Gilded Age

The Republican Party Heritage And Principles Are In Death Spiral after 167 Years

The Republican Party was founded in March 1854 as a reform party, with the major principle at its founding being opposition to the expansion of slavery, and including abolitionists within its midst.

It was a Northern party which fought the Civil War and ended slavery, and for a generation, it was a party that inspired the majority of Americans.

Then, in the Gilded Age, it became corrupted by the power and influence of industrial capitalism, and conservatism reigned.

But then, Theodore Roosevelt and others who carried the name “progressive” with pride, promoted reform of the capitalistic system, but after TR’s death, while progressivism still existed in the party, it was taken over by conservatives, and the Great Depression undermined the national power of the party, as the Democrats became the majority party in the 1930s.

The battle for the future of the party was waged in the next half century liberal to moderate Republicans on one side, and hardline conservatives as their opponents, and Ronald Reagan ushered in a hard right conservatism, which became more extreme due to Newt Gingrich and other extreme conservatives since the mid 1990s.

And now we have come to a party that is in a death spiral, as we have conspiracy theorists who are taking over the party, and promoting hate, in the form of racism, nativism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and having wacky members who are advocating assassination of opposition Democrats.

So the Republican Party is now the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley,and many other right wing Fascists, but at the leadership is Donald Trump, and the party represents now:

Family Values gone, with the caging of immigrant children.

Deficit Hawks gone, with added massive deficits of tax cuts to the wealthy.

Free Trade gone, with massive taxes on foreign goods and bailouts of farmers as a result, adding to the national debt and consumer prices.

Limited Federal Government gone, with claims that what state governments report as election results should be ignored by the Congress.

Limiting the Imperial Presidency gone, with obedience by right wing members of both houses of Congress to the whims and desires of Donald Trump, even continuing as this author and blogger writes.

Chief Justice John Roberts Has Become The “Swing Vote” On The Supreme Court Since The Retirement Of Anthony Kennedy

Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed in 2005, has become a major surprise on the Supreme Court, and is seen by many as the new, often reliable “swing vote” on the Court, enraging hard line conservatives.

He has become unpredictable after years of being seen as a solid conservative, and is evolving into the most important Chief Justice since Earl Warren retired a half century ago.

Roberts is now perceived as the new “Anthony Kennedy”, going with the liberal side of the Court about one third of the time, and staying with the conservative side two thirds of the time.

This does not please right wingers, who want a Court that is back to the Gilded Age in mentality.

Roberts saved Obama Care in 2012; and just this year backed off on conservative attempts to end abortion; to end DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals; and backed the rights of gays and lesbians in employment, all path breaking moments.

He also prevented a citizenship question from being added to the census, and backed New York City’s strict gun control laws. And just this week, he upheld Nevada’s restriction on church attendance in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic.

Roberts also was critical of President Donald Trump’s statement last year about Justices being loyal to who appointed them, when he said that there are no Bush Justices, no Obama Justices, no Clinton Justices. And of course, he presided over the Trump impeachment trial professionally, but one can see he is no fan of Donald Trump in any sense.

It seems clear that Roberts is thinking of his and the Court’s reputation and legacy, as the Court is awfully close to the point where it would seem regressive for the 21st century, were Roberts to go full right wing.

So despite strong criticism from the Right, John Roberts has been a savior on the Court at times.

Most important is that Roberts, writing for the Court majority of 7-2 on two cases has made it clear that Trump is subject to the law regarding no immunity from state criminal investigation of his taxes and also from congressional subpoenas, a stunning series of development at the beginning of July. So the President is not above the law!

Let us cheer on Chief Justice John Roberts for maintaining the reputation of the Supreme Court as NOT overly ideological, to the detriment of Americans!

The Most Lasting And Destructive Impact Of Donald Trump: 157 Federal Judicial Confirmations For Life Term!

After nearly three years of President Donald Trump, the realization is that the most lasting and destructive impact he has had is the reality that he has seen 157 Federal Judicial confirmations to life terms on the federal courts, including two Supreme Court Justices.

This is due to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made it his mission to make the federal courts as right wing extremist as possible for the next two generations.

That is about a little less than twenty percent of the total number of federal judges, now standing at 870.

Many of these confirmed judges are incompetent, inexperienced, and unqualified for lifetime appointments, but the nation is stuck with them.

These judges will promote the right wing agenda, including favoring corporations, the wealthy, and religious extremists, and working against women, racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, the poor, and gays and lesbians.

They will also promote more Presidential powers, and undermine the environment, labor interests, and consumers.

This will become more and more a never ending constitutional crisis as the nation becomes a majority non white in 25 years, and as Democrats gain the edge in future elections with reapportionment of seats, likely winning the Presidency once Texas goes Democratic, but having a Supreme Court and other federal courts more conservative than ever since the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and holding back progress and reform.

This reality may lead to a move to add members to the Supreme Court once the Democrats gain control of the US Senate. It does not bode well for the future of constitutional government in the next 20-40 years.

The Importance Of Social Justice In American Democracy

If an advanced modern nation, and one that strives to promote equal opportunity and advancement for all, fails to make social justice its key commitment for the future, then the nation has failed in its mission.

