Tag Archives: Trump

Why a New York State Constitutional Convention is a VERY BAD idea and Must Be Defeated at the Polls in November

On November 7th 2017 there will be a simple question, with significant consequences on the ballot across the State of New York: Shall there be a convention to reise the constitution and amend the same?”

The constitution is a lengthy, a very lengthy document that is constitution, a bill of rights and by-laws rolled into one. It was written “on the fly” during the Revolutionary War; the framers, John Jay, Governneur Morris and Robert Livingston were iconic leaders of our nation; Jay was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers.  For two years they fled from city to city avoiding British troops writing our state constitution. (Read about the history of the New York State Constitution here)

The constitution underwent numerous additions over the years.

President Grant, whose reputation has recently been restored, made several speeches on the importance of the separation of church and state and the duty of the states to provide free public education. James G. Blaine, the Speaker of the House and a presidential aspirant proposed a constitutional amendment, that passed in the House, not the Senate, referred to as the Blaine Amendment,

“No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefore, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.”

In 1894 New York State, in a constitutional convention, added the Blaine Amendment to the New York Constitution. The last constitutional convention, in 1967, proposed deleting the Blaine Amendment from the constitution, the change would have allowed the state to fund religious schools. The electorate defeated all the proposed changes.

You can read the entire NYS Constitution here.

If the question is approved elections would take place in the 63 Senate Districts,  three delegates per district and fifteen delegates state-wide. Each legislative body draws its own district lines, the democratic lines in the Assembly result in a 2/3 democratic majority, the Senate is almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. Under the Supreme Court decisions, Citizens’ United, there can be no limit on the funding of elections. Is it possible that hedge funds, or the Koch Brothers or friends of the Donald  would pour tens of million into the state to elect delegates favorable to their positions and additional millions the following year to influence the electorate? If you don’t,  I have a bridge for you to buy …

In 1936, at the height of the popularity of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in a huge election sweep by FDR the electorate also voted to convene a constitutional convention. The progressive delegates made numerous additions to the constitution that were approved by voters,

One of which protected public employee pensions,

 After July first, nineteen hundred forty, membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or of a civil division thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

The constitution already provided for public schools,

The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated.

Clearly prohibited the public support of schools “under the control or direction of any religious denomination.”

 Neither the state nor any subdivision thereof, shall use its property or credit or any public money, or authorize or permit either to be used, directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance, other than for examination or inspection, of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught, but the legislature may provide for the transportation of children to and from any school or institution of learning

The 1938 changes require “aid, care and support of the needy,”

 The aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions, and in such manner and by such means, as the legislature may from time to time determine. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)

The same New Deal philosophy also required the “protection and promotion of health,”

 The protection and promotion of the health of the inhabitants of the state are matters of public concern and provision therefore shall be made by the state and by such of its subdivisions and in such manner, and by such means as the legislature shall from time to time determine. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)

The constitution contained an equal protection section,

No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws of this state or any subdivision thereof. No person shall, because of race, color, creed or religion, be subjected to any discrimination in his or her civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)

Rather than a “right to work” law the New York State Constitution contains a “right to organize and to bargain” section,

Employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)

While states around the nation are restricting the right to vote through voter ID laws New York State embedded in the constitution fair voting requirements,

All elections by the citizens, except for such town officers as may by law be directed to be otherwise chosen, shall be by ballot, or by such other method as may be prescribed by law, provided that secrecy in voting be preserved. The legislature shall provide for identification of voters through their signatures in all cases where personal registration is required and shall also provide for the signatures, at the time of voting, of all persons voting in person by ballot or voting machine, whether or not they have registered in person, save only in cases of illiteracy or physical disability. (Formerly §5. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)

The voters amended the constitution in 1965 and added a strong section advocating for “low rent housing,”

 Subject to the provisions of this article, the legislature may provide in such manner, by such means and upon such terms and conditions as it may prescribe for low rent housing and nursing home accommodations for persons of low income as defined by law, or for the clearance, replanning, reconstruction and rehabilitation of substandard and insanitary areas, or for both such purposes, and for recreational and other facilities incidental or appurtenant thereto. (Amended by vote of the people November 2, 1965.)

