Ronald Reagan

Cliven Bundy And Republican Move Toward Anarchism And Domestic Terrorism Support!

Cliven Bundy is a rancher in Nevada who has had his cattle grazing on federal land for years, and has refused to pay about $1 million in taxes to the Bureau of Land Management.

Bundy has gathered a group of gun toting haters of the federal government and its authority to control use of federal lands, and they have declared that they do not accept the authority of the federal government. In a confrontation a week ago, the Bureau of Land Management decided to back away as weapons were brandished, signs were aplenty, and women and children were being gathered as a front line of defense against action by the federal government to enforce federal law and authority.

This is an absolutely horrifying situation, and there is fear that violence will ensue when the time comes that the US government determines it will follow through on assertion of federal authority, and the collection of federal taxes due by this lawbreaker, Cliven Bundy.

If the US government does not enforce the law against Cliven Bundy, it will be seen as weak, indecisive, and having been intimidated by a hoodlum who has taken the law into his own hands, and has brought out right wing lunatics to back him up, and yet is cowardly enough to put women and children in the front line of defense! It will convince other ranchers who have obeyed the law and paid their taxes to wonder why they should continue to do so, if Cliven Bundy can bully the government and get away with it!

What is even more troubling than this is that Republicans, including Nevada Senator Dean Heller, usually a fairly moderate person, is backing Cliven Bundy, as is Texas gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, the present Texas Attorney General. And reckless right wing Fox News Channel talk show host Sean Hannity has been egging on Cliven Bundy, endorsing his illegal activities and his attack on the US government!

Hannity is inciting violence and riots, is conducting himself as outside the obeying of federal law, and should be condemned for that advocacy, if bloodshed breaks out. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is absolutely correct in calling what is going on as “Domestic Terrorism.”

The Republican Party is starting to move toward endorsement of anarchism, domestic terrorism, law breaking, and if there is a confrontation, which seems inevitable at some point, the Republican Party had better back away from the image that is developing, as if they are seen as endorsing Cliven Bundy over the federal government, that will be the final nail in the coffin of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, and even Reagan.

Abraham Lincoln is turning over in his grave right now!

Republican “Retreads” Emerge, Demonstrating The Sad State Of Their Presidential Race For 2016!

The Republican Party has a long list of potential Presidential candidates for 2016, many of them “new,” including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and even Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, who have never run before for President.

Then, they have the “retreads”, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, those three being a sorry lot as alternatives.

All three are way out of the mainstream of American politics, with Rick Perry making a total fool of himself in 2012; Mike Huckabee, once seen as fairly “moderate” in 2008, having converted into a right wing extremist due to his Fox News Channel weekly show; and Rick Santorum, well just a total embarrassment to himself and everyone around him!

The Republican Party is a sorry lot, with lots of candidates on the bench, but none having the slightest chance to become President!

Instead, the GOP looks completely past former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (also former Ambassador to China and Singapore), the only solid, foreign policy experienced, sensible, mainstream candidate, who could attract support across the aisle, and make Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or any other Democratic nominee squirm, as he did for awhile in the Barack Obama campaign in 2012, with them considering Huntsman a real threat.

Huntsman is sitting on the sidelines, and considering an independent run on a “No Labels” campaign, and reminding people that the Republican Party of the pre Ronald Reagan era is the only hope for a revival of GOP fortunes, as the country has passed by the anti immigrant, anti gay, anti women, anti labor, anti environment mentality of the Tea Party Movement, which may be able to win gerrymandered Congressional seats, but cannot win the US Senate majority or the White House anytime soon!

The Ultimate Legacy Of American Presidents

American Presidents deal with dozens, if not, hundreds of issues while in office, and they have ups and downs, highs and lows, unavoidably.

But, ultimately, they are remembered for one action in office that either puts them in the great, successful category, or in the disastrous, unsuccessful category, and they may be praised or bitterly criticized for others, but they will always be remembered for one specific policy or event, which has the greatest effect on their legacy.

So when we look at Presidents since FDR, what stands out as their primary legacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt–his New Deal programs that saved millions of Americans, and gave them hope for the future.

