Civil War Era

April 12: Beginning Of Civil War (1861) And Death Of FDR (1945)–Two Key Moments In US History!

Today, April 12, is one of the most influential days in American history!

It is the 161st anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, an event which still strongly affects American politics and society ever since, despite the loss of the Confederate States to the Union four years later on April 9, 1865.

It is also the 77th anniversary of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the most significant President of the 20th century, and only surpassed in influence by George Washington in the 18th century and Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century.

The impact of FDR remains massive on American government and society, despite the desire of Republicans over the decades to wipe out the effects of the New Deal on America.

No other events match the Civil War and the New Deal in their impact on America long term!

Presidents In Conflict With The Judiciary Are Nothing New Historically, But Trump Could Be The Biggest Threat Yet To Our Constitutional System

The conflict of President Donald Trump with the judiciary is not the first time there has been a challenge from a President to the judicial branch.

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson had regular conflict with Chief Justice John Marshall and the federal courts in the first third of the 19th century.

Abraham Lincoln had vehement disagreements with Chief Justice Roger Taney in the era of the Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both found the Supreme Court as standing in the way of progressive reform in the early 20th century.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was so frustrated by a conservative Supreme Court negating important legislation of the New Deal in the mid 1930s, that he proposed the idea of adding six new Justices to the Court in 1937. This came to be known as the “Court Packing” plan, and was soundly defeated, including by members of his own Democratic Party.

Richard Nixon had issues with the rulings of the Earl Warren Court before he was President, and the continued Warren influence on the Court under his successor, Warren Burger. And, Nixon was stopped dead in his tracks in US. V. Nixon in 1974, forcing him to hand over the Watergate Tapes to the Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leading him to resign the Presidency in August 1974.

Barack Obama was critical of the John Roberts Court on its conservative decisions early on in his Presidency in 2010.

And now, Donald Trump has unleashed what many consider the strongest challenge to the whole federal judiciary, alarming many constitutional experts as far more dangerous and threatening to the checks and balances of the Constitution and the separation of powers.

It is clear that Trump has declared war on the judiciary, but it could be that the Roberts Court will smack back at him when cases regarding his abuse of power make it to the Court, so Trump may be “hoist by hid own petard”, and regret the attacks he has made on the whole court system.

The Inauspicious Beginning Of The Republican 114th Congress: 25 Republicans Repudiate John Boehner, And White Supremacist Steve Scalise Kept As House Majority Whip!

The opening of the Republican controlled 114th Congress was an embarrassment in two major ways.

First, while Speaker John Boehner began his third two year term in that position, he suffered the repudiation of 25 members of his caucus, who refused to support him, making for the largest rebellion against a sitting Speaker in 150 years, since the Civil War era. Instead, these 25 rebels voted for Florida Congressman Daniel Webster (a distant descendant of the great Massachusetts Senator of the 19th century; Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert; Florida Congressman Ted Yoho; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; former Army General Colin Powell; and others, making a joke out of the proceedings.

Then, despite the outcry against Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, who spoke at a David Duke sponsored event in 2002, claiming not to know that Duke sponsored the event, failed to stop him from being kept on as House Majority Whip. Scalise had claimed in the past that he was a “David Duke Republican”, but now claims ignorance of the racist, antisemitic career of the former Ku Klux Klan leader and his connections to the American Nazi Party. Duke ran for Governor and Senator in the early 1990s in Louisiana, and former President George H. W. Bush led the fight against his candidacy for Governor in 1991, but somehow, Scalise was not affected by that history, and was wiling to connect himself to Duke. Yet, the GOP decided to keep him as third ranking Republican in the House.

So a very inauspicious beginning for the GOP, as they try to convince the American people that they represent the nation, and should gain the White House, as well as Capitol Hill, in 2016!

The Republican Culture: Death, Hate, Selfishness, Lack Of Compassion!

The Republican Party, in its mad dash to the far Right with Texas Governor Rick Perry in the lead, is demonstrating its ugly side, arguably the most despicable agenda since the creation of the party in the Civil War era!

Always a major backer of corporations and the rich upper class, the party always maintained some sanity, and while not promoting the social safety net as a principle, we saw members of the party in different northern states and in Congress who worked in unison with Democrats to support the Progressive Era reforms, the New Deal, and the Great Society, and reforms under Richard Nixon.

The one time the party went this far to the Right, they suffered a massive defeat under Barry Goldwater a half century ago. When Ronald Reagan became President on much of the Goldwater agenda, he managed to work across the party lines and take away the rough edges of the right wing, mouthing support but not pursing much of their agenda.

But now with the advent of the Tea Party loonies, the party is adopting a new culture, that should sicken any civilized, decent American citizen!

Unfortunately, as witnessed at the recent Republican debates in California and Florida, there are many Americans who fail to act and believe in a dignified manner of behavior!

Now death, in the form of capital punishment endorsement and advocacy of letting people without health insurance die, has been endorsed enthusiastically by right wing Republican whackos!

Now, hate of illegal immigrants and their children, and wishes to deny them basic education, health care and ability to work and contribute to American society, is endorsed wholeheartedly!

Now, selfishness, including desire to destroy labor organizing, and lack of respect and appreciation of the contributions of public workers, including police officers, firefighters, prison guards, teachers, nurses, librarians, social workers and others is endorsed!

Lack of compassion for the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, and for minority groups in America is hailed as a virtue!

One day, when this sickness in the psyche of the Republican Party is finally expunged, we will look back on this period with shock and regret, and wonder why a major political party would allow itself to engage in such insane behavior!

The great Republican heroes of the past–Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan–would be shocked and embarrassed by what the party has allowed itself to become!

But even the lesser Republican Presidents–William Howard Taft, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush–would, and in the case of the two Bushes, are very disturbed at what their party has become. This is the reason why Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney are seen as mainstream by the Bush family, and why they are clearly against the horrible message of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann!

Even the great heroes of the conservative Republican movement in the past–Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater–were not as ugly as these Tea Party Republicans are today!

Hopefully, this poison in the political debate going on, will be soundly defeated in 2012, by sane, intelligent people, who realize what the Tea Party control of the GOP has done is to make America far worse off than it was just nine months ago when they took power in the House of Representatives and declared war on basic values of decency!