Answering President Obama: Who Can We Trust
By: J. Marlando
If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists—to protect and to promote their common welfare—all else is lost.
World War II was the last government program that really worked.
President Obama most recently said, if we the people didn’t trust the executive branch, the congress or the Supreme Court Judges there is a problem; if we can’t trust the government then who can we trust?
Well obviously there has been and remains a lot of corruption in politics at local, state and federal levels. This is no secret and will not be a sudden shock to readers, be they ordinary citizens or all the President’s men.
For one thing, to trust government would be to assume that all individuals in government are trustworthy. I need not say more than this on that score. Indeed, the very idea that we should trust government acknowledges that government is not an “us” but a “them.” This certainly reveals the myth of so-called democracy being of, for and by the people.
Let’s talk about democracy for a moment: While there is no denying that the men who founded America (and so its ideals) were indeed great insightful, brave men. Yet, they were mostly lead by the American aristocracy of the times and those counted among the elite such as Thomas Paine, a commoner with an extraordinary intellect and the writer of “Common Sense.” In fact, historian Howard Zinn tells us that it was he that made the first bold argument for independence.
It was in fact, Tom Paine who most strongly supported democracy or, in other words, a government for, by, and of the people as opposed to a copycat government of Lords and Commons which he condemned as being deceptive. There were, however, among those elite of the founding fathers, such as John Adams, who didn’t want government too “democratic” which was clearly an aristocratic and yes, an arrogant view.
In honest hindsight of America’s beginnings there was at least a cornerstone of plutocracy added to the rest of the democratic foundation of the country. Nevertheless, what was destined to make the United States the most unique nation on the planet was written into the declaration of Independence. It reads:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government…
The above paragraph, beyond all else, defeated the voice of demagoguery that had ruled the world since the advent of so-called civilization itself. Yet, government has apparently not protected "we the people" by securing those rights for us. At bottom line, I believe that a truly trustworthy government would have.
In regard to this and in regard to the question we can we trust I have decided to simply tell a rather unique history of all our presidents and, as an American, leave it to the individual reader to answer the question for him or herself.
A Look at America’s Chiefs
"We want no war of conquest... War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed."
An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.
Human greed and government nepotism entered American politics from the start. George WashingtonCredit: www.commons.wikimediaa.org for example during his stay in office (1775-1783) lined his own pockets by declaring $450,000 in personal expenses. That amounts to $9.4 million in today’s money. And, as Michael Kerrigan reports, just one of his expenses was spending $800.00 on saddles alone. That’s would be like today’s president claiming to have spent $23,000 on toilet seats and asking to be repaid for the expenditure. But then again, during that famous winter of Valley Forge, the President was feasting on imported wines and gourmet meals while his troops were verging on starvation.
George Washington with all his attributes was also a pompous ass that insisted that his visitors stand in his presence. In regard to this, someone remarked that all America had done is exchange George the Third for George the First. What happened to all men being born equal as being a basic truth of the United States?
Speaking of pomposity, John AdamsCredit: www.common.wikipedia.org flatly refused to “run for president because he was extremely sensitive to campaigning to the people who he obviously felt were vulgar and stupid. He won the election in any case because he had enough followers in New England to make him the first elected president of the country.
Thomas JeffersonCredit: www.free2pray.info is no doubt the most beloved and popular president in America’s mind’s eye and he was quite the brilliant human being and wisest statesman of his times. He was indeed the man who had invited the so-called radical intellectual, Tom Paine, to America. Interestingly the common folk did not support Jefferson although Jefferson was more greatly on their side than any other president in history.
A major reason why the ordinary folks did not favor him is that, in those early years of the United States the people were invariably religious fanatics and Thomas Jefferson had an open and well-known distain for organized religion. Also, after his wife, Martha died in 1762 his later affair with 14 year old African slave, Sally, became the “whispers” of the land. There was a lot of prejudice against the African then and while many white men had sex with black women, those encounters were generally kept secret or only talked about between men in back porch conversations. There had to be much sincere devotion between the couple, however. Sally gave Jefferson children and their relationship lasted for nearly 40 years.
