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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Comey

James Comey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

A cotton gin on display at the Eli Whitney Museum.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

The Weiner Component V.2 #18 – Deja Vu

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #17 Republicans & Affordable Health Care

Official photographic portrait of US President...

English: Nations with Universal health care sy...

English: Nations with Universal health care systems. Nations with some type of universal health care system. Nations attempting to obtain universal health care. Health care coverage provided by the United States war funding. Nations with no universal health care. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The existence of Universal Health Care exists in most of the industrial nations as a right for every citizen.   In the United States this concept came into being in 2010, the second year of the Obama administration.  Traditionally, in the U.S. up until that time health care was provided by many employers or it was for people who could afford to pay the required premiums.  The idea of Universal Health Care as a right of all citizens began in the United States in 1945 with President Harry S Truman.  It remained an idea because no legislation was passed by Congress.  Under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 Medicare was passed for senior citizens and the disabled.  Former President Harry S Truman received the first card, numbered 1.

 

For younger people, those under 65 years of age, medical coverage had to be purchased.  Millions didn’t have any coverage.  Either their jobs didn’t provide it or they couldn’t afford the required premiums.  In medical emergencies these people had to go to E.R. in hospitals or attempt to ignore their illness.  The hospitals had to provide services even if they could not collect fees for them.

 

It should be noted that even with Medicare medical services are not completely paid for.  Even today many seniors have limited financial resources.  They may have to choose between medicine, food, and/or rent.  Medications also tend to be very expensive.

 

President Bill Clinton had a committee headed by his wife, Hillary, attempt to develop a Universal Health Care Bill during his presidency.  It was finally totally defeated with the slogan, “There has to be a better way.”  The “better way” was no Health Care Bill.  The concept was defeated during his first four years in office.

 

Under President George W. Bush a prescription payment was added to Medicare.  This did not do away with payments for medication but it reduced them considerably with the Federal Government picking up the balance.

 

It should be noted that one of the main groups of contributors to Congressional Elections, particularly Republican elections, is the pharmaceutical industry.  In turn Congress has protected their rights to charge outlandish prices for medications.  Most medications produced by these companies cost far less outside the boundaries of the U.S.  Ironically it is the taxpayers who now pick up most of the cost for medication so that politicians can more easily get contributions.

 

During the second year of the Obama administration, 2010, with the Democrats having control of both houses of Congress, the Affordable Health Care Bill was passed.  As a put-down the Republicans dubbed the bill Obamacare.  President Obama stated that he liked the title and it has been largely called that since.

 

Ironically, in order to make the bill palatable to the Republicans the Democrats built Affordable Health Care from a Republican plan, utilizing private enterprise, the insurance companies, to build a universal health plan.  Obamacare was modeled after a plan that had been developed and used by the state of Massachusetts under the Republican governor, Mitt Romney.

 

Not one Republican voted for Affordable Health Care.  They had all in caucus agreed to not support anything President Obama favored.  They were determined to make him a one term President.  The Bill was passed by the Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress.  Not one Republican voted for the Bill in either House of Congress.  In fact from 2011 on, when the Republicans achieved a majority in the House of Representatives, they voted over sixty times over the next six years to repeal the Bill.  Up until 2014 the Democrats had a majority in the Senate.  In 2015 the Senate barely achieved a Republican majority.  At that time President Obama vetoed the anti-Obamacare Bill.

 

With the election of the Republican Donald J. Trump as President of the United States and with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress their goal seemed within reach.  But poles ascertained that repeal of that Bill had only 17% approval among the general public.  The majority of Americans want to keep it in existence.  Affordable Health Care had become even more popular than it had been during the time when Barack Obama had been President of the United States. The number of people signing up for it in 2017 increased considerably.

 

Suddenly the Congressional Republicans had a tiger by the tail.  When the Republican legislators went home on their numerous breaks to their districts they faced unhappy constituents who were vociferous in their protest against doing away with Obamacare.  This was particularly true when the Non Partisan Congressional Office that reported upon this bill stated that 14 million people would lose their health insurance coverage if the initial Republican “repeal and replace” health bill became law.

 

After failing to get their “repeal and replace” bill through the House of Representatives the Republicans members were careful to take their two week Easter break.  When they returned there was presumably a new “repeal and replace” bill which was rushed through the House and passed before it had been evaluated by the Non Partisan Budget Office that vets all bills as to their effects.  Since the bill would be massive in size the probability was that most of the Republicans who voted for it had not read it.

 

The new bill is called The American Health Care Act.  From what I understand it makes Health Insurance available to everyone if they can afford the premiums.  Whereas Affordable Health Care attempted to make Health Insurance a right for every citizen the American Health Care Act makes it a privilege for those who can afford it.  The Federal Government will give each state a fixed amount of money which the states can use in helping their citizens pay healthcare premiums.

 

The overall amount which the Federal Government will save is estimated to be around eight billion dollars.  This will allow the Congress to pass what it calls, tax reform.  Congress and President Donald Trump intend to reduce income taxes for the upper 1% and for corporations around eight billion dollars.  The principle here strikes me as reverse Robin Hood, that is, take from the poor and give to the rich.  If this goes through Donald Trump will reduce his taxes considerably.

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Fortunately the House of Representatives passing a bill is just that, passing a bill.  The bill then goes to the Senate and the Senate has to pass the bill.  First the bill actually goes to a Senatorial Committee where hearings on it will be held and it will be marked-up, changed or rewritten into a Senate version.  A number of Republican Senators have already stated that they have their own ideas about a Senate version of a Health Care Bill.

