When Was Last Time President Monitored For Inciting Violence?

We have crossed so many red lines and been deposited so often into the basement in our country that nothing really surprises me anymore. But the news yesterday about a media company needing to review the material posted by a former president, so to make sure violent or insurrectionist material is not online, does make me again aware of how much worse we are due to Donald Trump.

YouTube will reinstate Trump’s channel once the “elevated risk of violence” has passed, the Google-owned video-sharing site said in a news release. YouTube first suspended Trump’s account on January 12th for one week due to concerns “about the ongoing potential for violence” in the wake of the Capitol riot six days earlier and later extended the restriction by one week. After that period elapsed, the company said on the 26th that it was again extending the suspension but offered no timetable for it to be lifted, leaving its status indefinite.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton works on solving worldwide problems with his global initiatives.

YouTube will rely on a mix of indicators to assess the level of violence Trump may upload, including statements by government officials, the readiness level of law enforcement, and any violent rhetoric YouTube may observe on its own platform.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter, up until a few months ago, was still helping build homes with Habitat for Humanity.

I have argued repeatedly that we needed to remove Trump from office and elect a new person so to restore the dignity of the office. I made this statement for the benefit of all Americans, regardless of partisanship or political ideology. I made the plea as I have had deep concerns about Trump’s irreverent and aberrant behavior in the Oval Office. He has cheapened the dignity of the office, and now needs to be monitored so as not to cause more violence or damage to our democracy based on lies and conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, George Bush paints and does volunteer work.

Trump needs to be watched so he does not cause injury to the nation by inciting his base.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has used film projects to advance a national dialogue on race and class, democracy, and civil rights.

Donald Trump And Lack Of Unity In Pandemic America

Our pandemic crisis is unique for the current generations.  We have not lived through something like this before.  It feels so different from the other horrors such as 9/11, or for those older, World War II.  But what seems so at odds with other crises, such as the Oklahoma bombing or the Challenger explosion, is the lack of empathy from a president.  In addition, is the partisan divide that has resulted in a lack of unity in a nation that has nearly 60,000 dead citizens.  And that number is growing.

We have always had a president in our nation who was able to show empathy and use the office and words to bring a nation together during times of crisis.  That quality of a president has never, perhaps, been understood more clearly than now when we view its glaring absence.

I was on-air at WDOR the night President Reagan spoke to the nation following the horrific explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger. In my lifetime there is perhaps no other speech that so clearly demonstrated the role of a president at times of national crisis, or the heights of rhetorical balm that can come with the office.  I sat in the broadcast studio and was moved to tears.  Contrast national moments such as that one to the current occupant in the White House who continually stokes the anger and resentment of people for partisan advantage.

Trump is not able to either resist being mean or fails to grasp the need and the ability of his office to lift others up when they need the nation’s support.  For instance, I can not get out of my mind how Trump refused to keep the White House flag at half-mast to honor the late Senator John McCain.  It was only belatedly that he allowed his staff to put out a mildly laudatory statement in his name and allow the flag to be lowered.

Character matters.  We say those words often but also take the concept for granted.  When the lack of character is so obvious and smacks at us daily, it becomes a reminder of how much this nation lost when Trump secured the votes of the Electoral College.

As The New York Times pointed out today much of the reason for such a fractured and dismaying national moment is due to the actions and words of Donald Trump.

One of the recurring features of the Trump years has been the president’s knack for detonating so many of our powerful shared experiences into us-versus-them grenades. Whether it’s the anniversary of a national catastrophe like the Oklahoma City bombing, the death of a widely admired statesman (Senator John McCain) or a lethal pathogen, Mr. Trump has exhibited minimal interest in the tradition of national strife placing a pause upon the usual smallness of politics.

Mr. Clinton, historians said, always appreciated the power of big, bipartisan gestures, even when they involved incendiary rivals. “He understood the healing powers of the presidency,” said Ted Widmer, a presidential historian at City University of New York, and a former adviser to Mr. Clinton who assisted him in writing his memoirs. He mentioned a generous eulogy that Mr. Clinton delivered for disgraced former President Richard Nixon, after he died in 1994. “There is a basic impulse a president can have for when the country wants their leader to rise above politics and mudslinging,” Mr. Widmer said.

