The Weiner Component V.2 #42 – Patterns of History: Part 2: Post World War II

English: United States President Franklin D. R...

English: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Japan, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"YOUR MONEY IN WAR BONDS HELPS TO..."...

“YOUR MONEY IN WAR BONDS HELPS TO…” – NARA – 516270 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The "Big Three": From left ...

English: The “Big Three”: From left to right: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill on the portico of the Russian Embassy during the Tehran Conference to discuss the European Theatre in 1943. Churchill is shown in the uniform of a Royal Air Force air commodore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forgetting the horror caused by World War II, the Second World War economically changed the United States and the rest of the world positively.  The U.S. and other countries, including Germany and Japan, entered the war with the bulk of their populations being lower class, having a minimal standard of living.  Relatively shortly or at least within the first two decades after the end of the war the bulk of their populations had risen to a middle class status, having a comfortable standard of living for the majority of their populations.  What happened?

 

The Great Depression broke out early in 1929.  It brought about economic isolation with each nation attempting to survive by itself.  Germany, Japan, and Italy attempted to recover by imperialistic advances.  Italy expanded into North Africa, Japan into China and the rest of Asia.  Germany intended to expand both East and West in Europe.

 

In the United States, separated by thousands of miles from Europe and Asia, there was no immediate threat of war.  The country, under Republican President Herbert Hoover, just continued on essentially waiting for the capitalistic system to reassert itself.  It didn’t.

 

The majority of the population was lower class, just barely surviving on their limited incomes.  But at this point there was massive unemployment and no real jobs available.  Men deserted their families they could no longer support, rode the rail lines as hobos, following rumors of work in one or another part of the country.  The entire capitalistic system had broken down.  And no one understood why or how to fix it.

 

In 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32 President of the United States.  In his maiden speech on the new device, radio, he spoke of people having nothing to fear but fear itself.  Roosevelt used radio to talk the nation through its irrational apprehensions of the Great Depression.

 

Roosevelt changed the function of government.  Before he became President it provided a safe environment in which its population could function.  With the Roosevelt Administration it took on responsibility for those people within the country who could not properly provide for themselves.  What had been a matter handled by Church charities earlier would from then on be taken care of by the Federal Government.  The problem had grown too large for the religious institutions to take care of.

 

Roosevelt called his program the 3 R’s: Relief, Recovery, and Reform.  Under Relief, Roosevelt offered the New Deal, where the Federal Government would create jobs for the unemployed.  There was everything from manual labor to theater projects for writers and actors.  The New Deal even produced some films.  There were projects like Hoover Dam, electrification of sections of the United States, and community theaters, plus innumerable other projects.

 

With all this conditions improved in the United States but the depressed state continued.  There was still a high rate of unemployment.  While conditions improved total Recovery never came about for the United States until shortly after World War II in Europe broke out with an endless need for food and war materials.

 

Reform was legislation that was to keep causes of the depression from occurring again.  There were bank and other types of regulation.

 

On December 7, 1941 the United States entered War II after being attacked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  The War would not end until the unconditional surrender of Japan in 1945, after the dropping of two atomic bombs.

 

It was from this point that recovery began, first within the United States and then with Europe and Asia.

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Once America entered the war the United States became the “Arsenal of Democracy,” involved in what was practically considered a holy war against the Axis Powers, the forces of evil.  The U.S. supplied Allied Nations with the materials to fight the war.  Initially the Allied nations stored their gold supplies in the United States for reasons of safety.  In order to fight the war they spent that gold buying food and war supplies.  After that when the gold was spent the United States developed a policy of “lend lease” which was actually a policy of giving to the Allies what they needed to continue their efforts against their enemies.

 

Where did all this money come from?  The United States Government printed it and used it to pay for the goods and services produced.  This money then was added to that already circulating in the National Cash Flow.  Because money added to the Cash Flow is spent several times this added several times the amount initially added to the Cash Flow.

 

The U.S. also sent armies overseas to fight in North Africa, Europe, and Asia.  Interestingly even with the casualties caused by the war its overall population still increased.

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The entire nation was involved in fighting the war.  People put in window boxes in their apartments or turned their lawns into “Victory Gardens,” growing vegetables.  Housewives saved the excess fat from their cooking and turned it in to their butchers who, in turn, turned it over to manufacturers who used the grease in their production of war materials.  Children collected old newspapers and tin cans that were reprocessed and reused.  Virtually the entire families were involved in the war effort.

 

The government sold War Bonds.  For $18.75 one could buy a War Bond that would return $25.00 in ten years.  Larger denominations were also sold.  Children in public schools bought and collected War Stamps which when the amounts were large enough were exchanged for War Bonds.  Adults also contributed their excess money buying these.  Largely everyone was putting money into the war effort.

 

In addition rationing was instituted shortly after the United States joined the war effort.  Items of food like meat and many vegetables were rationed in the country with the bulk being sent overseas for the war effort.  Gasoline and many other items were also rationed.  Families were issued rationing books with all kinds of stamps in them, the amount depended upon the number of the family.  Women went shopping with limits set by the rationing books.

 

All vehicles built during the latter part of 1942 until the end of the war in 1945 were military vehicles.  There were none built for civilians.  Virtually all the U.S. factories were converted to the war effort.

 

From 1940 on there were more jobs available than there were people to hold them.  Once America had entered the war in December of 1941 people could work double shifts at the factories.  In addition in 1942 many high school students worked after their school day.  Women were brought into the factories.  In 1943 for the first time in the general society Blacks in the Northern states also got jobs working alongside whites in the factories.  All this to meet the production needs of the war effort which President Roosevelt kept increasing.

 

The major problem that evolved was that the working public was now earning more money than it could spend.  Selling War Bonds was a device to take some of this money off the market.  For people who wanted more than rationing allowed there was the Black Market, illegally selling items of food and other products without the use of rationing stamps.  But even with this there was a tremendous buildup of money among the general public.  And at the end of the war all this money would be looking for products to purchase.

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It is worth considering briefly the question of where the money that the Federal Government spent came from.  The statement was made that the Government printed it as it was needed.  Keep in mind that under President Roosevelt the basis of money changed.  At the beginning of 1933 money was gold in the form of coins.  By the end of that year and thereafter the gold had been collected, melted down in blocks and stored in depositories.  New paper money had been issued in its place.  The new source of currency had no real value.  It was a means of exchange: the production of goods and services for the potential to eventually purchase new goods and services.  The wealth produced was the goods and services used during the latter part of the Great Depression and during World War II.  The potential that the United States had, with everybody working, for production was the real wealth produced.  And this principle remains true today.

English: US GDP from U.S. Department of Commer...

English: US GDP from U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Weiner Component V.2 #28 – The Pattern of U.S. History & the Evolving Purpose of Government: Part 1

The Articles of Confederation, ratified in 178...

The Articles of Confederation, ratified in 1781. This was the format for the United States government until the Constitution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The order in which the original 13 states rati...

The order in which the original 13 states ratified the constitution, then the order in which the others were admitted to the union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The issue here is to discern the pattern(s) of U.S. history and ascertain   the purpose of the Federal and State Governments?  For what are they or should they be responsible.  And how has this changed over the years?

 

Historically during America’s Colonial Period people came for religious freedom which they did not generally extend to those with different beliefs once they were established in their own colony or they came for economic opportunities in order to exist in a non-fixed society where they could achieve goals not possible in Europe.  Here one could gain ownership of land and possibly prosper.  Many also were brought as indentured servants or as slaves.

 

It was to most of these people a New World with new opportunities that did not exist in the Old World, Europe.  The Colonial Governments provided the opportunities and if the settlers could properly utilize them they could make a new life for themselves and for their families.

 

In time, going from the 16th Century to the late 18th Century the settlements and society became more complicated.  On the East coast, in the Americas, Great Britain had gained control of most of the colonies.  By the last quarter of the 18th Century the British Colonies below Canada and above Florida no longer wanted to be ruled as dependent colonies, totally relying upon the mother country.  The immediate problem was taxes decreed by King George III and his Parliament.  This protest brought about the Revolutionary War.

 

When it became clear to England, after the Battle at Yorktown in Virginia on October 19, 1781, that it was too expensive in both gold and men to occupy the American Colonies with an army perennially the British gave the 13 Colonies their independence.  It was cheaper and more practical to simply trade with them.  What was to develop from that was the United States of America.

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The overall purpose of the new state governments, under the Articles of Confederation, was to allow their populations to develop as best they could with the governments essentially providing safety from foreign invasions and keeping order within the individual states.

 

Each state was virtually an independent nation with essentially a largely powerless Congress made up of representatives from all the different governments.  They each could print or mint their own money.  They agreed to cooperate but essentially kept their own sovereignty.  The members of the unified Congress had to go back to their individual state legislatures for decisions over major bills.  And all bills required unanimous approval in order to come into being.  There was no executive office; Congress also had this function. This period lasted from the end of the Revolutionary War until 1788, when the Constitution was ratified and a new government established.

 

What brought the Constitution into being was mainly Shay’s Rebellion, which lasted from 1786 through 1787.  The coastal mercantile class that controlled the government in the State of Massachusetts, in order to raise money, passed a tax to be paid by the small inland farmers who were not represented in the State Legislature and tended to be short of cash.  The tax was vigorously collected, causing tax collectors to seize and auction off land in payment of debts.  During this period many people argued that since the large plantation owners in the Southern states had refused to pay their debts to English merchants, that they had amassed before the Revolutionary War they, the small farmers, could do the same thing to the state of Massachusetts.  This tended to raise fears among the property owning class throughout the new country and brought about for many an awareness of a need for a strong central government that could enforce its will.  It brought about the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 which was chaired by George Washington.

 

In 12 of the 13 states a new government came into existence in 1789 with the election of George Washington as its first President.  In Massachusetts a year earlier the state government was reformed.  Shay’s Rebellion had been one of the major motivating forces for the formation of the Constitution.  Henceforth life, liberty, and the protection of property became the creed of the new government.

 

The Constitution came into effect after 9 states approved it.  12 of the 13 states actually voted for it.  Rhode Island did not send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention and did not approve it.  It held a number of conventions within the state and did not approve the new government in any of them.  Finally in 1790 the Congress of the New United States voted to exclude Rhode Island in the near future from any participation with the other 12 states, thus totally isolating them.  On May 18, 1790, before this bill could come into effect, Rhode Island approved the Constitution and joined the Union.

 

The new government that came into being under the Constitution was run by both the educated and mercantile class.  These people formed the Federalist Party.  They were the elite.  In this government only male property owners could vote.  This group constituted the first political party.  While they ran the country for everyone’s benefit they favored their own class.  The function of government was the same as it had been under the Articles of Confederation.

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In 1800 a new political party was formed under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic Republican Party.  Jefferson favored the yeoman/small family farmer.  During a dramatic election with all sorts of denouncement from both sides the Democratic Party won; Jefferson was elected President.  It was still government by the elite; but mainly for the benefit of the small farmer.

 

In point of fact Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon and France.  The sale was technically illegal because the French had promised Spain, the original owner that they would not sell the territory; but there was nothing Spain could do about it since at that time she was ruled by one of Napoleon’s Marshalls and had been conquered by France.

 

To Jefferson the Louisiana Territory extended the new United States’ land area so that there would be land for yeoman farmers, in President Jefferson’s opinion, for the next hundred years.

 

After the War of 1812 the Federalist Party disappeared.  It backed the wrong side in that war, England.  It would not really appear again until 1860 under the new name of the Republican Party.

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With the election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency from 1828 to 1837 Democracy was spelt with a small d.  By then practically all males voted.  Land was cheap and practically all males owned some.  The vote was essentially universal for males.  In addition the Union had grown from the original 12 to 24 states.  And the Democratic Party had split into Jacksonian Democrats and Non-Jacksonian Democrats.

 

With Jackson the concept of rule by the elite disappeared.  President Jackson was considered by the population as one of their own.  He was the common man elevated to the Presidency and his government extended that concept with what was called the “spoils system,” whereby anyone could hold any government job.  It was now, to pre-quote Lincoln, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  Its overall purpose remained the same as it had been before: the government provided what was necessary in the country to exist, the people had the opportunity to make use of what the government provided.

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With the earlier invention and dissemination of the Cotton Gin slavery, which had been dying out, became the means for the Southern states to raise cotton.  Cotton became the chief export of the large Southern planters.  It fostered the new Industrial Revolution and made slavery again important in the Southern States.  Spinning thread and weaving inexpensive cloth became the first major industry of the new Industrial Revolution.

 

At first England controlled this new industry; then it spread to the rest of Europe and the Northern parts of the United States.  The new Industrial Revolution was begun by an industry based initially upon slavery in the Southern United States.  To them Cotton was King.  It reestablished slavery as an economic system.

 

Gradually the Non-Jacksonian Democrats became a myriad of political parties.  The largest pro-business party was the Whigs.  Another was the Abolitionists which consisted of those who were against slavery.  There were innumerable others; some lasted a short period of time and disappeared, others persisted.  By 1860 the Whig, the abolitionists, and innumerable other smaller parties coalesced into the Republican Party and because the Democratic Party split into two political parts, the Northern and Southern Democrats, the new Republican Party won the Presidential Election with 40% of the vote and Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President of the United States.

