Chamblee54

Jane Fonda And J. Edgar Hoover

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Politics, War by chamblee54 on June 5, 2021

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This repost is a work of speculation, and has no basis in proven fact.The thesis cannot be proved nor disproved. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

Listening to talk radio while you drive is a dangerous activity. You might start to think, and look at the man behind the screen. Neal Boortz was on a rant today about Jane Fonda. It it the same story you have heard many times…she gave aid and comfort to the enemy, she is a traitor, American troops died because of her, she should have been executed.

Sometimes when you hear something too many times, you begin to have doubts about what you heard. A light bulb went off in PG’s head when he heard the Fonda Rant again..
.What if Jane Fonda was working for the US government when she went to Hanoi?
What was in it for the government? This trip gave our government a discredited leader of the antiwar movement to denounce. When the government was trashing Jane Fonda, they did not have to defend the disastrous policies of that war.

Miss Fonda has been an icon of right wing hatred ever since, as well as of military training. One story has Miss Fonda giving the North Vietnamese information about activities by American forces. How would she get this information?

The infamous trip to Hanoi took place in the Summer of 1972. American troops were being withdrawn, and anti war protests lost most of their passion. (It was also soon after the death of F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover, and the Watergate burglary) The war in Vietnam was essentially over for America. We were no longer trying to win, but to negotiate a face saving treaty. President Nixon called it “Peace with Honor”. Miss Fonda’s actions had little impact on these negotiations.

Miss Fonda made some radio broadcasts from Hanoi. Is it possible that coded messages to our troops were included in these broadcasts? Is it also possible that she gave the North Vietnamese misinformation on purpose?

Why would a women known for her left wing activism do such a thing? Maybe, the FBI had some dirt on her, and blackmailed her.

In 1967, Kurt Vonnegut published a book titled “Mother Night”. It tells the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr. Mr. Campbell made propaganda broadcasts for Germany in World War II, which were secretly used to pass coded messages to the Allies. He was condemned as a traitor after the war, but never prosecuted. He did not win an Academy Award.

The role of the government in this affair could have taken another role. Perhaps Miss Fonda was sincere in her actions, but aided by the government. Miss Fonda was under surveillance in 1972. The government would have known about her plans to go to North Vietnam, and perhaps could have stopped her. But, because her going to Hanoi was to their advantage, the government allowed the trip to take place.

The above is speculation, and could be horribly wrong. The fact that Miss Fonda has expressed regrets over her trip neither proves nor disproves this. She got great movie roles, and won two Academy Awards, during the seventies. This may be a coincidence, or maybe it was a reward for her service.

Clearly, the trip she made to Hanoi had propaganda value to the US government. It has been a Godsend over the years. You should always consider who benefits from an action.

During his rant today, Mr. Boortz said that US troops died because of Miss Fonda. (He does not discuss the man who went to Nam in his place, after his draft deferment.) By saying this, he can ignore the tens of thousands of troops who died because Richard Nixon chose to wait until 1973 to sign a “peace treaty”. He could have made the same deal in 1969. Peace with honor indeed.

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A few days ago, the possibility that the government allowed Jane Fonda to go to Hanoi was discussed. Ms. Fonda’s trip to North Vietnam had numerous propaganda/p.r. advantages to the American government. Direct government sponsorship cannot be ruled out. Another scenario would have the government knowing about the trip, having the ability to stop the trip, but allowing it to happen. For the purposes of today’s discussion, we will call this the “Hoover Option”(HO). It is named for John Edgar Hoover, the publicity savvy director of the FBI until his death in 1972.

HO is a favorite of conspiracy theorists. It is difficult to prove or disprove, and explains a lot of things. Another conspiracy rich event is the shooting of John Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The various hypotheses on this event are well known. Numerous people wanted JFK to retire…gangsters, teamsters, Republicans, Lyndon Johnson, Vietnamese… to the point to where it is tough to sort out all the possible candidates. The thinking goes here, that J. Edgar Hoover knew of the plot to kill JFK, could have stopped it, but chose to allow it to happen. Even conspiracy skeptics think this is plausible.

