Fascist Italy

Trump White House Aide Stephen Miller Declares President Has Ultimate Authority And Cannot Be Challenged! This Arrogance Must Be Repudiated!

Trump White House Aide Stephen Miller is an arrogant, dangerous 31 year old man who has the gall to declare that the nation will soon learn that the President has the ultimate authority in the nation, and cannot be challenged in his grab for total control by any federal court.

Miller is a Fascist demagogue, who would fit in perfectly in a totalitarian state, such as Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or the Soviet Union.

The shock is that Miller is Jewish, and yet is close to Stephen Bannon, the former Breitbart News Alt Right extremist, who is White House Counselor and Senior Aide to the President. He is also associated with white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, who has promoted violence against immigrants and non whites.

Miller showed up on four Sunday news programs, and talked like an authoritarian with a cockiness and self assurance that requires a quick reprimand, and yet, instead, Trump went on Twitter to support and applaud his aide’s performance.

It is clear, day by day, that Trump is moving toward establishing an authoritarian government, but it must be stopped dead in its tracks, by the Republican Party, which must love the country more than power and expediency, or go into the dustbin of history.

The question is whether critics in the media, the Democratic Party, and among the general population, can unite to pressure the Republicans to recognize that Trump is dangerous, mentally unhinged, and has dangerous aides that must be removed by a future President Mike Pence.

Will Pence do what is best for the nation, as it is hard to believe that he is not disturbed by the actions of Miller, Bannon, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is now in danger because he communicated with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, about the sanctions put on Russia by Barack Obama in his last days in the Presidency.

The Russian connection of Trump and Vladimir Putin, the “bromance”, is a national security issue that must be fully investigated, and if shown to be undermining our nation, Trump must be forced out of office, but meanwhile, the nation is in danger from people like Miller, Bannon, and Flynn.

70th Anniversary Today Of Greatest 20th Century President’s Passing: Franklin D. Roosevelt!

On this day, April 12, 1945, 70 years ago, the greatest 20th century President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, died in Warm Springs, Georgia, after 12 years and 39 days in office. Many Americans could not recall any other President, as FDR had played a dominant role in the lives of Americans and in world affairs, through the two greatest crises since the Civil War under Abraham Lincoln—the Great Depression and the Second World War!

FDR had initiated a massive set of domestic reforms, known as the New Deal, which had changed the lives of millions of Americans in a positive way, and give the nation hope and confidence in the future, at a time when we had a higher unemployment rate, 25 percent, than we would ever have again. FDR transformed the role of the federal government, and brought about such permanent reform programs as Social Security; Unemployment Compensation; Minimum Wage; Labor Union recognition; the accomplishment of massive public works projects; federal insurance on bank deposits; agricultural subsidies; regulation of banks, the stock market and corporations; public housing; aid to the disabled and dependent children; conservation of natural resources; and so many other programs and ideas.

Then, FDR faced the dangers of Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and the aggression of Imperial Japan, when it looked as if democracy would be snuffed out worldwide, including in the United States. The greatest military effort since the Civil War created many problems in the postwar world, as the Soviet Union rose out of the war to become the new challenger to freedom in what became known as the Cold War, something FDR was trying to figure out how to deal with, when he died suddenly of congestive heart failure in the early months of an unprecedented fourth term, prevented from happening again by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

One has to wonder how the nation would have fared had FDR been forced to leave office in January 1941 by term limits, as there was no obvious good alternative leader to FDR at that time. The challenge of overcoming isolationist sentiment, and then the Axis Powers aged FDR and caused his premature death at a delicate time when the war in Europe was one month from ending, and the war against Japan seemed likely to go on for several years. Fortunately, Harry Truman took up the mantle and handled the crisis of ending the war and the postwar world, as well as could be expected, as one looks back 70 years.

FDR had his shortcomings as all Presidents do, but the United States was blessed with a great, dynamic leader that we remember today on the 70th anniversary of his passing!

