National Endowment For The Arts

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!

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address And First Actions Show America Is In Massive Constitutional Crisis, Greater Than Watergate!

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address and first actions in office show America is in a massive constitutional crisis, greater than Watergate!

Trump’s speech was the most negative, darkest speech ever given on Inauguration Day, when usually the rhetoric is lofty and positive.

He talked about “Carnage” in the nation after eight great years of positive change under Barack Obama.

He is so insecure that he continues to brag about his accomplishments, even today while visiting the CIA headquarters in Virginia, an agency he had been highly critical of, as they investigate any Russian connection during the Presidential campaign, and with Trump still applauding Vladimir Putin of Russia, while strongly attacking NATO and the European Union, undermining our alliances from Truman to Obama.

And his changes in the White House website within an hour after Barack Obama left office is alarming–wiping out the sections on Gays and Lesbians, Civil Rights, Health Care, Immigration, Native Americans, Violence Against Women, Disabilities, Climate Change, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Public Radio, PBS, and with more certain to come.

Trump also signed into law the wiping out of an Obama initiative to lower mortgage insurance fees to help new homeowners, causing an estimated $500 increase annually, which will force some out of the home market, people who are struggling to be able to buy The American Dream, their own home.

How can Trump say he is for the people, and that they control their government, when only the wealthy and powerful will benefit, and many groups of people will suffer, massively, by his narrow mindedness and bigotry?

Trump is already in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, with conflicts of interest all over the world, making profit off being President, and putting his foreign properties under threat of attack. Just the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House, is a violation of the Constitution, and leading early to impeachment resolutions.

We are in a nightmare situation, and the fear that Trump will suppress the free news media, form an enemy’s list like Richard Nixon had, and try to curb freedom of assembly, and who knows, possible thoughts of Martial Law that might be endorsed by a right wing Attorney General, Jeff Sessions!

Lyndon B. Johnson Commemoration Of 106th Birthday

The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born on this day in 1908, and he has undergone much attack in the four decades since he passed away in 1973 at the age of 64.

There is no question that LBJ divided the nation by his ill conceived escalation of the war in Vietnam, which still haunts millions of Americans who lost a loved one, or who have suffered with the psychic and physical wounds of war.

But LBJ cannot be forgotten for his tremendous advancements in civil rights; in fighting poverty; in establishing Medicare; promoting environmental reform and consumer protection; promoting a massive expansion of educational opportunity; establishing immigration reform; establishing the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation; promoting the creation of PBS and NPR; and supporting the establishment of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

So while LBJ did the nation wrong by the war in Vietnam, his domestic reforms, collectively known as the “Great Society”, brought about the greatest improvements in domestic life since the New Deal of FDR, and has not been matched since by any President.

So this is a day to remember and to honor LBJ for his accomplishments, while acknowledging his shortcomings!

Lyndon B. Johnson Forty Years After His Death: Mixed Legacy

Forty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson died at the age of 64, two days after the second inauguration of President Richard Nixon, an event he did not attend due to poor health.

Johnson had only been out of the Presidency for four years and two days, and one has to wonder had he run in 1968 and won, whether he would have died in office from the stresses and burdens of the job, and particularly the ongoing war in Vietnam.

Vietnam will always be the ultimate “Achilles Heel” of the Johnson Presidency, with the President hating foreign policy and just wishing for the Vietnam mess to go away, but his fateful decision to commit a half million troops to the war doomed the unity he had experienced in his landslide victory in 1964 over Senator Barry Goldwater, the greatest popular vote victory percentage in American history!

Johnson did so much good in expanding the vision of the New Deal of FDR, the Fair Deal of Harry Truman, and the New Frontier of JFK, and accomplished everything they pursued, and failed to accomplish in their Presidencies. And just yesterday, President Barack Obama evoked the image of the Great Society, and the goals that he outlined to expand that Great Society a half century later, after a long time in the political “wilderness”.

Without Johnson as President, we would not have had the following, in many cases, EVER up to now:

Medicare
Medicaid
Immigration Reform
Federal Aid to Education
Civil Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
War on Poverty—Office of Economic Opportunity, Job Corps, Project Head Start, Model Cities, and other programs
Environmental Legislation
Consumer Legislation
National Public Radio
Public Broadcasting System
National Endowment For The Arts
National Endowment For The Humanities
Gemini and Apollo Space Programs
Cabinet Agencies–Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation
First African American appointments to the Cabinet–Robert Weaver–and the Supreme Court–Thurgood Marshall

Can anyone imagine NOT having most, if not all, of these programs and agencies?

Some might have been accomplished over time under other Presidents, but it is hard to conceive that much of it would have occurred with the rise over time of the conservative movement to power under Ronald Reagan, and Reagan’s impact on the next thirty years of American government until now.

As always is true of any President, Lyndon B. Johnson will remain highly controversial, but it is worth remembering his positive legacy on this, the 40th anniversary of his death, while not overlooking the damaging effect of his foreign policy actions, particularly in Vietnam.

