About Me

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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, September 29, 2019

Heading Toward Impeachment and a Voter Registration Moment

Thoughts on the Road to Impeachment 

Speaker Pelosi
Well, it’s four days since my last posting and finally, enough Democrats have backed impeachment to allay Speaker Pelosi’s fear of it not passing in the House.  She is now on track heading for a Bill of Impeachment.

Bumbling Republicans, trying to find a way out of the morass their soon-to-be-impeached President has gotten them into, have increasingly turned to preposterous arguments and grasping at straws. They don’t know how to run a government, but they certainly know how to lie and make up stories, and find dishonest lawyers (like our Attorney General who deodorized the Mueller Report) and a corrupt former Ukrainian Prosecutor General who runs around peddling unproven and discredited stories to gullible Trumpies about the Bidens and how the Democrats colluded with Ukrainians in our 2016 election, rather than the Republicans’ “passive” colluding with the Russians so clearly documented in the Mueller Report. 

Rudy sez he's the real 'whistleblower'
The President has used Rudy Giuliani, a
n almost senile private citizen, as his conduit in this misdeed, bypassing normal government channels.  Yes, it’s all in the “Whistleblower’s” complaint letter to Congress.  Read it.

And please, watch Fox News as they promote the Ukrainian/Biden story. They would make Josef Goebbles green with envy.   Watch for resignations (or firings) at Fox News.  All of their employees are not quite as gullible nor stupid as is their massive audience.  And the presence of such a dishonest news source, made possible by the First Amendment, is what is going to make the 2020 elections close!

And more and more, as their man goes down, I hear them blaming the attacks on the President on some “deep state,” a hidden, entrenched apparatus which really runs the country, and which is causing the President’s problems.  Here’s news!  They are correct.  Their lies have stumbled onto the truth.  There is indeed a “deep state,” but it is not hidden. It is there for all to see.

It is “the United States of America and the Constitution upon which it is based and those who operate under its laws.”  That “deep state” is proving itself strong enough to finally be taking steps to get rid of the underhanded interlopers and scoundrels who, following the lead of their “liar-in-chief” and his indefensible ethics, have turned America into something it never before was, an autocracy posing as a democracy.  Here are the names of some of the creators of that “deep state:” George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton … and later on, even Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.  Get it?

I predict that the President will not leave as the result of impeachment.  Somewhere during that process, he will leave as Richard Nixon did, via resignation.  A delegation of Republicans, probably led by Mitch McConnell, fearing his continued presence will
Mitch ... Fighting for
his Senate seat in Kentucky
result in their losing elections at all levels, even for dogcatcher in Dubuque, will force him to resign, saving the Republican Senators from an embarassing moment. He will do so, and the Republicans will have an open Convention in 2020 and try to come up with another candidate, one who is not besmirched by too close a relationship to Donald Trump.
Jack Lippman


The Real Problem Trump Represents 

Working last week as part of a voter registration drive, we were located outside of a supermarket in a Latino (or perhaps some would say Latinx) neighborhood, armed with our clipboards and a sign inviting people to register to vote.  As is the case with all such voter registration activities, there is no indication of the group sponsoring them.  Such registration drives are sponsored by Democratic, Republican and non-partisan (such as the League of Women Voters) groups, registered with the State.  They all operate in a non-partisan manner when registering voters.

So when a gentleman walking out of the supermarket, before even being asked if he were registered to vote, as we tried to ask all passers-by, shouted out at us “Trump, Trump, Trump,” without knowing what group we represented, he was making it clear that such Trump supporters consider anyone asking people to register to vote to be involved in an anti-Trump activity.  Even though it was the democratic process which brought Trump to the presidency, his supporters do not believe in democracy. Instead, they believe in voter repression and gerrymandering, which have no place in a democracy.

Donald J. Trump is less of a problem than those who support him, many of whom are sorely lacking in understanding what America is about.  After Trump is history, these people will find someone else to support.  They always do.  That they comprise about 40% of the American population is tragic.  The saving grace is that this percentage gets lower each year as younger people become old enough to vote, so the future is brighter.

