Great Plains

The California Drought A Tragedy For The Nation!

Climate change and global warming is becoming a crisis for America’s economic future, and particularly in California, where one out of every eight Americans reside.

The drought going on in California is historic, and it will affect agriculture directly, but also the entire economy not just of the Golden State, but of the nation at large.

Shortages of fruits and vegetables will dramatically raise the cost of living, and these are foods that are so important for the health of all human beings.

Jobs will be lost as the parched earth of California continues to multiply, and water supplies are rapidly dwindling, and water is a basic of all sustenance.

Santa Ana winds and generally high dry heat conditions otherwise lead to massive fires that destroy much of the forested areas and threaten homes and lives.

And while the center of attention is California, the same situation affects the western half of the nation, from the Midwest to the Great Plains to the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest.

There are no easy answers as to how to address this crisis, but political stalemate on the environment insures long range damage that will harm America, its economy, and long range well being!

Did Veiled Anti Semitism Help To Defeat Eric Cantor In His Congressional District?

Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, lost his party’s nomination to an opponent who constantly talked about his Christian faith, and credited his victory to God!

Cantor is the ONLY non Christian Republican officeholder in Congress, a proud Jew of the Conservative (moderate) brand of Judaism, and a very strong supporter of Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He managed to win public office in Congress, and earlier in the state legislature, despite his being jewish in an area around Richmond, where the Jewish population is only one fourth of one percent!

Since only 65,000 people voted in the GOP primary, in an area with many rural voters, many of whom have never interacted with Jews, it makes one wonder if anti Semitism may have played a role in his defeat. The margin of victory, about 6,500 votes, makes that scenario a possibility!

This is not an assertion that Eric Cantor lost for this reason, as his arrogance and cockiness, and lack of contact with much of his district, spending an inordinate amount of time in nearby Washington, DC as second ranking Republican, certainly played a major role in his defeat. His stand on immigration reform may also have undermined him, plus the opposition of right wing talk show hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin (himself Jewish).

But since there is a right wing Christian element of anti Semitism out there in the population, particularly in rural areas, even the thought or possibility of Cantor’s religious beliefs playing a role in his defeat, is very disturbing!

It is certainly of concern, in any case, that the Republican Party in Congress now is all white (except for appointed Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina), all Christian (much of it extreme right wing), and heavily male and Southern or Great Plains.

This is not representative of America now, or its long range future!

The False Glamor Of Secession: The “Red” States, Quebec, And Scotland

The concept of secession has become a key word in society when there are discontented people who somehow believe central government in a democracy is evil, because it will not allow them to pursue their prejudices.

So we have, more in the past than right now, the glamor of secession that has been promoted by French speaking Quebec to overcome the English influence in the rest of Canada, although Quebec would be in very poor economic shape if it did secede.

We also have the move for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, breaking away from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but in reality, that would impoverish Scotland.

And then we have the “Red” states, particularly those in the South, but also including the Southwest and the Great Plains, who dream of secession, mourning the failure of secession during the Civil War.

And yet, it is these “Red” states that are, by far, the poorest states in America, and get loads of benefits from the national government that they profess to hate!

It seems more the reality that these people living in the “Red” states who wish secession are purely ignorant, lack education, and have no clue as to how much they benefit from the federal government, so they are spiting themselves with their own stubbornness.

But really, what it comes down to is that they resent the inability to discriminate freely against African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays, due to federal laws and intervention by federal courts.

These states claim to be “devout” and “religious”, but actually are far from being so, as they lack all ethics and morals that true religion teaches!

These states have many people who wish the 19th century was back, when men dominated women, whites dominated over African Americans, and a small plantation elite controlled all government, much of it in the national government, until that “evil” man, Abraham Lincoln, came along and reasserted the basic teachings of the Founding Fathers, that this was a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice, even though many of the Founding Fathers practiced hypocrisy and deception themselves, but knew it was wrong! The Civil Rights Movement had begun with the end of slavery, a long, hard fought battle still being waged!

Lincoln opened up a new concept of America, and he would see leaders in the 20th century, including Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson assert federal authority in the manner of Lincoln, revolutionizing the two political parties. The Democrats would become the Republicans of the Civil War in principle, and the Republicans would become the old, prejudiced Southern Democrats, fighting against equal opportunity and justice.

