The Weiner Component #164 – President Hillary Clinton & the Republican House of Representatives

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The Weiner Component #164 – President Hillary Clinton & the Republican House of Representatives

 

If Hillary Clinton is elected President on November 8, 2016, and the probability is that she will be, then the question arises of: How will she avoid political gridlock with the Senate having a Democratic majority but the right to filibuster and the House of Representatives having a Republican majority?  Is it possible that she will be able to take the country beyond the point which had limited President Barack Obama, that of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives?

 

President Obama during his first term in office (2009 – 2012) kept trying to get Republican cooperation.  He did not succeed in doing this during either of his two terms in office.  President Clinton would be starting out with this knowledge.  She would not put herself in a position to be rejected by the Republicans.  In this case the responsibility would be clearly theirs to cooperate with her.  How could she achieve this?

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1933 on used, what he called, The Fireside Chat to talk the people of the United States through The Great Depression.  These were weekly radio broadcasts to the people throughout the country. 

 

At that time the center of family entertainment and news was the family radio.  Television did not exist.  Presidential announcements were made through it.  So were sports, music, and drama presentations.  Mothers listened to drama serials as they prepared dinner.  Children listened to adventure stories during dinner and afterwards.  The family listened to news, concerts, or drama presentations in the evening.  President Roosevelt used this device to communicate with the people of America, by giving weekly reports to the nation on what was happening and what was being done by the government.  It served as an emotional crutch for the people of the United States.

 

Earlier, at the turn of the 20th Century, Theodore Roosevelt had used, what he called The Bully Pulpit to transmit his messages to the people.  He made his speeches and announcements before crowds and the press.  They were carried in newspapers throughout the country.  This, when necessary, brought pressure on members of Congress to pass many of the laws he desired for the benefit of the public.

 

The President of the United States does not make laws.  That is the job of Congress.  He/She is the chief administrator of the country.  But that individual is supposed to lead the nation through his/her party in Congress, by proposing many necessary laws in order to carry out his/her agenda which is supposed to exist for the benefit of the public.

 

What President Barack Obama proposed after 2011 to a Republican dominated House of Representatives was generally turned down.  The Republicans even tried to force him to carry out their agenda by adding riders to many laws which would carry out their agenda which he, in turn, would veto.  This was carried to the point of shutting down the government by attaching riders to necessary finance bills. 

 

Currently, during President Obama’s last four months in office, the Republican dominated House of Representatives is refusing to really deal with the Zika epidemic and also refusing to pass anything but a temporary budget to fund the U.S. Government over the next few months instead of for the full fiscal year.

 

In addition to this the current Republican dominated Senate has been refusing for the last seven months to allow the President to appoint a ninth Justice to the Supreme Court to replace Antonin Scalia who died on February 13, 2016.  They want the next President, if he is a Republican, to choose the ninth member of the Supreme Court.

 

However some Republicans feel that if Hillary Clinton is elected then they should hold a lame duck session and approve President Barack Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland.  The argument being that he is more conservative than anyone Hillary Clinton might choose.

 

My feeling is that the best choice Hillary Clinton could make would be a Constitutional lawyer by the name of Barack Obama; if he would take the job.  That would be the second time the Republicans have gotten what they deserve for refusing to properly do their job.

 

The first instance was Elizabeth Warren, who helped create and was supposed to be the head of the Consumer Protection Agency.  They would not allow her to be confirmed so she ended up becoming the second Senator from Massachusetts.  This would be the second instance where Republican plans backfired.  And there is precedent for this move by Clinton, President Warren Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft to the Supreme Court.

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How would Hillary Clinton keep in constant contact with her public?  Generally most people in the United States have very little free time.  They are mostly busy with work, raising children, and the rest of their lives.  It takes a lot of time and effort to closely follow what goes on in Washington, D.C.

 

Radio has not been an important means of communication since the end of World War II (1945) when black and white television made its first appearance.  Today colorized television has become the major means of communication across the country.

 

In order to have a live, functional agenda the President today needs to have constant contact with the people of the United States.  He/She needs to keep in constant contact with her constituency. 

 

He/She still has the bully pulpit.  She is the directly hired representative of all the people.  And the people, as a whole, can make themselves heard by Congress.  And if Congress does not carry out their will then they can fire the entire House of Representatives and 1/3d of the Senate at the next election in 2018.

 

The President, as the representative of the entire nation, can keep up a weekly communication by weekly reports.  These reports can also function two ways with the constituency also being able to communicate with the President through the internet.

 

This would mean at least weekly reports of what is and is not going on.  Up to this point the Republicans in the House of Representatives, all 247 of them are fairly visible; their votes and the issues upon which they vote are recorded but not advertised.  It takes a lot of time to dig up that information.  It would certainly pay for the chief executive to set up a staff to keep a record of these happenings.  They could also script or outline the President’s report and keep the records of public’s communications to the President. 

 

In addition this group could also have easy access on the internet to specific information, like the addresses of all the members of Congress.  From this bank of specific information that could be accessed at any time by the public on demand, intense pressure could be brought on any or all members of Congress. Those citizens who so desire could also share their thoughts with the President.  It would make the individual Congress members responsible for their actions.

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If President Hillary Clinton and/or her husband were to do a weekly television broadcast together or separately each week and specifically state their objectives and then go over what was done or not done by the specific members of Congress and the political party they represent for the prior week that would affect the general electorate.  This would be especially true if they had the means to easily respond to these members of Congress.  The President could also keep the public aware of their advance plans and what help they could expect from Congress by passing specific laws.

 

This weekly broadcast would have to be on prime time over one of more major TV stations.  I would suspect that CBS, NBC, or ABC might each be willing to carry the program.  The major cable networks: CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News would probably also vie for the broadcasts.  This would be particularly true if they could sell commercial time just before or after the broadcasts.

 

What the White House would be doing here would be keeping constant contact with the voting public whose prosperity would be tied to the White House agenda.  It would also demonstrate to the voters exactly what they were getting from all their elected officials.  And it would do this with no additional effort by the public except watching a government report each week. 

 

As an additional benefit from an arrangement like this there would be a feeling by the public of contributing to the running of the government.  This could allay the feeling of frustration and helplessness many Americans feel about their government.

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While there are different governmental philosophies between the two major political parties this type of move could bring about an end to gridlock in Washington, D. C.  It’s a little ridiculous to wait four months or more to have Congress sit on the Zika epidemic and mainly argue political points during a national medical emergency.  It’s equally ridiculous to have the House of Representatives refuse to fund the government, using it as a means of blackmail to get their way on other issues, because they don’t have the votes to pass those other issues.

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The Weiner Component #163 – Part 2: The 2017 Presidency

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Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...

The Presidential Campaign will continue until Tuesday, November 8th of 2016, with both sides continually verbally attacking the other.  Trump has reorganized his staff three times, hiring among others someone who has made a career of attacking and trying to discredit the Clintons. He is supposed to excel in dirty tricks.  Hillary Clinton will continue with her basic premise that Trump is unfit to be President and move on from there.  In fact on Wednesday, September 7, at a back to back veteran’s Town Hall with Clinton, Trump defined the secret briefing as being anti Obama in the body language of the men who gave it, something which the intelligence community said never happened.  In terms of money raised for campaigning Clinton seems to be able to raise well over ten times the amount Trump does.

 

(In fact, Trumps entire Washington Bureau Organization quit when Trump refused to send them the promised checks for their work. This seems to be a pattern of Trump’s, stiffing his employees by not paying them.}

 

There are to be four debates scheduled, three will be between the Presidential candidates and one between the Vice-Presidential choices.  Of these one will be moderated by a NBC moderator, one by a Fox News employee, one by ABC News and CNN with joint a moderator from each network, and the Vice Presidential one by CBS News.  They will begin on September 26th and end on October 19th.  They should be interesting or at least colorful.

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When all this is done and the votes finally counted at the end of November 8th the next President of the United States will be officially elected to that office and will take the helm in January of 2017 of guiding the country for the next four years.

 

If we ask, which candidate will it be?  There is a high probability that it will be Hillary Rodham Clinton.  It is also probably that the Senate will return to a Democratic majority after the election but that the House of Representatives will remain in the hands of the Republicans.  This is the exact situation that President Obama faced from his third year in office until his sixth year there.  In 2014, a non-Presidential Election year, the Republicans also achieved a slight majority in the Senate.

 

From 2011 on there was a Democratic President, a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and until 2014, a Democratic majority in the Senate.  The result, since 2011, has been total gridlock with the House most of the time unsuccessfully trying to force its will upon the President and the Senate; and in many cases adding something that they wanted like defunding Planned Parenthood to a necessary bill which was then vetoed.

 

For the duration of his first term in office the Congressional Republicans in both Houses of Congress were determined to make Barack Obama a one term President.  They opposed everything he supported.  The Affordable Health Care Bill, which was modeled upon one developed by the Republican Think Tank, Citizen’s United, for Mitt Romney when he was governor OF Massachusetts and applied to that state.  It espouses Republican values by allowing private enterprise to control the plan.  Yet it was passed in Congress on a strict Party basis.  Democrats voted for it and all Republicans all opposed it.  The House, after the Republican majority was reached there spent over fifty days bringing its demise up and voting to end it even though these numerous identical Bills were never brought up in the Senate.  The vote has always been strictly upon Party lines.

 

For his first four years in office President Barack Obama seemed to feel that he could get some cooperation from the Republicans in Congress.  It never happened.  For his second term he knew better but he nor the rest of the Democratic Party ever really took them on.  While neither the President nor the Democrats in Congress never really exposed the Republican actions or non-actions the Republican’s never stopped blaming the President and the Democrats for what they, the Republicans, did not do.

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The odds are that Hillary Clinton on November 8th will be elected 45th President of the United States, and the Senate will regain its Democratic majority.  But there is a high probability that the Republicans in the House of Representatives, while losing some of their majority members, will still have control of that body.

 

There are 435 voting members in the House.  Currently 247 are Republicans and 188 are Democrats.  The Democrats would have to win 30 seats in the House to just gain control of that body.  They will probably gain some seats but not the 30 needed.  Consequently the probable state of affairs during the Clinton Presidency could very well be continued gridlock.

 

With this situation there is the question of how will Hillary Clinton be able to bring part or all of her agenda about.

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One of the major group of incidents that have frustrated President Obama during his presidency has been the random terrorist massacres that have occurred throughout the United States.  Generally Congress will observe a moment of silence but essentially the Republicans will pass no laws to control the purchase of firearms.  The National Rifle Association, which contributes heavily to Congressional elections and supports gun owners throughout the U.S. and is controlled by the gun, magazine, and ammunition producing companies, holds the position that any step in weapon control is the first step in taking guns away from American citizens. Essentially what the reformers want is to have thorough background checks upon everyone buying a firearm and to stop the sale to people with mental problems or to those who have criminal records.

 

The random gun shootings in the United States are at least 22 times higher than in any other industrial nation.  The last terrorist attack was on the night of June 12, 2016, when Omar Mateen, an American born, not too well mentally balanced 29 year old Moslem, who worked as a security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  After a three hour siege he was shot and killed by the Orlando Police Department swat team.  Mateen had purchased the semi-automatic firearms legally the prior week.

 

This issue was dealt with at least twice at the Democratic Convention: once by adults who had lost a parent or child to random shooting and once by people whose parent or child had been specifically or otherwise targeted.

 

The Senate had blocked four gun measures the following Monday, two from each party.  Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader said that Democrats were taking advantage of the Orlando Massacre, using it as a political talking point.  He called the Republican proposals, “real solutions.”  Harry Reid, the minority leader, called the Republican measures, “political stunts.”  Hillary Clinton had one word for the Senate after the gun vote, “Enough.”  She later tweeted, “It’s time to demand more than thoughts and prayers from our elected officials.”

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At the Democratic Convention, the Platform writing committee consisted of fifteen members: Clinton appointed six of them, Sanders five, and Wasserman Schultz four.  The Platform was described by NBC News as the most progressive in party history.

 

They want to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and index it to inflation.  They also desire to include 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.  On health care, the Democrats want a public option for the Affordable Care Act and legislation to allow Americans aged 55 and over to buy into Medicare.  They also want Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and to double their support for community health centers that provide primary health-care services, particularly in rural areas.

 

The Democrats express support for Wall Street reform.  They want a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to keep banks from gambling with depositor’s money and a breakup of “too big to fail” financial institutions.  Also there should be an expansion of Social Security and the abolition of the death penalty.  There is support for criminal justice reform, and an end to private prisons; and reforms to boost police accountability to communities.

 

On taxation the platform pledges “tax relief for middle class families” and improvement on K-12 education.  On workers’ rights the platform endorses expanding and defending the right of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively.  The platform maintains the long standing support of Israel.  On abortion it states, “We believe, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion – regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.”  It also defends Planned Parenthood.  It urges the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and supports passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.  “After 240 years, we will finally enshrine the rights of women in the Constitution.”

