May 18, 2024


How The Dollar Came To Dominate The World

STATON: How The Dollar Came To Dominate The World

Long before the establishment of the US dollar as a nationwide currency, a fractured nation was debating on how to establish itself financially.

Long before the establishment of the US dollar as a nationwide currency, a fractured nation was debating on how to establish itself financially.

Alexander Hamilton served as the first secretary of the treasury of the United States and committed himself to a deep study of the history of economies and currency. After much study, Hamilton found that establishing a national bank and currency was critical to creating a strong national economy.

At the time, this was a controversial idea as the Constitution did not give Congress incorporation powers. But Washington struck a deal with Hamilton to lobby for this national bank. Hamilton agreed to promote the moving of the nation’s capital to a new location which would later be Washington, D.C., while Washington conceded to support the establishment of a national bank under the purview of the “necessary and proper” clause in Article 1, section 8 of the constitution.

Hamilton’s study of economic power led him to lay out a vision for a debt-based economy, and a national bank was incorporated. Eventually, that led to the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 when Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law.

Not long after the establishment of the Federal Reserve, we saw the printing of money, with the bank printing $10 bills with Andrew Jackson’s face starting in 1914.

But, it wasn’t until the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944 that the US dollar was officially championed as the world reserve currency. This was because the US had supplied all the allies with weapons and supplies for World War II, and the allied nations didn’t have much gold left for their own currencies. So, the US dollar was exchangeable for gold, and every other country that met in Bretton, Massachusetts agreed to peg their currencies to the US dollar.

Why Did the Dollar Ditch the Gold Standard?

In short, to fight inflation and to protect the US’ gold stockpiles. On April 5, 1933, President Roosevelt demanded all Americans turn in gold bullion worth more than $100. This, according to Keynesian economic theory was one way to fight an economic downturn, as masses of Americans were hoarding gold. By May 10, the US Government had collected over $770 million in gold bullion and certificates. After this, the US maintained a $35 per ounce price floor for gold until August 15, 1971, when President Nixon announced that the US would no longer convert dollars to gold at a fixed rate.

So, with the US ditching the gold standard, would anything replace it to uphold the value of the currency, besides faith in the US?

The Era of the Petrodollar

After the ditching of the gold standard, the dollar began losing value worldwide. On top of that, the Yom Kippur war resulted in an oil embargo placed on the US for their support of Israel. With these two issues facing the country, then-US Secretary of the Treasury William Simon and US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger saw a way out.

In 1974, Simon made a deal with the then-Saudi King Faisal that has been one of the most defining economic deals of the last half-century. In that deal, Saudi Arabia agreed to only take payment for oil in US dollars in exchange for weapons and protection from the US. This created a huge need for US dollars in trading for oil. In addition, now all of the oil-producing countries needed something to do with their surplus of dollars, and the US provided a great landing place: US debt securities. This process was coined “petrodollar recycling,” referring to the cycle of US dollars being traded for oil and recycled back into the US economy.

The petrodollar agreement was widely unknown until about 2016, but there are some rumors that the agreement might be coming to an end. Saudi Arabia has entertained the idea of accepting payment in Yuan for Chinese oil, which would threaten the overall strength of the dollar.

Lessons From the Dollar’s Rise

In reflecting upon the dollar’s meteoric rise to power, a few general conclusions can be made. First, the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. This gives the US a “home-field advantage” over other countries competing for this status. Second, the US has a playbook to use in defending its turf as the reserve currency. Given the fact that the US has held this status since 1944, the world is conditioned to view dollars as being valuable, something that would take quite some time to undo. Third, the US needs to maintain some backing behind its currency to preserve faith when institutions are being questioned.

The question of how we can save the dollar will be addressed in my next article, but I think it is important to reflect upon our past to best address our future options. The dollar is still the most powerful currency, but it must be handled responsibly to preserve its status. As John Adams wrote, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” We must guard our republic and our currency with this attitude, or we might quickly find ourselves in the museum of fallen empires.

