Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trump's First State of the Union Address

Last night President Trump spoke to the Nation and a joint session of Congress. While I was leading my own city council meeting, I did not have the opportunity to tune in. Instead I read the speech, provided by, and will go through it discussing aspects of it. Hope is that others will read it again, learn from it, and see truly where President Trump looks to take the United States.

For the record, you will see my comments intermixed with the words of the speech.

 Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and Citizens of America:
     Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation's path toward civil rights and the work that still remains.  Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms. Good that President Trump wasted little time putting this to rest as some in the media was blasting him for not responding more quickly.
     Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice –- in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present.
     That torch is now in our hands.  And we will use it to light up the world.  I am heretonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.
     A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning.
     A new national pride is sweeping across our Nation.
     And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.
     What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit.
     Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead. About time!
     All the nations of the world -- friend or foe -- will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.
     In 9 years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding -- 250 years since the day we declared our Independence.
     It will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world.
     But what will America look like as we reach our 250th year? What kind of country will we leave for our children?
     I will not allow the mistakes of recent decades past to define the course of our future.
     For too long, we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries.
     We've financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit -- and so many other places throughout our land.
     We've defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross -- and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate.
     And we've spent trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.
     Then, in 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet.  The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds -– families who just wanted a fair shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns.
     But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus -- as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country.
     Finally, the chorus became an earthquake – and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first ... because only then, can we truly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. This point is critical for the continuation of the United States as we are just an infant in comparison to other countries.
     Dying industries will come roaring back to life.  Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need.
     Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve.
     Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land.
     Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop.
     And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.
     Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people.
     It's been a little over a month since my inauguration, and I want to take this moment to update the Nation on the progress I've made in keeping those promises.
     Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs. This is real job growth; yet keep in mind the plant in Mexico will still be built.
     The stock market has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th, a record.   We've saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter, and will be saving billions more dollars on contracts all across our Government.  We have placed a hiring freeze on non-military and non-essential Federal workers. This is good, because we need job growth to be robust in the private sector not in the public sector.
     We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5 year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials –- and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.  Wonder how this will effect former President Obama as he takes charge of foundation or speaks out against Trump?
     We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job‑crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every Government agency; imposing a new rule which mandates that for every 1 new regulation, 2 old regulations must be eliminated; and stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.
     We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines -- thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs -- and I've issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel. While the pipelines will help, they have been mostly put together so the job number might be on the high side.
     We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.
     With the help of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have formed a Council with our neighbors in Canada to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams. And here I thought GOP Candidate Trump hated women and wanted to only abuse them!
     To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime. Good Luck on that!
     I have further ordered the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our Nation.
     We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth -- and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted. Let's hope this means mainstreaming drugs and treat them as we do alcohol or prescription drugs. Take away the most lucrative source drug cartels and street gangs have to raise funds and we may finally get our inner cities back.
     At the same time, my Administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security.  By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone.  We want all Americans to succeed –- but that can't happen in an environment of lawless chaos.  We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders.
     For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime. Finally the law passed in 1984 will be completed.
     As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens.  Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised.
     To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question:  what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders? We are a country of laws, laws that keep our freedoms in tact. For far too long we have allowed our political elites to ignore the laws and restrict our freedoms. 
     Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States.  We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism.
     According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.  We have seen the attacks at home -– from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.
     We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany and all over the world.
     It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.  Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values. Assimilation!
     We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America -- we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.
     That is why my Administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our Nation safe -- and to keep out those who would do us harm.
     As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS -- a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs.  We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.
     I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran's ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel. How long until the Embassy moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
     Finally, I have kept my promise to appoint a Justice to the United States Supreme Court -- from my list of 20 judges -- who will defend our Constitution.  I am honored to have Maureen Scalia with us in the gallery tonight.  Her late, great husband, Antonin Scalia, will forever be a symbol of American justice.  To fill his seat, we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill, and deep devotion to the law.  He was confirmed unanimously to the Court of Appeals, and I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.