Mitt Romney Declares “War” On PBS, NPR, NEH, NEA, And Amtrak

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has declared “war” on knowledge and learning, by his statements that he will, if elected President, move to eliminate funding for PBS, National Public Radio, the National Endowment For The Humanities, and the National Endowment For The Arts.

He also would eliminate Amtrak, a transportation system that benefits the “hated” Northeast part of the country, the most educated part of the nation!

All of this together would save a pittance, just a total of $2 billion, a “drop in the bucket”, with a multiple trillion dollar budget annually, while at the same time wishing to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy, even though that has not created new jobs, as conservatives have said would be the result!

So, Romney is promoting “Know Nothingism”, a war on knowledge and learning, attacking the arts, history, public media, and even public access to a decent transportation system in the crowded Northeast corridor.

It is a mean spirited, ideological attack on what Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Presidents of different parties, did to promote programs and ideas seen as advancing America to more than just serving the elite classes among us!

But education and knowledge and the Northeast corridor are seen as evil, and this shows just how far Mitt Romney has moved to the far Right, that he is willing to eliminate programs that no earlier Republican President, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, dared to work to end!

The “compassionate” conservatism of George W. Bush and earlier Republican Presidents is gone, and ignorance and narrow mindedness are in!

The Republicans And The State Of The Union: Not The Time For Obama To Cave In To GOP Threats! :(

The Republicans have declared war on the federal budget, and the House membership of the party today unanimously backed a resolution giving Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the Budget Committee, total control over the House budget bill for the remainder of the fiscal year 2010-2011.

This is fascinating for a party that is against centralized power and for states rights, that now they are willing to hand over total control to one Congressman over the federal budget. This makes Ryan a “Czar”, a title that Republicans are very willing to assign to advisers to President Obama who deal with different issues, but suddenly it is alright to have a financial “Czar”! 🙁

But Ryan, who will give the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight, has already made clear that he wants to privatize Social Security, gut Medicare and Medicaid, and dramatically lower taxes on the wealthy, even more than they have already by deals between President Obama and the GOP leadership last month.

And the Republican Study Group, a group of Congressional Republicans even MORE conservative than Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan, wants more draconian cuts in the federal budget immediately and long term, including gutting Amtrak, PBS, NPR, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and funding for research on many diseases, including cancer, AIDS, and heart disease. And also the goal is the wiping out of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, and the Department of Energy! 🙁

And to add insult to injury, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the Tea Party favorite, will give her own response to the President’s State of the Union address, after Congressman Paul Ryan gives the official response!

And Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, has made it clear that the Congress will NOT give any aid to any state or city to avoid layoffs of police, firefighters, teachers, and other public servants, therefore guaranteeing massive losses of jobs, and adding to the unemployment rate!

Rather than working to create jobs, the GOP is warring on the job market as it is, and has only destructive intentions as part of a war, not only on Barack Obama’s health care plan and other reforms, but also with the express purpose of destroying the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt! 🙁

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said today that if President Obama offers a message that includes all of what the GOP wants, they will be glad to support him!

What gall and nerve, without any indication that the Republicans in Congress are willing to make any concessions, but just expect Obama to cave in ! 🙁

The answer is that the President needs to make clear that he is willing to work and negotiate with the opposition party, but will not surrender the right to disagree and use his Presidential powers to protect government programs and the historic accomplishments of Roosevelt, Johnson and even Richard Nixon!

The President and the Democratic Party and progressives and liberals everywhere MUST understand that this is a battle for the heart and soul of the American nation, and they cannot cave in to the destructive tendencies of the Republican party, and must stand and fight to the bitter end, and stop worrying about those who say they are unwilling to negotiate and compromise, and tell them to look in the mirror at themselves! 🙁

The Loss Of America’s Soul: The Declining Interest In Government Promotion Of The Arts And Humanities! :(

Tonight, at the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in Washington, DC, there will be a concert reminding people of the great musician Pablo Casals, who performed at the White House for President Kennedy nearly fifty years ago.

The Kennedy Presidency promoted interest and involvement in the arts and humanities, and Lyndon Johnson created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities during his administration.

Today, sadly, we are hearing from the Republicans in the House of Representatives that all funding for the arts and humanities should be cut, and on the local level all over the country, we see art, music, drama and other cultural programs being dropped from public school curriculums, and even some universities cutting back on majors in some of the fields of the arts and humanities.

This is indeed a sad time, that somehow it is felt that the arts and humanities are “frills” that are not needed, and that the younger generation need not be exposed to the best of our cultural heritage!

This is a true sign of the decline of America, when we have politicians advocating that we eliminate the best part of the nation, its creativity and originality in everything but making profit!

A nation without the promotion of the arts and humanities is indeed a country without its soul! 🙁

President Barack Obama is certainly not of this view, but whether we can see a revival of the spirit of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in these difficult times, and harsh, no holds barred negativism, is an issue that awaits expectations! 🙁