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Imagine that the Republican ‘Freedumb Caucus’ was such a small party, separate and distinct from the G.O.P., and that to form its House majority, the Republicans cut a deal with them. That is, in effect, what put McCarthy in the speaker’s chair, and now that ‘small party’ is reneging on its end of the deal, demanding more than they originally agreed to in giving him that majority.
That ‘reneging’ involves deepening the level of budget slashing that they had agreed to with McCarthy. Their position is that either he gives in to their demands or they will withhold the votes the Republicans need to avoid a ‘shutdown’ of our government which cannot fully function without a budget.
Over our history, our Congress has developed into what is basically a two-party system, one in which pressure from a small group cannot deny the government a budget. This should not happen, but it is happening, right before our eyes.
I believe that to be able to keep his speakership, McCarthy will buckle. As a result, much of our government, being held as the hostages by the ‘Freedumb Caucus’ in this charade, will soon shut down because (1) even McCarthy’s ‘regular’ Republican base will not completely go along with the ‘Freedumb Caucus’ emaciated budget, (2) the Democrats, watching from the sidelines, would not either, (3) it won’t survive a Senate vote and (4) even if it such an emasculated budget passed, the President would veto it, an action they would lack the votes to override. It has less of a chance of passing than the proverbial snowball surviving in hell. Naturally, the ‘Freedumb Caucus’ will then blame the president for the shutdown.
I believe that the crisis will last a few weeks until public clamor over shut down government functions forces the “Freedumb Caucus’ to back off (although they will never admit to doing so), and an acceptable compromise reached between McCarthy and his extremist 'friends,' probably close to a ‘continuing resolution,’ that would keep the existing budget temporarily operative, while a new one is negotiated.
Ultimately, this will be recorded as just another gasp in the death throes of the Republican Party, as it drops into the trash basket of history, along with other failed movements that made the fatal mistake of trying to compromise with ideologues who had no intention of keeping their word.
(I’ve gently mocked the name of the Freedom Caucus in these
comments, referring to it as the ‘Freedumb Caucus’ because, while sarcastically and insultingly
describing its members’ mental abilities, it avoids saying what that collection of Congressional Representatives really and
truly are: ‘unpatriotic assholes who don’t give a damn about the future of the
United States, preferring to be the tools of those who contribute millions to subvert the ideal of 'government of, government by, and government FOR the people.'
One minute with Paul Gosar or Matt Gaetz would be enough to convince anyone that they belong in the legislature of some Third World country rather than in our Congress to which their equally dumb constituents have elected them. That remains the greatest flaw in our representative democracy and the greatest danger to its successful continuance.)
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Unspoken Diplomacy in the Prisoner Deal with Iran
In arranging the recent prisoner exchange freeing the Americans that Iran had been holding, we agreed that six billion dollars of that country’s assets coming from sales of their petroleum resources would become available to them. That consisted of money that up to now we had prevented their accessing because of that country’s support of terrorist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere as well as unregulated nuclear development.
It was stipulated that although this money was to be used for humanitarian, medical, agricultural, and similar purposes only, it still would not be given to Iran directly. It would remain in a Qatari bank, from which it could be withdrawn for these purposes only, and which would be carefully monitored.
|Banking is big business in Qatar|
Now that sounds fine, but what has always bothered me about such deals is that they free up a government to divert money for other purposes, in this instance six billion dollars already sitting in its treasury in Teheran, money that it might possibly spend (or pretend to spend) on such humanitarian and similar purposes anyway.
These ‘other’ purposes might include spending for nuclear weapons development and support of aggressive military actions in parts of the Middle East, purposes closely related to our reason for putting ‘sanctions’ on those six billion dollars in the first place. None of such spending would have anything to do with the ‘monitored’ funds sitting in the Qatari bank.
Of course, diplomats understand this, but usually do not talk about it. Much of diplomacy is about what is left unsaid.
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Something in the Water in New Jersey
We all remember Tony Soprano, head of a fictitious New Jersey mob family in the TV series of a few decades ago. Breaking the law came second nature to Tony and his associates, fitting in with the image of New Jersey as a haven for law breakers and corruption. That association seems to persist, especially in the political world, across the Hudson from Manhattan.
Currently, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, who benefited from a hung jury five years ago, is again in legal hot water. In the well-known tradition of Tony Soprano, that Senate seat has been spotlighted in the past as a haven for those who tip-toe along the borderline between what’s legal and what’s not.
I am old enough to recall former New Jersey Senator Harrison Williams going to prison in 1982 and former New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli narrowly avoiding prosecution but nevertheless receiving a formal letter of admonishment from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics in 2002 and then wisely cancelling his re-election campaign. This sort of thing seems to erupt about every twenty years or so in the Garden State. And these are the ones that got caught.
There must be something in the water in New Jersey causing this.
Of course, Republicans will be jumping to support Menendez' present refusal to resign because that enables them to claim 'parity,' justifying the defeated former president pretty much ignoring the fact that he also is under indictment while politically campaigning. What the defeated former president is accused of makes Menendez's transgressions look like small potatoes.
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A follower of Jackspotpourri commented by email that they would rather see Stacey Abrams and Liz Chaney as vice-presidential nominees in 2024 rather than the two (Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley) I predicted in the last posting of Jackspotpourri. I don’t think Liz won’t even be let through the door at the G.O.P.’s convention, and the Democrats will continue with Kamala on the ticket, seeing no reason to replace her. FDR switched his running mate in 1940 to Henry Wallace (from John Nance Garner in 1932 and 1936) and in 1944 from Wallace to Harry Truman but he had very good reasons to make both switches. Biden has none.
Readers are encouraged to send me their comments at email@example.com or by using the ‘comment’ link at its bottom left.
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Voter Registration Reminder
If you live in Palm Beach County, and are not yet registered to vote here, or want to continue to receive ‘vote-by-mail’ ballots (something that no longer happens automatically), just contact the Election Supervisor at https://www.votepalmbeach.gov/. At a minimum, you can verify your status as a voter at that site. Don’t wait. Do it now… while you are on your computer, tablet, or phone!
And if you live elsewhere, contact your local Supervisor of Elections. (In neighboring Broward County, access them at https://www.browardvotes.gov/.)
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Trivia Quiz #9
Can you name six movie actors (dead or alive) who sported moustaches? Clue: Start with ‘Gone With the Wind.’
The answers to Quiz #8, about Canada’s ten provinces, are as follows. Getting seven of them was passing. Here they are, ranked by population.
3. British Columbia
7. Nova Scotia
8. New Brunswick
9. Newfoundland (including Labrador)
10. Prince Edward Island
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Housekeeping on Jackspotpourri
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There’s another, perhaps easier, method of forwarding it though! Google Blogspot, the platform on which Jackspotpourri is prepared, makes that possible. If you click on the tiny envelope with the arrow at the bottom of every posting, you will have the opportunity to list up to ten email addresses to which that blog posting will be forwarded, along with a comment from you. Each will receive a link to the textual portion only of the blog that you now are reading, but without the illustrations, colors, variations in typography, or the 'sidebar' features such as access to the blog's archives.
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Again, I urge you to forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it.
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