Watch Out, Ted Cruz. Beto is Coming

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Watch Out, Ted Cruz. Beto is Coming.

Image
Beto O’Rourke at Natachee’s Supper ’n Punch restaurant in Houston.CreditBryan Schutmaat for The New York Times

HOUSTON — Count me among the swelling ranks of the infatuated. I, too, have been Beto-struck.

I have seen the alternative to Ted Cruz — Lord knows we need an alternative to Ted Cruz — and he’s a peppy, rangy, toothy progressive with ratios of folksiness to urbanity and irreverence to earnestness that might well have been cooked up in some political laboratory. Could that formula enable Representative Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat, to wrest Cruz’s seat in the Senate from him in November?

By now you’ve probably heard of Beto — seemingly no one calls him by his surname — and that in and of itself is a marvel. When else has a long-shot Senate candidate with no prior celebrity drawn so much coverage? He has been the subject of lengthy profiles in The Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, which bestowed upon him the mightiest political adjective of them all: “Kennedyesque.”

He even appeared last month on Bill Maher’s HBO show, generating headlines with his response to Maher’s characterization of Cruz.

“Don’t forget,” Maher said, “he’s a giant asshole.”

“That’s true,” Beto concurred.

It was a naughty swerve from his usual niceness, and over lunch in Houston on Thursday, he told me that he regretted it.

“I think I was just moving the conversation along,” Beto said. “Anyhow, I don’t think that Ted Cruz is an asshole.”

“You don’t?” I asked, incredulous.

“I certainly don’t think that publicly,” he answered.

Cruz is a rare and precious gift. He’s so loathed that any passable Democrat with a picayune chance of toppling him was bound to draw more attention and inspire more hope than the political dynamics warranted. While President Trump’s unpopularity endangers his party’s incumbents far and wide and Texas may indeed be getting bluer, the state has been very red for very long. The last time a Democrat won statewide office was 24 years ago.

But Beto is more than passable. Many of his campaign events are mobbed. People line up for selfies and then insist on hugs.

Image
Beto O’Rourke at a town hall meeting at the University of Houston on Thursday.CreditBryan Schutmaat for The New York Times

He’s raising money like mad. Last week he disclosed that in the first quarter of 2018 he took in $6.7 million, bringing his total haul to $13.2 million, which handily outpaces Cruz and is more than any Texas Democrat running for the Senate ever amassed. All of that cash came from individuals. He has sworn off money from PACs.

“Even the most skeptical person has to acknowledge that there’s something going on here,” Jim Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, told me. “But is it something that can overcome the deep hole that any Democratic candidate in this state is in?”

Beto’s answer to those odds is an oddball campaign. This has freed him to be freewheeling. He has no speechwriter, because he never speaks from a fixed script. He has no pollster, because he’s not going by polls.

“No political consultant worth their salt would allow us to go to college campuses, because young people don’t vote,” he told a group of Latino leaders during a meeting on Thursday that I accompanied him to. “That’s why we don’t have a political consultant.”

His next event, in fact, was at the University of Houston.

He was driving himself from stop to stop in a rented red Dodge Caravan. There was a banana and bag of nuts beside him; his two campaign aides — the entirety of his traveling entourage — huddled with their smartphones in the back. “Their highest value in the car is cranking on stuff,” he told me. The steering and navigation could be left to him.

His Facebook followers already know this, because he does Facebook Live streams of much of his day, recounting all manner of tedium. Midday Wednesday he filled in followers on an electricity mishap during a convenience-store bathroom break. “I’m in the stall,” he recalled. “The lights are cut. Pitch black. I just freeze.”

On Thursday night, viewers beheld the action-packed minutes of him refueling the Caravan. “Our purchase came to $44.45,” he narrated. “Your contributions literally go into the gas tank.”

In late January, he did a 24-hour Facebook Live beginning with a run with several hundred supporters at dawn and continuing through a chat with all-night street cleaners. (When he had to shower or such, his wife, Amy, kept viewers engaged.)

I asked him why.

“How do I get your attention?” he answered. “You’ve seen politics before. You’ve seen the well-produced ads where I’m holding my wife’s hand and our kids are running down a hillside. You’re sick of that. How do I honor what’s going on now? Politics are changing dramatically. People are really looking for the most transparent, honest, direct way to connect with one another. And we’re going to find it.”

Beto, 45, lives in El Paso, grew up there and has spent most of his life in Texas, apart from college at Columbia University, where he majored in English. He and Amy have three children, ages 7, 9 and 11. He started a small technology company before he served on the El Paso City Council and then in Congress.

