Rest in Peace John Peter Zenger

John Peter Zenger
1697-1746

We have always supported a free press, regardless of whether it reported truth or fiction and in return most of that free pres has done a decent job of checking the facts. When an error has occurred, a correction is usually offered on page sixteen, bottom left corner. But lately a small portion of the free press has taken a page from the supermarket sensationalist press and gone beyond the bounds of credulity in reporting lies, distortions and rumors as facts.

Usually most sane people dismiss such trash reporting with a short “Where did you read that, in the World Nut Daily ?” and a mutual chuckle.

But lately sanity has taken a rain check from the minds of some 30% of our society and are not considering such news articles with a little reflection that would demonstrate that such report are and have to be political distortion. They seem to enjoy mass rallies where they can shout “Give us Barabbas” and jeer anyone who tries to inject the least bit of sanity.

The question on my mind is, assuming we are able to install a reasonably honest administration that is willing to deal with difficult problems and subjects fairly, what can we do to reverse this foolish acceptance of scrap paper news as valid reporting without removing or reducing the protective safety net we have given the free press for two about hundred years, and not be putting a tombstone up “RIP John Peter Zenger.” And dear friends, if you need to look up John Peter Zenger, you should.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

Was Elizabeth Warren the best qualified candidate?

Many well-meaning citizens feel that Elizabeth Warren is the best qualified candidate. Qualified in what way, Professional knowledge of the workings of the financial details? Compassion for the helpless? Imaginative?

Qualified in some or even several ways, yes, absolutely yes, but there are alternatives who seem to be better, or, to be fair, at least as well qualified in similar or, other ways. So we have invented this “horse race” that judges candidates by added characteristics, one of which is electability. Those qualities are often offset by counter indicators so a balance is made by voters and supporters and Liz, while very high on the positive qualification scale carries a significant impediment, her nomination and election might just tear the country apart even further. And Sanders, with his unbudging stubbornness is thwarted in a similar way as well. His extreme views will prevent him from putting “United” ahead of “States.”

I remember a candidate, in fact, I cheerfully voted for the candidate who proudly said; “Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

Ringingly deathless words, but sadly not likely to mend the fracture that was then, as now, ripping the nation apart.

And he lost in a landslide. His opponent was a somewhat crooked candidate of one party who could and so often did work with members of the other party and for all his faults went from horse thief as a congressman to a rather successful president.

The thing that so many people fail to acknowledge is that an election, is a compromise in which the best winners are often the candidates who are acceptable to the most voters. Warren could serve the nation as a whole by working to elect one of those types less doctrinaire candidates who stands that best chance of hearing the country, and perhaps working from within effectively to bring about the goals she is known to have.

Think about Gerald Ford as an example of one such uniters in the days after Nixon was drummed out of office. “…. My friends, our long national nightmare is over etc. ……”

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

America is going over a precipice from which there will be no return.

What amazes me when chatting with people who support Trump is that they seem to proudly proclaim that they do not like politics, economics, or international affairs, and seldom pay any attention to such things day to day, but in the next breath claim that they like Trump because he has done so much for the country. Which begs the question, how the hell would they know?

They may claim to love the Constitution but few can even recite 50% of its preamble which contains our national goals and of course they have never taken the time to even read the balance. Actually many can not tell whether a quotation is from the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. So when they are told that some activity of an official is a violation of the Emoluments clause, it is like speaking Swahili to a Chinese person but they are sure that there was no violation by that certain official.
(I may be assuming that there are few Chinese well versed in Swahili and probably even fewer Swahili speakers who ever heard of Wade-Giles romanization. If I am wrong, I apologize. ” …. Binadamu wote wamezaliwa huru na sawa kwa hadhi na haki ….”).

Somewhat annoying is that many of these disinterested voters seem to think ignorance of what is going on in the country is a badge of honor and certifies their political purity. It does neither.

They should be ashamed to admit their lack of knowledge in the affairs of government, Federal, State, or Local, unless they have some valid reason, such as having been vacationing of the far side of the moon where newspapers are only delivered three times a year.

While I am at the written press, no democracy can long exist without a vibrant press and the ability of its citizens to communicate freely. Anyone who promotes that our independent press corps, printed, or broadcast are the enemy of the people is challenging the ability of its citizens to acquire the knowledge needed to cast an informed, free ballot. By independent press, I am specifically meaning, both sources that cater to one’s personal ideas and biases as well as sources that are diametrically opposed to those firmly held ideas and biases.

It is up to each citizen reader or broadcast viewer (listener) to hear different views and to determine which seems to make the most sense as well as be the most likely to be true. And you cannot exercise that freedom unless the press is free to report, not just all the news ‘fit to print,’ but even what that citizen disagrees with so strongly that they would rather not see it presented. Censorship is the enemy of Democracy.

Democracy also depends for its lifeblood the willing attention to the rule of law, not just laws that are convenient, but laws that put your patriotism, your honesty, your willingness to the test.

Growing up in America I could not imagine this nation coming apart at its seams, but today I see it happening as people with little or no sense of truth and decent behavior seem to have acquired power far in excess of any control, men and women who have no respect for either written laws or long held customs. I see the country approaching a point of no return and I marvel at the foresight of the man who wrote “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

I am very afraid that by allowing the voting power to be exercised by, at times, about one third of the potential voters, and the reins of government to be grasped by a demented incompetent poseur we, this America, are going over a precipice from which there will be no return.

On the slim possibility that there is yet one chance I hope that the populace awakens and begins to take back what was rightfully theirs.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

Screaming Liberals and Compliant MAGA’s cannot have fair and balanced discussions

As usual, people with partisan convictions, either way, can’t make the fine distinctions needed for a fair and balanced discussion.  Screaming Liberals will scream and compliant MAGA hats will cheer mindlessly.  For the rest of society, some judgement is required.

