Chamblee54

John S. McCain And Bernie Sanders

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on February 13, 2020

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The latest podcast addiction is a Slate production called Whistlestop. WS (whistlestop, not water sports) is about presidential elections. On top of the home page is a header ad. At first it had a picture of Hillary, with the message “I’m with her.” Now, it is a prescription medication, side effects scrolling slowly on the right. The side effects of Hillary are more obvious. (This repost was first published 02-13-2016) The side effect of the Hillary Clinton candidacy is the Donald Trump presidency.)

Episode 24 is When the Straight Talk Express Rolled Through New Hampshire. In the 2000 election, George W. Bush was the anointed candidate for the Republicans. Challenging him in New Hampshire was John S. McCain. The winner in New Hampshire was Senator McCain. The winner of the nomination, and ultimately the Presidency, was George W. Bush.

The WS story is about how JSM got the 2000 New Hampshire voters on his side. The 2008 story will, no doubt, be a future episode of WS. JSM did the whole Straight Talk routine, and won the nomination. JSM chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Whether JSM had a chance, after eight years of W, is a good question. BHO won the 2008 election. John McCain died August 25, 2018.

In Georgia, the electoral votes are all but conceded to the Republicans. The only time we get to choose is the primary. In 2008, PG saw the two choices were John McCain and Barack Obama. Both had flaws, but both offered alternatives to the nonsense of Mike Huckabee and John Edwards. After thinking about it, PG remembered that John McCain dropped napalm on women and children. So PG voted for Barack Obama. Once elected, BHO would fire hellfire missiles at women and children.

In the 2016 Georgia primary, there were five candidates: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. PG did not like any of them. He decided to vote for the best looking candidate, Marco Rubio. On February 13, 2020, we still do not know who will be a viable candidate during the Georgia primary. PG will make up his mind while walking to the school, to cast his vote. PG will probably hold his nose while doing so.

‘The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and the Shrub’ David Foster Wallace covered the McCain campaign for Rolling Stone. He was always good for a few thousand words, often in the first sentence. DFW had a few thoughts about why JSM was so popular.

“Because we’ve been lied to and lied to, and it hurts to be lied to. It’s ultimately just about that complicated: it hurts. We learn this at like age four—it’s grownups’ first explanation to us of why it’s bad to lie (“How would you like it if … ?”). And we keep learning for years, from hard experience, that getting lied to sucks—that it diminishes you, denies you respect for yourself, for the liar, for the world. Especially if the lies are chronic, systemic, if experience seems to teach that everything you’re supposed to believe in’s really just a game based on lies. … It’s painful to believe that the would-be “public servants” you’re forced to choose between are all phonies whose only real concern is their own care and feeding and who will lie so outrageously and with such a straight face that you know they’ve just got to believe you’re an idiot.”

In 2016, the outlaw candidate was Bernie Sanders, who has no middle name. He won a big victory in New Hampshire. BS is lying through his teeth. He says he will make college tuition free, and install single payer socialized medicine. Everyone knows these are lies (BS²) and yet the Bernoids play along. (Earlier this week, BS won a slim victory over Amy Jean Klobuchar, and Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, in the New Hampshire primary.)

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These men never voted in a presidential primary.

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War Letters

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Politics, War by chamblee54 on January 15, 2020

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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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I’ll Furnish The War

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized, War by chamblee54 on January 9, 2020


“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” – WR Hearst, January 25, 1898 It is part of the Hearst legend. “Frederic Sackrider Remington, the famous artist who brought to life American images of the west, was hired by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to illustrate the revolution erupting in Cuba. He wrote back to Hearst one day in January 1897: “Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return.” Hearst sent back a note: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Chamblee54 readers should know where this is going to go.

Mr. Remington was sent to Cuba, along with correspondent Richard Harding Davis, to cover the rebellion against the Spanish colonial government. At the time of this purported exchange, the conflict between Spain, and the Cuban rebels, was rather lively. This is at odds with the initial comment by Mr. Remington. One item which modern observers will find odd is the fact that Mr. Remington drew pictures. He was not a photographer. Apparently, in 1897 journalism, a hand drawing was acceptable evidence of a conflict.

