Nullification Crisis

Right Wing Militia Takeover Of Federal Wildlife Refuge In Oregon Must Be Ended, And Federal Authority Asserted Over Public Lands!

Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican President, asserted federal authority over public lands in the West in the early 20th century, to insure that industry and big business would not destroy our natural wonders.

Abraham Lincoln, a Republican President, asserted federal authority to prevent the Southern secessionists from breaking up the Union through assertion of states rights in the Civil War.

George Washington, a Federalist President, used federal troops to resist defiance of the federal government’s authority to impose taxes on Pennsylvania at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Andrew Jackson, a Democratic President, was ready to use federal military force against South Carolina in the Nullification Crisis, but avoided through a negotiated compromise.

We live now in a time of right wing militia who have in the past, and still do today, work to defy federal authority, and to claim the Constitution backs them up, which is a total misunderstanding of the nation and its history.

The US government must enforce taxation and control of public lands under the Constitution  and its laws, and must not allow open defiance of such authority!

If the seizure of public lands in Oregon, a federal wildlife refuge, this past weekend, by members of the lawless Bundy family, can be ended peacefully, all to the good!

But one can be sure that if it was black activists or Muslims or Latinos who were occupying and seizing public lands, the outcry would be that they must be removed forcefully from the scene of their illegal actions.

We would have people saying these are terrorists, law breakers, dangers to national security and the rule of law.

So the fact that these are white men is no excuse to allow a pass on enforcement of federal authority!

Negotiations for these rebels, these trouble makers, these law breakers, to leave peacefully and soon must begin, but after a reasonable period of time, the FBI and the ATF and other law enforcement authorities MUST take action, including the use of force, to let all extremist right wing elements to know that the US government will not allow itself to be pushed around by hoodlums, by bullies, by extremists, who want to undermine the authority of our federal government!

Dick Cheney: The Most Villainous Vice President In American History, Bar None!

America has had 47 Vice Presidents, and some of them have been true disasters and villains.

Aaron Burr, Vice President under Thomas Jefferson (1801-1805), tried to steal the Presidential Election of 1800 from his own running mate, Thomas Jefferson. He then proceeded to kill Alexander Hamilton in a totally legal gun duel in 1804. He was then accused of a plot with Spain to take away territories from the United States, was captured, brought to trial for treason, and found not guilty. In his old age, his wife sued him for divorce due to his serial cheating, which she had been unaware of, and left him in poverty.

John C. Calhoun, Vice President under John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) and Andrew Jackson (1829-1833), showed lack of loyalty to Adams, switching support to Jackson, and then threatening to lead South Carolina in seceding from the Union, provoking the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833.

Schuyler Colfax, first Vice President (1869-1873) under Ulysses S. Grant, was involved in the Credit Mobilier Scandal, and was therefore, forced out as the second term running mate of Grant.

Spiro Agnew, Vice President under Richard Nixon (1969-1973) was a divisive, confrontational Vice President, who was forced to resign in disgrace due to involvement in financial scandal, including taking cash bribes in his years as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and also as Vice President.

And then there was Dick Cheney, who enriched himself through his associations with Haliburton, a company which gained from war profiteering. He helped to promote war in Iraq, knowing full well that the war was based on false pretenses, and he advocated and promoted EIT (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques), meaning torture against detainees said to be involved in terrorist plots against America, including September 11, even though it went against American values of ethics and morality, as well as violation of international law. Cheney has never apologized for his actions or behavior, or had doubts in any form, while enriching himself in a totally corrupt manner. His daughter, Liz Cheney, has become the younger female version of her father; and his wife, Lynne Cheney, has shown herself to be no better.

Meanwhile, many Republicans, including Colin Powell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others have condemned the methods and actions of Dick Cheney, and there are calls for him and George W. Bush to be accountable for war crimes, although there is no possibility of them ever facing trial.

Without a doubt, Dick Cheney stands out as the most villainous Vice President in American history bar none!

Presidential-Vice Presidential Relationships Rarely Warm

When one looks at the relationships between Presidents and Vice Presidents historically, it is clear that most Presidents look at their Vice Presidents and see their own mortality; often see the Vice President as a rival; often have disdain for the Vice President; and often do not support the Vice President in his Presidential ambitions to follow the President in office.

Examples of the above abound:

George Washington ignored John Adams, and Adams lamented that he was in an office that had no influence or respect.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at constant odds, being of different political parties, and elected together by the early quirks of the Electoral College, later resolved by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804.