 

There are other considerations in the Democratic Platform but these are ones that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander strongly support.

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The next question that arises is: How will President Hillary Clinton bring many or most of these positions to fruition?  Will she end up like President Barack Obama, having to fight the House of Representatives, in many cases unsuccessfully, for every change the country needed?  President Obama was mostly successful working through the Federal Reserve and by using executive orders.  He got very little from Congress except having the House close down the government.

 

The Republicans in the House of Representatives seem to have no understanding of fiscal policy and many of them seem to want to limit the powers of the Federal Reserve, particularly in terms of monetary policy.  One gets the impression that many Republicans in the House do not really understand the principles of economics as they apply to the Central Government.  Basic ignorance does not bring about solutions to problems.  In fact they worsen those situations.  Witness the Great Recession of 2008.  A Republican President in 2009 would have turned it into a Greater Depression than that of 1929.

 

The actions taken by the Republican dominated House of Representatives from 2011 tended to worsen economic conditions by cutting government spending and increasing unemployment.  It was President Obama and the Federal Reserve, under Chairman Ben Bernanke, using creative monetary policy that largely solved the problem of unemployment, which should have been solved completely by Congress using fiscal policy.

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In 2017 President Clinton will have her hands full.  Will she be able to work with Republicans to bring about full employment and an era of increased prosperity for the majority of the American people?

The Weiner Component #162 – Part 3b: Thoughts About the Republican Party

Official photographic portrait of US President...

In addition to the election of a new President of the United States, 1/3d of the Senate is up for election in November of 2016, plus the entire House of Representatives will also be running for reelection.  The Republicans tend to do better in non-presidential years since at that time lots of Democrats, especially Hispanics, do not bother to vote.  Consequently a light vote tends to benefit the Republicans.  In 2014, for example, the Republicans were able to gain control of the Senate by a very slight majority.  In 2016 they will probably lose that majority and control of the Senate will return to the Democrats.

 

2010 was a non-presidential year and the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and a number of state governments.  2010 was also a census year, when the population of the United States was counted, and the House Voter Districts were reset by the State Legislatures, presumably based upon population changes.  Those states under Republican control gerrymandered their Districts to give themselves ultimate control in the House of Representatives by setting up new districts that were light in Democratic votes and heavy in Republican voters.  In 2012, a presidential year, a million and a quarter more votes were cast by Democrats for their candidates running for the House of Representatives but the Republicans still maintained their majority in the House of Representatives.  They still today maintain control of that House of Congress.  It will probably take an additional two to three million more votes by Democrats for control of the House of Representatives to be returned to them.  The probability of that happening, I suspect, is very low unless the Republicans do something extremely stupid like shutting down the Federal Government by not funding it.

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What will probably happen in 2017 is that Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the United States.  The United States Senate will have a Democratic majority, and the House of Representatives will remain in Republican Control, where it has been since 2011.  If that is what happens then essentially gridlock can probably continue with the Congress.  President Hillary Clinton will be able to make some deals with the Republicans in the Federal Legislature, but it will be tit-for-tat, something will have to be traded every time.  The Republicans will be more interested, as they have for the last six and ½ years, in blaming the Democrats for legislative failures than in passing necessary laws.

 

An example of this is the Zika crisis, which the World Health Organization has called “an extraordinary event” and “a global emergency.”  Before the July 4, 2016 Congressional recess, President Obama requested a 1.9 billion Dollar Bill to be used to fight the Zika outbreak. The amount was put together by experts in the field as to what it will take to remove the danger of Zika virus attacks. 

 

The House of Representatives passed, before they left on vacation, a 1.1 billion dollar bill and then left Washington for their 4th of July hiatus which did not end until after Labor Day.  They were attending the National Presidential Conventions in late July and then spent the rest of their time in their home states presumably campaigning. 

 

Their version of the Zika Abatement Bill contained spending cuts in other health programs such as cutting funds for Planned Parenthood, and was 800 million dollars smaller than the amount asked for.  President Obama remarked that the Bill contains too little money and has too many partisan provisions.

 

In the Senate the Bill was filibustered by Democrats who wanted to spend the full 1.9 billion dollars without cutting funds from other programs.  The White House spokesman, Eric Schultz, stated that if the measure does pass the Senate it will be vetoed by the President.

 

The basic Republican position is: Take what we give you or there will be no bill and it will be your fault.  This process had been done with other bills earlier.  After the bill had died because there was no Conference Committee functioning, the House was on vacation; they, the Republicans, will blame the failure on the President and Democrats for what they themselves have not done.  Whether the public will believe them is another question.

 

The Democrats and Republicans have been unable, still by the middle of September, to come up with a compromise bill.  This crisis is now four months old since it first came to the Congress.  The House is still offering its 1.1 billion dollar bill.   The disease which has become more major in terms of becoming an epidemic seems to gradually be growing in the United States in such states as Florida and other Southern states.  One or more cases have come up also in California.

 

The House, as early as the end of May 2016 seemed to be in no hurry to solve the Zika crisis.  Democrats said it was wrong to require spending cuts for a public health crisis while not requiring them for past emergencies such as wildfires and floods.  Republicans said the cuts are innocuous.  More than 2,200 cases had been reported in the U.S. and its territories.  The number is even greater today; and as I understand the problem, Congress still has not passed a compromise bill which both political parties could agree upon.  This problem is currently being left to the states to handle individually.  They do not have the resources to deal with a national, if not international, problem.

 

Congress returned from its July 4th break or vacation on Tuesday, September 6th, the day after Labor Day.  The House of Representatives will have to deal with the Zika crisis, which has increased over the last two months, and also deal with the budget, funding for the Federal Government ends at the end of September.  The House also failed to pass the 12 annual funding bills needed to run the government.  The issue now seems to be passing a partial funding bill and letting the new Congress in January of next year fund the government for the full year.          

 

The government will run out of money by the end of September.  To date no additional spending bills have been passed.  If such a bill is not passed the Republican dominated House will again shut down the government; but this time it will be on an election year.

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There is an election coming up on November 8th.  Every single member of the House of Representatives will be standing for election or reelection.  The current situation is totally absurd.  It would seem that the Republicans care more for making political points than for legislating for the good of the country.

 

During the remaining short period of time the House Republicans are planning votes on several “message bills,” some of which will not even be picked up by the Senate.  They will vote to impeach IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, over allegations that he obstructed a Congressional Investigation about whether the IRS improperly scrutinized Tea Party groups looking for tax-exempt status.

 

Speaker Paul Ryan wants a vote on some kind of legislation to register GOP opposition to a 400 million dollar payment to Iran.  This is money and interest on funds belonging to Iran that the U.S. Government has held since the late 1980s. 

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What strikes me as fascinating are the conditions under which the Senate and the House of Representatives function.  The length of a year is 365 days.  After being elected to Congress the average salary is $174,000 per year.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives gets $223,000 a year; the majority and minority leaders of both parties get $193,000 per year.  The House has averaged since 2001 139 legislative days a year; that is less than 3 days a week.  In 2013 the New York Times found that the House was in session 942 hours that year, about 18 hours a week.  The House of Representatives calendar for 2016 is 110 legislating days.  Their average time spent in session in 2016 has been three days a week plus lengthy holidays.  They work, generally, from Monday through Wednesday and take a four day weekend plus all holiday breaks.

 

The average salary in the United States is less than half that amount and it includes at least a 40 hour work week.  There is also a very generous retirement plan for Congress that kicks-in after serving one two year term in the House of Representatives.

 

The Founding Fathers did not originally envision political parties.  They expected an educated constituency to elect the smartest people available.  We are far from that point now.  The taxpayers are spending a lot of money for very little.  For the last 5 ½ years it’s been for gridlock in Congress.

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As of Friday, August 26, 2016, 42 new non-travel cases of Zika infections have been discovered.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants the entire blood supply within the United States, every single blood donation screened for Zika.  It is currently estimated that one out of every ten blood donations in Puerto Rico contains the Zika virus.  The number would also be high in Florida.  But the problem could also exist in any of the other states.  The country could be moving toward a massive epidemic.  It would seem that the House of Representatives is looking to get its way no matter what the cost to the general public.

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The Zika virus disease is a mosquito borne illness.  It is beginning to reach epidemic proportions in some of the states and territories.  The symptoms of Zika are a mild fever, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, and pink eye or conjunctivitis.   The symptoms normally last from 2 to 7 days and then go away.  The virus remains in the blood stream after the 7 day period.  Zika can produce sever birth defects in pregnant women’s fetuses, such as a small head size, and presumably limited learning ability as well as other physical problems.  This infection can cause microcephaly.

 

While the disease was first discovered in 1947 little is still known about it.  What we do know is that it is transmitted by a specific mosquito and also by sexual intercourse.  Lots of people in the country require occasional blood transfusions which is another way it can be freely transmitted. 

 

On Friday, August 26, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has recommended that the entire U.S. blood supply be screened for the Zika virus.  One out of every ten people tested in Puerto Rico has come up positive.  A massive epidemic of this disease can effect an entire generation of births and, if nothing else, cost the country trillions in medical care for the infected infants as they mature.

 

These new recommendations apply across the board.  The Red Cross said it will phase in universal testing.  It is currently conducting Zika testing in 5 Southeastern states.  It will now require it throughout the entire United States.

 

Because an infection can be transmitted during sexual intercourse someone who does not have symptoms might spread the virus unknowingly to his or her partner.  Then either of the two might donate blood, further spreading the infection.

 

In February of 2016 the FDA issued its first Zika virus blood screening recommendation in areas with active transmission.  Then, the agency advised screening blood and blood components for the virus or stopping blood collection completely in areas of active transmission.

 

The nation’s first local, non-travel related infection of Zika virus occurred in Puerto Rico in December of 2016.  Shortly after, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands reported locally transmitted infections.  In July, Florida’s Miami-Dade County reported its own first case of a local mosquito transmitted Zika infection.

 

With all this occurring and Zika spreading the House of Representatives is in no hurry to solve the problem of nationally fighting the spread of this disease.  Their reaction to what can be a major health issue is pathetic.  It would seem to the Republicans getting their way and making political points is more important than the health and welfare of their constituents.

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This is a potential international problem that the United Nation’s World Health Organization takes very seriously.  Women of child-bearing age throughout the world are affected.  This can result in one or more generations of children growing up abnormally with no real futures, having to be taken care of by their healthier peers throughout the world; and the House of Representatives plays its political games essentially ignoring the issue.  They are basically leaving an international problem to the states and territories within the U.S. to handle by themselves without adequate resources or responsibility.  It would seem that a vote for a Republican legislator is a vote for political gridlock. 

 

President Barack Obama, on Saturday, August 27, issued a call to make the Zika crisis the first item of business that the House of Representatives deals with.  He stated that the various federal agencies dealing with this problem are running out of money.  He stated that, “a fraction of the funding won’t get the job done.  You can’t solve a fraction of a disease.  Our experts know what they’re doing.  They need the resources to do it.”  He further said about the current House bill, “But that’s not a sustainable solution.  And Congress has been on a seven-week recess without doing anything to protect Americans from the Zika virus.”

 

“Every day the Republican leaders in Congress wait to do their job, every day our experts have to wait to get the resources they need,” the President said.  “That has real-life consequences:  Weaker mosquito- control efforts.  Longer wait times to get accurate diagnostic results.  Delayed vaccines.  It puts more Americans at risk.”

 

“We need more Republicans to act … because this is more important than politics.  Republicans in Congress should treat Zika like the threat that it is and make this their first order of business when they come back to Washington after Labor Day.  That means working in a bipartisan way to fully fund our Zika response.”  So far none of this has happened.

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In addition, as of the present, no action has been taken on the hourly wage which remains at $7.25 an hour. And even the Republican National Candidate, Donald Trump, has mentioned raising it from $7.25 an hour to $10.00 an hour.  Also in the Republican Congress there has been no mention of requiring background checks on the purchase of firearms or limiting the size of weapon magazines.  Congress is currently in gridlock.  Will this change after the November Election if the Republicans remain in charge of the House of Representatives?  I suspect not.

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On Saturday, August 27, 2016, President Barack Obama has stepped up the pressure on Congress for Zika

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English: Breakdown of political party representation in the United States House of Representatives during the 112th Congress. Blue: Democrat Red: Republican This SVG file was originally hand-written. It contains comments suggesting how to amend it to reflect future changes in Congress. Inkscape reads this file as corrupted, thus changes must be made with a text editor or other program and checked with a browser. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

funding.  He has urged legislators “to make this their first order of business” when they return from a seven-week recess after Labor Day.

 

Their second order of business will be to fund the government past the September deadline. 

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Congress will meet for the balance of September and then adjourn for November and then probably meet for another few weeks in December.  What will probably happen is a short term funding bill which will hand the problem over to the new Congress next year.  If the Tea Party Freedom Caucus refuses to go along with the rest of the Republicans in the House of Representatives then the Speaker, Paul Ryan, would be forced to work directly with the Democrats.  This, incidentally, was probably the main reason John Boehner, the former Speaker, was forced to resign.

