Posted by: coastcontact | June 27, 2015

The Supreme Court Under Attack

Once again and for the umpteenth time there are many people unhappy with Supreme Court decisions.   This probably goes back to the beginnings of America. Every time there is a major decision handed down the opposition wants to modify the Supreme Court in some manner. Happily those unhappy people have never managed to change the roll of the Supreme Court in any way. The reason may be that every proposed modification has a serious downside.

In 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to circumvent the court by proposing an enlargement to 15 justices. It was his intention to add justices that would favor his new deal legislation. Before the bill came to a vote in Congress, two Supreme Court justices came over to the liberal side and the FDR plan was dropped.

Brown v. Board of Education in my memory brought on the greatest resistance. The result of that decision was forced busing and that created more turmoil in the schools without a significant improvement to education.

Following is a list of some of the most significant cases before the Supreme Court. In most cases the losers believed that the court was wrong and wanted to change the rules governing the court.

Marbury v. Madison, 1803 (4-0 decision)

Established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review over Congress.

McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819 (7-0 decision)

Established the federal government’s implied powers over the states.

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857 (7-2 decision)

Denied citizenship to African American slaves.

Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 (7-1 decision)

Upheld “separate but equal” segregation laws in states.

Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 (9-0 decision)

Separating black and white students in public schools is unconstitutional.

Massive resistance was a strategy declared by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. of Virginia to unite white politicians and leaders in Virginia in a campaign of new state laws and policies to prevent public school desegregation, particularly after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954.[1] Many schools, and even an entire school system, were shut down in 1958 and 1959 in attempts to block integration, before both the Virginia Supreme Court and a special three-judge panel of Federal District judges from the Eastern District of Virginia, sitting at Norfolk, declared those policies unconstitutional.

On February 24, 1956, Byrd declared a campaign which became known as “Massive Resistance” to avoid implementing public school integration in Virginia. Leading the state’s Conservative Democrats, he proclaimed “If we can organize the Southern States for massive resistance to this order I think that in time the rest of the country will realize that racial integration is not going to be accepted in the South.”[7] Within a month, Senator Byrd and 100 other conservative Southern politicians signed what became known as the “Southern Manifesto,” condemning the Supreme Court’s decisions concerning racial integration in public places as violating States’ Rights.

Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 (9-0 decision)

Criminal defendants have a right to an attorney even if they cannot afford one.

Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 (5-4 decision)

Prisoners must be advised of their rights before being questioned by police.

Loving v. Virginia, 1967 (9-0 decision)

Invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Roe v. Wade, 1973 (7-2 decision)

Women have a constitutional right to an abortion during the first two trimesters.

This ruling continues to be the victim of efforts by politically conservative states to evade the decision.

District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008 (5-4 decision)

Citizens have a right to possess firearms at home for self-defense.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010 (5-4 decision)

Corporations and unions can spend unlimited amounts in elections.

Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015 (5-4 decision)

Same-sex marriage is legalized across all 50 states.

In an article posted on the National Review Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote the following:

“This must stop. Liberty is in the balance. Not only are the Court’s opinions untethered to reason and logic, they are also alien to our constitutional system of limited and divided government. By redefining the meaning of common words, and redesigning the most basic human institutions, this Court has crossed from the realm of activism into the arena of oligarchy. This week’s opinions are but the latest in a long line of judicial assaults on our Constitution and the common-sense values that have made America great. During the past 50 years, the Court has condemned millions of innocent unborn children to death, banished God from our schools and public squares, extended constitutional protections to prisoners of war on foreign soil, authorized the confiscation of property from one private owner to transfer it to another, and has now required all Americans to purchase a specific product, and to accept the redefinition of an institution ordained by God and long predating the formation of the Court. Enough is enough.”

“I am proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject the justices of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial-retention elections. Every justice, beginning with the second national election after his or her appointment, will answer to the American people and the states in a retention election every eight years. Those justices deemed unfit for retention by both a majority of the American people as a whole and by majorities of the electorates in at least half of the 50 states will be removed from office and disqualified from future service on the Court.”

