Friday, February 28, 2020

Krugman Column Reveals the Truth about Coronavirus, Phone Banks, the CDC and Freedom of Religion?

Krugman

THE GOVERNMENT REACTS TO THE THREAT OF A PANDEMIC

Strip away all of the Administration' BS and the inadequacies of its response to the Coronavirus threat become evident.  Paul Krugman, in a recent New York Times column, lays out the facts.  Read them and weep by CLICKING HERE.

JL

Another Great Column

Religious freedom in the United States is based on the first sixteen words of the First Amendment to the Constitution: (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof).


But please note, however, that while it prevents the establishment of a religion in our country, it allows the “free exercise” of religion.  And this goes beyond usual limits of what traditionally qualifies as “religion” and includes a fuzzy area, claiming to be “religion,” which is offensive to many Americans.

When the President of the United States and his administration gets involved in this  fuzzy area of the “free exercise” of religion, it is time for Americans to worry. 

I would be happier if the First Amendment’s language were more specific and prohibited Congress from making laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion by a religion’s adherents and clergy.  Then Congress might be able to pass a law guaranteeing Americans the right to be free from any branch of government’s getting involved with religion in any way, shape or form, and that includes encouraging school prayer and limits to subsidies paid to private religious schools which also teach tradional subjects.  Americans deserve "freedom FROM the excesses of the free exercise of religion with government support, tacit or otherwise ." 

Read Frank Cerebino’s always humorous column from the Palm Beach Post (Feb. 28) to understand the problem and to see how Donald Trump has crossed that line.  JUST CLICK HERE TO READ HIS BRILLIANT COLUMN.

JL



Why You Should Never Ever Vote Republican

The Administration’s 2021 budget, not yet acted upon by Congress, included cuts in the amount allocated for the Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention.  Also, key personnel in the CDC were let go in 2018 and have not yet been replaced.  

These two factors alone, in the face of the current threat posed by the Coronavirus,  to which the Administration's response has been disjointed and confusing at best, make it clear that the country should never ever again permit the Republican Party to control the Executive branch or either House of Congress.  Lives are at stake!  Republicans cannot be trusted in this area, ever!    Contrast this with the thorough, planned, response previous administrations have demonstrated in, for example, the Ebola threat.  If you value human life, never vote Republican!  Ever! (All they're really interested in is tax reduction for the wealthy, who are their major source of campaign finance.)  Now go back and read Paul Krugman's column if you haven't already.  CLICK HERE to do so.
JL


Phone Banks ... Phooey!

In past elections, I’ve worked with phone banks, but generally, I considered them a wasted effort.  Three out of four people called do not pick up, leaving the worker the choice of leaving a message or just hanging up and going on to the next number.  One can ask an unpaid volunteer to do this but if scarce resources must be directed to such an effort, there are clearly better uses for those resources.

In the “old days,” the party provided the phones to make calls from “phone banks,” but lately, it has been requested that volunteers bring their own mobile phones to use.  I was foolish enough to do this last year and as a result, was besieged for days afterwards by returned calls from some of the numbers I had called which either did not pick up, or where I had left a brief message.  This was discouraging.

A 2020 presidential candidate whom I support, and to whose campaign I have donated, recently asked me to join in a phone bank devoted to “text messaging” which they would manage.  As soon as they asked for my mobile phone number, I left the site, choosing not to participate, fearing a deluge of unwanted responses to texts promoting that candidate which would be sent from my phone number. 

A far better use of resources than phone banks is participating in voter registration activities.

Except for very wealthy candidates like Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, the field of candidates for President are hungry for grass-roots contributions to their campaigns.  I have contributed to my choice.  Please consider contributing to yours.


JL

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Soul of the Democratic Party and a Friedman Column



IS THERE A CANDIDATE TO FIT THE SOUL OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?


