secession

Significant Fourths Of July, And The Most Important One Of All!

It has been 238 years since the Declaration of Independence, declared in Philadelphia on this day in 1776.

Some of the Fourth of Julys that have followed have been more significant than others.

In 1801, the 25th anniversary, the nation celebrated the first turnover of government to the opposition being conducted successfully four months earlier, as Thomas Jefferson succeeded John Adams.

In 1826, the 50th anniversary, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both intimately involved in the document’s formulation, died, during the administration of Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams.

In 1831, the 55th anniversary, President James Monroe died, marking three of the first five Presidents dying on Independence Day, but it has never occurred since then. This death occurred during the administration of Andrew Jackson.

In 1876, the nation celebrated its first century of independence during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1901, the 125th anniversary, the nation celebrated the new century, during the administration of William McKinley.

In 1976, the bicentennial was celebrated during the administration of Gerald Ford.

In 2001, the 225th anniversary was celebrated during the administration of George W. Bush.

But none of these anniversaries mattered as much as July 4, 1863, the 87th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, as the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, fought the three previous days, and won on July 3 by the Union Army over the Confederacy, insured that the Union would be preserved, the ultimate purpose of Abraham Lincoln leading the nation into the Civil War in 1861. The last real chance of the South to win independence was lost, although the war continued for another 21 months.

So July 4, 1863 is more to be celebrated than any other July 4, and we must remain thankful that those who wanted to break up the United States were overcome. We must be ready to react against any threat of further secession put forth by right wing propagandists who want America to lose its whole purpose of creation, the establishment of a democracy which would be the beacon for people all around the world, who would want to come here and be part of the American experiment in freedom. It is immigration that makes, and has made, America the great nation that it is!

Two Different Directions: Wisconsin State Republican Party And Nevada State Republican Party

The internal battle over the future of the Republican Party is in full swing, as we come up to the 160th anniversary of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, which actually took place on March 20. with a formal organization in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6.

For a long time, the Ripon Society has existed as an organization for “liberal,” mainstream Republicans, but of course, there is no such thing anymore known as “liberal” Republicanism. Even those who might consider themselves “liberal,” avoid use of that term like a plague!

The Wisconsin GOP, which once included “Mr. Progressive” Robert La Follette, Sr., and his brilliant sons Robert La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette, now, however, has become an extremist group on the far right, under Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson, and the proposal is to add to their state party documents the concept of the right of the state to promote “secession’ if felt necessary, a sign of the old, ugly language that led to the Civil War and the loss of two thirds of a million men in combat, the greatest single tragedy in the nation’s history!

At the same time, the Nevada State Republican Party has made the decision to remove from its platform for 2014 two issues that the Christian Right has been promoting since their rise in the party apparatus nationwide since the late 1970s—abortion and gay rights and marriage. No longer will the party promote government intervention in the lives of women and their personal decisions about their bodies and reproductive rights. And no longer will they get in the way of a person’s happiness, as to his or her basic human rights, including marriage, and the right to one’s sexual orientation without any discrimination by government!

In the long run, what Nevada Republicans are doing will, if pursued elsewhere, lead to a long term revival of the GOP, while if Wisconsin is followed, it is the death knell and demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

The False Glamor Of Secession: The “Red” States, Quebec, And Scotland

The concept of secession has become a key word in society when there are discontented people who somehow believe central government in a democracy is evil, because it will not allow them to pursue their prejudices.

So we have, more in the past than right now, the glamor of secession that has been promoted by French speaking Quebec to overcome the English influence in the rest of Canada, although Quebec would be in very poor economic shape if it did secede.

We also have the move for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, breaking away from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but in reality, that would impoverish Scotland.

And then we have the “Red” states, particularly those in the South, but also including the Southwest and the Great Plains, who dream of secession, mourning the failure of secession during the Civil War.

And yet, it is these “Red” states that are, by far, the poorest states in America, and get loads of benefits from the national government that they profess to hate!

