World War II

45 Years Since The Watergate Scandal, And My Visit To The Richard Nixon Presidential Museum And Library, As Trump Scandal Metastasizes!

I finally have made it to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, while on my week long vacation in Los Angeles, California.

This blogger has spent his entire teaching career, beginning in 1972 when he started teaching his first class just eleven days before the Watergate break-in on June 17, 1972, surrounded by Nixon, who I despised at the time, and analyzing and evaluating Nixon over the rest of his life, and in the 23 years since his death in 1994. I also had a sabbatical period where I did a lot of reading and reflection on the 37th President.

It can be said that the half century from Nixon’s first election to Congress in 1946 to his death in 1994, is the Age of Nixon. One cannot fully understand American history since 1945 without addressing the positive and negative legacy of Richard Nixon.

Many would say that Nixon was the most significant and influential President of the years since World War II, and still has a role in our lives in 2017, with all of the accomplishments he had, often forgotten in the cloud of the Watergate Scandal.

And with Donald Trump facing likely removal from office due to scandal and abuse of power, it makes it incumbent upon us to compare Trump to Nixon, as I did before the election in an article on History News Network, found on the right side of my blog. Nixon shines in so many ways, as he was a very intelligent, perceptive, experienced political leader, unlike Donald Trump. But Nixon also had demons which undermined his ability to be successful, so he ranks in the mid 20s among our Presidents, and is seen by many as a failure, due to the fact that he faced certain impeachment and removal from the Presidency, if he had not resigned in disgrace in August 1974.

My impressions of the Nixon Library and Museum are that after much work to change the tone and exhibits of the museum, originally not accepted as legitimate, now the ability to recognize the truth of Richard Nixon’s life is possible, and I would highly recommend everyone visiting Southern California to visit and reflect on the Nixon historical role in our history. I would say that the Nixon Library has succeeded in presenting the complex aspects of Richard Nixon, both good and evil.

Donald Trump’s Embrace Of Human Rights Violating Dictators: Repudiation Of “Liberty, Equality, Justice” Abroad And Also At Home

The United States has often embraced right wing dictators around the world under many Presidents since World War II, while still enunciating the concept of “human rights”.

Presidents have played the difficult game of speaking in favor of human rights and freedom, equality and justice, while often being forced to work with authoritarian leaders.

Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama went the furthest in their promotion of human rights, while having to accept some governments and leaders that were distasteful.

But now we have a President who fully embraces foreign dictators and has no issue with the violation of human rights, with this already evident in such nations as Egypt, Turkey, and the Philippines, and also praising how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un overcame opposition in a brutal way, terming Kim Jong Un as “a smart cookie”.

Also, Trump has, seemingly, developed a love affair with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, although trying recently to tone that down, due to suspicions that Trump was aided in his election victory by Russian intervention.

And Trump also seems to admire China’s leader, and in the past, praised the brutal Chinese crackdown at Tiananmen Square in June 1989, killing thousands of protesting Chinese, who wanted democracy.

Certainly, Trump has authoritarian tendencies and leanings, and praises the “strength” of dictators, and he is encouraging human rights violations in America through his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who reminds one of the era of George Wallace, the Alabama Governor who became infamous in the 1960s and 1970s in his struggles against the Civil Rights Movement.

Donald Trump Border Wall With Mexico—1989 Miles, 30 Feet High, Never Will Be Built, And Would Be Boondoggle Financially!

The proposed Mexico Wall of Donald Trump will never be built. The price tag is uncertain: could it be 10 Billion? 20 Billion? 70 Billion? Such a project would be a 1,989 mile, 30 feet high wall, that cannot be built in many areas due to topography, including deserts, rugged hills, and two rivers (the Colorado and Rio Grande), and is opposed by many as unworkable, and sends a horrible message about the United States internationally. It would be a wall that would not prevent drugs, or human trafficking, and would cost loss of trust between two neighbors who share the 10th longest boundary between nations in the world. No wall or barrier has ever prevented breaching such an edifice, and it will happen in this case, were the wall to be built.

The Great Wall of China was built over many centuries, and never effectively barred invasions or prevented wars, and presented a psychological barrier for China, isolating it from the Western world, but in so doing, causing it to fall behind the West, and eventually be exploited in the 19th century by European powers. Disrepair, vandalism, and graffiti became common, and it never really advanced the Chinese economy. It marked China as backward.

The Berlin Wall, built by the Soviet Union beginning in 1961, and being destroyed in 1989, just 28 years in existence, marked the Soviets as a nation trying to stop the promotion of freedom, but the Wall was overcome by some courageous Germans, and became a symbol of the oppression of human liberty. It was a sign of the ultimate failure of Soviet Communism, with a humiliating ending in November 1989.

America gains nothing from such a wall, except to stoke fear and hatred in Mexico, and even in Canada, which has the largest land boundary in the world with the US, 3,997 miles between the 48 states and Canada, and an additional 1,538 between Alaska and Canada, for a total of 5,525 miles.

