US House Of Representatives

Bernie Sanders Reminds Many Of Robert Kennedy And Eugene McCarthy In 1968

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy yesterday in Burlington, Vermont, in a more formal way than his original announcement several weeks ago.

It was an exciting event, with about 5,000 people showing up in the city that Sanders once governed as Mayor in the 1980s.

Sanders was inspiring in his rhetoric, and reminded many of the candidacies of Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in 1968, tragically ending in the assassination of RFK in June, 1968.

RFK and McCarthy gave people hope in so many ways, just as Sanders does that today, in a much more complex time, when we have billionaires dictating much of the agenda; when we are engaged in foreign turmoil in many ways worse than even the Vietnam War, as the threat to the homeland is real; and when there is cynicism similar to that in 1968.

Bernie Sanders is highly unlikely to have any real opportunity to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, but he can push Hillary Clinton to the left in ways that will benefit her and the nation, and help to lead to Democratic control of the Presidency and the US Senate, and gains in the House of Representatives.

Bernie Sanders can be the conscience of the nation, appealing to our better side and instincts, something sorely needed in a time of many people no longer motivated to get involved in politics. It is likely that he will have many people, who never had an interest in government, suddenly be galvanized into action, which is all to the good for the nation and its future!

Jewish American Heritage Month And Barack Obama Commitment To The Jewish Community And To Israel

President Barack Obama gave a brilliant speech this week at a Washington DC synagogue, commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month.

Obama, an accomplished orator, celebrated the Jewish American influence on American history and culture; reminded us that he has hosted Passover Seders every year at the White House; and made clear his total commitment to the survival and stability of Israel.

This comes at a time when there has been debate and conflict about the difficulties between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is openly supportive of the Republican Party, and allowed himself to be used by Speaker of the House John Boehner before the Israeli parliamentary elections. Netanyahu should not have come to the US for a Congressional visit without the approval and support of the President, and John Boehner purposely set up the situation, which dramatized the personal animuus between him and the President, and Netanyahu and the President.

But despite these differences, Obama made clear that the stalwart support for Israel, no matter who leads the government, and the continued employment of the IRON DOME security system, shows that personal differences will NOT stand in the way of protection of Israel.

But at the same time, Obama continues to push the idea of two states in the area, Israeli and Palestinian, and the need for dialogue and progress on the issue of recognition, and limitation of new settlements in the West Bank.

The Republican Jewish Coalition is active in undermining Obama, and the Presidential campaign will sharpen differences, but the Jewish people in America, by about 65 percent, KNOW that Obama will do nothing to harm Israel, and that Israel has our back in any crisis or emergency, as always since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

Former Senator Russ Feingold, In LaFollette Progressive Tradition, Attempting Return To Senate In 2016 Election!

Wisconsin, the home of LaFollette progressivism a century ago, and the home of many progressive leaders since “Fighting Bob” LaFollette became the most prominent progressive in America, has had difficult times recently with the election of Scott Walker as Governor and Ron Johnson as Senator, defeating Senator Russ Feingold, one of the finest public servants ever to grace Wisconsin government and the US Senate, in the 2010 midterm elections.

Between Congressman Paul Ryan being the Vice Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012 and being elevated to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman in 2015; and Governor Walker hoping to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016; along with the backward, regressive record of Senator Johnson, Wisconsin has been dealt a terrible hand, and it is time to move to return Wisconsin to its proud progressive tradition!

That can be accomplished by working to prevent Scott Walker from being the GOP Presidential nominee, and by bringing Russ Feingold back to the US Senate, kicking Ron Johnson out!

There is great hope for change, now that Feingold has decided to attempt a return to his Senate seat, which he honored with an outstanding record from 1993-2011!

Feingold can be part of the mission of the Democrats to return to control of the US Senate in the 2016 Congressional elections. He has been one of the most outstanding members of the US Senate in the past two decades, and his defeat was a major blow that helped to undermine any chance of Wisconsin continuing its traditional role as a state which led the nation in so many ways!

