Gilded Age

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!

The Record And Views Of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Could Determine Constitutional Law To 2050!

Tomorrow, the contentious hearings on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

These will be the most controversial set of hearings since 1987 and Robert Bork, and 1991, with Clarence Thomas.

On both of those occasions, the Democrats controlled the Senate, and Bork was rejected by a vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The effect of Justice Clarence Thomas for the past 27 years has been profound, with many future potential Circuit Court or Supreme Court candidates having clerked for him.

Thomas has been trying to take us back to the Articles of Confederation in many ways, but also admiring Presidential power at the same time.

This is the danger of Brett Kavanaugh, that he would take America domestically back to the Gilded Age, wiping out the New Deal, Great Society, and everything Barack Obama changed.

He comes across on the surface as a pleasant, nice man, but it is all very misleading.

This is a man who worked for Ken Starr in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and now Kavanaugh has changed his view of Presidential power 180 degrees.

This is a man who worked in the White House for George W. Bush, and helped to plan the idea of an anti gay marriage amendment, that was part of the campaign of Bush in 2004. And now, Donald Trump has used executive privilege to prevent 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House from being made available, which is another controversy now created, as why should the Senate be unable to examine all pertinent material about a nominee?

This is a man who worked to deny September 11 victims the ability to sue for damages, limiting unsuccessfully that intent.

This is a man who in his Circuit Court decisions has come out against abortion rights, against ObamaCare, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against labor union rights, and willing to support limitations on voting rights.

This is a man who might be able to vote on whether Donald Trump can be indicted or prosecuted, and should recuse himself on any such matters as a conflict of interest, but likely will not do so. Justice William Rehnquist, when new on the Court as an Associate Justice, recused himself from the US Vs. Richard Nixon case in 1974 (after which Richard Nixon resigned), because Rehnquist had worked in the Justice Department under Nixon. So that famous and significant case was 8-0, not 9-0 or 8-1, and at the least, a Justice Kavanaugh should recuse himself from any case involving possible legal action against Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh could affect future decisions on campaign finance, climate change, election gerrymandering, and travel bans, and regulation of guns.

He would also create a right wing conservative Court, unlike any since 85 years ago.

And being only 53, he could be on the Supreme Court until 2050, when he would reach 85 years of age.

This would be the most long range effect of Donald Trump, no matter how much longer he remains in the Presidency, along with the 26 and more Circuit Court confirmations already accomplished by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The Democrats’ only hope would be IF all 49 Democrats hold fast (highly unlikely); Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi (both pro choice on abortion) abandoning the party ties on this vote (highly unlikely); and the person who replaces John McCain in the Senate (maybe Cindy McCain) joining the two women Republican Senators in voting against Kavanaugh (highly unlikely).

18 Months Of Donald Trump Presidency, And Crisis Atmosphere Grows

Today marks 18 months of the Donald Trump Presidency.

It has been 18 months of horrors, nightmares, disgrace to the office of the Presidency.

It has seen more corruption and abuse of power than any President in the past, including Richard Nixon.

It has put America into a massive foreign policy crisis, now marked by Trump’s invitation to Vladimir Putin of Russia to come to the White House this fall.

It has put America into a massive domestic policy crisis, as the the New Deal, Great Society, and everything good that Barack Obama did in eight years in office, is being systematically destroyed.

It has created the conditions for a potential Great Depression, with the imposition of tariffs about to explode into inflation of prices, loss of jobs and income, and alienation of all of our major trade partners with his crazy economic policies.

It has created the end of the post World War II alliance system of NATO that won the Cold War, but now the Russian government has declared a cyber World War on America, with a President whose loyalty is clearly with our rivals and enemies.

It has caused disarray among the two major political parties that have been our system since 1854, and now are in danger of total destruction, at least with the Republican Party.

It has demonstrated that the people who are elected and those who are appointed put their own jobs and wealth ahead of the interests of the vast majority of the American people.

It has shown us that our system of government, which allows a Supreme Court for life. It is guaranteed to create social and economic turmoil that will insure the danger of civil war, as the younger generation rebels against the future right wing extremist judicial system, packed with justices and judges who want to take us back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, and wipe out the 20th century social safety network that has made us great.

It has divided Americans, with many, including this author and blogger no longer communicating with former associates and friends, when we have discovered how disgraceful these people are. This also includes family members, relatives, who make one realize the old saying, that you can pick your friends, but not your relatives.

Donald Trump is clearly out to destroy the United States as we know it, determined to keep his ethical and moral issues, and his violations of the law a secret that only Vladimir Putin knows, and holds over the head of the 45th President.

The danger of a violent civil war, as we had in the 1860s, is becoming more a reality unless somehow we can turn the tide and excise the cancer of Donald Trump. But sadly, Mike Pence is, in many ways, even worse, with his right wing religious crusade in a nation that was based on separation of church and state, precisely because of the religious extremism of Puritanism in our colonial history. The threat of racial and ethnic and even gender conflict is real, and the power of the National Rifle Association, now shown to be allied with the forces of Vladimir Putin, can bring about violence in the name of profits.

It is hard NOT to have despair as to how this nation survives long term, without major damage to the republic!

The Survival Of America As We Know It Depends On A Massive “Blue Wave” This November!

Donald Trump has thrown down the gauntlet, in informing Congressional Republicans that they should abandon any legislation on immigration until after the “Red Wave” he predicts is coming in the midterm elections of 2018 this November.

