Gail: ‘Third parties are a danger to the American democratic system. You start a party that makes a big deal out of, for example, helping hummingbirds. Tell voters who don’t love either of the two regular candidates that they can Vote Hummer and feel good. You won’t win the election, but you can throw everything into chaos. In some states, that little shift could be enough to bestow victory somewhere you’d never have wanted it to go to. Say the Crow Coalition.’
I’d be opposed to No Labels (a third-party idea currently being hustled by former Senator Joe Lieberman) if I were convinced that all it will do is take votes from Joe Biden and throw the election to Trump. But that depends on who takes the No Labels slot: If it’s a former Democrat, it probably hurts Biden. If it’s a former Republican, it could hurt Trump even more.’
Maybe. I’d rather just make people pick between the two real possibilities, each of them representing a broad coalition and certainly offering a stark choice. I don’t like plotting to win by cluttering up the ballot.’
But the main thing, Gail, is that I need a party I can vote for. And I think the feeling is shared by a growing fraction of voters who might be center left or center right but are increasingly appalled by progressive Democrats and reactionary Republicans. So any party that represents our views is good for democracy, not a threat to it.’
No, No, Bret. Even if you vote for a third party that perfectly represents your views — or at least your view on a favorite issue — if it isn’t going to win, you’re throwing away your vote. A vote for the Green Party, for instance, is a vote that Biden would probably have gotten otherwise. Which means the Green Party is helping Trump.’
|A Republican Scam to Reduce Democratic Votes?|
In 1992, Bill Clinton defeated the incumbent George Bush (370 electoral votes to 168 electoral votes). But third-party candidate Ross Perot received over nineteen million votes! Because Clinton received only about 5,800,000 more votes nationwide than did Bush, those nineteen million third-party votes for Perot might have changed the results of that presidential election, had he not been running. Some of Clinton’s electoral votes might have ended up in Bush’s column.
(The only time a third-party has any power is when, in a parliamentary system, it joins with others to form a coalition government that controls the naming of a chief executive, or Prime Minister, as in Israel and many European countries. But we do not have such a system here. Our Executive Branch is not determined by our Legislative Branch.)
Here are the 1992 numbers, and they strongly support the point Ms. Collins makes.
Elec. Col. Votes Pop. Votes
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GOP Fixation on Hunter Biden (and his laptop)
Could it be that the Republican preoccupation with Hunter Biden, who had planned to plead guilty to the charges brought against him, in exchange for an ‘immunity’ deal, is part of their efforts to paint the Biden family as being as crooked and dishonest as were the family of the indicted former president?
Their House majority is even planning on attempting to impeach President Biden, but are having a hard time figuring out for doing what. Meanwhile they concentrate on Hunter Biden, for want of another target.
What Hunter Biden did (being overpaid to nominally sit on the Board of a Ukrainian corporation, not properly paying income taxes, and possessing a weapon while in a drug rehab program) is paled by some of the dealings the defeated and indicted former president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for example, had with Saudi Arabia’s murderous rulers, who bailed him out of a disaster involving the financing of a major Manhattan property, in which Kushner was in debt far over his head. And whatever Hunter did was nowhere near what the indicted, defeated, former president is currently being accused of doing by the Department of Justice. But that's another story!
Hunter Biden’s transgressions are at a lower level (two misdemeanors concerning taxes and a low-level felony regarding gun possession while under treatment for an addiction) than the charges Republicans wish would had been filed by the Department of Justice’s prosecutor. (That prosecutor happens to be a Republican, not replaced in office by the Biden administration.) Republicans will grasp at any straws whatsoever to keep their Party from disintegrating.
The judge in the case, appointed by the defeated and indicted former president, is now questioning the degree of immunity Hunter Biden was offered by the prosecution when he agreed to plead guilty to the tax and gun violations, and has since changed that plea to ‘not guilty.’
Was it a ‘sweetheart deal’ just for those issues or was it intended to apply to anything that might come up? Republicans want immunity limited to just those charges in the event they can get some mileage out of what they insinuate is unspecified dirty laundry supposedly documented on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
That ‘dirty laundry,’ some sources claim, included his offering a possible avenue to his father, then Vice President, who might be asked to exert pressure upon Ukraine to fire a prosecutor, Victor Shokin, who was supposedly intent on investigating the firm that had put Hunter Biden on its Board at a generous salary. There is no evidence that any such 'avenue' was ever opened or ever resulted in any action by then Vice President Joe Biden on his son's behalf.
