The Weiner Component V.2 #40 – Money & the Presidents: Part 6: Donald J. Trump

The Presidential Election of 2016 was between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.  Clinton was the Democratic candidate and Trump was the Republican choice.

English: Hillary Clinton Speaks to College Dem...

English: Hillary Clinton Speaks to College Democrats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hillary R. Clinton had been demonized by the Republicans since she was first lady of

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

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

Arkansas and her husband had been Governor of that state from January 11, 1983 on.  At that time she was called the Lady Macbeth of Arkansas by the Republicans because of her work for the poor and children.  As First Lady of the United States she chaired a committee on providing medical insurance for all American citizens which the Republicans strongly opposed.  It failed.  She has been heavily resented by Republicans over the years for being an advocate for those who need representation in the state legislature and in Congress and for being a Senator and Secretary of State.  The Republicans wanted her to be a stay-at-home First Lady rather than an advocate for causes they did not support.

 

Donald J. Trump has an odious reputation as a male chauvinist, a sexual predator, a dishonest businessman, a TV reality star, and as a prefabricator or liar.  He is a thin skinned narcissist and probable sociopath who sees everything in terms of himself.  In addition he is lazy, making-up what he doesn’t know or understand.  He verbally attacks anyone who in any way opposes him, calling those individuals derogatory names.  Today, as President, he is running a country whose functioning he doesn’t quite totally understand.

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What is Hillary Clinton’s great sin as far as the Republicans are concerned?  She is a liberal Democrat with a propensity to aid the poor and needy.  She sees the function of government as providing for those who can’t properly provide for themselves and having this paid for by those who can afford to pay higher taxes.  While Trump and the Republicans see less being spent upon the poor and needy and believe the rich, as the producers of the goods and services needed by the society, should be paying less of their incomes in taxes than the rest of the population.

 

In actuality Clinton specific crime was using a public email service rather than just a government email service.  On the basis of this numerous speakers at Trump rallies have yelled out, “Lock her up!!”  However prior Republican government officials like George W. Bush’s Secretary of State have done so in the past and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s oldest daughter, Erika, have done so in the present; as have other Trump officials.  Somehow the Trump people can do anything but everyone else should be legally limited as to what they can do in government.  This is pure arrogance or cynicism.

 

From the evidence that seems to be emerging now it would seem that both the Trump people and the Russia conspired together and separately to flood the media with fake news and rumor and with stolen Clinton Emails aimed at making Hillary Clinton unacceptable to a percentage of the American public.  If Trump was personally involved in this the probability is that he will be impeached before his current term is up.

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The Republican Party, which lost its political majority in Congress in 2008, is very loud and complaining about anything the Democrats do or try to do.  During Barack Obama’s eight years as President the Republicans liked nothing that the Democrats did or attempted to do and they continually let the country and the world know it.  The Democrats, whose current minority leader is a lady, Nancy Pelosi, are a very quiet and polite.  Their philosophy is to let the general public make their own discoveries and vote for candidates accordingly.

 

A large group of people have become disgusted with both political parties and have become Independents.  They have left both political parties and vote as they see fit.  In addition many people vote against their own interests.  An example being those who voted for Trump who have had their medical insurance partly cut off.

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Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election but Hillary Clinton had over three million more popular votes than he did.  This is the second time in the last 16 years that this has happened.  The first error, which put George W. Bush in the presidency in 2001, cost over 3,000 American military lives in an unnecessary war in Iraq.  This does not include all the Iraqis that were killed.  The current error placed Donald Trump, a man totally unfit to be President, in that office.  What harm he may do as President is anybody’s guess.

 

The President is elected not by the public directly but rather by the Electoral College which consists of State electors from 50 states being chosen in the exact same proportion in which they are represented in Congress.  Four hundred and thirty-five members of the House of Representatives, the number being determined by the population of each state and one hundred members of the Senate, two from each states regardless of the population of that state.