That background has somehow given him enough material that whenever a voter asks him a question — about health care or school safety or the treatment of veterans — he’s able to draw on some personal anecdote. After a town hall meeting on Thursday, two of the attendees whom I interviewed separately used the same adjective to praise him: “Relatable.”

He hits so many right notes that it’s eerie. During campaign swings last summer, when school was out, the family camped out at night in state parks. His two youngest kids learned all the words to George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning” before an event in Amarillo, which they opened with an a cappella rendition.

He’s quick to validate voters’ ill will toward federal lawmakers, and he said, during that town hall, that only 9 percent of Americans approve of Congress. “You know that communism has an approval rating of 10 percent,” he added. “Chlamydia is at 8 percent. So Congress is in the sweet spot. But watch out! The chlamydia lobby is working it hard and they are going to move up and surpass Congress soon.”

But he’s also careful to praise his colleagues in the House. “There’s so much talent in the Democratic caucus,” he told me, “from Joaquin Castro to Cheri Bustos to Joe Kennedy to Hakeem Jeffries.” In that one seemingly off-the-cuff sentence, he managed to include a fellow Texan, a storied dynasty, both genders and multiple regions and races.

He talks about fried catfish one second, James Joyce the next. (The older of his two sons is named Ulysses.) He’s fluent in classic punk rock and contemporary country. He’s fluent in Spanish, too.

He’s clear about his beliefs that health care should be guaranteed, marijuana should be legal, Trump should be impeached and the border wall is ridiculous. That puts him to the left of many Texans. But he’s just as voluble about his exhausting effort to visit every county in Texas, including the most staunchly conservative ones, and about the need for people of all political stripes to be respected.

Beto is more than the anti-Cruz. He’s a political fable, holding out the happy if far-fetched possibility that a candidate’s effervescence matters more than a state’s partisan breakdown and that gumption beats any focus group.

“People are watching,” he told his town hall audience. “If we win this race in the right way, I guarantee you, it is going to change politics in the United States going forward.”

I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@FrankBruni) and join me on Facebook.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page SR3 of the New York edition with the headline: Watch Out, Ted Cruz. Beto is Coming.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

The Bill And The B.S.

The Bill And The B.S.

 

So the Politicians in Washington were actually able to work together enough to get a Budget Bill passed, congrats to them on this achievement. Yet We The People have the right to say to those folks that it is about damn time you did something that wasn’t bi-polar! Example being, we see and realize that as soon as a Bill is passed, any Bill, right away you get party spin about any good things that your party liked or didn’t. Trouble is most anything ever passed, and very little is passed, is all one Party sided. Personally my political views are independent of either Party and personally I believe that most people are. We often end up voting for, if we vote at all or even register for that matter, the one we consider to be the least of the two evils. I agree with neither Party Platform, some of the things that the Democrats are for, I am for. But also I am against some of their views, just as I am with the Republicans and some of their views. Until the liberal left of the Democratic Party and the far right of the Republican Party begin to hold only a little sway within their own leaderships will the individual Representative be unhindered to vote their own and their voters own conscience.

They are (mostly all) full of it and we the public are so sick of all of them (almost all). I am sick of both party leaderships. It is they that always put so much interior pressure on the people that we voted into office. I voted for my Kentucky Congressman and Senator, I did not vote for their party leaders to dictate to them how they vote. I did not vote for an New York or the California Representative, and no one should have the power to dictate to them how they will vote on any issue, except the voter who voted them in. Then, we would have a democracy where the people rule, not some tiny Round Table with only five or six Players.

Trump won’t release Democratic memo, sends back to committee

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(Donald is ‘FAKE NEWS’ Trump shows is cowardliness, again!)(trs)

Trump won’t release Democratic memo, sends back to committee

(CNN)President Donald Trump won’t release the Democratic rebuttal to the Republican intelligence memo alleging FBI abuses of its surveillance authority at this time, and has sent it back to the House Intelligence Committee for changes.