The Road Ahead For Marco Rubio: Many Barriers To The Republican Presidential Nomination In 2016

When one examines the field of candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems, clearly, to be one of the top candidates.

Rubio has many positives, including:

Young, handsome, charismatic

From the ultimate “Swing” state, with the third highest number of electoral votes

An Hispanic (Cuban American)

Representative of a “new generation”

A “fresh face”

Seen by many as the Republican Barack Obama, but also seen as the Republican equivalent of a Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy in age and charisma

A person with a substantial state government legislative experience, including being Florida House Speaker

But, Rubio also has many negatives, including:

He has to compete against fellow Floridian, former Governor Jeb Bush, his mentor

The Cuban American members of Congress from Florida (Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileane Ros Lehtinen) support Bush over their fellow Cuban American

Rubio’s support of comprehensive immigration reform, alienating many conservatives, but then backing away from it, alienating other groups, including Latinos who are not Cuban American

Rubio’s being seen as too close to former Miami Congressman David Rivera, who has been seen as involved in corrupt, questionable activities

Rubio being questioned about spending habits while Florida House Speaker, regarding expenditures paid by the state party that were personal expenditures

Rubio being too close to billionaires including Miami’s Norman Braman, and Nevada gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, and being often in financial difficulties in which Braman has helped him with financial support

Rubio being seen as a Tea Party leader, but trying to separate himself from the extremists of the movement

Rubio seen as not fully understanding foreign policy, where he often seems ignorant of facts and favoring false realities

Rubio seen as not aggressive enough, as compared to rivals, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckebee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Jeb Bush’s Long Pre-Campaign: A Sign Of Second Thoughts, Maybe?

It has been nearly five months since Jeb Bush began the 2016 Presidential race with an indication that he was “considering” running for President.

Jeb has been raising money and making some appearances, but seems no closer to announcing his candidacy, making his “pre-campaign” just about the longest ever in American history!

There are hints that Jeb will have a lot of trouble when, and if, he chooses to announce, and ironically, the greatest challenge might come from fellow Floridian Senator Marco Rubio.

Interestingly, most Florida Republicans are backing Jeb over Marco, including Cuban American Congressman Lincoln Diaz Balart and Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, but many see Rubio as the new generation, and Jeb as the past, and as a Bush, which is not in his favor.

The indications that Jeb seems to plan to lean on brother George W. Bush, the former President, as his main advisor on Middle East matters, and would use the foreign policy aides of his brother as his own, is also very alarming to many in his party, as well as to Democrats.

Some are wondering if Jeb might just decide NOT to run, ultimately, which would help Rubio a great deal.

The mystery continues, and what Jeb does either way, will have a great impact on the Republican Presidential race!

The Republican Presidential Circus—22 Potential Nominees May Compete In The 2016 Caucuses And Primaries!

The Republican Party is a true circus, with a new potential number of people announcing for President numbering TWENTY TWO—Yes, TWENTY TWO!

If that happens, the debates that will take place in the next year will be a true mockery, a true example of total loss of any respectability of the political process, and will insure that the Republican Party will go down to defeat, probably with a greater electoral vote loss than in 2012, and possibly, greater than 2008! The 206 electoral votes won by Mitt Romney and the 173 won by John McCain might be lower than either number!

The whole idea that TWENTY TWO possible candidates think they are qualified to be President is beyond any reason.

The traditional list that has been drawn up includes:

Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Governors Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Rick Snyder, John Kasich

Former Governors Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry

Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson

Former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina

Now add: former New York Governor George Pataki, Businessman Donald Trump, former UN Ambassador John Bolton; New York Congressman Peter King; former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore; former Maryland Governor Bob Erhlich

The potential for such chaos will totally turn off voters, all to the advantage of the Democratic Party!

