Posts Tagged Politics

WE CAN’T KEEP WAITING FOR CONGRESS TO GO NOWHERE FAST, REGARDING TRUMP’S POSSIBLE COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA. WHAT’S PLAN B, AND PLAN C?

In my last post, I suggested that behind Donald Trump’s Visible Regime, there might be a Shadow Government, which controls the real power in Washington.  But, here are just a few of the problems, emanating from today’s White House, that smell:

1. Trump’s Political Strategist, Steve Bannon, is a permanent member of the National Security Council.

2. With two former generals in Trump’s Cabinet, why was it the Secretary of State, who suggested a potential pre-emptive attack on North Korea, and in Chin’s backyard?

3. Why have Cabinet Officers not been allowed to appoint Deputies, as usual, and their Confirmation Hearings should have been held, or at least scheduled by now?

4. Why was Donald Trump so discourteous after he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Friday?  He looked like a pouting schoolboy who had just been smacked-down!

5. Why is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skipping the coming NATO Summit in order to visit Moscow, which he is quite familiar with? Couldn’t he take a side trip there, either before or after the NATO meeting?

6. Numerous former and current Trump Associates have had contact with various Russian officials, both in Moscow and Washington.

7. Yesterday, Donald Trump was threatening Congressman, who vote against his ideology-based Health Care Plan?  Does he know that we were still a Democracy?

8. And, why does his daughter, Ivanka, sit in on meetings with foreign Heads of State?

Plan A, just holding Congressional Hearings, when Donald Trump’s Republican Party holds the majority in both Houses, will always have a Chairman who belongs to his party, as well as a majority of members.  Also, since the GOP believes that it can jam even the most Draconian Legislation through Congress, with their own Man in the White House, can it really be trusted to find collusion, between Trump and Russia, if it is found to have been present?

A “Select”, or Temporary, Committees of Congress will fare no better, since it also will have many of the same party and ideological biases as standing committees do.   The Nation needs to have a Plan B, and a Plan C.  Plan B would be the appointment of “Special Prosecutor, someone of exemplary legal credentials and who is unbiased, for or against anything but the Truth.  And Plan C would consider other options, besides Impeachment, such as a complete Regime Change.

The Special Prosecutor should delve into all aspects of the Russia-Trump Connections, where there may be improprieties.  This would include: current and former Trump employees, agents and advisors; whether in person or any other form of contact, and whether the location was foreign or domestic.  And Yes, the Special Prosecutor should have complete access to any and all Federal Tax Returns (and all Schedules) of Donald Trump—and for every prior year!

Plan C should draw-up plans, in the event that there was some form of collusion, between Donald Trump and his Campaign, with the Russian Federation.  Simple Impeachment proceedings might not be appropriate, since it would be merely eliminating the Head of an Illegal Government. Just like the proverbial Hydra: cut-off the head, and it frown another. Plan C should decide whether usual Impeachment proceedings would be appropriate or, perhaps, a Declaration of the Election as being null and void might be in order

Plans B and C, or some other appropriate meassures, will take time to consider, draft and, perhaps, need to be ruled on by the Supreme Court.  Given the many important policy issues—both foreign and domestic—which are constantly arising, we need to insure that we have plans already in place to maintain that “finely-tuned” Government that the United States must have!

NOTE:   I realize that if the world-clock stopped ticking, we would have time to call for a Constitutional Convention, or to otherwise Amend the Constitution; but, WE DON’T!

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ARE TRUMP AND THE GOP MORE CONCERNED WITH IMPROVING HEALTH CARE, OR REPEALING OBAMA’S SIGNATURE LEGISLATION?

On Monday, the House Republicans released their Replacement Health Care Plan so they can Repeal “Obamacare”.  Donald Trump jumped at the chance to embrace the Plan.  Also, since the GOP has been so focused on devising, a replacement plan, they seem most ebullient just to mimic George W. Buh’s boast of “Mission Accomplished!”; but, the suitability aspects must have been left back at the conference room.  The reception for the much touted GOP plan, so far, has been anything but favorable, even from within their own party.

Actually, the House Leadership didn’t release it; rather, they seem to have preferred to just have it leaked.  There wasn’t any condemnation for it getting out, just the wiggle room to declare that it was only an early draft and, that way, they could always reel it back in.  Right now, however, the House GOP leadership is trying to put some lipstick, as well as some rouge, on this pig.  But really, this swine is just not gonna fly.

