Trump Lies- A Reminder 2-14-2023

Donald Trump has returned to the news cycle amid a deluge of stories about a dinner meeting he hosted with a white supremacist and Ye, the rapper previously known as Kanye West.

It’s a reminder of the chaotic years of his presidency, as well as a foreboding ― though hopefully instructive ― warning about how he would wield power if elected again.

If past is prologue, let’s take a moment to remember just how unsettling things got during the Trump administration, with this not-even-remotely-exhaustive list of weird and bad stuff he attempted while in office:

  • Tried to buy Greenland.
  • Wanted to nuke hurricanes.
  • Doctored a hurricane forecast map with a Sharpie.
  • Attempted a coup to stay in power.
  • Absconded with thousands of classified documents, lied about it and refused to give them back when the feds asked nicely.
  • Sent unidentified federal officers to Portland, Oregon, to abduct protesters and spark a conflagration that could be used as a pretense for implementing martial law.
  • Ordered peaceful protesters tear-gassed so he could pose for a photo-op with a Bible outside a church.
  • Tried to blackmail Ukraine into manufacturing dirt for his 2020 campaign.
  • Asked Russia for help in his 2016 campaign — and got it.
  • Had a weird affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Remember the Helsinki summit?)
  • Invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to an in-person meeting in the Oval Office, where he accidentally revealed top-secret intelligence.
  • Wanted to withdraw the U.S. from NATO.
  • Separated migrant parents from their children, locked the kids in cages and then failed to reunite them.
  • Insisted that “raking” would prevent forest fires because “you’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important.”
  • Covered for Saudi Arabia after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a U.S. journalist with a bone saw. (Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, owes Saudi Arabia $2 billion, and the crown prince has reportedly bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.”)
  • Intervened to get Kushner top-secret clearance after he was denied over concerns about foreign influence.
  • Put Kushner in charge of Middle East peace.
  • Embraced rampant nepotism.
  • Touted injecting disinfectant as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Touted ultraviolet light as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Touted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Touted ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Told people not to wear face masks to cut down the spread of COVID-19, even though they work.
  • Actively discouraged COVID-19 testing.
  • Refused to send federal aid to New York City amid the first COVID-19 wave because the virus was hitting Democratic-voting states hardest.
  • “Jokingly” said on multiple occasions that he deserved to be president for more than two terms.
  • Thought climate change was a Chinese hoax.
  • Built an incomplete border wall that doesn’t work, wasn’t needed and wasn’t paid for by Mexico.
  • Started a trade war with China that mainly hurt U.S. consumers.
  • Threw food when angry.
  • Saw no problem with his vice president potentially being hanged by a violent mob he’d summoned and sent to the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.
  • Stared directly at the sun.
  • Started his presidency with an easily disproved lie about the crowd size at his inauguration.
  • Thought people needed an ID to buy cereal.
  • Fired James Comey as FBI director because he didn’t like the bureau investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (Later, it was revealed that Trump’s campaign manager gave detailed internal polling data to a Russian intelligence agent.)
  • Was a “fucking moron,” according to Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state.
  • Fired the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s China-based pandemic response team — and then when a pandemic happened years later, said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for COVID-19.
  • Repeatedly embraced racism.
  • Thought repeating “person, woman, man, camera, TV” would assure Americans of his mental stability.
  • Tweeted literal gibberish — a lot.
  • Lied all the time. (And still does.)
  • Openly embraced and amplified QAnon conspiracy theories.
  • Got impeached twice.
  • Passed huge tax cuts for wealthy corporations ― and massively grew the national debt.
  • Flip-flopped on whether the White House had ordered the USS John McCain be hidden so he wouldn’t get mad. (It did.)
  • Called American military members who died in the line of duty “losers” and “suckers.”
  • Claimed to have bone spurs to get out of military service.
  • Binge-watched Fox News when he should have been working.
  • Played so, so much golf.
  • Raked in cash from foreign interests at his Washington hotel in an operation sometimes described as the “epicenter” of a corrupt presidency.
  • Held a rally that may have led to the death of Herman Cain.
  • Allegedly directed his lawyer to commit campaign fraud to cover up that Trump cheated on his wife after she had recently given birth.
  • Was accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women.
  • Dismissed any bad news about himself as “fake.”
  • Lied about voluntarily turning over his tax returns.
  • Ate well-done steak — with ketchup.
  • Described white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people.”
  • Grossly abused the presidential pardon on his way out the door.
  • Used private communication services extensively after arguing that Hillary Clinton should be jailed for having a private email server.
  • Refused to release White House visitor logs.
  • Went to Puerto Rico and threw paper towels at people desperate for actual hurricane aid.
  • Discouraged exercise because he believes bodies are like batteries, with a finite amount of energy.



Trump’s Greatest Claims/Lies- only a fraction of the 32 thousand and still climbing! Richard J. Garfunkel 2-12-2023

The New Trump Lies- it never ends!

  1. They raided my house, they broke into my safe: he watched on TV and his lawyers were there
  2. There was nothing there: Oh yes, there was!
  3. I handed everything over!: No he didn’t- 11 sets of classified files
  4. The FBI planted the boxes: No they came in empty handed, it was watch lived and they carted out boxes
  5. The GSA packed these files, I had nothing to do with it: NO! The GSA did not pack the boxes
  6. I de-classified everything I had!: No he couldn’t de-classify these files
  7. Obama took 30 million secret documents: Sorry, whatever he took was cleared

The Start of the Lies began on Day One!

  1. Greatest victory in recent history
  2. Most Electoral Votes ever
  3. Biggest Inaugural Crowd
  4. Greatest stock market Increase in History
  5. Greatest Job gains ever
  6. The Coronavirus will disappear! “We’re going down, not up.” February 26th 2020
  7. Greater than Lincoln and more important than Jesus
  8. Smartest man ever elected, greatest memory,
  9. Greatest General ever, greatest supporters of our troops
  10. ISIS destroyed
  11. The greatest negotiator since Talleyrand!
  12. Our relations with our neighbors and allies has never been better
  13. Korea is complying with US demands
  14. Peace in the Middle East
  15. Greatest opponent of Russia
  16. Most achievements by any president in three plus years
  17. Top student in his Class at Penn
  18. Awarded an MBA at Wharton (Penn)
  19. Greatest and smartest cabinet assembled
  20. The Republicans actually won in the 2018 Mid Term Elections
  21. Best economy ever 4-5% growth
  22. Will create the greatest healthcare plan and replace Obamacare!
  23. Claimed he wouldn’t touch Social Security or Medicare!
  24. More jobs created than Obama
  25. More time in the White House than any president
  26. A real Christian, the greatest friend to Israel and the Jews
  27. The Mexicans will pay for the border wall
  28. A balanced budget
  29. A trade surplus!
  30. I will never threaten SS and Medicare
  31. Trump has falsely said 184 times that he passed the biggest tax cut in history.
  32. On 176 occasions, Trump has claimed the United States has “lost” money on trade deficits.
  33. Trump’s penchant for repeating false claims is demonstrated by the fact that the Fact Checker database has recorded more than 400 instances in which he has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times.
  34. For instance, nearly 70 times he has claimed that a whistleblower complaint about the call was inaccurate.
  35. His most repeated claim — 257 times — is that the S. economy today is the best in history.
  36. In fact, his second-most-repeated claim — 242 times — is that his border wall is being built
  37. Fact Checker database has recorded more than 400 instances in which he has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times.

The Trump record!

  1. Over 500,000 Deaths and counting- it was supposed to go away, he knew it was devastating and covered it up!
  2. Most divisive and bigoted president ever!
  3. Interest rates forced down to fund bloated market and re-structure his debt!
  4. National Debt up almost $8 trillion to over $28 trillion (was $20 trillion on January 20, 2017)
  5. Annual Budget Debt skyrocketing back to post 2008 levels, more than doubled since 2016
  6. GDP growth under 2% for the fifteen months before the Pandemic, GDP never hit 3% in the three years before COVID-19
  7. GDP had the greatest drop over 33% since 1932 and the Great Depression!
  8. Wages hardly moved in 3.6years, now 20 million out of work!
  9. DJIA: gains less then Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Obama
  10. Social Security and Medicare threatened by the Payroll Tax cut! SS could run out of money in 2023!
  11. 8 million less jobs created in the last 3 full years, 19% less than Obama’s last three years.
  12. Infrastructure continuing its deterioration- where’s the plan?
  13. Crime and violence higher- the Chaos President
  14. Hate crime much higher- the rise of right wing gangs (0ver 800) and armed militias
  15. Toleration for Nazis, the KKK, and Fascists unacceptable
  16. Race relations worse than ever- a life-long bigot
  17. Relations with NATO worst since its creation
  18. Relations with Canada and Mexico at its worst level since WWI
  19. Most disliked president overseas in the history of the country!
  20. No healthcare plan! But wants to end the ACA in a Pandemic!
  21. Cabinet corruption and incompetence unprecedented
  22. Over 580 appointees gone from his administration- a record
  23. Over 91% Cabinet turnover, the worst in American history
  24. Public education deteriorating- support for Charter, Private and Religious schools!
  25. Environmental protections under siege- worst environmental president in our history
  26. Unions and working Americans are worse off- most anti-Labor president ever!
  27. Growth of corporate wealth at the expense of the budget-millionaires increased by 50%!
  28. The Mexican Wall- 57 new miles, cost of $11 billion as of August, 2020
  29. VA leadership a failure, skyrocketing needs
  30. Shifting of tax burdens to the most productive states
  31. Middle East getting worse, Baathists still in control of Syria, Kurds stabbed in the back
  32. Iran getting more bellicose and dangerous
  33. International respect for our leadership lowest in 80 years
  34. Over 22,000 lies and counting- hates the military and says our honored dead were suckers and losers
  35. Multiple indictments and convictions of people associated with Trump
  36. Pardoning criminals in his administration, campaign supporters and convicted murderers
  37. Voted the worst president in our history by 200 American Politic Scientists & 3rd worse in the Siena College Poll
  38. Unemployment was over 10%- 20 million on unemployment! First president since Hoover to lose jobs!
  39. Lost the election by over 7 million! One of the worst losses by an incumbent since Hoover!.
  40. Never been in Church except for a funeral or a marriage! Wouldn’t know the Bible from Playboy! Has been an anti-Semite like his father all his life- he uses Jews and they use him!
  41. Over 1200 critical books written on him, his grafter family and his corrupt administration!
  42. Failed tariff war skyrockets “socialism” to the fam belt from $11 billion to $32 billion

Trump, the GOP and Labor/Farms

  1. Opposed worker rights
  2. Supports “right to work” laws
  3. Opposed the minimum wage increases
  4. Does not enforce laws affecting worker safety
  5. Opposes civil service unions
  6. Stacked the NLRB with anti-union appointees
  7. Republican judges constantly rule against workers
  8. Tariff war a failure, farm bankruptcies soaring 25%
  9. Trade deficits growing to record levels
  10. Manufacturing jobs have again disappeared

Reality and Trump

  1. Trump’s niece, Mary Trump and his sister label him a tax cheat, swindler, and a sociopath
  2. His lawyer goes to jail for paying off two whores, calls him a dangerous psychopath!
  3. Supreme Court rules his taxes and business records must go to NYC DA and NY AG
  4. John Bolton says that he was a clear and present danger- he was appointed by Trump and is a real conservative.
  5. Cliff Sims, who worded in the WH and is a real conservative, wrote “Team of Vipers” and said he had no clue what he was doing.
  6. Robert Woodward has him on tape in “Rage” telling us how dangerous COVID 19 was, and then he had a press conference and told the American public it would be gone when it got warm!
  7. Republican 1000 page Senate report confirms collusion between Trump and the Russians
  8. John Bolton former National Advisor accuses Trump of ignorance and collusion with Russians
  9. Stephanie Wolkoff, Melania Trump’s former friend helping investigators into Inaugural looting!
  10. Almost 500 former National Security officials endorsed Biden.
  11. Over 300 Republicans who worked for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney endorsed Joe Biden
  12. Trump Pardons Criminals, Murderers, Supporters along with convictions and indictments.
  13. Rod Blagojevich- former disgraced governor, 10 counts: corruption, fraud, fraud extortion
  14. Roger Stone- political operative, 7 counts: obstruction, witness tampering, perjury
  15. Dinesh D’Souza- virulent anti-Semite, campaign finance violator
  16. Manafort, Gates, Cohen, Stone, Flynn, Papadopoulos, Pinedo, vander Zwann all convicted!
  17. Former disgraced Members of Congress, Collins, Hunter and Stockman
  18. Kilimnik and 25 Russian nationals indicted!




Trump Scandals –Too Many to List Richard J. Garfunkel 11-20-22

Touching on corruption claims tainting his administration’s reputation, Trump also dismissed concerns that his administration was directing government business to his resorts in Scotland and Ireland.

He didn’t argue that such a move would be unethical. The President insisted — with the chutzpah that his supporters love — that he was simply too rich to need the help. “I’m going to give out my financial condition. And you’ll be extremely shocked that the numbers are many, many times what you think,” said Trump, who unlike other presidents has refused to release his tax returns and to fully divest from his businesses. “I don’t need to have somebody take a room overnight at a hotel.”

Conflicts of Interest

The Trump Organization generated at least $500 million of revenue in 2017, according to the president’s most recent financial disclosure. Trump transferred ownership of the business before his inauguration to a trust run by sons Donald Jr. and Eric and longtime executive Allen Weisselberg and promised not to embark on any new projects outside the U.S. But the moves didn’t mollify critics. That the president can revoke the trust and withdraw money at any time has helped prompt lawsuits alleging he is violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The arrangement has provoked concerns that foreign governments can curry favor with the president by renting rooms at his luxury hotel in Washington or deploying state-owned companies to develop overseas projects, as some suggested a Chinese firm may have done when it agreed to help build a $500 million entertainment complex in Indonesia that includes a Trump-branded hotel. Last year the president reported income from at least 11 countries.

Internal government emails about the FBI’s headquarters made public in October of 2017 further fueled doubts that the president has separated himself from his business. The emails, from January, appear to show officials discussing Trump’s personal involvement in discussions about a new building on the site, just down the street from his Washington hotel.  Trump, a wealthy businessman who operates country clubs and resorts, has reportedly profited from at least 10 foreign governments during his time as president. The include the Kuwaiti Embassy, which booked the Trump hotel for an event; a public-relations firm hired by Saudi Arabia that spent $270,000 on rooms, meals and parking at Trump’s hotel in Washington; and Turkey, which used the same facility for a government-sponsored event.

Emoluments Violations- Endless!

Critics argue Trump’s acceptance of payments from foreign governments violates the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which bans elected officials in the United States from accepting gifts or other valuables from foreign leaders. The Constitution states: “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Dozens of lawmakers and several entities have filed suit against Trump alleging violations of the clause, including the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Trump is the framers’ worst-case scenario — a president who would seize office and attempt to exploit his position for personal financial gain with every governmental entity imaginable, across the United States or around the world,” Norman Eisen, the chief White House ethics lawyer for Obama, told The Washington Post.

His Lawyer and Fixer Sent to Jail!

In August, his longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, one of which implicated the Trump Organization in hush-money payments to a woman who said she had an affair with Trump, which could prompt state and federal prosecutors to investigate the company.  Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time lawyer and “fixer” pleaded guilty to federal crimes he says he committed at Trump’s direction. On August 21, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in a federal court in Manhattan to a series of felony crimes involving Trump.  Cohen entered guilty pleas to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, one count of making an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an illegal campaign finance contribution on October 27, 2016 — the day a $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels was finalized. During his plea entry, Cohen said he had made the illegal campaign and corporate contributions “at the direction of the candidate” and with the “purpose of influencing the election.” He did not identify said candidate by name, but the criminal complaint, which refers to said candidate as “individual 1,” said that person became President of the United States in January 2017 — meaning it can be only be President Donald Trump. On December 12, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison. 

His Foundation- A Personal Piggy-Bank and Money Launderer for his Family

The Donald J. Trump Foundation was used to settle its namesake’s personal debts, benefit his business and boost his presidential campaign in violation of the state tax code, according to a lawsuit filed in June by New York’s attorney general. In December, Trump agreed to shut it down under an agreement with the state that called for the charity’s remaining $1.7 million in assets to be given away.

Tax Fraud!

One investigation by The New York Times called Trump’s approach to paying taxes as “outright fraud” noting that Trump had devised, “a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns.” That’s a big deal because this undervaluation enabled the Trump family to underpay inheritance taxes from the senior Trumps’ estate by about 90 percent. The inheritance tax at the time was 55 percent and Fred Trump and his wife left an estate worth more than a billion dollars yet paid about $52.2 million according to tax records. All of this points to tax fraud and more importantly to ongoing fraud that seems to be a good fit with the RICO statute.

Trump Hidden Taxes! Loams from the Russians?

The Oversight Committee acted last year after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified that “Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.” The Financial Services and Intelligence committees said they were looking into money laundering and lending practices. House Democrats have said they believe Trump’s tax returns might provide insights into a question special counsel Robert Mueller never answered: Did Trump borrow money from Russian entities or otherwise do business with them before he became president? He has denied any such relationship. Democrats say that if any existed, that would give Russian President Vladimir Putin leverage over Trump. The House lawyers say the president’s immunity from the burdens of legal process applies only to his official acts, not his personal ones. Grand juries cannot be blocked from investigating a president’s private conduct, they say, because that could hinder the prosecution of a president after leaving office.

