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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Maine Governor Paul LePage and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Maine's Governor LePage

Maine's Governor Paul LePage and the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are like dysfunctional bookends. 

Of course, if the two Republicans were really bookends, we could put both of them in a drawer or behind a pile of files, so they would be out of harm's way. Nevertheless, both LePage and Christie apparently thrive on creating controversy.

If Lepage and Christie were a vaudeville act, they'd be like Alphonse and Gaston, both trying to enter the political arena through the same door. Obviously, the two men can hardly fit in the same back seat of a car, never mind make a political entrance through the same door.  
Gov. Chris Christie with his nemesis "Bridgegate"

Both men are in over their heads with political controversy.  

Nevertheless, in fancifully political delusional thinking, each believes there's enough political capital to support their ambitious goals. 

Christie wants to be President of the United States.  Oh paaaaleeeze..!!..like electing a Macy's parade balloon. Bridgegate, the George Washington Bridge traffic jam controversy, will follow
Christie, like the dust hanging over the Charlie Brown "Pig Pen" character.

On the other hand, LePage wants to run the state of Maine like he's a dictator. His tyrannical gubernatorial behavior continues to upstage his entire administration.  Governor LePage is the prototype for Humpty Dumpty.  His behavior exemplifies the last line of the rhyme.  "All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put LePage together again."

New Jersey has Macy's parade balloon and a prophetic nursery rhyme is leading Maine. These political bookends really should be sold off in a yard sale.

Nevertheless, Maine is now at a political crossroads. The legislature has joined in an unprecedented decision to slam dunk the state's budget, proposed by Governor Paul LePage. 

Rather than debate the governor's tax reform and budget, the state's legislature decided to write its own version of the budget. When the governor vetoed 64 line items in the legislature's budget, it caused both the House and the Senate to quickly override every veto. As a result, the governor then vetoed the entire budget.  No problem!  Today June 30, the Maine legislature voted to override the governor's veto, again. 

“When you’re sitting there poking the yes button every 15 seconds to override 128 vetoes, it’s hard to feel like you’re contributing a lot to moving the state forward,” said State Senator Roger J. Katz, a Republican (from Augusta) who has been an occasional LePage ally, but more often a critic. “The atmosphere here is one of depression,” he said.

Moreover, Maine's governor used his executive power to systematically fire a litany of state officials, without apparent cause. 

Now, the Maine legislature is considering actions to fire the governor by launching impeachment proceedings.
This political acrimony is totally unprecedented for Maine. In fact, Maine's Governor LePage doesn't "get" that his behavior has now passed the point of no return. He's a political Humpty Dumpty.

Governor Christie is no better off.  Unbelievably, Christie thinks he's qualified to be president of the United States!  What he doesn't get is that his support for LePage, during the governor's Maine re-election campaign, put him into bad company. It's like your mother told you, when your high school friends caused trouble. "Be careful who your friends are...."  Governor LePage and Governor Christie are bad company.  Stay away from their cafeteria lunch table.   

The New York Times Reports:
AUGUSTA, Me. — When Paul R. LePage, Maine’s combative governor, was seeking re-election last year, he told voters that his days of intemperate remarks were over. At a debate, Mr. LePage, who is of French descent, memorably said: “Even a Frenchman can be taught to cool down.”

And he can apparently heat up again, too.

In the last few weeks, Mr. LePage’s pugnaciousness has surprised even his critics, and prompted some to raise the specter of impeachment.

In a standoff that began with differences over tax policy, Mr. LePage has alienated just about the entire Legislature, including his fellow Republicans and erstwhile allies. He has called them names and gone on a veto spree, canceling a record number of bills in a flurry that would rival any Maine blizzard; in turn, the Legislature has responded with an override spree, reviving many bills unanimously.

On Monday, Mr. LePage is expected to veto the $6.7 billion, two-year state budget; the Legislature will return Tuesday, when it is expected to override the veto.

But the governmental dysfunction has become a sideshow to an even bigger controversy over Mr. LePage’s actions regarding a charter school for at-risk youths. The school had hired Mark Eves, the Democratic speaker of the House and a LePage foe, as its next president, starting Wednesday. Mr. LePage said Mr. Eves was unfit to lead the school, and threatened to withhold more than $500,000 in annual state money unless the hiring was rescinded; the school, a nonprofit fearing the loss could threaten private matching funds and lead to its closing, did so.

Mr. Eves accused the governor of blackmailing the school and threatened to sue him.

The governor’s actions have infuriated many who say he overstepped his executive authority; a group of Democrats and independents in the Legislature is researching how and whether to impeach him. Democratic leaders are taking a cautious approach, but have said nothing is off the table. An anti-LePage rally is being planned here for noon on Tuesday.

“Things have gone way off the rails, and there’s a real question about whether he’s fit to govern,” said Phil Bartlett, chairman of the state Democratic Party. “I support legislators getting to the bottom of this and making sure there’s accountability.”

Lawmakers say they are exhausted and frustrated.


For one thing, Maine’s problems, like its lagging economy, are not being addressed.

Mr. LePage declined an interview request. But Rick Bennett, chairman of the state Republican Party, defended the governor as a change agent, someone who provided “a disruptive energy,” in a good way, and who had “shaken Augusta to its roots.”

“He doesn’t have a lot of patience for people who don’t see the urgency for reform that he does,” said Mr. Bennett, who described the atmosphere as “acrid.”

The animosity dismays many who are proud of Maine’s tradition of civility and bipartisanship.

“Right now, we have an absurd, vitriolic, vindictive state of affairs,” said Amy Fried, a political scientist at the University of Maine.

Mr. LePage was emboldened by his election in November to a second term. While he failed to win a majority, he exceeded expectations by winning 48 percent of the vote, five percentage points ahead of his Democratic challenger. Republicans also recaptured control of the Senate, with 20 of 35 seats, and trimmed the Democratic majority in the House to 78-68 (with five independents).

“The governor could claim a mandate and had a tremendous amount of political capital, but in the last six months it has seemingly slipped away,” Mr. Katz said.

The problems began with Mr. LePage’s desire to eliminate the income tax by increasing and broadening the sales tax. 

But, he failed to engage his own party in advance, and Republican legislators balked.

Among them was Senator Tom Saviello. “The governor is a businessman, a former C.E.O. whose method is to do what he wants,” Mr. Saviello said of Mr. LePage, who was the general manager of a 14-store discount chain. “But I have to figure out what’s best for the people of Franklin County.”

Mr. LePage also has refused to release money for bond issues approved by voters. And he declared that he would veto every bill sponsored by a Democrat until Democrats supported his proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate Maine’s income tax. Democrats said the governor had no plan for filling the $1.7 billion hole that eliminating the income tax would create.

In mid-June, after the Legislature passed a budget that did not include his tax-cut proposals, the governor showed off a Christmas tree outside his office. It was adorned with the pictures of legislators he said had loaded up the budget with wasteful spending projects, often called pork. He produced a pink plastic pig and squeaked it.

And he extended his veto threat to include any bill sponsored by Republicans, saying they had conspired with Democrats to pass the budget.

“I want to show that for five months they wasted our time, and this time I’m going to waste a little of their time,” said Mr. LePage, who went on to veto 64 line items in the budget.

Mr. Bennett, the Republican Party chairman, said Mr. LePage felt justified in taking these steps because the budget “didn’t reflect the reason he got re-elected.”

The effect has been to unify the Republicans and Democrats.

“Right now, the Legislature is united in lock step and opposed to the governor,” said Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine. “They view this as an institutional fight rather than a partisan fight.”

All of this set the stage for the fury that erupted last week when Mr. LePage threatened to halt state financing to the Good Will-Hinckley charter school if it allowed Mr. Eves to become its president.

“Speaker Eves has been an ardent foe of charter schools for his entire political career; then he turns around and gets hired to run a charter school — whose board is chaired by Eves’s own State House employee — for a cushy job worth about $150,000 in total compensation,” Mr. LePage said in a statement explaining his actions.

