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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Republican Commitment

At this moment, the Republicans are committed to maximizing the wealth of the wealthiest few while committing hardship, inadequate health care, and death to millions. The good news is that they are not very competent at carrying forth their misdeeds.

President Trump continues declaring self-adulations and partying on with his family while lambasting CNN as if it matters.

Just wait until they get to tax reform. By that time, the wealthiest might be so embarrassed that Republicans will want to make some "charitable donations" to the GOP because that is the last remaining deduction.
"Unresolved issues, very little time for Senate GOP 
The Senate will return to Washington next month facing a breakneck schedule with a slew of unresolved issues, including healthcare, defense, and the budget. 
Republicans kicked a vote on repealing and replacing ObamaCare until after the July 4 recess, hoping to buy themselves more time to overcome the impasse between moderates and conservatives. 
But the move adds another piece of legislation to what was already expected to be a jam-packed laundry list and a tight floor schedule.

I don't know what it means?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GOP Started with Greed and Evil

The case is open and shut on the Republican Party. Controlled by wealthy persons and corporatists, it leverages ignorant and bigoted Americans to go along with their deconstructive intentions. Their aim is to maximize wealth for a few and to condemn the Middle Class and Poor to a lower class without empowerment and essential social services.

Maybe enough voters will feel the pain and see the light before it is too late.

"BEHIND THE SCENES: THE GOP'S HEALTH CARE FLOP - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to pull the GOP's Obamacare repeal on Tuesday shocked even his top lieutenants, who knew the support wasn't there but expected the Kentucky Republican to drive ahead with a vote this week as promised. Instead, McConnell surprised members of his caucus from the top down when he announced at their Tuesday lunch that he was pulling the bill. The episode was a stunning turn of events considering McConnell in March, when the House was going through its own Obamacare stumbles, boasted that the Senate could pass a repeal bill in a week." 
Politico email

Sorry, the USA is now a closed club, Mar-a-lago ala Trump.

No healthcare for you.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Timeout, Time-in

This independent journalist and author has called a timeout to paint and write poetry. I want to let the prosecutors and facts catch up with the lead story, that being the impeachment of Donald Trump and his entire government. Not holding my breath, mind you, because the American Political System just might have reached a state of entropy. Entropy in this instance refers to the doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.


A question to my fellow citizens, do you believe that all Americans should have affordable healthcare? Yes or No.

Do you believe that your government has a role to play in providing health care to all citizens? Yes or No.

In the American Political System aka, our way of life, our government is a public and private partnership when it comes to addressing shared needs. While some citizens can pay for medical services from their income, many or most need some form of assistance. Therein, there is a need for insurance that is a way for people to pool their resources to hedge in the event of catastrophic necessity. The role of insuring citizens can be a public, private, or combination system.

The trouble with today's debate is that Republicans are failing to address how to ensure all Americans with equal quality medical services based on their means. It is also problematic that Republicans shield wealthy Americans from contributing to the need based on their excess means.

It is about wealth redistribution. Republicans don't want to share when there is a necessity to do so.


"GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Says ‘No Way’ Health Care Vote Should Occur This Week
“We don’t have the courage in Washington, the honesty, to talk about this issue with real facts.” 
By Sam Levine

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) continued criticizing the health care bill crafted by his own party and said Sunday there shouldn’t be a floor vote on the legislation this week, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is seeking. 
Johnson, elected in 2010 running against Obamacare, also said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” program that the debate on revising health care has not been based on facts. His concerns about the Senate bill ― written in secret and unveiled Thursday ― included that it could cause a rise in insurance premiums.  
“We don’t have the courage in Washington, the honesty, to talk about this issue with real facts,” he said. “There’s no way we should be voting on [the bill] this next week, no way,” 
Asked whether he would work to delay a vote, Johnson said, “I have a hard time believing Wisconsin constituents or even myself will have enough time to properly evaluate this for me to vote for motion to proceed.”
Huffington Post 

That's the spirit.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sustainable Economics is the Way Ahead

Dr. James Rodger and I have a new book at the publisher now, and the subject is sustainable economics. We are not releasing the title just yet as our editor has to work us over first if you know what I mean?

For our fellow citizens to advance beyond the present government calamity that is slowly revealing before us, we must take action.

1. The first action is to improve how we select and elect our representatives in government. We published How to Select an American President (c) 2017 Archway Publishing that has lessons about how to choose better candidates for all elected offices. I followed up with articles about How to Select Members of Congress, for the House and Senate. The references are all here for you to explore.

2. A second action is to read the platforms of both political parties. There are many problems with political platforms, yet it is imperative that you know what they say (read both). I have helped citizens by writing about them in the past, and perhaps I will devote an entire book to that subject in the future as it is on my to-do list.

3. The third is to understand that the American Political System is under assault by external threats, and from internal threats. The external threats include active intrusion by Russian and Chinese hackers as well as from terrorists. The foreign entities have crossed the line and may have successfully compromised the Republican Party including Donald Trump and members of the US Congress. As the facts and truth unfold, Americans are implored to clean up their political parties and demand improvement in how they operate.

4. The fourth and most important subject is sustainable economics. The reasons include these as described. The present economic course for America is unsustainable. Capitalism is unsustainable as it is. A new economic model must be developed to ensure economic security. Without it, the nation will become politically and economically unviable.

