New Deal

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.

Donald Trump Totally Delusional, Comparing Himself To Lincoln, And Suggesting Mount Rushmore For Himself!

Donald Trump is totally delusional, and he is becoming more embarrassing by the day.

He is telling us now that he is more “Presidential” than any President except the “great” Abraham Lincoln, who would not give him the time of day if he were to have met him, as he would see that Trump is simply an egotist, a narcissist, a braggart, a bully, a BS artist, a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe, a nativist, a liar, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, an obnoxious personality, and innumerable other adjectives, all which would cause Lincoln to reject him, as he was a man of character.

Trump has no historical knowledge, so he thinks he has accomplished more in six months than anyone ever has, when he has accomplished less than any President ever in American history!

He seems not to know about Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, or Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society, or Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom, or others who had a dramatic and positive effect on the nation and very rapidly.

And Trump imagines himself, as he said in a speech two days ago, that he might be a future candidate for Mount Rushmore, because he is on the level of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt in his own delusional mind!

One can imagine the rolling eyes and shaking heads of these Presidents in the afterlife as they look at Donald Trump, and the total embarrassment he is to the institution of the American Presidency!

Republican Party History And Reputation Under Attack In Present Constitutional Crisis

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in opposition to the expansion of slavery, and included many abolitionists within its midst.

The Republican Party became the Party of the Union, and under Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, the Civil War was fought, and the Confederate States of America was defeated, and slavery was abolished.

The Republican Party then promoted citizenship and the right to vote for African Americans.

Then, the party lost its way and became the party of Big Business in the Gilded Age, and was engaged in widespread corruption.

But in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, under President Theodore Roosevelt, and Congressional leaders such as Robert La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska and many others, the party became one of reform oriented ideas.

Then, in the 1920s and through the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the party became one of opposition to progressive ideas, with a few exceptions of leaders in Congress and in the states.

With the coming of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the rise of the liberal wing of the modern GOP, under Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, and George Romney. and many US Senators, the battle was fought against a takeover of the party by the extreme right, headed by Senator Barry Goldwater, but despite his defeat for the Presidency in 1964, the coming of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan ushered in conservative ideas, and the GOP became captive to the myth of Reagan.

The party became captive to a foreign policy of intervention in the Middle East, and promotion of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, and destruction of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were stopped in their quest by Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Now, however, the Republican Party has become more extremist under the most corrupt President in American history, much more than Richard Nixon.

Donald Trump is for the wealthy elite, and that is why the Republicans in Congress are overlooking the disaster occurring before our eyes daily.

The Republican Party history and reputation are under attack in the present constitutional crisis, while at the time of the Nixon constitutional crisis, many Republicans spoke up and led the struggle against the illegalities of the Watergate Scandal.

The future of the Republican Party is at stake, and this could be the time that we will look back on and realize that it led to the demise of the Republican Party as we know it!

The Republican Party Agenda In 2017: Destroy Obama Legacy And New Deal And Great Society, And Ignore Trump Abuse Of Power

The Republican Party of 2017 is hellbent on destroying entirely the Barack Obama legacy, and all political, social, and economic reforms of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, along with other reforms even by Republican Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, and Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

They are willing to cope with the insanity of Donald Trump, willing to ignore the abuse of power by the 45th President, and in the process, undermine civil liberties, civil rights, labor rights, women’s rights, consumer rights, protection of the environment, and the rights and protection of the disabled, elderly, and poor among our population.

In the past, the Republican Party was the conservative mainstream in American politics, but now the most mean spirited, nasty, uncaring elements have held sway over the party apparatus, and no longer care what public opinion polls indicate, that there is strong, vehement opposition to going back to the America of the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and in so doing, destroy all progress, and put America further behind more advanced nations in Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand worldwide.

Another Massive Tax Cut For The Wealthy: Sacrificing The Middle Class, The Poor, And The National Debt Totally Immoral And Unethical

Donald Trump is promoting yet another massive tax cut for the elite wealthy and corporations, who already have many methods to avoid fair payment of taxes.

What Trump is ready to do is further sacrifice the dwindling middle class and the poor, and add trillions of dollars to the national debt.

This is totally immoral and unethical, and will undermine basic needs of millions of Americans who will lose health care, lose labor protections, and be subjected to corporate abuse of workers, consumers and the environment.

And one can be sure that Trump, who has refused to reveal his tax returns, will benefit handsomely from the massive tax cut.

The concept of social justice which advanced America under both Democratic and Republican Presidents over the past 85 years since the New Deal is being destroyed, as America moves backward.

The Republican Party has lost all humanity, and only if a few GOP Senators refuse to go along with this unconscionable tax proposal, will it be avoided! But don’t bet on that possibility!

The House Freedom Caucus: Extreme Right Wing Group Destructive Of Common Decency And Compassion For Elderly, Poor, Disabled

The House Freedom Caucus is a group of about 30 extreme right wing Republicans, who are the balance of power in the House Republican caucus.

They are the outcome of the Tea Party Movement, begun in 2009 when Barack Obama became President, and they are now the biggest problem for President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, as they work to destroy Obama Care, and show no concern about the 24 million Americans who will lose health care insurance if the Republican Party achieves its goal, now about to be voted on in the House of Representatives in the next few days or weeks.

