The ISIL (ISIS) Threat To The Western World Is Real! Far Greater Than The Soviet Union During The Cold War!

The horrible news emerging that a Western journalist, who had been captured two years ago, has been beheaded, with the disgusting video broadcast with a threat to the United States and the Western world, is yet another alarm bell in the night, warning of the successful spread of the worst Islamic terrorist group in existence, ISIL, also known as ISIS.

This terrorist group has taken over portions of Iraq and Syria, and has declared a Caliphate. It has declared war on Shiite Muslims, including those in Iraq and, most notably in Iran, as well as against Christians, Jews, and all minority religious groups in the Fertile Crescent, and by implication against Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations that oppose their wave of vicious terrorism. Even Al Qaeda, which brought about September 11, has denounced them and their tactics, including mass murder, rape of women, beheading of children, and destruction of mosques and historic sites.

This is organized insanity, with a threat to the United States and the Western world unmatched in danger since World War II and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Those that would say the Soviet Union during the Cold War was an equal threat forget that Communism was not based on religion, and in fact, was atheistic, and that the Russians wanted to triumph, but were not suicidal as many of these Islamic terrorist are. So when they saw they could not win, despite much stress and tensions, they stepped back from the brink of destructive war, as in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Imagine that we could see the Cold War as not as dangerous as Islamic terrorism in the second decade of the 21st century, but this threat from ISIL (ISIS) requires that America do something they cannot imagine, after being sick of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That is, the Western world must unite against this dire threat, and it will require military action, and it makes one wonder how we are going to afford it, and also deal with domestic needs!

It is enough to make one scream, that we cannot seem to avoid war and military operations overseas, and this author was opposed to the war in Vietnam, the war in Iraq, and had doubts about the war in Afghanistan, while supporting the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.

But what choice do we have, as it is estimated that 100 Americans have gone over to fight for ISIL (ISIS), and maybe a thousand Europeans have done the same, and these trained terrorists can likely return to their home countries and wage war on Western civilization! The US and the European nations are in dire danger, with these terrorists ready to sacrifice themselves in their cause, reminding us of the Kamikaze pilots of Japan in the waning days of World War II!

So it will be necessary for President Obama to abandon his view that we can and must avoid conflict with ground troops in the Middle East, and accept the reality that this time, whatever the past criticisms, we MUST intervene with other nations and fight the ISIL (ISIS) group, as if we do not, there is more certainty of their infiltration of American and European nations to the detriment of all decent people!

How A Speech Elevated Four Presidential Candidates To Nomination, And Two Of Them To The White House!

The power of oratory in advancing a political candidacy for the Presidency,that no one expected to occur, is part of American history!

There have been four cases of people who were elevated to a Presidential nomination, and two of them to the White House, by the electrifying effect that a speech had on their political party and the nation at large!

Two of these were Democrats, and two were Republicans.

One of the Democrats was former Nebraska Congressman William Jennings Bryan, who delivered the “Cross of Gold” speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention, with this leading to his Presidential nomination. Despite losing to William McKinley, Bryan went on to be the nominee of the Democrats two more times, in 1900 and 1908.

The other was Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, who gave a dynamic speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, arguing against a divided America, and calling for a united America, instead of a “red’ America and a “blue” America. It drew attention to him, and after being elected to the US Senate, he decided to campaign for the Presidency, and overcame many adversities to win two terms in the White House, but sadly saw “red” and “blue” America split ever further apart!

The first Republican was businessman Wendell Willkie, who despite no political experience, stirred the Republican National Convention of 1940 with his speech and charisma, and went on to become the nominee of his party, but losing to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Ronald Reagan was the other Republican, making a well noticed speech on television in support of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, the GOP nominee for President in 1964. Goldwater lost in a massive landslide to Lyndon B. Johnson, but Reagan gained enough support and notice to run for California Governor in 1966, and eventually to be elected to two terms as President in the 1980s!

So the power of speech and charisma has had a great effect on American politics!

Republican Governors And Potential Presidential Candidates Falling Like Flies In Political Corruption Indictments

It is amazing to watch as Republican Governors, interested in running for President in 2016, are falling like flies in political corruption indictments!

First, we had former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Then, we had New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Next, we had Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

And now, news comes of the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

These Governors and one former Governor are all despicable in their public records, and it could not happen to a better group of politicians, than to see these Governors destroyed by the political scandals and corruption surrounding them.

These Governors prove that the concept that state government, and being Governors, makes them better qualified for national office, is a myth.

