African Americans

President Warren G. Harding Love Letters Revealed After Nearly A Century!

This author and blogger has taught at the college level now for 42 plus years, and one of his favorite discussions was of the Presidency of Warren G Harding (1921-1923), generally acknowledged as the worst President of the 20th century, and close to the bottom of all Presidents on any ranking, sharing that with James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Franklin Pierce.

Harding is not remembered for very much, but he was the President who appointed former President William Howard Taft to be Chief Justice; pardoned Socialist leader Eugene Debs from prison; had his Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, who had been the Republican Presidential nominee in 1916 against Woodrow Wilson, negotiate the Washington Naval Conference that promoted naval disarmament; established the first federal child welfare program; supported the idea of an eight hour work day; advocated an anti lynching bill to protect African Americans; and created the Bureau of the Budget.

He also had the greatest popular vote victory for a first term President in American history, and the percentage of the vote was only later surpassed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon after already residing in the White House!

Despite these accomplishments, Harding is best remembered for the scandals of his administration in the Justice Department, the Interior Department, and the Veterans Bureau (all of these generally known as the Teapot Dome scandals); and also, even more notably his sexual liaisons in and out of the White House years, most notably with Nan Britton, with whom he had an illegitimate daughter; and with Carrie Phillips, who he shared love letters discovered in the 1960s, but banned from revelation and publication at that time to avoid embarrassment.

Well, now those love letters, originally held by the Ohio Historical Society, are opened to scholars and journalists, and are the most extensive set of love letters ever discovered about any President! Much of it is x rated, and a bit shocking to many, as he describes his private parts as “Jerry”, and is extremely descriptive in his sexual language.

So one of the stories I told my students, that they would have to wait decades to learn about in detail, is open and available, revealed this week at the Library of Congress!

It will bring more attention to the 29th President, but is unlikely to raise him from the basement of rankings of Presidents of the United States!

Fear, Racism, Hatred Toward Latinos And Muslims: New Generation Of What Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Jews, Catholics Faced In Earlier Generations!

The fear, racism, and hatred now being exhibited toward Latinos and Muslims in America is part of the same right wing nativist mentality so much a part of American history!

In the past, it was Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Jews, and Catholics who suffered from such despicable mistreatment! Sadly, much of that same mistreatment often exists for members of these groups.

There seems to be something in the American psyche that we need to place our fears, racism, and hatred on one different group after another, and often it is people of earlier groups who have been discriminated against, who end up mouthing and mimicking much of the same behavior, sort of like the psychological trick known as “transference”.

This author has heard people who have voiced disgraceful statements and prejudice toward people of Spanish ancestry, and of the Muslim faith, stereotyping whole groups of people, rather than making judgments based on behavior of individuals!

Only education and good parental upbringing can overcome this promotion of fear, racism, hatred, and stereotyping, but unfortunately, there is so much work that needs to be done in this regard!

Voter “Fraud”, Voter Suppression, Civil Rights, And The 26th Amendment!

We hear Republicans claim “voter fraud”, which is a total fraud in itself, as the amount of voter fraud has been shown to be something like one billion of one percent!

There is no voter fraud to speak of, and if we are going to talk about voter fraud, what about the fraud in the vote count in Florida in the Presidential Election of 2000, which benefited George W. Bush over Al Gore; and the reported voter fraud in Ohio in the Presidential Election Of 2004, which again benefited George W. Bush, this time over John Kerry?

It is a fact that only in states that are seen as in danger of turning “blue”, do we see accusations of voter fraud, to insure that a “red” state will stay “red”! So we have seen the Southern states and some Midwestern states, which have passed voter suppression laws, affecting African Americans, Latinos, poor people, the elderly, and now, even the young.

So the classic case, but not the only one, is North Carolina, which now had cut down the number of voting days before Election Day; has stopped same day registration; has decided that early voting on the Sunday before the election shall be ended (what often is the method for black churchgoers to make voting a group event); has required a state ID to vote, something many poor people cannot afford, and often have trouble getting to proper locations if they wish to buy it in person (a requirement); and now is preventing 16 and 17 year old high school students from preregistration; and not allowing college students from other states to use their college address so that they can vote in the state elections of the college or university they are attending and residing in for four or more years!

