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Battle of Midway

October 21, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

The Battle of Midway was an epic clash between the U.S. Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy that played out six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy’s decisive victory in the air-sea battle (June 3-6, 1942) and its successful defense of the major base located at Midway Island dashed Japan’s hopes of neutralizing the United States as a naval power and effectively turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific.

Japan’s Ambitions in the Pacific

Japan’s efforts to establish clear naval and air superiority in the western Pacific first hit a snag in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, when the U.S. fleet turned back a Japanese invasion force headed for New Guinea. Despite the setback, Admiral Isaroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was convinced his forces enjoyed a numerical advantage over the Americans.

Hoping to replicate the success of the Pearl Harbor attack, Yamamoto decided to seek out and crush the rest of the U.S. Pacific fleet with a surprise attack aimed at the Allied base at Midway Island. Midway is located in the Pacific Ocean almost directly in between the United States and Japan.

After a diversionary attack by a smaller Japanese force on the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of Alaska, Yamamoto planned a three-pronged approach toward Midway. First, an air attack on the island launched from four first-line Japanese aircraft carriers, the Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu, commanded by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. Second, an invasion force of ships and soldiers led by Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo. And finally, once expected U.S. reinforcements from Pearl Harbor arrived, a joint strike by Nagumo’s forces and Yamamoto’s own fleet, which would be waiting 600 miles to the west.

The Battle of Midway.

U.S. Gains Advantage Thanks to Navy Codebreakers

U.S. Navy cryptanalysts had begun breaking Japanese communication codes early in 1942, and knew for weeks ahead of time that Japan was planning an attack in the Pacific at a location they called “AF.” Suspecting it was Midway, the Navy decided to send out a false message from the base claiming it was short of fresh water. Japan’s radio operators sent out a similar message about “AF” soon afterward, confirming the location of the planned attack.

With …read more

Source: HISTORY

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How Many US Presidents Have Faced Impeachment?

October 21, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

The framers of the Constitution intentionally made it difficult to remove a sitting president from office.

Only two U.S. presidents have been formally impeached by Congress—

Donald Trump: Impeachment Inquiry Launched in 2019

On October 9, 2019 in Washington, D.C., President Trump answers questions on a pending impeachment inquiry.

On September 24, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump regarding his alleged efforts to pressure the President of Ukraine to investigate possible wrongdoings by his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The decision to authorize the impeachment inquiry came after a leaked whistleblower complaint detailed a July phone conversation between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump allegedly tied Ukrainian military aid to personal political favors. The White House later released a reconstructed transcript of the phone call, which many Democrats argued demonstrated that Trump had abused his power.

As of this writing, the House Judiciary Committee has not yet passed articles of impeachment against the president, so the process is still in its early stages. The Trump case marks the fourth time in U.S. history that a president has been the subject of a formal House impeachment investigation.

Other Presidents Threatened with Impeachment

A significant number of U.S. presidents have faced calls for impeachment, including five of the past six Republican presidents. But few of those accusations were taken seriously by Congress.

There were even rumblings about impeaching the nation’s first president, George Washington, by those who opposed his policies. Those calls, however, did not reach the point of becoming formal resolutions or charges.

John Tyler was the first president to face impeachment charges. Nicknamed “His Accidency” for assuming the presidency after William Henry Harrison died after just 30 days in office, Tyler was wildly unpopular with his own Whig party. A House representative from Virginia submitted a petition for Tyler’s impeachment, but it was never taken up by the House for a vote.

Between 1922 and 1923, a congressman introduced two impeachment resolutions against Herbert Hoover. Both were eventually tabled by large margins.

More recently, both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were the subject of impeachment resolutions submitted by Henry B. Gonzales, a Democratic representative from Texas, but none of the resolutions were taken up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.

George W. Bush faced a slightly more …read more

Source: HISTORY

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WikiLeaks publishes the first documents leaked by Chelsea Manning

October 21, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On February 18, 2010, a relatively obscure website called WikiLeaks publishes a leaked diplomatic cable detailing discussions between American diplomats and Icelandic government officials. The leak of “Reikjavik13″ barely registered with the public, but it was the first of what turned out to be nearly 750,000 sensitive documents sent to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning. Manning is now considered one of the most prolific and significant whistleblowers in American history, as her leaks shed light on atrocities committed by American armed forces, painted a far grimmer picture of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and greatly embarrassed the United States’ diplomatic establishment.

Manning, an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, was deployed to Iraq in October of 2009. Her job gave her access to all manner of classified and sensitive information from various organs of state. On January 5th, 2010, she began downloading massive amounts of material, starting with 400,000 documents pertaining to the Iraq War. Manning put the information on a CD marked “Lady Gaga” in order to smuggle it home and upload it to her personal computer. On leave in the United States, she shopped the information to both The New York Times and The Washington Post but neither took an interest. She began sending material to WikiLeaks in early February, but again got no response.

Then, on February 18, Manning sent WikiLeaks the cable known as “Reykjavik13.” The site published it within hours. Manning later said that she felt the cable depicted the U.S. government “bullying” the government of Iceland, and hoped that the leak would put pressure on the U.S. to lend economic assistance. The incident would have been a tiny historical footnote if not for the leaks that followed. Throughout the spring of 2010, WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of documents leaked by Manning, oftentimes via The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian.