The concept of Lee Harvey Oswald working alone does not eliminate the possibility of HO. Here was a sketchy character, known to have traveled to the Soviet Union, and favor “fair play for Cuba”. He worked in a building on the parade route. As much as the FBI knew…especially about those with Soviet connections…is it possible that Mr. Hoover knew what Mr. Oswald was going to do that Friday? And decided to allow it to happen. And why did Jackie choose that photogenic pink outfit?

A few years later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, TN. Mr. Hoover had a well known hatred of Dr. King. How did a sketchy character get a room, within gunshot range of the hotel Dr. King stayed in? How did he know when Dr. King would be stepping on the balcony? Did Mr. Hoover know all of this, and still allow the shooting to take place? Why was Jesse Jackson there?

J. Edgar Hoover died on May 2, 1972. This was 13 days before Arthur Bremer shot George Wallace, six weeks before the Watergate burglary, and eight weeks before Jane Fonda went to Hanoi. Mr. Hoover died at the height of the Nixon administrations “dirty tricks”, just a few weeks before they got caught. No doubt, Mr. Hoover knew what Tricky Dick was up to.

HO has probably been in existence throughout history. Most leaders have blood on their hands, and it is always better to get someone else to do the dirty work.

Pearl Harbor has long been the object of this speculation. There is little doubt that Mr. Roosevelt wanted the United States to join the war, but was having a tough time with an isolationist public. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Mr. Roosevelt got what he wanted. It has long been speculated that he knew in advance about the attack, and let it go down. There were obvious advantages to him.

Which brings us to the Pearl Harbor of the modern era, 911. The attacks that day were a political jackpot for George W. Bush. He was able to ram many restrictions on civil liberties through congress, and begin a war in Iraq, that had clearly been planned for some time. Did our government know about plans for the 911 attacks, and quietly let them happen?

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Winston Churchill Said What

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, War by chamblee54 on May 8, 2021


Another ghastly meme has surfaced on facebook. It has a large fuchsia quote mark for illustration. There is a quote from a famous man. The left side has a quote mark. The right side has a question mark, but no quote mark. The margins are much larger on the top, and left side, than on the right side, and the bottom. That this visual atrocity supports funding for the arts is a cruel irony.

Perhaps instead of the arts, the government funding should go for fact checking. The quote is generally considered to be bogus. For the record, here is the quote. “When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply replied, “then what are we fighting for?” The quote is not in the Churchill archive, which is either fifteen million documents, or fifteen million words. The authorities use the figures interchangeably.

The Telegraph has an article debunking the meme. It has a splendid sentence: “But that anecdote does not so easily play into the screeching rhetoric of today’s 140-character political ding-dongs.” There are also some lovely quotes from Mr. Churchill.

pink quote marks01 In 1937, Mr. Churchill spoke before the Peel Commission It was discussing “partitioning British mandated Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.” At the time, Mr. Churchill was a minor figure in British politics, disgraced by his blundering in the Great War. The quote: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

Winston Churchill is quite the quote magnet. This is somehow fitting for a man whose most famous speech was read, on the radio, by an actor. There is a page on the internet devoted to times when he was falsely accused of saying something inspiring.

One of these stories is notable. “The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash… Churchill’s assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne said that although Churchill had not uttered these words, he wished he had.” This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

Confederate Memorial Day

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on April 26, 2021

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Today is Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. It is an ancient question…how to honor the soldiers from the side that lost. They were just as valiant as the Union Soldiers. Considering the shortages of the Confederate Armies, the Rebels may have been just a bit braver.

The issue of Federalism is a defining conflict of the American experience. What powers do we give the Federal Government, and what powers do we cede to the States? The Confederacy was the product of this conflict. The Confederate States were a collection of individual states, with separate armies. This is one reason why the war turned out the way it did.

This is not a defense for slavery. The “Peculiar institution” was a moral horror. The after effects of slavery affect us today. Any remembrance of the Confederacy should know that. This does not make the men who fought any less brave.

It is tough to see the War Between the States through the modern eye. It was a different time, before many of the modern conveniences that are now considered necessities. Many say that the United States were divided from the start, and the fact the union lasted as long as it did was remarkable. When a conflict becomes us against them, the “causes” become unimportant.