 

And, of course, the Zika epidemic grows worse daily.

 

What will happen should be interesting, if not tragic.

 

The Weiner Component #162 = Part 3a: Thoughts on Donald Trump Since the Convention

On Thursday, July 28, the Democratic Nominating Convention ended and the two major candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election had been chosen.  The next day the Presidential Campaign was officially on.

 

In certain respects Donald Trump is a unique candidate.  There has never been another one like him.  Basically he is a bastion of ignorance with no idea of the responsibilities involved in being President of the United States.  His experience has been landlord, presumably setting racial boundaries to whom he rented, builder of hotels, casinos, and other types of structures where he has never fully paid his contractors, and TV performer, where his favorite statement, which he proudly copyrighted, was “You’re fired!.”  His business record, which is well documented, is pathetic, rich in bankruptcies, lawsuits, and nonpayment of bills.  He seems to see the presidency as an extension of himself and his nefarious methods.  If he were to extend those principles as President he would destroy the creditability of the United States.

 

Vladimir Putin, the current President of Russia, seems to want to gradually stretch Russia’s boundaries to where they were during the era of The Soviet Union.  Trump’s attitude toward foreign policy would legitimize Putin’s intrusions into Ukraine and other possible areas.

 

There have been numerous bizarre incidents with Trump, some of which make no sense at all.  First off, during the Republican Convention, Trump began laying the groundwork for his dealing with both enemy and allied nations.  He did this by making blanket statements to the press, stating that our allies in NATO were not paying their fair share and that when he were President he would see that their contributions of money was generously increased.  Actually I got the impression that he would charge our allies for the use of the American military to the point of making a profit.  This would enable him to increase military expenditures without having the U.S. pay for the increase. (Shades of Napoleon Bonaparte, having your so-called allies pay for your use of the military.)

 

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, would love to see Trump as President of the U.S.  Trump has indicated that as President he would legitimize Russia’s take-over of parts of the Ukraine.  Putin has called Trump a genius and Trump has verbally admired Putin.  Russians hacked the Democratic National Committees emails and had them published just as the Democratic Convention began.  Was this an accident by Russian hackers or was it a plot to discredit the DNC?  Take your choice.

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In addition Trump has numerously stated that (1) he will renegotiate all foreign trade deals, (2) charge a 35% tariff on all goods produced by American companies that are manufacturing goods overseas, (3) renegotiate the United Nations anti-atomic development treaty with Iran in which the United States was one of the many participants.  (4) He has also objected to paying back Iran the 40 million dollars that the U.S. government owed Iran.  (5) Trump has promised to bring coal mining on a large scale back to West Virginia.

 

If we think back thirty or thirty-five years ago, it was then argued that U.S. companies, usually in base industries, were moving overseas and it was vehemently stated by many people that these companies should keep these jobs in the United States.  If we go back even earlier it was argued that many companies in the North or Northwest were moving to Puerto Rico or the Southern United States where there was no tradition of unions.  Of course, eventually they would become unionized.  The problem then or the solution for the companies was that the result of moving these industries considerably cut the cost of production of goods and kept these companies competitive.  This would be true at first in the Southern States and Puerto Rico and later when the moved companies had become unionized and labor costs had risen; they would move overseas.  The cost then in keeping one of these companies at first in the North or Northwest and later in the Southern U.S. and Puerto Rico was in the thousands of dollars per worker in terms of the cost of the productivity of the worker.  If most of these companies were to stay competitive they had to reduce their costs.

 

There were and still are, of course, vulture capitalists, financial businesses like Bane Capital that will take over profitable companies and transfer the factories overseas to make them far more profitable.  Mitt Romney, while he was running for the presidency in 2012, invested millions with the former company he had chaired.  They bought control of an American factory, brought workers over from China to learn how to handle the machinery, then packed everything up and moved the factory to China, leaving all the former employees unemployed.  Their profits, even with transportation included, increased well over four times what it had been.

 

Trump wants to renegotiate all the foreign trade treaties that the United States has signed with other nations.  Attempting to renegotiate all the trade treaties signed over the last twenty-five years would probably terminate most if not all of them and generate Tariff Wars such as existed in the 1930s during the era of the Great Depression.  The result would be to limit trade between nations and raise the prices of a high percentage of the goods and services sold, making most people a lot poorer.

 

A 35% tariff on goods produced by American companies overseas would be unconstitutional.  We have ‘due process” in the Constitution, which means everybody is to be treated equally.  Trump could not pick on specific companies to punish.  Besides, most major companies are today international.  Virtually every automobile produced contains parts that were made both in the U.S. and parts that were manufactured overseas.  What specific percentage makes it an American produced automobile?  This is true of innumerable products.

 

In terms of the Iranian U.N Treaty there was Iran on one side and part of the Security Council of the United Nation plus Germany on the other side.  The United States is a permanent member of the Security Council.  For that matter so is Great Britain, France, China, and Russia.  Some smaller states rotated onto the negotiating group.  The treaty evolved over a two year period.  Iran has strictly adhered to her agreement in the treaty.  Upon what grounds could Trump reopen the negotiations?  The United States would be outvoted by the other nations that approved the treaty.

 

The 40 million dollars that the United States repaid Iran was a negotiation that had been going on well before the Iran U.N. Treaty.  While the United States was still friendly with Iran during the time of the Shay in the late 1980s the U.S. agreed to sell arms to the Iranian government.  Iran paid for those arms in advance.  After the revolution, the people in the American embassy there were seized and imprisoned for over a year.  The U.S. stopped the arms deal for which it had already been paid.  The 40 million dollars was the money that Iran had paid in advance and for which they received nothing.  The United States Government has been holding that money since the late 1980s.  This, of course, does not count the other funds in American banks that were then frozen and which have continued to be used by the American banks since then.  The same thing is true of Cuba and the Castro Revolution in the early 1960s.

 

Trump has also promised to bring back coal mining to West Virginia.  The promise is pure nonsense.  The old coal mines, where the miners went underground and dug in tunnels bring up the coal, are long gone.  So are mines run by such companies as Massey Energy, which used to have a large number of mines in West Virginia.  Instead what coal mining that exists today is done in open pit mining by steam shovels taking out a half ton of coal at a swoop.   One man driving a caterpillar does the work of a large number of teams in one day.  How could Trump bring back the past?

 

In addition coal is probably one of the dirtiest and most polluting sources of energy available today.  The coal can contain numerous minerals that go up with the smoke.  One of the most dangerous of these is sulfur which can mix with water vapor to create a mild form of sulfuric acid that people breathe.  There are many cleaner forms of energy available.  In terms of health it would be cheaper and healthier to pay the ex-miners a monthly stipend that go back to the extensive use of coal.

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What emerges with Trump is that he seems to want to be president but he has spent his life being mostly concerned with Donald Trump and has missed what is going on in the rest of the world.  He is largely ignorant or just plain naïve.  I hesitate to use the word, stupid.  In addition Khizr Khan was probably correct when he said that Donald Trump had probably never read the Constitution.  And if he had read it in Jr. High it was so long ago that he didn’t remember it.  Many of his statements would indicate an ignorance of the contents of the document.

 

Trump has called the oncoming election rigged.  As far as he is concerned in any area where he doesn’t, according to the polls, have a majority, the election in unfairly rigged toward Hillary Clinton.  Because of all this Trump has also called upon many of his followers to volunteer to be poll watchers during the actual election.  His language has moved beyond the Republican Party’s call for specific identification requirements.  It has revived unfounded claims that the polls are rigged.  His warnings have been given in urgent and racially suggestive language.  He has implied that the only honest outcome would be his victory.

 

In addition Trump has suggest that Second Amendment People, gun owners, might take matters in their own hands since the election of Hillary Clinton would result in having their weapons taken away from them.

 

In Pennsylvania, which has had no Republican presidential candidate since 1988 and Trump is presently well behind Clinton in polls, Trump has stated that he could lose the race there.  He wants Republicans to sign up as poll watchers particularly in areas with heavy Black populations.  There is concern about voter intimidation.  Trump’s comment is that he wants to stop people from voting fifteen times or more.  There has been no evidence of voter fraud.

 

A Trump backer tweeted: “We gonna be watch’n for shenanigans…& haul ya away.”  Above the tweet was a photograph of a pickup truck with a cage in the truck bed.

 

A Pew Research Center survey demonstrated the 51% of Trump’s supporters have little or no confidence in the accuracy of the vote count nationally.  They automatically know it will be false if Trump loses.

 

An advisor to Trump has stated that “We are now living in a fake reality of constructed data and phony polls.”  How does he know all this?  The answer would be simply by instinct.  His reasoning, and also Trump’s, for that matter, would be: ‘It must be so because it is so.’

 

Trump’s campaign recently started a website urging people to sign up as election watchers.  All campaigns generally do this, but the people who do this are required to go through an extensive training program about what crosses the line and becomes intimidation.  Trump’s election watchers are not required to do this.

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I would like to make a comment about Donald Trump which may or may not be wholly true.  Trump basically is an empty vessel that knows himself and how he functions.  He has never been interested in anyone or anything else.  He sees the world and everyone in it in terms of how he would respond.  In his mind he has defined Hillary Clinton’s values and beliefs as if they were his own.  Consequently everything she has done, does, or, for that matter, will do, is how he would behave if he were she.  To him there is only one value system that is real, his own.  Everything he accuses her of doing or believing is a projection of how he would or does behave.  And his negative behavior toward the world in general is well documented by his bankruptcies and over 2,500 lawsuits in which he has been involved.  In fact he is currently being sued about Trump University.  The are three lawsuits coming up, two class action and one by the state of New York.  The man is dishonest from his core and imagines the rest of the world has the same perspective of everything.

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Lately the man has stated that he has misspoken on several subjects.  Outside of the illegal aliens living in the United States, who he was going to round up, all 11 million of them, and kick them out of the U.S.  This was a feat that it was estimated would cost four billion dollars over a five to ten year period and would also cut our GDP about ten billion dollars.  It seems he misspoke when he called Hispanics all rapists and thieves.  He was sorry he said that until Wednesday night, August 31st when he stopped being sorry and stated that he would kick them all out the day he assumed office.

 

He was also sorry he said other things.  But he hasn’t told us what the other things are.  This will allow him to flip-flop on anything he’s stated.  I thought that he was sorry he mentioned the multi-trillion dollar wall between the U.S. and Mexico but he also changed his mind again about that.

 

Even Glen Beck, who was dropped from Fox News for being too far on the right,

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

has verbally stated that Trump is a danger to the United States.                  *******************************

The November 2016 Election should make for an interesting if not colorful and dramatic Presidential Election!

 

 

The Weiner Component @162 Part 2: The 2016 Presidential Election Convention: The Democratic Convention

The 2016 Democratic National Convention was held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25 through July 28, 2016, Monday through Thursday.  They choose Hillary Rodham Clinton as their presidential candidate.  Bernie Sanders had a large following but Clinton gained more primary and caucus delegates.  She had 59.6% of the votes to 39.16% for Sanders.  He did have a strong influence, however, in writing the party platform.  Hillary Clinton was the first woman to be nominated by a major political party.  She choose Tim Kaine, the Junior Senator from Virginia, as her Vice Presidential candidate.

 

While Clinton’s position moved the party platform to the left of where it had been in 2012, Sanders influence pushed it further left making it the most progressive in Democratic history.  It contains specific planks, among others, on Wall Street reform, stronger financial regulations for banks, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and strict background checks on the purchase of guns.  In the social area there is criminal justice reform, an end to private prisons, expansion of social security, and the abolition of the death penalty.

 

The last state to give its roll call vote for the Democratic candidate was Vermont, which gave 4 votes for Hillary Clinton and 22 for Bernie Sanders.  By then Clinton had far exceeded the number of votes needed to become the Democratic candidate.  At this point Bernie Sanders rose and moved that the Convention vote by voice vote to acclaim Hillary Clinton as their candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election.  The motion was seconded and the Convention did so.

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The Convention was not without controversy.  Either officially or unofficially Russian hackers released damaging emails that demonstrated, among other things, partiality for Hillary Clinton on the part of the National Democratic Committee.  They were supposed to maintain a neutral position.  Apparently Russia was taking a hand in the election in favor of Trump.  As a result of these emails the chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as chairperson of the NDC.

 

Another factor was that many Bernie Sanders people protested Clinton’s appointment as presidential candidate.  A poll determined that 80 plus percent of them would vote for Hillary Clinton but many of those that wouldn’t were very loud about their feelings.

 

Beyond the disparities the Democratic Convention was very positive.  It was a celebration of both America and Hillary Clinton.  “We’re going to empower all Americans to live better lives,” she said.  “My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States from my first day in office to my last, especially in places that for too long have been left out, left behind.”

