Saturday, October 29, 2016
Four Presidents were assassinated, and six others had assassination attempts on their lives (Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. The two most widely known assassinations in American history were of John F. Kennedy (November 22, 1963 – Dallas Texas – 46 years old, by Lee Harvey Oswald) and Abraham Lincoln (April 15, 1865 – Washington DC – 56 years old – by John Wilkes Booth). The two lesser known assassinations were of James Garfield (September 19, 1881 – Washington DC – 49 years old – by Charles Guiteau) and William McKinley (September 14, 1901 – Buffalo New York – 58 years old – by Leon Czolgosz). Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley were Republicans. Garfield was a Union General and McKinley was a Union Major both serving under Lincoln in the Civil War. Kennedy was a Democrat and served in WWII in the Navy as Lieutenant and commanded a Patrol Torpedo boat. McKinley died 6 months into his second term, Lincoln died one month into his second term, Kennedy died two months short of 3 years in his first term and Garfield died only 6 months into his first term and over two of those months he was in excruciating pain fighting his gunshot injuries. McKinley and Lincoln were the most successful of the presidents assassinated partly because of the time they served in office (historians would argue this point). Lincoln won the Civil War and restored the Union and emancipated all slaves (probably the most difficult task endured by any president). McKinley won the Spanish-American war creating the United States as a global power while he oversaw a booming economy. Kennedy handled the Cuban missile crisis and started the space program. Garfield was in office only long enough to get a Cabinet in place and defeat Roscoe Conkling in a battle between Republican factions: Stalwarts (Conkling) and Half-breeds (Garfield). Lincoln and Kennedy were shot in the head and succumbed to their wounds within hours. McKinley was shot in the stomach and lived for 8 days before dying of an infection. Garfield was shot in the back and lived for 79 days before dying in Elberon NJ. Two weeks prior to dying, Garfield was moved from the White House to the beach front in NJ as his last wish. Both McKinley and Garfield endured massive amounts of pain fighting their wounds. Garfield’s autopsy revealed his wound was not life threatening but the infection(s) introduced by un-sanitized fingers and probes inserted in his body to find the bullet (which was not found until the autopsy) ultimately led to his death (malpractice). Garfield lost half his body weight by the time he died and his body was riddled with nasty pus infections. Lincoln (16th President), Garfield (20th President), and McKinley (25th President) were shot at point blank range with revolvers. Finally, after the McKinley assassination (3 assassinations in just over 36 years) the Secret Service was given the task to protect presidents (their original objective was solely to investigate counterfeiting). Up to McKinley, presidents routinely walked unprotected in crowds of people and just about anyone was allowed to enter the White House grounds. Kennedy (35th President) was killed by a rifle used by a former marine with sniper and marksmanship skills. Each assassination was thought to be a conspiracy with others involved in the crimes. However, it was determined through investigations that only the Lincoln assassination was a conspiracy and Oswald, Guiteau, and Czolgosz acted alone. Of course, we are all familiar with the conspiracy theories around the Oswald assassination of Kennedy. Some theorized that Guiteau was hired by vice president Chester Arthur and New York Senator Roscoe Conking to kill Garfield (obviously unfounded). Several anarchists associated with Czolgosz were arrested but later released because of a lack of evidence. After Booth was captured and killed his diary led authorities to arrest, convict, and execute eight others tied to the assassination (including the first female to be executed in American history – Mary Surratt). Two of the conspirators were to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward the same night as Booth killed Lincoln. Seward was injured, but those assassination attempts failed.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Trump will suffer a humiliating defeat to a highly flawed candidate is much to blame on himself. His rhetoric and blunders were a daily common occurrence. But it is safe to say that the media went all out to get Clinton elected. November 8th will be a sad day for America. Clinton should collect over 350 electoral votes and win by over 7.2 million votes – that equates to about 5.5 points (according to my latest forecasts). It seems the electorate is more concerned about Trump’s words and alleged treatment of women than Bill Clinton’s proven offenses and Hillary’s treatment towards Bill’s accusers. It is sad because Trump has a fairly solid record of placing women in top management positions and paying them equally in his company. It seems the electorate is more concerned that Trump is not going to necessarily accept