Not likely sent: The Remington-Hearst “telegrams” is a thorough debunking of this legend. The source of the legend is “James Creelman, On the Great Highway: The Wanderings and Adventures of a Special Correspondent. (Boston: Lothrop Publishing, 1901), 177-178.” “Creelman does not … describe how or when he learned about the supposed Remington-Hearst exchange. In any case, it had to have been second-hand because Creelman was in Europe in early 1897, as the Journal’s “special commissioner” on the Continent.”

“It is improbable that such an exchange of telegrams would have been cleared by Spanish censors in Havana. So strict were the censors that dispatches from American correspondents reporting the war in Cuba often were taken by ship to Florida and transmitted from there.”

… correspondence of Richard Harding Davis — the war correspondent with whom Remington traveled on the assignment to Cuba — contains no reference to Remington’s wanting to leave because “there will be no war.” Rather, Davis in his letters gave several other reasons for Remington’s departure, including the artist’s reluctance to travel through Spanish lines to reach the Cuban insurgents. … Davis’ letters show that he had little regard for the rotund, slow-moving Remington, whom he called “a large blundering bear.”

The purported Remington-Hearst exchange, moreover, appears not to have been particularly important or newsworthy at the time … the anecdote seems to have provoked almost no discussion or controversy until a correspondent for the Times of London mentioned it in a dispatch from New York in 1907. He wrote: “Is the Press of the United States going insane? . . . A letter from William Randolph Hearst is in existence and was printed in a magazine not long ago. It was to an artist he had sent to Cuba, and who reported no likelihood of war. —You provide the pictures, I’ll provide the war.'”

“Hearst, indignant about the report, replied in a letter to the Times. He described as “frankly false” and “ingeniously idiotic” the claim “that there was a letter in existence from Mr. W. R. Hearst in which Mr. Hearst said to a correspondent in Cuba: —You provide the pictures and I will provide the war,’ and the intimation that Mr. Hearst was chiefly responsible for the Spanish war. … “This kind of clotted nonsense could only be generally circulated and generally believed in England, where newspapers claiming to be conservative and reliable are the most utterly untrustworthy of any on earth. In apology for these newspapers it may be said that their untrustworthiness is not always to intention but more frequently to ignorance and prejudice.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

War Between The States

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on December 7, 2019





It is a truism that history is written by the winner of the war. This seems to apply to the naming of the conflict. There was a horrific armed struggle in North America between 1861 and 1865. The name used most often is Civil War. To many in the South, it is the War Between The States. In PG’s humble opinion, WBTS is a better name.

In fifth grade, PG had to write an essay about the Battle of Atlanta. The essay was a device for teaching grammar, utilized by the english teacher, Miss McKenzie. The contest was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy . The expression “Civil War” was not permitted. The proper name for this conflict was War Between the States.

In many ways, this conflict started as soon as the United States became independent from Great Britain. The South was an agrarian society, with slaves to work the fields. The north was becoming an industrial society, with a need for an independent work force. The north wanted high tariffs to protect her industries, while the south wanted to sell it’s cotton to Europe. There were plenty of ways for this conflict to manifest.

Slavery was a very important factor. The south wanted to keep “the peculiar institution” intact, while many in the north were horrified. There were numerous compromises over the years, as Congress struggled to keep the Union intact. This ties in with a central dilemma of the american experience … how much power to give to the states, and how much power to give to the federal government.

The phrase civil war is defined as “A war fought between factions of the inhabitants of a single country, or the citizens of a single republic”. By the time the shooting started, the southern states had left the union. They formed a confederacy of independent states, rather than one monolithic union. It was, indeed, a war between the states.

This is a repost. Pictures, of Union soldiers, are from The Library of Congress.





The recent destruction of #SilentSam, was defended by a quote from the 1913 dedication speech. Here is something else that Julian Carr said that day: “In the knowledge of subsequent developments, the progress, peace and prosperity of our united, common country, victor and vanquished now alike believe that in the Providence of God it was right and well that the issue was determined as it was. And the people of all sections of our great Republic, moved by the impulse of sincere and zealous loyalty, of fervent and exalted patriotism may say: “All is well that ends well.”

The demonization of the Confederacy has intensified lately. Yes, slavery was a wretched institution. However, much of the rhetoric today does not take into account many of the other causes of that war. And it forgets that *the war is over.* The early twentieth century was a time of reconciliation between the north and the south. Yes, there was Jim Crow, and white supremacy. People of color (both black and non black, both north and south) were treated horribly. Creating a more perfect union is a slow, and uneven, process.