Exacerbated by political corruption and extreme conflicts of interest exemplified by the Trump regime and Congress, America teeters on the brink of political and economic upheaval.

The good news if American citizen-voters take action, the pursuit of sustainable economics can catalyze the nation into a positive direction with the outcome being a good life for all in the absence of poverty. That is the required outcome that the present politicians don't get.

I believe in you.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Wealth Redistribution

It's going the wrong way.

I hope that citizens are watching the operation that is inflicting financial damage on them along with ruining their health while rewarding the robber barons. It is the Republican way, and that is not the American way. If you don't get a grip on this immediately, the nation will not only decline but will erupt into a violent reaction.

Wealthy politicians can only push people so far before they lose their patience and tempers.

"After Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, released a draft of the Senate health-care bill, on Thursday morning, the media finally began focussing on the essence of what Republicans are proposing: an enormous redistribution of wealth into the pockets of the already-wealthy. The bill would modify the health-insurance subsidies introduced under the Affordable Care Act and dramatically cut Medicaid, all to deliver a big tax cut to the nation’s richest households. But there’s another aspect of the legislation that has received less attention, and that’s the way it staggers its various provisions and claims billions of dollars in savings that are far from guaranteed."
The New Yorker 

What do you want from government?

What does your district need?

Selecting a Member of the US House of Representatives is your opportunity to choose the individual who is most qualified and who understands your needs and those of the District in which you live. That is not simple.

Is your district aka community performing well?

Is it a bastion of job opportunities?

Is it progressing sufficiently with good prospects for the future?

Is it addressing the needs of people like you?

Sending a representative to Washington is intended to help shape policies and directions that help you at home. How well are they doing that now?

"Dems push leaders to talk less about Russia 
By Mike Lillis 
Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. 
Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare." 
The Hill

Friday, June 23, 2017

Confrontation Time

Peace-loving people haven't much appetite for confrontation. What we citizens face today is a hostile government that appears to have gained power by cheating the American political system. What are the charges and the evidence?

First, the Republican-controlled Congress allowed the conditions to exist in which Political Action Committees, wealthy persons, and lobbyists can amass large amounts of money to advance their candidates under the guise of free speech. The Court had no choice except to uphold Citizens United in representing that initiative because Congress had no desire to change the rule to ensure equal representation under the law. That is cheating the system and depriving citizens of their rights.

Second, the Donald Trump campaign employed lying as a strategy. It appears that they benefited from Russian interference and propaganda to help Trump. From Trump's own statements, he encouraged the Russians. While we don't yet know what the Special Prosecutor and investigators have discovered, we do know that the National Security Agency and FBI have verified Russian interference. We also know that Donald Trump has consistently refuted or undermined the finding which creates the appearance of aiding and abetting the Russians.

Third, Donald Trump has apparent conflicts of interest with his businesses that are unresolved and are violations of the Emolument Clause of the  Constitution. His family members, sons, daughter, and son-in-law have unresolved conflicts of interest and possibly more grave breaches as they are under investigation.

The Misprision of Fraud breach by Trump and Pence regarding Michael Flynn is an ongoing investigation with plenty of circumstantial evidence that should be of much concern to citizens.

Compounding these terrible circumstances is a Republican Party that is so conflicted in its pursuit of power that they are willing to sacrifice democracy to maintain it. The leadership is participants in obstruction of justice, and some may have colluded with the Trump campaign as it will likely be shown that it committed treasonous acts.

To go along with this circumstance is capitulation the Americans cannot afford. Witness today that The Trump White House continues to try to impede freedom of the press. Impairing the press must not be tolerated for an instant.

Media Matters Image

Trump did something right today

No, he didn't invent the law. It was ready for action before he arrived. Congress got around to passing the legislation and presenting it for his signature.

It is the new law that empowers department executives (in the Veterans Administration) with more freedom to assess employee performance and to fire them with cause. It makes it easier than the civil service procedures. The story from the Washington Post has an edge to it.

With the greater freedom to fire, there is also improved protections for Whistleblowers.

One might wonder, if this is such a good idea, why doesn't it apply to all departments. It just might if it works at the VA.

What President Trump did well today was to praise veterans and to promote significant improvements from a department that has been inexplicably abusive to its clients.

What President Trump might want to think about, along with his Congressional colleagues, is that this same compassion is deserving of every American in need of government services, including affordable healthcare.

Today, was good practice for a President who needs to perform much better.

"Veterans have been on the vanguard protecting the nation — waging war and securing the peace. 
Now those who assist them are on the forefront, serving as guinea pigs testing major changes in civil-service procedures that protect federal employees and taxpayers. 
Coupled with earlier revisions in the Defense Department layoff process, the new legislation portends significant and across-the-board civil service changes for the federal workforce. 
The latest transformations are in the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which President Trump will sign soon, perhaps this week."

Good job.

Trump Throws More Rocks

There is a bully in the play yard, and he throws rocks. He's a spoiled brat who has yet to meet his judgment. Donald Trump has disdain for the rule of law and justice. The evidence is rooted in his history as is his behavioral disorder.

Today's anecdote is he doesn't like the Special Prosecutor. As he did on more than one occasion with criticisms of judges and the court, he is now lashing and gnashing at Robert Mueller.

Guess what? That will come back to bite you.

