Day: January 1, 2013

Minimum Wage Goes Up In Ten States, And Only Seventeen States Are Above Federal Minimum Wage

The minimum wage, a concept passed into law under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, was designed to provide a wage that workers could survive on, starting at 25 cents per hour.

During many periods, the minimum wage never went up, or only belatedly during the administration of a particular President, and the abuse was worst under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Is anyone really surprised? So inflation was greater than the increase in the minimum wage over time!

As a result, four to five million workers are paid only a guaranteed $7.25 an hour, as Congress has refused to raise the federal minimum wage in recent years. If the federal minimum wage had been indexed to inflation, that wage would now be close to $11.00 an hour!

Instead, as indicated, it is $7.25 in 33 states, plus these amounts elsewhere:

New Mexico–$7.50
Rhode Island–$7.75

So these workers are the true “working poor”, and are expected to live on a wage that for forty hours work, is only between $15,000 and $19,000 a year! And that is assuming full time work, which it often is not. And just because young workers are maybe a majority of the workers, along with less educated workers, does not justify people working for such lowly wages in a society which promotes “equal opportunity”!

Second Term Presidencies Are Difficult: The Odds Against Success Of Barack Obama!

When one examines two term Presidencies, it is clear that there is a great likelihood of disappointment and failure as the President becomes a “lame duck”, and particularly, so after the midterm elections, as everyone looks forward to the race for his successor in office.

The following Presidents had difficult second terms:

Thomas Jefferson–with the Chesapeake Affair
James Madison–with the British attack on Washington DC during the War of 1812
Ulysses S. Grant–with the Panic of 1873 and exposure of the Credit Mobilier scandals
Grover Cleveland–with the Panic of 1893 and the Pullman Strike
Woodrow Wilson–with the First World War and the Treaty Of Versailles and his stroke
Franklin D. Roosevelt–with the failure of the Supreme Court “Packing” Plan and Recession Of 1937-1938
Harry Truman–with the Korean War and the Red Scare (McCarthyism)
Richard Nixon–with the Watergate Scandal
Ronald Reagan–with the Iran-Contra Scandal
Bill Clinton–with the Monica Lewinsky Scandal and the Impeachment Trial
George W. Bush–with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Hurricane Katrina and failed attempt to privatize Social Security

The only Presidents to have successful second terms were:

George Washington
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Theodore Roosevelt
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Barack Obama hopes to bring about:

Immigration Reform Legislation
Gun Control Legislation
Climate Change Legislation
Stability in International Affairs

The likelihood of success is very doubtful, however, with so much division, conflict, turmoil, and polarization, caused by the Tea Party Movement and the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

At most, Obama might be able to promote changes in the judiciary, particularly on the Supreme Court, if vacancies occur, as is expected, but even there, it is assured there will be major battles over every appointment, and the possibility of filibustering nominees.

This reality is already showing itself with the interference and opposition to Susan Rice to be Secretary of State, before she was ever considered for nomination, and now Chuck Hagel, a possible choice for Secretary of Defense, who despite being a Republican, has already built up major opposition in the party that he represented in the Senate for 12 years from the state of Nebraska!

There seems the likelihood that no matter what Obama does or says, he will have vehement opposition, not only during the first two years, but even in his last two years as a “lame duck”, having less influence each month as the Presidential Election Of 2016 approaches!

The End Of The Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign

The boom for Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States has been derailed permanently by the news that her concussion, suffered a few weeks ago, led to a blood clot behind her right ear, between her skull and her brain.

This wonderful woman has worn herself out, setting an all time record for travel for a government official in any position, nearly a million miles in four years. It is hard to imagine any business man or woman having traveled as much, and certainly, not worldwide, as Hillary has done.

Hillary is now 65, and needs a long period of rest and recreation to recover from this dangerous medical condition, and for her to imagine herself running for President after this event would require her to be suicidal in nature!

Retiring from the State Department, Hillary Clinton can pursue a more relaxed life of being a famous public citizen, and she can write her memoirs of her recent years in public life since being First Lady; can deliver well paid speeches all over the nation, but at a relaxed pace; join her husband’s Clinton Initiative and do good for human rights around the world; and enjoy whatever number of grandchildren daughter Chelsea produces over the coming years!

For her to decide to go through the “living hell” of campaigning for two years or more; coming under constant attack by fellow Democrats and, more significantly, Republicans (who have a long history of attacking the Clintons in the most vicious manner, often forgotten as the years have gone by); then facing the torment of the fall campaign, with non stop campaigning and dissection by the news media; and then facing the stresses and burdens of the Presidency from age 69 to 73 or 77—this would be enough to shorten her life considerably, and increase the chances of her death in office, if not before!

Hillary Clinton is very ambitious, hard working, and dedicated! She is a wonderful public servant who has contributed a great deal as First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State.

Let her retire and rest, and sometime in 2014, the logical and sensible and sane event would be a public announcement that she is NOT running for President; that she had her chance, and that at her advancing age and health situation, that she will continue to be a public figure, but no longer be part of the political battles!

Hillary Clinton deserves our respect and support as she makes other contributions, under much less scrutiny and publicity and stress, and lives the good life with her husband, daughter, son in law, and any grandchildren, able to share the rest of her life with her! The American people have gained enough from her to allow her to leave the political debates and controversies, but with the certainty that she will go down as one of the very best Secretaries of State, one of the top few First Ladies, a significant United States Senator, and a great promoter of human rights!

A Day To Celebrate Promotion Of Human Rights: 150th Anniversary Of Emancipation Proclamation!

Today marks the most momentous day in all of American history, regarding the promotion of human rights! It is the 150th anniversary of the issuance by President Abraham Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation!

Lincoln had issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, five days after the bloody Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the Civil War. His entire cabinet was opposed to what he did, and had doubts about the final issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation 100 days later.

But Abraham Lincoln had the guts, the courage, the conviction that ending slavery was an essential part of the advancement of American democracy, and would help promote the victory of the Union forces over the Confederacy.

Lincoln knew that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a pledge to end slavery, and that the only true way to bring it about was military victory, and the passage two years later of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, an event excellently portrayed in the movie LINCOLN, with Daniel Day-Lewis portraying the events leading to the passage of that amendment by the House of Representatives.

Slavery’s end did not mean an easy time or adjustment for African Americans or the nation, as racial violence and discrimination would be a sad part of the future, but it was a necessary step forward on the march of human rights, including later passage of the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, the 26th Amendment, the various Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968), and significant Supreme Court decisions on civil rights of women, minorities, labor, young people, and gays and lesbians.

The march of time has been toward the granting of greater human rights, but it all began with Lincoln’s courageous gamble, 150 years ago today, and for that, as so much else, all Americans should salute him today!

And it is inspiring to see massive lines at the National Archives in Washington, DC, as the Emancipation Proclamation is on view for a limited time to celebrate the event, but with the need to preserve a document which is in fragile condition after a century and a half of existence.

What Lincoln did in 1863 is connected to the whole long range story of American history, the expansion of human rights for all, and this is what draws foreigners to wish to come to America, the land of liberty and opportunity!