this outcome based on recent videos showing how the Left and the Clinton camp plan to use voter fraud in the election. And let’s not forget Hillary never accepted the outcome of the 2000 contested election between Gore and Bush. She claimed Bush was “selected” president and not “elected” president. The electorate does not seem to care about Hillary’s lies about Benghazi where four Americans including an ambassador were killed. Worse yet, she left dozens of American’s stranded who would have also been killed had it not been for the bravery of a few soldiers. The electorate does not seem to care that Hillary placed our national security at risk with her unprotected use of a private email server and the fact she perjured herself to cover up her actions. They do not even care that Obama lied about his knowledge of the server. The electorate does not seem to care that Hillary and Obama were shown on tape to have employed a person whose job it was to incite violence at Trump rallies to make it look as if Trump supporters were violent, bigoted and racist individuals. Nobody seems to care that Hillary used her position at the State department to promote pay for play with the Clinton Foundation. And nobody cares she accepted monies from rogue countries that support terrorism and civil liberties violations against women and gays. The electorate does not care that Wikileaks proved that Clinton is two faced and hypocritical on many positions and was even shown to have great disdain for just about every group of Americans including religious groups, Latinos, and African-Americans. The electorate does not care that Wikileaks revealed a cozy relationship between Clinton and the media including giving her advice and even leaking her questions to town hall meetings and interviews. And of course, the media refuses to cover any issues I am bringing up in this article. Nobody seems to care about Hillary’s abysmal record as SOS including chaos in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen and bad deals and treaties with Russia, Iran, and North Korea. And let’s not forget the growth of terrorism including al-Qaida and ISIS under her watch. And finally, nobody seems to care that Hillary will be a third term of Obama that will include prolonging failing policies such as ObamaCare, hurtful business regulations, and illegal immigration amnesty. And worst of all, Clinton will appoint liberal judges who will change the landscape of America forever on issues such as guns.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
First, I would like to point out that although all the pundits said Trump did poorly in the last debate because of few answers and the fact that he did nothing to convince voters outside his base, I totally disagree. Trump is having a tough time with Republicans and his answer on the Supreme Court, immigration, abortion, and gun rights should help convince a few hard core Republicans (especially religious ones) to join him. When a third party is polling fairly well in a presidential election, it is fairly easy to use a legal strategy to try to affect the outcome of the election. It attacks the flaws of the Constitution where the winner is not who gets the most votes, but who gets the most electoral votes. It is a bit risky and both candidates have the opportunity to apply the same strategy. So how is this done? First, look at states where the third party candidate (Gary Johnson) is polling well and Trump has little chance of winning. Second, tell your supporters in that state to support the third party candidate (Gary Johnson). It is that simple. The goal is to push Gary Johnson over the top in those states and keep those electoral votes from going to Clinton. Obviously, Clinton can do the same thing, but she is ahead and thus the risk for her to employ this strategy is much higher. Besides, Clinton cannot win if it goes to the House of Representatives. The obvious state to have Trump supporters to vote for Johnson is in his home state of New Mexico. This is no brainer and would easily take 5 electoral votes away from Clinton. Other possibilities include Minnesota (10 Electoral Votes), Pennsylvania (20 Electoral Votes), Virginia (13 Electoral Votes), Washington State (12 Electoral Votes), Maine (4 Electoral Votes), and Colorado (9 Electoral Votes). It also appears a large number of people in Vermont (3 Electoral Votes) plan to write in Bernie Sanders. I would instruct Trump supporters to do the same thing. That is a total of 76 Electoral votes to potentially take away from Clinton and to keep from getting that magic number of 270. Clinton has possibilities in Oklahoma (7), Missouri (3), Arizona (11), Indiana (11), Montana (3), and Arkansas (6) for a total of 41 electoral votes. Also, Utah is no brainer, if she pushed her support to Evan McMullin she would take 6 electoral votes away from Trump. Right now the Trump camp is behind and as he would say when reaching out to Black Voters “What do you have to lose!”