Washington DC

Trump’s Massive Waste Of Government Spending: His Trips, The Wall, And A Military Parade, While Other Issues That Matter Are Ignored

Donald Trump has engaged in massive waste of government spending for his own personal desires, and plans to do more if not stopped by Congress and the Republican Party.

His excessive amount of travel to his Mar a Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida has cost the US government a massive amount of expenses, along with the costs to the local communities in Palm Beach County. He has spent more time on vacation than any President, and it is clear he does very little work, preferring to play golf, watch cable news, and eat McDonald’s Cheese Burgers and Diet Cokes.

Trump wants to spend billions of taxpayer money on the proposed Mexico Wall, a pure waste of money that will not work, and will have plenty of cost overruns if built. It also gives the United States a terrible image in the world, and will undermine relations with our 2,000 mile boundary neighbor to the South. It is certain that Mexico will not pay for the wall, should not pay for the wall, and that the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill, when the vast majority of the American people do not support the wall, and we could spend the tens of billions on such things as the opioid crisis, veterans health care, hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, infrastructure spending, and so many other priorities.

And now, Donald Trump wants an expensive military parade on Independence Avenue in Washington, DC, causing massive expenditures by the federal government, and the DC local government, and presenting security challenges. The military is celebrated on Memorial and Veterans Days with parades locally all over the nation, and with ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and that is more than enough in a nation that has civilian government, not military government. We do not need to spend tens of millions of dollars to stroke the ego of a crazy narcissist, who wishes he was a dictator in the line of Kim Jong Un of North Korea, or like China, the old Soviet Union, or the old Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or other authoritarian dictatorships.

It is up to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party to stop Donald Trump dead in his tracks on the Mexico Wall and on the military parade, and say NO WAY!

Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History And Culture Opens: A Treasure For The Nation!

The day has finally arrived when America can celebrate the history and culture of African Americans, with the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall near the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

This event comes at a time of increased racial tensions and open racism in America, despite the election and two term Presidency of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

The museum exposes the true history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation. lynching, the civil rights movement, and the massive contributions of African Americans in all areas of public life over the past 397 years since slavery first came to America at Jamestown, Virginia.

This author thinks back to when he was young, and the discussion of African American history was ignored in high school, and how far we have come in understanding and dealing with the history, all of it both good and much of it evil, which had been covered up for so long.

So despite the problems we face today, this is truly a development to celebrate, and this author looks forward to visiting this new museum next summer, and for many times in the future, as the exhibits will constantly be evolving, as they are at any museum, and particularly one associated with the Smithsonian Museum, our national group of fantastic and tax supported museums that are a blessing to American culture and history!

The First Terrorist Attack: Columbus, New Mexico (Pancho Villa) March 9, 1916!

Most who study American history know of the British attack on Washington, DC on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812.

They know of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, leading to World War II entrance.

Of course, they know of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, leading to the War on Terrorism.

But almost no one knows of the attack on Columbus, New Mexico, on March 9, 1916 by Mexican bandits led by rogue Pancho Villa, during the period known as the Mexican Revolution.

This attack led to the burning of this town on the Mexican border by several hundred Mexican guerrillas, and the deaths of 17 Americans.

President Woodrow Wilson sent in General John J. Pershing to hunt down Pancho Villa and the guerrillas, but this “Punitive Expedition”, lasting from March 14, 1916 to February 7, 1917 failed to accomplish its mission, and the American troops were withdrawn, after months of protests from the Mexican government about the invasion into their sovereign territory.

This was one of the many undeclared wars in American history, and was unable to fulfill its objective, the capture or killing of Villa, who was later killed by one of his followers in 1923.

So yesterday was the centennial anniversary of this tragic event!

Two Projects Left Hanging: Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial And Adams Memorial, In Washington, DC!

There are two Memorial projects in limbo for the National Mall in Washington DC, an area already overloaded with buildings and memorials, with the new National Musem of African American  History and Culture scheduled to open in the Fall of 2016.

The debate over the design and funding of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial has been raging for more than a decade, with the descendants of President Eisenhower unhappy over the proposal, and private funding hard to come by.  So it is not clear if such a Memorial will be constructed at all, with some arguing that there are already Eisenhower memorials in Abilene, Kansas (The Eisenhower Presidential Library}, and in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the Eisenhowers retired to after the Presidency.

