The Russia Investigation is heating up

1) Investigations of this order are necessarily intense, comprehensive and thus, scary. That's not new. However, they're newsworthy because of so many interviewed and to what degree. Look at any prior special counsel, and you'll see the same, for Republicans or Democrats.

2) That said, expect Sean Spicer to be a central figure. Not because he's a Commie. He was just in so many important meetings as the president's spokesman. 

3) Paul Manafort will likely be indicted. There is a lot of focus on him at the moment, and none of it is good. However, the lingering question is whether or not Manafort will look to make a deal. If he does, what are the implications for The White House? 

It is clear that this investigation isn't going anywhere and I can only hope that things don't get any worse for the American people.

America's show of force

For eight years, the Obama Administration relied mostly on soft power to deal with our adversaries and those policies were a disaster. One merely needs to look at North Korea. Under the Obama Administration, Kim Jung Un was able to accelerate North Korea's nuclear and missile system. The result of their development is not only a threat to the region and our allies, but it is also a threat to Guam a U.S. territory.

Though some didn't like President Trump's strong words about North Korea, he has no other the choice. It's time to use hard power. It's time to put all options on the table including military force to deal with North Korea because it should be clear to all concerned that more sanctions are meaningless and diplomacy has all but failed.

America's show of force is not meant to bully anyone but is intended to serve as a warning to North Korea and any other nation that doesn't recognize that the way we handled our foriegns affairs in the past has come to an end. We must protect our interest across the globe and that means coming to the defense of our allies.

American workers are losing

As an entrepreneur who owns real assets — real estate, spectrum licenses, and a publishing library, among others — I was able to benefit, at least on paper, from the Fed’s asset inflation strategy. I have been able to refinance my debt at attractive rates, and seen asset prices (but not necessarily values) climb. But others, especially workers (who derive the bulk of their income from salary instead of capital appreciation) and savers (retirees living on a fixed income), have lost under this post-recession scheme.

Workers lost because their spending power diluted drastically over the past ten years. The costs of housing and energy have continued to rise in areas where the highest concentrations of jobs are located. For example, a young college graduate who wants to earn a high salary in the tech industry has to live in Silicon Valley, where even a base salary of $100,000 won’t enable them to afford to purchase a home there. Home prices are so out of line with average salaries that cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are seeing an epidemic of homelessness never experienced since the Great Depression of 1929.

Partisanship on both sides is destroying our democratic process

Partisanship on both sides is destroying the fabric of our democratic process. A Pew Research study found that "over the last thirty years, the nation has grown more partisan and Congress has become less effective. Each side is more extreme, and each bases their political agenda on demonizing the other side. Each side engages in political machinations, which include partisan gerrymandering and manipulating the rules of Congress to get their way, stymie their opponents, or deny them office completely."

To appease the extremes of their base, political leaders would rather wage fruitless political wars against one another over working together to pass legislation that is in the best interest of the American people. We merely have to look at health care and immigration, two issues that we should be able to find common ground on. No one side is going to get everything they want, and our democracy wasn't created so that one side would always prevail. Instead, it is built on the idea of compromise, where no one side gets everything they want, and that is what makes our democracy flourish. 

Remember President Reagan and Tipp O'Neil? The two men were polar opposites ideological, but both men understood that they both had to compromise in order to accomplish policies that were in the interest of the American people and by all accounts there were successful. Today's politicians could learn a lot from the past because a continuation of what we see today will only further the divide and frustration that is so obvious throughout our country. People want results and right now our political leaders aren't delivering because they continue to allow partisanship to get in the way our effective governance. 

 

An open letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence

President Donald J. Trump:

Vice President Michael R. Pence:

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell:

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:

Congressman Cedric Richmond:

 

Robert E. Lee stated that he would not be buried in his Confederate States of America (CSA) uniform because that act would be seditious.  At Lee’s funeral in 1870, no former soldiers or participants marching in his funeral cortege were allowed to wear CSA uniforms. 

There is a simple remedy for our present state of affairs regarding monuments to former Confederate generals and the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, it is to go to the U.S. Constitution. 

Section 110 of Article III addresses treason and sedition.  Treason and sedition are federal law/Constitution violations.  To support the Confederacy and its symbols is to be a traitor of the United States in fact and in spirit.  

