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.

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

United States Senate election in Alabama, 1996

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #14 – Trump & Kim Jong-un: The Problem of Atomic War

Nuclear weapon test Mike (yield 10.4 Mt) on En...

English: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

English: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was done 72 years ago in 1945 to end WWII.  In essence this happened two years before President Donald Trump was born.  Most of the people who were alive at that time have passed on.  The memory of the end of World War II exists mainly in books and film; so does the memory of dropping two atomic bombs.  Only a very small percentage of the population, who were alive then, are still around and they are very old.  Neither the President of the United States nor the Supreme Leader of North Korea were alive then.

 

The Hiroshima bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945.  Three days later, August 9, the Nagasaki bomb was dropped.  They were exploded approximately 2,000 feet above their targets.  Both were fission devices.  Their energy was released by breaking matter apart into simpler elements.  The two bombs killed approximately 129,000 people and damaged countless others.  The objective of dropping them was to end World War II.

 

Basically what the bomb did was generate the sun’s heat 2,000 feet above the surface of their target, creating a vacuum directly under the explosion, which immediately sucked in dirt and dust from all around, throwing it up as a radioactive mushroom cloud.  The cloud itself was deadly with radioactivity; some of it would be blown up into the higher atmosphere and be spread innumerable miles in one direction or another, actually adding a measure of radioactivity to the atmosphere, while most of it would eventually drop back into the general area from which it came originally.  All this residue would be highly radioactive and deadly to people.

 

Those caught directly under the bomb and their possessions, houses, clothing, whatever, would immediately die or burn-up from the fire or heat.  The people, as one moves away from the center would all have radioactive burns over their bodies, the amount depending upon how far away they were from the center.  The entire process was pure horror.

 

On November 1, 1952 the United States test exploded a Hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok atoll, an empty island in the Pacific Ocean.  A Hydrogen bomb is a thermonuclear device which is a fusion bomb.  It takes simpler elements and makes them into more complicated ones.  It is also 1,000 times more powerful than an atomic bomb.  In fact it uses an atomic bomb to start its process.

 

While the simple atomic bomb releases the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT the H bomb releases 10 million tons of dynamite.  The island the Hydrogen bomb was exploded over melted and disappeared under the Pacific Ocean.

 

A few years later the Soviet Union, under Nikita Khrushchev, exploded two similar devices somewhere in Siberia and Khrushchev reported to the American President that the explosion had been greater than they thought it would be.

 

The radioactivity has a half-life of over 5,000 years.  This means that it can be lethal for over four times that length of time.  If enough atomic bombs were to be exploded they could poison the overall atmosphere of the planet with excess radioactivity and kill all organic life forms that are affected by radioactivity.

 

While shooting the film, The Conqueror, in 1959 John Wayne and ninety other members of the production company eventually came down with some form of cancer.  The film was shot at St. George, in Southwest Utah, east and downwind from the site of U.S. Government nuclear weapons tests.  I understand that one day they all felt a warm wind pass over them.  Susan Hayward and Agnes Morehead, as well as the director, Dick Powell also eventually came down with cancer.

 

It took a while but by 1963 there was a Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that restricted all nuclear testing to be done underground, usually in old deserted mines, to prevent contaminating the atmosphere with nuclear fallout.  It seems that every time an atomic weapon is tested it adds poisonous radioactivity particles to the atmosphere.   Even nations that did not sign the treaty have tested their atomic bombs since then underground.  This included North Korea.

 

Donald Trump, shortly after he became President of the United States, suggested that the U.S. arm countries surrounding North Korea with atomic bombs and missile systems.  Somehow after mentioning this strategy once he has not brought it up again.

 

He may have been properly briefed.  The problem with an atomic or nuclear war is that it could conceivably contaminate the entire planet.

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

North Korea or to use its official title, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is probably one of the most dictatorial ruled states in the world today.  Its currency, the won, is not accepted in other nations and its value and distribution within the DPRK is totally determined by the government.  There is a different issue of currency for foreign visitors.  International trade and the distribution of currency within the country for goods and services is totally controlled by the central government.

 

The leaders or rulers since the inception of the Communist state has been the Kim family: father, son, and grandson.  Each has come to power after the death of his father.

