Independence Day

Independence Day 2018: The Greatest Crisis In American History, With Evidence Of Russian Collusion In Our Government

Today is Independence Day, the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

America has gone through many crises and challenges over those 242 years.

But now we face the reality of what is the greatest crisis in our years of independence, with evidence of Russian collusion in our government, and likely continuing into the future.

This is not a conspiracy theory, but reality, as even the Republican controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, under the leadership of North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr, asserts, with the entire committee unanimous in its conclusion that the intelligence agencies and national security apparatus has been accurate in its assessment.

Donald Trump is clearly a traitor, undermining our democracy and our history of proud independence, and ready to sell America down the river.

And yet his party, with a few exceptions, remains unwilling to face the challenge presented by Donald Trump, and the damage he is doing to our national security, foreign policy, and alliance system with the nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has promoted a stable world since the end of World War II.

There are widespread feelings of despair and hopelessness being expressed, including when this blogger gives lectures on public affairs and history to groups all over South Florida.

Many feel the country is being destroyed by a vehement base of ignorant, prejudiced, and clueless people who fail to see the damage that has been done by Donald Trump in the three years since he announced his candidacy.

But the nation and its good majority cannot give up, must resist in every way possible, and restore our democracy and heritage, so that our children and grandchildren can live in a land still affected by the vision of the Founding Fathers in the 18th century!

The 4th Of July In The Trump Era: America Has Lost Its Way!

Today is the 241st anniversary of Independence Day, declared in 1776.

America was a great experiment in being a republic, and over the nearly two and a half centuries since, America ended slavery; opened its arms to scores of immigrants from all over the world; expanded the right to vote to all citizens over time, no matter what race, religion, nationality, or gender they were; promoted a social safety net; and expanded public education to all.

The Constitution was expanded to face modern realities; and both major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, contributed to the advancement of tolerance and justice and equal opportunity; and the Supreme Court became a body that dealt with expansion of civil liberties and civil rights.

There were many detours along the road to today, but overall, progress was made, and a sense of optimism reigned.

And then, September 11 occurred, and the nation’s politics veered from one viewpoint to another and then to what is now present, a dark view of our nation, its people, and the world.

We live in the Trump era, which is in process of delaying, deleting, and destroying so much progress that has been accomplished in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

We are seeing race, religion, ethnicity and gender being used in an abusive manner to take away basic civil liberties, civil rights, common decency, and a sense of civility.

We are seeing the wealthy becoming the most stratified group in American history, and the middle class, created in the 20th century, destroyed, and the poor being treated in a shabby fashion.

One political party, the Republicans, has become the party of negativism, hatred, prejudice, and pure nastiness, and we have seen the shift of the Supreme Court toward a hard right conservatism that brings back memories of the Gilded Age Supreme Court.

It is as if we are in a time warp, and have reverted to 140 years ago!

So while we celebrate our national holiday, we have a lot to mourn, and it MUST make all of us determined to fight and resist with all our abilities combined, to resolve this crisis in a constitutional manner, with the removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency, as a tyrant and authoritarian figure who has met his match with our Constitutional remedy!

Happy 239th Birthday, America! Lots Of Work To Do For A Better And “More Perfect Union”!

It is hard to believe that we have reached the 239th birthday of the United States, as the author can well remember the bicentennial in 1976, when Gerald Ford was President.

We have come a long way as a nation, but we still have a lot of work to do, including, in no special order:

Working to overcome racism, nativism, misogyny, and homophobia, too widespread in our great nation

Improving our economy so that there are real opportunities for the “American Dream”, and the revival of the middle class, but also concern and action for the poor among us

Dealing with the reality of environmental threats to our planet, and not allowing the deniers of climate change to destroy our future

Coming to grips with foreign threats, particularly, but not only, Islamic terrorism, but realizing the great dangers from domestic terrorism that have caused more deaths and incidents than any other cause of harm to Americans

Working against the promotion of mythology through religion, undermining the truths of science and history

These are the unfinished work that faces America in its future, and the movement toward “a more perfect union”!

July 4th: Its Symbolism And The Egyptian Military Coup

As we celebrate our freedom and liberty today on the 237th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, we are thankful for the fact that we have always had a constitutional government, based on the rule of law, and that we have never had the military intervene in our government, never had them interfere with our democratic system of government!

So therefore, anyone who believes in our system of government must be greatly alarmed at events in Egypt!

The overthrow of Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military is disturbing, and it should not matter over the fact that Morsi was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, as we are not going to be able to dictate to any sovereign nation that their leader cannot be a Muslim, even of an extremist element, as it is none of our business who they elect!

The important point here is that Morsi was elected in a free and fair election by the people of Egypt, and the only way to remove him is in a constitutional manner, not by the use of force by the military, which historically all over the world is anti democratic by nature!