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What is a Natural Born Citizen?

| What Are Individual Rights? Definition and Examples

By Robert Longley – from

Individual rights are the rights needed by each individual to pursue their lives and goals without interference from other individuals or the government. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the United States Declaration of Independence are typical examples of individual rights.

Individual Rights Definition

Individual rights are those considered so essential that they warrant specific statutory protection from interference. While the U.S. Constitution, for example, divides and restricts the powers of the federal and state governments to check their own and each other’s power, it also expressly ensures and protects certain rights and liberties of individuals from government interference. Most of these rights, such as the First Amendment’s prohibition of government actions that limit the freedom of speech and the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms, are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Other individual rights, however, are established throughout the Constitution, such as the right to trial by jury in Article III and the Sixth Amendment, and the Due Process of Law Clause found in the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment

Many individual rights protected by the Constitution deal with criminal justice, such as the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable governmental searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment’s well-known right against self-incrimination. Other individual rights are established by the U.S. Supreme Court in its interpretations of the often vaguely worded rights found in the Constitution.

Individual rights are often considered in contrast to group rights, the rights of groups based on the enduring characteristics of their members. Examples of group rights include the rights of an indigenous people that its culture should be respected and the rights of a religious group that it should be free to engage in collective expressions of its faith and that its sacred sites and symbols should not be desecrated.

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Remove Congress from Washington

Making laws shouldn’t be a full-time job—the idea that we’d treat it as such would have struck the delegates to the first United States Congress as very peculiar

We’ve seen so many photographs of Washington pols flouting their own rules on social distancing and so forth that new stories about this or that congressman caught in flagrante are barely worth reading. We already know the story: People in government live such cosseted, enchanted lives that they seem surprised we even bother to get outraged. Of course they don’t follow the rules they make for us—why should they? 

It’s easy to see why our senators and congressmen get such swelled heads: The salary is $174,000 per year (Nancy Pelosi, as speaker, gets $223,500, which she apparently spends entirely on hair styling). Meanwhile, real median income in the United States was $36,000 per year in 2019. So, to start with, our congressmen believe the work they do is worth five times the work the average American does. 

But salary is the least significant part of the story: U.S. Representatives get an average of $1.4 million per year in office expenses, which includes $945,000 per year for staff. To put this into perspective, the Encyclopedia of the United States Congress reports that, before the Civil War, congressmen had neither staff nor offices and “most members worked at their desks on the floor.” Imagine that. 

Having a huge staff makes the real difference in how our representatives live. They have “administrative assistants” (servants) to take care of all the details that we ordinary people have to tend to ourselves: We have to book our own travel tickets, make our own doctors’ appointments, get our own cars serviced. We have to spend time on hold with the credit card company, the insurance company, the phone company, the internet company. Real life involves being on hold a lot.  

Our representatives don’t do any of this: They have people to be on hold for them. Their insurance is arranged for. They don’t have to call the doctor to reschedule appointments. And you can be damned sure that none of the people who voted for a ban on plastic shopping bags (as exists in New York, Seattle, California, and other leftist utopias) ever have to buy their own groceries. Real life contains a lot of these little nuisances. In fact, these nuisances are precisely what makes life difficult for regular people: Buying our own groceries was already enough of a pain before we had to remember to take reusable bags to the store. But Mayor Bill de Blasio wouldn’t know anything about that. 

More than anything else, personal assistants separate politicians from their worst creation: bureaucracy. Congressmen don’t wait in line at the DMV. They don’t stand in line to mail their own packages. They don’t apply for licenses or permits. They don’t do their own taxes to save a little money. They don’t do paperwork. They don’t fill out forms. They are totally isolated from the red tape which they inflict on the rest of us. No wonder they think government works so well: They never have to experience it. (And neither do their kids, whom they keep well clear of public schools.) 