Meanwhile, the people of the “Red” states became victims, who were appealed to on the basis of fundamentalist religion, which had worked against integration of the races, and wanted to keep women down in a subservient position, and worked against promotion of equality for gays and lesbians, even though they had such people in their own midst, preaching one thing and conducting their lives as the opposite, pure hypocrisy!

Once the struggling people of the “Red” states realize they have been victimized by religious and political propaganda, the Republican Party will be as dead as a doornail, as it is a party based on pure hypocrisy and lack of basic principles of the party they created 160 years ago!

Paul Ryan Self Destructs Any Chance To Run For President!

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who this blogger spent a lot of time working to undermine his Vice Presidential candidacy in 2012, and got blasted for it by right wing websites and bloggers, has again shown further evidence of what a terrible choice Mitt Romney made in his Presidential race, in selecting Ryan to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency!

Ryan, who knows nothing about budgets, except that the poor, the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and the young should see cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other social programs; and there should be no extension of unemployment compensation for desperately unemployed people; and there should be no rise in the minimum wage, now has gone off the “deep end” with his assertion that those who live in the “inner cities” have no sense of the importance of work, and have not worked for generations!

This is a direct and racist assault on African Americans in particular, but also on Hispanics and Latinos, who are a majority of the poor in the urban areas of our nation.

But Ryan acts as if it is only minorities who are poor, and are unemployed, and in some cases, have not worked in a long time. From this statement, one would think that whites are not poor, that they all work, that they all have a heritage of understanding the point of work, and nothing could be further from the truth!

It is a fact, and always has been, that the vast majority of the poor do not live in cities, and are not minorities, although one would think so from a stereotype!

The fact is that there are millions of whites who live in the rural and suburban areas of the nation, and many are them do not work, have no hope of work, and live in depressed conditions often worse than urban slums. Many of these people are living in “Red” states, where Republicans vote to hurt their own constituents, while making it seem as if only minorities do not work, or have no work ethic. They live in Appalachia, the Great Plains, the Rockies, in comparatively sparsely populated areas, as compared to the urban areas on the East and West Coasts.

More whites receive food stamps, and the level of poverty percentage wise is higher in such places as Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska.

It is the lack of education; the tendency to have large families which are also dysfunctional; the reality of drugs and alcohol; the refusal of these state governments to give a damn about their white poor, along with minority poor; and the tendency to turn poor whites against poor minorities so that the GOP can keep power in the House and in the state legislatures, which is destroying generation after generation of deprived people of all races!

Only when there is a REAL war on poverty, instead of exploiting the issue based upon race, as Paul Ryan has now done, will we ever be able to guarantee a good future for millions of whites, as well as African Americans and Latinos!

And Paul Ryan, your potential Presidential candidacy is dead in the water, and while you might run, you have forfeited any realistic chance to be President of the United States, but that was clear, anyway, in 2012!

Thomas Nast’s Republican Elephant And The Elephant In The Room Now!

On this day in 1874, the famous political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, first portrayed Republicans as elephants, calling them the preferred party and the “smart” party.

The party he portrayed 139 years ago no longer exists, as it has become the party of stupidity, meanness, nastiness, racism, nativism, and misogyny! It is the party that hates immigrants, minorities, women, gays and lesbians, and the federal government. It is the party of preventing progress, preventing job creation, out to destroy effective government..

It offers such horrible candidates as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul,. Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, as potential Presidential candidates.

And it is the party that decides to trash New Jersey Governor Chris Christie because he is too “moderate”, and can win the Latino vote in his state, and keep a somewhat open mind on some other issues that all of them have closed minds about.

So we see all of them avoiding the celebration of the victory of Christie, as they only care about themselves, not the welfare of the American people, or any fellow Republicans!

The good thing is that all of these Tea Party types are self destructing, while Christie, with his many faults, flourishes.

One watches the GOP of 2013 in wonderment, and has to say–When, oh when, will they get the message that the American people are not willing to accept the nation of the Civil War Era, the nation of the Great Depression, the nation even of Ronald Reagan? The nation has moved beyond all that, and no narrow minded view prevalent in the South, Great Plains, and Mountain States will stop the advancement of America into the future!