The War was a horror, with no pain medicine. Little could be done for the wounded. It took the south many, many years to recover. This healing continues today. Remembering the sacrifices made by our ancestors helps. This is a repost. Pictures are from the The Library of Congress.

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Shock And Awe Day

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Politics, War by chamblee54 on March 18, 2021

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Eighteen years ago, Iraq teetered on the edge of regime change. It was obvious what was going to happen, at least at first. America was going to storm in, kill a bunch of people, and take over.

In post 911 America, the military industrial complex saw an opportunity for plunder, unrivaled since the fall of the Soviet Union. The stories of WMD would infect the body politic with fear of a mesopotamian madman. Saddam Hussein wanted Iran to think he has wonder weapons, and did not think America was serious about regime change. We all make mistakes.

In the eighteen years since the time of shock and awe, trillions of dollars have gone down the drain, dragging the mighty American economy along into the sewers of bankruptcy. One of the oldest civilizations of mankind was reduced to hiding, from neighbors, behind concrete barricades. They fought the conquerors with bombs triggered by garage door openers. Thousands of women and children have been murdered. The WMD were never found. This is a repost.

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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The Narco State Rag

Posted in GSU photo archive, Politics, War by chamblee54 on January 29, 2021

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This feature was written July 13, 2010. The situation in Afghanistan is little better. If we leave, the country falls into chaos. If we stay, we spend money we don’t have. It is a bitch.

Some people euphemize bitch by saying that something is a bear. Across the frontier from Afghanistan, the Russian bear is dealing with a heroin epidemic. Some say the United States suckered the Soviet Union into invading Afghanistan in 1979. The disastrous war that followed led to the fall of the Soviet Union. We are still dealing with the karma.

Tom Dispatch has an audio feature about Afghanistan, and the many unanswered questions about our war there. We invaded Afghanistan to get revenge for 911, and looked for a reason later.

At the 3:06 mark on the tape, when Tom makes a comment Afghanistan being a narco state. PG had a flash of understanding about the reason behind this war. This may even have been powerful enough to ignore the reports about a terror strike in September 2001, and let 911 happen.

The rumors of CIA involvement in drug trafficking are wide spread and long term. When planes went to Central America in the eighties to bring arms to the contras, they came back to the United States loaded with cocaine. There are stories of collusion with the government in Cuba. There are many, many more stories about connections between the US government and the drug trade.

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, they cracked down on the poppy farmers. Much of the raw opium for heroin/morphine/opium is grown in Afghanistan. This was not a pleasing for the CIA.

Could it be that the real reason for our involvement in Afghanistan is to ensure the flow of narcotics into the hungry world? This would be a big cash cow for the CIA, although not enough to justify the amounts of money being spent on the conflict.

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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War Letters

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, War by chamblee54 on January 13, 2021

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In the winter of 2003, it was obvious that America was going to war. Congress had voted approval, the modern version of a declaration of war. The troops. and supplies, were on the borders of Iraq, waiting for the order to go in.

PG felt the need to make a statement. There was no illusion that it would affect the overall decision to invade Iraq. However, PG wanted to go on record as being opposed to the folly to come.

It was a low risk act. In America, we have freedom of expression. This does not mean that the powers that be listen to the people. The only expression that matters is by people who pay the authorities. The people can say anything, but nobody in charge listens.

There were three representatives in Congress to contact. The two Senators were Saxby Chambliss and Zell Miller. The 4th district was represented in the House of Representatives by Denise Majette. She was new to Congress, having defeated Cynthia McKinney in the 2002 election.

The area that PG lives in is gerrymandered into different districts every ten years by the Georgia legislature. Today, PG is in the 6th district, represented by Democrat Lucy McBath.

The letters are lost in hard drive crash fog. It started out with the phrase “you were elected to represent me.” Apparently, this left Zell Miller out. He has been appointed to finish the term of Paul Coverdell. Democrat Zell Miller was appointed by Democrat Governor Roy Barnes to complete the term of Republican Paul Coverdell. After this, Zell Miller gave the keynote address at the 2004 Republican Convention. This is what Georgia has come to expect from Zig Zag Zell.