Since the Plan is, no doubt, being analyzed in minute detail, by all of the usual news sources, I will not try to duplicate their efforts.  The NY Times article, linked above, cites various key components of the ACA, and how the House Plan compares.  Specific parts of the ACA are also cited, along with explanatory notes on those being: retained; modified; or eliminated. However,  I would like mention a few key points, which the GOP might have purposely preferred to be lost in the shuffle:

  1. What will happen to those previously uninsured Americans who, under ACA’s Extended Medicaid provision, will lose their health care coverage under the GOP Plan?  Why hide that fact?
  2. Why would reasonably wealthy people be receiving the health care tax credits, rather than just those who need the help in order for them to buy the insurance?  A tax-cut for the wealthy?
  3. When will the American People be advised that they will not be guaranteed to be covered for “pre-existing conditions” if they had not, in fact, already purchased the insurance  coverage?  Why not spell this vital detail out?  Besides, no health care insurer would provide new customers with coverage that include adverse medical conditions!
  4. Block Grants will not insure health care for residents, when given to the states as “flexible dollars”, because the funds may just be added to the state’s General Fund.  In 2009, Republican Governor Mark Sanford, of South Carolina, received Infrastructure money from the Federal government, intended to create “shovel-ready” jobs; but, he used it to pay-down the state debt.  And, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, also a Republican, just refused the much-needed money outright.

The Affordable Care Act certainly can be improved, as was Medicare when it was originally passed, and also the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).  The Republican Party has been extremely intent on obstructing President Barack Obama, since the evening of his first Inauguration, and Trump just wants to tear down anything that Obama had accomplished.

But, is that a reason to take Affordable Health Care away form the tens of millions of Americans who have come to rely upon it?  The following Op-Ed, from the NY Times, is co-authored by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a key participant in writing the ACA Legislation.)

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NO TRUMP BUMP IN THE STOCK MARKET

Following last Tuesday night’s State-of-the-Union Address,  Donald Trump just reiterated most  of the usual things—Jobs, “Obamacare”, Dodd-Frank, Immigration, Terrorism, Regulations, Trade and Tariffs, Education, etc—which he has been talking about throughout his very short political career.   But, after 40 days in office, he has accomplished absolutely nothing, except to infuriate a majority of Americans.

If any of the promises he has made were based on non-practical ideas, Trump would have had people working on his proposals and, perhaps, even submitted legislation to Congress on a few.  For instance, if President Obama’s Affordable Health Care were really so “awful”, we would have seen a draft of TrumpCare by now.  And, if Dodd-Frank, which reined-in the banks, after they took the nation to the edge of the Financial Abyss in 2008, was so terribly bad,  wouldn’t Donald have presented an alternative plan by now?

But so far, Donald Trump seems to be spending his time:  talking and tweeting; holding Command Performance meetings at the White House with people who seemingly would rather be anywhere else; and having his photo-ops boarding and leaving Air Force One, and always with Ivanka and the grandchildren in tow.  I wonder if Trump spends more time at Mar-a-Lago now, since taxpayers are paying for it, than he did before he took office?

Market professionals, who had been expecting a Market Boom; because, Donald Trump vowed to: put people back to work; re-build the crumbling infrastructure; cut the tax rates for everyone; de-regulate all industries; and put more discretionary income in consumers’ pockets.  But now, those investors are beginning to wonder how much of Donald Trump’s agenda is smoke, and how much is mirrors?  They are also wondering if he can even get any of his plans through a Republican-Majority Congress?

When people look at the Trump Regime nowadays, the question most frequently asked is:  Who’s in charge?  Donald Trump has demonstrated that he is certainly not a detail man, whether that means understanding the most important questions facing the nation today, or in directing his staff in carrying out those most important responsibilities.  Trump himself seems to be out more often than he is in, and most of his Cabinet and other key officers seem to be kept out of sight, and few deputies are on-board.  With forty days in, and nothing accomplished: that’s despicable!

The financial markets do not function well with uncertainty.  In fact, Steve Bannon seems to be the only key advisor in the office, and working.   And, that’s like having the fox guarding the chicken coop.  Reports from the West Wing suggest a spirit of: disorganization; disruption, incompetence and disbelief.  Even Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief-of-Staff, appears to be lost, both in-space and in-time.  Will he be ousted soon?

I believe that this sorry picture of our Nation’s Leadership—without experience, without leadership and without a clue—is why the stock market has paused, and backed-off from the blindly upward track that it had been on for the past couple of months.  There has been more, and more, talk of a stock market pull-back; however, now it might take a “correction”, a ten percent drop, in order to adequately pass some of the false Trump euphoria out off the market.

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I AGREE WITH DONALD TRUMP! LET’S GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS WIRE TAP THING!

