Soviet Union

Afghanistan War 2001-2017: $800 Billion, And 2,249 Americans Killed In A Quagmire That Is Unwinnable With Troops!

Fareed Zakaria spoke today on his CNN show about the Afghanistan War, which began on October 7, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

We still have more than 8,000 troops engaged in a war that never has really ended, and it is the longest war in American history.

About $800 billion has been spent fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda, but one cannot say that the war has been won, or will ever be won.

2,249 Americans have paid the ultimate price, in a quagmire that is unwinnable with troops, by any sensible measure of success.

The Soviet Union collapsed by 1991, partly due to the invasion of Afghanistan that went on from December 1979 February 1989.

The British tried to gain control of Afghanistan as part of the British Empire and failed, and the same for Alexander the Great in ancient times.

The loss of life and treasure is enough, and the US should stop their ground war in Afghanistan, and utilize drones as the only worthwhile investment, since the government of Afghanistan is hopelessly corrupt and unable to win the war, with no one really knowing what “winning” means in any case!

Donald Trump Border Wall With Mexico—1989 Miles, 30 Feet High, Never Will Be Built, And Would Be Boondoggle Financially!

The proposed Mexico Wall of Donald Trump will never be built. The price tag is uncertain: could it be 10 Billion? 20 Billion? 70 Billion? Such a project would be a 1,989 mile, 30 feet high wall, that cannot be built in many areas due to topography, including deserts, rugged hills, and two rivers (the Colorado and Rio Grande), and is opposed by many as unworkable, and sends a horrible message about the United States internationally. It would be a wall that would not prevent drugs, or human trafficking, and would cost loss of trust between two neighbors who share the 10th longest boundary between nations in the world. No wall or barrier has ever prevented breaching such an edifice, and it will happen in this case, were the wall to be built.

The Great Wall of China was built over many centuries, and never effectively barred invasions or prevented wars, and presented a psychological barrier for China, isolating it from the Western world, but in so doing, causing it to fall behind the West, and eventually be exploited in the 19th century by European powers. Disrepair, vandalism, and graffiti became common, and it never really advanced the Chinese economy. It marked China as backward.

The Berlin Wall, built by the Soviet Union beginning in 1961, and being destroyed in 1989, just 28 years in existence, marked the Soviets as a nation trying to stop the promotion of freedom, but the Wall was overcome by some courageous Germans, and became a symbol of the oppression of human liberty. It was a sign of the ultimate failure of Soviet Communism, with a humiliating ending in November 1989.

America gains nothing from such a wall, except to stoke fear and hatred in Mexico, and even in Canada, which has the largest land boundary in the world with the US, 3,997 miles between the 48 states and Canada, and an additional 1,538 between Alaska and Canada, for a total of 5,525 miles.

America’s reputation will be further undermined by a financial boondoggle that will be seen, were it to be built, as a negative development, which will help to sink Donald Trump to the bottom of the Presidential list all time.

It would insure that America would lose the respect and stature that it has had since World War II, as we wall off our nation, and make a very public judgment as to the inferiority of the people of Mexico and Central America, and further make America look like an imperialist nation, which has no respect for the people south of us in our hemisphere.

Presidential Family Members And The American Presidency

The growing influence of Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, is a significant factor in Donald Trump’s approach to the Presidency.

His reliance on and loyalty to his daughter and son in law demonstrates the power of family.

Other Presidents have also utilized family members as follows:

John Adams relied on John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to Prussia.

Woodrow Wilson had his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, conduct cabinet meetings after he had a stroke in October 1919.

Franklin D. Roosevelt relied on his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, for advice on so many domestic and foreign policy issues, and in his last two years, his daughter, Anna, also was available to assist him.

Dwight D. Eisenhower used his son John Eisenhower as a staff aide in the White House.

John F. Kennedy had the most prominent relative in his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, serving as Attorney General of the United States for the entire time of the Kennedy Presidency.

Lyndon B. Johnson leaned on his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, for much advice.

Ronald Reagan followed the advice of his wife, Nancy Reagan, on a host of issues, including developing a relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bill Clinton utilized his wife, Hillary Clinton, on a proposed national health care program, as well as a host of other issues.

Barack Obama capitalized on the advice of wife Michelle Obama, as they were a very close couple.

But notice how mostly it was First Ladies who were engaged in helping their husband, with only John Quincy Adams, Anna Roosevelt, John Eisenhower (children) and RFK (brother) as important aides to the President, and Ivanka and Jared are in many ways unique in their growing role, with only RFK being of an equal or greater significance.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

Trump White House Aide Stephen Miller Declares President Has Ultimate Authority And Cannot Be Challenged! This Arrogance Must Be Repudiated!

Trump White House Aide Stephen Miller is an arrogant, dangerous 31 year old man who has the gall to declare that the nation will soon learn that the President has the ultimate authority in the nation, and cannot be challenged in his grab for total control by any federal court.

