Richard Nixon

Terrible Character And Role Model: Donald Trump And The Diminishment Of The Presidency

Donald Trump, in nine months in office, plus his 19 month campaign leading to his election and inauguration, has demonstrated terrible lack of character and decency, and has made a disgraceful role model for children, the nation at large, and the world.

He has diminished the image of the Presidency dramatically, and it will take many decades to recover from this nightmare, which may end soon, but also, might, miraculously survive longer than most observers think.

Trump is not the only President with terrible character and role model image.

We could include Andrew Jackson in this category, along with Andrew Johnson, and Richard Nixon.

All three undermined the office of the Presidency by their maniacal behavior on many issues, but none, not even Nixon, was as reprehensible as Donald Trump has been.

The man has no empathy, sympathy, compassion, decency, or dignity.

Similar to Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon, he came into office with a chip on his shoulder, despite the fact that he was born to wealth, unlike Jackson, Johnson, and Nixon, all who were born in poor circumstances, particularly the latter two.

There are other Presidents who were narcissists, including Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton, but all three had many virtues which lessened the effect of their narcissism.

We will spend many lifetimes and generations trying to figure out what makes Donald Trump tick, but it is clear he is a mentally ill man, very insecure and unhappy, despite his wealth, his beautiful wives and family, and his having made it to the Presidency.

One can expect that ultimately, under attack that makes being President lacking in true enjoyment, that Donald Trump will resign under fire in the Spring of 2018, as the Mueller Special Counsel investigation closes in, and as clear revelations of the corruption of the Presidential Election of 2016, becomes more conclusive.

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 Is The Personification Of Death, Destruction, Human Suffering, And Evil, And Must Face Consequences For His Actions!

With nine months of the Trump Presidency ending in a week from now, it is clear that Donald Trump is like a fetus which is created, grows in the womb for nine months and when the nine month period before birth ends, it turns out he comes out to the world as what he is—the personification of death, destruction, human suffering, and evil.

The man has no compassion, no decency. no sympathy, no empathy, and has no love for anyone except himself.

He has been a horrific father to five children and disgraceful husband to three wives, and has cheated, lied with abandon, and only likes to intimidate, insult, berate, and abuse everyone around him.

He has never been held to account, as he has never been told he cannot have a bankruptcy, a divorce, or a deal with workers or contractors which victimizes those involved.

He has committed immoral acts with women, and never paid the price for his misogyny, and the minority of voters who helped to elect him, demonstrated they had no character or moral sand ethical beliefs, particularly those women who chose to ignore that his obscene behavior could have been visited on them, or their mothers, or their daughters, or their sisters.

For too long, Donald Trump’s boorish and narcissistic behavior has been tolerated, and many people have chosen to advance their careers by working with him or cooperating with him, despite the mistreatment they endure.

If Donald Trump takes the ultimate step of nuclear war, the ultimate war crime, he and all of his collaborators will be held accountable as war criminals, but we cannot afford to wait while that danger becomes ever more real.

Donald Trump must be held accountable for his actions, and not be able to escape punishment for his multitude of crimes, as he is far worse than Richard Nixon, who was pardoned by Gerald Ford, helping to cause Ford’s defeat in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Were Mike Pence to dare to let Donald Trump off the hook, he should be summarily removed from office as a contributor to and accessory of Donald Trump, as only prison time will be acceptable for Donald Trump, as a moral and ethical lesson to prevent future narcissistic authoritarian personalities from thinking they could do the massive damage perpetrated by Trump, and emerge unscathed.

This situation must become a lesson that will not be forgotten!

Donald Trump’s Full Scale Attack On The First Amendment, While Endorsing No Limit On The Second Amendment, A Danger To America

Donald Trump has mounted a full scale attack on the First Amendment freedom of speech and press, while endorsing no limit on the Second Amendment, despite the recent Las Vegas Massacre, and is therefore a danger to America.

If it were left up to Trump, many cable TV channels, such as CNN and MSNBC, would be denied licenses to operate, but thankfully, no such mechanism exists to suppress the First Amendment.

Also, Trump wishes to suppress freedom of speech for National Football League players to protest the treatment of African Americans and other minorities by police.

And he seems to think that everyone MUST stand for the flag and the National Anthem, while the Supreme Court has declared that the flag need not be obeyed, and in fact, can be burned in protest, something much more extreme than bending the knee for the flag.

The case on this is Texas V Johnson (1989), with Justice Antonin Scalia, certainly the most conservative Justice in a century, writing the majority opinion.

What Trump is doing was denounced by principled conservative Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has been against Trump from before the election. He said yesterday that Trump is violating his oath of office by refusing to defend the Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights, and that Trump had, therefore, committed an impeachable act.

Trump sounds more like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or other totalitarian dictators than the leader of a democracy, and he is a clear and present danger to all Americans, as a result.

The possibility of moving toward impeachment is starting to grow, as Sasse joins Senator Bob Corker in warning against the threat that Trump clearly presents the nation.

