George W. Bush

The Conservative Political Action Conference: The Cult Of Personality Supporting Donald Trump Without Question Or Qualms

The Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend was a telling example of where conservatism has gone—to a cult of personality supporting Donald Trump without question or qualms.

It is very clear that intelligent conservatives, many who write commentary, and those conservatives, many who worked for Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, and for GOP nominees Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, are horrified by the utterances, actions, and personality of Donald Trump.

But the “mob” of ignorant “groupies” who worship Donald Trump are clearly mean spirited, and as racist, nativist, misogynist, and white supremacist as their leader, and their and his behavior at the CPAC conference was shocking, terrifying, and disgraceful.

Trump put on a show of more than two hours, ranting and raving like a maniac, in his longest speech in office. He hugged the American flag twice in a lunatic manner, and attacked every imaginable critic and “enemy”, and cheers were heard for his continued attacks on John McCain months after his passing, totally reprehensible. And through it all, there were cheers from people who sound like the next generation of Nazis and Fascists.

One would think this was a rally of Nazis at Nuremberg, and was similar to the rally at Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to violence and the murder of one young woman, an event in which Donald Trump claimed that “both sides” had good people at that rally.

There were no good people at CPAC, none, and it is a sign of how Donald Trump has promoted hatred, fear, violence, and is intent on destroying everything good and decent ever promoted into law by responsible Republicans, as well as Democrats.

The threat of Donald Trump to American democracy is real, and the movement to take action against the 45th President is in full gear, with the hope that future damage can be prevented, but we are at a turning point that is crucial for the future of the American republic and for democracy.

Military Invasion Of Venezuela The Wrong Thing For America To Promote

The situation in the South American nation of Venezuela is horrendous, with massive starvation and suffering, under a horrible dictator, Nicolas Maduro, and his refusal to allow food and medical aid to come in from next door Colombia.

There is no question but that Maduro must be removed from office, but that is not through US military intervention directly.

The United States has used military force in Central America and the Caribbean on a irregular basis since the time of Theodore Roosevelt, and helped to overthrow the South American Chilean government of Salvador Allende in 1973 during the Richard Nixon Presidency, although in that situation, no US troops were sent in, simply collaboration with military generals.

But the changes in government promoted by the US invariably led to more harsh right wing dictatorships, and have undermined the relationship of the United States with its neighbors in Latin America.

Many foreign nations have withdrawn recognition from the Venezuelan government, and Juan Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly, has been declared the de facto interim President by that body.

Economic pressure and attempts to win over the military are appropriate by all nations which love freedom, but the worst possible action would be to send in military forces, which would incite civil war, and likely make America the villain, and cause a long intervention and the loss of many lives, both Venezuelan and American.

But it seems as if Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton are bent on military action, just as they seem to be moving in that direction regarding Iran.

So we could have two massive wars as the 2020 Presidential and Congressional elections come upon us next year, just as with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and unwise, and unsuccessful military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have undermined America, and cost a great amount of treasure, both human and capital.

The “Achilles Heel” Of Ten Presidents: What Harms Their Historical Reputation

When one studies the Presidency, it always comes down to one issue that can undermine their historical reputation.

So for John Adams, for example, it is the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

For James Madison, it is the burning of the White House and Capitol Hill in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812.

For Andrew Jackson, it is the forced removal of five Indian tribes to Oklahoma in the 1830s, the so called “Trail of Tears”.

For Franklin Pierce, it is the signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, bringing the nation closer to the Civil War of the future.

For Woodrow Wilson, it is the violation of civil liberties during the First World War, and immediately after, during the Red Scare of 1919-1920.

For Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

For Lyndon B. Johnson, it is the escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s.

For Richard Nixon, it is the engagement in the Watergate Scandal in the early 1970s.

For George W. Bush, it is the provoking of the Iraq War in 2003 and after.

And for Donald Trump, it is the collusion with the Russian government Vladimir Putin, which is going to bring down his Presidency.

