Notorious Pardons

I have written several times about the presidential pardons that Trump issued….most were close allies or people that would benefit him in some way or another.

But Trump is not alone…history is full of notorious pardons by our presidents.

It all began back in 1794 and the Whiskey Rebels……this article is from Time that list some historic pardons…..

In an event that would lead to the first pardon in U.S. history, Congress enacted a steep tax on spirits in 1791 to help pay down the national debt, and hard-hit small producers protested by taking to the streets in western Pennsylvania. They quickly formed a multi-state armed rebellion and President George Washington called in 13,000 troops to quell the opposition. Intent on emphasizing federalist power, the government charged the whiskey rebel leaders with treason against the U.S., although many were released due to a lack of evidence.

Virginia Governor Henry Lee, on Washington’s behalf, issued a general pardon for those who had participated “in the wicked and unhappy tumults and disturbances lately existing,” even though some of the rebels had not even been indicted. Only a few men had trials and two were convicted of treason (which meant death by hanging). Eventually, Washington pardoned those who had treason convictions and indictments. It was the first pardon in American history that overturned a criminal conviction, and the first time under the young U.S. Constitution that the federal government wielded military force to quell its own citizens.

(read on and learn)

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1862257_1862325_1862313,00.html

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“President-Elect”

Damn I love history!

As I tried to take mind off the antics of a few Americans that have more belly fat than brains…I started thinking about the term “president-elect”….that time from the end of a presidential election the winner calls himself “president-elect”…..but where did the term come from and when did it become into common use?

In 1793, Washington wrote a letter concerning his upcoming second inauguration as president in which he referred to himself as “president-elect.”

Numerous letters by the Founding Fathers contain the term “president-elect” in connection with the 1796 presidential election.

Of particular note is a letter from James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, sent on Christmas Day 1796. Wrote Madison:

“Unless the Vermont election of which little has of late been said, should contain some fatal vice, in it, Mr. Adams may be considered as the President elect. Nothing can deprive him of it but a general run of the votes in Georgia, Tenissee & Kentucky in favor of Mr. Pinkney, which is altogether contrary to the best information.”

https://theconversation.com/a-brief-history-of-the-term-president-elect-in-the-united-states-152215

A great source for info on the history of our politics….

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What Would MLK Think?

Closing Thought–18Jan21

Today is MLK birthday holiday.

Many have wondered what if he were alive he would think about the division of today and the riot around the Capitol.

First of all MLK was a devout follower of the theory of non-violence in the vein of Gandhi….so he would not condone the events of 06 January in any shape.

This year, America commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.’s life amid a chaotic and shameful time for democracy. Less than two weeks ago, insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol after they were encouraged to “take back” the country by the sitting US president, holding fast to the false claim of election fraud.

MLK should be a prophet to those that want to protest….

  1. “In spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.”
  2. “We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts.”
  3. “Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”
  4. “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
  5. “Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”
  6. “World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point.”
  7. “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
  8. “I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action.”
  9. “I am convinced that even violent temperaments can be channeled through nonviolent discipline, if they can act constructively and express through an effective channel their very legitimate anger.”
  10. “In the nonviolent army, there is room for everyone who wants to join up. There is no color distinction. There is no examination, no pledge, except that, as a soldier in the armies of violence is expected to inspect his carbine and keep it clean, nonviolent soldiers are called upon to examine their greatest weapons: their heart, their conscience, their courage and sense of justice.”

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During moments of social and political turmoil, we often ask ourselves, what would King do?

Unfortunately, the same forces that motivated the insurrectionists have tried their hardest to water down and whitewash King’s message and legacy. White supremacist ideology motivated the Capitol attack, and it’s this same power that has, in recent years, attempted to mischaracterize King’s words to fit their agenda.

Vice President Mike Pence, for example, has likened Donald Trump to King in an effort to defend Trump’s border wall. “One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,’” Pence said on Face the Nation ahead of MLK Day in 2019. “You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union.’”

https://www.vox.com/2021/1/18/22233296/martin-luther-king-jr-whitewashed-legacy-and-message

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

 

Another Pointless Putsch?

A Putsch?

An attempt to violently overthrow a government.

It appeared to me…I know that some will not agree with my assertion…..this was what occurred in DC on the 6th of January 2021.

It is not the first time such an event has happened….

The mos famous “Putsch” was when Hitler and the Nazis tried to take the Bavarian government in 1923 with the Beerhall Putsch.

For those unfamiliar with history…..

