POTUS – Call To Duty – 90 days and counting

While Hillary Clinton continues to run a sincere presidential campaign, Donald Trump has turned the election into a mockery and impugned a sacred event.

Many Americans caught up in Trump’s master media manipulation have forgotten that the government is not Hollywood, and you can’t lead a country like a blockbuster movie character, or a reality TV show host. As it stands, the requirements to become President of the United States only ask that you be 35 years of age, a natural born citizen to at least one parent, and have lived in the U.S. for a minimum of 14 years.

This doesn’t seem in-depth enough for a person who will have a national security clearance, meet with world leaders and effect the future of the U.S and the globe.

In 1776, when the constitution was written, there were no nuclear weapons, maneuvering trade and economic agreements was more straightforward, technology as we know it was non-existent, and deals could be made with the exchange of food and basic goods.

What once worked when the country was young, 250 years ago, doesn’t seem like it will anymore.  The world is more complicated than it used to be.

This begs the question of whether the eligibility requirements of who can run for President of the United States need updating to include relevant levels of work and educational experience.

Here are some ideas for possible requirements:

  • Has dedicated at least 10 years of their lives to serving the country in some political office, including governor, senator, representative, cabinet member, government official and veteran
  • Pass an in-person exam that includes information about current laws, history of the U.S., foreign policy, the economy, and a 1000 word essay as to why they want to be president
  • Credit and background check
  • Share taxes from the last ten years
  • Physical, mental health exam and drug testing

Americans have the right to know who they are electing to lead their country. The office of President of the United States should be a call to duty, not a call to notoriety.

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2016 Candidates in Photos – 103 days and counting

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It’s true.  You can’t help who you’re attracted to or who you fall in love with, but you can help who you vote for on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 for President of the United States.

Social media is full of haters for all the candidates. There has been nothing that is off limits during this campaign. People have slandered them, and made rude comments that should have been  left behind on childhood playgrounds.

“If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it.”  This has been proven in this election in particular. One thing is certain: voters should always question the statements made by other candidates and media organizations.  Google  and Factcheck.org are great sources  to verify accuracy.

Candidates have been compared to clowns and Irish leprechauns. They have been called fat and stupid. Below are a few of the comments about nominees and their spouses.

Donald Trump has been called Hitler and likened to Werner Klemperer’s character Colonel Klink from the 1965-71 CBS TV show “Hogan’s Heroes.” He’s been termed the Joker, because of his ever-changing hair color, and Mr. Comb Over.

Hillary has been called old and manly. One person tweeted that she wouldn’t vote for her, because she’s ugly.  Still others find her beautiful and elegant.

Melania Trump has been called Caitlyn Jenner and, like Hillary, manly. Others think she is stunning.

No one has mentioned Bill’s looks, but everyone is aware of his mistakes in the past and they have been brought up a time or two.

The truth is: appearances have nothing to do with a candidate’s qualifications and whether or not she can run a country.

It’s no secret that Hillary is the most dedicated and qualified candidate. However, if it is looks that matter to you here are some pictures of both older and younger versions of the candidates.

You decide who is the most presidential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politics As Usual: Kelly v. Trump – 172 days and counting

There has been a lot of fuss and commotion about Megyn Kelly’s interview with Donald Trump, which aired on a Fox News Special on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

The interview raised numerous questions. When should a journalist apologize and when does a subject get a second chance? What were Kelly’s motivations? Was the interview scripted just to get ratings for Fox? Was the feud a publicity stunt from the beginning?

It’s no secret that journalistic impartiality and integrity are key when reporting a story.  Megyn Kelly is not the only journalist to endure ridicule from peers. Over the years, journalists have made mistakes and had to apologize, while becoming the punchline in many newsrooms.

Brian Williams lied about how he was shot down in a helicopter in Iraq. The tall tale ended his celebrated career.

The New York Times was highly criticized when three reporters covered a story about six students who were killed, when a balcony collapsed at a party at Berkeley. The story focused on the party issue, rather than taking into account that six lives had been lost, and the devastating effect the deaths would have on students, colleagues, friends and family.

David Monagan had wrongly described Irish President Michael D. Higgins as an “acknowledged homosexual”” in Forbes Magazine. Monagan had to plead for forgiveness.

Ahmen Khawajai from the BBC mistakenly tweeted that Queen Elizabeth II had died. The reporter faced an investigation among other disciplinary actions.

