What if He’s Just Incompetent?

Congressional Legislators talk about impeachment of the President as if it requires some action by the President that is either immoral or illegal or so outrageous as to warrant it. But impeachment is actually the Constitution’s way of firing the guy we hired in the last election.  With that in mind, we shouldn’t need an action to fire him.  How about if he is just incompetent?  It is obvious to any objective observer that this President is actually unfit for the position.

Since the President claims to be a great businessman, let us look at his performance as the hired Chief Executive Officer of our company, America INC.

Since being appointed CEO of our company, he has put the company at a disadvantage in the current market. Passed private company information to a competitor. Embarrassed the Company at several industry meetings and caused our industry partners to doubt the validity of our commitment to contracts we have with them.

As the owners of America INC it is obvious that this disaster of a CEO must be removed before he damages the company any further. The way to do that is for the board to vote to remove him and Impeachment is exactly that.  Congress does this.  The House lists the reasons to fire him and the Senate votes on whether to fire him or not, it is that simple.

The notion that we need concrete proof of some action is simply not true. Being incompetent should be reason enough.

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It Was All About the Votes!

When one considers all the restrictive anti-abortion bills being passed in Republican controlled Legislatures one has to admit that the Republican plan to use the abortion issue and religion to split the women’s vote has worked beyond anything they could have imagined.

Half of the women in the country, a country based on individual freedom, are voting not for their freedom but instead, voting to give up their rights as sovereign individuals.  They are voting to allow the Government to decide what happens should they get pregnant.  Not their Doctor, not them but the Government!

Controlling Women’s reproductive rights is more important than freedom from Government interference in the lives of the citizens. Republicans throw out the basic principle of their Party to pass a law every bit as onerous as Sharia law when it comes to Women’s reproductive rights.

It was only about getting votes, nothing more, nothing less!

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Are You Ready?

There is a small restaurant just outside the old Military Housing complex at the former Bitburg Airbase in Bitburg, Germany.  I was stationed there in the early 80s and ate there many times.  The GIs called it, ’The Corner Store’ but its real name was, ‘The Edelweiss’.  Some of the younger Germans at the time were calling for the American military to leave.  Evidence of this was present in the Men’s room at The Edelweiss.  There, in bold writing, on the wall above the urinals were written the words, “You Americans should go home!”  Directly below that a GI had written, “Hope you got your Russian Textbooks ready!”   The Cold War was heating up with President Reagan’s visit to Bitburg Air Base for the 45th anniversary of the end of WWII and things were a bit tense.

We are again faced with an aggressive Russia as it has lost its grip on democracy and reverted to a dictatorial oligarchy every bit as cunning and dangerous as the old Soviet Union was.  It seems more than obvious that the Russians have some kind of sway with our current President.  They have used cyber warfare to attack our 2016 election, are continuing to attacks and are preparing to attack the 2020 elections.  The current administration not only denies the reports of our Security Services but publicly defended the perpetrator of the attacks, Vladimir Putin!  Our President has actively worked to further Russia’s foreign policy goals and is continuing in this more recently by denying Russia’s involvement in Venezuela.  This ignoring of the Monroe Doctrine puts Russia close enough to cause us all kinds of trouble.

In considering all of this and the upcoming elections I’ve come to the conclusion that should America reelect the current administration we might want to prepare.  As that GI wrote on the wall long ago, “I hope you got your Russian textbooks ready!”

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So, why not?

Andrew Yang is running for President and one of his proposals is a Universal Basic Income for all citizens of $1000 a month beginning at age 18.  There is no doubt of the benefits of this proposal.  The result of getting that money in the hands of those who will spend it would drive the economy to new heights.  There is also no doubt as to the ability of the country to afford it.  The stock market did, in 2016, 42 trillion dollars in trades and in 2017 Republicans gave their wealthy supporters a 1.2 trillion dollar tax cut.  Despite that the economy is still humming along.

Maybe it’s time for those of us on the lower end of the economic spectrum to fight back and demand an economy that puts money in the pockets of all our citizens and not just the pockets of the wealthy and privileged.  Besides, history shows that the main goal of every Republican Majority Congress has been huge tax cuts which reward wealthy citizens and corporations while shifting the cost of Government to the poor and middle class.