 

Lincoln’s name was not on the ballot in any Southern state.  The election consisted of two separate elections; one in the Northern and Western States and one in the Southern States.

 

This began the Civil War and the one question that had never been settled when the nation was first established under the Constitution was resolved by the outcome of the war: Who was more powerful the States or the Central Government?  In addition slavery was ended.

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After the Civil War America went rapidly through the Industrial Revolution.  The railroads covered the nation, industry rose rapidly, there was the very rapid rise of new cities and the phenomenal growth of the old ones.  The country underwent rapid change with the growth of monopolies and oligopolies.  Actually practically every industry by the end of the 19th Century had become a monopoly with one of its lawyers having a seat in the U.S. Senate.  Just about all the state legislatures were prone to bribery.  Rockefeller’s Standard oil not only had a reputation of refining oil it also refined state legislatures.

 

Initially the state legislatures elected the members of the Senate; they were to serve the needs of the individual states.  The 17th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1913.  It caused the members of the Senate to be elected by the direct vote of the people of the respective states.

 

It was during this period that the nation changed from a rural country with cities to an urban one with rural areas that produced the necessary food for the population.  The changes were so rapid that the support systems and support laws had to be developed with and after the changes.  Proper water for the people of the cities, evacuation of sewerage, building regulations, proper ventilation, a sane workday in the factories, rules for the employment of women and children, and so on.  All this and more had to be understood and laws had to be passed regulating these conditions.  All this would take an infinite amount of time to be done.  And all this would initially condone an infinite amount of corruption and bribery.

 

Initially the Populist Party came into existence to support the agrarian class.  Among other things the railroads were charging the farmers different rates to transport their crops.  The rule was to charge what the traffic would bare.  In most cases the trains were the only way to get the crops to market.

 

From 1892 to 1896 the Populist (People’s) Party, a U.S. agrarian political party came into existence.  It was hostile to cities, banks, railroads, and banks.  It contained the poor white cotton farmers of the South and the wheat farmers in the Plain States.  In 1896 it supported the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan.  The Republican candidate William McKinley won that election.  The Populists became part of the Democratic Party after that election.

 

The major change at the beginning of the 20th Century was the Progressive Movement.  Some of its leaders were Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, both Republicans and Democrats.  Robert M. La Follett, Charles Evans Hughes, William Jennings Bryant, and Al Smith were also some of the reformers.  Efforts were made to reform local government, public education, industry, etc.  It was a local, state, and national movement.  It brought about financial reform with the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 and women’s suffrage in 1919 with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.  The Presidential Election of 1920 that made the Republican, Warren G. Harding President of the United States, was the first time all the women in the country voted in a national election.

 

The Progressive Movement targeted political machines and their bosses.  They sought regulation of monopolies and corporations through antitrust laws.  They were essentially an urban movement which largely and successfully brought the country into the Twentieth Century.

The reform stopped when the United States entered World War I.  After the war with the refusal of the U.S. to sign the Versailles Treaty and join the League of Nations the country entered into a corrupt Republican period that in 1929 ended with the Great Depression.

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In the early part of the 20th Century lawyers like Louis Brandeis, who later became a Supreme Court Justice, began using sociological facts as evidence.  This was a first, expanding the concept of what presented   proof.  The function of the government was still to provide a safe base for its people in which to live; they were still responsible for themselves and their families.  Basically, where the individual or family couldn’t handle the situation it was up to the local religious organization and/or neighbors to help the situation and provide aid.  This had worked up to now.

 

With the Great Depression, which was a world disaster, a good percentage of the population could no longer provide for their basic needs.  This was far beyond what local charitable organizations could handle.  In general all the neighbors were in the same deplorable situation.  Overnight the country changed, jobs disappeared and a fair percentage of the population could not handle the economic situation, but the Republic Government under President Herbert Hoover with the multi-millionaire, Andrew Mellon as his Secretary of the Treasury, could not adjust to the crisis.  There had been depressions and recessions in the past and in all cases the economy had eventually adjusted itself and come out of crisis after a period of time.  They expected that to also happen here.  Consequently they kept talking about prosperity being around the corner.  After three years the depression just got deeper and it was time to elect a new President.  The Candidates were Hoover for the Republicans and Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Democrats.

 

In addition, shortly before the election, the veterans from World War I, who had been promised a bonus in the future, organized a Bonus March and came to Washington, D.C., requesting that Congress give them their promised bonus then.  They set up a camp just outside the city.  Congress refused to vote the bonus and President Hoover ordered General Douglas MacArthur to clear the veterans out of the flats.  In the process of doing this several were killed.

 

When the election came the Democratic candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt won by an overwhelming majority, 57.4 percent of the vote.  It was with this administration that the United States expanded the purpose of government, adding the maxim that it was responsible for the welfare of the people who could not care for themselves.

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What we’ve seen from the Colonial Period on was that the overall purpose of government was to provide a safe place for the citizen to get on with his life.  When the citizen ran into situations beyond his ability beyond his ability to deal with then the community and the religious organization would help him.  The government provided safety and security from foreign invasion and presumably a safe place to live.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

The Weiner Component Vol 2 #1 Part 2 The Introduction

Deviations from the long term growth trend US ...

Deviations from the long term growth trend US 1954–2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business Cycle

Business Cycle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To avoid the vicissitudes of the business cycle and the inequality of the distribution of the National Income, the Gross Domestic Product, we need a new economic model or we have to make intensive changes in our present system.  If we stay essentially with our present model then the government has through a tax and redistribution system to balance incomes. A realistic minimum standard of living has to be set.  Those earning more than this level will have to be taxed on a realistic graduated level.  Those earning less would receive transfer payments from the government to bring their standard of living up to the minimum level which has to allow for a decent standard of living.  With this system, which more or less exists today in many European nations, we can keep the profit system and have all its so-called advantages.  But would this end the vicissitudes of the Business Cycle?

 

The amount of productivity today per working unit/person is constantly increasing.  One individual working continually provides for more and more people.  In order to keep constantly producing goods and services this productivity must be continually used up so more is always needed.  Consumption now becomes as important as production if the economy is to continually grow.  Therefore the consumer whether or not he/she is employed is needed as much as the producer.  This system can only flourish through government taxes and a redistribution of the National Income.  The producers can earn assorted amounts of surplus income which they can spend, save or invest while the unemployed or underemployed population can receive government transfer payments which will allow them to properly consume the necessary goods and services to both keep production going and have a decent standard of living.

 

Of course if we can create a new economic model which would allow for a fair distribution of goods and services without using the profit system then we would be far better off.  But this would probably require a complete change in our overall thinking and value systems.  We would also have to deal with the issues of what to produce and how to produce it without the motivating force of the profit system. 

   

Is it possible?  We would have to separate production of goods and services from money and find another reason to labor other than individual profit.

 

There is a disparity between the use of money as income, a means of exchange, and storage for labor and profits.  The distribution and expenditure of money determines where we are on the Business Cycle.  This, in turn, can throw the economy into recession or depression and cause a breakdown in the production of goods and services and partial or massive unemployment.  The extent of the distribution of money can cause a partial or full cessation in the distribution of goods and services.  They are two separate entities that are tied together in an unwholesome relationship.  If they were separated the economy would be far better off.  The problem, of course, is how to separate them.

 

Generally speaking, the overall public reaction to all of this is to return to the thinking of the late Nineteenth Century: the “safety” of the profit system. This, I believe, President Donald J. Trump will attempt to do; and this, seems to be today, the basic Republican value for economic growth.

 

     MONEY: ITS HISTORY AND USE:  The two entities which keep any economy functioning are self-interest and money.  Self-interest would affect every working individual from owner, entrepreneur, to physical laborer who wants the greatest return he/she can get from their endeavors.  Money is the grease that operates the economy: it is wages, salaries, profits, rents, interest, and dividends.  The spending of money determines demand, production, and also the phases of the Business Cycle.

 

The entrepreneur, factory or store owner will charge the greatest amount they can legitimately and pay his employees the least amount they can get away with.  Thus prices will be as high as possible while money paid to worker will be as low as it can be.  The producer will maximize production to increase profits; the workers will not be able to purchase all the goods and services produced because of low wages and over-production will eventually result.  This will lead to recession, unemployment, business failures, and depression.  Self-interest, which is the major motivating force of the economy, also tends to eventually cause the economy to malfunction into depression.

 

What is the problem?  It is the process of the distribution of money throughout the economy.  Whenever the distribution breaks down the economy goes into recession and depression.  It ceases to operate for the benefit of its members.

 

The use and distribution of money becomes the problem.  What then is money?

 

To understand what it is and its use(s) we need to have knowledge of how money was used both historically and at present.  Presumably, at first, man begins with barter: goods and services were directly exchanged for goods and services.  At some later point in time these were exchanged for their exact value, generally, in precious metals.  Rather than continue using scales to weigh the metal one group of traders, probably the Phoenicians, began stamping the weight on the metal piece.  This became the initial use of money.  The idea was then picked up by other groups or nations and coins came into being: an exact weight of a precious metal with the country or ruler or some symbol stamped on the metal to guarantee its value.  What happens here is that a good is exchanged for its exact value in the metal: equal value for equal value.  This allowed for free trade throughout the Mediterranean several thousand years ago.

 

Money, as it existed at this time, was labor or a good whose value was exchanged for its equivalent in gold, silver, or cooper coins.  Similar worth was exchanged for similar worth.

 

As time proceeded the coins became more ornate.  Rulers images were stamped on the coins, various designs were used.  Different denominations appeared, allowing coins to be minted in different sizes and weights; and also in different metals.  And thus was value exchanged for value, money for goods and services.

 

Of course, into this economic system occasionally various enterprising individuals and/or governments began a process of “watering” some of the coins minted; that is, mixing base metal with the gold or silver, thereby hoping to get more goods and services for less gold or silver.  This process would be done on a large scale by such individuals as the Roman Emperor, Nero; who tended to need more money than he could collect in taxes.  The result was to cheapen the value of the specie bringing about inflation which also resulted in a lowering of overall wages and other disruptive problems to the economy.

 

However, this economic system worked and continued to work successfully as long as conditions in the society(ies) were stable; that is, there is no rapid infusion of massive amounts of gold or if large amounts of money don’t have to be transferred over distant areas.

 

The discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus brought into Europe, in the Sixteenth Century, massive amounts of gold over a fairly short period of time.  The Americas were systematically looted.  The gold passing through Spain and went on to the Netherlands, which was ruled by the same person as Spain, and then into rapid circulation throughout Europe.  This caused, what has been referred to as, “The Gold Revolution” which decreased significantly and continually the value of gold in its relationship to goods and services, and brought about unbelievable economic hardships to the wage earning working classes of Europe.  Wages remained essentially fixed while the value of the money dropped continually in a never ending cycle of inflation; thus bringing about a tremendous drop in standards of living.  It took about a century for a new reasonable balance between the value of gold in relation to the cost of goods and services to come about.   

 

Another problem which could upset the economies was large scale trade over great distances and/or between different nations. There was great danger from bands of thieves on land or pirates when shipping gold over bodies of water.  A safe way had to be found to ship gold. 

 

During the late Middle Ages different cities, city-states, provinces, and countries became known for producing certain products.  These were desired throughout Europe.  Also some of the Italian city-states, after gaining control of the Mediterranean Sea, gained a monopoly of trade with the East for spices and other products.  (It was the search for a new route to the East that brought about Columbus’ expedition.)  This and other factors brought about a need for the safe transfer of specie over long distances.  In addition the breakdown of Feudalism and the rise of Kings brought about a necessity for the availability of large amounts of money for the payment of armies and other large scale projects.

 

To offset these economic needs there arose in various cities: first in the Germanies and then in the Italian city-states merchant families who eventually traded in money as a commodity.  These became the merchant bankers of the Hanseatic League and the Italian city-states.  They set up branches of their banks in different countries which allowed for immediate transfers of gold; and they became in many cases the new nobility: the merchant princes.  Of the Medici family of Italy two of the women became queens in France and one of the Medici became a pope.  Cosimo, the founder of the family had been a money lender whose symbol of trade was three brass balls.

 

From the Italian Renaissance on (Fourteenth Century) banking was fully developed with the banking families, in many instances, ruling the Italian city-states.  The goods of the East came to Europe by way of the eastern Mediterranean, through the Italian city-states, and on to the general population of the continent.  The fleets of ships plying that sea were controlled by the merchants of the city-states; who also controlled banking and, among other enterprises, made high interest loans to the emerging kings.

 

It was the potential profits from the trade that caused the new nations like Spain, Portugal, England, and France to explore, searching for a new route to the East.  This was the justification for sailing west to get to Asia and thus discovering the Americas.  Prince Henry of Portugal began sending expeditions south, exploring Africa trying to find a river crossing Africa west to east.  Eventually one of the expeditions rounded that continent and was able to bring back to Europe a cargo of spices worth many times the value of the ship and cost of the expedition.  Portugal controlled that trade for about fifty years. 

 

With the new routes and the emergence of pirates in the eastern Mediterranean, Italy lost control of that body of water and the trade and profits moved to the new emerging nations.  Incidentally the Renaissance now became the Northern Renaissance and banking and trade moved to these countries.