"Trump questions Mueller's objectivity 
President Trump in a new interview with Fox from the White House questions special counsel Robert Mueller’s objectivity, saying he is “very, very good friends” with fired FBI Director James Comey." 
The Hill 

On the attack.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cruelty from the Republican Congress

Witness cruelty.

I read the 146-page health care legislation that the Republicans scribbled behind closed doors with the intention of ramming it through just like Obama's Democratic Congress did with the Affordable Care Act. The result was defective legislation.

There is an enormous difference between the Republican-controlled Congress and Democratically-controlled Congress.

Democrats try to help as many people as they can.

Republicans are content with keeping the wealthy 1% happy while inflicting harm on everyone else.

Before your eyes, witness the horror. You can tell Republicans to knock it off, but they won't. They are too conflicted. They are not representing the majority of the people.

Boot them out at the next opportunity. In the meantime, look out for the poor and minorities because this government is a brutal regime.

"Thursday June 22, 2017

Police Forcibly Remove DisableHealth Care Bill Protesters Outside Mitch McConnell's Office

Capitol Police forcibly removed protesters gathered outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on Thursday, with at least one photo showing drops of blood on the hallway floor." 
Huffington Post

Trump Foolery

There is a big problem with President Trump, and that is he apparently thinks that his job is a joke. He acts like it, and people respond in disbelief because he lies and exaggerates. His fellow Republicans like to call it hyperbole. 

The act of lying as a Federal Official is a violation of the law. Donald Trump uses lying and deceit as tactics to distract from his mounting wrong-doing.

Emolument Clause violations, Misprision of Fraud, possible misdeeds in business and during the campaign that might be tantamount to treasonous acts are all under a cloud of investigations.

"Trump: I didn’t record Comey conversations 
President Trump on Thursday said he did not record his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, addressing a controversy he first stoked with a suggestive tweet.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea … whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets." 
The Hill

Acting like a fool.
AP Image


Republicans held onto two seats, one in Georgia and the other South Carolina. Neither of the seats is in Districts where Democrats had much chance of winning. They lost, but it is silly to say that this is a mandate for Trump or the Republican agenda outside of those districts. Such extrapolation is unfounded.

What is a fact, is that Democrats failed to post excellently qualified candidates.

"Special election sweep boosts Trump agenda 
The Republican sweep of four contested House special elections this year has handed President Trump and his party a much-needed boost to move a healthcare bill and perhaps more of their stalled legislative agenda. 
GOP officials in Washington breathed a sigh of relief after their candidate, Karen Handel, fended off Democrat Jon Ossoff in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday night — a race that Democrats had poured tens of millions of dollars into and billed as a referendum on the unpopular president and his policies." 
The Hill
Money can't buy Republican voters. They already have enough.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hard lesson for Democrats

Losing the opportunity to replace Congressional Republicans is a hard lesson. I am not confident that the Democratic Party understands why they lost in Georgia and South Carolina.

My book, How to Select an American President by James A. George and James A. Rodger (c) 2107 Archway Publishing, establishes a baseline for evaluating candidate resumes that start with the President and extends to members of Congress. The theory is that to win elected office should be based on advancing the most qualified candidates.

Improving government requires improving the quality of candidates. In this blog, I have shared specific articles to guide consideration of evaluating Members of Congress and the Senate, both as candidates and as incumbents.

To be certain, some communities in America are ardently conservative Republican in their orientation. Changing that will require much convincing. It begins by producing candidates with superior credentials.

Consider Democrat Jon Ossoff versus Republican Karen Handel.

Jon Ossoff
Personal details
Born    Thomas Jonathan Ossoff
February 16, 1987 (age 30)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political party    Democratic
Education    Georgetown University (BS)
London School of Economics

Candidate Ossoff has no experience. He appears as a professional politician with a degree in economics. He lacks a law degree. He should not have been certified as a Democratic candidate for Congress.

What about Karen Handel?

"Karen Christine Handel (née Walker; born April 18, 1962) is an American businesswoman, politician, and Member-elect of the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 6th congressional district. She is the first Republican woman to be elected to Congress from Georgia. 
Handel previously served as the 26th Secretary of State of Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, Handel worked in business before entering politics. First elected in 2003, she chaired the Fulton County Board of Commissioners until 2006, and then was elected and served as Georgia's Secretary of State from 2007 to 2010."
Her resume is woefully inadequate. Had the Democrats chosen a more qualified and experienced candidate, they might have defeated her. Georgia and America are stuck with another poor choice.

Karen Handel
Member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 6th district
26th Secretary of State of Georgia
In office
January 13, 2007 – January 8, 2010
Personal details
Born    Karen Christine Walker
April 18, 1962 (age 55)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party    Republican
Spouse(s)    Steve Handel

It is a hard lesson for Democrats and a missed opportunity for Georgians to improve their government.

The winner is a loser.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Have you noticed how much "news" is about speculating and anticipating? Speculation is about theorizing in the absence of firm evidence. Anticipation might be a step beyond because it involves predicting and expectancy.

Here is speculating that Donald Trump has a deep-seeded history with Russians that might have to do with Russians having bailed him out financially when his empire was collapsing. In the process, they learned much about Trump, some of which can be used to blackmail him. What evidence have you?