 Money Laundering!

Scottish leaders are advocating for an investigation into President Donald Trump over possible money laundering, adding yet another locale to the list of U.S. allies that the Trump administration has alienated. The country’s Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie wants First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to seek a so-called “unexplained wealth order,” which — as its name suggests — demands answers from a target for unexplained wealth. In this case, Harvie is questioning the eventual president’s acquisition of land for both Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire and the Trump Turnberry resort in Ayrshire, which Trump abruptly acquired during the Great Recession. Perhaps Trump will be angrily tweeting about the Scottish Green Party next, considering his well-documented past animosity towards those who even dare to question his behavior and/or motives. Trump has consistently and infamously resisted calls to release his tax returns, which would provide information about where his money actually came from like the funds which he used to purchase that Scottish land. This new Scotland financial debacle follows similar issues in the U.S. House investigators have questioned whether some of Trump’s other business activities functioned as shells for money laundering, and they’ve investigated this possibility alongside credible allegations against Trump of bank fraud, tax fraud, insurance fraud, and more. He routinely artificially adjusted property valuations and more in order to get the most out of whoever he happened to be dealing with at the time.

President Trump has proclaimed himself the “king of debt,” a proud master of “doing things with other people’s money.” So it was quite surprising when Jonathan O’ConnellDavid A. Fahrenthold, and Jack Gillum revealed in a Washington Post story in May that Trump had abruptly shifted strategies and begun spending hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to fund projects. In the nine years before he ran for President, the Post reported, the Trump Organization spent more than four hundred million dollars in cash on new properties—including fourteen transactions paid in full. In fifteen years, he bought twelve golf courses (ten in the U.S., one in Ireland, and a smaller one in Scotland), several homes, and a winery and estate in Virginia, and he paid for his forty-million-dollar share of the cost of building the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. a property leased to Trump by the U.S. government. But his largest cash purchase was the Turnberry, followed by tens of millions of dollars in additional cash outlays for rehabbing the property. Using what appears to be more than half of the company’s available cash to purchase Trump Turnberry makes no obvious sense for any business person, but especially for Donald Trump. It is a bizarre, confounding move that raises questions about the central nature of his business during the years in which he prepared for and then executed his Presidential campaign.

It was reported that President Donald Trump made tens of millions of dollars in profits by allowing Colombian drug cartels and other groups to launder money through a Trump-affiliated hotel in Panama, according to a new investigation by the organization Global Witness.In the early 2000s, Trump was having financial difficulties and began selling his high-profile name to real estate developers around the world, the report said. One of these developed Panama’s Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower. The report said the drug cartels purchased hotel units to hide the origins of money earned through drug trafficking and other criminal activity, and Trump is estimated to have earned tens of millions of dollars from the deals. The report said the Panama project is a textbook case of money laundering. Investing in luxury properties is a tried and trusted way for criminals to move tainted cash into the legitimate financial system, where they can spend it freely,” the report noted. “Once scrubbed clean in this way, vast profits from criminal activities like trafficking people and drugs, organized crime, and terrorism can find their way into the U.S. and elsewhere.”

In 2016 The Wall Street Journal‘s Jean Eaglesham, Mark Maremont, and Lisa Schwartz outlined a specific example of just that sort of structure: “Donald Trump owns a helicopter in Scotland.” To be more precise, he has a revocable trust that owns 99 percent of a Delaware limited liability company that owns 99 percent of another Delaware LLC that owns a Scottish limited company that owns another Scottish company that owns the 26-year-old Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, emblazoned with a red ‘TRUMP’ on the side of its fuselage.” All told, the Journal reported, 15 entities were used at that point to “own” Trump’s fleet of two airplanes and three helicopters. Layer on layer of corporate structure makes it hard for investigators, tax officials, or prying lawyers to figure out who owns what, the underlying source of money for specific transactions, whether taxes are being appropriately paid in a given jurisdiction, or who might be partners in what enterprises.

In 2001, as part of the USA Patriot Act, the Treasury Department was given a new tool against money laundering, known as “Section 311,” after the relevant section of the law, to designate foreign financial institutions, jurisdictions, or entities as “of primary money laundering concern.” A Section 311 designation was meant to help authorities highlight suspicious patterns of activity without having to prove any single transaction was illegal—it’s the rough equivalent for money laundering of the criminal RICO statute, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, that allows prosecutors to take down entire mafia families, drug cartels, and street gangs without having to prove everyone involved knew about or participated in all the various individual crimes.

“We deliberately put these tools together to go after really bad people—organized crime, terrorists, dictators, Chinese Triads,” Sharma says. “You didn’t have to point to a single illegal transaction. The totality of the transactions should give you pause enough that we would want to be sure US institutions scaled back or ceased doing business with them.” The designation, which effectively forces US financial institutions to sever ties with the entity, makes it all but impossible for an entity to participate in the global financial system. In the years since, the US Treasury Department has used Section 311 to go after the banks and front companies that help North Korea evade sanctions, to go after Iran’s nuclear program and terrorism financing, to isolate Syria, to punish banks that helped Saddam Hussein launder money, and to pressure off-shore havens, like the Pacific island of Nauru, that the US believes are complicit in money laundering.

The Trump Taj Mahal casino broke anti-money laundering rules 106 times in its first year and a half of operation in the early 1990s, according to the IRS in a 1998 settlement agreement.  It’s a bit of forgotten history that’s buried in federal records held by an investigative unit of the Treasury Department, records that congressional committees investigating Trump’s ties to Russia have obtained access to, CNN has learned. The casino repeatedly failed to properly report gamblers who cashed out $10,000 or more in a single day, the government said.

Russian Real Estate Deals in Palm Beach County!

In 2008, Trump set a real estate sales record when he sold a since-subdivided estate for $95 million to Dmitry Rybolovlev. A sale is in the works for the last of three Palm Beach vacant lots carved from the oceanfront estate a Russian billionaire bought for a record-setting $95 million from President Donald Trump in 2008, more than eight years before the president took office. So far, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in the fertilizer business, has sold two of his three subdivided lots in the 500 block of North County Road for a combined $71.34 million. The lot at 525 N. County Road is priced at $42 million. As long as it sells for at least $23.66 million, Rybolovlev’s ownership trust will break even,

At least on paper, according to the deeds filed in courthouse records. There’s no reason to suspect that the lot under contract won’t bring at least $24 million, according to real estate observers familiar with the property. The land is in a prime location on a stretch of beachfront known to locals as the North End’s Billionaires Row. Although Palm Beach County courthouse records list the price of the 2008 deal as $95 million, trump has consistently maintained that Rybolovlev actually paid $5 million more. The sale set a U.S. residential price record at the time and still stands as Palm Beach’s largest-ever single seller/single buyer deal.

Why did the Russians do all this? Speier speculates that the real estate transactions happened at a time when Trump needed money. It was the middle of the Great Recession, Trump was having a hard time renting or selling his properties and he owed a boatload to Deutsche Bank and others. He had a Deutsche Bank loan for $640 million and was unable to make payments and he had personally guaranteed $40 million of that debt. Under the circumstances, Trump looked like a target for old fashioned Russian kompromat, Vladimir Putin would extend a lifeline in the form of a favor that might be called in later or never. But the purchase of high-end real estate by many Russian Oligarchs also suggests a money laundering operation in which ill-gotten profits from Russian organized crime would be scrubbed clean through the American real estate market. Money laundering is also prosecutable under RICO.

In one deal in particular, documented by US Representative Jackie Speier in The San Francisco Chronicle, Trump sold a Palm Beach Mansion for $95 million to Dimitry Rybolovlev a Russian Oligarch and billionaire with ties to Vladimir Putin. The transaction drew suspicion because Trump had paid only $41.35 million for the property a few years earlier and the $95 million sale price was not only 230 percent of what Trump paid but it was also $13 million higher than the highest price paid for a Palm Beach mansion. Palm Beach County appraised the house for $59.8 million roughly $35 million less than what Rybolovlev paid. Speier suspects that the deal was more than a one off and her article states, “Russian mobsters frequented and enjoyed the Trump casinos. Russians were heavy purchasers of units in the Trump Tower. So many Russians bought Trump apartments at his developments in Florida that the area became known as Little Moscow. The developers of two of his hotels were Russians with significant links to the Russian mob. The late leader of that mob in the United States, Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov, was living at the Trump Towers. In various real estate deals, Trump, at the very least, had turned a blind eye to apparent Russian money laundering. Why did the Russians do all this? Speier speculates that the real estate transactions happened at a time when Trump needed money. It was the middle of the Great Recession, Trump was having a hard time renting or selling his properties and he owed a boatload to Deutsche Bank and others. He had a Deutsche Bank loan for $640 million and was unable to make payments and he had personally guaranteed $40 million of that debt. Under the circumstances, Trump looked like a target for old fashioned Russian kompromat, Vladimir Putin would extend a lifeline in the form of a favor that might be called in later or never. But the purchase of high-end real estate by many Russian Oligarchs also suggests a money laundering operation in which ill-gotten profits from Russian organized crime would be scrubbed clean through the American real estate market. Money laundering is also prosecutable under RICO.

According to a recent story on Pro Publica when applying for a real estate loan Trump said he, “Took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street.”

The Trumps have supporting information bottled up in litigation against lenders like Deutsche Bank preventing them for the moment from releasing banking information such as loan application records.

The bank records and tax returns could shed much light on Trump’s income sources. For example, it has been well reported that Trump sold high end condominiums to Russian organized crime figures.

His Cabinet – Corruption Large and Small!

Scott Pruitt, former EPA Administrator was facing more than a dozen investigations into his taxpayer-funded travel, questionable spending decisions, use of aides to conduct personal errands and other matters when he resigned July 5. The myriad probes homed in on his actions after joining the agency. But even before he got there, Pruitt, 50, enraged environmentalists—and won praise from conservatives—for targeting the EPA with more than a dozen lawsuits in his former role as Oklahoma attorney general. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned after months of federal investigations into his alleged misuse of taxpayer funds, excessive spending, and conflicts of interest Pruitt reportedly enlisted his government staff to carry out a variety of personal errands, including helping him procure a used Trump Tower mattress, discounted Rose Bowl tickets, Ritz-Carlton lotion, and a new apartment. He also reportedly used his office to help secure a Chick Fil-A franchise for his wife and a White House internship for his daughter. In July 2018, embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned from his position after being plagued by a series of ethics scandals over abuse of government resources and his lavish spending habits.

Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary, may have violated conflict-of-interest rules while divesting hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, two watchdog organizations have alleged. It’s a turnaround for the 80-year-old Commerce Secretary, whose plan to sell assets was praised by Senate Democrats at his confirmation hearing. Now they’ve joined a growing chorus that also includes members of the House calling for investigations of Ross’s actions while unwinding his fortune.

His lawyer said that none of the complaints provide a factual or legal basis for believing Ross violated conflict-of-interest or other laws or engaged in unethical conduct. The New York Times reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had threatened to fire top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees if the agency didn’t disavow a tweet from a regional office that contradicted Trump’s false claim that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit Alabama. Ross called acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs and told him to fix the National Weather Service’s contradiction of Trump’s claim. When Jacobs opposed the demand, Ross told him NOAA’s political staff would be fired, the Times reported.

The bombshell report accused Ross, who managed a private equity firm before joining the administration, of pathologically swindling his business associates out of their share of profits and misleading investors for decades. The article also charged Ross, whose net worth is estimated at $700 million, with failing to follow through on his pledges to charity, not paying his domestic staff, and even swiping hundreds of Sweet ‘N Low packets from a local restaurant.  In response, the Department of Commerce called the article “petty nonsense.” An explosive report in Forbes magazine accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of swindling his associates out of $120 million.

Since 2014, Ross has been the vice-chairman of the board of Bank of Cyprus PCL, the largest bank in Cyprus, which has been mentioned as being involved in money-laundering and nefarious loans. In November 2017, Paradise Papers reporting found that after becoming commerce secretary, Ross retained investments in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company he once controlled which transports petrochemicals for Russian gas and petrochemicals company Sibur. Sibur has American sanctions against it for its close ties to Russian oligarchs Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko, and President Vladimir Putin‘s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov. He had failed to clearly disclose these ties to Russian interests during his confirmation hearings. While his confirmation was pending, Ross promised in a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics to cut ties “with more than 80 financial entities in which he has interests,” played a key role in securing his confirmation. However, according to the leaked documents, while he did divest some holdings, he did not disclose the full extent of those he retained. Senator Richard Blumenthal accused Ross of misleading the Senate Committee on Commerce and the American people by giving the impression that he had divested entirely from Navigator and by not disclosing Navigator’s ties to the Kremlin.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke left the Trump administration in January amid mounting federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest. As Secretary, Zinke opened more federal lands for oil, gas and mineral exploration and extraction.[9] Zinke’s expenditures as Secretary of the Interior, which included expensive flights, raised ethical questions and controversy, and were investigated by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General. His ethical troubles were the subject of a PBS News Hour report on October 19, 2018. On October 30, 2018, the investigation into Zinke was referred to the Justice Department by Interior’s Inspector General!

An explosive Miami Herald investigation revealed that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta played a role in giving billionaire child molester Jeffrey Epstein a lenient sentence as a federal prosecutor. Labor secretary-designate Alex Acosta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at his confirmation before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  The Herald revealed that current US Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta played a key role in securing a drastically reduced sentence for billionaire financier and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein while serving as the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. 

Cabinet Corruption- More- endless!

Prosecutors and law enforcement had enough evidence to put Epstein behind bars for life for molesting at least 80 underage girls in what one detective described as a “sexual pyramid scheme” that went on for years. But Acosta struck a deal with Epstein’s lawyers for Epstein to serve just 13 months in his own private jail cell, register as a sex offender, and pay restitution to victims. Epstein also provided testimony against two former Bear Stearns executives for their role in the 2008 financial crisis.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s investments in a debt-collection company and the nation’s largest operator of for-profit charter schools raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest during her nomination hearings. She agreed to divest those and 100 other holdings. The department later awarded a contract to the debt-collection company, which DeVos said she had nothing to do with. More lies! Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been sued for seizing wages from student loan borrowers, violating provisions of the federal Coronavirus relief bill. DeVos was held in contempt of court and the Education Department must pay a $100,000 fine after a federal judge ruled it failed to stop collecting student loans on a now-defunct college. The rare rebuke came after U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim was “astounded” to discover that DeVos and her department continued to chase more than 16,000 former students from the bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc. for funds allegedly owed earlier this month despite a 2018 order to stop. Kim even threatened DeVos with the prospect of jail time after the shocking revelation—described as “gross negligence” at its best and “intentional flouting” of the order at its worst—but the San Francisco judge settled on the fine and the contempt of court finding in a hearing on Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s use of military aircraft for eight trips that cost taxpayers almost $1 million didn’t violate any laws, according to a report by the department’s inspector general. But the report faulted Mnuchin for a “disconnect between the standard of proof called for… and the actual amount of proof provided” to justify the requests. After the internal investigation, Mnuchin started making more information about his plane trips publicly available. Mnuchin, failed to disclose nearly $100 million of his assets on Senate Finance Committee disclosure documents and forgot to mention his role as a director of an investment fund located in a tax haven, an omission that Democrats said made him unfit to serve in one of the government’s most important positions. Both Trump and Mnuchin inherited money from their families, they have both run businesses accused of widespread racial discrimination and they have given to both parties to hedge their political bets and protect themselves. Mnuchin formed a groups of billionaire investors to buy IndyMac Bank from the FDIC as part of a sweetheart deal. They named it OneWest. The FDIC had taken it over after its 2008 collapse. This group was able to eventually take over $1.5 billion in profits, when the FDIC took the risk, this bank had a horrible record regarding foreclosures and servicing its inherited customers. By the way, one of the investors was George Soros, who the right wing believes is the Devil Incarnate. “There is a sad irony in the image of Steve Mnuchin as a philanthropist, compared to the reality of Mnuchin as the leader of a bank responsible for foreclosing on tens of thousands of American families and senior citizens,” said Paulina Gonzales, of the California Reinvestment Coalition, an NGO which monitors banks. “Steve Mnuchin was greatly enriched by OneWest Bank and now CIT Group, but those banks did little to serve the needs of ordinary families and working class communities.” 

The Department of Homeland Security is investigating whether Brock Long, FEMA Administrator, broke agency rules by using government vehicles to commute from Washington to his home in Hickory, North Carolina. He made regular trips, bringing with him staff who stayed in nearby hotels, according to Politico. House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy has asked Long to see documents related to the travel, and the matter has been referred to federal prosecutors, the Wall Street Journal reported. Long said he’s focused on leading the response to Hurricane Florence.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson allowed his son to help organize an agency listening tour in Baltimore, despite being told by government lawyers that doing so might violate ethics rules. He canceled an order for a $31,000 dining set for his Washington office amid media attention that the expense exceeded a $5,000 limit for office redecoration. Carson has said he had little involvement in the matter. His office didn’t respond to a request for comment. Ben Carson’s record as a neuro surgeon is not pristine either and there were numerous complaints regarding malpractice and concerns from many, many patients. Maryland court records show Carson has been involved in at least a half-dozen malpractice cases, some of which remain pending, while others were either settled or dismissed for untold sums.

