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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

08 30-2022 - A Vision Test, Your Voting Decision, A Need to Know, Rewriting History, Semi-Fascists, Student Loan Forgiveness and Thoughts About the DFP (Defeated Former President)


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How to Make a Voting Decision

Take a moment to think about how you feel about the following issues:

  1.     The right of women to make their own decisions regarding abortion.
  2.     The right of school districts to make their own decisions regarding curriculum, textbooks and teaching methods.
  3.     The intervention of government into what is taught about American history in order to avoid offending anyone’s sensibilities.
  4.     The continuing loss of life in the United States because of gun violence, enabled by a gross misinterpretation of the Second Amendment on the part of the Supreme Court.
  5.      Whether there is any justification for doubt as to the results of the 2020 presidential election.
  6.      Limitations on voting locations, early voting and mail-in ballots that reduce the number of voters.
  7.      State-manipulated voting districting that results in reducing the  ‘representativeness’ of our system of representative democracy.
  8.     The undemocratic basis for determining the composition of the United States Senate and of the Electoral College (which determines the presidency), loaded numbers that were established as a compromise in 1789 to get the Constitution ratified.
  9.     Long-established practices and customs that result in discrimination or a loss of freedoms or opportunities because of color, religious belief, or ethnicity.
  10. ·   Regulation of public and private practices that contribute to changes in our climate and resulting catastrophic events.
  11.     The Federal government's responsibility to see that all Americans, regardless of age have access to adequate health care.
  12.     Continued support of Social Security and Medicare.
  13.     Regulation of the private sector, including the investment marketplace, to assure that individuals do not suffer so that others might succeed.

Consider the positions taken by Val Demings, Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis on these issues.  Ignore ‘attack’ commercials found on television and the internet, regardless of whom they attack and from whom they come.  Seek out their positions.  Then decide how you will vote on November 8.  And don’t keep your decision to yourself.  Let your friends, relatives and neighbors, some of whom may be ‘fence-sitters,’ know so that they just might follow your example.

 JL                        

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How Good is Your Vision?

Test your vision.  Can you see Jupiter, Florida, from my front lawn?  I cannot. It is only 35 miles away to the north, but thus far no one has been able to see it from here.  But anyone who looks eastward in the sky in the early evening this week from anywhere around here can easily see the planet Jupiter, sitting there 377 million miles away, provided there are no clouds getting in the way.

Jupiter, from my front lawn on 8/29/22 at 10:40 p.m.
after I put the trash out for the next day.


 JL                        

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Thoughts About the DFP (defeated former president)

And now, it appears that the DFP is going to waste some more valuable time between now and the election, during which the forces of truth will be further delayed in making more public their case against the DFP's cadre of liars, by playing around with the idea of a court-appointed ‘master’ for a week or so. After that, he’ll come up with something else, possibly a painful recurrence of his bone spurs diagnosed by Florida’s Surgeon-General, Dr. Ladapo.

His attorneys, and his supporters, want full transparency of the details on which the warrant to enter Mar-a-Lago and retake possession of government documents illegally stored there by the DFP was based as well as the affidavit concerning that warrant.  The fact that he had no right as a private citizen to possess them, and his repeated failure to give them back to the government, suffices to constitute his violating the law, without law enforcement needing to reveal their content. That is enough.  These lawyers know very well that such transparency would endanger many individuals, here and overseas, involved the nation’s intelligence apparatus as well as in our court system, and they will not get it.  That’s why the redactions in what was released were made. These attorneys are just ‘showboating’ for his followers. 

In effect, the DFP's legal team wants access to the evidence which will likely be the basis of a prosecution’s potential case.  Once there is an indictment and a trial, they will get it, but they are not entitled to it beforehand.  No football team allows their opponent’s defensive coach access to their locker room before the game.  Only when they are on the field will they see what they are up against.  Until then, they can just guess. They well know that.  More ‘showboating’ by lawyers.