The school said in response that the board chairman to whom the governor referred does not serve on the board that had hiring authority and had recused himself “from any even tangential involvement in considering Speaker Eves’s application.” 

It said the school conducted a rigorous national search for a new president and that the votes of its board of directors in hiring Mr. Eves were unanimous.

Mr. Bennett said that the governor had discretion over the use of the money in question and that he was well within his legal rights to withhold it.

Representative Jeffrey Evangelos, an independent, was among those who began researching impeachment proceedings last week on the grounds of abuse of authority, misuse of assets and unbecoming conduct.

“You can’t leverage state assets to intimidate a private entity,” he said.

The state’s biggest newspaper, The Portland Press Herald, has called for a House investigation of the Eves affair and said that, unless new information emerged justifying the governor’s action, he should be impeached and tried by the Senate.

So far, more than a dozen independents and Democrats have joined the impeachment effort, Mr. Evangelos said, but many more are holding back.

Mr. Katz, chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, said on Friday that he expected the committee and the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability to begin an investigation of the episode.

He added with a sigh: “Summer can’t come soon enough.”
Correction: June 30, 2015

An article on Monday about the conflict between the governor of Maine and the State Legislature misstated, in some editions, the amount of a budget shortfall that Democratic lawmakers say would be created by a plan to eliminate the state income tax. It is $1.7 billion, not $1.7 million.

Governor LePage and Governor Christie are political bookends. 
Americans who want to know what kind of a US president Governor Christie would be should take a look at Maine. Both men are political failures.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

News about Puerto Rico must be more relevant than Greece - who knew?

Just how big a deal is this?

It seems to me, the US Stock Market uses the debt crises in Greece as a crutch, on which to blame the fluctuations in the market. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing about Greece. In my opinion, Greece is irrelevant. Nevertheless, Wall Street investors will use anything to liquidate their assets.

However! Puerto Rico is relevant. Puerto Rico is a US territory and this island colony, says the Christian Science Monitor, is also in big fiscal trouble!  

Wow, So, while the main stream news is immersed in the Greece debt story, our US-Puerto Rico problem is looming on the USA's back door.

In my opinion, our US stock market fluctuations are easier to understand if they somehow relate to Puerto Rico's fiscal crises, than the volatility attributed to Greece.

Puerto Rico’s governor says that the territory’s $72 billion in public debt is unpayable (OMG!and that large-scale restructuring of the debt is required.

"There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math," Gov. Alejandro García Padilla told The New York Times.

The comments by the island’s chief executive came as a report was released Monday about Puerto Rico’s economy, laying out a grim picture of the island’s financial health. The report suggests, among other things, debt restructuring through bond exchanges.

No US state has had a large-scale debt restructuring of this type in recent memory. "There is no U.S. precedent for anything of this scale or scope," according to the report, whose lead author is Anne Krueger, a former chief economist at the World Bank.
W
While the debt restructuring would be unprecedented, some analysts are taking a measured approach to the situation.

Jose Villamil, a former United Nations consultant and CEO of an economic and planning consulting firm, says he believes that the news will have only a limited effect on financial markets, because it has been known for some time that Puerto Rico has been heading for debt restructuring or default.

"The last four administrations have kicked the can down the road," Mr. Villamil told theAssociated Press.
But the situation is now critical. "At this point, there is no more can to kick. So we're going to take some very strict measures and some very profound measures. It's going to hurt, but there's no way out," Villamil said, according to AP.

News of the crisis comes amid the high-profile economic challenges of Greece. That country’s government is scrambling to prevent a financial collapse.

In the United States in the past decade, a number of municipalities have defaulted – most notably Detroit in 2013. But even in comparison with Detroit, which holds the record for the largest US municipal bankruptcy, Puerto Rico has debt that is staggering. Its bonds have a face value roughly eight times that of Detroit’s bonds.

In his interview with the Times, Governor García Padilla said Puerto Rico would seek concessions from possibly all its creditors, which could take the form of debt deferments or extensions of payment timetables. He called on creditors to "share the sacrifices" of the island’s residents, who have shouldered some of the burden through tax increases.

Additionally challenging for Puerto Ricans, the island's constitution puts its commitment to pay creditors over all other concerns, including pension payments.

"This is a daunting agenda politically, legally, and organizationally," the so-called Krueger report states. "It is also an urgent one: the government’s cash balances can evaporate in the face of delays, reducing the room for maneuver and intensifying the crisis."

Puerto Rico’s problems started in the mid-2000s, when a federal tax subsidy for manufacturing on the island expired, leading to an exodus of employers and workers for the mainland.

Beset with issues like unemployment and revenue shortfalls, the government took to borrowing to balance the budget, until Puerto Rico’s credit level was downgraded to junk status last year. In 2000, its debt was about 63 percent of gross national product, whereas this year, it is projected to be 100 percent of GNP, according to the Krueger report.

In a further challenge, Puerto Rico cannot legally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection under US rules. The Kruger report looks to the federal government for help in dealing with this particular issue, calling on Congress to lift the exclusion of the island from the nation’s bankruptcy code.

(In my opinion, when Americans routinely become agitated about the needy number of people who, unfortunately, need income assistance, they should, instead, they should, rather, look to the problem of Puerto Rico.  I've maintained for decades- to no avail......the US must sell Puerto Rico! Do I hear a bid....?)

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

California vaccination legislation - protects public from infectious disease

California is a big state where the population is so diverse it could easily be an independent nation. 

Therefore, with so many transient, migrant and tourist communities, it makes sense to protect everyone from the risk of becoming ill from vaccine preventable diseases like polio, measles, influenza, chicken pox, pertussis (whooping cough) and mumps, to name a few.  Although libertarians and "anti-vaxxers" created an anti-vaccine fear conspiracy movement, the reality is that vaccines protect the public from contacting epidemic causing diseases. 

That's fact.  

Now, California's legislature has passed the nation's most comprehensive vaccination legislation in the nation.

Nevertheless, the anti vaccination movement continues to raise fear while the cause and effect of their unscientific response to vaccines is completely unfounded.  Meanwhile, vaccines continue to save lives.  Wouldn't it be ironic to see third world developing countries with healthier populations than the US, because they're more likely to implement effective vaccine distribution policies?  


California tightens vaccination exemptions for kids: how parents see it  (in my opinion, this article does not interview immigrant families).

California is moving to require that all children be vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption. Some parents say it's necessary, some say it's a violation of their rights. But there might be compromises that work.

By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, Staff writer JUNE 26, 2015

A bill in California that requires children in schools and daycare to be immunized, even if parents have religious or philosophical objections, passed in the state Assembly Thursday and the question now is whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign it.

The much-debated bill would make California only the third state to offer parents only medical exemptions for required vaccinations. It grew out of concerns among health professionals and advocates that some relatively large pockets of unvaccinated children were putting the most vulnerable children at greater risk for communicable diseases.

Forty-seven other states offer medical and religious exemptions, and about 21 states add a philosophical-objection category, says Mark Largent, a professor at Michigan State University.
Medical exemptions are generally thought to be necessary for up to 1 percent of the population. 


So if California’s law goes through, what kinds of choices might parents find themselves having to make if they have religious or other objections, or if they want to spread out the vaccinations in a way that differs from the recommended schedule? And are there other options for states that want to raise their rate of childhood immunization?

"There is a segment of the population who will pull their kids out from the eyes of public health officials in states with the strictest laws, by home schools", says professor Largent, author of a book on the vaccine debates.

Homeschooling may be an option for some families. But for most single parents and even in some two-parent families, that’s either not financially feasible or not something they feel well-equipped to take on. That unfairness is a potential unintended consequence of the bill in California, Largent says.

“This can price people out of the ability to make decision for their child,” he says.

The view from Mississippi

But it’s not as simple as making parents choose whether to home school or not, say some parents in Mississippi who have lobbied for more flexibility in their state’s strict law.

