Theodore Roosevelt

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!

Two Different Directions: Wisconsin State Republican Party And Nevada State Republican Party

The internal battle over the future of the Republican Party is in full swing, as we come up to the 160th anniversary of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, which actually took place on March 20. with a formal organization in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6.

For a long time, the Ripon Society has existed as an organization for “liberal,” mainstream Republicans, but of course, there is no such thing anymore known as “liberal” Republicanism. Even those who might consider themselves “liberal,” avoid use of that term like a plague!

The Wisconsin GOP, which once included “Mr. Progressive” Robert La Follette, Sr., and his brilliant sons Robert La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette, now, however, has become an extremist group on the far right, under Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson, and the proposal is to add to their state party documents the concept of the right of the state to promote “secession’ if felt necessary, a sign of the old, ugly language that led to the Civil War and the loss of two thirds of a million men in combat, the greatest single tragedy in the nation’s history!

At the same time, the Nevada State Republican Party has made the decision to remove from its platform for 2014 two issues that the Christian Right has been promoting since their rise in the party apparatus nationwide since the late 1970s—abortion and gay rights and marriage. No longer will the party promote government intervention in the lives of women and their personal decisions about their bodies and reproductive rights. And no longer will they get in the way of a person’s happiness, as to his or her basic human rights, including marriage, and the right to one’s sexual orientation without any discrimination by government!

In the long run, what Nevada Republicans are doing will, if pursued elsewhere, lead to a long term revival of the GOP, while if Wisconsin is followed, it is the death knell and demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

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!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

Republicans Declare War On National Parks And The Environment!

The Republican Party, already in its death throes as a respectable party, are now moving to repeal the Antiquities Act of 1906, passed during the administration of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, allowing the President the authority to create national parks and monuments, and save our nature preserves and environment from industrial destruction.

Every President since TR has used this law to add to our national treasures, but now the House Republicans will vote to repeal the Antiquities Act in an attempt to favor the voracious and selfish business interests, particularly in the energy industry, including the Koch Brothers.

Fortunately, the Senate will not follow through, and the President could and would veto any such attempt, but it is worrisome that a possible GOP Senate in 2015 could raise the ante on this outrageous action, and were the GOP to control the Presidency and both houses of Congress in 2017, it is likely that our environmental record of pride for the past 108 years would lie in ruins. Possibly, a President Jon Huntsman might veto such action, but any other Republican would, almost certainly, sign such legislation!

Theodore Roosevelt is turning over in his grave, but realize Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter were also exceptional on the environment, and really, all Presidents, Democratic and Republican, have utilized this law to provide wonderful national parks and forests and monuments for the enjoyment of the American people!

This is just simply another outrage that should motivate those who care about this law and the environment, to come out in droves and insure that the Senate does not go Republican, and attempt to turn the House to the Democrats as well!

Senator Rand Paul Becomes Poll Leader For GOP Presidential Nomination: What Does It Mean?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the son of libertarian favorite Ron Paul, former Congressman from Texas, has suddenly emerged as the leader in two polls–the CPAC straw poll and the New Hampshire straw poll, both in the past ten days.

This is seen as very surprising to many observers, and it certainly upsets Establishment Republicans who see Rand Paul as far from who they prefer to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016.

Rand Paul seems to appeal to young people, who also liked his dad, due to their desire to cut down American involvement in overseas interventions, but that is seen by critics as an unrealistic isolationism, which becomes more problematical with the Russian takeover of Crimea, and the possible intervention in the rest of Ukraine.

Rand Paul’s desire to cut the federal government and spending dramatically in a downward spiral also appeals to many young people, but worries those concerned about the growth of poverty and the decline of the middle class.

And Rand Paul’s statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in regards to the dislike of “forcing” businesses to serve customers they do not want to serve, is also alarming to ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos.

Rand Paul’s opposition to women controlling their own reproductive lives also is an alarm bell to many.

There are many who think Rand Paul is a shallow person, who should not even be considered Presidential material.

Are we ready for a libertarian isolationist in the 21st century, after the growth of government in the 20th century, and engaging in wars to promote freedom and liberty and justice in the world?

Are we ready to negate TR, Wilson FDR, and LBJ in domestic affairs, and turn inward in foreign policy?