In that regard, Mr. Trump’s performance during this pandemic has been a missed opportunity. “The coronavirus could have been Donald Trump’s finest hour,” Mr. Widmer said. “You really sensed that Americans wanted to be brought together. But now that appears unattainable.”

For whatever reason, Mr. Trump seems uninterested in setting aside personal resentment, even when some small gestures — a photo op or a joint statement with Democratic leaders in Congress; a bipartisan pandemic commission chaired by former presidents — could score him easy statesmanship points.

Gregory Humphrey Makes The New York Times!

That headline sums up the energy today which flows from the desk of Caffeinated Politics.

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CreditDiana Walker, via The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images

I made The New York Times‘ Daily Newsletter regarding the campaign rally of President Bush (41) on Oct 31, 1992 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. They had asked for campaign memories of special rallies and I sent them a summation of the day.  I took my family to see an old-fashioned mode of travel for a presidential campaign.  While what I sent was many paragraphs long, and truly allowed for a reader to feel the event in words, only a snippet was used by the paper.   I am glad, however, the sentence they used contains the mood of why that rally remains my favorite of the many I have been fortunate enough to have observed.

I was elated when the Times asked July 3rd for permission to quote me. My best friend made the NYT over two decades ago for running the New York City marathon, and now I have made it to the ‘Gray Lady’ too!! We now have checked those items off our bucket lists.

It is a very good day as the NYT has been my favorite daily newspaper since arriving in Sturgeon Bay in 1982 for work at WDOR.

For the record—and for my readers–this was the whole summation of what was submitted to the NYT.

October 31, 1992, was a cold and blustery day across Wisconsin. Light snow flurries swirled through the air as many thousands stood for hours at the old train depot in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The presidential campaign that year was winding down, and even though President Bush was campaigning with David McCullough’s latest book “Truman ” in his hand while reminding voters that he too could win the election as Harry did in 1948, the polls were all indicating the opposite. In spite of that there were still campaign stops to be made, as Bush was traveling Wisconsin by train, while working over-time at trying to making his Truman moment come true.

I had secured tickets for my mom and dad along with most of my immediate family, including nieces and nephews who wished to attend what turned out to be the most incredible campaign rally I have ever witnessed. My Mom and Dad surely had doubts about standing in line for several hours to see the event, but I also know they loved it. They talked about that day for the rest of their lives.  It was that same train station in 1944 where my mom’s family had arrived from Ozone, Arkansas.  

We had arrived very early which allowed us to stand in the very front near the podium allowing the young ones in my family to have a moment they will never forget. I have been lucky to be up front at many of these election moments over the years, but nothing compares to the sights and sounds of President Bush (41) arriving on the train to greet the people. Being a lover of history this was a moment that made time seem to move backwards as the loud engine and sharp whistle brought a President to that little depot. I had at times wondered if my folks thought my involvement in politics was worth the time and energy which I had put into it. But that day as I watched their faces I had my answer. This had impressed them!

At about 5:00 P.M. off in the distance the lonesome sound of the train was heard and the crowd exploded with cheers. As the big locomotive brought the long line of train cars into the depot the President and his family were waving and ready to embrace the folks who were friendly in spite of the national mood. The crowd was highly partisan, as it should be, for such an occasion. I was mesmerized by the historical and grand moment that this old-fashioned campaign rally had generated. Nothing will ever surpass that event.

My Memories Of President George Herbert Walker Bush In Wisconsin

Of all the politicians who have some to Wisconsin George and Barbara Bush were the ones I saw most often, and were able to ‘press the flesh’ with on rope lines.   I can assure you, having grown up in rural Wisconsin, and reading history books about national politicians and their families, that my first encounter with a major politician was most memorable.

It was a spring Saturday morning in 1988 at Madison.  I was standing alongside staunch Republicans while having the time of my life.  The presidential primary was nearing and Vice-President Bush was sparring for votes with Senator Bob Dole.  On the stage in the hotel stood George and Barbara Bush.  I had never before been so close to such a powerful couple.  Of course many in the crowd were chatting about the woman who stood and smiled, waving at times here and there at people she recognized.  It was following the address Bush made to the party faithful when people pressed forward and handshakes were given by the Vice-President and Mrs. Bush.  I was truly thrilled as a young politico to shake each of their hands.