 

At the end of World War II Korea was split into two sections at the 38th parallel.  The Northern half was organized by the Soviet Union.  The Southern part essentially by the United States.  In the North a Communist government was set up; in the South a Democratic one.  On June 25, 1950 Northern Koreans crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the Southern section.  The war ended with a truce at the 38th parallel in July 1953 with each side occupying the territory they held before the war started.  The truce continues to exist to this day with American troops still stationed at the 38th parallel.

 

On September 9, 1948 the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was established with Kim Il-Sung as the Supreme Leader.  After his death on July 8, 1994 his son, Kim Jong-il became ruler with numerous titles.  And after he passed away on December 17, 2011 his son Kim Jong-un became the Supreme Leader.  With Asian names the family name comes first and it is followed by the given name.

 

Kim Jong-un assumed office on April 11, 2012.  He was born in 1984, which currently makes him 33 years old.  He has a wife, who is somewhere in her twenties, a daughter and he is the Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea and the Supreme Leader of the Military.

 

His older brother, Kim Jong-chul, was poisoned in Malaysia in 2017 by suspected Korean agents.  In December 2013, Kim Jung-un had his uncle, who was a high government official, arrested for treachery and executed.  He also put to death all the members of his family, including children and grandchildren of all close relatives.  It seems, like many rulers of old, once the crown was inherited the possible competition was wiped out.

 

The Korean War ended in a truce that was never resolved.  Since that time the Northern Koreans have dug in, in their territories, digging deep concrete reinforced fortification facilities throughout their country.  In addition they have developed nuclear weapons and run underground tests of these weapons.  They have also developed and tested missiles that could deliver atomic bombs to their enemies in any type of war.  They claim, without actually testing one, to have developed their own Hydrogen Bomb.  This is given very low credence by U.S. Intelligence agencies.

 

As far as the United States is concerned North Korea currently has atomic bomb capacity and medium range missiles.  They are attempting to develop a long range missile that can reach the United States.  The U.S. has unsuccessfully attempted to halt their experimentation.  The United Nations has condemned it and issued economic sanctions.  Northern Korea continues with its rocket and bomb experimentation.

 

Under no circumstances can the U.S. allow them to develop a long range missile.  The Obama Administration issued sanctions against the ruler, Kim Jong-un and nine other N. Korean individuals.  According to one of the ministers, in doing this the U.S. “crossed the red line.”  DPRK considers that a state of war now exists with the United States.  Most people in the U.S. are not aware of this.  This probably includes Donald J. Trump.

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

Despite economic sanctions by numerous members of the United Nations North Korea persists in moving forward with its program.  It would seem that North Korea sees its nuclear arsenal as essential in deterring an attack by its enemies, which include most of the nations in the world.

 

Traditionally the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has spent 25% of its Gross Domestic Product, of the goods and services it produces each year, upon the military.  It currently has the fourth largest army in the world.  All this despite the fact that the country is relatively poor.  From 1994 to 1998 there were severe food shortages and a number of people died of starvation.

 

North Korea’s border mostly faces China, with a smaller section facing Russia.  When the Soviet Union crashed and became Russia, North Korea lost that country as a provider of goods and services.  Her major trading partner today is China, who to a large extent she is dependent upon.  Does this give China a strong hand in determining her policies?  We will see.

 

China’s President, Xi Jinping, on a recent visit to the United States, was asked to help make North Korea back-off it’s nuclear and missile research.  Does China have enough clout to do this?  Or is China willing to do this?

 

The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea is ruled by Kim Jong-un, a 33 year old in charge of what is today a pure communist country where the Central Government controls the lives of all its people.  What do we know about him?  The answer is not very much.  He is reputed to never back down.  Is he capable of beginning an Atomic War?

 

In the United States the President is Donald J. Trump, who had earlier threatened a preemptive strike upon North Korea if they don’t stop their atomic and missile tests.  Trump has bombed with missiles an airport in Syria because Assad’s military presumably used chemical warfare against children.  He also dropped a massive non-atomic bomb over ISIS in Pakistan that destroyed everything within a mile, killing about one hundred people within the area.

 

Kim Jong-un is a young erratic dictator who has also threatened a preemptive attack.  His representative at the U.N. recently accused the U.S. of creating a situation for atomic war.

 

The problem with a preemptive attack by North Korea is that its target or targets would probably be South Korea or/and Japan, who are both within missile range of North Korea.