Republicans Need To Face Facts: Old White And Religious Males In South, Great Plains, and Mountain West Are A Dying Breed!

The Republican Party seems to be unable to understand that their future is gloomy until they abandon the idea of old white and religious males in the South And Great Plains and Mountain West being enough to win elections.

This country wants total separation of church and state.

This country wants women, African Americans, Latinos, and Gays and Lesbians to be treated with dignity.

The young are voting in greater numbers, and they are voting Democratic, as they do not want the agenda of limited government, states rights, and religion in government that the Republicans are constantly trying to force on them.

The Civil War has been over for 150 years, and states rights will not be the dominant viewpoint of future generations.

Small national government disappeared in the time of the Great Depression 80 years ago, and it is NOT coming back.

This nation is becoming one of fewer whites, and more diversity, and nothing is going to stop that trend.

And women are liberated, and will NOT allow any man to dictate what they can and cannot do with their bodies and their futures.

Until and when the GOP understands these realties, they will be a losing party, and the benefits for the Democratic Party will grow by leaps and bounds!

The “New” South Vs. The “Old” South

The American South has undergone a lot of change in the past half century since the March On Washington in 1963.

Many Northerners have moved South; many people of African American and Latino heritage have grown up in an environment where segregation and open prejudice is gone: and we have seen Southern Presidents who completely represented a different image of the South.

So we have President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who overcame his past and his heritage, and promoted the Civil Rights Revolution, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We have Jimmy Carter of Georgia, the first Southerner elected from outside since Zachary Taylor in 1848, representing the “New South” Governors elected in 1970, including Ruben Askew of Florida and Dale Bumpers of Arkansas. Carter promoted advancements in civil rights and human rights, and demonstrated then, and right up to this moment, that he is a very principled, decent man.

And we have Bill Clinton, elected Governor of Arkansas, representing the New South tradition after Dale Bumpers had initiated it in Arkansas, and being a major promoter of civil rights and equality during his Presidency, as much as Johnson and Carter.

And we have John Lewis, the only surviving speaker at the March on Washington, now 73 years old, and carrying on the tradition of his mentor, Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been an exemplary Congressman from Georgia, and truly the conscience of the nation on civil rights!

These four gentlemen, three Presidents and a Congressman, represent the best of the “New South”!

The “Old South” was thought to be overcome, particularly over time with the death of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and others of their ilk.

But as it turns out, the “Old South” mentality has survived even past these two GOP leaders who promoted segregation and hate, as the 2013 Republican Party, with the evil influence of the Tea Party Movement, is working very hard to back track on racial equality, racial progress, racial justice, and using code language to appeal to the bigots and racists who remain in America, whether in the South or Midwest or Great Plains areas of the nation, and hoping to repeal the progress of the past half century.

They do this without shame or embarrassment, and that is what is most troubling, and they even have their talk show hosts on radio and television and cable, who spew forth hateful and divisive propaganda with no apologies–Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity et al—and make millions on promotion of hate and division, rather than trying to bring us together and move forward!

So the “Old South” is, ironically, surviving in the party of Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and the other principled Republicans of 150 years ago, who fought against the “Old South” and slavery, and would, if they were here today, hold their heads in their hands, and weep over what the Republican Party they loved, has become!

Economic Reality Grim For Most Americans, Whether Based On Race Or Education Level!

Growing evidence shows that the effects of the Great Recession, and really the policies of Republican Presidents and Congresses since 1980, have created a grim reality for a vast majority of Americans—likelihood of poverty, deprivation, and lack of opportunity, even for college graduates in large numbers for a long period of years! And where one lives does, and will have a dramatic effect on the long term futures of millions of citizens!

A study shows that four out of five adults in America will struggle with joblessness, near poverty, or reliance on welfare for part of their lives! 76 percent of whites will experience such a situation by the age of 60!

15 percent of the American people, nearly 47 million of the population, are in poverty, with higher percentages of African Americans and Hispanic-Latinos, but in absolute numbers, whites are 41 percent or 19 million of the poor, double what African Americans are in numbers. Most of these poor whites live in Appalachia, the industrial Midwest, and the heartland of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Great Plains, areas of rural communities , and even in many suburbs, in areas where 60 percent of the poor are whites.

