Census Citizen Question at The Supreme Court!

Prologue:  Every ten years since 1950, the Census Bureau has counted the population of the United States.  Originally, a government worker known as ‘enumerator’ would visit households and record the information.  In later years, people filled in their own forms on paper or electronically.

Everyone who lived in a household would be counted.  Adults  and children. The number then became the basis in states for their representation in the House of Representatives. Many households were two or three generational, including older members who had emigrated from other countries. There was never a question of citizenship.

On Tuesday, April 23, The Supreme Court will hear a Trump Administration case proposing a Citizenship Question be added to the 2020 Census.  Since 1960, the Census Bureau has been against adding a census question , saying “it would produce a less accurate population count. “ Five former Census Bureau directors from Republican and Democratic administrations wrote a brief to the Supreme Court against adding the Citizenship Question.

The purpose of this question is very clear.  Donald Trump has been opposed to immigration since he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and castigated immigrants from Mexico as “rapists and murderers”.   His successive bans on Muslims were in the courts for years.  Other members of his inner circle have agreed.  His chief of staff, General John Kelly said his formula for immigration from countries south of our border was” zero to one.”  In addition, the fate of the young children who were brought by their parents to live in the United States, still remains in limbo.  Many  of “The Dreamers” have graduated from college and are working and paying taxes.

Trump Administration immigrant court battles: Last year the Supreme Court upheld a Trump ban on visitors to the U.S. from several Muslim countries.  The High Court did temporarily block an administration plans to make it harder for people to claim asylum. The Justices are also considering an appeal that would allow Trump to end protections for  The Dreamers.  Last case: Federal judges in California,  New York and  Maryland have  blocked the administration from going ahead with the citizenship question.

Census Bureau experts have said millions of Hispanics and immigrants would not be counted.  That would cost several states a number of seats in The U.S. House  and millions of federal dollars that are determined by the Census.

Historical Notation:  See Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of The United States Constitution.  You will find the phrase “three fifths of other persons”…. This refers to the black slaves in the southern states.  It was the result of a compromise in 1787 between Southern and Northern states arguing about representation and taxes.  It was changed in 1868 after the Civil War by the 14th Amendment, but still exists in print in copies, with the change in a footnote.

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision in 1857 had described the escaped slave as property of his owner.

Epilogue:  Secretary of Commerce Ross proposed adding the Census Question to the 2020 Census.  The urgency on the administration side is that copies must be printed at this time.  The Supreme Court decision will not be made public until  June.

We would appear to be taking a step back in time since  the proposed Census Question by the Trump administration would turn back the clock to l787 . From that date on, some people living in the United States were counted as “three fifths of persons.”

Now in the 21st century, millions of undocumented immigrants would not be counted at all!  Let us hope that the Justices of The Supreme Court believe that every human being counts in the United States of America.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Census Citizenship Question at The Supreme Court!

Prologue:  Every ten years since 1950, the Census Bureau has counted the population of the United States.  Originally, a government worker known as ‘enumerator’ would visit households and record the information.  In later years, people filled in their own forms on paper or electronically.

Everyone who lived in a household would be counted.  Adults  and children. The number then became the basis in states for their representation in the House of Representatives. Many households were two or three generational, including older members who had emigrated from other countries. There was never a question of citizenship.

On Tuesday, April 23, The Supreme Court will hear a Trump Administration case proposing a Citizenship Question be added to the 2020 Census.  Since 1960, the Census Bureau has been against adding a census question , saying “it would produce a less accurate population count. “ Five former Census Bureau directors from Republican and Democratic administrations wrote a brief to the Supreme Court against adding the Citizenship Question.

The purpose of this question is very clear.  Donald Trump has been opposed to immigration since he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and castigated immigrants from Mexico as “rapists and murderers”.   His successive bans on Muslims were in the courts for years.  Other members of his inner circle have agreed.  His chief of staff, General John Kelly said his formula for immigration from countries south of our border was” zero to one.”  In addition, the fate of the young children who were brought by their parents to live in the United States, still remains in limbo.  Many  of “The Dreamers” have graduated from college and are working and paying taxes.

Trump Administration immigrant court battles: Last year the Supreme Court upheld a Trump ban on visitors to the U.S. from several Muslim countries.  The High Court did temporarily block an administration plans to make it harder for people to claim asylum. The Justices are also considering an appeal that would allow Trump to end protections for  The Dreamers.  Last case: Federal judges in California,  New York and  Maryland have  blocked the administration from going ahead with the citizenship question.

