John F. Kennedy

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!

“Illegitimate” Presidents From JQ Adams To Donald Trump

The question of “illegitimate” Presidents is nothing new in American history.

Any President who has failed to win the popular vote (5), and any President who has failed to win a majority of the total popular vote (11 with 3 two times), due to more than two candidates in the race, has been seen by opponents as “illegitimate”

So we have John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush the first time, and Donald Trump that fit into the first category mentioned above.

We also have James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland twice, Woodrow Wilson twice, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon the first time, and Bill Clinton twice, who fit into the second category mentioned above.

So 19 times out of a total of 58 national elections for President, or one third of the time, we have had Presidents who did not have a majority of the voters behind them!

And 16 Presidents out of 43, nearly 40 percent, have not won the majority of the popular vote!

And then we have Barack Obama, who won a majority of the popular vote twice, but has had constant attacks that he is “illegitimate” based on a “Birther” theory that he was not born in the Unites States.

This issue of “illegitimacy” is rampant right now regarding Donald Trump, because he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million, much larger than the other four popular vote losers who won the Electoral College, and civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, has said, rightfully, that he sees Trump as “illegitimate” and will not attend Trump’s inauguration next Friday.

Since Trump led those who said Barack Obama was “illegitimate”, appropriate that John Lewis take the stand he has, and there is an old saying” “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”, and also “What goes around comes around”!

The Farewell Address Of Barack Obama: Likely To Be One Of Best And Most Influential In American History

Barack Obama will give the 35th Farewell Address this evening in Chicago, where his career began.

All Presidents, except the eight Presidents who died in office, have given farewell addresses, although Richard Nixon’s final speech was awkward, and not really a Farewell Address.

Grover Cleveland had the chance to do it twice due to two nonconsecutive terms of office.

Most Farewell Addresses have been unmemorable, and one has to wonder what Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy might have said had they lived to retire from the Presidency.

But three Farewell Addresses in particular stand out.

George Washington (speaking out against political parties, and support of avoiding foreign entanglements).

Dwight D. Eisenhower (warning against the Military Industrial Complex dominating).

Jimmy Carter (speaking of the need to deal with the energy crisis, warning of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and calling for continued pursuit of human rights around the world).

No one would ever say that Washington, Eisenhower, and Carter were great public speakers, but they all spoke words that have reverberated ever since.

Expect tonight that Barack Obama, who is a great public speaker, and has uttered many great speeches, will give a Farewell Address memorable for the ages, as he moves toward being part of history in ten days!

What America Is Losing In 13 Days: The Best, Most Elegant, Most Dignified POTUS And FLOTUS In Modern Times!

In just 13 days, America is losing its best, most elegant, most dignified President of the United States and First Lady of the United States in modern times!

This is not to attack the Presidents and First Ladies who came before Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, as many of them had talents and abilities worthy of commendation, and many contributed in a good way to the nation.

But really, the Obamas are the most glorious couple in the White House since the Kennedys (John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy) in the early 1960s.

There were many times when one had to wonder whether Barack Obama would survive his time in the Presidency, as the number of death threats and plots against the 44th President were the greatest since Abraham Lincoln, and twenty such cases were documented in my chapter on Assassination threats, Chapter 16, of my Assassinations book, which will be out in paperback on March 8, 2017.

The level of hatred and refusal to show respect was greatest under Obama since Lincoln, and many still wish his personal demise, including former NY Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Palladino, as just one example.

The level of hate and disrespect displayed by Donald Trump is unmatched in the relationship between any two Presidents, and yet Obama has done everything possible to cooperate with the transition, or as Michelle Obama has said, “when they go low, we go high!”

Let us wish the Obamas a long, productive, and healthy retirement, and let us hope that they will be with us in their 90s, as four Presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush have reached), along with earlier Presidents John Adams and Herbert Hoover; and also five First Ladies (Bess Truman, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush), with Rosalynn Carter reaching 90 in August of this year.

America On The Road To War With President Who Has No Clue On Diplomacy, And Craves To Be Flattered!

America is on the road to war under President Trump, and expect it before the midterm elections of 2018, possibly late in this first year of the term.

Donald Trump has no clue on diplomacy, and craves to be flattered constantly, and one can be sure that Iran and North Korea are not going to flatter him, and he will overreact to insults, and will have a National Security Adviser, Michael flynn, who will give him bad advice.

Trump also has two many military people in his administration, and too many corporate types who see war as a way to promote the defense industries and obscene war profits.

Trump is the kind of person who will potentially use nuclear weapons, if he feels aggrieved.

He does not have the experience and judgment of Richard Nixon or George H. W. Bush, or the calm, cool demeanor of John F. Kennedy, or the confidence and common sense of Ronald Reagan.

Trump does not have the ability to make foreign policy decisions, and he will upend American foreign policy, including alienating our NATO allies in Europe by cozying up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin who knows how to manipulate him. He also is likely to alienate China, which could cause troubles for Japan and South Korea, and complicate dealings with North Korea.

