Los Angeles

Fifty Years Since Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassination: What Could Have Been

Impossible to believe, but it has been a half century since Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, right after winning the California primary in the 1968 Democratic Presidential race.

The course of history changed dramatically with that horrendous event.

It led to the Presidency of Richard Nixon.

It led to the rise of the Right in American politics, begun under Nixon, greatly expanding under Ronald Reagan, and reaching its most destructive stage under Donald Trump.

It seems highly likely that Robert F. Kennedy would have been elected President, and would have transformed the future of America in a very different direction than it took at the time.

The war in Vietnam would have ended sooner, and saved many lives on both sides of the war.

The Supreme Court would have been dramatically different if RFK had had four appointments, instead of Richard Nixon.

The reforms of his brother, John F. Kennedy, and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, would have continued, and led to a more equitable, fair minded government.

Instead of taking steps backward, civil rights and civil liberties would have been greatly enhanced.

No one is saying that Robert F. Kennedy would have been a perfect President, and he had his own demons, including his association with Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, and his often secretive and narrow minded views and personality shortcomings that every human being has.

But it can be believed that Robert F. Kennedy would have made America a greater nation than it turned out to be in the past half century!

This is the time for my readers and supporters to read Chapter 10 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015, Paperback 2017), available from the publisher, and from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million.

California Has Larger Economy Now Than The United Kingdom (Great Britain), Fifth Largest In World

As of last month, the state of California officially is the world’s fifth largest economy.

The Golden State just passed the United Kingdom (Great Britain), and is now only surpassed by four nations: The United States, China, Japan, and Germany.

Who would ever have thought when the US fought Mexico in the late 1840s, gained control of California in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and saw the Gold Rush begin, starting the development of California population so rapidly, that California became a state by 1850, that this mega state would develop an economy larger than all but four nations?

California today has 40 million people, one out of every eight Americans, and has a technology sector in Silicon Valley, and is the world’s entertainment capital in Hollywood.

California is also the nation’s major agricultural sector in the Central Valley agricultural heartland.

It also has become a major positive in the economy after the collapse during the Great Recession. Financial services, real estate, manufacturing, and the information economy are all major pluses in the California economy.

Its economy is one seventh of the entire nation’s economy, and the job growth from 2012-2017 is one sixth of the entire improvement of the country.

The major areas of economic growth are in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Its Congressional delegation, by far the largest, consists of 53 House Members and 2 Senators, and a substantial number of them—16 in the House—play a major role in Congress.

The outgoing Governor, Jerry Brown, is seen by many as possibly the greatest Governor in the nation right now, having presided over the revival of the California economy in the past eight years.

California has also led the fight against Donald Trump on such issues as immigration and sanctuary cities; gay rights and gay marriage; and climate change and global warming.

And Nancy Pelosi. the former Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, and Minority Leader since then; and Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader now angling to be the next Speaker of the House if the Republicans retain the majority, are both from California.

So California is, in so many ways, a nation onto itself, and could sustain itself if need be, but at the same time, the future could be three Californias, as the state initiative process has led to a possible ballot question in November, that would set up three states instead of one–Northern California; Southern California; and California, which would consist of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Each state would have about one third of the population of 40 million.

Whether this occurs or not, California will continue to be a major part of the world economy and the American political system.

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.

We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.

Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.

There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.

Just a few examples:

New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.

Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.

Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.

Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.

Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.

Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.

Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.

California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.

The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.

Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.

State Of the Union: Lowest Watched In A Generation, Teleprompter Speech Soon To Be Forgotten, Except For Anti Immigration Pitch, And Exaggeration Of Trump Economic Accomplishments

Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address was the lowest watched in a generation, a teleprompter speech soon to be forgotten, except for his anti immigration pitch.

He said he would grant Dreamers under DACA the allowance to remain and a path toward citizenship, which will infuriate nativists.

But in exchange, family of all immigrants beyond immediate family would be barred from migration, ending what Trump called chain migration or family reunification. Immediate family is only spouses and minor children, and parents, siblings, and adult children of immigrants would be barred, as he calls them “distant” relatives. This has nothing to do with if any have committed criminal acts. This statement of Trump led to a noticeable reaction of boos by Democrats, and rightfully so.

