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 for 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.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

07-30-2022 - Failing to 'Stop the Steal, my Poetic Effort Explained and Happy to be an NPA

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A Floriduh Fable in Which No One
‘Stopped the Steal

Imagine a political race between Joe Smith and Mary Jones for a seat in the State Senate.  Joe Smith is an incumbent and Mary Jones is trying to unseat him.  Her backers come up with the idea of running a third-party candidate, who is never seen, never campaigns or states any positions, and who happens to have the same last name as the incumbent, Smith, a rather common name.  Political scientists refer to such candidates as ‘ghost candidates.’  Imagine that this one happened to be in debt and the $44,000 someone paid him to run was welcomed by him.




He only gets about 6,000 thousand votes out of the 215,000 which were cast but that was enough to make Mary Jones into a State Senator.  These votes, intended for Joe Smith, were cast by voters who mistakenly voted for the wrong Smith.

This really happened in Floriduh in 2020 in its 37th senatorial district. Look it up!  Although the criminals who engineered this bit of election fraud have been caught, and the ‘ghost candidate’ (who ‘flipped’ in court and told all) got off with house arrest and probation, the matter concerning those who engineered this scheme is still bouncing around the legal system while ‘Mary Jones’ is safely sitting in the State Senate in the seat that was stolen for her by election fraud.  The primary perpetrator of the fraud was a lawyer, so expect at least a few more years of postponements and delay before justice is fully served, if that ever will be in this case, despite his having bragged about his ‘accomplishment’ in a Floriduh bar on election night before many witnesses.

I am puzzled why, once the truth was revealed, Smith’s party did not go to Court to disallow the corrupted election and sue to have another election take place.  If they did, I didn’t hear about it.  Perhaps it was because they were already a minority in the Senate and one seat, more or less, didn’t change anything, so they ‘made nice’ and accepted the corrupted result.  It was this kind of spineless behavior on the part of Floriduh Democrats that makes me proud that I switched my party affiliation from Democratic to ‘No Party Affiliation' last year.

*I had other reasons as well, listed below.

Be that as it may, Mary Jones nevertheless occupies a Senate seat because of an election in which a majority of voters in her district either voted for her opponent or at least thought they were doing so. The voters were shortchanged by this fraud.  (Her victory was by about 35 votes.  The ‘ghost candidate’ with the same last name as her opponent  received over 6,000 votes.) 

If Mary had any honor, she ought to have graciously resigned, which she did not.  Such a moral shortcoming was not uncommon in the administration of the defeated former president in which Mary, founder of ‘Latinas for Trump in 2016,’ had been a deputy press secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.  She is no different from most members of her party, lying being their main political skill and strategy.  As for honor, that is a concept totally foreign to them. 

The names in this tale have been changed to avoid confusion with others who may, like losing candidate Smith, have similar names, but as I said, you can 'look it up.'

The party of these scoundrels attempted to pull the same stunt in other districts, using ‘ghost candidates’ to take votes away from their opponents, even if the names were not the same.  They too have been apprehended. One has fled the country.  

The accused all come from a political party that is constantly screaming about stolen elections and election fraud, which they are never able to back up with evidence.  In this case, however, a State Senate seat was indeed stolen and the fraud is real and the evidence is there. 

They are a bunch of filthy scoundrels and no one with half a brain should ever vote for any of them, and that includes the two of them who are running for re-election as Governor and United States Senator in Floriduh.  Perhaps if the voters of the Sunslime State get wise to these two charlatans on November 8 and vote them out of office, I’ll start spelling the name of the State properly. 

*My other reasons for ceasing to be a registered Democrat, listed a few months ago on this blog, include: 

  1. The coddling of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, while in the custody of the Democratic Palm Beach County Sheriff, 
  2. The acceptance of DeSantis appointee Wendy Satory, a life-long Republican, as a Democrat so she could be re-elected to her post of Election Supervisor in Palm Beach County, where Republicans do not win county-wide elections.  This was a slap in the face of Professor Deandre Poole who had been slated to run for that position and makes it harder for the Democratic Party to get the trust of persons of color in the County. Poole is now running for a much lesser position. Both Poole and Satory are qualified and competent, but still she is at heart a Republican, 
  3. Running and electing termed-out State Senator Joseph Abruzzo for County Clerk, a job for which he had no qualifications whatsoever.  It is time for public offices, either by appointment or likely election, to cease being plums used as rewards for service to a party, so long as taxpayers fund the often generous salaries that come with them.