 

The Constitution was originally written during the summer of 1787 and completed on September 17 of that year.  It began operation on March 4, 1789.  This was about a decade before the Industrial Revolution began in England in the cotton industry; the United States at that time was mostly rural with some small cities.  At the end of the Revolutionary War the new United States was set up under the Articles of Confederation as 13 Independent States that had a largely powerless Congress.  The Constitution created a Union of the States, giving the new bicameral Congress the power to make laws for the nation.  Most people then still thought of themselves as belonging to the particular state in which they lived.

 

Communication tended to be very poor or slow.  The founding fathers who wrote the Constitution had to come up with a means of choosing an executive or president who would represent all 13 states.  Everyone knew at that time that the first President would be George Washington.  But after his term in office a new President would have to be chosen.  These founding fathers had no concept of political parties.  They wanted all the voters to choose the “wisest” man in their area and these electors would choose the best or “wisest” man in the country to be the new President.

 

Political Parties came into existence even before the new United States.  Alexander Hamilton created the Federalist Party.  The second national party came into existence in 1800 with the election of Thomas Jefferson, who created the Democratic-Republican Party, which is still with us as the Democratic Party.

 

Today eight states, within the United States, have 3 only electoral votes.  Twenty-seven of the fifty states, having from 3 to 8 electoral votes have a total of 132 electoral votes while the top four states in population: California, Texas, New York, and Florida, have a total of 151 electoral votes.  The remaining twenty states are between the two.  It takes 270 electoral votes to win the Presidential Election.  Trump received 304 Electoral votes.

 

As the population is not equal within each of the 50 states the Electoral votes in the larger states count less than those in the smaller populated states.  They are most heavily weighted in the eight states that have only one member in the House of Representatives.  In California the most populated state in the Union the Electoral vote counts the least.

 

What happens is that many smaller states have three Congressional votes: two in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives.  Eight states have 3 electoral votes.  Actually 33 of the 50 states have eight or less electoral votes.  Another 12 states go from nine electoral votes to eighteen electoral votes.  That means that 45 smaller states essentially control the election.

 

In terms of the popular vote in 2016 Trump received 46.2% or 62,984,825 popular votes; Clinton received 48.3% or 65,844,959 popular votes.  She should have won the election.  It is past time to have an amendment to the Constitution doing away with the Electoral College.  There is now almost instant communication throughout the United States.  Every single vote should count equally.  They do not under the Electoral College.  A true Democracy is supposed to express the will of the majority of the people.  This does not always happen with the Electoral College.  It is past time to get rid of it.

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Donald J. Trump, to quote one of his favorite words, is a “disaster” as a human being and as President of the United States.  For one thing he is incapable of showing empathy to Gold Star parents or wives whose son or husband died fighting for this country.  Everything with Trump is about himself.  All subjects seem to start and end with him.  He is the only President in the history of the United States who has held Election Rallies after he was elected to office.

 

The man is a total narcissist and he probably is also a sociopath.  He seems to believe that at the age of 71 he knows everything worth knowing.  He doesn’t like to read; consequently he gets all his news from watching TV; mostly, I suspect, Fox News.  Trump seems to see most people as either on his side or as enemies.  He never apologizes for anything he does or says, no matter how inept or stupid.  He also never accepts responsibility for anything he does that turns out negatively.  Everything bad is someone else’s fault.

 

Trump is also lazy.  He desperately wants legislative wins; but he doesn’t want to be responsible for defeats.  Consequently his Administration does not work directly with Congress.  What he gives to them is a very general outline of how he feels about the law at that moment.  He could easily change his mind by the next day.  When he was campaigning for office he promised to improve Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) his first day as President.  By the time he took office the concept had changed.  Trump’s major goal seems to be reducing taxes for himself and his fellow rich, as well as large corporations.  In order to bring this about initially the plan was to gut Obamacare, taking billions out of the program to pay for a massive tax cut for the rich and large corporations.

 

This was the “Repeal and Replace” plan.  The Federal Government would give fixed block grants to all the individual states.  The states would then run the medical care plan in each state, presumably making up the gradual increasing costs out of their own budgets.  This plan would have thrown millions of citizens gradually out of Affordable Health Care leaving it only for those few who could afford the premiums.

