Defense Department

The 80th Congress (1947-1949) Vs. The 118th Congress (2023- )

It has often been claimed that the 80th Congress (1947-1949) under President Harry Truman was unproductive, or as Truman claimed it in his 1948 Presidential campaign, a “Do Nothing” Congress.

While it is true that the Republican dominated 80th Congress worked against Democratic President Truman and his “Fair Deal” proposals, most notably passing the anti Labor Taft-Hartley Act over the President’s veto, in reality a lot was accomplished in that Congress.

The following actions were accomplished:

The Truman Doctrine
The Taft-Hartley Act
The Presidential Succession Act
The National Security Act–including the Defense Department at the Pentagon in Virginia, the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, separate Department of the Air Force, and the Central Intelligence Agency
The Marshall Plan
22nd Amendment to the US Constitution

At the same time, NOTHING significant has been passed into law in the present first session of the 118th Congress, making it the least productive in modern times since the Great Depression 1931-1933 72nd Congress, split between a Democratic House of Representatives and Republican Senate under President Herbert Hoover!

The US Military And Defense Department Have Daunting Challenges Ahead

At a time when Climate Change presents overwhelming challenges to the entire planet, the threat of massive war also is a daunting challenge that is faced by the US military and the Defense Department.

The Russian war on Ukraine has led to Vladimir Putin formally annexing four areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, the largest land grab since the end of World War II.

Putin is threatening nuclear war if any of the annexed territories are attacked, and the threat of World War III is real.

President Joe Biden and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) have made clear that an attack on any land of any NATO nation, including those on the border of the Russian Federation, will lead to a unified response.

Additionally, the growing threat of a Chinese attack on Taiwan is alarming, as the US has said they would come to the defense of Taiwan, which could lead to war that could spread to Japan, South Korea, and Australia as well.

And of course, there is always the threat of North Korea and Kim Jong Un.

The US military has had troubles recruiting for volunteers among the younger generation, with many not in physical condition to be accepted, and yet, the thought of a reinstituted military draft after 50 years of no draft would certainly cause a bad political reaction.

Even Russia has learned that, with its decision to mandate forced service in its military in Ukraine, causing widespread fleeing and hiding by Russian men, causing disarray in Russia, and weakening Putin’s hold over his population, with growing opposition to the war effort.

The Plot To Privatize The Department Of Veterans Affairs, And The Firing Of Secretary David Shulkin, Just A Beginning To Privatize Much Of Federal Government

It is clear that Donald Trump, and his right wing friends, billionaires Charles and David Koch, and other right wing extremists, are out to destroy the Federal government involvement in just about every government agency other than the original cabinet agencies created in 1789–State, Treasury, (War)Defense, and Justice.

So the firing of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is clearly a move to make Veterans Affairs privatized, which is a horrible idea, as taking care of our veterans should not be based on the profit motive. There is also a plan to privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, the Post Office, and other government agencies.

Those who care about a responsive national government being protected must understand that “war” has been declared by the extremists on the right, who do not give a damn about the lives of 325 million Americans, only downgrading federal government as it has operated since the beginning of the 20th century and President Theodore Roosevelt.

Regulation and intervention has advanced America, but the big corporations and the elite wealthy want to reverse, and destroy, all progress for average Americans to make our nation more humane and responsive.

This is the time for liberals, progressives, and Democrats to work to deny the success of this plot, so every caring American must work to get rid of the Republican majority in Congress, so that the fight against the evil of the Trump Presidency can move forward.

A Businessman Knows How To Run A Government Successfully? The Case Of Herbert Hoover As A Rejoinder To Donald Trump!

Donald Trump loves to say that his business experience qualifies him to be President. But his business experience has mostly been failures and bankruptcies, and he inherited money from his father, which gave him an unfair advantage, compared to 99 percent of Americans, and he set out to take advantage of every legal trick and method of manipulation to enrich himself at the expense of others, including often not paying his bills.

We have had only one businessman, Herbert Hoover, as President, and he became a total disaster after he was elected in 1928. But he was not born to wealth, was orphaned before age 10,and accomplished his great business career with his own efforts and intellect, and became a multimillionaire in the mining industry by age 40, and then devoted himself to public service.

But the difference between Trump and Hoover is that Hoover served many years in government, working for Democrat Woodrow Wilson, and Republicans Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, before he ran for President.

He had never been elected to anything, but he had been an extremely successful and outstanding figure in the First World War effort, and served eight significant years as Secretary of Commerce. Hoover stands out as one of the small group of really exceptional cabinet officers, which usually includes other agencies, such as the State Department, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, and the Defense Department as the major areas where notable cabinet members serve a President.