     Tonight, as I outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited.
     Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.
     Over 43 million people are now living in poverty, and over 43 million Americans are on food stamps.
     More than 1 in 5 people in their prime working years are not working.
     We have the worst financial recovery in 65 years.
     In the last 8 years, the past Administration has put on more new debt than nearly all other Presidents combined. Watch that grow over the next 8 years as interest rates rise!
     We've lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was approved, and we've lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
     Our trade deficit in goods with the world last year was nearly $800 billion dollars. Maybe we can see a return to buying products that last and are less disposable without becoming isolationists.
     And overseas, we have inherited a series of tragic foreign policy disasters.
     Solving these, and so many other pressing problems, will require us to work past the differences of party.  It will require us to tap into the American spirit that has overcome every challenge throughout our long and storied history.
     But to accomplish our goals at home and abroad, we must restart the engine of the American economy -- making it easier for companies to do business in the United States, and much harder for companies to leave.
     Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world.My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone.  At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.  Can we finally see a Flat Tax?
     We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.
     Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes -- but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing.
     I just met with officials and workers from a great American company, Harley-Davidson.  In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles, made in the USA, on the front lawn of the White House.
     At our meeting, I asked them, how are you doing, how is business?  They said that it's good.  I asked them further how they are doing with other countries, mainly international sales.  They told me -- without even complaining because they have been mistreated for so long that they have become used to it -- that it is very hard to do business with other countries because they tax our goods at such a high rate.  They said that in one case another country taxed their motorcycles at 100 percent.
     They weren't even asking for change.  But I am.
     I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE.
     The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the "abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government [will] produce want and ruin among our people."
     Lincoln was right -- and it is time we heeded his words. I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers, be taken advantage of anymore.
     I am going to bring back millions of jobs.  Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration.  The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers.
     Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others –- have a merit-based immigration system.  It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially.  Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon.  According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America's taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.
     Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits:  it will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families –- including immigrant families –- enter the middle class. Silicon Valley should be happy to hear this.
I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.
If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.
     Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program –- the building of the interstate highway system.  The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.
     America has spent approximately six trillion dollars in the Middle East, all this while our infrastructure at home is crumbling.  With this six trillion dollars we could have rebuilt our country –- twice.  And maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to negotiate.
     To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States -- financed through both public and private capital –- creating millions of new jobs.
     This effort will be guided by two core principles:  Buy American, and Hire American.
     Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare.
     Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America.  In a free society, no one should be mandated to buy anything yet SCOTUS applied the taxation power of Congress to justify the ACA mandate.The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do. 
     Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits.  As an example, Arizona went up 116 percent last year alone.  Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky just said Obamacare is failing in his State -- it is unsustainable and collapsing.
     One third of counties have only one insurer on the exchanges –- leaving many Americans with no choice at all.
     Remember when you were told that you could keep your doctor, and keep your plan?
     We now know that all of those promises have been broken.
     Obamacare is collapsing –- and we must act decisively to protect all Americans.  Action is not a choice –- it is a necessity. The best hit is yet to come as big employers must provide health care coverage as the exception runs out December 2017. If nothing is done, it will be amazing to watch these companies run the cost benefit analysis. My bet is many will pay the fine as it will be cheaper.
     So I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in the Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.
     Here are the principles that should guide the Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system for all Americans:
     First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges. If we do this President Trump, how will we use the talking point of death anymore?
     Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts –- but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the Government.
     Thirdly, we should give our great State Governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out. Ugh, still leaving the door open to single payer..grrrr
     Fourthly, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance – and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.
     Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across State lines –- creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care.
     Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed.  Every problem can be solved.  And every hurting family can find healing, and hope.
     Our citizens deserve this, and so much more –- so why not join forces to finally get it done?  On this and so many other things, Democrats and Republicans should get together and unite for the good of our country, and for the good of the American people.
     My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, to invest in women's health, and to promote clean air and clear water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure.
     True love for our people requires us to find common ground, to advance the common good, and to cooperate on behalf of every American child who deserves a brighter future.
     An incredible young woman is with us this evening who should serve as an inspiration to us all.
     Today is Rare Disease day, and joining us in the gallery is a Rare Disease Survivor, Megan Crowley.  Megan was diagnosed with Pompe Disease, a rare and serious illness, when she was 15 months old.  She was not expected to live past 5.
     On receiving this news, Megan's dad, John, fought with everything he had to save the life of his precious child.  He founded a company to look for a cure, and helped develop the drug that saved Megan's life.  Today she is 20 years old -- and a sophomore at Notre Dame.
     Megan's story is about the unbounded power of a father's love for a daughter.
     But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved Megan's life, from reaching those in need. Also doesn't recognize alternative solutions that are not supported by Big Pharma or reimbursed by Medicare.
