July 30, 1965 To July 30, 2015: 50 Years Of Medicare!

Today is the 50the Anniversary of Medicare, finally brought about by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

An idea originally proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his Progressive (Bull Moose) Party campaign of 1912; further conceptualized by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid 1930s, but thought to be moving too rapidly for Congress, when there was the fight over Social Security in 1935; and promoted by Harry Truman in his promotion of his Fair Deal, it was signed into law with former President Truman sitting next to Johnson at the Truman Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri.

Johnson accomplished what John F. Kennedy wanted to fulfill in his New Frontier agenda, but was unable to do because of the opposition of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, but Johnson convinced Mills to move ahead, as part of LBJ’s great “wheeler dealer” abilities to promote his Great Society.

Medicare was a “God send” to millions of senior citizens, who no longer had to go into poverty as a result of medical and health issues, and it made the last years of the elderly a lot less stressful and worrisome.

Of course, the issue of cost overruns and corruption has arisen, and with people living longer, there is a long term problem in Medicare, but careful administration and some tax increases will manage to keep Medicare afloat for the long run, although present House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012), wants to phase it out over time.

Many Republicans want this, but Democrats will fight tooth and nail to insure the continuation and financial stability of the greatest social program since Social Security, an essential part of the “safety net”, and part of the social justice agenda of liberals and progressives since the time of Theodore Roosevelt!

Historic Leaders Of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is one of the most important of all committees in the history of that body, having begun as early as 1816.

It is one of the most significant committees, with many future potential Presidential seekers wishing to be seen as “experts” on American foreign policy.

It is a committee often in conflict with the President of the United States on strategy and policy toward other nations.

There have been many colorful leaders of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, who have become famed or notorious for their principles and impact on American foreign policy.

The committee again has become focused on as part of the heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and its recent former Chairman, John Kerry, is now the Secretary of State, charged with gaining the support of the committee, which, clearly, however, under Republican control, is a lost cause.

Among its leaders have been Presidential nominees Rufus King, Henry Clay, and John Kerry; President James Buchanan; and Vice Presidents Hannibal Hamlin and Joe Biden.

Such prominent political figures, other than those mentioned above, who served as Chairman of the committee include: Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Sumner, John Sherman, Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., William Borah, Arthur Vandenberg, J. William Fulbright, Frank Church, Charles Percy, Richard Lugar, Claiborne Pell, Jesse Helms, and present Chairman Bob Corker, with Fulbright serving the longest as Chairman, 16 years from 1959-1975.

Those who made the most news included Lodge fighting Woodrow Wilson on the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations; Vandenberg playing a crucial role in backing the containment policy of President Harry Truman, despite them being from different parties; Fulbright fighting against the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon; and Helms being a major problem for Bill Clinton on many foreign policy issues.

First Radio Interviews For My Book: “Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama” Scheduled!

It is 18 days until my book, “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama” is published and available.

But I have just been informed that I have eight radio interviews already scheduled—radio stations in Knoxville, Tennessee; Boston, Massachusetts; Online Radio with host formerly from Seattle, Washington radio station; Memphis, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York, New York (this one 60 minutes live); a syndicated podcast via i tunes national; and Online/YouTube and eventually uploaded to YouTube on the Author/Story Channel (30 minutes on Skype).

The interviews will range from four of 10 minutes each; one of 20 minutes; one of 25 minutes; one of 30 minutes; and one of 60 minutes.

Hopefully, most, if not all of these interviews, and others to follow, will be available, eventually, and be put on this blog, and would be accessed from the right side Blogroll under Interviews and/or Videos.

Donald Trump Democrat, Donald Trump Independent, Donald Trump Republican: Which Is The Real Donald Trump? None Of Them!

At this point, Donald Trump is surging ahead for the Republican Presidential nomination, but one has to wonder if he has the staying power to go all the way to the convention in Cleveland with enough delegate support to become the GOP nominee for President.

Right now, Trump sounds like a conservative Republican, but he has been a public figure for decades, and when one investigates his entire public record, Trump comes across as inconsistent, and wishy washy in his political views and statements.