Part two of today’s feature is a double repost. Part one is based on an interview with Shelby Foote, where he goes into some of the points made above. If you get a chance to listen to the link, you can hear Mr. Foote talk for an hour in a luxurious Mississippi accent. The second part of today’s feature goes into some of the financial causes of the War Between The States. It is an old truism that all wars are about money. The causes people are told about, both at the time of the conflict and historically, are not always the real reason for the war. Look at how WMD was used to justify “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” WMD was the excuse for the conflict, not the reason.

PG spent a pleasant Saturday afternoon editing pictures from The Library of Congress (which illustrate this post) and listening to a 1994 interview with Shelby Foote. There was a book to be sold, and Mr. Foote made the necessary appearances to sell the product. The gentleman has a handsome Mississippi accent, and is a delight to listen to. There is a transcript, aka the lazy bloggers friend.

A few of the things he said are timely. When this show was taped in 1994, Mr. Foote spoke of healing from the War Between the States. Today, we seem to be regressing. Trash talk about the Confederacy is back in fashion. It is a good time to revisit these comments. Shelby Foote died in 2005, and can no longer comment.

“Slavery is a huge stain on us. We all carry it. I carry it deep in my bones, the consequences of slavery. But emancipation comes pretty close to being as heavy a sin. They told — what is its million or 7 million people, “You’re now free. Hit the road,” and there was a Freedman’s Bureau, which was a sort of joke. There were people down here exploiting them. Three-quarters of them couldn’t read or write, had no job, no hope of a job, no way to learn a new job even, and they drifted back into this peon age system under sharecropping, which was about all they could do.

To this day, we are paying and they are paying for this kind of treatment. I don’t mean there should have been a gradual emancipation. I mean there should have been true preparation to get this people ready for living a kind of life. They were free and should have been free all along, but they were not prepared for living in the world. They’d been living under conditions of slavery, which kept them from living in the world…..”

“The Civil War, there’s a great compromise, as it’s called. 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 and that works for us. We are now able to look at the war with some coolness, which we couldn’t do before now, and, incidentally, I very much doubt whether a history such as mine could have been written much before 100 years had elapsed. It took all that time for things to cool down….”

(Booknotes host Brian) LAMB: “Was the Civil War inevitable? FOOTE: I think that it was necessary. I do not believe that those differences could have been settled without bloodshed. The question is the horrendous amount of bloodshed. That was not necessary. That could have been stopped at some point. God knows. But there apparently were differences so profound between the abolitionists in New England and the fire-eaters of South Carolina that dragged the rest of the country into this conflict that I’m inclined to agree with Seward, who called it an irrepressible conflict….” (Chamblee54 recently published a post, Why Was The War Fought?. about the financial aspects of the War. Follow the money, and find the truth. The post is seen below.)

LAMB: “From what you know now and your own political philosophy, if you had a voice and you lived back there, which side would you have been on? FOOTE: There’s absolutely no doubt. I’m from Mississippi. I would have been on the Confederate side. Right or wrong, I would have fought with my people. LAMB: Why? FOOTE: Because they’re my people. It would have meant the end of my life as I had known it if I fought on the other side. It would have been a falsification of everything I’d lived by, even if I opposed it. No matter how much I was opposed to slavery, I still would have fought for the Confederacy — not for slavery, but for other things, such as freedom to secede from the Union.”


Last week, this slack blogger found a tweet. The tweet said that Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy fought the Federal Reserve, and both were killed. I did a little research, and found something that questions the conventional wisdom about the War Between the States.

Before getting to the quote, a disclaimer is in order. 100777.com is a sketchy website. What is says cannot be taken as literal truth. However, the statement about WBTS does raise some questions.

“One point should be made here: The Rothschild bank financed the North and the Paris branch of the same bank financed the South, which is the real reason the Civil War was ignited and allowed to follow its long, and bloody course.”

Maybe it was not the Rothschild Bank that financed WBTS. Somebody did. War is a profitable enterprise. People are going to egg on the combatants, knowing that there is money to be made. Someone encouraged the southern states to secede. Others encouraged the north to take a hard line on slavery, knowing that it would lead to a profitable war. Was slavery the reason for this war, or the excuse? Follow the money.

Rhett Butler was a central character in Gone With The Wind. He was a blockade runner, bringing in supplies to the south. He said this: “I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up. Remember my words.”

