Town Council Cancels Meeting to Blow Up Bloomingdale

No sooner had I torn the paid ad from Save Federal Hill out of the Sunday Suburban Trends than I discovered the Wednesday edition of the newspaper had landed on my porch, a day late, as usual.

The town council has cancelled the July 30 (today) Planning Board meeting, at which the feasibility of allowing to Tilcon to mine the rest of Federal Hill (and other hills) for the next 50 years.

This discovery came just as another rumble shook my little condominium unit. Another piece of Bloomingdale had just been blown into history. Somewhere, Obama was undoubtedly smiling. These disconcerting explosions are like the distant thunder of war, the cannons of Social Justice blowing our little suburb, nestled in the peaceful, rolling hills of northern New Jersey, into oblivion.

The new Trends article states:

“The Borough Council has hired ‘experts’ to help determine the economic, demographic, and fiscal impacts of the current state of the Meer Tract, the proposed quarry expansion and affordable housing zone, and to look at whether a housing development that includes market-rate and affordable dwelling units is a viable use of the property.   In the meantime, the July 30 Planning Board hearing on a proposed amendment to the master plan, which would provide a quarry overlay district on the Meer Tract, has been cancelled.”

The article goes on to state:

“At its July 21 meeting, the governing body hired Richard Reading Associates, a Princeton-based marketing consulting firm at a cost projected between $12,000 and $14,000, and the Otteau Group of East Brunswick, which are property value experts, at a cost not to exceed $17,500. The experts’ fees will be paid by Tilcon.”

“Mayor Dunleavy said Richard Reading Associates will examine the economic, demographic, and fiscal implications of the current, undeveloped use of the property, and the prospective use of quarrying, reclamation, and related industrial uses on a portion of the Meer property adjacent to the property already owned by Tilcon, and an additional section of the property being developed for an inclusionary housing project containing a total of 360 housing units including 72 affordable housing units. The consultants will also examine the independent development of the property by [the] Meer [estate] for the court-approved affordable housing use. In the event the Tilcon quarrying expansion did not move forward, the owners of the Meer property could continue to offer the property for sale to a housing developer that may want to undertake the inclusionary development providing that site improvements did not render the development economically unfeasible.

“According to Reading’s proposal to the borough, the site improvement costs, which are being prepared independently by the Otteau Group, will be a key determinant in the potential for development without a quarry expansion. If the affordable housing were not developed on the Meer property, it is possible that these 72 units must be provided elsewhere in Bloomingdale through the addition of another affordable housing site or a municipally-owned project. A municipally-sponsored 100 percent affordable housing unit project would likely require land acquisition costs and operating deficits for the borough and the school district that would not be offset by market units.”

Note the reporter’s use of the word “inclusionary.” This is the new code developed after Obama’s recent executive order deeming any community that does not meet even the appearance of complying with affordable housing, does not have the requisite percentage of minority population, the courts, acting on behalf of the federal government, will force the towns to accommodate them.

Bloomingdale, like over 400 other towns in New Jersey, made the mistake of signing on to Sustainable Jersey and all that that organization’s overreaching mandates imply. Obama’s power is great indeed, in that he can blow up granite – one of the hardest rocks known to geology – hillsides. (We call them mountains here, but they’re actually hills in anyone else’s definition).

Back in the 1980s another study was done on the prospect of developing Federal Hill. Engineers and other experts deemed that, while the hills are not high, their grade is extremely steep, which made development unfeasible. The only alternative was to allow Tilcon – whose contract to mine Federal Hill and vicinity ran out in 2011 – to continue mining until they completely flattened the area.

Federal Hill – which includes Washington Hill, the now-flattened Riverdale Hill, and Bloomingdale Hill – has always been a site of controversy. Originally, the hills served as watchtowers for the Colonial Militia to signal the approach of the British Regulars.

In the winter of 1781, starving militia, unpaid for months, resolved to mutiny and stage a march on Washington, D.C. They were soon caught and returned to Federal Hill. A trial was held and the three ringleaders were sentenced to execution. One pleaded for mercy, but the other two were executed. The order was for their own troops to fire upon them, or be executed themselves.

The decision was a hard one for Gen. Washington, waiting at nearby Ringwood Manor, where iron was forged for the chain across the Hudson. He felt he had no choice but to take a hard line in the matter. He couldn’t afford to allow even one mutiny – even one that could be justified on humanitarian grounds – to succeed or the effort at independence would fail.

During World War I, Federal Hill was used as a munitions depot. Although it has probably been blasted away by now, there used to be a site called “The Iron Door.” This was a mysterious door that locked from the inside. The Iron Door was an object of curiosity for children and teenagers for several generations.

Then, during World War II, or just prior to it, a National Socialist Youth Group based in Berlin, Germany, bought the tract of land to use as a summer campsite. The Nazi Bund Camp, it was called by the locals. Bergenwald I believe it was called in German.  Bergwald!  That was it.  I was close.

Even the KKK was unhappy with its presence. After World War II broke, the federal government investigated the site and forced the owners off the hillside. Federal Hill overlooked a rocket base in Pompton Plains, the nearby DuPont Chemical Plant in Pompton Lakes which made mercury for gunsights necessary for the infantry fighting in Europe and Japan, and the railroad line which delivered rubber from the rubber factory in Butler to the seaports to the east.

In short, Federal Hill was the ideal spot for a spy to report on munitions activities.

In the 1950s or 60s, the property was turned over to local mining operations. Still, the remains of the Nazi Bund Camp was attractive to hikers and vagrants. We often hiked up there when we were children (accompanied by our mother and our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Brownie).

But the vagrants and the hippies were becoming a problem, and in the late Sixties the Bloomingdale Fire Department burned the shacks down. Inside the shacks, before they were destroyed, local teenagers found record books noting the names of all the Alliance families in the area (the Alliance was – and is – a merger of the KKK and the Neo-Nazis).

Whatever might have happened in those woods – and usually does happen in wooded areas – Federal Hill served as a buffer between Bloomingdale and the increasingly hardened urban world to the East. Obama and his minions will not suffer that barrier to stand, especially given its history.

Federal Hill would serve as another buffer – against nuclear war. It could very well serve, with its hard, granite foundation, as a buffer against any coming nuclear strike. Bloomingdale and the communities beyond might be spared the worst, if not all, of the initial effects of a blast coming from New York City.

The whole situation reminds me of the scene in the Harry Potter movie where Dolores Umbridge and her student minions blast open the door to the Room of Requirement where Harry Potter and his pals are forming Dumbledore’s Army.

I’m reminded every year when I have to have my older brother wax away the iron oxide from my red Saturn Vue. I’m reminded every time I hear the boom, boom, boom of the quarry blasts, and the sliding away of another slice of Bloomindale. I’m reminded when I read articles like the one I just quoted from the Suburban Trends, or hear the lies and false assurances personally from Mayor Dunleavy.

What’s happening in Bloomingdale is happening all over the United States. There is no place, that I know of, where the blasting sounds so much like the thunder of war, a war being ordered by our own president.

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Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Save Federal Hill from Sustainable Development

Bloomingdalers, former Bloomingdalers, and Pompton Lakes residents take note:

Tomorrow night, July 30, 2015, there will be a meeting of Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy and the Bloomingdale Planning Board at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers to decide the fate of Federal Hill.

The Mayor and the Planning Board are considering allowing Tilcon Mining and 50-year expansion that will virtually flatten the hill. In exchange for allowing the expansion, at the end of that period, Tilcon will return the land to Bloomingdale, which will, in turn, use the land for Affordable Housing.

The Save Federal Hill organization put a paid advertisement in the Suburban Trends today, reading:

“To all Bloomingdale residents and neighbors,

At the last Planning Board meeting, we were told that Tilcon’s proposed move into the Meer Tract [Federal Hill] was ‘court-ordered.’ This is not true; no court has ordered this expansion. We were also told, by the Planning Board attorney, that he will advise the Board to vote for the Master Plan Amendment, which will set the stage for Tilcon’s proposed move into the Meer Tract. The decision could be made at the July 30 Planning Board meeting.

We need your support at this meeting to:

  • Tell Mayor Dunleavy and his Planning Board that you do not want Tilcon expanding into Federal Hill.
  • Tell them you do not support crashing home values.
  • Tell them you do not support the incessant noise, dust, and potential cracks in your walls that Tilcon’s quarry blasting may cause.
  • Tell them you do not support the spreading of misinformation.

Here is what really happened. In 2007, a New Jersey judge ordered that affordable housing be built on the Meer Tract. Then, in 2013, another New Jersey judge ordered that quarrying could take place at the site if local officials allowed it. In his decision, the judge gave Bloomingdale a choice, not an order.

Now it is your time to be heard. Come to the meeting and tell them you choose peace and quiet over blasting, truth over lies, and environmental preservation over destruction.”

[Paid for by Save Federal Hill]

Bloomingdale is a signature to Sustainable New Jersey:

RESOLUTION #2009-3.2

OF THE GOVERNING BODY

OF THE BOROUGH OF BLOOMINGDALE

Supporting participation in the Sustainable Jersey Municipal Certification Program

WHEREAS, a sustainable community seeks to optimize quality of life for its residents by

ensuring that its environmental, economic, and social objectives are balanced and

mutually supportive; and

WHEREAS, the Borough of Bloomingdale strives to save tax dollars, assure clean land,

air and water, improve working and living environments as steps to building a sustainable

community that will thrive well in the new century; and

WHEREAS, the Borough of Bloomingdale hereby acknowledges that the residents of

Bloomingdale desire a stable, sustainable future for themselves and future generations;

and

WHEREAS, the Borough of Bloomingdale wishes to support a model of government

which benefits our residents now and far into the future by exploring and adopting

sustainable, economically-sound, local government practices; and

WHEREAS, by endorsing a sustainable path, the Borough of Bloomingdale is pledging

to educate itself and community members further about sustainable activities and to

develop initiatives supporting sustainable local government practices; and

WHEREAS, as elected representatives of the Borough of Bloomingdale, we have a

significant responsibility to provide leadership which will seek community-based

sustainable solutions to strengthen our community;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that to focus attention and effort within the

Borough of Bloomingdale on matters of sustainability, the Governing Body of the

Borough of Bloomingdale wishes to pursue local initiatives and actions that will lead to

Sustainable Jersey Municipal Certification; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Governing Body of the Borough of Bloomingdale

that we do hereby authorize Councilwoman Linda Huntley to serve as the Borough’s

agent for the Sustainable Jersey Municipal Certification process and authorize

Councilwoman Linda Huntley to complete the Municipal Registration on behalf of the

Borough of Bloomingdale.

Record of Council Vote on Passage

COUNCILMAN AYE NAY Abstain Absent COUNCILMAN AYE NAY Abstain Absent

Altfield X Marinaro X

Crum X Specchio X

Huntley X Vroom X

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of a Resolution adopted by the

Governing Body of the Borough of Bloomingdale at an Official Meeting held on

Tuesday, March 10, 2009.

___________________________________

Jane McCarthy, R.M.C.

Municipal Clerk, Borough of Bloomingdale

The table of the Record Council Vote on Passage did not copy properly; the council approved the resolution unanimously.

Notice the date: March 10, 2009. Obama had been in office less than two months, but already his Sustainable America operation was at work. 472 New Jersey communities participated; 176 have been certified.

Sustainable America is an outgrowth of Agenda 21, an outgrowth itself of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.

The purpose of Agenda 21 was multifold, seeking to govern the environment, property rights, the redistribution of wealth, and a number of other issues. Pres. Clinton signed onto the proposal in 1992.

Agenda 21 found itself with a problem once it began advocating in the United States: Americans had a very negative view of the United Nations and any programs it sponsored. So, the Agenda 21 name was changed to Sustainable Growth, Sustainable Development, and in 2009, to Sustainable America. The program also went by the name of Regionalization, the object of which is to ultimately absorb the suburbs into the precincts of the nearest major city. In our case, it is not even Paterson, but Newark.

From there, Sustainable America went grassroots, opening up chapters in every state, and planting operatives, posing as consultants or acting as attorneys, in every region, offering their “services” to Zoning and Planning Boards. I snuffed out the consultant in Lincoln Park, when I was reporting for the Suburban Trends, immediately – and he soon caught onto me.

This seizure of Federal Hill is absolute Agenda 21/Sustainable Growth. Bloomingdalers already know how affordable housing is working out. Taking over Federal Hill will absolutely change the nature of Bloomingdale forever – geographically, culturally, environmentally, and politically.

We residents of Pompton Lakes (I moved here from Bloomingdale in 1996) are also affected by the expansion of this quarry, especially we, the residents of the Sunny Gardens Condominium Complex (a former garden apartment complex built in 1970).

We are directly across Route I-287 from the Tilcon quarry. In recent years, we’ve discovered our cars have been pitted with iron ore. I own a red Saturn, so it was hard to detect. My brother noticed it, though, when he waxed my car. Last summer, Sunny Gardens’ residents suddenly found that their cars were pocked with red marks.

Iron oxide was my guess. A friend who knew his elements confirmed that guess. Iron oxide that had travelled eastward on westerly winds from the quarry across the highway. The president of our condominium association approached the town planner with this complaint. The board told her that it was a matter for the EPA and that it was not within the jurisdiction of Pompton Lakes to deal with this problem.

On a side note, as I predicted, the residents of the Pompton Lakes Plume have suddenly found themselves stripped of their victim identity now that DuPont has paid out all the money it can in claims. The EPA has told the residents that there is no more danger of mercury contamination in that area and that they can all go home.

Don’t listen to these government functionaries, Bloomingdale and Pompton Lakes residents. Obama’s plan is to “transform” [read “destroy”] the suburbs in the name of “social justice.” As the Save Federal Hill organizers have noted, Bloomingdale’s property values, already not good, will plummet. As inner city residents begin moving in, our quality of life will also plummet. You can’t have helped but notice the filth littering our streets. You do know what a disaster Common Core (the educational element of Agenda 21) has been for New Jersey. Bloomingdale students in grades 3 through 5 received some of the lowest NJASK scores in Literacy and Math in our Route 23 corridor area.

Matters will certainly worsen if Tilson is allowed to quarry the Meer Tract.

I knew about this matter long before it was published in The Trends. I was at the first town council meeting, and a subsequent meeting, when these plans were announced. In objecting to Avalon Bay Bloomingdale, on behalf of my mother who is a Bloomingdale resident, the mayor told me there was nothing they could do because the area had been declared an “urban blight zone.”   In the North Jersey woods. Thanks to people dumping there, the EPA had all the ammunition it needed.

