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Recovered history
News items from the Review


AS A YOUNG MAN OF 12 OR SO, nothing so convinced your editor of the inevitability of human progress as the photo he saw in Popular Mechanics of a car that could actually fly: the Airphibian. As time went on and no one he knew actually got one, his faith in human perfectibility began to falter until he eventually became the cynical journalist he is today.

NEWSDAY - Robert E. Fulton Jr., who was there when King Tut's tomb was first opened, drove a motorcycle around the world and invented a flying automobile, has died at the age of 95. . . After getting a degree in architecture from the University of Vienna in 1932, Fulton kicked off the motorcycle trip around the world, leaving from London on a 40,000-mile trek that took him to 32 countries over the next 17 months. . .

His flying car, which he called the Airphibian, was developed in 1946. Despite logging over 100,000 miles in the air and garnering favorable press in national magazines, the Airphibian never got off the ground commercially. One complete model still exists as part of the collection of the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian.

SMITHSONIAN - In 1950, the Fulton Airphibian became the first roadable aircraft, an aircraft designed to be used as a car or an airplane, to be certificated by the Civil Aviation Administration. Other roadable aircraft had already been built, for example Waldo Waterman's Arrow/Aerobile and William Stout's Skycar, both of which are in the NASM collection--as well as other designs, but none won certification.

~~~ The first prototype flew in 1945 and the first production prototype test flight was May 21, 1947. Ground handling was considered excellent in both the roadable and airplane configurations. Normal turning of the steering wheel provided steering on the road. The right rudder pedal provided normal brake operation, the left pedal operated the clutch, and an accelerator provided power. The engine drove the rear wheels through a torque converter, drive shaft, combined transmission and differential, and universal joints. All four wheels could be braked for ground operations; only the rear two wheels could be braked for taxiing. Normal speeds were 110 mph in the air and 55 mph on the ground.

The propeller, rear fuselage, and wings were removed for road operations. Attachment to the aircraft was accomplished by backing the car to the fuselage, leveling the tail and wings, moving three locking levers that inserted and locked large pins into fittings. . . The engine would not start if everything was not properly connected.

The Airphibian represents a technical success as a flying car, but did not become a marketable design. The prototypes were driven over 200,000 miles and made more than 6,000 car/plane conversions. The conversion process, however, was judged to be too complicated and lengthy.



WOOD-TV - A discovery in a western Massachusetts public library may shed new light on the origins of baseball. Legend says Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. But historian John Thorn says a document found in the Pittsfield public library predates that by more than 40 years. It's a 1791 bylaw commanding that no one be allowed to play baseball within 80 yards of a new meeting house in Pittsfield, to protect windows in the building.

Bisbee deportation

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA LIBRARY - "How it could have happened in a civilized country I'll never know. This is the only country it could have happened in. As far as we're concerned, we're still on strike!" - Fred Watson

The Bisbee Deportation was still fresh in Fred Watson's mind when interviewed 60 years later. This is not surprising, because on July 12, 1917, Watson and 1,185 other men were herded into filthy boxcars by an armed vigilante force in Bisbee, Arizona, and abandoned across the New Mexico border. The Bisbee Deportation of 1917 was not only a pivotal event in Arizona's labor history, but one that had an effect on labor activities throughout the country. . .

Several months after the deportation, President Woodrow Wilson set up the Federal Mediation Commission to investigate the Bisbee Deportation. The Commission discovered that no federal law applied. It referred the issue to the State of Arizona while recommending that such events be made criminal by federal statute. They did hold that the copper companies were at fault in the deportation, not the IWW. The State of Arizona took no action against the copper companies. Approximately 300 deportees brought civil suits against the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad and the copper companies. None of these suits came to trial because of out-of-court settlements. . . Although efforts to organize pro-labor unions in Bisbee were crushed in 1917, the Deportation boosted IWW efforts across the country.

Boston mob

RALPH RANALLI, BOSTON GLOBE - A former top lieutenant to South Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger said he had Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr in the sights of a high-powered rifle but didn't shoot because Carr came out of his house hand-in-hand with his young daughter.

"I was down at his house . . . about 5:30 in the morning, across the street in a cemetery with a rifle, waiting for him to come out," Bulger henchman Kevin Weeks told the television show "60 Minutes" in an interview. "And he come out . . . between 7:15, 7:30, and he had his daughter with him."

"I assume it was his daughter, young girl," Weeks told correspondent Ed Bradley, according to a press release issued by CBS yesterday. "He was holding her by the hand, going to his car. So I had to pass on it. I didn't want to kill him in front of his daughter."

The interview is scheduled to air Sunday.

Weeks, who said he had been watching Carr from the cemetery, gave the interview as part of a publicity push for his forthcoming book, "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob. . .

Carr, who also hosts a talk show on WRKO-AM, has been a frequent and acerbic critic of Bulger and his family, especially Whitey's brother, William, then president of the state Senate. Carr, who recently released his own book, "The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century," could not be reached for comment yesterday.

According to the press release, Carr acknowledged living across the street from a cemetery in Acton and allowed that Weeks could have been there. He told the news program, though, that he believes Weeks probably lacked the fortitude to go through with the crime.

"It doesn't seem like Kevin would have the stones to do it," he told Bradley. "If he said Whitey was there, well, you wouldn't be interviewing me, because I'd be dead."

Weeks said that he and Bulger also came up with a plan to kill Carr by stuffing a basketball full of the military-grade explosive C4 and leaving it in his driveway. That plan, Weeks said, was abandoned because too many other people could have been hurt.

Yesterday afternoon, on his radio show, Carr was more dismissive of Weeks's assassination story, suggesting that it had been entirely fabricated. At least one of his callers suggested that the ball idea had been stolen from the 1994 movie "Death Wish 5.". . .

Elsewhere in the interview, he told Bradley that Bulger, a longtime member of the FBI's ultrasecret Top Echelon informant program, betrayed his underlings and no longer deserves loyalty. He said Bulger's henchmen believed the crime boss was bribing law enforcement for information. "We had sources in law enforcement. So as far as we were concerned, the relationship was one-way," he said. "Now we find out he's giving information."

BOSTON GLOBE - Among members of the Boston underworld, no one was closer to "Whitey" Bulger than Kevin Weeks, a South Boston native and loyal tough guy who Bulger groomed as his successor and treated like a son. During the 1980s, Weeks operated several of the Southie convenience stores and liquor marts that served as fronts for the Bulger organization. Weeks received "rent" payments from loan sharks and bookmakers, insulating Bulger from the transactions, and also helped shake down local crooks and businessmen behind on their debts to the gang.

Following Bulger's disappearance in 1995, Weeks acted as "operational chief" of the Bulger organization, taking orders from the fugitive gangster over the phone and keeping Bulger well-funded by funnelling thousands of dollars into his bank account.

Once Bulger and Flemmi were outed as FBI snitches, Weeks became the target of local mobsters who had been ratted out by the pair. He also grew increasingly bitter toward his former bosses. In 1999, he was arrested and charged in a federal racketeering indictment. Facing the prospect of charges that could send him to prison for life, and with no financial or legal assistance forthcoming from Bulger's ruined organization, Weeks agreed to cooperate against his old boss. In 2000 he led police to the bodies of eight alleged Bulger victims buried in various locations around Boston.


Includes a wonderful collection of crime photos

Castro meets Malcolm X

I always remember when I met with Malcolm X at the hotel Teresa, because he was the one who gave us support and made it possible for us to be accommodated there. We had two choices: one was the patio in the United Nations; when I told this to the Secretary General he was horrified at the thought of a delegation camping in tents there; and then we received Malcolm X's offer, he had talked to one of our comrades, and I said: "That is the place, Hotel Teresa." And there we went. - Fidel Castro

THE MILITANT, 1995 - In September 1960 Fidel Castro traveled to the United States to address the United Nations General Assembly. . . Castro did not receive a warm welcome from the U.S. government during his visit to New York City in 1960. The Cuban delegation moved to Harlem after being kicked out of the Shelburne Hotel amid a racist slander campaign in the press that included baseless charges - repeated to this day by the Associated Press - of plucking live chickens at the hotel.

RALPH D. MATTHEWS, NEW YORK CITIZEN-CALL, 1960 - To see Premier Fidel Castro after his arrival at Harlem's Hotel Theresa meant getting past a small army of New York City policemen guarding the building, past security officers, U.S. and Cuban. But one hour after the Cuban leader's arrival, Jimmy Booker of the Amsterdam News, photographer Carl Nesfield, and myself were huddled in the stormy petrel of the Caribbean's room listening to him trade ideas with Muslim leader Malcolm X.

Dr. Castro did not want to be bothered with reporters from the daily newspapers, but he did consent to see two representatives from the Negro press. . .

We followed Malcolm and his aides, Joseph and John X, down the ninth-floor corridor. It was lined with photographers disgruntled because they had no glimpse of the bearded Castro, with writers vexed because security men kept pushing them back.

We brushed by them and, one by one, were admitted to Dr. Castro's suite. He rose and shook hands with each one of us in turn. He seemed in a fine mood. The rousing Harlem welcome still seemed to ring in his ears. . .

After introductions, he sat on the edge of the bed, bade Malcolm X sit beside him, and spoke in his curious brand of broken English. His first words were lost to us assembled around him. But Malcolm heard him and answered: "Downtown for you it was ice. Uptown it is warm." The premier smiled appreciatively. "Aahh yes. We feel here very warm."

Then the Muslim leader, ever a militant, said, "I think you will find the people in Harlem are not so addicted to the propaganda they put out downtown."

In halting English, Dr. Castro said, "I admire this. I have seen how it is possible for propaganda to make changes in people. Your people live here and they are faced with this propaganda all the time and yet they understand. This is very interesting."

"There are twenty million of us," said Malcolm X, "and we always understand." . . .

On his troubles with the Hotel Shelburne, Dr. Castro said: "They have our money. Fourteen thousand dollars. They didn't want us to come here. When they knew we were coming here, they wanted to come along." (He did not clarify who "they" was in this instance.) . . .

On U.S.-Cuban relations: In answer to Malcolm's statement that "As long as Uncle Sam is against you, you know you're a good man," Dr. Castro replied, "Not Uncle Sam, but those here who control magazines, newspapers..."

Dr. Castro tapered the conversation off with an attempted quote of Lincoln. "You can fool some of the people some of the time,..." but his English faltered and he threw up his hands as if to say, "You know what I mean."

Charlie Chaplin

WIKIPEDIA - Chaplin's political sympathies always lay with the left. His politics seem tame by modern standards, but in the 1940s his views (in conjunction with his influence, fame, and status as a resident foreigner) were seen by many as dangerously radical. His silent films made prior to the Great Depression typically did not contain overt political themes or messages, apart from the Tramp's plight in poverty and his run-ins with the law. But his films made in the 1930s were more openly political. Modern Times (1936) depicts the dismal situation of workers and the poor in industrial society. The final dramatic speech in his 1940 film, The Great Dictator, which was critical of blindly following patriotic nationalism without question and his vocal public support for the opening of a second European front in 1942 to assist the Soviet Union in World War II were controversial. In at least one of those speeches, according to a contemporary account in the Daily Worker, he intimated that Communism might sweep the world after the war and equated it with "human progress".

The speeches, along with his unwillingness to support the war effort (apart from the service of his two sons in the Army in Europe and a film openly mocking Hitler's regime), added to his growing political problems. The critical view of capitalism in his 1947 black comedy, Monsieur Verdoux led to increased hostility, with the film being the subject of protests in many US cities. As a result, Chaplin's final American film, Limelight, was less political and more autobiographical in nature. His following European-made film, A King in New York (1957), satirised the political persecution and paranoia that had forced him to leave the US five years earlier (one of the few films of the 1950s to do so). After this film, Chaplin lost interest in making overt political statements, later saying that comedians and clowns should be apolitical and "above politics". . .

During the era of McCarthyism, Chaplin was accused of "un-American activities" as a suspected communist sympathiser; and J. Edgar Hoover, who had instructed the FBI to keep extensive secret files on him, tried to end his United States residency. . . In 1952, Chaplin left the US for what was intended as a brief trip home to England; Hoover learned of it and negotiated with the INS to revoke his re-entry permit. Chaplin then decided to stay in Europe, and made his home in Vevey, Switzerland. He briefly returned to the United States in April 1972, with his wife, to receive an Honorary Oscar. Even though he was invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy Awards), he was only issued a one-time entry visa valid for a period of two months. However, by this time the political animosities held by the American public towards the now elderly and apolitical Chaplin had faded, and his visit was a triumphant success.

CIA: How the CIA fouled our literature

LAURENCE ZUCKERMAN, NY TIMES, 2000 - Many people remember reading George Orwell's "Animal Farm" in high school or college, with its chilling finale in which the farm animals looked back and forth at the tyrannical pigs and the exploitative human farmers but found it "impossible to say which was which." That ending was altered in the 1955 animated version, which removed the humans, leaving only the nasty pigs. Another example of Hollywood butchering great literature? Yes, but in this case the film's secret producer was the Central Intelligence Agency.

The C.I.A., it seems, was worried that the public might be too influenced by Orwell's pox-on-both-their-houses critique of the capitalist humans and Communist pigs. So after his death in 1950, agents were dispatched (by none other than E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame) to buy the film rights to "Animal Farm" from his widow to make its message more overtly anti-Communist.

Rewriting the end of "Animal Farm" is just one example of the often absurd lengths to which the C.I.A. went, as recounted in a new book, "The Cultural Cold War: The C.I.A. and the World of Arts and Letters" (The New Press) by Frances Stonor Saunders, a British journalist. . .

