Barack Obama

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!

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.

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!

Vice President Joe Biden For A Third Term: A Wonderful Idea!

Vice President Joe Biden seems likely to have little chance of being the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee, trying to overcome the vast advantages of Hillary Clinton, and he happens to be very good friends with the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady. They fully trust and respect each other.

No one is better qualified to be President, with Biden’s 44 years of government service by the end of the second Barack Obama term. Joe Biden has been brilliant throughout his career, including stints as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the worst thing one can say about him is that he is prone to silly gaffes, that make him look silly, but have never done any real harm.

Joe Biden comes across as human, a person who can blunder on unimportant matters or utterances, but a man truly genuine and sincere, and easy going and real in the way he deals with everyone he meets.

Joe Biden has been a tremendous asset to Barack Obama, and their relationship is the closest there has been since Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale bonded in the late 1970s. He has been an important emissary on Capitol Hill, and has done a great deal behind the scenes to try to smooth over differences, and is well liked by everyone, because he is exceptional in dealing with adversaries, as well as friends.

Joe Biden is a national treasure, who should not be retiring, and does not need to in 2016 IF Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, decides that keeping Biden on is a major asset to her candidacy and Presidency, which it most certainly would be.

There is no limitation on a Vice President serving a third or more terms, as that is not covered by the 22nd Amendment, which sets limits only on the Presidency. George Clinton served under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and John C. Calhoun served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, so Joe Biden serving under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has a precedent twice in the past.

The nation would be well served if Hillary Clinton would make a deal with Joe Biden now, and that would create the strongest possible Democratic ticket for 2016.

And if something untoward were to happen to Hillary Clinton, there is the most experienced man possible next in line, no matter what his age, to take over the Presidency.

Hopefully, Hillary Clinton will realize the virtues of offering the Vice Presidency to Joe Biden in the next few months, and the deal that is struck will insure the election of the Democrats to the White House in 2016!

New Presidential Poll Of Scholars Of Political Science Changes Rankings Substantially, And Puts Barack Obama 18th!

A 2014 poll of 162 Political Science scholars, members of the American Political Science Association, is the latest rankings of our 43 Presidents, and it is eye opening.

The top four are the standard four Presidents–Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and TR, no surprises there.

But then the debate begins, with Jefferson, Truman, Ike, Clinton, Jackson, and Wilson finishing out the top ten list.

Truman slips and Jefferson moves up, and Eisenhower reaches the highest he has ever been in a poll.

Andrew Jackson makes it back to the top ten, but should he be in the top ten, considering his entire record in office?

Wilson slips further, to the bottom of the top ten, having gained more critics in recent years on his civil rights and civil liberties record, major issues for Jackson as well, but to put Jackson above Wilson is odd.

But then, Bill Clinton number eight? Really? This is easily the highest Clinton has ever been, and most observers on the outside would think that he is way overrated, by putting him n the top ten.

Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson follow, both being knocked down a peg from earlier rankings, and then, inexplicably, James Madison ends up 13th, even though his Presidency was far from great, although he was a great man!

Kennedy being rated fourteenth brings him down to a reasonable perch, after having, crazily, been listed as high as sixth in the C Span poll of 2009.

The next four are John Adams, Monroe, George H. W. Bush, and then Barack Obama. How Madison ended up above Monroe is hard to fathom. Bush Senior seems in a fair place, a bit higher than before, and John Adams seems about the right spot.

But Obama, in midstream in 18th place? Recently, he had been ranked 15th, and it seems to this blogger that he should NOT be knocked down, and might be worthy of being above Adams, Monroe and Bush Sr.

The next six, all still above 50 percent in rating are, in order, Polk, Taft, McKinley, JQ Adams, Cleveland, and Ford. It seems to many that Polk and McKinley might be rated higher, while the rest of this group seem in the proper places on the list.

Notice that Jimmy Carter is not in the top 24, which seems surprising, as one would think he would rank near the bottom of this list of 24, but his rating is, apparently, below 50 percent support, the reason he is not rated higher.

And notice neither Nixon nor Bush Jr have any real chance of making this list of 24, basically the top 60 percent of the 43 Presidents, and are unlikely to have a realistic chance of ever reaching that level!

Obama And The Anti War Cabinet: First In American History In Modern Times!

This week, when President Barack Obama spoke before journalists about his wish for a Congressional resolution to give him limited authority to expand war against ISIL (ISIS), he surrounded himself with two former Democratic Senators and one former Republican Senator, who made up his top cabinet advisers in the past two years—Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

As Senators from Delaware, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, these three former Senators were clearly skeptical about war resolutions. Biden voted against the Persian Gulf War Resolution in 1991, and all three were critics of the Iraq War and how it evolved. Also, Kerry and Hagel were Vietnam War veterans who were always skeptical about war prosecution by different Presidents.

In many ways, one could say that the four men, including President Obama, make up the most anti war group ever to govern together, and this is refreshing, as all four, while seeing the need to fight against ISIL (ISIS), do not wish to send combat troops back to the Middle East, after failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have caused 6,500 deaths combined, over 30,000 wounded veterans, and a reality that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become a major problem, with 22 veterans every day committing suicide, and hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans.

The American people have made clear in polls that while they are ready to fight ISIL (ISIS), they have no desire to become engaged in a long, drawn out war with American troops fighting and dying, when it should be the people of the area to fight to protect themselves, with appropriate American financial aid and weapons, but not large numbers of American troops committed to a ground war that goes on endlessly!

Meanwhile, there is the pro war element in the Republican Party, led by Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, with much of the party joining their war chants, but with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul representing the anti war group, that wishes to avoid major ground troop involvement, setting up a major conflict within the GOP for the next Presidential election.

Presidents And Age: An Issue For 2016!

Historically, Americans have tended to vote for a President who is younger than his predecessor, sometimes dramatically so, as with John F. Kennedy after Dwight D. Eisenhower (27 years difference); as with Bill Clinton after George H. W. Bush (22 years difference); as with Barack Obama after George W. Bush (15 years difference); and as with Jimmy Carter after Gerald Ford (11 years difference).

In fact, only the following Presidents were older than their predecessors: William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. And only W. H. Harrison, Taylor, Buchanan, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Reagan were five years or more older than their predecessors.

But now, in 2016, we are likely, almost certainly, to elect a President who will be substantially older than Barack Obama. This includes Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders,Jim Webb, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Mike Pence, Rick Snyder, Jon Huntsman and Mike Huckabee, a total of 16 potential candidates.

The odds of a younger President than Barack Obama are quite low, including Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz, a total of 8 potential candidates.

This oddity makes one wonder if the younger generation (under 45) will be as motivated to vote, as they are, naturally, attracted to comparative youth, as John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama represented, when they were elected, and with the extra appeal of being, respectively, the first Catholic (JFK); the first two Southern governors (Carter and Clinton); and the first African American (Obama).

Barack Obama And Religious Extremism: Totally Accurate Statement, So Why The Outcry?

President Barack Obama spoke up on Thursday at the Annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on the dangers of religious extremism, promotion of one’s own faith as the only true faith, and legitimizing bloodshed and violence in the name of one’s God.

This was in reaction to the horrors that have been perpetrated by ISIL (ISIS) in the Middle East, including beheadings of Americans, British, and Japanese hostages; and the even more horrific act of taking a Jordanian pilot, captured while attacking ISIL targets, and setting him on fire, causing him to be burned to death.

What Obama said was that any religion that endorses or promotes such bloodshed and violence should be condemned, and he reminded our nation, much of it totally unaware of our history, that we had seen the lynching, butchering, and setting on fire of a few thousand African American men and boys in the American South and Midwest over a period of more than a hundred years of Jim Crow segregation in the 19th and 20th century and Ku Klux Klan influence; had also experienced nearly 250 years of slavery, which included similar mistreatment; and that world wide, there had been the Christian war on Islam during the Crusades; and the Catholic Church Inquisition of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Obama did not specifically mention the horrible persecution of Jews by Christians over two millenniums, and not just the Catholic Church, but also Protestant groups, including Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church; or the mass murder of Catholics vs Protestants in Northern Ireland, as recently as the period of the Irish Republican Army between 1969 and 1998.

And of course, in the Middle East, today, as shown by the setting on fire of a Jordanian who was Muslim, the old holy war of Shiite and Sunni Muslims continues unabated, as it has for 13 centuries; and there is also bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus in India; and turmoil in the Balkans, that led to mass murder by Christians against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

From what Obama reminded us of, plus the additional information provided here by the author, and well known to scholars, it is clear how devastating organized religion has been in its promotion of narrow mindedness and hate, and commitment to torture and extermination in the name of God, no matter which religion.

So Obama was offering a moral lesson, but yet the outcry by right wingers, who do not wish to be reminded of the sins of Christianity fanatics, and only wish to look at the Muslim fanatics today, and imagine that this is the whole story of religion in history, is very troubling. They fail to realize that many more Muslims have been killed by the barbarism of ISIL (ISIS), and their refusal to accept and recognize the history of Christianity as being just as full, historically, of violence and bloodshed, bodes ill for the future ability to understand and accept religious differences and promote religious tolerance!