. Trump stands a better shot winning the presidency if the race goes to the House than winning outright. If that were the case however, and both McMullin and Johnson won states, I would guess one of them would be the next President. The biggest flaw in Presidential elections is not who gets the most popular votes, but who gets the most electoral votes. And if no one gets enough electoral votes, the House of Representatives decides the outcome which is overwhelmingly in control of Republicans.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Originally, McKinley was a “protectionist”, placing high tariffs (Dingley Tariff Act) on many foreign imports that competed with domestic products and production. But McKinley was a wise man, and unlike many of his Republican colleagues, he saw that the world was becoming a smaller place due to technological advances – faster boats, automobiles, phones, telegraph machines, etc. Isolationism through protectionism was not an ideal policy moving forward especially when expansionism opened the doors to Pacific markets. McKinley created an Open Door policy with Western powers for equal trade with China. McKinley saw the advantage of free trade for American goods around the globe. McKinley also created a treaty with Britain to create a canal in Panama or Nicaragua to provide Eastern and Western states easier access to the Pacific market. The Hay Treaty gave the US sole proprietorship of the canal and during times of war the canal would not remain neutral. McKinley realized that the future of America would involve free trade around the globe to maximize US corporate markets to maximize profits. McKinley was visionary and he had to fight the leaders of his Party to prepare the US for the future. While Lincoln freed slaves in America, McKinley was not able to push his civil rights agenda (to help black disenfranchisement) for a few reasons. First, the Supreme Court decision for Plessy v. Ferguson made segregation legal and secondly, McKinley was still trying to mend fences between the North and South sectionalism that existed since the Civil War (McKinley pushed for more national unity). McKinley was able to place a large number of African-Americans is low level government jobs, but other than that he made little progress on civil rights (which incidentally is much more than most Presidents had done at the turn of the 19th century – Remember Woodrow Wilson was a self-proclaimed segregationist.) The question of constitutionality came up often with both Lincoln and McKinley. Lincoln’s claim that succession from the union was unconstitutional may have been the hardest question for the Supreme Court to answer in the 1860’s (if it was asked). The arguments in favor of succession and against succession were both compelling. However, Lincoln’s providing statehood to West Virginia after they succeeded from Virginia was hypocritical to his thinking. In any event, by winning the Civil War, Lincoln answered this question and the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White (1975) that unilateral succession was unconstitutional. Lincoln’s Habeas Corpus Suspension Act has been scrutinized over the years. However, the Supreme Court has given war-time Presidents the benefit of the doubt over controversial issues such as Korematsu v. United States (internment of Japanese Americans during WWII was legal) or Schenck v. United States (limiting free speech during WWI was legal). Hence, I doubt the Supreme Court would have objected to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus. Lincoln also instituted the military draft and an income tax to pay for the war. At the time, these were highly questionable acts, but today, these are all legal acts (in fact, the seventeenth amendment legalized the income tax). McKinley was dogged over questions as to whether expansion was constitutional. However, what McKinley did was no different than what Thomas Jefferson did in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. And the Supreme Court ruled that expansionism was legal because it was done by treaty and the President is empowered by the constitution to create treaties with foreign nations. It also became a national issue as to whether those inhabitants of the US possessions, acquired under the peace treaty with Spain, where to be protected by the laws of the Constitution. Some believed the constitution followed the American flag. However, the Supreme Court ruling in Balzao v. Puerto Rico (1901) backed the President’s view of a limited application of the Constitution towards US possessions that were neither official territories nor states of the union. Lincoln had by far the most difficult job of any President. Lincoln was much better read and smarter than McKinley (even though Lincoln had no formal education). Lincoln was also much more definitive with his decisions. . Lincoln had the better personality and sense humor. And Lincoln was much less likely to compromise than McKinley. McKinley was a great listener and very modest. McKinley was very patient (maybe too patient at times). McKinley was a visionary, not only on free trade and global markets, but he once warned college students not to believe everything they hear but to learn by being practical. But despite their differences, they were both great leaders. Lincoln restored the union and ridded our nation of the evils of slavery while McKinley made the US a global power through expansion and new ideas of free trade. It is hard to beat what both Lincoln and McKinley accomplished both in domestic and foreign affairs in just over 8 years as the Executive of the US.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