 

Money, during this period, remained as it had always been: equal in value to the goods and services for which it was exchanged.  Spain’s looting of the gold from the New World and having it pass directly into the European economy brought about a 90 year period of inflation in the Sixteenth Century but did not change the concept of value for value.  Actually by making gold more plentiful and less expensive it allowed for a more rapid economic growth.

 

With the coming of the wonders of the Industrial Revolution (the development of machines going from wood to metal, transportation: put a steam engine on wheels and you have a train, advances in medicine: ever increasing abilities to fight the assorted diseases, phenomenal population growth, advances in metallurgy, gas and electric engines, etc., etc.) the nations of the planet underwent massive changes: national populations went from the low millions to the high millions approaching and exceeding in one or two cases a billion people.

 

As we moved into the Twentieth Century (in addition to the major wars which wiped out millions) with the tremendous growth of business, of  the needs for ever increasing goods and services there were not enough precious metals to allow for an exchange of goods and services based upon value for value.  For this and other reasons in 1929 we have the Great Depression.

 

Paper money when it was first used consisted of silver and gold certificates which supposedly could be exchanged for actual specie at any time at one’s bank.  (However, if everyone were to do it at the same time there would be a run on the banks and they might well become bankrupt because there was never enough metal to satisfy everyone’s needs.)  In point of fact the Industrial nations eventually got off the direct gold standard by collecting and storing the gold bullion and printing paper money supposedly based upon the value of this stored bullion.  Silver coins would maintain a certain amount of precious metal for a while.  Later in the Twentieth Century virtually all nations will go off the gold standard basing the value of the money on the prestige of the particular country. The remaining silver coins became copper sandwiches.  By the beginning of the Twenty-first Century money is, in all cases, devoid of any precious metal or anything else of real value except the credit of the nation issuing it.

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Since 2008, when the United States went through what is generally called today The Great Recession the country has been recovering from what could have easily been The Greatest Depression in its history.  This economic condition had been building rapidly since the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, when all government restrictions on trade, many of which were developed by the Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression, had been done away with by the Reagan administration.  The banking industry in the country had a free hand to do whatever they wanted.  And what they wanted was to increase their profits astronomically.

 

The banking industry convinced a large percentage of homeowners to turn their homes into bank accounts by a process of continually taking equity funds out of their homes.  They did this by constantly refinancing their properties.  In the process of doing this the paper value of the homes continually increased.  Presumably people were spending what they believed was their never ending increases.

 

This became rampart from the Reagan administration on.  By 2007 the oncoming crash was apparent but the banking industry was in denial.  At that point mortgage refinancing was raised to 125% of the appraised value of the home.  In 2008 the crash came and the Housing Industry collapsed.  Many of the banking houses were overextended and also at the point of collapse or bankruptcy. 

 

Since the basic financial structure of the entire economy or nation is based upon the banking structure and their functioning the Bush administration in 2008 lent large amounts to the banks.  This, however, was not enough money and the incoming Obama administration had to make more massive loans to the banking houses in order to save them.  The Obama administration also set conditions about massive remunerations to executives which the Bush people had not done.

All of this was in 2008 and 2009.  The trillions of dollars the Federal Government spent at this time saved the country from going into a more massive depression than that of 1929.  In fact we would still be coming out of it if the government had not jumped in. 

 

What emerged instead has been called The Great Recession.  In 2009 the unemployment rate had risen to 7.6%.  By 2010 it had reached 9.8%.  Thereafter it began to fall, reaching 4.6% by November of 2016.

 

In this process millions of people were underwater in their homes, suddenly owing more on the house than it was worth.  The banks, with aid from the government, largely recovered, with some being taken over by other banking houses.  Even with virtually no regulation some of the banking actions were illegal.  No one went to jail.  Instead the banks paid fines, which taken together were in the billions of dollars. The banks eventually repaid their government loans and executive pay rose to new heights.

 

We are still in a recession, with unemployment at the tail end of December 2016 at 4.5%.  For recovery, on the business model to occur, the range of people not working would have to reach 2.5%.  Is that a future possibility with President Donald Trump?  Probably not.  Since the Republican image of creating jobs has nothing to do with current levels of economic understanding.  They believe that jobs are created by doing away with government regulation.  It would seem that by their way of thinking as pollution increases and so do jobs.

The Weiner Component #164 – President Hillary Clinton & the Republican House of Representatives

English: President Barack Obama and sec. of St...

The Weiner Component #164 – President Hillary Clinton & the Republican House of Representatives

 

If Hillary Clinton is elected President on November 8, 2016, and the probability is that she will be, then the question arises of: How will she avoid political gridlock with the Senate having a Democratic majority but the right to filibuster and the House of Representatives having a Republican majority?  Is it possible that she will be able to take the country beyond the point which had limited President Barack Obama, that of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives?

 

President Obama during his first term in office (2009 – 2012) kept trying to get Republican cooperation.  He did not succeed in doing this during either of his two terms in office.  President Clinton would be starting out with this knowledge.  She would not put herself in a position to be rejected by the Republicans.  In this case the responsibility would be clearly theirs to cooperate with her.  How could she achieve this?

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1933 on used, what he called, The Fireside Chat to talk the people of the United States through The Great Depression.  These were weekly radio broadcasts to the people throughout the country. 

 

At that time the center of family entertainment and news was the family radio.  Television did not exist.  Presidential announcements were made through it.  So were sports, music, and drama presentations.  Mothers listened to drama serials as they prepared dinner.  Children listened to adventure stories during dinner and afterwards.  The family listened to news, concerts, or drama presentations in the evening.  President Roosevelt used this device to communicate with the people of America, by giving weekly reports to the nation on what was happening and what was being done by the government.  It served as an emotional crutch for the people of the United States.

 

Earlier, at the turn of the 20th Century, Theodore Roosevelt had used, what he called The Bully Pulpit to transmit his messages to the people.  He made his speeches and announcements before crowds and the press.  They were carried in newspapers throughout the country.  This, when necessary, brought pressure on members of Congress to pass many of the laws he desired for the benefit of the public.

 

The President of the United States does not make laws.  That is the job of Congress.  He/She is the chief administrator of the country.  But that individual is supposed to lead the nation through his/her party in Congress, by proposing many necessary laws in order to carry out his/her agenda which is supposed to exist for the benefit of the public.

 

What President Barack Obama proposed after 2011 to a Republican dominated House of Representatives was generally turned down.  The Republicans even tried to force him to carry out their agenda by adding riders to many laws which would carry out their agenda which he, in turn, would veto.  This was carried to the point of shutting down the government by attaching riders to necessary finance bills. 

 

Currently, during President Obama’s last four months in office, the Republican dominated House of Representatives is refusing to really deal with the Zika epidemic and also refusing to pass anything but a temporary budget to fund the U.S. Government over the next few months instead of for the full fiscal year.

 

In addition to this the current Republican dominated Senate has been refusing for the last seven months to allow the President to appoint a ninth Justice to the Supreme Court to replace Antonin Scalia who died on February 13, 2016.  They want the next President, if he is a Republican, to choose the ninth member of the Supreme Court.

 

However some Republicans feel that if Hillary Clinton is elected then they should hold a lame duck session and approve President Barack Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland.  The argument being that he is more conservative than anyone Hillary Clinton might choose.

 

My feeling is that the best choice Hillary Clinton could make would be a Constitutional lawyer by the name of Barack Obama; if he would take the job.  That would be the second time the Republicans have gotten what they deserve for refusing to properly do their job.

 

The first instance was Elizabeth Warren, who helped create and was supposed to be the head of the Consumer Protection Agency.  They would not allow her to be confirmed so she ended up becoming the second Senator from Massachusetts.  This would be the second instance where Republican plans backfired.  And there is precedent for this move by Clinton, President Warren Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft to the Supreme Court.

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How would Hillary Clinton keep in constant contact with her public?  Generally most people in the United States have very little free time.  They are mostly busy with work, raising children, and the rest of their lives.  It takes a lot of time and effort to closely follow what goes on in Washington, D.C.

 

Radio has not been an important means of communication since the end of World War II (1945) when black and white television made its first appearance.  Today colorized television has become the major means of communication across the country.

 

In order to have a live, functional agenda the President today needs to have constant contact with the people of the United States.  He/She needs to keep in constant contact with her constituency. 

 

He/She still has the bully pulpit.  She is the directly hired representative of all the people.  And the people, as a whole, can make themselves heard by Congress.  And if Congress does not carry out their will then they can fire the entire House of Representatives and 1/3d of the Senate at the next election in 2018.

 

The President, as the representative of the entire nation, can keep up a weekly communication by weekly reports.  These reports can also function two ways with the constituency also being able to communicate with the President through the internet.

 

This would mean at least weekly reports of what is and is not going on.  Up to this point the Republicans in the House of Representatives, all 247 of them are fairly visible; their votes and the issues upon which they vote are recorded but not advertised.  It takes a lot of time to dig up that information.  It would certainly pay for the chief executive to set up a staff to keep a record of these happenings.  They could also script or outline the President’s report and keep the records of public’s communications to the President. 

 

In addition this group could also have easy access on the internet to specific information, like the addresses of all the members of Congress.  From this bank of specific information that could be accessed at any time by the public on demand, intense pressure could be brought on any or all members of Congress. Those citizens who so desire could also share their thoughts with the President.  It would make the individual Congress members responsible for their actions.

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If President Hillary Clinton and/or her husband were to do a weekly television broadcast together or separately each week and specifically state their objectives and then go over what was done or not done by the specific members of Congress and the political party they represent for the prior week that would affect the general electorate.  This would be especially true if they had the means to easily respond to these members of Congress.  The President could also keep the public aware of their advance plans and what help they could expect from Congress by passing specific laws.

 

This weekly broadcast would have to be on prime time over one of more major TV stations.  I would suspect that CBS, NBC, or ABC might each be willing to carry the program.  The major cable networks: CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News would probably also vie for the broadcasts.  This would be particularly true if they could sell commercial time just before or after the broadcasts.

 

What the White House would be doing here would be keeping constant contact with the voting public whose prosperity would be tied to the White House agenda.  It would also demonstrate to the voters exactly what they were getting from all their elected officials.  And it would do this with no additional effort by the public except watching a government report each week. 

 

As an additional benefit from an arrangement like this there would be a feeling by the public of contributing to the running of the government.  This could allay the feeling of frustration and helplessness many Americans feel about their government.

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While there are different governmental philosophies between the two major political parties this type of move could bring about an end to gridlock in Washington, D. C.  It’s a little ridiculous to wait four months or more to have Congress sit on the Zika epidemic and mainly argue political points during a national medical emergency.  It’s equally ridiculous to have the House of Representatives refuse to fund the government, using it as a means of blackmail to get their way on other issues, because they don’t have the votes to pass those other issues.

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The Weiner Component #159 – The United States & American Samoa

U.S. Supreme Court, 1998.

American Samoa is a group of islands located in the South Pacific, of which Tutuila is

American Samoa highway marker

the largest island.  It accounts for 2/3 of the land.  The total area of all the islands is about 77 square miles.  Its population is about 600,000 people.  Pago Pago is its capital, located at Tutuila.  The islands are largely surrounded by coral reefs.  The weather is mild most of the year and the islands mostly have beautiful beaches.  Interestingly for a family it is a phenomenal relatively inexpensive vacation area, far less costly than Hawaii.

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In the late 19th Century, once the United States had settled all the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, many of the people tended to look over the Pacific Ocean for more areas to settle.  They were still operating under the concept of Manifest Destiny or to states it undramatically, nationalist imperialism.  Earlier Mexico, to the South of Texas, was saved from being incorporated into the United States after the Mexican American War in 1846 to 1848 by the fact that its possession would have opened new lands to slavery.  The Northern States did not want this.  The Spanish American War that America entered in 1898 and which lasted ten weeks, was fought over the fact of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor.  President Teddy Roosevelt later called it a splendid little War.

 

Toward the end of the 19th Century the people within the United States had been concerned about “our little Brown brothers in Cuba,” who were in revolt against Spain and when the American naval vessel, the U.S.S. Maine, was blown up, accidentally or otherwise, it became grounds for war.  As a result the United States ended up with “colonies” or overseas possessions.  Some of these we still hold today.

 

The Treaty of Paris (April 11, 1899), which ended the Spanish American War granted the United States the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam.  Cuba remained under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Military Government until its independence on May 20, 1902.  There was a debate on how to govern these new territories as nothing was said about a colonies situation in the Constitution.

 

In addition to war with the people of the Philippines, who initially thought we were helping them get their independence from Spain, and a potential civil war in Cuba, the relationship of the U.S. toward the remaining people in the conquered territory was worked out through a series of court cases called, at the time, the Insular Cases.  They are a series of opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1901, about the status of U.S. territories acquired in the Spanish-American War.  The Supreme Court held that full Constitutional rights did not automatically extend to all places under American control.  This meant that inhabitants of unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico, even if they are U.S. citizens, may lack some constitutional rights.  The Court also established the doctrine of territorial incorporation, under which the Constitution applied fully only in incorporated territories such as Alaska and Hawaii, whereas it applied only partially in the newly unincorporated Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

 

The term insular signifies that the territories were islands administered by the War Department’s Bureau of Insular Affairs.  The cases were the Court’s response to a major issue of the 1900 Presidential Election and to the American Anti-Imperialist League, which was prominent at that time.