 

All the attempts the Republican dominated Congress made over a nine month period to pass this bill failed.  The only major bill that Congress passed over this period had to do with increasing sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 Presidential Election and for limiting Trump’s power to individually deal with Russia.  It had over 90% bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress.  Since a veto would not have killed the bill Trump signed it.

 

Currently Congress, with Trump’s total support, is working on what it and the President call “a tax reform bill.”  This is a tax reduction bill for the rich and large corporations.  It actually increases taxes for the middle class particularly in the large Democratic states like California and New York and further separates incomes between the very rich and everyone else, further shrinking the middle class.  In point of fact those earning between $10,000 and $75,000 will have their tax bill increased while those in the millions will have their tax bills decreased considerably.

 

Since the Republicans were not able to take the funds needed out of Affordable Health Care they will largely pay for the tax reduction by deficit spending.  It seems that the Republicans are Deficit Hawks when the President is a Democrat but do not have a problem increasing the National Debt by an extra trillion and a half dollars or more when he is a Republican.  Massive principles apparently can change overnight!

 

The probability is that the Republican dominated Congress will have no better luck with this bill than they had with “Repeal and Replace.”  While the House of Representatives has a fairly large majority of Republicans there is only a majority of two Republican senators in the Senate.  There are 46 Democrats and 2 Independents who vote with the Democrats.  If the vote in the Senate is 50 for and 50 against then the Republican Vice President can break the tie with his vote.  But if three Republican Senators refuse to go along with their political party then the bill is defeated.  Every attempt at “Repeal and Replace” has been defeated by three votes.  Trump’s Tax Reform Bill could easily lose enough votes in both Houses of Congress to easily be defeated.  There is a Midterm Election coming up on the first Tuesday in November of 2018.  One third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives will be coming up for reelection.

 

It seems that the majority of tax paying Americans are against this bill.  If it were to somehow pass the majority of Republicans could be swept out of Congress in 2018.  Even if it failed this could happen in 2018.  Trump would really be frustrated if he had to deal with a Democratic majority in the Senate or in both Houses of Congress.

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Apparently Trump wants a legislative victory regardless of its effects on the country.  He is perfectly willing to destroy the middle class or do whatever it takes to achieve this.  He may well not be successful in getting any new major laws passed for the rest of 2017 or even for 2018.  After the November 2018 Midterm Election there may be a Democratic majority elected to the Senate or even to the House.

 

From what I gather the European nations are waiting for Trump to go away in 2020.  The people in the United States may have to do the same thing if he is not impeached and hope he doesn’t do too much damage before that time comes.

A graph labeled "Figure 109," and fo...

A graph labeled “Figure 109,” and found on page 126. It shows the percentage of Democrats and Republicans who belong to labor unions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Weiner Component V.2 #32 – Pollution: Global Warming

Temperature predictions from some climate mode...

Temperature predictions from some climate models assuming the SRES A2 emissions scenario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The Great Global Warming Swindle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Global Warming Map-tgk

Global Warming Map-tgk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If a person lights a fire in a fireplace in a small room, and the chimney flue is somehow blocked, the smoke will be trapped in the room, polluting it.  If the fire is allowed to continue to burn eventually the smoke in the room will become toxic.  If this is done in a large room the same process will take longer.  If an area is finite, no matter how large, the same effect will eventually result.  The difference will consist of a lot more toxic gases.  The Earth is the largest physical finite space we know of; it would require a tremendous amount of polluting gases to make it toxic.  But enough people over a large number of years releasing carbon-based polluting gases could and have achieve this.  The current population of the earth was approximately 7.5 billion people in April of 2017 and growing with three people being born for every single person who dies.  We may in some regions have currently reached the point of toxicity.

 

It has been argued that the planet goes through long warm and cold phases; and no doubt it does.  There have been warm rich volcanic exploding ages and frozen ice ages.  We are now in a period of gradual non-volcanic warming of the earth.  The ice at the poles is slowly melting.

