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.


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.


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?


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 #118A – Undermining the President

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

Never in moments of intense fantasizing could I conceive of anyone or any one group in Congress attempting to disrupt the President in foreign policy negotiations. For that matter neither could I visualize the Speaker of the House of Representatives inviting a foreign leader to address a joint session of Congress on a policy directly opposed to that of the President of the United States.

What we have here is a question of Why did these actions occur? What caused the Speaker and 47 out of the 54 Republican members of the Senate to act in this fashion, to go against the policies of the President, who constitutionally is our chief negotiator in dealing with foreign powers? And to do this in the midst of delegate negotiations without knowing anything specific about them except that they are at a critical point.

To what are all these Republicans really objecting? The probability is that if these negotiations fail there will eventually be war with Iran to keep Iran from developing an atomic bomb. If there is a war it will be far bloodier than that fought in Iraq. Iran has four times the population of Iraq and a well-developed military. None of these 47 Senators are or will be volunteering their children to serve in the military.

What strikes me, and does so very sadly, is that these people are basically reacting to their conscious or unconscious feelings about a Black man being President of the United States; they are reacting to their inner prejudices, probably to their feelings of superiority and/or inadequacy. They resent and, in some cases, hate the current President of the United States. They would actually prefer war to having the President achieve a diplomatic victory.  I would suspect that most of them aren’t even aware that these negotiations are not just between the United States and Iran but actually between Iran and the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. In point of fact most of the economic sanctions against Iran are being leveled by our allies or fellow negotiators.

The basic objective is to keep Iran from being able to build an atomic bomb.  If Iran were to have its own atomic bomb would she be able to use it? The answer to that is in the negative. If she were to threaten to use it against Israel then Israel could threaten to use a similar weapon against Iran. They would be able to totally destroy each other.

North Korea, which has a totally irrational government, has developed its own atomic bomb. This allows it to bluster a lot against its neighbors and run assorted missile tests into the ocean but there is no way it will use the bomb because it would be an act of suicide. North Korea has an atomic bomb but its enemies like the United States and Russia have much larger atomic weapons.  It would be like someone with a firecracker attacking someone with a stick of dynamite.

Iran, which is far less irrational than North Korea, would be even less inclined to use her weapon.  Also the major reason for the negotiations from Iran’s prospective is to end all the sanctions that have been applied against her, most of which have been placed by United States allies.

If Iran can come to terms with her enemies and openly trade with the rest of the world then the standard of living will rise significantly for all her citizens.  It is greatly to her advantage to become an equal member with all the other nations of the world.

She wants to be free to develop the use of atomic energy in her country.  A proper compromise would be to allow her to do this without her being able to produce enriched material that could be used in making a bomb.  And, at the same time, have the sanctions against her dropped.  Can this be done to everyone’s satisfaction?  That is what the negotiations are about.


Under the staunch leadership of Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a junior senator, who has taken his seat in the Senate two whole months earlier, the GOP (Grand Old Party) sent a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran trying to undercut the international negotiating currently going on between Irans and P5+1.  This group consists of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France. The plus one is Germany.

When Tom Cotton was first interviewed after the announcement of sending the letter to the leaders in Iran he acted as though he had just discovered the wheel, the mechanism that would put him in charge of future dealings with Iran.  He seemed to have the impression he was ready to negotiate between both Republicans and Democrats for future outcomes with Iran.  Forty-six other Republican Senators signed the letter, the remaining seven did not

Whether he understood it or not this was an attempt to undermine the Constitutional powers of the President of the United States.  On the internet there is currently a petition to the President being organized, which currently has over 150,000 signatures, requesting that these 47 Senators be tried for treason.  The Republicans have made an international negotiation aimed at limiting Iran’s atomic ambitions into a political party partisan issue not only against the President of the United States but also against five of their allies.. The majority of Republican Senators have lined up with the Iranian hardliners who want no negotiations, interesting bedfellows.

Cotton and his fellow Republicans offer no alternative plan. Statements made indicate that they eventually expect complete capitulation by the Iranians.  The image of their ability that they have given to the rest of the world is pathetic.  In fact both liberal and conservative newspapers denounced their action in the harshest terms.