The greatest president of all-time, to me, would be a combination of McKinley and Lincoln. Since both McKinley and Lincoln died early in their second term, the two combined to serve just over 8 years (the same as a two term president). So why not combine them into one presidency – after all, they served within a generation (36 years) of each other. McKinley and Lincoln had a lot in common: They were both Republicans; they both served in the military (McKinley was a major in the Civil War, Lincoln was a captain) and they were lawyers; they both served in the US House of Representatives; they were both assassinated within 6 months after the start of their second term; they both served as war time presidents; they both had wives with medical issues (Ida Saxton McKinley suffered from epilepsy and Mary Todd Lincoln suffered from migraines and bipolar like behavior); they both pushed the power of the executive branch that raised questions of constitutionality over their policies; they were both very popular and gifted orators (McKinley campaigned from his front porch – thousands of people flocked to Canton, Ohio every day to hear him speak and of course Lincoln gave the most famous speech of all time – The Gettysburg Address); they were both very honest, humble, and modest – something that is non-existent in present day politics; and they both were elected President in their early 50s and died in their late 50s. However, McKinley and Lincoln administrations were vastly different. The focus of the McKinley administration was mostly concentrated on foreign policy while the Lincoln administration was focused solely on domestic issues. In fact, Lincoln’s main foreign policy dealing was to ensure that foreign powers remained neutral in the American Civil War. Domestically, the main issues surrounding the McKinley administration dealt with corporate monopolies and the gold standard. McKinley did not enforce the newly passed Sherman Antitrust Act. The turn of the century was a time of industrial advances (electricity, mass transportation, etc.) and corporations were growing and booming and McKinley did not want to disrupt the economy by enforcing the law. McKinley also backed currency using the gold standard and refused to give into pressure to a bimetallism standard of gold and silver (Western states with large silver deposits objected to a gold only standard). Lincoln’s domestic priority was focused solely on winning the Civil War. The economy under Lincoln was terrible mainly due to the war which generated stagflation. Conversely, the economy under McKinley was booming with very low inflation which can be accredited to protectionism tariffs and using the gold standard to back US currency. But it was Lincoln who saved the union and expunged the US of its evil domestic policy of slavery (without these accomplishments none of what McKinley accomplished would have been possible). The McKinley administration dealt with American expansion. Despite McKinley efforts to avoid war with Spain, it was inevitable after the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana, Cuba. The inferior US navy destroyed the Spanish Navy in two battles at Manila, Philippines and at Santiago, Cuba. Spain was forced to surrender and the Spanish-American War was over in four months. The US received Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines from the peace treaty with Spain following the war (The U.S. also gave 20 million dollars to Spain). Prior to the war with Spain McKinley successfully annexed the Hawaiian Islands (and later made them a US territory). Opponents of McKinley saw him as not being an expansionist but being an evil imperialist like Western European nations. Allies of McKinley saw his actions as saving the inhabitants of these nations from imperialism rule. After all, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippine islands were riddled with poverty and the suppression of individuals under Spanish rule. But no one can argue the fact that McKinley’s foreign policy created the US as a global power for the first time in its short history. Within a few years of the occupation of Cuba they earned their independence in 1902. However, it was not until 1946 when the Philippines was granted its independence. Puerto Rico and Guam are presently US territories and of course Hawaii became our 50th state in 1959.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
