Statesman Jimmy Carter Reaches Age 90, Fourth President In A Row To Reach That Magical Age!

Today, October 1, is the 90th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), making him one of four Presidents in a row to reach that magical age.

Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush all reached the age of 90, Bush just this past June, and Ford and Reagan dying at age 93, with Ford being six weeks older than Reagan.

Now six Presidents, including John Adams and Herbert Hoover, have reached that age, and it is clear that modern medicine and sanitation have helped the Presidents in office from August 1974 to January 1993 to have accomplished this massive achievement!

Carter also has set an ongoing record of nearly 34 years out of office, and shares that with his Vice President, Walter Mondale, as the longest surviving team in the White House in American history!

Carter has long been vilified, and called a “failure”, “the worst President of modern times”, and other insulting terms by people who are ignorant, lacking in knowledge of what makes a President significant.

No one is going to assert that Carter was a highly successful President in the top ten or fifteen, and the fact that he was soundly defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980, harms his historical reputation, as Presidents who lose reelection never stand high in polls of Presidents in history.

But this man was decent and honest, humble and sincere, and accomplished the following:

The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the most outstanding accomplishment in Middle East diplomacy of any President before or since.

The negotiated return of the Panama Canal, to its rightful owners, the nation of Panama, righting the wrong done by Theodore Roosevelt early in the 20th century.

The strong principle of human rights as an important goal in American diplomacy.

The third best record of any President on environmental reform, and creation of public lands, only behind Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and more amazing, since Carter only had one term in the White House.

The establishment of the Health and Human Services Department, the Education Department, and the Energy Department, all added to the President’s cabinet.

Out of office, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, for his human rights record; his promotion of fair elections around the world and the advancement of health care and education through his Carter Center; and his building of housing using his own and his wife Rosalynn’s hands, as part of Habitat For Humanity.

He also wrote nearly 20 books, making him the most prolific President of modern times, and competing with Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon for his prolific writings.

Jimmy Carter set a new standard for former Presidents giving their service to the nation, as Bill Clinton has done, and Carter is often called the best former President of the United States for his contributions in the 34 years since he left office.

Jimmy Carter had obvious shortcomings, but he has lived long enough to be regarded as a statesman, and be given the respect he deserves!

So Happy 90th Birthday, Mr. President!

Presidential Succession Law Of 1886-1947 Needs To Be Renewed!

In 1947, the Republican controlled 80th Congress, in a fit of partisanship and anti FDR sentiment, changed the Presidential Succession Law of 1886, enacted during the first term of President Grover Cleveland.

That law made the succession for the Presidency beyond the Vice President to be as follows: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, and then other cabinet agencies, including Interior and Agriculture.

That law made sense, as it meant that in case of tragedy hitting the President and Vice President, that members of  that President’s cabinet, people loyal to him, knowledgeable in  foreign and defense policies, and domestic policies, would be next in  line, in case of an emergency.

But the Republicans after World War II were furious that Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected four times, so not only added the 22nd Amendment, limiting any future President to two elected term, or a maximum of ten years if he succeeded during a term, but also decided to make the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate second and third in line behind the Vice President.  That, of course, meant, that if anything had happened to President Harry Truman, and with no Vice President for the remainder of that term of office, that Speaker Joseph Martin, a Republican, would have succeeded him.

The idea of having the opposition party gain the Presidency during a term due to a tragedy was not based on what was good for the nation, but pure partisanship by the GOP.

But now, the extremism in the GOP, including the Tea Party Movement right wing whackos, makes the idea of John Boehner, or some other Republican gaining power of the executive branch under a Democratic administration totally reprehensible, as that would mean a dramatic turn to the far Right, although the people voted in a Democratic administration.  Also, the President pro tempore of the Senate, a position which is honorary based on seniority in the majority party in the Senate, brings the danger, not only of partisanship, but also the reality of a very old Senator, unfit to serve, being third in line for the Presidency, and at the time of Truman, second in line to be President!

That is why there is a need to repeal the 1947 law and return to the 1886 law, which makes the most sense, as the Speaker of the House, while elected, is only chosen by one Congressional district out of 435, and is therefore NOT representative of the nation, as much as a cabinet member, selected by the President but subject to Senate confirmation, is representative of the policies and ideals of the elected President!

The likelihood of this happening short term is near zero, but it is worthy of consideration for the near future!

