MSNBC

Robert F. Kennedy, The “Un Trump”? Two Wealthy, Privileged People, And Their Diverse Evolution

Two NBC/MSNBC anchors, Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell, have just published books on the life of Robert F. Kennedy, and on the Presidential Election of 1968, respectively.

Both books are well worth your attention, as they bring back a half century ago, when a wealthy, privileged person, Robert F. Kennedy, united white working class and minority working class people together in a time of tumult, making him a rare political leader.

He also attracted the support of wealthier liberals, and had the capability to unite the country in a time of the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam.

Had he not been assassinated, RFK would likely have been the Democratic Party nominee, instead of Hubert Humphrey, and would have likely defeated Richard Nixon, and there would have been no Watergate scandal.

No one is saying that RFK would have been God, but certainly, the history of the United States would have been better with him than with Richard Nixon.

Now we have a leader of similar wealth and privilege, but with a totally different bent on every issue imaginable.

Donald Trump revels in dividing people, and using race, religion, and ethnicity to cause tumult and turmoil.

Donald Trump does not have a decent bone in his body, and sees everything in terms of the dollar sign.

Donald Trump has no concern for the average American’s life and future, and instead, promotes demagoguery and hate.

The damage he has done in the year since his election tomorrow, November 8, is so long lasting, that despite no legislative accomplishments, he has set back the nation in so many ways, often to before the years of the New Deal in the 1930s.

It is as if we are in a time warp, and back in the 1920s before the Great Depression and World War II.

And it is highly likely that the damage he has perpetrated in one year will lead to another Great Depression, social turmoil, and World War III, since he has no clue or understanding of domestic or foreign affairs, and only the top one percent will benefit from his destructive agenda.

So Robert F. Kennedy is indeed the “Un Trump”, but sadly, we have no one on the horizon at this moment who seems capable of emerging with the image and agenda of Robert F. Kennedy.

If we did find such a person, we would have optimism about the long range future of the nation, so the goal must be to find the right individual to lead the Democratic Party into the future, and return to the RFK commitment to social, economic, and political change.

Donald Trump’s Full Scale Attack On The First Amendment, While Endorsing No Limit On The Second Amendment, A Danger To America

Donald Trump has mounted a full scale attack on the First Amendment freedom of speech and press, while endorsing no limit on the Second Amendment, despite the recent Las Vegas Massacre, and is therefore a danger to America.

If it were left up to Trump, many cable TV channels, such as CNN and MSNBC, would be denied licenses to operate, but thankfully, no such mechanism exists to suppress the First Amendment.

Also, Trump wishes to suppress freedom of speech for National Football League players to protest the treatment of African Americans and other minorities by police.

And he seems to think that everyone MUST stand for the flag and the National Anthem, while the Supreme Court has declared that the flag need not be obeyed, and in fact, can be burned in protest, something much more extreme than bending the knee for the flag.

The case on this is Texas V Johnson (1989), with Justice Antonin Scalia, certainly the most conservative Justice in a century, writing the majority opinion.

What Trump is doing was denounced by principled conservative Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has been against Trump from before the election. He said yesterday that Trump is violating his oath of office by refusing to defend the Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights, and that Trump had, therefore, committed an impeachable act.

Trump sounds more like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or other totalitarian dictators than the leader of a democracy, and he is a clear and present danger to all Americans, as a result.

The possibility of moving toward impeachment is starting to grow, as Sasse joins Senator Bob Corker in warning against the threat that Trump clearly presents the nation.

Trump seems to be unraveling, as reported by journalists who have contacts within the staff of Donald Trump, reminding us of the last days of Richard Nixon.

But if anything, Richard Nixon was far less dangerous than Donald Trump is, as Trump has been collaborating with Russia, while Nixon understood the threat presented by Russia.

Also, Nixon was not out to destroy all domestic reform of the previous hundred years, as Trump is in the process of doing, with ObamaCare, the environment, consumer legislation, and government regulation of business.

And Trump is also out to destroy the Iran Deal, go to war with North Korea, and destroy all areas of our foreign policy with other nations.

So the need for prompt action, before Trump must be wrestled for control of the nuclear codes, is real!