How heartless and uncaring Trump displays himself to be about family members! This is clearly the work of racist and nativist aide Stephen Miller.

What native born American would feel that this is proper, to deny family the right of migration?

This is the true Donald Trump, a nativist, racist, who has no compassion or conscience, such as the case of the Detroit, Michigan 40 year old immigrant, brought to America when he was ten years old, having committed no crimes while here, and now deported away from his wife and children, and sent back to Mexico, a nation he has not seen since thirty years ago, and having no connections or friends in that nation. What kind of person with any principles does not have humanitarian, and compassionate exceptions to any rule, when it destroys families?

Trump’s attack on MS-13, an international gang formed in Los Angeles that commits murders and other crimes, was a vast exaggeration of that group, and Senator Kamala Harris, who prosecuted gang members as California Attorney General, appropriately attacked Trump for scapegoating and fear mongering to justify the hard line proposal on immigration and family.

Additionally, Trump exaggerated the economic revival, which was NOT due to him, but to the steadily improving economic situation under Barack Obama, who came in with a massive economic collapse on his door, occurring during the George W. Bush Presidency. Obama created the greatest economic revival since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, and did it without a major war.

So Trump inherited a great economy, and the job growth, unemployment rate and stock market improvements did not match what Obama had done in previous years, but Trump continues to lie and deceive about how the wealthy gained most of the tax cut that the Republican Party forced through without any input or bipartisan attempt by Trump.

In Midst Of Democratic “Morass”, Could Jerry Brown Come To The Rescue At Age 82, And Unite Democrats In 2020?

In the midst of Democratic Party “morass”, stirred up further by Donna Brazile”s new book, and the lack of leadership and a new agenda, other than to wait for Donald Trump to implode, it is alarming those who want an aggressive approach to revive Democratic fortunes.

The clear need for a new generation of leadership is clear cut, but at this point, some are starting to notice that the Governor of the largest state is actively on the attack against the Trump Administration on the issues of the environment, immigration, gun regulations, and more. He is the great progressive star. Who are we referring to?

We are talking about Jerry Brown, who is 79 years old, and will leave the Governorship a year from now at age 80.

Some are wondering could a 82 year old four time Governor of California, at age 36-44 and then 72-80, actually mount a Presidential campaign for the fourth time, after trying in 1976, 1980 and 1992–so 44, 40 and 28 years ago?

It seems crazy to imagine it, but it also demonstrates how weak the Democrats seem to be, as we start to consider Presidential candidates in 2020 for the Democrats.

All one can say is IF we are to even think about Jerry Brown, then we cannot dismiss Joe Biden (78 in 2020), or Elizabeth Warren (71 in 2020), and even Bernie Sanders (79 in 2020).

But this blogger still feels strongly that a new generation in the 40s, 50, and early 60s is the best route to travel, and would include such leaders as Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Senator Kamala Harris of California, likely future California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and others not often mentioned.

March 3, 2020 Becomes Key Presidential Nomination Day: Could Help California Democrat To Become Presidential Nominee

More than ever, “Super Tuesday”, March 3, 2020, will be THE most crucial day in the Presidential primaries for the 2020 Presidential campaign.

As things now stand, only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will continue to be the first states to hold primaries or caucuses before March–with a multitude of states holding their primaries the first Tuesday in March.

In 2016, New Hampshire and South Carolina held primaries, and Iowa and Nevada held caucuses. Eleven states held contests on the first Tuesday in March, which was March 1, with nine holding primaries and two holding caucuses.

Now, however, California has moved its primary from June to March 3, 2020, and being the biggest state in population, it will have a far greater impact than it has had in June, when the nominations of both parties had already been settled earlier.

It should make the Democratic nominee more likely to be to the left of center, rather than centrist, and the Republican nominee to be more likely to be centrist conservative than a right wing conservative.

The pressure for earlier declarations of candidacy and for more campaigning throughout 2019 will be great.

