Barack Obama

The Ugly Month Of August This Year And In History

August is known as the month of the usually greatest heat, and this month is no exception, with the tremendous drought affecting the western half of the nation, especially California.

August is also the month of disastrous hurricanes, as with Andrew in 1992 and Katrina in 2005, as examples.

August is also the month of many wars and provocations, as with:

The British burning of the US Capitol and the White House during the War of 1812.

The outbreak of the First World War in Europe in 1914.

The signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact which led to the beginning of the Second World War in 1939.

The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, ending World War II in Asia in 1945.

The falsely reported Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, which led to the escalation of the war in Vietnam under Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 1990, leading to the Persian Gulf War and the introduction of American troops on a permanent basis in a number of Muslim countries over the next quarter century, provoking a greater level of Islamic terrorism against America and Western Europe.

This August, we have seen racial tensions and division grow over recent killings by law enforcement authorities in St. Louis, Missouri and elsewhere, making us aware that the election of Barack Obama has NOT lessened the race issue in America, and has made us aware of the militarization of the police forces, with equipment returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And we have become fully aware, finally realizing the threat from ISIL (ISIS), after the death of journalist James Foley, and it forecasts an escalation of involvement in the Middle East, adding to the fuel already created by the Gaza War between Israel and the Hamas Palestinian terrorist group which controls the Gaza Strip.

So again, August keeps its horrible reputation as a month full of tragedy and disaster, although clearly, every month has its share of these, but August does seem to have more than its fair share!

Mitch McConnell’s Plans For The 114th Congress: Total Deadlock And Stalemate!

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made it clear at the time of the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009 that his party would refuse to cooperate with the President on any legislation or policy.

Now, facing a tough reelection battle against Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell is pledging that if his party wins the Senate majority, and the House stays Republican, that he will promote massive budget cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency, and attempting again to destroy ObamaCare. He would attach these changes to budget bills, and if Obama vetoed, then we would have another government shutdown, as disastrous as the last one was for the Republican Party and the nation!

This is ever more reason why Democrats, progressives and liberals, and independents MUST come out enmasse on Election Day to prevent a GOP Senate majority, as that will also mean no replacement on the Supreme Court if anyone leaves, which is likely, in 2015 or 2016.

Ironically, this kind of behavior would likely reverberate on the Republicans in 2016, when two thirds of the Senate seats up for election would be their party, but the attitude seems to be one of total warfare and destruction while they have control.

The Republican Party is becoming totally nihilistic and anarchistic, not worthy of the long history of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

How A Speech Elevated Four Presidential Candidates To Nomination, And Two Of Them To The White House!

The power of oratory in advancing a political candidacy for the Presidency,that no one expected to occur, is part of American history!

There have been four cases of people who were elevated to a Presidential nomination, and two of them to the White House, by the electrifying effect that a speech had on their political party and the nation at large!

Two of these were Democrats, and two were Republicans.

One of the Democrats was former Nebraska Congressman William Jennings Bryan, who delivered the “Cross of Gold” speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention, with this leading to his Presidential nomination. Despite losing to William McKinley, Bryan went on to be the nominee of the Democrats two more times, in 1900 and 1908.

The other was Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, who gave a dynamic speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, arguing against a divided America, and calling for a united America, instead of a “red’ America and a “blue” America. It drew attention to him, and after being elected to the US Senate, he decided to campaign for the Presidency, and overcame many adversities to win two terms in the White House, but sadly saw “red” and “blue” America split ever further apart!

The first Republican was businessman Wendell Willkie, who despite no political experience, stirred the Republican National Convention of 1940 with his speech and charisma, and went on to become the nominee of his party, but losing to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Ronald Reagan was the other Republican, making a well noticed speech on television in support of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, the GOP nominee for President in 1964. Goldwater lost in a massive landslide to Lyndon B. Johnson, but Reagan gained enough support and notice to run for California Governor in 1966, and eventually to be elected to two terms as President in the 1980s!

So the power of speech and charisma has had a great effect on American politics!

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Louis Brandeis, And The Future Of The Supreme Court!

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has resisted suggestions that after 21 years on the Supreme Court she should retire, giving President Barack Obama an opportunity to make another appointment to the Court before he leaves office.

Ginsburg is 81 plus, and has survived colon and pancreatic cancer in a miraculous way, and has also lost her husband, but she resists leaving.