Some whose pediatricians agree they should get a medical exemption have struggled to get such requests approved by state health officials.

“We have an 80-acre farm and we almost had to sell and uproot from two sets of grandparents,” says MaryJo Perry, who had pediatrician letters of support but still dealt with red tape for five years before she finally got a permanent exemption for her son, who had a seizure after an immunization when he was 5.

Active with the group Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights, Ms. Perry has collected dozens of comments from families who say they’ve either left the state or refuse to move back even though they’d like to, because of the restrictive law.

“We’ve heard from parents whose doctors have said they are intimidated by the health department,” worried about pressure if they request too many medical exemptions, she says.

Parents have sometimes found it difficult to have their children accepted into a doctor’s practice, Perry says. She showed the Monitor a letter from one pediatric practice to a parent that explained consequences if they don’t get their child vaccinated, including the possibility of death, and read in part, “Should you refuse to vaccinate your children according to the [American Academy of Pediatrics] schedule, we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views.”

And religious families, including Christian Scientists, say they prayerfully consider every step they take for their child’s health care. Some have written testimonials about having to go against their deepest convictions in order to enroll their children in school.

“With my hand shaking, I signed the consent, and helped restrain my 6 year old daughter so that they could inject her with this vaccine. Clearly, our religious liberties were violated by the State of Mississippi,” wrote Amy Martin of Brandon, Miss.
The view from California

Advocates for Mississippi-style laws counter that offering non-medical exemptions would mean lower overall immunization rates and put more children at risk.

“We’re in crisis. We have children dying from communicable disease in California,” says Leah Russin, who helped start Vaccinate California, a group of volunteers supporting the proposed law, SB277.

Ms. Russin became concerned when her now 21-month-old was an infant and there was a whooping cough outbreak in her area. A mother in her playgroup had not immunized her child, who was about eight months old, and she had whooping cough, prompting Russin to believe that she may have exposed younger children to it.

That mother’s opposition to vaccination, in Russin’s view, was not based in the scientific consensus, but rather on Internet blogs full of anecdotes and opinions that the risks of vaccines are higher than the risks of the diseases they are meant to ward off.

“I started seeing that type of pattern – educated mothers disregarding, distrusting, eschewing science,” she says. She can see why some mothers object to the proposed law because, if they believe vaccines are toxic or may cause terrible side effects, the option of vaccinate or home school “is a horrible choice.” But ultimately, she says, the law should “protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us and protect the community at large.”

Many people point to Mississippi as an example because upon entering kindergarten, more than 99 percent of students are immunized. At younger ages, the state also ranks in the top 10 for immunization rates. Those rates are great, Largent says, “but it’s not just the law that is getting kids vaccinated. It’s significant funding” for Mississippi’s vaccination efforts.

If California passes a similar law but doesn’t invest in other improvements to vaccine accessibility and education of parents, it won’t necessarily raise the rates as much as advocates hope, he says.

A third way

There is another way. A number of states, including Michigan, have been tightening their exemption policies. As families get ready to go back to school in Michigan this year, they will have to sit through several education sessions if they want a vaccination waiver, instead of simply printing out a form and handing it in at school.

That policy shift is expected to cut the number of parents who get waivers by 30 to 50 percent, Largent says.

“We can use softer coercion methods and have warmer and more cooperative relationships between health care providers and parents…. I think that will lead to more people being vaccinated, but it’s harder. It requires continued investment and effort.”

Nationally, the waiver rate is at record highs, ranging from about 1 percent to 6 percent, and the rate of kids being fully compliant with vaccine requirements is also at record highs, ranging from 68 to 82 percent, Largent says.

“Over the past 10 years we’ve gotten better at compelling parents to make a choice between getting a waiver or getting their children fully vaccinated. That’s a tremendous public health victory,” he says.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

President Obama is now a proud member of his race

President Obama was raised on Hawaii by middle class white people.  He is half Negro and half Caucasian.  Today, at the funeral of his friend Clementa Pickney, President Obama has finally identified himself with his father's Negro heritage. 

Today, June 25, 2015, President Obama joined the Charleston community, as one of the congregation, when he eulogized their martyred Pastor Clementa Pickney, at the funeral with a packed congregation, in South Carolina.


Rev. Clementa Pinckney was carried through the streets of Columbia, South Carolina

Nine victims of the shooting were: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.  Eight of the victims died at the scene, and the ninth victim died at a hospital.  

In a startling response to the murders, the families of the fallen, in an astounding act, responded by expressing forgiveness to the alleged killer, a 21 year old professed racist named Dylann Roof.  

President Obama knew the highest profile victim of the Charleston shooting personally.

Washington (CNN) President Barack Obama delivered a touching eulogy, a rousing political speech and a thoughtful meditation on race in America, when he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina on Friday to speak at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was gunned down last week by a racist terrorist during Bible study.

But the President's speech will be remembered for a moment at the end when he launched into a solo of "Amazing Grace," that at first stunned the mourners and then brought them to their feet as they joined him in song.

Obama's speech moved beyond just grief for the victims -- the President stepped directly into a national conversation about race in which he plays a central role.

He declared the Confederate flag a symbol of racial oppression, and praised the renewed urgency in removing it from the South Carolina State Capitol. (In my opinion, the red rag Dixie flag should have been removed before the victims' funerals.)

President Obama rightly explained: "Removing the flag from this state's capital would not be an act of political correctness," he said. "It would not an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong."


Although President Obama was raised by his Caucasian family, his eulogy for his friend Reverend Pinckney, in Charleston, finally brought him face to face with his proud heritage as a Negro, who's father was Ghanaian.

Perhaps today, in Charleston South Carolina, became the day in history when President Barack Hussein Obama finally became America's first Negro president of the United States.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Conservative Chief Justice Roberts has obviously read the Affordable Care Act - ACA

Congress supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when it passed, because it provided support for all Americans who wanted to afford to buy access to health insurance.  

Now, with the passing of the ACA law by Congress in 2010, and after two Supreme Court rulings upholding its Constitutionality, there's simply nothing left to fight about.  

Dear Justice Antonin Scalia (he's the Court's acrimonious dissenter)......you need to read the Affordable Care Act as though you don't have any insurance coverage.  

Republicans are acting furious because of today's Supreme Court ruling. In fact, the Justice Roberts court continued to uphold the ACA, in their June 24 ruling to protect the insurance subsidies. Nevertheless, Republicans haven't provided any alternative to cover the cost of providing health care. 

Instead, Republicans have favored insurance companies' profits over affordability of coverage.  

In the absence of an alternative insurance plan, the Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land. Republicans who oppose the ACA must find another incendiary issue to rally their right wing zealots who harbor a wrong minded mistrust of government (without cause).  "After 50 (IMO wasteful!) votes in Congress to repeal this law....." and two Supreme Court rulings, the law is here to stay.

Those on the loosing side of this argument before the Supreme Court, who were the opponents of the ACA, have yet to put forward an alternative plan.  It makes no sense for Representative John Boehner to tell Americans that the Affordable Care Act is broken, while he never offers an alternative.

It's difficult to understand how Republicans can criticize the Affordable Care Act without providing any alternative. Likewise, it's idiotic for Republicans to complain about the subsidies offered to those who want to pay for health insurance when the entire concept is based on free market insurance coverage to pay for the benefits.

Thankfully, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts really read the Affordable Care Act. He demonstrated an understanding about the important intent of the law....which means Americans can continue to access affordable health care insurance.

Let's stop wasting American tax money to unsuccessfully undermine a law that's clearly benefiting many millions of people.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tragedies when American president is a national eulogist

Our nation's Constitution "to form a more perfect union" did not intend for the country's executive officer to be a professional eulogist. Unfortunately, this responsibility has recently become ingrained in the Presidential job description.

Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, consisting of the President, the Vice-President, and other executive officers and staffers appointed by the President, including the Cabinet. Pursuant to Article Two, the executive power of the federal government is vested in the President.