From November 8 to November 9, 1923, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) and his followers staged the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, a failed takeover of the government in Bavaria, a state in southern Germany. Since 1921, Hitler had led the Nazi Party, a fledgling political group that promoted German pride and anti-Semitism and was unhappy with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the peace settlement that ended World War I (1914-18) and required many concessions and reparations from Germany. In the aftermath of the failed “putsch,” or coup d’état, Hitler was convicted of treason and sentenced to five years in prison. He spent less than a year behind bars, during which time he dictated “Mein Kampf,” his political autobiography. The putsch and Hitler’s subsequent trial turned him into a national figure. After prison, he worked to rebuild the Nazi Party and gain power via legal political methods.

That would not be the first nor the last attempt to subvert a government.

The melée in Washington looked like the early stages of what in the Latin American context would be described as an attempted “self-coup” or autogolpe. That’s defined as an interruption of the constitutional and democratic order by means of the closure of congress and suspension of the constitution, typically followed by rule by decree and the perpetuation in power of an autocratic ruler. Variations on this script have been played out in Peru (1992), Russia (1993) and Guatemala (1993).

Reaching further back into history, examples of ambitious politicians disrupting established institutions to retain power can be found in the coup of the 18th Brumaire by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (the nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte) in France (1851), Oliver Cromwell’s dissolution of the Rump Parliament in 1653 and the rebellion of the Gracchi brothers in Rome (133-121 BCE.

https://theconversation.com/the-u-s-capitol-raid-was-a-failed-self-coup-previously-seen-in-dying-regimes-152917

In my younger days being a so-called “radical” there are reasons that I might  have joined these people in DC.

If those people stormed the Capitol because their government had abandoned them for nearly a year while an unprecedented pandemic ravaged the country.

If they stormed the Capitol because the government shut down their jobs and asked them to stay home but didn’t provide stimulus to replace their lost income, didn’t provide rent relief, mortgage relief, debt relief during an unprecedented pandemic.

If they stormed the Capitol because they were recently evicted or on the edge of eviction or their children were going hungry because the government abandoned them during an unprecedented pandemic.

If they stormed the Capitol because they couldn’t afford healthcare in the midst of a health crisis. Because they saw family, friends, coworkers die needlessly because the government abandoned them during an unprecedented pandemic. I would have supported them.

If the people who stormed the Capitol were part of the anti-war movement, disgusted that our military is still in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, and still in Iraq, a war predicated on lies and misinformation that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced over a million.

None of that was the reason for the situation.

The truly bizarre thing about this whole fiasco. The devotion to Trump would be more understandable if he had made the average Americans life materially better while he was in office. But he didn’t.

They stormed the Capitol for a lie, to fight for a president that is a fraud, while all of the real problems this country faces remain unresolved.

All in all it was a pointless exercise in stupidity.

“Pointless?

I am not convinced that it was a pointless exercise…..as many of the other so-called “putsch” it set up the climate for change to come….and I believe that is what this act accomplished.

Now we wait for the stupidity that will surround the swearing in ceremony on 20 January.

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Are These From “Q”?

“Q”?

The equipment dude from James Bond movies…..he had amazing gadgets….

He was the one that provided James with all those fantastic tools like a collapsible helicopter, a watch for track radiation, a car with injection seat and oil jets, etc……you get the picture, right?

Well in real life none of those are provided to field agents….however there were some really cool stuff….there was a glove gun, lipstick gun, coal bomb and my favorite the “rectal kit”……

Spying became an integral part of the Cold War. Both sides went out of their way to acquire as much knowledge as they could about each other. While Hollywood has romanticized the whole image of espionage, the real thing is far from romantic. It is a dangerous cat and mouse game that typically results in torture, prison, or execution for the spy if caught by the opposing team.

During the Cold War, spies had to prepare themselves for the worst. Their ability to blend with their surroundings was vital to their survival. The USSR and the US spent large amounts of money training, recruiting, outfitting, and deploying spies all around the world. This resulted in many technological innovations, all the way from tiny spy cameras to deadly assassination weapons.

…read more….

8 Amazing Spy Gadgets Used During the Cold War

Whatcha think?  Cool right?

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Secession Again?

Closing Thought–06Jan21

Keeping with the tone of the day……

WE all know about the last time parts of the US decided to secede and it did not end well for those that broke away…….and the calls for secession again became loud…..https://lobotero.com/2012/12/03/secession-fever-2/

Then the electoral college went and elected the provocateur Trump in 2016 and the calls for secession grew even louder….championed by the man elected to the office…..https://lobotero.com/2018/04/29/secession-is-still-popular/

During Trump’s tenure as president the calls for secession and civil war have grown at an alarming pace……and now that he has lost the 2020 election and he and his minions try to overturn the vote the calls again are increasing for secession the possibility of a civil war…..

Right-wing figures online are now toying with the ultimate act of resistance against Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election: secession and civil war. The  idea has picked up steam in the past few days, thanks to a boost it got from talk radio host and Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh made waves on Wednesday when he said, “I actually think that we’re trending toward secession.” I see more and more people asking what in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York?”