America’s reputation will be further undermined by a financial boondoggle that will be seen, were it to be built, as a negative development, which will help to sink Donald Trump to the bottom of the Presidential list all time.

It would insure that America would lose the respect and stature that it has had since World War II, as we wall off our nation, and make a very public judgment as to the inferiority of the people of Mexico and Central America, and further make America look like an imperialist nation, which has no respect for the people south of us in our hemisphere.

Are We On The Brink Of A Nuclear War, Or Another Massive Infusion Of Troops In The Korean Peninsula, As In 1950?

Today is Easter, and any sensible person is on tenterhooks as we seem to be on the brink of a nuclear war, or another massive infusion of troops in the Korean Peninsula, due to the crazy North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, striving to be a threat to the United States mainland and to his Asian Pacific neighbors.

Kim Jong Un is unstable, unpredictable, mercurial, dangerous, reckless–but so is our President, Donald Trump.

Trump seems to be on an ego trip over his bombing of a Syrian airfield, and the MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) dropped on an ISIL (ISIS) stronghold in Afghanistan in the past week.

Military leaders are running the show, while Trump says the North Korean issue will be settled one way or the other.

The ratcheting up of rhetoric on both sides is terrifying, and it means we have the possibility of all out war coming, either by use of nuclear weapons for the first time since World War II, or more likely, a massive infusion of American troops into the Korean Peninsula after an expected North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the raining down of missiles on Seoul, the capital of South Korea, with more than 10 million people, by the North Korean regime.

If a ground war develops, we could see massive loss of life on the part of South Koreans, and Japan is also in danger, as well as the 28,000 American troops already present in South Korea, the reminder that we have had troops in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

So 64 years later, nearly two thirds of a century, we may be soon engaging in another major war, which could, if things do not go well, lead to the decision to restart the military draft of young Americans, even though there has been no draft since 1973, and only registration required since 1980.

There is no question of the threat of North Korea, but to have an unstable egomaniac in Donald Trump dealing with this, instead of the sane and experienced Hillary Clinton, is a true concern.

Donald Trump had said he wished to put “America First”, and not engage in foreign wars, and yet now, he seems likely to engage in a war with North Korea, that will not easily be won, along with hints of ground troops in Syria, causing a confrontation with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

We must recall that the Korean War was not won, but was simply a truce, and there are no simple answers to this crisis, but we can sense military leadership taking over from civilian leadership, as Trump allows Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster to make final decisions on intervention that could undermine the nature of our democracy for the long term.

Let us not forget that when we commit troops to foreign war, in an age of no draft, who are the victims? They are primarily poor whites, as well as racial minorities, who commit themselves to a military career as the best alternative of occupation in a nation that has a growing poverty level, and the rich getting ever richer while the middle class sinks.

Instead of spending another $50 billion on defense, we should be spending on domestic needs, as we already have a bigger defense budget than the next eight nations combined.

Donald Trump’s Slights Toward The Jewish Community Another Reason Why He Should Be Removed From Office

Donald Trump may have Jewish relatives, including son in law Jared Kushner and his converted daughter Ivanka, but there is simply too much evidence of his latent antisemitism.

Failure to acknowledge the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance Day is unacceptable.

Associating with, and refusing to repudiate the antisemitism of David Duke, Richard Spencer, and other white supremacists, is unforgivable.

Deciding not to attend a Passover Seder in the White House, while he is upstairs, is totally uncalled for, particularly after Barack Obama participated in Passover Seders all eight years he was in the White House, a tradition begun by George W. Bush.

Having his Press Secretary Sean Spicer claim that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons in World War II, and that six million Jews were sent to “Holocaust Centers”, rather than concentration camps, where they were systematically executed, is a sin which only a summary firing by Donald Trump, and Trump’s own public apology, added to that of Sean Spicer already, can possibly rectify.

But seriously, this is simply another reason why Donald Trump should be removed from office, as his administration has already victimized immigrants, Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, gay and lesbian and transgender people, and women, simply by establishment of bigoted, racist, and misogynistic policies in 80 days in the White House!

Donald Trump And North Korea

The latest reports about Donald Trump indicate plans to resolve the North Korean problem in an extreme way that could lead to nuclear war.

One plan is to send nuclear missiles to South Korea, upping the ante of possible nuclear war directly on the population of North Korea, but 25 million South Koreans within range of the North Korean army, the fourth largest military in the world.

Another plan is to remove Kim Jon Un from power altogether.

But while the latter possibility sounds good on the surface, and is comparative to the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 under President Barack Obama’s administration, it is really NOT a similar scenario.

Osama bin Laden was not the leader of a government, an organized state.

Kim Jong Un, as crazy and dangerous as he is, IS the leader of a government, and the possibility of a massive invasion of South Korea, as in the Korean War of 1950-1953 is alarming.

Let us not forget that 33,000 Americans died in the Korean War, and a hundred thousand were wounded, and the war dragged on for three years and one month.

Let us also not forget that officially it is against international law to assassinate foreign leaders, although the United States has done that before, either directly or indirectly, as for instance in Chile in 1973, under Richard Nixon, as just one example.

