United Nations Ambassador

The Death Of The 41st President, George H. W. Bush, At Age 94

This blogger woke up this morning to the news that the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, had died last night (November 30) at age 94, and five and a half months.

He had the longest life span of any President, although former President Jimmy Carter will surpass him in age on March 22, 2019.

Bush was one of the most experienced Presidents, with a tremendous resume particularly on national security and foreign policy issues. This included being a Houston, Texas, Congressman; United Nations Ambassador; Republican National Committee Chairman; Second Chief of the Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China; Central Intelligence Agency Director; Vice President of the United States for two terms under President Ronald Reagan; and President of the United States for one term from 1989-1993.

Bush was an honorable, decent man, who knew his own shortcomings and admitted to it, but although he was the first Vice President to succeed his President by election since Martin Van Buren in 1836 after Andrew Jackson, he was unable to win a second term, losing to future President Bill Clinton, in an election which included businessman Ross Perot, who managed as an independent candidate to win 19 percent of the vote. This led to Bush having the second worst defeat for a sitting President, with 37 percent, only ahead of President William Howard Taft in 1912, gaining only 23 percent of the vote in a three way race with Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Bush will be best remembered for his leadership in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein; his helping to end the Cold War with Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and usher in the unification of Germany; the promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada; the concept of a “Thousand Points of Light” to encourage local activism to solve problems; the signing into law of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal opportunity for those Americans with disabilities; and the appointment of two Supreme Court Justices, David Souter and Clarence Thomas.

His decision to support tax increases caused a challenge by conservatives, led by Pat Buchanan, in the primaries of 1992, which he overcame, but that plus the recession America was suffering at the time of the election, along with the challenge of not just Bill Clinton, but Ross Perot, making the campaign a three way race, led to his defeat.

Bush lived to see his son George W. Bush become President, only the second such situation, after John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and he had nearly 26 years of retirement, and the longest Presidential marriage, until his beloved wife Barbara died in April, after 73 plus years of a devoted couple, who brought up five children.

Bush is ranked near the middle of all Presidents, generally between 17 and 20, depending on the poll of 44 Presidents, with his failure to win a second term a factor in why he has not risen higher.

His impact on America, however, has been massive, and it is likely his ranking among Presidents will rise in the coming years.

Trump Cabinet Members: One Disaster After Another, From Tom Price To Ronny Jackson!

The Trump Cabinet is one disaster after another.

Trump has dismissed many people behind him, both those in his Cabinet, and others in positions of authority, and others have come under fire, but are still there.

Rex Tillerson, Tom Price, David Shulkin are gone, along with Reince Priebus, Michael Flynn, H. R. McMaster, and Sean Spicer, and Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuhcin, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Ben Carson, Mick Mulvaney, and now Ronny Jackson are under scrutiny. Even John Kelly, the second White House Chief of Staff, has lost his reputation serving Trump.

There has been more turnover, including the White House Chief of Staff, National Security Adviser, and White House Press Secretary, than under any President after just 15 months.

The above mentioned list of present cabinet officers, as well as Ronny Jackson, the White House Physician now nominated to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, have had issues of corruption and malfeasance, and are under a cloud that may force all of them to leave the administration over time.

Just about the only Trump advisers who are seen as “clean” are Secretary of Defense James Mattis and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush all had a substantial number of people who served in their administrations forced out, or indicted, convicted, and sentenced to prison, but it looks as if Donald Trump is presiding over the most disgraceful group of advisers we have ever seen in any Presidency!

Trump’s “Congratulations” To Putin A Danger Sign To National Security Long Term, And Demonstrates How Unhinged And Dangerous He Is!

Donald Trump was told by his National Security Adviser, H. R. Mc Master, and his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, NOT to ‘congratulate” Vladimir Putin for his phony election victory in Russia.