Section 110 of Article III states: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason.”  That power of punishing the crime of treason is exclusive in Congress; and the trail of the offense belongs exclusively to the Federal tribunals.

In 1790, the Congress of the United States enacted that: “If any person or persons, owing allegiance to the United States of America, shall levy war against them, or shall adhere to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States, or elsewhere, and shall be thereof convicted on confession in open Court, or on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act of treason..."

Our history books have incorrectly labeled the war between the states as a Civil War, which is a misnomer.  What occurred was a group of states seceding from the Union and creating the Confederate States of America and attacking the United States of America.  This was a war of secession.  If it were a civil war, which is an attempt to change the government, that would have been a revolution. 

We laud Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and we thank Wynton Marsalis for initiating the removal of the monuments in New Orleans.  It is ironic that the erection of statues and the naming of boulevards and schools for Confederate soldiers and cabinet members of the CSA is a romantic notion.  There was not one bullet fired or cannonball shot in New Orleans during the Civil War.  In 1862, Admiral Farragut disembarked from the USS Hartford at the Port of New Orleans, walked to City Hall and told Mayor John T. Monroe of New Orleans, either you surrender or we will level the French Quarter.  Confederate General Mansfield Lovell advised Mayor John Monroe that opposing the Union would be futile.  New Orleans, the largest Confederate city, was captured without conflict.  Therefore, the monuments and other namings in New Orleans do not have any historic relevance whatsoever.  Again, just romanticization.  Likewise, members of the white supremacy groups, Neo-Nazis and KKK, are overwhelmingly not descendants of those Southerners that fought in the army of the Confederate States of America.  For those to state that they have a kindred spirit with the Confederacy is a fantasy.  Those Americans aligned with these groups, which are not based in historical connections, should just be bold enough to state that they are racist, anti-Semites, and white supremacists, rather than attempt to distort that which motivates them.

America’s history is complicated.  My great-great-great Aunt Sarah Knox Taylor, was married to Jefferson Davis.  As an American of African ancestry and a descendent of the Mayflower (even though I cannot become a member the Mayflower Society because I fail to have one or two documents that would complete the link) my DNA confirms that lineage.   Last August, when David Duke was running for the U.S. Senate from the State of Louisiana, I challenged him publicly to take a DNA test to which he did respond on his web site.  I do not think, after looking at David Duke’s history, that he is part African-American, but I do think that he may be part Jewish.  

We, as Americans and our elected officials, must embrace the Constitution of the United States that was penned by our Founding Fathers, who themselves were flawed just as is our Constitution. However, the document addresses the issues that are tearing us apart today and it gives us the solution.

The President and Congress should focus on the economy, tax reform, the budget, foreign affairs, infrastructure, and running the government for the benefit of all Americans whom they were duly elected to serve.

 

Harold E. Doley, Jr.

U.S. Citizen

 

President Trump makes deal with Democrats

President Trump was elected to shake up Washington. Shame on those Republican members of Congress who are upset that President Trump sided with Democrats on attaching Hurricane Harvey relief dollars to the debt ceiling. The people of Texas shouldn't be impacted because members of Congress want to pay to play politics, people's lives are at stake and they should be ashamed. 

No one wonder the American people are sick of both parties because they put self-interest and party interest over the interest of the people, which is not how government or leadership should work. 

Donald Trump was elected to do one thing: Get to work for the American people, period, and that is exactly what is he doing. We have had enough people in Washington playing politics, we need someone to come in and shake things up and make as many deals neccessary to benefit the average person and that is exactly what the president is doing. 

The US can grow its own farm workers

The tide of globalism, is, according to economists, a train that has already left the station. The neoliberal consensus, shared by both Republicans and Democrats alike over the past few decades has been that so-called ‘free trade’ is the solution to economic growth in American. But globalism also has its discontents, none less acknowledged than the American farm worker.

In 1870, at the height of the labor market in agriculture, fully half of all working Americans were employed in the agriculture industry. Today, that figure is around one percent of all workers. There are several reasons for this. First, technological advancements have made farm work much less labor intensive. Mechanized farming methods account for the lion’s share of the decline in the percentage of the agriculture-related labor force. And that is by design.

Earlier in America’s history, seasonal migrant workers, both American and largely Mexican, crossed the borders frequently to work the harvest seasons, and then returned to their homes in Mexico. But beginning in the 1960s, American-born workers began to organize against migrants, who they viewed as undercutting their collective bargaining rights. 

