Thursday, January 17, 2019

The President Grounded the Speaker In Response to Her Cancellation of His State of the Union Address

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invited President Donald Trump to deliver the State of the Address on January 29 in the House of Representatives. She disinvited him on January 15, pending resolution of the Partial Government Shutdown. She said security could not be assured at the Capitol because of the shutdown with security officers going unpaid. President Trump’s twitter account has been strangely silent in response to the Speaker’s unprecedented act. He responded today. The Speaker, Representatives Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel, and other Democrats were on a bus about to catch a military jet for a flight to Afghanistan and Brussels (for NATO) Don’t underestimate President Trump. He has some of LBJ in him. He can reward and he can punish – old style politics. He responded with old style, hardcore politics – not tweets on this occasion.. LBJ, Tip O’Neill, Big Daddy Jesse Unruh, all would be proud. Steny Hoyer, The House Majority Leader, called the President’s act “petty,” “small,” and “vindictive.” Alexandra Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, said on CNN January2 that “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding.” President Trump can play the same hardball politics. Make no mistake – he sent a message! The Democrats got the President’s letter shortly before they reached the plane. The letter was classic: “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over. In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you will agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.” He added: “I also feel that, during this period if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” Next Tuesday is the next deadline for federal payroll checks to be processed. The cancelled trip was for seven days, meaning that no progress would be made on resolving the dispute before the federal employees missed another paycheck. The Speaker is furious, undoubtedly plotting her next move. She will have ample time to mull it over if she flies commercial. The Democrats were on a junket. Republicans do it too. Junkets are non-partisan. Speaker Pelosi should have realized the optics are bad on the week long cancelled trip. It could only have been planned for weeks if the Democrats knew the Shutdown would continue. Members of Congress should not receive pay during budget shutdowns. They also should not go on government paid junkets. Nor should they go to Puerto Rico either on government money or lobbyist money. The President also cancelled all Congressional delegation travel by military aircraft during the Shutdown. He further cancelled his trip and that of Administration to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland next week. As a sidenote, Speaker Pelosi had a reputation of using military planes for domestic travel during her previous stint from 2007-11 as Speaker. The next move is the Speaker’s.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Speaker Pelosi Says No: Options for President Trump on the State of the Union Address

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had exercised her power to disinvite President Trump from delivering the State of the Union Address before a Joint Session of Congress in the House of Representatives after earlier inviting him. The United States Constitution sets up three co-equal branches of government: The Legislative, Presidency, and Judicial. Each is sovereign in its own right with certain inherent powers. The House of Representatives governs the House and the Senate the Senate. The Speaker of the House formally invites speakers before the House. For example, Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on March 3, 2015. The Speaker extends the invitation to the President to present the State of the Union address to the people before a joint session of Congress. It’s usually a formality. Speaker Pelosi adhered to the letter of the law by extending the invitation to President Trump for January 29, but then effectively disinvited him until a budget agreement is reached to end the partial shutdown of government. That is either a brilliant political stratagem, of which the Speaker prides herself, or it is petty. President Trump has options, which will work to his advantage and not the Speaker’s. The Constitution requires a State of the Union report by the President to Congress. It does not require an oral presentation. Presidents only in the past century have delivered the address in the House of Representatives to the American people. President Trump can deliver the address virtually anywhere he wants, and forward a written copy to Congress whenever he wants. He can invite the audience of his choice to the presentation. He can deliver the address before the Senate with the House not invited. He can deliver it in the White House. He can deliver it on the Capitol Mall. He can deliver it by the Rio Grande on the Texas Border. He can deliver in an arena or stadium. He can deliver it in front of the wall surrounding Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco house. My preference will be to deliver the State of the Union Address before the San Diego Border Wall in front of an audience of the victims and victim families of illegal immigrants: the widow of Officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant gunned down by an illegal immigrant, other relatives of slain officers and victims of MS-13, the victims of illegal drivers and drunken drivers. He could attach to the Address delivered to Congress a list of all the victims and crimes of illegal immigrants. The San Diego Wall has been incredibly effective in halting illegal immigration at the San Diego border, which was once flooded by illegal immigrants. He could continue with a impressive listing off all his Administration’s accomplishments over the past two years. He could show photos of the Democratic members of Congress cavorting on the beaches of Puerto Rico. He can demand that members of Congress not receive compensation during a government budget shutdown. President Trump’s presentation would trump Speake Pelosi’s shutdown of State of the Union Address and the banality of their argument that “Walls don’t work.” A side feature with this presentation would be the lack of a response by an opposition speaker, although Republicans would relish another rebuttal from Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer..