In a letter to the committee, White House counsel Donald McGahn said, “although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time.”
Trump had said earlier Friday he planned to release the memo.
“It’s gonna be released soon,” Trump told reporters at the White House, adding, “We’re going to release a letter.”
The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on Monday to release the 10-page Democratic memo, and the committee rules gave Trump five days to decide whether to block or allow its release.
The memo from Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee, was written to rebut the Republican memo released one week prior, which accuses the FBI of suppressing Democratic ties to an opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia used in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
Schiff and other Democrats charge that the Republican memo led by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of California is misleading and omits key facts, including that the FISA application did state that ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, was paid by a political entity.
“The Democratic response sets out the material facts that were necessary for the public to see that the FBI acted properly in seeking a FISA warrant on Carter Page,” Schiff said in a statement. “After promising to treat the Democratic response in precisely the same way, the White House now seeks to have the Democratic memo sent back to committee and revised by the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes document to begin with.”
The White House included a letter signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray that says they have identified portions of the Democratic memo that would raise national security or law enforcement concerns if released publicly.
Trump cited concerns from the Justice Department and FBI in his objection to releasing the Democratic memo. But Trump ignored those concerns when he decided to release the Republican memo last week — despite the FBI releasing a rare statement to say the Nunes memo omitted key information and the Justice Department raising “grave concerns” about its release without proper review.
Trump’s objection puts the committee in uncharted waters, as the committee used an obscure rule that had never been invoked before to vote to release both memos.
The White House allowed the Nunes memo to be made public. But with the objection to the Democratic memo, there is a procedure available to the House to override the objection and make it public anyway.
That would require a vote of the full House after a rare debate in closed session for the full chamber.
But it’s not clear whether Republicans will be willing to take that step, and the GOP committee members were hesitant about defying Trump on the memo earlier this week.
At the committee’s Monday meeting where it voted to release the memo, Nunes expressed concerns that the Democratic memo went further than the Republican document in disclosing sources and methods.
“This memo contains a large volume of classified information, including some touching on sources and methods heightening the potential damage to national security,” Nunes said.
Schiff said he gave his memo to the Justice Department and FBI so they could review for national security concerns in addition to just a White House review, as he expressed concerns there would be “political redactions” to the memo.
“In order to rebut the errors, omissions and distortions in the Republican-drafted memo, we have included certain details beyond the revelations made public by the release of the majority’s document,” Schiff said.
Democrats immediately cried foul at the decision to send the Democratic memo back to the committee.
“The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that’s harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?”

Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NRA-ILA)

 

Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression

Back to Top

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2018

Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression

Lawmakers in California must have temporarily exhausted their store of ideas for legislating against law-abiding gun enthusiasts. After years of padding the bureaucracy with ever more complicated rules, restrictions and bans for people who legally own and enjoy guns, lawmakers are now considering a measure to strike a preemptive declaration against gun ownership.

The California bill, AB 1927, introduced by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, directs the state’s Department of Justice to “develop and launch a secure Internet-based platform to allow a person who resides in California to voluntarily add his or her own name to the California Do Not Sell List.” This list would be uploaded to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), meaning the system would affect a person’s ability to acquire a firearm not just in California, but anywhere in the country.

On registering, a person has the option of providing the state with the names and email addresses of up to five contacts, who have the right to be notified as soon as the registrant seeks a restoration of the right to acquire guns. The bill makes it a crime to knowingly sell or transfer a firearm to a person on the list (and a licensed gun dealer is liable to lose their dealer’s license, too). “Receipt” of a firearm is “unlawful” for anyone on the list, although the bill specifies that mere possession is not prohibited (“possession after the moment of receipt is not unlawful and the fact of possession may not be relied upon to prove a violation” of the law).

While getting on the Do Not Sell List may be as simple as a few clicks of a mouse, getting off the list is challenging different matter entirely. The registrant must file a petition with a court to have his or her name removed. All persons on the registrant’s contact list are entitled to advance notice of the date, time, and location of the court hearing. And although a person may register on the list for any reason (or no reason at all), a court is authorized to remove a registrant off the list only after he or she establishes, by a “preponderance of the evidence that he or she is not at elevated risk of suicide.” The evidence needed to satisfy this standard isn’t specified, but it’s safe to assume that a mental health evaluation and testimony from a mental health professional will be required. Once a court grants the order, the state must remove the person from the NICS Index and expunge all records related to the person’s registration on the list.

A similarly inspired bill to allow a “voluntary waiver of firearm rights” is pending in Washington State.  S.B. 5553allows anyone to file a waiver document with the court, and to include the name of a “person to be contacted” if a voluntary waiver is later revoked. All waivers are fed into a state police database used to determine eligibility to purchase a handgun. The person is free to revoke the waiver at a later date, but the waiver must stay in effect for a minimum of two weeks (seven days, plus another week in which the police must delete the waiver from the database). The bill makes it a felony to provide a gun to a person where there is reasonable cause to believe the person is subject to an active waiver, and a licensed dealer is prohibited from selling or transferring a gun to such persons.

The apparent rationale behind these bills is to provide those at risk of suicide with a way to declare themselves “prohibited persons” for the purposes of future gun purchases. Assemblyman Bonta describes his bill as giving “people the power to create a potentially life-saving barrier,” and the summary on the Washington proposal claims it will prevent suicide by helping “people in crisis maintain their autonomy while saving their lives.”

