Tag Archives: Congress

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.

 

 

 

 

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139. In the USA, A Growing Autocracy

23 Jan

We are now in the early stages of a growing autocracy with Donald Trump as the aspiring dictator. An “autocracy” is a government in which one person (like a president) controls all of the major decisions. And typically, all dissenters are nullified in some way  and in the worst case murdered.

In our country, the USA, there are clear trends in this direction. Note particularly, the long government shut-down imposed by Trump in order to promote the southern border wall foolishly promised in his campagne. In the traditional way of tyrants he falsely created a border crisis and justified his use of gov employee hostages to coerce congressional action. He even admitted that he could see a shut-down for a year. And there is no sympathy for employees missing paychecks; “they will adjust.” (Trump’s concept of adjustment is getting millions from his father.) Democrats are reluctant to negotiate because on numerous occasions, Trump simply changed his mind after an agreement was reached. Here is a list of other indications of autocracy.

The press is an enemy of him and the people. He justifies Putin killing off dissenting reporters by saying that the US gov also kills people. Leaders that

He has expressed admiration for various tyrants. He is impressed by their ability to control the citizens. How can anyone accept this kind of thinking — but Republican leaders do??

He is the leader of a corrupt political party that follows him with slavish devotion. Early on, many Repubs were against him, but they ALL caved in as his popularity grew.

He undermines and diminishes our most important government institutions, such as the FBI, other intelligence agencies, and many executive agencies such as the State Department. He leads by whims, disregarding knowledgable experts.

His method of negotiation is usually by the use coercion. He bullies our allies and attempts to destroy NATO — likely to please his friend Putin.  On several occasions he has threatened to leave NATO.

Another common characteristic of a tyrant is rule by family. No one really likes a tyrant so nepotism provides safety for him. His daughter and particularly her husband have held important positions.

Testimony has indicated that he has demanded absolute loyalty from members of his administration, for example, FBI director Comey.

Objective evaluations indicate that Trump has told thousands of lies or major exaggerations. Tyrants are known for this and the re-writing history.

He has viciously attacked political adversaries, like Hillary Clinton. He leads the chorus in “lock-her-up.”

He is a ruthless autocrat in dealing with his staff, political rivals, and vulnerable people like those from Central America seeking asylum in our country. He will fire someone using a tweet, without any warning. His plan to stop immigration from the south, is to separate children from their parents. And his plan was so poorly implemented that hundreds still have not been re-united.

By major lowering of taxes for very rich people he gathered donor support.

Tyrants often have scapegoats that are blamed for all problems. For Trump it is Mexicans and Muslims.

      How can people not see this growing dictatorship?

All of the features of tyranny described above are indicators of a serious trend.  We must stop this man using any possible legal method. The further he gets in forming this autocracy, the more difficult it will be to end. The one hopeful aspect of this is that Trump is pretty old and likely will become more and more demented and unable to perform the tasks of his office.

 

 

 

 

 

135. “Shut-Down” Resolution

12 Jan

This government shut-down dilemma could be ended by some intelligent negotiation. The last meeting could have led to something more productive, but was cut short by fear and anger. Each party has vital needs. Trump is desperate to keep his voting-base and have a win to raise his spirits, in the face of frightening investigations.  “Chuck and Nancy” are really angry about a betrayal by Trump reversing his gov funding position; caused by radical right-wing dingbats (Rush and Ann). Dems  know an expensive full wall is very wasteful and the five or so billion could be spent in better ways.

A really good negotiator could quickly resolve this difference. Fear and anger emotions play a part in preventing a compromise, but I also think both sides are not very skilled in this type of situation. It might be good to call in a top professional negotiator to work with a representative from each side.  I would suggest Trump himself and Chuck Schumer alone with the chosen negotiator. The result would be a compromise that both parties could stomach.

Here is a possible resolution. Three or four billion would be allotted for Southern border security to include improved fencing/walls and implementing a variety of relevant electronic devices. The details could be left to border control experts. This or some similar variation could work for both sides. Dems could accept some improved fencing and Trump could say some wall would be built — shut-down over.  I had hoped for a clear win for the Dems, but this terrible destructive situation must be ended. We NEED A WIN FOR THE COUNTRY. 