That ratio is typical in Carson’s field, experts say, but a number of Carson’s former patients and their families involved in the claims offered the Guardian a conflicting account of his near-perfect medical path toward presidential politics, detailing their continued suffering from paralysis, seizure, an uncontrollable bladder and more life-altering ordeals. But, is the public aware of many of Carson’s outrageous lies in his biography, especially about his “scholarship” to West Point? Carson seems to know very little about our country’s history and even about the “slave trade” that brought hundreds of thousands of Africans to this country, not as “immigrants,” but as slaves!

Tom Price, former Health and Human Services Secretary, was criticized at his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving as a Georgia congressman. The transactions that received the most scrutiny involved privately offered shares of Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., an Australian drug company he learned about from a New York congressman who sits on the company’s board.

But what of the VA and the Trump lies! Candidate Trump loudly and frequently condemned the Obama administration’s treatment of veterans, frequently (and absurdly) arguing that under Obama, veterans were treated worse than undocumented immigrants. Trump, in his typical manner, rarely offered any particular policy critique of the Obama administration’s approach — he just vaguely invoked the scandals (which were better-publicized than the subsequent bipartisan legislation or successful reforms) and tossed it into the general stew of racial and cultural animosity of his campaign message.

Trump was, therefore, somewhat surprised to learn after taking office that veterans liked Bob McDonald, thought he was doing a good job, and broadly opposed rocking the boat. Concurrently, retired Gen. Eric Shinseki was forced out as Secretary of Veterans affairs and replaced by Bob McDonald, a veteran and Procter & Gamble executive whose political contributions over the years had gone exclusively to Republicans. Armed with new authority and new money by the McCain-Sanders legislation and backed by an overwhelming 97-0 confirmation vote, McDonald set about to clean house. And it basically worked.

 But on December 11, the nation’s largest veterans organizations — including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Amvets — came together to tell Trump to keep McDonald.  “We all want McDonald,” Joe Chenelly, the executive director of Amvets, told the New York Times. “He has a good business mind, he is experienced and we feel we can trust him.”

Trump was not, however, willing to admit that his campaign rhetoric had been entirely inaccurate, so he insisted on firing McDonald anyway. As a compromise, he nominated David Shulkin, who had been the VA’s undersecretary for health affairs, to serve as secretary. That paired veterans’ goals of continuity with Trump’s goal of avoiding an admission of error, though, of course, the fact that Shulkin had been specifically tasked with running health programs was an implicit admission that the Obama-era reform process had in fact been successful.

Eventually. Trump’s first Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin resigned following an internal investigation showed he used taxpayer money on flights to Europe and accepted improper gifts. Shulkin’s position had quietly become untenable, and rumors of his departure have percolated for weeks. Shulkin’s relationship with his own staff at Veterans Affairs has become toxic to the point where he’s posted an armed guard outside his office door. As part of the breakdown, the VA communications team has been openly trashing their boss to the press. It was a fairly stunning turn of events for Shulkin, a man who was confirmed by the Senate in a 100-0 vote and spent most of 2017 as the Trump administration’s least controversial Cabinet member.

Trump nominated his personal physician Ronny Jackson to the post. But Jackson’s nomination was derailed when his White House colleagues accused Jackson of over-prescribing opiates and drinking heavily on the job, which contributed to him allegedly sexually harassing female colleagues and drunkenly “wrecking” a government vehicle.  Amid the misconduct allegations and questions over his qualifications to lead a federal agency as large and complex as the VA, Jackson withdrew from consideration.

Another scandal in the most inept and corrupt administration in the history of the United States. When the real story of this rancid group is opened to the world, the administrations of Grant, Harding, Nixon, Reagan, and all the rest will pale in comparison to this unhinged brigand!

A senior Trump administration official misused his office for private gain by capitalizing on his government connections to help get his son-in-law hired at the Environmental Protection Agency, investigators said in a report obtained by The Associated Press.

The Interior Department’s Inspector General found that Assistant Interior Secretary Douglas Domenech reached out to a senior EPA official in person and later by email in 2017 to advocate for the son-in-law when he was seeking a job at the agency.

Investigators said Domenech also appeared to misuse his position to promote a second family member’s wedding-related business to the same EPA official, who was engaged at the time.

The AP obtained the report detailing the investigation in advance of its public release.

It’s the second finding of ethical violations in six months against Domenech, the agency’s assistant secretary for insular and international affairs. Investigators in December found that he broke federal ethics rules by twice meeting with his former employer, a conservative Texas-base

Trump’s White House Staff

Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, amassed an array of business ventures in the two years between his retirement from the military and his White House appointment. Those associations led to complaints about possible conflicts of interest and one criminal charge. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to federal agents about a $530,000 consulting contract he had with Dutch company Inovo BV that was primarily intended to benefit Turkey’s government. He also admitted to lying about his post-election contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who’s also head of the Office of Management and Budget, received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders when he was in Congress. After Trump named him acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he said that wouldn’t pose a conflict because he was no longer in elected office and had no plans to run for one in the future. He later proposed loosening regulations on the industry. A spokesman for Mulvaney said it is ludicrous to think campaign contributions he received years ago while serving in Congress would influence him today.

Press aide Kelly Sadler was caught mocking deceased Sen. John McCain’s terminal cancer diagnosis. On May 10, White House sources told The Hill that press aide Kelly Sadler mocked deceased GOP Sen. John McCain’s terminal diagnosis, joking that his opposition to CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel “didn’t matter” because “he’s going to die soon anyway.”

McCain died of a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer in August 2018. While Sadler left the White House after her remarks leaked, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway told CNN Sadler would be welcome to apply for other roles in the administration.

On July 16, Trump shocked and angered Democrats and Republicans alike during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, when he slammed his political foes and sided with Russia over the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies. 

When asked by a reporter whether he believed the unanimous consensus of the US intelligence community that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election, the president responded, “My people came to me … they said they think it’s Russia” that interfered. Trump added, “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” He added that he had “great confidence” in his “intelligence people” but that Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial” of Russian interference. In the wake of his remarks, a slate of intelligence and national security veterans told INSIDER they believed Trump acted exactly like a “controlled asset” beside his handler.

When Jason Chaffetz called Kellyanne Conway’s hawking of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on television “absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong” and “clearly over the line”, it was supposed to be a reassuring sign. It wasn’t.

This was one of several data-points just from this week showing again that President Donald Trump is not so much draining the swamp, as he famously promised to do, as flooding it or giving it a gilded makeover in his own image. To be honest the new and at times novel tales of violations of ethical norms and rules are coming almost too fast to track; I wrote Friday and again Monday morning about the ways Trump and his administration are abusing their public offices and these new instances have surfaced since I filed the latter column.

First there’s Conway. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (not to be confused with the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller) issued a report Tuesday calling for “disciplinary action” against Conway for “impermissibly mix[ing] official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special [Senate] election” which took place in December. Under the Hatch Act, federal employees are prohibited from engaging in political activities from their official positions, but Conway did just that, according to Special Counsel Henry Kerner, going out of her way to attack Democratic senatorial candidate (and ultimate victor) Doug Jones twice in television interviews in the run-up to the election.  She appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Nov. 20 and CNN’s “New Day” on Dec. 5 and talked about the Alabama Senate race (in the former appearance without being asked about it) in ways that went beyond her remit, per Kerner. (This is Conway’s third apparent ethical violation in the White House.)

More: Conway simply ignored the Office of Special Counsel when it asked her to respond to the allegations of violating the Hatch Act, though the White House counsel’s office did defend her appearances to Kerner. (The counsel’s office also promised that she would respond, which she did not.)

So what? The fact that she was directly warned about violating the Hatch Act and did it anyway indicates a level of confidence that she could violate the law with impunity. And guess what: Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley issued a statement Tuesday saying the White House didn’t think Conway did anything wrong. Not a surprise: The administration blew off the judgment of the independent

And Conway is not alone. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump lists five other Trump appointees who have had run-ins with the Hatch Act. “If this all seems confusing: Fair enough,” he writes. “That’s why the Office of Special Counsel offers training for administration officials about where the legal lines are.”

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman made several bombshell claims against members of the administration in her book “Unhinged.” Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who was fired in December 2017, resurfaced in the public eye this summer to promote her book “Unhinged.”  Aside from releasing a tape she recorded of Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her in Trump’s situation room, Manigault-Newman made a number of claims against members of the administration. 

She said tapes of Trump using the n-word on the set of “The Apprentice” do indeed exist, that Trump had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks releasing hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, and that she walked in on him eating paper in the Oval Office.

Trump and press secretary Sarah Sanders vehemently denied Maginault-Newman’s claims, with Trump calling her a “dog” who “cried and begged” for a job. 

The New York Times reported that former White House counsel Don McGahn provided over 30 hours of testimony in the Mueller probe .Don McGahn voluntarily provided over 30 hours of testimony in the Mueller probe as a self-protection measure out of fear that Trump would make him his “fall guy.” McGahn was present for a number of moments crucial to the Mueller probe’s inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice. Trump reportedly raised the prospect of investigating Comey and Clinton with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who took over following Jeff Sessions’ ouster. The idea was shut down by former White House counsel Don McGahn, who told Trump he didn’t have the authority to order a DOJ investigation and the move would appear to be a politically motivated abuse of power. 

In a move that stunned military and intelligence veterans, Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and threatened to do the same for other former officials who had criticized him.

Trump’s Campaign Manager and Corrupt Fund-raising!

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud, and becomes a cooperating witness in the Mueller probe. On August 21, a jury in Virginia convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts of federal tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts after a dramatic weeks-long trial. Manafort was prosecuted and tried as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. A mistrial was declared on an additional 10 charges filed against Manafort after the jury failed to come to a consensus.  “It doesn’t involve me, but it’s a very sad thing that happened,” Trump said in response to the conviction. “This has nothing to with Russian collusion…this has absolutely nothing to do — this is a witch hunt.”

Elliott Broidy, a former RNC Deputy Finance Chairman, a Los Angeles money manager, forged a relationship with Trump by raising millions of dollars for his presidential campaign. After the election, he sought to make that relationship pay off. According to documents later stolen from his computer and leaked to the media, Broidy explored lucrative consulting arrangements with a sanctioned Russian company and a Malaysian financier under criminal investigation, neither of which panned out. His defense-contracting firm did win business from foreign governments.

A month before taking office, Trump named Carl Icahn, a Wall Street billionaire he’s known for decades, as his special adviser on regulatory reform. The informal, unpaid title didn’t require the financier to give up control of his $20 billion business empire. It soon became clear there was only one regulation Icahn wanted to reform: an Environmental Protection Agency rule on ethanol credits he said was costing refineries he owns hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Roger Stone, a longtime Republican strategist and sometime confidant of Donald Trump, was arrested in Florida on Jan. 25 and charged with obstructing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and lying about his communication with WikiLeaks. The indictment says Stone served as a link between the Trump campaign and the release of Democratic National Committee emails stolen by state-sponsored Russian hackers to embarrass Hillary Clinton.

White House Leaks- Constantly!

An anonymous White House staffer published a New York Times op-ed claiming to be part of an anti-Trump “resistance” in the administration.  On Sept. 5, The New York Times opinion section published an anonymous op-ed from a senior Trump administration official who claimed to be part of a “silent resistance” of White House staffers reining in Trump’s “more misguided impulses.” 

“Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the unnamed person wrote of President Donald Trump. “I would know. I am one of them.” “We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in response. 

“This is a new low for the so-called ‘paper of record,’ and it should issue an apology, just as it did after the election for its disastrous coverage of the Trump campaign,” she added, despite the fact The Times never apologized for its 2016 coverage. The Times also did not apologize for publishing the op-ed. 

These include his firing of FBI Director James Comey, his efforts to force attorney general Jeff Sessions to oversee the Russia probe after recusing himself, his knowledge of Michael Flynn’s criminal offenses, and reported attempts to fire Mueller himself. McGahn has since left the administration. 

Trump reportedly sought to compel the Department of Justice to investigate James Comey and Hillary Clinton, two of his political opponents. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker speaks at the Dept. of Justice’s Annual Veterans Appreciation Day Ceremony, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, at the Justice Department in Washington.  In November 2018, the New York Times and CNN reported that Trump wanted to order the Department of Justice to open investigations into James Comey and Hillary Clinton, two of his political foes.

Trump reportedly raised the prospect of investigating Comey and Clinton with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who took over following Jeff Sessions’ ouster. The idea was shut down by former White House counsel Don McGahn, who told Trump he didn’t have the authority to order a DOJ investigation and the move would appear to be a politically motivated abuse of power. 

The White House was ordered by a judge to re-instate CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after revoking it. CNN’s Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to attend a hearing on legal challenge against President Donald Trump’s administration.

The White House took the extraordinary step of revoking CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard press pass after releasing video that sought to portray him “putting his hands” on a press aide, which independent experts said was intentionally doctored.  CNN took the White House to court, and a federal judge ruled in Acosta’s favor, granting his request for a temporary restraining order to have his pass restored.  The White House then decided to fully restore Acosta’s press pass, prompting CNN to drop their lawsuit. They also issued new, stricter rules for the media to follow during briefings. 

 The Washington Post reported Ivanka Trump conducted government business with a private, unsecured email account. The Post reported that White House adviser Ivanka Trump regularly used a private email account using a domain shared with her husband Jared Kushner for official government business, sending “hundreds” of mainly logistical and scheduling emails to other officials from the private email address.

“She was the worst offender in the White House,” a former senior government official familiar with the review of Ivanka’s emails told The Post about her email usage, which could violate the Presidential Records Act. While Trump frequently attacked his opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email address and server while she was secretary of state, he defended his daughter Ivanka’s conduct.  “Ivanka did some emails, they weren’t classified like Hillary Clinton, they weren’t deleted like Hillary Clinton … she wasn’t doing anything to hide her emails,” Trump said.

 The US Border Patrol faced backlash for using tear gas on a group of migrants seeking entry at the United States border, including women and children. A migrant family, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, run away from tear gas in front of the border wall between the U.S and Mexico in Tijuana, Mexico November 25, 2018. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

US Customs & Border Patrol faced backlash after using tear gas on a group of Central American migrants attempting to storm the border at the Tijuana port of entry, including several young children.

“We ran, but when you run the smoke asphyxiates you more,” Ana Zuniga, a 23-year-old woman from Honduras, told the AP while holding her 3-year-old daughter. The use of tear gas against unarmed migrants was slammed by civil and human rights groups around the world. 

Trump defended the border patrol’s actions, calling it “a very minor form of the tear gas itself” that he said was “very safe.” “Why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming and it’s going to be formed and they were running up with a child?” he added, asserting without evidence that many of the women gassed were not real parents but “grabbers” who came to the border with children who were not their own. 

Firing of Whistle Blowers

 The firing of whistle blowers has become a pre-occupation of Trump! Rick Bright was in the process of filing what promises to be a damning whistleblower complaint to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, President Donald Trump announced that he was firing the inspector general, Christi Grimm, and nominating a handpicked replacement. “Two weeks ago, Bright, who, as deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for HHS, oversaw the government’s purchase and funding of vaccines, treatments, and tests for the coronavirus, said he had been forced out of his job because he refused to cave to pressure to adopt scientifically unproven treatments for Covid-19.

“I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” wrote in a statement released by his lawyers, as The Intercept reported at the time.

Grimm became inspector general in January and came under attack from Trump after her office published a report pointing out severe shortages of testing supplies and personal protective equipment. In a tweet, Trump called the report, which was based on interviews with hospital administrators from 323 hospitals in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, “another Fake Dossier” because Grimm had worked for the Obama administration. In fact, while she did serve under Barack Obama, Grimm, who been in the IG’s office since 1999, has also worked for the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Trump’s nominee to replace Grimm is attorney Jason Weida. He also fired Intelligence Community Inspector-General Michael Atkinson, Department of Defence, IG, Glenn Fine, State Department IG, Steve Linick and Department of Transporttion, IG Mitch Behm. The role of an inspector general is important throughout our government and is meant to work independently to root out waste, fraud, and abuse at every level, all with total detachment from politics,” Risch said. “When Congress created that position, this official was designated to serve at the discretion of the president as part of his control of the executive branch. It is the president’s prerogative and within his authority to make decisions regarding the adequacy of performance and continued employment of the inspector general. I have been in contact with the administration over this matter and expect to continue to learn more.”

Sexual Assault Allegations:

Where and when: Various, 1970s-2005

The dirt: Even before the release of a 2005 video in which he boasted about sexually assaulting women—“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” he said, as well as “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything”—there’s a long line of allegations against Trump. Jill Harth says Trump assaulted her in the 1990s. Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump once suggested he had raped her, though she has since recanted her story. Former Miss Utah Temple Taggart said he kissed her on the lips inappropriately.

