White Working Class

50 Years Since MLK Assassination, And In Many Ways, Not Much Progress In Race Relations In America

It has been 50 years since the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

His death ended the most active and accomplished period of the civil rights movement, which occurred during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson.

No one ever came forth with the charisma and following of Dr. King, to succeed him.

As we look back a half century, we can say that the African American community saw great advances in education and attainment of the middle class by a growing percentage of their population.

We also saw political gains by the African American community, including what many thought was the most triumphant moment of all–the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

But looking back now, one can say that the Obama election brought the truth out of the ugly woodwork–that racism is still very much alive and thriving, and not just in the South, but nationwide.

We see young and middle age African American boys and men, in particular, being victimized by police across the nation at alarming rates, and a large percentage who are not killed being subjected to unequal justice and long periods in prison.

The violence in the cities is over the top, and yet nothing has been done to overcome the danger of growing up in an environment where those who just wish to advance themselves out of poverty are often the victims of people of the same color.

The dream of Dr. King that everyone would be judged by the content of their character, rather than their skin color, has not been fulfilled, and we have a long road toward true racial equality in all areas of life, including economic advancement, which was badly damaged by the Great Recession, more for African Americans than for the working class whites, who are still appealed to by right wingers and Donald Trump to see African Americans as the enemy.

Is Presidential Race Of 2020 Beginning Early? Rumors About Mitt Romney And Joe Biden Emerge

Hard to believe, but on the 13 month anniversary today of Donald Trump’s inauguration, rumors and gossip are spreading about the Presidential race of 2020 beginning early.

Early speculation talks about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, now running for the open Senate seat in Utah, being vacated by Senator Orrin Hatch, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, leaving after 7 terms and 42 years of service. Rumors have it that Romney is positioning himself for another Presidential run against Donald Trump or if he leaves office, Vice President Mike Pence, in two years.

Of course, Romney denies such rumors, but it is said that many mainstream conservatives want Romney to run, and possibly Trump realizes that potential, as he has now come to endorse Romney for the Senate, after having encouraged Hatch not to retire,

Romney is well known for his bitter denunciation of Trump’s candidacy in 2016, and then being manipulated by Trump for the possible post of Secretary of State, but passing him by for that position, so this will be something to watch, if Romney decides to challenge Trump or Pence.

Also, former Vice President Joe Biden, ahead in early polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination, over both Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Oprah Winfrey, is making clear through friends that he is seriously considering another run for President, as he is well aware that many have said had he run in 2016, and been the Democratic Presidential nominee, that he would have won the working class white vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and defeated Trump. Of course, the tragic death of son Beau Biden prevented that, and is seen by many as a tragic turning point in American history.

Realize, however, that were Romney and Biden to be their party nominees, we would have a candidate who would reach 74 after two months in office (Romney), and a candidate who would reach 78 two weeks after the election in 2020.

Either would be the oldest Presidential first term winner in American history, and once again, despite loyalty of many to both Romney and Biden, as being “Presidential”, one has to wonder if younger voters would be turned off by two “Grandpa” candidates, rather than moving toward supporting nominees in their 40s, 50, or early 60s, as preferable.

There is a long list of such potential nominees, and this will all be explored over time, but for now, the “Old Guard” is in the forefront of speculation.

Republican Tax Plan Will Hurt Middle Class, Promote More Concentration Of Wealth, And Will Kill Republican Majority Whether It Passes Or Not!

The Republican Party’s attempt to promote “tax reform” will fail, whether it passes or not.

The likelihood is that Republicans in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California will refuse to vote for it, since it ends deduction of state and local income taxes on tax forms in those states.

It is also likely that a few Republicans in the US Senate will oppose it because of other aspects of the plan that make it uncomfortable to support.

The bill would victimize the middle class, and promote greater concentration of wealth in the top one percent and the corporations.

It would harm the white working class voters who put Donald Trump in office in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The legislation adds $1.75 trillion to the national debt, and cuts so many programs and benefits, displeasing deficit hawks because of the former, and moderates and independents due to the latter.