Unfortunately, he had no ability to overcome the Great Depression that began in October 1929, as he was tied to a laissez faire political philosophy, and did not know how to gain backing in Congress. He was also a poor communicator, who was unable to inspire the American people with his public speeches and radio addresses. Hoover’s personality was very introverted, and he did not inspire confidence. So his business background failed him when it mattered, as President of the United States.

One can be sure that if Hoover was alive today, he would be shocked and stunned at a con artist, Donald Trump, who has had four bankruptcies, and has no understanding of government or world affairs, would have the gall to think he was qualified to lead America in the 21st century.

Disloyalty To President Obama By Former Democratic Presidents And Secretary Of Defense Shocking!

President Barack Obama has enough on his plate, and does not need open displays of disloyalty from fellow Democratic Presidents and a former Secretary of Defense!

At a time of midterm elections coming up, these criticisms of Obama by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and former CIA head and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are totally uncalled for, in a public way!

Leon Panetta is just trying to make money on his book by trashing the man who gave him the top two jobs in national security, but one must also remember that he was once a Republican, and his criticisms of Obama on the Middle East are not going to help the situation, so he can be considered a traitor, as he could have waited until Obama left office before writing his book. In that sense, he is the same as another former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who is a Republican, and served in the Pentagon under both Obama and George W. Bush.

If these two men felt so strongly, they should have done the right thing and resigned immediately, when they felt they could not support what Obama was doing in the Middle East years ago, but instead, they stay on, and then leave, and write books for profit at an inappropriate time!

And Jimmy Carter, who was not exactly hawkish in foreign policy decades ago, is wrong to criticize Obama, as based on his record in office in the late 1970s and in 1980, he was not very dovish rather than the recent conversion to being a hawk, as he suddenly appears to have become in his old age!

And Bill Clinton? Well, he is trying to help his wife’s predicted campaign for the Presidency, but he tends to talk too much anyway, as he loves the sound of his voice, and loves attention! Clinton made plenty of mistakes as President in foreign policy, and should not, publicly be speaking out at this time, which is so delicate, and only helps the Republican Party.

If the Democrats lose the US Senate next momth, Panetta, Carter, and Clinton should be held responsible for undermining their party at a time they should have kept their mouths shut, or told Obama privately, how they felt!

And notice, how even George W. Bush, has had the decency to keep his mouth shut, and refuse to attack his successor! He has more class than Panetta, Carter or Clinton on this matter!

The Do Nothing 113th Congress Worse Than 112th Congress, And Far Worse Than Truman’s 80th Congress In 1947-1948!

History tells us that President Harry Truman ran against the Republican controlled 80th Congress in his election campaign of 1948, calling it a “Do Nothing” Congress.

What he meant was that they were passing laws that he considered counterproductive, including the anti labor Taft Hartley Act, which he vetoed, but passed over his veto by a two thirds vote in both houses of Congress.

But in actuality, that 80th Congress passed over 900 laws, and cooperated with Truman on funding for the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, and also agreed to creation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council and the Defense Department.

By comparison, the 112th Congress of 2011-2012 became the least productive Congress in history, passing fewer than 300 laws, but now the 113th Congress has passed fewer than 150 laws, making them half as accomplished as the previous Congress.

There is a total refusal of Republicans to cooperate at all with Barack Obama, and they have had the shortest work calendar of any Congress, including the previous one!

Now they are taking a five week break, despite so many crucial issues to deal with, and their public opinion rating is the lowest it has ever been!

But will the American people, with the reality of gerrymandering ruling the House of Representatives, be able to unite and give the Democrats back control of the House? Not likely, and the US Senate is also dangerously in play!

So two more years of stalemate and gridlock are likely!

What Republican Presidents Have Wrought: The Vietnam War Syndrome And The Iraq War Syndrome!

The Republican Party loves to claim that they are the experts, when it comes to American foreign policy, that they are far better than Democrats in executing foreign policy.

But the facts of history tell us otherwise, as witness:

Before America entered World War II. who were some of the most powerful, most influential people advocating isolationism— Republicans such as Senators Robert Taft of Ohio, Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Hiram Johnson of California, and Gerald Nye of North Dakota, with the latter two discussed in detail in the author’s book: TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM: THE WESTERN REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THE NEW DEAL (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981).

When America entered the escalation stage of the Vietnam War under Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, it was Republicans who backed the President in much greater numbers than Democrats, but even Johnson finally realized the need for America to get out of the war, and decided not to run again in 1968.

Republican President Richard Nixon ran his campaign for the Presidency in 1968, pledging that he would end the Vietnam War expeditiously, and saying he had a “secret plan” to end the war, which soon became evident did not exist, and Nixon made up his plan to end the war as he went along, and it took four long years to end the war, with a heavier loss of soldiers killed and wounded, than had been so under Johnson! Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, misled the American people and lied to them about the plans and strategies to end the war, and it created a feeling of unwillingness to engage in overseas crises as a result, what could be called the Vietnam War Syndrome.

