African Americans

Indiana Governor Mike Pence Allowing Religious Prejudice To Discriminate Against Gays And Lesbians: Violation Of Civil Rights!

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a possible Republican Presidential candidate, has just demonstrated why he is not acceptable as the nominee of his party or as President of the United States!

America is not about to elect a man who allows the religious prejudice of right wing evangelical Christians toward gays and lesbians to become a law, one which violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in regards to public accommodations!

If a business can refuse to serve people because of their sexual orientation, the next step is to say that a business can refuse to serve African Americans, as has now happened in a South Carolina restaurant!

Or a business could use their right wing evangelical Christianity to justify not serving Jews, or Latinos, or disabled people, or senior citizens, or Muslims, or Asian Americans, or Native Americans!

This violation of human rights, using the excuse of religion to promote and advocate prejudice, needs an injunction to stop the enforcement, until it is reviewed by the judiciary in Indiana, and ultimately, the Supreme Court, as otherwise, it will lead to other states doing the same thing!

One must not forget that in the Christian faith, we have seen past discrimination against Jews and African Americans in the name of Jesus Christ, as if Jesus would have approved of the kind of bigotry so often practiced, including endorsement of antisemitism, slavery, and racial segregation!

All businesses must get a license to operate, and part of the requirements for any business should be legal agreements that ban any discrimination against anyone seeking to work in the business, or any customers of the business!

Civil Liberties And The Presidency: From John Adams To Barack Obama

When it comes to the issue of the Presidency and the Bill of Rights, many Presidents have scored at an alarmingly low rate, often despite many other virtues that these Presidents have possessed.

John Adams set a terrible standard when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Andrew Jackson forcibly decreed the removal of five Native American tribes (The Trail Of Tears) from their ancestral lands and relocation in Oklahoma, supposedly forever, but with the discovery of oil in Tulsa, the territory was opened to whites in 1889, and reservation life became the norm.

John Tyler, through negotiation to add Texas to the Union, and accepting its institution of slavery, helped to create the slavery expansion issue as one which would divide the nation and lead to Civil War, and Tyler was part of the Confederate government and gave up his American citizenship.

James K. Polk further promoted the expansion of slavery through war with Mexico, and had no issue with slavery anywhere and everywhere.

Millard Fillmore, signing the Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to pursue fugitive slaves in the North.

Franklin Pierce, signing the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, made the expansion of slavery develop into the Kansas Civil War, which led to the Civil War.

James Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott Decision, which allowed expansion of slavery everywhere in the nation, if a slave owner chose to move to the North with his slaves.

Abraham Lincoln suppressed press freedom; allowed preventive detention; and imposed a military draft that one could escape only by paying a fee that only wealthy people could afford.

Andrew Johnson wanted to restrict the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, and was an open racist, much more than anyone.

Grover Cleveland promoted the reservation life and adaptation to white culture for Native Americans through his signing of the Dawes Act in 1887.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke and wrote often about superior and inferior races, seeing only intellectual accomplishment and military strength as the basis to admire individuals of other races, but believing in white supremacy and the “Anglo Saxon” race.

Woodrow Wilson backed restrictions on citizens during World War I, and presided over the Red Scare under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after the war, as well as showing racist tendencies toward African Americans and Japan. He signed the Sedition Act of 1918, and issued an executive order segregating African Americans in Washington, DC.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans under executive order during World War II, and did little to deal with the racial problem in the South.

Richard Nixon arranged for bugging and wiretapping of his “enemies”; arranged break ins and “dirty tricks”; and became engaged in obstruction of justice and abuse of power, leading to moves toward impeachment and his eventual resignation from the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

Ronald Reagan cut back on civil rights enforcement, and showed insensitivity on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, and the government engaged in constant civil liberties violations as part of the War on Terror.

Barack Obama also promoted violations of civil liberties, as part of the continued threat of international terrorism.

So 17 Presidents, at the least, have undermined our civil liberties and civil rights, often overlapping.

In 2015, What Does It Mean To Be Middle Class?

Just about everyone likes to say they are part of the vast “middle class” in America, whether they are really poor, working class, struggling middle class, upper middle class, or wealthy, as it is the “in” thing to be!

The vast middle class concept developed in the years after World War II, when millions of Americans moved to the suburbs, more Americans went to college, and the idea of “conspicuous consumption” became part of the “American dream.”

That dream has vanished for tens of millions, including many who live in the suburbs, many of which are deteriorating, and with property values often down, and many in bankruptcy or near bankruptcy.

