FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) is almost universally lauded in our Liberal History Books as one of the great Presidents of the Century. Hitting all the half-truths and clichés:
- man of the People
- saved the country from the great depression
- progressive policies, saved the nation
- idealism and integrity
- guide us through WWII
- and saved not the nation and entire world from tyranny
There are some truths buried in the caricature, but there’s an awful lot of lies of omission and commission. I’m going to focus on the darker side of FDR, not because that’s all there was to this complex man, but because we should know the bad and the good to judge for ourselves, not just be force-fed the propaganda version. Like the following:
- he focused power so that he could abuse it for personal gain
- he and his family were corrupt
- he was a liar that betrayed most people and nations that trusted him, and almost always did the opposite of what he promised
- he was power-hungry, vindictive, and violated the Constitution (and his oath of office) more than any other President
- he enjoyed pitting people and groups against each other, and playing them off of each other
- he was a lousy diplomat, a poor administrator, not a scholar, nor philosopher, and was not particularly well read or even bright (according to people that were closest to him). But he was people smart (he could manipulate them)
- most of the worst shames in our history, happened under his watch (and by his guidance)
I write this not to slander a president, but counterbalance the spin, and hopefully inspire people to check my facts, and read/learn more about what he was like, and how it differs from what they’ve been told.
## 1882 – Who Was He?
FDR was born in Hyde Park, New York on January 30, 1882. He was a child of wealth and name: American royalty. He grew up out of touch with kids his own age: he was isolated and tutored and tended to by adults (and servants), occasionally following his parents around Europe. After 14 he moved from private tutors to Groton prep school, where his classmates found him priggish and called him the "feather-duster." He was a spoilt child: not very industrious, low education, and not much intellectual interest, who lived in his mothers home until he died in the White House, and he lived off his trust (set up by his father, which his mother administrated). Historians label him a "mama’s boy". He didn’t get along well with his dad, and an active person in his youth that was into sailing — later he got into some sports including football, tennis and golf — until he contracted polio in 1921 (at age 39).
In an era of bookworms, he was anything but. Many that called him "smart", did so "by association" (since he hung out with academics), but he wasn’t known for learning or listening particularly well, and most of the academics he hung out with were on the lunatic fringe, and later proven flat out wrong in their theories. By his own admission, he knew very little about Economics or Business (Hoover was far more educated and well read) — but that didn’t stop FDR from criticizing Hoover (then copying and taking credit for his policies).
He married his cousin, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (on 3/17/05), and the marriage was successful enough on the surface –they had five children (a sixth died in infancy). But FDR was not a faithful person and had an affair with Eleanor’s private secretary (Lucy Mercer), and was indiscreet and callous about the affair (he kept Lucy’s love letters, which was how Eleanor found out). Under threat of disinheritance by his Mom (and threat of divorce by his wife), Roosevelt broke off the relationship. Eleanor was often unhappy over living with FDR’s mom, having lots of home duties while Franklin played poker or enjoyed the good life.
Many who knew FDR said he was somewhat a snob in private, but publicly he played "the common man". He was insecure and often took credit for things that others did, then played up "his" accomplishments, bragging about when "he tried a case as a lawyer" (he never had), and there’s almost no records of him accomplishing anything as a lawyer, or he talked about his exploits as a teacher (he never was), he told rooms full of veterans about how he had "seen more war than any man in the room", offering detailed horrors he’d seen (yet FDR had never come near a battle in his life). But he manipulated people and the press helped sell his fiction.
He graduated from Harvard, but it was only his money that got him in, and helped him graduate. Then he went on to Columbia to Study Law, but failed to graduate. He was later (as Governor) awarded an Honorary Phi Beta Kappa key (from William Smith-Hobart Ladies College) he wore this on his chain (vest) and misled people that it was from Harvard.
He started as a law clerk, but wasn’t very good at it. Later, he was promoted to Partner at Carter, Ledyard and Milburn (1907), but it was because of his family name: Mr. Ledyard circulated a written memo telling others in the firm "under no circumstances put any serious piece of litigation in the hands of Mr. Roosevelt". FDR best acquaintances seemed to consistently distrust him or think him incompetent. Those that knew him in congress often described him as "ruthless". He never forget when people didn’t "go along", and would use his power to "get them back".
FDR was not an exceptional speaker, nor "a good manager". Most that worked under him were frustrated and left their positions on unpleasant terms. He changed his mind often, and would give the same roles/responsibilities to two people at the same time (to cause conflict), and try to make them fight for his favor. His Military and Economic Advisors often wrote what a poor administrator he was; ignoring important issues for months, then make snap (and rash) decisions, against the advice of all the people who knew more about a subject than he did.
FDR’s behavior didn’t lead to a lot of loyalty either — many that were closest to him at one time (and were in his cabinet or advisors) wrote or said unpleasant things once they left (many had quit in disgust, or resigned in protest). While his Secretary of War (Stimson) publicly praised him, he wrote in his diary, "The President is the poorest administrator I have ever worked under… he is not a good chooser of men and does not know how to use them in coordination". The Democratic party members considered him a publicity-seeker — but a powerful one that they had to appease. During his early elections, he had catered to the communists/socialists and labor movements (which were very intertwined at the time) and providing the swing votes, then failed to deliver on his promises. Deception and manipulation was his ethos: everyone complained about the agreements he made and broke freely. When we think of the slimy two-faced politician, that caricature is of FDR.
## 1900 – His Early Career
Failing as a lawyer, he went into politics and found his purpose, and his Family Name (and their money) helped. The Republicans weren’t interested in another racist progressive (after Teddy), so FDR switched parties and ran on the Democrat ticket for New York State Senator (1910). Wilson had gotten the Democrats used to progressive racists, and Roosevelt’s willingness to lie (tell people what they wanted to hear), and timing a national trend away from Republicans, handed him a surprise victory. His follow on election (1912) was close, but he remained in office.
In 1911 FDR was named a Master Mason, and later was responsible for the "Great Seal" being put on the dollar bill. I don’t think of masonry as a grand conspiracy, and it was hard to imagine Franklin dedicated to anything but himself, still it was an old boys network he could exploit to his ends. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1913-1920), to get him out of the way, and which suited his sailing tastes. And he used this to build up his Washington contacts. In 1914 he made another play for senator, but he lost the nomination in a resounding defeat. He had crossed the Tammany hall political machine once too often, and they returned the favors. (Politics was a lot dirtier back then, especially in New York).
In 1920 he got the Vice Presidential nomination but went down to a stellar defeat against Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. This gave him a "cooling off" period, and he dropped out of politics for a bit, was stricken with polio in August 1921. In 1924 he discovered the medicinal waters of Warm Springs in western Georgia — and created a commercial venture to exploit it’s theraputic value for other polio victims. Of course it never became a commercial success, so he converted it to a "charity" to play that angle.
FDR got back into politics by asking Presidential Candidate Alfred Smith if he could deliver his nomination speech, then FDR just stole someone else’s speech (which included the "Happy Warrior" phrase that got Roosevelt a lot of credit). Smith needed a strong gubernatorial candidate on the ticket in New York — and felt FDR decade of cooling meant he was safe (with no "fresh" enemies). FDR agreed to come in, if the party got him out of his Warm Springs debacle, and he got a loan of about $250,000 by John J. Raskob, Chairman of the National Democratic Committee (for Al’s campaign), and guarantees of more if necessary. And with that, he won the election for Governor of New York (1928), while Smith lost the election to Hoover. FDR held this position for two terms.
The Senator of New York had repeatedly urged FDR to do something about the Wall Street ("speculation and shady financial practices of banks that would lead to crises"), and FDR did nothing: while the worst banking scandals happened under his tenure as Governor of New Yory (1929 – 1932). This was a catalyst for the great depression. Finally, public pressure forced him to "appoint a comittee" to ignore the problem, and he put the head of the Bank of U.S. in a position of power on the committee (so that nothing would get done): he knew how to do nothing while pretending to do something, and thus the fox was appointed to guard the henhouse. The banks collapsed, but he had plausible deniability.
