Theodore Roosevelt

Predatory Capitalism: The Pharmaceutical, Petroleum, Automobile, Banking And Other Industries Create A New “Gilded Age”!

Recent news about many industries make it clear that we are living through a new “Gilded Age”, following the original predatory capitalism of the “Robber Barons” of the late 19th century, followed by the abusive practices of the Ronald Reagan era, predated by the Richard Nixon administration.

Now we have the pharmaceutical industry holding hostages of the sick, disabled, and elderly, with the price of medication going sky high, as with the despicable young hedge fund billionaire who raised a price 5,000 percent until social media forced him, finally, to drop the price increase.

We have the petroleum industry, which does not give a damn about pollution damage, as in the British Petroleum oil spill in 2010, which will damage the long term environmental future in the Gulf of Mexico.  And now oil companies want to drill for oil in Alaska, the worst possible outcome, as we should learn from their mistakes, which have been many over the years.

And we also have Volkswagen having purposely avoided meeting the emission standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, which should lead to billions in assessment, but also put corporate leaders in prison.  And the General Motors scandal on faulty ignition switches, which caused many deaths and many injuries, should also  lead to prison time and major fines to punish that automobile company.

The banking industry continues exploiting homeowners and their mortgages, and has no conscience in their practices, and their leaders come to Capitol Hill and are worshiped by many members of Congress, when instead, they should be facing prison time for their illegal and unethical business practices.

It is long past time for a major increase in government regulation and intervention to make all corporations accountable, and force them to change their practices, which include horrible exploitation of their work force, as well as consumers.

A new Progressive Era, that promoted by Theodore Roosevelt, needs to develop, along with expansion of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, along with the reforms under Barack Obama.

But to do so, the right wing Republican party , which stands in the way of regulating capitalism appropriately, must be defeated for the Presidency, as well as Congress.  And only a future Democratic President can make judicial appointments to insure the long range future of regulation and intervention of the corporate world!

Constitution Day Reminds Us Of When We Had Statesmen!

Today is Constitution Day, the celebration of the signing of the US Constitution on September 17, 1787, after four long, arduous months of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

It also reminds us of the great statesmen we had two centuries ago, who overcame disputes and conflicts to do what needed to be done for the nation and its future.

When one looks at the sad reality of two Republican Presidential debates so far, and the lack of statesmanship demonstrated, it is very depressing, as we do not have any sign that the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower is capable of dealing with the domestic and foreign policy issues facing the nation in 2015.

Sure, some of the contenders in the CNN and the earlier Fox News debate come across as “better” than the others, but except for John Kasich, and possibly Jeb Bush, none of them possess real Presidential credibility, while at the least, Hillary Clinton and, if he runs, Joe Biden,  on the Democratic side, display such credibility.

We have a long way to go in the 2016 Presidential campaign, but we are not likely to find another James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman or William Paterson arising to give us hope that statesmanship is widely available!

Republican Party History: Key Dates Of 1860, 1912, 1964, 2016—the 52 Year Syndrome!

The Republican has had a long, controversial history since its founding in 1854 as a party opposed to the expansion of slavery, and containing within itself, those opposed to the institution of slavery itself.

After only six years, the Republican Party reached majority control of both houses of Congress and the White House, with Abraham Lincoln.

From then until 52 years later, 1912, the GOP dominated American politics, except in the South, where the Democrats prevailed.

In 1912, the party split between former President Theodore Roosevelt, an extremely popular and path breaking President, the greatest Republican President since Lincoln, and the incumbent President, William Howard Taft, who was supported by conservatives of the time against TR’s Progressive Party challenge, which led to Taft only winning two states and 23 percent of the national popular vote, and putting Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House.

While the Republicans recovered in the 1920s, and almost defeated Wilson in 1916 with their nominee, Charles Evans Hughes, the Great Depression decimated the Republican Party, and the Democrats became the majority party, while the Republicans continued to battle between moderates and conservatives, with the moderates winning the nominations for President, until finally, Senator Barry Goldwater defeated the Establishment  forces led by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1964, 52 years after the earlier collapse.  Goldwater went on to lose the popular vote in a two way race by a larger margin than ever in American history, with Lyndon B. Johnson winning over 61 percent of the national vote.

This massive defeat did not end the civil war in the GOP, with Gerald Ford just barely winning the nomination over Ronald Reagan in 1976, and losing a very close race to Jimmy Carter.  But Reagan then won the White House, and the right wing felt it was in its glory, although Reagan was, actually, very unpredictable in his policies and views, and would today, probably be rejected by the extreme right wing in control of the GOP in 2015.

The right wing was unhappy with George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney as insufficiently conservative, and now there is full scale civil war in the GOP, including revolts against Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The rise of Donald Trump, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Carly Fiorina, all non office holders, demonstrates the right wing desire to fight the GOP establishment, but what it means is certain defeat in 2016.