He also said that it had been a court order and that it could be worse; they could be forced to develop the Meer Tract, which involve hundreds of more high-density units.

“You wouldn’t want to see that happen?” he asked. “If we comply now, we’ll have met our quota.”

I asked him about the possibility that Union Avenue, a winding, two-lane country road with many blind curves and many homes along the way, would be widened to accommodate the increased traffic from Avalon Bay.

The council stated that the only traffic construction planned was a left-turn light on Union Avenue. The map shows, with the addition of the Meer Tract, that Union Avenue will, indeed, be widened, and all those homes wiped off the map.

Conveniently enough, Bloomingdale also allowed Passaic County Community College to build a campus extension off of Union Avenue. That is one of the mandates of Agenda 21/Sustainable Development, etc.: to build colleges and retail stores close to the affordable housing. New Jersey Transit also rerouted one of its bus lines to pick up passengers along this narrow road.

The second time I spoke with the mayor, when I learned the Meer Tract was now under consideration, I again registered my complaint. And like the last meeting, no reporter was present from the local newspaper.

“Oh, that’s 50 years from now,” he said. “No one will be here who’ll remember the town the way it was.”

Make your voices heard tomorrow night, Bloomingdale residents, knowing that the town receives funding and tax abatement for its agreement to Sustainable Jersey.

This is your taxes going towards turning our beloved suburban/rural town with its gently rolling hills and streams into a slum, another future ward of Newark.

Published in: on July 29, 2015 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mr. Cruz Goes to Washington

Sen. Ted Cruz has been making a name – and a nuisance of himself, at least to the GOP – in the United States Senate.  The senator from Texas had the temerity to take on the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and call him a liar to his face in front of a gathering of Senate Republicans – on C-SPAN, no less.

And we thought The Donald came out swinging.  Trump is a lot taller than Cruz and fills out his suits much better, being of greater bulk than Sen. Cruz.  This son of Cuban immigrants wasn’t taking any flack from the GOP Establishment, though.  He’s been at it since he was elected in 2012.  The Media – and the Republicans – were just silent on this Conservative Attack Dog.  They didn’t want Tea Party Conservatives getting any ideas about challenging them for leadership of the GOP, evidently

In a letter to his supporters, Cruz wrote recently, “The Washington Cartel is at it again. This time, we’ve been betrayed by the Senate Majority Leader. “Three times the Senate Majority Leader lied as he looked me in the eyes… “Some time ago, I asked the Senate Majority Leader if he had cut a deal to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank — a classic example of cronyism and corporate welfare — in order to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and, three times, he said there was no deal.

 

National Review:
Over the objections of ineducable progressives – and of conservatives who really should know better – Pres. Obama signed into law the…trade-promotion authority (TPA bill). It simply allows the president to submit trade agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote, a feature of U.S. trade policy for decades, and a useful one, too.  It became controversial partly because Conservatives distrust the president, not without reason, which led some of them to resist this commonplace measure; partly because 2016 presidential contenders in both parties are looking for a fight; partly because trade is an issue ripe for cheap demagoguery; partly because the Left hates international trade, per se; and, not least, because TPA was caught up in a controversy over the trade deal currently being negotiated, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a hate totem to the Buchananite Right and to the Warrenite Left, which objects to the proposal’s extension of U.S.-style intellectual property protections, and to the fact that some for-profit enterprise might profit from it.  This latest bill extends TPA for six years, and we hope that President Cruzpaulbio makes fuller use of it than his predecessor has.
“Friday morning, the Majority Leader demonstrated that he had not told the truth. He brought up the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank — putting the taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars of loan guarantees that go primarily to a handful of giant corporations. “Why? “Because that’s what the Washington Cartel wanted. Career politicians in both parties are so concerned with staying in power at all costs, that they get in bed with lobbyists and special interests and listen to them rather than the American people.
“Today,” Cruz writes, “we have government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists. Now, the long knives are coming out because I dared to tell you and the rest of America the truth and expose what was really happening behind closed doors in Washington. “People are rightfully frustrated because Republicans keep winning elections, and then our leaders don’t do a single thing that they said they were going to do. “We see far too many ‘campaign conservatives’ – [sic] conservatives [politicians] who pretend to be conservatives on the campaign trail, but when it comes time to step up and govern, they don’t govern based upon what they promised us in their stump speeches. “It’s time to change that. It’s time to break [up] the Washington Cartel — I have pulled no punches, and I am enemy number one on the establishment hit list.

“We’ve seen before how to defeat the Washington Cartel. In 1980, the Reagan Revolution came from the American people. “The incredible outpouring of grassroots support, of volunteers, of over 175,000 donations to our campaign to reignite liberty is so encouraging. The only way we can break this cycle and force leaders to actually stand for conservative principles is with a grassroots tsunami. “I truly believe 2016 is going to be an election like 1980 — a grassroots tsunami. “We’re going to win. We’re going to do it by painting in bold colors. And most importantly, we’re going to do it with your support.

Here’s The New York Times’ account:

WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Cruz, the sometimes-incendiary Texan running for the Republican presidential nomination, took to the Senate floor on Friday to call his party’s majority leader a liar in an extraordinary public airing of grievance.

Mr. Cruz, an ardent opponent of the federal Export-Import Bank, reacted in starkly personal terms after the leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, allowed a vote pressed by a bipartisan group of senators to resurrect the government’s export credit agency.

That vote will come Sunday in a rare weekend session of Congress called to rush forward a major infrastructure bill before the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money July 31.

“I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie,” Mr. Cruz said of Mr. McConnell, who he said had promised him there was no deal to bring the Export-Import Bank matter up for a vote.

Mr. Cruz said allowing that vote on the measure, which will almost certainly pass, was “an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie.”

The outburst breached the Senate’s decorum — and perhaps its rules, which preclude a senator from using “any form of words” to “impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” Mr. McConnell and his staff declined to comment.

Aides to Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he also would not comment on Mr. Cruz’s speech.

Mr. Cruz has been a combative figure since his arrival in the Senate in 2013, when he helped shut down the government in a fruitless effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. He also pressed to shut down the Department of Homeland Security this year over President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

While Mr. Cruz frequently challenges Democrats, he has largely refrained from attacking fellow Republicans.

“In my time in the Senate, I haven’t impugned the character of Republicans or Democrats, and I don’t intend to start today,” he said this month when pressed to condemn a fellow Republican White House hopeful, Donald J. Trump, who had questioned Senator John McCain’s wartime heroism.

On Friday, Mr. Cruz held nothing back. He detailed what he said was a closed-door confrontation he had with Mr. McConnell in May, after supporters of the Export-Import Bank tried to derail a trade bill unless they were promised a vote to keep the bank open.

“It was a direct question I asked the majority leader in front of all the Republican senators,” he said. He said that Mr. McConnell had been “visibly angry” and that “like St. Peter,” the majority leader had offered a denial three times: “There is no deal, there is no deal, there is no deal.”

Far from backing down, Mr. Cruz joined the conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh on Friday afternoon, basking in Mr. Limbaugh’s praise for a “direct hit” on leadership like none he could remember.

“It’s not a good day when the majority leader is willing to lie to the Senate,” Mr. Cruz told Mr. Limbaugh.

Tea Party groups, the Heritage Foundation’s political arm, and Charles G. and David H. Koch’s Freedom Partners rushed to Mr. Cruz’s defense.

Support for the Export-Import Bank in both the House and Senate is sufficient to restore it if Republican leaders allow a vote. On June 30, the authorization ran out on the agency, which offers loan guarantees and other assistance to the foreign customers of American exporters.

Businesses – powered by some of the nation’s biggest corporations, like Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar — have been pressing to reopen it, arguing that the Conservative war on the agency is costing American jobs in the service of a purely ideological fight. On the other side of the money fight, Delta Air Lines, the Kochs, Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation are fueling the opposition.

Mr. Cruz framed the fight as one pitting “the Washington cartel of the lobbyists on K Street, or the big money and big corporations,” against the American taxpayer.

Money has in fact sloshed through both sides of the fight. Among Republican presidential candidates, only Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, where Boeing operations benefit from Export-Import Bank financing, supports restoring the agency.

Mr. McConnell, in allowing a vote Sunday afternoon to reopen the bank, was careful to say he personally opposed it. At the same time, he offered conservatives a compromise in the form of a separate amendment to the highway bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Cruz called that “an empty show vote.”

“The Republican leader is behaving like the senior senator from Nevada,” Mr. Cruz said, accusing Mr. McConnell of running the Senate the same way his predecessor, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, operated.

In a test vote last month, 65 senators, Republican and Democrat, showed that they would vote for the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization. In the House, 60 Republicans have signed on to legislation to reopen new lending activity at the bank, more than enough to pass a bill that has overwhelming Democratic support.

The question is whether Speaker John A. Boehner will buck the opposition of other Republicans on his leadership team to allow the Senate’s bank amendment to come to a vote.

ABC News/Fox News/The Associated Press reported thusly:

Senators overruled heated conservative opposition Monday and added a measure reviving the federal Export-Import Bank to must-pass highway legislation. But House Republicans declared the Senate transportation bill dead on arrival.

The developments set the two chambers on a collision course days ahead of a crucial highway deadline in the midst of the summer driving season. And the ultimate outcomes on the highway bill and the Export-Import Bill were uncertain, although it looked likely late Monday that Congress would consider a short-term highway extension.

As House members convened Monday for their final days of work before an annual August recess, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy ruled out taking up the Senate’s highway bill, which cleared a procedural hurdle Monday and is headed for completion in the next several days.

“We’re not taking up the Senate bill,” the California Republican told reporters at the Capitol, adding that the Senate should instead take up the bill already passed by the House. “My best advice to the Senate is to get our highway bill moved forward,” he said.

Hours later, in a hectic late-night session, the Senate voted 64-29 to include the provision reviving the Export-Import Bank as an amendment to its version of the highway bill. The bank, a federal agency that underwrites loans to help foreign customers buy U.S. goods, expired June 30 amid Conservative opposition.

Supporters in the business community say the bank is necessary for U.S. competitiveness, but Conservatives say it amounts to corporate welfare, and their objections pushed the vote Monday well past 10 p.m.

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has led an angry charge against the bank and clashed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about it, lashed out at McConnell over the outcome. “He turned his back on the American people and allowed one of the worst examples of corporate welfare our nation has ever known to be resurrected from the dead,” Cruz

said.

But the Senate action on the Export-Import Bank does not guarantee its continued survival since the House’s transportation bill does not include the bank. The House bill is a five-month extension of current programs while the Senate’s version authorizes $350 billion in transportation programs for six years, though only three of those are paid for.

Authority for federal highway aid payments to states will expire Friday at midnight without action. At the same time, if Congress doesn’t act before then, the balance in the federal Highway Trust Fund is forecast to drop below a minimum cushion of $4 billion that’s necessary to keep aid flowing smoothly to states.

House Republican leaders say their approach would buy them time to try to come up with a tax reform deal coveted by the White House and some leaders in both parties, and use that to pay for an even longer-term highway bill. But McConnell has said publicly and privately that such a deal will be all but impossible to achieve. He wants to move legislation now to dispense with the highway issue at least through next year’s elections, give certainty to states and avoid repeated fights over the issue.

“Time is running out to get this bill through Congress. We’re up against a deadline at the end of week,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor. “Jobs are on the line. Important infrastructure projects are too.”

Especially in Kentucky.

Then, the EXIM website explains its existence this way:

The EXIM Bank is a demand-driven institution that empowers U.S. exporters to increase their sales abroad and support quality jobs at home. When American businesses are unable to access private export financing, EXIM fills the gaps by equipping them with the tools necessary to compete for global sales. In doing so, the Bank levels the playing field for U.S. exporters facing stiff foreign competition in overseas markets. No transaction is too small for EXIM.

While most of our website is devoted to U.S. Exporters, you can also find dedicated pages here on our website for brokers, lenders, congressional and government stakeholders, U.S. product importers, trade and city partners, media, and current customers.

For more than 80 years, Ex-Im Bank has worked to ensure a level playing field for U.S. exporters in a competitive global marketplace, and filled the gaps when the private sector is unable or unwilling to finance U.S. exports. In FY 2014, Ex-Im supported 164,000 U.S. jobs through $20.5 billion in export finance authorizations.

Ex-Im operates under authority  provided by Congress.  Sixteen times, bipartisan majorities  in  Congress have reauthorized Ex-Im Bank. Since Ex-Im’s most recent reauthorization (the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-122) (link is external), the Bank has implemented more than a dozen reforms.  In addition, Ex-Im continues  to work to meet its Congressional mandates and directives requiring support for small business, environmentally beneficial exportsminority- and woman-owned business exports,  and exports to eligible markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ex-Im Bank operates at no cost to taxpayers. Ex-Im has been able to accomplish this because, like any bank, Ex-Im charges fees and interest on our loan guarantee, insurance, and direct loan programs, the result being that Ex-Im Bank does not rely on taxpayer resources to sustain operations. As a result, over the past two decades Ex-Im has generated approximately $7 billion in excess revenues for the U.S. Treasury to be used for deficit reduction—making it one of the few government agencies to actually generate a surplus for American taxpayers.

The Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA) is the primary point of contact for Congress and state and local governments at Ex-Im. OCIA informs and educates elected officials and their staff on how Ex-Im Bank supports American jobs through financing exports of U.S. goods and services. In addition, OCIA responds to Congressional concerns, prepares Ex-Im officials for Congressional hearings, and helps elected officials to educate their constituents on Ex-Im financing tools through hosting local events.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) is an independent, self-sustaining agency with an 80-year record of supporting U.S. jobs by financing the export of American goods and services.

As you’ll read further down, that claim of self-sustaining independence is highly questionable.

Finally, we turn to Wikipedia for an explanation of this confusing (to average Americans) issue:

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) was, until June 30, the official export credit agency of the United States federal government.  Operating as a government coporation, the bank finances and insures foreign purchases of United States goods for customers unable or unwilling to accept credit risk. According to its charter, the Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders, but rather provides financing for transactions that would otherwise not take place because commercial lenders are either unable or unwilling to accept the political or commercial risks inherent in the deal. Its current chairman and president is Fred P. Hochberg.