As it turns out, "Animal Farm" was not the only instance of the C.I.A.'s dabbling in Hollywood. Ms. Stonor Saunders reports that one operative who was a producer and talent agent slipped affluent-looking African-Americans into several films as extras to try to counter Soviet criticism of the American race problem.

The agency also changed the ending of the movie version of "1984," disregarding Orwell's specific instructions that the story not be altered. In the book, the protagonist, Winston Smith, is entirely defeated by the nightmarish totalitarian regime. In the very last line, Orwell writes of Winston, "He loved Big Brother." In the movie, Winston and his lover, Julia, are gunned down after Winston defiantly shouts: "Down with Big Brother!" . . .

Civil rights: Did Kennedy almost invade Alabama?

COKE ELLINGTON, MOBILE REGISTER - Perhaps [Richard] Bene's most remarkable story involves the spring of 1963, when he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. In an interview after hours at the two-chair barber shop on the Atlanta Highway, he recounted his memories of a little-known bit of U.S. history. A 19-year-old machine-gunner in the 1st Platoon of D Company, First Brigade of the 101 Airborne Division, Spec. 4 Bene (pronounced Benny), was among the men called back from field training, put on alert and restricted to their company area.

"We just were told that there was an operation in planning," he recalled. "We didn't know when the go was. And we were on alert. The next day, our platoon leader briefed us on what the mission basically was going to be." He said, "From what I gathered later, we were going to hit all communications in Alabama -- civilian, police and military -- so that we could control them."

Montgomery was not named on the map, but he saw that his squad would take over WBAM radio. A native of Parma, Ohio, Bene recognized it as a rock'n' roll station he listened to when he was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., about 100 miles from Montgomery. . .

"My company was going to be responsible for Montgomery, Alabama, the National Guard Headquarters if they failed to follow federal orders to be nationalized, the State Police Building, Department of Public Safety; of course, the governor's office; and all TV and radio stations."

Bene said he had never even told his wife about the 1963 alert until he read Col. David H. Hackworth's 1989 book, "About Face," which mentions that he helped conduct reconnaissance in Mississippi and Georgia of broadcasting stations and other locations in case federal troops needed to intervene to quell integration violence. . .

The concern was not just that some National Guard units might not obey orders, he said, but "about the Ku Klux Klan starting some stuff." "From what I was told," he recalled "we needed to secure all communications in the state of Alabama, so that we could control what went out over the airwaves."

Three retired colonels who were involved in the military's 1963 contingency plan to enter Alabama said they didn't remember any component of the plan calling for taking over broadcasting stations.

John Seigenthaler, an aide to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy from 1961 to 1962 and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., went further in denying the Kennedy administration would have included such an element in the plan. . .

Nicholas Katzenbach, deputy U.S. attorney general at the time, has a perspective that differs from Seigenthaler's. He said he thinks it was "entirely possible" that the military had a contingency plan to take over broadcasting stations. He compared the situation to a foreign invasion, in which local communications might be put under control of the military forces coming in.

Churchill, Winston


GUARDIAN, NOVEMBER 28, 2002 - I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poisonous gas against uncivilized tribes. Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919

It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the vice regal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King. -Commenting on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931

I do not admit... that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia... by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race... has come in and taken its place. - Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937

"The choice was clearly open: crush them with vain and unstinted force, or try to give them what they want. These were the only alternatives and most people were unprepared for either. Here indeed was the Irish specter - horrid and inexorcisable. - Writing in The World Crisis and the Aftermath, 1923-31

The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate. . . I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed. - Churchill to Asquith, 1910

One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." - From his Great Contemporaries, 1937

You are callous people who want to wreck Europe - you do not care about the future of Europe, you have only your own miserable interests in mind. - Addressing the London Polish government at a British Embassy meeting, October 1944

This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States). . . this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. - Writing on 'Zionism versus Bolshevism' in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 1920

Education, public


MEMORY HOLE - John Taylor Gatto was voted the New York City Teacher of the Year three times and the New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991. But he became disillusioned with schools - the way they enforce conformity, the way they kill the natural creativity, inquisitiveness, and love of learning that every little child has at the beginning. So he began to dig into terra incognita, the roots of America's educational system.

In 1888, the Senate Committee on Education was getting jittery about the localized, non-standardized, non-mandatory form of education that was actually teaching children to read at advanced levels, to comprehend history, and, egads, to think for themselves. The committee's report stated, "We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes." By the turn of the century, America's new educrats were pushing a new form of schooling with a new mission (and it wasn't to teach). The famous philosopher and educator John Dewey wrote in 1897:

"Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth."

In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood Cubberly - the future Dean of Education at Stanford - wrote that schools should be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products. . . manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry."

The next year, the Rockefeller Education Board - which funded the creation of numerous public schools-issued a statement which read in part:

"In our dreams. . . people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple. . . we will organize children. . . and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

At the same time, William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, wrote:

"Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual."

In that same book, The Philosophy of Education, Harris also revealed:

"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places. . . It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."

Several years later, President Woodrow Wilson would echo these sentiments in a speech to businessmen:

"We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."

Writes Gatto: "Another major architect of standardized testing, H.H. Goddard, said in his book Human Efficiency (1920) that government schooling was about 'the perfect organization of the hive.'"

While President of Harvard from 1933 to 1953, James Bryant Conant wrote that the change to a forced, rigid, potential-destroying educational system had been demanded by "certain industrialists and the innovative who were altering the nature of the industrial process."

In other words, the captains of industry and government explicitly wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately. We were to become good worker-drones, with a razor-thin slice of the population-mainly the children of the captains of industry and government-to rise to the level where they could continue running things.

This was the openly admitted blueprint for the public schooling system, a blueprint which remains unchanged to this day. Although the true reasons behind it aren't often publicly expressed, they're apparently still known within education circles. Clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine wrote in 2001:

"I once consulted with a teacher of an extremely bright eight-year-old boy labeled with oppositional defiant disorder. I suggested that perhaps the boy didn't have a disease, but was just bored. His teacher, a pleasant woman, agreed with me. However, she added, "They told us at the state conference that our job is to get them ready for the work world. . . that the children have to get used to not being stimulated all the time or they will lose their jobs in the real world.'"

Eisenhower, Dwight

[Searching for the provenance of a quote from Dwight Eisenhower we stumbled upon this remarkable 1953 speech that illustrates a number of important things, including how similar the Bush regime's values are to Ike's view of the Soviet Union and how far from his description of American values; Ike's opposition to imposing either our system of government or economics on other lands; and the need for cooperation with other nations - a presumption for which Kerry was ridiculed. Don't miss Ike's five percepts for American policy. Incidentally, three years later Ike was returned to office, winning 41 of the then 48 states]

DWIGHT D EISENHOWER LIBRARY - "The Chance for Peace" delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953. A Cross of Iron. . . Seeking some concrete way to dramatize the futility of the Cold War, President Eisenhower hit upon the idea of comparing peaceful expenditures with the expenditures both the United States and the Soviet Union were making for armaments. Then he capped the comparison with a brilliant allusion to William Jennings Bryan's famous phrase "a cross of gold."

DWIGHT D EISENHOWER - Today the hope of free men remains stubborn and brave, but it is sternly disciplined by experience. It shuns not only all crude counsel of despair but also the self-deceit of easy illusion. It weighs the chance for peace with sure, clear knowledge of what happened to the vain hope of 1945.

In that spring of victory the soldiers of the Western Allies met the soldiers of Russia in the center of Europe. They were triumphant comrades in arms. Their peoples shared the joyous prospect of building, in honor of their dead, the only fitting monument-an age of just peace. All these war-weary peoples shared too this concrete, decent purpose: to guard vigilantly against the domination ever again of any part of the world by a single, unbridled aggressive power.

This common purpose lasted an instant and perished. The nations of the world divided to follow two distinct roads. The United States and our valued friends, the other free nations, chose one road. The leaders of the Soviet Union chose another.

The way chosen by the United States was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in world affairs.

- First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

- Second: No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.

- Third: Any nation's right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

- Fourth: Any nation's attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

- And fifth: A nation's hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.

In the light of these principles the citizens of the United States defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of war, toward true peace. This way was faithful to the spirit that inspired the United Nations: to prohibit strife, to relieve tensions, to banish fears. This way was to control and to reduce armaments. This way was to allow all nations to devote their energies and resources to the great and good tasks of healing the war's wounds, of clothing and feeding and housing the needy, of perfecting a just political life, of enjoying the fruits of their own free toil.

The Soviet government held a vastly different vision of the future. In the world of its design, security was to be found, not in mutual trust and mutual aid but in force: huge armies, subversion, rule of neighbor nations. The goal was power superiority at all costs. Security was to be sought by denying it to all others. The result has been tragic for the world and, for the Soviet Union, it has also been ironic.

The amassing of the Soviet power alerted free nations to a new danger of aggression. It compelled them in self-defense to spend unprecedented money and energy for armaments. It forced them to develop weapons of war now capable of inflicting instant and terrible punishment upon any aggressor.

It instilled in the free nations-and let none doubt this - the unshakable conviction that, as long as there persists a threat to freedom, they must, at any cost, remain armed, strong, and ready for the risk of war.

It inspired them -and let none doubt this - to attain a unity of purpose and will beyond the power of propaganda or pressure to break, now or ever.

There remained, however, one thing essentially unchanged and unaffected by Soviet conduct: the readiness of the free nations to welcome sincerely any genuine evidence of peaceful purpose enabling all peoples again to resume their common quest of just peace.

The free nations, most solemnly and repeatedly, have assured the Soviet Union that their firm association has never had any aggressive purpose whatsoever. Soviet leaders, however, have seemed to persuade themselves, or tried to persuade their people, otherwise. And so it has come to pass that the Soviet Union itself has shared and suffered the very fears it has fostered in the rest of the world.

This has been the way of life forged by 8 years of fear and force. What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road? The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

The worst is atomic war.

The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. . .

This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace.

It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty.

It calls upon them to answer the questions that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?. . .

This we do know: a world that begins to witness the rebirth of trust among nations can find its way to a peace that is neither partial nor punitive. With all who will work in good faith toward such a peace, we are ready, with renewed resolve, to strive to redeem the near-lost hopes of our day. . .

The peace we seek, founded upon decent trust and cooperative effort among nations, can be fortified, not by weapons of war but by wheat and by cotton, by milk and by wool, by meat and by timber and by rice. These are words that translate into every language on earth. These are needs that challenge this world in arms. . .

This government is ready to ask its people to join with all nations in devoting a substantial percentage of the savings achieved by disarmament to a fund for world aid and reconstruction. The purposes of this great work would be to help other peoples to develop the under developed areas of the world, to stimulate profitability and fair world trade, to assist all peoples to know the blessings of productive freedom.

The monuments to this new kind of war would be these: roads and schools, hospitals and homes, food and health. We are ready, in short, to dedicate our strength to serving the needs, rather than the fears, of the world. We are ready, by these and all such actions, to make of the United Nations an institution that can effectively guard the peace and security of all peoples. I know of nothing I can add to make plainer the sincere purpose of the United States.

Fourteenth Amendment

MORTON MINTZ, NEIMAN WATCHDOG - The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1868, soon after the end of the Civil War. It declares that no state shall deprive "any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The "person" Congress and the ratifying states had in mind—the human being in need of equal protection, particularly in the states of the old Confederacy—was the newly-freed slave. Nothing in either the text or the legislative history of the Amendment suggests otherwise.

The radical change that transformed the soulless entity into a person began in California, where, understandably, state law allowed taxation of the property of a corporation at a higher rate than the property of a living, breathing human. Santa Clara County taxed the property of the Southern Pacific Railroad differently. Southern Pacific fought back, and the dispute evolved into a case that reached the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite and all of the Associate Justices chose not even to hear oral argument. Instead, in 1886—a mere 18 years after ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment—Waite simply announced: "The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a state to deny any person the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.". . .

The late Justice Hugo L. Black was scathing about the Waite court's pronouncement. "Neither the history nor the language of the Fourteenth Amendment justifies the belief that corporations are included within its protection," he wrote in a dissent in Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. Johnson (1938). He continued:

"Certainly, when the Fourteenth Amendment was submitted for approval, the people were not told that [they were ratifying] an amendment granting new and revolutionary rights to corporations. The history of the Amendment proves that the people were told that its purpose was to protect weak and helpless human beings and were not told that it was intended to remove corporations in any fashion from the control of state governments. The Fourteenth Amendment followed the freedom of a race from slavery .... Corporations have neither race nor color."

The contrast between the Court's handling of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad and its handling of Roe v. Wade nearly 90 years later is stark. The Roe justices were fully briefed. They heard oral argument. They long deliberated. In the end, they decided—among other things--that in the first trimester of pregnancy a fetus is not a "person" within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

THOM HARTMANN: Before 1886: Only humans were "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights" and those human rights included the right to free speech, the right to privacy, the right to silence in the face of accusation, and the right to live free of discrimination or slavery.

After 1886: While to this day unions, churches, governments, and small unincorporated businesses do not have "human rights" (but only privileges humans give them), corporations alone have moved into the category with humans as claiming rights instead of just privileges.

Before 1886: In many states, it was a felony for corporations to give money to politicians, political parties, or try to influence elections.