Trump has been a declared Republican,then an Independent, than a Democrat, then a Republican although registered as an Independent.

Trump gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President in 2007-2008.

Trump once praised a single payer health care system, similar to Medicare for all, but now he opposes ObamaCare, although ten years ago he supported “health marts” very close to RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

Trump opposed the war in Iraq, but now says he would use military force to fight ISIL (ISIS).

Trump once supported a surtax on the rich, but now want the top income tax rate cut in half, and is against the inheritance tax.

Trump is best at attacking everyone personally, but has no set stands or details on most public issues, and prefers to use slogans and emotion to gain public support of those disillusioned with government as it is.

Trump has become most notorious for his “Birther” claims about Barack Obama, but otherwise is constantly contradictory on many issues.

Trump is hard to figure out, as he supports private sector labor unions; is against cutting Social Security and Medicare; reluctant to send military forces all over the world; and against the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

But he is against teachers unions and public employee unions generally; against an increase in the minimum wage; against those who claim there is climate change; against gun control; and against any path to citizenship for undocumented workers, and already infamous for his attacks on Mexican immigrants and Mexico.

Ultimately, Donald Trump is for Donald Trump, a person who will prostitute himself and change his views when it is convenient; a man who is a publicity hound who is more in this race for the attention he gains; a man who appeals to fears and frustrations and discontent among average voters unhappy with their government, and easily accepting conspiracy theories.

In that regard, Donald Trump is a demagogue, in ways like Huey P. Long on the left; and like George C. Wallace on the right, and sadly, we know what happened to these two men, one assassinated, and the other paralyzed for life by an assassin.

The story of Long and Wallace are covered in my forthcoming book on Presidential Assassinations, coming out August 15 from Rowman Littlefield, entitiled: “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama”, available on this website at a 30 percent discount, using the discount code 4M15ATAP with order from the publisher!

Massive Puerto Rican Migration To Florida Promotes Likelihood Democrats Will Win “The Sunshine State” In 2016 Presidential Election!

Events in Puerto Rico are transforming the Presidential Election of 2016 before our eyes!

Puerto Rico, which is in the special status as a Commonwealth, and has flirted with the concept of possibly becoming the 51st state, is going through crisis times, with a massive debt, unable to pay it, and effectively going bankrupt.

As a result, we are witnessing a major migration of Puerto Ricans to the mainland of the United States, particularly to Florida, for economic opportunity.

Remember that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States, and are not to be seen as “immigrants”, legal or illegal. They can register as voters immediately, and it is clear that they will play a major role in the Florida vote for President, as well as state and national offices, including the United States Senate and the US House of Representatives.

The vast majority of Puerto Ricans in the United States have been Democrats, and nothing that the Republican Party has said and done about Hispanics is about to convince them to vote Republican! This means that the crucial “swing state” of Florida could be expected to fall into the hands of the Democratic Presidential nominee, whoever it is, just about guaranteeing an Electoral College majority!

It is now believed that very soon there will be more Puerto Ricans in Florida than Cubans, and already there are more than one million living in the state.

This is particularly true in Central Florida, the Orlando-Tampa area, an area that tends to decide state and national elections, and could, therefore, increase the number of Democratic members of the state legislature, the House of Representatives, and help elect a Democratic Senator to succeed Marco Rubio.

25 Years Of The Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26, 1990): Signature Achievement Of George H. W. Bush!

Today marks 25 years since the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which has transformed the nation for those with mental and physical disabilities.

It is the signature achievement of President George H. W. Bush, who has lived to see the celebration of a quarter century since the enactment of one of the most important and far reaching civil rights laws in American history!

This accomplishment, along with the prosecution of the Persian Gulf War against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, will always stand out as the major achievements of the 41st President of the United States!

The ADA prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, and to provide accessibility requirements on public accommodation.

