US House Of Representatives

Tea Party And Republican House Want Radical Changes In Medicare And Social Security!

Leave it to the Republican Party, and particularly its Tea Party extremists, to propose, as part of the House of Representatives budget proposals, to raise the eligibility age for future retirees for Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Presently, one must be 65 to gain Medicare, and the proposal is to raise it to 67!

Presently, one must be 67 to gain Social Security full benefits for future retirees, and the proposal is to raise it to 70!

This is pure right wing radicalism, by a party which overwhelmingly, in its past, opposed both Medicare in the 1960s and Social Security in the 1930s, when they were first made law!

These two programs are the most popular social programs, brought to America by the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and have had a lot to do with the growth of the middle class and a sense of security for the elderly!

Instead of raising the Medicare tax slightly, and raising the limit on Social Security to at least $250,000 income, instead of $117,000, insuring the viability of these programs long term, instead the GOP wishes to make life harder for those nearing retirement age, forcing many to work longer years full time, rather than having some time to enjoy life and take life easier after decades of toil, many of them often working at low wages, exploited by corporations and employers in general, who have an anti labor attitude!

This is an issue for the midterm elections of 2014 and beyond, that under no circumstances will there be a radical change in Medicare and Social Security allowed, because of the greed, selfishness, and lack of concern for the average American by the elite upper class that votes Republican, and victimizes the rest of the population!

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!

California Political Leaders Need To Open Up To Future Generation Of Leadership!

A major problem in American politics is the refusal of political leaders of both parties to recognize when it is time to retire from the scene, and allow a new generation of leadership.

Too many US Senators and Congressmen stay on until their late 70s and early 80s, and this includes Governors and other state officials as well.

While there can be no official retirement age mandated, it seems appropriate that these political leaders accept reality, and allow for a generational change.

A great example is California, heavily Democratic, but led by people who should make clear that they will NOT run again past 2014.

This includes:

Governor Jerry Brown 76 (nearing 81 at end of next term in 2018); Senator Diane Feinstein 81 (with her term ending in 2018 at age 86 plus); Senator Barbara Boxer 73 (76 when she finishes her present Senate term at the end of 2016); and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 74 (past 76 at the end of the next Congressional term in 2016).

Is it too much to expect that people in public office who are nearing age 81; age 86; age 76; and past 76 at the end of their present or future terms recognize it is time to leave, no matter how good a record they have in office?

Ego and power is what keeps these and other people in public office, but it is time for change and new faces in Congress and the state governments!

A Rational, Sensible Proposal: Two Californias, Two Texases, Two Floridas, Two New Yorks, Northern Virginia And Washington DC Unified As A State!

There has been a lot of speculation and discussion about the creation of new states, and this was discussed in a post on July 4 on this blog.

However, despite the move toward a ballot measure to create SIX Californias, it will NOT happen, and neither will five Texases, nor three New Yorks, nor two Marylands, nor two Illinoises, nor two Pennsylvanias, and even another suggestion, two Colorados!

However, it is NOT unreasonable to suggest that there could be a division of the following states into two states each–California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

A Northern and Southern California would make sense, as the state is overly large, with 38 million people, with a division being the North California state would include San Francisco and Sacramento and the Silicon Valley, and Central California, while South California would include Los Angeles and San Diego, and the heavily populated areas around LA and San Diego.

A Northern and Southern Texas might be divided along the following lines—North Texas being the Panhandle and West Texas along with Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area; and South Texas including East Texas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio and down to the Rio Grande River boundary line except for the Western area around El Paso, which would be in North Texas.

A division of New York would be the New York City counties, along with Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland Counties, a total of nine counties, with the other 53 counties North of the city of New York (including Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester) being named New Amsterdam, the original Dutch colony name.

A division of Florida would be Northern Florida and Central Florida as North Florida, and South Florida being the counties of the Keys, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.

Finally, a good idea would be to add Northern Virginia to Washington DC, name it Columbia, and revive the old failed amendment for statehood for DC, by adding those northern Virginia suburbs to the nation’s capital, and ending the discrimination against the 700,000 residents of DC, by making them part of a state, with the state known as North Virginia!

No more Congressional seats in the House of Representatives would be created, except for the addition of the District of Columbia to the Northern Virginia suburbs, so there would be 436 House members, instead of 435. However, there would then be 55 states, creating ten new US Senators; requiring 56 instead of 51 Senators to be a majority; 61 instead of 55 to end filibuster on executive branch nominations; and 66 instead of 60 Senators to end all other filibusters.

Commentary on this is welcome!

Senator Elizabeth Warren And Senator Rand Paul Gaining Attention In 2016 Presidential Race!

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul are gaining a lot of attention for the 2016 Presidential race with their recent speeches and campaigning.