American Presidents And The Institution Of Slavery

Yesterday, the author was watching the reenactment of the funeral of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, on C Span 3–American History TV, and the question has arisen, while watching the event, of the truth about America’s Presidents and the institution of slavery.

It turns out, through further research, that more Presidents than once thought, owned slaves in their lifetime, and that others showed lack of concern about the institution, and compromised on it in their Presidencies.

So it turns out that 12 of the first 18 Presidents owned slaves, including

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson–some expressed discomfort in his writings, but sill benefited from the institution
James Madison—some expressed discomfort in his writings, but still benefited from the institution
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses S. Grant.

Additionally, three Presidents, all Northerners, referred to as “doughfaces”, who went along with the institution through their actions, also supported continuation of slavery, including

Millard Fillmore–the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850
Franklin Pierce–the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854
James Buchanan–support of the Dred Scott Supreme Court Case, and the Kansas LeCompton Constitution of 1857

It should be pointed out that Martin Van Buren had a few slaves at one point through family members but not while being President, but defended the institution while in office, and theh later had a change of heart, and ran as the Free Soil Party candidate for President in 1848, at that point opposing slavery,

Also, James Buchanan, technically, owned one slave for a brief period of time through his family, but not while President.

The same holds for Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant, ownership of slaves through family at some point, but neither while President. Grant, in particular, felt uncomfortable about the slavery heritage of his wife’s family.

The point is that only THREE Presidents always condemned slavery and worked against it

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Abraham Lincoln

JQ Adams was extremely active against slavery, participating in the Amistad Supreme Court Case of 1839-1841 as one of the lawyers defending the slaves on that slave ship, in their bid for freedom, and sponsoring the move to condemn slavery in the House of Representatives, in his years after the Presidency. While a member of the House from Boston, he was censured for fighting the “gag rule”, which forbade discussion of the institution in House debate from 1836-1844. He also opposed the Mexican War as a war for slavery expansion.

Bernie Sanders Is Running For President! A True Champion Of The Average American, A La FDR and Hubert Humphrey!

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is running for President as a Democrat, and the nation will benefit from his candidacy in so many ways.

It will make at least one competitor against Hillary Clinton, an essential step, as no one should ever be unchallenged for a Presidential nomination.

It will force Hillary Clinton to move to the populist left, and to take bold stands on many issues, and if she fails to do so, do not think that it is impossible for Sanders to win the nomination.

If Barack Obama could win, a real long shot, it is conceivable, although not likely, that Sanders could go all the way.

The Iowa Caucuses could favor Bernie, as Clinton only ended up third behind Barack and John Edwards in 2008.

The New Hampshire Primary will again be crucial, and Sanders being a New Englander, could have a shot at winning in this neighboring state to Vermont.

Were Hillary to lose both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, she could be in trouble.

The campaign will allow people to see that Sanders, an independent Socialist who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, is not a “monster” because he is Socialist; that he is perfectly harmless and simply speaks for people who are not rich, and cares about the middle class and the poor, the environment, and reviving the “American Dream”.

Sanders is the longest serving Independent member of either house of Congress in all of American history—16 years in the House of Representatives, and 10 in the Senate by 2016, making him one of the most experienced people in government ever to run for President.

Sanders will be able to show that Socialism brought us so many of the programs we accept as normal in America–Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Compensation, Minimum Wages, Maximum Hours, Sick Leave, Vacation Time, Labor Unions, Aid to Farmers, Public Education, Environmental Protection, Consumer Protection, Civil Rights, and so many other great initiatives that have made America a better place. And it has not led to dictatorship, loss of civil liberties, or any other ridiculous fear that the right wing loves to promote.

Bernie Sanders is a very genuine, kind, gentle man, who is gruff in his voice and rhetoric, because of his passion for those who are not connected to the corporate interests; but he will refuse to run a nasty campaign of attacks or allow himself to be corrupted by corporate money.

Sanders is a true man of the people, and he will elevate the discussion and the tone of the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2016!