Now there seems to be “light at the end of the tunnel”, as Ginsburg has hinted that she wants to match former Associate Justice Louis Brandeis, one of the all time great Justices, who served almost 23 years from 1916 to 1939 and retired at age 82, and that will be accomplished over the next year on age and in early 2016 on service. So it seems as if she might retire in June of 2015 or June of 2016.

This is the explanation for the statement of President Obama, that he expects to make some new Court appointments, and it makes the urgency of the continuation of a Democratic Senate even more a priority for the upcoming midterm Senate elections.

It is now a fact that were Ginsburg to resign tomorrow, it would be impossible to replace her before November, due to the politics of the upcoming elections in two and a half months, so the best we can hope for is that Obama will get to replace the aging Ginsburg in 2015 or 2016, with Democrats still in control.

If not, there is the possibility of a Court with only seven or eight members, if any other Justice dies or retires, from the rapidly aging Court.

Alarming Police Overreaction Against Blacks Nationwide, As Threat Of International Terrorism Grows Dramatically!

Many people would say that because Barack Obama was elected twice as our first African American President, that racism is gone from American society!

The statement is, of course, preposterous on its face. There are two many people of other racial backgrounds who have shown evidence of discriminatory thoughts, statements, and actions against African Americans and Latinos to be able to assert that racism has dissipated.

If anything, it is the right wing media, and the talk show hosts on radio and Fox News Channel, who are fueling the fires of racism, making whites feel that, somehow, THEY have been discriminated against!

But the recent spate of police officers shooting and killing African American men in St. Louis and Los Angeles, and the choking to death of an African American man by police in New York City, is particularly alarming, as if the law enforcement authorities are perceived as declaring open season on minority men, and even sometimes women, then we are on the road to racial warfare, which hate mongering groups would only be too glad to inspire.

This is a crisis of massive proportions, and no longer can be said to be a “Southern” issue, as it often was depicted even a half century ago, when Northerners wanted to feel good about themselves, and denied that they were part of the problem of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, when they most certainly were part of the problem, although more attention was paid to the Southern states.

This is a very delicate time, with growing inequality of opportunity for the poor and middle class, whether white or minority, and the growing international threat of Islamic terrorism presented by the rise of ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant. This group controls a large portion of Iraq and Syria, and threatens to slaughter large numbers of non Sunni Arabs, as well as Christians and minority religious groups, and which threatens a world wide war against the Western world and Christianity and Judaism. They already have beheaded children, raped women, and executed large numbers of people in the most brutal fashion, making them seem a threat on the level of the Fascism regimes of Germany and Italy 75 years ago.

We could be entering World War III, at a time when our internal peace and stability is being threatened by both discontented whites, but also by law enforcement elements which show no respect or rational behavior against minority members of society.

There is a sense of foreboding that America is reaching a state of condition the most dangerous since the fall of Adolf Hitler in 1945, and far greater in many ways than the conditions of the Cold War, which seem somehow, by comparison, a time when at least the Soviet enemy was rational, not fanatical, based on religion.

Mix religious extremism in the world at large alongside the racial tensions in a time when one had thought the election of Barack Obama made a post racial world, which now is shown to be a myth!

40th Anniversary Of Richard Nixon Resignation, Due To Watergate Scandal

It is hard to believe, but it is now 40 years since Richard Nixon was forced out of the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

It was stunning that a President, who had won 49 of the 50 states, and all but 17 electoral votes, would be the only President to resign after only one year and almost seven months of his second term.

It was also amazing that Nixon was the only President facing impeachment, and resigning after the House Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, adopted three articles of impeachment, who truly deserved impeachment.

Andrew Johnson was wrongfully impeached and found not guilty in 1868, and Bill Clinton was to face the same circumstances and results in 1998-1999. And now, there is a threat of Barack Obama facing the same scenario next year, but with the same results assured.

The point was that Richard Nixon had actually been abusive of his powers as President, and had led a lawless administration unmatched before or since.

It is also a tragic story as, in reality, Richard Nixon had many accomplishments in foreign and domestic policy, many of which remain part of American life 40 years later, particularly so in domestic affairs, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, among others.

The evaluation and interpretation of Richard Nixon will continue to be controversial, and a new HBO special, “Nixon on Nixon,” has been unveiled this week, demonstrating the man’s illegalities and prejudices and biases, straight from the Watergate tapes themselves. Additionally, a new book has been published with the revelation of these tapes, authored by historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University, with the assistance of Professor Luke Nichter of Texas A & M University.

So Nixon will be written about for generations, both for the good he did, as well as the bad!

