711: Moorish troops cross the Strait of Gibraltar to land in mainland Europe, beginning the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, known in Arabic as Al-Andalus (Andalucía in Spanish). The Moors (Berber Arabs from North Africa, recently converted to Islam) fought an eight-year campaign against the Christian Visigoths under Roderick, on whose death in battle the Visigoth kingdom essentially collapsed, allowing the Moors to occupy virtually all of present-day Spain and Portugal except for the Basque region in the north. They made continued forays over the Pyrenees, eventually taking substantial regions of Gaul under their control. The high water mark for Moorish expansion into Europe occurred at the Battle of Tours (Poitiers) in October of 732. At that battle, Frankish and Burgundian forces under Charles Martel (known at the time as “The Hammer”) won a decisive victory that set the stage for the Christian re-conquest* of western Europe, which ended with the final expulsion of the Moors from Grenada in 1492.
1429: Led by what she claims is a vision directly from God, the young shepherdess Joan of Arc arrives in Orleans, France to relieve the English siege of that city.
1469: Birth of Niccolo Machiavelli observer of the machinations of the Borgia crimino-politico-religio family mafia, and author of the definitive treatise on governance: The Prince.
1494: On his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus sights the island of Jamaica. He names it St. Iago. The British re-name it Jamaica when they take the island in 1655.
1729: Birth of Catherine the Great Empress of Russia, born in Settin, Prussia. Catherine was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country’s longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d’état when her husband, Peter III, was overthrown. Under her reign, Russia was revitalized; it grew larger and stronger and was recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. In her accession to power and her rule of the empire, Catherine often relied on her noble favorites, most notably Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by highly successful generals such as Alexander Suvorov and Pyotr Rumyantsev, and admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish wars, and Russia colonized the territories of Novorossiya along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. In the west, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine’s former lover, king Stanisław August Poniatowski, was eventually partitioned, with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started to colonize Alaska, establishing Russian America.
1770: Captain James Cook in HMS Endeavour makes landfall in Botany Bay, Australia. explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand. Cook joined the British merchant navy as a teenager and joined the Royal Navy in 1755. He saw action in the Seven Years’ War, and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec. This helped bring Cook to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society. This notice came at a crucial moment in both Cook’s career and the direction of British overseas exploration and led to his commission in 1766 as commander of HM Bark Endeavour for the first of three Pacific voyages.
In three voyages Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe. He mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously achieved. As he progressed on his voyages of discovery he surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.
1789: After months of chafing under the abusive leadership of Captain William Bligh, Masters Mate Fletcher Christian leads 25 crewmen in a mutiny aboard HMS Bounty. The mutineers set adrift Bligh and 18 loyal crew members in an open 23-foot long boat. In an extraordinary feat of seamanship and survival, they navigate their way across 3600 miles of ocean to safely arrive at Timor in the Dutch East Indies on the 14th of June. Christian and the rest of the mutineers scuttle around the South Pacific trying to figure out what to do next. They eventually settle on remote Pitcairn Island, burning the Bounty to ensure their commitment to their new colonial effort.
1802: Washington, DC is incorporated as a city. Both Virginia and Maryland cede to the federal government several hundred acres of swampy bottomland to create the District of Columbia- not the “State” of Columbia, you’ll notice- a non-sovereign federal district designed to be administered by Congress,
1840: The world’s first adhesive postage stamp, the “Penny Black,” is issued in England.
1863(a): Opening engagement in the Battle of Chancellorsville. The week-long battle cemented Lee’s reputation as a master tactician, repelling a Union force twice his strength and foiling “Fighting Joe” Hooker’s efforts to perform a double pincer movement against the Army of Northern Virginia.
1863(b): While making a nighttime inspection of his outer defense lines, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is shot and mortally wounded by Confederate pickets during the Battle of Chancellorsville.
1898: Steaming into Manila Bay under a darkened ship, Commodore George Dewey, commander of the United States Asiatic Squadron, completely surprises the 10 ships of the Spanish navy lying at anchor off of Cavite Station. At dawn, with his ships arrayed 5400 yards from the Spanish, Dewey turns to the captain of the flagship Olympia and utters those immortal words, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” Dewey orders a cease-fire at 08:00 to allow the Spanish to surrender but they refuse. Re-opening the engagement around 10:00, the one-sided fight continues until 12:30 with the capitulation of the 10th Spanish ship. 6 Americans are wounded in the action to the more than 400 Spanish sailors killed. Dewey becomes a national hero.
1898: Following up the spectacular naval victory at Manila Bay, US Marines storm ashore and capture Cavite Station, raising the American Flag for the first time on soon-to-be American territory.
