conservatives

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill Of Rights (January 11, 1944) Not Yet Achieved In 2014!

Now that THE ROOSEVELTS series on PBS, the seven part series presented to the nation by the great documentarian Ken Burns, is over, many thoughts and emotions cross one’s mind.

FDR offered so much to the nation in his New Deal, and in his leadership of the struggle against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in World War II.

But what struck this author more than any of this, while watching this 14 hour series over the past week, is an often forgotten speech, the State of the Union speech of January 11, 1944, delivered by FDR in a joint session of Congress.

The speech dealt with the issue of a “Second Bill Of Rights”.

FDR knew that the Bill Of Rights had made America the beacon of the civilized world, with the basic civil liberties it granted to all Americans.

But FDR was looking ahead to the end of World War II, and envisioned a nation that would extend the concept of a bill of rights to other issues that affected all Americans.

So FDR called for a future guarantee of everyone having a decent job with a living wage; a guarantee of decent housing for all Americans; a guarantee of a decent supply of food, clothing, and leisure for all; a guarantee of a decent education providing opportunity for all to advance; an expansion of Social Security beyond the beginning of the concept nine years earlier in 1935; and  provision for a decent health care system for all Americans.

Now 70 years later, none of these have been accomplished, although Social Security has improved tremendously for the elderly, and for women who are widowed and children who lose a parent or are orphaned: Medicare has done so much to help the elderly and disabled; and ObamaCare, under great duress, has provided health care for millions of Americans who never had health coverage before.

But yet, conservatives and Republicans are out to make Social Security and Medicare privatized, and want to destroy ObamaCare!

But we have too many people who cannot find work, due to the Great Recession of George W. Bush and cannot even gain extension of the New Deal concept of unemployment compensation; many Americans live in substandard housing; many people go hungry and live in dire poverty; many have to work multiple jobs and cannot have time for leisure, with most Americans not able to have vacation time, less than any European democracy, or Canada or Australia;  and many children are denied a good education system and can only gain minimum wage employment as adults.

The right wing extremists are trying to destroy the New Deal and Great Society reforms, and return American to a century ago before there was social justice and economic opportunity and political reform offered, starting with the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

How can any decent American not rise up in protest and anger at the selfishness and greed of the elite one percent and their propagandists, who do not care what happens to anyone other than their own class?  Why is acquisition of obscene wealth and power so important that these right wingers have no humanity, no common decency, no desire to see their fellow Americans have a chance to succeed as they were given?  Why is the hatred of taxes so vehement, as if one can take his or her wealth to the grave, or give it in obscene amounts to offspring who will never know responsibility or the virtue of accomplishing on their own?  What is wrong with this nation, that 70 years after the “Second Bill of Rights” speech of FDR, we have made very little progress on the goals of the speech, and have even backtracked on them, and we have evil forces wanting to destroy the most significant programs of the New Deal and Great Society?

Important Anniversaries To Commemorate!

The last few days have seen some important anniversaries worthy of mention.

On September 14, the day that THE ROOSEVELTS Ken Burns series started on PBS, it was the 113th anniversary of the accession of Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency, due to the assassination of President William McKinley, who had been shot on September 6, and died eight days later.  It was no accident that the Ken Burns series, the best documentary in many years, started on that significant day, marking the beginning of the transformation of the American Presidency over the next century and more!

On September 17, two important anniversaries were noted.  The 227th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by the Founding Fathers, a group which saw a need for a strong national government and broad interpretation of the Constitution, as shown through Article 1, Section 8, the “elastic clause”, was celebrated as Constitution Day.  The right wing conservatives and most Republicans of the 2014 variety, including the despicable Tea Party Fascists, have tried to distort the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, and this warping of the Founding Fathers must be fought to reverse the damage done by these groups!

Also, September 17 marks the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, at Antietam, Maryland, in 1862, the 152nd anniversary of that tragic event, and an important moment for the Union in its battle, under Abraham Lincoln, to preserve the Union.

Also, today, September 18, is the 163rd anniversary of the NEW YORK TIMES, still the best newspaper in America, despite some notable shortcomings over the years.

So we have a lot to note and commemorate in mid September!

Barack Obama Success Versus The Public Opinion Polls

Barack Obama has been the most successful President in economic affairs in modern times, surpassing Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

So says the conservative journal FORBES, and who is to argue with them coming up with this conclusion?

Obama has presided over the greatest stock market growth in American history, but also has seen tremendous economic expansion and creation of jobs not seen since the Clinton Administration.

Of course, unemployment is still 6.1 percent and many people have dropped out of the job market, and unemployment compensation has not been extended.

And of course, the minimum wage has not been increased, and should be, if based on the cost of living, would be triple what it is now–$7.25 an hour!

Infrastructure spending is essential, but has been prevented by the Republican Party.