Many college graduates now are working in minimum wage or near such income jobs, far removed from their earlier expectations, and tens of millions live paycheck to paycheck and have no savings for retirement; do not have adequate or any health care; cannot afford to take vacations that educate and enlighten them and their children; have very few benefits of any kind at work since labor unions, which created the middle class to a great extent, have declined rapidly since the time of Ronald Reagan; and have no expectation that life will get better anytime soon.

This rapidly declining middle class includes millions of minority population, both African American and Latino; but also untold many millions more who are white and thought that by their race alone, they had an advantage, but no longer the case.

Banks and corporations have caused a great deal of this growing poverty in the former middle class, both from their abuse of their work force, but also from encouraging materialism and greed on the part of people who cannot pay for what they desire, but get suckered into signing on the dotted line of their credit cards and mortgages, automobiles and boats, second homes, and more personal acquisitions than they ever need, but are seen as essential to leave the image to others that they are “well to do,” when that is precisely what they are not.

Capitalism is looked at as the promoter of wealth, when for most Americans, it has made them slaves for the truly wealthy, the billionaires, and the super multimillionaires!

Classy Senator Barbara Mikulski Of Maryland To Retire After Longest Service Of Any Woman In Congressional History!

A true giant of the US Senate, willing to fight for her liberal beliefs over 40 years, Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, has announced her retirement in 2016, joining another outstanding woman Senator, Barbara Boxer of California, in choosing to retire.

Mikulski will have served five terms, 30 years in the Senate, the all time record, and also served ten years in the House, making her 40 years an all time record for women in Congress. She surpassed the 35 years of Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, Republican of Massachusetts, who served from 1925 to 1960 in the House of Representatives.

Along the way, Mikulski has “raised hell”, and always been there for her constituents, the average people of her state of Maryland, fighting the good fight as a leading progressive on all issues. She began her career as a community organizer, the same activity that Barack Obama was engaged in, and often ridiculed, which is horrible, as community organizers work with the poor. Why should anyone deplore such people, who truly commit themselves to those less fortunate? And yet, we live in a nation in 2015 where this is seen as a negative, rather than the positive impact that it has on those not privileged in our society!

The likelihood is that former Governor Martin O’Malley, who wants to be President, but has almost no chance to seek it now with Hillary Clinton far ahead in all polls and O’Malley hardly registering at all in the polls, will seek to go to the Senate. However, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Congresswoman Donna Edwards are likely to compete for the seat as well, with the latter two being African Americans.

College Education And The Presidency In 21st Century America: Is It Necessary? YES!

Today, in 2015, approximately 31 percent of adults over 25 have at least a four year college degree as part of their credentials. This is an all time high.

In American history, all but eleven Presidents have had at least a four year college degree, much of the time when only a sliver of Americans had such a degree.

A college education does NOT guarantee success; does NOT guarantee excellence in one’s occupational pursuits; does NOT make any person automatically “better” than those without a college education!

What does a college education do that is beneficial?

It promotes the growth of critical thinking skills; it promotes empathy and compassion for those less fortunate; it promotes ability to analyze and evaluate materials; it promotes intellectual inquiry and curiosity, which is a good thing; it promotes ability to interpret events and happenings with a background of knowledge; it promotes tolerance and open mindedness!

Should not one, therefore, expect that a President of the United States have, at the least, a four year degree that has promoted these values?

Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln did not have a college education, but that was 225 and 150 years ago, in a much less complex world than we have now!

Yes, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Harry Truman did not have a college education, but they all were highly motivated to learn, to read books, to have intellectual curiosity.

Would not Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, all military figures, have gained a more tolerant attitude if they had had more education, and maybe not killed as many Native Americans?

Would not Andrew Johnson have learned to work better with people and been more tolerant toward African Americans if he had had some more education?

Would not Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore have gained, also, by some more education? Ironically, despite lack of education, Fillmore founded the State University of NY Buffalo institution, which at least demonstrated his understanding of the value of higher education!

So with this background on Presidents and education, should it matter that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, in his senior year, and never finished his college degree, all for a job opportunity?

The answer is YES, as just because one takes on a job, does not mean one cannot finish a college degree, as many millions of others have done!

It is an issue of steadfastness, of dedication, of the old adage: “Finish what you start!” The extra effort required to finish is always worth it, as finishing a degree is a major accomplishment! If a politician wishes to be President, therefore, it should be expected that he shows persistence and commitment to follow through on any commitment he makes in life! He is not just one of us, where two thirds have not gone to or finished college. He is supposed to be the “best among us”, a figure we can look up to, and our children can see as a model!

