Presidents

Trump Declares War On Federal Government, Wishes To Return to Pre Pendleton Act Spoils System

Donald Trump has set out to declare war on the federal government bureaucracy, wishing to return to the pre Pendleton Act Spoils System, that reigned from the time of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s to the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 under President Chester Alan Arthur.

Arthur, a Republican who succeeded the assassinated James A. Garfield, who had been murdered by a crazed office seeker, Charles J. Guiteau in 1881, made civil service reform his major accomplishment in his three and a half years in the Presidency.

The federal bureaucracy is certainly not perfect by any means, but at least it requires qualifications and the passage of examinations, rather than just political connections, to gain a federal government position.

Most federal bureaucrats are highly qualified and dedicated, but Donald Trump wants political hacks to operate federal government agencies, and to ruin union and labor rights of federal government workers, thereby returning America to the Gilded Age mentality that reigned 135 years ago.

Donald Trump will eventually leave office by hook or by crook, but the damage he is doing is detrimental to the long term stability and health of all federal government agencies, and will make many young people unwilling to consider federal government careers.

Every government agency from the State Department and diplomatic corps, through those agencies that deal with human needs, such as education, healthcare, housing, and also those which deal with the environment, the economy, defense and so many other crucial areas of government, will now become sewers run by incompetent, corrupt, and uncaring political crooks.

The state governments are already becoming worse operated than ever, and now the Republican Party is, in league with Donald Trump, conspiring against the American future in the name of the selfish interests of the wealthy and privileged.

The needs of the vast percentage of Americans who are not wealthy and privileged will be made much more difficult, and with the growing percentage of Americans who are not white, being governed by a white supremacy mentality of the federal government and the Republican Party, the seeds for future civil war and violence is growing. This endangers the civil order and undermines the great progress made over the past century plus by Presidents and Congresses of both political parties.

So the deleterious effects of Donald Trump are multiplying like cancer, and there is no sign of being able to stop this growing damage to the American Republic.

Historic Moment To Revel In! First Female Presidential Candidate Of A Major American Political Party, And Of Course, A Democrat!

It has finally happened!

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential nominee, the first woman to gain that opportunity on a major party line!

But remember that it is the Democratic Party which gave us the first Catholic President, John F. Kennedy, and the first African American President, Barack Obama!

Also, it was the Democratic Party that gave us the first woman Vice Presidential nominee, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York and the first Jewish Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, along with the first Catholic Vice President, Joe Biden.

It was a Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson, who gave us the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis.

The Democratic Party is the party of equal opportunity, including three Jews presently on the Court (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan); three women presently on the Court (Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor) ; and the first Latina Supreme Court Justice (Sotomayor).

And it was great today to see the first African American President, Barack Obama, wholeheartedly endorsing the first woman Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton!

The Crisis In Presidential Security: The Shortcomings Of The Secret Service Made Bare!

We wake up today to the shock that a “Fence Jumper” at the White House last night, September 19, 2014, managed to scale the fence at the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House and rush forward without any Secret Service reaction, and managed to reach the North Portico of the White House, and actually enter the doors of the White House, before being tackled and seized.

Nothing like this has ever happened before at the White House, although there have been many “Fence Jumpers”, consistently, since the Presidency of Richard Nixon onward!

Luckily, President Obama and his daughters had just left the White House and were on a helicopter on the South Lawn on the way to the Presidential retreat, Camp David, for the weekend, with First Lady Michelle Obama apparently elsewhere out of town.

Imagine if this intruder had been able to approach the President and his daughters!

Luckily, the “Fence Jumper” had no weapon on him, but that was pure luck, but it is clear he had to be mentally deranged, and COULD have been a threat to our 44th President.

Obama has already faced more threats, although none face to face, but the total is at least 40 such threats known publicly, but with indications that he has actually faced thousands of death threats in his less than six years in office, more than anyone since Abraham Lincoln!

This blogger and author has just sent to his publisher, who sought him out,Β  his manuscript on the threats to Presidents.Β  The book will be published in mid May to early June by Rowman & Littlefield, and will be entitled: ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA.Β  This author and blogger has just requested an extra paragraph to be added, regarding this latest threat to President Obama.

