What’s Great About America

Yesterday I presented a laundry list of important problems facing America. It was a dark and depressing assessment of our country and its leadership.

My feelings about the US and the prospects for it are much more optimistic than what you might think. In an effort to be balanced, I offer the following list of encouraging accomplishments that should give us all hope for the future.

  • The US was devastated on 9/11/01 when terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. For weeks all Americans, and particularly New Yorkers, grieved the loss of thousands of innocent friends and relatives. Our nation responded by attacking the terrorists where they resided. Navy Seals eventually killed bin Laden in Pakistan. The US has tirelessly attempted to root out and eliminate Al Qaeda and then ISIS, a more violent version of the former group. Our leaders and military have made great progress in this effort even though terrorists throughout the world are plaguing peaceful nations every day.
  • Our financial markets have rallied during recent years on the heels of the Great Recession. The individuals that warded off the recession did a masterful job and it has paid dividends, literally, to this day. Interest rates are low enabling many Americans to afford housing and for corporation to grow and prosper. Job creation has ultimately driven down our unemployment rate to more reasonable levels, although earnings have lagged somewhat reflecting fragility of the situation. All this has increased stock prices, which is a boon to shareholders from all socioeconomic groups.
  • The US is leading the technology explosion. The greatest companies in this broad industry category are domiciled in the US. They include the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google and many more companies that will continue to change and improve our lives.
  • LGBTQ groups have made great advances. Our country has worked hard to protect this group from discrimination and to ensure equal opportunity. The ability of gays and lesbians to marry enables all Americans to enjoy the personal and financial benefits of family life.
  • Although the war never subsides completely, our nation has totally fought off incursions against the right of women to choose. There have been many challenges, and women still are masters of their bodies. Hopefully this issue will fade away completely as public opinion along with our court systems solidifies this basic right.
  • Incredibly the US elected an African American to be president two times. Setting aside his performance, which is still being debated, these events have opened the door for Americans of all colors to become leaders in government and industry. The achievements of the first woman nominated to be president was similarly a monumental moment for our country.
  • Women are making great strides to assume greater roles in our country. Every year the pendulum swings further in the direction of more diversity in every aspect of our lives. Young women are making difficult choices in their lives mentored by older women who have already achieved great success while building strong families. Noteworthy is the progress of women on campuses around the country. Higher education is no longer an impediment for women to find great jobs and positions of leadership.
  • Longevity in our country is a mixed blessing. It’s wonderful to know that living until you are 80 and beyond is commonplace today because of great medical advances. Yet these people need to be cared for by their families and by the country. Extended lives means more expense.
  • We are free. Other than very reasonable laws that make our lives safer, Americans are able to do what ever they want, say what ever they want, travel to any place in the US with no restrictions and live anywhere they choose. America is so free that most people throughout the world would like to immigrate to our country.
  • Despite the unreasonable perspectives of some Americans, social equality is a reality in America. No law-abiding religion or cultural groups are restricted in any way. We recognize that some groups still feel denigrated in certain situations. We try to rectify these situations over time by instituting new laws that protect everyone.
  • A long time ago our forefathers, who were religious people, decided that the republic would operate more efficiently if there were a separation of church and state. This philosophy has served us well. State and God should not compete for the souls of Americans. There is a time and place for both. The result has been the greatest country in the world.

 

The problems facing the country have never been greater except during times of world wars. Americans have always had disagreements, which they have worked out over time. The horrible divide that exists in this country will eventually fade away in history. In the meantime Americans should be supportive of our government and work to change leadership at the ballot box if they are unhappy.

 

 

Neither Clinton nor Warren Are Great Presidential Candidates

By Sal Bommarito

The New York Post entered the debate about the next Democratic candidate for president. It is possible that history will repeat itself, and Hillary Clinton will once again lose out to an untested and more liberal primary candidate.

The odds of this happening are dependent upon the current perspectives of liberal voters and their desire to participate in the process- will black and young people to turn out to vote?

If the liberal base is more concerned with progressive government that is principally focused on income inequality and slaying the dragons of Wall Street, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will have an advantage. If the base wants a person who might be successful in a general election, less radical and more experienced, Hillary Clinton should be the choice.

Since I am not going to vote for either of these candidates, my analysis is relatively unbiased (sort of). So, in that vein, it should be noted that Democrats are facing the same dilemma as Republicans, which is, can a radical candidate who has an advantage in the primaries win the general election without morphing into a more moderate contender?