The free exercise of religion calls for the “free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession … shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind,”

The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his or her opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)

In this climate it is quite important that the constitution supports the rights to “speak freely, write and publish” and states “no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or the press,”

 Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)

Every twentieth year we have the opportunity to convene a constitutional convention. At this time in history a convention could would endanger the rights described above. Every day another attack on free speech, on the press, a proposed erosion on the rights that generations of our forebears have sacrificed to retain, we should expend every iota of our energy to defeat the required and dangerous constitutional convention ballot question.

The constitution requires,

At the general election to be held in the year nineteen hundred fifty-seven, and every twentieth year thereafter, and also at such times as the legislature may by law provide, the question “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?” shall be submitted to and decided by the electors of the state; and in case a majority of the electors voting thereon shall decide in favor of a convention for such purpose, the electors of every senate district of the state, as then organized, shall elect three delegates at the next ensuing general election, and the electors of the state voting at the same election shall elect fifteen delegates-at-large

We haven’t even talked about the cost of a convention, 25, 50 million or more, and, the supporters of the current constitution wasting their dollars that could be used to fight Trump in 2018 and 2020.

Currently there is a change to the constitution that is making its way through the usual process – approval by both houses of the legislature and by two successive votes by voters in November. The Silver-Skelos amendment would deprive elected officials of public employee pensions if convicted of serious crimes.

The November elections are an “off-year,” there are no major contests on the ballot, except in New York City; the fifty-one members of the Council and three city-wide offices, Mayor, Comptroller and Public Advocate will be on the ballot. The problem; the real action is in the September primaries, and, unless a Republican with very deep pockets emerges the November turnout in New York City will also be low.

In elections with meager turnouts the best organized candidates win. A constitutional convention will be favored by the “good government” groups, and, what are call “astro-turf” organizations, organizations that look like responsible organizations but in reality have another agenda. For example, a group could argue that at a constitutional convention a women’s right to choose, a pro-abortion section could be added to the constitution, in reality, once the convention convenes the delegates have total free rein.

We must remember, state constitutions and state laws cannot take precedence over the federal constitution and federal laws. the Supremacy clause of the Constitution.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing [sic] in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

For example, federal bankruptcy laws take precedence over state constitutional public employee pension guarantees ; when Detroit declared bankruptcy the public employees unions were forced to negotiate pension reductions, the federal courts invoked the supremacy clause.

These are perilous times, the Affordable Care Act  replacement, if it passes as proposed would force states to either sharply reduce health coverage or absorb the costs. A National Right to Work Law will be proposed and I believe Trump adviser Steve Bannon is working on a strategy to repeal the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution.

The battles ahead are many, the threat of a constitutional convention is a needless distraction, lets make sure it does not happen.

Trump and the Stages of Grief: Turning Anger into Action

Inscribed above the entrance to Trump Tower:  “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”,  (“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”)

Are you still having nightmares?  In the middle of the day do you suddenly feel insecure? Are you overly “snappy” with people? All part of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Few of us are past anger, and we may not be for a very long time;  many us of are mired in denial. What did we do wrong?  Maybe if we had volunteered for a few more days, dug deeper in our pockets,  knocked on more doors. Why are we still flagellating ourselves?

We can direct our anger (instead of eating more fattening, unhealthy foods) by getting more engaged. Over the last few days I’ve marched, clicked on emails and joined online protests, called my elected officials and tried to hook up with every attempt to express our anger, a growing, seething anger. Every time Trump opens his mouth he fuels my anger: I don’t think I’ll ever get past my anger, nor should I.

How do we stop or turn around Trump?

Trump was not an Tea Party ideologue before his candidacy; however, he nominated ideologues to a number of cabinet posts. Health and Human Services (Price)  Education (DeVos), , Attorney General (Sessions), Labor (Puzder), Environmental Protection (Pruitt), Management and Budget (Mulvaney) and Energy (Perry) and others; and, in his first week his “optics” are from the Tea Party playbook

Executive orders to: “build the fence,” build the oil pipelines, “enhanced” interrogation (aka, torture), and with an upcoming Supreme Court nominee who probably favors stoning for unpopular speech.