 

Once the Senate Committee has come out with their version of the bill it then goes to the full Senate where Senators can still amend the bill before voting upon it.  After amendments are added, and each one must be voted upon separately, the bill is again voted upon by the full Senate.  At best it will have three more Republican votes than Democratic votes.  The count in the Senate is now 52 Republicans to 46 Democrats and 2 Independents who caucus and vote with the Democrats.

 

It is very possible that the Republicans will not be able to get a majority vote and the bill will die in the Senate.  But even if it passes it will be different from the House bill.  Consequently the two bills will go to a Conference Committee made up of members of both Houses of Congress.  They, in turn, will have to come up with a Compromise Bill that is acceptable to both Houses of Congress.  If that were to occur then the new Compromise Bill would have to go to both Houses and be voted upon and passed in both Houses without any changes or it would have to go back to a new Conference Committee.

 

The chances of much of this happening is very small.  The probability is that the bill will not even reach the Conference Committee.  And even if it does it could easily die there.

 

What this bill will achieve is to upset the 14 million people who would lose their current medical coverage if the bill were to pass.  There is a Midterm Election coming up on the first Tuesday in November of 2018.  I am sure the Democrats in each District and State will be happy to remind their constituents of how their Republican representatives voted in 2017 on health care.  It would probably also be worth notifying them that the Republicans refused to raise the minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.  The probability is that the Senate will once again gain a Democratic majority and the House of Representatives could also achieve one.

 

President Donald Trump will likely be tweeting half the night if one or both Houses of Congress had a Democratic majority.  He has essentially been able to get nothing done with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress.  He will probably get less than nothing done with one or both Houses of Congress in Democratic hands.

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As a point of interest, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is or was a follower of Ann Rand, at least until he found out she was an atheist, is largely responsible for the original new health bill and after the Easter Congressional break for the so-called new version of that bill that the House of Representatives passed.  He says that it is “a bogus attack from the left” to claim that the health care bill was rushed.  I suppose the “left” is the Democratic Party, as the bill was passed strictly along party lines.  No Democrat voted for it.

 

Ryan did not wait for the Non Partisan Congressional Office to study and give the over-all effects of the bill.  Rushing the bill through the House meant, not giving the constituents a chance to complain.

 

It is also interesting to note that Ann Rand basic philosophy, which she applied to her novels dealt with the Hegelian method, thesis vs. antithesis which she turned into individuals acting against each other in her two major novels: The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  Her form, in both novels dealt with the super individual functioning or struggling against the uncaring group.  In essence it would be the super human vs. the uncaring masses.  I suppose to Ryan it means him against the masses.

 

This philosophy was developed in the late 19th and first half of the 20th Century.  Its prime example would be Germany’s concept of the Master Race.  I would guess that the current Speaker of the House of Representatives mentally includes himself among that group.  This is the man that pushed through the current House Health Bill which will, if passed, take medical insurance away from 14 million people and also increase the wealth of the well to do by decreasing their taxes.

The Weiner Component V.2 #16 – The Great Presidential Cover-up(s)

In 1968 former Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon ran for the presidency of the United States on the Republican ticket.  It was the second time he attempted to attain that position.  In 1960 he had run against John Fitzgerald Kennedy and lost by less than one percent of the vote.

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

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Lyndon B. Johnson had announced that he would not run for another term as President.  After a tumultuous Convention the Democrats had chosen Hubert Humphrey and the Southern states of America also ran a third party candidate, George Wallace, whose platform tended to be against integration of the public schools and civil rights for Blacks.  Nixon’s platform, among other things, was that he would end the Viet Nam War and the United States would withdraw with honor from Viet Nam.  Nixon also campaigned as the law and order candidate.  Martin Luther King Jr, and Robert Kennedy while campaigning for the presidency, had been assassinated.  It was a highly dramatic time in the history of the nation, with the anti-Viet Nam War Movement having reached a high point.

 

Nixon carried 32 states with 301 electoral votes, and a popular vote of 31,783,783; Humphrey had 13 states plus Washington, D.C., 191 electoral votes, and 31,271,839 popular votes; and Wallace had 5 states, 46 electoral votes, and 9,901,118 popular votes.  This was the first election after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that had led to the mass enfranchisement of racial minorities throughout the country.  It was about this time that the South would switch its voter majority to the Republican Party.

 

Nixon’s presidency, for the next four years would be rather dramatic.  He actually increased the pressure of the Viet Nam War, enlarging it beyond its borders in order to get the U.S. out of the war with honor.  Protest grew in this country.  Protest movements exploded, particularly at universities.  By 1972, when it became time for reelection Nixon, even though he had the support of the majority of the American people, became frantic to get reelected.

 

The Republican Party secretly supported, with funds, the most radical of the Democratic candidates, George McGovern, helping him to get nominated as the Democratic candidate.  And a small group of five men, both directly or indirectly, connected with the Republican Reelection Committee broke into Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., bugging two of the telephones and searching for assorted information as to what the Democrats were doing or planning.  They broke in more than once and were finally caught and arrested for burglary.

 

Watergate occurred shortly before the Presidential Election of 1972.  Nixon won the election by an overwhelming majority.  He received 520 electoral votes, carried 49 states with a popular vote of 47,168,710.  McGovern received 17 electoral votes, carried 1 state and Washington, D.C. with a popular vote of 29,173,222.  It was an embarrassing defeat for the candidate and the Democratic Party.

