Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bernie’s Dissenting Votes

On 5/27/15, Derek Willis reported that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had voted the same way 93 percent of the time during the two years they shared in the Senate.
For the most part Hillary voted with an overwhelming majority of her Senate colleagues, including Republicans.  Clinton and Sanders disagreed on continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an immigration reform bill and bank bailouts during the depths of the Great Recession.
They disagreed on approving of the civilian nuclear deal we made with India in 2008, that Hillary supported.  Sanders opposed developing and deploying a defense system to stop Iranian ballistic missiles.
In 2007, Bernie Sanders voted no on six cloture votes in an attempt to block a bill that would have offered legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants and improved border security.  Hillary Clinton supported advancing that bill.
November 2008, Bernie opposed the bank bailout bill before the election, and also voted to deny the Treasury Department the ability to spend the remaining $350 billion in the troubled assets purchase program at the start of the next Congress.  Hillary supported both bills.
Clinton supported ethanol production, and backed an attempt to end a tax credit for producing renewable diesel by adding animal fat to petroleum.  Sanders and other opponents of the tax credit complained the program, would be exploited by large oil and gas companies.
Bernie Sanders voted to end consideration of three amendments relating to how Homeland Security grants were awarded that pitted small-state senators against senators representing more populous states.  Hillary Clinton favored those amendments. He was the only senator to oppose the passage of a bill to reauthorize drug and device user fees set by the Food and Drug Administration.  Sanders also opposed expanding estate tax exemptions that Clinton supported.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Speaker Paul Ryan

The following excerpt is from an article written by David Dayen entitled: “The Speaker of the House is casting his predecessor's tenure in a new light.”

“Two months ago, the Obama Administration requested $1.8 billion to fight Zika. This has gone unfulfilled, to the extent that the White House shifted $600 million from combatting the Ebola virus into anti-Zika efforts.  In other words, the administration had to raid money appropriated at a time when Congress still did its job to combat public health emergencies.  This not only risks a resumption of Ebola cases, it still leaves insufficient funds to deal with Zika.

“Ryan’s House has also failed to act on emergency funding for Flint, six months after the revelations of lead-tainted drinking water received widespread attention.  Meanwhile, it’s possible that the House will get around to voting on bills to deal with the opioid epidemic, but it’s been more than a month since the Senate passed a similar package 94-1, and the House is only now turning to it.  And since the bill includes grant programs for state and local governments, and the Freedom Caucus won’t tolerate additional funding for anything, the ultimate path forward is murky.

“These bills are crashing because Ryan won’t do what made Boehner so unpopular among the Republican House caucus: cut deals with Democrats to pass legislation that Republican factions oppose.  Boehner’s 2015 House actually found success through that kind of deal-making, with agreements on Medicare funding, highways, and education, to name a few.  But Ryan isn’t forging coalitions for bills that have the support of the majority of the House, because doing so would anger the vocal minority on the right.  Far from ‘making Congress work,’ he’s decided to make it stall.

“Congress was always going to be fairly invisible in 2016 anyway; it’s an election-year tradition. But the thing about emergencies and catastrophes is that they don’t check the electoral calendar before striking.  Millions of American citizens at risk of fiscal ruin, disease, poisoning, or addiction cannot wait for another government to provide them aid.  Ryan is failing the most basic test of governance because he’s afraid that hardcore, anti-government conservatives won’t like him for doing so.  It’s enough to make you long for the stable functionality of Boehner’s tenure.”

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Obama Visits Persian Gulf

President Obama visited Saudi Arabia to talk directly with Saudi King Salman and attempted to eased long-simmering tensions.  Then, he visited other Gulf leaders to persuade them to take a more aggressive role in stabilizing their region.
In meetings with the various Kings, Emirs and Sultans of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, Obama anticipated facing the same skepticism that had increased tensions with Saudi Arabia, specifically their fears about Iran, doubts regarding Obama's Syria strategy, and differences regarding how to fight terrorists.
The Gulf Cooperation Council summit first focused on stabilizing regional conflicts.  It was anticipated that discussion would include Yemen, where a fragile ceasefire between the government and Iranian backed rebels hasn't reduced the fighting; and Libya, where a power vacuum has led to an inflow of ISIS militants.

Obama and the Gulf leaders also focused on fighting terror and on Iran.  Following the easing of Western sanctions, Iran is being closely monitored by its Arab Gulf neighbors.

Aside from fears over the Iran deal, the Saudis are concerned about Obama's threat to veto a 9/11 lawsuit bill that would declassify pages that could shed light on their country's hand in the September 11 terror attacks. They're also monitoring our efforts to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been pressing his Gulf nation counterparts to step up their assistance to Iraq, where an American backed government is struggling to rebuild after years of war and invasion of certain regions by ISIS.

Carter encouraged Sunni-majority Gulf nations to "do more, not only militarily, as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been doing, but also politically and economically."

American officials are pressing Gulf nations to help rebuild areas of Iraq previously held by ISIS, including areas of Anbar province. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Unifying Democrats

Last night, Sanders and Clinton were competing for 384 pledged delegates.  According to a CNN estimate, Clinton was leading Sanders by 253 pledged delegates, and dominated the count among super-delegates, who also have a convention vote.
Hillary Clinton won by wide magins in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and a majority in Delaware and Connecticut.  Bernie Sanders won a majority in Rhode Island.

In her victory speech, Clinton extended an olive branch to Sanders in an effort to begin the process of unifying the Democratic Party behind her candidacy.

She announced: "I applaud Sen. Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of politics and putting greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality.  I know together we will get that done."

Clinton's wins help bolster her campaign's argument that it is time for Sanders to make a decision to stop personal and political attacks on the former secretary of state that could weaken her status in November.

Hillary took the stage to cheers at her election night headquarters in Philadelphia, the city that will host the Democratic National Convention this summer.  She declared: “With your help, we are going to come back to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention with the most votes and the most pledged delegates.  And we will unify our party to win this election and build an America where we can all rise together, an America where we lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.”