Census Bureau experts have said millions of Hispanics and immigrants would not be counted.  That would cost several states a number of seats in The U.S. House  and millions of federal dollars that are determined by the Census.

Historical Notation:  See Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of The United States Constitution.  You will find the phrase “three fifths of other persons”…. This refers to the black slaves in the southern states.  It was the result of a compromise in 1787 between Southern and Northern states arguing about representation and taxes.  It was changed in 1868 after the Civil War by the 14th Amendment, but still exists in print in copies, with the change in a footnote.

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision in 1857 had described the escaped slave as property of his owner.

Epilogue:  Secretary of Commerce Ross proposed adding the Census Question to the 2020 Census.  The urgency on the administration side is that copies must be printed at this time.  The Supreme Court decision will not be made public until  June.

We would appear to be taking a step back in time since  the proposed Census Question by the Trump administration would turn back the clock to l787 . From that date on, some people living in the United States were counted as “three fifths of persons.”

Now in the 21st century, millions of undocumented immigrants would not be counted at all!  Let us hope that the Justices of The Supreme Court believe that every human being counts in the United States of America.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Census Citizenship Question at The Supreme Court!

Prologue:  Every ten years since 1950, the Census Bureau has counted the population of the United States.  Originally, a government worker known as ‘enumerator’ would visit households and record the information.  In later years, people filled in their own forms on paper or electronically.

Everyone who lived in a household would be counted.  Adults  and children. The number then became the basis in states for their representation in the House of Representatives. Many households were two or three generational, including older members who had emigrated from other countries. There was never a question of citizenship.

On Tuesday, April 23, The Supreme Court will hear a Trump Administration case proposing a Citizenship Question be added to the 2020 Census.  Since 1960, the Census Bureau has been against adding a census question , saying “it would produce a less accurate population count. “ Five former Census Bureau directors from Republican and Democratic administrations wrote a brief to the Supreme Court against adding the Citizenship Question.

The purpose of this question is very clear.  Donald Trump has been opposed to immigration since he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and castigated immigrants from Mexico as “rapists and murderers”.   His successive bans on Muslims were in the courts for years.  Other members of his inner circle have agreed.  His chief of staff, General John Kelly said his formula for immigration from countries south of our border was” zero to one.”  In addition, the fate of the young children who were brought by their parents to live in the United States, still remains in limbo.  Many  of “The Dreamers” have graduated from college and are working and paying taxes.

Trump Administration immigrant court battles: Last year the Supreme Court upheld a Trump ban on visitors to the U.S. from several Muslim countries.  The High Court did temporarily block an administration plans to make it harder for people to claim asylum. The Justices are also considering an appeal that would allow Trump to end protections for  The Dreamers.  Last case: Federal judges in California,  New York and  Maryland have  blocked the administration from going ahead with the citizenship question.

Census Bureau experts have said millions of Hispanics and immigrants would not be counted.  That would cost several states a number of seats in The U.S. House  and millions of federal dollars that are determined by the Census.

Historical Notation:  See Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of The United States Constitution.  You will find the phrase “three fifths of other persons”…. This refers to the black slaves in the southern states.  It was the result of a compromise in 1787 between Southern and Northern states arguing about representation and taxes.  It was changed in 1868 after the Civil War by the 14th Amendment, but still exists in print in copies, with the change in a footnote.

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision in 1857 had described the escaped slave as property of his owner.

Epilogue:  Secretary of Commerce Ross proposed adding the Census Question to the 2020 Census.  The urgency on the administration side is that copies must be printed at this time.  The Supreme Court decision will not be made public until  June.

We would appear to be taking a step back in time since  the proposed Census Question by the Trump administration would turn back the clock to l787 . From that date on, some people living in the United States were counted as “three fifths of persons.”

Now in the 21st century, millions of undocumented immigrants would not be counted at all!  Let us hope that the Justices of The Supreme Court believe that every human being counts in the United States of America.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Census Citizenship Question at The Supreme Court!

Prologue:  Every ten years since 1950, the Census Bureau has counted the population of the United States.  Originally, a government worker known as ‘enumerator’ would visit households and record the information.  In later years, people filled in their own forms on paper or electronically.

Everyone who lived in a household would be counted.  Adults  and children. The number then became the basis in states for their representation in the House of Representatives. Many households were two or three generational, including older members who had emigrated from other countries. There was never a question of citizenship.