Read his entire article at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420409/ted-cruz-supreme-court-constitutional-amendment. Some of what he wrote does make sense. Changes to the constitution with one exception (The Eighteenth Amendment effectively established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages) have been wisely made.

Posted by: coastcontact | June 26, 2015

N****R, F**K

You know the two words written in the title of this commentary. Everyone in America knows those two words. So who are we fooling when we won’t put them in print and bleep them out in news casts or other programs where they are used? No one!

The need to be politically correct drives our decision making. I still use the word “Oriental” to designate people from the Far East. Instead the currently preferred word is “Asian.” Aren’t people from India, Pakistan, and Turkey also Asian? The last time I checked a map everyone east of the Ural Mountains are from Asia. What exactly is wrong with the word “Oriental?”

Watching Part one of CNN’s “The Seventies” there is a clip that includes the word “Nigger” and “Honky” “used on an episode of “The Jefferson.” Maybe we were shocked by the use of those words on television but it certainly did not cause us to turn of the program. Archie Bunker of “All in the Family” helped us confront bigotry.  It wasn’t just television that used those words.  Movies in the 70s also used those words too.  Blazing Saddles used the word  “Nigger” numerous times and the movie was a great success.

“Fuck” “is used profusely in many movies. It is overdone when script writers lack the ability to write worthwhile dialog. I have turned many movies off when that happens.

What does this all prove? As a nation we are hypocrites.

Posted by: coastcontact | June 20, 2015

The Right to Bear Arms

It doesn’t make any difference whether mass killings are called “a form or terrorism” or “a “hate crime.” The victims are dead or seriously injured. Americans live in a country that permits the use of guns to kill people. The argument that “it’s people who kill people, it’s the not guns who do the killing” is simply another way of defending gun ownership.

There really is only one reason to own a gun and that is to protect yourself from violence. Relying on the police won’t work since they can’t arrive at any destination in seconds. I know you may argue that shooting at a target is fun and collecting weapons is a hobby and you would be correct if there was little chance that those weapons would ever be used to kill or maim.  The problem is that hundreds of people are killed annually because of hate rather than for protection.  No other industrial country in the world has a gun related death rate near the rate of the United States.

Cross the border into Canada and you are stopped by their border patrol and asked if you have any weapons in your car. They search your car trunk and your suitcases to confirm your words. The record is clear. Canadian deaths from weapons is about 2.22 per 100,000 people. In the United States the rate is 10.64 (2013).

The killing of nine Black people in a church is no different from the killing of audience members of a movie theater in Colorado or Sikh’s in their temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“If only those people had been armed” is the argument offered by the NRA (National Rifleman’s Association). They would have had the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School carrying a sidearm to protect themselves and the children.

In other words we should behave like an old west movie with everyone prepared to draw a weapon.

What is more astonishing is that our congress lacks the will to stop the killing. The right to bear arms grew out of a concern that the government might become tyrannical to the point where the public feared for their freedom.

The argument is not supportable in the 21st century. The weapons the government has in its possession are unavailable to the public. An armed insurrection is not possible today unless part of the army itself decided to start a rebellion.

I keep hearing our politicians tell us that the United States is the greatest country in the world. On what basis do they make that statement?  There is no more freedom here than in other western nations.  Guns have never helped to preserve our freedom except in war.

Posted by: davidbancroft | June 20, 2015

YOU Said Nothing!

When we were led into the gas chamber, YOU said nothing.

When we were forcibly converted, YOU said nothing.

When we were thrown out of a country just for being Jews, YOU said nothing.

When we now defend ourselves all of a sudden, YOU have something to say.

How did we take our revenge on the Germans for their Final Solution?

How did we take revenge on the Spanish for their Inquisition?

How did we take revenge on Islam for being Dhimmi?

How did we take revenge on the lies of the Protocols of Zion?

We studied our Torah.

We innovated in medicine.

We innovated in defense systems.

We innovated in technology.

We innovated in agriculture.

We made music.

We wrote poetry.

We made the desert bloom.

We won Noble prizes.