1915: RMS Lusitania departs New York on her final voyage. Six days out, en route to England, and only 8 miles off the coast of southern Ireland, she is torpedoed by a German submarine and sinks with the loss of nearly 1,200 lives, including 128 Americans. The sinking of this liner provoked outrage against Imperial Germany, who insisted she was a troop transport loaded with military manpower and supplies. Germany had, in fact, anticipated what was coming and openly published the following warning in the New York papers, directly adjacent to an advertisement for her voyage back to England:
1933: First modern sighting of the Loch Ness monster.
1936: Wearing Yankee pinstripes, Joe DiMaggio plays his first major league ballgame. He gets three hits.
1937: Birth of Saddam Hussein
1939: Margaret Mitchell wins the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “Gone With the Wind.”
1942: First day of the Battle of Coral Sea. This engagement represents the first full-strength American attempt to halt the Japanese juggernaut in the South Pacific. It also becomes the first naval battle in history where the combatant ships are not within visual range of each other. After four furious days of aerial combat, the Japanese forces cancel their planned attack on Port Moresby, New Guinea. From the bean-counting perspective the battle is a tactical win for Japan but in reality, it is a strategic victory for the United States. Although the U.S. lost an aircraft carrier (USS Lexington (CV-2)) a destroyer, an oiler and 70 aircraft, the force took its toll on the Japanese with the destruction of 60 aircraft, sinking of a light carrier and major damage to two fleet carriers, which, because they were not included in the Midway campaign the following month, led to the massive American naval victory there.
1945(a): German Chancellor Adolf Hitler marries his longtime mistress Eva Braun in Berlin’s Fuehrerbunker. They spend their honeymoon committing suicide the next day.
1945(b): United States troops liberate the Dachau concentration camp just outside of Munich, in Bavaria. I visited the camp in 2005, and the sterility of the place is absolutely chilling. The tour guide makes the point repeatedly that Dachau was not an extermination camp per se, like Auschwitz-Birkenau, but that the deaths were the result of overwork, underfeeding, and disease exacerbated by horrid sanitation. Mere days before liberation, a prisoner transport train arrived from Buchenwald, but was moved to a siding just outside the camp and abandoned. Americans investigating the train discovered only 800 survivors of the over 4000 initially loaded into the freight cars. Over 2300 corpses were discovered in and around the train.
1945(c): Benito Mussolini and his mistress are captured by Italian partisans, executed by firing squad, and their corpses displayed to the public: hung by their heels on meat hooks in Milan’s main square.
1947: Norwegian explorer Thor Hyerdahl and a small international crew depart Peru on their balsa raft Kon Tiki to test his theory that ancient South Americans could have populated the islands of the South Pacific. They arrive in the Polynesian island of Raroia 101 days later
1952: First commercial flight of the world’s first commercial jetliner, the Comet, built in the United Kingdom. The London to Johannesburg flight was a public relations sensation, but within a year the Comet fleet suffered three high profile air disasters that ruined its reputation and led to its eventual commercial failure. With its design flaws analyzed and fixed, the aircraft continued to fly through June, 2011 as the RAF Nimrod anti-submarine patrol plane.
1965: Acting on President Johnson’s assertions that Cuba was behind the unrest that threatened to create another communist foothold in the Western Hemisphere, a force of 20,000 United States Marines land in the Dominican Republic to restore order. They remain for nearly 18 months.
1967: Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali (nee Cassius Clay) refuses his draft induction into the Army. He is stripped of his title but stays out of the Army anyway.
1970: Troops from the Ohio National Guard fire 67 live rounds into a group of anti-war protesters on the Kent State campus, killing four and wounding nine students.
1971: First broadcast of All Things Considered on National Public Radio.
1975: With regular North Vietnamese Army forces entering the outskirts of the city, the United States begins evacuation of American citizens from Saigon in Operation Frequent Wind.
1979: Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
1982: The British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror (S48) torpedoes and sinks the Argentine cruiser ANA General Belgrano (ex-USS Phoenix (CL-46)) off the coast of the Falkland Islands. Although the sinking occurred outside the British declared 200-mile total exclusion zone, British forces recognized the ship as a legitimate threat and took action to eliminate it. Despite the fact that the UK and Argentina were at war, the sinking of the 1938 vintage vessel triggered an inordinate amount of moral preening and controversy over whether it was “legal” and necessary in Britain’s recovery of the islands. When I spent a week in Buenos Aires several years ago I sensed that the relations between Argentina and Great Britain are both deep and highly conflicted. One example: the General Belgrano memorial today stands in a park in central Buenos Aires directly opposite the English Clock Tower.
1992: The Los Angeles Riots begin, triggered by the acquittal of LAPD officers caught on videotape beating Rodney King. On the second day of the riots, King appears on television, pleading, “Can’t we all just get along?” After three days of mayhem, 55 people are dead and hundreds of buildings and businesses are destroyed.