Imagine attempting to make an agreement with your enemy against the leader of your country. The Iranian leaders have denounced this as a propaganda attempt. The majority of the 47 Senators have come out with lame excuses for what they did.  Senator John McCain blamed it on a snowstorm and wanting to catch a plane out of Washington, D.C. Friday night before the storm struck. He didn’t have time to read the letter; he just signed it.  Others stated it was a joke and President Obama didn’t have a sense of humor by not seeing it.  President Obama said he was “embarrassed” for the Iran letter signers.

Tom Cotton sees nothing wrong with what he did.  For the first time in the history of the United States he has made negotiating with a foreign country a political partisan issue, something that was inconceivable the day before it happened.

If this is an example of Republican dominance in Congress, then God help us for the remaining two years until the next election. For there is no one else that can.

To site Will Rogers, the cowboy philosopher of the 1920s and 1930s, the children (Congress) were loose in the China Shop and they were all swinging their little hammers freely. Hopefully the destruction will not be too extensive.


As a footnote it should also be remarked that there is an interesting level of irony occurring between the United States and Iran.  Both countries consider ISIS a threat to the Middle East and both countries are presently at war with ISIS.  The U.S. is conducting an air war continually bombing the ISIS military and facilities on the ground and Iran is involved in military ground operations against them.  The two countries are currently engaged separately on the same side in a war.

Currently the Iraqi military with Iranian forces and generals are fighting against the ISIS extremists in a hard fought battle to retake the city of Tikrit in the northwest section of the country, which they are expected to win, the first major victory against ISIS by Iraqi and it allies troops.

Interestingly, the article that stated this fact in the L.A. Times on Wednesday, March 12, 2015, made no mention of the Iranian participation; they just called them allied militiamen.  From what I understand most newspapers and TV commentators have made no mention of the Iranian military participating in this war.  For some strange reason this seems to complicate the War against ISIS.  It makes it an anomaly for most Republicans.  How can they accept Iran as an ally in the war against ISIS?

If we go back before the present government existed in Iran, when it was ruled by the Shah, then the U.S. was close allies with that country. We could move in that direction again.

If we think back to the Vietnam War, the longest war in U.S. history, which we eventually lost, then consider that today there is a Hanoi Hilton where Americans stay when visiting that country as tourists and the country, Vietnam, does advertise for tourists to visit their friendly shores.

Many of our enemies of yesterday are our friends of today, for example take one of our closest allies, the British, originally we went to war with them, twice.  The first one was called the American Revolution and the second The War of 1812.  Is this pattern of eventual friendship suddenly likely to change in this instance? After all we are allies with them in the fight against ISIS.

(Footnote: I’m averaging about 250 to 350 comments each day.  Among these I get numerous requests for information.

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)

Most of these are answered in The Weiner Component #114 – Responding to Your Enquires.)





The Weiner Component #69 – Historic Irony: George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” & North Korea

In August 1945 George Orwell published Animal Farm, an allegorical satire dealing with events that led up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and on into the Stalin Era of the Soviet Union.  He portrayed the Communist Soviet Union as a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality, and enforced by a reign of terror.  In 2013 news came out of North Korea about the absolute rule or new leadership of Kim Jong-un, his cult of personality, and his treatment of a goodly percentage of his population with the use of terror.  In many respects the satire also mirrors the North Korean Government.

Animal Farm deals with the animals on a farm revolting against the farmer, chasing him off the property, then taking over the farm.  Old Major, an old boar on the Manor Farm, summons the animals together.  He calls the humans parasites living off of the labor of the animals and teaches them a revolutionary song called “Beasts of England”.  After Major dies two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon assume command and prepare for the rebellion.  The animals revolt and drive the drunken farmer, Mr. Jones, from the farm, renaming it Animal Farm.  They adopt Seven Commandments of Animalism, of which the most important one is, “All animals are equal.”

Snowball teaches the animals to read and write, while Napoleon educates young puppies on the principles of Animalism.  Food is plentiful and the farm runs smoothly.  The pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership and set aside special foods for their personal health.  Napoleon and Snowball struggle for prominence.  Snowball announces his plans to build a windmill and Napoleon has his dogs chase Snowball off the farm.  He then declares himself leader of Animal Farm.

