Hispanic Influence Predates That Of Other European Cultures on America, Something Forgotten By Many Conservatives!

Listening to Donald Trump, and also to many conservatives and Republicans in general, one would think that Hispanic and Latino influence in America is somehow dangerous and “foreign”, and something new.

In reality, Hispanics and Latinos are the largest “minority” in America, and only German immigration outnumbers Mexican immigration in numbers to have come to our nation.

Also, one can forget or be ignorant of the fact that it was Spain which made the first settlements in what became the United States, 450 years since the establishment of St. Augustine, Florida as a Spanish colony in 1565.

It was Spain which settled the entire Southeast and the Southwest of the United States.

It was Spain which established settlements in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California.

It was Mexico that once controlled the entire Southwest, and lost it to the United States between 1836, 1848 and 1853 by rebellion, war and treaty.

But there was always a Spanish influence in America even after this, and people of Spanish heritage have played a major role in America throughout the nearly two centuries now since the original Texas “rebellion” against Mexico.

So to attack Spanish or Latin American influence in America is to show prejudice, ignorance and lack of recognition of Hispanic significance on America and its history!

Pope Francis: A Gift To The World And Supporter Of Progressive Causes Shared With Barack Obama!

Pope Francis has arrived in the United States, and will be here for six days, traveling to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

It is clear that Pope Francis is a gift to the world and a supporter of progressive causes that he often shares with President Barack Obama!

This Pope is, clearly, the best Pope in the sense of promoting reform, since the time of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis has made enemies among conservative Catholics and evangelical right wing Christians, who do not pursue the true message of Jesus Christ, the promotion of the poor and the disabled and the sick.

Pope Francis has condemned predatory capitalism which has no concern as to its effect on the poor.

Pope Francis has spoken up on climate change and global warming, infuriating those in the conservative movement and the Republican Party who only think about profits, and reject science.

Pope Francis has attacked the growing income inequality in the world, a dangerous disease that threatens global stability.

Pope Francis has worked to resolve problems in the Catholic Church, and to have a more open mind on divorce, abortion, gay rights, and other controversial social issues, while not wholly backing all of these cultural changes.  But he has demonstrated greater tolerance of differences and opened up a sense of change, which is desperately needed in the Catholic Church, if it is to grow and prosper in the long term.

Pope Francis has engaged in bringing about the restoration of a relationship between the United States and Cuba, something long overdue.

Pope Francis has worked to help Syrian refugees, and generally to encourage immigration reform around the world, as to reject immigrants is against the American historical tradition, and worldwide would be the growth of another Holocaust, as Jews and other refugees suffered in the Second World War.

Pope Francis is a transformational Pope who, hopefully, will have a long range effect on the Catholic Church and the world.

Pope Francis has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is hoped that he will win it, as he richly deserves it!

Multiple Predictions Of Disaster By The Republicans During The Obama Presidency, But None Occurred!

The Republican Party and the conservative movement has made multiple predictions of disaster during the Obama Presidency, with none of them actually occurring.

They have acted like “Chicken Little”, and have been shown for their deceit.

In the midst of all these attacks, personally and policy wise, Barack Obama has acted with dignity and class, despite the outrageous statement of Florida Senator Marco Rubio that Obama has shown no class. Instead, Republican leadership, including Rubio, needs to look in the mirror at themselves!

A catalog of some of the many predictions of disaster follows:

The economic stimulus would cause a further downturn of the economy.

The auto bailout would fail miserably.

ObamaCare would fail, and would destroy the health care system.

Bank regulations to prevent another bank collapse would fail miserably.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a dangerous government intervention that would never succeed.

Unemployment numbers would continue to rise, making the economy worse.

Illegal immigration numbers would continue to rise, and crimes caused by illegal immigrants would become predominant.

Gays in the military would cause the downfall of the greatest military in the world.

The Ebola epidemic in Africa would overtake America, and lead to widespread disease epidemic in America.

The government would try to take away private ownership of guns.

Requirement of vaccinations was a plot against families and children.

Higher pay for lower paid workers would destroy jobs and business.

Obama’s executive orders were a move toward dictatorship.

Obama’s moves on the environment are destroying the energy industries.

Obama’s Presidency is the most corrupt in American history.

Obama sides with Islamic terrorism, and will not use drones and other tactics against them.

