US Senate

Octogenarians In Congress: Time For Age Limit Of 80, So That Younger Generation, “Fresh Blood”, Comes Into Both Houses

Age discrimination laws have disappeared in recent decades, but at the same time, there is the issue of members of Congress staying on into their 80s in growing numbers, and one has to wonder if that is good for the nation at large, or whether it helps to promote the image of Congress being out of sync with the nation, and preventing a younger generation of “fresh blood” from having opportunity to serve in Congress.

Presently, there are eight Senators and eleven House members who are in their 80s, and there are others in both chambers nearing 80 over the next few years.

Seven Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate, and eight Democrats and three Republicans in the House of Representatives are now in their 80s, and there is no indication that the House members are planning to retire in 2018.

Four of the House members are in the upper 80s right now—Democrats Sander Levin of Michigan who is 86; Democrat John Conyers of Michigan who is 88; Democrat Louise Slaughter who is 88; and Republican Sam Johnson of Texas who is 87.

Meanwhile, three of the eight Senators were just reelected to terms ending in 2022—Richard Shelby of Alabama who will be 88 then; John McCain of Arizona who will be 86 then; and Chuck Grassley of Iowa who will be 89 then.

Three others have terms ending in 2020—Pat Roberts of Kansas who will be 84 then; Thad Cochran of Mississippi who will be 83 then; and James Inhofe of Oklahoma who will be 86 then.

The other two Senators face election in 2018–Diane Feinstein of California who will be 85; and Orrin Hatch of Utah who will be 84.

The aging of Congress has been a growing trend, and it does not bode well for the future, as far as public support for Congress is concerned.

There is no realistic possibility of legislated age limits, but the growing number of octogenarians in Congress is not a good development.

The Year Of Democratic Women On The Ballot Coming In 2018: Ten Incumbents And Two Seeking Election To The US Senate

In the midterm Congressional elections of 2018, a total of 12 Democratic women will be on the ballot for the US Senate, with 10 coming up for reelection and two making major challenges against Republicans in Arizona and Nevada.

Altogether, there are 16 Democratic women in the US Senate in 2017, so all but six are facing reelection battles.

This includes women in Trump won states—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

Additionally, in Hillary Clinton won states, the following Democratic women are up for reelection–Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York, Diane Feinstein in California, Mazie Hirono in Hawaii, Maria Cantwell in Washington State, and Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota.

Jacky Rosen is competing for the Nevada Senate seat against most endangered Republican Senator Dean Heller, and Kyrsten Sinema is trying to win the Senate seat of Jeff Flake, who is not running for reelection in Arizona.

The odds for both Rosen and Sinema are seen as good, and could tip the balance of the US Senate, but only if the other women, particularly in Trump won states, are able to overcome their disadvantage.

Therefore, while all of the Democratic women except Heidi Heitkamp are backed by the pro choice Emily’s List organization, it is important NOT to have a litmus test for Heitkamp, who while supportive of Trump about 51 percent of the time, still supports many Democratic Party goals, although she is not truly pro choice on abortion. If we want purity, then the Senate will be lost, as such a Senator as Joe Manchin of West Virginia, also running for reelection, is not any more pro choice than Heitkamp. The party needs to be more inclusive if it is to win and keep control of the US Senate in the future.

Republican Tax Plan Will Hurt Middle Class, Promote More Concentration Of Wealth, And Will Kill Republican Majority Whether It Passes Or Not!

The Republican Party’s attempt to promote “tax reform” will fail, whether it passes or not.

The likelihood is that Republicans in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California will refuse to vote for it, since it ends deduction of state and local income taxes on tax forms in those states.

It is also likely that a few Republicans in the US Senate will oppose it because of other aspects of the plan that make it uncomfortable to support.

The bill would victimize the middle class, and promote greater concentration of wealth in the top one percent and the corporations.

It would harm the white working class voters who put Donald Trump in office in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The legislation adds $1.75 trillion to the national debt, and cuts so many programs and benefits, displeasing deficit hawks because of the former, and moderates and independents due to the latter.

Charities will be harmed by the legislation, and home builders and real estate agents will be affected by limits on mortgage interest deductions, making people less willing to buy homes, and instead to rent their housing.

Corporations will gain the most from the legislation, and many Americans are angry that many corporations already pay little or no taxes.

The legislation would also hurt Obamacare in a different form, even after failure to repeal it earlier this year, and no replacement is offered for millions of Americans who benefit from it.