The more one studies state governments across the nation, including the state legislatures, the more one realized that no matter how much we complain about national government, overall, it does a far better job with far less corruption than state governments!

Conservatives and Republicans love to promote the idea of state and local governments as being “better” and more representative of the population they serve, but the truth shows, both historically and in the present, that national government is far better in results and ethics, even though there is plenty of room for improvement!

The 79th Anniversary Of Social Security, No Thanks To Republicans And Conservatives!

Seventy nine years ago, on August 14, 1935, the US Congress passed into law the greatest social legislation in American history, Social Security.

Social Security was designed to give support to the elderly in their twilight years, as well as support for widows and orphans, and it has been massively successful!

This was all due to the Democratic Party and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as few Republicans and no conservatives supported the legislation.

While it is true that there were Republicans who supported improvements in Social Security over the years, the Republican Party of the present has been out to destroy Social Security by privatizing it, something George W. Bush promoted in 2005, and defeated, thankfully, as anyone who had Social Security benefits in the stock market in 2008 would have lost all or most of their benefits!

Social Security should NOT be privatized, and needs further reform, including raising the wages that are taxed from the present amount of $117,000 to include ALL wages, as if that occurred, there would never be a problem in funding Social Security benefits.

There is no good reason to avoid taxes on higher incomes, as they are also eligible for benefits, and the idea has been floated many times, and some day, when Democrats control both houses of Congress again, it needs to be enacted!

Meanwhile, Happy 79th Anniversary, Social Security!

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Louis Brandeis, And The Future Of The Supreme Court!

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has resisted suggestions that after 21 years on the Supreme Court she should retire, giving President Barack Obama an opportunity to make another appointment to the Court before he leaves office.

Ginsburg is 81 plus, and has survived colon and pancreatic cancer in a miraculous way, and has also lost her husband, but she resists leaving.

Now there seems to be “light at the end of the tunnel”, as Ginsburg has hinted that she wants to match former Associate Justice Louis Brandeis, one of the all time great Justices, who served almost 23 years from 1916 to 1939 and retired at age 82, and that will be accomplished over the next year on age and in early 2016 on service. So it seems as if she might retire in June of 2015 or June of 2016.

This is the explanation for the statement of President Obama, that he expects to make some new Court appointments, and it makes the urgency of the continuation of a Democratic Senate even more a priority for the upcoming midterm Senate elections.

It is now a fact that were Ginsburg to resign tomorrow, it would be impossible to replace her before November, due to the politics of the upcoming elections in two and a half months, so the best we can hope for is that Obama will get to replace the aging Ginsburg in 2015 or 2016, with Democrats still in control.

If not, there is the possibility of a Court with only seven or eight members, if any other Justice dies or retires, from the rapidly aging Court.

Alarming Police Overreaction Against Blacks Nationwide, As Threat Of International Terrorism Grows Dramatically!

Many people would say that because Barack Obama was elected twice as our first African American President, that racism is gone from American society!

The statement is, of course, preposterous on its face. There are two many people of other racial backgrounds who have shown evidence of discriminatory thoughts, statements, and actions against African Americans and Latinos to be able to assert that racism has dissipated.

If anything, it is the right wing media, and the talk show hosts on radio and Fox News Channel, who are fueling the fires of racism, making whites feel that, somehow, THEY have been discriminated against!

But the recent spate of police officers shooting and killing African American men in St. Louis and Los Angeles, and the choking to death of an African American man by police in New York City, is particularly alarming, as if the law enforcement authorities are perceived as declaring open season on minority men, and even sometimes women, then we are on the road to racial warfare, which hate mongering groups would only be too glad to inspire.

This is a crisis of massive proportions, and no longer can be said to be a “Southern” issue, as it often was depicted even a half century ago, when Northerners wanted to feel good about themselves, and denied that they were part of the problem of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, when they most certainly were part of the problem, although more attention was paid to the Southern states.

This is a very delicate time, with growing inequality of opportunity for the poor and middle class, whether white or minority, and the growing international threat of Islamic terrorism presented by the rise of ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant. This group controls a large portion of Iraq and Syria, and threatens to slaughter large numbers of non Sunni Arabs, as well as Christians and minority religious groups, and which threatens a world wide war against the Western world and Christianity and Judaism. They already have beheaded children, raped women, and executed large numbers of people in the most brutal fashion, making them seem a threat on the level of the Fascism regimes of Germany and Italy 75 years ago.

We could be entering World War III, at a time when our internal peace and stability is being threatened by both discontented whites, but also by law enforcement elements which show no respect or rational behavior against minority members of society.