Clinton noted: “There’s much more that unites Democratic voters than divides us.  We agree that we have to bring this country together, not pull it further apart.  We agree on defending all our rights -- civil rights and voting rights, worker’s rights and women’s rights, LGBT rights and rights for people with disabilities.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Michael Cohn Suggests

The following is an excerpt from a letter to Bernie Sanders from Michael Cohn, who writes a column for the Boston Globe.
“So, mistakes have been made. Tough attacks delivered.  Feelings hurt.  It happens.  But the question now — after the walloping you took in New York and the long odds you face in the upcoming primary states – is this:  What’s your plan?
“I suppose you could really go scorched earth on Clinton and fight this out to the convention.  But why would you want to do that?  Isn’t the real target on the Republican side?  Hillary Clinton might not be your cup of tea, but surely on 100 out of 100 issues that you care about, she’d be better than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
“So here’s my suggestion: Don’t end your campaign, re-frame it.  Rather than talking about Hillary Clinton’s speech transcripts like you did yesterday in Pennsylvania, and rather than boasting about how you don’t have a Super PAC and your opponent does, focus on the issues that got you into this race in the first place.  Keep talking about inequality, reforming campaign finance, and making the rich pay their fair share, but shift the focus away from Clinton.
“Rather than raising money to run more ads that likely aren’t going to move the polling needle, start raising money for liberal Democrats in swing districts, Democrats who, with that little extra boost from your supporters, might be able to win in November.  After all, if you want a political revolution, don’t you need to elect a few more like-minded Democrats to Congress?  And with Trump as the likely GOP nominee, the chances of a Democratic wave in the House and the Senate are that much greater. Maybe focus on local races in places like Florida or Ohio or North Carolina, where Republican-dominated state legislatures are putting up restrictions on abortion rights, voting rights, and LGBT rights.  You have the megaphone and the money to get your supporters involved in the nitty-gritty of local politics that Democrats have ignored for far too long.  You want to beat the Democratic establishment?  Become the Democratic establishment.
“Rather than talking about a revolution that isn’t going to come this year, get your supporters focused on a more achievable set of goals.  You’ve accomplished so much in the past year — don’t let your pursuit of the presidency get in the way of the kind of real change that could ensure your campaign is not a footnote but a first step toward a more progressive America.”

Monday, April 25, 2016

James E. Lee

In response to complementary remarks about Hillary Clinton in an Oneonta Daily Star column written by editor Sam Pollack, James Lee of Morris wrote: “Mrs. Clinton’s sizeable reputation is that she is anything but nice, but then I’m sure there are many people who are swayed by her charisma and speaking ability.  After all, there were millions swayed by Adolf Hitler.”

Indeed, there were people swayed by Hitler, but Hillary Clinton hasn’t used Jews, very successful wealthy people, or any other minority as scapegoats to further her popularity.

Mr. Lee also wrote: “Despite her fan’s claims, she does not seem to have been successful of anything herself except riding her husband’s coat tails.”  That remark is not only untrue, it’s vindictive and hateful.

In 1995, Conservative Republican were upset that First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton would dare to give a high-profile speech about women’s rights in Beijing, China. 

In Beijing, thousands of women from all over the world converged to hear Hillary speak.  She told those attending the the United Nations Conference on Women: “It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food or drowned or suffocated or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.  It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.”    

Change is ultimately determined or obstructed by eligible voters.  That includes both those that vote and those that don’t vote.  So far by winning more primary voters than any other candidate, Clinton has demonstrated that she will be the most formidable candidate.  She has valuable experience in dealing with Republican misinformation as our First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State.

A popular Beetles song clarified: “You say you want a revolution  Well, you know  We all want to change the world

“You tell me that it's evolution...  But when you talk about destruction  Don’t you know that you can count me out

“We’d all love to see the plan  You ask me for a contribution…But if you want money  For people with minds that hate

“You say you’ll change the constitution...You tell me it’s the institution…You better free you mind instead”

Destroying Hillary’s reputation isn’t the answer, because it will take an inspired and united Democratic party to defeat the Republican candidate for president.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Just A Reminder

It’s important that voters be reminded who was to blame for the economic crisis that our country found itself when Obama was sworn in as president.

“Time” magazine issue of 2/23/09, presented a list of those responsible for that economic crisis.  Ranked at the top of their list was Angelo Mozilo the chief executive of Countrywide Financial Corporate.  Bill Clinton’s name was the only Democratic politician’s name, that appear on their list of 25.  The ranking was the consensus of opinion of 10 business and economics columnist.

Countrywide provided subprime loans for years, but began giving mortgages to people, who couldn’t pay them back and they knew very well they weren’t going to be paid back.  Countrywide was able to securitize those mortgages, by putting them in a pool and selling them almost immediately to investors around the world.  That was the chain of events that ultimately allowed there to be an enormous amount of credit, and Countrywide used that access to easy loan money to seduce people into buying houses they couldn’t afford.

Chrystia Freeland, who wrote for “Financial Times” insisted, that it wasn’t Countrywide alone, but it was part of this system, where the banks, as they did historically, no longer held the mortgage.  Therefore, the banks no longer had a direct financial incentive to care whether people were going to pay their mortgage back.

Number two on the “Times” list was former Republican Senator Phil Gramm, who was the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.  He played a leading role in writing and pushing through Congress the 1999 repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banks from Wall Street.  Furthermore, Gramm slipped the “Commodity Futures Modernization Act,” into an omnibus spending bill just as Congress headed for vacation.

In 2004, Bush’s Securities and Exchange Commission scrapped a 20-year-old rule that made banks keep a certain amount of cash on hand to cover investment losses.

The nonpartisan Wall Street Watch project revealed that deregulation was purchased by Wall Street executives, by paying politicians for unprecedented freedom from oversights of banks, security firms, private equity and hedge funds, insurance and real estate.  For 10 years, Wall Street lobbyists spent more than $5 billion to influence regulators.  In 2008, a total of 2,996 lobbyists spent $1.7 billion on direct campaign contributions.

The Dodd-Frank Act must continue to provide oversite.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

No Example

The following are excerpts from Democratic presidential debate between Clinton and Sanders on April 14, 2016.

Senator Sanders said: “Let's talk about super PACs and 501(c)(4)s, money which is completely undisclosed.  Where does the money come from?”

Secretary Clinton responded: “I'll tell you why.  President Obama had a super PAC when he ran.  President Obama took tens of millions of dollars from contributors.  And President Obama was not at all influenced when he made the decision to pass and sign Dodd-Frank, the toughest regulations...  They should have to pay up through compensation or bonuses because we have to go after not just the big giant institution, we have got to go after the people who are making the decisions in the institutions.”

