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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 in Florida for over 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, November 3, 2023

November 3, 2023 - More Constitutional Misinterpretation, Israel, Trump, and the World Series


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More Misinterpreting of the Constitution

It isn’t bad enough that a politicized Supreme Court misinterpreted the Second Amendment back in 2008 (Check out Justice Scalia's opinion in D.C. vs Heller) by allowing the uncontrolled proliferation of weapons in this country, ignoring the Amendment’s first thirteen words, and bringing about many deaths.  

Speaker Michael Johnson,
a defender of God against big government
Now we have a religiously minded House Speaker who honestly believes that the purpose of the First Amendment is not, as intended by the Founding Fathers, to protect the people from a government-endorsed religious preference, but rather to protect established religions from an encroaching government!  And the Republicans in the House actually voted for him to be the Speaker.  Wow! 

And speaking of this character, you can figure out what masters he really serves by noting that he supports our military aid to Israel but only if those funds are taken away from the IRS's budget, a tremendous benefit to some businesses and the extremely wealthy whom the IRS would suddenly lack the resources to audit.  Notice his smirk in the photo above.   

The solution:  Never, ever, vote for a Republican for any elective position whatsoever.  By and large, they neither understand history nor our representative democracy and are unfit to hold public office.  Electing even just one, even to minor local posts, strengthens their overall organization and results in the likes of the new Speaker, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Ron DeSantis, and of course, Donald Trump winning elections. 

The decent ones, the Liz Chaneys and Adam Kizingers, have long since been thrown out of the G.O.P., or left politics, leaving us with the likes of phony baloney George Santos whom they lack the guts to expel.  The Republican Party, if you have a long, long, memory, once was respectable but no longer is.

This weekend is just one year from Election Day, Nov. 5, 2024.  Time to get to work to keep the presidency and the Senate blue, and take back the House from Republican scoundrels like the new House speaker!


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Not Good News from Israel

A question for you:  When Israeli intelligence learns that there is a Hamas installation firing off missiles or being used for any other military purpose in attacking the State of Israel, and it is at a location amidst or tunneled underneath residential dwellings, hospitals, school, or mosques, what are they supposed to do? 

Right now, Israel is urging Palestinian civilians in Gaza to move from such locations, but there really is no place to which they can go.

Ideally, those who urge Israel to stop bombarding such targets for humanitarian reasons should tell Hamas to first cease using innocent civilians in that manner.  I believe the large number of innocent civilians being killed or otherwise affected by Israeli bombardment are the result of Hamas’ intentionally putting these civilians in the way of such Israeli actions and blaming their deaths on Israel.  Hamas has no more respect for Palestinian lives than it does for Israeli lives.  And there is little that outsiders can do about it.

Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,400 Israeli civilians living near the Gaza border.  If Hamas is allowed to continue to exist, which is what a ‘cease-fire’ would amount to, that could happen again, elsewhere.  That is why Israel is now committed to destroying Hamas, a terrorist organization recognized as such by the United States and the nations of the European Union. 

Right now, the United States is urging Israel to consider ‘brief pauses’ in their bombardment of the Gaza Strip, to allow for humanitarian aid to reach there, and for hostage negotiations to proceed. This would fall short of a ‘cease fire’ something that would greatly benefit the Hamas terrorists, but might be acceptable to Israel.  One such ‘brief pause’ did take place last week, for long enough for two hostages to be released, but that is far short of a ‘cease fire.’

Digging deeper, however, with the aim of resolving the circumstances that motivated that attack, requires negotiating, but Hamas is not an acceptable negotiator, being committed to the destruction of Israel.  

That might be the role of those states supporting Hamas in varying degrees, especially Iran which also backs similar Hezbollah terrorists on Israel’s northern borders, but there is little chance of that happening today.  Even the suggestion of the United States talking to Iran (which we of course do through intermediaries) results in Republicans in Congress becoming apoplectic and going on the warpath. That leaves Israel with no alternative other than its war to destroy Hamas, while trying to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza as best they can, an almost impossible task. 

The negotiations that are going on via Qatar, Egypt, and countries like the United States, seem to be dealing with hostages and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, but not the basic causes of the problem.

Any cease-fire agreement, in the eyes of Israel, would validate Hamas October 7 attack as more than an act of terrorists, and constitute a victory for such terrorism. That is why Israel is correct in its efforts to destroy Hamas, just as Western nations and moderate Arab states fought to destroy ISIS and Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. 

Up to now, I have believed that whenever ‘real’ negotiations ultimately take place, as well as focusing on concluding the Israeli-Hamas War, they must at the same time address establishing a ‘two-state’ solution, as envisioned by the 1947 partition of Palestine.  Failure to accomplish that has been the basis of all conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for the past 75 years.  

But now I have my doubts.  Such a ‘two-state’ solution has been shoved into the distant background by extremists on both sides.  These include Arabs who are implacable in their efforts to exterminate the State of Israel, and Israelis who have moved into the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with the support of the Israeli government, establishing many settlements there on land supposedly intended to be part of a Palestinian state, but lost by them in the unsuccessful wars Arabs fought to destroy Israel.  

