The Weiner Component #172 – Part 1: Notes on President-Elect Donald J. Trump

The question that arose at the end of November 2016 was whether Donald Trump was/is more interested in being President of the United States or remaining in charge of his Business Empire?  At present he seems to want to do both.  The problem that emerges here is that doing both means he is completely subjected to conflicts of interest, where as President he is encouraging foreign visitors to use his property facilities such as his new Washington, D.C. hotel which he recently opened.  Trumps attitude seems to be for everyone to trust him, he will keep the two entities separate, even though he does not reveal the extent of his Business Empire. 

 

Trump likes to keep secrets.  He is the only President in recent history who has not released his income taxes.  He has also not released any information on the extent of his property holdings, either within the United States or internationally.  We also have no idea of the ties he has with Russia, China, India, or for that matter, with any other nation.

 

Is this reasonable?  While the President and the Judges of the Supreme Court are exempt from self-interest still conflicts in the two could affect President Trump’s responsibility to the United States.  If he intentionally makes a profit in his real estate empire from acts he performs as President then he is abrogating his role as President of the United States and acting unconstitutionally.  For this type of act he can be impeached.  What exactly will Donald Trump do, if anything, to alleviate his conflicts of interest?  Does he care about them?

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

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Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Council will participate in a recount of the votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.  Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign’s general council wrote in a post on Medium on Saturday, November 26, 2016, that the Clinton team has been conducting an extensive review of election results.

 

“While the effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results”, stated Elias, “now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation, to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, to participate in the ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.”

 

The Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, has to date raised 5 ½ million dollars for a recount in Wisconsin; where she filed for one on Friday morning, November 25, and has pledged to do the same in Pennsylvania and Michigan.  These are states where President-Elect Trump won or is leading by a small margin.

 

New York magazine reported that a group of activists and computer scientists have implored the Clinton campaign in a conference call on the week of November 20th to call for a recount in the three states.

 

Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has 20, and Michigan has 16 electoral votes.  Since each of these states is a winner take all state the total is 46 electoral votes.  In each of these states Clinton did better than Trump in the urban centers where the voting machines were mechanical.  In the rural areas the voting machines were electronic and hooked into the internet.  There Trump did better and presumably won all three states.

 

It is in the rural areas with the electronic voting machines that the computer experts tend to believe there may have been interference and possible hacking of the information.  It could have been changed.  This is where they specifically want a recount which could change the course of the election. 

 

If Clinton actually won these three states it would change the Electoral College vote from 290 for Trump to 244 and Clinton’s 232 Electoral votes would become 278, making her the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election.  It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the election.  Trump has called the recount a scam.  He has stated that the Election is over and that he has won.  Some of his supporters are suing to avoid a recount.

 

What will happen is if a recount gives those three states to Clinton there is absolutely no precedent for this kind of event?  To quote former President, Harry S. Truman, “The manure will hit the fan.”  Hillary Clinton did receive well over two ½ million more votes than Trump.  It is a distinct possibility that it could happen.  The objective noises and denunciations will be heard from one end of this continent to the other.  Will there be acts of violence?  There’s no telling.  Will Trump and the nation get over the shock?  Eventually.

                    

What is the probability of this happening?  It is probably well under 50%.  Actually a happening of this dimension would resolve a lot of problems.  All of Trumps behavioral choices would suddenly go away and he would just be facing his lawsuit with New York State and the investigation of his improper use of his Foundation.  He has settled his three class action law suits over Trump University for a payment of 25 million dollars.  This type of resolution would end the possibilities of endless conflicts of interest.  The country will undergo immediate agony but it will be saved from long term pain over the next four years.

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If we go back to the probability that Trump will remain President-Elect then we should consider two more of his appointments, both women.  As his Ambassador to the United Nations Trump has chosen Nikki Haley, the popular governor of South Carolina.

 

Her parents migrated from India.  Her father teaching first at a university in Canada and later at one in South Carolina.  Her family was Sikh.  When she married she went through two ceremonies, one Sikh and one Methodist.  Today she claims to be a Christian Methodist.

 

Currently she is in her second term as governor of South Carolina.  Governor Nikki Haley received national coverage over the issue of the Southern battle flag at the state capital.  She stated that the flag should represent all the people, not just one group within South Carolina.  It could fly in other areas but not on the state capitol grounds.  Nikki Haley signed a bill removing it from the capital grounds.

 

Obviously she is a very bright lady and is a popular and likeable governor and was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term.  She was even considered as a Vice-Presidential candidate.  Now Trump has chosen her as his Ambassador to the United Nations.  The one comment that can be made here is that she has no experience dealing with foreign nations nor any specialized knowledge of them.  Whether or not this will be a handicap is not known at this point.  After all she is an inordinately bright lady and will have a highly competent support staff at the United Nations.

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Trump’s second female choice is mega-donor billionaire Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.  DeVos has never experienced anything to do with Public Education.  She is an ardent supporter of school vouchers and charter schools. 

 

Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick, have been compared to the Koch brothers for their involvement in Republican politics.  They are a Michigan family that has spent at least $200 million on conservative causes.  They have probably been the major donor in 2015 in support of Republican candidates. 

 

Her father-in-law, Richard DeVos, co-founded Amway.  Virtually everyone in the family is a billionaire.  A free market think tank that they operate is run out of the Amway headquarters.  Dick DeVos spent $35.4 million in 2006 running unsuccessfully for Michigan governor.

 

Betsy DeVos currently runs a political action committee along with her husband.  “I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party,” she wrote in 1997.  “I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence.  Now I concede the point.”

 

Much of DeVos’ political activity has been focused on the expansion of charter schools and school vouchers, putting her in line with Trump’s campaign proposal to shift $20 billion in federal education funding into state school block grants to enroll children in charter and private schools.

 

In the year 2000 the DeVos family funded a failed Michigan ballot initiative that would have required that students enrolled in failing public school districts be offered vouchers for private school tuition.  Even though the measure was soundly defeated by the voters, the DeVos’ spent more on the issue and formed a political action committee to support pro-voucher candidates nationwide.  They also operate philanthropic organizations known for giving to entities aligned with the charter school movement.  This includes faith-based schools and conservative think tanks.  They also oppose gay rights and abortion.

 

Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos has been very popular among the GOP establishment.  Republicans largely support the issue of school choice.  Former Florida governor and potential presidential candidate Jed bush called DeVos “an outstanding pick for Secretary of Education.”

 

On the other side of the political spectrum the National Education Association President, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, has stated that DeVos’ “efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students.  She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers, which take away funding and local control from our public schools, to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense.  These schemes do nothing to help our most vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps.  She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”

 

Randi Weingarten, the president of American Federation of Teachers, said that DeVos was “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee” for Education Secretary since the cabinet-level position was created.  “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”

 

Public education in the United States, with one or two exceptions, is controlled locally by the School District and partly state-wise by the State Legislatures.  The Federal Government can offer recommendations and additional funds, usually for special programs.  The states are not required to accept the Federal recommendations.

 

This would be the limit of Betsy DeVos’ power as the Secretary of Education.  Obviously she will do well in Republican controlled states and poorly in those run by Democratic legislatures, in terms of her education philosophy.  

 

This brings up the “due process” clause in the Constitution.  Can the Federal Education Department favor one group of states financially and ignore the rest of them?  This question will have to be decided by the Supreme Court.

 

There is also another important issue.  There is largely a fixed amount of money spent on education in all fifty states.  Currently most of it goes for public schools.  DeVos would try to change that balance.  She would take money from public education and spend it on vouchers that could be used in private and parochial schools.  This would lower significantly the amount spent on public education while reimbursing those who send their children to private or religious schools for their education.  It would, in turn, lower the quality of public education as considerably less money would be available there.  In a word, it would help the upper and middle class while significantly lowering the standards for those who cannot afford to transport their children to private schools.  It is actually a welfare program for the rich and the richer, in that it takes from the poor and gives to those who currently have their children in private or parochial schools.

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On Sunday, 11/27/2016, Donald J. Trump claimed that there was serious voter fraud in three states that Clinton won: California, Virginia, and New Hampshire.  He claimed, without presenting any evidence that millions of non-citizens, voted illegally.  He stated that he would have won these states if they had not voted. 

 

Hillary Clinton won all three states.  In California, which has not elected a Republican in decades, Clinton bested Trump by more than three million votes: 61.6% to his 32.8%.  In Virginia she won by 185,689 votes; 49.9% to 45%. And in New Hampshire she beat him by 2,700 votes.  I suspect by illegal voting Trump means votes by Democrats.  He would like to suppress their voting completely.  It’s amazing how Trump can just grab information out of the air and state it like it’s a fact.

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If Trump is serious about winning the majority of votes in the Presidential Election.  According to the current vote count Hillary Clinton has over 3 ½ more votes cast for her than Trump has.  He has stated that millions of votes for Hillary Clinton were illegally cast by people who are in this country illegally and had no right to vote.  He has also berated the media for not reporting this fact.  He has not presented any evidence for any of this.  Presumably he got this information from a far-right radio host that is always pulling information out of the air. 

 

If Trump is really serious and truly believes all of this then it is possible that he won’t last a year as President of the United States.  He could at some point go off the deep end and lose complete touch with reality.  At that point Congress would have to replace him with His Vice-President.

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #171 – The Trump Presidency

 

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

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States.  He became the President-Elect and will assume office on January 20, 2017.  Currently he is in the process of organizing his new government.

 

Donald Trump has also recently ended three Trump University class-action law suits for a payment of 25 million dollars and a non-admission of guilt. By this he cannot be legally accused of fraud.  The first lawsuit had been filed in 2010.  There are over 7,000 members of the first class-action suit.  From what I understand the people who were conned into going to his seminars will receive about half of what they paid to attend.

 

 Trump had, on numerous occasions, accused the Judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel of being partial because he is of Mexican ancestry, even though he was born in Indiana. I suppose, following Trump’s thinking, and that since his antecedents are German it would follow that he has an affinity for white power.

 

The Judge had recommended that the case be settled out of Court.  Trump followed this advice.  I suspect this allows him to avoid being legally accused of fraud.  But there is a 40 million dollar law suit by the State of New York for fraud. I don’t know if he has wiggled out of that case.   His Foundation is also currently being investigated for fraud by the State of New York and possibly by the IRS.  Up to forty other states could also tie into this case since his foundation has functioned in many of the states.

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Trump was elected for a variety of reason, some of which were not too wholesome, but mainly because he was an outsider.  The national feeling toward the Washington, D.C. culture was/is fairly negative around the country.  Washington, or to be more specific, the government to the general public’s perception had not done much in terms of passing necessary laws or properly running the country over the last few years.

 

Trump was an outsider with no taint of Washington about him.  He also has no experience in running a government and has made all sorts of outlandish promises about what he would do as President.  He promised something to just about everybody.  But now that he has won the election he is bringing back to governmental power the old scandal-ridden politicians who have functioned on state and local government.  Three of the leading ones with checkered pasts are Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie. 

 

Gingrich does not want to be Secretary of State or, for that matter, in the President’s Cabinet.  He seems to want to be a senior planner for the entire Federal Government.  This would be a new post whose line of authority would have to be specifically defined. 

 

Gingrich has a long record of misdeeds and foul statements.  His denunciation of Democrats and the Democratic Party go far beyond the pale of reasonableness.  His lack of any sense of propriety allowed him to serve his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from a cancer operation.  Divorcing his second wife was not so dramatic and he is still married to his third wife.  He had affairs with his second and third wives while he was still married to his previous wife.

 

Newt became a member of the House of Representatives in 1979.  He was able to dramatically work his way up to the position of Speaker of the House during Bill Clinton’s third year in office as President.  The Ethics Committee in the Republican dominated House of Representatives had 82 instances of ethics violations.  They eventually charged him with one ethnic breach.  Gingrich resigned as Speaker and shortly afterwards also resigned from the House of Representatives. There is no way he would get approval for any appointment that required Senate approval.

 

After his resignation from the House of Representatives Newt did not return to Georgia.  Instead he stayed in Washington as a political consultant and did numerous nefarious things to raise money over the years.

 

In July of 2016 it was announced that Gingrich was on Trump’s shortlist along with Chris Christie and Mike Pence for Trump’s Vice-President.  Pence was chosen.  What will happen to him in Trump’s presidency is anyone’s guess.  But as long as it doesn’t require Senate confirmation some sort of job is a possibility.

 

Rudy Giuliani was born on May 28, 1944.  He is currently 72 years old.  He has been through three marriages and is currently living with his third wife.  Medically at age 55 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was discovered and treated from April of 2000 on before it metastasized.  The treatments lasted several very uncomfortable months according to Giuliani.

 

His past is considered checkered because his philandering went on throughout his career and was fairly well known.   His second wife, by whom he had two children, locked him out of Gracie Manor, the New York major’s residence, when he was mayor of New York City.  She learned of the divorce from the local newspapers.  Earlier it was reported for the entire city that Giuliani was going about with the woman who would later become his third wife.   His second wife settled for 6.8 million dollars and custody of the two children. 

 

Giuliani started his political life as a Democrat up until 1975, then from 1975 until 1980 he became and independent, and finally in 1980 he became a Republican.  It would seem that mostly what he was, was an opportunist.

 

While mayor of New York City Giuliani had been widely criticized for locating the Office of Emergency Management headquarters on the 23d floor of one of the Twin Towers that would eventually face a terrorist attack.  He apparently wanted a convenient place to make his public announcements.

 

This decision was opposed by the NYC Police Department and others because it was considered a prime target for a terrorist attack.  The location the Police Department wanted was in Brooklyn, which would not be a convenient area for news conferences. 

 

 After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, blamed the choice of the Management Headquarters on one of his subordinates.  That individual came up with absolute proof that Giuliani had made that decision.

 

Giuliani was praised by some for his involvement with the rescue recovery efforts after 9/11 but others criticized him severely, saying that he exaggerated his role after the terrorist attacks.  Presumably he cast himself as a hero for political gain.  He collected 11.4 million dollars from speaking fees for the single year after the attack.  His net worth rose about 30 times after the attack.

 

In addition Giuliani downplayed the health effects of the collapse of the Twin Towers.  The destruction of the buildings filled the air of lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn with toxic and caustic dust containing, among other things, fine asbestos particles.  He moved quickly to reopen Wall Street, and it was reopened on September 17th some six days later.  He stated that, “The air was safe and acceptable.”  But in the weeks after the attack The United States Geological Survey identified hundreds of asbestos “hot spots” of debris dust that remained on buildings and was easily blown into the atmosphere.  In June 2007, Christie Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and director of the Environment Protection Agency reportedly stated that the EPA had pushed for workers to wear respirators but that had been blocked by Giuliani.  She believed that subsequent lung disease and deaths suffered by responders were a result of these actions.

 

Currently, presumably, Giuliani is competing with Mitt Romney for the position of Secretary of State.  It’s not known whether Giuliani will be able to get Senate approval for the position if he is chosen.  It would be real embarrassing to Trump if the Senate refused to approve Rudy’s appointment.

