An Idiot’s Guide To The 2020 Democratic Candidates: Part 2

Since our last post there have been even more candidates who have entered the fray! Here are the next seven contenders for the Democratic nomination. A lot of political analysts — and the public — have started to worry that the increased number of candidates will have a detrimental impact when one eventually tries to topple Trump from his very high horse. Is there a standout candidate yet? We’re not so sure, but let’s start with the leader of the pack. 

  1. Joe Biden. There’s not much to say about this guy that you don’t already know. He was our vice president for eight years, and he has a penchant for saying what’s on his mind. Interestingly, he continues to make political gaffe after political gaffe in even the short time since announcing his campaign — and yet no one seems to care. If anything voters are even more in support of the guy, who is really starting to show his age.

  2. Steve Bullock. This Montana governor thinks he has what it takes to beat Trump, even asserting that he can beat the incumbent president on his own turf. He’s been in the running for about a month, and so far he’s based much of his campaign on fighting against corruption and his ability to bring both sides of the aisle together.

  3. Michael Bennet. This Colorado senator thinks America’s political system isn’t just on the brink of disaster — it is a disaster. And he wants to be the one to save it. He’s running to expand voting rights (the opposite of what Republican voters seem to want to do) and reduce the money kicked into politics. Bennet thinks it’s time for lobbying for special interests groups to stop.

  4. Bill de Blasio. One of the least popular contenders for the Democratic nomination doesn’t seem to care how many people don’t want him in the running at all, because he’s moving forward anyway. The New York City mayor wants to “take on the wealthy” and “big corporations.”

  5. Pete Buttigieg. This openly gay (and married) candidate has probably received the biggest gift of notoriety during his campaign, but he recently hit an obstacle when there was an officer-involved shooting of an African American man back in South Bend, Indiana, where Buttigieg serves as mayor. It could be argued that there was no getting it right with black voters (or anyone else), but it seems like literally everyone is after him for stumbling after the tragedy occurred.
  6. Kirsten Gillibrand. She was a senator from New York, and one of several women currently in the running for the Democratic nomination. Like most candidates, she sees a broken Union in need of repairing. She believes in health care as a right. She believes in better public education. And she believes in the American dream, and wants to fight to see it restored.
  7. Mike Gravel. This former Alaska senator is a shocking 89 years old, but was convinced to run when a couple 18-year-olds hijacked his Twitter account to verbally abuse other candidates. He was also a former (failed) candidate in the 2008 election. He wants to cut military spending by at least half, and wants to fight for the dissolution of the Senate and the Electoral College (woah).

An Idiot’s Guide To The 2020 Democratic Candidates: Part 1

There are currently over 20 Democrats who are confirmed to be running for President against incumbent President Trump in the upcoming 2020 election. The problem is most of them are in favor of the same things – universal healthcare, combatting climate change, fixing inequality, as well as helping the middle class of America. So, let’s go through these, one by one, and see if we can find a standout amongst a crowded sea of people. Here are the candidates in order of their announcement:

John Delaney – former congressman of Maryland who was the first to go to college in his family. He has blue-collar roots and has visited every county in Iowa hoping to get a good start in the primaries. He has been in politics for 6 years and is independently wealthy and funding himself.

Andrew Yang – In politics for less than a year, son of Taiwanese immigrants, his experience is in the world of technology. He is a huge promoter of Universal Basic Income which the idea of giving every American over the age of 18 a $1,000 monthly check. He is being funded by individuals and using some of his own money.

Julian Castro – Former U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development under President Obama, he has been involved in politics for 18 years. He is also the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He has vowed not to take any money from a Political Action Committee. He has not mentioned much about his platform other than that he supports free trade.

Kamala Harris – Her 16-year political career started as a prosecutor, district attorney, attorney general, and U.S. Senate seat. Her goal is to overturn Trump’s 2017 Tax cuts with her LIFT Act. Her financers include WarnerMedia, Google’s parent company Alphabet, University of California, and 21st Century Fox.

Cory Booker – Former Mayor of Newark, NJ, his plan of action includes a “baby bond” (a bond given to every child at birth) and a $15 minimum wage. He has a super PAC that is comprised of many contributors in the legal, investment, security and real estate sectors.