Yet again, President Obama will perform this tragic function to eulogize the legacy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was among 9 people murdered in a racist killing at the AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

President Obama will eulogize the pastor killed in the Charleston SC church massacre:  

On Friday June 26, President Obama and Vice President Biden will attend the funeral services for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims killed in last week's shooting at the historic AME black church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

President Obama will also deliver the eulogy at Pinckney's funeral. The funeral will be held Friday morning June 26 TD Arena at the College of Charleston.

Pinckney, 41, was a married father of two. In addition to his role at the Emanuel AME Church, he served in the South Carolina Senate. He was first elected at the age of 23.

Suspected gunman Dylann Roof, 21, who has reportedly confessed to the shooting, was charged with nine counts of murder in what appears to be a racially motivated attack. by Ben Frumin


Charleston Shooting Victim State Senator Clementa Pinckney 'Was a Family and Religious Man,' Says Friend

The prominent South Carolina state senator identified as one of the nine killed in June 17, Wednesday night's mass shooting at the AME historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, was a hugely influential man in his community, Elder James Johnson, president of the National Action Network's local chapter, told PEOPLE.


Clementa Pinckney, 41, who served as the pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was killed when 21-year-old alleged gunman Dylann Storm Roof opened fire during a Bible study.  "He was a very religious man," says Johnson. "He cared a whole lot about people. He always wanted to correct wrong."

Pinckney was a major force in the spiritual community. He answered the call to preach at the age of 13 and at age 18 he received his first appointment to be a pastor.

At the age of 23, he was the youngest African-American in South Carolina to be elected to the state legislature.


On Friday, President Barack Obama will eulogize Pastor Pinckney in Charleston (while the red rag Dixie flag still flies on government property). Unbelievably, the litany of eulogies given by our American presidents are creating an anthology about America's history of gun violence. These funereal occasions show the nation's rapid progression into an epidemic of preventable deaths.  

Our American presidents were never intended to be professional eulogists, but they are. Neither was our nation's Constitutional second amendment meant to cause the epidemic of gun violence deaths, whereby our Presidents have learned how to become professional eulogists.


America's presidents are likely growing accustomed to their growing oratory role as the focus of funerals, but the eulogy President Obama will deliver for Rev. Pinckney will be given while the ugly symbol representing the reason for the young leaders murder will continue to fly, in South Carolina. This terribly symbolic situation makes President Obama's eulogy one of the most important speeches of his Presidency.  

South Carolina must remove that red rag flag from government buildings as soon as possible, or the state will never recover from the public relations consequences of having it flying while President Obama delivers Rev. Pinckney's eulogy.   

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Ugly Dixie flag finally agrees to surrender

Governor Haley and her Republican colleagues are already too late to take down the ugly Dixie flag from the South Carolina state house; but Better Late than Never.

Thankfully, Wal Mart has also joined the momentum to remove the ugly Dixie flag from it's retail stores. 

Too early 's better than too late, 
Should be the word for Church and State: 
It is the motto of the great, 
And shall be mine, — I 'll never prate 
'T is " better late than never! " 


Governor Haley and Wal Mart are quite an alliance, albeit "better late than never"

Ironically, I came across this "Better Late than Never" poem written by the artist Edward Hopper.  Seems appropriate:

Better Late Than Never

by Edward Hopper
In this our lost and lonely state,
In this our world so desolate,
'T is better far to love than hate,
And better early love than late,
But " better late than never. "


To walk the path of life alone,
With but one heart to call our own,
Hardens the one heart into stone:
" Ye twain be one! " is from God's throne,
And " better late than never. "

But he who says at time and place
He 'll meet a friend, then turns his face
Another way, or mopes his pace,
And conscience calms with this solace,
'T is " better late than never, " —

That man's a thief! He robs a friend
Of what he cannot give, nor lend, —
Of that which lost knows no amend;
His motto he had better end,
'T is " better late than never. "

And so the man who, Sabbath day,
Comes late to Church, — his usual way, —
Because he snores while others pray,
And dreams of what so many say,
'T is " better late than never. "

And she who flaunts her skirts and strings,
And furbelows, and such gay things,
Just as the Choir the first hymn sings,
And gaze of all upon her brings
By " better late than never. "

With Fashion for her trumpeter,
She comes not as a worshipper,
But that fools' eyes may worship her,
And sets the audience all astir
With " better late than never. "

It is, if we 'd undo a wrong,
Or help the weak against the strong,
Or pluck a friend from blood-hound throng,
'T is best be quick, — not wait too long;
Though " better late than never. "

And better early learn to view
And love the pure, the good, and true,
With holy love the heart imbue,
And do whate'er we find to do,
Though " better late than never. "

Too early 's better than too late,
Should be the word for Church and State:
It is the motto of the great,
And shall be mine, — I 'll never prate
'T is " better late than never! "

Be up and doing! Work or play!
Lounge not at all, — while not away
A moment of the livelong day!
Your life 's for action! Never say
'T is " better late than never. "

Be prompt! Be early, like the sun:
Obey, as good men aye have done,
The time and place your race to run,
And you shall win as they have won,

And with them shine forever!
(Governor Haley and Wal Mart....'tis better late than never)

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Can ISIS be defeated by the weather?

Certainly, I don't put any faith in evil ISIS falling victim to hot weather.  Nevertheless, the fact is, Pakistan (a hostile Muslim nation) is experiencing weather temperature high heat, intense enough to kill hundreds (and more) people

Health officials say most of the deaths were in Karachi, which saw temperatures as high as 113 deg F, in recent days.

The city has seen power cuts, caused by an increased demand for electricity caused by the extreme weather.

The head of the emergency department at Jinnah Hospital in Karachi said the majority of the victims were elderly.

How can evil ISIS continue to advance their military strategy if the rank and file troops are wondering whether or not their families are surviving, in an unprecedented deadly heat wave?

Evil ISIS is rooted in the Middle East, in Iraq and places in other surrounding countries. But, the radical movement's tentacles extend to several nearby countries. 

Ultimately, in my opinion, Pakistan is the root of Middle East terrorism. I have no idea why Pakistan cultivated the germs of terrorism, especially because the country's history is rooted in British democracy. Yet, somehow, radical Islam was planted there. 

But now, Pakistan is experiencing a deadly heat wave. Obviously, Pakistan isn't reporting the numbers of people dying from the current horrific heat wave. Some reported deaths are attributed to the heat. Yet, other deaths aren't counted, when the causes are caused by collateral conditions. 

For example, the lack of clean water due to the evaporation of reservoirs can be toxic to the human condition; or access to health care can be severely impeded, because the heat will interfere with the ability of patients to travel to health facilities. 

Temperatures of over 113 degrees Fahrenheit are deadly to humans. Since nearly all of Pakistan's citizens are Muslims, the intolerable heat wave will kill untold thousands of people. Eventually, evil ISIS will feel the impact of this weather carnage. Perhaps, the high heat will eventually penetrate Iran and Iraq.  If this happens, the evil ISIS troops will be unable to fight. It's like trying to negotiate a war in a snow storm, except, rather than the risk of having fighters freeze to death, they'll, instead, drop like flies due to extreme heat exhaustion. 

It's even likely that the devastating Pakistan heat can even become an unlikely ally in the fight to defeat evil ISIS terrorism. Perhaps, the heat can destroy the momentum of the terrorism, when ordinary surveillance, espionage and drones have evidently failed.  

Unfortunately, extreme heat impacts innocent people more than evil terrorists. Nevertheless, as the Pakistani people drop dead from heat exhaustion, the evil ISIS troops, who defend these religious extremists, will become increasingly distraught, from low morale, related to the loss of family members, due to heat.  

It's an ironic truism, but evil ISIS can likely withstand massacres of their own troops better than thinking about their families dropping dead from heat exhaustion. Evil ISIS military won't be able to abide not knowing how their families are surviving the deadly weather related to extraordinary heat.