CNN moderator Dana Bash asked: “Senator Sanders, you have consistently criticized Secretary Clinton for accepting money from Wall Street.  Can you name one decision that she made as senator that shows that she favored banks because of the money she received?”

Bernie Sanders responded: “The obvious decision is when the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of wall street brought this country into the worst economic downturn since the Great Recession of the '30s, when millions of people lost their jobs, and their homes, and their life savings, the obvious response to that is that you've got a bunch of fraudulent operators and that they have got to be broken up.  I introduced legislation to do that.  

“Now, Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech.  So the proper response in my view is we should break them up.”

Hillary Clinton noted: “Well, you can tell, Dana, he cannot come up with any example, because there is no example.  It may be inconvenient, but it's always important to get the facts straight.  I stood up against the behaviors of the banks when I was a senator.  I called them out on their mortgage behavior.  I also was very willing to speak out against some of the special privileges they had under the tax code.  President Obama led the effort to pass the Dodd-Frank bill.

“Now, if you're going to look at the problems that actually caused the Great Recession, you've got to look at the whole picture.  It was a giant insurance company, AIG.  It was an investment bank, Lehman Brothers.  It was mortgage companies like Countrywide.”

Friday, April 22, 2016

Experience and Compassion

The misinformed and Republican propagandist continue to deny Hillary Clinton’s achievements as First Lady, in Congress and at the State Department.  As First Lady she gave an inspiring speech in China regarding the rights of women.

According to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who supported Obama for president, the State Children's Health Insurance Program wouldn’t be in existence if the Congress didn’t have Hillary pushing for it from the White House.

In 2008, Senator Clinton voted for the Bush administrations $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).  It was a wise vote, because it helped to rescue our economy from free fall.  She argued on the floor of the Senate: "For two years, I and others have called for action as wave after wave of defaults and foreclosures crashed against communities and the broader economy."  She has also called for a tax on trading and maneuvering that puts people's retirement savings at risk.

In fact, the financial industry has supplied roughly 3.9 percent of Hillary's funding, or 7 percent if you count money from related PACs.  She has made speeches to big banks, however by no means did the bulk of her income come from those speeches.  In general, Hillary has demonstrated a willingness to work with Wall Street.  Do we really want a president who hates the engine house of our economy?

Republicans have known for a long time that Hillary is an exceptionally strong candidate, and that scares them.  They’ve developed talking points such as the e-mail scandal, and Benghazi.  Neither the e-mail problem nor Benghazi are of concern to those Democratic voters, who recognize that they’re merely Republican talking points.

Sexist comments attack Hillary’s voice, laugh, hairstyle, and pantsuits.  They criticized her for "shouting" and not smiling enough.  Those types of criticisms aren’t being made about the male candidates.

All politicians shade the truth at times, including Hillary.  Politifact has been measuring the truth-quality of statements by everyone running for president on both sides of the aisle.  Politifact regards Hillary as the most truthful of the pack, even more so than Bernie.

According to an analysis done by The New York Times, Hillary and Bernie Sanders voted the same way 93 percent of the time in the two years they served in the Senate together.

Hillary Clinton is smart, experienced, compassionate, and is much more prepared to be president than any other candidate.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

An Open Letter

The following is an excerpt from open letter, Robert Reich sent to the Republican establishment.
“You’ve invested your millions in the GOP in order to get lower taxes, wider tax loopholes, bigger subsidies, more generous bailouts, less regulation, lengthier patents and copyrights and stronger market power allowing you to raise prices, weaker unions and bigger trade deals allowing you outsource abroad to reduce wages, easier bankruptcy for you but harder bankruptcy for homeowners and student debtors, and judges who will let you to engage in insider trading and who won’t prosecute you for white-collar crimes.
“All of which have made you enormously wealthy. Congratulations.
“But I have some disturbing news for you. You’re paying a big price, and about to pay far more.
“First, as you may have noticed, most of your companies aren’t growing nearly as fast as they did before the Great Recession. Your sales are sputtering, and your stock prices are fragile.
“That’s because you forgot that your workers are also consumers. As you’ve pushed wages downward, you’ve also squeezed your customers so tight they can hardly afford to buy what you have to sell.
“Consumer spending comprises 70 percent of the American economy. But the typical family is earning less today than it did in 2000, in terms of real purchasing power.
“Most of the economic gains have gone to you and others like you who spend only a small fraction of what they rake in. That spells trouble for the economy, and for you.
“You’ve tried to lift your share prices artificially by borrowing money at low interest rates and using it to buy back your shares of stock. But this party trick works only so long. Besides, interest rates are starting to rise.
“Second, you’ve instructed your Republican lackeys to reduce your and your corporation’s taxes so much over the last three decades, while expanding subsidies and bailouts going your way, that the government is running out of money.
“That means many of the things you and your businesses rely on government to do; build and maintain highways, bridges, tunnels, and other physical infrastructure; produce high-quality basic research; and provide a continuous supply of well-educated young people, are no longer being done as well as they should. If present trends continue, all will worsen in years to come.
“Finally, by squeezing wages and rigging the economic game in your favor, you have invited an unprecedented political backlash; against trade, immigration, globalization, and even against the establishment itself.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Schuyler Bailar

Schuyler Bailar was a champion breaststroker with an excellent academic record who had numerous women's swim coaches from the Ivy League attempting to recruit her.  She decided to swim for Harvard, but last fall, Schuyler switched teams, and now swims with the men’s team.  Consequently, Harvard became the first men's Division I athletic team to include an openly transgender young man.

Before, Schuyler Bailar even learned to swim, she wasn’t a typical little girl.  In a CBS NEWS interview with Lesley Stahl, Schuyler admitted: “My parents dressed me in pink dresses and bow ties, and I had a doll.  But I don't think I was typical even then 'cause - I would like to rip them off and I didn't want to wear the dresses.”

Schuyler's parents, Gregor and Terry Bailar had simply assumed Schuyler was a tomboy who preferred short hair and hanging out with the guys.  That their daughter might be transgender never occurred to them.  Schuyler saw no choice but to try and make it work as a girl with long hair and dresses.  Her attempt it backfired, and she developed both bulimia and anorexia.

After, hearing some transgender men speak at a local church, everything started to make sense.  When her father pick her up she hugged him and started crying and sobbing.  And said: "Dad, I think I'm transgender."