 

There was a strong argument for gun control in the form of strict background checks from a mother from Orlando, Florida whose son was shot.  Another appeal from a daughter whose mother was murdered in Newtown, Connecticut.  Former House Representative Gabby Gifford, who was shot in the head by a crazed man, appealed for this type of change.  Others stated that five police officers were shot and killed in Dallas in July.  They all made excellent points.  This position is supported even by the majority of members the National Rifle Association.

 

General John Allen, joined by dozens of veterans made a dramatic presentation for Hillary Clinton as the new Commander and Chief of the military.

 

In fact we even had the beginnings of a movement of Republicans for Hillary which grows as we get closer and closer to Election Day.

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Hillary Clinton has gone up well above Trump in the polls since the Conventions.  One of the reasons for this is that the Democratic Convention brought a level of unity among the Democrats.  This did not happen during the Republican Convention.

 

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City, who was a Republican and is now an Independent, gave a speech offering a scathingly indictment of Donald Trump as a “dangerous demigod” and “reckless” choice for president.

 

Blomberg stated that he had been both a Democrat and a Republican and was now an Independent.  He cast Trump as a failed businessman and risk to the country.  “Through his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated and his frustrated customers who feel ripped off.”  He commented:  “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he runs his businesses.  God help us.”

 

He took Trump to task for blasting trade deals while using overseas manufacturing to produce products bearing his name.  He accused Trump of gaming the U.S., the Visa system, and using illegal immigrants while vowing to deport them if elected president.  “Truth be told the richest thing is his hypocrisy,” he said.

 

Another speaker, who came right after Michelle Obama, was Elizabeth Warren.  She stated, among other things, that “Corporations are not people.”  She hammered Trump saying “Trump’s entire campaign is one more late night infomercial.”  “Other than about building a stupid wall                                                            … did you have any ideas?”  “Trump is a man who cares only for himself, every minute of the day.”  “What kind of man cheats students, cheats investors, cheats workers?  I’ll tell you what kind of man, a man who will never be president of the United States.”

 

She also stated that Republican lawmakers – namely the ones who have obstructed Democrats in Congress, Warren stated, “The American people are coming for you.”

 

The list of speakers was very impressive.  On the first night Michelle Obama spoke very effectively, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren; Senator Cory Booker preceded the First Lady.  The final speaker of the night was Senator Bernie Sanders who strongly supported Hillary Clinton.

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On the first night the theme was “United Together.”  For the second night it was “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families.”  Former President Jimmy Carter gave a video address.  Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the House Democrats spoke; so did Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.  Both former Attorney General Eric Holder and Senator Barbara Boxer made presentations.

 

The Keynote speaker for that night was former President Bill Clinton.  He related his wife’s biography to an enthusiastic audience both in the Convention and on TV.  She has had decades of work for children, women, and the needy.  He talked of her persistence in solving problems placed before her, of her role as a mother to their daughter, Chelsea, of her as a mother figure to the nation.  “She’ll never give up on you,” he stated.

 

Toward the end of his presentation Bill Clinton spoke of two Hilarys, the one he was talking about and the one the Republicans seemed always to speak about.  The Republican one, he said, was not real, she had been created or disparaged by the Republicans over the years.

 

Since 1993, when Bill Clinton became President and put Hillary in charge of a task force to come up with a Universal Health Care Plan the Republicans began a hate Hillary campaign both against her and the mission she was undertaking, Universal Health Care for all Americans.                                                               This hate Hillary campaign has persisted up to the present day, 23 years.  They have never given her credit for anything but early on dubbed her “Lady Macbeth from Little Rock.”

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Vice President Joe Biden gave an impassioned speech in which he urged voters to turn their backs upon Trump.  “This is a complicated and uncertain world we live in.  The threats are too great and the times to uncertain to elect Donald Trump as President.”  And then later, “No nominee in the history of this nation has known less or been less prepared to deal with National Security … who has no plan to keep us safe… Donald Trump is a man who seeks to sow division in America for his own gain … a man who confuses bluster with strength.”  Later “He has no clue about what makes America great.  In fact, he doesn’t have a clue, period.”

 

The Reverend Jesse Jackson and Jill Biden spoke.  Former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg denounced Trump as a business failure and cheat.

 

On the third night the theme was “Work Together.  On that night United States Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia accepted the Vice Presidential nomination.  He began by sharing his life story with the American people.  Then he stated that a number of Americans did not find Hillary Clinton trustworthy.  He then cited her record of advocating for families and children, her foreign policy achievements, her fight in Congress to secure funding for New York City after the 9/11/01 attack on the Twin Towers, and her foreign policy achievements as Secretary of State.  “With Hillary, it’s not just words, it’s accomplishments.”

 

Then he plowed into Donald Trump.  “You know who I don’t trust.  It’s Donald Trump.  The guy promises a lot.  He has a habit of saying the same two words right after he makes his biggest promises.  ‘Believe me.’  His creditors, his contractors, his laid-off employees, his ripped off students did just that, and they all got hurt.  Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.”

 

The final speaker on the third day was President Barack Obama.  He strongly supported Hillary Clinton as a candidate who was fully prepared to take on the presidency, particularly against the pessimism of Donald Trump.  “America is already great.  America is already strong.  And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend upon Donald Trump.”

 

He touted Hillary Clinton as being better prepared for the presidency than he and her husband Bill Clinton had been.  In addition he said, “No matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never quits.”  In a manner of speaking Barack Obama was passing the baton on to a candidate who would carry on the Democratic tradition, both his and hers.

 

The theme for the fourth night was “Stronger Together.”  Both U.S Representative Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart veteran in Afghanistan, and Nancy Pelosi, the minority Speaker of the House of Representatives, spoke.

 

Outside of Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech the most dramatic speaker was the Muslim, Khizi Khan, who had his wife silently seated by his side.  The Khans had lost their son, Humayun S. M. Khan, an army captain, who, in 2004, had been killed in Iraq while saving the lives of both his men and a group of civilians.  He was killed by a car bomb while inspecting a guard post.  He spotted a taxi speeding toward the military compound.  Khan yelled for people to hit the ground as he ran toward the taxi.  The driver detonated the bomb before it hit the post or a nearby mess hall, where a large number of soldiers were eating breakfast.  He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

 

Khizi Khan denigrated Trump for his attitude and his ignorance.  Mr. Khan accused Donald Trump of never having sacrificed anything.  He stated that “Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America.  If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been born in America.”  At one point he held up a small booklet which was a copy of the United States Constitution and accused Trump of never having read the document.  He then offered to lend Trump his copy.  It was a verbal attack by a Muslim citizen of the U.S. against the man who would close the nation to all Muslim immigration.

 

Against Khan’s accusation of never having sacrificed anything Trump response was that he had sacrificed by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Equating profit making enterprise with sacrifice was a strange use of language or understanding.

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The major speaker on Thursday, the fourth night, was Hillary Clinton, accepting the position as Democratic candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election.  Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother who was the final speaker at the Democratic Convention.

 

Hillary formally accepted the nomination.  She has been one of the best known women in the world since the early 90s.  From 1993, when her husband became President of the United States, there has been a hate Hillary campaign by the Republicans.  On the one hand she has in some respects, like her emails have been careless but on the other, she has probably worked harder than any other Secretary of State visiting and dealing with 113 countries while also sitting in the President’s Cabinet and being involved in the decision making process on major policy operations.  She was involved in the decision to get Osama bin Laden, the originator of the destruction of the Twin Tower on 9/11/01.  In fact she was involved in many of President Obama’s major decisions.

 

Hillary stated in her acceptance speech, “I get that some people just don’t know what to make of me.  So let me tell you.”  She then detailed the years she had spent in public service and her goals for a presidency.  She depicted Trump as unstable and unqualified for the office.

 

She accepted the nomination “with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise.”  In her nearly 60 minute address she said, “America is once again at a moment of reckoning.  Powerful forces are threatening to pull her apart.  Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.  And just as with our founders there are no guarantees….We have to decide whether we’re going to work together, so we can all rise together.”

 

“We’re going to empower all Americans to live better lives,” Hillary Clinton said.  “My primary mission as president will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States, from my first day in office to my last day, especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.”

 

She presented a “stark” choice for voters on National Security at this time of international turbulence.  She ridiculed Trump’s statement that he alone can solve America’s problems.  “Americans don’t say, ‘I alone can fix it.’  They say ‘we’ll fix it together.”

 

Of Trump she said, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.”

 

Bernie Sanders was praised by Clinton.  “You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.  And to all of your supporters here or around the country, I want you to know I’ve heard you.  Your cause is our cause.”

 

Clinton’s historic role in breaking the gender barrier, a persistent theme of her campaign, drew some of the greatest applause.  “When there are no ceiling, the sky’s the limit.  So let’s keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.”

 

After Hillary had spoken the last moment of the Convention occurred and many thousands of red, white, and blue balloons dropped from the ceiling signifying the end of the Convention.  And America had its Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

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Of the two conventions the Republican one was thin with guests supporting it and dark with its outlook of America.  One of the TV Duck Dynasty minor luminaries appeared wearing an American flag bandana wrapped around his hair giving a short patriotic presentation.  Neither of the two living Republican former Presidents, George H.W. and his son George W. Bush appeared nor have commented publically about Donald Trump.  With the exception of Mitch McConnell, the current Senate majority leader and Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who both gave very lukewarm approval of Trump, saying he was preferable to Hillary Clinton, very few Republican members of Congress appeared.  It was a thin roster of so-called dignitaries.  The high point seemed to be the Trump children lauding the greatness of their father and Trump at the end giving a Hitler type speech where only he could save a disintegrating United States.

 

In the Democratic Convention there were so many political and Hollywood celebrities supporting Hillary Clinton that the Convention organizers had trouble getting them all to function during prime time.  There were the President and the First Lady, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Vice President Nominee Tim Kaine, Joe and Jill Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, to name a small number who appeared.  From Hollywood: Lena Dunham, Elizabeth Banks, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Simon sang.  It was a glorious meeting of people.

 

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #162 – The Presidential Election Conventions: Part 1: The Republican Convention

The candidates for the 2016 Presidential Elections have been chosen.  The National Party Conventions are over; the balloons have all been dropped and the candidates are officially named.

 

The Republicans met in the second week of July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio; the Democrats convened in the third week of that month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Not surprisingly the Republicans chose Donald J. Trump and the Democrats picked Hillary Rodham Clinton.

 

Donald Trump and the Republicans tended at their Convention to present a dark picture of the United States being taken advantage of by both its allies and its enemies.  The Convention lacked major politicians like the two living former presidents, the Bushes, both father and son, or other political figures.  Minor TV reality performers and some actors made presentations to the Convention.  Trump seemed to be stage-managing on all four nights.  The House Speaker, Paul Ryan, and the majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, both gave conditional support to Donald Trump, stating essentially that given the choice, Trump was better than Hillary Clinton, who the Convention strongly verbally attacked from the first day on.  In fact one of the main themes at the Convention was denouncing Hillary Clinton and voicing a need to put her into jail or even executing her.

 

As the last speaker, on the first night, Trump had his wife, Melania, make a presentation.  She, in her speech, plagiarized statements that Michelle Obama had made in 2008.  It seemed that two professional speech writers had written a speech for Melania but she was uncomfortable with it and decided to write her own with the help of a friend who had helped Trump write one of his books.  The woman researched prior speeches for her and Melania produced her own presentation which no one saw beforehand.  She gave the speech and the plagiarism was almost immediately discovered and discussed on all the TV networks that covered the Convention.  In fact they played Melania saying that part of her speech on half the screen and Michelle Obama initially saying those words on the other half of the screen.

 

Melania did not reappear until the fourth night at the Convention.  The woman, who had helped her offered to resign.  Trump told her to forget it.  He initially denied that there had been any plagiarism.  It also helped to set a grim note to the overall Convention.

 

Still the four days which were supposed to set Trump up as the greatest individual possible as the next president but instead the Convention set up a grim tone about America as a country that had lost its prominence in the world, currently being taken advantage of by both its friends and enemies and run by a failed president.  It was a dark and dismal version, low on facts and rich in generalities.  Trump would be the savior of the United States.  He and he alone could save the country from where it presently was.

 

He strongly made the point that if Hillary Clinton were elected she would continue the “failed” policies of Barack Obama.

 

I found it interesting that the presidency of George W. Bush was never mentioned.  It was as though he never existed.  Presumably the country went from the time of William Jefferson Clinton to that of Barack Obama and nothing that had happened in those 16 years was positive, had helped the people in the United States in any way.

 

In 2009, when Barack Obama became President of the United States, he inherited from former President George W. Bush an economic calamity later called the Great Recession.  It was the complete collapse of the Housing Industry in the United States, which was at the point of taking down virtually all the major banking houses in the U.S. and Europe.  Had it occurred the industrial nations would have faced a depression greater than the 1929 Great Depression.  It would have totally destroyed banking in the United States and slowed the flow of money to a trickle.  Unemployment would have gone well over 50% of the work force.  And the probability is that we would still be there today.  In fact Trump’s hotel business would, among many other businesses, have probably gone under.