Harry S Truman–his courage in his dealings with the Soviet Union through the Cold War policies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower–the steadfastness of his Civil Rights policies, enforcing court orders and promoting the end of racial segregation.

John F. Kennedy–his forthrightness in dealing with the greatest threat in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson–his Great Society programs that advanced civil rights, education, health care, and a war on poverty.

Richard M. Nixon–his paranoia and illegal activities, leading to Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald R. Ford–his appointment of Justice John Paul Stevens, who became a giant on the Supreme Court for 35 years.

Jimmy Carter–his promotion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Camp David Accords, which have brought peace for 35 years.

Ronald Reagan–his tripling of the national debt through excessive military spending and massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

George H. W. Bush–his exceptional conduct of the crisis of the Persian Gulf War.

Bill Clinton–his promotion of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, between Anglicans and Catholics, and with Great Britain.

George W. Bush–the prosecution of the Iraq War, a war that was based on falsehoods, undermining the Middle East and emboldening Iran.

Barack Obama–the promotion of the Affordable Care Act, giving millions of Americans their first time coverage for health care.

The Dangers Of The Supreme Court Run Amuck In Favor Of Wealthy And Corporations!

The Supreme Court is totally out of control, with its new decision on having no limits on campaign spending by wealthy donors, added on to the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the limitation of voting rights in a 2013 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified a five member GOP majority to destroy all attempts to prevent corporate and wealthy people from controlling the political system, an effort pursued from the time of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago through Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold in the 1990s and early 2000s.

That is all for naught now, and shows the dangers of a runaway, reckless, right wing radical Court!

This is what made Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barack Obama criticize Court power, along with progressive reformers including Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Senator George Norris of Nebraska, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

This is the result of 13 Supreme Court nominees since 1960 by Republican Presidents, to only 8 by Democrats, and with two of those Democratic appointments (Arthur Goldberg by John F. Kennedy and Abe Fortas by Lyndon B. Johnson), only lasting three and four years respectively.

Of course, Republican appointments of Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush, turned out to be major surprises in their rulings, but we also ended up with some of the most reactionary and right wing radical appointments in all of American history with the appointments of William Rehnquist by Richard Nixon and the elevation of Rehnquist to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan; Lewis Powell by Richard Nixon; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush. The appointments of Chief Justice Warren Burger by Richard Nixon; Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan; and Chief Justice John Roberts by George W. Bush, have been more of a mixed bag, sometimes good, and sometimes horrible in its effect on constitutional law!

Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy selected a mostly conservative Justice Byron White; Lyndon B Johnson selected Thurgood Marshall; Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama selected Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, but sadly, their influence in the last four of the five names listed, has been mostly in being the opposition, sometimes vehement in nature!

The effect on the future of American democracy is massive, with this right wing Court majority, and the only hope is the eventual retirement of Scalia and Kennedy, and hopefully, continuation of a Democratic Senate and President for the rest of the decade, so that the Court changes direction in the future!

Presidential Retirement Years And Constructive Post Presidencies

All of our Presidents, except for eight who died in office, have had periods of retirement after their years in the Presidency.

Some have had very short periods of retirement, periods of less than ten years, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K, Polk, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

So fully half of our Presidents either died in office or had periods of retirement less than ten years.

On the other hand, the following Presidents had particularly long periods of retirement of fifteen or more years: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

The following Presidents had between ten and fifteen years of retirement: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton has had 13 years out of office, and George W. Bush has had five years out of office at this time.

With the retirement periods of all of these Presidents listed above, the question that arises is which Presidents made major contributions in their post Presidency years.

That list is a short one:

John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

Adams served nearly eighteen years in Congress.

Van Buren ran for President on the Free Soil Party line in 1848.

Roosevelt ran for President on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and went on an African safari, and explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil.

Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Hoover wrote books and served as an adviser to President Truman on reorganization of the executive branch of government.

Nixon wrote about ten books and remained an adviser on diplomacy in his nearly twenty years in retirement.

Carter has written nearly twenty books, and engaged in diplomacy, promotion of democracy, fought diseases, and built housing through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Clinton has done similar good deeds through his Clinton Initiative, and also worked on relief for the Haitian earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami with George H. W. Bush.