The bank was established in 1934 by an executive order, and made an independent agency in the Executive Branch by Congress in 1945. It was last chartered for a three-year term in 2012 and extended in September 2014 through June 30, 2015. Congressional authorization for the bank lapsed as of July 1, 2015. As a result, the bank cannot engage in new business, but it continues to manage its existing loan portfolio.

Supporters claim that the bank is especially focused on trying to help small and medium size businesses expand their exporting capabilities. CEO and President of the National Association of Manufacturers, Jay Timmons stated: “The Ex-Im Bank plays a critical role in manufacturer’s ability to export to new markets and keep up with growing global competition. The Bank supports nearly 290,000 export related jobs and each year is helping more and more small and medium-sized manufacturers grow their businesses and hire new workers. More than 85 percent of all Ex-Im transactions directly benefit small business exporters—the economic engine that powers our economy and job creation.”

In an undated fact sheet compiled by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Oscar Ramirez, the President of a small business offering various products to the petroleum industry, gave his support for the Export-Import Bank: “We find the Ex-Im Bank very useful. The commercial banks will not lend us $1.7 million without the Ex-Im loan guarantee, and without the line of credit we would not be in business. All receivables are foreign and no commercial bank will lend against those receivables. We export tanks, dispensers, and signage for gas stations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. We employ 35 people—but couldn’t do it without the Bank.”

Jenny Fulton, the owner of Miss Jenny’s Pickles, a small North Carolina food manufacturer, used Ex-Im’s export-credit insurance to export her pickles to China. After only 3 years of business, Fulton and her business partner have expanded their business to 1,000 stores in the U.S. and 40 stores in China. By putting more emphasis on exporting in China she expects her export sales to increase by 400 percent. She comments that: “Ex-Im Bank’s export-credit insurance enables us to offer terms to our foreign buyers, so they don’t have to pay for the whole order at once…Our export sales have permitted us to hire our first full-time employee and four part-time employees, and with the new orders from China supports by Ex-Im’s Express Insurance, we hope to turn those part-time jobs into full-timers by the end of the year.” Fulton’s story was featured on a segment of the CBS-TV News program 60 Minutes.

Air Tractor Vice President of Finance David Ickert has said that Air Tractor believes “the Export-Import Bank is essential to exports of U.S. products. For instance, in FY 2011, Ex-Im was involved with 3,751 transactions that supported nearly $42 billion in exports from more than 3,600 U.S. companies. Of those transactions, 3,247–87 percent—were with small-business exporters. All of those transactions added up to $6 billion in Ex-Im financing in FY 2011. The Ex-Im Bank Pays for itself (through the fees it charges to foreign buyers) and–above and beyond that–returns money to the U.S. treasury. From 2006 to 2010, Ex-Im Bank returned $3.4 billion to the Treasury. Ex-Im has maintained its incredibly low default rate (1.5%) through the recession and through several years of record growth.” In addition, on behalf of Air Tractor, Ickert said: “Exports have definitely meant jobs in this rural part of Texas, and Ex-Im Bank has helped us provide the export financing to increase our exports and break into new markets.”

Obama said during the Bank’s reauthorization battle in May 2012 that the Export-Import Bank plays a very important role in reaching his goal of doubling exports over five years. At the reauthorization ceremony President Obama stated: “We’re helping thousands of businesses sell more of their products and services overseas, in the process, we’re helping them create jobs here at home. And we’re doing it at no extra cost to the taxpayer.” When Obama was running for President in 2008, he stated that he wanted to shut down the Bank and cut all of the Bank’s funding, calling the Export-Import Bank a form of “corporate welfare.”

But – the cost and effectiveness of the bank are controversial. While the Ex-Im Bank projects to save the U.S. government $14 billion over 10 years, an alternative analysis from the Congressional Budget Office found that the program would actually lose about $2 billion over the same period, due in part to discrepancies in how credit risk is accounted for. Many Conservative groups have been highly critical of the bank, and called for its continued closure. Obama was highly critical of the bank during his presidential candidacy, but has since become a supporter of the program.

[Do they mean, once he found that high-risk green energy companies could be subsidized under EXIM, he changed his opinion of the bank?]

The Bank has come under criticism for favoring special interests ahead of those of the U.S. taxpayer. These interests have included corporations such as Boeing and Enron – all profitable corporations as well as foreign governments and nationals (such as a 1996 $120 million low-interest loan to the China National Nuclear Power Corporation (CNNP). Sixty-five percent of loan guarantees over 2007 and 2008 went to companies purchasing Boeing aircraft.

In 2012, the Bank’s loan guarantees became even more skewed, with 82 percent of them going to Boeing customers. There are many unseen costs created by the Export-Import Bank’s subsidies, including artificially raising the price of new airplanes and potentially adding $2 billion to the deficit over the next decade.

Forbes magazine contributor Doug Bandow wrote in 2014, “The agency piously claims not to provide subsidies since it charges fees and interest, but it exists only to offer business a better credit deal than is available in the marketplace. The Bank uses its ability to borrow at government rates to provide loans, loan guarantees, working capital guarantees, and loan insurance.” If the normal principles of economics or finance are applied, then it is unlikely that the bank has profited and most unlikely that it makes the annual profit that it has stated, because the bank’s calculations of profit fail to make proper adjustment for risk.

Best practice in finance and economics, as well as in banking, is to adjust the cost of capital or discount rate to reflect risk, or, equivalently, to use a fair-value estimate. On this basis the criticism is that: “This simple approach—which is based on a method outlined in a National Bureau of Economic Research paper by Debbie Lucas of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—suggests that the Ex-Im bank’s long-term loan guarantee program actually provides guarantees at a loss for taxpayers, not a profit. Moreover, this analysis reveals that the Ex-Im bank’s loan guarantees are made at sufficiently generous terms that borrowers receive subsidies of about 1 percent of the amount borrowed. That translates into a $200 million cost for taxpayers on the $21 billion in loans that the bank will make in 2012.”

Environmental groups say that under the Obama Administration the Ex-Im Bank is on a “fossil fuel binge,” which “makes a mockery” of President Obama’s stated commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. In December, 2009, Ex-Im Bank Directors approved $3 billion in financing for the Exxon-Mobile–led Papua New Guinea Liquid Gas project in December, 2009. The project has reportedly sparked violence and in April 2012, the Papua New Guinea government called in troops to quell opposition from villagers after a landslide linked to a quarry that had been used by the project killed an estimated 25 people.

In 2010, environmental groups criticized the Ex-Im Bank Directors for approving $917 million in financing for the 3,960 megawatt coal-fired Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in India after initially rejecting the project on climate change grounds. Environmental groups say that in reversing the decision the agency’s Chairman, Fred Hochberg and Board of Directors “caved in” to political pressure from Wisconsin politicians. In 2011, several environmental groups protested at Export-Import Bank headquarters, unsuccessfully urging Chairman Hochberg and Board of Directors to reject $805 million in financing for the 4,800 megawatt Kusile coal-fired power plant in South Africa, which environmental groups say is the largest carbon emitting project in the agency’s history, which will not alleviate poverty but will emit excessive local air pollution, which health experts say causes damage the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems and deaths resulting from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.

In 2012 three environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against Chairman Hochberg and the Ex-Im Bank for the agency’s financing of two liquid natural gas projects being constructed inside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The lawsuit alleges that Ex-Im Bank financing for the projects violates U.S. environmental and cultural heritage laws.

Conversely the Ex-Im Bank has also faced scrutiny for pursuing green energy projects. The Ex-Im bank provided 10 million dollars of loan guarantees to Solyndra in 2011, a company that ultimately went bankrupt. More recently the bank authorized 33.6 million dollars in loans to Abengoa, a Spanish Green energy company on which former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson sits on the board. As of May 2014, Richardson was also listed as a member of the advisory committee of the Export Import Bank. On the campaign trail in 2008, then candidate Obama called the bank “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”

At the beginning of September 2014, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives stated that they would reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank before its charter expires on September 30, giving it until June 2015 as part of a package to fund federal agencies, which was countered by criticism of Conservative groups for banks. Democrats and many Republicans say it supports middle-class American jobs through its funding to big companies. The banks’ funding is said to be part of a strategic bill to prevent a government shut-down and other strategic actions.

Okay (we’re back from Wikipedia Land, where the truth is always changing) so – those are the facts on the Ex-Im Bank controversy. Sen. Ted Cruz’ vocal opposition to a Senate bill that would have shut the bank permanently (as stated above, the Senate passed reauthorization, 64-29) stoked an uproar of controversy that drowned even Donald Trump’s own controversial presidential campaign.

Cruz’ public attack on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought on a counterattack by three senior Senators – Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, and John Cornyn – who took Cruz to task for defying Senate decorum by criticizing another senator.

“Squabbling and sanctimony may be tolerated in other venues and perhaps on the campaign trail, but they have no place among colleagues in the United States Senate,” said Hatch, the Senate’s president pro tempore.

“The Senate floor has even become a place where senators have singled out colleagues by name to attack them in personal terms, to impugn their character, in blatant disregard for Senate rules,” Hatch said. “Such misuses of the Senate floor must not be tolerated.”

Cruz rose to defend himself, declaring, “Speaking the truth about actions is entirely consistent with civility.”

All three senators have good Conservative scores, according to American for Prosperity’s Congressional Scorecard for the 114th Congress, 2014-2015 (Lifetime scores – Hatch, 85%; Alexander, 79%; Cornyn, 95%) – but Ted Cruz’ Lifetime Score is still higher – 98%.

Then again, Hatch, Alexander, and Cornyn scored somewhat lower on Conservative votes in the 113th Congress: 80%, 58%, and 89%, respectively, whereas Cruz came in at 95%, lower, but still 10 percent above Hatch, who scolded Cruz for “sanctimony.”

“Sanctimony?!” He was calling Cruz a hypocrite, when Cruz had a 95 percent Conservative rating from AFP last year, and currently is holding at 98 percent during this session of Congress? Hatch considers debating a form of “squabbling” when there are serious questions about the credibility of the EXIM Bank, which granted a loan to the now-defunct Solydra, which closed its doors before it ever opened?

Sen. Hatch believes the taxpayers shouldn’t call that into question via Sen. Cruz? EXIM specializes in high-risk loans to major corporations which, despite their high credit ratings, can’t get credit for loans for risky ventures. The bank also gives credit to minority businesses in high-risk urban areas. Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, only we watched as those kinds of businesses were torched in Ferguson and Baltimore.

That’s what high risk is all about. Loans to shaky governments, businesses operating in unsafe urban areas, to countries hostile to the United States for nuclear power plants, for crying out loud. Since the bank offers such low interest rates, how could it possibly prove profitable? During the financial crisis of 2008, as the Fed lowered the interest rate on savings and loans, banks went under as quickly as their bad loans did.

Where are these jobs the EXIM was supposed to create? Are any of them here in New Jersey, cause I’d sure like to apply? Oh – only state jobs. Too bad.

Keep on bucking them, Senator Cruz. You did great! Looking at your record, it’s obvious you don’t need boxing lessons from Donald Trump (although he’d probably be happy to oblige). Like New Jersey’s Congressman Garrett, you’ve been taking on the GOP Establishment from Day One.

Now that’s what American Conservatives are talking about!

Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Tale of Two New Jersey Congressmen

Congressmen Scott Garrett (R-Wantage, 5th Distr.) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Morristown, 11th Distr.) at a lengthy first glance are similar in appearance.  They have the same build, apparent height, and facial shape.  Scott Garrett’s hair is a shade darker than Rodney Frelinghuysen’s.

Both have served Northern New Jersey for a long time.  Both are Republicans.  Both are all too well aware of how Congress “works.”  But there the similarities end.

Because Frelinghuysen, actual representative, visited my former company’s offices in Parsippany many times.  I was able to question him about the politics of Washington in depth and find out why it was so difficult to get a Conservative message across.

Frelinghuysen is no Conservative.  Judging by his Congressional scorecard, published by Americans for Prosperity – he has a 40 percent Conservative vote – he’s not even a Moderate.  He’s a Liberal Republican.  Some Democrats vote more conservatively than he does.

Still, he really is a nice man and spoke with me about the workings of Congress.

When I reminded him, back around the middle of the last decade, that there were many Conservatives in the 5th District.  He said that demographic was changing, particularly in eastern Morris County, where younger voters were moving in with their Millennial Moderation.

“I have to listen to my constituency,” he said.

He also had to obey the commandments of the House Majority Leader, he said, who at the time, was Nancy Pelosi.

“Does she really wield that much power?” I asked.

“I know your mother,” he replied, “so I know she taught you well about politics.  I’m surprised you’d even ask.  Oh yes, the House Majority Leader wields absolute power.  If you don’t vote the way she wants you to – and Nancy Pelosi is terrible! – she can take away major committee positions.  Even though I have minority seats, they’re still on important committees.  You wouldn’t want me to lose them, would you?  Oh no, no, no.  I have to vote the way she orders me to!”

He hurried off to the next employee group and I followed him, as was my duty as a company photographer.

Another time, he met with our New Jersey executives.  They questioned him about a piece of legislation that would allow our company to do business over state lines without actually having a presence in that state.

He told them that would require legislation on a federal level and would work.

“But be careful what you wish for,” he advised.  Having the Federal government as an ally can be a double-edged sword.

I only met Congressman Scott Garrett, of the 5th District, this past 4th of July.  As I saw him coming down the street, I mistook him for his 11th District counterpart.  I was soon disabused of the mistaken identity.

Garrett, though of the same build, was not the mild-mannered Mr. Frelinghuysen.  When I commented to a friend (thinking it was Frelinghuysen and wondering what he was doing in Ridgewood) that he could tell us all about how Congress worked, Garrett said crossly, “Yeah, I can tell you all about how Congress works.”

Garrett is not one to tell you fussily and timidly that he must abide by the House Speaker’s commands.  Hardly.  He is his own Congressman and has a reputation for not only not voting by the House Speaker’s agenda, but actually criticizing the legislation and the Speaker, even in his own party, at his political peril.

These days, Garret – one of the most Conservative Congressman in the House of Representative – has been in the news quite a bit.  Gay activists are now picketing his office in Newton because he reportedly told Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee that he would no longer pay his dues to the National Republican Congressional Due because he didn’t want his money to go to funding homosexual candidates.

Yet in 2012, a source told Politico.com that Garrett donated money to the campaign of Richard Tisei, a gay Republican whom the NRCC also supported.