 

North Korea could be eradicated by just a few nuclear devices but so could other countries in that area of the world.  And how damaging would the results be for the rest of the people left alive?

 

Currently the situation rests in the hands of President Donald Trump and the supreme ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.  Will we see some form of resolution to the problem or could we see a nuclear war?  Anything is possible.  And either of these two men is capable of starting a major war.

 

Trump has sent a naval armada, consisting, among other ships, of an aircraft carrier and a submarine capable of launching atomic missiles into that region.  They may participate in joint exercises with the South Korean navy.

 

North Korea has stated that this action would be an act of war. Trump has publicly stated that the United States may become involved in an actual war with North Korea.  He has further said that under no conditions can North Korea be allowed to develop long range missiles.  With these two leaders anything may happen.

 

The Weiner Component Vol.#2 – President Trump, the Mighty Warrior

On Friday, April 8, 2017, President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airport from where he believed planes, on April 4th  originated, that dropped poison sarin gas upon onto a Damascus suburb killing up to 1,423 people, mostly civilian adults and a large number of children.

 

Trump commented at a news conference about watching television and seeing the results of the raid upon young children.  “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it, and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”  He spoke about the “beautiful little babies” that had been killed with poison gas.  “It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal.  That crosses many, many lines.  Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

 

On Friday when he met with the Chinese President at his resort in Florida he had ordered as Commander and Chief of the U.S. Military fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles to be sent to the Shayrat Air Base, where the Syrian planes carrying the poison gas had presumably originated.  In doing this Trump changed his “America First” policy.

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

To understand both Syria and the Middle East it is necessary to look at this region historically.  The Ottoman or Turkish Empire began toward the end of the 13th Century, when it conquered most of what is today the Middle East.  After 1354 it crossed into Europe conquering the Balkans.  During the 16th and 17th Centuries it became a multinational, multilingual Empire, consisting of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.  For various reasons the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.  In the early 20th Century they allied with the Central Powers during World War I.  Its defeat in that war led to the occupation of parts of its territories by some of the Allied Powers.  This resulted in the loss of itsremaining empire.  The Middle East territories were divided between England and France.  A successful revolt against the occupying allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, which is today modern Turkey.

 

The Middle East was split-up by the two Allied Nations in such a way as to accommodate their new possessions as colonies and protectorates.  The indigenous needs, religions, and otherwise of the people were ignored.  The divisions were decided totally upon requirements or whims of the victorious European nations that took them over as possessions that would be used for essentially economic purposes.

 

After World War II these colonies began revolting in order to gain their independence.  When it was realized that it would be cheaper to grant them independence and trade with them rather than continue to hold them in line militarily the Middle East nations gained their freedom and the Age of Imperialism ended.

 

The boundary lines that were set at the end of the First World War are the same boundary lines that exist today.  The Middle East nations are essentially conglomerates of different groups of peoples.  In a few cases there is a majority but in most instances the countries are made up of many minorities, usually with one of them ruling the country.  Such is the case in Syria.

 

In 2011 the Arab Spring occurred.  It was a movement of a number of Middle East nations attempted to move in the direction of democracy.  In most cases these countries ended up with a new minority ruling and the rest of the population being more or less repressed as they were before 2011.

 

In Syria the Arab Spring generated a conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime that represents a minority of its citizens and a majority of different groups that wanted it gone.  Assad is supported by about one third of the population and the army.  Over the last six years the situation has spiraled into an immensely complicated international war.  On the one side there is the government of the country headed by President al-Assad, who is supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia and on the other side innumerable groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and to some extent by the U.S., fighting Assad’s government and each other at times.  Some of the groups are extremely reactionary or radical and some are more moderate but the political positions the groups adhere to changes at times, putting the U.S. in an impossible position as to whom to support militarily.

 

In addition ISIS or ISIL has set up what it calls a Worldwide Caliphate (world state) which it claims has religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  ISIS has controlled a large section in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people.  In addition to warfare they have conducted televised mass beheadings of prisoners and civilians, which have included two American newsmen.

 

In the constant six years of civil war over 4 ½ million people in Syria have been displaced.  This has led to a constant stream of refugees leaving or trying to leave the country.  The mass of refugees have caused strains in other Middle East countries, in Europe, and even in the United States, where   President Donald Trump has unsuccessfully attempted to keep, among others, all Syrian refugees from entering the country, calling them potential terrorists.

