Tag: Civil War

After a Time, All Losses are the Same

This past holiday weekend I visited two Civil War battlefields:  Antietam and Gettysburg.  While part of my motivation to go was purely the tourist’s curiosity, I also went to remind myself of the multitude of ironies present in armed conflict.  It does me well to contemplate what I believe to be the overall futility of warfare, regardless of the context.  I certainly found plenty of both.  I chose to go in part to celebrate Independence Day in a completely different sort of context.  While I do appreciate the sacrifices made to establish a new nation and with it a groundbreaking experiment in Democracy, my pacifist beliefs often leave me deeply conflicted.  To move nearly one hundred years forward in time from the Revolutionary War to the conflict that tore a hole in our nation’s fabric seemed much more suited for the occasion.    

Psycho Talk! HCR = “That great war of yankee aggression”

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Paging Ed Shultz, psycho talk in the wingnut isle.

    Screw going to 11. The Conservative Freak Out continues to go to infinite and beyond.

    Witness Rep. Paul Broun as he flat out rewrites history in a disgusting attempt to compare Health Care Reform into something scary, such as that “Great war of Yankee aggression”. In the reality based world, we call that THE CIVIL WAR!

    Watch . . .

BROUN: If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States – the Great War of Yankee Aggression.


    So Ronald Reagan will replace that Yankee agressor President Grant on the $50 bill because Reagan’s accomplishments (cough – Jack Shit- cough) are greater than FREEING THE SLAVES?

    Holy revisionist history, batman! WTF?

More below the fold . . . .

The Leadership of Necessity

I wrote this for posting, New Years Day, on DailyKos. It began as a reply to Lambert on CorrenteWire, when he was expressing deep doubt at the efficacy of soldiering on against the monumental stupidity of U.S. elites, and the monumental indifference of such a large portion of the American people. At the risk of it being lost in the excitement over President Obama’s behind-the-woodshed beating of the Republican House Caucus earlier today, I’m posting it here. In a few days or a few weeks, I’ll post some thoughts on what you can do to prepare for the hard political and economic times I see coming. But let my reposting of this essay here serve as unequivocal testimony that one of the things you do NOT do, is stop fighting for what you believe in.

You should save last week’s list of recommended diaries. It will be something you may want to refer to in the not too distant future, when your mind needs release and you wonder where the turning point was.

Nyceve assured us, Don’t fear the truth: LieberCare is an unspeakable hoax and One Pissed Off Liberal sadly pointed out It’s Not Even Good Kabuki. And, of course, there was the dance of diaries over Jane Hamsher and her attempt to outflank Rahm Emanual by joining forces with Grover Norquist. The atmosphere around here has become so charged and so bitter, that Cat M pleading Stop Telling Me I’m Not Progressive made the rec list.  

Some Thoughts About Amendment 2

I’m sure most of you have seen this. It’s a billboard sponsored by an as-yet unnamed businessman in Missouri. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the others highlighted in this diary at Orange too.

I find it incredibly offensive, but only because it’s coming from the WingNut faction. I figure if the government targeted in these public advertisements actually cared to enforce the law against sedition then they’ll do so before tomorrow morning. If not then it’s open season and somebody up there approves. I mean, it’s not like the feds don’t know who paid for it, whose company billboard it’s sitting on, and even who designed and printed it out and pasted it up. That’s what all this post 9-11 spying on Americans is all about, isn’t it? And the WingNuts love them some NSA spies rooting around in their email, business dealings, bank accounts and cell phone conversations. Or, they did when Shrubbie was POTUS, since he started it.

Which brings me to what is offensive here. It’s coming from those who served as tireless cheerleaders for wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the blanket abrogation of Constitutional and human rights here at home, for war crimes, the rendition and torture of prisoners of war in blatant violation of Geneva, for limitless government spying on innocent citizens and, finally, for the unaccountable billions and/or trillions printed to bail out Wall Street, the banking sector and even the Fed itself when the IMF began its long overdue audit of America’s books on The Day The Economy Fell. All the while unconcerned about trillions in deficit spending to support not just those illegal wars and the largest expansion of Big Brother in our history, championing Greed Gone Wild that brought this nation and the rest of the world to its knees.

A Confeduhracy of Dunces. Symbol of slavery & Joe Wilson worth defending to Rep. King (Clown-IA)

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is proud of Confederate heritage, but confused about geography and American history.

