Spain

Treason In US History: Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, John Tyler, Jefferson Davis, And Now Donald Trump

Treason is a tough issue to approach.

Certainly, Benedict Arnold committed treason, and is condemned for it in history, when he attempted to hand over West Point, New York and its thousands of soldiers to the British in 1780, during the American Revolution.

Some observers think Aaron Burr may have committed treason after leaving the Vice Presidency in 1805, attempting to seize part of the Louisiana Territory or take away Spanish territories further west. He was arrested, brought to trial for treason, and Chief Justice John Marshall ruled he had not committed treason by the normal definition, and conspiracy without actions should not lead to conviction. Still, many people then and since, think Burr was guilty of treason.

President John Tyler gave up his citizenship, and supported the Confederate States of America, becoming part of the provisional Confederate Congress in 1861, before his death in 1862, therefore committing treason.

Jefferson Davis committed treason, as President of the Confederate States of America, as did Vice President Alexander Stephens and other public officals, and arguably, General Robert E. Lee, and other Confederate generals, as well.

And now, it is becoming more likely that the 45th President, Donald Trump, has committed treason by colluding with the Russians to fix the Presidential election of 2016. The President is indicting himself by his own Twitter comments, and contradictory statements being made on a regular basis, and he exudes guilt, and has for many months.

The Robert Mueller investigation is mounting evidence that is leading to that conclusion, and the Southern District of New York investigation, particularly in relation to Michael Cohen, is also moving in that direction.

A proposal that I would wish to make regarding this whole situation.

John Tyler, when he died, was not accorded the normal situation of a President who passes away—that is, flying the flag at half staff, and giving a President a state funeral.

The same, of course, was the case with Jefferson Davis.

So it seems appropriate to say that when Donald Trump passes away, no matter what happens in the interim regarding the present investigation of his behavior and actions, there should be no flying the flags at half staff, and no state funeral, as a traitor should not be accorded such an honor.

Of course, his death and burial would be reported, but it should not be given the dignity of what every other President, except John Tyler, was accorded!

Marines In 43 Countries, And Military In 100 Or More Other Nations: Absolutely Crazy And Self Defeating!

The tragic events in Niger, where four Special Forces troops were ambushed and killed by terrorist forces, has revealed a secret that even members of Congress on the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate were not aware of.

We have been engaged in operations in that central African nation and others on that continent, beyond those in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Central Asia, and also in Latin America and in South and East Asia.

In other words, we now know we have US Marines in 43 nations, at least, and military presence and possibly more, in at least 100 other nations.

This means we are having influence in three of every four nations of the world, all with the goal of protecting American national security and defenses in an age of world wide terrorism by Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL), Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, and other similar terrorist groups.

So besides the issues of Russia, China, Iran, North Vietnam, and the Middle East morass, including Syria and Iraq, we have to be concerned about insurgency in the Philippines; about pending warfare in Iraq of not just Shiite and Sunni Muslims but also the Kurdish minority; and danger of a Spanish Civil War of Catalonia (its capital in Barcelona) and the Spanish Central government; and instability in Eastern Europe in nations once thought to be finally democratic, but instead becoming extremist right wing, including Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic

At least 43 American military have died under the watch of Donald Trump, and over 10,000 civilians have been killed due to our troops.

This policy of American engagement all over the world is absolutely crazy and self defeating, and only enriches military contractors, while sacrificing lives of our young men and women.

It is a self defeating situation, in which the wealthy benefit, and the rest of us are victims, in one way or another.

Twenty Nine “Developed” Nations Have Universal Health Care Coverage, But America Refuses To Come Into The 21st Century On Health Care!

Twenty nine “developed” nations in the world have Universal Health Care Coverage, including the following:

In Europe, 21 nations, including:

Great Britain
France
Germany
Italy
Spain
Portugal
Netherlands
Belgium
Luxembourg
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Denmark
Iceland
Switzerland
Austria
Hungary
Poland
Czech Republic
Greece
Slovenia

Also, Turkey and Israel in the Middle East have Universal Health Coverage.

Additionally, in Asia and the Pacific, there are 4 nations which have such coverage.

Japan
South Korea
Australia
New Zealand

Also, Canada in North America and Chile in South America have such coverage.

