The Weiner Component #149 Part 2: The 2016 Presidential Election: The Republican Candidates

Official photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Official photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All one has to do to become a candidate for any particular political office in the United States is to announce his/her intention of running for that particular office and then go through a process of becoming a registered candidate.  In the case of an office, like the presidency of the U.S., the individual needs an organization operating in all fifty states and territories of the nation.  This is generally what the political parties do; but one needs to be well organized to get the process started.  A person is elected to the presidency in each of the fifty states and territories.  There are that many separate elections that will be combined into one gigantic one on November 8, 2016.  The new President will take office in the middle of January 2017.

 

Originally there were a host of Republican hopefuls for the 2016 Presidential Election.  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was the first candidate to announce his run on March 25th 2015.  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul came next on April 7th 2015.  He had a problem in that he wanted to also run for the Senate at the same time in case he wasn’t elected President and Kentucky law does not allow that.  His problem seems to be solved now that he is no longer funning for the presidency.  He had originally wanted the state law changed. 

 

Then came Marco Rubio, officially announcing his run on April 13. Senator Rubio had been campaigning for a much longer period of time.  He has apparently missed more sessions of the Senate that any other member. In fact the Republican leadership in Florida has offered to support Ben Carson for Rubio’s senatorial seat in November.

 

Both neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carley Fiorina made their announcement on May 4, 2015.  Then came Mike Huckabee former preacher, former governor of Arkansas, 2008 presidential candidate, and former Fox news anchor on May 5th.  The list goes on to include former Senator Rick Santorum, ex New York Governor George Pataki, Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, former Governor Rick Perry from Texas,

 

Next came Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and younger brother of former President George W. Bush, and son of former President George H. W. Bush, who apparently saw himself as the heir to the presidency.  I imagine he felt it was his turn.  Before formally announcing his run for the presidency on June 15th Jeb Bush raised over $100 million dollars that went to his pact for his campaign.  He apparently spent over $70 million on his failed campaign before withdrawing in February of 2016.

 

On June 16, real estate and casino developer and reality TV host Donald J. Trump dramatically announced that he was running for the presidency.  Trump began his campaign with an anti-Hispanic statement against Mexicans and has continued an essentially negative campaign successfully feeding on the prejudices and fears of most of his blue collar supporters.  He glories in being incorrect in what he says.  He has the support of White Power groups like the K.K.K. and a Southern pastor who preaches that Adolph Hitler was sent by God to punish the Jews for not converting to Christianity, among others.

 

Next on June 24th came Bobby Jindal, the outgoing governor of Louisiana.  He was followed by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie on June 30th.  Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, announced his candidacy on July 13th.  Ohio governor John Kasich joined the race on July 21st.  And former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore came in in on July 30th.

 

That makes seventeen candidates who were all vying to become the Republican candidate in the Presidential Election of 2016.  By the end of February 2016 the number had dropped to five, twelve had withdrawn.  As of March first, when Supper Tuesday occurred, there were only five Republican candidates still running.   After Friday, March 4th Ben Carson, who gained no delegates on March 1st officially dropped out.

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March First was Super Tuesday.  Twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado caucuses, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Alaska and Wyoming, caucuses)  In addition American Samoa will hold a Democratic caucus.  All these states will hold primary elections or caucuses.  The difference between a caucus and a primary election is that instead of a person casting a ballot for a member of his/her party the people from each party meet in various places and support their candidates in groups which are then individually counted.  Also a primary election is paid for by the states holding it, while a caucus is paid for by the political party holding the caudus.

 

For the Republicans 1,237 Representative elected delegates are needed to become the Party’s candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election.  About ½ of that was available on Super Tuesday.  The people elected are bound to cast their initial vote at the Nominating Convention in November. About 600 delegates would be elected on March 1st.  The Democrats would be electing 880 delegates, about 1/3d needed to win their nomination

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Of the Republican candidates, Donald Trump is the most successful, representing mostly the silent majority of Republicans who have gotten the least from their party.  This majority seems to be the blue collars high school graduates and those with even less education.  Their rugged individualism and generally love of weapons never allowed them to vote Democratic but, outside of protection for gun ownership, they have never gotten anything from their Republican politicians.  To them Trump represents their political incorrectness and is a voice expressing their prejudices and dissatisfaction with their political party and the overall society.

 

Donald Trump was born in 1946.  He is 69 years old and has five children by three wives.  He has stated numerous times that his campaign is self-funded so he cannot be bought or influenced like the other candidates who are mainly funded by large donners.

 

Trump claims to be really rich; he says he has over ten billion dollars.  He does have a tendency to exaggerate in many areas.  This figure is disputed by various financial experts who have presumably figured out his finances; they place him in a much lower billionaire class.  He’s been involved in at least three bankruptcies.  It is assumed that true information will come out when he releases one or more years’ worth of income tax information.  The probability is that he has paid little or no taxes and that he doesn’t want this information released.

 

It is an interesting note of irony that a billionaire most represents the poorer Republicans, that they trust him with their futures.  When Donald Trump entered this political race on June 16th most Republicans and others took it as a joke.  It was something he would do for attention.  As he came out initially well ahead of all the other competing Republicans he was generally treated as a phenomena that would eventually wear out and pass from public attention.  Toward the end of February his support by the Republicans continued to increase and it became fashionable for many people to jump on the “band wagon.”   Today it looks like Donald Trump might well become the Republican Candidate for the November 8th Presidential Election.  Presumably the Republican turnout on Supper Tuesday and some earlier primaries has increased perceptibly while the Democratic turnout has decreased.  Trump claims that it is so because he is running and has brought out the vote. 

 

Trump could be correct in his belief that he is bring out more or new voters.  More Republicans have come out to vote for him or many Democrats and Independents have reregistered Republican for the primary Elections and Caucuses in order to vote for him.  After all he does reflect the feelings and prejudices of many in the lower classes.  And he is politically incorrect and can be expected to say almost anything.

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Trump’s Political Party affiliations have been Democrat, Independent, declined to state, and Republican.  He has changed his position on wealth, abortion rights, and healthcare over the years.  Recently he has changed his mind on using torture on prisoners; he found it was illegal.  His anti-immigration remarks have cost him ruminative relations with NBC, Macy and others, including the areas of the world he has ranted against.  His political positions are prolife; he is against late term abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the health of the mother is concerned. 

 

He supports the 2nd Amendment.  In fact he holds a New York concealed weapon gun permit.  But he supports background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the medically unstable.

