Congress

Presidential Sex. Makin’ Presidential Woopee

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The news is filled with stories about Donald Trump’s sexual escapades with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to name but two. He is being judged and berated for cheating on his wife. I am no fan of Donald Trump. I recognize there may be some issues as to breach of campaign finance laws in the payments to women. No president has ever suffered lasting political damage just for adultery. Cover-up is a different story.

When looking at the 20th-century, the list of adulterous presidents is not short. There was Bill Clinton. Gerry Ford favoured young women while skiing out west. Lyndon Johnson, was notorious for pride in his genitalia. He held meetings with senior officials while he was on the toilet or otherwise and often was exposed. Lyndon Johnson was sexually active outside of his marriage. There was John Kennedy. From all accounts he was an unapologetic sexual predator of olympic appetites. He was preceded by FDR, like the others on this list, he had several mistresses both before and during their time in the White House. Before him, Warren Harding was involved with mistresses in the White House closets. Other than Clinton, and now Trump, the rest carried on with little or no public scrutiny or outcry.

In the 19th century Thomas Jefferson was sexually active with his slaves. Forty Nine year-old President Grover Cleveland married his 21-year-old ward, daughter of his deceased partner, whose estate he administered.

None of this activity seems to have prevented most of these men from accomplishing great things and being good leaders. It may have even helped. Those who did not succeed were not hindered by their extramarital activity.

People want bold and dynamic leaders. In order to succeed in politics you generally need to be an A-type personality. They are more often than not, best suited to deal with domestic and foreign enemies in dangerous and high-stakes games. That type of personality often brings with it some less than appealing personality traits manifesting in thought and action.

Had the behaviour of those leaders been public and judged based on standards of today’s political correctness and in the light of the internet, these men would be seen as the social and sexual transgressors that they were. I personally do not judge them, but then I can understand how a vast majority want their leaders to be role models.

There were many great presidents who were married and stayed faithful to their wives. Likewise there were failures as presidents who were faithful to their marriages. It may make a difference to those whose expectations of their presidents include high moral standards. There is no evidence that commitment to their marriages affected their success or failure anymore than it did the sexually aggressive and predatory presidents.

The problem with Trump is the lies and cover-up. He also is seen by many as sleazy given the attitude he expressed on the Billy Bush tape. He is crass and creepy. Trump’s public bragging of his sexual exploits and prowess cannot be compared to any other president. There are very few ways, if any, by which Trump could be compared to any other president.

When it comes to Presidential sex, whether Democrats, Republicans, Federalist, or Whigs, there is no evidence that it affects one’s ability to do the job.

 

Trump Wants Out, or Should

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Something tells me Donald Trump has buyer’s remorse. He certainly doesn’t look like he’s having fun at this job. It is to borrow a phrase “a shit hole of a job” compared to his old one. He did what he wanted, everybody listened to him and sucked up to him. There was no investigation into his complicated ties with Russian money and other possible sources of blackmail. There may have been talk of him as a sexual predator, but it wasn’t widely known outside of the Howard Stern constituency. There was not the scrutiny of his personal and financial life that he could not control.

I do not get the sense he enjoys dealing with the issues of government. He certainly doesn’t understand how government works and expresses his continual frustration about the people around him and the functioning of the government.

There must be days when he thinks to himself:   What do I need this for? I’m over 70 years old. Whether it’s true or not, I believe I’m a rich man with a nice life. People did what I told them to do. I did what I wanted to do. And nobody bothered me. I had my own airplane, furnished more luxuriously than the one I now use. An apartment and other homes that cause me to refer to the White House as a dump

As the threat of the exposure of his financial, personal, and political entanglements of he and his family with Russia becomes more certain, he will look for next strategy. I predict a health crisis which forces him to resign and get back to his old life.

He is one of the few men who has held the White House who really seems to get little or no enjoyment out of the job. All that’s important to Trump is Trump. And Donald Trump appears to be a joyless man in a joyless job. On his exit he will be happier; America will be happier; and the world will be happier.

Maybe America Should Have Stayed with Britain

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Those colonists loyal to King George III, left America to form my home, Canada.