But since the release, more women have come forward. Two told The New York Times that Trump had assaulted them, one saying he tried to put his hand up her skirt on a flight in the 1970s and another saying he forcibly kissed her. A Florida woman says Trump groped her. A former People reporter recounted an alleged assault at his Mar-a-Lago debate, and says he told her, “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?” Several former teen pageant contestants said Trump walked in on them while they were naked or partially Trump denies all of the allegations. In the sexual-assault cases,

Trump faces the difficulty that he in some cases bragged openly about just the behavior of which he has accused—whether grabbing or forcibly kissing. Trump has demanded a retraction from the Times, and has threatened to sue several outlets. The paper, in a letter, refused. A woman who brought a rape case against Trump (twice) withdrew her suit in November, but in January, Summer Zervos sued Trump for defamation, after he labeled her claims of sexual assault false.

Women, Women, Women!

Trump has got a problem!

  1. Three wives
  2. Two visas violators
  3. Ivana Zelnickova Trump
  4. Melania Knauss Trump
  5. One Sex trade Worker
  6. Melania Knauss
  7. Two adulterers
  8. Marla Maples Trump
  9. Melania Knauss Trump
  10. Two sexual affairs paid off by Cohen
  11. Karen McDougal- she’s suing him
  12. Stormy Daniels-she’s suing him and has tapes
  13. Nineteen women accusers of sexual attacks
  14. Kristan Anders
  15. Mariah Billado
  16. Lisa Boyne
  17. Rachel Crook
  18. Tasha Dixon
  19. Jessica Drake
  20. Jill Harth
  21. Cathy Heller
  22. Samantha Holvery
  23. Ninni Laaksoner
  24. Jessica Leeds
  25. Melinda McGillivray
  26. Cassanda Searles
  27. Natasha Stoynoff
  28. Bridget Sullivan
  29. Temple Taggart
  30. Ivana Trump
  31. Karena Virginia
  32. Summer Zervos
  33. Two White House Women
  34. Hope Hicks
  35. Omarosa Manigault-Newman- she’s got tapes
  36. Miss Teen USA
  37. Leering in the locker room
  38. Bragging about it
  39. Rape Case of a 13 year old
  40. Katie Johnson
  41. Rape case of an adult
  42. Jean Carrol ( she is now suing the Mad King for defamation)

The Beauty Pageant Scandals- 

Where and when: Various, 1992-present

The dirt: The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser reports on the mess of the American Dream pageant in 1992. After years of attending beauty pageants—Trump seems to have always enjoyed the company of beautiful, scantily clad women—he decided he wanted to get in on the business himself, meeting with George Houraney and Jill Harth, a couple that ran the American Dream pageant. It was an ill-fated effort. Harth and Houraney alleged that Trump started making passes at her almost immediately. On one occasion, Trump allegedly asked them to bring some models to a party. Harth alleges Trump groped her at the party. In a limo afterward, another model said she heard him say that “all women are bimbos” and most “gold diggers.” Trump reportedly joined another model in bed, uninvited, late at night. On other occasions, he forced Harth into bedrooms and made passes at her, she said. But after the contest, Trump broke off dealings. Harth sued Trump, alleging sexual misbehavior, while the couple together sued him for breach of contract. In the suit, they also alleged that Trump had kept black women out of the pageant.

The Top 6 Trump Administration Plagiarism Scandals (So Far)

 Op-ed Written By President Trump’s Campaign (March 16, 2016)

  • Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention Speech (July 19. 2016)
  • Monica Crowley’s Book, Dissertation and Columns (Jan 7, 2017)
  • Ben Carson’s Prepared HUD Testimony (January 12, 2017)
  • The Inauguration Address (January 20, 2017)
  • The Inauguration Cake (January 20, 2017)

Executive Branch Turnover- Unprecedented!

The Trump Administrations Turnover- record levels

There have been over 570 members of the Trump Executive Branch who have left the Administration. There have been 75 nominees withdrawn because of improper vetting or other problems These Commission Members have left or were dismissed:

Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity- disbanded-12

HIV/Aids Advisory Board- disbanded 10 fired, 6 resigned

Commission on the Arts – 16 resigned. Commission on Strategy and Policy/Manufacturing Council Strategy of 17 resigned and the Pandemic Team dissolved!

US Attorneys dismissed -46

Trump and the Environment

Last, but not least!

The environmental reversals of the Trump Administration reflective of his administration’s anti-environmental agenda. These policies are almost too long to list!

  1. Ending protection for Migratory Birds, a policy going back 20 administrations,100 years in 2018.
  2. President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will no longer regard climate change by name as a national security threat. The stance marks an abrupt turn from the Obama administration, which in 2015 described climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security,” given its effects on natural disasters, conflicts over food and water, and refugee crises.


  1. In contrast, the Trump administration’s national security strategy, published Monday, discusses climate change only within the context of U.S. energy policy. “Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system, [and] U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests,” the report reads. “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”
  2. As National Geographic has previously reported, humans’ dramatic alteration of the global climate is not only scientific fact, but it also poses numerous security threats to the United States and the world. Depending on the region, extreme weather events—such as droughts, wildfires, heatwaves, and torrential rains—may become more frequent and intense under climate change, posing threats to military installations and civilian communities alike. As weather patterns change, some disease-bearing creatures such as mosquitoes will enjoy longer active seasons over wider areas, exacerbating threats to public health. In addition, rising seas threaten to cripple coastal military infrastructure, an ongoing concern at the U.S. Navy’s installation in Norfolk, Virginia. Melting ice means that the normally ice-clogged Arctic is poised to transform into a major shipping route, altering regional geopolitics. Warmer, more acidic waters will kill off many coral reefs, which supply food and income to millions. And as sea levels rise, flooding will displace coastal populations.
  3. In a speech delivered in Salt Lake City, President Trump announced his intention to sharply reduce two Utah national monuments established by his predecessors. In a move presaged by leaked government documents, Trump announced that he would reduce the 1.35-million acre Bears Ears National Monument, created by President Barack Obama in late 2016, by 85 percent. The president also said he would cut the 1.88-million acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996, nearly in half.
  4. President Trump signs an executive order that orders a review of Obama-era bans on offshore oil and gas drilling in parts of the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. The Obama policies under review include a five-year oil leasing roadmap that excluded Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and a December 2016 attempt to permanently ban drilling on wide swaths of Arctic and Atlantic waters. NPR reports that the order also halts the designation or expansion of National Marine Sanctuaries, unless the move includes an Interior Department estimate of the area’s “energy or mineral resource potential.” Conservation groups immediately announce their intent to defend Obama’s December 2016 effort in court.
  5. The U.S. Department of Interior has proposed auctioning off oil and gas leases for 77 million acres of federal waters within the Gulf of Mexico—the largest lease auction of its kind ever announced. In an October 23 statement, the Interior Department says that it will auction off the oil and gas leases for all available unleased areas on the Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf, in waters off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The auction is about a million acres larger than the most recent auction of its ilk, which occurred under the Obama administration in August 2016.
  6. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is poised to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the lynchpin of the Obama Administration’s effort to combat climate change, the New York Times reported Monday. In a speech delivered in Hazard, Kentucky, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that he will sign a proposal on Tuesday that would eliminate the Clean Power Plan (CPP), claiming that “the war on coal is over.” Unveiled in 2015, the Clean Power Plan mandated that the U.S. power sector’s carbon emissions be cut by 32 percent from 2005 by 2030 (870 million tons of CO2), slashing the single biggest contributor to the country’s overall carbon footprint.
  7. The Trump administration has suspended a study of health risks to residents who live near mountaintop removal coal mine sites in the Appalachian Mountains. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was asked by the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in an August 18 letter to “cease all activities” involved in the two-year, $1 million research project while the department undertakes a review of projects costing more than $100,000. The review was prompted by “the department’s changing budget situation,” the letter said.
  8. President Trump has signed an executive order revoking federal flood-risk standards that incorporated rising sea levels predicted by climate science. Trump’s new executive order claims to improve federal infrastructure decisions by quickening and streamlining the environmental review process. A single sentence takes the additional step of revoking Executive Order 13690, signed by President Barack Obama on January 30, 2015.
  9. The Department of the Interior has released the results of a 60-day review of the Obama administration’s conservation plan to protect the greater sage grouse. The review, ordered in June by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, was intended to determine if that plan interferes with Trump administration efforts to increase energy production on federal lands. In light of the newly published review, Secretary Zinke recommends reprioritizing oil development within the broader 2015 plan, among other changes. Environmental groups have rebuked the overhaul, arguing that changes to the 2015 plan could dilute protections for the species.
  10. The Trump Administration this week cancelled a rule that would have helped prevent endangered whales and sea turtles from becoming entangled in fishing nets off the U.S. West Coast. Proposed in 2015, the rule would have closed the swordfish gill net fishery for up to two years if any two individual endangered whales or sea turtles were killed or seriously hurt within a two-year period. The same penalties would have applied if any combination of four bottlenose dolphins or short-finned pilot whales were injured or killed within a two-year period
  11. President Trump said that he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, steering away from a group of 194 other countries that have promised to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The news came just days after he attended the G7 Summit in Italy, where the six other member countries—Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom—reaffirmed their commitment to the 2015 climate pact.
  12. President Trump’s 2018 budget, sent to Congress Tuesday, calls for massive cuts in scientific research and in a slew of environmental programs that protect air and water. The proposed budget, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” slashes the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent – a steeper cut than any other agency. Those cuts could translate into a $2.7 billion spending reduction and the loss of 3,200 jobs, according to an analysis by the World Resources Institute. The proposed budget eliminates major programs to restore the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Puget Sound. It ends the EPA’s lead-risk reduction and radon detection programs and cuts funding for the Superfund cleanup program.
  13. The EPA dismisses several members of the Board of Scientific Counselors, an 18-member advisory board that reviews the research of EPA scientists. Some of the dismissed scientists had been assured that their three-year terms on the board would be renewed. In a May 7 story by the New York Times, critics assailed the move, casting it as a gift to business interests at the expense of science. An EPA spokesperson said the decision allowed the agency to consider a more diverse pool of applicants, including industry representatives, for the board.
    In addition, the Washington Post reported on May 8 that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has started reviewing more than 200 advisory boards and other entities associated with the Interior Department.








Why Should the Blue Collar Working American Vote Republican? They Shouldn’t! Reflections on the Last Election! 11-20=22 Richard J. Garfunkel

By voting for the average Republican incumbent or challenger you get the following: more inaction on jobs, infrastructure, education, civil rights and liberties and tax relief for America’s wealthiest. You also get a Congress that is against healthcare for all Americans, but has no alternative plan. You vote for a Congress that will repeal the Federal Inheritance Tax, which affects a tiny percentage of the wealthiest 1% of all Americans ($12 million plus in assets). You also vote for a Congress that is completely against women’s health, including: Choice, Birth Control, and Planned Parenthood. But, what about the minimum wage, the sanctity of Social Security and Medicare? What about their plans for de-regulation? Does that mean more fracking in watershed areas? Does that mean less clean air and more reliance on dirty coal? But what about education? Does that mean more undermining public education, lower salaries for teachers or support for Charter Schools?

So here are some realities:

  1. Healthcare costs- Under the so-called Trumpcare Plan- costs will go up, caps, limitations and exclusions will return, and there will be no engine for financing! Therefore, what benefit will be achieved? The Republicans claim there will be more insurers, why? Higher premiums, less benefits and a return to healthcare before the ACA. By the way WHERE is it?
  2. Taxes- Most Blue collar working Americans are paying low Federal income taxes or none. Their taxes have not gone up under President Obama, and if any costs have gone up they are at the state level. What tax benefit would come with the Trump/GOP Plan- high earners and corporations would get the vast amount of tax savings, adding to the deficit, a cut in services that are specifically directed to working class Americans. The Reagan tax cuts lowered the top bracket from 70% to 28%, benefitted the wealthy, quadrupled the National Debt, added jobs in the Defense Sector and the revenues brought in never matched the deficit.
  3. The Budget- Under the budget proposed by Trump there would be an increase in Defense spending of $54 billion, a $20-25 billion wall across the Mexican border and an unlimited ancillary cost of its maintenance. The offsetting savings will come out of healthcare, science, the arts, etc. But what are the real numbers!


  1. Depart of Labor -21%
  2. EPA-31%
  3. Agriculture-21%
  4. Health and Human Service -18%
  5. Education -14%
  6. Housing and Urban Development -13%
  7. Transportation -13%
  8. Interior—12%
  9. Energy -6%
  10. Small Business Administration -5%

How come it is ancient history that in 2008, we were in the midst of another economic meltdown caused by unregulated markets? Is there any connection to the recent Wells Fargo scandal? You can bet on it.  Is the average American suffering? No! Is this the worst recovery since the Great Depression? No! Are there job losses authored by Wall Street, which has nothing to do with NAFTA? Yes! Is our military 2nd rate? Of course not! Is Washington broken? Yes, and who is the cause? One doesn’t have to look much further than the GOP leadership.

So, we keep on hearing from the Trump Talking Heads, that this election is about the dispossessed American, the terrible recovery, the decline of America, how weak or armed forces are, and that Washington is broken. But, who broke Washington? Along with those fables, how come the moderators have zero knowledge of our history? What happened from the beginning of the Progressive Era from Teddy Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson? What were the working, social, and economic conditions of the era? Were they in need of change? Of course. But, who opposed that change? The same people who oppose progressive reform today!

These news readers, seem to have forgotten our advancement from the days to the Crash and the great progressive gains from FDR through Truman, to the Great Society and up and through President Obama. Did they conveniently forget who created twice as many jobs? Did they forget how well markets did under Democrats and how wages went up for most Americans. Did they forget how the GOP de-regulators and tax cutters gave us most of the recessions, since Truman and the Savings & Loan trillion dollar debacle, the quadrupling of the National Debt under Reagan and Bush 41? Maybe they have no clue.

How come it is ancient history that in 2008, we were in the midst of another economic meltdown caused by unregulated markets? Is there any connection to the recent Wells Fargo scandal? You can bet on it.  So here we are in the midst of a campaign, where the American public has to confront these myths. Is the average American suffering? No! Is this the worst recovery since the Great Depression? No! Are there job losses authored by Wall Street, which has nothing to do with NAFTA? Yes! Is our military 2nd rate? Of course not! Is Washington broken? Yes, and who is the cause? One doesn’t have to look much further than the GOP leadership, which has failed to schedule hearings for Federal Judges and numerous other presidential appointments. Almost a record have not been confirmed. So who is filibustering, not addressing problems of jobs, education and our infrastructure? Is it the Democrats, or the candidates the GOP supports? Splitting one’s ballot will bring more gridlock, obfuscation and regression. Don’t do it!




The Golden Age of Hollywood, What and Who Will be Remembered! Richard J. Garfunkel 2-14-2023

From 1920 through 1940 was probably considered Hollywood’s Golden Age. In the early part of this era, Hollywood had come of age with the change from dominance of the Director, to that of the Star. The early films were dominated by directors from DW Griffith to stage directors from the theater to foreigners, like Erich von Stroheim (in actuality, his name was Erich Oswald Stroheim, and he was Jewish and not a Junker), who’s masterpiece was Greed and others as Joseph von Sternberg to the great comic directors Max Sennett and Charlie Chaplin.

The Hollywood Moguls, who ran the major studios: MGM, Paramount, Columbia, and Warner Brothers, went through a consolidation period and by the mid to late 20’s their ownership was securely in place. People like Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, Adolph Zuckor, and Harry Cohn, became household names. Other competitors would come into the business like United Artists, with stars Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Chaplin with the lighting personnel they needed and all the other critical workers. Of course, beyond Chaplin, Pickford and Fairbanks there was the concerted effort to import Europeans to Hollywood, Thus the greatest import, Charlie Chaplin, along with film producer and director, DW Griffith, decided to make their own movies. Smaller firms would eventually emerge like RKO, Universal, and International along with independent producers; the most notable being; Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer’s son in law, David O. Selznick of Gone With the Wind fame. Eventually the last big player to emerge was 20thCentury-Fox.

Thus, the Golden Age went from the dominance of the Director to the rise of the Hollywood Star. The studios decided to make stars of actors, sign them to long-term contracts and use them as they wished. In this way, they had much greater control of their industry. The Director became a hired hand, just like the writers, and all the other components of making films, from the camera operators, to the film editors, as well as the actors, foreign, more exotic imports like; Rudolf Valentino, Vilma Banky, Ramon Navarro and others. In the same vein, other American stars of that era were Buster Keaton, John Barrymore, Lon Chaney, and Lilian Gish. Eventually, one star Greta Garbo, signed by Metro, would preempt and eclipse all the others, foreign and native born.. She would be a major star in both eras of the Golden Age.

As the Silent Era basically ended in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, and its dynamic star Al Jolson. The Sound Era, of Talking Pictures would kill off almost all the great stars of the silent era, including the Gish sisters, Mary Pickford, Fairbanks, Navarro (Valentino had died in 1926 at age 31), John Gilbert, Lon Chaney and many, many others, who were unable to have the proper speaking voice, couldn’t read lines, or had heavy foreign accents. The ones who remained were mostly stage actors, with great voices like Ronald Colman, John Barrymore, Leslie Howard, and others who were able to speak well and deliver their lines, like Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy, Mary Astor, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Carol Lombard, William Powell, and Boris Karloff.

Thus, the Golden Era of twenty years could be divided into two distinct eras; 1920 to 1929 and 1930 to 1940, when WWII started to change the whole dynamic of Hollywood. In the latter era, scores of Jewish and other European refugees flocked to both America and Hollywood, fleeing from a Europe in turmoil.

