John F. Kennedy

Centennial Of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Birth: Most Prominent American Historian In Second Half Of Twentieth Century

Today, October 15, marks the centennial of the birth of renowned American historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr, considered by many scholars to be the most prominent American historian in the second half of the 20th Century.

I was fortunate to have been a graduate student under Schlesinger at the City University of New York Graduate School from 1966 to 1975, and I was one of eleven graduate students to have had the opportunity to produce a Ph. D. Dissertation under his support and tutelage. That dissertation, later revised, was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press under the title: TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM: THE WESTERN REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THE NEW DEAL in 1981.

Schlesinger was a very cordial and supportive sponsor of my dissertation, and we kept in touch occasionally over the next three decades, and I was saddened by his death in February 2007 at the age 89.

Schlesinger helped for me to confirm my liberal and progressive convictions, and my blog that you are now reading was partly inspired by his influence, and has now been operated for more than nine years.

While I do not claim any of the greatness that Schlesinger represented, I am proud of my association with him.

Schlesinger was a public intellectual and social critic, and although he never went beyond an earned Bachelors degree from Harvard University, he was a leading historian, although he had many critics.

He was a Cold War Liberal, strongly anti Communist, and a founder of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Reinhold Niebuhr in 1947, and was its national chairman in 1953-1954.

A professor at Harvard University from 1947-1960, he was the son of the renowned historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr, and related also to 19th century historian George Bancroft through his mother.

He was a speechwriter to Democratic Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956; speechwriter and Latin American policy adviser to President John F. Kennedy; speechwriter and adviser to Senator Robert F. Kennedy during his Presidential campaign in 1968; speechwriter and adviser to 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern; and also speechwriter and adviser to Senator Edward M. Kennedy in his 1980 Presidential primary campaign against President Jimmy Carter. That year, Schlesinger broke with his Democratic Party roots and voted for Independent Presidential nominee, Republican Congressman John Anderson, as did former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, both only revealed in their votes in the past few years.

Schlesinger was the author of more than 30 books and hundreds of articles, and was most famous for his two Pulitzer Prizes for his books: THE AGE OF JACKSON (1946) and A THOUSAND DAYS: JOHN F. KENNEDY IN THE WHITE HOUSE (1966). He also wrote three seminal volumes on Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, only getting as far as 1936, and telling me of his goal to finish in a few more volumes, but that never happened.

But he also wrote an important book on the threat of Richard Nixon–THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY (1973)—and also the standard study of his friend, Robert F. Kennedy–ROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS TIMES (1978).

Schlesinger was the recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities Chair at the City University of New Graduate School from 1966 to 1974, and that is how I became one of his graduate students.

His impact on the historical profession and American politics continues a decade after his death.

Erratic, Unpredictable, Concerning Behavior Of Donald Trump: Reason To Limit His Ability To Use The Nuclear Codes!

What Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said about Donald Trump, that he could start World War III, is extremely disturbing.

We are closer to Midnight and the Atomic Scientists prediction of possible nuclear warfare now than at any time since 55 years ago, October 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Where are the Republican Senators and Congressmen, and the foreign policy and defense establishment, at this moment of crisis?

Something must be done to limit the ability of Donald Trump to use the nuclear codes to start a nuclear war against North Korea, Iran, or any other nation, before we witness a Holocaust that will make World War I and World War II look like minor events!

We have an erratic, unpredictable, and maniacal President who is a danger to the entire planet!

The rules must be changed to require that a committee of cabinet members must agree before use of nuclear weapons, whether Donald Trump agrees or not.

The top military people around Trump–Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly–must collaborate behind the scenes with Vice President Mike Pence, and the four men must insure that Donald Trump cannot, in a fit of rage and fury, which is common these days in the White House, decide to prove his so called manhood by launching nuclear weapons that could cause mass murder of millions of people in North Korea, South Korea, and Japan, as well as endanger the lives of American military in South Korea and Japan, and the America civilian population which lives in both South Korea and Japan.

We are at the most dangerous time of crisis, and Donald Trump is no John F. Kennedy!

Sixty Years Of The Space Age: A Time Of Great Achievements And Technological Advancements

Yesterday, October 4, was the 60th anniversary of the Space Age, as the Soviet Union shocked the world by orbiting an artificial satellite, Sputnik I, beginning the Space Race, leading to the United States landing on the moon on July 20, 1969, after promotion by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. It was the age of Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and so many other heroic astronauts.

It transformed American thinking, and helped to promote science, math, and technology, and the importance of promoting higher education.

So under President Eisenhower, we saw the enactment of the National Defense Education Act in 1958, and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, with headquarters in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and later in Houston, Texas.

The Space Age promoted patriotism and excitement, as millions of Americans watched all of the launches of satellites and of astronauts on television.

This blogger remembers the uniqueness of the Space Age, and is still saddened by the lack of commitment to go further into space, with the argument that we could not afford the expenditure.

