The Weiner Component V.2 #27 – President Trump & the Power of the Pardon

A Presidential Pardon is a document issued by the President.  It forgives an individual for a crime he/she has committed and wipes out the penalty, usually the balance of a jail sentence.  It is different from a reversal of a jail sentence, where a person has their innocence of a crime proclaimed and has been wrongly convicted.  Accepting a pardon is actually an admission of guilt.

 

From what I understand the President and virtually every, or most governors have this power to pardon people within their state or in the case of the President within the country.  I believe that Governors use this power far less than the President.

 

Intermittently of late, President Donald J. Trump has during low moments of his thinking, brought up his power to issue pardons for himself, members of his family, and for some of his close associates and friends.

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If we go back to the early 1970s, shortly after Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency over the Watergate break-in during the 1972 Presidential Election, his former Vice President the then President Gerald Ford issued a pardon to the then former President Nixon for any crimes he did or may have committed, stating that he had suffered enough in losing the presidency.

 

Other Presidents, over the years, have issued pardons, usually at the end of the Presidential year, presumably to deserving inmates.  Presidents Clinton and Obama did this.  Never before had any President or Governor issued pardons for themselves or their families.  I suppose Donald Trump could be the first to try this.

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Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states among the powers of the President “. . . he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of Impeachment.”

 

To issue a Reprieve is to delay something.  To issue a Pardon is to forgive a crime.  Does that mean he can pardon himself unless the crime is an impeachable offence?

 

Consequently the term “Pardon” is stated in the Constitution but not really defined.  Can Trump pardon himself of non-impeachable crimes?  Can he pardon members of his family and friends and simply continue with them in office?  It’s an interesting question considering that currently Congress has a Republican dominated Congress and a Republican President.  It should be kept in mind that only the House of Representatives can bring forth a Bill of Impeachment which is then tried in the Senate.  Would a Republican dominated House impeach a Republican President?

 

If the answer is negative, President Trump, his family, and his cohorts are all above the laws of the country.  The President at will can exonerate himself or anyone else and just continue as he had been, breaking the law.  The country would pass from a Democracy to a Dictatorship and Trump could even keep himself in office for the rest of his life.

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The question, if Trump presented it to the nation would have to be resolved by the Supreme Court.  They would have to make the final determination.

 

If we go back to the founding fathers, they certainly did not visualize anyone like Trump ever becoming President of the United States.  In fact they did not even visualize the existence of political parties.  They saw the people of the country getting together once every four years and electing electors, the wisest or most intelligent people in their Districts, and these people choosing the best man in the country as President.  And, of course, the first President was George Washington.

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Will Trump attempt this new use of the pardoning power?  He has been in office less than one year, currently over seven months.  We have seen his presidency slowly disintegrate as he has gone along with his tweeting, public announcements, and actions, some of which were totally inept.  If anything he has denigrated the role of the presidency in the United States.  In terms of the rest of the world he has taken America out of a leadership position.  In fact, as President, he has been an embarrassment to a good percentage of the American public.

 

If it turns out that the President, or members of his family, or any of his close associates has in any way colluded with Russia in the 2016 Presidential Election or otherwise will he act to pardon himself and them.  This is being currently investigated by the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller.  If Mueller proves that Trump or any of the others, together or separately, participated with Russia to have Trump elected or otherwise participate in acts against the United States then Trump will probably act using the right to pardon himself and/or his family member and his other associates or, for that matter, both himself and them.

 

It should be noted the Bob Mueller is investigating both the 2016 Presidential Election and President Trump for obstruction of justice in reference to the Russian probe of the election.  He has publically stated nothing so far.  One of his approaches is to follow the money trails.  Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, stated recently on a Fox News interview that Special Council Mueller would get permission to expand his investigation if he had a valid reason to do so.

 

Recently Bob Mueller empowered two Grand Juries, one in Washington, D.C and one in Virginia.  The Grand Juries can issue subpoenas requiring the presence of specific individuals and they can issue incitements for jury trials.  Usually they are utilized when a crime has been committed.

 

Trump has hired a team of lawyers to protect him and also his oldest son, Donald Jr. and his sister, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who work in the White House all have hired attorneys to represent them.  The problem with Donald Trump, Sr. is that he likes to tweet and he does not necessarily listen to his lawyers.

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Up to this point Trump has alienated, besides the Democrats, a fair to large number of Republicans.  Currently the House of Representatives passed by an overwhelming majority of both Republicans and Democrats by a vote  of 419 to 3, well over the 2/3ds required to make a Presidential Veto pointless, a bill to increase the sanctions upon  Russia for interfering in the 2016 Election.  The Senate then did the same by a vote of 98 to 2.  Senator Rand Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders voted against the bill.  Since it was pointless to veto the bill President Trump reluctantly signed it very quietly.

 

With that action Congress has taken away from President Trump the ability to act on Russia.  The determination of America’s actions toward Russia and Iran have passed from the President to Congress cutting down the Presidential power.

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Currently President Trump has a problem with Mueller, the Special Counsel.  He has been upset since the investigation began.  Mueller keeps expanding his investigation and currently has or will examine Trump’s Income Tax returns that Trump considers sacrosanct.

 

Is or has there been collusion?  Trump wants Mueller fired.  Mueller has released no information about his investigation.  I believe he has hired fourteen or more extra-competent experienced attorneys to help conduct the investigation.  Trump’s attorneys have accused them of contributing to Democrats in prior elections.  Even though Trump wants Robert Mueller gone he can’t fire him by himself.  The Attorney General’s office hired him.  But the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the case.  Mueller was appointed by the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein after Session’s recusal.  In order to fire him now President Trump would have to fire the Deputy Attorney General and hire someone else who would be willing to fire him.  But if this were to happen then legislation is being worked upon or has passed through Congress that would allow Mueller to continue under the auspices of Congress.  Mueller would just continue what he is doing.

 

What will eventually happen?  I suspect that President Trump may be the second President to resign from his office or be impeached before he has served one full year as President of the United States.  If this happens then Mike Pence will be the next President.  I don’t suspect that the Republicans in Congress would be very unhappy over that.  I also suspect that the Republicans will lose their majority in the Senate and they may also lose or come close to losing their majority in the House of Representatives in the November 2018 Midterm Election.

The Weiner Component V.2 #26 – Responding To Your Enquiries

This article originally appeared as #114.  It was and is an attempt to respond to all the comments I get asking for a reply.

 

You must forgive me for not responding to the many enquiries I receive from you.  Generally I get a large number of responses to my blogs every day.  This includes both actual responses and assorted ads.  Of the messages a number are requesting some sort of reply.  If I answered all of them I wouldn’t have time to write a blog.  My purpose here is to respond to most of your enquiries.

 

The blog system I am using is WordPress.  Several years ago I finished an EBook that is currently available on “Amazon.com” for a small fee. Some of you have berated the fact that I do not have a contribution box on my blog.  If anyone wishes to contribute some money to me they can download my book, “Economics in the 21st Century.”  It is priced under $10.00 and it is an analysis of economic conditions and possibilities in the 21st Century.

 

Many of you have asked if I do a newsletter.  The answer is no.  I publish generally one blog a week, usually on Sunday.  If anyone wishes to get in touch with me my email address is: “bernardweiner@att.net.”  As much as possible I will attempt to answer your emails but I cannot guarantee how soon this will be as writing a blog takes quite a bit of time and energy.  Making an article look simple and natural requires quite a bit of revising.

 

Occasionally I get comments that there are numerous spelling errors in the blog.  The articles when published have none.  If they do exist then hackers have gotten into the article.  I am also continually asked about spam, how to get rid of it.  Within the last month advertisers seem to have largely dropped me.  I would suspect that eventually if you persist with your blogs most advertisers will get tired of sending you their ads.

 

I am not overly sophisticated in computer technology.  After I had completed my E-book I hired someone for a moderate fee to prepare and publish the book on Amazon.com and to set me up with a blog.  If you wish to set up your own blog or otherwise need technical aid he can be reached at: ”author19@gmail.com.”  For a reasonable fee he can set you up with your own blog or whatever.

 

Some of you have commented that the blog loads quickly and a few have stated that it does this slowly.  I would assume that in the latter case it has to do with whatever program you’re down loading onto.  I’ve also gotten a number of comments that it loads badly onto Internet Explorer, running off the page.  I would recommend that you use other programs.

 

Some of you have asked about a plug-in which you would like to use to avoid hackers.  If anyone finds one I’m sure he can sell it for a great deal of money to Sony and probably also to the U.S. Government.  If you’ve lost text or whatever on your blogs I would suggest you initially use a program like “word” and then copy it onto your blog.  That way you always have a copy of what you’ve produced.

 

I have received at least several hundred offers to either guest write blogs or offers from those who would like to guest write articles for my blog.  While, I’m sure, these are well intended it would take too much time to deal with.  Also I am not an editor but an author.  I write about with what strikes me as pertinent at any particular time.

 

Some of you have complained that when requesting an Email you get four similar responses.  I have had the same problem in other instances.  I am not technically savvy to know how to solve it.

 

I understand my blog can be found on Google, Yahoo News, Twitter, and other services.  I assume these people pick up and transmit articles they believe will be of use to their readers.

 

I can always be contacted through the “Comment Section” at the bottom of the blog.  WordPress lists all Comments and I also receive the message as an Email.

 

You should easily be able to get to my blogs by typing in: “bernardweiner.com”.  A number of Bernard Weiners will come up.  I am the one that’s listed as: author, historian, and economist.  That should bring up my latest blog.  If you then click “Home” toward the top of the page you will go to the current article followed by a number of recent blogs that can be read at the same time.

 

On the top of the first page there is a short biography in the “About Me” section and a quick synopsis of my book, “Economics in the 21st Century.”  In the “My Book” section in addition there are a number of recent blogs listed.  At this point I’ve published well over 200 articles during the last four or five years.  The last ten are listed in reverse order on this page.

 

A number of enquiries ask for permission to quote articles or sections of articles.  Nothing here is copyrighted.  The articles are written to present my interpretation of much of society.  Feel free to use any blog(s) or part(s) of any blog that you feel would be useful to you or your friends.

 

Writing is work.  It requires thought and time.  The article must be written and generally revised.  I find the process very worthwhile because it requires thinking a subject through from different aspects.  It generally gives the author a level of understanding that he did not have before he wrote the article.

 

I generally tend to be about two or three weeks ahead with my blog articles and usually publish them in the order in which they are written.

 

I have been asked about Message Boards where numerous people can respond to a particular issue.  If any of you is interested he/she can start one up.  I’m sure the person I’ve listed above can set one up for you.

 

Many people have complained that the articles are too short and would like me to write more on the topic.  If anyone wants more information on any particular topic they can easily look it up on the internet.  There is here endless information that can be picked up.

 

An occasional comment mentions videos that some of the blogs contain.  I have never included any videos in my blogs.  These would be the result of hackers who are attempting to improve or do otherwise to a blog.

 

I have been asked numerous times if I could recommend other similar blogs. I am sure there are some out there but I have not spent any time looking.  Most of my information come from synthesizing information from the local news media and from some research on the internet.  Lot of information is out there but in many cases it has to be pieced together.

