History

Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days: An F Grade Is Appropriate! Neil Gorsuch Is The Only “Accomplishment”!

This is the season for judgment on Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days, and being a professor of history and political science, as well as a lecturer, blogger, and published author of two books and many articles, the conclusion is clear.

Donald Trump gets a F for his performance, easily the least accomplished President in the first Hundred Days, with only one major accomplishment, the approval by the US Senate of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

But even that only came about because of the Republican decision to abandon the filibuster rule, therefore allowing Gorsuch to be confirmed without a 60 vote margin usually required before a final vote. And it seems likely that Gorsuch will, sadly, take America backwards, maybe more so than his predecessor, Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch will affect constitutional law in a detrimental way, based on his earlier record as a circuit court judge.

Otherwise, Trump has been all bluster and bullyism, who has made many promises, and none of them nearing fulfillment. Trump’s public opinion ratings are by far the lowest of any President since polling began, particularly at this early a stage of his time in office. He has never had the majority of the nation behind him, either in the election, during the transition, or now after a hundred days in office.

Donald Trump has done more to divide America in his first Hundred Days than any previous President, and he relishes conflict, rather than compromise and unity. He has pitted his white working class supporters against minorities, and yet he is showing lack of any concern about those who supported him. There are signs already of disillusionment and “buyer’s remorse” by many who voted for Trump.

He has promised a Mexico Wall which will not work, if it is ever built, and it will add many tens of billions to the national debt, and Mexico is not going to pay for the Wall, and one hopes Trump is not ready to start a war with our neighbor, as he has more than enough foreign policy problems as it is.

He saw his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, forced to resign in less than a month, and there has been total chaos, anarchy, and disarray with the White House staff, with the only good thing being the lessening of the influence of right wing radical Stephen Bannon, and the rise of the influence of Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner. It is hoped that the couple will have a humanizing influence on Trump, which would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, the Russian connection to Trump is still being investigated, and could force him out of office at some point. But meanwhile, Trump has been saber rattling with North Korea and Iran, and has bombed Syria and Afghanistan, and continues to promise the total destruction of ISIL (ISIS). Relations with Russia, at least publicly, are deteriorating as well.

Trump has managed to create hostility and antagonism with such allies as Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia, while seemingly cozying up to China over the Korean issue, and therefore changing his hostile tone in the campaign toward China.

Trump has shown his total ignorance of history and of science, and has declared war on the environment, on consumer rights, on labor rights, on women’s rights, on the Hispanic community, on African Americans, and on the health care system itself. He seems unconcerned about the loss of health care for 24 million Americans, and is just out to trash his predecessor, Barack Obama.

His appointments to his cabinet are atrocious, and we have the most terrifying Attorney General in all of American history in Jeff Sessions.

Trump has failed to gain any legislative accomplishments, and has, instead, used twice as many executive orders than his last two predecessors, but many are mean spirited and negative, undermining our values and the historical accomplishments of government in the past hundred years since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and including Republican Presidents, as well as Democrats.

Trump makes Richard Nixon look much better, and even the weaknesses and shortcomings of George W. Bush pale by comparison, as at least Bush was a decent human being, while wrong headed.

His anti immigrant, nativist stand is a stain on history, and the tragedy of deportation of children protected under executive order of Barack Obama adds to the horrors of families being torn apart.

His condemnation of the judiciary is detrimental to respect for the law, and his Muslim bans have been held up by courageous federal court judges.

Trump, in many ways, is the third President without a party, as there is a major split in the Republican Party, and there are many officeholders and conservative journalists and intellectuals who have major problems with him. John Tyler and Andrew Johnson are the earlier Presidents who had no party backing, but Trump was elected, while they were not, but Trump’s constant switches of position, and his lying, and insulting, undermine his Presidency dramatically.

Donald Trump comes across, ultimately, as the least likable President, if one judges by his character, his behavior, and his basic values.