In a previous piece, I suggested some remedies, such as fixing congressional salaries to the median income and requiring politicians to use the public services they endorse—which should include riding the subway and sending their kids to the worst-performing public school in their constituency. 

But there is a more fundamental remedy available: In 1790, when Congress seated representatives from all 13 states for the first time, there were 65 congressmen representing, as reported by our first census, a population of 3.9 million. Which means each congressman represented about 60,000 constituents. But as the population grew, we realized that of course you can’t fit an arbitrarily large number of people in a single building, so the Apportionment Act of 1911 limited congress to its current 435 seats. Today, congressmen represent an average of three-quarters of a million constituents: It is representation on a totally different scale. 

But if there is one thing that politicians can claim they successfully helped us prove in 2020, it’s that all sorts of businesses can function perfectly well from home.  

Congress could do that. 

Now that we no longer need to be in the same room to discuss the issues (not that real debate has happened on the House floor in recent decades) it’s obvious that congressmen and senators could better represent their constituents if they were closer to them, living in their own states and dealing with local issues. The beltway high life must be pretty distracting, after all. So how about this: Congress can do remote. Congress can Zoom. No more fancy office buildings in D.C.. No taxpayer-funded second homes. No office staff. Representatives can live like the people they represent. 

The Capitol Building could be preserved as a reminder of a simpler, earlier time, when congressmen worked alone all day at their desks and Americans were welcome to walk in whenever they pleased. 

And let’s scrap the Apportionment Act, which is just a regular law, not in the Constitution, and instead have one representative for every 60,000 Americans, just as we had at our founding. Congressional districts would be small enough that constituents could actually get in touch with their congressmen. And congressmen themselves, of whom there would be about 5500, would be relatively unimportant, just as our founders intended. 

Making laws shouldn’t be a full-time job—the idea that we’d treat it as such would have struck the delegates to the first United States Congress as very peculiar. Texas, whose legislature meets every other year, has the right idea: Our representatives should be gainfully employed doing regular-people things most of the time. Above all, they should be required to live life on the same terms as “we the people.” That means booking your own appointments, waiting on hold, and standing in line. I can’t afford a personal assistant. And, when you’re spending my tax dollars, neither can you.

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What if It’s Proven that Joe Biden and the Democrats Didn’t Win the 2020 Election But They Refuse to Give Up Power?

By Richard Sellin – August 20, 2021

What if, or when, it is unequivocally proven that Joe Biden and other Democrats did not legitimately win the 2020 election, but they refuse to give up power?

What then?

I think it is a scenario for which we should be prepared because elections without meaning leave us with a stark choice between submission to a one-party totalitarian state or rebellion.

It has been evident for a long time that, although we have had elections, we have not had a representative government.

The United States now has a bona fide ruling class that both controls and transcends government, which sees itself as distinct from the rest of society and as the only element that may act on its behalf. The ruling class considers those who resist it as having no moral, intellectual or even any civil right to do so.

Republican leaders neither contest that view nor vilify their Democrat counterparts because they do not want to challenge the ruling class, they want to be part of it.

The GOP leadership has gradually solidified its choice to no longer represent what had been its constituency, but to adopt the identity of junior partners in the ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the views of Republican voters, the leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans.

Most Americans believe that we are no longer citizens of a constitutional republic, but subjects of an administrative aristocracy composed of a self-absorbed permanent political class, which serves the interests of international financiers at the expense of U.S. citizens.

They maintain their authority by an ever-expanding and increasingly intrusive federal government and use compliant media to manipulate public perception and opinion in order to maintain the illusion of democracy.

From the perspective of the ruling elites, elections have become little more than occasions to redistribute power among themselves.

For the international financiers, it does not matter who wins as long as they can continue to influence policy through their lobbies and political donations.

The 2020 election results appear to have been intentionally manipulated by those elites to permanently consolidate their power and rule by fiat, spelling the end of the American constitutional republic.

We are faced with a situation where all the traditional means for the American people to seek the redress of grievances have been blocked.

