News and Politics

Discussion about news and politics

Great Idea To Mandate Passage Of Civics Exam To Graduate High School: The Promotion Of Good Citizenship!

Arizona has become the first state on the road to a great goal–mandating passage of a civics examination as part of high school graduation requirements.

When one realizes that the majority of Americans do not know the names of the three branches of government; who the Vice President of the United States is; the dates of the American Revolution and Civil War; how a bill becomes law; the significance of the Supreme Court; the major laws passed in American history; knowledge of the most important Presidents of the United States; the main points and ideas of the Constitution of the United States; what our basic civil liberties are in the Bill of Rights; and the American involvement in wars throughout our history, it is clear that we must mandate civics education as part of a basic knowledge base is essential,

There is a movement on to have all states adopt the standards set by Arizona, and accomplish this by 2017, the 230th anniversary of the Constitutional Convention. And it is not as if the standard is too difficult, as, at least in Arizona, only 60 percent of 100 questions are needed to pass and graduate.

The test is based on the citizenship exam given annually to immigrants, and it is not too much to expect those born in this nation to be required to prove they have the knowledge level of those immigrants who have worked so hard to become citizens!

The 114th Congress Anti Science Climate Denier Caucus: An Unmitigated Disaster!

The Republican 114th Congress is, sadly, one of a majority of anti science climate deniers, at a shocking level.

Twelve states have a majority of their Congressional delegation, sometimes including some Democrats, who are anti science, anti evolution and anti climate change. These states include West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Alaska.

All states have at least 25 percent anti science climate deniers, except the following: Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, South Dakota, Oregon, and Hawaii.

This is a terrible omen for the future, as putting our heads in the sand on climate change will insure a worse life for our children and grandchildren.

But that does not phase Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and others who deny, deny, deny to the point where one wants to scream, based on the available evidence.

And Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe is the most vehement climate change denier, and cannot be reasoned with at all!

But President Barack Obama is doing what he can, including rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline!

Republicans Declare War On National Parks: Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, And Others Turning Over In Their Graves!

It is hard to conceive, but the 2015 Republican Party has declared war on America’s national park system, wishing to allow uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, and other kinds of natural resource exploitation in our national treasure, our public lands!

A bill has been introduced to prevent any future President, along with President Barack Obama, to create any more national parks, a bill which will gain the Presidential veto if it were to pass both houses!

Fortunately, there would be no possibility of a two thirds override of the Presidential veto, as any such banning of additional national parks would be a war on the environment, and a sin against nature!

This attack on nature and conservation would cause the turning over in their graves of President Theodore Roosevelt, National Forestry Service head Gifford Pinchot (under the TR Presidency), as well as a multitude of Republicans similar to those two party members, as well as Democrats, and all decent, caring citizens. It would also cause dismay among Presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, all who added greatly to our national parks.

Barack Obama is adding wide swaths of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to the national parks, even with opposition from Alaska politicians, including Senator Lisa Murkowksi, who is catering to the oil and gas interests over preserving the last great area of untouched nature.

This is yet another reason why no Republican can be allowed to be elected President, as with a Republican controlled Congress, we would be on the precipice of a disaster of massive proportions, and that cannot be allowed to occur!

“Swing” States Becoming Fewer Every Election: Locking In Electoral Votes!

The number of “Swing” states in a Presidential election are becoming fewer in each four year cycle, and locking in the Electoral College outcome, to a much greater extent than ever before.

At this point, for the 2016 Presidential Election, it can be said there are ONLY ten states that are truly up for grabs, barring some unforeseen events:

These states are:
Florida
Ohio
Virginia
North Carolina
New Hampshire
Iowa
Indiana
Colorado
New Mexico
Nevada

Even these ten states are not truly ten, as North Carolina for now is more likely to go Republican; New Hampshire and Iowa are more likely to go Democratic; Indiana is more likely to go Republican; and New Mexico is almost certainly Democratic!

So only Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada are truly “swing’ states for 2016, and most of the campaigning in the general election period will be in those five states, plus the other five more certain to be in one political camp over the other.