The most politically romantic campaign rally I ever attended–and grasping fully nothing of its kind will ever compete–was on October 31, 1992 when President Bush and the First Lady made an old-fashioned whistle stop in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

It was a cold and blustery day across Wisconsin.  Light snow flurries swirled through the air as many thousands stood for hours at the old train depot.   The presidential campaign that year was winding down, and President Bush was campaigning with David McCullough’s latest book “Truman ” in his hand while reminding voters that he too could win the election as Harry did in 1948.  In spite of the polls there were still campaign stops to be made as Bush was working over-time at trying to making his Truman moment come true.

A Republican friend of mine at the Capitol had secured tickets for my parents and family, including nieces and nephews.   We had arrived very early which allowed us to stand up front near the podium allowing the young ones in my family to have a moment they will  never forget. (It needs to be noted that in 1946 this is where my mother’s family had debarked upon their arrival from Ozone, Arkansas.)

At about 5:00 P.M. off in the distance the lonesome sound of the train whistle was heard and the crowd exploded with cheers.  As the big locomotive brought the long line of train cars into the depot the President and his family were waving and ready to embrace the folks who were fully-charged for a campaign pitch.  There were many of the Bush grand kids bouncing about with exuberance and Barbara was doing her best to keep them somewhat under control.

While nothing will ever surpass that event for political charm there was one other rally that stands out as it was the first time I was able to shake hands with a President and First Lady.

My nephew, Troy, and I drove to Waukesha in the fall of 1992 for a large outdoor Bush rally.

We arrived a bit late, and were stuck way in the back of the crowd.  I really wanted to be the best uncle possible so following the impassioned plea for re-election I took the lead along the perimeter rope line as we edged our way through the throngs.  We maneuvered ourselves until up front along the roped section not far from the podium. It was there we waited for a couple minutes and then the hands of a President and First Lady were making contact to our right.  And then it was our turn!

There are no words to describe the feeling of pressing the flesh with a president. I recall looking into his eyes. It was heady and historical and pure adrenaline.  I was very pleased that my nephew had that opportunity.

There is no way for me not to get rather nostalgic tonight as I think back to all the fun times and smiling faces of those I stood with as we watched and listened to George Bush.  There is something about the fall leaves and chill in the air every four years as candidates ask for our votes for the White House that lets me know how fortunate I have been to be able to see and hear so many of the contenders.

More importantly I am constantly reminded of the ones who put themselves in front of their fellow citizens with their candidacies in an attempt to make our country a better place to live.

For them and their service to this country I say thank you.

Grand Memory Of Another Election Season…..October 31, 1992

A grand memory of another fall election season…..
October 31, 1992, was a cold and blustery day across Wisconsin. Light snow flurries swirled through the air as many thousands stood for hours at the old train depot in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The presidential campaign that year was winding down, and even though President Bush was campaigning with David McCullough’s latest book “Truman ” in his hand while reminding voters that he too could win the election as Harry did in 1948, the polls were all indicating the opposite. In later news accounts and books all would discover that it was that frigid day in Wisconsin when President Bush was told of his fate by his internal pollsters. In spite of that there were still campaign stops to be made, as Bush was traveling Wisconsin by train, while working over-time at trying to making his Truman moment come true.
 
A Republican friend of mine at the Capitol had secured tickets for my mom and dad along with most of my immediate family, including nieces and nephews who wished to attend what turned out to be the most incredible campaign rally I have ever witnessed. My Mom and Dad surely had doubts about standing in line for several hours to see the event, but I also know they loved it. They talked about that day for the rest of their lives.  It was that same train station in 1944 where my mom’s family had arrived from Ozone, Arkansas.  
 
We had arrived very early which allowed us to stand in the very front near the podium allowing the young ones in my family to have a moment they will never forget. I have been lucky to be up front at many of these election moments over the years, but nothing compares to the sights and sounds of President Bush (41) arriving on the train to greet the people. Being a lover of history this was a moment that made time seem to move backwards as the loud engine and sharp whistle brought a President to that little depot. I had at times wondered if my folks thought my involvement in politics was worth the time and energy which I had put into it. But that day as I watched their faces I had my answer. This had impressed them!
 