The animals work harder with the promise of easier lives.  When Boxer, the workhorse collapses, the pigs secretly sell him to the knacker to be turned into glue.  Years pass and the pigs begin to resemble humans, walking upright, carrying whips, and wearing clothes.  The Seven Commandments are changed to one.  “All animals are equal, but some animals more equal the others.”

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Korea, which had been ruled by Japan, was divided at the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation, American in the Southern half and Russian in the Northern part.  Prior to WW II Korea had been divided into two zones of colonization.  The Russian sphere of influence was in the North above the 38th parallel.  When the division was made the United States didn’t know this or they would have picked another point to divide the country.

The Russians set up a Communist State and the Americans attempt a Democratic Republic in the southern half of Korea.

North Korea is officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  She shares a land border with China to the north and northwest, a short border with Russia to the northeast, and the Demilitarized Zone marks the boundary between DPRK and South Korea.  Both sides, the North and the South claim to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula.

The DPRK describes itself as a Korean style Socialist Republic and holds elections.  But it is a dictatorship that is considered totalitarian and Stalinist.  There is an elaborate cult of personality: the Kim family, that has ruled North Korea since the end of World War II.  They have destroyed any resistance by the use of force.

The Workers Party of Korea, which is led by a member of the Kim family, holds absolute power in the state.  All political officers are required to be members.  Juche, an ideology of self-reliance, initiated by the country’s first president, Kim ll-sung, is the official state ideology and replaced Marxism-Leninism, when the country adopted a new Constitution in 1972.  In 2009 references to communism were removed from North Korea’s Constitution.

North Korea occupies the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula.  It covers an area of 46,541 square miles, and is about 1/3 the size of California.  The country consists of mountain ranges that crisscross the peninsula.  About 80% of North Korea is composed of mountains and uplands, separated by deep and narrow valleys.  The majority of the population, 24,554,000 people, live in the plains and lowlands.  There is not enough arable land to feed the population.  Even with food imports from China there is still not enough food to adequately feed all the people.

There is no income tax in the country.  The means of production are owned by the state.  All industry is operated state-run enterprises and collectivized farms.  There is no need for private enterprise since the state owns everything and provides, at different levels, all needed goods and services.

In the 1990s North Korea suffered from a famine and still continues to struggle with food production.  In 2013 the U.N. identified North Korea policies as the primary cause of the food shortages and estimated that sixteen million people required food aid.  Amnesty International claims that North Korea suffers from barely functioning hospitals, poor hygiene and epidemics.  By the beginning of the 21st Century the worst of the devastating famine had passed, but the country continues to rely heavily of foreign aid for its food supply.

The country follows the philosophy of songun or a military-first policy and is the world’s most militarized society with a total of 9,495,000 active reserve and paramilitary personnel.  Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world after China, the U.S., and India.  It has nuclear weapons and an active space program.

For North Korea to maintain the military establishment it does, even with mostly outdated weapons is absurd.  There is no way she can keep her population in a healthy condition and still keep her military establishment functional.  In a full-fledged war I can see her officers acting in the same way the Russians did in World War I.  There were never enough rifles for all the soldiers.  When they charged the enemy trenches only the first line of running soldiers had rifles.  After these men were shot down by machine-gun bullets the unarmed charging group behind them picked up their rifles and continued the charge.  And when they were killed there was the third line and then the fourth and so on.

In North Korea the population exists for the benefit of the state and the state only has a limited responsibility for them.

On December 13, 2011 the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-l died from a heart attack.  His son Kim Jong-un became his successor.

In the 21st Century the leaders of North Korea bluster and threaten.  North Korea was going to have a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States.  In March of 2013 the North Korean government declared that a state of war existed with South Korea and abrogated all past agreements, but took no military action.  U.S. National Intelligence speculated that Kim Jong-un is mainly trying to assert his control over North Korea and has no endgame other than gaining recognition.  At the start of January 2013, the North Korean government offered to enter into talks with the South Korean government.  They accepted immediately.

North Korea defines herself as a Juche, a self-reliant state.  She is described by outsiders as a de facto absolute monarchy or hereditary dictatorship, with a cult of personality organized around the late Kim ll-sung, the founder of North Korea and the country’s only president, his late son, Kim Jung-l, and his present grandson Kim Jung-un.

