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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Time for Another Reformation

Catholic Bishops have betrayed the Church

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 17, 2018)

The Report

On the day before the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother (August 14, 2018), the latest bombshell in the ongoing curse of the Catholic clergy was finally released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro. The official title of the 1356-page document is 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report I [Redacted]. It further destroyed whatever was left of the moral authority of the Catholic bishops of the Pennsylvania dioceses involved, and by extension all the other American bishops as well.

The Report is the work of a Grand Jury which sat for two years listening to stories of child abuse, brutality, and destruction too horrific to even hear, let alone experience. The perpetrators of these criminal acts were not human traffickers or pimps or terrorists.

They were Catholic priests.

But even worse is the fact that these monsters were shielded, protected and even encouraged by the successors of the Apostles, the Catholic bishops of Pennsylvania. Of all the conclusions which were reached by the Grand Jury. the most emphatic is that the responsibility for this terrible lapse of decency lies directly at the feet of the bishops, who colluded, enabled, and facilitated massive pedophilia. The degradation and destruction of thousands of innocent children by hundreds of priests is a stain on the Church of Christ which will never be erased. It is far more pernicious than Martin Luther’s propositions or Henry VIII’s many wives. The difference this time is that no wars will be fought by the victims against the clergy. The masses of the faithful will simply continue to drift away.

What now?

So, the question arises, “What now?” Are these acts against nature events of the past? Are there still monsters wearing Roman collars in our midst? Are today’s bishops still hiding them? And, what accountability faces the bishops who have betrayed the Church? The bishops’ solutions so far have been elaborate reporting and investigations of alleged incidents to the diocese. What was done with these detailed investigations? The Report details extensive lists of crimes reported and documented which led to “counseling”, transfers, suspensions, and above all – secrecy! No one was reported t police; no one went to jail. The cover-up has continued! In fact, the reason for the delay of publishing the Report was lawsuits of active clergy protesting that publication of their names would impact their livelihood! The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reduced the redactions and ordered the publication. World to Bishops: there is only one report that should be made for any incidence of child molestation: CALL THE POLICE!

Changes in statutes of limitation

The Report presents several recommendations which address both the necessity of extending the law to accommodate the rights of victims to demand justice from the Church and to assure compliance with the laws protecting children in the future on the part of the bishops. The lawsuits which are sure to follow will bankrupt the local dioceses. The financial links between the various organizations within the Catholic Church – archdioceses, religious orders, the Vatican, etc. – are sure to be tested, as the search for assets advances. The future of the American Catholic Church as a viable organization is thus at risk.

Underneath the obvious questions about the financial costs of accountability, however, is the fact that disclosure and reformation has had to come from outside the Church rather than from its own conscience – to the profound embarrassment that all Catholics are bound to feel about this evil cancer. It is eating at the very foundations of our Church, which is supposed to preach the Word of God in our lives.

Absolute power

Indeed, if there were ever a case of John Lord Acton’s observation that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, this is it. The best solution to the abuse of power has always been to disburse power among many. This logic argues for changes in the hierarchical structure of Church governance. Bishops have forfeited their right to absolute power. The thousands of innocent victims of child molestation all over the world have proven conclusively that there must be another structure developed to hold every bishop accountable for his actions.

In the 1830’s, John England, first bishop of Charleston South Carolina, deigned a diocesan governance system modeled after the American government. It consisted of a General Council composed of lay Catholics elected by the parishes and a Clergy Council appointed by the Bishop, with authority over the entire diocese (including financial and personnel matters) subject to the veto of the bishop. (See The life and times of John England, first bishop of Charleston (1786-1842). Peter Guilday, New York, The American Press, 1927). A system like that would have averted the entire crisis.

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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

So, What about this Tariff War?

Trump’s biggest gamble so far!

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 3, 2018)

The usual chorus of Trump critics are being joined on the current Trump issue du jour, namely, the free trade initiative, by some of the President’s own party. And, to be blunt about it, this is, in many ways, President Trump’s biggest gamble yet.

The Goal

The upside to be achieved is virtually indisputable. The USA has been bankrolling the entire world’s trade with our markets ever since 1948 when we were the only nation left standing after WWII. When it became obvious that the USSR’s Stalin was making a play to pick up Hitler’s mission to conquer all of Europe, it fell to the United States to stop him in what came to be called the Cold War.

The strategy in 1948 was twofold:

1) the threat of the Allied forces (still on the ground after the Nazi surrender) to march all the way to Moscow if necessary, and

2) the rebuilding of the economies of the non-Communist countries so that they could provide for the victims of the war-torn nations of Europe and Asia.  Keep Reading

Everybody knows how to negotiate except Trump

Especially all the reporters and commentators who have never negotiated any deal bigger than their house!

By Lawrence J. Fedewa July 27, 2018)

If you were hiring a negotiator to handle the biggest deal of your life, would you choose person who had no experience negotiating big deals or someone who had been doing it all his life? Would you choose someone like Chris Matthews  or Chris Wallace, or would you hire Donald J. Trump?

It happens that the American people hired Donald Trump. It also happens that Wallace, Matthews, Como, Blitzer and their cohorts don’t have a clue to understanding Trump’s negotiating strategy, let alone being competent to implement it. This is true, even though Trump published a detailed explanation of his bargaining process many years ago in The Art of the Deal (Ballantine, reprint 2015). There is no secret here.

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