2007: Death of Wally Schirra, Naval Academy class of 1945, test pilot, and one of the original 7 Mercury astronauts. He is the only astronaut to fly in all three of America’s first space programs: Sigma-7, the fifth Mercury flight (6 orbits, 9 hours in space); Gemini-6A with Tom Stafford, making the first in-orbit rendezvous with Gemini-7; and Apollo-7 , an eleven day earth-orbital flight, the first flight of the program after the fatal Apollo-1 fire.
Paul Plante says
The second half of the fifteenth century spawned a large number of manuals of advice to princes on how to govern.
Pontano (1426/9-1503) in his De principe incorporates Cicero’s ideal of decorum, prescribing how a prince should dress, speak and comport himself.
By contrast Machiavelli in his celebrated Il principe (1513) diverges from the Ciceronian tradition; he acknowledges that liberality, clemency, inspiring affection and keeping faith are admirable traits, but stresses that Realpolitik finds it necessary to discard them.
A willingness to use force on occasion is vital to good government.
It is safer to be feared than loved.
The successful ruler will not hesitate to break his word if necessary.
Machiavelli thus deliberately stood Cicero’s precepts on their heads.
– pp. xliii, xliv, Introduction, Cicero, On Obligations as translated by P.G. Walsh
Paul Plante says
While it is true that Niccolo Machiavelli is known for “The Prince,” which was written by Machiavelli, who desperately wanted to return to politics after being exiled, to win the favor of Lorenzo de’ Medici, then-governor of Florence and the person to whom the book is dedicated in hopes of landing an advisory position within the Florentine government. he also was the author of the “Discourses on Livy.”
In an article on the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies website entiltled “The banishment and arrest of Niccolò Machiavelli” on February 15, 2013, we learn as follows concerning his banishment and the writing of The Prince:
The circumstances of its composition are often overlooked.
On the return of the Medici faction to Florence in September 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in the city’s Chancery on account of his close association with the previous leading citizen and head of the republican government, Piero Soderini.
A victim of regime change, he remained under suspicion due to his extensive network of contacts and the experience gathered over the fourteen years he spent at the heart of the Florentine political machine.
He was confined for a year to his smallholding in Sant’Andrea in Percussina, just outside Florence, with a surety of 1,000 gold florins.
When his name then appeared on a list of potential sympathisers to a conspiracy to overthrow the Medici which was discovered and handed in to the authorities, they wasted no time in seeking his capture, imprisoning him, and subjecting him to torture.
Yet while the lead conspirators were summarily executed and their associates exiled, it seems no evidence of Machiavelli’s direct involvement in the conspiracy came to light and, under the general amnesty granted on the election of Giovanni de’ Medici as Pope Leo X in March 1513, Machiavelli was released and returned to his smallholding.
How many times has something similar happened in our own history, one must wonder?
Getting back to the writing of The Prince, we have:
It was here that Machiavelli began a regular correspondence with Francesco Vettori a former colleague from his diplomatic missions under Soderini whose family connections meant he survived the regime change in Florence.
Posted to Rome as Ambassador to the Papal Court, Vettori was in a perfect position to petition the new Medici Pope for Machiavelli’s repatriation and reintegration into the Florentine political and diplomatic world.
Yet Machiavelli’s former colleague and friend proved less than enthusiastic at the prospect of being linked with a known political suspect and prevaricated and deferred in the face of Machiavelli’s regular requests for support.
This reminds me of the political maneuverings in this country when JFK was killed and LBJ was trying to install himself as president in the eyes of the Kennedy people, starting with Bobby Kennedy, as well as all the machinations regarding people in the State Department during the “Tail Gunner” Joe McCarthy era, where many careers were destroyed.
Getting back to the Harvard site:
This game of cat and mouse was played out through their correspondence mainly over the summer and autumn of 1513 which focused on the different types of political government found in Italy and abroad; how they were best conquered and held; and which political leaders of the day adopted the best policies in the contested world of Italian Renaissance politics.
In the famous letter of 10 December 1513 Machiavelli makes the first mention of the ‘small work’ he had pulled together on the basis of their discussions, referring to the tract by the Latin title ‘De principatibus’ (‘Concerning Principalities’).
Subsequently modified and amplified the first draft formed the basis of the work that we now know as The Prince.
Machiavelli twice dedicated the work to members of the Medici family in the hope of gaining favour and employment as he sought to overcome what he saw as ‘the malignity of fortune’, pinning his hopes on the pithy and attention grabbing advice contained in his handbook for new rulers.
Whether they ever received it is not known, an unconfirmed report recounting how the intended Medici recipient took more interest in a pair of hunting dogs gifted by another petitioner at the same time.
So there is some important background as to how The Prince came to be written.
Paul Plante says
In an article on the Hoover Institute website entitled “Discourses On Livy, By Niccolò Machiavelli” by Angelo M. Codevilla on Monday, June 5, 2017, we learn this about that writing, as follows:
Consisting of three books, of sixty, thirty-three, and forty-nine chapters respectively, the Discourses contains the bulk of Machiavelli’s teachings.