At a minimum, those attorneys working for him deserve disbarment, because they know better, as do Senators and Representatives supporting him. After his ultimate indictment, he’ll probably turn to a public defender, not being able to find any other lawyer stupid enough to take the case of a hopelessly guilty client who ignores what attorneys tell him to say and to do and who doesn’t pay his legal bills anyway. After it’s all over, his friend Lindell will probably be willing to give him a job stuffing pillows in Minnesota and he can move in with Ivanka and Jared once they’re settled in their new digs in the trailer park, having blown all their cash on legal fees themselves.

JL                        

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Calling Out Our Semi-Fascists

Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson’s daily newsletter, ‘Letters From an American,’ hit the nail on the head the other day regarding having the guts to speak the truth.  .  President Biden’s calling MAGA Republicans ‘semi-fascists’ was such a gutsy statement.  Check it out at https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/august-27-2022 or just CLICK HERE to read it.  It’s short and includes a meaningful history lesson.

JL                        

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A Need to Know

Where I Worked 65 Years Ago


About sixty-five years ago, I had a security clearance which entitled me to access certain classified information about which I had a ‘need to know’ in order to do my job.  On leaving the service, I was ‘debriefed’ at which time I was told to forget anything in connection with that information, as if it never existed, and of the severe penalties for not doing so.  Why?  I no longer had a ‘need to know.’  This is the hallmark of all security clearances, having a ‘need to know.’ Millions of Americans who served in the armed forces, in government service and even in parts of the private sector can tell the same story. 

The DFP, on leaving office, no longer had any ‘need to know,’ let alone maintain possession of such classified information, which remained the property of the United State government.  This pathetic man’s ignorance was manifested when he is reported to have claimed, in regard to such documents, that ‘they are mine.’  I am sure the National Archives would provide any documentation a former president might need in writing a memoir, for example, but personally keeping such documents is a crime, regardless of whether he was or was not ‘debriefed’ and whether or not they were ‘classified.’

His claim that he ‘declassified’ such material while he still was president is ludicrous because there are documented and established procedures for ‘declassifying’ classified information, none of which were followed by him.  Just saying that he had the power to declassify them and indeed did so, is not enough.  His attorneys know that.   If the penalties explained at any such ‘debriefing’ to anyone are to have any meaning, they should be imposed upon the DFP.

JL                        

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We Cannot Rewrite History

Why aren’t Roger Stone and Michael Flynn in jail?  Both were convicted, but the defeated former president had his puppet Attorney General throw out the Stone conviction without any real justification, and Flynn was ultimately pardoned.  Similarly, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions regarding the defeated former president’s possible collusion with a foreign power in the report that carries his name were whitewashed by that puppet Attorney General. 

If the DFP is ever indicted, convicted, and sentenced for crimes that he might have committed, will the miscarriages of justice and illegal acts he carried out while in office be reversible?  Nope. How about the Supreme Court Justices who were nominated by him for purely political reasons, as recommended by the Federalist Society, whose ‘originalist’ doctrines have no place in a twenty-first century democracy?  Nope. Will the belated awakening of that puppet Attorney General before the House Committee investigating the January 6 coup attempt lessen his complicity?  Nope. Will the Republican Party that consciously chose to run a totally unqualified and dishonest presidential candidate in 2016 and 2020 on the basis of his salesman’s pitch, and those who voted for him, share accountability for the harm they have done to the nation?  Nope. Historical events which unfortunately occurred cannot be erased.  History is not like a filmmaker’s ability to reshoot a scene.  Can we rewrite history?  Nope. 'Revisionism' doesn't work. Eventually, reality always triumphs, and that's an argument for getting things right the first time around.

 JL                        

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Student Loan Forgiveness and IRS Agents

While I agree with the basic premise of the President’s proposal to forgive up to $10,000 or $20,000 (if involving a Pell grant) of student debt, its timing is horrible, typical of Democratic un-thought-out strategies.  It should have been sat on until after Election Day.  

It hands the Republicans an issue at a time when most of their usual talking points are melting away, giving them something more to talk about than Hunter Biden or Hillary Clinton in avoiding voicing too active a defense of the DFP, a course which might ultimately come back to haunt them, an embarrassment as he is washed away in a tsumani of evidence. 

Much safer is their providing the resources to hire more IRS agents to ferret out unpaid taxes. Republican liars are already claiming these agents will go after the middle class, an easily refuted charge. They will go after businesses and the very wealthy who frequently have been getting away with paying less taxes than you who are reading this, or even none at all.  This was a smart move, and voters will recognize it.

