Nobel Peace Prize

The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Pope Francis: A Gift To The World And Supporter Of Progressive Causes Shared With Barack Obama!

Pope Francis has arrived in the United States, and will be here for six days, traveling to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

It is clear that Pope Francis is a gift to the world and a supporter of progressive causes that he often shares with President Barack Obama!

This Pope is, clearly, the best Pope in the sense of promoting reform, since the time of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis has made enemies among conservative Catholics and evangelical right wing Christians, who do not pursue the true message of Jesus Christ, the promotion of the poor and the disabled and the sick.

Pope Francis has condemned predatory capitalism which has no concern as to its effect on the poor.

Pope Francis has spoken up on climate change and global warming, infuriating those in the conservative movement and the Republican Party who only think about profits, and reject science.

Pope Francis has attacked the growing income inequality in the world, a dangerous disease that threatens global stability.

Pope Francis has worked to resolve problems in the Catholic Church, and to have a more open mind on divorce, abortion, gay rights, and other controversial social issues, while not wholly backing all of these cultural changes.  But he has demonstrated greater tolerance of differences and opened up a sense of change, which is desperately needed in the Catholic Church, if it is to grow and prosper in the long term.

Pope Francis has engaged in bringing about the restoration of a relationship between the United States and Cuba, something long overdue.

Pope Francis has worked to help Syrian refugees, and generally to encourage immigration reform around the world, as to reject immigrants is against the American historical tradition, and worldwide would be the growth of another Holocaust, as Jews and other refugees suffered in the Second World War.

Pope Francis is a transformational Pope who, hopefully, will have a long range effect on the Catholic Church and the world.

Pope Francis has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is hoped that he will win it, as he richly deserves it!

Jimmy Carter: The Most Underrated, Unappreciated President Since World War II!

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary today, a year and a half shorter in duration then George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s marriage, the two longest in Presidential history!

Both George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have reached the magic age of 90, with Bush 91 on June 8, and Carter to be 91 on October 1.

It is a blessing that both are still with us, but it would seem as if Jimmy Carter is likely to outlive Bush, based on health conditions right now.

Bush is being, properly, appreciated in his 90s, but Carter remains the most underrated, unappreciated President since World War II.

The critics, mostly Republicans, conservatives, and right wing supporters of Israel’s often extremist government, are always on the attack, and this blogger has heard from audience members when he gives lectures, that Jimmy Carter is an anti Semite, which is farthest from the truth!

Jimmy Carter could be said to be anti Israel’s government, when it has been right wing extremist, as for instance, it is now under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But people forget how he managed to bring about the only enduring moment in the Middle East since World War II–the Camp David Accords—which brought together former warriors and enemies, Anwar Sadat of Eyypt and Menachim Begin of Israel, despite their being far apart on the issues of Middle East peace.

This is the most impressive and enduring moment of the Carter Presidency, and is not fully appreciated for what it was and is, even today! And Carter is most certainly NOT an anti Semite, and there are many Jews in America who are not pro Israel automatically when the government there is right wing extremist as it is now!

Carter also brought about the Panama Canal Treaty, an historic event; promoted Human Rights, a fundamental principle of this man of high morality, who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize; and worked to free the hostages in Iran peacefully, as frustrating as that was, rather than bomb Iran and see all 52 Americans killed in response, the likely result had he gone “hawkish”.

If the attempted rescue in April 1980 had worked out, it is likely that Jimmy Carter would have had a second term, and Ronald Reagan would be a footnote in history!

Carter also became the third best environmental President in American history, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon; promoted free elections, human rights, democracy all over the world through the Carter Center; condemned violence against women and mistreatment of the poor around the world; emphasized the spreading of health care and education to the deprived parts of the world; and even condemned the most extreme right elements of his own Baptist faith.

He became the most activist former President in American history, and has survived longer after his time in office than any President, now going on 34.5 years on July 20. And his Vice President, Walter Mondale, survives at 87.5 years of age, making them the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team ever in American history!

Jimmy Carter is not perfect, in or out of office, but he is a very decent man, well meaning, brilliant in intellect, and the author of 27 books, including his new book, released today, entitled: “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”, a worthwhile read!

It is clear that only when he passes from the scene, like Harry Truman, will he come to be appreciated for the great man and human being he is, always trying to do his best, but humble enough to be willing to concede his shortcomings, much of which he expresses in this new book!

Statesman Jimmy Carter Reaches Age 90, Fourth President In A Row To Reach That Magical Age!

Today, October 1, is the 90th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), making him one of four Presidents in a row to reach that magical age.

Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush all reached the age of 90, Bush just this past June, and Ford and Reagan dying at age 93, with Ford being six weeks older than Reagan.

Now six Presidents, including John Adams and Herbert Hoover, have reached that age, and it is clear that modern medicine and sanitation have helped the Presidents in office from August 1974 to January 1993 to have accomplished this massive achievement!