 

Is this being caused by mankind daily sending millions of tons of polluting gases into the atmosphere which gradually has blocked much of the sun’s daily heat from dissipating back into space or is it occurring by a natural cycle?  The majority of people seem to blame man and his machines.  Individuals like Donald Trump and the Koch brothers who deal in oil production argue for a natural cycle.  Could it be a combination of the two?  Both contributing to a warming cycle, with man’s burning of polluting gases exacerbating the extent of the pollution and greatly increasing the rate of global warming.

 

My wife and I live on the West Coast about 40 miles from the ocean.  Recently in September we had a day when the heat wasn’t 100 degrees or hotter.  My wife complained that while it wasn’t hot enough to run the air conditioning it was still very muggy with the air filled with water vapor.  My comment was: Isn’t that what comes from global warming, moist air brought about by excess heat over the ocean?  She ran the air conditioning to take the moisture out of the air in our house.

 

These gases are not allowing much of the sun’s heat to dissipate, thus continually warming the earth.  The higher temperatures are generating storms by heating ocean currents and creating low pressure zones which absorb additional evaporation that create storms    like Hurricanes Harvey and Hurricane Irma which, in turn, are redistributing moisture, flooding cities like Huston in Texas, the fourth largest urban area in the United States.  Hurricane Irma has done the same thing in Florida and South Carolina.  While Harvey was a category 4 storm, Irma started as a category 5+ storm.  Winds of 157 miles per hour are considered a category 5.  Irma had winds of 187 mile per hour.  The East coast of the United States has never been hit by anything stronger than a category 3 storm.  On Sunday, September 10, after doing devastating damage throughout the Caribbean it came ashore in Florida as a category 6 storm with winds well over 150 miles an hour.

 

Is Hurricane Irma being caused by a single force or by a combination of forces?  Hurricane Irma has come up one week after Hurricane Harvey.  We have Hurricanes Jose, which is currently forming into a category 4 storm.  That makes ten hurricanes the United States has experienced so far this year.  We can conceivably have Hurricane Karen, and others this year.  Following Hurricane Irma by less than a week is Hurricane Jose.  Hurricane Irma is over four hundred miles wide.  It can and has covered the entire State of Florida.  We seem to be getting more and larger hurricanes.

 

The pole’s ice caps are melting, causing the oceans to very slowly rise.  The land surface very gradually decreases as the ice caps at the poles and glaciers decrease.  Is it wise to definitively say that the burning oil in the automobiles and otherwise are not affecting the atmosphere?  One can understand the position of the Koch Brothers and Donald Trump.  After all, they are businessmen and make a good part of their incomes and profits through the sale of oil.  One can even understand why Volkswagen cheated on the cars they sold, having the cars computer software purposely giving false information about the amount of pollutants each car was-throwing into the atmosphere.  After all their bottom line is profits; they are not really concerned with the condition of the planet.

 

Practically all scientists believe in the theory of man-caused global warming.  Because it is a theory and cannot be definitely proven there are global warming deniers.  It’s been my experience that these deniers generally have a vested interest in global warming not being man- induced.  Usually that interest is economic.

 

Historically there have been other scientific theories that could not be absolutely proven in the past.  One is the theory of evolution.  For a long period of time, when the Catholic Church had control of Europe the Theory of Evolution was heresy.  It went against the Church’s theory of the earth centered cosmos.  But as knowledge increased the Church rethought its theory.  There are still some religious groups today that deny evolution because it goes against the Biblical theory of creation.  I suspect the same thing will happen with the theory of man-made global change.

 

One can even understand why the oil companies are the chief financial supporters of the Republican Party, making generous continual contributions to them.  By legal definition political contributions are not bribes.  Consequently a goodly number of Republicans truly believe that the burnt oil pollution has nothing to do with weather conditions.  Of course an equal percentage of Republicans know better.  I suppose they are hypocrites.  But money is needed for political campaigns and they are all practical men.