After 1886: Corporations claimed the human right of free speech, expanded that to mean the unlimited right to put corporate money into politics, and have thus taken control of our major political parties and politicians. [The Tillman Act of 1907 prohibited corporations and nationally chartered (interstate) banks from making direct financial contributions to federal candidates. But the law was rendered ineffectual by weak enforcement mechanisms; indirect contributions, particularly via PACs; contributions by corporate executives and employees, and a 1978 Supreme Court decision invalidating - on First Amendment grounds - a Massachusetts criminal statute forbidding banks and businesses from making certain expenditures intended to influence the vote on referendum proposals.]

Before 1886: States and local communities had laws to protect and nurture entrepreneurs and local businesses, and to keep out companies that had been convicted of crimes.

After 1886: Multi-state corporations claimed such laws were "discrimination" under the 14th Amendment (passed to free the slaves) and got such laws struck down; local communities can no longer stop a predatory corporation.

Before 1886: Government, elected by and for "We, The People," made decisions about how armies would be equipped and, based on the will of the general populace, if and when we would go to war. Prior to WWII there were no permanent military manufacturing companies of significant size.

After 1886: Military contractors grew to enormous size as a result of WWII and a permanent arms industry came into being, what Dwight Eisenhower called "the military/industrial complex." It now lobbies government to buy its products and use them in wars around the world.

Before 1886: Corporations had to submit to the scrutiny of the representatives of "We, The People," our elected government.

After 1886: Corporations have claimed 4th Amendment human right to privacy and used it to keep out OSHA, EPA, and to hide crimes.

Before 1886: Corporations were chartered for a single purpose, had to also serve the public good, and had fixed/limited life spans.

After 1886: Corporations lobbied states to change corporate charter laws to eliminate "public good" provisions from charters, to allow multiple purposes, and to exist forever.

Before 1886: Just as human persons couldn't own other persons, corporations couldn't own the stock of other corporations (mergers and acquisitions were banned).

After 1886: Corporations claim the human right to economic activity free of regulatory restraint, and the still-banned-for-humans right to own others of their own kind.

General strike

SEATTLE GENERAL STRIKE PROJECT - The Seattle General Strike of February 1919 was the first city-wide strike anywhere in the United States to be proclaimed a "general strike." It led off a tumultuous post-World War I era of labor conflict that saw massive strikes shut down the nation's steel, coal, and meat packing industries and threaten civil unrest in a dozen cities. The Seattle strike began in the shipyards, which had expanded overnight with war production contracts and where 35,000 workers expected a post- war wage hike to make up for two years of strict wage controls imposed by the federal government. When federal regulators refused, the Metal Trades Council, an alliance of shipyard unions, declared a strike and closed the yards, appealing also to Seattle's powerful Central Labor Council for help. Most of the city's 110 local unions then voted to join a sympathy walkout.

On the morning of February 6, 1919, Seattle, a city of 315,000 people, stopped working. 25,000 union members had joined the 35,000 already on strike. Much of the remaining work force was idled as stores closed and streetcars stopped running. The General Strike Committee, composed of delegates from the key striking unions, tried to coordinate vital services and negotiate with city officials, but events moved quickly beyond their control.

Most of the local and national press denounced the strike, while conservatives called for stern measures to suppress what looked to them to be a revolutionary plot. Mayor Ole Hanson, elected the year before with labor support, armed his police force and threatened martial law and federal troops. Some of the unions wavered on the strike's third day. Most others had gone back to work by the time the Central Labor Council officially declared an end on February 11. By then police and vigilantes were hard at work rounding up Reds. The IWW hall and Socialist party headquarters were raided and leaders arrested. Federal agents also closed the Union Record, the labor-owned daily newspaper, and arrested several of its staff. Meanwhile across the country headlines screamed the news that Seattle had been saved, that the revolution had been broken, that, as Mayor Hanson phrased it, "Americanism" had triumphed over "Bolshevism." The Seattle General Strike lasted less than a week.

Gabbett, Harry

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 1985 - Harry Gabbett, a legendary reporter for the Washington Post, died the other day. The Post's obituary contained some examples of Gabbett's writing that reminds us how bland so much current newspaper writing has become. Writing a retrospective on Washington's 1922 theatre disaster, in which a roof collapsed and 98 people were killed, Gabbett wrote: "It was the utter silence of shock. It gripped alike the dead who would never break it; the dying who would soon know it forever, and the injured whose impulses to voice their agonies somehow respected it. In the next instant there was pandemonium."

Gabbett liked employing what he called the "warped cliche," as in a story on a dinner at the Capitol, in which he wrote: "dress was optional, but everyone wore something."

And in 1968, Gabbett wrote this classic lead: "Paul (Race Horse) Mitchell, 57, of one address right after another, died on the street here yesterday, unexpectedly, and after a long illness, but mostly from two bullet wounds in his chest." The story ended: "The grief, if it may be allowed to pass for that, was dry-eyed enough but it had those overtones of sincerity which lend a definite, if indefinable, dignity to the human spirit on such occasions. "This is to say that only one man was really glad the rascal was dead - and the police were looking for him."

Gibson, Josh

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - As Barry Bonds chases Babe Ruth's treasured spot in home run history, with only Hank Aaron on the horizon, it's worth wondering where Josh Gibson might fit in this illustrious group. He was the preeminent home-run hitter in the Negro Leagues, a stout catcher whose displays of power rivaled Ruth's.

Neither Ruth nor Gibson competed against players of all ethnicities. Ruth swatted his 714 home runs before the major leagues became integrated. Gibson, widely known as "the black Babe Ruth," never had the chance to play in the majors: He died, at age 35, in January 1947, less than three months before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

But while the homer totals of major leaguers are indisputable -- Aaron 755, Ruth 714, Bonds 712 and counting -- Gibson's numbers will forever remain murky. He hit as many as 962 homers in his 17-year career, including 84 in 1936. But many of those came against semi-pro competition, as Negro Leagues teams traveled the land facing any opponent they could find, and record-keeping was sketchy at best.

Gibson's plaque at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown reflects the uncertainty, declaring he hit "almost 800 home runs in league and independent baseball." Much like Sadaharu OH who hit 868 homers in his career in Japan, it is nearly impossible to measure Gibson against the elite power hitters in major-league history.

That doesn't stop Gibson's contemporaries from trying. "I played with Willie Mays and against Hank Aaron," Hall of Famer Monte Irvin once said. "They were tremendous players, but they were no Josh Gibson." Asked about this quote during a telephone interview from his Florida home, Irvin, now 87, did not waver, saying, "Oh yeah, Josh was better than those two.". . .



The hurricane damage to Grenada has brought back lots of incorrect memories about one of two wars since WWII that America has indisputably won (Panama was the other one). Both were illegal but that had already come not to matter.

It was claimed that the 1983 American invasion of Grenada was in part due to the construction of an airfield that was going to be used for nefarious purposes by the Cuban government. One problem with this claim was an article in Travel & Leisure Magazine a month before the invasion which stated that "the much publicized, and badly needed, airport being built [in Grenada] with Cuban - and Canadian - help, will open in May. With it, Grenada hopes to attract airlines that can provide direct service from the US. Travelers now fly in via Barbados or Trinidad."

The administration, and much of the American press cited the "huge airstrip" being built on Grenada as proof of a threat to U.S. security. But there had been plans to build a larger airstrip for 25 years to accommodate the large planes that could bring tourists to the island on nonstop flights. The airstrip, which would be the sixth airport of its size in the Caribbean, was favorably viewed by the World Bank. At least half of its financing came from western European countries, and construction was being underwritten by the British. The airstrip was being built to civil, not military standards.

Other fun facts about Grenada:

- According to Gus Newton, the black mayor of Berkeley and the local head of the US-Grenada Friendship Committee, the government of Maurice Bishop "went as far as any place I've ever seen" in giving women equal rights." Bishop's chief ambassadors were mostly female, and included one women only 26 years old. Bishop's government also gave women equal pay throughout all industries.

- The U.S. invasion of Grenada (pop. 110,000) was accompanied by secrecy unprecedented in modern U.S. history. Congress was not consulted during preparations for the invasion. Rather, it was informed just hours before the invasion took place, long after the marines were on their way.

- The night before the invasion, White House spokesman Lairy Speakes denied the possibility of such an invasion, calling it "preposterous" and "untrue."

- One of the government's stated reasons for the invasion was to protect the 1,000 U.S. students attending the St. George's Medical School. Yet the schools officials apparently did not feel that the students were in jeopardy. They had been given assurances by General Austin of the ruling council and had been provided vehicles to transport students from one campus to the other to ensure their safety during the curfew.

- On the Wednesday before the invasion, the medical school's New York office received a call from the U.S. ambassador to Barbados, asking Dr. Modica to go to Barbados and publicly ask the U.S. to intervene to protect the students. He refused. Peter Bourne, faculty member, got a call that same day from a conservative trustee of the school, telling him that the Administration was asking the trustees to say that the students were in danger, even though they were not.

- The ruling council even invited U.S. diplomats to Grenada to confirm the safety of U.S. nationals. The weekend before the invasion, two U.S. embassy counselor in Barbados visited Grenada and admitted that they could see no danger to the students.

- The students apparently did not feel their lives were in jeopardy until the morning of the invasion. One woman said, "The only time I felt endangered was when the Americans bombed nearby. . . .The whole time I was there not once did I hear of Grenadians or Cubans threatening any students."

- In a vote taken before the invasion, only 10% of the students indicated that they wanted to leave the island. More than 500 parents sent a telegram to Reagan pleading with him not to invade.

- The invasion was illegal under the United Nations and Organization of American States charters.

- The invitation for the U.S. to intervene was actually drafted by the U.S. State Department, according to The New York Times and then sent to the relevant nations.

WILLIAM BLUM, ANTI-EMPIRE REPORT - George W. recently designated Otto Reich, his Special Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, to lead a delegation to attend the commemoration ceremony of the 20th Anniversary of "the restoration of democracy to Grenada". Bad enough that Reich has on his resumé abetting anti-Cuban terrorists who bombed a plane out of the air killing 73 people, bad enough that what actually happened in October 1983 in Grenada was the US overthrowing another government which was not a threat to anyone and covering it up with a campaign of lies that stood unmatched until the present-day Iraq fiasco, but here's what "the restoration of democracy to Grenada" looked like at the time:

At the end of 1984, former Premier Herbert Blaize was elected prime minister, his party capturing 14 of the 15 parliamentary seats. Blaize, who in the wake of the invasion had proclaimed to the United States: "We say thank you from the bottom of our hearts," had been favored by the Reagan administration. The candidate who won the sole opposition seat announced that he would not occupy it because of what he called "vote rigging and interference in the election by outside forces." One year later, the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs reported on Grenada as part of its annual survey of human rights abuses:

Reliable accounts are circulating of prisoners being beaten, denied medical attention and confined for long periods without being able to see lawyers. The country's new US-trained police force has acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest and abuse of authority.

The report added that an offending all-music radio station had been closed and that US-trained counter-insurgency forces were eroding civil rights. By the late 1980s, the government began confiscating many books arriving from abroad, including Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana and Nelson Mandela Speaks. In April 1989, it issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, Prime Minister Blaize suspended Parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called "an increasingly authoritarian style."

GRENADA: A PREVIEW OF IRAQ - JONATHAN STEELE, GUARDIAN - Spare a thought for Grenada. . . Reporters who covered Grenada in that distant autumn of 1983 saw the same abuse of human rights, the same postwar incompetence, the same primitive failure to understand a foreign culture which the US "war on terror" was later to produce.

. . . Until the invasion, dirt-poor Grenada was run by a mildly leftwing government. The quaintly named New Jewel Movement had launched a revolution whose nickname - the "revo" - sounded like a motorbike. Maurice Bishop, its charismatic leader, was murdered by a sectarian rival and most Grenadans were still in shock and mourning when Ronald Reagan exploited the chaos to send in US troops.

Washington's case was that a new airport was being built by Cubans (true) as a launch-pad for future regional interventions by Fidel Castro (false). It was not explained how Grenada could give Castro extra muscle when the island is further from Florida or Central America - where leftwing insurgents were fighting military regimes - than Cuba is itself.

. . . Tawdry, vicious and ignorant, the invasion of Grenada differed from this year's war on Iraq in one important particular. A furious British prime minister did not hesitate to tell the US president he was wrong. In spite of her love-in with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher saw through the threadbare threat assessments which the US put up to justify the war. "I am totally and utterly against communism and terrorism," she thundered in a BBC interview. "But if you are going to pronounce a new law that wherever communism reigns against the will of their people, the United States shall enter - then we are going to have really terrible wars in the world."



STEPHEN GOWANS - The Jews, contrary to a growing view, were not the only victims of the Nazis, and it does not diminish the flagitious crime perpetrated against them to acknowledge the Nazi's other victims, and to point out the Final Solution was not, as is now commonly supposed, the only significant event of WWII.

Indeed, it can be argued that the significance of any event is relative. For Jews, the Holocaust is central. For Russians, it is the mass devastation of their country, and the loss of 20 million lives. For Americans, who accounted for less than one percent of lives lost in WWII, it's the arrogant and mistaken belief that they were the principal cause of the Nazi's defeat. . .

Forgotten is that the first targets of the Nazis, as recalled in Martin Niemoller's famed invocation of the need for solidarity against a common oppressor, were the Reds.

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews."

Reds, hunted down, rounded up, imprisoned and exterminated by the Nazis as cruelly and coldly as any other group that transgressed the Nazi ideal - or actively resisted and fought back - are history's exiles. And yet Communists are central - as victims, as early, implacable and clear-eyed opponents of Fascism, and as the principal reason European Fascism was defeated.

Nevertheless, nothing is said about them, except in out of the way journals and books. . .