Charities will be harmed by the legislation, and home builders and real estate agents will be affected by limits on mortgage interest deductions, making people less willing to buy homes, and instead to rent their housing.

Corporations will gain the most from the legislation, and many Americans are angry that many corporations already pay little or no taxes.

The legislation would also hurt Obamacare in a different form, even after failure to repeal it earlier this year, and no replacement is offered for millions of Americans who benefit from it.

The end of the estate tax, which affects so few people, also will displease the average American, who does not understand why all inheritances should be untouched in any way by taxes, as wealthy people have a responsibility to pay their fair share in life, as well as at the end of life, rather than pass on tens of millions to their heirs, without any responsibility to contribute to the future of American society.

Also, medical deductions would be limited, and students who have massive loan payments would not be able to deduct any of them on their tax return, undermining the sick and the young.

One can expect that this legislation will not pass, and therefore will harm the Republican Party, but if somehow it does pass, it also will harm the Republican brand in the 2018 midterm elections!

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.

Joe Biden Looks Ahead: His Diplomatic Experience, His Ability To Unite, His Authenticity May Be The Prescription Needed In 2020

Joe Biden has started to speak out openly about Donald Trump and the future of the nation and the Democratic Party.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows how much I admire Joe Biden.

I wanted him to be the 2016 nominee, but his son’s death prevented that race, but I do believe, had he been the nominee, he would have defeated Donald Trump among the white working class, the crucial vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

No politician is perfect, but Joe Biden still stirs the imagination of millions of Democrats and the American people.

His career of 36 years in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President is unmatched. His diplomatic experience, his ability to unite, and his authenticity may be the prescription needed in 2020.

His popularity and respect among Republicans and Democrats is unprecedented for a modern political leader.

The fact that he will be 78 years old days after the 2020 election causes him to be considered not a good choice for 2020.

But just as gender and race should not be barriers, even age should not be, as some older leaders have succeeded, such as Konrad Adenauer of West Germany and Winston Churchill of Great Britain.

This is not an endorsement of Biden for 2020, as ideally, a younger, fresher candidate is highly preferable.

But if Biden runs, and the people in primaries and caucuses want him, why not have him as the nominee in 2020, but with a much younger and well qualified Vice President just in case of tragedy.

Whether or not Joe Biden ever runs for President again, he is clearly a national treasure to be admired and respected!

Donald Trump And Afghanistan: No More Interest In Reform, Only Killing, A Prescription For Disaster!

Donald Trump’s speech on Afghanistan last night was what this blogger expected: Trump the warmonger, a complete switch from his “isolationist” stand during his Presidential campaign.

It was very predictable, as again, Donald Trump proved to be what he has always been best at being, a massive liar and manipulator of the truth!

The man who was a draft dodger, on the basis of bone spurs in the 1960s, and said his “Vietnam” was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with women at that time of his life, now has become a war President, and is allowing his overly dominant military administration to “charge on” in Afghanistan, after 16 years, the most of any American war, and inability to resolve the matter.

Afghanistan caused the loss of Alexander the Great in ancient times; of the British Empire in the 19th century; and of the Soviet Union from 1979-1989.

It is a “hell hole” with no end, and already 2,400 Americans have died in that war, and the war has also cost an estimate of between $841 billion to $2 trillion dollars, a massive waste of money that has undermined the nation! And over 20,000 men and women have been wounded, many of them seriously, and mental issues have arisen among many of these veterans, and many others who were not physically harmed.

And to top it off, Trump has indicated there is no interest in trying to make life better for Afghan civilians, but rather just to kill terrorists!

That is a prescription for endless, constant war, and bitterness, and continued growth of terrorism for decades on end!

The Taliban control an estimated 35-60 percent of the nation, and opium production in the major province that produces the drug is 80 percent under their control.

The Afghan mentality is that you kill their relatives, for generations after, the goal will be revenge, so a war is unwinnable.

