McCarthyism

152nd Anniversary Of “The Nation” Magazine, The Oldest Weekly Publication In America!

Yesterday, July 6th, was the 152nd Anniversary of “The Nation” Magazine, the oldest weekly publication in America!

Started right after the Civil War’s end in 1865, “The Nation” has always been hard hitting, principled and honest!

It has held to liberal values more than any similar publication, never diverting from it in any fashion.

It has often been attacked and vilified but has always stood proud for its beliefs in equality, justice, freedom, and against right wing extremism from wherever it has emerged.

Many brilliant scholars and authors have penned essays for “The Nation”, and has helped to make it one of the great examples of literary excellence over a century and a half of American history.

It has never had a great amount of financial support, but has somehow survived through difficult times, including the Red Scare in 1919-1920 under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer (Woodrow Wilson), and the Second Red Scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s, generally known as McCarthyism, but much more than just one Wisconsin Republican Senator who was allowed to go berserk from 1950-1954.

“The Nation” is leading the charge against Donald Trump, and is part of the great journalistic tradition of challenging government authority, when it aims to take away our civil liberties and civil rights.

Censorship Beginning In Trump Era: Promotion Of Mistrust Of News Media, College Professors, Entertainment Industry As The New McCarthyism!

It is becoming clear that Donald Trump intends to declare war on the news media, calling them dishonest and out to promote propaganda, while it is precisely Trump and his “Alt Right” White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon, formerly of Breitbart News, which is working to establish mistrust among the American people toward their own media that dares to challenge and investigate the many shortcomings of Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees, and his future policies in domestic and foreign affairs.

Additionally, a plan to list college professors who are felt to promote a leftist agenda, a reminder of McCarthyism in the 1950s, has been started by a group termed “Turning Point USA” under the name “Professor Watch List”, to intimidate professors from having freedom of speech in their classrooms. So academic “witch hunts” are back, in order to advocate a right wing educational system.

And the usual attack on liberals in Hollywood and the broad field of entertainment, is also clearly beginning, as censorship and attacks on civil liberties and civil rights groups are being encouraged, to attempt a total crackdown on dissent.

The ultimate goal is to sow distrust and doubt in the fields of journalism, education including universities and colleges, and the entertainment industry, including criticism of the humor of “Saturday Night Live” and other programs on cable, television, and radio, as well as film.

All this is advocated as part of the “fake news” which helped to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign for President in 2016.

With an authoritarian oriented President coming to office, many elements of our basic freedoms of speech and press, and even assembly, are clearly under attack.

February 9, 1950 And Now: The Ugly “Red Scare” Revived!

On this day in 1950, Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy came to notice when he accused the Truman Administration of being “soft on Communism”.    This  began a nearly five year rampage of accusations against government officials, college professors, journalists, actors, and many ordinary citizens, that they were either “pinkos” or were actually Communists who had undermined the nation in favor of the interests of the Soviet Union and Communism.

Many politicians and others joined the crowd of attacks, and many others in and out of government were terrified, and kept silent, as people’s lives were ruined.  This had begun even before McCarthy became infamous, and the film TRUMBO well portrays what happened to Hollywood writers in the later 1940s, and the role of actor John Wayne, actor Ronald Reagan, and Congressman Richard Nixon, among others, in that “witch hunt”.

This is a day to recall, because it is clear that we are witnessing the beginning of attacks on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a democratic Socialist, who just became a member of the Democratic Party this past year, and is now, contending for the Democratic Presidential nomination seriously. Bernie Sanders is no danger in any sense, but he is now facing vicious attacks beginning, and they will not stop as long as he has a serious chance to be the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2016.

Donald Trump has called Sanders a “Communist”, and if Sanders becomes more of a serious contender beyond his expected win in New Hampshire, then we will see a slew of such attacks by Republicans and the right wing, making Sanders out to be Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro, all wrapped in a 74 years old Senator, who is the longest serving Independent in all of American history!

This is very disturbing, and all good people MUST, whether they support or oppose Bernie Sanders, fight against a new “McCarthyism”, as to have a new period of a Red Scare is simply intolerable, and it must be exposed for the evil that it is!

“Sixth Year” Syndrome Of The Presidency From Truman To Obama

Presidents who have won a second term in the White House typically have what could be called the “Sixth Year” Syndrome, meaning it is a downturn in their fortunes, just one year after winning reelection.

Such was Harry Truman, facing the Korean War and the rise of McCarthyism in his sixth year in office.

Such was the case with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who saw a recession undermine his popularity in 1958 in his sixth year.

Such was the case with Richard Nixon, who was facing impeachment in his sixth year in office, due to the Watergate scandal, and ended up resigning in his sixth year in office.

Such was the case with Ronald Reagan, who was facing the Iran Contra scandal revelations in his sixth year.

Such was the case with Bill Clinton, who had to deal with the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the move toward impeachment in his sixth year in office.