Trump sees himself as the rescuer, creating a booming economy by creating jobs and destroying our current enemy, Radical Islam, around the world; however, his deal with the devil, by appointing a host of ideologues he thinks he has “bought off” the Tea Party types in Congress. Gail Collins in the New York Times sees VP Mike Pence as “pulling the strings,” similar to Cheney in the Bush presidency.

We are on the edge of plunging into the abyss, I am reminded of Dante’s Inferno, are we entering the Ninth Circle?

“Virgil described the Ninth Circle of the Inferno as the lowest, blackest, and farthest from Heaven. Treachery is the ninth Circle of Hell … the last circle is dedicated to those people who betrayed their loved ones, friends, best friends, countries, cities, guests, and even their masters”

Before Lucifer begins gnawing on our frozen body it might be time to respond.

We can turn our anger into action.

  1. Fight Back

* Keep signing those petitions, send those emails, however, phone calls matter most!!!

* Call your Congressman, Assembly and State Senate members, every week. “My name is ***** and I am a constituent.”  Be polite and insistent, and keep calling even if they agree with you.

  1. Get Involved – Take That Extra Step

* Is there a political organization in your neighborhood? Join the club, go to the meetings

* Run for County Committee, the lowest rung on electoral ladder.

  1. Build an E-List: a list of people with whom you have some influence. Family members, neighbors, faith-based organization members and send them “educational” info – educate them and urge them to get involved.
  1. Facebook is easy; however, you’re posting to “friends,” and most Facebook posts don’t ask for a specific action.
  1. This is a Marathon, not a Sprint

We’re going to be fighting the fight for FOUR years, every day, the battles will seem endless, and extremely frustrating, meet with like-minded friends, celebrate victories and plan together.

Yes, the stock market has hit an all-time high and investors are encouraged; however, the market is fickle, as the Trump bandwagon stumbles, as it will, investors abhor buffoonery, and are perfectly willing to watch the run-up before snatching their profits. Who will Trump blame when the stock market dives?  Maybe like Henry Ford he’ll re-issue the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman has a bleak picture of the Trump economic policies and the politicization of news- aka alternative facts.

Trumpism … will actually shrink manufacturing despite the big noise made about saving a few hundred jobs here and there.

On the other hand, by then the Bureau of Labor Statistics may be thoroughly politicized, commanded to report good news whatever happens.

Between the coasts, in the red counties and states citizens feel they are strangers in their own land, (Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, By Arlie Russell Hochschild)

Hochschild , a distinguished Berkeley sociologist is a woman of the left, but her mission is empathy, not polemics. She takes seriously the Tea Partiers’ complaints that they have become the “strangers” of the title — triply marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism. The people who feel this are white. The usurpers they picture are blacks and immigrants. Hochschild takes care not to call anyone racist but concludes that “race is an essential part of this story.” 

A friend was born and educated in the South, moved to New York City and spend a career as a teacher in the public school system, retired, and moved back to the South. A ritual in her town, new to me, is the movie marathon. At a local cineplex in a mall viewers see a movie at eleven, discounted lunch at a restaurant, an afternoon movie, dinner, and an evening movie. The movies, Moonlight and Hidden Figures, morphed into a discussion about race and Trump.  Most of her “movie mates” voted for Trump, as one said, “the least of two evils.” They support the Fence, they support keeping out “people from dangerous countries,” they fear Trump will reduce Social Security and Medicare, hope “fixing” Obamacare will not bump off the sick and their children, happy about the rising stock market, and, mostly, confused and angered about the demonstrations. “Give the man a chance,” was expressed again and again. I asked my friend, “Are you educating them?” She smiled, “It’s a slow process.”

Politeness is deeply embedded in the South as well as a deep commitment to the church. My daughter-in-law’s brother couldn’t call me by my first name for a couple of years and still uses “Sir” when we chat. The church is a vital part of people’s lives. Patriotism is a core value, as is military service, criticizing your country, in public, is almost treasonous.