That is, the federal government has seceded from the American people.

The present political environment, that is, the separation between the rulers and the ruled, bears comparison to the events leading up to the American Revolution.

In contrast to what Thomas Paine wrote in the “Rights of Man” (1791), the current ruling elites in Washington D.C. see individual rights as privileges, not endowed by God, but granted via political charter, and, thereby, legally revocable to ensure the “good order” of society.

It is a collectivist philosophy that directly conflicts with the principles outlined in the Constitution, where government is a construct of and accountable to its citizens, as Paine noted:

“The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.”

In other words, whenever the interests of government officials divert from or are in conflict with those of the people, tyranny ensues.

Today the federal government has become an entity unto itself operating outside of Constitutional constraints and unaccountable to the American people.

It is, therefore, not just a right, but an obligation of the American people to take correctional measures when such deviations from liberty arise, as Founding Father John Adams noted:

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”

The present conflict of interests between the rulers and the ruled represented by the corrupt political status quo is unsustainable.

Now that it is clear that the blatant and outrageous lies emanating from the ruling elites are no longer sufficient to soothe the citizenry into complacency, they must curtail liberty and oppress the people in order to remain in power.

Ordinary Americans must band together and take a stand to restore the Constitution and the rule of law, to establish political and fiscal sanity and to return the government to the people.

In a speech to the Illinois Republican State Convention on June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln had this to say about the issue of slavery:

“In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed – A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

The United States is at a similar inflection point in history. We will be all one thing or the other, a constitutional republic or, if the present situation continues, a one-party, totalitarian state.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is retired from an international career in business and medical research with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution.” His email address is [email protected].

How Christmas Eve 1776 changed the world forever

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my children may have peace.” – Thomas Paine

We must remember, mankind allows that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protections of civil government.” – George Washington

The greatest Christmas gift the world received was the night of our savior’s birth. And its greatest gift to world freedom came on Christmas Eve, 1776, on the banks of the Delaware River – America.

The birthing of America was not easy. Only a third of the colonists supported a Revolution. It pitted neighbors against neighbors. These patriots were not only rebelling against the British. They were fighting other colonists who were loyal to British King George, parliament and the English church.

Often overlooked are the “fence sitters” who were content living free from monarchical dominance. They enjoyed colonial religious and economic freedoms, and tolerated the British as a necessary evil. The patriots needed to earn the support from these neutralists in order to win the Revolution.

The patriots humiliated the Loyalists in public and subjected them to violence, intimidation, ridicule and harassment. They vandalized their property and burned down their businesses. Even families were divided. Ben Franklin’s son William, governor of New Jersey, was loyal to the king.

“He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.” – Ben Franklin

Colonists who did not join the patriots united with the British as obedient subjects. Others thought they could profit from selling arms and war supplies to the British without true allegiance to anyone.

Patriots had been building support for the Revolution since the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. In severe debt, the British enacted the 1765 abusive Stamp and the 1767 Townshend Acts. Following the patriots 1773 Tea Party in Boston Harbor, they passed The Coercive Acts in 1774. And that was the final insult the patriots needed to win the war of propaganda against the British!

Gifted orators like Patrick Henry and Enlightenment thinkers John Locke and Thomas Paine kept the momentum for revolution growing with colonial statesmen, politicians and with uneasy patriots.

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my children may have peace.” – Thomas Paine

No man in the colonies was more persuasive with the commoners and the peasants in promoting the Revolutionary War than Enlightenment thinker and gifted English writer Thomas Paine. He had led reform movements in Europe and Paine inspired farmers, workers and commoners to revolt.

Paine went from towns, hamlets and villages distributing copies of his 90-page booklet, “Common Sense.” Paine preached the rewards and the substantiality of independence to patriots who never dreamed it was an option.