The beginning of the New Age, and thus the eventual decline of Hollywood and the studio system, would probably began with Casablanca which featured mostly foreign actors, aside from the main star, Humphrey Bogart. The cast included; Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Sidney Greenstreet, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, and European refugees: most notably, Madeleine Lebeau, Leonid Kinsley, Curt Bois, SZ Sakall, Marcel Dalio, Ludwig Stossel, Wolfgang Zilzer and their Director, Michael Curtiz ( a Hungarian Jew, born Mano Kaminer).

Historically, the most profitable era of Hollywood’s Golden Age expanded exponentially as the talking movies emerged in the period from 1928 through 1930. The Hollywood studios also began to build and buy up the existing inventory of movie theaters. This allowed hundreds, if not thousands, of “in-house” outlets for immediate distribution of films. But, in the postwar era that would change dramatically. Eventually United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.,(1948) (also known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948,) a landmark United States anti-trust case decided the fate of film studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would show their movies. It would also change the way Hollywood movies were produced, distributed and exhibited. The Supreme Court affirmed (a District Court’s ruling) in this case that the existing distribution scheme was in violation of the United States Sherman and Clayton anti-trust law, which prohibit certain exclusive dealing arrangements. In plain language, the studios were force to sell the theaters.

The case is important both in U.S. antitrust law and film history. In the former, it remains a landmark decision in vertical integration cases; in the latter, it is responsible for putting an end to the old Hollywood studio system. Another earlier ruling, emerged from the contractual system used universally in Hollywood. Industry lawyers in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s took the position that an exclusive personal services contract should be treated as suspended during the periods when the artist was not actually working. Since no artist could be working every single day (that is, including holidays and weekends), this interpretation meant that two, or later seven, years of actual service would be spread over a much longer calendar period, thus extending the time during which the studio system had complete control of a young artist’s career.

In response, actress Olivia de Havilland filed a lawsuit on August 23, 1943 against Warner Brothers which was backed by the Screen Actor’s Guild. The lawsuit resulted in a landmark decision of the California Court of Appeals for the 2nd District in De Havilland’s favor on December 8, 1944. In a unanimous opinion signed by Justice Clement Lawrence Shinn, the three-justice panel adopted the common sense view that seven years from the commencement of service means seven calendar years. Since De Havilland had started performance under her Warner annual contract on May 5, 1936 (which had been renewed six times pursuant to its terms since then), and seven calendar years had elapsed from that date, the contract was no longer enforceable and she was free to seek projects with other studios.

Another earlier case served to erode the almighty power of the studios. Bette Davis, a major star under contract to Warner Brothers, was unhappy with the type of pictures she was forced to make by the studio. She also felt that to advance in her career meant being offered good scripts with talented directors. However, in the studio era of Hollywood, actors had very little control about what films they were offered. In 1936, she left in protest and went to England on a two film deal. The studio, however, procured an injunction against her for having left the States to do films in England. She fought back by taking them to court. Unfortunately, she lost the battle — yet, all the more remarkably, rather than being blackballed by the studio, from then on she started getting the kind of parts she felt she deserved. The power of the studios wasn’t broken, but the ability of major stars to balk at what they were assigned, go into voluntary retirement, for a time, or create adverse headlines, started the erosion of studio power.

As this Golden Age continues to fade into the past, movies made before WWII are now over 80 years old. The original audiences for those films are mostly gone, and the generation of their children is aging quickly. Most of the Baby Boomers who were born right after WWII and grew up with those movies and the star system, are in their 70s. Their grandchildren will be mature almost 100 years after the start of WWII. With that in mind, will this generation care about these movies?

What then will be the memorable films that this new generation watches? Will they ignore almost all the black and white films? Will they reject the films that showed American Blacks, Italians and other ethnics in deprecating roles? What will their feelings be about the films which ignored the reality of the rise of fascism in Europe? Almost all the studios ignored the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and the abuse of their Jewish population, except Warner Brothers. Even the mere mention of Jews being victims in Germany were removed from films like, Mr. Skeffington. Great films like, Gone With the Wind along with others about the antebellum era like, Jezebel, The Little FoxesThe Little Rebel, Young Abe Lincoln, Showboat seem to have denigrated the incredible abuse and brutality of slavery. In fact, it basically ignored one of the greatest crimes in history. Almost all the roles in Hollywood offered to Black Americans were in subservient roles, as: maids, servants, street cleaners, porters, etc. In truth, those were the jobs that most Blacks were allowed to have. They weren’t the only groups who were stereotyped.

Of course, there were many great films in that era, which culminated in their most memorable year, 1939, with pictures like the afore mentioned Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Gunga Din, Ninotchka, and Goodbye Mr. Chips. Many of these same films are still quite enjoyable, certainly well made, and to a degree, relevant. As for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it was an enjoyable film that was hardly realistic, but it certainly sent a message. Let us not forget that in 1938, and other years there were some wonderful films, but are they really relevant to audiences 80 to100 years distant, in the 21st Century? Are they mostly a stylized, unrealistic, and romantic view of life in America, which distorted the world as it really existed? As WWII changed the reality of thinking around the world, one very stark, and realistic Hollywood film, The Grapes of Wrath, released in in 1940, comes to mind. No other film of that period so graphically illustrated the desperation of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl that devastated Oklahoma and the heartland of America.

There have been countless books on that era and the major films from the beginning of the modern era of movies until our entry into WWII. Of course, not long after this Era started to wane, two films came forward that are widely accepted as the best of the best, Citizen Kane (1941) and Casablanca (1942). Both films were quite different from each other. One, Citizen Kane, came from a complete upstart and newcomer to Hollywood, the Boy Genius, Orson Welles. The other, Casablanca, was a pure creature of the studio system from Warner Brothers. No two films of that Era could be so completely different. As for Casablanca, it was dominated by stars with a remarkable cast, bolstered by scores of European refugees. It created a character in Humphrey Bogart, which had been evolving from the Maltese Falcon and High Sierra, both released in 1941. He became the prototype of an anti-hero, the cynical, tough, vulnerable, world-weary, character whose honesty and personal motives were ones to be questioned. After Casablanca, and with over twenty years’ experience as an actor, he would become, at age forty-three, the most enduring star of the postwar era and the 2ndhalf of the 20th Century. As for the Citizen Kane, its creator and major star, Orson Welles, at age 25, was truly a wunderkind. But, no matter how interesting and brilliant he was, he would never reach that same level of artistic and dramatic achievement and notoriety. By the way, Citizen Kane was made outside the major studios on the lots of RKO Pictures.

As for the stars of the 2nd half of the Golden Era, the ones who come to mind, who I think will be remembered are; Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Fred Astaire. There are some other marvelous stars, which include, Paul Muni, Frederic March, Ronald Colman, Leslie Howard, Gary Cooper, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, William Powell, Carol Lombard, Claudette Colbert, Gary Grant, Jimmy Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Olivia De Havilland, Joan Crawford, and John Barrymore. Interestingly, a star of the later 1940s and the 1950’s, Gene Kelly, has stated, that in the future, only Fred Astaire will be remembered. He may have a point


National Debt through the Years: Republican Recessions and Expensive Recoveries- 2-13-2023 Richard J. Garfunkel

The National Debt on September 30, 2017, the end of the fiscal year was $20.4 trillion. On September 30, 2021 the National Debt was $30 trillion. Obama added $6.9 trillion to the Debt in eight years following the Great Recession, the worst economic period we endured since the Great Depression.

In four years, from the end of the Fiscal Year in 2017 until September 30, 2021 the Debt increased $9.6 trillion in just four years. As of today, two weeks short of the Fiscal Year, the National Debt is at $30.9 trillion.

If once counts the increase in Debt from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021, the numbers increased from $19.9 trillion to $27.8 trillion, or $7.9 trillion.

Donald Trump: Added $7.5 billion, a 37.5% increase from $20.24 trillion at the end of Trump’s last budget FY, 2021

Barack Obama: Added $8.588 trillion, a 74-percent increase from the $11.657 trillion debt at the end of Bush’s last budget, FY 2009. (note FY 2009 added)

  • attributed to the recovery from the Great recession.

George W. Bush: Added $5.849 trillion, a 101-percent increase from the $5.8 trillion debt at the end of Clinton’s last budget, FY 2001.

Bill Clinton: Added $1.396 trillion, a 32-percent increase from the $4.4 trillion debt at the end of George H.W. Bush’s last budget, FY 1993.

George H.W. Bush: Added $1.554 trillion, a 54-percent increase from the $2.857 trillion debt at the end of Reagan’s last budget, FY 1989.

Ronald Reagan: Added $1.86 trillion, a 186-percent increase from the $998 billion debt at the end of Carter’s last budget, FY 1981.

  • Outside of the COVID-19 Relief Bills passed, Trump increased spending on agriculture more than any other area, jumping 194% between 2017 and 2019, from $14.2b to $41.7b
  • Of the $1 trillion federal budget in 2020, $893 billions a deficit and half of that will be owed to China
  • Trump cut corporate tax rates from 35% in 2017 to 21%in 2018
  • The highest federal Income tax rate was reduced from 39.6% to 37%at the start of 2018

Who is Responsible for the National Debt? The Republicans Mostly!

Civil War which raised the Debt over 478% in 1862, WWI which increased it 155% in 1918, and WWII which also raised it 88% in 1943. Of course these were considered national emergencies and quite necessary and spending increased because of Korea, Vietnam and the two Gulf Wars.

The years after WWI saw national spending shrink in the first 11 years of Republican Administrations, as Harding-Coolidge and Hoover starved the government and the deficit shrunk from $24 billion to $16 billion. But that public policy created the conditions of “supply-side” economics and led to the Great Depression. Hoover tried spending in 1932 as he raised the National Debt over $ 3 billion, but it was too little and too late. The economic disaster of the Depression was well on the way until FDR and the New Deal.

Even in the heart of the New Deal, where recovery was critical, the Debt only increased 20% in 1934. In fact the spending of the whole New Deal was estimated at $60 billion, which was a lot of money in those days. In fact, the total National Debt went from 1933 through 1938 from $22 billion to $37 billion. Taxes on the American public, especially the rich, funded most of the cost of the recovery from, PWA, WPA, CCC, and AAA. But if you look at what was built in the New Deal, the cost was worth it; regarding roads, airports, schools, bridges, dams and an unprecedented amount of public works, which transformed America from mostly a rural society to the modern industrial colossus it became today.

During WWII the Debt went from $48 to $269 billion (1941 through 1946), but the actual cost of the war which was over $350 billion, almost 95% of our GNP, was paid by taxes, high taxes. After 1947 the Debt grew quite slowly through Truman and Eisenhower from $269 to $286 billion. Unfortunately the last five years of the Eisenhower Administration were economically stagnant, and the Recession of 1957-8 was devastating. Kennedy was forced to cut taxes and “prime the pump” of the economy. But, even with the tax cuts, increased spending and the Vietnam War in the middle and late 60’s, spending went up gradually from 1961 through 1968 and the National Debt grew from $288 to $347 billion, and average of less than 1.5% each year, until 1968 when it leaped 6.5%.

Huge increases followed in the eight years of Nixon-Ford as the deficits ballooned from $353 to $620 billion as the Vietnam War and domestic needs increased. So in eight years the National Debt almost doubled. Even in the first two FDR administrations, and the New Deal, the National Debt had not doubled.

Where did the real spending come from, another war, the one in SE Asia. By the time Carter was president debt continued to climb during those difficult years after Vietnam and the oil embargoes, two in 1973 and 1974 and one in 1979, (under Nixon and Carter) which created a great deal of inflation as gasoline went from around 37 cents to way over $1 per gallon. National Debt climbed in the Carter four years from $698 billion to close to a $1 trillion in 1981.

Did Reagan solve the Debt problem? For sure not! He cut taxes, raised interest rates to squeeze out the inflation caused by the 1979 oil embargo and the Debt, along with the second era of “supply-aside” spending, directed by David Stockman, based on the theories of Arthur Laffer ( the Laffer Curve) raised the Debt dramatically. Never in peace time have we seen such spending. The National Debt went up from $1 trillion to $4 trillion in the 12 years of Reagan-Bush, with huge increase every year. In fact unemployment, which had been 7.5% during the four years of Jimmy Carter, ballooned to over 10.5% in Reagan’s for 2 years, and by the time Clinton was inaugurated, 12 years later, it was at 7.3%. One could say that economically, that was a high price paid for an economy that basically stayed the same. During the first 8 years of Reagan, jobs, mostly connected to defense spending (600 ship navy and Star Wars) increased by 16 million. In the next four years under Bush 41, that total would shrink to 2.5 million created.

During the Clinton Years, the Debt increased from over $4 trillion to $5.6 trillion and increase of less than 40% in eight years, where in the previous 12 years it had gone up over 400%. In the last year the Debt only increased .03% the lowest since 1957, right before the massive Recession of 1957 in the 2nd Eisenhower Term. Aside from raising the Debt the smallest amount in decades, on a percentage wise basis, over 23 million jobs were created, a total higher than 50% of all of the jobs created in the GOP Administrations from Hoover through Bush 43, except Reagan.

In the years of Bush 43, the flat debt, with large surpluses he inherited from Clinton were soon spent with tax cuts, wars and the unfunded Part D, Medicare Drug benefit. Debt doubled again from $5.8 trillion to almost $12 trillion in 2009 as the Great Recession took hold and unemployment skyrocket to over 10% in June of 2009. Over 8 million jobs were lost from the last six months of Bush 43 into the first five months of the Obama Administration. But, jobs were clawed back as the deficit continued to grow, as the recovery and the long and expensive war in Iraq had to be ended. Again there is nothing like wars to create deficits: the Civil War, the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East. Both Middle East wars affected both Bushes. During the Obama Years the debt went from $12 billion to over $19 billion. In fact, the percentage increase, during his 8 years, regarding the Great Recession, was only 60%, In the 8 years of Bush 43, it was almost 100%.

So now, before we were in the next era of massive spending without a war or a Recession, Trump promised to eliminate the National Debt of $19 trillion in eight years, the Debt had already climbed to over $4 trillion and over $23 trillion.

Thus, before the catastrophic contraction of the economy in April of 2020, from January 20, 2017, to November 1, 2019, Trump piled $3.1 trillion onto the debt, amounting to a 16% increase. That’s significantly less than the $4.3 trillion President Barack Obama added from January 2009 to November 1, 2011, but far more than the $1.1 trillion Bush added in a similar period and the $794 billion Clinton did in 1,016 days as president.

There is a key distinction separating the circumstances behind Trump and Obama’s debt figures. Trump inherited an economy undergoing its longest sustained expansion. Obama, on the other hand, entered the White House as the nation veered into a recession that sparked massive stimulus spending and a bailout of the auto industry.

Let’s talk about the numbers!

The National Debt the last Fiscal year of President Bill Clinton was $5.8 trillion. In between now and then the National debt has grown to $26.2 trillion as of today and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts it will be $28.9 trillion on September 30, 2023. Since Clinton took office we have had the Great Recession, 2008-2009 under Bush 43 and the Greater Trump Recession. The Trump Reign of Error has accounted for 25% of the whole National Debt of the United States.

Fiscal year ended September 30th:

9-30-2001      $5.8 trillion

9-30-2009    $11.9 trillion  (Great Recession)

9-30-2017    $20.2 trillion  (Obama, fiscal year)

6-20-2020    $26.2 trillion

9-30-2023    $28.9 trillion (Trump Recession fiscal year)


New Deal Spending Richard J. Garfunkel 2-14-2023

We are awash in idiocy in this country amongst the people who on one hand blame the elitists on Wall Street, but have all their money tied up in 401ks. IRA’s , 503bs and every other type of invest vehicle, but do not want transparency and regulation and cry when criminals and brigands steal their savings. But we hear from these same right-wing philosophers about the spending of government and the debt, but conveniently forget that Reagan tripled out National Debt, unemployment averaged almost 8% (was over 10% for two years) in his time cut taxes for the 1% and that his clones the Bush twins did worse.

As to FDR and the New Deal, expenditures on WPA projects through June 1941, totaled approximately $11.4 billion. Over $4 billion was spent on highway, road, and street projects; more than $1 billion on public buildings, including the iconic Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and the Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s Mt. Hood; more than $1 billion on publicly owned or operated utilities; and another $1 billion on welfare projects, including sewing projects for women, the distribution of surplus commodities and school lunch projects. One construction project was the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, the bridges of which were each designed as architecturally unique. In its eight year run, the WPA built 325 firehouses and renovated 2384 of them across the United States. The 20,000 miles of water mains, installed by their hand as well, no doubt aided in a more fire protected country.

The direct focus of the WPA projects changed with need. 1935 saw projects aimed at infrastructure improvement; roads, bringing electricity to rural areas, water conservation, and sanitation and flood control. In 1936, as outlined in that year’s Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, public facilities became a focus; parks, buildings, utilities, airports, and transportation projects were funded. The following year, saw the introduction of agricultural pursuits in projects such as the production of marl fertilizer and the eradication of fungus pests. As the Second World War approached, and then eventually began, WPA projects became increasingly defense related.