     If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our Government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles like Megan.
     In fact, our children will grow up in a Nation of miracles.
     But to achieve this future, we must enrich the mind –- and the souls –- of every American child.
     Education is the civil rights issue of our time.
     I am calling upon Members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children.  These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.  
     Joining us tonight in the gallery is a remarkable woman, Denisha Merriweather.  As a young girl, Denisha struggled in school and failed third grade twice.  But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program.  Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school, but from college.  Later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.
     We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha.
     But to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of violence.
     The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.
     In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone –- and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher.
     This is not acceptable in our society.
     Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job.
     But to create this future, we must work with –- not against -– the men and women of law enforcement.
     We must build bridges of cooperation and trust –- not drive the wedge of disunity and division.
     Police and sheriffs are members of our community.  They are friends and neighbors, they are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters – and they leave behind loved ones every day who worry whether or not they'll come home safe and sound.
     We must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement.
     And we must support the victims of crime.
     I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims.  The office is called VOICE –- Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement.  We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.
     Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them.
     Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.
     Jamiel's 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison.  Jamiel Shaw Jr. was an incredible young man, with unlimited potential who was getting ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great quarterback.  But he never got the chance.  His father, who is in the audiencetonight, has become a good friend of mine.
     Also with us are Susan Oliver and Jessica Davis.  Their husbands –- Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis –- were slain in the line of duty in California.  They were pillars of their community.  These brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record and two prior deportations.
     Sitting with Susan is her daughter, Jenna.  Jenna:  I want you to know that your father was a hero, and that tonight you have the love of an entire country supporting you and praying for you.
     To Jamiel, Jenna, Susan and Jessica:  I want you to know –- we will never stop fighting for justice.  Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory.
     Finally, to keep America Safe we must provide the men and women of the United States military with the tools they need to prevent war and –- if they must –- to fight and to win.
     I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the Defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.
     My budget will also increase funding for our veterans.
     Our veterans have delivered for this Nation –- and now we must deliver for them.
     The challenges we face as a Nation are great.  But our people are even greater.
     And none are greater or braver than those who fight for America in uniform.
     We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens.  Ryan died as he lived:  a warrior, and a hero –- battling against terrorism and securing our Nation.
     I just spoke to General Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, "Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies."  Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity.  For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.  Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom –- we will never forget him.
     To those allies who wonder what kind of friend America will be, look no further than the heroes who wear our uniform.
     Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world.  It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe.
     We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism.
     But our partners must meet their financial obligations.
     And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.
     We expect our partners, whether in NATO, in the Middle East, or the Pacific –- to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost. Wonder if we are no longer the Police of the World, will others like the West or Us?
     We will respect historic institutions, but we will also respect the sovereign rights of nations.
     Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people –- and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path.  My job is not to represent the world.  My job is to represent the United States of America. But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict -- not more.
     We must learn from the mistakes of the past –- we have seen the war and destruction that have raged across our world.
     The only long-term solution for these humanitarian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding.
     America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align.  We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict.
     We want peace, wherever peace can be found.  America is friends today with former enemies.  Some of our closest allies, decades ago, fought on the opposite side of these World Wars.  This history should give us all faith in the possibilities for a better world.
     Hopefully, the 250th year for America will see a world that is more peaceful, more just and more free.
     On our 100th anniversary, in 1876, citizens from across our Nation came to Philadelphia to celebrate America's centennial.  At that celebration, the country's builders and artists and inventors showed off their creations.
     Alexander Graham Bell displayed his telephone for the first time.
     Remington unveiled the first typewriter.  An early attempt was made at electric light.
     Thomas Edison showed an automatic telegraph and an electric pen.
     Imagine the wonders our country could know in America's 250th year.
     Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people.
     Cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope.
     American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.
     Millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to expect.
     And streets where mothers are safe from fear -- schools where children learn in peace -- and jobs where Americans prosper and grow -- are not too much to ask.
     When we have all of this, we will have made America greater than ever before. For all Americans.
     This is our vision. This is our mission.
     But we can only get there together.
     We are one people, with one destiny.
     We all bleed the same blood.
     We all salute the same flag.
     And we are all made by the same God.
                 Shocked I haven't seen these words just above on a Meme with Hitler nearby.
     And when we fulfill this vision; when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American Greatness began.
     The time for small thinking is over.  The time for trivial fights is behind us.
     We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.
     The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls.
     And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.
     From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears –-
     inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past –-
     and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.
     I am asking all citizens to embrace this Renewal of the American Spirit.  I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country.  And I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment and --
     Believe in yourselves.
     Believe in your future.
     And believe, once more, in America.
     Thank you, God bless you, and God Bless these United States.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trumps First 100 Days

