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Ben Wade, U.S. President? Missed by One Vote

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Benjamin Franklin Wade was a “radical Republican” and served as president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate in 1868, when President Andrew Johnson was brought up on impeachment charges. Wade had been critical of Abraham Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War, and had even more of a dislike for Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln after the latter was assassinated. Congress was trying to strong-arm Johnson into changing the way Reconstruction was behing handled, and Wade led the charge. When Johnson moved up to President, a new Vice President was not selected, so Wade was next in line for the office of President. (In 1886, the Speaker of the House was moved into this “number three” spot.)

By a 5-4 vote in late 1867, a committee of the House of Representatives passed the resolution of impeachment against Johnson, leading to a trial the next spring. A full two-thirds vote of the Senate was required to impeach Johnson, but the final tally was one vote short. Many at the time believed that Johnson was only acquitted because (1) he had only one year left in his presidency, and (2) many Senators didn’t like the idea of Wade becoming president, including a few of his supporters. Wade and his followers had been so vocally critical of the presidency, it didn’t seem “appropriate” for them to vote him into that position.

Only one vote from the presidency, Wade never made it any further in politics. When Ulysses S. Grant was named the next Republican presidential candidate, his suggestion of Wade as his running mate was rejected by his party.

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  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Yabut, what was his position on the flat tax?

    Oh wait, we didn’t even have an income tax back then…nevermind… :-/

  • MCH

    True. And I believe the draft back then was without deferments.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Shows how little you know, MCH. The draft was over the moment the war ended, and during the war not only were there deferments of one kind or another, but you could pay $500 not to have to serve at all, or hire someone to serve in your place, or even send one of your slaves.

    The idea that people who ran businesses and contributed more to the economy should not have to fight in the military is not a new one, and not necessarily a bad one.

    Dave

  • MCH

    Shows how little you know, Nalle. Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and Rush Limbaugh weren’t “running businesses or contributing to the economy” when they dodged the draft; they were hiding out in college or (in Limbaugh’s case) showing their family physician a pimple on their ass.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Shows how poorly you read, emmy.

    He was talking about the Civil War, not the one you didn’t have to fight in.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Cheney, Clinton and Limbaugh are and were part of a class of people who were being groomed for leadership roles. Keeping them alive so they could fill those roles is part of the whole concept of exempting certain classes of people from a draft.

    And just to short-circuit the conspiracy theorists, that ‘class’ of people I’m referring to is not some tiny powerful ultra elite, it’s just the class of college educated professionals.

    Dave

  • MCH

    Limbaugh was being groomed for a “leadership role”…? That shows how little you know, Nalle.

    At the time he was awarded his medical deferment, Lardbaugh had just dropped out of college (losing his school deferment), couldn’t even hold a steady job as a disc jockey, and actually ended up drawing unemployment.

    Unless you consider his public relations “work” for the Kansas City Royals as a “leadership role”…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MCH, do you take special pleasure in parading your ignorance?

    Limbaugh’s father was a prominent Missouri judge and very politically influential. His father was part of the educated, political elite, therefore by presumption he was destined to be part of it as well. That’s the way it works.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    The idea that people who ran businesses and contributed more to the economy should not have to fight in the military is not a new one, and not necessarily a bad one.

    How about the idea of deferments not only for people who “contribute more to the economy” but also for their horrible spoiled bratty kids?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    The idea is that their horrible, spoiled, bratty kids will grow up to inherit their money and manage their businesses.

    At base it’s all about taxes and the civil war demonstrates that fact. In order to ram through the unconstitutional (pre-16th amendment) income tax, Lincoln had to give some concessions to the people whose incomes he would be taxing – like not sending their kids to war. People with incomes under $800 a year were exempted alltogether from the tax.

    Despite this, of course, lots of people from the upper classes volunteered to fight, again being more or less guaranteed spots as officers based on their family background and education. Ironically, in most modern wars, starting with the civil war the casualty rate for officers has been far higher than for enlisted men.

    And if you think all of this is a horrible corruption and so terribly unfair, remember that up until surprisingly recently the British, the Spanish and many other nations let people buy commissions at any rank they could afford – including selling generalships – and they recruited soldiers and sailors by kidnapping them.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    Including American sailors who then often found themselves fighting their own countrymen against their will. Thanks for the history lesson.

    But since income tax no longer applies only to the better off, why should deferments?

  • MCH

    “MCH, do you take special pleasure in parading your ignorance?
    Limbaugh’s father was a prominent Missouri judge and…”

    Might wanna look in the mirror, Nalle; Lardbaugh’s dad was NEVER a judge.

  • MCH

    “MCH, do you take special pleasure in parading your ignorance?…And just to short-circuit the conspiracy theorists, that ‘class’ of people I’m referring to is not some tiny powerful ultra elite, it’s just the class of college educated professionals.”
    – Populi/Nalle

    Again, check out the mirror once in awhile. Limbaugh was NEVER a “college educated professional,” Nalle.
    1) He dropped out of college mid-way through his sophomore year; and 2) since when is a disc jockey considered a professional?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ooh, my mistake, MCH. Limbaugh’s father was only a lawyer. It’s his uncle, grandfather and cousin who are or were all judges. I’d say the fact that he comes from a prominent family is pretty damned hard to dispute.

    As for his failure to get a college education, that wasn’t an issue at the time he could have been drafted. Given his family background, the expectation that he might have gone to college was reasonable. Plus, all of this is irrelevant in his case because he didn’t even use college deferments to avoid going to Vietnam.

    And again, let me point out the obvious reality. Not going to Vietnam and finding a way not to go there by whatever means, is a sign of intelligence and good sense. Second best is volunteering so you can pick your service and get an assignment away from combat like in Hawaii or someplace.

    BTW, I was talking to a friend who was in the Navy during Vietnam. He didn’t have much trouble getting a combat assignment working on a PBR for two tours. I bet they had a slot you could have filled.

    Dave
    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    since when is a disc jockey considered a professional?

    When did Limbaugh quit talk radio???

  • MCH

    “He was talking about the Civil War, not the one you didn’t have to fight in.”

    I enlisted and served where ordered, Clavvy, which is more than Cheney (dodged draft) and Bush (deserted).

  • Dr Dreadful

    When did Limbaugh quit talk radio???

    He didn’t. I think MCH is referring to the fact that, in common with most DJs, Limbaugh spins garbage on air every day…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Was Bush ever formally accused of desertion?

    Was he court martialed for it?

    Didn’t think so…

    So, you’re spreading a falsehood.

    Which makes you at best, mistaken; at worst, a liar.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    He’s also lying about Cheney, of course, because Cheney didn’t dodge the draft, he took advantage of the deferments which the government offered for reasons which were believed to be beneficial to society at that time and which we’ve discussed the history of here.

    Dave

  • MCH

    “So, you’re spreading a falsehood. Which makes you at best, mistaken; at worst, a liar.”
    – Clavvy

    Then so are the 700-plus guardsmen who were stationed at Dannelly AFB from Sep 72-Mar 73, where Bush was ordered to serve.

    Texans for Truth offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who ever witnessed GW serving at Dannelly. No one has ever collected.

    Hey Clavvy, wanna make an easy $25,000? Find someone who saw GW at Dannelly, and split the reward with him…

  • Nancy

    Of course Bush wasn’t formally courtmarshalled; he just went awol – and this being a Rich Boy’s Frat unit, & his daddy being rich & powerful, of course he never got fingered for that, either.