Thomas Jefferson literally refused to recognize Aaron Burr, after Burr tried to steal the Presidency from him in 1800, with Burr’s contention that he and Jefferson had ended up in a “tie” vote in the Electoral College, forcing Alexander Hamilton, a rival of both Jefferson and Burr to intervene and call for support of Jefferson, which led to the gun duel between Hamilton and Burr in 1804, and Hamilton’s tragic death.

John Quincy Adams discovered that John C. Calhoun was undermining him, and Calhoun switched sides and ran with Andrew Jackson in 1828.

However, Jackson and Calhoun became bitter rivals, and the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff, with Calhoun enunciating the doctrine of states rights, nullification, interposition, and secession almost led to civil war, prevented by the intervention of Henry Clay, but only after Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun, a threat that could not be ignored, since Jackson had killed several opponents in gun duels.

Abraham Lincoln hardly dealt with his first term Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, and then “dumped” him, for Andrew Johnson, someone he hardly knew.

When Theodore Roosevelt decided not to run for another term in 1908, he ignored his own Vice President, Charles Fairbanks, and backed his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft.

Woodrow Wilson gave little concern to the role of his Vice President, Thomas Marshall, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, he did not intervene to prevent his wife from preventing Marshall from visiting him, and ascertaining the state of his health, or allow him to take over Presidential authority.

Franklin D. Roosevelt ignored his three Vice Presidents—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Truman. This led Garner to say the Vice Presidency was not worth a pitcher of “warm spit”. Wallace was allowed to “hang in the wind” over his public statements on civil rights, and be “dumped” on the demand of Southern Democrats in 1944. Harry Truman was not informed of anything, including the atomic bomb project, in his brief Vice Presidency.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had a strong dislike for his Vice President, Richard Nixon, as shown by his original plan to “dump” Nixon in 1956; his lukewarm support of Nixon in 1960; and his having problems remembering Nixon as a potential future nominee in 1964. At the end, however, Ike witnessed his grandson, David, marry Nixon’s younger daughter, Julie, and was supportive of Nixon in his last year of life, the first year of the Nixon Presidency.

John F. Kennedy failed to use the talents of Lyndon B. Johnson, his Vice President, to a great extent due to the hatred of his brother, Robert Kennedy, for LBJ. Robert Kennedy went out of his way to embarrass and humiliate Johnson in every way possible.

Johnson abused his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, once he realized that Humphrey was critical of his Vietnam War policies. He threatened to leave Humphrey out of his cabinet meetings, and forced him to speak up for the war, which undermined Humphrey’s own Presidential campaign in 1968. And secretly, because Humphrey started to veer from support of the administration policies late in the campaign, Johnson hoped for a victory of Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon utilized his Vice President, Spiro Agnew for political gain, but showed little respect for him, and let him “hang in the wind” when Agnew was forced out of the Vice Presidency in 1973. And Nixon picked Gerald Ford as his successor Vice President under the 25th Amendment, thinking that this insured that Nixon would not be impeached and be removed from office.

Gerald Ford had a strong respect for Nelson Rockefeller, who he selected as his Vice President, but yet “dumped” him for Bob Dole in the 1976 Presidential race.

Ronald Reagan was never close to George H. W. Bush, who had been his chief rival for the 1980 Presidential nomination, and never invited the Bushes to a private dinner at the White House, although he utilized Bush’s expertise in foreign policy and intelligence, as Bush had been head of the CIA.

Bush did not care for Dan Quayle very much, and considered “dumping” him in 1992 over Quayle’s embarrassing flubs. Quayle was given less involvement in the administration than his recent predecessors, and when he tried for the Presidential nomination in 1996, Bush did not back him in any way.

Bill Clinton was closer to Al Gore, but their friendship and collaboration suffered greatly during the scandal over Monica Lewinsky, and the pursuant impeachment trial. Gore decided not to ask Clinton, who remained popular, to work for him in the last days of the 2000 Presidential campaign. After his defeat, there were recriminations between Gore and Clinton over who had been responsible for Gore’s defeat.

George W. Bush relied on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, a lot in the first term, but became estranged from Cheney in the second term over the Scooter Libby scandal and in other ways, as Bush asserted himself much more, making clear he did not need Cheney as much as in the first term.

With all of the above examples of estrangement, or lack of closeness of Presidents with their Vice Presidents, there are two shining examples of very close, warm relationships between two Presidents and their Vice Presidents.

These would be Jimmy Carter with Walter Mondale, and Barack Obama with Joe Biden.