Overlooking several practical issues, the bills’ effectiveness isn’t likely to match the declared sentiment of advocates.

The California bill requires that the “Internet-based platform” for the list “credibly verif[y]” the identity of those who sign up online. Neither bill, though, has a corrective procedure to remove anyone included because they share a name and birthdate with someone properly listed, or because of some other error. The only way the bill provides for getting de-listed on California’s registry is convincing a court not that there’s been a mistake, but that the registrant has a non-elevated risk of suicide.

Waivers of constitutional rights “must be voluntary and must be knowing, intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.” In Washington State, persons contemplating a waiver should be aware that the waiver remains effective even after it is revoked because the police have a week to process the revocation, with ensuing legal consequences. Because of the time lag between actual revocation and the update to the police database, a person who seeks to obtain a gun after revocation but during that period is liable to be reported to a separate police database of people who attempt to acquire guns while prohibited under state or federal law.

The most distressing thing about these bills is the focus on the method while bypassing the underlying, core problem of the person’s suicidal impulses, depression, or other mental health emergency. Experts estimate that the vast majority of persons who commit suicide suffer from a mental illness at the time of their death. The same mindset impelled “gun violence restraining order” laws in California and Washington State, aimed specifically at disarming persons at risk of harming themselves (but only with a gun). Regardless, Assemblyman Bonta, resorting to the favorite catchphrase of the gun control movement, describes his bill as “a common-sense measure” to allow people to “self-restrict their ability to purchase a firearm.”

While lawmakers continue to look for new ways to restrict gun rights, people seeking help may find there’s a lot of talk about promoting health through “innovative” prevention strategies for at-risk individuals, without much in the way of actual help.

We All Have a Stake in the Stock Market, Right? Guess Again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

Wall Street’s volatility is merely a spectator event for most Americans, whose wealth is not held in stocks.CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

Take a deep breath and relax.

The riotous market swings that have whipped up frothy peaks of anxiety over the last week — bringing the major indexes down more than 10 percentfrom their peak — have virtually no impact on the income or wealth of most families. The reason: They own little or no stock.

A whopping 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households. And that includes everyone’s stakes in pension plans, 401(k)’s and individual retirement accounts, as well as trust funds, mutual funds and college savings programs like 529 plans.

“For the vast majority of Americans, fluctuations in the stock market have relatively little effect on their wealth, or well-being, for that matter,” said Edward N. Wolff, an economist at New York University who recently published new research on the topic.

Both Republicans and Democrats have promoted the idea that a rising stock market broadly lifts Americans’ fortunes. When there was a parade of market rallies, President Trump asked, “How’s your 401(k) doing?”

There was a move toward democratizing stock ownership in the 1980s and 1990s, with the advent of individual retirement accounts, but the busts of 2001 and 2007 scared off some middle-class investors.

Continue reading the main story

Of course, any financial loss can be scary and painful. Indeed, the less you have, the more each dollar counts. And market gyrations could foreshadow deeper problems that signal the end of a nine-year boom and short-circuit the economic recovery.

But the day-to-day impact on most people’s overall wealth is minimal.

“It’s far from where you think that it would be, given the rhetoric,” said Ray Boshara, director of the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

A look at some fundamentals may provide a clearer perspective.

Stock ownership is the exception.

Roughly half of all households don’t have a cent invested in stocks, whether through a 401(k) account or shares in General Electric. That leaves half the population with some exposure to financial market whims, but as Mr. Boshara said, “some exposure can be 100 bucks.”

Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

Who’s in the Market

Households with each type

of stock investment

Households’ stock

investment, by value

Stock as a share of

households’ total assets

50

%

50

%

50

%

Pensions

40

40

40

$5,000

or more

$10,000

or more

30

30

30

$25,000

or more

20

20

20

Direct holdings

Mutual funds

10

10

10

Trust funds

’89

’98

’07

’16

’89

’98

’07

’16

’89

’98

’07

’16

“If you look at where the money is really held, it’s among the top 10 percent,” he said. “And if you break it down by age, race and education and parental education, you’ll see the disparities are even larger.” Parents who lack a four-year degree and, later on, their children are much less likely to have a direct stake in the stock market than college graduates; blacks and Hispanics are much less likely than whites.

“It’s too bad such a small percentage of the population has any real or meaningful ownership stake in equities, given their historic and current growth,” Mr. Boshara said.

Most households had less than $5,000 in total holdings in 2016, the most recent year analyzed by Mr. Wolff. Despite the slow recovery in housing prices, the wealth of middle-class Americans is still concentrated in their homes, which remain their single most valuable asset.