Unlike The Prince, the chapters are written plainly, headlined in Italian rather than in Latin, and addressed to persons he deems sympathetic to those teachings.
The subject is nothing less than what makes for successful states and individuals, as well as for success in war.
In that way, it bears similarity in subject matter to Plato’s Republic, as well as Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and On War by Von Clausewitz.
Getting back to the Hoover Institute article:
The book’s relationship to Roman history—and indeed to the events of Machiavelli’s own time—is tangential.
The Discourses is not an argument for the superiority of Roman ways over those of contemporary Europe, as may appear from Machiavelli’s praise for Rome’s religion and indictment of “the Roman Church,” i.e. of Christianity, for Europe’s political incoherence.
Machiavelli had not turned against Christ to worship Apollo.
Instead, he praises Roman religiosity insofar as it led to the worship of the city and to the observance of oaths, while noting that Roman officials destroyed the religion by abandoning “prudence” in their manipulation of it.
At the time of this nation’s founding back around 1787, when the philosophy of government was being hotly debated in this country as to what form of government we were to have, the writings of someone like Machiavelli were studied for historical perspective by such founding fathers as John Adams who wrote “A DEFENCE OF THE CONSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. BY JOHN ADAMS, LL. D. AND A MEMBER OF THE ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES AT BOSTON.” in 1786 which included these following chapters, to wit:
III. St. Marino 8
IV. Biscay 16
The Grisons 21
The United Provinces of the Low Countries 22
V. Switzerland 22
VI. Underwald 26
VII. Glaris 28
VIII. Zug 31
IX. Uri 32
X. Switz 34
XI. Berne 35
XII. Fribourg 39
XIII. Soleure 42
XIV. Lucerne 45
XV. Zurich 47
XVI. Schaffhause 49
Mulhouse — Bienne 50
XVII. St. Gall 51
XVIII. Lucca — Genoa 56
XIX. Venice 58
The United Provinces of the Low Countries 69
XX. England 70
XXI. Poland 72
XXII. Poland 74
XXIII. Recapitulation 91
XXIV. Dr. Swift 97
XXV. Dr. Franklin 105
XXVI. Dr. Price 121
XXVII. Machiavel 141
XXVIII. Sidney 148
ANCIENT REPUBLICS, AND OPINIONS OF PHILOSOPHERS.
XXIX. Harrington 158
XXX. Polybius 169
XXXI. Polybius 177
XXXII. Dionysius Halicarnassensis — Valerius 184
XXXIII. Plato 188
XXXIV. Sir Thomas Smith 207
ANCIENT DEMOCRATICAL REPUBLICS.
XXXV. Carthage 210
ANCIENT ARISTOCRATICAL REPUBLICS.
XXXVI. Rome 215
ANCIENT MONARCHICAL REPUBLICS.
XXXVII. Tacitus 225
XXXVIII. Homer — Phæacia 232
XXXIX. Homer — Ithaca 237
ANCIENT ARISTOCRATICAL REPUBLICS.
XL. Lacedæmon 249
ANCIENT DEMOCRATICAL REPUBLICS.
XLI. Athens 260
XLII. Antalcidas 286
XLIII. Achaia 295
XLIV. Crete 305
XLV. Corinth 308
XLVI. Argos 311
XLVII. Iphitus 315
XLVIII. Thebes 318
ANCIENT ARISTOCRATICAL REPUBLICS.
XLIX. Crotona — Pythagoras 322
ANCIENT DEMOCRATICAL REPUBLICS.
L. Sybaris — Charondas 327
LI. Locris — Zaleucus 331
LII. Rome 334
LIII. Congress 362
LIV. Locke, Milton, and Hume 365
LV. Conclusion 372
That is an indication of the amount of thought that the so-called “Founding Fathers” put in to devising an enduring system for this nation, based on an exhaustive survey of the philosophy of government throughout history, which as one can see under the heading MIXED GOVERNMENTS on Chapter XXVII, included Niccolò Machiavelli.
Thus, there is a direct linkage between the turbulent political times Niccolò Machiavelli lived in, and the turbulent political times we live in today.
Paul Plante says
Getting back to that article on the Hoover In statute website entitled “Discourses On Livy, By Niccolò Machiavelli” by Angelo M. Codevilla on Monday, June 5, 2017, which is a part of the basis for the political philosophy we have in this country today, we have as follows:
He (Machiavelli) also praises Spain’s Catholic king for having used Christianity to solidify his grip on the country.
In short, regardless of time and place, Machiavelli teaches his readers to view religion from a purely instrumental perspective.
One must wonder, of course, how much that writing influences the Trump Muslim bans of today.
Getting back to the article:
Machiavelli uses Rome to make observations that are universally valid.
He judges its institution of Dictatorship—for specified periods of time but without power to alter basic institutions—to have been something that all republics should consider healthy.
