Great Depression

Constitution Day: 235 Years And Counting, But Question About Its Survival In Future!

Today is Constitution Day, the day in 1787 when the Founding Fathers signed the Constitution.

No one in their right mind would think that those who signed the Constitution believed there should be no changes ever made, or that what was in the Constitution was cement that could not be altered.

And yet, today, we have a majority Supreme Court which thinks we should go back to 1787, what is called “Originalism”.

This is pure insanity, and undermines the ability of government to adapt to changing times.

Most of what is considered “normal” today in constitutional terms is far from just the original document, and reflects the changing times.

And we are faced with a threat, greater than the Civil War or the Great Depression and World War II, to our ability to maintain a constitutional government based on the rule of law, as Donald Trump and his minions are a dire threat to America’s democratic future!

Joe Biden Makes Clear In Philadelphia Speech The Dangers Presented By “MAGA” Republicans!

President Joe Biden delivered a blistering attack last night in Philadelphia, the “Cradle of Liberty” against former President Donald Trump and the threat of “MAGA” Republicans to American democracy and the rule of law!

Biden pulled no punches, abandoning the idea of bipartisanship, which he had promoted for so many years in the US Senate, as the vast majority of the Republican Party has become, as Biden calls it, “Semi Fascist”.

The speech reminded this author of similar speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in defending his “New Deal” in the time of the Great Depression, and FDR’s strong rebuttals of “isolationists”, who opposed his foreign policy in the lead up to World War II!

It also reminded this author of Harry Truman challenging the Republican Party in 1948, the famous “Give Them Hell Harry” campaign for reelection, which seemed hopeless, but with the result of a stunning election victory against all public opinion polls at the time!

Joe Biden Arguably Has Faced The Worst Set Of Crises Other Than Lincoln And FDR!

Abraham Lincoln faced the breakup of the Union and the Civil War in his Presidency from 1861-1865.

Franklin D. Roosevelt faced the Great Depression, the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism, and World War II, from 1933-1945.

Other than Lincoln and FDR, the question arises which other Presidents faced crises on a level as dangerous and challenging as those two Presidents.

One could say George Washington facing the challenge of making the Constitution work, and the nation able to survive as a republic from 1789-1797.

One could say Harry Truman, facing the challenge of sudden elevation to the Presidency in a time when World War II was not yet resolved, and having to deal with the threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War years from 1945-1953.

One could say John F. Kennedy, facing the threat of the Soviet Union, including the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which dominated his time in the Presidency, from 1961-1963.

One could say George W. Bush, facing the challenge of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and the dual wars fought during his Presidency in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Great Recession which developed in his last year in office, from 2001-2009.

One could also say Barack Obama, facing the challenge of the Great Recession, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, and the constant domestic resistance from the right wing Tea Party Movement, and the growing extremism of the Republican Party, from 2009-2017.

But one could also argue that Joe Biden, facing the COVID 19 Pandemic; the growing epidemic of mass murders by firearms by domestic terrorists and mentally disturbed people; and the threat of nuclear war in the midst of the greatest foreign policy crisis (The Russia-Ukraine War) since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, is the greatest challenge and crisis other than Lincoln and FDR!

Tenuous House Of Representatives And Senate Majorities Have Happened Before In Congress

In the era since since there were 48 states (1913) and 50 states (1959) and since, there have been several Congresses in which either the US House of Representatives or the US Senate have had razor thin margins in membership, similar to what is happening in the 117th Congress, with a Democratic lead of only six seats in the House and an even split (50-50) in the Senate.