The contributions of these former Presidents have had a major impact on America, and are worthy of remembrance!

The Republican Party Battle Has Gone On For A Century!

When the Republican Party was founded in 1854, it was an activist liberal oriented party, against the expansion of slavery as an official doctrine, and with many of its founders and followers also being against slavery itself, wishing to abolish it.

Under Abraham Lincoln and Radical Republicans, the Republican Party advocated freedom, citizenship and voting for African Americans, while at the same time promoting the growth of industrial capitalism.

But in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, the party lost its bearings, becoming a corrupt party, beholden to the top one percent of the nation. There was a need to reform the party, and Theodore Roosevelt came along at the turn of the century, and revolutionized the Presidency and promoted progressivism, and activist government, including labor rights, consumer rights, environmentalism, and the promotion of political reforms to bring direct democracy.

But after he left office, the party lost its bearings again and went into the darkness of the conservative 1920s, as Woodrow Wilson took on much of the progressive reform program, and set the Democratic Party on the road to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and a whole slew of domestic progressive and liberal reforms.

The Republican Party, by following the Gilded Age mentality again in the 1920s, helped to cause the greatest economic downturn in American history, and the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover put them in the wilderness, although revived by the moderate progressivism of war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

But then, they were again in the minority, and although Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford promoted some substantial reforms in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the midst of the New Frontier-Great Society mentality. scandal emerged under Nixon, and the Vietnam War sapped the party, and they turned once again to conservatism and Ronald Reagan, who had a better persona than conservative Barry Goldwater, who had been soundly defeated by LBJ in 1964. Reagan appealed to the top one percent, and promoted fear of the white working class toward minorities, and the GOP dominated the next generation and more, with the Jimmy Carter respite very brief, and Bill Clinton being mildly progressive, not really the tradition of FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ. But that meant that the Republican Party was backing away from the traditions of Lincoln, TR, and even Ike! The middle class and the working were victims, without realizing it until very recently.

Here they are today in the era of the most progressive Democratic President since LBJ, and the Republican Party is what it was in the Gilded Age and 1920s and since the 1980s, a party that backs away from domestic reform, from compassion, from concern about the environment, from concern about working people, from concern about women and ethnic minorities and the vast majority of Americans. Instead, they are the party of the one percent, as they were in the Gilded Age and 1920s, and the attempt to move the party to the center, and return to the Lincoln–TR–Ike tradition is engaged in what seems clearly a losing battle!

That means that the Republican Party, 160 years old this year, is likely in its death throes, a party which has gone awry, a really tragic set of circumstances!

Jerry Brown: A Legend In California Politics!

California Governor Jerry Brown has had an amazing career, and apparently, will continue it at nearly age 76, as he has announced a campaign for a second consecutive term as Governor of the largest state in the Union!

Brown, the son of former Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, who governed the state from 1959 to 1967 (and lost in 1966 to Ronald Reagan), first was elected to office in 1970, serving as California Secretary of State, at age 32. Then, he won two consecutive terms as Governor in 1974 and 1978, becoming Governor at age 36. He also was a Democratic contender for the Presidency in both 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter. He later challenged Bill Clinton and other Democrats for the Presidency, in a third round, in 1992.

After leaving the Governorship, Brown was out of politics for 16 years, having lost a Senate race, his only political loss in 1982. But he went on to become Mayor of Oakland from 1999-2007, and then State Attorney General from 2007-2011. until elected Governor again, after 28 years earlier having left the Governorship.

So Brown was the youngest California Governor in modern history, and is now the oldest, and will be nearly 81 when he finishes his fourth term in that office in January 2019. an election this fall which is guaranteed to succeed.

Brown has become a legend in California politics, and one should not be so sure that IF Hillary Clinton seems to falter, Brown just might enter the Presidential race in 2016, although he denies any such intention.

Suddenly, Joe Biden Makes It A Race With Hillary Clinton For 2016!

Here many thought that the Democratic Presidential race for 2016 was over, and that Hillary Clinton would saunter to the nomination without opposition.