 

While earlier the United States under President Barack Obama wanted Assad gone they had largely participated in arming the Kurds, a group situated in a region in both Iraq and Syria, whose agenda is mainly to set up their own Kurd state.  The U.S. is mainly bombing ISIS in both countries while the Kurds are fighting them on the ground.  Largely but not completely the United States had, has avoided specifically supporting anyone in the Syrian Civil War.  But they are continuing to fight ISIS, mainly from the air.

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

In 2013, after a chemical poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia had supposedly removed all poison gas chemicals from Syria after it they were initially used by them.  President Obama, at that time had drawn a red line, the United States would not allow the use of chemical warfare.  Presumably he was stopped from taking any actions by the Republican Congress.  But Assad did agree to give up all his chemical weapons, which were removed by Russia and presumably destroyed.  But it would seem that Assad held back some of the poison gas and this was used in the early April 2017 bombing in the rebel held area of Khan Sheikhoun.

 

The raiders dropped barrel bombs, which in this case were canisters of sarin poison gas. In addition to be breathed in the gas can enter the body through the pores in the skin.  There were some very dramatic television pictures of people trying to wash the poison off the bodies and clothing of young children by hosing them with water.  There were also pictures of children and adults undergoing great torment painfully trying to breathe.  This apparently is what caused Trump’s reaction.

 

Assad claims that he is not responsible, that he gave up his supply of poison gas in 2013.  Putin and Russia support his claim.  The United States and President Trump blame the Assad regime.  Not too long ago Chlorine gas was used against one of the rebelling groups in Syria by Assad.  Apparently chlorine, which is used to etch glass, in not a poison gas!  The situation in Syria is complicated, particularly with issuing blame.

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

My last point concerns President Donald J. Trump.  How sincere is he?  He has stated that he doesn’t like to read, that he gets his information by watching television.  His reaction to the chemical poison gas attack in Syria has been shock, watching young children suffering from poison gas.  His reaction to the sight was to punish the perpetrators of the bombing.

 

There was no investigation of who had dropped the gas bombs.  It was broadly assumed that only al-Assad was capable of doing it.  Assad, backed by Russia, claimed that he did not order it or even that he had any poison gas.  He claimed that his government had turned over their supply of poison gas to Russia in 2013, who had destroyed the supply.

 

Would Assad order the dropping of the poison gas?  I suspect the answer is, yes, if he had a reason to do so.

 

Trump seems to change his attitudes as quickly as a chameleon changes its color.  He has claimed that he wasn’t interested in what was happening overseas, that his basic policy is America first.  Yet, after watching some television newsreel about children suffering and dying from being gassed in Syria he ordered the bombing of the Syrian airfield where the planes are supposed to have come from.  He was emotionally moved and reacted to the sight of the atrocity.

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

It should also be noted that President Trump likes to change the topic at times that the media is using when it is negative.  This is particularly true in terms of him and his staff being associated with Russia during the Presidential Campaign and earlier.

 

In doing this he’s come up with real nonsense, such as President Obama illegally bugging his facilities during the Presidential campaign.  There is no proof of this and it has been emphatically disclaimed by all the government agencies like the FBI, but still Trump persists in this bit of alternate reality.  I get the impression that Trump’s version of a fact is whether, if he were in the other President’s position then it is something he would do.  Apparently, to him, everyone else has the same low code of honor Trump has!

 

One of Trump’s former aids is registering retrogressively as a foreign agent.  Another was fired after lying to the Vice President.  Numerous others have associations with foreign countries.  Trump has stated in different speeches that he both personally knows and that he has never met Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier.

 

It has been suggested that the American bombing of the Syrian air force base was arranged by Trump with Putin’s support and that Assad’s government knew about it in advance.  From what I understand only six Syrians died from the exploding 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles, that is 59 separate tomahawk missiles each costing one million dollars.  Is this true?  I have no idea.  Could it be true?  There were no Russians anywhere in or near the airbase.

 

Will Trump do it again?  President Putin has stated that there will be serious consequences if he does.

 

Looking at what’s happening in Syria from President Trump’s prospective, it’s alright to kill people and children as long as poison gas is not used.  There seems to be something wrong with that attitude.