Political expression is tightly controlled.  Anyone who deviates from the government line is subject to reeducation in labor camps.  Troublesome political decenters, factionists, and class enemies, who are considered irredeemable are incarcerated together with any close family members in “Total Control Zones” for a life of hard labor.  Those who attempt to escape or violate camp rules are executed or sent to a separate prison within the camp.  The labor camps are reserved for political prisoners, common criminals are jailed in a separate system.

All North Koreans are sorted into groups according to their Songbun, their status system.  It is based upon their individual behavior and the political, social, and economic background of their family for three generations.  It also includes behavior by their relatives.  Songum is used to determine whether a person is trusted with responsibilities and given opportunities.  It even determines if an individual receives adequate food.

Songbun affects access to educational and employment opportunities.  It determines if a person is eligible to join North Korea’s ruling party.  There are three main classifications and about fifty sub classifications.  According to Kim ll-sung in 1953, the loyal “core class” is made up of 25% of the population, the “wavering class” 55%, and the “hostile class” 20%.  The highest status is accorded to those descended from the original participants in the resistance against the Japanese occupation during and before W.W.II.

Many international human rights organizations accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation.  There are reports of severe restrictions on the freedom of association, expression, and movement, arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill treatment resulting in death and execution; prison camps, where 200.000 political prisoners and their families exist in inhuman conditions.

According to the United Nations Commission of inquiry the crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and general grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of people and the act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.

In the 1990s listening to South Korean radio could result in capital punishment.  Singing a South Korean song could result in being sent to a prison camp.  About 200,000 prisoners are held in six large prison camps.  Over 10,000 prisoners die each year.

North Korea is a country where the government owns most of the resources and most of the means of production.  The people exist for the benefit of the leadership, the military, and the state.  What exists is State Capitalism.  Wealth, or the use of the wealth, belongs to the leadership or existing political party.  And among the leadership every member of each family is responsible for the welfare of all the other members of their family.

In this country all men are equal but some men are more equal.  Animal Farm could have served as a syllabus on how to set up the state.  This is a beautiful example of historical irony, where reality followed satirical literature.

The Weiner Component #40 – The Water/Money Pump

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Cover of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Before we had in-house sinks and faucets from which water could freely run and after we used buckets in wells to bring up the liquid, we had the mechanical water pump that allowed people to pump water up from a sealed well.  If you wanted the water pump to work you had to prime it with water, pour some water into the pump to break any air locks, otherwise nothing flowed through it.

Unfortunately the same principle applies to money in the society.  If you want a level of prosperity for all the citizens there has to be enough money available in circulation to hire and pay them.  Once they all work they spend their earnings to supply their needs and wants and there is an ever-increasing flow of money through the economy, the same currency being used by different people numerous times.  Everyone, on all levels of society, benefits from this growing cash flow.  But without this infusion of currency there is stultification within the society, massive unemployment, very limited economic growth, and basically hard times for a large percentage of the people within the country.

During the Great Depression of 1929 John Maynard Keynes wrote The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. He propounded what became known as Keynesian Economics, which supported large-scale government planning and spending to promote employment during times of recession or depression.  This was watering the trough of unemployment with government funds to bring about recovery.  It was argued that during times of prosperity the National Debt could be reduced but during a period of economic decline the government must step in and spend.

This is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did with his New Deal program from 1933 on, helping to bring about recovery.  However since the concept was new the Roosevelt Administration was not able to spend enough to bring about full recovery.  This did not happen until World War II.

Keep in mind that since 1933 in the United States and shortly after that in all other industrial nations money was paper, printed by the government presumably as needed.  At first there was the fiction that there was gold behind the paper dollar but that totally ended in 1969 in the U.S. when the last smidgen of gold was removed from supposedly being behind the dollar.  After that date there was nothing behind the dollar but the word of the government.  This is true for all currencies of all nations today.

What then is the problem of not printing more currency when the country needs it to properly function?  There are two reasons for this.  The first and primary reason is the great fear that exists of run-away inflation, that is, the extent to which currency is available throughout the entire economy.  If far more money is circulated then there are goods and services available in the society then prices are bid up and the currency decreases in value.  It can descend to a point where it becomes worthless as it did in Germany in the early 1920s.  If that occurs the entire economy goes berserk and the people can revert to a form of barter and there is economic chaos.  A balance is needed in each country.  There has to be enough money in circulation so there is full employment and full production of all the goods and services needed by the population with very low, if any, inflation. 