In 1807 Jefferson passed the Embargo Act that made it illegal to export anything from the United States. Obviously, this was an economic disaster on the American colonies especially in New England. Once again, the U.S. government was trying to avert war with both England and France by trying to remain neutral over trade. I believe this act to be much more adverse (unconstitutional) than the Aliens and Seditions Act that even a modern day court would strike this law down. Yes, the law was used to avoid war, but at the same time it was sending America into a massive recession. Pickering was once again the main voice protesting this law. Pickering pushed for nullification of the law and if that did not work he colluded with other New England states to propose succession from the union. Embargo laws would continue under President Madison. His Embargo Act of 1813 did not keep America neutral. In fact, it helped lead to the War of 1812 with England. This further infuriated New England states and Pickering who continued to plot for succession. Although he failed, it was not for a lack of trying. Shortly after the war ended with a status quo treaty, Andrew Jackson won a decisive battle at New Orleans against the British (word had not yet reached them the war was over). This victory would help propel Jackson’s fame and help him win the White House in 1828. Now, it was South Carolina’s turn to threaten succession, but initially it would not be over slavery. It was over tariffs placed on various products that Vice President Calhoun from South Carolina (Andrew Jackson was President) thought favored the New England states. In essence, the tariffs were protectionism policies that taxed foreign goods and services so it forced Americans to buy American made products. Since the North was more industrialized than the South, many of the products that Southerners had to purchase came from the North and were obviously more expensive than ones they previously purchased from England had the tariffs not been applied to the products. South Carolina wanted to nullify these tariffs and if they could not be nullified then they would succeed from the union. After years of posturing for succession a compromise was finally reached to lower the tariffs and things finally got calm, but not before Andrew Jackson threatened to lead an American army into South Carolina to squash protestors and save the union (Something Lincoln would point to during the Civil War). By 1860 slavery was by far the hottest topic in the United States. In 1857, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Dred Scott case helped lead to the rise of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency in 1860. Also, in 1860, South Carolina had officially succeeded from the union. Shortly thereafter, all other slave owning states followed South Carolina’s lead to succeed from the union. Incidentally, West Virginia (Free State) succeeded from Virginia (Slave State) and Lincoln welcomed West Virginia into the Union. Lincoln stated that succession was unconstitutional, but he had no issue with the West Virginia succession. Both sides had fairly lame arguments as to whether or not succession was constitutional or not. South Carolina’s argument centered on a few things: 1. The Articles of Confederation mentions “sovereign” states. 2. The post-revolutionary war treaty with England recognized the independence of the “sovereign” states. 3. Northern states were violating the fourth article of the constitution to return fugitive slaves back to their Southern owners. This may had been their best argument since the Constitution mentions nothing of “sovereign” states. Obviously, Lincoln felt succession was unlawful, but he also viewed it as anarchy that would destroy the democratic state of a people’s government. The victory of the North and the subsequent fourteenth amendment ratification certainly put an end to the discussion as to whether or not succession is legal. The fourteenth amendment limited the powers of the states making nullification and succession impossible. An interesting note: many people at the Constitutional convention wanted to have a state veto or nullification type law included in the document. This never happened. Imagine what would have happened if this was in the Constitution? Would the union have survived? Probably not. Instead the states were protected by the tenth amendment of the Bill of Rights. South Carolina and Massachusetts were both agitators and unifiers in our history. They pushed the bounds of the constitution unlike most states in our infancy and in the long run it has made us a stronger nation. Unfortunately, over a half million men lost their lives fighting in the Civil War to answer the question over succession but it made the America union stronger and better over the long haul.