Classy Senator Barbara Mikulski Of Maryland To Retire After Longest Service Of Any Woman In Congressional History!

A true giant of the US Senate, willing to fight for her liberal beliefs over 40 years, Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, has announced her retirement in 2016, joining another outstanding woman Senator, Barbara Boxer of California, in choosing to retire.

Mikulski will have served five terms, 30 years in the Senate, the all time record, and also served ten years in the House, making her 40 years an all time record for women in Congress. She surpassed the 35 years of Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, Republican of Massachusetts, who served from 1925 to 1960 in the House of Representatives.

Along the way, Mikulski has “raised hell”, and always been there for her constituents, the average people of her state of Maryland, fighting the good fight as a leading progressive on all issues. She began her career as a community organizer, the same activity that Barack Obama was engaged in, and often ridiculed, which is horrible, as community organizers work with the poor. Why should anyone deplore such people, who truly commit themselves to those less fortunate? And yet, we live in a nation in 2015 where this is seen as a negative, rather than the positive impact that it has on those not privileged in our society!

The likelihood is that former Governor Martin O’Malley, who wants to be President, but has almost no chance to seek it now with Hillary Clinton far ahead in all polls and O’Malley hardly registering at all in the polls, will seek to go to the Senate. However, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Congresswoman Donna Edwards are likely to compete for the seat as well, with the latter two being African Americans.

The US And Israel: Support For Israel, But Not Benjamin Netanyahu!

The United States has been a strong supporter of Israel throughout the 67 year history of the Jewish nation, whether it has been Democratic or Republican Presidents in office, and that will not change, and should not change!

But that does not mean that our policies vis a vis Israel must always be in lockstep to every Israeli Prime Minister.

There have been disputes and differences between Israeli governments and American governments throughout the history of the relationship over strategies and tactics, but in all circumstances, when Israel has needed American support, it has been there from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, and that will continue.

Just like relatives, there have been and will be fights, sometimes even public, that are embarrassing, but occur, because that is the nature of families, and Israel and America are like one big family, with certain relatives very annoying in their assertion of their personalities on the overall relationship.

But when crisis arises, when so called “push come to shove”, family is together, and that includes the assurance that America will always be there for Israel at crucial moments. And one must remember that it is Barack Obama who has provided more funding for the IRON DOME system, which has been used by Israel to protect its security with its dangerous neighbors, including Palestinian terrorists.

This moment, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming to the US to speak to a joint session of Congress without advanced approval of President Obama, and with Netanyahu long a public and private critic of President Obama, and in cahoots with the Republicans in Congress, is not good. With Speaker of the House John Boehner breaking the Logan Act, which bans private diplomacy of anyone outside the executive branch of government, a law passed in 1798 and updated in 1994, only adds to the problem.

Yes, the threat of Iran is present, but it is not an imminent threat, and the attempt of the US, along with Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China to negotiate on nuclear issues is worthy of follow through to see if Iran is willing to accept the idea of no nuclear weapons development.

If Iran reneges on such an agreement, then Israel would be backed in any potential confrontation with Iran. But the need to TRY to avoid another Middle East War, which would lead to more deaths and destruction in Israel, and make the area ever more dangerous, is worth a try to avoid war, before committing to a war that would be devastating to the entire area.

The US would be engaged in another major war, and not an easily won war, but the world would see the reality of Iran, if they reject an agreement with the six major powers.

Netanyahu has been known to lie and exaggerate, so it is worth a chance for peace, and avoidance of war, and that is why many Jewish Democrats in Congress are boycotting this speech on Tuesday, and it is why many Jewish organizations and spokesmen are condemning the speech, and calling for its delay until after the elections in Israel in two weeks.

A good solution to all this would be the defeat of Netanyahu and his Likud Party, much too ready to go to war, when peace should be tried first!

The CPAC Convention: Display Of Delusional Thinking And A Comedy Of Would Be Presidents!

The Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland this weekend has been a revelation of delusional thinking, as well as a comedy of Would Be Presidents!

