John F. Kennedy

Donald Trump Refuses To Take Responsibility For Failed Yemen Raid, Death Of Ryan Owens: As Truman Said, “The Buck Stops Here!”

Donald Trump has demeaned the office of the Presidency by his refusal to take responsibility for the failed Yemen Raid that took place two days after his inauguration.

At dinner with son in law Jared Kushner and his White House Counselor Stephen Bannon, he decided to authorize a raid that the Obama Administration had been reluctant to do, because of lack of full intelligence information on the likelihood of its success.

Trump should have been in the Situation Room with top military and intelligence officials, but he decided to try to make himself a hero, and in so doing, caused the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

Instead of taking responsibility for this blunder and the death, Trump blamed the “Generals” for the failure, and lied that much intelligence information had been successfully gathered, which others, including Senator John McCain have challenged as untruthful.

And then, Trump paraded the sobbing widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens at the President’s Speech to Congress, and after a great salute to her by an applauding Congress, bragged that a record had been set for the longest applause ever at a Congressional session, an unseemly point to make at that point of time, and just to add to his narcissistic image. This is absolutely horrible behavior by a Commander in Chief.

Harry Truman had a sign on his desk, “The Buck Stops Here!”. Presidents do NOT blame others for their shortcomings and failures, and John F. Kennedy took the blame for the failed Bay Of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and Jimmy Carter took the blame for the failed attempt at a rescue of the Iranian Hostages in 1980.

It is time for Trump to stop passing the buck, and act like a President is supposed to act, stop blaming others for his failed actions!

The Wealthy And Corporations Love Trump, Most Pro Business Since Calvin Coolidge, But The Great Depression Came After Coolidge!

The stock market has surged since the election of Donald Trump, and has hit the 20,000 mark and now the 21,000 mark, a 15 percent increase.

And why not? This nation, and its clueless masses, worship wealth and opulence over principle and ethics, sorry to say!

The wealthy elite and the corporations love what Donald Trump represents—massive tax cuts for the top one percent promised, and the end of most regulations of corporations in all fields of the economy.

This is already the most conservative President, just in pledges and promises, that we have seen since Calvin Coolidge nearly a century ago.

Even Ronald Reagan was not able to do so much so quickly, or pledge to do, as Donald Trump has been pledging to the elite wealthy.

Meanwhile, for the average American, and the blue collar whites who voted for Trump, they are not yet aware of the scam being perpetrated, as they lose their health care, their protection from environmental calamity, and their social safety net that they receive in greater numbers than minorities often have.

No longer can they get a lower interest rate on mortgages, or a greater overtime pay at work, or protection from being victimized by those who advise them on retirement investments.

Public schools will be harmed; gays and transgender people will be discriminated against in an open fashion; civil rights violations will not be investigated; and civil liberties of all of us will be undermined by a lawless, corrupt administration which is taking advantage of gullible citizens who thought a narcissistic billionaire, who has always treated his workers, contractors, and tenants with disdain throughout his life, could be trusted.

While the wealthy and corporations celebrate Trump, expect that we will have the same result we had under Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover–the coming of the Great Depression; and the same results we had under George W. Bush, the Great Recession.

Remember also we had great economic recessions under Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s; under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s; and under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the 1980s and 1990s.

The way we get out of economic depressions and recessions is to elect Democrats—Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, with FDR and Obama being the most crucial Presidents in taking us out of the two greatest economic downturns of the past hundred years–1929 and 2008!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: The Golden Age Of The Presidency, 1933-1969 (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ) With Five Of The Top Ten In History!

One final commentary on the C Span 2017 Presidential Survey is in order.

Based on the results of this survey, including 91 Presidential scholars, it is clear that there was a Golden Age of the Presidency from 1933-1969, a 36 year period in the 20th century when we had five Presidents–4 Democrats and 1 Republican—who had a transformational effect on American history.