Obama was plotting with Muslims to destroy Christianity.

Gay Marriage would destroy the American family as we know it.

Obama is conspiring with Iran to destroy Israel.

Obama opening up to Cuba is unprecedented, to deal with a totalitarian government and give diplomatic recognition.

Obama is not respected by other nations across the globe.

The list could go on and on and on, but these 21 examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the Republicans and conservatives predicting gloom and doom during an Obama Presidency!

Jimmy Carter: The Most Underrated, Unappreciated President Since World War II!

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary today, a year and a half shorter in duration then George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s marriage, the two longest in Presidential history!

Both George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have reached the magic age of 90, with Bush 91 on June 8, and Carter to be 91 on October 1.

It is a blessing that both are still with us, but it would seem as if Jimmy Carter is likely to outlive Bush, based on health conditions right now.

Bush is being, properly, appreciated in his 90s, but Carter remains the most underrated, unappreciated President since World War II.

The critics, mostly Republicans, conservatives, and right wing supporters of Israel’s often extremist government, are always on the attack, and this blogger has heard from audience members when he gives lectures, that Jimmy Carter is an anti Semite, which is farthest from the truth!

Jimmy Carter could be said to be anti Israel’s government, when it has been right wing extremist, as for instance, it is now under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But people forget how he managed to bring about the only enduring moment in the Middle East since World War II–the Camp David Accords—which brought together former warriors and enemies, Anwar Sadat of Eyypt and Menachim Begin of Israel, despite their being far apart on the issues of Middle East peace.

This is the most impressive and enduring moment of the Carter Presidency, and is not fully appreciated for what it was and is, even today! And Carter is most certainly NOT an anti Semite, and there are many Jews in America who are not pro Israel automatically when the government there is right wing extremist as it is now!

Carter also brought about the Panama Canal Treaty, an historic event; promoted Human Rights, a fundamental principle of this man of high morality, who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize; and worked to free the hostages in Iran peacefully, as frustrating as that was, rather than bomb Iran and see all 52 Americans killed in response, the likely result had he gone “hawkish”.

If the attempted rescue in April 1980 had worked out, it is likely that Jimmy Carter would have had a second term, and Ronald Reagan would be a footnote in history!

Carter also became the third best environmental President in American history, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon; promoted free elections, human rights, democracy all over the world through the Carter Center; condemned violence against women and mistreatment of the poor around the world; emphasized the spreading of health care and education to the deprived parts of the world; and even condemned the most extreme right elements of his own Baptist faith.

He became the most activist former President in American history, and has survived longer after his time in office than any President, now going on 34.5 years on July 20. And his Vice President, Walter Mondale, survives at 87.5 years of age, making them the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team ever in American history!

Jimmy Carter is not perfect, in or out of office, but he is a very decent man, well meaning, brilliant in intellect, and the author of 27 books, including his new book, released today, entitled: “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”, a worthwhile read!

It is clear that only when he passes from the scene, like Harry Truman, will he come to be appreciated for the great man and human being he is, always trying to do his best, but humble enough to be willing to concede his shortcomings, much of which he expresses in this new book!

Anthony Kennedy, The Third Choice Of Ronald Reagan For The Supreme Court In 1988!

President Ronald Reagan had the misfortune of having two Supreme Court nominees rejected near the end of his term, and forced to choose someone else for the Court.

His nomination of Robert Bork, and then, Douglas Ginsburg, and his selection of Anthony Kennedy in their place in 1988, was a moment of tremendous historical importance.

With either Bork or Ginsburg, it is almost certain, if not so, that gay rights and gay marriage would not have accomplishes the majority votes in 2003, 2013, and now 2015, granting gays and lesbians complete equality, including the right to marry!

The importance of one man and one vote is clear cut, as under our system, the Supreme Court, much more than we realize, has a majority of one vote on significant cases, and that one vote majority transforms America for good or for evil.

One vote on the Court decided Bush V Gore in 2000; one vote on the Court decided the Citizens United Case in 2010; one vote on the Supreme Court decided the dramatic weakening of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

And the historic importance of Anthony Kennedy cannot be underestimated, as he has been the swing vote on the Court since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court ten years ago. Often, he has sided with the conservatives, but about one third of the time with progressives, as in these various gay rights cases.

