Thursday, April 28, 2016

Homefront: How WWII and the US Military Provided the First Spark for the Civil Rights Movement 2 / 2

by Nomad

In Part One, we took a look at how the approaching World War provided an opportunity to reform hiring practices in the defense industry.
In this part, we examine the post-war years and the momentum from that initial reform were about to push for an even more astounding shift in attitudes.

Upon Roosevelt's death, the torch was passed to Truman who was far less reserved support for income equality for all. After the war was over, the pressure was off the defense industry to hire minorities.
The question was: would the federally-imposed hiring practices for the defense industry during the war be recognized as a standard for all hiring?

G.I. Bill and the Discovery of Two Americas

As we mentioned in the first installment in this series, Roosevelt signed the G.I Bill of Rights on June 22, 1944.
It was an attempt to prevent the miserable situation that Depression-era veterans faced. The Bonus Army March on Washington was a shame for the entire country and, the president felt, should never be allowed to happen again.

In real terms, the law provided enough support so that vets who had served their country should not be burdened economically after his service.

Among the benefits offered to veterans: low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation

Professor Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University, points out:
Four out of five men born in the United States during the 1920s served in the military, and about half of them used the G.I. Bill for education and training.... Vocational training also led to jobs with middle class incomes and benefits.... The G.I. Bill helped make U.S. democracy more vibrant in the middle of the twentieth century.
By 1947 half of all college students were veterans and thanks to the G.I. Bill, one-fifth of all single-family homes built in the 20 years following World War II were financed with help from the GI Bill's loan guarantee program, symbolizing the emergence of a new middle class.

The rise of the middle-class in the Eisenhower years was, it has been argued, based on the positive economy-enhancing effects of the G.I. Bill. 

The results of Roosevelt's law enriched the prestige of the future administrations and gave the post-war American society was transformed from the days of the Great Depression and the austerity that followed.
By the time initial GI Bill eligibility for World War II veterans expired in 1956 – about 11 years after final victory – the United States was richer by 450,000 trained engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, and more than a million other college-educated individuals.
*   *   *
According to the law, these benefits were open to all veterans, regardless of race. However, in practice, it was a different story. Discrimination was such a widespread feature of American society at the time that its unequal application was practically guaranteed.

Monday, April 25, 2016

McConnell's Supreme Court Gamble and Ted Cruz's Scare Tactics Spell Disaster for the GOP

by Nomad

Candidates are apt to get a bit carried away while they are on the campaign trail. However, when it comes to Ted Cruz's stoking the fears about the Supreme Court, there's been a whole new level of manipulation, misrepresentation and just plain old nonsense.

One Justice Away

Late last year, Ted Cruz hit upon the phrase "we are just one liberal justice away from...."  He has used the heck out of it, building upon that opening statement well beyond reason and into a strange hysteria.

He told the Des Moines Register in October that we are all just one liberal Supreme Court Justice away from utter disaster. Calamity and catastrophe will follow unless he becomes president and prevents liberals from causing mayhem. Why, it's going to be so bad that we won't even recognize the nation
Are you frightened yet?  
"One more liberal justice and our right to keep and bear arms is taken away from us by an activist court. One more liberal justice and they begin sandblasting and bulldozing veterans memorials throughout this country. One more liberal justice and we lose our sovereignty to the United Nations and the World Court."
In January he warned his supporters what could happen to the high court if a Democrat became the next president. This time he upped the imagery. (That's always a clear sign of manipulation.)
"We're just steps away from the chisels at Arlington coming out to remove crosses and stars of David from tombstones."
In Cruz's world, teams of determined liberal masons with chisels sandpaper and hammers will soon be scouring the cemeteries, mandated to remove all traces of the religious symbols on the tombs of dead war heroes. 

It's the kind of thing that post-midnight radio call-in shows used to discuss. Today these ideas are being spread by the candidate the Republican Party offers as the sane alternative to Donald Trump.