The PWA spent over $6 billion in contracts to private construction forms that did the actual work. It created an infrastructure that generated national and local pride in the 1930s and remains vital seven decades later. The PWA was much less controversial than its rival agency with a confusingly similar name, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), headed by Harry Hopkins, which focused on smaller projects and hired unemployed unskilled workers.

More than any other New Deal program, the PWA epitomized the progressive notion of “priming the pump” to encourage economic recovery. Between July 1933 and March 1939 the PWA funded and administered the construction of more than 34,000 projects including airports, large electricity-generating dams, major warships for the Navy, and bridges, as well as 70% of the new schools and one-third of the hospitals built between 1933–1939.

Streets and highways were the most common PWA projects, as 11,428 road projects, or 33% of all PWA projects, accounted for over 15% of its total budget. School buildings, 7,488 in all, came in second at 14% of spending. PWA functioned chiefly by making allotments to the various Federal agencies; making loans and grants to state and other public bodies; and making loans without grants (for a brief time) to the railroads. For example it provided funds for the Indian Division of the CCC to build roads, bridges and other public works on and near Indian reservations.

The PWA became, with its multiplier-effect and first two-year budget of $3.3 billion (compared to the entire GDP of $60 billion), the driving force of America’s biggest construction effort up to that date. By June 1934 the agency had distributed its entire fund to 13,266 federal projects and 2,407 non-federal projects. For every worker on a PWA project, almost two additional workers were employed indirectly. The PWA accomplished the electrification of rural America, the building of canals, tunnels, bridges, highways, streets, sewage systems, and housing areas, as well as hospitals, schools, and universities; every year it consumed roughly half of the concrete and a third of the steel of the entire nation.

Some of the most famous PWA projects are the Triborough Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, the longest continuous sidewalk in the world along 6½ miles of Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa, Florida, and the Overseas Highway connecting Key West, Florida, to the mainland. The PWA also electrified the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Washington, DC. At the local level it built courthouses, schools, hospitals and other public facilities that remain in use in the 21st century


Christianity, Protestantism and its Future! 45% of U.S. adults – including about six-in-ten Christians – say they think the country “should be” a Christian nation. A third say the U.S. “is now” a Christian nation. (32% of America is now white Protestant) Richard J. Garfunkel 10-28-22

Speaking of religious affiliation, by 2070, Christianity may represent less than 50% of the public. Pew Research first established a baseline view of current U.S. religious demographics. As of 2020, it is estimated that around 64% of Americans, both adults and children, are Christian, while the portion of those identifying as religious “nones” stands around 30%. The remaining 6% is made up of adherents of other faiths, including Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists. 

Much of Pew’s study revolves around the growing trend of “switching,” a term that refers to changing one’s religious affiliation. “Switching” refers to any change between the religion in which a person was raised and their religious identity as an adult, be it by conversion or faith abandonment. Pew uses the term for anyone who changes their religious identity, whether they are entering or leaving Christianity. 

Furthermore, Pew noted that the study did not seek to explain the rise of religious “nones,” but rather to analyze recent trends to predict how the U.S. religious landscape might change should they continue.  With that in mine, one can understand the fear of many Christians, especially Evangelical, white nationalists, who form the core of this issue of America of Christian nationalism.

Growing numbers of religious and political leaders are embracing the “Christian nationalist” label, and some dispute the idea that the country’s founders wanted a separation of church and state. On the other side of the debate, however, many Americans – including the leaders of many Christian churches – have pushed back against Christian nationalism, calling it a “danger” to the country. In fact, 15 of 16 of our Founding Fathers, hardly called themselves Christians.  Only John Jay was a religious Christian. Few believed in the core elements of Christianity: the Virgin Birth, the Trinity of the Resurrection.  For instance, many supporters of Christian nationhood define the concept in broad terms, as the idea that the country is guided by Christian values. Those who say the United States should not be a Christian nation, on the other hand, are much more inclined to define a Christian nation as one where the laws explicitly enshrine religious teachings.

Who were the Founding Fathers? American historian Richard B. Morris, (his son Donnie is a classmate of mine- MVHS/AB Davis-Class of 1963) in his 1973 book Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries, identified the following seven figures as the “key” Founding Fathers:  John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison and George Washington.

Of these, only John Jay can be considered an orthodox Christian. As Congress’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he argued (unsuccessfully) for a prohibition forbidding Catholics from holding office. On October 12, 1816, Jay wrote, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” It is John Jay that the modern Christians have in mind when they talk about the Founding Fathers. Luckily, for the rest of us, and all freedom-loving Americans, he was not in the majority.

With that in mind, none of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. 

They spoke often of God, (Nature’s God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity. Some people speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists.  We’ll never know; but by reading their own writings, it’s clear that most of them were opposed to the bible, and the teachings of Christianity in particular.


Yes, there were Christian men among the Founders. Just as Congress removed Thomas Jefferson’s words that condemned the practice of slavery in the colonies, they also altered his wording regarding equal rights. His original wording is here in blue italics: “All men are created equal and independent. From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable.”  Congress changed that phrase, increasing its religious overtones: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”  But we are not governed by the Declaration of Independence– it is a historical document, not a constitutional one.

One of the many attacks on our constitutional framework of government is from the Religious Right and their claim that our country is a Christian Nation…not just that the majority of people are Christians, but that the country itself was founded by Christians, for Christians. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. Those people who spread this lie are known as Christian Revisionists. They are attempting to rewrite history, in much the same way as holocaust deniers are. But, in fact, the men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true. They were Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith. These men knew quite well the marriage of religion and the state, which dominated 18th Century Europe. They were fearful of the church and for sure, an “established church!”

The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea that the power to rule over other people comes from god. It was a letter from the Colonies to the English King, stating their intentions to separate themselves. The Declaration is not a governing document. It mentions “Nature’s God” and “Divine Providence”– but as you will soon see, that’s the language of Deism, not Christianity.

If the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion, the Constitution would clearly say so–but it does not. Nowhere does the Constitution say: “The United States is a Christian Nation”, or anything even close to that. In fact, the words “Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, Creator, Divine, and God” are never mentioned in the Constitution– not even once. Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned, except in exclusionary terms. When the Founders wrote the nation’s Constitution, they specified that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article 6, section 3)   This provision was radical in its day– giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike.  They wanted to ensure that no religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. 

The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”  This was not an idle statement meant to satisfy muslims– they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

Still, aside from what really happened, most U.S. adults believe America’s founders intended the country to be a Christian nation, and many say they think it should be a Christian nation today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey designed to explore Americans’ views on the topic. But the survey also finds widely differing opinions about what it means to be a “Christian nation” and to support “Christian nationalism.” Despite our true history, overall, six-in-ten U.S. adults – including nearly seven-in-ten Christians – say they believe the founders “originally intended” for the U.S. to be a Christian nation. And 45% of U.S. adults – including about six-in-ten Christians – say they think the country “should be” a Christian nation. A third say the U.S. “is now” a Christian nation.

In the early years after the American Revolution, almost all states started to shift slowly toward state-controlled school systems. In 1779, Thomas Jefferson pushed to shift education in Virginia from private and church schools to a broad public system, arguing that new “kings, priests, and nobles” would arise if “we leave the people in ignorance.” But property taxes were still often controversial, and collection systems inadequate. In many states, growing urban centers led the way toward universal public schooling in the early nineteenth century. Many in rural farming areas had deemed formal education unnecessary, but as urban populations grew,

Of course, historically, the revision in thinking about our Founding and its religious heritage started with the Baptists in, and around, 1820. In those days, the United States was almost universally Protestant, with few Catholics, Jews and almost no Asians or Muslims. They had always controlled most of the schools (since the early days of the colonies) and they also controlled the narrative of our history and this dominance would continue, more or less, until the Great Immigration of 1848 to 1852. In those years there was our first massive immigration of mostly Catholics; Irish because of the Potato Famine and mostly German Catholics and liberals, reflective of the triumph of Bismarck and his policies of Kultur Kampf.

Because of this influx of Catholics, the Know Nothing Party, a nativist political group emerged in the United States in the 1850’s. The party was officially known as the “Native American Party” prior to 1855 and thereafter, it was simply known as the “American Party”. Members of the movement were required to say “I know nothing” whenever they were asked about its specifics by outsiders, providing the group with its colloquial name.

Supporters of the Know Nothing movement believed that an alleged “Romanist” conspiracy by Catholics to subvert civil and religious liberty in the United States was being hatched. Therefore, they sought to politically organize native-born Protestants in defense of their traditional religious and political values. The Know Nothing movement is remembered for this theme because Protestants feared that Catholic priests and bishops would control a large bloc of voters. In most places, the ideology and influence of the Know Nothing movement lasted only one or two years before it disintegrated due to weak and inexperienced local leaders, a lack of publicly proclaimed national leaders, and a deep split over the issue of slavery. In the South, the party did not emphasize anti-Catholicism as frequently as it emphasized it in the North and it stressed a neutral position on slavery, but it became the main alternative to the dominant Democratic Party.

Know Nothings are occasionally referred to as an anti-Semitic movement due to their zealous xenophobia and religious bigotry; however, the movement was not openly hostile towards Jews because its members and supporters believed that Jews did not allow “their religious feelings to interfere with their political views.”

The Know Nothing Party, prioritizing a zealous disdain for Irish Catholic immigrants, reportedly “had nothing to say about Jews”, according to historian Hasia Diner. In New York, the virulently anti-Catholic Know Nothings supported a Jewish candidate for governor.

Thus, after this influx of immigrants, the concern over the growth of slavery, reflective of the Great Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, the Baptists split between northern and southern conventions. As the country matured, local education governance and thus policies started to gravitate to the states, as opposed to the earlier control the Protestant Churches. Tax-funded schools were originally less popular outside of New England and in some places, colonists preferred schools sponsored by particular religions, such as the traditional Baptist controlled or Quaker or Catholic schools. Some also opposed the property taxes often used to fund schools, viewing them as infringing on property rights. In a sense, fear and paranoia among the majority Protestants is an age-old dynamic

Still, aside from what really happened, most U.S. adults believe America’s Founders intended the country to be a Christian nation, and many say they think it should be a Christian nation today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey designed to explore Americans’ views on the topic. But the survey also finds widely differing opinions about what it means to be a “Christian nation” and to support “Christian nationalism.” Despite our true history, overall, six-in-ten U.S. adults – including nearly seven-in-ten Christians – say they believe the founders “originally intended” for the U.S. to be a Christian nation. And 45% of U.S. adults – including about six-in-ten Christians – say they think the country “should be” a Christian nation. A third say the U.S. “is now” a Christian nation.

One of the many attacks on our country from the Religious Right is the claim that our country is a Christian Nation…not just that the majority of people are Christians, but that the country itself was founded by Christians, for Christians. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. Those people who spread this lie are known as Christian Revisionists. They are attempting to rewrite history, in much the same way as holocaust deniers are. Interestingly, More than four in ten Americans (44%) identify as white Christian, including white evangelical Protestants (14%), white mainline (non-evangelical) Protestants (16%), and white Catholics (12%), as well as small percentages who identify as Latter-day Saint (Mormon), Jehovah’s Witness, and Orthodox Christian. As for white Protestants, who used to be over 98+% of the population in 1789 (aside from 8% of the country that were slaves, and only counted at 2/3rds), they represent 33% of all Americans.

PS: But stop and ask yourself: Was Christ really born on Christ-mas Day? After all, the Bible nowhere tells us the day of His birth. In fact, most credible secular historical writings tell us that Christmas, more than 200 years after Jesus’ death, was considered sinful: “As late as A.D. 245 [the early Catholic theologian] Origen . . . repudiates as sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday of Christ” (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910, Vol. 6, p. 293, “Christmas”).

In A.D. 354, a Latin chronographer mentioned Christmas, but even then he did not write about it as an observed festival (ibid.). There is no biblical evidence that Dec. 25 was Jesus’ birth date. In fact, the Bible record strongly shows that Jesus must not have been born then.

For example, Luke tells us that the shepherds were keeping their sheep in the fields at night when Jesus was born. “And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger . . . Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:7-8, emphasis added throughout).

But late December is Judea’s cold and rainy season. Would shepherds actually keep their fragile flocks out in the open fields on a cold late-December night near Bethlehem?

No responsible shepherd would subject his sheep to the elements at that time of year when cold rains, and occasional snow, are common in that region.

“The climate of Palestine is not so severe as the climate of this country is not as severe as Northern Europe or North America; but even there, though the heat of the day be considerable, the cold of the night, from December to February, is very piercing, and it was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1959, p. 91).

Luke also tells us that Jesus was born at the time of a census ordered by the Roman emperor (Luke 2:1-3). The Romans were brilliant administrators; they certainly would not have ordered people to journey to be registered at a time of year when roads would have been wet and muddy and traveling conditions miserable. Such a move would have been self-defeating on its face.

The belief that Jesus was born on or around Dec. 25 simply has no basis in fact, even if untold millions of people have accepted it without question. As the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing.”

If the Christmas holiday is an important celebration to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, why is it nowhere mentioned in the Bible? Why didn’t Christ instruct His closest followers, His 12 chosen apostles, to keep Christmas? Why didn’t they institute or teach it to the early Church?

Before you answer, consider that Jesus gave great authority to His 12 apostles, assuring them that they will hold positions of great importance and responsibility in His Kingdom (Matthew 18:18; 19:28; Luke 22:29-30). But since Jesus never taught His apostles to keep Christmas, nor did they ever teach it to the Church even though they had years of opportunity to do so, shouldn’t that make us question whether Christmas is something Jesus really wants or appreciates?

Most people never stop to ask themselves what the major symbols of Christmas—Santa Claus, reindeer, decorated trees, holly, mistletoe and the like—have to do with the birth of the Savior of mankind. In the southern hemisphere summer climate of December, few people question why they observe a Christmas with northern hemisphere winter scenery!

The fact is, and one can verify this in any number of books and encyclopedias, that all these trappings came from ancient pagan festivals. Even the date, Dec. 25, came from a festival celebrating the birthday of the ancient sun god Mithras.


AND: Meanwhile, Constantine, who was born in modern day Serbia, became Emperor of the western part of the Roman Empire in 306 CE, while serving his father’s military interests in York, England. There is much debate over why he became a Christian, and though it happened after his fortieth birthday, many attribute his conversion to his mother’s Christian worship. Christian persecution basically ended with the Edict of Milan in 313 CE and at the first ecumenical council held in Nicaea in 325 CE. He was considered the first Christian Emperor and founded Constantinople as the first Christian city. The Byzantine Empire considered him its follower and even the later Holy Roman Empire held that Constantine was to be considered one of its venerable forbearers. Therefore, with Constantine and his followers, the linkage between Christianity and the Roman Empire was set in stone. So the stage was set for the next 17 centuries where church and state would be married, for better, and often for worse. In the same way, the Middle East, that had at one time been called the cradle of civilization, eventually became the center of Muslim rule, as Mohammad (530-632 CE) and by his death he had conquered almost all of the Arabian peninsula. This rise in the power of the Moslem hegemony would become the most obvious case of the union between religion and the state.

In the early days of empire, from 750 CE onward, the Muslim world eventually stretched in the west from the city of Toledo in Spain, to Aswan on the Nile, to the horn of Africa, to the southern border of the Caspian Sea, and north to Samarkand, and east to the banks of the Indus. The Muslims gave greater freedoms to the Jewish population under their domination than had the Christians. In Toledo, the Jews opened their gates to welcome the Muslims as liberators. The Muslim conquerors never treated the Jews with the frequent massacres and expulsions that they had experienced under the rule of Christendom. But times eventually changed, and the intertwined and internecine religious aspects of Muslim rule started to turn with violence on other peoples under their domination. In 1066, more than five thousand Jews were murdered during Arab riots. In Fez, Morocco, in 1033, six thousand Jews were massacred. In Kairawan, in 1016 CE, now in modern Tunisia, the Jews were expelled. The remaining Jews of Tunis had a long history of persecution that started in the 1100’s that commenced with forced conversions. In Marakesh in 1232 CE thousands of Jews were massacred. Muslim Arabs in 637 CE conquered Jerusalem and between that early period and the Crusades their treatment of the Jews and other non-believers varied. Jews were caught between the competing interests of their Muslim rulers and the Christian onslaughts of the Crusades. In 1099 CE Jews took part in the defense of Jerusalem against the Crusaders, and the next year they helped defend Haifa. In the period from 1099 to 1291 the Christian Crusaders mercilessly persecuted and slaughtered the Jews of Palestine along with any Muslims they could defeat and capture. Interestingly when the Mameluks, who were also Muslim, ousted the Crusaders in 1291 CE, and ruled until 1516, Jewish settlement was encouraged. Jews sought refuge from anti-Semitic persecution in Europe during this period of Mameluk rule, and even after the Ottoman Turks conquered the area in 1517 CE, many European Jews sought sanctuary in places like Tiberius, Safed, Hebron, and Jerusalem. Obviously Jews had never abandoned the land that Moses was promised. Time and time again Jews filtered back into what we know today as Israel.