The Weiner Component V.2 #25 – North Korea & the United States

The Weiner Component V.2 #25 – North Korea and the United States

 

Geographically, North Korea is a mountainous country located in East Asia on the northern half of the Korean peninsula.  Its borders face three countries: China, Russia, and South Korea.  Both China and Russia are separated by rivers, South Korea is separated at the 38th parallel where 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed.

 

Most of North Korea is a series of medium-sized mountain ranges and large hills, separated by deep narrow valleys.  There are some coastal plains.  Its population is in the area of 25.2 million and it has a problem feeding its population.  In the mid-1990s the country went through intense shortages of food and people there faced starvation.  Several times emergency food was shipped into the country, even from the United States.

 

Historically Korea was a separate kingdom with its own language and culture.  After the 1905 war between Russia and Japan, which the Japanese won, Korea was made into a protectorate of Japan.  Within a relatively short time Japan imposed her own culture upon it, attempting to force it to become an adjunct of Japan.  Korean culture and language were forbidden.  This process continued until 1945 when Japan surrendered to the United States and World War II ended.

 

Korea had been liberated by the United States in the South and the Soviet Union in the North.  For occupation purposes it was divided at the 38th Parallel.  In the North the Russians set up a Communist Government called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, with its capital at Pyongyang.  In the South the United Nations (UN) established the Republic of Korea with its capital at Seoul

 

While North Korea or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has no law of succession the head of the Kim family has ruled since 1946.  Kim il-Sung ruled until his death on July 8, 1994.  His son, Kim Jong-il was the nation’s leader until his death on December 12, 2011 and Kim Jong-Un, Jong-iI’s; younger son became ruler then.  He was born in 1984 and is currently 33 years old.

 

Kim Jong-Un’s older half-brother was murdered within the last year.  He had been a critic of the North Korean government.  What was used was a strong chemical which kills within minutes after being applied to the skin.

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On June 25th 1950, the North Korean army invaded South Korea crossing the 38th Parallel.  The Russians had built a North Korean army while the U.S. had built a South Korean police force strong enough to control the South but not strong enough to invade the North.  The North Korean army practically pushed the American GI’s off the peninsula.  Reinforcements were immediately sent from Japan.  The War lasted until 1953 when a truce was signed stopping the fighting at the 38th   Parallel.  The reason it was signed was that President Eisenhower was threatening to use atomic weapons against the Northern Korean army.

 

By that time Communist China, under the rule of Mao Tse-tung, had sent into Korea most, if not all, of its army that had originally been loyal to Generalissimo Chang Kai-shek, as volunteers, but who had switched sides when the Communists won.  Chairman Mao Tse-tung was not unhappy to lose them.

 

A peace treaty was never signed with the United States after the 1953 Truce.  Technically North Korea is still at war with the United States and South Korea.  Consequently it has built a series of concrete bunkers in the region north of the 38th parallel and throughout North Korea.  In addition the country has engaged over the years in atomic weapon and missile development.

 

To the Democratic Republic of Korea they are still at war with the United States.  They see this country as their unyielding, corrupt enemy, who they would love to destroy.  But, so far, they have done nothing because they would be attacking a mass area containing 350 million people that is considered the strongest nation on earth.

 

Today North Korea has atomic bombs and recently shot off an intercontinental rocket which was capable of reaching the United States.  Verbally, Kim Jong-un, has threatened to blow-up the U.S. but outside of talk has taken no actions.  The country claims to have developed an H-bomb.  The probability of that is low but it is a possibility.

 

The presumed atomic bomb test on Thursday, July 12, 2017 may have caused a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in the Sea of Japan.  North Korea tests its atomic weapons in old mines or deep caves.  Exploding a bomb above ground adds to the radio-activity in the atmosphere.  Enough explosions could make the surface of the earth toxic to humans.

 

The probability is that an H-bomb may be too powerful to even sanely test underground but that North Korea recently did test one.  The United States did so on November 1, 1952.  The thermonuclear weapon is 1,000 times more powerful than an atomic bomb.  It was exploded over Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific.  The island was melted down well below the water level.  It disappeared.  The Soviet Union detonated theirs the following year in deserted parts of Siberia.  I do not believe any have been tested since, at least not above ground.

 

Briefly an atomic bomb is a nuclear device that splits innumerable atoms giving of massive amounts of energy.  It is exploded about 2,000 feet above ground.  The H-bomb is an implosive device that would be exploded well above the level for the atomic weapon.  It creates complex elements from simpler ones giving off far more heat/energy than the atomic bomb.  These are the explosions on the surface of the sun that generate the heat that fuels the galaxy and allows life to exist on this planet.

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Kim Jong Un gained control of North Korea late in 2011.  His rule has seen the economy improve.  He has not compromised or opened talks with any country unlike his father who occasionally held talks with Washington in order to gain concessions.  Kim Jong Un seems uninterested in any negotiations until he perfects a nuclear missile that is capable of striking anywhere in the United States.  He is not quite there yet.

 

He has had three of the five atomic test explosions.  On July 4th of 2017 he had a successful ICBM missile launch which told the world that North Korea could launch intercontinental missiles which could reach parts of the U.S.

 

Kim Jong Un’s propaganda has argued that nuclear deterrence is a “treasured sword” that can cope with U.S. aggression.  Seemingly he doesn’t want to resolve issues with diplomacy.  Instead he wants to protect North Korea by continually strengthening the country’s military ability.  He has continually promised to achieve Korean unification.  Presumably after achieving a maximum buildup he could win big outside concessions in return for imposing a moratorium on nuclear and missile development such as large aid packages and the suspension of United States and South Korean military drills.  North Korea sees these as a rehearsal for an invasion.  They also want a formal peace treaty officially ending the 1950 to 1953 Korean War.  This will allow for, among other things, the withdrawal of 28,500 American troops that have been stationed at the 38th Parallel since 1953.

 

It should be remembered here that the truce for the original Korean War came about because President Eisenhower threatened to use atomic weapons against North Korea.  Apparently that inspired the North Koreans to develop its own atomic weapons and to use them as a threat against the United States.

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President Donald J. Trump has continually been attempting to get other nations to get North Korea to back off its missile and nuclear testing.  According to Xi Jinping, the current head of China, when speaking to Trump during a United States visit, he explained that North Korea has historically gone its own way and it is impossible to force them to do anything.

 

This may be historically true but today China is its main trading partner with whom it does 90% of its foreign trading.  Among other things North Korea gets most of its oil from China almost for free.  If China were to significantly decrease the amount it sold/gave to North Korea that country would have trouble keeping its military going.  Airplanes and motor vehicles, both military and civilian, among other things, are dependent upon oil.

 

North Korea has and supports a large military but it is a very poor nation.  The probability is that China, although friendly with America does not want to face the possibility of a North Korea collapse which would take place if the oil imports were cut.  It would then have South Korea and its ally, the United States on its border.

 

For the last 2,000 years, whenever China was in a position to do so, China has not allowed strong nations on its borders.  The probability is that Kim Jong Un is relying on this fact.  Obviously China’s goals here are not those of the United States.

 

Kim Jong Un’s position is that he can threaten the United States or anyone else and make them very uncomfortable but he cannot really use his weapons.  Once he uses a missile and atomic bomb he leaves his country venerable.  The United States is 3,000 miles from East to West and over 1,000 miles from the North to the South end.  He can kill a lot of people but there is no way he can totally destroy the nation.  Besides that in one of his European trips President Trump inadvertently announced that there were two atomic submarines in the Sea of Japan.  They carry atomic weapons and can fire them from under water.  One H-bomb could destroy his capital, Pyongyang, and the coastal areas around it.  For Kim Jong Un to fire a missile with a nuclear warhead would be an act of national suicide.

 

The problem here could be the erratic behavior of President Donald J. Trump.  He has been reaching around for some way to force Kim Jong Un and North Korea to stop both missile and nuclear tests.  To date, he hasn’t had much success and is getting more and more frustrated.  Hopefully he will not begin a military action.

 

Can the problem with North Korea be resolved?  There are actually several possibilities for this goal to be achieved.  North Korea does about 90% of its trading with China and probably most of the other 10% with Russia.  It would like to be accepted a modern nation by the United States and other countries.  Both the United States and most of the nations belonging to the United Nations have applied economic sanctions.  These are increased every time North Korea tests a new missile or tests a new atomic bomb.

 

The American National Basketball Association (NBA) star, Dennis Rodman, has visited North Korea several times over the last few years.  Kim Jong Un has told him more than once to have the President call him, while holding his hand up to his face, with his thumb over his ear and his pinky over his mouth.  The last time this occurred Barack Obama was President.  The phone call was never made.  Is President Trump capable of making the phone call?  Would it start the process of a suspension of nuclear and missile activity?  It’s very possible.

 

Another possibility is to let China broker a deal with the U.S calling off its yearly dress rehearsal of an invasion of North Korea.  Is the U.S. capable of that or is it waiting for North Korea to act first?

 

The question is moot.  Currently each leader is waiting for the other to act first.  Currently the U.S. expects China or Russia to begin the process.  While North Korea feels that nuclear and missile development protect it.  Meanwhile Kim Jong Un and Donald J. Trump are getting more and more frustrated.

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The Weiner Component V.2 #24 – Trump at the G20 Summit

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

0n the 7th and 8th of July in this year of 2017 the G20 Hamburg Summit met in that city in Germany.  The G20 Meeting is held yearly at a different city.  In 2016 it was at Hangzhou in China.  In 2018 it will be at Buenos Aires in Argentina.

 

The leaders of 20 major nations, that are permanent members, are present. They deal with the issues of international concern to all modern countries.  Present in alphabetical order were the elected heads of Argentine, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union.  In addition the presidents of Guinea, Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Vietnam were also present.  The heads of the following prominent organizations also were represented: World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Financial Stability Board (FSB), United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labor Organization (WTO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC), and the World Health Organization, (WHO).

 

In addition to dealing with international trade, climate change, and energy policy they emphasized global economic growth, international trade and financial market regulation, mainly issues of global significance.

 

President Donald J. Trump, who represented the United States, marched to a different drummer from practically everyone else.  As the world’s greatest negotiator, by his own admission, he tended to flaunt how America came first and generally disagreed with many established positions and scientific beliefs held by the other countries and world organizations.  The other leaders tended to be polite to him while ignoring both him and the United States.  Many had met him earlier when he had removed the U.S., from supporting the stoppage of climate change, at a prior meeting.  He had denied that its occurrence was being brought about by the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.  A Republican position supported by the U.S. oil industry which contributes heavily to the Republican Party.

 

In fact Trade Agreements were formulated around him.  Japan and the European Union seem to be in the process of working out a free trade agreement between themselves.  The assorted nations tended to mostly ignore Trump.

 

When it comes to diplomacy Trump is a rank amateur.  Unlike what he has done in business he can’t bully his was through.  Trump works on the premise that everyone needs the cooperation of the United States.    It was true at the end of World War II and into the 1950s with the Marshall Plan.  It is certainly not true today with many nations far ahead of the United States with healthcare and also in other areas.