Trump-Putin Summit Meeting A Clear Sign That Putin Has Trump In His Grasp, Undermines Trump Legitimacy As President

The Trump-Putin Summit Meeting yesterday at the G-20 Summit is a clear sign that the Russian autocrat has our President in his grasp, and has undermined Trump’s legitimacy as our President.

All the intelligence agencies are absolutely certain that Russia intervened in our 2016 Presidential election, and helped Trump to win.

Trump has been unwilling to agree to the reality and the facts, calling it “fake news”.

Different versions of the meeting by the Russian Foreign Minister and our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have emerged from the meeting, and the question is whether Trump really pressed the issue with Putin, and whether he will simply accept their version that they did NOT interfere in our election. A “robust” and “lengthy” discussion, as depicted by Tillerson, apparently was a distortion of the meeting, another lie of the Trump Presidency!

The idea that we had a summit meeting with only Tillerson as an observer, with his close past ties with Russia when he was head of Exxon Oil, is an outrage, when we should have had H. R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser, and or James Mattis, our Secretary of Defense, in the meeting. Between Trump and Tillerson, we had a grand total of 12 months experience in diplomacy, compared to many decades of experience by Putin and his Foreign Minister. This is an outrage that everyone should be alarmed about, and one can be sure many Republicans and conservatives in and out of Congress are truly alarmed!

IF Trump does not continue to challenge Putin and resist their propaganda, he will be permanently harmed, and we will have to worry that he is in league with them to help promote his fortunes, by their planned interference in our midterm elections in 2018 and the Presidential Election of 2020.

Can one even imagine the reaction if Barack Obama had colluded with Russia, or George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton?

Can one imagine how the far Right conservatives and the evangelical Christian Right, which have embraced Vladimir Put as a “Friend”, based on support of guns and opposition to gay rights, would have reacted if, in particular, Obama had done what Trump has done, promote a “bromance” with a man responsible for deaths of journalists and opponents, as revealed by Richard Engel in a one hour special on MSNBC last evening, part of a new series titled “On Assignment”?

The idea that men and women who profess religion could unite with a totalitarian dictator such as Putin only shows the corruption of right wing evangelicals, such as Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham! The idea that right wing commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, among others, would just accept that Putin is no danger to America, is also a true example of how lacking in substance these characters are, only concerned about making as much profit as possible on their propaganda, and no concern about American national security!

The way things look now, Donald Trump is truly the “Manchurian Candidate”, and we are permitting the Russians to infiltrate and undermine our political system with equanimity, instead of with alarm!

The Media Created Donald Trump, And The Media Will Destroy Him, With The Truth About His Corruption And Malfeasance!

The news media created Donald Trump, giving him lavish coverage and publicity, and enabling him to gain public support with his over the top proposals, which any sane person could have realized was political hype at its worst.

Donald Trump has become the worst con man in American political history, but it is the news media that will bring him down, ultimately, through their thorough, hard hitting exposing of his corruption, and his collusion with the Russians, with more evidence every day of his transgressions.

Plaudits are due to the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, and many other media sites and journalists, who are doing the detective work that will help the Special Counsel Robert Mueller collect the dots that will force Trump out of office sometime next year.

Trump is running scared, acting guilty, and his continued assaults on the news media are a threat to American democracy, but he will not win out in the end, one can be assured. He has degraded the Presidency, and it will take time and healing to recover the prestige and dignity of the office after he is forced out.

Just as Richard Nixon had his “Waterloo”, so will Donald Trump, as long as people understand it will take time and patience, but that it will happen, whether the Republican Congress wants it or not, as the American people will demand transparency and action as the evidence grows toward the inevitable step to remove Trump. One author, Frank Rich, in New York Magazine, has said we are in July 1973 in the Nixon crisis, and that in about another year, as with Nixon, Trump will be forced out.

We survived earlier constitutional crises in the Civil War era, and the Watergate era, and we will survive once again, with media having a large share of the credit, utilizing the term–“The truth shall set you free!”

And for those who fear Vice President Mike Pence becoming President, there is no question that he would be the most extreme right wing President in history, but the removal of Trump will help to temper him in his actions and statements, particularly once a Democratic House of Representatives becomes his “watchdog”. And even if we have a continued Republican Senate, which is highly likely, not much will be accomplished, with the reality that the House of Representatives controls all money bills.

