About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

09-29-2022 - Founding Fathers' Error, Disinformation, Florida Homeowners Insurance Crisis, Election Recommendations, and Mailboxes

 

                                               *    *    *   *

There have been some problems with this blog recently. Some virus protection apps have found it threatening. The only ones it really threatens are foes of democracy. 

While I am not a ‘techie,’ I’ve made a few changes to fix that. While the blog is often referred to as JacksPotpourri, its full name and correct location on the internet is  https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com/. The ‘s’ after ‘http’ is important. 

If you get lost, that link is where you will find it. Don’t leave any of it out and forget about ‘www.’ For any questions, my email address is jacklippman18@gmail.com.

JL
                                                          *    *    *   *

Where the Founding Fathers Went Wrong

When I read about judges reaching back as far as the Nineteenth century to define State laws restricting or even banning abortions, as occurred recently in Arizona, I think of how the Confederacy, defeated on the battlefield, was allowed to maintain its federal, as opposed to national, approach to government, with power resting in State Houses rather than in the national Capitol, through judicial means.  (See Federalist Paper #39 by Madison for more on this distinction.) Today, this is still going on, made possible by the Constitutional compromise stated in the first sentence of Article 1, Section 3, giving each state two Senators, regardless of population.  That's where the Founding Fathers blew it.  Seriously.

The Compromises the Framers Made
Have Come Back to Hurt Us

This undemocratic compromise was one of the things that made possible the ratification of the Constitution, but it also made possible the Civil War, the failure of Reconstruction, as well as our present out-of-touch Supreme Court and dysfunctional Congress. The tragedy of this compromise went beyond the Senate’s voting on legislation and also metastasized to (1) the Electoral College's role in choosing a president and (2) the confirmation of judicial appointments, including Supreme Court Justices, both made into undemocratic mechanisms by Article I, Section 3’s first sentence.

Correcting it will be a revolutionary task, which I doubt the nation will undertake, even via the Constitution's Amendment process.

JL
                                                          *    *    *   *

Disinformation is Dangerous.

Disinformation is the last remaining tool of the Republican Party,  other than specifically inciting violence.  On the side of truth, however, there is a lot of real information available about what our government is accomplishing.  Our problem, and solving it is the challenge facing us, is that millions of Americans, including elected Members of Congress, cannot tell the difference between real information and disinformation that is often based on plain and simple lies.  


Representative Raskin

Their confusion is helped by the First Amendment, which provides undeserved credibility to disinformation.  On September 27, Congressman Jaime Raskin distinguished between disinformation ... he calls it a myth ... and real information about the Second Amendment in an essay published by the New York Times. For those of you who won't bother to visit the link below to read Congressman Raskin's essay, here's a brief quote from it: 'Many Republicans in Congress agree with Representative Matt Gaetz that the Second Amendment “is about maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary.”  

That is where such ‘disinformation’ led many Americans on January 6, 2021.  And here is the link to Congressman Raskin's essay:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/27/opinion/us-second-amendment.html?campaign_id=2&emc=edit_th_20220928&instance_id=73125&nl=todaysheadlines&regi_id=78918068&segment_id=108314&user_id=02fa158150d34dc186b01b1b8ec7a224


Read it.  Pass it on!

JL
                                                          *    *    *   *

Florida's Homeowners' Insurance Crisis Continues  -

Will Hurricane Ian Claims Make it Worse?

There is nothing wrong with a business in the private sector earning a profit. That’s what businesses are all about.  But when insurance companies go belly up, leave, or reduce their participation in the homeowners’ property insurance marketplace, they do so because of their fear of facing or actually experiencing unanticipated financial losses.  I believe that unpredictable hurricanes like Ian and thinly-disguised insurance fraud by contractors and avaricious lawyers precipitate such losses in Florida.

Their normal incentive, as with any business, to make a profit is taken away, replaced by merely trying to survive, and that in turn, reduces the industry’s capacity to provide a service that is essential to the public.  That is why governments have responsibility for providing those essential services to the public that are not expected to produce a profit such as police and fire departments, schools, water supply, trash collection, roadways, and so forth.

Is This an Essential Service,
Worthy of Government Subsidy?


In Florida, we had better find some solutions to the homeowners’ property insurance market crisis quickly, and they better not hinge on dipping deeper into homeowners’ pockets in Florida, where homeowners’ insurance is already among the most expensive in the nation, or else we should start thinking about moving the task of providing homeowners insurance, so important to the real estate market, from the private sector to the public one.  Losses from Ian or another major hurricane might make that shift a necessity.

