George H W Bush

One Year Since Hurricane Maria In Puerto Rico: A Total National Tragedy, And Time For Puerto Rican Statehood

It has been one tragic year since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, and its floods, winds, and the aftermath of very limited recovery efforts by the Trump Administration led to almost 3,000 deaths, making Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, with its 1,800 deaths look minor by comparison.

The main job of government is to protect its population, not just from foreign foes and invasion, but also from natural disasters, and the Republican Party has set a horrible record of lack of concern and ineptness in dealing with natural disasters.

Witness Hurricane Andrew in 1992 in Florida under President George H. W. Bush; Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in Louisiana under President George W. Bush; and now Hurricane Maria in 2017 in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands under President Donald Trump.

Trump’s lack of concern is worst than the disasters under the two Bushes, and his racism is totally apparent, and the gall of him to throw paper towels on a brief visit a few weeks after the disaster shows just how despicable he is as a human being.

It is time for Puerto Rico, which is still treated as a colony, to apply for statehood, and in June of 2017 the island voted for statehood overwhelmingly, but a small percentage voted, but it should move forward expeditiously, and become the 51st state.

There is a statehood bill, that would make Puerto Rico a state by January 1, 2021, 19 days before the next Presidential inauguration.

Of course, the Republicans, if they keep control, will not wish to do so, as Puerto Rico would certainly be a Democratic state, and likely have two Democratic Senators and a few Democratic Congressmen, but it is the right thing to do, and soon.

Supreme Court Justice Predictability Not So: Nine Cases From Felix Frankfurter To David Souter

As the hearings continue on the nomination of Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the question has arisen over whether Supreme Court Justices are predictable in their evolution on the Court.

The argument is that most Supreme Court Justices are “pegged” when they are considered for the Court, and do not disappoint the President and the party which nominated them for the Court.

But history actually tells us that there are quite a few exceptions to this perceived thought.

Felix Frankfurter (1939-1962), appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, migrated from an earlier liberal, almost radical view, to a clearly conservative view, disappointing many Democrats in the process.

Earl Warren (1953-1969), appointed Chief Justice by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, and thought to be a conservative oriented person, turned out in the mind of many Republicans “a flaming liberal”, totally surprising Eisenhower and many pleased Democrats and liberals.

William Brennan (1956-1990), appointed by Eisenhower, and a rare Catholic on the Court, and thought to be a conservative, turned out to be even more liberal in his jurisprudence, and lasted twice as long as Warren on the Supreme Court, stunning many conservatives and Republicans.

Byron White (1962-1993), appointed by John F. Kennedy, was thought to be a liberal, but was a consistent conservative in his years on the Court.

Harry Blackmun (1970-1994), appointed by Richard Nixon, started off as a conservative, along with his so called “Minnesota Twin” and colleague, Chief Justice Warren Burger, but veered sharply left more and more, diverging dramatically from Burger as the years went by, and honored by liberals as a great Supreme Court Justice.

John Paul Stevens (1975-2010), appointed by Gerald Ford, was thought to be a moderate conservative, but dramatically moved left in his jurisprudence, and remained on the Court for 35 years, third longest of any Justice in history, retiring at age 90, but still active at age 98 (the longest lived Justice ever), and still promoting liberal viewpoints.

Sandra Day O’Connor (1981-2006), appointed by Ronald Reagan as first woman on the Court, turned out to be far less conservative, veering toward the center, and seen as a balance on the Court, unpredictable during her tenure on the Court.

Anthony Kennedy (1988-2018), appointed by Reagan, and just retired, thought to be a hard line conservative, turned out to be the second “swing” vote with O’Connor, and then the true “swing” vote on the Court, joining the liberal side one third of the time.

David Souter (1990-2009), appointed by George H. W. Bush, was thought of as moving the Court to the Right, after William Brennan retired, but many Republicans and conservatives were severely disappointed in his unpredictability, and often his siding with the liberal view on many issues, more than one would have expected.

Notice, however, that seven of these nine cases, all but Frankfurter and White, were of Republican appointments that turned out to be much more “liberal” than one might have imagined, with only Frankfurter and White turning out to be more “conservative” than perceived at the time of their nominations to the Supreme Court.

Presidential Pets From George Washington To Donald Trump, With Only Four, Including Donald Trump, Having No Pets

Forty of the 43 American Presidents from George Washington through Barack Obama, with the exception of Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, have owned and had pets while they served as President, as well in almost all cases, before and after the Presidential years.

Donald Trump is the first and only President since Andrew Johnson NOT to have pets.

