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Tense times: 1968 and 2018

        We survived 1968; we will survive 2018 !                                                

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 Recently, I have been asked whether the political tension we are experiencing today is likely to erupt into violence like it did in 1968. That year was the most dramatic and violent year America has seen in recent history. Leading up to the presidential election in November,1968, we saw increasingly numerous demonstrations against the Vietnam War, sparked by one calamity after another.
Fifty years have passed since that fateful year. Here is a list of the key events of 1968:
·        January 30-31 – the Tet Offensive is launched by the North Vietnamese and the Southern Liberation Front against the major cities of South Vietnam in a coordinated surprise attack leading to major casualties among the American forces. The Tet (“lunar New Year”) attack was to continue for six months before final victory by American forces in June 1968. The significance of the battle was that it proved that the enemy was far stronger than the American President Lyndon Johnson’s administration had led the public to believe. The serious casualties in the first days of the attack were shown on television and provoked widespread opposition to the War.
·        February 27 – Popular TV anchor Walter Cronkite announced his opposition to the War, rumored to be decisive for President Lyndon Johnson.
·        March 12 – Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.) wins second vote count and 22 of 24 uncommitted convention delegates against sitting President Johnson in New Hampshire primary.
·        March 16 – Senator Bobby Kennedy (D-NY) announces his candidacy.
·        March 31 – President Lyndon Johnson withdraws his name from nomination, leaving Vice President Hubert Humphrey as the presumptive nominee. (Humphrey declined to run in the primaries.)
·        April 4 — Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated. Weeklong riots break out across the nation in the greatest civil uprising since the Civil War, leaving 39 dead, 21,000 arrested, 2,000 injured, and $65 million in damages. Virtually every city in America saw a riot, with the two most notable being Washington DC and Chicago, Illinois where entire areas of the city were burned to the ground.
·        March-June – Democratic primary contests between McCarthy and Kennedy.
·        June 6 – Robert Kennedy assassinated after winning the California Primary.
·        August 26-29 Democratic Convention in Chicago. 10,000 anti-war protestors clash with 15,000 police and National Guardsmen while the entire spectacle. including 300 injuries from police beatings and tear gas, as well as thousands of mass arrests were watched on television by the entire nation. A night never to be forgotten.
·        November 5 – Republican Richard Nixon wins presidency over Democrat Hubert Humphrey by 7% of popular vote, less than 500,000 votes, after third party candidate, George Wallace, takes 13.5% of popular vote (nearly 10 million votes).
This review shows clearly that our present situation is nowhere near the level of division and violence which characterized 1968. It also serves to give us reassurance that America has overcome worse disruptions in the past and not only survived but flourished.
One caution, however, may indeed be in order. America does have a bloody history of assassinating prominent figures in our midst. There is a steady stream of such acts throughout our history. Assassinations, both attempted and successful, have haunted our political life
Here is a list:
1835 – Andrew Jackson (attempted)
1865 – Abraham Lincoln
1881 – James Garfield
1898 – William McKinley
1909 – William Howard Taft (attempted
1912 – Theodore Roosevelt (attempted)
1928 — Herbert Hoover (attempted)
1932 – Franklin Roosevelt (attempted)
1936 – Huey Long
1947 & 1950– Harry Truman (attempted)
1963 – John F. Kennedy
1968 – Martin Luther King
1968 – Robert F. Kennedy
 1972 – George Wallace (attempted)
1972 & 1974 – Richard Nixon (attempted)
1975 & 1975 – Gerald Ford (attempted)
1981 – Ronald Reagan (attempted)
1993 – George H.W. Bush (attempted)
1994 & 1994 &1996 — Bill Clinton (attempted)
2001 & 2005 — George W. Bush (attempted)
2009 & 2011 & 2013 – Barack Obama (attempted)
2016 – (Candidate) Donald Trump (attempted)
2017 – Steve Scalise (attempted)
This is a rather chilling list of incidents. It is not at all an overstatement that our current President, Donald J. Trump, is a prime candidate for assassination attempts, especially given the hatred towards him which has been exhibited by some of his enemies. If there is any basis for fear in America’s history of violence, it appears that assassination is at the top of the list.
Nevertheless, it is sometimes useful to recall that this Republic of ours has been through many difficult periods, contending with threats from within and without, but has survived them all and continues our march toward peace and prosperity. This too will pass.
© 2018 Richfield Press, LC (All rights reserved.)