For 9 out of 10 households, even a shift in value of 10 percent — enough to qualify as a “market correction” — would “at most, have a 1 or 2 percent impact on their wealth holdings,” Mr. Wolff said.

If anything, foreign multinational and other investors would feel more of a pinch, since they own 35 percent of all United States corporate stock, up from 10 percent in 1982. That share of the pie exceeds the single slice owned by taxable American shareholders, defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, or nonprofit institutions, said Steven M. Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Don’t confuse the Dow with the economy.

The stock market and the underlying economy are distinct. The two interact, but they do not proceed in lock step or even respond to each other in predictable ways. Certainly, market instability can undermine both consumer and business confidence and restrain spending and investment. And market bubbles, swelled by overextended borrowing, can explode, wreaking losses and stalling growth.

Still, valuations of assets and the country’s economic health — as determined by productivity, employment, investment, spending, housing values, production capacity, growth and more — are two different kettles.

The Stock Market Isn’t the Economy. Here’s How They Can Shape Each Other

Stock markets have recently fallen over fears that economic growth is too strong. Here’s why, and one way how steep, sustained sell-offs could end up hurting the economy.

“If all that happens is the stock market decreases or increases in value, but no real fundamentals change,” C. Eugene Steuerle, an economist at the Urban Institute who served in the Reagan administration, said, “then there are actually a lot of winners, not just losers.”

“Older people can buy less stock,” because the returns from their investment are smaller, Mr. Steuerle said, “but young people can buy more on the cheap,” which sets them up for bigger gains down the road.

Attention, discount shoppers,” Michelle Singletary, a personal financial columnist for The Washington Post, advised on Thursday. “The recent stock market dive is like a holiday weekend sale.”

The economy still seems solid.

When it come to evaluating the economy’s fundamentals, assessments come in a Revlon rack of shades. Economists warn that mounting debt, as a result of the costly $1.5 trillion tax package, threatens economic stability over the longer run, as private investment is crowded out and interest payments balloon. Productivity growth is anemic and labor participation rates are low by historical standards.

Still, the signs of strength — at least for the next couple of years — are impressive.

Unemployment is near record lows, total output is rising at a faster rate, bond yields are up, oil prices have increased, and consumer and business confidence remain high. Every major economy around the world is growing in concert, simultaneously propelling and reinforcing a positive cycle.

After all, one of those indicators — a January jobs report that showed healthy payroll expansion and a jump in yearly wage growth — is what help set off the stock market tumult last Friday.

Is Black History Month Simply Racists?

IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH SIMPLY RACISTS?

 

I hope that you noticed that I posed this title as a question and not as a statement. I am going to be posing this article in questioning form, I am trying to get all of us to think, to look inside ourselves to discover, what do we think about these questions. First let us start with Black History Month, is its whole concept derived off of racism? Are the politicians, mostly the Democrats simply bowing down to a group of people who normally vote about 90% for Democrats? Why is there only one non-politician (Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.) who has their birthday as a Federal Holiday? Is it because he was a Black man? In all of U.S. history is Doctor King the only person who really stands out as a special human being deserving of having a Federal Holiday in honor of them? Personally I am in favor of Doctor King being honored in this way, I feel that the man deserves it, but aren’t there others, is he the only one?

 

I have seen in the past when a business celebrates a certain ethnic day, where the company lets a certain group of their employees get the day off or throw a special lunching for just one ethnic group, it causes a lot of friction within the rank and file of their employees. To me, if we are going to do such things as a Nation then we need to vastly expand it, or end it all together. Just as there are institutions within the Black community where we have organizations like the NAACP, the Negro College Fund, Black Colleges, Black Miss America, shouldn’t we also have things like this for all of the other nationalities? Doesn’t it have to be all or none? What would be wrong with the National Association For The Advancement of Oriental People, Hispanic People or European People? Would that be racists? If we had the National White College Fund or the White Miss America Pageant, or Miss Oriental Miss America Pageant or how about the Hispanic College Fund, are these ideas racists? Is the concept of Nation Indian American Pageant or Indian College Fund racists?

 

When it is only one group which is based on skin color, to me it sure looks like the pure definition of racism. What makes it worse is when you have so-called Leaders of that Nationality group who do things like deny that the Holocaust ever happened because they want to say that they, their group, their ethnicity, is the only group that has ever been treated horribly, folks, that is racism. Should we as a Nation honor the other Nationalities? Should March be National Arab Month? Should April be National Persian Month? May National Hispanic Month? The list could go on and on, should we as a Nation do this? Should the same things be evaluated concerning the Colleges and College funds? The Miss America Pageant, should we have one for every race, for every mixed race? As I said, this article today is posed as a question to you, to get us all to think, what is okay, what is racist, what should we as a Nation say yes or no to? If you would, please leave me your thoughts in the comment section, I always do my best to answer all comments within 24 hours when ever possible. Thank you for the kindness of your time, I appreciate you stopping in.

