The Immigrants and their Descendents from the Great Immigration , 1880 to 1917 8-11-16

The Immigrants and their Descendants from the Great Immigration, 1880-to 1917

8-11-16

Richard J. Garfunkel

I am constantly amazed at the virulence of the “new” ethnic-based Eurocentrics. I can almost understand the Southern Baptists and the States’ Rights advocates who are descended most directly from the earliest white settlers; English, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch and German Protestants, who were enamored with the white man’s burden and learned of that supremacist tradition at their mother’s knee and in the churches. It existed all over the English-dominated World from India to the American colonies, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Burma, the Middle East, Singapore and Micronesia. The Raj ruled with an idea and rationale of moral, racial and intellectual superiority.  That is what they knew and believed. They saw the culture and habits of Native peoples, and on one hand, despised, feared and looked down upon them, and on the other hand, ruled by “divide and conquer.” That existed certainly in India until 1947 and here until 1776.  They learned from their defeat here!

But, what of the later immigrants? First in the late 1840’s, were the next wave of Germans, who were quite often Catholics, escaping from revolutionary Europe and the policy of “Kultur Kampft” (culture’s struggle) under Bismarck and then the Irish Catholics escaping the potato famine and the oppressive British rule. The Germans were used to conservatism and many became the backbone of the new Midwestern Republicanism. Culturally they were used to a strong, male-dominated family and thus supported a strong central government. They were hard working and felt comfortable with other citizens of British and Dutch orientation. Also, the country had many Germans (Lutherans) living here from the time of the Revolution, when many had come here as soldiers for hire, or mercenaries (the Hessians from Hesse-Cassel, and others from outside the most militarized state in Europe)). As for the Irish, they hated the British and became the immigrant heart of the Eastern Cities and gravitated to the Democratic Party and eventually took over Tammany Hall in NYC and virtually reinvented politics in America.

What amazes me is that many of the grandchildren of the last great European immigration from Eastern and Southern European immigrants have forgotten their roots. The heart of these people, who are mostly Catholic, along with some Jews, were helped and assisted by the Democrats from Wilson to FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ and beyond, are now the “New” Republicans.  They forgot the Wagner Act, which allowed unions to collectively bargain, they have ignored the efforts of the Democrats and the unions to end discrimination regarding housing, education, and the work place, where their grandfathers and fathers couldn’t get a job in a Fortune 500 company, a law firm, or practice in a hospital. They have ignored the efforts of the liberals who opened the doors of education for them and for their daughters. Who supported Social Security, Medicare, the Minimum Wage, anti-discrimination in the work place, the fight for equal pay for equal work, Choice, and women’s healthcare, Ttile ( and hundreds of other benefits that helped the children of immigrants? They have ignored the age-old efforts of the Democratic Party in opposing the exclusion of these people from all of our “closed” institutions. This history has been chronicled in 10’s of thousands of books and millions of articles. But, how often do I read from some of these same people that the Democrats keep the poor in economic shackles. How short are their memories! Isn’t ironic, that the South, which was the home of home of Southern-based, Jefferson branch of the Democratic Party, which supported slavery and sustained Jim Crow is now the new home of the most conservative Republicans and the reddest states in the Union.  Many of these people seemed to have forgotten discrimination and bigotry and where it has stemmed from.  What happened? Do these children of immigrants now think that it is their turn to be the next generation of bigots and haters who believe in Social Darwinism, “the end justifies the means,” and “divide and conquer?” it is a sorry state of affairs when they forget the remarks of George Santayana, who sagely wrote, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

 

Supreme Court and the 2nd Amendment 8-11-16

Supreme Court and the 2nd Amendment

Richard J. Garfunkel

8-11-16

Speaking of the Constitution, I have been reading how the Right-Wingers are the last bastion to avoid the shredding of the Constitution.  I answered one of these arm chair geniuses!

It is interesting how the right-wing dunderheads are now experts on the US Constitution. I am always amazed when the average citizen starts to opine on Constitutional Law.  I’m sure that these “novitiate” experts know the difference between “Strict Construction,” and “Loose Construction.” Of course they know the history and the impact of Marbury v Madison, Dartmouth College v Woodward, McCullogh v. Maryland. Of course, they understand the nuances of the Heller Decision or McDonald V. Chicago? Maybe they understand the impact of Scalia and the 5-4 decisions on gun ownership, and the fact that in the “strict” analysis of the Founder’s debates on the Bill of Rights, there is no mention of the right of an individual to own a firearm.

 In other words, it wasn’t discussed.  But these brilliant “legal beagles” would know that the compromise on the Constitution was over the fear of a Federal “standing” army, and thus the rights of the states to organize their militias. In fact, few people could afford to own arms in 1789, and when the Militia “mustered” arms were passed out and strictly regulated and returned. There is nothing said about individual firearms or the innate right to own them.  Maybe that is how Justice Scalia saw it, but there have always been gun control laws from Dodge City to the Firearm’s Act of 1934. Or if you need clarification, read about the Hughes Act. If anyone was a “loose Constructionist,” it was Justice Scalia, who re-wrote the “originalists” concept of gun ownership.  But, if you don’t believe me, read Federal Period historian, Professor Carol Berkin’s book, “A Brilliant Solution,” Inventing the American Constitution. While you are at it, maybe you should be curious about “search and seizure,” Fourth Amendment Rights, and then learn the meaning of Escobedo v. Illinois, and Miranda v. Arizona.

Why don’t you write Professor Yale Kamisar at the University of Michigan Law School , who co-authored the “Criminal Justice in Our Times,” and is the co-author of the definitive American law school text book, “Modern Criminal Procedures,<” in its 12th edition.  But, what about your expertise on schools, starting with the impact of Plessy v Ferguson, to the Rowley Case, Myers v Nebraska to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka? Maybe you understand the “free exercise” clause and the “exclusionary rule?”

But what of executive power and orders.  Maybe folks believe that President Obama has used his Executive Orders to violate the Constitution. Well Obama’s EOs were 244, the lowest for a two-term president since William McKinley. You maybe interested in the fact that here are the following list of Executive Orders going back to FDR: Bush 43 291, Clinton 364, Bush 41 166, Reagan 381, Carter 320, Ford 169, Nixon 346, Eisenhower 484, Truman 907, and FDR 3721.  By the TR used the EO 1083 times. But you are protecting the Constitution!  

The Battle of Agincourt-“The Triumph of the Long Bow!” 10-25-15

The Battle of Agincourt

“The Triumph of the Long Bow”

October 25, 2015

Edited by Richard J. Garfunkel

The Battle of Agincourt is well documented by at least seven contemporary accounts, three of them eyewitnesses. The approximate location of the battle has never been in dispute and the place remains relatively unaltered even after 600 years. Immediately after the battle, Henry summoned the heralds of the two armies who had watched the battle together, and with the principal French herald, Montjoie, settled on the name of the battle as Azincourt, after the nearest fortified place.

Henry V (King of England) invaded France following the failure of negotiations with the French. He claimed the title of King of France through his great-grandfather Edward III, although in practice the English kings were generally prepared to renounce this claim if the French would acknowledge the English claim on Aquitaine and other French lands (the terms of the Treaty of Bretagne). Early on the 25th, Henry deployed his army (approximately 1,500 men-at-arms and 7,000 long bowmen) across a 750-yard (690 m) part of the defile. The army was organized into three “battles” or divisions: the vanguard, led by the Duke of York; the main battle led by Henry himself; and the rearguard, led by Lord Camoys. In addition, Sir Thomas Erpingham, one of Henry’s most experienced household knights, had a role in marshalling the archers. It is likely that the English adopted their usual battle line of longbow men on either flank, with men-at-arms and knights in the center. They may also have deployed some archers in the center of the line. The English men-at-arms in plate and mail were placed shoulder to shoulder four deep. The English and Welsh archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes, or palings, into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. This use of stakes may have been inspired by the Battle of Nicopolis of 1396, where forces of the Ottoman Empire used the tactic against French cavalry.  Henry, worried about the enemy launching surprise raids, and wanting his troops to remain focused, ordered all his men to spend the night before the battle in silence, on pain of having an ear cut off. He told his men that he would rather die in the coming battle than be captured and ransomed.