James MadisonCredit: www.biography.com was a bright, self-assured man and a lawyer by trade. It is said that he suffered from an odd neurosis named “epileptoid hysteria” that would put him into a suspended state in high stress situations.
In 1817 James MonroeCredit: www.madatoz.comwas elected the United States’ 5TH president. I have personally named this year, “The Commencement Year for White House Corruption.” Human greed certainly played its role with Washington but with Monroe there arrived nepotism in terms of White House cliques and special interests. Monroe not only found ways of putting lots of money in his own pockets. Indeed inside trading emerged during Monroe’s terms. In 1818, Elijah Mix, the brother to the clerk of secretary of war bought up granite because he knew that the government was going to use it in the fortification in Chesapeake Bay. He then sold the granite at an outrageous price to government for which the clerk took 25% of the deal. The nepotism was that the Secretary of War was privy to what had happened and approved the deal for his clerk anyway.
Today inside trading is legal for congress members; for profiting from what the rest of us would be sent to jail for. In any case, I believe it is accurate to say that “good-old-boy-politics” was born in 1818 and have become part of the government system we now have and have had for nearly two hundred years.
John Quincy AdamsCredit: www.archives.com it seems was not corrupt but certainly he had enough wealth and power to sustain his brand of elitism. Both his sons were alcoholics. Geroge Washington Adams was a womanizer who, it is said, committed suicide at age 28. John Adams II died at age 31. We can only guess why the two boys ended up as they did but I believe that John Quincy was an aristocrat at heart, cold, calculating and (probably) tyrannical. He was the first president to seek government interventionism into the private affairs of the citizens.
School children are taught to idolize Andrew JacksonCredit: www.nndb.com who presented himself as a great man with a common touch, claiming, falsely, that he was born in a log cabin and endured the hardships of the people. What is left out of his biography is, as Howard Zinn reveals, “…Jackson the slaveholder, land speculator, executioner of dissident soldiers, exterminator of Indians.” I believe that it was on Jackson’s watch that germ warfare was created: The U.S. Army gifted the Indians blankets for the cold winter knowing well that those blankets were packed with germs of terrible, deadly diseases.
Martin Van BurenCredit: www.tutropes.org(1857-1841) maintained Jackson’s inhumane Indian policies. By the time he became president political graft and corruption had stopped being a surprise to the general public. For an example, Jackson's Collector of Customs for the Port of New York had pocketed over $2 million before Van Buren replaced him with Jesse Hoyt who stuck his fingers into the till also. What this implies is the truth of the old axiom telling us that, "Power Corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
John Tyler Credit: www.dc.about.comHarrison’s vie-president took the president’s seat. This shocked the nation because back then it was not expected that the vice-president would simply take over when the incumbent dies. Actually that did not become law until 1967.
If ever America had a war rooted in the want of expansionism, the Mexican-American War was it. James K. PolkCredit: www.xroads.virginia.edu (1845-1849) not unlike the way Lyndon Johnson lied to the American public about the North Vietnamese attacking American Navy ships, sent soldiers into Mexican lands, provoked a fight so that he could justify a war to the public by reporting “Mexican aggressions.” As Kerrigan says, it was little more than a land grab. Indeed, we took around half of Mexico’s land which would now include at least portions of the states of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California and nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico.
Polk was also an elitist at heart and greatly favored slavery and slave labor to keep white landowners in power and in wealth.
There was certainly a lot of graft going on under the nose of Zachary Taylor Credit: www.history.com(1849-1850) but Taylor himself was an ethical man at least during his year in office. Millard FillmoreCredit: WWW.NNDB.COM (1850-1853) Taylor’s vice-president took the job after Taylor died unexpectedly. Fillmore it seems was a ball player who didn’t make waves within the workings of corruption in the White House. The following president, Franklin PierceCredit: www.franklandpierce.cpm (1853-1857) drank too much to pay attention to most anything. When he failed to be nominated for a second term he simply indicated that he might just as well go get drunk.