Such was George W. Bush, facing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were not going well in his sixth year, and coming off the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

So the fact that Barack Obama is perceived as “in the doldrums” in his sixth year in the Presidency is not at all surprising, and in many ways, despite the hype of the news media, he is in better shape than his predecessors were, if one looks at the situation objectively!

159th Anniversary Of Founding Of Republican Party: Not A Celebration!

The Republican Party, which gave us Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, William Seward in the years of the 1850s and 1860s; which gave us Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr, George Norris, William Borah, Hiram Johnson in the 1900s-1940s; which gave us Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr,, George Romney in the 1950s-1960s; and which gave us Mark Hatfield, Charles Mathias, Charles Percy, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford in the 1970s–1990s, reached its 159th birthday today.

The Republican Party began as an anti slavery expansion party, with elements of abolitionism also present when the party began on this day in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.

It became the party of civil rights legislation, three civil rights constitutional amendments, progressive legislation, and supportive of much bipartisan legislation with Democrats in the New Deal and Great Society eras.

Of course, they had their evil elements, including McCarthyism, nativism, and tying themselves to organized religious influences that wished to take America backward, but until the past few years, they always had redeeming values in many ways, and would often denounce the extremists in their midst.

But now the Republican Party has become a party dominated by Tea Party radicals, who promote racism, misogyny, nativism, concern only to promote the welfare of the wealthy, and willingness to engage in foreign wars that have cost us dearly in treasure and loss of life and limb!

The Republican Party is no longer, in any way, reflective of its past, and in fact, insults its honorable, respectable history, sullying the names of its heroes and champions over a century and a half!

This is a tragedy of massive proportions, and the name “Republican” should be co-opted by the true moderates who are sitting by, watching the destruction going on, and holding their heads in their hands, ashamed that the name has been so damaged by reckless, anarchistic haters of the federal government! The party which fought the Civil War to uphold the Union is now more like the secessionist Democrats of that era!

The Republican “Diversity” Primary Or Jeb Bush For President?

It seems more and more likely that the Republican Party will do their best to put a person of diversity status, either ethnically or gender, on their 2016 Presidential ticket as the only way to have a chance to win the White House.

This “diversity” primary contest for being on the national ticket would include:

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico
Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

So overall, there are seven Senators, four Governors, three Congresswomen well known enough, and Condoleezza Rice for the Republicans to choose from to have a “diversity” nominee for President or Vice President.

And when one looks at the list, it is clear that the only “real” choices are Rubio, Cruz, Ayotte, Jindal, Haley, and Rice, as a member of the House has not been nominated since 1880 (James Garfield), and the other choices are far less known, and come from smaller states in population, which undermines their candidacy. And Murkowski and Collins are far too “Moderate” to be the nominee of a right wing Republican Party!

But Rice is highly unlikely to be interested, although easily the most qualified of the six who could be nominated. Jindal and Haley have come across as mean spirited, uncaring Governors on the subject of immigration and health care. Ayotte has not distinguished herself by connecting to John McCain and Lindsey Graham as a “replacement” for Joe Lieberman. Cruz, being born in Canada, will create the issue of his eligibility to run for President, and his use of “McCarthyism” strategy against Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, and his basic aggressive style after less than two months in office will not do him well in a Presidential campaign.

So Marco Rubio, with all of his “warts” and shortcomings, stands out as the best “diversity” candidate, with his coming from Florida, the fourth largest state, and the largest state in play in a Presidential campaign, being a plus!

But it could be that being from Florida is also a plus for former Governor Jeb Bush, who if only he could change his last name, would be the likely best choice for his party.

It could all come down to a final race between former Governor Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican American and speaks excellent Spanish, and Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban American a full generation younger than Jeb Bush!

Second Term Presidencies Are Difficult: The Odds Against Success Of Barack Obama!

When one examines two term Presidencies, it is clear that there is a great likelihood of disappointment and failure as the President becomes a “lame duck”, and particularly, so after the midterm elections, as everyone looks forward to the race for his successor in office.

The following Presidents had difficult second terms:

Thomas Jefferson–with the Chesapeake Affair
James Madison–with the British attack on Washington DC during the War of 1812
Ulysses S. Grant–with the Panic of 1873 and exposure of the Credit Mobilier scandals
Grover Cleveland–with the Panic of 1893 and the Pullman Strike
Woodrow Wilson–with the First World War and the Treaty Of Versailles and his stroke
Franklin D. Roosevelt–with the failure of the Supreme Court “Packing” Plan and Recession Of 1937-1938
Harry Truman–with the Korean War and the Red Scare (McCarthyism)
Richard Nixon–with the Watergate Scandal
Ronald Reagan–with the Iran-Contra Scandal
Bill Clinton–with the Monica Lewinsky Scandal and the Impeachment Trial
George W. Bush–with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Hurricane Katrina and failed attempt to privatize Social Security

The only Presidents to have successful second terms were:

George Washington
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Theodore Roosevelt
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Barack Obama hopes to bring about:

Immigration Reform Legislation
Gun Control Legislation
Climate Change Legislation
Stability in International Affairs

The likelihood of success is very doubtful, however, with so much division, conflict, turmoil, and polarization, caused by the Tea Party Movement and the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

At most, Obama might be able to promote changes in the judiciary, particularly on the Supreme Court, if vacancies occur, as is expected, but even there, it is assured there will be major battles over every appointment, and the possibility of filibustering nominees.