 

Another member of Trump’s supporters is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  After dropping out of the 2016 Presidential Nominating race Christie became an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, who named him head of his transition planning team.  About the time some of Christie’s close New Jersey associates or subordinates were found guilty of largely closing down the George Washington Bridge (Bridgegate), some members of the State Legislature talked about impeaching Governor Christie whose term of office won’t end until 2018.  Since that time Trump replaced Christie from being in charge of his transition to the presidency with his Vice-Presidential running mate, Mike Pence.  Shortly afterwards three of Christie’s associates were also removed from the transition team.  Presently Christie seems to be still involved in the Trump presidency.

 

These three individuals were all close advisors of Trump until shortly after he became President-Elect.  What their relationship is to him now is not exactly clear.  Whether or not they would be approved by the Senate to be anywhere in Trump’s Cabinet is also not clear.  In fact it might be highly doubtful.

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Donald Trump has promised to surround himself with the best possible individuals in order to run the country.  On about Friday, November 18 Trump began making hard right choices for some of his top posts.  His version of the best possible people seems to rest with the Tea Party and even somewhat to the right of them with his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

 

For his Attorney General Trump has chosen Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jeff Sessions, a conservative senator from Alabama.  Jeff Sessions is the perfect image of the traditional Southern white ultra conservative.  In 1986 Sessions was appointed by President Reagan to be a Federal District Judge in Alabama.  He was the second person in the history of these appointments to be rejected by the Senate. 

 

Representative Luis Gutierrez, D. Illinois, has called Sessions “anti-immigrant and anti-civil rights…. If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man.”

 

Trump is loyal to people who support him.  Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest supporters.  This is the man who Trump would have straighten out Federal Justice in the United States.  In Trump’s words, he is the best man available.

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For CIA Director Trump’s nominee will be Republican Mike Pompeo, a Tea Party backed congressman from Kansas.  During his Congressional Campaign Pompeo received $80,000 in donations from Koch Industries and its employees.  On November 18, 2016 Pompeo was chosen to be Trump’s nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

 

On May 9, 2013, Pompeo introduced the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act.  The Bill, which passed the House along party lines but was never even brought up in the Senate, set a time limit for the government to approve natural gas pipelines. 

 

Pompeo rejects many concepts about global warming.  He’s referred to President Obama’s environmental and climate change plans as “damaging and radical.”  He opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and supports eliminating the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).  He opposes the Affordable Health Care Act.  He supported the government shutdown in 2013.  He has been critical of President Obama, who he alleged was indecisive and not properly respectful of military leaders such as General McChrystal, who was forced to resign after making negative remarks about President Obama to Rolling Stone magazine.

 

In terms of security Pompeo supports the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.  This is warrantless surveillance.  He wants Congress to pass a law reestablishing collection of all necessary data and combine it with financial and lifestyle into a comprehensive database.  Legal and bureaucratic impediments in surveillance should be removed.  This makes President George H. Bush’s Freedom Act look like nothing even though it allowed warrantless surveillance. 

 

On July 21, 2015 Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged secret agreements which allowed limited inspections of Iran’s nuclear deal.  He wants Muslim leaders who refuse to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam “potentially complicit” in the attacks.

 

He also wants Guantanamo Bay detention camp kept open and he criticized the Obama administration’s decision to end the CIA’s secret prisons (the black overseas sites and the administration’s edict that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.

                                  

This is the man that President-Elect Donald Trump announced he would nominate to be his Director of the CIA.  He will have to be confirmed by a Republican dominated Senate, which has a majority of two Republican votes.

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Trump’s choice for his National Security Advisor is retired Lt. General Michael Flynn. On November 18, 2016 he became Trump’s National Security Advisor.  He has suggested that Americans should fear all Muslims.  He has also been criticized for supporting Trump in calling for a thaw in relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  In 2015 he was paid to attend a dinner in Moscow hosted by the Russian government where he sat at a table with Putin.  He has also written critically of Putin and the danger Russia presents to the U.S. 

 

Flynn spent 33 years in the army as an intelligence officer, rising to Lt. General in April of 2012.  He was forced to retire a year earlier than he intended after clashing with the Obama administration officials.  Flynn has tended to exhibit a loose relationship with facts, leading his subordinates to refer to his dubious assertions as “Flynn facts.”

 

After retirement Flynn and his son opened a consulting firm which provides services for business and governments.  His company is allegedly lobbying for Turkey.  Flynn has sat in on classified national security briefings at the same time he was working for foreign clients.

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Perhaps Trump’s most controversial appointment to date is Stephen K. Bannon as his chief strategist.  Bannon has been the chairman of Breitbart News.  He turned the website into “a far-right ideology that promotes what many consider to be white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.

 

Breitbart News has been and is a far-right news opinion, commentary website that has pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic material.  In March 2012 Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News.  Under his leadership it took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach.  Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.  Breitbart has been misogynist, xenophobic, and racist.

 

On August 17, 2016 Bannon was appointed Chief Executive of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.  Bannon has been married three times.  Each marriage ended in divorce with each of his ex-wives claiming domestic abuse.  In early November of 2016 Bannon declared that he was a nationalist, not a white-nationalist.  Currently he has a leave of absence from Breitbart News.

            

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff in 2017 will be Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee’s Chairman.  Priebus got on the Trump bandwagon early in the campaign and has stringently supported Trump ever since.  To me he seems to have an insipid quality but seems to be loyal to those who are loyal to him.

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These are some of the people Donald Trump has appointed as President-Elect to run the government of the United States from January 20, 2017 on.  I would assume Trump has decided that they are the best people available.  They don’t strike me as being Washington outsiders or the best people available to run those offices.  In fact I get the feeling that Trump is scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with them.

 

It has been suggested that Trump will be impeached before his four year term has ended.  I can well believe the possibility.  

The Weiner Component #170 – The 2016 Presidential Election

On Tuesday, October 8, the 2016 Presidential Election

James Comey

James Comey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

was held.  Surprisingly, the winner that emerged was Donald J. Trump.  Clinton went into the election clearly as the favorite.  According to a phone call with some of her staff she blamed her loss upon the FBI Director, James Comey.   

 

Early in his tenure as Attorney General, Eric Holder stated that it was essential that no government agency take sides in any political activity.  James Comey, the Director of the FBI, did that when he announced toward the beginning of July 2015 that the FBI was investigating the Emails of Hillary Clinton that were sent through a private server when she was Secretary of State.  This went against FBI policy, announcing an investigation while it was in process.  In essence, whether he meant to do it or not, Director Comey was both putting himself and the FBI in the middle of a Presidential Election and influencing its possible outcome.  This had not happened since the days of the first Director, J. Edgar Hoover, who used the agency for political purposes innumerable times.  It was, however, against the instructions of Obama’s first Attorney General and the practices of the institution. 

 

The outcome of that investigation was that Clinton had been careless but had done nothing prosecutable.  The investigation did, however, cast a shadow over her campaign. 

 

Shortly before the election, while early voting was going on in many states, in a different case, an investigation against Antony Weiner communicating inappropriately  with a 15 year old girl in another state, presumably more Clinton Emails were found.  Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who was one of Clinton’s close aides, had apparently used Weiner’s laptop computer.  Abedin didn’t know how the Emails got onto the computer.  Even the number of them on the computer was unknown.  The FBI needed a court order to look at the Emails, consequently none had been read.  Only their existence was known.  Comey issued this information to the Republican heads of all the Congressional committees in a letter.  They, in turn, released this information to the press with fictitious statements as to what the Emails contained.  Donald Trump in his campaign quoted the unread emails.

 

Three days before the election Comey announced that the Emails had been duplicates of those seen earlier. There was no case against Clinton.  But the damage had been done.  Several million people had already voted.  Comey had taken the FBI to a new level, it had become a political organization.

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Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes.  But Trump had 290 Electoral votes to Hillary’s 228.  The American Democracy does not count each vote equally.  When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution there were thirteen states which had been incorporated together under the Articles of Confederation.  In essence there were thirteen sovereign independent little nations that had acted together during the Revolutionary War and continued to act together under the Articles.  But each was sovereign; they could go their own way at any time.  The delegates under the Articles had very little actual authority to do anything.  When any major decisions about anything had to be made they had to go back to their state legislatures for instructions and, as a final step, all had to agree for the measure to be passed.

 

Before the Revolutionary War the large Southern Planters all owed English merchants millions of dollars which they refused to pay now that they had won their independence.  The prewar situation had been such that these rich planters could order anything they wanted through these English merchants: furniture, building materials of all sorts, clothing, whatever, and the merchants would supply whatever they asked for and deduct the costs from their clients slave raised crops or lumber or whatever else they got from the planters.  The planters generally exceeded their crop profits.  Eventually massive amounts of monies were owed.  After the Revolutionary War the planters considered themselves debt free.  Some of the English merchants sued in American state courts, but they always lost their suit.  No American jury would give them anything.

 

In the new country in Massachusetts the tidewater merchants who ran the government needed to raise a certain amount in taxes.  Transportation at that time was very poor and Inland farmers who raised grain all had stills and turned their excess grain into whiskey, which was much easier to carry to places where it could be sold or traded for needed household goods or whatever else they wanted.  The coastal lawmakers placed the tax on whiskey.  What occurred was called Shay’s Rebellion of 1786 – 1787.  Daniel Shay argued that if the Southern planters could make their debts disappear so could the inland farmers.

 

The problem was solved when former General George Washington called out the National Guard.  These were tidewater civilians, many of them veterans of the Revolutionary War, who formed up and went inland.  As the soldiers appeared the Rebellion disintegrated.  Some men were arrested and taken back to the coastal city areas.  Washington eventually pardoned all of them but they had been away from their farms for months.  Thereafter they paid their taxes.

 

This was probably one of the main reasons for the Constitutional Convention which met in the state legislative capital in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, from May 25 through September 17.  They claimed that they were going to amend the Articles of Confederation.  But they met in secret, taking no notes during their meetings.  After quickly coming to the conclusion that the Articles of Confederation by themselves could never be effective as a document of government they decided under their Chairman, George Washington, to write a new document.  This was the Constitution.

 

The group, under Washington’s leadership, was essentially made up of the leading men of property.  Among other things they had their own self-interest at heart.  They wanted a government that was strong enough to protect them and their self-interest and free enough to gain the support of the entire population. 

 

In the process of working out the Constitution they faced a number of problems.  One of these was that among the thirteen states there were large and small states.  The small states wanted their rights; they did not want to be overshadowed by the larger states.  This brought about the idea of a bicameral legislature.  Each State would be given two Senators, older and more stable men who were 35 or older, and a House of Representatives, younger men who were 25 or older and elected every two years.  The Senate would be elected every six years and their election would be staggered into thirds every two years so the government could maintain a continuation of whatever it was doing. 

 

The House would be elected directly by men owning property and represent the property owning yeoman; the Senate by the State Legislatures and represent them.  The President would be elected by an Electoral College, the members of which would be the wisest men in the region and they would pick the best man in the United States to be President. This would be done every four years.  There was no thought at this point of political parties.  If no one person received enough votes then the House of Representatives would choose the President.  Everyone agreed that George Washington would be the first President.

 

Under this system the votes are not equal.  Today they count for much more in the smaller states than in the larger ones.  There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, the number is fixed.  Each State has two senators and currently anything, depending upon population, from one to 55 representatives in the House of Representatives.  The number of electoral votes is fixed to the number of senators and house members; that is 535 electoral votes. 

 

In the 2016 Presidential Election the people elected Hillary Clinton with 1.4 million addition votes for Hillary Clinton but the Midwestern States gave the election to Donald J. Trump.  It was not a fair election.  It’s time to again amend the Constitution.  All citizens now have the vote, both male and female, property owners and renters.  All votes should be equally counted.

 

There is another interesting point to be made.  The House and Senate are fixed at 435 House members and 100 Senators.  The population of the United States grows every year.  Every ten years a census is taken of the populations and the number of House of Representative Districts are reassigned on the basis of the population changes or reapportionment.  Each state legislature then redraws the new legislative districts within each state’s boundaries.  In many cases, particularly when the Republicans control the majority of state governments, the voting districts are gerrymandered to give the majority state party the voting advantage.  They can take any shape as long as the line is continuous. 

 

In 2010 the Republicans gained control of most states.  They gerrymandered the Election Districts to their advantage, giving them control of the House of Representatives from 2011 on.  In the 2012 Midterm Election about 1 ¼ million more Democrats voted for members of the House but the Republicans still ended up with the majority of House seats that year.  Gerrymandering can fragment strong Democratic districts attaching them, on a piecemeal basis, as small parts of Republican dominated districts.  This is blatantly unfair.

 

The Constitution has been amended numerous times.  Its initial object was to create, for the first time, a late 18th Century a Democratic Document of government.  It was the first time a Democracy came into existence since Ancient Athens.  The 15th Amendment in 1870 gave every male, regardless of color, the right to vote.  The 17th Amendment in 1913 made the people of each individual state responsible for electing their senators.  The 19th Amendment in 1919 gave women the right to vote.  The 24th Amendment in 1965 did away with the poll tax.  The 26th Amendment in 1971 reduced the voting age to eighteen.  If you were old enough to fight and die for your country you were old enough to vote.  It’s time for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution.  We have had three Republican Presidents who have stolen elections: one in 1876, one in 2001, and one in 2017.  Every vote cast for the President should count equally.  In a true Democracy the People are supposed to rule.

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

Another major problem with the 2016 Presidential Election was the fact that voter turnout was the lowest in years.  The Republicans tend to do well when voter turnout is forcibly and/or voluntarily reduced.  In this election, despite numerous lawsuits to stop the process, there was a lot of voter suppression.  In the State of Texas in 2014 it exceeded 200,000.  In 2016 it could have been higher.

 

In addition the two major candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were both the two most disliked Presidential candidates in United States history.  Clinton was polled at a negative 60% level and Trump, at a 75% level.  Fifty-four percent of the population voted; forty-six percent of the population stayed at home and did not vote.  Still even though Hillary Clinton had the majority of votes she had far less than President Obama received four years ago.

 

Donald J. Trump was guilty of everything he accused Clinton of being and doing.  He has just settled a fraud class action lawsuit about Trump University which was scheduled to begin on November 28, 2016.  Trump had previously denounced the Judge as being of Mexican heritage numerous times.  The Judge had recommended that this case, that was filed 2010, be settled out of court. On Friday November 18, Trump settled this and two other Trump University class action suits for 25 million dollars.  Without admitting guilt Trump will be paying each of the class action participants about half of what they spent at Trump University.  If any or all the cases had gone to trial Trump could also have been guilty of fraud and have been impeached for “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” by the Republican dominated House of Representatives and found guilty in a trial by the Republican dominated Senate.

 

As far as I know there is still a 40 million dollar fraud suit by the State of New York which could also include participation by other states that were involved.  Also there is a criminal investigation going on concerning Trump’s Tax Free Foundation by the State of New York.  Forty-one other states could also participate in this case because Trump, among other things, tends to ignore state government laws, particularly dealing with his Foundation.  The IRS is also probably involved in this since the monies involved were tax free and probably shouldn’t have been.