James BuchananCredit: www.civilwartalk(1857-1861) began the tradition or handing out government contracts in return for campaign contributions. Not that he was first to do this but he was first to do this on a grand scale. During his reign of power land was purchased on the government’s behalf paying outrageous prices and bonds were sold on military purchasing contracts that…didn’t even exist. The government was already becoming a giant, bureaucracy separate from the people but in the guise of being a Democracy.
As always lots of folks got rich during the war when Abraham LincolnCredit: www.calbuzz.com (1861-1865) ruled. Lincoln actually was a tyrant president and yet graft and nepotism continued under his watch. Construction efforts were done at three times what they actually cost. And as for other graft, huge orders from everything from mules to guns were made with price padding not only expected by the government but, when kickbacks of any kind were in the wind, encouraged. This continues on into our own times on a massive scale .In any case, Kerrigan reports that a Boston purchasing agent raked in a commission of $20,000 in one week during Lincoln’s presidency. That’s over a half million dollars in our times!
It is well documented that what little actual democracy there was in American, Lincoln turned it into a dictatorship. Lincoln took away Habeas Corpus for example, jailed people without charge or trial and he sent armed thugs to make voters carry cards revealing which way they were going to vote. Indeed, Lincoln’s government, it seems, was one of arrogance creating a climate of fear so we can only wonder how much demagoguery was in his beautiful statement about government being of, for and by the people.Credit: www.frazbrown.com
Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) Hated the elitism of the planter class and at the same time was a racist wanting to keep the “darkie” enslaved and under the thumb of white “supremacy.”
Ulysses S. Grant Credit: www.history.com(1869-1877)was truly an honorable and even heroic soldier; a man who some would say drank too much and smoked around 20 cigars a day but nevertheless got the job done. Indeed, after the war he protected African American rights, and fought against the Ku Klux Klan. As president, however, Grant and Graft was common place with blatant nepotism, good-old-boy-politics and self-serving pay raises unfolding throughout the administration not excluding making corrupt deals with the railroad and other vendors in the circle of the White House’s financiers and politicians. It can be safely said, I believe that the very integrity of the U.S. government revealed itself during Grant’s eight years; a government that was clearly by, for and of itself.
Actually Rutherford B. HayesCredit: www.history.com (1877-1881) was about as honorable as a president might be and who even had a certain ethic toward the Indians. He was not a popular president, however, so then arrived James GarfieldCredit: www.nndb.com(1881) who would quickly revamp white house sleaze: Even his election was rampant with dirty politics. To begin with his supporters even had a slush fund for the specific purpose of buying votes, they blackmailed businessmen by threatening to make them subject to government inspections and warned public-office holders if they wanted to hold on to their jobs they had best donate. None of that mattered much because Garfield was shot and killed by an assassin after serving only 199 days as Commander in Chief.
It can be said that Chester ArthurCredit: www.em.wikipedia.org(1881-1885) was a crook. Indeed, there were even rumors that the power broker behind Arthur had something to do with the murder of Garfield. That suggestion never went beyond rumor, however. In any case, Arthur was expert at government corruptionand was a corrupt Custom House where it was common for employees to line their own pockets. As historian Kerrigan tells us: when it came to Arthur, “No problem, as long as they passed a portion of their profits on to him.”
Arthur’s four years became a playground for under-table deals, fixed elections, trade outs and government favoritisms. It was perhaps good-old-boy-politics at its height.
Grover ClevelandCredit: www.encore-editions.com (1885-1889 & 1892-1897) was a politician’s politician and yet he had little or no political ambitions for most of his life. When he became president however he was quick to grasp the power of the office and the might of government itself.
The railroads always had American government in their back pockets so when the Pullman Strike of 1894 unfolded Cleveland was quick to send 12,000 troops to assist Federal Marshals and State Guardsmen to settle the conflict. There were 13 killed and 57 injured in what amounted to an attack of white supremacists against black employees asking for fair pay and play.
There is more than what meets the eye here, however. A new precedence had been born—government’s interventionism into private enterprise. There was clearly an unconstitutional action taken but, has that ever mattered? As someone once said, the constitution is only what the judges say it is anyway.
