Democratic Party

That Was The Week That Was: June 19-26, 2015 Most Significant Single Week In Many Years For Positive Change!

Who would ever have imagined that in one week’s time, we would witness three events that would transform American society as the week from June 19 to June 26, 2015?

Two days before that transformational week, nine African American Bible Class men and women in a church were slaughtered by a young man who had so much hate and racism in his body and mind that human life meant nothing to him, a tremendous tragedy for Charleston, South Carolina; for the nation at large; and for the nine families who lost their loved ones.

Nothing much more negative could have been imagined to occur regarding race relations in America, which have been in crisis with recent killings by police of African American men in many different locations around the nation.

But the the miracle week began!

The relatives of the nine murdered Bible Class men and women confronted the mass murderer who had done the dirty deed, and they all expressed to him that they forgave him for his sin, unimaginable behavior witnessed on television, amazing the whole nation.

The fact that this young mass murderer had used the Confederate flag as a symbol of his hatred and racism spurred the call for removal of the Confederate flag from the monument at the Columbia, South Carolina state capital, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the legislature to consider removal, and State Senator Paul Thurmond, the son of racist former Senator, Governor and 1948 States Rights Party Presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, said the flag must come down. While it did not come down in time for the funerals of the nine victims, the movement was on to remove it, and we saw other Southern states remove the symbol, including Alabama, an unbelievable thought a few days earlier. It looked likely that the Confederate flag had met its doom on public property everywhere, although citizens would still have the freedom to wear and display the Confederate symbol openly.

Then, as the week went on, the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, which had moved to the right politically by recent decisions during the Obama years, including the Citizens United decision in 2010 and the Voting Rights limitation case of 2013, suddenly took a noticeable turn to the left, with Reagan appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy supporting ObamaCare and same sex marriage, and Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, siding for the second time on ObamaCare.

Suddenly, ObamaCare was finally established in a manner that would make it impossible to repeal, and it insured that Barack Obama’s signature achievement would last in the manner that Social Security came to be under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Medicare came to be under Lyndon B. Johnson.

And suddenly, after a long, hard fought battle over gay rights and gay marriage, the civil and human right to marry became guaranteed for gays and lesbians, as much as interracial marriage was insured by Supreme Court decision 48 years ago in 1967 in Loving V Virginia.

And with all this, Barack Obama also had victory on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite a major split with liberals in his own Democratic Party.

And then, even more inspiring was Barack Obama’s amazing eulogy of the pastor/state legislator killed by the young mass murderer. It reminded us of his great oratorical abilities, and the eulogy coursed through our beings and gave all decent people a chill up the spine, symbolically!

No President has had a week of such massive victories and achievements in many decades, and to have the Confederate flag being brought down was the icing on the cake!

So that was the week that was, which will be written about by scholars in future generations, as a miraculous week hard to match or surpass!

From Strom Thurmond To Paul Thurmond: Is The Civil War Finally Over In The South?

South Carolina, which started the Civil War at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, MAY have finally conceded defeat on June 23, 2015, with the courageous speech by State Senator Paul Thurmond, son of the notorious segregationist and racist Governor and Senator Strom Thurmond, who made his career on racial division.

A burden to the Democratic Party, when Lyndon B. Johnson was able to overcome Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans, and courageously get through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Senator Strom Thurmond quickly switched to the Republican Party, and over the next generation, the Confederate South transferred its loyalties to the Republican Party, despite their hatred of the party because of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

The Republicans welcomed and embraced the segregationists, and did whatever they could to appeal to the prejudices of many Southern whites, rather than elevate them to a level of tolerance and open mindedness.

And when the Supreme Court damaged the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 decision, it was Republican state legislatures and Governors who rushed to pass voter restriction laws, designed to harm African Americans and other minorities, as well as the poor, reminding us of what had happened after Reconstruction ended in the late 19th century. They were not afraid to show their purpose, to deny people the vote on flimsy grounds, and showed no conscience.

This sudden transformation after the Charleston Massacre is what finally brought out the truth, that the Republicans have been promoting racism, and even after the disaster, many Republican office holders and Presidential candidates were slow to react.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was hesitant to call for removal of the Confederate Flag, but finally did so under duress, but it was state Senator Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, who showed true courage and guts in denouncing what his father had stood for, and saying the flag must be removed.