 

As a side comment: What I find interesting is that the FBI could investigate The Clinton Foundation, which has a more positive rating than the Red Cross but not bother with the Trump Foundation where the evidence of wrong-doing is blatant.

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

Hillary Clinton has been demonized since she was the First Lady in Arkansas in 1979.  She was then called the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock by several Republican writers.  She has been demonized continually since 1979 for essentially pushing for anti-Republican reform.  Presumably Hillary Clinton has never been a proper wife but has been as aggressive toward reform as her husband.  Obviously this behavior, to Republicans, is not being a proper lady. 

 

Where people believe, whose lives are very busy and don’t pay too much attention to the Federal Government other than on election years, is where there’s smoke there has to be fire or if it wasn’t at least partially true the Republicans would never bring it up.  What has been created is a negative myth about her.  Every one of us has made some mistakes over our lifetime or have done some stupid things but these acts do not define us.  Our entire lives do.  Hillary Clinton has worked, and in many cases successfully, to improve conditions around her, particularly for women and children.  To her “Women’s rights are human rights.”

 

The negative myths about her are just that, negative myths created by the Republicans to put her in her place.  Kevin McCarthy, Charlie McCarthy’s younger cousin, announced over the weekend of November 12th that the House of Representatives’ agenda does not include hearings on Clinton, which were promised for at least the next two years if she were elected President.  They may eventually amend the agenda to hold hearing on Donald J. Trump.  If they could dump Trump then Mike Pence, a good Republican, would be President of the United States and the House could probably do anything it wanted.  That could be the best of all possible worlds for them.

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The Weiner Component #169 – Part 3: The Modern Presidents & the Congress

English: Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon...

The first of the potentially extreme Conservative Candidates to run for the Presidency was Barry Goldwater.  He ran and was massively defeated in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson.  He received 22% of the vote, Johnson got well over 70%.  The extreme Conservatives (reactionaries) were not able to successfully mass their forces and win an election until 1980 with Ronald Reagan.  Both Eisenhower and Nixon tended to be more moderate Republicans.

 

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 and died on June 5, 2004.  He served as President of the United States from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989.  This made him seventy years old when he first assumed the presidency and seventy-eight when he retired from that position, after serving two terms.  Up until that point he was the oldest President of the United States.

 

For his first four year term the Senate had a Republican majority and the House of Representatives had more Democrats than Republicans, meaning that the Speaker of the House was a Democrat.  This continued through the first two years of his second term.  During his last two years in office both Houses of Congress had a Democratic majority. 

 

In order to get legislation he wanted Reagan had to be able to compromise with the Democrats; “Take half a loaf.”  Occasionally he would go off on a tantrum and state that unless such-and-such a bill was passed he would not sign any other bills; but mostly he was able to compromise with Democrats.  Once in a while he would get his way.

 

Reagan has been called the Teflon President.  He came across as a nice guy with good intensions, being both an excellent speaker and a likeable person.  His years in the movies from the late 1930s on and the fact that he always played one of the good guys seemed to carry over. 

 

In 1964 Reagan gave a paid speech for Barry Goldwater called: “A Time for Choosing,” that threw him into politics.  He was elected the conservative Governor of California from 1967 through 1975.  Later he unsuccessfully entered the race as a potential Republican Presidential candidate in 1968 and 1976.  He lost both times and was not chosen as the Republican candidate.  In 1980 he did become the Republican choice and won against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter.

 

As the new president in 1981, Reagan instituted new and sweeping changes.  He espoused supply side economic policies which was described as “Reagonomics.”  This advocated tax reduction for the well-to-do, presumably in order to bring about rapid economic growth.  The argument being that if the rich had more surplus income they would then invest that money into new economic growth.  This new money would then trickle down to the ordinary citizens who would hold these new jobs and the government would then collect more taxes by reducing taxes.

 

There was only one problem with this system: it didn’t work.  Reagan himself had been one of the rich individuals benefiting from the new law.  His money had never been invested in new growth and this was true for the entire group that received this benefit; they tended to invest their surplus funds into old investments like the stock market.

 

He also advocated economic deregulation which brought about an increase in pollution and, in addition, he advocated a decrease in government spending; that would be entitlement programs to help the poor since he massively increased military expenditures.

 

Reagan felt that during administrations like that of Jimmy Carter the Soviets had militarily gotten ahead of the U.S. in military preparedness.  He firmly believed that America had to catch up and get ahead of Russia in its military ability.  Consequently we had to seriously upgrade our armaments.  The program was called “Star Wars.”   Apparently Reagan liked movies; some of the weapons he envisioned came out of films; they didn’t exist in real life.  He felt they could be developed as needed.

 

Reagan’s military concepts weren’t true; we were far ahead of the Soviet Union.  The U.S. National Debt went up for the first time to well over a trillion dollars during his watch.  In a sense it was a brilliant strategic move because if we upgraded, even though it was partly on a comic book level, the military was going to utilize weapons that didn’t exist but were going to be created as needed.  Following this happening the Soviet Union to just maintain it world position also had to upgrade its military. 

 

Every country, every economy is limited to the amount of productivity that its citizenry is capable of producing.  It may be a gigantic amount, almost beyond concept, but it is still a finite amount.  Consequently choices have to be made as to what it will produce.  The Soviet Union by trying to keep up with the United States militarily massively deprived its people of what they needed in order to successfully survive and the result was that the Communist State fell economically apart and Russia ceased being a communist dictatorship. 

 

Communism, where it existed, now became a National Movement rather than an international one.  Each of the existing communistic states like China and Cuba now became mixes of socialism and capitalism.  Reagan can claim credit for this; but it was an accident based upon his fears rather than a strategic move.

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

Early in his first administration Reagan allowed Paul Volker, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, to institute the Draconian measures needed to break the inflationary spiral that had been gradually generated from the time of the Vietnam War.  These measures caused a lot of unemployment and misery throughout the United States.  Interest rates had reached over 12 1/2 percent. To break the cycle of inflation Volker raised them far beyond that.

 

With massive unemployment occurring Reagan went on national television with a copy of the Sunday Employment Section of the New York Times and stated to the American public that he held twenty pages of employment ads.  If anyone had lost their job then they should go to where there was employment.  After the announcement he returned to the Oval Office and forgot about the problem. 

 

From that day on people in old jalopies left home with their families and followed rumors of where there was supposedly employment.  Most of the rumors for employment in other parts of the U.S. were just that, rumors.  By 1982 the FED would reduce interest rates; the GDP would rise to 3.4%; the inflationary spiral was broken but the homeless problem would persist to the present day.

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

In 1984 Reagan won a landslide victory for his second term.  His foreign policy was at times strange: He described the Soviet Union as the
Evil Empire.
  In late 1983 Reagan approved having the CIA mine Nicaragua’s main harbor.  This was the harbor of a Socialist country with whom we were at peace.  The object was to keep out civilian cargo vessels and cut off imported weapons, fuel, and other supplies.  The premise being that this would seriously hurt the Sandinista or socialist government of Daniel Ortega.  This, in turn would give a serious boost to the CIA backed rebels or “Freedom Fighters,” as Reagan called them and create and uprising.  The CIA used firecracker mines dropped by small speedboats.  They were noisy but did little damage.  This act created an international uproar which forced Congress to take action.

 

In 1986 the U.S. bombed Libya in retaliation for a 1986 Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing.  There were 40 reported Libyan casualties and one U.S. plane was shot down.  The dead included a baby girl.

 

Reagan illegally authorized the Iran-Contra Affair.  Toward the end of his second term Reagan requested that Congress authorize funds for his “Freedom Fighters” in Nicaragua.  The Democratic Congress would not authorize any money.  Reagan’s people, with his approval, began a secret operation by which arms would be illegally sold to Iran through other countries and the profit would be used for the Nicaraguan rebels.  The operation was right out of the movies, probably a James Bond movie, and the man coordinating everything was Colonel Oliver North, who probably saw himself as the super-patriot.  North avoided prison because he testified before Congress and all of his testimony was exempt from prosecution.

 

It was all totally illegal and Reagan could have been impeached and he and his staff prosecuted and sent to prison.  In his speech when he admitted it to the nation he couldn’t believe that he had acted illegally.  But since his term was almost over and as he had acted, it was believed, for the good of the United States nothing was done.

 

President Reagan initially transitioned the Cold War from détente to rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR.  He engaged in talks with Mikhail Gorbachev that culminated in the INF Treaty which shrank both countries nuclear arsenals.   He challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall.  This was done five months after he left office and on December 26, 1991, nearly three years after he left office, the Soviet Union collapsed.  It can be argued that President Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War.

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

Reagan was followed by his Vice President, George H.W. Bush as the 41st President of the United States from January 20, 1989 to January 20, 1993.  He served one four year term as President.  Both Houses of Congress were controlled by the Democratic Party, consequently there wasn’t much cooperation between them and the Republican President.

 

President George H. W. Bush had a lot of experience working in the government: he had been a member in the House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971, United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 1971 to 1973, Chair of the Republican National Committee from 1973 to 1974, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China from 1974 to 1975, Director of Central Intelligence from 1965 to 1977, and 43d Vice-President of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

 

In domestic policy Bush wanted to lower the National Debt which had grown to well over a trillion dollars under President Reagan.  He felt that this should be done by lowering government spending.  Congress, on the other hand felt it should be done by raising taxes.  Mostly the Democratic Congress won out.  Bush had promised not to raise taxes when he ran for the presidency but he later signed a bill that raised them.  This lowered his popularity significantly among Republicans.

 

President George H.W. Bush spearheaded, along with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which eliminated the majority of tariffs on products traded among the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  The treaty encourages trade among these countries.

 

In foreign policy the U.S. invaded Panama and placed the popular elected president in charge of the country.  He had won the election but the old government under Manuel Noriega had invalidated it and remained in power.  After an American soldier was killed the U.S. invaded and arrested Noriega.

 

In Iraq the situation was different.  President Bush sent a plenipotentiary or special unassigned diplomat to deal with Saddam Hussein the ruler of Iraq.  The diplomat was a woman, which in the eyes of an Arab ruler meant that the mission was unimportant and also her authority to commit the U.S. to anything was highly limited.  Apparently the two verbally spared for a while. 

 

What Saddam Hussein needed to know was what would the U.S. do if Iraq invaded oil-rich Kuwait?  It would seem that diplomatic meetings never deal directly with the question that needs to be answered.  Saddam Hussein assumed from the meeting that the U.S. would do nothing to stop the invasion. 

 

I suspect that George H.W. Bush assumed he was establishing the concept of equal rights for women.  With his experience he should have known better.  The result of the Kuwait invasion was the Gulf War, which Bush had the sense to end without unseating Hussein.  Saddam Hussein would later attempt to have Bush assassinated for betraying him.  George W. Bush, his son, would later get even with Hussein and turn the Middle East into a cage-less zoo, which it still is.

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In 1992, Bush was succeeded in the presidency by Bill Clinton, a Democrat, who held that office for two terms, until January 20. 2001.  Previously Clinton had been Governor of Arkansas.

 

Bill Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history.  During his first two years in office he had a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress and he signed into law The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which had been initiated by Republcan President George H.W. Bush.

 

From 1992 until early 1994 the Republicans were able to stop legislation from passing in the Senate by use of the filibuster.  Clinton’s Health Care proposal was never voted upon and other legislation was also stopped in this fashion.

 

In 1994 both Houses of Congress achieved a Republican majority.  Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House and Strom Thurman Majority Leader in the Senate.  The Senate had 47 Democrats and 53 Republicans.  The House had 230 Republicans and 204 Democrats.

 

President Clinton was seen by the Speaker and other Republicans as the enemy.  The Republicans shut down the government twice: from November 14 – 19, 1995 and from December 16 – January 6, 1996, for a total of 28 days.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, would resign his speakership and also resign from the House over ethics violation charges.  The potential vote against him was overwhelming by both Republicans and Democrats.

 

The final attack against Clinton ended in Impeachment Charges by the House of Representatives.  An independent council, Ken Starr, was appointed to investigate Clinton’s involvement in an earlier land deal, called “Whitewater.”  Nothing negative or impeachable was found about Clinton’s involvement.  What was discovered was that he was having an illicit relationship with a White House intern.  When questioned by a Grand Jury he gave misleading information.

 

Presumably he lied to the Grand Jury.  The first article of impeachment was approved by a House vote of 228 to 206.  Five Republicans refused to vote for it and five Democrats supported the impeachment.  He was accused of lying to the Grand Jury about the nature of his relationship with the intern.  The second article of impeachment, obstruction of justice passed by a narrower margin: 221 to 212.

 

The trial was held in the Senate, which also had a Republican majority.  The question, of course, was: Are these “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”?  Bill Clinton was found, Not Guilty.

 

The irony attached to this was that Newt Gingrich had earlier resigned both his Speakership and position in the House of Representatives.  He had been replaced by the Louisiana Republican, Robert L. Livingston as the new Speaker.  Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler Magazine offered one million dollars for each unflattering sexual story about Republican members of Congress. 

 

Apparently one million dollars is serious money.  Livingston was a true family man.  He so believed in it that he had two families, one legal and one not so legal.  His second extra-legal wife gave Flynt her story and received the one million dollars.  Robert L. Livingston resigned both his Speakership and his position in the House.  Other Republicans in Congress got very nervous as Flynt’s offer still remained.

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

For his last two years in office Clinton had a budget surplus and reduced the National Debt.  He signed a welfare reform act and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that provided health coverage for millions of children.  Clinton left office with the highest public approval rating of any U.S. President since World War II.

 

The man who replaced Bill Clinton as the 43d President of the United States was George W. Bush, the second man elected president who did not receive the majority popular vote by the American people.

 

George Walker Bush was elected president in 2001 after a close and controversial election.  Eight months into his presidency, on September 11, 2001, The Twin Towers in New York City were destroyed in two terrorist suicide attacks.  Bush launched the War on Terror, an international military campaign which included the war in Afghanistan (2001) and the War in Iraq (2003).

 

In addition he promoted policies on health care, education, and social security reform.  While going to war he signed into law broad tax cuts, the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind law, social security reform, the Partial Birth Abortion Act, and Medicare prescription drug coverage benefits for seniors.  During his presidency there were national debates on immigration, social security, electronic surveillance, and torture or enhanced interrogation. 

 

George W. Bush was reelected to office in 2004 in another close election.  During his second term he received criticism for his handling, from both sides of the aisle, of the Iraq War and the Katrina Hurricane. 

 

Presumably the preemptive Iraq War was launched because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  No “weapons of mass destruction” were ever found in Iraq.  In point of fact, Saddam Hussein, the ruler of Iraq, had tried to have George H.W. Bush, the president’s father assassinated over Iraq’s Gulf War.  Bush Jr’s attack on Iraq was a punishment for that. A rather expensive punishment!

 

In the case of Hurricane Katrina which devastated much of the Gulf Coast and put much of New Orleans underwater, the man who headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, was a Federal appointment.  He had been rewarded for his participation in the presidential election with that job and was incapable of properly carrying it out.  Bush responded to mounting criticism by accepting full responsibility.  But that was beside the point.