 

The Jones Act of 1917 made Puerto Ricans United States citizens.  Puerto Rico remains a commonwealth controlled by the U.S.

 

This leaves American Samoa.  Then as now the Samoans have no automatic claim to U.S. citizenship by birth despite being born in and living for their entire life-span in a U.S. territory.  This position was reaffirmed Monday, June 13, 2016 by the current Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation, declined to reconsider a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court that the Constitution does not confer citizenship on people born in America Samoa.   The Supreme Court effectively preserved the appellate court’s decision in the case as the last word.  They are preserving a position that was taken at the turn of the 20th Century during the very short colonizing phase of American history when we felt we wanted to help our “little Brown brothers” who were not quite capable of ruling themselves.

 

The United States, unlike the European nations, came into the colonizing cycle toward the end of its existence.  It had been busy settling its own continent while the European nations took up what they called “The White Man’s Burden;” a poor excuse for attempting to colonize a good part of the world.

 

In the present case, an American Samoan, Leneuoti Fla Fla Tuaua, had petitioned U.S. courts for citizenship claiming that the Constitution confers citizenship at birth in the United States.  American Samoa has been a U.S. territory since 1900, 116 years.

 

They argued that those born in all the other U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas, all got citizenship by birth. But that was determined by statute in Congress; no such statute exists for American Samoa.

 

Mr. Tuaua was opposed in his attempt to attain United States citizenship by the American Samoan government, which argued that recognizing a right to citizenship at birth could complicate their legal structure in the territory.

 

The appeals court, in a unanimous ruling agreed with the American Samoan government, stating that the resident population was to continue avoiding U.S. citizenship.  This opinion from a conservative panel of justices drew heavy criticism for drawing from a set of cases that were both controversial and outdated since the Insular Cases decision were made at the turn of the 20th Century, over 100 years ago and had been voided in the case of every other territory held by the United States.

 

The cases have drawn criticism for being racially tinged and for continued vestiges of colonialism.  One of the D.C. Circuit Court Judges, Janice Rogers Brown wrote that in her opinion under the Insular Cases distinction, birthright citizenship is not a “fundamental” right owed to the “unincorporated” territories.

 

She wrote in her decision that “Citizenship is not the sum of its benefits.  It is no less that the adoption or ascription of an identity, that of ‘citizen’ to a particular sovereign state, and a ratification of those mores necessary and intrinsic to association as a full functioning component of the sovereignty.  At base appellants ask that we forcibly impose a compact of citizenship … on a distinct and unincorporated territory of people in the absence of evidence that a majority of the territory’s inhabitants endorse such a tie and where the territory’s democratically elected representatives actively oppose such a compact.”

 

The statement is fraught with words that seem to be almost meaningless.  Most of us living in some part of the United States at birth are automatically citizens.  We are never really given a choice.  This is today also true for all the other unincorporated territories.  In the case of the Samoans they are automatically not citizens and they’re never really given a choice either.

 

The Judge could have argued that in all the other insular territories, belonging to the United States, it required a statute, a law, to make all the people born in the territory citizens of the U.S. and that it is not a function of the Courts, especially since this is what happened in all the other insular territories.  Consequently she could have recommended a referendum.

 

The question arises: Why did the current government of American Samoa oppose general citizenship?  From 1956 on the islands were turned over to the Department of the Interior.  The Navy gave them up in 1951. In 1967 the people of American Samoa adopted their own Constitution and held their first Constitutional Elections in 1977.

 

Obviously unlike the citizens of other U.S. territories American Samoans are U.S. nationals.  Neither citizens nor U.S. nationals in unincorporated area vote in Federal elections or pay Federal taxes.  American Samoans came under Federal minimum wage rules in 2007.  They control their own immigration and border policies.  They elect their own governor and legislature which consists of two houses: a House of Representatives and a Senate.  Their laws of property or land ownership is closer to tribal origins than to free enterprise in that Samoans equally own the land.

 

The probability is that U.S citizenship will bring about a major reorganization of some of their major values and their government doesn’t want to go through the bother.  They have since the 1970s gone through major changes in their society.  The Samoan as a U.S. national, if the military draft were to come back, could not be drafted into the military.  He also, like American citizens in other territories, does not vote in Federal elections.  Is this and will it continue to be a valid reason to avoid U.S. citizenship?  A good question.

 

Another consideration of this problem is that the Samoans as U.S. nationals are free to move anywhere in the United States.  If for any reason they leave American Samoa and come to the continental U.S. and have children there then are those children U.S. Citizens?  I would imagine the answer is yes.  The parents are nationals but the children are citizens.  How do you tell one from another when the children achieve adulthood?  And what is the status of these children if they go to American Samoa?

 

I think we had a similar problem with Japanese migrating to this country during the late 19th Century on.  The parents could not become citizens or buy land but their children, born in this country, were U.S. citizens could do all this.  It was a mess, an unfair mess.

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The lack of citizenship to the people of American Samoa means that they cannot vote or hold public office anywhere outside of American Samoa.  In essence they are legally a second-class group within the United States.  They are certainly free to move anywhere they wish within the United States.  And if they come to California or any other state within the country they will probably be able to illegally vote and get a government job.  I can’t remember ever being asked if I was a citizen of the U.S.  But then I’m not Samoan.  I suspect they can even get passports if they wish to travel.

 

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.  On Monday, June 13, 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  Acting without comment, except to say that they had rejected over 100 cases similarly, the Justices refused to review the U.S. Appeals Court ruling that essentially said that it is up to Congress, not the courts, to change the legal status of American Samoa.

 

A civil rights lawyer, Neil Weare, who is also president of the We the People Project, that sponsored the lawsuit, stated, “We’re obviously very disappointed.  This means there will be many Samoans living in California, including veterans, who will not be able to vote in November.”

 

The lawsuit originally brought by five Samoan plaintiffs cited the 14th Amendment, which declares that all people “born or naturalized in the United States” shall be American citizens.

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The results of that appeal were interesting.  The Supreme Court is currently split between four conservative Justices and four liberal Justices.  One Justice, Antonin Scalia, died at the age of 79 on February 13, 2016, leaving the Court split equally.  The Senate, since this is President Barack Obama’s last year in office has refused to consider giving “advice and consent” to any candidate he would appoint, assuming that he would appoint a liberal justice.  In fact they have not nor will they hold any hearings for an appointment to the Supreme Court until after the next President is sworn in, in 2017.  Currently where the Court has a split decision, in most if not all instances, the case is thrown back to the prior lower court.  This apparently is what happened here.

 

Will the Ninth Justice who is to be appointed approximately a year after the death of the former ninth justice be a liberal or a conservative?  It would seem that if the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, gets elected to the presidency and a similar case comes before the Supreme Court then a liberal majority of five Justices will endow American Samoa with automatic U.S. citizenship.  If, on the other hand, the conservative candidate, Donald J. Trump, were to get elected then a conservative majority on the Court would again send the case back to the Appellate Court.

 

It would seem that the Republicans are still espousing “the White Man’s Burden” in a society where the whites are no longer the overwhelming majority.

 

Somehow I have an image of Hillary Clinton appointing Barack Obama as the ninth Justice on the Supreme Court.  That would really frost the Republican dominated Senate for not doing its Constitutional job in 2016.

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #157 – Taxes & the American Public & the Negative Income Tax

The United States of America is a Federal Republic with separate state and local governments.  In order to function each of these governments tax, in some or various fashions, the general public.  These include income, payroll, property, sales, excise taxes and capital gains, dividends and interest, import tariffs, estate taxes, and gifts, as well as various fees.  In 2010, for example, the amounts collected by federal, state, and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of the Gross National Product (GDP).

 

In the United States most taxes are regressive; that is, the less one earns the higher a percentage of their income they pay.  This would include those who earn too little to even pay an income tax.  There are a multitude of taxes: local, state, and federal that everyone pays equally regardless of their income level.  This means that most of these taxes are paid by virtually everyone from the homeless person to the multimillionaire or so-called billionaire like Donald Trump.

 

There are excise taxes on such items as gasoline or tobacco, sales taxes on most purchases, property taxes on homes and business buildings, social security and Medicare taxes that are deducted directly from the business and employees’ wages, unemployment insurance which is deducted from one’s income.  In addition license fees are a form of taxation that allows individuals to practice certain occupations.

 

Taxes fall more heavily on labor income than on capital income.  A larger percentage is taken out of every employees income that out of every employers profits or dividends.

 

If we ask ourselves what is the major economic problem in the United States today, besides the current 5% unemployment rate, the answer we get is the distribution of the National Income.  More and more money keeps going to the upper echelon and less and less of the National Income is being acquired by everyone else.

 

We are the richest country in the history of the world but the distribution of the National Income is such that an ever-growing, percentage of the population is having a harder and harder time surviving.

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If we consider the 2015 tax table for a married couple filing jointly:

 

0 – 18,450         10%

18,451 – 74,900         $1,845 plus 15% of amount over 18,450

74,901 – 151,200       $10,312.50 plus 25% of amount over 74,900

151,200 – 230,450       $29,387.50 plus 28% of amount over 151,200

230,451 – 411,500       $51,577.50 plus 33% of amount over 230,450

411,501 – 464,850       $111,324 plus 35% of amount over 411,500

464,851 – Or more       $129,996.50 plus 39.6% of amount over 464,850

For a single individual you can half the above table and for a head of household drop it down about a quarter.

 

There are, of course, numerous deductions for the number of people in the family and numerous other assorted items. The upper two categories, I suspect, will cover most American taxpayers.  Within the decade or less, as money become less valuable, a larger and larger number of people will slip into the third category.

 

The person earning $18,450 with a family of four is not going to pay any income taxes since the 2016 poverty level for that group is $24,300.  But everyone else with pay 10% of the first $18,450 they earn; then from $18,451 up to $74,900 they pay 15%, and from $74,901 to $151,200 they pay 25%.  This process continues until they reach $464,850, paying the amount in each category until that amount is reached.  Up to this point the income tax has been graduated, the more one earns the higher a percentage of their income they pay.

 

After the last category, $464,851 onwards into the multimillions the amount paid is $129,996.50 plus 39.6% of the income.  This is a regressive income tax favoring the upper percentage of the population. These people’s percentage of income decreases as their earnings increase above the $464,851 mark.  These people pay a far lower percentage of their incomes in taxes than the average citizen.

 

It should be noted that CEOs of fairly large to very large corporations and their leading executives do earn anything from one million dollars a year to one million dollars a month to even one million dollars a week.  The CEO of Hewlett Packer earns 15 million dollars a year.  The current                            CEO of Ford earned 50 million dollars in 2015.  The Bank of America has a CEO, who I imagine can be called the emperor and each section of this international organization has a president for that section of the company.  All of these executives and their leader’s salaries are in the millions of dollars.

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In addition to all this there are two forms of income.  One is regular income which is the only one most people have.  It is taxed as shown above, after deductions are taken out of the total.  The other is passive income.  This is monies earned from investments or increases in value of property.  It could be an apartment house, a home, a piece of art; mostly anything that is owned and increases in value when sold.

 

In addition, specific properties that are rented for profit can legally be depreciated in value over a period of time and any money spent on maintenance of these properties can be deducted from passive income.  Donald Trump, in all probability, pays nothing in income taxes; all his maintenance costs for all his buildings would be deducted from his income leaving him legally and theoretically with no income.

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The major problem that exists today in terms of the distribution of the National Income or Gross National Product is that most people still think of money as they did in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  At that time the worker exchanged his labor for a precious metal, gold or silver coins.  The value of the labor equaled the value of the coins.  The laborer or a member of his family would then exchange the precious metal coins for the goods and services needed to live: housing, food, clothing, medicine when needed, whatever.

 

Today money is paper, printed by each government and coins are copper sandwiches, having token value.  Currency today has no intrinsic value.  It is used as a means of exchanging services for goods and services: housing, food, clothing, medical care when needed, etc.  Money has not been a precious metal since the early 1930s.

 

General thinking and emotions today about currency by most people, particularly the Republicans in Congress, goes back to the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  They still feel that money is basically gold.  Some Congressmen have even, from time to time, mentioned going back on the gold standard.  If this were to be attempted it would cause unbelievable economic disruptions because there isn’t enough gold available to back the amount of business being done either nationally or internationally.  Also gold is currently valued somewhere above $1,200 an ounce.  If the Federal Government were to start buying gold it would quickly shoot up to over $2,000 an ounce.  In 1929 that was a $20 gold one ounce coin.

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How could the distribution of the GDP be done more fairly?  Or can it be done more fairly?

 

About 25 to 30 years ago my wife and I took a vacation in Estes Park, Colorado.  We visited the Rocky Mountain National Park for a week.  While there, I met a gentleman from Holland who was also on vacation.  He and his family were also visiting this site.  Among other things we spoke about unemployment, both in the United States and in Holland, two different political systems, both democracies.  In the U.S. then and today the unemployed person received an inadequate stipend for a matter of 26 full weeks.  It used to be for a slightly shorter period of time.  This is supposed to hold the individual over financially until he/she finds a new job.  In Holland the unemployed person continued to maintain his/her regular standard of living.  The difference being that the unemployed individual could not afford vacations, but otherwise his standard of living would be the same as the other employed individuals.  Both the man I spoke to and his wife worked; it was expensive to come to the U.S. on vacation.