The Meaning of “Profit”

Without profits, no taxes                                                                                                                                                                   ABC-TV Shark Tank Cast

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 24,2018)

Much of our political discourse today demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding of the most fundamental elements of the American economy. There are two kinds of organizations which comprise the United States economy: for profit and not-for-profit. The only engine for making money is the for-profit sector, that is, businesses which buy and sell products and services.

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What (Who) Is The “Deep State”?

The Deep State wants its power. For that to happen, Trump must go!  

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 11, 2018)

The term, “Deep State”, is used increasingly in discussions of the current confrontations between the Trump administration and its opponents in government and politics. What – or who – is the “Deep State”?

The term originated to describe a group of military, political and industrial conspirators who more or less ruled Turkey for most of the 20th century (and who may be making a comeback now). The first use of the term to describe America’s ruling class may have been Mike Lofgren’s 2016 book, The Deep State, a profoundly pessimistic account of the marginalization of democratic elections in the governance of the United States of America in favor of a cabal of highly placed individuals from business, unions, academia and government bureaucracy who use their enormous wealth to dictate government policy.

As used in the current dialog, mostly by conservatives, the “Deep State” refers to the anti-Trump conspirators within the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and perhaps the Department of State (DOS). While the opposition Democratic party is a major supporter of the Deep State, none of their number have been credibly accused of direct participation in the conspiracy. Keep Reading

US Politics: Alternative Realities

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (June 23,2018) 

The most striking feature of American politics today may well be the completely different perceptions held by various groups of what “facts” each considers to be truth. It’s like they are living in different worlds. While there are some cynical “realists” who knowingly fashion “fake news”,  many partisans sincerely believe their views to be correct. So much so that they feel moral indignation and outrage at the other side.

At the root of these reactions is fear. All are afraid, in varying degrees, that their way of life is threatened by the other actors on the political stage. It is fear which drives people to irrational conclusions and closes their ears and minds to dialog with those who disagree with them. When logic is thrown out the window, all that remains is instinct. Imagination can be formed  by logic, but fear obscures all but the  most dangerous fantasies.                                  Keep Reading

DOJ Mess: Connecting the Dots

With the publication of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General’s long-awaited report on Thursday, June 14, 2018 the complicated tale of FBI involvement in the 2016-17 presidential election got even more confusing.  Considering all the public information available, the following is a likely scenario of the events.

The Beginnings

Apparently,  the FBI involvement in this entire episode was originally triggered by the obvious questions about Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails. Obama’s FBI Director James Comey realized that the situation posed a potentially fatal threat to her eligibility to run for president. He believed it was his responsibility to neutralize that threat, possibly on orders from President Obama, perhaps through Attorney General Loretta Lunch. Accordingly, he initiated an FBI investigation, but kept control in his own office, using a hand-picked group of investigators, who were known to Comey as sympathetic to Clinton/Obama. Keep Reading

Big Weekend: Quebec, Singapore, Qingdao

 

Quebec: the G7

The G7 and the Singapore meetings both have their roots in the 20th century. The G-7 is an organization designed to promote dialog among the largest economies of the “free world” – as defined by the Cold War — namely, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain from Europe, Japan from Asia, and The US and Canada from North America. Russia was also included in this group until it was expelled as an expression of protest against its forced annexation of Crimea in 2014.

As everyone knows, the American President, Donald J. Trump, is following his demand that NATO partners pay their fair share of the cost of their defense, with a demand that these trading partners lower their tariffs on American imports to the same level as American tariffs on their exports to the USA. In fact, on Sunday. Mr. Trump suggested that all G7 countries should eliminate ALL tariffs.

These folks object strongly to losing their gravy train, but their dependence on the USA as the largest market in the world for trade as well as defense suggests that they will reluctantly negotiate this equalization of tariffs as they have defense costs – which is moving in the right direction, if slowly. Keep Reading

A Bloodless Coup d’ Etat?

 

 

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (June 1, 2018)

Numerous conspiracy theories are being expounded by recent books, starting perhaps with the works of David Horowitz, and currently with Jerome Corsi’s Killing the Deep State (Humanix, 2018) among many others. At first, I was very skeptical that these portraits of the “never-Trumpers” could possibly be true. The individual actions were not hard to believe, even at the beginning. We had only to listen to Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell or Chris Matthews or The View for a few minutes to understand that there are Trump haters making outrageous accusations and creating fake news against the President.

