Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Republican National Convention

The Republican national convention is going to be in Tampa Florida August 27th  2012 and I encourage everyone to watch the GOP debates so you are ready and well versed on all the issues that will be discussed.  The nomination of the Republican Party’s candidate for the presidency is very important and a large step in determining the outcome of the upcoming election.
The Republican National Convention is the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Par. Convened by the Republican National Committee, the stated purpose of the convocation is to nominate an official candidate in an upcoming Presidential election, and to adopt the party platform.

Like the Democratic Convention, it signifies the end of a Presidential primary season and the start of campaigning for the general election.
The first Republican National Convention was held at Lafayette Hall in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on February 22 and 23 in 1856. At this convention, the Republican Party was formally organized on a national basis, and the first Republican National Committee was elected.

 The first Republican National Convention to nominate a presidential candidate convened from June 17–-June 19, 1856 at the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The 1860 convention nominated the first successful GOP presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. The 1864 event, with the American Civil War raging, was branded as the "National Union Convention" as it included Democrats who remained loyal to the Union and nominated Democrat Andrew Johnson of Tennessee for Vice President.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Beginning of our Nation: William Henry Harrison (9)

William Henry Harrison Quotes:
“I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.
“To Englishmen, life is a topic, not an activity.”

"A decent and manly examination of the acts of government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged."

William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States (1841), he was an American Military Officer and politician. He was also the first president to die in office, he was 68 years old and the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980. He was also the last President to be born before the United States Declaration of Independence.

Harrison died on his 32nd day in office of complications from pneumonia speculatively caused by his lengthy inaugural address. The day of Harrison's inauguration was overcast with cold wind and a noon temperature estimated to be 48 degrees. Harrison chose to not wear an overcoat, hat, or gloves for the ceremony. Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in American history, running 8,445 words. He served the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis, but that crisis ultimately resolved many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until passage of the 25th Amendment.

Before election as president, Harrison served as the first territorial congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory, governor of the Indiana Territory and later as a U.S. representative and senator from Ohio. He originally gained national fame for leading U.S. forces against American Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, where he earned the nickname "Tippecanoe." As a general in the subsequent War of 1812, his most notable contribution was a victory at the Battle of the Thames in 1813, which brought an end to hostilities in his region.

After the war, Harrison moved to Ohio, where he was elected to the United States Congress, and in 1824 he became a member of the Senate. There he served a truncated term before being appointed as Minister Plenipotentiary to Colombia in May 1828. In Colombia, he spoke with Simon BolĂ­var about the finer points of democracy.
Harrison’s chief presidential legacy lies in his campaigning methods, which laid the foundation for the modern presidential campaign tactics. Harrison died nearly penniless. Congress voted to give his wife a Presidential widow's pension, a payment of $25,000, one year of Harrison's salary. This is equivalent to over $500,000 in 2009 dollars.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Path to the White House

The path to the White House is a long arduous journey that takes a very strong-willed person with a great personality and a very squeaky clean record. This might seem like an easy combination to obtain but throughout the years we have seen the rise and fall of Presidential candidates; due to their past transgressions, or their present Freudian slips, everything is fair game when you are under the National microscope.

Serious candidates for president must begin preparing for the election years in advance. The first decision potential candidates and their families face is whether or not they are suited for the demands of the office and willing to make the personal sacrifices necessary to win the election. This also includes making sure events in their past will not scandalize them later in their career and events during their time in office if they are an elected official. The next step usually involves forming political action committees (PAC) to broaden a candidate's visibility, to test the candidate's appeal nationwide, and to raise money for increasingly expensive campaigns. Candidates also establish exploratory committees whose job it is to: 1) seriously consider the candidate's chances of becoming president; 2) suggest possible campaigns themes and slogans; 3) write speeches and position papers; 4) seek endorsements from powerful individuals and groups; 5) recruit professional and volunteer staff; 6) begin organizing state campaigns in key states; 7) hire pollsters and consultants; and 8) develop media appeals.
To even be considered for the presidency there are Constitutional guidelines that one must meet as well as races within the race that a candidate must win to even get their party’s Presidential nomination. To become the Republican nominee for president, a candidate has to be nominated by a majority of delegates attending the Republican National Convention. Political conventions are almost as old as political parties. They have symbolic as well as practical importance for the parties and for the country. They are a ritual part of the American political tradition. They are a showpiece for party leaders and elected officials and a mechanism by which nominees are formally chosen, platforms drafted, and presidential campaigns launched.