The Secret Service Crisis Over Presidential Protection

This author and blogger is literally shocked at the poor security at the White House, as demonstrated by White House “Fence Jumper” Omar J. Gonzalez, who jumped over the fence on Friday, September 19, with a knife in his hand, was able to enter the North Portico entrance, and run across the main floor of the mansion, enter the Green Room after passing the stairs that lead to the private quarters of the First Family, and only then be tackled by an agent, after another agent, a woman, failed to bring him down earlier!

And new evidence about a gun attack by Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez on November 11. 2011, became available just now, showing that the thought that only one shot had hit the White House was far from truth, as seven shots hit the building on that day, and it took four days for that fact to become evident, as the Secret Service was totally unaware of the seriousness of the gun attack, which led to the arrest of the perpetrator a few days later, not immediately!

This is alarming and terrifying, as it is clear that the Secret Service has proved its incompetence, and must undergo a major restructuring immediately, as Barack Obama and his family have faced more threats than any President of modern times, and believed to be the most since Abraham Lincoln.

If nothing is done, we might have another John F. Kennedy tragedy, and we must work to prevent that!

37 Days To The Extremely Important Midterm Elections Of 2014!

With the crisis of ISIL (ISIS) having emerged as the most dangerous threat to America since September 11, 2001, and with this being the greatest world crisis since World War II, it is now 37 days to the extremely important Midterm Elections of 2014, both in foreign and domestic policy!

We need cooperation on the foreign policy front between Congress and the President, but that is unlikely if the GOP wins control of the Senate, even if they are still able to hold on to control in the House of Representatives!

Such a scenario will undermine the war effort, and the need to deal with many domestic issues, that are desperately in need of attention!

The possible appointment of a Supreme Court Justice before the next Presidential election, and of a new Attorney General in the next few months is riding on the ability of the Democrats to keep control of the US Senate, which thankfully, seems highly likely right now!

The ability to bring about immigration reform; to protect the environment; to gain funding for infrastructure projects; to see further advancements in civil rights; to promote support for those who are in poverty to have a higher minimum wage, extension of unemployment compensation and expansion of Medicaid; to promote equal pay legislation for women; and so many other initiatives, is hanging in the balance!

It is urgent that those who believe in progressive reforms must get out the vote, and make people who are apathetic voters realize the importance of their voting, and not just for Congressional elections, but also for state governors and state legislatures, as we have seen much evidence of the damage done by Tea Party Republican Governors on so many issues!

What Has Happened To The Image Of The Police We Used To Have As Children And Young Adults?

This author and blogger grew up totally respectful of police officers, admiring them for their courage and willingness to serve the citizenry.  It was never thought that we needed to be fearful of police officers.

But that has changed dramatically in recent years, and particularly in the past few months, as we have seen numerous cases of police officers all over the nation abusing their power and position, and too quick to shoot to kill many unarmed people, many of them African American or Hispanic, but also those who are disabled, and some victims who are also whites.

These abusive police have been quick to use their tasers and their firearms in an aggressive manner, when in so many of these cases, it has been totally unnecessary to do so.  They have lost the concern for life of their victims, and instead of, if needed, shooting to wound, they have gone for the chest and the head, in so many situations all over the country!

In Ferguson, Missouri, the perpetrator of the death of Michael Brown, a police officer named Darren Wilson has not faced any charges, or detention, while a grand jury takes forever to move forward, and one cannot be sure that they will even indict  Wilson at all. A grand jury in Ohio refused to indict a police officer who killed a young black man in Walmart, who had picked up a toy gun and was shot for holding it, while Ohio allows unlimited display of firearms in any public place, but obviously really only for white citizens!

A police officer in South Carolina opened up fire on a driver who went into his car to get his drivers license, and wounded him over an issue of not wearing seat belts!  All cases lately have been white officers against black men, many of them young black men!

This situation is out of control, and makes one feel as if our police officers are, in too many cases, abusing their positions, and acting as if they are Nazi Gestapo or a Secret Police force, while Omar J. Gonzalez, when he scaled the White House fence and ran to the North Portico and was able to gain entrance to the building without being stopped before that occurred, and carrying a pocket knife, was not even shot at by the Secret Service, when such an action deserved a shoot to kill order in that circumstance!

Of course, the multitude of police officers do their job well, but the renegades are undermining the whole concept of law enforcement, and there needs, desperately, for better training of police, and the drumming out of those who are ill qualified by temperament and their performance record to keep their positions as police officers!

The 113th Congress, Worst In Modern History, Refuses To Take Responsibility, And Enact A Resolution Backing War Against ISIL (ISIS)!