The question Schuyler had for Coach Stephanie Morawski was: "Can I still swim on your team?"  In fact, the NCAA has a policy that allows for athletes who identify as male but were born female to compete on a women's team as long as they don't take male hormones.  Schuyler started making plans to live something of a double life: to be a man on Harvard's campus the next fall, but a woman on Harvard's swim team.  But, Schuyler came out as transgender on Facebook, and posted on Instagram that he had had a double mastectomy to remove the breasts he didn't want. 

Coach Morawski discussed her concerns with her colleague, Harvard men's swim coach Kevin Tyrrell, who asked: “Why doesn't he just swim for my team”  That would be allowed under NCAA rules, and he'd be permitted to take testosterone.

Before giving Schuyler the option of joining the team, Coach Tyrrell called a meeting of his swimmers to discuss what he thought would be a very sensitive issue.  They didn't see it as a big deal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baseless Attacks

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager, Robby Mook sent me the following message: “ I want to let you know about a development that just occurred, because it matters.  The tone of this primary matters, and the condition of our party at the end of it will matter as we prepare to face Donald Trump or Ted Cruz this fall.

“Earlier today, the Sanders campaign wrote a letter to the Democratic National Committee, falsely accusing us of violating campaign finance law.

“You won’t be surprised by what happened next: 26 minutes after the letter was sent, his campaign sent a fundraising email attempting to capitalize on the phony charges.

“His accusation is false.  They're questioning our joint fundraising agreement with the DNC, which allows us to support Democrats running up and down the ticket -- the same fundraising structure used by President Obama in 2008 and 2012.)

“This latest incident is part of a troubling pattern of behavior -- occurring just as Bernie’s mathematical odds of winning the nomination dwindle toward zero -- in which Sanders and his team are not just debating us on issues, but rather attacking Hillary Clinton’s character, integrity, and motivations.

“The fact that they include the Democratic Party in these charges -- an organization we want future generations of progressives to trust and support -- further confirms that the Sanders campaign has let things get out of hand in its waning days.

“To be clear, we welcome a debate on the important issues facing Americans, like how to prevent gun violence, encourage tolerance, and do more to level the playing field for Americans who are counting on us.

“But it’s hard to see how anyone -- other than Donald Trump and Ted Cruz -- benefits from this downward spiral of irresponsible and baseless attacks. Right about now is when we ought to be talking about coming together as a progressive movement, not undermining a generation of voters’ faith in the Democratic Party and in the woman who is almost certain to be its nominee.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Permit Was Denied

The TransCanada pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada's oil sands area to Texas refineries.

Last year, environmental concerns led President Obama to deny a permit to expand the Keystone pipeline.  TransCanada challenged that denial in U.S. federal court.

A leak was discovered on 4/2/16, that forced a key section of the controversial pipeline to be shut down. TransCanada initially told regulators the spill totaled about 187 gallons of oil.

TransCanada told CNNMoney that while the company has "made progress" in trying to find the source of the leak, it has "yet to pinpoint the source."  Despite that, TransCanada said the spill has been "controlled" because the pipeline was shut down immediately after it was reported and valves and pump stations were shut down remotely.  The company said visual inspections confirmed the valves were closed.

A TransCanada spokesperson claimed: "There is no significant environmental impact observed."  They admitted, that a crew of about 100 people continue to work "around the clock" with regulators at the site, which is about four miles from its Freeman pump station in Hutchinson County, South Dakota.

More recently, the company admitted to regulators the spill totals roughly 400 barrels, which is equal to about 16,800 gallons. The new oil spill estimate was based on the safe excavation of soil to expose more than 100 feet of pipe.  That estimate includes the amount of oil observed in the soil and the "potential area impacted."

TransCanada said it has "taken this incident very seriously" and continues to work with federal and state regulatory agencies.

Nevertheless, environmentalists continue to criticized TransCanada over the oil spill.  Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club wrote: “The disaster is a stark reminder that it's not a question if a pipeline will malfunction, but rather a question of when.”

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tempered By Reason

In "Losing America," Senator Robert Byrd discloses that Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz were among 18 signatures on a letter to then President Clinton in 1998, which urged a preemptive war against Saddam Hussein.  Of the eighteen signers of the letter; eleven held post in the Bush administration, when Iraq was invaded. 

Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill confirmed that ten days after Bush's inauguration the focus at the first National Security Council meeting was war with Iraq.

After 9/11, the Bush regime diverted our frustration and rage away from Saudi Muslim fundamentalist to the secular regime of Saddam Hussein.  Republicans held the White House and a majority in both houses of Congress so they got the preemptive war, that was first revealed by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.  The invasion of Iraq was fraudulently linked to al Qaeda.

After 9/11, the powerful emotions of anger, fear, and hate were not tempered by reason.  Many of us failed to recall the warning by Ann Landers: "Hate is like acid.  It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured."

New York Times columnist, "Bob Herbert wrote: “Wars are all about chaos and catastrophes, death and suffering and lifelong grief, which is why you should go to war only when it's absolutely unavoidable... Since we learned nothing from Vietnam, we are doomed to repeat it again, this time in horrifying slow-motion in Iraq."

Former Vietnam Marine turned peace activist, Carmello Bica wrote: “In war, we are conditioned to put aside the lessons of our youth, of our parents, teachers, and clergymen who stressed the importance of compassion, understanding and loving our fellow man.  We are transformed into warriors capable of unleashing untold horrors and devastation.  The legacy of war, therefore, is not of honor or glory, for such virtues can never be derived from causing the death and suffering of so many of God’s children.  War is in fact hell as is living with the memories and nightmares.”