Morsi was not imposed on the country, but rather ELECTED, and to remove him summarily is not acceptable, and Barack Obama, while realizing that nothing can be done by us regarding what has already happened, has rightfully called for a quick return of the rule of law and a new government elected by the people and totally transparent in the process of the election, which means the Muslim Brotherhood has to be allowed to compete, and if the people vote them in, so be it!

Seeing what has happened makes one concerned that just because there is discontent does not mean illegal means can be used to overthrow governments. One can be sure that there are right wing Tea Party elements who would love to overthrow our President, and figure if they were to demonstrate in the millions as in Egypt, that it might lead our military to break our Constitution and stage a coup against our legally elected leadership.

Thank goodness on this Fourth of July that we have always, through thick and thin, tolerated our leadership of government, and never resorted to attempts to overthrow our form of government, although there was a small scale such attempt, which fortunately went nowhere, against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. But our military has always understood that they are subservient to civilian government, and obey the President of the United States, no matter his party or views!

We have a record of 237 years to uphold, and we should always take the same stand of support for other nations, even if we do not like their leadership, as to do otherwise would be total hypocrisy!

More Years Of Education, And Yet High Levels Of Ignorance In America Persist!

More Americans have graduated high school and attended and graduated two and four year programs at colleges and universities, and yet high levels of ignorance persist in the most advanced nation in the world, or are we?

Examples abound:

40 percent of Americans are not even aware of the signature achievement of the Obama Presidency, what the critics have labeled “ObamaCare”! And some think the Congress repealed it, and others think the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional!

21 percent believe a UFO landed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, and the government has covered it up!

14 percent believe in a monster called Big Foot, that it really exists!

65 percent cannot name even one Supreme Court Justice, not even the Chief Justice, when there are constant references to the “Roberts Court” in the news media!

30 percent cannot name who the Vice President of the United States is, and this has been shown on David Letterman many times!

35 percent do not know which century the American Revolution occurred in, and many cannot name who we fought in the Revolution!

6 percent do not know when Independence Day is, cannot find it on the calendar.

Many Americans cannot find any state of the Union on a geography map, or name the continents!

Many do not know who American fought in World War II, or point out where Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan are on the map, despite the fact that many Americans died in these wars.

Many Americans would be unable to pass the basic citizenship test all immigrants must pass, even though we are all insistent that they must know information many of our citizens born here do NOT know!

And many Americans persist in believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim, and think that Medicare is not a government program, when they say they do not want the government engaged in health care!

Many Americans do not know who their own Congressman or Senators are, and have no clue or understanding of the Constitution or Bill of Rights!

This is all very sad and disturbing, and makes one wonder about the “will of the people”, and their ability to make judgments about what American domestic or foreign policy should be!

Which Presidents Would Belong On A Second Mount Rushmore?

This morning, on MORNING JOE on MSNBC, there was a fascinating three hour discussion on the American Presidency, to commemorate the Fourth of July national holiday.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski had many distinguished guests, journalists and historians, to analyze the office and the 43 men who have held that position.

Three distinguished historians–Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jon Meacham, and Evan Thomas–gave their view of which Presidents would be appropriate for a second Mount Rushmore, if such a momument were ever to be built in South Dakota or elsewhere.

Their selections were certainly fascinating, controversial, and highly debatable.

Goodwin’s list was Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

Meacham’s list was Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy,and Ronald Reagan.

Thomas’s list included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.

So FDR and Reagan are on all three lists, and would certainly please progressives and Democrats on the one hand, and conservatives and Republicans on the other hand.

But there the disagreements begin, and lead to a total of six other Presidents being listed–Jackson, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, and Bush No. 41.

One wonders if there has been disrespect shown toward Woodrow Wilson, who had such a long range impact on the office of the Presidency, although there has been a lot of criticism directed toward him over the years.

One also wonders about the famous “obscure” President, James K. Polk, who gained more territory in his one term than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.

Also, the question arises whether Bill Clinton will see his historical stock rise as the years go by, to the point of possibly being a candidate for a second Mount Rushmore.

If this author and blogger were queried about his choices, the Presidents he would select would be to agree totally with Doris Kearns Goodwin: FDR, Truman, LBJ, and Reagan!

But now the reader can chime in with his or her views about a second Mount Rushmore, and the more the merrier!

The Fourth Of July, American “Exceptionalism”, And “The Newsroom” Rant Of Will McAvoy!

The new HBO series, “The Newsroom”, is a brilliant series, with its main star being actor Jeff Daniels, who portrays an anchorman gone amuck, named Will McAvoy.

The first few minutes of the first episode of this wonderful series is priceless for what it says, and shows the genius of producer Aaron Sorkin, who also was responsible for the “West Wing” series on the Presidency in the past decade.

Will McAvoy is disgusted, in the opening scene, at the “bull” going on during a panel discussion about American “exceptionalism”, and goes berserk in his response, what could best be called a rant!