There are still plenty of bigoted Southerners in South Carolina and elsewhere, who rushed to buy Confederate flags, shirts, and other paraphernalia, but thank goodness that Walmart, Ebay, Amazon and other retailers announced the end of such sales yesterday.

It is time for the Republican Party nationally to stop voting restriction laws, and truly compete for the African American vote and the Hispanic-Latino vote too, and also to stop the attack on women and on gays and lesbians, as they are now the party of so much hate. The white racist vote is rapidly declining, and the GOP is living in the past, reveling in its promotion of narrow mindedness and intolerance!

We are all in this together as a nation, and the Republican Party must change dramatically, and must repudiate the Tea Party Movement whackos, or it will expire in the near future!

Two Prime Vice Presidential Contenders For Hillary Clinton: Julian Castro And Thomas Perez

IF Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2016, a key factor in helping her to win over any Republican Presidential rival would be selecting a Vice Presidential running mate with good credentials and Latino ancestry.

There are two prime candidates working in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, and either of them would make a great running mate and possible Presidential successor.

The first is Julian Castro, Mexican American and former Mayor of San Antonio, the sixth largest city in America, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro’s twin brother Joaquin is a Texas Congressman, who is often seen as prime material for the US Senate in a race against Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. But Julian Castro, who can speak Spanish, and would be only 42 on Election Day 2016, would be a great candidate to draw widespread Hispanic and Latino support, particularly if Jeb Bush, who can speak fluent Spanish, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is the Republican nominee for President.

The second possibility is Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who speaks fluent Spanish and is of Dominican ancestry, and was part of the administration of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and will be 55 on Election Day 2016. Perez worked in the offices of the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services for many years before being in the O’Malley government in that state’s Labor Department, and then becoming Obama’s Assistant Attorney General, and then chosen to be Secretary of Labor in 2013.

Either Castro or Perez would be able to appeal for an even larger Hispanic-Latino support of the Democratic Party, already over 70 percent for Barack Obama in 2012!

Donald Trump Anti-Mexican Rant Guarantees Large Hispanic Vote For Democrats, Insuring Presidential Victory in 2016!

Newly minted Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has destroyed any chance of a growing percentage of Mexican Americans and other Hispanic Americans voting Republican in 2016.

The issue of Hispanic immigration, whether legal or undocumented, is an issue that will NOT go away!

There may be eleven million undocumented immigrants in America, and in ideal terms, that should not be.

But there is no way that these eleven million immigrants, or any great percentage of them, are going to be deported, and it would be extreme injustice in many cases to do such a thing!

Many from Mexico and from elsewhere in Latin America, and also from Asia, came because of political and social turmoil; economic hard times; and desire to better one’s lives!

This is nothing new, as ALL immigrant groups throughout American history have come for the same reasons.

Yes, a small percentage of immigrants are criminal, and they need to be dealt with and be deported if undocumented.

But the vast number of immigrants, likely 98-99 percent just want a opportunity for a better life.

So Donald Trump, stating that people from Mexico are mostly drug dealers, rapists, and other kinds of criminals, is simply guaranteeing that no respectable Mexican American who is a citizen, or any other Hispanic American or Latino of any Latin nationality who is a citizen, will vote Republican. And more young Hispanics and Latinos will register in droves to fight against a party that promotes nativism and hate!

The Republican Party already has had a problem with nativism, but Donald Trump has made it worse!

And realize that Mexican Americans alone are the second largest ethnic group in America, with nearly 35 million people and 11 percent of the population, and with over 50 million total population from Latin America combined, with Mexican Americans being 64 percent of the total. German Americans are the largest, over 50 million.

And having Jeb Bush’s wife as Mexican American; or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio being Cuban American (about 3.5 percent of all Hispanics), will not make up for what Trump has done!

The Republican Party is done, as far as the Hispanic-Latinos vote is concerned, and with that, the 2016 election! The Democrats are assured of winning the Presidency!