 

Both the European nations and those in Asia rebuilt after the Second World War.  Their infrastructures date back to that period.  The U.S. infrastructure dates back to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  The world can easily get along without the United States, if necessary.  If Trump cancels or attempts to renegotiate the varies Trade Agreements that the U.S. has signed or refuses to sign new ones then all the other nations involved can make agreement without the U.S. being involved.  If necessary the U.S. can be totally ignored.

 

With Trump’s basic attitude that America Comes First, which he usually announces, he can by his basic crude negotiating skills bring about a trade war between the United States and all its traditional allies.  Will this happen?  Apparently that depends upon Trump’s actions in antagonizing all the United States’ former friends.

 

Trump’s basic attitude has been erratic toward the U.S. allies and treaties.  He has been approving toward semi-dictators and dictators like Vladimir Putin.  He has spoken about renegotiating all American trade treaties, which he calls “terrible.”

 

So far, five months into his presidency, he has not attempted to renegotiate or even negotiate anything.  He has loudly complained about China selling or “dumping” cheap steel in the U.S. and disagreed with and essentially upset all America’s traditional allies.

 

It is interesting to note that earlier when Trump was building his Trump Towers he used cheaper Chinese steel in building some of them.  He seems to call upon everyone else to do what he now considers proper but did not do himself.

 

If he does generate a trade war by placing a 20% tariff on Chinese steel or otherwise with the rest of the world by placing heavy tariffs upon their trade goods, all the other nations of the G20 have stated that they will reciprocate immediately.  The overall effect of that upon the U.S. would be to raise the price of all trade goods 20% or more and have all other nations essentially stop purchasing American goods.  The effect would not only be a significant rise in the cost of all imports it would also generate large scale unemployment for goods and services and bring about an immediate overproduction of food products that ordinarily would be exported.  So much for the world’s greatest negotiator!

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Trump took a giant step at the G20 Hamburg Summit.  In essence he took the first major step in reducing the U.S. from being a major nation, a leader among the industrial nations, toward becoming a secondary country in the world today.  He did this by disagreeing with the other 19 permanent members upon the concept of global warming, international trade, and most other policies brought up.  In the main his attitudes are based upon what he knows and believes.  Scientific or other forms of proof have nothing to do with his conclusions.  He just knows what he knows and seems to be incapable of learning anything new.

 

Trump has successfully alienated the leaders of the other nations present at the G20 Summit so that most of their agreements bypassed the United States.  He very successfully removed the U.S. from a leadership position.

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Of far more interest to Trump was a meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.  The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes, it lasted over two hours.  Present were Trump and Putin.  In addition Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was present with Russian foreign minister Serget Lavrov and two translators.  Trump did not have any of his foreign policy experts at the meeting.  He winged it.

 

Among other things, early on Trump asked Putin directly if he had interfered in the American Presidential Election and Putin answered that he did not.  This to Trump apparently was absolute proof that Russia had not interfered in the election.  The fact the every American intelligence agency had come to other conclusions was immaterial.  Putin had given his word so it must be true.  A few days later when it emerged that his oldest son, Donald junior, and son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, had colluded with a Russian lawyer in June before he was elected to office apparently is immaterial.

 

It was their first face to face meeting.  Trump shook Putin’s hand several times from a seated position for Russian news photographers.  No American news person was allowed into the meeting.

 

The object of this face to face get-together was for the two leaders to look beyond the 2016 Presidential Election controversy and for the two countries to find a way to move forward from there.  There was no specific agenda.  The topics were whatever President Trump wanted to talk about.  Presumably the conversation covered a range of subjects which included Ukraine, Syria, North Korea nuclear threats, terrorism, and cyber security.

 

In fact Trump wanted to cooperate with Russia in setting up a combined cyber security task force.  When he returned to Washington, D.C. Republican members of Congress and advisers talked him out of this.  Trump, who never backs off anything he says, declared that he was testing the waters and would have separate cyber security.

 

It was announced later that the two nations along with Jordan had brokered a cease-fire agreement in the southwest of Syria to take effect on Sunday.

 

No agreement was reached on the two diplomatic compounds in the United States, one in Maryland and one in New York, which President Obama had taken as part of the sanctions over Russia’s behavior in the 2016 Presidential Election.  Presumably they have been used for spying.  No agreement was reached on North Korea.

 

The meeting was extremely cordial between the two presidents.  U.S. officials were surprised by the Russian state news agency’s immediate release of photographs of the visit.  These showed Trump and Putin engaged in jovial conversation.

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Obviously Trump had used one half of one of the two G20 Summit days in an attempt to upstage the meeting, draw attention to himself and attempt to debunk the fact that Russia had interfered with the U.S. Presidential Election.  To Putin and Russia the face to face meeting was important because it showed Russia as an equal with the United States, demonstrating to the world who the two dominant powers are.  The meeting was celebrated as a victory on Russian state media.

 

Ordinarily when the leaders of nations meet for major negotiations the meeting is planned well in advance with an agenda strictly worked out by subordinates of both nations.  The leaders have specific purposes in getting together.  It is a major event.

 

In this case it was on Trump’s part almost a casual event.  Actually he wanted to dispel the fact that Russia interfered in the U.S. Presidential Election.  He did not succeed.

 

In fact it would be a little over a week later that his oldest son, Donald Trump, Jr. would publically state that he had colluded with a Russian lawyer to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton in June well before the Presidential Election.  In admitting this and saying he would cooperate with the government Trump Jr. verbally changed what happened, to date, three times.  And the number of Russians present has also increased.  Will there be more revelations from him?

 

Now Donald, Sr. is busy justifying what his son did, stating that anyone would have done this and totally ignoring the fact that his son committed a federal felony, which, in anybody else’s case, would now have them in prison awaiting trial for having committed a serious crime.

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What we have seen at the Summit is the world’s greatest amateur, in the name of the United States, deal with other nations; being friendly to adversaries and unfriendly to former friendly nations.  Will this behavior go on for another 3 1/2 years?

The Weiner Component V.2 #23 – Obamacare: Repeal Now, Replace Later

The Senate version of the “Repeal and Replace” Affordable Health Care Bill (Obamacare) did not have the votes needed to pass in the Senate.  There are 52 Republican Senators and 48 others; 46 Democrats and two independents who vote with the Democrats.  Any passing bill needs at least 50% of the 100 votes to pass.  A number of Republicans and all Democrats oppose it.

 

To date the House of Representatives has passed a Draconian replacement bill for Obamacare which transfers a good part of the money spent on healthcare to tax reduction for the upper two percent and for essentially large corporations and massively increases the amounts that Obamacare recipients will have to pay.  It took the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, two tries to pass this bill and even then some Republicans opposed it.

 

The Senate, behind closed doors, with a small select committee of senior male Caucasian Senators, developed its version of the replacement and tax cut bill.  This document achieved immediate objection from both Democrats and some Republicans.  It was modified and still did not have enough Republican votes for it to pass.  The Senate left for its July 4th Recess without taking any action.

 

On Friday, June 30, 2017, it was suggested by Senator Ben Sasse, the Junior Republican Senator from Nebraska, working with President Trump, that the Senate, as soon as it comes back from its holiday Recess, repeals Obamacare and replaces it later.  This plan actually emerged from a Koch Brothers Think Tank.  Just prior to July 4th President Trump strongly supported this plan.  So far the Recess is over and nothing has happened in the Senate.

 

It seems that basically Trump is always more interested in winning, in getting his way, than it keeping his word.  As a candidate he promised his constituents that they would have more and better medical care under his presidency than they currently had and that it would cost them less money.  He currently seems to support the opposite position.

 

If this were to be done, and a bill were passed in the Senate, it would be done, in all probability, in stages with Affordable Health Care gradually being done away with.  The Senate bill would require that at some point in the near future the replacement bill was to come into being.  The problem with this type of legislation is that it makes future assumptions that may not come to pass.  Several years ago, in 2013 under the Obama Presidency, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, where all money bills have to begin, wanted to reduce government spending.  It could not make the entitlement cuts it wanted.  Subsequently a bill was passed into law in that year that said cuts would be made at a specific future point or all government spending programs would be reduced at that time and yearly thereafter.  This bill was called The Sequester.  When that point of time was reached no tax cut law had come about and The Sequester operated from that point on.  It took special legislation to properly fund the military after the automatic cuts came into being.

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If the effect of this bill was instantaneous the implication of this action, repealing now and replacing later, would be devastating upon the 22 plus million American citizens who currently have Affordable Health Care.  In all probability, if the Senate were capable of doing this, the next step would be immediate Tax Reform which would be to significantly reduce taxes for the upper two percent of the population and the large corporations.  The effect of the two acts would be devastating upon the Aged, the dependent young, and the general population of the United States.

 

First off: a large proportion of these people cannot afford any kind of medical coverage on their own.  A fair percentage of them are receiving crucial treatments that keep them alive.  These would stop immediately; and so would many of their lives.  The others would mostly survive, but not well.  Paying many rural and some urban hospitals would cease or decrease significantly causing a large number of them to shut down permanently.  In addition payments to Planned Parenthood would decrease when the government stopped contributing to them.  Essentially poor women, who cannot afford medical care, would lose the care they have ending breast cancer and other vital tests for these people and causing a significant increase in their rates of series illness.  Among other things the overall death rate would greatly increase.  And this does not even consider what will happen to young children who do not receive any medical care.

 

The overall effect of this besides the increase in the death and untreated illness rate will be to lower the overall Gross Domestic Product; the GDP, the level of wealth produced in the United States.  Spent money has a velocity; it is spent three to twelve times.  It has a volatility in terms of increasing productivity.  Money withdrawn from the overall cash flow has the opposite effect.  Every dollar withdrawn reduces the GDP by three to twelve dollars, shrinking productivity and employment.  The sudden withdrawal of these billions of dollars will cause an instant decrease in goods and services in billions to trillions of dollars.

 

The irony of this is that a large percentage of the people who would be affected are those who voted for Trump.  For example, West Virginia would become a desolate state with the government financially incapable of helping their citizens to even survive.  This is also true for a number of other states that strongly supported Trump in the Presidential Election.

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If by some strange miracle this bill were passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives also passed an identical bill the taxes of President Trump and the members of his Cabinet’s taxes would be greatly reduced in a shrinking depressed economy.  The upper two percent and the large corporations would be paying less in taxes but their earnings would in all likelihood quickly become less than they are now.  Trump’s hotels would have to decrease their room or suite prices and his cohorts would end-up earning less than they are now for similar reasons.  In essence it would be an instant depression, everybody would be hurting.  And this includes the upper two percent and the large corporations.

 

On Saturday, June 30th, Mitch McConnell, speaking in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, stated that he would not present a “Repeal Now, Replace Later” bill in the Senate.  Will he keep his word?  That’s unknown.  It all depends upon what is happening in the overall society.