Trump seems to be unraveling, as reported by journalists who have contacts within the staff of Donald Trump, reminding us of the last days of Richard Nixon.

But if anything, Richard Nixon was far less dangerous than Donald Trump is, as Trump has been collaborating with Russia, while Nixon understood the threat presented by Russia.

Also, Nixon was not out to destroy all domestic reform of the previous hundred years, as Trump is in the process of doing, with ObamaCare, the environment, consumer legislation, and government regulation of business.

And Trump is also out to destroy the Iran Deal, go to war with North Korea, and destroy all areas of our foreign policy with other nations.

So the need for prompt action, before Trump must be wrestled for control of the nuclear codes, is real!

Senator Bob Corker’s Warning About Donald Trump And World War III

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has decided not to seek reelection in 2018, and that allows him to be more open on his views about Donald Trump, than he might have been if he had to deal with a reelection campaign.

But he is still Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and can block any nominee for Secretary of State, if Trump fires Rex Tillerson for his calling Trump a “F****** Moron”, and for disagreeing with Trump on North Korea, Iran, and many other issues.

Corker has earlier expressed his concerns about the unstable and immature behavior of the President, and now, after being attacked by Trump on Twitter, he has made clear his concern that Trump could start World War III, a thought that many other intelligent people have had ever since Trump was declared the winner of the Presidential election of 2016 exactly eleven months ago today.

Corker is a measured individual, a conservative but not extreme right wing, and he would have faced an Alt Right attack led by Stephen Bannon, if he had sought reelection.

Now Corker can work with other discontented Republicans, including John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse and others, in moving toward possible action against a very dangerous man, who seems unconcerned about the disarray and chaos he has created, both in domestic and foreign policy.

Donald Trump is a loose cannon, who needs to be removed from office pronto, as he is much more dangerous than Richard Nixon ever was, and is totally ignorant of facts and details on every subject imaginable.

As Corker said recently, it is the military people around Trump–John Kelly. James Mattis, H. R. McMaster–who are essential to keep a measure of control and influence over Trump, and hopefully, they will convince Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, of the dire need to invoke Amendment 25 Section 4, and take the Presidency and the nuclear codes out of the hands of the maniac who endangers all of us!

Presidential Retirements

Of our 44 Presidents of the United States, 16 of them have had retirements lasting 15 years or more.

This statistic comes to mind as we celebrate the 93rd Birthday of Jimmy Carter, and root for him and George H. W. Bush to beat the record of longevity of Gerald Ford (93 years, 165 days) and Ronald Reagan (93 years 120 days), which Bush will surpass on October 11 and November 25, and Carter will surpass on January 30, 2018 and March 16, 2018.

The President with the most retirement years is Carter, who will reach 37 years out of office on January 20, 2018.

Herbert Hoover had 31 and a half years in retirement, followed by Gerald Ford with just a month short of 30 years.

John Adams had four months more than 25 years, and will be passed by George H. W. Bush in May 2018.

Martin Van Buren had about the same retirement time as Adams with 25 plus years, and Bush will soon pass him as well on the list.

Millard Fillmore, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon each had close to 20 years in retirement.

James Madison and John Quincy Adams each had about 19 years in retirement

Thomas Jefferson, William Howard Taft, and John Tyler each had about 17 years in retirement.

Bill Clinton will soon finish 17 years in retirement, and will, therefore, pass Jefferson, Taft, and Tyler in 2018.

And Ronald Reagan had a few months more than 15 years in retirement, although much of his retirement was spent in a state of dementia and Alzheimers Disease.

Trump Presidency Rapidly Becoming More Corrupt Administration Than Nixon, Grant, Harding!

After only eight months in office, the Trump Presidency is rapidly becoming more corrupt than the Presidencies of Richard Nixon, Ulysses S. Grant, and Warren G. Harding.

Sic cabinet members, at the least, have engaged in corrupt acts–Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, who has resigned, but also Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury; Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke; Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt; Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin; and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

A dozen Trump appointees have been fired or resigned, among them the most prominent being Michael Flynn, Stephen Bannon, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, Sebastian Gorka, Anthony Scaramucci, and James Comey. And Trump has hinted at firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the investigation being conducted by Mueller over Russian collusion in the Presidential Election of 2016. Many others are on tenterhooks as to their survival in the Trump Administration, and some are expected to resign, due to the temper tantrums and tensions that exist in the White House under Donald Trump.

Many of the above list are on the way to indictment or at least engagement in corruption, and more of the cabinet members will be forced out, including others not yet publicly demonstrated to have engaged in corruption in office. Everyone is lawyering up, which is a sign of future trials and convictions coming.

Constitution Day: 230 Years And In Danger From Donald Trump In 2017, But The Constitution Will Survive!

Tomorrow, September 17, is the 230th Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by 39 delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

The so called “Founding Fathers” brought about a document that was not perfect, but has survived through the crises of the Civil War; the Great Depression; the two World Wars; the Watergate Crisis; and now faces the challenge of the most dangerous Chief Executive in American history bar none!

