You are browsing the archive for 2019 September 26.

Avatar of admin

by admin

U.S. Whistleblowers First Got Government Protection in 1777

September 26, 2019 in History

By Christopher Klein

The Founding Fathers passed the country’s first whistleblower protection law just seven months after signing the Declaration of Independence. The government even footed the legal bills.

The U.S. government has long made protecting whistleblowers a priority. In fact, just seven months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress passed what Allison Stanger, author of Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump, called the “world’s first whistleblower protection law.”

The whistleblowers who sought protection were 10 American sailors and marines who had reported improper behavior by the Continental Navy’s most powerful man.

Having already answered the call of the new nation to take up arms against Great Britain, the officers gathered below the deck of the USS Warren on February 19, 1777 to sign a petition to the Continental Congress documenting abuses by their commander, Commodore Esek Hopkins. Lacking any legal protections for speaking out, the men understood that they could be branded as traitors for denouncing the highest-ranking American naval officer in the midst of war.

The brother of a former Rhode Island governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Hopkins had been appointed as the first commander in chief of the Continental Navy in December 1775. Although his brother was a member of the Continental Congress, Hopkins held the body in low regard and repeatedly defied its orders and blamed others for his failings.

“He has been guilty of such crimes as render him quite unfit for the public department he now occupies,” wrote the 10 petitioners, who worried that sailors would quit in service of their country if Hopkins remained in power. In addition to the petition, sailors detailed the commodore’s quick temper, misconduct and poor character in signed personal affidavits.

“I know him to be a man of no principles, and quite unfit for the important trust reposed in him,” wrote James Sellers, who accused Hopkins of cursing the marine committee of the Continental Congress as “a pack of damned fools” and treating “prisoners in a very unbecoming barbarous manner” in violation of orders that British captives be “well and humanely treated.” Chaplain John Reed echoed the complaints of “inhuman” treatment of prisoners and added that Hopkins was “remarkably addicted to profane swearing” and set “a most irreligious and impious example.”

United States Naval Admiral Esek Hopkins.

The Continental Congress Backs the Whistleblowers

Driven by what he …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why the 'Radical' Brady Bunch Almost Never Got Made

September 26, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

It’s been burned into generations of brains: the story of a lovely lady and a man named Brady whose marriage creates a blended family of eight (not counting Alice, Tiger or Cousin Oliver). Today, The Brady Bunch is viewed as classic, family-friendly entertainment—not scandalous or challenging fare by any means.

But though the show is a beloved, safe-seeming staple for modern audiences, it was groundbreaking when it was first conceived—so groundbreaking that it almost never got made.

The history of The Brady Bunch begins in 1966, when TV producer Sherwood Schwartz read a news item in the Los Angeles Times that claimed 30 percent of marriages involved children from a previous relationship. Now, in 1966 this was a new phenomenon,” he later hit theaters. Based on a true story, the film follows Frank Beardsley, a U.S. Navy officer with ten children, and Helen North, a nurse with eight children. Both of their spouses have died, and despite their fear of blending their large broods, their mutual attraction leads to marriage and a massive new family. The couple learn to manage their 18 children (with one on the way) through a combination of hilarious mistakes and military tactics.

Starring Lucille Ball as North and Henry Fonda as Beardsley, the film was not received well by critics. But the public loved it, and it grossed over $25 million in box office receipts (over $180 million in modern dollars).

Two years after he pitched the networks, Schwartz’s idea seemed long dead. The movie—with a premise extremely close to the one he had developed—could have been the nail in its coffin. Instead, it resurrected the idea at ABC.

Later, Schwartz recalled the movie as “serendipity”: a chance to have another piece of intellectual property prove the success of his concept for him. “A big hit in another medium [gives] executives an ‘excuse for failure,’” he wrote in his 2010 book on the Brady Bunch.

Now that ABC/Paramount knew the public was interested in stories about big, blended families, Schwartz had an in. The network ordered 13 shows and was set for a 1969 premiere. The film had helped greenlight the TV show, but the similarities between both sparked potential legal trouble for Schwartz. Since it was based on a true story, Schwartz knew he could not allege that Yours Mine and Ours had copied his idea.