And there I will rest for the moment to let that thought be pondered as it applies to our last several presidents to include George W. (Small) Bush, Barack Hussein Obama Magnus, and this present incumbent with the bad hair-do and comb-over with a thing for porn stars.
Is dictatorship a good thing for America?
Paul Plante says
And speaking of Machiavellian drama with political “playahs” being forced into exile like Niccolo Machiavelli was, along with Princes with a willingness to use force on occasion being vital to good government, and a belief that it is safer to be feared than loved with a successful ruler not hesitating to break his word if necessary, thus standing Cicero’s precepts on their heads, we in America are sure getting a huge dose of it this morning in the New York Times article “Schneiderman’s Resignation Leads to Turmoil and Speculation About His Successor” by Vivian Wang, 8 May 2018, where we learn as follows:
The resignation of Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general and a central figure in the liberal resistance to President Trump, after allegations that he had physically abused multiple women set off an immediate storm of speculation in New York about his potential successor, and raised questions nationwide about the fate of his legal challenges to the Trump administration.
The central figure in the liberal resistance to Donald Trump just went down in flames – spin, crash. burn, say good-bye!
How about that for Machiavellian drama, people?
Beats the hell out of the Khloe Kardashian/Tristan whatever-his-name-is drama by a mile and it is far better than any of the crap on TV right now, anyway, although that is not saying much these days.
So, is this case of a flea biting a dog and then dying from whatever is in the dog’s blood?
Sure does seem like it, as we shall soon see.
Getting back to the Machiavellian human drama here, we have:
Even before Mr. Schneiderman announced his resignation late Monday evening, just hours after The New Yorker first published the accusations, New York’s political circles were already abuzz with talk of who would replace him.
As an aside, the man, like many other politicians, both in Washington, D.C. and New York state, including Young Andy Cuomo, the Progressive Democrat governor and presumptive Democrat party presidential front-runner in 2020, was known as a thug and bully in whose hands the law was nothing more than moldable putty, so he won’t be missed by the common folk, who are glad to see him gone.
Getting back to the NY Times, we have:
According to The New Yorker, Mr. Schneiderman slapped, choked or spat on at least four women with whom he had been romantically involved, two of whom spoke on the record.
The horrific accusations included alcohol-fueled rages, racist remarks, drug abuse and threats — including to kill the women or use his power as the state’s top law enforcement officer against them if they defied him.
Having personal experience with how his office operated, I am not at all surprised that he would tell someone in a threatening manner that he would use the power of his office against them, because that is exactly what his office told me, as it in fact did that, to my detriment as a new York state citizen.
Eric T. “Teddy” Schneiderman doesn’t talk; he hits.
Getting back to the Machiavellian drama here, it continues as follows:
Politicians and pundits in both parties joined in swift and unsparing condemnation of Mr. Schneiderman.
But the conversation quickly turned partisan, given Mr. Schneiderman’s meteoric rise as a relentless and outspoken legal foe of Mr. Trump who had sued the federal administration more than 100 times over policies ranging from immigration to taxation.
BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ – Teddy Schneiderman was like a tiny gnat buzzing around a whale with all of his lawsuits, none of which ever seemed to go anywhere once the headlines died down.
Teddy was “show-boating” as the tactic is known in New York, filing frivolous lawsuits to keep his name in lights as “THE PEOPLES’ CHAMPION,” which he certainly wasn’t.
Getting back to the Machiavellian elements of the Teddy Schneiderman story, we have:
Prominent Republicans nationwide reveled in the news.
Donald Trump Jr. mockingly shared several old tweets from the attorney general, in which he had denounced the president and expressed solidarity with victims of sexual assault; “This didn’t age well,” he wrote.
Kellyanne Conway, the president’s counselor, wrote in a tweet that Mr. Schneiderman had been “drunk with power.”
I don’t run in the same social circles as does Kellyanne Conway, and I can’t say I think much of her, and I’m not a fan, but that notwithstanding, I would say that she is dead on the money here with her comment that Teddy Schneiderman had been “drunk with power,” an observation that also applies to many of our state and nation politicians today, including Young Andy Cuomo and Donald Trump, himself.
As to where the Democrats stand with respect to Teddy Schneiderman’s political exile, the NY Times tells us this:
Mr. Schneiderman’s fellow Democrats had also called on him to step aside, with Mr. Cuomo, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mr. Heastie saying the attorney general was incapable of continuing in his office.
In terms of New York state politics, those names correspond to the de’ Medici’s in Machiavelli’s time.
Getting back to the political exile of Teddy Schneiderman, we have:
While Mr. Schneiderman’s resignation signals the probable end of a career that many had seen as gaining quick national prominence, the legal fallout is most likely only beginning.
A spokesman for Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said Mr. Vance’s office had opened an investigation into the allegations in the New Yorker article.
Mr. Schneiderman had, at the direction of Mr. Cuomo, himself been probing Mr. Vance’s office over questions about its handling of groping allegations against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2015.