 

There were no negative connotations applied to the unemployed individuals like there often are in the United States.  The entire population of the country took on responsibility for one another.  Anyone, at some time or other, could be unemployed through no fault of their own and everyone was equally responsible for everyone else.

 

They pay heavier taxes than people in similar circumstances in the United States but they get far better coverage.  In addition to far more reasonable unemployment insurance the people of Holland get free medical care, free education through college if they prove capable of going there, plus numerous other services.

 

The difference between the two countries is that the Hollanders take a much more mature attitude than we do in the United States about the welfare of all their citizens.

 

As a footnote it should be noted that today just prior to the 2016 Presidential Election we see large sections in both political parties, demonstrating through their choices of candidates their revulsion at being taken for granted by the powers that be who have been wanting their votes, but have given a goodly percentage of the people very little in return.  This is particularly true of the Republican Party which now seems to be stuck with Donald J. Trump as their presumptive candidate.

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Is there a way to deal with this problem?  The answer is obvious, if Congress and the American people can come to a rational understanding of the function of money and group responsibility.

 

Traditionally the economic formula is:

Demand equals production of goods and services.

There are two factors that determine Demand.  They are the amount of money in the National Income or GDP that is distributed to the general population.  The more money that goes to the top few percent of the population the less there is available for everyone else.  Since most of these excess incomes are invested in old productivity like stocks and bonds they are removed from the general cash flow, decreasing the amount needed for demand, decreasing the level of productivity and consequently, sooner or later, bringing about a recession or even the possibility of a depression.

 

This behavior is a consequence of traditional beliefs and values.  All this, generally speaking, is how the Great Depression came about in 1929 and all the recessions and depressions before and since.  They are based upon the unreal myths about money that most people feel are absolute truths.

 

Is there a way to avoid this continual economic inequality?  A suggestion was first made in England during the 1940s by a British politician named Juliet Rhys-Williams and later also picked up in the U.S. by the free-market economist Milton Friedman.  This was for a negative income tax.

 

The negative income tax (NIT) is a progressive income tax system where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying income taxes to the government; that is, every citizen living within the country is guaranteed a certain minimum standard of living.  Just as today there is a poverty level set for everyone living within the country in both rural and urban areas for individual living alone, married couples, married couples with children, and heads of households.

 

This poverty level or slightly above it would probably be the minimum level these individuals or group or families would be guaranteed as their minimu m standard of living.  It would probably be paid weekly.  Those earning more than this level would be paying income taxes according to their level of compensation.  The tax would be graduated so that the more earned the higher the rate of taxation would be.  There would be no cutoff point where the tax stopped being progressive.

 

It should be noted that the current income tax cutoff point of 39.6% of any amount over $$464,850 where the taxes stop being progressive and become regressive.  This limit was incorporated just a few years ago under President Barack Obama by a staunchly Republican majority in the House of Representatives and by a filibustering Republican minority in the U.S. Senate.

 

During World War II, 1944 – 1951 the cutoff point was set at 91%, from 1952 – 1953 it was 92%, during 1954 – 1963 it was 91% again, in 1964 it became 77%, and from 1965 – 1981 it was 70%.  During the Reagan years: 1981 – 1989, the tax rate dropped to 50%.  But during these same years Reagan raised taxes twelve times and took back 50% of his 1982 tax act.  In 1987, under George H.W. Bush they were 38.5%.  In 1991 – 92 they dropped to 31%.  In 1993 they were raised to 39.6%.  In 2001 under George W. Bush in stages the maximum income taxes were dropped to 35%.  Under President Obama they were raised to 39.6%.

 

It should also be noted that inflation raised most persons into tax brackets formerly reserved for the wealthy.  And that income taxes now applies to 2/3 of the nation.

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In a land of free opportunity for all, the income taxes should be high enough to include former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ current goals of free medical care for all, free education from pre-school through college for anyone capable of achieving a degree, and other social programs including eventually a dignified burial.

 

The effects of a negative income tax would create a single system that would fulfill the social goal of making sure that there is a minimum level of incomes for all.  With a NIT the need for a minimu  m wages, food stamps, welfare, possibly social security programs, Medicare, and other government programs could be eliminated.  This would reduce the administration costs to a fraction of what they are currently.  These costs and administration wages could be directly applied to the people receiving the funding.

 

In the 1972 Presidential Elections the Republican candidate, Richard Milhous Nixon ran for a second term.  His Democratic opponent was George McGovern who proposed a guaranteed minimum income for a family of four of $4,000 a year.  Nixon proposed a guaranteed minimum yearly income of $2,500.  While neither of these level was a significant amount they bought a lot more than they do today.

 

Nixon was reelected and his proposal came up in both the Houses of Congress.  What I remember about the debate in both Houses of Congress was the pain in the voices of the legislators.  It was the level of pain that a boor would make if a sow accidentally stepped on his scrotum.  It was, apparently, in the minds of the national lawmakers as though their own money was about to be forcibly taken from them.  The Negative Income Tax was virtually killed before it could be born.

 

But times have changed since the 1970s.  Money, to the government, is a tool that begets productivity.  It is printed by the Federal Government and can be and has been used by the Federal Government to enhance the economy.

 

If we reexamine the formula we considered earlier:

Demand equals production of goods and services or to restate it more simply:  Amount of money available in the economy equals the level of employment.

We can rewrite the formula to also read: Extent of Production of Goods (employment) equals extent of Demand (money available).

 

The amount of the National Income that goes to the majority of the people determines the amount they can spend on the purchase of goods and services.  The more they can spend fulfilling their basic needs and wants the higher the level of employment in the nation.

 

Currently the nation is geared to allow the rich to get richer and for everyone else to have less and less of the GDP or National Income.  The NIT would not only reverse the current process it should also satisfy all the voters who feel they are left out of the system and are supporters of Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.  This process could be a way of giving the country back to the general public.

 

There is, after all, just so far a populace can be pushed against its own interests.  Donald Trump has emerged as the floored hero of the exploited blue collar Republicans.  His existence, as the hero or potential candidate of the Republican Party is a national disgrace.  He will not solve the national problems, and were he elected could disrupt the balance of power or safety that now exists in the world by his presumptuous erratic actions and basic beliefs..

 

Bernie Sanders is the Democratic side of the current voter rebellion.  While most people agree with his goals, his methods of achieving them are totally unrealistic.  He wants to make the rich pay for his program by having taxes placed on Wall Street profits.  The term “Wall Street” is an abstraction.  Taxing Wall Street would be taxing all purchases or sales made on the stock market, plus all profits made on capital gains.  It would be an easy way to cause an instant recession or possible depression that would negatively affect everyone in the nation.

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Another factor affecting the money supply in the country is the population.  Every ten years the population of the United States is counted.  The number of the population in each state is needed to allocate seats in the House of Representatives.  The number of members in the House is fixed at 435, but seats are reallocated to each state on the basis of changes in the states’ population.

 

The last official census was taken in 2010, the next one will occur in 2020.  In 2016 the population was estimated at 322,762,018 people.  The country has added 2.4 million people or .77% to the overall population in this year 2016.  It does so every year.

 

In the introduction of virtually every census that is taken the then head of the Census Bureau apologizes for the people who he estimates were not counted.  In 2010 a goodly percent of the homeless in the U.S. were missed, leaving the estimate of the population low.  The probability is that the overall population then was over 350 million people.  Add 246 million people to that number and you’re probably close to today’s population.

 

According to the Census Bureau’s population clock one person is born every 8 seconds; there is one death every 13 seconds; and one immigrant enters the U.S. every 29 seconds.  This gives the population a net gain of one person every 13 seconds.  It’s from these figures that we get an increase of 2½ million people a year or a .77% increase in the general population.  That, incidentally, is higher than the current population of 27 of the 50 states.

 

The issue or problem here is that the money supply in order to stay even has to keep up with the ever growing population.  The FED is the agency that is supposed to deal with this issue by adding currency to the Nation Cash Flow as needed.  The FED can easily do this by using the National Debt and buying back more bonds than it sells.  After all the Federal Government through the FED owns over 50% of its own debt.

 

But banks can also create currency by their lending policy and the banking houses like J.P Morgan-Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, to name just a few, did this through their purchase and sale of home mortgages from the Reagan Administration on to 2008 when their excesses brought about the Real Estate Crash of 2008.  The FED, under Chairman Alan Greenspan, was either not paying attention or was overly conservative in its actions.  Instead from the Reagan Era on to the crash, everything was left to the Free Market.  The Free Market, by the actions of the banks, made all the decisions at that time.  The FED kept its hands off everything until the Federal Government had to step in to avoid a massive depression greater than that of 1929 during the last year of the George W. Bush administration.

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A solution for many of our current economic problems would be the incorporation of the negative income tax into our system.  It probably will take a while for it to become fully incorporated and functioning but it would solve many of the problems that now exist in the United States.  It is time we all took positive responsibility for one another.

 

[BW1]

[BW2] Wage, food stamps, welfare, social security programs, M

[BW3]

The Weiner Component #155 – The 2016 Republican Candidate Race for the Presidency

Will Donald J. Trump be the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency?  An interesting question, with a current high probability.  He now considers himself the presumptive nominee.  Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the race.  There is no other running officially for that position now except Donald J. Trump.

 

The National Republican Chairman of the political party, Reince Priebus has jumped aboard the Trump bandwagon; he now sees Donald as the future 2016 candidate and backs Trump as the presumptive president.  In essence he is betting that Trump will be the candidate or his career as National Republican Chairman may evaporate as his predecessor’s did.  In fact most Republicans who are making the same bet are making the same assumption.  And it seems that almost every day more and more Republicans are supporting Trump.  Even Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, now supports him.

 

Presumably most of the evangelicals, faced with the question: Trump or Clinton, reluctantly support Donald.  Evangelicals apparently like people who are, for one reason or another, converted to their way of thinking.  Trump currently being against abortion is the sugar that presently makes him palatable to the evangelicals over what would be otherwise totally indigestible.

 

Will he remain with that point of view?  Another good question.  In many instances Trump changes his prospective as often as the weather changes.  It is currently to his advantage to hold this stance.

 

More and more reluctant Republicans are climbing aboard his bandwagon daily.  Will he get the support of the entire Republican Party throughout all 50 states?  Still another good question.  The answer is most likely negative.  Mitt Romney is totally against a Trump candidacy.  And so it would seem are the former living Republican Presidents.

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Donald seems to have modified some of his hard-rock statements by saying that they were suggestions, not demands that he would make as President.  But Donald doesn’t seem able to control his big mouth.  He keeps coming out with non-presidential statements.  For example he recently stated that he has “no doubt” that Syrian refugees will stage a 9/11 attack upon the United States.  His evidence for this statement is the supposed fact that numerous Syrian refugees have cell phones.

 

This is a recurrent theme with him.  In December of 2015 Donald referred to “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.”  The probability is that this information originated with a Norwegian news report that authorities had found images and videos of ISIS flags, executions, dead children, and acts of torture on the phones of some refugees entering Norway.  A Norwegian official also pointed out that the presence of these images did not mean a cell phone owner was a terrorist.  The photographs could have been taken by someone who had lived in or passed through an ISIS controlled war zone, which a great many Syrian refugees had done moving Westward.  The single news report was strongly promoted in the right-wing media and on conspiracy sites, both foreign and local.

 

This source was a single incident that was touted throughout the right wing.  Trump translated it into “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.”  At a campaign event in Arizona after the debate there Donald wondered aloud for the crowd, why the people in the migration have cell phones?  Who are they calling?  Where do they get the cell phones?  Who’s paying their monthly bills?  How come they have cell phones?  Of course, not everyone has monthly bills because they use a prepaid SIM card, both inside and outside the United States.

 

It seems that in his heart Trump knows that all these multi-thousands of people are all preparing for a 9/11 activity shortly after they reach the U.S.  Of course the fact that all immigrants, refugees and otherwise, are carefully screened by the government before they are allowed to enter the United States is beside the point.  It amazing how much Trump knows instinctively without bothering to check the actual situation.

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While Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the Republican primary race their names are still on the ballots in those states currently holding primary elections.  In the March 17th race in Oregon Trump came out way ahead.  He still hasn’t reached the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the support of the Republican Party.  There are still enough primary elections left so that he should easily achieve this sometime in June.

 

Apparently there is still a possibility that Donald, even if he achieves the support of 1,237 delegates will not achieve the support of 1,237 delegates.  Keep in mind that the rules for the 2016 Republican Presidential Convention will not be established until they meet in Cleveland in July and vote on the rules for 2016.  That will be one of the first orders of business.  The Rules Committee will have met the week before the Convention convenes and will present their version of the rules for 2016 which the Convention will then vote into existence.

 

Traditionally or as a safety valve the Rules Committee has held that the only nominating votes that count are those of closed primaries.  Caucuses and open primaries, where anyone, independent or otherwise can vote for a candidate do not count.  This could conceivably be part of the rules; it has been so in the past; and it would not be out of line if it were.  Will the Convention have with the number of delegates who would support this sort of move or not is still another interesting question?