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Memo to California Governor Gavin Newsom

Congrats Governor Newsom. You are now the 40th Governor of California, the first Democrat since 1888 to succeed another Democrat as Governor. You gave your inauguration speech on Monday and presented your first budget on Thursday. You laid out your drams and ambitions for the State. The Sacramento chorus is cheering. It’s heady times for you. Sacramento is raking in the money. The Democrats hold a supermajority in both branches of the legislature. The Republicans have no control over the budget or taxes. The remaining Republicans in Sacramento are meek and quiescent. California is now a one party state with you as Governor. Governor Jerry Brown, your predecessor, built up a reserve fund for the state budget. You may have an extra $21.6 billion to spend next year. Yes, times are good for the Democrats. Enjoy the euphoria. These will be the best days of your four year administration. Yes, you are facing an economic maelstrom in California. You have the potential to become another Justin Trudeau and Francois Macron. They entered office a few years ago in Canada and France with overwhelming public support. Their polls are now in the tank, much lower than President Trump’s, for mishandling the economy. California is like a building, magnificent on the outside, but rotting inside. The state, your state, our state, looks in good shape from the outside at first glance, but the economic dry rot is eating away. California is increasingly anti-business. Business know it. 13,000 business have left the state from 2008-2017 because of high taxes, regulatory burdens, high housing costs, and the overall cost of doing business in California. Business’s that have moved their corporate or U.S. headquarters out of California include Bank of America, Bechtel, Carl’s Jr., Core-Mark Holding Company, Davita, Jamba Juice, Kubota, McKesson’s, Nestles, Nissan, Northrup Grumman, Occidental Petroleum and now the Raiders. Other companies, such as Apple, Beckman Coulter, and Chevron, have moved substantial operations out of the state. A Bureau of Census report last year showed 142,932 more Californians left for other states than came from other states. A survey last year of Bar Area residents said they would like to leave California. You promised in your inauguration to be “a prudent steward of taxpayer dollars,” and also to “be bold.” You can’t be both. And you won’t. The pressure to spend, spend, spend is too great. California’s $2.7 trillion economy may be the fifth largest in the world after the United States, China, Japan, and Germany, but it’s ranked 42nd out of 50 states in fiscal condition and 49th worst in taxes. The state is fiscally Mismanaged. Here’s your problems. You said in your inaugural address that you will recognize all Californians. You can’t. You are a San Francisco Democrat. You do not, and cannot, understand the Central Valley or Inland Empire, which do not enjoy the deceptive coastal prosperity. You decry the inequality in California. Yet your policies will increase it. Almost 20% of Californians live in poverty. California, with 12% of the nation’s population, has 1/3 of the nation’s welfare expenditures. California, with 12% of the nation’s population, has one-fourth of the nation’s homeless. The numbers grew by 14% in 2016-17 and then by 17% in 2017-18. You can see the large number of the homeless on the streets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. It’s a modern American tragedy, and still growing in California. The liberal residents in San Francisco and Brentwood are increasingly upset with the homeless problem. The obvious solution is to throw money at the problem, another $500 million, but the more you spend on the problem, the more attractive California becomes to the nation’s homeless. Millions of Californians pay over half their income on rent. The problem will grow until the state’s cities and counties welcome homebuilding and lift exclusionary zoning practices. California, the rich, prosperous, affluent California has the highest poverty rate in the country. The state’s highways, roads, and streets are continuing to deteriorate. Governor Brown fooled the people by increasing the gas and registration taxes increased by saying it’s for the roads and highways. Much of the revenue is diverted to other purposes. These taxes are highly regressive, increasing the burden on poor workers by up to $1,000 a year. Yet you decry the inequity in the state. You support the Green agenda of your predecessors. California is to be 100% carbon free for electrical production by 2045, and 60% by 2030. The national average cost of electricity is 8.82cents/kwh. It’s twice that at 16.06cents/kwh in California. Alternative fuels are expensive. I can afford the electricity rates, but they are again a tax on the poor and an economic disincentive to commerce and industry. You want a high minimum wage. That will benefit those who keep their jobs, result in reduced employment in lower paying jobs. You yearn for a single payer health insurance system for California even though the cost will be more than the current state budget. You are asking the legislature to impose an individual mandate on all Californians, the mandate that has been repealed by Congress. This tax increase will suck more disposable income out of residents pockets. You propose in the meantime to provide Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented immigrants under 26 at an estimated cost of $260 million. Medi-Cal currently covers 33% of California’s population. You are also proposing new taxes on residential water use as well as a phone tax to fund the 911 system. The public pension plans are grossly underfunded. You are proposing pumping an additional $4.8 billion into the pension funds. You are proposing a second year of free tuition at the community colleges, while the great University of California has been chronically starved of state funds for decades. You are proposing $1.8 billion on early childhood education programs, child care and full time kindergarten. An op-ed writer in the LA Times immediately wrote that $1.8 billion “isn’t enough.” Of course, there’s never enough money to supply all the “needs.” However, you premise much of the increased surplus on California’s Medi-Cal costs dropping 1%. You want six month paid family leave after the birth of a child, but haven’t figured out how to pay for it. You have to deal with Governor Brown’s Bullet Train fantasy. It will not be a “bullet” train, will cost over $100 billion to build, and will be uneconomical if to operate. You can pull the plug, or pour money down the rathole. You can expect a substantial increase in crime as a result of Governor Brown through AB 109 and Prop 57 reducing the state inmate size by 34,000 inmates. Felonies were reduced to misdemeanors, and misdemeanors reduced to tickets. He also eliminated much of the traditional cash bail system. California is leading the Resistance against President Trump. You know the federal district and appellate judges of the Ninth Circuit will have your judicial back in leading the judicial resistance to the President. Note, California needs billions in revenue from the federal government. The Trump Administration will try to cut off federal funds whenever possible. You can fight legal battles for the funds.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Day One of the Democratic House of Representatives: "Buckle Your Seatbelts; It's going to be a Bumpy Ride."