As much as Pence is a problem, he is not mentally unhinged and unstable as Donald Trump has proved to be, and the way he comes to power will make it more difficult for him to accomplish many of his goals, as long as the Democrats gain the 24 or more seats needed to win control of the House, and that must be the goal in the next 16 months until the midterms in November 2018.

The Need For Strong Backing Of Journalism To Hold Trump’s “Feet To The Fire”!

It is urgent that all Americans realize the overwhelming importance of strong backing of major newspapers and magazines, as well as PBS, NPR, CNN and MSNBC to hold government leaders’ “feet to the fire”, to hold them accountable on government policy.

Donald Trump’s attack on the news media is an alarm bell in the night.

Without a free press, specifically print media and electronic media, our democracy can be taken away from us, and no journalist or media source can allow themselves to be intimidated, and must pursue the truth about government leaders and policies without fear of retribution.

If we lose freedom of the press, then our basic civil liberties are threatened, and that is why such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center and others like them, must be fully supported in fighting in court to prevent the loss of freedom in any form.

There are cynics about the news media, but such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and major journals of opinion, both in print and online, must be vigilant and not allow themselves to be threatened, as they are the first line of defense for all Americans.

At the same time, CNN and MSNBC must work at being more accurate and less motivated for profit, as many Americans who do not read news online regularly, rely on them to do the job that we used to expect automatically from such media luminaries in the past, such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, and others, including Diane Rehm on NPR, who just retired, and will be greatly missed!

Early Florida Voting Returns: 53 Percent For Clinton And 28 Percent Republicans Voting For Clinton!

An astounding development emerged last night on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell show, with information about early voting in Florida, showing that 53 percent of early voters have supported Hillary Clinton, to Donald Trump’s 40 percent, a literal landslide!

But also, 28 percent of Republicans have voted for Hillary Clinton, as compared to 6 percent for John Kerry in 2004 and 9 percent for Barack Obama in 2008.

If this trend continues, Donald Trump is done, as he cannot win the Presidency if he loses Florida, and right now, he is losing in a massive landslide!

The feeling is developing that Hillary Clinton is on the road to an overwhelming landslide nationally, but still subject to revision.

Myth Destroyed About Third Term Of Same Party In White House Being Historically Unlikely! How About 7 Times And 120 Years Of Our History?

This blogger keeps on hearing that it is highly unlikely for a political party to hold the White House for more than two terms. Most recently, Chris Matthews said this on MSNBC on HARDBALL!

This is totally untrue, as witness the facts, a total of 7 times:

1800-1824—Democratic Republicans Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe–Six terms, 24 years

1828-1840–Democrats Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren–Three terms, 12 years

1860-1884–Republicans Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur (Andrew Johnson elected with Lincoln on “Union” ticket in 1864 was a Southern Democrat, but was never elected)–Six terms, 24 years

1896-1912–Republicans William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft–Four terms, 16 years

1920-1932–Republicans Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover–Three terms, 12 years

1932-1952–Democrats Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman–Five terms, 20 years

1980-1992–Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush–Three terms, 12 years

This adds up to 30 terms and 120 years from 1789-2008. So that means 30 terms out of 55 terms, more than half the time and 120 years out of 220 years, more than half the time!

And now in 2016, an 8th time, this time the Democrats with Barack Obama and, likely, Hillary Clinton, will add to the record, making it 33 terms out of 58, and 132 years out of 232 years!

America’s Fascist Demagogues In History: Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, George C. Wallace, Patrick Buchanan!

The United States has had its Fascist demagogues in the past nearly hundred years of our history, but luckily, they “burned out” very quickly.

We had Democratic Governor and Senator Huey P. Long, who condemned the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early 1930s era of the Great Depression.  He had a big following on radio; drew large public crowds; preached “Every Man A King” and “Share The Wealth” as he attacked Wall Street; had his own group of “storm troopers” to protect him;  and made clear that he hoped to come to power on a national level, having alienated his Senate colleagues and the President by his tactics and showmanship.

His potential threat disappeared, however, when he was assassinated in the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge in September 1935, a mystery that still exists today, as covered in Chapter 7 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015).  He reminded many of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, both of whom had not yet become as aggressive and warlike as they would become in the mid to late 1930s and early 1940s.

Then we had evil personified in Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, who stirred fear and insecurity in America in the early 1950s, when he accused Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and many government and other public figures of being Communists, or “soft on Communism”.