If one were to try to determine where the heart and soul of the Democratic Party rests, and there were no questions of electability in the picture, I believe that the seekers of the answer to that question would end up settling on a progressive position, with the government assuming a greater role in providing for the welfare of Americans, particularly if and when the private sector of our economy fails to do so.  In doing so, they would have to try to live within a reasonable budget, a difficult assignment, even with increased taxation of the very wealthy.

But such objective determinations cannot be so purely made in an election year.  Compromises must be made to attract centrist voters to Democratic candidates to supplement the votes of progressives, necessary to enable the Democrats to triumph in the 2020 elections.  Without them, Democrats lose.  Unfortunately, not wanting to compromise, some progressive voters might be sacrificed by the act of compromising as well.  But compromise is necessary.

The answer is to choose a progressive candidate who is not totally and irrevocably committed to a thoroughly progressive agenda, one who recognizes the need for some compromise.  In 2020, Bernie Sanders is not such a candidate.  The path to victory is to find such a candidate, if there is one.
JL




FRIEDMAN'S SOLUTION

And if there is no such progressive candidate available, the Democrats’ might consider the course suggested by Thomas Friedman in a recent New York Times column.   Really, any Democrat would be better than four more years of Trump and the Trumpublicans who blindly follow him, blithely unaware that they are destroying the country.   READ FRIEDMAN'S COLUMN BY CLICKING HERE.

I get the feeling Friedman is just flailing around, engaging in a lot of wishful thinking, and doubt if the Democratic left would support anyone other than an unreconstructed Bernie Sanders unwilling to compromise, guaranteeing a Trump victory. 
JL


Blog Bonus:  I tried watching Fox News for a while today and really, the coronavirus epidemic didn’t seem so bad on their newscasts. It was reported on, but with an obviously tempered sense of urgency.  I did note that in covering the Democratic primary races, Fox ALWAYS referred to Bernie Sanders as a “Democratic Socialist” and all week, Fox has been featuring what they called “the Unauthorized History of Socialism.”  Today’s excerpts included Mao’s murderous abuse of the Chinese people as slave labor in his “Great Leap Forward,” adjacent to their reporting about Sanders.  Goebbels lives on, on Fox News.  

JL


So, what are YOU going to do about Trumpublican abominations?  Thomas Paine said it many years ago:  "These are the times that try men's souls."

Start by passing this blog posting on to a few friends and relatives …. And then become an activist!



Monday, February 24, 2020

Holocaust Denial and Sanders Delusional Candidacy


Holocaust Deniers Exist Today

South Floridians who still read local newspapers are aware of the high school principal in Boca Raton who felt that Holocaust deniers were entitled to their opinions and therefore, he could not come out and state that the Holocaust did indeed exist. 

There always are deniers.  Some still think the world is flat and the proven laws of physics and chemistry are arbitrary and subject to conjecture.  The opinions of such people are not to be given the weight that that principal, since fired, gave them, as to the existence of the Holocaust.  

Russian Troops Freeing Holocaust Survivors - 1945
The February 23 Sunday edition of the Palm Beach Post included a special section on the end of World War Two.  In it there were many photographs documenting the Holocaust.  A supply of this special section should be provided to the Boca Raton Holocaust deniers whose right to deny proven facts was defended by that principal.  Free speech only goes so far.  It should not be granted to outright lies.   That is dangerous.

The ready acceptance of undocumented and unproven “alternate facts” by some today does not in any degree reduce the fact that what is proven beyond any doubt to be true, is indeed true, no matter how much and vehemently one may deny it.  Those who persist in such denial conceivably have ulterior motives.
JL
   
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Sanders as the Democratic Candidate

Even though there are miles to go, it appears that the supporters of Bernie Sanders are in a strong position in regard to his getting the Democratic presidential nomination.  Their fervent belief in Bernie’s ideas seems to outweigh the likelihood that, even if Sanders’ progressive views actually can be shown to dominate a majority of Democratic voters’ beliefs (which I doubt), they certainly do not represent the preferences of a majority of Americans.  If Sanders is the Democratic nominee, and even if the others who aspired to that role give him their wholehearted support, it is likely that he will not be elected President and that the 2018 Democratic gains in the House will be lost, along with any hope of capturing the Senate.  This is the price the Democrats will have to pay for Sanders’ ideological purity.  Some of his ideas are good, and some not so good, but is his nomination worth giving Donald Trump four more years?  I think not.