Tulsi Gabbard – The first Hindu member of Congress has been in politics for 17 years. She wants to cut taxes from small business and raise them on larger corporations. As a former soldier in the Iraq war, she also wants to reduce military spending. Her contributions come from individuals but she did receive a large donation from the National Automobile Dealer’s Association’s PAC.

Elizabeth Warren – Massachusettes U.S. Senator and former Harvard Law professor has been in politics for 10 years. She proposed a wealth tax on net worth over a certain threshold. She’s vowed to take no money from any billionaires or their PAC’s in the 2020 race.

Amy Klobuchar – The first woman to be elected a senator in Minnesota, her standout political moment was during the questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She has 12 years in politics and is focusing on helping small and mid-sized domestic businesses succeed worldwide.

Bernie Sanders – For 38 years, Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, has been the longest sitting Independent congressperson. He wants tax incomes over a certain threshold to help make college tuition-free and increase Social Security benefits. A majority of Bernie Sander’s funding comes from individual donors in increments less than $200.

Stay Tuned For Part 2

What You Need To Know From The Michael Cohen Hearing

Yesterday, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, testified publically in front of the House Oversight Committee. Cohen, who once claimed that he’d take a bullet for President Trump, has turned against the President, calling him a “racist” and “conman.” While House Democrats salivated at anything could cause them to impeach Trump, House Republicans attacked Cohen’s character, reminding us that he has lied to Congress before.

What Did Michael Cohen Accuse Trump Of Doing?

Cohen accused Trump of telling him to commit campaign finance fraud to pay hush money to women who had affairs with Trump. Cohen plead guilty of this crime last year, saying he was ordered at the behest of Individual 1, later to be identified as President Trump. The accusation could be the undermining of Trump as this is in direct violation of campaign finance laws and could be the legal loophole that Democrats were seeking.

Cohen accused Trump of speaking with Roger Stone regarding the email leak of Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton. Cohen alleges that Roger Stone spoke with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and told Trump about this meeting.

Cohen also accuses Donald Trump Jr. of warning his father about a Trump Tower meeting in 2016, where a Russian lawyer promised damaging information on Hilary Clinton.

Diving Deeper Into Trump’s Finances

Since Donald Trump entered his hat into the ring to run for Presidency, Democrats have asked for him to release his tax returns. Many accuse Trump of not being worth as much as he claims.

Cohen during his testimony provided financial statements from 2011 and 2013 that suggested that Trump inflates his income when needed but also deflates his income for tax purposes. Many House Democrats plan on using this as the “Ways and Means” to get a subpoena to finally get a hold of Trump’s financial records and tax returns.

No Russian Collusion

In what surprised many, including President Trump, Cohen testified that he had never been to Prague or the Czech Republic. A British intelligence report claimed that Cohen had traveled to Prague in the summer of 2016 to coordinate with Russians so Trump could win the election.

Cohen also said that Trump had praised President Vladamir Putin but had no evidence of collusion. Cohen could not elaborate anymore because Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is still on-going. Cohen has been cooperating with the special counsel and will head to federal prison on May 6th. For more information, you can visit website here. You can also watch the full testimony here:

Exactly How “Conservative” Was President Abraham Lincoln?

Abraham Lincoln is a controversial figure in American history, not because of policy or beliefs, but because each of the two main political parties would like to lay claim to his legacy. Progressive Liberals believe a modern-day Lincoln would be much more in line with their beliefs, while right-wing Republicans often refer to themselves as the “party of Lincoln,” claiming ultimate responsibility for freeing the slaves. But exactly how Conservative was Lincoln? It depends on what how you define Conservative.

Lincoln was the first Republican president. It’s hard to imagine that modern-day Republicans would have supported the mind-bending societal shockwave that would have slammed the south with the liberation of its slaves. After all, most states with Conservative dominance are in the south, and seceded from the Union because they were in direct opposition to the right of a state to make known its own opposition of slavery by refusing to return escaped slaves. That’s why modern-day Liberals find it somewhat comical when Conservatives name themselves the party of Lincoln.