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Also if the Senate is finally able to pass some sort of repeal and replace bill it will in all probability be different from that of the House.  This will mean a Conference Committee consisting of members of both Houses of Congress.  The House of Representatives had problems passing the bill that a majority of Republicans there agreed upon.  If they later have to compromise upon their bill and the Senate’s bill the process may become impossible.  It took great effort on Paul Ryan’s part to bring in the far right, the so-called Freedom Caucus.  Also the entire House of Representatives is coming up for reelection in November of 2018.  The probability is that the Conference Committee will not be able to come out with a compromise and the bill will die in committee.  We may not officially know this until the end of 2017 shortly before in Midterm Election..

 

In addition, in order to get a majority vote, McConnell may have to compromise with the Democrats in the Senate.  This could produce fascinating results.  The majority of Democrats currently seem to be supporting a single payer system; that would be the Federal government, which would drop the cost of the middlemen in Healthcare.

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Affordable Health Care premiums seem to be rising significantly at this time.  There are numerous reasons for this but perhaps the most significant one is the fact that the insurance industry has no idea what the immediate future of Health Care will be.  Ordinarily the Insurance Companies have people, actuaries, who can predict generally what will affect them during the coming year and on the basis of these presumptions, with a strong safety factor added, the coming year’s premiums are worked out.  But with what is or is not currently happening and not happening with the Republicans in Congress this process is impossible.  Consequently the experts in the insurance companies are projecting the highest possible increase in order to protect their companies in this period of mass confusion.

 

As long as Congress is about to act the madness persists.  And Congress has been about to act since January 20, 2017, when Donald Trump became President of the United States and a new Republican dominated Congress came into being.  It took the House of Representatives two tries to finally pass a Draconian health bill which would wipe out Affordable Health Care after seven years of existence, give the wealthy a massive tax cut, and introduce a new form of voluntary health care which most people currently on Obamacare could not afford.  Here much of what the Federal Government spent on Affordable Health Care would have to be paid by the recipients of the plan.  This, if it became law, would remove nineteen million people from any type of health insurance.

 

To date the Senate Republicans have not been able to get any type of plan passed.  Obamacare, with ever-rising premiums, remains in existence.  In fact it has become far more popular since Trump assumed office.  To many people it has become a life and death issue and they have dramatically let their congressmen know this.

What happens now?  Has Congress reached a point of total non-functionality with nothing happening or will they come up with a bill both Houses of Congress can agree upon?  If they do how will this affect the American people?

 

Currently Chuck Schumer has sent a message to President Trump to call a summit of all 100 Senators to work on a bill.  To date Trump has ignored this.

The Weiner Component V.2 #22 – The Medical Insurance Scam

Virtually every industrial country in the world, with the exception of the United States, has an automatic government plan that medically covers all its citizens for doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, and medical devices.  They tend to be covered by taxes and are administered by the government of each country.  In all of these countries less money is spent on the medical coverage than currently in the United States.  These plans are administered by the perspective governments and do not exist for profit.  They exist for service to all the citizens.

 

The United States is the one exception to all this.  Here medical coverage, even with government backing exists for private profit.  All the medical plans are administered, directly or indirectly for private profit.  Affordable Health Care or Obamacare was based upon a Republican plan first developed by a Republican Think Tank for the State of Massachusetts and applied by Mitt Romney when he was governor of that state.  It incorporates private enterprise into a state system of universal state health care.

 

This plan was taken over by the Obama administration in order to glean Republican participation when it was first introduced in 2010 by a Democratic dominated Congress and President.  It got zero support from the Republicans in both Houses of Congress.  Not one Republican legislator in either House of Congress supported it.  In fact it has been loudly denounced by Republican legislators since its appearance in 2010.  Ironically President Donald Trump has complained that not one Democratic legislator has supported the Republican efforts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.

 

Interestingly Obamacare’s popularity has phenomenally increased now that the Republicans control both Houses of Congress and the Presidency.  Republican legislators are no longer holding Town Hall Meetings with their constituents in order to explain their “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  They don’t like being hassled by the people who elected them, over this issue.

 

Currently the House of Representatives has passed a bill which dramatically limits Health Care to those who can afford it.  The estimate is that this bill if it were to become law would remove over the next few years 39 million people from insurance coverage.  They would not be able to afford it.

 

It should also be noted that the Republicans are keeping the minimum wage at seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour.  And anyone earning that much with a family is not only well below the poverty line, they also have to apply for government aid to survive.  Even Walmart now pays their employees a higher wage.

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The Senate has secretly put forth its own version of Trumpcare.  This was developed by an elderly group of male, white senators.  There are Republican women in the Senate but none of them were on the committee that wrote the bill.  Since the Senate has a majority of two; there are 52 Republican Senators, 46 Democratic ones, and 2 Independents who vote with the Democrats, Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate Republicans, can only lose two votes in order to pass the bill.  At present there are more than two Republican Senators, both on the left and right of the party, who refuse to support the bill.

 

The bill came out late on the week of June 19th and McConnell did not have the votes to pass it.  A revised version was developed on Monday, June 26.  He wanted a vote on the bill before the July 4th Recess.  He did not have the support needed to pass it. Most medical groups like the AMA announced that they are opposed to the bill.  McConnell has put off a vote on the current bill until after the July 4th Recess.  His new strategy seems to be that if enough Republicans in the Senate vote against the bill he will have to get together with Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic minority leader, to put a bill through the Senate.

 

It is also worth considering that if, by some miracle, a Senate version of “repeal and replace Obamacare” is passed, the bill will be different from the House version.  In order for the bill to become law both versions have to be identical and then the President has to sign it.  So far the only place Trump has put his signature has been upon his innumerable executive orders.  He has signed no major legislation.  In fact the Koch Brothers have gotten disgusted with the lack of conservative legislation and have stated that they will write no more checks until the Congress and the President pass some conservative laws.

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The entire concept of what the Congress and the President have attempted is a giant scam that they are attempting to perpetrate upon the American people.  The basic problem to quote President Donald J. Trump is to find out: “What the Hell is going on with his repeal and replace Obamacare?”  Is he hoping to set up a universal medical plan with “heart,” or is he throwing the general public symbolically under the bus?

 

Trump assumed the presidency on January 20, 2017.  It is now the beginning of July.  So far he and the Republican dominated Congress have achieved nothing legislatively.  No new major laws have been passed.  In fact the Congress was more effective under President Obama.  The basic question is: What the Hell is going on?  And what emerges is a dismal image of what Trump and the Republican legislators in both Houses of Congress are trying to do.

 

Trump and his cabinet are all millionaires and include some billionaires.  They are, among other things, touting Tax Reform.  This Tax Reform is lowering their own taxes, in some cases by millions of dollars.  They see lowering taxes for the very rich as Tax Reform.

 

Most taxes are regressive; that is, the more one earns the smaller a percentage of their total income is paid in taxes.  Among these there are use taxes which generally pay for road usage or sales or excise taxes which everybody pays equally.  In all these cases the richer a person is the smaller a percentage of their income they pay in taxes.

 

The one exception to this is the income tax which is paid to the Federal and some State Governments.  It is a progressive tax, that is, the higher a person’s income the greater a percentage of it is paid in taxes.  This is true up to a point.  At an income of $418,400 a taxpayer pays 39.6% of his taxable income.  Thereafter, no matter how much more the individual earns he still pays 39.6% of his taxable income to the Federal Government.  The income tax has now become regressive; the percentage paid decreases as the income goes beyond $418,400.

 

Trump and the Republicans want to lower the amount that is currently paid to twenty plus percent.  This is Tax Reform as far as Trump and the Republicans are concerned. They want to allow the upper two percent of the population and the rich corporations to keep a greater percentage of their earnings.  The price in order to do this is to gut Obamacare by reducing its cost by nine billion dollars.  It’s a case of helping the rich by taking from the poor.  And, of course, the Republicans can’t afford their tax reform unless they take the money from the poor and elderly.  Consequently, in order to reduce their own taxes, they have to gut Obamacare.

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What amazes me is that the United States is the richest country that ever existed.  Yet we cannot afford medical care for our entire population.  In order to allow for an additional tax benefit for the rich, such as Trump and all his cohorts we have to take benefits away from the overall population, particularly from the elderly and the young who desperately need the financial aid the Federal and State Governments are now applying.  Somehow our priorities are upside down.

 

The irony here is that medical care in the U.S. as it exists today costs about three times that spent in practically all the other industrial nations, which provide health care for all its citizens.

 

And why does this state of affairs exist?  The answer is the upkeep of our political system.  Elections are exceptionally expensive in the U.S.  The members of the House of Representatives run for office every two years; in the Senate it is every six years, a third of the Senate run every two years; and there is a Presidential Election every four years.  These elections are inordinately expensive.  They are paid for by non-tax-deductible donations.  The tobacco industry used to be one of the main contributors; but it has been proven and generally accepted today that smoking causes cancer.  I imagine that they are still contributing to political campaigns but they are today a minor player.  Tobacco has been replaced by pharmaceuticals.  Congress has fixed pharmaceutical laws so that they can charge more in the United States for their products than in any other nation.

 

Anyone living in the United States close to Canada or Mexico can get their medications at a percentage of what other American citizens have to pay.  The politicians are having the rest of us pay more so that they can get generous contributions from the pharmaceutical companies.  These medications being sold in the U.S. or other countries are all being produced by the same companies.  They are all identical.  Yet they are sold overseas for far less than in the U.S.

 

The Republicans are also against any form of socialism.  Having a single provider of medical care in the country is in their minds a form of Socialism.  This, to many people, equates to communism, which, by definition, is bad.  The Republicans believe in a Market Economy; that is, having different private concerns competing against one another handling the process.  That may have worked in the 19th and 20th Centuries, it does not work today.  There are limited numbers of health providers in each state today and they are actually oligarchies controlling their market prices for excessive profit.

 

Private enterprise, even those that are non-profit, work for a profit or to pay large salaries.  That added cost makes them all too expensive.  The governments function is to serve the public.  They are the largest employers in the country.  They operate Social Security, Medicare, and the different state Medicare programs.  These agencies exist for the public good, not for profit. The federal, state, and local governments also operate innumerable industries: TVA, city electrical systems.  There are innumerable water districts to name a few of the government run businesses.  Those operations have been going on for years.  They have not failed but have provided necessary services for the public good.

 

Medicare, throughout the industrial world, is paid for by taxes which everyone pays according to their ability.  It is equally distributed to all the citizens of the country paying their share progressively.

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Apparently the Trump plan with “heart,” to quote him, is to allow twenty-two million people to lose their health coverage.  Currently, I find, everything about Trump and the Republicans repulsive.  They are essentially a selfish group that want to serve a small group within the society at the expense of everyone else.  They are currently being frustrated by not being allowed to do this.  Historically, it seems, they would like to take the United States back to where the French were just before the Revolution of 1789.  I suspect the Midterm Election of 2018 should be very interesting.  The problem is the period until that election.

The Weiner Component V.2 #21 – Comey vs Trump

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Early in May President Donald J. Trump, without directly notifying James Comey

James Comey

James Comey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

, fired him as Director of the FBI.  Later Comey received a letter from the President which stated: “I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Trump had earlier requested these letters.