Congressman Jim Jordan 
And while on the subject of Trump supporters, I am asking all who are reading this to scrounge around in their closets for an old man’s sport jacket that they can spare.  Republican Congressman Jim Jordan is sorely in need of one.  He looks to be about a size 42.  Send them directly to him. I am sure he will donate any “extras’ he receives to a legitimate charity.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How Trump Campaigns with Lies, Pelosi Swings into Action and John Kerry Impresses.

Do We Deserve Democracy?

The P.O.S. (I’m back to that now; no other expression so well describes him) in the White House is throwing the word “corruption” around lately, and without making specific accusations, is trying to associate it with Joe Biden, whom he thinks will most likely be his opponent in 2020.  Those who support Trump are gullible, if not ignorant of facts, and in their minds his repeated use of the words “corruption, Ukraine and Biden” even if not true and not based on anything factual, will stick.  That’s why he uses it repeatedly. The same thing happened in 2016 when he repeatedly talked about “Hillary’s emails and Benghazi,” without providing real facts.  (I know some of these people who bought these lies and innuendoes and treat them with pity rather than scorn, like some of the anti-socialist Jews of 1932 Germany who supported Adolf Hitler but had never read Mein Kampf.)

Corruption?  What can be more corrupt than a president who makes money personally from his office by shilling for his hotels and golf courses, which are ostensibly run by his family but which he will resume running the day he leaves office?  And what can be more morally corrupt than a man who engages a mistress during his wife’s pregnancy and who boasted on TV that being in a position of power enables men to take advantage of women, and who pays off his whores to keep quiet during election campaigns.  And what can be more corrupt than a man who preaches freedom of religion out of the same mouth that preached suspicion and intolerance of Muslims in this country a year earlier?  And what can be more corrupt than a man who lies about wanting better health care for Americans while trying to take it way from them at the same time.

Could it be that the Americans who elected this P.O.S. to office, and may do so again, do not deserve to live in a democracy and would be more comfortable in a dictatorship but wouldn’t recognize the difference anyway?  A nation gets the government it deserves.
  Jack Lippman

Pelosi Swings Into Action 

And now to the “whistleblower.”  It is clear that House Speaker Pelosi is moving forward step by step, now endorsing an impeachment “inquiry” but still holding off on moving to a full-blown, no holds-barred, bill of impeachment because she worries that losing the votes of those Democratic Representatives from conservative districts which they won by tiny majorities, which together with the expected G.O.P. “nays,” would be enough to defeat it. 

That may change if a ‘quid pro quo’ relationship is found between the President’s talking to Ukraine’s head of state about reopening a closed Ukrainian investigation into the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter (in which he “came up clean”) and a delay in our sending sorely needed financial aid to help in Ukraine’s military resistance to Vladimir Putin. With this connection tied down, she might move to full blown impeachment.   This might happen Thursday at the earliest, or whenever the House gets the information it seeks, if the Administration stalls. 

Failure of the Director of National Intelligence to deliver the full "whistleblower" information about this matter to Congress within seven days is against the law.  Supposedly, the “whistleblower’s complaint” to that agency’s Inspector General involved more than Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian leader and all of that, not only Trump's phone call, must be turned over.  Not doing so would be a crime of which the Director of National Intelligence, a Trump appointee, would be guilty.  Complicating this issue is that Director's contact with the Attorney General, who in no way should be involved in this, for advice, other than in his clearly illegal role as the protector of the President.

Actually, even without this “quid pro quo” relationship, merely asking a foreign government to provide negative information to use in an American election is a crime. Trump got away with this in 2016, even though the Mueller Report, sanitized by his subservient Attorney General, confirmed it. 

In any event, it’s time for Nancy and the rest of Democratic leadership to convince all members of their House majority to support and vote for impeachment and to stop worrying about their next election. Just as I always advise Republicans to put country before Party, I advise Democrats similarly.  Every day of delay in instituting formal impeachment proceedings is like a monetary contribution to Trump’s campaign fund. He would like to stall until November 3, 2020.  