Trump has no background, experience, knowledge, or ethical standard to be our President, and one must recall that 54 percent of those who voted, were against him, and he is the 7th lowest popular vote percentage winner of all Presidents, with the others–John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and James Buchanan–all having two or three opponents who won electoral votes, while Trump only had Hillary Clinton as an electoral vote competitor. And Hillary won the biggest margin of popular votes of any losing candidate–2.85 million popular votes.

The nightmare of Donald Trump has just begun, and America is a loser for having, somehow, elected this egomaniac and narcissist, who is only out for his own glorification!

The Pure Ignorance And Stupidity Of Donald Trump Is Beyond Belief!

Donald Trump is supposed to be an intelligent man, but if one listens to much of what he says, one can come to the conclusion that he is extremely ignorant and stupid.

He claims to be smarter than everyone, and that his best advisor is who he looks at in the mirror.

So he tells us that climate change and global warming is a hoax.

He informs us that Korea was part of China.

He tells us that his First Hundred Days are the most accomplished of any President, forgetting Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He talks about Frederick Douglass as if he was still alive, although he died in 1895.

He informs us that ISIL (ISIS) is due to Barack Obama, although it is actually due to the Iraq War initiated by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

He claims that the unemployment rate and jobs report under him is fantastic, while repudiating similar figures in the last months in office of Barack Obama as fake statistics.

He says that Barack Obama left a mess, even though Obama created more jobs in his Presidency than any President, and left us with a tripling of the stock market and halved the unemployment rate when he came in, having inherited the worst economic conditions since Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression.

He lies about inauguration crowds, and the numbers at the New England Patriots White House event.

The man is a perpetual liar and deceiver of the facts, and yet has millions of clueless people still honoring him.

It is in many ways as if America elected a totally inept, unstable, ill informed leader, and yet not an issue to millions of gullible Americans, which says legions about them, and is a sign of the massive problems we face.

Alternative facts, which means pure right wing propaganda, is rampant, and millions of Americans are totally unaware of the realities of science and history, and simply believe what right wing media tells them.

Trump Declaration Of War On The Arts, Humanities, PBS, National Public Radio, And Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars

Donald Trump’s budget proposal is a declaration of war on the arts, humanities and history, undermining artists, museums, and cultural organizations, although the total budget of all cultural institutions supported by federal money is minuscule, just a few hundred million of 1.1 trillion of total annual discretionary spending, about .0003 percent of the budget.

All the creative work of the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts would be wiped out, and there would also be elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which provides funding for PBS and National Public Radio, and of the Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars.

So all funding for cultural and educational institutions would be ended, a repudiation of the value of intellectual pursuits, and closing down agencies that have done so much good for America, opening up the eyes and minds of tens of millions of Americans who were educated by the creative work of intellectuals in all fields of the arts and humanities.

We are seeing the suppression of our institutional memory of knowledge.

This move by Trump would repudiate all the good work done in the arts and humanities by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression via the Works Projects Administration (WPA) to keep the cultural community alive and thriving.

It also is 52 years since Lyndon B. Johnson made a major commitment to culture and the arts, through the establishment by Congress of the NEH, PBS, NEA, and the Wilson Center.

All decent people must fight this anti intellectualism full throttle!

First Thoughts After The Inauguration: How Nasty, Mean Spirited, And Lacking In Compassion Donald Trump Really Is!

I had said I was taking a day off from commentary, and will write in greater detail tomorrow, but I felt a need to comment just before midnight on Inauguration Day, so here goes!

Donald Trump in just 12 hours has made clear just how nasty, mean spirited, and lacking in compassion he really is!

He claims that he is in the White House for the average American, but he has painted a picture of America which is very dark, very pessimistic, and very lacking in truth.

He claims there is a “carnage” that has gone on, even though Barack Obama presided over more employment gains than any President in history, and starting from a economic disaster known as the Great Recession, and in danger of falling further into another Great Depression!