There is a sense of foreboding that America is reaching a state of condition the most dangerous since the fall of Adolf Hitler in 1945, and far greater in many ways than the conditions of the Cold War, which seem somehow, by comparison, a time when at least the Soviet enemy was rational, not fanatical, based on religion.

Mix religious extremism in the world at large alongside the racial tensions in a time when one had thought the election of Barack Obama made a post racial world, which now is shown to be a myth!

Imagine A Presidential Election Battle Without Any Previous Candidates In The Race!

The thought has crossed this blogger’s mind what it would be like if for once, just once, no one who had previously competed for the Presidential nomination of either party, nor had been a Vice Presidential running mate, became involved in the upcoming Presidential Election campaign of 2016.

Think of who would be eliminated from consideration:

Democrats (8)–Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Jerry Brown, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich

Republicans (11)–Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, John Kasich

Who would be left to compete?

Democrats (13)–Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Mark Warner, Corey Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Jay Nixon, John Hickenlooper, Brian Schweitzer, Deval Patrick, Rahm Emanuel

Republicans (13)–Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Peter King, Mike Pence, Rob Portman, Scott Walker, Brian Sandoval, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley

One can wonder who would be competitive for the Presidential nominations, and who would galvanize support among the population and go on to be the nominees of the two major political parties!

We would have a true “donnybrook” situation, with anyone having the potential to be the nominees, “catch fire”, and go on to be the 45th President of the United States!

If this author was to venture an educated guess, one would come to the following conclusions:

Democrats–The major battle would be among Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Martin O’Malley and Mark Warner.

Republicans–The major battle would be among Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence and Rob Portman.

The final battle would be between Warren and O’Malley for the Democratic nomination, and between Marco Rubio and Mike Pence for the Republican nomination.

The two finalists would be Martin O’Malley and Marco Rubio, with O’Malley being the winner and the 45th President of the United States!

This is due to the reality of the Electoral College, which strongly favors the Democrats to win the White House in 2016 and beyond, as the Northeast, New England, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Coast are strongly “Blue”, and most of the “swing states” are favored to go “Blue” as well, including Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa.

Florida and North Carolina would be more difficult for the Democrats, particularly if Rubio is the GOP nominee, but the electoral vote would still be heavily Democratic, even without those two states!

Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, And First Term Nominations: All But Monroe, FDR, George W. Bush!

This blogger heard the statement of Ralph Nader, a guest on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” HBO show recently, that if only the Democrats had won the 2004 Presidential Election, the Supreme Court would have been dramatically different than it is today!

Present Secretary of State John Kerry lost to George W. Bush, who became only the third President to have to wait until his second term of office to nominate and confirm a Supreme Court Justice! Bush proceeded to select Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who have together had a dramatic effect on Court decisions in a very right wing manner!

Only James Monroe and Franklin D. Roosevelt failed to have a Supreme Court nominee in their first term, and only William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Jimmy Carter were unable to make any appointments to the high Court, due to lack of vacancies. Even President James A. Garfield, shot after four months in office, had an appointee to the Supreme Court after two months in office! And FDR may not have had appointments in his first term, but he ended up having a total of nine appointments between 1937 and 1943 over six and a half years!

This is something to keep in mind, the power of the President to affect the Supreme Court’s future, and with the certainty that there will be vacancies on the high Court in the next Presidential term, making the election of a Democrat to the White House, and a Democratic Senate after 2016, ever more urgent!

Intrastate Rivalries For The Republican Presidential Nomination In 2016

The potential exists for four intrastate rivalries for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

First, we have Texas with Governor Rick Perry and Senator Ted Cruz.

Then, we have Florida with Senator Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush.

Also, there is the rivalry in Wisconsin between Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Scott Walker.

Finally, in Ohio, we have Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman as potential candidates.

Perry and Kasich have sought the Presidency before, although Kasich did so very minimally in 2000.

The best bet would be Marco Rubio and John Kasich among these competitors, as one assesses these eight political leaders at this time.

Sixth Anniversary Of “The Progressive Professor” And 4,500 Entries!

Today is the sixth anniversary of this blog, and a total of 4,500 entries has been reached on this date!

It has been a pleasure to comment on politics, current affairs, and history for the past six years, and I have been very appreciative of the contributions made by my readers, which have enriched this blog as an information source!

I have made an effort to comment on events on a timely basis, and have tried very hard to avoid missing dates, and while in the beginning, the entries were not on a regular basis, in the past few years, I have had very few dates without at least one entry.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog, and I intend to continue this blog for the long run, and welcome you along as I do so, and welcome your comments and analysis!