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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.

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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