Carter also has set an ongoing record of nearly 34 years out of office, and shares that with his Vice President, Walter Mondale, as the longest surviving team in the White House in American history!

Carter has long been vilified, and called a “failure”, “the worst President of modern times”, and other insulting terms by people who are ignorant, lacking in knowledge of what makes a President significant.

No one is going to assert that Carter was a highly successful President in the top ten or fifteen, and the fact that he was soundly defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980, harms his historical reputation, as Presidents who lose reelection never stand high in polls of Presidents in history.

But this man was decent and honest, humble and sincere, and accomplished the following:

The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the most outstanding accomplishment in Middle East diplomacy of any President before or since.

The negotiated return of the Panama Canal, to its rightful owners, the nation of Panama, righting the wrong done by Theodore Roosevelt early in the 20th century.

The strong principle of human rights as an important goal in American diplomacy.

The third best record of any President on environmental reform, and creation of public lands, only behind Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and more amazing, since Carter only had one term in the White House.

The establishment of the Health and Human Services Department, the Education Department, and the Energy Department, all added to the President’s cabinet.

Out of office, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, for his human rights record; his promotion of fair elections around the world and the advancement of health care and education through his Carter Center; and his building of housing using his own and his wife Rosalynn’s hands, as part of Habitat For Humanity.

He also wrote 28 books, making him the most prolific President of modern times, and competing with Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon for his extensive writings.

Jimmy Carter set a new standard for former Presidents giving their service to the nation, as Bill Clinton has done, and Carter is often called the best former President of the United States for his contributions in the 34 years since he left office.

Jimmy Carter had obvious shortcomings, but he has lived long enough to be regarded as a statesman, and be given the respect he deserves!

So Happy 90th Birthday, Mr. President!

The Endless Payments For Wars Since The Civil War To The Present, And The Long Term Future!

It is so easy for leaders of governments to send their military forces into war, not fully realizing that the long range economic effect goes on way beyond their lifetime and for the next century and more!

Here we are, 149 years after the end of the Civil War, and we are paying a small pension to the daughter of a Civil War veteran who married a young woman in his old age, and the daughter from that marriage is now 84 years old!

While the last World War I veteran died in 2011, there are still 4,038 widows, sons and daughters who get a veterans’ pension or other payments from that war service.

Not many are aware that spouses, parents, and children of deceased veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan received $6.7 billion in 2013, based on financial need, any disabilities, and whether the veteran’s death wsas tied to military service.

And this does not include the costs of the war itself, or the care of the veterans. The final bill for Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be $4 trillion to $6 trillion dollars over the next century!

This is a commitment that must be met, but it is something which should sober leaders, and clearly has affected Barack Obama, who is doing his best to avoid future conflict, a mark of a true statesman! For that effort alone, he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize he won prematurely in 2009!

88th Birthday Of President Jimmy Carter: Time For Republican Party To Stop Trashing Him!

President Jimmy Carter reached his 88th birthday today, making him the seventh American President to reach that ripe old age!

Only George H. W. Bush, who reached the same age on June 12; Harry Truman who lived to 88 years and almost eight months; Herbert Hoover and John Adams, who lived to 90; and Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, who reached 93, with Ford outliving Reagan by six weeks, have had longer life spans.

Jimmy Carter reaches 88 in the best physical and mental condition of any President who has reached that age, as all the others were declining noticeably, and even Bush has shown signs of wear and tear far greater than Carter.

Carter, and his wife Rosalynn, still travel the world promoting free elections, democracy, fighting hunger, and promoting the struggle against poverty and disease through the Carter Center and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. He also gained prestige by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his works.

Carter has become, without question, the most active and involved President in his post Presidential career, and has often been called the “best” former President of the United States.

Despite all this, Carter has been the butt of attacks and vicious denunciations by conservatives and Republicans for his “failings” while in office from 1977-1981, and the fact that he is now 88, and out of office nearly 32 years, has not slowed up the nasty treatment.

The Democrats denounced Herbert Hoover for the Great Depression for a long time, but in his last years, a truce was declared, as the thought was that it was time to stop the attacks as unseemly on an old man who, despite his shortcomings, had made some notable contributions while President and after.

So in the spirit of fairness, it is time for the Republicans and conservatives to stop using Jimmy Carter as a political football, show some respect and deference, and give him the recognition that he deserves for his true accomplishments in office, including:

The Egyptian Israeli Peace Treaty
The Panama Canal Treaty
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty Two With the Soviet Union
Promotion of Human Rights
Advocacy of the Environment, making him the third best on that after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon
Creation of the Department of Education and Department of Energy Cabinet posts
Promotion of a national energy policy which was ignored by his successor, Ronald Reagan
Granting of real authority and influence to his Vice President, Walter Mondale, making it a powerful office
Promotion of civil rights advancements
Healing the Vietnam War divisions by giving amnesty to draft evaders who had fled to Canada during the war

Happy Birthday, President Carter, and many more healthful years to you and your wife!