The French force was not only larger than that of the English, their noble men-at-arms would have considered themselves superior to the large number of archers in the English army, whom the French (based on their experience in recent memory of using and facing archers) considered relatively insignificant. For example, the chronicler Edmond de Dyntner stated that there were “ten French nobles against one English”, ignoring the archers completely. Several French accounts emphasize that the French leaders were so eager to defeat the English (and win the ransoms of the English men-at-arms) that they insisted on being in the first line; as one of the contemporary accounts put it: “All the lords wanted to be in the vanguard, against the opinion of the constable and the experienced knights.

The French were arrayed in three lines or “battles”. The first line was led by Constable d’Albret, Marshal Boucicault, and the Dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, with attached cavalry wings under the Count of Vendôme and Sir Clignet de Brebant. The second line was commanded by the Dukes of Bar and Alençon and the Count of Nevers. The third line was under the Counts of Dammartin and Fauconberg.[26] The Burgundian chronicler, Jean de Wavrin, writes that there were

8,000 men-at-arms, 4,000 archers and 1,500 crossbowmen in the vanguard, with two wings of 600 and 800 mounted men-at-arms, and the main battle having “as many knights, esquires and archers as in the vanguard”, with the rearguard containing “all of the rest of the men-at-arms”.[27] The Herald of Berry uses somewhat different figures of 4,800 men-at-arms in the first line, 3,000 men in the second line, with two “wings” containing 600 mounted men-at-arms each, and a total of “10,000 men-at-arms”,[28] but does not mention a third line.

The French cavalry, despite being somewhat disorganized and not at full numbers, charged towards the longbow men, but it was a disaster, with the French knights unable to outflank the longbow men (because of the encroaching woodland) and unable to charge through the forest of sharpened stakes that protected the archers. John Keegan argues that the longbows’ main influence on the battle at this point was injuries to horses: armored only on the head, many horses would have become dangerously out of control when struck in the back or flank from the high-elevation long range shots used as the charge started. The mounted charge and subsequent retreat churned up the already muddy terrain between the French and the English. Juliet Barker quotes a contemporary account by a monk of St. Denis who reports how the wounded and panicking horses galloped through the advancing infantry, scattering them and trampling them down in their headlong flight from the battlefield.

The plate armor of the French men-at-arms allowed them to close the 300 yards or so to the English lines while being under what the French monk of Saint Denis described as “a terrifying hail of arrow shot”. A complete coat of plate was considered such good protection that shields were generally not used, although the Burgundian contemporary sources specifically distinguish between Frenchmen who used shields and those who did not, and Rogers has suggested that the front elements of the French force may have used axes and shields. Modern historians are somewhat divided on how effective the longbow fire would have been against plate armor of the time, with some modern texts suggesting that arrows could not penetrate, especially the better quality steel armor, but others suggesting arrows could penetrate, especially the poorer quality wrought iron armor. Rogers suggests that the longbow could penetrate a wrought iron breastplate at short range and penetrate the thinner armor on the limbs even at 220 yards (200 m). He considers a knight in the best quality steel armor would have been more or less invulnerable to an arrow on the breastplate or top of the helmet, but would still have been vulnerable to shots hitting the limbs, particularly at close range.[49] In any case, to protect themselves as much as possible from the arrows, the French had to lower their visors and bend their helmeted heads to avoid being shot in the face—the eye and air-holes in their helmets were among the weakest points in the armor. This head lowered position restricted both their breathing and their vision. Then they had to walk a few hundred yards through thick mud, a press of comrades and wearing armor weighing 50–60 pounds, gathering sticky clay all the way. Increasingly they had to walk around or over fallen comrades.

The surviving French men-at-arms reached the front of the English line and pushed it back, with the longbow men on the flanks continuing to shoot at point-blank range. When the archers ran out of arrows, they dropped their bows and using hatchetsswords and the mallets they had used to drive their stakes in, attacked the now disordered, fatigued and wounded French men-at-arms massed in front of them. The French could not cope with the thousands of lightly armored longbow men assailants (who were much less hindered by the mud and weight of their armor) combined with the English men-at-arms. The impact of thousands of arrows, combined with the slog in heavy armor through the mud, the heat and lack of oxygen in plate armor with the visor down, and the crush of their numbers meant the French men-at-arms could “scarcely lift their weapons” when they finally engaged the English line. The exhausted French men-at-arms are described as being knocked to the ground by the English and then unable to get back up. As the mêlée developed, the French second line also joined the attack, but they too were swallowed up, with the narrow terrain meaning the extra numbers could not be used effectively. Rogers suggests that the French at the back of their deep formation would have been attempting to push forward and quite literally add their weight to the advance, without realizing that they were hindering the ability of those at the front to maneuver and fight, actually pushing them into the English formation of lance points. After the initial wave, the French would have had to fight over and on the bodies of those who had fallen before them. In such a “press” of thousands of men, Rogers finds it plausible that a significant number could have suffocated in their armor, as is described by several sources, and is also known to have happened in other battles.

The French men-at-arms were taken prisoner or killed in the thousands. The fighting lasted about three hours, but eventually the leaders of the second line were killed or captured, as those of the first line had been. The English Gesta Henrici describes three great heaps of the slain around the three main English standards. According to contemporary English accounts, Henry was directly involved in the hand-to-hand fighting. Upon hearing that his youngest brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester had been wounded in the groin, Henry took his household guard and stood over his brother, in the front rank of the fighting, until Humphrey could be dragged to safety. The king received an axe blow to the head, which knocked off a piece of the crown that formed part of his helmet.

Thousands of troops appear to have been in the rearguard, containing servants and commoners whom the French were either unable or unwilling to deploy. Wavrin gives the total French army size as 50,000: “They had plenty of archers and crossbowmen but nobody wanted to let them fire [sic]. The reason for this was that the site was so narrow that there was only enough room for the men-at-arms. A different source says that the French did not even deploy 4,000 of the best crossbowmen “on the pretext they had no need of their help.”

The lack of reliable sources makes it impossible to give a precise figure for the French and English casualties (dead, wounded, taken prisoner). However, it is clear that though the English were outnumbered, their losses were far lower than those of the French. The French sources all give 4,000–10,000 French dead, with up to 1,600 English dead. The lowest ratio in these French sources has the French losing six times more men than the English. The English sources vary between about 1,500 and 11,000 for the French dead, with English dead put at no more than 100. Barker identifies from the available records “at least” 112 Englishmen killed in the fighting, including Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, a grandson of Edward III.

One widely used estimate puts the English casualties at 450, not an insignificant number in an army of about 8,500, but far fewer than the thousands the French lost, nearly all of whom were killed or captured. Using the lowest French estimate of their own dead of 4,000 would imply a ratio of nearly 9 to 1 in favor of the English, or over 10 to 1 if the prisoners are included.

The French suffered heavily. Three dukes, at least eight counts, a viscount, and an archbishop died, along with numerous other nobles. Of the great royal office holders, France lost her Constable, Admiral, Master of the Crossbowmen and provost of the marshals. The heads of nine major northern towns were killed, often along with their sons, relatives and supporters. In the words of Juliet Barker, the battle “cut a great swath through the natural leaders of French society in ArtoisPonthieuNormandyPicardy.”  Estimates of the number of prisoners vary between 700 and 2,200, amongst them the Duke of Orleans (the famous poet Charles of Orleans) and Jean Le Maingre (known as Boucicault) Marshal of France. Although the victory had been militarily decisive, its impact was complex. It did not lead to further English conquests immediately as Henry’s priority was to return to England, which he did on 16 November, to be received in triumph in London on the 23rd. Henry returned a conquering hero, in the eyes of his subjects and European powers outside France, blessed by God. It established the legitimacy of the Lancastrian monarchy and the future campaigns of Henry to pursue his “rights and privileges” in France. Other benefits to the English were longer term. Very quickly after the battle, the fragile truce between

The English longbow, also called the Welsh longbow, is a powerful type of medieval longbow (a tall bow for archery) about 6 feet long used by the English and Welsh for hunting and as a weapon in medieval warfare. English use of longbows was effective against the French during the Hundred Years’ War, particularly at the start of the war in the battles of Sluys (1340), Crécy (1346), and Poitiers(1356), and perhaps most famously at the Battle of Agincourt (1415). They were less successful after this, with longbow men having their lines broken at the Battle of Verneuil (1424), and being completely routed at the Battle of Patay (1429) when they were charged before they had set up their defensive position.