The 113th Congress is a disgrace, having passed fewer bills than ever in modern history; refusing to cooperate on anything with President Barack Obama, and now unwilling to take action to back the President with a formal war resolution against ISIL (ISIS) in the period leading up to the Midterm Elections, and even in the lame duck period after the election and until the 114th Congress convenes in January!

This is a disgrace, as it is the job of Congress to work with the President on war issues, and all they care about is campaigning, and keeping their jobs, with the great salary and benefits!

Since the Speaker of the House, John Boehner,  controls the calendar, the Republicans are to blame for ignoring the responsibilities of Congress to the American people!

If the people had sense, they would kick the GOP out of House control and insure the return of a Democratic majority in the US Senate!

Attorney General Eric Holder Leaving The Obama Cabinet: A Major Loss Of One Of the Greatest Attorneys General In American History!

One of the longest serving Attorneys General in America, Eric Holder, announced today that he was leaving the Obama cabinet as soon as a successor is confirmed, probably at the beginning of the 114th Congress in January!

By then, Eric Holder will have served six years, the third longest term as Attorney General, only trailing second place Janet Reno under Bill Clinton, and William Wirt, who served longer than anyone under James Monroe and John Quincy Adams in the early 19th century!

Holder has been bitterly attacked for his performance and his own character by right wing whackos of the Tea Party Movement, and joined by Republican leaders in both houses of Congress, who have stopped at nothing to degrade him, including citing him for contempt of Congress, and threatening impeachment.

Through it all, Holder has acted with dignity  and class, just like his boss, President Obama.  Both of them have refused to take the bait and get angry, and have made their critics look what they are—prejudiced, biased, racists, and not giving a damn about civil rights and civil liberties of all of the American people.

Holder has worked to try to restore the Voting Rights Act, after the shameful reversion on much of it by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Holder has worked to promote prison reform, and to lower the prison population by freeing people who were wrongfully convicted or kept in prison way beyond all reasonable sentences.

Holder also prosecuted hundreds of terrorism cases, tackled financial fraud, and worked against violent crime and corruption, as well as working to promote the environment.

Holder was the first African American Attorney General, and he should be succeeded by retiring Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, another African American.

That will be difficult if the Republican opposition wins control of the Senate, another reason for everyone to vote in the midterm elections.  We are bound to see open racism by many Republicans if Patrick is nominated to succeed Holder, even if the GOP does not win the Senate majority!

This nation was blessed to have a great man as our Attorney General, and Eric Holder will be ranked among the top Attorneys General in American history over time!

Quandary Over Progressives Opposing Military Action Against ISIL (ISIS)

The Senate vote last week authorizing aid to the Syrian rebels fighting ISIL (ISIS) was a strange vote, bipartisan, which is rare, but 22 Senators of both parties voting NO!

This included such progressive Democrats as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.  It also included Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

On the other hand, it included Republicans such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, all Tea Party types.

The first list of seven Progressive Democrats and one Independent is highly respected by this author and blogger, and it makes him pause in his own support of the concept of starting a war against Islamic terrorism, what he sees as the beginning of World War III!

Of course, other Progressive Democrats DID support the majority vote, and it makes one wonder who is right, and who will be judged as correct by history, and it could affect the Presidential Election of 2016 and beyond, as, for instance, Hillary Clinton backing the Iraq War can be, and has been used, against her, and could be a problem in 2016!

These are difficult times, and we face a crisis of massive proportions, and trying to figure out what is best for the nation puts one in torment daily!

Right Wing Propaganda About Barack Obama Refuted By Facts!

Barack Obama has been the most vilified President since Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

There will be those who say that Richard Nixon was more attacked, and that George W. Bush was “victim” of constant criticism.

Yes, they were, as was Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter, but NONE of these Presidents came under such a barrage of total lies and mistruths on such a constant basis.

Barack Obama has been attacked on where he was born (Kenya? Indonesia? anyone?), on his being a Marxist or Communist or Socialist; of being anti white (by critics who are clearly scared of having a black President); of being anti Christian (by right wing Christians who regularly lie and deceive and distort, claiming to be following the teachings of Jesus, which they most certainly are not doing); and of being a Muslim, out to spread the Islamic faith and support terrorism!  He is also accused of being anti Semitic, and anti Israel.