Popular history, that constructed by those who have turned anti-Communism into an official religion, has, moreover, turned Nazism into exclusively a movement against the Jews, and stripped it of its anti-Communist, anti-Socialist, and anti-trade union content. Today, it's widely believed that anti-Fascism amounts to anti-anti-Semitism alone. . .

And yet it was the most vilified of the Reds, the Communists, who rushed to the aid of the Spanish Republic before it was fashionable to be anti-Fascist, who led the fight at home against Mussolini and Hitler, free from delusions about the true nature of Fascism, and who successfully organized partisans to topple Fascist puppets in Yugoslavia and Albania. And it was the Soviet Union that more than any other country, defeated - and suffered from - German imperialism.


1909 -- Organized by the ILGWU, 20,000 shirtwaist makers, mostly women and children, stage the first garment workers strike. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union and strike against sweatshop conditions, also called the "Girl's Revolt," wins support of other workers & the women's suffrage movement in their persistence and unity in the face of police brutality and rigged courtrooms. Many picketers are beaten or fired. In the end, the garment workers win a pay raise and a work reduction to 52 hours of work per week. A judge tells arrested picketers, "You are on strike against God."

July 4th


History News Network

1. Independence Was Declared on the Fourth of July. America's independence was actually declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. The night of the second the Pennsylvania Evening Post published the statement: "This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States." So what happened on the Glorious Fourth? The document justifying the act of Congress - you know it as Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence - was adopted on the fourth. . . When did Americans first celebrate independence? Congress waited until July 8, when Philadelphia threw a big party, including a parade and the firing of guns. The army under George Washington, then camped near New York City, heard the new July 9 and celebrated then. Georgia got the word August 10. And when did the British in London finally get wind of the declaration? August 30. John Adams, writing a letter home to his beloved wife Abigail the day after independence was declared (i.e. July 3), predicted that from then on "the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival." A scholar coming across this document in the nineteenth century quietly "corrected" the document, Adams predicting the festival would take place not on the second but the fourth.

2 The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4. Hanging in the grand Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States is a vast canvas painting by John Trumbull depicting the signing of the Declaration. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wrote, years afterward, that the signing ceremony took place on July 4. When someone challenged Jefferson's memory in the early 1800's Jefferson insisted he was right. The truth? As David McCullough remarks in his new biography of Adams, "No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia." So when was it signed? Most delegates signed the document on August 2, when a clean copy was finally produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress. Several did not sign until later. And their names were not released to the public until later still, January 1777. . .

3. The Liberty Bell Rang in American Independence - Well of course you know now that this event did not happen on the fourth. But did it happen at all? It's a famous scene. A young boy with bond hair and blue eyes was supposed to have been posted in the street next to Independence Hall to give a signal to an old man in the bell tower when independence was declared. It never happened. The story was made up out of whole cloth in the middle of the nineteenth century by writer George Lippard in a book intended for children. The book was aptly titled, Legends of the American Revolution. There was no pretense that the story was genuine. . .

3. Betsy Ross Sewed the First Flag. - A few blocks away from the Liberty Bell is the Betsy Ross House. There is no proof Betsy lived here, as the Joint State Government Commission of Pennsylvania concluded in a study in 1949. . . Alas, the story is no more authentic than the house itself. It was made up in the nineteenth century by Betsy's descendants. The guide for our group never let on that the story was bogus, however. Indeed, she provided so many details that we became convinced she really believed it. She told us how General George Washington himself asked Betsy to stitch the first flag. He wanted six point stars; Betsy told him that five point stars were easier to cut and stitch. The general relented. After the tour was over we approached the guide for an interview. She promptly removed her Betsy Ross hat, turned to us and admitted the story is all just a lot of phooey. Oh, but it is a good story, she insisted, and one worth telling.

5. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Died on the Fourth of July - Ok, this is true. On July 4, 1826, Adams and Jefferson both died, exactly fifty years after the adoption of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, which the country took as a sign of American divinity. But there is no proof that Adams, dying, uttered, "Jefferson survives," which was said to be especially poignant, as Jefferson had died just hours before. Mark that up as just another hoary story we wished so hard were true we convinced ourselves it is.

Have a Happy Fourth!

Kissinger, Henry


NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVES - A newly declassified document obtained by the National Security Archive shows that amidst vast human rights violations by Argentina's security forces in June 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Argentine Foreign Minister Admiral Cesar Augusto Guzzetti: "If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you should get back quickly to normal procedures."

Kissinger's comment is part of a 13-page Memorandum of Conversation reporting on a June 10 meeting between Secretary Kissinger and Argentine Admiral Guzzetti in Santiago, Chile. The document was obtained by the National Security Archive's Southern Cone Documentation Project through a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of State filed in August 2002 and appealed in February 2004.

At a time when the international community, the U.S. media, universities, and scientific institutions, the U.S. Congress, and even the U.S. Embassy in Argentina were clamoring about the indiscriminate human rights violations by the Argentine military, Secretary Kissinger told Guzzetti: "We are aware you are in a difficult period. It is a curious time, when political, criminal, and terrorist activities tend to merge without any clear separation. We understand you must establish authority."

Another document recently unearthed by the National Security Archive and posted for the first time today, shows that on July 9, 1976, Secretary Kissinger was explicitly briefed on the rampant repression taking place in Argentina: "Their theory is that they can use the Chilean method," Kissinger's top aide on Latin America Harry Shlaudeman informed him, "that is, to terrorize the opposition - even killing priests and nuns and others."

"The Memorandum of Conversation explains why the Argentine generals believed they got a clear message from the Secretary that they had carte blanche for the dirty war," said Carlos Osorio of the National Security Archive. "It appears that Secretary Kissinger gave the 'green light' to the Argentine military during the June 1976 meeting with Guzzetti in Santiago," he added.


ASSOCIATED PRESS - Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested punishing subordinates who criticized military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s, declassified documents show. In a transcript of a June 1976 conversation with William D. Rogers, then-assistant secretary of state for Latin America, Kissinger called remarks by another State Department official criticizing the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet "a bloody outrage." . . .

According to the documents, Kissinger also suggested removing the official, Robert White, a member of the State Department's delegation to the Organization of American States. "Why don't we get him out?" he asked, according to the documents. . .

Analysts said the transcripts were the strongest evidence yet that Kissinger stymied attempts by lower-level officials to raise concerns about human rights abuses by the Chilean and Argentine dictatorships -- regimes that killed thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands, in campaigns to repress perceived political opponents in the 1970s and '80s. Kissinger in the past has denied condoning abuses.

KKK in the north


[In a usually futile attempt to convince liberals that stereotyping the red states is doing themselves no favor, we like to tell the story of the union organizer who went to Arkansas in the 1920s. He could only find two groups that understood what organizing was about: black Baptists and members of the KKK; so he used them to make his union. Searching for more on this topic, we stumbled across a fascinating description of the role of the KKK in the north and middle west, particularly in the union movement.

The point here is not to deny what we already know about evils of the KKK in the south, but to understand how complex history can really be and how stereotyping is not just a moral issue but a practical one. People are always looking for answers and they often come up with bad ones. The job of good political organizing is to come up with the good answers and find a way to lead people to them and not to anathematize them for having been wrong in the first place. This parable may help in understanding the complexities involved.]

JOHN ZERZAN - In the following article are presented some unusual features of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, the only period in which the KKK was a mass movement. In no way should this essay be interpreted as an endorsement of any aspect of this version of the Klan or of any other parts of Klan activity. Nonetheless, the loathsome nature of the KKK of today should not blind us to what took place within the Klan 70 years ago, in various places and against the wishes and ideology of the Klan itself

Writing at the beginning of 1924, Stanley Frost accurately surveyed the Klan at the crest of its power: "The Ku Klux Klan has become the most vigorous, active and effective organization in American life outside business." Depending on one's choice of sources, KKK membership in 1924 can be estimated at anywhere between two and eight million.

And yet, the nature of this movement has been largely unexplored or misunderstood. In the fairly thin literature on the subject, the Klan phenomenon is usually described simply as 'nativism'. A favorite in the lexicon of orthodox historians, the term refers to an irrationality, racism, and backwardness supposedly endemic to the poorer and less-educated classes, and tending to break out in episodic bouts of violently-expressed prejudice. . .

Kenneth Jackson, with his The Ku Klux Klan in the City, has been one of a very few commentators to go beyond the amorphous 'nativism' thesis and also challenge several of the prevailing stereotypes of the Klan. He argues forcefully that "the Invisible Empire of the 1920s was neither predominantly southern, nor rural, nor white supremacist, nor violent." Carl Degler's succinct comments corroborate the non-southern characterization quite ably: "Significantly, the single piece of indisputable Klan legislation enacted anywhere was the school law in Oregon; the state most thoroughly controlled by the Klan was Indiana; and the largest Klan membership in any state was that in Ohio. On the other hand, several southern states like Mississippi, Virginia, and South Carolina hardly saw the Klan or felt its influence." Jackson's statistics show clearly the Klan's northern base, with only one southern state, Texas, among the eight states with the largest membership. . . The ten urban areas with the most Klansmen [were] principally industrial and all but one of them outside the South. . . Chicago, Indianapolis, Philadelphia-Camden, Detroit, Denver, Portland, Atlanta, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Youngstown-Warren, and Pittsburgh-Carnegie.

The notion of the KKK as an essentially racist organization is similarly challenged by Jackson. As Robert Moats Miller put it, "in great areas of the country where the Klan was powerful the Negro population was insignificant, and in fact, it is probable that had not a single Negro lived in the United States, a Klan-type order would have emerged." And Robert Duffus, writing for the June 1923 World's Week, conceded: "while the racial situation contributed to a state of mind favorable to Ku Kluxism, curiously it did not figure prominently in the Klan's career." The Klan in fact tried to organize "colored divisions" in Indiana and other states, to the amazement of historian Kathleen Blee. . . .

Which brings us to the fourth and last point of Jackson's thesis, that the KKK was not predominantly violent. . . The post-war race riots of 1919 in Washington, Chicago, and East St. Louis, for example, occurred before there were any Klansmen in those cities, and in the 1920s, when the Klan grew to its great strength, the number of lynchings in the U.S. dropped to less than half the annual average of pre-war years and a far smaller fraction than that by comparison with the immediately post-war years. In the words of Preston Slosson, "By a curious anomaly, in spite of. . . the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, the old American custom of lynch law fell into almost complete disuse.". . .

Militantly progressive or radical activities have often closely preceded, coincided with, or closely followed strong KKK efforts, and have involved the same participants. Oklahoma, for example, experienced in a mere ten years the growth and decline of the largest state branch of the Socialist Party, and the rise of one of the strongest Klan movements. In Williamson County, Illinois, an interracial crowd of union coal miners stormed a mine being worked by strike-breakers and killed twenty of them. The community supported the miners' action and refused to convict any of the participants in this so-called Herrin Massacre of 1922, which had captured the nation's attention. Within two years, Herrin and the rest of Williamson County backed one of the very strongest local Klan organizations in the country. The violently suppressed strikes of the southern Appalachian Piedmont textile workers in 1929, among the most bitterly fought in twentieth century labor history, took place at the time of or immediately following great Klan strength in many of the same mill towns. The rubber workers of the huge tire-building plants of Akron, the first to widely employ the effective sit-down strike weapon in the early 1930s, formed a large part of that city's very sizeable Klan membership, or had come from Appalachian regions where the KKK was also strong. In 1934, the very militant and interracial Southern Tenant Farmers Union was formed, and would face the flight of its leaders, the indifference of organized labor, and the machine-guns of the large landholders. Many of its active members were former Klansmen. And observers of the United Auto Workers have claimed that some of the most militant activists in auto were former Klansmen.

The key to all these examples of apparently disparate loyalties is a simple one. . . Not only did some Klansmen hold relatively radical opinions while members of the Invisible Order, but in fact used the Klan, on occasion, as a vehicle for radical social change. . .

The activities of the Klan have very commonly been referred to as "moral reform," and certainly this kind of effort was common. Articles such as, "Behind the White Hoods: The Regeneration of Oklahoma," and "Night-Riding Reformers," from Fall 1923 issues of The Outlook bespeak this side of Klan motivation. They tell how the Klan cleaned up gangs of organized crime and combated vice and political corruption in Oklahoma and Indiana, apparently with a minimum of violence or vigilantism. Also widespread were Klan attempts to put bootleggers out of business, though we might recall here that prohibition has frequently been endorsed by labor partisans, from the opinion that the often high alcohol consumption rates among workers weakened the labor movement. In fact, the Klan not infrequently attacked liquor and saloon interests explicitly as forces that kept working people down.

It is on the plane of 'moral' issues, furthermore, that another stereotype regarding the KKK - that of its total moral intolerance - dissolves at least somewhat under scrutiny. Charles Bowles, the almost successful write-in Klan candidate in the 1924 Detroit mayoralty race, was a divorce lawyer (as well as being pro-public works).It cannot be denied that anti-Catholicism was a major plank of Klan appeal in many places, such as Oregon. But at least part of this attitude stemmed from a "belief that the Catholic Church was a major obstacle in the struggle for women's suffrage and equality."

Margaret Sanger, the birth control pioneer, gave a lecture to Klanswomen in Silver Lake, New Jersey, a speaking engagement she accepted with no little trepidation. She feared that if she "uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria." Actually, a real rapport was established and the evening was a great success. . .