Promising to forgive student loans right before an election is not.  There’s a time for that, but it isn’t right now. That will lose more votes on November 8 than it will gain.

JL                        

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America Afloat 

 


(A poem that is always worth repeating in these blog postings. To learn more, visit this blog's posting of July 30, 2022, accessible from the Archives off to the right.)       JL          


 

 

 

'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, August 26, 2022

08-26-2022 - If I Had a Hammer, Delaying Tactics at Mar-a-Lago, Voting Suggestions, Florida's Latino Vote, Blackmail Ain't Dead, Voter Fraud in Florida, and Medicare Part C

We live in historic times.  Each day's events, as they unfold, all become part of history. Events taking place as you read this may or may not be immediately memorable, but they will become part of history. Time will determine their significance.  They even may resolve, or add to, some of the questions raised in the second and the sixth items on this blog posting, some of which were prepared before today.  JL 

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A Warning of Danger from 73 Years Ago

From years ago, I remember a folk song that talked about having a hammer to hammer out a warning, a bell to ring to ring out that warning and a song to sing out that warning, and those warnings were of ‘danger’ all over this land.

Seeger

Well, the Weavers, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the many voices who sang it, and of course Pete Seeger who wrote it, aren’t around any longer but the danger the song warned us of is still around, bigger and ‘worser’ than ever.  Take a trip back to 1949 and listen to Pete Seeger warn us by CLICKING HERE or by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO39e5Uznu4

The song offers justice and freedom as their message, both of which are under attack today in the United States by what is still labeled as the Republican Party but undeniably has evolved into the party of white supremacy, religious nationalism, anti-semitism, hatred of immigrants, denial of election results, book banning, sexism in all of its manifestations, and a brand of capitalism which takes precedence over the final remedy the song offered, ‘love between all of my brothers and sisters all over this land.’

Heed that warning, brothers, sisters, and others!  Now, go back and listen to Peter, Paul and Mary passing on that same warning by CLICKING HERE or otherwise visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nugn-5j_BIM

By now, I’d bet that old tune is rolling around in your head … so now it’s your turn to sing it, or at least pass this warning on to others! 

‘If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning  ….

JL                        

 

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Delays are on the Side of the Liars

By getting away with having the judge look at the Department of Justice's suggested redactions of sensitive information in the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search warrant, and his deciding to what extent to allow them in the unprecedented release of that document, the defeated former president chewed up almost 10% of the remaining time between now and the approaching mid-term elections, reducing the opportunities available to those opposed to his lies to counteract them with factual truths which might enhance their chances of victories in those elections, less than eleven weeks away.  

I assume he has many more similar delaying tactics in his back pocket, enough to last until at least November 2024 and probably for the rest of his life.

JL                        

 

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How to  Vote More than Once on Election Day

I was talking to a gentleman the other day about the upcoming election on November 8 and explaining to him how he might vote more than once and do it without committing voter fraud.  Initially, that shocked him, but It is really very simple.

You can double, triple, or quadruple, (etc.) your voting power by talking to, and convincing those who might not even bother to vote, or who have no idea of what the issues are, to register and vote the way you are voting.  All it takes are a few telephone calls or words spoken over a cup of coffee or a beer.  That’s the way plain, ordinary, people get to have more than one vote.  Election day is less than three months away.

JL                        

 

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Voting Suggestions Section

As we get closer to Election Day, I will not hesitate to let you all know how I am voting.   Repeatedly.

My advice is avoid voting for Republicans at any level whatsoever on the ballot, even a likable and competent Republican for your town or village council, or school board.  To get on the ballot, he or she will have paid their dues to the Party and that is enough reason for you to vote against her or him.  If they were any good, they would run as an independent, denouncing what their party now stands for.  True Republicans are ashamed of what has happened to their party in selling out to extremists and fascists for their votes, but they seem to be sitting on the sidelines, watching it happen and, except for martyrs like Liz Chaney, keeping their mouths shut, fearing ostracism in their local communities.  