The news has taken awhile to catch up with the real issues in the Scott Garrett controversy.

According to today’s Bergen Record (they’ve been reporting on the story for a week or more, as Garrett’s constituency largely resides in Bergen County, “Garret…is a co—sponsor, along with Rep. Chris Smith, R-Mercer, of the First Amendment Defense Act, which would offer protections to people and groups who cite their religious beliefs when declining services to same-sex couples seeking to marry.”

Garrett denounced the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, voted against John Boehner for Speaker of the House in 2012, and opposed a rule in June that set up votes on a trade package that Obama considered important.

Closed committee meetings are typically wonkish, routine affairs. But Friday’s session of Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee broke that pattern in spectacular fashion, laying bare the growing acrimony and sense of disorder within the House Republican Conference.

The Record also noted that “Garrett’s position as the chairman of a subcommittee that regulates Wall Street and the mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be in jeopardy.  Subcommittee chairmen were reportedly told they would be expected to support the party on key votes and pay their dues to the NRCC, and Garrett ‘reportedly’ said he would not.”

Garrett told the Bergen Record, “You know how I voted for the speaker.  You know how I voted on the rule.  You know how I’ve not always supported leadership.  You know that I don’t necessarily support all the things they do.  So it’s somehow a surprise to you that I don’t necessarily support where they spend their money?”

While the Speaker of the House can put political pressure on Congressional representative, technically they’re not required to cast their vote in favor of the Speaker’s agenda nor do their dues to the NRCC constitute a mandatory obligation to do so.  That would be unconstitutional.

He also told the Bergen Record that he will continue to resist pressure to demonstrate his party loyalty if he believes a matter of principle is at stake.  Principle, not money.

However, Garrett is said to be attempting to comply with paying dues through subcommittees that do not involve issues with which he and the committee are at variance.

The whole fracas began with a report by Politico.com involving Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, of Texas:

“It started, according to multiple sources present, when Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told members that subcommittee chairmen are expected to pay their dues to the GOP’s campaign arm and to side with leaders on procedural votes that are critical to their ability to control the party’s legislative agenda.

“Hensarling was complying with recent demands for such loyalty from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“But his message seemed squarely aimed at one lawmaker: New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett. A Hensarling ally who chairs a prized Financial Services subcommittee, Garrett has angered GOP leaders and many members of the committee. He voted against Boehner’s bid for another term as speaker, bucked leadership on a critical procedural vote and has refused to pay National Republican Congressional Committee dues.

“Garrett first responded that his procedural vote against leadership was a matter of conscience. Then he stunned the room with this explanation: He had not supported the NRCC in the past, he said, because it actively recruited gay candidates and supported homosexuals in primaries.

“Some lawmakers grew noticeably angry, pointing out that the NRCC does not get involved in primaries, nor does it care about the sexual orientation of candidates. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a member of leadership who led the NRCC’s candidate recruitment during the 2014 election cycle, said that Richard Tisei, a gay Republican whom the NRCC supported, was ‘equally homosexual’ when Garrett donated directly to him in 2012, according to a source present.

“Garrett, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, has cut a deal of sorts. He has agreed to donate to the NRCC’s building fund and recount efforts, but not to the committee directly. Garrett’s office did not respond to requests for comment. The NRCC’s policy is that it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

“The episode, recounted by multiple sources present, illustrates how the Financial Services Committee has become ground zero in the battle between Republican leaders and the energized conservative wing of the House GOP conference.

“Leadership’s push to enforce party unity strikes at the heart of the panel, which oversees Wall Street and is one of the more powerful committees in Congress.  Garrett is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives that is slowing the GOP leadership’s agenda, but he also holds a subcommittee gavel.  Hensarling voted for Boehner for speaker but is often mentioned by Conservatives as a possible candidate for a leadership slot.

“Hensarling has also been the leading opponent of the Export-Import Bank, the recently expired government-backed institution that helped support U.S. companies who conduct business abroad. Boehner has said “thousands of jobs … would disappear pretty quickly if the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear.” The speaker said he will allow Hensarling to try to kill the bank if the Senate extends it as part of a must-pass bill. Hensarling, however, will likely lack the votes to do so.

“Unlike the Republican conference writ large, the financial services panel is composed of more middle-of-the-road, establishment conservative lawmakers than rabble-rousers. And those forces are sniping at Hensarling’s politics and policy.

“Lawmakers complain that he hasn’t held a markup since May. Three bills were pulled from consideration this week. K Street has long been frustrated with Hensarling’s management of the committee and what they see as his refusal to compromise to get legislation passed.

“In turn, lawmakers on the premier committee are actively considering ways to stifle him. Some Republicans, who spoke without attribution to discuss internal conversations, say they would attempt to band with Democrats to overrule Hensarling in committee when he begins to mark up bills.

“But even those who are frustrated say they can’t do much to get around Hensarling.

“’In the short answer, of course, the chairman is the chairman, for the next year-and-a-half, and more likely, for the next 3½ years,’” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who briefly considered a bid to unseat Hensarling. ‘But we do live in a time where there’s a lot of frustration within the conference in a variety of directions. Who knows when that will actually come to a boil?’

“David Popp, Hensarling’s spokesman, declined to comment on the closed committee meeting but defended the committee’s productivity.

“’The committee has marked up more bills during the first six months of the 114th Congress than it did during the first six months of the 113th Congress,’ Popp said. ‘Just this week, 11 committee bills were considered on the floor, and to date only two other committees have had more bills pass the House.  At the beginning of the year, all Republican members of the committee agreed to a committee agenda for the 114th Congress, and the committee is on schedule in fulfilling that agenda.’

“Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a fellow Texas Republican, said he has a ‘very good’ relationship with Hensarling.

“’He has policy views that not everybody agrees with, but he’s been very open with that, and I feel like he’s listened to everyone’s viewpoint,’ Neugebauer said in an interview. ‘I don’t sense a big problem.’

‘Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who is also on the panel, said he thinks Hensarling is “doing a good job.’

“Some of the frustration is rooted in Hensarling’s staunch and unflinching opposition to the Export-Import Bank. Some Republicans on the panel believe a vast majority of its members want to extend the bank’s charter or, short of that, craft a bill to wind the institution down gradually in order to ease the sting of job losses. Hensarling wants to kill it for good, and he has not opened the door to other options.

“Others gripe about what they consider the committee’s slow pace due to ideological fissures on the panel.

“’I think we’re always a little bit concerned that we’re not getting anything done,’ said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), a member of the committee. ‘Not necessarily any particular thing, but we’re always wanting to change the system and change some of the legislation that has been passed, but ultimately you can just do what you can do. You’ve got to have the votes to do it, and I think Jeb’s a good vote counter, so he’s probably doing what he could do, and what he can’t do, he just hasn’t been able to do.’

“Hensarling’s tenure as chairman has been marked by other controversies. He made housing reform one of his first targets, but a bill he authored to eliminate the government lending institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t garner enough support to make it to the House floor. He later struggled to pass a flood insurance bill before relenting to GOP leadership.

“Hensarling did successfully strike a deal to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

The Financial Services Committee is certainly not the only panel with drama. Just last month, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah attempted to strip Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) of his subcommittee gavel but was overruled by a majority of the committee. Meadows got his gavel back.

“It’s yet to be seen whether Hensarling’s tough talk to his fellow committee members will result in Garrett ponying up.

“The northern New Jersey Republican has not yet paid his dues to the NRCC. He has a

serious opponent this cycle. Josh Gottheimer, a former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, raised $412,000 last quarter and has almost $600,000 in the bank. NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon declined to say whether the campaign arm would get involved in that — or any —race.

“’I’m not going to talk about who we’re going to support and who we’re not going to support anywhere across the line, because hopefully we don’t have to come into races like that,’ Walden said of Garrett’s race. ‘He’s been able to raise a lot of money,  he’s got a lot of money in the bank — close to $3 million. My preference is we have members who pay their dues in full.’”

 

Zachary Warmbrodt contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/gop-garrett-hensarling-no-cash-for-campaign-arm-because-it-backs-gays-120201.html#ixzz3hBwXW4ea

The Bergen Record quoted the Rev. L.L. DuBreuil, pastor of the Faith Unity Church in Union as saying that the Garrett-Smith bill is “an abomination, unlike any other.  We’re here today [at Garrett’s Glen Rock office] because this is the last dying gasp of bigotry.”

“DuBreuil, who held up both a copy of the Bible and the Constitution, said the bill that Garrett is sponsoring would protect some people at the expense of others.

“’We can’t allow one book to overrun the other,” DuBreuil said.’”

As a resident of Pompton Lakes, I’m not allowed to confer with Congressman Garrett.  Any questions, comments or complaints I have must be directed to my own representative, Congressman Frelinghuysen.

Union is part of the 7th and 10th Congressional Districts.  Pastor DuBreuil should have taken her complaints to one of her own Congressional representatives, either Leonard Lance (R) or Donald Payne, Jr. (D).

Meanwhile, Congressman Garrett’s plight is just one more story in the internecine political warfare going on in the Republican Party between its leaders and its (minority) Conservative members.

The Record noted that Garrett will be facing a well-funded Clintonite opponent in the next election.  Given Hillary’s shaky campaign so far, Clinton’s assistance may not be of much help to this candidate.  Political Correctness and a compliant Media wagging its finger is more useful.

Will Garrett even want to serve another term?  We hope so.  We hope he’ll stay in the fight till the (probably) bitter end.  The political tide may yet turn, thanks to Donald Trump’s candidacy and Ted Cruz’ stepping up to the plate and taking on the GOP Fat Cats.

The Gay Activists overestimate their influence with the public.  Influence based on fear is not influence, at all; it’s intimidation.  Scott Garrett is not one to be intimidated easily.  His disgust with Congress clearly predated this fracas over NRCC dues.

This is a fight to the death over the Republican Party.  Let us hope that Garrett does not finally turn away in frustration as newly-minted Republican Congressman/women and Senators did in the mid-1990s.  They were true Conservatives.  But after one term, they realized they couldn’t fight – or trust – the Republican leadership and did not seek re-election.  Or perhaps lost it because voters, not understanding how Congress works, voted for someone else they thought would represent their interests better.

Today’s Conservative voters are better educated today thanks (I blush at my own immodesty) to the Tea Parties.  Congressman Garrett came over to the Tea Party float at the Ridgewood Fourth of July, in part to meet a decorated Korean War veteran, but also to thank the Tea Party for its Conservative support.

A politician who will do anything, up to and including selling their own soul, to get elected will get elected if a corrupt political machine is behind them, giving the voters no other choice.  They can even fend off opposition indefinitely if they have an inexhaustible supply of money.

A politician who stands up for principles rather than populist votes will lose by the very same political party machinations.  But a day of reckoning will come for that party.  Conservatives may seem to have no voice because the Socialist Media and their own (current) party continually silence them.

But like the grass whose roots for which are named, we always pop up again.

The stakes are much higher than they were in 1980 when we elected Ronald Reagan.  Back then we were grass green.  Today, our roots go down to the very foundation of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers, and the Bible.

With so much at stake, we rely on the U.S. Constitution (which is silent on all matters of marriage) and the Bible (which is not silent).

God is on our side because Congressmen like Scott Garrett are on His side.

Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Hail, Hispania, The Ruler of the “Caves”

“Si, Se Puede!” That was the Obama campaign rally in Spanish: “Yes, we can!”

“Yes, we can” – what?

We never really think about the “Spanic” part of Hispanic. “Spanic” as in Spain, a European nation that was at war for like, forever, with the English, first “conquered” the native peoples of the North American continent in their quest for gold, and bankrupted themselves in the 21st Century when they fell for the wind turbine scam.

The Hispanics sometimes also call themselves “Latinos”. That puts them on a level more with Italy than Spain, for while Spain indeed adopted Latin as its base language, with Spanish becoming one of the “romance” languages (as in “Romans”), that base language came from Rome itself.

La Raza (meaning “The Race”) accuses white Europeans of “conquering” the North American aborigines. But conquistador is a Spanish word, not English. The Spanish were in a bitter rivalry with England for command of the Atlantic and ownership of North America.

The English had the better Navy, the more disciplined crews, they had a female queen, Elizabeth I – and they had Sir Francis Drake, whose name American schoolchildren rarely hear (because he apparently engaged in the slave trade). Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580.

The Spanish Armada was a Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruna in August 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Tudor establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.

Elizabeth, who sought to advance the cause of Protestantism where possible, had supported the Dutch revolt against Spain. In retaliation, the Catholic Philip planned an expedition to invade England and overthrow the Protestant regime of Elizabeth, his sister-in-law, thereby ending the English material support for the United Provinces – the part of the Low Countries that had successfully seceded from Spanish rule – and cutting off English attacks on Spanish trade and settlements in the New World.

The Armada chose not to attack the English fleet at Plymouth, then failed to establish a temporary anchorage in the Solent, after one Spanish ship had been captured by Francis Drake in the English Channel, and finally dropped anchor off Calais, France. While awaiting communications from the Duke of Parma’s army the Armada was scattered by an English fireship attack. In the ensuing Battle of Gravelines, the Spanish fleet was damaged and forced to abandon its rendezvous with Parma’s army, who were blockaded in harbour by Dutch flyboats.

The Armada managed to regroup and, driven by southwest winds, withdrew north, with the English fleet harrying it up the east coast of England. The commander ordered a return to Spain, but the Armada was disrupted during severe storms in the North Atlantic and a large number of the vessels were wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Of the initial 130 ships over a third failed to return. Philip II attempted to invade England, but his plans miscarried, partly because of his own mismanagement, and partly because the defensive efforts of the English and their Dutch allies prevailed.

The expedition was the largest engagement of the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604). The following year, England organized a similar large-scale campaign against Spain, the Drake-Norris, also known as the “Counter-Armada of 1589,” which was also unsuccessful.

The Spanish didn’t fare very well in conquering the northern portions of North America. They couldn’t defeat both the English and the French. England helped the Colonials defeat France in the battle for the colonies. But the Colonies revolted, gaining their independence from England. In 1803, they purchased the French territories in the Midwest from France.

Throughout the second half of the 18th century, Louisiana was a pawn on the chessboard of European politics. It was originally claimed by Spain but subsequently settled by the French, who established the colony as part of New France. Following French defeat in the Seven Years’ War, Spain gained control of the territory. As the lands were being gradually settled by U.S. migrants, many Americans, including Jefferson, assumed that the territory would be acquired “piece by piece.” The risk of another power taking it from a weakened Spain made a “profound reconsideration” of this policy necessary.

