Month: December 2013

The Most Significant Long Range Events Of 2013

Now that we are in the last day of 2013, it is time to reflect on what the most significant long range events of 2013 are, events that will affect us in the future, and are signs of progress, which can never be reversed.

They include in no special order:

The accomplishment of national health care, a dream since Theodore Roosevelt first mentioned the concept in his Progressive Party campaign in 1912, later suggested by Harry Truman, partially enacted by Lyndon B. Johnson, attempted by Bill and Hillary Clinton unsuccessfully, promoted by Senator Ted Kennedy, and finally becoming law under Barack Obama. Even with all of the kinks and quirks now and in the future, national health care is here to stay, finally making America reach the stage of all other democracies in the world, but as usual the last to adopt social and economic reform, as compared to Europe, Canada, and Australia.

The acceptance by the Supreme Court of the concept of gay marriage, and the expansion from nine to eighteen states of acceptance of same sex marriage, and nothing will ever reverse what has happened, and eventually, the Supreme Court will mandate its legality throughout America, just as they did for interracial marriage in 1967. Many may not like it, but just as with interracial marriage, one does not have to engage in either interracial or same sex marriage, but it is nobody’s business to tell someone else who he or she is to love and to have the benefits of marriage, and no religious institution needs to accept it, as civil marriage will always be available.

The civil war raging in the Republican Party, which will determine if the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike will survive or go into the dustbin of history, which Is certain, if the right wing Tea Party Movement is allowed to take over the party apparatus, and control the House and Senate Republican caucuses, and control major state governments around the nation. An extreme right wing Republican Party will not survive, and will give the Democrats such dominance that a moderate centrist party, maybe on the pattern of the Whig Party of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century, will then emerge as a valid alternative to the more leftist Democratic Party by comparison.

The rise of a permanent Democratic majority in the Electoral College, as Georgia, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina will turn “blue” over the rest of the second decade of the 21st century, due to the growth in the Hispanic-Latino population, and the alienation of women from the Republican Party, which is working to control the reproductive lives of women. Both groups will swing these Sun Belt States to the Democrats, and with the Atlantic Coast from New England down to Virginia, and the Pacific Coast and the Upper Midwest more “blue” all of the time, there will be no way that Democrats will lose the White House over the next couple of decades, whether they nominate Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or someone else, for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond.

The Supreme Court will turn more liberal, as over the remaining years of this decade, the likelihood of new Supreme Court appointments, as well as circuit and district courts, will fall to Democratic Presidents, who no longer have to worry about a filibuster proof majority of 60 votes. The need for only 51 votes or 50 with the Vice President breaking the tie, insures that the courts, and eventually the high Court, will take a different view over time on same sex marriage, abortion rights, civil rights, and civil liberties, reminding one over the next two decades (due to lifetime appointments) of the history of the Warren Court.

A happy 2014 to all my readers and contributors!

The Top Political Comedians Of 2013

Most political observers are well aware of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and the Comedy Channel, and find their political humor engaging.

But really, both Stewart and Colbert, and other comedians who do politics, including on Saturday Night Live, have so much material due to the fact that there are people in politics who make total fools of themselves, and seem to have no shame.
Below are listed the author’s top choices for “Political Comedians of the Year 2013”, but in no special order.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R) of Minnesota
Congressman Steve King (R) of Iowa
Congressman Louie Gohmert (R) of Texas
Congressman Steve Stockman (R) of Texas
Congressman Paul Broun (R) of Georgia
Congressman Tom Price (R) of Georgia
Senator Ted Cruz (R) of Texas
Senator Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky
Mayoral contender and former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) of New York
Mayor and former Congressman Bob Filner (D) of San Diego
Former Governor Sarah Palin (R) of Alaska

The Most Pleasant Stories Of 2013 Vs. The Most Disturbing Stories Of 2013

2013 is coming to an end, and as always, there are stories and events that are very pleasant, and also those which are very disturbing.

The most pleasant stories of the year include in no particular order the following:

The Rise of Pope Francis, invigorating and reforming the Catholic Church, with his message of inclusion, compassion for the poor, and condemnation of unbridled capitalism.

The victory of Bill DeBlasio as Mayor of New York City, promoting a change in policy in a city which has catered to the wealthy, and ignored the poor and middle class.

The doubling of states which permit same sex marriage from nine to eighteen, and the growing acceptance of the American people to tolerance on the topic.

Senate filibuster reform on Presidential appointments, which allows the President to gain the people he wants for executive and judicial appointments, a right of any President, but prevented by Senate Republican intransigence.