Frustrated by the constant shouting match between left and right that has existed for what seems like forever, at this college presentation of views he participates in, he goes ballistic!

Saying America is NOT the greatest country in the world, Will McAvoy tells conservatives that we are not the only country in the world with freedom, with 180 having freedom out of 207 nations!

Also, he says that proof that America is NOT the greatest nation includes the facts that we are:

7th in literacy
27th in math
22nd in science
49th in life expectancy
178th in infant mortality
3rd in median household income
4th in labor force
4th in exports

McAvoy goes on to say further that we lead the world in only three categories:

Number of incarcerated citizens per capita
Number of adults who believe angels are real
Expenditures on defense, more than the next 26 nations combined, 25 whom are friends and allies

McAvoy goes on to say that we used to stand up for what was right, including:

Fighting wars for moral reasons
Passing and striking down laws for moral reasons
Waging wars on poverty, not poor people
Sacrificing and caring about our neighbors
Willingness to pay taxes, rather than evading them
Never bragging how great we were,. better than the rest of the world
Creating great technological advancements
Exploring the universe
Curing diseases
Cultivating the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy
Aspiring to intelligence, instead of belittling it
Being a well informed country, led by great men who were revered

If ONLY we had politicians like Will McAvoy, but there are very few, with one coming to mind, and not even a Democrat or Republican, but instead a SOCIALIST, oh my god!

And that is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who says it as it is!

This is something to reflect upon on Independence Day, the 236th Anniversary!

Remembering the Bicentennial in 1976 under President Gerald Ford, we were much more optimistic back then, but now with the present Republican Party tooting our horns how great we are, but doing everything to set us back to the 19th century Gilded Age, we have a lot of work to do, including ranting like Will McAvoy, and espousing in more realistic terms, like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

The Meaning Of Our 235th Anniversary Of Independence

The author of this blog can well remember the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976, when Gerald Ford was President, and we had just recently come out from under the dual burdens of the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War.

There was great optimism at the time about the future of the world’s greatest democracy. Unfortunately, that optimism no longer exists.

Instead, we have great pessimism and negativism and partisanship, and we now face the threat of a bankruptcy and default of our government’s finances if the two major political parties cannot overcome their differences and do what is necessary for the national good.

We have tremendous ignorance in this country about the Fourth of July, whereby only 58 percent know its significance as the day we declared our independence to the world wide community of nations.

And we have tremendous propaganda about the Founding Fathers, who gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, making them out to be god like, and also to have the views of right wing Republican conservatives, which all of them would have been horrified to imagine was the image being taught and propagated about them.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, despite what the right wing conservative Republicans claim, believed in a “United States”, not thirteen independent states going their own way, and the experiment with the Articles of Confederation proved how inept a government was that promoted so called “states rights”!

The concept that the Tea Party Movement promotes that they represent the true meaning of the Declaration and the Constitution is preposterous, as the Founding Fathers promoted the idea of a government of the people, not the states, and wanted the authority to promote effective and responsive government to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

That required a national government to promote the general welfare, justice, common defense, and the blessings of liberty. States rights were not primary, whether in 1787 or at the end of the Civil War in 1865!

The ultimate conclusion is that the Declaration of Independence was not condemning government or taxes. It was not promoting anarchy or reckless behavior, but rather responsible government that dealt with reality for the common good!

The True Meaning Of July 4th!

Today marks the 234th Anniversary of The Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia!

It is a day to celebrate the greatest political experiment in freedom, democracy, liberty, and opportunity in human history!

It is a day to commemorate the significance of the Founding Fathers, who this nation was blessed with, a group of talented and committed men who sacrificed their safety and security to bring about a nation committed to principles not celebrated elsewhere in human history before their time, and rarely practiced fully, if at all, in most nations since their time!

This nation has gone through many crises and emergency situations, but we have always met the challenges that we have been faced with!

This is a time, in the minds of many Americans, of gloom and doom, as we deal with a terrible economic crisis, two foreign wars, and an assault on our shores by a massive, disastrous oil spill out of control!

But this is not the time to promote hate, division, mistrust, and insecurity, all of which many right wing groups see as an opportunity to advance their narrow based agendas!

This is the time to celebrate the diversity of America, and honor the contributions, past and present, of immigrants from all over the world, who have been and will continue to be part of the story of the miracle that America has been!

America is a beacon of hope, and no nay saying can be allowed to divide us, as we progress into a future, despite skepticism, with as much potential for success and happiness as our past has brought us!

We must admit our past shortcomings, while working to advance the welfare of over 300 million Americans on this Independence Day!

Progressive forces have brought us to this anniversary, and progressive forces will continue to advance our commitment to excellence and equal opportunity! A positive outlook and optimism toward the future will promote the continued greatness of the American democratic experiment!