There's no way to know how the Pakistan heat wave will impact world terrorism. Of course, if the 113 degree Fahrenheit heat wave continues in Pakistan, the death toll will be more devastating than any strategic drone attacks or a planned invasion, could ever be.

Weather has affected military operations on many historic campaigns. It's high time for Pakistan to contribute to war history and realize how their nation cannot withstand a high mortality heat wave and, at the same time, continue to harbor terrorism.  

In spite of drone attacks, it's remotely likely that evil ISIS can be defeated by the weather.  

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Senator Lindsey Graham better hire a media adviser - the ugly Dixie flag must go


Senator Lindsey Graham - Republican of South Carolina, has certainly missed the point regarding his wrong minded opinion to defend the continued display of the ugly Confederate Dixie Flag.


First of all, the ugly red flag is a tired and useless image. Rather, it's symbolic of a terrible period in American history.

In 1860, or thereabouts, the Dixie flag served the purpose of identifying the Confederate states from those of the United States during the tragic American Civil War. After the war, this symbol of slavery, revolution and racism should've been burned and abandoned. 

Of course, free speech advocates were able to create the opportunity to keep the symbolic Confederate flag relevant, in spite of General Lee's surrender of the Confederacy on April 9, 1865, in Appomattox Count House, Virginia.

General Lee surrenders in Appomattox, VA

Senator Graham says the problem with the Charleston South Carolina murderous rampage by a crazy racist gunman named Dylann Roof, was because of his zealous and hateful opinions. In fact, Lindsey says the Confederate flag had nothing to do with Roof's opinions.  

Perhaps, for the purpose of discussion, let's give Graham's opinion a chance. Perhaps Dylann Roof would've perpetrated his evil and hateful murders at the AME church in Charleston, where 9 innocent people were gunned down, regardless of the existence of the ugly red Confederate flag.

Even if the ugly Dixie flag had no influence on Roof's hateful evil, the fact is, the racism, evident in the Confederate image, has been treated, over the years, like it's an alternative to the United States America red white & blue flag.  

Given how the ugly Dixie flag is immersed in the cult of racism, it's time to destroy this anachronism, once and for all.  Destroying the Dixie flag by removing it from public buildings is the right thing to do and Senator Graham is wrong to defend it.  

Some people claim the Dixie flag, is symbolic of Southern culture and history; but, it's also representative of the practice of slavery. People, like Roof, seem to feel there's value in defending the ugly Dixie flag, like it's somehow relevant to our human condition. But it's not. Rather, the ugly Dixie flag is a symbol of a defeated Confederacy as demonstrated on On April 9, 1865, after four years of Civil War. This war caused approximately 630,000 deaths and over 1 million casualties. As a result of the failed Confederacy revolt to secede from the United States, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, at the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean, in the rural town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Given what we know about how the ugly Dixie flag represents racism, rather than heritage, the symbol of the Confederacy should have been abandoned on April 9, 1865.

Nevertheless, it's not too late to do what's right. Let's eliminate the ugly Dixie flag from all public buildings and from being printed on government documents.  Confederacy was defeated in 1865 and it's simply irrelevant to display the ugly Dixie flag, except as an artifact worthy of desecration.

Senator Lindsey Graham is on the wrong side of the ugly Dixie flag issue and he badly needs for somebody to tell him so.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Charleston AME church massacre memorials

Charleston AME (Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church 

Gov. Huckabee: “The prayers that were interrupted by a mass murderer will be continued by a grieving nation.”

Charleston victims of a hate shooting by a 21 year old who had access to a gun, given to him by his father:
9 lives lost to family and community

Although Governor Mike Huckabee is often a concrete thinker,  I must give his compassionate response to the senseless hate murders of innocent Bible Study attendees at the Charleston AME church, on June 15, a thankful bow of approval.

Here is the response to this horrific gun violence crime by President Barack Obama:

 "But let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency."
This morning, I spoke with, and Vice President Biden spoke with, Mayor Joe Riley and other leaders of Charleston to express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night.

Michelle and I know several members of Emanuel AME Church. We knew their pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night. And to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families, and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel.

Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.

Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery. When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted services in secret. When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country closer in line with our highest ideals, some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps. This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.

The FBI is now on the scene with local police, and more of the Bureau’s best are on the way to join them. The Attorney General has announced plans for the FBI to open a hate crime investigation. We understand that the suspect is in custody. And I’ll let the best of law enforcement do its work to make sure that justice is served.

Until the investigation is complete, I’m necessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details of the case. But I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise. I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. Now is the time for mourning and for healing.

But let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked. And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.

The good news is I am confident that the outpouring of unity and strength and fellowship and love across Charleston today, from all races, from all faiths, from all places of worship indicates the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome. That, certainly, was Dr. King’s hope just over 50 years ago, after four little girls were killed in a bombing in a black church in Birmingham, Alabama.

He said they lived meaningful lives, and they died nobly. “They say to each of us,” Dr. King said, “black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely with [about] who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream.

“And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him, and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.”

Reverend Pinckney and his congregation understood that spirit. Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation, or to members of their own communities, but to all in need. They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption.

Mother Emanuel church and its congregation have risen before –- from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times -– to give hope to generations of Charlestonians. And with our prayers and our love, and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now as a place of peace.

Thank you.  
(Following the President's speech, the suspected killer was fond and arrested)
++++++++++++++++Dylann Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jeb Bush better be careful about criticizing Pope Francis - the Pope is popular!

Will "Jeb!" attend the Papal Mass with Pope Francis, in Philadelphia, on September 27th?

Governor Jeb Bush (a.k.a. "Jeb!) speaks reverently about attending Roman Catholic Mass, while also speaking Spanish on the late night Jimmy Fallon show (a majority of Hispanics are Roman Catholic). Then, "Jeb!" criticizes the popular Pope Francis, about his position on climate change! These are obviously confusing political messages. 

What "Jeb!" doesn't "get" is the popularity of Pope Francis, especially when his beloved Holiness is compared to the past unpopular Bush family's international policies.

Perhaps, highlighting the issue of being Roman Catholic might work for "Jeb!", but he simply can't go around criticizing Pope Francis while, at the same time, publicly practicing his faith. One of the two philosophies must go underground. 

"Jeb!" either buries his skepticism about climate change or he puts his Roman Catholic faith underground. It's simply unethical for him to continue to carry both banners.

Pope Francis warns of destruction of Earth's ecosystem....

Explosive intervention by Pope Francis set to transform climate change debate.  The Guardian reports that Pope Francis will publish his Papal letter in five languages.

Pope Francis



Jeb Bush attends Mass

The most anticipated papal letter for decades (perhaps since Pope Paul VI)  will be published in five languages on Thursday. 

His letter will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind. 

Could Pope Francis lead a challenge in the battle against global warming?  Obviously, the Pope, who also happens to have a background in chemistry, is putting climate on his short list. 

Therefore, this means Pope Francis will advocate for this science with the world's Roman Catholic's. 

Consequently, "Jeb!" will become as unpopular as his father and his brother, if he intends to join the international community as an elected president, who doesn't believe in climate change. 

Even more graphic, "Jeb!" will be embarrassed when the Pope, who is his faith's religious leader, stands up against him to speak publicly about climate change. 

By the way, will "Jeb!" attend the September 27th, Festival of Families and Papal Mass, when Pope Francis visits Philadelphia, this fall?

"Jeb!" must realize the enormous world wide popularity of Pope Francis. 

Jimmy Fallon's night television show, featuring a skit with "Jeb!" won't help Bush to become a better Roman Catholic.  

On the other hand, joining in an agreement with the popular Pope Francis and his position on climate change, will improve his prospects for becoming a popular presidential candidate.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

No reset button can erase the past Bush leadership failures

People who believe Jeb Bush can bring about change in Washington DC, are engaged in fanciful thinking. Instead, the Bush family has participated in the Washington DC culture of political partisanship.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
"Jeb Bush formally launched his presidential campaign on Monday, and no candidate needed it more. The former Florida Governor’s non-campaign so far has been curiously defensive, but now he has a new opening to make the case for why he can beat Hillary Clinton and be a worthy President."