You may recall that Mitt Romney had to lean to the right in 2008 to secure the Republican nomination. But, this tactic hurt him dearly in the general election. If Warren is successful against Clinton, she will likely have the same problem.

Regarding Warren, I hasten to point out that her resume is very similar to President Obama. Frankly, she has little experience applicable to being the leader of the free world, and we all have witnessed how a president performs when he or she has scant political and business acumen.

Warren was elected a U.S. senator in 2013, so her congressional knowledge is virtually nil. Previously, she was a Harvard Law professor specializing in bankruptcies. The only other important credit apparent in a Google search is that she served as an adviser for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. So, one might ask, how will she deal with the ISIS crisis, nuclear proliferation and Russian aggression? I hope American voters will not make the same mistake again and elect a person who brings little to the presidency other than hostility towards the financial services industry and affluent Americans.

Hillary Clinton is a known quantity. She is experienced, yet marginally successful as a senator and Secretary of State (in my opinion). Her claim to fame is that she is married and greatly supported by the most famous politician in recent history. But, she has lived in the White House as First Lady; she served in the Senate and led the State Department. A vote for Warren over Hillary would be strange and illogical decision.

Clinton has been around the block a few times. She lost in 2008 when she was expected to run away with the election. Some say she is a sub-par campaigner. Also, in recent months, Clinton has made several blunders on the road peddling her not so successful novel. She is starting to look tired and very beatable when stacked up against Warren’s liberal, bellicose and enthusiastic rhetoric.

My conclusion is that Democrats should find a third candidate to run for president because neither of the aforementioned can win the general election. Not that it matters, but I would not vote for either person if I were a Democrat.

OMG! Republicans And Democrats Are Working Together.

By Sal Bommarito

The political drama in Washington is both astounding and uplifting, after last six years of stagnation. Yet, I never expected Democrats led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to trade roles with the Tea Party and call for closing down the government. (Hypocrisy? Maybe. Check out Warren railing against Republicans for shutting down the government in 2013.)

Warren beseeched her liberal colleagues to do everything possible to sabotage the passage of a bipartisan bill to fund the government. Warren was apoplectic about provisions in the bill that will take some pressure off the devils lurking on Wall Street. Warren assumed an aggressive posture even though the president said he would sign the bill into law.

In case you are not up to speed, Warren is a huge Fat Cat hater. She believes financial executives earn too much money, take too many risks, steal from the poor and commit crimes against humanity. Many pundits are predicting that she might be a radical alternative to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.

This contingency is a juicy thought. Is it possible that an ultra-liberal Democrat may win the primary over a less liberal candidate, and then lose in the general election? Sound familiar? It should. Same thing has been happening to Republicans for years. The thought of Hillary Clinton getting whomped a second time by another relatively unknown would be satisfying to many Clinton antagonists.

But, Bill Clinton is not going to sit by idly and let this happen. It’s time for the Clinton smear brigade to descend upon Warren and put her into her place. I know nothing about Warren other than she despises a lot of my friends, so it will be amusing to learn about her skeletons.

Back to Congress. The passage of the aforementioned bill, which provides funding for the government through September, would be a real coup for Speaker John Boehner and his allies. He managed to recruit 57 Democrats to narrowly pass the bill. It proves that both sides of the aisle can work together on issues that are important to America. The Democrats who sided with Republicans gave up some things and Republicans sidestepped the immigration controversy for the time being. It was refreshing to see our leaders compromise and get something done.

If I were king of the Republicans, I would seek other opportunities to work with the minority. The obvious issue is immigration. Liberal Democrats claim that conservatives reject immigration reform and want to deport illegal immigrants, all 10-15 million of them, back to their country of origin. This is total nonsense. Conservatives have already accepted the fact that illegals will receive a path to citizenship. So, a compromise is waiting to happen.

From my vantage point, the only real challenge will be to stop further illegal immigration and cap the total number of aliens in the country. Aside from this, forging a deal that enables illegal immigrants to become citizens will not be a monumental achievement. For the most part, signing up, observing our laws, paying taxes and the passage of time are the principal deal points. All can be negotiated without animosity.

No matter what, a decision to naturalize millions should be a project for the president and Congress, not just the president.

2015 may be a better year for the U.S. politically. It was a pleasant surprise that the parties found a way to work together at long last.