 

Even with the election over and the new Presidential term beginning the Watergate investigation continued.  In addition over the next two years an eighty-five page indictment was developed against Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro Agnew, the former governor of Maryland.  He was involved with bribery and extortion, as Vice President, governor, and even going back to before he became governor of Maryland.

 

Because of the turmoil of Watergate the country was undergoing at that time Agnew was offered a deal by government law enforcement.  He could plead “no contest” and resign from the Vice Presidency and he would not be prosecuted.  Agnew took the deal, left Washington, and, from what I remember, settled in Palm Springs, California.  Nixon, while the investigation was going on appointed a new Vice President, Senator Gerald Ford, who would become President after Nixon resigned.

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In January of 1972 G. Gordon Liddy, the Finance Council for the Committee for the Reelection of President Richard Nixon and former aide to John Ehrlichman, presented a campaign intelligence plan to the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP) which consisted  of Acting Chairman Jeb Stuart Magruder, Attorney General John Mitchell, and Presidential Council John Dean that involved extensive illegal activities against the Democratic Party.

 

Mitchell viewed the plan as unrealistic.  Two months later he was alleged to have approved a reduced version of the plan.  This included burgling the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C.  The burglars were to photograph campaign documents and install listening devices in telephones.  G.Gordon Liddy was in charge of the operation, but has insisted, after being arrested, that he was duped by Dean and two of his subordinates. These were former CIA officers E. Howard Hunt and James McCord.

 

The first burglary was on May 28.  Two phones were wiretapped, that of the executive director and that of the DNC secretary.  Apparently the listening devices had problems and a second burglary was planned.

 

Shortly after midnight on June 17, 1972 a security guard at Watergate noticed tape covering the locks on some of the doors in the complex leading from the underground garage to several offices.  This allowed the doors to close but remain unlocked.  He removed the tape.  When he returned an hour later the locks had been re-taped.   He called the police.  Five men were arrested inside the DNC headquarters.

 

On September 15, a grand jury indicted them, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy for conspiracy burglary and violation of federal wiretapping laws.  The five burglars were tried by a jury and were convicted on January 30, 1973,

 

On the morning of June 18, 1972, G. Gordon Liddy called Jeb Magruder in Los Angeles and informed him the “the four men arrested with McCord were Cuban Freedom Fighters, whom Howard Hunt had recruited.”  The White House immediately began a cover up of the crime and any evidence that might damage the President and his reelection.  The Presidential Election would be the first Tuesday in November.

 

(Somehow the burglary and arrests sounds like a scene from the Silent Era series of films on the keystone cops, totally ridiculous.)

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

Shortly after the arrest the FBI would discover the name of E. Howard Hunt in the address books of two of the burglars.  Dean was later ordered by top Nixon aide John Ehrlichman to “deep six” the contents of Hunt’s White House safe.  The evidence from Hunt’s safe was destroyed by Dean and the FBI’s Acting Director, L. Patrick Gray.  On June 19, 1972, the press reported that one of the Watergate burglars was a Republican Party Security aide.  On August 1, a $25,000 cashier’s check earmarked for the Nixon re-election campaign was found in the bank account of one of the Watergate burglars.  The FBI investigation would reveal that the burglary team received thousands of dollars in the months leading up to their arrests.  In essence multi-thousands of dollars in certified checks which the burglars had received could be traced back to the CRP, connecting the oncoming Presidential Election with the five burglars.  All five Watergate burglars were directly or indirectly tied to the 1972 CRP.  This in turn caused the Judge who tried their case to suspect a conspiracy involving higher-echelon government officials.  On September 29, 1972, the press reported that John Mitchell, while serving as Attorney General, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance intelligence gathering against the Democrats.  On October 10, the FBI reported the Watergate burglary was part of a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage on behalf of the Nixon re-election committee.  Still, Nixon’s campaign was never seriously jeopardized.  On November 7, the President was overwhelming re-elected.

 

Watergate lingered between the press and the White House, with more and more information gradually coming out.  In fact it haunted Nixon’s second term as president.  A special council outside the government for the Watergate investigation was appointed.  Archibald Cox headed it.  The Senate held public hearings on Watergate which were publically broadcast on national television.  It came out that Nixon was recording all conversations in the oval office.  Both Cox and the Senate attempted to subpoena these recordings.  Nixon refused and ordered Cox to drop his subpoena.  Cox refused.  Nixon ordered the Attorney General to fire Cox.  The Attorney General refused.  Nixon fired the Attorney General and ordered the assistant to the Attorney General to fire Cox.  He also refused.  Nixon also fired him and appointed a third Attorney General, Robert Bork, who did fire Cox.

 

The public was incensed.  In a speech on October 20, 1973, Nixon stated, “I am not a crook.” Then the new Attorney General, Robert Bork, appointed a new special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, to continue the investigation.

 

The question had become: When did the President learn of the Watergate break-in?  On March 1, 1974 seven of the President’s close aides were indicted by a Grand Jury.  They also secretly named the President as an unindicted co-conspirator.

 

The Nixon administration released an edited version of the tapes.  Expletives, which Nixon freely used and confidential information were removed from the tapes.  The tapes implied that Nixon knew about the burglary from the beginning and that the initial burglars had been paid to keep silent.  Later another tape appeared that proved Nixon was aware of Watergate from the beginning.

