White House Diaries by Jimmy Carter, have you read it? I just recently completed the book with the self-explanatory title. But just for clarity, the book a diary that Carter kept while in the White House. He does write some explanations or expounds on some entries that are italicized. For those who are interested in history, I would recommend it highly. For those who believe “history repeats itself” then it is a MUST READ. I am old enough to remember the gas-lines, rationing of gas (odd/even days) and the hostage crisis. That along with the high unemployment and inflation is what most people believe was all Jimmy Carter’s time in office was. Or a failure.
One of the first things that jumped off the pages was Carter’s statement about Congress, “a dysfunctional group that doesn’t get anything done.” Does this sound familiar? The current approval rating of Congress in 2015 stands at 15%. He mentions this quite often in different ways throughout the book. Carter’s entries on the Camp David Accords is quite detailed and a highlight of his presidency. We also learn in these entries “who really was holding up Middle-East peace. And who continues to hold up the peace.
Where the White House Diaries become’s a must read is the positions taken by President Carter on the economy. Especially in regard to a responsible budget that should be balanced. The fight within his own party to spend, spend spend, (Ted Kennedy D-Mass.). The bi-partisan approach toward getting bills passed. Bi-partisan, which today is relegated to lip service. (The balanced-budget approach, three key words coming from Republican’s in all ranks today.)
The diary entries at the end of Carter’s first and only term are extremely interesting for the Ronald Reagan lovers. This I will not divulge as I found them remarkably candid and also disappointing.
Many “those in the press” and some polls believe President Carter was the worst president of the modern era. Do you believe so? After reading his diary entries you might think differently.
With the last debate in the primary cycle in the rear view mirror, ‘who’s your pick?’ Money buys elections and Tom Wolf is sitting at the top of the heap heading into the Democratic primary.
Don’t believe the ads! While the low information voter might rely on them, we certainly should know that they are chock full of B.S. The attacks on Wolf, the most misleading, with the emphasis on Wolf “THE TAX COLLECTOR”, who allegedly raised taxes by 17% in PA. Wolf who worked under Governor Rendell was in fact the tax man, though not responsible for the proposed 1% tax hike, that was Rendell. But the emphasis in the ad, heck who likes the man with the label “tax-collector?” The other label appropriately applied to Wolf, “millionaire”.The way it is used in the ads, the same way used by democrats to frame the Republican Party. Millionaire equals EVIL, yes?
Whether Wolf is your pick or not, the ads against him are strong, pointed and with little accuracy. Why did we pick out Wolf and the ads against him? Isn’t that where all the focus is? Afterall, he is rich, has bought tons of ad time and he is way ahead. Putting him on the radar of Republicans for general election time. Low information voters, that is who put him in the lead in the polls, only appropriate they believe the nonsense against Wolf now.
“Change” overused in politics and most, if not all times a lie. Yet it is a word that we the voters tend to perk our ears up at and pay attention. So when I heard Bernie Sanders stated to The Nation on March 6, 2014 he was “prepared to run for President of the United States in 2016″, the first word that came to my mind was change. Sanders would be a huge departure from the norm of presidential hopefuls. For one Sanders is popular! Popular with his constituency Sanders was reelected in 2012 with 71% of the vote. This doesn’t mean his state popularity will correlate in a national landslide but considering the overall popularity toward Washington politicians? Sanders has this advantage over most if not all potential candidates.
Campaign finance being more transparent, Sanders was a supporter of the DISCLOSE ACT (s.3628-Senate) Amending the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, prohibiting foreign influence in Federal elections. Introduced in 2010 in response to Citizens United it would ban corporations with 20% foreign ownership from influencing elections. Also important the Act would have given citizens access to corporate and interest group election spending. The bill failed in a cloture vote in September 2010 59-39 . It clearly shows Sanders is different from most politicians.
Checking the record: Sanders has a substantial voting record for us to determine if he is “your candidate” or mine. ontheissues.org is where I read up on Sanders and where he has voted on issues. The site also provides some information on what groups like the NRA, AFL-CIO and others rank him. Without taking the information to full detail, the NRA ranks Sanders an “F” voting for controls and limits on guns. The AFL-CIO ranks Sanders at 100%. So one can say with some confidence that Sanders would be good for the worker. Sanders has supported union voting by card check instead of secret ballot. Stronger enforcement against gender based pay discrimination. And in 2006 to allow for an Air Traffic Controllers Union (see to refresh your memory if needed http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5604656
Jobs: Free-trade? We have learned through the North American Free-Trade Act that nothing is free. Sanders has consistently voted against such agreements. Voting “NO” on free-trade with Peru, the Central America Free-Trade Act , free-trade with Singapore, Australia and Chile.
