Several landmark documents from English history have contributed significantly to our own Constitution bulwark of liberty. One of these documents just celebrated a birthday.
In the year 1930, the city of Tiflis (now Tbilisi) was a captive capital. The ancient city in the heart of the Caucasus, with its mountain scenery and splendid architecture, was enduring, with the rest of the Soviet Union, the onset of Stalin’s reign of terror. As elsewhere in the Soviet Union, ordinary people had become practiced in the arts of sullen self-preservation. Perhaps that was why no one offered to help the men working to extricate one of their party from an overturned car before the badly damaged vehicle burst into flames. The men wore business suits and spoke English, though few of the passersby recognized the unfamiliar tongue. The man trapped in the car, on the other hand, was a feral-faced communist “handler,” a man with considerable clout in the Soviet government.
Even in peacetime, government lies are so commonplace as to hardly be news. During wartime, however, the government fib fabricator goes into overdrive — as does the coverup machinery. Decades may pass before wartime lies are exposed, and even more time may elapse before the government admits to having deceived the public.
When Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States on March 4, 1801, there was but a fleeting hint of warning in his Inaugural Address about dangers to the young Republic from distant forces abroad. America would pursue “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none,” he proclaimed. But he also asked for “that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.”
In 1914, when the Old World was at war, the New, unaware of the designs of its political and financial leaders, expected to stay out of the latest European upheaval. American public opinion was firmly opposed to violating in any way our neutral posture, which meant that America’s young men were still graduating from high school, going to college, and finding gainful employment. One such crop of optimistic youth was enduring a philosophy class at the University of North Carolina, an exercise in sophistry taught by the venerable but insufferable Horace Williams. Professor Williams’ class, we may imagine, was typical for the time: a couple dozen well-groomed young men and a few young women sitting at buckling wooden desks made in the previous century, trying to grasp the contradictory axioms imparted by the tweedy, subversive Williams.
The popular narrative surrounding the life of Osama bin Laden is filled with questions, intrigue, and misinformation. Though he ultimately became one of the most loathed figures in the American psyche, it’s important to remember that bin Laden was once a good friend of the U.S. government. In many ways, he can even be considered a creation of American officials and their allies. His Mujahedeen, or Islamic warriors, were even armed, trained, supplied and financed by America and some of its allies.
Questions about President Obama’s ever-changing narrative on Osama bin Laden’s reported assassination and rampant speculation that at least some Pakistani officials may have been involved in hiding the terrorist leader have been swirling around the internet in recent days. But there’s another important angle that has received less attention: Assuming bin Laden really was killed over the weekend — his death has been reported on numerous occasions by credible sources since 2001 — how could it take so long for the most powerful governments in the world to find one man?
Fifty miles north of Milwaukee lies the idyllic village of Kohler, Wisconsin. The largest employer in Kohler is the Kohler Company, a worldwide leader in plumbing products. The village itself was created as a planned community in 1912, as the company moved its operations from inside the city of Sheboygan, situated on Lake Michigan, to rural land west of that city, in order to secure a better environment for future expansion.
According to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, in the days just prior to his assassination, President John F. Kennedy asked the CIA to provide him with classified documents about UFOs.
What a dreadful Spirit that Man possesses, who can put a private Appetite in balance against the universal Good of his Country, and of Mankind.
As tensions with England intensified in the years leading up to 1776, the United States became a “laboratory of proposals and revised forms of union and confederated government.” One of the concoctions brewed in this laboratory was the Articles of Confederation.
Wars are seldom tidy, and often the unfinished business from one war provides the spark and tinder for the next. The forts that guarded Charleston Harbor in the latter half of the 19th century were part of a series of coastal defenses planned after the War of 1812 to protect all the principal seaports of the United States. Like most of the system, the forts in Charleston were still unfinished in 1861. Not long after the war with the British, America became preoccupied with battles within, as wars with Indian tribes continued through most of the century.