 

 

Martin Luther King and His Roots in The Labor Socialist Movement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LIBERAL DEMOCRAT)

 

JOHN F. KENNEDY LIBERAL DEMOCRAT

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018

Talking Union: Nathan Newman- Remembering Martin Luther King and His Roots in The Labor Socialist Movement

Source: Talking Union

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Imagine if we had more American Socialists who had the character and courage  to be out front about their socialist politics and not feel the need to hide behind other political labels, like Senator Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill Stein today, but back in the 1960s Dr. Martin L. King. America would be a lot less ignorant politically. Americans with liberal leanings who believe in liberal democratic values ( not necessarily Democratic Party values ) would be a lot more open about being a Liberal and probably be proud Liberals, because they would know that they’re not Socialists or Communists, but instead Liberals who believe in liberal democracy. . In Britain, Europe, and perhaps Canada, you don’t have closeted Socialists which is what we have in America. Socialists there stand up for their socialist politics and are proud to be called Social Democrats or Democratic Socialists and in like in France and Sweden, are proud to be known as Socialists. In America, not so much.

As I argued last week Dr. Martin King, wasn’t just a Socialist, but a proud Socialist and Democratic Socialist at that. Edgar Hoover’s FBI believed that Dr. King was a Communist and working with Communist Party USA to build his movement. There were Communists involved in the civil rights movement, but Dr. King was a Democratic Socialists politically and ideologically and believed in democratic socialism and not communism or other authoritarian ideologies. His labor movement that he was  big part of and advocating for garbage collectors in Memphis and workers in other big America cities was part of his democratic socialist movement and what he was advocating for politically. Arguing for workers rights and that all American workers regardless of race should be allowed to organize.

Dr. King believed that American capitalism, along with forced state segregation for the races in America, especially in the South, was failing to meet the needs of the people. With few people at the top with all the money in the world and a lot of people at the bottom who simply struggled to feed themselves and their families and have adequate housing. And workers who would work very hard and work real long hours and be paid practically nothing and struggle just to pay their bills. Which is why he and his organization marched and worked with Memphis sanitation workers in Memphis so they could form their own labor union. Dr. King believed we needed a new economic system that would meet the needs of the people so we would no longer have hardworking people who struggled just to feed themselves and their families.

Dr. King wanted a democratic socialist model that would essentially collect the economic resources of the country through the Federal Government and then give those resources back through government programs based on what people needed to live well. Take from the wealthy though higher taxes to take care of the poor through government. Which is along with their large wealthy energy industry, is the economic model of Sweden. If you look at what Senator Bernie Sanders pushed for economically when he ran for President in 2016, its very similar to what Dr. King advocated for in the 1960s. High taxes on the wealthy to meet the needs of everyone else. This is not my economic model but this is what Martin King believed in and was proud of it and proud to be a Democratic Socialist, unlike a lot of closeted Socialists today who hide behind other political labels.

Dr. King was a proud man who didn’t hide from anyone and would promote his politics proudly regardless of what people on the Right and generally Far-Right in America people who even saw him as evil and wanted him killed and so what if those right-wingers saw him or labeled him as a Socialist or Communist. Because he wasn’t looking for their support anyway. Dr. King was a proud Socialist and would make the case for why he was a Socialist and then tell people who disagreed with them, “why aren’t you a Socialist as well now that you know what and why I stand for?” Which is very different from left-wingers today who are even proud to support Bernie Sanders and agree with him on everything and perhaps even to the left of Senator Sanders and perhaps even have more communist leanings instead of democratic socialist leanings and still feel the need to hide behind other political labels. And fail to claim the socialist label that fits their politics perfectly.

Source: Caleb Maupin: Martin Luther King Was a Socialist

President Trump Is Correct About Putting America First

TRUMP PUTTING AMERICA FIRST IS THE ONLY CORRECT THING TO DO

 

As anyone who reads the Blog surely knows by now, I am not at all a fan of Donald Trump. It is difficult for me to think of a civil word in the concept of describing this person. Those who follow this Blog also know that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton so I hope that you understand this article today is not about being a Democrat or a Republican as I am neither. So far though I do believe that the Republican Party is bringing much harm to themselves by standing behind this President. I do believe that if the Republicans have not gotten the guts to stand with the Democrats and to impeach Trump from Office before the November 2018 Mid-term Elections they are going to get slaughtered in those Elections. On a side note, I also feel that the Christians who are standing with this President are doing a great dishonor to Christ and His Holy Name as there is nothing holy about Mr. Trump. It is right and correct to pray for our Leaders but it is sinful to back sinful policies in the name of Christianity.