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Which states played the biggest role (impact) in American history? In my view, the choice is among the 13 original colonies who fought for our independence at its inception. It is also imperative to select both a Northern state and Southern state. Massachusetts was arguably the most important and influential northern state. Virginia would probably be the choice of many as the most influential Southern state. After all, 4 of the first 5 Presidents (and most famous founding fathers) came from the most populous colony – Virginia. However, South Carolina played a bigger role in terms of being the antithesis of Massachusetts. Massachusetts and South Carolina were arguably on opposite ends of every important issue in early American history. Massachusetts was the biggest instigator for the Revolutionary War. Most pre-Revolutionary violence occurred in Massachusetts – the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Because of this Boston was placed under military rule in 1774 since English Parliament saw Massachusetts as a rebellious state. Consequently, the Revolutionary war begins with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. In response to the British aggression the Continental Army is directed to Boston. A year-long siege of the city persists before the British finally retreat through the Boston Harbor and shift their focus on conquering New York City and the capital city of Philadelphia. Although the British successfully capture both New York and Philadelphia they are unable to divide and conquer the colonies. After another long siege on New York, the British once again change their strategy and send a large contingent of their army down the Atlantic to attack South Carolina. South Carolina was seen as a favorable military strategy because it is populated with a high percentage of Tories (loyal to the British crown) and it was also assumed that the British could convince a large number of slaves to join their cause in exchange for freedom. However, British general Cornwallis was so brutal to the local population and literally committed hundreds of acts of war crimes, most of the populous turned on them – even Tories. The outcome was South Carolina organizing one of the biggest militias to fight Cornwallis. As Cornwallis advanced from South Carolina to Virginia, the South Carolina militia cut off British supply lines. Eventually, with no supplies, Cornwallis was forced to retreat to the Virginia coastal town of Yorktown to wait for supplies from the British Navy. However, to Cornwallis’s surprise the French Navy surrounded Yorktown at sea while French and Washington troops surrounded the city on land forcing him to surrender (essentially ending the war). America had earned its independence from England – what Massachusetts started, South Carolina helped to finish. After the Constitution was ratified, both Massachusetts and South Carolina would be a thorn in the sides of the Union. Both states would threaten succession several times before the Civil War. When John Adams and Congress passed the Alien and Seditions Act, which essentially gave the government the right to jail anyone who spoke poorly of the administration (a violation of free speech), this brought about the concept of nullification. States wanted the option to nullify laws by the federal government they did agree with or did not want to implement. Most thought that this law would have been viewed by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional (the Supreme Court did not do judicial reviews at this point in history). I am not convinced a modern Supreme Court would actually strike down this law. In 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act shortly after the U.S. entered WWI. In Schenck v. United States the Supreme Court upheld the law and said Schenck’s publications against the U.S. war effort violated the law and he was imprisoned for 2.5 years. The Supreme Court always provides the government more latitude in times of war. It is true, in 1798, the U.S. was not at war, but America was close to war with France and Adams thought these times called for extenuating circumstances to avoid war. I find both laws unconstitutional even under the circumstances of war, but it is very possible that a present day Supreme Court may uphold the Seditions Act if it were deemed as absolutely necessary to avoid a conflict or War. First, it was Massachusetts causing problems when Jefferson tried to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France. Northerners (Federalists) thought this action was unconstitutional. Republicans countered that the Louisiana Purchase was a treaty and the President had powers to negotiate treaties in the constitution. I believe a modern Supreme Court would have concurred with Jefferson and Madison. Massachusetts mainly objected because the Louisiana Purchase provided another port option (New Orleans) for landlocked farmers to use instead of those on the Atlantic coast. Massachusetts also felt the new lands would reduce the price of land that New Englanders were speculating over in upstate New York. Senator Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts would put out some soft overtones for the succession of New England.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