The earliest longbow known from England, found at Ashcott HeathSomerset, is dated to 2665 BC, but no longbows survive from the period when the longbow was dominant (c. 1250–1450 AD), probably because bows became weaker, broke and were replaced, rather than being handed down through generations. More than 130 bows survive from the Renaissance period, however. More than 3,500 arrows and 137 whole longbows were recovered from the Mary Rose, a ship of Henry VIII‘s navy that sank at Portsmouth in 1545.

As for the longbow- The longbow decided many medieval battles fought by the English and Welsh, the most significant of which were the Battle of Crécy (1346) and the Battle of Agincourt (1415), during the Hundred Years’ War and followed earlier successes, notably at the Battle of Falkirk (1298) and the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

The longbow was also used against the English by their Welsh neighbors. The Welsh used the longbow mostly in a different manner than the English. In many early period English campaigns, the Welsh used the longbow in ambushes, often at point blank range that allowed their missiles to penetrate armor and generally do a lot of damage.

Although longbows were much faster and more accurate than the black-powder weapons which replaced them, longbow men always took a long time to train because of the years of practice necessary before a war longbow could be used effectively (examples of longbows from the Mary Rose typically had draws greater than 637 N (143 lbf)). In an era in which warfare was usually seasonal, and non-noble soldiers spent part of the year working at farms, the year-round training required for the effective use of the longbow was a challenge. A standing army was an expensive proposition to a medieval ruler. Mainland European armies seldom trained a significant longbow corps. Due to their specialized training, English longbow men were sought as mercenaries in other European countries, most notably in the Italian city-states and in Spain. The White Company comprising men-at-arms and longbow men and commanded by Sir John Hawkwood, is the best known English Free Company of the 14th century. The powerful Hungarian king, Louis the Great, is an example of someone who used longbow men in his Italian campaigns.

 Sources regarding the history of warfare can be found in the writings of:

Max Hastings

John Keegan

Bernard Law Montgomery, Viscount of Alamein

Anne Curry

 

Hatred, Division, Change and its Challenge! 12-11-16

Hatred, Division, Change, and its Challenge!

Richard J. Garfunkel

December 11, 2016

Over the past eight years I kept on hearing how divided America was, as if President Obama precipitated this new phenomenon.  Therefore, was this some new and strange dynamic that had never existed before? Well to put it into historical and the most simplistic terms, America has been divided from day one. Whether it was over the American Revolution, and who to back, our King or our independence, debate over the Constitution, or the issues of slavery, international trade, alliances with Britain or France, the rural South over the industrial North, Americans found much to be divided about. As we moved past the Civil War, Suffrage, Women’s Rights, and the rise of the Union movement divided people and led to debate, violence, and strife.

Our divisions resulted in the disastrous Civil War which proportionally killed more Americans, by far, than all our wars combined. Statistically, compared to today’s population, the Civil War would have killed over seven million Americans. Even in our parent’s time, the divisions over immigration quotas, isolationism, World War II preparedness, labor rights, the worthiness of the Korean War, and the McCarthy Era, were deep and contentious.  Had things changed for our generation? For sure Vietnam, the Draft, Civil Rights, Integration, the issue of busing, neighborhood schools, de facto and de jure segregation, Affirmative Action, women’s health issues, birth control, Choice, gun control, Gay Rights, the separation of church and state, and even free speech have divided our Nation.

In truth, many of these issues were resolved. Mainstream political leaders of the center left and right adjusted to the changing social values, morays and realities and found compromises. Were these compromises perfect? Of course not! No compromise makes everyone completely happy! In the past, especially with the issue of slavery we had tried to solve this economic and social stain on our society with the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Compromise of 1850. In actuality these were failures, as we ignored the inevitable and paid a huge price in blood and treasure.

Why today are the issues we face any bigger, any more important or as threatening? In fact, they are not. But, today, in the wake of the Internet, the rise of talk radio and the accelerated “Greed Factor,” we have seen the dramatic rise of a new dynamic. This force has emerged after years in the making. It started to emerge in the Nixon Era with the “Silent Majority,” and then it blossomed with Reagan and his neo-Goldwaterism. It was a vestige of Joe McCarthy and the Witch Hunts of the Korean War-Red Scare Era. It does not have the old shape of North versus South, or the division over race or religion.  It isn’t over free trade or tariffs. It isn’t over States’ Rights or even American Exceptionalism!

It has crystalized in this hyper-age of hucksterism, which has been long a factor regarding the American culture. We now see its full-blown manifestation in this coming Age of Trumpism.  America has turned to a carnival barker, a super Billy Bigelow from “Carousel,” a valueless, creature, who worships glitter, excess, illusionary glamour, and the witless idea of notoriety to help sell junk and disgraced policies. First we heard the clarion call, “Make America Great Again!” Then we heard the double-talk, the accusations, the insults, the outrageous lies, the bold promises, the baseless assertions, and then we witnessed the age old tactics of “divide and conquer” and the “Ends justify the means!” Next we’ll be hearing about how America was founded on “Social Darwinism,” or the survival of the fittest. This is not new. Machiavelli wrote about this hundreds of years ago, we saw the power concentrated first in the Church, then in the rise of the nation/state along with the age of the “Divine Right of Kings,” and then the Age of Revolution, the empty promises of the regicides, the rise of Communism and of course stain of fascism.

Are we now entering into another era of the next false G-d? Are we entering into an era of know-nothingness, mythology, parallel “truths,” or hyper hucksterism? If answers to complex problems were simple, why have they been ignored? One should read, “The Power of Myth,” by Joseph Campbell, or re-watch the PBS series hosted by Bill Moyers with Campbell, which was aired in 1988. Somewhere in the near future, Americans have to wake up and become aware of the realities of the world we live in and not remain captives of the myths we believe about ourselves. We are not G-d’s gift to mankind. We are made of flesh and blood, and no more heroic than anyone else. We are basically a country of immigrants, who have brought us the best and brightest, along with a lot of societal and generational baggage. When we start to “grow up” we may then start to reject these myths and the false gods, embodied in empty personage of Donald Trump.

This does not have to be a new age of hyper-divisiveness. This does not have to be an era dominated by mindless fear; dominated by race hatred, religious strife, gender competition, and class warfare!  As we address this new challenge, we must confront our skeptical masses, who seek easy solutions and simplistic nostrums, with strength, realism, knowledge, facts, education and unity. If we turn away and ignore what is out there, assuming it will wither away, we will be fooling ourselves, indulging in our own brand of self-delusion, and condemning ourselves to a bleak future. As the philosopher, and essayist, George Santayana wrote: “Progress far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Let us focus on what made us great and not the Pied Pipers who have led us down the path of delusion, division and delusion.               

Speaking of Trump and Who He Really Is? 12-20-16

Speaking of Trump and Who He Really is!

Richard J. Garfunkel
December 20,2016

But, what of Trump and his lack of preparedness, his lack of reading, his paucity of knowledge and his untutored assumptions and conclusions? What of his public policy reversals, on Planned Parenthood, Choice, and foreign trade? What about his positions on his own work force along with his opposition to their right to organize? He states he is for the working person, but says wages are too high and opposes any increase in the minimum wage. But, aside from his ignorance regarding domestic policy, what about his lack of civility, his misogynist insults, his sexual harassment of women, his abuse of candidates in his own party, and his insults towards the disabled, the heritage of a Federal judge, and his collective bigotry and xenophobia towards Latinos, Muslims, Mormons and 7th Day Adventists? Who is next on his hate list?

When one talks of character with regards to the presidency, how can we exclude his lifetime of excess, his adultery, his 18 year old, who was born two years before his marriage, his abuse of his first wife (well-chronicled), his business practices and his myriad of failures? He has authored a post-war record of four bankruptcies, He and his representatives have been in court over 4000 times and has been in Federal Court over 160 times. He finally settled for $25 million the Trump University scam and is a party to a $250 billion suit regarding the evasion of taxes. Even his ghost writer, Tony Schwartz, the real writer of “The Art of the Deal,” says he and his book were a fraud.