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” – Thomas Paine

On April 18, 1775, the British marched from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts, to seize stockpiled colonial weapons. Paul Revere rode through the streets of Boston rallying the patriots: “The British are coming, the British are coming!” The next day, when the patriots and the Redcoats clashed at Lexington and Concord, it was “the shot heard round the world.” This signified the beginning of the Revolution and, most importantly, it marked the birthing of America as the guardian of global liberty.

When the minutemen fired the first shots of the Revolution, the Redcoats were well prepared. They had superior weapons, ammo, uniforms and abundant food and medical supplies. They were ready to defend their turf. They were prepared to fight a marathon battle to stop the colonial insurrection.

On the other hand, the colonies had a volunteer army with no central government and little money. They sent troops to the Continental Army, but kept many behind to protect themselves. Many of the colonies were more concerned for self-survival, while the British were determined to win the war.

Late in 1776, the Revolutionary War looked like it was a lost cause. The patriots lacked uniforms, food, ammunition and weapons and some were even shoeless. There was tremendous suffering from cold and starvation. A series of defeats had depleted morale, and many had already deserted.

In the bitter cold on Christmas Eve 1776, dogged by pelting sleet and snow, George Washington knelt in prayer at McKonkey’s Ferry asking the Lord for the right words to inspire his troops to keep going. They needed to cross the Delaware River for a surprise attack on the British.

Historian James Cheetham wrote, “As Washington mounted his horse that night he pulled a draft of Thomas Paine’s ‘American Crisis’ from his saddle bag. As he began reading it, he knew that it was the answer to his prayers. When he returned to camp he ordered it read to his troops immediately.”

“The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives a thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” – Thomas Paine

The next morning, Christmas Day 1776, Washington’s army crossed the icy Delaware and won two crucial battles. He defeated the British at Trenton and a week later he executed a daring night raid to capture Princeton on January 3. This gave control of New Jersey to America and turned around the morale and unified the colonial army. Washington’s insightful reading of “The American Crisis” on Christmas Eve 1776 turned a humbling defeat into a glorious victory for the American patriots!

Shortly after the war John Adams remarked: “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” Washington’s men basked in its victory at Trenton since they had defeated a much mightier foe. Moreover, they realized Washington was a true leader and he could unite the colonies into a strong nation. Washington’s faith in the Lord and his respect for the scholarly works of our Enlightenment thinkers like Thomas Paine, John Locke and others would help him articulate the Philadelphia Convention and write the world’s longest lasting constitution.

The Lord guided Washington to victory on Christmas in 1776 at a time America needed a miracle to become a nation. He showed our founders how to form a more perfect union of states in 1787. He has continued to bless this nation in so many ways since 1776. Let us pray He will help us unite this divided nation so we can always defend our liberty. Merry Christmas.

“It is written in the Bible that the Great Author of the Universe has provided man the authority for self government. It is His providence we shall respect to guide this nation.” – George Washington

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History repeats itself: Untested vaccines, adverse events and vaccine rollout suspensions

Judi Roberts was a perfectly healthy young woman when she took a swine flu vaccine in November 1976. Two weeks later, she felt numbness starting up her legs, and by the following week, she was totally paralyzed.

Roberts, the wife of Polk Republican Party Chairman Gene Roberts, was a quadriplegic for six months and confined mostly to a wheelchair for over a year. She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Weakness and tingling in the extremities are usually the first symptoms of the disease.

In a 1979 interview with the CBS investigative news program “60 Minutes,” Roberts related that, at that time, she felt vaccination was her only chance to survive a potential “major epidemic.”

“I’d never taken any other flu shots, but I felt like this was going to be a major epidemic, and the only way to prevent a major epidemic of a really deadly variety of flu was for everybody to be immunized,” she told host Mike Wallace. “If this disease is so potentially fatal that it’s going to kill a young, healthy man, a middle-aged schoolteacher doesn’t have a prayer.”

It all began at an Army training base in New Jersey. In February 1976, several soldiers at Fort Dix fell ill with flu-like symptoms. Testing revealed that the virus had spread to more than 200 recruits.