Miller is a Fascist demagogue, who would fit in perfectly in a totalitarian state, such as Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or the Soviet Union.

The shock is that Miller is Jewish, and yet is close to Stephen Bannon, the former Breitbart News Alt Right extremist, who is White House Counselor and Senior Aide to the President. He is also associated with white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, who has promoted violence against immigrants and non whites.

Miller showed up on four Sunday news programs, and talked like an authoritarian with a cockiness and self assurance that requires a quick reprimand, and yet, instead, Trump went on Twitter to support and applaud his aide’s performance.

It is clear, day by day, that Trump is moving toward establishing an authoritarian government, but it must be stopped dead in its tracks, by the Republican Party, which must love the country more than power and expediency, or go into the dustbin of history.

The question is whether critics in the media, the Democratic Party, and among the general population, can unite to pressure the Republicans to recognize that Trump is dangerous, mentally unhinged, and has dangerous aides that must be removed by a future President Mike Pence.

Will Pence do what is best for the nation, as it is hard to believe that he is not disturbed by the actions of Miller, Bannon, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is now in danger because he communicated with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, about the sanctions put on Russia by Barack Obama in his last days in the Presidency.

The Russian connection of Trump and Vladimir Putin, the “bromance”, is a national security issue that must be fully investigated, and if shown to be undermining our nation, Trump must be forced out of office, but meanwhile, the nation is in danger from people like Miller, Bannon, and Flynn.

The Republican Party, Donald Trump, And Russia: Ronald Reagan Is Turning Over In His Grave!

The Republican Party is now faced with an incoming President who is cozy with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and whose National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, are also too close to the Russian dictator.

To have much of the Republican Party willing to accept this without complaint is an outrage, and a danger to national security.

Thank goodness for such Republicans as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio for making clear they plan to put the feet of Rex Tillerson to the fire, and somehow, Michael Flynn, who also believes in conspiracy theories, but does not require Senate confirmation, must be prevented from serving Donald Trump in the White House, where his deleterious impact could be of great harm, outweighing that of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Ronald Reagan would be turning over in his grave, as Barack Obama said, if he knew what has happened, and so would Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other dead Republicans, who made their careers on anti Soviet stands in the Cold War, including 1964 Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

Yes, the Cold War is supposedly over, and Communism is gone, but is this true? Putin, after all, was part of the Soviet KGB Secret Police, and has blood on his hands, and has gained possibly the largest personal fortune of any human being on earth

We must deal with Russia, but to be naive about it, and give in to flattery, as Donald Trump has done and is doing, is alarming and dangerous to the national security of this nation.

Imagine the infamous Joseph McCarthy, the Red Scare villain of the 1950s, and how he would react to the craziness and lunacy of American foreign policy under a reckless, dangerous, unhinged Donald Trump!

Giant Historical Figure Fidel Castro Dies, A Transformative Figure, With Great Negative Impact On The World!

Fidel Castro of Cuba, the most significant figure in Latin America in the 20th Century, and one of the most vicious dictators of modern times, passed away at age 90 on Friday.

He left behind a legacy of a brutal dictatorship, which while making some improvements in health care and education, took away any semblance of civil liberties and civil rights, and imprisoned, tortured, and murdered dissidents in great numbers over more than a half century of rule.

Castro was the longest lasting leader of modern times, with only Queen Elizabeth II of England having come to office about seven years before Castro took over the capital of Cuba, Havana, on New Years Day 1959.

Who would have thought that someone who came to power on the island of Cuba, which had been a playground for wealthy Americans, under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, at a time when this author was in high school, would last in power for a half century, and then be replaced by his younger brother, Raul Castro, a decade ago, and still rules?

Castro became the dire enemy of the Unites States, and Cuban exiles fleeing to Florida in 1959-1960 and again in 1980 (the Mariel Boat Lift) and constant escapes since then, have affected the history and politics of Florida and the Republican Party, with Cuban Americans flocking to support of the party after John F. Kennedy failed in his attempt to remove Castro from power in the Bay of Pigs Fiasco in April 1961. This made Cuban Americans the one Hispanic group that would refuse to support the Democratic Party, as many Cuban Americans saw JFK as a Communist for failing to succeed to remove Castro. This led to the most dangerous moment in the Cold War years, as Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union’s leader, formed an alliance with Castro, who had declared himself a Communist, and installed Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, with the Cuban Missile Crisis bringing the world closer to the danger of a nuclear war than any other event in history before or since. Only with the cool headed leadership of JFK was nuclear war averted.

Castro was a maniacal figure, who also abused the rights of gays and lesbians in Cuba, and initiated aggression overseas by supporting national liberation movements in Latin America and Africa, and the people of Cuba suffered economically under his five decade rule. Few more influential and significant dictators have existed, and those he is often compared with–including Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini–only lasted 25, 12 and 21 years compared to his 47 plus years.