This started with President Reagan and ‘trickle down’ economics. Daddy Bush pushed one as did his son.  Republicans even pushed one thru during Clinton’s term.  We just saw them do it again with Trump’s tax cuts.  The theory is that the wealthy and big corporations will invest the money and that will create jobs, however that is not what happens.  Most recipients of this money either banked the money or used it to prop up their stocks and pay dividends to their stock holders. At a recent gathering of corporate CEOs the monitor of the discussion asked for raised hands as to how many were planning to invest the money gleaned from the cuts and only one or two raised their hands.  You can’t blame them though.  No businessman in his right mind is going build another scissors factory if he cannot sell the scissors coming out of the factory he already has!

So why not?  Why not give ourselves a fair share of the wealth of this country instead of waiting for it to ‘trickle down’?  Let us give ourselves a ‘pay raise’ instead of waiting for the Oligarchs of America and their paid for politicians to trickle on us!  Let us put aside the superficial things that are used to divide us and unite in finally giving all our citizens, rich and poor the right to share in the country’s wealth.

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Strike The Medal!

The struggle for dominance between two nuclear powers that began at the end of World War II came to be known as the Cold War. Both countries, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States recognized that conventional war using nuclear weapons would leave both countries in ruin.  They therefore used whatever means possible to gain an advantage short of using nuclear weapons.  Korea and Vietnam are both well-known hot spots of this war but there were many lesser known confrontations where Americans gave all with little recognition or fanfare.  Their complete sacrifice and the sacrifices of many whose lives were impacted by their service during this conflict insured this great victory.

With the end of this decades long conflict there was much talk of the Government in Washington recognizing the enormity of our victory by striking a Cold War Victory Medal and presenting it with great thanks and fanfare. Why this did not happen is up for debate.  Some think it was not done so as to not ‘rattle the feathers’ of a newly free Russia as it tried to establish a democratic government.  Congress has expressed its support for issuing a medal several times but nothing happened. The Department of Defense, even with Veterans saying they would pay for their medals, said that issuing the medal was ‘cost prohibitive’. The last effort to award the medal was in the 115th Congress with HR 1419.  In April of 2017 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel where it still resides.  A medal has been privately created but nothing has been done officially.

What those who participated did receive was a piece of cardboard with the following printed on it. Certificate of Recognition, In recognition of your service during the period of the Cold War (2 September 1945 – 26 December 1991), in promoting peace and stability for the Nation, the people of this Nation are forever grateful!  It was signed by the Secretary of Defense and that was it!  Some Veterans felt insulted by the Governments seeming dismissal of the sacrifices made to insure such an enormous victory.

It is time to strike the medal! It has been 28 years since this great victory and the medal’s presentation is long overdue.  Sadly Russia has slipped back to a dictatorship every bit as politically repressive as the old Soviet Union.  It’s Government under Vladimir Putin is currently engaged in conducting cyber warfare against us among other things. Putin looks to recreate the Soviet Union but his new version is just as onerous as the old with repression, assassination of political opponents, invasion of other countries, along with concerted efforts to sow discord and unrest among his perceived enemies.

Presenting the Cold War Victory Medal at this time would not only right a wrong to those who gave us this victory but would also be a way to push back against Putin’s aggression by sticking a finger in his eye and reminding him who won the first time around!

Strike the Medal!

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An Economy and a Future That Includes All Our Citizens

As much as we might hate it the 2020 election season started the second the mid-terms were over. Many old hats on the left were surprised that many of the young Democratic candidates won while espousing progressive policies and goals. If this is any indication then to win in 2020 Democrats need to offer the poor and middle class a new, ‘New Deal’.

Damaged and disheartened, lied to and taken advantage of by the wealthy and those determined to hold power at any cost, they are yearning for relief and someone to actually do something to better their circumstances, and give them hope for a better future for them and their children. Healthcare for all, Free tuition at public colleges, Social Security at age 50 and some form of a limited Universal Basic Income to lift all our citizens out of abject poverty and give all our children a financial platform with which to begin their lives as productive adults in a thriving economy.

I watched an episode of the business program ‘On the Money’ on Sunday July 30, 2017.  The first and main topic was something called Universal Income.  The idea that instead of all the poverty programs and such, the Government should just give everybody a check every month for $1000 dollars.   When one considers the gap between rich and poor, the rate of automation and the fact that there will never be enough jobs to go around it might be a better way of keeping our folks out of abject poverty. The drawback was the cost.  One of the commentators said it would cost upwards of 3 trillion dollars. However there is a way to reach the goal of a Universal Income, eliminating abject poverty, and at a much lower cost.  Here’s how.