A word about impeachment:  Between the "whistleblower" complaint discussed above and the many other causes justifying impeachment (paying off his women to keep quiet during his election campaign, accepting aid from Russia in running his 2016 campaign, profiting personally by steering government and foreign money to his family's businesses, and obstructing the legally constituted Mueller investigation), there are many avenues which an impeachment proceeding might follow.  

Proceeding on all of them, or even several of them, would complicate the process giving the President many different approaches of resistance.  Therefore, when the President is impeached by the House   ... and he will be ... (the corrupted Senate will never go along with it, but the American public will do so on Election Day, once aware of the facts), the bill of impeachment must be limited to one or perhaps no more than two of the President's most blatant illegal actions.


John Kerry Provides a Contrast 

I don’t know who will be the Democratic presidential nominee next year but I saw something disturbing on TV the other morning.  Seventy-five year-old John Kerry, long-time Senator, 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State was being interviewed about the current state of affairs and his comments were clear, precise and forcefully delivered.  What he said did not matter so much as the contrast I initially saw between his delivery and that of Joe Biden, a year older, whose excellent positions are sometimes made less clear by his delivery.  Biden’s “electability,” one of the major reasons he is polling so well, may be hampered by this as the presidential campaign progresses.  This is something on which Democrats, particularly those who support the former Vice President, must keep their eye.

Letter to my Congresswoman

Although it duplicates much of what today's blog posting has already said, here is a copy of the email I sent to my Representative in the United States Congress last week: 

Every day that the Democrats in the House delay introducing formal impeachment proceedings is like a contribution to the President’s re-election campaign.  Protected by a loyal Attorney General and Administration willing to support his lies, he is happy to spout unfounded statements, which even after being disproven, still remain fixed in the minds of some voters. They neutralized the Mueller Report, which contained evidence warranting impeachment.  Not releasing documents to Congress, blocking the appearance of witnesses before its committees and other illegal acts of obstruction are some of Trump’s tools. If Congress takes him to court over these things, they probably will win, but the victory will come long after the 2020 election, so it will not matter. The President is like a quarterback using up every possible second on the play clock to leave as little time as possible for the other team when they get the ball. Notice that every time he or one of his stooges like Secretaries Mnuchin or Pompeo is asked a question, their responses involve an accusation of his opponents, or the press, changing the subject and taking up time for a response. Impeachment proceedings would short-circuit this circus and bring out the facts for all to see. Once that happens, and the House moves to impeach the President, I still would not expect the hand-cuffed Senate to convict him, but the American people certainly will in 2020. Delaying impeachment even one day is like a campaign contribution to the Trumpublicans.

                                                         *   *   *   *   *

Friday, September 20, 2019

Whstleblowing, Locking and Loading plus a Paul Krugman Column

Watch Out Iran, He’s Locked and Loaded

Sadly, the pathetic man in the White House, unable to grasp the difference between reality and a reality show on TV, is at a point where he can do our country great harm.  Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and other “players” are for real, and playing for keeps.  It’s not a TV show, movie or video game where someone who gets shot, riddled with bullets, gets up afterwards and walks away, because that’s not for real, although it purports to be.  Without a TV script in his hand, he lacks the knowledge and skills to deal with problems. The intelligence needed to acquire them, if it is not too late, does not seem to be there either.  He holds the real resources of the nation in his hands but doesn’t know what to do with them. 

*Mike Pence, former Governor of Indiana, cannot be worse.

“Locked and Loaded,” that’s what he said the other day in commenting on the attack, either Iranian or Iranian-manipulated, on the Saudi oil industry.  To him they are just words, perhaps a great name for a video game. 

I recall these words from my days in the Army.  While I never was in combat, I well recall lying prone on more than one sandy rifle range, poised with my M-1, as the Sergeant in charge called out, “Lock and load, one round ball ammunition.”  The rifle’s bolt was then pulled back and the ammunition was loaded and locked into the weapon.  In combat, a clip of bullets, more than one round, would be loaded and locked into the rifle.  And then came the order to fire, and what were fired at the targets were for real, capable of killing people. It wasn’t part of a reality show, followed by a commercial.  I am sure Donald Trump never experienced that feeling. 