We founded the movie industry.

We financed democracy.

We fulfilled the word of Hashem by becoming a light unto the Nations of the Earth.

So World when you criticise us for defending our heritage and our ancestral homeland we the Jew’s of the World do exactly what you did, we ignore you.

You have proven to us for the last 2,000 years that when the chips are down you don’t care.

Now leave us alone and go sort out you own back yard whilst we continue our 5775-year old mission, enhancing the World we share.

Author unknown

Posted by: coastcontact | June 18, 2015

Send in the Clowns

Send in the Clowns” is a song written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. Really a sad song.

Perhaps the G.O.P. leaders thought that clowns would make the next presidential campaign more fun and interesting. Those leaders are defending the extraordinary number of presidential candidates who want to represent the Republican Party. Just look at the list of fools and nut jobs who want to lead this country.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05:  Donald Trump attends the

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 05: Donald Trump attends the “Celebrity Apprentice” Red Carpet Event at Trump Tower on January 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)

Leading off we have Donald Trump who also has earned the title of “The Donald.” This most famous billionaire has his own television shows. Trump, who debuted as the host of NBC’s The Apprentice in 2004, has used the televised business competition to make certain that he is in the public eye. Since the show was launched, seven contestants have successfully won a spot as Trump’s apprentice for a year, which comes with a $250,000 payday. The Apprentice was renewed for its 15th season in February.

Rick Santorum  A Man of Conviction

Rick Santorum is a good selection for number two clown. He is an extreme right wing evangelical candidate who is a former senator from Pennsylvania. America’s best anti-gay warrior lost his senate seat by 18 points. Donald Trump, a Mitt Romney supporter, said recently. “Then he goes out and says, ‘Oh, OK, I just lost by the biggest margin in history, now I’m going to run for president.’ Tell me, how does that work?”

Carly Fiorina

In third place is Carly Fiorina. She is the former CEO of Hewlett Packard. The board of directors of that company fired her. During her tenure she fired 30,000 employees. She then went on to lose her race for U.S. Senator from California against incumbent Barbara Boxer. Final results 52.1% to 43.3%. She has never held an elective office.

Mike Huckabee

An easy fourth place goes to the Reverend and Fox News host Mike Huckabee. He supports the Fair Tax instead of the graduated income tax. He would gut the Internal Revenue Code and replace it with a flat tax “simple enough to allow many Americans to fill out their taxes on a postcard.” The consequence would be a 10% to 15% tax on everyone’s income. The problem is that those earning $25,000 a year would be seriously impacted by a 10% income tax but those earning $1 million a year would not notice the $100,000 income tax. This tax would benefit the rich who now pay 39% of their taxable income.

Other outrageous candidates include Doctor Ben Carson who denies that homosexuality is a biological reality and says He Wants to Seal the Border to Keep Out People ‘That Want to Bomb Us.’ and said  “You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”  Senator Ted Cruz who is proud to be a “wacko bird” also said in November of last year, after President Barack Obama announced his support for “net neutrality,” he had no choice but to come out against it, tweeting “Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”

The debates should be fun to watch but can we take any Republican candidate seriously?

If the G.O.P. loses the next election they can only blame themselves.

Posted by: coastcontact | June 16, 2015

Computer Games

In another time in what seems like another galaxy I was the material manager for a computer game company. This week E3, the computer game exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center, holds its annual show. When you walk inside you are overwhelmed by the noise and the giant screens that are trying to sell you that their game is the one you must have for your customers. In theory only re-sellers are admitted the exhibition.  However, many non-resellers manage to find their way in.  If you are more than 35 years old you will feel out of place. 

Posted by: coastcontact | June 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s first Rally speech

Hillary Clinton is the likely Democratic Party nominee for president in the November 2016 election.  From the Time magazine web site this is her initial major speech.  Perhaps a little too long.

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 farmworkers, 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 21st century.

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.