 

“I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.  While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.  It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its law enforcement mission.  I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”  It is signed with Trump’s large signature.

 

While the Director made outlandish mistakes with the Clinton email investigation the question remains: Why did Trump fire him?

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On Thursday, June 8, 2017 James Comey, the former head or Director of the FBI testified to and was questioned by the Judicial Committee of the U.S. Senate.  Comey, as we’ve seen had been arbitrarily fired several weeks earlier by President Donald J. Trump.  Initially, according to Trump, he had been fired for incompetence but later in a TV interview with Lester Holt Trump stated that he had been fired for continuing the investigation of collusion between the Trump people and Russia during the 2016 Presidential Election.

 

It would seem that Comey was fired for refusing to express his loyalty to Trump over the Constitution.  Trump stated to Lester Holt that he had decided to fire Comey even before he received the letters from the from the Department of Justice.

 

Russia has been accused of meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election by every intelligence agency in the U. S. Government.  Among other things of hacking into and releasing Democratic emails, both real and made up, shortly before the election.  Trump has consistently denied that this was possible.

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If one goes back to President Trump’s political campaign and considers what candidate Trump said it presents an image of a dark America where everyone has to struggle endlessly to survive.  This seems to be Trump’s world where he had bullied his way through as CEO of his own company surrounded by “Yes, men.”  Trump, according to one of his aids, Kellyanne Conway, lives in an alternate reality.  His values and concepts are different from those of most people.  In all probability he believes he has forced his success as a builder of hotels and golf courses by bullying and not allowing people to take advantage of him.  Instead he has been in a position to take advantage of others by limiting his payments to them.  This includes attorneys, contractors, and waiters working for him.  I imagine he doesn’t consider himself dishonest but shrewd.  To the people he has dealt with in this fashion he is a thief, totally dishonest.  To himself he is a winner and they are the losers.  This is the way he does his business.  And this seems to be the way he is attempting to run the United States of America as its President.

 

Of course the people to whom he has done this can sue him and some have successfully.  But in most cases the lawsuit cost as much as Trump owes them or possibly even more.  Trump will stall these cases, of which there have been over two thousand, dragging them on as long as possible, and allowing the costs for his opponents to mount endlessly.

 

Interestingly, with the appointment of a special prosecutor after the firing of James Comey as Director of the FBI by the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller, former FBI Director, to investigate Trump’s possible collusion with Russia before and/or during the2016 Presidential Election, Trump has had a need to hire a private attorney.  Four of the leading law firms that handle this type of case turned him down, apparently for one or both of the following reasons: he doesn’t necessarily fully pay his attorneys, currently owing one firm about $96,000 and he doesn’t follow his lawyer’s advice.  He was forced to hire a lawyer who has great experience at being a bully and threatening people rather than one with experience in this area.  In fact his current attorney is currently undergoing an ethics investigation.  Conceivably he could lose his license to practice law.  Trump’s attorney, meanwhile, has hired another attorney experienced in the President’s problem area, to help defend Trump.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan’s ex-favorite author and philosopher, Ayn Rand, whose philosophy Ryan followed until he found out she was an atheist, then he presumably dropped her and her philosophy.  If he had read her philosophical work he would have figured out that fact early.  Ayn Rand sees religion as the means of controlling the masses, particularly by the group she calls the “witch doctors,” which are in reality the religious priests.

 

Ayn Rand’s philosophy, that she called objectivism, divides the people into four groups: the first is Attila, this includes all those who rule by force; the second is the witch doctors, the anti-intellectuals, the priests who supply systems of belief that cannot be supported by facts or logic.  This would be all the mystical beliefs that people supposedly live by, that are anti-intellectual and mystically assumed.  These are all the religious beliefs that allow the common man to be ruled by the “witch doctors,” priests and rulers who exploit their productivity.  The rulers (Atelia’s) and the witch doctors (priests) produce nothing but utilize the productivity of the masses for their own benefit.  This is an apt description of Donald Trump.

 

The third group would be the innovators who through logic and reason develop the technology needed to increase productivity.  These are her heroes or supermen, the ones who bring about societal innovation and progress.

 

I imagine that Paul Ryan saw/sees himself as a member of this group.  He was probably loath to give up this position. In reality Ryan, no doubt, still sees himself as of being the new man, tying together all the different aspects of the Republican Party.  But Ayn Rand, if she were alive today, would see Ryan as the ultimate witch doctor. Bringing together all the different elements of the Republican Party so that they could exploit the system for the benefit of the few who gain directly from the party; that is the wealthy who gain from the productivity of the mosses.

 

And the fourth group would be the overall masses that have been exploited over the ages supplying the needs of the first two groups, the Atalla’s and the witch doctors, while in many instances, doing without themselves.

 

Interestingly Donald J. Trump combines the first two types.  He has been/is both a conqueror and a witch doctor, exploiting both directly and indirectly a great number of people for his own use.  There is the example of Trump University as well as all the people on all levels who have worked for him and not been fully paid for their services.  But then Trump is the ultimate narcissist.  He sees everything in terms of himself and how he benefits.

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Trump claims that in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, James Comey, the former Director of the FBI told lies to Congress.  I doubt whether he did.  Watching Comey testify I got the impression that he was playing the perfect Boy Scout.  Actually he was being a super Eagle Scout.

 

Directly after each meeting he had had with Trump Comey wrote down everything that was said at the meeting and apparently kept a meticulous file.  There was something about Trump that made Comey feel that he needed to keep records of all those meetings.  Trump met with him privately at times and even invited him to a private dinner once.  Comey stated he was very uncomfortable with Trump privately.

 

Trump apparently feels that he is the government and that everyone owes allegiance to him first, not the Constitution.  Consequently, as President, they all owe allegiance to him.  It is even possible that Trump never read the Constitution.  In fact the impression one gets watching Trump in action is that he secretly expects everyone to take an oath of allegiance to him.  It would seem that in his mind he would like to be more like a dictator than a president.  He seems to admire strong heads of state like Vladimir Putin more than democratically elected heads of state.

 

Comey, as former Director of the FBI, worked very hard to keep the FBI from becoming politicized as it had been under its first Director J. Edgar Hoover.  But Comey has been a life-long Republican, appointed to the position by Republican President George W. Bush and continued at it by Presidents Barack Obama and initially by Donald J. Trump until he suddenly fired him.

 

The one factor about James Comey that seems to have been overlooked by the media is the fact that he is just as guilty as the Russians of undermining the 2016 Presidential Election.  Not too long before the actual election Comey announced, going against FBI policy, that it was investigating Hillary Rodham Clinton for email violation as Secretary of State.  He announced just prior to the election that the case was not prosecutable.  At the same time, if not earlier, the FBI was also investigating the Trump campaign for collusion with Russia in the 2016 Election.  Comey did not mention this.  It seems that as a life-long Republican he had the FBI take a position in the election.  He was as guilty as Russia, if not more so, in politicizing the FBI and taking a position in the Presidential Election.

 

Whether he meant to or not Comey sided with Trump.  Initially Trump praised him and within his first year in office fired him for non- cooperation.  Trump originally wanted the investigation against Michael Flynn dropped.  Comey would not only not do this he was also investigating the relationship between Trump people and Russian interference in the election.

 

It was the firing of James Comey, as the FBI Director, that brought a special prosecutor into existence.  Trump did a splendid job of bringing this condition into being.  He seems by his tweets and public statements to be his own worst enemy.  Will he ever learn to be otherwise?  Probably not.  Trump seems to continually act instinctively.  He publishes his tweets generally in the middle of the night.  And he is very spontaneous, even with a prepared speech; he seems to have a definite need to ad-lib.

 

.Will Trump last four years as President of the United States?  I suspect not.  I would even guess the bookies in Las Vegas are probably giving odds on how short Trump’s term in office will be.

The Weiner Component V.2 #20 – The Origins of American Government & its two Major Political Parties

A cotton gin on display at the Eli Whitney Museum.

A cotton gin on display at the Eli Whitney Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To understand the government and the two major political parties in the United States we need to examine assorted economic happenings.  These entities changed the course of history in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.  The first was the invention of the Cotton Gin, from the 1780s on, another was the American Revolution, a third was a rebellion by small yeoman farmers in inland Massachusetts, and the fourth was the Constitution of the United States.  What occurs here is a cause and effect relationship that brings about major historical changes.

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Eli Whitney was an American inventor who developed the Cotton Gin.  The word gin is short for engine.  The problem with cotton is that it is filled with seeds.  It takes a person working diligently for an hour to clean one pound of cotton.  A single cotton gin could clean 55 pounds daily.  Whitney received a pattern for his gin in 1807.  Like the grist and sawmills he expected to charge farmers for cleaning their cotton by getting 2/5 of the cotton cleaned.  The mechanical simplicity of the device and the primitive state of the pattern law made infringement inevitable.  Local carpenters could easily make duplicates of the gins.  Ultimately lawsuits consumed the profits and the cotton gin company went bankrupt in 1797.  Whitney, however, gained national, if not international fame for his invention.

 

Cotton had been very labor intensive and expensive.  The new inexpensive cotton changed the economics of the world by bringing about the Industrial Revolution in England in the early 19th Century and it also made slavery profitable in the new United States.

 

Prior to the 1790s slave labor was a slowly dying institution.  Slaves were employed in the growing of tobacco, rice, and indigo.  None of these crops were particularly profitable.  With the invention of the cotton gin cotton became the chief source of wealth in the American South; it became king cotton or the chief export of the new United States.  In the Southern settlements from South Carolina to Texas cotton became the dominant economic force and slavery became the key institution of Southern society.  This would persist until the end of the Civil War.

 

With the early Industrial Revolution from the late 18th Century, both England and New England became dependent upon this crop.  Their factories buzzed spinning thread and weaving cloth.  In the American South enormous fortunes were produced and the large cotton growers lived regally.  They tended to utilize the large English purchasers as suppliers of all the goods they wanted, ordering furniture, grand pianos or whatever they decided they wanted or needed.  This in time resulted in their spending more than their current crops allowed.  Eventually the large plantation owners owed their future crops to these people.  To the English manufacturers this was good business because it tied these planters and their crops to them.  The combined debt must have been in the millions.

 

With the formation of a new central government in 1788, caused by the Revolutionary War the Southern cotton barons refused to honor their debts to the English manufacturers.  In essence cotton as an export was still “king” and could always be sold in England or New England.  Some of the English manufacturers sued in the New United States.  Not one ever won his case.  The large cotton growers wiped out millions in debts virtually overnight without spending a penny.

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The American Revolution was fought from 1765 to 1783.  By the end of the Battle of Yorktown it became obvious to the British that it was far less expensive to trade with the American colonies than to gain trading advantages from them by ruling them.  Consequently the colonies gained their independence.

 

The government that the new independent state established was codified under the Articles of Confederation.  This document rested sovereignty with each of the 12 newly independent states with a central elected body have representatives from all 12 states.  The final decision on any measure passed by this Continental Congress had then to be approved by each of the 12 states.  Any state or states that so wished could disregard any measure passed by the Continental Congress.  In essence what existed were 12 independent nation states that had agreed to more or less cooperate with one another.