Kennedy has had great courage, and he will suffer mightily with denunciations, death threats, and need for Secret Service protection, from right wing crazies who will wish him dead for his role in changing American society permanently.

Anthony Kennedy is truly a profile in courage and principle, and will play a positive role in the history of human rights, when this era we are living in, is written about in future generations!

Jeb Bush Ends Longest Pre-Campaign In American History, Announces Presidential Candidacy For 2016

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush finally ended the longest pre-campaign for President in American history, announcing his candidacy today at Miami Dade College, the largest community college in the nation, and the largest Hispanic student population of any college in America.

Having indicated his intended plans unofficially in December, starting the 2016 campaign, Jeb Bush decided to hold off for the overlong period of six months, so he could raise tons of money, without any campaign spending limits.

Bush made it clear that he was out to gain the Hispanic vote by pushing for immigration reform, something not popular in the Republican Party, and the fact that he speaks fluent Spanish and that his wife is a Mexican American born in Mexico, gives Bush an opportunity to push for a higher percentage of that vote.

The question arises though whether Jeb Bush can overcome the stain of his brother George W. Bush’s reputation, although the popularity of his dad, George W. Bush, is at an all time high, since he left the Presidency 22 years ago, and just as the elder Bush has turned 91 and his mother has turned 90.

Bush has many faults, but he is a serious, mainstream conservative, not a loony like many of the others in the race, so the odds of his winning the nomination at this point seem greater than 50-50.

The next nine months will show what the truth of the Bush name is in American politics in 2016!

Bernie Sanders’ Promotion Of Free Undergraduate Tuition At All Public Universities And Colleges

Let me begin this entry by pointing out that the author was the beneficiary of a free tuition undergraduate education for four years at Queens College of the City University of New York in the 1960s.

The entire City University of New York system, and the State University of New York System, had free undergraduate tuition a half century ago, until it disappeared in the crises over budgetary issues in the early 1970s.

Also, the entire California University System had free tuition for all undergraduates, until the Governorship of Ronald Reagan in the late 1960s and early 1970s, leading to anger over the Vietnam War, and the imposition of tuition after widespread student demonstrations on the campuses across California. Budgetary issues were used as the reason, but much of it was a conservative attack on higher education in the largest populated state.

Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, 50 years later, the average student must go into tremendous debt to gain a higher education, causing massive student loan payments that harm the economic future of those students and of their ability to buy homes, cars, have children, and live the “American Dream”.

In many states, the cost of a public higher education, including all expenses, is more than $20,000, forcing many to forgo education, and to undermine the concept of gaining an open mind and tolerance, which a college education provides, along with training for a specific career.

So we have seen a “war” on higher education, particularly in states governed by Republican Governors and legislatures, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and other states.

Education is not just for career training, but also for promoting ability to analyze, evaluate, interpret, and develop problem solving skills, and to make college more difficult is counter productive.

In the midst of this reality, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an announced Democratic Presidential candidate, has proposed providing taxpayer supported undergraduate education at all public universities and colleges, and while this would be expensive, it is worth considering.

Returning to the tradition in New York and California 50 years ago, and making it nationwide, would be a good move! Education should be considerd a right, not a privilege to be left only to those who can afford it, similar to the public school system. Of course, conservatives and Republicans are out to destroy the public school system as well, in favor of charter schools, which should not be allowed to harm the concept of public education begun in the 1820s in the New England states.

The Misinterpreted Thomas Jefferson, By The Right Wing, On the 272nd Anniversary Of His Birth

Thomas Jefferson, our most brilliant President intellectually, one of the great Founding Fathers, has been so misinterpreted by the right wing conservatives and Republicans, who have no clue as to his beliefs and thoughts.

The right wing has worked to distort Jefferson, making him out to be many things he was not.

They tell us Jefferson believed in a national religion, when Jefferson was a skeptic about organized Christianity, and became Deist in his beliefs, and opposed the concept of theocracy.

They tell us that Jefferson believed church and state should be unified, when he was the promoter of the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom.

They tell us that Jefferson believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution and the goodness of state and local governments over national government, which was true to an extent during the 1790s debate of Jefferson Vs. Alexander Hamilton, which helped to create political parties in America. But once he was President, Jefferson was a believer in a broad interpretation of the Constitution and the power of the national government.