This marriage of church and state would thrive in Europe and with the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither holy nor Roman. It was centered in modern Germany and established in 814 CE, after Charlemagne’s death. The title of Emperor (Imperator) carried the dual role as the secular leader and that of the protector of the Catholic Church.  Emperors were ordained as sub deacons in the Roman Catholic Church, and eventually this dualism would lead to direct conflict with the rise of the power of the Papacy during the Middle Ages. It would come to a peak in the 11th Century with the Investiture Controversy between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII. The pope had excommunicated Henry over his convening of the National Council at Worms, Germany. This conflict arose over Henry’s dissatisfaction regarding the activity of Catholic Bishops and the internal struggle within Germany over the legitimacy of Hildebrand’s succession to the throne of Saint Peter in the name of Gregory VII.

Virgin Birthdoctrine of traditional Christianity that Jesus Christ had no natural father but was conceived by Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine that Mary was the sole natural parent of Jesus is based on the infancy narratives contained in the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke. It was universally accepted in the Christian church by the 2nd century, was enshrined in the Apostles’ Creed, and, except for several minor sects, was not seriously challenged until the rise of Enlightenment theology in the 18th century. It remains a basic article of belief in the Roman CatholicOrthodox, and most Protestant churches. Muslims also accept the Virgin Birth of Jesus.

corollary that has been deduced from the doctrine of Mary’s virginity in the conception of Jesus is the doctrine of her perpetual virginity, not only in conception but in the birth of the child (i.e., she was exempt from the pain of childbirth) and throughout her life. This doctrine is found in the writings of the Church Fathers and was accepted by the Council of Chalcedon (451). It is part of the teaching of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. Protestantism has generally accepted the Virgin Birth but not the notion of perpetual virginity, often citing a literal understanding of the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in Mark 6:2 and Matthew 13:55.

Matthew 1:18-25 – Joseph and the Virgin Birth

The two places in the New Testament that speak about the virgin birth display a remarkable difference. Comparison of the stories recorded in Matthew 1 and in Luke 1 brings to light that they focus on different persons. Luke describes the events through the eyes of Mary. An angel appeared to her and told her that she would have a son (Luke 1:31). Matthew, on the other hand, describes the events as Joseph experienced them. 1  An angel appeared to him in a dream to give him instructions. Even the birth of Jesus is described from Joseph’s perspective: “He had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25).

What is Matthew’s purpose in focusing on Joseph? Is Joseph here described as a faith hero, a role model for Christian behaviour? This is of great importance for our understanding and use of this story. If Joseph is portrayed as a faith hero, then we should concentrate on Joseph as an example and try to become as faithful in our situation as Joseph was in his. On the other hand, if it is not Matthew’s intention to show Joseph as a hero of the faith, why does he concentrate on him? Matthew even records Joseph’s thoughts. We have to follow closely Matthew’s description to see what he wants us to learn from these events.

Joseph Excluded🔗

To understand the events we have to realize first of all that Joseph and Mary were already married at the time. The expression “betrothed” used by the RSV may give us today a different impression, just as the expression of the NIV: “pledged to be married.” Matthew makes it very clear in this passage, however, that they were married. He calls Joseph “her husband” (1:19) and Mary “his wife” (1:20, 24). That Joseph considers divorce (1:19) puts it beyond doubt that Joseph and Mary were man and wife.

The situation described here was common in Israel but is no longer known in our Western world. When a marriage contract has been made between two parties, the boy and the girl were considered to be married before the law. Such contracts could be made when the girl was still young, possibly not older than twelve years old. A number of years would go by before the lawful husband would bring his wife to his house and they would live together. They were considered man and wife, however, from the moment the marriage contract was signed.

That is the situation between Joseph and Mary, as described in Matthew1:18. It was during this period that it became apparent that Mary was expecting a child. Matthew uses an uncommon expression: “She was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.” At first glance, this may give the impression that other people began to notice that Mary was pregnant. The difficulty is, however, that other people may have noticed that Mary was expecting, but they could not know that she was pregnant through the working of the Holy Spirit.2 There is only one who could notice the pregnancy and at the same time know that it was the work of the Holy Spirit: Mary herself.

Matthew’s story, however, does not focus on Mary and her predicament, but on Joseph. Matthew implies that Mary told him that she was expecting a child. Did she also tell him that this was the direct result of the working of the Holy Spirit? There are two details in the story indicating that she did. There is in the first place the fact that Joseph considers to divorce her quietly. If he thought she had committed adultery, there would be no reason for him to leave her quietly. Joseph was planning effectively to divorce her, but not in such a way that she would be put to shame. This implies that he did not think Mary had done something dishonourable. In the second place, when the angel encourages him to bring Mary to his house, he makes the strange remark: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary, your wife.” Joseph, obviously, was not angry at Mary or disappointed in her, he was afraid. Joseph, then, was aware that the Holy Spirit had required Mary for the important task of bearing a special child, and he did not dare to press his marital right.

In this situation where his rights had been overruled by the Holy Spirit, Joseph was looking for an honourable way out. He could have gone to the judges and received an official divorce on the basis of Mary’s pregnancy before she began living with him. Such a course of action, however, would expose Mary as an adulteress in the view of people. Or he could give her a private letter of divorce. In that case, Mary would be clear in the public eye, but the blame would be laid on Joseph for leaving his young wife. And only Mary would have the proof that he had divorced her and that she was free from him.

The end result would be that Joseph would lose his wife Mary. Joseph was willing to bring this sacrifice, since God had clearly shown that He needed Mary for his purposes. That brings us back to denied. He was willing to do something that was both painful and shameful for him. Even if it was an arranged marriage, we should not suppose that he did not love her. Moreover, the way Joseph planned the divorce meant that he would end up bearing the blame for leaving his wife. And yet Joseph went ahead and gave Mary her freedom. Joseph’s faith proved to be strong.

But we should also consider another question: Does Matthew in his description of Joseph portray him as a faith hero? Honest reading of the text shows that is not the case. To give an example, Matthew does not write at the beginning of 1:20: “As Joseph was agonizing about this…” Any feelings Joseph may have had are not described. His disappointment, his uncertainty, or his grieving over the end of a marriage before they had begun to enjoy it, none of this is mentioned. The spotlight is not on Joseph and on his experiences and emotions.

Although the event is viewed from the position of Joseph, it focuses on someone else, as the very beginning of this passage indicates: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.” Matthew is not so much describing how Joseph was tested in his faith and overcame the temptation, he is recounting the story of Jesus Christ’s birth.

The point of the story is to prove beyond doubt that Joseph is not the father of Jesus. Jesus is truly born out of Mary, but Mary’s husband before the law, Joseph, is not his father. No human agency could bring the Christ into this world, not even the righteous Joseph. Jesus the Saviour came into this world through a divine miracle, through the extraordinary work of the Spirit of God. Joseph is not described as a faith hero, he is described as being excluded.

That affects all of us. We need a Saviour, but He cannot come into this world through our effort. We are sinners and we cannot contribute anything to our salvation. Our Saviour had to come into this world through the Holy Spirit. Our salvation is from beginning to end the work of God. That pattern is visible here, at the very beginning of the life of the Saviour. Even the righteous Joseph (1:19) had to be excluded. Joseph is not an example for us as a faith hero, rather the exclusion of the faithful Joseph in the virgin birth is the living proof that we cannot contribute to our salvation.

Joseph Involved

While Joseph was considering secret divorce, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. He was commanded not to leave Mary but to take Mary to his home. The first, legal part of their marriage should now be followed by the second, personal part. Mary should leave her parents’ home and move in with Joseph, her husband.

As a result, Mary’s child will be born in Joseph’s house. Joseph has to accept her son as his own son, and he must assume responsibility for him. Although the boy is not Joseph’s son, he must receive the place of Joseph’s firstborn.

The angel mentions yet another task for Joseph to fulfil: he has to call the child “Jesus.” We need not now go into the meaning of this name, although the angel indicates that the meaning is important. The issue is that Mary should not name her son, but Joseph has to give this name to the boy. This underlines that Joseph publicly adopts Mary’s son as his son.

Joseph faithfully follows the two instructions given by the angel. He brought his wife home, although he did not live with her (1:24). This was not something expressly commanded by the angel. Moreover, when Mary gave birth to her son, Joseph called him Jesus.

Again we are confronted with the question whether Joseph shows himself to be a faith hero. If faith is to accept what God has said, and to act accordingly, then Joseph undoubtedly proves to be a believer. Yet it is difficult to judge how much heroism there was in his behavior. Was it a struggle for Joseph to follow the command of the angel, or was he glad, at any rate, that he could marry Mary? What did he think and how did he feel? We have no way of knowing since the Bible does not give us insight into the struggles and triumphs of Joseph. The Bible appears to be focused on a different, far more factual aspect.

This is indicated in the way the angel addresses Joseph as “son of David” (1:20). David was Israel’s great king. In the genealogy with which the gospel of Matthew begins, Jesus Christ is right away presented as “Jesus Christ, the son of David” (1:1). Later, David is called the king (1:6). Jesus, as the adopted son of Joseph, is legally included in the royal line. He is the great king promised to the house of David (Isaiah 9).

David’s line, however, had gone into decline, not long after David. Eventually, his offspring had become unknown and unimportant figures during the Babylonian captivity. Rather than producing a new king, David’s line had fizzled out. The final proof that the promised king could not come from David is the virgin birth itself. Only through an adoption by Joseph could the Saviour become the legal heir to David’s throne.

To be sure, Joseph had to act in faith to make this possible. But the emphasis in this section is not on the faith of Joseph but on the faithfulness of God. God had given great promises to the house of David; history had made it painfully clear that David’s house could not make these promises come true. Then God remembered His promises and addressed Joseph, an unknown son of David. He sent an angel to order Joseph to bring Mary into his house and to adopt Mary’s son. In this extraordinary way, God made all his promises come true.

The story of the virgin birth in Matthew does encourage us to live in faith. It does not, however, do that by holding out Joseph as a good example of a faith hero. Rather, it does this by showing us God fulfilling His word. Joseph’s example would not help us much, since we do not know his struggles and triumphs. It is God’s work here that is the real reason for us to live in faith. When we meditate on how much God did for us in the virgin birth, we will learn to trust Him to continue His salvation work today in us.


“The Berlin Mission” And the unknown work of Raymond Geist by Richard J. Garfunkel February 12, 2023

“The Berlin Mission” by Richard Breitman is the very interesting story of the American Raymond Geist, (1885-1955) who was born in America to German immigrants. Geist attended Oberlin, and Case Western Reserve Colleges and received his law degree from Harvard University. He entered the Foreign Service and being fluent in a number of languages, especially German. He was assigned to the level of Counsel at the American Embassy in Berlin in 1929. He would serve there until 1939, during some of the most demanding years one could imagine. He basically dealt with enabling American Jews, who were being persecuted In Germany to get out of detention or prison and return home. He also had to deal with the myriad of problems facing the 500,000+ Jews living in Germany at the time of the ascension of Hitler and his Nazi Gang to power. In 1933.  These problems are well-documented. He also was able to enable the immigration of Albert Einstein and his wife, despite governmental harassment, road blocks and problems with American visas.

In 1921, the new US immigration Act was based on the 1910 census, reflective of the population in America. This created a quota system based on National Origin. The basis of that law was to definitively limit immigration of Jews, among others from Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin.  Raymond Geist was first interviewed by Wilbur Carr regarding his entry into the diplomatic service in 1921. Carr, regarded Jews in a pseudo-scientific doctrine of the hierarchy of races and Jews were determined to be a lower group. In his testimony before the House Immigration Committee, drafting the 1921 bill, Carr singled out Eastern European Jews as a “filthy, un-American and often dangerous in their beliefs.” He stated that they were “economically and socially undesirable, abnormally twisted and inclined to be agitators.”  This was not an unusual belief in America, nor in the State Department of that era.

In the 1921 bill, which reduced Jewish immigration because of a very low quota for immigrants from Eastern Europe, it did allow for a quota of over 51,000 from Germany, which had a population of 500,000 Jews.

Three years later, the new 1924 Immigration Law, known as the Reed-Johnson Act, which lasted until the 1950s, reduced the annual immigration from Europe to 153,774 and based the National Origins on the 1890 census, which was before the huge Eastern European immigration that existed up until 1920. The new German quota was cut virtually in half to 25,957, and allowed only 10,000 from Russia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Yugoslavia. The law did allow some exceptions that were outside the quota: relatives of US citizens, ministers, professors, etc. In 1930, amidst American’s deteriorating economic conditions and a general climate of hysteria regarding foreigners, President Herbert Hoover asked the Cabinet how to reduce immigration radically without going to Congress. Wilbur Carr, now an Assistant Secretary of State, recommended a provision in the Immigration Act of 1917, banning anyone, “likely to be a public charge.” From 1929 until June of 1930, the annual German Quota was filled. But, after the new instructions in September, the month quota numbers dropped significantly. By the end of the fiscal year (June 1931) fewer than 10,000 visas for Germany were issued.  Hoover demanded fewer to be issued. Thus, in the fiscal year ended in June, 1932, only 2068 individuals received visas under the German quota of over 25,000, less than 10%. Many of these were for people whose relatives were living in the United States. The State Department that was inherited by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in March of 1933, was basically staffed by career officers, who had been appointed under the previous twelve years of three Republican, isolationist and anti-immigrant Presidents; Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. Also, let us not forget, that most Americans were anti-immigration, and the American Labor movement, a key element in the new Roosevelt Coalition was assuredly anti-immigrant during the depths of the Great Depression when one-third of all American workers were unemployed.

After Hitler attained supreme power in 1934, the fate of the Jews of Germany was basically sealed. But, in between 1933 and 1935, there were all sorts of twists and turns regarding the Jews, the fate of the SA and their leader Ernst Rohm, violence in the streets and the Nuremberg Laws which would legally insure the end of Jewry in Germany.

In this early period, the new US Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, who was basically an anti-Semite, was not prepared for the job for which he was appointed. Before his departure, Dodd’s old friend Carl Sandburg told him he needed “to find out what this man Hitler is made of, what makes his brain go round, what his blood and bones are made of” and still “be brave and truthful, keep your poetry and integrity.” He expected to finish his multi-volume history of the American South. Also, before he left for Germany, Dodd met with members of the Jewish-American community, including Stephen S. Wise and Felix Warburg, who asked him to seek a reversal of the Nazis’ repressive anti-Jewish policies. Dodd promised he would “exert all possible personal influence against unjust treatment” of German Jews, but not in his official capacity.

President Roosevelt advised him on June 16, 1933:

The German authorities are treating Jews shamefully and the Jews in this country are greatly excited. But this is also not a government affair. We can do nothing except for American citizens who happen to be made victims. We must protect them, and whatever we can do to moderate the general persecution by unofficial and personal influence ought to be done.

(Of course, there were few reliable reports that were really believable in June of 1933. Hitler would not gain absolute power until the basic dissolution of their parliament, the Reichstag, the ending of the freedom of the press and the death of President Paul von Hindenburg. During 1933 and 1934, Hitler was very aware that Hindenburg was the only check on his power. With the passage of the Enabling Act and the banning of all parties except the Nazis, Hindenburg’s power to sack the chancellor was the only means by which Hitler could be legally removed from office. Given that Hindenburg was still a popular war hero and a revered figure in the Reichswehr “Army,” there was little doubt that the Reichswehr would side with Hindenburg if he ever decided to sack Hitler. Hindenburg remained in office until his death at the age of 86 from lung cancer at his home in NeudeckEast Prussia, on 2 August 1934. The day before, Hitler received word that Hindenburg was on his deathbed. He then had the cabinet pass the “Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich,” which stipulated that upon Hindenburg’s death, the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor under the title of Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor of the Reich) )

Edward M. House, a veteran in Democratic Party circles since the Wilson administration, told Dodd that he should do what he could “to ameliorate Jewish sufferings,” but cautioned, “The Jews should not be allowed to dominate economic or intellectual life in Berlin as they have done for a long time.” Dodd shared House’s views and wrote in his diary that “The Jews had held a great many more of the key positions in Germany than their numbers or talents entitled them to.” 

 He left for Germany on July 5, 1933, accompanied by his wife and two adult children. Once in Germany, he eventually had his one and only meeting with Hitler. Based on his view of the proper role of Jews in society, he advised Hitler that Jewish influence should be restrained in Germany as it was in the United States. “I explained to him [Hitler],” wrote Dodd, “that where a question of over-activity of Jews in university or official life made trouble, we had managed to redistribute the offices in such a way as to not give great offense.” Hitler ignored Dodd’s advice and responded that “if they [the Jews] continue their activity we shall make a complete end of them in this country.”

Though he was alarmed by Hitler’s bombast, he not only failed to impress upon Hitler the vast power of America, nor understood the real, unremitting threat to Germany’s Jews. He never really understood what the Nazis were about, He assumed that they may even be overthrown and he never reported enough of what was going in Germany to the American State Department. His report to Secretary of State Cordell Hull never revealed the potential threat and danger of the Nazi regime.

Of course, Geist would continue doing remarkable work for American citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish, who either were traveling in Germany, living in Germany or involved with business in Germany. He also dealt with the Nazi High Command, especially Himmler, Werner Best and others, regarding the continual demand for visas for Jews to escape Germany, the treatment of German Jews and American citizens. Most interesting was the almost confused policy on Jews which often changed on a day by day policy with regards to their immediate future. Geist’s activity and struggles would continue through the absorption of Austria; the Anschluss, the Western allies capitulation regarding the Sudetenland, the bloodless conquering of the remainder of Czechoslovakia, and Kristallnacht. No matter what Geist and the new American Ambassador, Hugh R. Wilson did, after Ambassador Dodd became persona non-grata in 1937, nothing in Germany would improve for Jews or anyone else who questioned the authority of Hitler and the Nazis.