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In the period during 1786 and 1787 the Revolutionary veteran, Daniel Shay, led 4,000 rebels, called Shayites, in an uprising against economic and civil rights injustices.  Basically the inland area of the state largely consisted of subsistence agriculture.  Mostly where roads existed they were unpaved, becoming muddy and impossible to use during rain, making it impossible for the farmers to bring their crops to the coastal areas where they could be shipped throughout the tidewater areas of the colonies or overseas.  Consequently most, if not all, of the farmers had stills.  A lot of grain made a small amount of whiskey, which was always in demand and could be easily transported.

 

Along the economically developed or older coastal areas of Massachusetts Bay there existed a market economy which was driven by the activities of wholesale merchants dealing with Europe, the West Indies, and elsewhere on the North American coast.  The state government was dominated by this merchant group.

 

After the end of the Revolutionary War the European businesses, for good reason, refused to continue to extend lines of credit to these merchants and insisted that they pay in hard currency, gold.  There was a shortage of such currency.  Also the state government, run by the business class, needed money.  Following a period of taxes not being paid where it could be avoided, the state of Massachusetts passed a whiskey tax on the small inland farmers to be paid in gold coins which were in short supply.

 

The rural farmers were unable to meet the demands made upon them by the merchants or the civil authorities and many began to lose their land and other possessions.  This led to strong resistance against the collectors and the courts where the collectors obtained judgements authorizing property seizures.

 

A great many of these depressed individuals felt that they should be able to cancel the debts the same way that the Southern planters had.  This led to open warfare between the two groups, temporarily shutting down the courts, sporadic fighting, and the governor refusing to enforce actions against the small farmers and being replaced by one who would enforce the law.  In 1787 Daniel Shay, leading 4,000 rebels, attempted to take the federal armory in Springfield, which was stoutly defended by state troops raised as a private army.

 

Eventually in 1787 4,000 people signed confessions admitting participation in the rebellion in return for amnesty.  Most of those indicted were eventually pardoned.  In subsequent years the state legislature cut taxes and placed a moratorium on debts.  In 1787 John Hancock replaced the militant governor.

 

As a note of irony it should be noted that at that time the only people allowed to vote were male property owners.  All the small farmers were property owners.  There were more of them than there were merchants.

*********************************

As a result of this and of other effects, many upper class individuals felt that there was a need for a stronger central government that could protect property rights throughout the states.  The most important effect was the call for a Constitutional Convention which would reform the Articles of Confederation, presumably strengthening the central government.  In addition Shay’s Rebellion brought George Washington out of retirement at Mount Vernon to chair the Constitutional Convention and to eventually become President for the first two four year terms.  It also brought two distinct political groups into existence: the Federalists who wanted a stronger central government and the Anti-Federalists who didn’t want this.  It was the merchant, businessmen class against the agrarians and laborers.

 

The people at the Constitutional Convention tended to represent the wealthy and educated classes.  They agreed to hold the meetings in secret and soon discovered that amending the Articles of Confederation could not produce a government with central control of all the states.  Consequently they produced from May 25 to September 17, 1787 a totally new document of government.

 

France has been through more than a dozen Constitutions since 1789; the U.S. has only had one, which still exists and functions.  The reason for this is that the U.S. had two sets of states: One free and one slave.  The elite of upper classes in both ends of the country agreed upon the necessity of a stronger central government.  They did not agree on numerous other issues.  They needed a document of unity but they did not agree upon a host of other issues.  In order to create their document of government they had to compromise upon innumerable issues.  Interpreting these issues, according to the needs of the times, has kept the Supreme Court busy since the inception of the nation.

 

The one issue that the Court could not deal with was the issue of where the basic power lay, with the Federal Government or the States.  That issue was resolved by the Civil War.

 

Although there were different political groups in the United States at that time the issue of political parties was never considered by the Founding Fathers.  Once the new government came into existence so did political parties.  The first one was the Federalist Party, representing coastal business and the educated classes.  They were able to dominate the first three elections, two for George Washington and one for John Adams.  The Federalists were opposed by the Anti-Federalists, who represented the small yeoman farmers like Daniel Shay.

 

The leader of the Federalist Party at that time was not the President but was Alexander Hamilton.  The first dramatic election was that of 1800 when John Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson had organized the Anti-Federalists groups and anyone else who was dissatisfied with the Federalists into, what he called, the Republican Party.  As a put-down the Federalists called the new political group the Democratic-Republican Party.  Eventually the word “Republican” was dropped and this became the Democratic Party, which we still have today.  They represented the interests of the small, or as Jefferson preferred to call them, “Yeomen farmers.”  In fact the purchase of the Louisiana Territory by the Jefferson administration in 1803 would provide land for yeoman farmers for at least the next 100 years, according to Jefferson.

 

Initially only males voted who were property owners.  With the availability of cheap or free land the Federalists, after the Election of 1800, were never again able to mount a successful Presidential election.  They went out of existence after the War of 1812, when they backed the wrong side, England.  From 1814 on there was only one major political party in the U.S., the Democratic Party.

 

Other groups across the United States formed small political groups.  The other major party that would come into existence in 1835 was the Whig Party, which more or less carried on the values of the old Federalist Party, they represented largely the growing businesses across the ever growing nation which was blossoming with the new Industrial Revolution.  In addition they were also strongly anti-slavery.  In 1860 the Whig Party and a number of fringe groups coalesced into, what was to become, the Republican Party in the Election of 1860.

 

Lincoln was originally a Whig, He won the Presidential Election of 1860 with less than 40% of the popular vote because the Democratic Party had split into two parts, the South voted for one candidate and the North and West voted for another.  With the exception of Virginia where he received less than 2% of the popular vote Lincoln was not even on the ballot on any of the other Southern states.  In essence there were two elections in 1860: one in the South and a different election in the North and West.

 

Here we have the origins of the two major political parties in the United States.  Today, with a so-called Republican President and universal suffrage, the two political parties are at a point where they can barely communicate with one another.

 

Here we can see the origins of our government and our political system.

**********************************

It should also be noted that when United States history is taught as a survey in the schools everything is taught as a group of events which generally are simplified and not related to one another.  Cause and effect relationships are ignored or not understood.  This article generally deals with, on a general basis, cause and effect.  The invention of the cotton gin and the Industrial Revolution, switching from manmade to machine made products, brought about the changes which resulted in the growth of slavery, the Civil War and the country as it is now,

 

If the discovery of the cotton gin had been delayed for another twenty years or so, slavery might have died out on its own and there would have been no Civil War.  If Shay’s Rebellion had not occurred the government might have gone on under the Articles of Confederation and the United States could have eventually developed a Parliamentary System similar to the present day government of Great Britain.  There certainly would have been no immediate need for a Constitution.  There are certainly a lot of “Ifs” available.  Of course we’ll never know the answer to a lot of these questions because they never happened.

The Weiner Component V.2 #20 – The Origins of the American Government & Its Two Major Political Parties

 

To understand the government and the two major political parties in the United States we need to examine assorted economic happenings.  These entities changed the course of history in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.  The first was the invention of the Cotton Gin, from the 1780s on, another was the American Revolution, a third was a rebellion by small yeoman farmers in inland Massachusetts, and the fourth was the Constitution of the United States.  What occurs here is a cause and effect relationship that brings about major historical changes.

************************************

Eli Whitney was an American inventor who developed the Cotton Gin.  The word gin is short for engine.  The problem with cotton is that it is filled with seeds.  It takes a person working diligently for an hour to clean one pound of cotton.  A single cotton gin could clean 55 pounds daily.  Whitney received a pattern for his gin in 1807.  Like the grist and sawmills he expected to charge farmers for cleaning their cotton by getting 2/5 of the cotton cleaned.  The mechanical simplicity of the device and the primitive state of the pattern law made infringement inevitable.  Local carpenters could easily make duplicates of the gins.  Ultimately lawsuits consumed the profits and the cotton gin company went bankrupt in 1797.  Whitney, however, gained national, if not international fame for his invention.

 

Cotton had been very labor intensive and expensive.  The new inexpensive cotton changed the economics of the world by bringing about the Industrial Revolution in England in the early 19th Century and it also made slavery profitable in the new United States.

 

Prior to the 1790s slave labor was a slowly dying institution.  Slaves were employed in the growing of tobacco, rice, and indigo.  None of these crops were particularly profitable.  With the invention of the cotton gin cotton became the chief source of wealth in the American South; it became king cotton or the chief export of the new United States.  In the Southern settlements from South Carolina to Texas cotton became the dominant economic force and slavery became the key institution of Southern society.  This would persist until the end of the Civil War.

 

With the early Industrial Revolution from the late 18th Century, both England and New England became dependent upon this crop.  Their factories buzzed spinning thread and weaving cloth.  In the American South enormous fortunes were produced and the large cotton growers lived regally.  They tended to utilize the large English purchasers as suppliers of all the goods they wanted, ordering furniture, grand pianos or whatever they decided they wanted or needed.  This in time resulted in their spending more than their current crops allowed.  Eventually the large plantation owners owed their future crops to these people.  To the English manufacturers this was good business because it tied these planters and their crops to them.  The combined debt must have been in the millions.

 

With the formation of a new central government in 1788, caused by the Revolutionary War the Southern cotton barons refused to honor their debts to the English manufacturers.  In essence cotton as an export was still “king” and could always be sold in England or New England.  Some of the English manufacturers sued in the New United States.  Not one ever won his case.  The large cotton growers wiped out millions in debts virtually overnight without spending a penny.

**********************************

The American Revolution was fought from 1765 to 1783.  By the end of the Battle of Yorktown it became obvious to the British that it was far less expensive to trade with the American colonies than to gain trading advantages from them by ruling them.  Consequently the colonies gained their independence.

 

The government that the new independent state established was codified under the Articles of Confederation.  This document rested sovereignty with each of the 12 newly independent states with a central elected body have representatives from all 12 states.  The final decision on any measure passed by this Continental Congress had then to be approved by each of the 12 states.  Any state or states that so wished could disregard any measure passed by the Continental Congress.  In essence what existed were 12 independent nation states that had agreed to more or less cooperate with one another.

******************************

In the period during 1786 and 1787 the Revolutionary veteran, Daniel Shay, led 4,000 rebels, called Shayites, in an uprising against economic and civil rights injustices.  Basically the inland area of the state largely consisted of subsistence agriculture.  Mostly where roads existed they were unpaved, becoming muddy and impossible to use during rain, making it impossible for the farmers to bring their crops to the coastal areas where they could be shipped throughout the tidewater areas of the colonies or overseas.  Consequently most, if not all, of the farmers had stills.  A lot of grain made a small amount of whiskey, which was always in demand and could be easily transported.

 

Along the economically developed or older coastal areas of Massachusetts Bay there existed a market economy which was driven by the activities of wholesale merchants dealing with Europe, the West Indies, and elsewhere on the North American coast.  The state government was dominated by this merchant group.