An Army doctor sent samples of their throat cultures to the New Jersey Public Health Lab to find out what kind of virus was going around. One of those samples was from Private David Lewis, who had left his sickbed to go on a forced march. Lewis had collapsed on that march and died a few days later.

The New Jersey lab identified the normal kind of flu virus going around that year in most of the soldiers’ throat cultures. Swine flu was only identified in the throat cultures from Lewis and four other soldiers, who recovered completely without the swine flu vaccine.

“If I had known at that time that the boy had been in a sick bed, got up, went out on a forced march and then collapsed and died, I would never have taken the shot,” Roberts said.

You can watch the “60 Minutes” feature on swine flu “scamdemic” here:

Scientists give advice based on incomplete knowledge then and now

Following the much-publicized swine flu “outbreak” at Fort Dix, President Gerald Ford convened a high-profile meeting of scientists to decide if there should be a vaccination program. However, “this was interpreted to be a political event rather than a scientific process,” according to David Sencer, the then-director of the Center for Disease Control, now known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Like what happened throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the scientists in 1976 could only give the best advice they had based on incomplete knowledge. Many public health officials were skeptical and uncertain too, including Pascal Imperato – the deputy health commissioner and the chair of the task force charged with rolling out the swine flu vaccination program in New York at that time.

“I think all of us were in agreement that yes, it’s probably unlikely but we can’t be absolutely sure,” Imperato said, talking about the possibility of a swine flu pandemic and whether or not a vaccination program was needed then.

In March 1976, Ford announced a $137 million effort to produce a vaccine by the autumn. “Its goal was to immunize every man, woman and child in the U.S., and thus was the largest and most ambitious immunization program ever undertaken in the country,” wrote Pascal Imperato in a 2015 paper reflecting on the events.

Around 46 million Americans took the vaccine. Some 4,000 people suffered devastating side effects from the vaccine. They sued the government for damages amounting to $3.5 billion. Two-thirds of the claims were for neurological damage that led to death in some cases.

Untested swine flu vaccine may have been used on millions of Americans

Nearly everyone received the swine flu vaccine in a public health facility where a doctor might not be present. Thus, it was up to the CDC to come up with an official consent form that would give the public all the information needed about the swine flu vaccine. The form stated that the swine flu vaccine had been tested.

But the form didn’t mention that the scientists developed another vaccine and that it was the one mostly used in the swine flu vaccination program. That vaccine was called “X-53a.” Sencer, appearing in the same episode of “60 Minutes” in which Roberts was interviewed, couldn’t give a direct answer when Wallace asked him whether X-53a had been tested.

With hindsight, it’s easy to see that the fears at the time were unfounded. The swine flu strain spotted at Fort Dix was not dangerous at all and there would be no pandemic. Later, researchers discovered that benign swine flu strains had been circulating in the U.S. population long before the one identified at the military base.

Thousands suffered and hundreds died from the mass vaccination efforts by the government in 1976 to combat a pandemic that never happened.

Millions of vaccinations resulted to dozens of GBS cases. The syndrome was less understood in the 1970s. Research has since found that the chances of developing the condition after vaccination are extremely small, but the scale of the 1976 rollout meant that a handful of people were bound to be affected.

The vaccine-inflicted GBS in 1976 caused suffering among an unlucky group of people, including Roberts. After months of negative media coverage, reports of GBS cases brought an end to the swine flu affair. Ford’s program was suspended in December 1976 with just over 20 percent of the U.S. population vaccinated.


When a secret president ran the country

Protective of both her husband’s reputation and power, Edith Wilson shielded Woodrow from interlopers and embarked on a bedside government that essentially excluded Wilson’s staff, the Cabinet and the Congress

Woodrow Wilson may have been one of our hardest-working chief executives and by the fall of 1919, he looked it.