 JL

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 America Afloat

 Jack Lippman

The greatness of America

Is that it does survive

Attacks upon democracy

Whose flame it keeps alive.


The laws that blossom from the words

The Founding Fathers wrote

Still serve us well today to keep

America afloat.

 

This doesn’t happen by itself,

We cannot wish it true,

The bottom line, my friends, is that

It all depends on you.

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I am proud of this poem.  It is not just a collection of patriotic rhymes. It sums up a lot of my thoughts. 

It was written in response to the meaningless slogan of the defeated former president, ‘Make America Great Again,’ which encourages his supporters to look back to any time in the past that they think was better than what America is today, casting negative aspersions on any changes which may have occurred since that elusive time in the past that they feel have diminished America’s greatness, and pointedly reduced their own traditional social and economic positions.

The first verse points out that what really makes America great has been its ability to survive the attacks on democracy presented by the crises of 1776, 1812, 1860, 1918, 1941, 2001, and most recently, by the efforts of the defeated former president to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power which has followed every presidential election in American history except his, culminating in violence on January 6, 2021. That ability enables America to continue its role as a ‘city on a hill,’ serving as a democratic beacon to other nations.

The second verse points out that America is a nation based on laws, as established in the Constitution and those subsequently developed in the spirit of that document and of the Declaration of Independence as well. The unspoken alternative to staying afloat is sinking.

 The third verse assigns responsibility for maintaining this greatness to us as individual citizens.

JL

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

07-26-2022 - Lincoln's Vision, Aristophanes' Play, A Winning Strategy, Depression, Madison's Ambiguity and a New Poem

 


Lincoln in 1838 Saw it Coming

In his Lyceum address in 1838, Abraham Lincoln pointed out that 'the country’s republican experiment, though successful so far, would always require the people’s vigilant care.' He told his audience that the main threat would not come from a foreign invader.

'At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?' the future president rhetorically asked. He went on to answer his own question by saying 'If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be our author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.'

Lincoln feared, quite correctly, a civil war.  Today's House Committee's hearings are providing that 'vigilant care' Lincoln spoke of, in dealing with the present danger which is coming from within the nation, and not from elsewhere, presented by the acts of the defeated former president and his supporters, of which it appears America’s citizenry are both the ‘author and finisher.I hope it finishes well.

JL

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Leave it to the Girls?

Had lunch the other day with a bright couple dating back to my kindergarten days. The subject turned to what women might do to alter the political morass in which the nation seems to be.  Before long, we were discussing an old Greek play, Lysistrata.  

Aristophanes
With the aid of some ‘googling,’ we learned that back in 411 B.C., playwright Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata, in which the title character persuades the women of the warring cities of Athens and Sparta to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace in the Peloponnesian Wars. The Athenians were taking it on the chin from the Spartans at the time and there were probably a lot of 'peaceniks' demonstrating around the Acropolis, one of whom might have been Aristophanes. (Lysistrata’s strategy didn’t catch on, the war continued for seven more years, with the Spartans winning.) 

Nothing has changed much since then, except that women can now vote and hold office!  Lysistrata has been produced occasionally on Broadway, as a musical and I am sure some off-B'way producer is working on a revival right now in which this strategy is used to restore the rights taken away by the Dobbs decision, repealing Roe vs. Wade. 

I am awaiting the exposure of Aristophanes as an originating member of Antifa by Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene and his also being denounced on Fox News, complaining that this 'commie' playwright refused to be interviewed by Tucker Carlson.

 JL

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A Strategy to Convict

Okay, you’re on a jury, where the defendant is presumed innocent until you and the other jurors, decide otherwise.  The defendant is the defeated former president.  A credible witness, a former acting Attorney General, testifies under oath that the defendant asked him to “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,” 

Assuming these congressmen would do his bidding, the defendant would have indeed committed a crime, in violation of the Constitution, if the acting Attorney General had gone along with him. But he didn’t, so this particular plan did not go beyond the defendant’s mind.  Your jury is not going to convict. 

This is just one example of the difficulty the Department of Justice will have in tying the many similar incidents of the defendant’s planning to defy the Constitution with the acts of others actually carrying out those plans.  Intent and planning sedition are not the same as carrying it out.  This is the problem the DOJ faces and they cannot risk losing in Court.  They would have a much easier job if the defeated former president had gone on to the Capitol and raised his fist in support before the rioters, urging them on, as Missouri Senator *Josh Hawley did.  But he didn’t.