Warren, a freshman Senator, who gained fame from her campaign for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has stirred the imagination of left wing Democrats, who are unhappy with the comparatively centrist campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Warren has made issues of unemployment compensation, raising the minimum wage, attacking Wall Street, and calling for revising the college student loan system, which has effectively enslaved millions of students in unending college loan debt, due to high interest rates.

She comes across as folksy, not bad for a former Harvard professor, and has gained large audiences in red states such as Kentucky and West Virginia, where she has campaigned for candidates Alison Lungergan Grimes and Natalie Tennant for Senate seats. Remember, however, that she was born and lived for years in Oklahoma.

She is a new face, in the sense of national exposure, but only two years younger than Hillary Clinton.

Paul, the son of former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, has gained attention by his attack on Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who have both called for returning troops to Iraq. Paul makes it clear that America should not return to involvement in Iraq, and he seems to have the American people on his side, based on public opinion polls. He comes across as principled, while neocons attack him as isolationist, which he denies.

It is still hard to imagine either Warren or Paul gaining the nominations of their parties for 2016, but anything is possible, and they are certainly adding a lot of interest into the race!

Allen West And Sarah Palin: Quite A Team On Impeachment!

Former one term Florida Congressman Allen West and former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin are leading the charge to impeach President Obama!

These two are such a comedy team!

West was pushed out of the military for his reprehensible behavior with a prisoner of war in the Iraq conflict, and has shown definite delusional behavior, a mentally ill man, who served only one term in Congress, but has gained a following from the extremist right wing, with his reckless, loony statements about many issues, but focusing his attention on the President.

Palin has been an embarrassment since John McCain picked her out of obscurity to run for Vice President, and she guaranteed that he had no chance to win the Presidency, because it was immediately clear that this woman has no knowledge base, is a total fool, and an annoyance for many Americans to listen to and watch as part of the news. She has never made any contributions in any form to public discourse, and is an embarrassment not only to herself, but to the Republican Party and womanhood itself!

A new poll shows that 54 percent want Sarah Palin to go away, and only conspiracy theorists and lunatics admire Allen West.

Each served for just a couple of years in public office, and one would wish that both would simply disappear from the political scene, as they will be condemned in history as whackos, and they both undermine the concept of public service!

And what they want, the impeachment of Barack Obama, is based on no credible case; will cost the taxpayers lots of wasted money; will undermine the Republican Party legitimacy; and will end up with Obama staying in office, standing strong against hate and prejudice unseen since the time of Abraham Lincoln!

And, as has been stated before, even if West and Palin and their ilk accomplished their goal of kicking Obama out of the Oval Office, he would be replaced by Vice President Joe Biden, who would proceed to be elected to one of two terms of his own, following similar policies and ideas of his boss, so what is gained by this caper, except the elevation of Joe Biden to the Presidency?

It is clear that West and Palin, and all those other whackos who want impeachment, have no clue or understanding as to what they are doing, and its implications! Ignorance and stupidity reign instead, in the brains of these two characters and those who follow and believe in them!

Ohio And The Republican Party

So the Republican Party has chosen Cleveland, Ohio, for its national convention in 2016!

This is a very interesting selection, to choose a strong Democratic city to hold their convention!

It is true, however, that Ohio is the ultimate “swing state”, as it, most recently, decided the Presidential Election Of 2004 in favor of President George W. Bush over Senator John Kerry.

And Ohio gave us six Presidents, all Republicans, from 1868-1923, with the elections of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

Only Grant and McKinley were reelected, however, and only Grant served two full terms, with Garfield and McKinley assassinated in office; Hayes denied renomination of his party; Taft defeated with the worst popular vote percentage and lowest electoral vote for an attempted reelection in 1912; and Harding dying of natural causes in office. Also, Grant and Harding presided over the greatest corruption in American history on the national level until Richard Nixon came along!

Overall, these six Ohio Presidents did not add much to the record of the Presidency in a positive manner, with McKinley being rated the best of the group; Grant usually the worst, although now undergoing some historical rehabilitation; Harding also near the bottom of the list of Presidents, but also being reevaluated by some scholars: and Garfield seen as possibly the major loss of the group, due to his short time in office before being assassinated.

Ohio is also the home of Governor John Kasich, former long term Congressman and one of the leaders of the GOP in the House of Representatives, who is seen as one of the longer shots who might run for President, and this author has already mentioned him as a potential candidate, with some positives greater than the list of candidates usually mentioned in print as the most likely candidates.

But the reality is that Ohio is likely to go Democratic as it did in 2008 and 2012, and the Democratic Party can win the Presidency without Ohio.

For the Republican Party to believe that holding their convention in Ohio insures their victory for the White House in 2016 is truly delusional!

Nations Breaking Up: Could It Happen Among American States?

We are living in a world where nation states have broken up, and where the potential for more such breakups is increasing.

Yugoslavia broke up into multiple nations in the 1990s, as did the old Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia.