 

One of the political comedians recently came out with the comment that some of the global warming deniers own vacation property in Florida that may be destroyed or seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma.  They may be facing a political or economic dilemma.

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Not too long ago President Trump visited Europe.  On the 7th and 8th of July 2017 the G20 2017 Summit took place in Hamburg, Germany.  Over 20 heads of government and representatives of international organizations met to discuss global warming.  President Trump, used this conference as an opportunity to directly communicate with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.  Also since he believes man’s usage of oil products does not affect the environment he withdrew his country from future Summits.  The U.S. had been one of the leaders in this group; in essence under Donald Trump’s leadership it withdrew from a leadership position in the world.

 

However, people like Governor Jerry Brown of California and other leaders around the United States stated that they will continue the struggle to lessen pollution within the U.S.  So the United States representatives both left the G20 and largely stayed with it, following its goals.  If a Democratic President is elected in 2020 the country will be back officially in the G20.

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Hurricane Harvey negatively affected everyone living in Houston, Texas while Hurricane Irma did the same for everyone living in Florida and beyond.  It is estimated that 96 percent of the houses in the Florida Keys were damaged or destroyed by the storm.  Someone commented that the area looked like the aftermath of an atomic explosion.

 

The cost of the damage is in the multi-trillions of dollars.  The total effects of the damage may never be completely eradicated.  Once all the water that covering the city and state is gone and the cleanup and building replacement is done all the structures that survived the flooding will have a mold problem. No matter how much cleaning is done the people doing the cleaning will never get rid of all the mold.  All the inhabitants from these areas will be, among other things, breathing in mold.  Will that shorten some lives?

 

From what is now known now Hurricane Irma killed, going through the Caribbean and parts of the United States at least 46 people, mostly in the Caribbean.  In one old age nursing home six people died because of a loss of electric power.

 

Many people in the U.S. left the area before the storm arrived.  The storm left about nine million people without electric power.  Presumably all the power will be restored by September 22, ten days from now.  The storms turned streets into extensions of rivers.  People traveled by boat where before the storm they had walked or driven.

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When any sort of pollutants are used that effect human beings in a negative fashion a factor that comes into being is the social cost of the use of that resource or resources.  For example the burning of gasoline by vehicles produces impurities in the air that can cause respiratory problems when breathed in.  In addition the burnt gas blocks a percentage of earth’s heat from dissipating, exacerbating the warming of the earth.  This, in turn, causes an increase in global warming.  The social costs would be an increase in medical costs for the increasing poor health of the people involved as well as the cost of the physical damage done by the hurricanes.

 

We have no way of ascertaining what the level of the storms would be if the pollutants had not been present.  Hurricane Irma was one of the largest storms to ever come through the area.  Would it have been a category 3 or 2 hurricane or would it have just been a storm if there had been no global warming?  The fact remains that the storms, at least in part, are caused by the pollutants in the atmosphere.  I doubt that a scientist can be found to dispute that.

 

If the social costs exceed the profits made in producing and selling the gasoline then the general public is taking a tremendous economic and health loss in the use of a particular resource.  They are being forced to assume the social costs brought about by the use of gasoline.  Alternate forms of energy that are harmless to the environment need to be found.  One way to encourage this would be in the form of numerous class action law suits against the companies that produce and sell the gasoline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component V.2 #31 – The Significance of the Arpaio Pardon

Map of Arizona highlighting Maricopa County

Map of Arizona highlighting Maricopa County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, August 25, 2017, President Donald J. Trump pardoned the misdemeanor conviction of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.  He was found guilty of criminal contempt by a Judge after illegally targeting Latinos, a group that constitutes about 1/3 of the population of Arizona, as illegal immigrants.  The sentencing phase of his trial was due on October 5, 2017.  He could have gotten up to six months in confinement.

 

Apparently Trump did not clear the pardon with his Justice Department.  He assumed that as President he could just issue a pardon.  While Arpaio may have acted criminally as sheriff he was not accused of breaking any law.  Instead he was found guilty of criminal contempt.  He has systematically refused to obey Court Orders.  This was his crime.