Even billionaires, who know him best, Mike Bloomberg and Mark Cuban, question his judgment, his temperament and even his sanity. He has left a sordid record of economic and social wreckage involving bad debt (which he brags of) and unpaid bills. He has “stiffed” partners, investors, associates, vendors and clients. Aside from the settled litigation regarding Trump University, what about the Trump institute and his failures which include; the US Football League, Trump Airlines, all of his now closed casinos, his line of vodka, steaks, and other enterprises now hardly remembered. In the wake, of his business career, are the claims of hundreds of vendors who have sued him over unpaid bills. He just tells them to settle or wears them out in constant and ongoing court battles and delays.

If that was not enough, what of his foreign product lines, the hiring of foreign workers at his Mar-al Lago Play Pen and his use of illegal laborers on many of building projects? Is this good business or incredible hypocrisy? Why would any American worker or small business person believe this man, who opposes unions, supports “right to work” states, and refuses to pay his bills? With all this in mind, including his lack of integrity, his failed businesses practices, his false promises, his political payoffs, and his poor judgement, why is he getting support? Do his supporters know that he supports the repeal of the Federal Inheritance Tax Law which affects a fraction of 1% of the country or 5400 families and would cost the US Treasury upwards of $600 billion? Are they aware of his support for the flat-tax, which would give billionaires the same federal tax rate of the average working American? Aside for his support of Voodoo economics, what of his ability to lead a nation when he has insulted over 40% of the population, which includes, African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and others?

But what of his mocking of the disabled, or his call for his supporters to beat up protester, or his promise to support them in court, if they are charged? Is this presidential? Aside from his total lack of knowledge regarding domestic affairs, he criticized former Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia for his “failed” administration in New Jersey. His knowledge of America has been pretty restricted to beauty pageants, country clubs, boardrooms and very expensive residences and restaurants. So where does he come off telling us that our society is failing, it is rife with crime, and we are on the verge of moral default? If anyone is morally defective, it is Trump. What contact or connection does he have with the average American? As for supposed generosity, where have been his vaunted and well-publicized charitable gifts? There are none of record. But, are they actually hidden in his Federal Income Tax returns? Why can’t the public look over his taxes? The Clintons have revealed 33 years of tax returns. What are those returns hiding?

All presidents, in this inter-connected world, must have more than a little foreign policy knowledge. He seems to know nothing of the history and importance of NATO, our support for our European allies for almost three-quarters of a century, our stand against nuclear proliferation, and the new threats regarding Russia and Eastern Europe or China in the Pacific. With this in mind, why has he been virtually endorsed by the mad dictator of North Korea and seemingly supported by the newest Russian Tsar, Vladimir Putin? Even today he gave another example of his ignorance with regards to Crimea and the Ukraine. He is practically persona non grata in Britain, Scotland, Germany, Israel, and for sure Mexico. Who else wants him?
His countless, gaffs, retractions, corrections, indiscretions, insults, misstatements and outright lies have been carefully categorized by media and fact-checkers all over the country. But what indiscretion can match his overt criticism and insult to a Gold Star Mother.

In the words of the late Joseph Welch, who took on Senator Joseph McCarthy, in the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954, when McCarthy tried to renew his attack, Welch interrupted him: Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild … Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

With that in mind, I say the same to the Trump supporters. “Have you no sense of decency?” Are you going to be chastised by history as being either; uniformed, blind, a bigot, or just plain stupid? I ask?

 

The Right-Winger: The Anachronism of the Age, 5-23-16

The Right-winger: the Anachronism of the Age

Richard J. Garfunkel

May 23, 2016

 Who are these people today? They wander within midst all of us. Are they the natural reaction to change as the two-party system divides itself between liberals and conservatives? Over the decades from the emergence of the modern, American, industrialized state in the post-civil war period, see saw the emergence of the Republican Party. Many elements of it were actually progressive. There were former abolitionists, there were women in the suffrage movement, and there were all sorts of reformers who fought against the post-Civil War Jim Crow South, the degradation of the cities, run by the political machines and the good government folks who believed in hard work and the Protestant Ethic.  There were many who actually fought against the huge monopolies, trusts, inter-locking directorates, the pools and problems of pollution, de-forestation and deterioration of the health of the average American.  The Party of Lincoln had progressive heirs like James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt Midwesterners like William Allen White, Robert La Follette, Harold Ickes, and both Henry Wallaces, Senior and Junior. They were actually Republicans. There were many, many more.

The Democrats were not particularly liberal. Grover Cleveland, an honest politician, was the only Democrat elected to the presidency from 1860 to 1912. He could be considered a conservative. The Democrats were a disparate group of regional parties, dominated by the Solid South.  There were western libertarians, Baptist evangelicals, isolationists, and anti-war, anti-Wall Street, and small government religious zealots like William Jennings Bryan, who was nominated by the Democrats three times for the presidency. There were big-city machines, most characterized by Tammany Hall in NYC, which represented immigrants; first the Irish, than the Italians, Jews and others. Eventually this Eastern branch of the Democratic Party found leadership with the new Democrats that emerged from the Progressive Era and its split from the old line Protestant reformers. People like Al Smith, Robert Wagner Sr, Frances Perkins, and yes, the young Franklin D. Roosevelt, joined the progressive bandwagon led by the academic reformer from New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson.

What had really changed? Why was there a progressive revolt led by Theodore Roosevelt in 1912? All one has to do is look at the Progressive Platform of 1912. Has anything really changed more than 100 years later?

·         Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions

·         Registration of lobbyists

·         Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings

In the social sphere the platform called for

·         A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.

·         Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled

·         Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.

·         minimum wage law for women

·         An eight-hour workday

·         A federal securities commission

·         Farm relief

·         Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries

·         An inheritance tax

The political reforms proposed included

·         Women’s suffrage

·         Direct election of Senators

·         Primary elections for state and federal nominations

The platform also urged states to adopt measures for “direct democracy“, including:

·         The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)

·         The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)

·         The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)

·         Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote

 What happened to Republican Progressives like Harold Ickes, Henry Wallace, Jane Addams, Hiram Johnson, Elihu Root and others in the wake of the split in the Republican Party and the Democratic landslide? In a sense, they never came back to the Republican Party. After the end of World War I, with the illness of Woodrow Wilson, the defeat of the League of Nations and the World Court, the core of the Republican Party, which espoused the political philosophy of William McKinley and William Howard Taft, re-emerged in the body of Warren Harding, The Harding-Coolidge-Hoover Era last twelve years through the halcyon days of the Roaring 20’s, which featured Prohibition, isolationism, wild speculation, the decline of the railroads, low taxation on the top brackets, and a revision to States’ Rights.

The Market collapse and crash of 1929, led to the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover, formally a progressive Republican, morphed into a conservative one, failed to solve the economic quagmire that kept on reaching new lows until finally the banking system collapsed, unemployment got incredibly worse and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal emerged. How bad was the Great Depression? Well it so shattered the “Old Order” that billions and billions of dollars had to be spent, record-setting, reform legislation (The First Hundred Days) had to be past, and that national planning had to resurrect a shattered economy and company. As per example, before the Crash, 250,000 people were employed by US Steel. On the day of FDR’s inauguration, only one person was on that company’s payroll. Of course, right-wing revisionists claim that the New Deal didn’t end the Depression, but really extended it. But, how come, after four years of Herbert Hoover and the natural forces of the market system, the Depression got uniformly worse? Statistically speaking, the GNP in the first five years of the New Deal showed record yearly increases, never seen before, or after, in our economy’s history. So the Depression was not completely ended until the buildup of to our emergence into WW II, but considering the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008-9, one can easily see how difficult it really was to bring the economy back to the false levels of 1928 or 2007! 

Now here we are more than 100 years after the Bull Moose (Progressive Convention). The years that followed brought Wilson, a progressive, a new type of president and a new roll for the American government. But, with the vote the triumph of Suffrage and the women’s vote, America faced, in the post WWI Era, the rise of religious fervor, with evangelical fakirs like Aimee Semple McPherson and Billy Sunday, the era of Prohibition, the false prosperity of the Roaring 20’s, and the  “Age of Wonderful Nothingness.”  It was the first era of communications and many of the “talking heads” of those times were folks like Walter Winchell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham McNamee, HL Mencken and the humorous Will Rogers. The movies and sports were in the ascendency and people like John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo, and the Latin Lover, Rudolf Valentino of the Silver Screen were the rage of America. Sports was bigger than ever with boxing, horse racing, baseball and college football creating huge industries with luminaries like Dempsey, Tunney, Man o War, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and the Galloping Ghost, Red Grange of Illinois. In other sports, Johnny Weissmuller and Sonja Henie became household names that would last decades. Even the Olympic Games emerged after the disaster of WWI and attracted world-wide attention.