 

The Obama Administration saved the banks by lending them billions of dollars.  It also saved the American automobile industry by similar lending policies that kept them from going bankrupt.  And with the Federal Reserve the Obama Administration largely solved the housing crisis by purchasing and then discarding the millions of mortgage loan pieces which the banks had sold as hedge funds.

 

During his first two years in office President Obama had a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress and was able to get the necessary legislation passed to do this.  In addition they brought Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) into existence.  After 2011 the Republicans by gerrymandering gained control of the House of Representatives and Obama was no longer able to get any legislation passed.  In fact under Ted Cruz’s leadership the House of Representatives closed down the government by refusing to pass the appropriate funding bills necessary to keep it functioning.  All this in attempts to force Obama to sign bills that they wanted, like doing away with Affordable Health Care or defunding Planned Parenthood.  They were successful in getting some things through, like Sequestration which attempted to bring across the board spending cuts.

 

One of the Republican goals was to reduce government spending by shrinking the Federal Government.  In a manner of speaking they were “penny wise and dollar stupid.”  By reducing the size of government during a period of Great Recession they helped worsen the unemployment situation in the country.  In addition to decreasing the number of Federal jobs they also cut the amounts of monies they sent to the states, thus causing the states to also cut their payrolls.  Not a clever thing to do during a period of depression.

 

During the Republican Convention President Barack Obama was charged with not passing the necessary laws to keep the country healthy.  The Republicans blamed him for what they themselves had not done.

 

In 2008, even before Obama took the oath of office, the Republican legislators from both Houses of Congress met in a two House caucus and all took an oath to make Barack Obama a one term president by not supporting any measure or program he put forth; and that is what they did.  The Republicans placed their political aims over what was necessary for the people of the United States.  They all ignored their oath of office for the next four years and beyond.

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The Republicans met in their National Convention between Monday and Thursday, July 18 and 21 at the Quicken loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  While Donald J. Trump was the clear winner of the state primary elections and caucuses there was some doubt among many Republicans whether he should be their candidate for the presidency.  The movement, however, failed and Donald Trump became the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States.

 

A number of prominent Republicans announced that they would not be attending the Convention.  Among these were the former Republican presidents and many prominent Republican Congressmen, including John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and Marco Rubio, who had run against him as presumptive Presidential Candidates.  Six major companies withdrew their financial support of the Convention.

 

The Platform Committee tended to move to the far right.  They came down on LGBT, taking a strict traditional view of social issues and ignoring Supreme Court decisions.  The Committee supported marriage between a man and a woman only, proposing a Constitutional amendment to bring this about.  They opposed abortion in every case.  They called for the appointment of only conservative judges who respected family values.  They wanted federal lands turned over to states so they could be privatized.  In foreign policy they were national security hawks, wanting increased military spending, a more isolationist approach, and called for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

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On Monday, July 18th the Convention began with a voice vote to accept the platform with a loud protest from the anti-Trump opponents who wanted a roll call vote.  Donald J. Trump was nominated and won the presidential nomination on the first ballot with 69.8% of the delegates.  The Vice Presidential ballot was held immediately afterwards, choosing Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  Pence won by acclamation.

 

Trump had earlier vowed to bring showbiz pizazz to the 2016 Convention.  He stated that the 2012 one was boring.  Many of his speakers were minor or has-been figures: Don King, former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin and Tom Brady, a New England Patriots quarterback and other equally unknown or dimly remembered individuals.  Many prominent Republicans refused to attend the Convention.  Ted Cruz addressed the Convention but did not endorse Trump.  Marco Rubio finally released his 173 delegates to Trump and spoke via a short recorded video.

 

Some of Trump’s adult children spoke on different days telling how wonderful their father was.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke on Tuesday giving Trump a limited almost negative endorsement; saying he was better than Clinton.  Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader of the Senate, did the same thing.  Both would later object to Trump’s criticism of the Gold Star Muslim Khan family.  Gold Star families are those who have lost a parent or child in the current wars in which the U.S. is currently involved.

 

On Wednesday the main speaker was Mike Pence accepting the Vice Presidential candidacy.  But Ted Cruz stole the spotlight by giving a rousing Republican speech which ended with him asking the Republicans to vote their consciences.  He did not endorse Trump.

 

Also on that night Chris Christy, the governor of New Jersey, gave a speech that was a mock trial of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in which the entire Convention served as the jury and he was judge and prosecutor.  Naturally they voted her guilty on every count.

 

I found this approach interesting because Christie may well have brought about the Bridgegate Case in his own state where traffic on the George Washington Bridge was purposely slowed to a crawl and Christie was either directly or indirectly involved.  That case is still slowly winding its way through the New Jersey courts and Chris Christie could conceivably be criminally charged before it’s over.

 

The highpoint of the Convention was Donald Trump’s final speech where he formally accepted the Republican position of candidate for the presidency of the United States.  Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka, introduced her father.  Trump spoke for 75 minutes; one of the longest acceptance speeches ever given at a nominating convention.  He emphasized the crisis the country was facing by attacks on the police and terrorist assaults in our cities, stating that he was the “law and order” candidate.  He promised to limit U.S. participation in global crises and to renegotiate international trade deals.  He continually attacked President Obama and Hillary Clinton, stating that the world had become less safe during their time in office.

 

Going back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “forgotten man,” a term that Trump used, he offered, in addition, to support both Bernie Sanders’ supporters and those who were “down and out” by being their voice in Washington, D.C.

 

The speech had tones of the technique Hitler used in Germany in the 1930s.  It assumed powers for the leader that are not present in the Constitution.  Donald Trump presented an image of current gloom, saying that he was the agent of positive change while Clinton would continue, what he called, Obama’s failed presidency.

 

With the dropping of the red, white, and blue balloons the Republican Convention ended and Trump went on to campaign for the presidency.

 

As a sort of addendum or footnote on Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, it should be noted that in her introduction of her father while she spoke of him bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and other commendable things he will achieve as president she was wearing (or modeling) a dress which her company produced overseas in an Asian country like Vietnam where labor costs are very low compared to the United States.  I suppose one could argue that those jobs wouldn’t have to be brought back to America because they never existed there.  Therefore they could stay overseas.  Her company sells many millions of dollars’ worth of clothing every year.

 

It would seem that Donald Trump believes in projecting all his personal negative features onto his opponents.  He has had well over 2,500 lawsuits and out of court settlements so far in his lifetime, going from not paying taxes to New Jersey for his Taj Mahal Casino, where the state settled for seventeen cents on the dollar, after Chris Christie became governor, to not paying overtime to his employees, to not paying his bills or fully paying off his construction contracts, to innumerable other negative treatment of people, both employees and nonemployees.  The probability is that if he wasn’t rich and had a large number of lawyers working for him he could well be in jail instead of running for the presidency.  While he call Clinton “Crooked Hillary” she could easily call him “Disreputable Donald” or, since he seems to be a pathological liar, she could easily dub him as “Lying Donald.”

The Weiner Component #161 – Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Candidate for the Presidency in 2016

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Up until this point we have examined Donald J. Trump, the potential Republican Candidate.  It was hard, if not impossible, to find anything positive about him.  In fact the probability is that if he weren’t extremely wealthy, with a string of highly paid lawyers, he’d be in jail for his semi-legal and illegal actions.  Interestingly, everything he has accused Hillary Clinton of doing he has done or is doing.

 

It is now time to look at the perspective Democratic Candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  It is difficult to find anyone more hated by the Republicans, especially those in Congress, than Hillary Clinton.  This apparently goes back to when her husband, Bill Clinton was President of the United States.  When he first attained that position in 1993, Bill Clinton announced that the country was getting a bonus, his wife, Hillary, who would head up a task force to develop a plan for Universal Health Care for everyone in the United States.

 

The Republicans fought the plan presented by the Task Force like they were fighting a rapidly spreading disease.  There were all sort of dire predictions about what it would do to our society in a negative fashion if free universal health care came into existence.  Finally one of them came up with a simple slogan that defeated it: “There has to be a better way.”  Of course the better way was no plan at all.  It was successfully defeated by the Republicans and essentially forgotten by the general public.

 

1993 seemed to be the year the antagonism against Hillary Clinton began.  She was initially denounced that year and the antagonism has grown and continued through to the present, 2016, for 23 years.

 

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is an American politician.  She was the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.  From 2001 to 2009 she served as a U.S. Senator from New York.  She is the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and was First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1993 to 2001.  In 2008 she attempted to run for the presidency and lost in the primary elections to Barack Obama.  Since 2015 she has been the leading Democratic candidate for the Presidency.   In 2016 she is the presumptive Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States having achieved more than the required number of state delegates and caucus votes needed to become the Democratic candidate.  She will be nominated officially as the Democratic candidate in late July of 2016 at the National Democratic Convention.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in 1947 in the Chicago area.  She was raised as a Methodist.  Her parents were Republicans.  In 1964, as a teenager she volunteered to work for the Republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, in his bid for the presidency.  She graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in political science.  As a college student she supported Eugene McCarthy and Martin Luther King.  She had changed political parties and become more liberal.

 

Hillary Rodham got her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973.  She worked as a congressional legal aid for a short time, then moved to Arkansas to marry Bill Clinton in 1973.  She co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families in 1977 and became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978.  As First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1993, she led a task force that reformed the Arkansas public school system, mandating teacher testing and state standards for curriculum and classroom size.  She also became a full partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979.  In addition Hillary was on the board of directors of several large corporations, like Wal-Mart.

 

After her husband was elected to the Presidency of the United States, as First Lady, she led the Clinton health care plan in 1993, which never reached Congress.  She played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the adoptions and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act.  After Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton is regarded as the most empowered wife in American history.  Among the causes she has supported women’s rights has been one of her major ones.  She has stated in speeches around the world that women’s rights are human rights.

 

Hillary was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in 1996 regarding the Whitewater controversy.  Actually the Clintons had lost their late 1970s investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation.  First Lady Clinton was the subject of several investigations by the United States Office of the Independent Council, by committees of the U.S. Congress, and the press.  No charges were ever brought against her.

 

William Jefferson Clinton, shortly before he became president, said that in electing him the country would “get two for the price of one,” referring to the principle role his wife would play.  In August of that year, 1992, there was an article in the “American Spectator,” a conservative Republican publication, referring to “The Lady Macbeth of Little Rock.”  Hillary Clinton’s past ideological and ethical record came under attack at that time.  This seems to be the beginning of the long hate affair the Republicans have had with her.  At least twenty articles in major publications at that time compared her with Lady Macbeth.

 

It seems that since William Jefferson Clinton first ran for the Presidency of the United States leaders in the Republican Party have been out to get him.  And when that proved impossible they went after his wife.  The antagonism has lingered on since that point and Republican vehemence has increased over the years and is now focused upon the presumptive candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton.

 

In point of fact there were many investigation of Hillary Clinton over many of the things she did both before and after Bill Clinton became Governor as well as during his presidency and beyond.  In no case were charges ever brought against her.  It was a case of the Republicans continually fishing for something, anything under which they could possibly indite her.  In the end there was never any evidence that she had acted illegally.  It would seem that to the many Republicans involved in these investigations that had they been in the Clintons’ place they would have been totally dishonest.  They could not imagine Hillary not being like them, basically dishonest.

 

In addition her marriage to the president was subject to extreme stress during the Lewinsky scandal and the attempted impeachment of the president.  Initially she stated that the charges were the result of a “right-wing conspiracy.”  She characterized the Lewinsky charges as the latest in a long, organized, collaborative series of charges by Bill Clinton’s political enemies.  After the evidence of President Clinton’s encounter became incontrovertible, she issued a public statement confirming her commitment to their marriage.  But she was privately reported to be furious with him.

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While her husband was still President of the United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in 1998, announced his retirement from the U.S. Senate.  Hillary Clinton was urged to run for his seat.  The Clintons bought a home in Chappaqua, New York in 1999.  She became the first, First Lady to run for the Senate.

 

After eight years in office her husband left the presidency.  They moved to New York and Hillary Clinton was elected to the United States Senate.  After the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack upon the Twin Towers she voted for and supported military intervention in Afghanistan.  Also assuming that President George W. Bush was telling the truth she voted for and initially supported the Iraq Resolution.  Subsequently she objected to the Bush Administration’s conduct in the Iraq War and to most of Bush’s domestic policies.

 

She served on five Senate committees: Committee on Budget (2001-2002), Committee on Armed Services (2003-2009), Committee on Environment and Public Works (2001-2009), Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2001-2009), and Special Committee on Aging.  She was also a member of the Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe (2001-2009).

 

Following the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City Clinton helped obtain funding for the recovery efforts.  She was instrumental in obtaining $2.1 billion in funding.  She strongly supported U.S. military action in Afghanistan.  Her position was that it was a chance to combat terrorism and improve the lives of Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban government.  She worked stringently at her job as Senator.