Returning to the subject of socio-political attitudes of Klan members, available evidence strikingly confirms my contention of a sometimes quite radical frame of mind. In the spring of 1924, The Outlook magazine conducted a "Platform of the People" poll by mail. When it was found that an organizational request for ten thousand ballots came from the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Ku Klux Klan, pink ballots were supplied so that they could be separately tabulated. To quote the article, "Pink Ballots for the Ku Klux Klan": "The ballots returned all came from towns and small cities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Of the total of 1,139 voters, 490 listed themselves as Republicans, only 97 as Democrats, and 552 as Independents. Among them are 243 women." Approximately two-thirds (over 700) responded regarding their occupations. "The largest single group (209) is that of skilled workmen; the next (115) is of laborers." The rest includes workers (e.g. "railway men") and farmers, plus a scattering of professionals and merchants. The women who listed their occupations were mainly housewives.

Despite the generally high percentages of abstention on most of the issues, the results on the following selected topics show clearly radical leanings

Percent Approved: Ignored: Condemned:

"Nationalization of the railroads with cooperative administration by workers, shippers, and public" 24 72 4

"Federal Aid for Farmers' Co-operatives" 30 68 2

"Price fixing of staple farm products" 23 75 5

"Equal social, legal, and industrial rights for women" 41 56 3

"Amendment enabling Congress to prevent exploitation of children in industry" 45 54 1

"Federal Anti-Lynching Law" 38 60 2

"Extension of principle of Federal aid for education" 91 9 0

"Abolition of injunctions in labor disputes" 20 73 7 . . .

With this kind of data, it is less surprising to find, for example, that the Socialist Party and the Klan formed a 1924 electoral alliance in Milwaukee to elect John Kleist, a Socialist and a Klansman, to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Robert O. Nesbitt perceived, in Wisconsin, a "tendency for German Socialists, whose most conspicuous opponents were Catholic clergy, to join the Klan." The economic populist Walter Pierce was elected governor in Oregon in 1922 by a strong agricultural protest vote, including the endorsement of the Klan and the Socialist Party. Klan candidates promised to cut taxes in half, reduce phone rates, and give aid to distressed farmers. . .

The following oral history account is a perfect illustration of the Klan as a vehicle of class struggle . . .

AARON BARKHAM, WEST VIRGINIA MINER - About that time 1929, in Logan County, West Virginia, a bunch of strike-breakers come in with shotguns and axe handles. Tried to break up union meetings. The UMW deteriorated and went back to almost no existence. It didn't particularly get full strength till about 1949. And it don't much today in West Virginia. So most people ganged up and formed the Ku Kluck Klan."

The Ku Klux was the real controllin' factor in the community. It was the law. It was in power to about 1932. My dad was one of the leaders til he died. The company called in the army to get the Ku Klux out, but it didn't work. The union and the Ku Klux was about the same thing." . . .

The UMW had a field representative, he was a lawyer. They tarred and feathered 'im for tryin' to edge in with the company. He come around, got mad, tryin' to tell us we were wrong, when we called a wildcat. He was takin' the side of the company. I used a stick to help tar 'im. And it wasn't the first time."

The Ku Klux was formed on behalf of people that wanted a decent living, both black and white. Half the coal camp was colored. It wasn't anti-colored. The black people had the same responsibilities as the white. Their lawn was just as green as the white man's. They got the same rate of pay. There was two colored who belonged to it. I remember those two niggers comin' around my father and askin' questions about it. They joined. The pastor of our community church was a colored man. He was Ku Klux. It was the only protection the workin' man had.". . .

JOHN KERZAN - Certainly no one would seriously maintain that the KKK of the '20s was free from bigotry or injustice. There is truth in the characterization of the Klan as a moment of soured populism, fermented of post-war disillusion. But it is also true that when large numbers of people, feeling "a sense of defeat" in an increasingly urban South, or their northern counterparts, "conscious of their growing inferiority," turned to the Klan, they did not necessarily enact some kind of sick, racist savagery. On occasion, they even turned, as we have seen, to a fairly radical activism - to the chagrin of their corrupt and conservative leadership.

Krassner, Paul

[Paul Krassner is the patron saint of the alternative press, having started the Realist in 1958. He'll be doing a weekly column in the NY Press]

PAUL KRASSNER, NY PRESS - Slaughtering Cows and Popping Cherries Late one extremely hot night in the spring of 1958, alone and naked, I was sitting at my desk in Lyle Stuart's office, preparing final copy for the first issue of the Realist. I had served my journalistic apprenticeship at Stuart's anti-censorship paper, the Independent, and now I was launching my own satirical magazine. . .

Our office was on the same floor as Mad, in what became known as the Mad building, 225 Lafayette St. . . This was before National Lampoon or Spy magazine, before Doonesbury or Saturday Night Live. I had no role models and no competition, just an open field mined with taboos waiting to be exploded. Artists began to send me cartoons that had been rejected by such magazines as The New Yorker and Playboy for reasons of taste or controversy. . .

Meanwhile, I was becoming bad company. Campus bookstores were banning the magazine, and students whose parents had burned their issues often wrote in for replacement copies. But I was publishing material that was bound to offend. For example, Madalyn Murray O'Hair was a militant atheist who had challenged the constitutionality of compulsory Bible reading in public schools, and she concluded her first article, "I feel that Jesus Christ is at most a myth-and if he wasn't, the least he was, was a bastard-and that the Virgin Mary obviously played around as much as I did, and certainly I feel she would be capable of orgasm."

I published a cartoon that became a poster, "One Nation Under God," depicting Uncle Sam being sodomized by an anthropomorphic deity. And, celebrating the burgeoning cold war, another poster declaring in red-white-and-blue, star-spangled letters, "Fuck Communism!". . .

Irreverence is now an industry. the Realist served its purpose, though-to communicate without compromise-and today other voices, in print, on cable TV and especially on the internet, are following in that same tradition. The last words of my final issue, published in 2001, came from Kurt Vonnegut: "Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid of you."

My own swan-song editorial concluded: "And so this little publication comes to an end, neither with a bang nor with a whimper. Just a deep sigh of satisfaction. the Realist has been a way of life for me, but, of course, old editors never die, they just run out of space."


Mau Mau

MARK CURTIS, GUARDIAN - British ministers' claim to be defending civilization against barbarity in Iraq finds a powerful echo in 1950s Kenya, when Britain sought to smash an uprising against colonial rule. Yet, while the British media and political class expressed horror at the tactics of the Mau Mau, the worst abuses were committed by the occupiers. The colonial police used methods like slicing off ears, flogging until death and pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight.

British forces killed around 10,000 Kenyans during the Mau Mau campaign, compared with the 600 deaths among the colonial forces and European civilians. Some British battalions kept scoreboards recording kills, and gave £5 rewards for the first sub-unit to kill an insurgent, whose hands were often chopped off to make fingerprinting easier. "Free fire zones" were set up, where any African could be shot on sight.

As opposition to British rule intensified, brutal "resettlement" operations, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands, forced around 90,000 into detention camps. In this 1950s version of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, forced labor and beatings were systematic and disease rampant. Former camp officers described "short rations, overwork, brutality and flogging" and "Japanese methods of torture".

Mississippi Flood of 1927

WIKIPEDIA - The Great Mississippi Flood in 1927 was the most destructive river flood in United States history. In the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 the Mississippi River broke out of its levee system in 145 places and flooded 27,000 square miles or about 16,570,627 acres. The area was inundated up to a depth of 30 feet. The flood caused over $400 million in damages and killed 246 people in seven states. . .
The flood propelled Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, in charge of flood relief operations, into the national spotlight and set the stage for his election to the Presidency. It also helped Huey Long be elected Louisiana Governor in 1928. . .

By August 1927 the flood subsided. During the disaster 700,000 people were displaced, including 330,000 African-Americans who were moved to 154 relief camps. Over 13,000 refugees near Greenville, Mississippi were gathered from area farms and evacuated to the crest of an unbroken levee, and stranded there for days without food or clean water, while boats arrived to evacuate white women and children. Many African-Americans were detained and forced to labor at gunpoint during flood relief efforts.
Several reports on the poor situation in the refugee camps, including one by the Colored Advisory Commission by Robert Russa Moton, were kept out of the media at the request of Herbert Hoover, with the promise of further reforms for blacks after the presidential election. When he failed to keep the promise, Moton and other influential African-Americans helped to shift the allegiance of black Americans from the Republican party to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Democrats.
The aftermath of the flood was one factor in the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities. The flood resulted in a great cultural output as well, inspiring a great deal of folklore and folk music. Charlie Patton, Bessie Smith and many other Delta blues musicians wrote numerous songs about the flood; Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" was also based on the events of the flood. Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks" was reworked by Led Zeppelin, and became one of that group's most famous songs.


[From a PBS Special about the flood of 1927. LeRoy Percy was a major plantation owner and Will Percy, his son, was named head of the flood relief commission]

PBS - March and April: LeRoy Percy and other plantation owners send their farm hands to raise the height of Washington County levees. Other African Americans in the area are pressed into work gangs to heighten and fortify the levees. Police round up African Americans in town at gun point and send them to the levee. Convicts are also pressed into action, and altogether a gang of 30,000 men work to save the levee. . .

April 25: The situation in Greenville is dire. Thirteen thousand African Americans are stranded on the levee with nothing but blankets and makeshift tents for shelter. There is no food for them. The city's water supply is contaminated. The railway has been washed away, and sanitation is non-existent. An outbreak of cholera or typhoid is imminent. . .

Many people are reluctant to abandon Greenville, despite the fact that their homes have been submerged. The planters, in particular, oppose Will's plan, fearing that if the African American refugees leave, they will never return, and there will be no labor to work the crops. LeRoy, placing his business interests above his family's tradition of aiding those less fortunate, betrays his son and secretly sides with the planters. Boats with room for all the refugees arrive, but only 33 white women and children are allowed to board. The African American refugees are left behind, trapped on the levee. . .

April: To justify his relief committee's failure to evacuate the refugees, Will Percy convinces the Red Cross to make Greenville a distribution center, with the African Americans providing the labor. Red Cross relief provisions arrive in Greenville, but the best provisions go to the whites in town. Only African Americans wearing tags around their necks marked "laborer" receive rations. National Guard is called in to patrol the refugee camps in Greenville. Word filters out of the camps that guardsmen are robbing, assaulting, raping and even murdering African Americans held on the levee. . .

May: Slowly word of the abuses in the refugee camps reaches the Northern press. Once the situation in the refugee camps hits the national press. . . Hoover forms a Colored Advisory Commission of influential African American conservatives, led by Robert Russa Moton, to further investigate the camps. The commission confirms the initial findings. In exchange for keeping the report quiet, Hoover promises that if he wins the election, he will support the advancement of African Americans, including possible agrarian land reform. Moton agrees, and Hoover is never called to account for the treatment of African Americans in Washington County.

June and July: As the flood waters recede, Greenville faces the task of digging the town out the mud. Again, the white leadership of the town resorts to conscripting African Americans at gun point. . .

July 7: James Gooden, a well respected African American in the Greenville community, is shot in the back by a white policeman for refusing to return for a day shift after working all night on the clean-up. Word of his death spreads quickly and work stops. Tensions rise, and both blacks and whites arm themselves with guns and other weapons. Greenville is at a standoff. Will Percy calls a reconciliation meeting of the African American community at a local church, but places the blame on them for the death of their neighbor.

August 31: Will Percy resigns from the Greenville Flood Relief Committee and leaves for a trip to Japan the very next day.

Late summer: Thousands of African Americans pack up their belongings and leave Washington County. Most head north and within a year, fifty percent of the Delta's African American population will have migrated from the region. Once "the Queen of the South," Greenville will never recover the prosperity it once enjoyed before the flood.


By John M. Barry

JAMES CARVILLE, SALON, APRIL 1997 - I've just finished a brand-new book on the Great Flood, and I've been sending it out to all my friends. John M. Barry's "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America" is the best book I've read in years. . .

While today it is damn near impossible to name a single famous engineer, in the 19th century engineers were masters of the universe -- with egos every bit as outsized as today's Wall Street bigwigs. The first section of "Rising Tide" focuses on two of the most egotistical and brilliant, James Buchanan Eads and Andrew Atkinson Humphreys, who spent their lifetimes trying to conquer the Mississippi. Unfortunately, the two men worked equally hard trying to conquer each other. Like all great man vs. nature stories, this book has a strong undercurrent of man vs. man flowing beneath its surface.

Eads and Humphreys agreed on one thing: Continuing the work of building high earthen levees parallel to the banks of the resting river made all kinds of sense. Levees allowed the river to spill out well beyond its banks, while still holding it to a predictable channel. Levees had another benefit as well: Confining the flooding river would speed up its current; the faster current, in turn, would gouge out the river's bed and lower the water level in the future.

But would the faster current carve out enough to prevent big-time floods? That was the billion-dollar question. Eads said no. He proposed other ways of carving out the riverbed, because he knew levees alone could not work. Humphreys actually had plenty of data showing the same thing -- he simply chose to ignore it. Driven far more by rivalry than reason, he put his name to a cockamamie levees-only policy. A half-century later, during the Great Flood, that policy submerged more than 27,000 square miles under a murky inland sea.



BURTON H. WOLFE, WASHINGTON FREE PRESS - Ralph Anspach and Patrice McFarland have vowed that before they die the world will know that the original purpose of the Monopoly game was to teach the evils of exploitation, that it was conceived by socialists rather than its alleged inventor, and that the giant games maker Parker Brothers has no right to monopolize it.

Anspach and McFarland have experienced widespread resistance to the telling of their tale of treachery and deceit, at least in part because almost every publication about the Monopoly game's origin and purpose has been wrong, and correction is embarrassing to writers, editors, and publishers. But the determined pair plug on anyway against discouraging odds.

