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

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

English: Hillary Clinton Speaks to College Dem...

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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