 

He opposes recreational marijuana but supports its medical use.  He believes in traditional marriage (apparently to the point of being married three times).  He wants to replace Obamacare with a Free Market System and competition to lower costs.  He has in the past also supported a single payer system for universal medical care.

 

Donald Trump believes veteran medical facilities need to be upgraded and there should be increased aid for female veterans.  He wants local control for primary and secondary schools.  He is against common core.  (Basically this is state standards for English and Math which 40 states have adopted.  It is not a Federal program and if he were to become President he would have no say in the matter.)

 

He believes in free trade between nations but he will tax American companies that have moved overseas when they bring their goods back to the United States to be sold.  Apparently, in this fashion, he will force them to bring their manufacturing back to the United States.

 

He wants to reduce corporate taxes to 15% and not raise the minimum wage. (The Federal Minimum Wage was last set in 2009, seven years ago, at $7.25 per hour.  (It’s a good trick if a person or family can live on that.)  Living costs have gone up considerably since 2009.  The minimum wage has purchased less every year since it was established.

 

On immigration he wants to increase border security, build a thousand mile wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and send all illegal aliens in the U.S. back to Mexico; to him they all seem to be Hispanics.  And he also wants to temporarily close our borders to all Muslims, apparently until the terrorist situation is solved and he wants all Muslims in the U.S. all the millions of them, put under surveillance.

 

Environmentally he believes the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) hampers economic growth and jobs.  He supports fracking (which I understand helps bring about earthquakes), and has criticized wind power as being inconsistent, it’s not always windy.  He considers global warming a hoax.

 

He wants to replace Obamacare with a Free Market System.  He believes competition will lower costs.  However On Wednesday, March 2nd he released some details about his health plans.  Obamacare will be fully repealed; this includes the mandate for universal coverage.  People will be able to buy their own health insurance which is to be sold across state lines.  Presumably this competition will lower costs.  People will be able to make tax-free contributions to a Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  HSAs are paired with a high deductible health insurance plan and are intended to make people more conscious of how they spend health dollars and reduce costs.  The problem here is that many people do not have the health care dollars; they will lose the coverage they currently have with Obamacare.

 

Trump proposes to turn the Medicaid program into block grants to the states.  This creates a situation where the money may be delegated for medical use but it could be used for other purposes. This situation has occurred before with block grants.  In addition for prescriptions Trump’s plan calls for allowing drugs to be imported from overseas to increase competition and drive down prices.

 

Two notes of irony or irony here: one, is that people would be buying the same drugs that many drug companies have sold overseas at lower prices than they sell them for in the United States and two, Hillary Clinton has the same plan.  He has also called for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

 

Trump has also pointed out the need for mental health reform.  He says that his overall principles are to “broaden healthcare access, make health care more affordable and improve the quality of care available to all Americans.”  No one living on a minimum wage or close to it will be able to afford health care no matter how inexpensive it is.

 

 It seems to me that we had a Free Market system before Affordable Health Care came into existence in 2010 and some of the problems with it were that price rises were out of control, insurance companies would not insure anyone with a prior medical condition, and children were dropped from family policies at 18 years of age, generally when they were still in high school.  That was the so-called Free Market. 

 

In addition one of the problems that was never solved was the cost of medications, they continually rose and are still rising.  In fact medicines are less expensive outside the U.S. because in this country Congress has fixed prices so the government cannot negotiate with Drug companies.  It seems that the pharmaceutical corporations are some of the main contributors to political parties and laws have been passed protecting their pricing. 

 

It should also be noted that Trump has in the past supported a single payer system of medical coverage for everyone such as exists in Europe, Israel, parts of Asia, and elsewhere.  Here the Central Government insures everyone and it is paid for in taxes. 

 

In foreign policy he has both favored and opposed sending U.S. troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS and has promised that he’ll get rid of terrorists quickly when he becomes President.  He has stated that they should be scared if he becomes President.

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Trump verbally attacks journalists, politicians, competing candidates, just about anyone who he feels bothers him.  He has thought about running for President since 1988.  He even thought about running for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014.

 

The debate on Thursday, February 23 was an overall verbal attack, with two people constantly speaking at the same time.  It was Cruz and Rubio continually going after Trump and Trump responding while they were still speaking.  At one point John Kasich stated in exasperation that if they kept on in this fashion the Democrats would win.  Ben Carson, at one point, asked the others to attack him so he could respond.  A liberal news commentator, Chris Matthews, dubbed the debate as a meeting of the three stodges.  

 

Donald Trump has a long history of dealing in real estate starting with entering his father’s business and taking over the company with his father’s demise.  He began as a real estate entrepreneur, has been a TV personality with his own reality show, “The Apprentice,” has done bits in several films.  He has built hotels and casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.  He has also licensed out his name for numerous products and he had set up an unlicensed school originally called Trump University, which extorted millions of dollars from its unsuspecting students.

 

He is currently Chairman and President of the Trump Organization.  He employs some of his children as executives and has stated that if elected they will run the company.

 

His anti-immigration remarks have cost him remunerative relations with NBC.  His reality show “the apprentice,” which had been running for a number of years, paid him over a million dollars an episode.  Macy and other stores have stopped selling products with his name on them.  Great Britain’s Parliament held a debate about giving Trump a visa to enter the country.  Others have also denounced him for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim remarks.  He has been denounced by leading Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan.

 

In 2011 Trump questioned President Obama’s U.S. citizenship and presumably sent an investigator to Hawaii.  He made some exaggerated claims but never presented any evidence.  He did claim that he got President Obama to release the long form of his birth certificate at that time.

 

Donald Trump is either amoral or immoral.  From his comments about his bankruptcies and the people who were never paid money owed to them he has given the impression that legal bankruptcy is a method of getting out of debt without paying your bills. 

 

What should be noted about Trump is that he seems to know what he will do as President but he has given no information as to how he will do any of this.  It is also worth noting that most of what he says he will do requires laws being passed by Congress.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, has criticized some of what he has said.  The Senate would be no friendlier than the House in attempting to pass laws he would require.

 

 His argument about building a thousand mile wall between Mexico and the U.S. is complete nonsense.  Trump claims that there is a trade imbalance in goods and services between Mexico and the U.S.; we buy more goods and services than we sell them.  He would just deduct the money from what we owe Mexico.  The Mexican President has strongly stated that Mexico will pay nothing for a wall.