The anti war letter was not great writing. It basically said that the invasion of Iraq was not a good idea. The letter did not address the tax cut. In a bizarre move, Congress approved a tax cut, with an economically ruinous war on the horizon.

The responses to the letter are attached here. Denise Majette gave a thoughtful reply. She did not say “I agree with you” in so many words, but it is clear she is not gung ho about killing Iraqis. Miss Majette said, and PG agrees, that once the war begins, the debate should cease.

Saxby Chambliss sent two replies. Both talked about how well the war was going, and how wonderful it was to be killing people in Iraq. It is a good question whether his staff read the original letter from PG, which opposed the war.

In the 2004 election, Denise Majette ran for the Senate. Zell Miller chose to retire, and his seat was up for grabs. Republican Johnny Isakson won the Senate seat. Cynthia McKinney made a comeback, and won the fourth district House seat.

Saxby Chambliss was re-elected in 2008, and retired in 2014. The conflict in Iraq continues to this day. It is a disaster. The withdrawal of American combat troops did not end the civil war. Currently, Iraq is the scene for combat operations from the Islamic State military force.

The financial burden of the war has been immense. The military depends on contractors for many basic services, at increased cost to the Asian war financiers. The National debt has been increasing by a trillion dollars a year. Revenge for nine eleven, directed at a marginally responsible country, has been horribly expensive. Pictures for today’s entertainment message are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

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Ansel Adams And Dorothea Lange

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on December 30, 2020








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The facebook feed has recently had links to a story, Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps. Miss Lange was the photographer of the iconic Migrant Mother. After Pearl Harbor, Miss Lange took a job with the War Relocation Authority, documenting the “relocation” of Japanese-Americans to interment camps. The photographs did not please the authorities. They were censored, and only appeared recently. This is a repost.

Ansel Adams also took photographs at the Manzanar, California, camp. In the current stories, he is literally a footnote: quotes were used from a book about his photography. Why is Dorothea Lange receiving attention, while Ansel Adams is ignored?

One answer is that Miss Lange was hired early on, and shows the harsh reality of relocation. “On July 30, 1942, the WRA laid her off “without prejudice,” adding that the cause was “completion of work…. the WRA impounded the majority of her photographs of Manzanar and the forced detentions, and later deposited 800 image from the series in the National Archives without announcement.”

“After Lange’s departure, Manzanar’s director Ralph Merritt visited renowned environmentalist and landscape photographer Ansel Adams and suggested he document the camp — Merritt and Adams were friends from the Sierra Club. Lange, also friends with Adams, encouraged him to take the job. (Coincidentally Adams printed “Migrant Mother” for her ) …Ansel Adams made several trips to Manzanar between October 1943 and July 1944 for this new personal project, and, as Alinder writes, he was primed to try the kind of documentary photography regularly practiced by Dorothea Lange and the Farm Security Administration that he had earlier shunned. Unlike Lange, a white woman who had been viewed with suspicion by her subjects, Adams was welcomed by the incarcerees, even greeted as a celebrity in a cultural community that had a deep appreciation of nature — many incarcerees at Manzanar literally opened their doors to him dressed in their finest clothes. … By 1943, Manzanar’s incarcarees had had time to settle in and enjoy the fruits of their collective work. In less than ideal surroundings, they had collectively built their own post office, town hall, library, auditorium, co-op store system, police station, jail, cemetery with memorial, published their own newspaper (the ironically named the Manzanar Free Press, which was regularly censored by the military), and even their own YMCA.”

“As for Lange, looking at the historical record, it appears that she was treated differently from the other WRA photographers. She was discouraged from talking to the incarcerees, was constantly followed by a censor, and faced harassment. She was refused access to areas after being given clearance, and she was often hounded over phone charges and receipts. … After being discharged, Lange expressed in letters her dismay that her work was ineffective in helping the people she documented. Her assistant Christina Clausen later noted the ferocity of this body of work also marked the beginning of the photographer’s bleeding gastric ulcers. Lange was unable to work for a number of years after her harrowing experience at Manzanar. She died from esophageal cancer in 1965.”