 

In July 27, 1974, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee by a vote of 27 to 11 voted to recommend a Bill of Impeachment against the President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon.  On August 8, 1974, Nixon was told of the Bill of Impeachment by the House and that there were no more than 15 votes in the Senate that would support him.  On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency; the day a bill of impeachment was to be passed in the House of Representatives.

 

The Cover up had failed.  The process had taken a little under two years.  The Vice President, Gerald Ford became the new President.

He would serve out the balance of the presidential term.  Nixon was still liable to criminal prosecution by both state and federal laws.  On September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford issued a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes Nixon may have or did commit as President.

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

Today, early in May of 2017, President Donald J. Trump and his administration face a similar problem.  Is or has it undergone a cover-up for collusion with Vladimir Putin and Russia over the Presidential Election of 2016 or are Trump and his staff amateurs that don’t really know what’s going on as they attempt ineptly to run the United States?

 

According to James Clapper, the former head of the National Intelligence Agency there is “overwhelming” evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.  The FBI began its counterintelligence investigation in July of 2016, well before the November Presidential Election.

 

What I find interesting here is why the FBI Director, James Comey, disregarded policy about an ongoing investigation and publically commented about the Clinton emails shortly before the November Presidential Election but followed FBI procedure and kept quiet about the Trump investigation.  He spoke about the Trump investigation in early May of 2017, well after the election.

 

On May 9, 2017, Trump fired James Comey, the Director of the FBI.  Did that act of Trump using his favorite phrase, (which, I understand, was his favorite term when he was hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice.”  Presumably he copyrighted the phrase).  Does this end the FBI investigation of Trump and Russia?  It would seem that he is actually encouraging both the investigation and the appointment of an independent prosecutor.

 

Trump and his team have continually denied that they have had any improper contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign.  Representative Adam Schiff, the highest Democrat on the Intelligence Committee has verbally pointed to a number of people who are or have been part of Trump’s team that have had contact with Russians.  There is Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the committee investigation.  National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who Trump fired eighteen days after discovering he had had contacts with the Russian Ambassador prior to the election.  Trump’s  former campaign manager, Paul Manafort; campaign aides J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, as well as longtime Trump confidant Roger stone.

 

Representative Schiff stated that it was possible that all of their contacts had nothing to do with the election.  “But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere.

 

An election was also held early in May in France and the same techniques were used by the Russians to try to subvert that election to the far-right candidate who Putin preferred.  Unlike Trump, she lost the election.  The French are apparently far more sophisticated than the Americans.

 

On May 7, 2017, the former temporary Attorney General, Sally Yates, and the former head of the National Intelligence Agency, James Clapper, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  President Trump did not emerge in any positive fashion from what was said about him.

 

Donald Trump has been President of the United States for a little over 100 days.  Much of what he has done in that office or what he has stated or tweeted has not shown him in a positive light.  It is still early in his tenure in office.  Remember it took about two years for the evidence against Nixon to come together after his illegal acts.  There is a distinct possibility that it may take as long for the same thing to happen to Trump.

 

Investigation are ongoing now.  While Jeff Sessions has recused himself as the chief law enforcement officer in the nation it is still his assistant who is heading up this investigation.  Pressure is currently building for an independent investigator outside of Trump’s circle.  Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, sees no reason for an independent investigator.  The New York Times is suggesting that there are a lot more of Trump’s people involved with Russia.  What will happen is anyone’s guess.  The probability is that Trump may not survive four years as President of the United States.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #15 – The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions

United States Senate election in Alabama, 1996

United States Senate election in Alabama, 1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Jeff Sessions, was born in Alabama on December 24, 1946.  From February 9, 2017, he became President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, the chief law-enforcement officer in the United States.  Prior to that he was the junior Senator from Alabama.

 

Sessions was raised in that state during the Civil Rights Movement, Which actually began during World War II and went into high-gear during the 1960s when Sessions was in his teens.  That was a period of intense social uproar and change throughout the South and the North.  This was the time Sessions grew to manhood both as a product of the Old and New South.

 

Sessions has functioned as a varied career as a public servant over the years.  He is generally considered as a staunch conservative.  During his years in the Senate he has strongly opposed both illegal immigration and amnesty and supported the expansion of a border fence with Mexico.  He supported most of President George W. Bush’s legislative program, including his tax cuts.  He was for the Iraqi War and a national amendment to ban same sex marriage.  He opposed the 2009 stimulus bill and Affordable Health Care.  He opposed all of President Obama’s three nominees for the Supreme Court.

 

In 1973 Sessions graduated from the University Of Alabama School Of Law with a J.D. degree.  In 1975 he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.  In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.  The Senate confirmed him and he held the position for twelve years, until President Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, asked for his resignation.

 

In 1985, Sessions prosecuted three African Ameri9can community organizers in the Black Belt of Alabama for vote fraud, accusing them of tampering with fourteen absentee ballots.  This prosecution brought about charges of selective prosecution of Black voter registrations.  The defendants were acquitted of all charges.

 

In 1986 Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.  At Sessions information hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers testified that Sessions had made racially offensive remarks.  One of the lawyers stated that Sessions had referred to the NAACP and the ACLU as “un-American” and “Communist inspired.”  Another stated that Sessions had called a white civil rights attorney a “disgrace to his race.”

 

Coretta Scott King, the wife of the late Martin Luther King, opposed Sessions’ nomination in a letter stating that “Mr. Session had used the awesome power of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly Black voters.”