Victor Shokin was indeed fired in 2016, but not because of any pressure which might have been exerted by Vice President Biden to benefit his son, and there is no evidence that any such pressure was ever exerted. In fact, Shokin was no longer investigating the firm on whose board Hunter Biden was at the time of his firing. It was by then a closed issue. And that can be easily documented.
The firing was also a goal of the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, as well of United States as a matter of foreign policy, all of whom were aware of this prosecutor’s well-known history of corruption. When visiting Kiev during his term as Vice President, Joe Biden did indeed push for the firing of Shokin, along with these other groups who were aware of Shokin's corruption, but that had nothing whatsoever to do with his son's business connections in Ukraine. By then, Shokin's investigation of the firm on whose board Hunter Biden sat was already a closed issue.
The only ones who seemed to think the Ukrainian prosecutor, Victor Shokin, was treated poorly by being fired were our defeated former president and perhaps Vladimir Putin, across the border in Russia.
The Department of Justice prosecutor in Hunter Biden’s current court case did not include any of this in his charges, which might have led to the more serious charge of his being an unregistered foreign agent, because evidence to make such a charge could not be gathered, despite concerted efforts to find it during the administration of the defeated and indicted former president, including investigations by Special Counsel John Durham and the current prosecutor.
Still, Republicans feel that something nefarious was going on even though they could find no evidence of it other than the one email where a Ukrainian official communicated with Hunter Biden thanking him anyway for something he was unable to attain, access to the Vice President. That was all that was on the laptop, other than some dirty pictures.
It is understandable that the judge wants to clear up the question of whether Hunter Biden’s ‘immunity’ deal should be limited to just the two tax violations and the gun possession violation. She certainly is aware of the results of the very extensive Durham investigation, as was the prosecutor who decided not to proceed down that road because of the lack of evidence and witnesses. Apparently, that investigation is not closed, according to the prosecution in the current litigation, and that is why the judge questions the breadth of the ‘immunity deal.’
The judge’s prime concern seems to be the ambiguity, possibly intentional, of the ‘immunity’ deal should a future dispute arise as to how such ’immunity’ applies, especially to a ‘diversion’ program in lieu of a guilty plea regarding the gun charge, leaving such decisions to the courts.
The judge feels that is not a function of the court and believes it belongs with the Executive branch, in the hands of the Department of Justice. Hunter Biden’s attorneys obviously want such a broad definition of immunity in the event of a Republican president being elected in 2024. Lawyers on both sides were given 30 days to come up with revised ‘immunity’ language that would result in a guilty plea.
Regardless of what happens, President Biden has been extremely positive in his support of Ukraine in its struggle to maintain its independence from Russia. That is to his credit, and ought to well balance whatever, if anything, happened between 2014 and 2016 in which he might appear to have been peripherally involved.
It is interesting that some in the Republican Party oppose our continued support of Ukraine, including our defeated and indicted forty-fifth president, who counts Vladimir Putin as a friend, and this story may be the reason. He, of course, hopes to run for the presidency in 2024,
In whatever manner this question of immunity will be resolved, and from what I hear and see, it will be, it gives the bedraggled G.O.P. something about which to mobilize their voting base, hungry for anything with which to attack President Biden.
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Weakening the Supreme Court: A Bad Idea for Israel, A Good One for the USA?
I’ve heard many people objecting to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s weakening of that country’s Supreme Court. Netanyahu, to secure a majority in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, depends upon the votes of a dangerous, fundamentalist, right-wing Knesset minority, with whose positions he may not fully agree, but whose votes he needs to remain in office. That minority sees the Supreme Court as an obstacle to many of their programs. (And Netanyahu also is dealing with some personal litigation where he might want the Supreme Court on his side.)
Israel’s right-wing efforts to weaken that nation’s Supreme Court should not be compared with the aims of those in the United States who want to similarly weaken our Supreme Court, with whose positions regarding abortion rights, gun control measures, and the limits of government regulatory authority, they disagree. The motivation of those in Israel and the United States differ.