The suspicious threads lie in the IRS Tax filings and from investigations that stem from them. The evidence is from statements made by his sons. It is in the relationships that his son-in-law has with the Russians and the relationships between Kushner and Trump.

There is another relationship, that of Michael Flynn with the Russians and Saudis and his relationship with Trump.

There is the relationship between Paul Manafort and Trump and a myriad of other persons associated with the campaign.

Therefore, the characterization of speculation moves to anticipation due to the mounting circumstantial evidence that remains below the radar.

As a trained analyst, my prediction is that the smoldering evidence will erupt into a firestorm of indictments. The question is when?

Coming unglued 

All about the oil

If you are following the details about the Trump administration investigations, observe that part of the conflicts of interest is about oil. Michael Flynn was allegedly engaged in a $100 billion oil deal involving the Russians and Saudi Arabia, something that he omitted from his security clearance application. Do you believe that Donald Trump had nothing to do with that?

Jarred Kushner, the President's son-in-law, and go-to advisor had meetings with a Russian banker with close ties to Putin. The Trump boys have engaged in business deals with Russians in the past. In fact, at one point in the Donald Trump history, there are questions about the Russians might have bailed him out of financial ruin. That may prove to be a dark case of conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, Trump's environmental policy is a reversal from Obama's and is an assault on the environment. It is influenced by the Koch Brother's among other old fossil doners.

News today is about the war for oil in Syria.

"In Syria, the World’s War … and a Mad Scramble 
Russia. The United States. Iran. Nations of the Middle East. The Syrian government. And a ragtag bunch of rebel groups. Together they have made Syria a theater for world power politics. On Monday, tensions between the U.S. and Russia escalated. The Russian government warned that its forces would target U.S. warplanes flying in a conflict zone of Syria after an American fighter shot down a jet belonging to Syria’s government, Russia’s ally. Iran added to the volatility when it launched its first missile strikes on Syria on Sunday. One expert said it was part of the scramble for Syria’s eastern provinces, which hold much of the country’s oil and gas wealth." 
Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times

Getty Image

Absurdity Trumps Governance

Welcome, to the hurt locker. How are citizens expected to feel safe and secure in these crazy times when their democracy is under assault by the man in The White House and by Congressional Leaders? There are two threads to the dysfunctional government and personal catastrophe.

The craziness begins with the President and his lawyer saying two different stories and one or both are lying. This matters because the President and members of his campaign team and of his executive branch are under investigation for conflicts of interest and lying, among other things.

Second, Republicans in Congress are participating in obstruction of justice while they are intent on crafting social legislation that harms tens of millions of Americans in need of affordable healthcare. This Congress is attacking the safety net and livelihood on which retired Americans depend.

Our nation is undermined by the sitting government and that is not a joke or exaggeration.

"A frantic scramble before possible healthcare vote next week
By Alexander Bolton 
A frantic scramble to influence the Senate’s healthcare legislation intensified on Monday, with House conservatives pressuring their allies in the Senate and Democrats mounting a furious public relations blitz to kill the bill." 
The Hill
Why should the process of engineering legislation be characterized as a frantic scramble? Why is it being accomplished in a back room with Republicans and in the absence of bipartisanship? These things are unAmerican.

All show, no go.


Monday, June 19, 2017

The UnAmerican Trump House

The Trumped up government is at it again. The White House is so uncertain and uneasy that Donald Trump wants to have off-air press briefings. While Trump enjoys tweeting with abandon, he won't let his press representatives lips move in public.

This internal censorship is further evidence that Trump is off his rocker. He is his worst enemy while he presides as President over all of us, except the Special Prosecutor who is intent on getting to the bottom of his dodgy behavior.

"White House reporters fume over off-camera briefings 
The White House press corps vented frustration Monday with press secretary Sean Spicer for conducting off-camera briefings in place of the usual publicly broadcast briefings. 
Spicer conducted an off-camera briefing with reporters on Monday in which the press was told it could not film or broadcast audio of the proceedings. Spicer conducted the last on-camera briefing last Monday. 
“The White House press secretary is getting to a point where he’s just kind of useless,” CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta said after the briefing. “If they’re getting to this point where he’s not going to answer questions or go on camera or have audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?” 
The Hill

Image from SLG Publishing

Sunday, June 18, 2017

More Lawyers, More Lies

To be clear and sure, President Donald Trump has created sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant multiple investigations. Three congressional committees are investigating aspects of Russian interference in the American election process. The threads emanating from those investigations have shaken out members of the Trump campaign to be part of the review resulting from their direct contact with Russians in various forms during and after the campaign.

Because Trump fired multiple members of the Department of Justice, including former Deputy Attorney Yates and FBI Director Comey, with his having stated that the Russian investigation was a hoax, among other things, he is likely the subject of investigation for obstruction of justice.

Trump hired multiple lawyers, and none have been able to curtail his errant and inappropriate tweeting that further seeds the need for an investigation into his intentions and behavior.

The latest news today is from his attorney Jay Sekulow. He denies that the President is under investigation. How does he know?

Would the FBI tell him? Did the IRS tell Donald Trump that his tax returns are being audited? Of course, they did. That is an investigation is it not?

A court filing has been made alleging Trump's violating the Emolument Clause of the Consitution. Is there not an associated investigation?