If we had continued the pace of the Space Age after the last mission to the moon in 1972, America would likely now have explored Mars, which now is a goal for the 2030s, after many lost decades.

The loss of interest in science, is a great tragedy, as many ignorant people have worked against it, instead advocating religion over science, to the detriment of the nation.

The Modern Presidency Began Today, September 14, In 1901, With The Coming To Power Of Theodore Roosevelt

As a lifetime student of the American Presidency, September 14, 1901 stands out as the beginning of the modern Presidency.

On that day, 116 years ago, Theodore Roosevelt succeeded from the Vice Presidency, which he had held for about six months, and became the 26th President of the United States, upon the death of President William McKinley from the assassination bullets fired by anarchist Leon Czolgosz eight days earlier, on September 6, in Buffalo, New York.

TR brought a new vision of the Presidency to the White House, an activist, aggressive, broad interpretation of executive powers, and transformed the office for the long term future.

Our youngest President, still 42, TR brought life, excitement, charisma to the Presidency, and made America a respected nation in foreign policy.

He also initiated the idea of Progressive reform, that the national government had a role in moving the nation forward by regulation and legislation, away from the concept of states rights.

There was never a dull moment in TR’s life, either in the Presidency or after, and he became a model for future Presidents of both parties, particularly Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

With TR’s accession to the Presidency, the history of the Secret Service protecting the Chief Executive began, and remains a major burden of security to keep the President safe and unharmed.

A reminder that the McKinley Assassination is covered in Chapter 4 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers), now out since March in paperback from the publisher or Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Also, there is Chapter 5 in the book, which covers the attempted assassination of TR when running as an ex-President on the Progressive (Bull Moose Party) line in 1912, being shot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 14, 1912 by John Flammang Schrank, but surviving his wounds.

The March On Washington 1963, Plus 54 Years: Backtracking On Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

Fifty four years ago, The March on Washington occurred, with the most famous moment being the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech before a crowd of whites and African Americans estimated at a quarter of a million people.

The march was impetus for the passage in the following two years of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights, with Lyndon B. Johnson picking up where John F. Kennedy left off.

Now, a half century later, the great progress on civil rights and civil liberties has suffered backtracking, partly by the right wing Supreme Court, and partly by the policies of President Donald Trump.

It is very disconcerting and even tormenting that the progress made has been reversed.

But that means the battle to restore and expand what makes America a democracy must not be abandoned because of setbacks, but rather pursued with renewed energy and commitment, in order to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Bully” Donald Trump Meets “Bully” Kim Jong Un: Now What? The Most Dangerous Moment Since The Cuban Missile Crisis, But Trump Is NOT JFK!

So now after 200 days as President, the stupidity of the Trump voters is proven, as now our “man child bully” has us on the brink of a massive war, possibly nuclear war, the most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962! Ironically, we are now commemorating the 72 year anniversary of use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945!

Trump has no clue as to what to do, other than to threaten and talk about “fire, fury, and power” against North Korea and Kim Jong Un. Trump blustering in public is so “unPresidential” action, one of a mad man, not a stable leader! Donald Trump is no John F. Kennedy!

What it comes down to is one bully is meeting another bully, both men children, with the emphasis on children!

If there was ever a need for an immediate resignation, it is NOW, but we are stuck with a maniac, who will go down in history for the likely greatest loss of life since World War II, if sanity does not rise.

The military people around Trump–Mattis, McMaster, Kelly–MUST control Donald Trump, and the Alt Right people, such as Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, must be immediately neutralized from having any influence on the President, or else we will see tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or even more, people dying in South Korea, Japan, and including America military forces and their families in those nations.

Bombast is reckless, and has never been done by any American President, and already, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein of California have warned against any rash action by Trump.

The first thing Trump must be forced to do is SHUT UP! His mouth will cause the loss of life that will condemn him in history, and should accelerate his forced removal as an ignorant maniac who can destroy not only the nation, but the civilized world!

When Will Trump Supporters Finally Abandon Their “Hero”? When They Are Personally Affected By Trump And GOP Policies!

As we reach the six month mark of the Trump Presidency, we see Trump’s public opinion ratings between 36 and 40 percent, depending on the poll, and mid to high 50s diaapproval.

And yet, the one third of Americans who still support Trump seem unwilling to abandon their “hero”, even though he is doing great damage to the Presidency, and to domestic and foreign policy.

Thankfully, there is no major crisis that has arisen so far, although there are problems, such as North Korea in particular, which could erupt at any time.

But Trump has not had to deal with an economic collapse, as Barack Obama inherited from George W. Bush; or a terrorist attack such as George W. Bush had with September 11 in the first year; or any other major crisis such as John F. Kennedy and the building of the Berlin Wall in his first year.

Of course, the first year is only half over, and one can expect that there will be a crisis that will test Donald Trump sometime soon, a totally terrifying thought.

But the question remains, and to when will Trump supporters finally turn against Donald Trump?

One has to believe only when they are personally affected by Trump and Republican policies, such as the knocking of millions off ObamaCare and Medicaid, with no alternative, will they react.