And, of course, there is the well-known story about Stephen Glass, formerly of The New Republic, who fabricated several articles to raise his notoriety. A movie “Shattered Glass,” recounted Glass’s deception.

While Megyn Kelly, unlike the aforementioned, hasn’t done anything unethical, her motive to even interview Trump is perplexing, since he spent countless hours demeaning and verbally abusing her, via Twitter, as well as in interviews.

Criticism regarding Kelly’s actions has made headlines, and has been fodder for nighttime talk show hosts. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah called the interview “Couples Therapy.” In response to this accusation, Kelly tweeted, “So grateful I have men like @Trevornoah 2 advise on how to deal w/gender attacks- I’m sure his life experience (sic) far better than mine on this!”

One thing is certain, not everything needs or even deserves a reply, particularly when you’re a public figure.

Megyn Kelly has an impressive journalistic track record. America wanted to cheer her on while she stood up to the man who refused to participate in a debate, because she was the moderator, who had insulted her, degraded women, Mexicans, Muslims, and many others over the last few months.

Instead of facing him, Kelly leaned in during the interview, treating him with kid gloves, allowing him to make excuses, as if he was fragile and sympathetic. Trump’s explanations of campaign strategy and dragging others into character debate as deflection, is no justification for racism, slurs and offensive language.

As stated by Kelly: It’s true, it’s up to each individual how they handle attackers. However, it’s particularly important when you’re a public figure to set an example. She’s an intelligent person and a tenured journalist. She could have had a great impact culturally.  She did not.  She chose to do the exact opposite.

Why was she trying to help Trump rehabilitate his image?

For many who have been bullied or abused, watching the interview was disturbing and a huge letdown, as described by Emily Crocket on Vox.com.

It’s important for a reporter to live up to certain journalistic standards. There were a lot of missed opportunities here, as pointed out by several of Kelly’s critics.

 

Why Your Vote Matters! – 204 days and counting

Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have been traveling across the U.S. since super Tuesday, waving their credentials and debating with each other.

In the last few weeks, candidates have met their fans and supporters at rallies, town halls, fundraisers and meet and greets all across the state of New York.

Tomorrow’s primary is an historical event and could be pivotal for both Democrat and Republican candidates as they vie for the state of New York’s delegates. The remaining primaries and caucuses across the country, which last through the beginning of  June are consequential.

Here are five reasons why you need to get out and vote in the primaries, and in the general election in November:

Important To Vote

Don’t like any of the candidates? Vote for the one you least despise. It’s better than having the one you dislike the most win.  Whoever wins has the power to effect your life.

Government Impact

The government (president, congress, senate, Supreme Court) affects the economy, taxes, education, immigration, transportation, the military, foreign policy, religious freedom, women’s issues, children’s issues, healthcare and many other aspects.

It’s Your Money

The president and other government officials (county commissioners, governor, state treasurer, legislators and Congress) you vote for will decide how to spend your money. Candidates give money to causes you care about: youth programs, the environment, HIV/AIDS, cancer research and others.

If you don’t vote, someone else will. It will influence how decisions are made on matters like pay equity, fairness in hiring, and workplace safety; environmental concerns – the air, the land, and water; crime prevention – laws and law enforcement; safe and affordable homes; traffic patterns; schools, parks and recreation.

The Future

It affects the future. What happens today reverberates down the road. If the economy goes into a recession, it will take decades to rebuild.

History

  • 14th Amendment– All persons born within the U.S. are citizens and guaranteed rights and privileges (1868)
  • 15th Amendment– No citizen denied the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude (1870)
  • 19th Amendment No citizen shall be abridged of their right to vote based on sex.
  • (1920)
  • 24th Amendment – No poll tax is allowed or failure to pay any other tax shall prevent a person from voting (1964)
  • 26th Amendment – All persons 18 or older shall not be abridged of their right to vote (1971)
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 –Applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis.

 

To help you make your decision please follow the link to each candidates website.

Hillary Clinton

Ted Cruz

John Kasich

Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump

Interesting Election Facts:

How many delegates each candidate currently has –  Delegate counter

Voter turnout since 1789 –  Voter turnout

Interesting Presidential Election Facts –  Presidential race facts

Follow the link to the –  Upcoming Primaries

 Image result for your vote your voice 2016

Higher Education Costs – 211 days and counting

With the crisis of ballooning college costs and student debt in the U.S., 2016 presidential candidates are looking for ways to tackle this monumental issue. It is a looming problem that stunts economic growth and makes it difficult for some parents to buy houses, save for their children’s education and their own retirement.