The battle in America is to strive to keep the advancements of social justice fought for over the century from the Progressive Era onward, but presently, we are seeing extremist right wing forces that wish to destroy the reforms and revert America back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

If it was up to right wing forces, labor would have no bargaining rights; racial and ethnic minorities would return to a pattern of denial of their civil rights; women would come under the dominance of their husbands and of religious extremists who wish to deny them the right to control of their own destiny; basic social programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and assistance to the disabled would be wiped out; and the wealthy would have no accountability to the nation that gave them the opportunity to prosper, and would use every trick possible to avoid paying a fair share of taxes, and would have no concern about the inequities of society, leading to a large portion of the population struggling to make ends meet.

So for a right wing propagandist to say that the Democratic Party is far left, when it is anything but that, is simply a sign of greed, selfishness, lack of compassion and empathy for those not born to wealth, or having unfair advantages in life without any accountability or conscience about the responsibility they owe to America.

The true danger in America is not a far left Democratic party, which does not really exist, but rather a far right, fascist oriented Republican Party, willing to sacrifice the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, and obsessed with an obscene acquisition of wealth for the sake of self aggrandizement.

The Economy Over Character And Morality: The Typical Trump Supporter

It is very disconcerting that a large percentage of Donald Trump supporters admit they do not like his tweets; wish he would stop uttering a lot of his controversial comments and promotion of divisiveness; and yet still support him, all because of the stock market being up, and their 401 Ks being better, and many wealthy people getting massive tax cuts.

So economics, the evil of money, dominates them, and if Trump takes us into a war; or is destroying environmental laws; or undermining consumer protections; or is flirting with authoritarian leaders; or is destroying our traditional alliances with democracies; or is threatening civil liberties and civil rights; or is mistreating migrant children and undermining their physical and emotional health long term; or is out to destroy all regulations of corporate practices; or is turning our court system back to the Gilded Age; or is working to destroy all the good that came out of the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of LBJ; well, that is not important as long as one’s economic prosperity is greater.

The fact that the economy being in good shape is due to the amazing revival under Barack Obama, and would most certainly have continued under Hillary Clinton, is often denied by such people. And they clearly do not give a damn what happens to the nation, as long as they, personally, are doing well economically. Nothing else matters, as this is a case of ME, MYSELF and I, and nothing else.

So character and morality and the harm being done to America does not matter as long as one is economically better off personally, so to hell with what is good for America!

What could be more despicable than that? But remember, a similar mentality existed in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and look what it led to!

Labor Day, Honoring Workers, Totally Ignored By Donald Trump

Yesterday was Labor Day, which has been a federal holiday since 1894.

It honors the work, sacrifices, and contributions of American workers.

However, labor unions have been in rapid decline since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, ironically himself the only President to be a labor union leader, as head of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s and early 1950s.

If it was not for workers in all fields of industry and business, plus public government workers, America would not have accomplished its economic greatness over the generations.

And yet, not one word from President Donald Trump, who has spent his life exploiting workers in his real estate businesses, and often not paying contractors or workers the pay they are due, and avoiding it in court cases.

Labor Unions have brought about the following (no special order):

Weekends off for most workers

Paid Vacations

Paid Sick Leave

Family and Medical Leave

Child Labor Laws

Social Security

Minimum Wage

8 Hour Work Day

Overtime Pay

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Health Care, Dental, and Vision Coverage

Collective Bargaining Rights

Work Breaks

Wrongful Termination Laws

Age Discrimination Laws

Raises in Wages

Sexual Harassment Laws

Americans With Disabilities Act

Holiday Pay

Military Leave

Equal Pay Act

Workers Compensation

Civil Rights Laws

Federal Holidays Off

Sadly, less than ten percent of all workers now have the benefits of being members of a labor union, while in the 1960s and 1970s, one out of three workers were labor union members. The Northeast and the Pacific Coast are the areas of most labor unions that are doing well, while so called “right to work” laws keep workers in the South and much of the center of the nation relatively poor by comparison, as we have a new “Gilded Age” of business running rampant over workers, reminding us of the late 19th century.

A New Gilded Age Is Upon Us With Donald Trump’s Policies Favoring The One Percent And Corporations

In the late 19th century, America went through the “Gilded Age”, a period where industrial capitalism emerged, and led to a small percentage of people who became super wealthy on the backs of workers, immigrants, racial minorities, women, and the poor.

A large percentage of Americans lived in deprivation, as greed and selfishness reigned, and the Republican Party gave up its basic principles and became the willing collaborator with wealthy industrialists and corporations.

But a reaction against the corruption and scandals in government at all levels, and the lack of ethics and morality and compassion by corporate leaders led to a reform movement, known as the Progressive Era.

The hope is that the present disgraceful and corrupt system of government and corporations who are tied to the worst President in American history, Donald Trump, will cause a similar reaction among voters and citizens, and usher in a new Progressive Era in 2020, with a young President, similar to Theodore Roosevelt, who inspired many to seek reform of the worst evils of society.