 

If this is the only effort made against Assad and his government then what was the real point of the 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles dropped on the Syrian air base?  Or was this a message being sent to North Korea, telling them to back down on their atomic bombs and missile development tests?

 

Somehow a lot of what has happen here makes no sense unless it is an outpouring of Trump’s ever-changing emotional states.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #13 – President Trump, the Mighty Warrior

 

On Friday, April 8, 2017, President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airport from where he believed planes, on April 4th  originated, that dropped poison sarin gas upon onto a Damascus suburb killing up to 1,423 people, mostly civilian adults and a large number of children.

 

Trump commented at a news conference about watching television and seeing the results of the raid upon young children.  “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it, and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”  He spoke about the “beautiful little babies” that had been killed with poison gas.  “It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal.  That crosses many, many lines.  Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

 

On Friday when he met with the Chinese President at his resort in Florida he had ordered as Commander and Chief of the U.S. Military fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles to be sent to the Shayrat Air Base, where the Syrian planes carrying the poison gas had presumably originated.  In doing this Trump changed his “America First” policy.

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

To understand both Syria and the Middle East it is necessary to look at this region historically.  The Ottoman or Turkish Empire began toward the end of the 13th Century, when it conquered most of what is today the Middle East.  After 1354 it crossed into Europe conquering the Balkans.  During the 16th and 17th Centuries it became a multinational, multilingual Empire, consisting of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.  For various reasons the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.  In the early 20th Century they allied with the Central Powers during World War I.  Its defeat in that war led to the occupation of parts of its territories by some of the Allied Powers.  This resulted in the loss of itsremaining empire.  The Middle East territories were divided between England and France.  A successful revolt against the occupying allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, which is today modern Turkey.

 

The Middle East was split-up by the two Allied Nations in such a way as to accommodate their new possessions as colonies and protectorates.  The indigenous needs, religions, and otherwise of the people were ignored.  The divisions were decided totally upon requirements or whims of the victorious European nations that took them over as possessions that would be used for essentially economic purposes.

 

After World War II these colonies began revolting in order to gain their independence.  When it was realized that it would be cheaper to grant them independence and trade with them rather than continue to hold them in line militarily the Middle East nations gained their freedom and the Age of Imperialism ended.

 

The boundary lines that were set at the end of the First World War are the same boundary lines that exist today.  The Middle East nations are essentially conglomerates of different groups of peoples.  In a few cases there is a majority but in most instances the countries are made up of many minorities, usually with one of them ruling the country.  Such is the case in Syria.

 

In 2011 the Arab Spring occurred.  It was a movement of a number of Middle East nations attempted to move in the direction of democracy.  In most cases these countries ended up with a new minority ruling and the rest of the population being more or less repressed as they were before 2011.

 

In Syria the Arab Spring generated a conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime that represents a minority of its citizens and a majority of different groups that wanted it gone.  Assad is supported by about one third of the population and the army.  Over the last six years the situation has spiraled into an immensely complicated international war.  On the one side there is the government of the country headed by President al-Assad, who is supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia and on the other side innumerable groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and to some extent by the U.S., fighting Assad’s government and each other at times.  Some of the groups are extremely reactionary or radical and some are more moderate but the political positions the groups adhere to changes at times, putting the U.S. in an impossible position as to whom to support militarily.

 

In addition ISIS or ISIL has set up what it calls a Worldwide Caliphate (world state) which it claims has religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  ISIS has controlled a large section in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people.  In addition to warfare they have conducted televised mass beheadings of prisoners and civilians, which have included two American newsmen.

 

In the constant six years of civil war over 4 ½ million people in Syria have been displaced.  This has led to a constant stream of refugees leaving or trying to leave the country.  The mass of refugees have caused strains in other Middle East countries, in Europe, and even in the United States, where   President Donald Trump has unsuccessfully attempted to keep, among others, all Syrian refugees from entering the country, calling them potential terrorists.

 

While earlier the United States under President Barack Obama wanted Assad gone they had largely participated in arming the Kurds, a group situated in a region in both Iraq and Syria, whose agenda is mainly to set up their own Kurd state.  The U.S. is mainly bombing ISIS in both countries while the Kurds are fighting them on the ground.  Largely but not completely the United States had, has avoided specifically supporting anyone in the Syrian Civil War.  But they are continuing to fight ISIS, mainly from the air.