We are entering a nightmare scenario, with an unhinged, mentally unstable Commander in Chief!

How Slim Margins Decide So Many Presidential Elections And Affect American History And Government Policies!

The argument that many ill informed people have is that “voting does not matter”, when just the opposite is true.

As we begin 2017 and the reality of President Trump in 19 days, a look at history tells us clearly how small numbers of votes or percentages of votes make a dramatic difference, as demonstrated in the following elections in American history:

1844– a switch of a few thousand votes in New York would have given the election to Henry Clay, instead of James K. Polk, and the difference was the small third party, the Liberty Party.

1848–a switch of a few thousand votes, again in New York, would have given the election to Lewis Cass, instead of Zachary Taylor, but Free Soil Party nominee, Martin Van Buren, former Democratic President and from New York, won ten percent of the total national vote, and threw the election to Whig candidate Taylor in New York.

1876—the dispute over the contested votes of South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida led to a special Electoral Commission set up, which rewarded all of those three states’ electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, although Democrat Samuel Tilden led nationally by about 250,000 popular votes.

1880–James A. Garfield won the popular vote by the smallest margin ever, about 2,000 votes, and won the big state of New York by only 20,000 votes, in defeating his opponent Winfield Scott Hancock.

1884–Grover Cleveland won his home state of New York by about 1,000 votes, which decided the election, and nationally only by about 57,000 votes over James G. Blaine.

1888–Grover Cleveland won the national popular vote by about 90,000, but lost in close races in his home state of New York and opponent Benjamin Harrison’s home state of Indiana, so lost the Electoral College, as Harrison became President. The Harrison lead in New York was less than 14,000 votes and in Indiana, less than 2,000.

1916—Woodrow Wilson won California by less than 4,000 votes, but enough to elect him to the White House over Republican Charles Evans Hughes.

1948–Harry Truman won three states by less than one percent–Ohio, California and Illinois–over Thomas E. Dewey, and that decided the election.

1960–John F. Kennedy won Illinois by about 8,000 votes; Texas by about 46,000 votes; and Hawaii by under 200 votes, and only had a two tenths of one percentage point popular vote victory nationally, about 112,000 votes, over Richard Nixon.

1976–Jimmy Carter won over Gerald Ford by two percentage points, but a switch of 5,600 votes in Ohio and 3,700 votes in Hawaii would have given the election to Ford.

2000—Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, in the final judgment of the Supreme Court, which intervened in the election, and had he won Florida, he would have been elected President, even though he won the national popular vote by about 540,000. Bush also won New Hampshire by only about 7,000 votes, but won the Electoral College 271-266.

2016–Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.85 million, but lost the crucial states of Michigan by about 10,000; Wisconsin by about 22,000; and Pennsylvania by about 46,000, to Donald Trump, so together about 79,000 votes decided the Electoral College.

So the idea that voting is not important, does not matter, is proved wrong so many times in American history! Every vote does indeed count, and has long range implications on who sits in the White House, and what policies are pursued, which affect all of us!

Environmental Advancements Under Threat From Scott Pruitt And Ryan Zinke At Environmental Protection Agency And Interior Department!

Two of the most alarming appointments, of most of Donald Trump’s selections, for his top cabinet and agency personnel, are Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency he wishes to destroy; and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior, a cabinet office which is supposed to promote National Parks and conservation, but which Zinke favors industrial development, limitation of national park expansion, and the rights of hunters over wildlife.

These men are like foxes in the chicken coop, out to destroy a century of conservation and environmental advancements that occurred under both Republican and Democratic Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

The refusal of these two men to accept that global warming and climate change are real is also an alarm bell ringing in the night, and both these men need to be blocked, if at all possible, from taking their posts. If just a few Republican Senators on committees or on the floor of the Senate oppose these people, they can be defeated with the help of Democrats in the Senate.

It is as if Donald Trump is out to destroy the entire American past, as he is ignorant of science and nature, and has picked the absolute worst people for these two crucial posts, while other Republican Presidents had respect for the importance of the environment and science.

Joe Biden Presidential Bid In 2020?

Hard to believe, but Vice President Joe Biden is actually considering the possibility of running again for President in 2020, when he would be 78 years of age.

Biden is leaving public life on January 20, after 44 years of service, close to an all time record, with 36 years as Delaware Senator and 8 years as a very active, involved, and engaged Vice President, who had a major impact on the office.

Everyone loves Joe Biden, even Republicans, who saluted him in a Senate honoring of him this week, as Biden was able, even under President Obama, to cross the aisle and gain some support, even when Republicans were reluctant to work with the President.

Since the election, the feeling has developed that Biden, the “poorest US Senator” in his past, and with working class roots, and knowing how to appeal to the white working class, would have been able to bridge the difference in votes in Pennsylvania (the state he grew up in), Michigan and Wisconsin, and pulled out victory had he been the Democratic Presidential nominee.

If Biden’s son, Beau Biden, had not died in May 2015, it is believed that Joe would have run against Hillary Clinton, and might have been able to defeat her, and even Bernie Sanders, for the nomination, something, however, we will never be sure of, but a thought that will linger.