It seems more the reality that these people living in the “Red” states who wish secession are purely ignorant, lack education, and have no clue as to how much they benefit from the federal government, so they are spiting themselves with their own stubbornness.

But really, what it comes down to is that they resent the inability to discriminate freely against African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays, due to federal laws and intervention by federal courts.

These states claim to be “devout” and “religious”, but actually are far from being so, as they lack all ethics and morals that true religion teaches!

These states have many people who wish the 19th century was back, when men dominated women, whites dominated over African Americans, and a small plantation elite controlled all government, much of it in the national government, until that “evil” man, Abraham Lincoln, came along and reasserted the basic teachings of the Founding Fathers, that this was a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice, even though many of the Founding Fathers practiced hypocrisy and deception themselves, but knew it was wrong! The Civil Rights Movement had begun with the end of slavery, a long, hard fought battle still being waged!

Lincoln opened up a new concept of America, and he would see leaders in the 20th century, including Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson assert federal authority in the manner of Lincoln, revolutionizing the two political parties. The Democrats would become the Republicans of the Civil War in principle, and the Republicans would become the old, prejudiced Southern Democrats, fighting against equal opportunity and justice.

Meanwhile, the people of the “Red” states became victims, who were appealed to on the basis of fundamentalist religion, which had worked against integration of the races, and wanted to keep women down in a subservient position, and worked against promotion of equality for gays and lesbians, even though they had such people in their own midst, preaching one thing and conducting their lives as the opposite, pure hypocrisy!

Once the struggling people of the “Red” states realize they have been victimized by religious and political propaganda, the Republican Party will be as dead as a doornail, as it is a party based on pure hypocrisy and lack of basic principles of the party they created 160 years ago!

The Tea Party Movement At Five Years: What Has It Accomplished?

The Tea Party Movement reached five years of age in the last few days, and the question is what has been accomplished?

The Tea Party Movement has led to the following:

Complete stalemate and gridlock in both houses of Congress.

The weakening of the power of the Speaker of the House John Boehner to the level it was in 1910 after the “House Revolution” against Speaker Joseph Cannon.

The loss of a potential Senate majority for the Republican Party twice, when it seemed possible.

The undermining of the American economy and America’s image in the world.

The promotion of racism, misogyny, nativism, and hate and confrontation.

The undermining of national government in favor of sectionalism and secession.

The growing inability of President Obama to gain any kind of cooperation from the opposition party, unseen since the time of Andrew Johnson.

The loss of any reasonable civility between the leaders of the Republican Party and the President of the opposition party.

The growing split between the two major political parties in a manner unseen since the Civil War-Reconstruction Era 150 years ago.

The growing personal threats of assassination against President Obama, unseen at this level since the time of Abraham Lincoln.

But there are signs that the American people have had it with the Tea Party Movement in the Congress and in the state governments.

This is a clear cut warning for those promoting this divisiveness and anarchy, that the time for return to civility has arrived, and that if those in government now refuse to see the handwriting on the wall, then they will be repudiated in 2014 and 2016!

Rapidly Escalating Tea Party Rhetoric Endangering President Obama And Civil Order!

For any sane person in America, the rapidly escalating Tea Party rhetoric that is developing on Capitol Hill, on right wing talk radio, in religious right wing rants, on conservative think tanks, and on Fox News Channel, is endangering the life of President Obama, and creating the threat of the breakdown of civil order!

There seems to be no limit to what utterances and threats are being issued, and the growing chant for impeachment of the President, which would under no circumstances lead to removal from the Presidency, but would disrupt American government and economic progress and foreign policy formulation, is an alarm bell ringing during the wee hours of the morning, giving one a sense of foreboding not seen since the time of the Civil War, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, whose 205th birthday we celebrate today.

The responsible Republican leadership in Congress seems, FINALLY, to realize the danger created by the anarchistic, fascistic Tea Party Movement, which is setting out to destroy the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike, in their mad dash to take us back in every way possible to the 19th century, including talk of secession and states rights and racism and the use of violence to accomplish their goals!

