BenTha'er-Horizons

Presidents

1901 World's Fair

The World's Fair that was part of the book, Devil in the White City, is pretty well known in history. Details about the 1901 World's Fair is less known but it is where President McKinley was shot and he died several days later as the result of the bullet remaining in his abdomen. More details can be found in this article.
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The Long Goodbye and Inauguration

Today Barack Obama exits as 44th president and Donald Trump succeeds as the 45th. It seems like it was a very long goodbye by Obama and I was among those who looked forward to moving past his presidency. I felt he was dangerous to the Constitution and also safety of the American citizen. I don't like the interest groups who supported him and he made it clear through his actions he did not support all the people, just the ones who agreed with him. I wish I could say national healing would start but there is too much division now in classes and political thought. I don't think we can come together unless it is an outside threat. A shame.
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President Garfield

One historian and author has written a book on the premise that President Garfield was not assassinated so much as killed by medical ineptness and malpractice. His doctor was more a poor practitioner and a charlatan. This story is fascinating but sad because it sounds like he may not have had to die. Alexander Graham Bell had devised an invention to find metal such as bullets when hard to locate in the body (no radiographs in those days). The doctor did not follow Bell's instructions and essentially sabotaged the use of the invention.
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JFK, Another Assassination Attempt?

Did JFK's assassination in Dallas, TX possibly followed an attempt in Springfield, IL that was a bit of a premonition for Dallas? JFK and the Secret Service were not careful with checking his route and keeping him protected in a car with a bubble shield. I knew had heard of this so it is an interesting piece of news and trivia.
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George Washington

Today is George Washington's birthday. He is the epitome of a great man. I think the greatest thing he did was stepping aside for the natural progression of a presidency for the country in its infancy instead of becoming a reigning monarch as some would have made him. I cannot see many recent Presidents acting this way, especially Barack Obama. Power and money means too much for the oligarchy now. Here is an article on Powerline celebrating our first President.
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President's Day

While I can like and admire Thomas Jefferson for his intellect and a number of the things he did for this nation, he has been reported as a not so good friend, more the back stabber even. He and John Adams were good friends and became estranged for many years. Now I read about how he tried to "take down" George Washington through the use of Washington's friendship with Alexander Hamilton. Good that it didn't succeed. We can see currently how mean-spirited and not in the best interests of our American spirit politics can be. This is an interesting post about the subject.
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The Death of George Washington

George Washington was a great man and a great servant to this country. We owe him a debt of gratitude to have delivered us our freedom and the United States. I hope we can keep it. I have visited Mount Vernon twice and it was a great experience. Here is a description of the final time of George Washington. Too bad medicine was not more like what we see today. No blood letting allowed.
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The Tough Founding Fathers

Who were the toughest, possibly "Don't mess with me" type of Founding Fathers. Who gave their all to the cause even though it was putting their lives on the line. Interesting article in all of this. Who would you pick? Hamilton sticks out.
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James Madison

We have a large library in our house. Many books. A fair number of them are history books and exceptionally good ones about U.S. Presidents. One person who is often credited with being the writer and voice behind the Constitution is James Madison. We have visited his home in Virginia and almost went again (drove by but the cost to enter was too expensive then). It was interesting and his life with Dolly sounded also a story to hear. Now there appears to be even more a focus on his life. There are 4 new books out about James Madison and you can read about them here.
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Lincoln's Constant Threat

Abraham Lincoln faced threats through out his later political life. Certainly around his election, first inauguration, and his years as President. Evidently, he was almost assassinated 9 months before he was assassinated. He still lived his life more in the open and did not shut himself away from meeting the public. It is sad that such a great man, IMO, engendered such hatred. There was much to learn from him than hate him. Read more about this episode here.
In 1864,
"It was during a lonely ride back to the Soldiers’ Home one night in August when an attempt was made on the President’s life. Riding slowly on the road that led to the entrance to the grounds, a rifle shot from approximately fifty yards away startled his horse; Old Abe, the horse, took off at what the President called “break-neck speed [which] unceremoniously separated me from my eight-dollar plug hat, with which I parted company without any assent, express or implied.” "
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Lincoln and the Press

Abraham Lincoln it was claimed knew how to play the press. A review of a book that discusses this in a thorough manner is found here. It makes you wonder how well he would do handling Facebook and Twitter.