The point is that despite the inherited Great Recession, Barack Obama has done miracles on the economy, and has succeeded in killing more Muslim terrorists than anyone else, including Osama Bin Laden and Libya’s dictator, Muamarr Gaddafi.

And yet, despite all this and much more, recent public opinion polls show a low point in the 30s for Obama, including one third disillusioned Democrats.

But it is clear that these polls are not to be relied on or believed, and it is obvious that those polled do not understand what has happened, and are clueless as to public affairs, and are more reacting to the right wing attacks on Obama, rather than using their own intellectual abilities.  It is scary how a large portion of the nation is ignorant, and ill informed!

Fox News Channel, And Misogyny, Racism, And Homophobia!

What is it about conservatives, particularly FOX News Channel, but also much of right wing talk radio, that they have absolutely no shame or embarrassment in their prejudices, and seem to revel in it?

All along, but more evident recently, is the misogyny, racism, and homophobia regularly displayed, and conservatives and Republicans, with very rare exceptions, fail to condemn it, and therefore are guilty by association!

It is not saying that there are no liberals and progressives who, at times, have displayed misogyny, racism, and homophobia, but it is extremely rare for that to occur, while for conservatives and Republicans,  it is par for the course, and without apology or embarrassment displayed!

It makes one wonder how any decent person could ever be insensitive enough to believe that women are inferior; that minority groups are the scum of the earth, who deserve to be shot by police; and that gays and lesbians are to be condemned for an immoral life style by the narrow mindedness of organized religion!

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!

Have We Gone From Speaker John Boehner To Speaker Ted Cruz?

The Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives have made life miserable for Speaker of the House John Boehner, blocking actions he has wished to take over the past two years, and now again, they are blocking any action on the immigration crisis of Central American women and children at the US-Mexico border!

Instead, the Tea Party Republicans are stalling any action, on the advice and prodding of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, which is privately infuriating Boehner and mainstream conservatives in the GOP!

So, apparently, for the first time in American history, a lunatic right winger in the Senate, and his name is NOT Joseph McCarthy, is undermining his own party in the lower chamber, while laying waste to doing as much damage as possible to the Senate, and its GOP leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky!

So civil war is occurring, and it is causing disrespect for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and it is hard to imagine the scenario in January 2015, if the GOP keeps the House of Representatives and gains control of the US Senate!

The odds of a Speaker Boehner are dwindling rapidly, and we could end up with a Tea Party Ted Cruz backed Republican as Speaker of the House, so new Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California had better pay heed!

Privatization Of Education And Of Prisons Makes Profit More Important Than Anything Else!

The privatization movement, popular among conservatives and the Republican Party, produces disasters!

It creates charter schools which, only in rare cases, is better than public education, and gives children educators who are less qualified and lower paid. The results of charter schools are not good, based on statistics!

Additionally, for profit education on the university and college level is a boondoggle, ripping off taxpayers, and cheating gullible students who think they can get a degree worth the paper of the diploma, when instead they get inferior or no education, and tremendous debts that impoverish them.

Also, privatization of prisons is a horrendous idea, as the goal is to cut costs, recruit more prisoners, and mistreat those inmates in ways that have been shown to be extremely abusive!

The privatization industry caters to politicians who are willing to promote their unethical, immoral businesses.

An example is the GEO group, one of the worst prison corporations of all, making massive profits, and for awhile, was winning the contract to name the stadium at my institution, Florida Atlantic University, until there were student and staff protests, leading to the removal of the university president, and the cancellation of the contract.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is being catered to by GEO, in order to promote further expansion of their profits in the Sunshine State, an absolutely despicable event, which should be used by Democrats against one of the worst Governors in America!

Education and law enforcement, including prisons, should NEVER be privatized, as it makes profit more important than anything else, and lacks any sense of propriety, ethics, and morals!

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Rousing Speech On “Eleven Commandments Of Progressivism”!

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, on a book tour for her recent publication, but also rousing progressives with her inspiring ideas, gave a speech last week at Netroots Nation, the progressive gathering often seen as the alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held annually.

Warren summarized the views of those who are progressives and liberals, including:

The need for regulation of Wall Street.

The belief in science, and its role in preserving our environment.

Neutrality on the internet, not favoring powerful corporations.

Raising the minimum wage, therefore allowing a full time worker to avoid living in poverty.

A livable wage for fast food workers, with public support for them being demonstrated.

The avoidance of crushing college loan debt for students, by arranging realistic debt payments.

Protection of Social Security, Medicare, and pensions, so that retired workers can live in dignity.

Equal pay for equal work for men and women.

Promotion of equality in marriage, including gay marriage.

The need for immigration reform, as immigration is part of the story of American history.

The belief that women should control their own bodies, and corporations should not control the private lives and medical care of any of their workforce.

Also, her conclusion about conservatives is so appropriate, that they will do whatever they need to do to protect their own interests, and would say to all of the rest of us that you are on your own!

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!