True, that former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley were hinting that they might challenge Hillary, but the thought was it could just be an attempt to gain some publicity, and hope that Hillary would not run, giving them the edge simply on intention to run.

Well, forget about that, as Vice President Joe Biden has made it clear that he does not wish to be ignored or overlooked, and that IF he decides to run, it will not be affected by what Hillary does. After all, even good friends compete in life, right? Biden does not want to be seen, certainly at this point, as a “lame duck”, still wanting to be seen as significant and in the game for the next three years as Vice President and beyond.

When one thinks about it, since Richard Nixon, it has been assumed, and often the fact, that a sitting Vice President was seen as a likely successor to the President he served, at least for the nomination. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, and Al Gore all became Presidential nominees after serving under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Nixon and Bush became President, while Humphrey, Ford, Mondale and Gore failed to win the Presidential elections after they were nominated by their party. Only Dick Cheney never considered running for the Presidency, after being Vice President under George W. Bush. Even Spiro Agnew, before he was forced to resign due to scandal, was perceived as the likely successor nominee to Richard Nixon, and the same for Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush, who tried and failed to win the Presidential nomination in 1996.

So the idea of Biden wanting to run is not at all out of the norm, and when one looks seriously at Joe Biden’s record in public life, all one say is WOW!

The reality is that NO Vice President has EVER had the wealth of experience in public office of Joe Biden!

BIden served 36 years in the Senate, and will have had 8 years in the Vice Presidency, for a total of 44 years in public service by 2016.

Biden is a well liked, admired, gregarious, public figure, even if one does not agree with his viewpoints and record.

It is well known that Biden can build bridges with the Republican opposition, and that Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell like him, work well with him, and that Joe Biden has helped to resolve differences on many issues for the Obama Administration. Biden has been a major player and influence over policy and strategy for President Obama, and has been a loyal soldier when his viewpoints have lost out in the cabinet and national security meetings.

Joe Biden has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his expertise in foreign policy, and his knowledge of, and relationships with foreign leaders make him invaluable in dealing with national security and defense issues. He was often thought of as a possible Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in the past, due to his brilliance in these areas of such great importance to America’s future.

Joe Biden has also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his knowledge and understanding of constitutional matters and the Supreme Court, make him invaluable on legal controversies, including his advocacy of gay rights and gay marriage ahead of most politicians who have served in Congress or the executive branch.

Joe Biden is a leader, who if he were President, would be able to get things done much more easily, and is a “wheeler dealer” in the mode of Lyndon B. Johnson, but with a more kind and caring edge than the former President, who could be quite brusque and crude at times.

Hillary Clinton has great background and experience, but on pure years and accomplishments, she cannot match Joe Biden, and in fact, NO ONE in public life can do so!

The major shortcomings of Joe Biden are:

His age, which will be 74 and two months if he took the oath of office in 2017, making him the oldest first term President, and in theory, the oldest President altogether, if he had two terms, and left office at age 82 and two months.

His health, the question whether it would hold up, as he had serious health issues in 1987, due to an aneurysm, which required brain surgery, and his son, Beau Biden, the Delaware Attorney General, suffered a similar health crisis a few years ago, also recovering, but making it seem to be a genetic problem, which could arise, although health issues could also arise for Hillary Clinton, and really, for any Presidential candidate or winner of either party at any age!

His tendency to say embarrassing, or sometimes, purely stupid comments, although one could argue all of us do that, but when in high office. it can have reverberations, and there are critics who keep lists of “Bidenisms”, but they do NOT match the moronic nature of comments made by Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Louie Gohmert in the present, or Dan Quayle in the past!

One thing is certain: If Joe Biden were to become President, we would have one of the most lively, colorful, dynamic Presidencies, with Biden being very warm, genuine, sincere, caring, and yet hard nosed enough to get things done and read the “riot act” on his own party members to get things done!

It would be nice to see such a Presidency, which would be inspiring in so many ways.

Having said all of the above, it is clear that if Hillary Clinton runs, she is likely to be the Democratic nominee.