Michael Flynn, the former NSA Advisor to Trump, is under investigation and the President lied to cover it up initially. Is not Misprision of Fraud being investigated?

Congress has multiple investigations in related matters, and they will follow the evidence, so long as the President and members of Congress do not obstruct the investigations.

“Let me be clear here,” said Jay Sekulow, a member of the president’s legal team, on NBC's “Meet The Press.” “The president is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction."

Last week, multiple reports said special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections has expanded to include allegations that Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey, who had been leading the investigation.

“I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director,” Trump tweeted Friday, in an apparent dig at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a memo criticizing Comey and subsequently appointed Mueller to lead the investigation.

According to Sekulow, the president’s tweet should not be taken as confirmation he’s under investigation.

“The tweet from the president was in response to the five anonymous sources purportedly leaking info to the Washington Post,” he said.

“He's not afraid of the investigation — there is no investigation,” Sekulow added. "There has been no notification from the special counsel's office that the president is under investigation."

If the President isn't under investigation, then why did he hire you, Mr. Sekulow?

Jay Sekulow

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Looking ahead to Kamala Harris

Senator Kamala Harris is a rising star in the Democratic Party. She appears in the news as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into the Trump administration's various charges. Her exchange with Attorney General Jeff Sessions is noteworthy because Republican Chairman Barr cut her off.

The conservative National Review emerged with a backhanded compliment.
"Harris, a rumored presidential candidate before she even won election to the Senate, fills that role nicely, and claiming injustice at the hands of old, white, male Republicans is a good way to get your foot in the national door."
If the Democratic Party believes that Kamala Harris is qualified to become a presidential candidate, then there is much work to do to improve their process for selecting them.

Kamala Harris might be eligible to become the US Attorney General, for instance. However, lacking any experience managing the very large government or private organizations, she simply doesn't have the right experience.

She should run for governor of California, eventually.

Case closed. Please read my book: How to Select an American President by James A. George and James A. Rodger (c) 2017 Archway Publishing.

Kamala HarrisUnited States Senator from California
Assumed office January 3, 2017
32nd Attorney General of California
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Governor    Jerry Brown
District Attorney of San Francisco
In office
January 8, 2004 – January 3, 2011
Personal details
Born    Kamala Devi Harris
October 20, 1964 (age 52)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political party    Democratic
Spouse(s)    Douglas Emhoff (m. 2014)
Education    Howard University (BA)
University of California, Hastings (JD)

Lacking the necessary management experience

Friday, June 16, 2017

Discussing Healthcare

This story is prompted by The Hill Issuewatch Healthcare email this afternoon. Most citizens probably believe that the Congress has completely lost it about Obamacare. They have been at this for years and have failed to come up with better legislation. Here is why.

First, neither the House nor the Senate has come clean with Americans about what they perceive to be the needs and outcomes. You can't develop solutions to something that you haven't defined.

Obama set the standard, "Affordable care for all Americans." Is that what this President and Congress are intending to provide? Yes or no?

Therein lies the problem. The Congress and President's answers are no because they don't want to make wealthy Americans pay for it. They would rather have uninsured people die out of sight than to quantify the problem.

When Congress offered a solution that was harsh and much less than Obamacare, President Trump said that they were too mean.

Anything less that Obamacare is too mean.

"Week Ahead: Senate work on ObamaCare repeal intensifies
By Nathaniel Weixel 
The GOP Senate's work on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare is expected to heat up in the coming week." 
The Hill

Mean and Congress is meaner still.

A National Lesson

The rule of law is one for which not knowing is without excuse.

What might be redeeming about Donald Trump is the lesson that he is rendering for all citizens to witness. It is about the rule of law.

No one is above the law. In fact, not even nation states can escape the larger idea. Governments might attempt to manipulate the rule of law, yet the standards will catch them every time.

Presently, efforts have been made by the Trump Administration to violate the law. Stopped by the Courts, he still appeals to the legislature to pass laws that will undermine the intent of the US Consitution. The legitimacy of this President and government is in challenge pending the outcome of the Special Prosecutor and other independent investigations.

Incurable 'bad actor'

Donald Trump is like the disruptive student in the classroom with whom the teacher must make to stand in the back of the room. "One more act like that, and you are out." He never learned the lesson. It began when his parents had to send him to a military academy for disciplining. That didn't work either.

Donald Trump has a lifetime of incurable behavior problems that cut to his character. I met a psychiatrist this week with whom I discussed Trump's behavior. She agreed with what I say in my book that citizens should expect a full character assessment from certifiable independent professionals as part of the candidate vetting process.

Trump's problems stem from him not respecting the rule of law and associated regulations.  Combine that with undisciplined behavior, and he creates trouble that is shared with all who support him.

Please read: How to Select an American President by James A. George and James A. Rodger (c) 2017 Archway Publishing.

"Trump lashes out after reports of obstruction probe; Pence hires a lawyer 
A heightened sense of unease gripped the White House amid developments in the probes into Russia and the 2016 election: President Trump expressed frustration at reports that the special counsel’s inquiry now includes potential obstruction of justice, and aides repeatedly deflected questions about the investigation. Vice President Pence acknowledged hiring a private lawyer to handle fallout from the investigations.
By John Wagner and Ashley Parker" 
The Washington Post, Today's Headlines

Obama spoke of "fits and starts."
Trump throws fits and can't get started.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Will Afghanistan Ever End?