By the way....
Dear Wall Street Journal~ hmmmm, is there reallysuch a thing as an "unworthy" president?  

There's no physiological way for Governor Jeb Bush to free himself from his family's political legacy with regard to the hanging chad 2000 election or the failed wars in Iraq.

Although zealous Republicans jump up and down like they're in a Punch and Judy show when the word Benghazi is mentioned, the fact is, uncounted numbers, including about 5,000 US military people, are dead and many more irreversibly injured, because of the failed Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Perhaps "Jeb!", a.k.a. Jeb Bush is in a state of denial about the brutal Iraqi war failure?

In fact, Jeb Bush simply can't reset his presidential campaign. Indeed, the burden of his family's failed political leadership is just too heavy a load on the reset button to have it toggle.  

Perhaps Governor "Jeb!" was a good Florida executive. Of course, he could hardly fail, given the flood of defense money the state was immersed in, thanks to his brother's success wining the "hanging chad" 2000 presidential election. This nepotism goes both ways. If "Jeb!"is somehow elected, his gratitude will flow back to the direction from where it originally flowed.

At this crucial point in the GOP presidential primary, the line up of now cliche "clown car" candidates holds no one who's face stands above the others as the driver.

If "Jeb!" is the GOP clown car's driver, then he needs to convince the other jokers to get out of the way of his campaign. 

Nonetheless, "Jeb!" doesn't appear to have the ability to drive the party in the direction of the reforms he says he wants to accomplish, because the Bush family's political past includes failures he simply can't explain.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeb Bush has opened his own political version of Pandora's Box

Unfortunately, Jeb Bush decided, finally, to (yawn!) run for US President. If successful, he'll be the 3rd person in his family to achieve the status of President of the United States.  

Although "Jeb!" and his eventual candidacy isn't confirmed until he's nominated, his announcement has now opened up his family's legacy to microscopic scrutiny.  

Here are the litany of Pandora's Box questions that Jeb Bush must answer, if he intends to be nominated as the successful Republican candidate:

1.  Why did the Florida 2000 presidential vote count end before all votes were counted? In fact, America will never have an accurate count of the "hanging chad" votes, those not counted or mis-counted in the 2000 presidential election, while Mr. Jeb Bush was Florida's governor.

2.  Can Governor Jeb Bush explain how it is that Florida is immersed in so much defense money?

3.  Please explain to America why your brother George W. Bush illegally invaded the sovereign country of Iraq, under the false premise of finding non-existant "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

4.  Can you provide Americans with a vision of how you intend to protect the most vulnerable people in our nation, as you claim?  

5.  Mr. Bush, let's be honest, your father and brother weren't stellar leaders. There are thousands of victims of your family's gross mismanagement of international relations, i,e, the failed Wars in Iraq. Nevertheless, they became presidents because of enormous financial backing. Moreover, you've never been a middle class person (never!). Therefore, how in the world would you be able to understand how to improve the human condition for working people, when nobody in your family has ever been one?

In a pragmatic sense, other Pandora Box questions includes asking why your world class presidential 2016, campaign roll out would bring you to the podium of a sterile school hall, without a sea of American flags or otherwise inspiring images? (All I saw were a litany of meaningless hand held signs.)

In summary, I just can't sense why it is "Jeb!", aka "Jeb Bush" wants to be president of the United States?  

In my opinion, "Jeb!" hasn't shown a flair for the leadership job. Rather, his campaign roll out was a rhetorical replay of tired newsreels (and his hideous 'sans tie' shirt, didn't help).

Yawn!  "Jeb" isn't up to the job.  He certainly has a pedigree family name, but he just doesn't have the right stuff.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Roosevelt Island Speech is now the Democratic Manifesto

A memorable speech from the world's First Lady Hillary Clinton

The Honorable Secretary Hillary Clinton, First Lady or the World

"When President Clinton honored the bargain, we had the longest peacetime expansion in history, a balanced budget, and the first time in decades we all grew together, with the bottom 20 percent of workers increasing their incomes by the same percentage as the top 5 percent," Hillary Clinton during Roosevelt Island speech.

Transcript: Read the Full Text of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Launch Speech

Hillary Clinton held the first major rally of her campaign on Saturday at a large rally in New York City's Roosevelt Island, on Saturday June 13, 2015, after two months of small events in the early primary states.

Here is a transcript of the full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you! Oh, thank you all! Thank you so very, very much.

It is wonderful to be here with all of you.

To be in New York with my family, with so many friends, including many New Yorkers who gave me the honor of serving them in the Senate for eight years.

To be right across the water from the headquarters of the United Nations, where I represented our country many times.

To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt’s enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be.

And in a place… with absolutely no ceilings.

You know, President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad. His legacy lifted up a nation and inspired presidents who followed. One is the man I served as Secretary of State, Barack Obama, and another is my husband, Bill Clinton.

Two Democrats guided by the — Oh, that will make him so happy. They were and are two Democrats guided by the fundamental American belief that real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all.

President Roosevelt called on every American to do his or her part, and every American answered. He said there’s no mystery about what it takes to build a strong and prosperous America: “Equality of opportunity… Jobs for those who can work… Security for those who need it… The ending of special privilege for the few… The preservation of civil liberties for all… a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”

That still sounds good to me.

It’s America’s basic bargain. If you do your part you ought to be able to get ahead. And when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too.

That bargain inspired generations of families, including my own.

It’s what kept my grandfather going to work in the same Scranton lace mill every day for 50 years.

It’s what led my father to believe that if he scrimped and saved, his small business printing drapery fabric in Chicago could provide us with a middle-class life. And it did.

When President Clinton honored the bargain, we had the longest peacetime expansion in history, a balanced budget, and the first time in decades we all grew together, with the bottom 20 percent of workers increasing their incomes by the same percentage as the top 5 percent.

When President Obama honored the bargain, we pulled back from the brink of Depression, saved the auto industry, provided health care to 16 million working people, and replaced the jobs we lost faster than after a financial crash.

But, it’s not 1941, or 1993, or even 2009. We face new challenges in our economy and our democracy.

We’re still working our way back from a crisis that happened because time-tested values were replaced by false promises.

Instead of an economy built by every American, for every American, we were told that if we let those at the top pay lower taxes and bend the rules, their success would trickle down to everyone else.

What happened?

Well, instead of a balanced budget with surpluses that could have eventually paid off our national debt, the Republicans twice cut taxes for the wealthiest, borrowed money from other countries to pay for two wars, and family incomes dropped. You know where we ended up.

Except it wasn’t the end.

As we have since our founding, Americans made a new beginning.

You worked extra shifts, took second jobs, postponed home repairs… you figured out how to make it work. And now people are beginning to think about their future again – going to college, starting a business, buying a house, finally being able to put away something for retirement.

So we’re standing again. But, we all know we’re not yet running the way America should.

You see corporations making record profits, with CEOs making record pay, but your paychecks have barely budged.

While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined. And, often paying a lower tax rate.

So, you have to wonder: “When does my hard work pay off? When does my family get ahead?”

“When?”

I say now.

Prosperity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers.

Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations.

Prosperity and democracy are part of your basic bargain too.

You brought our country back.

Now it’s time — your time to secure the gains and move ahead.

And, you know what?

America can’t succeed unless you succeed.

That is why I am running for President of the United States.

Here, on Roosevelt Island, I believe we have a continuing rendezvous with destiny. Each American and the country we cherish.

I’m running to make our economy work for you and for every American.

For the successful and the struggling.

For the innovators and inventors.

For those breaking barriers in technology and discovering cures for diseases.

For the factory workers and food servers who stand on their feet all day.

For the nurses who work the night shift.

For the truckers who drive for hours and the farmers who feed us.

For the veterans who served our country.