“It was a dirty game by later standards, and no one played it better than Abraham Lincoln. He developed new stratagems as he rose from citizen to candidate to officeholder. Without abandoning his old methods, he developed new ones, more effective if no more scrupulous, as he got better himself (and better situated), for controlling what was written about him, his policies, and his adversaries. Harold Holzer, who has been a press advocate for candidates (Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo) and institutions (the Metropolitan Museum of Art and various Lincoln organizations), knows the publicity game from the inside, and he is awed by Lincoln’s skills as a self-publicist, that necessary trait of his time. Holzer is also a respected and influential Lincoln scholar who does not come to bury Lincoln with this new information but to wonder how a man could swim so well through the sewer and come out (relatively) clean.”
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James K. Polk

President James K. Polk came into office making a promise to serve one term and accomplish his goals in that time frame. He pushed the expansion of the United States to the West..........Manifest Destiny as it were. I have a biography on his presidency which I still need to read. He is buried in Nashville and here is his burial site. Another interesting fact gleaned while there is that the town was established by settlers, one of whom was last name Donelson. He was the father of Rachel Donelson, the wife of Andrew Jackson. Interesting connections.
James K. Polk burial
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Ruining Country

Well, I couldn’t have said it better. This article does a nice job of explaining why I think Obama is ruining the country. The tipping point is getting closer and I don’t know if we can recover. It all feels rotten underneath the surface and a “lollipop-like” facade of sugar sweetness above the surface. A sweet and tart mix that does not work and will turn sour before long.
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Grant Not Short of Audacity

General U.S. Grant did not run around trumpeting “The Audacity Of Hope”. He just performed his job audaciously and quietly. He often was not always right in his methods in the short term but his perseverance in the long wore down the Southern armies and allowed the Northern armies to win. Another enjoyable article about Grant can be found here in the Weekly Standard.
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Books Presidents Like

There have been a number of these blog posts that talk about books. There will likely be many more. I did come across this one article that told of the favorite books of all the 44 Presidents. You can check out the reading material here.
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James A. Garfiled

On an interesting note, there is a recent article that offers some background and history about James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United State, did not want to be President or at least try to maneuver his way into the position. Garfield was a general in the Civil War and acquitted himself admirably. He went on to become a Senator from Ohio before supporting another as the Republican candidate for the presidency. Garfield was the compromise choice of the convention. He tragically was assassinated by a disgruntled office seeker. With the political egos we have present now, will we ever see an honest person who did not promote their candidacy as President?
James A. Garfield
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Income Inequality

It is becoming apparent that the mantra for this next year as we go toward the 2014 elections is going to be “income inequality”. I was raised in a family where my family was not rich, nor poor yet comfortable to live and work with what we had. We did not envy or begrudge anyone what they had. I am a big believer that people make choices in this world that help them or hold them back. I cannot expect others to make my choices or compensate me for poor ones. It is my responsibility. I cannot in the long run change the choices others make for themselves. In the long run, we all have to live with the consequences of those choices. Circumstances are unequal. Life would be pretty dull if we all were forced into “sameness”. Many strive for achieving something worthwhile or a greatness beyond. It will be interesting, also frustrating, to watch this message play out over the next few years. It has never been able to sustain itself to create the Utopia such believers wish to accomplish. I have to agree with the following statement of Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon............

“What the income inequality debate is about is not social justice but social rule. It is about power, about who wields it and to what purposes, and the slogans and statistics that appear in the papers are the weapons by which a caste of liberals organizes its political coalition and vanquishes its opposites.”

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Losing JFK 50 Years Ago

Here is my recollection. I was in 6th grade when someone from the school office came in to tell our teacher that President Kennedy had died. My teacher, Mrs. Walton, then shared the news with us. The reaction was much the same as for many all over the country and world............shock and incredible sadness and loss. I remember riding the school bus and being one of the few who supported Kennedy against Nixon when talking about the election with other students. Yes, we were interested even in those young years. I remember all the concerns about his Catholicism. They held the anniversary memorials today at Dealey Plaza in Dallas and at Arlington Cemetery near Washington DC.