But, eventually more visas were issued in Germany, more openings were filled in the German quota and changes in the State Department, the improved economic conditions in America and the realization from President Roosevelt that more had to be done about the German-Jewish refugee crisis, along with the threat of Germany to world peace were actuated by 1937 through late 1938. During this period Raymond Geist became the greatest authority for America on what Nazi Germany was all about. He became an invaluable source of information regarding Germany’s march to war. Where many others in the State Department and elsewhere, like Charles Lindbergh and the isolationists of the American First Movement downplayed the threats of Germany to Europe and to the security of the United States, Geist did not. The people around Geist knew that not only was his information on the Nazis correct, but his analysis of their plans was 100% on target.

Once back in the United States, after the outbreak of WWII, Geist became one of our greatest assets regarding what was happening in Germany. He had a very prescient sense of the future actions of Hitler and his collection of rivalrous Nazis. In the years after his return, he began to speak at various meetings around the country, especially on German propaganda. Also remember, before the war, there was great internal debate over the effect of anti-German stories regarding the treatment of Jews. In other words, criticizing the Nazis and their anti-Semitic acts, seem to have little salutary effect, but often made conditions a lot worse.

One of his most important speeches was delivered in May of 1942, when we were now in the war. His talk was given to National Conference of Christians and Jews. He spoke of the “Special German Path,” of development which allowed Hitler to gain widespread obedience amongst the German populace. Geist praised the antecedents of rational enlightened civilization from ancient Athens to the Magna Carta. Germany had ignored them. He also added the “Four Freedoms,” which President Roosevelt had proclaimed as incontestable rights of mankind, which were denied to the Germans.

Of course, he was able to personally meet with President Roosevelt and articulated his views which were quite informative and revelatory. The war would take its course, Geist’s career continued, but he was never able to go back to post-war Germany as a member of the Foreign Service. His life and efforts have been basically forgotten, but his story is an important one that should remembered by the many he helped and their descendants. 





MORE ON FDR AS HIS BIRTHDAY, JANUARY 30, 1882 APPROACHES Richard J. Garfunkel January 30, 2023

I am re-reading the 1948 Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Roosevelt and Hopkins,” by Robert Sherwood, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author, screen writer, playwright, poet, critic and speechwriter in the last years of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Sherwood received Pulitzer Prizes for Drama (1936, 1939, 1941), Academy Award for Best Screenplay (1947) and Pulitzer Prize for Biography (1948) for “Roosevelt and Hopkins.”

This book is one of a series of remarkable and personal accounts from people who knew and worked with FDR. Another contemporary account is “Working with Roosevelt,” (1952), by Samuel I. Rosenman, (1896-1973)- who was a senior advisor to presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, He was also the first official White House Counsel, then called Special Counsel, between 1943 and 1946. Rosenman edited “The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” published in 13 volumes from 1938 to 1950. He received his Law Degree from Columbia University. Served as a Justice of the NY State Supreme Court. His granddaughter is the wife of Attorney-General Merritt Garland.

Another notable firsthand account was the three volumes of, “The Secret Diary of Harold Ickes,” (1950-2) written by FDR’s Secretary of Interior, Harold L. Ickes (1874-1952.) Ickes was a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he received his BA and LLB. He is the father of Harold M. Ickes, who was the Deputy Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, 1993-7.

The last of these remarkable, accounts was from the unfinished writings of the late Supreme Court Justice, Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954) which was written in the early 1950’s, before his untimely death in 1954., In the remarkable book, “That Man,” published in 2004, fifty years after his death, Justice Jackson offers an intimate, personal portrait of Roosevelt–on fishing trips, in late-night poker games, or approving legislation while eating breakfast in bed, where he routinely began his workday. We meet a president who is far-sighted but nimble in attacking the problems at hand; principled but flexible; charismatic and popular but unafraid to pick fights, take stands, and when necessary, make enemies. “That Man” is not simply a valuable historical document, but an engaging and insightful look at one of the most remarkable men in American history. In reading this memoir, we gain not only a new appreciation for Roosevelt, but also admiration for Jackson, who emerges as both a public servant of great integrity and skill and a wry, shrewd, and fair-minded observer of politics at the highest level.

Of course, there were many other intimates of FDR, including Louis McHenry Howe, Marguerite “Missy” Le Hand, Frances Perkins, Henry Morgenthau, Daisy Suckley, Benjamin V. Cohen, Thomas Corcoran, Edward Flynn, James Farley, Basil O’Connor his law partner, members of the Brain Trust; Raymond Moley, Adolph Berle, Rexford Tugwell, along with Henry A. Wallace and John Garner, his first two Vice –Presidents. A number of them wrote books about their time with FDR and others did not.

But, of course, the story of Hopkins and his unique relationship with Roosevelt, is told eloquently, by Robert Sherwood (1896-1955), who knew and worked with them both. Hopkins became an American statesman, an unprecedented public administrator, and finally a presidential advisor. He was the most trusted deputy to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt  during WWII.

Hopkins was a unique individual, who was born in Grinell, Iowa, in 1892, where he graduated from Grinnell College. His career before being hired by the then Governor of NY, Franklin Roosevelt, was not only extensive, but remarkable.

Hopkins settled in New York City after he graduated from Grinnell College. He accepted a position in New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare and worked for various social work and public health organizations. Hopkins moved to New Orleans where he worked for the American Red Cross as director of Civilian Relief, Gulf Division. Eventually, the Gulf Division of the Red Cross merged with the Southwestern Division and Hopkins, headquartered now in Atlanta, was appointed general manager in 1921. He was elected president of the National Association of Social Workers in 1923. In 1931, New York Temporary Emergency Relief Administration chairman Jesse I. Straus hired Hopkins as the agency’s executive director. His successful leadership of the program earned the attention of then-New York Governor Roosevelt, who brought Hopkins into his federal administration after he won the 1932 presidential election.

Before the war, Hopkins directed New Deal relief programs before serving as the 8th United States Secretary of Commerce from 1938 to 1940 and as Roosevelt’s chief foreign policy advisor and liaison to Allied leaders during World War II. During his career  in Washington, Hopkins supervised the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he built into the largest employer in the United States.

His philosophy on the unemployed is reflected in these words: “Three or four million heads of households don’t turn into tramps and cheats overnight, nor do they lose the habits and standards of a lifetime… They don’t drink any more than the rest of us, they don’t lie any more, and they are no lazier than the rest of us…. An eighth or a tenth of the earning population does not change its character which has been generations in the molding, or, if such a change actually occurs, we can scarcely charge it up to personal sin.

The things they have actually accomplished all over America should be an inspiration to every reasonable person and an everlasting answer to all the grievous insults that have been heaped on the heads of the unemployed.

Hopkins was not afraid to express his strong opinions. He reflected his concern for the poor in testimony in front of a Senate committee. He said: “People don’t eat in the long run – they eat every day.” He also stated, “That the Constitution means nothing to a starving man!” This reflects his character as much as anything else he said or did! He was accused most famously for this oft-quoted remark!

“We shall tax and tax, and spend and spend, and elect and elect!” This was first published by Frank Kent, and then by Joseph Alsop and Robert Kintner in their syndicated column as well as Arthur Krock in the New York Times. Hopkins denied he ever said that and denied “the whole works and the whole implication of it.” Later, under oath, Krock admitted that he had not interviewed any eye witnesses to the conversation.

Years later, the quote was attributed to Max Gordon, a successful Broadway producer, who had met Hopkins at the Empire City Raceway one summer’s afternoon. Also present were Heywood Broun and Daniel Arnstein. Both of them reported their version of the momentous conversation, which was extremely offhand and somewhat bored on Hopkins’ part. Neither recalled that he had made that famous, or infamous statement. According to Max Gordon’s recollection of the racetrack conversation, even though Hopkins didn’t actually say those precise words, “That’s what he meant!” That baseless canard would follow Hopkins and cause a great deal of wear and tear on him, but by 1940, more critical world events would intervene and he much more problems to deal with.

Hopkins had made many, many enemies in Washington with both anti-New Deal Republicans and conservative Democrats. He was a driven and dedicated man, who ruffled many feathers, cut through “red tape” and the bureaucracy that dominated Washington for endless years.

Later, in the days before we entered World War II, he oversaw the $50 billion Lend-Lease program of military aid to the Allies and, as Roosevelt’s personal envoy, played a pivotal role in shaping the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Hopkins enjoyed close relationships with President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and was considered a potential successor to the president until the late 1930s, when his health began to decline due to a long-running battle with stomach cancer.

As Roosevelt’s closest confidant, Hopkins assumed a leading foreign policy role after the outset of World War II. From 1940 until 1943, Hopkins lived in the White House and assisted the president in the management of American foreign policy, particularly toward the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. He traveled frequently to the United Kingdom, who’s prime minister, Winston Churchill, recalled Hopkins in his memoirs as a “natural leader of men” with “a flaming soul.”

Hopkins, who was noticeably ill during a visit with the president in May 1940, spent the night in a White House suite. At one time President Abraham Lincoln’s study, the suite was just down the hall from Roosevelt’s room. Hopkins lived there for the next three and a half years. When he married for the third time in July 1942, his wife, Louise, joined him and his daughter Diana in the White House. The family remained there until December 1943, when Harry rented a house in nearby Georgetown. Other members of Roosevelt’s circle, such as Rexford Tugwell and Henry Morgenthau, came to accept Hopkins’ closeness to the president as a fact of Washington life. Not everyone, however, was happy with the arrangement. Harold Ickes resented Hopkins’ insider role, and the two remained at odds for years. “I do not like him,” Ickes once noted in his diary, “and I do not like the influence that he has with the president.” Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt’s opponent in the 1940 presidential campaign, asked Roosevelt why he placed such faith in Hopkins when he knew that others resented it. The president told Willkie that if he ever became president, “You’ll learn what a lonely job this is, and you’ll discover the need for someone like Harry Hopkins who asks for nothing except to serve you.”

Winston Churchill’s initial reaction upon receiving word of Hopkins’ impending visit was, “Who?” When the tall, lean American arrived in London, however, he quickly impressed Churchill with his forthrightness. British officials who were initially taken aback by Hopkins’ rumpled appearance soon accepted him as he was. He seemed to the British to be the stereotypical American: confident, secure, and oblivious to formality. Sherwood wrote that “Hopkins naturally and easily conformed to the essential Benjamin Franklin tradition of American diplomacy, acting on the conviction that when an American representative approaches his opposite numbers in friendly countries with the standard striped-pants frigidity, the strict observance of protocol and amenities, and a studied air of lip-curling, he is not really representing America—not, at any rate, the America of which FDR was President.”

Hopkins’ visit heartened British citizens, who saw his presence as a sign of forthcoming U.S. help. Churchill confidante Brendan Bracken told the prime minister’s secretary, John Colville, that Hopkins “was the most important American visitor to this country we had ever had . . . . He could influence the president more than any living man.”

For his part, Hopkins was struck by the spirit of the British people. At a dinner given by newspaper magnate and Minister of Aircraft Production Lord Beaverbrook, Hopkins addressed the press. He described the feelings he experienced while visiting Britain’s blitzed cities and spoke of the affection and admiration that Roosevelt had for Britain. Beaverbrook later wrote that Hopkins’ ”speech left us feeling that although America was not yet in the war, she was marching beside us, and that should we stumble she would see that the President and the men about him blazed with faith in the future of Democracy.”

Scheduled for two weeks, Hopkins’ visit ended up lasting nearly six. Staying at the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, Hopkins met with government officials, business leaders, and many others, trying to assess what kind of assistance Britain needed. He toured industrial sites and shipyards, witnessed bomb damage firsthand, and was impressed with Britain’s resolve to fight. Churchill affectionately dubbed him “Lord Root of the Matter” for his ability to quickly get to the heart of problems.

Hopkins attended the major conferences of the Allied powers, including the Cairo Conference (November 1943), the Tehran Conference (November–December 1943), the Casablanca Conference (January 1943), and the Yalta Conference (February 1945)

In May of 1945, Hopkins wrote Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall that he was leaving government. Marshall replied:

You have literally given of your physical strength during the past three years to a degree that has been, in my opinion, heroic and will never be appreciated except by your intimates. For myself, I wish to tell you this, that you personally have been of invaluable service to me in the discharge of my duties in this war,. Time after time you have done for me things I was finding exceedingly difficult to do for myself and always in matters of the gravest import. You have been utterly selfless as well as courageous and purely objective in your contribution to the war effort.

This was high praise from one of the most honored and respected Americans of the Second World War and the Twentieth Century. Also, let us not forget, Marshall was not a liberal, certainly wasn’t a New Dealer or even a supporter of FDR. In fact, he and the president were on the most formal of terms. With all that said, Hopkins was the symbol of the New deal and its most ardent supporter. But, once when national defense became out most critical issue and the war reached America, Hopkins was its greatest civilian asset.

He served the Nation and the President almost to the end. His last trip was to Moscow and after that there was little life left in him. In the words of Sherwood, “Hopkins, in the end, took with him the knowledge that there were very few men who ever lived who were as fortunate as he in the possession of such enemies and such friends.”  His health continued to decline, and he died in 1946 at the age of 55.

 Epilogue I: I was reminded of the story of Harry Hopkins’ son Robert. In his book “Witness to History,” Castle Pacific, 2002. Bob Hopkins, who was a combat US Army photographer during WWII, told some amazing stories about his adventures covering some of the great events in history. After enlisting in the Army on October 7, 1941, he was assigned to Fort Dix.  On November 29th, he received his first pass and he arranged with his father to spend it at the White House. With only $1.50 he hitchhiked to Washington in the rain. He arrived at the White House soaking wet, was ordered to take a bath by his father and after Arthur Prettyman, FDR’s valet ironed his soaking wet uniform dry, he joined Missy Le Hand, his father and the President for the usual round of martinis. After dinner, and a great deal of talk and laughter he realized it was after midnight and he had to get back to Fort Dix before reveille. He knew he couldn’t get there if he hitchhiked back so he asked his father if he could lend him five dollars for the bus. The President’s chief aide, and a cabinet member, Mr. Harry Hopkins, said he did not have it! The President said, “I’ll lend you five dollars.” Of course young Hopkins said he couldn’t possibly take it. The President insisted. Then, taking a card bearing the Presidential seal embossed in gold from a nearby table he said, “Let me give you this in case you don’t arrive on time for reveille.”

November 30, 1941

To Whom it May Concern:

Private Robert Hopkins is to be excused from reveille. He has been in consultation with the Commander-in-Chief.-signed Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Another son of Harry Hopkins was Steven, who was a US Marine PFC. He was killed in the Marshall Islands at the age of 18.

On the night of February 1, 1944. After a full day of fighting, during which he saved the lives of several comrades by shooting an enemy with a grenade, Hopkins was ordered to accompany his squad forward of the lines to set up a firing position. Nobody could see much in the dark, and a sound ahead warned of trouble. As Hopkins tried to bring his carbine to bear on the sound, a bullet struck him in the head. He died of his wounds the following morning, and was buried at sea from a hospital ship anchored in the lagoon. When news of his death reached combat correspondents, they descended upon his still-shocked company and squad asking for heroic stories. The Marines obliged, stretching the truth in some cases and obliterating it in others. Rumors that Hopkins had been killed by friendly fire were quickly put down. The story was put out over the AP Wire Service, and variations appeared in many newspapers around the country.

Epilogue II: In the days after FDR’s death, Sherwood interviewed Harold Smith, who was Director of the Budget from 1939-1946.  Smith was a modest, methodical and a precise man far removed from Hopkins or Roosevelt. His judgment and integrity and common sense was trusted implicitly by the president. When asked about writing an article about the late president on the first anniversary of his death, he demurred, because he felt he was not ready to make a correct evaluation. Smith said the following: “when I worked with Roosevelt for six years – I thought as many others that he was a very erratic administrator. But now, when I look back, I can really begin to see the size of his programs. They were by far the largest and most complex programs that any President had put through. People like me had the responsibility of watching pennies could only see the five or six percent of the programs that went wrong, through inefficient organization or direction. But now I can see in perspective the ninety three or four or five percent that went right – including the winning of the biggest war in history – because of unbelievably skillful organization and direction. And if I were to write the article now, I think I’d say that Roosevelt must have been one of the greatest geniuses as an administrator that ever lived. What we couldn’t appreciate at the time was the fact that he was a real artist in government.”

Sherwood wrote on the last two pages of his massive 934 page book the following: When I was coming to the end of the long work on this book, I went to London for the final checking on some of the material I had included. I attended the unveiling by Mrs. Roosevelt of a statue of her husband at Grosvenor Square. At a later dinner at the Pilgrims Society given for Mrs. Roosevelt, Churchill expressed his solemn conviction, “that in Roosevelt’s life and by his actions he changed, he altered decisively and permanently, the social axis, the moral axis of mankind by involving the New World inexorably and irrevocably in the fortunes of the Old. His life must therefore be regarded as one of the commanding events in human destiny.”  Churchill added,       “The longer his life and times are studied, the more unchallengeable these affirmations I have made tonight will become!”