FDR then spared no expense to malign Hoover, and constantly ridiculed him for the failure. Hoover knew 1,000 times more about economics and the depression than Roosevelt and his "Brain Trust". Hoover had warned against the depression when he still the secretary of Commerce and wrote to the Federal Reserve board cautioning them that banks were over leveraging/loaning (and Wall Street was operating on margins and broker’s loans). He even called out that this easy money "might lead to dangerous inflation and perhaps a collapse", that would lead to a disaster and "bring the greatest calamities on farmers, workers, and legitimate business". All of which came to pass. Once it collapsed, in spite of Hoover’s warnings, he knew the worst thing we could do was to over-react and scare people — so he tried to calm people, while FDR and others were sensationalizing it, to make it as bad as possible (for regime change).
Hoover increased public spending to try to create jobs (Keynesianism), but he just believed all of it should be on useful infrastructure like roads, dams, and public works, and work with business to create and stimulate real jobs (not just temporary Government ones). Hoover started many programs that Roosevelt took over and took credit for later. He would have done more, but the Democrats obstructed his efforts to magnify the collapse, because the bigger the failure, the bigger the Democrat sweep would be.
> Dirty Politics: When Banks were collapsing in 1933 and Hoover was a lame-duck president (waiting for Roosevelt to take power in March), Hoover contacted Roosevelt about the banking collapses, and wanted to do a temporary shut-down (to give banks time to gather their assets and liquidate), then reopen solvent banks slowly, and have the President-Elect come in and give a speech and instill confidence in the Banking System at large and quell the fear. But Roosevelt delayed and resisted (saying that no shut-down was necessary). Privately it was noted by Roosevelt’s aides that FDR was trying to make sure it was as big a collapse in Banking as was possible, so that when he came in to power, things would be completely bottomed out. Millions lost their savings as hundreds of more banks collapsed under runs and scares between Feb. and March. But then FDR came in, declared a Bank Holiday (that Hoover had suggested), gave a speech about how the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and basically did everything that Hoover had been urging for the many weeks, but FDR got the credit. Which is what mattered to him.
## The New Deal (1933)
Roosevelt became President by promising a "New Deal" in 1932. He sold the nation that:
- Hoover was spendthrift whose extravagance was bankrupting the nation
- we needed new management (Roosevelt’s) to cut back on runaway spending, monopolies, bureaucracy, deficits and so on. After all, Hoover had increased spending 50% over the 1927 level in his 4 years.
- Hoover asking farmers to plow under one row in three (to drive up the value of food and increase their total value) which Roosevelt ridiculed as dumb
- During the election everyone knew that Roosevelt’s was against big Government, against Government meddling, and was out to lower taxes to allow the economy to thrive on its own
- Roosevelt promised to stay on the gold-standard and keep the dollar anchored to something with value
- FDR did make promises for some "new programs", like water power and so on, and putting people to work — but like a true politician he did so promising to lower spending and reducing government at the same time
While Roosevelt promised one thing, when he came in to office he had 180 degree turn around. So much so that many referred to his policies in the first 100 days office as "the Second New Deal" — because it bared little (if any) resemblance to the one promised. The only vaguely similar thing seems to be the furthering of waterpower (hydroelectric dams).
Roosevelt had bombarded Hoovers Administration with attacks over the deficit and how he would be different. FDR was different, in his first 4 years he increase spending 300% over the 1927 level (6 times what Hoover had) and during the course of FDR’s administration he spent 3 times more more money than all the 31 Presidents before him had spent combined! This hypocrisy (and duplicity) was the FDR way: criticize others to distract from doing worse, or do the exact opposite of what your promise. He was our biggest liar (far surpassing the Nixon and Clinton standards).
Roosevelt took us off the gold standard almost immediately (in opposition to what he had promised), and when he was encouraged to play with Silver as well, he said, ‘I messed with Gold and that was a flop, so why not try silver too?’ His attitude was try anything because the people wanted change: don’t think of the costs or consequences as long as he looks good for trying.
FDR modeled his business recovery on what the Fascists of Europe had been doing. Many assume that because it sounds so vitriolic that it must be wrong — but if you doubt it, study the policies. Remember, that the Fascist were not as unpopular at the time as they later became. They believed in: cooperation between Govt. and Business (crony capitalism), nationalized mega-unions, centralized control, price & wage controls and everything FDR copied. The NRA, AAA, WPA, were all ways to socialize, control and centralize many industries and control business and workers. He started programs to pay people to NOT grow/produce things (to combat deflation), exactly like what he had ridiculed Hoover for, and so on. Most of his programs were later declared flops or were ruled Unconstitutional by the Supreme Court — but there is no doubt what he tried to do, or where he got the models from. In his usual ironic way, FDR (and New Dealers) tended to use the term "fascist" very derogatorily (when the term became more unpopular) — and he accused many who didn’t follow the New Deal of being a "fascist" (pot meeting the kettle).
To give you an idea of how far his ideals switched from reducing bureaucracy to creating them, one only need to look at a partial list of the new "bureaus" created by his administration:
- AAA – Agricultural Adjustment Administration
- AMA – Agricultural Marketing Administration
- AOA – Administration of Operation Activities
- BCD – Bituminous Coal Division
- BCLB – Bituminous Coal Labor Board
- BEW – Board of Economic Warfare
- BIR-T – Board of Investigations and Research Transportation
- BOB – Bureau of Budget
- BPA – Bonneville Power Administration
- BWC – Board of War Communications
- CAA – Civil Aeronautics Authority
- CCC – Civilian Conservation Corps
- CCC – Commodity Credit Corporation
- CPA – Council of Personnel Administration
- CPRB – Combined Chiefs of Staff
- CEA – Commodity Exchange Administration
- CES – Committee on Economic Security
- CFB – Combined Food Board
- CMB – Combined Munitions Board
- CPRB – Combined Production and Resources Board
- CRMB – Combined Raw Materials Board
- CSAB – Combined Shipping Adjustment Board
- CWA – Civilian Works Administration
- DLC – Disaster Loan Corporation
- DPC – Defense Plant Corporation
- DSC – Defense Supplies Corporation
- EIBW – Export-Import Bank of Washington
- EHFA – Electric Home and Farm Authority
- EPCA – Emergency Price Control Act
- FCA – Farm Credit Authority
- FCC – Federal Communications Commission
- FCIC – Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
- FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- FERA – Federal Emergency Relief Agency
- FFC – Foreign Funds Control
- FFMC- Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation
- FHA – Federal Housing Administration
- FIC – Federal Insurance Corporation
- FLA – Federal Loan Agency
- FNMA – Federal National Mortgage Corporation
- FPA – Food Production Administration
- FPHA – Federal Public Housing Authority
- FRC – Facilities Review Committee
- FREB – Federal Real Estate Board
- FSA – Federal Securities Administration
- FSA – Farm Security Agency
- FSCC – Federal Surplus Commodity Corporation
- FTC- Federal Trade Commission
- FWA – Federal Works Agency
- HOLC – Home Owners Loan Corporation
- LOPM – Liaison Office for Personnel Management
- MLB – Maritime Labor Board
- MRC – Metal Reserve Company
- NBCC- National Bituminous Coal Commission
- NHA – National Housing Authority
- NHPC – National Historical Publications Commission
- NIC – National Insurance Board
- NLB – National Labor Board
- NLRB – National Labor Relations Board
- NMB – National Mediation Board
- NPPC – National Power Policy Committee
- NRA – National Recovery Administration
- NRAB- National Railroad Adjustment Board
- NRB – National Resources Board
- NRC- National resources Committe
- NRPB – National Resources Planning Board
- NWLB – National War Labor Board
- NYA – National Youth Administration
- OBCCC – Office of Bituminous Coal Consumers Council
- OC – Office of Censorship
- OCD – Office of Civilian Defense
- OCIAA – Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs
- ODHWS – Office of Defense and Health and Welfare Services
- ODT – Office of Defense Transportation
- OEM – Office of Emergency Management
- OES – Office of Economic Stabilization
- OLLA – Office of Lend-Lease Administration
- OPA – Office of Price Administration
- OPCW – Office of Petroleum Coordinator for War
- OSRD – Office of Scientific Research and Development
- OWI – Office of War Information
- PAW – Petroleum Administration for War
- PCD – Petroleum Conservation Division
- PIWC – Petroleum Industry War Council
- PRA – Public Roads Administration
- PRP – Production Requirements Plan
- PRRA – Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration
- PWA – Public Works Association
- PWRCB – President’s War Relief Control Board
- RA – Resettlement Administration
- RACC – Regional Agricultural Credit Corporation
- REA – Rural Electrification Administration
- RFC- Reconstruction Finance Corporation
- RRB – Railroad Retirement Board
- RRC – Rubber Reserve Company
- SA – Sugar Agency
- SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission
- SCS – Soil Conservation Service
- SMA – Surplus Marketing Association
- SSB – Social Security Board
- SSS – Selective Service Board
- SWPC – Small War Plants Corporation
- TNEC – Temporary National Economic Committee
- TVA – Tennessee Valley Authority
- UNRRA – United Nations Relief & Rehabilitation Administration
- USES – United States Employment Service
- USHA – United States Housing Authority
- USMC – United States Maritime Commission
- WDC – War Damage Corporation
- WEPL – War Emergency Pipe Lines, Inc.