Our presidency is like a reality show, complete with the commercials, in this case for the President’s overpriced hotels and golf courses.  That is not reality.

*Mike Pence cannot be worse.


*Even though he is a homophobe  ... so long as he is one just for religious, not social, reasons.  At least that won’t blow the planet to smithereens

Jack Lippman
                                     *   *   *   *

The Whistleblower

And from what I see, hear and read in the media, it looks like the President apparently attempted to play political hardball with a foreign head of state, saying things more appropriate for a mafia capo or a crooked cigar smoking local ward politician, in order to get things done his way.  

Well, someone out of a little league bullpen shouldn’t be playing hardball in the major leagues.  That’s what we have in the White House.  So dumb (there’s no other word to describe him) was he that he got caught by someone in intelligence operations who risked their career and blew the whistle on him.  By the time you’re reading this, more of the truth about this story is probably available in the papers and on TV, unless of course, you watch Fox exclusively, where it already is being blamed on operatives of the “deep state.”  The blog cannot keep pace with this fast breaking story so it’s up to you to “stay tuned.”

Casinos usually make money unless they're run by dummies.
It amazes me that throughout his career in the business world, Donald Trump, with all of his questionable enterprises (failed casinos, a failed winery, a failed ‘university,’ a failed airline and numerous real estate ‘deals’ which only benefited himself and foreign investors … not the other buyers) never ended up in jail like his son-in-law’s dad did. This time, he may have gone a bit too far, thinking he could get away in government with the same stuff he pulled in the business world where top lawyers saved his butt repeatedly.  (Right now, it looks like Attorney General Barr and Company are trying very hard to do that same thing for him.) Were the late Jimmy Breslin still around, he would be busy writing a book right now to be titled, “The President Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”  

Yes, stay tuned.
                                                           *   *   *   *

Why Americans Dislike Regulations

Paul Krugman
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman started off a recent column with these words:

Modern conservatives hate regulation, and the Trump administration has channeled that hatred into policy. It has scrapped or emasculated rules designed to limit everything from predatory lending to exploitative for-profit education, and has moved on multiple fronts to undo environmental protection.”  

Read his entire column to see how the Republicans have capitalized on Americans’ resistance to being “told what they can and cannot do” and turned it into a vote-getting tool. 

I suppose "independent" Americans would rather borrow money from payday advance lenders at exorbitant rates than let these lenders be more tightly regulated or be fleeced by unscrupulous financial advisors whose interest is directed at their own well-being rather than that of their clients.  Yeah, regulations are bad.  Like "socialism," ya know.   Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to take away Americans’ personal assault weapons which they’ve been conditioned to cherish since their first experience with the violence of a video game.  Read this great column by CLICKING HERE.

(A Question:  Since the beginning of this century, can you name any one thing that the Republican Party has done that was in the interest of the American people and not basically evil?  Think hard … and let me know what you come up with.  I’ll include a list on the next blog posting.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Alexander Pope, the Courts and the Carnival in Washington plus Israeli Election Result

Hope Springs Eternal

We dwell under the misconception that the problems of life that we witness daily might be resolved within our lifetimes.  But that just doesn’t happen.  The same problems, perhaps in a different guise, persist generation after generation.

The framers of our Constitution thought they had it all fixed with their revolutionary document.  But that didn’t stop the Civil War from killing 400,000 Americans with American bullets little more than 70 years later.  Neither did the League of Nations after World War One nor today’s United Nations fulfill their promises.  I recall being enthusiastic over Congressman Aime Forand’s efforts for national health insurance back it the 1950’s and 60’s.  We did get Medicare for seniors, but we are still struggling with the rest of the problem.

Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope, the English poet, said that “Hope springs eternal in the human breast, man never is, but always to be, blessed.”   The solutions to our problems always seem to be right around the corner, but it’s a long, long, block to get to that corner, particularly when government involvement is part of the answer, and it seems we never seem to get there.  It almost feels like a novel by Franz Kafka.