A conference that has Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, both supposed candidates for the White House, but just wanting attention, makes it worthy of ridicule from the beginning.

A conference that has elected Rand Paul as their favorite in a straw poll three years in a row, when there is zero chance of his being the Republican nominee, is a conference not worthy of any more attention, other than how Saturday Night Live treats it for laughs.

A conference that has a candidate, Scott Walker, who compares marchers for retention of labor rights to the fighting of terrorism is a conference that is clueless and insulting of the vast majority of America’s population, which are workers, not corporate leaders.

A conference that has retreads such as Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry desperately trying to get notice and to make themselves relevant is quite pitiful.

A conference that has two totally inexperienced candidates, Dr. Benjamin Carson and corporate leader Carly Fiorina, thinking they should be President, when we have never had a President or Presidential candidate with no political experience on the ballot, except for Wendell Willkie in 1940, is a sign of how little the people involved in this conference understand reality in a complex world.

A conference that allows propagandists who claim to be journalists, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, to be the interviewers of Presidential candidates, making them totally lacking in any credibility, is a conference that should be seen as something not worthy of serious consideration.

A conference that demonstrates intolerance toward women, immigrants, minorities, and gays and lesbians is a conference that has no desire to unite the American people, but rather to divide them, and fail to recognize the impending changes in the population long term, that dooms their agenda!

The Republican House Of Representatives Implodes: The Tea Party Is Destroying Congress!

Speaker of the House John Boehner has again been smacked down by the extremist right wing Tea Party caucus, about 50 members who so hate Barack Obama and everything he stands for and represents, that they are ready to bring down the government, and undermine the Department of Homeland Security created during the George W. Bush Administration in the aftermath of September 11!

Boehner must either join with Democrats to bring about the funding of this crucial government agency, with the rest of the Republican majority, OR he must resign in disgrace, as he has already proved totally unable to deal with the extremists who do not care about the heritage and traditions of the Republican Party in its 161 year history!

This nation cannot allow ourselves to be taken hostage by a group, which in its intentions, is no better than anarchists or terrorists, ready to take down the institutions of government if they cannot get their way, their desire to take us from the 21st century to the 19th century!

The House of Representatives, the “People’s Branch”, has become unable to accomplish what such a body is designed to do, govern effectively and do the business of the people!

We are in the midst of a revolution, the greatest crisis for the Speakership since the “Revolution of 1910″ against Speaker Joseph Cannon, stripping him of much of his absolute powers, and democratizing the House operations. Something on that level seems essential now to take away power from this anarchistic, but also Fascist in orientation, cabal of 50 members who will stop at nothing to destroy effective government!

This crisis has been delayed a week by the last minute action of the House to allow a one week extension of the Homeland Security budget, but the same struggle will face us on March 6!

Scott Walker’s War On Labor: Returning To The 1920s And Gilded Age!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, for now the leader in some polls for the Republican Presidential nomination, has declared war on labor unions and worker rights in Wisconsin, ramming legislation through the Wisconsin legislature, allowing employers to refuse to deal with labor unions representing private workers, just as he did the same earlier with public employee labor unions.

By warring against labor unions and labor rights, Walker is denying the many benefits that unions brought to Americans workers, beginning in the era of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is precisely the cause of the rise of the middle class over the next fifty years, followed by a rapid decline in labor union strength beginning with the administration of Ronald Reagan, and his war on the air traffic controllers, which endangered public safety along with encouraging more so called “right to work” laws that undermine worker rights, benefits, and working conditions.

Walker is promoting the idea that we should return to the 1920s and the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, when workers had no rights, and unions were met with National Guard intervention and strike breakers and high levels of violence and bloodshed!

Walker is showing us what a bully he is, and how dangerous his candidacy really is, and he must be bitterly opposed by all who care about the future of working people in this nation!

Reverting nearly a century and more back in time is NOT an option in the 21st century!