Anspach is a professor of economics at San Francisco State University. McFarland is a New York-based freelance writer. After massive, financially crippling litigation between Parker Brothers and himself, Anspach pursues his quest through media appearances and a book entitled The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle. McFarland tries to spread the word through articles in the few periodicals that will publish them.

Their simple story begins with Anspach's invention of a game entitled "Anti-Monopoly" and its prankish antithesis to the Monopoly game. . . In the course of defending himself in the lawsuit, Anspach uncovered a series of long-buried facts. to begin with, the Monopoly game, in its original form, was called "The Landlord's Game." It was invented and patented in 1903 by Lizzie J. Magie, a follower of Henry George and his single-tax theory, as a means of teaching the evils of exploitation by landlords and the capitalist business system prevalent in America.

Over the years a number of socialists such as Scott Nearing, known as the "father of environmentalism," changed the name of the game to "Monopoly." They drew up their own game boards, using street and utility names from their cities and towns. By the early 1930s a group of Quakers in Atlantic City were playing the game on homemade boards containing the same names as on the commercial Monopoly board: Boardwalk, Park Place, Mediterranean Avenue, Baltic Avenue, etc.

One evening in 1932 an unemployed salesman, Clarence B. Darrow, joined the Atlantic City Quakers for a Monopoly game session. Recognizing the commercial potential of the game, and unsympathetic to the Quakers' view that it was not meant to be used for profit-making, Darrow copied the board and presented it to the president of Parker Brothers, Robert Barton, as his (Darrow's) own invention.

Barton was not long duped. But instead of producing and marketing Monopoly in the only legal way permissible, as a game in the public domain like chess and checkers, he fraudulently obtained a private patent and told Darrow to keep his mouth shut. Monopoly soon became the most widely purchased and played board game of all time other than chess and checkers, earned more than a billion dollars for Parker Brothers, and made Darrow a millionaire.



National Anthem


1919 Spanish translation of Star Spangled Banner by Francis Haffkine Snow. This version of the song was prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Education. For more recent versions, go to the State Department website.



[From Wikipedia, Boing Boing and other sources]

The fans of the Baltimore, Maryland, Major League Baseball team have adapted the song to show support for the local team the Baltimore Orioles. Fans sing the song with a fortissimo emphasis upon the "Oh" in the stanza "Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave," which is a reference to the Orioles' nickname "the O's."

An adaptation is made by fans of the Atlanta Braves, in Atlanta, Georgia. The last words of the song are changed from "home of the brave" to "home of the Braves."

Wayne Gretzky On April 18, 1999, professional hockey star Wayne Gretzky played his final NHL game in New York. In tribute to the retiring superstar, the two singers of the Canadian and American anthems altered the words of their respective songs. The final words of the Canadian National Anthem (normally "O Canada we stand on guard for thee") became "O Canada we're going to miss Wayne Gretzky". The second to last line of the Star-Spangled Banner (normally "O'er the land of the free") was changed to "O'er the land of Wayne Gretzky".

It is also a tradition at Dallas Stars hockey games for fans to scream "Stars" twice during the song ("Whose broad stripes and bright Stars!" "Oh, say does that Stars!-spangled banner...".) The tradition has become so widespread that some opposing teams will not play the national anthem when the Stars are the visiting team, most notably the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Atlanta Thrashers Fans will shout NIGHT during the singing of the National Anthem at the line ("...gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there...). Before the Thrashers began playing in Atlanta's then-new Philips Arena in 1999, the minor-league Knights played in the Omni Center. NIGHT was always yelled during these games, and the tradition has been carried over by those long-time die-hard Atlanta hockey fans. . .

After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Unites States, fans attending the Colorado Avalanche home games began to emphasize the line "That our Flag was still there" by shouting the line loudly ("Gave proof through the night, THAT OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE!").

You won't hear the word "brave" at the end of the national anthem at a Chiefs home game. The sellout crowd in Arrowhead Stadium screams "CHIEFS!" instead. You'll usually also hear a few stray cries of "CHIEFS!" when the anthem is sung at other K.C.-area sporting events, such as Royals home games and University of Missouri or University of Kansas football and basketball games.

College Students at the University of California, Berkeley modified the phrases "Oh, say can you see" to become "Oh, say can U! C!" (as in University of California), "And the rockets red glare" becomes "And the rockets BLUE glare" (Cal's colors are blue and gold while red is associated with rival Stanford University), and "And the home of the brave" becomes "And the home of the BEARS!" (Cal's mascot is the Golden Bear).

Students at Cornell University yell "RED!" and raise their right hands during the stanza "And the rockets red glare".

At the North Dakota Fighting Sioux home hockey games, the tail end of the song "and the home of the brave", is changed by fans to "and the home of the SIOUX!!".

At Princeton, no modifications are made to the song itself (as it is often played by The Princeton Band, rather than sung), but it is traditional to follow the final note with "Let's Go, Tigers!" to the point that the cheer has become a kind of tagged-on ending.

Fans of Cornell Big Red Hockey know to shout "RED" ("and the rockets red glare") as loudly as they can, and at times--at away games--this has so flustered the Anthem's singer that a noticeable pause has ensued. . .

Giacomo Puccini controversially used the opening phrases of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a theme for the character of Pinkerton in his opera Madama Butterfly. . .

The title tune of the 1960s musical Hair famously contains the line, "O, say, can you see my eyes? If you can, then my hair's too short!"



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According to George Bush in 2006, "people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English." George Bush during the 2000 campaign, however, sang the anthem in Spanish a number of times.

The US Department of Education published a Spanish version of the anthem in 1919.

There are four Spanish versions of the anthem on the State Department web site

Nazi Germany


A NEW BOOK published by St. Martin's Press reveals that the Ford Motor Company's military and political complicity in the Nazi war effort was considerably more extensive than the corporation has acknowledged, and that company president Edsel Ford, Henry's son, was about to be indicted for trading with the enemy -- America's most serious corporate crime -- at the time of his 1943 death.

In "The American Axis: Ford, Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich," veteran investigative journalist and Holocaust researcher Max Wallace -- who has worked for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Project and contributed to the BBC and Sunday New York Times -- disputes a 2001 Ford internal investigation into the use of slave labor at its Cologne plant during World War II, in which Ford officials claimed they had lost control after Pearl Harbor. Wallace reveals the automaker knowingly amassed huge profits from its wartime business dealings with Nazi Germany and from the use of illegal slave labor at its German plant.

Drawing on thousands of pages of previously classified documents, Wallace discovered the company sanctioned military and business dealings with the Nazis even after Pearl Harbor and that a US government post-war investigation concluded the company had become "an arsenal of Nazism."

Newly declassified intelligence files reveal Ford's personal secretary and life-long confidante Ernest Liebold was a German spy, who nurtured his employer's hatred of the Jews to further the cause of the Third Reich. After Pearl Harbor, Ford even used his influence to countermand a federal warrant for Liebold's arrest.

The book, which received an editorial endorsement from historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., traces Ford's friendship and ideological bond with Charles Lindbergh as they embarked on an historic crusade to keep America out of World War II. Both men received the Nazis' highest decoration in 1938, "for those who deserve well of the Reich."

From British 'Home & Garden' 1938
That's Hitler & Goering in lower right

National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders

AFRICANA - The commission presented its findings in 1968, concluding that urban violence reflected the profound frustration of inner-city blacks and that racism was deeply embedded in American society. The report's most famous passage warned that the United States was "moving toward two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal." The commission marshaled evidence on an array of problems that fell with particular severity on African Americans, including not only overt discrimination but also chronic poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, inadequate housing, lack of access to health care, and systematic police bias and brutality.

The report recommended sweeping federal initiatives directed at improving educational and employment opportunities, public services, and housing in black urban neighborhoods and called for a "national system of income supplementation." The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., pronounced the report a "physician's warning of approaching death, with a prescription for life." By 1968, however, Richard M. Nixon had gained the presidency through a conservaTive white backlash that insured that the Kerner Report's recommendations would be largely ignored.

Paris uprising 1968

"Be realistic. Demand the Impossible!"

Graffiti during the 1968 Paris uprising during which Sorbonne students occupied and opened the university to the population, inviting "the workers to come and discuss with them the problems of the university." Between May 13-30 there were similar events and demonstrations in Madrid, Rome, Berlin, NY, and Czechoslovakia. A slogan on the wall of the University of Paris at the Sorbonne expressed the mood: "Thanks to teachers and examinations, careerism begins at age six."

There is a story told about how at 4 in the morning on the "night of the barricades," several students phoned up George Séguy, head of the General Trade Union Confederation, led by the PCF, and told him: "We can't hold out. We need the proletarians to come and help us."

"One does not mobilize the working class at this time of night," Séguy reportedly replied.

But by the end of this month over 10,000,000 workers were involved in occupations.


Pierce, Franklin


ARTHUR G. SHARP, HARTFORD COURANT - The Democrats were having a difficult time nominating a candidate for president in 1852. They had several highly qualified men from whom to choose; Pierce was not one of them. . . The 1852 Democratic Convention was an exercise in futility for the delegates. They simply could not get the required two-thirds vote for one candidate. Forty-eight times they voted; 48 times they failed. Finally, they compromised and chose Franklin Pierce on the 49th vote.

Pierce was not unqualified for the presidency. He had served in the New Hampshire legislature and the U.S. Senate, from which he had resigned in 1842 because of his wife's dissatisfaction with life in Washington and his propensity to consume a few too many adult beverages at times. Alcoholism was a problem for Pierce. In fact, his death in 1869 from cirrhosis of the liver can be attributed to his alcoholism.

The party was not particularly enamored with Pierce. His legacy shows that he lived up to their expectations. He is best known for several "firsts" in the White House -- among them, the first central-heating system, the first bathroom with hot and cold water, and the first Christmas tree. And he managed to get arrested while in office for running over an elderly woman with his horse, although the case was dropped in 1853 because of insufficient evidence.

In all fairness, his legacy was not completely negative. For example, there was no turnover in his Cabinet during his tenure. And he was in office for the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, which involved the acquisition of 29,000 square miles of Mexican territory for $10 million to facilitate building railroads through southwestern mountains. He received some credit for the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which gave the settlers in those new territories the right to determine their slavery status for themselves. On the international front, he was in office when Commodore Matthew Perry negotiated a treaty with Japan in 1854. None of these were particularly significant historically, though.

Pierce's lack of accomplishments explains why historians are in agreement regarding his overall impact as president. In effect, he did not have one. That is evidenced by the fact that he is the only president in U.S. history who sought, but did not win, his party's nomination for a second term. Instead, the Democrats nominated James Buchanan in 1856. That proved to be a wise move, as he handily defeated John Fremont and Millard Fillmore. As for Pierce, he returned to New Hampshire and resumed his law practice.

Presidents: remembering them in order

ONE OF YOUR EDITOR'S lesser known talents is an ability - on a good day - to recite the names of all of our presidents in order. One of my nieces sent an e-mail requesting the details of the mnemonic aid handed down by my father and, with the help of one of my sisters I was able to reconstruct it. Just remember these sentences:

- Washington And Jefferson Made Money And Jack

- Van Buren Had Ten Pennies To Finish Practically Bankrupt

- Little John Got Hay-fever Going Around Cleveland Hoping Cleveland Might Raise True Wealth

- Harding Caught Horses Running True East

- Kennedy Jostled Nixon Fiercely Causing Reagan Bad Catnaps

[Actually, my father stopped with the horses running; the rest I added. I once received extra credit in a high school test for doing this, even though in my haste I wrote down "money" instead of "Monroe"]

Here are a few more items of related interest:

- Tyler and Taylor as well as Polk and Pierce are in reverse alphabetical order

- Pierce is the 14th president because his initials are F.P. and there are fourteen letters in his name.

- Lincoln's first vice president was Hannibal Hamlin whose last name sits in the middle of Abraham Lincoln - Sam Smith


A marvelous new book by Colin Woodward, The Lobster Coast, further undermines the myth that the Pilgrims – in the words of Plymouth Memorial State Park – “founded the first New England colony.” And that they are people worth celebrating.

This has long been a matter of interest to me – ever since I did a college paper on 40 voyages to New England before the Pilgrims. The course, taught by maritime historian Robert G. Albion, was exceptionally good, a fact of which I was reminded many years later in the harbor of South Freeport, Maine, when I spotted a motorboat, the “Robert G. Albion,” so named by another former student. How many Harvard professors have boats named after them? It is hard to imagine the motor vessel ‘McGeorge Bundy.’

Albion was, before his time, a social historian in a college where only great men were supposed to create history, and preferably Harvard graduates at that. My little project also introduced me to the idea of what was called history was often myth.

I learned, for example, that John and Sebastian Cabot, five years after Columbus, had charted Maine’s Casco Bay on their way from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas. By 1602, when Bartholomew Gosnold arrived at Cape Neddick near York, Maine, his presence was considered by the Indians to be less than remarkable. John Bereton, the chronicler of the voyage, wrote:

“One who seemed to be their commander wore a coat of black work, a pair of breeches, cloth stockings, shoes, hat and band.... They spoke divers Christian words and seemed to understand more than we, for lack of language, could comprehend...They pronounced our language with great facility; for one of them sitting by me, upon occasion I spake smilingly to him with these words: How now sirha are you so saucy with my tobacco, which words (without any further repetition) he suddenly spake so plaine and distinctly as if he had been a long scholar in the language.”

Captain John Smith may have been the first person to put in writing the attraction the Maine coast would have to centuries of later arrivals:

“Here are no hard landlords to racke us with high rents; no tedious pleas in law to consume us with their many years deputations for Justice; no multitudes to occasion such impediments to good order, as in the popular States. So freely hath God in his Majesty bestowed his blessing on them that will attempt to obtaine them as here every man may be master and owner of his own labor and land; or the greatest part in a small time."