One Term Presidencies: Seven Significant Leaders Not Appreciated

Tomorrow marks one year to the inauguration of the next President of the United States, and the question arises whether Barack Obama will become another one term President.

Historically, those who have been one term Presidents and lost re-election have tended to go down in history as “losers”, “failures”, and as “insignificant” in American history.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the following cases:

John Adams–one of the most significant Founding Fathers in the Revolution and Federalist Eras, but defeated by Thomas Jefferson in the first political party struggle.

John Quincy Adams–brilliant in diplomacy before his Presidency as one of our greatest Secretaries of State, and exceptional as a Congressman for nearly 18 years after his Presidency, fighting against the evil of slavery, but losing to Andrew Jackson.

William Howard Taft–much underrated President who also served later as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but losing to Woodrow Wilson, and even ending up behind his promoter, Theodore Roosevelt, who ran on a third party line, the Progressive Party, the greatest third party performance in American history.

Herbert Hoover–acknowledged as great humanitarian as aide to Woodrow Wilson during World War I, and as Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, but paralyzed by the Great Depression and slow to react to the massive crisis it presented.

Jimmy Carter–Despite major accomplishments in office, particularly in foreign policy, lost reelection to Ronald Reagan because of the Iranian hostage crisis, but pursued commitment to fighting disease and promoted diplomacy and free elections after his Presidency, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

George H. W. Bush–very talented as Ambassador to China, United Nations Ambassador, and head of the Central Intelligence Agency before his Presidency, but despite his victory in the Gulf War, he was defeated due to the economic recession and the third party candidacy of Ross Perot, and lost to Bill Clinton.

Another one term President who chose NOT to run for re-election, of course, had a very successful term of office. James K. Polk gained the Oregon Treaty with Great Britain, giving America the Pacific Northwest states, and waged war with Mexico, gaining California and the Southwest states. Worn out by his labors, he chose not to run, and died 103 days after retirement, the shortest retirement period of any President in American history.

So the whole concept that one term Presidents do not matter is shown to be totally incorrect.

The Obama Doctrine: Realistic And Statesmanlike

President Obama, in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, enunciated what is already being termed the “Obama Doctrine.”

Obama stated that the US must adhere to a higher standard of conduct, including the ban on torture, and the closing of Guantanamo as a prison base for terrorists.

The nations of the world must engage in tough diplomacy against nations that create instability in the world, such as North Korea and Iran, and must do so in a sense of unity.

The nations of the world must also work to engage with rogue nations and bring them back into the diplomatic community.

Any nation denying economic justice or human rights must be opposed because it undermines the world and leads to war.

War sometimes is unavoidable and just, as for instance World War II against Adolf Hitler, and Al Qaeda since 2001.

The principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. are to be pursued when possible, but evil exists in the world and must be confronted.

The Obama Doctrine can be considered Realism in the world that we face today, and many on all sides of the political spectrum can join together in praising it as practical and statesmanlike!

Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Distinguishes Himself In Acceptance Speech!

As usual, Barack Obama distinguished and dignified himself in his acceptance speech today for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

He conceded that he had fewer accomplishments and credentials to win the prize, so he acted appropriately humble.

At the same time, he made it clear that war is sometimes necessary when there is evil in the world, such as Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s and Al Qaeda terrorism today.

He therefore defended his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, basing it on necessity, not on the basis of choice, but facing reality.

He handled himself in his speech and in his other public gatherings in a way that reflected well on his country.

We should all be very proud of him, and be assured that even if many do not think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize now, he will be seen in history as having richly earned it by his actions in office during his Presidency!

Bill Clinton For Future Nobel Peace Prize?

The Nobel Peace Prize has gone to four American Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama), two Vice Presidents (Charles Dawes, Al Gore), and also to such luminaries as Henry Kissinger and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The awarding of the prize to Obama, based more on hope and expectation and judged on oratory and changed direction, makes one start to wonder about future years, and who might be eligible to gain the award.

One name that arises, despite many critics and enemies, is former President Bill Clinton.

Many people seem to have forgotten that he made real efforts at Camp David to get an agreement between Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Yassir Arafat, the Palestinian leader.

Also, Clinton intervened to bring peace to Bosnia and Kosovo in the Balkans, and peace has generally prevailed in recent years.

Most amazing of all, the fact that the Northern Ireland bloodshed was ended by President Clinton’s endeavors, culminating in a lasting agreement arranged in 1998, makes one realize that Bill Clinton is an excellent candidate for the Peace Prize in the future.

Just as Jimmy Carter received the award 22 years after leaving the Presidency, it seems to me that sometime soon, hopefully while Bill Clinton is still alive, he will win what he richly deserves: the Nobel Peace Prize!