A favorite tactic of Republican politicians continues to be fear-mongering to scare angry, frustrated and unreasonable voters.  Today, angry voters are ranting about politicians, but their emotions need to be tempered by reason.  Factual information is very important, because emotional voters tend to disregard their capacity to reason.  If they succeed in electing our next president, we’ll all suffer the consequences.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hillary’s Emails

 The Justice Department has given Clinton’s former State Department staffer Bryan Pagliano immunity for cooperating with their investigation of her emails.  He helped set up her server. 
Hillary announced: "I'm delighted that he has agreed to cooperate, as everyone else has.  And, I think that we'll be moving toward a resolution of this."
She has been attacked politically by claims, that her use of a private server made the information more vulnerable to hacks.  But, security logs turned over from the Clinton server show no obvious sign of hackings, although that alone is not definitive proof the machine wasn’t compromised. 
Nevertheless, two law enforcement officials reported, that security logs do not always tell the whole picture as an experienced hacker can remove traces after they've compromised a server.
Clinton explained: "I also know that there were reports about the hundreds of officials and the thousand emails that they were sending back and forth that have been looked at and classified retroactively.  This really raises serious questions about this whole process.
"I think Colin Powell summed it up well.  When he was told that some of his emails from more than 10 years ago were going to be retroactively classified, he called it an absurdity.  So I'm hoping that, you know, we'll get through this and then everybody can take a hard look at the inter-agency disputes and the arguments over retroactive classification."
Hillary pointed out: "Remember, I'm the one who asked that all my emails be made public.  I've been more transparent than anybody I can think of in public life.  But it's also true that when something is made public, everybody from across the government gets to weigh in, and that's what's happening here.  And we need to get it sorted out and then take action from there."

Friday, April 15, 2016

Opioid Abuse

The Obama administration is making it easier for doctors to use anti-addiction drugs in the fight against an exploding epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse.
It's part of a package of new initiatives that includes additional efforts to expand addiction treatment and increase coverage for mental health and substance abuse services.
Unintentional overdose deaths from opioids increased 14 percent from 2013 to 2014.  Every 19 minutes someone dies from an opioid overdose.  Opioids include heroin as well as prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.  Medication-assisted treatment with drugs like methadone and buprenorphine is a key component of this administration's attack on the opioid epidemic.  These drugs are used in conjunction with behavioral treatment to help manage an addict's recovery and ease withdrawal from opioid drugs.
Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policies reports: "Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorders has been a top priority for this administration.  Research shows that this approach, when combined with behavioral therapies, is more effective at sustaining recovery and preventing overdose."
There is concern that drugs like methadone or buprenorphine could lead to further addiction.  However, Caleb Banta-Green, a senior research scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington insists: "Buprenorphine and methadone cuts mortality rates (of addicts) in half.”
Currently, physicians are limited by law to prescribing buprenorphine to just 100 patients per doctor.  The White House is increasing that cap to 200 patients per doctor.
There's a limited number of doctors around the country eligible to prescribe the drug.  States and private sector groups proposed doubling the number of buprenorphine prescribing physicians over the next three years.
Reportedly, 2,200 additional physicians have committed to complete training in buprenorphine prescribing.  The number of doctors is key in the fight against an epidemic that is hitting more in rural and suburban areas, where access to treatment is limited.
It’s also been announced an additional $11 million will go toward state efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment programs, as well as another $94 million in new funding for treatment services to 271 community health centers across the country.
Other initiatives include providing an additional $11 million to increase access to naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, and a $7 million initiative by the Department of Justice toward policing and investigating heroin distribution.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Number of Delegates

On 4/1/16, Hillary Clinton was asked by Rachel Maddow: “Do you expect that Senator Sanders will still be fighting for the nomination at the convention?”

Clinton pointed out: “I'm gratified that I have more votes than anybody in this election.  Nearly nine million.  And that's a million more than Donald Trump, and it's two-and-a-half million more than Bernie Sanders.

“I have a delegate count that is a higher margin between me and Senator Sanders than it ever was between me and President Obama.  So, I think we are on a very good path to getting the nomination...  If I am fortunate enough to secure the nomination, that we will come together as a party, as I did when we ended our very tough contest, and I endorsed then Senator Obama.  I nominated him at our convention in Denver, and worked my heart out to get him elected.  Because, that's what I think you do when a primary is over.”

Maddow questioned: “Senator Sanders's campaign this week has suggested that if heading into that convention, he is behind in the pledged delegates, and even if he's behind in the popular vote, that he will still try to win the nomination at that convention by persuading super delegates to switch their allegiance to him at that point.  Is that a legitimate, reasonable, ethical way to try to get the nomination?”

Clinton explained: “I've been on the other side of this equation.  I got slightly more in the popular vote in 2008, but not in the delegates.  And so from my perspective it’s about delegates.  You have to have the right number of delegates to get the nomination.  I certainly hope that Senator Sanders and his supporters will join ranks, the way that I did with President Obama.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Biggest Farce

In 2013, Oklahoma Senator Inhofe claimed that Benghazi was the biggest cover-up in American history, and a reason to impeach President Obama.

The attack on our diplomatic facility in Libya in the fall of 2012 resulted in our ambassador and three other Americans being killed.  There were a dozen attacks on our embassies during the Bush administration.  What are the grounds for impeaching Obama, and not other presidents when it happened on their watch?

Initially, our intelligence community thought it was a spontaneous attack and have since admitted that they were wrong.  The House Select Committee on Benghazi has passed the Watergate Committee as the lengthiest investigation in congressional history.  The committee has a staff of 18 people, who are paid an average of $128,000 apiece.  Apart from harassing Hillary Clinton, that committee has nothing to report.

Career counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke who served under four presidents beginning as an analyst on nuclear weapons under Reagan and established a record for continuous service in national security policy positions, emphasized that there is nothing more that can be learn from another House committee investigation of Benghazi.  He insisted: “This has been completely examined many times.  And we shouldn’t even dignify this with pretending that it’s a serious effort.  The fact of the matter is everyone in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, knows this is a political stunt, and that’s all that it is.  It’s a political stunt using the lives of dead Americans, and there’s no reason in my mind to give the Republicans or anybody who says that this is serious any credibility whatsoever.  Just call it for what it is.”

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell said: “I think the Accountability Review Board headed by ambassador, Tom Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, whom I have a great deal of respect, have looked at Benghazi thoroughly and made their recommendations, which are being implemented.” 

Benghazi has been investigated by the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee; the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; the House Armed Services Committee; the House Foreign Affairs Committee; the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

Furthermore, the 11-hour interrogation of Hillary Clinton, by Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi last November turned out to be the biggest farce.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Understanding Foreign Policy

Donald Trump admitted that nuclear proliferation is the world's biggest challenge, but then suggested, that it may be time for Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear arsenals so the U.S. can pull back from Asia.
At the close of the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama explained: "The person who made the statements doesn't know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean Peninsula or the world generally."
The nuclear umbrella, we provide for Japan and South Korea is the cornerstones of our presence in the Asia Pacific.  The policy provided the peace, prosperity and flowing commerce, and prevented the possibilities of a nuclear escalation and conflict.
Obama noted: "You don't mess with that.  It's an investment that rests on the sacrifices that our men and women made in World War II.  We don't want someone in the Oval Office who doesn't recognize how important that is."