Preliminary decisions on the convention are made by the party's national committee, usually on the recommendation of its chair and appropriate convention committees. An incumbent president normally exercises considerable influence over many of these decisions: the choice of a convention city, the selection of temporary and permanent convention officials, and the designation of the principal speakers. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have traditionally turned to national party leaders, primarily members of Congress, to fill many of the positions.
The character of Conventions has substantially changed, in the past the national convention served as a decision-making body, actually determining the party's nominee. Two significant changes have occurred in recent decades. First, most of the national convention delegates are now selected by voters in primary contests rather than by party caucuses and meetings. Second, with the advent of television, conventions have become tightly scripted made-for-TV spectacles. Each party seeks to present itself in the best possible light and to demonstrate a united front rather than to hash out its differences.
After the candidate has gone through all of these steps, has won the primary election and is now their party’s presidential candidate they still have a long way to go before they are potentially sworn in.
The media has played a large role in making and breaking candidates for the Presidency due to their ability to find scandal or to turn something seemingly irrelevant into a scandal.  Politicians are faced with issues everyday that are controversial and their positions on these issues are constantly scrutinized and analyzed by outsiders. Also, ill dealings of any kind can be detrimental to a person’s potential for presidential candidacy.
Scandals in politics have been around long before Watergate and Monica Lewinsky, and will probably keep occurring. The following are just a few interesting Presidential scandals.  

Jefferson had an affair with Sally Hemmings, one of his slaves and fathered children by her this has recently been supported by DNA evidence.

Before Andrew Jackson was president, he married a woman named Rachel Donelson in 1791. She had previously been married and believed that she was legally divorced. However, after marrying Jackson, Rachel found out this was not the case. Her first husband charged her with adultery. Jackson would have to wait until 1794 to legally marry Rachel. Even though this happened over thirty years previously, it was used against Jackson in the election of 1828. Jackson blamed Rachel's untimely death two months before he took office on these personal attacks against him and his wife.
Ulysses S. Grant's administration was rife with scandal. The first major scandal dealt with speculation in the gold market. Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the market by driving up the price of gold. However, Grant found out and quickly had the Treasury add gold to the economy. This in turn resulted in the lowering of gold prices on Friday, September 24, 1869 which adversely affected all those who had bought gold.
Another scandal that occurred during Grant's presidency was the Whiskey Ring. In 1875, it was revealed that many government employees were pocketing whiskey taxes. Grant called for swift punishment but caused further scandal when he moved to protect his personal secretary who had been implicated in the affair.

While not implicating the president himself, James Garfield had to deal with the Star Route Scandal in 1881 during his six months as president before his assassination. This scandal dealt with corruption in the postal service. Private organizations at the time were handling postal routes out West. These organizations would give postal officials a low bid but when the officials would present these bids to Congress they would ask for higher payments. Obviously, they were profiting from this state of affairs. Garfield dealt with this head-on even though many members of his own party were benefiting from the corruption.
Grover Cleveland had to deal head-on with a scandal while running for president in 1884. It was revealed that he had previously had an affair with a widow named Maria C. Halpin who had given birth to a son. She claimed that Cleveland was the father and named him Oscar Folsom Cleveland. Cleveland agreed to pay child support and then paid to put the child in an orphanage when she was no longer fit to raise him. When this issue was brought forth in the campaign and even became a chant "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!"

Several individuals in Ronald Reagan's administration were implicated in the Iran-Contra Scandal. Basically, money that had been obtained through selling arms to Iran was given secretly to the revolutionary Contras in Nicaragua. Other than helping the Contras, the hope was that by selling the weapons to Iran, terrorists would be more willing to give up hostages. This scandal resulted in major Congressional hearings.

There is never a dull moment in the political system and all that one can hope for is that the individuals they elect to represent them are of sound mind and character and can make the tough decisions when needed.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Beginning of our Nation: Martin Van Buren (8)

Martin Van Buren Quotes:

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.”