The book will cover 16 Presidents who were assassinated, or wounded, or unhurt, or indirectly threatened over the course of American history, and will also include three Presidential candidates who were struck down–Huey P. Long, who was assassinated in September 1935 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Los Angeles in June 1968; and George C. Wallace, who was shot, wounded, and paralyzed for life in Laurel, Maryland in 1972.Β  So a total of 19 leaders are examined for the death threats, sadly successful in six cases, wounded in three cases, and ten remaining unhurt.

Additionally, there will be a concluding chapter that examines “Fifteen ‘Might Have Been’ Presidents”, who, if history had been different, might have become President, including ten Vice Presidents; two Secretaries of State; one Speaker of the House of Representatives; one President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and one United States Senator.

The book will be a good read, and I hope my readers will consider reading it when it is available in late Spring-early Summer!

The US Senate: Grooming Ground For The Presidency And Vice Presidency!

It has been said that the US Senate, the greatest deliberative legislative body in the world, is the grooming ground for the Presidency and Vice Presidency.

So therefore, it is worth a look at the facts regarding this statement.

So which Presidents had served in the US Senate, in chronological order: (a total of 16 Presidents)

James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Andrew Johnson
Benjamin Harrison
Warren G. Harding
Harry Truman
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Barack Obama

However, and this is stunning, only THREE of these Presidents were directly elected from the US Senate to the White House—Harding, Kennedy, and Obama.

And four of these Presidents who served in the Senate were not originally elected, but succeeded a President who had died in office—Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Truman, and Lyndon Johnson.

And notice 10 of these 16 Presidents who had served in the US Senate did so in the 19th century, and
except for Harding in the early 1920s, while four others were President between 1945 and 1974, with Obama the 16th and most recent example, but really a fluke as only the third elected directly from the Senate.

When we examine which Senators became Vice President of the United States, we discover the following in chronological order: (a total of 22 Vice Presidents)

Aaron Burr
Martin Van Buren
Richard Mentor Johnson
John Tyler
George M. Dallas
William R. King
John C. Breckinridge
Hannibal Hamlin
Andrew Johnson
Henry Wilson
Thomas A. Hendricks
Charles W. Fairbanks
Charles Curtis
Harry Truman
Alben Barkley
Richard Nixon
Lyndon B. Johnson
Hubert H. Humphrey
Walter Mondale
Dan Quayle
Al Gore
Joe Biden

Of this list of 22 Vice Presidents who had served in the Senate, six became President–Van Buren, Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Nixon.

So the Senate gave us about 40 percent of our Presidents, and about 50 percent of our Vice Presidents.

A Rare Moment: Five Presidents And Five First Ladies Photographed Together!

For those of us who are Presidential junkies, the only time we see a group of Presidents and First Ladies together in public is at openings of Presidential libraries, and at funerals of Presidents and First Ladies.

Since these do not happen very often in either regard, today’s gathering of five Presidents and five First Ladies at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, was an exciting moment, no matter how one feels about the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Seeing Jimmy Carter looking hale and hearty; George H. W. Bush in a wheelchair in obviously poor health although only being less than four months older than Carter; Bill Clinton his usual talkative, charismatic self; George W. Bush being very positive, despite the clear cut failures of his time in office; and Barack Obama, always good with saying the right things, was fascinating!

Seeing Rosalynn Carter and Barbara Bush looking good, considering their advanced age; Hillary Clinton looking ready to run for President any time now; Laura Bush being her usual sweet self; and Michelle Obama looking always as an elegant lady, was also very inspiring!

Of course, Nancy Reagan, while not mentioned, was absent, as she is in her early 90s and not in good health.

And we saw the two daughters of Lyndon Johnson and of Richard Nixon, along with the daughter of Gerald Ford, but no other Presidential children, other than the two daughters of George W. Bush, of course! But only Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman, was present, not the son and daughter of Nancy Reagan, Ron Jr. and Patti. And neither was Caroline Kennedy, or the other children of Gerald Ford, and none of the children of Jimmy Carter, or the Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea!

In any case, for those who are into photographs of a group of Presidents or First Ladies, today was a very good day!