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

In 2013, after a chemical poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia had supposedly removed all poison gas chemicals from Syria after it they were initially used by them.  President Obama, at that time had drawn a red line, the United States would not allow the use of chemical warfare.  Presumably he was stopped from taking any actions by the Republican Congress.  But Assad did agree to give up all his chemical weapons, which were removed by Russia and presumably destroyed.  But it would seem that Assad held back some of the poison gas and this was used in the early April 2017 bombing in the rebel held area of Khan Sheikhoun.

 

The raiders dropped barrel bombs, which in this case were canisters of sarin poison gas. In addition to be breathed in the gas can enter the body through the pores in the skin.  There were some very dramatic television pictures of people trying to wash the poison off the bodies and clothing of young children by hosing them with water.  There were also pictures of children and adults undergoing great torment painfully trying to breathe.  This apparently is what caused Trump’s reaction.

 

Assad claims that he is not responsible, that he gave up his supply of poison gas in 2013.  Putin and Russia support his claim.  The United States and President Trump blame the Assad regime.  Not too long ago Chlorine gas was used against one of the rebelling groups in Syria by Assad.  Apparently chlorine, which is used to etch glass, in not a poison gas!  The situation in Syria is complicated, particularly with issuing blame.

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

My last point concerns President Donald J. Trump.  How sincere is he?  He has stated that he doesn’t like to read, that he gets his information by watching television.  His reaction to the chemical poison gas attack in Syria has been shock, watching young children suffering from poison gas.  His reaction to the sight was to punish the perpetrators of the bombing.

 

There was no investigation of who had dropped the gas bombs.  It was broadly assumed that only al-Assad was capable of doing it.  Assad, backed by Russia, claimed that he did not order it or even that he had any poison gas.  He claimed that his government had turned over their supply of poison gas to Russia in 2013, who had destroyed the supply.

 

Would Assad order the dropping of the poison gas?  I suspect the answer is, yes, if he had a reason to do so.

 

Trump seems to change his attitudes as quickly as a chameleon changes its color.  He has claimed that he wasn’t interested in what was happening overseas, that his basic policy is America first.  Yet, after watching some television newsreel about children suffering and dying from being gassed in Syria he ordered the bombing of the Syrian airfield where the planes are supposed to have come from.  He was emotionally moved and reacted to the sight of the atrocity.

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

It should also be noted that President Trump likes to change the topic at times that the media is using when it is negative.  This is particularly true in terms of him and his staff being associated with Russia during the Presidential Campaign and earlier.

 

In doing this he’s come up with real nonsense, such as President Obama illegally bugging his facilities during the Presidential campaign.  There is no proof of this and it has been emphatically disclaimed by all the government agencies like the FBI, but still Trump persists in this bit of alternate reality.  I get the impression that Trump’s version of a fact is whether, if he were in the other President’s position then it is something he would do.  Apparently, to him, everyone else has the same low code of honor Trump has!

 

One of Trump’s former aids is registering retrogressively as a foreign agent.  Another was fired after lying to the Vice President.  Numerous others have associations with foreign countries.  Trump has stated in different speeches that he both personally knows and that he has never met Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier.

 

It has been suggested that the American bombing of the Syrian air force base was arranged by Trump with Putin’s support and that Assad’s government knew about it in advance.  From what I understand only six Syrians died from the exploding 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles, that is 59 separate tomahawk missiles each costing one million dollars.  Is this true?  I have no idea.  Could it be true?  There were no Russians anywhere in or near the airbase.

 

Will Trump do it again?  President Putin has stated that there will be serious consequences if he does.

 

Looking at what’s happening in Syria from President Trump’s prospective, it’s alright to kill people and children as long as poison gas is not used.  There seems to be something wrong with that attitude.

 

If this is the only effort made against Assad and his government then what was the real point of the 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles dropped on the Syrian air base?  Or was this a message being sent to North Korea, telling them to back down on their atomic bombs and missile development tests?