“The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity”

"For myself, therefore, I desire to declare that the principle that will govern me in the high duty to which my country calls me is a strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the Constitution as it was designed by those who framed it."

Martin Van Buren 1782 – 1862 was the eighth President of the United States (1837–1841). Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President (1833–1837) and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson (1829–1831).

He was a key organizer of the Democratic Party, a dominant figure in the Second Party System, and the first president not of British descent—his family was Dutch. He was the first president to be born an American citizen, his predecessors having been born British subjects before the American Revolution. He is also the only president not to have spoken English as his first language, having grown up speaking Dutch, and the first president from New York.

As Andrew Jackson's Secretary of State and then Vice President, he was a key figure in building the organizational structure for Jacksonian democracy, particularly in New York State. As president, he did not want the United States to annex Texas, an act which John Tyler would achieve eight years after Van Buren's initial rejection. Between the bloodless Aroostook War and the Caroline Affair, relations with Britain and its colonies in Canada also proved to be strained.

His administration was largely characterized by the economic hardship of his time, the Panic of 1837. He was a scapegoat for the depression and called "Martin Van Ruin" by his political opponents. Van Buren was voted out of office after four years, losing to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison.
In 1848 he ran unsuccessfully for president on a third-party ticket, the Free Soil Party.

Martin Van Buren died of bronchial asthma and heart failure at his Lindenwald estate in Kinderhook in 1862. He was 79 years old.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Beginning of our Nation: Andrew Jackson (7)

Andrew Jackson Quotes:

“One man with courage makes a majority.”

“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error”

“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.”

Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814), and the British at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). A polarizing figure who dominated the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s, as president he destroyed the national bank and relocated most Indian tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party.

Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory" because of his toughness and aggressive personality; he fought in duels, some fatal to his opponents. He was a rich slaveholder, who appealed to the common men of the United States, and fought politically against what he denounced as a closed, undemocratic aristocracy. He expanded the spoils system (is a practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its voters as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a system of awarding offices on the basis of some measure of merit independent of political activity) during Jackson’s presidency to strengthen his political base.

Elected president in 1828, Jackson supported a small and limited federal government. He strengthened the power of the presidency, which he saw as spokesman for the entire population, as opposed to Congressmen from a specific small district. He was supportive of states' rights, but during the Nullification Crisis, declared that states do not have the right to nullify federal laws. Strongly against the national bank, he vetoed the renewal of its charter and ensured its collapse. Whigs and moralists denounced his aggressive enforcement of the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the forced relocation of thousands of Native American tribes to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Historians acknowledge his protection of popular democracy and individual liberty for United States citizens, and sometimes criticize him for his support for slavery and for his role in Indian removal.

In January of 1832, while the President was dining with friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England. Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, "By the Eternal! I'll smash them!" So he did. His favorite, Van Buren, became Vice President, and succeeded to the Presidency when "Old Hickory" retired to the Hermitage, where he died in

The Beginning of our Nation: John Quincy Adams (6)

John Quincy Adams Quotes

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
 “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the United States of America (1825–1829). He served as an American diplomat and Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former President John Adams and Abigail Adams. As a diplomat, Adams played an important role in negotiating many international treaties, most notably the Treaty of Ghent (The Treaty of Ghent was signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent modern day Belgium, was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

As Secretary of State, he negotiated with the United Kingdom over America's northern border with Canada, negotiated with Spain the annexation of Florida, and developed the Monroe Doctrine. Historians agree he was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history.
Adams served as the sixth President of the United States from March 4, 1825, to March 4, 1829. He took the oath of office on a book of laws, instead of the more traditional Bible, to preserve the separation of church and state. The Adams administration's record was mixed, as it recorded some domestic policy achievements, as well as some minor foreign policy achievements. He supported internal improvements (roads, ports and canals), a national university, and federal support for the arts and sciences. He favored a high tariff to encourage the building of factories, and restricted land sales to slow the movement west. Opposition from the states' rights faction of a hostile congress killed many of his proposals. He also reduced the national debt from $16 billion to $5 billion, the remainder of which was paid off by his successor

