PRESIDENT TRUMP …

A calm demeanor in tumultuous circumstances makes a great leader.

Reggie writes a good article and I agree that all should gather themselves and take a calm assessment of the situation and act appropriately. I too am required to give Trump room to prove that he can be a mature adult who can govern a Nation. My expectations are low.

Silence

Regie's Blog

In 2008, Oprah and Will Smith yelled and screamed and high-fived each other over how amazing the Obama presidency was going to be.

But then, we had a “beer summit” (that was odd). Then, a trillion dollar stimulus package …that turned into a deficit. Then a Tea Party. Then Occupy Wall Street. Then Ferguson, Baltimore, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando, Chattanooga, Benghazi and Dallas. Then came Obamacare. And ISIS rose up in the middle east.

Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard and Steve Jobs ALL died during the Obama presidency. Peyton Manning retired. American Idol got cancelled. Tornadoes still ravaged trailer parks in the mid west and hurricanes still chewed up beaches. Several people got eaten by sharks. Brad and Angelina broke up. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian procreated. Smart phones blew up in people’s pockets. We had, like, six hundred Country Music award shows…

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Government Taking by Tweet?

Can a statement by a government employee or even the President cause a taking?

Condemnation of lands and property by government action is an old concept rooted in premise that the sovereign can take private lands for the good of the public.  Our Bill of Rights to the Constitution ensures that the takee receive just compensation under due process of law.  But how about when the governments actions do not actually involve physically taking the land or property but rather such actions diminish the value of the property?  For instance, the government leaves your house alone, but excavates all around you. Obviously your property value is impinged in the picture to the right….but they didn’t take your property, right?

In such instance, the property is essentially rendered worthless.  For this reason, we have a body of law called inverse condemnation.  In such instances, the take of the property would be considered a “whole take” and the property owner would be entitled to full compensation.

Changing up the facts and modernizing this, can words by a government actor serve to inversely condemn property? I suppose that it depends upon several factors.  The only case discovered in the courts that involves such a question is Filler v. United States, 602 Fed. Appx. 518 (Fed. Cir. 2015). This case explored whether a neurosurgeon could sue for inverse condemnation based upon the comments of a government employee using a government computer during work hours to post comments about Filler’s use a specific drug in his practice as a basis for diminution of the value of his medical license and practice.  This Court ultimately dismissed this claim for failure to state a case upon which relief can be granted, but did hold that it had jurisdiction under the case through the Tucker Act “because Dr. Filler asserted a nonfrivolous takings claim that was not so “devoid of merit” or “insubstantial” as to undermine its jurisdiction.”  The reason the court indicated that there was no claim, however, was because Filler could not show that the employee was “acting on behalf of the government.”

President-Elect Trump loves Twitter and apparently loves to govern by 140 words or less.  His hastily worded statements have lasting effects.  Just in the last two weeks, Trump has commented on two government contracts that have substantially diminished stock prices.  See Lockheed Martin  and Boeing.Image result for image of boeing stock price after tweet

If I were a shareholder in these companies, I should have some recourse against these artificial manipulations of the stock price that is designed to do nothing more than leverage the government’s bargaining position.  If this is not inverse condemnation, it is an out right violation of SEC rules.

Be very careful when your government decides to hold your family or your property hostage so it gets what it wants.

Silence DuBlog

 

One Man – One Vote

Reconciling Fairness with the Electoral College

Hillary voters are furious at the system related to the electoral college framework as Hillary currently stands at $2.6 million more votes than Trump received.  Hillary leads in the election by votes cast by 2% of those ballots received.  It truly is staggering that the overwhelming majority of voters chose Hillary and she still did not win.  Thanks to our Electoral College, we disproportionately weigh votes from less populated states so that they have more of a say in the elections.  So, as a citizen of Alaska, each person’s vote is weighted at 2.5 of each citizen throughout the US; where as a California citizen’s vote counts only 0.83 of each citizen in the US.

This election framework is built into our Constitution, so it cannot be argued that it is unconstitutional.  It is inherently constitutional since it is woven into the document itself.  But we must ask, why do we have it?

Alexander Hamilton is undeniably one of our great Founding Fathers.  Keen with both intelligence and wit, we as a Nation were bountifully blessed to have him as a guiding hand.  Hamilton eloquently set forth his opinion for the reasons of the College.  In his Federalist Paper 68, he stated that ” the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.” Id.

Hamilton clearly sets out that the will of the people are not necessarily what should prevail.  This is not to say that Trump possesses any quality of a leader fit for ruling the free world.  This is to say that the Electors are duty bound to be a last line of defense against raising someone ” who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”  Id.  Rather Hamilton espouses that a particular suitor for this role would be one with “[t]alents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”  Id.

Our present state of affairs is greatly concerning.  Trump has exhibited no quality of that which is a leader.  This is not to say he is not a politician.  He has shown all the attributes of a politician in that he can rile his base, he can break promises, he is adept at the art of self-dealing, he can draw a crowd and he can manipulate media into covering his verbal vomit.  These qualities are not Presidential.  In fact they are more in line with Cousin Eddie.  See National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  [It should be noted that Hillary is not the ideal candidate either, but if you only have two apples in front of you to eat and you hate apples…it’s better to eat the one that’s not rotten].