On Tuesday, April 23, The Supreme Court will hear a Trump Administration case proposing a Citizenship Question be added to the 2020 Census.  Since 1960, the Census Bureau has been against adding a census question , saying “it would produce a less accurate population count. “ Five former Census Bureau directors from Republican and Democratic administrations wrote a brief to the Supreme Court against adding the Citizenship Question.

The purpose of this question is very clear.  Donald Trump has been opposed to immigration since he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and castigated immigrants from Mexico as “rapists and murderers”.   His successive bans on Muslims were in the courts for years.  Other members of his inner circle have agreed.  His chief of staff, General John Kelly said his formula for immigration from countries south of our border was” zero to one.”  In addition, the fate of the young children who were brought by their parents to live in the United States, still remains in limbo.  Many  of “The Dreamers” have graduated from college and are working and paying taxes.

Trump Administration immigrant court battles: Last year the Supreme Court upheld a Trump ban on visitors to the U.S. from several Muslim countries.  The High Court did temporarily block an administration plans to make it harder for people to claim asylum. The Justices are also considering an appeal that would allow Trump to end protections for  The Dreamers.  Last case: Federal judges in California,  New York and  Maryland have  blocked the administration from going ahead with the citizenship question.

Census Bureau experts have said millions of Hispanics and immigrants would not be counted.  That would cost several states a number of seats in The U.S. House  and millions of federal dollars that are determined by the Census.

Historical Notation:  See Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of The United States Constitution.  You will find the phrase “three fifths of other persons”…. This refers to the black slaves in the southern states.  It was the result of a compromise in 1787 between Southern and Northern states arguing about representation and taxes.  It was changed in 1868 after the Civil War by the 14th Amendment, but still exists in print in copies, with the change in a footnote.

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision in 1857 had described the escaped slave as property of his owner.

Epilogue:  Secretary of Commerce Ross proposed adding the Census Question to the 2020 Census.  The urgency on the administration side is that copies must be printed at this time.  The Supreme Court decision will not be made public until  June.

We would appear to be taking a step back in time since  the proposed Census Question by the Trump administration would turn back the clock to l787 . From that date on, some people living in the United States were counted as “three fifths of persons.”

Now in the 21st century, millions of undocumented immigrants would not be counted at all!  Let us hope that the Justices of The Supreme Court believe that every human being counts in the United States of America.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forward To The Past

 

 

“What’s a record player?” the clerk behind the counter asked when I had finally decided that my faithful decades-old machine needed replacing.  My classical music collection of LP’s includes some of the operatic greats. Toscanini conducting “La Traviata”. Leonard Warren as Rigoletto. Marilyn Horne and Joan Sutherland in “Norma”.  Maria Callas. Even Rosa Ponselle and Enrico Caruso.

 

I repeated my intent to the puzzled young man in the music store. “I would like to buy a record player.” Again, he responded, “What’s a record player.”   I had the uncomfortable sensation of being in a time warp. He was not kidding. He really didn’t know what I was talking about. And he was looking at me the way those people looked at Michael J. Fox in the film, “Back to the Future”. To see if there were any other strange characteristics besides my peculiar inquiry.

 

I persevered. “ A record machine. You know, the kind that you put the records on. With a turntable and the automatic arm that drops the records one by one.”  Oh,”, he said, “You mean the machines that people used to have in the old days before the cassettes and  C.D.s?  ( I aged two decades with that comment)  Now, it was my turn. “C.D.s What are they?” (CD to me means certificate of deposit or civil defense and I didn’t think he was on either of those wave lengths.)

He explained, “C.D.s are compact disks. They’re the latest thing in the sound business. The best possible way to hear music next to being there. Would you like me to play one for you?”  “Well”, I went on, “It’s not that I don’t believe you, but I have this huge collection of L.Ps at home. Something of a lifetime investment, you might say. I think I’ll stick with what I have. That’s why I need a new machine. Don’t you carry them at all anymore?”

 

At this point, we had reached an impasse. He obviously regarded me as an alien in the modern world of music. It also occurred to me that he might not even know what L.P.s were. It was clear that I was not a potential buyer of C.Ds, the sound of the future. He turned me over to the assistant manager, who diplomatically informed me, “We really don’t have any call for the type of machine you are describing. Perhaps a second-hand store or an antique dealer might have one.”

