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145. How to Evaluate Democrat Candidates

13 Feb

With so many Democrats running for the presidency, it is important to develop a good system, which leads to your actual vote.

I want to start by saying that the details of specific proposals should not be a major factor in your choice. We must look at more general statements of goals and ignore the details because after the election, the hard work of developing detailed plans will begin. After the election all the specific plans will be over-ridden by various research findings, hearings, and committee work. (Please see my blog no. 133 for more info.)

Here are the factors that I think are most relevant, starting with most important.

First, the candidate should have a long history of promoting Democrat values, such as supporting the non-rich, fighting climate change, higher taxes for the very rich, support for allies and NATO, sincere concern for election integrity, and willing to govern with maximum possible transparency.

Second, the candidate must be physically healthy and strong. An ideal age is 50 to 65 to ensure these qualities, which should last for eight years. There could be an exception for people that are a little older than 65, but are in great health.

Third, the candidate should have traits that people like and will generate votes. A long history of winning elections should be considered. Any significant negative could play a role, but we must be careful to accurately judge the effects of a negative factor.

Fourth, although a Dem. President will have really good consultants and staff, to do a really great job the chosen President must be highly intelligent, adaptive, open to various opinions, and respectful of traditional gov workers.

I think that any candidate that scores highly on all four factors would do a great job for our country. I could mention one more often discussed idea, which is to select a person that is most likely to beat Trump, regardless of other factors. Well, there is some merit to this. Imagine how we will feel, if we chose a fantastic candidate, and then Trump wins another term !!  Unfortunately, we can only speculate about how to deal with this concern.

 

 

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144. In the World of Trump, Strong Denials are Definitive

10 Feb

Of all the bizarre things that Trump has said, the concept of strong denials seems most  ridiculous and pathetic. Imagine what our laws would be like if his principle was applied.

Trump says these people are innocent because of strong denials:

MBS, Saudi Arabia, “Strongly” denies ordering assassination of Wash.Post reporter.
Vladimir Putin,”Extremely strong” denial of interfering with our election.
Roy Moore, Alabama Senate candidate: “Totally denies” child molestation.
Rob Porter, Trump aide, “Strong” denial of domestic abuse.
Trump himself strongly denies all claims by 22 women of his sexual misconduct.

Some Republicans may be considering legislation in which a “strong denial” will erase all charges against an alleged criminal. Trump has supported this, but says it’s really only for his friends. As for Democrats, Repubs say that a strong denial is considered the same as a confession of guilt.  (This paragraph is somewhat speculative.)

Trump says to his friends, for any type of charge, you should strongly deny everything. Never admit to anything. Deny, Deny, Deny.

(For a good further discussion of this topic, see Paul Walderman of Washington Post, Oct.15, 2018.)

While still laughing, I have to include the just published N.Y. Post story with headline: “Bezos Exposes Pecker”  (David Pecker, of course, runs the National Enquirer; Bezos owns Amazon.)

 

143. Trump: Why Investigate Me?

8 Feb

Trump and his staff have been extensively investigated by government agencies.
He asks why Democrat leaders are not under similar investigation? First of all, Dems. like Hillary C. HAVE suffered numerous (phony) Republican investigations. But the main point is that Trump and staff have done many suspicious things, while the Democrats have not. In my previous blogs (no.136 and others) I have detailed many questionable activities. Here is a brief (partial) list of acts that have raised suspicions.

There is unusual secrecy with respect to the public and he even keeps secrets from his closest staff. Meetings with leaders of Russia, North Korea and other countries have been totally secret. Trump does not understand that he was elected President of a Democracy and not elected to be King. He is supposed to serve the people and the people must be able to monitor (with a few limits) his actions.

Trump has not released any recent tax returns. Every president before him has done this.

Trump has favored Russia and Putin in many ways. He has discouraged Russian sanctions and delayed implementing some. Trump has stated many times how he wants to develop a close relationship with Russia — even though Russians kill reporters and attack foreign countries, like Ukraine.

He rejects information from our intelligence agencies and often favors Putin’s version of events.

Numerous Trump associates have had excessive interactions with Russians. Some have been indicted, some pleaded guilty, and some were convicted.

On TV, Trump asked Russians to reveal info on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump has attacked NATO and our strongest allies. This is exactly what Putin has wanted, which is to weaken his adversaries.

Trump has often rejected the idea that Putin interfered with our elections, even though all of our intelligence agencies agree on this and assert that helping Trump was the aim. Putin himself, said that he favored Trump.

There is some evidence that Russians have provided financial benefits to Trump and his family. For example, reporters have found that condos were sold at a price much higher than market.

Trump has failed to fully separate himself (divest) from his many businesses.

In many situations Trump has defended actions of foreign countries, ignoring negative info from our intelligence agencies.

