Making America (History) Great Again–Part 31

As the calls for the impeachment of an American president…..Maj. Danny Sjursen takes a look at the dark days around the Nixon re-election years…….

Maj. Sjursen has a unique way of looking into the soul of American history….his series should be taught…if not in high school then in college…..his perspective is similar to the writings of Howard Zinn, another historian with a great look at our history,,,the good and the bad……

Before we go to Part 31….I want to help my readers able to read all the Parts of this series…..

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28; Part 29; Part 30.

This Part of the series looks at the “Dark Lecacy Of The Nixon Years”…..

He was corrupt. He was petty, angry and resentful. He was also one of the most astute politicians in the annals of the American presidency. Time after time he overcame obstacles and defeats to rise again. His genius, ultimately, was this: He envisioned a new coalition and knew how to channel white resentment over the civil rights and antiwar movements into political triumph. This was his gift, and his legacy. Americans today inhabit the partisan universe that Richard Milhous Nixon crafted. Republican leaders to this very day speak Nixon’s language and employ Nixon’s tactics of fear and anger to win massive white majorities in election upon election. Indeed, though Nixon eventually resigned in disgrace before he could be impeached, the last half-century has been rather kind to the Republican Party. Only three Democrats have been elected president in that period, and Republicans have reigned over the White House for a majority of the post-Nixon era.

For all that, Nixon remains an enigma. Though he crafted a lasting conservative majority among American voters, he also supported popular environmental and social welfare causes. He secretly bombed Laos and Cambodia and orchestrated a right-wing coup in Chile but also reached out to the Soviets and Chinese in a bold attempt to lessen Cold War tensions and achieve detente. A product of conflict, Nixon operated in the gray areas of life. Though the antiwar activists, establishment liberals and African-Americans generally hated him, Nixon won two presidential elections, cruising to victory for a second term. He was popular, far more so than many would like to admit. Although the 1960s began as a time of prosperity and hope, they produced a president who operated from and exploited anxiety and fear, and in doing so found millions of supporters. Nixon was representative of the dark side of American politics, and no one tapped into the darkness as deftly as he did. The key to his success was his ability to rally what he called the “silent majority” of frustrated Northern whites (most of whom traditionally were Democrats) and angry Southern whites (in what came to be known as his “Southern strategy”). It was cynical, and it worked.

 
As an old fart that remembers these days all too well…..appreciate the observations from this historian…..all Americans need to remember or at least learn about those dark days of the American presidency….so that it cannot happen again……(too late!)……
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Making American(History) Great Again–Part 30

The next episode of the historical series written by Maj. Danny Sjursen….a look at a true history not the sanitized one that we are taught in our schools…..

The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins.

This part looks at our history of civil rights and the days around the push for the law….but first let me help my reader get caught up with the story so far……

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28; Part 29.

Rosa Parks sat, Martin Luther King Jr. stood up, the Supreme Court overturned school segregation, and the rest, as they say, was history. African-Americans, long-abused and long-thwarted, ultimately won their civil rights in what has become a defining American story. Only that’s what this is—a story, a mythologized and sanitized past that fails to engage with the complexity of the issues at hand.

According to what American children are taught, the civil rights activists managed a coherent movement; there seldom is mention of the internal battles within the black and white liberal communities. As it is taught, the movement had a discrete chronology, a beginning and an end. It begins with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board or Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white person on a crowded, segregated bus in Montgomery, Ala. It ends, usually, with either the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or with the King assassination in April 1968. The mythologized movement has a distinctly Southern geography—lost are the riots, poverty and persistent de facto segregation of the urban North.

This is an excellent look back at America’s history….in the vane of Howard Zinn and his History of the American People….

Learn Stuff!

Be Smart!

Class Dismissed!

Making America Great Again–Part 29

My continuing covering the series written by Maj. Danny Sjursen….a look at American history that few have ever seen…..an excellent look in the form of Howard Zinn……

But first my reader can get caught up on this excellent series here…….

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28.