What came out of this era, led in America by the arch conservative and small government acolyte, Calvin Coolidge? The result was an attitude that we could do nothing wrong, but there was emergence of the “great social divide” between classes and regions over attitude and ideology. Certainly, two of the most important regions in the country that were left out of this social revolution were the Old South and New England, the two strongest bastions of conservatism in both the Democratic and Republican Parties. The South and the vestige of its “Peculiar Institution” (slavery) was dominated by Jim Crow, where a significant proportion of its population was virtually enslaved by the indentured servitude of share cropping, abject poverty, the lack of electricity, running water, proper sanitation and virtually the most base level of education. The South was dominated by its own version of machine politics with baronial families controlling government in various states: the Byrds of Virginia, the Longs of Louisiana, and the Talmadges of Georgia. The others, like Jimmy Byrnes, Richard Russell, James Eastland, Theodore Bilbo, and Cotton Ed Smith were not much better. The Solid South of the Democratic Party ruled their fiefdoms through the ballot, the police and the suppression of the Black vote through poll taxes, literacy tests and grandfather clauses, and were able to dominate post New Deal majorities in Congress through the Seniority System. As a result of this one-party rule, the South and its conservative hegemony became the most backward and primitive region of the country. Ironically, when the Great Depression ensued, the rural South was hit the hardest and the Southern Democratic Party had to cooperate fully with the progressivism of the New Deal. But, this cooperation had its limits and when it came to Civil Rights or inclusion of the Blacks, and the resistance was fierce. As the New Deal matured and the recovery was working, the issue of Jim Crow, anti-lynching laws, and rights for Black Americans, came to the forefront. With this reality emerging, the Southern Democratic Party coalesced with Northern Republican opposition to the New Deal, and after 1938, its reform efforts and legislative initiatives were virtually ended. That was the South, and after the bolt by Strom Thurmond from the Democratic National Convention in 1948, the transition to the Republican Party started its march.

By 1968, in the wake of the all the Civil Rights legislation of the Johnson Era, the emergence of Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy signaled the new South under the conservative Republicans. The Jim Crow Democrats were dying out, some like Thurmond changed their party allegiance and stayed in office and new faces emerged. As Blacks were able to vote in the South, their emergence as a key factor in the Democratic Party started to evolve. Blacks voted overwhelmingly for FDR from 1936 through 1944, but it wasn’t until the 1960s when African-Americans, ever loyal to the Party of Lincoln, completely broke from the GOP.

In New England, the transition from being a rock-ribbed conservative Republican region came with as the demographics of both Rhode Island and Massachusetts changed with new waves of immigrants. Even in 1936, only Maine and Vermont were Republican holdouts from an FDR sweep of all 48 states. By the time former Bostonian, John F. Kennedy ran for the presidency, New England started to morph its progressive Republicans, its tradition of education and new class of Democratic into  the center of American liberalism. The integration of the Boston Public schools, in the early 1960s, was fought against by old-line ethnic supporters of de-facto segregation, Katherine Craven and Louis Day Hicks. These two women were seen as vestiges of the past and they were eventually, after a noisy and protracted struggle, committed to the dustbin of history as Boston moved on from the corrupt days of Mayor James Curley to the progressive vision of Kevin White. Other states fell in line and Democrats have dominated New England, with few exceptions since the 1960s.

So what is left in America? The Midwest, the Industrial Great Lakes States, the Farm Belt and the West Coast. What we have seen in the last quarter of a century since Reagan is the division of America into two philosophical regions. The coastal areas, the areas abutting the Great Lakes, the cities, and the university towns are the centers and the strengths of the Democratic Party and the progressives. What do they have in common? All these areas have a mixture of people of different races, religions and of ethnic traditions. They are centers of commerce, education, culture and social tolerance. They lead the country in every category from education, to health care, to housing, to property values and to wages. In other words, the highest standard of living for most Americans is in the so-called Blue States. On the other hand, the so-called Red States, which have been dominated by the new Republicans and their Tea Party minority, lead the country in every negative statistic, regarding education, mental health, drug use, women’s healthcare options, housing, illegitimacy and even the need for abortions.

So the question remains, what do the conservatives really stand for? Is it family values? What evidence reflects that? The list of Republican sexual offenders and abusers who have served in public office is long and can be easily view at this sites: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×1709387 . How about job creation? Well since the end of WWII their record leaves much to be desired. In fact, Democrats have created more than 2.5 times the amount of private sector jobs and, ironically, the GOP has created more non-private sector jobs!

http://www.truthfulpolitics.com/http:/truthfulpolitics.com/comments/u-s-job-creation-by-president-political-party/ . But what of the stock market and the Dow Jones Industrial Average? In fact, since 1961, according to Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/chart/ipIOl6TObSmU/ under the Democrats $2,000 invested would return $10,920 and that same amount under the GOP would return $2,087. Therefore, are you more economically secure under GOP/Tea Party governance? Are you better off supporting people who want to move back to States’ Rights, get rid of the Federal Reserve, privatize Social Security,  get rid of the Internal Revenue Service and institute a flat-tax which allows billionaires to pay the same amount as the lowest compensated worker? Are you willing to reverse all the gains made by women and minorities? Are you willing to reverse all the provisions regarding job safety? Are you willing to reverse all the protections that workers have gained since the New Deal, which include “wages and hours,” the minimum wage, arbitration, sexual harassment laws, the minimum wage, and anti-discrimination statutes?

Again, the question remains, what do the conservatives support and are they the anachronism of our time? If you want to buy into the idea that both parties are equally to blame, and that the answer is conservative, anti-government libertarianism, go to it. The GOP Conservatives and their Dixiecrat allies have been opposed to every advance in our long history. Many called it the progressive evolution of our society, but the small government acolytes seem to think that word progressive is a euphemism for left-wing socialism. As a long-time student of history, political person, and writer and lecturer on mid -20th Century history, it is not a stretch to see what side both parties fall onto. The right-wing has opposed: the following;

 The Bill of Rights, Anti-trust laws- Sherman and Clayton Acts, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Labor unions and their right to collectively bargain- the Wagner Act, Wages and Hours Laws, Child Labor laws and regulation- Triangle Shirtwaist and other disasters, the Minimum wage, Civil Rights- Integration- anti-lynching laws, The Security Laws of 1933, 4, and 1940, affirmative action, Pure Food and Drug laws, almost all environmental regulation on clear water and air, Women’s Rights, sexual choice, the right of choice, Birth control access and information, Equal pay for equal rights, The Establishment Clause- separation of church and state, Gun control, Graduated Income Tax- taxes in general, Inheritance Taxes, Federal housing- urban renewal, Public education, and even aid to Great Britain before WWII

What have they supported?

Restrictive Immigration: Chinese Exclusion Act 1882, National Origins Immigration Act of 1924, Property rights over individual rights, Censorship, Monopoly, trusts, Inter-locking directorships, Unrestricted gun ownership, Flat-taxes, sale’s taxes, State’s Rights, Public funding for private schools, Red-lining, Segregation, White Citizen’s Councils, the KKK, Privatization of services, Union-busting, Off shore banking shelters The market place cures all ills, The Oil Depletion allowance

In other words, what has the right-wing ever supported that was in the public’s interest? The choice is clear, go back in time with the right-wing, or reject their so-called values and move forward.  

 

 

 

 

 

Every Generation Has its Challenges 6-14-16

Every Generation has its Challenges

Richard J. Garfunkel

6-14-16

With regards to the Atlantic Monthly’s endorsement of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964, this year, they made their 3rd endorsement in the 156 years of their existence. Their choice was Hillary Clinton. Of course, the question arises as why! One could also ask why all of the major newspapers in the United States have rejected Donald Trump?  We are facing a unique challenge in 2016, almost like none that has challenged the essence of our democracy. Unlike any election we have had in the past, we are facing a challenge to the core existence of our electoral system, the core acceptance of how are foreign and domestic policy has evolved over the last 100 years, and the potential reversal of our social and moral advances that has brought forth; voting rights for all, the rule of law, the end to Jim Crow, the liberation of women and the rejection of prejudice and mindless myth.