Instead, the film’s producer …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Rita Moreno becomes the first Hispanic woman to win an Oscar

September 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On April 9, 1962, Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno becomes the first Hispanic woman to win an Oscar, for her role of Anita in West Side Story (1961).

Moreno, who was born in Puerto Rico in 1931 and grew up in Long Island, New York, began acting at a young age, landing her first Broadway role at the age of 13. Later in life, Moreno recalled her early career as a time when the only roles available to her were stereotypes: “The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns … it was humiliating, embarrassing stuff.” Nonetheless, she was successful, appearing in a supporting role in the The King and I, which won five Academy Awards in 1956.

A few years later, she was cast in the role of her lifetime: Anita in the film remake of the musical West Side Story. While many of the actors, including leads Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, did not perform their own singing parts, Moreno recorded most of Anita’s songs herself. One such song was “America,” a piece with heavy Latin influences in which characters both celebrate the experience of Puerto Rican immigrants and decry their adopted country’s racism.

West Side Story was an enormous success, winning ten Oscars including Best Picture. As she accepted her award for Best Supporting Actress, a bewildered Moreno kept her acceptance speech concise: “I can’t believe it. Good Lord! I leave you with that.”

Despite this triumph, Moreno remained disenchanted with Hollywood and did not work on another film until 1968′s The Night of the Following Day. She returned to regular film and television work and in 1975 won a Tony Award, again for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in The Ritz. For most of the ’70s, Moreno was a member of the main cast of the popular children’s show The Electric Company. Her appearance on another children’s program, The Muppet Show, earned her her Emmy and, with it, the coveted EGOT—an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award—in 1977.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

It's High Time to Reassess the United States’ Relationship with Ukraine

September 26, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Washington’s relationship with Ukraine has become the latest football in America’s partisan politics. Democrats charge that the Trump administration illegitimately put a new military aid package to Kiev on hold, using it as leverage to pressure Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to include in his investigation of the previous government’s notorious corruption the activities of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son.

,

The younger Biden had a lucrative post on the board of directors of a large Ukrainian natural gas company with close ties to that government. President Trump vehemently denies the allegation that he was improperly trying to coerce Kiev into harassing the Bidens. Zelensky’s administration emphasizes that it wants to stay out of America’s bitter political warfare.

Largely lost in all the partisan maneuvering and bickering is a more important issue: the nature of Washington’s overall relationship with Ukraine and whether that relationship really serves America’s best interests. To examine that issue it is important to overcome an especially tenacious foreign policy myth: that Trump has engaged in an appeasement policy toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The appeasement accusation was an integral part of the “Russia collusion” narrative that not even the politically biased staff of former special counsel Robert Mueller could substantiate.

The reality is that the Trump administration’s Russia policy has been noticeably more uncompromising and confrontational than the approach Barack Obama adopted, and nowhere is that aspect more evident than with respect to Ukraine. It may not be a wise policy, but it is decidedly hardline.

,

,

Despite explicit congressional authorizations, Obama refused to sell arms to Kiev, believing (with good reason) that such a step would exacerbate already serious Ukrainian-Russian tensions, and even more worrisome, exacerbate U.S.-Russian tensions. Conversely, the Trump administration approved two major arms sales to Ukraine during its first two years. The latter sale in the spring of 2018 even included Javelin anti-tank missiles.

The new arms package that Trump temporarily delayed was the third …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Labor organizer and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez begins hunger strike

September 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On May 1, 1972, Mexican-American labor organizer and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez begins a hunger strike. The strike, which he undertook in opposition to an Arizona law severely restricting farm workers’ ability to organize, lasted 24 days and drew national attention to the suffering of itinerant farm workers in the Southwest.

A fervent admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, Chavez had undertaken several hunger strikes before. As a co-founder of the United Farm Workers, he and his strikes had played important roles in many major labor actions, including the five-year Delano Grape Strike in California. In response to the wave of organizing that had swept the region, Arizona’s legislature passed a bill that constricted workers’ rights to organize, outlawed secondary boycotts, and allowed growers to obtain a restraining order to prevent strikes during the harvest. Despite an outcry from farm workers and Chavez’s request that they meet to discuss the bill, Governor Jack Williams immediately signed it into law. Later that day, Chavez began his fast.