And then under George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Republican run national government in 2003 lied to us, manipulated us, propagandized us, to begin a war in Iraq, with no plan to get out, and the war dragged on through the second Bush term, and into the Barack Obama Administration. No “weapons of mass destruction” were ever found, and it created an Iraq War Syndrome, which now has made many Americans reluctant to engage in a military action against an outlaw nation, Syria, which has utilized chemical warfare, only the third world leader ever to do so, after Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein!

So the Republican Party and its cynical, corrupt leadership in the 1969-1973 and 2002-2009 periods poisoned the political atmosphere of America, making it more difficult to engage in the shaping of a sane, rational foreign policy that would be in American interests.

And now Rand Paul and his kind, libertarian “Know Nothings”, promote isolationism all over again, back to the image of the GOP in the late 1930s before American entrance into World War II.

The damage that Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush have wrought is massive, and undermining America in 2013 from doing what it must do, react to the massive war crime of the Syrian government!

Appointment Of Susan Rice To Be National Security Adviser A Great Move!

President Obama has selected UN Ambassador Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, a great move for our foreign policy team!

Rice was shabbily treated in the aftermath of the Benghazi, Libya tragedy, and lost the opportunity to be considered for the position of Secretary of State, due to Republican attacks, denigrating her qualifications which are exceptional.

But now, the position of National Security Adviser is her new position, one which does not require Senate confirmation, and it is not only a good move, but also an appropriate smack in the face of the Republican critics, who cannot stop Rice’s elevation.

Obama’s foreign policy and national security team is now complete, with Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and American foreign policy is in good hands for the next four years!

Republican Party Destroys Itself In Mad Dash To The Far Right, In Repudiation Of Chris Christie!

The Republican Party is destroying itself in its mad dash to the Far Right!

It convinced Maine Senator Olympia Snowe to retire, and defeated Indiana Senator Richard Lugar in his quest for another term,

It put former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel through hell, before he finally, with only four Republicans supporting him, won the Senate confirmation to be Secretary of Defense.

Now the party has declared war on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, because he worked alongside President Obama after Hurricane Sandy; criticized House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner; and showed his independent streak, which is anathema to the far Right!

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other right wing talk show hosts have also attacked Christie, as if he is a liberal, despite his very conservative record as Governor, but showing a willingness to work across the aisle with the state legislature and the President.

Christie should be applauded as a man who has managed a massive public opinion rating in a strong “blue” state, but instead, he has been slighted, by NOT being invited to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference next month, while all kinds of characters, including Sarah Palin and Herman Cain and numerous others who are an embarrassment to intelligent people, were invited.

So Chris Christie, as unacceptable as he is to anyone on the left, is not good enough to be invited to a right wing conference!

Actually, it helps Christie in his reelection battle for Governor this fall, and makes him able to stand out as NOT being owned by the Far Right of the GOP, and it might just help him in future endeavors for public office, including being a sane alternative for the Republicans in 2016, if he can get past the Tea Party loonies!

Chuck Hagel Confirmed, But Republicans Only Add To Their Bad Image By Refusing To Support Former Colleague!

Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, arguably one of the most principled, decent Republican Senators of the past twenty years, along with Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe, was finally confirmed as Secretary of Defense today, but failed to gain the support of his former colleagues, including John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, who went along with their more right wing colleagues in refusing to give support, without good reason other than a vendetta against an independent minded Republican.

Surprisingly, the four Republicans who supported the Hagel confirmation were Rand Paul of Kentucky (totally inexplicable), Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, the man who replaced Hagel in the Senate in 2009.

It is a sad day when a man who had a decent record of public service is repudiated by “moderates” of his own party, who are afraid to challenge the right wing turn of their party, referring here to Murkowski and Collins, who should have supported their former colleague.

McCain is another story, an example of a man who should, if he had principle, do what the Pope did, and resign in disgrace as a total hypocrite! Here is a man who in 2000 raved about his colleague, and said he would want him in his administration, if he became President. Once Hagel expressed doubt about the George W. Bush “Surge” policy in Iraq in 2007, McCain was so furious, that he exhibited his ugly side, this despite the fact that Bush had trashed McCain’s reputation so often, and Hagel never did!

McCain is now clearly seen as a bitter old man, who should not have run in 2010 for another six year Senate term at age 74, and hopefully will not run at age 80 in 2016, as his time in the Senate is long overdue to end!

McCain is an excellent argument for term limits or, at the least, age limits, with age limits the more sensible concept, in this author’s mind!