133rd Anniversary Of FDR’s Birth: A Celebration Of Our Greatest President Since Abraham Lincoln!

Today, January 30, is the 133rd anniversary of the birth of our 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, our greatest President since Abraham Lincoln.

It is impossible to imagine America in 2015 without realizing the significance and impact of FDR, who led us through the worse moments of the Great Depression, and the most total war we have ever engaged in, the Second World War!

FDR’s New Deal still affects 320 million Americans every day of their lives in so many ways, and yet, there are right wing forces in the conservative movement, the Republican Party, the Tea Party Movement, and conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, which would wish to revert to the way the national government was before 1933, and therefore, wiping out Social Security, labor rights, environmental protection, corporate and bank regulations, and so many government agencies and institutions that have become part of our daily lives.

The New Deal of FDR was not perfect in every detail, but it saved capitalism; it saved democracy at a time when many looked to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy as models; it gave the American people faith in their government and hopes for the long term future, and a sense of self dignity, an intangible factor.

FDR encouraged, inspired, motivated, and united average Americans, that their government was concerned about their welfare, and repudiated the power and influence of the elite wealthy, who therefore hated FDR with a passion, and plotted much of the time how to overthrow his Presidency by insidious means. FDR was under constant threat from internal demagogues, as well as foreign totalitarian forces for the 12 years and 39 days that he occupied the White House.

FDR’s death 70 years ago this coming April 12 was a tragedy of massive proportions, and most Americans could not recall any earlier President when he died before the Second World War ended several months later.

NO matter what sustained attacks the right wing has launched against FDR and his legacy, and recognizing he was not perfect, FDR remains our greatest President after Abraham Lincoln, and this is a day to celebrate his birthday!

The Republican “Insane Asylum” Rears Its Ugly Head!

The Republican Party is reveling in its midterm victories, but the victory will be short lived, as already, the GOP is self destructing in its reaction to the expected move of President Obama on immigration reform sometime soon.

Talk of impeachment of President Obama is rampant, along with threats to shut down the government once again, even though that was harmful to the Republicans, and hurt the American economy.

Obama is also infuriating right wingers with his plan to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, if the Senate approves the construction of this environmentally damaging project, which will create few jobs, and contradict treaties with native American tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota.

And potential Presidential candidates are acting as if they are patients in the “insane asylum”!

One example is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who advocates that we promote the kind of racial harmony that existed when Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms were alive! Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority and then the Christian Coalition, and Helms, Republican Senator from North Carolina, did just the opposite of what Santorum claims, and makes us realize that Santorum is from a parallel universe!

Another example is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was perceived as moderate conservative in 2008, but then sold his soul by going to Fox News Channel, and has said reckless and dangerous things since. He is now on a speech tour stating that America is moving toward becoming Nazi Germany under Barack Obama!

Interesting and crazy statement, as it is precisely people like Santorum and Huckabee, and Fox News Channel, the Heritage Foundation, and the Tea Party Movement, who are moving us closer to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, with their reckless attacks on Obama.

And yet we thought that Obama was a Communist, a Socialist, a Kenyan, an Indonesian, a black power racist–and now, suddenly, he is on the other side of the political spectrum with Nazism and Fascism, even though he is African American, and Nazis and Fascists would be out to kill people of so called “inferior” races!

This demonstrates how nuts and looney the GOP is becoming, and they will discover that their extremism, racism, nativism, misogyny, and homophobia will destroy their Senate majority and chances for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond!

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill Of Rights (January 11, 1944) Not Yet Achieved In 2014!

Now that THE ROOSEVELTS series on PBS, the seven part series presented to the nation by the great documentarian Ken Burns, is over, many thoughts and emotions cross one’s mind.

FDR offered so much to the nation in his New Deal, and in his leadership of the struggle against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in World War II.

But what struck this author more than any of this, while watching this 14 hour series over the past week, is an often forgotten speech, the State of the Union speech of January 11, 1944, delivered by FDR in a joint session of Congress.

