New York City

Presidential Vacations: Obama $96 Million Over 8 Years, Trump $18 Million Over Two Months, Nine Times As Much, On Way To $1 Billion If Trump Is President For 8 Years!

When Barack Obama was President for eight years, Donald Trump criticized his vacations to Hawaii, and what he called the waste caused taxpayers by any other vacations he took in other locations.

Obama vacations cost $96 million over eight years.

Now in two months, Trump, with five vacations to his Palm Beach estate, has spent $18 million taxpayer dollars, so therefore, he is at a clip that, if continued, will mean that he will have spent nine times as much funding over a potential eight years, god forbid, so nearing $1 BILLION dollars of taxpayer money.

And the fact that his wife and their young son remain in Trump Tower means the Secret Service must protect THREE locations–the White House, NYC, and Palm Beach, Florida.

His trips to Palm Beach and in NYC are causing massive expenses to the local economy, and also incurring massive traffic delays.

Lantana Airport near Palm Beach has been forced to shut down, and is suffering economically when Trump visits.

Palm Beach may be required to tax its citizens further for the security costs of all these Presidential visits.

Additionally, during the two months of the transition until the inauguration, NYC spend $24 million protecting Trump Tower, and now wants the US government or Trump himself to pay up, as it is unfair that local taxpayers must pay the bill.

Trump has no concern at all at the inconveniences and costs caused by him, even though he could easily afford to share the costs out of his own pocket.

And even his adult children, when they are on business for the Trump Organization, have Secret Service details, and one trip by Eric Trump to Uruguay cost an estimated $98,000, paid by American taxpayers.

If this is not abuse, what is?

Pope Francis: A Gift To The World And Supporter Of Progressive Causes Shared With Barack Obama!

Pope Francis has arrived in the United States, and will be here for six days, traveling to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

It is clear that Pope Francis is a gift to the world and a supporter of progressive causes that he often shares with President Barack Obama!

This Pope is, clearly, the best Pope in the sense of promoting reform, since the time of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis has made enemies among conservative Catholics and evangelical right wing Christians, who do not pursue the true message of Jesus Christ, the promotion of the poor and the disabled and the sick.

Pope Francis has condemned predatory capitalism which has no concern as to its effect on the poor.

Pope Francis has spoken up on climate change and global warming, infuriating those in the conservative movement and the Republican Party who only think about profits, and reject science.

Pope Francis has attacked the growing income inequality in the world, a dangerous disease that threatens global stability.

Pope Francis has worked to resolve problems in the Catholic Church, and to have a more open mind on divorce, abortion, gay rights, and other controversial social issues, while not wholly backing all of these cultural changes.  But he has demonstrated greater tolerance of differences and opened up a sense of change, which is desperately needed in the Catholic Church, if it is to grow and prosper in the long term.

Pope Francis has engaged in bringing about the restoration of a relationship between the United States and Cuba, something long overdue.

Pope Francis has worked to help Syrian refugees, and generally to encourage immigration reform around the world, as to reject immigrants is against the American historical tradition, and worldwide would be the growth of another Holocaust, as Jews and other refugees suffered in the Second World War.

Pope Francis is a transformational Pope who, hopefully, will have a long range effect on the Catholic Church and the world.

Pope Francis has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is hoped that he will win it, as he richly deserves it!

September 11: 14 Years And Counting!

It is hard to believe, but it is now 14 years since September 11, a day which will live in the memories of every American old enough to remember.

September 11 transformed America permanently, and it has led to a constant war on terror and terrorists, which will go on endlessly, sad to say, as the terrorists are out there, and ready to take action at any time.

September 11 has made America a security conscious nation which has limited our freedoms, and made us a nation always on the edge.

It will be a part of our lives for eternity, as December 7, 1941 is for those still alive who remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

But September 11 was a time of death of civilians, not military personnel, and it was in New York City and Washington, DC on the mainland, not in Hawaii, three thousand miles away from the mainland of America.

Despite all of the divisiveness politically over the past 14 years, for a short time back then, there was unity, and we have been fortunate to avoid another September 11 attack, but must be constantly vigilant.

Today is a day to remember the sacrifices of the police and firefighters who gave their lives that September morning, and who remain in our hearts with a feeling of love and respect!

“Non Politicians”–Presidential Winners And A Few Presidential Nominees

With three Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 being “non politicians”, people who have never served in a government position on the city, state or national level, the issue arises: have there been any other such candidates in the past?

It turns out that we have had several military generals who never served in a civilian position, that could qualify as “non politicians”.

This includes the following:

Zachary Taylor 1848 (Mexican War)

Winfield Scott 1852 (Mexican War)

George McClellan 1864 (Civil War)

Ulysses S. Grant 1868, 1872 (Civil War)

Winfield Scott Hancock 1880 (Civil War)

Taylor and Grant were elected, while Scott, McClellan, and Hancock were defeated in their attempts to become President.