Added thought: Democrats, being more idealistic, should lead the way and a  representative should send an email or other message to Ivanka Trump (or someone similar) proposing this method of shut-down resolution.  She could convince her father to work on this.

 

 

 

 

 

134. My View of 2020 Gov

12 Jan

Please see my previous blog for a list of the most popular Democrat presidential candidates. I rated Elizabeth Warren as my top choice for President. Since I wrote blog #133, I still rate her tops, but feel more positive about Kamala Harris. Warren has a unique combination of strength, inspirational leadership, intelligence, and social skills. I think she would be able to gather the best consultants and utilize their knowledge.      Kamala is also impressive in these factors and maybe her time will be 2024.  Here is a possible view of a 2020 gov:

President: Eliz Warren,   Vice Presidentt: Eric Swalwell.  I think a female-male combination would be a good balance.  Eric has great voter appeal and appears capable.

Kamala Harris should have a prominent position, perhaps Sec of State, or chief of staff.

Top cabinet positions could be filed with Beto, Joe Kennedy, and other capable young candidates, where they could be effective. In many cases, such positions should be filled by outstanding professors, gov agency officials, and other well-established experts in special fields. Any position where science is important, should be filled with appropriate scientists (or similar), not political allies.

I would expect that Elizabeth would have regular consultations with Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry.  Al Gore and Jay Inslee could help with climate-change issues. Imagine a president that consults with really good people. Under Obama, this was the rule.

Traditional government agencies should be immediately restored with the best personnel. Hopefully, there could be many judicial appointments with progressive orientations. I assume that Pres. Warren would rely heavily on experts in foreign policy, military matters, environmental factors, scientific and health applications/research, correcting income inequality, taxation, infrastructure improvement, education, and many other areas. It is exciting to anticipate this governmental revision.  Many other good configurations are possible, and I look forward to a Democrat victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

129. Trump vs Hillary Administration

24 Nov

I often think about how the USA would be different if Hillary Clinton had won the election. Here is my comparison of the real Trump and my speculation about Hillary, based on her extensive experiences: first lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and a successful candidacy for POTUS (won popular vote by 2.7m).

Trump: Because of a questionable history involving fraud (Trump Univ, etc), failure to divest (hotel revenue from foreign leaders), and election irregularities, and other failures, Trump could not hire top cabinet members and advisory personnel. His primary concern had to be loyalty, rather than ability.
Hillary: Her varied experiences and association with Pres. Obama would have enhanced her ability to hire top personnel. There would be no loyalty limitations. She could hire top university professors, top scientists, top officials, top economists, and experts in many areas. Look at Trumps turn-over rate.

Trump: A horrendous record of thousands of lies and extreme exaggerations.
Hillary: No need to lie. She would value a reputation for truth and reliability.

Trump: Efforts to fulfill ridiculous campagne promises, like a South border wall to prevent illegal immigration.
Hillary: Realistic campagne promises that could be worked on during her office.

Trump: Petty name calling and childish conflicts, often with very respectable people.
Hillary: She would treat good people with proper respect, even if they made critical remarks.

Trump: He tried to break up NATO and destroy our valuable relationships with traditional allies.
Hillary: She would have preserved NATO, the UN, and other international organizations. We would have maintained our powerful and helpful, long-term allies.

Trump: No respect from foreign leaders.
Hillary: Her past experience as Sec of State and many other relationships with leaders would have engendered great respect.

Trump: Refuses to respect and believe our intelligence agencies. This promotes distrust by many parties and bad international actions.
Hillary: Always respected the intelligence agencies.

Trump: Makes impulsive decisions, not considering all the implications that are relevant. Example is our trade policies that have resulted in job loss.
Hillary: Trained to make careful decisions based on real gov experience.

Trump: Does not believe human-influenced climate change, that all reputable scientists confirm.
Hillary: Would have promoted responsible actions to avoid climate disasters. She also would have encouraged many energy-saving plans.