 

In 2007 Hillary Clinton was reelected for a second term.  At this time she opposed Bush’s Iraq surge which passed along party lines.  She supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the financial crisis of 2007-2008, supporting a bailout of $700 billion for the financial institutions.

 

In 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton was also involved in her own Presidential Campaign.  On January 20, 2007   she announced on her website the formation of a presidential exploratory committee for the Election of 2008.  No woman had ever before been nominated for that position.  She came close but in the primary elections lost to Barack Obama, who became the presumptive nominee.

 

President-elect Obama offered Hillary Clinton the position of being his Secretary of State.  She was initially reluctant to accept the position but changed her mind.  On December 1, President-elect Obama formally announced that Hillary Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State.  Clinton stated that she did not want to leave the Senate, but that the new position represented a “difficult and exciting adventure.”  On January 21, 2009 she was confirmed in the full Senate by a vote of 94-2.  She became the first former First Lady to serve in the President’s Cabinet.

 

As First Lady she had visited 79 countries; as Secretary of State she visited well over 100.  Initially she contacted a number of world leaders and indicated that the United States would change direction.  She announced the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Developmental Review.  This established specific objectives for the State Department’s diplomatic missions abroad.  It was modeled after a similar process in the Defense Department that she was familiar with from her time in the Senate Armed Services Committee.  The plan also sought to institutionalize goals of empowering women throughout the world.

 

Clinton and Obama developed a good working relationship without any power struggles.  She was a team player and a defender of the administration.  Both Obama and Clinton approached foreign policy on a similar basis; the President trusted her actions and she totally supported him.

 

Secretary Clinton was among the group that argued for the raid into Pakistan to get bin Laden.  In a speech before the United Nations Human Rights Council she advocated for gay rights and legal protections of gays.  She also stated that the 21st Century would be “America’s Pacific century.”  This was part of the Obama’s administration pivot to Asia.

 

For the four years she served as Secretary of State Clinton was a very busy lady.  She viewed “smart power” as the strategy for asserting U.S. leadership and values.  By combining military hard power with diplomacy and U.S. soft power capacities in global economics, development aid, technology, creativity, and human rights advocacy the United States could lead other nations in maintaining peace and stability.

 

She greatly extended the State Department’s use of social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to get the message out and to help empower people.  In the Mideast turmoil, Clinton saw an opportunity to advance one of the central themes of the tenure, the empowerment and welfare of women and girls worldwide.  She viewed women’s rights as critical for U.S. security interests because it was a link between the level of violence against women and the gender inequality within the state, and instability to international security within that particular country.

 

Clinton visited 112 countries during her tenure, making her the most widely traveled Secretary of State in the history of the nation.  Time Magazine wrote: “Clinton’s endurance is legendary.”

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On September 11, 2012, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya was attacked resulting in the death of the ambassador and three other American officials.  The news of this incident originally was splotchy and several reports were issued before accurate information was released.  Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, took responsibility for what happened.  The Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives, blamed her for not anticipating the incident.  They have held approximately four separate hearing on the Benghazi attack, all focused upon the Secretary of State, all essentially fishing expeditions looking to find her guilty of something.  After the initial hearing the others have turned up nothing new.  The results of the last hearing, in which Hillary Clinton testified for eight consecutive hours, presented its non-results in June of 2016.  Nothing new came out even though its Republican chairman indicated in his report that it was an important investigation.  No doubt it was important to the Republicans because Hillary Clinton was campaigning in the Presidential Primaries at the time.

 

At the conclusion of the first Congressional investigation of Benghazi, on November of 2014, the House Intelligence Committee concluded in their report that there had been no wrongdoing in the administration’s response to the attack.  That did not stop at least three other House investigations of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi.

 

What I find fascinating is the fact that atrocities have occurred under many different Secretaries of State.  We even have one case where the country was misled under the leadership of President George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, over a needless war in Iraq where thousands of Americans have host their lives and billions of dollars were wasted.  There is also President Ronald Reagan’s illegal actions toward the end of his second term in the Iran-Contra Affair.  None of these have been investigated by any Standing Committee of Congress but millions have been spent trying to blame the Benghazi attack upon Hillary Clinton by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

 

What I find even more fascinating is the fact that prior to the attack the penny-pinching Republican dominated House of Representatives reduced funding for protection of embassies.  For some reason that fact has never been mentioned in any of the hearings.

 

What we have here is a prime example of “Get Hillary”; a prime example of using government funds to politically embarrass or possibly indite Hillary Clinton.  The Republican whip in the House, Kevin McCarthy, a close relative of Charley McCarthy, credited the Hearings as lowering Clinton’s pole ratings, meaning they were political moves.

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A controversy arose from March 2015, when it was revealed by the State Department’s inspector general that Clinton had used personal email accounts on a non-governmental maintained server, instead of email accounts maintained by the Federal government servers, when conducting official business during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Some officials, members of Congress, and other political opponents, contended that the use of private messaging, a private server, and the deletion of nearly 32,000 emails that she deemed private violated State Department protocols and procedures, and Federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping requirements.

 

According to Clinton nothing she sent out dealt with the categories of confidential or secret.  But nearly 2,100 emails were retroactively marked classified, 65 were later marked secret and more than 20 contained top secret information. James Comey, the FBI Director, had the FBI both investigate Clinton’s emails and reported to a standing committee in Congress.   He commented upon the number she sent that were confidential and stated that while she made a mistake there were no grounds upon which to indite her.  The Republican’s in the Committee were very unhappy; some seemed to be at the point of tears.  The Committee will hear from the Attorney General next.

The problem I have with this investigation is that the two prior Secretaries of State, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell both used private email servers as well as the official government server.  Why weren’t they also investigated?  Is it because they’re both Republicans and also not running for office?  Sometimes I wonder about the current Republican Investigating Standing Committees.  Do they do anything that isn’t for show?

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Much has been said about the Clinton Foundation as a nefarious entity that the Clinton’s own for their own uses.  The Clinton Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that was established by former President Bill Clinton in 2001 with the stated mission to “strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global independence.”  Currently it employs and houses at least 2,000 people at different areas of the world in order to do this.  Through 2016 the Foundation had raised two billion U.S. dollars from U.S. Corporations, foreign governments and corporations, political donors, and other groups and individuals.  The Foundation has received praise from philanthropic experts, has had support from both Democrats and Republicans, the Obama administration and the George W. Bush administration.

 

When Hillary Clinton left the State Department she, for the first time in thirty years, became a private citizen.  She and her daughter joined her husband in the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in 2013.  They backed causes on early childhood development and a $600 million initiative to encourage the enrollment of girls in secondary schools worldwide led by former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.  She also worked on a College Project with Bill and Melinda Gates to study data on the progress of women and girls around the world.  The Clinton’s Foundation has accepted donations from many sources and used the money for numerous causes that have helped enhance the position of women and others worldwide.

 

It should also be mentions that the Clinton, both Bill and Hillary, are paid substantially by assorted organizations to make oral presentations.  They have earned quite a bit of money in this fashion.

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On April 12, 2015, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the presidency of the United States.  She had a campaign organized, which included a large donor base, experienced operators, functioning political action committees, and infrastructure that could operate in all fifty states.

 

Her focus included raising middle class incomes, establishing universal preschool, initially making college more affordable and later advocating free education to youths from any family earning under $125,000 a year, and improving Affordable Health Care.

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It would seem that the 2016 choice for president is an extremely liberal Hillary Rodham Clinton or an erratic, blustering, essentially dishonest businessman who never kept his word in business, Donald J. Trump.  Trump has made impossible promises that could not even be fulfilled with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in both Houses of Congress.  Among other things, like a multibillion dollar wall between Mexico and the United States, Trump is promising economic nationalism in a world where most large corporation are multinational.  He would take the country back to the 1930s.  That period ended in World War II.

 

There is a cottage industry in the United States, books and articles demeaning Hillary Clinton.  The Republican Hate Clinton Stance has today grown into an industry.  It’s rather sad and too much, I suspect, to fight with endless lawsuits.

 

The question remains: Who would you better trust to be the next president of the United States?  Would it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

The Weiner Component #160 – Thoughts on the British Brexit

On Thursday, June 23, 2016 the British public voted on whether to stay in the European Union or not to remain in it, to Brexit – British exit from it.  The Prime Minister, David Cameron, wanted the vote to be a reaffirmation of his position within the European Union.  Instead a very small majority voted to exit the EU.  Cameron, the head of the Conservative Party, has resigned his position.

 

Interestingly the head of the Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is maintaining his position by a thread.  He is in no position to assume the leadership of the country.  And Nigel Farage, the leader of the far right UK Independence Party, who strongly supported Brexit has resigned from his political party, stating that he has achieved his goal with the Brexit vote, which is strange since the party only has one member elected in Parliament.

 

All this leaves Britain at this time, June and early July, essentially rudderless.  Nothing has happened yet politically.  The question is or questions are:  When will something happen?  And who will bring the happening about?  Currently both Britain and the EU are each waiting for the other group to start the process.

 

Economically there have been disastrous changes virtually overnight:  the Pound sterling and the Euro over night dropped significantly, raising the prices of just about everything from gasoline and food to all their imports and their stock markets have dropped significantly, to just begin to name changes.  The pound sterling has decreased 11% against the dollar and 9% against the euro which has also dropped in value.  Prices within the country have certainly risen.  The probability at the end of the first week of July is that an actual Brexit may not begin until 2017.

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The final vote was 17,410,742 to exit from the European Union and 16,141,241 to remain: 51.89% to leave and 48.11% to stay.  A difference of 1.89%.

 

Geographically the vote is a loud announcement of the inequality that exists within Great Britain.  London and the South East consist of the financial and government centers of the nation, the people living there are far more well-to-do than the rest of the nation.  The rest of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar generally speaking, are largely ignored by the wealthier regions.  What exists, and this is also true for a good part of the industrial world, is an ever increasing unequal distribution of the GDP or National Income.  Some people do financially better each year, while others, the majority, seem to do worse.  This is true even though the GDP increases every year.

 

Interestingly both Scotland and North Ireland voted to remain in the European Union.  The probability is that Scotland will again organize a referendum, she had one several years ago which failed, in order to separate from Britain and after it is passed, vote to stay in the European Union.  North Ireland is caught in a bind; it is split between those who want to join up with Eire and those who support the Sinn Fein and want to remain as part of Britain, actually between the Catholics and the Protestants.  We could again have religious wars there.

 

The part of Gibraltar that is part of England voted to stay with the European Union.  But Spain also claims that land which is currently part of Britain.  It will probably remain with Britain even though it voted to not exit from the EU.

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The European Union is a political-economic union currently of 28 member states that are located mainly in Europe.  It covers an area of 1,669,808 square miles and has a population of over 508 million people, that’s roughly 150 million more people than currently live in the United States.  The EU has developed a single internal market through a standard system of laws.  Their policies ensure free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within their area.  All the states enact their own legislation but maintain a single market through common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.  Passports within the EU have been abolished.  There is a common currency, the euro, within nineteen of the member states.

 

The European Union operates through a system of super national and intergovernmental bodies.  The seven principle decision-making bodies are the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the Court of European Auditors.

 

The Union developed gradually from 1951 on.  It went through a number of stages in its development and is still dynamic, moving toward a United States of Europe.  The current EU came into existence in 1992.  It covers 7.3% of the world’s population and in 2014 generated a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 18,495 trillion U.S. dollars.

 

Its members are alphabetically: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

 

A number of different languages are spoken within these countries but they do far better economically as a single unit than they did as individual nations.  Each member retains full sovereignty as an individual nation within the whole.  This can create problems but they all benefit from being interdependent.

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This British referendum brings to the foreground a number of issues that existed but were not as obvious before.  The modern 21st Century Capitalistic System that has developed from the prior century is not working for the majority of the people in Britain or for that matter, in most of the industrial nations.  The rich are continually getting richer and every year, even though the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increases, a smaller percentage of it is left for the poorer majority of the population.  Too many people are struggling to just survive.  They are looking for potential leaders who will promise them a better tomorrow, like Donald Trump in the United States who is very free with promises.  In Governments in countries like France and Austria their present governments have moved to the far right.

 

What we see is the masses objecting to having been taken for granted for the last twenty years or so.  What we see is, rather than have the governments take on the problems and work toward solutions, the state governments and the well-to-do have ignored the situation and the general populations, angry and frustrated, have looked for people who will lead them out of their mainly economic dilemmas.  The leaders, who have arisen generally come from the far right, from the intolerant political parties.

 

In addition Civil wars and terrorism in the Middle East have driven out large segments of the population of such countries as Syria.  There is a fear that these immigrants are taking away jobs from many of the citizens of the EU countries.  This seems to be the spark that started the Brexit Movement in Britain.

 

Did, the Brits who objected to the status-quo by voting separation with Europe, realize the forces they were unleashing?  Probably not.  Did they object to the status-quo?  Very definitely.