    The gall lies in that both he & Cheney are so gung-ho for war, when both of them, legally or not, never were & are not now EVER in the remotest danger of physical harm’s way, nor are their family members, nor will they suffer any of the attendant privations of being or having someone in the military on active duty. That Cheney actually had the consummate balls to say he ‘had better things to do’ than go to Vietnam is a total denigration of those who suffered, were mutilated, or died there. HE had better things to do here at home…and THEY didn’t? The arrogance of that statement & the viewpoint that engenders it takes the breath away. Pity it doesn’t take away his or Dubya’s, as it deserves to.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    @#20:

    Nonetheless, he was never charged or convicted.

    By definition, he’s not a deserter.

  • Nancy

    No, you’re absolutely right: by strict definition – the letter of the law – he’s not. But by the spirit of the law, he certainly is, & then some.

    That such a moral coward then actually has the nerve to claim ‘service’ after the fact, & in the face of the facts, after savaging those who HAD served, in both his presidential campaigns, with lies & innuendo, as he did with both McCain & the vet multiple amputee (memory fart – forget his name at the moment), is unforgivable, IMO. As someone who HAS served, I take his daily clownishness & braggadoccio as Commander in Chief as a personal affront & mockery of all of us. He deserves to be shot or keelhauled. If he & Cheney weren’t hiding behind a wall of SS men, they probably would be. Both of them have long personal histories of being cowards & bullies, never actually fighting themselves, always careful to hide behind someone who can protect them. They are beyond contempt.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Nancy, it’s not that Bush and Cheney are gung-ho for war, it’s that they are willing to accept war as an instrument of foreign policy, as are a lot of people in both political parties.

    If you accept the idea that war is an instrument of foreign policy then your issue is with their foreign policy, not the war. If you take war completely off the table, then that’s an entirely different matter and you would prefer a national policy of pacifism.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Dave, gimme a break. Only a village idiot would believe that spin. B&C have been frothing at the mouth warmongers from Day One, & it shows in every word they’ve spoken, everything they’ve written, everything they’ve done, from the beginning & even before Bush won in 2000. This was a long time a-comin’ & NOT the product of 9-11 as the BushCo spinmeisters would have us believe; just another lying Excuse Of The Day like the reasons they keep giving us for invading Iraq.

    As long as THEIR precious asses aren’t on the line – or their families’ – they’re just rarin’ to “bring it on”, so long as they can hide behind someone else to protect them from their own swaggering. They’re contemptible.

  • MBD

    “it’s not that Bush and Cheney are gung-ho for war, it’s that they are willing to accept war as an instrument of foreign policy, as are a lot of people in both political parties.”

    War as an instrument of foreign policy?

    Where in the Constitution can you find justification for that?

    This implies starting preemptive wars which never happened in this country before Bush, Cheney and the neocon cabal started the Iraq war.

    Who are the “people in both political parties” who advocate preemptive wars?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    War as an instrument of foreign policy?

    Where in the Constitution can you find justification for that?

    There’s certainly nowhere in the Constitution where it’s prohibited.

    This implies starting preemptive wars which never happened in this country before Bush, Cheney and the neocon cabal started the Iraq war.

    I guess that’s true so long as you ignore the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, both Mexican Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Granada and Panama. Let’s see, that makes you about 28% correct.

    Who are the “people in both political parties” who advocate preemptive wars?

    Would you like a list of those alive or dead? Legislators or presidents? I need a more specific request to trim the list down to a reasonable number.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “And I believe the draft back then was without deferments.”

    And how does this differ from the Draft we have today? Oh wait, we DON’T HAVE A DRAFT anymore.

    Non sequitur, anyone? :-/

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “He’s also lying about Cheney, of course, because Cheney didn’t dodge the draft, he took advantage of the deferments which the government offered for reasons which were believed to be beneficial to society at that time and which we’ve discussed the history of here.”

    Yep. And good ol’ John F-in’ Kerry tried to get a student deferment to study in France. When this was denied, he “volunteered” for service in the Navy (as an officer), so that he wouldn’t have to worry about being drafted into the Army as end up in the infantry.

    That’s somewhat similar to the path traveled by Blogcritics’ infamous cyber-stalker, MCH. Except the “officer” part. And the “college” part. (And of course, Kerry eventually did have to face an enemy that wasn’t armed solely with a billiards cue…)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “This implies starting preemptive wars which never happened in this country before Bush, Cheney and the neocon cabal started the Iraq war.”

    You’d fail a Freshman-level American History course if that’s what you really believe..

  • MCH

    “And good ol’ John F-in’ Kerry tried to get a student deferment to study in France. When this was denied, he “volunteered” for service in the Navy (as an officer), so that he wouldn’t have to worry about being drafted into the Army as end up in the infantry.”

    Very impressive account. But you forgot to mention your service…?

  • MBD

    Let’s see… The opposite of a PREEMPTIVE war is a war triggered by AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Listen up Dave, it’s time to learn some basic American history.

    WWI was declared by the United States subsequent to the German navy sinking the Lusitania with the loss of 128 American lives. This was followed by the Zimmerman Note which asked Mexico to attack the United States if war broke out between the U.S. and Germany and because of unrestricted German submarine warfare against US shipping — ALL ACTS OF AGGRESSION.

    WWII was declared by the United States subsequent to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Persian Gulf War……… Triggered by Iraq invading Kuwait — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION. The US participated under United Nations Security Council Resolution 660.

    The War of 1812… America declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812, triggered by the capture of thousands of American sailors who were forced into service with the British navy –. AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Civil War… In 1861 Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter, South Carolina — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Spanish American War,… ‘Remember the Maine’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Mexican War…. ‘Remember the Alamo’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Korea………………North Korea invaded South Korea.– AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Vietnam…………… North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Granada………………The Cuban military invaded the island and threatened hundreds of Americans residing there — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Panama………………..Noriega declared a state of war existed between the United States and Panama and he threatened the lives of 35,000 Americans living there — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The first PREEMPTIVE war in US history is the 2003 Iraq war. There was NO ACT OF AGGRESSION against the United States. It is a PREEMPTIVE war. There was no Declaration of War by the Congress and there was no United Nations Security Council vote to start a war in Iraq.

    This makes Dave and his neocon supporters exactly 0% correct — i.e., 100% wrong.

    No surprise at this.

  • MBD

    Dave… “Would you like a list of those alive or dead? Legislators or presidents? I need a more specific request to trim the list down to a reasonable number.”

    Who are the “people in both political parties” who advocate preemptive wars?

    I’ll take a list of any reasonable number who are alive.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    The Mexican War…. ‘Remember the Alamo’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Battle of the Alamo took place between February 23 and March 6, 1836, a full ten years before the Mexican-American War. The Alamo was avenged by Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

    The Alamo had nothing to do with the Mexican-American war, which started with the Thornton Skirmish on April 25/26, 1846. In that incident, a company of American soldiers on patrol stupidly stumbled into a hacienda occupied by Mexican troops, who promptly kicked their asses, giving Polk the excuse to declare war.

    A historian you are not, mutt.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    One more point, doggie:

    On February 23, when Santa Ana attacked, the Alamo was still in Mexican territory; Texas did not declare its independence until March 1, so it wasn’t and act of aggression, it was a recapture (successful, at that) of Mexican property.

    Texian independence did not become a fact until after the Battle of San Jacinto.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    The Spanish American War,… ‘Remember the Maine’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Maine was blown up because McKinley sent her to Cuba, an act of aggression on the part of the US, interfering in the conflict between Spain and Cuba, its colony.