Start by expanding Social Security.  Eliminate the cap on taxable income and raise the tax to 8% from the current rate of 6.2%.  Then lower the age of eligibility to 50 years.

Create a stipend that will give a check to all adults and High School Grads of $1000 a month.  Those who do not finish High School should have to wait till they are 20 to encourage them to finish school.  They can use this fund to support them if they go to college or to help them in getting started in life. Our wealthy students are able to go to college and do well precisely because they have a financial platform to support them.  This would give all our students the same support. Every child we shepherd thru College is possibly the guy who will cure cancer or invent star drive or save the planet.  Investing in our children is like buying a lottery ticket for humanity! To pay for it, go to the Stock Market and place a tax of 3% on all trades to fund the stipend.  The market in 2016 did, according to the World Bank, over 42 trillion in trades and a 3% tax won’t break the bank.  The payments should be set up so one gradually loses the stipend as they move up the economic ladder in a way that will encourage advancement, for example one would lose $100 of the stipend for every $10,000 in reported income so that when one is making $100,000 a year they lose the stipend entirely. A basic stipend would allow us to eliminate all those poverty programs conservatives always complain about. Currently we spend a trillion dollars on some 126 anti-poverty programs and their elimination would certainly offset the cost of the stipend.

Imagine the country with no one in abject poverty.  Imagine the numbers of kids now being able to go to college because they have the financial support to do so.  The economic force of all that spending would drive the economy to new heights and would certainly close the income gap between the rich and poor that is hurting our economy and country.

A basic stipend would free workers from starving or being held in economic servitude, making only enough to pay for enough food to be able to work another 40 hours.  Business would have to bid for one’s labor instead of workers begging for a job!  We can take back the dignity and value our labor should produce. We can boost the spending power of the poor and middle class and leave behind the failed and greedy policy of ‘trickle down’ economics which has damaged our economy and brought about the latest version of the Great Recession!  Employers would benefit too.  Not having to spend on unemployment or health insurance would save them money and allow them to pay better wages.

Yep, we can do this if we only have the will.  We can make this country live up to the promises articulated by President Roosevelt in his famous ‘Four Freedoms” speech, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear and the last which always seems to be forgotten, Freedom from want!  We have the power and wealth to accomplish the last of these.  The mechanics are in place.  The tools are available to us.  Let us make a better country and thereby a better world by finishing the work set out for us by President Roosevelt some 76 years ago.

Democrats can win but not with the same old mid-center or center-left policies and platform. They must offer us an economy and a vision that really works for us all, brings us together and moves the Country and its people forward to a bright future that includes all our citizens!

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Why Not Cannabis Businesses?

There is absolutely no rational reason that Cannabis Businesses, whether medical or recreational, should not be allowed to open in Eaton County or Charlotte. Setting aside normal business concerns like parking or traffic and such, what is the reason for denying these businesses the right to operate?

If it is safety you are concerned with, let me inform you of the numbers. The Center for Disease Control, CDC, reports annual death rates for various causes of death.  Alcohol kills 88,000 people a year on average, 2,000 from simple poisoning and around 10,500 in fatal traffic accidents.  Opioid overdose deaths killed 63,600 people in 2016 and 480,000 will die from tobacco related causes this year.  Caffeine is listed as the cause for 92 deaths per year.  On the other hand the CDC lists 0 deaths per year for cannabis.   We should be making it harder to get smokes and booze!

There are alcohol, tobacco and hard drugs available at more places in the county than you can shake a stick at! You can get all three at Meijer or Walmart or CVS.  Alcohol and tobacco can be purchased at any gas station or liquor store in town.  It is hard to imagine what it would be like if we regulated these substances by how dangerous they really are.

The Administrative Law Judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Honorable Francis Young ruled in a 1988 hearing that marijuana was,” the safest therapeutic substance known to man.” Of course the DEA quickly found a judge to overturn that ruling.  They were busy putting people in jail for using marijuana and didn’t want the truth to get in the way!  Alcohol and opioid drug use go down when cannabis is available.  Citizens will choose the safer drug when they are allowed to.  The only thing forbidding cannabis businesses from operating will accomplish is to stop investment, economic activity, jobs and revenue.  It will also make our citizens have to drive to another county to meet their legal cannabis needs.

Time to discard 81 years of cannabis propaganda and disinformation and base cannabis policy on the facts. There is no reason to prohibit cannabis businesses from operating with normal business restrictions in our county or cities and many good reasons to allow them. Our county and city officials should act accordingly!

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