In the US House of Representatives, we have had close margins in the following 7 Congresses:

65th Congress 1917-1919 215-214 6 others
72nd Congress 1931-1933 218-216 1 other
78th Congress 1943-1945 222-209 4 others
83rd Congress 1953-1955 221-213 1 other
106th Congress 1999-2001 223-211 1 other
107th Congress 2001-2003 221-212 2 others
117th Congress 2021-2023 222-212 1 vacancy

In the US Senate, we have had close margins in the following 11 Congresses:

66th Congress 1919-1921 49-47
70th Congress 1927-1929 48-46 1 other, 1 vacancy
72nd Congress 1931-1933 48-47 1 other
82nd Congress 1951-1953 49-47
83rd Congress 1953-1955 48-47 1 other
84th Congress 1955-1957 48-47 1 other
85th Congress 1957-1959 49-47
107th Congress 2001-2003 50-49 1 other
108th Congress 2003-2005 51-48 1 other
110th Congress 2007-2009 49-49 2 other
117th Congress 2021-2023 50-48 2 other

Notice that both houses of Congress have had tight margins in the 72nd Congress (1931-1933); the 83rd Congress (1953-1955); the 107th Congress (2001-2003); and the present 117th Congress (2021-2023)!

These elections occurred at the time of the worsening of the Great Depression; the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration; the time of the contentious Presidential Election of 2000; and the time of the controversial Presidential Election of 2020!

The decades of the 1950s and the 2000s saw the largest number of tenuous majorities, with four Congresses in the 1950s and three Congresses in the 2000s having such results!

A total of 14 Congresses have had at least one house with a tenuous margin!

Whether the present tenuous majorities in both houses of Congress will continue in 2022 and beyond is the big question!

Foreign Policy Rears Its Ugly Head For Joe Biden

Every President enters office wishing to deal with domestic policy and change.

But invariably, foreign policy rears its ugly head much too often!

Woodrow Wilson came to office in 1913, not expecting the First World War I to break out in 1914, and bring us into that war in 1917.

Franklin D. Roosevelt came to office in 1933, wishing to deal with the Great Depression, but also had to deal with the growing Fascist threat of Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy, and eventually, entrance into World War II!

Harry Truman came to office in 1945 to end World War II, but had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and send troops to Korea.

John F. Kennedy came to office in 1961, and had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon B. Johnson came to office in 1963, wanting to promote the Great Society, but also had to deal with the Vietnam War.

Every other President in modern times has had to face similar issues, and now, Joe Biden must deal with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran as major headaches, as he tries to resolve the COVID 19 Pandemic Crisis!

The American Rescue Plan Act Of 2021 Hearkening Back To Strong Actions Of FDR And The New Deal!

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is seen by many observers as hearkening back to the strong actions of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal nine decades ago.

For sure, the present COVID 19 Pandemic and the economic collapse that has occurred due to this crisis, has created the most dangerous and worrisome moment in American government since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Before this, the Great Recession of 2008-2009 was the worst economic moment, with Barack Obama accomplishing the greatest economic revival over his eight years, that we have seen in American history.

But now, his Vice President, Joe Biden, is moving ahead to promote structural changes in the American economy and work to promote a major attack on poverty, unseen since the Great Society War On Poverty of Lyndon B. Johnson, six decades ago!

The Republican Party Heritage And Principles Are In Death Spiral after 167 Years

The Republican Party was founded in March 1854 as a reform party, with the major principle at its founding being opposition to the expansion of slavery, and including abolitionists within its midst.

It was a Northern party which fought the Civil War and ended slavery, and for a generation, it was a party that inspired the majority of Americans.

Then, in the Gilded Age, it became corrupted by the power and influence of industrial capitalism, and conservatism reigned.

But then, Theodore Roosevelt and others who carried the name “progressive” with pride, promoted reform of the capitalistic system, but after TR’s death, while progressivism still existed in the party, it was taken over by conservatives, and the Great Depression undermined the national power of the party, as the Democrats became the majority party in the 1930s.

The battle for the future of the party was waged in the next half century liberal to moderate Republicans on one side, and hardline conservatives as their opponents, and Ronald Reagan ushered in a hard right conservatism, which became more extreme due to Newt Gingrich and other extreme conservatives since the mid 1990s.

And now we have come to a party that is in a death spiral, as we have conspiracy theorists who are taking over the party, and promoting hate, in the form of racism, nativism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and having wacky members who are advocating assassination of opposition Democrats.