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida added: "It is impossible that Japan will arm itself with nuclear weapons."

Japan is the only country to experience a nuclear attack, when the U.S. ended World War II by dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and has been committed to a non nuclear defense posture ever since.
Trump also suggested redrawing from security relationships in other regions, arguing that Germany and Saudi Arabia need to do more in their own defense or pay our government more for the protection it offers.  He has proposed using nuclear weapons to put a swift and definitive end to the threat of ISIS.
The Nuclear Security Summit was the final of four Obama has held during his presidency.  It drew leaders from around the world to discuss ways to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and better secure nuclear materials, especially from the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Different Approaches

In the Democratic presidential debate on 2/11/6, Senator Sanders noted: “We have the highest rate of childhood poverty among almost any major country on Earth.  In terms of seniors, there are millions of seniors... who are trying to get by on $11,000, $12,000, $13,000 a year Social Security...

“And here’s an area where Secretary Clinton and I believe we have a difference.  I have long supported the proposition that we should lift the cap on taxable income coming into the Social Security Trust Fund, starting at $250,000.

“And when we do that, we don’t do what the Republicans want, which is to cut Social Security.  We do what the American people want, to expand Social Security by $1,300 a year for people under $16,000, and we extend the life of Social Security for 58 years.

“The wealthiest people, the top 1.5 percent, will pay more in taxes.  But a great nation like ours should not be in a position where elderly people are cutting their pills in half, where they don’t have decent nutrition, where they can’t heat their homes in the wintertime.”

Hillary Clinton insisted: “ We don’t have a disagreement.  We both believe there has to be more money going into the Social Security system.  I’m looking at a couple of different ways, one which you mentioned, Senator, but also trying to expand the existing tax to passive income that wealthy people have so that we do get more revenue into the Social Security Trust Fund.

Hillary’s different approach would expand benefits for seniors who worked at low-wage jobs, but she also wants to take care of women.

She explained: “When the Social Security program was started in the 1930s, not very many women worked.  And women have been disadvantaged ever since.  They do not get any credit for their care-taking responsibilities.  And the people who are often the most hard-hit are widows, because when their spouse dies, they can lose up to one-half of their Social Security monthly payment.  We have no disagreement about the need to buttress Social Security, get more revenue into the program.  But I want to start by helping those people who are most at risk, the ones who are cutting their pills in half, who don’t believe they can make the rent, who are worried about what comes next for them.”

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Not Qualified

On 4/1/16, Bernie Sanders was interviewed by the New York Daily News editorial board.  Transcripts of that interview clearly showed him having difficulty answering questions about foreign and domestic policy, including the implementation of his plan to reform Wall Street.

MSNBC asked Hillary Clinton if she thought Sanders was "ready to be president."  She replied:"I think he hadn't done his homework and he'd been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions.  Really what that goes to is for voters to ask themselves can he deliver what he's talking about."

On 4/6/16, Bernie Sanders claimed:"Secretary Clinton appears to be getting a little bit nervous.  And she has been saying lately that she thinks that I am 'not qualified' to be president.  Well, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don't believe that she is qualified, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds.  I don't think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.

"I don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq.  I don't think you are qualified if you have supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent paying jobs.  I don't think you are qualified if you've supported the Panama free trade agreement, something I very strongly opposed and, which as all of you know, has allowed corporations and wealthy all over the world people to avoid paying their taxes to their countries."

In response, Brian Fallon a campaign spokesman for Clinton tweeted: "Hillary Clinton did not say Bernie Sanders was 'not qualified.'  But he has now - absurdly - said it about her.  This is a new low."

In the Daily News interview, Sanders also said that he didn’t see any reason for the parents of children massacred at Sandy Hook in Connecticut should be able to sue the gun makers. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Mayor de Blazio

For decades, the parents of young African-American men have trained their children to be cautious if they encounter law enforcement authorities.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he and his wife long ago began advising their biracial son, Dante, to obey officers’ commands, should they ever question him.
Mayor de Blasio insisted: “There’s that fear that there could be that one moment of misunderstanding with a young man of color, and that young man may never come back.  That’s what parents are so worried about.
“We have to have an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism.  We knew, sadly, there was a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.  It’s different for a white child.  That’s just the reality in this country.”  
The Mayor was responding to the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, who was black and unarmed.  He died after being placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo, who is white, on a street corner in Staten Island.  Several officer were trying to arrest Garner for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.  The scene that was captured on video showed Garner saying 11 times, “I can’t breathe.”  A week earlier, a St. Louis grand jury chose not to charge criminally police officer Darren Wilson, for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Mayor de Blasio had promised to ensure a fair and justified outcome in the Garner case.  During the interview with George Stephanopoulos, he didn’t comment on the judicial process, but instead spoke about improving relations between the police department and community.  The mayor said he respects the judicial process and the reality that both the federal government and NYPD had started civil rights and administrative investigations.
Patrick Lynch, chief of the NYPD union, accused the Democratic mayor of “throwing (police officers) under the bus.”  However, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton insisted that de Blasio is “very supportive” of the city’s officers.
The reason African-Americans turn out in huge numbers to vote for Hillary Clinton, in those states that have a large population of African-Americas, is that they trust her more than Bernie Sanders to deal with what appears to be racially motivated killings by police that have frequently been occurring.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Ignoring Reality

How can Hillary Clinton compete in the primaries, with a person, who pledges to provide free college tuition, more Social Security benefits, no increase in middle class taxes, free health-care for everyone, which will be paid for by our government?

No one person can beat a Republican candidate for president, because it will take an inspired political party to defeat the Republican candidate.  

Change is ultimately determined or obstructed by eligible voters.  That includes both those that vote and those that don’t vote.  So far by winning more primary voters than any other candidate, Clinton has demonstrated that she will be the most formidable candidate.  She has valuable experience in dealing with Republican misinformation as our First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State.