As I see it, and I am not a lawyer, the only winning approach for the DOJ, if they proceed to indict, is to cite the many repeated incidents of planning on the part of the defendant as evidence of his intentions, even though it were others, getting the message, who attempted to carry out his plans. 

The prosecution must make the point that one or two such incidents might be acceptable as just ‘planning’ on the part of the defendant. The enormous number of them, however, all confirmed by reliable witnesses, should be taken together by a jury as going beyond being mere ‘planning.’  Considering their great number, they should be taken to amount to a planned 'grand strategy,' the culmination of which on January 6, 2021, he cannot separate himself from, and convict him.

* Josh Hawley defeated Claire McKissick to get his Senate seat in 2018 by a margin of 51.4% to 45.6% (3% went to minor candidates) which points up the fact that the defeated former president is not the problem so much as his misinformed and misguided voters are. Even if he were not available to run, they would find someone else to support, someone who also did not understand nor believe in democracy.

JL

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Depression Should Lead to Awareness and Ultimately, Action

A follower of the blog texted me saying that the last posting depressed her.  Here is what I said to her in response. 

‘Depression is good!  That should be motivation to do something about it.  Start with reading Timothy Snyder's very short book, 'On Tyranny.'  You may be depressed, but you are at least 'aware.'  Tyranny slips in quietly, with the people sometimes unaware.  

A short story.  It's true.  A Holocaust survivor who belonged to my shul on Long Island was still living in Germany when Kristallnacht occurred. His father had a furniture store, which was broken into and had its windows smashed. What did he do?  He picked up the phone and called the police about the vandalism.  Of course, they laughed at him and hung up. 

By 1938, living in Germany, he should have been aware of what was going on but he was not, shown by the fact that he actually expected help from the police.  Maybe, if more had been aware, and as a result, became depressed, they would have been moved to try to leave in time to save their lives.  We cannot ignore the torch-bearing marchers in Charlottesville and what they were shouting, the shootings at the synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, CA, and the Capitol invader with the 'Camp Auschwitz' tee shirt. 

These things are not to be taken 'in stride.' They should create awareness.  In my blog, I say that, eventually, things will get better.  But first, they have to get bad enough to make enough people 'aware,' even if some depression is involved.’

JL

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Everybody Loves Madison Who Walked on Both Sides of the Street

It seems that Republicans have embraced the idea that state legislatures should dominate our political system.  That lead me to embark upon a re-reading of James Madison in Federalist Paper Number 39, the last paragraph of which I quote below.

By using the term 'federal,' Madison refers to powers of those individual states, especially their legislatures and by 'national.' he means the powers of the central government. The Constitution. intentionally a bundle of the compromises needed to ensure its ratification was therefore confusing in 1789 and the one thing that is clear today is that it remains so. If you have an hour or so to spare, try to read #39 in its entirety. I'm sure you can find it online somewhere.  Here’s that excerpt:

'The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution., but a composition of both. In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national.'

After digesting this gibberish, I can see that Madison was honest in Number 39 in pointing out that the powers of government came from ‘the great body of the people,’ a democratic idea.  He also was honest in pointing out that most of them, however, came indirectly, through their voting being limited to state legislatures and members of just one house of Congress.  This was a republican idea.  But either way, the powers of government came from the 'great body of the people' and not an autocratic leader or aristocratic group.  They just took longer to get where they were going via the republican route.  Hence, Madison catered to both sides and all were satisfied, at least openly, with our ‘democratic republic.’   

Of course, some today, as then, would prefer that the preferences of ‘the great body of the people’ be achieved either through more democratic (or national, giving more influence to central govenment) means and others through more republican (or federal, a word derived from 'confederation,' giving more power to the states) means.  Hence we have Democrats and Republicans, both claiming Madison as their own.

 JL

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America Afloat 

Jack Lippman


The greatness of America

Is that it does survive

Attacks upon democracy

Whose flame it keeps alive.

 

The laws that blossom from the words

The Founding Fathers wrote

Still serve us well today to keep

America afloat.

 

This doesn’t happen by itself,

We cannot wish it true,

The bottom line, my friends, is that

It all depends on you.

 

JL

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Friday, July 22, 2022

02-22-2022 - Lies, Weakness of our First Amendment, Corrupt Law Enforcement, Republic vs Democracy, the Jan. 6 Hearings on TV, and Debbie Downer

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SNL's Rachel Dratch (Debbie Downer)


Debbie Downer Time - What Will AG Garland Do?