Meanwhile, radical and terrorist Muslims constantly are critical of Barack Obama and have called on their supporters to find a way to kill him, and Obama has brought about more deaths of Muslim terrorists than George W. Bush or anyone else; has mounted missions to attempt to save Americans captured by the terrorists; was courageous enough to arrange the death of Osama Bin Laden, when others around him had strong doubts on the mission’s success; and now has declared war on ISIL (ISIS) and mounted a bombing campaign in both Iraq and now Syria, even though the right wing says he is afraid to go to war, and is too timid in foreign policy, all of it lies and deceit spread to ignorant people who think Obama is equivalent of a “Manchurian candidate” in the Presidency.

The charge that he is anti Semitic and anti Israel is belied by the fact of the Iron Dome system given to Israel by the United States, and the fact that ISIL (ISIS) calls Obama a President “owned by the Jews”.  Right wing Jews love to spread lies and distortion about Obama, but actually such people have complained about every American President, if they do not bow to every wish or demand of the Israeli government, while we give that nation more foreign aid than any other in the world.  So these charges are totally uncalled for, and reflect badly on those right wing Jews who spread that propaganda!

Many right wingers want to deny that Obama was ever President, and that his time in office should be not recognized as legal, as they claim his election was “stolen”, when George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 but won in the Supreme Court, unprecedented, but based on a declared 537 vote popular margin in Florida, his brother’s home state;  and only won in 2004, because of another disputed vote count in Ohio against John Kerry.

This author and blogger has witnessed so called “friends” who spew forth right wing and racist propaganda, shocking him at the level of hatred toward our 44th President.  One so called “friend” said, when he found out I am publishing a book on Presidential Assassinations and Attempts by next May or June, that he hoped I would have to write another chapter (meaning about the assassination of Obama), which totally infuriated me, and I am not one to get angry very easily.

Another time, visiting the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, with my younger son, three women of about age 70, 40, and 20 were waiting with us to see a Truman documentary, and it came up in conversation that the 20 year old was visiting her relatives in Missouri, but was from Hawaii.

When I said, “so you are from Hawaii, which will have a Presidential museum in the future”, the three women in unison said “EWWWWW” to my shock, and we turned away in shock and anger, since I did not want to be rude to them, but I could not believe such sentiments, as no one ever said that about Richard Nixon or George W. Bush or anyone else!

And when the White House experienced an ‘invasion” at the North Portico last Friday, only ONE Republican openly spoke out about it, and demanded an explanation as to how the Secret Service “screwed up”, and that was New York Congressman Peter King of Long Island, New York, who is far less conservative than the leadership and masses of members of Congress from his party.  Not a peep from John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and the myriad of other Republicans, including any of the likely competitors for the Presidency in 2016.  It is almost as if, secretly, they hoped for Obama’s demise, absolutely disgraceful, and reprehensible!

The right wing would suffer mightily if anything untoward happened to Obama, and if Joe Biden suddenly succeeded to the Presidency by tragedy, it would, effectively, end the Presidential Election of 2016, with Joe Biden being the equivalent of Lyndon B. Johnson after he succeeded John F. Kennedy, meaning there would be no way for any Republican to defeat a President Biden in those circumstances. Also, it would end the campaign of Hillary Clinton under those circumstances!

It is time for the right wing, on talk radio and Fox News Channel, and the think tanks that spew forth poison, to stop their attacks and show respect for our President!

Georgia Congressman John Lewis, “Selma” Film, And The Effect Of The Voting Rights Act of 1965: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama!

The new documentary, SELMA, about the March from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965, leading to “Bloody Sunday”, where state troopers and snipers fired on peaceful marchers demanding their right to vote, reminds us of a transitional stage in American history, when African Americans would regain the right to vote given to them in the 15th Amendment in 1870, and then denied in the South for about 75 years!

Alabama Governor George Wallace represented the worst of Southern racism, and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a true hero then and now, had his head beaten and bloodied n the Selma March, but the horrible event led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965!

It is tragic that the Supreme Court allowed a reversion in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and that has led to new movements, and not only in the South, to make it harder for African Americans, Latinos, women, poor people, and college students to vote, and that could affect the Midterm elections of 2014!

But Lewis made the comment which is so TRUE: If it had not been for Voting Rights Act coming out of the Selma March, there likely would NEVER have been an open minded progressive Presidency of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama!

That would have been a tremendous tragedy, as no Republican President , whether Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or George W. Bush, made civil rights enforcement a key goal of their times in the Presidency!

So thank goodness for the fortune that the sacrifices of the Selma Marchers brought us the great progress  we gained under Carter, Clinton, and now Obama!