Forget about the Presidency.  We can change it every four years.  Forget about the Congress.  We can change Representatives every two years and Senators, every six years.  But we cannot so easily change our Judicial system, which can overrule the other two branches of our government.  Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges are appointed for life.  Right now, it looks as if the corruption of our court system with lifetime conservative appointees will prevent the resolution of many of our problems not only during our lifetimes, but during that of our children and grandchildren as well.

FDR in 1933
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was unsuccessful in trying to increase the numbers of Supreme Court Justices to solve this problem.  Democratic murmurings about trying the same thing again once they are back in power probably will not work either, and even if it does, the lower Courts of Appeals’ conservative judges would still firmly sit in the way of reform.

Alexander Pope had it right!  Sorry about that, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Jack Lippman

                                         *   *   *   *

Meanwhile, Back at the Capitol

Two questions for the President and the recalcitrant witnesses who show up at the House Judiciary Committee’s 'pre-impeachment' hearings:

 (1)  What are you afraid of? 
 (2)  What are you hiding? 

Every Democrat Committeeperson should ask these two questions repeatedly during their interrogation of reluctant witnesses, at least before they start and when they finish their other questions.  It may not elicit answers, but it will impress viewers with the mendacity of these witnesses.   

Lewandowski at House hearing - Seems the size of their American
flag pins is directly proportional to the severity of the lies they tell
This afternoon, former Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski came close to having handcuffs put on him for his disrespectful demeanor toward the House Judiciary Committee.  In view of what happened when he did manage to answer some questions, he only succeeded in digging deep holes for himself and the President. I suspect any future witnesses who show up will do so with duct tape over their mouths.  

What are they afraid of?  What are they hiding?  We already know.  Most of it is in the Mueller Report!  You remember that?  That thing the President's Attorney General managed to coat with vanilla icing with sprinkles on it. Should the President be impeached, Barr might face a similar fate.  That's what he would deserve since he refuses to serve his employer, the United States of America, and prefers to serve the President as his personal lawyer.

As you know, I feel this carnival should be terminated and real Impeachment proceedings started, as required by the Constitution.  Then, the duct tape will come off.   And the President and Barr will be able to do little about it.
                                                         *   *   *   *

Netanyahu Probably Out in Israel

Increasingly, it appears that the close Israeli election will leave Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud Party a whisker behind former General Benny Gantz’ Blue and White Party in the number of seats each will have in the Israeli Knesset.  This will leave it to Gantz to try to recruit enough support from other parties to form a Unity government in Israel.  Netanyahu was unable to do that in April, when Likud had won by a similar whisker. The Blue and White Party might have 32 seats, 29 short of what is needed to form a Unity government.

Gantz, if the numbers hold up, will look to the left and center for these seats.  Netanyahu looked to the right and to the religious parties for his majorities over the past years. It is unlikely that Netanyahu will have a role in any government Gantz forms.  Bibi tied his candidacy to his close relationship with Donald Trump, so his not winning amounts to a blow to Trump, indicating to Americans Jews that support of Israel is not necessarily tied to their supporting him.  Both Netanyahu and Gantz share the same attitude toward their potential enemy, Iran.  (This addition to the blog posting, appended on Tuesday evening at 9:00 p.m. may be all wrong by tomorrow, but I don’t think so.)

                                   *   *   *   *

Friday, September 13, 2019

If Trump Loses in 2020, the Democrats' Dilemma, a Krugman column and the Golden Fish

The Democrats’ Dilemma 

Do they nominate a candidate whom they believe has the best chance of attracting the votes necessary to defeat Donald Trump in the key States (you name them) whose electoral votes are up for grabs … or … do they nominate a candidate who aggressively represents the progressive agenda in which the majority of Democrats believe, and jeopardize their chances of winning in those states? 

The Democratic 'Hopefuls" who Debated in Houston
Right now, after Thursday evening’s Houston ‘debate,’ I would classify the leading Democratic candidates as falling into three camps in regard to the dilemma addressed above.

Those who most aggressively advocate a more progressive agenda:  Sanders, Warren, Booker, O’Rourke, Castro.

Those who advocate a progressive agenda, but who seem amenable to modifying their position: Harris, Buttegeig, Yang.