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In the first two days after Brexit was passed in England by a 1.8% majority the DOW in the United States dropped 900 points.  A point represents an average of one dollar of the 30 stocks that make up the DOW.  The stock market, as has been stated, also dropped significantly in Great Britain and the rest of Europe.  In Asian countries there was also a large decrease.  The pound sterling and the Euro also dropped significantly in value.  After two days and nothing specific happening the markets tended to go up again and gradually the value of the euro and the pound also increased.

 

Nothing specific happened.  Each side called upon the other to begin the process of separation.  Presumably the process of separation will begin with Britain’s invocation of Article 50 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty.  Up until Monday, July 11, 2016, there was no one in the British government who could say when or if that would happen, mainly because there was no functioning government.  On Monday, of the above date, there was news that a new leader of the Conservative Party will become Prime Minister on Wednesday, July 13th.

 

This person, Theresa May, the former Home Secretary, has stated that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be applied and the process begun at the end of that week or the next one.  Cameron will leave office on Wednesday, July 15 and a new government will begin functioning.  In point of fact Britain will have a government at this point.  The British Government will have reorganized and the new Prime Minister will have emerged and begin the process of separation.

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If we wonder what will happen, there are numerous possibilities.  The one I like best goes back to the historical period just before the Constitution was adapted in the early United States.  After the 13 colonies defeated Great Britain in the last quarter of the 18th Century and they became 13 separate states they incorporated under the Articles of Confederation and set up their new government.  The problem here was that no state gave up any of its sovereignty and the Congress could pass laws but there was no way to enforce them if any state or states wanted to disregard them.  This is similar to the EU today.  Consequently, even though each state was represented, the Central Government had very little actual power.  This was remedied by the Constitution of the United States which was mainly written by members of the upper class and made the central government paramount.  This government existed until 1861 when the Union was finally torn apart over the issue of slavery.  The Union was brought together again in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.  The principle promulgated then was that the Union was indissolvable or irrevocable and ultimate power rested with the national government.

 

Obviously Britain isn’t going to go to war in order to separate from the European Union.  But it does have a central government and if the remaining 27 member states were to give up a certain amount of their nationalistic feeling and think of themselves as a part of a single whole existing for the common good then they would all be better off.  Twenty-seven distinct states will always have some disagreements.

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Another distinct possibility is that when a new government is formed in Britain, then the new government can hold another referendum; they can always argue that the first vote didn’t count because they, the new government, didn’t hold it.

 

I am again reminded of an incident in early U.S. history.  After the Constitution was written it had to be approved by nine of the thirteen states before it came into legal existence.  Of the states that had to pass it New York was primary because it separated the new states into two separate halves, northern and southern, being then in the middle of the 12 other states.  A number of states had passed the Constitution and then it was New York’s turn to vote.  The initial vote was a rejection of the Constitution.  After promising to add a Bill of Rights and a very active campaign to get it passed, a second referendum was held in New York.  It passed.  Later James Madison would write twelve amendments to the Constitution.  Of these ten were ratified by nine or more states and became the first ten Amendments to the Constitution.  They were and still are called The Bill of Rights.

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Technically the referendum was only advisory, and Parliament, which is heavily pro EU, still has the last word whether or not to leave the Union.  During the election there was a great deal of misinformation, distortion and false promises made.  Most of this was revealed in the immediate aftermath of the vote.

 

On Thursday, July 7, 2016, 330 Conservative members of Parliament voted to choose a new Prime Minister.  David Cameron, the former Prime Minister abstained; his was the only Conservative abstention.    The top winners in this Parliamentary vote were two female officials in the Conservative Party.

 

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, with 199 votes and Andrea Leadsom, the Energy Minister, got 84 Conservative ballots cast in her favor.  May campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU and Leadsom wanted to leave it.  Five Conservative members of Parliament had originally put their names in the running to succeed David Cameron.

 

One of the three losers, who had far less than 84 votes, commented that “Whoever the next prime minister of this country will be it will be a female prime minister and a female prime minister who has formidable skills.”

 

Ordinarily the Prime Minister is chosen by the majority party in Parliament.  He/she is their leader and becomes Prime Minister.  But in this case we have the issue of Brexit.  Britain does not do referendums.  David Cameron did one to reaffirm his leadership as Prime Minister.  He guessed wrong and resigned after the country repudiated his leadership.

 

The British were not about to hold a general election.  Instead they would hold an election by Conservatives only within the United Kingdom.  Those registered as Conservatives only would vote by mail.  A vote for May will be a vote to remain in the EU and a vote for Leadsom will be a vote to Brexit.

 

It was an interesting and unique approach to the problem.  It had never been done before.  And keep in mind that British history goes back to Roman times, about 2,000 years.

 

What has happen is that on Monday, July 11th Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest, thus destroying the idea that the British Conservatives  would resolve the issue.  Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will be the new Prime Minister. She has stated that she will bring the country together again and also grapple with the immigration issue.  Even though she opposed Brexit in the election she will now enforce it.   And perhaps it is time to deal with the economic issues, the totally unequal distribution of the GDP.

 

Will this solve the problem that now exists in Great Britain?  The probability is high that it may; but only for a time.  And should Britain actually leave the European Union on the basis of 1.8% of its popular vote?

 

Perhaps the government will deal with the problem that brought about the plebiscite vote, the totally unequal distribution of the national income, the GDP.  A simple solution, which was first suggested by a Member of Parliament in the 1940s, was the Negative Income Tax.

 

The major difficulty in solving this problem is that money is still thought of in historic terms, as something of value.  Money today is paper printed by the National Government.  It has no real value except within the country that prints and uses it.  Money is an instrument of exchange; it provides goods and services for the person using it.  The transfer of money allows productivity to occur within the nation.  Its distribution allows for maximum employment and the maximu m distribution of goods and services.  Full production also enables the maximum collection of taxes.

 

The use of a Negative Income Tax would be a simple solution to the problem.  It would not ensure massive tax changes.  The government could print money as needed.  The gage for this would be the inflation rate.  If it began to rise rapidly the government easily reduce and reverse this operation.  This was done in the United States by the Federal Reserve in the early teens of the 21st Century, under Chairman Ben Bernanke with positive effects in terms of reducing unemployment and increasing tax collection with no negative effects to the economy.

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I suspect the basic immediate issue facing the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, is how to enforce Brexit without really enforcing Brexit.  All the advantages of belonging to the EU will have to be done by treaty agreements after Britain leaves the EU.   Whatever happens, it should be interesting.  The changes could start any day now after Britain enforces Article 50 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty.

English: (Green) the United Kingdom. (Light-gr...

English: (Green) the United Kingdom. (Light-green) The European Union (EU). (Grey) Europe. (Light-grey) The surrounding region. See also: Category:SVG locator maps of countries of Europe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Weiner Component #159 – The United States & American Samoa

U.S. Supreme Court, 1998.

American Samoa is a group of islands located in the South Pacific, of which Tutuila is

American Samoa highway marker

the largest island.  It accounts for 2/3 of the land.  The total area of all the islands is about 77 square miles.  Its population is about 600,000 people.  Pago Pago is its capital, located at Tutuila.  The islands are largely surrounded by coral reefs.  The weather is mild most of the year and the islands mostly have beautiful beaches.  Interestingly for a family it is a phenomenal relatively inexpensive vacation area, far less costly than Hawaii.

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In the late 19th Century, once the United States had settled all the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, many of the people tended to look over the Pacific Ocean for more areas to settle.  They were still operating under the concept of Manifest Destiny or to states it undramatically, nationalist imperialism.  Earlier Mexico, to the South of Texas, was saved from being incorporated into the United States after the Mexican American War in 1846 to 1848 by the fact that its possession would have opened new lands to slavery.  The Northern States did not want this.  The Spanish American War that America entered in 1898 and which lasted ten weeks, was fought over the fact of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor.  President Teddy Roosevelt later called it a splendid little War.

 

Toward the end of the 19th Century the people within the United States had been concerned about “our little Brown brothers in Cuba,” who were in revolt against Spain and when the American naval vessel, the U.S.S. Maine, was blown up, accidentally or otherwise, it became grounds for war.  As a result the United States ended up with “colonies” or overseas possessions.  Some of these we still hold today.

 

The Treaty of Paris (April 11, 1899), which ended the Spanish American War granted the United States the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam.  Cuba remained under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Military Government until its independence on May 20, 1902.  There was a debate on how to govern these new territories as nothing was said about a colonies situation in the Constitution.

 

In addition to war with the people of the Philippines, who initially thought we were helping them get their independence from Spain, and a potential civil war in Cuba, the relationship of the U.S. toward the remaining people in the conquered territory was worked out through a series of court cases called, at the time, the Insular Cases.  They are a series of opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1901, about the status of U.S. territories acquired in the Spanish-American War.  The Supreme Court held that full Constitutional rights did not automatically extend to all places under American control.  This meant that inhabitants of unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico, even if they are U.S. citizens, may lack some constitutional rights.  The Court also established the doctrine of territorial incorporation, under which the Constitution applied fully only in incorporated territories such as Alaska and Hawaii, whereas it applied only partially in the newly unincorporated Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

 

The term insular signifies that the territories were islands administered by the War Department’s Bureau of Insular Affairs.  The cases were the Court’s response to a major issue of the 1900 Presidential Election and to the American Anti-Imperialist League, which was prominent at that time.

 

The Jones Act of 1917 made Puerto Ricans United States citizens.  Puerto Rico remains a commonwealth controlled by the U.S.

 

This leaves American Samoa.  Then as now the Samoans have no automatic claim to U.S. citizenship by birth despite being born in and living for their entire life-span in a U.S. territory.  This position was reaffirmed Monday, June 13, 2016 by the current Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation, declined to reconsider a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court that the Constitution does not confer citizenship on people born in America Samoa.   The Supreme Court effectively preserved the appellate court’s decision in the case as the last word.  They are preserving a position that was taken at the turn of the 20th Century during the very short colonizing phase of American history when we felt we wanted to help our “little Brown brothers” who were not quite capable of ruling themselves.

 

The United States, unlike the European nations, came into the colonizing cycle toward the end of its existence.  It had been busy settling its own continent while the European nations took up what they called “The White Man’s Burden;” a poor excuse for attempting to colonize a good part of the world.

 

In the present case, an American Samoan, Leneuoti Fla Fla Tuaua, had petitioned U.S. courts for citizenship claiming that the Constitution confers citizenship at birth in the United States.  American Samoa has been a U.S. territory since 1900, 116 years.

 

They argued that those born in all the other U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas, all got citizenship by birth. But that was determined by statute in Congress; no such statute exists for American Samoa.

 

Mr. Tuaua was opposed in his attempt to attain United States citizenship by the American Samoan government, which argued that recognizing a right to citizenship at birth could complicate their legal structure in the territory.

 

The appeals court, in a unanimous ruling agreed with the American Samoan government, stating that the resident population was to continue avoiding U.S. citizenship.  This opinion from a conservative panel of justices drew heavy criticism for drawing from a set of cases that were both controversial and outdated since the Insular Cases decision were made at the turn of the 20th Century, over 100 years ago and had been voided in the case of every other territory held by the United States.

 

The cases have drawn criticism for being racially tinged and for continued vestiges of colonialism.  One of the D.C. Circuit Court Judges, Janice Rogers Brown wrote that in her opinion under the Insular Cases distinction, birthright citizenship is not a “fundamental” right owed to the “unincorporated” territories.

 

She wrote in her decision that “Citizenship is not the sum of its benefits.  It is no less that the adoption or ascription of an identity, that of ‘citizen’ to a particular sovereign state, and a ratification of those mores necessary and intrinsic to association as a full functioning component of the sovereignty.  At base appellants ask that we forcibly impose a compact of citizenship … on a distinct and unincorporated territory of people in the absence of evidence that a majority of the territory’s inhabitants endorse such a tie and where the territory’s democratically elected representatives actively oppose such a compact.”

 

The statement is fraught with words that seem to be almost meaningless.  Most of us living in some part of the United States at birth are automatically citizens.  We are never really given a choice.  This is today also true for all the other unincorporated territories.  In the case of the Samoans they are automatically not citizens and they’re never really given a choice either.

 

The Judge could have argued that in all the other insular territories, belonging to the United States, it required a statute, a law, to make all the people born in the territory citizens of the U.S. and that it is not a function of the Courts, especially since this is what happened in all the other insular territories.  Consequently she could have recommended a referendum.

 

The question arises: Why did the current government of American Samoa oppose general citizenship?  From 1956 on the islands were turned over to the Department of the Interior.  The Navy gave them up in 1951. In 1967 the people of American Samoa adopted their own Constitution and held their first Constitutional Elections in 1977.

 

Obviously unlike the citizens of other U.S. territories American Samoans are U.S. nationals.  Neither citizens nor U.S. nationals in unincorporated area vote in Federal elections or pay Federal taxes.  American Samoans came under Federal minimum wage rules in 2007.  They control their own immigration and border policies.  They elect their own governor and legislature which consists of two houses: a House of Representatives and a Senate.  Their laws of property or land ownership is closer to tribal origins than to free enterprise in that Samoans equally own the land.