And Trump seems to be stirring up trouble with neighbor Pakistan, a Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, with his hostile rhetoric.

It seems as if Trump has decided to be a warmonger–continuing in Afghanistan, while fighting ISIL (ISIS), and stirring up China with threats of trade wars, while trying to deal with North Korea, without starting a new Korean War or using nuclear weapons on Kim Jong Un; and threatening to break the Iranian nuclear agreement; and also suggesting action in Venezuela; as well as trying to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Syria, and Iraq.

All that Trump seems to be able to do is make money all of the time, while promoting American imperialism overseas, insuring engagement in more wars, and spending taxpayer money to glorify himself as a “tough guy” in international affairs, while avoiding diplomacy, and cutting the State Department budget by up to 40 percent, including NOT having many ambassadorial positions filled or even nominated after seven months in office!

Trump is a true proponent of unregulated capitalism and American militarism, precisely what has led to so much turmoil and suffering caused by the top few percent of the population who worship Wall Street and the Pentagon as the answer to all problems in America.

Meanwhile, the white and minority working class become the cannon fodder for Trump’s egotism and narcissism, as he continues to divide America, and has no concern about the tremendous damage he is causing, creating an atmosphere of civil anger and disrespect that has split America like no time since the 1960s, and in many ways, worse than that decade 50 years ago!

Trump Administration Refusal To Make Opioid Crisis A National Emergency An Unconscionable Declaration Of Democide, A Crime Against Humanity!

The Trump Administration has refused to declare the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency, saying it is not necessary.

This is one of the most criminal acts of the Trump Presidency, as about 1,000 people per week are dying from abuse of pain medication, which means we have a September 11 equivalent every three weeks, which also means over 50,000-60,000 people will die in the next year, more than in auto accidents, because of refusal to mobilize resources to fight this epidemic of overdoses and addiction, which is affecting all of the nation, and particularly high rates in New Hampshire, West Virginia, Ohio, Maine, Maryland, and Palm Beach County, Florida, where this blogger lives. High levels of addiction are found in rural areas, and among white working class people, many of whom voted for Donald Trump, but Trump just says one must teach one’s children not to abuse drugs as if a lecture will resolve it, and as more teenagers become victims every week.

Everyone is susceptible to this situation, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has, commendably, brought attention to this crisis, from the time of his Presidential campaign when he spoke about a good friend who died from opioid addiction. It was the most human moment of his failed campaign, but he is still very much involved in trying to promote action on this crisis, which has become one of ethics, and morality.

For Trump to refuse, through his despicable Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, himself a doctor, to address this issue as a national emergency is an unconscionable declaration of democide, a crime against humanity, that should lead to prosecution and imprisonment for Trump, Price, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who instead wants to promote more convictions and imprisonment as punishment for those who are unfortunately addicted to pain medication.

The problem is that opioids are available from overseas nations, including China, via the internet, so it is not just an issue of drugs being brought across the border from Mexico, as is often the assertion we hear from the Trump Administration.

One can wonder if the thought in the Trump Administration is that a good way to get rid of people considered “unproductive” and a burden on society is to let them die, offer no help or assets to deal with the crisis, other than punishment through imprisonment. This may sound crazy to many, but it is clear that Trump has no regard for poor people, elderly people, disabled people, and “unproductive” people, and it would save a large portion of the funding for the “social safety net”.

Donald Trump’s War On The Poor And Disabled Unprecedented In Modern American History!

Donald Trump clearly has no conscience, as he is moving ahead in a war on the poor and disabled, unprecedented in American history.

The Native Americans of such areas as the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation of South Dakota; the poverty stricken areas of the major cities; the white working class of states such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania that is in desperation due to the decline of coal mining; the rural Southern and Midwest towns that have seen the close of factories and decline of agricultural prosperity; and the growing number of elderly and disabled people of all ages, all of which count on such government programs as Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Supplemental Security Income, now face massive cuts in programs, which these groups cannot afford to lose.