God forbid any such “Red Wave”, which would defy history, as the record shows the party in the White House always loses seats in the first midterm election after a President has been inaugurated, with the one major exception being FDR and the Democrats in 1934, but Donald Trump is no FDR!

If people stay home and do not vote, or if people continue to believe the lies of Donald Trump and the Republicans, then we as a nation, not those of us who care, but everyone else, will get what they deserve–a return to the 19th century Gilded Age before federal government played a role in the lives of the American people.

It will mean the end of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, labor laws, environmental legislation, consumer protections. civil rights for minorities, women, gays and lesbians, and the disabled, and the loss of the Bill of Rights.

We will live in a nation controlled by the super wealthy in every sense, and we will be influenced by autocrats in Russia and other totalitarian dictatorships, and we will be threatened by the loss of our traditional foreign allies, and we will face dire poverty after a Great Depression that would make the 1930s depression look like a minor event.

Some reading this might think I am using hyperbole, but seriously, even if one thinks they have heard this before, the reality is as follows: There is no more crucial election for the long term future of our nation than this midterm election.

The Democrats are far from perfect but even many conservative commentators, such as Jennifer Rubin, George Will, David Frum, Bret Stephens, Steve Schmidt, among others, have repudiated the Republican Party and Donald Trump, and warn us of the need to kick the Republicans out of control of both houses of Congress, and many state governorships and legislatures.

Donald Trump is the most dangerous person in American history, and the process to start taking away his destructive influence is NOT to say it is hopeless, and why bother voting?

It is, rather, that if we do not fight for our future, then there is no future!

Trump Declares War On Federal Government, Wishes To Return to Pre Pendleton Act Spoils System

Donald Trump has set out to declare war on the federal government bureaucracy, wishing to return to the pre Pendleton Act Spoils System, that reigned from the time of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s to the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 under President Chester Alan Arthur.

Arthur, a Republican who succeeded the assassinated James A. Garfield, who had been murdered by a crazed office seeker, Charles J. Guiteau in 1881, made civil service reform his major accomplishment in his three and a half years in the Presidency.

The federal bureaucracy is certainly not perfect by any means, but at least it requires qualifications and the passage of examinations, rather than just political connections, to gain a federal government position.

Most federal bureaucrats are highly qualified and dedicated, but Donald Trump wants political hacks to operate federal government agencies, and to ruin union and labor rights of federal government workers, thereby returning America to the Gilded Age mentality that reigned 135 years ago.

Donald Trump will eventually leave office by hook or by crook, but the damage he is doing is detrimental to the long term stability and health of all federal government agencies, and will make many young people unwilling to consider federal government careers.

Every government agency from the State Department and diplomatic corps, through those agencies that deal with human needs, such as education, healthcare, housing, and also those which deal with the environment, the economy, defense and so many other crucial areas of government, will now become sewers run by incompetent, corrupt, and uncaring political crooks.

The state governments are already becoming worse operated than ever, and now the Republican Party is, in league with Donald Trump, conspiring against the American future in the name of the selfish interests of the wealthy and privileged.

The needs of the vast percentage of Americans who are not wealthy and privileged will be made much more difficult, and with the growing percentage of Americans who are not white, being governed by a white supremacy mentality of the federal government and the Republican Party, the seeds for future civil war and violence is growing. This endangers the civil order and undermines the great progress made over the past century plus by Presidents and Congresses of both political parties.

So the deleterious effects of Donald Trump are multiplying like cancer, and there is no sign of being able to stop this growing damage to the American Republic.

The Undermining Of Recruitment Of Qualified, Outstanding Candidates For Government Service Careers By Trump Administration

The most tragic aspect, above all others, of the Trump Presidency is the undermining of recruitment of qualified, outstanding candidates for government service careers.

We need the best people in the younger generation to wish to serve in the diplomatic corp, and in the various government agencies that serve our population.

But instead, young people are looking elsewhere than government careers, and not only because of Donald Trump, but also because of the Republican Congress, which is out to make government service a type of work that people will not get adequate compensation and benefits, and also respect.

The Republican Party is anti government, except for their elite, privileged group which knows how to make deals with corporations and special interest groups, like the National Rifle Association and the oil and coal industries, and the pharmaceutical industry, and many others, who care not a whit for the public good anymore than the GOP.

So therefore, the goal is to avoid regulation, and convince people who are committed to such regulation, to be forced out and replaced by party hacks and industry goons.

So we are seeing massive resignations early of people who might have stayed longer in their government jobs, and the word is out, to avoid government service at all costs in the future.

This will undermine our government in both domestic and foreign policy, and make America a backward place, going back to the Gilded Age and 1920s mentality, as the Republicans and their allies, and our disgraceful President, work to destroy all of the New Deal and Great Society and Barack Obama legacy as well.

This is a setback which will affect most Americans for the rest of their lives, even if Trump were to leave office soon, as the Republican Party would be no better under Mike Pence or Paul Ryan in the short term.

But this is why it is essential that the Democrats, against great odds, must win control of both houses of Congress in 2018, and convince millions of young people, women, racial minorities, labor, and educated suburbanites, that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are anathema to the long term prosperity and security of the United States.

The hard work of changing this country back to the way it was before the 2016 election must be at full speed and with great earnest!