Those who advocate building on existing programs, while advancing a more progressive agenda with more caution than the others:  Biden, Kolbuchar.

Primary and caucus voters, and ultimately, convention delegates, will have to make this decision.  It is likely that the presidential nominee will choose a running mate from among those in one of the groupings shown above, other than their own.
Jack Lippman

Paul Krugman Worries About Democracy


And here’s a New York Times column by Paul Krugman (we got it via the Irish Times since it's difficult to link directly with the Times) which starts with the words “Democracy used to collapse suddenly, with tanks rolling noisily toward the presidential palace.  In the 21st century, however, the process is usually subtler.” After explaining how “the slide to autocracy” happens, he concludes his column by saying that “If you aren’t worried about the future of American democracy, you aren’t paying attention.”   Pay some attention by CLICKING HERE and read the entire column … and pass it on to others, please!


Thinking the Unthinkable

"I ain't movin' nowhere!"
Have you considered what might happen if Donald Trump loses the 2020 election and claims he was robbed, cheated and refuses to accept defeat?  He might contest the result in the courts and it is not inconceivable that the Supreme Court would agree with him.  The President knows that once out of office, he becomes much more vulnerable to civil and criminal charges from which his is immune while President.  Conceivably, he might end up as Michael Cohen’s cellmate.  This prospect might motivate him to dispute the election.  There’s a lot being written in this vein lately.  Here’s something from a podcast on “BreakthroughRadio” which touches upon it.  Check it out by CLICKING HERE.  Frightening, isn’t it?  Even to think of such a possibility! 

It’s something else to worry about.   More concretely, you should recognize the importance of voter registration.  See directly below!

Online Voter Registration

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.  Visit  https://registertovoteflorida.gov/en/Registration/Index   YOU CAN GET THERE BY CLICKING ON THIS LINE.

And if you are not in Florida, do the same thing wherever you live.  It’s all on the Internet somewhere!  One registered voter is worth a hundred social media messages that merely "preach to the choir."


Another Bothersome TV Commercial

There’s a GEICO commercial on TV lately which shows a vacationing family out on a lake in a boat sunning themselves and fishing.   To the father’s disbelief, the daughter hooks a ‘goldfish’ which turns out to be solid gold and regurgitates gold coins!  He screams out repeatedly, on seeing all of this gold, “We’re going to be rich, We’re going to be rich,” as if this were an otherwise absolutely unattainable goal for this family.

Let’s get something straight.  It looks to me like this well-dressed American family able to vacation on a lake, on which they go fishing from a not inexpensive boat, when compared to the rest of the families on the planet, is already quite wealthy! From their appearance, they are probably already richer than many American families.  Very loosely, this commercial (it promotes boat insurance) touches upon the question of wealth redistribution in the United States, pessimistically suggesting that addressing the problem requires catching a “golden fish,” an unlikely event.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Impeachment Support Needed in Senate, Bolton Gone (Thank Heaven)

Two More Reasons to Impeach the President:

1. When the President produced an inaccurate corruption of a weather chart originating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) so that it covered up a potentially misleading misstatement he had made about Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama, he violated a Federal law.  This should be added to the crimes for which he will be impeached.   That he threatened the NOAA’s scientific and political leadership with firing, via the Secretary of Commerce, if they did not back up the President’s position, is also a criminal action.  The man’s vanity has no limit.

2. While not quite a crime, the President also has disgraced our country by turning back Bahamians made homeless by the disaster in their island nation, who wish to seek shelter in the United State, only 90 miles away, but who do not have proper documentation, which many had lost in the storm’s widespread destruction. (In my opinion, any that get here should be granted temporary refugee status for at least a month.) 
Wreckage at Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas,
 reminiscent of Hiroshima
He feared allowing them in would risk admitting ‘very’ bad criminals and drug dealers who might be among them.  (Note that the President often uses the word ‘very’ when he makes up things. When he doubles it and says ‘very, very,’ you can be sure the upcoming lie will be a big one.)  Of course, the ambiguity with which he says things leaves administrators with the choice of doing their job or pleasing the President.  The NOAA people can attest to that.