“In 1944, Adams’s photographs were published as a book, “Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans,” and shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Nativists took offense. They saw Adams’s work as a slur on the war effort. He was a “Jap lover.” This quote is from a 2016 article, Let’s be honest, Ansel Adams’s images of a WWII internment camp are propaganda

“Adams visited Manzanar to take photos in 1943 at the request of camp director Ralph Merritt, who was a personal friend. “They don’t look quite as dusty and quite as forbidding as Dorothea Lange’s photos … Indeed, the place that looks barren and depressing in Lange’s pictures manages to look beautiful in Adams’. You get little sense that it was even a detention center, in part because Adams, like other photographers, was not allowed to shoot the guard towers or barbed wire…

There are scenes from a baseball game, kids walking to school, a gathering outside a chapel. Lots of smiles, too, and portraits of camp residents cropped so close, you can see every blemish and stray hair. In Adams’ vision, Manzanar comes off as a place where Japanese-Americans, dignified, resilient and optimistic in spite of their circumstances, built a temporary community in the desert.

(Skirball Cultural Center director Robert) Kirschner said that if Adams’ photos appear to sugarcoat the indignities of life in an internment camp, it is because he did not see himself as a social activist the way Lange did. Still, Kirscher says, Adams was challenging internment in his own way, by depicting its victims as patriotic, law-abiding Americans. Unlike Lange, Adams was given permission to publish his photos. Before the war ended, he did so in a book called “Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans,” in which he warned about the dangers of letting wartime hysteria justify depriving U.S. citizens of their freedom.”

The NPR article mentions a third Manzanar photographer. “Before World War II, Toyo Miyatake had a photo studio in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. When he learned he would be interned at Manzanar, he asked a carpenter to build him a wooden box with a hole carved out at one end to accommodate a lens. He turned this box into a makeshift camera that he snuck around the camp, as his grandson Alan Miyatake explains in the video below, which is featured in the exhibit.

Fearful of being discovered, Miyatake at first only took pictures at dusk or dawn, usually without people in them. Camp director Merritt eventually caught Miyatake, but instead of punishing him, allowed him to take pictures openly. Miyatake later became the camp’s official photographer.”

Pictures for today’s feature are from The Library of Congress. These are pictures that Ansel Adams took at Manzanar. They have been posted at chamblee54 before. The ladies in the bridge game are Aiko Hamaguchi, Chiye Yamanaki, Catherine Yamaguchi, and Kazoko Nagahama.

The Civil War On PBS

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on December 16, 2020


I have binge listened to a public television series, The Civil War. This youtube edition has subtitles in Portuguese, adding a Brazilian touch. I feel obligated to make a blog post. When writing about a topic of this size, I typically start by finding as many sources as possible. I have written about “the recent unpleasantness” several times, and will link to these when it is appropriate. The only way to start this project is to open a word document. This is a repost.

What did I learn? There was widespread opposition to emancipation in the north. I had never thought about this. The popular narrative is that the war was fought to free the slaves. While I knew that there were other reasons for the conflict, I assumed that the north wanted to free the slaves. As it turns out, the decision to free the slaves was controversial in the north. I will leave speculation about the reason for this to other armchair historians.

The show made me cry twice. The first time was after the Gettysburg Address. The address was made at the dedication of a cemetery, on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. After two and a half years of horrendous carnage, the war was going good for the Union. However, 1864 was to have an election. Mr. Lincoln’s chances did not look good. If he lost, the Democrats would probably negotiate a peace, and the Confederacy would endure.

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most moving two minutes in our history. It was printed in newspapers across the land, which is the reason it is known today. “We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”

The second tearjerker moment was also set at Gettysburg. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. War veterans, from both sides, came to celebrate the occasion. There was a reenactment of Pickett’s charge. When the Rebels got to the fortifications, the Union soldiers came out and hugged them. They were greeted as brothers in arms, who had somehow survived a horrible conflict.