All five of these Presidents—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson—had bright moments in their Presidencies, but also times when their actions caused problems down the road of history. But they had a massive impact on the office and the nation, and they were ranked as Numbers 3, 6, 5, 8 and 10 in the most recent C Span survey.

Three of them—Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson—left the Presidency with very low public opinion ratings, but have recovered to rise dramatically in image and reputation over the decades.

The four who followed FDR institutionalized the New Deal and expanded it, and yet now in 2017, everything that was accomplished in both domestic and foreign policy is in danger from the anarchistic, chaotic forces of Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon et al, who are ready to use a sledge hammer to destroy all of the progress and growth of the federal government to protect the population, particularly the vulnerable groups—the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, women, ethnic and racial minorities, labor, and those concerned about the environment.

Since 1969, the Presidency has been going through crisis, first through the shortcomings and paranoia of Richard Nixon, through further decline under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (despite their well meant intentions), and then through the Presidency of Ronald Reagan which revived the image of the office, but started the long term decline of the middle class by its actions, continued under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton despite some reforms, and then reaching a low under George W. Bush, leaving Barack Obama with a challenge unseen since FDR.

Obama’s response in the midst of constant obstructionism was miraculous, and his number 12 rating upon leaving the Presidency insures his eventual rise to the top ten of the list, likely through a decline of Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan by a few notches.

Donald Trump will cause the rise of all of the Presidents who have not done well in the rankings—Nixon, Ford, Carter, and the second Bush—but that reality is a sign that the American Presidency has been under attack as an institution since 1969, with the only bright moment being the rise of Barack Obama. So we are unlikely to see a new Golden Age, and the five Presidents from 1933-1969 are likely to be well entrenched in the Top Ten for the long haul of American history.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Presidents Who Dropped In Stature Include Five Democrats, One Republican, One Democrat Who Became A Whig

The CSpan 2017 Presidential Survey saw several Presidents who dropped dramatically in stature and reputation over the history of the three polls in 2000, 2009, and 2017. This is defined as four or more slots in decline.

Woodrow Wilson (D) dropped from 6 to 9 to 11.

Andrew Jackson (D) dropped from 13 in 2000 and 2009 to 18 in 2017.

Grover Cleveland (D) dropped from 17 to 21 to 23.

Jimmy Carter (D) dropped from 22 to 25 to 26.

Rutherford B. Hayes (R) dropped from 26 to 33 and then up slightly to 32.

Martin Van Buren (D) dropped from 30 to 31 to 34.

John Tyler (D to W) was 36, went up to 35 and then dropped to 39.

At the same time that five Democrats dropped in the polls, 8 of the top 15 in the poll were Democrats (FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Wilson, Obama, Polk, Clinton), to 4 Republicans (Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan), 2 Democratic Republicans (Jefferson, Monroe), and 1 Federalist (Washington).

With only four Republicans in the top 15 (all in the top 10), the only other Republicans in the top 20 are McKinley (16) and Bush Senior (20), with the other three in the top 20 being Democratic Republican Madison (17), Democrat Andrew Jackson (18), and Federalist John Adams (19).

C Span Presidential Survey: Great Consistency On Top Ten Over Three Polls Since 2000

The third C Span Presidential Survey, just out since Friday, shows a great consistency on the top ten over the three polls since 2000.

The top four remain the top four, with only FDR slipping from 2 to 3 in the second poll, and remaining number 3 in the most recent poll, and Washington moving up from 3 to 2 in the second poll and remaining there in the newest poll, and Lincoln and TR remaining consistently numbers 1 and 4.

Truman was 5 in the first two polls, and now is 6, with Eisenhower surging the most from 9 to 8 to 5 over the three polls.

Jefferson remains number 7 in all three polls.

JFK went from 8 to 6 and then back to 8 in the three polls.

Ronald Reagan rose from 11 to 10 to 9, while LBJ went from 10 to 11 to 10 over the three polls.

