John R. Houk
© August 11, 2014
Here is the next group of Presidents that may have been involved in impeachable crimes. In the last post of Nefarious Presidential Actions was Teddy to Harding. Just as a point of reprise these posts are in response to a G+ exchange between myself and Gideon Money who is one of the Liberals that can’t see past the Obama cover-up with the typical blind support for President Barack Hussein Obama and his impeachable actions:
Gideon fewer Executive Orders does not translate into less unConstitutional actions. Obama's EO's contradict the Constitution's Separation of Powers instituted by the Founding Fathers.
How so? Be specific and use SCOTUS precedent, not Fox talking points.
Calvin Coolidge: 8/2/1923 to 3/4/1929
At 2:30 on the morning of August 3, 1923, while visiting in Vermont, Calvin Coolidge received word that he was President. By the light of a kerosene lamp, his father, who was a notary public, administered the oath of office as Coolidge placed his hand on the family Bible.
Coolidge was "distinguished for character more than for heroic achievement," wrote a Democratic admirer, Alfred E. Smith. "His great task was to restore the dignity and prestige of the Presidency when it had reached the lowest ebb in our history ... in a time of extravagance and waste...." (Calvin Coolidge; WhiteHouse.gov)
Notorious for saying practically nothing when not giving a public speech, Calvin Coolidge takes the second spot of controversial-free presidents on this list. His no-nonsense presidency restored public faith in the office after the scandal-wracked presidency of Harding. (Calvin Coolidge; By Freeman Stevenson; Deseret News; 3/20/13 12:51 p.m. MDT)
Herbert Hoover: 3/4/1929 – 3/4/1933
As a kid growing up in Washington State, whenever Herbert Hoover’s name was mentioned in my family the look of disgust came from both my Grandmother and my Mother. My Grandmother was a young adult and mother of three children during the depression and my Mother was one of those children. Their memories of Conservative Republican President Hoover were not fond. My Grandmother and Mother idolized Hoover’s successor – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My family blamed Hoover for the Depression making them lifelong Democrats.
As much as the voting Americans blamed Hoover for the Great Depression he really did nothing impeachable. Hoover became unpopular and with about seven or eight months left in his term of Office in election year 1932 (Hoover would later loose in a landslide to FDR), an incident took place which was huge at the time. In 1924 WWI veterans were promised a bonus that would mature in 1945. By 1932 the Great Depression was in full swing in the USA with unemployed, homeless and hungry Americans all over the place. This included WWI veterans who were involved in the world’s most horrific war in terms wounded and killed in history. The WWI veterans began to grumble for an early payment of their promised 1945 bonus to occur in 1932. To protest WWI vets, their wives and children organized a march to Washington DC to make their grievance clear to Congress and President Hoover. The organized marchers called themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF) after the term used for the U.S. Army contingent sent to Europe to fight Kaiser Wilhelm’s German army in 1917. That contingent was called the American Expeditionary Force. The American press called the BEF the Bonus Army, the Bonus March or the Bonus Army March.
I have read three versions of what happened during this march. I can summarize the part that might have been impeachable for Hoover. The U.S. Army led by General Douglas MacArthur was sent to Washington DC to break up and disperse the BEF. Violent confrontation eventually took place and a few veterans died and wives and children were under threat of MacArthur led violence. The impeachable Offense was in using the Army as a police force in a domestic issue with the use of armed infantry and tanks. According to a Congressional Act passed in 1878, mobilizing the army to engage in police action on U.S. was supposed to be illegal without prior authorization from Congress. This law is still on the books today and is called the Posse Comitatus Act:
This article is about a United States statute prohibiting the use of the armed forces for law enforcement. For the sheriff's powers of law enforcement at common law, see posse comitatus. For the terrorist organization, see The Posse Comitatus.
The Posse Comitatus Act is a law of the United States (18 USC 1385) passed in 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, and was intended to prohibit Federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states. It generally prohibits Federal military personnel and units of the United States National Guard under Federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The original act only referred to the Army, but the Air Force was added in 1956 and the Navy and Marine Corps have been included by a regulation of the Department of Defense. This law is mentioned whenever it appears that the Department of Defense is interfering in domestic disturbances.
There are a number of exceptions to the act. These include
- National Guard units while under the authority of the governor of a state
- troops when used in pursuant to the Federal authority to quell domestic violence as was the case during the Rodney King riots
The relevant legislation is as follows:
Sec. 1385. - Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
The three versions I read have a bit different views of what happened with the most detailed being written by a person that begins by glorifying FDR as a person that “rewrote history”. The brief description is then clarified in the most positive of lights.
The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I's American Expeditionary Forces, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.
Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to back the effort and encourage them. On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. Veterans were also shot dead at other locations during the demonstration. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans' campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.
… Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the police to remove the Bonus Army veterans from their camp. When the veterans moved back into it, they rushed two policemen trapped on the second floor of a building. The cornered police drew their revolvers and shot two veterans, William Hushka and Eric Carlson, who died later.
At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, "Shame! Shame!"
After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and tear gas (adamsite, an arsenical vomiting agent) entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested. A veteran's wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas "didn't do it any good."
During the military operation, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, later the 34th President of the United States, served as one of MacArthur's junior aides. Believing it wrong for the Army's highest-ranking officer to lead an action against fellow American war veterans, he strongly advised MacArthur against taking any public role: "I told that dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there," he said later. "I told him it was no place for the Chief of Staff." Despite his misgivings, Eisenhower later wrote the Army's official incident report which endorsed MacArthur's conduct.