 

If there is an imbalance of trade between the countries it is between individuals and companies who are buying or selling to one another.  It is not between two governments.  Is Trump going to have a law passed to tax companies and individuals buying and selling between the two countries?  If he can somehow manage that then what happens to his principle of free trade between sovereign nations?

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Perhaps the worst case scenario of what he has done has been and is still his involvement with the now defunct unlicensed Trump University which has nothing to do with teaching but was a way to obtain money from essentially desperate people.  Trump invested about two million dollars in setting up this project.  That was the extent of his involvement.  Students paid about $35,000 for a group of three elite seminars to learn Trump’s real estate secrets.  They were told that they would make their money back in 60 days.  From the numerous people that are suing him it would seem that they didn’t earn their money back.

 

Trump University was founded in 2004 and was based in the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.  It was an unlicensed school that met in assorted places, usually rented hotel rooms, across the United States and gave seminars.

 

The seminars were given by motivational speakers.  They started with a free 90 minute presentation.  People barrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University.  About 7,000 people bought the sales pitch across the country.  Trump had little to do with the school.  Each seminar had a life-sized cardboard cutout of Trump that could be used for student pictures.  The students were initially offered three seminars for $1,495; then they were offered three elite seminars for up to $35,000.  They were verbally guaranteed they could earn the money back in two months. 

 

By 2005 the New York Department of Education warned Trump University that it was operating an unlicensed institution in violation of state law.  In 2010 the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneur.  The marketing plan remained the same: the free pitch, the three day $1,495 seminar, and the Elite Membership & Apprenticeship for up to $35,000.  The teachers were paid according to how many students they pulled in.  People are still paying off this debt, the money they borrowed to go to Trump University.

 

There are numerous lawsuits going on now.  New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman accused Trump University of running a “bait and switch” operation.  Their ad published 170 times stated that students would “learn from Mr. Trump’s handpicked instructors and would have access to Trump’s real estate secrets. 

 

Trump had little to do with picking instructors or developing curriculum for the seminars.  This was done by people with motivational speaking backgrounds.  Compensation was based upon how many people were motivated to sign up for additional seminars.

 

On March 2nd, Super Tuesday, the New York Court ruled that “Trump and his sham For-Profit College defrauded more than 5,000 consumers out of millions of dollars.”  The Trump Organization’s general council said the ruling was would be appealed and called the case “politically motivated,” Trump has obliquely stated that it will take three years for the appeal process.

 

In California there is a class action suit against the now defunct Trump University.  In addition there are numerous other suits throughout the nation.  Trump apparently employs a small army of attorneys and they all seem to be experts at delay.  Trump’s comment, true or otherwise, has been that he’s won most of the cases that have come up for trial and that he could easily pay all these people off but not paying them is a matter of principle. 

 

It strikes me that this is the type of case that would be featured on the TV series, American Greed.  It would seem that this scam would end up with the perpetrator being sent to jail for criminal activity.  Could this happen in Trump’s case or is he too rich and powerful.  Instead he is running for the presidency of the United States.

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It should also be noted that among many Republicans Ted Cruz is considered a liar and a dirty trickster.  During one primary his employees issued false information that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race and that his voters should vote for Cruz.  After another primary he fired one of his employees for a similar type action.  Even if he were innocent he created the milieu that allows this type of behavior.

 

Marko Rubio is the Tea Party candidate from Florida.  He is also a former protégé of Jed Bush.  Rubio is known for his very low attendance at the Senate and for his constant campaigning for the presidency.  We have a case here of someone who if he were appointed or hired for the job would have been fired for extended absenteeism.  It seems his constituents in Florida are thinking of running Ben Carson for the Senate in his place in 2016.

 

John Kasich may have won one of the Republican races on Supper Tuesday.  He is the only Republican who has appeared as a legitimate Presidential Candidate.  But Kasich has won very few delegates.

 

For Super Tuesday Ben Carson gained no delegates.  For general purposed he wasn’t even effectively in the race.

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Super Tuesday. As we’ve seen, refers to one or more Tuesdays early in a U.S. presidential primary season when a number of states hold primaries or caucuses on the same day.  More delegates can be won on that day than on any other during the primary season which can precede an election by a year or more.  In 2016 it was held on March 1st

 

The participating states were Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.  Colorado, Minnesota, Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming held caucuses.  The territory of American Samoa held a Democratic caucus.

 

The Republican candidates could win about half of the 1,237 delegates needed to become the candidate.  What happened is that Donald Trump received the most delegates, then came Cruz, followed by Rubio and Kasich.  The two Democrats were after 880 delegates, about 1/3d needed to win.  Texas has more delegates than any other state, 155 for Republicans and 252 for Democrats; Cruz and Clinton got those.

 

For the Republicans Donald Trump won seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia with 243 delegates.  Ted Cruz won Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas, with a total of 220 delegates.  Marco Rubio won one state, Minnesota.  John Kasich did not win any states but did win 21 delegates and Ben Carson did not win any states or delegates.  The results from North Dakota and Wyoming are yet to be determined.

 

Among the Democrats Hillary Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, seven states.  She received 486 delegates.  Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont, four states.  He received 321 delegates.

 

The Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination while the Democrats need 2,383.  Among the Republicans Donald Trump has 325 delegates from the first 15 primaries in which he has participated.  Ted Cruz has 257 and Marco Rubio has 117.  John Kasich has only 21.

 

For the Democrats Hillary Clinton so far has 1065 delegates; from the eleven states she had carried through Super Tuesday, March 1st.  She needs 2383 to win the nomination.  Bernie Sanders has 434 delegates from the first five states he has won.

 

The race with the primaries and caucuses will continue until the actual Party Nominating Conventions.  After Tuesday, March 15th half the states will have held their primaries.  The Democrats have chosen Philadelphia for their Convention during the week of July 25th, immediately after the Republican event.

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #128 – The 2016 Presidential Election

If one looks at the Constitution of the United States of America one discovers that it consists of seven articles and twenty-seven amendments.  Of these the first three articles set up the organization and functioning of the Federal Government.   Article 1 deals with the legislative bodies, Article 2 with the presidency, and Article 3 with the Supreme Court.

In the first Article the two legislative bodies, the Senate and the House of Representatives, are defined, organized, and their powers enumerated.   Article 2 sets up the presidency and describes the general powers of the President, and Article 3 essentially states that there shall be a Supreme Court.