If she chooses not to run, then Joe Biden is the odds on favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, if Hillary does not run, or even if she does, it is likely that a “younger generation”, an idea advocated by this blogger in entries before now, are likely to enter the race and make it interesting, including the already named Schweitzer and O’Malley, and if Hillary bows out of the race, possibly Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner.

FDR’s Worst Domestic Mistake: 72nd Anniversary Of Japanese American Internment Order

Franklin D. Roosevelt is rated in most polls of scholars as our second greatest President, right behind Abraham Lincoln, or if placed third, behind George Washington as well.

FDR did so much good for us in the years of the Great Depression, with his wide variety of New Deal programs, and he also took us through the travails of World War II.

But he made a horrible mistake, when he issued Executive Order 9066 on this day in 1942, 72 years ago, allowing the building of prison camps, specifically for Japanese Americans, but also for some German Americans and Italian Americans, on the basis that they might be a “Fifth Column” working for the nation of their family’s origin.

About 110,000 mostly Japanese Americans were locked up in internment camps, and if they tried to escape, were shot and killed by guards. They were kept there until the middle of 1945, for no crime other than their ethnicity.

Many of the young Japanese American men went off to fight in Europe in World War II, and won more medals, honors, and awards for their bravery in battle, than any other unit of the war effort.

It took until 1988 for President Ronald Reagan to sign legislation granting compensation to the approximate 50,000 such victims still alive.

On the 31st anniversary of Executive Order 9066, President Gerald Ford signed legislation in 1976, declaring that executive order null and void for the future, with the memory of the miscarriage of justice that had been visited on Japanese Americans.

Never again should any such executive order be issued against any ethnic, racial, or religious group, but one can be sure that there are many right wingers who would love to do the same to our Muslim population, or our Latino population.

This mistake by FDR, giving in to hysteria, was upheld shamelessly by the Supreme Court in Korematsu V. US in December 1944, a low moment for the Court, but not the only one it has done in its long history!

Civil liberties of people should never be breached in the name of hysteria and panic!

Abraham Lincoln And Barack Obama Comparisons

The more one studies Abraham Lincoln and witnesses the Presidency of Barack Obama, the more one can see comparisons.

Both of these Presidents faced more hate than any other Presidents, and both faced more assassination threats than any other Presidents.

Both of these Presidents faced the greatest crises in American History, along with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and dealt with them effectively, although not appreciated at the time of the events.

Both of these Presidents used their executive authority to effect change, and in so doing, divided their own nation, but did what they felt they must do.

Both of these Presidents came from comparatively little background in national government, with Lincoln having just two years in the House of Representatives, and Obama having four years in the Senate.

Both of these Presidents picked their chief rival for the nomination, New York Senators William Seward and Hillary Clinton, to be their Secretaries of State, with both cabinet members being significant in their roles on foreign policy.

Both of these Presidents came from Illinois, the only two Presidents elected from that state, although Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois, but elected from California.

Both of these Presidents were anti war, Lincoln in the Mexican War, and Obama in the Iraq War, and yet both waged war in office.

Both of these Presidents stretched civil liberties in reaction to threats to the nation–Lincoln with the Civil War and Obama with the war on terrorism.

Both of these Presidents had the gift of oratory, and the making of memorable statements.

Both of these Presidents had an excellent sense of humor, and could make fun of themselves.

Both of these Presidents showed compassion and empathy, crucial character strengths for any President.

Both of these Presidents demonstrated great courage in the face of challenges internally and externally, and could make decisions and live with them.

Both of these Presidents made mistakes, admitted to them, and moved on to other challenges without regrets.

Both of these Presidents were ridiculed, lampooned, denounced, abused in oratory, and yet kept their dignity and class as human beings, never giving in to petty responses.

Both of these Presidents were attacked by Southerners, and both worked against the racism and narrow mindedness so prevalent in the 19th century South, and, sadly, in the 21st century South.

Both of these Presidents were very devoted to their children, and found adequate time to be good dads while serving in the most stressful job any American can have, the honor of being our President.

Barack Obama still has three years to go, and as time goes on, he will rank higher in history than he is seen as now by critics, just as Lincoln suffered while in office, but now has been regarded by serious historians as the greatest American President!