 

In 2006 the Democratic Party regained control of both Houses of Congress.  In December 2007 the United States entered the worst economic downturn since World War II, the so-called Great Recession.  Its causes had been rapidly generated from the Reagan administration on.  The Bush administration obtained Congressional passage of numerous economic programs intended to preserve the country’s financial system.  In 2008 Bush initially bailed out the major banks who through their hunger for profits and the lack of regulation had brought the nation to the brink of financial collapse and themselves to the point of bankruptcy.

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

It was at this point that Barack Obama assumed the presidency with the nation facing a disaster far greater than the 1929 Great Depression.  President Obama had been elected on a platform of “Time for a Change.”  Instead he had to make a potentially Great Depression into a Great Recession and allow the country to recover from the state of disaster that the Republicans had created, of which American was in the midst.

 

In his first two years in office he signed the American Recovery and investment Act of 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  He also signed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  In foreign policy he ended U.S. involvement in the Iraq War and increased troop levels in Afghanistan. In January of 2011 President Obama ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden 

 

Up until 2010 the Democrats had control of both Houses of Congress.  In that year the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives.  The Democratic Party lost 63 seats in that House of Congress, giving the Republicans 243 representatives to 193 for the Democrats.  The Republicans had earlier in caucus taken an oath to make Obama a one term president by impeding everything he wanted to do.  For the first two years of his presidency they would delay and make extensive use of the filibuster in the Senate.  After they achieved their majority they would oppose everything he had or would try to do in the House of Representatives.

 

From 2011 on the House of Representatives has not only hampered Presidential actions but have also forced through laws by attaching amendments to necessary legislation that have actually worsened economic conditions brought about by the Great Recession or Housing Debacle of 2008.  They did this by, among other things, increasing unemployment.  Through the Federal Reserve’s use of creative Monetary Policy the President and the Chairman of that organization have brought about a good percentage of recovery.  Had they had Congress’ full cooperation, fiscal policy could have been applied and recovery would have been completely achieved.  Instead the country is still at about 5% unemployment.

 

President Obama was reelected to a second term in 2012.  He has, unsuccessfully in terms of Congress, promoted policies related to gun control, particularly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, among other reforms.  On foreign policy troops were sent back into Iraq to help counter the effects of ISIS and the situation in Afghanistan continues.  In 2015 the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed by the United States and by 192 other countries.  The U.S. was part of a United Nations agreement with Iran not to develop an atomic bomb and relations with Cuba were normalized.  All this, despite the actions of Congress, have given President Obama a highly favorable rating among American presidents and the general public.

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

On November 8, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States beginning January 20. 2017.  While the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton had 395,595 more popular votes than Trump, 60,467,245 to 60,071,650.  Trump had 290 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232. 

 

Trump has largely but not completely acted presidential since the election.  He still tweeted stupidly about the spontaneous protests that have occurred across many cities in the United States against him.  He is thin-skinned and over reactive.  But this is not the real crux of his present problems.  On November 28 the first of his Trump University class action suits begins.  Even though it’s a civil suit if Trump loses and is found guilty of fraud, which he is accused of, he could conceivably be impeached.  The judge in the case, who Trump has accused of being prejudiced because of his Hispanic heritage, has recommended that Trump settle the case out of court.  But there are over 7,000 claimants who say they were cheated by Trump’s false claims about Trump University, some of whom paid as much as $35,000 for tuition.  Trump may not be able to afford the cost of settlement.  In addition there are two other class action suits coming up in addition to a $40 million suit from New York State for fraud.  The current case was filed in 2010.  Trump could be impeached during his first year in office for what he did before being elected president.  It should be interesting, if not colorful.

 

 

English: Seal of the President of the United S...

 

The Weiner Component #169 – Part 2: The Presidencies & Political Parties in the United States

English: Partisan makeup of the Senate at the ...

English: Partisan makeup of the Senate at the beginning of the 107th United States Congress, January 3, 2001. Democratic Party – 50 Republican Party – 50 Tie broken by the Vice President of the United States (Al Gore to 2001-01-20, Dick Cheney thereafter) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

If you draw a horizontal line across a sheet of paper and put a mark in the center then the right side proceeding to the end of the line tends to be conservative getting more reactionary as you move farther toward the right end and the left side tends to be liberal, getting more radical as it moves to the left end.  Today the left side represents the Democratic Party and the right side is the Republican Party.

 

This model of right and left was initially created by the way the Chamber of Deputies placed themselves in the hall during the period of the French Revolution in late 18th Century.   The difference then was that the legislative body was divided into three groups, the right were the reactionaries who wanted to bring back the king and his form of government; the left were the radicals who wanted to get rid of the king and brought about the “Reign of Terror.”  They wanted a representative government, essentially led by a dictator.  The majority of the Chamber was called the Mountain.  It was the center which contained the majority of delegates.  They were the moderates.  France would eventually become a Representative Democracy.

 

Today in the United States legislature there is no center.  We have a right, the Republicans and a left side, the Democrats.  And between the two major groups, in the center, there is an empty space, which, in turn, makes it difficult for any type of compromise to be reached or even for any real communication to occur.  As far as the far right is concerned compromise is giving in to their position.

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

In 1797, when the Constitution was written, there were no thoughts of political parties.  By 1789, when it took effect, Alexander Hamilton, the First Secretary of the Treasury, had organized the Federalist Party, which basically supported the tidewater mercantilist groups rather than inland yeoman farmers.  Thomas Jefferson, who supported the latter group at the very tail end of the 18th Century organized the Republican Party as a solution to the Federalists and ran as its first candidate for the presidency in the year 1800.  The Federalists, as an insult, rechristened it as the Democratic-Republican Party.  This first name has stuck through the years and is still used today.  The Presidential campaign in the year 1800 was a very raucous one with Jefferson being denounced, among other things, as an atheist.

 

Jefferson won the election and the Federalists were never again able to win a Presidential Election.  They ceased to exist as a political party after the War of 1812.  In that war with England they had refused to support the government against Great Britain.

 

President Thomas Jefferson, following his philosophy of leading a country of small yeoman farmers, in 1803 bought the Louisiana Territory from France for $11,250,000, adding 828,000 square miles to the new United States and doubling its size.  He calculated that he had added enough land to allow it to freely grow with small farms for at least one hundred years.

 

The Federalist position had been favoring a strong central government, close ties with Great Britain, a centralized banking system and close links between the government and men of wealth.

 

What followed after the War of 1812 was the Era of Good Feelings which ended in 1824 when John Quincy Adams was appointed to the Presidency by the House of Representatives after an election in which none of the four regional candidates achieved enough of a majority to win the election.

 

In 1828 the Democratic-Republican Party split into Jacksonian Democrats and the Whig Party.  The Jacksonian Democratic Party became the modern Democratic Party.  They supported the primacy of the President over the other branches of government.  The Whig Party advocated the primacy of Congress over the executive branch.  In the 1850s the Whig Party declined.  Its leaders had died out and it split over the issue of slavery.  The Democratic Party also split into two section, Northern and Southern, anti-slave and pro-slave.

 

In the Election of 1860 the remnants of the Whig Party and remnants of other third parties like the Abolitionists and other dissatisfied groups coalesced into the new Republican Party while the Democrats split into two separate political parties, one Northern and Western and one Southern.  The Northern Democrats ran Stephen A. Douglas while the Southern Democrats put forth John C. Breckenridge.

 

Douglas and Breckenridge had over 50% of the vote together but neither one had as much as Lincoln.  Lincoln won the election with under 50% of the popular vote.  No one Southern State had his name on their ballot.  It was as though two totally separate elections had occurred.  In point of fact one can easily say that the Civil War actually began with this election.

 

At the end of the Civil War Radical Republicans dominated both Houses of Congress.  The President of the United States was a former Southern Democrat, Andrew Johnson.  He had been a senator from Tennessee who remained in Washington and refused to join in the Secession from the Union.  Johnson ran with Lincoln during his second term as the Vice-presidential candidate under the slogan of the National Unity Ticket.

 

Lincoln was assassinated early during his second term and Andrew Johnson became president from 1864 to 1867.  The Radical Republicans had a super majority in both Houses of Congress; consequently they were able to do whatever they wanted.  Johnson was unsuccessfully impeached toward the end of his term.  In 1868, the Republican, former General Ulysses S. Grant, became the 18th President of the United States.

 

In the election of 1876 the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes ran against the Democrat, Samuel J. Tilden.  The Republicans desperately wanted to retain the presidency.  Tilden had the greater number of popular votes.  Several states ended up electing two sets of electors, both Democratic and Republican.  The crisis was not resolved until the night before the new President was to take office.  A back-door deal was made by which the Republicans got the presidency and the Southern States had the Northern armies of occupation removed and became independent states again, ending all the remnants of the Civil War.  The United States reemerged as a two party nation.  At this time the Blacks systematically lost their rights as freedmen, although they kept that title.

 

The Republican Party adopted many of the economic policies of the Whigs: national banks, railroad expansion, and high tariffs.  They were the businessman’s political party.  Their anti-slave policy and the Civil War had brought the Black population, the freedmen, into their party and kept them dominant in Congress until this time.  The Southern States returned to the Democratic Party which maintained its traditional values.  The Republicans also attracted shop owners, skilled craftsmen, clerks, and professionals who were attracted to the party’s modernization policies.  These political coalitions lasted almost to the end of the 19th Century.

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The Civil War expedited economic change in America.  From its end through the 1920s there was a rush of new immigration into the United States, mainly from Eastern Europe and Ireland.  The Industrial Revolution in all forms of rapid economic growth took hold of the country at this time generating a rapid settlement of the entire continental United States.  The late 19th Century was the period of the Gilded Age, rapid industrial growth, the confluence of money into the hands of a few brought about the rise of the “robber barons,” monopoly and oligopoly; phenomenal affluence for a small number and sweat-shops and twelve to fifteen hour shifts for large groups of children, women, and men in factories.  The country went from a rural nation to an urban one during this period.

 

Small towns became cities virtually overnight with almost no understanding or regulations about supplying clean water to large populations and housing or sewerage or food regulation laws.  The government performed no social services.  Political machines developed by both political parties in the urban areas.  Epidemics became common, particularly in warmer weather.  Death tolls, particularly in slum areas were inordinately high, especially among infants and young children.

 

Among this environment, within the urban areas, individual states, and the Federal Government the Progressive Movement developed and grew.  It would continue until the United States got involved in the Great War (World War I).  Both major political parties would at different times lead this movement, which, to a large extent, would be fed by magazine articles and books demonstrating the horrific conditions that existed in the factories, slums, and cities.

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All the presidents from Lincoln’s death until Teddy Roosevelt’s accession were decent men but weak presidents.  They and Cabinet members were continually hounded by jobseekers and political machine operators looking to collect on campaign promises.

 

The major issues of this period were the protective tariff, currency reform, and civil service reform.  President James A. Garfield was shot by a dissatisfied job seeker.  Even with this civil service reform came slowly over the course of the late 19th Century.

 

Tariff and currency reform lasted throughout this period and led to the Progressive Movement.  Business interests supported protective tariffs and tight or hard money (gold).  They lobbied and spent freely to achieve these goals, which the Republicans tended to support.  The Democrats largely backed a loose money policy, using both gold and silver.

 

From 1876 through 1900, Congress was known for being rowdy and inefficient and the Presidents as more or less capable of doing their jobs but not much more.  The two major political parties tended to be similar in their outlook with the exception that the Republicans favored business and the Democrats vied slightly toward farmers.  And the government was considered highly corrupt.

 

With one exception, and that was Grover Cleveland, the Democratic candidate, who was twice elected to a four year term in 1884 and in 1892, all the other presidents had been Republicans.  All of them, from both political parties had served in the Civil War.

 

In addition, among the farmers, at this time, the Granger Movement gradually developed and it in turn become part of the Populist Movement, which pushed for Agrarian Reform in the United States.  The Populist Movement and urban conditions and corruption throughout the country gave birth to the Progressive Reform Movement which existed on the both the state levels and on the national level.

 

The early Progressive Movement rose on a grass root level.  It was supported by the farmers who wanted a loose money policy.  This would allow them to pay back their debts with less expensive currency.  The businessmen and bankers preferred a tight money policy.  They wanted the debts paid back with more expensive money than they had initially spent or loaned out.  Into this mix came magazine and book writers, the muckrakers, who tended to expose the corruption that existed on all levels of society.  Also at this time the giant industrial cities came into existence with no initial rules or regulations on how they had to be governed or function, in areas like hygiene, sanitation, and city government and social services to the newly arrived immigrants.

 

All this gradually ended with the accession of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency after the assassination of William McKinley by an anarchist in 1901.  Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, would be the first of the Progressive Presidents.  He would be followed by William Howard Taft, another Republican.  The third Progressive President would be Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat.  This period would end with the First World War

 

During this period corruption was exposed in numerous aspects of the nation and a certain amount of regulation was promulgated throughout the various levels of the society: local, state, and national.  The Senate up to 1913 had been appointed by the different state legislatures and had become, usually by bribery, largely an extension of large corporations like Standard Oil’s attorneys.  It thereafter, through the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, was directly elected by the people within the individual states.  Oregon introduced in 1902 the initiative and the referendum process, which, in turn, was copied by numerous other states.  The recall election was also introduced whereby an elected official could be unelected from his office.  In addition Women Suffrage (the vote) came about at this period.  The tide of reforms ended with the World War.

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At the end of the war Woodrow Wilson went to Europe to develop the Treaty of Versailles.  He brought the treaty to Washington where it was rejected by the Republicans in the Senate.  There was a struggle to pass the Treaty, and, during that time, President Wilson suffered a heart attack from which he never totally recovered.

 

The Treaty could have been modified to satisfy the Republicans but Wilson refused to compromise.  The United States never signed it.  Instead they eventually signed a separate treaty with Germany.  The major item in the Treaty was the establishment of a League of Nations, which the United States never joined.

 

At the end of his term the invalid, Woodrow Wilson, was replaced by the Republican, Warren Harding, who died in office after a number of corruption scandals emerged.  He was replaced by his Vice President, Calvin Coolidge, who later ran on his own and won.  He, in turn, was replaced by Herbert Hoover.  These three Republican presidents fully believed Adam Smith’s theory that the market-place would make all the proper economic decisions for how the country should be run.

 

The motivating force according to Adam Smith was the “invisible hand,” the profit motive.  This brought the country in 1929 to the Great Depression.  Neither Hoover nor his staff knew how to really deal with this situation.  The United States and numerous other industrial nations went through periods of unbelievable misery with the governments trying to function in periods of massive unemployment and chaos.

 

In 1933, four years later, the new President, the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, working on almost an experimental basis saved capitalism and the country by adopting socialistic principles.  He called his policy “The New Deal,” a term taken from poker.  The Federal Government assumed responsibility for those who could not care for the mselves.  They created jobs and projects like Hoover Dam, which was originally called Boulder Dam, throughout the United States and he brought about social security.  It was a time of rapid experimentation, anything that worked and solved problems was utilized.