This reality is already showing itself with the interference and opposition to Susan Rice to be Secretary of State, before she was ever considered for nomination, and now Chuck Hagel, a possible choice for Secretary of Defense, who despite being a Republican, has already built up major opposition in the party that he represented in the Senate for 12 years from the state of Nebraska!

There seems the likelihood that no matter what Obama does or says, he will have vehement opposition, not only during the first two years, but even in his last two years as a “lame duck”, having less influence each month as the Presidential Election Of 2016 approaches!

Hardball, Knuckleball Political Campaigning: Part Of The American Tradition!

Right or wrong, hardball and knuckleball political campaigning is part of the American tradition, and is nothing new in 2012.

We can go back to the origins of political parties in the 1790s, with the Federalists and Democratic Republicans at each other’s throats, beginning with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson nasty toward each other in 1796 and 1800.

Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, and Jackson against Henry Clay, is another example widely reminiscent of hardball, knuckleball campaigning.

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas went at each other, and after the Civil War, the Republicans looked at the Democrats as “traitors”!

When the progressives became prominent, conservatives went on the counterattack and have not stopped, under Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama.

The no holds barred attack by the right wing, including McCarthyism in the 1950s and again now with Michele Bachmann and others, is finally getting a full measure of counterattack by the Democrats and liberals and progressives, as they have come to realize that being a civil campaigner does not work, and only emboldens the opposition.

Sadly, many people are turned off to this attack and counterattack, but it is not going to go away, and for anyone to decide not to vote because of this is the height of irresponsibility, as even with disgust with both sides and their tactics, it still does matter who wins and who controls power!

To sit on the sidelines is a horrible mistake at at time when the future is so uncertain, and requires all citizens to participate!

Congress Leaves Business Undone While Campaigning For Reelection: A Disgrace!

Congress has left DC for a month, in the midst of much business undone, including budgetary bills, unfulfilled judicial and executive appointments, and time spent preventing any action on the economy.

This “experiment” of a GOP House and a Democratic Senate, the first time ever with such a split, has been a total disaster, and the American people need to realize that putting the Republican Party in charge of the budget in the House of Representatives has been a calamity no one could have forseen!

Hopefully, the American people will realize that Barack Obama, celebrating his 51st birthday today, has done his best, and has been stymied by the Republican leadership led by John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and the Tea Party movement element in the House of Representatives, including Michele Bachmann, Allen West, and others who would rather use McCarthyite tactics than deal with real issues and problems faced by the American people!

The Split Personality John McCain: Reasonable On Michele Bachmann, Irrational On Cybersecurity!

Arizona Senator John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee for President, is a very complex man, who can be seen as having displayed courage, principle, and decency at times, but also a very nasty, temperamental, unreasonable, and irrational man at times.

So recently, McCain demonstrated the “good” side, by condemning Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for labeling Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as linked to Islamic terrorism, with no evidence or proof of such activity, and therefore acting like a new Joseph McCarthy. McCain has opened up a bitter debate about the controversial Bachmann, with Speaker of the House John Boehner supporting what he said, while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has supported Bachmann.

This battle could cause splits at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, a month from now, but McCain is not backing off.

Now, McCain, however, is showing his irrational, unreasonable side by leading the fight against strong legislation to protect computer systems that are responsible for operating the nation’s critical infrastructure!

There are dangers of a crippling cyberattack by terrorists, but McCain is supporting the business community that does not wish to have stronger government regulation to enforce minimum standards on systems that run power plants, air traffic control systems, dams and similar facilities.

Opposition to the Homeland Security Department setting minimum standards of cybersecurity creates a scenario of the possibility of mass casualties or great economic calamity if such a cyberattack were to occur. The US Chambers of Commerce, one of the leading critics of the Obama Administration, is the leader in fighting greater government oversight, and McCain and other Republicans are their willing servants, sad to say!

McCain is acting totally irrational on this matter, and has opened a rift with two Senators usually his best friends, Republican Susan Collins of Maine, and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, with Lieberman and McCain becoming engaged in an openly angry exchange at a private meeting of senators and staff members. McCain actually shouted at Lieberman, showing again his infamous temper!

It makes one happy that McCain did not win the Presidency in 2008, but even without winning, he unleashed on America the nightmare of Sarah Palin, who will simply not go away!

So we can applaud McCain when he is right, as on Michele Bachmann’s McCarthyism, but we must condemn him for kowtowing to business interests on the cybersecurity matter!

Irionically, if a cyberattack were to occur, who would get blamed, at least originally? Barack Obama and the national government, even though they are trying to bring about a security system that makes sense, but that conservatives and big business interests are determined to prevent!