So only Wilson dropped from the top 10, from a high of 6 to 9 and now 11, just ahead of Barack Obama, who seems likely to rise above Wilson when the next poll is done in four or eight years.

It will be a tough battle for Obama to dislodge one of the top ten, but expect over the next four to eight years, with a right wing Republican government, dismantling a lot of what many of the top ten Presidents did (specifically TR, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ), that Obama will pass Reagan and drop him from 9 to 11, as Obama goes from 12 to 10, surpassing Wilson as well.

Donald Trump Declares War On Chicago, California, Sanctuary Cities, Undocumented Immigrants, And Common Decency, Empathy And Compassion!

Donald Trump, in just three weeks in office, has declared war on Chicago, California, Sanctuary Cities, Undocumented Immigrants, and common decency, empathy, and compassion.

He has acted as if he can send troops to Chicago to deal with the crime problem there, forgetting that the Mayor of Chicago and the Illinois Governor have ultimate authority over problems in Chicago. The only time when Presidents have sent in the National Guard over the desires of the state Governor was in the South during the Civil Rights Era, when the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, refused to promote safety for black students at Little Rock Central High School in 1957 (Dwight D. Eisenhower), and when the Governors of Mississippi (Ross Barnett) and of Alabama (George Wallace) refused to obey integration orders for the state universities in 1962 and 1963 (John F. Kennedy).

He has shown signs of trying to cut off funds to California and its university system, because of a confrontational demonstration against a hate mongering right wing extremist troublemaker at the University of California, Berkeley.

He has said he will cut off all funding to Sanctuary Cities across the nation that are out to protect undocumented immigrants, who now are being arrested and deported at record rates, breaking up families, and threatening DREAM kids with the possibility of being deported to a nation they have no memory of, since they came to this nation when very young, and had no choice in where they migrated to.

There is no debate that any felon, any criminal element–drug dealers, gangs, those who have committed major crimes–should and must be deported, but the simple act of people coming here for a better life, escaping persecution and violence in many nations, and those who overstay their visas, should not be included in the deportation.

And many do not understand or realize that millions of undocumented immigrants are making real contributions to our economy, and are not breaking the law, and are not criminal elements, and the breaking up of families and deportation of children is, in itself, a horrible criminal act by the US government.

How about cracking down on native born Americans who are felons, commit the vast number of terrorist acts in this country, and use their Christian faith as a justification for their bloodshed and violence?

Donald Trump and his administration lacks any sense of common decency, empathy or compassion.

Presidents Judged On Compassion And Empathy: Few And Far Between

The traits of compassion and empathy are not automatic parts of any person’s makeup and character, but rather needs to be cultivated from childhood on by a family environment that emphasizes commitment to others, rather than exploitation of others for one’s own gain.

Difficult childhood experiences can, of course, affect personality, and often cripple any sense of compassion and empathy for others.

So one could argue that any President who had owned slaves, as ten Presidents did, are lacking in compassion and empathy, as they were able to separate their willingness to exploit others for personal gain.

One could also say that anyone who grew up in an environment that overlooked the human rights of native Americans, or displayed racism and nativism toward people of other races, nationalities, and religions, also would be seen as lacking in compassion and empathy.

So by this standard, the number of Presidents with elements of compassion and empathy are few and far between. However, there are some who have background that would seem to eliminate them from this category, but who, in reality, demonstrated growth and recognition of shortcomings and overcame them in the Presidency. In other words, they changed over time.

So who would fit on the list of compassion and empathy in office?

In the 19th century, we would place John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield in his few short months in office before the tragedy of assassination shortened his life.

In the 20th century and since, we would include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.

This does not mean that one cannot find criticism of these ten Presidents’ policies, for surely one can.

But even with elements that can be seen as shortcomings, these ten Presidents in general can be seen as the most compassionate, empathetic Presidents we have had.