He ignored both of them, a clear danger to national security of the nation, and now Mc Master is out, and crazy lunatic war hawk, John Bolton, who still believes the Iraq War was justified; who was unable to become UN Ambassador under President George W. Bush, and was only a recess appointment for less than a year; and who has advocated openly on Fox News Channel the idea of “regime change” in both Iran and North Korea, has replaced him.

This is an alarming development, and it is believed Kelly is on his way out, and might not be replaced as Donald Trump may believe he does not need a Chief of Staff, that he can handle everything on his own, with the help of Bolton, who will have greater access as National Security Adviser daily than anyone else.

It is now clear that Donald Trump is more unhinged and dangerous than we ever imagined, and if the military leaders John Kelly, and maybe even Secretary of Defense James Mattis leave, there will be no control on Donald Trump’s military actions.

So war may be in the offing soon!

The Battle To Succeed Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State: Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham

It is clear that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not survive beyond the first month or two of 2018.

Tillerson has been the absolute worst Secretary of State in modern times, and maybe all time, totally unqualified, totally inexperienced, totally incompetent in defending the State Department and its diplomatic corps against attempts of Donald Trump to destroy our foreign policy, in the name of supporting Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The fact that Tillerson was the head of Exxon, and received an award from Putin in 2015, does not help promote confidence in his leadership.

But at the same time, Tillerson has clearly opposed Trump on many issues, and even said he was a “F—– Moron”, although refusing to give credibility to that press report.

Tillerson has tried, in his own inefficient manner, to stop the destructive tendencies and rhetoric of his boss, often contradicting Trump, and working to prevent conflict and turmoil as much as he can, including promoting diplomacy with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The question is who should replace him, and right now, it seems as if CIA head Mike Pompeo, previously a Republican Congressman from Kansas, is the front runner, but Pompeo has a very hard line view on many issues, which makes him far from desirable.

Also, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley may have a chance to get the job, but she has just lost credibility by her threats to UN members over their vote against US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, by showing loyalty to Donald Trump, she may have advanced her case to become the top diplomat, and one can hope that her action at the UN was more political than anything else, and that she would provide a comparatively more stable course in American diplomacy, and that Donald Trump might listen to her more than he does to Rex Tillerson.

Then, there are the wild cards of Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has recently been highly critical of Trump, and who Trump has regularly denounced; and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a good friend of Arizona Senator John McCain, who has played golf a lot with Trump lately, and has curbed his criticism of Trump dramatically, as has Bob Corker, who has been backtracking in an amazing reversal this past few days.

Both Corker and Graham now seem totally unprincipled, but it could be a tactic to try and change Donald Trump’s view of the world, much like it might be the strategy of Nikki Haley.

In the new month or two, we shall see what transpires, and as always, coverage of Donald Trump is never boring!

Two Women Politicians Who Have Lost Esteem Recently: Kirsten Gillibrand And Nikki Haley, Both Potential Presidential Candidates In Future

Two women politicians—Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Republican Governor of South Carolina—have both been in the news this year, but both, in different ways, have done harm to their reputations by recent actions.

Gillibrand, hailed for working on the subject of sexual harassment in the military and on college campuses, recently became the leader of a group of women Senators of her party going after fellow Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota for incidents of sexual harassment. Originally this blogger, being shocked by instances of Franken acting inappropriately, saw Gillibrand become engaged in what seems as bullyism, pressuring Franken to resign rather than face a Senate Ethics Committee hearing, getting his “day in court”, and seeing if the charges are legitimate, and serious enough to force him out of the Senate. Franken caved in, and will leave, and just gave his farewell address in the Senate. It seems very unfair and a mistake in political judgment by Gillibrand and others against a fellow Senator with an excellent record of public service, including forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself in the Russian collusion scandal, a major factor in the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Franken deserved a chance to defend himself, but now that is gone.