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Trump repeatedly lies, prefabricates, or/and exaggerates.  Take your pick.  He is narcissistic, a megalomaniac, totally into himself, and his wonderfulness. He seems to never listen to what anyone says, just  to their tone and attitude toward himself.  He may be well educated in real estate but he’s not in other areas.  He has demonstrated an ignorance of the functioning of the Federal Government, of U.S. foreign affairs, and of basic economics.  His concept of running the country seems to go back to the 1930s when the various nations engaged in high tariffs and isolation.

 

Donald makes outlandish statements such as he watched Muslim’s cheer as the World Center collapsed or his charge that the Mexican government deliberately sends criminals across the border into the U.S.  In point of fact he lies about everything, large or small.  Ted Cruz’s comment that he is a “pathological liar” may not be far off the mark.  The fact-checking website Politifact awarded Donald the “Lie of the Year” award for 2015 as the biggest liar in the United States.

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What I find fascinating is an article that appeared in the Monday, May 16th edition of the Los Angeles Times entitled: “GOP reformers hope for defeat.”  There seems to be a goodly number of Republicans who still can’t stomach Donald Trump and they are also not particularly happy with what has happened to the Republican Party.  They see Donald Trump’s emergence as the standard bearer as an opportunity to remake the Republican Party that has lost the last five of the six presidential elections.  They see a presidential loss in 2016 as begetting a victory in 2020.

 

The schism in the Republican Party over Trump’s likely nomination has split conservatives into several groups.  Some believe that Trump will be a populist aberration, whose loss will bring about a more traditional brand of conservatism.  Others expect him to win in November and change the GOP.  Still others feel that Trump will lose badly in November but his success in the primaries means that the Republicans cannot go back to the previous status quo.  These victories demonstrate a need for a complete updating of the party’s ideology to appeal directly to its increasing blue collar base.

 

Many believe that a big Trump loss would bring about a thorough debate about present party values and possibly fundamental changes in the party.  Some argue that an oblique vision of Ronald Reagan has stunted the party’s ability to forge a 21st Century agenda and a loss can bring about a complete revitalization of the party.

 

It has become clear that the old Republican agenda has lost touch with the electorate; it no longer even moves Republicans; it has become an abstraction which has essentially hindered any progress even with Republican control of both Houses of Congress.

 

Trump’s dominance in the primaries has frustrated many conservative intellectuals.  Many traditional Republicans worry that a Trump victory or a close loss to Hillary Clinton would tighten his hold on the party.  They criticize him for inflammatory rhetoric, a lack of substance, and a lack of a conservative core.  Yet the conservative majority in Congress still seems to be carrying on business as usual totally oblivious of any of the needs of their conservative base.

 

Republican reformers have called upon the party to broaden its agenda even as it keeps its positions on trade, taxes, and smaller government.  They feel the party has not worked hard enough to push serious conservative solutions to the problems that concern middle class suburban voters such as college affordability, middle class wage stagnation, and healthcare costs.

 

After Romney’s loss in 2012 Republicans tried to alter their message.  Party leaders drafted a detailed postmortem.  It called on Republicans to reengage younger and minority voters, pass an immigration overhaul, and ramp down rhetoric about immigrants.  The party failed to do any of these things.  Trump has capitalized on GOP voters’ anger at the party ineptness.  Will another defeat bring about party reform?  It would seem that many GOP reformers hope so.

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Even though Donald Trump has so far during his presidential campaign managed to alienate numerous groups within the society like women, Hispanics, Syrian refugees, other immigrants, the physically handicapped and numerous others he, the presumptive Republican candidate, has stated that he plans to rehabilitate his battered image by publicly addressing some of the most controversial episodes of his campaign.  He will present himself as a really nice guy.  His strategy is to show that he is nothing like the monster he believes his political adversaries and the media have portrayed him as being.  A pro-Clinton super PAC is currently assailing Trump as dangerous and divisive.

 

As a first step he sat down for a television special with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly with whom he has feuded for ten months, since the first Republican Presidential Debate.  It was a pleasant meeting of the two and presumably demonstrated his warm regard for women.  In an interview with the Washington Post he gave a five minute soliloquy explaining himself for making wild arm and hand gestures in November of 2015 to discredit New York Times reporter serge Kovaleski.  The act was widely seen as mocking the journalist’s physical disability.  “I would never say anything bad about a person that has a disability,” Trump said.  “I’ve spent a lot of money making buildings accessible.”

 

Hillary Clinton has commented that, “As he goes after women, as he goes after literally every group, I’m going to be their voice.”  Trump plans to counter the attacks personally during a series of rallies and media appearances.  He will highlight, among other things, his firm’s history of hiring women for senior positions.  Trump is convinced that his political image is fluid and can be easily repaired.

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Donald Trump has stated in an interview with the Associated Press that he plans to win the White House largely on the strength of his personality.  He has largely discarded the need for a heavy investment in what he calls the “overrated” use of data to shape his campaign strategy and get out the vote.  It seems that Donald will flout all conventions or what professionals consider necessary to win a presidential campaign.

 

Actually the campaign will give priority to data and digital operations.  It will tap the resources of the Republican National Committee.  In his interview, Trump discounted the value of data stating that the “candidate is by far the most important thing.”  He plans a limited use of data in his general election campaign.

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Could Donald Trump become President of the United States?  It is within the realm of possibility.  What would happen if it were to come about?

 

On Sunday, May 15, 2016, President Barack Obama at his commencement speech At Rutgers University in New Jersey, without once directly mentioning Trump’s name, to cast his positions on immigration, trade, and Muslims as part of an ignorance and isolation philosophy that will lead the U.S. down the path of decline.

 

Time and again the president invoked specific Trump policies to denounce or rejecting facts, science, and intellectualism that he saw was prevailing politics.

 

“In politics and in life ignorance is not a virtue.  It is not cool to not know what you’re talking about.  That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is.  That’s not challenging political correctness.  That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”

 

Trump has emphasized the profound concerns of many Americans who feel left behind by the modern global economy.  He has called for keeping Muslim immigrants out of the U.S., gutting Obama’s trade deals with Asia and Europe, and cracking down on immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

 

President Obama further stated that the pace of change on the planet is accelerating, not subsiding.  He stated that recent history had proved that the toughest challenges cannot be solved by isolation.

 

“A wall won’t stop that,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.  “The point is, to help ourselves, we’ve got to help others – not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out.”

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The Republicans face a massive dilemma.  If they were to win the Presidential Election with Trump the party could conceivably cease to exist as they know it.  They could see the United States following Trump’s “America First” policy going into a phase of isolation from both friends and enemies that would make the world less safe for everybody.

 

If, on the other hand, they lose the Presidential Election they could conceivably recast their party with both their traditional values and the present day needs.  On the third hand, if they lose the Presidential Election they could remain as they are with different groups of conservatives, controlling, at least, one House of Congress.  If this happens the country could continue to face the gridlock we’ve had under President Obama, a Democratic President and a Republican House of Representatives.

 

Again it should be mentioned that after Mitt Romney lost the Presidential in 2012 many in the Republican leadership wanted to broaden their party base to bring in many of the young and disaffected.  These plans went nowhere.

 

The future doesn’t look rosy, no matter what happens.

The Weiner Component #155 – The 2016 Republican Candidate Race for the Presidency

Will Donald J. Trump be the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency? An interesting question, with a current high probability. He now considers himself the presumptive nominee. Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the race. There is no other running officially for that position now except Donald J. Trump.

The National Republican Chairman of the political party, Reince Priebus has jumped aboard the Trump bandwagon; he now sees Donald as the future 2016 candidate and backs Trump as the presumptive president. In essence he is betting that Trump will be the candidate or his career as National Republican Chairman may evaporate as his predecessor’s did. In fact most Republicans who are making the same bet are making the same assumption. And it seems that almost every day more and more Republicans are supporting Trump. Even Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, now supports him.

Presumably most of the evangelicals, faced with the question: Trump or Clinton, reluctantly support Donald. Evangelicals apparently like people who are, for one reason or another, converted to their way of thinking. Trump currently being against abortion is the sugar that presently makes him palatable to the evangelicals over what would be otherwise totally indigestible.

Will he remain with that point of view? Another good question. In many instances Trump changes his prospective as often as the weather changes. It is currently to his advantage to hold this stance.

More and more reluctant Republicans are climbing aboard his bandwagon daily. Will he get the support of the entire Republican Party throughout all 50 states? Still another good question. The answer is most likely negative. Mitt Romney is totally against a Trump candidacy. And so it would seem are the former living Republican Presidents.
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Donald seems to have modified some of his hard-rock statements by saying that they were suggestions, not demands that he would make as President. But Donald doesn’t seem able to control his big mouth. He keeps coming out with non-presidential statements. For example he recently stated that he has “no doubt” that Syrian refugees will stage a 9/11 attack upon the United States. His evidence for this statement is the supposed fact that numerous Syrian refugees have cell phones.

This is a recurrent theme with him. In December of 2015 Donald referred to “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.” The probability is that this information originated with a Norwegian news report that authorities had found images and videos of ISIS flags, executions, dead children, and acts of torture on the phones of some refugees entering Norway. A Norwegian official also pointed out that the presence of these images did not mean a cell phone owner was a terrorist. The photographs could have been taken by someone who had lived in or passed through an ISIS controlled war zone, which a great many Syrian refugees had done moving Westward. The single news report was strongly promoted in the right-wing media and on conspiracy sites, both foreign and local.

This source was a single incident that was touted throughout the right wing. Trump translated it into “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.” At a campaign event in Arizona after the debate there Donald wondered aloud for the crowd, why the people in the migration have cell phones? Who are they calling? Where do they get the cell phones? Who’s paying their monthly bills? How come they have cell phones? Of course, not everyone has monthly bills because they use a prepaid SIM card, both inside and outside the United States.

It seems that in his heart Trump knows that all these multi-thousands of people are all preparing for a 9/11 activity shortly after they reach the U.S. Of course the fact that all immigrants, refugees and otherwise, are carefully screened by the government before they are allowed to enter the United States is beside the point. It amazing how much Trump knows instinctively without bothering to check the actual situation.
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While Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the Republican primary race their names are still on the ballots in those states currently holding primary elections. In the March 17th race in Oregon Trump came out way ahead. He still hasn’t reached the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the support of the Republican Party. There are still enough primary elections left so that he should easily achieve this sometime in June.

Apparently there is still a possibility that Donald, even if he achieves the support of 1,237 delegates will not achieve the support of 1,237 delegates. Keep in mind that the rules for the 2016 Republican Presidential Convention will not be established until they meet in Cleveland in July and vote on the rules for 2016. That will be one of the first orders of business. The Rules Committee will have met the week before the Convention convenes and will present their version of the rules for 2016 which the Convention will then vote into existence.

Traditionally or as a safety valve the Rules Committee has held that the only nominating votes that count are those of closed primaries. Caucuses and open primaries, where anyone, independent or otherwise can vote for a candidate do not count. This could conceivably be part of the rules; it has been so in the past; and it would not be out of line if it were. Will the Convention have with the number of delegates who would support this sort of move or not is still another interesting question?
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Trump repeatedly lies, prefabricates, or/and exaggerates. Take your pick. He is narcissistic, a megalomaniac, totally into himself, and his wonderfulness. He seems to never listen to what anyone says, just to their tone and attitude toward himself. He may be well educated in real estate but he’s not in other areas. He has demonstrated an ignorance of the functioning of the Federal Government, of U.S. foreign affairs, and of basic economics. His concept of running the country seems to go back to the 1930s when the various nations engaged in high tariffs and isolation.

Donald makes outlandish statements such as he watched Muslim’s cheer as the World Center collapsed or his charge that the Mexican government deliberately sends criminals across the border into the U.S. In point of fact he lies about everything, large or small. Ted Cruz’s comment that he is a “pathological liar” may not be far off the mark. The fact-checking website Politifact awarded Donald the “Lie of the Year” award for 2015 as the biggest liar in the United States.
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What I find fascinating is an article that appeared in the Monday, May 16th edition of the Los Angeles Times entitled: “GOP reformers hope for defeat.” There seems to be a goodly number of Republicans who still can’t stomach Donald Trump and they are also not particularly happy with what has happened to the Republican Party. They see Donald Trump’s emergence as the standard bearer as an opportunity to remake the Republican Party that has lost the last five of the six presidential elections. They see a presidential loss in 2016 as begetting a victory in 2020.

The schism in the Republican Party over Trump’s likely nomination has split conservatives into several groups. Some believe that Trump will be a populist aberration, whose loss will bring about a more traditional brand of conservatism. Others expect him to win in November and change the GOP. Still others feel that Trump will lose badly in November but his success in the primaries means that the Republicans cannot go back to the previous status quo. These victories demonstrate a need for a complete updating of the party’s ideology to appeal directly to its increasing blue collar base.

Many believe that a big Trump loss would bring about a thorough debate about present party values and possibly fundamental changes in the party. Some argue that an oblique vision of Ronald Reagan has stunted the party’s ability to forge a 21st Century agenda and a loss can bring about a complete revitalization of the party.

It has become clear that the old Republican agenda has lost touch with the electorate; it no longer even moves Republicans; it has become an abstraction which has essentially hindered any progress even with Republican control of both Houses of Congress.