If that should happen, I am doubtful that Florida’s State government is capable of handling it.  The Federal government can do a better job, possibly by going into the non-profit business of selling unlimited reinsurance to private insurance companies, enabling them to sell their products at a fair price.  Government subsidies in agriculture, mortgages, and manufacturing have existed for years.  Such help to the homeowners insurance business would benefit the people as much as the companies it saves.

 JL

                                                          *    *    *   *

39 Days Until Election Day  - My Recommendations



                               

The following is the message posted on this blog on September 25, 2022.  As we draw nearer to Election Day, its importance grows and therefore, it is repeated here.

                                                               *   *   *   *

  • If you support the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion, or
  • If you support increased gun control measures to reduce the frequency of mass murders, or
  • If you support a broadening, not a narrowing, of access to voting for all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity,

In Florida, your choice is a simple one.  Governor DeSantis, Senator Rubio, and almost all Republican legislators in Congress and State legislatures OPPOSE these things.  Democrats, like Val Demings and Charlie Crist SUPPORT them.

(And if you are not a Florida voter, the same kinds of simple choices will be on your ballot in your State.)

That is why you should only vote for Democrats and get your like-minded friends and relatives to do the same.  Forward this message to themPlease remember that a vote for any Republican who does not denounce the defeated former president, in any election whatsoever, is actually a vote for the replacement of democracy with the authoritarian rule he represents. 

In addition, you should make a commitment to personally work hard to bring about the election victories on November 8 that are necessary to help democracy survive in the United States of America.  Your help is sorely needed. Without your efforts, these victories just will not happen, and democracy will suffer.

It comes down to:

·                            Registering voters,  

·                     Making telephone calls, 

·                     Sending emails, 

·                     Writing postal cards, 

·                     Knocking on doors.  

Here is some contact information to help you do these essential things:

activateamerica.vote  …. Visit this website to connect with national phonebanks, email, and postal card writing campaigns keyed to crucial races.

Palm Beach County Democratic Party - 561 562 8102 (sign up for local programs in which you can participate.)  Elsewhere, just call your local Democratic Party.

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections - 561 656 6200 (for registration and voting location information). Elsewhere, just call your local Supervisor of Elections.

The websites of candidates such as Val Demings and Charlie Crist both offer the opportunity to make donations to pay for their campaigns.  TV ads and signs are not inexpensive. 

Get to work now.  Don’t put it off until tomorrow.  Too much is at stake.   I’ve given you all the contacts you need.  Democracy depends on you! 

 

JL

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

                                          *   *   *   *


The Future of Mailboxes


People in the gated community in which I live have been engaging in back-and-forth commentary about replacing our mailboxes.  Postal service of one kind or another has been going on since the days of the Persian and Roman empires.  Since then, the world has expanded upon and followed that pattern.  Lately though, the USPS, because of manpower issues, has been insisting on inconvenient and usually disliked ‘cluster mailboxes’ rather than individual ones for each home in newer housing developments, making us fortunate to even still have them over which to argue.

Today, nearly everyone with whom we do business is begging us to choose email communications instead of paper sent through the USPS.  (We even are starting to send holiday greetings that way.)

When banks and other businesses start charging a really hefty premium price to those who prefer to continue to receive bills, statements, legal notices, etc. by ‘paper’ mailings, the USPS will go out of business.  Newspapers already charge about triple the price for their traditional ‘paper’ versions than they do for the same material sent ‘online,’ but that isn’t saving them from going out of business.  Advertisers will have to find another distributor for their generally ignored paper sales pitches once the USPS is no more.  At that point we can take down our mailboxes and replace them with about a square foot of sod.

Without even 'cluster' mailboxes, the computer illiterate will then have to bank and pay bills ‘in person’ and need to be able to visit a bulletin board where public notices will be hung, just as Martin Luther put his ideas on a church door in 1517, not being able to go online with them.  Ah, for the days of Cyrus the Great and Augustus Caesar who first created employment for the mailman.  In those days, that was an innovation!

 

 JL                        

 

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

 

                 That’s Not Enough!

                               

                                 *   *   *   *

Sunday, September 25, 2022

09-25-2022 - Forty-Three Days Until Election Day

 

There are many subjects that might be addressed in a blog posting. However important or interesting they might be, I am postponing them in favor of the following message. It is very important. Please read it, and as I frequently ask you, please forward it to others, many others!

                                          *   *   *   *

In Regard to the Upcoming Election, Only a Few Weeks Away:

·      If you support the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion, or

·      If you support increased gun control measures to reduce the frequency of mass murders, or

·      If you support a broadening, not a narrowing, of access to voting for all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity,

In Florida, your choice is a simple one.  Governor DeSantis, Senator Rubio, and almost all Republican legislators in Congress and State legislatures OPPOSE these things. 