Cleveland was an elitist who had little concern for the common people and especially of the working class. He was a separatist in that he was indeed intrinsic in widening the gap between the White House Supreme and the rest of the people. Today we fully grasp that there is an “us” the people and a “them” the government. Any other view is pure mythology!
Benjamin HarrisonCredit: www.history.com (1889-1893) was a self-aggrandized moralist just as Cleveland was. In Harrison’s favor, however, was his concern for veterans. Then William McKinleyCredit: www.history.com(1897-1901) entered the Oval Room.
American government was going to take a nasty twist at the turn of the century and McKinley was going to be the man who began the change from the isolationist view to the imperialistic view. Influenced by men like Theodore Roosevelt who had written to a friend in 1897, “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.”
The trick was to get the American population to support a war effort. And so, propaganda reported that the poor Cuban people were virtually enslaved by Spain and so we (The American people) needed to fight for them so they could have democracy and freedom. (The same social engineering was used when government wanted the people’s support to go into Iraq). What we really wanted, however, was to expand our market controls…which we did. In the end men, women and children had died for no other reason than profit and business. And so, after victory America bought up Cuban land at 20 cents an acre, extended the Dole Kingdom in Hawaii while leaving the Philippines in rivers of blood. And we manage to take Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines from Spain as part of the treaty with them plus a “purchase price” of $20 million.
The building of an empire had begun!
The warmongering Theodore RooseveltCredit: www.history.com(1901-1909) was not only an imperialist but truly a sharp businessman who was extremely intrinsic in breaking up America’s monopolies then controlled by the Robber Barons such as Rockefeller, Armour, Gould, Mellon and so forth. While this was commendable, Teddy was clearly an expansionist with a clear motivation to build and protect America’s interests in China as well as other foreign markets
While all this was in Teddy’s favor he was, at the same time, making deals with J.P. Morgan as just how they would play ball with the Bureau of Corporations based on their ability to make private bargains with the president. Banker’s Magazine did not respond favorably to such an agreement. They wrote: “As the business of the country has learned the secret of combination, it is gradually subverting the power of the politician and rendering him subservient to his purposes…”
I believe one can say that big business and government became bed partners during Roosevelt’s era
It was also Theodore Roosevelt who on December 16th, 1907 sent the Great White Fleet around the world—16 battleships—to reveal and flaunt our Naval power to all and to clearly state that we were a mighty power to contend with.Credit: www.history.com
William Howard Taft (1909-1913) primarily followed Teddy Roosevelt’s policies and actually launched more antitrust suits than did Roosevelt. Then, Woodrow WilsonCredit: www.tvtropes.org(1913-1921). It seems Wilson was a moralist at least when it came down to most things even though he was able to justify the profiteering of companies and middlemen creating gigantic profit for both during the war effort.
As a special note, what Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson had in common was that during their presidencies knew that black people in the South were being lynched by mobs, beaten in murderous riots and did nothing to stop it. Where were all the Golden-ruler-white-Christians at those junctures when such cruelty prevailed against fellow human beings who also just happened to be black?
Warren G. HardingCredit: www.fame10decades1920.blogspot.com (1921-1923) was a womanizer and, it seems, one of the most blatant immoralist of all US presidents. His administration was, by and large, a rat-pack of cronyism and under table deals. Ironically, almost humorously, he ran on a ticket of “a return to normalcy.” In any case, he died suddenly from what has always been suspected of poison. Most say his wife simply couldn’t put up with his cheating anymore. He will be remembered, however, for the Teapot Dome Scandal, which took Navy land and sold it to privatized oil interests in Wyoming.
Back during Wilson’s term, Democrat and Republican preachers pressured the White House to force prohibition, one of the most un-American deterrents to individuality as anyone can imagine; the creation of the consensual crime! (It is not only illogical but impossible for a country or nation to boast freedom for its citizens and have consensual crimes at the same time. The hypocrisy is simply overwhelming).
In any case, Coolidge as a politician was a purest and indeed, led the country with his laissez-faire philosophy. While his famous quote was, “The business of America is Business,” and business (mostly) did well under his administration. There was some hypocrisy to his views, however. While he preached laissez-faire, he would quickly intervene if strikers jeopardized big business: He would send National Guard in to protect the enterprise and have union leaders arrested for dubious charges.