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right on one proposal: Members of Congress should not be paid during government shutdowns. The House met for 4 hours yesterday, and then adjourned to Monday. Day 14 of the partial shutdown with no quick end in sight. The federal workers affected are now receiving their last scheduled paycheck. The House passed a spending bill which the Democrats knew was DOA (dead on arrival) in the Senate and the President’s desk. It would fully fund 8 agencies and extend funding for Homeland Security into February, but with no money for the Border Wall. That’s a typical legislative con game for the voters – make it look out they are taking action. Speaker Pelosi calls a wall “immoral” and called the wall “A Wall between the President and his Constituents.” It has no place in America to her. A better bill, also going nowhere, was introduced in the Senate by Republican Ted Cruz and in the House by Representative Francis Rooney, and cosponsored by Senators Marco Florio, Mike Lee, and David Perdue. It would impose term limits on Congress: 2 terms of 6 years for the Senate and 3 two year terms for the House. It would have to be approved as a proposed Constitutional Amendment by 2/3 of both houses of Congress before going to the states for ratification. The state legislators would probably ratify it because they are eyeing Congressional seats, but it will not get that far. DOA. Representative Ocasio-Cortez is now waffling on whether she will accept her paycheck. She does not to impose a 70% marginal tax to pay for her socialistic schemes. Had she really studied economics, she would realize that it could well result in a decrease in tax revenues. Hawaii Senator Hirono announced, as in the past, she will donate her pay during the period to food banks in Hawaii. Senator Elizabeth Warren said she will contribute her pay to a Jewish organization that aids refugees. Why didn’t Senator Warren give to an impoverished Indian tribe? Speaker Pelosi called the new Congress “A New Dawn.” She’s right. The new Democratic House is a Rainbow Coalition; Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Caucasians, African Americans, American Indians, and Asian Americans. 102 women will now sit in the House. Only 13 of them are Republicans. The 89 Democrats are social activists, even if many of them did not run that far to the left. The newly seated Democrats are fervid, full of excitement, eager to advance their agenda. Impeach the president. Let’s see how many, or few, vote in favor of term limits! The Democratic House has several goals, but one mission – remove President Trump, if not now, then in 2020. Impeachment, Indictment or Resignation – doesn’t matter, Trump must go. Representatives Brad Sherman (D. Ca.) and Al Green (D. Tex.) once again introduced a bill to impeach President Trump. Representative Hank Johnson (D. Ga.), of capsizing Wake Island fame, continues to equate President Trump with Adolph Hitler. Representative Rashida Tialb (D. Mich.) spoke to a crowd: “People love you and you win. And when your son looks at you and say, ‘Momma, Look you won. Bullies don’t win’ And I said ‘They don’t because we’re going to go in there and impeach the mother….er’” No subtlety there! She spoke what many are thinking. Oh, does the House want to impeach the President. Investigate, impeach, indict!. They will so investigate every scintilla of the President’s past, his family members and appointees. Subpoena after subpoena for records, starting with his tax returns. An army of democratic forensic accountants will flyspeck every line. Business records, emails, medical records will all be sought. And litigated! Speaker Pelosi and her fellow democrats laid down several markers yesterday: Most will pass the House, but stall in the Senate. These are the roadmap for January 2021 as the Democrats hope to win the Presidency and flip the Senate to give them one-party control of the government. If necessary, they will stack the Supreme Court with new liberal judges by expanding the Court’s size. They believe the Republican base is shrinking while a large percent of the millennials support socialism and are disillusioned with capitalism. “Free, Free, Free” is alluring to students and graduates deeply in debt and poor paying jobs. Here are their goals: Single Payer Health Insurance Limited taxpayer funding of campaigns (the foot in the door) Repeal Citizens United Gun Control Automatic voter registration Access to early and on-line voting (the easier to engage in voter fraud) Housing Finance (Representative Maxime Waters, new Chair of the House Financial Services Committee learnt nothing from the housing collapse of a decade ago) Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer know that at some point, the Democrats will have to act meaningfully to fund the government and approve Presidential nominees. Until then it will be quite a 3 ring circus (House, Senate, President) and a bumpy ride for the country (with thanks to Bette Davis).