- WMC – War Manpower Commission
- WPA – Works Progress Administration
- WPB – War Production Board
- WRA – War Relocation Authority
- WSA – War Shipping Administration
Well over a hundred new bureau’s to help reduce the tax load that was burdening the nation and bankrupting investment.
Of course congress and the President couldn’t oversee all these new agencies, and most of them were created by yanking power (unconstitutionally) away from States and delivering this power to the Fed (and FDR), and then violating Article One, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, which says, "Congress cannot delegate its power to anyone else" (called the non-deligation clause).
This later had serious ramifications in that many of these agencies turned out to be corrupt, or were infultrated by "Reds" and "Pinks" (communists and socialists) who realized that they didn’t have to control the majority if they just held enough key positions. The bigger the government, the more the lure for the corrupt to be attracted to it and abuse it. This organized infiltration and abuse is what lead to the backlash in the McCarthy era.
> People seldom remember (or are taught) why McCarthy’s purges got started in the first place (and out of hand) — but it was the abuse and failures of the FDR era, and rampant organized abuse/corruption that caused the problem in the first place: McCarthy was an over-reaction, but it was backlash against something real.
How many of these Bureaucracies came into existence is almost as bad as that they existed at all. There was fear in the nation over the depression, and the public and congress decided to let FDR try to fix things: we had one of the most cowardly, complacent (democrat controlled) congresses in history. They stopped being the legislative branch of the Government, and became the rubber-stamp one. Congress passed an unconstitutional carte-blanche law that gave the President (the RFC – Reconstruction Finance Committee, which he appointed and controlled) the authority to borrow whatever money desired. They borrowed over 20 Billion Dollars, and just made new committees, departments, commissions or administrations without congressional approval. The RFC would buy out a corporations stock and then just own them. Each of these new departments (and people that used them) were indebted to FDR, and FDR controlled many of them directly (through their purse and because many of their jobs were "appointments"). And FDR abused powers that were far beyond what a King of that era had.
When FDR created the NRA (National Recovery Administration) in 1933-1934 and created a central planning commission, the stated objective was to model American liberty after the great economies of Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan. Of course the NRA was quickly ruled unconstitutional (exceeding the powers of granted to congress within the Commerce Clause), so they went around it using regulatory powers of following agencies anyways. The point being that FDR’s dreams of utopia turned out to be the fascist and Communists and totalitarians centralizations of powers — that we had to go to war with to stop.
Once created, people quickly become dependent on Government Programs. You can tax an area for $1.00, but if you give $.50 back, the people remember what they got (and forget what what was taken). In economics, this is the seen versus the unseen: they saw rewards but didn’t realize that they couldn’t get jobs elsewhere, because companies could not grow with the weight of laws/regulations/taxes on their necks. So the least educated bought into the attacks against "the rich" or evil "corporations" (who FDR constantly vilified), and the national tone started its change from one of growth and opportunity, to one of polarization and envy. Special interests and "favor dealing" (started under Teddy and Wilson) were greatly magnified under FDR. Workers couldn’t get raises because of wage controls and couldn’t afford many things because of a price control (or tariffs) had driven costs up, but FDR would vilify the companies for complying with his laws, and explaining how he needed more power to help. (Something many left leaning politicians have tried to mimic since then).
Of course many businesses were corrupt, and many businessmen were amoral and even cruel. But that’s the cost of freedom (some people will do things you don’t like). The agencies that governed them were usually more corrupt and more cruel. Thus the disease was better than the cure. Politicians are good at distracting the gullible about the harm they did, while taking credit for what little good they weren’t able to squash. But of course to a starving man it doesn’t matter, and a temporary job for 3 – 6 months seemed better than nothing — even if they end up more a wage slave than where they started.
> Remember the costs – FDR taught the nation that if you rob Peter to pay Paul, that you can count on Paul’s vote. It divided us: our violence and murder rates increased geometrically. Worse than that, he didn’t just rob Peter, but Peter and Paul’s kids. Social Security was sold as a trust fund of your own money, but the truth is, it’s just a youth tax — and they took the surplus and spent that on these programs (leaving their kids, and grandkids the debt). Many that attack the spendthrifts of today, forget where it truly started. Most don’t remember that we are still paying interest and for programs today that were created while Roosevelt was President. Soon after Roosevelt left office we were paying as much for the interest on the national debt (alone) as we were to operate the whole country before his tenure! Back when we had far higher growth rates, more opportunities, and had built roads, bridges, had better schools, and so on.
Anyone that warned against all this deficit spending and the long term costs of FDR were attacked as hate-mongers, callous conservatives, and shrill. But economists estimate if we’d done nothing, and stayed on prior growth trajectories, we’d be well over twice as well off as a nation (higher incomes and lower taxes, more liberties). Thank FDR for that loss in spending power and for that social insecurity.
Most of these "agencies" took on second duty as campaign managers for Roosevelt and the New Deal. Government agencies owed their existance (and budgets) to FDR, and they were going to support him and their own interests! Millions, if not Billions, were spent on the propeganda that was FDRs unofficial reelection campaign — the New Deal was spending a lot on FDR as well as the other way around. FDR knew about these abuses, and of course did nothing to stop it. In fact, he abused it. During the war he use censorship powers to censor things that didn’t reflect well on him, and he mixed nationalist propaganda with promoting him, his policies, and the New Deal. You wanted the FCC to renew your radio license? Don’t talk bad about FDR or you might lose your license. Most of his agencies were hand-appointed by FDR, reported to him, and were only given to registered democrats. (The same for many of the jobs under those appointments). To help with that, they would help you "reregister" to the proper party (as part of your job application). Seriously. Many republicans or non-FDR supporters would lose their jobs when discovered. These programs were part of FDR’s secret police.
It was not a good time for Freedom — empowering bureaucracy has costs. High School History texts sell it as there was a, "everyone pitch in" attitude, but that was the sales pitch. In truth, there was much more, "do what we say, or get crushed under the wheels of progress". We were on a death spiral, fortunately for us, the War pulled us out (and changed the tone), otherwise, we were going to be the USSA.
## The Second Term (1936)
The Republicans tried to get elected in 1936 on the same platform that Roosevelt had used in 1932 — "Cut Deficits, Reduce Spending, Eliminate Bureaucracy". The Democrats were livid, and accused them publicly of stealing their platform. The Republicans responded publicly with, "Why not, the Platform has never been used?"