And as far as relations with our neighbor to the South, Mexico, and to claim a wall will be built and Mexico will pay for it, is Trump ready to start a war with our neighbor and act in an imperialistic manner? Does he think Mexico would just lie down and drop dead? The man is a maniac, a dangerous man, who could cause massive boundary issues, way beyond any we have have had with Mexico!

Donald Trump Presidential Candidacy Likely To Destroy Republican Party In 2016!

Business mogul Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President today, a move which makes the Republican Party more of a joke and comedy bus than ever before!

What are Donald Trump’s qualifications to be President? NONE!

Donald Trump has had three marriages; multiple times has gone bankrupt; continues to be a “Birther”, believing Barack Obama was born in Kenya; has made irrational, extremist statements for years, making one wonder about his mental health; uses rhetoric that if utilized in foreign affairs, could provoke war; loves to insult his opponents in totally undiplomatic ways; and has demonstrated he is a racist, nativist, misogynist, and homophobe.

Is that enough? Trump knows absolutely nothing about international affairs, and just loves to shoot off his mouth, and make a fool of himself! He is a walking “time bomb”, ready to lose his temper without much provocation. He is an egotistical maniac, who most wants attention despite being a billionaire, and having wonderful children and, so far, three beautiful women as wives!

Trump loves to brag, which shows how much he has an inferiority complex, but he would be a danger if he were, somehow, to be nominated and elected. He invokes God, as if the deity looks down on him. The major job of all good people in this nation is to stop this maniac from destroying our nation, thinking he can “buy” the Presidency with wealth ill gained, and with the advantage of being born to wealth!

Trump must file within 15 days a form with the Federal Election Commission that he is running, and many would not be surprised if he actually does not do that. And even if he does, he could just destroy the upcoming debates of the Republican Party with his name recognition, and desire to assassinate the character of all of his Republican opponents. He is a literal nightmare to the GOP, and his candidacy only helps insure that the Democrats will win the White House in 2016!

Trump could prevent better known Republican officeholders from being part of the first debate in Iowa, due to Fox News Channel restrictions on only having ten candidates in that debate in August, likely leaving out better qualified or experienced candidates than Trump.

Trump has the ability to bring about the total destruction of the Republican Party as we know it, and that, actually, would be a good thing, with the right wing extremism so prevalent now in that party!

Hillary Clinton Comes Out Fighting, Evoking Franklin D. Roosevelt On Roosevelt Island

Hillary Clinton began her Presidential campaign officially on April 12, the day that Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945.

She began her aggressive, active campaign today, June 13, on Roosevelt Island in New York, evoking the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and came out fighting to make America a better place than it has been under Republican leadership in Congress, and the disastrous Republican field of Presidential candidates.

Just as Hillary inspired people when she spoke in Texas recently about enforcing the right to vote, which has been worked against in Republican controlled state governments, when Hillary gets out on the stump, she gives people new hope that she can be an outstanding Presidential candidate; defeat whichever GOP candidate survives the upcoming campaign; and emerge triumphant and successful as the 45th President!

Hillary has faults and shortcomings, as she herself admits; and she said she knew she would make mistakes as any candidate, any human being would, but that she would always be fighting for the middle class, and for those left behind, meaning the poor and disadvantaged, as well.

That is the message we want to hear from Hillary Clinton, and while Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee offer more “liberal” alternatives to Hillary in the Democratic Presidential race, and are all decent and inspirational in nature, the odds are still that Hillary will win and carry the mantle of the Democratic Party into November 2016.

And ultimately, the issue is not whether Hillary is “liberal enough”, but the future of the federal courts, and particularly, the Supreme Court, as that will be the most lasting impact of the next President of the United States.

We cannot allow a reactionary, right wing Republican gain control of the future of the Supreme Court, as that would condemn much of what Democratic Presidents have achieved in the past century since FDR!

Mayoral Experiences Of Three Democratic Presidential Candidates Unique Among Presidential Seekers Over Long Period Of Time!

With the entrance of former Rhode Island Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee into the Democratic Presidential race a week ago, we now have three of the four announced candidates in that party with a unique experience, rare among Presidential candidates historically—mayoral experience.

Being a mayor, even of a small sized city, is an experience that relates much more to the people than being a Governor or Senator.