At the risk of again being declared to be a ‘Debbie Downer’ (the SNL character played by Rachel Dratch, introduced in 2004 and seen very rarely in the past decade, who always looked at the dark side of everything and personified pessimism), a bit of criticism that was thrown at me a few years ago, I must point out that all the January 6 Committee can do is make recommendations for future legislation. That amounts to locking the barn door after the horse is gone.  And the horse, of course, is the defeated former president.

Only the DOJ can pursue seditious acts which may have been committed. Their reluctance to do so is caused by (1) their fear of the real chance of the defeated former president winning in Court (remember traitorous Aaron Burr wasn't convicted) and (2) oddly enough, also their fear of securing a conviction in Court.

In the case of an acquittal, the exonerated defendant's resultant gloating, 'I told ya, so!' would enrage those convinced of his guilt by the tsunami of evidence of his guilt amassed by the House Select Committee, which itself could not indict him.   In the case of a conviction, the rage of the defeated former president's supporters would be ignited.  Either way would result in violence.

I watched Thursday evening's Committee hearings on NBC TV during prime time, in which the overwhelming evidence illustrating the defeated former president's unquestionable responsibility for the attack on the Capitol and his dereliction of duty in choosing not to stop it was presented.  Our prisons are filled with people who committed far lesser crimes. CBS and ABC (in addition to CNN, MSNBC, PBS, C-Span and other channels) also carried it.  Conspicuously, Fox did not carry it.  Why not? Their sympathetic treatment of the defeated former president would have been contradicted by 'facts.'  Even the film clips of Fox coverage of the insurrection showed only 'peaceful' portions of the mob.  Further, the Committee quoted Fox luminaries such as Hannity and Ingraham texting the White House asking that the President 'call off' the rioters.  That would have been confusing to their viewers whom they had conditioned to believe in his 'Big Lie' about a stolen election.

I don’t know for certain what Attorney-General Garland will eventually do. My guess is ‘nothing’ except a very strong speech or memorandum critical of the defeated former president and explaining why he is not proceeding with an indictment, for the sake of avoiding the violence and bloodshed any verdict would bring about, after which the defeated former president would commit to disappearing from the political scene, as part of a not-to-be-revealed deal.  Even if he does decide to proceed, I suspect the entire legal process will take many years, during which all defendants will have died.

In any event, I still feel that things will have to get worse before they start getting better. Go ahead.  Call me a ‘Debbie Downer.’ There are too many people to convince or overcome like that lady mentioned in the final piece on this posting, (Is the First Amendment Enough?), the one interviewed at that rally in a muddy field in PennsylvaniaBut things will get better. Eventually. The pendulum will swing back. Give it a push.

Draw strength from some of the words of Timothy Snyder in 'On Tyranny' 'Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.' 'Try to be a patriot.' 'Try to be courageous as you can.' Of course, vote, while elections still have some meaning.

In that book, Snyder asks a fascinating question (in the Epilogue). In the slogan “Make America Great Again,” what is the definition of the word ‘Again’? Where and when is that time and place to which ‘Again’ refers?  Snyder goes on to point out another slogan that also uses that same word but where the awfulness of its meaning is very clear: 'Never Again.’

JL

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When Telling the Truth is too Strenuous, Just Lie!


All politicians lie a little. It is part of their profession.  
They have to exaggerate a bit in order to get elected.  But when a political party’s lifeblood is based on lies, and their telling the truth is about as rare as spotting an iceberg off the coast of Ecuador, they deserve condemnation.

There was a story in the news the other day, getting a lot of publicity because of the horrendous Supreme Court decision reversing Roe vs. Wade, about a raped and pregnant ten-year-old girl having to travel from Ohio to Indiana for an abortion.  The initial reaction of the right-wing stooges on Fox News and similar media and from Republican politicians was to just lie and declare it to be ‘fake news.’ 

When it turned out that the story was true, retractions were minimal and then their stories shifted into how the doctor who performed the abortion and those who helped move her to another state ought to be punished.  The immigration status of the rapist and how pro-choice media handled the story became right-wing media discussion points. Their mission is to find things to criticize and to blame on liberals and progressives.  These are truly evil people.  And they all are Republicans.

           Lost was the basic fact that their first reaction was to

                                 Lie

and declare it to be ‘Fake News.’  Congressman Jim Jordan, South Dakota Governor Noem, Tucker Carlson and the whole kit and kaboodle of professional liars, all of whom still worship the defeated former president, a massive prefabricator himself, chose to lie and when their lies were uncovered, shifted the subject and perhaps whispered a minimal retraction of their having initially accused the media of spreading ‘fake news.’ 