    Meet the Republican plan for the 2010 elections

    Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has been circulating a letter to his House Republican colleagues, asking them to sign onto a petition in defense of Rep. Joe “You Lie!” Wilson (R-SC).


     Save Joe Wilson and his right to lie and call others liars, in the name of the Confeduhracy!

More from thinkprogress.org

    [Wilson] is an officer and a gentleman and everyone who knows him knows that. … Being a son of the South puts you in a different position when it comes to the Confederate flag. It means something entirely different to the people who have ancestors who fought in the Civil War on the south side of the Mason-Dixon line.

    I have ancestors who fought for the Union, Mr. King, and they kicked your ancestors ass. Huh? How do ya like that!

    Now, even if Rep. King’s ancestors fought for the Confederacy to defend secession and slavery over almost 150 years ago, I don’t think that is what the people of Iowa circa 2009 really want from their Congressmen today, but then again, judging by the teabaggers and their antics this weekend, maybe I am wrong.

     More of teh stupid below the fold

The Burden of American History

As a student of history, I frequently refer back to the past in the hopes that it might provide some degree of clarity that I might be able to apply to the current day.   While I know better than to engage in the historical fallacy that deceptively promises that the past neatly and exactly dictates the future, I do find it interesting to observe the patterns and the events of a different age and how these intersect ours own times.   What deeply troubles me, however, is that I have begun to hear rumblings and impulsive chantings of division and acrimony.  I have begun to notice some alarming similarities between these times and other instances in our nation’s history where we eschewed logic and reason for emotional excess and mutual paranoia.   Such points in our past inevitably created terrible conflicts, the likes of which we are in many ways still dealing with into the current day.   Irrationality, emotion in place of reason, illogical accusations, and a building animosity bordering on violent hatred between ideological poles was present then and seems to be swelling in intensity now.

Lincoln: Necessity Does Not Admit Of Cruelty

(Thanks for the promotion NPK!)

(Now cross-posted on Kos)

We all know that in January 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, transforming the Civil War by adding the abolition of slavery to the goal of preserving the Union.

But just a few months later, on April 24, 1863, Lincoln issued another, lesser-known proclamation, putting into effect a Code of Military Conduct for the Union Armies, known as General Orders No. 100.  The author of the Code was Francis Lieber, a German immigrant who had been wounded at the Battle of Waterloo.

Article 16 of the General Orders leaps out as dramatically relevant today.   It states in part:

Military necessity does not admit of cruelty – that is, the infliction of suffering for the sake of suffering or for revenge, nor of maiming or wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions.

“Necessity does not admit of cruelty.”  Think about that for a moment.  No matter how serious the circumstances, no matter how dangerous the threat, there is no justification for cruelty, and its savage partner, torture.

Santa Marta Gold (My Story – Part V)

Note: These are exciting times.  Daniel and I voted on Friday.  It was a thrill watching him cast his first vote under such historic circumstances.  It took 3.5 grueling hours but was so worth it.  What a great feeling.  Change is coming.

This has nothing to do with the election.  Please pardon the diversion, but if you could use one…

This is the latest installment in an autobiographical series I’ve been working on.  This episode takes place in Colombia.


Love and Death in Colombia (My Story – Part IV)

Note:  I know, I know.  I haven’t published Part III yet and here comes Part IV.  Well what can I say?  I have an unruly mind and it won’t always go where I tell it to – sometimes it just goes where it will.  In this case it skipped straight to Part IV.  I’ll go back and do Part III later.  Probably.

“The mind is a monkey.” ~ Old Chinese saying


Profiles in Literature: Ambrose Bierce

Greetings, literature-loving Dharmiacs!  Last week we sailed to ancient Mesopotamia to search for everlasting life with the great king Gilgamesh, and along the way we learned about ancient Sumeria from the venerable Moonbat.  This week we’ll jump forward to 19th century America, where a journalist with a bitter sense of humor is reshaping the horrors of war into brutally incisive portraits of human nature.

Ambrose Bierce: soldier, journalist, war correspondent.  He fought in the most brutal Civil War battles and waged a one-man war against the entrenched interests of Big Railroad in California.  He moved in all levels of society both here and abroad, then disappeared during the Mexican revolution, possibly killed by Pancho Villa’s forces.  He was suspicious of politicians as of human nature in general, and since his death has become synonymous with acidic misanthropy.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the works of this distinctly American writer…

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