However by this time Roosevelt had gotten enough people suckling on the Govt. teat that everyone wanted more of the same. The spending had hidden some of the symptoms of the depression. The people were being hurt by the policies in the long term (in the lack of opportunities), but the hand-outs were holding them over in the short term: the Democrats had locked up the ignorance vote. Borrowing from your (and your kids) future may cost you in the next few years, but if you’re unemployed because of those policies, you care about this week. Plus there was open corruption: cases like temporary work cards distributed during election time that would entitle the bearer to two to four weeks of work, distributed by the Democratic party: "we’ll pay for votes" was the message, and it came across loud and clear. It was completely illegal and a violation of all ethics, but those never stopped the Tammany Hall inspired election machine. Roosevelt won the election, even if poorer people paid the price.
Of course things were not rosy for long. We had the highest National Debt just before Roosevelt took office (22 Billion), most of that the result of Wilson getting us into WWI. Roosevelt promised to get that under control, but had nearly doubled it in 4 years instead (37 Billion). Since the depression still hadn’t gotten much better, people were starting to complain again. There is only so much you can spend on (in public works) because States have to pay to upkeep whatever the Federal Government builds. Some States were turning down new projects because they couldn’t afford to maintain all these "new" things on their reducing tax revenues (as the Fed kept taking more and more of the tax share). The short term benefits of Keynesian spending had run it’s course.
In 1932 there were 11 Million people out of work, and through massive spending Roosevelt had reduced that to 4.5 Million — but that was creeping up again (by 1939 it was back up to 11 Million again). To get elected in ’36 Roosevelt had the treasury boast that relief payments were less than the prior year: after the election this was revealed to be one of his many lies (or lies made for him): there were more on public assustance than ever (in dollars and numbers). None of the important indicators were up — private investment, housing and construction, business start ups or sales, and so on.
People are taught about the 1929 crash, but few are taught that wasn’t what ruined most people, it was the second Depression (a double-dip) that did far more damage. The second one (caused by FDR’s policies) was much worse than the first because now we had more debt, higher taxes, less freedom, and businesses weren’t going to invest into these government take-overs and control. We were becoming the Soviet Union.
When Roosevelt sent his people to talk with business, they laughed them out of the meetings: he’d spent the last 4 or 5 years vilifying business and their leadership for everything, set up agencies to micromanage them, and now he was saying he wanted to ally with them? Businessmen knew more about what was going on than FDR. Roosevelt was getting desperate, and talking with his aides about their coming defeat in the 1940 election: 6 years after the start of the New Deal the policies had been a complete flop (economically). Price and Wage controls had managed to bankrupt many businesses and created black markets for many goods and services (cutting tax revenues, and driving up costs higher). Some were just flat out ignoring the laws. A lot of Americans contempt for the law, and appreciation for rebels, came from this time, prohibition and the post-civil war era. If complying with the law would ruin you, people chose to become criminals rather than destitute.
> Supreme Court Stacking : Roosevelt was also livid over the Supreme Court blocking some of his programs as Unconstitutional. They were unconstitutional, he knew they were (his own advisors had told him so) — but was a retaliatory power-hungry individual. In a blatant attempt to usurp the Constitution (more than he had already), FDR put a bill before congress that would force all Supreme Court Justices over the age of 70 to retire, and allow him to put in 6 (or more) new Judges (who would be more sympathetic to his causes). His public rationalization was, "the Justices were old and slow and falling behind in their case loads". In fact, the Supreme court docket was (for once) fully up to date, which any lawyer in congress knew, and which was somewhat rare. But Roosevelt’s arrogance had arisen to the point where he thought he could cram anything through congress — and he was almost right.
> Fortunately, even the most complicit and weakest congress in history, one that passed almost everything Roosevelt laid before them, would not go this far. There were enough votes to pass the law (too many feared Roosevelt and would have supported it anyway) — but a few gutsy individuals held it up in committee and debated it, delayed it, and brought the fraud to the public’s attention (for which they were later punished by Roosevelt). Filibusters and committees do have some value.
> FDR was telling the public, via his Fireside Chats, what a good thing this new law would be, but the public wasn’t that stupid. Roosevelt had sworn to his detractors that the public would support him, but fortunately a little sanity was left — the public went against him. Before Roosevelt played his trump card (appealed to the public), he could have passed a compromise deal which would have still gotten his ends. It would have been to force only one Justice out per year, and only after the age of 75 — which would have been enough to stack the court in his favor (like Wilson got to). However, his power play on the Fireside Chat let everyone know how weak his stance really was, so he lost that opportunity as well. Congress not feeling the heat of the masses actually voted correctly — and this bill fell to an defeat to the cheers of congress. But it was very close for a while. We almost had the Executive branch (with the complacency of the legislative branch) overthrow the Judicial branch of our Government. It was still the most disgusting attempts to usurp the constitution by any President in our history.
> Even afterwards, it seems the Supreme Court was scared into shape, because many seem to have had a change of heart, and many more decisions went in FDRs favor — and in many cases "in FDRs favor" was against the constitution and precedent.
Just when things looked their worst (economically), Roosevelt got a reprieve: WAR. Or at least defense spending in anticipation of the war. FDR wanted war, he needed the war, (needed an excuse for spending) — but he needed to convince people he would keep us out of war. He could build up our defenses, and sell (borrow our money to give) our war-goods to England and Russia. He could posture, play, manipulate and drive us into a war (all with the glories of unlimited spending). Best of all, the states didn’t have to worry about maintaining what the Fed built. Plus, joining the military got labor competition out of the work force. They could borrow against our future, like never before.
Many forget that FDR’s policies did not cure the depression at all: most programs were ruled unconstitutional, and years after the New Deal we were in worse shape than when he came into office. The new deal made the depression worse, and we might have bankrupted our nation and taught generations about the failure of big government, except the War saved FDR’s legacy. FDR took credit for fixing the depression, and progressive History books repeat that delusion: but the real history and economic history sees it quite different from that.
## The war years (1940)
Roosevelt got elected to his third term by scam. He wanted to send out the image that he didn’t want a third term, and would only reluctantly accept it because the people demanded it of him: his public service (the draft). Like many of his political machinations this was a fraud. The "decree" was heavily sponsored by him, and he spent a good amount of time as President bashing any the potential candidates (in his own party or the other). The only person he could support would be himself: and he was not going to give up the reigns of power freely. With enough arm-twisting (literally), plants on the convention floor (union leg-breakers with loud speakers), they started the "Roosevelt" chant, brought out the goons with the phony placards, and overcame the resistance with physical violence. Those in the know, just shut up and went along. Thus he won the nomination of his party, via his usual dirty tricks.
Roosevelt on one side had publicly supported the "neutrality" act designed to keep the United States out of another world war — but on the other side, he needed desperately to get involved and spend, spend, spend. So FDR did the build up while perpetuating a fallacy of neutrality. He kept telling the people(voters) we weren’t going to get involved, but that was only because polls kept saying that war was not popular (83% against), but all evidence (and communications he shared with the allies) is that he was an eager war-hawk, looking for an excuse to get involved.
Once he won the 1940 election, he stepped up the rhetoric and propaganda campaigns, "there can be no appeasement of ruthlessness" ,
"we must be the great arsenal of democracy", and so on. He gave 50 Destroyers to England, an act of war (without the permission of Congress or the Navy). When pressed on that, FDR said that he had the permission of Attorney-General Jackson, as if the AG had any authority to authorize it. Jackson later admitted FDR had never talked to him about it, let alone have his agreement (Roosevelt lied to the public). He gave numerous planes, guns, ships and other war supplies, and we were stockpiling and building for war: $18 Billion had already been appropriated for the war effort. Then FDR started conscription (the draft). Not acts of a country that is planning on "staying out of it".