He claims concern for mothers and children in the “ghettos” in the cities, but has never once indicated what he will do.

He declares “America First” without any understanding of the history of that term.

He has no knowledge or understanding of history or science, as he declares war on the environment, with lack of concern for our children and grandchildren by putting profits ahead of health and safety in the future.

He is basically telling our allies in Europe and Asia to go to hell, and promoting isolationism, protectionism, super nationalism bordering on Fascism.

He talks about America being great again, when it already is, but is willing to destroy all progress accomplished under his predecessor, who he spent five years destroying, and now will put the final nails in the 44th President’s legacy.

He says he cares about the “forgotten people”, but he is taking steps to harm these same people, including many who voted for him.

How can this man sleep at night, have no conscience, and be almost gleeful at destroying all of the great social and economic progress from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama?

It as if the devil is in him, Satan in a way, a man with no ethics, morals, or scruples.

One has to believe in divine retribution in the next world, or “what goes around, comes around”–Karma!

Factual Knowledge Unimportant To Donald Trump: Substance Does Not Matter!

It is very clear that Donald Trump wants to be President, but has not done the “homework” needed, as he, regularly, shows ignorance of basic information about international affairs and foreign policy, and also over simplifies domestic issues that the nation faces.

His lack of knowledge is astounding, with his ignorance shining through his bravado, his bullying, and his ego maniacal behavior in public meetings.

Trump seems to think his charisma and controversial nature can carry him through to victory, but that is not going to work, once we get past the novelty of a businessman, who has never really studied public affairs, as he has always been engaged in “the art of the deal”, as his best selling book is named.

Once in the Oval Office, without any clear and detailed knowledge of what history and political sciences and foreign policy reveal, he is in for a rude awakening, which this nation can ill afford.

Trump may be affronted by being challenged by media who ask him specific questions, but that is far less than the daunting challenges he would face if he became President.

The whole idea that a non politician is qualified to be President is totally preposterous, as would one want a doctor who did not have proper medical training  and knowledge?  Would one want an attorney who had not mastered the law and the Constitution? Would one go to a dentist who did not have expertise to do dental surgery?  Would one wish to hire an accountant to do one’s business or personal taxes, who had no training?  Would a sports team allow someone to be on their team who had no training or proven skills?

Why is it that ignorant people seem to think “anyone” who claims to be qualified , is truly someone we should give power and control over nuclear weapons because they touch a nerve of disillusionment and discontent in the mass of the population?  Is that the way to run a government, to put amateurs in power?

Happy 239th Birthday, America! Lots Of Work To Do For A Better And “More Perfect Union”!

It is hard to believe that we have reached the 239th birthday of the United States, as the author can well remember the bicentennial in 1976, when Gerald Ford was President.

We have come a long way as a nation, but we still have a lot of work to do, including, in no special order:

Working to overcome racism, nativism, misogyny, and homophobia, too widespread in our great nation

Improving our economy so that there are real opportunities for the “American Dream”, and the revival of the middle class, but also concern and action for the poor among us

Dealing with the reality of environmental threats to our planet, and not allowing the deniers of climate change to destroy our future

Coming to grips with foreign threats, particularly, but not only, Islamic terrorism, but realizing the great dangers from domestic terrorism that have caused more deaths and incidents than any other cause of harm to Americans

Working against the promotion of mythology through religion, undermining the truths of science and history

These are the unfinished work that faces America in its future, and the movement toward “a more perfect union”!

Sixth Anniversary Of “The Progressive Professor” And 4,500 Entries!

Today is the sixth anniversary of this blog, and a total of 4,500 entries has been reached on this date!

It has been a pleasure to comment on politics, current affairs, and history for the past six years, and I have been very appreciative of the contributions made by my readers, which have enriched this blog as an information source!

I have made an effort to comment on events on a timely basis, and have tried very hard to avoid missing dates, and while in the beginning, the entries were not on a regular basis, in the past few years, I have had very few dates without at least one entry.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog, and I intend to continue this blog for the long run, and welcome you along as I do so, and welcome your comments and analysis!