    Our subsequent entry into war with Spain was largely influenced by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer with their sensationalized stories in their respective papers, stirring up American sentiment against Spain in a conflict which was none of our business.

    This resulted in US de facto colonization of Cuba for nearly forty years, until the 1930s.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MBD, based on your #32 it’s apparently ok to go to war so long as there is ANY act of aggression, even if it’s not directed at the US or committed by unidentified persons or just a random act of terrorism.

    So by your logic the invasion of Iraq is justified by the ACTS OF AGRESSION Iraq committed against its own people and by funding terrorists in Israel, right?

    Do try to make sense sometime.

    Dave

  • STM

    MBD wrote: “The War of 1812… America declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812, triggered by the capture of thousands of American sailors who were forced into service with the British navy –. AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.”

    Bullshit. It was the excuse America needed to fulfill its aim of ridding North America of the British once and for all. The impressment of sailors was a much more complicated issue than is taught in sixth-grade history class. The vast majority of sailors impressed from US boats were actually British nationals. A few Americans got caught up in it, but it actually ended before the war began after diplomatic representation.

    The War of 1812 is universally regarded as a war of aggression by America, as the invasion of Canada while Britain was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with Napoleon was much like the attack on Pearl Harbour – sneaky, unexpected and undeclared and carried out on a pretense. In the wash-up, it was good that the War Hawks in Congress ended up with bloody noses over whole debacle.

    That Canada remains today as a nation and that none of the US war aims were achieved is ever-lasting testment to their folly and their willingness to go to war on the flimsiest of excuses.

  • MBD

    Clavos… Why do you react incoherently by dredging up trivia which has nothing to do with the issues raised in #32.

    Interesting that the only trivia you dredged up ignores the major wars over the past 200 years.

    The Alamo wasn’t an act of aggression by Santa Ana?

    Blowing up the Maine wasn’t an act of aggression?

    The war against Iraq is justified? By what standard?

    Why don’t you address the significant wars I identified in #32 and stop acting like you’re still in grammar school spewing out your stupid little epithets?

  • MBD

    Dave… “So by your logic the invasion of Iraq is justified by the ACTS OF AGRESSION Iraq committed against its own people and by funding terrorists in Israel, right?

    The US provided the poison gas Saddam used against the Kurds when they resisted him. Sort of like what was done in Waco to the Branch Davidians.

    The Iraqis killed by Saddam after the Gulf War had revolted after being told by the US it would support them. Of course there was no support.

    Concerning Israel, Saddam gave $25,000 to families whose homes were demolished by Israeli bulldozers. Collective punishment is a violation of international law — not that it matters to neocons.

  • MBD

    STM says bullshit to the cause of the War of 1812.

    That is because either STM doesn’t understand history or simply wants to spin a little tale to justify the illegal trade restrictions the British Navy was imposing on American shipping and its sailors.

    Of course, it turned out that Stonewall Jackson kicked the British ass so hard in the Battle of New Orleans that the limeys never bothered us again.

  • MBD

    Dave you said “Would you like a list of those alive or dead? Legislators or presidents? I need a more specific request to trim the list down to a reasonable number.”

    I responded with yes.

    I’ll take a list of any reasonable number who are alive.

    When will you provide the list?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “The Alamo wasn’t an act of aggression by Santa Ana?”

    No. The “aggressors” were Bowie, Crockett, et al, who were occupying a Mexican building on Mexican territory.

    The Maine was the aggressor as well. We weren’t invited there, and we had no business interfering in that war.

    And I never said anything about Iraq.

    Why don’t you address the significant wars…

    I didn’t bring them up, you did. If you don’t consider them “significant”, why did you mention them? And erroneously to boot?

    Why do you react incoherently by dredging up trivia which has nothing to do with the issues raised in #32.

    The only issue you raised in #32 was that we were not being preemptive, we were only reacting to acts of aggression against us when we got involved in those wars.

    I showed that, in fact, we were the preemptive aggressors in the cases I addressed.

    Don’t quit your day job, poochie. You’ll never make it either as a historian or as a debater.

  • STM

    “Of course, it turned out that Stonewall Jackson kicked the British ass so hard in the Battle of New Orleans that the limeys never bothered us again.”

    Stonewall Jackson, eh? Now I know you’re a goose. Anything you write in future I will know is rubbish. I challenge you to read this in its entirety MBD, and then go to the history books and tell me I’m wrong.

    It wasn’t the last battle of the war at all (the British won that), but the war was actually over by New Orleans, fought after the cease-fire was signed – and negotiations had already been agreed to in Ghent, at the request of the US suing for peace, you Yank know-nothing.

    In the wash-up, it meant fuck-all. They’d lost more people in 10 minutes of one battle in the Napoleonic Wars than they did in the whole of the War of 1812, so it probably meant nothing to them in the great scheme of things. The War is hardly remembered there, and they won it … imagine how much more boring know-nothing braggart Americans like MBD would be if the US had actually won.

    The last battle of the war of 1812 was the Battle of Mobile Bay. After Jackson (and it wasn’t Stonewall Jackson, that was the Civil War. It was Andrew Jackson, a future President of the US) defeated the British at New Orleans, they upped anchor, sailed round to Mobile Bay and captured the Garrison at Fort Bowyer in a humiliating defeat for the US. (I don’t suppose that bit is taught in US schools). Alas, also, the war was still over so that one didn’t count either …

    America got absolutely smashed in the War of 1812 by a small force in what the British thought was not much more than a side-skirmish to the Peninsular War, and serious historians both outside the US and within know that to be the case.

    Why do I have to teach Americans like MBD about their own history after they come on here displaying their ignorance of it?

  • Dr Dreadful

    The Maine was the aggressor as well. We weren’t invited there, and we had no business interfering in that war.

    And as a supreme irony, I believe it turned out years later that the Maine probably wasn’t mined at all, but blew up accidentally. Not that anyone could have known that at the time.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    And as a supreme irony, I believe it turned out years later that the Maine probably wasn’t mined at all, but blew up accidentally. Not that anyone could have known that at the time.

    Yep. In 1974 the Rickover Commission examined all the evidence and concluded that stokers who were hot had been leaving the bulkhead doors open on the boiler room, to circulate cooler air. The result was that coal dust circulated through a larger number of compartments on one side of the ship. Coal dust in the air acts like a volatile gas, so when they fired up the engines the whole side of the ship blew out.

    This theory was proposed at the time, but it was basically downplayed by the Hearst newspapers who promoted the idea of sabotage instead, because Hearst wanted a war to sell papers. And you think todays media sucks…

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Stonewall Jackson kicked the British ass so hard in the Battle of New Orleans

    And he did this how, being -9 years old at the time? Perhaps through time travel?

    I think MBD’s ability to be taken seriously on this – or any other – subject has now been firmly established.

    Plus I went over the war of 1812 in detail earlier in this thread. You’d think he might have paid a little attention given his vast ignorance on the subject.

    STM has it exactly right. The War of 1812 was manufactured by Henry Clay and some other prominent American leaders who wanted an opportunity to open up the Western frontier without British competition, and grab Canada while they were at it.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    Ah, the WMDs of the day…

    But every cloud has a silver lining. But for the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt would never have become President, and he’s one of my favorites.

    And if Teddy had never become President, the play Arsenic and Old Lace would never have been written, and that’s one of the most hilarious pieces of theatre ever.

    Funny old world.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    DD:

    I love Arsenic and Old Lace!

    As an occasional community theater actor, I once played Jonathan, the Boris Karloff role, in a production at St. Petersburg (FL) Little Theater.