Sanders would also be the second Jew to have announced for President, after Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut in 2004, although Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota was reported to be planning to run the same year had he not been killed in a small plane crash in 2002.

Bernie Sanders is in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Hubert H. Humphrey!

Joe Biden Vs. John Kasich: The Most Experienced, Most Qualified Candidates For President in 2016!

We are now seeing the full emergence of the Presidential race of 2016, with four candidates having announced, and many more to come between now and July, six months out from the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary.

It is becoming quite clear that IF the two political parties are looking for the most experienced, most qualified candidates to compete against each other in November 2016, then they will nominate Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

The nation would be very fortunate if this was the end result of the upcoming election, but it is not even certain that either Biden or Kasich will actually announce for President.

Biden seems to be avoiding the issue for now, fully aware that Hillary Clinton is the prohibitive favorite, but also carrying a lot of “baggage” over the lost emails and the Clinton Foundation, and the general feeling among many people of distrust of the former First Lady, former New York Senator, and former Secretary of State. But with the growing possibility that Hillary might falter, he is waiting in the wings and could decide to challenge her, rather than leave it alone and allow Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee to challenge her instead.

It is a clear cut fact that none of these alternatives can fill the shoes of Joe Biden in pure experience, knowledge, and qualifications, with Biden having had, by 2016, a total of 44 years in government, 36 as a Senator, and 8 as Vice President. Biden has been a leader in both domestic and foreign policy, and was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has been ranked as one of the best Senators in American history. His role as Vice President has been massive, and President Barack Obama acknowledged his role and significance at the White House Correspondents Dinner this past weekend.

Of course, Biden is not perfect by any means, but has far fewer controversies than Hillary Clinton, and his faults are primarily his loose mouth at times, and his loose hands recently with women at public events, all embarrassing, but not taking away from his great leadership role over more than four decades. And his personality is a winning one, and Joe Biden is the most accessible, genuine, authentic, decent politician in America today, bar none.

At the same time, John Kasich is a man of principle, who just this weekend said he would not change his views to appeal to any particular group or agenda, and he comes across as a man of decency, accomplishment, and experience that far outstrips any other Republican nominee for the Presidency.

Kasich served in the House of Representatives for 18 years from 1982-2000, and was House Budget Committee Chairman, and understand economic matters better than most. He also has been now the two term Governor of the most crucial state in any Presidential election, Ohio, with the reality that no Republican has been elected President who has not won Ohio. This makes Kasich, easily, the best possible nominee that the Republicans could nominate, and the nation would be a lot more secure and safe with him than with any other Republican nominee for the White House.

An election between Joe Biden and John Kasich would be in the best traditions of American history, and would give us, no matter who won, a competent, qualified person to be our President for the next four years from 2017-2021. Let us hope for such good fortune to be given to this country!

Pew Research Poll Shows Built-In Advantage Long Term For Democrats Over Republicans

It has been a tough time for Democrats in recent years with the loss of the House of Representatives in the 2010 Midterm Election and the loss of the US Senate in the 2014 Midterm Elections, plus the loss of so many state governorships in the last three two year cycles, along with many state legislatures.

A lot of the problem is due to the failure of the demographic groups that favor Democrats to come out to vote, particularly in the midterm elections.

But the long term advantage, at least on paper, is with the Democrats, according to a new Pew Research Poll of groups and which party they favor.

Blacks (69), Asians (42), religiously unaffiliated (36); postgraduate women (35), Jewish (30), Hispanics (30), and Millennials (16) all favor Democrats.

Mormons (48), Evangelical Christians (46), White Southerners (21), White Men with some or no college education (21), White Voters (9), and Voters 69-86 (4) all favor Republicans.

Overall, 48 percent of partisans favor Democrats, and 39 percent favor Republicans.

So the key issue is getting people out to vote and fighting Republican attempts in the states to make it more difficult for those who favor Democrats from registering to vote, a tactic that has been used particularly since the Supreme Court negated portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 2013!