Of course, both political parties were extremely different in 1860, and many of their views have shifted. It’s probably impossible to accurately guess which way President Lincoln’s policies would have fallen were he alive today, but his policies back then certainly didn’t run parallel to those of today’s Republicans. At all.

In addition to his anti-slavery beliefs, he wasn’t exactly for state rights (at least in practice). His use of federal power to keep the Union together and oppose slavery is why the Civil War started in the first place. He’s also the reason why tuition-free state schools became more popular in 1862, a phenomenon lasting until the 1960s. He opposed free trade. Lincoln was more moderate than anything else, and his policies shaped both social and political agendas for decades.

Had the war to keep the Union from breaking apart never occurred, then we likely wouldn’t have an income tax. It was only imposed as a means to fund the war. The tax was small at first, and only affected the rich. Is that something modern-day Republicans would support?

He also imposed new tariffs, the circulation of “greenbacks,” and a national inheritance tax. He helped pave the way for a better national infrastructure by supporting new spending on a transcontinental railroad. He was responsible for the Department of Agriculture. He’s the reason we had Federal protection for Yosemite National Park.

America in 1860 was very different, as were the laws under which its citizens lived.

New Abortion Laws Passed In 2018

It probably seems like every vote is important to abortion rights and freedoms, but the 2018 midterm elections were especially crucial. A number of new laws were passed (or even passed again), and Planned Parenthood once again has a tough road ahead. If you weren’t watching, there were important decisions made in Ohio, Alabama, West Virginia, and Oregon. Here’s everything you need to know.

Ohio’s House of Representatives passed a controversial “heartbeat” bill that would criminalize abortions performed if a fetal heartbeat was present at the time. This is particularly threatening to doctors who perform the operations. Ultrasounds are capable of detecting a heartbeat by week six. This early into a pregnancy, many women don’t even realize they’re pregnant. Adding insult to injury, the state does not recognize cases of rape or incest as a legal reason to perform an abortion after this timeframe has elapsed.

There is only one exception to the new law: when a woman’s life could be saved by the operation.

An earlier Ohio bill prevented abortions after 20 weeks had elapsed.

Alabama passed Amendment two with 61 percent approval. Under the new provision, the state would no longer be required to help fund abortion or protect a parent’s right to an abortion. The justification was made on the grounds of protecting the “sanctity” of the unborn life.

West Virginia passed Amendment one with only 52 percent approval, which essentially declares the same. No funding, and no right to abortion under state law.

Meanwhile, residents of Oregon destroyed Measure 106 with 63 percent opposition. The bill would have meant that abortion funding could only be provided when federally mandated or medically relevant.

The heartbeat provision of Ohio’s law in particular represents a threat to Roe v. Wade. The net result of the election at the federal level is a pro-life majority which means even more opposition in the future, because pro-life conservative representatives and senators will no doubt continue to confirm pro-life judges. This means the number of pro-life or anti-abortion federal laws in the future.

Then again, Planned Parenthood seemed satisfied with the election results, because it means a pro-choice majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. No doubt the eternal struggle will continue.

Saudi Diplomat Brutally Murdered, But President Trump Unwilling To Act

Earlier this month a Saudi journalist by the name of Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. His abduction, torture, murder and dismemberment have all been alluded too but not been confirmed, but President Trump doesn’t seem to think the situation takes any precedence–especially when he has an important arms deal hanging in the balance. Any unfortunate spike in the political volatility in Saudi Arabia comes at an inopportune time.

Jamal Khashoggi is a U.S. resident, and his brutal murder has created an uproar and a call for retaliation. Khashoggi disappeared while on a visit to the Saudi consulate. Many have noted that he often protested Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. Was Khashoggi the victim of a hit squad?

Turkey is currently investigating the crime. According to officials working on the case, Khashoggi was likely murdered in the consulate. After, his body was dismembered and transported elsewhere. The Turks currently hold a smoking-gun audio file which proves that Khashoggi was killed on-site. Alongside Saudi investigators, they searched the consulate in the hopes of discovering additional evidence.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly ready to acknowledge the death of Khashoggi as a result of a botched interrogation, although other sources say that there was never any interrogation at all, and that Khashoggi was specifically targeted by a hit squad. Mr. Trump has theories of his own, including that Khashoggi may have been the victim of a merry band of rogue killers and not the crown prince, suggesting that King Salman denied knowing anything about the attack.