Cesar Chavez, a revered Chicano (and ethnic identity adopted by people of Mexican descent born in the U.S.) labor and civil rights activist, decried the importation of undocumented immigrants as a direct attack by farm owners against the rights of U.S. citizens. Chavez organized major labor strikes against U.S. farmers, resulting in some cases, massive shortages and price increases in agricultural staples.

 

But the neoliberal agenda quickly caught on. First, farming organizations began to break the organized labor stranglehold on production by secretly importing undocumented workers from Mexico. This practice proceeded, largely unchecked, until the 1990s, when a more formal solution was devised: The North American Free Trade Agreement. Proposed by Republicans and enacted into law by President Clinton, NAFTA was seen by many in the business community as the solution to intractable problems of government-imposed environmental and labor regulation that was stifling American economic growth. But it was sold to the American consumer as a way of getting goods on the table at lower cost.

To be sure, NAFTA delivered on its promise of lower cost to the consumer. But at what price? It seems obvious now, but the savings to the American consumer came at the cost of the American worker. This is a tradeoff that many other countries — including especially China — have refused to make. China sees the productive worker as the engine of its economy, Whereas America sees the consumer as the engine. In truth, both are wrong.

It takes both workers and consumers to drive the type of economic growth America needs now. How can consumers buy more goods if they are not generating incomes? With labor market participation rates showing modest signs of uptick after almost three decades in freefall, it seems that the labor market is recovering slightly. But we need to look for ways to get many, many more working age Americans into the labor market.

Farming is one open avenue. Whereas in 1998, more than a third of farm workers in America were recent immigrants, as of 2014, the number of recent immigrants in the U.S labor force fell to almost eleven percent. The Obama administration touted DACA — his executive order allowing children born abroad and brought illegally to the U.S. as children — as a measure to protect the human rights of undocumented immigrants. That was not the case.

The objective of DACA, which was driven by major corporations, was to protect the dwindling supply of cheap undocumented labor available in the agricultural industry. And that diminishing supply, ironically, was driven by the success of NAFTA in driving up job opportunities for Mexicans in Mexico. As it stands, in 2016, there is a shortage of available labor in the U.S. agricultural sector of almost one million workers. And that in turn is starting to have adverse effects on the ability of U.S. farmers to compete in the global agricultural market.

There is another side to the solution to the American labor problem that is not contained in Trump’s promise to end DACA and strengthen the enforcement of immigration laws. It is that America — and especially the Republican Party — is going to have to come to terms with organized labor. American voters are not likely to return to farming and other industries under the same working conditions as undocumented immigrants. It goes without saying that a job that does not pay living wages is not a job worth doing for most Americans. On the other hand, both producers and consumers of American agricultural products are going to have to adjust to the higher costs of labor that will necessarily arise when American citizens are called upon to take over the jobs currently occupied by undocumented immigrants.

There is a third component to this shift in U.S. policy that must be addressed. As the tacit agreement between big business and undocumented labor ends, there will be a skills gap in the U.S. labor force that will be somewhat difficult to mitigate in the short term. Educational institutions, including original land grant colleges and Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) are some of the few remaining options for teaching long lost agricultural skills in the U.S. These could provide the basis for a structural retraining platform for the burgeoning American farm labor force.

 

Note: This article originially appeared on TheHill.com

The American farmer still plays an important role in our economy

The tide of globalism, is, according to economists, a train that has already left the station.  The neo-liberal consensus, shared by both Republicans and Democrats alike over the past few decades has been that so-called ‘free trade’ is the solution to economic growth in American.  But globalism also has its discontents, none less acknowledged than the American farm worker.

In 1870, at the height of the labor market in agriculture, fully half of all working Americans were employed in the agriculture industry.  Today, that figure is less than one percent of all workers.  There are several reasons for this. First, technological advancements have made farm work much less labor intensive.  Mechanized farming methods account for the lion’s share of the decline in the percentage of the agriculture-related labor force.  And that is by design.