So the Republican Party is now the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley,and many other right wing Fascists, but at the leadership is Donald Trump, and the party represents now:

Family Values gone, with the caging of immigrant children.

Deficit Hawks gone, with added massive deficits of tax cuts to the wealthy.

Free Trade gone, with massive taxes on foreign goods and bailouts of farmers as a result, adding to the national debt and consumer prices.

Limited Federal Government gone, with claims that what state governments report as election results should be ignored by the Congress.

Limiting the Imperial Presidency gone, with obedience by right wing members of both houses of Congress to the whims and desires of Donald Trump, even continuing as this author and blogger writes.

Mitch McConnell Has Conceded Democrats Control Senate With 50-50 Tie, A Major Step Forward!

After five days with a stalemate in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell has conceded that the Democrats and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer control the Senate with a 50-50 tie, allowing the opportunity for progress, after standing in the way of approval of Cabinet members expeditiously.

The Donald Trump Impeachment Trial will start in two weeks, and work will begin on the COVID 19 Pandemic legislation, and the confirmation of all of the Cabinet appointees of President Joe Biden will now move forward rapidly.

Joe Biden wants a very activist first 100 Days, possibly the greatest since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal in the years of the Great Depression.

This is a time for optimism and hope as we move forward!

Domestic Terrorism At Its Peak As Inauguration Of Joe Biden Occurs Eight Days From Today

America is living through a literal nightmare, after the right wing Trumpist Fascist attack on the US Capitol Building on January 6!

Nearly a generation after the September 11, 2001 Attacks by Al Qaeda, we now have domestic terrorism at its peak as the inauguration of Joe Biden occurs eight days from today.

There are reported threats not just on Washington, DC, but also on all fifty state capitals in the next week, with plans revealed for a major threat on this coming weekend, and increasing as January 20 comes upon us!

And we have a unhinged, mentally deranged President now facing a second impeachment, which is justified, but will incite ever more reaction by lunatic seditionists and traitors.

That is why this author and blogger advocates that the inaugural ceremonies be held inside a fortified US Capitol building, not outside, as is customary!

In 1985, Ronald Reagan, then the oldest President at an inauguration, now to be surpassed by Joe Biden, had his second inauguration inside the US Capitol due to the coldest Inauguration Day in American history, with the temperature being 7 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are reports that a multitude of right wing, white supremacist, and neo Nazi groups are targeting not just the inauguration but other locations, and already, the Washington Monument has been shut down, and a high unscalable fence has been built around the US Capitol site, and also the Supreme Court across the street.

Washington DC is becoming a place where security and protection is forever changing due to a multitude of plots by extremists even before this disastrous January 6, 2021 event, and this is a sad, depressing time for American democracy!

But our constitutional system of government is worth fighting for, to protect the republic that has survived Civil War, the Great Depression, and two World Wars!

Rating “First Ladies” Since 1933, And Now Dr. Jill Biden!

The position of “First Lady” has become a role of growing significance in the past century since The New Deal years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with all scholars agreed upon that Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest serving First Lady (1933-1945), was by far the most active and engaged of all First Ladies, and setting a standard for the century since the Great Depression.

We have had 13 First Ladies since Eleanor Roosevelt.

If one were to rank First Ladies in significance after Eleanor Roosevelt, the list, while debatable, would likely be in the following order:

Hillary Clinton
Jacqueline Kennedy
Lady Bird Johnson
Michelle Obama
Betty Ford
Barbara Bush
Rosalynn Carter
Nancy Reagan
Laura Bush
Pat Nixon
Mamie Eisenhower
Bess Truman
Melania Trump

And now, we have Dr. Jill Biden about to become First Lady, and assuredly would be high on the list, based on her past activities as “Second Lady” and her credentials as an educator, and a very supportive wife and mother.

One thing is certain, that the First Lady position, which has been in total collapse under Melania Trump, will be restored with dignity under Dr. Jill Biden, just as Joe Biden will restore the dignity of the Presidency, which has been in total collapse under Donald Trump!