The war in Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban government that sponsored a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 and on the Pentagon by harboring al-Qaeda. Working with the UN Coalition, the mission was to restore stability to the nation to end the ability of terrorists to project harm from that location.

Sixteen years later and the Afghanistan is standing, though its capacity to ensure its citizen's and the world with competence remains in question.

This journalist and analyst suggests that the core requirement for stability in places such as this is securing economic sustainability that is enabled by a competent government. 

If our State Department leadership were to rack and stack nations in need of support for accomplishing these things, alongside their potential threat without it, where would Afghanistan be listed?

Decision Table for Defense and State:

Nations, Defense Needs, Economic Needs, Threats, Risks

As citizens, we need to understand our foreign policy situation as clear as that.

President Trump has authorized Defense Secretary Mattis to increase troop levels as needed. However, has he also authorized State Department Secretary Tillison to do the same about corresponding resources? Where does Congress stand in these decisions?

"Despite gains toward building a stable central government, the Taliban remains a serious challenge for the Afghan Government in almost every province. The Taliban still considers itself the rightful government of Afghanistan, and it remains a capable and confident insurgent force despite its last two spiritual leaders being killed; it continues to declare that it will pursue a peace deal with Kabul only after foreign military forces depart." 
CIA World Factbook
"Afghanistan surge. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to temper expectations he was about to embark on a large -- or rapid -- troop buildup in Afghanistan in congressional testimony on Wednesday, a day after reports emerged that President Trump delegated authority for determining the size of the U.S. commitment in the war to the Pentagon.   
“I’ve been given some carte blanche to — to draw up a strategy or a number that’s out of step with the strategy,” Mattis said. “I think right now what we have to look at is what kind of capabilities do we bring to them because the Afghans have proven they will fight.”

Getty Image

ISIS remains in Tora Bora

Analysis of Reasons for Polarization

Americans typically respond proactively in times of catastrophes. When it comes to gun violence, most Americans want tighter gun controls. The National Rifle Association (NRA) gun lobby opposes them with vigorous campaign contributions. Congressional politicians are bought off, and even when children are slaughtered in schools, nothing is done because they are conflicted.

A principal cause of polarization in American politics is that lobbyist money flows to politicians that undermine their representing citizens equally.

We cannot get past the necessity to end Citizens United, the decision that corrupted American's representation.

Next, Americans have a standard for what is right and wrong that is the US Constitution that guarantees equality for all under the law. If you read the Republican Party Platform from the last election, they devote considerable time to defending the Constitution as a strategy to make all of their policies appear to be patriotic. They are not.

They exploit the theme of individualism by making the government appear to be the enemy. It is not. The government is the instrument of common people to ensure their liberties.

When citizens make poor choices about representation, then having their needs met by the government will be undermined.

There is an enormous battle in America between the economically privileged class and the middle class and poor. The polarization is about the extent to which citizens are wed to capitalism as an economic model.

In my new book, I argue that capitalism is unsustainable, as is. It might be made sustainable by adopting a renewable energy paradigm to replace fossil fuels immediately.

Having a sustainable economic model is essential to guide the purpose of our government. The polarization that is experienced today is from the disagreement and misalignment about what we expect from a sustainable economy. To become less polarized, we must share and discuss our ideas about what we expect from the nation's economy.

Without economic security, nothing else is possible. Do you agree?

End the polarization.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why the Trump situation is confusing

As an independent journalist and analyst, the Trump situation can be confusing because there are different threads to the story. Here is an effort to keep the stories straight.

Story #1: Russian Interference in Election 2016

"They sowed confusion and chaos, and there’s strong evidence (according to multiple intelligence agencies) that they ultimately sought to help Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. Their most infamous move was the theft of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, which were likely passed to WikiLeaks before becoming the basis of a slow drip of damaging information about Clinton and the Democratic party released into the news cycle."

The trouble is that Donald Trump discredited the reports from the US Intelligence agencies and the FBI. Why did he do that? What did he call the investigation a hoax?

Story #2: Trump's Campaign Coordination with Russians 

"First, Trump had hired Paul Manafort as campaign chair and was receiving campaign advice from Carter Page. Manafort and Page, in particular, had longstanding business ties to Vladimir Putin’s allies. Manafort had allegedly received millions of dollars in payments from Putin allies in Ukraine and had in the past actively worked to advance Putin’s interests. General Michael Flynn, a prominent campaign surrogate who later became Trump’s first national-security adviser, also had business ties to Russian firms and RT, the Kremlin-owned propaganda network. And Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone, who remained an informal adviser to the campaign even after leaving a formal role during the primaries, had still-unclear relationships with the Russians as well. The candidate’s reliance on these men during the campaign, combined with his odd and persistent praise for Putin, raised serious concerns of pro-Russia bias and improper Russian ties. Indeed Trump himself acted late in the race to remove Manafort and Page from his campaign team, allowing Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway to step in and help steer him to an upset win."

Story #3: Trump's Emolument Clause Violation

"Democratic state attorneys general, a chief roadblock to some of President Trump’s most controversial policies, escalated their campaign against him Monday, alleging in a lawsuit that payments by foreign governments to Trump’s businesses violate anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution."

Today 200 Democratic Congressmen initiated a separate lawsuit claiming Emolument violations.

