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Trump, Bush and Rubio — The Three Blind Mice of 2016

August 25th, 2015 · No Comments · 2016 Presidential Campaign, Corporations and Industry, Education, Politics, Populism, Wall Street

There is so much hype about so little talent in the GOP’s “Race to Once More Losing the Presidency” that we thought it might be a good idea to take a look inside the Clown Car and provide a little truth to spread around on the floor to make it easier to clean up after them. So, here goes.

Donald Trump
Who is Donald Trump, other than the rarest of individuals who can go bankrupt in a casino where the slot machines are set at 96% for the House and 4% for the gambler? I don’t think this bodes well for a country that has experienced previous, and supposedly more conservative Republican Presidents, who have created $15 trillion of the $18 trillion in debt we currently have.

Who is he other than a four-time married mogul (or does that make him a womanizer, a woman lover or a trophy hunter or simply a guy with a slippery zipper?) Who is Donald Trump if not a nightmare to his barber or his hair stylist….and to how many has he said his favorite words: “You’re fired!” Donald Trump is a man about it is known that he was born in this country, in New York, perhaps in a run-down tenement slum. After all, wasn’t his father a slum lord who died and left his tenements to Donald, which would have made him a Slum Lord? From such lowly beginnings and attitudes on life did little Donald grow into a conniving, arrogant beneficiary of rising New York City real estate values.

Finally, is “the Donald,” a somewhat likable buffoon or a real dynamic businessman. Well, remember those casinos that he bankrupted? That’s not a problem for Donald. You see, the little known fact, and one that our mogul, our business leader, our presidential candidate does not want you to know is that for every million dollars worth of inherited or non-inherited real estate the estimable egotist owned in 1993, by 2007—just sitting there, no improvements—it was worth $7.7 million. Even the Great Real Estate Mouth could not lose enough to overcome that much profit. That’s right. Studies of real estate in New York City have shown an annual rate of growth of 15.8%.

The Great Blowhard is just that, a great big blowhard. Let’s explain the details. If Trump was left real estate in the millions, which he was, he could easily have traded up slowly at very little cost, the cost of the increase in value of those properties. Then, when he had used existing value to buy new properties until he had enough…even though he was caught over leveraged at one point and added some debt…he could begin to build new buildings like Trump Tower. Why? By then the value of the properties he owned and had traded up to buy had values far in excess of what he paid for them. So he could then embark on new ventures like Trump Tower which were minuscule compared to his total real estate value. New York City real estate is some of the most valuable in the world. He could take a complete loss and still be in good shape.

Should we take his comments seriously…that undocumented aliens are a lot of rapists and criminals? Of course not. If you sat him down and looked into his eyes and said: “Are you kidding with that or what?” he would tell you that what he means is that he wants to do what he normally does. Tell someone to go and get the place painted—today—or he’s fired. Go and get the paperwork and the deposit or the commitment on the property or the rent check—today—or your fired. That is how his mind works. It is far, far too simplistic for situations where one country will love you and another country will set spies and terrorists on you—for the same decision. And that is almost every Presidential decision, domestic or international.

One could perhaps give Trump credit for a certain degree of entertainment value and a personal popularity among Conservatives that put him on the creamed chicken circuit, telling MBAs (who looked at each other and laughed) how he managed a business growing so rapidly without his help that he probably had no idea what he was worth. It doesn’t matter what he says. The general opinion is that whatever the strange tastes of billionaires and two-bit politicians or toothless Republicans living in poverty in West Virginia or Kentucky or the backwoods of Tennessee, in the long run, he won’t have enough hysterical devotees to overcome the huge amounts of money Jeb Bush will be able to throw on the table.

 

Jeb Bush
Let’s start off by saying that Jeb Bush was no school reformer. He refers to school districts as “government-run monopolies run by unions.” So you think he is the mild-mannered, intelligent Bush brother? Well, you can decide for yourself. His idea of school reform was to introduce, in 1998, in a way typical of new Republican governors…ram things through right away before people know what he was really up to…an “Opportunity Scholarship Program,” a voucher scheme that allowed public funds to be used for tuition at Catholic or other private religious schools.

Bush advocates using public money for students to use to pay for private school tuition. The focus of his 1998 campaign for Florida governor was the “Opportunity Scholarship Program,” a voucher program that allowed state funds to be used to pay tuition at church-run schools. It was eventually struck down by the Florida Supreme Court. He continued, trying to maneuver voucher strategies to include church schools into the state funding but failed, even with a Republican legislature.