It was Hillary Clinton’s party that produced Roosevelt’s New Deal, a progressive income tax, Social Security, anti-poverty programs, civil rights, and health-care.  In every case, congressional Democrats had to battle Republicans.  Historically, it has always been a tough fight.  Today, the Democratic party will need 60 votes in the Senate, and 218 in the House to get anything done.

Lasting change starts at the state level, because Republican governors and state legislators have and will continue every 10 years to gerrymander House districts, so that it’s very difficult for worthy Democratic candidates to get elected.    

Bernie Sanders has never been a Democrat.  He ignores the reality, that he’ll need Democratic Senators, and Representatives in the House to accomplish what he claims that he’d do if elected.  The voters backing Bernie Sanders need to recognize how our democratic process works.  A revolution isn’t going to happen.  In fact, there is going to be an election and an inauguration of a new president.  That president will have to deal with a Congress to get anything accomplished.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Clinton’s Concerns

After the Wisconsin primary election, a CNN delegate estimate showed Hillary Clinton with 1,780 delegates.  Of which 1,297 are pledged, and 483 are super delegates.  Bernie Sanders trails her with 1,068 pledged, and 31 super delegates.  A total of 2,383 delegates are needed to win the Democratic nomination.

Hillary declined to echo the calls from some of her campaign supporters for Sanders to drop out of the race so she could focus on the general, by announcing: “I wouldn't ask him to and my campaign is not asking him to.” 

She expressed her concerns about comments Bernie made in a lengthy interview he gave the New York Daily News in which he struggled to answer how he would break up big banks, and defend his position that surviving family members of the Sandy Hook victims shouldn’t be allowed to sue gun manufacturers.

Clinton commented:"If you're concerned about income inequality and holding the banks accountable, you have to know how it works and what you have to do to make it work."

Hillary noted: "When it comes to guns we have a really serious difference and I was appalled that Sen. Sanders said he really didn’t see any reason for the parents of the children massacred at Sandy Hook in Connecticut to even be able to try to sue the gun makers."

Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager warned: "Don't destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary's ambitions to become president of the United States." 

When asked about that comment, Hillary explained: "It is just ludicrous on the face of it.  I have been campaigning for Democrats, fundraising for Democrats, recruiting for Democrats to run and win for a about 40 years.  Bernie Sanders, by his own admission, has never even been a Democrat.  I understand they're getting anxious.  But they need to be thoughtful about what they do say because at the end of the day, we need a Democratic president to succeed President Obama and to protect and further the progress that we've made under his eight years in office."

Bernie Sanders unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 1971 as a member of Liberty Union party.  And in 1981, he successfully ran for mayor of Burlington, Vermont as an independent.  At times, he has identified as a democratic socialist.  Sanders did listed the Democratic Party as his party affiliation in his statement of candidacy for his presidential run.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Remaining Republican Candidates

Obviously, there is a lot of disagreement going on among elected Republican officials, party leaders, and voters.  They’re having a difficult time sorting out, who they want as their presidential candidate.  A close examination of what those candidates have stood for reveals that they’re much closer in their ideology, than those hostil remarks made towards each other suggests.

The Democratic nominee will need to be prepared to take on the eventual GOP nominee’s position on the economy, because we can’t go back to trickle-down economics that doesn't work.

The Democratic nominee should also be prepared to prevent congressional Republicans from repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.  Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders said that he’d start over.

The remaining Republican nominees have very strong positions, when it comes to ideology and issues.  They are peddling the same failed policies Republican politicians have stood for the last 40 years.  Whoever emerges as the Republican nominee isn’t going to be the type of person that our county needs.  Our next President will have to produce positive results in peoples' lives, by starting with good jobs and rising incomes.

As commander in chief, our next President will need to keep us safe, and demonstrate strong, effective, smart American leadership in the world.  There is no evidence that any of the remaining candidates on the Republican side can bring our country together.  

Donald Trump is the Republican frontrunner.  He presents himself as a different kind of Republican.  The budget he has presented would throw our federal government into a huge deficit hole, and increase the national debt beyond anybody's wildest imagination.  He is also commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Trump would solve our undocumented immigrant problems by deporting over 11 million people.  His personality, divisiveness and the way that he expresses himself appeals to many Republican voters.  They don’t seem to have a problem with labeling Mexicans as rapists and criminals.  Insulting women, or barring all Muslims from coming to the United States.

Those kind of remarks aren’t actually different from those that some Republican politician have been repeatedly expressing, campaigning on, and winning elections on for years.  The Republican party is responsible for creating the environment for Trump to emerged as a frontrunner.  His abrasive personality and candid remarks appeal to many Republican voters, who strongly agree with Trump and the belligerent tone that Republican politicians have encouraged for decades. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Successful Foreign Policy

Hillary Clinton will basically continue the same foreign policy, that we saw from the Obama administration because it has worked.
She’ll focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda, because she realizes, that instability in the Middle East will continue for decades in many parts of the world.  Afghanistan, Pakistan, as well as parts of Central America, Africa and Asia could eventually become safe havens for new terrorist networks. Desperate people in those parts of the world will look to America to help solve their problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet-bomb civilians.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton learned that patient diplomacy and a disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power is the smartest approach.  America will always have the option of acting alone if necessary, to protect our people and allies; but on issues of global concern, we’ll attempt to persuade other countries to work with us, and make sure, that they pull their own weight.
Under Hillary Clinton our approach to conflicts like Syria will continue to be partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help those broken society reach a lasting peace.
Hillary knows the value of developing a global coalition, because she initiated the sanctions to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.  Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and nuclear war seems to have been avoided.
She witnessed how we stopped the spread of Ebola in West Africa, by using our military and doctors to set up a foothold that allowed other countries to join us in stamping out that epidemic.
She recognizes the reasons President Obama shaped the Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets, protect workers and the environment, while advancing American leadership in Asia.  It cuts 18,000 taxes on products Made in America, and supports more good jobs.  TPP ensures that China doesn't set the rules in that region.  Congress needs to approve that agreement, and give our next president the tools to enforce it.
Clinton acknowledged that fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, and set us back in Latin America.  Restoring diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, and positioned our country to improve the lives of the Cuban people.  If congressional Republicans wants to consolidate our leadership in his hemisphere, they should lift that embargo.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Computer Security