McClellan did serve as Governor of New Jersey from 1878-1881, AFTER running for President against Abraham Lincoln.  But Taylor, Scott, Grant and Hancock never ran for public office.

Additionally, Horace Greeley, the New York Tribune publisher, ran for President in 1872, as the candidate of the Democratic Party and the breakaway group in the Republican Party opposed to Grant’s reelection, known as the “Liberal Republicans”.  He served very briefly as an appointed member of the House of Representatives, but not by vote of the people, but rather a choice of Whig Party leaders to fill a short term replacement before the election for the next term in Congress.  He served a total of only three months from December 1848 to March 1849, and did not run for the New York City seat.  Technically, one could say he had that political experience, but so little in time, that he could be seen as basically a “non politician” when he ran for President 24 years later, although being the editor of the New York Tribune was certainly “political” in nature.

Then we have Wall Street industrialist and businessman Wendell Willkie, who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, after stirring the Republican National Convention and overcoming much better known Presidential candidates, but while running a good race, he lost, and then supported the World War II effort and cooperated with FDR until Willkie died in late 1944.

And finally, we have billionaire Ross Perot, who ran for President as an independent in 1992 and as the Reform Party candidate in 1996.

So only Zachary Taylor and Ulysses S. Grant were “non politicians” who were elected President.

The odds of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, or Dr. Benjamin Carson being elected President in 2016, therefore, are astronomical!

Gay Marriage Finally National: The Advancement Of Human Rights Reaches A New Pinnacle Of Social Justice!

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay restaurant and nightclub in Greenwich Village in New York City, was raided by police, leading to a large scale riot. It was the beginning of the gay rights movement, the struggle against oppression.

46 years have passed, and on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the right of gays and lesbians to marry everywhere in the United States, a path breaking advancement in human rights, reaching a new pinnacle of social justice. It makes America a more perfect democracy, promoting equality and liberty for another class of citizens who have faced oppression. It is a tremendous expansion of human rights and social justice!

America is a better nation for this fantastic development, and much credit is due to several people, including:

Then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was the first chief executive to promote gay marriage in California, and officiate at many gay weddings n 2003. He is now Lieutenant Governor of California, and likely successor to Governor Jerry Brown in the next gubernatorial election in 2018.

Ted Olson and David Boies, opposing attorneys in the Bush-Gore Presidential battle in 2000, who pursued the constitutional case promoting gay marriage, helping to lead it to Supreme Court decision yesterday.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in four crucial Supreme Court cases, in 2003 (Lawrence V Texas), two in 2013 (Hollingsworth V Perry) and (US V Windsor), and yesterday (Obergefell V Hodges) Without him, none of this advancement of gay rights and gay marriage could ever have occurred. Interestingly, all four of these cases were decided on June 26, of those years, 2003, 2013, and 2015!

The history of the gay rights movement is yet to be written, but it will be seen as part of the great movement forward as evidenced by the abolitionist crusade against slavery; the woman suffrage movement; the civil rights movement; the labor union movement; the environmental movement; the disability reform movement; the promotion of a safety net as represented by Social Security, Medicare, and now ObamaCare; and the immigration reform movement!

Barack Obama Presidential Library/Museum To Be On University Of Chicago Campus

Finally, it has been determined that the future Barack Obama Presidential Library/Museum will be built on the University of Chicago campus.

This is an appropriate location, as Barack Obama’s career as a community organizer, attorney, and college professor took place in Chicago, and he taught constitutional law as an adjunct professor at this leading private university for 12 years, while serving as an Illinois State Senator.

New York City and Columbia University (where Obama gained his bachelor’s degree) and Hawaii (where Obama grew up) lost out, but both might gain some kind of museum, particularly Hawaii.

But to have had the major library and museum in Hawaii would have been making it unlikely that many would have been willing to journey there for research, as although Hawaii is a great tourism location, it is not a justifiable site for a major research institution.

So the Obama Presidential Library and Museum will end up in the center of America in a great city, number three in the nation, and will make visiting Chicago an even greater experience, both for scholars and tourists alike!

Final Decision On Democratic National Convention Due: New York, Philadelphia, Or Columbus, Ohio?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, will be announcing sometime this month where the 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held in the summer of 2016.

The finalists are New York City, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio.

Many might say having the convention in the number one city in America (New York City), or in the city representing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention (Philadelphia), would be the best choice.

However, realize that both New York State and Pennsylvania are strongly “blue” states in Presidential elections, and therefore, nothing electorally is gained by choosing either city.

On the other hand, selecting Columbus, Ohio, the capital city of the Buckeye State, is a strategically very smart move, particularly with the fact that the Republican National Convention is to be held in Cleveland.

Ohio is the ultimate swing state, having been with the winner every election since 1964, and it is, certainly, one of only five truly “swing states” up for contention.

The Democrats could win the Presidency without Ohio, but with the GOP in Ohio, and the strong possibility that either Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman could be the Vice Presidential running mate for Jeb Bush or others, and that Kasich himself could run for President, it would be extremely smart and sensible to compete for Ohio in the convention situation, along with the Republicans in Cleveland.

