Theodore Roosevelt

The Castro Brothers, Julian And Joaquin, Big Time Political Stars

Two Texas brothers and identical twins, Julian and Joaquin Castro, have become big time political stars, with Julian running for President, and Joaquin leading the charge as his campaign manager, and the leader of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the 116th Congress.

Julian was Mayor of San Antonio, the seventh largest city in America, from 2009-2014, and was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014-2017 under President Barack Obama. If elected, he would be the first Hispanic/Latino President, and the first President since Herbert Hoover whose highest federal position was as a cabinet officer under a President. He was considered a finalist to run for Vice President with Hillary Clinton in 2016, and some observers think he would have helped Clinton to win the Electoral College, but that subject to debate. He gained notice in 2012 nationally when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

If Julian Castro was elected, he would be the third youngest President, behind Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. He supports comprehensive immigration reform; free trade; first two years of public higher education tuition free; universal health care and Medicare For All; the Paris Climate Accord; refusal to take PAC money as part of his campaign; Affirmative Action; and assault weapons ban; gay rights; and abortion rights. So that makes him a progressive on the left of the Democratic Party, but not seen as far left as Bernie Sanders.

Brother Joaquin Castro has been a Congressman from the San Antonio area since 2013, so is in his fourth term in the House of Representatives. Earlier, he was a member of the Texas State House of Representatives from 2003-2013. This year, Joaquin has been the leader in organizing to oppose Donald Trump’s Border Wall Emergency Declaration, and has been standing out as one of the leading members of the Democratic caucus.

To differentiate himself from his brother, Joaquin has grown a beard, as otherwise, it is impossible to tell which brother is Joaquin or Julian. Some humorists have said Joaquin could replace Julian in a public sphere, and most people would not know the difference.

It is rumored that Joaquin, while running his brother’s campaign for President, might also seek the Senate seat of Republican John Cornyn in 2020.

It is clear that the Castro brothers will be national figures for the long term future, no matter what happens.

This author and blogger, at this point, is quite enthused by Julian Castro, who is seen as on his short list of favorites for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

It would be fitting if we had a Latino President after Donald Trump has bashed Latinos and people from Mexico as part of his nativism as a candidate and as a President.

It is felt that if Castro was the Democratic nominee in 2020, the state of Texas, with 38 electoral votes would be in play, and if won, the Midwest battleground everyone talks about would not be as crucial in winning the Electoral College.

Trump: “Socialism Is Corruption, Exploitation, Decay”. And What Is Unregulated Capitalism And A Trump Presidency?

Donald Trump is being a demagogue when he said recently that the Democratic Party opposition is promoting socialism, which he defines as “corruption, exploitation, and decay”.

The question is what is unregulated capitalism in the Trump Presidency, if it is not “corruption, exploitation, and decay”? Trump has no desire to regulate the worst evils and sins of capitalism.

If Trump is left to his motivations, he wishes to enrich only himself and the top one percent billionaires, and to hell with the quality of life of the rest of the nation.

If Trump were to have free reign, we would have the wiping out of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, the accomplishments of Barack Obama, and the environmental accomplishments of Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt.

If Trump could do just what he wanted, the alliances with Western Europe and Asia would be destroyed, in favor of allegiance to authoritarian dictators such Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Mohammed bin Salman.

If what FDR, LBJ, Obama, TR and so many others have done to make life better in the nation and in the world is to be considered “socialism”, then ok, we are a “socialist” nation, and need to keep on that track, as that brings out the best of American ingenuity and compassion and basic moral and ethical values.

The Beginning Of A Challenge To Donald Trump For Renomination: William Weld And Larry Hogan

It seems as if the beginning of a challenge to Donald Trump for renomination by the Republican Party has arrived.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-1997) , also the Libertarian nominee for Vice President in 2016 with Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, has indicated he is planning to challenge Trump. He would be 75 at the time of the inauguration in 2021.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who just won reelection last year by a 12 point margin, has also indicated he plans to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. He would be 64 at the time of the next election.

Both are moderate Republicans, seen as centrist and pragmatic, and both won office in heavily Democratic states.

Weld has a distinguished aristocratic background starting with ancestors coming over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims in 1620. He was a counsel with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Impeachment inquiry, and with one of his colleagues being Hillary Rodham, before she married Bill Clinton.

Hogan has the heritage of being the son of a Congressman, with the same name, who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon.

Can either of them seriously overcome the advantages of being an incumbent President?

History tells us when incumbent Presidents are challenged for renomination, invariably, the President defeats his opponent, but then loses the election.

So even if Weld or Hogan cannot defeat Trump, hopefully, they can weaken him enough that he will follow in the tradition of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, who overcame, respectively, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, and yet lost the second term as President.

America Will Never Be A “Socialist” Country, But We Have “Socialist” Ideas Americans Want To Keep: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental, Labor, Consumer, Health Care, Education, And Civil Rights Laws, All Which Make Capitalism Work Better!

Donald Trump attacked “Socialism” in the State of the Union address, knowing full well that is simply a code word to attack progressive reforms that have become part of the American tradition and system of social justice.

“Socialism” in America is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Environmental Laws, Federal Labor Laws, Federal Consumer Laws, Federal Health Care, Education and Civil Rights Laws.

These laws are the hard, years fought for, efforts of primarily Democrats and some moderate Republicans over the century since Theodore Roosevelt, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even contributions of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen and state governors who saw these laws as essential for American advancement.

We are a nation of capitalism but with “socialism” mixed in, due to the promotion of such legislation by the Socialist Party of the 20th century, and its leaders, including Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and most Americans support and see the need for the laws we have.