According to the Constitution, Congress alone has the power to make the laws.  The President is the chief administrator; he carries out the laws that exist and that the current Congress has brought or brings into being.  The President can issue executive orders, which if they are not in contradiction of existing laws, will exist during his term in office.  But his acts can be curtailed by specific acts of Congress or, for that matter, by decisions of the Supreme Court.  He is mainly the chief administrator of the United States. He runs the country.

During Presidential Elections one gets the impression that most candidates and the general public are totally unaware of what the basic document of the United States contains.  In the current pre-election campaign for the Presidency in 2016 the overly large number of Republican candidates state what they will do if elected.  These individuals sound like they are running to be kings and explain how the country will function if one of them is elected.  What new laws they will decree.  The ignorance is pathetic.

Barak Obama was elected in 2008 on a platform of change.  When he assumed office in 2009 he inherited, from the former President, George W. Bush, a potential economic collapse that would have been greater than the Great Depression of 1929.  By using the resources of the Federal Government, he and his administration were able, over his first two years in office, to turn the economic situation around and totally avoid disaster. Even with the full use of the government for this he was able, with a Democratic Congress, to bring about Affordable Health Care (Obamacare).  In the 2010 Midterm Election a goodly number of the people who had voted for him in 2008 were disgusted with his lack of “change” and stayed at home and didn’t vote.  That combined with Voter Suppression in Republican dominated states gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans and the chances for change in the U.S. dropped to zero.

The probability of a Republican being elected in 2016 and both Houses of Congress maintaining their Republican majority is slim.   But even if it were to happen the possibility of a Republican president agreeing completely with a Republican Congress is even slimmer.  In fact the two Republican Houses of Congress agreeing is even slimmer than that, seeing that the current Republican House of Representatives is much farther to the right in their positions than the Republican dominated Senate.

What is needed at this time is a realistic look at elections and an understanding of the importance of voter continuing participation.  Elections are important.  Their results helps determine the direction in which the country proceeds.  Being not bothered to vote or a protest non-vote is actually a vote for the minority party, the Republicans.

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There are currently a plethora of Republican candidates vying for the Presidency in 2016.  In fact the leadership of the National Republican Party seems bankrupt of power since they don’t seem to have any control over the choice of one or a few possible candidates.

For the Republicans there are currently fifteen announced candidates and seven additional potentially pending candidates.  This makes a total of twenty-one people who are vying for the presidency from the Republican Party.

The stated candidates are:

Jeb Bush officially as of June 15, 2015

  1. Ben Carson as of May 4, 2015
  2. Ted Cruz as of March 23, 2015
  3. Carly Fiorina as of May 4, 2015
  4. Lindsey Graham as of June 1, 2015
  5. Mike Huckabee as of May 5, 2015
  6. George Pataki as of May 28, 2015
  7. Rand Paul as of April 7, 2015
  8. Rick Perry as of June 4, 2015
  9. Marco Rubio as of April 13, 2015
  10. Rick Santorum as of May 27, 2015
  11. Donald Trump as of June 16, 2015
  12. Bobby Jingle as of June 24, 2015
  13. Chris Christie as of June 30, 2015
  14. Scott Walker as of July 13, 2015

Also announced are Mark Everson & Jack Fellure

Other potential candidates are:

  1. John Kasich
  2. Bob Ehrlich
  3. Jim Gilmore
  4. Peter T. King

That makes a total of 21 potential presidential candidates

The next question is: How will they debate one another?   If they were all present in a single debate, the answers to each question would last for more than an hour and many TV viewers would forget at least half the answers before the question was answered. Fox News, the formal propaganda agency for the Republican Party, had a formula to just allow a certain number of the candidates leading in the national polls to debate but that’s been rejected by several state parties.  Whatever happens here will be colorful and interesting.

If you’re interested in any of the multitude of Republican candidates, look them up on the internet or, if you’re patient wait to see who’s left when we get to November of 2015. I suspect many of these individuals don’t and won’t have the organization, funding, or ability to mount 50 plus campaigns and will gradually fade away.

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For the Democrats there are also a host of candidates but only two or three of them seem to have the organization to hold elections in each of the 50 states and each of the Federal Territories held by the United States.  They are, in the order of national poll preference, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Lincoln Chafee.

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Of the Democratic candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the best known.  She is the wife of former President Bill Clinton, a former well-functioning U.S. Senator, and President Barak Obama’s first Secretary of State.  No one running for the Presidency for the first time has been as experienced as she.  Hillary Clinton is running on a liberal platform.  For her to bring about her agenda she will need a majority in both the House and Senate.

Bernie Sanders is 74 years old.  Politically, he is a Democratic Socialist, who caucuses with the Democratic Party.  He has served in the Senate since January 2007.  Sanders favors policy proposals similar to those of social democratic governments in Europe, particularly Scandinavia, such things as free medical care for all and free college education for all.  His basic premise is that the U.S. is the richest country that has ever existed but the bulk of this wealth is going to the one percent who are not even paying their fair share of taxes.  He is currently the voice of many frustrated Americans who feel there is an extreme need for change in the United States but don’t see any of this occurring.  Sanders is running for the presidency as a Democrat.  Like Hillary, if he is elected he will need a Democratic Congress to bring about any change or he will spend four frustrated years as President not being able to do much.

Lincoln Chafee’s father, John Chafee, was the Republican Senator from Rhode Island where he died in 1999.  His son, Lincoln, was appointed by the governor of the state to finish his term.  Lincoln Chafee had entered politics in 1985 as a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention.  The following year he was he became a member of the Warwick City Council, where he served until he was elected mayor of Warwick in 1992.  He served in that office until his father’s death in 1999 when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate to finish his father’s term.  In 2000 he won a full term to the U.S. Senate, defeating his Democratic rival.

Lincoln Chafee was a liberal Republican whose beliefs stood to the left of some conservative Democrats.  He opposed eliminating the estate tax, voted to increase the top federal income tax rate, was against allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, supported an increased minimum wage, and was the only Republican to vote against the invasion of Iraq.  He is pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, affirmative action, gun control, and opposes the death penalty.

In 2007 Chafee left the Republican Party and became an Independent.  He supported Barak Obama in 2008.  In 2010 he became governor of Rhode Island.  Chafee was a co-chair of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.  In May of 2013 he announced that he was switching to the Democratic Party.  He formally announced his campaign for the presidency on June 3, 2015.

What are his chances of becoming the Democratic candidate?  An interesting question. He doesn’t seem as nationally well known as either Clinton or Sanders.  And both of them have wide recognition and positive reputations with Hillary, probably leading.

