydro-electric power.  But in accomplishing these things, the liberties and freedom of all Italians were done away with.

Nowadays, autocrats remember to get re-elected through supposedly democratic elections after a few years in office, maintaining the facade of democracy, but any opposition has no chance whatsoever in such elections. Russia's Putin does this periodically. Again, I ask you to go back to the link above and read the Businessweek article. Click on that line just above Il Duce's picture.


Most of the time, we use an alligator between articles on this blog.  Occasionally, for variety, we have substituted a turtle for the gator.  In the last posting, we used a worm.  There are plenty of all three such creatures here in Florida.  Well, today, in view of the middle piece on this posting, we are using a Hippo.  There also are many of them in Florida, but not the animal kind.

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Jack Lippman 

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