 

On June 5, 1986 the Judicial Committee voted 10 to 8 against recommending the nomination to the Senate.  The nomination was withdrawn on July 11, 19876.  Sessions became the second nominee in the Federal Judiciary in 48 years whose nomination was killed by the Judiciary Committee.

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

In November 1994 Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama.  The harsh criticism which he had received from Senator Edward Kennedy that he was “a throwback to a shameful era” and a “disgrace,” actually helped him gain the support of Alabama’s conservatives.  As Attorney General he led the state’s defense of a school funding program that was found to be unconstitutional.  It had large disparities between rich and poor schools.  The rich schools were generally white and the poor schools were mostly black.

 

From 1996 on Sessions was the Republican U.S. Senator from Alabama.  As a Senator he served on various committees.  Among them he was on the Judiciary Committee.  There are at least two major ironies dealing with his Judiciary assignment.  One is that he served with Senators who had refused to qualify him as a judge and the other is the Senate confirmation of Sally Yates as Assistant Attorney General during the Obama Administration.

 

The process by which a person gets “advice and consent” by the Senate begins with a committee meeting.  The committee has to approve the person before their name goes to the full Senate for a vote.  In this process each Senator on the committee asks the prospective candidate questions.  Among the questions Sessions asked Yates was one that dealt with how she would function as Assistant Attorney General.  Sessions asked her what she would do if an issue came up between an executive order from the President which contradicted the Constitution.  Yates answer was that she would adhere to the Constitution and would refuse to obey that order.  In essence the question asked if she was the nation’s lawyer or the President’s.  Sally Yates answered that she would be the nation’s lawyer.

 

At the end of end of President Obama’s presidential tenure his Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, resigned.  Sally Yates became the Acting Attorney General until the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions would be confirmed by the Senate.  The new President, Donald Trump, issued an executive order prohibiting inhabitants from six Muslim countries to come to the United States.  Sally Yates refused to carry out that order, stating that it was unconstitutional.   Because she would not be his lawyer on this issue Trump fired her and appointed another Acting Attorney General who could serve until the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General.

 

Sally Yates was fired for not being President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, for not placing him before the Constitution.  Jeff Sessions, when he was confirmed would not have that problem.

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

Jeff Sessions was both an early supporter of Donald Trump and a major advisor to his campaign.  Sessions seems to have dealt largely with immigration and national security.

 

Trump was a reality TV personality and a real estate builder and investor.  He doesn’t like to read, instead he gets most of his information from watching television and from people who discus the different subjects with him.  It is very possible that Sessions is the main source of Trump’s immigration and national security policy.  The concept of the “Wall” between the U.S. and Mexico may have even originated with Sessions.

 

Sessions appearance, wearing a Make America Great Again hat was a constant occurrence at Trump’s rallies.  In fact he was considered for the position of Vice President.  During the transition in which Trump became President Sessions played a large role.  On November 18, 2016, President-Elect Trump announced that Sessions would be his Attorney General of the United States.  The announcement gained both strong support and strong opposition.  Over 1,400 law school professors wrote a letter urging the Senate to reject the appointment.  The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination and the full Senate confirmed him by a Republican Party vote of 52 to 47, along party lines.

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

After March 1, 2017, it came out that Jeff Sessions had had contact with Russian officials during the election period and had denied this during his confirmation hearing.  Democratic leaders, like Chuck Shimmer, called upon him to resign as Attorney General.  Republican Lindsey Graham called upon Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Sessions did recuse himself from that investigation.  Presumably the Assistant Attorney General will head up the investigation.  Democrats are calling for an independent investigator to be brought in.

 

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Sessions had “lied under oath” and should resign.  Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings stated that “when Senator Sessions testified under oath that “I did not have communications with Russians,” his statement was false, yet he let it stand for weeks and he continued to let it stand as he watched the President tell the entire nation he didn’t know anything about anyone advising his campaign talking to the Russians.”  Cummings also called for Sessions to resign.  Senator Franklin stated that he believes that Sessions perjured himself in his confirmation hearing.

 

On March 20, 2017, the FBI Director, James Comey, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that since July 2016 the FBI had been conducting a counter-intelligence investigation to assess the extent of Russia’s interference into the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump associates played a role in Russia’s efforts.

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

Both Trump and Sessions expected to use city and state law enforcement to help carry out their immigration policies.

Toward the end of March of 2017 Sessions publically stated that sanctuary cities that failed to comply with policies of the Trump administration would lose federal funding.  On April 21st nine sanctuary cities were sent letters by the Justice Department giving them a deadline of June 30th to provide an explanation of how their policies were not in violation of the law.  Sessions threatened to reduce Federal funding from the Federal Government if the states did not comply with their wishes. The cities and states sued the Federal Government arguing that the administration could not usurp the powers of Congress and make or change laws.  The judiciary upheld their claim.

 

It should be noted that during his tenure in the United States Senate Jeff Sessions was one of the most conservative members and now as Attorney General his position has not changed.

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

Sessions has been an opponent of legal and illegal immigration during his time in Congress.  The probability is that if he had his way the only immigrants who could come to the United States would be white Europeans from Northern Europe.  Everyone else it would seem comes from another race.

 

Sessions favored Bush’s war in Iraq.  In 2014 he was one of three Senators to vote against additional funding for the V.A. medical system.  In October of 2005 he was one of nine Senators to vote against a Senate Amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the U.S. Government.  He has been a strong supporter of civil forfeiture, the government practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime.

