Tag Archives: History

Centennial Commemoration of U.S. entry into World War I

This week marks the centennial anniversary of the United States entry into World War I, the “Great War” and the “war to end all wars.” Lest we forget, World War I and its consequences shaped the events to follow in the 20th Century.

Surprisingly, this centennial anniversary has received little to no attention in the American media.

Yesterday, April 2, was the anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson asking Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. It went without notice in the American media. Wilson asks for declaration of war:

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to send U.S. troops into battle against Germany in World War I. In his address to Congress that day, Wilson lamented it is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war. Four days later, on April 6, Congress obliged and declared war on Germany.

In February and March 1917, Germany, embroiled in war with Britain, France and Russia, increased its attacks on neutral shipping in the Atlantic and offered, in the form of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, to help Mexico regain Texas, New Mexico and Arizona if it would join Germany in a war against the United States. The public outcry against Germany buoyed President Wilson in asking Congress to abandon America’s neutrality to make the world safe for democracy.

Wilson went on to lead what was at the time the largest war-mobilization effort in the country’s history. At first, Wilson asked only for volunteer soldiers, but soon realized voluntary enlistment would not raise a sufficient number of troops and signed the Selective Service Act in May 1917. The Selective Service Act required men between 21 and 35 years of age to register for the draft, increasing the size of the army from 200,000 troops to 4 million by the end of the war.

More than four million American families sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during the Great War. 116,516 U.S. soldiers gave their lives in combat. Another 200,000 were wounded (a casualty rate far greater than in World War II).

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Trump Inaugural Address: American Carnage, America First

Donald J. Trump used his inaugural address to do what no other American president has ever done before: he described America as a dystopian post-apocalyptic hellscape right out of Escape from New York.

Trump takes office, vows an end to ‘American carnage’:

Trump delivered a dark inaugural address in which he pledged fealty to all Americans. But he made little overt attempt to soothe a nation still wounded from arguably the ­ugliest election season of modern times and signaled that he intends to govern as if waging a permanent political campaign.

Trump reprised the central ­arguments of his candidacy and harshly condemned the condition of the country he now commands. He said communities had fallen into disrepair with rampant crime, chronic poverty, broken schools, stolen wealth and “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones.”

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump declared in his 16-minute address.

Trump has spent his entire life living in the toney gated communities of wealth and privilege only made possible by his living in America, where this grifter and con artist can take advantage of the vulnerable and the gullible.

The “American carnage” he describes exists only in the fetid imagination of Donald J. Trump (and the fever swamps of the conservative media entertainment complex from which he emerged). Fact-checking President Trump’s inaugural address. As the New York Times editorializes, America was already pretty great, despite its flaws, before Trump took office on Friday. What President Trump Doesn’t Get About America.

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Donald Trump revives Richard Nixon’s 1968 playbook

I am seeing far too many pundits and reporters, some of whom are too young to have been around in the 1960’s, try to make the false analogy that the violence in America today is reminiscent of the tumultuous 1960’s. These are people I like to call “idiots.” Today is nothing at all like the 1960s. I know, I lived it.

We do not have cities burning from race riots and the national guard patrolling the streets of major cities to put down violence, and to protect police and firemen. We do not have anti-war protesters on college campuses and in Washington, D.C. being confronted by “hard hat” supporters of the war in Vietnam, the police, and the national guard. And we have not suffered a decade of assassinations of political and civil rights leaders.

There has never been an election year as violent and tumultuous as 1968, and God willing, there will never be another year like it again.

SilentMajorityBut apparently some geniuses (sic) advising Donald Trump have convinced him that running Richard Nixon’s 1968 p;aybook, complete with the Southern strategy of dividing America by appealing to racial animosity, imposing “law and order” against minorities and anti-war protesters, and appealing to a “silent majority” of Americans who support the war and getting tough on minorities and protesters, but who do not publicly speak out, is once again the path to victory in 2016.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post writes, Trump is trying to re-run Nixon’s 1968 campaign. Here’s why it won’t work.

Judging by what he’s done over the last couple of days, Donald Trump seems to have decided that the way to win in November is to re-run Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign. For those of you who weren’t around then, Nixon argued that the country had turned into a nightmare of chaos and violence, and only a strong leader like him could bring order and safety.

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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.

Declaration_independence

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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