Roosevelt needed to provoke an excuse to polarize Americans and get us in a war. We did many things that were considered acts of war to try to provoke the Japanese and Germans. Our diplomatic tone, military aide, military buildup, and so on, were obvious: we were going to war, but we were going to make "them" start it. Giving military equipment (and personelle) to an enemy (and transporting supplies there when a country is at war with another country), is generally considered an act of war (lend-lease). He did that to the UK and Russia (once Germany declared war on Russia). He sent marines to Iceland (and UK). He seized Germany’s assets, had the German consulates closed, expelled their diplomats (all acts of war). Do you think there was any doubt to the Germans that we were involved in war, and which side we were on? But the media reported the fiction as FDR required.
War in the Pacific
We knew that Japan needed resources, and could be provoked easily. So basically we kept giving the Japanese ultimatums saying that if they didn’t stop in China, or dramatically change it’s pacific policy, that we would be at war. Basically, we had some oral and some written ultimatums that culminated with a defacto declaration of War in November, by Secretary of State Hull, that demanded an unconditional withdraw from Manchuria (which Japan needed for natural resources).
We knew there was no way that Japan was going to comply with this. We moved our pacific fleet forward to pearl harbor (to bait the Japanese). Roosevelt "froze" all assets owned by the Japanese (act of war). FDR embargoed all shipments of gasoline and scrap iron to Japan(an act of war). All of our intelligence told us that Japan was going to have to go to war. We noted that their fleet kept disappearing for attack training.
Roosevelt said to Churchill in August that he felt he could ‘avoid an attack from the Japanese for at least 3 more months’. We noted weeks before the attack that all the Japanese merchant fleet had disappeared (preparation for invasion). Our intelligence (and FDR) knew that there was going to be a surprise attack on one of our islands — we just didn’t know which one.
December 6, 1941 U. S. cipher code breakers intercepted and decoded the final response of the Japanese government to the U. S. note of November 26 that demanded the Japanese to withdraw from China and other treaty stipulation. When notified of these developments, President Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed, "This means war!" November 27, 1941 Roosevelt told Secretary of War Stimson (who noted it in his diary) that our course was to maneuver the Japanese into attacking us — which would put us into the war and solve our problems (meaning FDR’s political ones with us getting involved). The Japanese attacked in the only way they could, a quick surprise attack to try to end our fighting ability quickly and decisively. Roosevelt succeeded in provoking the war with the Japanese.
Up until Pearl Harbor, 75% of the people in polls were against us getting involved in the war. Afterwards it was near unanimously for it. FDR succeeded in provoking them into giving him what he needed. The Japanese were still wrong for the attack (they had intended on declaring war before the attack, not the other way around): but we were the aggressors. The whole thing came down just as FDR wanted it to — a few thousand dead in a "surprise" attack gave FDR the excuse he needed to enter the war. We knew an attack was coming, we just through South Pacific or Midway: Pearl Harbor and success of the attack was more than we expected. But there’s no doubt that he was defrauding the public by claiming he didn’t want war: and went against their wishes (and his promise) in his usual slimy, political way.
> Executive Order 9066 : The American Kristallnacht – one of the great shame’s of American History is Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. It allowed the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans — basically because you just can’t trust those slanty-eyed devils from the east! This was inexcusable. FDR’s propaganda ministry (the OWI) was making and distributing racist films and stories about how the Japanese race could not be trusted — and all the media jumped on board. While mostly Japanese Americans were interned, the order did get applied to others including some German and Italian immigrants along the West Coast. All the rationalizations in the world can not forgive us (and our President) for ignoring the Constitution and the tenets of freedom, and rounding up people because of their heredity, taking their things, and imprisoning them. This shame belongs forever bound to the legacy of the President that ordered it, and the Congress and Supreme Court that allowed it to happen.
War in Europe
The President claimed that Lend-Lease (giving Arms and men to England) was a way to "keep us out of the war". People on both sides of the aisle in congress said this was bunk, and was Roosevelt’s law to allow him to fight an undeclared war. They questioned him on the only safe way to get the weapons to England would be military convoys and FDR said he was against convoys, "Convoys, mean shooting and shooting means war". As those words were being uttered, FDR was starting convoys. We were helping the British hunt German submarines (in American warships), and yet FDR was claiming that we were not yet involved in the war — and we pretended that the Germans were starting it.
The Atlantic Charter
In 1941 the President staged a great event. Roosevelt and Churchill met at sea (off the coast of Newfoundland) to create a "joint declaration". It was all about grand plans for open trade and freedom (and non-territorialism), and how they would protect individuals rights to govern themselves, and so on. It was a collection of noble statements.
This whole thing was a fraud, it was never signed, and never lived up to. It was just a press release done at FDR’s request. It helped FDR look good early on — and that was what was really important. He later admitted as much — in 1944 (12/10) he was asked at a press conference about the Atlantic Charter to which he responded, "There wasn’t any copy of the Atlantic Charter as far as I know." Correspondents were stunned. The document in the National Museum in Washington, framed and illuminated, was all fraud — and was quickly removed. John O’Donnel (FDR’s appointee to the OWI, Office of War Information e.g. propaganda ministry) had created the physical document and and added FDR’s and Churchill’s signatures to it. FDR had never thought to bring this to the attention of people while 240,000 copies of the false document were being printed and distributed, nor while it was being displayed at the Museum — once he was elected for his final term, he could admit the truth. Roosevelt had to minimalize it then, because he had no intentions of living up to it (nor had he all along). It had just been him testing the waters for his United Nations (League of Nations revisited), and all to make himself look good.
Stalin and Soviet plans should have been a serious concern in the war. Advisors and diplomats knew that USSR had designs on capturing as much land as possible, and keeping it. The Iron Curtain was not as much of a surprise as some think — it was known long before it happened, especially by seasoned diplomats — meaning everyone seemed to know what was going to happen but FDR.
The British Military planners wanted to invade the Balkans early on, and cutting off Germany’s resources (which were mostly coming from and through that area). Churchill supported this and had suspicions of USSR’s designs on these lands. It was a sort of "starve them out" and siege attack against Germany. But the idea was to drive up into Russia, then team up with them to fight west. This would require co-occupation, and near side operations, but would prevent the USSR from just usurping all lands grabbed. Roosevelt was against it, and went in favor of other plans.
Early in the planning American Military planners wanted to invade France as early as possible. They wanted to prevent Russian land grabs as much as possible too — but they wanted to start in the west, and drive east as fast as possible. They started plans for invasion of France in 1942 (Sledgehammer) or 1943 (Bolero). FDR supported Bolero, and pushed this on England (under threat of focusing on Japan if England didn’t want to play by our rules) — so Britain dropped the Balkans plan, and agreed to Bolero. Plans were laid, and Bolero was ready to go. But FDR was in contact with Stalin, and FDR decided that a North African campaign (Gymnast / Torch) was necessary first — and that meant delaying French invasion for another year (1944) — of course this helped the Soviets grab far more land than they would have otherwise.FDR went directly against the advice of all his military advisors, and England’s agreements, and changed the plans himself.
Imagine what another year (or two) of us fighting in Europe would have meant to lessen the territories grabbed by Stalin — the Iron Curtain may have never decended. Of course the cost in American lives would have been higher as well, but the cost in Jewish lives would have been lower. It seems that FDR didn’t care about the plight of the Jews, nor in any of the countries that were later occupied by the USSR.
1940 Roosevelt contacted all the countries occupied by Axis Powers and had their diplomatic representatives sent to him. This included France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, the Baltic States, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Balkan states (Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Greece) and China and said, "Be assured, gentlemen, that the restoration of the countries occupied by Germany and suffering under the Axis yoke is my greatest concern, which is shared in like degree by Mr. Churchill. We promise that all will be done to insure the independence of these countries."