OK, OK!  Don’t get excited.  But, I do believe that Donald Trump has made a great point!  A really good one, for ONCE!   And, let’s get this whole mess over with at one time!  If President Barack Obama were, indeed, tapping the phone lines at Trump Tower, he was surely trying to prove that the Trump Campaign, and then the Trump Transition Team, had been cozying-up to Vladimir Putin, and his Russian Goon Squad!

Director James Comey, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has suggested that the investigation be scrapped, since a President cannot direct wire taps.  He claims that electronic surveillance now requires the approval of the FISA Court, which was established by the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act of 1978.  That Act was passed, following the GOP’s Watergate Break-in of the Democratic National Committee.

Let’s expand the wire tape investigation; however, and appoint a Special Investigator, just like when the Republicans went after President Bill Clinton.  Also, as Judge Ken Starr did at that time, let’s expand the Investigation to determine both: what role President Obama had in those illegal wire taps, and also to eliminate this Russo-Trumpian Conspiracy Theory, which has been hanging around for just too damn long!  But, Donald, this was a great stroke of genius on your part: demanding a Special Investigator.

Oh, by the way, in order to get this whole investigation started-off, please forward a copy of the Report and the Intelligence that you have available.  They surely will be invaluable to determining Obama’s fate.  And that way, you can get back to doing the People’s Business–Making America Great Again!

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DON’T ASK ME TO ORGANIZE MY RECOMMENDED BOOK TAB!

I’m sure that some people would find the “Books that I recommend” list much easier to use if everything were organized into quite distinct categories, such as: Politics; History; Science—or, at least, Fiction and Non-Fiction.  But, that’s not how my mind works.  It’s just too cluttered!

Consider the most recent addition (and yesterday’s post): “Three Days in January”. President Eisenhower left the Presidency 57 years ago; but the real story, I believe, is a combination of:  World War II and Early Cold War History; reflections back to our Founding Fathers, and what their intentions were, with regard to the Constitution; contrasts of the Leadership styles between Ike and JFK, and the lack thereof with Trump. and, lastly, the peril which the Military Industrial Complex might present today, especially in the hands of a Fool.   Now tell me, how would you categorize that NY Times Best-Seller?

“Freeman” is a well-researched historical novel about Racism in post-Civil War rural Mississippi.  That book, not only depicts the reality of how both blacks and whites regarded one another, at the time; but, it also provides some insight as to Racism, as it is today in America today, and particularly, in the rural South.

“Moneybag” is nominally a book about baseball; but, it is really more about the use of statistics in player personnel management.  The Oakland A’s had one of the very smallest budgets in Major League Baseball; however, for a time, they compiled better Win-Loss records than all but a few of the league’s 30 teams.  The A’s realized that some of the more pedestrian statistics, such as: on-base average; total bases and “small ball”, won more games than often considerations: physical looks: home runs and fielding.  For the owners, that approach was more “cost-effective”.

Statistics has also played an increasingly important role in general decision-making theory.  Much of what is pointed-out, by Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball”, is based on the insight of the two Israeli Psychologists, who are his main subjects in “The Undoing Project”.  Those psychologists won the Nobel Prize for, get this, Economics, in 2003.  Their research has led to: the creation of the new field of Behavioral Economics; revolutionized Big-Data studies; advanced evidence-based medicine, and helped rationalize government regulation.

NOTE:  If anyone can devise an algorithm, which will organize my “Books That I Recommend” tab, please send me the “For Idiots” version, so that it can install itself.

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WE SHOULD BEWARE WHEN A FOOL CONTROLS OUR ALREADY OVER-BLOATED DEFENSE BUDGET! YES, DONALD J. TRUMP.

After I finished reading “Three Days in January”, by Brett Baier, I realized that it was a book of contrasts.  The Three Days refers to the period between President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s televised Farewell Address to the Nation, on January 17, 1961, and President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration, three days later.  “Ike”,  had been the oldest President, at the time of his Inauguration, while JFK was the youngest.

The book is a juxtaposition of an autobiography of “General” Eisenhower, which he prefers to be called, and his efforts to convey some wisdom, to his successor.  The General had both planned for the Allied Forces Invasion of Normandy (France) in 1945, as well as commanded them.  So Ike was both a strategist as well as an experienced President, by then.  But, the young President-Elect felt strongly about his own ways.  But, three months into his Term, once the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”, in Cuba, turned into a disaster, JFK sought the older man’s counsel on a number of occasions.

President Eisenhower often reflected on the writings and speeches of another old general, our First President, George Washington.  Both presidents felt strongly that military might should be used primarily as a tool with which to Wage Peace!  Following the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army had been disbanded, and a small national army was not subsequently established until 1787.  And both men warned about the consequences of building too large of a military, lest it begin to control the nation’s policies.