But not only that, but also Donald Trump has utilized the term “dog” and the term “animal” as a pejorative against individuals, such as Omarosa Manigault Newman, and groups, such as Mexican immigrants.

Trump has also declared war on endangered species, and protection of wildlife, including advocacy of hunting and bringing home to America endangered animals from other nations in Africa and around the world as sport. So he disdains any respect for nature, a despicable trait.

Even the pardoning of turkeys before Thanksgiving has led to a hostile reaction by such turkeys and by the President himself, who seems uncomfortable with the holiday tradition.

Most of the Presidents have had dogs, with the exceptions of the following ten:

James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Andrew Johnson
Chester Alan Arthur
William McKinley

Every 20th century President and early 21st century have had dogs as pets, until Donald Trump.

Earlier Presidents mentioned above who did not have dogs still had other pets, including horses, birds, cows, and rabbits, with the exceptions again of Van Buren, Polk, and Andrew Johnson.

Cats are rare pets for Presidents, with only Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley owning cats before the 20th century, and Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush having cats as pets since 1900, so a total of 12 Presidents out of 44.

The eleven Presidents with the most pets were in chronological order:

George Washington (7)
Abraham Lincoln (8)
Rutherford B. Hayes (10)
Theodore Roosevelt (24)
Woodrow Wilson (7)
Calvin Coolidge (25)
Herbert Hoover (10)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (7)
John F. Kennedy (19)
Lyndon B. Johnson (8)
Ronald Reagan (11)

So Calvin Coolidge, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Herbert Hoover, and Rutherford B. Hayes had pets in double digits, while the other five listed had 8 pets (Lincoln and LBJ) and 7 pets (Washington, Wilson, and FDR).

Among the most famous pets in chronological order:

Warren G. Harding (Laddie Boy)
Calvin Coolidge (Rob Roy)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (Fala)
John F. Kennedy (Macaroni, a pony)
Lyndon B. Johnson (Him) and (Her)
Richard Nixon (Checkers, before the White House years) and (King Timahoe)
Gerald Ford (Liberty)
Ronald Reagan (Rex) and (Lucky)
George H. W. Bush (Millie)
Bill Clinton (Socks, a cat) and (Buddy)
George W. Bush (Barney) and (Miss Beasley)
Barack Obama (Bo) and (Sunny)

Impeachment Investigations Of Government Officials In American History Mostly Without Basis, More For Political Purposes

The impeachment of Donald Trump seems possible in 2019 IF the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, which seems highly likely, based upon polls 100 days out, and with the reminder that the party out of the White House always gains seats in the midterm elections, with the exceptions of 1934 under Franklin D. Roosevelt and 2002 under George W. Bush.

Having said that, it is reality that impeachment does not lead to convictions and removals from office, with the exception of seven federal district court judges over the long span of American history.

Richard Nixon would have been an exception if he had not resigned, but Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton both were found not guilty in their impeachment trials.

Other Presidents have been threatened with impeachment, but it was more just a threat or simply could not gain enough support in the House of Representatives to lead to impeachment.

That list of threatened impeachments include: John Tyler in 1842 and 1843; James Buchanan in 1860; Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Herbert Hoover in 1933; Harry Truman in 1951; Ronald Reagan in 1987; George H. W. Bush in 1991; George W. Bush in 2008; Barack Obama in 2013: and Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018. Notice most of these were not serious, and in many cases occurred in the last year of the President’s term or near the end of his last term in office.

Vice Presidents who have faced impeachment threats are: Schuyler Colfax in 1873, as he was leaving the Grant Administration; Spiro Agnew in 1973 as he neared resignation due to scandal under the Nixon Administration; George H. W. Bush in 1987 as the Iran Contra scandal emerged; and Dick Cheney in 2007 as the second Bush Administration dealt with the Iraq War continuation. None of them gained any traction.

Impeachment motions against Cabinet officers and other federal officials have been mostly just a gesture, a threat, as with, for example, Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013; Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in 2007; and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2004. Most recently threatened with impeachment is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the past few days, but unlikely to gain any traction, more used as a political ploy.

Jon Huntsman Needs To Resign As Ambassador To Russia, And Consider A Presidential Challenge In The GOP Primaries In 2020

The US Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, has been urged by his hometown newspaper in Utah to resign, after the disastrous performance of Donald Trump at the summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, and not made any better by Trump’s claim that he misspoke one word, meaning “wouldn’t” instead of “would”.

Disillusionment with Trump, and concern that he is “owned” by Putin, who has some deep, dark, scandalous secret about Trump, is spreading, and as this author and blogger stated last week, we could be witnessing a “Manchurian Candidate” situation, as well as possibly a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and a Multiple Personality Disorder President, with the danger of his access to nuclear weapons.