Sudan broke up into two nations in 2011, and Iraq seems on the road to a similar breakup, sadly through religious revolution, fanaticism and loss of life.

There has been the threat in the past of Quebec breaking away from Canada, although that seems less likely now.

Scotland will decide whether to split from the United Kingdom in a referendum this September.

There are threats of the breakup of Belgium and Spain, where strong nationality groups wish for independence.

At the same time, there has been secessionist talk by right wing groups in Texas, and even outgoing Governor Rick Perry talked up the idea a few years back, and then abandoned such talk.

But seriously, without violence, not like the Civil War in the 1860s, there are ideas floating out on the political wilderness of the possible future breakup of eight states, and the theoretical creation of an additional 16 states as a result, requiring an additional 32 US Senators, making the total possibly 132, instead of the present 100, in the upper chamber, while not changing the number of members of the House of Representatives.

These possibilities are as follows:

California–six states instead of one—Jefferson (rural Northern California); North California (centered about Sacramento, the state capital); Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose); Central California (Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton); West California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara); and South California (San Diego and Orange Counties).

Texas–five states instead of one—New Texas (Austin, the present state capital and College Station); Trinity (Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Tyler); Gulfland (Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston); Plainland (Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco, Abilene); and El Norte (San Antonio, El Paso, Brownsville).

New York–three states instead of one—Suburban counties of Southeast New York (Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess and Orange Counties) and Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk); New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island); and Upstate New York (including the rest of the state, including Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton).

Florida—two states instead of one—South Florida (the Keys, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach); and Northern Florida (the rest of the state).

Illinois–two states instead of one—Chicago and near suburbs; and the rest of the state.

Pennsylvania–two states instead of one—Philadelphia and near suburbs; and the rest of the state, including Pittsburgh and Harrisburg).

Virginia–two states instead of one—Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC; and the rest of the state.

Maryland–two states instead of one—Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington DC suburban counties (including Montgomery and Prince George’s County) and three rural eastern shore counties; and Western Maryland.

Is any of this likely to happen? Probably not, but great food for thought. It would require revolutionary changes in the US Senate, and would create new issues of which party would benefit, the Democrats or the Republicans, since the major metropolitan areas would be separate from the more rural counties in these eight states, and it would create a new dynamic in American politics hard to predict long term!

Democratic Presidents Come Out Fighting Against Republican Obstructionism!

The history of American politics is one of Republican obstructionism to Democratic Presidents, and five Democrats in the White House coming out swinging against their opponents, going to the people to gain their backing.

Such was the case with Franklin D. Roosevelt in the midterm Congressional elections of 1934 and the Presidential Election of 1936!

Such was the case with Harry Truman in the Presidential Election of 1948, where he gained the name “Give Them Hell Harry.”

Such was the case with Lyndon B. Johnson in the Presidential Election of 1964 against Senator Barry Goldwater!

Such was the case with Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election of 1996, despite the GOP Congress of 1995-1996.

Such was the case with Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012, and now Obama has come out fighting again, making clear that he will not allow Republican obstructionism to prevent his use of executive orders to accomplish as many of his goals as possible, without legislative action!

This is all to the good, and hopefully, he can rally independents and Democrats to come out and vote, to keep the Republicans from gaining control of the US Senate, and maybe narrow the Democratic deficit, or win control of the House of Representatives!

Hostile Relationship Of Former Presidents With Incumbent Presidents

The question of the relationship of former Presidents with incumbent Presidents is an interesting one, with usually the former Presidents avoiding open criticism of their successors, even if they are of a different political persuasions, and did not support the nomination or election of their successors.

There are only a few cases of open criticism and attack, including:

John Quincy Adams highly critical of Andrew Jackson, and returning to Washington, DC as a Congressman to “keep watch” over his policies and actions. Adams was also a sharp critic of the slavery and expansionist policies of John Tyler and James K. Polk.

Martin Van Buren being a major critic of the expansionist policies of John Tyler and James K. Polk in the 1840s, and of the slavery policies of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan in the 1850s.

John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan all critical of the policies of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

Grover Cleveland being a sharp critic of Benjamin Harrison, who he had lost to, and then ran against again and defeated in 1892, and then opposed William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt on the issue of imperialism and expansion.

Theodore Roosevelt very critical of his successor William Howard Taft, who he ran against on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and then against Woodrow Wilson’s policies toward World War I, after losing to him in 1912. Also, TR was resentful that Wilson “stole” some of his progressive ideas, and enacted them as President in his first term.

Herbert Hoover harshly critical of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression and World War II.

Harry Truman very critical of Richard Nixon for years before he became President, and never really making peace even when Nixon gave the Truman library the piano in the White House that Truman had played. Also, Truman was critical of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the two men only resolved their differences at the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Jimmy Carter very critical of the policies of his successor, Ronald Reagan, and at times, of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Otherwise, the tendency has been to sit on the sidelines and avoid open criticism of one’s successors to the Oval Office!