Last but not least, Trump has told thousands of lies in recent years. That in itself is highly suspicious. Even worse are the many lies by him and staff about meetings with Russians. Meetings might be OK, but frequent lying about them is very suspicious.

142. Trump Nullification

31 Jan

All Democrats, many Republicans, and most citizens would like to terminate Trump‘s Presidency. Most established ways are too dificult or will take too long. Here are the possibilities.

Impeachment:  The House develops a set of articles and the Senate votes on conviction. This is not likely right now, since Repubs control the Senate.

25th Amendment.  The Vice President and cabinet members can determine that the President is unfit to serve, usually because of a physical problem. The 25th Amendment to the Constitution is applicable. This is also unlikely to implement because the sycophants in these positions are blind loyalists.

Hope for Resignation.  This is possible, but not likely given Trump’s goals.

Nullification This is possible and already somewhat in effect. Trump would stay in office, but Congress and his staff would create barriers so that he would lose most of his control. He could still do ceremonial and minor actions, but all major decisions would be made by others. An example is the bi-partisan committee that is dealing with southern border security. The committee is made up of Repub and Dem Congressmen. Trump is not invited to this process. He could veto any resulting legislation, but hopefully an override could provide passage. Trump’s hostage (or leverage) approach using a gov shut-down as a threat would not be possible under this nullification process. The hostage method of Trump is un-American and un-Constitutional.

In all other areas Congress or possibly other agencies like the CIA, DOJ, Military, etc. could in various ways, nullify Trump’s irresponsible “tweety” decisions. In the past there has been nullification, like removing papers from his desk, and simply delaying orders, which are eventually forgotten. What is also happening, is that leaders like USA Sec. of State have assured foreign leaders of USA alliance.

Trump’s lies and mistakes are increasing so that the nullification will be more and more necessary. At the same time, the Dems. must find the best possible candidate to defeat Trump in the next election.

 

141. Recent Events Suggest Government Improvements

27 Jan

The recent government shut-down, the election of Donald Trump, and changes in the Republican party, all suggest the need for gov reorganization and  revision. Below is a discussion of troubling events and possible solutions. The unfortunate thing is that fair and reasonable system changes maybe nearly impossible under the current political climate (but we must still try).

In the past, our USA government has worked so well that many of us have ignored it. This general lack of concern, which is entirely understandable, has led to serious damage to our country. The emergence of a president totally unsuited for office is one result. Another result (maybe more serious) is the gradual shift in the Republican party from ordinary limited greed and self-serving interests — to those factors in the extreme. More responsible Republicans have gradually left the party and those remaining, cowardly and foolishly devote themselves to Trump. This is not currently the party of men like John McCain, who was highly respected by almost everyone.

Looking back on where we went wrong, here are some observations. Our gov system needs some fundamental changes. The executive branch has too much power and we might do better with a small committee instead of a president. Perhaps a committee of five persons should make executive decisions. The chairman of that committee could assume some special (presidential) functions, but all major decisions would be based on a group vote. And the “executive committee” could change the chairman at any time. The five men of the executive committee would be elected by all  USA citizens (independent of state).

We need a special non-political group to control elections. Our elections are extremely important and must be protected from foreign and all other illicit influence. All USA elections must also be reliable, efficient, inclusive for all citizens, and must provide good methods for any needed recounts.  Currently, in the USA there are hundreds of different systems for voting, which vary from good to dangerously vulnerable. Voting machines should be standardized and carefully selected and monitored.

Understanding Trump is important for dealing with his chaos. Commentators emphasize and search for strategies, because that is what they know. But it must be recognized that he does have serious mental problems (like ‎narcissism) and probably moderate Alzheimer’s syndrome. I think he has some strategies, but also memory loss and confusion. Trump’s doctor Ronny Jackson reported that he only gets four to five hours of sleep per night. This can account for much of the “demented” action and can promote Alzheimer’s disease (according to recent research). He could be called a sociopath and has no empathy for struggling people. I think more philosophical orientations have come from close associates like Bannon, Stone, and Manafort. But there also are influences by others like family members, and extremists like Rush Limbaugh. He is like a billiard ball bouncing off various “advisors” and also generating his own whims and egocentric thoughts. An “executive committee” (see above) could prevent this kind of problem.

Like the presidency, there is too much power given to individual leaders of the Senate and House. In terms of the bringing bills to the floor, there should at least be an override for the judgment of a leader.

In the Senate, some western states with a small population have equal representation with California and New York with huge numbers of citizens. Having two legislative bodies definitely leads to gridlock. Why not have one very  fairly composed legislature make all decisions. And as a safeguard, say 54% yes votes would be required. By careful structuring the one-body could represent all concepts of fairness (with very little gridlock).