In the lifetime of many Americans, many challenges have been witnessed, experienced and overcome. This past June 6th, we celebrated the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, where many brave Americans, and their allies, took on the challenge of the liberation of Europe from the Nazi hordes. This challenge asked tens of thousands of young Americans, in the first waves, to hit the Normandy Beaches and to put themselves in harm’s way. Many of these men were inexperienced and untested by enemy fire, which we all know, was withering and deadly.

Since modern America emerged from the Civil War, America, in Lincoln’s words, went from a Union to a Nation. In the modern sense of this “new” and now unified Nation, the American people have taken on immense challenges. Whether it was closing of the frontier, the devastation of the Civil War, where over 700,000 Americans died, out of 31 million, which today would translate into seven million citizens of today, the building of the intercontinental railroad, the Great Immigration from 1880 to 1914, the economic meltdowns, which resulted in devastating Depressions and two massive World Wars, each generation has, in FDR’s immortal words, “A rendezvous with destiny!” 

The world has always seen the rise of demagogues, tyrants, swindlers and snake oil salesman, who have promised prosperity and peace to a gullible, malleable public. We have witnessed the dictators who have pitted one group against the other, created scapegoats and have used the age old political tactic of, “Divide and Conquer!”

This age old tactic was first attributed to Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, who said “Divide and Rule, or in Latin, “Divide et impera!” The great chronicler of politics, Machiavelli, wrote a similar thought in his book VI, of “The Art of War.”

Since the dawn of the 20th Century, as America moved into a new age of communication, transportation and demographic change, each generation has looked forward with a combination of hope and trepidation over the challenges they faced. Whether it was a flood of new immigrants, the degradation and filth of the city slums and ghettos, the monopolists, the pollution of our waters, the purity of our food and safety of our drugs or the flim-flam tactics of snake oil purveyors, Americans weathered each storm and grew from the experience. Of course, there was always, “blood in the water!” Of course, thousands died in the westward pursuit of manifest destiny! The abuse and historical criminality of Jim Crow, which had morphed out of two hundred and fifty years of slavery, lasted for over 100 years and we are still divided by the vestige of its stench.

No challenge is easy to overcome. No complex problem can be solved with simplistic nostrums, and no one group has a monopoly on virtue. Anytime we hear that there is an easy answer, beware. We must always scrutinize the promise of false G-ds along with the worship of idols. We have learned to fear and beware of men on “white horses” that tell us to blindly follow. These same folks never address us with the facts, they just ask us to put on blinders. There have been many Pied Pipers, religious zealots, Crusaders, and political charlatans.

Some Americans talk of guarantees! They talk of the loss of jobs like they magically appeared and disappeared. We suffered a great panic and ensuing Depression in 1907, we had a short, but severe recession in 1921 and there was much poverty, hunger, insecurity, family break ups and dislocation even during the Roaring 20s. The halcyon days of “Wonderful Nothingness,” was basically experienced in the cities, not by the population at large, as Prohibition created this era of the ever-lasting party! The lure of the speakeasy and the glamour of F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote of that era in books like, “Beautiful and the Damned” fed this fantasy! What happened to the earlier Progressive Era that brought reform, opportunity, and hope to tens of millions? It became victim of a new age of hucksterism, phony religious revivalism, and empty promises and panaceas. It brought on Harding, Coolidge, Hoover and the Crash!

Herbert Hoover, a Republican “progressive of that era,” compared to the Harding’s and the Coolidge’s, predicted in his August, 1928 acceptance of the Republican nomination for the presidency, said, “One of the oldest and perhaps the noblest of human aspirations has been the abolition of poverty. By poverty I mean the grinding by undernourishment, cold and ignorance and fear of old age of those who have the will to work. We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land. The poorhouse is vanishing from among us. We have not yet reached the goal, but given a chance to go forward with the policies of the last eight years, and [sic] we shall soon with the help of God be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this Nation.” There is no guarantee against poverty equal to a job for every man. That is the primary purpose of the economic policies we advocate.

The Crash and the greatest Depression in modern history followed in less than a year since Hoover took office! What happened? Was it the myth of American Exceptionalism? Why wasn’t America spared? Weren’t we better than everyone else? Weren’t we godlier, more prosperous and more deserving? Obviously not! It took more than the simple Hoover nostrum, “Prosperity is around the corner!” Many of today’s right-wing revisionists of that ugly era (Amity Shlaes, etc.) have written that the New Deal prolonged the Depression! But, what happened to the market forces in the three long years in the remainder of Hoover’s term? In fact, the “Do little to nothing,” Hoover Administration made the Depression worse, much worse! 

How history repeats itself in this age and time. The same revisionists of the 21st Century now accuse the Obama Administration of prolonging the Bush II Crash! If only the policies of a 3rd Bush Administration would have been put in place! But, what did the right-wing offer as a solution? Many wanted the bankruptcy of the auto industry, the insurance giant AIG and Merrill-Lynch! How would have that solved the crisis brought on by the housing bubble? Would the destruction of an automobile industry done anything? Today, in 2016, over 17. 5 million American made cars will be sold! Can one just imagine what would have happened if the largest insurance carrier and brokerage house would have gone broke! This could have been the economic legacy of the right-wing, another Depression! So, we met the challenge and we recovered. Is every recovery like the last? Every recovery since WWII was in the wake of smaller recessions (the largest, was the 3rd Eisenhower one in 1957-8), was led by a housing recovery. This Great Recession was caused by the housing bubble, the unregulated mortgage brokers, like Countrywide Financial and their clones, who wrote 85% of the toxic mortgages, and the bundling of worthless Wall Street created derivatives. Was this the fault of the Democrats or the Progressives, ask yourself?

We now have new challenges, not world war, not Depressions, not the Jim Crow of the past, not a wild frontier, not filthy, disease ridden, ghettos, not rancid food and impure water, and for sure not the isolationist movement of the 1930s and the rise of an American brand of neo-Nazism.

Our challenge is adaptation to globalization, inter-dependency, confronting religious militancy; here and abroad, global-warming, and a realization that we are not the country of the 1920s or at the end of World War II, where we were the only industrialized nation standing. We actually benefitted economically and socially by our rise to worldwide power in 1918, and we abrogated that role by listening to the isolationists and the political ostriches. In the same sense, we learned in 1945, that we could not retreat from the world. But our hegemony of domination and power could not last forever, as we fought the communists, we squandered our educational system and we wasted our resources on unlimited commercialism, profligate spending, cheap foreign goods, de-regulation and giveaways to the most wealthy. Again, we have reaped what we have sown. 

FDR said in his last undelivered speech that he was to give to the opening of the United Nations, “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”  In that same historical vein, let us reject the insane promises that tend to divide us and bring social disruption. Let us move forward with sane leadership.

 

 

The Battle of Agincourt

“The Triumph of the Long Bow”

October 25, 2015

(Edited by Richard J. Garfunkel)

The Battle of Agincourt is well documented by at least seven contemporary accounts, three of them eyewitnesses. The approximate location of the battle has never been in dispute and the place remains relatively unaltered even after 600 years. Immediately after the battle, Henry summoned the heralds of the two armies who had watched the battle together, and with the principal French herald, Montjoie, settled on the name of the battle as Azincourt, after the nearest fortified place.

