Housing

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.

Barack Obama Now Insured Of Stature As Historic Domestic Reform Leader With Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, And Lyndon B. Johnson!

The victory yesterday of ObamaCare at the Supreme Court, by a margin of 6-3, insures that Barack Obama will be listed historically in the company of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson in their massive accomplishments in domestic reforms!

Woodrow Wilson accomplished the passage of the Federal Reserve Act; the Federal Trade Commission Act; the Clayton Anti Trust Act; and the enactment of the first federal labor laws and assistance to farmers. His programs were both the “New Freedom” and elements of Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt accomplished the massive list of reforms known as the “New Deal”, in the areas of banking, the stock market, government intervention in business, labor, agriculture, housing, and most significantly, in Social Security and other aid to the poor, as well as major public works programs. He also took us out of the worst of the Great Depression.

Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, along with immigration reform, civil rights legislation, greatly expanded aid to education, and the “war on poverty”, all part of the “Great Society.” Johnson also enacted consumer and environmental legislation and two new Cabinet agencies. He brought about the greatest amount of domestic reform since FDR, who he idolized.

Barack Obama has now accomplished health care reform to cover all Americans, a massive step first proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his “New Nationalism” campaign as a third party campaign for President in 1912. Additionally, he has promoted environmental legislation by executive order; advancements in civil rights enforcement; a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Wall Street reform; immigration reform through executive order; and many lesser reforms that all add up to the best domestic record of achievement since the 1960s! He also took us out of the Great Recession, the greatest economic downturn since FDR and the Great Depression! He is the greatest reform President since Lyndon B. Johnson!

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill Of Rights (January 11, 1944) Not Yet Achieved In 2014!

Now that THE ROOSEVELTS series on PBS, the seven part series presented to the nation by the great documentarian Ken Burns, is over, many thoughts and emotions cross one’s mind.

FDR offered so much to the nation in his New Deal, and in his leadership of the struggle against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in World War II.

But what struck this author more than any of this, while watching this 14 hour series over the past week, is an often forgotten speech, the State of the Union speech of January 11, 1944, delivered by FDR in a joint session of Congress.

The speech dealt with the issue of a “Second Bill Of Rights”.

FDR knew that the Bill Of Rights had made America the beacon of the civilized world, with the basic civil liberties it granted to all Americans.

But FDR was looking ahead to the end of World War II, and envisioned a nation that would extend the concept of a bill of rights to other issues that affected all Americans.

So FDR called for a future guarantee of everyone having a decent job with a living wage; a guarantee of decent housing for all Americans; a guarantee of a decent supply of food, clothing, and leisure for all; a guarantee of a decent education providing opportunity for all to advance; an expansion of Social Security beyond the beginning of the concept nine years earlier in 1935; and  provision for a decent health care system for all Americans.

Now 70 years later, none of these have been accomplished, although Social Security has improved tremendously for the elderly, and for women who are widowed and children who lose a parent or are orphaned: Medicare has done so much to help the elderly and disabled; and ObamaCare, under great duress, has provided health care for millions of Americans who never had health coverage before.

But yet, conservatives and Republicans are out to make Social Security and Medicare privatized, and want to destroy ObamaCare!

But we have too many people who cannot find work, due to the Great Recession of George W. Bush and cannot even gain extension of the New Deal concept of unemployment compensation; many Americans live in substandard housing; many people go hungry and live in dire poverty; many have to work multiple jobs and cannot have time for leisure, with most Americans not able to have vacation time, less than any European democracy, or Canada or Australia;  and many children are denied a good education system and can only gain minimum wage employment as adults.

