Tag Archives: presidents

In style: A half-way normal Donald Trump! 🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

Not bad, Donald.

Don’t get us wrong, readers! If Donald Trump can be an effective or even great president, we’re all for him! The above videos – snap shots of Trump being on-message, funny and real – are glimmers of hope. After watching these videos and others, you realize there is something quite endearing – dare I say loveable?! – about the Donald!: #1 – He is authentic. Totally himself … and that is GREAT. It’s a lot of fun, kinda scary, ultimately mesmerizing. Trump doesn’t hold back or disengage or quit working at 6:30 p.m. every night to spend time with his family like President Obama did. Nope. Trump – with wife Melania MIA in another state – is ON 24/7. Like a great, bizarre ’round the clock reality TV show! And we’re all addicted to watching it! Last night I began watching an old President Obama video and shut it off. Boring!!! I tuned into Trump – and had fun. So what if we are all going to be incinerated?!!! Trump is one hell of a roller coaster ride! He is combative but takes his lumps, too – for his gaffes, hissy fits, open bathrobe and fumbling for light switches in a lights-out White House.

Donald Trump seems to crave unending adoration, but his emotional neediness often manifests itself as a kind of goofy friendliness… . President Obama was aloof. Trump is anything but. He’s a hugger, hand-holder, hand-shaker,  glad-hander … a people person. Nutty. But gregarious. I like that. He could be Italian-American – a Rat Pack ba da boom kinda prez! Trump’s out-sized personality is why he has connected with so many – millions of – Americans. They love him! He’s like lots of great U.S. presidents/politicians – loves to, lives to swaddle himself in the hoi polloi and upper classes and everyone in between: FDR, LBJ, Teddy Roosevelt. You can tell Trump LOVES being president! Which is why he filed his papers for re-election immediately after Inauguration Day!!!

Wow.

Trump’s manic energy encompasses all – sucks you in. He has bonded with the forgotten Americans: white working class regular folks who, on a number of fronts, most important, the economic one, have suffered for many many years. He says he will change their – our – lives. Tonic to the people!

Trump, for me, feels especially like Lyndon B. Johnson –  a natural, gifted, LOVE ME NOW-PLEASE! kind of politician. Trump can’t mask his insecurity and he can’t get enough of Americans and our problems, feelings, food etc. The voters, miners, teachers, Congress – he’ll spread the Donald all over the place, like the special sauce on a Big Mac.

And it feels kinda nice. Fucked up. But nice.

Raise the federal minimum wage, Donald! Support our unions! Create a robust AMERICAN INFRASTRUCTURE REBUILDING federal program that puts millions of regular guys and gals back to work at GOOD PAYING JOBS rebuilding America’s highways, bridges, airports, etc! Quit stomping on the Constitution, and you just may make it, after all!🇺🇸🍦🍟🍔🍕

Steve here … InCity Times Book Review📚📚🎈📚

Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East

By Michael Doran, (2016, Simon & Schuster, 292 Pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

This writer has reviewed several biographies of Dwight Eisenhower. Historians rate Eisenhower as one of America’s greater Presidents. Eisenhower balanced the budget (“better dead than in the red”), ended the Korean War, did not overreact to the Soviet Sputnik launch into outer space, and refused repeated requests from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch pre-emptive strikes against Red China.

It is against this backdrop of presidential success that one should read “Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East” with a considerable grain of salt. Author Michael Doran is a neocon. He was a Director of the National Security Council during the Presidency of George W. Bush. He was an assistant to Elliott Abrams. Abrams was pardoned by the first President Bush for withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal.

In a February 2003 article in the highly prestigious Foreign Relations Magazine, Doran endorsed the invasion of Iraq which took place one month later, stating: “If an American road to a calmer situation in Palestine does in fact exist, it runs through Baghdad.” “Calm” is not an adjective used often to describe Palestine after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

It does mention in Ike’s Gamble’s biographical section, on the back flap, that Doran “has served as a Middle Eastern adviser in the White House and as a deputy secretary of defense.” It does not mention that this was during the Bush 43rd Presidency. The book is totally silent on Doran’s connection to Bush.

The reviewer starting researching Doran’s background after finishing the book becomes deeply suspicious of what he had read. Doran’s approach reminds one of Dick Cheney’s cherry picking of evidence on Iraq’s nuclear weapons to justify the Iraq invasion. Doran had slim proof to back up some of his assertions, used highly questionable sources, and stated a version of events extremely different from the generally accepted story. The impression one gets is that Doran knew his association with George W. Bush would discredit this book in the minds of many readers.

Neocon hero

The book opens with Winston Churchill meeting Eisenhower after Ike was elected President in November 1952. This is significant: in the neocon world Churchill is an icon. George W. Bush kept a bust of Churchill in the oval office throughout much of his Presidency.

The British Empire was nearing bankruptcy because of World War II. It didn’t have the money to maintain its far-flung empire. Doran gives the impression the world would be a better place if Eisenhower had agreed to fund Britain’s empire. That would have made sense to the dyed in the wool imperialists, bankers and businessmen in London but was opposed by British subjects in Africa or Asia who wanted their independence.

Doran conveys this through “the James Bond” analogy of American bankrolling the British through international institutions while Britain maintains its empire. He cites the first novel in the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale, where Bond loses all his money at a game of baccarat with a Soviet agent. The day is saved by American agent Felix Leiter, who gives Bond a wad of cash and a note reading: “Marshall Aid. Thirty-two million francs. With the Compliments of the USA.” Doran notes, “Resuscitated with American funds, Bond continues to play, and of course,” trounced the Soviet agent. Leiter is the role Doran wishes the U.S. had played throughout the 1956 crisis. He morosely noted: “Eisenhower was no Felix Leiter.”