Lincoln Chafee was Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island for seven years; Senator from Rhode Island for eight years; and then Governor of Rhode Island for one four year term, giving him a total of 19 years in public office. He started off as a liberal Republican, the last of the old breed that had existed for decades, but no longer exists. Chafee opposed George W. Bush on the Iraq War, the only GOP Senator to vote “No” on the war. After being defeated for reelection by Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, Chafee became a declared Independent and was elected Governor as such in 2010. Then in 2013, he joined the Democratic Party. His government experience made him fully aware of local urban problems, and he has a reputation of being thoughtful, courageous, and principled, as one of the few people to go from one party to independent to the other major party.

Bernie Sanders was Mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years; Congressman from Vermont for sixteen years; and has been Senator from Vermont going on nine years, giving him a total of 33 years in public office. He is also the longest serving Independent member of Congress in American history, as he is a proud Socialist who has allied with the Democratic caucus. He is a man who truly understands urban issues, as well as state and national issues. He has shown great principle and convictions, and everyone knows you get the truth and the whole story from Bernie Sanders when he answers questions.

Martin O’Malley was Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland for seven years and Governor of Maryland for eight years, giving him a total of 15 years in public office. Under his tenure, Maryland became the leading state in education and treatment of the disabled and senior citizens, and O’Malley took the lead on progressive issues both at the city and state level. He is seen as having potential to be a future President, even if he is unable, similar to Chafee and Sanders, to overcome Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.

So despite Hillary Clinton’s great advantage at this point, she is gaining three rivals who are not to be ignored or ridiculed, as they have solid experience in dealing with the issues of people, and reputations as true progressives!

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.

47 Years Since The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy: The Might Have Beens!

Today, June 5, in the year 1968, 47 years ago, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, an active seeker of the Democratic Presidential nomination, had just won the California Primary over Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota.

It seemed as if RFK was on the way to the Democratic nomination, although Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had not entered the primaries, had a strong backing from party bosses, labor unions, and city mayors and many Senators and Governors, so there was great uncertainty as to what might happen at the Chicago Convention at the end of August.

Tragically, however, history was transformed, as RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian Christian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, who was angered at RFK’s backing of Israel in the year earlier Six Day War, in which Israel won territory from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, with the war beginning precisely on that date in 1967!

There is still debate and speculation on the RFK murder, with some believing it was a conspiracy with more than one gunman involved.

In any case, RFK comes closest to any non Presidential nominee to be considered a likely winner of the Presidency, had he not been killed, so therefore the “Might Have Been” issue arises.

My forthcoming book on August 15, available with a 30 percent discount from Rowman Littlefield, with the indicated four digit code, devotes Chapter 10 to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination!

More Social Liberals Than Social Conservatives In America For First Time In Decades!

For the first time in many years, statistics indicate that there are more social “Liberals” than social “Conservatives” in America! The Gallup Organization has reported that 31 percent in polls consider themselves social “Liberals” and 30 percent consider themselves social “Conservatives”, with Democrats jumping from 47 percent to 53 percent social “Liberals”, and Republicans dropping from 60 percent to 53 percent social “Conservatives”.

Social Liberalism means such issues as:

Support of Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Support of Abortion Rights for Women
Support of Immigration Reform with potential for eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants
Support of Prison Reform, Abolition of the Death Penalty And Gun Control Legislation
Support of Legalization of Marijuana, or at least Medicinal Marijuana
Support of civil rights enforcement for minorities
Support of environmental and consumer reforms
Concern for the plight of the poor
Promotion of labor unions and reforms for workers
Opposition to the promotion of religious influence in government at all levels

Social Conservatism means such issues as:

Opposition to Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Opposition to Abortion Rights for Women, even when Rape and incest
Opposition to Immigration Reform, and Desire to deport millions of undocumented immigrants
Hard line on crime, and enforcement of the Death Penalty, and No Gun Control legislation
Opposition to Medicinal Marijuana, and any Marijuana Legalization
Resistance to enforcement of Civil Rights Laws
Opposition to environmental and consumer reforms and enforcement of existing laws
Desire to cut benefits to the poor
Opposition to Labor Unions and Labor Reforms
Promotion of Religious influence in government and passage and enforcement of laws