Presidents, Presidential Nominees, Presidential Seekers, Supreme Court Justices, And The Position Of Secretary Of State

Many followers of American history, government and politics may not be aware of the large number of Presidents, Presidential nominees who lost the White House, and Presidential seekers who failed to win their party’s nomination, who have been Secretary of State, the most important cabinet position. And also there are four Secretaries of State who have served on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The following Presidents have been Secretary of State earlier:

THOMAS JEFFERSON
JAMES MADISON
JAMES MONROE
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
MARTIN VAN BUREN
JAMES BUCHANAN

The following have been Presidential nominees, but failed to win the White House:

HENRY CLAY
JOHN C CALHOUN
DANIEL WEBSTER
LEWIS CASS
JAMES G BLAINE
WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
CHARLES EVANS HUGHES

The following sought their party’s Presidential nomination, failed to win it, but went on to be Secretary of State:

WILLIAM SEWARD
EDMUND MUSKIE
HILLARY CLINTON

Additionally, four Secretaries of State have served on the Supreme Court, with three of them being Chief Justice:

JOHN JAY
JOHN MARSHALL
CHARLES EVANS HUGHES
JAMES F BYRNES (Associate)

This is of great interest now as we have Senator John Kerry, 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, under serious consideration by President Obama to be his second term Secretary of State!

Political Attacks On First Ladies: Nothing New!

The new book that claims that First Lady Michelle Obama has had problems with White House staff, that she interferes with their agenda in defense of her husband, has led to denials by her, and bitter attacks by conservative media.

Is criticism of the First Lady, whoever she is, anything new? History tells us otherwise.

First Lady Dolly Madison was always more outspoken in all ways than her taciturn husband, James Madison. She was known as the “party giver”, but that included her willingness to speak her mind!

First Lady Mary Lincoln was controversial over her expenditures, her clothes, and her mouth, and came under a lot of political attacks during the Civil War, including the fact that her brothers were part of the enemy, fighting for the Confederacy against the American government led by Abraham Lincoln.

Lucy Hayes came to be known as “Lemonade Lucy”, due to the fact that she prevented the serving of liquor at White House gatherings, and believed in women’s rights, including the right to vote, and spoke her mind regularly, causing problems therefore for her husband, Rutherford Hayes.

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second Mrs. Wilson, led cabinet meetings after Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, and often was considered the “first woman President” during his last 18 months in office.

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the most controversial First Lady, speaking up regularly on all kinds of issues and topics, and labeled by her critics as a Communist and a Socialist. After her husband died, she remained part of the political controversies in the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War, always speaking her mind and being a political activist.

Betty Ford became a lightning rod under President Gerald Ford, speaking out as a feminist for the Equal Rights Amendment, and endorsing abortion rights, and speaking about her alcohol and breast cancer problems openly.

Rosalyn Carter attended cabinet meeting of her husband, Jimmy Carter, and also spoke out for feminist causes openly.

Nancy Reagan was criticized for her spending on White House China, and defended her husband, Ronald Reagan, against his own White House Chief of Staff, Donald Regan, who she was able to arrange to fire. She had no problem stating that she was there to help and defend her husband.

Hillary Clinton was the most involved and outspoken First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt, and became a lightning rod particularly when she promoted a failed health care plan in the first term of Bill Clinton.

And now, Michelle Obama is making clear that she is there as an advocate of her husband, while claiming no problem in getting along with the White House staff.

So this is all nothing new!

From Theodore Roosevelt To Bill Clinton: Presidential Commitment To Health Care For All Americans!

As we celebrate the accomplishment of landmark legislation on health care, we must acknowledge for history the role of several Presidents of both parties who saw health care as a right for all Americans.

The fight has gone on for nearly a hundred years now, since Theodore Roosevelt first enunciated the idea in his 1912 Progressive Party platform.

Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke about it as a basic human right in his 1941 speech to Congress.

Harry Truman first promoted formal legislation on health care in the late 1940s, but it was stopped by a coalition of conservative Republicans and southern Democrats.

John F. Kennedy promoted Medicare, but could not get it past the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, a Southern Democrat.

Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished both Medicare in 1965 and Medicaid in 1966, overcoming the opposition of Wilbur Mills, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Richard Nixon came up with a health care plan which was rejected, sadly, for partisan reasons in the early 1970s.

Bill Clinton made the most massive effort for Health Care reform in 1993 and 1994, but it was rejected by Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Now, Barack Obama, with the full support and aggressiveness of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has gained what seven past Presidents worked on but could not fully achieve!

So let us salute and hail the seven former Presidents who had the guts, the courage, and the principles to make progress, no matter how limited, toward the ultimate goal that now has made Barack Obama an historic President!

