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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!

Potential White Male Vice Presidential Nominees For Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign In 2016

If Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton decides not to go “radical” and select a woman or a person of minority heritage as her Vice Presidential choice for the upcoming Presidential Election of 2016, she has a long list of potential white males to choose from.

She could go for a Senator from a “swing” state, including the following:

Virginia–Senator Mark Warner or Senator Tim Kaine

Ohio–Senator Sherrod Brown (who I projected on December 31 as the likely choice)

Florida–Senator Bill Nelson

But there are other potential nominees, including:

Incumbent Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware, which I recommended on this blog in February 2015, and was interviewed about it by John Hockenberry of THE TAKEAWAY on National Public Radio on January 21 of this year, which can be found under “Interviews” on the right side of the blog

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota

Former Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon

Of these nine potential candidates, the most likely would seem to be Brown, Kaine, and Franken in that order.

Biden and Nelson will both be 74 this year, five years older than Hillary Clinton, while O’Malley opposed Hillary in the early primaries and Merkley is the only US Senator to have endorsed Bernie Sanders, making them less likely.

Warner seems less likely than Kaine from Virginia, due to his close race for reelection in 2014, one he almost lost, and Murphy, one of the brightest young liberals, is more of a “dark horse”, not mentioned by many, but a possible surprise choice.

Dr. Jill Biden Expresses Regret And Wistful Feelings Over Her Husband Not Running For President, And Many Share Such Feelings!

The Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, today expressed regrets and wistful feelings over her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, not running for President.

This is a thought and feeling shared by millions of Americans, including this blogger and author, who shares that sentiment!

Joe Biden is certainly not perfect, and no candidate is, but somehow, the feeling is that the Presidential race would have been dignified by his presence, and it might have changed the whole nature of the Presidential campaign.

Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor, said that her husband would have been good at promoting compromise and progress, as that is his forte in politics, which is so true. The Vice President has helped President Barack Obama so much, as he gets along well with Republican leaders.

So this blogger will again say that the best possible Vice Presidential choice that Hillary Clinton could make, once she is the Democratic Presidential nominee, is to ask Joe Biden to run for a third term as Vice President, perfectly legal under the Constitution, although a President is limited to two elected terms by the 22nd Amendment.

Who would be better at helping a President Hillary Clinton to get things done than Joe Biden? And Hillary Clinton would have the blessing of both Biden and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who would become “First Gentleman”, to assist her in making crucial domestic and foreign policy decisions!

This blogger backed the idea of a third term as Vice President for Joe Biden back in February of 2015, and John Hockenberry of “The Takeaway” on National Public Radio interviewed me on January 21 of this year regarding my promotion of Biden, and the eight minute interview is on the right side of the blog under “Interviews”!

There could be no better team than Hillary and Joe to be the top two people running our government starting January 20, 2017, and it would allow the nation to utilize the talents of a man who has served the nation for 44 years on the national level, and could now add four more to his amazing record of service!

Interview On Presidential Assassinations Book On Monday, Presidents Day, On WLRN 91.3 FM NPR 1-2 PM Eastern Time!

This blogger and author will be interviewed live on Monday, Presidents Day, on WLRN, 91.3 FM, National Public Radio, from 1-2 PM Eastern time on his book published last August–ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA  (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015).

The interview will be posted on the right of the blog under “Interviews”, and join more than 15 such interviews already posted there, plus some from earlier years, on public affairs issues.

Additionally, my C Span Brian Lamb hour interview is posted there, and next weekend, a 90 minute lecture on my book will be on C Span 2–Book TV–the weekend of February 20-21, and possibly be repeated the following weekend as well.  To have the opportunity to be on C Span twice is a wonderful development!

Hope you find time to listen, and that you enjoy the WLRN interview.  And next weekend, to watch C Span!  Eventually, that book lecture will also be posted on this blog!

A Disturbing Reality: Military Suicide Rate Of 22 Per Day Is Primarily Due To The Bush-Cheney Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan!

The alarming statistic that 22 military personnel commit suicide every single day is clearly tied to the Bush-Cheney wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,

Not all veterans or military personnel who kill themselves come from these recent wars, but a very high percentage do, and it is because the Bush-Cheney Administration was too loose and easy to send troops to war, and not concerned enough about their treatment when they came home scarred from their war experiences.

It is important to realize that it is not just combat situations that have caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also the growing evidence that the torture and abuse of detainees in both Iraq and Afghanistan was part of the requirement given to many of these military personnel, beyond the day to day combat.

