History Lesson of the Month
Demonstrating a hubris like no U.S. President before him, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought and was nominated for a third Presidential term on July 18, 1940. He, of course, would be elected for a third and fourth term, violating the custom or precedent established by George Washington of not serving more than two terms.
Roosevelt responded to criticism of his decision to violate established precedent by claiming he believed it was his duty to continue serving in order to guide the Nation through the growing crisis in Europe, where Adolf Hitler was expanding the Third Reich. Unfortunately, much evil has been done in the name of “duty.”
During a CNN town hall meeting Tuesday, Hillary Clinton made quite clear her view of the Constitution in general, the 1st and 2nd Amendments in particular, and that she, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, views Americans as terrorists seeking to do harm on other Americans.
When asked about a ban on so-called assault weapons and extended magazines, she said: “We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people… We’re going to have to do a better job protecting the vast majority of our citizens, including our children, from that very, very, very small group that is unfortunately prone to violence and now with automatic weapons can wreak so much more violence than they ever could have before.”
On May 16, 1868, the U.S. Senate acquitted President Andrew Johnson of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors” when it failed by one vote on each of three counts to gain a two-thirds majority necessary to remove Johnson from office.
Johnson, a Democrat who ran with Abraham Lincoln on the National Union ticket and became President upon Abraham Lincoln’s death, favored a policy of benevolent reconciliation with the Southern States following the Civil War. He issued a series of proclamations that directed the Southern States to hold conventions and elections to reform their governments, and he attempted to veto a number of bills establishing military districts to oversee the new State governments.
On April 17, 1961, about 1,400 Cuban exiles, armed, trained and financed by the CIA and with the blessings of President John F. Kennedy, landed in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Their goal was to rally Cuban citizenry to rise up and overthrow Fidel Castro.
The mission was ill-conceived, the planning was bad, the execution was worse and the results were disastrous.
On March 20, 1854, the Republican Party was born in Wisconsin. The party consisted of an amalgam of parties, business groups and other special interest groups, but was primarily made up of former Whigs and members of the Free Soil Party.
The Whigs believed in protectionism for industry, a national bank and currency, a large national debt and large Federal government engaged in extensive public works. Free Soilers believed in free land and subsidies for farmers. Business leaders wanted a protectionist big government that would keep them free from competition and send them money from the Federal treasury.
During his farewell address on Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned of the danger of the growing military-industrial complex. At the time, U.S. military spending was about $300 billion and 10 percent of the gross domestic product.
Military spending today is more than twice that: about $650 billion. But it is down to about 4 percent of the GDP. (A desire to justify increasing that spending is likely behind calls from the neocon war hawks like Senator John McCain to make war on Syria and Iran, and perhaps re-invade Iraq.)
Fifteen years ago today, the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Clinton was not impeached over an extramarital affair — though that is what the Clinton spin machine wanted people to believe at the time. Clinton was impeached for lying under oath to a Federal grand jury and obstructing justice.
Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the years have done nothing to assuage those who believe there is more to story than the official Warren Commission narrative conveys. In fact, 61 percent still believe that others besides Lee Harvey Oswald were involved.
In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott unveiled a host of players who may have had a role in the killing. In his book, Scott goes into great detail connecting the links between Jack Ruby, Oswald, anti-Castro groups, the Mafia, labor unions, the horse racing wire service wars, casinos — in both Cuba and the United States — and two large banana-importing companies: United Fruit and Standard Fruit & Steamship. These people and corporations figured prominently in the deep politics of the United States and of several Latin American countries in the early 1960s.
In August 1777, British troops under Gen. John Burgoyne were finding the march from Fort Ticonderoga to Albany, N.Y., a difficult one.
Not only was the terrain hostile, but colonists Burgoyne thought would be loyal to the crown were proving anything but; and colonial troops under Philip Schuyler had scorched the crops and scattered the cattle as they retreated ahead of Burgoyne’s march, making foraging difficult. And Burgoyne suffered 800 casualties — one-seventh of his army — when Gen. John Stark and a troop of American farmers attacked his force near Bennnington, N.H.
Tuesday passed by largely unnoticed as a day of historical significance. I suppose it’s a sign of the times that Constitution Day would slip by almost unmentioned and essentially uncelebrated. However, 226 years ago Tuesday, the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia (May 14-Sept. 17, 1787) was closed with the signing of the Constitution by a majority of the delegates. The Constitution would not be ratified for another 10 months.
President George W. Bush was reported to have once said, in so many words, the Constitution is just a piece of paper. That report has since been debunked by even the Bush-haters as coming from an unreliable source and not likely true. But it seems lately the psychopaths walking the halls of power in the Washington, D.C., cesspool mostly feel that way. Certainly they govern that way, as did Bush, Bill Clinton and others.