    Wonderful stuff!

  • MCH

    “That’s somewhat similar to the path traveled by Blogcritics’ infamous cyber-stalker, MCH. Except the “officer” part. And the “college” part. (And of course, Kerry eventually did have to face an enemy that wasn’t armed solely with a billiards cue…)”
    – by Blogcritics’ courageous keyboard warrior

  • MBD

    Dave —

    The United States declared War on Great Britain on June 12, 1812 with the major dispute being the impressment of Americans into British service. The British had already attacked the USS Chesapeake two year earlier and the British attempts to impose a blockade on France during the Napoleonic Wars was another source of conflict with the United States.

    Andrew Jackson defeated the British in New Orleans with a victory that made him a national hero, leading him to become president. This was the last time the United States was attacked by another country until the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

    Henry Clay caused the war?

    Bullshit.

    It was the impressment of Americans into British service that triggered the war.

    Do you have a barn where you keep the bullshit you spread around?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    In #51, Dog sez:

    “This was the last time the United States was attacked by another country until the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.”

    So, in other words, you refute your own #32 and admit the US acted preemptively in these wars:

    The Spanish American War,… ‘Remember the Maine’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The Mexican War…. ‘Remember the Alamo’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Korea………………North Korea invaded South Korea.– AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    Vietnam…………… North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav: Lucky bugger. I auditioned for Jonathan, but didn’t get it. I’ve played Frankenstein’s monster numerous times, so I could totally have done a Boris Karloff!

    I ended up playing Lieutenant Rooney, which meant I got to shout a lot and didn’t have to show up until Act 2. So it worked out quite nice. Some of the best fun I’ve had in amateur theatre.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Aha! A fellow thespian!

    Which reminds me of an apocryphal but amusing Florida story:

    In the 1940s, George Smathers is said to have campaigned (successfully) against Claude Pepper for the US Senate by announcing in his speeches that Pepper had a sister who was a thespian in New York.

    Not true (Smathers never said anything like that), but funny…

  • Dr Dreadful

    It was the impressment of Americans into British service that triggered the war.

    Impressment had been going on for some time and was considered standard naval practice among the ‘Old World’ nations. The United States, being the new kid on the block and with somewhat differing ideals, didn’t quite see it that way. Even so, to say that impressment triggered the war is a bit of a reach, considering that the trade embargo imposed by the British to stop the flow of commerce with France was hurting the US far more. So perhaps one impressment too far was the proverbial camel-rupturing straw, but not THE trigger.

  • Dr Dreadful

    If only it were true… Smathers would have been right at home in today’s political world of spin and swift boating!

  • MBD

    “The trade embargo imposed by the British to stop the flow of commerce with France was hurting the US far more. So perhaps one impressment too far was the proverbial camel-rupturing straw, but not THE trigger.”

    How do you stop the flow of commerce without attacking the ships, and in this case taking prisoners and impressing them into the British service?

    Because the trigger was pulled slowly as more and more American ships were attacked by the British, does not change the cause of the war.

  • Dr Dreadful

    How do you stop the flow of commerce without attacking the ships, and in this case taking prisoners and impressing them into the British service?

    More often than not by a simple show of naval strength, such as the blockading of ports. Sometimes a ship would be caught breaking the blockade, whereupon it would be attacked and any prisoners impressed, which, as I said, was standard in those days.

    Let’s look quickly at the thinking behind impressment: it was seldom practicable for a ship on station to transfer prisoners to Britain or to a colony, or to repatriate them. At the same time, onboard provisions were limited, even taking into account any supplies that might have been captured along with the men. Rather than let them rot in the brig, it made more sense to have prisoners earn their keep by working as members of the crew. (Officers were not expected to do this.)

    So by the standards of the time, impressment was not an outrageous practice, although revolutionary idealism often blinded Americans to that fact.

  • MBD

    There was no direct attack on the United States between the War of 1812 and WWII, but there were ACTS OF AGGRESSION.

    Clavicle can’t distinguish between DIRECT attacks on the United States and ACTS OF AGGRESSION outside the United States which occurred when North Korea invaded South Korea, when North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, when the USS Maine was attacked in Cuba, and when Mexico attacked American citizens in the Alamo.

    Only a few ACTS OF AGGRESSION which triggered wars by the United States were the result of direct attacks.

    Note that Iraq did not commit any ACTS OF AGGRESSION to trigger the 2003 invasion.

    The only AGGRESSION was in the brains of the neocons. Based on the thousands of dead American soldiers and the hundreds of billions of dollars pissed away with no end in sight, some lobotomies are in order. Let’s round up the bastards and get out the saws and chisels.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Clavicle can’t distinguish between DIRECT attacks on the United States and ACTS OF AGGRESSION outside the United States which occurred when North Korea invaded South Korea, when North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, when the USS Maine was attacked in Cuba, and when Mexico attacked American citizens in the Alamo.

    Ah, but I can.

    You miss the point that those “acts of aggression” did not justify US intervention.

    For example, the presence of the Maine in Havana harbor was in fact an “act of aggression” on the part of the US. So if it was blown up as an “act of aggression” the US had it coming, since the US had already taken the preemptive action of sending it there in the first place.

    That, as Dave pointed out, is moot anyway, since even the blowing up of the ship was an accident, not an “act of aggression”.

    In the case of the Alamo, those American citizens had taken the preemptive (and unlawful) action of occupying a Mexican building in Mexican territory.

    Neither Korea nor Vietnam warranted US intervention; therefore, our involvement in each was a preemptive action; and in the case of Vietnam at least, based on a trumped-up excuse and also unlawful.

  • MBD

    Clavicle — You got it wrong again. The USS Maine never fired a shot while in Havana harbor for three weeks. War was declared after the Maine was blown up. Sinking the Maine was AN ACT OF AGGRESSION which resulted in the US declaring war. Having a US ship in a foreign port is done routinely and is not a cause for war.

    Did you need Dave to tell you the blowing up of the Maine is now considered an accident? Too bad McKinley didn’t get in his time capsule and fast forward to get that information.

    In the case of the Alamo, American citizens were in their compound in Mexican territory. Mexico was not justified in attacking and killing American citizens. It was AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    When South Korea was attacked by North Korea, South Korea president Syngman Rhee went to the United Nations seeking assistance for his small military force and the even smaller US force stationed there.

    Because our deep involvement in Vietnam was based on false claims does not change the fact that we got involved in that war because the Communist North was committing aggression against South Vietnam. and President Nguyen Van Thieu sought assistance from us as well as other countries..

    As stated in #59, there was no direct attack on the United States between the War of 1812 and WWII, but there were ACTS OF AGGRESSION.

  • MBD

    Dave — In #27 — you asked, “Would you like a list of those alive or dead?

    [The “people in both political parties” who advocate preemptive wars]

    I responded yes, I would like a list of any who are alive.

    Where is the list? — or were you just throwing bullshit as usual?

  • MCH

    MBD;
    Might be misplaced somewhere deep in the basement of his fortified compound, perhaps archived next to the cases of prunes…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Sorry, MBD. It was essentially a rhetorical question. I didn’t think you would be so incredibly uninformed not to know the answer already. And again, if you really need me to answer it for you, give me a time period, because I’m not going to list every one from George Washington to George W. Bush inclusive – assuming we’re just talking about American leaders.

    Dave

  • MBD

    Dave says — “It was essentially a rhetorical question.”

    No it wasn’t. You throw so much bullshit around that you thought I wouldn’t call you on it.

    “I didn’t think you would be so incredibly uninformed not to know the answer already.”