Donald Trump’s policies favor the one percent and the corporations, and it is time for a peaceful “revolution” to throw the “rascals” out and bring fundamental democratic reforms that restore faith in the American “dream”.

The odds are growing that Donald Trump will suffer a defeat on the scale of Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, both Presidents who deserved better than they had occur to them, but richly deserved to happen to Donald Trump!

The Federal Court System Is Going Back To 19th Century Mentality With Mediocre Trump Appointees Unwilling To Accept “Stare Decisis” On Major Issues Supposedly Settled, And Undermining American Democracy

America is in danger of seeing the federal court system being hijacked by President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Party, and putting us back in the late 19th century “Gilded Age”, where unregulated capitalism prevailed; segregation reigned; labor was victimized; the environment was being destroyed by industrial waste; and women had no basic legal rights.

Many Trump appointees to the lower federal courts are totally incompetent, and only placed in their lifetime positions to undermine all of the progress brought about under many different Presidents and Congresses in the past century to advance human rights.

Trump appointees seem ready to defy “stare decisis”, the concept of past precedent having a major impact on many areas of the law, when cases comes to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

So we may be seeing the end of abortion rights for women; denial of equality of racial and religious minorities; refusal to promote a more fair justice system; treating gays, lesbians and transgender in a discriminatory manner; and the reassertion of unregulated corporate power.

The Long Term Crisis Of Supreme Court Legitimacy Could Tear This Nation Apart Over Next Few Decades

The US Supreme Court is entering a period which could tear this nation apart over the next few decades.

Here we are in the 21st century, and yet, the Supreme Court could be taking us back to the late 19th century Gilded Age in its constitutional decisions. Now there is a solid five member conservative majority, with the confirmation and swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh, the most contentious nominee with the closest vote in the Senate since Stanley Matthews’ appointment by President James A. Garfield in 1881.

Matthews served nearly eight years on the Supreme Court, having been nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes, but seen at the time as too much of a “crony” of the President, so his nomination was withdrawn, but resubmitted by President James A. Garfield in 1881, and confirmed by the closest margin in history, 24-23, but with Kavanaugh the second lowest ever vote 50-48. This was the only Supreme Court appointment of Garfield, who had only served four months, when he was shot and mortally wounded by an assassin, and died in September 1881.

The concern about fairness on the part of Brett Kavanaugh however was not the same as Stanley Matthews, who was the majority opinion author in a case involving discrimination against Chinese laundries and their owners in San Francisco, with the case being Yick Wo V. Hopkins, enforcing the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This was a step forward at a difficult time, in the year 1886, although the government had passed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

We could only hope for the kind of open mindedness on the part of Brett Kavanaugh, as occurred with Stanley Matthews’ authorship of this case, which gives him stature in Supreme Court history.

We have had Republican appointments in the past, who turned out to be surprises, including:

Earl Warren and William Brennan, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower

Harry Blackmun, appointed by Richard Nixon

John Paul Stevens, appointed by Gerald Ford

Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Ronald Reagan

David Souter, appointed by George H. W. Bush

It would be a miracle at this point if Brett Kavanaugh were to travel the same road.

In a nation becoming more minority over the next decades, and with young people and women and college educated people veering to the left, while the Supreme Court veers dramatically to the Far Right, the question is whether civil disorder is not in the making, creating a crisis atmosphere in the future decades, exactly what America’s enemies are hoping for.

The Collapse Of Supreme Court Reputation And Evangelical Christian Legitimacy, But John Kasich Emerges As Rare Sane Voice In Republican Party

The Supreme Court has reached a crossroads, and will be going back a century to its most conservative nature since the Gilded Age. In the process, the concept of balance is gone, and the Court is losing its reputation as a reliable judgment on the meaning of the Constitution.

The Evangelical Christian movement is also losing its legitimacy, and is now shown for what it is, totally immoral, unethical, NOT based on the teachings and social justice of Jesus Christ, and undermining respect for an institution that is revealed as totally hypocritical, and displaying its misogyny.

We need the Supreme Court, but we do NOT need a religiously fanatical and false group, which is only interested in forcing theocracy on America, which the American people at large will NOT tolerate.

So we are entering the most dangerous period in more than 150 years, since the Civil War raged in the 1860s.

And Donald Trump is reveling in all this, as he works to undermine what is left of American democracy, and hopes to grab power and become an absolute dictator for the rest of his life.

Interestingly, in the midst of this promotion of chaos and anarchy by Donald Trump, we DO have a sane Republican, outgoing Governor John Kasich of Ohio, who on Sunday morning on CNN is emphasizing the need for unity and crossing the aisle. It is clear he will challenge Trump or Mike Pence for the Presidency in 2020, and his is one of the very few sane voices in the Republican Party, which at this point, seems “owned” by Donald Trump, but needs a strong challenge from someone like Kasich.

What Donald Trump is promoting must be bitterly opposed by mass action in the streets, and if the police refuse to honor the right of citizens under the Bill of Rights to peacefully demonstrate for redress of grievances, than a real violent reaction is likely, which Donald Trump will pay for in the annals of history!