The right wing extremists are trying to destroy the New Deal and Great Society reforms, and return American to a century ago before there was social justice and economic opportunity and political reform offered, starting with the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

How can any decent American not rise up in protest and anger at the selfishness and greed of the elite one percent and their propagandists, who do not care what happens to anyone other than their own class?  Why is acquisition of obscene wealth and power so important that these right wingers have no humanity, no common decency, no desire to see their fellow Americans have a chance to succeed as they were given?  Why is the hatred of taxes so vehement, as if one can take his or her wealth to the grave, or give it in obscene amounts to offspring who will never know responsibility or the virtue of accomplishing on their own?  What is wrong with this nation, that 70 years after the “Second Bill of Rights” speech of FDR, we have made very little progress on the goals of the speech, and have even backtracked on them, and we have evil forces wanting to destroy the most significant programs of the New Deal and Great Society?

Mississippi Victory Of Thad Cochran Leads To Move For Right Wing Third Party–Fantastic For Democratic Party And Saving Grace For Future Of Republican Party!

It looks as if the two party system of Democrats and Republicans is about to see the emergence of a third party movement, an extremist right wing party that will break away from the Republican Party!

This is all based on the victory of solidly conservative, but NOT Tea Party whacko, Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel!

The reality is that the primary runoff in Mississippi saw African Americans, who are Democrats, swing over in an open primary system to support Cochran, simply on the basis that he has done a lot to bring federal largesse to the poorest state of the Union, while McDaniel condemned any federal assistance to help black and white poor on housing, education, and health care!

Without what Cochran has been able to do, Mississippi would qualify not only as the poorest state, but matching third world nations in poverty! He is no paragon of virtue, but a vastly preferable choice over McDaniel, a mean spirited, nasty radio talk show host, who immediately gained the support of right wing radio talk show hosts, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and other destructive forces, who are out to move the GOP toward fascism, and to destroy any chance of cooperation on anything between the two major political parties! This cooperation would be to the benefit of the American people, but the right wing does not care about anything but the top two percent and the rapidly diminishing white population in this nation!

So, if Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and other right wing lunatics push for a third party, all to the good, as it will force the Republican Party to move back toward the center of the political spectrum, and become a responsible political party, as it was for much of its legendary history!

And in the short run, it is fantastic for the Democratic Party, as it insures Democratic dominance in Congress and the Presidency after 2016 for certain! So bring it on, Tea Party whackos and right wing talk show hosts, and Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz et al!

Cutting Military Spending A Good Step, Since We Have As Much Spending as Next Twelve Nations Combined!

The world is an unsafe place, and yes, we have to be prepared for any eventuality, but does that mean that we need to spend as much as the next twelve nations combined?

Can we possibly match the two nations with bigger armies, China and India, when they both have3-4 times our population?

Do we really need so many aircraft carriers, and more nuclear weapons, and more bombers than we have now, which cost billions upon billions, while the ranks of the poor and the near poor continue to grow?

Can we intervene in every international crisis, even if the cause is good and moral, or do we have to pick our battles, and only engage militarily when the urgency of intervention is clear cut?

The plan, announced this week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, to scale down the military to the smallest number of troops since before World War II engagement, in a world where technology, including drones, is going to be used more and more, makes total sense, as future wars will not be fought like World War II or even the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

We will still be number one, but have extra funds available to help promote the “American Dream” for future generations, emphasizing health care, education, housing, and the revival of the flagging middle class!

The Republican Party will have a “knee jerk” reaction to any proposal to scale down the military, but it can and must be done in a sensible, rational way, or else the national debt increase, much fueled by defense spending out of all control in the past decade, doubling over that time, will suffocate American democracy!

The Founding Fathers did not wish a defense behemoth as the Pentagon has become since World War II, and the Cold War is over, and the whole strategy of defense can be modified safely, and save trillions of dollars over time!

The True Causes Of Poverty, And Do Not Judge Harshly Nor Forget Our Responsibility To Those Who Are Poor!

Despite all of the condemnation and harsh judgments that are too often expressed toward poor people, it is a sin of the Judeo-Christian ethic to have such thoughts, and to forget our responsibility to the less fortunate among us!