1956 Suez Crisis

In 1956 Nasser negotiated the British to withdraw their 80,000-man garrison from along the Suez Canal. Nasser’s military was not strong enough to drive them out. After the British withdrew, Nasser nationalized the canal. Enraged, the British and French persuaded the Israelis to enact a farce: Israel would attack the Egyptians in the Sinai and then the British and French, playing the role of unknowing innocents, would seize the canal on the pretext they were separating the warring countries.

In October 1956, the Israelis attacked and quickly overran much of the Sinai.
Eisenhower believed that if the United States were to support Britain and France in their gunboat diplomacy, the U.S. would become identified with western colonialism in developing countries. He also thought that if the U.S sided with Egypt in his crisis, the U.S. would be accepted as an honest broker to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ike forced the British, French and Israeli forces to withdraw from the territories occupied during a brief war with Egypt. Doran portrays Eisenhower as a naïve President with a simplistic viewpoint of the Middle East. Doran asserts Eisenhower’s poor judgments collapsed American’s position in the Middle East in favor of Nasser. This wasn’t exactly the case. The Israelis seized the Sinai in the 1967 war and Nasser died three years later without achieving his dream of being President of a unified Arab super-state. Anwar Sadat later negotiated the return of the Sinai after the Yom Kippur war.

Sources

There is a controversy over whether Eisenhower came to regret his actions in the 1956 Suez crisis. He had few sources to substantiate this assertion. Incredibly, one of these sources was Richard M. Nixon. Doran preferred to believe Nixon over Stephen Ambrose, an award-winning Presidential biographer.

Ambrose hadn’t resigned the Presidency after being accused of high crimes and misdemeanors, but Doran found him less credible than Tricky Dick. That should tell the reader all they need to know about this book.

InCity Times book review

EISENHOWER: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

By Jim Newton

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961.

The older I get, the more I like Ike.

Jim Newton has written a masterpiece about Eisenhower’s years in the White House, in a book destined to be a classic. When we compare Eisenhower’s careful, balanced approach to the domestic and foreign policy of George W. Bush, Eisenhower’s greatness shines out.

Like George Washington, Eisenhower’s Presidency was the personification of restraint. Eisenhower sought “balance” in everything he did.

Deficit hawk

Eisenhower was the first “”deficit hawk” of modern history. When he took over the Presidency January 1953 the country was facing a $9.9 billion shortfall. In this he faced the opposition of Senator Robert Taft Jr., a Bush like asshole who wanted to cut taxes while there was still a deficit, with a war raging in Korea.

Taft, who had opposed Eisenhower in the 1952 Republican primaries, “blew up” in 1953 when Eisenhower’s first budget proposed cutting the deficit in half without reducing taxes. Taft complained “that it would allow no tax cuts..and suggested that it would doom the party in the 1954 elections” A stunned Eisenhower in reply said the country had financial commitments due to Korea and other security issues, adding: “The nation’s military security will take first priority in my calculations.”

The two core men in Eisenhower’s cabinet were Attorney General Herbert Brownell and Treasury Secretary George Humphrey.

“If you’re going to live a good life,” Newton quotes Humphrey as saying, ”you’ve got to live within your income.”

“Through his time in office he [Humphrey] insisted that the government do just that,” writes Newton. “He fought profligate spending, irritating liberals, and imprudent tax cuts, to the annoyance of conservatives.”

The economy boomed after Eisenhower eliminated the deficit, just as it boomed in the late 1990s after President William J. Clinton balanced the budget. The 1950s were later to be remembered as a golden age, “Happy Days” when peace and prosperity reigned.

Kansas upbringing

Newton briefly traced Eisenhower’s life before be became President in 1953. He credited much of Eisenhower’s personality – the restraint, the conservatism, the values – to Ike’s Kansas upbringing in a large family. He goes on to detail how Eisenhower befriended George Marshall after joining the army, rose to lead the allied invasion of North Africa in 1942, and supervised the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings in France. All these experiences formed and shaped the Eisenhower who became President.

Newton skillfully deals with the underside of Eisenhower’s Presidency:

· Foremost among Eisenhower’s failings was his inability to understand and vigorously promote African American civil rights. Newton shows how Eisenhower appointed closet liberals as judges, such as Earl Warren, whose legal rulings made much of the civil rights advances possible.

· The overthrow of governments in Guatemala and Iran, left both countries with legacies that haunted future American Presidents for decades.

· The failure to confront right wing demagogue Joseph McCarthy.

· The promotion of Richard M. Nixon’s political career. Eisenhower did try to get Nixon to step down as Vice President in 1956, but had to keep him on to satisfy “the conservative base”.

Waging peace

But history is judging Eisenhower in a new light, from the perspective of the American experience in the fifty years after he left office. Eisenhower is now seen as a man who kept the country at peace. As Newton concluded: “Dwight Eisenhower left his nation freer, more prosperous and more fair. Peace was not given to him; he won it.”

This book review began with a quote from Eisenhower’s farewell address about the military industrial complex. Newton singles this out for as Eisenhower’s most prescient prediction. He notes the ascendancy of Dick Cheney to the Vice President after presiding over defense contractor Halliburton: “[I]raq ballooned into a war longer and costlier than World War II; by the time the last combat brigade left Iraq in 2010, the war had killed more than forty-four hundred soldiers and drained the national treasury of more than $750 billion, much of it spent on private contractors – one Halliburton division alone, KBR, was paid more than $1 billion for its work from 2002 to 2004; overall, private contractors were paid as much government money as the initial estimates for fighting the entire war.”

Newton has written a compact, highly readable and sensible book about one of the great Presidents of our time.