The thought of the US using nuclear weapons, when the only time it occurred, was against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, is horrifying.

But there is no question of the complexity of the North Korean threat, which experts say within a few years could target Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the state of Hawaii, along with the threat to Japan and South Korea.

The question is whether we have a sane, balanced President to deal with this issue, and there is much doubt and trepidation about that.

A Sobering Centennial: America Enters “The Great War” On April 6, 1917

It has been a century since America entered world affairs in a full sense, as on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson spoke to Congress and asked for a declaration of war against the Imperial German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and allied with Great Britain, France and Italy, in what was called “The Great War” at the time, and later World War I or the First World War.

The controversy over whether Wilson could have kept us out of the war has raged for a century, and his handling of the war effort, and the promotion of restriction on civil liberties during the war has remained highly contentious, and has caused Wilson to decline from Number 6 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2000, to Number 9 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2009, and now Number 11 in the C Span Presidential poll of 2017, all participated in by reputable scholars.

American sacrifices in war had been avoided, as America remained isolated from world affairs and foreign conflict until 1917, but in the last century, we have been in many major wars since then, including World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, along with many other foreign interventions in Latin America and the Middle East.

No one can be anything but sober to realize that when Congress voted for war on April 6, 1917, it transformed America in a permanent way, helping to create the concept of an American Empire, and America as a world leader since the end of World War II.

And now, with Donald Trump, the whole history of American foreign relations is in flux, and we face many challenges and crises in international affairs, and the hope is that we will avoid further military conflicts in the future, but hard to believe that is the scenario under Donald Trump.

PBS will have a six hour presentation on The American Experience on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings April 10, 11, and 12 on America and The Great War, our nation’s engagement in the First World War, from many different perspectives, highly recommended to all who read this blog.

Donald Trump, Liar In Chief, Who Cannot Be Relied Upon To Be Honest And Forthright: The Danger To America In The World Community

America is in the midst of crisis, as it is clear we have elected a President, Donald Trump, who is incapable of ever telling the truth about anything!

Usually, we say the President of the United States is the “Commander in Chief”, but a more appropriate term for Donald Trump is that he is the “Liar in Chief”, and that is not said in jest.

Trump has lied all of his life, but it is one thing to lie in business, or to lie in personal relationships including wives and cheating, but to lie when one is the leader of the “free world”, and to refuse to ever admit mistakes or shortcomings, is a disaster for the nation and the world.

This man’s constant lying will end up causing America to be in a major foreign war, or cause an economic collapse that will make World War II or the Great Depression seem to be minor in comparison.

How can any nation in NATO or in Asia ever trust Trump, when he lies and deceives so much?

How can our rivals–Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, ISIL (ISIS)–figure out what Trump really means, when he is so unpredictable?

How can any child look up to a leader who goes against the traditional George Washington quote taught to school children, that Washington could never tell a lie, when the reality about Trump is that he can never tell the truth?

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

Executive Order 9066 On Japanese American Internment 75 Years Old, As Trump Starts Massive Deportation Of Undocumented Immigrants, Mexico Wall, And Muslim Ban

It has been 75 years. since February 19, 1942, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the arrest and detention of about 120,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps, for no reason other than their race, 74 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 11,000 German Americans, including some German Jews, and 3,000 Italian Americans were also interned.

Japanese ethnicity citizens and aliens were put into camps in seven states, losing their businesses and homes and many of their possessions, and living in communal housing in remote locations, and when a few tried to escape, they were shot dead by tower guards.

Some were killed by civilians in the two and a half months before the internment.

The young men in the group volunteered for World War II service in Europe, in the 442nd Infantry Regiment,and won more medals, honors, and awards than any other military units in World War II, while their families lived behind barbed wire.

Finally released in December 1944, and nearly three years interned, they were not given any help to readjust their lives.

Only in 1988, after 44 years, did the US Government and President Ronald Reagan apologize for the internment, and each survivor, about 50,000 out of the 120,000, were given $20,000 compensation with no tax withheld.

Now we are seeing similar treatment against people of Muslim heritage, by the executive order utilized by Trump, but temporarily under hold due to federal circuit courts intervening to stop the ban, but with a new executive order on the way victimizing Muslims, as if they are all terrorists, when none of the nations involved have sent over terrorists, and we have had lots of domestic terrorists who are white Anglos perpetrating violence.

And massive deportation of undocumented immigrants, whose only crime is entering the nation illegally, but with very small numbers of criminals, is now growing, with the possible use of the National Guard and new immigration border staff, as Sanctuary Cities refuse to cooperate.

Many of these immigrants are utilized by the farm industry, hotels, gardeners and restaurants, and other service workers, who, if they are deported, will create a shortage of labor and cause massive increase in prices.

And of course, the proposed Mexico Wall will cost tens of billions of dollars, and will not be able totally to prevent migration and even crime, and funds for it will come from increased taxes, and cutting off federal programs that should not be ended.

Trump is involved, basically, in a reign of terror, which will look horrible in the future, when we look back at the deterioration of the unity of the United States, and the end of the land of the free and of opportunity.