    If you were so “incredibly informed” you would have an answer by now.

    Then you say “give me a time period” ? If you were so “incredibly informed” you wouldn’t need that time period.

    “I’m not going to list every one from George Washington to George W. Bush inclusive – “

    Why don’t you read before responding… I said — “any who are alive”

    “assuming we’re just talking about American leaders” — I said both political parties.

    Are you dense or just pretending?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    dog,

    You are incredibly dense.

    A warship entering the waters of another nation, one which is not friendly to the warship’s nation, is a provocative act which begs for retaliation. That’s what maine did, and that’s what they got (or thought they got at the time). And because they provocatively entered Cuban waters, THEY STARTED THE WAR PREEMPTIVELY.

    Bowie et al were NOT in ‘their compound”, they were an occupying force, and Santa Ana took defensive measures. Regardless, that battle STARTED NO WAR; the Mexican-American war did not take place until TEN YEARS LATER.

    Thieu “sought our assistance” because for years, going all the way back to Eisenhower, the US had PREEMPTIVELY been maneuvering Vietnamese politics and politicians behind the scenes, including PREEMPTIVELY aiding covertly in the assassination of at least one Vietnamese leader, Ngo Dinh Diem. The North invading the South was just the immediate excuse for escalating an involvement that had been going on for years.

  • STM

    MD wrote: “Andrew Jackson defeated the British in New Orleans with a victory that made him a national hero.”

    True. It did. Only problem was, it was one of very few for the US and the war was already over. Those defeated British then pulled up anchor, sailed around to Mobile Bay and captured the US garrison at Fort Bowyer. They were heading into Mobile and most historians believe they would have captured it, thus establishing the base in the south, when a Royal Navy ship pulled up in the Bay to tell them of the peace treaty – sought by the US, not the British, BTW. Mobile Bay was the last action of the war, and was a British victory.

    Learn the facts about your own history before you come on here presenting nonsense as fact.

  • MBD

    Clavicle — listen up… as McKinley took office a Cuban revolution against Spanish rule had broken out a year earlier. The Spanish were fighting the Cuban rebels when the USS Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor. The Maine never fired on the Spanish or the Cubans, It was unknown who blew up the ship and the Spanish were blamed. Blowing up the Maine resulted in McKinley asking Congress for a declaration of war against Spain based on an ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    The land that the Mexicans and the Americans fought over in the battles of the Mexican American War was actually Indian land. The Americans had as much right to be there as the Mexicans. The Mexicans committed ACTS OF AGGRESSION against the Americans.

    You say the US maneuvered Vietnamese politics. If maneuvering the politics of another country is a cause for war, we would have been in more wars than you can count.

    Get real.

    Sounds like you’re just another neocon trying to justify the Iraq war.

    [Personal attack deleted. MBD, please stop being so rude and bitchy or I’m going to consider neutering you permanently. Thanks. Comments Editor]

  • MBD

    STM — There was no battle at Mobile Bay and there were no American casualties. The Americans had already beaten the shit out of the British at New Orleans so Mobile Bay didn’t matter. At New Orleans the British suffered 2,037 casualties, including three generals. The Americans had 13 dead and 39 wounded. What happened at Mobile Bay amounted to less than a pisshole in the snow.

  • STM

    MBD wrote: “STM — There was no battle at Mobile Bay and there were no American casualties.”

    That’s because the entire garrison surrendered en masse after two days of taking potshots at the British while the redcoats were setting up their guns and fortifications in preparaton for an attack. Once the garrison realised they were in for it, they put up the white flag – which was probably the smart option, in truth, and I would have done the same.

    It seems to me that you don’t know much at all about the War of 1812. You keep going on about New Orleans, but the truth is the war was already over, the US was reeling from the war and in financial difficulty and also suing for peace, and your insistence that it was a victory is a classic example of some Americans being unable to look objectively at their own history. That’s a real problem too, because the lessons of the past are important. They can lead to the kind of jingoism that divides the country and polarises people over issues like Iraq (which should only be looked at in the cold, hard light of day). It’s interesting that historians around the world regard it as a British victory, including many in the US. They did, however, lose the peace – handing back all the captured territory to the US.

    One way or the other, the result doesn’t bother me. I’m not American or British. But I did study this particular conflict at some depth. I describe it as a British/Canadian victory because it was, by any measure. To show I’m fair, I’d never describe the War of Independence that way, but neither do the British.

    The one good thing about that war was that it set the stage for an enduring partnership/alliance, which remains today. Thatb is why I have studied it.

    I realised when you said Stonewall Jackson won at New Orleans that you were clueless on this. If you really want to find out about it, Pierre Berton has two great books: the Invasion of Canada, and Flames Across the Border.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Sounds like you’re just another neocon trying to justify the Iraq war.

    Heh.

    Just the opposite. What I’m saying is, that with the possible exceptions of the two world wars, every US involvement in war has been without good reason other than expansionism or imperialism, and that most especially includes the Mexican War, as well as the Spanish and Vietnam wars.

    So I’m a neocon, huh? What exactly is a neocon?

  • MBD

    STM — The British won the war but they lost all the territory they fought for…

    In that case how dumb can they be?

    Perhaps that explains why their empire crumbled.

  • MBD

    Clavicle — “every US involvement in war has been without good reason other than expansionism or imperialism, and that most especially includes the Mexican War, as well as the Spanish and Vietnam wars”

    Good generalization… basing all US involvement in wars on two of the least significant.

    What is a neocon? Ask your fellow traveler Dave – he knows.

    In the most general terms a neocon believes the United States should lord it over the rest of the world, spilling American blood for their political and personal objectives.

  • STM

    MBD: Why are you even arguing about this? You clearly don’t know anything about it.

    OK, then – War of 1812 #101, just for you. They did concede their territory at the negotiating table, as they weren’t interested in keeping it. They didn’t start the war, the US did. The facts: the US achieved none of its war aims, was repulsed in the invasion of Canada, and took very heavy casualties. That last factor was a huge issue in the US, with New England at one point threatening to secede over the casualties and the loss of trade. In the end, despite a couple of notable US one-on-one naval victories, the whole east coast was blockaded by the British. In the fighting on land, the US got far the worst of it – with a couple of exceptions.

    By 1814, the big problem for the US was that Britain had just defeated Napoleon in the Peninsular War in Spain, which meant that all their forces could be brought to bear on the US. President James Madison, who says he would never have started the war if he’d known that the British had agreed to stop impressing British nationals from US ships, realised the writing was on the wall and asked through an intermediary if peace talks could begin.

    For their part, the British also had no desire to continue the war and agreed to most of the conditions asked by the US. The opposite was also true: the US agreed to most of the conditions requested by the US. Like I say, it set the basis for an enduring friendship.

    The Battle of New Orleans, although it made Jackson a hero, had no bearing at all on the result. It was fought after the war had finished, unknown to the combatants.

    And those same defeated British were the ones who upped anchor and sailed around the Gulf to Mobile and captured Fort Bowyer.

    Should you want me to detail the rest of the war, as you seem quite fixated on just two aspects – impressment and New Orleans – I can give you the low down on the rest.

    However, I suggest you find out for yourself. Read some books about it. It’s fascinating stuff once you get around the jingoism and see it for what it really was: the first war of agression waged by the United States, and its first defeat.

    It’s very important too to understand its effect on the national psyche of the US, as it still has overtones today. That is the reason Americans should broaden their knowledge of it.