So we have a law suit against North Carolina, asserting that they are discouraging college and young voters from registering and voting, therefore trying to fix the elections, true voter fraud! And the constitutional case is the 26th Amendment of 1971, which allows 18-21 years old citizens to vote!

This is the new attempt at what used to be called “Jim Crow” laws, and the Republican Party is fully backing such denials in multiple states, right after the Supreme Court, wrongfully, weakened the Voting Rights Act of 1965, forgetting the struggles, bloodshed, and deaths suffered in the battle for voting rights. The ultimate civil right is voting rights!

What is clear is that when the states lose these battles, particularly regarding the 26th Amendment, they are guaranteeing the loss of the young vote for generations, as any intelligent young person voting for the party which worked to suppress its voting rights is as likely as “Hell Freezing Over!”

Conservative Right Wing Attack On The Constitution: The Threat Of Another Constitutional Convention Wiping Out Constitutional Amendments!

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution, admitting in the process that there would always be room for improvements, so made clear that amendments were appropriate over time.

So we have had 27 Amendments, including the first ten that make up the Bill of Rights.

When one looks at the amendments, particularly those that came after the Bill of Rights, one realizes that the vast majority of them were “progressive” in tone, designed to expand democracy in America, or else, amendments dealing with the office of the Presidency.

So the “progressive” amendments included the 13th (ending slavery and involuntary servitude); the 14th (promoting due process and equal protection and making African Americans citizens); the 15th (guaranteeing the right to vote for African Americans and others which had been denied that right); the 16th (providing for a federal income tax to raise revenue to deal with mounting social and economic issues); the 17th (granting the people the right to elect their two United States Senators by popular vote); the 19th (guaranteeing women the right to vote); the 23rd (guaranteeing residents of Washington, DC the right to vote); the 24th (preventing a poll tax for voting); and the 26th (guaranteeing young people 18-21 the right to vote).

So nine of the seventeen amendments after the first ten of the Bill of Rights promote progressive change, while the 12th, 20th, 22nd and 25th deal with the office of the Presidency.

The only amendment that was ever passed to limit the freedom of Americans was the 18th (prohibition of liquor), but later repealed by the 21st Amendment.

Now we have the real threat by right wing conservatives, including the Tea Party Movement, who want a new Constitutional Convention to wipe out these “progressive” amendments!

They do not like voting rights for African Americans, other minorities, women, residents of Washington DC (mostly African Americans) and young people; and they are unhappy that African Americans are considered equal under the law, and if they had the ability to do so, they would love to re-enslave poor people, which by corporate power is occurring in an informal way for many minorities, as well as white lower class people struggling every day to survive!

And they wish they could restore the US Senate elections to the corrupt state legislatures, taking away the popular vote. Finally, they hate the federal income tax, even though many of them avoid substantial taxation by having investments, rather than working for a living like most of us do. So they would prefer a sales tax, which is regressive, and would hurt the middle class and the poor much more than the wealthy elite!

But that is exactly the extremist right wing intention—to restore the “good old days” when they were in charge, and everyone had to kowtow to them!

We must not allow such a threat to develop, so the battle for progressivism is never ending, as a result!

Barack Obama Totally Correct: GOP Will NEVER Win Presidency Again Unless They Return To Political Center!

President Barack Obama has made a statement that cannot be contradicted!

IF the Republican Party moves away, at some point, from the extremist right wing of the Tea Party Movement, and the influence of the old Southern Democratic racists turned Republicans because of the Civil Rights Act of fifty years ago, then they have the opportunity, and even likelihood, of eventually regaining the White House!

But if they insist on alienating women, African Americans, Latino and Asian American citizens and immigrants, labor, gays and lesbians, environmentalists, those who believe in science over religion, poor people, the middle class, educated people, and those who believe government is good rather than evil, then they will, Obama says, NEVER win the Presidency again.

The nation is turning “Blue” over time in Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina, and already much of the Midwest has become more definitely “Blue”, as well as Florida and Virginia.