By comparison to Donald Trump, Richard Nixon was a choirboy, dangerous in many ways, but also accomplished in many ways.

Nixon contributed some real positive developments in his five and a half years as President from January 20, 1969 to August 9, 1974, while Donald Trump has accomplished essentially nothing, other than the adding of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Trump has threatened constitutional norms, with his attacks on civil rights, civil liberties, the news media, the judiciary, the intelligence community, and the basic institutions of government, including the government agencies themselves, which he is trying to decimate in their effectiveness and even in their numbers, when more is needed in a growing nation with 325 million people.

Trump has threatened the security and safety of millions of Americans of minority religious and racial groups, and he has had the support of white supremacists, Neo Nazis, Neo Confederates, and the Ku Klux Klan, which he tries to equate with those opposed to these groups.

Trump has undermined our relations with our allies in Europe and Asia, and the tensions with North Korea have been increased by his reckless tweets and rhetoric, and the same goes for Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, adding to the potential for military intervention everywhere.

Our relations with our direct neighbors, Mexico and Canada, are at the worst in many decades, and our closest ally, the United Kingdom (Great Britain), is becoming more exasperated by Trump’s utterances. The same situation exists with Germany, France, South Korea, and Japan, and our major rivals, China and Russia are perplexed with Trump as well.France

There is great concern that Trump might use nuclear weapons, which no official other than the Secretary of State can even discuss with him directly under present policy, and Trump has the final say on that.

There is also concern that Trump could attempt to declare martial law if there was another September 11 type of attack by terrorists, suspending the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

And to top it off, Trump seems to many to have a form of dementia, maybe Alzheimers, or just mental instability that is often a problem with aging seniors, but having him in a position which could provoke world wide war and disaster is an alarming circumstance of massive proportions.

Trump is a danger, but we must have confidence that the Constitution will survive his threat, but we must all be vigilant, and be ready to react if any threat seems evident as imminent.

The worst thing we could all do is trust Donald Trump, and sit back and just accept whatever he does, so thank goodness for the free, independent news media!

Ken Burns’s 18 Hour “Vietnam War” PBS Documentary Coming Sunday, September 17: A Worthy Successor To “Civil War” Documentary Of 1990.

Ken Burns, who gave us his legendary documentaries over the past 30 years on such topics as “The Civil War”, “Baseball”, “National Parks”, “The Roosevelts”, “Prohobition”, “The Dust Bowl”, “Jazz”, “Jackie Robinson”, “The West”, ‘The War” * (about World War II), and other documentary jewels, is about to give us a 10 part, 18 hour documentary on “The Vietnam War” on PBS, starting Sunday, September 17.

This documentary is much needed, as a way to heal and unite the nation about its most divisive war since the Civil War.

The Vietnam War came about because of the Cold War propaganda, and it caused troubles for five Presidents of both parties from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon.

It caused the deaths of more Americans, except for the Civil War, World War II, and World War I.

It divided families and it caused mass loss of life, close to three million in the thirty years since 1945 until 1975.

Now, however, despite its Communist government, Vietnam has been friendly toward the United States, and veterans and others have visited where their compatriots died.

The Vietnam veterans who have survived often have mental and physical issues nearly a half century after the war ended, and all Vietnam veterans are now senior citizens.

This is well worth the investment to watch on PBS, and to purchase the book and the DVD.

The Modern Presidency Began Today, September 14, In 1901, With The Coming To Power Of Theodore Roosevelt

As a lifetime student of the American Presidency, September 14, 1901 stands out as the beginning of the modern Presidency.

On that day, 116 years ago, Theodore Roosevelt succeeded from the Vice Presidency, which he had held for about six months, and became the 26th President of the United States, upon the death of President William McKinley from the assassination bullets fired by anarchist Leon Czolgosz eight days earlier, on September 6, in Buffalo, New York.

TR brought a new vision of the Presidency to the White House, an activist, aggressive, broad interpretation of executive powers, and transformed the office for the long term future.

Our youngest President, still 42, TR brought life, excitement, charisma to the Presidency, and made America a respected nation in foreign policy.

He also initiated the idea of Progressive reform, that the national government had a role in moving the nation forward by regulation and legislation, away from the concept of states rights.

There was never a dull moment in TR’s life, either in the Presidency or after, and he became a model for future Presidents of both parties, particularly Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

With TR’s accession to the Presidency, the history of the Secret Service protecting the Chief Executive began, and remains a major burden of security to keep the President safe and unharmed.

A reminder that the McKinley Assassination is covered in Chapter 4 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers), now out since March in paperback from the publisher or Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Also, there is Chapter 5 in the book, which covers the attempted assassination of TR when running as an ex-President on the Progressive (Bull Moose Party) line in 1912, being shot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 14, 1912 by John Flammang Schrank, but surviving his wounds.