They will be unable to have proper nutrition; will be unable to afford visits to doctors or hospitals except in dire emergencies; and will face living out of cars or in homeless shelters; and doing without basic needs met, including dental care, winter heating and summer air conditioning, and ability to plan to send their children to college. They will have no opportunity to plan for a retirement when they are no longer able to work, particularly those with physical jobs, which will render them in a dire financial position in their twilight years.

But to Donald Trump, what really matters is not these “disposable” people, many of whom will most certainly die before their time due to neglect, but rather the additional wealth that will be gained by the elite wealthy from massive tax cuts at the expense of their fellow Americans, and will cause the moral and ethical decline of American society, as the evil aspects of capitalism will run rampant. Excessive greed and emphasis on profits is the priority over basic humanity!

“Change” Elections: 1800, 1828, 1860, 1896, 1912, 1932, 1960, 1968, 1980, 2000, 2008, And Now 2016?

America has now had 58 Presidential elections, and it can now be said that 12 of them, about 20 percent, have been transformational elections.

In 1800, for the first time. the “opposition” won the Presidency, when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams.

In 1828, the “common man”, Andrew Jackson, was elected over John Quincy Adams, and all white males over 21, whether or not property owners, were able to vote, and Jackson was perceived as representing the western frontiersman and the urban worker.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln’s victory ushered in a new political party, the Republican Party, as dominant for the next half century, and the Civil War developed out of the split over slavery and its expansion between the Union and the Confederacy. But the sectionalism of that period still exists in many ways in 2017.

In 1896, William McKinley’s victory over William Jennings Bryan promoted the growth of industry and urbanizastion over the previously predominant agricultural and rural nature of America, but in reality, that conflict still exists in 2017.

In 1912, the high point of progressive reform, and the evolution of government playing a major role in the economy from that point on, became a long term reality, with three Presidents–the past President Theodore Roosevelt; the incumbent President William Howard Taft; and the future President Woodrow Wilson—all competing in promoting what one could call the most reform oriented election, with all three Presidents being “progressive” to different degrees.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over Herbert Hoover, was the time of the beginning of Democratic Party dominance, and ever bigger national government, even beyond the Progressive Era of the early 20th century.

In 1960, the election of John F. Kennedy was the triumph of overcoming the “religion issue”, as our first non Protestant President, a Roman Catholic from Massachusetts, was accomplished.

In 1968, the election of Richard Nixon marked the beginning of a turn to the Right, although Nixon actually continued and expanded elements of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson in domestic affairs.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s victory marked the sharpest turn to the Right since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s, and began an era of conservative government, that in many respects, continued under his successors, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 2000, the Supreme Court intervention in the Florida vote count, and the awarding of Florida to George W. Bush by 537 votes, giving him the Presidency, was a revolutionary change that changed the course of history, when Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half million, and with the economy having improved during the Clinton years, should have led to Gore in the White House.

In 2008, Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain was a sharp turn to the left after what were arguably 40 years of conservative government to different degrees, including under Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and Obama overcame the race issue, in becoming the first African American President.

And now, in 2016, Donald Trump’s victory MIGHT be a sign of another “change” election, with the white working class voting for Trump, giving him the victory in the Electoral College, even though rival Hillary Clinton won the biggest popular vote margin of a losing candidate (2.85 million), greater than many Presidents won on their road to the White House,

But it may eventually be seen as a “fluke” election, and may not be long lasting, and only time and events will tell us what the reality is.

Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days: An F Grade Is Appropriate! Neil Gorsuch Is The Only “Accomplishment”!

This is the season for judgment on Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days, and being a professor of history and political science, as well as a lecturer, blogger, and published author of two books and many articles, the conclusion is clear.