I have always  admired much about the United States. Although democracy is never perfect, America flourished in their newly created country founded on freedom and liberty. I respected and appreciated America’s commitment to defend democracy and liberty around the world. They are the richest country on the planet.

Even before Trump polarized and focused America and the world’s attention on the strength or weakness of America’s democracy and social values, Trump has attacked the institutions and values that make America great. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the cornerstones of American democracy and liberty.

Trump aside, some have begun to question America’s place as a leader and beacon for truth, fairness, justice, freedom and liberty. I look to Canada, and most of the civilized world to find universal healthcare. The world’s richest country, U.S.A, is without universal healthcare, or even meaningful healthcare while arguing about less.

Here we have political discourse which is generally civil and productive. I haven’t seen that in the United States since before Gingrich became speaker. What has followed is a continual obstructionism by both parties.

In Canada, again like most of the civilized world, we have sane and effective gun laws. Americans have to recognize that the Second Amendment was drafted in the 18th century in a different reality. Countries with more restrictive gun laws have far fewer gun deaths.

I still love America and believe the spirit of the best of the U.S.A, is the envy of the world. I, however, have realized that Americans may have been better off had they remained part of Great Britain as a colony, Dominion, member of the Commonwealth and an independent country. Chances are good that our neighbors to the south would have universal healthcare, sane gun laws, and a degree of civil, respectful and productive political discourse, with a democracy that never sunk this low.

Don’t Forget Who He Is.

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Trump was sent to Washington to shake things up. A reaction to the voters anger from both parties at the governing class.

Today he spoke at the United Nations. He did what no other president has done. He attacked America’s enemies. He said the things that many Americans felt needed to be said.

He has shaken up government. He has attacked the leadership of both parties and has admonished them quite accurately for their failures and lack of accomplishment. When the GOP wouldn’t cooperate and come through, he turned to the Democrats. He doesn’t have an ideology.

These are admirable accomplishments. One must however, remember that this is a lying, pathological, misogynist degenerate.

It is unfortunate that the electorate had no other choice but the governing class they rejected or a corrupt con man.

Why are The One %

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There appears to be a consensus that 1% of the population controls 99% of the wealth. That is the problem at the root of conflict in the world.

Out of all the problems humankind faces, this is the most inane situation certainly on this planet and probably the rest of the universe.

How can people suffer every day from the fear that financial survival in this world demands? While the resources exist to alleviate 99% of it.

It’s not just the poor and disadvantaged, whose mere existence is an insult and stain on humanity. Most people, even the moderate to reasonably well-to-do, have to struggle with financial survival every day.

We live in a world that appears to be deteriorating around us, as infrastructure is a politicians low priority until it breaks. Federal and local governments around the world have lacked the resources to maintain or replace them. We lack the resources to provide the basic services that we need in this modern society. Governments, like most people, must deal with the pain of choosing priorities in accordance with their financial abilities.

Why? Why? Why?

The resources exist to deal with these issues in a way that eases life and makes it more fair for everyone.

The weight of history, has over the centuries distributed some of the great wealth held by the few amongst the rest of the population. The 1% has counted on control of the military and political scenery to maintain this balance. In this modern world it is unlikely that this is the case. Instant mass communication depending on how it is used may be the saviour or the downfall of humankind.

But the scale is starting to tip the other way. The pressure on society to find another way to keep score and fairly manage resources will meet head-on with a deteriorating society. It is hard to imagine that the flow of history will be stopped.

But for the moment we live in a bizarre world. All but the privileged few, under financial pressure from governments to the people. Meanwhile 1% of the population controls 99% of the wealth.

Why?

 

Pence was a Smart Choice?

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If Spiro Agnew had remained as vice president, Richard Nixon would never have faced impeachment. No Democrat would trade Richard Nixon for the far right intellectual neanderthal Agnew. Agnew was forced to resign and Jerry Ford replaced him. That sealed Nixon’s fate.

The Democrats face a similar dilemma with Donald Trump’s VP, Mike Pence. For all his problems, Trump seems to be  ineffective. He makes a lot of noise. But nothing seems to get done. As an example Secretary as is Mattis put off Donald’s ban of transgender’s in the military.