Books (and articles) have been written and will continue to be so written. One recent article that was interesting about Oswald and his interest in Castro can be found here. Another article discussing the connection the author had with President Kennedy and also Lee Harvey Oswald is found here. Her book is called Marina and Lee and should be a good book to obtain.

JFK gravesite
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A Better Look

Politico has published a couple of articles that give a behind the scenes look at the President’s interactions with his Cabinet and many of the major generals in the armed forces. The articles do not paint a good picture and more a grim one in my estimation. It is disturbing to hear that approximately 200 generals have been released by this administration. They are trying to remake the military in the manner they desire, not as a ready and fighting force I am afraid. Political correctness is taking its role, front and center. I pray we are not attacked because I fear for who will be left to respond.
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President as Machiavelli?

What is effectual truth and is this what the President uses when he speaks to Americans?

In the essay, Mansfield discusses the Machiavellian discovery of “effectual truth.” What is effectual truth? In his 2007 Jefferson lecture, Mansfield put it this way: For Machiavelli, the effectual truth is the “truth shown in the outcome of his thought. The truth of words is in the result they produce or, more likely, fail to produce.” Consequences matter most. “Deeds are sovereign: When confronted by a necessity, Machiavelli advises, do not worry about justice, but act and the words to justify your action will come to you afterward.”

More about this can be found in this Washington Free Beacon article.
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Government Cronyism

As Obamacare rolls out and looking at the effects on both Bob and i, it is distressing to read articles about all the lobbying, interest groups, and back room deals that went into getting this law passed and forced on us. An article that gives one just a taste of what this entailed is found here.
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How To View Freedom

A great article today by David Horowitz on how the Democrats keep their people and message together and how the Republicans must go to a message that is said over and over again that they support freedom for the individual. We do not want to become lemmings that only do what the Pied Piper says we should do.
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What is Faux?

We have had to listen to a drum beat of voices saying that those of us who had our individual health insurance cancelled that it was faux insurance. We are rubes, schlubs, and ignorant people who don’t know what is good for us in deciding our health care. Even though it has been around for awhile and we were satisfied with it. Certainly more satisfied than our premiums going up around 70%, deductibles which were already high almost doubling, and co-pays cut almost in half. We will be paying for insurance that will probably not help us and most likely economically hurt us.We have a government that lies to us and won’t accept responsibility. We lie for your benefit. Too bad, so sad. We lie since you are too stupid to know what you need. I hope this backfires on them and the Democrats suffer politically for this. For all the hurt they do to us, I hope it triples for them. We did not need to break 9 eggs to coddle 1. That is my mantra and I am so angry and frustrated on how this whole health care and insurance issue has gone.
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Misplaced Charter

Our country is going through a stressful time right now. As an earlier blog post mentioned, our President and his administration are doing their best to separate the people from the land and National Monuments. We can no longer go where we feel we should be able to access and visit. Mark Steyn touches on this topic a bit and how the President has broken an almost 900 year old portion of English law that an English king gave to his freemen subjects. This law was established two years after the Magna Carta was written, the basis of English law and our law too. He has rolled back the connection a supreme leader has with their people and the land. We are reversing to a despotic concept more in line with “divine right of kings”. The article can be read here. The only argument I have with it is that is says that Henry II gave the Charter of the Forest to English freemen in 1217. It was Henry III, the son of King John the king -who had to accept the basis of the Magna Carta due to his despotic rule over his noble subjects.
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Bring Out the Cones

It is disgraceful that our President and his administration are taking on goonish thug tactics to the American people during this current government shutdown. His hit squad of goons, the National Park Service, have gone around the country placing traffic cones in places to block tourists from visiting or viewing national sites. I have a photo from a prior trip to Wales of a statue of a Welsh statesman that someone put a traffic cone on his head. I think Barack Obama deserves to be stuck wearing a traffic cone as a dunce cap. I wish he would demonstrate some of that brilliance that he supposedly has and do something smart and good, not mean spirited. A further look at what the traffic cone is coming to symbolize.
Wales Cardiff humor2
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Political Storm

