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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, May 3, 2024

May 3, 2024 - The Time Interview, Law Day, Demonstrations, a Word from Thomas More, Polling, Democracy and a bit about Insurance.


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If you do nothing else today, please read the recent Time Magazine interview with Donald Trump.  It will take about 26 minutes.  We are all in very great danger.  To do so, JUST CLICK HERE or visit https://time.com/6972021/donald-trump-2024-election-interview/.


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May 1 was National Law Day – and Several  Thoughts on Today's Political Scene


May 1 was ‘National Law Day’ as established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower, to remind us that we are a nation based on laws (see Thomas Paine in the preceding Jackspotpourri).  ‘Ike’ was probably the last true Republican president.  To learn what brought the G.O.P. to its present sorry state described in the Time Magazine article link above, visit Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s ‘Letters from an American’ dated April 30 by CLICKING HERE . That particular posting, in its syndicated version, is currently appearing in many newspapers nationwide.  Besides summarizing the Time Magazine interview, it describes the seizure of the Republican Party by extreme right-wing idealogues.

Much of their philosophy came from a young conservative, just out of college in the middle of the last century, still wet behind the ears, named William Buckley.  He went on to start the right-wing National Review.  He wrote what the Roosevelt-haters, the isolationists and those who always saw government as the enemy of the people, wanted to hear and his book, ‘God and Man at Yale,’ inspired the corruption that has destroyed the party of Abraham Lincoln.

And speaking of Professor Richardson, she is currently ‘on a roll’ with her incisive presentations of historic truths.  Her late evening May 1 posting included the following comment which goes to the heart of the contradictions between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that is presently the focus of arguments concerning abortion, gun violence, and many other issues.  That is where the future of American democracy is being debated.  Here is an excerpt from what she wrote:

‘Republicans are engaged in the process of dismantling the federal government, working to get rid of its regulation of business, basic social welfare laws and the taxes needed to pay for such measures, the promotion of infrastructure, and the protection of civil rights. To do so, they have increasingly argued that the states, rather than the federal government, are the centerpiece of our democratic system.  

That democracy belonged to the states was the argument of the southern Democrats before the Civil War, who insisted that the federal government could not legitimately intervene in state affairs out of their concern that the overwhelming popular majority in the North would demand an end to human enslavement. Challenged to defend their enslavement of their neighbors in a country that boasted “all men are created equal,” southern enslavers argued that enslavement was secondary to the fact that voters had chosen to impose it.’ 

Back in 1865, after the Civil War, there were some who wanted the rebellious States to be treated like a conquered enemy but Lincoln, ultimately assassinated by a rebel sympathizer, was planning on being more charitable to them and his vice-president was actually on the side of the defeated Confederacy.  Reconstruction turned out to prove that the Constitutional Amendments stemming from that War (the 13th, 14th, and 15th) did not fully establish a nation with a 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ in the full meaning of these words.  The struggle to accomplish that is still going on even today.  And the Republicans are today filling the role that the rebellious States Rights Democrats filled in the 1850s and 1860's.


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Thomas More on Lawyers Back in 1516

Sir Thomas More (born 1478, executed 1535) was, according to internet sources, an English lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, amateur theologian, and noted Renaissance humanist.  He ultimately served King Henry VIII as Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to May 1532.  Refusing for religious reasons to go along with Henry’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon, he was beheaded, resulting in his ultimately being sainted by the Roman Catholic Church. Much earlier, in 1516, More had written a satirical work, ‘Utopia,’ in which he described the political system of an imaginary island state. 

Considering that he became the pre-eminent lawyer of his day in England, second only to the King and perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury in power, his earlier views of that profession are interesting. Here they are from ‘Utopia,’ slightly modified to eliminate archaic language (I have colored certain significant phrases), where he discusses lawyers: 

“They have no lawyers among them, for Utopians consider them as the sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters and to wrest the laws, and therefore, they think it is much better that every man should plead his own cause, and trust it to the judge, whereas in other places than Utopia the client trusts it to a counsellor. By this means, they both cut off many delays and find out truth with more certainty. After the parties have themselves laid open the merits of their cause, without those artifices which lawyers are apt to suggest, in Utopia the judge examines the whole matter and supports the simplicity of such well-meaning persons whom otherwise, crafty men would be sure to run down, and thus they avoid those evils which appear very remarkably among those nations that labor under a vast load of laws. All Utopians are skilled in their law, for it is a very quick study – recognizing that the plainest meaning of which words are capable is always the sense of their laws. 

More’s negative view of lawyers ought to make some sense to those following the present litigation involving our defeated and indicted former president who is trying to return to office. We still have to be on alert for those ‘crafty men,’ clearly lawyers, whom he mentions. 

His confidence in judges is well placed, except judges like the pro-defendant one who is hearing the former president’s ‘stolen documents’ case in a Florida courtroom, and those members of our Supreme Court who insist on emulating the statue of Lady Justice in front of the Supreme Court Building by figuratively wearing blindfolds to work.  That may be going too far.  Oh, well. This is not Utopia.



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Polling and Democracy

That many polls still show the former president leading President Biden in the 2024 presidential race is an indication that too many people do not follow the news and when they do, they ignore legitimate media sources, preferring those that spew out news reflecting their existing prejudices.  Any ‘real’ political party whose candidate is burdened with the baggage the former president carries would right now be scurrying to find a replacement for him.  But they are not doing that.  This supports the belief on the part of many that the Republicans are no longer a political party, but rather a ‘cult’ based upon loyalty to the defeated and indicted former president. 