Sanders and Social Security, currently he has legislation proposed that would protect SS until 2038. He wants to do this by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same as those paying the payroll tax up to $106,800 a year. Sanders proposal follows through on President Obama’s 2008 election promise.
Putting in the hours? December 2010 Sanders took to the Senate floor to speak against the President and Republicans tax-cut plan. For 8 hours Sanders spoke of the ill’s of Wall-Street, bad trade deals and taxes. Moving on to reading letters of opposition from constituents devastated by the Great Recession. “China, China, CHINA!and the $14 trillion in debt being financed through government bonds being bought by them. If you think this was a filibuster it wasn’t. The vote was on its way under a bi-partisan deal. So why did Sanders and some of his colleagues who briefly spoke during these 8 hours do it? One would believe (and should) that Sanders was standing up for the people, the poor and middle-class who were not benefiting under this bi-partisan tax agreement. To quote Sanders, “I’m not here to set any great records or to make a spectacle. I am simply here today to take as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides.”
On Energy: The Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) in 2006 ranked Sanders at 100% indicating support for Energy Independence, a subject that would appeal to Republicans? They do seem to talk about it often and in the last election (Newt Gingrich)
Covering some of the issues,Taxes, Energy, America’s Workers, Guns/Gun Control and Campaign finance is Sanders my candidate or yours? We are a long way off so we have plenty of time as does Sanders (he hasn’t officially announced). We will dig further into Sanders while we wait to see if he decides to run and what other names get thrown out as potential candidates. We are in our vetting process at DMC, so far we have interest in Bernie Sanders and officially dismissed Ted Nugent. http://defenderofthemiddleclass.com/ted-nugent-for-president-the-stupid-sure-shows-up-early
Lies, how can “WE THE PEOPLE” sniff out the bull that comes out of politicians and the media (FOX) who serve them. The loudest/consistent, seem to prevail far too often. We can view the recent Volkswagen union vote as the most recent example of how misinformation stated loudly and often wins. From the Tennessee Governor to Senator Corker (whose statements on investment in VW were lies proven by VW officials) We the People cannot continue to accept this insidious behavior by those elected to represent us.
It all begins with money and how this money influences what comes out of the politician’s pie holes. In Senator Corkers case, $14 million to his 2012 election. Who is giving him the money? BUSINESS, Investment, Finance the largest of contributors to the tune of $4 million. Health Care, Lawyers and the list continues on with other business sectors taking him to his final totals. Labor, (I cannot believe it!) also contributed to his campaign, a mere $15,000. A paltry amount but still more than a dime and whoever they were deserve a boot in their ass! So when Senator Corker steps up making comments/lies against unionization, clearly money has driven his decision. Not unique to Corker I will add. So why are we listening? Is it a lack of information? The numbers are easy to find http://www.opensecrets.org/races/sectors.php?cycle=2012&id=TNS1&spec=N
In the aftermath of the VW vote, we have Fox reporting and using all the right words (again). “If I voted for the union I would be taking a pay-cut” a Fox statement allegedly from a no voter. Unsupported by a name or face, just a statement meant to deceive. First and foremost once a petition for union representation is made your wages and benefits are frozen at your current level, making cuts illegal! Not the message Fox is making is it? What can happen in negotiations? That would be up to the workers and what they are willing to accept from the employer, making a pay-cut, pay raise or freezing wages a decision of all the workers! Also a decision that none of these VW workers will be making now or in the near future. They are at the mercy of VW and whatever they decide for each worker individually.
The bottom line of the above, simply listening to politicians and news broadcasters and formulating your decisions from these sources will result in? Our continued down-slide. The misinformation from the Right-Wing and their media whores is consistent and loud ; influencing far too many of us to make bad decisions.
As expected a debt deal has been reached in the eleventh hour by the useless in Washington. The deal that we all knew would come, a brief deal that will have the same cast of clowns arguing again when the new year begins. The temporary raising of our debt limit was also bought by the Democrats who gave away $3 billion in pork to Senator McConnell. Was it not the point of the GOP in shutting down the government to also get “spending under control?” Apparently values do not matter in the end and if you can’t win get a “kickback” to take back home.
What should be learned from this ridiculous failed plan of the GOP is that in the end they are not serious in their positions and can be bought. The future fight, will be the same. Continuing their lie of fiscal responsibility. It is time for the party of “NO” to begin to find politicians who are not full of shit.