See how convoluted this political drama is, people – wheels within wheels within wheels.
Young Andy Cuomo sees Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance as some kind of political rival or threat, so he had Teddy Schneiderman conduct a politically-motivated probe of Vance’s office over questions about its handling of groping allegations against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2015, and now, that appears to have backfired.
So to get himself un-hoist from that petard, the NY Times tells us this:
Separately, Mr. Cuomo also said on Monday that he would direct an “appropriate New York district attorney” to investigate the allegations.
An administration official said Monday that the governor’s office wanted to avoid any conflict of interest and ensure the proper jurisdiction, given the attorney general’s review of Mr. Vance and the fact that some of the alleged abuse occurred on Long Island.
“Ah, whoops,” says Young Andy, time to do some political razzle-dazzle here to get people’s minds off that and onto something else.
And this I think is rich:
Mr. Schneiderman had been in contact with a criminal defense lawyer late Monday afternoon to advise him on his response to The New Yorker, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The dude’s a hotshot lawyer who sued Trump over a hundred times.
So why does he need another lawyer to tell him how to respond to the New Yorker?
Doesn’t Teddy know how to do that himself?
And what is with all these lawyers having lawyers, like Trump’s lawyer did?
Do the lawyers they lawyer up with have their own lawyers that they are in turn lawyered up with?
And where does that chain start or stop?
Getting back to the NY Times on that subject, we have:
Later, an associate of Mr. Schneiderman was looking for a lawyer to represent him in connection with the criminal investigation, several other people with knowledge of the matter said.
Doesn’t that sound like what the Trump people are also doing?
And here we get into more of the Machiavellian politics here, as follows:
Several women’s groups that had previously supported Mr. Schneiderman — he was known for being an outspoken advocate for women’s advancement, especially reproductive rights — expressed shock and sorrow.
The National Institute for Reproductive Health, which had honored the attorney general at a May 1 luncheon, said in a statement that it was “appalled and horrified.”
(By Tuesday, the group had removed Mr. Schneiderman from its list of honorees.)
Sonia Ossorio, president of New York’s arm of the National Organization for Women, which endorsed Mr. Schneiderman in his 2010 and 2014 campaigns, said she was “in shock.”
“I’m just beside myself right now,” she said.
That sounds like Hillary Clinton being shocked when she learned that Harvey Weinstein was the way he was with woman: “oh, I’m so shocked, I didn’t know!”
And then we get to here:
And political observers said the news would further erode public trust in Albany, which has been roiled repeatedly by corruption trials, sexual harassment scandals and other ethics controversies.
Douglas Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College, said the allegations were “another blow” to our “trust in government officials and in the institutions of government itself.”
But that last statement by Douglas Muzzio, the political science professor at Baruch College, is not true, people – there hasn’t been “another blow” to our “trust in government officials and in the institutions of government itself, precisely because we don’t have any, and have not in quite some time because of all the corruption trials, sexual harassment scandals and other ethics controversies swirling around in this corrupt state and hack thug politicians like Eric T. “Teddy” Schneiderman using the power of his office to paper over endemic public corruption in New York State especially with respect to its corrupt New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
And that, people, is contemporary American history from our times today.
“The Prince” lives on!
Paul Plante says
And getting back to that article on the Hoover Institute website entitled “Discourses On Livy, By Niccolò Machiavelli” by Angelo M. Codevilla on Monday, June 5, 2017, which as stated above underlies and forms a part of the basis for the political philosophy we have in this country today, it continues as follows:
But multiple examples are available to bolster a host of other points: Money does not make power.
Rather, power attracts wealth and is able to compel it.
Which is better, a spirited army or a wise leader of armies?
The leader is more important, because leaders can create armies de novo as well as make the difference between using their power wisely or counterproductively.
Those people, are the political thoughts spanning a period of several hundred years that people in America at the time of our Revolution had, and the questions they asked themselves as they tried to set in place an enduring Republican form of government in the United States of America.
Getting back to Machiavelli’s influence on our own times today as well as his political relevance, we have as follows:
None of the Discourses’ anecdotes strike the reader as relevant to modern circumstances more than those regarding internal security, which Machiavelli treats under the rubric of “fortresses.”
In our time, of course, it is the Great Wall of MAGA-man Donald Trump, but the idea is just the same.
Getting back to Machiavelli:
Regardless of what precautions any regime takes, it cannot prevent either treason or, just as dangerous, such disaffection as renders the regime vulnerable to foreign powers.
There I will say WOW, and rest for the moment to let that thought sink in, along with these final words from that same article, to wit:
No civil libertarian, Machiavelli notes that the harder that a regime tries to crack down on dissent, the likelier it is to foster it.
Real internal security comes only from a population that is strongly committed to the regime or, what is almost the same thing, strongly opposed to its enemies.