So, as Obama states, it is all up to the Republican Party! Moderate your right wing extremism, or your party is in the dustbin of history, as America is not a mean spirited, racist, nativist nation, just many of those who choose to call themselves Republicans.

50th Anniversary Of Civil Rights Act: Most Significant Law Since Social Security In 1935!

Today is a day to celebrate, as it is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of Lyndon B. Johnson, the most significant single law passed since Social Security under Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935!

The Civil Rights Act has had a massive impact on American society, just as the Social Security Act has had.

And yet, there are those who would love to repeal the Civil Rights Act, as well as those who would love to repeal the Social Security Act.

There are those who hate the idea that African Americans and others are treated equally under the law, and would wish for the return of Jim Crow segregation, just as there are those who hate the “welfare state” represented by the Social Security Act!

The battle for human dignity continues unabated, as the right wing will never give up trying to make America return to the Gilded Age mentality, before workers were given any rights; before immigrants started to have some respect; before women acquired equal rights to vote; before African Americans gained their right to racial equality; and now as gays and lesbians strive to gain total equality and freedom as much as straight people!

This is a moment to applaud Lyndon B. Johnson for the great deeds he accomplished in civil rights and voting rights, and at a time when the reactionary Supreme Court has started to backtrack on the Voting Rights Act, showing a true ignorance of history!

And finally, in the future, in 2060, the nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of ObamaCare, the most significant single piece of legislation since the Civil Rights Act and the Social Security Act, and Barack Obama will be given the proper respect and admiration that he might never receive in his lifetime!

Mississippi Victory Of Thad Cochran Leads To Move For Right Wing Third Party–Fantastic For Democratic Party And Saving Grace For Future Of Republican Party!

It looks as if the two party system of Democrats and Republicans is about to see the emergence of a third party movement, an extremist right wing party that will break away from the Republican Party!

This is all based on the victory of solidly conservative, but NOT Tea Party whacko, Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel!

The reality is that the primary runoff in Mississippi saw African Americans, who are Democrats, swing over in an open primary system to support Cochran, simply on the basis that he has done a lot to bring federal largesse to the poorest state of the Union, while McDaniel condemned any federal assistance to help black and white poor on housing, education, and health care!

Without what Cochran has been able to do, Mississippi would qualify not only as the poorest state, but matching third world nations in poverty! He is no paragon of virtue, but a vastly preferable choice over McDaniel, a mean spirited, nasty radio talk show host, who immediately gained the support of right wing radio talk show hosts, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and other destructive forces, who are out to move the GOP toward fascism, and to destroy any chance of cooperation on anything between the two major political parties! This cooperation would be to the benefit of the American people, but the right wing does not care about anything but the top two percent and the rapidly diminishing white population in this nation!

So, if Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and other right wing lunatics push for a third party, all to the good, as it will force the Republican Party to move back toward the center of the political spectrum, and become a responsible political party, as it was for much of its legendary history!

And in the short run, it is fantastic for the Democratic Party, as it insures Democratic dominance in Congress and the Presidency after 2016 for certain! So bring it on, Tea Party whackos and right wing talk show hosts, and Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz et al!

Commemoration Of Mississippi “Freedom Summer” Fifty Years Ago!

Fifty years ago, the Mississippi “Freedom Summer”, including thousands of northerners, white and black, who came to Mississippi to register black voters, in a state which was the absolute worst in race relations, and in many ways still is even now, was marked by the death of three civil rights workers–James Chaney who was black, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were New Yorkers, Jewish, and students at Queens College in Flushing, New York, my alma mater, and where I was attending at that time.

Tonight, PBS has a two hour “American Experience”, detailing the horrors of Mississippi in 1964, very close to Nazi Germany in its mentality. The documentary portrays the sacrifices and dangers faced by the Civil Rights Movement, occurring just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and signed into law. The following year, the Voting Rights Act was passed, in commemoration of the reality of so many barriers, including intimidation of blacks who wanted to vote, including the threat to take away their jobs, force them out of their homes, or even starve them!