The democracy they purport to believe in is a representative’ democracy, which is fine because, given the millions of voters in this country, a fully direct democracy is impossible.  Sadly, however, the ‘representativepart of it is based on an undemocratic structure that includes gerrymandering, the Electoral College, the skewed composition of the Senate, the Supreme Court, and easily manipulated State legislatures.  Even the more ‘direct’ aspects of our democracy, such as how we elect the House of Representatives, seem questionable when it produces Representatives in Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene, for whom it is difficult to believe the voters of any Congressional district would vote.  But they do! 

As plain as the facts may be, there are enough frightened, selfish, bigoted, and just stupid voters in any ‘representative democracy’ like ours for an aspiring despot to hide the truth, sell them a phony bill of goods, and if he or she play their cards right, get elected.  It happened here in 2016 and happens often elsewhere.  

But as this blog has repeatedly said, ‘polls do not win elections, voters do.’  And that is your responsibility.

 And if you did not yet read the Time Magazine interview with Donald Trump with which this posting led off, stop whatever you are doing and go back and read it now.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT.



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I would be remiss if I did not include my thoughts on the demonstrations taking place on many college campuses, attacking Israel for its strong reaction to Hamas’ October 7 aggression against it, and Hamas' frequently repeated intention to eradicate Israel.  

These demonstrators object to our government’s support of Israel in its efforts to destroy Hamas, and the academic institutions, some of which have investments in Israel, for not joining with them in their attacks. Some of these attacks on Israel have spread over into overt acts of antisemitism, because of the Jewish nature of the State of Israel.  Over 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in this war, primarily because Hamas has embedded its military personnel and facilities amidst the civilian population, fully recognizing that civilian casualties would be unavoidable and enabling them to blame Israel for them. If this blame could be used to erode the support of the United States and many of the Western nations for Israel, Hamas supporters reason, the war would end up with a cease-fire that would amount to a Hamas victory.  That is what the demonstrations are about.  It is clear on whose side they are. 

Even after following the demonstrations in the newspapers and on television, there are many unanswered question remaining.  I suspect our government has the answers but is, at least for the time being, not publicizing them.  

When demonstrators are arrested, as they should be for confusing the right to dissent with attacking individuals, destroying property, and other violations of laws, frequent mention appears of there being ‘non-students’ among those arrested whose activities far exceed those protected by the First Amendment. 

Who are these people and who are they working for?  Their tactics at schools across the nation are so similar that they seem to be part of an organization rather than spontaneous.  Sometimes I get the feeling that these are the same folks who a few years ago were demonstrating to ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and who now have moved uptown to occupy parts of the Columbia University campus. 

College students are not wealthy, and usually strapped for money.  Where is the money coming from to purchase those similar tent cities that appeared overnight on many campuses. Tents aren’t cheap.  Nor are the plywood dividers they use in setting up barriers. Where do the hundreds of Palestinian flags they wave come from?  Who pays for them?  And their signs, and banners are not the ‘homemade’ creations of the undergraduate demonstrators that we saw during protests against the Vietnam War in the Nineteen-Sixties.  They are professionally produced materials and appear to be similar from coast to coast.  What is going on and where is the money coming from?  Is Iran involved?  Is Russia, always ready to sow dissent in the United States, involved?  Are existing antisemitic groups in this country funding the demonstrators?  Is money supposedly being raised for ‘humanitarian’ purposes being otherwise used? 

These are some of the unanswered questions about these demonstrations.  Of course, colleges and universities are supposed to be where one is exposed to a myriad of ideas, debatable from all aspects.  When this turns into violence and the deprivation of the rights of others, however, it is something else.  I suspect the government is not revealing all that it knows.  I believe that there is far more going on than meets the eye.  I hope that some investigative journalists are seeking answers. 


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Insurance and Politics Both Warrant ‘Fact Checking’

The previous posting on Jackspotpourri included very detailed information on the life insurance peddled to seniors on TV without asking any health questions.  It is almost criminal that the spokesman in these ads says that any senior up to age 85 can get this insurance for $9.95 a month.  While this is true, he never mentions that the amount of this exceedingly high-priced coverage (high-priced because no health questions are asked) varies by age, and that $9.95 a month buys a much smaller permanent policy at age 80, for example, than one purchased at age 60 … nor that the full death benefit is usually not available for the policy’s first two years either.  (That information is disclosed when the number on the screen is called.) 

This is the same kind of half-truths and misleading information that we see every day coming out of the mouths of politicians.  Just as ‘fact checking’ is important in politics, it is important in financial transactions such as life insurance.  A footnote in miniscule type on these ads, or disclosure in a subsequent phone call, does not make them any less misleading initially.  But all they are really interested in is convincing the viewer to make that phone call to get more information (from a person who is paid through commissions on the sales he or she makes).



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Housekeeping on Jackspotpourri

Strange “Hits’The large number of those accessing Jackspotpouri from Singapore has suddenly ceased. In their place, however, there have appeared large numbers of ‘hits’ on each posting in the hundreds, and as was the case with those from Singapore, but this time from Hong Kong!  I suspect that the Chinese are playing around with internet transmissions, possibly to try to identify who is reading them. 

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 jacklippman18@gmail.com.

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, you can just tell them to check it out by visiting https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com or you can provide a link to that address in your email to them. 

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 brief comment from you.  Each will receive a link to click on that will directly connect them to the blog.

Either way will work, sending them the link to https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com, or clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this posting. 

Again, I urge you to forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it, particularly if they are a registered voter.  This is an election year.  Spread the word.  AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE READ THE TIME MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH THE DEFEATED AND INDICTED FORMER PRESIDENT I URGED YOU TO DO EARLIER.



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