Democrats, like Val Demings and Charlie Crist SUPPORT them.

(And if you are not a Florida voter, the same kinds of simple choices will be on your ballot in your State.) 

That is why you should only vote for Democrats and get your like-minded friends and relatives to do the same.  Please remember that a vote for any Republican who does not denounce the defeated former president, in any election whatsoever, is actually a vote for the replacement of democracy with the authoritarian rule he represents. 

In addition, you should make a commitment to personally work hard to bring about the election victories on November 8 that are necessary to help democracy survive in the United States of America.  Your help is sorely needed. Without your efforts, these victories just will not happen, and democracy will suffer.

It comes down to:

·                     Registering voters,  

·                     Making telephone calls, 

·                     Sending emails, 

·                     Writing postal cards, 

·                     Knocking on doors.  

 

Here is some contact information to help you do these essential things:

activateamerica.vote  …. Visit this website to connect with national phonebanks, email, and postal card writing campaigns keyed to crucial races.

Palm Beach County Democratic Party - 561 562 8102 (sign up for local programs in which you can participate.)  Elsewhere, just call your local Democratic Party.

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections - 561 656 6200 (for registration and voting location information). Elsewhere, just call your local Supervisor of Elections.

The websites of candidates such as Val Demings and Charlie Crist both offer the opportunity to make donations to pay for their campaigns.  TV ads and signs are not inexpensive. 

Get to work now.  Don’t put it off until tomorrow.  Too much is at stake.   I’ve given you all the contacts you need. 

Democracy depends on you! 

 

JL

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

                                          *   *   *   *

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                        

 

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

 

                 That’s Not Enough!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

09-22-2022 - Two Legal Actions Concerning the DFP, the '1619 Project' Re-Visited and Some Election News

 

Mob Bosses, their Kids,
Puffery, Marxism, and Lawn Mowers

Usually, mob bosses go to great pains to keep their family, especially their children, out of their activities.  Better that they should become doctors, dentists, or go into some legitimate business or profession … or even become clergy.  It adds a bit to their very thin veneer of legitimacy. The Defeated Former President, whose dishonest activities are being increasingly revealed, looks more and more like such a boss.  But he seems to have lacked the wisdom to keep his kids out of his activities, having deluded himself into believing that what he was doing was actually legitimate. 

His attorneys’ tactics are devoted to the strategy of bringing about repeated delays in his day of reckoning, hopefully moving it to a point beyond his lifetime.  But because of his stupidity, that will not get his children off of the hook!

Look for at least one of them to renounce their American citizenship and seek refuge in some other country which, for a price, will give them the protection of another nationality.

       *   *   * 

And getting back to the Defeated Former President’s ‘dishonest’ activities, specifically those in New York State, some seem to believe they are no more than an extension of the ‘puffery’ and exaggeration which seems to be an acceptable part of the real estate business where, up to a point, lying is always okay!  The acceptance of this by other parts of the economy, particularly banks, discredits the real estate business, and along with it, business practices in other parts of the private sector as well, and encourages those who would like to see capitalism replaced by a totalitarian Marxist system.  Should that ever happen, we would have the DFP to partially blame for it.

                                                *   *   * 

Simplifying the details of the DFP’s woes, particularly in New York State, the Trump Organization consistently overvalued its properties to get loans and consistently undervalued the same properties so they would be taxed for less, and this practice, it appears was carried out at the DFP’s direction.  It is obviously illegal. 

The big question to my mind, however, seems to be who was harmed by his lies and acts.  Except for the money-hungry dummies at Deutschbank who knew that he was a deadbeat but gave him credit anyway, no lenders fell for them, so the real victims seem to have been the citizens of New York State, New York City, and elsewhere (possibly making it a federal case involving the IRS?) who were deprived of tax revenue because of his undervaluing of properties.  

As for the wealth his fraudulently acquired reputation as a billionaire businessman brought him, I cannot see those who believed his lies as victims entitled to recompense.  Any business or personal decisions they made, based on his lies, is still their fault, not his.  

In my opinion, although this is presently a civil matter, it might eventually morph into criminal cases, where stronger evidence is required, on both the federal and State levels.  (It had earlier been a criminal case in New York State but had been dropped.  With new and stronger evidence coming out almost daily, however, it may again become one.)

                                                          *   *   *

And on the same day that the New York State Attorney General swung into action, the decision of the inexperienced Florida federal judge appointed by the DFP was thrown out by the federal Eleventh District Court of Appeals.  Her ruling had limited the Department of Justice from using some of the stolen government documents they had recovered using a court-issued search warrant (not a ‘raid’ as the DFP and those on FoxSnooze refer to it) from Mar-a-Lago,  Now they can get back to work!  My gut reaction to that is that the Supreme Court will refuse to accept a further appeal of that decision, if the DFP looks in that direction, leaving him up the creek without a paddle.