With the senseless murder of the nine church members in the leading Black church in South Carolina Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken on the terms of leading a Crusade across the country which the majority of the American population seems to want.  Of course, if she is elected, her success will depend upon the makeup of the two Houses of Congress.  The Democrats need not only a majority in both Houses of Congress but also a filibuster-less Senate, that is a 60 vote majority in that House. Then if the Democrats can work lock-step a Crusade to change America positively can be carried out.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

 

 

English: First page of Constitution of the Uni...

English: First page of Constitution of the United States Česky: První strana originálu Ústavy Spojených států amerických Español: La página primera de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos de América (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Weiner Component #126 – The Current American Political System

On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 Presidential nomination, at a speech at a Texas Southern University, a historic Black college in Huston, accused the GOP (Good Old Party) of dividing Americans over voting rights by attempting to limit the vote among minorities, racial and otherwise, the elderly, and the young, generally college students. Clinton stated that a group of current and former Republican governors have and are “systematically and deliberately” have tried to prevent millions of Americans from voting.

She cited Governor Chris Christie for vetoing a bill in New Jersey to extend early voting. Clinton said that then Governor Jeb Bush had conducted, just prior to the 2,000 Presidential Election, a “deeply flawed purge of eligible voters in Florida by having the names of people who were mistakenly thought to be felons removed from the voting rolls. She accused Scott Walker of Wisconsin of cutting early voting and making it harder for college students to vote. He also passed ID laws which tend to discriminate against minorities who don’t have the required identification.   Rick Perry of Texas, she stated, approved laws that mainly discriminated against minorities.

”It was the first time a presidential candidate had named her potential Republican rivals by name and criticized Governors Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie.

She called for automatic registration for all people reaching the voting age of 18. This is similar to what presently exists in the state of Oregon, where anyone with a driver’s license from age 18 on is now automatically registered to vote and is mailed a ballot at election time. The choice to vote rests totally with the individuals.

The following day, Friday, June 5, a number of Republican governors verbally attacked Clinton for running a divisive campaign and favoring tax control on voting. Whatever that means?

The governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, vociferously stated that Clinton didn’t know “the first thing about voting rights in New Jersey” and wanted to have an opportunity “to commit greater acts of voter fraud” around the country. Ohio governor John Kasich stated on Fox News that Clinton was “dividing America.”  Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker denounced her for denouncing him.

Basically the Republican argument is that they are fighting voter fraud.  Even though voter fraud is a small fraction of one percent of the millions of votes cast many Republicans know instinctively, with no other evidence, that that figure is wrong. They argue that what they are doing limits and virtually stops voter fraud.  Sometimes, I get the feeling that voter fraud, in their minds, is any vote cast that is not Republican.  It should also be noted that many Republicans have on occasion admitted publically that they are trying to suppress the vote.

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There are two major political parties in the United States that can successfully field a presidential election, since this means running fifty separate elections in each of the 50 states and separate federal elections for all the territories and the District of Columbia, with the exception of the island of American Samoa where the population consists of residents rather than citizens of the United States. These two major political parties are the Republican and Democratic Parties.  Of these the majority party is the Democratic one.

One of the major ways the Republicans have been successful in winning political elections has been by suppressing the vote of minorities, women, the aged, and college students. This has been done in numerous ways. Their object is to get certain groups, one way or another, not to vote.

Among the various dirty tricks used in suppressing the vote misinformation about voting procedures is not uncommon. In the recall election for the Wisconsin State Senate, Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization that supported Republicans, sent many Democratic voters a mailing that gave incorrect deadlines for absentee ballots. Voters who relied on the deadline in the mailing sent their ballots in too late to be counted. The organization said that the mistake was a typographical error.

In the 2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal Republican officials attempted to reduce the number of Democratic voters by paying professional telemarketers in Idaho to make repeated hang-up calls to the telephone numbers used by the Democratic Party’s ride-to-the-polls phone line on election day.

In several states a private Republican group, Voters Outreach of America, which had been authorized in a number of states to register voters, collected and submitted Republican voter registration forms but discarded Democratic ones.  The Democratic voters discovered on Election Day that they were not registered and could not vote.

In the 2006 Virginia Senate Election Democratic voters received phone calls informing them that if they voted it would lead to arrest; there were numerous calls fraudulently claiming to be volunteers of the Democratic candidate falsely telling voters that their location had changed; fliers were issued in the Black communities, paid for by the Republican Party, stating, “Skip This Election.”

In the 2008 Presidential Election a review of states records by the New York Times found that there had been numerous illegal actions leading to voter purges.

In the United States there is partisan election administrations in 33 of the 50 states. The majority of the world’s democracies use independent agencies to monitor elections but not the U.S.  These party affiliations can and do create a conflict of interest.  For example, Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State served as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign during the Presidential Election of 2000.

In Georgia wait times of two to ten hours were reported during early voting at many locations.  In Florida this happened at multiple locations on Election Day during the 2012 Presidential Election.  Various factors, including the reduction of early voting days, reduction in the number of polling places, and an extremely long ballot that included numerous constitutional amendments all combine to add to long waiting times.  It is estimated that 201,000 potential Florida voters were unable to spend the hours needed to be able to vote and thus had their votes suppressed.

In the 2010 Maryland gubernatorial election the Republicans placed thousands of Election Day robocalls to Democratic voters telling them that the Democratic candidate had won, although the polls were still open for two more hours. The Republican phone call was worded as though it came from Democratic headquarters.  It told the Voters to relax, that everything was fine.  All they had to do was watch the victory on TV that night.  The phone calls reached 112,000 voters in the African-American areas of the state.

In 2011, the Republican campaign manager was convicted of fraud and other charges because of the calls. In 2012 he was sentenced to 30 days of home detention, a one year suspended jail sentence, and 50 hours of community service over a four year period of probation with no fine or jail time.

A Florida law, that has been repeated in a number of Republican dominated states, both reduced the number of days for early voting and barred voter-registration activities by such group as the League of Women Voters, teachers in high school and others, making it more difficult to register to vote in those states.

These constitutionally granted voting rights have been and are under nationwide attack, particularly in those states where the Republicans hold the governorship and control of the legislature. The laws lead to significant burdens for eligible voters. These measures include cuts to early voting, voter ID laws, and purges of voter rolls. It also includes dirty tricks. Democratic lawyers have filed legal challenges to voting changes, particularly in Ohio and Wisconsin.