President Trump doesn’t have the slightest idea of what being an American means.

(I received the following email today from Alex Sink, whom some of you may recall ran for governor of Florida about a fifteen years ago against Jeb Bush.  I pass it on to you. 
"Well, I finally broke down in tears today.

After a very stressful week of dealing with Hurricane Dorian and its impact on the Abaco Islands, yesterday’s reported remarks by President Donald Trump were crushing...Mr. President, Bahamians are NOT "bad people!"  

My family has owned a vacation home shared with three other families for 30 years in Marsh Harbour. Not a year passed that we didn’t visit this beautiful place multiple times and as a result we made many Bahamian friends and became personally involved with Friends of the Environment, a local nonprofit working to protect the beautiful waters and land of Abaco.  (They still have beautiful coral reefs and abundant conch and lobster grounds!)

The eye of the storm passed on Sunday and by Tuesday we had confirmation that our house had been totally obliterated. And while our vacation home was certainly full of wonderful memories for our family and friends, it was just a house. Of more concern was having no word from our house manager and her extended family who have become close friends and are hardworking, enterprising Bahamians who include small business owners, chefs and journalists. They were left homeless and hungry after the storm, and were finally able to be evacuated to Florida last Friday night through the generosity of private aircraft owners transporting these desperate people. This family is but one example of thousands of Abaconians who are wonderful hardworking, entrepreneurial and kind people who have lost everything.  

President Trump, many Americans (especially Floridians) have spent countless vacations on these beautiful islands. Please do not classify these people who have lost everything as unworthy of our love, our financial support and the welcoming spirit of millions of Americans. To shun them is to turn your back on the values of our country as stated on our Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

How long will it take for the President’s supporters, including the vast majority of the Republican Party in Congress and among Republican voters, to realize that most charitably, he is a shallow asshole, for which they merely serve as toilet paper?  His presence in the White House continues to demean the office in the eyes of most Americans and of the world.  I am sure that privately, both Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin laugh at him.  Americans should be crying for him, for the failure of the democratic process which put him into office and for their nation.

Impeachment is a responsibility of the Congress, and not doing so is a shirking of that responsibility, as prescribed in the Constitution.  Article 2, Section 4 reads as follows:  ‘The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and Misdemeanors.’   That is part of Congress' oversight responsibility.

The House sets impeachment in motion and a supermajority (2/3) in the Senate, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is needed to convict. Holding off on impeachment plays into President's strategy of delay and legal stalling, playing "his game" rather than what the Constitution prescribes.  Are there 20 real Americans among the Republican majority in the Senate or are they all just the President’s toilet paper?
Jack Lippman

Bolton is Fired

Late-breaking announcement of the firing of National Security Advisor John Bolton illustrates the disarray of the Administration’s foreign policy decision-making process.  Bolton was the third to occupy that post. The President knows little about foreign policy (He appointed Bolton because he liked the way he sounded on Fox) and likes to do his own thing, ignoring facts and history.  That’s why he likes Putin and Kim and assorted despots surrounded by sycophants and chooses to politicize what should be left to diplomacy, as he has done in the Middle East.  In his mind, leaders do as they please. It took him a while to realize super-hawk Bolton’s trigger-happy dogmatism ran counter to his own equivocating and ambiguity, tools in his thus-far unsuccessful deal-making efforts.  He wants to run everything himself, by the seat of his pants, and daily his inability to function as President becomes more evident.

Bolton, whose judgement is dangerously terrible, at least spoke
up to the President.  Mike Pompeo didn't ... and survives.
It should be noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, first in his class at West Point, rose to the rank of Captain in the Army, unlike other Presidential appointees like Generals Mattis, Masterson and Kelly, all now gone, who were used to formulating strategies and giving orders.  That’s what Generals do, rather than simply carrying out orders, which is what Captains do.  Trump’s supporters in Congress and in fact, anyone who votes for him, should have their heads examined.  The President behaves more like a dictator every day.  (I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Pompeo wouldn’t object to mopping the bathrooms in the White House if the President told him to.  That’s what a good bootlicker does.)