The diplomatic cables contained frank discussions of policy and American descriptions of foreign leaders, many of whom found cause to be offended, but other leaks revealed shocking truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning and WikiLeaks released multiple accounts and even videos of U.S. airstrikes that killed civilians, and the information they disclosed led watchdogs to estimate that American armed forces were responsible for over 10,000 more civilian deaths than they had officially acknowledged. As a whole, the leaks showed that the wars were not only going …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Martin Luther King, Jr.'s home is bombed

October 21, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On January 30, 1956, an unidentified white supremacist terrorist bombed the Montgomery home of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. No one was harmed, but the explosion outraged the community and was a major test of King’s steadfast commitment to non-violence.

King was relatively new to Montgomery, Alabama but had quickly involved himself in the civil rights struggle there. He was a leading organizer of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which began in December of 1955 after activist Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated city bus to a white passenger. The boycott brought King national recognition, but also made him a target of white supremacists. He was speaking at a nearby church on the evening of January 30 when a man pulled up in a car, walked up to King’s house, and tossed an explosive onto the porch. The bomb went off, damaging the house, but did not harm King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, who was inside with the couple’s seven-month-old daughter Yolanda.

News of the bombing spread quickly, and an angry crowd soon gathered outside King’s home. A matter of minutes after his home had been bombed, standing feet away from the site of the explosion, King preached non-violence. “I want you to love our enemies,” he told his supporters. “Be good to them, love them, and let them know you love them.” It was a prime example of King’s deeply-held belief in nonviolence, as what could have been a riot instead became a powerful display of the highest ideals of the Civil Rights Movement.

King added that “if I am stopped this movement will not stop,” a sentiment he repeated throughout his life. Later that same year, while the boycott was still in effect, someone fired a shotgun at the Kings’ home, and they continued to receive death threats and intimidation—including a threatening letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation—until King was assassinated in 1968. The bombing was only one chapter in a long history of violence against Civil Rights leaders and African Americans that continues to this day. Bombings, shootings and arson at African American churches remain shockingly common in the United States—a massacre committed by a white supremacist at a church in Charleston, South Carolina claimed nine lives in 2015, and in 2019 the son of a local sheriff’s deputy was arrested and charged …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to receive a medical degree

October 21, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

At a graduation ceremony at a church in Geneva, New York on January 23, 1849, Geneva Medical College bestows a medical degree upon Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to receive one. Despite the near-uniform opposition of her fellow students and medical professionals, Blackwell pursued her calling with an iron will and dedicated her life to treating the sick and furthering the cause of women in medicine.

Blackwell’s family was remarkable by any standard. Her father was a staunch abolitionist and both her brother and his wife were active in the women’s suffrage movement. Another sister-in-law was the first female minister to be ordained in a mainstream Protestant denomination, and Elizabeth’s younger sister Emily also studied medicine. A gifted student, Elizabeth felt compelled to become a doctor after a conversation with a dying friend, who told her that her ordeal had been that much worse because her physicians were all men. Elizabeth’s family approved of her ambition, but the rest of society still found the idea of female doctors laughable. It was, quite literally, a joke even to the men who accepted her to Geneva Medical College—the question of whether or not to accept a woman was put up to a vote of the students, who voted in favor as a practical joke. Nevertheless, Blackwell received her acceptance letter and started school in 1847.

Blackwell’s fellow students shunned her. So did the townspeople of Geneva. Her professors complained that teaching her was an inconvenience, and one even tried to stop her from attending a lesson on anatomy, fearing it would be immodest for her to be present. When Blackwell graduated, the dean of her school congratulated her in his speech but went as far as adding a note to the program stating that he hoped no more women would attend his school. The sentiment was echoed by the rest of the American medical community—a letter to the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal described her graduation as a “farce.” Again, Blackwell succeeded in the face of indignities, not only graduating but publishing her thesis in the Buffalo Medical Journal.

Blackwell set up a clinic for the poor of New York City, where she met what she described as “a blank wall of social and professional antagonism,” but remained determined to treat as many patients as possible. She founded a hospital, the New York Infirmary for Women …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Supreme Court Is Poised to Strike Down a Major Obama-Era Agency

October 21, 2019 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear what could end up being the most consequential case of the term — in a year where the justices are already taking up employment discrimination, the Second Amendment, abortion, DACA, school choice, and other issues of higher political salience. In Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Court will decide the constitutionality of an agency long criticized not just by the business community and free-market-oriented politicians but also by constitutional scholars who see major problems with its structure as a single-director agency seemingly unaccountable to the president or anyone else.

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The lawsuit was brought by a law firm that assists in resolving personal-debt issues, among other legal work that puts it in the crosshairs of those who, like Senator Elizabeth Warren, want greater regulation of consumer-facing financial services. When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Warren helped design as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, began an investigation into the firm’s practices, Seila Law argued that the agency’s structure was constitutionally defective. A federal district court in Santa Ana, Calif., rejected that claim, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed its ruling.

The CFPB is the most independent of independent agencies, with power to make rules, enforce them, adjudicate violations in its own administrative hearings, and punish wrongdoers. And yet a single director heads the agency, one who can be removed only “for cause” — malfeasance rather than, say, a change in presidential policy priorities. The CFPB doesn’t even need Congress to approve its budget, because its funding requests are rubber-stamped by another agency insulated from political control: the Federal Reserve. The CFPB has regulatory authority over 19 federal consumer-protection laws. This concentration of power in the hands of a single, unelected, unaccountable official is unprecedented and cannot be squared with the Constitution’s structure, or with its purpose of protecting individual liberty from government overreach.

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The Constitution created three co-equal …read more

Source: OP-EDS