At about 5:00 P.M. off in the distance the lonesome sound of the train was heard and the crowd exploded with cheers. As the big locomotive brought the long line of train cars into the depot the President and his family were waving and ready to embrace the folks who were friendly in spite of the national mood. The crowd was highly partisan, as it should be, for such an occasion. I was mesmerized by the historical and grand moment that this old-fashioned campaign rally had generated. Nothing will ever surpass that event.
 
While my nephew, Troy, and I had actually shaken hands with both President Bush and Barbara in Waukesha that summer at another rally at the rope line up front (where Bush was also talking of winning like Truman) we were not so lucky in Plover. But it did not matter as we all walked away after that wonderful evening to find a small restaurant to eat and un-thaw.  We had all witnessed something that is left to the history books, and nostalgic memories of those who lived the 1948 campaign and saw the train used in national campaigns.
 
There is no way for me not to get rather nostalgic today as I think back to all the fun times and smiling faces of those I stood with as we watched and listened to the candidates. There is something about the fall leaves and chill in the air every two years as candidates ask for our votes that lets me know how fortunate I have been to be able to see and hear so many of the contenders.
 
More importantly I am constantly reminded of the ones who put themselves in front of their fellow citizens with their candidacies in an attempt to make our country a better place to live.
 
For them, and their service to this country, I say thank you.

Graciousness From President Bush Family

My James received a very nice note in the mail today in response to some thoughts he had shared about First Lady Barbara Bush.

I had the distinct honor of sharing lunch with one of Maine’s most famous residents.  A gentleman in a nice tuxedo, white gloves, came in to the dining room and asked if I would mind rising to meet the First Lady of the United States, Barbara Bush.  Blue Dress.  Large pearl earrings and stunning string of pearls around her neck.  White gloves.  She embraced my Mother and me fondly and said that she was so pleased be able to meet me at long last, that she had heard much about me from the Governor and his wife.

We enjoyed a light lunch and delightful conversation.  She was genuinely very interested in my ideas for literacy, and was curious as to why someone my age, someone 48 years her junior, was so preoccupied about language education.  She listened intently as I shared my educational goals and plans for the future.  Barbara Bush, for a few short hours, genuinely made me feel very valued and cared for, that my goals were laudable and achievable.  She sincerely dedicated the few hours we spent together, Mom, Barbara and me, to making me feel like the most valued resident of the State of Maine.  She was warm, caring and very much a lovely conversationalist.  We parted ways when she said jokingly that she needed to get back to Kennebunkport to let Millie, her dog, out for a run!  (She was expected at a fundraising event later that day.)

This is just classy all the way around with the Bush Family.

 

 

Trump Attacks Thousand Points Of Light

Last night during a rally of the deplorable followers of Donald Trump another new low was set.

“And by the way, you know all of the rhetoric: ‘Thousands points of light.’ What the hell was that?” Trump asked his audience. “What does that mean?”

And you can imagine how all those in attendance without a library card in their wallet reacted.

President George H. W. Bush’s aim to attract those to volunteer projects was a noble effort–one that still should resonate.

The attack on “thousands points of light” was another gutter ball at America. As a literacy volunteer and Big Brother I know the value of lending a helping hand. I am ashamed of what my country is becoming due to Trump and his followers.

The moral impulses behind volunteering are not part of Trump’s make-up.  The man is an intellectual desert with the nerve to impugn those strengths in others.  Sadly, the audience that he stood in front of were much the same.   Cretins, boors, and simple-minded knuckle-draggers.

President George H. W. Bush Hospitalized With Blood Infection

Former President George H. W. Bush, 94, has been admitted to the hospital for an infection.  Bush was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital Sunday morning after contracting an infection that spread to his blood.  He was responding to treatments and appeared to be recovering.

The former president has had health problems in recent years. In April 2017, he was released from a Houston hospital after treatment for pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. A few months before that, he was hospitalized at Houston Methodist for 16 days for pneumonia.