Huntsman, who this author and blogger believed was the best Republican Presidential contender in 2012, and even better than John Kasich, believed to be the best 2016 Republican Presidential contender, has seen his daughter Abby, who is on Fox News Channel, condemning Trump’s press conference in Helsinki, Finland.

It is believed that Huntsman is unhappy over the circumstances, and it would be a badge of honor for him to resign now, and consider a Presidential challenge to Donald Trump and or Mike Pence in the 2020 Primaries.

While this author and blogger is not a fan of Republicans in general, the one way possible to revive the image of the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, would be if we were to see a ticket of Huntsman and John Kasich, or possibly the opposite.

I would not vote for such a ticket, but IF we were to be “stuck” with another four years of Republicans in the White House, far preferable to have Huntsman-Kasich or Kasich-Huntsman than Trump-Pence or Pence and whoever else!

Chief Justice John Roberts To Become The New Balance On The Future Supreme Court?

Chief Justice John Roberts has been on the Court for 13 years now, and he is generally perceived as a conservative.

But he has surprised some conservatives, as when he kept ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) alive in 2012.

Also, Roberts has often stated by the doctrine of “Stare Decisis”–to stand by things decided”–although he has not been consistent on this over the years.

The odds of Roberts siding with the liberals on the Court for the image of the Court named after him as Chief Justice, is a thin measure of what kind of balance he might present on the future Supreme Court.

It seems likely that on balance, he will be “number 5”, in the middle, but that middle will be much farther to the Right than Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O’Connor represented.

But then again, Justices have surprised their Republican Presidents who appointed them, as with Earl Warren and William Brennan under Dwight D. Eisenhower; Harry Blackmun under Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens under Gerald Ford; O’Connor and Kennedy under Ronald Reagan; and David Souter under George H. W. Bush.

The best estimate is that no one should count on John Roberts avoiding “his” Court from being regarded as the most right wing, conservative Court since the time of Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover nine decades ago, before the Great Depression and New Deal began the transformation of constitutional law.

Supreme Court Battle Most Contentious Since Robert Bork And Clarence Thomas Nominations In 1987 and 1991

It is already clear, just two days after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, that the battle to confirm a replacement will be the most contentious since Robert Bork was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1987, and Clarence Thomas was nominated by George H. W. Bush in 1991.

Both times, the Democrats, however, controlled the Senate, and this time, they do not, which is a massive difference.

Bork was defeated in a roll call vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The Democrats have limited ways to stop the confirmation of a replacement for Anthony Kennedy, as no longer can the filibuster tactic be used, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unwilling to give an inch to the Democrats.

The only hope for the Democrats is to convince Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine to back up their strong support of abortion rights, but both voted for Neil Gorsuch last year, as the first Supreme Court choice of Donald Trump.

But it is certain that the fireworks over this nomination, whoever it might be, will make the 2018 midterm elections even more a reason for all Americans to pay attention and to vote, as clearly, voting can change the course of history, and non voting has consequences!

The Surrender Of The Republican Party To The Cult Of Donald Trump Seems Complete

The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H W Bush, Gerald Ford, and even Ronald Reagan is gone.

So is the party of Robert LaFollette, Sr., George Norris, Nelson Rockefeller, Mark Hatfield, Clifford Case, William Scranton, and innumerable others who served as Governors or US Senators.

The Republican Party of 2018 has sold its soul to the idea of maintaining office at all costs, and all principles, morals, and ethics have totally disappeared.

No one, literally no one, who is running for election now or in the near future, is willing to gamble losing his or her position of power.

Only those who are dying, as John McCain–or not running for reelection, such as Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona—or not in office or those who have journalistic integrity despite their Republican or conservative credentials in the past—have the willingness to speak up. Or the most recent example of South Carolina Congressman and former Governor Mark Sanford, a strong conservative Republican, who lost his party’s primary despite his conservative credentials, because he had the “nerve” to criticize Donald Trump!

The only way to purge the party future is for all officeholders, or most of them, who are facing election and staying silent, to be forced out of office by the voters in the midterm Congressional and state elections in November 2018.

This is, and it is not meant to sound dramatic, but this is the only hope for American democracy, that the Democrats have a massive, overwhelming victory.

If not, we are living in a period where the Constitution and Bill of Rights are being destroyed before our eyes, with most Americans not caring, or complicit by silence and lack of interest and participation in voting, in the downfall of the American experiment as the great constitutional democracy America was meant to be!