Marco Rubio Faces Problems In Presidential Bid And Florida Senate Reelection Contest

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is not having good tidings lately, as he considers whether to run for President in 2016, or seek a second Senate term.

Florida does not allow a candidate to be on the ballot for two political races, so Rubio must decide his future.

At this point, polls indicate he is way behind fellow Floridian Jeb Bush for support, even within the Sunshine State, among Republicans for the Presidential nomination.

Rubio has alienated many Tea Party types and others in the Republican Party for having worked for immigration reform, and then backing away from it under harsh criticism by the Republican right wing base.

Rubio has also indicated frustration being a United States Senator, and he faces a potential threat from a number of Democrats for his seat, whether he runs again for it or chooses to leave the Senate to run for President.

Democratic National Chairwoman and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Patrick Murphy, and believe it or not, former Governor Charlie Crist, and even Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, are all seen as interested in the race, and Rubio cannot count on South Florida for support, with three South Floridians, including comparatively moderate Murphy, potentially running.

Of course, there would be major fireworks in a Democratic primary, with both Wasserman Schultz and Crist having antagonized many while serving in government and running for office, which might give Murphy an advantage, and possibly even Levine, a comparative newcomer to politics like Murphy is, as well.

American Presidents And Wealth Estimates In 2015!

An update on the net worth of America’s Presidents, their total wealth at time of death, or for the living Presidents, what it is as of 2015, including inflation as a factor, reveals the following:

John F. Kennedy was the wealthiest President, worth within the range of $125 million to possibly $1 billion!

Due to this uncertain range, George Washington might be the wealthiest at $525 million.

The other Presidents over $100 million in net worth are:

Thomas Jefferson $212 million

Theodore Roosevelt $125 million

Andrew Jackson $119 million

James Madison $101 million

Five Presidents over $50 million up to $98 million include:

Lyndon B. Johnson $98 million

Herbert Hoover $75 million

Franklin D. Roosevelt $60 million

Bill Clinton $55 million

John Tyler $51 million

The next six Presidents are worth between $20 million and $27 million, as follows:

James Monroe $27 million

Martin Van Buren $26 million

Grover Cleveland $25 million

George H. W. Bush $23 million

John Quincy Adams $21 million

George W. Bush $20 million

The next five Presidents are worth $10 million to $19 million, as follows:

John Adams $19 million

Richard Nixon $15 million

Ronald Reagan $13 million

Barack Obama $12 million

James K. Polk $10 million

The next ten Presidents are worth between $2 million and $8 million, as follows:

Dwight D. Eisenhower $8 million

Gerald Ford $7 million

Jimmy Carter $7 million

Zachary Taylor $6 million

William Henry Harrison $5 million

Benjamin Harrison $5 million

Millard Fillmore $4 million

Rutherford Hayes $3 million

William Howard Taft $3 million

Franklin Pierce $2 million

The remaining 11 Presidents are worth between under $1 million up to less than $2 million, in the following order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan onward are each worth less than $1 million downward, with Truman the poorest.

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Many of the early Presidents were landowners and slave owners, and were, therefore, extremely wealthy.

The Presidents of the middle and late 19th century were mostly quite poor, including those who were military generals.

Presidents since 1929 have been generally much wealthier in most cases.

Many Presidents in modern times have become wealthy through speeches and writings.

Bill Clinton has the potential to become of the wealthiest Presidents in American history as time goes by, and more so, if his wife, Hillary Clinton, becomes President! The long term potential for Barack Obama is also for great wealth over his lifetime, leaving office at age 55!

The Phenomenon Of Retread Politicians Who Look For Publicity, Relevance, And The Presidency!

The recent comments of former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani wondering if Barack Obama loves America, causing a firestorm of criticism and putting potential Republican Presidential candidates on the spot as to what to respond to these comments, reminds us that America has a list of retread politicians, many of whom have been out of public office for very long periods of time, but feel a need to look for publicity and relevance, and want to be President.

Guiliani has been out of office since 2001, and flopped badly when he tried for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008.