Let's come up with creative solutions to deal with DACA

The debate over DACA underscores the erosion of certain skills in the U.S. labor market - for example, farming and construction. Democrats threaten that if undocumented immigrants are deported, who will be left to perform work in these sectors. As a farmer - what do you think about the necessity of farm labor skills in the American economy? How can the educational system support agriculture and building trades to create a robust American labor force? The question of "who will be left to perform work in these sectors" assumes that the American people are unwilling and perhaps even unable to consider picking up the void left by illegal immigrants. However, that couldn't be the furthest thing from the truth. Consider the plethora of troubled kids who could work these some of these jobs during the summer or those who fill our prisons who could fill these jobs. Yes, I know these are creative ideas, but the point that I am attempting to make is that there are real solutions that we could come up with to fill the void. Why not take a more serious look at these ideas to see what would work. 

We need one million more farm-workers in the country. Should we import them or grow them at home? I'm of the belief that we should grow them because we have the manpower to do so.

Israel is flying high as it deepens ties with Argentina

A flight by Israel’s national air carrier El Al to Argentina next month would be a historic first, if it were not for Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

On May 20, 1960, nine days after Israeli Mossad agents captured one of the Holocaust’s principal architects in Buenos Aires, Eichmann was disguised in crew clothing, placed on an El Al jetliner, and flown to Israel. The day before, an Israeli diplomatic delegation led by Abba Eban had traveled to Argentina on the same airplane, ostensibly to participate in the 150th anniversary of Argentine Independence.

After arriving in Israel, and following a remarkable trial that captured global attention, Eichmann was finally brought to justice, convicted of war crimes and hanged by Israel for crimes against humanity. It's the only time that the Jewish state has implemented the death penalty.

The remarkable saga involving Israel and a Nazi living on the lam in Argentina is now firmly in the past, as the national Israeli airline and its Argentinian counterpart prepare to initiate flights between the two countries. Netanyahu is expected to visit in September, which would be the first trip to South America by a sitting Israeli prime minister. It is a testament to how far Israeli-Argentinian relations have progressed, and the latest evidence that Israeli diplomatic and commercial ties are accelerating.

 

While bashing Israel remains a favorite pastime at the United Nations, an increasing number of countries are finally starting to appreciate the huge benefits they can enjoy from building bridges with Jerusalem.

To be clear, there is still a very long way to go before the world’s only Jewish state is afforded the same dignity and respect as other, far less deserving countries. Even within Argentina, which is poised to deepen its relationship with Israel, there is painful history that must never be forgotten.

In March 1992, a suicide bomber attacked the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people.  Just two years later, in July 1994, Hezbollah terrorists bombed the Jewish community center building, the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), taking the lives of 85 people. The images of that attack are permanently seared into the psyches of Argentina’s Jews as well as the global Jewish community.

Evidence points clearly to the fact that leading state sponsor of terrorism and Hezbollah patron, Iran, was behind the horrific bombing.  The attack still serves as a painful reminder of the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists who employ the most cynical and vengeful tactics in order to impose their worldview and for whom slaughtering innocent people is within the bounds of acceptable behavior.

Thankfully, the world seems to be waking up to the reality that there is perhaps no nation, besides the United States, with more experience than Israel confronting this serious threat.

Western countries under attack from jihadists are increasingly turning to Israel for help in order to counter the serious threats to their people. All too often, the streets of Israel have been the testing ground for terrorist tactics that are then exported worldwide. Before people all over the world became accustomed to the regular episodes of suicide bombings targeting civilians, these had already been an unfortunate fact of life within Israel.

In recent years, Palestinian terrorists began employing vehicles as deadly weapons, using them to mow over soldiers and civilians alike at bus stops and in city centers. Since that time, we have seen the large-scale devastation they can cause as Islamic terrorists have used trucks, vans, buses and cars to murder people in the streets of Europe, including in France, Britain, Germany and, in recent days, in Spain. In fact, the same exact tactic was used to deadly effect in Charlottesville to kill a protestor and injure 19 others.

Thankfully for Israel, it has always managed to find a way to not just survive the threats to its daily existence, but to thrive despite the challenges. Part of the Israeli recipe for success has been building itself into a remarkable hub of innovation that produces research and technology that has dramatically altered the world for the better.

Not only does Israel already possess products that can improve the lives of nations across the globe, but it is also a hotbed of research and development that will produce the next life-changing technological leaps. That is precisely why some of the most innovative companies in the world, from Google, to Microsoft, to Intel and scores of others, have invested billions in Israel and set up offices and research labs there.

Argentina and other countries are signaling that they are increasingly aware that embracing Israel and cultivating commercial ties is not just the right thing to do, but it’s smart business as well.