On first thoughts, it would seem that any of three California Democrats might have the edge for the Presidential nomination, and that the three–Senator Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and presumed Governor Gavin Newsom, presently Lieutenant Governor of the state–would have a battle royale as to which would be the strongest and most likely challenger.

But also, someone like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders might also have the edge, as things stand now.

The Republicans would probably, assuming Donald Trump is not in the White House, have a good opportunity for a John Kasich or Jon Huntsman, the two most moderate conservative candidates in 2016 and 2012 respectively, to have an edge.

But, of course, trying to project two and a half years from now is a pure guessing game, but fun to speculate about!

The Democratic Presidential Rumor Mill Grows From 18 To 25! But Probably 10 “Serious” Possibilities!

Nine days ago, this blogger published an article, discussing 18 potential Democratic Presidential candidates for 2020.

My article was a bit ahead of the media in bringing up the issue, but now the rumor mill has come up with 7 more potential Democratic candidates, making for a total, in theory, of 25!

This is the silly season, right after the First Hundred Days of Donald Trump, and having a list this lengthy does seem a bit ridiculous.

However, for the record, the other 7 names being bandied about are:

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley from 2007 to 2015 and Baltimore Mayor before that from 1999-2007, age 57 in 2020, who this blogger should NOT have left off the original list. O’Malley was once thought of as the “new generation” of leadership, but could not compete against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the rumors that Joe Biden would run. Certainly, he belonged on the original list of 18, making it 19, and has a likely better chance in theory than some on that list.

Entrepreneur, businessman, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, Mark Cuban, age 62 in 2020, who is very personable and appealing, and could be the “outsider”, equivalent of the Democrats’ Donald Trump, but personally, this blogger is not keen about outside businessmen with no government experience, and Donald Trump just adds to that feeling, that it is not a great idea.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, age 63 in 2020, who leaves office at the end of this year, but was formerly Democratic National Chairman from 2001-2005; Bill Clinton co chair in the 1996 Presidential campaign; and Hillary Clinton chair in the 2008 Presidential campaign, has the disadvantage of being connected to the Clintons, and has an image of being a bit sleazy and crooked throughout his political career, so would not seem a likely choice to get very far in the 2020 Presidential race. If anything, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner seem more likely candidates from Virginia.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, age 60 in 2020, whose sister Mary was a long time US Senator from Louisiana fromJimmy 1997 to 2015, and whose father, Moon Landrieu, was Mayor of the city from 1970-1978, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary under Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1981, has become recently controversial with his decision to remove Confederate monuments in the city, including those of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Being a moderate Southern Democrat might make some think of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, but it would seem highly unlikely that he would have much of a shot at the nomination for President.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who would be 49 in 2020, and who is Jewish and also of Mexican heritage as well, and mayor of the second largest city in America in the largest state in America, might possibly be a more serious nominee on paper. Garcetti has long experience in city government, being a member of the LA City Council, and then its President, for nearly a total of 12 years on the Council, and Mayor since 2013. Being a person of urban and multiple ethnic and religious Los Angeles, the most diverse city possible in America, might just be a positive in the long run, and this is a person to watch, in the view of this blogger.

We also have two Massachusetts members of the House of Representatives, Seth Moulton, who would be 42 in 2020; and President John F. Kennedy’s grand nephew, Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson, and former Congressman Joe Kennedy II’s son, Joe Kennedy III, who would be only 40. Moulton has served since 2015 in the House, and Kennedy since 2013, and both have made names for themselves with their liberal views, and both are seen as ambitious rivals, but a bit young to be thinking of running, or be considered at all for the Presidency. Also, only James A. Garfield in 1880 went directly from the House to the Presidency, and then he was tragically killed within months. To believe a House member would be elected is highly unlikely.

In the view of this blogger, one could add O’Malley and Garcetti to the shorter list with Chris Murphy, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, Mark Warner, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren as the most legitimate candidates.

So I am saying a total of 10 serious candidates is likely, which is certainly long enough—6 US Senators, 3 Governors (assuming Newsom is elected California Governor), and 1 Mayor, LA Mayor Garcetti. The list also includes 2 women, 1 African American, and 1 Jewish and Mexican combination (Garcetti). This is a pretty representative list.