Paul Plante says
Staying with the theme that in his celebrated Il principe (1513), Machiavelli diverged from the Ciceronian tradition, let us for the moment consider the implications of what that might mean to us in our times, given the connection between Machiavelli’s political thoughts from the times he was in versus our political philosophy in this country today, assuming that there actually might be one, by looking at what Ciceronian tradition might be, and more importantly, whether our founding fathers might have been aware of it to any degree.
According to “Cicero, On Obligations” as translated by P.G. Walsh, Cicero wrote in his De Legibus that both justice and law derive their origin from what nature has given to man, from what the human mind embraces, from the function of man, and from what serves to unite humanity.
For Cicero, natural law obliges us to contribute to the general good of the larger society,
Here, I am forced to admit that yes, I am of the Ciceronian tradition in that regard, which perhaps serves top skew my perspective when commenting on matters political in this country today, especially in corrupt New York state.
Getting back to Cicero:
The purpose of positive laws is to provide for “the safety of citizens, the preservation of states, and the tranquility and happiness of human life.”
In corrupt New York state today, where Machiavelli’s “The Prince” is the political handbook of choice, that is considered to be a dangerous way of thinking, as my own experiences with NYS government prove.
And back to Cicero:
In this view, “wicked and unjust statutes” are “anything but ‘laws,'” because “in the very definition of the term ‘law’ there inheres the idea and principle of choosing what is just and true.”
Law, for Cicero, “ought to be a reformer of vice and an incentive to virtue.”
Good luck with that today in America is my thought, anyway.
And back to Cicero:
Cicero expressed the view that “the virtues which we ought to cultivate, always tend to our own happiness, and that the best means of promoting them consists in living with men in that perfect union and charity which are cemented by mutual benefits.”
How naïve Cicero was, which explains how he came to die on the orders of Mark Antony.
And here is the tie-in to our political philosophy we have been looking for:
Cicero influenced the discussion of natural law for many centuries to come, up through the era of the American Revolution.
The jurisprudence of the Roman Empire was rooted in Cicero, who held “an extraordinary grip … upon the imagination of posterity” as “the medium for the propagation of those ideas which informed the law and institutions of the empire.”
Cicero’s conception of natural law “found its way to later centuries notably through the writings of Saint Isidore of Seville and the Decretum of Gratian.”
Thomas Aquinas, in his summary of medieval natural law, quoted Cicero’s statement that “nature” and “custom” were the sources of a society’s laws.
The Renaissance Florentine chancellor Leonardo Bruni praised Cicero as the man “who carried philosophy from Greece to Italy, and nourished it with the golden river of his eloquence.”
The legal culture of Elizabethan England, exemplified by Sir Edward Coke, was “steeped in Ciceronian rhetoric.”
The Scottish moral philosopher Francis Hutcheson, as a student at Glasgow, “was attracted most by Cicero, for whom he always professed the greatest admiration.”
More generally in eighteenth-century Great Britain, Cicero’s name was a household word among educated people.
Likewise, “in the admiration of early Americans Cicero took pride of place as orator, political theorist, stylist, and moralist.”
Today, in America, Cicero is all but forgotten, buried for etermi8ty by what is going on in the multiple lives of the Kardashians and Prince Harry and Megan.
Back to Cicero:
The British polemicist Thomas Gordon “incorporated Cicero into the radical ideological tradition that travelled from the mother country to the colonies in the course of the eighteenth century and decisively shaped early American political culture.”
Cicero’s description of the immutable, eternal, and universal natural law was quoted by Burlamaqui and later by the American revolutionary legal scholar James Wilson.
Cicero became John Adams’s “foremost model of public service, republican virtue, and forensic eloquence.”
Adams wrote of Cicero that “as all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united in the same character, his authority should have great weight.”
Thomas Jefferson “first encountered Cicero as a schoolboy learning Latin, and continued to read his letters and discourses as long as he lived.”
“He admired him as a patriot, valued his opinions as a moral philosopher, and there is little doubt that he looked upon Cicero’s life, with his love of study and aristocratic country life, as a model for his own.”
Jefferson described Cicero as “the father of eloquence and philosophy.”
Paul Plante says
Shifting gears here, this story of Captain James Cook brings to mind the story of Tupaia the Navigator, as well.
According to Wikipedia, Tupaia (also known as Tupaea or Tupia) (c. 1725 – December, 26 1770) was a Tahitian Polynesian navigator and arioi, a kind of priest, originally from the island of Ra’iatea in the Pacific Islands group known to Europeans as the Society Islands.
His remarkable navigational skills and Pacific geographical knowledge were to be utilised by Lt. James Cook, R.N. when he took him aboard HMS Endeavour as guide on its voyage of exploration to Terra Australis Incognita.
Tupaia travelled with Cook to New Zealand, acting as the expedition’s interpreter to the Polynesian Māori, and Australia.
He died in December 1770 from a shipborne illness contracted when Endeavour was docked in Batavia for repairs ahead of its return journey to England.