Government shutdown, debt ceiling, Congress got you down? With congressional approval in the single digits it is safe to say America is disgusted with Washington. One might think, “I can’t wait to vote them bums out!” This is easier said then done, as we all know money is behind why these “bums” continue to get re-elected despite low approval. But first we must have viable candidates to run against the incumbents and even a candidate!
Republican John Boehner the Speaker of the House and probably the least approved congressional member in America has got it damn GOOD. And in all likelihood not going away any time soon. Yes his $22 million campaign war chest certainly helps but his congressional district will make him the Strom Thurman of Congress if he desires. The 2012 re-election of John Boehner was his easiest yet, no Democratic challenger. The only votes cast against Boehner, 62write in votes for James Condit.
To oust Boehner from Congress finding a candidate that will appeal to voters will not be easy. The demographics are in Boehner’s favor, a median income of $43,753 and 90.4% white are daunting for any Democrat to succeed. History pretty much gives any election to a Republican in Ohio’s 8th district. Not since 1936 when Thomas B. Fletcher won over Grant E. Mouser by less-then 7000 votes has a Democrat won. For Boehner it has been rather easy as only his first election win was close, winning by 36,000. Which makes one wonder, why the big campaign war chest? It certainly not needed to win the 8th seat. But helpful in winning the most important seat in the House of Representatives.
To win back America we must win in Congress. Taking on each seat with strong candidates that will appeal to the VOTERS. In Boehner’s case finding a candidate needs to be the start. Giving up on seats because history tells us the task will be difficult is a poor plan by the Democrats. We cannot take back America focusing only on swing districts and ones that are friendly to our cause. The word hostagehas been tossed around and applicable to Ohio’s 8th Congressional District. With about 650,000 residents America’s being held hostage by a small population and by Democrats unwillingness to take on history.
Who is responsible for the government shutdown, Republican’s, Democrats, Tea Party Republicans or President Obama? Depending on the media source you follow the answer, any of the above. The politics driving the shutdown center squarely on Obama-care and the implementation of the program. “President Obama needs to be the adult in the room” (Fox), a fantastic line used to move the blame for the shutdown is one of the many lines used by both parties in the blame game. The blame can squarely be laid on all of the above, with the exception of Obama who is the “adult in the room.”
It is all about the votes and maintaining their jobs in both houses of Congress. While these parasites continue to collect a check, over 400,000 are not. While the military academy’s cancel some sporting events and making news for playing others (football), paychecks for Congress keep coming. Is there a question at what is driving Boehner and his lack of leadership to get a bill passed in both houses? The fight was lost on the issue of Obama-Care and the time to move beyond the issue has long passed. With the debt ceiling on the horizon (October 17) will the Republican’s and Tea Party continue on with their self-interest? Only time will give us the answer but make no mistake, the shutdown and our potential default is only about getting re-elected.
The clock is ticking on the do nothing Republican controlled Congress. What is at stake is the paychecks of 800,000 federal workers and 1.4 million military personnel. The effect it will have on our economy will be slow and depending on how long it lasts potentially devastating. Closures of state parks and limited services in government, also an economic negative. Obama-Care is the issue of Republicans but is it worth risking another recession? Or is it worthy risking the fragile economies of each of these 2.2 million that will lose their pay while Republicans play their game. Republicans are putting the American people in this position because they cannot win at the polls. Lies that the majority of Americans want repeal, one must ask, “if this was the case how did President Obama get re-elected 11 short months ago?”
Your vote counts, so when midterm elections come keep this day in mind.
Taxation without representation, the origin of the American Revolution. Today these words seem applicable to Washington. The threat of a government shutdown (again) by Republican politicians who simply do not get it. Those on the right who continue to throw out poll numbers stating that “Americans do not support health care” in their effort to keep funding away from the health care mandate are playing a dangerous game. The game is risk of default on our debt obligations and the impact it will have on our economy. But what of the politician? The game certainly does not hold the same risk as most have the benefit of money and our RICH.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the line in the Declaration of Independence “..all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” did he have this in mind? Equality in America today does not exist in economics. The Supreme Court ruling that gave us Citizens United has possibly forever changed the meaning of the word “men”. Business and their lobby’s have become living breathing entities. With this, politicians (ALL parties) now put all their efforts into supporting these giants. Representing business with little to no taxes taken, we can coin a new phrase “Representation without taxation”.
Washington DC is the modern-day equivalent of the British government. Taxing its citizens with no benefit. The claims by the right-wing that we are becoming a socialist society lack any real substance, but they are effective. Why is the richest nation in the world struggling to feed their own people? By their own hand with policies that do not treat everyone equal. We are dangerously close to a two-class society created by legislation, Supreme Court rulings and taxation. The little representation that comes out of Washington benefits only one being which is Corporate America.