Woodard writes that during this period, Micmac Indians could be seen skillfully operating “vessels that had two masts, were as long as forty feet, and weighed twelve tons. They ranged as far south as Massachusetts Bay, and one of their leaders, Messamouet, had visited France, where he had been a houseguest of the mayor of Bayonne.”

Other contacts, however, were less benign. For example, Cartier kidnapped a chief, five adults and four children and took them off to France. There were stories of theft and rape. And the Indians became that that some of their wildlife was being decimated by the “ship people.”

Nearly a full century before the Pilgrims, in 1524, Giovanni Verrazano arrived on the Maine coast but failed to hit it off with the Indians, describing them as of “such crudity and evil manners, so barbarous, that despite all signs we could make, we could never converse with them.”

The Wabanakis, for their part, were so skeptical of the visitors that they would only consent to trade if they could sit on a high cliff “with the Europeans floating in a tiny boat beneath them” with goods “traded in a basket hauled up and down the cliff with a long rope.” The Indians then mooned their customers and laughed “immoderately.”

The British had some familiarity dealing with people they considered “savage;” at home they were busy suppressing the Irish. One of the main figures in the colonization of Maine, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, had placed heads of recently slain Irish along the path to his encampment:

“It did bring greate terrour to the people when thei saw the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and friends, lye on the grounds before their faces, as they came to speak to said collonell.”

By the time the Pilgrims got to Massachusetts, a year round trading and fishing station had already been established at Damariscove Island in southern Maine. It was to this island that the “founders of New England” had to go in 1622 to beg for supplies.

The men who worked there were not, as Woodard notes, “stern, sober, Calvinists ideologues.” But they did have food.

By the time the Pilgrims were settled enough to be known as Puritans, they showed their gratitude by unilaterally annexing Maine to their mini-empire. This was not a good idea as the Mainers had been more successful at getting along with the Indians. They also were not particularly concerned with personal beliefs and so included a random bunch of heretics including Anabaptists and Quakers. At one point, Governor Gardner of Maine tried to deflect a Puritan demand that he remove all guns from the Indians, arguing that the native Americans needed them for hunting. Gardner was arrested and tried for treason.

Things deteriorated throughout New England until a full scale Indian rebellion known as King Phillips war began in 1675, which wiped out several tribes, killed one in five English men of military age, and left for several decades not one settler in Maine beyond its southernmost tip.

This is not, of course, what most Americans are taught about the Pilgrims and early New England. It’s too bad. As we attempt to colonize another group of purported savages in a far way land, we might have learned that religious rigidity is a poor tool of public policy. And despite our Thanksgiving myth, it can’t even be counted to keep food on the table. – SAM SMITH

Race movies

Race Movies: They are big-screen films that only some of America -- its segregated citizens -- saw in the 1930s, '40s and early '50s. Once thought lost, the "race movies," as they were known, which were shown mostly in the segregated movie houses of the old South, have been reproduced as a three-DVD box set and in recent months distributed to 1,000 poor school districts and African American museums in Texas. There are tales about entrepreneurs, lawyers, novelists, preachers, musicians, cabdrivers and farmers. And, yes, the movies include gangsters, swindlers, bumblers, compulsive gamblers and plain mean folks. In plot, they're not much different from other Hollywood films of the pre- and post-World War II eras, but white society was never meant to see them. - History News Network

Reagan, Ronald

Reagan's first term in office was deliberately provocative. He preached that nuclear war was survivable; that we might drop "demonstration" weapons on Europe to intimidate the Soviets. He joked (once accidentally, on a live radio show) that he had already launched US missiles against the soviet Union. Jerry Falwell, who preached that nuclear Armageddon might be God's instrument for taking his chosen up on high, was a regular visitor to the White House. Reagan was openly contemptuous of environmental concerns: "If you've seen one redwood you've seen them all." He appointed James Watt, who systematically opened millions of acres of government land to commercial exploitation, to the Interior Department and Ann Burford, who used the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect corporations that were dumping and poisoning.

Reagan willfully assaulted the human services infrastructure in the US. boasting that he had eliminated over 1000 programs that served lower income groups. He put Elliott ABrams into the Human Rights Division of the State Department with orders to dismantle it. The Reagan administration sent the files of confidential testimonials that Pat Derian, under President Jimmy Carter, had accumulated from refugees from repressive countries to the police in those countries. Then the Immigration and Nturalization Services deported the refugees to countries where brutal police were waiting for them at the airports.

Reagan put his and Meese's California friend Luis Guiffrida in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which laid plans to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and intern several hundred thousand people without due process. Secretary of State George Shultz lobbied vigorously (with indirect success) for a pre-emptive strikes bill that would give him authority to list "known and suspected terrorists" within the US who could be attacked and killed by government agents with impunity. Shultz admitted (in a public address in October 25,1984) that the strikes would take place on the basis of information that would never stand up in court of law ant that innocent people would be killed in the process. He insisted however, that people listed would not be permitted to sue in court to have their manes taken off that list.

The pargraphs above are from the book: THE PRAETORIAN GUARD: The US Role in the New World Order by John Stockwell -1991

Rebels in the south


MONKEY MEDIA REPORT, NC, May 20 - On this day in 1861, four months after South Carolina seceded, and six weeks after the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, the state of North Carolina finally got around to joining the Confederacy. I mention this because not a lot of people know that NC, which lost more soldiers in the war than any other Southern state, also had the Confederacy's most vocal and active peace movement, including a Governor, Zebulon Vance, who was a constant thorn in the side of Jefferson Davis. "Bitter feud," "clashed repeatedly," "President Davis never particularly trusted North Carolina" - take your pick.

Here's an interesting explanation [by Michael Honey] for why the state was somewhat less than gung-ho on the issue of secession:

"North Carolina probably manifested the sharpest internal opposition to the Confederacy of all the Southern states during the war. This resulted in part from a long history of conflicts before the war between the white majority of small farmers and mechanics and the minority of landed gentry. As in most of the South, though nearly one-third of the white population held slaves in North Carolina, the upper class of planters with twenty or more slaves always constituted a small fraction of the state's white population.

"Yet the political power and wealth of these planters far outweighed their numbers. Their privileged status repeatedly provoked conflicts with non-slaveholders over questions of political representation and taxation. Such conflicts became especially intense in the year prior to the Civil War, when a movement to increase the taxes of slaveholders, spurred by the Raleigh Working Men's Association, nearly succeeded in snatching control of the state government out of the hands of the gentry. The taxation controversy brought animosity against the upper class out into the open, causing one of the state's eastern planters on the eve of the war to express the fear that non-slaveholders "would not lift a finger to protect rich men's negroes." The taxation campaign, he added, 'infused among the ignorant people, the idea that there is an antagonism between poor people and slave-owners.'"

Imagine that. Antagonism between poor whites and slave-owners. So much for the idea that every white person in the South was whistling Dixie in the same key. It's no wonder desertion was such a huge problem here in the Tarheel State. The anti-war editor of the Raleigh Standard, William Holden, kept up the struggle throughout the war, despite being considered a traitor by many Southern military officers who wrote fascinating letters about him. The situation was so bad that Jefferson Davis himself wrote to Vance:

"This is not the first intimation I have received that Holden is engaged in the treasonable purpose of exciting the people of North. . . The case is quite grave enough for me to consult with you on the subject, and to solicit from you such information and advice as you may be able to give me."

Holden - who later became the only NC Governor to be impeached - even had the balls to run against Vance in 1864 on an "honorable peace" ticket. He was so vocal in his calls for an end to the Civil War that he was repeatedly forced to hide when certain Confederate units came through town. In September 1863, some of General Henry Benning's Georgia troops trashed the Standard's offices. That, in turn, led Holden's Raleigh supporters to completely destroy the offices of a local pro-Confederacy paper. Not quite the "rising of the South" you usually hear about, is it?


Victor Reuther

PATRICIA SULLIVAN, WASHINGTON POST - Victor Reuther, 92, the redoubtable labor leader who rallied sit-down strikers at General Motors plants, survived an assassination attempt that cost him an eye and helped rebuild the trade unions in postwar Europe, died of renal failure and massive pneumonia June 3 at George Washington University Hospital.

Mr. Reuther was one of three brothers who led the United Auto Workers during its mid-century heyday. While his brother Walter was the prominent union president who wielded influence in national politics for almost a quarter-century and Roy Reuther handled legislative affairs, Victor Reuther's role was at first the union's education director and later the union's international director. He had lived in Washington since 1954.

"He was a pioneer in the true sense of the word," said Doug Fraser, a former UAW president. "He helped build one of the great unions in America."

A passionate believer in the ability of unions to help working people with a broad range of social issues beyond paychecks and benefits, Mr. Reuther forged a career spanning the eras from labor's flirtation with Russian socialism to its alarm at the outsourcing of what were once union jobs to Third World countries. He appointed Mildred Jeffrey to lead the UAW's first Women's Bureau in the 1950s, protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s, publicly rebuked the shah of Iran in the 1970s and argued against the UAW's partnership with automakers in the mid-1980s. . .

[In 1945] Mr. Reuther sat down to read the newspaper in his living room when a shotgun blast shattered the front window and blew apart his jaw. Mr. Reuther lost his right eye, and his collarbone was smashed. A partial denture was pushed deep into his throat. He said in his 1976 memoir, "The Brothers Reuther and the Story of the UAW," that he told the oral surgeon, "They can take out my eye and take off an arm or a leg, but please fix up my tongue. I've got a living to make."

 Roman empire


CHALMERS JOHNSON, HISTORY NEWS NETWORK - The collapse of the Roman republic in 27 BC has significance today for the United States, which took many of its key political principles from its ancient predecessor. . . The Roman republic, however, failed to adjust to the unintended consequences of its imperialism, leading to a drastic alteration in its form of government. The militarism that inescapably accompanied Rome's imperial projects slowly undermined its constitution as well as the very considerable political and human rights its citizens enjoyed. The American republic, of course, has not yet collapsed; it is just under considerable strain as the imperial presidency -- and its supporting military legions -- undermine Congress and the courts. However, the Roman outcome -- turning over power to an autocracy backed by military force and welcomed by ordinary citizens because it seemed to bring stability -- suggests what might happen in the years after Bush and his neo-conservatives are thrown out of office. . .

The most serious problem was that the army had grown too large and was close to unmanageable. It constituted a state within a state, not unlike the Pentagon in the United States today. . .

The history of the Roman republic from the time of Julius Caesar on suggests that it was imperialism and militarism -- poorly understood by all conservative political leaders at the time -- that brought it down. Militarism and the professionalization of a large standing army create invincible new sources of power within a polity. The government must mobilize the masses in order to exploit them as cannon fodder and this leads to the rise of populist generals who understand the grievances of their troops and veterans. . .

Our military today is a professional corps of men and women who join up for their own reasons, commonly to advance themselves in the face of one or another cul de sac of American society. They normally do not expect to be shot at, but they do expect all the benefits of state employment -- steady pay, good housing, free medical benefits, relief from racial discrimination, world travel, and gratitude from the rest of society for their military "service." They are well aware that the alternatives civilian life in America offers today include difficult job searches, no job security, regular pilfering of retirement funds by company executives and their accountants, "privatized" medical care, bad public elementary education systems, and insanely expensive higher education. They are ripe, it seems to me, not for the political rhetoric of patrician politicians who have followed the Andover, Yale, Harvard Business School route to riches and power but for a Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, or Juan Perón -- a revolutionary, military populist with no interest in republican niceties so long as he is made emperor.

Sundown towns

PETER CARLSON WASHINGTON POST - The signs are gone now but once they were a part of America's roadside culture, posted along the highway at the town or county line, a blunt reminder of brutal racism. "Most read 'Nigger, Don't Let the Sun Set on You in . . . ,' " says James Loewen, the Washington-based author of a controversial new book called "Sundown Towns." . . . Most of the signs were posted in the first half of the 20th century, Loewen says, but some lingered on long afterward. They were not a Southern phenomenon, he stresses. They were found all over the United States with local variations: In Colorado: "No Mexicans After Night.". . . In Connecticut: "Whites Only Within City Limits After Dark.". . . In Nevada, the ban was expanded to include those the sign-writers term "Japs."

All told, Loewen says, he found evidence of more than 150 sundown signs in 31 states. But he wasn't researching the sundown signs. They were just symbols. He was researching sundown towns, which he defines as "towns that were all white on purpose." He found lots of them -- far more than he expected when he began his research in his home state of Illinois about five years ago. "I thought I was going to discover maybe 10 such towns in Illinois and maybe 50 across the country," he says. "And I've confirmed 204 in Illinois and, in the country, thousands."

Texas Observer


BILL MOYERS - The 50th anniversary of The Texas Observer is a double celebration for me. Your first issue appeared one week before Judith Davidson and I were married in December 1954. We had transferred here to the University of Texas as juniors and were renting a garage apartment that has now totally disappeared along with the block on which it stood. So many landmarks of our lives have disappeared that it's a joy to come back to Austin and find one that stubbornly and gamely remains true to its mission. Although many people would wish The Texas Observer had also been buried under the rubble of time, a good idea is as hard to kill as a good marriage. And this little newspaper was a good idea.

