Saturday, July 13, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 28

There are a bunch of different angles I could go this week and am not really sure how to structure this post.

For starters, the Democrat lineup continues to change. While it is not much of a surprise that former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, the oldest of the longshot candidates and California Congressman Eric Swalwell, one of the youngest of the longshots have now left the race, it was a bit of a development that the field now has a new richest candidate.

Tom Steyer is ia billionaire hedge fund manager from Northern California. who was born in New York City. He has been heavily involved in liberal causes and activism and has been very vocal in the movement to impeach Donald Trump. There had been much speculation that Steyer was considering a Presidential bid, but at the beginning of this year, he said to count him out. Lo and behold though, Steyer is now in. As a very wealthy first time candidate for office, the Democrat might be compared, perhaps unfavorably to Donald Trump. It remains to be seen what kind of market there really is for Steyer in this field, regardless of how much money he is willing to spend. Many of his ideas are already being advocated by candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Steyer is saying he intends to qualify for the next set of debates at the end of this month.

It is worth briefly nothing that Steyer is one of three candidates in the large Democrat field that has Jewish heritage, but is not officially a practicing member of the religion. Steyer has come to identify with the Protestant faith of his father's side of the family, while Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, who also had a Jewish mother says he is a believer but not an adherent to any specific religion. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders of course is officially credited as Jewish but he has typically stopped short in saying he is an active participant.

Beyond the "invisible primary", many this weekend are instead focused on a tropical storm that could have dire effects for New Orleans or tomorrow's anticipated ICE raids on illegal immigrants. Just how many people will be rounded up and what will the visuals look like? Will there be an outcry or will most Americans accept the fact that lawbreakers who missed court hearings or things of that nature are being held responsible?

Several other stories took up much news space this past week including the Trump Administration's fight and ultimate decision to not continue a court fight about adding a question to the U.S. Census about citizenship. The Administration says it can get the information another way, but this seems to be quite a matter of contention between Democrats and Republicans. I am not an expert on this matter, but it seems like the facts are that the citizenship question has typically been part of the Census but was removed ten years ago by the Obama Administration without much notice. While I agree that the Census should proceed as an actual count of people, I do not see why the citizenship question cannot also be asked as a secondary matter.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Biden campaign, including the candidate and his wife have tried to go public in far greater detail regarding issues involving their surviving adult son Hunter. It has long been known that while Biden was Vice President, Hunter was discharged from the military over drug use and more recently, it was written that Hunter had left his wife for the widow of his brother Beau. Now, that relationship has ended and Hunter has recently gotten remarried to a woman he had not known very long. The Bidens insist they support Hunter and are proud of how he has fought to overcome addiction issues. He is certainly not the first nor will he be the last adult child of a Presidential contender to face these demons but it makes sense for the campaign to want it addressed early on. Many others think that business matters and potential influence peddling on behalf of Hunter Biden will wind up being the bigger issue.

As usual, Donald Trump continues to insult people on Twitter and most recently it has been former House Speaker Paul Ryan, after excerpts of a book came out in which Ryan (temporarily) denounced the Trump campaign late in the 2016 cycle and also some more recent remarks in which Ryan said he felt he had to help Trump from making regular bad decisions. While the two men were in office together, Trump tried to butter Ryan up publicly but now of course says he always he knew he was a total loser and a non talent, etc. The only think I can think of in regards to all of this is that Paul Ryan certainly has no right to be surprised about how this would end.

Finally, the biggest story of the week was the federal indictment in New York of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who for years has seen his reputation damaged beyond repair involving multiple stories involving pedophilia and the sexual abuse of underage girls. Years ago in Florida, Epstein somehow got a sweetheart deal when previously charged and the U.S. Attorney at the time who was responsible was Alex Acosta, who now happens to be Donald Trump's Secretary of Labor.

The week began with Acosta saying he would not quit and the President saying at least privately that he has no intention of asking Acosta to step down. By the end of the week though, the one Hispanic member of the Cabinet would indeed step down saying that he no longer wanted to be a distraction. He made the announcement while standing next to Trump at one of those impromptu news conferences that goes on before Trump flies away on Marine One to go golfing or something. This was a pretty unusual way for a high profile government resignation announcement to proceed and the message seems to be that Trump is not angry at all with Acosta.

Due to the Epstein situation and all the unanswered questions regarding that prosecution, I am glad Acosta is gone. Epstein is a man who truly deserves to spend the rest of his life locked up if what he has been charged with is true.

He is also a man who has had many powerful friends over the years though who on the surface have been tainted by the association of someone who has been so notorious for illegal involvement with underage females. Among them were a former President and a future President.

Years ago, Donald Trump played up his friendship with Epstein and commented how great it was that Epstein liked very young women. Now, the current President states he was never a "fan" of Epstein and his supporters claim that not long after the statement back then, Trump had banished Epstein from Mar-A-Lago for attempting to hit on young women. Of course, one can hardly forget that as a "private citizen", Donald Trump went on a national radio show and bragged about his his role as the owner of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants gave him the right to walk in unannounced on undressed young women backstage and how he enjoyed that perk.

Around the same time, Epstein and his private plane were taking several trips internationally and to his own private island of ill-refute with recently former President Bill Clinton. Clearly, those two men were friends, although Clinton this week has said he had no information or knowledge of any illegal or nefarious activity happening. Still, Clinton seemed to undercount the number of trips the two took together.

Without a doubt Jeffrey Epstein is in a load of trouble and the government might want to know as much information as possible from him. Not only should he face the harshest of punishment but so should anyone found to have committed similar offenses with his help.


At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Democratic Socialist Dave said...

I think you may be mistaken, Corey, about the Obama administration removing the Census question about citizenship. What I’ve heard us that the question last appeared on the 1950 Census form, which would mean that it had been omitted by the Eisenhower-Nixon administration. If I'm misremembering and it was removed 50 years ago from 2020, then it would have been the Nixon-Agnew administration that removed it.

I took the 1980 and 1990 Censuses and I don't remember citizenship or immigration status being on either of their forms. What was asked was state or country of birth, and primary language spoken at home.

By the way, Citizenship would not be the first question to leave the Census questionnaire: there once was one about religion. It’s easy to imagine both why it was first asked and why such a sensitive question was removed.

[The statistics you do see about religious adherence and belief often come from an inter-faith consortium which doesn’t have the same force of law or patriotism as the Decennial Census; so their results and projections must perforce be fuzzier.]

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Thanks for the comment. I find the whole discussion a bit murky and have admittedly not followed it too closely.

This link seems to change the impression I had.


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