 

Sessions voted against the 2008 Bank Bailout.  He opposed the $837 billion stimulus bill and the $447 billion jobs bill both proposed by President Obama.  Sessions is skeptical on the scientific consensus over climate changes.  He’s voted in favor of legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.  He has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, if he had gotten his way as a United States Senator, would have this country, and probably the rest of the world, still attempting to work its way out of the Gigantic Real-Estate Depression of 2008, which, had it occurred, would have been far greater than the Great Depression of 1929.  This is the man that President Donald Trump has made his Attorney General, the chief law enforcement individual in the nation.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #15 – Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions

 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Jeff Sessions, was born in Alabama on December 24, 1946.  From February 9, 2017, he became President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, the chief law-enforcement officer in the United States.  Prior to that he was the junior Senator from Alabama.

 

Sessions was raised in that state during the Civil Rights Movement, Which actually began during World War II and went into high-gear during the 1960s when Sessions was in his teens.  That was a period of intense social uproar and change throughout the South and the North.  This was the time Sessions grew to manhood both as a product of the Old and New South.

 

Sessions has functioned as a varied career as a public servant over the years.  He is generally considered as a staunch conservative.  During his years in the Senate he has strongly opposed both illegal immigration and amnesty and supported the expansion of a border fence with Mexico.  He supported most of President George W. Bush’s legislative program, including his tax cuts.  He was for the Iraqi War and a national amendment to ban same sex marriage.  He opposed the 2009 stimulus bill and Affordable Health Care.  He opposed all of President Obama’s three nominees for the Supreme Court.

 

In 1973 Sessions graduated from the University Of Alabama School Of Law with a J.D. degree.  In 1975 he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.  In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.  The Senate confirmed him and he held the position for twelve years, until President Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, asked for his resignation.

 

In 1985, Sessions prosecuted three African Ameri9can community organizers in the Black Belt of Alabama for vote fraud, accusing them of tampering with fourteen absentee ballots.  This prosecution brought about charges of selective prosecution of Black voter registrations.  The defendants were acquitted of all charges.

 

In 1986 Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.  At Sessions information hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers testified that Sessions had made racially offensive remarks.  One of the lawyers stated that Sessions had referred to the NAACP and the ACLU as “un-American” and “Communist inspired.”  Another stated that Sessions had called a white civil rights attorney a “disgrace to his race.”

 

Coretta Scott King, the wife of the late Martin Luther King, opposed Sessions’ nomination in a letter stating that “Mr. Session had used the awesome power of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly Black voters.”

 

On June 5, 1986 the Judicial Committee voted 10 to 8 against recommending the nomination to the Senate.  The nomination was withdrawn on July 11, 19876.  Sessions became the second nominee in the Federal Judiciary in 48 years whose nomination was killed by the Judiciary Committee.

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

In November 1994 Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama.  The harsh criticism which he had received from Senator Edward Kennedy that he was “a throwback to a shameful era” and a “disgrace,” actually helped him gain the support of Alabama’s conservatives.  As Attorney General he led the state’s defense of a school funding program that was found to be unconstitutional.  It had large disparities between rich and poor schools.  The rich schools were generally white and the poor schools were mostly black.

 

From 1996 on Sessions was the Republican U.S. Senator from Alabama.  As a Senator he served on various committees.  Among them he was on the Judiciary Committee.  There are at least two major ironies dealing with his Judiciary assignment.  One is that he served with Senators who had refused to qualify him as a judge and the other is the Senate confirmation of Sally Yates as Assistant Attorney General during the Obama Administration.

 

The process by which a person gets “advice and consent” by the Senate begins with a committee meeting.  The committee has to approve the person before their name goes to the full Senate for a vote.  In this process each Senator on the committee asks the prospective candidate questions.  Among the questions Sessions asked Yates was one that dealt with how she would function as Assistant Attorney General.  Sessions asked her what she would do if an issue came up between an executive order from the President which contradicted the Constitution.  Yates answer was that she would adhere to the Constitution and would refuse to obey that order.  In essence the question asked if she was the nation’s lawyer or the President’s.  Sally Yates answered that she would be the nation’s lawyer.

 

At the end of end of President Obama’s presidential tenure his Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, resigned.  Sally Yates became the Acting Attorney General until the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions would be confirmed by the Senate.  The new President, Donald Trump, issued an executive order prohibiting inhabitants from six Muslim countries to come to the United States.  Sally Yates refused to carry out that order, stating that it was unconstitutional.   Because she would not be his lawyer on this issue Trump fired her and appointed another Acting Attorney General who could serve until the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General.

 

Sally Yates was fired for not being President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, for not placing him before the Constitution.  Jeff Sessions, when he was confirmed would not have that problem.

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

Jeff Sessions was both an early supporter of Donald Trump and a major advisor to his campaign.  Sessions seems to have dealt largely with immigration and national security.

 

Trump was a reality TV personality and a real estate builder and investor.  He doesn’t like to read, instead he gets most of his information from watching television and from people who discus the different subjects with him.  It is very possible that Sessions is the main source of Trump’s immigration and national security policy.  The concept of the “Wall” between the U.S. and Mexico may have even originated with Sessions.

 

Sessions appearance, wearing a Make America Great Again hat was a constant occurrence at Trump’s rallies.  In fact he was considered for the position of Vice President.  During the transition in which Trump became President Sessions played a large role.  On November 18, 2016, President-Elect Trump announced that Sessions would be his Attorney General of the United States.  The announcement gained both strong support and strong opposition.  Over 1,400 law school professors wrote a letter urging the Senate to reject the appointment.  The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination and the full Senate confirmed him by a Republican Party vote of 52 to 47, along party lines.