Herbert HooverCredit: www.incwell.com (1929-1933) followed Coolidge into the Oval Room. Hoover in fact had been Secretary of Commerce and could take credit for being intrinsic to Coolidge’s business boom years. Hoover too was basically a laissez-faire advocate. His position was that the economy could and should run itself and therefore government regulations were kept to a minimum. (This would be ideal in a perfect world but not in a world where greed and self-service persists). Indeed, a very long time before Hoover, American business created a national policy of social-Darwinism that continues into our own time. In fact, it was social-Darwinistic policies that grounded the Industrial Age in its ruthlessness.
Hoover was in office when the Great Depression occurred and most Americans blamed his policies on it. After all, quite suddenly the most successful country on the planet was enduring the pangs of poverty for a great many. .Jobs had been were lost, savings had been lost and now bread lines and “Hoovervilles” (Cardboard shanties) dotted especially the big cities where only the gangsters and crooked politicians continued to make outrageous profits.
Then the man that became America’s most beloved president won the vote. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)Credit: www.history.com
Roosevelt in his earlier years had a roving eye and nearly lost his wife Eleanor because he was having an affair with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer.
Note: I have refrained until now to go into the private affairs of the presidents when it comes to their sexuality—certainly there has been at least one homosexual to hold the office, perhaps two bi-sexual presidents and a lot of promiscuous presidents. While I am fully aware such reports make for interesting reading, as a good American, I do not believe that anyone has a right to interfere in anyone’s private life. Part of our heritage as Americans is that what we do privately, as long as it doesn’t harm or coerce anyone else, is our business and no one else’s. In my research it is strongly suggested that Eleanor was a devout lesbian. What if this is true or not, is nobody’s business and yet, government has made it their business to even have the audacity to tell American individuals what kind of sex they can have in their own bedrooms, what they can smoke in their own homes and what they can drink on their own front porches. Just recently I read where a family was ordered to take down a tree house they had built for their own children on their own property.
Back to Franklin Roosevelt: Roosevelt was born into one of America’s wealthiest families and was himself pampered as a child especially by his mother. Yet, he was one president that had great empathy for the common citizen and, especially the poor. Indeed, he has been accused of being the founder of “bleeding heart liberalism” and even called communistic but the depression years and the Dust Bowl years would have been even more tragic had it not been for his New Deal politics.
The only skeleton in his administrative closet is that some say that he was well aware of the Japanese build up for an attack on Pearl Harbor; that Franklin Roosevelt welcomed having a reason to join the fight against Hitler’s Germany and Japan’s aggressions toward China. The U.S. at the time feared Japan taking over Chinese markets so we secretly desired to weaken if not crush their war machine which we eventually did using nuclear power. As it turned out, World War II itself was an economic war as opposed to being a war of opposing ideologies
As for the horrors of Hitler’s attempt to exterminate the Jewish race in death camps, Franklin obviously did not see this as a high priority even when made aware of the atrocities. Like Lincoln who truly hated slavery, there were economic issues that he deemed far more important in the war than man’s inhumanity to man.
Most people also love Harry S. TrumanCredit: www.socialstudiesforkids.com (1945-1953) but he had raised into the higher ranks of the Democratic Party under the wing of Tom Prendergast, a corrupt gangster type political boss of Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri. He was eventually jailed for tax evasion and sent to prison. Did Truman deny his association with the man who had helped him reach the top? The gangster died in 1945 just a few days after Truman’s inauguration and still the feisty candidate openly attended his friend’s funeral.
Actually it seems that Truman himself was straight forward and honest but his nativity blinded him to a lot of dirty business by his staff. Major General Harry Vaughan, Truman’s Military Aide, solicited gifts of consumer goods and other self-serving perks. Truman’s Treasury Secretary, it is said, turned that US administration “into a den of corruption.” There was just so much under-the-table dealing during Truman’s administration it becomes a little hard to believe that the president was truly blind to it all.