Today’s part is about the war I fought…Vietnam……there are lessons i to be learned from this war and yet NO one learned a damn thing……

It is the war that never dies. Vietnam, the very word shrouded with extraordinary meaning in the American lexicon. For some it represents failure; for others guilt; for still more, anger that the war could have and should have been won. Americans are still arguing about this war, once the nation’s longest. For those who lived through it—the last war the U.S. fought partly with draftees—it was almost impossible not to take sides; to be pro-war or anti-war became a social and political identity unto itself. This tribal split even reached into the ranks of military veterans, as some joined antiwar movements and others remained vociferously sure that the war needed to be fought through to victory. Indeed, today, even the active-duty U.S. military officer corps is rent over assessment of the Vietnam legacy.

 
If I was still teaching then this series would be required reading….this is the history that Americans need to know and not some fanciful crap put out by reactionaries.
 
Maj. Danny is a great historian that tells it like it is/was……kudos and congrats to him….and anyone that reads his series……very informative.
 
 
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Class Dismissed!

Making America Great Again–Part 28

I have been posting a historical series by Maj. Danny Sjursen….a look at American History that most people have NO idea about or why……

This installment is a look at JFK and the Cold War……but before that let me give the reader the series link so far…….

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27.

Now a look at Part 28…….


Among the American people—if not historians—John F. Kennedy regularly ranks as one of the best presidents in various opinion polls. There is, undoubtedly, something magnetic about the Kennedy administration, dubbed “Camelot” by the president’s wife, Jacqueline, soon after his assassination. However, one wonders if sentiments like this are little more than postmortem nostalgia for a young, handsome president. JFK memorialization and mythology are such that it seems the memories contain something for everyone. Today, mainstream liberals tout his efforts on civil rights; defense hawks laud the toughness of his Cuban Missile Crisis stand; conversely, antiwar types insist that Kennedy was about to pull the U.S. troops out of Vietnam when his presidency was ended by an assassin’s bullets. To the scholar, however, much of the passionate praise for JFK seems unwarranted for a short administration that boasted so few tangible accomplishments.

 
Maj. Danny is helping the American people get in touch with their real history not some sanitized version……the version we are all taught in school.
 
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Class Dismissed!

1956: The Year That Was

My grandfather was a strong GOP supporter during the days of his life….and in 1956 he worked and voted for Ike…..if he were alive today he would be a strong Left progressive…..why would I say that?

First of all let’s look at the platform of Ike and the GOP in 1956……




1956 were the good old days for the GOP….the year they actually had ideas to make America a better nation…..those days are GONE!

Or if you prefer….I have written about this platform and the GOP in the past here on IST……https://lobotero.com/2018/11/06/where-has-the-gop-gone/

If you read the platform closely you will see just how “liberal” the party was in those days……(I miss those days)…….

Now you may ask….what happened to the GOP?

The year is 1971 and the Nixon nominee for the Supreme Court, Lewis Powell, wrote a memo to be forever known as the Powell Memo.

It was 1971 and Lewis Powell, a corporate lawyer in Richmond, Virginia, who had been president of the American Bar Association and a member of the board of the giant tobacco company Philip Morris, had come to believe that American capitalism was facing a dire threat. Americans were angry about corporate abuse and corporate pollution; President Richard M. Nixon had responded by signing the National Environmental Policy Act and creating the Environmental Protection Agency through executive order. Across the country, activists marched for Earth Day, and Congress passed the first air pollution standards. Ralph Nader and other consumer advocates had successfully fought for safer cars and other products.

Powell believed that corporate America needed a decisive response to this perceived threat to the free-enterprise system. In a lengthy memo, the soon-to-be Supreme Court justice laid out his concerns and proposed responses to the Chamber of Commerce, where he served as chairman of the education committee.

The document he penned, now known as the Powell Memo, has been described as the road map for conservative dominance of public policymaking. For any such plan to be successful, Powell understood, conservatives would have to fund a broad array of institutions that would exert control over the levers of power, including the courts, the legislature, and the media. Importantly, the tobacco lawyer insisted, it would require “careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.” What Powell grasped is that policy victories come after gaining control of the levers of power—and not before.