Trump: Gave us conservative Supreme Court justices that could undue numerous valuable laws and regulations.
Hillary: Better justices in all courts.

Trump: Withdrew the USA from several important treaties. This makes the US appear unreliable and discourages agreements with other nations.
Hillary: Most existing treaties would be maintained.

Trump: Is influenced by countries such as Russia likely because of financial entanglements. He clearly favored actions by Putin. Also he supported Saudi leader that murdered a Wash-Post associate.
Hillary: No foreign influence. Decisions only made which are for the good of our country.

Trump: Developed a policy of reducing gov regulations. Some of the regulations provided pollution safeguards. People will die from toxins.
Hillary: Would keep all appropriate regulations and would emphasize health.

Trump: Promotes seriously bad immigration policies such as separation of parents and children. He does not care about human suffering. He also moved thousands of troops to the border for only political purposes.
Hillary: Would never make such policies.

Trump: Our various agencies have been gutted and the Secretaries often sabotage the agency traditional goals; example EPA.
Hillary: Just the opposite.

Trump: Promised to drain the swamp but hired extremely rich agency chiefs that have wasted money and misused various funds.
Hillary: Would have hired responsible leaders.

Trump: Inappropriate in dealing with many important situations. For example, he said that bad forest management was responsible for the fires and promoted a ridiculous plan of raking 33 million acres of forest.
Hillary: would have been appropriately concerned and would have provided financial assistance.

Trump: Was tricked by the North Korean leader. He is still working on bombs and inter-continental missiles. Kim raised his international position at our expense.
Hillary: Knew that Kim would not be reliable and would have anticipated his tricks.

Trump: Ignores experts at our gov agencies, like the State Dept. He does not coordinate well which his agency secretaries so that foreign leaders don’t know what to believe.
Hillary: Would have made great use out of experts throughout the gov.

Trump: Press is enemy of the people.
Hillary: Not enemy.

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I could add more, but I think I will stop here. You get the point. Hillary Clinton would have provided responsible and reliable leadership (no short-sighted tweet decisions), would have enhanced respect for the USA, and would have gathered around her the very top-most experts to guide her decisions.

110. 260-Days of Trump

11 Oct

What is the state of our union after 260 days of D. Trump (DT) in office?

The most serious situation that our nation faces, is the threat of a war with North Korea, and even worse, the path to a World War III. What Trump says in this respect, may be the usual scattered thinking. But a possibility is that he is truly focused on bringing the greatest possible pressure on KJU to back down and stop making nukes. That is why he was angry with Rex Tillerson because negotiation efforts would dilute the powerful pressure. But as usual, no one really knows exactly what DT was thinking.

Diagnosing Trump has become very popular. One of the latest contributions to this topic is a book by Bandy X. Lee et. al.: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. Dr. Brandy Lee (no relation to me) is a forensic psychiatrist and a member of the Yale faculty. She and her co-authors have distinguished careers. Needless to say, this book documents abnormalities and makes recommendations regarding his use of our nuclear arsenal. As I have stated in previous blogs, I think that DT has at least a moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and according to recent research, his confessed lack of sleep would be a major contributor to this condition. Sleep is the only time that waste products in the brain are washed out. When your brain is full of waste, Alzheimer’s progresses. This involves a gradual loss of memory and mental functioning.

An extremely destructive goal of Trump is to attack the legacy of Barack Obama. DT does not have any goals that benefit our country in general; his emphasis is only on winning and keeping foolish campaign promises. The first repeal and replacement of ObamaCare by the House was labeled by DT as “mean.” Later he wanted to pass a similar Senate bill at any cost, regardless of content. With no regard to the terrible effects, he has worked to destroy such Obama accomplishments as Iran Nuclear Deal, the Paris Climate Agreement, various trade agreements, DAKA immigration order, and various orders and legislation related to financial regulations. He also is reducing science research funds and changing science policies, which can affect our world leadership in this vital area. On the other hand, China is increasing its science budget and may take over world leadership in this area. Since much of manufacturing and related research is based on science, this would give China (and maybe other countries) a major financial advantage.