Is America on the path to a revolution? If the government shuts down and default on debt obligations occurs the next revolution should be at the voting booths. “Men” as written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence did mean living people. Despite Citizens United, businesses still cannot cast a ballot, at least not yet.
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.” (Luke 16:9-22 a)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Washington Republicans (the party of religion) continued with their assault on America last week. The passage of legislation that would eliminate funding for health care as part of continuing to fund government operations into next year. This has ZERO chance of passage in the Senate. So as symbolic as it may be, it does show what the party of business and the 1% are thinking.
Along party lines (with the exception of 15 Republicans) the House voted to cut $4 billion a year over the next ten years to the nations food stamp program. The bill would allow for states to put new work requirements in place for food stamp recipients. The bill also would end government waivers that allowed for “able- bodied” adults to receive food stamps indefinitely. Republicans have said the program has doubled over the past five years and now has 47 million Americans on its rolls.
Republican’s in Washington (clothed in fine linen) continue to attack Americans (Lazarus) while no attempts are made to aide in improving our future. Trickle down economics (scraps from the table) continue to be the Republican’s economic platform. When will the people learn? Hopefully before they are rewarded in heaven for their spirit.
The DOGS, would be all the politician’s, who feast on our plight by collecting a salary (while screwing us) off those of us lucky enough to pay taxes.
The future of America rests in the hands (currently at least) of politicians who do not seem to be concerned with anything other than their own agenda. With little getting done “We the Peasants” are being left behind in our economy, few good jobs and health care that is out of reach for many of us. But what is more appalling, it is being done under a haze of deceit. The deceit that I am referring to is what politicians ( the GOP is leading the way) claim to stand for. Religion, is what far too many of these politicians claim to be their foundation. They stand by this broad labeling hanging on to the issues of abortion and marriage as if they were the only two issues that are important to religion and our society. Lost to their minds are the teachings of the past because they do not stimulate business profits, which equates to campaign contributions and contributions to the wealth of the Top 1%.
April 1963, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), the encyclical letter issued by Pope John XXIII that largely enforced the American Bill of Rights. The letter a civil liberties lesson that can be said was largely ignored in America by the looks for our current state. “The right to seek truth and to freely express and communicate opinions” just might be the lone piece of the letter that has worked out in America. Ones that did not, economic rights. The right to a living wage, to sufficient food, to adequate housing, to medical care, social security in sickness and old-age and unemployment insurance.
The battle to keep health care reform (Obama-care) from being funded, millions are being spent to misinform the public. While the Republican Party works on the taxpayer dime to keep funding away from a program that could provide health coverage for all. Since it was signed into law, Republicans have attempted to repeal it 38 times. Is it safe to say that the re-election of President Obama in 2012 should have closed the door on this subject?
Living Wages> $7.25 an hour is the federal minimum wage. In 1963 the minimum wage stood at $1.25 an hour. Today we have protests by the people attempting to move this number higher. While the people are speaking, the politicians are not listening. Back in February President Obama proposed increasing the minimum wage to $9.00. It was quickly rejected by House Speaker John Boehner (R) “…why would we make it harder for employers to hire people?” Boehner’s statement came in less-than 12 hours.
Social Security> calls for reform by both parties has put this program in the cross-hairs for cuts. Calling it unsustainable, reducing what future retirees will receive has our future looking very poor. That is if you are to consider that one, defined benefit pensions are going the way of the dinosaur. And two, saving vehicles for the retiree earn little money which will keep your retiree dollars in riskier investments.
Poverty> In July 2012 the Huffington Post wrote a piece that stated 80% of U.S. adults face near-poverty related to unemployment and reliance on welfare. Good manufacturing jobs are few. The increasing globalization of the economy another factor in the decline of America and achieving the American dream.
If you are one to vote for politicians based off of their moral beliefs, that is what they are stating they are, you should be looking into their voting record. Mere statements of religious belief or covering the two-talking points , abortion and marriage is nowhere near enough. It has been 50 years since the Vatican and Pope John XXIII called for economic equality. Were the politicians of the time listening? It wouldn’t seem that they were and it is clear today’s politicians have no idea that Pope John XXIII existed.
“You’d have to be stupid to do that”, Governor Christie 9/2011. This direct quote from Christie in 2011 on why would you go to the desert in the summer. With a little time Governor Christie has found himself in Las Vegas in the desert and it is summer. While the former Christie would not be calling today’s Christie stupid and here is why.