It should be noted that slavery was a big money operation. “But I think we think of it differently when we realize that the value of slave property, some $4 billion, enormous amount of money in 1861, represented actually more money than the value of all of the industry and all of the railroads in the entire United States combined. So for Southern planters to simply one day liberate all of that property would have been like asking people today to simply overnight give up their stock portfolios.”

When the thirteen colonies declared independence, they were not creating a union. The idea was to kick out the British. The concept of a federal union, made up of more-or-less independent states, was fairly new. States had conquered other states, and formed empires, for a long time. A federal union of states was a new, and controversial, idea. Many European states wanted to see this federal union fail. These states encouraged the south to secede. Some people say the War Between the States began the day the British left.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library “… a collection of images of downtown Atlanta streets that were taken before the viaduct construction of 1927 – 1929. Later, some of the covered streets became part of Underground Atlanta.”

Seven Score And Sixteen Years Ago

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 19, 2019









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 14, 2019

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Around this time 155 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, 2019






Veterans day was originally Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, at 11 am (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.





Slavery And The Star Spangled Banner

Posted in Library of Congress, Undogegorized, War by chamblee54 on September 8, 2019






There is a terrific Backstory episode about the War of 1812. (Here is another one.) This is a conflict that is not much thought about, even during its bicentennial. It was not a good war for people of color. Native tribes fought with the British in Michigan, and were soundly defeated. After this war, the attitude of the white man towards the natives got worse.
Perhaps the most famous product of the War of 1812 is The Star Spangled Banner, a.k.a. the national anthem. There are a few legends about writing this song that skeptical bloggers like to shoot down. At the 43 minute mark of the backstory episode, another aspect of TSSB is discussed.
It seems as though slaves were escaping their owners, and fighting with the British. Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key was a slave owner, and thought that the slaves would be better off with their owners. This is the sentiment behind the third verse of TSSB.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The image of F.S. Key has been cleaned up over the years. This biography omits the third verse of TSSB, and does not mention his slaves. Wikipedia tells a different story. “President Jackson nominated Key for United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in 1833.”

“In 1836, Key prosecuted New York doctor Reuben Crandall, brother of controversial Connecticut school teacher Prudence Crandall, for “seditious libel” for possessing a trunk full of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown residence. In a trial that attracted nationwide attention, Key charged that Crandall’s actions had the effect of instigating enslaved people to rebel. Crandall’s attorneys acknowledged he opposed slavery but denied any intent or actions to encourage rebellion. In his final address to the jury, Key said “Are you willing gentleman to abandon your country, to permit it to be taken from you, and occupied by the abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the negro? Or gentleman, on the other hand, are there laws in this community to defend you from the immediate abolitionist, who would open upon you the floodgates of such extensive wickedness and mischief?” Crandall was acquitted.”

The Huffington Post has a story about F.S. Key, ‘Land of the Free?’ Francis Scott Key, Composer of National Anthem, Was Defender of Slavery.

“Buying and selling humans remained a respectable business in Washington City. The slave holding elite of the south had a majority in the Congress and a partner in President Andrew Jackson…
To reassert the rule of law, Key set out to crack down on the anti-slavery men and their “incendiary publications.” Informants had reported to the grand jury about an abolitionist doctor from New York who was living in Georgetown. Key charged Rueben Crandall with bringing a trunk full of anti-slavery publications into the city.
In the spring of 1836, Key’s prosecution of Rueben Crandall was a national news story. In response, the American Antislavery Society circulated a broadsheet denouncing Washington as “The Slave Market of America.” The abolitionists needled Key for the hypocrisy of using his patriotic fame to defend tyranny in the capital: “Land of the Free… Home of the Oppressed.”
Key shrugged off his liberal critics. In front of courtroom crowded with Congressmen and correspondents Key waxed eloquent and indignant at the message of the abolitionists. “They declare that every law which sanctions slavery is null and void… ” Key told the jury. “That we have no more rights over our slaves than they have over us. Does not this bring the constitution and the laws under which we live into contempt? Is it not a plain invitation to resist them?”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The Star Spangled Banner was written September 14, 1814. It is controversial today. This is a repost.