Also crazy, Joe McCarthy hysterics came into play under Truman. (It may also be a point of interest to some that Joe McCarthy was extremely rigid when it came to attacking homosexuals when he was a devout homosexual himself).
President Dwight D. EisenhowerCredit: www.biography.com (1953-1961) was an honorable man and admired by most Americans and of both parties. Ike, was above all else, the Cold War President, a time of fearing nuclear holocaust and yet the economy soared under his administration at least for the middle-class. Then John (Jack) KennedyCredit: www.usa-presidents.info(1961-1963) arrived as Commander and Chief of the free world. It is interesting that he was born into an extremely wealthy family and was the son of Joseph Kennedy who, it is said, was deeply involved with bootleggers and gangsters during the prohibition years. Yet, the American people romanticized the Kennedy family and, by and large, fell in love with Jack as their national leader.
The election of our 35th president, however, did not arrive without scandal. It is said that to assure Kennedy’s victory there was some “fixing” going on in Texas and Illinois under Mayor Daly with Mafia influences guaranteeing the election. Nevertheless, young Jack captured the hearts of especially America’s youth. And, there was the public adoring of the president’s wife, the beautiful and charming, Jacqueline.
Kennedy was a womanizer, however, and had an affair with the beautiful, sexy Marilyn Monroe who mysteriously died after their relationship seemed to be interfering with Jack’s public image. A great many people believe that Jack and his brother Bob were involved in the super star’s death—but Bob, I believe was too straight-laced to be involved in anything that immoral and unethical. On the other hand, Dad Kennedy was known to be extremely cold and calculating?
In the end Jack Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas on November 22, 1963. A lone gunman by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald made out to simply be a political fanatic. He was arrested the same day and shot down by a local mobster, Jack Ruby before he could be interrogated. The mainstream press has squashed all conspiracy theories but I am convinced that the assignation was a Mafia hit. The Mafia had gone to a lot of trouble to back Kennedy for the presidency and in return the Kennedy’s had given them a lot of promises like giving them back Cuba.
Robert Kennedy quickly became a crusader against organized crime, perhaps in an effort to kill the snake before it strikes but even if this is so, it would have been a naïve attempt and one, I believe against Joe Kennedy’s will—after all one of Joe’s closest friends was Frank Costello so he would have been aware of the Mafia’s “pay-back” policies.
Lyndon B. JohnsonCredit: www.successfulschools.blogpost.com (1963-1969 was sworn in shortly after Kennedy’s assassination, taking over as leader of the Free World. One of the first things Johnson did was to escalate the Vietnam War. He did this by telling a blatant lie to the American people—he announced that the North Vietnamese made an unprovoked attack on Navy ships in international waters and this is why he was sending more troops into Vietnam. The problem was that there was never such an attack, it was invented to engineer the American peoples to support the war.
We the people will probably never know the real reason why we took France’s place in Vietnam in the first place. France, after all, had been a cruel adversary to the Vietnam people even though we (American) supported most of their war effort with dollars and weapons. When the French lost their war effort, we moved in, as always under the pretext of fighting for the people’s freedom. But truth told, Ho Chi Minh had pleaded with President Truman to send aide because the French had destroyed their food supply and millions were starving. The communication was not even responded to. Instead, after the French retreated we moved in viciously to crush the North. The CIA had a program called “Operation Phoenix” where at least 20,000 civilians were executed; we dropped more bombs to destroy that small country than we dropped during the entire World War II campaigns.
But unbeknownst to most American, we had been assisting in the war effort there since the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Jack Kennedy had conducted a number of (secret) military actions before Johnson gave the war a public face.
Richard NixonCredit: www.blog.timeunion.com (1969-1974) followed Johnson into the White House. Already going back to the early 1950s when he was discovered taking an $18,000 slush fund (Over $100,000 in today’s money) from businessmen; that Nixon was willing to bend the law was never any secret.
In fact, “law-benders” made up much of his staff with guys like Henry Kissinger, Bob Haldeman Alexander Haig and John Ehrichman. Nixon in fact had the only Vice President, Spiro Agnew, who had to resign over criminal charges. Then of course the president had his turncoats such as aide John Dean so the entire administration seems to have been corrupted in one way or another. On the other hand, that’s politics, folks!