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Humor and Oddities of 2018

Somewhere between 40-60 are nibbling at running for President in 2020. Senator Elizabeth Warren discovered her Indian DNA (sorta), opened an exploratory Committee for the Presidency, and chugged a beer to identify with the Millennials. Congressman Beto, Robert Francis, O’Rourke is the media’s chosen heartache for the Presidency in 2020. Beto just lost a Senatorial race. But then again, so did Abraham Lincoln. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a primary for Congress with a total of 16,000 votes and is now the prima donna of the young Democrats, but Nancy Pelosi clearly remains the Speaker of the House. She is the queen. Did the Representative really graduate third in her class at Boston University? Just asking! The ethically charged Michael Avenatti, labeled the “porn attorney” for representing the porn thespian Stormy Daniels, stretched his 15 minutes of fame, but has dropped out of the 2020 presidential election. Florida once again messed up a vote count in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The courts did not get involved. Speaking of Florida – A monkey jumped on a Pasco, Florida man’s chest during his arrest for grand theft auto. Disneyworld banned a man from the Disney parks because he held up a “Trump 2020” on Splash Mountain. To the best of my knowledge, they have not banned young women who have flashed their beats on “Flash” Mountain. A women’s march proposed for Humboldt County on January 19, 2019 was cancelled in 2018 because the marchers would overwhelmingly be white! The county is 74% white. I thought Republicans could hold onto 2 of their 4 Orange County Congressional seats. I was wrong; the Democrats won them all, and joined Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York as one party Blue States. Witches have objected to President Trump referring to the Mueller Investigation as a witch-hunt. The once popular, conservative Weekly Standard, heart of the Republican Never Trumpers, shut down in December. The kicker is that while several democrats are visiting Iowa and New Hampshire during the winter, but California has advanced the date of its primary. President/dictator Recep Erdogan, who has imprisoned hundreds of journalists, shuttered newspapers, limits access to the world wide web, and jailed tens of thousands of citizen, and is killing Kurds emerged as the hero in the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Go figure. Erdogan is very smart. The world is on a Jihad against plastic straws. The Los Angeles Rams (12-3) and Los Angeles Charges (12-4) have a better record than the New England Patriots (11-5) Philadelphia won the Super Bowl, and barely made it into the playoffs this year. Urban Meyer and Ohio State football had another ethics scandal. Ex-coach Meyer has been appointed Assistant Athletic Director at Ohio State and is co-teaching a class in character and leadership at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. It remains me of a great accounting Professor, Joseph Peter Simini, at USF. He said take his course in auditing. He believed that to catch a crook should learn how to be a crook. He would provide 25 case lessons in corporate cheating. He outdid himself with about 50. Urban Meyer has much to draw upon between The Ohio State University football team, his Florida Gators teams, and perhaps the SEC. Both Coach Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh are sons of Ohio. They were born 7 months apart in the same Toledo hospital. Michigan once again lost the last games of the season, but did surpass my expectations for the team. An eagle landed on the arm of a fan during the National Anthem in the Cotton Bowl. Is Alabama again playing Clemson (ACC) for the national title? The disgraced basketball coach Rick Pitino is now coaching basketball in Greece. He won’t have to worry about player recruiting and academics. Sister Jean Delores of Loyola Chicago was the star of the NCAA final. She even became the recipient of the Sister Jean bobblehead doll. Loyola lost, but Villanova, another Catholic University, won. Sadly, Michigan came in second. Sears, where America used to shop, is quickly liquidating itself into oblivion along with Kmart. Will Toys r’ Us, founded in 1948 in New Jersey by Charles Lazarus, emphasis on the word Lazarus, which collapsed in the summer, rise from the dead? Detroit is pulling the plug on sedans. Ford will be down to the Mustang. The Japanese and Koreans are doing very well with sedans. A score of cane toads in Australia were filmed trying to hump a python. Two Non-humorous Comments on 2018 The War on Cops is escalating with 144 killed in the line of duty in 2018, up 12% from 2017. 52 were killed by guns, up from 46 in 2017. The Nation’s homeless problem, most pronounced in West Coast cities, is rapidly becoming a modern American tragedy with no easy answer.