George Washington was not a great military commander, nor was he a great President, but he was the perfect person to win our freedom and act as our first President. As a military leader Washington had many flaws. He was inexperienced, his plans were too complex, and because of this, he really failed to win a major battle in the Revolutionary War. His greatest victory, at Yorktown, was engineered by French leadership. But if the command of American forces were given to Horacio Gates or Charles Lee (more experienced leaders) instead of Washington, America probably would have lost the war. In essence, Washington was the perfect leader for the job. What made Washington perfect for the job? First and foremost was his temperament. Washington was a modest man. Unlike most leaders, his ego was in check. Since Washington was not overconfident, he relied on input from his commanders, he listened, he inspired his troops through rough times without proper food, clothing and shelter, and he learned from his mistakes. Washington learned early on his men could not fight and defeat the British fighting conventional warfare. Fighting in the open using line formations or in hand to hand combat was a losing battle for the Americans. Instead, Washington used untrained state militias to fight a type of guerilla warfare. They attacked “soft targets” such as the flanks of armies or small manned posts protecting supply lines. This is how Washington won the battles of Trenton and Princeton. He defeated small outposts, not the actual British Army. Local militias knew the areas they patrolled and they moved fast without having to carry heavy supplies such as cannon. Militias attacked quickly and retreated quickly before the British could counter-attack. Washington lost opportunities for major victories at Germantown, Monmouth, and Boston because of his plans were too complex. While Gates and Lee won some major battles, they also lost important battles as well. Gates had some success in the North, but when he was sent to the South to take on Cornwallis he failed miserably. Nathaniel Greene (trained by Washington) was sent to replace Gates in the South and Greene understood the importance of using the local militia to attack the British supply lines. Cornwallis successfully moved from South Carolina to Virginia, but was forced to move to the coastal town of Yorktown because his supplies had run dry. This led to the big victory for the Americans at Yorktown. Cornwallis hoped to be reinforced by the British Navy but instead was surrounded by the French Navy at sea and the French and American armies by land. Washington adapted. He was patient and prudent. He learned to avoid fights he could not win, hold his ground, and only go on the offensive when he saw a clear path to victory. Gates and Lee would have failed because they did not have the right temperament. They were impatient and were not willing to adapt their military styles to defeat the British. They may have been the most qualified leaders, but their overconfidence and brash egos would have been their downfall. Many of Washington’s tactics were criticized. He refused to terrorize colonists and take supplies that his men dearly needed (food and clothing). He refused to punish American Tories (loyalists to the British Crown). In the end, Washington’s tactics were rewarded. Colonists (including Tories) favored Washington’s style compared to the British who terrorized colonists and stole important supplies from them. Washington led as the first President of the United States as he did as the commander of American forces in the revolutionary war. He was not a great President, but he may have been the only honest one in our history. America was fragile when he took office. The United States was an experiment and if the newly ratified Constitution was going to fail it would more than likely happen in the first few years. Here are a few of his accomplishments: 1. America remained neutral and did not get into a war with France or England even though they were provoked. Had someone else been President, the United States more than likely would not have remained neutral. Washington remained neutral despite the fact that Political Parties formed (Federalists were loyal to England and Republicans were loyal to France). His cabinet was torn apart (Hamilton was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Republican). If the U.S. went to war what would have become of the U.S. experiment? 2. Washington did not criticize others even though he was being thrown under the bus regularly by newspapers and citizens as political discourse heightened on both sides. 3. Washington did not use the power of veto as a political tool. He merely judged legislation as to whether or not it was Constitutional. He passed laws he did not agree with if it was Constitutional. Washington remained neutral in politics. For example, Washington signed the Bank legislation even though Madison and Jefferson told him it was unconstitutional. Today, we can see that Washington was right. Washington saw this financial law opening up new business opportunities in America that would not require slavery. 4. Although many disagree with his methods, he squashed the Whiskey Rebellion without a loss of life and the threat of succession from the union. 5. Washington never interfered in Legislative duties or in elections. Washington was the only President in our history to be neutral and not tied to a Party. Would America have survived the political vitriol with another President other than Washington? It is true, after his retirement from the Presidency, Washington became an open advocate for the Federalist Party but not while he was in office. He always listened intently to both sides of the argument (Usually Jefferson and Hamilton). 