Catholicism

The Plot Thickens As Mike Pence Hires An Attorney, And Jared Kushner Faces Business Dealings Investigation

So now the plot thickens, as Vice President Mike Pence has hired an attorney, and Trump son in law Jared Kushner is being investigated on his business dealings.

This makes the Trump scandal investigation even more complex, but occurring at a pace unmatched in the Watergate era of Richard Nixon.

The fact that Mike Pence feels a need to “lawyer up” is a danger sign for him, as it may mean that he has been compromised by being the Vice President for Donald Trump, and may have damaged his own reputation and credibility, meaning once again Donald Trump has done harm and may have destroyed the reputation of yet another person who is in his orbit throughout his life.

The possibility of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan being the beneficiary of the possible downfall of Mike Pence is chilling, as this author and blogger warned five years ago how horrible and disgraceful a person Ryan was, to put in line for the Presidency, when he ran for Vice President in the Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. For that, I was bitterly criticized and attacked by right wing sources, including the BLAZE of Glenn Beck, and had nasty emails sent to me for expressing my right to freedom of speech.

One could argue that Ryan too has been compromised by working along with a man that he clearly has little personal regard for, all in his obsessive desire to take away the social safety net from the poor, and yet claiming to be a “good Catholic”, a true mockery of the teachings of the faith, as brilliantly expressed by Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine A Great Choice For Vice President, And Possible Succession If Need Arises!

Hillary Clinton has made a great choice for Vice President, in selecting Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her partner to run the executive branch for the next four to eight years.

Tim Kaine comes from a crucial swing state, and would be the third Virginia leader to be Vice President, after Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler, who both became President. He is also the first Virginian to be on the Presidential election ballot, since Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 1916, not a native Virginian, however, as Governor of New Jersey.

Kaine would be the second Catholic Vice President after Joe Biden, with John F. Kennedy the only Catholic President.

Kaine is a steady, stable, pleasant, well liked political leader who has proved by his experience and interaction with other government leaders that he is well qualified to be President, if the emergency arises. He is also, like Joe Biden, well liked personally by Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives who have dealt with him.

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are very comfortable together, and Kaine has a tolerant and mild temperament that engenders confidence.

Kaine has served as Richmond Mayor, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, Senator, and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and his resume is very diverse and broad.

Kaine has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, crucial committees and experiences in an age of terrorism.

Kaine has the great advantage that he speaks fluent Spanish, a big plus for the Latino community, which is now one out of every six Americans.

If Kaine is elected, his replacement is appointed by Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, which would not be true had Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, or New Jersey Senator Cory Booker been selected.

Kaine was already on the short list for Vice President with Barack Obama in 2008, a sign that he is well regarded in Democratic circles.

Kaine went to the University of Missouri, Columbia as an undergraduate, and to Harvard Law School, so has excellent academic credentials.

Kaine’s Catholicism and Spanish language ability will help him in states including North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada, and his working class roots will help in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Tim Kaine can be criticized on the issue of free trade, and on supporting the Iran deal, but it will not have that much of an effect on the election, as this blogger sees it. He is certainly not “perfect”, but then no one is.

This blogger was correct when he said that Kaine was the front runner for Vice President, and that the history of the Democratic Party nominees for President choosing a US Senator for Vice President would be continued, all but 1972 and 1984.

This nomination also shows once again that Southerners are favored for Vice President now 9 times since 1944 onward in the Democratic Party, even though Tim Kaine is very different than most earlier Southern nominees for Vice President, much more progressive. Also, Southerners have been on the Presidential ticket at either end of the Democratic ballot in all elections since 1944, except 1968, 1972, 1984, 2008, and 2012, a total of 14 out of 19 times.

Tim Kaine will be an asset to Hillary Clinton, both during the campaign, and as an active Vice President in the mold of Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and Joe Biden!

The Crisis In The Speakership Of The House Of Representatives: Not A Laughing Matter!

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is, under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, second in line for the Presidency behind the Vice President of the United States.

Therefore, who is the Speaker of the House is not an idle matter, but of crucial importance, that he or she be a mainstream, responsible public official.

The Republican Party has produced disasters in the Speakership since 1994.

First, we had Newt Gingrich, who had a scandalous private life, and was extremely confrontational in his dealings with President Bill Clinton, and yet, right wing conservatives were unhappy with him, and he resigned after two terms as Speaker, a total of four years.

Then, his theoretical successor, Bob Livingston, was forced to turn down the Speakership, due to his own private life scandals.

Then, Denny Hastert became Speaker, seemed noncontroversial, and in comparison to Gingrich and Livingston, was just that.  But now, years after his decision to leave Congress after the Republicans lost control of the House in 2006, Hastert faces prosecution and is involved in a sex scandal involving when he was a high school wrestling coach 35 years ago.

And then, there was John Boehner, who lasted almost five years, but was under constant attack by the far right Tea Party Movement, and now has decided to resign at the end of October.  Boehner created constant confrontations with Barack Obama, but also, at times, was cordial with limits imposed by his party’s dynamics.

Eric Cantor, who was supposed to be Boehner’s successor, unexpectedly lost his seat in a nomination fight last year, just as he had the chance to become the first Jewish Speaker of the House, and his defeat apparently delayed Boehner’s decision to leave, until now after the Pope has visited the United States, and spoken before the Congress in joint session.  This event brought out the tears so common to Boehner, a devout Catholic.

Now the issue is who should succeed Boehner, two heartbeats away from the Presidency, with new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  of California favored even though he has only been in Congress nine years, has sponsored no important legislation, and never would have been in this position had Eric Cantor not been defeated  last year.

McCarthy seems pleasant enough on a personal basis, actually more than Gingrich, Livingston, Hastert, and now Boehner, but will the right wing Tea Party movement be satisfied with him, and will he be responsible enough to conduct himself with a willingness to work with President Obama for the next year?

What if a true right wing extremist ends up as Speaker, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a possible successor seen as a true extremist and often compared by many to David Duke, the former KKK leader, due to Scalise’s opposition to a Martin Luther King Holiday in Louisiana, one of the last states to adopt it?

America cannot tolerate a right wing extremist to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it can be hoped that, under the present circumstances, Kevin McCarthy become Speaker, but somehow, although unlikely, hope that disillusionment with the Republican control of Congress leads to Democratic control of the House, as well as the Senate, to occur in the 2016 national elections.

Since the House is gerrymandered, giving the GOP control despite more total popular votes for the chamber being Democratic, this seems unlikely, but those who feel it is urgent that the next Democratic President have both chambers of Congress willing to work with him or her, must work very hard to try to elect a Congress controlled by the Democrats!

JFK In 1960; Carter In 1976; Clinton In 1992; Obama In 2008; Vs Martin O’Malley In 2016: Why The Difference In Fortunes?

In 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy overcame Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and Senator Stuart Symington to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being Roman Catholic in religion, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter overcame Senator Frank Church, Senator Birch Bayh, Governor Jerry Brown, and Congressman Morris Udall to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being the first Southerner since 1848, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President Gerald Ford.

In 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton overcame former Senator Paul Tsongas, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Bob Kerrey, and former Governor Jerry Brown to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite revelation of a sex scandal, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President George H. W. Bush.

In 2008, Senator Barack Obama overcame Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Joe Biden,  Senator Chris Dodd and Governor Bill Richardson to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being African American, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President George W. Bush.

In 2016, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, despite his outstanding record as Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor, has gained no traction against Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Socialist Bernie Sanders, all much older than him, and despite O’Malley offering “a new generation of leadership”, instead of going “backward” a generation in age from President Barack Obama.

The question is why O’Malley has gained no substantial support, despite his charisma and good looks, often seen as equivalent to how JFK, Carter, Clinton and Obama came across as being, before being elected President of the United States.

The concern is that the Republicans may nominate a candidate who is much younger than the Democratic nominee, someone such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul.  History tell us that most often,  the younger nominee wins over the older nominee opponent, as with Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Carter and Gerald Ford, Clinton and George H. W. Bush, and Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats, in theory, have a “bench” of potential younger candidates in the future, including New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, along with the potential of new senators and governors who might be elected in 2016 and beyond.  But for right now, O’Malley is the Democratic “bench”, and he has failed to stir any support, very frustrating to him and anyone who is worried about the “old timers” who are the top three Democratic nominees for the Presidency this time around.

Gay Rights Moves Ahead With Popular Vote Victory Of Gay Marriage In Ireland, But Marriage Is Not Something To Be Voted Upon By The People!

The gay rights movement has been gaining many victories in the past decade, particularly in America, but now we have the shock of formerly conservative Catholic Ireland having a referendum on gay marriage, with the final vote being 62-38 accepting it.

This is the first nation where popular vote has been the method for gay marriage, but that does not mean that the issue of marriage should be voted upon by the people.

The idea that who one wants to marry should have his or her decision left up to others is disgraceful, and imagine if that had been done about interracial marriage in the 1960s in America, instead of a Supreme Court decision.

Allowing people to utilize their prejudices and hate to deny others basic human rights is unacceptable in every way!

So while it is a great victory in Ireland, asking the masses of the population to decide whether someone has a right to marry, it is not a trend that should be encouraged, as it should be left up to the courts, or the legislative branch to deal with such an issue of civil and human rights!

Ohio Governor John Kasich Comes Across As Maverick To Tea Party Right Wingers–His Problem If He Seeks The GOP Presidential Nomination!

Ohio Governor John Kasich is, in many ways, one of the most qualified potential Republican nominees for President, but already, he has made enemies with the Tea Party Movement right wingers who dominate the party, and are likely to control the nomination process in caucuses and primaries in the early months of 2016.

Kasich has so many credentials that make him an ideal candidate for the GOP, including:

Kasich comes from Ohio, the single most crucial state in Presidential elections, with the fact that every President elected in the past 50 years has won Ohio.

Kasich’s state, Ohio, gave us six Republican Presidents between Ulysses S. Grant in 1868 and Warren G. Harding dying in office in 1923.

Kasich has the advantage of having run a state government of substantial size, seen as a plus over someone who has only served in Congress, and particularly, the Senate.

Kasich, however, has had long experience in Congress, having served as a Congressman from the 12th district from 1983-2001, a total of 18 years.

Kasich served as Budget Committee Chairman in the House of Representatives from 1995-2001, making him very knowledgeable on economic issues.

Kasich also has worked as a journalist, for Fox News Channel, and for awhile, had his own show on that channel, and he came across as an interesting speaker and commentator, more so than most on that right wing channel.

Kasich also worked as an investment banker on Wall Street, so has business experience, which most politicians do not have.

Kasich won a two to one victory in popular votes in his reelection efforts for the Governorship of Ohio in 2014, after a much closer race for his first term in 2010.

Kasich has an engaging personality, and has avoided divisive rhetoric in his career, and does not come across as looney or crazy or purely stupid, as many other potential GOP Presidential nominees have managed to do.

Kasich has avoided identification with the Religious Right, while converting from Catholicism to Evangelical Protestantism.

During his Congressional career, Kasich supported the Assault Weapons Ban passed under President Bill Clinton, which angered the National Rifle Association; fought to cut government spending on what he considered wasteful programs; and worked to cut corporate tax loopholes.

Kasich has always come across as having an independent streak, so he has accepted Medicaid expansion, which most other GOP governors have rejected, and he is not seen as a Tea Party supporter.

Kasich also has, just this past week, avoided attacking the immigration executive order of President Barack Obama, showing understanding of the plight of illegal immigrants, who, as he said, did wrong, but that realistically, there is no way to deport eleven million people, and instead we should bring them in from the shadows.

Kasich has made enemies on his stand against abortion, and his crackdown on labor unions, with the latter’s rights to collective bargaining curbed by Kasich, but then soundly defeated by voters in a referendum by 61-39 percent, and he then backed off and accepted the defeat in a gracious manner.

No one is saying that Kasich is desirable in comparison to any potential Democratic nominee for President. All that is being said is that he stands out as preferable to an independent or a Democrat who might be disillusioned, and that he has an image which allows for the possibility of his being a serious contender for the White House, if only he can make it past the primaries and caucuses, which is a major obstacle to any potential Presidential candidacy on his part!

John F. Kennedy And Barack Obama Comparisons

The more one studies John F. Kennedy and witnesses the Presidency of Barack Obama, the more one can see comparisons.

Both John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama represented new directions in the office of the Presidency. The following comparisons can be made between the 35th President and the 44th President.

Both of these Presidents represented a revolutionary change, with Kennedy being the first Catholic President and Obama being the first African American President.

Both of these Presidents faced the vehement opposition of the Southern states, although both won key states in the South and had most of their opposition from the “deep” South.

Both of these Presidents were charismatic and great orators of their visions.

Both of these Presidents had young children in the White House years.

Both of these Presidents had very attractive First Ladies, who added a lot to their Presidencies.

Both of these Presidents dealt with the issue of civil rights, with Kennedy focused on race and Obama on sexual orientation controversies.

Both of these Presidents engendered great hatred and were considered dangerous to the nation by critics, and the number of assassination threats grew dramatically.

Both of these Presidents had a Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson and Joe Biden, with a reputation of being exceptional legislators who knew how to get things done in Congress.

Both of these Presidents were young, and offered new hope for a new generation.

Both of these Presidents faced major challenges, Kennedy with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Obama with finding Osama Bin Laden.

Both of these Presidents faced tough times dealing with the Soviet Union under Kennedy, and the Russian Federation under Obama.

Both of these Presidents emphasized the need for health care as an important federal goal, with Kennedy unable to accomplish Medicare, but Obama able to accomplish ObamaCare, with conservatives being the crucial opposition in both situations.

Both of these Presidents promoted the concept of peace as a goal, rather than war, with Kennedy attempting moves toward ending the Cold War, and Obama attempting moves to end the war on Terrorism.

Both of these Presidents appealed to our better natures, rather than the lowest common denominator.

Both of these Presidents attempted to fight poverty and promote the middle class as the way to progress for society.

Both of these Presidents became models for young people, and gave them hope in a better America and a better world, as they were seen in an idealistic manner as overcoming cynicism common in both eras.

With Obama having about three years to go, and with constant, persistent death threats, it is hoped and prayed for that he will finish his term unharmed, and avoid the tragedy of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Let all of us wish him the best!

Religion And The Presidency

The right wing in America tries to tell us we are a Christian nation, rather than a nation of a majority of the Christian faith.

The fact that the Constitution does not have a religious test, that we have separation of church and state, is ignored, as the right wing promotes its propaganda.

So they tell us the Founding Fathers were “good Christians”, when in fact, in many ways, they were not!

And they fail to accept that many of our Presidents have doubted organized religion entirely, or have been Deist, Unitarian or Quaker , which are seen as a few steps away from atheism by many experts.

For the record:

The following Presidents had NO specific religious affiliation:

Thomas Jefferson
Franklin Pierce
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Barack Obama

Deist Beliefs

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
John Tyler

Unitarianism

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Millard Fillmore
William Howard Taft

Quaker

Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon

That makes 18 Presidents who do not fit the mold of a typical religious person.

At the same time, some Presidents have been very devout, including:

James A. Garfield
Benjamin Harrison
William McKinley
Woodrow Wilson
Jimmy Carter

The other half of our Presidents were irregular church goers, and in many cases, they were not very committed to their faiths, but would identify with a faith that was considered Christian, with John F. Kennedy the only Catholic President..

The largest number of Presidents (12) were Episcopalians; 8 were Presbyterians; 4 Methodists; 4 Baptists; 3 Disciples of Christ; 2 Congregationalists; and 2 Dutch Reformed Church.

Rick Santorum: Angry, Pessimistic, Intrusive Into Personal Lives, And No Ronald Reagan!

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum represents angry, pessimistic Tea Party mentality; hating government; hating educated people; hating the world outside America; wishing to dominate women’s lives;wanting to promote hard line Christian theology on Americans; trying to enforce a Puritan standard on personal behavior; rejecting privacy rights on social matters; invoking Satan as no other Presidential candidate ever has.

All of the above is said to be continuing the heritage and tradition and example of Ronald Reagan, but that is a total lie, as Ronald Reagan was optimistic; had a sunny disposition; avoided social conservatism except in rhetoric; hardly ever attended church; understood the need for government and taxation despite his rhetoric; knew how to work with the opposition, as for instance, Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill on Social Security reform; and worked to promote the end of nuclear weapons despite an earlier hawkish viewpoint of foreign policy.

Rick Santorum could not ever be as presidential as Ronald Reagan, with all of his faults recognized. Ronald Reagan was a comparative giant, while Rick Santorum could not stand in his shoes.

Rick Santorum has no respect for the office of the Presidency, with his sharp attacks on a revered President, John F. Kennedy, who understood the sensitivity of being Catholic, and advocated separation of church and state, instead of promoting theocracy as Rick Santorum does.

What kind of President would condemn parents who would wish their children to attend college, when the unemployment rate for educated people is half of what it is for those who have not attended college or some kind of community college or training program? Should not President Barack Obama want to promote that? What is wrong with Rick Santorum?

Any sane person would have to wonder whether Rick Santorum is having a mental breakdown, as NEVER has there been any candidate for the Presidency so negative, so destructive in his assertions, in living memory. Rick Santorum is a good argument for psychological testing of all Presidential candidates, as we can ill afford to have a mentally deranged person in the White House!

The “Bible Belt”, Religion, And The Republican Presidential Race

After Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucuses by EIGHT votes over Rick Santorum, some saw it as a victory.

But others pointed out that Romney actually received SIX fewer total votes than he did in 2008 in the Iowa Caucuses!

And Romney did not do well among evangelical Christians, which are a very large portion of the Republican vote in Iowa. Considering also that he received just 25 percent of the vote, the same percentage as in 2008, brought to mind that his Mormon faith MAY have an effect in the Southern primaries and other Midwest primaries where evangelical Christians still look at Mormonism as a religious cult, in areas considered the “Bible Belt”!

So Mitt Romney is not seen as overcoming the religion question as John F. Kennedy did in 1960.

But the problem is that Jon Huntsman is also a Mormon, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are Catholic, the problem that existed for Kennedy. Only Rick Perry and Ron Paul are evangelical Christians or Baptists, which is predominant in the South.

The question is whether Rick Santorum, who shares the religious and family values of many Southerners, but is a Catholic, can win them over and have an impact in future primaries. He is already trying to appeal to blue collar whites who are often rural in environment and religious more than the rest of the country. Will Perry and Paul have a better shot, particularly in the South, and can Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism, overcome that fact?

The point is that religion COULD be a factor in the final decision as to who the GOP Presidential nominee will be!