The speech dealt with the issue of a “Second Bill Of Rights”.

FDR knew that the Bill Of Rights had made America the beacon of the civilized world, with the basic civil liberties it granted to all Americans.

But FDR was looking ahead to the end of World War II, and envisioned a nation that would extend the concept of a bill of rights to other issues that affected all Americans.

So FDR called for a future guarantee of everyone having a decent job with a living wage; a guarantee of decent housing for all Americans; a guarantee of a decent supply of food, clothing, and leisure for all; a guarantee of a decent education providing opportunity for all to advance; an expansion of Social Security beyond the beginning of the concept nine years earlier in 1935; and  provision for a decent health care system for all Americans.

Now 70 years later, none of these have been accomplished, although Social Security has improved tremendously for the elderly, and for women who are widowed and children who lose a parent or are orphaned: Medicare has done so much to help the elderly and disabled; and ObamaCare, under great duress, has provided health care for millions of Americans who never had health coverage before.

But yet, conservatives and Republicans are out to make Social Security and Medicare privatized, and want to destroy ObamaCare!

But we have too many people who cannot find work, due to the Great Recession of George W. Bush and cannot even gain extension of the New Deal concept of unemployment compensation; many Americans live in substandard housing; many people go hungry and live in dire poverty; many have to work multiple jobs and cannot have time for leisure, with most Americans not able to have vacation time, less than any European democracy, or Canada or Australia;  and many children are denied a good education system and can only gain minimum wage employment as adults.

The right wing extremists are trying to destroy the New Deal and Great Society reforms, and return American to a century ago before there was social justice and economic opportunity and political reform offered, starting with the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

How can any decent American not rise up in protest and anger at the selfishness and greed of the elite one percent and their propagandists, who do not care what happens to anyone other than their own class?  Why is acquisition of obscene wealth and power so important that these right wingers have no humanity, no common decency, no desire to see their fellow Americans have a chance to succeed as they were given?  Why is the hatred of taxes so vehement, as if one can take his or her wealth to the grave, or give it in obscene amounts to offspring who will never know responsibility or the virtue of accomplishing on their own?  What is wrong with this nation, that 70 years after the “Second Bill of Rights” speech of FDR, we have made very little progress on the goals of the speech, and have even backtracked on them, and we have evil forces wanting to destroy the most significant programs of the New Deal and Great Society?

The Wartime Presidency: From James Madison To Barack Obama

Now that it seems evident that America is to be engaged in a long drawn-out war against ISIL (ISIS), it means that we can expect the war to last possibly a generation, 20 years, and affect every Presidential election from 2016 through at least 2032.  It will also transform the Congress, and change the direction of American history, and it comes at a terrible time, as we have greater inequities economically now than even in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

But national security and defense always trump anything else, inevitably and necessarily!

So Barack Obama, who came into office determined to end the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars started by George W. Bush, is to be the promoter of a new war, against his desire.

So this is a good time to reflect on how many Presidents have chosen or been forced  to wage war!

James Madison reluctantly took America through the War of 1812, often depicted as “The Sorry Little War”, which led to the burning of the US Capitol and the White House by the invading British forces.

James K. Polk willingly took us through the Mexican War, leading to the acquisition of the American Southwest and California.

Abraham Lincoln took us into the Civil War, believing there was no alternative to “preserve the Union”.

William McKinley was convinced that the Spanish American War was a moral cause, and it led to the development of the “American Empire” in an age of expansionism and imperialism.  He also waged war to force the Philippines to accept American overlordship, after being “liberated” by the United States from Spanish control.

Theodore Roosevelt continued the fight against the Filipino revolutionaries, in what was well hidden for years and not taught in schools below the college level,, but was known to history as the Filipino Insurrection.

Woodrow Wilson took us into the First World War, after trying to avoid direct involvement for more than two years.

Franklin D. Roosevelt took us into the Second World War against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan,  after isolationists bitterly opposed  such entrance, but forced by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,  Hawaii.