He ruined thousands of people’s lives, caused their deaths or complete destruction of their lives, but it was all a ploy backed by right wing conservatives, who continue to honor him, even after his political downfall in December 1954 when the US Senate condemned him, and his early death of alcoholism in May 1957.  This despicable man was a true Fascist demagogue with too many people ready to back him, but his cockiness and arrogance and false charges finally brought him down.

Then we had Democratic Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama, who sowed racism in America as he stood in the door of the University of Alabama in 1963 to attempt to block integration of the state university, and allowed police brutality in Birmingham and elsewhere, leading to the bombing of a black church and the death of young girls in the explosion.

A true Fascist demagogue of the worst kind, he actually gained five states and 46 electoral votes as a third party candidate for President in 1968.  Then, while running in 1972 again, he was shot and paralyzed for life by an assassin, a tragic event for sure, but brought on by his notoriety and demagogic nature.  Wallace’s story is well covered in Chapter 11 of my new book mentioned above.

And then we had Patrick Buchanan, an aide to President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan, who promoted nativism and racism and antisemitism, including Holocaust denial,   as he campaigned against President George H. W. Bush in the 1992 primaries; against Bob Dole in the 1996 primaries;  and then ran as a third party candidate of the Reform Party in 2000.

Due to confusion in Palm Beach County, Florida, Buchanan gained 4,000 votes that were intended by voters for Al Gore, but mistakenly, these elderly, mostly Jewish voters punched the wrong hole on the “butterfly” ballots, and by doing so, caused the election of George W. Bush statewide, officially by a total of 537 votes, sadly denying Al Gore the Presidency, despite his national popular vote lead of 540,000!

Buchanan clearly was and is a Fascist demagogue, who, however, has become someone ignored, and no longer has a major media presence in his later years, as he once did on cable television as a political commentator on MSNBC and CNN, although he still is on Fox News Channel and PBS.

And now we have, at the least, two Fascist demagogues, now considered the front runners in the Republican race for President—Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz!  Again, the fight against right wing Fascism and its elements–racism, nativism, misogyny, antisemitism—remain a battle decent people must fight with every ounce of their energy!

Rachel Maddow Democratic Forum Gave Martin O’Malley Chance To Shine!

The Rachel Maddow MSNBC Democratic Party forum on Friday was, by far, the best presentation yet of candidate views, better than the one Democratic debate and the three Republican debates.  Rachel proved once again how she shines among cable journalists and news shows, with her wit, insight, and intelligence!

Interviewing each of the three candidates for 25-30 minutes, and asking tough questions that none of them could evade, allowed all three–Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley–to present their views and show their personalities and values in a way that the debates have not allowed.

And Martin O’Malley, who has been overlooked and disregarded, came across very well, and allows the possibility, however remote, that he just might be able to rise as we get closer to actual voting in primaries and caucuses.

O’Malley comes across as principled, decent, and having had the courage to lead Maryland in leadership in so many ways among the states, and his progressivism is between that of Clinton to his right and Sanders to his left.

If nothing else, O’Malley has raised his profile, and could end up as the Vice Presidential nominee with Hillary Clinton, assuming that she can keep her massive lead over her opponents.

If only the Republicans had anyone with the credentials of O’Malley in state government, but none of the Governors or former Governors who have been in the race or have left the race, can possibly match his exceptional leadership of his state.

35 Years Of CNN!

On this day in 1980, the Cable News Network began, and it is hard to recall the time before cable news, news 24 hours a day, came to be the norm!

CNN, founded by Ted Turner, has undergone a tremendous amount of change, and has been much criticized, but it set the standard for cable news all over America, and was unchallenged, until the emergence of MSNBC and Fox News Channel in 1996.

CNN first became widely popular during the Persian Gulf War; and also gained by its coverage of the O J Simpson Murder Trial; the Bill Clinton Impeachment Trial; the controversial Presidential Election of 2000; the September 11, 2001 attacks of Al Qaeda; the Iraq War; Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; the election of Barack Obama in 2008; and the Boston Marathon Bombing, among many other historic and, often, tragic events.

As much as there is room for vast improvement in news coverage, CNN has contributed a great deal to public discourse and discussion, informing the American people of what they need to know to be good American citizens, and to understand the world we live in!