"Below is an attempt to catalog the more clear-cut examples of conflicts of interest that have emerged so far. The most recent entries appear at the top: 
That Saudi Arabian Lobbying Effort
That Golf Course in New Jersey
That Meeting in Brussels
That Tower in Toronto
That Caribbean Villa
Those Condos for Sale
Those Reelection-Campaign Funds
That Second Hotel in Washington, D.C.
That Property in Azerbaijan
That Trump Tower Penthouse
That Resort in the Dominican Republic
That Chinese Trademark
That Meeting at Mar-a-Lago
That Defense Department Trump Tower Rental
That Red Cross Ball
That D.C. Labor Dispute"

Story #4: Trump's Misprision of Fraud Violation or Misprision of Treason

"Trump fired Comey just after former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates delivered devastating testimony about Trump's non-response to her warning that the Russians had likely compromised his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It closely followed Comey's request for additional resources for the Russian investigation from Jeff Sessions' Justice Department and the issuing of subpoenas for Michael Flynn and his associates."

Story #5: Suspicion of Trump's Tax Illegalities

The IRS is auditing.

Story #6: Trump's Ethical Violations

Aside from conflicts of interest, there is nepotism and other alleged ethics violations.

Story #7: Trump's Lying and Slandering, including Obama and Comey

This list may not be complete. Interlaced among all of these main topics are President Trump's Tweets and public declarations that some Republicans call "hyperbole." Hyperbole means "exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Synonyms: exaggeration, overstatement, magnification, embroidery, embellishment, excess, overkill, rhetoric."

At what point does hyperbole become a lie? Some people believe that hyperbole is a euphemism for lying.

"Former prosecutors who have served in both Republican and Democratic Administrations told me that an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump is a no-brainer. “Comey’s testimony in a grand jury would be enough to get an indictment,” Julie O’Sullivan, who was part of the team that investigated Whitewater, the Clinton land deal that attracted a special prosecutor in the early nineties, said. To O’Sullivan, Comey’s detailed account of the Oval Office meeting in which Trump cleared the room and then told Comey to let go of the investigation of Michael Flynn, whom Trump had fired, the previous day, was especially damning because it showed that Trump knew that what he was doing was wrong. 
“For a prosecutor, this attempt to hide the conversation, all antenna are going up,” O’Sullivan told me. “That tells you that he has a consciousness that what he’s about to do is wrong. It’s like having a bonfire with documents in the back yard. It’s wonderful. Seriously, this is the best thing ever for a prosecutor.”

Image from The Atlantic

Political Differences

It isn't the right time for political bickering. Here is how it begins, even at the wrong time.

Representative Rodney Davis R-Illinois appeared at the US Capitol Rotunda in his baseball attire fresh from the crime scene to give an emotionally charged interview. He introduced the phrase, "political rhetorical terrorist act." The shooter is described as a progressive liberal who posted rants on the Facebook. There is no defense or rationale for anyone of any political point of view to break the law to commit violence.

Concerning is when a congressional representative confuses political rhetoric with being a terrorist act. Political disagreement and debate is a healthy way to pursue and resolve our differences.

Using guns to shoot people is a crime.

Political rhetoric is a freedom and not a crime.

The trend of the Republican-led government is to attempt to stifle freedom of speech and to obstruct fact-finding about the truth.

The crisis that many Republicans are not comprehending is that President Trump appears to have broken the law and is obstructing justice. Those actions are a threat to democracy in America. It undermines the rule of law. That debate must happen in the courts where evidence can be presented. The evidence must come from an unfettered investigation. Therein lies the political problem.

Politics is obstructing justice, and that is a crime. Having an illegal President who may cohort with the enemy is an act of treason and possibly terrorism.

"Rep. Rodney Davis: Baseball shooting may have been 'the first political rhetorical terrorist act'
by Leah DePiero | Jun 14, 2017, 12:11 PM"
Representative Davis is most unqualified as a Member of the US House of Representatives. His extreme and unknowledgeable "rhetoric" is a symptom of the political problem in Washington.
Rodney Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by    Judy Biggert
Personal details
Born    Rodney Lee Davis
January 5, 1970 (age 47)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political party    Republican
Spouse(s)    Shannon Davis
Children    3
Education    Millikin University (BA) 

Remarks are inappropriate.

National Tragedy Today

Following Congressional Republican baseball players being victims of a rifle-bearing citizen from Illinois (with a prior record of gun violence) Congress united today. Reported elsewhere are the words of the President and Congressional leaders.

Most important is the sense of unity expressed by Members of the House of Representatives. Fortune might have it if somehow the tragedy might contribute to more collaboration and mutual respect.

What this journalist can't bury is loathing by the President in attacking our freedoms and attempting to wreck our democratic Republic. If a sufficient number of Congressional representatives and Senators from both parties unite for citizens and the nation over partisan politics, that would be a tipping point toward the way ahead.

Essential is to leave President Trump and his entire cabinet behind, including the Vice President because I anticipate that the Special Prosecutor will find that they have colluded with the enemy in undermining our free election process, among other crimes.

Wishing the best for all of those injured, and a speedy recovery.