Harry Truman continued our engagement in the Second World War, and used the atomic bomb against Japan, but also took us into the Korean War.

Dwight D. Eisenhower continued US involvement in the Korean War for the fist six month of his Presidency.

John F. Kennedy escalated our involvement in Vietnam, from 2,000 “advisers”under Eisenhower,  to over 16,500 Green Beret Special Forces by the time he was assassinated.

Lyndon B. Johnson massively escalated our involvement in Vietnam, reaching a grand total of 549.500 troops in 1968.

Richard Nixon continued the Vietnam War for four long years, causing a massive split in the nation, not seen since the Civil War.

George H. W. Bush took us into the Persian Gulf War, to force Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from keeping control of Kuwait, and being a threat to Saudi Arabia.

George W. Bush took us into war in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, and they became the longest wars in American history.

Barack Obama inherited both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and is soon to end involvement in Afghanistan.  But now the war against ISIL (ISIS) is forecast to last a generation!

So 15 Presidents were commanders in chief in wartime, and this does not include invasions or bombings,  or undeclared naval wars, or wars against Native Americans!

Many Significant Anniversaries In 2014

As we enter the year 2014, we are reminded that many significant anniversaries, that have affected America and the world at large, are being celebrated this year.

In 1689, 325 years ago, we had the Glorious Revolution in England, which ended absolute monarchy and established the rule of Parliament, and the promotion of the English Bill of Rights, all of which would become the model for the American Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.

In 1789, 225 years ago, we had the French Revolution’s beginning, with its promotion of the concepts of liberty and equality, and it would affect the concept of revolutions in other nations over time, and also advocate the concept of popular sovereignty and democracy.

In 1914, 100 years ago, we saw the beginnings of the First World War, which would kill over 8 million people, bring about America’s first major international engagement, and lead to the rise of Communism in the Soviet Union, Fascism in Italy, and Nazism in Germany, all leading to World War II.

In 1939, 75 years ago, we had the beginnings of a war that caused even greater loss of life and property damage, World War II, and would see the horrors of the Holocaust, and the rise of America to leadership of the free world against the Soviet menace, and the beginnings of the Cold War.

In 1989, 25 years ago, we would see the end of the half century Cold War between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, led by the United States, with the Berlin Wall symbol, which had been built in 1961, suddenly coming to a dramatic end, and the liberation of the Eastern European nations which had been part of the Soviet Empire, followed by the fall of the Soviet Union itself in 1991.

We will see a lot of attention paid to these anniversaries this year, particularly the First World War, the Second World War, and the Cold War, as they have shaped so much of world history and American history in the past century!

A Very Dangerous Time: The Iran Nuclear Deal

One cannot easily decide if the announcement of the Iran nuclear deal last night is a moment to celebrate or to condemn. The US, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany came to an agreement which is being much questioned by many diplomatic observers.

The history of Iran’s dealings with the West makes one pause and wonder how anyone can trust the fundamentalist Islamic regime,

This is not an issue of the Iranian people, but rather the Iranian government.

With Israel and the Arab nations (including Saudi Arabia) for once in agreement, all of them alarmed at the growing influence of Iran in Syria, and their engagement with terrorist networks, the tendency would be to see any agreement with the Islamic regime as a ploy, and that we will soon face the reality that Iran is a nuclear power.

But if diplomacy does not work, then the likelihood of warfare in the Middle East beckons, and most Americans do not want our nation involved in another war.

The threat to the survival of Israel is a very worrisome aspect of all this, but it is more than that.

It is also an issue that Iran presents a threat to world peace unmatched since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 51 years ago.

The question is whether Barack Obama, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Joe Biden et al know what they are doing, and whether in the future, we will look back on this as another “Munich”, when Great Britain and France made an ill fated deal with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy over the future of Czechoslovakia in the fall of 1938, which did not bring peace, but instead, within a short time, the outbreak of World War II.