Sanders’ people will maintain that Americans will come to support Bernie and just as they unexpectedly supported Donald Trump in 2016 in the crucial battleground States, they believe they will elect Bernie to the presidency.  I have my doubts.

Bernie ought to be pressured to give in to another candidate, one who does not carry his misunderstood “socialist” label, one that all Democrats can unite behind.  He cannot be blind to what will be the effect upon other Democrats running for office if he is the presidential nominee.  He would be another George McGovern who lost 49 states and collected 17 electoral votes against Richard Nixon in 1972.

But if he actually believes he will win, though, he is as delusional as Donald Trump was in 2016.  True, Trump won, but he never expected to win.  The difference is that Sanders apparently does believe he can win, making his delusions more severe than were Trumps’.   But if Bernie Sanders really knows the score, does he have his price and what is it?
JL

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Thomas Paine said it many years ago:  "These are the times that try men's souls."  But YOU can do something about it!  Start by passing this blog posting on to a few friends and relatives …. And then become an activist!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Gerson Chastises G.O.P., the Democratic Nominee

Republicans are the Blame

For dictatorship to arise in the United States, all it takes is an electorate (already reduced by elected local Republican officials wherever possible) which remains silent, or is easily swayed by questionable rhetoric or is compliant with autocracy!  

Gerson
It's not an easy thing for voters to slip into these classifications, but when they can coalesce around an organization, it becomes possible, if not likely: such an organization is the Republican Party.  Washington Post Michael Gerson, speechwriter for "real" Republicans, concluded a recent column by saying, "a nation in need of Republican leaders has found flunkies instead.'  Read his entire column.  It should move you to action! JUST CLICK HERE AND READ ON !



So, what are YOU going to do about these Trumpublican abominations?  Thomas Paine said it many years ago:  "These are the times that try men's souls."


Start by passing this blog posting on to a few friends and relatives …. And then become an activist!


The Democratic Nominee

The eventual Democratic presidential nominee must be able to hang on to all of the Democratic voters whose agenda is not exactly what the nominee's is.  That means that moderates must buy into Bernie Sanders if he is the nominee, and progressives must buy into a moderate candidate.  They must not walk away if the nominee's position does not agree with theirs, and this goes for the women's vote, the Afro-American vote, the Latinx vote and the coalition forged by Barack Obama (which Hillary failed to hang onto in crucial States in 2016).  The alternative is four more years of Trump and the end of democracy in America.






And speaking of States, all that really count in 2020's presidential race are Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and perhaps Ohio.  All the rest are predictably Red or Blue.  That's where the Democrats must direct their resources ... and the echoes of those campaigns will resound in other places as well, hopefully picking up a few Senate seats.


Can she hang on to Bernie's backers?
I am not reluctant to tell you how it looks to me at this point.  Although Sanders will have enough votes locked in to win the nomination, the Convention will not allow that for it would guarantee a Trumpublican victory in 2020 and loss of the House.  There will be a "brokered" convention, with Elizabeth Warren as the nominee to comfort those on the left and an Afro-American as her running mate, conceivably Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick or N.J. Senator Cory Booker.  There are plenty of reasons why Biden, Buttigeig, Bloomberg and Klobuchar will not matter at convention-time.  ALL OF THIS CAN CHANGE, but this is is how it looks to me today.  (2/21/20)










































Thursday, February 13, 2020

William Barr - A Danger to Democracy - Read All About It!


Watch Out for Barr

As if his emasculation of the Mueller Report, minimizing its rebuke of the President and ignoring its suggestion of the Republican Party’s welcome of Russian aid, were not enough, Attorney General William Barr has once again demonstrated that he is not the Attorney General of the United States, but rather, the President’s personal surrogate in dealing with matters of Justice. 