Hiroshima 74 Years Later

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on August 6, 2019

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At 8:15 am, August 6, 1945, Hiroshima got nuked. It was the start of a new era. Since Japan is 13 hours ahead of Georgia, and standard time was used, the literal anniversary is 8:15 pm, August 5.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was working in Hiroshima when the bomb hit. He survived, and found a train to take hime to his home town, Nagasaki.

The device dropped on Hiroshima, the Little Boy, had an estimated force of 13 kilotons of Trinitrotoluene, or TNT. A kiloton of TNT is roughly a cube whose sides are ten meters. This device is fairly tiny compared to many of the warheads developed since. Many of the modern appliances are measured in megatons, or millions of tons of TNT. The Soviet Union had a bomb with a capacity of 50 megatons, or 4,000 times the size of the Little Boy.

The largest weapon tested by The United States is the Castle Bravo. This device destroyed Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. The two piece swimsuit was named for this island. The Castle Bravo device had a yield of 15 megatons of TNT. This is roughly 1,000 times the power of the Little Boy.

The decision to drop the bomb has long been controversial. There are a lot of factors and gray areas, and the issue does not lend itself to sound bite solutions. The conventional wisdom is that Japan surrendered because of the nuclear attack. This meant the war was shortened by at least a year, there was no invasion of Japan, and many lives were saved. PG is scared by the moral calculus involved in a decision like this….do 100,000 civilian deaths prevent the deaths of 500,000 soldiers? PG suspects that even G-d herself would lose sleep over that one.

There is also evidence that the bomb was not needed. Japan was whipped in August 1945. The air raids were conducted in daylight with little resistance. A debate was going on in the Japanese government on whether to continue the fight.

An event happened the day between Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, which influenced the Japanese decision to surrender. The Soviet Union had agreed to help the United States with the war against Japan. On August 8, The Soviet Union invaded Japanese occupied Manchuria. There are indications that Japan knew the fight was hopeless at this point, and would rather surrender to The United States than The Soviet Union. This is one of the gray areas that never seems to be mentioned.

The United States wanted the war to end quickly for obvious reasons, and a few subtle ones. America did not want to share the spoils of Japanese war with The Soviet Union. There were already tensions between the two allies, and the cold war was not far off. Many felt The United States used the Little Boy as a warning to The Soviet Union.

When you get your moral software out, you might want to figure in the effect of opening the nuclear Pandora’s box. Would the nuclear bomb have been developed by other countries if America had not led the way? The science is not that complicated…after all, America hit paydirt with the Manhattan Project fairly quickly. Nonetheless, there is karma involved in using a terrible new device on a civilian population. The United States started the wind of the arms race, and has yet to feel the whirlwind.

This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress. Ansel Adams took pictures of Japanese Americans, in a World War Two internment camp. The ladies in the bridge game are Aiko Hamaguchi, Chiye Yamanaki, Catherine Yamaguchi, and Kazoko Nagahama.




Beneduck Arnold

Posted in Library of Congress, Undogegorized, War by chamblee54 on July 25, 2019

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What did one flag say to the other flag? Nothing. It just waved!
What’s red, white, black and blue? Uncle Sam falling down the steps!
What would you get if you crossed Washington’s home with nasty insects? Mt. Vermin!

What did a patriot put on his dry skin? Revo-lotion!
Which colonists told the most jokes? Punsylvanians!
What was General Washington’s favorite tree? The infantry!

Where did George Washington buy his hatchet? At the chopping mall!
What quacks, has webbed feet, and betrays his country? Beneduck Arnold!
Did you hear the one about the Liberty Bell? Yeah, it cracked me up!

What would you get if you crossed a patriot with a small curly-haired dog? Yankee Poodle!
Why did Paul Revere ride his horse from Boston to Lexington? The horse was too heavy to carry!
What happened as a result of the Stamp Act? The Americans licked the British!

This is a repost. Picture are from The Library of Congress.

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7 O’Clock News/Silent Night

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Music, War by chamblee54 on July 8, 2019

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Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was on the car stereo yesterday. PG thought about the first time he heard PSRT. It was 52 years ago, in a basement down the street. Then it was a monural record player, with kids playing songs over and over to write down the lyrics. It is a stretch to go from that, to a thumb drive on a car stereo. Almost as far as Art Garfunkel’s hair has gone … from luxurious blonde afro, to bald as an egg.

The last song on that album was quite the statement. It starts off with Simon and Garfunkel, who are both Jewish, singing “Silent Night.” In the background is a newscast. The news is soft at first, and gets louder, and louder. What happened to the stories in that newscast?