Likely, no matter who is nominated, the Republican Party is, seemingly, at a 52 year mark, again ready to implode upon itself, and give the Democrats long term control of the Presidency, as the situation now appears!

Presidents Who Had More Than One Vice President While In Office, And Two Presidents Who Shared A Vice President With Another President

America has had 43 Presidents, with Grover Cleveland having two non consecutive terms in office, being the 22nd and 24th Presidents, therefore making Barack Obama President Number 44.

At the same time, we have had 47 Vice Presidents, with two serving under two Presidents, and a total of nine Presidents who had more than one Vice President while in office.

George Clinton served as the second Vice President under Thomas Jefferson and the first term Vice President under James Madison.

John C. Calhoun served as the Vice President under John Quincy Adams and the first term Vice President under Adams’ successor in the Presidency, Andrew Jackson.

Thomas Jefferson had two Vice Presidents, Aaron Burr and George Clinton.

James Madison had two Vice Presidents, George Clinton and Elbridge Gerry.

Andrew Jackson had two Vice Presidents, John C. Calhoun and Martin Van Buren.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents, Hannibal Hamlin and Andrew Johnson.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents, Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson.

Grover Cleveland had two Vice Presidents, Thomas A. Hendricks, and Adlai Stevenson I.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents, Garret Hobart and Theodore Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had three Vice Presidents in his four terms of office—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry S. Truman.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents, Spiro T. Agnew and Gerald R. Ford.

Donald Trump: A Mix Of Wendell Willkie, George Wallace, And Ross Perot

Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy has brought back memories of three other Presidential candidates.

First is Wendell Willkie, a corporate leader and Wall Street industrialist from Indiana who had never run for public office, who wowed the Republican convention in 1940 with his charisma, rhetoric, and attack on “career politicians”.  He was able to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 1940, and run a good but losing race against the master politician, Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for an unprecedented third term.

Next is George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama, who formed the American Independent Party in 1968, rallying those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed under Lyndon B. Johnson.  He attracted angry working class whites, and won 13.5 % of the popular vote, the fourth best percentage for a third party in American history.  He also won five Southern states and 46 electoral votes, making him the second best in total states and electoral votes in American history, only behind former President Theodore Roosevelt, who won six states and 88 electoral votes as the nominee of the third party known as the Progressive (Bull Moose) party, in 1912.  TR also is the only third party nominee to end up second, rather than third in the election results.  His campaign in 1912 decimated the Republican Party under President William Howard Taft, and helped to elect Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

And then we have Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who had never run for public office, who ran an independent race twice, winning nearly 19 percent of the vote in 1992, and 8 percent of the vote in 1996, while winning no states in the Electoral College.  He appealed to those who were disgusted with the federal government, and worried about the growing national debt.  His candidacy undermined the Republican Party nominees, President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Senator Bob Dole in 1996, and elected Democrat Bill Clinton twice.

Now we have Donald Trump, a billionaire, who has developed an appeal to those who are disillusioned with politics and the federal government, making him similar to Perot.  But Trump also appeals to the baser instincts in many people, those who dislike African Americans, Latinos, immigrants in general, in these ways having similar views  to Wallace.  These Trump supporters  also think women should not be treated equally, preferring the old image of women who should cook, clean, and be available for the sexual satisfaction of their men, but with no rights over their bodies and reproduction,  similar to the Tea Party Movement.  Also, there is a distaste for labor rights, and for the environment, and an orientation toward absolute belief in religion as the gospel, and a repudiation of science.

Can Trump “storm” the Republican Party, as Wendell Willkie did in 1940; or will he run on a third party, like Ross Perot, and make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House?  And will Trump continue to appeal to the George Wallace type voters, and promote a right wing populism as Wallace did?

This is what is yet to be evolving, but in many ways, Trump is a combination, right now, of Willkie, Wallace, and Perot!

A 1912 Election In 2016: A Third Party Campaign Ending Up Second, And Republican Candidate Third?

In the crazy world of American politics, the concept has grown that we could be witnessing an election in 2016 that might emulate the Presidential Election of 1912, where Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat defeated Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party nominee, and Republican President William Howard Taft.

We could, in theory, have businessman Donald Trump, who is, right now, riding high in the polls, being treated in a way that he feels is unjust. He has already said that he would not pledge to support the Republican nominee for President, if if is not him, and if he feels he has been treated unfairly.

So, were that scenario to happen, Trump could, very well, run on a third party or independent ticket, copying the route of billionaire Ross Perot, who ran as an independent in 1992, helping to elect Bill Clinton over President George H. W. Bush.

We could have Hillary Clinton, or even Joe Biden, if he chooses to run, or even Bernie Sanders, benefit from a Republican party split. And imagine if Jeb Bush was the losing Republican candidate to another Clinton.

But also, Trump has shown strength in a poll in a three way races, with him gaining 20 percent of the vote, similar to Ross Perot’s 19 percent in 1992.