Here’s what Bush believes. He is not really for helping the parents of children in parochial schools with their tuition. He is not really interested in church schools at all. His ultimate goal is to create charter schools, that is, privatize some public schools. Not all of them. But guess where he wants to privatize them? He wants vouchers so that families in wealthy areas, who have high property taxes, can pull their money out of the public system and create private schools in their areas. Those schools are already better funded because they have more money from higher property taxes. Now they would be able to hire the best teachers, even hire some away from the public school system, and put them into their already state-of-the-art school facilities. So much for these kids, generally speaking, white kids, but how about the rest of them? How do we know this is his policy…because he did it.

How do we know it only benefits the wealthy….because the charter schools were no better than the public schools they replaced. In fact, some of them closed, but we know that the schools in high income areas profited by getting more of their money back. To give credit where credit is due (and not much is due to Jeb Bush) he seems to have done a fair job of cooperating with the better elements in Florida society. Despite the fact that Florida spends very little on schools, class size has gone down, more teachers have been hired and test scores have remained fairly high. Florida has ranked as high as 5th in rankings by Education Week, the standard for ranking states for their educational achievement. To be fair, while Jeb Bush was there, from 2002 to 2008, school enrollment increased only 6% but new teacher acquisitions increased 20%, which meant lower classroom sizes. There are about 60,000 children of illegal immigrants living in Florida and using the Florida school system at a cost of about $530 million.

Bush uses fourth grade to tout his system in Florida, but the facts are that his claims are greatly exaggerated. It wasn’t a bad system, but it was far from a panacea. The grades for fourth graders at that time did improve somewhat in reading but did not make great strides in other subjects. The problem is that 8th graders and other grades did not make the same improvements. In other words, on many education fronts, like improvements in Hispanic reading scores, while Florida did improve, it did not improve more than the U.S. average and in some areas fell behind.

So what is Jeb’s next game? He is very interested in situations where doctors maim or kill patients accidentally. Jeb is not interested in the person killed or the families of the persons killed. He is interested in helping the doctors and the hospitals.

In 2003, working with his Party’s national program, Jeb Bush pushed damage caps in support of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. These groups argued the reforms were necessary in order to reduce the number of medical malpractice suits forcing doctors to leave Florida. They passed the law putting a cap on damages. They put a limit of $500,000 for pain and suffering or $1 million depending on the number of people involved and the circumstances. So, for example, in the case of 20-year-old Michelle McCall who bled to death following a caesarian section for the birth of her a son in February 2006 at a Fort Walton Beach hospital, her family sued the state in 2014. They argued that they had received a settlement of $2 million but under the law the amount had been cut in half by the state of Florida.

A federal judge agreed that McCall had not received proper care and found that her parents and son should receive $2 million in non-economic damages. The 5-2 ruling, written by Justice R. Fred Lewis, suggested that legislators had created an artificial crisis at the time the law that restricted settlements was passed, while Bush was governor. They had created it to push through the limits on damages in medical liability lawsuits urged by the health insurance industry, hospitals and physicians. In his ruling the judge said that this law “has the effect of saving a modest amount for many by imposing devastating costs on a few.” In other words doctors, hospitals and insurance companies benefit but those few who do have serious consequences and extraordinary life costs as a result are being penalized to the point of devastation in some cases. Lewis concluded the law unconstitutionally discriminates against “those who are most grievously injured, those who sustain the greatest damage and loss, and multiple claimants.’’ The decision will remove the cap on so-called “non-economic” damages when someone dies of medical malpractice. There is no retroactive recourse, however, for victims whose cases were resolved between 2003 and 2014. There are, however, more than 700 cases pending. This was one of Jeb Bush’s proud moments. Helping those who caused deaths to others but who are an important voting bloc for Republicans, like doctors, health insurance executives and hospital administrators, allowing them to keep their money while impoverishing or devastating others with the consequences of their mistakes.

Jeb likes to brag about his Empowered Care pilot program. It was designed supposedly to hold the line on Medicaid costs. He wants, now, to adopt a similar plan to tame “runaway” Medicaid costs. So, how will he do it? “Like we did in Florida,” the post-governor now says.

But was Bush’s plan in Florida, a test program, a good one? Although the jury is still out on that one, Bush continues to use it in his campaign. What Bush did, in a test, was to turn Medicaid patients over to private care organizations. Naturally, the managed care plans designed plans that allowed them to cherry pick the healthiest and lowest-cost beneficiaries. Networks of hospitals and doctors were limited. And former Medicaid patients were confused by the benefits and the lack of services. Many ended up with inadequate coverage that didn’t give them the health care they needed.

Authorities in the health care field say that it is unusual for a Governor to have let the insurance companies decide which benefits they would hand out and which they would not. And, big surprise, the insurance companies spent about $9,000 a year per patient on administration. More Republican bull shit.