When one thinks of what the Republican Party in the South now is doing to cut down the black vote, to deny them the right as if there was no Voting Rights Act, it causes great outrage! And the fact that the Supreme Court has weakened the law, as if there is no need to enforce it, when it is clear that bias still exists in the South, and even elsewhere, is enough to infuriate fair minded people! And finally, the fact that Clarence Thomas, the only black member of the Court, and a beneficiary of affirmative action, sees no need for enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, and has turned on his own race, it is truly maddening!

Eric Cantor Defeat Most Stunning In Decades!

An earthquake occurred yesterday in the rural Seventh Congressional District of Virginia, the home of Richmond Congressman Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader.

Every poll predicted an easy victory for Cantor against a more right wing opponent, Randolph Macon College Professor of Economics, David Brat, who was unknown, and only spent one dollar for every 25 spent by Cantor, and had a staff of two people,instead of the 23 that Cantor had in his Congressional offices in Washington, DC.

But Brat solidly defeated Cantor by 56-44 percent, by over 7,000 votes in the GOP primary, and it has totally shook up the Republican Party and the House of Representatives and its leadership.

It is not as if Eric Cantor was a “liberal”, but rather that he worked “tooth and nail” against Barack Obama for the last five and a half years, and helped to encourage the Tea Party Movement in the House of Representatives, often creating headaches for Speaker of the House John Boehner, comparatively more moderate in his conservatism than Eric Cantor.

But Cantor was not right wing enough, as he was moving toward support of some sort of immigration reform, and David Brat, a believer in Ayn Rand and her libertarianism, and with much of his graduate education being based on a divinity degree, decided to challenge Cantor, in an effort to make the Republicans more right wing than they have ever been as a party.

This man, David Brat, is far from a typical professor, and his candidacy makes him a star to the right wing talk show hosts on radio, and Tea Party groups, but he comes with an agenda that endangers the future of the GOP!

Cantor got what he deserved, as he was a mean spirited, narrow minded, bigoted leader of his party, unwilling to do any bargaining with Barack Obama, relishing in his plan to replace Boehner as Speaker.

Cantor repudiated the tradition of his Jewish faith, to do nothing to harm those less fortunate,and to be an advocate of social justice, and he is someone we can say with clarity–GOOD RIDDANCE! The problem is, however, that Brat represents a viewpoint even more objectionable than Cantor, and an extremist right wing Christian theology, that is very worrisome!

And Brat’s victory means the GOP is moving more than ever toward being more white, more male, more conservatives, more Southern, older, and more exclusively Christian, as Cantor was the only Republican of Jewish heritage on Capitol Hill!

The Republican Party, as stated many times before, is becoming more eccentric, more extremist, more radicalized, and more isolated from reality of what the future America is to be like–the growing role of African Americans, Latinos, women, gays and lesbians, the millennial generation, less religious, and desirous of government that promotes social justice, rather than ignorance, prejudice, racism, discrimination, misogyny, and narrow mindedness!

The Twelve Most Right Wing Extremist States In 2014

It is scary to observe just how far Right Wing Extremist some of the 50 states have gone. Following is a list of the twelve most right wing extremist states in 2014. There is no special order of these states.

Texas
North Carolina
South Carolina
Tennessee
Alabama
Mississippi
Louisiana
Kansas
Oklahoma
Idaho
Utah
Wyoming

All of these states are governed by right wing Republican, Tea Party supported Governors and legislatures.

Seven of them are Southern States of the Old Confederacy.

Nine of them, including Kansas and Oklahoma, had legal segregation until outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Idaho, Utah and Wyoming are heavily influenced by the right wing extremism of the Mormon Church.

Only Texas and North Carolina are heavily populated states, and the only ones that are becoming more significant, due to the reality that both are bound to be “Blue” in the coming years.

Other than Texas, North Carolina, and to some extent, South Carolina, the other nine states are having no major impact on the future evolution of the nation!

The education level in all twelve states is among the lowest in the nation, and poverty is high, and not just among African Americans and Hispanics-Latinos, but also among poor whites.

These states, if they continue their right wing tilt, are doomed to remain the “backwaters” of America long term!