Many people seem not to be noticing either how Trump is out to fill the government with Wall Street types, the so called “swamp” he said he would drain, but is not doing, and maybe there will eventually be a reaction to that.

The arrogance of the Trump family may also, finally, change people’s minds, as with the Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner Russian connection scandal revealed in recent days.

One would like to believe that when Trump supporters realize what a crooked and uncaring man Donald Trump is, and how it affects them personally, that they will rise in outrage, but then again, who knows?

There is the possibility that the Trump voters will never realize how they have been exploited, a sad sign of the lack of knowledge and understanding of what American government is supposed to be all about.

If so, the “experiment” in American democracy may be in trouble, and we may be seeing millions of clueless voters willing to accept authoritarianism as normal!

Hardworking Presidents Vs. Lazy Presidents, And Then There Is Donald Trump!

The Presidency is an all encompassing job, one that the occupant of the Oval Office, particularly in modern times, cannot escape, even when on so called “vacation”.

Some Presidents stand out as constantly on the job, very active, very committed and hard working.

These would include in modern times, since 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Note only three of these Presidents–TR, Nixon and the first Bush–are Republicans.

Indications are that James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln, Democrat and Republican respectively, were also hard workers, dedicated, and committed, among pre1900 Presidents.

On the other hand, the following Presidents come across as far less committed, and in many cases, too laid back, and in some cases, purely lazy:

William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, all Republicans. All of these Presidents took many vacations, and had short work days much of the time, and it undermined America in domestic and foreign policy on a regular basis.

Pre1900 examples would include Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Ulysses S. Grant, the first two being Democrats and Grant being a Republican.

And then there is Donald Trump, whose work habits make clear that he is the LAZIEST President of the United States in all of American history, certainly since 1900 at the least!

He loves to sign executive orders, many which are symbolic, and to take a long time in signing in a flourishing manner at Presidential signing ceremonies, and then showing it to the gathered audience over and over, like a little child proud of his signature, absolutely unbelievable immaturity on the part of a President, who lowers the image of the Presidency every day.

He has taken no part in promoting Health Care legislation, and is simply ready to sign any bill that comes to his desk, as he told evangelist Pat Robertson in an interview before leaving for his trip to Paris, France for Bastille Day.

Trump knows no details on anything, and is not willing to do much reading or learning, and it is truly pitiful how he has degraded the Presidency daily!

Two Years Of Donald Trump, 148 Days Of Presidency: 60 Percent Disapproval, Higher Than Any President In Public Opinion Poll History This Early!

It has been two years since Donald Trump announced he was running for President. and it has been 148 days since he was sworn in as President.

And Donald Trump reached the age of 71 on June 14, two days before the two year anniversary of his campaign beginning.

And what does he have to show for it?

He has divided America like no one else, and has only gained a Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, after the Republicans in the US Senate changed the filibuster rules to allow a nominee to be confirmed with only 51 votes.

Everything else is hot air, lies, and coverup of Russian collusion, and trying to get the intelligence agencies, Congress, and the news media to stop investigating the corruption of his Presidency and the campaign before the election. And Trump has helped to indict himself with his Twitter activity, and his teenage emotional IQ.

So therefore, it is not surprising that the latest polls show 60 percent of the American people disapprove of his record and performance, the earliest in a Presidency that such a high disapproval rating has occurred since polls began to be taken in the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The following nine Presidents never reached a 60 percent disapproval rating–Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama.

Four Presidents did reach 60 percent disapproval, but at very late dates in their Presidencies.

Truman reached 60 percent after 2129 days; Nixon after 1736 days; H W Bush after 1290 days; and W Bush after 1758 days.

So Trump is a total failure, and even 25 percent of Republicans are totally disillusioned, while his approval rating is as low as 35-36 percent.

This insures that Trump will end up at the bottom of the heap in ranking of Presidents, except by totally delusional and ignorant people, who have no clue as to what good Presidential leadership is all about.

National Archives Office Of Presidential Libraries Excellent Site For All Presidential Museums From Herbert Hoover To Barack Obama

At a time when this blogger and author is adding to his list of Presidential Libraries and Museums that he has visited in person, this is a good time to make clear to my readers that an excellent site to explore, which is listed on the right side of my blog, is the National Archives Office of Presidential Libraries, which includes information on the libraries and museums of all President since Herbert Hoover through to Barack Obama, so a total of 14 such institutions.

The Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum is being planned to open in 2021 in Chicago, and it will add to the long list of reasons for tourists, as well as scholars, to visit Chicago.

This author has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the libraries of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, so a total of 10 of the 13 museums that are open.

The problem with the Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George H. W. Bush Libraries and Museums are their relative inaccessibility, particularly the case of the first two Presidents having their museums in Iowa and Kansas, quite far from major aviation hubs.

But hopefully, at some point, there will be an opportunity to visit the Houston, Texas metropolitan area, and travel the distance to the first Bush Library in College Station, Texas, at the campus of Texas A & M University.