So the author has a very mixed feeling, and a sense of foreboding, that the future is likely to be very gloomy, and lead to a dangerous, widespread war.

The Presidential “Bully Pulpit” From TR To Obama: Our Greatest Moments!

Theodore Roosevelt, the first President of the 20th century, came up with the term “Bully Pulpit” to describe his efforts to draw attention to emerging national issues that needed our attention, with him leading the charge from the White House, and the Presidency was never the same after that!

TR led the struggle against monopoly capitalism; for conservation of natural resources; for improvement of labor conditions; and for government regulation of our food and drugs–all as important national goals. He appealed to our “better angels” in his campaigns on these issues.

Franklin D. Roosevelt led from the “Bully Pulpit” on the need for government activism to deal with the Great Depression, and in getting us ready for the challenge of international Fascism’s threat to the democracies by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.

John F. Kennedy led us from his “Bully Pulpit” on the need to deal with civil rights as a moral crusade, and also the significance of learning to coexist in the world, so as to avoid an ultimate war that no one could win during the Cold War era.

Lyndon B. Johnson led from his “Bully Pulpit” on the issue of civil rights, and also on the reality of poverty in America and the need to take serious action on these issues.

And now Barack Obama has used the “Bully Pulpit” to address the issues of gay rights and the role of race in our society, and what he has done is draw attention and stature to issues that have long been ignored or overlooked as too controversial to deal with on the White House level, but he has the courage and principle that TR, FDR, JFK, and LBJ had before him!

So Barack Obama, with all of the positives and negatives that we find in any President, will be long remembered for challenging our better nature with his leadership on gay rights and race. And it is good already that New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, have endorsed his message on race as recently as the time when this author is writing this entry!

Second Term Presidencies Taken Over By Foreign Crises: Will It Happen Again Now?

Three American Presidents in the last hundred years have been faced by foreign crises leading to war, and disrupting their domestic intentions for their second term of office. All three hoped to accomplish much more internally, but were distracted and diverted by major wars they could not avoid.

Woodrow Wilson had accomplished the most domestic reform in American history of any President until his time, but then World War I intruded, and his second term was dominated by the war and its aftermath.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had surpassed Woodrow Wilson in domestic accomplishments in his first term with his New Deal, but his second term became one of growing concern over the threat of the Japanese Empire to our territories (Hawaii, Guam, The Philippines) in the Pacific, plus the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism represented by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in Europe—leading to concern of its effect on our traditional European friends if not formal allies, Great Britain and France. Although America would not enter World War II until FDR’s third term, the threat of war was ever present, and divided this nation in a massive way between internationalists and isolationists.

Harry Truman had a much more difficult time domestically, and had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but hoped to promote a Fair Deal in his second term, but instead had to deal with the Korean War.

Now, Barack Obama faces the growing threat of real war with two nations who have lunatic leadership, and are capable of provoking major wars, emboldened by their nuclear intentions—Iran and North Korea.

Iran moves ahead on nuclear development, unaffected by the major nations bringing pressure and economic sanctions on them, and still seen as potentially able to threaten the survival of Israel, and cause a major cut off of oil in the Straits of Hormuz. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leaving in June, it is clear that the Ayatollah Khamenei and the extremist Shiite Muslim leadership really dictates policy, and that anything is possible, including war.

North Korea, under its new young (30) leader, Kim Jong Un, has now declared that the truce agreement which ended the Korean War sixty years ago is null and void; has been testing nuclear weapons against international outcry, including China; and has threatened this past week that it might launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korea and the United States. This all seems bluster, but who can say for sure?

So our need as a nation to face the possibility of war with two international outlaws makes the whole budget issue much more complex, and makes the odds of more domestic reform activities all the harder to accomplish.

Much like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, Barack Obama may face being a war President against his will, and his Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be sorely tested over the next four years in their hope to avoid a war, just as we are trying to exit a war in Afghanistan, after having done just that in Iraq!