This is a national emergency for survival of our democracy and system of equal justice for all, and everyone who has any common sense and sanity and decency, whether they agree or disagree with the administration in office, MUST speak up for calm and for eliminating the threat to our President, and to civil order for now and the long term future.

And some praying for divine guidance, whether religious or not, is appropriate here, hoping that we can return to a time of respect for our government, and acceptance of the reality that we are all in this together, the return of civil order and the ending of conflict that endangers the American future!

The Dangers Of An Impeachment Move Against President Obama

With reckless discussion and growing threats of an impeachment move against President Barack Obama, the country lurches toward a situation which creates great dangers for the nation, as well as the 44th President of the United States.

The irony of it all is that, under no circumstances, would an impeachment move lead to the removal of the President from his position before the time his term of office ends on January 20, 2017!

Were it otherwise, Vice President Joe Biden would succeed Obama, and be likely to get an edge on the 2016 nomination, and to keep the office for the full term, similar to what happened after Lyndon B. Johnson became President upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and almost happened to Gerald Ford after he succeeded the resigned Richard Nixon in 1974, only losing the Presidency by two percentage points to Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976, and even would have won that election if a few thousand votes had switched in the states of Ohio and Hawaii.

But although Obama would survive any impeachment threat, the idea is very bad for the stability of the American nation and political system in the following ways:

It would bring up the ugly element of racism, which is very prevalent in our society as it is, but would be elevated by an attack of the right wing on Obama, a lot of it based on suspicion of the “black man” in the White House, who doesn’t seem to be a “true” American to the hate mongers, who have been unwilling to accept the fact that he was born in Hawaii, and is a legitimate President, elected twice by the American people in a clear cut electoral vote and popular vote margin!

The racial tensions already evident in our society are not just of blacks and whites, but also between Latinos and white Anglos, and even between Asian Americans and whites, who resent that they are in a losing battle demographically in a nation rapidly becoming a majority minority within the next three decades. Nothing will change that reality, and the future will include the likelihood of other African American Presidents, or more likely a Latino President, or even possibly an Asian American President, and even the possibility of a non Christian President, whether Jewish or Muslim! Additionally, we are going to have a future woman President, even if it is not Hillary Clinton!

Beyond the racial divide, an Obama impeachment would undermine the ability of the nation to continue its economic recovery, and that is something this country cannot afford, as it harms not just the Obama economic record, but real life situations of millions of Americans, and harms women and children, even more than men in the long run, as it inflates the poverty level of single women and their children, scarring the future for millions of American children, whose childhood experiences can harm them for life!

An Obama impeachment would endanger the international scene, and the ability to fight terrorism, and face the challenges of Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, and other nations that would love a wounded America in foreign policy and national security.

An Obama impeachment would also poison ever further the political divide between Republicans and Democrats, between “red” and “blue” states, and could lead to the long range danger of a civil war, not just of racial and ethnic groups, but between those who dream of secession from America, and unfortunately, have paranoid elements who have been building up large caches of firearms, that they would be ready to use against other Americans, law enforcement authorities, and even the US military, which could cost tens of thousands of lives! There is already a powder keg situation, in which crime against people based on their ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation has been growing!

Finally, and the greatest fear for anyone who cares about the long term American future, there is the massive danger of a successful attempt against the life of President Obama, with the realization, as this author has discovered in research for his upcoming book on Presidential Assassinations and the American Presidency, due out in 2015, that Obama has been subjected to an average of up to 30 stated or revealed threats per day, or about 10,000 per year, since he has become President, more than any President except maybe Abraham Lincoln, but probably more than Lincoln in reality!

Reported and published threats in the news media number at least 36 at this writing, much more than any other modern President for sure, and the number keeps on growing, and this is just what we know publicly, not the true story of Secret Service records, which remain secret!