The end of the estate tax, which affects so few people, also will displease the average American, who does not understand why all inheritances should be untouched in any way by taxes, as wealthy people have a responsibility to pay their fair share in life, as well as at the end of life, rather than pass on tens of millions to their heirs, without any responsibility to contribute to the future of American society.

Also, medical deductions would be limited, and students who have massive loan payments would not be able to deduct any of them on their tax return, undermining the sick and the young.

One can expect that this legislation will not pass, and therefore will harm the Republican Party, but if somehow it does pass, it also will harm the Republican brand in the 2018 midterm elections!

The Republican Party Of The Early 1990s And Now: David Duke, Bob Packwood, And Roy Moore

How far the Republican Party has come in the past generation, from a party that had some principle and dignity to a party that is afraid to stand up against hypocrisy and evil.

In 1991, David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was the Republican nominee for Governor of Louisiana, but many Republicans repudiated him, and President George H. W. Bush condemned him in a public statement, and refused to endorse and support him.

In 1995, Oregon Senator Bob Packwood, a mainstay of the chamber, who had been in the Senate for nearly 27 years, and actually had a decent record as a progressive oriented Republican, was shown to have engaged in sexual harassment for the previous two decades, and the Senate censured him, and he resigned from office in disgrace.

Now, in 2017, a despicable human being named Roy Moore, who has hatred and prejudice as part of his mantra, and is seen as a pariah by many Republican Senators, is accused of sexual harassment and more against teenage girls decades ago, and he refuses to leave the Senate race in Alabama, and while many Republicans have called for him to exit the race, only Senator John McCain has been forceful on the issue, and the only conservative intellectual who has clearly condemned him is Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, who worked for Vice President Dan Quayle, but has been a Trump critic from Day One when Trump announced for President nearly two and a half years ago.

One would hope that many of the Senators who said Moore should withdraw show the courage of John McCain and Bill Kristol, and refuse to support, endorse, or finance his race for the Senate on December 12 in Alabama.

Alabama deserves a decent, hard working, principled US Senator, and forgetting party lines, they can get that in Doug Jones, who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in the infamous Birmingham Church bombing in 1963, which killed for young African American girls, a case pursued nearly forty years after the horrible events.

This is the kind of Senator all members of that body should welcome into their club.

If Alabama, a state with already corrupt leadership that puts the state in the top ten worst governed states, and with a horrible reputation of being ignorant, prejudiced, and backward, not all that different than in the era of civil rights and George Wallace in the 1960s, goes ahead and elects Roy Moore to the Senate, the Republicans should join with the Democrats, and refuse to seat him, which is within their rights as a legislative body. They forced Bob Packwood out on sexual misconduct in 1995, and further back Democratic Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut in 1982, and more recently Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada in 2011, both on financial improprieties, so they can do the same to the infamous, despicable Roy Moore.

Since there was horror when Moore won the nomination to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions over Senator Luther Strange, the Sessions replacement, on the part of Republicans in the Senate, it should not be hard to refuse to seat him, and to hell with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and their ilk demonstrating no morality, no ethics, and supporting a so called “good Christian”, who is anything but that in his views on women, gays and lesbians, Muslims, and on separation of church and state, which he does not believe in.

Right now, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is the most disliked member of the Senate by his own colleagues, but Roy Moore, if he wins and is seated, will far surpass Cruz, and will become an albatross around the neck of the GOP.

How far the Republican Party has fallen since the early to mid 1990s!

Democratic Victories In Virginia, New Jersey, And Elsewhere Sign Of Repudiation Of Trump, And Beginning Of Impeachment Move

Yesterday was a glorious day for Democrats across the board.

Ralph Northam won the Virginia Governorship, and the Democrats also won the Lieutenant Governorship and State Attorney Generalship, as as well as switch the control of the House Of Delegates in a massive defeat for Republicans. The Lieutenant Governor is Justin Fairfax, first African American in that position in Virginia history.

A transgender woman in Virginia defeated a rabid homophobe for a seat in the House of Delegates. And the boyfriend of a woman murdered on live television in 2015, ran on the gun issue and won a seat in the House of Delegates in her memory. Two Latinas were also elected to the House of Delegates, as well as a Vietnamese Asian American woman for the first time in Virginia.

New Jersey saw the repudiation of Chris Christie’s lieutenant governor, by Democrat Phil Murphy. And an African American woman was elected Lieutenant Governor.