Tupaia was trained in the fare-‘ai-ra’a-‘upu, or schools of learning, about the origin of the cosmos, genealogies, the calendar, proverbs and histories.
He was also taught how to be a star navigator.
His memorized knowledge included island lists, including their size, reef and harbor locations, whether they were inhabited, and if so, the name of the chief and any food produced there.
More importantly, his memory would include the bearing of each island, the time to get there, and the succession of stars and islands to follow to get there.
These islands included the Society Islands, the Austral Islands, the Cook Islands, plus Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau and Fiji.
If anyone has seen the modern movie from Disney titled “Moana,” that story seems to be based on the loss of that knowledge.
According to recorded history, Tupaia joined Endeavour in July 1769 when she passed his home island of Ra’iatea in the outward voyage from Plymouth.
He was welcomed aboard at the insistence of Sir Joseph Banks, the Cook expedition’s official botanist, on the basis of his evident skill as a navigator and mapmaker: when asked for details of the region Tupaia drew a chart showing all 130 islands within a 2,000 miles (3,200 km) radius and was able to name 74 of them.
Banks welcomed the Raiatean’s interest in travelling with Endeavour to England where he could be presented as an anthropological curiosity.
An anthropological curiosity?
But that is how the Brits looked on non-Brits at the time, so we just have to accept that characterization, although if Trump were to call people in other countries, France, for example, “anthropological curiosities,” it is pretty much guaranteed that all heel would break loose, which is some kind of statement about where we have come to since then.
Australian academic Vanessa Smith has speculated that Banks also envisaged conversation, amusement and possibly a genuine friendship from Tupaia’s company during the voyage.
As Cook at first refused to allow Tupaia to join the expedition for financial reasons, Banks agreed to be responsible for the Raiatean’s welfare and upkeep while on board.
According to an extract of “The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771, we have as follows on that subject:
“The Captain refuses to take [Tupaia]] on his own account, in my opinion sensibly enough, the government will never in all human probability take any notice of him.”
“I therefore have resolved to take him …”
“I do not know why I may not keep him as a curiosity, as well as some of my neighbours do lions and tigers at a larger expense than he will probably ever put me to; the amusement I shall have in his future conversation and the benefit he will be to this ship as well as well as what he may be if another should be sent to these seas, will I think fully repay me.”
Tupaia had navigated from Ra’iatea in short voyages to 13 of these islands.
He had not visited western Polynesia, as since his grandfather’s time the extent of voyaging by Raiateans had diminished to the islands of eastern Polynesia.
His grandfather and father had passed to Tupaia the knowledge as to the location of the major islands of western Polynesia and the navigation information necessary to voyage to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
And here we come to some friction between Cook, who afterall, was the star of the show, and Tupaia, who was seen by Cook as stepping on his lines and upstaging him, to wit:
Cook was less pleased than Banks with Tupaia’s evident navigational skills, resolving instead to rely on his own exploration of the region.
As Cook intended to spend several weeks in the Society Islands before heading south, Tupaia assisted the expedition as an interlocutor and interpreter with local tribes.
He also worked closely with Banks in compiling an account of Tahiti and its inhabitants.
Tupaia accompanied Cook to New Zealand and was welcomed by some of the Māori as a tohunga (an expert).
It seems that they presented him with a precious dog-skin cloak.
Many Maori people have tales including Tupaia and his lineage that remains in New Zealand today.
The crew of Endeavour had developed a less favorable impression of their shipmate.
One, midshipman Joseph Marra, recorded that:
” Toobia … was a man of real genius, a priest of the first order, and an excellent artist: he was, however, by no means beloved by the Endeavours crew, being looked upon as proud and austere, extorting homage, which the sailors who thought themselves degraded by bending to an Indian, were very unwilling to pay, and preferring complaints against them on the most trivial occasions.”
Hey, the Brits didn’t like bending to an American either back in those days, so that attitude on their part is not at all surprising.
Getting back to the story:
Tupaia landed at Botany Bay, Australia, in late April 1770.
Cook said of Tupaia, “…by means of Tupaia…you would always get people to direct you from Island to Island and would be sure of meeting with a friendly resception and refreshments at every Island you came to.”
As to the end of Tupaia, in November 1770, he died from either dysentery or malaria, both of which were present aboard Endeavour during its berthing for repairs in Batavia.
Cook recorded his passing in his journal: “He was a Shrewd, Sensible, Ingenious Man, but proud and obstinate which often made his situation on board both disagreeable to himself and those about him, and tended much to promote the deceases that put a period to his life.”
When Cook returned to New Zealand in 1773, the Maori approached his ship shouting “Tupaia! Tupaia!”.
As Cook noted, “…the Name of Tupia was at that time so popular among them that it would be no wonder if at this time it is known over the great part of New Zealand.”
Today, however, the name of Tupaia is barely known, while that of Cook is famous.
And such is the way things go.