Elizabeth Warren’s Proposed Tax On MultiMillionaires and Billionaires Not Going To Impoverish Anyone, As Two Percent And Three Percent Loss Of Wealth Is Laughable For Them To Be Disturbed About

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a declared candidate for President, has proposed a wealth tax on multimillionaires and billionaires, and has caused a ruckus, including that of two potential Presidential candidates, who are billionaires.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has indicated he plans an independent candidacy, is outraged, as is Michael Bloomberg, former NYC Mayor, who plans to announce as a Democrat for President.

Both want to only give support through generous donations, but are opposed to being forced to pay a high level of taxes.

But their protest is preposterous, as they could never spend or utilize all of their fortune, and they seem unwilling to take the view that their success requires them to pay a small percentage in taxes.

What does Warren propose, after massive tax cuts for the wealthy under Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump?

Those who have assets of $50 million or more would pay 2 percent annually, which is only $1 million, and easily made up in interest.

Those who have assets of $1 billion or more would pay 3 percent, or a minimum of $30 million, which is a “drop in the bucket” if you have a billion dollar fortune, and also easily made up in interest over the next year.

A wealthy person never really loses his assets as the interest is always more than two or three percent.

Only a small less than one percent of taxpayers would face this tax, but it would raise a lot of money to deal with social and economic matters that affect a population becoming poorer and the middle class dwindling.

For these and other wealthy people to complain about this small percentage of their wealth being taxed, is totally preposterous and outrageous.

Urgency To Raise Marginal Tax Rate On Wealthiest To 70 Percent, As Existed In Years 1936-1951, And 1963-1980, With 90 Percent Between 1951-1963, All Of Which Created The Middle Class

With the middle class rapidly diminishing, and poverty spreading to more and more of Americans, a trend since 1980, it is urgent that America go back to the tax policy that prevailed from 1936-1980.

From the time of the New Deal at its peak in the mid 1930s through the year of the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the US government, by its tax policy, created a growing and prosperous middle class, and while the wealthy complained about the tax rates, it did not harm them, but made a vast difference to the nation.

The marginal tax rate, meaning the tax rate above a fixed income, reached 70 percent from 1936 to 1951, and was raised further to 90 percent from 1951-1963, followed by a return to 70 percent from 1963-1980. It allowed a growing middle class to improve their life style and buy goods and services that could not have occurred without this small sacrifice by the wealthy.

Now, it has been proposed that the marginal tax rate go back up to 70 percent on incomes over $10 million, so notice this is not raising taxes on the first $10 million of income, and is not going to strip the top one percent of their wealth by any means.

The middle class dwindled once the tax rate was allowed to plummet under Ronald Reagan onward, and has led to an economy where former middle class people, who still think they are middle class, have to work second and third jobs, and both wife and husband must work full time, in order to struggle to remain in the lower middle class at best.

This is not good for the struggling middle class, and in the long run, is a detriment to the wealthy. The anger and bitterness over the unfairness of our tax policy endangers everyone.

Instead of keeping the tax rate at what it was, the wealthy have had three massive periods of tax cuts, under Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and now Donald Trump. It is time for that horrible tax policy to come to an end, as the wealthy do not need any more exploitation of the middle class and the poor to be on their necks.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Goodbye And Good Riddance To Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan: A Despicable Legacy Of Ayn Rand Worship And Obedience To Donald Trump

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will be leaving Congress, and the best way to look at it is: Goodbye and Good Riddance.

Ryan is a despicable legacy of Ayn Rand worship, whose goal in Congress, luckily unmet, was to wipe out the Social Welfare State of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, along with other reforms brought about by other Presidents of both political parties.

Ryan seemed excited at the thought of ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, although he gained from Social Security when his father died when he was a child, but seemed unperturbed in denying those less fortunate, and poor mothers and children the idea of any government support in their plight.

A so called “good Catholic”, who actually was denounced by Catholic leaders for his hard hearted attitude toward the poor and sick, he was anti abortion but did not care what happened once a child was born.