For the small business owners who took a risk.

For everyone who’s ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out.

I’m not running for some Americans, but for all Americans.

Our country’s challenges didn’t begin with the Great Recession and they won’t end with the recovery.

For decades, Americans have been buffeted by powerful currents.

Advances in technology and the rise of global trade have created whole new areas of economic activity and opened new markets for our exports, but they have also displaced jobs and undercut wages for millions of Americans.

The financial industry and many multi-national corporations have created huge wealth for a few by focusing too much on short-term profit and too little on long-term value… too much on complex trading schemes and stock buybacks, too little on investments in new businesses, jobs, and fair compensation.

Our political system is so paralyzed by gridlock and dysfunction that most Americans have lost confidence that anything can actually get done. And they’ve lost trust in the ability of both government and Big Business to change course.

Now, we can blame historic forces beyond our control for some of this, but the choices we’ve made as a nation, leaders and citizens alike, have also played a big role.

Our next President must work with Congress and every other willing partner across our entire country. And I will do just that — to turn the tide so these currents start working for us more than against us.

At our best, that’s what Americans do. We’re problem solvers, not deniers. We don’t hide from change, we harness it.

But we can’t do that if we go back to the top-down economic policies that failed us before.

Americans have come too far to see our progress ripped away.

Now, there may be some new voices in the presidential Republican choir, but they’re all singing the same old song…

A song called “Yesterday.”

You know the one — all our troubles look as though they’re here to stay… and we need a place to hide away… They believe in yesterday.

And you’re lucky I didn’t try singing that, too, I’ll tell you!

These Republicans trip over themselves promising lower taxes for the wealthy and fewer rules for the biggest corporations without regard for how that will make income inequality even worse.

We’ve heard this tune before. And we know how it turns out.

Ask many of these candidates about climate change, one of the defining threats of our time, and they’ll say: “I’m not a scientist.” Well, then, why don’t they start listening to those who are?

They pledge to wipe out tough rules on Wall Street, rather than rein in the banks that are still too risky, courting future failures. In a case that can only be considered mass amnesia.

They want to take away health insurance from more than 16 million Americans without offering any credible alternative.

They shame and blame women, rather than respect our right to make our own reproductive health decisions.

They want to put immigrants, who work hard and pay taxes, at risk of deportation.

And they turn their backs on gay people who love each other.

Fundamentally, they reject what it takes to build an inclusive economy. It takes an inclusive society. What I once called “a village” that has a place for everyone.

Now, my values and a lifetime of experiences have given me a different vision for America.

I believe that success isn’t measured by how much the wealthiest Americans have, but by how many children climb out of poverty…

How many start-ups and small businesses open and thrive…

How many young people go to college without drowning in debt…

How many people find a good job…

How many families get ahead and stay ahead.

I didn’t learn this from politics. I learned it from my own family.

My mother taught me that everybody needs a chance and a champion. She knew what it was like not to have either one.

Her own parents abandoned her, and by 14 she was out on her own, working as a housemaid. Years later, when I was old enough to understand, I asked what kept her going.

You know what her answer was? Something very simple: Kindness from someone who believed she mattered.

The 1st grade teacher who saw she had nothing to eat at lunch and, without embarrassing her, brought extra food to share.

The woman whose house she cleaned letting her go to high school so long as her work got done. That was a bargain she leapt to accept.

And, because some people believed in her, she believed in me.

That’s why I believe with all my heart in America and in the potential of every American.

To meet every challenge.

To be resilient… no matter what the world throws at you.

To solve the toughest problems.

I believe we can do all these things because I’ve seen it happen.

As a young girl, I signed up at my Methodist Church to babysit the children of Mexican farm workers, while their parents worked in the fields on the weekends. And later, as a law student, I advocated for Congress to require better working and living conditions for farm workers whose children deserved better opportunities.

My first job out of law school was for the Children’s Defense Fund. I walked door-to-door to find out how many children with disabilities couldn’t go to school, and to help build the case for a law guaranteeing them access to education.

As a leader of the Legal Services Corporation, I defended the right of poor people to have a lawyer. And saw lives changed because an abusive marriage ended or an illegal eviction stopped.

In Arkansas, I supervised law students who represented clients in courts and prisons, organized scholarships for single parents going to college, led efforts for better schools and health care, and personally knew the people whose lives were improved.

As Senator, I had the honor of representing brave firefighters, police officers, EMTs, construction workers, and volunteers who ran toward danger on 9/11 and stayed there, becoming sick themselves.

It took years of effort, but Congress finally approved the health care they needed.

There are so many faces and stories that I carry with me of people who gave their best and then needed help themselves.

Just weeks ago, I met another person like that, a single mom juggling a job and classes at community college, while raising three kids.

She doesn’t expect anything to come easy. But she did ask me: What more can be done so it isn’t quite so hard for families like hers?

I want to be her champion and your champion.

If you’ll give me the chance, I’ll wage and win Four Fights for you.

The first is to make the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those at the top.

To make the middle class mean something again, with rising incomes and broader horizons. And to give the poor a chance to work their way into it.

The middle class needs more growth and more fairness. Growth and fairness go together. For lasting prosperity, you can’t have one without the other.

Is this possible in today’s world?

I believe it is or I wouldn’t be standing here.

Do I think it will be easy? Of course not.

But, here’s the good news: There are allies for change everywhere who know we can’t stand by while inequality increases, wages stagnate, and the promise of America dims. We should welcome the support of all Americans who want to go forward together with us.

There are public officials who know Americans need a better deal.

Business leaders who want higher pay for employees, equal pay for women and no discrimination against the LGBT community either.

There are leaders of finance who want less short-term trading and more long-term investing.

There are union leaders who are investing their own pension funds in putting people to work to build tomorrow’s economy. We need everyone to come to the table and work with us.

In the coming weeks, I’ll propose specific policies to:

Reward businesses who invest in long term value rather than the quick buck – because that leads to higher growth for the economy, higher wages for workers, and yes, bigger profits, everybody will have a better time.

I will rewrite the tax code so it rewards hard work and investments here at home, not quick trades or stashing profits overseas.

I will give new incentives to companies that give their employees a fair share of the profits their hard work earns.

We will unleash a new generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing tax relief, cutting red tape, and making it easier to get a small business loan.

We will restore America to the cutting edge of innovation, science, and research by increasing both public and private investments.

And we will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.

Developing renewable power – wind, solar, advanced biofuels…

Building cleaner power plants, smarter electric grids, greener buildings…

Using additional fees and royalties from fossil fuel extraction to protect the environment…

And ease the transition for distressed communities to a more diverse and sustainable economic future from coal country to Indian country, from small towns in the Mississippi Delta to the Rio Grande Valley to our inner cities, we have to help our fellow Americans.

Now, this will create millions of jobs and countless new businesses, and enable America to lead the global fight against climate change.

We will also connect workers to their jobs and businesses. Customers will have a better chance to actually get where they need and get what they desire with roads, railways, bridges, airports, ports, and broadband brought up to global standards for the 21stcentury.

We will establish an infrastructure bank and sell bonds to pay for some of these improvements.

Now, building an economy for tomorrow also requires investing in our most important asset, our people, beginning with our youngest.

That’s why I will propose that we make preschool and quality childcare available to every child in America.

And I want you to remember this, because to me, this is absolutely the most-compelling argument why we should do this. Research tells us how much early learning in the first five years of life can impact lifelong success. In fact, 80 percent of the brain is developed by age three.

One thing I’ve learned is that talent is universal – you can find it anywhere – but opportunity is not. Too many of our kids never have the chance to learn and thrive as they should and as we need them to.

Our country won’t be competitive or fair if we don’t help more families give their kids the best possible start in life.

So let’s staff our primary and secondary schools with teachers who are second to none in the world, and receive the respect they deserve for sparking the love of learning in every child.

Let’s make college affordable and available to all …and lift the crushing burden of student debt.