Multiple times FDR and the U.S. promised to the Polish Govt. in exile that we would defend the Atlantic Charter, and not allow the USSR to just take over Poland. Poland knew that Stalin wanted to do this — and they really disliked that idea. Russia never gave up their claims that they would keep these lands — and people kept pushing FDR to demand they relinquish it as part of the Lend-Lease or other negotiations and treaties. FDR didn’t seem to care (in private), while publicly telling the polish (and the polish voters) to just trust FDR. Publicly Hull was saying things like "the U.S." would defend the cause of Poland as he would defend the cause of his own country". Yet as early as the Moscow Conference, Roosevelt had secretly agreed to allow the Soviets to keep Poland up to the Curzon line — which had been formalized at Teheran Conference with the stipulation that the Soviets not make it public. Later FDR just gave up on the whole country — what are promises and a few million people to a politician?
So it wasn’t just military incompetence that was Roosevelt’s shortcoming, it was also diplomatic incompetence (or treachery) as well. The whole time we were giving the Russians Weapons and money to fight Germany it was terminally stupid to not put conditions on them — like getting the USSR to agree to give up claims on Poland, Balkans, Baltic states, and so on. Stalin wouldn’t discuss it, which should be been our queue to stop supporting him or demand it. FDR’s diplomats and England’s diplomats were telling FDR as much. All the countries that were going to be invaded by the USSR were begging for as much. They wanted FDR to promise to make the Soviet Union live under the rules of the Atlantic Charter (before they found out it was a fraud). FDR kept promising everything to everyone, and doing nothing about it. We paid for with many hundreds of thousands of more lives lost, and Billions more dollars, and hundreds of millions of people enslaved under Stalin.
Whose side was he on?
Of course the President didn’t just back stab and double deal with all the countries that fell under the Iron Curtain. He was double-dealing with our supposed allies.
While FDR is having the Big-3 conference in Teheran, he’s having secret meetings and agreements with Stalin — and siding with Stalin publicly more than Churchill. The British (Churchill) was our real ally, and FDR was working against him. It was claimed this was part of his strategy to make Stalin feel like he wasn’t being "ganged up on" and to get him to go along with the U.N. idea — but at what price?
FDR was also messing with aggreements with Chiang Kai-shek that we would help the keep the British out of Hong Kong back — and FDR sort of forced Chiang to take the Chinese-Communists into the government to help fight the Japanese. Of course he was also working against Chiang and dealing with Stalin to get him involved in fighting the Japanese in Manchuria (later in war) knowing that the Russia wanted to keep that area too (and that Chiang was against it). It wasn’t until years after the war until all the secret IOU’s of FDR got sorted out — and no one walked away without a knife in their back.
FDR seemed to think he was a brilliant man, playing one person against the next. Or maybe he just knew he was going to die soon, and he only cared about looking good (and short term gains). The end result was that he betrayed almost everyone that dealt with him in one way or another — and most of his diplomacy was very costly for America and her interests, not to mention our "allies".
## Corruption – All in the Family
Graft is taking profit from one’s political office (or taking money for their influence). As Governor FDR stated on many occasions that Public Officials should not be living beyond their means (or getting economic gain from their political influence). FDR specifically said that financial gains should apply to members of a politician family as well as the politician himself. FDR dismissed one Sheriff (Farley) saying, "What of a public official who allows a member of his family to obtain favors or benefits through his political connections?" FDR was publicly against graft — and one of the largest recipients of it in history — both directly and through his immediate family.
James : James Roosevelt (FDR’s oldest son and law school dropout) was to become an insurance agent while FDR was in office. He admitted that he was only given the job (at an extraordinary salary) because of his fathers name (and position), and his influence over his father. For the record, Herbert Hoover’s son was also offered a similar "fat" salaried, do nothing job — which he refused by saying, "My father’s name is not for sale". Jimmy had no such morals limiting his behavior — and took things much further. Jimmy would call from the White House (where he was also his fathers aide) and say, "This is Jimmy Roosevelt of <I>Roosevelt and Sargent Insurance</I>, calling from the White House" and then proceed to give them a sales pitch on using his insurance. Since he was calling companies that were getting millions of dollars from Govt. Assistance, Contracts or Programs, they would almost all see this is "payola" and switch insurance to his company. A few whined about the corruption and saw it as "protection money" or a "shakedown" — but most kept quiet and paid. Jimmy also got more direct payoffs, with companies and organizations (like the National Grain Yeast Corporation) paying him $100,000’s of dollars as a consultant, all for a 28 year old with no experience of their business what-so-ever. Samuel Goldwyn (of MGM) paid Jimmy $50,000/year to help him with a Dept. of Justice case that was investigating the movie companies under antitrust laws — problem solved. And so on. This all seems to qualify as "graft".
Elliott : Elliott Roosevelt decided to follow in his brothers footsteps and went into "deals and promotions". He sold the Soviet Govt. 50 military airplanes for a profit of $1,000,000. His partner admitted later (to a Senate Committee) that the price was excessive, but that Elliot had enough influence with the Export-Import Bank and Russian Purchasing Commission to "swing the deal". Elliott then became Vice President for a Radio Station (for $30K/year), right when the radio station was having problems with an ownership transfer because of the FCC. The FCC commission that was against this transfer got a call from the White House that said to let this thing go through, "because it means so much to Elliott". The problem went away (the FCC approved the transfer) and Elliott got a bonus for each of the 4 stations involved in the transfer. There were dozens of "problems" that could be resolved through Elliott — and dozens of things facilitated by him (for a price). Then Elliott decided to go into the army (to support the war effort), where he was put in charge of procurement and was quickly promoted to Brigadier-General (ahead of West Point Graduates with far more experience than him). He also used his influence to help people that entertained him well — like Howard Hughes got a $22,000,000 plane contract after spending $5,000 entertaining Elliott. Elliott borrowed money from men that he helped (or the President helped), and did very well for himself while the President was in office. The Chicago Tribune estimated that Elliott earned over $1.1M during the presidents tenure, and that almost every dollar was made on the strength of his White House connection. This isn’t including deals that coincidentally worked out in his favor, like deals where he gave $200,000 in collateral for loans, then paid back $4,000 of the loan (to get his $200,000 in stock back).
Eleanor : But the family payoff wasn’t just the the sins of the sons — Eleanor (Wife of the President) did even better. She went from making nothing per year, to earning over $3,000,000 while FDR was in office. She was doing paid speaking engagements (from $1,000 – $4,000 a pop), she was selling soap in national advertising, and in fact took on all sorts of advertising contracts. Foreign governments paid her to help them with issues (like a South American Coffee Consortium). A Candy group was worried that Candy might be classed as "nonessential" to the war — so they enlisted her aide (at high price). She was paid to do movie shorts. She wrote a daily column for Newspapers (for high pay, and which had little literary value beyond her name). She gave a small percentage to charity — but the majority seemed to benefit the Roosevelt’s.
More than that, she went on to take great advantage of her position in other forms of graft — extravagant spending, perks and so on. She accepted very expensive gift from foreign governments, like furs and jewelry. When challenged she said, "The President cannot take a present from a foreign government, but I can accept a present from anybody." Her excesses were a disgrace to the nation — and many before her, and since, had wisdom and integrity to ask that gifts be given instead to favored charities. While the war effort was on and people were heavily rationed there were commercials stating that a single B17 bomber sortie would take as the equivalent of 5 car trips across the continent — Eleanor made a 26,000 mile trip in a specially outfitted transport plane (dressed as a Red Cross field worker) — all while she was telling others to "conserve for the war", which obviously didn’t apply to royalty. $3M is not a bad take for someone who had no earnings at all before her husband was the President.
Franklin : The President even partook of his Government power (and it’s rewards) directly as well — though not to the degree his wife or sons did.