For most of the six months between late Dec. 1918 and June 1919, our 28th president was in Europe negotiating the Treaty of Versailles and planning for the nascent League of Nations, efforts for which he was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize (an award he did not officially receive until 1920). Back home, however, the ratification of the treaty met with mixed public support and strong opposition from Republican senators, led by Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.), as well as Irish Catholic Democrats. As the summer progressed, President Wilson worried that defeat was in the air.

Bone-tired but determined to wage peace, on Sept. 3, 1919, Woodrow Wilson embarked on a national speaking tour across the United States so that he could make his case directly to the American people. For the next three and a half weeks, the president, his wife Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, assorted aides, servants, cooks, Secret Service men and members of the press rode the rails. The presidential train car, quaintly named the Mayflower, served as a rolling White House. Also joining the party was the president’s personal physician, Cary T. Grayson, who had grave concerns over his patient’s health.

All during September of 1919, as the presidential train traveled across the Midwest, into the Great Plains states, over the Rockies into the Pacific Northwest and then down the West Coast before turning back East, the president became thinner, paler and ever more frail. He lost his appetite, his asthma grew worse and he complained of unrelenting headaches.

Unfortunately, Woodrow Wilson refused to listen to his body.

He had too much important work to do. Combining his considerable skills as a professor, scholar of history, political science and government, orator and politician, he threw himself into the task of convincing the skeptics and preaching to the choir on the importance of ratifying the treaty and joining the League of Nations. At many of the “whistle stops,” vociferous critics heckled and shouted down his proposals. In the Senate, his political opponents criticized Wilson’s diplomacy, complained that the treaty reduced the Congress’s power to declare war, and ultimately voted the treaty down…..

Late on the evening of Sept. 25, 1919, after speaking in Pueblo, Colorado, Edith discovered Woodrow in a profound state of illness; his facial muscles were twitching uncontrollably and he was experiencing severe nausea. Earlier in the day, he complained of a splitting headache.

Six weeks after the event, Dr. Grayson told a journalist that he had noted a “curious drag or looseness at the left side of [Wilson’s] mouth — a sign of danger that could no longer be obscured.” In retrospect, this event may have been a transient ischemic attack (TIA), the medical term for a brief loss of blood flow to the brain, or “mini-stroke,” which can be a harbinger for a much worse cerebrovascular event to follow — in other words, a full-fledged stroke.

On Sept. 26, the president’s private secretary, Joseph Tumulty, announced that the rest of the speaking tour had been canceled because the president was suffering from “a nervous reaction in his digestive organs.” The Mayflower sped directly back to Washington’s Union Station. Upon arrival, on Sept. 28, the president appeared ill but was able to walk on his own accord through the station. He tipped his hat to awaiting crowd, shook the hands of a few of the people along the track’s platform, and was whisked away to the White House for an enforced period of rest and examination by a battery of doctors.

Everything changed on the morning of Oct. 2, 1919. According to some accounts, the president awoke to find his left hand numb to sensation before falling into unconsciousness. In other versions, Wilson had his stroke on the way to the bathroom and fell to the floor with Edith dragging him back into bed. However those events transpired, immediately after the president’s collapse, Mrs. Wilson discretely phoned down to the White House chief usher, Ike Hoover and told him to “please get Dr. Grayson, the president is very sick.”

Grayson quickly arrived. Ten minutes later, he emerged from the presidential bedroom and the doctor’s diagnosis was terrible: “My God, the president is paralyzed,” Grayson declared.

By February of 1920, news of the president’s stroke began to be reported in the press. Nevertheless, the full details of Woodrow Wilson’s disability, and his wife’s management of his affairs, were not entirely understood by the American public at the time.

Over the last century, historians have continued to dig into the proceedings of the Wilson administration and it has become clear that Edith Wilson acted as much more than a mere “steward.” She was, essentially, the nation’s chief executive until her husband’s second term concluded in March of 1921. Nearly three years later, Woodrow Wilson died in his Washington, D.C., home, at 2340 S Street, NW, at 11:15 AM on Sunday, Feb. 3, 1924.