Maine expanded Medicaid over the objections of right wing bully Republican Governor Paul Le Page.

New Hampshire saw Manchester’s Mayoralty fall to the Democratic nominee.

Minneapolis, Minnesota City Council saw the election of a transgender African American woman.

St. Paul, Minnesota and Helena, Montana elected African Americans to the Mayoralty of both cities, a first for both .

Charlotte, North Carolina Mayoralty went to an African American woman.

Two small cities in Georgia elected an African American woman Mayor, and two African American men won that office, one in a city in Georgia, and one in South Carolina.

Hoboken, New Jersey elected a man of the Sikh religion as its Mayor.

A woman was elected Nassau County, New York (on Long Island) County Executive for the first time, and a rare case of a Democrat winning that position.

The State Senate in Washington State went to a Democratic majority, making the entire Pacific Coast “Blue”, in California, Oregon and Hawaii, along with Washington State.

City Mayors, all Democrats, were reelected in New York City, Boston, and Detroit and a lesbian Mayor elected in Seattle, among other places.

Growing numbers of incumbent Republicans are deciding not to run for reelection, creating more open seats and making likelihood of Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in 2018 much more likely.

Suburban areas across the nation are growing more Democratic on paper, after massive victories all over the nation.

Northern Virginia has become more powerful in numbers and percentage, overcoming southern and western sections of Virginia, making Virginia clearly a Blue State in the future.

With many Republicans now planning to retire, expect more criticism of Donald Trump, and a growing shift toward impeachment of Trump, since retiring politicians have an independence not seen otherwise, so just as John McCain. Jeff Flake. and Bob Corker have come out against Trump, more can be expected in both houses of Congress.

And for many Republicans who remain, they may prefer Mike Pence in the White House when they are running for reelection, and since Trump shows no loyalties to the party which gave him their nomination, why should they feel an obligation to support him through thick and thin?

In Midst Of Democratic “Morass”, Could Jerry Brown Come To The Rescue At Age 82, And Unite Democrats In 2020?

In the midst of Democratic Party “morass”, stirred up further by Donna Brazile”s new book, and the lack of leadership and a new agenda, other than to wait for Donald Trump to implode, it is alarming those who want an aggressive approach to revive Democratic fortunes.

The clear need for a new generation of leadership is clear cut, but at this point, some are starting to notice that the Governor of the largest state is actively on the attack against the Trump Administration on the issues of the environment, immigration, gun regulations, and more. He is the great progressive star. Who are we referring to?

We are talking about Jerry Brown, who is 79 years old, and will leave the Governorship a year from now at age 80.

Some are wondering could a 82 year old four time Governor of California, at age 36-44 and then 72-80, actually mount a Presidential campaign for the fourth time, after trying in 1976, 1980 and 1992–so 44, 40 and 28 years ago?

It seems crazy to imagine it, but it also demonstrates how weak the Democrats seem to be, as we start to consider Presidential candidates in 2020 for the Democrats.

All one can say is IF we are to even think about Jerry Brown, then we cannot dismiss Joe Biden (78 in 2020), or Elizabeth Warren (71 in 2020), and even Bernie Sanders (79 in 2020).

But this blogger still feels strongly that a new generation in the 40s, 50, and early 60s is the best route to travel, and would include such leaders as Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Senator Kamala Harris of California, likely future California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and others not often mentioned.

Democratic Division And Post Election Accusations A Bad Sign For The Future: We Need New And Younger Leadership

In the midst of the Donald Trump Presidency disaster in the making, the opposition Democrats are, seemingly, working very hard to destroy any chance for the party to recover from the 2016 election, and move on to hoped for gaining of the US House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2018, and long range possibility of gaining the US Senate majority as well.

Division and post election accusations between the Hillary Clinton camp and the Bernie Sanders camp over the Democratic National Committee handling of the campaign only helps Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Donna Brazile, who headed the DNC in the last months of the 2016 campaign, is publishing a book this week, which with its accusations that the Clinton campaign helped to fix her nomination, and discussion that Brazile considered replacing Clinton with Joe Biden in September, after she had a bout with pneumonia, only causes more disarray.

The Democrats have no real leader now, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are not inspiring at all, and Pelosi in particular needs to step aside, and allow younger Democrats to move up to power.

As this blogger has said before, while he admires Joe Biden, there is a need for a new generation of leadership running for the Presidency in the future, as well as moving up in House of Representatives leadership.