An ongoing and shabby situation is that Trump’s cabinet members are often at odds with the President. His staff has traveled all over the world trying to assure leaders that Trump will back them up and accept existing treaties. Failures in this area are dangerous and can cause some allies to join with Russia or China. Many feel that the major role of several cabinet members is to “contain” DT and keep him from making destructive statements and tweets.

A few Republican Congressmen are starting to directly attack DT’s  competence. Senator Bob Corker has been blunt is his criticism and Senate leader Mitch McConnell has supported Corker.

Polls have indicated a decreased voter support with respect to trust and accomplishments. His only clear accomplishment was not legislative, but was the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice (Neil Gorsuch) — a trivial thing since the Senate is GOP controlled.

Trump has alienated and belittled numerous Republican leaders that are necessary for passing legislation he backs. There are many more than the few mentioned above. He has also insulted a Gold Star family, numerous reporters, and black athletes that are trying to fight unfair treatment by police. On the other hand, his condemnation of Neo-Nazis, KKK, etc., was weak and only approached what is appropriate, when reading speeches prepared by others. His instinct to keep all supporters regardless of character supersedes any moral imperative.

Certainly, one could write a book about these first 259 days in office. I see this period as a steady decline of effectiveness and general support — and legitimate polls agree. Recently, I have been wondering whether the election of Trump represents a fate for the USA, like the fall of the Roman Empire. Avoiding this “fall” could be impeachment, but having Mike Pence as President could be worse, and the impeachment process is long and debilitating. What is already happening and may increase is to contrive legislation and a cabinet structure to contain and ignore Trump actions. But “containment” will not prevent the confusion and alienation caused by his Tweets and spontaneous utterances. Although disadvantageous in many ways, I do advocate impeachment.

Just in, as I am writing this blog! Relevant to USA downfall is more information on Russian ads that influenced the election. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all were used by Russians and all the CEO’s have attempted to suppress this info. Our survival is truly affected the influence of foreign powers. When will DT and Republicans awake and put our country on the right track?

105. Balancing Rich vs. Poor

8 Jul

Our country (USA) now has a certain established income (mostly from tax), and established expenditures. An increase or decrease in any source of income or expense will, as a general rule, either raise or lower the nation debt. To keep the budget constant and free of debt increase, you must keep all parts of it about the same, or set up see-saw rules: up in one area, down in another, and visa-versa. (These rules hold in general, but there can be minor complications.)

So if someone proposes more military spending then there will be less for other areas, for example, infrastructure spending. If we take away huge amounts of income by lowering taxes for the rich, then there could be less for Medicaid, education, environmental protection, or something else.

Trump and Republicans have always proposed decreasing our national income by lowering wealthy taxes. This by itself would increase the national debt. Further, Trump wants to greatly increase military spending. So now we have a lot of spending, with the consequence that other programs will suffer. Rich folks will buy more luxury items, and will be more effective in influencing Congress. And poor people will suffer as their special programs (such as Medicaid) will be diminished. There is a clear ethical problem: less luxury for millionaires (even billionaires) versus the deaths of people who lack health care.

For Trump, having a powerful military is very important because it is helpful in coercion, forcing other countries to go along with his plans. After all, his political and negotiating skills don’t seem to be very good, so he needs a very powerful military to get his way. Also, his political mistakes can be minimized by showing off his military might — similar to the displays of armaments by North Korea.

Another bonus for very rich people would be eliminating the inheritance tax. The cut-off for this tax is the inheritance of five-million dollars so it only applies to rich folk. The vast majority of U.S. citizens support the continuation of this tax.  I have noticed that when Trump mentions inheritance tax, it is very quickly and with a lowered voice.

If the Republicans can achieve the above goals, which make wealthy people even richer, then these are some of the areas that could be adversely affected:
education, health care, State Department functions, Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, Medicare, infrastructure improvement, scientific research, medical research, various tech programs, environmental protections, etc. Let’s ask Trump to do with the Military, what he has proposed in other situations — lets hold the extra spending and make it more efficient instead.