… READ ENTIRETY (Bonus Army; Wikipedia; last modified 7/24/14 at 22:39)
… Herbert Hoover was still president, an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers – 17,000 World War I veterans, plus their families, and affiliated groups – many being penniless and despairing – gathered in Washington, D.C. Their goal was simple: in the starving season of despair that engulfed America, now known as the Great Depression, the veterans rather reasonably begged for the early distribution of funds the government promised them. Specifically, they wanted immediate payment of a soldiers’ “bonus” promised by the World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924; the bonus was to be distributed in 1945 but if the men could receive it in 1932 it was estimated it would amount to approximately $500 per man.
The BEF marchers encamped in parks, dumps, abandoned warehouses, and empty stores. They were unarmed and determined to act like peaceful and law abiding citizens; they had taken care to ferret out and expel radicals preaching revolution and violence from their ranks. Despite their evident hunger they didn’t panhandle. To many observers they appeared too weak and pitiful to pose a menace; one reporter described them as “ragged, weary… with no hope on their faces.”
… It’s estimated that over one hundred thousand Washingtonians lined the streets as the veterans marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. …
… Their vigil became a test of endurance and heartbreak and was watched by the entire nation.
The President, his Attorney General William Mitchell, and most of Congress railed against the BEF as “dangerous insurgents” and “violent socialists.” The Hearst newspapers and other conservative organs decried them as radicals; many said there wasn’t a true veteran among their number, that they were fakes and frauds and criminals. Others took pity; truckloads of food arrived from goodhearted people all over the country. A hundred loaves of bread were shipped each day from a sympathetic baker and pies came from another. Many people worried about the women and children and a health inspector described the encampments spread around Washington as “extremely bad and unhealthful.” The men tried to raise money by staging boxing and wrestling bouts among themselves and charging the locals a small admission to watch; they willingly beat themselves into submission and raised about $2500.00 to buy food and small comforts.
… The police, under the supervision of a retired general named Pelham Glassford, tried to respond with a degree of kindness. After Hoover made it clear he was going to do absolutely nothing to alleviate their hardship, the police began to offer weak coffee, stale bread and watered down stew at six cents a day to the marchers. This enraged Hoover who said the police were pandering to criminals. Congress formally rebuked Glassford for ever allowing the marchers to enter the city in the first place. The police department’s small relief effort withered away under the glare of presidential and Congressional condemnation.
The BEF was a humiliation to the Administration and as summer wore on there was an overall hardening across the land against the BEF. The majority of the country’s newspapers took up the cause on behalf of Hoover, his Attorney General and those in Congress, all of whom continued to insist the marchers were dangerous socialists and anarchists, and that most had never served one day in service to their country. Typically, many Americans were persuaded by such official claims – but not all. Will Rogers said the BEF had the “record for being the best behaved” of any “hungry men assembled anywhere in the world” and some military leaders like General Billy Mitchell and Marine Corps General Smedley Butler had the courage to say the men should be paid their bonuses early.
… most military leaders agreed with Hoover. One of them, Brigadier General George Moseley, wanted the bonus marchers arrested and sent to “concentration camps on one of the sparsely inhabited islands of the Hawaiian group not suitable for growing sugar” so they could “stew in their own filth.” Moseley also thought that while the government was in the business of rounding up American citizens it might as well do it right and round up people of “inferior blood” (presumably to be handled in similar fashion). Remarkably, no one thought Moseley was a lunatic. Years later Dwight Eisenhower, who knew Moseley well, described him as “a brilliant” and “dynamic officer.”
On July 28th the Attorney General declared the BEF was “guilty of begging and other acts” and ordered police chief Glassford to evacuate all veterans encamped on any piece of government property. Police wielding nightsticks decided to first clear out abandoned buildings where some of the BEF squatted and their raid began peacefully enough because most of the marchers were taken by surprise and disorganized. Word spread quickly, however, and angry BEF reinforcements arrived from camps across town. They began to throw bricks and the police fired back; horrified, Glassford shouted orders for the police to hold their fire, but the skirmish cost two veterans their lives and several more were seriously wounded.
Hoover was appalled; he ordered Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley to deploy troops. Hoover also issued a communiqué announcing the military would “put an end to rioting and defiance of civil authority” and charging that the men who clashed with police were “entirely of the Communist element.”
Secretary of War Hurley gave the order to Four-Star General Douglas MacArthur. … A young career officer named Dwight D. Eisenhower was MacArthur’s aide and Ike strongly protested against military intervention; he warned his boss it was a “political matter for civilian authorities.” Specifically, he called the clash between the BEF and the police a “street corner brawl” and said it was inappropriate for a general to become involved in a local political issue.
MacArthur, of course, disagreed. “There is incipient revolution in the air!” he snapped. “We’re going to break the back of the BEF.”
On July 28, 1932, at 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. …
… The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested. A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas “didn’t do it any good.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 3/4/1933 to 4/12/1945
He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms. By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first "hundred days," he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
As the war [i.e. WWII] drew to a close, Roosevelt's health deteriorated, and on April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage. (Franklin D. Roosevelt; WhiteHouse.gov)
Gideon Money will decry the sources I use as information on FDR information. The reason being criticism of FDR is still considered a moral evil by Liberals-Leftists-Progressives just as criticism and exposés of Obama are considered a moral evil. So I am going to share some FDR criticism from ... READ THE REST at SlantRight 2.0