Southerners, “red staters,” are not stupid or uneducated, they come from a different culture, and must be educated. Education can be a slow and tedious process, many of us have spent our lives educating the masses, one step at a time. The light bulb may flicker, if we do our job properly it eventually glows.

Tight your belt, hitch up your jeans, we’re in for the long run. A few extra days in the gym, maybe a little increase in the wine consumption, you now have a second job: saving our nation from political autocracy and economic ruin.

Why is President-Elect Trump So Enamored of Russian leader Putin, What Can We Learn from Washington’s Farewell Address?

Bear with me … I will get around to education.

Tuesday night I walked over to a neighborhood sports bar that was taken over by a local Young Democrats group. I listened to President Obama’s Farewell Address in a room filled with twenty-somethings – a wonderful speech greeted with applause, cheers and occasional tears. I loved the references to Washington’s Farewell Address and to Atticus Finch (“To Kill a Mockingbird.” It was  classy speech that emphasized the foundations of our nation – the orderly transition from administration to administration with nary a jab at his successor.

Wednesday morning I listened to the Trump press conference, nasty, highly critical of our intelligence agencies. and, a comment sharply criticizing the pharmaceutical industries pricing policies, a policy that the Republican side of the aisle has supported. Odd.

In spite of mounting evidence of Russian interference in our presidential election  the President-elect has waffled, swinging from mild criticism to bashing our own intelligence services.

Clearly Trump sees Putin as a role model, a highly effective leader with an 80% approval rating by the Russian people, extremely wealthy (his net worth is estimated at $200 billion); a major player on the world stage, a leader who uses his power to attempt to return Russia to a preeminent position among the world powers. Putin has used a combination of threat, economic and military power clawing back Crimea from the Ukraine, eyeing the Baltic states and allying with the Assad in Syria.

Although elected as leader under the Russian constitution Putin has suppressed opposition: the press has been silenced, journalists mysteriously killed, the independent voices few; his tentacles reach around the world: from the Middle East (Russia borders Iran), to Europe (Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas to Europe), a nuclear power second only to the USA with a massive and nimble military.

Does Trump actually think he can become a Putin-like leader in the USA as well as on the world stage? I believe the answer is “yes.”

A little Russian history:

Russia is by far the largest nation in the world – it covers eleven time zones!! Our histories are both dramatically different and strangely similar.

Mongol and Tatar hordes enveloped Russia, our aboriginal ancestors crossed the Aleutian bridge, we may be distantly, very distantly related to Russians.

Medieval Russia was ruled by Boyars, essentially war lords who ruled limited geographic domains, once again similar to the European princes who ruled limited areas across Europe. In Europe lesser lords swore oaths of homage and fealty, and the masses were peasants tied to the land; while Russia ended slavery in the 18th century, serfdom, tying of peasants to the land did not end until Alexander I ended serfdom in 1861.

Massive Russian estates were in many ways similar to the plantations in our Southern colonies/states.

Tsar Peter the Great westernized Russia, Catherine the Great expanded Russian boundaries;  similarly through treaty, purchase and war we increased our boundaries.

2017 is the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

A hundred years that has seen many tens millions of Russians killed in the two World Wars as well as the purges of Stalin. Russia moved from a nation ruled by Tsars and an aristocracy to a totalitarian nation ruled by dictators and the Communist bureaucracy, to a flirtation with democracy under Gorbachev and the return to a classic Russian leader, a faux tsar and oligarchs, the billionaires riding the Putin wave.

Trump foresees a new alliance – the two most powerful leaders, Trump and Putin – American and Russia – leading an assault on radical Islam and the Chinese hordes.

To Trump Europe is weak and decaying: The Common Market, the Euro and integration of Europe has seen the weaker states dragging down the few stronger economies. Greece, Italy and Spain with very high unemployment rates, staggering deficits and chaotic banking systems. The right wing parties growing, the Brixit vote, and an uncertain future. The right-wing xenophobic political parties are challenging a century of progressive, socially conscious democratic governments.