  • MBD

    Clavicle says — “What I’m saying is, that with the possible exceptions of the two world wars, every US involvement in war has been without good reason other than expansionism or imperialism, and that most especially includes the Mexican War, as well as the Spanish and Vietnam wars.”

    You are basing your conclusion on two of the least significant wars. Dumb method.

    The Mexican war was triggered by the Mexicans attacking Americans on Indian lands.

    The Spanish war was triggered by a sunken American battleship.

    And the Vietnam war was triggered by the aggression of the North Vietnamese on another sovereign nation. It’s true that we slid into it but that does not change the reason for the war.

    Now you want to know what a neocon is? Ask Dave, your fellow-traveler,

    In case he throws around his usual bullshit, a general description of a neocon in today’s world includes any of those who believe the United States should lord it over the rest of the world by spilling the blood of other Americans in preemptive wars to satisfy their own political and personal objectives.

    Presumably they believe we have the right to do this because we have the largest military budget in the world.

  • STM

    MBD … their only real war aim was to keep canada, or british north america, which they did. the US started the war with the intention of capturing it, which they didn’t. now go and do your research prperly, like a good boy/girl.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    In case he throws around his usual bullshit, a general description of a neocon in today’s world includes any of those who believe the United States should lord it over the rest of the world by spilling the blood of other Americans in preemptive wars to satisfy their own political and personal objectives.

    To add to the unmasking of the big, neutered dog, he now demonstrates that he has no idea what a Neocon is or what they believe in. Your ‘definition’ here could apply to anyone who supports a warlike or expansionistic foreign policy, regardless of the rationale for it. Being a Neocon is much more specific.

    Dave

  • MBD

    Dave — In #27 — you asked, “Would you like a list of those alive or dead?

    [The “people in both political parties” who advocate preemptive wars]

    I responded yes, I would like a list of any who are alive.

    Where is the list?

    That list will help shed some light on who the neocons are…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    The Mexican war was triggered by the Mexicans attacking Americans on Indian lands.

    Bullshit.

    The Spanish war was triggered by a sunken American battleship.

    Para variar: mierda.

    And the Vietnam war was triggered by the aggression of the North Vietnamese on another sovereign nation.

    Bullshit again.

    As I said waaay upthread, you’re no historian.

    Don’t quit your day job.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    You’re right Stan. It’s a brick wall. A dense one.

  • STM

    MBD: “And the Vietnam war was triggered by the aggression of the North Vietnamese on another sovereign nation.”

    Well, that’s almost what we were being told at the time (but not quite), and lo and behold! it turned out not be true. They lied (here too).

    Sadly, MBD, you have made an utter fool of yourself in regards to your understanding of history. The worst part is, you don’t even understand your own history.

    I suggest you go off and have a nice cup of tea and good lie down.

    Yes, Clav … it’s tragic. How’s the tifer tat, by the way?

  • MBD

    O.K. — Clavicle and STM…

    The Mexican war was triggered by Americans attacking Indians on Indian lands and the Mexicans intervened to help the Indians.

    The Spanish war was triggered by an American battleship firing its guns on Cuba.

    The Vietnam war was triggered by the South Vietnamese invading North Vietnam with an army of 100 divisions.

    Now children, go back and read these fairy tales again before your mommy tucks you in for the night.

  • STM

    You are a gibberer. No other word for it.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “The first PREEMPTIVE war in US history is the 2003 Iraq war.”

    What about the US invasion and occupation of Haiti in 1915?

    “There was NO ACT OF AGGRESSION against the United States.”

    So…shooting at our airplanes that were patrolling the no-fly zones on a daily basis, which was in flagrant violation of the “peace” agreement that ended hostilities in the Persian Gulf War, isn’t an “act of aggression” in your world?

  • STM

    RJ, let’s go back even further: the War of 1812, only the British were never planning to attack the US.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “WWI was declared by the United States subsequent to the German navy sinking the Lusitania with the loss of 128 American lives.”

    This sinking occurred in May of 1915. The US did not enter WWI until April 1917. That’s 23 months between your “cause” and your “effect.” Try again.

    And anyway, the ship was carrying small arms to the British, who were at war with Germany at the time. This was in violation of our “neutral” status. We were essentially using “human shields” (passengers) to cover our quiet assistance to the British in a European war. Germany did a nasty thing here, but they had their reasons.

    “The Spanish American War,… ‘Remember the Maine’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.”

    The Maine may have exploded for reasons other than sabotage by the Spanish. Anyway, the US then PRE-EMPTIVELY decided to take the Philippines from the Spanish and make it a colony, against the wishes of the actual people there, who wanted independence. This led to a war and an insurgency that lasted roughly 15 years.

    “The Mexican War…. ‘Remember the Alamo’ — AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.”

    Er, this was pretty much an optional war waged by President Polk (with much domestic opposition) in order to take Mexican lands.

    “there was no United Nations Security Council vote to start a war in Iraq.”

    Not exactly. There was a unanimous UN Security Council resolution passed (15-0) that gave the green light to certain “measures” that might have included war, without explicitly stating war as one of the approved measures.

    Anyway, you have failed American History 101. Please return to High School and try to smoke a little less pot this time, okay?

  • STM

    RJ told MBD: “Please return to High School”.

    I’d suggest he/she completes grade school first.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Re: War of 1812

    From wiki:

    The War of 1812 was fought between the United States of America, on one side, and on the other side the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and its colonies, especially Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), Nova Scotia, and Bermuda.

    Britain was at war with France and to impede American trade with France imposed a series of restrictions that the U.S. contested as illegal under international law. The Americans declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812, for a combination of reasons; outrage at the impressment (seizure) of thousands of American sailors into the British navy, frustration at British restraints on neutral trade, and anger at British military support for Native Americans.

    On December 24, 1814, diplomats from the two countries, meeting in Ghent, United Kingdom of the Netherlands (present Belgium), signed the Treaty of Ghent. This was ratified by the Americans on February 16, 1815.

    Unaware of the peace, Jackson’s forces moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, in late 1814 to defend against a large-scale British invasion. Jackson decisively defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, with over 2000 British casualties and fewer than 100 American losses. It was hailed as a great victory, making Andrew Jackson a national hero, eventually propelling him to the presidency. The British gave up on New Orleans but moved to attack the town of Mobile. In the last military action of the war 1000 British troops won the battle of Fort Bowyer. When news of peace arrived on Feb. 13 they sailed home.

    By the terms of the treaty, all land captured by either side was returned to the previous owner; the Americans received fishing rights in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    This was a war that started for a good reason (from the American perspective) and ended with a satisfactory result (again, from the American perspective). The Brits stopped pushing us around, and we won some concessions.

    However, the Canadians for some reason view this war as a great victory against the evil invading Americans. This, despite the fact that “Canada” did not yet exist as anything other than a colony of Britain, and therefore was an obvious target in any war between the US and Britain, which was the most powerful country in the world at the time. Canada would not become a truly free and independent country until 1982.

    Just sayin’…

  • MCH

    “So…shooting at our airplanes that were patrolling the no-fly zones on a daily basis, which was in flagrant violation of the “peace” agreement that ended hostilities in the Persian Gulf War, isn’t an “act of aggression” in your world?”

    But not enough aggression to actually join-up and take part in, eh?

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    If you read a bit further into RJ’s Wikipedia quote on the War of 1812 you would have found this:

    While the officially-stated reasons for declaring war were ending impressment, ending harrassment of mercantile shipping, and ending British military support for western native tribes, a major goal of the “war hawks” in the western and southern states was aggressive territorial expansion. The intent was to drive the British out of North America, and the Spanish out of Florida

    Or if you want, here’s what Thomas Jefferson had to say about it in 1812:

    “the acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent.”