But now we have “retread” politicians who wish to be President, after long periods of not having run for office, including Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and even, possibly, former New York Governor George Pataki, although no one takes that seriously.

The question is whether being out of the loop for nearly a decade or more causes voters to wonder about their viability, and the upcoming Republican Presidential race will test that matter.

The Most Overrated and Underrated Presidents, According To The American Political Science Association Presidential Poll

Further study of the American Political Science Association Presidential poll of 2014 reveals the following:

The most overrated Presidents are John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Andrew Jackson.

The most underrated Presidents are Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and Harry Truman.

These consensus judgments seem legitimate, as this author thinks those listed are an accurate assessment.

However, also underrated, and not even making the top 24 Presidents, with a 50 percent rating or above as deserving to be on the list of significant Presidents is Jimmy Carter.

Additionally, Lyndon B. Johnson will, over time, make it to the top ten, above Eisenhower and Bill Clinton, both of whom seem higher than they should be, and also above Jackson.

If any Presidents were to be added to Mount Rushmore, it is clear that Franklin D. Roosevelt is easily the most deserving, and really, no one else qualifies on legitimate grounds, even though there are supporters of Kennedy, Reagan and Eisenhower to join him, if there were additions made, which is, realistically, not going to happen!

American Political Science Association Presidential Poll Substantially Different Than 2009 C Span Poll

It has been nearly six years since the last C Span poll on Rating Presidents took place in 2009, and now we have the American Political Science Association Poll of 162 Professors, scored late in 2014, and the differences between the two polls is startling.

First, the number of Presidential experts questioned is two and a half times as many now than in 2009.

But more than that difference is the ranking of many on the list, as for instance:

John F. Kennedy fell from 6th place to 14th place.

Andrew Jackson went from a tie for 12th place up to 9th place.

Dwight D. Eisenhower reached the highest he has ever been polled, up to 7th place.

Bill Clinton shot up from 15th place to 8th place.

Harry Truman fell to 6th place from 5th place, and Thomas Jefferson went from 6th place to 5th place.

Woodrow Wilson fell from 9th place to 10th place.

Barack Obama, not part of the 2009 poll, but ranked in 15th place in an early poll in 2011, ended up in 18th place.

James Madison (13th) moved ahead of James Monroe (17th) in the ranking, which seems odd when one looks at their Presidencies, with Monroe being 14th and Madison 20th in the C Span poll.

James K. Polk slipped from tied for 12th to 19th, which seems really strange.

Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson slipped one each, from 10th and 11th places, to 11th and 12th places.

This author disagrees greatly with this poll in many ways, including:

Kennedy being dropped eight places seems acceptable, except that to put Jackson, Clinton, and Madison ahead of him seems not very sensible.

Jackson is back in the top ten, but it seems wrong to move him up.

Clinton being in the top ten may help Hillary Clinton, but realistically, this author thinks he is much too high, and will eventually slip out of the top ten back to mid teens where he was. He has risen fast, being 21st in the 2000 C Span Poll and 15th in the 2009 poll.

Truman should have remained ahead of Jefferson, and in fact, should be moved up to 4th ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Jefferson, due to his crisis leadership, and will end up there in time in this author’s belief.

Wilson has been slipping constantly, from 6th in 2000 to 9th in 2009 to 10th now, but this author would put him a bit higher and ahead of Jackson, Clinton, and Eisenhower.

Obama slipped from an early 2011 poll of 15th down to 18th, but this author would put him back at about 13th, ahead of Jackson, Madison, and Monroe.

Madison being ahead of Monroe seems ridiculous for his Presidency, although Madison was a great man, but not very successful as President.

Polk being an “imperialist” is a negative image to many, but no one term President was as successful, and he should not end up behind many of those ahead of him, and should remain about 12th or 13th.

Reagan and Johnson dropping one position each is not a big difference, but this author would put Johnson ahead of Reagan.

The debate on ranking Presidents will go on, but these are my thoughts on the topic, and I welcome commentary and analysis on this issue of ranking Presidents in 2015!