FDR had been a stamp collector for his entire life, though he didn’t delve into the more extravagant side, and preferred the $10 and less stamps, he was quite familiar with the business side. As President he appointed Jim Farley as his Postmaster-General. Then he got Farley to give him imperforate first sheets of stamps (sheets before they are "cut"). These are rare, and valuable (each having a value of $20,000 at the time) — but Farley gave them to FDR, Eleanor, and a few others (at FDR request). But it didn’t stop there. When new stamps are made they run a "proof" of the die. Since the dies changes over time, these die proofs are quite valuable. Politicians were getting them and giving them out as payola until Theodore Roosevelt passed an order forbidding those proofs from going to any one person. When FDR got in office, and knowing the value of these proofs, he had them ALL delivered to him — going all the way back to 1896 — which he put in his personal stamp collection. After FDRs death, his estate got $275,000 for his otherwise modest stamp collection.
FDR was the first President to create a shrine to himself, in a shameless act of self worship. President’s families or friends usually create shrine after their deaths — but FDR didn’t want to wait that long, and wanted to make sure it was worthy. In 1938 (when the Depression was rearing it’s ugly head, again), he started negotiations with Collier’s Magazine for a $75,000 a year post writing a weekly column (in case he didn’t win the next election). He decided that it would help this job if he had a convenient library to do his research. So FDR decided to create a Franklin D. Roosevelt "Memorial" Library on his Hyde Park estate — it was "Memorial" so that others could pay the bill for its creation, and so it would be tax exempt. His appointed supporters raised $400,000 for this purpose — the land was deeded to the Govt. to alleviate Roosevelt from the tax liabilities, and so that the National Archives could pay for its upkeep. But by 1943 the visions of writer had left (and the Collier’s job was passé), and he decided the Library was not enough of a shrine to himself — so he expanded on the idea, and deeded over the entire Hyde Park Estate. Of course his family members would be entitled to live there, and congress got stuck with a $50,000 a year bill for upkeep (which has since grown substantially) — but FDR got a shrine. FDR became the only president whose home and grave are maintained by the Govt. as a national shrine, and the government was doing this before his death, at his request.
FDR’s two sons both became rich men through the use of their fathers office. By today’s standards that is blatant corruption, but by standards of the day it probably wasn’t quite as bad. However, FDR himself considered it corrupt and immoral when others did similar but lesser infractions. FDR knew of the actions of his sons, and directly supported them in many of them.
Eleanor was blatantly abusing her position as First Lady — to a greater degree than has ever been done before or since. Most politicians refuse or divert gifts to charity while they are in Office — go just to avoid the look of impropriety. Eleanor and Franklin had no such moral compunctions. Let us also remember that payola to Eleanor was shared bootie to the President himself.
Worst of all was the actions of FDR for himself. He really did abuse his official powers for his own gains — and that just reflects on what kind of person he was. While most were relatively minor compared to what he could have received they still resulted in substantial graft. Not only were his actions flawed, but he was blatantly hypocritical about it.
This was the most corrupt and blatant abuse of official power for personal gain by the First Family that has ever happened in this nation — and this includes Harding, Nixon (Agnew), Clinton and Grant. While others corruption was in their cabinets (except Clinton) — this graft and corruption was tied to the President and his immediate family — and to degrees that boggle the mind to this day. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely — and FDR had more power than any other President in history — and more control over more relative wealth than probably any one person ever will, or should.
## The Holocaust : Jews best friend?
Many years ago, I was discussing WWII history (which I’ve always had an interest in) with a Historian friend — and they came up with some claims that were so foul that I just couldn’t believe them. I was supplied with overwhelming evidence to support their claims, and I was so disgusted by what our nation (and our President) had done, that I ignored facts and just denied that it could have happened. I became an unreasoning person — and it took me years to open my mind to the possibilities that are the facts.
It was partly because of the overwhelming evidence of what happened, and what FDR did and did not do, that I started questioning Roosevelt and what he stood really for. The more I learned the more unbelievable it all seemed.
What was so detestable that I couldn’t accept? Roosevelt and the State Department knew about the Holocaust from it’s inception and not only did nothing about it, but intentionally hid information about it, and prevented more Jews from escaping. FDR played politics the whole time, and only did what was in his best interests, knowing what the results would be to many innocents. FDR only acted in the best interests of humanity when forced by public pressure and exposure.
Breckenridge Long, the Roosevelt appointee to head the State Department, was intentionally and knowingly blocking the immigration (to the U.S.) of millions of Jews scheduled to be exterminated — knowing what the results would be. He passed an intra-department memo in June 1940 which stated,
"We can delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length the number of immigrants into the United States. We could do this by simply advising our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and to require additional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas."
This was done. Which goes to show the effectiveness of Bureaucracy and over empowering Government — 190,000 people could have escaped the atrocities being committed by the Nazis if we had just followed the immigration laws we had in place. While people were scheduled for death, and knew it, they were appealing to our nation (embassies) to escape — and we didn’t have the respect for them to tell them that we didn’t care. Instead we put them through an impossible maze of red-tape and run-arounds until their time ran out, and they were killed.
American Jews were victims of anti-Semitism in America as well, and many were afraid of embarrassing FDR for his inaction, because one of the few places they could be employed was in New Deal Govt. agencies, and they didn’t want to be driven out — more repercussions of large Govt. and bureaucracy. FDR seemed to know exactly what was going on, and I find it unlikely that he was unaware or unable to act in this case — suddenly the omnipotent leader who could force through any cause (unconstitutional or not) was powerless over one of his appointees or bringing something to the publics attention, yeah right. Responsibility for these actions at least partly belongs on the President.
The State Dept. not only intentionally delayed the Jews from escaping their fates, but they made a concerted effort to prevent the information about what was happening from reaching the American public. They were literally and intentionally blocking cables and information about the Holocaust from being transmitted. (Again, Roosevelt’s centralized authorities and power over information helped squash the truth). When the stories did reach the press, our Newspapers helped by burying the stories in smaller articles in the middle pages. Despite our State Depts. best efforts and delaying tactics, after years it became public knowledge, and the U.S. and Britain were finally embarrassed into holding a Bermuda Conference to try to "help" the Jews by appealing to Germany and her Satellites to give the refugees to us rather than to exterminating them. The British said what both sides had felt all along (and why they delayed so much):
"There is a possibility that the Germans or their satellites may change over from the policy of extermination to one of extrusion, and aim as they did before the war at embarrassing other countries by flooding them with alien immigrants."
We knew that Germany wanted the Jews gone from Europe — but that they might just hand them to us to get rid of them. We couldn’t have that! So once the conference was held, it’s sole purpose was to play politics and not achieve any results. No Jewish organizations were allowed to be present. The Roosevelt Administration warned our representatives that they had "no power to relax or rescind the immigration laws" and instructed them not to make commitments on shipping, funds or new relief agencies. Additionally, the The British government imposed the additional restriction that its policy on admitting refugees to Palestine could not be discussed. The conclusion was that "no approach be made to Hitler for the release of potential refugees." In other words, we’d rather see them killed than allow them into our nations. Which explains why in 1939 the S.S. St. Louis, carrying 930 Jewish refugees was turned away, and the refugees were forced to return to Europe to die, or why in 1942 the Congress refused to pass a law allowing Jewish children in France refugee status in order to escape persecution — yet immediately afterwards we allow more British children to come over in order "to get them out of harms way." Where was the larger danger?
We wouldn’t save and Jews, and would not even appeal to Germany to stop. FDR was aware of all this, and far more — but anti-Semitism was rampant in the U.S., and it would be unpopular to make a real difference. Most avenues of escape for the Jews were blocked, or choked down to a trickle by the U.S. and the British — the British even blocked emigration to Palestine. Of course in all these cases FDR did nothing to help, despite knowing exactly what was happening.
Later, when the Allies were bombing all around Aushwitz, and despite knowing the camp’s purpose, and having evidence to what was happening, we just wouldn’t expend the energy (bombs) to stop the ovens — nor bomb the rail lines and prevent the trains bringing more victims there — despite numerous appeals to the President and all of our leaders. Of course, had we taken the British suggestions in the war of entering the Balkans first, or having invaded France earlier, then millions of Jewish lives would have been saved as well — but we (and FDR) weren’t in any hurry.