Which Presidents would be seen as having the least compassion and empathy in American history?

This author would say Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, with Trump at the head of the list.

48 Vice Presidents, 45 (44) Presidents?

With the inauguration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, we now have our 45th (really 44th) President, and our 48th Vice President!

Some reading this are saying: “Huh?”

So let’s explain the difference in numbers.

Donald Trump is the 44th person to become President, but Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897, although he also won the popular vote in 1888, but Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College, the third time out of five (with 2000 and 2016 the 4th and 5th cases) where the popular vote loser won the Presidency.

Now, as to the Vice Presidency:

Several Presidents had two Vice Presidents, and one had three Vice Presidents, therefore making for four additional Vice Presidents more than Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had Aaron Burr in his first term in the Presidency (1801-1805), and George Clinton in his second term (1805-1809).

James Madison had Clinton stay on as Vice President in his first term, but he died in office in 1812, so only served from 1809-1812, instead of to 1813. In his second term, Madison had Elbridge Gerry as his Vice President, but he served less than two years and died in 1814, so only serving 1813-1814.

Andrew Jackson had John C. Calhoun as Vice President in his first term, but he resigned with three months to go in the term, after being dumped from the ticket for the 1832 election, so served from 1829-1832. Martin Van Buren served in the Jackson second term (1833-1837), and became the last Vice President to succeed directly to the Presidency by election for 152 years, when George H. W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Presidential election.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents–Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) who he decided to replace for his second election, and Andrew Johnson for six weeks in 1865 until Lincoln was assassinated, and Johnson became President.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents–Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873) who came under investigation for corruption and did not run for reelection; and Henry Wilson (1873-1875) who died in office.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents–Garret Hobart (1897-1899), who died in office; and Theodore Roosevelt, for six and a half months in 1901, until McKinley was assassinated, and TR succeeded him to the Presidency, and then won a four year term of his own in 1904.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, being elected four times to the Presidency, and prevented from occurring again by the passage and adoption of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, had John Nance Garner (1933-1941) in his first two terms; Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) in his third term; and Harry Truman for 82 days of his 4th term in 1945, before FDR died, and Truman succeeded him, and then won a full term in 1948.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents–Spiro Agnew (1969-1973), his first full term and nine months of his shortened second term, until Agnew was forced to resign due to corruption charges, and being replaced two months later by Gerald Ford (1973-1974) under the 25th Amendment, allowing for an appointed Vice President subject to majority approval by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with Ford serving nine months before he succeeded to the Presidency upon the resignation of Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal.

Realize that George Clinton served under two Presidents (Jefferson and Madison), and the same for Calhoun, who had served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), before serving as Vice President under Jackson for all but three months of that term. So as a result, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson only had one DIFFERENT Vice President to add to the total number!

Also, realize that Grover Cleveland, in his separate terms, had two different Vice Presidents, Thomas Hendricks for 8 months in 1885, and Adlai Stevenson I (1893-1897).

Also realize that John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), and Chester Alan Arthur (1881), all succeeded to the Presidency because of the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield, and never had a Vice President, since there was no 25th Amendment until passage in 1967, allowing Gerald Ford to pick Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President in 1974. And the other four Presidents who had been Vice President, and succeeded due to the deaths of the Presidents in office (Theodore Roosevelt after William McKinley; Calvin Coolidge after Warren G. Harding; Harry Truman after Franklin D. Roosevelt; Lyndon B. Johnson after John F. Kennedy) all were elected in the next term and had a Vice President.

So only 40 men (plus Cleveland in two terms, so called the 22nd and 24th President) in the Presidency chose a Vice President, and only Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley and Nixon had two Vice Presidents who were unique (not shared with another President), and FDR had three Vice Presidents with his four terms in office. So if you count 41 due to Cleveland’s unique situation, and add seven extra Vice Presidents, you get a total of 48 men who have served as Vice President of the United States!

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!