 
I miss a party of ideas….the GOP lost its way in 1971 and continued its assault on the people of the country with Reagan and it has never stopped since those days….or even looked back at a brighter party.
 
For those interested……further reading on the Powell memo……
 
 
 
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Class Dismissed!
 

Geopolitics And The American Revolution

I cannot resist in dropping some history on my readers……I have studied geopolitics for many years and it is the stuff legends are made of…..and so it was with the Revolutionary War….

All of us Americans know the story of the revolution and its aftermath…..we know taxation was an issue…..we know that George (both the 3rd and Washington) were the leaders of the armies…..and we know we won the final battle at Yorktown and we were on our way to becoming the leader of the Free World……

Actually there is a bit more to the whole episode than that simplistic drivel…..

The image is clear, the message obvious. Across a sun-kissed meadow, dappled with shade, lines of British soldiers, resplendent in red, move slowly forward, while brave American Patriots crouch behind trees and stone walls ready to blast these idiots to pieces. Frequently repeated on page and screen, the image has one central message: one side, the American, represented the future in warfare, and one side, the American, was bound to prevail. Thus, the war is readily located in both political and military terms. In each, it apparently represents the triumph of modernity and the start of a new age: of democracy and popular warfare. The linkage of military service and political rights therefore proved a potent contribution. Before these popular, national forces, the ancien régime, the old order, with its mercenaries, professionals, and, at sea, unmotivated conscripts, was bound to crumble, and its troops were doomed to lose. Thus, the political location of the struggle, in terms of the defining struggle for freedom, apparently helps locate the conflict as the start of modern warfare, while, considering the war in the latter light, helps fix our understanding of the political dimension. Definition in terms of modernity and modernization also explains success, as most people assume that the future is bound to prevail over the past.

In making the war an apparently foregone conclusion, this approach has several misleading consequences. First, it allows most historians of the period to devote insufficient attention to the fighting and, instead, to focus on traditional (constitution-framing) and modish (gender et al) topics, neglecting the central point about the importance of war in American history: no victory, no independence, no constitution, no newish society. Second, making the British defeat inevitable gravely underrates the Patriot (not American, as not all Americans fought the British) achievement. Third, making British defeat inevitable removes the sense of uncertainty in which contemporaries made choices.

 
There is always more to the history than Americans are taught……
 
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Class Dismissed!

The South Shall Rise Again

So far that promise has yet to materialize….but they keep hoping and wishing…..

I live in the South and many of my friends are into the American Civil War……some even play at the war game in re-enactments….but I have found that not many actually have any idea about the history surrounding the war…..

And this is where I offer my usual history lesson……

First, a few simple facts about the American Civil War that every American should know……here are the ten most needed facts……

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/10-facts-what-everyone-should-know-about-civil-war

The South’s attempt to control their future has been called a “Lost Cause”….there are “tenets” that feed this “romantic” look at this War………

The Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War typically includes the following six assertions:

1. Secession, not slavery, caused the Civil War.

2. African Americans were “faithful slaves,” loyal to their masters and the Confederate cause and unprepared for the responsibilities of freedom.

3. The Confederacy was defeated militarily only because of the Union’s overwhelming advantages in men and resources.4. Confederate soldiers were heroic and saintly

5. The most heroic and saintly of all Confederates, perhaps of all Americans, was Robert E. Lee.

6. Southern women were loyal to the Confederate cause and sanctified by the sacrifice of their loved ones.

https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Lost_Cause_The#start_entry

Finally there are ten opinions from historians on why the South lost the war……

For the past 130 years Americans have argued over the reasons for the Confederacy’s downfall. Diverse opinions have appeared in hundreds of books, but the numerous possibilities have never adequately been summarized and gathered together in one place. So we decided to ask ten of the country’s most respected Civil War historians: “Why did the South lose the Civil War?” Here (edited for length) are their answers.

https://www.historynet.com/why-the-south-lost-the-civil-war-cover-page-february-99-american-history-feature.htm

There you have your history lesson which is more than most students get in their education……

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!