Henry V (King of England) invaded France following the failure of negotiations with the French. He claimed the title of King of France through his great-grandfather Edward III, although in practice the English kings were generally prepared to renounce this claim if the French would acknowledge the English claim on Aquitaine and other French lands (the terms of the Treaty of Bretagne). Early on the 25th, Henry deployed his army (approximately 1,500 men-at-arms and 7,000 long bowmen) across a 750-yard (690 m) part of the defile. The army was organized into three “battles” or divisions: the vanguard, led by the Duke of York; the main battle led by Henry himself; and the rearguard, led by Lord Camoys. In addition, Sir Thomas Erpingham, one of Henry’s most experienced household knights, had a role in marshalling the archers. It is likely that the English adopted their usual battle line of longbow men on either flank, with men-at-arms and knights in the center. They may also have deployed some archers in the center of the line. The English men-at-arms in plate and mail were placed shoulder to shoulder four deep. The English and Welsh archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes, or palings, into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. This use of stakes may have been inspired by the Battle of Nicopolis of 1396, where forces of the Ottoman Empire used the tactic against French cavalry.  Henry, worried about the enemy launching surprise raids, and wanting his troops to remain focused, ordered all his men to spend the night before the battle in silence, on pain of having an ear cut off. He told his men that he would rather die in the coming battle than be captured and ransomed.

The French force was not only larger than that of the English, their noble men-at-arms would have considered themselves superior to the large number of archers in the English army, whom the French (based on their experience in recent memory of using and facing archers) considered relatively insignificant. For example, the chronicler Edmond de Dyntner stated that there were “ten French nobles against one English”, ignoring the archers completely. Several French accounts emphasize that the French leaders were so eager to defeat the English (and win the ransoms of the English men-at-arms) that they insisted on being in the first line; as one of the contemporary accounts put it: “All the lords wanted to be in the vanguard, against the opinion of the constable and the experienced knights.

The French were arrayed in three lines or “battles”. The first line was led by Constable d’Albret, Marshal Boucicault, and the Dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, with attached cavalry wings under the Count of Vendôme and Sir Clignet de Brebant. The second line was commanded by the Dukes of Bar and Alençon and the Count of Nevers. The third line was under the Counts of Dammartin and Fauconberg.[26] The Burgundian chronicler, Jean de Wavrin, writes that there were

8,000 men-at-arms, 4,000 archers and 1,500 crossbowmen in the vanguard, with two wings of 600 and 800 mounted men-at-arms, and the main battle having “as many knights, esquires and archers as in the vanguard”, with the rearguard containing “all of the rest of the men-at-arms”.[27] The Herald of Berry uses somewhat different figures of 4,800 men-at-arms in the first line, 3,000 men in the second line, with two “wings” containing 600 mounted men-at-arms each, and a total of “10,000 men-at-arms”,[28] but does not mention a third line.

The French cavalry, despite being somewhat disorganized and not at full numbers, charged towards the longbow men, but it was a disaster, with the French knights unable to outflank the longbow men (because of the encroaching woodland) and unable to charge through the forest of sharpened stakes that protected the archers. John Keegan argues that the longbows’ main influence on the battle at this point was injuries to horses: armored only on the head, many horses would have become dangerously out of control when struck in the back or flank from the high-elevation long range shots used as the charge started. The mounted charge and subsequent retreat churned up the already muddy terrain between the French and the English. Juliet Barker quotes a contemporary account by a monk of St. Denis who reports how the wounded and panicking horses galloped through the advancing infantry, scattering them and trampling them down in their headlong flight from the battlefield.

The plate armor of the French men-at-arms allowed them to close the 300 yards or so to the English lines while being under what the French monk of Saint Denis described as “a terrifying hail of arrow shot”. A complete coat of plate was considered such good protection that shields were generally not used, although the Burgundian contemporary sources specifically distinguish between Frenchmen who used shields and those who did not, and Rogers has suggested that the front elements of the French force may have used axes and shields. Modern historians are somewhat divided on how effective the longbow fire would have been against plate armor of the time, with some modern texts suggesting that arrows could not penetrate, especially the better quality steel armor, but others suggesting arrows could penetrate, especially the poorer quality wrought iron armor. Rogers suggests that the longbow could penetrate a wrought iron breastplate at short range and penetrate the thinner armor on the limbs even at 220 yards (200 m). He considers a knight in the best quality steel armor would have been more or less invulnerable to an arrow on the breastplate or top of the helmet, but would still have been vulnerable to shots hitting the limbs, particularly at close range.[49] In any case, to protect themselves as much as possible from the arrows, the French had to lower their visors and bend their helmeted heads to avoid being shot in the face—the eye and air-holes in their helmets were among the weakest points in the armor. This head lowered position restricted both their breathing and their vision. Then they had to walk a few hundred yards through thick mud, a press of comrades and wearing armor weighing 50–60 pounds, gathering sticky clay all the way. Increasingly they had to walk around or over fallen comrades.

The surviving French men-at-arms reached the front of the English line and pushed it back, with the longbow men on the flanks continuing to shoot at point-blank range. When the archers ran out of arrows, they dropped their bows and using hatchetsswords and the mallets they had used to drive their stakes in, attacked the now disordered, fatigued and wounded French men-at-arms massed in front of them. The French could not cope with the thousands of lightly armored longbow men assailants (who were much less hindered by the mud and weight of their armor) combined with the English men-at-arms. The impact of thousands of arrows, combined with the slog in heavy armor through the mud, the heat and lack of oxygen in plate armor with the visor down, and the crush of their numbers meant the French men-at-arms could “scarcely lift their weapons” when they finally engaged the English line. The exhausted French men-at-arms are described as being knocked to the ground by the English and then unable to get back up. As the mêlée developed, the French second line also joined the attack, but they too were swallowed up, with the narrow terrain meaning the extra numbers could not be used effectively. Rogers suggests that the French at the back of their deep formation would have been attempting to push forward and quite literally add their weight to the advance, without realizing that they were hindering the ability of those at the front to maneuver and fight, actually pushing them into the English formation of lance points. After the initial wave, the French would have had to fight over and on the bodies of those who had fallen before them. In such a “press” of thousands of men, Rogers finds it plausible that a significant number could have suffocated in their armor, as is described by several sources, and is also known to have happened in other battles.

The French men-at-arms were taken prisoner or killed in the thousands. The fighting lasted about three hours, but eventually the leaders of the second line were killed or captured, as those of the first line had been. The English Gesta Henrici describes three great heaps of the slain around the three main English standards. According to contemporary English accounts, Henry was directly involved in the hand-to-hand fighting. Upon hearing that his youngest brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester had been wounded in the groin, Henry took his household guard and stood over his brother, in the front rank of the fighting, until Humphrey could be dragged to safety. The king received an axe blow to the head, which knocked off a piece of the crown that formed part of his helmet.

Thousands of troops appear to have been in the rearguard, containing servants and commoners whom the French were either unable or unwilling to deploy. Wavrin gives the total French army size as 50,000: “They had plenty of archers and crossbowmen but nobody wanted to let them fire [sic]. The reason for this was that the site was so narrow that there was only enough room for the men-at-arms. A different source says that the French did not even deploy 4,000 of the best crossbowmen “on the pretext they had no need of their help.”

The lack of reliable sources makes it impossible to give a precise figure for the French and English casualties (dead, wounded, taken prisoner). However, it is clear that though the English were outnumbered, their losses were far lower than those of the French. The French sources all give 4,000–10,000 French dead, with up to 1,600 English dead. The lowest ratio in these French sources has the French losing six times more men than the English. The English sources vary between about 1,500 and 11,000 for the French dead, with English dead put at no more than 100. Barker identifies from the available records “at least” 112 Englishmen killed in the fighting, including Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, a grandson of Edward III.

One widely used estimate puts the English casualties at 450, not an insignificant number in an army of about 8,500, but far fewer than the thousands the French lost, nearly all of whom were killed or captured. Using the lowest French estimate of their own dead of 4,000 would imply a ratio of nearly 9 to 1 in favor of the English, or over 10 to 1 if the prisoners are included.