After Nixon arrived Gerald Ford (1974-1977).Credit: www.burnllsblog.blogspot.com
While he did the decent thing and pardoned Nixon, he made a political error in choosing Nelson Rockefeller as vice-president. The name “Rockefeller” did not and still does not faire very well with most Americans; he is a notorious elitist in the sense that Mitt Romney represented American elitism during the 2012 presidential elections. Jimmy CarterCredit: www.tokeofthetown.cpm (1977-1981) followed Ford into the White House.
Carter had family problems that didn’t help his career whatsoever. His brother Billy was a well-known drunk and Redneck Southerner. Indeed, back in 1977, he was given some notoriety for urinating on the runway at Atlanta Airport. In fact, Billy boy Carter was called before the Senate Committee to explain why he had received $220,000 ($650,000) in today’s money, from the Libyan regime. Then, in 1979 when angry students took over the American Embassy in Tehran holding its occupants as hostages. Carter ordered a rescue mission but three US helicopters broke down in a sandstorm with other aircraft lost in the fighting. American servicemen had been killed and not one hostage rescued. Iran finally released the hostages to the next president as a gesture of good will.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) is perhaps the most controversial president since the forefathers, most Republicans and conservatives rank him right under God while a lot of democrats look at Reagan as right-wingers look at Roosevelt; as a hindrance to the American way.Credit: www.blogs.independent.co.uk
First of all, as the saying goes, left or right, the devil must have his dues. Reagan’ comic book Star Wars bluff was extremely intrinsic in breaking down Soviet moral while they were already struggling financially. Indeed, if it weren’t for Reagan and his good-old-boys we might still have a Berlin Wall to contend with.
On the other hand, clearly, Ronald Reagan was not a friendly when it came to the poor or even the financially struggling. Indeed, during Reagan’s eight years, poverty especially in the inner cities became explosive. He even cut programs such as school lunches and reduced federal housing benefits for people earning less than $10,000 by nearly 8% and for the first time since the great depression he grew America’s homeless, street people population. And, during his administration he cut taxes for the rich and increased taxes on the middle class; he obviously gave lots of breaks to his wealthy friends and Reagan himself was extremely wealthy, seeming to be a man with the Midas Touch all of his life. And, during his time in office he gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants supplying big business cheap labor.
Obviously Reagan despised unions—something the Right applauds although on the other side of this coin Reagan himself headed up SAG, the actors union for many years. Then there was the secret sale of arms to Iran in order to secretly supply Contra rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
To the delight of the conservative Republicans, Reagan became a conductor of American morality but such morality seemed only to apply to the poor: Indeed his moral crusading councilor, Ed Meese is said to be the only senior staff member to benefit when the Wedtech Corporation, a military supplier, paid for special access to the administration with Meese’s attorney Robert Wallach probably brokering the deal which resulted in Wedtech being granted a $32 million contract for supply equipment to the US Army. (As seen throughout this narrative good-old-boy politics have been flourishing for a very long time, as said, on the hill). And, during this time, officials of the Department of Housing and Development (HUD) were discovered granting construction contracts to favored companies who had made contributions to the Republican Party.
Indeed, when Ronald Reagan came into office the national debt was $900 billion, when he left $2.8 trillion.
George H.W. Bush Credit: www.millercenter.org(1989-1993) a man whose wealth emerged from banking and oil. But, as my research reveals, he is a man who made many other investments not excluding putting money into the private prison industry where those at the top get rich (or richer) by how many beds they fill with the unfortunate. Then came his famous announcement—read my lips, no new taxes, a comment that would become part of the reason he would not win a second term. William (Bill) Clinton (1993-2001) would follow Geroge Bush the First into the presidential office.