The most disturbing stories of the year include in no particular order the following:

The Congressional deadlock caused by the Tea Party Movement in the Republican Party, including the government shutdown and dearth of Congressional activity.

The growing inequality and deprivation of the middle class and the poor, caused by a massive redistribution of wealth by tax policy over the years from Reagan to Bush II.

The Supreme Court backtracking on the Voting Rights Act guarantees after a half century, and the damage that continues to be done due to the Citizens United Case.

The rise of mean spirited, aggressive leaders including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, both Tea Party favorites who work against compromise in any form.

The Crucial Importance Of A Democratic Senate And President For The Future

The battle for Democratic control of the House of Representatives, the need to gain 17 seats, is a bitter one, with right wing groups spending millions to make sure that the Republicans keep control, and prevent any furthering of the Barack Obama agenda.

Due to the reality of gerrymandered districts, created by Republican legislatures and governors, as a result of the 2010 midterm elections, the concept of majority rule has been distorted, with Democrats winning more total votes nationally in Congressional races, but Republicans able to win a majority of seats, and oppose everything Obama wants, and cause a shutdown of the government in October.

Due to the extremism of the Republican House as a result of the “hostage” situation created by the Tea Party Movement, the 2013 session of the Congress has been the worst since records were kept in 1947, but now the “establishment” Republicans are declaring war on the Tea Party right wingers, and trying to insure that the mainstream conservatives, led by Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, will be able to control the future.

At the same time, right wing pressure groups are trying to defeat a group of conservatives in House and Senate primaries, so the civil war may give Democrats the opportunity to gain enough seats to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again in the 114th Congress of 2015-2016. That would allow the budgetary power of the House Ways and Means Committee to be back in Democratic hands, giving them the opportunity to reverse regressive policies perpetrated by Republicans since 2011.

But even more important is the keeping of a Democratic Senate majority, with the ability to get appointments of the President confirmed by a majority, rather than needing 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. This is particularly important for federal district and circuit court nominees, and for the eventual approval of Supreme Court nominees on the aging Court.

Part of this is also the need to have a Democratic President after 2016, as that reality, plus a Democratic Senate, would guarantee that social conservatism would lose out on such issues, as abortion, gay marriage, civil liberties, civil rights, and so many other issues that are crucial to the long range future of making America a nation of fairness, justice, equality, and tolerance!

The “Birthers”, Barack Obama, And Ted Cruz: Hypocrisy To The Extreme!

We are entering 2014, and the “Birther” Movement is alive and well!

One would think after five years, and the reality of Barack Obama being born in Hawaii being clear cut, that the crazies who have argued that the President is not an American born citizen, would have gone into hiding, but no such luck!

Instead, “Birthers” are promoting the idea of Texas Senator Ted Cruz being the candidate they will back for President in 2016, despite the fact that Cruz, like Obama born of an American mother, was born and lived in Alberta, Canada for four years before moving to the United States!

This is the height of hypocrisy, but really it is more than that–it is pure, unadulterated racism, clear and simple, and done without any embarrassment or apologies!

The answer should be for all of us who are sane and decent, declare that we would start a law suit to prevent Ted Cruz from being able to run for President, until and when he repudiates the “birther” movement. If he is unwilling to do so, then forfeit your right to run, Senator Cruz! You cannot have it both ways!

Congressional Session The Worst Since Records Kept In 1947!

The 113th Congress, First Session, is now over, and it is the WORST year of Congressional action since records were kept beginning in 1947!

This year’s session was truly the DO NOTHING Congress, as only 58 bills were passed, and if this was private enterprise, with the lack of action and accomplishment, the members of Congress would face being fired for incompetence,

But while there can be criticism of the Democratic controlled Senate, the House of Representatives, supposedly the “voice of the people”, since it is based on approximately equal population in each Congressional district, particularly right after the once a decade reapportionment of seats, is much more the villain, as the Tea Party Movement membership of about 50-70 members has been focused on total stalemate and gridlock, and made life hellish for traditional conservative Republicans, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner.

The budget deal in December overcame the Tea Party element, and hopefully, that is a sign of possible accomplishments in 2014, with the midterm elections coming up, but public confidence in Congress is at an all time low, and they richly deserve that condemnation!

Chris Christie’s Bully Image Not Good For A President: Tact And Diplomacy An Essential For Good Leadership!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seems to charm many people with his bluntness and candor, and many people also laugh when they see him being sarcastic and harsh in his rhetoric, but this, while entertaining to many, is NOT good for a person who wishes to become leader of the free world, and be able to deal with the multitude of crises that arise under any President.

Being a “bully” is not flattering, and Christie has demonstrated this fault innumerable times in dealing with citizens of New Jersey, the state legislature, and the news media.