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Among the various forms of voter suppression are photo ID laws. Supporters contend that the photo ID, such as state driver’s licenses or student IDs from state universities are nearly universal and that presenting them is a minor inconvenience, when weighed against voter fraud.  Opponents argue that these requirements disproportionally affect minority, handicapped, and elderly voters who do not normally maintain driver licenses. There is also almost no evidence of voter fraud.  Legislation to impose the restrictive IDs has been prepared by the conservative organization ALEC and sent to conservative state legislatures.

In the U.S. felons are disenfranchised.   In fact the United States is the only democracy in the world that regularly bans large numbers of felon from voting after they have served their sentence.  In 2004 5.3 million Americans were denied the right to vote because of previous felony convictions. Thirteen states permanently disenfranchise convicted felons, eighteen states restore voting rights when after completion of prison, parole, and probation time, four states re-enfranchise convicted felons after they have been released from prison and served their parole, thirteen states allow felons who have been released from prison to vote, and two states do not disenfranchise them at all. This form of voter suppression disproportionally affects minorities, particularly Blacks and Hispanics who it seems make up a good percentage of the prison population.

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In former Governor Rick Perry’s state, Texas, the voter suppression laws have wide sweeping effects. The U.S. Justice Department estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 Texans were disenfranchised of their vote by the Texas voter ID law implemented in 2014. While the law accepts seven forms of personal identification it was crafted to make sure that poor African Americans and Hispanics would have a very difficult time producing any of those forms of accepted ID.

The accepted forms of ID are: a concealed handgun license, a U.S. military identification card containing the person’s photograph, a U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph, a U.S. passport, a Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), a Texas Election identification certificate issued by the DPS, and a Texas personal identification card issued by the DPS. In addition college student IDs are not acceptable forms of identification.

Poor people, as a rule, do not have concealed handgun licenses.  My birth certificate was issued at my birth; it does not contain my picture. The majority of young men do not join the military.  Many poor Texans do not have cars or driver licenses.  A passport cost money to acquire.  Of the other possibilities most poor workers, mainly African Americans and Hispanics do not possess those either.

The official state offices that issue these IDs are not located in every town, and those that exist do not operate every day of the week. None of them are open on weekends when people are off work.

Poor Texans living in a rural area need to take a day off work to go to a town or city where the Department of Public Safety offices exist and they have to pick a day when the office will be open.  If they can find or afford transportation it will take them at least three hours to get to a government office that will issue an ID if it is open and then after they finish it will take them at least three more hours to get home.  They will have lost at least a day’s pay.

The Federal Court in Corpus Christi declared the ID law unconstitutional, in 2014 a Federal judge struck down this law finding that the law was “an unconstitutional poll tax” that had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans;” but on appeal the more conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this decision.

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Voter disenfranchisement in the 2014 election was apparent; it will certainly be an issue in the 2016 Presidential Election.  Wherever possible various Democratic organizations will be and are bringing law suites to limit or stop this practice; but many of the federal judges were appointed by Republican presidents and are partial to Republican demands.  Such, obviously was the case in Texas.

In a number of 2014 races, like North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia, and Florida, the margin of victory was very close to the margin of disenfranchisement.  With an honest election the results might have been the opposite.

A joint report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and the Southern Elections Foundation found that four out of five states that had introduced at least one new restrictive voting measure in 2014 “experienced sharp decreases in voter turnout from the 2010 midterm election, likely due, at least in part, to these laws that made it harder to vote in 2014.  33 states have recently introduced bills that would restrict access to voter registration.

Republican officials have admitted that their efforts are aimed at disenfranchising Democratic voters. In the spring of 2012 the Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, told a gathering of Republicans that their voter identification law would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”  There have been numerous statements by Republicans before and since the above statement was made indicating that the voter identification laws are mainly a way to suppress the vote of Democratic voters.

Republican generally argue that restrictions on registering and voting are about the integrity of elections; but they have never been able to prove that any American election has been stolen by voter fraud, (at least by the Democrats).

There is an interesting note of irony here. The Caucasian or White population in the United States no longer makes up the majority of the population.  It is a large minority among other large minorities.  And every year its number shrinks in comparison to the other large minorities. How long can the Republican successfully play their games? Even with several million voters across the United States deprived of their vote Barak Obama won in 2012.  The same is true for a lot of local, state, and federal elections. The Republicans may feel they’re riding high at present but every year there are less and less of them in the overall population.  It would seem that compared to the rest of the population they are largely sterile.

 

November 4: Barack Obama elected President
November 4: Barack Obama elected President (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Weiner Component #125 – The Bush Presidencies

George H. W. Bush

Cover of George H. W. Bush

Barbara Bush stated, when her son Jeb said publically that he was going to run for the Presidency of the United States, that the country didn’t need another Bush president.

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George H.W. Bush (Daddy Bush) joined the Air Force as an 18 year old during World War II and served for the duration of the war. Shortly after he formed his own oil company and then became a Republican Congressman in the House of Representatives.  President Gerald Ford later appointed him as CIA Director on January 30, 1976.  He served in that office until January 20, 1977.  He became President Ronald Reagan’s Vice President on January 20, 1981 and remained in that position for eight years.  Toward the end of his term he ran for President of the United States and was elected.  He would serve one term as President and then be defeated by the Democratic candidate, William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton.

As Vice President, Bush would be involved in the Iran-Contra Affair that flaunted the Constitution of the United States.  Ronald Reagan was convinced that the Contras, a group of terrorists operating in Nicaragua, were really Freedom Fighters trying to free Nicaragua from its elected Socialist government.  Congress refused to fund this enterprise.  Reagan and his assorted Secretaries then decided to get the money needed to fund this operation by illegally selling arms to Iran.  Vice President George H.W. Bush was clearly involved in this enterprise.  He served as a courier for Reagan; the evidence clearly exists.  When Dan Rather, the CBS lead reporter in a televised interview tried to trap him into admitting this fact, President Bush refused to answer the question and Dan Rather was later fired.

As President, Bush sent a roving female ambassador-at-large or a plenipotentiary with very general instructions to Saddam Hussein, in Iraq.  Bush was obviously striking a blow for Women’s Rights.  In the Middle East, particularly at that time, women were considered second-class citizens that would never be entrusted with anything really important.  By sending a female Hussein understood that his forthcoming invasion of Kuwait was of low priority to the United States and he consequently invaded that country.  This resulted in Operation Desert Storm, the liberation of Kuwait by the United States and some of its allies.  Bush was smart enough to end the war at the border of Iraq.