Still, Trump also said that Saudi Arabia would be punished if the allegations are proved. He also made a comment about how tired he is of the “guilty until proven innocent” rhetoric. He sent the Secretary of State to meet with King Salman, while the king sent a public prosecutor in Saudi Arabia for internal investigation.

Angry democrats believe that it’s time disrupt relations with the kingdom, but Trump isn’t having it. The arms deal is worth about $110 billion, and he doesn’t want to risk something of that magnitude without all the facts.

It seems there will be a battle in Congress over whether or not to dismantle the deal, and it will be some time before we know which side wins.

Brent Kavanaugh’s Sexual Assault Accusation: Trump’s Reaction

You would think in this #metoo movement, that the President of The United States would understand how sexual assault victims react and respond to the traumatic event. Considering, Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault, the fact that he is still so clueless as to how the human psyche works… it’s actually mind-blowing.

For those who have been living under a rock, I’ll try my best to start at the beginning. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on July 31st, 2018. President Trump nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace him. In order for Kavanaugh to be appointed, he must be approved by Congress. This is due to the checks and balances that are built into the structure of our government. During his interviews with Congress, it was through an anonymous letter turned public by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school together. Now both of them will testify against Congress on Monday to present their side of the story.

It is important to understand that the statute of limitations against Kavanaugh for criminal charges for sexual assault to be filed against him. She became public with her allegations because she felt her voice was not being heard during the confirmation hearings.

Many people, including the President, believe that Ford’s disclosure is just to thwart Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court. However, there is evidence against this as she disclosed in 2012 ago in a marriage counseling. The reason why she brought it to the public eye may certainly be to sabotage Kavanaugh. But her husband said it the best. “I think you look to judges to be the arbiters of right and wrong. If they don’t have a moral code of their own to determine right from wrong, then that’s a problem.”

President Trump, not one for subtly, tweeted this morning, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

As I said previously, mind-blowing. Has he not learned anything? It is common knowledge that many sexual assault victims do not disclose for fear of not believed and/or retaliation à la Harvey Weinstein.

But let’s ignore that for now and look at the political ramifications. To openly question a woman’s credibility in this social climate is just… mind-blowing! With midterm elections rapidly approaching, alienating female voters does not seem like a good idea to me. He also runs the risk of alienating Republican senators who are participating in the confirmation hearings.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republic leader believes that Brett Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court despite the accusations against him saying, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”

Senator Chris Coons (DEL-D) is just as flabbergasted as I am stating that President’s tweet was “unacceptable and beneath the presidency of the United States.”

Republicans truly believe that this sexual accusation is a tactic by the Democrats to delay the vote that was originally scheduled yesterday Sept 20th to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Kellyanne Conway stated “I hope this woman is not being used by the Democrats.”

Since her disclosure Ford has been receiving death threats which are currently being investigated by the FBI.

I want to be very clear, no one is saying that Brett Kavanugh doesn’t have the career experience to be a Supreme Court judge. It is whether or not he has the moral experience to be a Supreme Court judge.

Paul Manafort and His Non-Collusion Collusion Trial

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been hard at work for the last 18 months investigating charges that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to impact the 2016 election results.

While indictments were handed out to about 20 Russian citizens, American Paul Manafort is facing trial after he served as chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign. It was possible that Manafort may be the smoking gun that anti-Trump people have been seeking in this whole collusion mess.

But why is Manafort and collusion not being mentioned in the same breath during his trial?

Maybe the smoke wasn’t coming from Manafort at all.

Manafort, who has a known history of working with people affiliated with the Russian mob, has been on trial in New York on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and tax evasion – though none of it seems to tie directly to the investigation into Russia collusion with the Trump campaign.

How do we know this? Mueller is not prosecuting this case himself, as the case fell outside of his jurisdiction. He forwarded the case the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the case.