While legislation has been passed to lower interest rates, the current amount for student loan debt is $1.2 trillion dollars. In part, the debt is rising, because there are more students going to college and they’re borrowing more money.

While interest rates have dropped in recent years, the average for each borrower is $29,000.  Students who attend private colleges could owe $100,000 plus.

Below is each candidate’s higher education plan:

Hillary Clinton – The New College Compact

  • Tuition-free community college
  • Debt-free public four-year college
  • Cutting interest rates on federal student loans
  • Government student loan refinancing for borrowers with existing federal loans
  • Making income-based repayment the default plan for all borrowers
  • Expand work study program for students

Clinton would pay for her plan by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.

Ted Cruz – Deregulate Education

In 2014, Cruz voted against letting borrowers refinance their federal loans with the government.

John Kasich -State Education 

  • Downsizing the U.S. Department of Education and reallocating education funding to states
  • Expanding high school students’ access to courses that provide college credit
  • Tying government funding for public colleges and universities to graduation rates

Throughout the presidential campaign, Kasich has advocated for stronger state involvement in education issues and a reduced role for the federal government.

Bernie Sanders – Debt-free College

  • Tuition-free public college
  • Cutting interest rates on federal student loans
  • Government student loan refinancing for borrowers with existing federal loans

Sanders would fund his program by imposing taxes on certain stock, bond and derivatives trades.

Donald Trump  – No Government Profit

  • Reforming the federal student loans system so the federal government doesn’t profit from student loans
  • Cutting the Department of Education’s budget

Results for each plan

If we followed Senator Ted Cruz’s and Donald Trump’s plans, it would mean defunding all Pell grants, there would be no new federal student loans and no Title IX enforcement. It would cause several colleges to close, due to of the lack of federal money, and less people would be able to attend college.

It would also mean going back to the guaranteed lending, or as it’s known in Washington DC., corporate welfare. However, it should be noted that The Department of Education subsidized the banks when this system was in place.

Governor John Kasich’s strategy places the burden on the states, so there would be pressure for tax increases.

Senator Bernie Sander’s plan: funding free college is unrealistic. The cost is $70 billion per year and, as with other government entitlements, it will drive up taxes and ultimately the national deficit.

Hillary Clinton’s proposal addresses affordability concerns and demands accountability at the institution and state level. However, it doesn’t target relief to the borrowers who need it the most.

Since strategies from the Democratic and Republican candidates are very different, it’s not likely either party would be receptive to the other’s policies. Once again gridlock would halt progress.

College Funding Sources

The Foundation Center 

College Scholarships

US News & World Report College Scholarship Tips

Lebron James and others may pay for your college

How to get strangers to pay for your college

 

 

 

Wah Wah – 226 days and counting

If you can’t take it, then don’t dish it out, and certainly don’t ever run for President of the United States.

Name calling and barb-wielding accusations between presidential candidates have occurred since George Washington became the first President of the United States. He was uncontested and yet, people still found things to complain about.

Naked pictures, cheating spouses, shady business deals: social media has forever changed the shock value of the public’s responses to news. No one is shaken by anything anymore. The up-to-the minute reporting about violence, terrorist attacks, crimes in the U.S. and entertainers’ personal lives has heightened tolerance levels for what is defined as scandal.

We are a jaded nation.

Only Kim Kardashian and a few others can take a naked selfie and have people debate its inappropriateness. No one cares about Melania Trump posing nude or whether Hollywoodlife.com reported Ted Cruz’s infidelities, or about Vanityfair.com’s article about Bernie Sanders misappropriating campaign finances, and all the articles debating Hillary Clinton’s ability to lead as a woman.

What people do listen to is how the candidate responds to these accusations, and whether they actually did anything wrong. Can they shake it off, laugh it off, be tough, and take the beating?

Everyone knows the bickering is a deflection tactic, a way to avoid the actual issues. While some people get swept up in the mayhem, the rest of us are waiting on the edge of our seats in front of our televisions, by our twitter feeds, Snapchats, Instagram posts, blogs, videos and newsfeeds to read, see and hear what a candidate actually has to say about the issues and how they plan  to achieve their promises.

 

 

 

Reclaiming the American Dream – 233 days and counting

Mark Twain’s famous words, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” could also be applied to The Middle Class economic problem. Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything to change it.