So the publicity of an Obama impeachment effort would bring out ever more whackos and wing nuts who would like nothing better than to use the excuse of the impeachment controversy to try to gain permanent fame by assassinating Barack Obama, and that would further poison the American populace, and would likely be the beginning of a widespread civil insurrection, that might be hard to stop!

This author has hinted at these fears before, and it can be hoped that Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders will understand the dangers of an impeachment move, stop the rhetoric that Obama is a dictator breaking the Constitution, and allow our 44th President to finish his time in office, without further endangering his personal security and safety, and realize that they have made a dangerous error in allowing themselves to cater to an extreme right that endangers not only Obama, but really themselves, and also the civil order of the American nation!

It is time to stop the divisiveness, and to work with President Obama for the benefit and progress of the American people, or else the names and reputations of these Republican leaders will be condemned in the long run of American history!

Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Sarah Palin And The Confederate Flag At The White House: Reprehensible!

A crowd descended on the gates at the White House on Sunday, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP Vice Presidential nominee.

They stood by as Confederate flags were brandished, and a speaker said it was time for Barack Obama to stop obeying the Muslim faith, and to resign from the Presidency!

What a spectacle it was, with National Park police called out in riot gear, in case the demonstration became unruly or worse.

These three demagogues—Cruz, Lee, and Palin—who are destroying the Republican brand with their fight to undermine the federal government, blamed Obama for the shutdown of the federal government, rather than Cruz and Lee taking responsibility for encouraging House Tea Party Republicans to do what everyone knows they provoked, intimidating Speaker John Boehner into what has become a disaster for the Republican Party brand!

By appearing with these Confederate, secessionist, states rights riight wingers, they are encouraging violent insurrection against the government, and poisoning the atmosphere for peaceful resolution of differences, and also undermining respect for the office of the Presidency!

Republican leadership—much more than Senator John McCain of Arizona and Congressman Peter King of New York—must speak up and denounce these tactics, or the GOP is totally doomed as a major political party for the long run!

Texas Governor Rick Perry: The “Pro Life” Governor? NO, A Tragedy For Texas!

Texas Governor Rick Perry was a massive embarrassment when he ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2012.

He is the longest serving Governor in America, having succeeded George W. Bush as the executive leader of the Lone Star State at the end of 2000.

He has become infamous for ridiculous, insensitive, and moronic statements, and outrageous actions in office, including suggesting that Texas secede from the Union, as it did in the Civil War.

He has a reputation as a “Pro Life” Governor, but that appellation is a mockery of reality!

This is a man who refuses to accept Medicaid expansion that is fully covered by ObamaCare, and therefore, denies millions of poor Texans, many of them Latinos, any access to health care, and this is out of spite, not wanting to accept federal aid that would cost the state of Texas NOTHING!

Here is a man who has the record for the most death warrants and executions occurring under his regime, and brags about the massive use of the death penalty, setting a record for executions in American history, and having no doubts as to the innocence of any of the people on Death Row, who face death, with the state government resistant to reconsideration of cases, even with new evidence!

Here is a state where any suggestion of background checks or other protections against gun violence are ignored and ridiculed, with any Texan able to carry firearms into public places, including schools, bars, and restaurants, and the gun violence level is one of the worst in the nation!

Here is a man who vetoes a bill passed overwhelmingly by a GOP legislature, mandating equal pay for women, many of whom are single mothers who need to support their children!

And here is a man who wants, with his party, to destroy Planned Parenthood in Texas, and shut down nearly all abortion clinics in a state with 26 million people, and the largest state in area, with the exception of sparsely populated Alaska!

And here is a man who forces State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, opposed to this legislation, to conduct a filibuster under inhumane conditions, with no food, water, bathroom break, or ability to lean against or sit down over nearly a dozen hours, and her filibuster ended early, but opposition of supporters in the Texas State Senate galleries and halls of the legislature the only way to stop this massive assault on women’s rights, including control of their bodies! And now, Perry is forcing another confrontation, determined to ram through this despicable legislation, and in so doing, lecturing Wendy Davis and showing total disdain and lack of respect for her and Texas women!