Trump and collusion have not been part of the trial involving Manafort. The main issues in the trial are the genesis of millions of dollars in Manfort’s foreign accounts based on some of his political consulting and lobbying work over the years. Prosecutors were especially interested in his work from 2010 to 2015 when he had racked up about $65 million in foreign bank accounts, and they allege that he lied on applications in order to secure about $20 million in loans from banks to finance some of his efforts, especially in Ukraine, which eventually ended in 2015 right around the time that Manafort joined Trump’s fledgling presidential campaign.

The latest word from the trial came Friday, August 17, when Manfort judge T.S. Ellis revealed that he had been threatened during the trial, find the safety of those involved said he would not release the names of the jurors. Ellis has said he will have U.S. marshal protection with him everywhere for the duration of the trial if not beyond – depending on the results of the jury deliberations on the 18 counts.

Meanwhile, with this case getting headlines solely because of Manfort’s prominent relationship with Trump and his previous connections to Russia, the actual collusion investigation has reportedly not led Mueller any closer to linking Trump with the Russians, and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has asked Mueller to wrap up his case by the end of August of “we will come down on him like a ton of bricks.”

Sounds a little like a mob threat, eh?

Trump Threatens NATO Allies

President Trump sent strongly worded letters to several NATO allies including the countries of Germany, Belgium, Canada, and Norway. These letters call into question the aforementioned countries national policy and subsequently accuses these countries of spending not enough money on national security. The letter also stated that the United States is disappointed that its allies are not meeting shared security obligations determined by their alliance.

The NATO summit meets next week in Brussels and these letters are sure to cause some mixed emotions. All eyes will be on the President as he has gone on record questioning the value of the NATO alliance especially since he feels that the United States is being taken advantage of by European nations.

The letters also allude to the United States increasing their military presence throughout the world if European nations did not beef up their national security. Here’s a quote from a letter that was sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

“As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised. The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us. Growing frustration is not confined to our executive branch. The United States Congress is concerned, as well.”

The security obligations Trump keeps referring to are from the Wales Summit in 2014 where each country in the NATO alliance agreed to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on national defense. Trump, rightfully so, believes that NATO member countries are not contributing equally or as much as the United States. Trump also wrote in his letters that it will be difficult to convince the American people to send American soldiers all across the globe to protect NATO alliance countries if these countries do not actively participate in the security defense agreement. And for once – we actually agree with President Trump. For more information visit website here.

How The Fair Credit Reporting Act Protects Consumers

The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) is a law that regulates all credit reporting agencies. It requires agencies to ensure all data gathered, recorded and distributed is accurate and a fair summary of an individual’s credit history. The main purpose of the federal law is to protect individuals from having misinformation used against them by credit providers and employers.

The FCRA provides you with lots of consumer rights. The act gives you the legal right to request a copy of your credit report free of charge once every 12 months. All credit reporting agencies have to deal with any requests within fifteen days. The act also limits who can access your credit report. Companies need to have a valid need in order to obtain your data. As a consumer, you have the right to be told which companies have requested access to your report.

You can dispute any inaccurate information on your report at any time and the reporting agency is legally obligated to investigate the disputed data. All inaccurate and outdated data has to be removed from your report. Negative entries, such as missed or late payments, remain on your file for seven years. If you file bankruptcy, however, it might remain on your credit report for a decade.

The three largest credit reporting agencies are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. These agencies collect and sell huge amounts of information on consumers, so it’s important that said consumers are provided with some legal protection. The FCRA also applies to employers, banks, credit unions and any business that uses data from a credit report to deny consumers employment or financial products.

If a buyer of consumer report data or a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you have a right to seek damages. You can sue the violating party in a state court or federal court. In addition, you have a right to know if your credit report has been used against you. For example, if you have been denied employment, insurance or credit by a company, you can ask the company to explain their specific reasons for the denial.

You can learn more about the history of the fair credit reporting act by visiting a good financial or legal authority website. The law was first passed in 1970, but it has been amended twice. You will often hear the FCRA talked about in the media as there are many not-for-profit advocacy groups in operation who make it their mission to protect consumers from bad practices of credit reporting agencies.