 

Somehow a lot of what has happen here makes no sense unless it is an outpouring of Trump’s ever-changing emotional states.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #11 – Trump & the Republicans: “Repeal & Replace”

The United States is now into being well over 60 plus days of Donald Trump as

President and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. With the exceptions of a new Justice on the Supreme Court and a military raid on a Syrian air base.  Nothing significant has happened in the nation’s capital except that most members of Congress are working a three day week and have taken a two week Easter break.  Trump’s executive orders limiting the movement of Muslims from seven and then six Middle Eastern countries have been put on what looks like a permanent hold by the Federal Courts.

 

The members of the House of Representatives are on a two week vacation or break from the hard work they’ve been doing accomplishing virtually nothing except noisy Town Hall meeting with their constituents.

 

When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses of Congress the Republicans had loudly and persistently decried that they were ruining the Country with their irresponsible legislation like Affordable Health Care or as they like to call it, “Obamacare” and by supporting such national organizations like Planned Parenthood.

 

Also it seemed as far as the Republicans were concerned that nothing worthwhile could come from a Black, Democratic President. Now there is a white Republican President and a Republican dominated House of Representatives and Senate and to date, more than two months since they assumed power, nothing worthwhile has come from them except endless squabbling.

 

Their first major piece of legislative business was to get rid of Obamacare. They have been denouncing it since it first came into existence. It was signed into law on March 23, 2010, a little over seven years ago. Since that day, to hear Republican legislators speak about it, an individual gets the impression that it is worse than leprosy.

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

The problem, as far as President Donald J. Trump is concerned, which he recently discovered, is that the healthcare law is very complicated. Trump’s understanding of a law is of something that can be put on a single sheet of paper with wording that will not even cover the entire page. The Affordable Health Care Law has to be about a thousand pages long. That makes it very complicated. It will take more than the passage of one simple law to be completely done away with.

 

On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the seventh anniversary of the law, the repeal and replace bill was pulled by the Speaker of the House of Representatives because it didn’t have the votes to pass in the House. Trump, presumably in a moment of disgust, outrage, or masterful negotiation, sent some of his aids to sell the bill to the doubting members of the House. Trump wanted the bill voted up or down the next day. He wanted to know who among the Republican Party in the House were his supporters and who “supports Nancy Pelosi,” the Democratic leader. No Democrats are voting for the bill.

 

What is the problem in the House with this bill? It seemed that the members of the far-right Freedom Coalition were against the bill because it was too lenient, while more moderate Republicans were against the bill because it would remove 24 million people from health care coverage. 14 million, according to a non-partisan Congressional Office, will lose their coverage within a year and the additional 10 million will lose it over a longer period of time.

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s, who developed the Bill from values he has held for years,  goal was to make health care accessible to everyone while keeping the minimum wage at its present low level. The problem that emerged with this prospective bill was that most people could not afford health care under the new proposed bill.

 

Younger participants will have their premiums reduced while older people would have their premiums massively increased. The Speaker of the House has stated that he will be making Health Care available to everyone. The catch there is if they can afford to pay the premiums. The Federal Government will give tax credits to the needy. But the problem is that most if not all of the needy will not have the money to afford the premiums and may be earning so little that they pay no income taxes.  Consequently the tax credits would be worthless.

 

This is particularly true since the minimum federal wage is seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour. This means that a fair percentage of the population, particularly in red states where people believed in and voted for Trump, are earning $290 a week before unemployment and Social Security is taken out of their earnings. A goodly number of these people, who currently have Obamacare would lose it and be forced to go to ER, emergency rooms at hospitals. Under the proposed bill they will probably die prematurely. Many will face a choice between medication, food, or rent. This apparently is Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s solution to Universal Medical Care. It is also a way of having the government significantly reduce its spending and being able to cut taxes for the rich and the corporations.

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

According to one pole 17% of the population supports the Republican Health Care Bill, which has been labeled Trumpcare or Ryan-care. 56% oppose it. Virtually every Congressional District in the United States opposes the bill. If it passes in the House it should make for interesting voting in November of 2018.

 

On Friday, March 24, 2017 Trump and Ryan’s health care bill was pulled just minutes before it was supposed to come up for a vote. The Republicans, who have a wide majority in the House of Representatives, did not have enough votes to pass it. Presumably this was done on orders from Trump. Obamacare will continue to exist. The people of the United States in mass rallies throughout the country have demanded it. The Republicans have buckled down to the will of the majority. I suspect mainly because they don’t want to lose their seats in the House of Representatives.