The city of New Orleans controlled the mouth of the Mississippi River because of its location; other ports were established, but only New Orleans had direct access from the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans was already important for shipping agricultural goods to and from the areas of the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. Pinckney’s Treaty, signed with Spain on Oct. 27, 1795, gave American merchants “right of deposit” in New Orleans, granting them use of the port to store goods for export. The treaty also recognized American rights to navigate the entire Mississippi, which had become vital to the growing trade of the western territories.

In 1798, Spain revoked this treaty, prohibiting American use of New Orleans, and greatly upsetting the Americans. In 1801, Spanish Governor Don Juan Manuel de Salcedo took over from the Marquess of Casa Calvo, and restored the U.S. right to deposit goods. Napoleon Bonaparte had gained Louisiana for French ownership from Spain in 1800 under the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, but the treaty was kept secret.

Louisiana remained nominally under Spanish control, until a transfer of power to France on Nov. 30, 1803, just three weeks before the formal cession to the United States on Dec. 20, 1803. Another ceremony was held in St. Louis a few months later, in part because during winter conditions the news of the New Orleans formalities did not reach Upper Louisiana. The March 9–10, 1804, event is remembered as Three Flags Day.

James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston had traveled to Paris to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans in January 1803. Their instructions were to negotiate or purchase control of New Orleans and its environs; they did not anticipate the much larger acquisition which would follow.

The Louisiana Purchase was by far the largest territorial gain in U.S. history. Stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, the purchase doubled the size of the United States. Before 1803, Louisiana had been under Spanish control for 40 years. Although Spain aided the rebels in the American Revolutionary War, the Spanish didn’t want the Americans to settle in their territory.

While the transfer of the territory by Spain back to France in 1800 went largely unnoticed, fear of an eventual French invasion spread nationwide when, in 1801, Napoleon sent a military force to secure New Orleans. Southerners feared that Napoleon would free all the slaves in Louisiana, which could trigger slave uprisings elsewhere. Though Jefferson urged moderation, Federalists sought to use this against Jefferson and called for hostilities against France. Undercutting them, Jefferson took up the banner and threatened an alliance with Britain, although relations were uneasy in that direction. In 1801 Jefferson supported France in its plan to take back Saint-Dominque, then under control of Tousaint Louverture after a slave rebellion.

Jefferson sent Livingston to Paris in 1801 after discovering the transfer of Louisiana from Spain to France under the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. Livingston was authorized to purchase New Orleans.

In January 1802, France sent General Leclerc to Saint-Dominique to re-establish slavery, which had been abolished in law and in the constitution of the French Republic of 1795—both in France and its colonies—to reduce the rights of free people of color and take back control of the island from Toussaint Louverture, who had maintained St. Domingue as French against invasion by the Spanish and British empires.

Before the Revolution, France had derived enormous wealth from St. Domingue at the cost of the lives and freedom of the slaves. Napoleon wanted its revenues and productivity for France restored. Alarmed over the French actions and its intention to re-establish an empire in North America, Jefferson declared neutrality in relation to the Caribbean, refusing credit and other assistance to the French, but allowing war contraband to get through to the rebels to prevent France from regaining a foothold.

In November 1803, France withdrew its 7,000 surviving troops from Saint-Domingue (more than two-thirds of its troops died there) and gave up its ambitions in the Western Hemisphere. In 1804 Haiti declared its independence; but, fearing a slave revolt at home, Jefferson and Congress refused to recognize the new republic, the second in the Western Hemisphere, and imposed a trade embargo against it. This, together with later claims by France to reconquer Haiti, encouraged by Britain, made it more difficult for Haiti to recover after ten years of wars.

In 1803, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, a French nobleman, began to help negotiate with France at the request of Jefferson. Du Pont was living in the United States at the time and had close ties to Jefferson as well as the prominent politicians in France. He engaged in back-channel diplomacy with Napoleon on Jefferson’s behalf during a visit to France and originated the idea of the much larger Louisiana Purchase as a way to defuse potential conflict between the United States and Napoleon over North America. Now we understand the real reason for the Liberal invective against the DuPont Chemical Company, Pompton Lakes being one of the key battlegrounds for “restitution.” More about that business in another blog.

Jefferson disliked the idea of purchasing Louisiana from France, as that could imply that France had a right to be in Louisiana. Jefferson had concerns that a U.S. President did not have the constitutional authority to make such a deal. He also thought that to do so would erode states’ rights by increasing federal executive power. On the other hand, he was aware of the potential threat that France could be in that region and was prepared to go to war to prevent a strong French presence there.

Throughout this time, Jefferson had up-to-date intelligence on Napoleon’s military activities and intentions in North America. Part of his evolving strategy involved giving du Pont some information that was withheld from Livingston. He also gave intentionally conflicting instructions to the two delegates. Desperate to avoid possible war with France, Jefferson sent Monroe to Paris in 1803 to negotiate a settlement, with instructions to go to London to negotiate an alliance if the talks in Paris failed.

Spain procrastinated until late 1802 in executing the treaty to transfer Louisiana to France, which allowed American hostility to build. Also, Spain’s refusal to cede Florida to France meant that Louisiana would be indefensible. Monroe had been formally expelled from France on his last diplomatic mission, and the choice to send him again conveyed a sense of seriousness.

Napoleon needed peace with Great Britain to implement the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso and take possession of Louisiana. Otherwise, Louisiana would be an easy prey for Britain or even for the United States. But in early 1803, continuing war between France and Britain seemed unavoidable. On March 11, 1803, Napoleon began preparing to invade Britain.

A slave revolt in Saint-Dominque (present-day Haiti) had been followed by the first French general emancipation of slaves in 1793-94. This led to years of war against the Spanish and British empires, which sought to conquer St. Domingue and re-enslave the emancipated population. An expeditionary force under Napoleon’s brother-in-law Charles Leclerc in January 1802, supplemented by 20,000 troops over the next 21 months, had tried to reconquer the territory and re-establish slavery. But yellow fever and the fierce resistance of black, mulatto, and white revolutionaries destroyed the French army. This was the culmination of the only successful black slave revolt in history, and Napoleon withdrew the surviving French troops in November 1803. In 1804 Haiti became the first independent black-majority state in the New World.

As Napoleon had failed to re-enslave the emancipated population of Haiti, he abandoned his plans to rebuild France’s New World empire. Without sufficient revenues from sugar colonies in the Caribbean, Louisiana had little value to him. Spain had not yet completed the transfer of Louisiana to France, and war between France and Britain was imminent. Out of anger against Spain and the unique opportunity to sell something that was useless and not truly his yet, Napoleon decided to sell the entire territory.

Although the French foreign minister Talleyrand opposed the plan, on April 10, 1803, Napoleon told the Treasury Minister Francois de Barbe-Marbois that he was considering selling the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States. On April 11, 1803, just days before Monroe’s arrival, Barbé-Marbois offered Livingston all of Louisiana for $15 million, equivalent to about $233 million in 2011 dollars.

The American representatives were prepared to pay up to $10 million for New Orleans and its environs, but were dumbfounded when the vastly larger territory was offered for $15 million. Jefferson had authorized Livingston only to purchase New Orleans. However, Livingston was certain that the United States would accept the offer.

The Americans thought that Napoleon might withdraw the offer at any time, preventing the United States from acquiring New Orleans, so they agreed and signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty on April 30, 1803. On July 4, 1803, the treaty reached Washington, D.C.. The Louisiana Territory was vast, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico in the south to Rupert’s Land (Hudson Bay) in the north, and from the Mississippi River in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. Acquiring the territory would double the size of the United States, at a sum of less than 3 cents per acre.

Spain protested the transfer on two grounds: First, France had previously promised in a note not to transfer Louisiana to a third party and second, France had not fulfilled the Treaty of San Ildefonso by having the King of Etruria recognized by all European powers. The French government replied that these objections were baseless: the promise not to transfer Louisiana was not in the treaty of San Ildefonso itself and therefore had no legal force, and the Spanish government had ordered Louisiana to be transferred in October 1802 despite knowing for months that Britain had not recognized the King of Etruria in the Treaty of Amiens.

Although the purchase was thought of by some as unjust and unconstitutional, Jefferson determined that his constitutional power to negotiate treaties allowed the purchase of what became fifteen states. In hindsight, the Louisiana Purchase could be considered one of his greatest contributions to the United States.

The Spanish, now “Mexicans” suffered a further humiliation in 1836. After declaring their independence from the Republic of Mexico in 1836, the vast majority of Texas citizens voted in favor of the annexation of the Lone Star Republic by the United States. The leadership of both major American political parties, the Democrats and the Whigs, strenuously objected to introducing Texas, a vast slave-holding region, into the volatile political climate of the pro- and anti-slavery sectional controversies in Congress.

Moreover, they wished to avoid a war with Mexico, whose government refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of its rebellious northern province. With Texas’s economic fortunes declining by the early 1840s, the President of the Texas Republic, Sam Houston, arranged talks with Mexico to explore the possibility of securing official recognition of independence, with Great Britain mediating.

If we’re to understand the Mexican immigrants, legal and otherwise, we must delve into their history. It’s not a short story.

In pre-Columbian Mexico many Mesoamerican cultures matured into advanced civilizations such as the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuaca, the Zapotec, the Mayan and the Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, 100 years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Mass., the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, which was administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

This territory would eventually become Mexico following recognition of the colony’s independence in 1821. The post-independence period was characterized by economic stability, the Mexican-American War that led to the territorial cession to the United States, the Pastry War (the firs Franco-Mexican War), a civil war, two empires and a domestic dictatorship. The latter led to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country’s current political system.

After its independence, Mexico experienced a long and bloody history of dictatorships and revolution. The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle from 1910–20 that radically transformed Mexican politics and society.

The failure of the 35-year long regime of Porfirio Diaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Fancisco I. Madero, cheated out of the 1910 presidential election thanks to Diaz’ rigging of elections, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Postosi. It declared Díaz an illegitimate president, and declared Madero the provisional president. It called for democracy and demanded for the return of lands unjustly taken from Mexican villages by Diaz and given to foreign commercial entities.

The armed conflict lasted for the better part of a decade until around 1920 and had several distinct phases. The period 1920–1940 is often considered to be a phase of the Revolution during which power was consolidated and the revolutionary constitution of 1917 was implemented. Over time, the Revolution changed from a revolt against the established order under Díaz to a multi-sided civil war in particular regions with frequently shifting power struggles among factions in the revolution. The Constitutionalist faction of northern Mexico, led by Venustiano Carranza, were the victors in the military phase of the conflict.

The origins of the conflict were broadly based in opposition to the Díaz regime, with the 1910 election became the sparking point for the outbreak of a political rebellion. Elements of the Mexican elite hostile to Díaz, led by Madero expanded to the middle class, the peasantry in some regions, and organized labor. In October 1911. Madero was overwhelmingly elected in a free and fair election. Opposition to the Madero regime increased from both the conservatives, who saw him as too weak and too liberal, and from former revolutionary fighters and the dispossessed, who saw him as too conservative. In February 1913 Madero was assassinated.

Conservatives led by General Victoriano Huerta sought from February 1913 on to reimpose much of the old Porfirian order, but revolts against the regime ensued in the North, under the leadership of the governor of the state of Coahuila, Venustiano Carranza, and in Morelos by peasant leader Emiliano Zapata. Anti-Huerta forces were unified to oust the president. Huerta was forced to resign in July 1914 after 17 months. The Revolution had grown increasingly broad-based, radical, and violent. Many revolutionaries sought far-reaching social and economic reforms, restricting foreign investment, and empowering Mexican workers and peasants via the state while weakening conservative forces represented by the Roman Catholic Church, wealthy landowners, and foreign capitalists.

In 1914, when the winners of the anti-Huerta struggle attempted to sort out a new revolutionary order via the Convention of Aguascalientes, that solution failed. Former allies now fought each other in another round of bloody civil war. Carranza and the best general of the Constitutional Army fought against former Constitutionalist general Pancho Villa, who allied with Zapata. The outcome of that civil war between revolutionaries was not a foregone conclusion, but in 1915 Obregón defeated Villa and the Constitutionalists under Carranza consolidated power.

Following the Constitutionalists’ military victory, Carranza became the pre-constitutional president of Mexico. Then with the writing and ratification of a new constitution in 1917, he was elected the constitutional president. In 1920 when elections were to be held, Carranza attempted to impose a civilian as the leading candidate for the presidency. Northern generals Obregón and Adolfo de la Huerta challenged the decision via the Plan of Agua Prieta. President Carranza attempted to leave the country, but was assassinated en route. General Huerta assumed the interim presidency, with the election of 1920 bringing General Alvaro Obregón to the presidency.

Out of a population of 15 million, the losses were high but numerical estimates vary a great deal. Perhaps 1.5 million people died; nearly 200,000 refugees fled abroad, especially to the United States.

This armed conflict is often categorized as the most important sociopolitical event in Mexico and one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century; it resulted in an important program of experimentation and reform in social organization.

Foreign powers important economic and strategic interests figured in the outcome of power struggles in Mexico, with U.S. involvement as well as that of Communist activists like Leon Trotsky and Argentinian Marxist Che Guevara, later, playing an especially significant role.

Some scholars consider the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution as its end point. “Economic and social conditions improved in accordance with revolutionary policies, so that the new society took shape within a framework of official revolutionary institutions,” with the constitution providing that framework.

The constitution built on liberal principles of the Constitution of 1857, after which the Constitutionalist movement was named, but changes from that document recognized the importance of groups participating in the Revolution, particularly organized labor and the peasantry. Organized labor gained significant power, as seen in Article 123 of the Constitution of 1917. Land reform in Mexico was enabled by Article 27 of the Constitution. Economic nationalism (a body of policies that emphasize domestic control of the economy, labor, and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labor, goods and capital. In many cases, economic nationalists oppose globalization or at least question the benefits of unrestricted free trade.  Economic nationalism may include such doctrines as protectionism and import substitution) was also enabled by Article 27, restricting ownership of enterprises by foreigners.

Also in the Constitution were further restrictions on the Roman Catholic Church, which, when implemented in the late 1920s, resulted in major violence in the Cristero War (a widespread struggle in many central-western Mexican states against the secularist, anti-Catholic, and anti-clerical policies of the Mexican government). No re-election of the president was enshrined in the Constitution and in practice.