When Obama is no longer President, and after his lifetime, Health Care reform will be part of the basic biography of this principled, dedicated man, who made his country a better place, as other great and near great Presidents have done!

Glenn Beck Rewrites American History: The Big Lie Technique!

Conservative Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck gave the keynote address last evening at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC, and in so doing, he rewrote American history, creating his own distorted, warped view of the past.

Anyone who teaches or is a scholar of American history needs to condemn what he has done, as the use of lies and deception and false statistics to mislead the American people!

What did Glenn Beck have to say? Well, according to him, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were villains, while Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan were heroes! The recession of 1920 was worse than the Great Depression of 1929 in the sense of economic statistics, but Harding and Coolidge saved the day, while Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt destroyed the economy and made things worse!

US involvement in World War I and World War II was wrong, as international involvement was not necessary, as we could retreat from the world and stop caring what other nations think and do!

The real culprit is Progressivism and Liberalism according to Beck. It all began with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who decided that “big government” and “international cooperation” were essential. It continued under Herbert Hoover, who was a Progressive according to Hoover, and made worse by the ultimate Progressive and Liberal, Franklin D. Roosevelt!

Under Warren G. Harding and particularly Calvin Coolidge, the middle class became the largest in history it has ever been, according to Beck. Ronald Reagan knew his history, Beck declares, when he said Coolidge was his favorite President in the sense of economic success!

All of the above is totally whacko! The vast number of historians and scholars accept, of course, that ALL presidents have their definite shortcomings, blunders, and weaknesses, and a true historical assessment always balances pro and con. Certainly, this author accepts that one must understand the complexity of Presidential personalities and deeds and statements.

But, it is a fact that Theodore Roosevelt is rated in most polls Number 4 among Presidents; Woodrow Wilson is rated a little lower down in the top ten of Presidents; Franklin D. Roosevelt is rated Number 2 or 3 among all Presidents; and Herbert Hoover is rated as being a Conservative, not a Progressive, and as either a failure, or certainly below average in his time in the Presidency.

Warren G. Harding is rated a failure in the White House, in the bottom five; Calvin Coolidge is rated at best as below average, sometimes below Hoover and sometimes just above Hoover, as he is blamed for the economic policies that caused the Great Depression, while Hoover is primarily blamed for slow reaction to the reality of the Depression.

Wilson and FDR had to take us into World Wars I and II, as Germany in both wars and Japan in the Second World War were real threats to our national security. Certainly, however, neither one rushed to take us to war, but events forced the issue.

To say that the Recession of 1920 was worse in many ways than the early days of the Great Depression is a mind boggling statement that has never been enunciated by any serious economist or historian!

Ronald Reagan is rated as above average by historians, usually the bottom of the top ten or just below that. But one must remember that his economic policies harmed the middle class, made for a new growth of poverty, and his tripling of the national debt was the beginning of the debt crisis we now face. Remember, our national debt was one trillion dollars when he came in, and three trillion when he left, and a good part of our present problem is due to him and another “conservative” President named George W. Bush!

Also, realize that the national debt grew far less under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, than under Ronald Reagan and both Presidents Bush!

So Glenn Beck is promoting what was once called the Big Lie technique. If you are creative enough in lying, and know how to deliver a speech and impress your listeners, as Glenn Beck has the talent to do, you are indeed dangerous!

Oh, by the way, in conclusion, who is famous for utilizing the Big Lie? A man named ADOLF HITLER! πŸ™

The Record On Presidents And Torture

Dick Cheney has condemned President Obama as unwilling to defend the nation from terrorists. He is furious that the Justice Department is proceeding on investigating “enhanced interrogation techniques”, better known as torture, by CIA operatives.

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush and their colleagues try to justify torture as if it is part of our history, which it is not.

Torture is against international law, but more important even than that is that no President of the United States ever endorsed torture, even in crisis times–including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Neither did President Eisenhower, when he was leader of the Allied invasion of Europe in World War II.

As John McCain has stated, torture is not a good method to gain any information, as one will say whatever you want to avoid or end the torture. It also promotes, as justifiable, the utilization of torture by the enemy, and while it is true that the other side might do that, do we really want to get down into the muck with them and lower the American standard of morality and idealism that has made us a shining example over the centuries to many people around the world?

History and principle require us to reject torture as a tool of national policy, and for a full accounting of the responsibility of our past leaders for what has happened in our names!