Summing up, as we used to say in Newark, ‘his ass is grass and they’re coming after him with a lawnmower.’  In this case, from several directions.

                                                *   *   *

Yesterday amidst all of this news, during a commercial break, I switched from MSNBC to Fox to see what they had to say about the two big legal actions mentioned above.  There was Laura Ingraham sarcastically pointing out how President Biden had mumbled too much during his address to the UN regarding cooperating to bring about peace in Ukraine.  

Earlier, I understand that Sean Hannity had hosted the DFP on Fox where he claimed he could ‘de-classify’ documents by just saying, or even just thinking in his head, that they were 'de-classified.'   Sooner or later, the courts are going to say that Fox has crossed the line between being protected by the First Amendment and aiding or abetting criminal actions.

JL

                                            *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

                                            *   *   *   *

 

Adding to the Material in the Last Blog

Posting Concerning the ‘1619 Project’

Nicole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize winning essay that introduced the ‘1619 Project,’ made it clear that Blacks in the United States, prior to the end of the Civil War, were not considered part of the American people, despite evidence that the new nation’s success was dependent to a great extent upon their labor.  They received no credit for that. How could they, being held in bondage, as chattels, someone else’s property, from the first importation of slaves to what ultimately became the United States in 1619 until the Civil War ended that bondage?  Only then, when their bondage ended, did an identity emerge, and that was as ‘Americans,’ having been here for generations, going back to 1619, finally making them part of the American people.

Her essay claims that our democracy was not really declared in 1776, but only after the end of slavery 89 years later, when the definition of those ‘who were created equal’ was changed to include those whose skin was not white.

Her essay concluded with these words: “ We were told once, by virtue of our bondage, that we could never be American.  But it was by virtue of our bondage that we became the most American of all.”

To some, this implies that other Americans, whose forebearers did not share the experience of coming here in chains, were ‘less American’ than the freed slaves whose ‘American identity’ was born right here on these shores after the Civil War   This bothered many. Some turned to today’s extremist Republicans, including their white supremacist component, who offered a home to those who disagreed with her ideas.

There has been criticism of the ‘1619 Project,’ including that of its historical accuracy.  Some of the essays are not as convincing as Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer prize winner.  I suggest that you might review the previous posting on this blog, on September 18, 2022, where the ‘1619 Project’ is mentioned and also read the Pulitzer winning essay itself.  It can be found by 'googling' 'Nicole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project essay' (Since originally  including a link to the essay on the blog, I have received several malware warnings from my virus protection program so I have deleted the link.)

There are numerous articles available online, some critical, relating to the ‘1619 Project’ which you might want to check out as well.  Then, make up your own mind as to this proposed revision in the teaching of American history.

JL

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

                                          *   *   *   *

 

Keeping Voting Simple and Effective

In reading books, newspapers, magazines, and watching television, I am overwhelmed by the number of, and the enormity of, the many real and the many fabricated issues challenging democracy in America today.  It boggles the mind.  I could make a list, as you probably could too, of them and it would fill this page.   

Whenever I see a ‘talking head’ on television in their home with bookcases filled with impressive volumes in the background, I wonder when, if ever, they get the time to read them.  Reading books takes time!  Being overwhelmed with issues seems to be the default position these days.

I do note, however, that when I find time to look into these issues, I usually find that consistently, Democratic candidates are usually on one side and Republican candidates on the other.  Nowadays, there is no such thing as a consensus being reached.  Most of the time, I find that I agree with the positions of the Democrats on issues at which I do look.

If you are unwilling or unable to spend the hours of time and effort needed to understand these issues, the simpler and most effective course of action is to always vote for Democrats and leave it at that.

The positions of Democrats in regard to abortion rights, gun violence, and voting rights clearly are in the best interest of most Americans, including you!  They are far superior to the position of the Republicans, who have allied themselves with every group imaginable that is opposed to democracy! 

So get to work.  

  • Register voters.  
  • Make telephone calls, 
  • Send emails, 
  • Write postal cards, 
  • Knock on doors.  

Don’t know where to start?  Ask me by email. (jacklippman18@gmail.com)

Today, right now, plan how you will vote (mail, early voting, or at the polls).  Make sure your friends, neighbors, and relatives who might agree with you are prepared to vote.  Those who are willing to trade in democracy for a form of authoritarian government are out there hustling and spreading lies.  You must outdo them with the truth.

 JL

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

                                          *   *   *   *

 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                        

  

                                *   *   *   *

To How Many People Have You Forwarded This Blog Posting? 

 

                         That’s Not Enough!

                                By a Longshot