One major result of the revolution was the disappearance of the Federal Army in 1914, defeated by revolutionary forces of the various factions in the Mexican Revolution. Former revolutionary generals turned presidents of Mexico, Alvaro Obregon, Plutarco Elias Calles, and Lazaro Cardenas took on the task in the 1920s and 1930s of diminishing the power and independence of those armies and asserting effective civilian control.

Managing political succession was achieved in 1929 with the creation of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR), the political party that has dominated Mexico since its creation, now called the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Before Christmas 1936, Russian Communist Leon Trotsky, who had headed the Red Army during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and his wife were deported to Mexico, on a freighter under guard by Jonas Lie, a member of the Vidkun Quisling government in Norway. Trotsky had been deported by Stalin, whom he bitterly opposed, in 1929, and led a transient existence, moving from one country to another, and even spending a few months in New York City before standing trial in Moscow. Mexican president Lazaro Cardenas welcomed Trotsky and arranged for a special train to bring him to Mexico City from the port of Tampico.

Trotsky lived in the Covocan area of Mexico City at the home (The Blue House) of the painter Diego Rivera and Rivera’s wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo, with whom Trotsky had an affair. His final move was a few blocks away to a residence on Avenida Viena in May 1939, following a break with Rivera.

While in Mexico, Trotsky also worked closely with James P. Cannon, Joseph Hansen, and Farrell Dobbs of the Socialist Workers Party of the United States, and other supporters.

Cannon, a long-time leading member of the American communist movement, had supported Trotsky in the struggle against Stalinism since he first read Trotsky’s criticisms of the Soviet Union in 1928. Trotsky’s critique of the Stalinist regime, though banned, was distributed to leaders of the Cominterm. Among his other supporters was Chen Duxiu, founder of the Chinese Communist Party.

In post-revolutionary Mexico, Alvar Obregon was elected the new president of Mexico. One of the major issues that faced Obregón’s early post-revolution government was stabilizing Mexico. Regional caciques (chiefs) were still fighting each other in small skirmishes. The populace was demanding reforms, promised by the 1917 constitution. Many issues faced the working poor, such as debt peonage and company stores that kept the populace poor. The military had generals who wanted to overthrow the regime and take power for themselves. There were also foreign governments, primarily the United States, who feared Mexico would take a communist turn such as Russia was to do in 1918. Obregón was in a difficult position; he had to appeal to both the left and the right to ensure Mexico would not fall back into civil war.

Obregon served his entire elected term 1920–1924; he ran for re-election in 1928, but was assassinated before he could take office, causing a crisis in managing presidential succession.

With regard to the masses, Obregón, who was conservative but still a reformer, started listening to demands to appease the populace. Obregón’s first focus, in 1920, was land reform. He had governors in various states push forward the reforms promised in the 1917 constitution. These were, however, quite limited. Former Zapatistas still had strong influence in the post-revolutionary government, so most of the reforms began in Morelos, the birthplace of the Zapatista movement.

Despite pressures from the U.S., Obregón flirted with the newly formed USSR. To appeal to intellectuals and left-leaning peasants, official Mexican propaganda began to cast a very Marxist spin. Murals with Lenin and Trotsky began to appear in government buildings. Despite the sympathy towards Socialism, the government began to ferment nationalism amongst the peasantry.

This was accomplished by memorializing revolutionary figures and creating anti-western murals. Among the artists employed was Diego Rivera (Leon Trotsky’s host), who lent a Mexican nationalist and Marxist tinge to his government murals. Despite these moves towards an anti-Western and pro-Socialist regime, Obregón did not separate the Mexican economy from foreign capitalists, allowing free trade with some restrictions.

Regarding the military, one of his first moves was to incorporate the irregulars who fought in the revolution. He tried to weaken the powers of the ultra-conservative officer corps, who were not friendly to his regime. Some of his reforms began to anger the officer corps, leading to an attempted coup in 1924 that Obregón was able to crush with relative ease.

Shortly after the failed coup, Obregón’s term ended and Sonoran revolutionary Plutarco Elias Calles took power. In an attempt to buffer his regime against further coups, Calles began arming peasants and factory workers with surplus weapons. He continued other reforms pushed by his predecessor, such as land reform and anti-clerical laws to prevent the Catholic Church from influencing the state.

One such move, in regard to land reform, was to nationalize most farmland and give it to the peasants across Mexico. He also put into effect a national school system that was largely secular to combat church influence in late 1924. After two years the church protested the movement by refusing to give the blessed sacrament to the populace. Some peasants also joined in the protests, adding greater land reforms to the list of demands by the rebelling priests. The rebellion was openly supported by the Catholic Church and received funding, beginning the Cristero War against the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, in 1927 another military coup was attempted, this time receiving support from land owners. Calles quickly crushed the rebellion with help from the newly mobilized peasant battalions, who later on were used to fight against the Church. In the midst of the mobilized worker’s militias, land reform, and anti-church actions, the American government began to openly declare Mexico a Bolshevik regime. To recover from the backlash, Calles began to tone down the radical rhetoric and slowed land reform policies in 1928. A year later, Calles defeated the church ending the rebellion.

After the war ended in 1929, supporters of Calles and Obregón began to form a united political party called the National Revolutionary Party or PNR. This was to unite the various revolutionary factions of the civil war to prevent further Cristero revolts and build stability.

After a series of interim presidents controlled by the party, Lazar Cardenas (who personally welcomed Trotsky to Mexico) took power in 1934. Cárdenas was a Socialist and began to base government policy on class struggle and empowering the masses. However, not all of his reforms were completely Socialist, making him somewhat more centrist than purely socialist. Regardless, his rule was the most radical phase of the post revolution, social revolution.

His first acts of reform in 1935 were aimed towards peasants. Former strongmen within the land owning community were losing political power, so he began to side with the peasants more and more. He also tried to further centralize the government’s power by removing regional caciques (political bosses), allowing him to push reforms easier. To fill the political vacuum, Cárdenas helped the formation of PNR-sponsored peasant leagues, empowering both peasants and the government.

Other reforms included nationalization of key industries such as petroleum, land, and the railroads. To appease workers, Cárdenas furthered provisions to end debt peonage and company stores, which were largely eliminated under his rule, except in the most backwater areas of Mexico. To prevent conservative factions in the military from plotting and to put idle soldiers to work, Cárdenas mobilized the military to build public works projects. That same year another Cristero revolt occurred. This was partially caused by Cárdena’s mandate for secular education early in his presidency in 1934. The revolt was quickly put down due to lack of official support from the Catholic Church, who told rebels to surrender themselves to the government.

The next year, 1936, to further stabilize his rule, Cárdenas further armed the peasants and workers and begins to organize them into formal militias. This proved to be useful later in his presidency as the militias came to his aid in the final military coup in revolutionary Mexico in 1938.

Seeing no opposition from the bourgeoisie, generals, or conservative landlords, in 1936 Cárdenas began building collective farms called ejidos to help the peasantry, mostly in southern Mexico. These appeased the peasants, creating long-lasting stability; however, they were not very good at feeding large populations, causing an urban food crisis. To alleviate this, Cárdenas co-opted the support of capitalists to build large commercial farms to feed the urban population. This put the final nail in the coffin of the feudal hacienda system, making Mexico a mixed economy, combining agrarian socialism and industrial capitalism (which gave rise to Marxist labor unions) by 1940. Cárdenas left office in 1940, marking the end of the social revolution and ushering in half a century of relative stability.

Although this has been a long history, it was important to review Mexico’s history to understand the real threat illegal immigrants and even legal immigrants may pose to the United States’ demographic. There may be Mexican-Hispanics who genuinely love America and freedom. But their resistance to assimilation, their loyalty to community organizations like La Raza, and their overwhelming support of Democrats, who are notoriously Socialist, to say nothing of Communist or Marxist in their policies, indicates that they do not have the United States’ best interests at heart.

Their refusal to learn to speak English, their activists’ accusations of white supremacy and white racism, and their resentment of United States’ history is supremely funny, given the fact that the Spanish, except for Brazil, wholly conquered the continent of South America. South America speaks almost nothing but Spanish, is 99 percent Roman Catholic (among those who are religious), and is notoriously Marxist, given to bloody revolution after bloody revolution, dictator after dictator, and one unstable government succumbing to yet another unstable government.

Given this history (and again, I apologize for the length) is it any wonder that “European-Americans” are dismayed by the Hispanic incursion. Their supporters crow that America will be Hispanic (or will it be Muslim) by the year 2050.

Is this cultural and political seismic shift really anything to embrace, enshrine and enable, much less celebrate? Is this the “political change” that Republican candidate Jeb Bush not only predicted for the GOP but heralded as one we must welcome as inevitable? Is this what we’re expected by the “Cavers” to do? Cave in to Communism and Socialism?

No, no debemos!

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hillary’s Capitalism 2.0 Is Really Socialism 1.0

In a speech at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Hillary “Hillionaire” Clinton said she wants to hike capital gains taxes as part of her plan to discourage short-term thinking among corporate executives and investors.

Fortune Magazine reported, “She laid out a plan to retool the tax treatment of investment earnings on Friday as part of an ongoing series of speeches explaining her economic program. She proposed extending from one to two years the period that top earners would need to keep an investment before seeing the 39.6 percent tax rate applied to it start to fall.

“And she would lower the rate slowly, over a six year period, down to the 24 percent rate for longer-term investments — a tweak that she said would help refigure a system that’s bent itself out of shape over the last few decades. Capitalism itself, she said, “needs to be reinvented, it needs to be put back into balance.”

“The capital gains tax reform was only the first of five major areas she highlighted as requiring action to reverse the trend toward what she calls ‘quarterly capitalism,’ the Wall Street-centered, sugar-high approach distracting public companies from investing in innovation, capital, and worker training and wages in favor of stock buybacks and dividends. The others ranged from leashing activist shareholders to further empowering workers, though she couched her proposals to limit any C-suite alarm bells.

“To bring what she called “hit-and-run” activist shareholders to heel, Clinton exhorted institutional investors to exert their leverage as a counterweight on management. And she pledged to order a review of regulations on shareholder activism and to push for the same-day disclosure of buybacks already in force in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

“Clinton also called out excessive compensation packages for executives as part of the problem.

“I’m all for rewarding CEOs well when their companies prosper and their employees also share in the rewards,” she said. “But there is something wrong when senior executives get rich while companies stutter and employees struggle.”

“To address it, Clinton called for regulators to finalize the Dodd-Frank requirement that companies list the ratio of executive to worker pay; she proposed adjusting performance-based tax write-offs for executives to discourage moves designed to juice share prices; and she pitched mandating explanations for how executive pay packages serve the long-term interest of companies.

“For good measure, Clinton added that Washington bears some responsibility, as well. She said elected leaders need to contribute by ending the budget brinkmanship that saddles corporate executives with uncertainty.

“While the Democrat’s speech presented as a critique of the wages of a Wall Street-focused economy, the proposals that formed its spine are unlikely to ruffle many feathers in the financial services industry. And her frequent, favorable name-drops of corporate heavies checked any impression that she’s lurched into fire-breathing populist territory.

“She praised the innovative commitment of Google, SpaceX, and, historically, AT&T and Xerox, for example. Clinton singled out GM, Ford, and Chrysler for “putting the memory of the crisis behind them and making new investments in factories and technologies of the future, including advanced batteries.”

“Trader Joe’s and QuikTrip, she said, are becoming industry models for investing in worker training; Target and Starbucks are leading larger employers toward raising wages for entry-level workers; and Chipotle has earned her favor not just for its burrito bowls but for starting to provide certain benefits to part-time employees.

“It’s of a piece with a carefully calibrated message she will tote through the race as she seeks to keep faith with a restive base without alienating big business interests.

“But there is something wrong when senior executives get rich while companies stutter and employees struggle.”

Such a line will certainly win over the former middle class workers who have been downsized to the unemployment, playing on their bitterness despite the fact that Clinton’s cronies on the state level – and she was once a senator from New York – helped foster the economic crisis by placing onerous taxes and regulations on companies that employed the Middle Class.

The companies she praises – Trader Joe’s, QuikTrip, Target, Starbucks – all employ part-time wage-earners who can now enjoy $15 per hour wages for products only the elite rich, Clinton’s other constituency will be able to afford.

Meanwhile, companies like Google are hiring highly-educated Asians – mainly Chinese and Indians – for their “STEM” skills.  Together with the part-time wage Hispanics, they make a Republican-proof voting bloc.  These two groups, the Asians and the Hispanics, will never, ever, in their wildest dreams vote for a Republican, most particularly a Conservative Republican.

Marxism calls for the destruction of the petty-bourgeoisie Middle Class (that’s actually a redundancy because the word “bourgeoisie” means “middle class.”)  Socialism is Communism with a fake smile.

“Think of Socialism as a coffin” – that’s what my Sociology professor told us back in college.  Inside the coffin is the lower class working at low-paying jobs that only meet the most basic of needs.  They’re the low-frills class.  Work the requisite hours, but more than that, mind you.  Don’t do any more than the required expectations on your job and between Big Government, Big Labor, and Big Business, you’ll be taken care of.

Sorry, but you won’t be able to own a house or car.  You’ll have to use mass transit.  But look at it this way:  you’ll be supporting your brothers and sisters in the transportation union.  A union plumber will come to fix your pipes, a union painter to paint your apartment, and union electrician will hook up your government-issue HDTV.  You deserve only the best and the best are paying for it.

Help Hillary the Hillionaire bring down the “evil rich” – who are really the middle and upper class taxpayers.  The elite rich help pay for the campaigns that dupe you poor suckers into voting for Socialist, limousine liberals.  Those abominable middle classers are overdue in sharing their “wealth.”  How dare they show you up with their new cars, their neatly-trimmed lawns, and their trips to Disneyworld – oh, wait that’s the elite rich.  They’re the only ones who can afford Disneyworld’s prices.  Their water-wasting, above-ground backyard swimming pools, then.

It’s time to take the “rich” down a notch.

The upper 51 percent are the elite rich.  They’re the upper half of the former Middle Class who were able to clamber onboard the Socialist Express, thanks to their superior education and their tendency to vacillate in whichever way the political winds are blowing.  Now they’re employed by the government, enjoying as much job security as the union workers are.

They’re the “evil rich” you say?  Oh, no, no, no, no!  Noooo.  They’re essential government workers:  the bookkeepers, accountants, clerks, managers, supervisors, and consultants necessary to keep the government running.  They’re just as dependent on the government as you are.