They tell us that Jefferson would have been a supporter of the Republican Party of 2015, when his belief in civil liberties would have made him appalled at that party’s abuse of civil liberties in the name of national security.

They tell us that Jefferson would have been supportive of foreign intervention against Muslim civilization, due to Jefferson’s intervention in the Mediterranean against the Barbary Pirates of North Africa during his Presidency, but Jefferson did not promote Islamophobia, as most Republicans and conservatives advocate in their rhetoric.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson was a complex man, with many contradictions and often hypocritical views, as on race and slavery, but Jefferson was a man who believed in the power of learning and the intellectual life, and he would have been totally shocked at the goal of the Republican Party to keep the population ignorant, and to promote fear, instead of an enlightened view of mankind and events.

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz Publicly Back Discriminatory Indiana Law! What Hope Is Left For The Republican Party In 2016?

The Republican Party is going totally nuts, more than ever, as now potential Republican Presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz have issued public statements supporting Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and the passage of a law designed to make it possible that business proprietors can refuse service to gays and lesbians, when commerce has nothing to do with religion, since we have separation of church and state, and are not a theocracy.

Christians of the right wing extremism keep on saying that they are being persecuted, when they are the ones who promoted slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and antisemitism, along with other wrongs, including degradation of women, and ministerial sexual abuse in too many cases over the years!

With Christians being over 90 percent of Americans, it is preposterous to say that they are being persecuted, when they are the ones who promoted persecution in the name of Jesus, a Jew who would never have advocated their hateful actions of racism, misogyny, nativism, and homophobia!

It leaves one to wonder if there are any Republican nominees who can appeal to the mainstream of America, as it is clear most, if not all, of the other potential nominees for President, while not yet specifically stating that they back the Indiana law, it is clear that in their hearts that they will continue to resist gay rights, even with a Supreme Court decision likely this June! Based on past statements and actions catering to the Religious Right, we know that Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, and Dr Benjamin Carson are likely to back Mike Pence in the coming days!

The only possible hope left seems to be the longshot possibility of Jon Huntsman, who tried for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012, but has given up on running in 2016, easily the most decent possible candidate; or possibly Ohio Governor John Kasich, who appears to be a reasonable conservative, but has said he will decide whether to announce for President sometime this summer. Kasich, so far, seems potentially a candidate who might be able to represent the mainstream of the party, and yet remain a responsible conservative, but who can say that he will not self destruct as Jeb Bush has, for instance, just done with his statement backing Mike Pence and Indiana in promoting discrimination and homophobia?

The Purposes Of Higher Education

Why should one pursue higher education, and gain one or more college degrees?

Higher Education promotes appreciation of the world around us, and makes us better able to understand who we are and where we are in the universe.

Higher Education makes us able to communicate our thoughts and ideas in oral speech and in writing on a much higher level.

Higher Education opens us up to new areas of knowledge, even those we may think we have no interest in, but often return to later in life.

Higher Education assists in making each of us better conversationalists when with others in any social setting.

Higher Education helps to assist in overcoming prejudices, stereotyping, and judging people without forethought.

Higher Education teaches us to question and challenge and to work against propaganda and dogma of any kind.

Higher Education makes one willing to be skeptical about organized religion, wanting documentation, rather than simply accepting doctrine as reality.

Higher Education opens up our eyes to exposure to the brilliance of men and women who have made major contributions of all kinds to human endeavor.

Higher Education makes one a better partner in marriage, and a better parent.

Higher Education promotes tolerance, open mindedness, empathy, compassion, and appreciation of others who are different from us.

Higher Education enriches us for a lifetime of thought, besides providing a career in an occupation, so that we can provide for ourselves and our families.

Higher Education is attacked, sadly, by those who tell us that it is a bad investment, when there is no better investment for a lifetime. Even when it creates a financial burden for many years, it is so urgent, and since it does so much not only for oneself but also for society as a whole, it is urgent that a plan to cut college loan costs be instituted. By doing so, it will encourage more students to see the value of higher education for the long term.

So when any politician, particularly those on the conservative and Republican side of the political system work to undermine higher education, realize that it is a ploy to keep people ignorant and under one’s control. Higher education must continue to be a goal for more people, rather than an effort to promote ignorance and narrow mindedness!