The French suffered heavily. Three dukes, at least eight counts, a viscount, and an archbishop died, along with numerous other nobles. Of the great royal office holders, France lost her Constable, Admiral, Master of the Crossbowmen and provost of the marshals. The heads of nine major northern towns were killed, often along with their sons, relatives and supporters. In the words of Juliet Barker, the battle “cut a great swath through the natural leaders of French society in ArtoisPonthieuNormandyPicardy.”  Estimates of the number of prisoners vary between 700 and 2,200, amongst them the Duke of Orleans (the famous poet Charles of Orleans) and Jean Le Maingre (known as Boucicault) Marshal of France. Although the victory had been militarily decisive, its impact was complex. It did not lead to further English conquests immediately as Henry’s priority was to return to England, which he did on 16 November, to be received in triumph in London on the 23rd. Henry returned a conquering hero, in the eyes of his subjects and European powers outside France, blessed by God. It established the legitimacy of the Lancastrian monarchy and the future campaigns of Henry to pursue his “rights and privileges” in France. Other benefits to the English were longer term. Very quickly after the battle, the fragile truce between

The English longbow, also called the Welsh longbow, is a powerful type of medieval longbow (a tall bow for archery) about 6 feet long used by the English and Welsh for hunting and as a weapon in medieval warfare. English use of longbows was effective against the French during the Hundred Years’ War, particularly at the start of the war in the battles of Sluys (1340), Crécy (1346), and Poitiers(1356), and perhaps most famously at the Battle of Agincourt (1415). They were less successful after this, with longbow men having their lines broken at the Battle of Verneuil (1424), and being completely routed at the Battle of Patay (1429) when they were charged before they had set up their defensive position.

The earliest longbow known from England, found at Ashcott HeathSomerset, is dated to 2665 BC, but no longbows survive from the period when the longbow was dominant (c. 1250–1450 AD), probably because bows became weaker, broke and were replaced, rather than being handed down through generations. More than 130 bows survive from the Renaissance period, however. More than 3,500 arrows and 137 whole longbows were recovered from the Mary Rose, a ship of Henry VIII‘s navy that sank at Portsmouth in 1545.

As for the longbow- The longbow decided many medieval battles fought by the English and Welsh, the most significant of which were the Battle of Crécy (1346) and the Battle of Agincourt (1415), during the Hundred Years’ War and followed earlier successes, notably at the Battle of Falkirk (1298) and the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

The longbow was also used against the English by their Welsh neighbors. The Welsh used the longbow mostly in a different manner than the English. In many early period English campaigns, the Welsh used the longbow in ambushes, often at point blank range that allowed their missiles to penetrate armor and generally do a lot of damage.

Although longbows were much faster and more accurate than the black-powder weapons which replaced them, longbow men always took a long time to train because of the years of practice necessary before a war longbow could be used effectively (examples of longbows from the Mary Rose typically had draws greater than 637 N (143 lbf)). In an era in which warfare was usually seasonal, and non-noble soldiers spent part of the year working at farms, the year-round training required for the effective use of the longbow was a challenge. A standing army was an expensive proposition to a medieval ruler. Mainland European armies seldom trained a significant longbow corps. Due to their specialized training, English longbow men were sought as mercenaries in other European countries, most notably in the Italian city-states and in Spain. The White Company comprising men-at-arms and longbow men and commanded by Sir John Hawkwood, is the best known English Free Company of the 14th century. The powerful Hungarian king, Louis the Great, is an example of someone who used longbow men in his Italian campaigns.

 Sources regarding the history of warfare can be found in the writings of:

Max Hastings

John Keegan

Bernard Law Montgomery, Viscount of Alamein

Anne Curry

 

The 4th of July -7-4-16

The 4th of July

Richard J. Garfunkel

7-4-16

 The key to the American Revolution is the second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence, and it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” This phrase is not limited to whites or to men or to just Christians, or the wealthy. That is the rub between the so-called moral equivalency of the conservatives and the liberals. This was a “LIBERAL” document, not a conservative one. This language meant all of humankind, the rich and the poor, and for sure, believers and non-believers in G-d. It didn’t delineate race or religion. The collective of men, most assuredly meant women also. Freedom is not owned by some who can afford it. The desire for liberty and the “pursuit of happiness” is not limited to one class, race or religion. Eventually the right-wing revisionist will understand how this American Revolution came about and what it stood for.

 If one actually believed that both parties are morally equivalent and both equally deserve the blame for American problems, think again! The GOP Conservatives and their Dixiecrat allies have been opposed to every advance in our long history. Many called it the progressive evolution of our society, but the small government acolytes seem to think that word progressive is a euphemism for left-wing socialism. As a long-time student of history, political person, and writer and lecturer on mid-20th Century history, it is not a stretch to see what side both parties fall. The right-wing has opposed: the following

 

The Bill of Rights, Anti-trust laws- Sherman and Clayton Acts Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid Labor unions and their right to collectively bargain- the Wagner Act Wages and Hours Law Child Labor laws and regulation- Triangle Shirtwaist and other disasters The Minimum wage Civil Rights- Integration- anti-lynching laws The Security Laws of 1933, 4, and 1940, affirmative action Pure Food and Drug laws Almost all environmental regulation on clear water and air Women’s Rights, sexual choice The right of choice Birth control access and information Equal pay for equal rights The Establishment Clause- separation of church and state Gun control Graduated Income Tax- taxes in general Inheritance Taxes Federal housing- urban renewal Public education Aid to Great Britain before WWII

 What have they supported?

 Restrictive Immigration: Chinese Exclusion Act 1882, National Origins Immigration Act of 1924 Property rights over individual rights Censorship Monopoly, trusts, Inter-locking directorships Unrestricted gun ownership Flat-taxes, sale’s taxes, State’s Rights Public funding for private schools Red-lining Segregation, White Citizen’s Councils, the KKK Privatization of services Union-busting Off shore banking shelters The market place cures all ills The Oil Depletion allowance Private schools

 In other words, what in hell have the right-wing ever supported that was in the public’s interest?

 

 

Political Perspective, 2016 -7-30-16

Political Perspective – 2016

Richard J. Garfunkel

July 30, 2016

As a life-long registered and active Democrat, I have always been fascinated by why people vote the way they do.  It may surprise most Americans that the Democrats have not captured the white male vote since 1944. In that year, soldiers were allowed to vote, and even the Republicans of that day, opposed their right to vote, the Roosevelt Administration fought for that right and prevailed. Some have forgotten that in those days, one had to be 21 to vote, and many soldiers in 1944 were not 21. But the young men who did serve, probably remembered no president other than FDR, and he was a heroic figure who was their Commander–in- Chief. Of course, in the next three elections, the white male vote was split four ways, in 1948, between Truman, Dewey, Wallace and Thurmond. Obviously, a great many Southern white males voted for the Thurmond the Dixiecrat. In the two Eisenhower victories over Stevenson, Ike did well with the large veteran vote, as the former WWII, European Theater Commander. Of course, the Democrats had won five straight presidential elections, and controlled Congress from 1930 until 1946. Even though they lost Congress for a two year period, the Democrats would regain their legislative domination until Ronald Reagan.

Since the end of the Truman Era, what happened to the demographics of the electorate? Well during the Depression, laboring men were able to unionize more easily and collectively bargain. Most women went along with how their husbands voted, African-Americans were disenfranchised in the South and Northern Blacks shifted from the Party of Lincoln to the Democrats after 1936. Interestingly, many women voted for Warren Harding in 1920. New England and the South were the most solid bastions of white Protestant English-heritage voting blocs. In their midst were Welsh, Scots, Dutch and Germans, with a smattering of Catholics and a tiny amount of Jews. The Southern States were States’ Rights Democrats, and often Republicans did not even have Electors (the Electoral College) on the ballot. The New England states, along with northern NY and rural Pennsylvania were dominated by white Protestants and Republicanism. In the cities, where immigrants had flocked since the late 1840s, there were the Catholics, first dominated by the Irish and then by the 1880s there was a new influx of Jews, Italians, Greeks, Slavs and Russians. These folks became the nucleus of the new Democratic electorate. In the sparsely settled West Democrats actually dominated many of the rural states and Republics ruled in California.

In most cases, the Republican Party dominated American politics from Lincoln in 1860 to FDR in 1932. In between the Democrats won four elections with Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson. In those years they benefitted by splits in the Republican electorate, corruption and the need for reform.

Today we are in the midst of a new revival of Nativism. The first period was in 1850s with the Know-Nothings, or the American Party. They were xenophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant and for sure racist.  The second period came in post WWI Era when severe and draconian laws were passed to limit immigration and restrict Jews, Southern European Catholics, and Eastern European Slavs and Russians from entering the country.  The old Republican cry of the 1880s, accusing Democrats of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion was echoed in the Harding Era immigration laws of 1921 and 1924.  The ruling class had seen enough of the type of immigrants from the period of the 1880s through 1914. They were sickened by WWI and feared internationalism. This fear would be dominant up until the beginning of WWII.