Locally, I will be working hard to see that Val Demings replaces Marco Rubio in the Senate, that Charlie Crist replaces Ron DeSantis as governor and that Democratic representation in Florida’s legislature is increased, despite gerrymandering and voter suppression. 



Getting more specific, when it comes down to it, any candidate who supports banning a woman’s right to control medical aspects of her reproductive system, who supports banning books in libraries and schools, who supports banning discussion of the parts of American history that disturb them, and who even support the banning of passing out of water to those waiting in a line to vote in the hot Florida sun, is sending a message.  That message is that if you cherish freedom, don’t vote for me!  I will do my best to take it away from you!’ And that is my take on the Governorship race.  DeSantis does enough each day, by merely getting up in the morning and by being himself, to justify his defeat!

As for the Senate race, that gets trickier.  I am more than a little bit puzzled with the way Val Demings is campaigning to defeat Marco Rubio.  She is wasting valuable time in her TV commercials on peripheral issues such as Rubio’s poor attendance record in the Senate, suggesting that someone who doesn’t come to work should be fired as well as making the point that ‘defunding the police’ is a ‘crazy’ idea.  These are NOT the kind of issues which will defeat Marco!  She is getting some very bad advice by stressing issues which will not seriously wound her opponent!  If she loses, this will be the reason.

Rubio’s failure to support women’s rights by not speaking out against the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe vs. Wade, his failure to support legislation protecting voters’ rights, so important to persons of color, his continued support of the defeated former president’s lies, his opposition to gun control legislation in a State where the Pulse and the Parkland mass shootings took place, and his opposition to climate control measures, as the sea encroaches on low-lying parts of Florida, are all horrid examples of his positions and precisely why he should be defeated. 

But these issues are precisely where Val Demings is not going with her campaign.  She seems to act as if speaking out vociferously on them will lose her independent votes.  Wrong, Val!  Not doing so will lose you Democratic votes along with those of Republicans who are appalled by what their party has become.  Those telling you how to beat your Republican opponent are the same dumb people who have led the Democrats to repeated defeats in Florida.  Don’t listen to them. Listen to the people!  Read what they want!  Campaign for those things! Keep agreeing with Charlie who understands!  Coordinate your campaign with his!  That will bring them out on Election Day or by early voting or mail-in ballots, not the flat messages you are presently sending out on TV.  You still have plenty of time to do that.

JL                        

 

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The Latino Vote in Florida

Rubio

It is paradoxical why so many who have fled despotism in Latin America and settled in Florida and who will be voting for Marco Rubio’s re-election on November 8, fail to recognize the United States version of that same disease from which they fled, right here in Florida.  It’s more than Marco merely being their ‘paisano’ that gets them to vote for him.

In communicating with these voters, Rubio and the rest of the Republican team of liars have continually equated the Democratic Party with the communism from which many have fled, particularly from Cuba and Venezuela.  That’s because Democrats honestly try to do what is best for all of the people, a claim that communism and other totalitarian regimes usually falsely and dishonestly announce as their aim.  These voters can’t seem to be able to tell the difference.

The truth is that the Republican Party that Marco Rubio faithfully serves is striving to install here the kind of autocracy from which these voters fled!  They should be the first to recognize that when they hear Rubio or Ron DeSantis speak, but they do not.  That is the paradox.

The only way to bring them to their senses is with a massive turnout of voters for Val Demings and Charlie Crist on November 8, especially persons of color whose rights Rubio ignores and women, who should be insulted by his support of the repeal of Roe vs. Wade.   Maybe then, when they see how democracy works in the United States, they will begin to understand that living here is different from living in Cuba, Venezuela, or similar countries where despots rarely play by the rules.  In the United States, we do, attempting to behave according to the rule of law, as Democrats do and Republicans once did.

JL

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Whatever Putin Had on the 45th President, He Still Has It!

I expressed some of the following thoughts in the ‘comments’ section of Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s daily newsletter, ‘Letters from an American,’ the other day.  Let me share them with you.