6. Washington set the precedent of retiring after two terms of the Presidency. Initially (now amended) the Constitution allowed presidents to remain in office for life. When Washington retired, it was the first peaceful handover of power in non-hereditary government systems.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Evidence of a lack of self-awareness is all around us, especially in people we do not know. Driving is prime example of people just caring about themselves and not about others: Lack of signaling and signaling after braking; Riding in the blind spot or tailgating; Driving below the speed limit in good conditions; Failing to move over to let oncoming traffic enter the freeway; Driving in the left lane and holding up traffic; And texting or distracted driving to name a few. I have driven in blizzard like conditions in Colorado plenty of times. These conditions intensify when going over mountain passes without guard rails where one minor mistake is deadly. Under these conditions 18 wheelers would tailgate me and even pass me in no passing zones. What makes this move puzzling is that there is a conga-line of cars for miles in front of me. What good does passing do when you can only move forward a few feet – is that risk worth saving less than 3 seconds of time? No, but people make these decisions all the time, putting you at risk. It is one thing to risk their own lives, but to risk the lives of others shows their lack of self-awareness. The advancement of technology has made us as a people less self-aware of our surroundings and hence less personable, less courteous, and rude. Bad manners and narcissism are the new norm. Watching overweight people eat junk food is obviously a lack of self-awareness. Some may say this is no big deal because they are only killing themselves with their bad habits. I disagree, self-inflicted diseases such as diabetes and cancer work to increase the healthcare costs for everyone. A healthier populous means lower healthcare costs for all. Here is a prime example of a lack of self-awareness. I was in line at the pharmacy in the grocery store. The elderly man in front of me in the line is eating a creamed filled doughnut. He has no napkin and it is going all over the place. When he is done he licks his hands and fingers clean. Then he uses those same fingers to sign the credit card machine when he gets his prescription. Ironically, he then sat down to wait to get a flu shot (maybe he would not need a flu shot if he practiced some healthy habits in public locations). When I asked those working at the pharmacy for something to clean the card reader pen the elderly man overheard my request and was offended. He had no clue why I wanted to clean the machine – he thought it was because I was saying he was not clean. I had to explain it was because he was not sanitary. I never understood the need to lick our fingers when eating. I see it all the time at buffets. Why were napkins invented? This elderly man was worse than a 3 year old. First, he could not wait to eat his doughnut until he got out of the store. Second, he used his tongue instead of a napkin. This is just nasty behavior with no regard to others. This is not much different than going to the bathroom and failing to clean your hands. The devolving situation of our political scene is more evidence of a lack of self-awareness. We now live in the era where I am 100% right and you are 100% wrong and there is no need to debate issues. We want to stifle the free speech of others simply because we do not agree with them. We call others names, start conspiracy theories, and lie to get what we want. The lack of civility when faced with opposing views should be concerning to all Americans. The first differences of opinions in politics in United States history under the present Constitution was probably between Thomas Jefferson versus George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams. Although their political views were vastly different, the United States prevailed as a country because they remained civil and respected their adversaries. Present day polarity and division may some day lead to the end of the United States. The recent Supreme Court decision on abortion is another great example of a lack of self-awareness. Liberals are excited about this decision because they say it protects the productive rights of women. However, to me, the case was not about abortion as much as it was about having safe guidelines to perform successful abortions without injuring the patient. When people are happy that abortion trumps safety then that is not self-awareness. When commonsense loses to politics then we are all losers. When safety loses to a principal or agenda then we are all losers. When both the mother and fetus die in an abortion procedure is hardly worth celebrating (you have no reproductive rights is you are dead). But that is where we are at as a nation. I can on, but this is all too depressing for me. I think you get the picture.