1930s

Robert F. Kennedy, The “Un Trump”? Two Wealthy, Privileged People, And Their Diverse Evolution

Two NBC/MSNBC anchors, Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell, have just published books on the life of Robert F. Kennedy, and on the Presidential Election of 1968, respectively.

Both books are well worth your attention, as they bring back a half century ago, when a wealthy, privileged person, Robert F. Kennedy, united white working class and minority working class people together in a time of tumult, making him a rare political leader.

He also attracted the support of wealthier liberals, and had the capability to unite the country in a time of the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam.

Had he not been assassinated, RFK would likely have been the Democratic Party nominee, instead of Hubert Humphrey, and would have likely defeated Richard Nixon, and there would have been no Watergate scandal.

No one is saying that RFK would have been God, but certainly, the history of the United States would have been better with him than with Richard Nixon.

Now we have a leader of similar wealth and privilege, but with a totally different bent on every issue imaginable.

Donald Trump revels in dividing people, and using race, religion, and ethnicity to cause tumult and turmoil.

Donald Trump does not have a decent bone in his body, and sees everything in terms of the dollar sign.

Donald Trump has no concern for the average American’s life and future, and instead, promotes demagoguery and hate.

The damage he has done in the year since his election tomorrow, November 8, is so long lasting, that despite no legislative accomplishments, he has set back the nation in so many ways, often to before the years of the New Deal in the 1930s.

It is as if we are in a time warp, and back in the 1920s before the Great Depression and World War II.

And it is highly likely that the damage he has perpetrated in one year will lead to another Great Depression, social turmoil, and World War III, since he has no clue or understanding of domestic or foreign affairs, and only the top one percent will benefit from his destructive agenda.

So Robert F. Kennedy is indeed the “Un Trump”, but sadly, we have no one on the horizon at this moment who seems capable of emerging with the image and agenda of Robert F. Kennedy.

If we did find such a person, we would have optimism about the long range future of the nation, so the goal must be to find the right individual to lead the Democratic Party into the future, and return to the RFK commitment to social, economic, and political change.

What Republican Presidents Have Wrought: The Vietnam War Syndrome And The Iraq War Syndrome!

The Republican Party loves to claim that they are the experts, when it comes to American foreign policy, that they are far better than Democrats in executing foreign policy.

But the facts of history tell us otherwise, as witness:

Before America entered World War II. who were some of the most powerful, most influential people advocating isolationism— Republicans such as Senators Robert Taft of Ohio, Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Hiram Johnson of California, and Gerald Nye of North Dakota, with the latter two discussed in detail in the author’s book: TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM: THE WESTERN REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THE NEW DEAL (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981).

When America entered the escalation stage of the Vietnam War under Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, it was Republicans who backed the President in much greater numbers than Democrats, but even Johnson finally realized the need for America to get out of the war, and decided not to run again in 1968.

Republican President Richard Nixon ran his campaign for the Presidency in 1968, pledging that he would end the Vietnam War expeditiously, and saying he had a “secret plan” to end the war, which soon became evident did not exist, and Nixon made up his plan to end the war as he went along, and it took four long years to end the war, with a heavier loss of soldiers killed and wounded, than had been so under Johnson! Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, misled the American people and lied to them about the plans and strategies to end the war, and it created a feeling of unwillingness to engage in overseas crises as a result, what could be called the Vietnam War Syndrome.

And then under George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Republican run national government in 2003 lied to us, manipulated us, propagandized us, to begin a war in Iraq, with no plan to get out, and the war dragged on through the second Bush term, and into the Barack Obama Administration. No “weapons of mass destruction” were ever found, and it created an Iraq War Syndrome, which now has made many Americans reluctant to engage in a military action against an outlaw nation, Syria, which has utilized chemical warfare, only the third world leader ever to do so, after Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein!

So the Republican Party and its cynical, corrupt leadership in the 1969-1973 and 2002-2009 periods poisoned the political atmosphere of America, making it more difficult to engage in the shaping of a sane, rational foreign policy that would be in American interests.

And now Rand Paul and his kind, libertarian “Know Nothings”, promote isolationism all over again, back to the image of the GOP in the late 1930s before American entrance into World War II.

The damage that Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush have wrought is massive, and undermining America in 2013 from doing what it must do, react to the massive war crime of the Syrian government!

Michigan Republicans Declare War On Organized Labor In State Where Labor Unions Became Nationally Significant In 1930s

The state of Michigan was the location of the great auto strikes during the Great Depression years of the 1930s, and their success led to the rise of labor unions as major factors in American society and politics for the next fifty years.

But the Republican Party continued to be anti labor over those decades, and Ronald Reagan coming to the Presidency thirty years ago, ironically a labor leader himself with the Screen Actors Guild, became the beginning of a concerted attack on labor,which has continued in the states with the “Bully” Republican Governors elected in 2010.