We are not going to go back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the 1960s, and the Obama era have made our nation better, and the right wing attack on all these reforms will be fought bitterly and defeated!

Inspiring January 20s—1961 And 2009, And Then Depressing January 20s, 2017 And Today

Today is commemorated as the Presidential Inauguration Day every four years, since the passage and ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, changing the date from the original March 4 from 1789 to 1933, to the new date starting in 1937 and every fourth year after.

The history of January 20 is one of two particularly inspiring Inauguration Days, those of John F. Kennedy in 1961, with his soaring oratory, and Barack Obama in 2009, with the largest Inauguration crowd in American history, and with this author and blogger in attendance with his older son, witnessing the historic event.

Kennedy was the youngest elected President, and the first and only Catholic President, and Obama was the first and only mixed race African American President, and both appealed to the highest ideals of the American spirit.

Already, both are rated in the top third or better of our Presidents, and both will always excite and inspire our image of what America could be.

But sadly, now we are in a crisis, which makes Richard Nixon look better, something thought to be impossible after the Watergate Scandal. We never thought we could have a worse and more corrupt President than Nixon, who with his manifest shortcomings actually had some positive contributions.

But with Donald Trump, we have a wrecking ball out to destroy American domestic policies since Theodore Roosevelt onward, and American foreign policies since Harry Truman onward.

We have a President who has collaborated and colluded with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, and yet we have one third to 40 percent of the nation totally in delusion, and proving that as PT Barnum said long ago, “There’s a sucker born every minute!” People who should know better have their heads in the sand, as if they are ostriches, and nothing will convince this ill informed and morally deficient portion of the population to see the reality of the disaster we face.

Donald Trump gave a bitter, divisive Inaugural Address two years ago today, and has not stopped from his mission of total destruction, and division of our population with his insults, his racism, his nativism, his misogyny, his repudiation of our long time allies, and his promotion of the destruction of the environment and the concept of civil rights and civil liberties in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

January 20, 2017, was not a day to celebrate, and January 20, 2019 is not either, as the Federal Government Shutdown continues, with the long range goal of the undermining of the Federal government agencies, and the destruction of the lives of millions of dedicated workers, and the collapse of the American economy, as we hurtle toward another Great Recession or maybe even another Great Depression.

It is impossible to have hope that we can survive this Trump disaster without long range damage and harm that will permanently undermine the future of American democracy.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Iowa Congressman Steve King Just The Tip Of The Iceberg, As Donald Trump Is The More Significant White Supremacist And White Nationalist

The decision of the House Republican leadership, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to condemn Iowa Congressman Steve King and strip him of his committee assignments, is a lame and belated acceptance of the Republican Party of how racist and nativist King has been for years, with the GOP tolerating him and his promotion of white supremacy and white nationalism.

He is not the only Republican who has shown evidence of racism and nativism, and many Republicans are now worried about the long range future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and H W Bush.

The party has catered to white supremacists and white nationalists for years, taking over that role from the old former Southern segregationists who, thankfully, abandoned the Democratic Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

There should be no place for such racism and nativism in any establishment political party in America, but Donald Trump paid homage to them after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, when he said both sides in the conflict had good people, which was a sign he was allied with David Duke, Richard Spencer, and the right wing radio talk show hosts that spew such hatred regularly.

Until and when the Republicans in Congress in the House of Representatives and Senate repudiate the ultimate racist, nativist, hate monger, and misogynist—DONALD TRUMP—which they refused to do to this moment, then the action taken against Steve King is pure hypocrisy, to save their own rear ends.

The Republican Party is dead in the water as a future force until they return to the progressive trends of Lincoln and TR, the true paragons of virtue in their party history.

The Most Diverse Congress In American History

The 116th Congress, which opened on Wednesday, is the most diverse in American history.

It contains the following in the House of Representatives, “the people’s branch”:

102 women

52 African Americans

39 Hispanic-Latino Americans

20 Asian Americans

34 Jewish Americans

2 Native Americans

2 Muslim Americans

Most of these groups are Democrats, with only a scattering of Republicans among them.

So we have a very diverse Democratic Party, and a heavily white Christian male Republican Party.

The future is in the hands of the Democrats long term, and if the Republican Party does not become more diverse and back away from the cancer of Donald Trump, the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and Bush will end up in the dustbin of history, to be replaced by a moderate conservative party under a different banner and agenda.



The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Democrats Must Save America From Donald Trump In 2019: Major Challenge Ahead

The year 2019 has arrived, and the newly minted Democratic House of Representatives majority has a major challenge ahead: to confront President Donald Trump, not be bullied by him, investigate and pursue all evidence of illegality and executive abuse of power, and hold him accountable.

This is an urgent matter, as Trump is a threat to constitutional order, economic stability, social justice, and national security.

The various House committees will now be aggressive in finding out the truth about Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the Trump family corruption, the Trump cabinet and advisers corruption, and human rights violations against immigrants, women, children, and people of color.

The multitude of Democrats pursuing the Presidency must show they are tough and will not wilt under the constant Twitter attack of our bully President, and must hit back as hard as they are pursued by a President who acts more like a Mafia boss, rather than a role model for our children.

Fireworks will be the greatest they have been in our history, and if the Republican Party decides to sit on the sidelines and cooperate with our law breaking President, then the future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and HW Bush is sealed as facing a natural death, as voters will not tolerate a party with no guts, who supports an authoritarian minded dictator.

American democracy is at stake, and heroism and courage are demanded, not only from Democrats, but from whatever Republicans have any principle left.