Carter and Mondale were the closest team in American history, with Carter allowing Mondale to share just about every decision in a way no Vice President, before or since, was able to do, and they remained close personal friends, for what is now the all time record of 32 PLUS years out of the Presidency, the longest lasting team in American history, with Carter now 88 plus and Mondale just passing 85, and both still in good health. No sense of any rift has ever existed between the two men, and their relationship was the smoothest ever, a lot of it due to Carter’s lack of insecurity about his Vice President, a testimonial to the former President!

Also, every indication is that Obama and Biden have as close a relationship, but with Biden nearly a generation older, while Carter and Mondale are less than four years apart in age. It seems as if there might be some issues between Obama and Biden, but that will have to be left to the future to find out. Also, a question arises as to how Obama will handle a possible competition for the next Presidential nomination between Biden and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been crucial to his Presidency’s success so far.

So the Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships have been almost always far from warm and close, with only the two exceptions mentioned above.

This would be an excellent topic for a future scholarly study!

Unpleasant Presidential-Vice Presidential Ties Throughout American History

It has become evident that in many cases, no love is lost between sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents, who often link up for electoral reasons, but often have poor chemistry in working together. And many times, a President has wished to “dump” his Vice President, when running for another term in office, and a few times has done so.

Examples of unpleasant Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships include:

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, with Jefferson, the opponent in the 1796 Presidential election, becoming Vice President, but leading to the 12th Amendment in 1804, to prevent any future such combination. The two men fought each other bitterly, and opposed each other again in 1800.

Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, “tied” in electoral votes in 1800, forcing the election to the House of Representatives, leading to Alexander Hamilton’s endorsement of Jefferson and trashing of Burr, and causing Hamilton’s death in a gun duel with Burr in 1804. Jefferson had no relationship with Burr, after Burr tried to “steal” the election, and he was “dumped” in 1804.

John Quincy Adams and John C Calhoun, who were rivals in 1824, had totally different views of the protective tariff, with Calhoun switching to support of Andrew Jackson and running with Jackson in 1828.

Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun were elected together in 1828, but Calhoun broke with Jackson over the protective tariff, resigning, and creating a potential threat of civil war, with the Nullification Crisis of 1833, resolved by a compromise devised by Henry Clay. Jackson even threatened to kill Calhoun if he promoted secession of South Carolina from the Union.

William Henry Harrison, elected with John Tyler in 1840, had totally divergent views since Tyler was a Democrat running on the Whig Party line, and Tyler succeeded to the Presidency when Harrison died after one month in office in 1841, and the Whigs made Tyler’s life miserable.

Abraham Lincoln and his first Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, elected in 1860, hardly knew each other, and the indications are that Hamlin had no major role in the administration, and was replaced by Andrew Johnson on the ticket for 1864 for political reasons.

Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, elected together in 1864, with Lincoln picking Democrat Johnson to help win support in the North, then was assassinated, and succeeded by Johnson after six weeks of the second term in 1865.

James Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur were elected together in 1880, from different factions of the Republican Party, and when Garfield died from assassination wounds six months into office, Arthur finished up the rest of the term from 1881-1885.

Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall were elected together in 1912, but Marshall was “kept out of the loop”, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, was denied access to the President by Mrs. Wilson, never knowing the extent of Wilson’s incapacity for the rest of the term to 1921.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his first Vice President, John Nance Garner were elected to two terms together in 1932 and 1936, with Garner unhappy with the New Deal programs, and wanting to succeed FDR in 1940, and alienated when FDR ran for a third term in 1940.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his second Vice President, Henry A. Wallace were elected together in 1940, but Wallace was “dumped” by FDR in 1944, to please Southern Democrats unhappy with Wallace’s advocacy of civil rights for African Americans, and his backing of close relations with the Soviet Union.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were elected together in 1952 and 1956, but Ike wished to “dump” Nixon in 1956 although that did not happen, and he was less than supportive of Nixon in 1960 and 1968.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, elected together in 1960, were never close, having been rivals for the Presidential nomination, with LBJ feeling slighted by Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General and brother of the President, and rumors swirling that he would be “dumped” in 1964, if Kennedy had lived.

Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey were elected together in 1964, but with Humphrey feeling mistreated by LBJ, and unhappy as Vice President, seeing himself trapped, and being undermined when he was the Presidential nominee in 1968, and LBJ working against him when Humphrey ran against Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were elected together in 1968 and 1972, with Agnew feeling “used” by Nixon to do his “dirty work” against the news media, and gaining no support from Nixon when in legal trouble over accepting bribes, leading to his resignation in 1973. Agnew refused to speak ever again to his former boss.

Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were never close, and the Bushes were never invited to the White House by the Reagans, after their two victories in elections in 1980 and 1984.