 

The government of the United States is set-up in three parts.  Each of the parts serves as a check upon the other two sections.  Trump pardoned Arpaio of refusing part of the system of checks and balances.  Basically he abrogated the power of the Courts given to them by the Constitution.  Does the Constitution give him the power to weaken itself?

 

Listening to Trump and Arpaio after the pardon had been issued one got the impression that neither of these two understood the significance of the Constitution.  Both spoke of the case having gone away like it never existed.  When former President Richard Nixon accepted a pardoned in 1974 from then President Gerald Ford, even though he had never been tried or convicted of any crime, he acknowledged that he was guilty of participating in the Watergate burglary and cover-up.  Former sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, by accepting Trump’s pardon, officially admitted that he was guilty of the Contempt of Court charge, that he had practiced racial profiling as sheriff and had refused to follow court orders to stop the practice, that he, in a manner of speaking had abrogated the concept of checks and balances between the three different parts of government: the administration, the legislative, and the courts.

 

With Trump’s pardon the criminal case had presumably ended.  Arpaio’s pardon was an admission of guilt. By accepting the pardon Joseph Michael (Joe) Arpaio had admitted guilt; he had made innumerable arrests and jailing’s based upon racial profiling.  This action would also be true for all people of color.  I would assume that virtually every Latino and Black who had been arbitrarily stopped, hassled, possibly arrested and jailed in the years from 1993 to 2016, the years Arpaio was sheriff, could sue both him and the county for racial profiling.  In fact it would make a splendid class action suit.  The ACLU or even some private law firm could take the case.  To date there have been over 44 million dollars paid out to individuals that Joe Arpaio had had arrested, jailed, or otherwise mistreated.  This included newspaper reporters to Latinos who were born and live in Maricopa County.

 

One should also keep in mind that according to the July 1, 2016 Census the state of Arizona has, out of a population of 6,931,071, 30.9% Latinos.  We should also keep in mind that at that time 4.9% of the population was Black.  That means that just from his own state he had about two million, four hundred and ninety thousand people upon which to pick.  I would also suspect that even though the majority of the state votes mostly Republican there has been quite a lot of voter suppression.

 

A massive class-action law suit, particularly one in the billions of dollars, would send a very clear message throughout the United States.  If racial profiling became too expensive it would definitely be dropped throughout the nation.

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio is 85 years old.  He has been the country’s “toughest sheriff,” according to his own testimony, from 1993 through 2016, for 23 years.  He was voted out of office in 2016.  He had served 6 terms.

 

Starting in 2005 Arpaio took an outspoken stance against illegal immigration.  He is also known for his investigation of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.  After sending, at taxpayer expense, one or more investigators to Hawaii to examine the President’s birth certificate. Since they found one he claimed it was forged.

 

Arpaio has been accused of various types of police misconduct, including abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes; improper clearance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations.  A Federal court monitor was appointed to oversee his office’s operations because of complaints of racial profiling.  The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history and filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct.

 

Over his law enforcement career Arpaio cost the county over 44 million dollars in lawsuits over illegal abuses perpetrated upon the press and citizens.  In essence Joseph Michael Arpaio ruled Maricopa County, Arizona like a little Hitler, interpreting the law to fit his prejudices.  This is the man that on August 25, 2017, President Donald Trump pardoned from a possible six month incarceration.

 

Despite numerous Court Orders to end racial profiling Joe Arpaio continued the process, essentially ignoring Court Orders.  In 2016 Arpaio lost the election for sheriff. The office went to the Democratic candidate, Paul Penzone with 56% of the vote.  Arpaio received 44%.  Apparently the sheriff wasn’t able to frighten away enough minority voters in that election.