Bill Clinton is what I deem to be the natural politician; he certainly proved to be a game-player on the international chess board but also in the White House hallways too. His affair with Monica Lewinsky nearly became his political nemesis but he managed to overcome the obstacles in spite of the face he had lied under oath about it. The American public at the time was by then used to their presidents messing around and so when Lewinsky was quoted saying something like he liked to wet his cigars in my vagina most people was given a great laugh except of course for the Religious Right who pushed to keep Clinton’s “immorality” in the news as long as possible.
I’ve read so much about Clinton’s Shenanigans from drug deals to illegitimate black children that I do not know which to believe and which to discard but in spite of it all he remains one of America’s most popular presidents to this day. For one thing, he was approached by the House of Saud to go warring against Saddam and he refused. The next president would not.
George BushCredit: www.guardian.co.uk(2001-2008) is quite the character in his own right. I see him somewhere between Judge Roy Bean and Rev. Jerry Falwell. He obviously lied to the American public about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and on the home front he was a good-old-boy’s presidential pick and friend of big business, big politics and an oil man’s poster boy.
Barack Obama (2008- ) has been a target of controversy since his election. I have never seen a president more loathed by the Right. For one thing Obama is the first black president of the U.S. and, denied or not, there is clearly racial prejudice in some American’s depreciation of him.Credit: www.salon.com
In view of all the above, I will share my secret with you—after voting Republican for over 50 years, I voted for Barrack Obama in 2008. Why? Because he ran on the ticket of CHANGE and it is simply time for change in America, in American politics and policies. What I had hoped for is that Obama would begin (his) changes by bringing more humanity into our leadership; that we might once again become the great example on the globe for a world of freedom, human compassion and justice for all. What I didn’t suspect was that Obama would reveal himself to be one more a statist; a bureaucrat really who has not been able to make the kind of changes I had hoped for when I cast my vote. Might such changes occur before 2016, I doubt it. Well then, perhaps the next person to take his or her seat in the Oval Office will deconstruct the less than admirable and reconstruct the humane in our country…I doubt that too. I believe that the system itself is far more powerful than those who work within it or even sit at its heights. And so, my last question is, it is government that runs the system or is it the system that runs government?
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
And so, am I saying in the above that government is, at bottom line, a collection of crooks, liars and thieves. I am not, I am only pointing out that our so-called leaders are ever as vulnerable to greed, dishonesty, nepotism and biases as the rest of us. Thus, positive change could begin with (1) Reducing the term for Congress/Senate to three terms (2) To place all Congressmen and Senators under the same laws and conditions that the rest of us live under and (3) to abolish all consensual crimes while re-creating a nation that chooses liberty over license.Credit: WWW.SYTUITION.ORG
I have so many friends who say things such as, “We need to get back to our ideals.” The truth is, we have forever run short of our ideals even in Jefferson’s time. There have been some who have sincerely desired to change that—On the Left, the Hippies of the 60s…On the Right, The Tea Partiers of the New Millennium. The system turned them both back into the mainstream like naughty children (We can imagine that Ron Paul has discovered it more of a challenge than expected to “take back ‘our’ government,” as he once said the Tea Party was going to do.
We have never been a people’s government except around election time but after that it’s “them” and “us.” However, if we ever had a true democracy the country would be in such chaos within a few days that we would self-destruct. And so, as Thomas Paine said, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.”
When I was a kid I believed that we were our ideals. I believed that because my Mom, my Dad and my Teachers lied to me. In fact, I believed that my government wanted me to be safe and free; that our law was based on justice and that’s what we wanted for the whole wide world-freedom and justice. I was a grown man before I realized that the law makers make laws that do not apply to themselves which is corruption in, of and for itself. But then again, even for most of my adult years, I never dreamed that I would see Americans eating out of garbage cans. I never imagined that our government would, with all its money, permit that to happen. I was very naïve as a child of course. I thought that government cared about the people because they were the people too.
As for President Obama’s question, “if we can’t trust government who can we trust?” My answer is go see the old classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” and the answer will become as clear as the nose on your face.
References and Suggested Reading
Kerrigan Michael * American presidents * Metro Books
Mapp, J. Alf, Jr. * The Faith of the Fathers *Barnes & Noble
Zinn, Howard * A People's History of the United States *HarperPernnial
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