Our federal government has been working to secure its systems after a series of embarrassing high-profile breaches, including an attack at the Office of Personnel Management that left the information of 20 million current and federal employees vulnerable.  Our government's top cybersecurity experts insist new steps are essential.
After high-profile hacks of government data at various agencies, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a federal privacy council to ensure all of the administration's branches are using the best, most secure practices when safeguarding individual employees' information, as well as government data.
He convened a meeting of his national security team, supplemented by top cybersecurity advisers to discuss these new initiative.  Obama is insisting that we increase the security of all our federal government's computer and data systems.
Obama explained:"One of the biggest gaps between the public sector and the private sector is in our information technology space.  And it makes everyone's information vulnerable."  He described the systems providing the technological underpinning for Social Security and other programs "archaic."
It doesn't matter if there's a Democratic president or a Republican president, if the old computers, mainframes, software doesn't work anymore it's not going to make the system safe.
In his annual budget proposal, Obama included $19 billion for bolstering cybersecurity in the federal government, including $3.1 billion to replace outdated information systems that are difficult to secure.
The White House has conducted a systematic review of where the government can reduce its use of Social Security numbers as identifiers of citizens.  Obama's plan includes increasing training and recruiting programs for the federal government to attract experts in preventing cyber breaches.
Most of the proposal Obama has requested will require Congress to sign off.  He has already discussed the cybersecurity initiative with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Brent Brown

Brent Brown wrote the following to the President Obama regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.
“I sincerely hope that this reaches you, as far too often praise is hard to come by.  Apologies to people who deserve it perhaps even less so.
"I did not vote for you.  Either time.  I have voted Republican for the entirety of my life.  I proudly wore pins and planted banners displaying my Republican loyalty.  I was very vocal in my opposition to you -- particularly the ACA.  Before I briefly explain my story allow me to first say this: I am so very sorry.  I was so very wrong.
"You saved my life, and I am eternally grateful.  I have a pre-existing condition and so could never purchase health insurance.  Only after the ACA came into being could I be covered.  Put simply to not take up too much of your time if you are in fact taking the time to read this: I would not be alive without access to care I received due to your law. Thank you for serving me even when I didn't vote for you. Thank you for being my President.  Honored to have lived under your leadership and guidance.”
Brent Brown has explained: “Before the Affordable Care Act, I was unable to pay for an incredibly expensive drug that helps to stabilize my condition.  So, because I was too poor to pay thousands of dollars for medicine every few weeks, my hospital trips were emergency ones, to keep me from dying.  There was absolutely no hope and I was quickly running out of money.
“I, like many fellow patients, was stuck between paying what I couldn't afford and going without the health care I needed.
“Then the President signed this bill.  I was against it at first - very against it. But with the Affordable Care Act, I was finally able to receive the quality of care that had eluded me for years.  I was able to consult the top surgeon in my state for the particular surgery I needed.  I was able to receive the stabilizing drug that was always hidden behind a doctor's apology: ‘I'm sorry, Mr. Brown, we have to take your financial consideration into account.’  I was able to stay at one of the best equipped hospitals in my state for as long as I needed, without having to worry about checking myself out early because of cost concerns.  I had hope.”

Saturday, April 02, 2016

During My Lifetime

During my lifetime Democratic presidents have been dedicated to helping people in need.

Franklin Roosevelt signed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, (FDIC) which has successfully secured bank deposits for generations of Americans.  In 1935, he signed the Social Security Act.  FDR became president in 1933.  Unemployment had reached 24.9 percent, but by 1936 it had dropped to 17.0 percent.  The Republican policy of less government and tax cuts wouldn’t have end the Great Depression, build the atomic bomb or won WW II.

Truman’s Fair Deal expanded Social Security, instituted a full-employment program, and urged Congress to approve the Marshall Plan.  That plan reduced communist influence in Western Europe.  The popularity of the European communist parties faded and the trade relations forge by the North Atlantic alliance persisted throughout the Cold War.

On June 11, 1963, before President Kennedy was assassinated, he called for a civil rights bill.  Eventually, legislation that outlawed discrimination and ended racial segregation was signed into law by LBJ.

President Johnson was responsible for designing the “Great Society” legislation that provided for Civil Rights, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, and aid to education.

The 10 principles President Carter proposed for a national energy plan was opposed by the oil and gas industry.  Reagan ignored the 10 principles Congress had approved and terminated Carter’s programs.

President Clinton’s administration created jobs, that significantly reduced unemployment and brought about a budget surplus.

President Obama signed the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and for 6 consecutive years, we’ve been adding private-sector jobs.  The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.0 percent.  He rescued America’s auto industry when it was on the brink of extinction, and signed Wall Street, credit card, and student loan reforms.  

Today, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Acts, 90 percent of Americans have health insurance. 

Friday, April 01, 2016

April Fools

Regarding Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren explained: “These are both people who basically deny the legitimacy of their opponents.  They go on the attack.  They demean millions of Americans.
“That’s what identifies them as extremists and why Republicans in the Senate are breaking apart over this.  And yet, what have Republicans in the Senate been doing since the very day that Barack Obama was sworn in?  They have given in to their extremists.  In fact, they have nursed their extremists along, so that there have been fights and delays, over the basic things that happen in government.
“So, the president tries to get his team out.  And first thing that happens is the Republicans in the Senate want to shut it down.  They don’t want anybody to go forward to be the head of the National Labor Relations Board. 
“They don’t want anybody to be appointed to the head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Because they don’t want the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be able to function.
“They don’t want a secretary of labor.  They don’t want anybody confirmed over the Environmental Protection Agency.  They don’t want the president of the United States to be able to fill any of the three vacancies then on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important court in
the United States. 
“It’s not about problem with a particular nominee.  What they were trying to do was effectively deny the legitimacy of this president, try to shut down the government, try to keep it from functioning.
“Seven years, they did it.  And now, they’ve got the biggest one of all, a vacancy in the United States Supreme Court.  Notwithstanding what it says in the Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, the president shall nominate with the advice and content of the Senate.  Notwithstanding the oath they took, they say: ‘I don’t care who you bring us, we’re not going to hold hearings and we’re not going to hold a vote on anyone.’
“In other words, no legitimacy for you, the president of the United States.  All I can say is that’s what constituted extremism in the United States Senate.  That’s what has nursed what’s going on now in the presidential primaries.  They are paying the price for their own extremism.”
Senate Republican may endup with a presidential nominee who is so extreme that they’ll loose their majority.