 

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in another hearing said that evidence demonstrates that Arpaio’s “flagrant disregard” for another Judge’s order that halted Arpaio’s signature immigration roundups, was guilty of illegal action.  The sentencing phase was to begin October 5, 2017.  Arpaio faced up to six months in confinement for ignoring the order.  The contempt charge was a misdemeanor.  Since he had committed a Federal crime he presumably came under the jurisdiction of President Trump.  Trump pardoned him stating that he had spent years enforcing the laws and he should be rewarded not punished.

 

Why did Trump pardon Arpaio?  For one thing they had both several years earlier denounced President Barack Obama as not being born in the United States.  They had both presumably sent people to Hawaii to prove this, Arpaio literally and Trump only verbally.  In addition it would seem that Trump was sending a message to all his relatives and cohorts that if they were arrested and tried for any crimes he would pardon them.  This included any of his supporters who had had relations of any sort with Russia both before and during the Presidential Election of 2016.  It could include both family members and participants who helped him get elected.  The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has been investigating the election and has impounded two separate Grand Jurys.

 

According to John McCain, Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt after illegally targeting Hispanics.  Trump’s pardon “willfully violated” a 2011 Court Order barring him from detaining individuals solely on suspicion about their legal status based solely on their ethnicity.  The President undermined professed respect for the rule of law.

 

McCain stated, “No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold.  Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based upon their perceived immigration status in violation of the judge’s orders.”

 

Obviously the move was blatantly political.  Arizona’s leading newspaper as well as many others in the state denounced Trump’s move.  “The vast majority of Latinos in Arizona are not undocumented, yet they all fell under heightened scrutiny, “the editorial stated.

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Trump’s pardon occurred while a hurricane was approaching Huston, Texas.  The President announced it then, he said, because it would get the most media coverage at that time.

 

While the Constitution gives the President the pardoning power it does not define the extent of this power.  Trump apparently interpreted it to mean unlimited power to grant pardons.  But the Constitution was set up with a system of checks and balances which, in turn, keep any one segment of the Federal Government from taking over control.  There is an executive, a legislature, and a court system.  Each serves as a check upon the other two parts of the Federal Government.  When Trump pardoned Arpaio he encroached upon this system of checks and balances.

 

Arpaio was not forgiven for breaking a law, which he did do, but for invalidating a Court Contempt charge.  He pardoned a legal decision by a Judge.  In doing this he abrogated one of the checks and balances of our legal system.  Does he have the authority to do that?

 

Judge Susan Bolton of the U.S. District Court, handling the Arpaio’s case has cancelled a sentencing hearing for the former sheriff but stopped short of throwing out his conviction.  She stated that because a presidential pardon carries the implication of guilt she wants both Mr. Arpaio’s lawyers and the U.S. Department of Justice to submit briefs on why she should or should not vacate Mr. Arpaio’s conviction.  The arguments have been scheduled for October 4th.    She will make a decision at that time.

 

In addition House of Representatives Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are demanding a hearing on the Arpaio pardon.  Mr. Arpaio is also currently appealing his conviction.  Appeals and pardons cannot occur at the same time.  The case is far from being over.  It has yet to be determined if the pardon was legal.

 

Was the pardon legal?  The Constitution gives the pardoning power to the President.  It does not define that power.  Up to that decision all pardoning cases dealt with the breakage of a law brought into existence by the legislative body, Congress.  This case deals with a Court decision.  That power is inherent in the Constitution.  Does the President have the power to override a power given by the Constitution?  That ultimate decision rests with the Supreme Court, the ultimate definer of the Constitution.  Whatever Judge Susan Bolton decides, the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court.  There five Justices are conservative and four are liberal.  However two of the conservative Justices, Kennedy and Roberts, have occasionally voted with the four liberal ones.  In any case will the Supreme Court vote to limit its own power?

The Weiner Component V.2 #30 – Trump & Afghanistan

On Monday, August 21, 2017, President Donald J. Trump gave a foreign policy speech dealing with Afghanistan.  It stated that there would be a continuation of our troops being there and that at some near point in the future more troops would be added to our presence.  The Afghanistan War, if it is a war in the strict sense of the term, is to date the longest war or military action in which the United States has ever been involved, it has now lasted 16 years.  Of course one could argue that we are still at war with North Korea since we have had troops stationed at their border since 1953 when a truce was declared.