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

After March 1, 2017, it came out that Jeff Sessions had had contact with Russian officials during the election period and had denied this during his confirmation hearing.  Democratic leaders, like Chuck Shimmer, called upon him to resign as Attorney General.  Republican Lindsey Graham called upon Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Sessions did recuse himself from that investigation.  Presumably the Assistant Attorney General will head up the investigation.  Democrats are calling for an independent investigator to be brought in.

 

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Sessions had “lied under oath” and should resign.  Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings stated that “when Senator Sessions testified under oath that “I did not have communications with Russians,” his statement was false, yet he let it stand for weeks and he continued to let it stand as he watched the President tell the entire nation he didn’t know anything about anyone advising his campaign talking to the Russians.”  Cummings also called for Sessions to resign.  Senator Franklin stated that he believes that Sessions perjured himself in his confirmation hearing.

 

On March 20, 2017, the FBI Director, James Comey, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that since July 2016 the FBI had been conducting a counter-intelligence investigation to assess the extent of Russia’s interference into the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump associates played a role in Russia’s efforts.

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

Both Trump and Sessions expected to use city and state law enforcement to help carry out their immigration policies.

Toward the end of March of 2017 Sessions publically stated that sanctuary cities that failed to comply with policies of the Trump administration would lose federal funding.  On April 21st nine sanctuary cities were sent letters by the Justice Department giving them a deadline of June 30th to provide an explanation of how their policies were not in violation of the law.  Sessions threatened to reduce Federal funding from the Federal Government if the states did not comply with their wishes. The cities and states sued the Federal Government arguing that the administration could not usurp the powers of Congress and make or change laws.  The judiciary upheld their claim.

 

It should be noted that during his tenure in the United States Senate Jeff Sessions was one of the most conservative members and now as Attorney General his position has not changed.

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

Sessions has been an opponent of legal and illegal immigration during his time in Congress.  The probability is that if he had his way the only immigrants who could come to the United States would be white Europeans from Northern Europe.  Everyone else it would seem comes from another race.

 

Sessions favored Bush’s war in Iraq.  In 2014 he was one of three Senators to vote against additional funding for the V.A. medical system.  In October of 2005 he was one of nine Senators to vote against a Senate Amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the U.S. Government.  He has been a strong supporter of civil forfeiture, the government practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime.

 

Sessions voted against the 2008 Bank Bailout.  He opposed the $837 billion stimulus bill and the $447 billion jobs bill both proposed by President Obama.  Sessions is skeptical on the scientific consensus over climate changes.  He’s voted in favor of legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.  He has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, if he had gotten his way as a United States Senator, would have this country, and probably the rest of the world, still attempting to work its way out of the Gigantic Real-Estate Depression of 2008, which, had it occurred, would have been far greater than the Great Depression of 1929.  This is the man that President Donald Trump has made his Attorney General, the chief law enforcement individual in the nation.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #15 – Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions

 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Jeff Sessions, was born in Alabama on December 24, 1946.  From February 9, 2017, he became President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, the chief law-enforcement officer in the United States.  Prior to that he was the junior Senator from Alabama.

 

Sessions was raised in that state during the Civil Rights Movement, Which actually began during World War II and went into high-gear during the 1960s when Sessions was in his teens.  That was a period of intense social uproar and change throughout the South and the North.  This was the time Sessions grew to manhood both as a product of the Old and New South.

 

Sessions has functioned as a varied career as a public servant over the years.  He is generally considered as a staunch conservative.  During his years in the Senate he has strongly opposed both illegal immigration and amnesty and supported the expansion of a border fence with Mexico.  He supported most of President George W. Bush’s legislative program, including his tax cuts.  He was for the Iraqi War and a national amendment to ban same sex marriage.  He opposed the 2009 stimulus bill and Affordable Health Care.  He opposed all of President Obama’s three nominees for the Supreme Court.

 

In 1973 Sessions graduated from the University Of Alabama School Of Law with a J.D. degree.  In 1975 he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.  In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.  The Senate confirmed him and he held the position for twelve years, until President Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, asked for his resignation.

 

In 1985, Sessions prosecuted three African Ameri9can community organizers in the Black Belt of Alabama for vote fraud, accusing them of tampering with fourteen absentee ballots.  This prosecution brought about charges of selective prosecution of Black voter registrations.  The defendants were acquitted of all charges.

 

In 1986 Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.  At Sessions information hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers testified that Sessions had made racially offensive remarks.  One of the lawyers stated that Sessions had referred to the NAACP and the ACLU as “un-American” and “Communist inspired.”  Another stated that Sessions had called a white civil rights attorney a “disgrace to his race.”

 

Coretta Scott King, the wife of the late Martin Luther King, opposed Sessions’ nomination in a letter stating that “Mr. Session had used the awesome power of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly Black voters.”

 

On June 5, 1986 the Judicial Committee voted 10 to 8 against recommending the nomination to the Senate.  The nomination was withdrawn on July 11, 19876.  Sessions became the second nominee in the Federal Judiciary in 48 years whose nomination was killed by the Judiciary Committee.

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

In November 1994 Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama.  The harsh criticism which he had received from Senator Edward Kennedy that he was “a throwback to a shameful era” and a “disgrace,” actually helped him gain the support of Alabama’s conservatives.  As Attorney General he led the state’s defense of a school funding program that was found to be unconstitutional.  It had large disparities between rich and poor schools.  The rich schools were generally white and the poor schools were mostly black.