Nikki Haley has had an admirable record as South Carolina Governor and now, UN Ambassador, and this blogger thought she was the best person in the Trump Administration by far. But now, suddenly, she has become a bully at the United Nations, demanding loyalty on the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, which did not convince any major country to support the United States on this non binding resolution. She embarrassed herself and the American people, by claiming she was going to “take names”, and that foreign assistance to various nations might be affected, forgetting that our foreign aid to other nations benefits us, as well as those nations. And now she is holding a party for the small number of insignificant nations who supported us, a laughable and ridiculous action.

So this blogger would say that while Kirsten Gillibrand and Nikki Haley once had stars that shone brightly, now both women have lost a great amount of credibility, and future Presidential yearnings have been heavily damaged by their recent actions.

Nikki Haley A Rare Gem Working For Donald Trump

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former South Carolina Governor, is one of a very few members of the Trump Administration, who in a time of great turmoil, could be said to have made a positive impression in her position.

Haley showed courage after the Charleston Massacre in her state in June 2015, in promoting the removal of the Confederate Flag from the State Capitol Grounds in Columbia, South Carolina.

She has come across as very effective in dealing with other nations at the United Nations, despite her earlier lack of foreign policy experience.

She speaks in a measured and intelligent tone, and works to calm tension regarding Donald Trump’s loose rhetoric, particularly about North Korea, and its leader Kim Jong Un.

She was considered for Vice President by Mitt Romney in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016, and has managed to overcome the rudeness of Trump toward her, due to the fact that she did not support him in the South Carolina Presidential Primary.

Rumor has it that she might be elevated to Secretary of State by either Trump or if Vice President Mike Pence succeeds to the Presidency during this term, as many observers believe Rex Tillerson is unhappy, and will leave early in 2018.

She is already perceived as being the most likely woman who might run for President on the Republican party line in the future.

While this blogger and author has not agreed with everything she has said and done in her public life, she stands out as a bright shining star in the midst of one Trump disaster after another.

Republican Split Begins, As Several US Senators Indicate They Are Ready To Fight Trump Cabinet Appointments

It is now clear that Donald Trump will NOT work to avoid Republican party splits, but instead will do everything he can to stir division within the party, and within America, as shown with his horrendous Cabinet appointments.

Democrats MUST fight tooth and nail against many of the Cabinet appointments, including the nominees for Attorney General (Jeff Sessions); Health and Human Services (Tom Price); Labor (Andrew Puzder); Education (Betsy DeVos); and Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt).

But there are Republicans unhappy over issues of foreign policy, including close association between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: and the proposed nomination of John Bolton to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite his continued belief that the Iraq War was justified, and the opposition of many top Republicans who despise the former United Nations Ambassador by recess appointment under George W. Bush, who could not be confirmed by the US Senate.

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins, and possibly others, could prevent some of these appointees in committee or on the floor, and in league with Democrats, create more Cabinet turmoil and rejections than any modern President, reminding us of the battles some earlier Presidents, including John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, had with Congress over their choices for the Cabinet and the courts.

Also, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are calling for a full investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party campaign in the recent election, and many are alarmed by Donald Trump seemingly cozying up to Putin, and Trump’s denial that he believes the evidence of such hacking as concluded by the Central Intelligence Agency, undermining respect and support of the President Elect for the intelligence agencies. And Trump’s refusal to get intelligence briefings regularly and to show mistrust of the Intelligence community, which is so important for the national security of the nation, is very worrisome and alarms many in his own party, as well as the nation at large.

Disarray At Trump Tower: So Many Candidates, Some Totally Dangerous Or Ridiculous! And Major Problems For Midtown Manhattan!

There is disarray in Trump Tower in Manhattan, and massive traffic issues below in midtown Manhattan.

Donald Trump seems to want to live in Trump Tower a lot of the time, rather than the White House, which creates major traffic, economic, and security issues.

Fifth Avenue and 56th Street is now barricaded, and traffic will become impossible, and trying to protect the President-Elect is a security nightmare, as it requires tremendous manpower of New York City Police and the Secret Service, and is creating problems for businesses, auto traffic, and pedestrians, which will only get worse.