These are the questions all Americans have to consider, and the thought of Rand Paul possibly becoming President terrifies many Republicans, as well as American citizens who feel that he cannot walk in the shoes of our greatest Presidents!

The Case For Joe Biden For President

Almost everyone thinks Hillary Clinton is the almost certain Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016.

This entry is NOT designed to attack her credentials, or her worthiness to be President, and it is NOT designed to be critical of Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren or Brian Schweitzer, other rumored possible candidates.

It is simply an entry to point out the case for Joe Biden for President of the United States!

When one examines Joe Biden’s political career, one can only marvel at his background and experience, although it is well known that often those with far less experience in government end up in the Presidency, as for instance: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

But, seriously, if one is to use the measurement of experience in NATIONAL government, NO ONE comes even close to Joe Biden!

Only three Presidents had extensive experience in Congress before becoming President, and two of them became President originally by succession during a term–Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson. The person to have the most national experience was, sadly, James Buchanan, often ranked as the absolutely worst President we have ever had in our nation’s history.

So one might say, see what happens when you put an experienced person in national government in the Presidency–that they turn out to be disasters, such as Andrew Johnson and Buchanan, and with much dissatisfaction with Lyndon B. Johnson for the Vietnam War escalation.

But it is really unfair to judge having experience as meaning an ultimate failure, and the point is that Joe Biden has a total of 44 years of experience in national government, unmatched in our history, and only Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 coming close, with 36 years of Congressional service!

Biden has unmatched experience and expertise in both foreign policy and legal matters, as he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman at different times.

Joe Biden is as skilled with working with the opposition party as Lyndon B. Johnson was in the 1950s, but for a much longer period of time.

Joe Biden would have the ability to get things done, that, arguably, Hillary Clinton would not have, and that other, less experienced Democratic nominees would not have!

Joe Biden is an extremely charming, charismatic , warm human being, and extremely likable and genuine. What you see is what you get, and Biden would be one of the most colorful and dynamic Presidents, were he to gain the Oval Office.

Joe Biden’s shortcomings are his age (although he has tremendous energy and shows no signs of slowing); his tendency to make verbal gaffes (although he has never said anything that did more than make him look foolish and really, human, in that regard); and his one great sin, if that is what it is to be called. That “sin” is having plagiarized in some speeches, and possibly in a term paper in his college years. This is certainly to be criticized, and it knocked him out of the 1988 Presidential race, which, however, was lucky, since he soon suffered an aneurysm, which required brain surgery. One could be concerned that he could have a repeat aneurysm, but it has been 27 years since that event, with no sign of that problem emerging.

The important thing, as always, with any Presidential candidate, is to have a strong, competent, decent running mate for Vice President, in case something tragic occurs, which can happen to anyone at any age! It is not a reason to dismiss someone for President, considering Lyndon B. Johnson’s heart troubles, and Dick Cheney’s multiple heart problems, among other cases of health issues (including John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt), faced by candidates for President and Vice President, as well as those holding the offices.

One thing is very clear! iF Joe Biden were to become President, he would do the nation proud, and we would know we have a President who has our backs, as he does not have a mean bone in his body, and really is compassionate and caring about all of us!

And also, Joe Biden is as close to an “average guy” as we will ever get, a guy who is likely close to the poorest politician throughout his career, living off his and his wife’s salaries, and off sales of his autobiography in recent years. He is not materialistic in the way other officeholders are, and has never had even a hint of scandal in his personal life or his financial life.

That is the kind of man that America deserves in the White House!

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!

225 Years Of The Constitution: Something To Celebrate!

On this day in 1789, 225 years ago, the United States Constitution was declared in effect, although George Washington was not to be inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York City for another 57 days, until April 30, the only President not inaugurated on time in our history.

March 4 became Inauguration Day until the 20th Amendment changed that date to January 20 for the President, beginning with the second inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.

So 28 Presidents were inaugurated on March 4, including George Washington in his second term; Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson; Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt; Woodrow Wilson; and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

March 4 was a crisis time, particularly when Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861 and FDR in 1933.

This is a day to celebrate, as the Founding Fathers gave us the symbol of what a constitutional government is, a model for a world that has too few democracies!