In fact, General Eisenhower warned about the burgeoning Military Industrial Complex, during his Farewell Address.  Defense corporations generate profits by selling weapons systems to he Pentagon.  The corporations hire retired generals and admirals to introduce their sales staffs to former colleagues at Defense, and the companies seal the deal by making campaign contributions to members of Congress, while promising jobs in heir districts.  Oftentimes, the sales process trumps any rational need for more and more weaponry!

The difference between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donald J. Trump would be light years apart.  Ike, the simple Kansan, led the multinational Allied Expeditionary Force against Nazi Germany, during World War II.  And then, he led the New World Order against the Soviet Union, during the newly developing Cold War.  Trump has spent his whole life in privilege, he inherited his father’s family owned business, has he has been a lifelong huckster,  The general knows the horror of war, and the huckster thinks of it only in a frivolous manner. and as someone else’s war to fight.

Authoritarian governments:  control their national media, through state ownership or tight-fisted censorship; nationalize corporations—especially the military hardware—or bribe them into following government agendas; and they shift significant vital resources to enhance the already over-bloated Military (Industrial) Complex.  Does this seem to be Donald Trump’s game plan?

If we already have significantly more fighters, missiles, etc, than China or Russia, why should we deplete vital domestic resources to fund what is no longer necessary? And, how might that larger-than-necessary Military be used, in the wrong hands—Donald Trump’s hands?  No one tells the People that the excess is merely superfluous!

NOTE:  The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British think tank, headquartered in London, founded in 1958, and is focused on International Affairs. It reported that the 2015 Defense Budgets, for the U. S., China and Russia were as follows: $597.5 billion; $145.8B and $65,6B, respectively. Also, 10 of the 12 remaining nations in the Top 15 are all U. S. Allies, leaving only Brazil ($24.3B) and India ($48.0B) out.

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HISTORICAL NOTE: When Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower left newly Inaugurated President John F. Kennedy, on that chilly January day in 1961, they left some papers with him.  The General had left paperwork for the new President to request Congress to re-call President Dwight D. Eisenhower back to active duty, as a General-of-the-Army (five stars).  That Bill was passed unanimously.  At the farm in Gettysburg, the red flag of a General immediately went up, and General Eisenhower was buried in his World War II uniform. This is why I generally referred to Ike as General, more so than President.

 

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TRUMP ACTS LIKE HE’S BACK ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL AGAIN!

Once the Campaign ended, Donald Trump lost the power to blame everything on the Incumbent.  “Obamacare is awful!” “With Dodd-Frank, no one can get a loan!” “We need to bring our Corporate Tax Rates down!”  Oh, let’s not forget his pledges to “Make America Great Again!” and of course, “I will ‘Drain the Swamp!’”

When he was running for office, whatever he said could be written in pencil: it was just campaign rhetoric!  But now, Donald Trump should realize that he has to assume responsibility.  Actions can, and will, have implications!  The Anti-Muslim Ban has been rebuked by the Judiciary.  The failed raid in Yemen caused one American death, and the lives of 28 Yemenis.  And his vow to “Repeal “Obamacare” has brought-out thousands of extremely agitated Americans who are quite happy with their existing Affordable Health Care.

A week ago, Trump actually did go on a full-blown rally, spewing hatred and lies. Then, perhaps Donald had some sort of epiphany, and realized that he’s supposed to be the leader of All Americans!  As yet, however, he still refuses to assume any responsibility whatsoever.  According to Trump:  President Obama is behind the thousands of angry Americans at Town Hall Meetings with Members of Congress, and he claims that the Generals are the reason for the failed raid in Yemen.  Donald Trump, ever the blame-shifter, claims: “They lost Ryan!”  Has Trump ever assumed responsibility…for anything? Ever?

Some columnists have suggested that his Address last night had a softer tone, if not a softer tune.  Favorability polls nudged slightly higher, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 303 points today, or 1.46%.  But, what did they hear from Trump’ s words?  That softer tone is merely what people wish to hear, given the dire pessimism that abounds!   Once the hype subsides, however, most Americans will realize that it just remains business as usual—with Trump!

Donald has a sort of “Tower of Babel” effect on people.  When he speaks, everyone—especially the believers—hears what they wish to hear!  He mentions tax cuts for the middle class; but, his Tax Reform will mostly go to the wealthy and corporations. Bring back high-paying industrial jobs; but, you’ll need the requisite job skills for today’s digital technology?

With Donald Trump, when he keeps talking about what he’s gonna do,  I can only think of three things.  How many times are we going to hear the same ignorant ideas? What will they cost us, the Taxpayers? And where is the Plan, and with factual details, on the Internet?

Donald, it’s time to get off the pot!

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