Oops! Pardon Me

There’s a fair amount of political buzz about the possibility of President Obama pardoning Hillary. We have a long history of presidential pardons that raise intriguing questions. If you’re interested, read my article. I deal with these questions:

  1. Can a President issue a pardon for anticipated indictments?
  2. Can a President issue a pardon for an indictment even though the individual has not yet been convicted?
  3. Can a President issue a pardon for someone lawfully convicted and in prison?
  4. So, what about Hillary?

Let me know what you think. If you have something you’re wondering about in current news, please let me know.

 

Failed States in the Middle East

I recently gave a presentation on Failed States in the Middle East. It included an update on the precarious situation in the “Stans” of Central Asia. We have a personal interest in Kazakhstan since we’ve been there twice and have friends there. Even though these nations are generally off our radar, it’s important to keep an eye on Islamic radicalization wherever it is progressing.
Failed States in the Middle East May 9, 2015

If you prefer to download the recording, here’s the link: Failed States in the Middle East (right click and save as)
The mildly annoying crackling sound is a result of the recording device being in my shirt pocket. Sorry.

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America First: Have We Been There Before?

“America First,” has widespread appeal right now, but it’s not new. The America First movement of the 1930’s has strong similarities. Charles Lindbergh was its prominent spokesman. Besides keeping Jews fleeing the holocaust from entering the U.S., it hindered FDR’s efforts to prepare the nation for the possibility of war. It was the attack on Pearl Harbor that quieted the America First movement then. What do you think about today’s push for” America First”?

What Does Andrew Jackson Tell Us About the Cruz – Kasich Deal?

When I heard about Ted Cruz and John Kasich agreeing to work together to keep Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination, I began looking for historical precedents. The best I can come up with is the presidential election of 1824. There were four candidates and no winner. In the deal to keep Andrew Jackson from the presidency, John Quincy Adams won the office for one term. Jackson called it “a corrupt bargain.” It’s a cautionary tale. What do you think of the Cruz – Kasich deal?

 

Arab Spring Five Years Later

Last night I began a four-part Middle East series for Davenport and Bettendorf Public Libraries sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. Some people who weren’t able to make it to the presentation asked for the recording. Here it is. Hope you enjoy it. I would really like to have your comments. If you questions about this topic or others, feel free to ask. While you’re here, please sign up on the right so I can keep in touch with you via email.

If you prefer to download the recording, here’s the link: Arab Spring Five Years Later

Cuba Si Yankee Si

We’ve been through a long history of “Cuba Si, Yankee No.” President Obama along with our Congressional Representative, Cheri Bustos, are in Cuba building on restored relationships, but our history with Cuba dates back to the Ostend Manifesto before the Civil War. After the Civil War, Cuba became a U.S. protectorate and we permanently acquired Guantanamo Bay. FDR’s “Good Neighbor Policy” changed that, but relations deteriorated when Castro came to power.  The economic embargo is still in place, but dilomatic relations have resumed and changes initiated by Pope Francis are taking place. For more background on Cuba, watch my Guantanamo series. I think it was time for change. What do you think?

How Did We React to Refugees in the Past?

Is there anything in our history comparable to our current refugee situation? Yes, the year was 1798.

A bit of necessary background first–The French Revolution which began in 1789 reached its most radical and horrid stage with its Reign of Terror from 1792-5 which unleashed an exodus, many to the U.S. and others to Canada. As a two party system began to develop in this era, most of these refugees gravitated to the party of Jefferson and Madison which will impact our story. Continue reading How Did We React to Refugees in the Past?

What Do the Iranian Election Results Mean?

Iranians are proud of their democratic elections, though we would hardly call them “democratic.” They’re rigged as much as possible against regime opponents. Still, moderates won a fairly decisive victory. It looks from early idications like Obama’s gamble is working. Don’t get me wrong, the levers of power are still in the hands of the hard-liners, but I’m not sure how long they can hang on. A good part of the youth of Iran is disaffected. Women are gaining ground.  If you look closely, you can see a parallel in our policies toward Cuba and Iran. That’s my opinion. What do you think? Please comment.