“Although former Attorney General Barr succeeded in watering down the facts which the Muelller Report contained, lessening its impact, many observers concluded that the Russians, specifically Vladimir Putin, had something on the defeated former president, and that influenced his sometimes inexplicable behavior as president. I believe that the DOJ knows more about this than they are talking about and that such opportunities for exerting leverage on him continue even now. That might be the reason for their resorting to legal action to retrieve the classified documents the defeated former president took illegally and had in his possession. If it can be determined that information from them has already been digitalized or communicated to those who should not have it, existing laws must be fully and immediately enforced. If not, what are laws for?”

Some of you may recall from the many books and articles relating to the defeated former president written by those who worked with him, that his behavior at each morning’s White House intelligence briefings was unusual in that he often was bored with the details of the items under discussion and their complexity.  He preferred and did receive, simplified, often one-page, brief summaries and graphic illustrations that he was better able to understand.  

This raises the question of why he insisted on illegally retaining as his personal possessions at Mar-a-Lago, the kind of detailed, mostly classified, documents that he never bothered to read when he was in the White House, and in fact mostly ignored at the time.  Of what use might they be to him in retirement?  This is a frightening thought.

 

JL

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 My Letter About Republican Voter Fraud

Here's a text of a letter from me that was published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on August 23.  Those who follow this blog may recall my detailed description of how the Republicans committed voter fraud when they stole a seat in the state Senate in 2020 with an independent ghost candidate who had the same last name as the Democratic incumbent and diverted enough votes to give the seat to a Republican.  Here is my letter:

“That some released felons, the nature of whose crimes excluded them from ever getting their voting rights back, managed to illegally vote is no excuse for Republican politicizing of courtroom procedures. If Governor DeSantis wants to fight election fraud in that manner, let him show up at proceedings to cheer for the defendants in a courtroom where they will face justice for illegal activities that enabled Republicans to steal the seat in the state's 37th Senatorial district in 2020, a much more heinous crime”.  

JL

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Medicare Part C May Not Be So Great

In a letter published recently in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a writer complained that two years after cataract surgery, on experiencing eye symptoms, he had to wait seven weeks for an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

Within the past few weeks, a neighbor of mine, dissatisfied with the care his urologist was providing, and having his sleep interrupted to relieve himself about ten times during the night, every night, was unable to get an appointment with another urologist. ‘Take him or leave him.  He’s your urologist,’ in effect he was told.

My neighbor gets his health care through a Medicare Advantage plans, provided through Medicare Part C.  I suspect the fellow who wrote the letter I refer to also had such a plan.  Otherwise, the ophthalmologist who performed his eye surgery would have routinely scheduled periodic checkups and should have been glad to see him, certainly without a seven week wait. This is what happens, a loss of control over one’s own health care, when a choice is made to sign onto a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan, be it an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization).  You get what you pay for.

This may be why just 42% of seniors on Medicare choose to enroll in a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan (according to the Kaiser Family Foundation), a percentage which seems to be increasing, primarily because they cost less than sticking with traditional Medicare. 

The remaining 58% who stick with only Parts A and B do so because they probably can afford to (1) either pay out of pocket for what those plans don’t cover entirely, (2) purchase expensive private Medicare Supplement insurance to fill those gaps and buy their own prescription plan (Part D), something usually included in most Medicare Advantage plans, or (3) be willing to be sued by hospitals or doctors for the unpaid difference, ruining their credit rating in the process.

But in exchange, avoiding Medicare Advantage Plans can make it easier for seniors to get appointments with any doctor they choose, or be admitted to almost any hospital, just so long as they accept  Medicare payments. Their medical care options are not limited by what the ‘plan’ allows in terms of doctors and hospitals.  Admittedly, PPOs are not so limiting as are HMOs, but they cost more, and are a less frequent Part C choice than an HMO.  Price is often a major consideration for those choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

Namath Pitching Part C Plans

As I said in a recent posting on this blog, I doubt if the entertainment and sports celebrities (Joe Namath, Jimmy Walker and William Shatner for example) who shill for Medicare Advantage plans in misleading ‘red, white, and blue’ television commercials have chosen to enroll in those Part C plans.  Think long and hard before you do.

JL                        

 

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America Afloat 

  


(A poem that is always worth repeating in these blog postings.                      

To learn more, visit this blog’s posting of July 30, 2022.) JL

 

 

 


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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                         That’s Not Enough!

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