 

Help! Alvin Toffler was right. My world is becoming archaic. My machine is an anachronism. Toffler predicted in his book, “Future Shock” that this would happen. At the time, I didn’t believe him. After this consciousness raising session at the music store, I decided to keep my old machine. The sound may not be perfect, but I know it well and its sounds right to me. I also began t think about other things that have become outmoded, outdated and out of stock. I didn’t have to search too far. Here’s my starter list:

Clotheslines and wooden clothespins.

Dry goods stores.

Watches and clocks that one winds and sets.

Stockings, not pantyhose.

Rouge, not blusher.

Soap, not a body bar.

A manual typewriter.

A malted milk shake.

Five and Dime stores. At least one per town.

Roller skates that clip onto your shoes.

The metal key to tighten the skates.

Fountain pens. Other than the status models.

Bottles of ink for the fountain pens.

Ink eradicator to correct the blots.

A baby stroller that is simple in purpose.

 

Have you tried lately to buy a plain canvas what-we-used-to-call sneaker? The variations on this form of footwear are awesome. Tennis. Walking. Jogging. Running. Racing. With reinforced arch. Without said arch. High top. Low top. No top. Leather. Nylon. Canvas. Wide laces. Narrow laces. Stretchable laces. And all of these choices occur before you enter the world of different brands and myriad colors.

 

Many people yearn for the days of the past. For the simple rural society and its values. For fewer choices. For the small town with the 5 and 10 cent store and the corner drugstore with soda fountain. I cannot say I belong to that segment of the population. I guess I am somewhere in between that world and the present one, with a clothing chain store on every other block. One for women. One for men. And one for children. Is this really necessary?

 

How I would love to see tucked away on one of those blocks a nostalgia store. A store that stocks all the anachronisms and archaic objects I crave. All the hard-to-find record machines, needle threaders and wooden clothespins. This image conjures up the legendary store that used to exist in a neighborhood. It might have been called a hardware store, or a general store in the real old days. In every case, this store was the place of first and last resort. Merchandise usually spilled down fromm the jammed aisles.  Threading one’s way through the aisles took determination. But the reward was finding exactly what you needed. In the right size. And the right color. And just the brand you usually bought.

 

The owners of these stores knew their inventory and the hiding place of every item. They honed in on the most obscure request with unerring accuracy. “I know I have a few in stock. On the third aisle, top shelf, under the rubber spatulas.” And there they were!

 

Having such a store in our neighborhood would gave me a wonderful sense of security. As I am catapulted into the future, I could visit the nostalgia store from time to time and hold on to the comfortable past.

 

……………………………………………………………………………….  Joyce S . Anderson

 

Texting To Death!

Several months ago, while driving on Rte. 9 at the 45 mile an hour speed limit, I  found my car being followed much too closely by another vehicle. When I glanced in the rear view mirror, I could see the head of the young male driver looking down for some seconds and then up —repeatedly.  It only took me a few of the down -up motions to realize he was either reading or sending a text message. I signaled right and turned off the road at the first available opportunity. Has this ever happened to you?  I can state unequivocally that it’s a pretty scary experience. As if you are foreseeing a serious rear-end collision about to happen. And you are driving the car that is going to be crashed into.

 

Texting is a relatively new phenomenon that is growing at exponential speed.  People text while taking walks, sitting on buses and subways. eating in restaurants and riding  bicycles.  It’s the latest technological advance in communication. You don’t have to call. Just send a text message.  Only your thumbs will know the difference.

 

Ever since the arrival of cell phones, studies have proven that talking on cell phones while driving is dangerous. This is true whether the phone is hand-held or not.  The diversion of attention from the road is the key factor and distraction occurs whether one hand or both are off the wheel.  When the driver becomes engaged in conversation, either civil or heated, there is a loss of concentration and observation of  other drivers and traffic signs.

 

Texting is emerging as even more dangerous than using a cell phone according to recently released studies. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute measured the time drivers took their eyes from the road to send or receive text messages. The l8 month study followed more than l00 drivers of long-haul trucks, whose cabs had been outfitted with video cameras.  They were tracked for three million miles as they delivered frozen food, furniture and other goods across the country.  The cost of $6 million was funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whose mission is the improvement of safety in trucks and buses.