Ryan also showed willingness to be obedient toward Donald Trump’s abuse of power, and he presided over a massive increase in the national debt by his promotion of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, and his party now has to own the great increase in the national debt that occurred under George W. Bush and Donald Trump, which he ignored, while being constantly critical of Barack Obama, and refusing to come up with an alternative to ObamaCare.

The thought that he could be a heartbeat away from the Presidency as the potential Vice President under Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Campaign was horrifying, and this author denounced Ryan regularly at that time, and was bitterly attacked by the right wing in a vicious manner, but that did not intimidate me in calling him a disgraceful and despicable Republican leader.

To say that he was worse than the previous Speakers John Boehner and Dennis Hastert is quite a testimony to the disaster he represented as two heartbeats away from the Presidency while Speaker from 2015-2018.

He is being replaced by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, previously Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, the most productive years of any Speaker going back to the times of Thomas “Tip” O’Neill from 1977-1987.

Nancy Pelosi Proves A Woman Can Overwhelm A Bully, A Braggart, A President Who Is Unfit To Be President

Nancy Pelosi was a great, productive leader of the House as Speaker from 2007-2011, and she will be again.

She was easily the best Speaker of the House since Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, who was Speaker under Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from 1977-1987.

She accomplished more under the last two years of George W. Bush and the first two years of Barack Obama than any modern Speaker other than O’Neill in the past 45 years, and makes all Republican Speakers–Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, Paul Ryan–look pitiful by comparison.

The House of Representatives will have a much more complicated calendar for the first time in 12 years, as she will push and promote the Democratic agenda in the next two years, along with consideration of the possible impeachment of Donald Trump.

Her performance in showing up Trump at an open to the press 17 minute verbal dispute in the Oval Office was masterful, and showed she can best a man who thinks he is smart and brilliant, but was shown to be “an Emperor without clothes”.   Trump was humiliated by how Pelosi portrayed him  and his manhood, and has shown, despite her reaching the age of 80 by 2020, that she is the right person to lead Democrats into a hoped for massive victory in 2020 for the Presidency and the US Senate, and retention of the House majority.

The Fourth Period Of Six Living Presidents Ends With Death Of George H. W. Bush

We have just seen the end of the fourth time in American history that we have had six living Presidents.

The first time was in 1861-1862, from March to January, a total of about 10 and a half months, when we had President Abraham Lincoln, and former Presidents Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, until John Tyler died in January 1862.

The second time was 1993-1994 from January to April, a total of about 15 months, when we had President Bill Clinton, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, until Richard Nixon died in April 1994.

The third time, the longest time, was 2001-2004, from January to June, a total of about 40 and a half months, when we had President George W. Bush, and former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, until Ronald Reagan died in in June 2004.

And now, the fourth and last time, was 2017-2018, from January to November, a total of about 22 and a half months, the second longest time, when we had President Donald Trump, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, until George H. W. Bush died on the last day of November 2018.

The odds of having a fifth period of six Presidents anytime soon seems unlikely, as Jimmy Carter, at age 94, would seem unlikely to have much more life longevity, but if Donald Trump were to be forced out of office, in the next two years, or be defeated, and Carter stayed in good health, it could happen.

George H. W. Bush And John Adams: Comparisons

With the death of George H. W. Bush, we can make many comparisons with John Adams.

Both were born in Massachusetts.

Both served as Vice President under their Presidents for eight years, John Adams under George Washington, and George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan.

Both only had one term as President, defeated for reelection.

Both are seen as lower in ranking than their predecessors, George Washington and Ronald Reagan, who served two terms in office.

Both had the President elected after them rank higher in rankings of Presidents, and both Thomas Jefferson and Bill Clinton served two terms in office.

Both outlived their wives.

Both had a son become President, and live to see that occur.

Both reached to the age of 90, with Adams being the longest lived until Ronald Reagan, then Gerald Ford, then George H. W. Bush, and then Jimmy Carter surpassed his age.

Bush died at the oldest age of any President, although Jimmy Carter could surpass Bush if he lives to March 22, 2019.

Both died after 25 plus years in retirement.

Both have been rated higher than their son, John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush, in rankings of historians and political scientists, and it is unlikely that their sons will ever surpass them.