The question is how Cuba will evolve now, with brother Raul Castro, age 85, having said he will leave power in February 2018, only 14 months away, and also how Donald Trump will react to the death of Fidel Castro, after Barack Obama had begun new relations with Cuba in 2015.

What Would Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan Say About Donald Trump And Russia?

Joseph McCarthy, the infamous “witch hunter” of Communism and the Red Scare of the 1950s, saw Russia as the enemy and had no tolerance for anyone who showed anything other than antagonism toward the Soviet Union.

But Donald Trump acts as if Russia under Vladimir Putin, formerly in the Soviet Secret Police, the KGB, is somehow just a strong man who is “popular” in his country, and seems to admire him.

Even one who is a harsh critic of McCarthy and his demagoguery, including this blogger, somehow knows that the Wisconsin Senator would be leading the charge against Donald Trump if he were alive today.

But the same could be said of Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both who dealt with the Soviet Union and Communism, but had no illusions about the Russian leadership.

It is astounding how many Republicans, of a party that made Communism and Russia the biggest villain for decades, now sit back and accept Donald Trump’s “bromance’ with Putin.

It is not that America should not deal with Putin, but rather that America’s leadership understand his tactics and purposes, and not be living in an illusion as to the history and culture surrounding Russia and its leader.

Such illusions could lead to total disaster in international affairs!

February 9, 1950 And Now: The Ugly “Red Scare” Revived!

On this day in 1950, Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy came to notice when he accused the Truman Administration of being “soft on Communism”.    This  began a nearly five year rampage of accusations against government officials, college professors, journalists, actors, and many ordinary citizens, that they were either “pinkos” or were actually Communists who had undermined the nation in favor of the interests of the Soviet Union and Communism.

Many politicians and others joined the crowd of attacks, and many others in and out of government were terrified, and kept silent, as people’s lives were ruined.  This had begun even before McCarthy became infamous, and the film TRUMBO well portrays what happened to Hollywood writers in the later 1940s, and the role of actor John Wayne, actor Ronald Reagan, and Congressman Richard Nixon, among others, in that “witch hunt”.

This is a day to recall, because it is clear that we are witnessing the beginning of attacks on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a democratic Socialist, who just became a member of the Democratic Party this past year, and is now, contending for the Democratic Presidential nomination seriously. Bernie Sanders is no danger in any sense, but he is now facing vicious attacks beginning, and they will not stop as long as he has a serious chance to be the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2016.

Donald Trump has called Sanders a “Communist”, and if Sanders becomes more of a serious contender beyond his expected win in New Hampshire, then we will see a slew of such attacks by Republicans and the right wing, making Sanders out to be Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro, all wrapped in a 74 years old Senator, who is the longest serving Independent in all of American history!

This is very disturbing, and all good people MUST, whether they support or oppose Bernie Sanders, fight against a new “McCarthyism”, as to have a new period of a Red Scare is simply intolerable, and it must be exposed for the evil that it is!

Silly Season: Comparing Donald Trump To Ronald Reagan Is Preposterous!

With Donald Trump  having led public opinion polls for the Republican Presidential nomination for six months now, “silly season” is beginning, as we are starting to have Trump compared to former Presidents, when he is not at all like any former President!

The most preposterous is the comparison of Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan.

One does not have to be a Reagan fan, which this blogger most certainly is not, to consider such a comparison totally crazy!

There is no comparison between the two men that makes sense other than that Reagan was considered a long shot for the nomination and the Presidency, as Trump is right now.

But otherwise, there are no similarities, except maybe the fact that both Reagan and Trump were formerly Democrats.

But what advantages did Reagan have?

Reagan had been Governor of California for eight years, while Trump has never been in public office.

Reagan had developed strong conservative convictions, while Trump has no strong beliefs other than his own ambitions.

Reagan was never a narcissist, while Trump is the personification of narcissism.

Reagan was always charming as a person, hard not to like, even if you did not agree with him, while Trump is obnoxious and disgusting as a person.

Reagan was widely read on political principles, while Trump never has any connection to the facts and truth and is a massive liar unseen in modern history.

Reagan set out to unite the nation around nationalism in a safe, civilized manner, while Trump loves to incite his audiences through disgusting examples of racism, nativism, and misogyny.

Reagan never trusted the Soviet Union and avoided praise of Russian leadership, while Trump has endorsed the leadership of Vladimir Putin, and doubts the violations of human rights that are clearly going on in present day Russia.

Reagan promoted immigration reform, while Trump exploits the anti immigrant extremism of much of the Republican Party in 2015.

Reagan was able to unite Republicans around his leadership, while Trump would be unable to unify the party and would be more polarizing in the White House than any President, bar none.

Reagan knew how to conduct diplomacy, and never set out to insult foreign leaders and governments, while Trump revels in insults and bad behavior toward the outside world.

Reagan may have had mental lapses starting to develop in his second term, but Trump is clearly mentally unbalanced now, and would be a danger as to his rhetoric and actions, were he to become President.

So any comparison of Trump and Reagan is purely ridiculous!