“In Los Angeles today comedian Lenny Bruce died of what was believed to be an overdose of narcotics. Bruce was 42 years old.” This is the first item that can be clearly heard. It helps to establish the date of the broadcast… August 3, 1966. PG had never heard of Lenny Bruce. The comic has gone on to be an icon of American entertainment. Most of the people who feverishly admire Lenny have never read Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!! While he was a talented comedian, Lenny was also a serious heroin addict. He was not a nice person. PG later wrote The Trial Of Lenny Bruce. This post is about one of his obscenity trials.

“Dr. Martin Luther King says he does not intend to cancel plans for an open housing march Sunday into the Chicago suburb of Cicero. Cook County Sheriff Richard Ogleby asked King to call off the march and the police in Cicero said they would ask the National Guard to be called out if it is held. King, now in Atlanta, Georgia, plans to return to Chicago Tuesday.”

It is hard to imagine in 2019, but Dr. King used to be referred to in present tense. Twenty months after this newscast, Dr. King was killed. “On 4 April 1967,” (exactly one year before he died) “Martin Luther King delivered his seminal speech at Riverside Church condemning the Vietnam War.” Opposition to a wretched war played a large part in his last year.

“In Washington the atmosphere was tense today as a special subcommittee of the House Committee on Un-American Activities continued its probe into anti-Vietnam war protests. Demonstrators were forcibly evicted from the hearings when they began chanting anti-war slogans. Former Vice-President Richard Nixon says that unless there is a substantial increase in the present war effort in Viet nam, the U.S. should look forward to five more years of war. In a speech before the Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in New York Nixon also said opposition to the war in this country is the greatest single weapon working against the U.S.”

This is one of the saddest paragraphs ever. In 1968, Richard Nixon ran for President, again. All the players (except third party candidate George Wallace) were manipulating events in Vietnam to manufacture an “October Surprise.” Tricky Dick somehow won, and kept American forces in Vietnam until 1973 … six years after the seven o”clock news.

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

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Do You Feel Safer?

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Undogegorized, War by chamblee54 on June 18, 2019





A recent episode of Radiolab, Grumpy Old Terrorists, spotlights Georgia. It is about four elderly men, arrested in North Georgia for terrorist activity. The episode features Tom Junod, who wrote an article for Esquire Magazine, Counter-Terrorism Is Getting Complicated. The article has much more information than a twenty minute radio show.

The story focuses on Fred Thomas. A retired Navy man, he worked for Lockheed in Virginia, and moved to Georgia when he retired. He began to hang out on the internet, focusing on a militia forum. After BHO was inaugurated, Mr. Thomas felt that America was going downhill. He met some men online who agreed. The men started to meet, first at Mr. Thomas’s house. One of the players was a government agent.

The informer was named Joe Sims. (PG does not know if this is his birth name.) According to Esquire, Mr. Sims is a slimy character. He got in trouble, and then got out of jail to work as a snitch.

It is interesting to note that two of wives, of the accused, did not like Mr. Sims. Charlotte Thomas, the wife of Fred, only met him once. Mrs. Thomas was a Frank Sinatra fanatic. When Mr. Sims was in their home, he saw the Sinatra shrine. Joe said,
“The trouble with Frank Sinatra is that he can’t sing”.
As the story went down, the old men, and Joe the snitch, had many meetings where they said that something violent needed to be done. Joe the snitch encouraged them, and set up a meeting with an “arms dealer”. Joe handed over his money, and the old man handed over some money. The federal swat team moved in, threw flash grenades, and arrested the old men. The conspirators were so scared they wet their pants. At the same time, a the Frank Sinatra shrine was raided. The carpets have burn marks from the flash grenades.

A question was raised on radiolab, do you feel safer now? The feds encouraged the scheme, and helped drive it forward. One person speculated that the sheriff should have had a talk with the old men. Let them know that the law was wise to their game, and the activity would have stopped. Is it a good role for the government to encourage people to commit crimes? In at least one case, government agents recruited and paid people to take part in the “terrorism”. Is this a good use of taxpayer money, and, indeed, does it make us safer?

UPDATE There was a similar incident recently in Forsyth Counth. This is a repost. There are some crucial details left out of this post. Readers are encouraged to read the Esquire magazine article, Counter-Terrorism Is Getting Complicated. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.