We must never forget the true causes of poverty, which include:

Job Loss
Single Motherhood
Working a Minimum Wage Job
Major Medical Illness Or Tragic Accident
Outsourcing into a lower wage job
Disability
Death of Spouse
Divorce

All of the above can happen to anyone, no matter how much fortunate people try to deny it. And to abandon people in trouble by cutting food stamps, wanting to get rid of the minimum wage rather than raise it, trying to deny health insurance to those who need it, not trying to make housing conditions better for the needy, and basically dismissing them as an annoyance to be avoided, is to work against the basic tenets of what Judaism and Christianity promote!

There is no greater contribution one can make than to work to deal with the scourge of poverty, and in America, there is no excuse for its continuation, affecting one out of six Americans!

Popularity Of Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton At High, Along With Stock Market, As February Begins!

As Hillary Clinton leaves the State Department, after four successful and accomplished years as Secretary of State, her public opinion rating is at an all time high, 67 percent. She goes off to a well deserved rest, and a possible run for President in 2016, with the Republican Party hoping she will not run, as they know very well that they would have an extremely difficult time defeating her, if she was the Democratic Presidential nominee!

As Hillary leaves in triumph, our President, Barack Obama, has reached a peak of popularity, now reaching 60 percent, and his agenda, including gun regulation and immigration reform at the forefront, along with the continued creation of jobs and a hoped for budget deal in the next few months, is making him look at his strongest point since he was first elected in 2008.

The Republican Party is floundering badly, and all we see are Tea Party radicals, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas makes fools of themselves, and also witness Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina go on the attack against a former colleague, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who they once were friends with, as he seeks to bring a new direction in the Pentagon. Their vindictiveness and nastiness is appalling, and diminishes both Senators immensely!

The Republican Party is mired in 26 percent support, and while they complain about the economy, a readjusted set of results for November and December shows greater growth in jobs than expected, and housing starts are up, and the stock market just today went over 14,000 in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the highest since October 2007!

So the Democrats, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton have a lot to be proud of, while the Republicans are demonstrating they have learned nothing from their defeat.. Their future is gloomy, until and when they realize that they must repudiate the Tea Party Movement and the extreme right wing.

The country is rapidly becoming more “Blue”, and once Arizona, Texas and Georgia become so, which seems inevitable by the next decade, the Republican Party will be unable to recover and gain government control and win the White House.

This country is not what they wish it to be–Southern, rural, white, and old. Instead, the Atlantic and Pacific Coastlines and the Great Lakes Region, urban and suburban areas, diverse population of all races, and young, and also women, are the future, and they are going “Blue” by leaps and bounds!

The Republican Motivation For Power: Take Away Human Rights Already Granted!

America has developed over the past two centuries into a republic promoting democratic values and the advancement of human rights.

The Republican Party of 2011-2012, however, is making clear its desire to TAKE AWAY human rights already won over the past two centuries, with blood, sweat and tears!

We have seen the acquisition of voting rights in the 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, and 26th Amendments, as well as with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and yet now, the Republican Party in many states is working very hard to LIMIT the right to vote by unreasonable limitations that particularly affect African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, college students, the elderly and the poor of all races!

Women have gained the right to control their own privacy, including control of their own bodies, through a Supreme Court decision in Roe V. Wade in 1973 and other Supreme Court decisions and legislative actions, and yet now in many of our states, the attempt to take away women’s rights, including the right of abortion, is being fiercely waged, including encouragement of violence against abortion providers and closing down of locations where a woman can pursue her reproductive rights.

Gay men and lesbians have gained the right to serve in the military openly, be married in several states, adopt children in most states, and have other basic human rights, but now the move is on to take away these rights so hard fought for!

Working people, both immigrants and those born in the US, have fought for labor protection and representation through formation of labor unions, which have now been undermined for decades, and the attempt to impoverish workers by corporations and their Republican allies is in full development!