Our whole governmental system could be improved based upon almost 250 years of experience. The original US Constitution was a wonderful thing. But, it is foolish to think that rules developed that long ago are still perfectly applicable to today, with our:  Internet, jet airplane travel, TV, complex trading systems, international monetary systems, mult-national stock markets, computer viruses and hacking,  many cultural changes, drug epidemics, nuclear bombs, Facebook, climate-change dangers, multi-national alliances, etc., etc. The body of case-law helps, but only in certain areas. One of the impediments for this kind of change is that current leaders were elected with this outdated system and so are not interested in change. In a recent TED talk, Katharine Hayhoe said that the best thing the people can do about remedying climate-change is to keep talking about it. It may not be the only good solution to all our governmental problems, but definitely could help. Better education will help. Ultimately, if a large majority of people want something, there is a good chance that legislators will take note.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

140. Shut-Down Reveals Motives

25 Jan

The government shut-down, resulting from failure to pass a spending bill, is a national tragedy.  Many government workers and gov projects are severely affected by the lack of wages paid and other various non-funding. I sometimes suspect that this serious problem is Trump’s revenge for the investigations.  An interesting result of this conflict is that the negotiations and numerous related comments have revealed hidden motives and strategies. (Maybe not so hidden, for many analysts.)

I am sure that many Trump supporters are living paycheck-to-paycheck. These devotees must be shocked by the lack of concern about gov shut-down employee, that have unpaid wages.  While most employees will eventually be reimbursed, regular contractors may not receive anything. Here are some comments. Trump says that these people will “adjust,” they can always find a way. Really? His daughter-in-law Lara says that they will only feel “a little pain.” Sec. of Commerce Wilber Ross says they can get a loan. The Trump family and administration is mostly composed of hugely rich people. Does it sound like they have any appreciation for the results of lost wages ??

When Trump terminated the DACA law, he said that Congress can restore it. This sounded puzzling to me. Now I understand. DACA was terminated so that it could be used for future leverage  negotiations, and it just has been. Obviously, Trump does not care about these people (mostly good tax-paying people) at all, they are just pawns in his schemes. For Trump, everyone is a pawn except for his super-rich buddies, family, and a few of associates.

The way that Congressmen vote on various “shut-down” bills tells you a lot about their character.

Nancy Pelosi has been very adamant about not supporting any money at all for the wall. I have thought about this a lot and today I think I better understand her strategy. My initial thought, and what others have said, is that it like NOT negotiating with terrorists, because more people will get kidnaped if it is rewarded. So don’t give in to Trump to avoid future leverages. But there may be an additional factor. Instead of moving on impeachment, which is chancy, she wants to stop Trump by giving him a major defeat. Losing the shut-down battle may inhibit him from doing other worse things. Continuing the shut-down is harmful, but may less so that an unchecked Trump.

The USA, our lovely homeland, is caught up in traps that have possible remedies, but the remedies will only be achieved with a great concerted effort. Some damage, like radical conservative judges at every level. will be relatively permanent. The current administration has reversed climate-change efforts. Lack of worldwide climate efforts is already causing hurricane and flooding catastrophes, and will ultimately cause the death of many more people. My last word is to thank the many politicians and citizens that have good will and are working on our many problems.

 

 

 

 

138. Did Trump Order Cohan to Lie?

22 Jan

The question is: Did Pres. Trump order his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie about a deal to build a Trump Hotel in Moscow, in his congressional testimony?  An excellent article in the Washington Post, January 18,  by Devlin Barrett et. al. discusses the Buzzfeed News report on this matter. Buzzfeed stated that the Trump order existed and that Mueller had certain evidence regarding this.

Here is the quote by Peter Carr who is a member of Special Counselor Mueller’s team:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate”

This statement of Mueller’s office has been misinterpreted by many commentators. Mueller did not state the basic story of Trump’s order to Cohen is false, he merely said that some “specific statements … are not accurate.”  He could have stated that the whole story was false, but he did not. You can see that the words by Peter Carr were chosen carefully.

    MUELLER REPORT could be altered by Trump’s  AG

The best interpretation of what Robert Mueller is saying is: wait for my authoritative report before drawing final conclusions. He is trying to keep down a lot of more speculative assertions, so that resulting actions can really be justified. But also consider that Congress (let alone the citizens) may never see the true Mueller report because it could be modified or summarized by the AG or even Trump himself.

The problem in waiting of course, is that the Presidential carnage will continue and many of the effects will be long-lasting. My thought is that articles of impeachment should be developed and during this process more definitive info will appear. Even if impeachment is not followed by Senate conviction, it still establishes an objection to policies of the current administration. The world needs to see that most Americans do not support recent USA governmental actions.

Let’s look at it this way. If we do impeach now and it later turns out that some of the articles are not accurate, will we be making a terrible mistake? NO NO, most Americans believe that our President needs to go. For example: Trump has stated that the government “shut-down could last for years.”