News and Politics

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The Most Diverse Congress In American History

The 116th Congress, which opened on Wednesday, is the most diverse in American history.

It contains the following in the House of Representatives, “the people’s branch”:

102 women

52 African Americans

39 Hispanic-Latino Americans

20 Asian Americans

34 Jewish Americans

2 Native Americans

2 Muslim Americans

Most of these groups are Democrats, with only a scattering of Republicans among them.

So we have a very diverse Democratic Party, and a heavily white Christian male Republican Party.

The future is in the hands of the Democrats long term, and if the Republican Party does not become more diverse and back away from the cancer of Donald Trump, the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and Bush will end up in the dustbin of history, to be replaced by a moderate conservative party under a different banner and agenda.



The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Walter Mondale 91 Years Old, And Adds To Record Of Longest Surviving Retired Vice President, With Longest Surviving Retired President, Jimmy Carter

Today is former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 91st birthday, and he adds to the record daily as the longest surviving retired Vice President, sharing that with the longest surviving retired President, Jimmy Carter. Both will have been out of office for 38 years on January 20.

Mondale is at this point the 5th oldest Vice President in American history, with John Nance Garner (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) having reached the age of 98; Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) dying on his 96th birthday; George H. W. Bush (under Ronald Reagan) reaching the age of 94; and Gerald Ford (under Richard Nixon) reaching the age of 93. Only John Adams (under George Washington) otherwise reached the age of 90, surpassed by Mondale a few months ago.

Mondale also goes down as, in many ways, the most active, involved, and engaged Vice President we have ever had, although it does seem as if Joe Biden may have been as intimately involved with Barack Obama during their two terms of office, with more information on that involvement to follow with future research.

Happy 91st Birthday, Vice President Mondale, and many more, and the same for President Jimmy Carter, who will become the longest lived President on March 22 of this year; will reach 95 on October 1; and will have the longest Presidential marriage on October 17, with his beloved wife, Rosalynn.

The Continuing Outrage Of Donald Trump’s Endless Government Shutdown

President Donald Trump has thrown down the gauntlet, that he will NOT sign any bill to fund the government, unless $5 billion is added to the budget for his planned Mexico Wall.

This is a massive waste of money, and the Democrats have made it clear they will NEVER agree to this.

Meanwhile, what has Donald Trump wrought, with two weeks and counting of this endless federal government shutdown?

800,000 federal workers will not be paid in the interim, despite their having rent and mortgage payments, health care insurance premiums, food and other basic needs to meet.

About half of this group of federal workers must report to work despite no pay, and the other half are furloughed, and may never get paid for what they have lost in work days.

Contract workers who do not work for the federal government, and vendors who service federal institutions, have no work or pay, and will not get recompensed for their loss of income, putting many already impoverished into a disastrous situation, which could lead to expulsion from their housing, and inability to afford food, medicine, health care, utilities and credit payments.

Federal facilities,including national parks and monuments, and such locations as the Smithsonian Institution museums, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, and so many other agencies are shut down and deny basic services to Americans, and will cause the loss of tourism and planned vacations and school trips for many Americans.

Garbage, basic cleaning of restroom facilities, and protection of the basic environment is set back by the shutdown.

Indian reservations will be harmed in a dramatic way, and poor people and sick people and the elderly and disabled will be harmed as the shutdown continues. One can be sure some people will lose job interviews and opportunities, and some lives will be lost as the shutdown continues.

The national economy will be harmed as economic output declines, and it will undermine our defenses as well, as many military people in the Coast Guard and other military locations are put under the restrictions of the government shutdown, and this includes the TSA, the Immigration and Custsoms Enforcement agencies, border guards, and even federal courts which will be held up in pursuit of justice, including investigation of the Trump scandals.

Does Donald Trump give a whit about any of this? The answer is NO, as he is a totally self centered, selfish, mean spirited, ego maniac with authoritarian tendencies, and he is holding the government hostage until and when the Republican Party puts the nation ahead of themselves, which might never happen.

So the constitutional crisis is accelerated, and yet, the question is what is the ultimate way out of this mess, without caving in to Trump, emboldening him, and wasting money on a wall that undermines our reputation and image, and will not resolve the issue of drugs or undocumented immigration. Only modern technology and drones can do that.