This has been a land of immigrants, and yet the Republican Party of today believes in polarizing Americans against undocumented immigrants who they would support deporting in the millions, even with the fact that 98 percent of them have committed no crime beyond entering the nation in an illegal manner, and just want the opportunity to work toward eventual citizenship through learning English, paying fees, and waiting patiently in line for the “American Dream”, and yet now work at low wage jobs that no Americans wish to fill, particularly in agriculture, retail, and home and hotel services.

Americans in general have been able to see improved educational opportunities, better health care, and opportunities for better housing and safer environment and consumer protection due to past Democrats and moderate Republicans working to better conditions for the middle class and the poor, but now the goal of the GOP is to take away these advancements and simply promote the interests of the top one percent and the corporations that sit on money, refuse to hire, and instead use government money that saved them to give bonuses to overpaid, under worked executives, and to lobby corrupt politicians who do their bidding!

Will the nation at large continue to accept an opposition party that works to DENY all of the progress on voting rights, women’s rights, gay rights, labor rights, immigrant rights, and the advancements for the middle class and poor gained over two centuries?

Only if the people are appealed to based upon ignorance, emotion, prejudice, and manipulation! For the future of America, this cannot be allowed to happen, as it will undermine the social fabric of America for the long haul!

The Republican Lies About The Obama Economic Record!

The Republican Presidential debate in New Hampshire last night demonstrated the GOP ability to lie and deceive gullible voters!

You would think that Barack Obama walked into the Presidency in good economic times, and that George W. Bush left him a positive legacy!

Of course, George W. Bush left the worst economy to his successor of any President since Herbert Hoover left the Great Depression to Franklin D. Roosevelt!

The facts are as follows:

1. The economy has come out of the depths it was in in 2009, although the level of economic growth has slowed up in recent months.
2. Over 2 million private sector jobs have been added in the past 15 months, not enough certainly, but compared to the 750,000 jobs a month being lost at the end of the Bush Presidency and the early months of the Obama Presidency, it is certainly a good sign.
3. The stock market has improved, whereby half of the lost household wealth has been regained.
4. The auto industry has revived from its low point, when we almost lost the entire domestic auto market, which would have led to far worse conditions in the Midwest and South, where most of the auto factories are located.
5. Housing is the big area of lack of improvement, with home prices and home construction still declining. Of course, the nation’s leading banks are major culprits in this regard, refusing to give mortgage loans and trying to foreclose illegally on many properties!

The point is that there is no magic potion by government and the private sector to restore the economy quickly, and the Republicans have come up with no strategy or plan to create jobs or revive the economy, deciding that just attacking President Obama is enough.

And cutting taxes and spending is just the old Herbert Hoover concept, which only made the Great Depression worse!

Do we really want to go back to Herbert Hoover, as Tim Pawlenty proposes, and to believe that miraculously there will be five percent growth annually for the next decade?

It is time to put up or shut up, meaning that the GOP leadership in Congress must stop talking and attacking, and start producing results in cooperation with President Obama, instead of just working to undermine him and making the economy worse!

The Housing Crisis In America: Not Just Mortgages, But Rents!

A lot has been heard and published about the mortgage crisis faced by millions of American homeowners, many of whom are being manipulated and deceived by the banks that hold their mortgages, when the homeowners are in trouble but are promised assistance that does not occur.

What has not been so recognized is the crisis that millions of renters also face. About one out of four renters, over 10 millions, are now paying half their pre -tax household income on rent and utilities, the highest percentage in a half century!

Rents are rising rapidly due to homeowners who have lost their homes, and to young people attempting to leave the nest of their parents, although many are actually returning home after being away at college for four or more years.

So housing rises to the top of the list of major problems, and this is not including those who are becoming homeless!

And in the midst of all this, what are the Republicans doing in Congress to deal with this crisis, as well as unemployment? NOTHING, as they would rather spend time talking about cutting Medicare, and their party prefers to dwell on the theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, as if that creates jobs or housing for the millions who are suffering in this nation!