If, at any time, prices begin to rise rapidly then there is too much money available in the National Cash Flow and we are moving toward a run-away period of inflation.  The government has to restrict the amount of in the Flow and bring it in line with the needs of the country.

The second reason for limiting the amount of currency in circulation is the fact that money had been actual gold up until 1933 when the U.S. left the gold standard and went completely over to paper money.  All the gold coins, with the exception of a few that people could keep for souvenirs, were collected, melted into heavy blocks, and buried in places like Fort Knox.  Most people still maintain the myth in their minds that money is gold.  It is to the extent that one ounce of gold, which in 1933 was a twenty dollar gold piece weighinf one ounce and is now worth between sixteen and seventeen hundred dollars an ounce.  We have to pass beyond this mythic notion.

Today the Federal Reserve monitors all spending within the entire country, recording daily what is happening throughout the entire economy.  They essentially know what the nation needs to attain and maintain a level of prosperity; but only partially and indirectly do they control the instruments that allow them to do this. 

The Federal Reserve affects the economy through Monetary Policy.  It, more or less, controls through various means the money supply within the United States.  The term “more or less” is used because there are limits upon this control.  The FED cannot add money to the economy by directly adding to the National Debt but it can buy government debt on the secondary market from individuals or entities that have previously purchased these bonds, like private corporations or the Bank of China or Japanese individuals or companies.

For, at least, the last year the FED has been utilizing Monetary Policy by purchasing monthly 40 billion dollars worth of government paper (bonds) from primary purchasers and by buying 45 billion dollars worth of mortgage paper.  This has both added needed funds to the economic currency flow and created a shortage in housing, which, in turn, has created a housing shortage and allowed for new construction throughout the nation.  In May of 2013 the Fed announced that it might increase its purchases in the future.

The effect of this has been to allow for economic growth in the country even though the sequester and other state and Federal legislative actions have caused economic shrinkage by reducing spending in both Federal and state governments.

The other entity that the Federal Government uses during an economic contraction of the economy, which was used in 2009 when President Obama took office and the Democratic Party had a majority in the House of Representatives, was fiscal policy.  This action saved the country from going into a deep depression from the Real Estate Fiasco caused by the major Financial Institutions in the country.

Since the Republicans took the leadership of the House of Representatives in 2011 there has been no application of fiscal policy even though a section of a fifty-year-old bridge collapsed and the country’s infrastructure is badly out of date and needs massive repair and renewal.  I heard comments over TV that the Republicans are willing to spend whatever is necessary to fight additional wars in Syria, Iran, and even North Korea but they are unwilling to spend anything to upgrade the United States and create jobs for a percentage of the unemployed.

In terms of controlling the economy the Federal Reserve is supposed to use Monetary Policy and Congress and the President should utilize fiscal policy. It is interesting to note that any improvements in the condition of the country would accrue to President Obama and the Democratic Party but additional wars would add to the overall glory of the United States.

Somehow the basic function of Congress has been lost in the current yearning for power by the leaders of the Republican Party.  The welfare of the country and its people has become secondary.  The Republican goals have been to curtail Federal spending and strangely enough to limit the control women have over their own health, with the Republicans acting as father figures to a goodly percentage of the female population.  Economic prosperity has become lost.

The House of Representatives met in 2012 for 120 out of 365 days; in 2013 it will meet for 125 days.  Thirty-nine of those 120 days were devoted to continually getting rid of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) even though that bill will never come up in the Senate and would be vetoed by the President.  At least one day was spent officially declaring that “in God we trust” is whom we trust.  Currently a bill is coming up in the House making abortions illegal after twelve weeks and accepting the concept that pregnancy, in cases of rape, is truly rape only when that rape is reported officially to the police at the time it happens.  An interesting comment on the ability of all women in the United States!

Isn’t it time for Congress to get back to its original purpose, passing laws for the welfare of the people in the United States!  The mechanical water pump required, requires priming for the water to flow.  The same is true of the economy.  It needs priming.  The government has to spend money to generate a new flow of cash and welfare throughout the United States.

The title page to Keynes' General Theory.

I suppose if nothing happens before the Mid-term Election of 2014 then the People of the United States, state by state, can decide what they want over the next two years: a return to prosperity or more of what we have now.

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