There has been objections to the law from some religious groups, believe it or not, and from some business interests, but the law has been upheld in Supreme Court decisions over the past 25 years.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, now retired, has been given the primary credit for promoting the legislation through Congress, but fortunately, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives and the Senate were able to overcome opposition to the legislation, and enact it into law!

Multiple Predictions Of Disaster By The Republicans During The Obama Presidency, But None Occurred!

The Republican Party and the conservative movement has made multiple predictions of disaster during the Obama Presidency, with none of them actually occurring.

They have acted like “Chicken Little”, and have been shown for their deceit.

In the midst of all these attacks, personally and policy wise, Barack Obama has acted with dignity and class, despite the outrageous statement of Florida Senator Marco Rubio that Obama has shown no class. Instead, Republican leadership, including Rubio, needs to look in the mirror at themselves!

A catalog of some of the many predictions of disaster follows:

The economic stimulus would cause a further downturn of the economy.

The auto bailout would fail miserably.

ObamaCare would fail, and would destroy the health care system.

Bank regulations to prevent another bank collapse would fail miserably.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a dangerous government intervention that would never succeed.

Unemployment numbers would continue to rise, making the economy worse.

Illegal immigration numbers would continue to rise, and crimes caused by illegal immigrants would become predominant.

Gays in the military would cause the downfall of the greatest military in the world.

The Ebola epidemic in Africa would overtake America, and lead to widespread disease epidemic in America.

The government would try to take away private ownership of guns.

Requirement of vaccinations was a plot against families and children.

Higher pay for lower paid workers would destroy jobs and business.

Obama’s executive orders were a move toward dictatorship.

Obama’s moves on the environment are destroying the energy industries.

Obama’s Presidency is the most corrupt in American history.

Obama sides with Islamic terrorism, and will not use drones and other tactics against them.

Obama was plotting with Muslims to destroy Christianity.

Gay Marriage would destroy the American family as we know it.

Obama is conspiring with Iran to destroy Israel.

Obama opening up to Cuba is unprecedented, to deal with a totalitarian government and give diplomatic recognition.

Obama is not respected by other nations across the globe.

The list could go on and on and on, but these 21 examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the Republicans and conservatives predicting gloom and doom during an Obama Presidency!

Diplomatic Relations With Unfriendly Governments: Soviet Union, People’s Republic Of China, Vietnam, Cuba, And Now Issue Of Iran

When it comes to the issue of foreign policy and international relations, the controversy over whether the United States should have diplomatic relations and embassies in nations that are our rivals, our opponents, is a constant debating point.

Clearly, when the United States is at war with a foreign government, diplomatic relations cease.

Also, if a foreign government chooses to break off diplomatic relations on its own, then clearly there will be no diplomatic relations.

But other than these situations, the idea that, somehow, refusing to deal with an unfriendly government is beneficial does not ring true!

There are always good reasons to have a diplomatic channel, a way to relate to and deal with a hostile foreign government, if for no other reason, to allow discussion of contentious issues that may arise, including hostages, military and naval challenges, and providing for humanitarian interventions when there are natural disasters.

After all, even if governments do not get along, the people of the United States need not see other nations’ people as enemies!

And failure to recognize changes of government never works in our behalf, as witness our long diplomatic isolation of the Soviet Union from 1917-1933; of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1979 (although Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 and started trade, cultural and tourism contacts); of Vietnam (from 1975 when the Vietnam War finally ended until 1995); and now of Cuba from 1961 to this month.

It turns out the diplomatic isolation of Cuba lasted 54 years, way beyond the 16 years of the Soviet Union; the 30 years of China; and the 20 years of Vietnam.

Nothing was accomplished by the diplomatic isolation of Cuba, and while the government of that nation is a dictatorship, as with Russia, China, and Vietnam, we cannot decide that a dictatorship, as reprehensible as it is, can be, somehow, made to change by ignoring them and refusing to deal with them.

If we were to use that as a guide, that a nation was run as a dictatorship and therefore we would not deal with that nation, then we would have to suspend diplomatic relations with most of the world’s 193 nations.