We are living in a time of a cult, a mass worship of a very flawed, evil human being, who has no concern for the future, but only for his own material wealth and stroking of his ego.

We have a very sick, mentally deranged individual who has the capability of destroying the planet, or caving in to the whims of other totalitarian leaders who he wises to emulate.

If there is a history to be written in the future, however, Donald Trump will be condemned as the most despicable, evil leader we have ever manufactured!

Ranking Vice Presidents And Their Influence On Their Presidents, From Richard Nixon To Mike Pence

Recent information has made it clear that Vice President Mike Pence is a weak Vice President, apparently intimidated by President Donald Trump, and unwilling to challenge him in any way.

In fact, Mike Pence has fawned over Donald Trump in a very degrading way and manner, that we have never seen in any other modern Vice President.

Until Richard Nixon under Dwight D. Eisenhower, no Vice President ever had much impact on their President.

Nixon became the first activist Vice President, given lots of assignments and work, but never openly fawning on Ike.

Lyndon B. Johnson under John F. Kennedy was not utilized very effectively, but he never kowtowed to Kennedy.

Hubert Humphrey under LBJ knew he had to support the Vietnam War, but did not lose his dignity in the process.

Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon actually did a lot of work attacking the news media for Nixon, although he was poorly treated and abandoned by Nixon when he caused his own legal trouble, that forced him out of office.

Gerald Ford kept his dignity under Nixon in the eight months he was Vice President, before succeeding Nixon in the White House.

Nelson Rockefeller was given responsibilities by Gerald Ford, more than anyone since Nixon under Ike.

Walter Mondale became the most active and engaged Vice President, totally on the same wave length with Jimmy Carter.

George H. W. Bush, while not a “bosom buddy” of Ronald Reagan, played an important role and had total respect of Reagan.

Dan Quayle was a disaster under George H. W. Bush, and a real embarrassment, but Bush always treated him with respect, nevertheless, and kept him on the ticket for 1992.

Al Gore was very close and involved with Bill Clinton, until the Monica Lewinsky Scandal, which led to a breach never fully healed.

Dick Cheney was almost President in the sense that he was leaned on by George W. Bush in his first term, losing some of his power and input in the second term.

Joe Biden had the closest, most intimate relationship with Barack Obama, at least on the level of Walter Mondale with Jimmy Carter, and they remain close today, as do Mondale and Carter.

And now, Mike Pence, who seems afraid of his boss, Donald Trump, and it seems clear he has no guts to challenge Trump on anything, making him look totally wimpy and weak.

We are in a constitutional crisis, but Mike Pence is not willing to fight for the country and its democracy, but rather for Tyrant Donald Trump, so he will go down in history as a disgraceful Vice President, with no guts or courage to challenge Trump, and take away his authority under the 25th Amendment!

So, in conclusion, ranking the last 13 Vice Presidents in influence, one would say the ranking would be:

Joe Biden and Walter Mondale tied for first

Cheney, Gore and Bush tied for second.

Rockefeller and Nixon tied for third.

Johnson and Humphrey tied for fourth.

Ford, for shortage of time and circumstances, fifth.

Pence might be sixth, ahead of Agnew and Quayle at the bottom of the list.

Our future with Vice President Pence is not promising!

Will The Genuine Mike Pence Reveal Himself? Mixed Views Of How Pence Is Performing As Vice President

After 16 months in office, Vice President Mike Pence comes across different ways to different observers, so there are mixed views of how he is performing as Vice President.

Some praise him as totally loyal to the President, standing behind him to his right in every photo when Donald Trump pontificates and makes embarrassing and divisive statements, with many of them containing lies on a consistent basis.

Others see him as lacking the moral and ethical fiber that it is claimed he has, as a “good Christian”, who wears his religion on his sleeve.

Others see him as manipulative and deceitful, as it is claimed he is planning his own future, and what he perceives as his eventual ascension to the Presidency.

Others see him as complicit in the scandals surrounding Donald Trump, and think he will be implicated and be forced to resign as Vice President, as occurred to Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon in 1973.

Is Mike Pence anything like Joe Biden under Barack Obama? Or anything like Al Gore under Bill Clinton? Or anything like Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter? Or anything like Gerald Ford under Richard Nixon?

Or is he more like Dick Cheney under George W. Bush? Or anything like Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush? Or anything like George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan?

Who is the “real” Mike Pence?

Will he add to the distinction of the office we have seen under many recent Vice Presidents?

Or will he stand out as one of the worst, and possibly most corrupt, Vice Presidents, in the vein of Spiro Agnew?

The nation is waiting to see how Mike Pence turns out, and it is an important issue for the nation at large.