 

After the end of the Revolutionary War the European businesses, for good reason, refused to continue to extend lines of credit to these merchants and insisted that they pay in hard currency, gold.  There was a shortage of such currency.  Also the state government, run by the business class, needed money.  Following a period of taxes not being paid where it could be avoided, the state of Massachusetts passed a whiskey tax on the small inland farmers to be paid in gold coins which were in short supply.

 

The rural farmers were unable to meet the demands made upon them by the merchants or the civil authorities and many began to lose their land and other possessions.  This led to strong resistance against the collectors and the courts where the collectors obtained judgements authorizing property seizures.

 

A great many of these depressed individuals felt that they should be able to cancel the debts the same way that the Southern planters had.  This led to open warfare between the two groups, temporarily shutting down the courts, sporadic fighting, and the governor refusing to enforce actions against the small farmers and being replaced by one who would enforce the law.  In 1787 Daniel Shay, leading 4,000 rebels, attempted to take the federal armory in Springfield, which was stoutly defended by state troops raised as a private army.

 

Eventually in 1787 4,000 people signed confessions admitting participation in the rebellion in return for amnesty.  Most of those indicted were eventually pardoned.  In subsequent years the state legislature cut taxes and placed a moratorium on debts.  In 1787 John Hancock replaced the militant governor.

 

As a note of irony it should be noted that at that time the only people allowed to vote were male property owners.  All the small farmers were property owners.  There were more of them than there were merchants.

*********************************

As a result of this and of other effects, many upper class individuals felt that there was a need for a stronger central government that could protect property rights throughout the states.  The most important effect was the call for a Constitutional Convention which would reform the Articles of Confederation, presumably strengthening the central government.  In addition Shay’s Rebellion brought George Washington out of retirement at Mount Vernon to chair the Constitutional Convention and to eventually become President for the first two four year terms.  It also brought two distinct political groups into existence: the Federalists who wanted a stronger central government and the Anti-Federalists who didn’t want this.  It was the merchant, businessmen class against the agrarians and laborers.

 

The people at the Constitutional Convention tended to represent the wealthy and educated classes.  They agreed to hold the meetings in secret and soon discovered that amending the Articles of Confederation could not produce a government with central control of all the states.  Consequently they produced from May 25 to September 17, 1787 a totally new document of government.

 

France has been through more than a dozen Constitutions since 1789; the U.S. has only had one, which still exists and functions.  The reason for this is that the U.S. had two sets of states: One free and one slave.  The elite of upper classes in both ends of the country agreed upon the necessity of a stronger central government.  They did not agree on numerous other issues.  They needed a document of unity but they did not agree upon a host of other issues.  In order to create their document of government they had to compromise upon innumerable issues.  Interpreting these issues, according to the needs of the times, has kept the Supreme Court busy since the inception of the nation.

 

The one issue that the Court could not deal with was the issue of where the basic power lay, with the Federal Government or the States.  That issue was resolved by the Civil War.

 

Although there were different political groups in the United States at that time the issue of political parties was never considered by the Founding Fathers.  Once the new government came into existence so did political parties.  The first one was the Federalist Party, representing coastal business and the educated classes.  They were able to dominate the first three elections, two for George Washington and one for John Adams.  The Federalists were opposed by the Anti-Federalists, who represented the small yeoman farmers like Daniel Shay.

 

The leader of the Federalist Party at that time was not the President but was Alexander Hamilton.  The first dramatic election was that of 1800 when John Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson had organized the Anti-Federalists groups and anyone else who was dissatisfied with the Federalists into, what he called, the Republican Party.  As a put-down the Federalists called the new political group the Democratic-Republican Party.  Eventually the word “Republican” was dropped and this became the Democratic Party, which we still have today.  They represented the interests of the small, or as Jefferson preferred to call them, “Yeomen farmers.”  In fact the purchase of the Louisiana Territory by the Jefferson administration in 1803 would provide land for yeoman farmers for at least the next 100 years, according to Jefferson.

 

Initially only males voted who were property owners.  With the availability of cheap or free land the Federalists, after the Election of 1800, were never again able to mount a successful Presidential election.  They went out of existence after the War of 1812, when they backed the wrong side, England.  From 1814 on there was only one major political party in the U.S., the Democratic Party.

 

Other groups across the United States formed small political groups.  The other major party that would come into existence in 1835 was the Whig Party, which more or less carried on the values of the old Federalist Party, they represented largely the growing businesses across the ever growing nation which was blossoming with the new Industrial Revolution.  In addition they were also strongly anti-slavery.  In 1860 the Whig Party and a number of fringe groups coalesced into, what was to become, the Republican Party in the Election of 1860.

 

Lincoln was originally a Whig, He won the Presidential Election of 1860 with less than 40% of the popular vote because the Democratic Party had split into two parts, the South voted for one candidate and the North and West voted for another.  With the exception of Virginia where he received less than 2% of the popular vote Lincoln was not even on the ballot on any of the other Southern states.  In essence there were two elections in 1860: one in the South and a different election in the North and West.

 

Here we have the origins of the two major political parties in the United States.  Today, with a so-called Republican President and universal suffrage, the two political parties are at a point where they can barely communicate with one another.

 

Here we can see the origins of our government and our political system.

**********************************

It should also be noted that when United States history is taught as a survey in the schools everything is taught as a group of events which generally are simplified and not related to one another.  Cause and effect relationships are ignored or not understood.  This article generally deals with, on a general basis, cause and effect.  The invention of the cotton gin and the Industrial Revolution, switching from manmade to machine made products, brought about the changes which resulted in the growth of slavery, the Civil War and the country as it is now,

 

If the discovery of the cotton gin had been delayed for another twenty years or so, slavery might have died out on its own and there would have been no Civil War.  If Shay’s Rebellion had not occurred the government might have gone on under the Articles of Confederation and the United States could have eventually developed a Parliamentary System similar to the present day government of Great Britain.  There certainly would have been no immediate need for a Constitution.  There are certainly a lot of “Ifs” available.  Of course we’ll never know the answer to a lot of these questions because they never happened.

The Weiner Component V.2 #19 – The Trump Budget

Not too long ago President Trump came out with his proposed budget for the year 2018.  It was heavy with a ten percent increase for the military, had draconian cuts for Social Services cutting some programs and illuminating a large number of others.  It also cut out programs for the arts and for scientific research.  It contained what Trump calls Tax Reform.  This is actually a massive cut for the top Two percent of earners and large corporation decreases in taxes.

 

Looking at his Cabinet the indication is that Trump wants a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.  The groups really harmed by his proposal would be the poor who are totally dependent upon the Federal Government for numerous services and the elderly living upon a fixed income like Social Security or a set retirement that decreases year by year as prices slowly rise due to inflation or otherwise.  Their medical insurance would rise significantly but their coverage or protection by the state would decrease significantly.

 

One can suppose a rapid rise in their death rate of the elderly would benefit the government as their producing days are over and they are only consuming.

******************************

In a recent article on the internet a staunch conservative congratulated President Trump for his stance on the budget but then stated that he did not go far enough.  He apparently felt that Trump’s proposed massive cuts to the United States social programs would still be costing too much money.

 

Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven T. Mnuchin, was originally a Wall Street financier.  According to his and several other people who are involved in finance and working for Trump have stated and may well believe that following Trump’s budget will raise the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 3%.  It was .075 in 2015.

 

These people come from the world of finance.  They are not economists.  To many economists this is wishful thinking nonsense; it’s not about to happen.  In fact with all the Trump cuts, increases in spending, and lowering of taxes for the wealthy the deficit will increase considerably in 2017 and 2018.  Thus significantly upping the National Debt which is currently 19 trillion plus dollars.

 

The National Debt is currently approaching 20 trillion dollars but what it actually is is misunderstood by most people in the country.  Most people consider that this is money owed to countries like China and Japan for the uneven trade that goes on with them.  But this is only partly true.

 

The National Debt consists of two parts: one public and one private.  The public part is the money that the government owns.  It is money that it has lent itself.  The question here is can an entity owe itself money?  In terms of the Federal Government obviously it can.  Several times a year the Federal Reserve transfers billions of dollar in interest to the Treasury.

 

Entities within the government transfer their surplus funds to the general fund.  The government then gives them credit for the transferred funds.  The largest entity to do this is Social Security.  In the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was President, Social Security was in trouble.  It could conceivably run out of money in the near future.  Congress raised the amounts paid into Social Security by both the individuals and their employers.  And in 1989 Medicare was separated from Social Security.  Additional separate amounts were paid into it by both employers and employees from then on.  Also at this time people who did not pay into Social Security could make payments into Medicare and have it when they retired.

 

From that time on Social Security has had a relatively large surplus.  It is today the largest debt holder of part of the National Debt.  Interestingly Al Gore, when he ran against George W. Bush, has as part of his platform, a lockbox, which would have been banking surplus Social Security funds rather than putting them into the General Fund and spending them.  However with George W. Bush as President the surplus went into the General Fund and was spent.

 

China, Japan and other nations have many individuals and companies within their countries that hold U.S. Government loan papers.  That and loan bonds held by individuals within the United States and other countries would make up the privately held National Debt.

 

The Federal Reserve admits to owning about 50% of the National Debt.  I would estimate it to be more like 60% to 70% of the actual National Debt.

********************************

The FED sells these bonds continually, increasing or decreasing the amount of currency in circulation.  Money is not only cash; it is also credit and debit cards and checks.  The FED regulates the amount of currency in order to control value and limit inflation.  Too much money in circulation decreases the value of the money and too little money being available creates deflation.  The FED has to maintain a balance between the amount of money in circulation and the population of the country.

*****************************

In the minds of most people money is an object of value.  It allows people to have what they need and want.  In fact for most of its history money itself was an object of value acceptable all over the world.  Eventually the amount of gold and silver, which was money in the form of coins, was insufficient in terms of all the business that went on in a country.  There wasn’t enough gold and silver available to conduct the necessary business for the country to function properly.  As a result of this the government of each individual nation withdrew the precious metal and began printing its own currency which functioned within its borders..

 

This began at about the first third of the 20th Century and has continued since then.  Money today in the U.S. is a Federal Reserve Note.  It has no real intrinsic value.  It is merely a means of exchange for goods or services.

 

Adam Smith in 1776 published “An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations.” In this work, which was strongly influenced by French economists called the physiocrats, Smith developed the basis of the modern capitalistic economics.  The true wealth of a nation is what it produces; its goods and services.  These are it Gross Domestic Product.  They are defined as all the goods and services the nation produces in terms of dollars and cents within a given period of time, a fiscal year.

 

This brings us to the basic concept.  What is the actual wealth of a nation?  Today the United States is the wealthiest nation that has ever existed.  Yet according to our current President we cannot afford to take care of our overall population.  I sometimes think that all modern day Republicans would be much happier if they had lived hundreds of years ago when every individual was responsible for himself and for his family and government merely existed to protect him from foreign invasion.  Looking back historically I wonder if such a time ever really existed.

******************************

By following Trump’s budget the government will massively reduce its spending.  The military will have much more to spend.  Trump has indicated that he will massively increase U.S. presence and involvement in the Middle East.  Much of the military funding will be spent overseas and a large percentage of the tax decrease will go to the upper two percent of the population.  They have not noticeably increased their expenditures when their incomes have increased in the past and the probability is that they will not do so in the present.

 

What will happen with his tax cut, if it comes into existence, is that there will be far less money available in the economy for the purchase of goods and services.  The probability is that because of a lack of funds less money will be spent and less goods and services demanded.  The GDP will actually decrease and it could achieve 0 growth or possibly .01% actual growth or even hit a minus figure,

 

There is also the fact that there is a velocity to money spent in the National Cash Flow.  Money when spent is usually spent three to twelve times.  For example a person shops in a supermarket.  He or she spends twenty dollars.  That money may be used to pay the salary of an employee.  The employee spends that money on dinner in a restaurant.  It can again pay an employee’s salary.  The money keeps getting spent until it becomes part of the Natural Cash Flow that can be three to twelve times.  The $20 can generate $60 to $240 worth of increased productivity.  Conversely if the money is not spent that amount of productivity is cut from the GDP.  All of Trump’s cuts will subtract trillions of dollars from the economy.

 

In addition to bringing a tremendous amount of misery Trump could also bring about a tremendous recession of depression.  We are still working our way out of the Great Recession of 2008.  Trump also wants to get rid of the laws that were passed to avoid that situation from ever occurring again.  Concievably the country could be brought back to the point we had reached in 2008 that almost brought the nation to a worse situation than occurred in 1929, with the Great Depression, which was also brought about by a Republican run government,.  This can be done by following what today could be called Trumponomics.

The Weiner Component V.2 #18 – Deja Vu

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

It took Richard Milhous Nixon two years of his second term as President of the United States to reach a point where he had to resign his office or be impeached.  It may take Donald John Trump less than a year in office to reach the same point.

 

President Trump seems to be his own worst enemy, continually bringing up issues that diminish him as President of the United States.  One issue is voter fraud.  Because Hillary Clinton got three million more popular votes than Trump there must have been voter fraud.  His thin ego demands that he had gotten the majority of the popular vote.  With no proof other than what he feels and knows emotionally to be true Trump is about to begin an investigation of voter fraud in the last election.

 

To his Voter Fraud Commission, which he has brought about with an Executive Order, Trump has assigned people who, among others, have belonged to hate groups.  He has assigned Kris Kobach to help lead this new commission.  Kobach is a lawyer who has championed laws to suppress voting and has long represented the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has been named as a hate group by the SPLC.  He has also put Ken Blackwell on the commission.  He is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group.  The probable end result of this will be to restrict the vote among minorities and the elderly which many Republicans feel needs to be done since both those groups generally vote for the Democratic candidate.

 

But in point of fact from all past investigation, voter fraud is a very small fraction of one percent.  It is small enough to be practically nonexistent.  But Trump will loudly vent his feelings of outrage at not receiving the popular vote in this direction.  And he will follow past Republican practices of trying to suppress the non-Republican vote.

 

The group that blindly follows him will be egged on by him and will, in turn, egg him on with their cheering at his next rally.  Trump has stated that he could publically shoot someone and this group would cheer him on.  We’ll never really know, of course; but I suspect that it might be true for a part of his cheering groups, an ever decreasing number of the people who cheer him at his rallies.

***********************************

For the general public there is just so much idiocy or nonsense that they can take.  With Trump it seems that there is no limit as to how much he can dish out.  Also he seems to have a short-turn memory and is constantly or day by day contradicting himself or changing his mind.  He apparently forgets what he has agreed to or is continently contradicting himself.

 

Being President is the first political adventure Trump has had.  Prior to the 2016 Election he had never held any office, had never been a public servant.  He seems to have a limited or no knowledge of the presidents of the U.S. and of the nation’s history.  He either doesn’t realize or he doesn’t care that everything he says is instant news and is televised and that the media will show the public that he is constantly changing his mind.  Life is completely different than it was when he was just a businessman and could bully his way through almost everything.  He can no longer be contemptuous of the legal system and not pay contractors or employees the full amount they were supposed to get, or, for that matter, run a pseudo university for large amounts of student tuition.

 

Trump, by his own admission, is the world’s greatest negotiator.  But outside of business deals or his reality television contract he has never negotiated anything.  He feels he can get better deals than any of the professionals at the State Department.  He has, by the way, fired the entire upper echelon of the State Department and not hired anyone in their place.  I suspect he wants to do all the negotiating by himself or through his Secretary of State.  This is something that he cannot physically carry out.  But then to him negotiating is very easy and doesn’t take much time.

 

He is like a bull in a China shop.  Whatever he does he is upsetting something.  In many cases that something is himself.

 

We have seen him in action with the President of Mexico.  In terms of China he has had the President of China visiting his Florida Resort on a weekend and suddenly, according to Trump, China is no longer trying to exploit the United States even though their trading practices have not really changed.  We know he tried to have China bring pressure upon North Korea to stop its atomic and missile development.  By inference, since then I would assume that some sort of trade agreement between the two countries was worked out, but no announcements were made as to what they were and President Trump has mentioned more than once that China will help us with North Korea.  But North Korea is still developing its missile system.

 

In essence what President Trump has been doing is learning how to be President of the United States for the last one hundred and twenty some days.  Initially he thought he was in charge and thought he could do anything he wanted.  He has been limited by the Courts and by Congress.  Apparently he doesn’t understand or has never read the Constitution.  Knowledge has slowly come to him.  It has been a humbling experience and he doesn’t like it.  As a businessman he could do anything he wished and largely ignore the law.  As President there are Constitutional limits to his power.  He seems to be learning more about these limits every day.

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At this point of his Presidency, regardless of Trump’s indifference on the matter, it is generally agreed by both the press and most government agencies that the Russians interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election by, among other things, attempting to influence how people voted by publishing both real and fake news just before the actual election.  They also published a large number of WiliLeaks hacked Clinton Emails that tended to negatively impact her campaign.  To date no one has accused the Russians of trying to impact actual voter counts.

 

Also Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, attempted to set up a backchannel line of communication with Russia last December that would bypass US’ national security and the intelligence apparatus.  The action was totally illegal.

 

In addition American government intelligence agencies have conclusive evidence of at least 18 specific contacts between Trump’s people and Russian agents both before and during the 2016 Presidential Election.  Whether this evidence included transcripts of the contacts is presently unknown.  But evidence does exist.

 

Trump, himself, has refused to accept this information.  He tends to be positive about Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, stating occasionally that any nation could have done that.  Consequently he has rejected the idea that Russians interfered in the American election.  In fact for some unknown reason Trump has shared with Russian diplomats Israeli top secret information.

 

This bring us to Trump and the former Director of the FBI, James Comey.  Comey announced, early in May, that he had been conducting an investigation into relations between Trump’s people and Russia even before the actual Presidential Election of 2016.  Presumably, according to Trump, Comey was doing a lousy job as head of the FBI.  Consequently he fired him.

 

Supposedly, what actually happened is that Trump invited Comey to a dinner which then Director Comey did not really want to attend and there, among other things, asked for his loyalty.  The FBI has traditionally been kept separate from the rest of the government.  Comey refused to acquiesce.  Comey had later asked for more resources to continue the investigation of Trump.  Trump fired him, not long afterwards when Comey was on the Westcoast without informing him of the fact.

 

Since that time it has come out that Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation against his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.  Flynn not only had contacts with Russian agents and been paid by the Turkish government he also lied about it.  Sally Yates, in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee stated that she warned the White House that Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia and was therefore a security risk.  Eighteen days after this he was fired by Trump for lying to the Vice President and replaced as National Security Advisor.

 

Flynn had been under investigation by the FB, even before the election.  On Tuesday, May 16, the New York Times published an article that Trump early in February, had asked the head of the FBI to drop the investigation against Flynn, stating that “He’s a good guy, I hope you let this go.”  Within minutes after the story appeared in the New York Times the White House posted a response to the newspaper’s website denying that the President ever made such a request.  According to the Times report, Comey wrote a memo immediately following a February meeting with Trump, when he made this request. In fact Comey wrote memos after every meeting with Trump.

 

It’s interesting to note that Michael Flynn, after he had been relieved of government office, offered to testify before a Senate Committee if he were given immunity.  During the Reagan administration Colonel Oliver North had been given immunity when testifying before a Congressional Committee and subsequently could not be prosecuted for misdeeds he had committed.  I suspect Flynn is in the same situation.  The committee turned down his offer.  What does Flynn know about Trump?

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The day prior, Monday, May 15, 2017, Trump had a meeting that lasted over an hour with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, another Russian official, and a Russian photographer in the oval office where he gave the Russians access to top secret information, information that was shared by Israel and was not supposed to be shared with anyone else.

 

Apparently only the President can instantly declassify materials.  This news dropped like a bomb-shell, shocking everyone.  Trump denied that what he showed the Russians was secret.  But what is generally believed is that Trump shared with them information which had come from one of the United States allies.

 

Whether it’s true or not isn’t the point here.  What is the point is how does this news affect America’s allies?  Will they be willing to share information in the future as they have in the past?  What does this do to international trust between its allies and the U.S.?

 

Why would President Donald Trump stand with Russia against all of America’s allies?  It would seem that Trump is somehow tied to the Russians.  Presumably to the Russian Plutocrats who are in Putin’s intimate circle.  Has he been involved in money laundering?  In other types of financial dealings?  In what?  Does he owe money to Russian banks?

 

It seems that Trump has definite ties with Russia.  And these have existed long before he became President of the United States.  Currently he is looking for a new Director for the FBI.  Will he find someone who will swear allegiance to him rather than the Government of the United States?  Will he add on more to all the “Yes, Men” he has in the White House?  How long will it take for one or more of the investigations of his ties to Russia to be completed?  I suspect, with all the new bombshells dropping daily he may at most last a year in office.  Currently he has been President for a over four months.  He has another eight to go to make a year.

 

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the controversy about Trump continues.  Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has offered to send a transcript of the meeting with Trump in the Oval office.  This has been rejected because of the distrust of anything Russian by leading members of the U.S. Congress.  Some of the heads of European countries have said they will continue to share their secret documents with the United States.   Republican members of Congress have called for a special prosecutor.  Toward the end of the day a special Counsel, Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director, was appointed by the Assistant Attorney General to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 Election.  It was also reported on the next day by Kevin McCarthy, the House whip that he thinks Putin pays Trump.  In addition it came out that the Trump people knew that Mike Flynn was under FBI investigation before Trump hired him.

 

Every day there is new and exciting news about Trump.  He left on the weekend of May 20th for his first overseas trip, where he will probably practice his negotiating skill as the world’s greatest negotiator.  One of his stops is Israel.  It was top secret Israeli information that he shared with his Russian visitors to the oval office.  It has been suggested that as a businessman Trump had never faced any opposition.  He had been involved in over 2,000 lawsuits.

 

The merry-go-round, and round, Trump tends to go round and round.  When and where will it stop?  Something new and exciting seems to turn up every day.  There is a little over seven months to go before his first year as President is up.  Will he make it?