    There were multiple factors at work pushing the US towards war – including but not limited to the British high-handed attitude towards American trade with Europe and impressment, as well as a young, “upwardly mobile” US feeling its oats and eyeing opportunistic expansion. The US also saw the acquisition of Canada as a lever on negotiations with the British. In many ways it was a precursor to the Manifest Destiny policy that emerged in 1845.

    I concur with the recommendation to crack open Pierre Burton’s The Invasion of Canada and Flames Across the Border – both of which are excellent works.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    By the way RJ – The Dominion of Canada became a sovereign nation in 1867, not 1982. The British North America Act of 1867 set the structure and the standards for Canada to govern itself. The Act itself however, could only be changed through the British Parliament until 1982, when it was repatriated.

    Legalistic nitpickers tend to equate the 1982 repatriation as the nominal date for “independence” but they are mostly full of shit….

  • Nancy

    I think no war exists where both sides don’t have excuses as to what “aggressive” things the other side did to earn their attack. But lots’a good history being bruited about, here. Thanks.

    Question, Clavvie & STM: I never saw Arsenic & Old Lace, altho I know the general premise; what does Teddy Rooseveldt have to do with the play? Is he a character in it? Pardon my ignorance.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Arsenic and Old Lace is a farce about the congenitally crazy Brewster family, which consists of Abby and Martha, two sweet elderly ladies who like to poison lonely old gentlemen to put them out of their misery; and their nephews Teddy, who thinks he’s Theodore Roosevelt and buries the bodies in the basement in the belief that he’s digging the Panama Canal; Jonathan, a psychopathic gangster who, thanks to his drunken movie-buff plastic surgeon, now bears a striking resemblance to Boris Karloff; and Mortimer, the sole currently sane member of the family who’s afraid he’s going to lose his marbles too.

    If you don’t ever get an opportunity to see this on stage, rent the DVD of the movie version starring Cary Grant and Peter Lorre. It’s not nearly as good but will give you an idea.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ok, fine MBD. People who are alive. Both parties. On record as supporting preemptive intervention in other countries:

    Jimmy Carter
    George H. W. Bush
    Bill Clinton
    George W. Bush

    Ok, that’s the presidents.

    Here’s a preliminary list of senators and ex-senators:

    Bond (R-MO)
    Breaux (D-LA)
    Brown (R-CO)
    Bryan (D-NV)
    Burns (R-MT)
    Chafee (R-RI)
    Coats (R-IN)
    Cochran (R-MS)
    Cohen (R-ME)
    Craig (R-ID)
    D’Amato (R-NY)
    Danforth (R-MO)
    Dole (R-KS)
    Domenici (R-NM)
    Durenberger (R-MN)
    Garn (R-UT)
    Gore (D-TN)
    Gorton (R-WA)
    Graham (D-FL)
    Gramm (R-TX)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Heflin (D-AL)
    Heinz (R-PA)
    Helms (R-NC)
    Jeffords (R-VT)
    Johnston (D-LA)
    Kassebaum (R-KS)
    Kasten (R-WI)
    Lieberman (D-CT)
    Lott (R-MS)
    Lugar (R-IN)
    Mack (R-FL)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Murkowski (R-AK)
    Nickles (R-OK)
    Packwood (R-OR)
    Pressler (R-SD)
    Reid (D-NV)
    Robb (D-VA)
    Roth (R-DE)
    Rudman (R-NH)
    Seymour (R-CA)
    Shelby (D-AL)
    Simpson (R-WY)
    Smith (R-NH)
    Specter (R-PA)
    Stevens (R-AK)
    Symms (R-ID)
    Thurmond (R-SC)
    Wallop (R-WY)
    Warner (R-VA)

    Oh hell, just reference this page for a list of Congressmen who supported intervention in Iraq in 1991.

    If you want me to expand on these lists I can get roll calls for votes for intervention in the Balkans and in Iraq War II.

    But you ought to get the point (well, probably not, but it’s hardly worth my time).

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Question, Clavvie & STM: I never saw Arsenic & Old Lace, altho I know the general premise; what does Teddy Rooseveldt have to do with the play? Is he a character in it? Pardon my ignorance.

    Sort of, Nancy.

    There IS a character named Teddy, who thinks he’s TR, and who spends much of the play running up and down a set of onstage stairs as if they were San Juan Hill, screaming “Charge!!”

  • STM

    RJ: Everywhere but the US, the war is a) regarded as a British victory, because the US never achieved any of their war aims, and had actually started it;

    and b) as Deano points out, the maritime issues may well have been the niggling pretext the War Hawks in Congress needed to justify the attack on Canada with the intention of pushing Britain out of the continent once and for all.

    I have often heard Americans say that a small group of radicals pushed to invade Canada and that it was a sideshow to the war. That is patently untrue, as that is where most of the action was throughout gthe course of the conflict.

    The British don’t claim it as a victory, though. Most of them have never even heard of the War of 1812.

    1812 (and the period before and after) for them means life and death struggles and massive set-piece land and naval battles against France.

    When I was studying the conflict as part of research into the British/American alliance, I suggested to a university historian that in terms of the strategic outcome only, the war could quite rightly be regarded as a draw, despite the fact the US overall got the worst of the fighting.

    He asked me to consider this: Germany invades Poland, using a number of niggling peripheral issues as the reason and even possibly a pretext.

    The Poles soundly repulse the Germans, inflict heavy casualties, and send them packing back across the border. While the fortunes of war ebb and flow, the Poles eventually capture more chunks of German territory than the Germans capture of Polish territory. The Poles keep these captured territories for the course of the conflict.

    Their casualties overall are much lower than those of the Germans. They also blockade Germany by sea, and keep the blockade in place, making the seaboard unpassable.

    They burn Berlin to the ground, but fail in a number of other objectives. However, the troops they have that are fighting another, much larger conflict now become available to fight the Germans, and the Germans are very worried indeed.

    They decided to ask for a peace conference through an intermediary. The Poles agree.

    A battle is fought after the peace is agreed to, which the Germans win – but it makes no difference to the outcome.

    At the peace conference, the Poles, who only wanted to keep their original territory, hand all they’ve captured back to the Germans, who of course have fought valiantly.

    Given that the Germans started the war, were repulsed during an invasion and failed in all their war objectives, and also began the moves for a peace treaty because they felt they were in mortal danger, who won?

    It’s worth thinking about. I believe that an honest study of the conflict can only result in one conclusion, and it on;y favours the US at the peace table.

  • Dr Dreadful

    STM, I hope your comment (blood, tears and sweat and all that) hasn’t disappeared into the ether. Something similar happened to me this morning. I had to hit the Back button for dear life until I retrieved the comment (ALWAYS preview the bastard thing, ALWAYS), whereupon I copied and pasted it into a Word document until such time as the site stopped playing silly buggers.

    Good luck, mate.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Goodness, we’re almost up to 100 comments. Who knew boring old Ben Wade could arouse such passions? :-)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Akismet can get overenthusiastic sometimes. It blocked my last comment too. They’re back now.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    1812 (and the period before and after) for them means life and death struggles and massive set-piece land and naval battles against France.

    Naval, not so much. French sea power was pretty much toast after Trafalgar (1805). Good old Nelson – they don’t make ‘em like him any more.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    The French navy sucked long before Nelson demonstrated it for everyone to see. Of course, so long as they avoided fighting anyone but the Spanish I guess they looked good by comparison.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    Unfortunately the Spanish were on their side…

    Demolishing French fleets had become something of a hobby for Nelson before Trafalgar. I wonder if he got himself shot just to level the playing field a bit?