"In attack’s aftermath, is ‘unity’ still an American ideal?
by Bob Collins 
Something unusual happened on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives late this morning. 
Democrats and Republicans stood in a show of unity in the aftermath of what increasingly appears to be a politically motivated attack on members of Congress this morning. 
The moment was reminiscent of when the two “sides” stood together to sing God Bless America on September 11, 2001. 
House Speaker Paul Ryan led off today’s moment, calling for the United States to show the world we are one people. 
“We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” he said.
A moment later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed the House saying she was about to do something unusual, agree with the remarks of the House Speaker. 
“I pray for Donald Trump, that his presidency is successful, that is family is safe,” she said. 
This, of course, did not go over well on Twitter. Pelosi opponents said she was politicizing the moment and would shortly mention gun control."

Unity is a possibility.

Emolument suit filed against Trump

Why was the Emolument suit not yet initiated? It takes leadership, and that is provided by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). There is no question that Trump has conflicts of interest.

Citizen voters, look at the Blumenthal resume. Those are credentials that you should be seeing on a resume for Senator. John Conyers is a Korean War veteran and still serving in Congress at age 88.

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senator
from Connecticut
Assumed office
January 5, 2011
23rd Attorney General of Connecticut
In office
January 9, 1991 – January 5, 2011
Governor    Lowell Weicker
John Rowland
Jodi Rell
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 27th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1991
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 145th district
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1987
United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut
In office
President    Jimmy Carter
Personal details
Born    February 13, 1946 (age 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party    Democratic
Spouse(s)    Cynthia Malkin (1982–present)
Children    4
Education    Harvard University (BA)
Trinity College, Cambridge
Yale University (JD)
Website    Senate website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch     United States Marine Corps
Years of service    1970–1976
Rank    USMC-E5.svg Sergeant
Unit    Marine Forces Reserve insignia (transparent background).png U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

"Democratic members of Congress on Wednesday sued President Trump in federal court, claiming he had violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign funds through the Trump business without Congressional approval.

The Washington Post broke the news early Wednesday morning, reporting that 196 lawmakers had joined the complaint, more than any lawmakers ever to sign on to sue a president.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) led the filing in federal district court and said Tuesday that while no Republicans had joined the lawsuit, they were welcome to do so.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) led the legal effort in the House.

"Trump has conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries, and it appears he’s using his presidency to maximize his profits," Conyers told Reuters Wednesday.

The Post obtained an advanced copy of the complaint, which argues that the "foreign emoluments clause" in the Constitution requires the president to get the "consent of Congress" before accepting gifts. The suit also alleges that the Trump empire gives foreign governments an incentive to give Trump businesses special treatment."

John Conyers
44th Dean of the United States House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by    Jack Brooks
Succeeded by    William F. Clinger Jr.
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan
Assumed office
January 3, 1965
Constituency    1st district (1965–1993)
14th district (1993–2013)
13th district (2013–present)
Personal details
Born    John James Conyers Jr.
May 16, 1929 (age 88)
Highland Park, Michigan, U.S.
Political party    Democratic
Spouse(s)    Monica Esters (1990–present)
Children    2
Education    Wayne State University (BA, LLB)
Website    House website
Military service
Allegiance     United States
Service/branch     United States Army
Years of service    1948–1950
Unit    Army National Guard
Battles/wars    Korean War

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

'That I was aware of any collusion'

Jeff Sessions railed and then proceeded to stonewall in a blatant coverup that included not answering questions to give the President and opportunity to invoke the privilege. His memory is so poor that he should be removed from office for being mentally incapacitated.
“I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country that I have served with honor for 35 years, to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie,” Sessions railed in his opening statement.
The Hill 
What about the picture of you with Russian ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel? You didn't recall? Sessions seems to be hip on some things and derelict on others. He is surely inconsistent and uncooperative. All of that points to his hiding something.

Oh, was that the Russian Ambassador with whom I was speaking at the Mayflower Hotel?

A Stressful Nation

After witnessing Attorney General Sessions stonewall congressional investigators today and considering it with the pattern of previous testimony, it is clear that Trump, his cabinet, and campaign partners are colluding to obstruct the investigation. Trump led the way by failing to make his tax filings available to make an accurate determination about possible Emolument Clause violations.

Right before all of our eyes, Trump continues to manage a business and to benefit from foreign customers. That is a conflict of interest.

His appointing members of his family to staff positions is nepotism. He has violated ethics rules. He lies and with the Michael Flynn case, committed Misprision of Fraud.

After today's Sessions' performance, it is refreshing to see that most news organizations and experts are unforgiving and are prepared to be relentless in pursuing the truth.

The Special Prosecutor, FBI, and NSA had better get with it because America is under threat from external enemies and those in The White House. We are under siege.


Sessions Stonewalled

Jeff Sessions testimony continues. Senator McCain is trying to stay awake.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not stupid. He is sly and well prepared. He invoked justice department practices in protecting his conversations with the President, when there may be questionable legal foundations, such as Executive Privilege, for not answering questions. Asked by Senator Manchin a series of questions about meeting with other campaign members and Russians, his answer was that he doesn't recall.

Session's best defense is "it is beyond my ability to understand," referring to the Russian spying caper as presented by Senator Cotton. That is unquestionably believable.

Sessions stonewalled the Committee's important questions. Call it a day.

"I am protecting the President's Executive Privilege, even though he has not yet declared it."

I tried to be honest, but I just can't