I know its been a long time since I have blogged. I figure we need to stop hyperventilating over Trump winning the Presidency of the United States. Let's take a good look at what he intends to attempt accomplish in the first 100 days:

There has been a lot of talk about Trump's first 100 days and all the freedoms that will be is what he said he plans to do - no keep in mind he will still need Congress to go along-
BTW, I put my comments in () after each point I felt to comment on......
What follows is my 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again. It is a contract between myself and the American voter — and begins with restoring honesty, accountability and change to Washington
Therefore, on the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue the following six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC:
* FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress; (Term limits is part of the solution. The bigger swamp is the staffers that remain even after the official leaves office.)
* SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health);
* THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated; (Think we need smart regulations, not just eliminating for the sake of eliminating)
* FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;
* FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
* SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:
* FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 (It was a terrible deal and needs re-working)
* SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
* THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator (This one will be fun to watch, as I was just watching a Bloomberg program and one of the Executives for Alibababa was on and the lady doing the interviewed inquired to the toxic assets the banks are holding in China)
* FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately. (As long as we don't use protective tariffs - free trade is not a bad thing for American businesses)
* FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars' worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal. (This is the waive of our future, we can be a major player in the energy export field. Do it, create jobs, and raise the GDP thus raising tax revenue)
* SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward. (Yes, get oil off the tracks so other goods can flow more cheaply and we as consumer can pay a fair amount)
* SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America's water and environmental infrastructure. (Agreed, take care of the homeland first, if the UN wants to study climate change then let them do it.)
Additionally, on the first day, I will take the following five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:
* FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama. (No issues with that. Executive Orders ought to be very limited in scope or we lose the co-equal aspect of government)
* SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. (Agreed, we need more originalists on the bench as this will lead to greater freedoms for all people no matter your gender, race, creed or sexual orientation)
* THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities(Amen, this has choked the funding at the local level)
* FOURTH, begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won't take them back. (Yes, we are a country of laws, if you break them, then you need to be punished. There are many people that wait in line to come here. Just follow the law)
* FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.(No trouble here. This is not xenophobia...we have seen time and time again in Europe and even with the Minnesota Somalia population where the lack of a robust vetting process has lead to issues)
Next, I will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration:
Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act. An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate. (Wait, did he just say Middle Class. I thought it was just the rich that will get relief)
End The Offshoring Act. Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.
American Energy & Infrastructure Act. Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.
School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.(Amen, give education back to the local level as its not a one size fits all)
Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications. (Get rid of the mandate, get rid of kids staying on til 26, allow for broader selling of HSA's and Health Insurance is so far they meet State guidelines)
Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act. Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-side childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
End Illegal Immigration Act Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.(Secure borders will help American workers, families and communities)
Restoring Community Safety Act. Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values
Clean up Corruption in Washington Act. Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.
On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities, and honesty to our government.
This is my pledge to you.
And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government of, by and for the people.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Net Neutrality: Regulation needed?

I recall a time when dial up was the mode of connecting to the internet and even then the content was very limited. No fancy graphics, no cookies, no advertising existed. Today, many of us gain access to the internet through our smartphones while others still use that thing called a computer. Then again, the computer is being eased out by the tablet and hybrids of the tablet/laptop. The content is richer, more graphic and interactive now as well.

Over the last few weeks, I have researched the topic of Net Neutrality to learn about what this term really means and thoughts of leading experts in the field. While I am sure I missed a few experts thus not giving me the entire picture, enough material was consumed to at least get the conversation started. Unfortunately, as I type this blog entry the recent speech given by President Obama won't be mentioned as I haven't heard or read the transcript yet despite the many sound bites that exist on the internet.

A reason why proponents of Net Neutrality are promoting is the power Internet Service Providers (ISP's) have over the speed at which we consumers receive content. Netflix appeared to be at the apex of this controversy as ISP's were throttling, slowing down, users that were streaming, watching, content from Netflix. In an article by The Windows Club, What is Net Neutrality - Definition, it is asserted that Comcast was "slowing down Netflix to promote its own paid videos". Thus pushing users to use Comcast lineup more than Netflix.

Now, in 2014 the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) did set a few rules to regulate that internet:

  1. Transparency: ISP's have to report and publish their performance periodically to traffic, irregularities, charges applied to faster bandwidth, and websites blocked.
  2. ISP's cannot unlawfully block websites: Not a clear definition of though of unlawfully given.
  3. ISP's cannot slow down the internet speed: Meaning if you pay for 1GB data transfer, then you get at least 1 GB data transfer speed.
Other reasons for Net Neutrality is that it will promote competition thus preventing a Ma Bell situation. Creates an environment of innovation while ensuring the Internet remains a free market place.