So why does the United States NOT have it?

The power of the health insurance companies lobby is one factor, and the refusal of the Republican Party and the conservative movement to be willing to accept that health care coverage and the protection of life beyond the pregnancy stage should be a guaranteed part of government policy, through a national health care program that covers all Americans, including even undocumented immigrants, are the reasons.

It is time for America to come into the 21st century, and decide that health care is not a privilege, but a basic human right!

Donald Trump: The Demagogue, The Fascist, Dangerous For American Democracy!

It is now past five months since Donald Trump entered the Presidential race, and he is still number one in the polls for the GOP Presidential nomination.

It was thought that Trump was a “flash in the pan”, who would falter and collapse, but that has not happened.

Republicans are disillusioned not only with Barack Obama, but also with Republican leadership, and in the dangerous world we live in, they seem ready to throw away experience and select a man who has NEVER been in government, and has no clue on most issues, but uses code words and incendiary language to draw his support.

It is clear that racism, nativism, and ignorance are reigning today among Donald Trump supporters who seem not to care that most of what he says are all lies, manipulations of the truth, and pure demagoguery.

His appeal includes attacking Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, the news media, and anyone who dares to disagree with him, and his bully nature brings out the lowest class of people who love his boasting and egotistical nature.  He ridicules the disabled; insults women wit his misogyny; and acts in a fashion that should turn off any decent, intelligent human being, and yet no matter what he says or does, his support seems to remain strong, worrisome for the long term future of American democracy.

But John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, is speaking out on the reality that Trump is sounding more and more like a typical Fascist, as found in Spain with Francisco Franco, Argentina with Juan Peron, Italy and Benito Mussolini,  and elsewhere historically–the superhero who arouses an ignorant population to follow him in solving all problems, and has no problem in insulting and humiliating others.

Kasich is showing guts and courage, which so far no other GOP Presidential candidate seems willing to display.

Donald Trump must be stopped because he is a danger to America in both domestic and foreign affairs, who would undermine all of the progress made in the past century.  The right wing would prosper under his leadership, as all of the objectionable extremist groups in America would flock to him.

Hispanic Influence Predates That Of Other European Cultures on America, Something Forgotten By Many Conservatives!

Listening to Donald Trump, and also to many conservatives and Republicans in general, one would think that Hispanic and Latino influence in America is somehow dangerous and “foreign”, and something new.

In reality, Hispanics and Latinos are the largest “minority” in America, and only German immigration outnumbers Mexican immigration in numbers to have come to our nation.

Also, one can forget or be ignorant of the fact that it was Spain which made the first settlements in what became the United States, 450 years since the establishment of St. Augustine, Florida as a Spanish colony in 1565.

It was Spain which settled the entire Southeast and the Southwest of the United States.

It was Spain which established settlements in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California.

It was Mexico that once controlled the entire Southwest, and lost it to the United States between 1836, 1848 and 1853 by rebellion, war and treaty.

But there was always a Spanish influence in America even after this, and people of Spanish heritage have played a major role in America throughout the nearly two centuries now since the original Texas “rebellion” against Mexico.

So to attack Spanish or Latin American influence in America is to show prejudice, ignorance and lack of recognition of Hispanic significance on America and its history!

The Month Of April: The Month That Four American Wars Began

April is an historical month in so many ways, including the fact that four of the wars in American history began in April.

The American Revolution began with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, even though war was never officially declared between Great Britain and the American colonies.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, with the South Carolina government ordering an attack on the federal fort, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, rather than allow the US government under Abraham Lincoln to re-provision the fort.

The Spanish American War began on April 19, 1898, after the attack on the American ship, THE MAINE, and the publication of the DeLome Letter, which inflamed American public opinion, and led William McKinley to ask for a declaration of war on Spain, leading to the acquisition of Spanish colonies in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam, and a sphere of influence over Cuba, giving American an “Empire”.

The First World War for America began after Woodrow Wilson asked for a declaration of war against Imperial Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire on April 2, 1917. After just four days of debate over giving up our isolationist heritage and joining in an alliance with other nations, as a result of the Zimmerman Note and unrestricted submarine warfare, the declaration of war was adopted easily on April 6, 1917.