One could conceivably fight and kill in a war and learn to deal with it, as a concept of “us or them”.

But making many military units, including those not in combat, torture and abuse detainees in the most heinous fashion, of which we had only a hint of what happened at Abu Ghraib in 2003, is the real culprit, as it is clear that Abu Ghraib is just the tip of the iceberg on this matter of torture and abuse.

It is much harder to justify in one’s mind the use of torture and abuse, when compared to actual combat situations, where one can rationalize the horrors that occur. For anyone to engage in torture and abuse and NOT feel guilty would require someone of very strong mental and physical constitution, or else demonstrate that we have troops that have major mental illness which allows them to enjoy and bask and prosper in hurting other human beings in the most despicable ways.

So Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld et al are indeed, as the New York Times has declared, guilty of war crimes, and rightfully should be charged in international courts, but that will not, of course, ever happen.

But each time after just a little more than an hour, when a soldier or former military personnel sees his life destroyed and has tremendous guilt and chooses to end his life, the guilt and burden of this reality falls on our government leaders who allowed such torture and abuse to go on, and have worked to keep as much of it secret as possible.

But over time, the truth shall come out, as it is starting to emerge now on news stories on National Public Radio and elsewhere, and it will condemn the Presidency of George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and many others to the conclusion that we have had true war criminals in charge of our government.

They have used the September 11 attacks to justify actions and motivations that have poisoned our reputation as a nation for the long haul, and for that, they will never be able to be forgiven!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

Three Significant Events In 24 Hours 41 Years Ago!

Forty one years ago, on January 22-23, three significant events occurred, all of which had a massive effect on the history of the United States!

Lyndon B. Johnson, the architect of the “Great Society” domestic reform programs, the greatest since the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, died at age 64. Much of his Great Society remains part of our lives today, including:

Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
War On Poverty (some elements of the program)
Medicare and Medicaid
Federal Aid to Education
Environmental Laws
Consumer Protection Laws
National Public Radio and PBS

Additionally, just hours after his death, the Vietnam War came to an end by a peace agreement in Paris, ending the combat role of American troops after twelve years of war under John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. The war had divided us, and still has an impact on the veterans of that war today, but at least the US now has diplomatic relations and trade with Vietnam, something that seemed impossible to imagine four decades ago, after the loss of 58,000 Americans in that war, and over a million or more in Vietnam itself.

The third event that transformed us was the Supreme Court decision in Roe V. Wade, allowing women control of their reproductive lives and their bodies, in the first two trimesters of pregnancy, as well as promoting contraception to avoid pregnancy.

The so called “Pro Life” movement, really anti abortion, has worked very hard to limit the rights of women, trying to cut the period of allowance of an abortion to as low as six weeks in Arkansas and 12 weeks in North Dakota, as well as 20 weeks in many other states, but thankfully, federal district court and circuit court judges have prevented the enforcement of such illegal limits. But the battle for women’s rights goes on.

So January 22-23, 1973, was indeed a very big day, a moment in history of tremendous significance!

Fox News Channel: A Political Machine That Employs Journalists!

Fox News Channel and its chief executive, Roger Ailes, are a political machine for the conservative movement and the Republican Party which employs journalists who give up their principles for a big financial reward. It also employs former politicians who are in the make, to earn as much money as they can, and to hell with convictions or beliefs they had once held!

Ailes began his career in advocacy journalism under Richard Nixon, helped promote Ronald Reagan, and learned the power of advocacy journalism to promote one’s ideological agenda. And journalists and politicians have seen the money involved!

So we have such examples as:

Bill Hemmer, John Roberts, Ed Henry, Greta Van Susteren, Howard Kurtz–all formerly at CNN

Juan Williams, formerly of NPR

Former Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana; former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich

And this is just the “tip of the iceberg”, as many former journalists for NBC, ABC, and CBS have also moved to Fox, and tried to make its distorted view of the news and of the world become standard and believed!

A new book by Gabriel Sherman is making the case that Roger Ailes is the most important journalistic giant of the past half century, a figure on the scale of William Randolph Hearst.

So Fox News Channel is a massive challenge to its cable competitors, CNN and MSNBC, and already attracts more viewers than both of them combined.

So an important thing to remember is that when one is out to promote the truth about America and the world, being ignorant or unaware of Roger Ailes and Fox News Channel’s impact is to the detriment of their rivals!

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.