Some have argued that Eisenhower, while rated in the top ten Presidents, is clearly lower ranked than three other Presidents who do not have national memorials in Washington DC—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman,

Then, there is the plan to build an Adams Memorial in Washington DC, to honor President John Adams; First Lady Abigail Adams; President John Quincy Adams;  First Lady Louisa Catherine Adams; Charles Francis Adams, Sr.; and the latter’s two brilliant sons, Henry Adams, and Brooks Adams, all part of the illustrious family which gave us so many brilliant public figures!

But as with the Eisenhower project, there have been many delays, relating to the design and private funding of such a memorial, with the only historic site for the family being the homes and burial places of the Adamses in Massachusetts.

Some would say we have too many memorials already in Washington, DC, while others would disagree strongly with that assertion, as the nation’s capital is the location that more Americans and foreign tourists visit than any other site in the nation!

 

In Crisis Moments, Should An American President Resign, As Reckless Republicans Are Suggesting? Of Course Not!

Think of how many times a crisis has arisen in American history during an administration of innumerable Presidents!

Should James Madison have resigned as he fled the capital as the British invaded Washington, DC  in August 1814 during the War of 1812?

Should Abraham Lincoln have resigned when various times in the Civil War the Confederacy won major military battles from 1861-1863?

Should Franklin D. Roosevelt have resigned when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?

Should John F. Kennedy have resigned when Russian missiles were discovered in Cuba in 1962?

Should Ronald Reagan have resigned after the loss of 252 Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983, due to Islamic terrorism?

Should George W. Bush have resigned after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by Al Qaeda?

In these and innumerable other situations, of course the answer is NO!

But now, suddenly, reckless Republicans want Barack Obama to resign due to the Paris terror attacks, which they blame Obama for, even though ISIL (ISIS) is the outgrowth of the disastrous and unnecessary Iraq War waged by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

This demand for resignation occurred after “Jihadi John”, who slaughtered foreign hostages by knife, including Americans; and a leading figure in ISIL (ISIS) in Libya, were killed by American air strikes, but before the tragic Paris terror attacks, as if the Republicans have s simple answer to the threat of Islamic terrorism!

So in a crisis moment, the nation should rally around the President, as is typical in most cases historically.  But even when not unifying around the President, no leader should bow to political attacks, and instead go to work and face the crises that arise, as so many Presidents have done throughout American history!

Pope Francis: A Gift To The World And Supporter Of Progressive Causes Shared With Barack Obama!

Pope Francis has arrived in the United States, and will be here for six days, traveling to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

It is clear that Pope Francis is a gift to the world and a supporter of progressive causes that he often shares with President Barack Obama!

This Pope is, clearly, the best Pope in the sense of promoting reform, since the time of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) and the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis has made enemies among conservative Catholics and evangelical right wing Christians, who do not pursue the true message of Jesus Christ, the promotion of the poor and the disabled and the sick.

Pope Francis has condemned predatory capitalism which has no concern as to its effect on the poor.

Pope Francis has spoken up on climate change and global warming, infuriating those in the conservative movement and the Republican Party who only think about profits, and reject science.

Pope Francis has attacked the growing income inequality in the world, a dangerous disease that threatens global stability.

Pope Francis has worked to resolve problems in the Catholic Church, and to have a more open mind on divorce, abortion, gay rights, and other controversial social issues, while not wholly backing all of these cultural changes.  But he has demonstrated greater tolerance of differences and opened up a sense of change, which is desperately needed in the Catholic Church, if it is to grow and prosper in the long term.

Pope Francis has engaged in bringing about the restoration of a relationship between the United States and Cuba, something long overdue.

Pope Francis has worked to help Syrian refugees, and generally to encourage immigration reform around the world, as to reject immigrants is against the American historical tradition, and worldwide would be the growth of another Holocaust, as Jews and other refugees suffered in the Second World War.

Pope Francis is a transformational Pope who, hopefully, will have a long range effect on the Catholic Church and the world.

Pope Francis has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is hoped that he will win it, as he richly deserves it!

September 11: 14 Years And Counting!

It is hard to believe, but it is now 14 years since September 11, a day which will live in the memories of every American old enough to remember.

September 11 transformed America permanently, and it has led to a constant war on terror and terrorists, which will go on endlessly, sad to say, as the terrorists are out there, and ready to take action at any time.

September 11 has made America a security conscious nation which has limited our freedoms, and made us a nation always on the edge.