The fighting ended, and life in the, unquestionably, United States continued. There came to be what Shelby Foote calls “a great compromise … It consists of Southerners admitting freely that it’s probably best that the Union wasn’t divided, and the North admits rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in which it believed. That is a great compromise and we live with that …”

In recent years, this arrangement seems to be breaking down. It is now the fashion to view anything short of total vilification of the Confederacy as treasonous. There is sneering talk of the “Cult of the Lost Cause.” This is a lamentable way to look at this transformative part of our history. Maybe this too shall pass, and we will see the Confederacy in a different light in a few years.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The men before the text are Confederate soldiers, and after the text we have Union soldiers. These pictures are from Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.

Seven Score And Seventeen Years Ago

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 21, 2020









A vicious battle had been fought near Gettysburg, PA. It is widely considered the turning point of “Mr. Lincoln”s War,” the moment when the Union took the upper hand. It came at a horrible price, and a cemetery was built to hold this price.

The ceremony to dedicate the cemetery was held November 19, 1863. The headline speaker was Senator Edward Everett. The President was an afterthought. After it was over, Mr. Everett reportedly told the President that he said more in two minutes than he did in two hours.

The speech by Mr. Lincoln is an American classic. Schoolchildren are forced to memorize it. There are a few legends, many of which are not true. According to The Lincoln Museum , the speech was written on White House stationary, not the back of an envelope. The train ride would have been too bumpy to write. There is also confusion about what happened to the original text that the President read from.

HT to Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Measured in pixels, the picture of George Custer is 720×666. This is a repost.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.







The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 13, 2020

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Around this time 156 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees, in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families. The other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta. Luckie Street, an extension of Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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November 11

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 11, 2020






Veterans day was originally Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, at 11 am, Paris time (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a cease fire went into effect for “The great war”. Officials of the major armies agreed to the ceasefire at 5 am (European time). There were an estimated 11,000 casualties in the last six hours of the war.

At 11:59 am, U.S. army private Henry Gunther became the last soldier to die in World War I.
“According to the Globe and Mail this is the story of the last soldier killed in WW1: On Nov.11, 1918, U.S. army private Henry Gunther stood up during a lull in the machine gun fire and charged the enemy. “The Germans stared in disbelief,” says the Daily Express. “They had been told that morning that the fighting was about to stop; in a few minutes they would stop firing and go home. So why was this American charging at them with his bayonet drawn? They shouted at him to stop and frantically tried to wave him back but… he hadn’t heard anything of the ceasefire.” A German gunner released a five-round burst and the soldier lay dead, at 10:59 a.m. In his recently published Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour, U.S. Military Historian Joseph Persico notes that Private Gunther had previously been a sergeant but was demoted after an Army censor read his letter to a friend back home, urging him to steer clear of the war at all costs. Gunther, who was in no-man’s land when the ceasefire news arrived, had been trying to prove himself worthy of his original rank.”
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.






Veteran’s Day is a bad day for a cynic. I appreciate living in The United States. Even with all of her flaws, I have a good life here. The role that Veterans have played should be honored. On the other hand, those who profit from war often exploit Veterans, for political mojo. Many of these people did not serve. Those who profit from war, without serving, deserve our scorn.

Veterans are often not treated well after their service. It is estimated that a quarter of the homeless are veterans. The services offered to wounded veterans are shamefully lacking.

Hugh Pharr Quin CSA was my great grandfather. He served with the Georgia State Troops, in the War Between the States. I prefer the USA to the CSA, or whatever would have followed a Confederate victory. The Union army had to prevail, over the various Confederate Armies, for this to happen. Do I dishonor my great grandfather by saying, we are better off that the other side won?

Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. This was the day, 101 years ago, when the War to End All Wars ended. World War I was a ghastly bloodbath, in which millions died. It affected many of the problems that plague us today. I would be willing to bet that not one person, in ten thousand, knows what World War I was about. And yet, the men who fought in that conflict (I don’t think they had women soldiers then) deserve the same gratitude as those who fought in any other conflict.