  • STM

    Doc, I’m including Trafalgar in the period before 1812 … it’s not that much earlier in the grand scheme of things. And Dave, yes, it was all down to thev revolution. Many of the aritocrats serving in the French navy had their heads chopped off. The junior officers left were left in charge, and in some cases Napoleon put military commanders in charge who had no idea of naval warfare at all. They stood no chance against a Navy of a country that based its entire defence around its and very experienced powerful navy. BTW, it’s the reason British ships impressed sailors from US ships. They were looking for British nationals to crew warships against the French.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Plus; in addition to Nelson, the Brits had Hornblower.

    Now THERE was a scrappy sailor!!

  • Dr Dreadful

    And don’t forget Jack Aubrey.

    Although he seemed to have the misfortune to be sent to the far side of the world at crucial points in the war, and missed all the good stuff!

  • STM

    Isn’t that a great show, eh Clav? Are you talking about the TV series, or the books?

    I prefer Sharpe, however, set in the same period – the Napoleonic Wars – about the commander of a green-jacket rifle company fighting the French during the Peninsular Wars in Spain, and later at Waterloo.

    Really nicely done period stuff too, and also based on a set of books (more recently written though). If you can get the Sharpe series on DVD, I highly recommend it.

  • STM

    I realised that my earlier suspicions regarding Russell Crowe being a ham actor cast in the mould of Richard Burton were spot on when I saw him reach the limit of his ability in Master and Commander.

    What a travesty. A movie that could have been truly great, reduced to a series of glib one-liners delivered by a “British captain” who couldn’t disguise his Aussie/Kiwi accent.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Evenin’ mate,

    I meant the books, which I enjoyed for the first time when I was still a kid, and still re-read from time to time. I have the complete set.

    I also have the coolest titfer in Miami, maybe all of Florida, and I’ve been very remiss in not coming forth with the promised pic. The missus is still in hospital (in fact in the critical care unit), so I’ve been a bit out of sorts for about a week, now.

    I didn’t know about the Sharpe series; I’ll check Blockbuster for the DVD, sounds like fun stuff.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Oh, I don’t know, I rather enjoyed it – and Russell’s English accent actually wasn’t half bad. Not who I would have pictured as Jack, though, and neither was Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin. At least they put in Jack’s horrible joke about ‘the lesser of two weevils’…

    But it wasn’t even adapted from the book ‘Master and Commander’. Now that would have been a heck of a movie: Jack’s little sloop being chased around the Mediterranean by a much larger and more powerful Spanish galleon, before finally taking on and beating it. (Based on a real engagement, by the way.)

    Great stuff. Best fiction there is about the naval theatre in the Napoleonic Wars.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “M & C” was a BIG hit here.

    And sorry, mate, but I’m with the Doc on this one; I liked the movie a lot, although Crowe IS a scenery chewer…

  • STM

    What was the dreadful line that followed his near-Shakespearian treatise in the film? “For God, For England, and the Praaaze!”

    Fuck me, I nearly cringed myself to death, and we’re good at that here. Even by our own low standards, it was an absolute Barry Crocker. Good action scenes though. I believe I have a theory on why the British were so feared by the French when they were boarding French ships for hand-to-hand fighting.

    … the combined olfactory assault resulting from sweaty underarms, garlic, three-week-old unwashed undies, Gitanes and cheap aftershave was so overpowering, they just wanted to get the job done and bugger off as quickly as possible.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “The Dominion of Canada became a sovereign nation in 1867, not 1982. The British North America Act of 1867 set the structure and the standards for Canada to govern itself. The Act itself however, could only be changed through the British Parliament until 1982, when it was repatriated.”

    Fair enough. I was just being snide about the date. It happens. :-/

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “It’s worth thinking about. I believe that an honest study of the conflict can only result in one conclusion, and it only favors the US at the peace table.”

    I genuinely appreciate your historical knowledge of this largely forgotten war, and generally cede to you that the British proved militarily superior (as they had in the American Revolution, as well), and that the US did not achieve all of its goals.

    However, the British, post-1815, did not interfere with the US as they had pre-1812. The US essentially re-won its independence, even if the result on the battlefield was a stalemate at best.

    Being willing to fight a stronger opponent, even if you aren’t able to deliver a knock-out blow, can greatly boost your own morale while acting as a long-term deterrent to your foe…

  • STM

    RJ: I agree, and that was the advantage for America in the outcome of the conflict – punching well above its weight and ensuring that any bullying would end.

    However, the peace treaty had another bonus, and one that wouldn’t be felt for many years, when America dropped its isolationist policies and took up the baton as the true leader of the free world midway through the second world war.

    The War of 1812 not only meant there was peace between the two nations from 1815 onwards, but formed the basis for their alliance and a partnership that, while it’s had its problems, endures for obvious reasons. Imagine a world without FDR and Churchill united against a common foe.

    We might not even be conversing now had history not kindly conspired to put them together.

  • Dr Dreadful

    What was the dreadful line that followed his near-Shakespearian treatise in the film? “For God, For England, and the Praaaze!”

    Yes, a dreadful line, but true to the character and the situation. Jack is a very difficult role to cast and the Crowester probably wasn’t entirely up to the job. He can’t really bring off the Jack Aubrey of the books, a complex, courageous and charismatic captain whose men would and do follow him to hell and back.

    O’Brian’s Aubrey hero-worships Nelson and models his every action on what the great admiral would do (not a bad policy, at least in relation to naval warfare… although Jack also follows Nelson’s lead in regard to his todger, which makes for an interesting private life!). The anecdote Jack tells in the movie about Nelson declining a boat-cloak because “his zeal for King and country kept him warm” – cheesy in the mouth of anyone else, but inspirational coming from Nelson – is an attempt to recreate this bearing in mind Crowe’s acting limitations. It foreshadows Jack’s pre-battle pep talk and goes some way to explaining why he uses such schmaltz to stir up his crew into fighting mood.

  • MCH

    Re #29;
    “And good ol’ John F-in’ Kerry tried to get a student deferment to study in France. When this was denied, he “volunteered” for service in the Navy (as an officer), so that he wouldn’t have to worry about being drafted into the Army as end up in the infantry.”
    – RJ Elliott

    John Kerry:
    **3 Purple Hearts
    **1 Bronze Star
    **1 Silver Star

    George aWol Bush:
    **Jumped ahead of a waiting list of 500 men to get in the Texas National Guard;
    **Was awarded rank of Lieutenant after boot camp without attending OCS;
    **Was permanently grounded after missing a mandatory physical, thereby wasting $1 million on his training; Lied about it in the 2000 GOP primary, claiming the reason he wasn’t flying at Dannelly AFB was “because they didn’t have the same kind of planes there”;

  • STM

    Todger, eh Doc? Haven’t heard that one for a while. Classic. That’s the trouble with being in the US – no one knows what you’re talking about when you use these words, although putting two and two together and coming up with four is a good strategy for anyone I reckon.

    I still laugh when Americans tell me they’re pissed, especially when there’s no evidence of swahili or crossed eyes.

  • Dr Dreadful

    What makes me laugh is British actors who know they can say ‘bollocks’ and ‘wanker’ on prudish American TV because they know no-one understands what those words really mean.

  • MatthewPb

    I’m quite late to the party, I know… but Wade as President? Might’ve been better than the next seven men who came after him! :-)