These four wars transformed America into a nation; into a country that ended slavery and preserved the nation as one against a rebellion; that made American a nation with overseas ambitions for colonies; and as one which abandoned the idea of staying out of military alliances and foreign wars.

All four wars prepared us for the military involvement overseas, which has been constant since the Second World War, but unwisely took us into wars we have not really won in the cases of the Korean War (1950-1953); the Vietnam War (1961-1973); the Iraq War (2003-2011); and the Afghanistan War (2001-2015 and counting).

And now there are war hawks in Congress who wish to take us into a major war against a nation, Iran, which would present a massive challenge to gain victory that would be lasting, with the likelihood of a drawn out war, with massive casualties, and the likelihood of tremendous debt growth which would cripple our future!

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!

Nations Breaking Up: Could It Happen Among American States?

We are living in a world where nation states have broken up, and where the potential for more such breakups is increasing.

Yugoslavia broke up into multiple nations in the 1990s, as did the old Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia.

Sudan broke up into two nations in 2011, and Iraq seems on the road to a similar breakup, sadly through religious revolution, fanaticism and loss of life.

There has been the threat in the past of Quebec breaking away from Canada, although that seems less likely now.

Scotland will decide whether to split from the United Kingdom in a referendum this September.

There are threats of the breakup of Belgium and Spain, where strong nationality groups wish for independence.

At the same time, there has been secessionist talk by right wing groups in Texas, and even outgoing Governor Rick Perry talked up the idea a few years back, and then abandoned such talk.

But seriously, without violence, not like the Civil War in the 1860s, there are ideas floating out on the political wilderness of the possible future breakup of eight states, and the theoretical creation of an additional 16 states as a result, requiring an additional 32 US Senators, making the total possibly 132, instead of the present 100, in the upper chamber, while not changing the number of members of the House of Representatives.

These possibilities are as follows:

California–six states instead of one—Jefferson (rural Northern California); North California (centered about Sacramento, the state capital); Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose); Central California (Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton); West California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara); and South California (San Diego and Orange Counties).

Texas–five states instead of one—New Texas (Austin, the present state capital and College Station); Trinity (Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Tyler); Gulfland (Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston); Plainland (Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco, Abilene); and El Norte (San Antonio, El Paso, Brownsville).

New York–three states instead of one—Suburban counties of Southeast New York (Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess and Orange Counties) and Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk); New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island); and Upstate New York (including the rest of the state, including Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton).

Florida—two states instead of one—South Florida (the Keys, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach); and Northern Florida (the rest of the state).

Illinois–two states instead of one—Chicago and near suburbs; and the rest of the state.

Pennsylvania–two states instead of one—Philadelphia and near suburbs; and the rest of the state, including Pittsburgh and Harrisburg).

Virginia–two states instead of one—Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC; and the rest of the state.

Maryland–two states instead of one—Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington DC suburban counties (including Montgomery and Prince George’s County) and three rural eastern shore counties; and Western Maryland.

Is any of this likely to happen? Probably not, but great food for thought. It would require revolutionary changes in the US Senate, and would create new issues of which party would benefit, the Democrats or the Republicans, since the major metropolitan areas would be separate from the more rural counties in these eight states, and it would create a new dynamic in American politics hard to predict long term!

Disturbing News That NSA Spying Unknown By Obama! If So, What Does That Say?

The news that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in massive spying NOT only against terrorists, which is understandable, but also against American citizens by invasive investigation of all phone calls and emails, and also against friendly nations, such as Germany, France and Spain, is truly alarming to the extreme!

One might say that national security requires it, but that is a slippery slope that can undermine the Bill of Rights, and do permanent damage to the concept of having allies in the world against terrorism.

If American citizens cannot trust their own government to avoid invasion of their privacy, that is alarming!

If friendly foreign governments cannot trust that America is avoiding unnecessary intrusion in their private activities, and can look at these governments as not worthy of being trusted as allies, that is alarming!

And even worse, the news that, supposedly, Barack Obama was not aware of these activities by the NSA and, also, the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies, then that is TRULY alarming, as that means we have a shadow government which operates outside the parameters of accountable government authority!

It was often said in the past that the CIA was out of control, and that agency was investigated by the Church Committee in the 1970s, and supposedly, controls were put on that agency, or were they?

Are we being lied to all along, and indeed, no matter who is President, they are often unaware of what the spy agencies do?

And if that is so, does that not mean that Presidents of either party are, themselves, subject to being watched, observed, and possibly compromised, and conceivably, be marked for being “neutralized” by these agencies?

Notice the word “neutralized”, as the author is reluctant to say precisely what he means, but anyone reading this is likely to understand the dangers that any President faces from unaccountable espionage!

And although the author has never believed in conspiracy theories, the thought has to cross one’s mind as we come up to the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Assassination, and the belief of some that the CIA or FBI or other such agencies MIGHT have been involved in the demise of the 35th President.

This whole scenario at present is something to be really concerned with, worried about, and requires some kind of government action and oversight to stop these breaches of civil liberties and diplomatic protocol!

America’s Underappreciated Presidents—James K. Polk, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush

With Presidents Day celebrated on Monday, this is a good time to reflect on which Presidents are underappreciated for their contributions in the White House.

Five Presidents, four of them having only one term, and three of them soundly defeated for reelection, are often overlooked in an unfair manner.

These five underappreciated Presidents are as follows, chronologically:

James K. Polk (1845-1849), Democrat—-who did not wish a second term in office, died only three months after his term of office, but accomplished more than any President, regarding expansion of the nation, as he negotiated the gaining of the Pacific Northwest with Great Britain, and went to war with Mexico to gain the Southwestern United States. Because of Polk, highly controversial due to his manipulation of conditions setting up war with Mexico, and often criticized as an “imperialist”, we gained more land than any other President, including Thomas Jefferson with his Louisiana Purchase.

Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897), Democrat—-the only two term non consecutive terms President, although winning the popular vote three consecutive times, Cleveland accomplished the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, promoted civil service reform, and became regarded as a man of strong principles, including refusing to take over Hawaii, after a treaty was negotiated by the previous President, Benjamin Harrison. A rare President on the concept of opposing the addition of territory to the United States, he refused to go to war with Spain over the issue of Cuba in his second term, and opposed the Spanish American War and the Filipino Insurrection intervention under William McKinley, standing out as a leading anti imperialist.

William Howard Taft (1909-1913), Republican—-was unfortunate in coming in between two very charismatic Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom would end up ranked in the top ten of all Presidents, in most polls of experts on the Presidency. Taft also was the worst defeated President running for reelection, competing against both TR and Wilson, and ended up third, rather than second in defeat, and winning only 23 percent of the vote, two states, and eight electoral votes. But he deserved better, and did have the distinction of becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1920s, where he was much happier. But Taft actually signed a highly successful regulation of the railroads, the Mann Elkins Act of 1910; won lawsuits causing the breakup of the monopolies of Standard Oil, United States Steel, and International Harvester; and supported two constitutional amendments, the 16th (Federal Income Tax) Amendment, and the 17th (Direct Election of United States Senators) Amendment.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Democrat—served one divisive term, defeated for reelection by Ronald Reagan, due to the Iran Hostage Crisis, high inflation and unemployment, and the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan, and faced primary challenges from Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown. But he accomplished the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt; the Panama Canal Treaty; the promotion of the principle of human rights in foreign policy; the advancement of the environment, making him the third best President on that issue; and creation of three cabinet agencies–Health and Human Services, Education, and Energy. And his post Presidency, now the longest in American history, has been a model for Bill Clinton’s post Presidency, and Carter continues to promote human rights and economic and social reform nationally and world wide, and is often considered the best former President of the United States in American history.

George H. W. Bush (1989-1993), Republican—the second worst defeated President in American history, despite having led the coalition which forced Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, lessening a threat to the Middle East oil supply and the government of Saudi Arabia, in the Persian Gulf War of 1991; being the President under whom the Cold War came to an end in a stable manner in 1991; managing the unification of Germany between 1989 and 1990 in a skillful manner; and promoting the passage of civil rights law for the disabled population of America, a major reform in American history. Bush was always considered a master in the field of foreign policy, and for years after, had an impact on policy making through his significant staff members, who continued to have an impact.

All five Presidents deserve a better coverage and appreciation, despite the fact that each could be roundly criticized for events that would cause them to be overlooked as outstanding Presidents. Presidents Day is an appropriate time to do so!