40 Years Since Impeachment Process Against Richard Nixon, And Now Impeachment Has Been Abused Against Bill Clinton And Barack Obama!

Forty years ago, in the waning days of the Richard Nixon Presidency, the House of Representatives began considering resolutions of impeachment against the 37th President.

That impeachment proceeding, leading to three articles of impeachment, was a bipartisan action by both Democrats and Republicans against a President out of control, and committing violations of his oath of office.

Therefore, with a bipartisan vote, the House Judiciary Committee recommended articles of impeachment against Nixon on the basis of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and refusal to hand over evidence, in the form of tapes and other materials, to the Special Prosecutor investigating the Watergate Scandal.

Richard Nixon proceeded to resign after these resolutions passed, and with the knowledge that the Supreme Court, in an unanimous 8-0 vote a few days earlier, had demanded (US V. Richard Nixon) that the President hand over the Watergate tapes to the House of Representatives and the Special Prosecutor.

That impeachment proceeding was justifiable and necessary, but the move against Bill Clinton in 1998 was NOT justified, and neither is the impending movement, even acknowledged by the White House, against Barack Obama, that he has abused his executive powers with executive orders, even with far fewer such executive orders than previous Presidents! The first step toward impeachment of Obama is the vote of the House of Representatives, by party line vote yesterday, to sue the President for abusing his authority under the Constitution, a wholly political act with no justification!

Ironically, Obama is accused of abusing his powers, while at the same time being accused of being weak and indecisive in his conduct of foreign policy!

Both the Clinton impeachment and the pending Obama impeachment is purely partisan politics, a desire to besmirch two Presidents, who in many ways have achieved more in their terms of office than any recent Republican President, including the “knighted” and “holy” Ronald Reagan!

Congressional Republican “Vacation” An Absolute Outrage With So Many Problems And Issues That Need To Be Dealt With!

There is criticism of President Barack Obama taking a vacation with his family, with so many foreign policy crises emerging. But it must also be said that the Republican House of Representatives, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, which sets up the Congressional calendar for both the House and Senate, is absolutely outrageous in its short calendar of work dates, and planning more time off to campaign, while there are so many problems and issues to deal with!

What is the Congress unwilling to deal with, which should be priorities?

The Border Crisis of Central American refugees, many of them children.

The funding of veterans benefits and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money for infrastructure spending, and which will lead to layoffs of workers, adding to the unemployment rate.

The increase in the minimum wage, which has not gone up since 2009, while the cost of living has increased, as it would over any five year period.

The lifeline of the unemployment compensation, which has left many millions without any sustenance, and increased homelessness across the nation.

And these are just the biggest priorities, but this Congress, the 113th, is the absolute worst in modern history, if not at any time, surpassing the previous 112th Congress in negativism!

Bad Move For President Obama To Attend Campaign Fundraisers And Go On Vacation In Times Of Crisis!

This blogger is strongly in support of Barack Obama on most issues, but he wishes to make clear that the strategy of attending campaign fundraisers, and going on vacation, in times of crises, is NOT the right strategy for the President to follow!

Seeing Obama making political speeches at fundraisers, and relaxing while drinking beer or going to a fast food establishment to have burgers and fries, or playing golf, or planning to go on vacation, leaves a terrible image that the President is disengaged from his responsibilities! It is true that Obama has taken fewer vacations than George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and almost every other recent President, but the perception of time off is not good at this time, and in the midst of the many crises the nation faces!

It is true that any President never truly escapes from his job, and that all that he needs can go with him to wherever he is located, but it, unfortunately, gives cannon fodder to his enemies, and makes him look lazy, disinterested, uncaring, and also confirms the criticism, even of his Democratic party supporters, that he is out of touch with reality, and does not like being engaged in problem solving.

Again, this is mostly perception, but that is damaging, short term and long term, to the image, legacy, and record of a President who has done a lot of good, has shown a lot of courage, and is being bitterly attacked more than any President of the past century, including Richard Nixon and George W. Bush!

Obama should not be giving fuel to the fire of his critics, and needs to cut back, dramatically, on campaign fund raisers, and should cancel a formal vacation, or send his daughters and wife on it, with him, maybe, showing up for a few days here and there, but sacrificing a lot of the formal vacation to stay in DC and connect with the multitude of issues that he faces!

Obama will have more than enough time in years to come to do whatever he wishes after January 20, 2017, but right now, he needs to be on top of his challenges as his priority!