Pence on the other hand, is a dyed in the wool, Bible thumping, blind and dumb conservative. He would be far more effective in working with the GOP leadership and more dangerous to the Democrats. They would have to get rid of Trump and Pence which can most likely only happen if Dems take the Congress in the midterms.

The GOP leadership would love Pence, but they worry about the backlash from the Trump supporters. Those people who prove Lincoln’s: “you can fool some of the people all of the time”.

It remains to be seen. I think there is no one more dangerous to Trump than Trump. He can’t protect himself from himself. His financial and political worlds will unravel with the Russian revelations and Trump’s inability to get out of his own way. Too many people want him gone in America and around the world. He’s damaging the United States. But worse for him he’s forever damaging his brand as the world gets to see more and more of the real Donald Trump.

Impeachment ?

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Impeachment has been on many lips since election night. The specter of impeachment has only been raised and proceeded on three occasions. Congress is 0 and  2 with one default removing presidents in its entire history. No president has been successfully removed. Why? It is not a legal process, it is a political process.

The House impeaches and the Senate tries and acquits or removes the President.

What makes anybody think it’ll be so easy this time. There is no specific definition of the presidency or the scope of it. It’s changed throughout history

What is an impeachable offence? Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Although many have weighed in with their opinions, there is no definition of impeachable offence better than,” it is whatever Congress says it is”.

Likewise there is no definition of presidential. Any president’s behavior is by default, presidential. What is acceptable presidential behavior is again up to Congress and certainly influenced by public opinion.

It is questionable whether the transgressions of Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, constituted treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Johnson was impeached by the House for firing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and his policies towards reconstruction of the South. Nixon for obstruction of justice, of an irrelevant break in. While contrary to law, it may not have measured up to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for lying under oath about sexual conduct. Nixon resigned while Johnson and Clinton were impeached by the House and each acquited by one vote in the Senate.

It would seem to me that treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors should relate to the ability to govern and national security. Previous impeachment’s have only served to distract from the business of the American people. A waste of time over conduct which, save and except for the media’s focus, did not impair the president from carrying out his duties, but did impair Congress from doing theirs.

Trumps personal habits and behavior do not fall under my expectations of acceptable presidential behavior. Nonetheless it is so generally harmless, mostly entertaining in a perverse way, and not the main focus of concern. That’s not to say they are not of some concerns. He embarrasses America both at home and in the eyes of the world.

What really concerns me. What is more frightening and dangerous is that right before our very eyes he seems to be bent on unwinding and unraveling or at least viciously attacking, and reversing the social progress we have watched, felt, paid for, and deeply believe in. The GOP has the presidency, Congress, Supreme Court, and a majority of state governors and legislatures. The GOP Congress, for the moment, have restrained him with respect to foreign-policy decisions and costly domestic mistakes. Sometimes deliberately and sometimes by his and their own incompetence.

He has opened a Pandora’s box of the ugly underbelly, lowest common denominator of America. He has created uncertainty and fear in America and throughout the world.

He has disgraced America in the eyes of the world. The view of the international community is that American no longer leads the free world and has as its president an incompetent, embarrassing, disturbed, man-child.

Congress is going to have to face the issue at one time or another. Whether it’s the results of the Russia investigation, the damage he is doing to the reputation of America at home and abroad, or his mental state.

Congress is in their own disarray. In this they can be moved by popular opinion. Once they feel comfortable enough that they have the support of the American people who are fed up with Donald Trump then they will act.

The question is when? If they do it now, they’re afraid of the possible backlash the extent of which is hard to measure. If they don’t do it before the midterms and lose control of Congress, the Democrats will impeach both Trump and Pence, and put the new Democratic Speaker of the House in the White House.

The GOP have to grow a large pair of political balls and remove him from office before he does some damage they can’t mop up.

The Russian Takeover

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We have already lost. Since the fall of communism, America has let down their guard. Communist Russia morphed into the private purview of Vladimir Putin who divided the nation’s wealth amongst his friends.