To Hussein, George Bush had given a clear message and he reneged on it.  Impotently he threatened to have President George H.W. Bush assassinated.  Bush’s son, George W. Bush, would react to this threat later on when he went to war with Iraq.

The Kuwait rescue war called Operation Desert Storm would never have happened if President George H.W. Bush, who should have known better, had sent a male diplomat with clear authority to negotiate with Saddam Hussein.  He, Saddam, would have known that any Iraqi invasion would result in the U.S. and other Western Powers getting involved if Iraq invaded Kuwait or any other country.  Bush’s inability to properly handle this situation brought about a totally unnecessary war.

So much for the Presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush, a president we could have done without.

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In the entire history of the United States there were two men who became president with the majority of the population voting for the other candidate

The first was the Election of 1876 where the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes received 4,034,311 popular votes but ended up with 185 electoral votes to Samuel J. Tilden who received 4,288,546 popular votes and 184 electoral votes.  What happened was that 20 electoral votes were contested.  Several states had two sets of electors, one set of Democratic Electors and one set of Republican Electors.  Both groups claimed to have been directly elected by the public. The debate continued on until the night before the new President was to be sworn-in.   A compromise was reached literally hours before the new President was to take office. The Republicans wanted the presidency; the Democrats wanted to formally end Civil War Reconstruction.  Each political party got what they most desired: a Republican became President and the army was withdrawn from the Southern States.

The second instance was the election of George W. Bush in November of 2000.  He had 50,456,002 popular votes to Al Gore’s 50,999,897 popular votes.  The problem there was the State of Florida whose governor was George W. Bush’s baby brother, Jeb Bush.  The person in charge of that election was a staunch Republican.  Either Jeb Bush instigated or knew about a highly flawed voter purge of the voter registry, just prior to the 2000 Election that removed mainly registered Democrats from the voter lists in the state.  These were mostly minorities who would probably vote the Democratic ticket. The faulty purge was touted as removing felons from the list of registered voters.

In addition a number of election ballots came up faulty because of the way they were set up.  One had to punch out the candidate of his or her choice and the instructions were vague.  A goodly number of ballots were incorrectly or partially punched.  These had to be individually examined and the choices determined individually; a long, tedious process, which was terminated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William D. Rehnquist.  The majority of those ballots were never counted giving the electoral votes for the State of Florida to Bush, and giving him 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266.  Thus George Walker Bush became the President of the United States.  Did his baby brother, Jeb help him get elected?  Certainly.

Since this was the second time this had happened, that the will of the majority had been thwarted there should have been a Constitutional Amendment doing away with the Electoral College and having the President named by the direct vote of the people.  After all the concept of the Electoral College was created in post-colonial times when communication was very difficult.  It is no longer needed.  And there also have been times when Electors voted for people for whom they had not been chosen to elect.  We seem to hang on to some tenants of government that are totally obsolete.

Will Rogers, the comic philosopher of the 1920s, among other things, said that the members of Congress are like children with hammers who have been let into a China Shop.   They make messes but don’t do much damage.  About Calvin Coolidge, who was President at the time, he said that it wasn’t that he did nothing, it was that he did it better than anyone else.  In George W. Bush’s case he did something and it was worse than anything else he could have done.  Without realizing what his actions would bring about he destabilized the Middle East and we are still attempting, not too successfully, to deal with this problem today.  Bush, in a manner of speaking, opened up a Pandora’s Box; and its reverberations have created ISIS and other functioning terrorist groups throughout the Middle East.

Through ignorance or naivety Bush destabilized the Balance of Power that existed throughout the Middle East.  He indirectly caused numerous deaths, both of American soldiers and Iraqis, and the mayhem which still exists.  Apparently he thought that the people of Iraq would be thankful to the United States if he got rid of Saddam Hussein. With no glimmer of understanding of the Middle East he invaded Iraq supposedly looking for weapons of mass destruction.

The choosing of Bush as President had done irrevocable damage to the world stage by creating what seems to be an unsolvable problem.  If Al Gore had been President, as he should have been, the U.S. would never have gone into Iraq.  At the time of the U.S. preemptive invasion the United Nations was sending inspectors to that country checking for weapons of mass destruction.  In fact, they asked the U.S. for more time in order to continue their inspections looking for evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  With Al Gore as president sanity would have prevailed.  There would have been no Iraqi war. The stability of the Middle East would have prevailed.  It seems Will Rogers was wrong about elected government officials; they can, at times, do irrevocable harm to their country and the rest of the world.

How will the current Middle East problem be solved?  That’s an interesting question to which nobody seems to have a real answer.  In essence the Republicans who are interested in running for the presidency in 2016 are talking about getting tough in the Middle East, whatever that means.  In essence George Bush junior and his cohorts screwed up a situation by going to war with Iraq with no real comprehension of what they were doing.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, his Vice President, and Donald Rumsfeld, his Secretary of Defense apparently conceived of war with Iraq as a win, win situation.  They thought the people of Iraq would welcome the U.S. with open arms for freeing them from the Dictator, Saddam Hussein.  They visualized that they could set up a democracy similar to that of the U.S.  In essence they visualized how they would behave if they were Iraqis and the U.S. invaded their country; but they aren’t Iraqis and the Iraqis had an entirely different psyche.  What they ended up bringing about was a situation that existed between the two major Islamic sects: the Sunni and the Shia.  What resulted in Iraq was a government we created but couldn’t control, where the Sunni majority actually persecuted the Shia minority.  It was a situation where the tail wagged the dog.  We created a government but couldn’t control it.  In fact it was similar to the situation that had existed in Vietnam.  Somehow this country never learns from its past mistakes.

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George Walker Bush had been born on July 6, 1946. He was 54 years old when he was elected to the presidency.  As a businessman he had not done too well in the oil business.  In fact he might have been known as “Dry Hole Bush,” as he was responsible for drilling many of them.  The Bush family was well to do having made lots of money in oil.  George W. became Texas governor in 1994 and was elected president in 2000. Eight months into his first term, September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack destroyed the Twin Towers in New York City and Bush responded by launching the War on Terror.

It was during this period of the War on Terror that the Afghanistan War against Al-Qaeda, who had destroyed the Twin Towers, began and was followed by the preemptive attack against Iraq, whose leader, Saddam Hussein, had threatened to have Bush’s “Daddy” assassinated that he inaugurated a major tax cut, mostly for the well-to-do.  Bush also inaugurated “enhanced interrogation” of prisoners (torture, usually water boarding), which apparently never really worked.  This type of treatment, with the exception of the last phase of the Spanish American War at the tail end of the 19th Century, had never existed before or since his administration in the history of the United States.