The difference is that in Israel, I believe their Supreme Court was acting in the best interests of the people, to which that Knesset minority objected. In the United States, I believe our Supreme Court’s decisions seem to be going against the best interests of the people, or at least what appears to be the position of most of the people.
Of course, determining what is in the ‘best interests’ of people is all too often debatable. But don’t tell me that there is not a right side and a wrong side to that question. A Supreme Court should be able to tell right from wrong, and what is in the ‘best interests’ of the people.
Some think that our Supreme Court should not be influenced by current popular opinion, and in fact, be blind to it. I disagree. While the blindfold worn by Lady Justice’s statue in front of the Supreme Court building means that no one is above the law, regardless of who they are, it does not mean that justice is blind to everything and anything else.
In my opinion, in Israel or in the United States, these tribunals should be strengthened, not weakened, in their roles of (1) determining what acts are within existing laws, and (2) making decisions that are in the best interest of the people.
First, however, the manner of the appointment of Justices and their terms of office, as well, must be reformed to better reflect a commitment to exercising these two roles in a manner that reflects the democratic heritage of the people these Courts serve.
It always goes back to what is in the best interest of the people. That is what counts.
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Annoyed by Mosquitoes?
Although the evidence is controversial and not fully documented, it appears that mosquitoes are attracted to people with ‘O’ type blood more than to others. That’s why one hiker in the woods gets bitten up and another does not. Google the subject (try ‘mosquitoes and blood type O’) and you’ll learn that female mosquitoes do the biting and that they perhaps locate those with that blood type by sensing carbon dioxide levels with their antenna from long distances.
I have always, as a child and right now too, been prone to mosquito bites. I remember my parents applying pink-colored calamine lotion to them to relieve the itching. I use a non-prescription cortisone cream to do that job. And of course, my blood type is ‘O,’ so I believe this theory to be correct.
Late one afternoon last week, I spent a few minutes yanking out an unsightly weed which was growing profusely amidst the bushes in front of my house. I got most of it out, but I also received a few mosquito bites in the process.
A solution might be to use mosquito repellent spray when you go out, especially in the early evening. Recent rainfalls have left plenty of puddles in depressed areas where mosquitoes breed.
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Nostalgia Quiz #3
Can you match these old stadiums with the baseball teams they at one time hosted?
a. Riverfront Stadium
b. Sportsman’s Park
c. Polo Grounds
d. Shibe Park
e. Comiskey Park
f. Briggs Stadium
The teams that played there were the
g. The New York Giants
h. The Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies
i. The Saint Louis Cardinals
j. The Chicago White Sox
k. The Detroit Tigers
l. The Cincinnati Reds
And the answer to Nostalgia Quiz #2 is the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO).
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Consistently, over the past month, Jackspotpourri has been getting a lot of ‘hits’ from Singapore, second only in number to those from within the United States. Initially, in fact, it was even greater than the U.S. number, but that quickly leveled off. It appears that these ‘hits’ are all from devices using Safari mobile. Conceivably, they may be created by one person repeatedly accessing Jackspotpourri. This is odd because the blog has not dealt with matters concerning that country or region. When this kind of thing has happened in the past, I attributed it to someone referring to Jackspotpourri in an academic environment or accessing it as part of a nation’s routine surveillance of the internet, and the ‘hits’ eventually ceased. If any Singaporeans reading this can offer an explanation, it might be helpful. I will keep an eye on this.
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Housekeeping on Jackspotpourri
Email Alerts: If you are NOT receiving emails from me alerting you each time there is a new posting on Jackspotpourri, just send me your email address and we’ll see that you do. And if you are forwarding a posting to someone, you might suggest that they do the same, so they will be similarly alerted. You can pass those email addresses to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forwarding Postings: Please forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it. Friends, relatives, enemies, etc.
If you want to send someone the blog, exactly as you are now seeing it, with all of its bells and whistles, you can just tell folks to check it out by visiting https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com or by providing a link to that address in your email to them. I think this is the best method of forwarding Jackspotpourri.
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.
Either way will work, sending them the link to https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com, or clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this posting, but I recommend sending them the link.
Again, I urge you to forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it.
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