We (the U.S., Britain and FDR specifically) had many opportunities to save hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives, and not only didn’t we expend the effort to help, but in many cases we actually expended an effort to prevent those lives from being saved.
FDR knew what was going on, and was capable of changing it, if he had cared. Jewish leaders gave President Roosevelt a 20-page summary of the Holocaust on December 8, 1942 — but intelligence had supplied him with more information at earlier dates. Nothing in it was new to him — but did the reactionary President react? Did the man of the people try to help the people? Jan Karski, a courier for the Polish resistance, met with FDR July 1943 and gave him an eyewitness account of the Holocaust. Four hundred Orthodox rabbis gather outside the White House to present a petition to FDR calling for a rescue agency in October 6, 1943, but FDR declines to meet them claiming he is too busy — despite the fact that his schedule shows that he was free. The whole time he was delaying, FDR was aware of exactly what was going on. He did nothing until forced.
Finally, after American Jews publicized what was going on, against the efforts of the Roosevelt administration, and after demonstrations and a lot more proof came out, then in 1944 President Roosevelt was forced (by public pressure) to established the War Refugee Board — which miraculously had some success in rescuing the lives of as many as 200,000 Jews.
These travesties of course are far larger than just the President and are an embarrassment to our whole nation and the many involved. There was a conspiracy of silence by many in our Government, and other governments — but that conspiracy included the President. Of course the President wasn’t responsible for the Holocast — but when remembering it and what happened we should always ask, "How many more lives could have been saved if FDR had cared?"
## Legacy – Looking back
FDR should have never been elected to a third term, due to his health — he spent the majority of the later years just resting (with over half his time spent out of office). To get elected to a fourth term there was a big fraud played on the public, with doctors and the press in a conspiracy to hide the truth from the public. By 1944 FDR was away from the WhiteHouse for 175 days of the year — and when he did work, under Doctors orders, it was for only 4 hours per day (including lunch). It is not a surprise that he died in office — emperors don’t give up power easily — but had people known his condition, he would never have been elected.
During the 1940 election, former President Hoover got up an made a brilliant speech. It talked about the weaking of liberty. He explained everything so eloquently:
> Liberty had been weakened long before the dictators rose…. in every single case before the rise of a totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people… They exalted the State as the solvent of all economic problems. These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy — and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice and free government. They might be called the totalitarian liberals. They were the spiritual followers of the New Deal. These men are not Communists or Fascists… but they shifted the relation of government from free enterprise from umpire to controller! Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production or industry, farmer and laborer. They devalued, pump-primed and deflated. They controlled private business with government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control… when it was too late, they discovered that every time they stretched the arm of government into private enterprise, except to correct abuse, then somehow, somewhere, men’s minds became confused. At once men became fearful and hesitant. Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production. Which resulted in chronic unemployment and frantic government spending in an effort to support the unemployed. Government debts mounted and finally government credit was undermined. Out of the miseries of their people there grew pressure groups "we call them special interests" — business, labor, farmers — demanding relief or special privelege. Class hate poisoned cooperation.
This was the most eloquent description of what lead rise to the dictators of Europe and the USSR — and it was just as clear a warning about the path we were following. In hind-sight, we haven’t had a complete colapse like Europe did — but we have been teetering on the precipice a few times. Certainly we were lucky that the war came along (and FDRs death), which saved us from continued entropy of all that we held valid, like freedom — but we haven’t strayed far enough from this dangerous path. When you read speaches like this, it is hard to see the Hoover that is reflected in some of our history books. Where is the bumbling, insensitive boob that didn’t know what was going on in the economy? Why did this man need saving from his intellectual and philisophical inferior (FDR)?
To give you a little idea of the man (FDR), and how desirous to please Stalin that Roosevelt was, at one point in Teheran (this is told by Elliott Roosevelt, intended to make fun or Churchill) — Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt were having dinner. Stalin made a toast, "To the swiftest possible justice for all Germany’s war criminals — justice before a firing squad. I drink to our units in dispatching them as fast as we catch them. All of them. And there must be at least 50,000 of them.". Churchill was pissed, and leaped to his feet explaining that mass murder before a firing squad was wrong — and that all individuals (even Nazi’s) should get a proper trial. FDR said, jovially, "Clearly there must be some compromise… Pershaps we should say that instead of summarily executing 50,000, we should settle on a smaller number — say, 49,500". The Russians laughed and Churchill was furious. Elliott admits he enjoyed taunting Churchill and says he toasted that American armies will settle the matter for most of those 50,000, if not 100,000 more". To which Stalin put his arm around Elliott, and got further protests from Churchill — which his father found amusing. This incident clearly demonstrated either Roosevelts ignorance of diplomacy and the message he was sending, or his indifference for human rights. Of course 10’s of thousands of German soldiers (especially officers) were murdered before Soviet firing squads, and many more were worked to death in slave camps — and Stalin had been given permission by FDR. (Not that Stalin wouldn’t have done it anyway — but that’s not the point).
So what was FDR’s Legacy? Sadly the facts are not close to what is taught in our schools.
We are sometimes taugh about FDR the friend to the Jews — but not taught how many more Jews lost their lives because of his indiference to the Holocaust, his knowing of it, and his desire to hide it — and intentional delays to do anything about it. Nor are we told stories about how he made comments about ‘the only concessions he’d make to Ibn Saud is to give him America’s 6 Million Jews’. Or the many other events that would lead one to believe that FDR was a racist who was happy to let the Jews die — and would certainly expend no energy to stop it unless forced politically.
When we are taught about the national debt and defecit spending, our schools spend a lot of energy on the excesses of Reagan — but seldom expend a fraction that energy on the President that spent far, far more (relative). How often do the schools go into the detailed costs of the programs that FDR created, and the costs of the debt and defecit to later generations?
When we were taught about the Iron Curtain, and how Stalin took control of many eastern blok countries, are we taught that it was with the aide (or complacency) and often with agreements to look the other way by Roosevelt? Sure, we like to mention how Roosevelt got us in to WWII, to "help save" the freedom of a hundred million people in Europe — but then they never go into how many hundreds of millions of people fell under totalitarian communist rule with FDR’s assistance — which includes 120+ Million in the Eastern Blok countries, and another 600+ Million in Asia. Not counting the moral ambiguity in helping a regeim and dictator (Stalin), with nearly 200+ million enslaved people, that we know was every bit as brutal and costly in lives and freedoms as the one we fought against (Hitler). Nor is it discussed how many died due to FDRs indifference.
When we are taught about later history like McCarthy’ism and the rampant paranoia that existed, are we told why it happened? Is it discussed how Roosevelt made agreements with the Communists and Socialists to help them get positions of power in unions and our government, and how Eleanor entertained leaders of those groups for support, and how they actually had infultrated many positions of leadership with the Roosevelts’ help? Are we taught that it was those infultrations that fueled the paranoia and led to later over-reaction? Or are we taught how people were scared of what happened with the Iron Curtain and post-war Europe which was at least partly the reprocussions of FDRs actions? But what did FDR care about philosophy or things that happened because of him (after his death) as long as he got the votes while alive?
When we remember FDR we talk about diplomacy and what a great diplomat — but do they mention how he got his concessions and what the costs? Sometimes the schools talk about the United Nations (Roosevelt’s brain-child that was borrowed from the League of Nations) — but do they detail how we pay the majority of the bill while FDR made secret agreements to give the Soviets more votes than anyone else had, plus allow them many puppet governments to thwart any true difference that the U.N. might have made?
Schools talk about how FDR kept winning elections — but not by how close some were. They mention the good politician and ignore the bad. And they certainly don’t talk about how he kept getting the votes (through intimidation, lies, or exploiting taxpayers money to his political advantage). We are not taught about the double-dealing and back-stabbing — not about one of the greediest, most self-interested, corrupt and power hungry persons to ever taint the office.
When we look at a President’s legacy, we should remember everything that happened under his ternure, and everything that happened afterwards because of his actions — not just one side.