Citizens United allowed the introduction of large sums of money with little or no accountability as to its source or purpose entering and influence on the American political process.

Russian oligarchs and underworld (perhaps one and the same) have bought their way into the upper echelons of American finance. They have bought assets and loaned money to the greedy in the United States and around the world.

Citizens United also created the best GOP politicians money can buy. I’m sure Russian money whether knowingly or otherwise found its way into the hands of American politicians.

Russia realized that power and influence could be had without firing a shot.

The 2016 election provided a unique opportunity for Vladimir Putin where he allowed himself to be a bit reckless. His interference was palatable. It was the worst kept secret in the history of the world’s intelligence community.

Putin interfered to help Donald Trump because he felt he had some influence based upon evidence of Trump’s financial dealings with Russia and personal behavior. Whether Trump directly and aggressively colluded with Russia or was a willing dupe, his deference to Putin and Russia, clearly speaks to the connection.

The real problem is that Russian influence in the economies and politics of America and the rest of the world, goes far beyond its interference in the American election.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing is more important than removing Donald Trump from the presidency. But that will only be the beginning of dealing with the new Russian reality.

Government is Not a Business

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Donald Trump came to power promising to apply his business experience to running the government. Forget for a moment the realities of his business experience which lack ethics. Consider his modus operandi of using debt and bankruptcy to profit at the expense of the hard-working small businessmen who worked for him. Government is not a business.

The principles of running a business do not apply and do not work in running a government.

In business Trump was the boss. He could do whatever he wanted to do. His only considerations were making money and building his brand. There was little or no room for dissenting opinions. If he didn’t like the job you were doing, you were fired. His only constituency was himself, his family and his businesses.

Government doesn’t have a bottom-line. Healthcare and Education are investments whose success are not measured in dollars and cents. It is measured in the lives that are saved and enhanced. Government is always an exercise in pay it forward. It is measured in the social and scientific advancements which save lives and make lives in the world better.

Government in the free world democracies is a process of balance and compromise. This is not a characteristic often found in running businesses. Government is the process of debating the social and political issues to try and come to a consensus that improves the life of the nation and its citizens.

Government is there to give voice to the disenfranchised. One of the best examples is Lyndon Johnson. His success with Medicaid, his war on poverty, civil rights and voting rights, are proof that government can make a significant difference in people’s lives. if not for Lyndon Johnson it is doubtful that Barack Obama would have become president. Without Lyndon Johnson he may not be able to vote.

Government exists for entirely different reasons than a business. It has different goals, responsibilities, and methods. It success is measured in markedly different ways and with significantly different criteria than a business.

Trump and his administration are clear proof that businessmen are not suited to govern using business principles and methods. It has been a disaster for Trump, America, and the world.

The drama and infighting between Trump and the members of his administration are further proof that you cannot operate as president in the same way you run your own business. The public nature of government is a far cry from the behind closed doors autocratic style which works in business.

Trump clearly does not understand this. American democracy is paying the price. Never in the history of the United States of America has the nation been held in such low esteem by the rest of the world. Not since the Revolutionary war has America faced such a threat to their democracy, as they do today.

Americans have to restore the kind of government that puts the people first. The GOP needs to grow a pair of patriotic balls and take back American democracy.

 

 

 

The Birth of Tyranny

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I was born in the early 50s. World War II seemed like distant history. In studying the 1930s and 40s I wondered how a Hitler or Mussolini could take over a civilized democracy. Now I know.

Putin certainly helped. Donald Trump found fertile ground in the ugly underbelly of America’s lowest common denominator. Those who stayed home in 2016 allowed Trump and Putin to hijack American democracy.

Trump is behaving like a dictator following the Tyrant’s Handbook for Dummies to the letter. He along with the GOP Congress and Scotus seem bent on reversing and destroying the social and political gains of the last 200 years.

In six months, Trump and the GOP have managed to bring America to its lowest point in  history in the eyes of the world ever. America has given up its leadership of the free world. No longer a beacon for democracy and freedom, America has become a bad and scary joke to the rest of the free world.

The GOP must grow a set of patriotic balls and take back America before it is too late.