Imagine this happening in dealing with foreign governments! Sure, many average Americans might say: “punch the SOB in the mouth!”, but that is NOT the way diplomacy can be done, and if Christie insults foreign leaders, rather than “control his tongue”, this could lead to war, and the loss of lives because of his temper and inability to control his public behavior.

Americans would not be laughing if Christie’s mouth and demeanor cause massive problems, and his temperamental nature could be a danger to all of us, as while it might be fine or acceptable to be that way for the Governor of New Jersey, it is totally inappropriate for the Presidency of the United States.

What American President in modern times has acted this way? NONE is the answer, not even Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, or George W. Bush, all of whom were known for some blunders in their public utterances, but NONE on the level of the ability of Christie to provoke.

So, Governor Christie, if you wish to become President, you had better start toning down right now! But seriously, we all know this is part of his public persona, so therefore, it clearly disqualifies him to sit in the Oval Office. Sorry, Chris!

Inspirational People Of 2013

In any year, there is so much to be discouraged about, so much to be shocked about, so much to be unhappy about, as we see so many examples of selfishness, greed, hatred, and prejudice in the world, not just the United States.

The concept of fairness, compassion, justice, equality, freedom is always being fought against those individuals and forces that would deny all of these basic principles of human advancement.

So on Christmas Day, it is an appropriate time to point out who has inspired liberals and progressives in the year 2013. In no special order, they include the following:

The late South African President Nelson Mandela
Pope Francis, Vatican City
New York City Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Delaware Senator Chris Coons
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley
MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow
MNBC talk show host Lawrence O’Donnell

There are others who could make this list, but this is an even dozen, a great start to a list of principled, and inspiring, people who have changed our lives in a positive fashion!

A Rare Moment Of Bipartisanship: Marsha Blackburn-Carol Maloney Promotion Of A National Women’s History Museum In Washington, DC!

Lo and behold, a sign of bipartisanship on an idea that may seem minor to the less informed, but is a wonderful idea: the establishment of a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC!

It is a pleasure to announce that Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Democratic Congresswoman Carol Maloney of New York are co-sponsoring legislation to provide for the building of one more museum in or near the Mall in Washington, DC, a museum that is urgently needed to record and commemorate the tremendous contributions and sacrifices of women in American history, who have helped to advance American democracy!

This is long overdue, as we have a national museum for Native Americans, as well as the progress on the African American museum, and a few years ago, the Museum of American Jewish History was opened in Philadelphia, and will demand a visit from this author in the spring of 2014.

There is also a Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, affiliated with the Smithsonian Museum, but there is no Museum for Asian Americans which incorporates all Asian groups.

There is a push for a National Museum of the American Latino, but there is also discussion of a National Immigration Museum, which might usurp such a initiative, as too many museums and not enough space in DC, forcing it to be elsewhere as the Jewish Museum and Japanese American National Museums already are.

Even if not all of the museums can find a home in the nation’s capital, it is important to commemorate the contributions of all of the varied groups which have made America what it is, a melting pot of the world’s ethnicities!

And while we are at it, how about a National Labor History Museum to commemorate the sacrifices of the working men and women who have made this country what it is, and deserve proper recognition as well?

Time For Gay Marriage Case Before Supreme Court, As With Interracial Marriage Case In 1967!

With recent gay marriage advancements in New Mexico and Utah, making it now a total of 18 states and Washington DC allowing same sex marriage, it is time for a case to come before the Supreme Court regarding the right of two gay men or two lesbians to be able to marry and be accepted as equal everywhere in the United States.

Just because many “religious” people, both Christian and Jewish, do not wish to accept gay marriage is not a reason to deny equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

No one is saying that any particular church or synagogue must perform gay marriages, or that everyone has to be happy and approving of such marriages.

Marriage should not be based on what others think about it, as it is a basic human right, that one has a right to be happy, to love whoever he or she chooses, and to have it acknowledged in civil law.

If one does not like gay marriage, fine, but one does not have the right to deny others because you have a problem with the lifestyle of others.

The same situation existed regarding interracial marriage, and only in 1967, in Loving V. Virginia, did the Supreme Court rule that no state or locality could ban or prevent two adults of any race from marrying.

Even back then, there were religious leaders and sects who disapproved of interracial marriage, and people were being prosecuted for trying to marry, or even living together.

Such a concept is oppressive government, and it is time for this to stop, and for all people to be given the right to do what they wish regarding relationships in their adult lives.

So Supreme Court, it is time to accept a case, maybe out of the Utah government fighting the new gay marriage edict of a federal judge, and to expand human rights, which is the whole basis of American democracy, and the sooner the better!