So what have we learned? Bush is a carbon copy of his brother, only with a little government experience. And what can we make of that? He ran Florida, one of the worst states in the nation. Racist, violent, lacking in services for the poor, not only health care and education, but any other services to pull them out of the swamps of poverty. Bush is a Field Marshall in the Class Warfare in which we live. He’s not on your side. He’s anti-abortion. He wants to cut taxes for the rich. He wants more prisons (private ones) and longer prison sentences and fewer appeals to death penalty sentences. He has a no-forgiveness policy and a jail versus rehabilitation policy for drug offenders. He wants to get rid of unions and teachers who belong to unions. Why would that be? Unions have the power to negotiate and individuals don’t. The result cheaper and less qualified teachers. Second reason, unions are powerful and can make life pretty miserable for rich people who want to buy political offices. Unions work for workers, both in daily service and at election time, when they provide boots on the ground, grassroots support for populist candidates of all political parties. They can raise almost as much money as the corporations can. They are a thorn in the side of billionaires and giant corporations, and therefore of Jeb Bush. He also doesn’t believe in global warming. As far as foreign relations are concerned, he wants to cancel the Obama nuclear shutdown deal with Iran. (That is, he wants to come out and say to the Wingnuts and the Racists, that he is on their side and on the side of the military-industrial boys who want more wars.)

In summary, the clown in the car with the most financial support from others, Jeb Bush can be described, much like his brother, as a hawk (who never saw military action), a climate-disaster denier, an oil billionaire supporter, an anti-union, anti-health care reform, anti-budget balancing, anti-taxation, anti-poor and middle class elitist who never worked a day of manual labor in his life. He will not vote for the people. He will merely pretend to vote for the people to get himself elected.

Marco Rubio
The problem with Rubio is very clear. He has done nothing to try to counter the biggest objection to his candidacy—that he is a corrupt politician who comes from the extremely corrupt political system in Republican Florida, acknowledged to be one of the most—if not the most–corrupt in the country.

Let’s submit that Rubio grew up in the Middle Class, slightly above the lower middle class. But by the time he entered state politics in Florida, he was a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, with high grades, and could have made a good living in the private sector. He chose to enter politics. We won’t try to assess his motives and we will acknowledge that he had, or may have had a sizable amount of debt in student loans.

There are many ways to pay off student debt. Rubio entered Florida state politics in the Republican Party in 2000. In 2010, by which time Rubio had become a leader of the Republican legislature, the St. Petersburg Times reported that “the sheer number of public corruption investigations under way appears unprecedented in Florida.” There is no question that there was huge corruption. The mayor of the city where Rubio was a councilman went to prison. Another mayor was accused ad convicted of taking bribes both monetary and non-monetary. Another mayor was fined and banned from politics for life. But was Rubio involved?

Rubio had an American Express card from the Republican Party in Florida from 2005 until he left to run for the Senate in 2009. He says that he never misused his Republican credit cards and that he had made appropriate reimbursements. (The point being that if he was using the card for personal use, it would not only be a breach of agreement with the Republican Party but would also be tax avoidance and half a dozen other violations.) Eventually newspapers digging more thoroughly now that he was a Senator, discovered numerous, relatively petty, charges that were unquestionably personal but had not be reimbursed. Since Senator Rubio will not release his credit card records from 2005 to 2007, it can be assumed that there are other petty little charges, or perhaps big charges, that he has not disclosed.

That was not the end of it. In 2012 in an interview with a commentator on Fox News (surprise, surprise) Rubio said that he had always paid his personal expenses and that the issue was essentially dead, having been disposed of in previous inquiries. That was a lie. One of the reporters who had written the original story about Rubio’s possible violations, insisted that over $100,000 questionable charges from 2006 to 2008 were never disclosed. Why would Rubio pay personal bills on the Republican Party credit card rather than his own credit card when he would just have to reimburse the Republican Party later?

If this sounds strange, perhaps it should be seen in context. The reason it is an issue is partly because Florida is considered by many the most corrupt state in the country. In 2000, the year a young Marco Rubio looked towards a new career, carrying lots of college debt, 107 individuals in the Florida legislature were convicted of corruption, convicted….guilty of corruption. From 2000 to 2010, Florida political figures were convicted at an average rate of 71 per year! So there is a reason why one might wonder about that missing $100,000. During the period 2000-2010, Marco Rubio was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, became Republican Speaker of the House in 2005 and remained in that post until 2009, when he resigned to run for the Senate. It may be coincidental that Rubio was speaker in the House for half of the time that people say Florida was the most corrupt state in the nation.