Trump’s dominance in the primaries has frustrated many conservative intellectuals. Many traditional Republicans worry that a Trump victory or a close loss to Hillary Clinton would tighten his hold on the party. They criticize him for inflammatory rhetoric, a lack of substance, and a lack of a conservative core. Yet the conservative majority in Congress still seems to be carrying on business as usual totally oblivious of any of the needs of their conservative base.

Republican reformers have called upon the party to broaden its agenda even as it keeps its positions on trade, taxes, and smaller government. They feel the party has not worked hard enough to push serious conservative solutions to the problems that concern middle class suburban voters such as college affordability, middle class wage stagnation, and healthcare costs.

After Romney’s loss in 2012 Republicans tried to alter their message. Party leaders drafted a detailed postmortem. It called on Republicans to reengage younger and minority voters, pass an immigration overhaul, and ramp down rhetoric about immigrants. The party failed to do any of these things. Trump has capitalized on GOP voters’ anger at the party ineptness. Will another defeat bring about party reform? It would seem that many GOP reformers hope so.
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Even though Donald Trump has so far during his presidential campaign managed to alienate numerous groups within the society like women, Hispanics, Syrian refugees, other immigrants, the physically handicapped and numerous others he, the presumptive Republican candidate, has stated that he plans to rehabilitate his battered image by publicly addressing some of the most controversial episodes of his campaign. He will present himself as a really nice guy. His strategy is to show that he is nothing like the monster he believes his political adversaries and the media have portrayed him as being. A pro-Clinton super PAC is currently assailing Trump as dangerous and divisive.

As a first step he sat down for a television special with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly with whom he has feuded for ten months, since the first Republican Presidential Debate. It was a pleasant meeting of the two and presumably demonstrated his warm regard for women. In an interview with the Washington Post he gave a five minute soliloquy explaining himself for making wild arm and hand gestures in November of 2015 to discredit New York Times reporter serge Kovaleski. The act was widely seen as mocking the journalist’s physical disability. “I would never say anything bad about a person that has a disability,” Trump said. “I’ve spent a lot of money making buildings accessible.”

Hillary Clinton has commented that, “As he goes after women, as he goes after literally every group, I’m going to be their voice.” Trump plans to counter the attacks personally during a series of rallies and media appearances. He will highlight, among other things, his firm’s history of hiring women for senior positions. Trump is convinced that his political image is fluid and can be easily repaired.
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Donald Trump has stated in an interview with the Associated Press that he plans to win the White House largely on the strength of his personality. He has largely discarded the need for a heavy investment in what he calls the “overrated” use of data to shape his campaign strategy and get out the vote. It seems that Donald will flout all conventions or what professionals consider necessary to win a presidential campaign.

Actually the campaign will give priority to data and digital operations. It will tap the resources of the Republican National Committee. In his interview, Trump discounted the value of data stating that the “candidate is by far the most important thing.” He plans a limited use of data in his general election campaign.
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Could Donald Trump become President of the United States? It is within the realm of possibility. What would happen if it were to come about?

On Sunday, May 15, 2016, President Barack Obama at his commencement speech At Rutgers University in New Jersey, without once directly mentioning Trump’s name, to cast his positions on immigration, trade, and Muslims as part of an ignorance and isolation philosophy that will lead the U.S. down the path of decline.

Time and again the president invoked specific Trump policies to denounce or rejecting facts, science, and intellectualism that he saw was prevailing politics.

“In politics and in life ignorance is not a virtue. It is not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”

Trump has emphasized the profound concerns of many Americans who feel left behind by the modern global economy. He has called for keeping Muslim immigrants out of the U.S., gutting Obama’s trade deals with Asia and Europe, and cracking down on immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

President Obama further stated that the pace of change on the planet is accelerating, not subsiding. He stated that recent history had proved that the toughest challenges cannot be solved by isolation.

“A wall won’t stop that,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. “The point is, to help ourselves, we’ve got to help others – not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out.”
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The Republicans face a massive dilemma. If they were to win the Presidential Election with Trump the party could conceivably cease to exist as they know it. They could see the United States following Trump’s “America First” policy going into a phase of isolation from both friends and enemies that would make the world less safe for everybody.

If, on the other hand, they lose the Presidential Election they could conceivably recast their party with both their traditional values and the present day needs. On the third hand, if they lose the Presidential Election they could remain as they are with different groups of conservatives, controlling, at least, one House of Congress. If this happens the country could continue to face the gridlock we’ve had under President Obama, a Democratic President and a Republican House of Representatives.

Again it should be mentioned that after Mitt Romney lost the Presidential in 2012 many in the Republican leadership wanted to broaden their party base to bring in many of the young and disaffected. These plans went nowhere.

The future doesn’t look rosy, no matter what happens.

The Weiner Component #152 – Part 3: The Continuing Presidential Campaign

In the April 26, 2016 Super Tuesday Republican primary election whining Donald Trump won all five states giving him a total of 996 bound delegates.  He is now assuming that he is the “presumptive” Republican candidate.  Up to that point in time he was bitterly complaining that the whole primary process was rigged against him.  In fact he was acting more like a third party candidate than one who was part of the Republican Party process.

 

As the presumptive candidate Trump has begun his verbal attack against Hillary Clinton with a sexist statement, saying that if she were a man she’d only have five present of her current support.  Leave it to Donald to inadvertently attack all the women who have supported her as well as all the other women in the United States, clearly marking them as secondary creatures.  Only Donald Trump would come up with a statement that demeans over 50% of the population, letting them know of their second rate standing.

 

Interestingly a percentage of the Republican leadership have changed their tones suddenly about Donald.  A number of Republican celebrities earlier announced that they voted for Donald but do not support him but since Tuesday have been giving second thoughts to supporting him.  Many Republicans seem to be in the process of changing their minds about Trump; they now see him in a new positive way.  Whether this will unify the Republican Party is another question.  Donald has said that he can win without a unified Republican Party.

 

According to the surveys taken one in four Republicans will stay at home rather than vote for Trump.  Will this happen?  Another factor is that the number of Democratic voters in these primaries has decreased in most states while the number of Republican voters has increased significantly.  Does this mean that people are changing political parties?  If they are then politically incorrect candidates who are divisive and tend to be prejudicial against racial and ethnic groups as well as a whole gender attract more people than traditional campaigns.  And that means that negative campaigns work for better than other attempts to gain public office.  It also means that the country is overflowing with racial, ethnic and gender bias.

 

It’s still possible that between now and July Trump will come out with numerous stupid statements that will alienate additional numerous people within his own party and suddenly the Rules Committee will find that he doesn’t have enough legal delegates to be nominated as their candidate.

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What I find interesting about Trump is that up to Super Tuesday, April 26th he has been running as a Third Party candidate within the Republican Party.  He’s been at war with them, vigorously denouncing their unfairness.  Presumably after winning the majority in the five states that held the Republican Primary Elections on Tuesday, Trump now assumes he’s the Republican “presumptive winner.”  Is he?  A lot of Republicans have since denounced him.  Some of them said that if he were the candidate they would vote for Hillary.

 

On Wednesday afternoon at about 4 pm, the day after Super Tuesday, Trump gave a formal “foreign policy” speech using television prompters for the first time in order to dramatically read the presentation.   It was done in a very dignified fashion; basically the speech was much of what Trump has stated during the overall campaign combined with some traditional Republican attitudes.  Here we had a presidential Trump seriously reading a speech obviously written by members of his staff.  Basically the main concept is “America First.”  He would rebuild our military, make all our allies pay their “fair share” of the security burden, quickly destroy ISIS, and so on.  There are no specifics, just a general outline of how tough the U.S. is going to be.  Trump explained that he’s not giving specific information because that would prepare the enemy to resist. The United Nations Treaty with Iran was bad news, he said.   He’ll get a better deal for the United States.  And he’ll make a deal with Russia that will make Russia more positive about dealing with us.

 

The speech was about generalities.  He doesn’t want to tell how he’ll do these things because that would put us at a disadvantage.  His basic weapon in dealing with everyone is the ability to walk away from the negotiations if we don’t like them, this includes allies and antagonists.  Again, presumably the U. S. under Trump will be so tough and so feared that every nation will give in to us or be isolated from us or go to war with us, both allies and enemies.

 

Trump’s interpretation of what is happening in the world and what the United States is doing tends to be mostly wishful thinking or prefabricating on his part.  He freely makes statements without knowing what is really going on.  Ted Cruz’s statement about Trump being a pathological liar may be close to if not the actual truth.  He actually may not know the difference between fact and fiction.  He may believe that if he says something it must be a fact.

 

Trump’s claim that ISIS is making millions and millions of dollars a week selling Libyan oil is nonsense.  There is no evidence to support this statement.  ISIS has attempted to destroy a number of oil fields there  by bombarding them and moving on.  There was one incident when navy seals in 2014 stopped an attempt in Eastern Libya to smuggle oil out of the country in an oil tanker called the Morning Glory.  This also contradicts Trumps claim that the U. S. doesn’t “do anything about” unauthorized oil sales from Libya.

 

Trump claimed that the North American Free Trade Agreement “has been a disaster for the United States” and it has “literally emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs.”  Actually economic studies demonstrate that NAFTA’s impact on U. S. jobs has been very slight.  In fact it may have added slightly to the overall employment in the U. S. 

 

Trump has stated that he was against the War with Iraq and that he said it would destabilize the Middle East.  There is no evidence of this.  On September 11 2002 Trump was asked in a radio interview whether he supported the war.  His answer was, “Yeah, I guess so.”

 

Trump stated that Obama “crippled us with a huge trade deficit.”  Actually the amount of the trade deficit has gone down during Obama’s Presidency.  In terms of Clinton and Benghazi, Trump said, “Clinton blames it all on a video, an excuse that was a total lie, proven to be absolutely a total lie.”  The Obama administration originally cited the release of an anti-Muslim video by a Florida pastor as a possible reason for the Benghazi attack.  Clinton was quicker than other government officials, including the President, to call it a terrorist attack.  Trump has an active imagination about what constitutes facts for him.

 

What Trump proposed is a formula for disaster.  Even without war with allies and/or enemies the U. S. could end up isolating itself from the rest of the world.  That could take us back to the diplomacy that followed the Great Depression in the early 1930s and led directly to World War II.

 

Donald Trump, if he were to achieve his goal, has promised to wipe out everything that Barack Obama over his eight years as President has done.  That would take the nation back to the year he initially assumed office, 2008.  President George W. Bush left the nation in that year on the verge of a depression greater than the Great Depression of 1929 at the end of his second term as President.  Obama turned it into a recession and largely got the country out of it with no help from the Republican dominated Congress.  Is this where Trump wants to take the country?

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On Tuesday, May 3, 2016 both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won the primaries in Indiana.  The Republican primary was a winner take all race.  There were 57 delegate races in the state and Donald Trump got them all.  As a result Ted Cruz dramatically withdrew from the race.  It was the first time I heard what sounded like a victory speech from a loser.

 

What is interesting here is that the winners in both parties are the protest candidates, the ones chosen by the young and frustrated in both parties that feel they are not being properly represented by the people they have elected to office.  These are people who want to feel their party is returning something positive to them for their vote and support.  Instead up to this point they have gotten nothing in return for their vote.

 

Donald Trump now has 1068 committed delegates who will vote for him on the first ballot.  He needs 1,237 legal votes to become the Republican candidate for the Presidency in November of 2016.

 

Bernie Sanders won 52.5% of the Democratic vote, winning 44 delegates which gives him a total of 1,401 committed delegate votes.  Hillary Clinton won 47.5% of the vote, gaining 38 delegates.  She now has a total of 2,205 committed delegates.  2,383 is the number needed to become the Democratic candidate to the presidency in November of 2016.

 

The probability is that the last Super Tuesday in June will more than give Hillary Clinton the required number of votes needed to become the Presidential Candidate.  Bernie may even score some more victories but even in those the vote is split and Hillary gains more delegates. 

 

To Bernie Sanders the presidential nomination is within sight but always out of reach.  The question then is, why does he persist?  The answer, I believe, is to get his program on the Party Platform.  He has, no doubt, pushed Hillary Clinton farther left than she would have otherwise have gone.  He will try to push her farther left.  His success will be what the Party achieves over the next four years.

 

Donald Trump currently is king of the hill.  Whether that hill is below sea level in Death Valley or on its way to Washington, D.C. is currently unknown.  The man is an irresponsible monomaniac with no sense of consequences for what he may say.  He does not understand the government of the United States or how it works.  He certainly doesn’t understand the function of the President since what he describes he will do in that office are the actions of a dictator with absolute power.  His current dealings with Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, indicated that he might fire him when he becomes president.  It’s as though he expects to rule by executive order.

 

And he doesn’t understand economics in the functioning of government.  Trump apparently sees the National Government as a larger version of a business.  He doesn’t understand the difference between Macroeconomics and Microeconomics.  He has said that defaulting on government debt is a way of getting rid of or reducing the debt.

 

The basic currency in the world today is the dollar.  The value of most other currencies are tied to it.  If the U. S, were to default on its debt then the entire world financial systems would be affected.  We could see a group of national depressions that would make 1929 look like weekend holiday.  Trump has no idea of the trouble he could cause if he were elected president.