 

Now to the main headline of today’s commentary. Ever since Mr. Trump in his Campaign started using the slogan ‘America First’ he has drawn a lot of fire and anger from ‘the left, Democrats and liberals’. To me this anger is total stupidity! I do totally believe that Mr. Trump is a total racists but I do not at all consider this ‘slogan’ to be racist in any way. If Mr. Trump was saying something along the lines of ‘Whites First’ then yes, that would be totally racist. Yet any Leader or want to be Leader of any country who doesn’t create policies to put his own Nation first has no business being a Leader of that Nation. Think about it for a moment, if Mr. Trump’s slogan was ‘China First, or Russia First’, do you think that the American people would have elected him?

 

If Chancellor Merkel of Germany vocally or via policies said her goal is to put the EU before Germany should be voted out of Office? If Prime Minister May of England did the same thing, should she be the Prime Minister? How about President Jinping of China, if he was pushing a policy of Japan first, would he still be the President of China? How about Mr. Putin of Russia, if he was saying ‘America First’, would he still be the President of Russia? What I am saying is, of course Mr. Trump should put the interest of America first, if he didn’t, wouldn’t he then be a traitor to his own Country? What I am saying is, just because you or I believe this person (I have a hard time calling him a man) to be ignorant self-centered scum of the Earth, it does not mean that everything he says is wrong nor from his racist Soul.

Republican Christians: Quit Being Hypocrites, Put Up, Or Shut Up

 

I use the name Truth Troubles for this Blog Site for a reason, it is because in many cases the ‘truth’ can be inconvenient for our ego’s. Politicians are great at telling people they are speaking the truth on a subject matter when in fact only about 1% of what they are saying is actually the truth. You see, that is speaking the truth, they just don’t tell you about the 99% BS that goes along with their version. When you step on the witness stand in a court room you are told to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God. Folks, that, is the only truth, God’s truth, not some version or percent of it.

 

In November of 2016 ‘we the people’ mainly had two horrible habitual liars to choose as our President, which one was the worse for our Country, that is debatable. Weather the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is the most evil is also easily debatable, personally I have no faith in either of them to ever be truthful with the American people. The Democratic Party and their platform of supporting abortion at will make it impossible for many Christians to vote for a Democrat knowing that they will endorse this policy. Yet this article today isn’t about the Christians who vote for Democrats, today, this article is about the Republican Party and their own ‘unholy’ policies.

 

I say unholy policies because of their own ‘platform’ issues. This newest Republican Tax Plan is a good example of the cold-hearted nature of their base beliefs. This Bill is 1,997 pages long, the reason is simple, there are many items other than changing the Tax Code in that Bill. If it were just a simply straight forward Tax Code Bill how many pages would it be? Really, think about it, should it be more than 2 pages, 5, or maybe 10? How about even 100 pages, you can put a lot of words in 100 pages. In this bill are items like not reimbursing teachers for the supplies they have to buy out of their own pockets so their classrooms can have the basic supplies they need. Also items like stopping assistance to the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program which helps feed the poorest of the poor ‘shut in’s’. Also stopping all the funding for PBS. Stopping many of the Federal Grants for poor kids to help them go to College thus also massively hurting thousands of Colleges and Universities. In this Bill is also massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare which will cause many millions of Americas poorest people to lose their only Insurance. This will also cause many small hospitals around the Nation to have to close as people will again be having to go to their E.R. services when they get sick or injured and when these people can not pay their bills, the Hospitals will go out of business.

 

The Lord tells us all to be kind and charitable, giving and loving. The Republican Party very plainly caters only to the wealthiest 10% or so of our population. Think about this one fact for a moment please, I was born back in the mid 1950’s, in my lifetime there has not been one single minimum wage increase when there has been a Republican in the White House, not one. Trickle down economics does not work folks. It is like saying that the richest folks will be gracious and allow some of the crumbs to be swept onto the floor so the poor don’t starve to death. And the only reason they allow the crumbs is because the working class is the ones who make the products that make the rich, richer. If the people starve to death it might hurt their profit margins. If you think I am being to hard on some folks just think about the Stock Market for a moment. President Trump likes to talk about how well the Market is doing and that is a good thing folks, but the trouble is that it is a horrible thing for the people who can’t afford massive amounts of those Stocks. When a company lays off hundreds or thousands of employees their Stock value goes up right away. When a company moves out of the U.S. to a ‘Third World’ country for cheaper labor costs, their Stock value goes up right away. When Wal-Mart and Target recently gave all of their employees a raise, their Stock value went down right away.