 

The study found that when the drivers were sending or receiving text messages, they typically took their eyes off the road for five seconds. At normal highway speeds, five seconds translates into the length of a football field in distance. The resultant collision risk was 23 times greater when they were texting.  Rick Hanowski, who oversaw the study, said, “If you’re not watching the road for five seconds, it’s a crash waiting to happen.”  Tom  Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Institute said of texting while driving, “You should never do this. It should be illegal.”

 

At present,  36 states do not ban texting while driving; 14 states do, including California, Alaska, Louisiana and New Jersey. Texting is so new that many police departments are not collecting data on accidents related to texting or talking on cell phones.  It is important to note that researchers of other studies said that although trucks take longer to stop and are less maneuverable, the findings applied to drivers of cars as well.

 

At the University of Utah, a study was conducted over 18 months with college students texting while in a driving simulator.  The results showed an eight times greater crash risk when texting than not texting.  The study, submitted for publication in The Journal for Human Factors, found that drivers took their eyes off the road for around five seconds — the same length of time as the truckers.

David Strayer, a professor who was the co-author of the Utah Report, saw two possible reasons for the lower risk of a crash than the truckers study: trucks are harder to maneuver and stop, and college students might be better at multitasking.  Strayer commented, “You’re off the charts in both cases. It’s crazy to be doing it.”

 

Virginia Tech  conducted a follow-up study with the focus on texting among teenagers driving light vehicles. Preliminary results from this study show risk levels for teenage texters about the same as for the truck drivers.  Earlier field and laboratory studies that delved into  drivers talking on cell phones while driving showed a crash risk as four times more likely.  And a Virginia Tech study that videotaped car drivers found that dialing the cell phone brought a crash three times more likely.

 

Researchers have done studies on all types of driving distractions: eating, drinking, combing one’s hair, putting on lipstick, turning to talk to someone in the back seat.   They do not agree about whether field studies are more valuable than laboratory simulations. However, they do agree that texting is a much greater risk to drivers than other distractions.  The AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety published polling data that shows 87 percent of people believe that drivers texting or e-mailing are a “very serious” safety threat. This is close to the 90 percent who consider drunken drivers a threat.  2,501 drivers were surveyed this past spring and 95 percent called texting “unacceptable behavior”. It is ironic that 21 percent of drivers said they had recently texted or e-mailed while driving. About 50 percent of the drivers 16 to 24 said they had texted while driving compared to 22 percent of drivers 35 to 44.

 

Robert Smith, 22, a recent college graduate says he does text while driving, even though he agrees it is a serious risk. “I put the phone on top of the steering wheel and text with both thumbs”, he said,  describing exchanges of ten messages or more at a time. “I’ll look up and realize there’s a car sitting there and swerve around it.”  He was not part of the AAA survey and said he was surprised at the findings.  However, he was not convinced to stop texting. “I’m pretty sure that someday it’s going to come back and bite me.”  The question his comment raises goes far beyond what will happen to him. It is  whether his texting will prove dangerous or deadly to another driver and passengers  when he crashes into their car.

 

………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

Trump: “Repeal and Replace Affordable Care Act!”

Prologue:  March 27, 20l9 -We learned that Donald Trump had decided once more to attempt to rid the nation of the A.C.A. known as Obamacare to millions of Americans. The day before, Trump had declared at a closed door meeting of Republicans,  “The Republican Party will be known as the Health Care Party!”   This was followed by a triumphant rally in Michigan where he had been exulting in his inflated interpretation of The Mueller Report, “No collusion.  No collusion…. Complete exoneration!” The latter claim was the exact opposite of Attorney Barr’s four page letter.

Brief History: When Barack Obama was elected in November, 2007, he placed Health Care as one of his top priorities.  The struggle took  over two years.  Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of The House working closely with him. On March 23, 2010 Obama signed the Affordable Care Act to become the “law of the land”.  It became known as Obamacare.

By November 2010,  The Tea Party had taken over the Republican Party and attacked Obama full force, winning back the House of Representatives.  From that day on, their goal was to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.’’  In the years that followed, they tried over fifty times to do that and failed.  The final blow came on July 17 in Obama’s second term, in a Senate vote. It failed when Susan Collins, Lisa Merkowski and John McCain voted No. McCain was already fighting brain cancer and entered late in the vote to turn his right hand thumb down.

Donald Trump elected in 2016.  In the years that followed, his administration was described  on June 12, 2018 in a lead New York Times editorial as “The  Zombie Health Care Killers”.  For two years the White House kept threatening Obamacare while voters reported that healthcare was their greatest concern.  Midterm elections were  coming in November.  All Representatives and some Senators whose seats were up faced angry constituents at town meetings.  The voters would chant “ACA… ACA”… and tell personal stories of how the ACA had saved  their  parents’ lives or their own.