Yesterday was the start of an intrusion and nightmare for the future, Obamacare. Government involvement in our health insurance and therefore our health care. Both Bob and I are without our plans at the start of the year. I truly dislike what they have done here and can truthfully say that I hate it. On the same day, the government has shut down because of this program and trying to fund the government overreach. I blame the President and Democrats for where we are though the Republicans don’t improve their brand either. Washington DC is a mess and it spills over on us with the power grabs.
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Foreign Policy

A writer named Walter Russell Mead has a very good blog covering American domestic and foreign issues. He writes thoughtfully and offers great insight in many ways. He had a recent long piece about foreign policy that he divides into four different groups of “thought”……….Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian, and Wilsonian. He describes their different beliefs and approaches based on current world affairs. It is an interesting read here.
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Comedy with Sad Seriousness

Over the past two weeks we have been subjected to foreign policy issues and retreats regarding Syria to where it is hard to tell if the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello or all of them are in charge. All I know is that it smacks of the history around the Munich Pact in 1938. As Bob says, “Peace in Our Time”. One synopsis of the mess is written here. Another great analysis is covered here by the great Victor Davis Hanson in this interview with Hugh Hewitt.
HH: I am joined now to gauge reaction to the President’s speech from Victor Davis Hanson, eminent military historian and frequent visitor to my regular show. Victor, good evening, what was your reaction to the President’s speech tonight?
VDH: I was underwhelmed. I’d like to think everybody was. He wants to use force, but he doesn’t quite want to use force. It’s going to be substantial, but not very substantial. He really thinks it’s important to consult Congress, but he wasn’t going to do it. But then when he got in trouble, he was going to do it, and then when they were going to vote no against him, he postponed it. He really believes you always have to do it, but of course, he didn’t do it in Libya. And the winner of everything is Vladimir Putin. I mean, he’s Machiavelli. He’s absolutely, in a diabolical way, brilliant, because suddenly, a man with no aircraft carrier group, no Nobel Prize, no big economy, no democracy, is the moral superior to the President. He’s posing as a man who stopped a rash and immature Obama from killing people and breaking stuff. Meanwhile, he stole Bashar Assad. 99% of the people you kill, you don’t need WMD. You just keep killing them. And we’ll talk for the next month about WMD while this naïve in America keeps trusting us. It’s a win-win situation for everybody. And then Obama is reminded by Putin I prevented you from embarrassing yourself, because you would have been turned down by the Congress. He couldn’t have acted anyway. This way, you’ve got an out with my phony negotiations, which have already made you alter your presidential address. And next week, I’ll probably alter it again with a new idea.


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Edouard Daladier Moments

I comment frequently how I love history, especially certain time periods in history. I also enjoy a good writer and one that engages the imagination with the use of their words. The words will paint images that add to what is being said. One example that is a mix of current affairs and a historical take on the run up to World War ll is found in this article. The author and blogger Diplomad is one of the writers I just described. The article to me is a well written piece and makes it point(s) well.
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A Truly Great Phony

I have never been a fan of this particular President, even from the first campaign he ran. The primary reason over time that I feel is that he is a phony. I detest phonies and their ways. You cannot trust what they will say and follow through with. If their lips are moving, they are lying or laying on a lot of, for a kind word, baloney. A good article to start with is on Powerline and the to go deeper and read the link to Thomas Sowell’s piece. Great explanation of why phonies will stand out and eventually show their true nature.
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Warren Harding

As one delves into history and the “what ifs” and “how did that happen” scenarios, there is an interesting article on the internet about the strange life and death of President Harding. He died in unclear circumstances in a hotel room in San Francisco. His wife did not allow an autopsy. As I read through the story I get a sense of similarities to President Obama, at least in the area of cronyism and people allied to the Administration who take advantage of their status to do benefit to themselves. For a good read, check here.
President Warren G. Harding
1-1-President-Warren-Harding
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