In 2010, the Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times identified thousands of occurrences of personal expenses by Rubio for which the Republican Party was never reimbursed. Among them charges to a liquor store, a substantial sum for computer supplies from Apple, online, and a payment of over a thousand dollars to a property manager in Tallahassee. None of these and thousands of others have ever been explained. The best that the Republicans in Florida could do was to say that the Senator had sloppy record keeping. Rubio himself in a 2012 interview on Fox News with Brett Baier, Rubio tried to sweep the matter under the rug with the comment that the issue was “totally resolved years ago.” It was not. That was whatever you want to call it but it was a lie. Rubio went on to say that the Republican Party never paid any of his personal expenses. But that is clearly not true either.

So Rubio does not come to the Senate with clean hands. He appears to be a liar, a participant in corruption within the Republican Party within the state, or blind and stupid. Either he knew about the corruption, the many different investigations and indictments, or he ignored them or worse, he accepted or encouraged them. Is this the kind man, is this the kind of character we need in a man running for the Presidency?

In the first debate, on the first question, he complained, that while Amazon is the largest retailer in the country, it doesn’t have a single store. And he further said that it is disruptive. Now…analyze that comment. If people want to go to a local store, they can. Amazon provides an essential service, just as Walmart and Target and Macy’s all do. People who are in a hurry or are not close enough to major metro areas have a good alternative in Amazon. Amazon is a new way of providing service based on twenty-first century technology. Think about it. Rubio claims that he is the face of the future, and Hillary Clinton who does not attack Amazon is the face of the past. If Rubio doesn’t understand the dynamics of Amazon, and Ebay, let alone Ali Baba he is hardly the face of the future. Maybe his brain stopped the day his father gathered up their sliver and gold and fled to Miami in anticipation of Castro’s retribution on the Fascist Dictator Baptista’s followers. Rubio says Amazon caused the loss of jobs in the U.S. Well, the facts say otherwise.

The Republican House, Senate and President (George W. Bush) voted many years ago to create laws allowing corporations to locate their “headquarters” (really just a post office box) in the Cayman Islands, pay no taxes and send jobs abroad. Rubio’s party…all of them, including him…Fascists always vote as one, as a bloc, and he’s a Republican, cost the U.S. 7 million jobs and over 60,000 U.S. corporations lost to China and elsewhere. Internet companies, none of them, caused that. Jeb Bush’s father and his brother presided over that kind of job exodus. Rubio knows this. So he’s telling you something he knows is not true. He’s a liar. He wants to earn the Presidency on this kind of lie and so many other lies they are almost uncountable. He says that jobs that once sustained are now gone, and we need someone who understands this. Well, it’s not Rubio. He has voted repeatedly to prevent the creation of high-tech manufacturing which will provide good jobs. He voted against other jobs bills in which the U.S. would begin to restore our old infrastructure and build new ones, like fiber optics that could make even rural areas into specific hubs of digital technology. Areas with low income jobs where the only income is farming—which has literally been gobbled up by big corporations could now have hi-tech industries, like, for examples, units of a company like Amazon, distribution points or call-in services or transmission points. The jobs problem is simple and Republicans like Rubio have ignored it.

The Anerican Society of Civil Engineers says basically that our infrastructure is falling down. Rubio has voted to cut government funding for transportation and for highways, roads and bridges. He has also voted for a compromise in which we would cut Social Security and Medicare as a trade off to improving our roads, highways and schools. Only then would he allocate money (at least this is what he says) to the infrastructure. Rubio says that he was a poor boy and grew up in modest circumstances.

This is crap. It is the old Abe Lincoln defense, “born in a log cabin.” (By the way, as much as I revere Abraham Lincoln, when honest Abe died, he left his wife and son Robert an estate of approximately $175,000 or 320 times the average annual wage of that day. In today’s dollars, that estate would be worth $26,000,000.) Before he became President, Honest Abe worked as an attorney for the railroads, the Internet of the mid-1800s.

Rubio is no Abe Lincoln, but he is far from the poor boy who wants your vote. His own estimate of his 2014 income is $960,000. So, no tag days for Mr. Rubio. And as far as his comparison with Hilary Clinton’s upbringing, let’s be very, very clear. Park Ridge, Illinois was an average middle class neighborhood. She went to one of the top 3 women’s colleges because she was smart, not rich, and was the Valedictorian of her class—number one. Senator Rubio went to college originally not on an academic, but a sports scholarship. As has been pointed out, Rubio is a liar, and an elitist, working in the vineyards for the Republican billionaires for years, allied with the Koch brothers, with no credibility at all. He wants to eliminate the American middle class. He wants to repeal the ACA, the only good piece of legislation to escape the Republican Congresses of that last 16 years, and even then by only one vote in the House and one vote in the Senate. One can only assume that he disdains or detests the very people he wants to vote for him.

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