Will Trump continue to lead NATO, defending Europe against an aggressive Russia, or, abandon NATO? Will Trump demand that Europe provide the primary support for NATO, and, tacitly accept that Europe is a Russian sphere of influence? The right wing insurgencies across Europe will look Trump as a model.

The Mongol and Tatar invasions from the East and Germans invasions from the West, tens of millions of Russians have died over the centuries due to foreign incursions. Under Putin Russia has taken a leap backwards, away from democratic values, Putin sees western democracy as an enemy not a partner.

The post World War 2 Cold War resulted in the creation of buffer states “protecting” Russia from incursions from the West. The crumbling of the Iron Curtain, for some was the beginning of Russia entering the democratized West, for others a disaster opening Russia to values that threatened Mother Russia.

We are living in an era of asymmetric warfare, modern armies versus insurgencies, i. e., Afghanistan and Iraq. Hopefully we have learned from Afghanistan and Iraq, while we can train and support the Afghans and the Iraqi we cannot fight their wars. I fear that the Trump bluster will create increasing radicalism in the Islamic world.  I fear that Putin will use his friendship with Trump to rebuild further barriers/buffers along its borders.

Have we learned from Vietnam?  A bitter enemy, 50,000 Americans died in the war, fears that communism will roll over Asia; now, decades later, an iteration of communism that has created a thriving economy and frequent American tourist destination.

Economic prosperity is the most effective enemy of radical Islam and other totalitarian regimes; and, economic prosperity means education.

The education level of voters had a stunning impact on the recent presidential election.

Nate Silver in the fivethirtyeight blog wrote,

I took a list of all 981 U.S. counties1 with 50,000 or more people2 and sorted it by the share of the population3 that had completed at least a four-year college degree. Hillary Clinton improved on President Obama’s 2012 performance in 48 of the country’s 50 most-well-educated counties. And on average, she improved on Obama’s margin of victory in these countries by almost 9 percentage points, even though Obama had done pretty well in them to begin with.

Now here’s the opposite list: The 50 counties (minimum population of 50,000) where the smallest share of the population has bachelor’s degrees:

These results are every bit as striking: Clinton lost ground relative to Obama in 47 of the 50 counties — she did an average of 11 percentage points worse, in fact. These are really the places that won Donald Trump the presidency,

The crowd in the bar, young, well-educated, engaged in local politics were enthusiastic and avid supporters of President Obama, the poorly educated are frequently “birthers,” refused to believe that the President was born in this country, believed he was a Muslim, and on and on.

The radical Islamic fighters are poor and uneducated with no future,  they succumb to  the propaganda that their leaders use to create armies willing to sacrifice their lives.

Armies will not defeat Islamic radicalism or North Korea, or rebut Chinese expansionism. Yes, we must maintain a nimble military able to respond to threats from asymmetric warfare.  “Winning” the war means responding to an ideology, means creating avenues to economic prosperity

My “plan” to winning the war in Vietnam was dropping Sears catalogs with $100 gift certificates.

I fear that the President-elect is ill-suited to lead the nation, I fear that Putin will use Trump to further entrench himself and expand his boundaries and I fear China will continue to encroach across Asia.

These are perilous times.

I find solace in the wisdom of our founding fathers, Washington’s Farewell Address  (1796) is amazingly prescient.

While the Obama Farewell Address was deeply personal Washington’s Farewell Address contained warnings that resonate today, warning us against “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men.”

… combinations or associations … may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Washington foresaw the bitter enmities of partisanship and fearing that a “spirit of revenge” will lead to a “frightful despotism.”

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Washington, cogently, warned against the “illusion of an imaginary common interest,” and especially “by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate.”

… a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As the confirmation hearings for the cabinet nominees continue the spirit of Washington is hovering over the Congress, reminding us ” … a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The Farewell Address was primarily written by Alexander Hamilton,  interred in the cemetery of Trinity Church;  hopefully Washington and Hamilton and Jefferson are still whispering into the minds of our current leaders.