So working class whites, those without college degrees, are in a terrible state, unable to look forward to the accomplishment of the “American Dream”!

But the problem is that even those who have a college education are facing a horrible job market. Many are unemployed, while even more who are working, are underemployed, working part time, and also, many are working in jobs that do not require a college degree, so are wasting years trying to break in to the job market they planned for, but are unable to engage in, due to the Great Recession and its aftermath!

Additionally, it has been demonstrated that where one lives has a dramatic effect on climbing up the income ladder! Social mobility up the income ladder is MUCH harder in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, including such cities as Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis,. Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Columbus!

At the same time, social mobility and rising up the income ladder is best in the Northeast and the West, including New York, Boston, large areas of California and Minnesota, and Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Salt Lake City.

It is extremely disturbing that earlier studies of social mobility demonstrate that a smaller percentage of people escape childhood poverty in America than in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan.

Affluent children tend to remain so, achieving a lot of success by as young as age 30, while children from poverty rarely see much improvement, and that is not just a race issue, as whites have the same results, based on how they were born, rich or poor!

The need to deal with social mobility and opportunity, for working class whites and minorities, are the agenda that Barack Obama is pursuing as he travels the nation, calling for an economic plan for the future, including improvements in education, infrastructure, new technologies, and environmental challenges to overcome climate change!

There is no more important agenda for the nation than the providing of economic opportunity, in a nation where the middle class has been decimated, from its high point, 40 years ago, in 1973!

The Most Diverse And Yet The Most Divisive Congress In More Than A Century: The 113th Congress!

It is ironic that the 113th Congress is the most diverse in history, but also the most divisive and partisan in more than a century, which does not bode well for any future cooperation or progress on the important issues facing the nation!

96 women, 42 African Americans, and 31 Hispanics serve in Congress, but the vast majority are Democrats!

Partisan polarization is endemic, however, more than in the past century or more, probably back to the Civil War-Reconstruction period!

Of course, we have never had a Congress, except in the 112th Congress and this one, in which there has been a Republican House of Representatives and a Democratic Senate, and only five other Congresses since 1900 in which there has been a Democratic House of Representatives and a Republican Senate, with those occasions (1911-1913, 1931-1933, 1981-1987) being much more cooperative and accomplished by comparison to the past two and a half years since the beginning of 2011!

Party unity in the House is now 72.8 percent, while in 2006, it was 54.5 percent!

Less than 50 percent of the time do we see Republicans supportive of the President’s agenda, an extremely low level historically!

Regional loyalty to a party is extreme, particularly in the Northeast, New England and Pacific Coast for Democrats, and in the South and Great Plains for Republicans.

The likelihood of any major change in this scenario is gloomy, sadly for the nation’s future!

The Republican Delusion That They Can Win The Presidency And Majority Status Just By Having More Whites Voting!

The Republican Party is truly delusional in their belief that they can win the Presidency and majority status in the future as long as they can convince more whites to vote, than did so in the Presidential Election of 2012.

With the percentage of whites in the population declining, and with the reality that it will continue to decline, this is a losing strategy in so many ways.

Not all whites would vote Republican, even in the South and Great Plains and Mountain West, GOP strongholds, and certainly NOT in the Northeast, New England, Midwest, and Pacific Coast, and in parts of the Mountain West.

Not all whites would wish to back the right wing policies of Republicans toward women, minorities, labor, and on other issues, such as the environment and science.

Not all whites would endorse the social conservatism of the religious right, particularly with a decline in religiosity among younger whites and voters generally.

A majority of whites who vote Republican are old, and once they pass the scene, many younger whites will have a greater influence on elections, and combined with those who are social liberals, female, and minority background, will NEVER vote Republican because they know that the Republicans are trying to ignore them, if not undermining their right to vote!

With their backward, regressive, vindictive policies toward the middle class and the poor, along with their anti women, anti labor, anti environment, anti minority viewpoints, the GOP will insure that they will be dinosaurs, looked back upon as a historical curiosity as to the issue of how they self destructed despite many warnings as to their self suicide by refusal to adapt!