In June, 2018,  twenty Republican led states filed a lawsuit against Obamacare arguing for repeal of popular consumer protections including coverage of pre-existing conditions. The Justice Department declined to defend Obamacare against the lawsuit. Another administration policy was to encourage “junk health policies” temporary policies that ran out after short periods of time.   Also introduced was allowing states to take away Medicaid benefits from people who are not working.  States like Kentucky. were encouraged to enact such laws.

Despite attempts to weaken Obamacare,  by November 2018 , enrollment in the program had grown by 28 percent since 2013.  Voters in Red states , Idaho, Nebraska and Utah approved ballot initiatives to expand coverage under Obamacare. Californians held rallies to replace parts of expiring sections of the law.  A huge sign in Los Angeles:  “Don’t Make America SICK AGAIN!

November 2018 Midterm Elections:  The Blue Wave gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives. They flipped forty Republican seats.  Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of The House of Representatives once more.  2018 became the second Year of The Women.

During the post election months, political focus turned to the 2020 election.  Trump was already holding rallies in key states and Democrats were entering the race:  Kamala Harris,   Cory Booker,  Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders.   Health care was an important issue . Sanders endorsed Medicare for All a progressive position favored by the new young wing of the Democratic party.

Speaker Pelosi ‘s  goal in Health Care has always been to strengthen Obamacare in different ways.  Representative Kim Schrier, Democrat from Washington who is also a pediatrician said, “We have very practical solutions that we can implement immediately. We don’t have the time right now to wait for a full overhaul of our health care system.” The fiery new leader of young progressives, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez ,  AOC, said, “I reject the idea that single payer is impossible.”  However,  Speaker Pelosi had the last word in the Medicare for All feud.  She had said, “Health Care was on the ballot in November, and Health Care won. “

  Epilogue: Speaker Pelosi and several committee chairs had met and created a plan to build on Obamacare . Now, they will use it to fight Trump’s new declaration of “Repeal and Replace”.   It would increase the two main types of financial assistance the law provides: tax credits to help middle and low income people pay premiums, and cost-sharing  reductions  to lower deductibles on payments and other out of pocket costs.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Democrats reminded reporters that Trump boasted in the Midterms campaign, that  “Republicans would always protect  patients with pre-existing conditions.”  ‘’ We will remind the American people time and time again of that broken promise.” said Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina.

…………………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

Major Breakthrough on Gun Control!

Prologue:  On December 14, 2012 , 20 year old Adam Lanza  entered The Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut  and murdered 20 six year- old first graders and six adults. He was shooting an AR -15 Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle and two semi- automatic pistols in the massacre.  The children were killed in two classrooms while others hid in closets and under desks.  Lanza had murdered his mother before he came to the school.

Sandy Hook parents’ actions over nine years:  As a result of this dreadful massacre of their children, parents   pledged to stop the manufacture of the rifles.  They worked tirelessly with lawyers to be able to sue Remington , the manufacture of the Bushmaster.  They learned that there was a federal law passed by Congress protecting manufacturers against such lawsuits.  The law was the result of the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) lobbying  U.S. Senators and Representatives with a report card for each one on how they vote on guns.

The lawsuit they filed in Connecticut court focused on the marketing Remington used to attract buyers to the Bushmaster . Ads stressed the violence of combat.  A typical slogan was “Consider your man card reissued!”   Adam Lanza , a very angry disturbed man, had asked his mother to buy the guns for him.  He knew she would be able to do it easily and she did.

Lawyers argued that the message Remington was sending in their advertising was designed to attract young men who were loners with problems.  That they were looking for a way to be bold and attract attention.

The United States has witnessed too many mass shootings, but Sandy Hook had traumatized the entire nation.  Pictures of the twenty little boys and girls  were carried by hundreds of newspapers and shown on television for weeks.  President Barack Obama invited leaders of the group to the White House. They joined him in The Rose Garden later and spoke of their determination to pursue Remington until the case was won.  (I watched and remember them vividly that day, holding pictures of their children.)

Lawsuits take time to move up on a state system. Joshua D.  Koskof, one of the lawyers for the families said, “The victims’ families were not going to go away.”