It should be recognized that the Electors that are chosen are not done so by the various people of their respective states, but rather by each political party.  As many states are “winner take all”, there is no proportional voting in such states and the majority of votes for a particular party will all be representative of the party that controlled the majority of votes in that state.  Being selected politically from within the party, the electors are much less likely to be those individuals to which Hamilton called to be statesmen and women, but rather political mouthpieces.

It is my sincere hope that  the electors that are charged with the utmost responsibility to the Nation choose their respective vote wisely in line with the gravity of the situation and weighing both the measure of the candidate for which their vote is cast along with the grave decisions to be faced by that person.  These are our progenies’ futures to which we decide.  Pray the responsibilities for making a choice are well placed among these Electors.

Silence Dublog

Economy – Picking Whiners and Losers

This is the post excerpt.

Companies hold much more sway in every aspect of American life than ever before.  When you think that prior to the early 1900’s organizations could only form a corporation and receive a charter from their respective state legislatures.  Furthermore, they were prohibited from freely operating across state lines.  These prohibitions led to company formations of ‘trusts’ and hence the old term ‘Trust Busters’.roosevelt_hunt

In more modern times, companies act much more freely than ever before.  They are part of a global society employing or marketing to millions throughout the world.  The fear in Teddy Roosevelt’s day was the singular amassing of power and wealth that corporations could bring to bear on the world stage and potentially interfering with any number of public policy goals and American citizen interests.  These are the days that good political sense was in ample supply and those that would be setting America’s course for the future seemed more concerned about the public welfare and economic interest than that of corporate America.

Understand that greed is not new and self-dealing is not confined to our century or life time.  It’s easy to have a jaundiced eye and wax poetic on how things used to be (apparently a popular theme in politics these days).  One must, however, bring some common ground between the lives Americans led then and how we exist today.

In our present economy, governments are inclined to throw money at corporations to have them locate to their region.  In order to accomplish this, businesses are promised tax breaks, incentives such as free utilities or, in some cases, flat out cash that is considered grants if the company meets set criteria (or at least promises to meet those criteria).  Of course, the government is hoping the corporation establishes itself in the given location for a long duration period to permit it recouping taxes and income from the employees that are brought to work at these establishments.  In truth, many companies that undertake to receive this corporate welfare stay just long enough to meet their promises and then they’re off to the next place that will give some free money.  Unfortunately, many instances involve the company just taking the money and running, leaving the constituents holding the bag and cleaning up the mess.  This my fellow Americans is not how democracy works.

Businesses are in business to make money.  If those ends are furthered by placing a factory in an economically depressed area of the country (wages are lower in these areas by the way), they will do so for business reasons anyway.  The money is just a gift on top that is an unnecessary burden upon the taxpaying public.  The corporate welfare payments can be put to better use in reeducating the out of work population so that they may learn new skills.  It is always more attractive to businesses to have a ready and willing work force that is well trained.  This would be a much better use of government money that would pay dividends in a much shorter amount of time.

Silence DuBlog

 

 

 

You Can’t Spell Russia without U-S-A?

My age not having been discussed previously, it bears some consideration for any readers to understand that I have not lived through a cataclysmic war like World War II and have not felt the divisive pains that many experienced during the Vietnam War.  I have, however, the occasion to study those times, the history of those eras and the consequences of the actions/inaction of the players leading to successes and failures.  The World needs no refresher that Putin as leader of Russia has pulled that Country from the brink of fiscal geopolitical collapse.  He has done this through many means, but the most financially aggressive means is the nationalization of the oil companies.  He destroyed a longtime political foe, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, by overtaking his company Yukos Oil in 2003 shortly after Khodorkovsky criticized Putin publicly.  In 2014, Vladimir Evtushenkov found himself arrested and his company, Bashneft, nationalized under Putin.  Although it should be noted that Evtushenkov was released to be “a free man who can work productively,” said Vladimir Kozin who was Evtushenkov’s attorney.

This power grab and government takeover is concerning, but what is more frightening are other measures taken by Putin in an effort to reestablish Russia in a position of world leader.  The forced occupation of Crimea and invasion of a sovereign nation of Ukraine.  Such a forceful land grab against a sovereign state has not occurred in this region on this scale since the Hitler invasion of Austria.  If this is not frightening enough, I give you the systematic assassinations of outspoken opponents to Putin.  ffb47c5f-3a29-4121-8e05-f7d261ab118d-2060x1236

So with these actions, Russia has consolidated wealth unto itself to fund its rebuilding machine, it silences critics that might oppose or call out the leaders for its totalitarian methods and tactics and it blatantly conquers sovereign nations that it deems strategic to its overall military goals.  Be mindful that these are the actions we know about.  There are likely many more government and citizenry upheavals that have boiled as the result of Russian influence.

Now, enter stage right Donald J. Trump….

Silence DuBlog