But they make more money, you insist?  That’s a matter of perspective.  It’s just like in their old jobs in private sector management.  They make higher salaries, yes; but they have to work much longer hours, travel more, and be willing to relocate, which caused inevitable rifts in their family lives.  It all works out in the end; just you trust Hillary, the Hillionaire – she’ll make everything groovy for everyone.

That’s the whole point of Socialism/Communism:  equal outcomes for everyone.  The elite rich just seem to be richer than you.  Anyway, they make for great television, don’t they?  Don’t you just love watching the reality television shows about the rich and famous?  Don’t you just love their fabulous mansions, designer clothes, and high-end cars and jets?  Don’t you wish you had those things?

Well, never mind about that.  You just keep playing the lottery and someday you might just win and become a “Hillionaire” like Hillary.  It pays to dream.

The truth is, that elite 51 percent are the ones sitting atop of your economic coffin, keeping you down there so you can’t get “up there” and compete with them for those high salaries.  They’ll see to it that their kids get the better educations, get into the better colleges, and get into the better companies – er, GMOs (Government Managed Organizations) with the better positions and salaries.

They don’t care.  These elite used to be your neighbors and used to vote like you mainly because they liked to make money and have nice things.  But they have to vote that way anymore because the government has acquired them.  They’re government employees now, or work for GMOs.  They know which side of the bread their butter is on and it’s not on the Conservative side.

That’s why so many Millennials sneer at Tea Partiers, even their own parents.  Conservatism is so yesterday, as in Ronald Reagan and Big Hair.  The government is where the money is and the opportunities are.  Just as they did with their corporate masters, they’ll never question their government employers.  They’ll salute whatever flag government runs up the flagpole:  the hammer and sickle, the peace sign flag, the Minions flag.  It’s all the same to them.  Where our bumper stickers will read:  “Limited Government”, theirs will read, “I’m a Hillionaire – and You’re Not!”

That’s Socialism.  Two classes, one class sitting on the economic coffin of the other.  You can bang, you can holler, you can suffocate.

Once that lid is shut, you’re not getting out and they’re not about to submit to an “equal outcome” and switch places with you.

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Campaign to Dump Trump

There’s been a ringing in my ears for the last week or so. No, it’s not tinnitus from my bi-weekly tintinnabulation with the local community bands (it’s summer concert in the park season). The ringing, or more accurately, blooping is coming from my Facebook.

Facebook has absolutely been on fire since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the office of President of the United States. One Conservative Facebook site has already been shut down by Mark Zuckerberg and his Liberal crew out in California. The site had over 200,000 members.

Other Conservative Facebook administrators are becoming nervous that they’ll be the next to go. The shutdowns happen without warning. The Facebook Police are better than the NSA. They use computer logarithms and macro searches to key in on certain words like “Hillary” or “Obama,” certain profanities and racist terms to target a Conservative site and shut down due to breaches of Facebook’s rules.

An insidious fight this is, for it’s difficult for a FB administrator to know who the enemy is. Is that a racist hillbilly posting that Confederate flag, a Liberal troll, a RINO campaign operative, or someone from Facebook itself posting counterfeit messages to damage the site’s reputation and get it shut down?

At the center of the hub-bub is none other than Donald Trump himself. All sorts of theories and accusations are running rampant on the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter. He’s a former Democrat (so was Ronald Reagan)! He was photographed hugging Hillary (Heavens! He must have been desperate considering he’s constantly surrounded by gorgeous models and beauty queens)!

He supported Hillary in 2004 (so did a lot of other idiots, many of them Conservative, or at least Moderate, pundits)! He praised the Democrats as being better for the economy than Republicans (he was a Democrat at the time, and a lot of those same nitwit pundits, on the Fox Business News show on Saturday mornings no less, said the very same thing). They insisted there was no inflation during Bill Clinton’s reign. Hah! I wish I’d saved my supermarket receipts from that period. In about two to three-month period, my grocery bills – for the same bags of groceries – doubled.

He donated to Hillary’s campaign (thanks to the McCain Campaign Finance Reform Law he and other business owners had no choice but to donate to both parties if they wanted to donate at all). He favored the assault weapon ban and lengthening the waiting period for a gun permit and so he’s anti-Second Amendment (you mean those guns cosmetically altered to look like semi-automatic weapons? He’s a gun collector.)!

He’s in favor of universal healthcare; he claims he can do it better. That one I can’t excuse, unless he has some way of making hospitalization and emergency care mandatory but affordable and the rest a matter of individual choice.

Trump is a racist who hates Mexicans! Did you know that Mexico City is where Leon Trotsky met his doom when Stalin, whom he opposed, ordered his assassination? Does the name Che Guevara (from Argentina) ring a bell? He gave lectures on Marxism in Mexico City in the mid 1950s. Does that give you all a pretty good idea of where Mexican’s heads are at?

Actually, Trump’s a poor speaker who forgot to put the word “illegal” before immigrants. He doesn’t hate Mexicans; he hates Mexicans who smuggle drugs and weapons into the United States, provide training grounds for ISIS, commit heinous crimes, and don’t wait their turn to become Americans.

He hasn’t exactly been forthcoming on his answer to this, his primary issue. Is he prevaricating? Or is he just a good card player who doesn’t reveal his hand until the time is right? The man ran a casino, after all.

He declared bankruptcy four times!! He declared corporate bankruptcy four times, not personal bankruptcy, on his Atlantic City casinos. He did so just before the financial collapse of 2008. Did I mention he’s a card player? Have any of you (outside of New Jersey) ever been to Atlantic City?

I have. My last visit, I believe was in 2008. Or was it 2010? Anyway, A.C. was a ghost town. The bus terminal was deserted, the hotel parking lots largely empty except when a convention was going on, like the ones I was assigned to cover for my company. The steady traffic jam of casino-bound buses coming off of the Atlantic City Expressway had vanished. At one time, bus drivers took an alternate route into the city just to avoid the traffic.  I saw one or two buses pull up to a casino (Trump’s former casino).

A local told me that Atlantic City had fallen on hard times and that residents were hurting.

“No one comes down on the buses anymore,” he said sadly, as he took his seat at the wheel of a trolley bus. “I don’t have passengers anymore. I’m going to be out of a job, soon.”

The Tropicana Hotel and Casino failed also. The Tropicana got what it deserved. This was the casino that featured a statue of Lenin in The Quarter, its tribute to Cuba. The Quarter was a lot of fun for us non-gamblers (except the statue of course). But their staff complained that management wasn’t meeting their union’s demands and that they were going to close. The convention I was covering switched over to the Trump Casino as its new venue. I don’t think it was “Trump” anymore, but his reputation was inexorably engraved on the minds of anyone who visited Atlantic City.

Coming off the Atlantic City Expressway in the city’s heyday was fun. Sometimes, I’d tag along with my mother on her Atlantic City runs in the days before I started working (“Why did he [Trump] have to build that casino all the way over by the marina!? I hate going over there and so do my passengers!”). There, at the traffic circle, at the right turn onto the main thoroughfare, visitors were greeted by an electronic marquee of The Donald himself on the wall of his casino, surrounded by white, blinking lights.

Trump is gone from Atlantic City. But now, like a dandelion weed (some would say a cancer), he’s everywhere. You can’t turn on the television without seeing or hearing him. No wonder the pundits are ranting (especially those who favor some other Republican candidate).

He never served in the military! He dodged the Vietnam War draft through college deferments (four of them, to be exact – two for Fordham University, then two for Wharton School of Business)! He used the excuse of bone spurs as a medical deferment (when you’ve experienced one yourself, let us know; they’re said to be crazy painful)!

He’s a Birther! And a Truther! I know he’s a Birther; if I had five minutes with him, I’d disabuse him of that notion about Obama being born in Kenya. If he’s also a Truther, I’d have a few private words with him about that as well.

Let’s see: have we finished with the complaint list, yet?

No. There’s John McCain. Was John McCain a war hero? According to some of his comrades-in-prison, yes. He volunteered to remain with them when he was offered an opportunity, thanks to the intervention of his admiral father, to go home. Others say he was a traitor who sang like a canary.

Was that the point of Trump’s insult? No, but because he didn’t stick to the point, he wound up throwing a bombastic, personal punch at McCain instead of making the actual accusation: McCain is neglecting our veterans. It’s not entirely clear what Trump is accusing McCain of (not to average Americans anyway). McCain chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee but not the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

In an editorial published in USA Today. Trump wrote: “Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000-plus veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.”

Is Trump correct that that McCain — a Vietnam prisoner of war and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee — hasn’t helped his fellow veterans?

McCain’s office told the Tampa Bay Times that “In 2014, McCain — along with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Democratic presidential candidate — led efforts to address the scandal over secret waiting lists at VA hospitals by pushing the The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act all the way to enactment. In 2015, McCain co-sponsored a bill to increase accountability at the department.”

Except that when you go the link, only Sanders’ name is on the bill sponsorship. McCain is listed as a co-sponsor the day the bill was introduced, along with seven other senators, including Marco Rubio.

After reviewing the bill, which passed in 2014 as the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, what it does is allow veterans to access non-Veterans Administration facilities if they cannot, among other things, get a medical appointment at a VA facility.

In other words, the Act does nothing to clean up the Department of Veterans Affairs itself; it just gives veterans another path to health care. The bill does nothing to make the VA accountable or force it to provide the services for which it was created.

That seems to be Trump’s complaint against McCain. That was my father’s complaint for years after World War II. In any case, that’s Trump’s real beef with the war hero.

So, what else? Trump was drummed out of the New York Military Academy. Well, Trump was just born to give orders, not take them, it seems. Oh and he’s under the delusion that the Hispanics love him! He’s said so himself! He has, and if I were his advisor, I would tell him to take the Nevada polls that show him ahead with Hispanics with not merely a grain but a block of salt, with some pretzels thrown in for good measure. There isn’t a Republican, Conservative, Moderate or otherwise, who is or ever will be ahead with the Hispanics.

Trump’s main defects, according to critics and adversaries, are that he’s too boorish and a fake Conservative to be the Chief Executive of the land. In short, there is a movement to “fire” him, exclude him from the GOP nomination process.

The movement is headed by a number of political adversaries: Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham, who are all also in the running for the nomination. They claim that if Trump wins the nomination, the GOP will lose the election in the fall of 2016. At least that’s what they’re crystal balls tell them.

What the current polls are telling them is that Trump is ahead. Way ahead. Jeb has fallen in the polls, and any Conservative support Perry and Rubio thought they might have had vanished the day they announced their intention to have Trump drummed out of the party.

Now Trump is talking about a Third Party candidacy if he’s denied the opportunity to run for office as a Republican. That, as we all know, especially Trump, would be a disaster for the GOP. Probably a well-earned disaster, but a disaster, nevertheless.

Trump has lit a fire under the American suburbs, much as Ross Perot did when opposing the very weak Republican George H.W. Bush (it’s in the genes, apparently). Back in 1992, Conservative Americans had no choice when the GOP chose Bush against our wishes. We had to win the Hispanic vote back then, too.

Conservative Americans are responding to the trumpet call of Trump with a fierce vengeance, desperately trying to send a message through their support for Trump to the deaf, dumb and arrogant GOP – we’re tired of Republican politics as usual; we’re tired of candidates like McCain who compromise our freedoms away; we’re tired of candidates who allow drug dealers, criminals, and scoundrels in general to saunter across our borders; we’re tired of their phony Conservatism.

Trump’s a phony Conservative? Are they kidding? If he is, he’s going to have to go to the back of a very long line of phony, lip-serving “Conservatives” who’ve betrayed the people who voted them into office in order to be punished in the woodshed. They’ve supported amnesty for illegal immigrants, Common Core, Obamacare (not that it stood a chance of being repealed thanks to a majority Democrat Senate and a veto-happy Emperor-in-Chief), and a host of other ill-considered motions I can’t even remember this late on a Friday.

If Trump goes Third Party, Conservatives will follow him this time or stay home, unless a true Conservative like Ted Cruz is nominated (and it’s unlikely since he’s way down in the polls, I’m sorry to say). Other than Scott Walker, the rest of them aren’t worth the electricity it takes to fire up the voting booth.

Say hello to President Hillary for us when you RINO Republicans hug her on her Inauguration Day (or more likely, John Kerry), just as Trump did when she was the Senator from New York. We remember how Chris Christie held hands with Obama and even licked an ice cream cone on the Asbury Park boardwalk. We’ve watched as Speaker of the House John Boehner played golf with Obama.

Frankly, the GOP makes Conservatives sick. While you RINOs have been looking down at Tea Party Conservatives, you haven’t noticed how much they really hate you. Drive Trump out of the nomination and you can kiss the Presidency good-bye and pat yourselves on the back for your own failure. At least with him in the crowd, you stand some sort of chance of winning the nomination.

Exclude and you can say Adios! in your favorite language to any hope of ever residing again in the White House. Yes, American Conservatives are that angry with you. They’ve had enough of you. They don’t like the idea of a Third Party, but they can be persuaded, if you persist in your own foolhardiness of dismissing their vote, of eventually forming something like a Conservative Party, whether it’s a minority party or not.

The Hispanics can’t and won’t save you from your fate, Republican Party. You’re of no earthly use to freedom-loving Americans. You’re all about Big Party, Big Money, and Big Government. You’re out for your own hides, the very crime of which you accuse Donald Trump.

But he’s sitting on a pile of his own money. You’re sitting on a pile of ours and we want it back. He’s a self-made man. What are you made of? Jello.

You have no intention of solving any of America’s problems, rescuing her economy, or ensuring her people their First Amendment rights. All you want to do is win. All Trump wants to do is win.

Trump has an advantage over you, though. He’s rich. Very rich. And that’s something Americans admire very much. His Democrat adversaries will paint him not as a buffoon (as you do) but the epitome of Evil Capitalism. He’s Capitalism personified, proof that the American way works very well, thank you very much. He’s Mr. Capitalist himself, in the flesh.

Americans don’t hate the rich the way the Democrats think. They love the rich. They want to be the rich. Donald Trump has told them he can help make them rich simply by getting the government out of their way and putting them back to work.

The American people want to believe him. And who can blame them? Unless some Conservative candidate suddenly grows a backbone, stands up to politically correct liberalism, and for individual freedom, we’re going to be playing “Hail to the Chief” to Hillary.