 

But even with all this many of the aspects of the Great Depression remained.  The country was better off but many still suffered.  What ended the last remnants of the Great Depression was World War II.  The spending required to fight and win the war and the army the U. S. raised ended the last remnants of the massive economic turndown.  In point of fact, the country entered the war in December of 1941 with the majority of the population being in the lower class and ended the war in 1945 with the majority of the population belonging to the middle class.  The economy had changed considerably.

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During the Second World War both political parties concentrated on fighting the war.  Roosevelt died during the last year of the fighting and was replaced by his Vice President, the Democrat: Harry S. Truman.

 

Truman in 1945, after the war ended, sponsored, what he called, the Fair Deal, as a continuation of the prewar New Deal.  The Republicans derided Truman and his program as a poor man’s version Roosevelt’s politics.  In 1948 they ran Thomas E. Dewey against him.  They also passed the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which limited presidential tenure to two terms in office.  While the Amendment did not affect Truman; it would come into being with the next president; still it gave him a strong hint.  Franklin D. Roosevelt had died in office during his fourth term in office.

 

In 1948 the Republicans were positive that they would win the election.  At that time, before television, victory celebrations were held on radio.  On the night of the election there was a victory celebration for Dewey.  The Chicago Tribune headline the next morning was “Dewey Wins.”  But when the votes were counted Harry S. Truman had won and was still President of the United States.  All the polls had predicted Dewey as the winner; they all ate crow that year.

 

For the next four years there were a lot of frustrated Republicans in both Houses of Congress; but Congress still worked.  The fear after the war was that with the massive return of the military to civilian life the country would go into a deep recession with massive unemployment as it did directly after World War I.  But with intense rationing, the continual sale of war bonds, and unlimited employment during the war there was lots of money available.  All the automobile factories had been producing only for the war effort for the last four years; they now converted to civilian production, everyone wanted a new car.  A new industry, television came into being.  Other positive things happened.  There was no recession.  The returning veterans found jobs, started their own small business, returned to school: finishing high school and colleges.  The country smoothly went back to peacetime.  In fact, veterans received a government allowance if they went back to school.

 

Unfortunately, even with the new Organization, The United Nations, to which all the allied nations now belonged, peace did not come.  On June 25, 1950 until July 27, 1953 the United States and other United Nation countries were involved in the Korean War, which ended at the 38th Parallel, where it had begun.  This was the line splitting Korea into two parts: Communist in the North and non-communist in the South.  It would seem that almost every succeeding president from Truman on would have their own specific war.

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Truman was followed in the presidency in 1953 by Dwight David Eisenhower, the general who had led the war in Europe.  Eisenhower, initially had never voted in a presidential election.  He did not know which political party he belonged to.  Finally he decided he was a Republican and ran as their presidential candidate.

 

Eisenhower ended the Korean War by threatening to use atomic weapons.  It ended in a draw, which still continues to this day.

 

As a replacement for Truman the Democrats came up with Adlia Stevenson, the governor of Illinois.  Stevenson ran against Eisenhower twice and lost both times.  Eisenhower considered himself a middle-of-the-road Republican, that is, a moderate or liberal Republican.  The two parties functioned well together during his eight years in office.

 

In 1960 Richard M. Nixon, Eisenhower’s Vice President, ran against the Democrat, John F. Kennedy, who was a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts.  Kennedy won that election by less than one per cent of the vote.  The two parties were able to function together and more or less pass all the necessary legislation.  /there were problems with his civil rights reform attempts.  In Viet Nam There was action, but not a major crisis.  It was during Kennedy’s presidency that the Bay of Pigs debacle occurred and later the Cuban Missile Crisis came about.  The Soviet Union had installed atomic missiles in Cuba.  Kennedy, short of war, got Russia to remove them.  His frustration came about in being limited in passing civil rights legislation.

 

Kennedy, while getting ready to run for a second term in 1963, was in a motorcade in downtown Dallas, Texas, when he was shot by an assassin.  His Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson became the next President of the United States.  President Johnson was reelected in 1964.  He ran against the arch-conservative Barry Goldwater and overwhelmingly defeated him.  Johnson attempted to force the war in Viet Nam toward an American victory by massively increasing U.S. forces there.  He was not successful.  In the United States he declared War on Poverty.  Again he was not successful.  As an essentially defeated man Johnson announced that he would not run for the presidency in 1968.

 

Where Johnson was eminently successful was in pushing through Congress both his and John F. Kennedy’s plan for civil rights reform in the nation.  Segregation was essentially legally ended throughout the South and in other parts of the country.  The statement that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence was expanded to include Blacks and Women.  It was a major achievement.

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In the 1968 Election the Republican Richard M. Nixon ran against the Democratic Vice President, Hubert Humphrey.  A third party candidate, former Alabama Governor, George Wallace, ran representing the American Independent Party, which supported separation of the races in public education.  Nixon won with 43.4% of the vote; Humphrey got 42.7%, and Wallace received 13.5%.

 

The election year was tumultuous, being marked by the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.  The Democratic Convention had open warfare between Viet Nam protestors and the Chicago police.  Nixon won the popular vote by .07 percentage points and the Electoral College vote by 301 to 191 for Humphrey.

 

Besides economic problems Nixon faced a massive protest throughout his presidency over the Viet Nam War.  He presumably had a secret plan to end the war.  This came down to a return of American prisoners of war and withdrawing with honor.  That was making a defeat in war not look like a defeat.

 

Negotiations were begun.  The initial problem was the shape of the Negotiating Table.  There were people from North Viet Nam, from South Viet Nam, and from the United States, and there was also the National Liberation Front, who were from South Viet Nam but favored the North.  The issue was resolved by using a round table with two smaller ones nearby.

 

Nixon’s strategy was to bring increasing pressure on Communist North Viet Nam by increasing the war so they would be willing to compromise.  He expanded the war to Cambodia and bombing along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Supplies were being brought into North Viet Nam into the South over this route.  There was both warfare and peace negotiations that would be going on during Nixon’s term as President.

 

In 1972 Nixon ran for a second term as the Republican candidate.  The Democratic candidate was the highly liberal senator from South Dakota, George McGovern.  The Republicans were so sure he could not win that they contributed money secretly to his campaign wanting to make sure he was the Democratic candidate.

 

McGovern ran on an Anti-War Campaign against the incumbent, Richard Nixon.  McGovern was perceived by many voters as a left-wing extremist.  Nixon won in a landslide, gaining 60.7% of the popular vote.  He received 18 million more votes than McGovern, carrying 49 states.

 

Unfortunately, during the election, because of some paranoid tendencies of Nixon, a group of his employees called the plumbers  burgled Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. several times in order to find out what the Democrats were doing and planning.  The final time they did this they were caught and arrested.

 

The question became: What did Nixon know?  And when did he know it?  It took two years for this to unravel.  And then the answer was that he knew about the burglary from the very beginning.  Nixon resigned from the presidency two years after being elected for a second term.  He resigned the day before a Bill of Impeachment was to be voted upon in the House of Representatives.

 

Interestingly his vice president, Spiro Agnew, had resigned earlier.  The government had an 80 page inditement against him for extortion, going back to when he was governor of Maryland.  Because of the Watergate controversy the Justice Department allowed him to plead, no contest, and resign from the vice-presidency.

 

The irony was that Nixon chose a new Vice-President, Senator Gerald Ford, who assumed the Presidency in 1974.  President Ford later issued a Proclamation on September 8, 1974 pardoning Richard Nixon from any crimes he may have committed.

 

President Gerald Ford ended the Viet Nam War.  This was the first war that the United States lost.  Today Viet Nam trades with the United States and is a relatively inexpensive tourist attraction.  It cost a lot less to visit Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) than to go to a city in Hawaii.

 

In 1978 Republican President Gerald Ford ran against the Democratic contender, James Earl (Jimmy) Carter.  Jimmy Carter won by a margin of 57 Electoral votes.  He had a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress during both congressional terms.  On his second day in office President Carter pardoned all evaders of the Viet Nam War.  He created the Departments of Energy and Education.  He brought about the Camp David Accords between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

The country suffered from Stagflation at this time, a combination of both high inflation and high unemployment.  Carter could not bring himself to allow the Draconian program that would solve this problem.  The next President, Ronald Reagan would do this and bring about a large homeless problem throughout the United States which still exists today.

 

President Carter signed the Panama Canal Treaties, giving the canal to Panama.  It was during his term in office that the Iranian Revolution occurred and the American Embassy personnel were held as captives by the new government of Iran.  They were returned to the U.S. shortly after the next president took office.  Carter was defeated in the 1980 Election by Ronald Reagan.

 

Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency on January 20, 1981 and served two terms through January 20, 1989.  He was a Republican and a conservative, bringing about changes that the conservatives had wanted for years.  He was also the oldest man elected to the presidency.

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Forgetting the post-Civil-War Period when the Radical Republicans, wanting to punish the South and controlled Congress from 1865 to 1878 when Rutherford Hayes stole the presidency from the Democrat, Samuel Tilden.  At that time the Republicans had a super majority in both Houses of Congress and could and did pass any law they put forth without the President’s signature.

 

Outside of this relatively short period in the nation’s history the two major political parties essentially got along and, more or less, cooperated with one another in passing the necessary laws for the nation.  The point has been made in an earlier blog that Democratic President Jimmy Carter was more conservative that Gerald Ford’s Republican Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller.  On the political line mentioned at the beginning of this blog Rockefeller would be placed left of center and Carter would go right of center.

 

This was true of many Congressmen.  There have historically been many conservative Democrats and moderate or liberal Republicans.  There was no separate void between them in terms of political positions.  There was always a slight difference in basic philosophy but there was always open communication and the possibility of compromise.

 

This has been a fact of United States history.  There was generally cooperation between both political parties.  The Conference Committee, which met after a bill was passed in slightly different versions in the two Houses of Congress, has been able to continually come up with a compromise bill for both Houses of Congress to successfully vote upon.

 

This system has existed until Barack Obama became President of the United States.  What has occurred from that time on has essentially been the development of the Tea Party, an extreme right arm of the Republican Party that is largely uneducated in the function of government and modern economics.  In the House of Representatives they are the Freedom Coalition.  In point of fact their aim seems to be to do away with the Federal Government

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The Weiner Component #169 – Part 1: The Third & Final Debate & Beyond

On Wednesday, October 19th 2016 Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did their last Presidential Debate.  They spent a little over 90 minutes in Las Vegas Nevada essentially insulting one another.  Trump called her a “nasty woman,” a liar, and a failure.  Clinton called Trump a greedy misogynist and bully who used his public prominence to enrich himself, take advantage of women, and exploit employees of his business empire.

 

When the Fox news moderator, Chris Wallace, asked Donald Trump if he would give a concession speech if he lost the election Trump refused to give an answer.  He said he would keep the moderator and the public in suspense until that moment arrived.  The implication being that he would not concede the election if he lost.  The next day at a rally Trump stated that he would give a speech if he won the election.

 

The press and many others were shocked by Trump’s comments and attitudes.  Presumably no one in the entire history of the United States has ever not conceded the election they lost.  Trump was presumably either going against precedent or setting a new precedent.  He was basically upsetting the passage of power from one president to another.  And in the process questioning the entire Democratic System.  He was placing himself ahead of his country.

 

Wallace and the press reacted as though a concession speech by the loser is an absolute ritual in passing power from one president to another. By not doing it the entire process is questioned.  The feeling among many is that Trump is placing himself before the good of the American Republic.  His ego is more important than the welfare of the United States.

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If we go back in U.S. history and look at the Election of 1824 we find that at that time there was only one political party, the Democratic-Republican Party.  There were initially five candidates for the presidency that year.  Each was from a different section of the United States and was their section’s favorite son.  One of the candidates suddenly died before the election; consequently the country ended up with four candidates from the same political party.  Andrew Jackson, the Western candidate received the most votes.  John Quincey Adams came next.  None of the four candidates had enough votes to win the presidency.  According to the Constitution in such instances the choice fell to the House of Representatives.  They, in turn skipped General Andrew Jackson and chose John Quincey Adams as the man best equipped to become President of the United States.

 

Andrew Jackson felt that he should have been chosen, as he had the most popular votes.  He, with the aid of his followers, began an anti-administration newspaper which attacked everything the Adams administration did over the next four years.  In 1828 he again ran for the presidency and won the election.  By then, there was the Jacksonian Democrats and a new political party, the Whigs, which consisted of most of the elements within the society that opposed the Jacksonian Democrats.

 

Their name came from the antimonarchist party in England.  They stigmatized the seventh president as King Andrew and were derided by Jacksonian Democrats as the party devoted to the interests of wealth and aristocracy.  They won the election of 1840 with James Polk as well as several other presidential elections.  By 1860 they had, with other political groups, coalesced into the new Republican Party that elected Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

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Trump has had one of his sons investigating to see if he could gain control of a television network.  If he succeeds he may plan to oppose everything that President Hillary Clinton does over her four years in office.  Trump would run again as the Republican candidate in 2020.  He would be 74 years old at that time.  That is the same age at which Ronald Reagan began his second term in office, January 20, 1985 to January 20, 1988.

 

Will this happen?  Probably not.  Donald Trump claims to have over ten billion dollars but his web site is continually asking for contributions, no matter how small.  Also he has continually refused to disclose his income tax data, and that is even after it has been proven that he paid no income taxes for the last 18 years.  The factors, which it seems very important to him to keep secret, are his actual yearly income and the real extent of his wealth.  He certainly doesn’t want it to be known that he is just a plain millionaire and not really a billionaire.  With secrecy he can claim anything and no one can prove otherwise.  And Trump loves to exaggerate everything, including the size of his body parts.

 

Before the election, Trump has put together a TV program which will support his run for the presidency for the last two weeks of his campaign.  On Monday, October 24, fifteen days before the Presidential Election Donald Trump launched what is supposed to be the first of a nightly Facebook Live Program on Facebook.  His campaign sent an email to his supporters around 6:30 Eastern Time to alert them that “Trump Tower Live” would describe nightly coverage from Trump Tower.  The program, which consisted of discussion essentially by key members of his staff, attacked mainstream media accusing them of intentionally misleading voters about the closeness of the race, accusing them of promoting “phony polls.  Apparently this is supposed to continue every night through the election.

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It should be noted that the Constitution says nothing about concession speeches.  All that is required today is 270 electoral votes out of 538 possible votes. 

 

The Constitution, Article II, states that: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.  He shall hold his Office during the term of four Years. . . . Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislators may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress. . . .The Electors shall meet in their prospective States, and vote by ballot for two Persons. . . . And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit to the Seat of Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.  The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.  The Person having the greatest number of votes shall then be President, if such number be a majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed.”

 

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1803, has the electors vote separately for the President and Vice President.  In the Presidential Election of 1800 both Democratic-Republican candidates received the same number of electoral votes and the election was thrown to the House of Representatives.  They chose Thomas Jefferson, who had run as the Presidential candidate.  The Vice Presidential candidate, Aron Burr would later kill Alexander Hamilton in a duel.  He had swung the election to Jefferson. After 1803 that problem never arose again.

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Even though, on the election ballot, we vote for a presidential candidate, we are not actually voting for him or her.  We are, in fact, voting for an invisible elector who will vote for the specific candidate.

 

The Founding Fathers did not quite trust the property owning masses to vote directly for the president.  Also the Senate was originally elected by the legislators of each particular state.  The people did not directly vote for them until the passing of the 17th Amendment in 1913.  The people of the country did directly elect the members of the House of Representatives and because of that, they were given the “power of the purse;” all money bills have to originate in the House of Representatives.

 

It is an interesting bit of irony that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives over the last six years has been the major impediment in the functioning of the Federal Government.  By their inactivity they have been able to maintain to a certain extent the conditions of the Great Recession.  They have successfully, even though many Republicans disavow him now, made Donald Trump their candidate.

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If Trump were to be successful in gaining full or partial control of a TV station after losing the election and runs that station daily over the next four years opposing everything President Hillary Clinton attempts during her turn as President, could he then be successful in a Presidential Election in the year 2020?  The answer to that question is possibly.

 

The Republicans have been successful in controlling the House of Representatives since 2011.  They have been able to do this because in the Election of 2010 they gained a large number of state legislatures and governorships.  2010 was a census year and new voting districts were drawn in all 50 states.  These state election victories allowed them to gerrymander the boundaries of all the states they controlled.  In 2012 there were about one-and-a-quarter million more Democratic votes cast in the nation for members of the House of Representatives than the Republicans but the Republicans still retained control of the House.  This may well continue through the Elections of 2016 and 2018.

 

The probability is that the Republicans will maintain the majority in the House of Representatives under President Clinton and, if the present is any indication, continue behaving there as they have for the last six years.  We will continue to have gridlock and virtually nothing will happen.  There will continue to be war between the two political parties.  The Republicans will continue attempting to force their will upon the Democrats through their normal form of blackmail, adding riders to necessary bills in order to forcibly bring their agenda about.

 

Trump’s base, his followers, will continue to become frustrated and disillusioned with Washington, D.C.  They may well be joined by many of those who have not registered with either party.  Consequently they could well make up fifty percent of the voting population.

 

One commentator came out with the comment that the word Trump more and more reminds him of the Nazi symbol.  I suspect over the next four years Trump could become even more rigid in his demands.  And the primaries are open elections in which Trump could easily run again to be chosen the Republican presidential candidate.

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The Republican dominated House of Representatives has again begun playing its old games with the Federal Budget.  They have refused to pass a yearly budget for the United States.  Currently the country has a budget until the middle of December 2016.  The temporary law will then be revisited with all sorts of new demands by the current House of Representatives before they go out of existence and a new House comes into being.  They will, in all probability, pass another three month temporary extension of the budget.

 

The money appropriated for the Zika epidemic was 800 million dollars short of what was requested by the assorted medical facilities that are dealing with the problem.  This will be revisited by the next House of Representatives long before the end of 2017.  The general public will become even more frustrated with Washington. 

 

Basically the Republican House by its actions will create a very solid base for Donald Trump to run as their candidate in 2020 for the presidency of the United States.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has refused to campaign with Trump because of Trump’s crassness against women, will be the one who is creating the setting that could well make Donald J. Trump the President of the United States in 2020.  And all this is being made possible because the Republicans cannot communicate and negotiate with the Democrats.

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Trump has loudly and continually accused the media, which he considers partisan of releasing “rigged polls” that place Hillary Clinton ahead of him.  It seems he knows he has won all three debates with her and is sure he is ahead of her with the voters.  I seem to remember that in 2012 the Republican leadership did not believe the polls because they favored Barack Obama and not Mitt Romney.  They were shocked when Obama won the election.  The polls were correct.  For inaccurate polls we have to go back to the Election of 1948, when Dewey ran against Truman.  Presumably the pollsters have made massive corrections in their polling techniques since then.

 

We will wait for the results of the 2016 Election before evaluating this election.  I suspect Trump will lose by quite a large number.  This is true even with the new release of non-information by the head of the FBI to Republican members of the Senate and House of Representatives about so-called new Clinton emails.

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It is also interesting to note that with the Electoral System, depending upon the population of the individual states, every vote is not equal.  In the heavily populated states like California and New York the individual vote is worth far less than in the sparsely inhabited states like Alaska, Rhode Island or Delaware.

 

To date there have been two elections where the man chosen by the Electoral College did not receive the majority of the popular vote: the first was the Republican, Rutherford Hayes in 1876, who became the United States President even though the Democrat, Samuel Tilden, won the popular vote; and the second was the Republican, George W. Bush in 2001, who became President even though the Democrat, Al Gore, received the majority of the popular vote. 

 

We can certainly use another Amendment to the Constitution.  It would be worthwhile to pass such an amendment before the situation arises again and also it would be fairer for all the American people to make each vote of equal value.

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

The Weiner Component #168 – As You Sow, So Shall You Reap: The Recent History of the Republican Party

With the Friday, October 7th release of the lewd and sexual harassing conversation, that Trump did in 2005 on a bus into an open microphone to Billy Bush, one of the hosts of the TV show “Access America,” while on the way to do another show, being made public, many of the Republican leaders, in and out of Congress, are calling upon Trump to drop out of the 2016 Presidential race as the Republican candidate.  When he refused, saying that the conversation was only “locker room talk,” many Republicans, in and out of Congress, still want to drop the Party’s support for him, arguing that he’s already lost the election.  They want to concentrate all the Party’s resources and efforts on the Congressional and state elections.  Paul Ryan, while still endorsing Trump, has stated that he will no longer campaign with him and that Republicans should concentrate on Congressional and state election.

 

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

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell were in shock.  Ryan was booed on Saturday, October 8, for disinviting Trump from the Wisconsin Unity Rally.  But both Ryan, the Speaker of the House, and McConnell, the Majority Leader in the Senate, are equally guilty of creating the milieu within the United States that allowed Trump to become a presidential candidate.  Both are equally guilty of bringing about the gridlock in Congress that caused very little to be done there, in keeping the government barely functioning, and even shutting it down for a while.  Even now, with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, there is a short term funding bill for a small part of the next fiscal year’s budget.  This includes, after four months hassling, Zika funding.

 

Every effect has a cause; and the cause of Donald Trump being the Republican presidential candidate can easily be traced back to Republican inaction in passing the necessary laws needed to run this country.  Every Republican in Congress worked to make Barack Obama a one term President and then still refused to cooperate with him during his second term in office.  They are all equally responsible for Donald Trump being their presidential candidate today.  They, by their inactions, created the situation that exists today.  They are all the cause of their own present-day ever-growing discomfort, Donald Trump.

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I suspect that by the end of his second term, President George W. Bush couldn’t even have won an election to become dogcatcher.  He has gotten absolutely no mention in the current election by Trump or other Republicans.  But he was the President of the United States who declared war on Iraq, supposedly because of their weapons of mass destruction, but actually to punish Saddam Hussein for attempting to have his “Daddy” assassinated.  He was the one who destabilized the Middle East and was the President responsible for much that was blamed on President Barack Obama.

 

George W. Bush has somehow gotten lost in history; but he was President of the United States only eight years ago; and much of what Donald Trump has blamed on President Obama was not only initiated by Bush but also carried out by him.  It was Bush who set up the U.S. exit from Iraq which President Obama then carried out.  And it was then the Iraqi and Afghanistan new governments that wanted the U.S. to withdraw.  Neither government was able to run their own state against the Taliban, the forces of the Middle East that opposed them.

 

And the U.S. National Debt was mostly created by Republican Presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan with his “Star Wars” operation which brought the Debt up to over one trillion dollars, to President George H.W. Bush who sent an army to remove the Iraqi military from Kuwait.  The war was known as Desert Storm and never would have been necessary if Bush had dealt properly with Saddam Hussein and not given him the impression that he could invade oil rich Kuwait.

 

The National Debt was actually decreased under President Bill Clinton.  But President George W. Bush initiated and fought two wars in the Middle East that, with slight interruptions, are still going on today. Through the efforts of these Republican Presidents the National Debt has soared from one trillion to over nineteen trillion dollars today.

 

The Great Recession of 2008 or to state it more clearly, the great bank caused housing bubble burst under President George W. Bush who initially bailed out the banks.  President Obama inherited it and in order to prevent it from becoming a greater depression than that of 1929 had to spend a lot of money.  He brought about a large degree of recovery in spite of the fact that a Republican led House of Representatives continually worked against it and his efforts to end it.  He also inherited two wars from George W. Bush. 

 

Donald Trump loudly and vociferously blames our NAFTA Agreement of 1993 on President Bill Clinton.  That agreement was initially negotiated by President George H.W. Bush in 1993.  Congress was unhappy with parts of it and these were renegotiated by President Bill Clinton and approved by both political parties in the Senate.  The initial international trade agreement was brought about by both a Republican and Democratic President.  Somehow Donald is either confused or he’s editing history to fit his pattern of what, he feels, the past should be.  Instead of calling President Obama a failed president he should call himself a failed candidate for the presidency.  This is especially true now that about a dozen or women have accused him of one or another form of sexual assault.

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Barry Goldwater (R) ran against Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 Presidential Election.  He was the first ardent conservative to run for the presidency.  Goldwater, according to his autobiography, did not expect to win the election.  He achieved 22% of the popular vote.  That percentage marked the extreme conservatives in the American electorate at that time. 

 

Interestingly Hillary Rodham (Clinton), as a high school student worked as a volunteer on his campaign.  Her parents were conservative and she initially followed in their footsteps.

 

From that time on the extreme right of the Republican Party worked avidly to improve their status with the electorate in the United States.  The next president, four years later was the Republican, Richard Nixon.  He was not as conservative as many in the party were.  Nixon resigned half-way through his second term over the Watergate Scandal.  He left the day before the House of Representatives was going to vote for a Bill of Impeachment.  Gerald Ford (R), the Vice President Nixon had appointed, replaced Nixon after his initial Vice President, Spiro Agnew, resigned over a corruption scandal.

 

President Ford appointed Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President.  Rockefeller represented what was then left or liberal end of the Republican Party; he was a moderate Republican.  The next President, the Democrat, Jimmy Carter, would be more conservative than Nelson Rockefeller.  This group of Republicans would be a dying breed. 

 

Ford was president for two years and then was replaced by the Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who would, four year later, be replaced by the Teflon conservative Republican President, Ronald Reagan.  With Reagan the ultra-conservatives felt that they had one of their own in office.  Reagan, however was capable of compromise.  The comment during his period as president was that he would take half-a-loaf, that is, compromise if he got some of what he wanted.

 

Reagan was followed by George H.W. Bush.  He had to contend with a Democratic Congress.  Then came William Jefferson Clinton for the next eight years.  Clinton spent most of his time contending with a Republican Congress.  He was frustrated over a number of laws he couldn’t get passed.  During his last year in office he actually reduced the deficit.

 

Clinton was followed by George W. Bush who was initially elected with less than the majority vote.  A foul-up on the ballots in Florida and the fact that his younger brother was the governor of that state and had inappropriately purged the voter lists got him elected.

 

Barack Obama was the first Black elected to the Presidency of the United States.  I suspect that that had something to do with the way he’s been treated by Congress.  All the Congressional Republicans at an early caucus meeting swore to make him a one term President.  They decided that they would support nothing that he tried to do.  

 

It was largely because of this overall inaction that the general public was alienated from Congress.  This brought about a condition in the country whereby the Blue-collar Republicans were looking for a hero to free them from the Washington Republicans.  That hero, to them, was Donald Trump.  It is amazing that the Republicans in Congress still do not understand what they have done.  And that is because they are still acting in that fashion with their short-term funding bill which they will revisit in December before the next Congress meets in January.

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For most of his two terms in office President Obama bent backwards to accommodate the Republicans.  The Affordable Health Care Bill (Obamacare) was based upon a Republican plan developed by Citizen’s United, a far right think tank, for Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.  It passed Congress on a partisan basis; in both Houses all Republicans voted against it and all Democrats voted for it.  From 2011 on the Republicans had a majority in the House of Representatives.  And outside of absolutely necessary bills nothing was passed.

 

A single bill can deal with an endless number of subjects and Paul Ryan came up with the idea of adding parts of their far right agenda to necessary bills that, for example, funded the United States.  That is why currently the bill to fund the U. S. for the next fiscal year was passed at the last minute and functions only until the middle of December 2016 when the Congress will meet again for a very short session presumably to fund the balance of the year.

 

The Republican dominated House of Representatives pattern is to pass their necessary bills at the last moment, shortly before they adjourn for some sort of extended break.  This means that the Senate gets very little time to consider the bill because they are also ready to leave for a period of time.  Consequently it’s pass the bill or let the nation suffer.

 

Ordinarily, every bill goes to a standing committee of members of that House where it is gone over, testimony on the bill can be taken and possibly the bill is modified, then it is sent to the specific house and can be debated before being voted upon. 

 

All money bills originate in the House of Representatives which directly represents the people, the Constitution gives them the “power of the purse.”  The Senate originally represented the states; they were elected by the legislative bodies in each state.  This was changed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1913 to where the people directly elected two Senators from each state.

 

After a bill is passed in one House it then goes to the other House and the same process is repeated.  Ordinarily there is some difference between the two bills and a Conference Committee, comprised of members of both Houses of Congress meet.  They work out a new version of the bill which then goes back to both House and is voted upon again.  If it passes in both Houses it is then sent to the President for his signature.  After he signs it the bill becomes law.  This process cannot be completed in two days.

 

The new process, presumably under Paul Ryan’s tutelage, was developed in the Republican dominated House after 2011 when the Republicans received a majority of members in the House of Representatives.  It was a means of forcing or blackmailing the Democratic dominated Senate and the President into accepting parts of the Republican agenda.  They either passed it quickly in the Senate and the President signed it or the country suffered.  An example of this was to take over four months to financially deal with the Zika epidemic and then to still not fully fund the bill to the amount requested by the President.

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Currently the Congress has the lowest approval rating in the history of its existence.  The Gallop Pole does a monthly survey which from 2011 to the present goes up and down continually from 9% to 20%.  A number of other polls average 13.8 % approval.  

 

Sooner or later there has to be a reaction to Congress’ high level of non-functionality.  That reaction in the 2016 Primaries was Donald Trump for those citizens who could not stand the Democratic agenda but were frustrated by that of the Republicans.  And Bernie Sanders was the candidate for those who were basically Democrats but were fed-up with Congressional gridlock.  Sanders has coalesced into the Clinton campaign and now supports her.

 

The Congressional Republicans created the field upon which Donald Trump, despite all the negative information that emerges about him, has flourished as the Republican Candidate.  They and they themselves by their strategies and actions have created him and now they refuse to take responsibility for what they have done.

 

Paul Ryan, who was totally disgusted by recent information that emerged about Trump, and cancelled his invitation to a rally with himself in Wisconsin, will no longer campaign with him.  He will concentrate upon Congressional elections only.  And it was Paul Ryan, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, who, at the last minute before adjourning the House, got the bill passed that temporarily funded the United States Budget through the middle of December so that the Republicans could once again make demands upon President Obama before he leaves office at the end of the year.

 

They are still playing the games that have lowered their approval rating with the American Public well under 20%.  Apparently winning political points is still far more important than carrying out their oaths to serve the American people.

 

The Republicans want political power and seemingly will do anything to achieve it.  And they will take no responsibility for the acts they perform.  It would be a nice irony for them if their actions caused them to lose control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  And, of course they would not understand how it came about.  Donald Trump, as a candidate, is their creation!

 

With the partial funding of the 2016 – 2017 budget the Federal Government may still face a major crisis.  If the House of Representatives attempts to force its agenda through at the last minute with the December Funding Bill then the last major act of President Obama may be to veto the Bill.  If this occurs then the current administration will end with a nonfunctioning government.  The new President will have to begin her administration by declaring a state of emergency until the government is legally funded in mid to late January of 2017 by the new Congress.  

 

Could this happen?  Very easily, if the Republican dominated House of Representatives attempts to force its will upon the country.  This would be shortly after the November 8th Election.  It would seem that a state of war exists between the Democratic President and the Republicans, and Donald J. Trump is just a byproduct of all this.

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“As you sow, so shall you reap.”  It shouldn’t take too much intelligence to understand this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #167 – The 2016 Presidential Election

Mark Twain observed, among his many comments, that young people, adolescents, feel they know everything, but as they grow older their ignorance of the world around them grows and, in turn, they learn a lot more.  This is not true for Donald Trump.  He felt as a younger man that he did know everything worth knowing and has refused to learn anything since that time.  In essence he never mentally passed beyond adolescence.

 

If we look at his first debate with Hillary Clinton in late September, it becomes obvious that he had not really prepared.  He had apparently felt that he was ready to handle himself easily with her.  Later he blamed the moderator, Lester Holt of N.B.C. News and a faulty microphone.  These were responsible for him not doing well at the debate.  None of it was his fault or his responsibility.  He even presented a theory that Clinton was secretly signaling Holt.

 

The item, at that debate that seems to have unhinged Donald Trump, was the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, who won a 1996 Miss Universe beauty contest that he owned and ran.  He had called her Miss Piggy because she gained weight and Miss Housekeeper since she was Hispanic, a native of Venezuela.  She is now an American citizen and lives in Los Angeles.  Incidentally she has recently stated that he was cruel to her and that she is, as an American citizen, voting for Hillary Clinton.

 

What was Trump’s response after the debate to Hillary Clinton and later, separately, to negative remarks about him from Alicia Machado.  He encouraged voters to check out a “sex tape” presumably featuring the former Miss Universe.  Hillary Clinton’s campaign is suggesting that a better rental would be the adult Playboy film in which Trump himself appears.

 

In the last week of September Trump went wild over this mention of Machado.  Other Miss Universe contestants have since come forward telling how bad their treatment by Trump was.  What’s emerged even among members of his own election staff is that this counter attack by him will further alienate female voters whose support he needs to win the election.

 

His middle of the night tweeting tore into the 1996 Miss Universe whose weight gain he said created trouble.  In addition her contract stated that she wouldn’t gain any weight.

 

“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M. become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?”  This he tweeted at 5:30 a.m.  It was one of a series of late night tweets.  Trump, himself appeared in a soft-porn, Playboy video.  Neither of them appeared in the nude.

  

Did he do better at his second debate on Sunday, October 9th?  I understand he’s showed little interest in preparing again.  Actually he prepared by running a separate Town Hall by himself on Thursday night, October 5.  The problem with this preparation is that he will have only his supporters present and they should all ask friendly questions.   He has also stated that he will attack Hillary for her husband’s sexual misbehavior during his Presidency.

 

In his Second Presidential Debate with Hillary Clinton he acted like an anxious caged animal, pacing the floor, and looking like he wanted to attack Clinton physically at times.  It was 90 minutes long and filled with back and forth insults.

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What I find fascinating about Donald Trump threatening Hillary about her husband’s earlier sexual behavior with other women is that Donald Trump and his two cohorts and ardent supporters, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich have each been married three times.  That makes a total of nine wives for the three of them. 

 

Giuliani, after twelve years of being married to Regina Peruggi (1968 – 1982), his childhood sweetheart, discovered that he was married to his cousin.  He got both a civil divorce and an annulment from the Church because good Catholics couldn’t get divorces.  He cheated on his first wife with his soon to become second wife.  While being married to his second wife, Donna Hanover (1984 – 2002) he was openly carousing with another woman.  His second wife, Donna Hanover, locked him out of Gracie Manor, the residence for the mayor or New York City.  Apparently getting a divorce this time was enough for him.  His ex-wife got several million dollars and custody of their two children.  His third wife, Judith Nathan, had been married twice before and brought him two stepchildren.  I fail to see how Giulani could be morally indignant about anyone else’s behavior.

 

Newt Gingrich is another example of moral ineptitude in more than one way.  He is the only Speaker of the House of Representatives to be censored for ethics violations; 395 members favored the reprimand, 28 opposed it.  He would shortly thereafter resign both as Speaker and as a member of the House of Representatives.  In addition his first wife was several years older than he.  She was his high school geometry teacher; and was 26; he was 19 when they got married.    He had begun an affair with his second wife while still married to his first wife; and he served his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from a cancer operation. 

 

He was married to his first wife Jacky Battley from 1962 to 1981.  They had two daughters.  Newt married his second wife four months later in 1981 and remained married to her until 2,000.  Presumably she didn’t want to be the wife of an eventual President of the United States.  He began an affair with his third wife, Collisla Gingrich, who was 21 years younger than he, while he was still married to his second wife and married her several months after his second divorce.  She, it seems, was fit and attractive enough to be the wife of a future President.  However his one attempt at running for that office failed in 2012.

 

Of Trump, there have been three marriages and five children.  During his first marriage he touted, what he considered, the fact that his mistress who he later married gave him the beat sex he ever had.  He has also touted his promiscuity over the years.  His wives, when he marries them all seem to be the same age.  He, however, got continually older.  At present he is 70. 

 

At some point in the late 1990a Trump told Howard Stern, the radio jock, that Virginias’ were expensive.  Stern later made that a topic for one of his radio broadcasts with Trump as his guest.

 

These three people denounced Bill Clinton’s immoral acts in a state of shocked innocence.  To quote Donald Trump, “Give me a break.”  In addition, with absolutely no evidence, Trump has announced that Hillary Clinton had an affair in one of his rambling speeches not long ago.  Obviously he had no evidence; the announcement was strictly inspirational.

 

So much for moral pretentions!

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Clinton in a Florida ad, both in English and Spanish using information provided by a Newsweek article demonstrated how Trump broke the law and was two-faced in 1998 when it was illegal to spend money in Cuba.  He addressed a Cuban-American crowd in Florida, denouncing Fidel Castro as a murderer while he had sent a group to that country to explore the possibility of doing business there, specifically opening a casino.  Nothing came of the trip but they illegally spent $68,000 in the process.  The expense was later disguised as charity.

 

This was a good example of Trump’s hypocrisy.  Another is the use of steel in his structures.  He rants about Chinese trade abusing the United States and the American workers, taking their jobs.  Trump bought Chinese steel for at least one of his structures because it was cheaper than American steel.  It is cheaper because it is not the same quality as American steel.  How many American jobs did he eradicate by this move?

 

Trump touted that he was making a contribution of $10,000 for the 9/11 first responders fund.  There is no record of him ever making any contribution to that fund.  Rudy Giuliani stated that the contribution was anonymously made.  Trump never did anything in his life for which he did not take credit.

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 At one point during the election Donald Trump was musing, during one of his many speeches before his followers, that he could be still doing “The Celebrity Apprentice” on television and not be bothered with all the vicissitudes of running a Presidential Campaign.  He was paid a million dollars for each reality episode.

 

It was, however, too late to change his direction.  Perhaps the one thing he didn’t fully realize in the beginning was that he and his past life would be subjected to a microscope by the press and presented to the public.  What is currently happening is that his charity scandal is just beginning.

 

There are some earlier blogs that examine the multitude of scams that Trump has pulled over the years.  One, however, that has earlier emerged and that is now only beginning to be investigated by the different state Attorney Generals and also, I would suspect, by the Internal Revenue Service is the Donald J. Trump Foundation.  It would seem that this charity, into which he puts none of his own money, serves as a “piggy bank” for Trump personally and also for some of his businesses.  It seems that what he has done with this tax deductible enterprise has been totally illegal.

 

The Attorney General of New York State has begun an investigation of the actions of the Donald J. Trump Foundation.  On Monday, October 3, 2016 he ordered the Trump Foundation to immediately stop fundraising in the state.  They had not properly registered to do so.  In addition they will be required to provide financial records about their charitable activities.  All this three weeks before the Presidential Election.  Four Trump Foundation donors will also be investigated.

 

This process began in January when Trump refused to attend a Fox Debate of potential presidential candidates and held a fundraiser for veterans that night.  The $6 million he collected that night went into the Trump Foundation.  And later, under pressure, it was distributed to veterans’ organizations.

 

Earlier in 2016, Donald Trump held a veterans fundraiser in Iowa which gained nationwide TV coverage and millions in donations without proper certification to do so.  Trump seems to have a propensity to ignore state laws.

 

The records of the Foundation by law have to be made public.  After the veterans’ charity issued the records of the Foundation were closely examined by the press.  It was found that he had contributed nothing to the Foundation for years and that he used it to serve his own needs, individual, business, and political.  It has served as his piggy bank when he wanted money to solve problem or buy toys.

 

While New York has begun this investigation 40 other states have similar laws concerning charities within their boundaries.  His Trump Foundation may have broken the laws in dozens of states.  The New York cease and desist letter may be only the first such order he receives.  Trump, it seems, just goes ahead and does what he wants, ignoring possible laws.

 

The president of the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy stated that, “It is likely that other states will follow suit and they will be issued cease and desist orders denying them fundraising privileges in other states.  That is the probable next step.”

 

The states most likely to do this are those who have historically been robust in their enforcement of charity laws, such as Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania.  This from Marc Owens, who formerly headed up the section of the IRS that dealt with charities.

 

The New York probe has already gone beyond its boundaries.  A Palm Beach lawyer upon request from N.Y. has sent them documents about a 2007 flag pole incident wherein a large fine leveled against Trump was settled by a $100,000 check to a charity. 

 

When queried, a woman from the campaign staff stated that, “The Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.”

 

Conceivable Trump can have as many as 41 investigations going on by the different states or some or, even all of them, could combine with the New York investigation.  The charges could be a multitude of fines from the different states.  If the Foundation was used to mainly benefit Trump it might even generate criminal charges.  And in additions to all this the IRS is probably running its own audit.

 

On November 28, 2016 the first of his class action trials will begin in California.  Trump has already insulted the presiding judge.  It should be interesting to watch.

The Weiner Component #166 – Trump, the IRS, & His Tendencies for Sexual Assault & Harassment

On Sunday, October 2, 2016 the New York Times published a copy of three pages of Donald Trump’s 1995 New York State tax return that it had received anonymously.  They published this information and its meaning to Trump’s income taxes for the last 18 years.  Trump for almost a full two decades has legally paid no income taxes due to a $916 million loss reported on his 1995 tax return.  This accusation was not refuted by Trump or anyone associated with his election bid.

 

Chris Christie and Rudy Giulani, who are both helping to manage his campaign, called Trump a genius in running his businesses.  Hillary Clinton has stated that if he considers himself “smart” to be able to not pay taxes, then what does that make the rest of us?  Trump, himself, finally acknowledged that he did it for the benefit of his employees and fellow investors.  If this is true then why is he still refusing to release his tax records?

 

In 1995 his New Jersey Taj Mahal Casino buildings went bankrupt.  From what I have been able to glean he had earlier at numerous times taken multi-million dollar bonuses out of his casino.  I assume, but don’t definitely know, that  he paid taxes on his bonuses or found ways to shield the money from taxes.  This is probably true of other properties he owned or partly owned and managed.  Presumably the real estate business almost collapsed in the early 90s.   Could this have been the cause of his bankruptcies; that is, the drop in property values and the fact that he had been helping himself to innumerable bonuses?  Had all that almost cost him his building ownership collapse in the late 1980s and early 90s?  Or was it greed and poor management of his properties?  

 

The New York Times report, late Saturday, October 1, 2016, showed how Trump has used the laws to cancel out his income taxes after his real estate and casino empire collapsed in the late 90s.  The times estimated that he had avoided income taxes for 18 years.  It also exposed the unfairness of the Federal Income System.

 

What I find interesting here is the question of who leaked the information?  It had to come from a source that worked on those taxes; it had to come from someone who either worked for Trump or for the state government.  In any case it was someone who felt that he wasn’t qualified or fit to be President of the United States.

 

The last few days of September 2016 and the first weekend of October exposed his true taxes, his shaky debate performance with Hillary Clinton, his negative dealings with a former Latina beauty queen, his 3am tweets, and on Saturday, October 1st, his rambling speech where he couldn’t stick to his teleprompter speech but kept rambling off in different directions.  Finally in that speech he decided that Hillary Clinton may have cheated on her husband.

 

According to the Times he took advantage of special rules for real estate investors that legally allowed him to offset $50 million a year for 18 years.

 

Another consideration, which no one seems to have mentioned and the New York Times seems to have ignored, is the fact that Donald Trump seems to take credit for using other people’s money.  He seems to have co-investors on most of his projects.  But until recently he’s never mentioned that.  Was the $916 million all his money?  Did the IRS check that so-called fact out?  His foundation, to which he hasn’t donated a dime in years, contributed other people’s money to causes that settled his personal. political, and business problems.  Would his business losses be any different?

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In the early 1980s a graduate student somehow got hold of a copy of President Ronald Reagan’s income tax returns.  She published them.  Reagan paid nothing in oncome taxes that year and the same would be true of earlier years.  During his Presidential Campaign he told everyone that they had to “tighten their belts” that year.  Reagan was naturally very upset over the release of his tax information.  In a speech to the American public he promised that he would tell his accountant to find a way for him to pay income taxes in the future.  And, I understand, he was able to accomplish this goal for the rest of his term in office.

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With the release of information about Trump’s taxes I was reminded of the Enron Scandal.  In October 2001 news of this led to the bankruptcy of that large energy corporation and the dissolution of the auditors who had guaranteed their solvency.  What had apparently happened was that money at Enron was considered limitless by the executives and they kept drawing it out, investing it in nefarious schemes, and then covering up their-loses until the large but finite fund could no longer pay the company expenses and it consequently collapsed.  Enron was the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history up to that point.  The CEO, numerous executives and some members of the defunct accounting firm ended up in jail.

 

It struck me that Donald Trump and possibly some other executives may have done similar things to cause Donald’s casino and building Empire to almost collapse.  We do know that he got numerous bonuses from the Taj Mahal, his New Jersey casino.  We also know that he’s been involved in at least four bankruptcies.  A negative temporary change in the real estate market could have brought about his crisis.  This would be easily done if he was milking his possessions for extra funds.