 

Most of us know that many of the largest American companies are flooded in cash right now and that this cash is sitting in offshore banks. This is not illegal if they have followed all of the existing laws in their putting it there, in fact that is quite smart of them. If the CEO’s weren’t taking advantage of these loopholes their stock holders would vote them out of a job. I have heard several times on different news programs where Executives have commented that they have no place to invest this money so they are just hanging onto it as they are looking for better ‘deals’. So, this talk about caring about the wages and living conditions of the working class is really just a bunch of BS. If these companies were paying better wages and benefits to their workers then the whole economy would prosper. If the government actually raised the taxes on the major companies and closed off all of their built-in loop holes then the Nation could invest in our Nations roads, bridges, city infrastructures, education system and health care system.

 

The Democratic Party has lots of its own sins but as I said this article today is about some of the sins of the Republican Party and the Christians who keep putting their ‘Name, their stamp of approval’ to them. If you are a Christian and you are a voter and you choose to vote for any Republican then it is your Christian duty to insist that the Republican politicians start acting like God-fearing Christians or make it very plain that they no longer have your vote. Charity, kindness, love, compassion are staples of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Folks, the teachings of the Republican Party are exactly the opposite of the teachings of Jesus! So, if you are a Christian and your are a voter, start acting like you know and care about the teachings of Christ and force the hand of these Republican politicians. Either that or simply quit supporting them, otherwise we are nothing but a hypocrite, we are not a follower of the teaching of Christ!

Former Conyers aide: ‘Most of us’ have seen him in his underwear

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Former Conyers aide: ‘Most of us’ have seen him in his underwear

  • Weiner defended Conyers’ “surly moments” with staffers

(CNN)A former top communications aide to Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan offered a defense of his former boss amid Tuesday growing allegations of sexual harassment, saying it wasn’t uncommon for staffers to accidentally see the congressman in his underwear.

One former employee, Melanie Sloan, came forward with allegations last week, including one instance where Conyers called her to his office when he was in his underwear.
“I was pretty taken aback to see my boss half-dressed,” she told The Washington Post. “I turned on my heel and I left.”
Bob Weiner, who served as Conyers’ communications director from 1994 to 2000, spoke to reporters and photographers assembled outside the Congressman’s office, disputing Sloan’s allegations.
“Something else that people need to know: his closet is in his office right here. He changes clothes in his office. Most of us have walked in on him accidentally without knocking and have seen him in his underwear. Big deal. That’s where his closet is, he changes his clothes there. So to say that somebody came to a meeting and that’s how it was, that’s an untrue statement. That is the kind of thing that needs to be explored before there’s any acceptance to that kind of an allegation,” Weiner said, later clarifying that all members of Congress have closets in their offices.
close dialog
Tell us where to send you Five Things
Morning briefings of all the news & buzz people will be talking about
Activate Five Things
By subscribing you agree to our
privacy policy.
Weiner also defended Conyers’ “surly moments” with staffers, saying that is commonplace among politicians. “That’s not sexist. That’s just being aggressive as the member of Congress or the Cabinet member or the VIP that you are. It has nothing to do with being anti-women. I got it too.”
The House Ethics Committee announced last week it has opened an investigation into allegations against Conyers after BuzzFeed reported that he settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 after allegedly sexually harassing a staffer. Conyers denied wrongdoing in that case, but acknowledged that there had been a financial settlement to that complaint. Another former staffer, Deanna Maher, told CNN that Conyers made three sexual advances toward her when she worked for him in his district office in Detroit from 1997 to 2005. Through his lawyer, Conyers also denied wrongdoing in that case.
Conyers stepped down from his position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday.
Weiner said he was going to recommend that Conyers hold a town hall in Detroit on how should men and women act in the workplace: “And let him say, I want to learn, I want to do better, and let him have that kind of a learning experience.”
Weiner, who also helped set up Conyers’ leadership PAC, said the mood in the congressman’s office is “very depressed” and current staffers are hoping he can complete his term amid growing pressure to resign.
“His staff is very depressed and think that people are trying to make the die cast against him, and everybody’s trying to work out statements of what to say that’s the right thing to say and it’s very complicated,” he said. “People are hoping that the die hasn’t been cast too far too soon already, and as I said, the staff is hoping very much that, at a minimum, that he gets the chance to complete his term as a member of Congress. That’s the objective right now of the staff.”