But what if Trump’s popularity were to continue to grow, and Trump could match third party nominee Theodore Roosevelt’s 27.5 percent of the vote in 1912, leading TR to end up second, rather than third, the only time a third party has ended up second instead of third?

Imagine the shock if Clinton or Biden or even Sanders won 42-43 percent of the vote and won the Electoral College, with Bush or some other Republican ending up third behind Trump, just as President William Howard Taft did in 1912, when he only won 23 percent of the vote!

If Trump were to end up with mid 20s percentage of the vote, it would be likely that he would win some states in the Electoral College, with the Republican winning very few states, as with Taft only winning two states in 1912.

That scenario, were it to happen, would be the true demise of the Republican Party as we know it, but maybe, just maybe, it would lead to a “purging” of the party, and a return to moderate centrist conservative government, and an ultimate revival resembling the party of the Eisenhower to Ford years!

“Fit” And “Unfit” Presidents In American History

The issue of Presidential health is an important one, as the stresses on the Chief Executive, are, and have been, massive over time, and the job ages all Presidents noticeably.

But separate from general health, there is also the issue of how “fit” or “unfit” Presidents have been while in office, and those who have been active in athletic activities before and during their White House years.

The list of truly “fit” Presidents has favored the younger Presidents over time, but there are also cases of other Presidents who have made being fit an important part of their image as Presidents. These Presidents participated in sports, and even when having health issues over time, they still emphasized the active life.

So the truly “fit” Presidents would include:

George Washington

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln

Theodore Roosevelt

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

George W. Bush

Barack Obama

All of the above 12 Presidents did a lot of exercise throughout their lives, and some were in the military as generals (Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower).

Those Presidents that would qualify as particularly unfit would include:

John Adams

Martin Van Buren

James Buchanan

Chester Alan Arthur

Grover Cleveland

William McKinley

William Howard Taft

Warren G. Harding

Lyndon B. Johnson

Bill Clinton

All of the above 10 Presidents had major issues with weight, particularly Taft and Cleveland.

Of course, “fitness” has nothing to do with greatness in the White House, as Franklin D. Roosevelt proves! But FDR also had massive upper body strength, despite the polio that prevented him from walking.

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

July 30, 1965 To July 30, 2015: 50 Years Of Medicare!

Today is the 50the Anniversary of Medicare, finally brought about by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

An idea originally proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his Progressive (Bull Moose) Party campaign of 1912; further conceptualized by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid 1930s, but thought to be moving too rapidly for Congress, when there was the fight over Social Security in 1935; and promoted by Harry Truman in his promotion of his Fair Deal, it was signed into law with former President Truman sitting next to Johnson at the Truman Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri.

Johnson accomplished what John F. Kennedy wanted to fulfill in his New Frontier agenda, but was unable to do because of the opposition of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, but Johnson convinced Mills to move ahead, as part of LBJ’s great “wheeler dealer” abilities to promote his Great Society.

Medicare was a “God send” to millions of senior citizens, who no longer had to go into poverty as a result of medical and health issues, and it made the last years of the elderly a lot less stressful and worrisome.

Of course, the issue of cost overruns and corruption has arisen, and with people living longer, there is a long term problem in Medicare, but careful administration and some tax increases will manage to keep Medicare afloat for the long run, although present House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012), wants to phase it out over time.

Many Republicans want this, but Democrats will fight tooth and nail to insure the continuation and financial stability of the greatest social program since Social Security, an essential part of the “safety net”, and part of the social justice agenda of liberals and progressives since the time of Theodore Roosevelt!

Third Party Candidacy Of Donald Trump Could Make Historical Records!

It is 15 and a half months until the Presidential Election of 2016.

But it is clear that the possibility exists that Donald Trump will break from the Republican Party, and run as a third party or independent candidate.

A new Washington Post poll indicates, for now, that in a three way race for the White House with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the results would be: Clinton 46 percent, Bush 30 percent, Trump 20 percent!

If that were to happen, it would mark the second time that a Clinton defeated a Bush in a race where a billionaire ran as an independent candidate, and was willing to spend unlimited amounts of personal fortune on the race.

If those numbers occurred, it would make Jeb Bush,or whoever was the GOP nominee, the second worst loser in American history, with only William Howard Taft, the incumbent President, in 1912 gaining only 23 percent of the vote and two states, and Progressive Party challenger, former President Theodore Roosevelt, ending up second, with 27 percent, and six states, the only time a third party nominee ended up second rather than third!

The issue that arises is could Trump, in a three way race, win any states and electoral votes, which Ross Perot failed to do in 1992, although ending up second rather than third in a few states.

Also, Ross Perot won 19 percent of the vote, the second highest in history to TR’s 27 percent in 1912. So Trump, with 20 percent, would end up ahead of Perot, and just might win a few states, unimaginable until now!