But also, Trump seems totally disorganized, and rumors are spreading of some candidates for different positions in the government who are totally dangerous or ridiculous!

For Secretary of State, the candidates seem to include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton; South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley; and former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The first two named are dangerous for the State Department, as they have no sense of personal diplomacy, and are both loud mouths, with Bolton being the more scary. Haley adds good looks and a woman to the list, but no real qualifications to be Secretary of State. Mitt Romney is the most credible, but really has no diplomatic experience to speak of. And Haley and Romney were bitter opponents of Trump, and did not endorse him.

Then we have the crazy idea of Sarah Palin being Secretary of Interior or Secretary of Energy!

Already, we have Stephen Bannon as Chief Counselor and Senior Adviser in the White House, despite his racist, nativist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, and misogynist behavior and utterances. And we have General Michael Flynn, fired by Barack Obama from the Defense Intelligence Agency leadership in 2014, who has also shown elements of antisemitism, and suggested that Hillary Clinton be jailed, to be National Security Adviser. These two appointments do not require Senate confirmation, but it is clear with the chaos in Trump Tower, that Donald Trump will have problems with confirmation of some of his cabinet and other appointments.

Trump, The Most Repudiated Presidential Nominee In American History, Starts Off With Controversial Appointees

Donald Trump not only is the most unpopular President in American history in public opinion polls before his election, and not only in the popular vote margin of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, nearing one million and counting, but also in the total repudiation of his candidacy by:

Republicans who refused to endorse and support him
Conservatives who also refused to endorse and support him
Economists who warned against his election, as dangerous to the economy
Historians who warned against his election, looking at history
Defense and Security personnel who thought he was dangerous
Diplomatic personnel who were alarmed at his nomination
Newspapers that were traditionally Republican and conservative endorsing his opponent
Foreign Governments alarmed by his candidacy

Now all of these opponents must come to grips with the fact that Donald Trump is our President Elect, and alarm is spreading, as Trump has announced Stephen Bannon as his Senior Counselor and Chief Strategist in the White House, despite his misogyny, racism, nativism, antisemitism, islamophobia, homophobia and white supremacy views.

Trump also is considering neocon John Bolton, a highly abrasive personality, who was a controversial recess appointment as UN Ambassador under George W. Bush, to be Secretary of State, with the leading alternative being abrasive and egotistical former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York!

“Crossing The Aisle”: BiPartisanship Of America’s Presidents From FDR To Obama

A common theme in American history is the “crossing of the aisle”, the bipartisanship encouraged by just about every American President, and the utilizing of leaders of the opposition party to help make his administration successful.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry Stimson as his Secretary of War from 1940-45, with Stimson having served as Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. He also had Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy from 1940-1944, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936.

Harry Truman had Warren Austin as his United Nations Ambassador from 1947 to 1953.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had Robert Anderson in various roles, as Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Treasury, during his eight years in office from 1953 to 1961.

John F. Kennedy had Robert McNamara as his Secretary of Defense and D. Douglas Dillon as his Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (who he had defeated for the Senate in 1952, as his Ambassador to South Vietnam.

Lyndon B. Johnson kept on McNamara, Dillon and Lodge as close advisers in his administration, after he succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s death.

Richard Nixon had Sargent Shriver as Ambassador to France, John Connally as Secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan as Ambassador to India.

Gerald Ford had Moynihan stay on as Ambassador to India, and then as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Jimmy Carter had James Schlesinger as Secretary of Energy, and Lawrence Eagleburger as Ambassador to Yugoslavia.

Ronald Reagan has Mike Mansfield at Ambassador to Japan, Jeane Kirkpatrick as Ambassador to the United Nations, William Bennett as Secretary of Education, and Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

George H. W. Bush had Richard Stone as Ambassador to Denmark, and Robert Strauss as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Bill Clinton had Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and William Cohen as Secretary of Defense.

George W. Bush had Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.

And Barack Obama has had Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and now has pending the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

Notice that Obama has had more members of the opposition party in his administration than any President!