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are hosting a private fundraiser for Christie gubernatorial re-election. Why all the way out in the desert? Doesn’t New Jersey have the #2 gambling city in the nation? Sure they do but it is not #1 as the Adelson’s require for a presidential campaign event ( or at least a send out your feelers). Testing the water where there is none, Christie is getting himself ready for the 2016 election. Why else would he be there? And also why would he be launching attacks against Kentucky Senator Rand Paul? To answer the second question Paul was in Vegas last month.
The bankruptcy filing of Detroit, the largest municipal filing in United States history with more to come. Who is to blame can be decided by what came first, not the largely GOP view that public pensions are behind the bankruptcy. The chicken or the egg? Acting off this question cities and states around our country must decide and appropriately respond so to avoid following the path of Detroit.
Detroit’s decline some say began decades ago in the 1950’s when jobs began to migrate to the suburbs. Losing nearly 150,000 jobs in the 1950’s primarily in the auto industry Detroit was a victim of consolidation and closures of manufacturers (Packard, Hudson and Studebaker). Lost jobs equates to lost tax revenues that have steadily continued along with a shrinking population. More-than 1 million residents (and tax-payers) have left Detroit since the population peak of 1,850,000 in 1950.
The decline of jobs, population and tax money might just be considered the “Big Three”. Which is not unlike what many cities around the United States have and are continuing to experience. On the East Coast Philadelphia is failing under similar circumstances and while the GOP looks to blame “pensions and unions” here as well they are not the cause. But they are a huge liability that if allowed to go unaddressed will be the eventual failure of the city and economic death for the retired.
Exposing bad financial health and promising more than what can be paid for? Funding rules on pensions. If the laws in regard to funding of these plans were at 100% funding would cities such as Detroit and Philadelphia be in ruin or heading toward ruin? Liabilities would be better known and governments, taxpayers and workers would be less at risk. Bargaining of new contracts would have better clarity on the future which would impact how unions and their counterparts bargain agreements. Blaming the unions as the GOP tends to do at every turn for lavish pensions along with Democrats meant to anger voters, a successful tactic that would have less bite by changing funding requirements.
Pensions and liabilities alone are not the issue but they are what is left for the right to attack and blame for the failures such as Detroit. Migration out of cities due to lack of jobs through consolidation, lost manufacturing (moving overseas) and RIGHT TO WORK. We the Democrats must act to improve/attract jobs to America’s cities, investing in our inner-structure and education of our people. The decline can be blamed not on pensions and the unions as the GOP suggests (and often). Pension liabilities are the last of the problems from a system that does not require the proper funding allowing politicians to push out payments for another day. The decline in American manufacturing and our move to a consumer driven economy has killed the tax base and with that death we are seeing the death of American cities. Detroit’s decline, 80 years of sticking your head in the sand.
Along party lines the House yesterday passed the Working families Flexibility Act (223-204). It is not expected to be passed or taken seriously by the Senate or President. The legislation under the smoke screen of “families” is intended to undermine the ability for the hourly worker to earn overtime, allowing for compensatory time as an alternative (time-off).
Thankfully we have a Democrat controlled Senate where this legislation will not become law. The attempt by the GOP to rebrand themselves as family friendly? (this is what the GOP media is pushing) This legislation would take earnings out of the pockets of hourly workers and allow for business to give time-off when they so desire. Speaking on this before it still screams the question, “if you are family friendly where is the national sick-time bill?”
This is not the first attempt by the GOP to pass this business friendly legislation. Keeping overtime in your pockets, you have it for now so KEEP THE SENATE DEMOCRAT! Your future income depends on it!
Staying consistent, that is what it is all about. Listening to Fox or any GOP talk radio you should have discovered over the last week, THEY ARE ON THEME. Yesterday on Fox’s Hannity, the right-wing talk show host was taking the opportunity to bang the drum of less gun control. “While the people were locked inside their homes and what if the terrorist was in their back yard?” In referring to the Boston Marathon bomber and the lockdown area residents were subjected to. Massachusetts gun laws the toughest in the nation Hannity stated at the beginning of his rant, suggesting the people need to be able to defend themselves?
Turn on talk-radio, more of the same theme, constitutional rights and gun-control needs to be relaxed so the people can protect themselves. It would have to make you think, (that is if you so desire to be one of the few) what happened to “let’s not jump to any quick legislation?” Wasn’t that the talk coming from the GOP after the Sandy Hook killings?
To be noted, Hannity at least did not suggest that a gun would have protected those injured from the actual bomb.