Under those parameters, Scott Walker should not become President, without even mentioning his innumerable shortcomings, otherwise! He has failed a basic test of Presidential leadership!

Diversity In The Presidential Race? Not Really As Much As Advertised!

The Republican Party, which has gained a reputation of being anti black, anti Hispanic immigrant, anti women is trying to convince Americans that they are really a diverse party, when it comes to the Presidential competition for 2016.

So they will point out the following:

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is Cuban American.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is Cuban American.

Pediatric surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson is African American.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is Asia American (India)

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is female.

Many potential GOP candidates are Catholic, including Rubio, Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Rick Santorum.

But of course, the fact that Rubio and Cruz are Cuban Americans means they represent about three percent of the Hispanic community, and it is highly unlikely that Mexican Americans (65 percent) and Puerto Rican Americans (about 25 percent) would support them in large numbers, with both groups being heavily Democratic.

And the odds that any of the above will be the Republican nominee for President is extremely low, other than Jeb Bush, who has switched his religious beliefs to Catholicism.

But the Democrats, in a much shorter list of potential candidates, also have diversity.

Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren are females.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is Jewish.

Vice President Joe Biden, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are Catholics.

If Hillary Clinton were not a prohibitive favorite, it would be likely that New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, both African Americans; and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a female, would have entered the race.

Barack Obama And Religious Extremism: Totally Accurate Statement, So Why The Outcry?

President Barack Obama spoke up on Thursday at the Annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on the dangers of religious extremism, promotion of one’s own faith as the only true faith, and legitimizing bloodshed and violence in the name of one’s God.

This was in reaction to the horrors that have been perpetrated by ISIL (ISIS) in the Middle East, including beheadings of Americans, British, and Japanese hostages; and the even more horrific act of taking a Jordanian pilot, captured while attacking ISIL targets, and setting him on fire, causing him to be burned to death.

What Obama said was that any religion that endorses or promotes such bloodshed and violence should be condemned, and he reminded our nation, much of it totally unaware of our history, that we had seen the lynching, butchering, and setting on fire of a few thousand African American men and boys in the American South and Midwest over a period of more than a hundred years of Jim Crow segregation in the 19th and 20th century and Ku Klux Klan influence; had also experienced nearly 250 years of slavery, which included similar mistreatment; and that world wide, there had been the Christian war on Islam during the Crusades; and the Catholic Church Inquisition of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Obama did not specifically mention the horrible persecution of Jews by Christians over two millenniums, and not just the Catholic Church, but also Protestant groups, including Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church; or the mass murder of Catholics vs Protestants in Northern Ireland, as recently as the period of the Irish Republican Army between 1969 and 1998.

And of course, in the Middle East, today, as shown by the setting on fire of a Jordanian who was Muslim, the old holy war of Shiite and Sunni Muslims continues unabated, as it has for 13 centuries; and there is also bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus in India; and turmoil in the Balkans, that led to mass murder by Christians against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

From what Obama reminded us of, plus the additional information provided here by the author, and well known to scholars, it is clear how devastating organized religion has been in its promotion of narrow mindedness and hate, and commitment to torture and extermination in the name of God, no matter which religion.

So Obama was offering a moral lesson, but yet the outcry by right wingers, who do not wish to be reminded of the sins of Christianity fanatics, and only wish to look at the Muslim fanatics today, and imagine that this is the whole story of religion in history, is very troubling. They fail to realize that many more Muslims have been killed by the barbarism of ISIL (ISIS), and their refusal to accept and recognize the history of Christianity as being just as full, historically, of violence and bloodshed, bodes ill for the future ability to understand and accept religious differences and promote religious tolerance!

The Last Of The Moderate Progressive Republican Senators Of The 1960s And 1970s Passes Away: Edward Brooke Of Massachusetts!

News of the death of former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke (1967-1979) yesterday, marks the end of the group of moderate progressive Republican Senators of the 1960s and 1970s, who worked with Democrats across the aisle, and made the Republican Party a mainstream party with a conservative majority, but reputable and dignified moderate progressives who added distinction to the party’s history.

Brooke, the first popularly elected African American Senator in American history, served two terms of distinction, and promoted civil rights, the legalization of abortion, closer relations with China, and opposed Richard Nixon much of the time on his Supreme Court appointments and on the Watergate scandal. He worked to promote aid to the poor and to the cities of the country, and spoke up for the end of the Vietnam War.

Brooke was one of a small, admirable group of Republicans, no longer found on Capitol Hill, where the word “moderate” or “progressive” is now a dirty word. It was easy to praise Brooke, along with Maryland Senator Charles Mathias, Illinois Senator Charles Percy, and Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, who all added greatly to the distinction of the Senate!