So the Democrats should seriously make the decision to go for Columbus, and make Ohio a true rivalry for party support, and if Ohio went to the Democrats, it would clinch for sure the winning of the Presidency by any Presidential nominee, no matter who it was!

So my prediction is that the Democrats will see the reasoning suggested in this blog entry, and will choose Columbus, Ohio, over New York City and Philadelphia. We shall see how my prediction works out in the next month!

I remind my readers that I correctly predicted Tampa, Florida, as the convention site of the Republicans in 2012!

One Of The Last True Liberals, Mario Cuomo, Passes From The Scene On New Year’s Day!

Former three term New York Governor Mario Cuomo, one of the last true liberals in American politics, passed from the scene yesterday, New Year’s Day, just as his son, Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for his own second term as Governor of New York.

Mario Cuomo was a dynamic, charismatic, inspiring political figure, who flirted with the idea of running for President in 1988 and 1992, but ended up not running. He also was the front runner for a Supreme Court nomination by President Bill Clinton in 1993, but turned it down, in favor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and ran, instead, for a fourth term as Governor, but losing to George Pataki in 1994.

Cuomo was, without any question, the second greatest Italian American political figure in American history, only surpassed by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (1934-1945), and he will be much missed, as he was a rarity in politics–a truly decent, principled politician who cared about the poor and the oppressed of all races, both in New York and nationwide!

51st Anniversary Of March On Washington, And We Are Moving Backwards!

Last year, the nation celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for justice, civil rights, and advancement of the nation economically and socially, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech the highlight of the event, attended by a crowd of all races and nationalities.

Now, a year later, we have a massive problem of outrageous law enforcement abuse in St. Louis, New York City, Los Angeles, and every day, more evidence of police officers killing, rather than wounding or tasering many suspects or citizens, a tremendous over reaction!

Racism has never disappeared, but now we have police departments with equipment used in the Iraq and Afghanistan War, and acting more like the Gestapo, being very trigger happy!

There is no need for military style equipment to be given to communities in America, as we are not a military or police dictatorship, and journalists and citizens should not be abused with tear gas, rubber bullets, or weapons being pointed at them menacingly, and having foul language used toward them.

Additionally, there have been cases of mentally ill people, disabled people, being seen as a threat when they are not, and immediately, the reaction is “Shoot to kill”, and multiple bullets to vital areas, and often by multiple police officers, making the events a massacre!

We are a government of, by and for the people, not of, by and for the police! The police deserve respect, but not obedience when they are committing crimes as police officers, and they need to be brought under control!

Alarming Police Overreaction Against Blacks Nationwide, As Threat Of International Terrorism Grows Dramatically!

Many people would say that because Barack Obama was elected twice as our first African American President, that racism is gone from American society!

The statement is, of course, preposterous on its face. There are two many people of other racial backgrounds who have shown evidence of discriminatory thoughts, statements, and actions against African Americans and Latinos to be able to assert that racism has dissipated.

If anything, it is the right wing media, and the talk show hosts on radio and Fox News Channel, who are fueling the fires of racism, making whites feel that, somehow, THEY have been discriminated against!

But the recent spate of police officers shooting and killing African American men in St. Louis and Los Angeles, and the choking to death of an African American man by police in New York City, is particularly alarming, as if the law enforcement authorities are perceived as declaring open season on minority men, and even sometimes women, then we are on the road to racial warfare, which hate mongering groups would only be too glad to inspire.

This is a crisis of massive proportions, and no longer can be said to be a “Southern” issue, as it often was depicted even a half century ago, when Northerners wanted to feel good about themselves, and denied that they were part of the problem of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, when they most certainly were part of the problem, although more attention was paid to the Southern states.

This is a very delicate time, with growing inequality of opportunity for the poor and middle class, whether white or minority, and the growing international threat of Islamic terrorism presented by the rise of ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant. This group controls a large portion of Iraq and Syria, and threatens to slaughter large numbers of non Sunni Arabs, as well as Christians and minority religious groups, and which threatens a world wide war against the Western world and Christianity and Judaism. They already have beheaded children, raped women, and executed large numbers of people in the most brutal fashion, making them seem a threat on the level of the Fascism regimes of Germany and Italy 75 years ago.

We could be entering World War III, at a time when our internal peace and stability is being threatened by both discontented whites, but also by law enforcement elements which show no respect or rational behavior against minority members of society.

There is a sense of foreboding that America is reaching a state of condition the most dangerous since the fall of Adolf Hitler in 1945, and far greater in many ways than the conditions of the Cold War, which seem somehow, by comparison, a time when at least the Soviet enemy was rational, not fanatical, based on religion.

Mix religious extremism in the world at large alongside the racial tensions in a time when one had thought the election of Barack Obama made a post racial world, which now is shown to be a myth!