So we need to stop shoring up Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn in the House, and we need to look to others to run for President than Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and even Elizabeth Warren, all over 70 as the House leaders are also.

People in their 40s, 50 and early 60s are the future, just as when we had John F. Kennedy at age 43 in 1960, Jimmy Carter at age 52 in 1976, Bill Clinton at age 46 in 1992, and Barack Obama at age 47 in 2008!

Joe Biden Looks Ahead: His Diplomatic Experience, His Ability To Unite, His Authenticity May Be The Prescription Needed In 2020

Joe Biden has started to speak out openly about Donald Trump and the future of the nation and the Democratic Party.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows how much I admire Joe Biden.

I wanted him to be the 2016 nominee, but his son’s death prevented that race, but I do believe, had he been the nominee, he would have defeated Donald Trump among the white working class, the crucial vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

No politician is perfect, but Joe Biden still stirs the imagination of millions of Democrats and the American people.

His career of 36 years in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President is unmatched. His diplomatic experience, his ability to unite, and his authenticity may be the prescription needed in 2020.

His popularity and respect among Republicans and Democrats is unprecedented for a modern political leader.

The fact that he will be 78 years old days after the 2020 election causes him to be considered not a good choice for 2020.

But just as gender and race should not be barriers, even age should not be, as some older leaders have succeeded, such as Konrad Adenauer of West Germany and Winston Churchill of Great Britain.

This is not an endorsement of Biden for 2020, as ideally, a younger, fresher candidate is highly preferable.

But if Biden runs, and the people in primaries and caucuses want him, why not have him as the nominee in 2020, but with a much younger and well qualified Vice President just in case of tragedy.

Whether or not Joe Biden ever runs for President again, he is clearly a national treasure to be admired and respected!

John McCain, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake: Senate Republican Majority Starts To Unravel

The Senate Republican majority needed to accomplish Republican Party goals is rapidly deteriorating.

In the past month, Senator John McCain of Arizona first, and then Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee made clear their differences with Donald Trump.

Now, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has joined them with a passionate speech on the floor of the Senate.

Additionally, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, and Senator Dean Heller of Nevada are clearly unhappy with the bullying and recklessness of Donald Trump.

The likelihood of being able to accomplish anything that the Republican Party wants is rapidly disappearing.

With only 52 Senators, the GOP cannot afford to lose more than two, if Vice President Mike Pence were to cast a tie breaking vote on any legislation.

And it is known that there are some Republican Congressmen who also have great unease with the Trump Presidency, as Trump is clearly outside of the norm of appropriate behavior and action in office.

Trump does not have the competence, decency, and knowledge to be President, and he is a destructive force who could destroy the reputation of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike and Reagan if he is not removed from office as a danger to the nation and the world.

It is time for the Republicans to put the nation ahead of their own selfish, personal interests, and do what is right for the nation, to remove a dangerous man with access to nuclear codes, and the terrifying thought that he would utilize nuclear weapons.

Marines In 43 Countries, And Military In 100 Or More Other Nations: Absolutely Crazy And Self Defeating!

The tragic events in Niger, where four Special Forces troops were ambushed and killed by terrorist forces, has revealed a secret that even members of Congress on the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate were not aware of.

We have been engaged in operations in that central African nation and others on that continent, beyond those in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Central Asia, and also in Latin America and in South and East Asia.

In other words, we now know we have US Marines in 43 nations, at least, and military presence and possibly more, in at least 100 other nations.

This means we are having influence in three of every four nations of the world, all with the goal of protecting American national security and defenses in an age of world wide terrorism by Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL), Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, and other similar terrorist groups.

So besides the issues of Russia, China, Iran, North Vietnam, and the Middle East morass, including Syria and Iraq, we have to be concerned about insurgency in the Philippines; about pending warfare in Iraq of not just Shiite and Sunni Muslims but also the Kurdish minority; and danger of a Spanish Civil War of Catalonia (its capital in Barcelona) and the Spanish Central government; and instability in Eastern Europe in nations once thought to be finally democratic, but instead becoming extremist right wing, including Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic

At least 43 American military have died under the watch of Donald Trump, and over 10,000 civilians have been killed due to our troops.

This policy of American engagement all over the world is absolutely crazy and self defeating, and only enriches military contractors, while sacrificing lives of our young men and women.

It is a self defeating situation, in which the wealthy benefit, and the rest of us are victims, in one way or another.