And here’s another example:  You may recall Rusty Bowers, the Arizona state legislature house speaker who testified before the House Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection about how he resisted the defeated former president’s attempt to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden in that state.  Well, he has been formally censured by his own Republican party in Arizona and declared to be ‘no longer a Republican in good standing.’  His offense was a simple one, that of refusing to lie, a routine act demanded of all who are still loyal to the Nazi, excuse me, I mean the Republican party of 2022 in Arizona and probably the rest of the country.  (Bowers indicated his Christian upbringing prevented him from acceding to the defeated former president’s request.)

So when this blog treats what Republicans sometimes say to be closer to the propaganda Josef Goebbels spread in Nazi Germany rather than just plain vanilla, traditional, American free speech, please understand what I am getting at.  These stories are just examples.  They do it all the time.  Lie.  The ‘Big Lie’ and little ones too.

JL

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The Corruption of Law Enforcement

Too many in law enforcement, and this includes the Secret Service, do not distinguish between their sworn duties and their political beliefs, coupling them together as 'patriotism.'  We must find a way to make all law enforcement 'apolitical' as are our armed forces, which recognize a loyalty to the Constitution, and not to any elected officials nor political positions.

 JL

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A Republic or a Democracy?

Some conservatives claim that we are a ‘republic’ and not a ‘democracy’ which they liken to ‘mob rule.’  They like to point out that the Pledge to the Flag mentions ‘the Republic for which it stands’ and not ‘the Democracy for which it stands.’  They are wrong.  Our ‘republic’ is based on ‘democracy.’

Madison

They point to James Madison as the source of this information and certainly in Federalist Paper #10, he made the point that we are indeed a republic.  They ignore, however, that in Federalist Paper #39, Madison further defined a republic’s democratic origins writing that we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people.’  That sounds like a ‘democracy’ to me, making the term ‘democratic republic’ appropriate.

This point of view is expressed at a libertarian website stressing the ‘Austrian’ school of economics with which I am otherwise unfamiliar, but insofar as defining the nature of our ‘republic,’ it is right on the mark.  The ‘democracy’ upon which our ‘republic’ is based is certainly not ‘mob rule,’ a theory those opposed to democracy here espouse.  The American Revolution was not the French Revolution. 

Check this article out by CLICKING HERE  or visiting  

https://mises.org/wire/stop-saying-were-republic-not-democracy?gclid=CjwKCAjwrNmWBhA4EiwAHbjEQK4-txv9TB8p2Jt-ahEYziiV4wW529vSgiLy1gxqR6xaOIu5iMQayBoCIhoQAvD_BwE  

on your ‘browser’ line.

 

JL

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 Is the First Amendment Enough?

In the United States of America,  Church and State must remain separated.  Consider, however, that the First Amendment's sanction against Congress passing anything to the contrary might not be enough to keep that separation clear.   Here's a quote from Charles Homans' New York Times Magazine article about the anti-democratic movement. He is describing a rally in Pennsylvania for the very dangerous Republican candidate for governor of that State at which the defeated former president appeared.

"In the first hours, nearly everyone I met drifting down the muddy pop-up boulevards with TRUMP WON flags and kiosks selling LET’S GO BRANDON T-shirts, had been following Trump’s rallies from state to state, on and off, for months or years. When I asked what they thought about the last election or the next one, most cited one or another strand of the Trump-centric QAnon conspiracy theory. “It starts with the British royal monarchy and the Vatican that are controlling everything,” Jill Wood, a rallygoer from Ohio, told me. “There’s only two teams: Team Jesus and Team Lucifer. And it’s very easy to pick a side. 

That lady made it very clear. Enough of these people (who now have seized control of the Republican Party) actually believe Jesus would be a supporter of the defeated former president, and that if you don't buy into that, you side with the Devil.

Their beliefs have nothing whatsoever to do with the First Amendment stopping Congress from making laws ‘respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’  No matter how crazy these beliefs are, these folks have the right to believe that way and vote accordingly.

That is the risk we take in having a republic, which Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying was our form of government, "if you can keep it."  We are having difficulty doing that. 

