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The VMI Controversy

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Last year, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia, came under scrutiny for alleged acts of racial discrimination against black members of the corps of cadets. The controversy began with an article in the Washington Post, which was followed by a call by the governor of Virginia for an official state investigation into racism at VMI. Under pressure, VMI’s superintendent, who is equivalent to a college president, resigned and was replaced by a temporary superintendent, who is black. Pending the outcome of the state’s investigation, the school removed a statue of Confederate hero Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from the parade ground in front of barracks, where it had stood for many decades. The controversy raises interesting questions regarding independence, discrimination, state financial support of colleges and universities, and the concept of freedom. The controversy has particular interest for me because I graduated from VMI in 1972. One of the things that surprised me when I got to VMI was how important ...

Will Treason Mania Destroy America?

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At the start of the Biden era, America is being torn apart by more allegations of treason than at any time since the Civil War. Historian Henry Adams observed a century ago that politics “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” And few things spur hatred more effectively than tarring all political opponents as traitors. The Founding Fathers carved the Constitution in light of the horrific political abuses that had proliferated in England in prior centuries. That was why there was a narrow definition of treason in the Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” After the end of Reconstruction, treason charges became relatively rare in American politics. Wars were probably the biggest propellants, with anyone who ...

Would the Republicans Have Saved Us?

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If Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) had not gotten sick and resigned his Senate seat, then the title of this article would have been “Will the Republicans Save Us?” After serving in the Georgia state house and senate, Isakson served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2016. Although his Senate term did not expire until January 2023, in August 2019 he announced that because of his Parkinson’s disease and other health challenges, he was resigning his Senate seat effective at the end of 2019. Under Georgia law, the governor — Brian Kemp, a Republican — was allowed to make an appointment to fill the unexpired term until the next regularly scheduled statewide election (November 3, 2020). He selected Republican Kelly Loeffler, the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), who had never held political office. She assumed office in ...

Salvador Allende and the JFK Assassination, Part 1

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On September 11, 1973, Chilean Air Force Hawker Hunter jets attacked the National Palace in the nation’s capital, Santiago. The planes fired missiles into the palace with the aim of assassinating the nation’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, who, along with several of his supporters, was defending himself against the attacks on his life. The attack on Allende has profound ...