His overriding of the proposed sentencing guidelines for Roger Stone, convicted by a jury, causing the four prosecutors to withdraw from the case, is strong evidence that Barr places the President’s desires over the law.  Similarly, his giving credence to Rudy Giuliani’s independent investigation into the Ukraine situation, and his reinvestigations of matters already resolved but not to the President’s liking, sheds a dark shadow on his role as Attorney General.  When the “rule of law” in this country is sacrificed for political expediency, it is time (or perhaps already too late) to worry.   

Please check out this blog’s January 20 posting where some insight into Barr’s actions is provided in “The Grand Inquisitor.”  There is also a link in that posting to the New Yorker magazine’s terrific article explaining why Barr’s strange behavior should not be a puzzle to those familiar with his background.   For those of you too lazy to check out that posting, here is the link to the New Yorker article.  I urge you to read it!  JUST CLICK RIGHT HERE FOR THE ARTICLE.


 JL

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Today's Letter to the Post

I don't usually follow up a blog posting a day later with another, but the Palm Beach Post saw fit to pubish this letter from me this morning, which I am proud to pass on to you.   Write letters, register voters, DO SOMETHING, but stay involved!

"Sunday’s Post featured two fine articles about gatherings in Palm Beach County.  “Tent City for the homeless rises in John Prince Park” described in detail the homeless who camp out in John Prince Park.  The other, “Trump’s Mar-a-Lago: Strikes, tweets and major decisions are made away from public scrutiny,” described in detail the President’s friends and supporters who frequent his Mar-a-Lago Club, about eight miles away from the park.  It might be revealing to both groups if they were to switch locations for a week or so. 
Jack Lippman, Boynton Beach 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Who's Watching the Blog, the Medal of Freedom and How to Beat Trump


Blog Statistics

Since discontinuing pre-notification to about 140 of this blog’s original followers whenever a new posting is added, local viewership of the blog has decreased.  But overall, many people still follow www.jackspotpourri regularly.  Here is a summary, by country, of those who checked out at least one of the blog’s postings during the past week.  Join them!   See what you may be missing!
(Statistics as of Saturday, February 8, 2020.  Discount the U.S. number by 10% because I am uncertain as to whether my own views of pages accessed in developing postings, supposedly not counted, are included or not.  Many of the foreign listings reflect the fact that many enterprises as well as government intelligence agencies monitor “everything,” including this blog.)

United States
148
United Kingdom
57
Austria
55
Netherlands
49
Germany
43
Switzerland
34
Russia
26
Unknown Region
25
France
17
Sweden
16


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Get Him with His Pants Down

Why do the Republicans get away with what they are doing?  Why did Mitch McConnell refuse to even consider Obama’s Court nomination of Merrick Garland with a full year left in his presidency?  Why did that same Senate Impeachment Jury foreman McConnell get away with declaring his refusal to be impartial even before taking a oath at the mock impeachment trial by the Senate?  How is the President permitted to play act as a dictator every day, and spew lies every time he opens his mouth? 

Don’t blame the Democrats.  The answer starts with the Republicans of this country, in Congress and in the streets and homes of citizens of this nation.  I have heard it said that the answer rests in their being silent, pliable or complicit.   And that guilt reaches beyond just the Republicans. The guilty in this age are very similar to those who permitted the bloodletting and beheadings of the French Revolution, the excesses of the Inquisition, the Holocaust and similar abominations throughout history to occur.  Being silent, pliable and complicit with evil acts amounts to enabling them and has been the recipe for Republican success and the placement of Trump in the White House.

That’s a hard combination for those who fight by the Marquis of Queensbury rules to beat.  The answer is to be as tough, and almost as reckless and ruthless, as they are.  Remember, by a five to four count, the Republicans, thanks to the corrupt Citizens United court decision enabling corporate funding of conservatives in the Senate, have stolen the ultimate role of umpire which the Supreme Court ought to fill.  That makes the task even harder.

For every Republican suggestion of doing things like investigating the Bidens the Republicans make, and other such nonsense to appeal to the gullible (and unfortunately growing) Trumpian base, the Democrats should bring up:

Stormy Daniels,
Karen McDougal,
Trump University,
His failed casinos,
His bankruptcy dodges to avoid paying bills,
His Access Hollywood remarks,








The millions of dollars which their thinly veiled business connections enable the President, Donald, Jr., Ivanka and Jared to make only because they are the President’s family,







His trashing of the Constitution,
His purging of government employees who do their jobs rather than kissing his ass,
His relationships with despots like Erdogan and Putin,
and North Korea's Kim,









His taking credit for Barack Obama’s economic accomplishments and
His innumerable lies, exaggerations and manifestations of profound ignorance in all areas. 

You get the idea?   It doesn't end.

Don’t giveTrump a pass and let him get away with this stuff.  Voices beyond the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC must join in!  



"All Ten Commandments ! Now
recite them slowly, Donald! Don't
forget the Seventh (the Sixth, if you
like the  Catholic version better.)"
And where is the clergy?  Have they considered that God is watching them!  Do Christians, particularly the Evangelicals who seem to think Trump is one of them, ask themselves “What would Jesus do”?  And parallel questions should bother clergy of other faiths, including the Orthodox Jews who think Trump can do no wrong because he opposes abortion, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem (creating all sorts of problems in our efforts to negotiate a peace with the Palestinians) and supports whatever Netanyahu does in Israel.





It’s not enough to logically explain that Trump’s is out to restore “pre-existing conditions” in health insurance decision-making, for example, despite his repeatedly claiming the opposite.  His actions and those of those in Congress he support prove otherwise.  He and his lawyers, the ones who aren’t in jail already, will argue points like this endlessly, rendering them immaterial.  And that includes the Attorney General who believes he is the President’s lawyer, and not the Government’s! Trump must be caught with his pants down, figuratively of course, and that should be displayed repeatedly on TV and throughout all media.  His pants are down most of the time, as proven by his remarks about Pearl Harbor and his disrespect of the National Anthem at the Superbowl.

James Carville said it Monday morning on “Morning Joe.”  “The only thing standing between America and the abyss is the Democratic Party.”   I heard him, but I wonder how many Americans, busy last week with the Superbowl and last night with the Academy Awards, hear him.   The Founding Fathers assumed an educated electorate and not the silent, pliable and complicit mob it appears we have.  Democracy has a hard row to hoe.



So, what are YOU going to do about it?  Thomas Paine said it many years ago:  "These are the times that try men's souls."
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 The Medal of Freedom

And as for Trump’s disgusting award of the Medal of Freedom to the vile radio charlatan Rush Limbaugh, compare that disgraceful and purely political act by the President with previous honorees in the fields of radio and television, the only categories appropriate for Limbaugh … and make your own decision.  (List courtesy of Wikipedia.)  Excuse me while I step outside to vomit

Radio


Recipient
Year
President
Notes
1977
Gerald Ford
2005
George W. Bush
2020
Donald Trump

Television


Recipient
Year
President
Notes
1989
George H.W. Bush
Posthumous[53]
1992
George H.W. Bush
1995
Bill Clinton
1995
Bill Clinton
2002
George W. Bush
2002
George W. Bush
2003
George W. Bush
2005
George W. Bush
2005
George W. Bush
2007
George W. Bush
2013
Barack Obama
2014
Barack Obama
2016
Barack Obama
2016
Barack Obama

All deserving except for Cosby, of course.

(When the late Senator Joseph McCarthy died, even his harshest critics refrained from immediate criticism, saying that one speaks only kindly of the deceased. Recognizing that Limbaugh is seriously ill, I am making these comments while he still is alive.)

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So, what are YOU going to do about it?  Thomas Paine said it many years ago:  "These are the times that try men's souls."

All About the Supreme Court plus a Quote

High Court Deliberates In a few months, the Supreme Court will come up with a decision regarding abortion rights.   Right now, they are dige...