JL

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Sunday, July 17, 2022

07-17-2022 - 'On Tyranny,' the Secret Service, Inflation, and Some Voting Advice


Secret Service Now Suspected of Deleting Emails

The Secret Service Can Never Be Political or Partisan

From the latest headlines, I gather that the Secret Service must now be included among the law enforcement agencies, some of whose members have been politicized over the years with right-wing, if not conspiratorial, ideas.

It probably will take a few decades to rid our country of the poisons with which the defeated former president infected it as well as those from the ‘lost cause’ which he helped to resurrect.  And we need an honest Republican Party to help accomplish that. We do not have one. The Democrats cannot, and should not, do it alone.

 

JL

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Three Reasons Not to Vote for Republicans

1.   After the Supreme Court reversed Rowe vs. Wade, there is no reason for any woman in the United States to vote for any Republican candidate for any office, local, state, or national, because none of them are willing to publicly criticize the Court’s horrendous decision limiting a woman’s control over her own body.

2.   After the Supreme Court’s decision loosening restrictions that the Environmental Protection Administration can place on polluters, there is no reason for anyone in the United States who is interested in keeping our planet alive to vote for any Republican candidate for any office, local, state, or national, because none of them are willing to publicly criticize the Court’s decision.

3.   In view of gerrymandering and other attacks on voting rights enacted by Republican-controlled state legislatures throughout the country, there is no reason for anyone in the United States to vote for any Republican candidate for any office, local, state, or national, who fails to denounce these undemocratic actions, which are primarily directed at persons of color or minority groups.

This leaves most Americans, especially women and persons of color, with only one choice, and that is to vote for Democrats. 

If they fail to do this in massive numbers in November, sufficient to give the Democrats more solid majorities in both Houses of Congress, as well as gains in state legislatures, the erosion of American democracy that will follow will be their fault. 

Don’t just sit on your butt.  Do something to help save democracy in this country.  That will not happen without your personal efforts. You can volunteer to register voters, knock on doors, make telephone calls, write postal cards (check this out on the past few blog postings), send emails, make donations, etc.  Do something!  Today!  Now! 

JL

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Who’s to Blame For Inflation?

Inflation is a world-wide problem, not just a problem in the United States.  Most conspicuously, it is represented by the control and pricing of petroleum products by the nations that produce them and the companies that sell them.  This is not the only manifestation of inflation but it is the most visible one since it is posted each day on the gasoline pumps of the world.  It cannot be blamed on President Biden because it is an international problem, not limited to the U.S. 

In fact, President Biden has tried to solve this problem by bringing himself to sit down with the Saudi leader, ignoring the reprehensible nature of that country’s government and actions.  He knows that they produce a lot of oil, and putting more on the market can go a long way in reducing inflation.  

The defeated former president opened the door for Russian, Chinese and Iranian influence to move into the Middle East, when he created a vacuum there starting with our walking away from Syria.  Biden is working on filling that vacuum because the United States, the Arab states and Israel, all of whom have independent agendas, recognize that the enemy of your enemy can be your friend, at least temporarily.  And this has something to do with resolving inflation, at least the petroleum part of it, because there is so much oil under all of that sand.

During the Covid pandemic, reduced demand disrupted worldwide supply chains that had taken years to create.  Rebuilding them is a time-consuming task and that is another cause of inflation.  Finally, the drain on the resources of the United States, the NATO countries, and even Russia to pay for the war they started in Ukraine reduces the supply of almost everything in those nations, creating more demand than supply and resulting in inflation.  The Ukrainian wheat crop that fed many nations has to be somehow replaced and that is part of the reason bread, for example, costs a few cents more a loaf here.

President Biden cannot be blamed for inflation and should be praised for attempting to curb it.  Certainly, Republicans have no solutions for it, just as that party as it is presently constituted has no solution for any of the other problems a democracy faces.

JL

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On Tyranny - Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century


That’s the title of a short 126-page pocket size book by Yale history professor Timothy SnyderIt is very easy reading, consisting of twenty short essays, alerting us to the conditions leading to a nation, any nation, giving up its freedoms and choosing tyranny instead and the immoral behavior to which it leads. 

Snyder provides numerous examples including the Soviet Union and the Germany of the 1930s. Besides being revealing history, it serves to awaken those who might not even be aware that their behavior helps bring about the rise of tyranny.

‘On Tyranny,’ is available online from many sources at prices under $10, with used copies even less.  (I bought my copy from Amazon for a bit over $6.) 

This is indispensable reading and can nourish your brain far better than that amount of money can nourish your stomach, even in a fast-food restaurant.  Please read it.

 

JL

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