It will be a part of our lives for eternity, as December 7, 1941 is for those still alive who remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

But September 11 was a time of death of civilians, not military personnel, and it was in New York City and Washington, DC on the mainland, not in Hawaii, three thousand miles away from the mainland of America.

Despite all of the divisiveness politically over the past 14 years, for a short time back then, there was unity, and we have been fortunate to avoid another September 11 attack, but must be constantly vigilant.

Today is a day to remember the sacrifices of the police and firefighters who gave their lives that September morning, and who remain in our hearts with a feeling of love and respect!

Barack Obama Should Veto Continuing Resolution, Forcing Congress To Stay In DC And Change $1.1 Trillion Budget!

One of the most important pieces of legislation to reach Barack Obama’s desk–the $1.1 trillion Continuing Resolution legislation that would cover the government budget through September 30, 2015, and allow Congress to leave, and would avoid a government shutdown—should be vetoed by President Obama!

This is a bold move, to ask Obama to veto the bill, but it has many problems, including allowing the big banks, led by Citigroup, to avoid responsibility for another collapse of the banking system, which seems more and more likely, and would have taxpayers save the banks once again, adding to the national debt! This would be possible by the repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation that prevents future such disaster! Senator Elizabeth Warren has made national news by her denunciation of this action on the Senate floor.

Additionally, allowing wealthy people to give ten times what they can now contribute to political campaigns is a further extension of the Citizens United Case, in which the Supreme Court has allowed millionaires and billionaires to engage in the “buying” of elections, through unlimited spending!

Also, pension protection for public and private pensions would no longer be guaranteed, causing disaster for millions of workers who would no longer be assured of the protection of their hard earned pensions when they retire, or even for those who have retired.

Additionally, nutrition standards set by Michelle Obama would be relaxed; and DC would not be able to allow marijuana use, losing control over its own jurisdiction by interference of Congress, despite the vote of the population in November’s election.

24 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against this bill, including most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and it should be vetoed by Obama, on the basis of too much lost and too little gained.

It is time for Obama to show aggressiveness, as what does he have to lose now?

200th Anniversary Of British Attack On Washington DC During War Of 1812!

Today is the 200th Anniversary of the British attack on Washington DC during the War of 1812, one of the three times that our homeland has been directly attacked!

The second was the Japanese attack on the US naval base on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and the third was the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, leading to the war in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, and the full development of the War on Terror!

The attack on the nation’s capital led to the burning of the White House and the US Capitol, and the fleeing of Congress to Baltimore, and the saving of the George Washington portrait in the White House by servants of President James Madison. The Library of Congress lost its 3,000 volume collection, and later bought the Thomas Jefferson private collection to replace it.

This was a low moment in the War of 1812, but thankfully, the British left DC after 26 hours, and within months, a truce and peace treaty (Treaty of Ghent) was signed, and the war was over. Also, fortunately, a heavy summer thunderstorm helped to put out the fire in the Capital and the White House, and therefore, less damage was done than might have been otherwise!

The thought that our government center had been attacked was hard to accept, and since the terrorists on September 11 intended to attack the Capitol and/or the White House, and only were stopped by the courageous passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who brought down a plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, that horrible situation was prevented, but the attack on the Pentagon, right over the DC line in Virginia was a strong enough warning of the threats that still existed then, and still do today with the growing danger of ISIL (ISIS)!

A Personal Moment Of Joy For “The Progressive Professor”!

Yesterday, Sunday, June 1, was a special day, as my older son David married his sweetheart, Stephanie Levy, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, two blocks from the White House!

The Willard has its own history, as the official inauguration hotel for several Presidents, and having had every President visit, if not stay, at the hotel, along with many other celebrities. Many Presidents since Franklin Pierce in March 1853 have stayed there, and Abraham Lincoln resided there for about ten days before his inauguration on the eve of the Civil War.

There is no greater moment in a personal lifetime than seeing one’s son or daughter marry, and I am extremely pleased to welcome a “daughter” to the family, and for my younger son Paul to welcome a “sister” into the family. Both David and Stephanie are very bright, highly motivated, hard working people, and I am proud of both of them, as well as my younger son, Paul!

This was, in its own way, a history making day, and a day to reflect about what is really important in life, and nothing is more important than family! So yesterday was a day uniting two families from South Florida and St Louis, Missouri!