The counter points to Net Neutrality is that simply it is not needed. Why? Net Neutrality is not needed because ISP's benefit little from blocking content or "degrading network performance". The Internet is transforming as those that use it more than others, ISP's feel they have the right to charge more for the heavy usage; which is an aspect that those that favor Net Neutrality seeks to end.

If the recent Golden Globes are any indication where American's are headed for their viewing of television, then the conversation of throttling, bandwidth, heavy users and alike will be more mainstream. Very few nominations for Golden Globes, in television categories, were from shows on ABC, NBC or CBS. With just a handful more from cable networks that don't stream their shows online. Another concern of Net Neutrality is "Big Brother" syndrome.

Users and ISP's fear that if Net Neutrality is enacted that the FCC, at the whim of political power grabs, will not impartially regulate the Internet; rather will create uncertainty, stifle innovation, and end Capitalistic opportunities on the Internet.

Many of us do experience Net Neutrality already though despite the vague rules set forth by the FCC in 2014. If we were to go to a local library to access the internet, the library, i.e. Government, has put restrictions on the content and websites one can search or interact with. If you happen to work in a cube farm, your access to certain content, i.e. this blog, may be restricted.

I bring up these last to illustrations not because I favor restricting access; rather to illustrate that as a free society we are not always as free as we think to make our own choices. As for Net Neutrality goes:
  1.  If an ISP wants to charge one more for heavy usage I am fine with that.
  2.  If an ISP wants to throttle my service or restrict content for which I search for I am not fine with that.
  3. If an ISP wants to use cookies to track my searches to advance advertising to the banners then so be it as I understand that by my usage of the ISP I give up certain freedoms.
  4. Regulation seldom results in innovation.
The Internet pushes our boundaries and opens the world to our homes. We as consumers have the responsibility to ensure the content we search for, the programs we employ, the websites we create and words we type are without our own moral and ethical dogma.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year and Good Morning 2015!

In traditional fashion, 2015 was brought in last night with the ball dropping in Time Square and champagne being popped open. Another tradition is setting New Year resolutions. While I know my posts have been sparse in the last quarter of the year, I set forth a new charge for 2015. I resolve to post twice a month on topics of debate to allow me ample time to research the topic and vet information brought forth.

All too often in our discourse of the topic of the day is shallow, knee jerk and recitation of talking points. We are better than that. We deserve better. By taking more time to research topics, it will allow for a deeper start to the conversation and hopefully a great result as we discuss the topics of the day.

As usual I am open to suggestions on topics to start the conversation on. Let's make 2015 a year of meaningful conversation and crafting solutions/understandings that deepen, enrich our lives. Shed the shallowness that most on social media sites and our media in general keep us in bondage.

Look forward to the first posting on the 15th to start a conversation of meaningful importance.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School

September 2, 2014 - marks the start of school for 2014. Yes, I know that some schools started last week. A lot of pictures on Facebook from friends, family and other relations showing the kids off to the bus stop with smiles on. As these kids go off to school and learn, my hope is that Civic classes make a Renaissance.

Over 200 years ago, old power wigged men decided that the oppression by the English Crown had gone on long enough. They acted, with the help of France, and formed a new government that we enjoy today. Along the way, many of the wrongs were corrected - Woman's Sufferage, Civil Rights Act - unfortunately one thing continues to erode; States Rights.

The 10th Amendment has been eroded and really leaves little in regards to State Rights anymore. The concept is rather simply; the power of the country is to reside in the State Houses of government and not Washington D.C. States no longer are allowed to choose their Senators; instead they are elected which allows money from outside the State to influence not mention the carpetbaggers. The concept of State Rights was to prevent a strong centralized system of government to rule over the land as the issues facing New Yorkers were much different than issues facing those from other States.

Just like today, issues facing Minnesota differ than those facing Arizona, Texas or even Maine. These
"laboratories of Democracy" were set in place for this reason.  When you get your new iPhone or Galaxy, we all choose which Apps we are to have, right? Well that is the same concept with State Rights.

If the laws of the land are the same in Minnesota as they are in California as they are in New York and we don't like them then we have no place to relocate to. Just like if we tire of Angry Birds and want to move onto Candy Crush, we have that ability by adding and deleting Apps. If you live in Minnesota and you don't like the fact that you cannot openly carry your weapon of choice, you have the ability to move to a State that does.

Some common laws ought to exists to aid in the flow of goods, the protection of private property and ensure basic civil rights exist. Let's hope our young children wake up and realize the benefits of a de-centralized system of government while we still have some freedom of choice, assembly, religion, and association.