 

The probability is that U.S citizenship will bring about a major reorganization of some of their major values and their government doesn’t want to go through the bother.  They have since the 1970s gone through major changes in their society.  The Samoan as a U.S. national, if the military draft were to come back, could not be drafted into the military.  He also, like American citizens in other territories, does not vote in Federal elections.  Is this and will it continue to be a valid reason to avoid U.S. citizenship?  A good question.

 

Another consideration of this problem is that the Samoans as U.S. nationals are free to move anywhere in the United States.  If for any reason they leave American Samoa and come to the continental U.S. and have children there then are those children U.S. Citizens?  I would imagine the answer is yes.  The parents are nationals but the children are citizens.  How do you tell one from another when the children achieve adulthood?  And what is the status of these children if they go to American Samoa?

 

I think we had a similar problem with Japanese migrating to this country during the late 19th Century on.  The parents could not become citizens or buy land but their children, born in this country, were U.S. citizens could do all this.  It was a mess, an unfair mess.

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The lack of citizenship to the people of American Samoa means that they cannot vote or hold public office anywhere outside of American Samoa.  In essence they are legally a second-class group within the United States.  They are certainly free to move anywhere they wish within the United States.  And if they come to California or any other state within the country they will probably be able to illegally vote and get a government job.  I can’t remember ever being asked if I was a citizen of the U.S.  But then I’m not Samoan.  I suspect they can even get passports if they wish to travel.

 

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.  On Monday, June 13, 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  Acting without comment, except to say that they had rejected over 100 cases similarly, the Justices refused to review the U.S. Appeals Court ruling that essentially said that it is up to Congress, not the courts, to change the legal status of American Samoa.

 

A civil rights lawyer, Neil Weare, who is also president of the We the People Project, that sponsored the lawsuit, stated, “We’re obviously very disappointed.  This means there will be many Samoans living in California, including veterans, who will not be able to vote in November.”

 

The lawsuit originally brought by five Samoan plaintiffs cited the 14th Amendment, which declares that all people “born or naturalized in the United States” shall be American citizens.

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The results of that appeal were interesting.  The Supreme Court is currently split between four conservative Justices and four liberal Justices.  One Justice, Antonin Scalia, died at the age of 79 on February 13, 2016, leaving the Court split equally.  The Senate, since this is President Barack Obama’s last year in office has refused to consider giving “advice and consent” to any candidate he would appoint, assuming that he would appoint a liberal justice.  In fact they have not nor will they hold any hearings for an appointment to the Supreme Court until after the next President is sworn in, in 2017.  Currently where the Court has a split decision, in most if not all instances, the case is thrown back to the prior lower court.  This apparently is what happened here.

 

Will the Ninth Justice who is to be appointed approximately a year after the death of the former ninth justice be a liberal or a conservative?  It would seem that if the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, gets elected to the presidency and a similar case comes before the Supreme Court then a liberal majority of five Justices will endow American Samoa with automatic U.S. citizenship.  If, on the other hand, the conservative candidate, Donald J. Trump, were to get elected then a conservative majority on the Court would again send the case back to the Appellate Court.

 

It would seem that the Republicans are still espousing “the White Man’s Burden” in a society where the whites are no longer the overwhelming majority.

 

Somehow I have an image of Hillary Clinton appointing Barack Obama as the ninth Justice on the Supreme Court.  That would really frost the Republican dominated Senate for not doing its Constitutional job in 2016.

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #158 Part 2 – The Presumptive Republican Candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election: Donald J. Trump

Trump International Hotel and Tower

Trump International Hotel and Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in...

Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential candidate is in the opinion of many Republicans totally bad news.  He doesn’t act like a potential president and they fear his candidacy will do irrevocable damage to the Republican Party in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election and possibly even beyond that into future state and national elections in the future.

 

From examining his history as a businessman and entrepreneur with Trump University and beyond to his specific business practices we get a strong image of him as a flimflam man totally without principles, willing to take advantage of anyone and everyone for his own benefit.  It doesn’t matter if the individual is well-to-do or barely surviving; Trump doesn’t differentiate, he will cheat anyone.

 

In Part 2 of this article we continue the process and view him as a candidate for the presidency of the United States.

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Trump, in his presidential run, constantly boasts about bringing jobs back to America.  “Non matter who you are, we’re going to protect your job . . . because, let me tell you, our jobs are being stripped from our country like we’re babies.”

 

But the lawsuits against him tell a different story.  In 2007 dishwasher Guy Dorcinvil filed a federal lawsuit against Trump’s Mar-A-Lag Club resort in Palm Beach, Florida, alleging the club failed to pay time-and-a-half for overtime he had worked over three years and that the company failed to keep proper time records for employees.  Mar-A-Lago LLC agreed to pay Dorcinvil $7,500 to settle the case in 2008.  The terms of the settlement included a standard statement that the company did not admit fault and forbad Dorcinvil or his lawyers from talking about the case.  The question here is: What about the others who worked at the Mar-A-Lago Club or other similar Trump facilities and, for one reason or another, did not sue him?

 

Real Estate broker Rana Williams, who had sold hundreds of millions of dollars in Manhattan property for Trump International Reality over more than 20 years with the company, sued in 2013 alleging Trump shorted her$735,212 in commissions she had brokered from 2009 to 2012.  Trump and Williams settled their case in 2015.  The terms of the deal were confidential, as in the case in dozens of other settlements between Companies and assorted plaintiffs.  This was one of many instances where commissions would not be paid to members of Trump’s staff.

 

In all we know that Trump has been involved in well over 3,500 lawsuits so far during his business career.  We don’t know the number in which he sued or was the plaintiff.  What I find fascinating is the fact that even some of Trump’s attorneys, on occasion, sued him over claims of unpaid bills.  He certainly didn’t discriminate over who he cheated.

 

There are today still a large number of lawsuits, a multitude of judgments, liens and other filings from a wide array of Trump employees and businesses who are still waiting to be paid for their work.  Trump has made a habit of stiffing not only his employees but also small businesses and suppliers over the years and then simply financially exhausting them in court or wailing until they go bankrupt and cease to exist as companies.

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Trump uses and abuses people, especially many of those who work for him.  People will, in turn, object to this abuse and there are lawsuits and among his many assorted enterprises, labor disputes and strikes.

 

In Las Vegas there is a Trump International Hotel whose workers: housekeepers, cooks, waiter, etc. are picketing the structure in 2016.  They was to belong to a union.  Most such facilities in Las Vegas are unionized.  The difference between Trump’s hotel and a unionized one is that Trump pays $9,11 an hour while a union facility like Mandalay Bay pays $13.81 an hour.  Union workers have medical coverage and retirement benefits.  Trump’s hotel has no benefits, not even a lunch or dinner hour; his employees have to clock out for the half hour they eat their lunches or dinners and then clock in again.

 

Trump employs 520 service workers at the Trump Tower; they have voted to unionize.  The Hotel Company challenged the vote before the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that the union coerced workers, Trump lost.  The company is appealing the decision.  If they lose again the company is legally obligated to negotiate a contract.  But if the employers are hostel they have legal routes that can keep the union from negotiating with them for years.

 

In White Plains, New York, Trump Tower workers: doormen, porters, maintenance, and concierge workers are on strike.  As of the end of May 2016 they haven’t had a contract in six months.  Their overtime is currently being contracted out to non-union labor.  Toward the end of May the National Labor Relations Board filed charges against Trump Tower claiming that management has been filming union workers on picket lines.

 

At the Trump Hotel in Toronto, Canada, about 100 women, mostly middle-aged mothers from the Philippines, recently won union certification at the Trump luxury hotel and will soon negotiate their first contract.  The bargaining unit will include representatives of all the workers at the hotel whose jobs have not been contracted our: doormen, bellmen, the front desk, housekeeping and maintenance engineers.

 

In 2003, when the Tower was built, the city council sought and obtained a signed agreement that the Trump Hotel would automatically allow union certification if a majority of workers in a bargaining unit signed union cards.  The later management claimed that they had nothing to do with this agreement and were not bound to honor it.  After a hectic period of denial the hotel has been forced to honor the agreement.  Negotiations will begin in June and July of 2016.

 

This pattern is apparently the standard behavior within all Trump facilities.  Trump tends to exploit and discard people freely.  He treats them as second class citizens and inferiors.  Everyone exists to be freely used by him.  Isn’t that what his successful television series was about, denigrating people and presumably firing them?  Where can he better practice that than with people who are employed by him?

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There currently seems to be a plot among many conservative media figures and others among the Republican Party to dump Trump at the GOP convention.  Many Republican leaders are not attending the convention.  What will happen with a growing Dump Trump Movement?  Trump is lashing back, saying he is campaigning against both Democrats and Republicans.  It should be interesting!

 

In May if2016, according to the polls, Trump had a 55% dislike ratio among the general public.  By the middle of June he had raised the level to 70%.  He is currently the least liked person in the entire history of the United States running for the presidency.  The man is an uncontrollable verbal canon; he doesn’t seem to have any self-control.  Besides being disliked by many in the Party the fear is that he will bring sown may other Republicans in a general election, some who have been in Congress for years, while running of the same ticket many people could lose the election by being associated with Trump.  The entire House of Representatives, which currently has a Republican majority, will be running for reelection in November of 2016.  On third of the Senate, mostly Republicans, will be running for reelection also in 2016.  They also have a slight Republican majority.  Conceivably the Republicans can lose both Houses of Congress and the presidency with Donald J. Trump heading their election ticket.

 

Can they dump him?  Presumably the answer rests with the Rules Committee and what they decide the week before the Convention meets.  Do they have the guts to dump him?  If they don’t dump Trump and he brings down the Party in Washington, D,C, will it be their fault?

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Another factor about Donald Trump is the fact that in his presidential campaign, beginning with the debates among the prospective Republican candidates, when he stated he was really rich and self-funding his campaign so he wouldn’t be beholden to anyone, he charged as many expenses as possible to his varied enterprises.  These he could pay back if he became the prospective candidate.  He owes himself about 1/2 million dollars for the use of the Trump jet.  When possible he has stayed at Trump facilities and for each stat he owes an extensive bill.

 

Basically Trump is shifting large amounts of money back to himself in his process of running for the presidency.  According to documents which he had to submit to the Federal Election Commission, Trump, whose campaign presently had $1.3 in cash paid at least $1.1 million to his businesses and family members in May for expenses associated with election events and travel costs.  He has and is currently soliciting contributions and according to his early definition becoming beholden to wealthy contributors.

 

The presumptive Republi9can candidate is required by law to account for his spending to prevent his companies from making illegal donations to his campaign.  In 2015 he spent about $2.7 million to at least seven companies Mr. Trump owns or to people who work for him, repaying them for services provided to his campaign.

 

In May of 2016, Trump’s use of the Mar-a-Lago Club, his Florida resort was paid $423,000.  The campaign paid 350,000 to Tag Air for his private airplanes, $125,000 to Trump Restaurants, and more than $70,000 to Trump Tower, his Manhattan skyscraper that houses his campaign headquarters.  In addition his family profited from the campaign.  His son Eric’s Virginia wine business took in $1,300.

 

Also Trump, who has said he will not take a salary if he is elected president, in May paid himself $3,085.  One can easily say that as a prospective candidate for the Republican Party he will make a profit whether he wins or loses the campaign.  He is probably the first candidate in the history of the United States who will have done this.

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Interestingly while he was in Scotland recently opening his golf club there a British newspaper man asked him if he would allow Muslims from Great Britain to come to the United States.  He had recently stated and restated numerous times that he wanted the U.S. temporarily closed to all Muslims because too many of them secretly belonged to ISIS.  Trump quickly stated that he had no problem with that.  The next day one of his aids clarified the issue by explaining that Trump only wanted to temporarily stop Muslims from terrorist countries like Syria, Iraq, and Iran from coming to the United States.  This was a very quick change in attitude.  Could Trump’s other hard-core statements like building a wall between the United States and Mexico and having Mexico pay for it or bringing the manufacturing jobs back to the United States be as flippant as his original Muslim statement?

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As far as the general public is concerned the questions are: Do they really believe Donald Trump?  Is this the man they want to represent the United States for the next four years?  Can he carry out his so-called promises or has he just told the public what they wanted to hear?

 

Of course another issue is: if he were elected President could he carry out his promises?  Congress makes the laws.  The President carries them out.  I doubt that even a Republican elected House of Representatives and Senate would give him what he wants.  And the ultimate question for the general public is: Do they want to go back to economic nationalism which existed from the period of the Great Depression to the outbreak of World War II.

 

From looking at what has come out about his life Trump is certainly not an honorable man.  He is instead a cheat and a liar.  In fact Donald Trump is a sad example of what a human being is supposed to be.  He uses the Courts, which are supposed to protect people, as a weapon against his fellow creatures. Is this the man we want as President of the United States?  Is this the man who will continue to make America great?