 

During the first stage of the Presidential Campaign, when he was competing to be chosen as the Republican candidate, he stated, in answer to a question or accusation that the others involved in his bankruptcies could afford and deserved to lose the money they had invested.  This, incidentally, would be his stockholders who had invested in Donald J. Trump shares of stock.  One would wonder how much he really lost, certainly not the 916 million dollars for which he took credit on his tax return.

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In 1995, Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, took home a salary of $202,423.  He was President of the United States and she was unemployed.  They also gained $88,441 from a blind trust.  

 

He and his wife paid $75,437 in federal income taxes that year.  There are decades of tax returns on line for the Clintons, detailing every tax bill and charitable donation over the last twenty years.  Trump has released nothing; leaving everyone to wonder about his taxes.  Now three crucial pages of his 1995 taxes have come to light and Trump and his cohorts are busy explaining them away.  He still has not released his IRA tax forms.

 

In the late 1970s in order to get his casino license Trump had to release several years’ worth of tax returns.  They showed that Trump paid no taxes for two years and a total of $71,943 for the other three years.                      ****************************************

The Clinton campaign, Sunday, exploited the tax discovery.  They argued that Trump is both unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be President and that he took advantage of rules which ordinary workers cannot use.  They also exploited his comment in the first debate that not paying taxes made him “smart;” saying that if he was “smart” not paying taxes then what does that do for the rest of us who do pay our income taxes!

 

Mo Elleithee, a Democratic strategist who runs Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, stated that, “Political operatives and strategists are going to study the last week of September 2016 for generations as the textbook case of self-sabotage.”

 

Senator Harry Reed, the Senate minority leader said, “Trump is a billion-dollar loser who won’t release his taxes because they’ll expose him as a spoiled rich brat who lost the millions he inherited from his father.”  Reed went on to call Trump “a racist, incompetent failure who managed to lose a billion dollars in a boom year.”

 

Bernie Sanders stated on CNN that this is “exactly why so many millions of Americans are frustrated, they’re angry, they’re disgusted….You’ve got the middle class people working longer hours for low wages – they pay their taxes, the support their schools, they support their infrastructure, they support the military.  Trump goes around and says, ‘Hey, I’m worth billions!  I’m a successful businessman!  And I don’t pay any taxes.  But you – you make 15 bucks an hour – you pay the taxes, not me.”

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In addition to his tax games on Friday, October 7, members of the press acquired a microphone recording that caught Donald J. Trump in 2005, relatively newly married for the third time, boasting to Billy Bush, the then host of Access Hollywood, about his sexual propensities with attractive women.  “I just start kissing them…I don’t even wait.  And when you’re a star they let you do it…You can do anything.”

 

The 2005 tape, which also had some video attached to it, hit the news broadcasts on Friday and became the main item of news that night.  Trump was uninvited from his Saturday Unity Rally with Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. 

 

Trump called it “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.  Among others, many Republican politicians have called the tape lewd and vulgar.  The New York News, a sensationalist newspaper, ran the headline about grabbing their “p_ _ _y.”

 

Trump initially said that he apologized to anyone who felt offended by the audio tape.  Later on Friday night or Saturday morning he released a 90 second TV statement, personally apologizing for his comments, stating that meeting people across the United States has humbled him, and verbally attacking the Clintons. 

 

Many Republicans have suggested that Trump resign as the designated Republican candidate.  He has stated that he wouldn’t quit “in a million years.”  Many Republican leaders and Congresspersons want the Republican Party to stop supporting him and concentrate on the congressional and state elections.  They want to keep their power base even if they lost the presidency. 

 

Interestingly Paul Ryan was booed when he announced in his opening address at the Wisconsin Unity Rally that Donald Trump had been uninvited and would not be there.

 

Trump also stated that he was younger then, only 59 years old, now at 70 years of age he is more mature.  He did not concede or apologize for any actual behavior that he described in the tape.  Legally what he describes amounts to sexual harassment and assault.

 

Jill Harth, a pageant owner who worked with Trump in the mid-1990s, filed a suit against him in the federal court in Manhattan in 1997, accusing him of a relentless campaign of sexual harassment and assault that included one incident of grabbing her crotch under the table during a meeting at a New York restaurant with other people present.  That case, which included other items also was settled by Trump with another case involving the pageant for $100,000.

 

Miss USA pageant winner, Temple Taggart, a former Miss Utah, told the New York Times last May that Trump kissed her on the lips without her permission.  She believed he did the same with other contestants.

 

It would seem that if he has reformed, he did so less than a year ago.  We all know how Trump went ballistic over Hillary Clinton’s comment during the first Presidential Debate about the 1996 Ms. Universe winner, Alicia Machado.  He tweeted negative comments about her at 3:30 a.m.  He had called her Miss Piggy because she ate too much and Miss Housekeeper because she was a Hispanic.  All this was last month.  Has he really reformed? 

 

He may or may not be currently groping women anymore but his basic attitudes toward them have not changed.  Trump reminded me of some of the former G.I.s I met when I was in the military in the mid-1950s.  These individuals always scored sexually when they went into town, according to them.  They lived rich fantasy lives.  Trump tends to exaggerate everything about himself.  He seems to always try to make himself look bigger than he is.

 

There are mountains of TV tapes which contain negative comments by Trump that have been edited out of “Celebrity Apprentice” tapes.  There is also quite a bit of exaggeration about Trump’s prowess toward women, including his elder daughter that exists from when he was on Howard Stern radio broadcasts from the first decade of this century and earlier.  These are suddenly very valuable; even short sections can be worth thousands of dollars to whoever can get hold of them.  I’m sure the press is willing to pay for the information. There may be many more people willing to testify that they have been harassed and groped by Donald J. Trump.  I would imagine the news will be quite colorful this week.  Some of the cases might be very recent.

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I’s like to end this blog with a note of humor.  Trump charges people who fly on his plane with him.  As of about three weeks ago he has made a profit of about 6 million dollars.  As a Presidential Candidate he has Secret Service guards protecting him.  The Secret Service is billed every time they fly with him.  The Press pays for the privilege of flying with him in his airplane.  The campaign pays for his children accompanying him on the plane.  In addition whenever possible Trump holds many of his campaign rallies and other functions in buildings he owns or controls.  He has stated that even if he loses the election he will still show a profit on his campaign.

The Weiner Component #165- Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fashion Show, New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A number of the previous blogs deal with Donald J. Trump, his history, his basic dishonesty, his abuse of people.  It seems that no matter how many negative facts come out it’s always just the tip of the iceberg.  It’s as though one was peeling away the thin layers of an onion.  Each one is fouler than the preceding layer.

 

Trump, as a Presidential Candidate, accepts no responsibility for anything he says or does.  Everything that goes wrong is something or someone else’s fault.  The problems, he had in his first Presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, are the fault of the moderator and a faulty microphone, certainly not because of anything he said or his body language.

 

It’s been suggested that he is sociopath, who cares solely for his intimate circle, this being his family, and for no one else.  He thinks nothing of abusing people or of cheating them, financially or otherwise.  Currently he is facing four lawsuits, the first of which, a class action suit, will be held from November 28, 2016 on in California.  Three are class action and one is a fraud $40 million suit by the State of New York.  The amounts he is being sued for, taken together, exceed $100 million dollars.  And all of these just deal with the former Trump University.

 

He is also under investigation for possible criminal activity in the use of his foundation.  Federal law clearly states that nonprofit foundations are tax exempt; they cannot be used for self-dealing.  Nonprofit lenders cannot use charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

 

The Attorney General of New York is currently investigating how he has The Trump Foundation spend money.  What has just immerged is that Trump used $258,000, which he did not contribute, from his foundation to settle legal issues like lawsuits that he had lost or not taken to trial.  Incidentally Trump never applied to the State of New York to get a license in order to collect contributions from other donors.  The entire foundation is in violation of New York law. 

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In 1987 Trump founded his foundation and supplied all its funds until 2006.  By that year he had given away all the money he had donated except for $4,238, according to tax records.  From 2006 on it became The Donald J. Trump Foundation.  He gave small donations in 2007 and in 2008 but he made no further contributions.  All the other monies for the foundation were solicited from wealthy donors who, I imagine, claimed those donations as tax-free expenditures on their income taxes.

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In 2013 the foundation gave $25,000 to the political group supporting Florida Attorney general Pam Bondi (R).  The gift was made around the same time that Bondi’s was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University, which had made over $3 million for Trump in that state.  Florida decided not to join the New York lawsuit against Trump.  Incidentally there were similar conditions in the State of Texas and afterwards Trump University withdrew from that state.

 

Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations cannot legally make political gifts.  Trump staffers blamed the Florida gift on a clerical error.  Trump paid a $2,500 penalty and reimbursed the Trump Foundation for the $25,000.

 

In 2012, the foundation bought Trump, through his action, a $12,000 football helmet signed by NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. 

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We don’t know how much of his own money he ever put into the foundation but we do know that he took credit for the contributions he did and did not make.  He has claimed the foundation made donations to philanthropic groups that state they never received any donations from his foundation. 

 

He does accepts tax-free donations from various wealthy donors.  This is how his foundation receives its funds.  Among his donors are pro-wrestling executives Vince and Linda McMahon.   From 2007 to 2009, according to tax records, they gave a total of $5 million.  Trump is the president of the foundation and choses how the money is to be spent.

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In 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Florida.  This resulted in a dispute about a flagpole being too high.  In 2006 the club put up an eighty foot flagpole with a giant American flag; I believe it was forty feet.  The town rules said flagpoles can only be 42 feet high.  Trump stated that, “You don’t need a permit to put up an American flag.”  The town fined Trump $1,250 a day until the pole was removed. 

 

Trump’s club sued, arguing that a smaller flag “would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald Trump’s … patriotism.”  They settled with the town waiving the $120,000 fine and Trump contributed $100,000 to the town’s chosen charity, Fisher House. 

 

Fisher House runs a network of comfort homes for the families of veterans and military personnel receiving medical treatment.  Trump provided the town with copies of the check which showed that it came from the Trump Foundation.

 

Trump also stated that he sent a check for $25,000 to another charity for good measure, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.  Copies of this check were also sent to the town of Palm Beach.

 

Interestingly the first check is not hand signed.  Instead it is stamped with his signature.  I imagine the same is true of the second check.  Probably they were made out by one of his employees.  Can it be proven that he made or ordered the check sent to the veteran group?  I would imagine that the negotiations were carried out by one or more lawyers.  They would probably admit that they were ordered to solve the problem.  And this they did.  Can it be proven that Trump carried out this basically illegal self-serving action or that one or more of his employees went off on their own?  Probably not.

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Trump used $5,000 of foundation funds to buy advertisements for three events organized by a D. C. preservation group at his hotel.  The money advertised the convergence of an old post office pavilion into a new hotel and convention center.  The events were charities but the ads dealt only with the new hotel and convention center.

 

He also spent $10,000 of foundation money for a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.  Several years earlier, in 2007, his wife, Melania, spent $20,000 of what turned out to be foundation money on a six foot speed portrait of himself during a charity gala at Mar-a-Lago. 

 

Tax experts stated that Trump was not allowed to keep those items, the signed football helmet or the two paintings of himself or to display them in a home or business.  They had to be put to a charitable use.  Trump’s campaign has not responded to questions about the helmet or the portraits.

 

The four cases of possible self-dealing were discovered in the Trump Foundation’s tax returns, which are required to be made public.  His personal tax returns have never been made public, except when he was applying for a casino license.

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In 2010, a man named Martin Greenburg hit a hole-in-one while playing at a charity tournament at Trump’s golf course in Westchester, New York.  Apparently Trump had offered to pay one million dollars to anyone who got a hole-in-one at that golf course.  Later, Greenberg was told that he had won nothing.  The prize rules required that the shot had to go 150 yards.  In that course the distance to the holes was too short.  Greenberg sued.  Eventually, according to court papers, the golf course signed off on a settlement that required it to make a donation to the Martin Greenberg Foundation of $158,000.  The money came from the Donald J. Trump Foundation.  Greenberg’s foundation did not report receiving any funds from the Trump foundation or from the golf club for that year.  Neither Greenberg nor Trump have been willing to comment.  Apparently Greenberg kept the money for himself. 

 

Tax experts have stated that the two incidents appear to be clear cases of self-dealing as defined by the tax code.  The Trump Foundation had made a donation so that a Trump business did have to pay a debt.  A San Francisco lawyer stated that both cases clearly fit the definition of self-dealing.

 

In 2013, The Trump Foundation made a $5,000 donation to the D.C. Preservation League.  The nonprofit’s support has helped Trump turn the historic Old Post Office Pavilion into a luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.  The Trump Foundation’s donation bought a sponsorship.  This included advertising space in the programs for three big charity events.  It was aimed at Washington’s elite.  The ads did not mention the foundation or anything related to charity.  They promoted Trump’s hotel.  There were enticing photographs and a phone number to call for reservations.  The foundation’s check bought advertising for Trump’s hotel.  That was for the benefit of his business, not charity, even though a charity was involved. 

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In 2014, at a gala Mar-a-Lago Florida charity event that raised money for the Unicorn Children’s Foundation, a charity that helps children with developmental and learning disorders, Trump bought at auction two paintings by Havi Schanz, a Miami Beach based artist.  One was an image of Marilyn Monroe and the other, a four foot-tall portrait of a younger-looking, mid 90s Trump.  He paid $10,000.  Several days later he sent a check from the Trump Foundation.

 

Trump did not respond to questions about where the second pointing is at present.  It was last seen at Trump’s club.

 

Trump has also been accused by Ted Cruz and others of being a pathological liar.  Recently when he finally admitted that he now believes that President Barack Obama was born in the United States he had to blame the Birther Movement, of which he was one of the leaders, upon Hillary Clinton.  He has lied about everything, from seeing Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11/01 when the Twin Towers were attacked, to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton being the originators of ISIS, to what’s stated above.  He seems to embellish everything with falsehoods.  It would seem that the line between truth and falsehood do not exist for him.  He says what is convenient at the time and then persists with the lie even after he has been proven wrong.

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Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States is a 70 year old living disaster as a human being.  He is only aware of one thing, himself and his life experience.  He is painfully ignorant of everything else, the working of government, dealing with other nations, and the functioning of the military.  He tends to run his mouth off like a broken toilet, spewing out totally irresponsible public comments that effect the nation and our dealings with other nations. 

 

While some of the above expenditures are related to charity Trump’s definition of it is entirely different from the official legal definition.  In each case stated above either he or one of his businesses benefited from the transactions.  All of the above contributions are self-serving.

 

The Trump Foundation is currently being investigated by the New York State Attorney General.  In all probability, at this point, The Internal Revenue Bureau is also investigating the actions of the Trump Foundation.  What would be interesting, and we would never officially know, the Foundation could lose its tax-free status and may suddenly have a tax liability for all its illegal contributions.  In addition all the people who contributed to the Trump Foundation may have their IRA taxes revised and suddenly owe taxes on their contributions.  It makes for a wild mess.

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In addition, if he were to become president he could easily destroy the U.S.’s credibility in the world and get us involved in nuclear war.  Even if he were to miss the nuclear war it might take several generations for the United States to regain its position in the world after four years of Donald Trump.