Will the Republican Party ever have men of the distinction of these four Senators, and others who started earlier in the Senate, including Jacob Javits of New York, and Clifford Case of New Jersey? Right now, that seems highly unlikely, as the Senators mentioned above would be called RINOS (Republicans In Name Only) by the present mentality in the Republican Party!

There Is No Racism In America, Says Allen West? Really?

Former Florida Congressman Allen West, a right wing extremist African American who only served one two year term in Congress, but gets constant coverage and respect from Fox News Channel, and conservative talk radio hosts, says there is no racism in America!

Really, Allen West? Are you serious?

Conservative Talk Radio constantly spews racist comments, and so does Fox News Channel. Just listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and others of their ilk on radio and cable!

Barack Obama has been called all kinds of racist terms by both radio and cable extremists, joining the Ku Klux Klan, and all kinds of right wing extremist groups, including the Tea Party Movement activists inside and outside of the halls of Congress.

The small number of African Americans who engage in crime have been depicted as being all African Americans, particularly young men.

African American police officers have had all kinds of harassment from their fellow white comrades, on and off the job, because of their race.

Racial profiling is constant, and not just for African Americans, but also people of Muslim and Arab heritage, Latinos, and Asian Americans.

There is constant evidence of racism, despite the vehement denials of those who promote just that mentality on a daily basis. All these despicable elements doth protest too much as to their innocence, when there are tons of evidence daily as to the truth of the accusations of racism!

The amazement is that successful, wealthy African Americans, such as Allen West, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Herman Cain, totally ignore reality, and have sold themselves out to the right wing establishment, having no concern about the lives and challenges of fellow African Americans who are not as successful and wealthy, and well connected, as they are.

How Allen West can live with himself is beyond morality and ethics. How Dr. Benjamin Carson and Herman Cain can live a lie as well is also beyond any understanding, how they have abandoned the truth of the history and the present reality of people of their own racial background. All of them are, indeed, promoting more racism, rather than fighting it!

The Complete Reversal Of American Politics: Republicans In The South, Democrats In Large Populated Northeastern, Midwestern And Western States!

The defeat of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu on Saturday marks the complete reversal of American politics from the years 1877 to the present.

After the Reconstruction of the South ended, with Union Army troops leaving, twelve years after the Civil War, the South became an area totally dominated by Democrats, resentful of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War defeat, and the passage of Amendments 13, 14, and 15, ending slavery, making blacks citizens, and giving the men the right to vote.

The South went into massive resistance, creating Jim Crow segregation to replace slavery, and until the election of Herbert Hoover in 1928 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, it was always a solid Democratic South with no black voting, due to discriminatory state laws that were ignored by generations of the federal government. Hoover won much of the South due to his Catholic opponent, Alfred E. Smith, in 1928, and Eisenhower won over Adlai Stevenson twice in the 1950s due to his personal popularity and World War II D Day reputation.

But only when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, starting in the 1950s, and reaching its peak with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson, did we see the beginning of a mass exodus of office holders and ordinary white population, to the Republican Party, starting with Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1964, switching parties to back Republican Senator Barry Goldwater against President Lyndon B. Johnson.

As the Democrats started to lose power in the South, the nomination of Southern governors Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and the rise of “New South” Governors like them and others in the Democratic Party, slowed up the switch to the GOP.

But the election of Barack Obama, considered anathema in the South, has now led to the entire wiping out of Southern Democrats in Congress, except for black and Jewish members of the House in districts gerrymandered that give the Republicans more total Congressional and state legislative seats in the South. Only a few other white non jewish members of the House remain, and they are endangered in the political climate of the South in 2014.

Only Virginia has both its Senators and Governor (Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe) as Democrats, and only Florida has one other Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson at this point, as we enter 2015.

And both Virginia and Florida have Republican dominated legislatures, as well as the other states that made up the Confederate States of America.

And, of course, Florida includes the heavily Northern South Florida, and Virginia has the heavily Northern North Virginia, influenced by being part of the DC suburbs, and otherwise, these three Senators and one Governor would not be in public office.

So the complete reversal of a century and a half ago has occurred, and is unlikely to be changed for a generation or more, at the least.

This means that the South will remain as it is now for a generation or more, and that the issue of race nearly a century and a half ago, again stands out as the key difference that separates that section from the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the heavily populated areas of the nation in the Northeast, Midwest and West are more Democratic than ever, and are unlikely to change either over time, creating political deadlock long term over the future, stifling change and creating constant political conflict and deadlock!