Water boarding is a process of taking the prisoner to the point of drowning.  Some prisoners were water boarded well over a hundred times.

To be fair Bush also inaugurated Medicare prescription benefits for seniors.  He also added funding for the Aids program.  Basically with his wars and everything he spent a lot more money, some wastefully, than the government took in in taxes, massively increasing the National Debt.

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When I look at a certain print hanging in a corner of my living room I think of George W. Bush’s 2004 political campaign when he ran against the Democratic senator, John Kerry.  The print was done by a 19th Century Spanish satiric artist, Francisco Goya.  It depicts a monkey painting a jackass white and is entitled “Neither more nor less.”  That is what happened in the 2004 Presidential Election.  John Kerry, a Vietnam War hero, who is currently Secretary of State, ran against George W. Bush.  Karl Rove, Bush’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff ran the campaign for Bush.  He painted Kerry as a villain, ignoring his true military record and presented Bush as a military hero, even though Bush had never left Texas as a member of the state’s National Guard and had been AWOL a number of times.  In addition he had tested poorly for the flying school and had only been accepted because his father was in Congress.  It was an interesting version of painting a jackass white and a hero black.

In essence it would seem that George Walker Bush visualized himself as the sheriff who symbolically came to Iraq with his army, got rid of the bad guys, and allowed the so-called good guys to run the country.  He never left the U.S. during his presidency, and passed the problem of his wars on to his successor.  Also he never accepted responsibility for his actions.  He left a mess which can still take decades or longer to clean up.

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Since the beginning of the year of 2015 Jeb Bush has been vigorously campaigning for the presidency of the U.S. and avidly raising money for his super pact.  Since it is illegal for a candidate to be connected in any way with his super pact Bush had not announced that he is formally a candidate.  He didl not formally make up his mind until June 15, 2015, that is a little over six months into his presidential campaign.  From what I understand his goal was to raise 100 million dollars in his super pact before he made his announcement.

Bush is made a mockery of the current election system in this country.  He had been actively campaigning for over six months, with one careless exception, as a potential candidate who had not formally made up his mind.  In essence he has pushed the envelope to the extreme limit on the election laws.  What does this tell us about his integrity if he were to be elected president?

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Jeb (John Ellis) Bush is the second son of George H.W. and Barbara Bush.  He was elected Governor of Florida in 1999 and served two terms, eight years.  He was the first governor to serve two terms in that state.

On December 16, 2014 he announced that he would explore the possibility of running for President in 2016.  Since that time he had been energetically raising money for his presidential campaign of which he did not officially become a candidate until June 15, 2015.  That is six and ½ months after beginning his campaign.

Politically Jeb Bush is a Conservative Republican who envisions some movement to the Left by his party.  In April 2013 he authored an article for Newsweek Magazine in which he urged Conservatives to be a party of “growth and opportunity.”  He warned that America’s entitlement system risked collapse unless there was a correction in public policy.  Bush recommended a six point plan for the Conservative Movement.  This included tax reform, education reform, a welcoming immigration system, regulatory reform, and pro-family policies.  In October of 2013 he called for immigration reform. Obviously a lot of this did not go down with the Tea Party.

As Governor of Florida Bush was a proponent of school vouchers and charter schools, particularly in the areas of failing schools.  He firmly refused to raise taxes for schools. He obviously didn’t want to solve problems by throwing money at them.

In fact JED reduced taxes over his tenure by $19 billion, eliminated civil service protection to over 16,000 state jobs, issued an executive order that removed racial preference in state contracts, supporting over a dozen new protections for gun owners, led the first state in 2005 to pass stand your ground laws, and was opposed to abortion.

He was directly involved in the Terri Schiavo case.  This woman had massive brain damage and was on a feeding tube for over fifteen years.  Her husband and legal guardian wished to remove the tube.  Her parents were opposed to this move.  The governor signed a law, “Terri’s law,” that authorized him to keep Schiavo on life support. The case was appealed in the Federal Courts.  After the law was declared unconstitutional in the Florida Supreme Court the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  By then Terri Schiavo had died.

Jeb Bush seems to be a progressive conservative Republican.  He has played games with the election laws which has allowed him to raise about 100 million dollars for his super pack.   He gave up control of that entity when he directly announced that he is running for the presidency.

Jeb has been touted as being the smartest of the Bush children.  During his pre-election campaign, which ended in the middle of June 2015, he emerged as a highly opinionated, righteous individual whose spoken word should always be taken as sacrosanct.  He seems to believe that it’s his turn to be President.  Fortunately a good percentage of registered Republicans do not agree with him.  He is not the frontrunner of the party.  In fact the number of possible Republican presidential candidates is overwhelming.  It seems to be open season for Republicans who want to be the next President of the United States.

Currently Jeb Bush’s advisors are the same individuals who advised his brother.  From his speeches and other remarks on foreign affairs he appeared to be not too cognizant of the rest of the world.  His experts are the same people who helped his brother George decide on invading Iraq.  This group could easily get us into another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran.  The U.S. fighting three different wars at the same time (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran) could bring back the draft and lead to oncoming and other disasters.

By his current actions one has to question Bush’s integrity.  Why play games with the election laws?  His actions just prior to the 2000 Election, both purging the registered voter list and the faulty ballots seem to be what got his brother elected to the presidency.  Would he act the same way if he were elected?

On Monday, June 15 2015, months after JEB officially announced to the world, surrounded by avid supporters, that he would run for the Presidency of the United States.  And all this after he had collected approximately $100 million dollars for his super-pact.  He stated that he was running because the country needs a competent President.

To my mind he didn’t mention the Terri Schiavo incident where he got the state to force her family to essentially keep a brain dead woman alive.  And no mention was made of the faulty purge of registered voters shortly before his brother’s election in 2000 under the guise that they were clearing the registration rolls of convicted felons.   Of course in his mind it is possible that all Democrats are potential felons and the real legal voters are or should be all Republican.

Do we need another Bush in the White House?  Is his mother, Barbara Bush, correct in her initial statement?  Do we need another Bush as President?  Haven’t we had enough unnecessary wars so far?  Do we need another Bush as President of the United States

 

 

 

Al Gore

Cover of Al Gore