Of course, many liberals and Democrats will argue that Joe Biden is too old to run again, and that his record in the Senate was not as liberal as Bernie Sanders, and more in line with the record of Hillary Clinton, and that he cannot please millennials and the strong Left in the Democratic Party, which wants new and more progressive leadership in the future.

It is clear that if Biden ran, his warts and shortcomings would be emphasized, including originally supporting the Iraq War, as Hillary Clinton did, and the struggle for the nomination would not be easy, and one wonders if he could actually defeat Donald Trump if Trump ran for reelection.

What is clear now is that there is no way to know the future, after seeing Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump overcome many hurdles that few thought they could to win the Presidency, so who can say that a well loved, working class guy like Joe Biden at the age of 78, could not win the White House?

This is what makes following American politics so exciting, and also, get this, a Senate seat looks ready to open, as Democratic Senator Thomas Carper, finishing his third term in 2018, is rumored to be planning to retire, so in theory, and by some rumors, Joe Biden could run to return to the Senate and add to his six terms and 36 years in the Senate, and therefore be in elective office, at the time of a Presidential campaign in 2020!

Giant Historical Figure Fidel Castro Dies, A Transformative Figure, With Great Negative Impact On The World!

Fidel Castro of Cuba, the most significant figure in Latin America in the 20th Century, and one of the most vicious dictators of modern times, passed away at age 90 on Friday.

He left behind a legacy of a brutal dictatorship, which while making some improvements in health care and education, took away any semblance of civil liberties and civil rights, and imprisoned, tortured, and murdered dissidents in great numbers over more than a half century of rule.

Castro was the longest lasting leader of modern times, with only Queen Elizabeth II of England having come to office about seven years before Castro took over the capital of Cuba, Havana, on New Years Day 1959.

Who would have thought that someone who came to power on the island of Cuba, which had been a playground for wealthy Americans, under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, at a time when this author was in high school, would last in power for a half century, and then be replaced by his younger brother, Raul Castro, a decade ago, and still rules?

Castro became the dire enemy of the Unites States, and Cuban exiles fleeing to Florida in 1959-1960 and again in 1980 (the Mariel Boat Lift) and constant escapes since then, have affected the history and politics of Florida and the Republican Party, with Cuban Americans flocking to support of the party after John F. Kennedy failed in his attempt to remove Castro from power in the Bay of Pigs Fiasco in April 1961. This made Cuban Americans the one Hispanic group that would refuse to support the Democratic Party, as many Cuban Americans saw JFK as a Communist for failing to succeed to remove Castro. This led to the most dangerous moment in the Cold War years, as Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union’s leader, formed an alliance with Castro, who had declared himself a Communist, and installed Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, with the Cuban Missile Crisis bringing the world closer to the danger of a nuclear war than any other event in history before or since. Only with the cool headed leadership of JFK was nuclear war averted.

Castro was a maniacal figure, who also abused the rights of gays and lesbians in Cuba, and initiated aggression overseas by supporting national liberation movements in Latin America and Africa, and the people of Cuba suffered economically under his five decade rule. Few more influential and significant dictators have existed, and those he is often compared with–including Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini–only lasted 25, 12 and 21 years compared to his 47 plus years.

The question is how Cuba will evolve now, with brother Raul Castro, age 85, having said he will leave power in February 2018, only 14 months away, and also how Donald Trump will react to the death of Fidel Castro, after Barack Obama had begun new relations with Cuba in 2015.

Hillary Clinton Popular Vote Lead At Over 2 Million, As Evidence Of Voter Irregularities Rises In Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, And Even Florida!

This morning, we learn that Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead over Donald Trump is over 2 million and counting, four times the popular vote lead of Al Gore over George W. Bush in 2000.

Hillary Clinton has a greater popular vote lead than John F. Kennedy in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1978 and Jimmy Carter in 1976.

And now, there is growing evidence of voter irregularities in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as well as questions about how Hillary Clinton had such a popular vote lead in early voting, including 27 percent of Republicans, in Florida, and then, magically loses the Sunshine State. Evidence of fixing and hacking, maybe by Russian intervention, seems possible.

Was this election rigged, as Donald Trump claimed it would be, but in his favor, rather than against him?

Are we having the Presidency stolen, as many thought in 2000, by Republican led state governments, as in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida, although not so in Pennsylvania?

Will we ever know for sure, and is there any point, two weeks after the election, to contest it, and create an uproar, or should we all move on and accept the inevitable, President Elect Donald Trump?

This author is torn, but at this point, with two weeks to absorb the immensity of what has happened, it seems, somehow, pointless to pursue a law suit, as all it will do is further “poison the well”, so to speak.

This is said with a heavy heart and great sadness, but it is time to move on, it seems to me, and allow Trump whatever “honeymoon” he may have, wish him the best, and be ready to challenge him, as it is certain will happen soon, and on a regular basis, over the next four years, and hope for the best in a terrible situation.