March 19, 2019- Nine years later: The case had reached the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Koskof  had brought it up to the highest court in the state and had won.  He had said in his final argument, “Remington had never known Adam Lanza , but  they had been courting him for years.”

The New York Times headline: “Highest Connecticut Court Rebuffs Firearms Industry in a  Sandy Hook Lawsuit”   In a  4-3 ruling, the justices agreed with a lower court judge’s  decision to dismiss most of the claims of the families, but also found that the sweeping federal protections did not prevent the families from bringing a lawsuit based on wrongful marketing claims.  The court ruled that the case can move ahead based on a state law regarding unfair trade practices.”

Justices in the majority opinion wrote, “It falls to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal trade practices and whether fault for the tragedy can be laid at their feet.”

Nicole Hockley, whose six year old son Dylan was killed in his first grade classroom said, “No one has blanket immunity. There are consequences.  We want our day in court to see why they do this, this way, and what needs to change.”

During the nine years, the families had received death threats and were harassed in different ways. However, they had been successful recently with their lawsuit against Alex Jones, the far right provocateur   who spread false claims about the massacre , including that the families were actors paid  in a plot to confiscate firearms.

Epilogue: Remington did not respond immediately. A trade organization representing the firearms industry said, “The decision today is at odds with all other state and federal courts…..”

In contrast, was a statement by Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stamford University and an author of an amicus brief signed by law professors in the Sandy Hook case.  She said, “  The ruling showed that the ‘federal protections were not impenetrable.”  Joshua Koskof said, “This decision was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.”

………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

RICO Investigations: Could Trump Be Gone Before 20/20 Elections?

Prologue: Congress is the branch of our federal government that can hold impeachment hearings.  The Southern District of New York is  a federal court  that can investigate under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Organization Act of 1970. RICO laid out “predicate” crimes of a corrupt organization involved in a conspiracy.  There were violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping, arson and robbery as well as obstruction of justice, fraud, money laundering and abetting illegal immigration.  Does the latter group sound familiar to you? In 1985, the Southern District, known as SDNY brought charges against the city’s five leading Mafia families.  Rudy Giuliani was the head of the Southern District at that time.

Michael Cohen Testimony:  Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, testified under oath in an open session on Wednesday, February 27 at the House Oversight Committee. He described what sounded like bank fraud, charity fraud and tax fraud, as well as suggestions of insurance fraud, obstruction of justice and suborning perjury. When asked by the committee members,  he gave names of members of the Trump organization who had been involved in crimes he had discussed.

Cohen had been labeled a “rat” by the president last year when he agreed to cooperate with investigators; “rats” are seen in mob and crime language as turning against the boss. They give evidence to the state about how the mob works.  In short, they cooperate by telling the truth, hoping to receive reduced sentences for their crimes.

Mr. Cohen said, “Everybody’s job at the Trump Organization was to protect Mr. Trump.  Every day most of us knew we were going to lie about something. That became the norm. “  He continued,  “Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates. Mr. Trump doesn’t give orders.  He speaks in code. And I understand that code.”

Current RICO investigations into the Trump Organization:  In December, there were seventeen  investigations into Trump Organization businesses. RICO allows federal prosecutors to place ten years of illegal activity into a single set of charges.  That would cover Michael Cohen’s ten years as his lawyer.

This could lead to charges that include family members who serve as advisors in the White House:  Donald Trump Jr. , Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in law. Donald Trump could be named as a co-indicted conspirator. This would raise the thorny question: Can a sitting president be indicted?

In addition, the charges could be made public for Congress and the public to consider as part of Impeachment hearings or re-election.

Finally, It is important to note that the RICO investigations have nothing to do with The Mueller Investigation into Russian Meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Latest events:  The chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler,   demanded documents from the Trump Organization and the executive branch on Monday, March 4.  This would bring 81 members of Trump’s world in the White House and beyond to meet with the committee. The New York Times front page story, “A Path to Impeachment is Hinted in Demands.”  Nadler detailed a new investigation into possible obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power by President Trump and his administration.

Nadler issued a statement, saying “ We will act quickly, assess the evidence and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people. This is a critical time for our nation, and we have the responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts.”

Donald Trump was speaking to reporters at the White House and was asked about the new investigation by the Judiciary Committee. He said he would cooperate and repeated that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia. “It’s a political hoax,” he said. “There’s no collusion. There’s no anything.”