 

Interestingly, Benjamin Franklin wrote toward the end of his career, “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” It took massive protest movements for this point to be made throughout the country.

 

After a period of silence on the subject Paul Ryan is now talking about a new and better version of the Health Care Bill. They are again talking about it and will continue to work on developing it after their two week break.

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

Listening to the President one got the impression that Trump never really examined the Affordable Health Care Law. It seems that he doesn’t like to read; that he gets most of his information from watching television. Trump promised to expand the plan and lower the cost when he was a candidate without really being aware of what he was talking about. I would suppose he is a 70 year old attention deficit adult. I would guess he knows things by instinct rather than by investigation.

 

Many of the House Republican legislators were announcing on the floor of the House on Friday how many of their constituents would lose health coverage if the bill were passed. The numbers were staggering. One could see what would probably happen in votes for the Democrats in the Midterm Election of 2018.

 

Ryan’s plan, had it passed would have decimated the current system. Again Trump probably had not bothered to examine the bill. It would have cut out the lowest rungs of society, all 14 million of them. This bill was rushed through the House without hearings or anything. It was supposed to be the fulfillment of the Republican dream of getting rid of Obamacare, after seven years of its existence and the Republican dominated House of Representative passing over 60 bills over the last seven years repealing Obamacare. None of these bills ever reached the Senate.

 

Ryan’s bill would have transferred much of the payment for medical treatment from the Federal Government back to the recipients of that medical treatment. Somehow the reduction in Federal costs would generally match Trump’s tax cuts, a little over 8 billion dollars.

 

This would have been very helpful to the Republicans in getting their tax cuts through Congress. It would be the reverse of Robin Hood’s behavior which was taking from the rich to help the poor. Instead Ryan-care was to take from the poor in order to help the rich.

 

Trump then spoke of moving on to his next legislative project, what he calls tax reform. This is mainly tax relief for both the top two percent of the population and for lowering the cooperate taxes. It would seem that they can’t afford to cut taxes without lowering medical costs

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

The ultimate irony here is that Affordable Health Care was a Republican generated plan which, if I remember correctly, was generated for Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts by Citizens United, a far-right Think Tank.

 

The plan worked well in that state and Romney got and took the credit for it.  In 2012, when Romney ran against Barack Obama as the Republican candidate for the presidency he denounced the plan for which he had been responsible.

 

The plan utilizes private enterprise to develop a Universal Health Care System. It follows Republican principles about private ownership. President Obama and the Democrats used it because they thought it would get Republican support in Congress. Not one Republican Party member voted for the bill.

 

It would have been far more practical and much cheaper for the Federal Government to become the insurer and set up a single payer plan throughout the United States. Virtually every single government that has universal health coverage for its people has done this and their overall costs are half or less than the U.S. pays for both medical care and pharmaceuticals. The Republican problem in “repealing and replacing” Obamacare is that they’re trying to improve upon their own plan and it’s not going to happen.

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

The commitment to Socialized Medicine for the entire population requires much more than the Federal Government has been able or willing to do so far. What we have seen is a semi-voluntary Republican plan that includes the private sector. What we need is a plan that also supplies doctors and cuts out the profits of the middle men.

 

Becoming a medical person is a long and expensive process. There are many individuals who would go into this but cannot afford the time without earning anything or the expense of the process. What is needed first is a single provider who operates on a non-profit basis, and that would be the Federal Government. The Government Agency that would handle this then needs to be able to deal directly with the medical and pharmaceutical facilities that provide both the doctors and the medicines for the public. This could be done by having the Federal Government set up medical learning facilities or contract to pay the costs of becoming a doctor at the existing medical universities or both. The Government also has to control the costs of the medicines.

 

This requires a major monetary investment over a goodly period of time. The Federal Government would also have to set up a scholarship system where worthy candidates would have their tuition and possibly their living costs paid

 

Also right now the pharmaceutical companies are free to charge what they will. This is currently true because they are protected by Congress. Today the major contributor to the Republican Party are the Pharmaceutical Companies. The cost of medical treatment in other industrial countries is less than half of that in the United States. Also medicines cost a fraction of what they do in the U.S. Medical Care should be a right that everyone has. The cost of it could be easily added to the income tax with everyone paying their fair share.

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)