 

From 1996 on Sessions was the Republican U.S. Senator from Alabama.  As a Senator he served on various committees.  Among them he was on the Judiciary Committee.  There are at least two major ironies dealing with his Judiciary assignment.  One is that he served with Senators who had refused to qualify him as a judge and the other is the Senate confirmation of Sally Yates as Assistant Attorney General during the Obama Administration.

 

The process by which a person gets “advice and consent” by the Senate begins with a committee meeting.  The committee has to approve the person before their name goes to the full Senate for a vote.  In this process each Senator on the committee asks the prospective candidate questions.  Among the questions Sessions asked Yates was one that dealt with how she would function as Assistant Attorney General.  Sessions asked her what she would do if an issue came up between an executive order from the President which contradicted the Constitution.  Yates answer was that she would adhere to the Constitution and would refuse to obey that order.  In essence the question asked if she was the nation’s lawyer or the President’s.  Sally Yates answered that she would be the nation’s lawyer.

 

At the end of end of President Obama’s presidential tenure his Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, resigned.  Sally Yates became the Acting Attorney General until the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions would be confirmed by the Senate.  The new President, Donald Trump, issued an executive order prohibiting inhabitants from six Muslim countries to come to the United States.  Sally Yates refused to carry out that order, stating that it was unconstitutional.   Because she would not be his lawyer on this issue Trump fired her and appointed another Acting Attorney General who could serve until the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General.

 

Sally Yates was fired for not being President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, for not placing him before the Constitution.  Jeff Sessions, when he was confirmed would not have that problem.

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

Jeff Sessions was both an early supporter of Donald Trump and a major advisor to his campaign.  Sessions seems to have dealt largely with immigration and national security.

 

Trump was a reality TV personality and a real estate builder and investor.  He doesn’t like to read, instead he gets most of his information from watching television and from people who discus the different subjects with him.  It is very possible that Sessions is the main source of Trump’s immigration and national security policy.  The concept of the “Wall” between the U.S. and Mexico may have even originated with Sessions.

 

Sessions appearance, wearing a Make America Great Again hat was a constant occurrence at Trump’s rallies.  In fact he was considered for the position of Vice President.  During the transition in which Trump became President Sessions played a large role.  On November 18, 2016, President-Elect Trump announced that Sessions would be his Attorney General of the United States.  The announcement gained both strong support and strong opposition.  Over 1,400 law school professors wrote a letter urging the Senate to reject the appointment.  The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination and the full Senate confirmed him by a Republican Party vote of 52 to 47, along party lines.

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

After March 1, 2017, it came out that Jeff Sessions had had contact with Russian officials during the election period and had denied this during his confirmation hearing.  Democratic leaders, like Chuck Shimmer, called upon him to resign as Attorney General.  Republican Lindsey Graham called upon Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Sessions did recuse himself from that investigation.  Presumably the Assistant Attorney General will head up the investigation.  Democrats are calling for an independent investigator to be brought in.

 

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Sessions had “lied under oath” and should resign.  Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings stated that “when Senator Sessions testified under oath that “I did not have communications with Russians,” his statement was false, yet he let it stand for weeks and he continued to let it stand as he watched the President tell the entire nation he didn’t know anything about anyone advising his campaign talking to the Russians.”  Cummings also called for Sessions to resign.  Senator Franklin stated that he believes that Sessions perjured himself in his confirmation hearing.

 

On March 20, 2017, the FBI Director, James Comey, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that since July 2016 the FBI had been conducting a counter-intelligence investigation to assess the extent of Russia’s interference into the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump associates played a role in Russia’s efforts.

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Both Trump and Sessions expected to use city and state law enforcement to help carry out their immigration policies.

Toward the end of March of 2017 Sessions publically stated that sanctuary cities that failed to comply with policies of the Trump administration would lose federal funding.  On April 21st nine sanctuary cities were sent letters by the Justice Department giving them a deadline of June 30th to provide an explanation of how their policies were not in violation of the law.  Sessions threatened to reduce Federal funding from the Federal Government if the states did not comply with their wishes. The cities and states sued the Federal Government arguing that the administration could not usurp the powers of Congress and make or change laws.  The judiciary upheld their claim.

 

It should be noted that during his tenure in the United States Senate Jeff Sessions was one of the most conservative members and now as Attorney General his position has not changed.

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Sessions has been an opponent of legal and illegal immigration during his time in Congress.  The probability is that if he had his way the only immigrants who could come to the United States would be white Europeans from Northern Europe.  Everyone else it would seem comes from another race.

 

Sessions favored Bush’s war in Iraq.  In 2014 he was one of three Senators to vote against additional funding for the V.A. medical system.  In October of 2005 he was one of nine Senators to vote against a Senate Amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the U.S. Government.  He has been a strong supporter of civil forfeiture, the government practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime.

 

Sessions voted against the 2008 Bank Bailout.  He opposed the $837 billion stimulus bill and the $447 billion jobs bill both proposed by President Obama.  Sessions is skeptical on the scientific consensus over climate changes.  He’s voted in favor of legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.  He has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, if he had gotten his way as a United States Senator, would have this country, and probably the rest of the world, still attempting to work its way out of the Gigantic Real-Estate Depression of 2008, which, had it occurred, would have been far greater than the Great Depression of 1929.  This is the man that President Donald Trump has made his Attorney General, the chief law enforcement individual in the nation.