Of course, The House Judiciary Committee will not be focusing on the Russia connection.  They will probe into every nook and cranny of the entire Trump Organization, the holdings and financial history including Donald J. Trump’s tax returns. They will finally be revealed after all these years of his evasion saying “After the audit.”

The committee members will search for obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by President Trump and his administration during his campaign and while he has been in office.

Epilogue: The American people will watch TV, read  newspapers and learn the truth — in contrast to over ten thousand lies that Donald Trump has told since he became president.  If the findings of the Judiciary Committee lead to Impeachment in The House of Representatives, so be it .  They will certainly be of value to the Southern District of New York as they pursue RICO investigations.

Donald J. Trump could be gone from office before the 20/20 elections by indictment, resignation or impeachment/conviction .

Take your pick!

……………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

Trump Rejects Intelligence Testimony as “Wrong!”

On Tuesday, January 27,  Dan Coats, the national intelligence chief,  Gina Haspel , the C.I.A. director, and Christopher Wray, the F.B.I. director met with the Senate Intelligence Committee to present the  annual assessment of global threats to the nation.  Coats represents the sixteen intelligence agencies staffed around the world. They warned of traditional enemies, Russia,  China, and ISIS with specific threats to United States  security.

The next day, Donald Trump reacted angrily with an early morning post on Twitter:  “Perhaps the Intelligence people should go back to school! “  Later ,he wrote, “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naïve when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!”

The “Worldwide Threat Assessment” is usually received without comment by the president. This time, it was apparent that Donald Trump took it as a rebuke of his foreign policy. In short, he took it  “personally”.

Their testimony did contradict the president’s assessment of two of the major threats: North Korea and ISIS.  They said that Kim Jong -un in North Korea was unlikely to give up their nuclear arsenal, even after Trump has claimed that his first meeting was successful and was planning a second meeting with Kim in late February.  They  saw ISIS remaining as  a serious threat, although Trump had said they would “soon be destroyed”. They also said that Iran currently was not building a nuclear bomb. Finally, they described Trump’s trade policies and “unilateralism” as straining the United States alliances.

The reaction of former intelligence officials and current members of Congress was swift and negative.  Douglas Wise, a career C.I. A. official, said, “This is a consequence of narcissism, but it is a strong and inappropriate public political pressure to get the intelligence community leadership aligned with his political goals.  Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a Trump critic, said, “  If you’re going to ignore that information, it means you going to make poor decisions. It means the country is fundamentally less safe.” Representative Mike Gallagher , Republican, Wisconsin, also defended the agencies, saying, “They are doing a very difficult job, and they are actually trying to advance the president’s priorities.”

In his tweets on Wednesday,  Trump wrote that the relationship with North Korea was “the best it has ever been with U.S.,  no testing, getting remains, hostages returned. Decent chance of Denuclearization….”   He added that under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, “The relationship was horrendous and very bad things were about to happen.”

The basic question has been raised, “Where does the president get his foreign policy ideas from?”  Insiders at the White House report that he spends many morning hours of  “executive time”  watching Fox News daily . He listens to the  hard line experts and retired generals who agree with his “America First” view of the world. At the White House, he has John Bolton, a long time Fox commentator nearby. Bolton , who  served for George W. Bush, was hired by Trump as national security advisor.  He was given direct access to the president without going through Chief of Staff John Kelly.   Trump also has Stephen Miller close by, his speech writer who crafted “American Carnage” for his  inauguration and his delayed SOTU address on February 5.

The Press, labeled by Trump as “the enemy of the people” , and the American public who read newspapers and watch cable television all know that the president does not read the PDBs… President’s Daily Briefs.  White House aides have said on the record that he prefers pictures or maps rather than written material.  The writer of “The Art of The Deal “ Tony Schwartz has said  that Donald Trump does not read books and has an attention span of five to ten minutes.

Donald Trump does read certain articles in the “failed “ New York Times . He also sat for an interview with the publisher, A.G. Sulzberger and two White House correspondents, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman.  They met in the Oval Office where Trump sat behind the Resolute Desk,  and they sat across from him.   A verbatim record of their lengthy interview was published on February 2, 2019. It was very revealing of the inner Donald Trump who appeared to long for a “good story” from the paper. At the end of the interview, he said, “ I came from Jamaica Queens,  Jamaica Estates….. and I became President of The United States. I’m entitled to a great story—just one—from my newspaper.”

………………………………Joyce S. Anderson