Limbaugh also added: “I see a lot of bloggers … have written extensively about how distant and separated and how much more separated our culture is becoming politically and that it can’t go on this way. ” There cannot be a peaceful coexistence of two completely different theories of life, theories of government, theories of how we manage our affairs. We can’t be in this dire a conflict without something giving somewhere along the way.”

But after Limbaugh’s comment gained media attention, he claimed on Thursday that he was not in any sense advocating for secession or civil war. Rather, he said, he was just describing something that he’d been hearing about from others, because of how divided the country is.

https://www.mediamatters.org/rush-limbaugh/talk-secession-and-civil-war-increasing-far-right

Then there are those state senators that want to use the military to annul the election by declaring martial law…..

… two Republican state senators, Bob Steinburg of North Carolina and Amanda F. Chase of Virginia, through public Facebook posts and in subsequent interviews, have declared that President Donald Trump should suspend civil liberties and declare martial law in order to stay in power. Both state senators have repeated Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud and various other right-wing conspiracies. Steinburg was reelected to the statehouse this past year, while Chase is running for governor of Virginia.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Steinburg reiterated comments made earlier this month by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, suggesting Trump invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, deploy soldiers and suspend habeas corpus. In an interview with WRAL Tuesday night, Steinburg alleged he was just “putting out there options that others say still remain on the table,” although he later added that he would welcome a coup, insinuating a vast conspiracy was working against Trump.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/12/17/elec-d17.html

Will these traitorous dicks get their way?

Will we have another civil war?

Or is it just cowards and the spineless venting and pouting because their dictator lost?

Think about a little American history…the Hartford Convention…..

U.S. history, a secret meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, of Federalist delegates from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont who were dissatisfied with Pres. James Madison’s mercantile policies and the progress of the War of 1812 (“Mr. Madison’s War”), as well as long resentful over the balance of political power that gave the South, particularly Virginia, effective control of the national government.

The more extreme delegates raised the possibility of secession, but others sought only to dictate amendments to the Constitution that would protect their interests. Ultimately, the convention adopted a strong states’ rights position and expressed its grievances in a series of resolutions against military conscription and commercial regulations (along with some stringent criticisms of Madison’s administration) that were agreed to on January 4, 1815.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Hartford-Convention

So you see the idea of secession of the 1850-60s is not a mew concept to Americans…

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“Tailgunner Joe” Get Physical

With all the years of division and media BS….all that brings my favorite bad guy from the 1950s….Sen Joe “Tailgunner” McCarthy……

How many know who “Tailgunner Joe” is?

Joseph McCarthy, in full Joseph Raymond McCarthy, (born November 14, 1908, near Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.—died May 2, 1957, Bethesda, Maryland), American politician who served in the U.S. Senate (1947–57), representing Wisconsin, and who lent his name to the term McCarthyism. He dominated the U.S. political climate in the early 1950s through his sensational but unproven charges of communist subversion in high government circles. In 1954, in a rare move, McCarthy’s Senate colleagues officially censured him for unbecoming conduct.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-McCarthy

It was a simpler time when according to some there were Commies in every closet in America (somethings do not change…after 70 years some lunatics still see them where none exist….kinda like those reptilian aliens that are here now)

At one point Tailgunner decided it would be prudent to attack a reporter….

It may seem unimaginable these days, but a U.S. Senator once assaulted a prominent newspaper columnist at an exclusive club in Washington, D.C.

The brief but violent confrontation between Joe McCarthy and columnist Drew Pearson took place December 12, 1950, at the end of a dinner at the Sulgrave Club, which occupies a Gilded Age Beaux Arts mansion on DuPont Circle.

I recount this episode in my book, Getting It Wrong— in a chapter puncturing the myth about CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and his half-hour television report on McCarthy in March 1954. The myth has it that Murrow confronted and single-handedly took down McCarthy, the Red-baiting Republican senator from Wisconsin.

I note in Getting It Wrong that “the evidence is overwhelming” that Murrow’s television report on McCarthy “had no such decisive effect, that Murrow in fact was very late in confronting McCarthy, that he did so only after other journalists had challenged the senator and his tactics for months, even years.”

Notable among those journalists was Pearson, a veteran, Washington-based syndicated columnist and radio commentator who, long before Murrow’s show, raised pointed and repeated challenges to McCarthy’s claims that communists had infiltrated high positions in the State Department, the Army, and other American institutions.

Remembering when Joe McCarthy beat up a columnist

It amazes me that this sort of thing does not happen more often…..the only one I can think of right now is that GOP representative that threatened to throw a reporter off an balcony a few years ago.

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Was 2020 The Worst Year Ever?