The Northeast and New England, with the exception of New Hampshire, are locked up for the Democrats, as are the Upper Midwest and Illinois, and the three Pacific Coast states and Hawaii!

The Great Plains states, the Mountain West except for the three states mentioned above, and the South, with the exceptions of the three states mentioned above, and West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Alaska seem locked up for the Republicans, making for more states than the Democrats, but many of them low electoral vote states. And when Texas and Georgia evolve, with more Hispanic-Latino voters in the next decade, the Electoral College will be locked up for the Democrats for the long haul, unless the GOP can convince many states’ voters to swing over from the Democrats, highly unlikely!

The move to allow states to vote by congressional district, as is so in Nebraska and Maine in theory, if it spreads to major states, such as Pennsylvania, where it has been proposed, COULD change the whole dynamic, and make for a much more competitive Electoral College race in the future!

Please! Donald Trump, Do Us All A Favor! Keep On Making Money, Spewing Your Stupid Thoughts, But Do NOT Run For President!

It is hard to believe, but egotist Donald Trump is talking again about running for President, claiming that only he can save the nation from disaster in the future.

Donald Trump has never held public office; has gone bankrupt a few times; has made a total fool of himself with his “birther” theories about Barack Obama; has become engaged in ridiculous controversies on a regular basis; has been married three times; and comes across as obnoxious, brusque, nasty, mean spirited, confrontational, and often, purely stupid in his statements and actions!

Donald Trump is NOT qualified to be President of the United States, and nearing the age of 70 with no government experience, he has no background qualifications to be our President, and his domestic life experience disqualifies him as a poor role model on ethics and morality.

So, please, Donald Trump, do us all a favor! Keep on making money, spewing your stupid thoughts, but do NOT run for President, and leave the Republican Party free to find someone who will not be acceptable to the nation, but at least has served time in government!

Barack Obama Calls For Paid Sick Leave For All Workers: Long Overdue!

The United States is the only advanced Western nation that does not guarantee all workers the right to paid sick leave, an outrageous situation, but Barack Obama is challenging Congress to rectify the situation!

This includes low paid workers primarily, and restaurant and other food workers are the major group, and by not giving them paid sick leave, it endangers the general public, when these kinds of workers are doing their jobs while sick, and often contagious!

This should be a basic human right, and part of human dignity, that when one is sick, he or she should not be mixing with the population that could up spreading disease.

And also, the paid sick leave should allow workers to take off paid time to help sick parents, sick children, or a sick partner, as family responsibilities are part of life for all of us.

The Republicans, of course, oppose this, but Obama is correct in pushing this idea, and putting the GOP on the spot, as unconcerned about the welfare of workers, which we know, of course, is reality.

This should become a key issue for the Democrats in the 2016 Presidential election!

Potential Republican Presidential Field: Eleven Governors, Four Senators, A Corporate Executive (Female), And A Pediatric Surgeon (African American)!

The potential Republican Presidential field, at least that developed by Crowdpac.com, contains the following mix of potential Republican Presidential candidates:

ELEVEN Governors or former Governors–Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, John Kasich, Rick Snyder, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney

FOUR Senators or former Senators–Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul

ONE Corporate Executive (female)–Carly Fiorina (Hewlett Packard former Chief Executive Officer)

ONE Pediatric Surgeon (African American)–Dr. Benjamin Carson

Some think, because of these circumstances, that it is likely that a Governor, past or present, is the likely GOP nominee, and that would seem to be a good bet!

However, from this blogger’s perspective, only three of the above are at all acceptable—Jon Huntsman, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush. The rest of the list is horrific to imagine in the White House!

22nd Amendment In Effect In Second Half Of Presidential Term Of Office

When the 22nd Amendment was added to the US Constitution in 1951, after being passed by Congress in 1947, it limited Presidents to two complete terms of office, or eight years, OR if becoming President by succession during a term, allowing any successor who came to the Presidency in the last two years of the term, to be elected twice, but if succeeding during the first half of a Presidential term, such person could only be elected once.

Therefore, when Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded John F. Kennedy with one year and two months left of the term, he was eligible, in theory, to be elected twice, although he withdrew from running for a second full term in 1968.

No one else has had that opportunity, and since Richard Nixon resigned, and was replaced by Gerald Ford with two years and five months left in the term, no vacancy in the Presidency has occurred, now for the past 40 years, the longest such period since the first Presidential replacement in 1841.

Now that the second half of the second term of Barack Obama has passed its midpoint at 12 noon two days ago, Vice President Joe Biden has the situation, whereby IF he succeeded to the Presidency at any time from this point forward, he could, in theory, serve up to 10 years in the White House, from ages 72 to 82.

While this is highly hypothetical, it could happen, with the constant death threats against President Obama, with many of these reported threats discussed in my forthcoming book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats.

The point to be made is that IF Joe Biden suddenly became President before the 2016 primaries, caucuses and elections take place, this scenario could occur, and no one should do what is so common—to underestimate the potential of Vice President Joe Biden, who has added so much to the Vice Presidential office’s history in his six years as number 2 man in American Government.

Obama’s State Of The Union: A Liberated President Making The Democratic Values Case!

Barack Obama is finally liberated as he began his seventh year in the Presidency on the sixth anniversary of his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States.

Obama made an appeal to the opposition Republicans to cooperate and work together, but he also made clear he was going to charge ahead on a list of goals that are a marker for the next Democratic Presidential nominee and the Presidential Election of 2016.

He called for infrastructure spending; free community college tuition; child care tax credits; paid leave for workers; immigration reform; effective regulation of gun purchases; tax cuts for the middle class; tax increases on the wealthy and large financial institutions; pointed out the greatest economic success and growth since 1999; threatened use of the veto when necessary; called for authorization of force against ISIL (ISIS); called for action on climate change; used the term transgender in his call for fair treatment of gays and lesbians; called for more support in dealing with improved relations with Cuba; emphasized the need to fight against anti semitism, but also try to come up with a nuclear agreement with Iran; and work to avoid more troops on the ground overseas.

Much of this agenda will not be accomplished, but sets a goal line for the future.

Meanwhile, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa surprised many observers by NOT totally falling on her face in her Republican response to the State of the Union address, but her speech was mainly platitudes and folksiness, not substantial alternatives to what Obama proposed, but rather a condemnation of what Obama has done, particularly ObamaCare. She also did not speak on such important issues as climate change, immigration, foreign policy, and helping working families, but then, the Republicans always stand in the way of progress on so many issues, so it is not surprising that her speech was lacking.

Iowa Freshman Republican Senator Joni Ernst To Give Response To Obama State Of The Union Address: What A Comedy Routine It Will Likely Be!

One of the nuttiest, wackiest new Republicans in the new 114th Congress has been compared to former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Alaska Governor Saran Palin.

That is Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, who, like Bachmann and Palin, has a great personal appearance, but it is clear that she, like Bachmann and Palin, has very little brain matter upstairs.

This woman acted in a goofy way when she accepted victory in the Iowa Senate race against Congressman Bruce Braley in November. She has spouted Tea Party values, which promote taking us backward and are narrow minded and intolerant. It will be interesting to see how she presents herself tonight, as the Republican response to the State of the Union address of President Obama.

She is an extremely poor replacement for Iowa’s distinguished former Senator Tom Harkin, who was one of the bright lights in the Senate, and sought the Presidency on the Democratic side in the 1992 Presidential race, with this blogger being in support of his candidacy, as the best person in that race.

Despite losing that competition, Harkin served for 30 exceptional years in the US Senate, and Iowa has made a mistake in electing this lightweight woman to be his replacement.

Watching her deliver the response to the State of The Union Address on Tuesday night will, likely, be entertaining, a comedy routine that will likely be repeated on Saturday Night Live, and joked about on Bill Maher’s show on HBO.

It is great to have more women in the Senate and House of Representatives, but somehow, the GOP seems incapable of getting bright, intelligent women to run for public office, as compared to those women who run on the Democratic line. This is a tragedy of major proportions!