 

The issue with Afghanistan is rather complex.  President Trump edited out a lot of information in his presentation.  It will be useful to consider some of these facts.

 

Shortly after the terrorist assault and destruction upon the Twin Towers in New York City on 9/11/01 the U.S. military attacked Afghanistan which was then ruled by the Taliban.  The terrorist raid upon America was organized from there.  While that war was going on the U.S. also attacked Iraq, a country which presumably had weapons of mass destruction.  To President Bush, his Vice President, Dick Cheney, and his Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, this was an ideal opportunity to remake both of these nations into copies of the United States.

 

Unfortunately by the American leaders there was no understanding of either of these countries or of their cultures or people.  Iraq was then ruled by Saddam Hussein, a dictator.  The country was quickly militarily taken over and a new government was established by the U.S.  One of the major problems of the new Iraqi government was that it functioned by favoritism, nepotism, and corruption.  For another thing the new government instead of treating all its citizens equally favored the Shiites over the Sunnis, one major religious sect over the other.

 

These forces that existed in both the military and the government put people in positions of authority regardless of their capabilities.  In the army it chose its officers in this fashion, meaning the military corps were essentially led by incompetents.  Given a combat situation they would probably be the first to run, leading to mass desertions during battles, particularly against determined fighters.

 

The Iraqi example of corruption that stands out was a large building put up by an Iraqi contractor and paid for by the U.S. government on the edge of the desert.  The building, when finished cost millions of dollars and was never used.  It’s probably become part of the desert today.  It seems that the builder, in order to increase his profits, minimized the amount of concrete mixed with the sand to such an extent that when water hit a part of the building it dissolved the concrete.  And it does at intervals rain there.  It was never safe to enter the structure because any part could dissolve at any time.  The probability was that the builder pocketed his profits without any complaints.  This is one blaring example, there are countless others.

 

In battle, when the Iraqi military faced determined fighters like ISIS, they would throw down their weapons and flee the scene.  The Iraqi President demanded that if the Americans stayed in Iraq they came under the legal jurisdiction of the Iraqi civilian legal system.  The American army has its own code of military laws which would try American soldiers for infractions of the laws.  They would not put their men under Iraqi jurisdiction.  Consequently, as the Iraqis wished, the United States began removing its army from Iraq.

 

Essentially the same thing happened in Afghanistan.  Under President Barack Obama the troops were being removed from that country.  Both Iraq and Afghanistan had been able to order the U.S. around but their governments were not strong enough to hold their territories against the Taliban, ISIS, and Al-Qaida.  This has necessitated the return of American troops and the continued war in these countries.

 

Presumably today, there have been improvements.  The American troops serve as advisers.  President Trump, in Afghanistan, wants them to kill members of the terrorist groups, that is, to go back to a combat mission and win the war.

 

Is it really a war?  Or are we holding these territories for governments that are not really capable of controlling their own land?  If this is true then we are stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan for the duration, however long that may be.

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Trump’s new strategy for war in Afghanistan is very similar to Obama’s old strategy.  A large number, possibly 4,000 or more American soldiers will be added at some point in the near future bringing our military forces there to just over twelve thousand men.  The U.S. will, according to President Trump, presumably quickly kill the enemy and win the war.     The actual probability is that the enemy will then fade away, essentially leave the country during the American buildup and then return when the U.S. removes most of the troops.  They’ve done this before.

 

What will it take to change this pattern?  And is it possible?  Can the Afghanistan’s stand up to their radical forces?  This was President Obama’s plan.  If we again take up the war and fight it will we be actually doing Afghanistan a favor or encouraging their traditional position?

 

In point of fact, is it really a war that is being fought in Afghanistan or are we just maintaining the status quo?  Will these countries ever be strong enough to maintain their own security?  That’s an interesting question.  Can it be answered at present?

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shares a ...

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

James Comey

James Comey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The Weiner Component V.2 #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.