This man is an excuse for a human being, and will go down over history as a true tragedy for the Lone Star State, and Wendy Davis or Julian Castro (Mayor of San Antonio), or some other Democrat needs to run against him in 2014, and end the Reign of Rick Perry over the destiny of Texas!

Presidential-Vice Presidential Relationships Rarely Warm

When one looks at the relationships between Presidents and Vice Presidents historically, it is clear that most Presidents look at their Vice Presidents and see their own mortality; often see the Vice President as a rival; often have disdain for the Vice President; and often do not support the Vice President in his Presidential ambitions to follow the President in office.

Examples of the above abound:

George Washington ignored John Adams, and Adams lamented that he was in an office that had no influence or respect.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at constant odds, being of different political parties, and elected together by the early quirks of the Electoral College, later resolved by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804.

Thomas Jefferson literally refused to recognize Aaron Burr, after Burr tried to steal the Presidency from him in 1800, with Burr’s contention that he and Jefferson had ended up in a “tie” vote in the Electoral College, forcing Alexander Hamilton, a rival of both Jefferson and Burr to intervene and call for support of Jefferson, which led to the gun duel between Hamilton and Burr in 1804, and Hamilton’s tragic death.

John Quincy Adams discovered that John C. Calhoun was undermining him, and Calhoun switched sides and ran with Andrew Jackson in 1828.

However, Jackson and Calhoun became bitter rivals, and the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff, with Calhoun enunciating the doctrine of states rights, nullification, interposition, and secession almost led to civil war, prevented by the intervention of Henry Clay, but only after Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun, a threat that could not be ignored, since Jackson had killed several opponents in gun duels.

Abraham Lincoln hardly dealt with his first term Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, and then “dumped” him, for Andrew Johnson, someone he hardly knew.

When Theodore Roosevelt decided not to run for another term in 1908, he ignored his own Vice President, Charles Fairbanks, and backed his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft.

Woodrow Wilson gave little concern to the role of his Vice President, Thomas Marshall, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, he did not intervene to prevent his wife from preventing Marshall from visiting him, and ascertaining the state of his health, or allow him to take over Presidential authority.

Franklin D. Roosevelt ignored his three Vice Presidents—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Truman. This led Garner to say the Vice Presidency was not worth a pitcher of “warm spit”. Wallace was allowed to “hang in the wind” over his public statements on civil rights, and be “dumped” on the demand of Southern Democrats in 1944. Harry Truman was not informed of anything, including the atomic bomb project, in his brief Vice Presidency.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had a strong dislike for his Vice President, Richard Nixon, as shown by his original plan to “dump” Nixon in 1956; his lukewarm support of Nixon in 1960; and his having problems remembering Nixon as a potential future nominee in 1964. At the end, however, Ike witnessed his grandson, David, marry Nixon’s younger daughter, Julie, and was supportive of Nixon in his last year of life, the first year of the Nixon Presidency.

John F. Kennedy failed to use the talents of Lyndon B. Johnson, his Vice President, to a great extent due to the hatred of his brother, Robert Kennedy, for LBJ. Robert Kennedy went out of his way to embarrass and humiliate Johnson in every way possible.

Johnson abused his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, once he realized that Humphrey was critical of his Vietnam War policies. He threatened to leave Humphrey out of his cabinet meetings, and forced him to speak up for the war, which undermined Humphrey’s own Presidential campaign in 1968. And secretly, because Humphrey started to veer from support of the administration policies late in the campaign, Johnson hoped for a victory of Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon utilized his Vice President, Spiro Agnew for political gain, but showed little respect for him, and let him “hang in the wind” when Agnew was forced out of the Vice Presidency in 1973. And Nixon picked Gerald Ford as his successor Vice President under the 25th Amendment, thinking that this insured that Nixon would not be impeached and be removed from office.

Gerald Ford had a strong respect for Nelson Rockefeller, who he selected as his Vice President, but yet “dumped” him for Bob Dole in the 1976 Presidential race.