ams was elected a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts after leaving office, the only president ever to be so, serving for the last 17 years of his life with far greater success than he had achieved in the presidency. Animated by his growing revulsion against slavery, Adams became a leading opponent of the Slave Power (was a term used in the Northern United States to characterize the political power of the slaveholding class of the South). He correctly predicted that if a civil war were to break out, the president could abolish slavery by using his war powers; Abraham Lincoln did just that with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Adams also predicted the Union's dissolution over the slavery issue, but said that if the South became independent there would be a series of bloody slave revolts.
On February 21, 1848 the House of Representatives was discussing the matter of honoring US Army officers who served in the Mexican-American War. Adams firmly opposed this idea, so when the rest of the house erupted into 'ayes', he cried out, 'No! He rose to answer a question put forth by the Speaker of the House. Immediately thereafter, Adams collapsed having suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Two days later, on February 23, he died with his wife and son at his side in the Speaker's Room inside the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. His last words were "This is the last of earth. I am content."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Summary of the H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act, as Amended

Prevents Taxpayer Bailouts: plan delivers an efficient, effective Postal Service without the thinly-veiled taxpayer bailout proposed by other bills and thoroughly denounced by the Government Accountability Office.

Modernizes Delivery Standards: the Postal Reform Act saves an estimated $3 billion a year by giving the Postal Service the option of eliminating Saturday delivery six months after the enactment of the legislation. According to polling by Quinnipiac University, 79% of the American people favor moving to 5 day delivery in order to restore the Postal Service to solvency.

Normalizes Rates: phases out many special rates for certain customers that force the Postal Service to actually charge certain customers less than the true cost of delivery, while preserving the ability for non-profits to fundraise and communicate with a mass audience in an economical manner.

Ends Special Treatment for Political Parties: the legislation eliminates the ability of the national and state political committees to use the non-profit mail rate.

Shares Sacrifice in Post Office Consolidations- Empanels a BRAC-style two-year task force, directed to recommend a plan to consolidate redundant post offices - saving at least $1 billion a year, excess mail processing faciliites - saving at least $2 billion per year - and the 30% of management facilities. The legislation ensures that small post offices that do not cost much to operate but serve isolated areas are maintained in order to preserve universal service. Under current closure rules, rural post offices are unfairly targeted by strict formulas on foot traffic that fail to account for community impact. The legislation also preserves appeal rights for citizens affected by post office consolidation.

Normalizes Pay & Benefits: mandates that postal workers pay at least the same health and life insurance premiums federal workers do, and clarifies that compensation parity with the private sector is maintained.

Establishes a Restructuring Authority to Turnaround Postal Defaults: when the Postal Service fails to pay its bills for more than 30 days, a receivership-style authority takes over for USPS management with an explicit mandate to cut costs while maintaining universal service. Management is replaced if they cannot successfully restructure Postal Service finances. Restructuring will be financed with an up to $10 billion line of credit that must be fully collateralized by postal facilities. The restrucutring authority will have the ability to make policy changes to cut costs as well- for instance- by moving from expensive door delivery to curb or clusterboxes in neighborhoods, the Postal Service will save $3.5 billion annually, while maintaining to the greatest extent possible door service in poor, densely populated, and historic neighborhoods. The solvency authority will also have the ability to remove postal workers from the expensive federal workers compensation system to be placed in their own.

Enables Postal Service to Pursue New Revenue: even though the Postal Service is supposed to act like a private business, it can't make money from selling advertisements. The Issa-Ross Postal Reform Act allows USPS to sell advertising space on vehicles and facilities, as long as the ads respect the Postal Service's integrity.

Offers an Affordable Payment Plan for Retiree Health Care Benefits- Allows the Postal Service to make the retiree health care funding payment they can make this year, roughly $1 billion, and pay the balance in equal installments in Fiscal Year 2015 and Fiscal Year 2016.

Surpluses in Pension Accounts to Facilitate Workforce Rightsizing- Provides for consideration of using a net surplus in all Postal Service pension accounts to fund the cost of reducing the size of the postal workforce. This provision protects taxpayers by ensuring that surplus funds are only accessible if there is an actual net surplus in all accounts.

No-More No-Layoff Clauses- No-layoff clauses are prospectively barred in Postal Service collective bargaining agreements. For employees who might lose their job, they will receive a hiring preference at Postal Service contractors. Postal employees would be subject to the same Reduction-in-Force authority as the rest of the federal workforce.