And now, Michigan Republicans have declared war on collective bargaining, and have rammed through the legislature a “right to work” bill, which will be signed by Governor Rick Snyder, despite massive protests at the state capital in East Lansing.

Those who believe in collective bargaining and the right of labor to organize must organize and fight over the next two years, not only in Michigan, but in many other Republican states, to defeat the Governors and the reactionary members of the legislatures, in order to regain their basic human rights to decent conditions of work!

The Drought, The Farm Belt, And The Republican Party

Just as has happened often in the past, farmers and ranchers in the South, The Midwest, and the Great Plains are experiencing hard times, with the present drought causing a crisis of massive proportions on a level not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But has the Congress, with the Republican Party in control of the House of Representatives, shown willingness to deal with that crisis?

The answer is NO, because of the battle over the food stamp program, which Congressman Paul Ryan, now the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, wishes to cut over the next ten years, sparking a battle with Democrats in the Senate, as well as the House. Remember that Ryan is the head of the House Budget Committee, and has developed the Ryan budget, which passed the House with all but ten GOP votes, but not one Democratic vote, and was rejected by the Senate, controlled by Democrats.

Many farmers and ranchers are becoming totally disgusted with the deadlock and stalemate in Washington, DC, and that means potential trouble for some Republican office holders in the House, and could lead to some Democratic gains, as the only alternative for disgruntled people in the farm economy, totally exasperated at the lack of action!

The Absolutely Urgent Need For Compromise In The Tradition Of The Founding Fathers!

With the nation on the brink of financial chaos, due to the failure to have both sides come to an agreement on the Debt Ceiling and budget cuts, America is entering uncharted territory that is arguably the most dangerous since the Great Depression, and possibly the Civil War!

When one looks at our history, one realizes that our brightest and greatest moment was the time of the Founding Fathers, when compromise ruled and we came up with a Constitution that involved sacrifice of the differing sides of the political battle toward the greater good, compromise to save the nation at a dangerous moment!

When we look at the Civil War, it was exactly the opposite of compromise, and the nation suffered through four long years of war, and two thirds of a million soldiers killed, because compromise was no longer possible.

The Great Depression saw tremendous division, but yet a unity among the American people that they had to support the effort that had been started by Franklin D. Roosevelt, rather than create a divided government of the two houses of Congress in the hands of opposing parties, causing paralysis!

It is time that this nation moved toward a short term solution in the image of the Founding Fathers, followed by a long term solution whereby the American people make a choice as to their future, by giving full authority either to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to take action without a paralyzed Congress in which no compromise is possible!

It is not acceptable to have a continuation of what the American people, by their lack of knowledge or participation have wrought at the present–divided and paralyzed government! The only way government can work is full control by one party for a four year term of a President, followed by an opportunity for a reversal in view by the American people, but in a manner that allows action, instead of stalemate!

The battle for the future can only be decided by full accountability, not by creating a government which can do nothing except hurl accusations back and forth, and therefore prevent any action! This dangerous situation cannot be allowed to continue!

So therefore, what must be done right now, through compromise?

1. Raise the debt ceiling through the next Presidential election in one action.
2. Agree to long term changes in Medicare that allow gradual raising of the age limit to 67 for people under the age of 50 now, but allowing, as with Social Security, a lowered coverage at age 65 for those who do not wish to wait to 67 to gain full benefits.
3. Raise the Social Security full benefits for future retirees, so that those born in 1980 and after must wait for full benefits to age 68, and those born in 1990 and after must wait for benefits to age 69, but in each case having the ability to gain lower benefits, as now, at age 62 or somewhat later if they wish.
4. Have the Social Security tax apply to all income, not just to $106,800, as with Medicare, which has no limits.
5. Agree that some increase in taxes on the top two percent MUST occur, but less than what has been proposed in the past.

It is essential that the lobbying groups, including those for corporations and the wealthy, and for the AARP and other progressive groups, have to be told that compromise is unavoidable, and that sacrifice is necessary, but in a way that affects people, regarding taxation and the social safety net, in a way that is less harsh, but part of being a patriotic American, accepting responsibility of paying more taxes and recognizing that social programs, to be saved, require some changes in age limits and taxation levels!

Once compromise is reached, both parties go to the country, and hopefully, instead of creating a paralyzed government that can accomplish nothing, we go more in the way of parliamentary government, the creation of total responsibility that can be reversed by the electorate in future elections, if the public is more educated and involved and decides major changes are needed!

So we need a combination of the late 1780s and the 1930s, rather than the 1860s, if we are to have progress as a nation to resolve our differences, and have a government that works!