Ronald Reagan was never close to George H. W. Bush, who had been his chief rival for the 1980 Presidential nomination, and never invited the Bushes to a private dinner at the White House, although he utilized Bush’s expertise in foreign policy and intelligence, as Bush had been head of the CIA.

Bush did not care for Dan Quayle very much, and considered “dumping” him in 1992 over Quayle’s embarrassing flubs. Quayle was given less involvement in the administration than his recent predecessors, and when he tried for the Presidential nomination in 1996, Bush did not back him in any way.

Bill Clinton was closer to Al Gore, but their friendship and collaboration suffered greatly during the scandal over Monica Lewinsky, and the pursuant impeachment trial. Gore decided not to ask Clinton, who remained popular, to work for him in the last days of the 2000 Presidential campaign. After his defeat, there were recriminations between Gore and Clinton over who had been responsible for Gore’s defeat.

George W. Bush relied on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, a lot in the first term, but became estranged from Cheney in the second term over the Scooter Libby scandal and in other ways, as Bush asserted himself much more, making clear he did not need Cheney as much as in the first term.

With all of the above examples of estrangement, or lack of closeness of Presidents with their Vice Presidents, there are two shining examples of very close, warm relationships between two Presidents and their Vice Presidents.

These would be Jimmy Carter with Walter Mondale, and Barack Obama with Joe Biden.

Carter and Mondale were the closest team in American history, with Carter allowing Mondale to share just about every decision in a way no Vice President, before or since, was able to do, and they remained close personal friends, for what is now the all time record of 32 PLUS years out of the Presidency, the longest lasting team in American history, with Carter now 88 plus and Mondale just passing 85, and both still in good health. No sense of any rift has ever existed between the two men, and their relationship was the smoothest ever, a lot of it due to Carter’s lack of insecurity about his Vice President, a testimonial to the former President!

Also, every indication is that Obama and Biden have as close a relationship, but with Biden nearly a generation older, while Carter and Mondale are less than four years apart in age. It seems as if there might be some issues between Obama and Biden, but that will have to be left to the future to find out. Also, a question arises as to how Obama will handle a possible competition for the next Presidential nomination between Biden and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been crucial to his Presidency’s success so far.

So the Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships have been almost always far from warm and close, with only the two exceptions mentioned above.

This would be an excellent topic for a future scholarly study!

Good Question: Would Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, And Dwight D. Eisenhower Be Republicans In 2012? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

When one looks at the sad state of the Republican Party in 2012, having lost the popular vote FIVE times in the past six elections, and when one analyzes the kinds of groups and viewpoints of their base—right wing social and religious extremists, neoconservatives, Grover Norquist inspired economic viewpoints, Wall Street elitists, and the Old Confederacy view on racial matters, the feeling that develops is that the Republican Party has lost its moorings, and will not reach national power in the Senate and the White House until they change radically, and back toward the moderate center.

But one has to wonder, would three of the icons of the Republican past even wish to be associated with the present mess that is the GOP?

Would Abraham Lincoln be a Republican today? Clearly, the answer is no, as his views would not conform with today’s GOP, including the racism, the movement toward secession by extremist elements, and the religious foothold in the party.

But neither would Teddy Roosevelt, with his belief in regulation of big business, trust in national government, promotion of the environment, and dislike of wealthy corporate leaders who exploited labor.

And neither would Dwight D. Eisenhower, affectionately known as “Ike”, who was basically nonpartisan, who could have just as easily become a Democrat in 1948, when offered a chance to run for President, but turned it down. With his ultimate election as a Republican, he ended the debate among conservatives in the party about attempting to repeal the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and announced acceptance of what it had done.

Imagine: the three most respected and honored leaders of the party, if alive today, would have broken with the Republicans, and would have found the Democratic Party much more to their liking, with its platform of change, reform, and progress!

And all three would have been proud of a nation that not only elected the first African American President, Barack Obama, but went ahead and reelected him as well!