READ MORE: When Millions of Americans Stopped Eating Grapes in Support of Farm Workers

An increasingly emaciated Chavez appeared regularly at mass, attended by his supporters and others from the civil rights movement. Coretta Scott King, whose husband Martin Luther King, Jr. had supported Chavez in his previous strikes, attended one such mass, as did Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. Chavez referred to the strike as “a fast of sacrifice,” repeatedly reminding observers that his suffering was meant to represent the daily suffering of farm workers. Finally, after 24 days, he ended his fast at a memorial mass for Bobby Kennedy, who had thrown his political support behind Chavez’s cause in the years prior to his 1968 assassination. The following year, Chavez and the UFW organized another major agricultural strike, the Lettuce Growers Strike, and in1975 California passed a landmark law affirming workers’ rights to boycott and to collective bargaining.

READ MORE: Cesar Chavez: His Life and Legacy

…read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Joseph Marion Hernández becomes the first Hispanic elected to Congress

September 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On September 30, 1822, Joseph Marion Hernández becomes the first Hispanic to be elected to the United States Congress. Born a Spanish citizen, Hernández would die in Cuba, but in between he became the first non-white person to serve at the highest levels of any of three branches of the American federal government.

Hernández belonged to a St. Augustine family that came to Florida as indentured servants. Despite these humble beginnings, records show that his family eventually became wealthy enough to own property and several slaves, and that Hernández was educated both in both Georgia and in Cuba. Throughout the 1810s, the United States made a variety of efforts to take Florida from the Spanish, finally succeeding after Andrew Jackson led an army through the territory in the First Seminole War. What Hernández did during this time is unclear, but he was either very savvy or very lucky—he fought the Americans during the war and received substantial amounts of land from the Spanish government, but then pledged loyalty to the United States and was allowed to keep his three plantations when the territory changed hands in 1819. It was then that Hernández changed his name from José Mariano to Joseph Marion.

The newly-acquired Florida Territory was allowed to elect a delegate to congress, but that delegate did not have voting privileges. Florida’s legislative council elected Hernández to represent the territory. During his brief tenure—he served for less than a year before losing his re-election bid—Hernández was instrumental in facilitating the transition from Spanish to American government in Florida. In addition to securing the property rights of many Floridians who remained after the annexation, he also advocated for roads and infrastructure to bind the new territory together and make it an attractive candidate for statehood.

He went on to fight in the Second Seminole War, helping his adopted nation drive the natives from its new territory. The war saw the loss of two of his plantations, however, as well the destruction of his political ambitions after he was involved in an incident in which an American contingent captured a number of Seminoles despite approaching them under a flag of truce. Hernández later served as Mayor of St. Augustine before retiring to Cuba, where he died in 1857.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

George Washington Warned Us about Saudi Arabia

September 26, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

President Donald Trump wants to outsource U.S. policy to Riyadh. After the recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, he tweeted that his administration was “locked and loaded,” but was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” He later ordered American forces to Saudi Arabia to garrison the Middle East’s most brutally repressive and dangerously aggressive state.

,

Since he himself ventured to Riyadh in 2017—his first foreign trip—Trump has consistently sacrificed America’s national interests in catering to the preferences of the Saudi royal family. His administration backed the regime’s brutal attack on Yemen, ignored Riyadh’s continuing support for Islamic radicalism, and said little about their mounting human rights violations. Now he is acting as if American armed forces constitute the royals’ personal bodyguards, at the crown prince’s beck and call.

It was fear of precisely this kind of obsequious subservience to foreign nations and interests that prompted President George Washington to issue his famous 1796 Farewell Address. Obviously America’s position in the world was very different then. The former colonies were still forging their disparate communities into a nation. The United States was a weak, marginal player in a world dominated by empires. Great Britain and Spain retained interests in and forces on the North American continent, while France maintained Caribbean colonies.

,

,

Centuries later, however, Washington’s words still resonate. His message was clear: “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”

Tragically the Trump administration’s Middle East policy illustrates both sides of the equation. …read more

Source: OP-EDS