What was difficult to believe was that the dissenters had actually been organized and deployed with a goal of overturning the 2016 election. After all, such acts are treason. But the accumulation of evidence is truly staggering. It seems that the FBI, the Obama Justice Department, and the CIA in cooperation with the Director of National Intelligence not only tried in vain to prevent the election of Donald Trump but conspired to overthrow his presidency at any cost.  This plot to place or replace the elected President with the candidate of their choice is becoming more and more visible as documents are unveiled. It seems increasingly likely that the bureaucrats joined the Obama zealots and eventually the entire Democrat Party in an attempt to overthrow the President of the United States. Not since Aaron Burr’s alleged conspiracy in 1806 have we heard of such an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government.

Without the bureaucrats, the plot had no chance of maturing, let alone succeeding. It is hard to believe that these hard-nosed professionals were motivated by the quixotic fantasies of the politicians. Sentimental they are not. For the most part, their jobs were safe under any administration. So, why did they care?

The best guess lies with the basis of all bureaucratic ambition – power. The opportunity to control the presidency must have been the deadly elixir – the Kool- Aid – that Lynch, Brennan, Mueller, Comey, Clapper and the rest were drinking. True, Trump campaigned on reducing regulations (the mother’s milk of bureaucratic power), but so have many other candidates. What was it that motivated them to sign on to treason?

We may never know. Initially, they may have been intrigued by the prospect of serving under a President Hillary Clinton, who had turned her position as Secretary of State into a money machine, and who was likely to share the next step up with the chosen few who had helped her along the way. But that fantasy vanished with the election. Why continue? Why set up a mechanism by which they could get the Trump Administration to actually pay for the agent of its own destruction?  Ingenious yes, but why? Only they know that answer.

The scenario which is slowly coming to light sounds strikingly similar to the conspiracy theories which surrounded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And, even earlier, the assassination of the populist Huey Long ended his challenge to President Roosevelt. Are today’s conspirators thinking along similar lines as their current plot unravels?

The terrible truth is that this cabal has not yet been defeated! It is possible that they may still succeed in their campaign to mount a bloodless coup d’ etat! The Democrat Party — one of the only two major political parties  in America — has joined their cause and threatens to conclude this treasonous exercise if they win sufficient seats in the next Congress. Even then, intentionally gullible as they seem to be, it is unlikely that they can actually produce a conviction. But, if the House succeeds in approving  articles of impeachment, you never know what might happen.

The most pernicious act in American history is still a possibility!

 

© Richfield Press, 2018 (All rights reserved)

 

Race in America: 2018

                                                                                       

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (May 26, 2018)

Just when white America reckoned that the election of a black President had finally signaled that racial equality in America had been achieved, it has become obvious that the distance between the races may be greater than ever, at least for large groups of both races.  There have always been two different channels of communication between the races, the “business” channel and the “personal” channel.

The business channel is used when there are people of all races present, e.g., in business settings, or in public, media, or written communications. This channel for whites traditionally ignored black sensibilities entirely. It seems justified to say that there has been improvement in this channel. As black concerns have become better known to whites, these conversations have become more “politically correct”. Certain terms, such as, “nigger”, and “whitey”, and many others are now rarely used in polite society.     Keep Reading

POPE FRANCIS I’s “REJOICE AND BE GLAD” — an American Catholic Response

 

By Lawrence J. Fedewa, May 12, 2018

Pope Francis I released his third papal letter on April 9, 2018. (dated March 19, 2018). Its cheerful title in English means “Rejoice and be glad”. American reactions have been mixed, more or less along predictable lines. That is, his conservative critics found his view of contemporary holiness too flexible and too elastic; and the “official” Catholics thought it was just great. This reader found it to be too long, too confusing, and, unfortunately, largely irrelevant.

This is unfortunate because religion in general and Christianity as an institution sorely needs an interpretation of its beliefs and its morality which demonstrates not only its relevance but its importance to modern life and to the unavoidable decisions we all must make.

During the early days of his papacy, Francis I appeared to many as the messenger sent from God to help us through these troubled times. His personal charisma, his humble demeanor and his wit and charm were much on display during his historic visit to the United States in 2015 and he gained a great following.

Luckily, few of those millions of admirers will read this 12,000-word exhortation, and the images he created during that visit will remain their view of him. Among the more curious followers of his papacy, however, he has become very controversial. The basis for these reactions tends to be his writings rather than his actions, such as his visits to Israel, Palestine, and many other lands. This document illustrates some of the common objections to his teachings.            Keep Reading