Any commentary by my readers on this and the April 25 article is welcome!

Donald Trump And North Korea

The latest reports about Donald Trump indicate plans to resolve the North Korean problem in an extreme way that could lead to nuclear war.

One plan is to send nuclear missiles to South Korea, upping the ante of possible nuclear war directly on the population of North Korea, but 25 million South Koreans within range of the North Korean army, the fourth largest military in the world.

Another plan is to remove Kim Jon Un from power altogether.

But while the latter possibility sounds good on the surface, and is comparative to the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 under President Barack Obama’s administration, it is really NOT a similar scenario.

Osama bin Laden was not the leader of a government, an organized state.

Kim Jong Un, as crazy and dangerous as he is, IS the leader of a government, and the possibility of a massive invasion of South Korea, as in the Korean War of 1950-1953 is alarming.

Let us not forget that 33,000 Americans died in the Korean War, and a hundred thousand were wounded, and the war dragged on for three years and one month.

Let us also not forget that officially it is against international law to assassinate foreign leaders, although the United States has done that before, either directly or indirectly, as for instance in Chile in 1973, under Richard Nixon, as just one example.

The thought of the US using nuclear weapons, when the only time it occurred, was against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, is horrifying.

But there is no question of the complexity of the North Korean threat, which experts say within a few years could target Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the state of Hawaii, along with the threat to Japan and South Korea.

The question is whether we have a sane, balanced President to deal with this issue, and there is much doubt and trepidation about that.

Los Angeles Minimum Wage To Go To $15 By 2020! Is This The Trend For The Nation?

The issue of the minimum wage has been a controversial one for the past decade, with the unwillingness of Congress to raise the minimum wage, which used to be raised automatically, based on the “cost of living” until the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.

Ever since, even despite occasional increases under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the argument has been that raising the minimum wage will cause more unemployment and raise prices for consumers dramatically.

But many say that is not the case, and that it is a situation of a basic human right, the ability to support oneself and one’s family, and that many of the people on the minimum wage are NOT young beginning workers, as claimed by critics, but rather people primarily of color who are single mothers with children.

Now Los Angeles has taken the bull by the horn, and mandated a $15 minimum wage in steps by the year 2020, and a few other localities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, have also raised the minimum wage, although not as high as Los Angeles.

There is a movement nationwide by fast food workers, and retail industry workers, to force an increase by demonstrations, with limited success at this time.

The fact is that IF the minimum wage was always based on the cost of living, the original minimum wage of 25 cents per hour in 1938 would not be about $22.00 an hour, so even what Los Angeles has mandated will happen, does not meet that standard.

President Obama has proposed a national minimum wage of $9 an hour, a small step forward.

It is clear that no worker, who works full time, should be expected to live in poverty, and if the rest of us must pay a higher price for goods and services, so be it!

51st Anniversary Of March On Washington, And We Are Moving Backwards!

Last year, the nation celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for justice, civil rights, and advancement of the nation economically and socially, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech the highlight of the event, attended by a crowd of all races and nationalities.

Now, a year later, we have a massive problem of outrageous law enforcement abuse in St. Louis, New York City, Los Angeles, and every day, more evidence of police officers killing, rather than wounding or tasering many suspects or citizens, a tremendous over reaction!

Racism has never disappeared, but now we have police departments with equipment used in the Iraq and Afghanistan War, and acting more like the Gestapo, being very trigger happy!

There is no need for military style equipment to be given to communities in America, as we are not a military or police dictatorship, and journalists and citizens should not be abused with tear gas, rubber bullets, or weapons being pointed at them menacingly, and having foul language used toward them.

Additionally, there have been cases of mentally ill people, disabled people, being seen as a threat when they are not, and immediately, the reaction is “Shoot to kill”, and multiple bullets to vital areas, and often by multiple police officers, making the events a massacre!

We are a government of, by and for the people, not of, by and for the police! The police deserve respect, but not obedience when they are committing crimes as police officers, and they need to be brought under control!