The reason: “It’s complicated.” Getting political parties to align on the best methodology to create growth in this economic drought is like trying to move a 20-ton lead balloon. All the helium in the world won’t make it fly, and it will take an act of God to get it to budge, even incrementally.

Also, most politicians won’t commit to the difficult fixes, for fear of losing their corporate and special interest groups’ financial support.

It’s a tightrope walk for a politician if they want to get elected. Someone needs to step up and take responsibility. 2016 Presidential candidates have made promises to amend trade laws, rewrite tax codes, build infrastructure, bring training back to the U.S., and make college tuition free, but these suggestions won’t create jobs, or put more money in Americans’ pockets.

Remember, for a bill to become law, it has to pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate. Lately there’s a lot of gridlock, and all the Executive Orders in the world won’t guarantee a sure thing. They can be contested in a court of law.

Also, these promises won’t help the underemployed or the unemployed. The lower and middle class spend all their income just to live. According to The New York Times, the last three decades have been focused on gains of income for the highest earners. Salaries in some companies haven’t changed for  the middle class jobs in 20 years.

Here are a few of the problems that need to be addressed?

TAXES

Rewriting Tax Codes is a great idea, but changing these codes won’t help unless people are employed.

EDUCATION

Student Loans

There should be a cap on how much past, current and future student loans’ interest can compound to increase the debt.

As for the current student loan debt, individuals who graduated 20 years ago or more should have loans forgiven.  The student loan bubble is much like the housing bubble; these loans are now being shuffled from one lender to another for pennies on the dollar, but costing the middle class stress and economic suffering.

Civil Service Incentive

For those who just graduated, perhaps a program very much like the GI bill can be created for civil service, whereby people volunteer for a small salary. In exchange they receive college tuition.

Child care – A childcare program can be part of the government civil service incentive, which is mentioned above. This will also help lower and middle income families, who cannot afford other care.

Training

There are many non-profit organizations who offer free training programs to lower income families, immigrants and ex-cons. Perhaps, some of these organizations could expand their roles in the community by offering training to the middle class as well.

BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE

States and cities use sales taxes to build infrastructure. The middle class pays for this through regressive taxes. There is no easy answer for this. Highways, roads and bridges need to be built.

HEALTH INSURANCE

The Affordable Care Act is good, but needs amending. It has helped make healthcare available to some who may not have otherwise had it, has cut back costs to emergency room visits, and made it accessible to those with pre-existing conditions.

However, there are middle class Americans who can’t afford it, but make too much money to get assistance. Also, when tax time comes around, they are penalized. Thus, just taking away more of their income.

Additionally, there are individuals who take advantage of the system, because of the pre-existing condition clause. They only purchase it when they have health issues, and then cancel when they no longer require it. This raises costs to others.

LABOR LAWS

Rewrite the Labor Laws. Affirmative Action needs to be reinstated. It’s essential companies be required to hire qualified Americans from all walks of life. There has been a hiring imbalance for the last 25 years.

Labor Union – Unions are being busted. They are used in collective bargaining to negotiate fairness for those who belong.  Some are known for underhanded, shady behavior. They definitely need to be regulated, but they certainly should not be dismantled.

Foreign companies with offices in the U.S. sometimes hire foreign workers. Often these employees actually commute back and forth to their countries. While working in the United States, they should be required to live here on a permanent basis, thus putting money into our economy.

While people from all over the world should be allowed to work and live in the U.S., a ceiling on how many foreign contract workers a company can employ must be instituted. Often companies will hire green card workers in deference to American employees, because they will take lower wages.

NAFTA AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE

According to The Council on Foreign Relations, there are pros and cons to NAFTA and other foreign trade agreements. These agreements are both economic and foreign policy issues and are meant to benefit all involved. This is what makes them such highly debated topics. They are complicated and used for diplomacy as well as economic sanctions.

Changing these agreements is not a simple undertaking, and not as easy as writing up a business agreement.

THE AMERICAN DREAM

There are so many questions. There is no easy fix for the middle class or the United States economy. Even if a candidate makes a promise, there are no guarantees.

Which candidate will do what’s right for the country?

Which candidate will make America great again?

To quote Mark Twain, “I was seldom able to see an opportunity, until it had ceased to be one.”

Let’s hope the right candidate  wins, and carpe diem, so we all can reclaim The American Dream.

Candidate Predictions

Democrat – Hillary Clinton

Republican – John Kasich