These 'settlements,' believed by successive Israeli governments to be a ‘security’ measure, on land where a Palestinian state was intended to be, seem to make a ‘two-state’ solution almost impossible at this point, leaving us only with ‘one-state’ solutions, all of which are fraught with danger.

These 'settlements' are much more than mere outposts, as the word ‘settlement’ suggests, envisioning a very basic ‘pioneering’ environment.  Many have grown into bustling neighborhoods of apartment houses.  It has been reported to the United Nations that there are almost 700,000 Israelis living in them, about a third in East Jerusalem and the rest on the West Bank, both areas that would have been part of the Palestinian state in the ‘two-state’ solution envisioned at the time of partition in 1947, but lost in 1967 by the Palestinians in their failed war against Israel.

I don’t believe that these ‘occupied’ territories, because of the presence of such numerous settlements, can be readily returned to their ‘pre-settlement’ status, and that severely cripples the idea of a ‘two-state’ solution, at least for the time being.  That may be sad, but it is difficult to deny.

The Ma'ale Adumim settlement, pictured below, is in the West Bank, about five miles east of Jerusalem.   The Har Homa settlement, also pictured below, is in East Jerusalem.  From either, Israelis can take a bus to downtown Jerusalem.  Look at them.  It's not a matter of tearing down some tents or cabins.  Draw your own conclusions.  

No Israeli government would be agreeable to abandoning ‘settlements’ like these.  They remember what happened when they moved Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005, hoping for peace, turning it over to the Palestinians, who made it into the cancer that Israel is battling right now. 

This is a tremendous problem for Israel and its supporters.  A solution would require the wisdom of King Solomon.  I am not optimistic.

Ma'ale Adumim Settlement on West Bank
 five miles from Jerusalem

Har Homa Settlement in East Jerusalem


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Not Good News About Trump

Don’t you get it? Donald Trump actually wants the judges hearing his case to enforce the gag orders they have imposed on him, intended to prevent his threatening witnesses and potential jurors and attacking members of the legal system that are prosecuting him. That’s why he continues his outrageous claims.

He doesn’t want to be asked to pay monetary penalties. He wants to be handcuffed and taken to the slammer.  Preferably on Fox News. 

For a former president, that wouldn’t be so intolerable, since he probably would be incarcerated in comfortable quarters in some four-star hotel that would include accommodations for his Secret Service contingent.  Then, he would have to finally shut his mouth.  But other voices would be raised!

His supporters’ fury would be ignited. They would march and demonstrate and make the same threats that brought about the  former president’s silencing, totally permissible for them under the First Amendment, because they are not under indictment.  They would scream about the Second Amendment being made for situations like that.  They would point out that this is what is done to political opponents in third world countries, even in Russia.  The white supremacists, the bigots, the haters of government, the evangelicals, and the tin horn politicians who got elected due to his endorsement would have a field day. 

And that is why, no matter how great his violation of a judge’s gag order may be, Donald John Trump will not be jailed. 

Come to think of it, if he is found guilty of any of the crimes for which he has been indicted, Donald Trump will never see the inside of a prison.  House arrest at Mar-a-Lago for a few months would be about as tough as his sentences will be, probably including the freedom to travel anywhere nearby within Florida, enabling his access to golf courses.

And he will write a book.  Millions of his supporters will purchase it.  His ghostwriters might title it ‘My Battle.’  (Translate that into German.)



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The World Series Versus the MLB Playoffs

Now that the Texas Rangers have defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, it’s time to think about whether a series of playoff games are the best way of determining Major League Baseball’s championship team.  Neither of these two teams were the best team in the Majors in 2023! 

The World Series traditionally pits the best team in the American League against the best team in the National League, based on their performance over an entire grueling 162 game season.  Neither the Diamondbacks nor the Rangers fit that description. 

The D-Backs and the Rangers were great teams over the final weeks of the season, survived three playoff rounds (2 of 3, then 3 of 5, then 4 of 7), and benefited strategically from additional players acquired before the August 31 playoff eligibility deadline.  That is to their credit.

The playoffs were extremely competitive and enjoyable, but the 90-win Texas Rangers, over the entire season were inferior to the 101-win Baltimore Orioles, the 104-win Atlanta Braves, and the 100-win Los Angeles Dodgers, as were the 84-win Diamondbacks.

The playoffs are great, affording a dozen teams the opportunity to participate (and a lot of time for advertisers to pitch their products), and there is a place for them in baseball, but it is my opinion that the World Series is not that place. (Perhaps they might be inserted in baseball’s schedule right after the All-Star game, providing a mid-season break in the regular season, and giving the participating teams a chance to reassess their talent.)

The World Series should bring together the two teams with the best record in each of the two leagues.  Period.  A game in May should count as much as a game in September.  This year, with apologies to the 2023 World Series winner, the Texas Rangers, those teams should have been the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles.

(For the record, the Rangers split their six games with the Orioles in the 2023 regular season, lost two of three to the Braves in interleague competition while the Diamondbacks split their six games with the Braves, but lost two of three to the Orioles in interleague competition)

And that is my opinion.


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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 are now 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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