Posted by: coastcontact | June 11, 2015

“Fast Track” is the Fast Elimination of American Jobs

The Los Angeles Times argues that the ‘fast track’ bill on trade makes sense in a June 10, 2015 editorial. Pointing out that “The nation’s five metropolitan areas with the largest agricultural exports are all in California.” That is clearly a reason to support more free trade agreements that will help farmers sell their crops.   However the consequence of selling those crops overseas is higher food costs for Americans.

The United States is a consumer driven economy. That is an established fact. This country has a history of making everything from cars to bed sheets. I just walked through a Macy’s department store and looked at three men’s shirts made by well known manufacturers. All three were made in other countries: Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Chile. Recently purchased towels were made in India, carving knives made in Switzerland, and a desk chair made in China. We all know that consumer tech products are made in Asia. Where does that leave the blue collar, former middle class, Americans? Unemployed! The last thing the United States needs is another free trade agreement.

Update December 13, 2015 – from my congressman:

Brad Sherman

Dear Friend,

I voted NO on the Fast Track Trade Bill this afternoon. The House stood up for American workers and voted down the package that gives the President “Fast Track” authority that would force into place job killing legislation such as the Trans-Pacific-Partnership.

Washington’s trade policy in the past few decades has failed the American middle. For far too long, we have seen the U.S. export jobs rather than products. We can no longer afford to continue on this path. We must abandon these failed, so-called “free trade” policies of the past and take a new direction that creates more jobs here at home in America. We need balanced trade. That is why I have opposed NAFTA, CAFTA, MFN for China, and a host of bad trade deals we have adopted over the last 20 years.

Thank you very much for contacting me and sharing your views, I hope to hear from you further in the future.

Sincerely,

Posted by: coastcontact | June 8, 2015

Becoming an Expert of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs is a big part of the job of President of the United States. Everyone can agree on that fact. Thus every candidate for president wants to prove he has the knowledge to do the job. So former Florida Governor Jeb Bush going overseas this week to prove his foreign policy credentials.

I traveled overseas to London and Paris is 2012. You cannot begin to know and understand those countries in a one week trip even if you met the prime minister of the U.K. and the president of France. You cannot begin to appreciate their perspective of the world. Realizing that those are two nations that do have strong ties to America, their leaders may still hold views that are substantially unacceptable to the United States. How can we expect countries with cultures that are extremely different to understand America’s viewpoint? You can’t!

So here we have Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and other GOP presidential candidates trying to prove that they can effectively deal with the complications of foreign affairs.

The current Secretary of State is John Kerry. He previously served in the United States Senate, and was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Even with that resume he has struggled to cope with the challenges that this office holds.

So Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and the others wanting to be president will be telling us that they can do what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry could not do. Make the world better for America.

Believe that? Can I sell you the Brooklyn Bridge?

Posted by: coastcontact | May 31, 2015

Raising the Minimum Wage Rate

If we lived in a world where everyone has the right to pay whatever low rate they could manage then the least able would be paid a starvation salary. Wait, this is almost exactly the situation today. American society has established a minimum hourly pay rate that will not provide enough money to pay for housing, food, and other basic necessities.

The consequence is that those with limited ability and the resulting minimum pay must share housing and pool their low income to sustain their lives.

On the other end of the scale there are those businesses who need those low paid workers to sustain their low priced products. McDonald’s and it competitors are those businesses that come to mind. If the cost to make a burger goes up then the cost of those low priced burgers goes up. That could impact the very existence of many small enterprises.

We are faced with a conundrum!

I find myself sympathetic to both the poor and low pay employers.

Thus society must decide what is best for everyone in the long run. We see the consequence of not providing support for the poor when we look at nations like Bangladesh, India, and other southeastern Asian nations. The poor live in hovels and eat rice, beans, and anything else they can grow in a small garden. Is that the society we want in the United States?

Since we are a free enterprise society there are those who say “tough” and “it’s not my problem.”

The majority of our elected officials will make the decisions. As it stand today there are many cities and states who have decided it is in their best interest to continue raising the minimum wage. The current target seems to be $15.00 an hour. That is not a living wage but will help those who cannot obtain a higher level of education.

McDonald’s burgers at $5.00 won’t break us but just might help a little.

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