Tag Archives: History

Happy Independence Day!

Excerpts from the Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.


Celebrations, yes, but never forget the solemn sacrifice that generations of Americans have made to maintain and defend our democracy from its inception.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

Happy 240th birthday, America!

What Trump means when he says ‘America First’

Twitter troll Donald Trump sent this tweet on Flag Day. Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “AMERICA FIRST!”.

Screenshot from 2016-06-19 12:30:53

Oh lord. I have my doubts whether this crypto-fascist really knows the history behind this motto. There are a lot of Americans who are equally ignorant of the history behind this motto.

Eric Rauchway, professor of history at the University of California at Davis, explains at the Washington Post. Donald Trump’s new favorite slogan was invented for Nazi sympathizers:

Donald Trump greeted Twitter on Flag Day with two words in all caps: “AMERICA FIRST!

He has made this slogan a theme for his campaign, and he has begun using it to contrast himself with President Obama, whose criticism of Trump’s rhetoric on Tuesday was answered with a Trump statement promising, “When I am president, it will always be America first.”

He wasn’t quite promising “America über alles,” but it comes close. “America First” was the motto of Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s, and Trump has more than just a catchphrase in common with them.

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How the ‘McMedia’ fail to hold John McCain accountable

The “big story” in the Arizona political media over the past 24 hours is that Arizona’s angry old man, Senator John McCain, once again has demonstrated his lack of temperament, character, judgment and honesty by blaming President Obama for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on Sunday. McCain: Obama ‘directly responsible’ for Orlando shooting:

Sen. McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election, spoke to reporters in the Capitol Thursday while Obama was in Orlando visiting with the families of those killed in Sunday’s attack and some of the survivors.

McCain button“Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq,” a visibly angry McCain said as the Senate debated a spending bill.

“So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies,” McCain said.

* * *

Questioned on his startling assertion, McCain initially repeated it: “Directly responsible. Because he pulled everybody out of Iraq, and I predicted at the time that ISIS would go unchecked and there would be attacks on the United States of America. It’s a matter of record, so he is directly responsible.”

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On Language: Donald Trump, American Demagogue

Even before Donald Trump sunk to a new low of xenophobic paranoia by Calling for Barring Muslims From Entering U.S. — “Oh, for the love of God” — Experts: Trump’s Muslim entry ban idea ‘ridiculous,’ ‘unconstitutional’, the New York Times on Sunday published an analysis of Donald J. Trump’s words in the past week revealing patterns that, historians say, echo the appeals of demagogues. 95,000 Words, Many Ominous, From Donald Trump’s Tongue:

Cartoon_18.14The dark power of words has become the defining feature of Mr. Trump’s bid for the White House to a degree rarely seen in modern politics, as he forgoes the usual campaign trappings — policy, endorsements, commercials, donations — and instead relies on potent language to connect with, and often stoke, the fears and grievances of Americans.

The New York Times analyzed every public utterance by Mr. Trump over the past week from rallies, speeches, interviews and news conferences to explore the leading candidate’s hold on the Republican electorate for the past five months. The transcriptions yielded 95,000 words and several powerful patterns, demonstrating how Mr. Trump has built one of the most surprising political movements in decades and, historians say, echoing the appeals of some demagogues of the past century.

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Pope Francis Addresses Congress

PopeFrancis.2The big question preceding Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress was whether anyone opposed to his views would be so disrespectful as to disrupt the Pontiff’s speech.

It appears that only Arizona’s Rep. Paul Gosar behaved badly, by boycotting the Popes’ speech.

Best headline of the day: Congress mostly behaved during the Pope’s speech. And of course, Boehner cried. So much so, it became distracting.

Vatican officials had asked lawmakers to remain seated and quiet during the address, but our Congress critters ignored them. The Pope was interrupted by applause and standing ovations as if this was a State of The Union Address. This may have given the appearance of partisanship at times. It was not the fault of  Pope Francis. Blame the usual suspects.

Here are some highlights from Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress, the first ever by a Pope. Transcript: Pope Francis’s speech to Congress:

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

First interruption by a standing ovation. The Vatican’s protocols were immediately disregarded.

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GOP feigned outrage of the day: Denali (no, seriously)

Ohio Republicans have their panties in a twist that President Obama has authorized Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to restore the name of the tallest peak in Alaska (and the U.S.) to its millennia-old native people’s name of Denali, from Mount McKinley, named after the 25th President of the United States who came from Ohio.

The Washington Post today has the story behind the original name change. How a 19th-century political ‘joke’ turned into a 119-year-long debate:

DenaliThe name Mount McKinley “was little more than a joke.”

That’s according to toponymist George R. Stewart, an expert in American place-names (apparently a real field of academic study).

There was no reason, Stewart explained in his 1945 tome “Names on the Land,” why a New Hampshire gold prospector of little consequence should have been able to christen America’s tallest peak.

But politicians, not toponymists, are the ones who control the nation’s maps, which largely explains how the craggy, ice-bound mountain remained named after America’s 25th president for more than a century.

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