But we have dealt with brutal dictatorships regularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as Eastern Europe.

We could wish the world was like us; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Western European nations; Japan; and selected nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, but we must deal with the world as it is, not the way we wish it was!

So, the issue of Iran, a hostile nation engaged in trouble making in the Middle East; calling for the extermination of Israel; calling the United States “the devil”; and gaining nuclear energy information rapidly, cannot be ignored.

It is better to deal with Iran, as much as they are willing, as the people of the nation are clearly not in support of their theocratic Islamic regime, and we are not going to gain by a war with Iran, a large nation with large population, which, if we went to war, the effect would be to unite the nation in nationalistic fervor to defend the homeland.

The answer is, if possible, not only to get the nuclear deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry to be ratified, but also to attempt to ameliorate the danger and threat of Iran through further diplomatic engagement!

The Best Republican In 2012: Jon Huntsman! The Best Republican In 2016: John Kasich! But Not An Endorsement!

There is no debate that former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman was the best Republican in the Presidential campaign of 2012. He had the best credentials, including real foreign policy expertise, and unwillingness to take crazy, extremist stands on issues or to make nutty statements. Of course, it got him nowhere, and he gave up running for President again long ago!

Now in 2016, there is no question that out of a horrible group of potential Republican Presidential candidates that Ohio Governor and former House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich is easily the best potential nominee in 2016.

Kasich was very late in announcing, doing so only this week, and being ignored in all of the hype about Donald Trump, who has taken all of the oxygen out of the room with his rantings and ravings, and insults against anyone who criticizes him, whether fellow Republican contenders or the news media.

But Kasich is the most experienced of all of the potential GOP nominees, and has avoided coming across as a right wing extremist in his statements. He is clearly a conservative, but considered in the “mainstream”, whatever that means.

No one is saying, certainly not this blogger, that he is about to vote for John Kasich if he was the GOP nominee.

And no one is saying that everything he has said and done is endorsed or acceptable. He has shortcomings as everyone else does, but in comparison, he comes across as the best alternative IF the Republicans were to win the Presidential Election of 2016. His stands on immigration, education, and Medicaid make him better than any alternative the Republicans have.

In many ways, John Kasich is the alternative to Jeb Bush, to whom he has been compared, but has much more experience than Bush has had, and avoids the connection to the Bush name.

And lately, Jeb Bush has been making horrible statements of his views, which seem to be catering to the Tea Party crowd, while Kasich so far is seen as less willing to cater.

Having said that, Kasich has just made some terrible statements about climate change (that nothing should be done as it is God’s will) and about military intervention in the Middle East, making one worry that he could be linking up with the neoconservatives, who took us into the Iraq War, similar in that regard to Jeb Bush.

So again, this is not an endorsement, but simply recognition that were the nation forced to accept a Republican President, John Kasich is the best of a terrible crop of candidates!

Finger On The “Nuclear Button” And Commander In Chief: Can One See Many Republican Candidates For President In That Role?

It is extremely crucial that a President of the United States be someone who has a stable personality, an open mind, and is not issuing rhetoric about other nations, foreign policy, and military intervention that demonstrates a lack of balance regarding the burden of having the finger on the “nuclear button”.

On that basis, many of the Republican Presidential candidates are worrisome, as they show a lack of responsibility and seriousness, and seem to think that acting like a “bully” is something the American people desire in their leadership.

Do we wish to worry every day of a four year term that we have a President who is “trigger happy”, who is reckless, who is bellowing threats, and trying to prove his “manhood” by flexing his muscles, and promoting jingoism and super nationalism, and being too willing to send more of our sons and daughters into another ill advised conflict?

So, simply by their rhetoric and persona, the following GOP Presidential candidates are not fit to be our next President:

Donald Trump
Ted Cruz
Mike Huckabee
Bobby Jindal
Scott Walker
Rick Perry
Chris Christie
Lindsey Graham
Rick Santorum

That leaves slim pickings, as one notices, and this is the sad reality of the Republican Party and foreign and military policy in 2015!