Let’s provide lifelong learning for workers to gain or improve skills the economy requires, setting up many more Americans for success.

Now, the second fight is to strengthen America’s families, because when our families are strong, America is strong.

And today’s families face new and unique pressures. Parents need more support and flexibility to do their job at work and at home.

I believe you should have the right to earn paid sick days.

I believe you should receive your work schedule with enough notice to arrange childcare or take college courses to get ahead.

I believe you should look forward to retirement with confidence, not anxiety.

That you should have the peace of mind that your health care will be there when you need it, without breaking the bank.

I believe we should offer paid family leave so no one has to choose between keeping a paycheck and caring for a new baby or a sick relative.

And it is way past time to end the outrage of so many women still earning less than men on the job — and women of color often making even less.

This isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a family issue. Just like raising the minimum wage is a family issue. Expanding childcare is a family issue. Declining marriage rates is a family issue. The unequal rates of incarceration is a family issue. Helping more people with an addiction or a mental health problem get help is a family issue.

In America, every family should feel like they belong.

So we should offer hard-working, law-abiding immigrant families a path to citizenship. Not second-class status.

And, we should ban discrimination against LGBT Americans and their families so they can live, learn, marry, and work just like everybody else.

You know, America’s diversity, our openness, our devotion to human rights and freedom is what’s drawn so many to our shores. What’s inspired people all over the world. I know. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

And these are also qualities that prepare us well for the demands of a world that is more interconnected than ever before.

So we have a third fight: to harness all of America’s power, smarts, and values to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity.

No other country on Earth is better positioned to thrive in the 21st century. No other country is better equipped to meet traditional threats from countries like Russia, North Korea, and Iran – and to deal with the rise of new powers like China.

No other country is better prepared to meet emerging threats from cyber attacks, transnational terror networks like ISIS, and diseases that spread across oceans and continents.

As your President, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Americans safe.

And if you look over my left shoulder you can see the new World Trade Center soaring skyward.

As a Senator from New York, I dedicated myself to getting our city and state the help we needed to recover. And as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I worked to maintain the best-trained, best-equipped, strongest military, ready for today’s threats and tomorrow’s.

And when our brave men and women come home from war or finish their service, I’ll see to it that they get not just the thanks of a grateful nation, but the care and benefits they’ve earned.

I’ve stood up to adversaries like Putin and reinforced allies like Israel. I was in the Situation Room on the day we got bin Laden.

But, I know — I know we have to be smart as well as strong.

Meeting today’s global challenges requires every element of America’s power, including skillful diplomacy, economic influence, and building partnerships to improve lives around the world with people, not just their governments.

There are a lot of trouble spots in the world, but there’s a lot of good news out there too.

I believe the future holds far more opportunities than threats if we exercise creative and confident leadership that enables us to shape global events rather than be shaped by them.

And we all know that in order to be strong in the world, though, we first have to be strong at home. That’s why we have to win the fourth fight – reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy so that it works for everyday Americans.

We have to stop the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political process, and drowning out the voices of our people.

We need Justices on the Supreme Court who will protect every citizen’s right to vote, rather than every corporation’s right to buy elections.

If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

I want to make it easier for every citizen to vote. That’s why I’ve proposed universal, automatic registration and expanded early voting.

I’ll fight back against Republican efforts to disempower and disenfranchise young people, poor people, people with disabilities, and people of color.

What part of democracy are they afraid of?

No matter how easy we make it to vote, we still have to give Americans something worth voting for.

Government is never going to have all the answers – but it has to be smarter, simpler, more efficient, and a better partner.

That means access to advanced technology so government agencies can more effectively serve their customers, the American people.

We need expertise and innovation from the private sector to help cut waste and streamline services.

There’s so much that works in America. For every problem we face, someone somewhere in America is solving it. Silicon Valley cracked the code on sharing and scaling a while ago. Many states are pioneering new ways to deliver services. I want to help Washington catch up.

To do that, we need a political system that produces results by solving problems that hold us back, not one overwhelmed by extreme partisanship and inflexibility.

Now, I’ll always seek common ground with friend and opponent alike. But I’ll also stand my ground when I must.

That’s something I did as Senator and Secretary of State — whether it was working with Republicans to expand health care for children and for our National Guard, or improve our foster care and adoption system, or pass a treaty to reduce the number of Russian nuclear warheads that could threaten our cities — and it’s something I will always do as your President.

We Americans may differ, bicker, stumble, and fall; but we are at our best when we pick each other up, when we have each other’s back.

Like any family, our American family is strongest when we cherish what we have in common, and fight back against those who would drive us apart.

People all over the world have asked me: “How could you and President Obama work together after you fought so hard against each other in that long campaign?”

Now, that is an understandable question considering that in many places, if you lose an election you could get imprisoned or exiled – even killed – not hired as Secretary of State.

But President Obama asked me to serve, and I accepted because we both love our country. That’s how we do it in America.

With that same spirit, together, we can win these four fights.

We can build an economy where hard work is rewarded.

We can strengthen our families.

We can defend our country and increase our opportunities all over the world.

And we can renew the promise of our democracy.

If we all do our part. In our families, in our businesses, unions, houses of worship, schools, and, yes, in the voting booth.

I want you to join me in this effort. Help me build this campaign and make it your own.

Talk to your friends, your family, your neighbors.

Text “JOIN” J-O-I-N to 4-7-2-4-6.

Go to hillaryclinton.com and sign up to make calls and knock on doors.

It’s no secret that we’re going up against some pretty powerful forces that will do and spend whatever it takes to advance a very different vision for America. But I’ve spent my life fighting for children, families, and our country. And I’m not stopping now.

You know, I know how hard this job is. I’ve seen it up close and personal.

All our Presidents come into office looking so vigorous. And then we watch their hair grow grayer and grayer.

Well, I may not be the youngest candidate in this race. But I will be the youngest woman President in the history of the United States!

And the first grandmother as well.

And one additional advantage: You’re won’t see my hair turn white in the White House. I’ve been coloring it for years!

So I’m looking forward to a great debate among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. I’m not running to be a President only for those Americans who already agree with me. I want to be a President for all Americans.

And along the way, I’ll just let you in on this little secret. I won’t get everything right. Lord knows I’ve made my share of mistakes. Well, there’s no shortage of people pointing them out!

And I certainly haven’t won every battle I’ve fought. But leadership means perseverance and hard choices. You have to push through the setbacks and disappointments and keep at it.

I think you know by now that I’ve been called many things by many people — “quitter” is not one of them.

Like so much else in my life, I got this from my mother.

When I was a girl, she never let me back down from any bully or barrier. In her later years, Mom lived with us, and she was still teaching me the same lessons. I’d come home from a hard day at the Senate or the State Department, sit down with her at the small table in our breakfast nook, and just let everything pour out. And she would remind me why we keep fighting, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.

I can still hear her saying: “Life’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you do with what happens to you – so get back out there.”

She lived to be 92 years old, and I often think about all the battles she witnessed over the course of the last century — all the progress that was won because Americans refused to give up or back down.

She was born on June 4, 1919 — before women in America had the right to vote. But on that very day, after years of struggle, Congress passed the Constitutional Amendment that would change that forever.

The story of America is a story of hard-fought, hard-won progress. And it continues today. New chapters are being written by men and women who believe that all of us – not just some, but all – should have the chance to live up to our God-given potential.

Not only because we’re a tolerant country, or a generous country, or a compassionate country, but because we’re a better, stronger, more prosperous country when we harness the talent, hard work, and ingenuity of every single American.

I wish my mother could have been with us longer. I wish she could have seen Chelsea become a mother herself. I wish she could have met Charlotte.

I wish she could have seen the America we’re going to build together.

An America, where if you do your part, you reap the rewards.

Where we don’t leave anyone out, or anyone behind.

An America where a father can tell his daughter: yes, you can be anything you want to be. Even President of the United States.

Thank you all. God bless you. And may God bless America!

And God Bless you, too, Hillary Clinton! +

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