 

But I suspect that that is of low probability.  Even if he gets the 1,237 delegates he may not have 1,237 legal delegates.  That still has to be decided when the Rules Committee meets in Cleveland on July 18th to 21st.  All that depends upon the various stupid remarks that Trump makes between now and July 18th.  He’s already made a major blunder affecting the credit of the United States.

 

The Republican Party is split now.  I suspect the split or splits will widen between now and the convention.  I understand that Jeb Bush is thinking of organizing a group called, Republicans For Hillary.  A number of prominent Republicans have announce they will not vote for Donald.  A number of others have announce that they will vote for him but will not endorse him.  Trump has denounced anyone who has denounced him.  The situation gets crazier and crazier. 

The Weiner Component #149 Part 1 – The 2016 Political Presidential Campaign

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

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

Embed from Getty Images

The Candidates from both political parties have completed a number of debates and also some TV Town Halls.  The Republican debates have been considered more dramatic by American viewers, so they have had larger audiences. 

 

It is important to keep in mind that only Republicans are voting for Republican candidates and that their debates and current actions are aimed at being chosen as the Republican candidate at the Nominating Convention in late July and conversely only Democrats are voting for their candidates for the same reason.  The debates are a means for each to demonstrate his/her ability and political position.  The public is getting a view of all the candidates so that they can make up their minds about the candidates of both parties.  Only one will emerge from each party and the voters will have a choice as to whom they want to be President over the next four years.

 

For those who like drama, the Republican debates have been more interesting because their leading candidate, Donald Trump, will say almost anything and often does so.  At least he did so in the earlier debates.  In the first one he verbally attacked one of the female reporters who was asking questions.  Apparently he didn’t like her question.  In the other debates he tended to verbally attack the other Republican candidates.  The Democratic debates dealt with issues concerning the nation only and didn’t get as many million people watching them.

                           

The Democratic Town Halls, having different people in the audience asking questions, had both candidates, each using half the time.  The Republican Town Halls have had only one of the possible candidates taking questions from an audience. 

 

On the Saturday, February 20th the Democrats held a Caucus and the Republicans a Debate in South Carolina.  Of the remaining six potential candidates in the Republican debate, Donald Trump was the winner by about ten points.  He had 32.5% if the Republican vote.  Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were second and third, separated by two tenths of a point, 22.5% and 22.3%.  John Kasich and Jeb Bush were tied for fourth with 7.8% of the vote each and Ben Carson came in last.  Bush suspended his campaign after dropping lower than he had been in his prior debate.  In the Democratic primary Hillary Clinton won 52.7% of the Democratic vote and Bernie Sanders got 47.2%.

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There is an interesting psychological phenomena at work when it comes to choosing the candidates to support in the election.  It seems that there are two kinds of people, one that lives in the right now and one that makes most decisions with an eye toward the future.  The first group is instantly taking satisfaction from immediately solving or seeming to solve a problem.  They will similarly handle all other problems when they come along in the future.  And the second group who deal with everything with an eye to the future. 

 

The first group would be backers of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. These are the protest candidates for the two major political parties, who are the living symbols for the dissatisfied generally silent majorities in both parties, who have been duly voting for their political candidates over the years and getting nothing in return.  To the blue collar, and, I would suspect, in most cases, the gun loving and/or evangelicals, who could never find themselves in a position to vote Democratic, Trump represents their basic attitudes, prejudices, and beliefs.  He will, in their minds, to quote him, “Make America Great Again.” 

 

He also gives them an innate satisfaction when they listen to him because he expresses what they feel and believe.  Presumably he represents smaller government, that is: getting government out of everyone’s lives, and lower taxes.  He is the protest candidate who will lower their taxes, increase the military, beat-up the terrorists, make America feared by every other country on the planet, actually make The U.S. the bully of the world.  His words themselves give these people a sense of satisfaction.

 

In order to solve the illegal immigration problem Trump will also build a high wall separating the United States from Mexico that he says will be paid for by Mexico; deducted from money the United States owes Mexico.  Governments do not lend or give money generally to other countries.  There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that Mexico lent or gave money to the U. S. that the American Government has to return.  If there is an imbalance of trade and Mexicans are selling more to American businesses than Mexican businesses are buying from the U.S. then those are arrangements between Mexican individuals and companies and American individuals and companies.  There is no legal way that our government can seize any of those funds to pay for a border wall, unless suddenly extremely high taxes are placed upon all trade between the two countries,

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A good percentage of the blue collar Republicans and Evangelicals have constantly given their vote to the Republican Party but have not, like the wealthy upper percentile, really gotten anything for their continued allegiance to the party.  Trump is their hero.  He will give them, this silent majority to the right, true justice, make the Republican Party mean something to Blue Collar and Evangelical America.

 

Of course all this rests on the proposition that we were great before, forgetting the fact that U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush was a joke to most of the world.  The United States invaded Iraq because of a lie pushed by Bush and his administration.  The U.S. was then able to bribe some of the smaller nations with massive aid contributions to join into a sort of wartime coalition to look for “weapons of mass destruction,” which never existed.  The Bush White House, while serving as sheriff of the Middle East destabilized the entire region and through its actions indirectly helped establish the growth of the terrorist organizations like ISIS.

 

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist who is registered as an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats, is the other left extreme of Donald Trump.  Trump is on the far reactionary right while Bernie Sanders is on the far radical left.  They are both appealing to people, who are in the main, are either disgusted with Washington politics that seems to promise everything during elections and deliver nothing during the course of the elected term.  Both candidates are promising the world if elected. 

 

Sanders is promising free education through college and free medical coverage for everyone as a right.  He says he will pay for these by taxing Wall Street for speculative spending.  What is speculative spending?  I suppose it’s any investment, buying or selling stock or property.  That would certainly raise the price of every stock or property bought or sold. 

 

In both the Scandinavian countries and the rest of Europe the population gets free medical care by paying heavier taxes than we do in the United States.  The public shares in the paying of the “free” medical care with increased taxes. 

 

The same can be said for public education which goes from kindergarten through college, if the student is qualified.  In the United States education is a right that everyone has through high school.  While there are public colleges and universities they still have a cost factor for the participant.  In Europe education is free but it has to be earned.  A student moves from level to level by continually proving his/her capability to function on a higher level.  If a student cannot pass the examinations they are shunted to vocational training and an exit from the school system.  This also is paid for by increased taxes shared by all the taxpayers.

 

My feeling is that most people actually agree with Bernie Sanders.  The model he is using is Scandinavian Socialism which also exists in most European and successful Asian countries.  Even Hillary Clinton likes what Bernie is representing.  But is it real in the United States?  Can he do it if he is elected President without massively raising taxes?  Most Americans are complaining that the current tax system is too high.  For that matter is what Donald Trump says he is going to do real? 

 

First off: What is the power of the President?  If elected can he decree free education or universal medical care?  Or, for that matter, a great wall between the United States and Mexico?

 

The answer to all of these changes is NO.  The President is the elected Chief Administrator of the laws passed by Congress and himself.  His major function is to carry out the laws and keep the country functioning.  He can issue Executive Orders; but these are not laws.  His legislative powers are almost nonexistent.  The President can recommend and negotiate with Congress or veto a bill; but that is the full extent of his legislative powers.

 

Bernie Sanders has called for a Populist Revolution.  Donald Trump has not.  Unless the one who gets elected has an overwhelming majority in both Houses of Congress, well over 50% in the House and a super majority of 60 or more Senators he will be extremely frustrated in office, feeling he is totally unable to bring about or, for that matter, even begin his program. 

 

In fact the probability is that regardless of who is elected as President the House of Representatives will, in all probability, have a slight Republican majority because of gerrymandering, having the voting districts set up in the states to benefit one particular political party.  This was done in 2010 by the Republicans and will not be redone until 2020 when the next population census occurs.  In the 2014 Midterm Election for the House of Representatives 1¼ million addition votes were cast for Democratic candidates, over what the Republicans received, but the Republicans still maintained the majority in the House.

 

The Senate will probably end up in 2016 with a slight Democratic majority, since i/3d of the Senate will be up for reelection.   The Senators are elected by all the voters of each state.  Since the Democrats are the majority party the Senate will probably be returned to Democratic control by a slight majority.  And there is a very high probability that Congress will again be gridlocked from 2017 through 2020.  The only candidate who might get some legislation through, and that by constant “horse trading” is Hillary Rodham Clinton.  The next four years are not going to be a fun time!

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It has been my observation that there is one very important point that everyone seems to ignore in every major election.  How many people were fourteen to just short of eighteen during the prior Presidential Election four years earlier?  The number has to be, in this country of over 350 million people, somewhere in the millions.  These youngsters come to the election generally with a certain amount of disgust.  They’ve heard their parents, relatives, and others continually complain about deadlock in Washington, D.C. and gridlock when it comes to passing necessary laws.  And, of course, the loud complaints by the Republicans about the Democrats.  They may have learned about the principles of government in high school; but the country doesn’t seem to be operating that way.  To them someone like Bernie Sanders would be a living symbol of hope.  Watching him at his televised rallies one sees a lot of young faces wanting a positive future.

 

The same can be said for President Barack Obama back in 2008 when he first ran for the presidency.  His slogan was: “It’s time for a change.”  But Barack Obama inherited the beginnings of a major depression from George W. Bush.  He spent his first two years in office avoiding a depression that would have been greater than the Great Depression of 1929 and he helped pass a universal type health law, the Affordable Health Care Law.  Two year later in 2010 the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and Congress would function from 2011 on in a state of gridlock with nothing positive happening.  The young voters and minorities stayed at home on election days because they had not seen the change they wanted.  Changes had occurred that saved the country but they had been largely invisible.  The Republicans stayed in control of the House of Representatives.  The Senate in 2014 was also taken over by the Republicans because people did not vote and there was some Republican suppression of the vote.

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The noted economist, Paul Klugman, called Sander’s view of the changes he wants to bring about “fantasy economics.”  I strongly suspect that Sanders was shocked or amazed at the reception he got for his bid for the presidency.  He was used to being a voice of protest in the Congress for a large number of years.  He no doubt expected to be a Democratic Socialist protest candidate.  With the reception his campaign has and is receiving he talks about a Revolution that he’ll bring about.  By “Revolution” Bernie Sanders means that the majority of the people will verbally rise up and force their legislators to pass the laws he is talking about.

 

If 74 year old Bernie Sanders were to be elected President of the United States he would spend four years in total frustration because no part of his program will happen with a Republican controlled House of Representatives.  Probably very little would happen with a fully controlled Democratic Congress. 

 

Change occurs slowly.  Public colleges were essentially free when I went to one of them in the 1950s.  Since then life has become more expensive and complicated.  I remember my parents in the 1940s taking their children to the doctor when they were sick and paying for the visits and for the prescriptions.  They spent far less providing medical care for themselves and three children than I spend now at Kaiser with full Medicare.  And that does not include what we spend on my wife who also has full Medicare.

 

The House of Representatives will probably remain Republican because of gerrymandering and the Senate may return to Democratic control.  Twenty-four Republican Senators will be standing an election.  Many of them are in swing states which could go either way.  This would be particularly true if the Republicans gain bad publicity by impeding the functioning of the government by not holding  hearings for the vacancy on the Supreme Court or doing some other outlandish things.

 

Essentially for four years Sanders will face Congressional gridlock.  If he survives the four years in which he will be largely helpless to bring about any kind of change then he will be 79 at the end of his term in office.  If anything conditions may well get worse that they are now.  And 79 is longer than most people live, particularly men.

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Looking at the current five remaining Republican candidates, that’s five out of the original twelve or so.  Bush is gone; he has suspended his campaign after spending 70 million dollars.  Mainly that leaves Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz.  Of the remaining two, John Kasich may be looking forward to a possible Vice-Presidency and Ben Carson seems to be along for the ride.  I understand he is also selling an autobiography and doing book signings along the way. 

 

Chris Mathews called the Thursday night, February 25, Debate a meeting of “The Three Stodges.”  Trump, Cruz, and Rubio spent most of their time verbally attacking one another.  Usually two of them were talking at the same time and most of what they said was incomprehensible; it’s difficult to understand what’s being said when two people are continually talking loudly at the same time.  They gave an outstanding performance of how a President should not act.

 

Both Rubio and Cruz are Tea Party Republicans.  Strange to say Trump seems to be the most liberal among the three who are now considered serious candidates.  Both Trump and Cruz are considered unacceptable to the Party leadership but the Party has no mechanism to get rid of them, at least not until the Party Convention.  Some Republican Party leaders have said that if Trump becomes President it would be a total disaster and that it could destroy the Republican Party.

 

Both Ohio Governor John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson were also in the Debate but they did not have much to say.  Of the five, Kasich appeared mostly as a President should, but he ranked only at 9 plus percent among the Republican voters of Texas.

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As a sort of footnote it is worth observing what the Republicans in Congress are doing about the public protest of their actions over the last six years.  Many of the Blue Collar Republicans are supporting Donald Trump to demonstrate their betrayal by the Republican Congress.  The Republican leadership objects to him.  The least the Republican led Congress can do is to hold hearing concerning their needs and wants.  But instead they are doing nothing, essentially ignoring the protest and objecting to Trump.  It is business as usual, expecting to get reelected and continue representing the upper 1% of the country.