The Death Of Famed Political Scientist And Historian James MacGregor Burns At Age 95

Sad news has come, that famed political scientist and historian James MacGregor Burns, of Williams College, has passed away at the advanced age of 95.

A professor at Williams College for nearly a half century, and then at the University of Maryland, Burns was the author of some twenty books, as well as a famed textbook in the field of American government, which this author used in his classes over the years, in several different editions.

The first to write a study of his friend, Senator John F. Kennedy, as he was running for President, Burns became most noted for his three volume history of the United States; his two volume study of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1956 and 1970 (which had a profound effect on this author); a study of the three Roosevelts (Franklin, Eleanor, and Theodore); studies of Congress; and also analysis of the Supreme Court. He won the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for his second volume on FDR (The Soldier of Freedom) in 1971.

There are few scholars in political science and history who have had the massive effect on those fields that Burns had, so he will be missed, but also remembered for his tremendous contributions.

The Attack On Teacher Tenure An Attack On Education Itself!

The decision of a California judge against teacher tenure in California is the alarm bell of attacks on public education, and really, educational standards itself!

There is no question that there are people in the teaching profession who should not be allowed to keep their jobs, due to incompetence, inappropriate behavior in the classroom, and refusal to update their skills and motivation to work.

There is, certainly, a need to give administrators the power to remove such teachers from the classroom and the profession, and therefore, there is a need for reform of tenure.

But the sweeping decision in California will promote right wing attacks on education itself, and will have deleterious effects as follows:

Veteran teachers who are at the top of the pay and benefits scale, after many years of hard work and dedication, could be forced out of the profession simply based on cost factors.

The ability of teachers to have academic freedom will be compromised, and it will discourage innovation and new ideas, out of fear of antagonizing administrators and parents.

The promotion of religion over science will be accelerated, creating a future of ignorance on the challenges that face us, and promoting instead a concept of obedience to the literal interpretation of the Bible, which already, one third of the American people believe in as fact.

The promotion of a flag waving patriotism, which sweeps historical reality and fact under the rug, and ignores the truth of our shortcomings and mistakes, is the promotion of a dangerous nationalism, which advocates the greatness of America, while showing lack of respect and knowledge of the rest of world history and civilization. This will also discourage the study of foreign languages and cultures, further isolating America from world affairs knowledge and understanding.

The movement to privatize education makes it a profit making institution, which education should not be, and will condemn generations of students to right wing propaganda, including attack on the institution of labor unions itself, which made America a middle class society, but now in danger of becoming an autocracy ruled by the top one percent of billionaires and millionaires for their own aggrandizement!

The Triumph Of Science Over Ignorance In Texas

Great news that the Texas State Board of Education has voted to approve science textbooks based on established science for the next decade, a massive victory over the forces of ignorance which attempted to promote religion in place of science in the curriculum, and wanted to deny the facts of evolution and global warming and climate change.

Since Texas has such a large student population, the decisions of the state board have a great effect not only on the Lone Star State, but also on the textbook materials used across the nation, as publishers shape their editorial plans on what Texas does.

But now the influence of the religious Right is still threatened over the teaching of Social Studies, including the study of American history and world history.

David Barton and his right wing forces, which claim to be historians when they are not any such thing, wish to cut down attention paid to ethnic minorities, women, labor, and the study of great reforms and reformers throughout history, and to promote the concept that religion was advocated as part of government by the Founding Fathers, when that is a total myth!

And also, they wish to promote the idea that we are a greater nation than any in the world, taking away attention from world civilizations, as if we magically became the nation we are, despite the fact that we have been influenced by cultures and influences from around the world.

So the battle for knowledge over ignorance and prejudice has won in the battle for science, but now must continue the good fight for the the legitimacy of history in the curriculum and the textbooks!