The soldier…many of whom are drafted…doesn’t get to choose which war to fight in. The sacrifice of the World War II soldier was just as great as the Vietnam fighter, but the appreciation given was much greater. I grew up during Vietnam, and saw the national mood go from patriotic fight, to dismayed resistance. By the time I was old enough to get drafted, the Paris accords had been signed. For better or worse, there went my chance.





Arlo Guthrie

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Music, War by chamblee54 on November 3, 2020

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This is a rerun post, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The original post was half about Arlo Guthrie, and half about Ralph Reed. Today, only the part about Arlo Guthrie will be shown. If you absolutely must read about Ralph Reed, you can follow the link above, or read Lisa Baron And Ralph Reed TMI.

The entertainment today is about Arlo Guthrie . Thanksgiving is intimately connected to Mr. Guthrie. Unlike the turkey, Mr. Guthrie has gone on to have a flourishing career. He probably will not come down with Huntington’s Disease, which killed his father Woody Guthrie.

The video that goes with this text was the first time PG saw Arlo Guthrie. This was broadcast January 21, 1970. PG was an unhip fifteen year old, who had not heard Alice’s Restaurant, seen the movie, or been to Woodstock. He did see the Johnny Cash show this night, or at least the part where Arlo Guthrie did the motorcycle song.

To quote the digital facility PG is borrowing from:
” Born Arlo Davy Guthrie on July 10, 1947, in New York, NY; son of Woody (a folksinger) and Marjorie Mazia (a dancer; maiden name, Greenblatt) Guthrie; married Jacklyn Hyde, October 9, 1969; children: Abraham, Cathyalicia, Annie Hays, Sarah Lee.” Abraham and Sarah Lee play in Arlo’s touring band.
The Alice’s Restaurant Masacree is a part of Americana now. There are two bits of knowledge, that are as true as anything told to a Persian king. When trying to dispose of some garbage, and finding the city dump closed, Arlo found some litter by the roadside, and made a value judgment…One big pile of garbage is better than two little piles.

The second is about the draft, and the business of choosing people to fight our wars. There is a regulation today that says that Gays and Lesbians are not supposed to be soldiers and sailors. In the tale of the thanksgiving dinner, it was litterbugs. (There was also a draft, and a different war. Lots of Americans were coming home in boxes.) The bottom line: Mr. Guthrie is confused about not being considered moral enough to kill people, because he was a litterbug.

A few years into his career, Arlo Guthrie had a hit record called “City of New Orleans”. It was about a train, and said “Good Morning America”. “City of New Orleans” was written by Steve Goodman, who is no longer with us. Mr. Goodman also wrote the perfect country and western song .

PG heard a story about Steve Goodman.
“The songwriter is Steve Goodman. He gave a show at the Last Resort in Athens GA, that a friend of PG attended. Mr. Goodman tells a story about performing on a train, during a series of concerts supporting Hubert Humphrey. It seems like Mr. Goodman had to use the restroom on the train. Now, in those days, the trains did not use holding tanks, but just ejected the matter by the tracks as they rode by. Mr. Goodman was told, do not flush the commode while the train is in the station. Mr. Goodman forgot the instructions. Mr. Humphrey said ”I am going to give the people of this country what they deserve”, Mr. Goodman flushed the commode, and sprayed the crowd. PG is not sure if he believes this, but it is a good story.” ( A biographer of Mr. Goodman said said that the candidate was Edmund Muskie. He also says that David Allen Coe had nothing to do with the last verse of the perfect country and western song.)
As previously noted, this is a repost from a few years ago. In that time, the policy against gay people serving in the military has been dismantled. The Ralph Reeds of the world are more upset about the concept of gay marriage, than by gay people killing Muslims. Vietnam is a peaceful country, and is enjoying economic good times. The draft is something old fogies remember. The current fashion is to support war by demanding a tax cut.

Arlo Guthrie continues to make music. USA Today had a feature recently, Arlo Guthrie celebrates 50 years at ‘Alice’s Restaurant’. Arlo Davy Guthrie has a twitter account, @folkslinger, and a full head of white hair. His wife of 43 years, Jackie Guthrie, died Oct. 14, 2012. The Lenox Square theater was torn down to make way for a food court many years ago.

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