The easy answer is….depends…..depends on your definition of “worse”…..

A New Year And I feel I need to look back…..not at the horrible year that 2020 was but rather through history at all the bad years.

2020 sucked bad with the pandemic, the loss of jobs, the loss of some many people, bad it was not the worst year ever even with Donald the Orange in charge….

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d say 2020 was great, but a group of 28 historians says there have been other years in US history that were even worse than this one, CBS News reports. In a survey conducted by self-help therapy app company Bloom, the academics from American and UK universities such as Yale, Stanford, and Oxford, as well as a few indie historical writers, were asked to select what they believed was the most stressful year ever in the United States. While 2020 definitely made that list, there were others that beat it out for the dubious distinction of worst year ever. Read on to see what those troubled times were:

  1. 1862: The darkest year of the Civil War, including the one-day battle of Antietam, which killed 23,000 men.
  2. 1929 and 1838: Tie for the Wall Street stock market crash and “Trail of Tears,” respectively.
  3. 1919: The worst year of the Spanish flu pandemic, which left 675,000 Americans dead.
  4. 1968: The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.
  5. 1962: The Cuban missile crisis.
  6. 2001: The Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Check here to see what years the same historians ranked as worse than 2020 in world history.

You see as bad as the country looks….there were worse times that had far reaching consequences.

But as long as the pandemic continues then this could very well be the worse year in our history….time will tell and our actions will feed the narrative until it is no more.

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Closing Thought–30Dec20

The year id 1970…..the height of the antiwar movement….the location is Kent State…..Four Kent State University students were killed and nine were injured on May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd gathered to protest the Vietnam War. The tragedy was a watershed moment for a nation divided by the conflict in Southeast Asia. In its immediate aftermath, a student-led strike forced the temporary closure of colleges and universities across the country. Some political observers believe the events of that day in northeast Ohio tilted public opinion against the war and may have contributed to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

I bring up this short history because one of the survivors of that shooting spree has died….

Alan Canfora, who was one of nine students who were wounded in the 1970 Kent State shootings but survived, has died. He was 71.

Canfora died Dec. 20 at home from an illness unrelated to COVID-19, according to a Facebook post by his sister, Chic Canfora.

“It is with immense sadness that I share news of the passing of my beloved brother, Alan Canfora — a devastating loss to our family, friends and the Kent State/May 4 community,” she wrote in the post as reported by the Akron Beacon Journal.

As a junior at Kent State, Canfora was one of the hundreds of students who protested at the Ohio campus May 1-4. They were demonstrating against the Vietnam War and the National Guard’s presence on their campus.

The Guardsmen fired on unarmed protesters May 4. Canfora was shot in the right wrist in the first 13 seconds. Four students — Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Lee Scheuer and William Schroeder — were killed.

(thehour.com)

This may not mean much to some but to me it was a turning point in our protests against the Vietnam War….

It is a crying shame that this country cannot muster a protest movement against our many wars and especially our endless wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

These people we brave beyond compare….something that is sadly missing in our society these days.

Will we ever see the antiwar movement re-born?

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The Christmas Truce of 1914

During the first year of the Great War on Christmas Day 1914 both sides of the trenches called an impromptu truce from the fighting.

Have you heard of this historic event?

No?

Let me educate you about this Tuce….

The Christmas Truce occurred on and around Christmas Day 1914, when the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front during World War I in favor of holiday celebrations. During the unofficial ceasefire, soldiers on both sides of the conflict emerged from the trenches and shared gestures of goodwill.

Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops fighting in World War I sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. Some Germans lit Christmas trees around their trenches, and there was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer. 

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/christmas-truce-of-1914

I bring this up because the question has been asked…what did the world learn from this action?

The answer is….not much.

I say thins by looking back since those days….

After the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 and the death of the Soviet Union was confirmed two years later when Boris Yeltsin courageously stood down the Red Army tanks in front of Moscow’s White House, a dark era in human history came to an end.

The world had descended into a 77-Year War, incepting with the mobilization of the armies of old Europe in August 1914. If you want to count bodies, 150 million were killed by all the depredations that germinated in the Great War, its foolish aftermath at Versailles, and the march of history into World War II and the Cold War that followed inexorably thereupon.

Upwards of 8% of the human race was wiped out during that span. The toll encompassed the madness of trench warfare during 1914-1918; the murderous regimes of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism that rose from the ashes of the Great War and Versailles; and then the carnage of WWII and all the lesser (unnecessary) wars and invasions of the Cold War including Korea and Vietnam.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 – Why There Is Still No Peace On Earth

Truly sad that since that war humanity was only learned to make big, better and more lethality.

We could have learned so much from those brave individuals…..but instead we learned just how much profit there was in modern warfare.

Truly sad.

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