According to the Feb. 4 issue of The New York Times, the former president uttered his last sentence on Friday, Feb. 1: “I am a broken piece of machinery. When the machinery is broken — I am ready.” And on Saturday, Feb. 2, he spoke his last word: Edith.

As we look forward to the presidential campaign of 2016, it seems appropriate to recall that Oct. 2, 1919, may well mark the first time in American history a woman became de-facto president of the United States, even if Edith Wilson never officially held the post. Indeed, the prolonged blockage of blood flow to his brain changed more than the course of Woodrow Wilson’s life; it changed the course of history.

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History Thursday: When the Supreme Court said yes to vaccine mandates

The ruling didn’t allow the government to force vaccination against Jacobson’s will — only to levy the fine against him. Harlan’s opinion also emphasized medical exemptions in its application.

The vaccine mandate debate may be rejuvenated, but it’s hardly new.

The U.S. Supreme Court answered the can-they-do-that question more than 115 years ago.

In an era when infectious diseases killed more Americans than any other cause of death, smallpox was ripping through Cambridge, Massachusetts. State lawmakers passed a statute allowing local boards of health, “if it is necessary for the public health or safety,” to require vaccination among all those 21-and-up, or levy a $5 fine (at least $140 today, adjusted for inflation).

Henning Jacobson, a middle-aged minister, contested the charges, and his case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. He argued the vaccines caused injury and posed a danger to recipients. The mandate invaded his liberty.

In a 7-2 decision in 1905, the court upheld the law. Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote a majority opinion, noting the century of understanding from physicians that vaccines prevent the spread of infectious disease. The chance of vaccine injury exists, but that risk is “too small to be seriously weighed” against the benefits of vaccination, the court ruled.

The liberty established by the U.S. Constitution, he wrote, isn’t an absolute right for every person to always be freed from all restraint.

“In every well-ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members, the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand,” he wrote.

The ruling didn’t allow the government to force vaccination against Jacobson’s will — only to levy the fine against him. Harlan’s opinion also emphasized medical exemptions in its application.

It’s unclear to what extent Jacobson v. Massachusetts could apply to President Joe Biden’s announced plan to require large employers to require either COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing of employees. The ruling established states’ power to mandate vaccination, not necessarily the federal government (though analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service suggested federal law could form the basis for executive action).

It was a different time. There was no Food and Drug Administration, no regulation of research and no doctrine of informed consent, all in the face of a disease that killed as many as one in three victims, according to a a review of the case in a 2005 article in the American Journal of Public Health.

“The Supreme Court had no difficulty upholding the state’s power to grant the board of health authority to order a general vaccination program during an epidemic,” the authors wrote.

Less than 20 years later, the court relied on Jacobson to uphold another case brought by Texas woman named Rosalyn Zucht who refused vaccination and challenged a statute prohibiting schoolchildren from enrolling in public or private schools unless they received a smallpox vaccine. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that the court had already “settled that it is within the police power of a state to provide for compulsory vaccination.”

The precedent was groundbreaking, but the aftermath wasn’t always pretty.

The Supreme Court cited Jacobson as precedent to justify a ruling that allowed for the involuntary sterilization of the “feeble minded.” More than 60,000 Americans, mostly poor women in state mental institutions, were sterilized by 1978, according to the AJPH article.

“The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote for the court in a majority opinion in 1927.

The Jacobson ruling also sparked an explosion within the anti-vaccine movement. According to a 2008 article in the Harvard Law Review, the Anti-Vaccination League of America was founded in Philadelphia by 1908, with the court’s holding in mind.

At its founding conference, its founder addressed his listeners with rhetoric laced with echoes of cries from conservatives and anti-vaccination activists of today.

“We have repudiated religious tyranny; we have rejected political tyranny; shall we now submit to medical tyranny?” he asked.

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