The Biggest Villains Contributing To The Present Political Stalemate: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell

With a new year beginning, and a new Congress with Democratic control of the House of Representatives, we need to look back and understand who the biggest villains are who have contributed to the present political stalemate that is undermining America in both domestic and foreign policy.

The biggest villain of all is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who set out nearly 30 years ago to create turmoil, disarray, division, and enrich the ruling class at the expense of ordinary Americans. He declared open warfare on civility and cooperation between the parties across the aisle, which had existed much of the time from the Lyndon B. Johnson-Everett Dirksen cooperation in the 1960s through Ronald Reagan–Thomas “Tip” O’Neill cooperation in the 1980s. Gingrich continues to sow hate and guerrilla warfare in the present time.

Rudy Giuliani was seen as a “liberal Republican” as recently as his early campaign for the Presidency in 2007-2008, but now has become a total liar and the epitome of hypocrisy and erratic behavior as the so called “lawyer” for the authoritarian oriented Fascist who is setting out to destroy our domestic and foreign policy. Giuliani was once an honorable spokesman for the law, and now has become totally lawless and violating of all sense of truth and decency.

Ted Cruz was perceived by intelligent, decent people as the biggest threat to American values, even more in many ways than Donald Trump, in the Presidential campaign of 2016. The depth of his sickening persona is shown by the fact that Lindsey Graham once said that if Ted Cruz were to die, none of his colleagues in his own party would mourn him. Another such piece of evidence of his hypocrisy and despicable nature is that Trump trashed Cruz’s own father and wife, and then he and his wife chose to overlook that fact and agreed to have dinner at the White House, a total sellout that only a Ted Cruz could manage.

And then, there is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a totally amoral leader, who would do anything to avoid confronting Donald Trump, with the reality that McConnell lacks all ethics by the fact that his wife, Elaine Chao, is Secretary of Transportation for Trump. On that fact alone, McConnell should be forced to resign as Majority Leader, or have his wife resign from the Cabinet.

But these four men above have no morals, ethics, scruples or common decency as part of their character. All four should face public disgrace, and all four should face legal prosecution for the damage they have done to the American political system.

New US Senators In 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Arizona–Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R)

Florida–Rick Scott (R)

Indiana–Mike Braun (R)

Missouri–Josh Hawley (R)

Nevada–Jacky Rosen (D)

North Dakota–Kevin Cramer (R)

Tennessee–Marsha Blackburn (R)

Utah–Mitt Romney (R)

These 9 Senators (2 Democrats and 7 Republicans) will be added to the all time list, which will reach 1,983 people who have served in the US Senate in the 232 years from 1789 to 2021.

Democrats Must Save America From Donald Trump In 2019: Major Challenge Ahead

The year 2019 has arrived, and the newly minted Democratic House of Representatives majority has a major challenge ahead: to confront President Donald Trump, not be bullied by him, investigate and pursue all evidence of illegality and executive abuse of power, and hold him accountable.

This is an urgent matter, as Trump is a threat to constitutional order, economic stability, social justice, and national security.

The various House committees will now be aggressive in finding out the truth about Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the Trump family corruption, the Trump cabinet and advisers corruption, and human rights violations against immigrants, women, children, and people of color.

The multitude of Democrats pursuing the Presidency must show they are tough and will not wilt under the constant Twitter attack of our bully President, and must hit back as hard as they are pursued by a President who acts more like a Mafia boss, rather than a role model for our children.

Fireworks will be the greatest they have been in our history, and if the Republican Party decides to sit on the sidelines and cooperate with our law breaking President, then the future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and HW Bush is sealed as facing a natural death, as voters will not tolerate a party with no guts, who supports an authoritarian minded dictator.

American democracy is at stake, and heroism and courage are demanded, not only from Democrats, but from whatever Republicans have any principle left.

2019 Will Be The Most Significant Year Since 1968, Tumultuous And Transformative

The year 2019 will assuredly be the most tumultuous and transformative year since 1968.

The Democrats taking over the House of Representatives means full investigation of the Presidency of Donald Trump, and the likelihood of the impeachment of Donald Trump.

It might seem that Trump will survive in office, but this blogger believes he will be forced out by resignation, and a deal whereby his children and son in law will avoid prosecution, if Donald Trump agrees to resign.

The pressure on Trump will grow, and his health will likely get worse, and while it might seem that he will not give in and resign, the same thought 45 years ago about Richard Nixon, this blogger’s belief that he will leave office by mid year is strongly held.

If he leaves office no later than June 20, 2019, then Trump will have served exactly 29 months, matching the exact term of President Warren G. Harding from 1921-1923, which is the 4th shortest term of any President in American history.

The likelihood of a President Mike Pence is strong, but he would face party opposition from a number of Republican potential challengers, including John Kasich, Jeff Flake, or Bob Corker, all of whom will not be in public office in 2019.

Also, the likelihood of growing conflict between Chief Justice John Roberts and President Trump will become part of the story of the end of the Trump Presidency.

And Nancy Pelosi, the best Speaker of the House since Thomas “Tip” O’Neill (1977-1987), will play a major role in the events transpiring next year.

And also expect a major battle between the “old timers” (Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders), as well as between them and a new generation of leadership much more diverse, for the Presidential Election Of 2020, including Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Eric Garcetti, and Chris Murphy, among other Democratic contenders.

California Governor Jerry Brown Retires With Positive Reputation As Best Governor In 2010 Decade

California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown leaves office after his second two term stint as governor of the largest state with an extremely positive reputation.

He is seen by many as the best governor in any state in the 2010 decade.

Having been governor at age 36 in 1975, Brown now leaves office at age 80 in 2019.

Brown brought California back from the brink of disaster financially in the past eight years; dealt with the environment in a very positive way; protected undocumented immigrants through the promotion of sanctuary cities; and set a standard for courage and principle, particularly in the last two years as he combated Donald Trump.

Originally seen as “flaky ” in the 1970s, he made many enemies by seeking the Presidency in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter, and then again running against Bill Clinton in 1992.

Looking back, however, this blogger feels he misunderstood the virtues of Jerry Brown, and now wonders how life would have been different with a President Brown instead of a President Clinton, as Clinton and his wife dominated American politics in the past 25 years, and while good in some ways, very tragic and troubling in other ways.

When history is written, Jerry Brown will be seen as one of the best Governors in America of all time. He also will have set the record as the third longest serving Governor since the US became a nation under the Constitution, only behind former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and 8,169 days (22 years, 4 months, and 13 days), and former South Dakota Republican Governor Bill Janklow, with 16 years and 7 days, and Brown having just two days less, with 16 years and 5 days. Brown will have one more day than former Alabama Democratic Governor George C. Wallace, (yes, that infamous segregationist who ran for President in 1968), the only other Governor to finish 16 complete years, although Ohio Republican James Rhodes and North Carolina Democrat Jim Hunt fell just a few days short of 16 years.

The Political Year 2018 Reviewed, And Hopes For A Political Renaissance

The year 2018 saw the drastic blunders and mean spirited nature of the 45th President come to full fruition.

It was the year of diplomatic, economic, environmental, and social steps backward, wiping out a lot of the good that has been done by Presidents and Congresses of both parties in the past 70 plus years since World War II.

It was the year of the passing of political leaders who always had the motivation to do good, even when they sometimes went the wrong direction on specific issues—John McCain and George H. W. Bush.

It was a year when the Federal Judiciary stood up to Donald Trump most of the time, but also a year when extreme right wing judges were approved, and a Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, similar to Clarence Thomas in his mistreatment of women, was confirmed despite that reality.

It was also the year of more gun related deaths and opioid deaths than have died in war since the end of World War II.

It was the year when schools and religious institutions and public gathering places were subjected to mass death by people who desperately needed mental health intervention.

It was the year when racism, nativism, misogyny all had massive revival, assisted by the behavior of the Chief Executive in the Oval Office.

It was the year when the Republican Party lost all credibility as it refused to stand up and condemn the unstable behavior of Donald Trump, and allowed him to hijack the historical reputation of the party.

But in the midst of all this gloom, it was also the year of the rise of women, racial and religious minorities, gays and lesbians, and young people to more political power and influence than has ever been seen in American politics and society.

The Democratic Party became the bastion of future hopes of reform and change, and they have the backing of millions of Americans who desperately want a different direction for American politics and society.

2019 needs to be the year of movement against Donald Trump, and hold him accountable for his crimes and sins, and the likelihood of the Trump Presidency coming to an end by criminal indictments against family members, leading to the resignation of Trump, as occurred with Richard Nixon, seems likely.

The future of American democracy and constitutional government is at stake as we enter 2019, but the massive “Blue Wave” evokes hope and optimism.

Let us all hope for a better, more productive 2019 politically and socially.