And a new political party is going to emerge out of the ashes of the old Republican Party (you idiots!).

I’ll be happy to be the first voter to cry, “The GOP is dead!! Long live the Conservative Party!”

Published in: on July 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Key Republicans Want to “Disqualify” Trump – Belle’s Blog

Breitbart’s senior editor-at-large Ben Shapiro reported that some key Republican contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, including Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, want Donald Trump “disqualified” for making untoward accusations about Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero/POW in Vietnam.

“Disqualify” him? Are they out of their minds?

Shapiro wrote an excellent editorial, which you can read here:

http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2015/07/21/should-trump-be-disqualified/

Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and distant-runner George Pataki (former Gov. New York) all claim that Trump should be disqualified as

a presidential nominee. Ben Carson defended Trump.

If that’s what Perry, Rubio, and Pataki all think, perhaps they should disqualify themselves as candidates for wanting to violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protecting free speech. Trump is free to say all the stupid things he wants. It’s up to the American people to decide if he’s qualified to be President of the United States, not the people running against him for the office.

Trump is not free to commit libel or slander. As far as anyone can tell, Trump didn’t lie; he only expressed an opinion. He’s free to criticize, rebuke, reproach, admonish, impugn, chide, berate, vilify, decry, remonstrate, disparage, deprecate, condemn, castigate, expostulate, and mock any other candidate – and those other candidates have that same First Amendment right.

What they don’t have the right to do is make up voters’ minds for them about who should be President of the United States. Obama did it to Hillary’s supporters in 2008, shutting her prematurely and unfairly out of the primaries.

The trouble is, the Moderate Republicans just don’t know what to do about Trump. The Loudmouth (in their opinion) is, forgive the expression, trumping them in all the polls. They’re hoping the hoo-haa over McCain (whose own candidacy in 2008 cost the GOP the presidency for his aisle-crossing politics) will cool the ardor of his constituency.

Disqualifying him will have the opposite effect from the one the GOP intends. Instead of getting rid of the troublemaker, they’ll solidify the support he currently enjoys. Whatever damage he did to himself by criticizing McCain will be undone. An uproar will ensue. Maybe he has a checkered political past. But so did Obama? Did anyone who voted for Obama care that he was a transformation-happy, wealth-redistributing, suburbanite-hating Socialist-Communist who once stated that, if it were up to him, he would throw out the U.S. Constitution and “start over”?

Obviously not. Yeah, Trump supported both Parties. As a corporate businessman he was required by law (a law McCain was instrumental in writing) to donate to both parties, more or less equally.

Is he Pro-Choice? Apparently he isn’t anymore. Did he state that he supported bans against assault weapons? Yeah. Did he favor a longer waiting period for a gun permit? Yeah. Did he have any idea what an assault weapon is? Did he know that the thing is a figment of the anti-gun lobby’s imagination? That the gun they’re talking about is just your typical rifle with fancy-looking, inoperative combat-style styling? He said it because it sounded good.

What does The Donald know about guns? He doesn’t need a gun. He’s probably got the best security team in the world to carry guns for him – and he’s got his own mouth, a weapon with which he sometimes shoots himself.

If you don’t like what Trump says…well, that’s just too bad. If you have a radio or television show, invite him to a debate. Or just ignore him. You can even go on criticizing him; that’s your First Amendment right.  If you’re afraid he’s stealing your thunder, well then speak up for yourself. Maybe you can steal his talking points and say it better yourself (it wouldn’t be hard).

If you’re a RINO who’s afraid that Trump will carry away enough of the Conservative base to keep you from winning the nomination, you have good reason to worry. Americans are fed up with you whiny, spineless, compromising Moderates. They were all ready to vote for Romney until he went squishy in the debates.

Trump isn’t going to lose to Hillary; you GOP nitwits are. But you’ll blame it on him for offending veterans or Hispanics or whoever it is you’re afraid of. Trump is in the lead because he’s not afraid. Is he the ideal candidate? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s up to fight, though, where the other candidates are either standing there with their hands in their pockets or hatching idiotic, unconstitutional plots to get the guy disqualified.

Why don’t you listen to what he’s really saying, forcefully, if rather clumsily?

America is listening. But so far, Trump is the only Republican candidate talking to America about America. Most of the rest of you stick-at-naughts and middle-of-the-road tailgaters are only talking about Trump.

What do you have to say about that?

Published in: on July 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm  Comments (1)  

Crush! Kill!! Destroy!!!

My brother’s Gal Pal recently celebrated a milestone birthday. As she’s a lady, we won’t discuss which milestone it was. “Roro” as her long-time family and friends call her is a “kid magnet.” Children just love her.

Knowing that there would likely be a tribe of big and small children, I urged my best pal not to accompany me; indeed, my mother insisted that he not come and knowing my friend, I assured her he wouldn’t want to come as he takes little, if any delight, in the chatter of little tongues.

I envy “Roro”. Children automatically flock to her (just as they did my brother’s ex-wife, who had no taste for anything domestic; still, the kids adored her). Me? Generally, kids wail and run off, or at the very least, examine me from head to toe, wondering what sort of creature I am.

I’m one who never had any children.   Life just didn’t work out for me even though I generally like kids and am especially fond of infants. At the party, I asked “Roro” to introduce me to her newest little relation, all of three weeks old.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, described for an undercover representative from The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, how an abortion is performed so as to preserve the fetal tissue wanted for medical research.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch:

“Abortion providers are allowed to sell tissue, but it’s a criminal offense under federal law to profit from the exchange. During the video, Nucatola says clinics charge between $30 and $100 [per] specimen to cover storage and transportation, an action permitted under federal law.”

Nucatola tells the operatives, posing as medical researchers, that St. Louis is a good place to purchase “specimens.”

DN: But I think every one of them is happy to know that there’s a possibility for them to do “this extra bit of good,” in what they do. And I think patients respond most to knowing the types of outcomes that it might contribute to — so for example Alzheimer’s research, Parkinson’s research. I think most of these patients have some experience with at least one of these conditions or another. I think the ones that come in asking are the ones who have already had the experience, that’s why they come in asking .…

I think that a lot of people feel strongly that the conversation shouldn’t be had until after they’ve made their decision to terminate, they know how far along they are, and they know what’s going to happen, and when all that is said and done, and they’ve had time for all of that to sink in, then it’s time to basically say, this is how we normally handle the tissue, but if you would be interested here’s another opportunity to contribute to research, contribute to science, donate your tissue. Most patients are very motivated. I haven’t really seen very many patients that say no. I was in the O.R. yesterday and we had, I’d say, 18 patients, probably half of them were either got digoxin or were under 18 and the rest of them all donated their tissue. So, I don’t think — I don’t think it’s a difficult conversation to have because the difficult stuff has already happened, they’re kind of prepped for this. If anything, this is almost a pleasant surprise in a way, you know you’ve been through the tough stuff, you’ve made this difficult decision. Now there is one more opportunity for you to think about. And, I think they appreciate it.

In an another part of the video, Nucatola talks about doctors performing abortions in which ultrasound is used to ascertain the best location to grab the fetus with forceps.

“So then, you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax because you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver because we know that, I’m not going to crush that part,” she assures them, as she sips her cabernet. “I’m gonna crush below, I’m gonna crush above…” in order to preserve the desired body part.

The Center for Medical Progress notes that Nucatola describes a method — using ultrasound to manipulate the fetus so it comes out feet first, or in breech presentation, instead of head first, or vertex presentation — that “is the hallmark of the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure.”

Partial birth abortions are illegal, according to U.S. law, which defines them as procedures “in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially-delivered living fetus.”

On the video, Nucatola describes the best strategy to extract calavarium, or skulls, intact, but it is not clear if she is speaking in general terms or if she is describing Planned Parenthood’s methods. And then, she says nothing about whether the fetus is still alive when it’s delivered.

“And with the calvarium [the skullcap], in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”

Looking at sweet little Bella, and any number of newly-born infants, it’s hard to imagine just what sort of hard-hearted monster could do such a thing. Dr. Nucatola speaks as matter-of-factly as she sips at her wine as if she was dissecting a fish of crushing the fetus here and crushing the fetus there.

The fetus must be pretty well-developed to be of interest to medical researchers. If a mother-to-be were so anxious to be rid of her burden, why would she wait beyond the fifth month of pregnancy to have the procedure performed unless there was something in it for her?

Is the fee for performing the abortion waived if the mother consents to allowing “her” fetal tissue to be used for medical research? ‘Just think of all the good you can do by donating the tissue,’ Planned Parenthood assures the guilt-ridden mothers. ‘Just think of all the diseases that can be cured through the medical research that can be done on this tissue.’

In the Eighteenth Century, grave robbers, or body snatchers, used to dig up newly-buried corpses; not just for whatever jewelry and clothing they wore, but for the worth of their bodies to medical researchers of the day. The horrific practice was finally outlawed. People can legally will that their bodies be donated to research. But not dug up out of the grave at random.

More Americans are opposed to the despicable practice of abortion than the Media generally acknowledges. Why else would the issue have been argued before the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973) rather than be legalized through state legislatures?

The horror really isn’t over selling fetal tissue or the money exchanged over it, although that’s bad enough.

In the old sci-fi space series, Lost in Space, evil Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) was always warping The Robot’s programming to perform evil deeds against the Robinson Family and their pilot, Maj. West.

“Crush! Kill! Destroy” the Robot would yell maniacally, flashing red lights and waving its robotic arms in the air as he grasped for his victim with his clinchers.

Now evil doctors state it insouciantly over red wine and pasta. Crush, kill, destroy. Whatever.

A question the Center for Medical Progress representatives might have asked Dr. Nucatola:

“Was your heart removed at birth, as well?”

Published in: on July 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Fool and His Voters Are Soon Parted

What did Donald Trump mean when he declared (once) that Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) was not a war hero, yet recanted four times, stating that McCain was a war hero?

After five years of captivity by the North Vietnamese, McCain’s captors at the “Hanoi Hilton” offered to release him. He refused. His father and grandfather were admirals in the Navy; they had considerable political pull. But McCain, as a commander, refused to leave while his men were still held captive. For this, he was regarded as a hero.

Some former guests at the “Hanoi Hilton” have claimed that McCain was actually considered “The Songbird of the Hanoi Hilton,” giving vital information to the Viet Cong to which he was privy as an admiral’s son. Former POW’s imprisoned in his cell block complained that they survived the Hanoi Hilton and also kept their honor.

Just prior to the 2008 campaign, a former Hanoi interrogator was interviewed by one of the major networks, telling the reporter that McCain was a traitor and had given the North Vietnamese valuable intelligence.

Donald Trump accused Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of being “all talk, no action” on veterans’ issues on Saturday as he sought to clarify his dismissive words toward McCain earlier in the day.

“I am not a fan of John McCain because he has done so little for our Veterans and he should know better than anybody what the Veterans need, especially in regards to the VA,” Trump said in a statement released by his campaign.

“He is yet another all talk, no action politician who spends too much time on television and not enough time doing his job and helping the Vets,” Trump continued. “He is also allowing our military to decrease substantially in size and strength, somethings which should never be allowed to happen. ”

Trump faced immediate criticism Saturday after mocking McCain’s six years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

“He was a war hero because he was captured,” Trump sarcastically told host Frank Luntz during the 2015 Family Leadership Summit. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump was swiftly rebuked by the Republication National Committee and several of his fellow 2016 Republican presidential candidates.

Trump said in his statement that McCain has been “extremely disrespectful to the thousands upon thousands of people, many of whom happen to be his constituents, that came out to listen to me speak about illegal immigration by calling them ‘crazies.’

“These were not ‘crazies’ — these were great American citizens,” Trump said.

“I have great respect for all those who serve in our military including those that weren’t captured and are also heroes,” he continued. “I want to strengthen our military and take care of our veterans. I want to make America great again, especially for those that serve to protect our freedom. I am fighting for our veterans! ”

We needn’t go any farther; there’s the damning breach located in that paragraph that puts the chink in Trump’s flashy armor: “I have great respect for all those who serve in our military that weren’t captured and are also heroes.”

In trying to attack McCain, he fired off a verbal machine gun instead of a close-range pistol. He dishonored a whole generation of Vietnam veterans who were h3ld as prisoners-of-war and endured their incarceration with honor and dignity.

Let’s say, just for argument’s sake that the rumors are true, that McCain betrayed the United States: Even if McCain deserves reproach as a POW for singing like a canary and giving the Viet Cong crucial information, Trump just insulted an entire group of veterans, many of whom never returned.

Are they to be branded as “traitors,” too? What of their poor families? McCain didn’t run to the enemy lines as Bergdahl did in Afghanistan. McCain was shot down and captured. Are only the living veterans who succeeded in returning home to the United States to be saluted by Trump as a future Commander-in-Chief? Are those who were captured by the North Koreans, the North Vietnamese, the Japanese, the Germans, and the Italians all to be considered unworthy in this presidential wannabes eyes?

What of those who were killed in battle and didn’t return? Are they deemed to be “bad soldiers” because they had the misfortune to be killed? What of those (like my father) who suffered non-combat injuries during service?

Trumpet seems to be styling himself after World War II General George S. Patton, who infamously slapped a soldier suffering from battle fatigue or shellshock, or as it is now known, Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome. It didn’t end well for Patton. He was killed in a car accident that those at the time could tell you was no accident.

Trump supporters are suspicious of McCain’s war hero status. But what bothers them is McCain’s tendency to cross the aisle. They really hate him for winning the 2008 GOP Nomination. War hero or not, young people were not going to vote for a white-haired old man. Young Conservatives (like my nephew) stayed home that Election Day.

This last gaffe could cost Trump (who has vowed never to apologize) the support he needs to win the nomination. Money alone won’t suffice.

Before Trump shoots his mouth off again, machine-gun style, he should take better aim and avoid mowing down innocent victims and potential voters. The Democrats, of course, are thrilled that he’s swift-boated his own base. Trump never served in the military (neither did Obama) and certainly was never held prisoner in a POW camp during wartime. Unless he has walked in their boots, he should not comment about the experiences of others who’ve been there. At the very least, he should read the Medal of Honor website.

He has the right to criticize McCain, or any other politician, on the issues (such as supporting the military). He needs to refrain from insults and name-calling. A presidential campaign is not a reality TV show. Its reality and actions and words have consequences.

Experto credite.

Published in: on July 21, 2015 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment