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.
Junius Morgan was, at best, a third-tier English banker in the 1850s, who was fortunate to have had a hand in a number of lucrative financings, mostly for industries seeking seasonal financing. His conservative nature was partly a cause of his lack of distinction. He’d inherited a substantial sum when his father died and was exceedingly careful when risking any part of it. One of the maxims Junius instilled into his son, John Pierpont Morgan (shown at left), was, “Never under any circumstances do an action which could be called into question if known to the world.”
It is a signal irony that, within days of the apocalyptic earthquake and tsunami that have brought Japan to her knees, archaeologists announced the possible discovery, after millenia of speculation, of the ruins of the legendary lost civilization of Atlantis, buried deep beneath the marshes of the Coto Doñana in southwestern Spain.
When Solomon observed that there’s nothing new under the sun, he might have been speaking of politicians: Most plagiarize from their predecessors. Wage and price controls, blaming the victims rather than the authors of government’s policies, banning pleasures and fun, encouraging “virtues” that advance the State and ridiculing or even outlawing those that don’t — these tactics and more are favorites not only of modern Republicans and Democrats but of certain “Patriots” who seized power during the American Revolution. Indeed, they nearly subverted it: As one critic charged, they “hate Tyranny, but … their meaning is they hate Tyranny when themselves are not the Tyrants.”