As to Trumps actions in unilaterally terminating a known killer and national enemy, there are risks taken and benefits gained, with several distinct considerations:

  1. By failing to consult the eight members of Congress who are chosen to be told of the alleged emergency need for action before going off this way, or immediately thereafter, another impeachable offense has been committed.
  2. As a professional liar, why anyone would put store in anything trump utters is a mystery, so whatever justifications are offered by him are, ipso facto, questionable.
  3. This action has been committed without any consideration of the long-term consequences, including the well-being and safety of any, and perhaps all Americans traveling or working around the world.
  4. It would have been stupid not to inform or consult with our allies if, in fact, trump had not pissed off just about all our usually loyal allies.
  5. Anyone who does not see that trump’s whole purpose is to distract attention from the coming impeachment trial, and the continually unfolding evidence of even further ongoing criminal activities in and around his administration is fooling him, or herself.
  6. And now, we have trump’s greatest achievement, fulfilling one of his campaign promises of bringing people together, unfortunately in one fell swoop it is what was the largely segmented and disjointed Muslim community, from Morocco to Malaysia, and points elsewhere into one mass of anti-American protesters at best, or terrorists at worst. (Congratulations for that clever singular achievement.)
  7. He has also given many non-Muslim communities to join against trump’s unilateral action. Three cheers for the step toward becoming global pariahs.
  8. And for those who a good dose of irony, we now have a minority president who has spent the last two years decrying the opinions and factual analyses of our eight or nine intelligence communities, trying to twist their findings to support his rash political malfeasance. Well I guess that works well if you suspend judgement.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

What should Trump do in order to force China to abide by the international laws they agreed to?

A correspondent recently wrote an essay asking several questions, ” … Okay, I am going to educate. It’s not a position. Its just facts. China has been crushing entire industries in the US through unfair trade practices. Every single time they do this entire work forces are put on the street. This has been going on for a very long time. What do you propose to change this behavior? Why was it not a shame when the Chinese put out of business the entire solar panel production industry in the US by paying Chinese companies money so they could sell the panels at a steep discount and loss, bankrupting the entire rest of the worlds industry? Why did you not call our past President an a-hole every time China reversed engineered a patented technology and flooded the market with the knockoffs? Why are you not concerned about the large scale poisoning of our medicinal remedies due to counterfeit pills? Again, I will ask you…what should Trump do in order to force China to abide by the international laws they agreed to?….”

Perhaps in a sarcastic mood, I first wrote, “Does Dropping dead count ?” I know that that reply was a cheap shot, that I should erase, but trying to discuss issues rationally with most die hard trump supporters has turned out to be a waste of time.

Donald trump was known to people living in New York to be a pompous ass long before he got the grandiose idea that he could be anyone’s president. Yes, I was born there a year or so earlier and only about ten miles away from his birthplace. I knew that he had a solid reputation for mendacity, serial adultery, general incompetence in his business dealings and the conscience of a dog in heat. Not only did he run valid businesses into the ground (think casinos) but created and looted several bogus enterprises that he started and usually bore his name.

What surprises me is that good solid people from the mid-west, people usually suspicious of Eastern “city slickers” selling snake oil, when most must have known in their heart of hearts that he was at best a TV character in a somewhat successful TV series accepted his perfidy as a breath of fresh air, but they did and some still do stand in line for another taste of the poison kool-aide.

I keep hoping that enough voters will have realized how badly they have been hoodwinked to stay home next November either from personal shame or to choose a different candidate to vote for. There is hope as I see so many erstwhile solid Republicans deciding to not run for re-election in 2020.

Now as for the allegation that the Obama administration did nothing to counter the reasonably valid list of abusive behaviors that China’s social mores accepts as normal, perhaps you might consider the Asia-Pacific Trade agreement that the Obama people had been working on for quite some time. Ignoring trumps bluster and deceit for a moment, that agreement was designed to isolate China from the rest of the Far Eastern trading nations. If it had finally been consummated it would have brought pressure on China to amend its ways, without destroying our national industries quietly and without excessive bombast, which has only succeeded in now making China dig in its heels and create local laws that have successfully had a deleterious effect on the very businesses Obama’s merry men (and women) sought to protect.

It seems that the only reason that trump withdrew from the negotiations was his irritation to have been proved demonstrably wrong about Obama’s birthplace. Perhaps there was, and still is, some residual anger at being compared unfavorably to a well-educated, compassionate Afro-American. Spiteful petty revenge at having been proved totally wrong in public is no way to run a railroad, or a federal government. It will take the next president years of hard work and a healthy dollop of the wisdom of Solomon to repair the international harm that trump and his toadies have accomplished, that is, provided that we do hold honest elections and actually do have a lawful president.

Try to consider the attempts to abandon NATO and SEATO, NAFTA and the absolutely necessary Climate Accords, betray allies and even worse, sharing a bed with dictators, will have on future international relations. What sane foreign leader will agree easily to send his or her nations youth to fight and possibly as an ally of the USA again.

What nation’s agricultural or industrial minister will join us in another attempt to build a peaceful trade wall around China or any other violator of international trade or patent norms. “Can’t trust those Americans, they might just find another trump to insert a knife in our backs,” will cross the mind of every minister of any country that entertains siding with the USA in war or peace, in trade or any complex negotiations. And that ignores the work of restructuring our laws to protect human rights, establish justice for both the rich as well as the often abused poor, undo the effects of global climate change, as well as try to secure the blessings of equality, liberty and perhaps fraternity on ourselves and our posterity.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2020, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved