Infrastructure Spending

Donald Trump Declares War On Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, And Sean Hannity Calls On McConnell To Resign

Donald Trump has declared war on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Twitter and in person, an unprecedented action for a President to break with the leader of his party in the US Senate. And his lackey, talk show host Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel, has called on McConnell to resign.

Trump is angry that McConnell was unable to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare, and has called upon him to resign or be replaced as leader of Republicans in the Senate, if he cannot get that accomplished, along with other priorities of Trump, including tax reform, and infrastructure spending, and getting the Mexico Wall built.

This is ironic, as Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump’s Secretary of Transportation, so one has to wonder how she feels about this attack on her husband by her boss.

It is clear that McConnell, for all his faults, and the strong dislike of progressives and Democrats for him, is still well respected, and fully supported by his Republican Senate colleagues. So this will not make Trump’s relations with the Senate Republicans improve, but rather will worsen them dramatically.

And this comes after Trump’s earlier criticisms of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has been attacked by Trump, and even more viciously by the Alt Right faction led by Stephen Bannon, and his former home, Breitbart News.

Donald Trump seems to be moving toward severing his bonds with the party that elected him, and to declare himself an independent, unprecedented in American history, and if that happens, he will be a man without a party, who is attempting to grab more executive authority.

Two earlier Presidents, who had been Vice President and succeeded upon the death of the Presidents (William Henry Harrison and Abraham Lincoln) they served under, John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, also were Presidents without a party, when they alienated the Whig Party and Republican Party, respectively, by their policies, and Tyler faced impeachment, which was unsuccessful, while Johnson was impeached, and then found not guilty by the Senate by a margin of one vote. They had both been Democrats who agreed to run on a Fusion ticket in 1840 and 1864, and this blogger wrote about this on the History News Network on July 30, 2017, and can be found on the list of my published articles on the right side of the blog.

Trump has the makings of a Fascist dictator, and this will spur the move by Republicans to go after him, and impeach and remove him, as he is a menace to the party and to the nation.

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.

The Desperate Need For Infrastructure Spending: The Collapse Of America’s Public Works

SIXTY MINUTES on CBS last night drew attention to the desperate need for infrastructure spending, as we are on the brink of the collapse of America’s public works, most of it done in the 1930s to 1960s, but horribly ignored for the past 20 years in particular.

Bridges, tunnels, highways, seaports, airports are in such disrepair that we cannot compete economically with much of the Western world.

We seem unable to realize that not only are lives at danger, but the whole economic system is at risk if a major highway or bridge collapses, making it impossible for millions of people to reach work by automobile, and to have the ability to do the normal every day activities that fuel our economic growth.

We committed to public works projects in the time of the New Deal and Franklin D. Roosevelt; to interstate highway development under Dwight D. Eisenhower; and to all kinds of other projects during the booming economy of the 1960s under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

But in the past 20 years, mostly under GOP Congressional control, we have lost the vision and the recognition of the dire need for investment, and for commitment to rebuilt our infrastructure.

This is ironic, since the two single greatest public works projects in American history were the Transcontinental Railroad under Republican Abraham Lincoln; and the interstate highway system’s inception under Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But then, the Republican Party of the last two decades, and even more right now, is a skeleton of its old self, and the nation is the ultimate loser!

Congressional Republican “Vacation” An Absolute Outrage With So Many Problems And Issues That Need To Be Dealt With!

There is criticism of President Barack Obama taking a vacation with his family, with so many foreign policy crises emerging. But it must also be said that the Republican House of Representatives, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, which sets up the Congressional calendar for both the House and Senate, is absolutely outrageous in its short calendar of work dates, and planning more time off to campaign, while there are so many problems and issues to deal with!

What is the Congress unwilling to deal with, which should be priorities?

The Border Crisis of Central American refugees, many of them children.

The funding of veterans benefits and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money for infrastructure spending, and which will lead to layoffs of workers, adding to the unemployment rate.

The increase in the minimum wage, which has not gone up since 2009, while the cost of living has increased, as it would over any five year period.

The lifeline of the unemployment compensation, which has left many millions without any sustenance, and increased homelessness across the nation.

And these are just the biggest priorities, but this Congress, the 113th, is the absolute worst in modern history, if not at any time, surpassing the previous 112th Congress in negativism!

The Desperate Need For Infrastructure Spending, And NOW!

America’s public works—its roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, canals, public buildings, beaches, parks, water supply, electric grids—are in desperate need of repair and expansion, with many of these public works being more than a century old, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest.

But Republicans in Congress refuse to reauthorize infrastructure spending, as part of their unwillingness to work with President Barack Obama on ANYTHING, no desire to cooperate for the nation’s benefit!

This will lead to disasters when bridges and roads and other public facilities suddenly collapse, and will cause great delays in traffic and services, costing billions upon billions of spending on emergency repairs, and causing waste of gasoline, and greater levels of environmental pollution as a result.

It will also cause the loss of an estimated 700,000 jobs over the next year, and it will deny millions of unemployed people the opportunity to compete for necessary jobs rebuilding and improving our public works structure.

This is unconscionable, and should lead to citizens waking up to the total GOP obstructionism, and defeat the party’s candidates in elections this fall, but will it? That is the question that awaits an answer in November’s midterm elections!

Do Not Believe Polls Which Predict GOP Senate Majority!

So many polls are now predicting that the Republican Party will win control of the US Senate. But polls have been proved wrong before, and the Democrats should not run scared, just run aggressively against the Do Nothing Republicans, similar to what Harry Truman did in 1948!

The Republican Party is wrong on immigration reform; is wrong on the right of workers; is wrong on the treatment of women at work and in their private lives; is wrong on the environment and climate change; is wrong on the need for gun regulation; is wrong on the use of the race card; is wrong on its refusal to promote infrastructure spending; is wrong on its decision to oppose more expenditures on veterans; is wrong in its opposition to ObamaCare; is wrong in its attacks on Social Security and Medicare; is wrong in its efforts to deny voting rights; is wrong in its advocacy of wars everywhere, rather than pursuing diplomacy and peace; is wrong in their anti intellectual, anti science agenda; is wrong in its promotion of theocracy, rather than separation of church and state; and is wrong in its planned strategy to obstruct all judicial and executive nominations and therefore to cripple operation of the courts and government agencies.

The Democrats are likely to keep the following Senators–Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Kay Hagan of North Carolina; Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; Mark Warner of Virginia; and Mark Begich of Alaska.

They have a good chance of defeating Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, with their nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes; win the open Senate seat in Georgia with Michelle Nunn; win the open Senate seat in Iowa with Bruce Braley; win the open Senate seat in Michigan with Gary Peters; and an even chance to win the open West Virginia seat with Natalie Tennant over Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

The only seats seen likely to switch from D to R are: South Dakota and Montana; while the Democrats have a good shot at winning Kentucky and Georgia. With West Virginia possibly going Republican with Capito, and Maine having a chance that Republican Susan Collins loses to Democrat Shanna Bellows, if such happens, it is no gain by the Republicans.

The best prediction is that the Republicans MIGHT gain two seats, falling four states short of the six needed to make Mitch McConnell Majority Leader, with him likely to lose to Grimes in Kentucky, in any case.

The worst case scenario for the Democrats is the loss of South Dakota and Montana; and the loss of West Virginia, therefore meaning a Republican gain of three seats!

And in 2016, with two thirds of the seats being Republicans, the Democrats are sure, in an election where their Democratic Presidential nominee will be heavily favored, to win a large number of additional seats, nearing up to 60 from a possible low of 52 in 2014!

Widespread Sense Of Anger, Unhappiness, Discontent, Despondency In Electorate Favors Democrats!

Many political observers seem unaware of a widespread sense of anger, unhappiness, discontent, and despondency in the electorate, and fail to understand that this favors the Democrats, not the Republicans, in the midterm elections of 2014.

The Republican Party in the House of Representatives has produced the most horrible record of lack of achievement, lack of concern for the middle class and the poor, and has simply come across as a party of obstruction in the past four years.

While the Democrats have far from a perfect record, they have been the party to bring about a health care plan that is covering millions of people for the first time; have fought for an increase in the minimum wage; have argued for an extension of unemployment compensation for the long term unemployed; have battled to make sure that the food stamp program is not gutted for the poor, the elderly, the children, and the disabled; have promoted the need for infrastructure spending and education, including a solution for students heavily indebted; have defended the need for environmental protection; have backed the need for strong labor protections; have supported fair treatment for gays and lesbians, including marriage rights; and have worked for immigration reform in a fair and balanced way.

For those who are angry, unhappy, discontented, and despondent to sit on their hands and do nothing, and NOT vote in the midterm elections, both state and Congressional, would be the height of stupidity, as no change can come if people stay home.

So the job of Democrats is to come out of their shell, fight for what they believe in, be proud of what they have done and stood for, stand proud, and motivate those who usually do not vote, to do so this time, and give the Republicans a well deserved defeat in the House of Representatives, keep the Democrats in control of the US Senate, and work to defeat Republican “Bully” Governors elected in 2010, who have been a literal nightmare for the masses of people who are not wealthy, and not part of the one percent oligarchy which is taking over American politics in an alarming way, while the middle class and the poor sit on the sidelines, lacking motivation to react in their own self interest!

The Economy Improving Greatly, But Obama Gets Little Credit For It!

The American economy is rapidly growing and improving, and the future is bright, except for the problem of unemployment. The auto industry is booming, as Obama saved the industry by giving them assistance in 2009-2010, and the expansion of the economy has also been benefited by three to four percent growth in the past two economic quarters. But one would get the impression that Barack Obama deserves no credit, when he deserves most of the credit for the improvements!

There is still the issue of refusal of the GOP House of Representatives to promote infrastructure spending, to raise the minimum wage to the level of inflation over the years, to continue the assistance to long term unemployed to avoid starvation and homelessness, and the need to push for education, as the future for the young, with proof that the more educated one is, the much lower the unemployment rate really is, and will continue to be. Also, lowering the debt for college students and graduates, as much as there are subsidies for corporations, would be a massive move in the right direction.

That is why it is essential for an end to the deadlock in the nation’s capital, and for action to be taken, but if not, the urgency of a Democratic Congress majority in both houses in November’s midterm elections is apparent!

Is Ezra Klein Correct That We Are Witnessing The Worst Congress Ever? YES, By A Landslide!

The 111th Congress (2009-2010) has been seen by many observers as the most productive Congress since the 89th Congress (1965-1966).

But now, the 112th Congress (2011-2012) has been declared by Ezra Klein, the brilliant commentator of the Washington Post and MSNBC, as the WORST Congress EVER!

Is Ezra Klein correct in his assessment? ABSOLUTELY!

The 112th Congress, as Klein says, has failed to deal with the problems facing the country, and has had as its major agenda the defeat of President Obama for a second term, and in the process, holding Americans hostage in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression!

Klein points out the following:

No Congress, with records back to the 80th Congress of 1947-1948, has produced such little passage of legislation, with the smallest being the 104th Congress (1995-1996), with 333 laws passed, and Democrat Bill Clinton being relected President in 1996 as a result.

Congress has only a ten percent approval rating, an all time low, with the Internal Revenue Service being at a popularity rate of 40 percent; Lawyers at 29 percent; President Richard Nixon during Watergate at 24 percent; Banks at 23 percent; the British Petroleum Oil Spill at 16 percent; and Paris Hilton at 15 percent, as examples!

The 112th Congress is the most polarized Congress since the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s, and we all know what came after–the GILDED AGE period of corporate dominance, not well looked upon by historians, and reminding us that we are now, in so many respects, in a new GILDED AGE, personified not only by the GOP control in the House of Representatives and in many state governments, but by the wealthiest Presidential nominee in American history, Mitt Romney, worth twice the assets of the last eight Presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush combined!

The Republican majority in the House and Republican opposition in the Senate set back economic recovery in 2011 and right up to this moment in 2012, by any measure! And this Congress caused the loss of America’s credit rating, and seem ready to do it again!

Voting unsuccessfully to repeal the Affordable Care Act THIRTY THREE times is an exercise in futility, and the House of Representatives has wasted approximately EIGHTY hours in doing nothing, two work weeks when they could have been working on job creation legislation!

This Congress has NOT passed any appropriations bills by the deadline of October 1 in 2011, and will not by October 1, 2012, as things stand!

The failure to provide for the future of our infrastructure–roads, bridges, subway systems, and airports– is a major problem for the long term.

Two Congressional experts, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, have written a book condemning the paralysis of the 112th Congress, saying it is the worst performance they have witnessed in 40 years of covering Congress!

In sum, the 112th Congress is an embarrassment, and there is no sign of any improvement in the future, particularly if the split Congress continues into the future!

Barack Obama’s State Of The Union Address: Powerful, Inspirational, Visionary!

President Barack Obama reminded us tonight of how he inspired us when he ran for President in 2008.

His speech was powerful, inspirational, and visionary, and he made it clear that he was willing to fight for what he believed in, if the Congress continued to stand in the way of progress and change. He would take action in areas where there is stalemate, by use of his Presidential powers.

He pointed out how the economy is improving; how we are more respected around the world; how we have greatly lessened the danger of terrorism; and the work that must be done, regarding education, infrastructure spending, and other initiatives to continue the expansion of the American economy.

He gave tribute to Americans who have sacrificed for our country, particularly in the military, and called for “fairness” when it comes to tax rates and to share in the responsibilities of being American citizens. And he called for opportunities for young immigrant children who only want the chance to prove their commitment to the only country they remember, by getting a university education or serving in the military,and thereby gaining the chance for citizenship.

He called for a sense of renewed commitment, and a shared one, in the future of our nation, which he said can never be regarded as having passed its peak, but still has greatness in its future if we all do our part in advancing America.

The speech made one proud that Barack Obama has been our President for the past three years, and it marks the inception, more formally than before, of the Presidential Election campaign of 2012!