George H. W. Bush and Dan Quayle were elected together in 1988, with obvious discomfort by Bush as to Quayle’s performance in his term of office as Vice President, and considered “dumping” him in 1992, but not done in that losing re-election effort.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore, elected together in 1992 and 1996, got along well, but after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a growing divide occurred between the two men, and Gore decided not to have Clinton help him in the Presidential campaign of 2000, and then the two men had angry words in a confrontation in the Oval Office after the defeat.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, elected together in 2000 and 2004, originally worked well together, but Bush then ignored Cheney’s advice often in the second term, and refused Cheney’s request that Scooter Libby be given a pardon. Cheney, in his memoir, made clear that his relationship with Bush had cooled.

So often, the relationship between President and Vice President has been a very difficult one, an interesting aspect of American history!

Exceptions to this were the close relationship of Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller between 1974 and 1977, although Rockefeller was “dumped” from the ticket in 1976 for Bob Dole, a move that Ford later said he did for political reasons, and greatly regretted; the extremely close ties between Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale between 1977-1981, with Mondale practically a “Co President”; and the present relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden since 2009.

Back To the 19th Century Mentality: Proposed Amendment Would Permit State Nullification Of Federal Laws! Have We Failed To Learn The Meaning Of Our Constitution? :(

Just as we begin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginnings of the Civil War over the next year, we now see a movement promoted by Congressional Republicans, including future House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, to propose a constitutional amendment that would allow states to overrule any act of Congress, effectively nullification of federal law! 🙁

This battle was fought by Andrew Jackson in the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833, when he threatened John C. Calhoun and South Carolina with federal military intervention if that state refused to obey the federal tariff law.

It was also being threatened by Zachary Taylor if any state attempted secession during the debate over the Compromise of 1850.

It was also the reaction of Abraham Lincoln when the Southern states seceded from the Union and seized American military property and bases in 1860-1861.

These were three Presidents of different parties, all from Southern slave states of birth, who were ready to uphold the federal government’s authority over the states, and actually led to Lincoln’s actions against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

But now, a century a a half after this issue was supposed to have been resolved by the Northern victory, there is a push on to allow just that–states refusing to obey the federal laws and Constitution and claiming the right to do so! 🙁

If the legislatures of two thirds of the states–34–voted for such a repeal of a federal law, it would not be in effect. So far, 12 states have supported such an amendment being introduced.

Of course, two thirds of the House of Representatives and two thirds of the Senate would have to agree to such an amendment, which is hard to imagine, as it would limit their own power and authority.

Additionally, 38 states, three fourths, would have to ratify such an amendment, and that also seems extremely unlikely, as there are more than 12 states which certainly, in a political sense, would oppose such a concept.

While one cannot be sure of the exact dynamics of which states would be opposed to such an amendment, were it to make it through the House of Representatives and Senate, the likelihood would be that the following states would NOT support such an amendment: Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Thirteen of these seventeen states would be enough to stop such an amendment, and realize that there are other states that might also oppose it, including Maine, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, which would bring the total to a potential 25.

And also realize, in other states that might be seen as supporting such an amendment, all that would be needed to defeat it is a one vote margin of defeat in one of the two houses of the state legislature.

Another consideration is that such an amendment would allow small states with small populations to have equal influence on such nullification, despite having, in many cases, tiny population totals as compared to large states, so even large states which might be motivated to support such an amendment would not be pleased that small states would have an inequitable influence on repeal of federal laws.

So basically, this is all demagoguery, and a sign that many people do not understand their own Constitution, and the concept that ONLY the national government can speak for the nation through the tortorous process of passing laws through our Congress, and that the state legislatures, many of them incompetent and corrupt on a far greater level than our Congress, have no ability or competence or justification to interfere with what is good for the nation at large,whether they like it or not!

A Grim Anniversary: 150 Years Ago South Carolina Voted Secession From The Union! :(

On this day, December 20, in the year 1860, exactly 150 years ago, South Carolina became the first state to vote ordinances of secession and break away from the Union, after many years of such threats going back to 1832-1833 during the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff during the administration of Andrew Jackson!

Hard to believe, but South Carolina is tonight “celebrating” that anniversary with a reading of the secession ordinance, a party and dance and banquet, as if this is an honorable moment in history to commemorate! 🙁

It is one thing to honor the dead of the Confederate side of the Civil War, and to promote the history of the Confederacy, as in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

But it is NOT a time to celebrate or glorify the treason of the South which was out to destroy the Union, and to keep African Americans in slavery for all time! 🙁

This is unfortunate proof of the reality that the old scars of the Civil War remain much too fresh and unhealed, and that we have a long way to go before we can say that this nation is “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!”