An examination of the membership of this caucus shows that 60 percent are from the South (including three from Texas, three from Virginia, three from Florida, two from Alabama,and two from South Carolina, and one each from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and West Virginia), and three more from Arizona, one from Colorado, one from New Mexico, one from Idaho, one from Michigan, two from Ohio, one from Iowa, one from Maryland, and one from Pennsylvania, and they have no concern about the lives or health of the sick, disabled, elderly, and poor who will lose health care.

This group has no common decency or compassion, and if allowed to hold sway, their goal is to destroy the federal government and its agencies, and to restore America to what it was before the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson.

This group believes in unbridled capitalism, and supports the increase in wealth of the top one percent of the nation, at the expense of the dwindling middle class and the poor, and includes in its midst many who are openly racist, nativist, misogynist, and homophobic.

They are really those who prefer chaos and disarray. and are anarchists, who threaten the whole idea of the faith they profess to believe in, Christianity, as they fail to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and instead follow the beliefs of Ayn Rand. Selfishness and greed and hate are what motivates them. Saving taxes for the rich is their only goal.

So we are in for very difficult times for millions of Americans, as the Trump nightmare continues!

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.

44 Years Ago: Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson; Abortion Becomes Legal; End Of Engagement In Vietnam War–We Must Learn From These Events!

44 years ago, on January 22, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at the age of 64, and the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the case of Roe V. Wade, that women had a right to abortion in the first two trimesters.

44 years ago on January 23, announcement of an agreement to end US involvement in the Vietnam War was announced in Paris, therefore denying LBJ the ability to know of the peace agreement before his death, in a war that had forced him out of the Presidential race in 1968.

Looking back 44 years and to today in 2017, we can reflect that the Great Society of LBJ is under attack in a massive way, as is the New Deal of FDR. We are going backwards in so many ways under President Donald Trump.

Also, abortion rights are being taken away in many areas and by government policy, and the danger is that Roe V Wade could be reversed in a future Supreme Court decision, once a Trump appointed Justice is added to the Court. So women’s rights to control their own bodies will now face new restrictions, and will lead to more deaths, and abuses.

And our engagement in Vietnam, a massive mistake, has not been learned from, as now there are hints that Donald Trump is ready to send troops to fight ISIL (ISIS), committing us to a massive war in the Middle East, and with Trump asserting yesterday that America might just seize the oil of Iraq for ourselves, which would be a war crime, and a continuation of US imperialism overseas.

This is why we have intervened so much since World War II in other nations in the Middle East and in Asia, as well as Latin America.

And do not be surprised by a move to engage in war with Iran, in support of the right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, and more warfare in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas of the Palestinians.

This is not to endorse Iran, the Palestinians, or anyone else, but to point out, it looks as if we are on the way to another major military conflict, that will cost American lives and make tons of profit for the war industry. And we are likely to see a new generation of American military personnel who end up having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are unlikely to gain proper medical treatment for that condition.

In many ways, America has learned nothing from our historical experiences, and we are reverting to past mistakes in domestic and foreign policy.

The End Of An Era, And The Beginning Of A Dangerous Challenge To Our Nation, Its Past And Its Future!

I am writing this entry on the evening of January 19. In about 15 hours Donald Trump will be inaugurated President of the United States.

We are ending the Obama era, a great period of accomplishment, in about 15 hours, and it feels like a funeral scene.

The only good thing is that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden are alive and will fight along with all of us who are progressives, against the dangerous challenge to our nation, presented by Donald Trump and Fascism!

I will do my part in this struggle, and appreciate my readers and contributors who are there with me over the next few years.

We must be optimistic that the future will work out, although there will be harm to many, particularly those who are sick, weak, poor, gay, and of minority religious, racial, or ethnic heritage.

United we will triumph, and we have overcome the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, and the Richard Nixon Watergate Crisis, and Donald Trump will fail in his mission to destroy the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the Obama legacy!

I will not post tomorrow, a rare exception, and will not watch or listen to the inauguration, and instead go to the movies with my younger son, but I will, of course, learn what has happened, and comment on it starting on Saturday, January 21.

So, everyone, be confident, as the progressive battle, going on since Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette Sr. and George Norris 116 years ago, will continue and prosper!

104th Birthday Of Richard Nixon A Reminder Of The Dangers Donald Trump Presents In Eleven Days!

Today is the 104th Birthday of Richard Nixon, the most dangerous, the most law breaking, the most paranoid, the most abusive, the most corrupt President in American history, but soon to be surpassed in every way by Donald Trump, who is a danger to American democracy and constitutional order.

It is frustrating to millions of Americans, that this man, who lost the popular vote by 2.85 million; only received 46 percent of the total popular vote; and is the seventh lowest percentage winner in history, with all the others having had strong third party support lower their popular percentage but in each case, except John Quincy Adams in 1824, WON the popular vote with their percentage, is soon to be inaugurated President.

Trump ran the most divisive campaign since Richard Nixon, and in some ways, even more divisive.

More than ever, the signs of the coming Trump Presidency are alarming, with concern about his utilization of executive orders being used in a abusive way to derail so many examples of progress done by executive orders of Barack Obama, but also earlier Presidents as well.

And also there is great concern about destruction of much of the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of LBJ, and the possibility of engagement in overseas wars is growing.

This is different, dramatically so, even from when George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were inaugurated, and even Richard Nixon, at least, had qualifications and experience for the Presidency despite his shortcomings, while Donald Trump has NO qualifications or experience for the Oval Office!