Donald Trump gets a F for his performance, easily the least accomplished President in the first Hundred Days, with only one major accomplishment, the approval by the US Senate of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

But even that only came about because of the Republican decision to abandon the filibuster rule, therefore allowing Gorsuch to be confirmed without a 60 vote margin usually required before a final vote. And it seems likely that Gorsuch will, sadly, take America backwards, maybe more so than his predecessor, Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch will affect constitutional law in a detrimental way, based on his earlier record as a circuit court judge.

Otherwise, Trump has been all bluster and bullyism, who has made many promises, and none of them nearing fulfillment. Trump’s public opinion ratings are by far the lowest of any President since polling began, particularly at this early a stage of his time in office. He has never had the majority of the nation behind him, either in the election, during the transition, or now after a hundred days in office.

Donald Trump has done more to divide America in his first Hundred Days than any previous President, and he relishes conflict, rather than compromise and unity. He has pitted his white working class supporters against minorities, and yet he is showing lack of any concern about those who supported him. There are signs already of disillusionment and “buyer’s remorse” by many who voted for Trump.

He has promised a Mexico Wall which will not work, if it is ever built, and it will add many tens of billions to the national debt, and Mexico is not going to pay for the Wall, and one hopes Trump is not ready to start a war with our neighbor, as he has more than enough foreign policy problems as it is.

He saw his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, forced to resign in less than a month, and there has been total chaos, anarchy, and disarray with the White House staff, with the only good thing being the lessening of the influence of right wing radical Stephen Bannon, and the rise of the influence of Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner. It is hoped that the couple will have a humanizing influence on Trump, which would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, the Russian connection to Trump is still being investigated, and could force him out of office at some point. But meanwhile, Trump has been saber rattling with North Korea and Iran, and has bombed Syria and Afghanistan, and continues to promise the total destruction of ISIL (ISIS). Relations with Russia, at least publicly, are deteriorating as well.

Trump has managed to create hostility and antagonism with such allies as Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia, while seemingly cozying up to China over the Korean issue, and therefore changing his hostile tone in the campaign toward China.

Trump has shown his total ignorance of history and of science, and has declared war on the environment, on consumer rights, on labor rights, on women’s rights, on the Hispanic community, on African Americans, and on the health care system itself. He seems unconcerned about the loss of health care for 24 million Americans, and is just out to trash his predecessor, Barack Obama.

His appointments to his cabinet are atrocious, and we have the most terrifying Attorney General in all of American history in Jeff Sessions.

Trump has failed to gain any legislative accomplishments, and has, instead, used twice as many executive orders than his last two predecessors, but many are mean spirited and negative, undermining our values and the historical accomplishments of government in the past hundred years since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and including Republican Presidents, as well as Democrats.

Trump makes Richard Nixon look much better, and even the weaknesses and shortcomings of George W. Bush pale by comparison, as at least Bush was a decent human being, while wrong headed.

His anti immigrant, nativist stand is a stain on history, and the tragedy of deportation of children protected under executive order of Barack Obama adds to the horrors of families being torn apart.

His condemnation of the judiciary is detrimental to respect for the law, and his Muslim bans have been held up by courageous federal court judges.

Trump, in many ways, is the third President without a party, as there is a major split in the Republican Party, and there are many officeholders and conservative journalists and intellectuals who have major problems with him. John Tyler and Andrew Johnson are the earlier Presidents who had no party backing, but Trump was elected, while they were not, but Trump’s constant switches of position, and his lying, and insulting, undermine his Presidency dramatically.

Donald Trump comes across, ultimately, as the least likable President, if one judges by his character, his behavior, and his basic values.

Trump has no background, experience, knowledge, or ethical standard to be our President, and one must recall that 54 percent of those who voted, were against him, and he is the 7th lowest popular vote percentage winner of all Presidents, with the others–John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and James Buchanan–all having two or three opponents who won electoral votes, while Trump only had Hillary Clinton as an electoral vote competitor. And Hillary won the biggest margin of popular votes of any losing candidate–2.85 million popular votes.

The nightmare of Donald Trump has just begun, and America is a loser for having, somehow, elected this egomaniac and narcissist, who is only out for his own glorification!