As Ronnie Dugger reminds us in his epilogue to Fifty Years of The Texas Observer , there was silence in Texas in those days about racism, poverty and corporate power. The state ranked dead last among major states and next-to-last in the South in education, health care, and programs for the poor. "We were as racist, segregated, and anti-union as the Deep South from which most of our Anglo pioneers had emerged," Dugger writes. "Mexican Americans were a hopeless underclass concentrated in South Texas. Women could vote and did the dog work in the political campaigns, but they were also ladies to be protected, above all from power. Gays and lesbians were as objectionable as Communists. And the daily newspapers were as reactionary and dishonest a cynical gang as the First Amendment ever took the rap for."

Into that atmosphere rode a band of journalists determined to poke a thumb in the eye of orthodoxy. Dugger summed up their mission in his lead editorial in that very first issue:

"We will have a good time and we hope you do. We will twit the self-important and honor the truly important. We will lay the bark to the dignity of any public man any time we see fit. Telling the whole truth is not an exercise to be limited to children before they reach the age of reason. It is the indispensable requirement for an effective democracy. If the press and the politicians lie to the people, or hide those parts of the truth which trouble the conscience or offend a friend, how can the people's falsely-based decisions be trusted? Here in the Southwest there is room for a great truth-telling newspaper, its editor free, its editorials cast in a liberal and reasonable frame of mind, its dedication Thoreau's 'The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth.". . .

McCarthyism was a raging plague in the 1950s and the virus rampaged across Texas like tumbleweeds in a wind storm. The legendary Maury Maverick Jr. was in the legislature at the time, one of the "Gashouse Gang" that fought bravely against the poison of the era. He said these were "the worst years" in his life. "The lights were going out" and few voices were raised in protest. The low point, said Maverick, came when the state Senate passed a bill to remove all books from public libraries which "adversely" reflected on American and Texas history, the family and religion. Even the state teachers association endorsed the bill, in exchange for a pay raise. Maverick voted against it, but walking back to his apartment that evening he was suddenly overwhelmed by the evil of what was happening, and he "vomited until flecks of blood came up."

That was the lay of the land in the 1950s. And Democrats were in charge, remember? That's right: Texas was a one-party state; Republicans were as scarce in high office as Democrats are today. No matter the players, one-party government is a conspiracy in disguise.

The Texas Observer stayed to live out Dugger's dare to tell the truth about the oligarchy that governed Texas. What kept that original band of scribblers going remains a mystery to me. For sure they made up in irreverence what they lacked in financial security. At that very time, in faraway Washington, D.C., I.F. Stone was also afflicting the comfortable. In his little I.F. Stone's Weekly, he would pour through the government's own official documents to catch the government's lies and contradictions. Amid the thunder of his battle with Potomac dragons he boasted, "I have so much fun I ought to be arrested." Here in Austin, Dugger and friends were also just a laugh away from jail or bankruptcy. . .

The Texas Observer was doing what journalism does best: setting the record straight. This, said the late Martha Gellhorn, is the reason we exist. Gellhorn spent half a life observing war and politicians and journalists, too. By the end she had lost her faith that journalism could, by itself, change the world, but she had found a different sort of comfort. "Victory and defeat are both passing moments," she said. "There is no end; there are only means. Journalism is a means, and I now think that the act of keeping the record straight is valuable in itself. Serious, careful, honest journalism is essential, not because it is a guiding light but because it is a form of honorable behavior, involving the reporter and the reader.". . .

In these pages 40 years ago, Dugger called on liberals to remember our commitment to personal liberty, personal love, personal joy and pain. He urged us to listen to the critique of big government--"It is big, it is impersonal, it is confused" --and to be vigilant in the name of the lone individual: "We must test our system, not by whether we get to the moon, but by whether a man [or woman] can freely and fully express himself here on earth; not by whether we are ahead in weapons, but by whether we are ahead in real room to be free and alive. . . to be ourselves."

Truman Harry

The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb: In the summer of 2001, on the occasion of the anniversary of Hiroshima, History News Network staged a mock trial of Harry Truman. The charge: that he violated the Nuremberg standards regarding the lawful conduct of war. Philip Nobile served as chief prosecutor, Ronald Radosh as chief defense counsel. In advance of publication, each writer was given the chance to review each other's statements. Afterwards, the statements were submitted to a jury composed of leading scholars. Following the online publication of this "virtual" trial, readers were invited to submit their comments. These were collected and published.

Valenti, Jack

[Jack Valenti left his decades-long career as a Washington manipulator with the capital elite fawning over him one last time. But Tim Wu has some wonderful reminders of the real Jack Valenti]

On the nascent cable industry, in 1974 "[Cable will become] a huge parasite in the marketplace, feeding and fattening itself off of local television stations and copyright owners of copyrighted material. We do not like it because we think it wrong and unfair."

On the public domain, 1995 "A public domain work is an orphan. No one is responsible for its life. But everyone exploits its use, until that time certain when it becomes soiled and haggard, barren of its previous virtues. How does the consumer benefit from the steady decline of a film's quality?"

On the meaning of copyright, 1983 "[We face a threat to] the life-sustaining protection, I guess you would call it, on which copyright owners depend, on which film people depend, on which television people depend and it is called copyright."

On the VCR, 1983 "[Some say] that the VCR is the greatest friend that the American film producer ever had. I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."

On potential copyright immunities for ISPs, 1996 "This is a loophole larger than a parade of eight-wheelers through which a dam-busting avalanche of violations can rupture the purpose of your bill every day." - 2004



CHRIS APPY AND NICK TURSE - During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military counted virtually everything. Most notoriously it made enemy 'body counts' the central measure of American 'progress.' But it also counted sorties flown, bombs dropped, tunnels destroyed, propaganda leaflets dispersed, and toothbrushes distributed. In the bowels of the National Archives you can even find out how many X-rays were taken at the U.S. Army's 93d Evacuation Hospital in 1967 (81,700). But nowhere in this surreal and grisly record of bookkeeping can you find one of the war's most elemental statistics: civilians killed. Civilian casualties were routinely denied, ignored, or lumped together with those of enemy combatants; thus, the infamous GI saying, 'If it's Vietnamese and civilian, it's Viet Cong.'

Mike Davis's assertion that one million Indochinese civilians were killed from the air by the American military is a reasonable estimate, but even figures on overall civilian deaths in Vietnam alone cannot be precisely determined. The Vietnamese government believes that two million Vietnamese, most of them southerners, were killed in the American War (a figure that excludes hundreds of thousands of Cambodian and Laotian civilian deaths). The closest thing to an official American calculation of Vietnamese civilian deaths was done by a Senate subcommittee on refugees. Though relying too heavily on hospital figures (many Vietnamese casualties never made it to hospitals), that committee estimated 430,000 South Vietnamese civilian deaths.



WATERGATE ALMOST DIDN'T HAPPEN. As recounted to your editor some years back by a high DC police official, here's how it almost didn't. The morning of the Watergate break-in the district commander in the area balled out the plain clothes squad for their indolence and threatened to put them back in uniform on the beat if they didn't do better. When the call came in, the squad car that should have responded was "cooping" - police slang for goofing off. The plain clothes squad, not hearing any response from the squad car, rushed to improve their record and headed for Watergate. If the squad car had responded the lookout across the street would have warned the burglars.

THE REAL WORLD OF MARK FELT,mondo1,64704,6.html

JAMES RIDGEWAY, VILLAGE VOICE - Mark Felt's rise to the stature of a hero is ironic, because the former FBI goon-squad leader is a sleazebag and because the Bureau treats its present-day whistle-blowers like scum. Sibel Edmonds, the FBI translator who wants to tell all about the FBI and 9-11, is the most prominent recent whistle-blower. But there are plenty of others scattered through Washington's intelligence labyrinth - they're being ridiculed, hounded out of their jobs, blackballed, and literally driven nuts. Portrayed as the courageous FBI agent, Felt may turn out to be a PR gift for the FBI. For at least a decade the Bureau has been in a suicide dive-botching laboratory tests, losing or covering up documents, flip-flopping around with its ancient computer system, and misleading and obstructing Congress.

Felt played a major role in directing and implementing the ruthless wrecking of people's lives. He led a goon squad in black-bag operations, invading homes and offices of friends and families of the Weather Underground and thousands of innocent citizens it decided were Communists. Hoover's FBI was celebrated as our premier law enforcement agency. In fact, it was a political intelligence operation, and a lousy one at that.

Under Hoover, FBI agents were trained to break the law. In their witch hunt for commies, FBI agents were told how to conduct warrantless electronic wiretaps, surreptitious entries, and burglaries to cover their tracks. Agents went to lock-picking schools. For jobs well-done, they were rewarded with bonuses. In 1966 the director banned black-bag jobs, but the burglaries and illegal bugging continued. This was Felt's world. He told a grand jury he had approved some of the goon squad jobs himself. When the Church Committee investigated these abuses, the FBI ordered the unit in charge of conducting black-bag jobs to investigate the culprits itself, and the unit soberly told the committee it had conducted 238 burglaries of 15 domestic groups between 1942 and 1968.

Subsequently, M. Wesley Swearingen, a retired FBI agent with 25 years' service, said FBI agents and bosses were a bunch of liars. He himself had conducted more than 238 jobs, he said, and his Chicago office had "conducted thousands of bag jobs." He himself had received commendations and a bonus for burglarizing Chicago-area homes of Communist Party members.

Felt claimed that the break-ins were related to the Nixon administration's expanded foreign-intelligence operations. Swearingen said that was "absolute nonsense," pointing out that during the seven years (1970-77) he served as coordinator of the Weather Underground case, no presidential authority had ever been cited for conducting break-ins. Frank Donner's The Age of Surveillance, which provides a detailed history of the Bureau during this period, puts the total number of black-bag jobs at around 7,500.

Felt admitted approving break-ins to search for Arab terrorists following the '72 Munich Olympics, at which Arab commandos seized Israeli athletes and executed 11 of them. Nixon applauded the illegal break-ins.

A jury found Felt guilty of illegal break-ins, but President Reagan pardoned him, citing lack of "criminal intent." And Reagan later commended him and others because they "acted on high principle to bring an end to terrorism that was threatening our nation."

In particular, the FBI had a long-term obsession with the Socialist Workers Party. When a 15-year-old high school student wrote a letter to the group requesting information as part of a social studies class project in 1973, the FBI, which was reading the SWP's mail, made her a "subversive activities" target. An agent visited her principal and told him the kid was being investigated for her ties to the commies. It took years to erase the smear job against the teen. That's Felt's world.

Wilson, Woodrow


SUSAN LEVINE WASHINGTON POST - For 43 years, two massive bronze medallions cast in honor of Woodrow Wilson have decorated the center point of the bridge here that bears his name. One faces Virginia, the other Maryland, so that no matter which direction drivers are heading, they pass the distinct, larger-than-life silhouette of the 28th president. But as the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge begins to span the Potomac River, some officials on its eastern side would like to give away their medallion.

The jurisdiction with the nation's most affluent African American community, which is where the bridge arrives in Maryland, would prefer less attention to a leader who once defended segregation as "not humiliating, but a benefit."

"On racial issues he was a throwback, and I don't think we here are that interested in celebrating that part of his record," said Betty Hager Francis, director of public works and transportation for Prince George's County and among those conferring with state highway administrators. . . .

Wilson's two terms in the White House followed an already distinguished career as Princeton University president and governor of New Jersey. He led the nation during World War I and staked his own credibility and health on his vision of global unity though a League of Nations.

At home, however, he allowed the federal government to divide by color. Blacks were eliminated from some agencies and separated from whites by screens in others. "In other words, it was real apartheid," [historian David Lewis] noted. "And Washington had been an oasis [for African Americans] in a time of runaway Jim Crow."

Wickersham Commission

We asked whether anyone could recall any useful and truthful special national commissions. Most of these bodies exemplify the principle outlined by George Washington Plunkett of Tammany Hall: "Reform committees. . . were morning glories. Looked lovely in the morning and withered up in a short times, while the regular machines went on flourishing forever, like fine oaks." Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch came up with this

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, COUNTERPUNCH - I nominate the Wickersham Commission, set up by President Hoover in 1929 and known formally as The National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement. It came to progressive conclusions unthinkable from any such commission today. Most famously it issued a devastating indictment of "official lawlessness," most dramatically the use of torture (the "third degree") in police precinct stations across the country. Its findings resulted in a significant diminution of police brutality and torture as the sine qua non of investigation. Police moved to the jail-house snitch, and other stratagems as alternative options in the hunt for guilty parties. Wickersham was the first federal assessment of law enforcement in the United States. To quote from one site, " The commission discovered that 'official lawlessness' by police, judges, magistrates, and others in the criminal justice system was widespread in many jurisdictions, including major cities. It investigated illegal arrests, bribery, entrapment, coercion of witnesses, fabrication of evidence, "third degree" practices, police brutality, and illegal wiretapping. In addition to examining the behavior of police and court officials, the commission investigated the conduct of bondsmen, coroners, district attorneys, and detective agencies.

"The Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement had a major impact on public policy. As the first fully documented report on police misconduct, it galvanized public opinion and mobilized reform efforts. At the municipal level, it strengthened the hand of a new generation of reform-minded police chiefs. At the national level, it helped to foster a new climate of opinion regarding the need for legal controls over police misconduct. This was reflected in the first important Supreme Court decisions imposing constitutional standards on local criminal justice officials, beginning with Powell v. Alabama (the Scottsboro Boys case) in 1932, the year after the commission delivered its report."


[A letter from British Second Lt Trevor Bird written Christmas Day, 1914]

My Dear Father

Christmas Day you see me still alive, though by Jove, since the 20th I've been having a fairly hairy time. We were sent to a place where the Germans had broken the line. When we finally got under the last cover available we were ordered to make a bayonet attack on the German trenches! It was a criminal order on the part of the man who ordered it.

After 26 hours in water up to the waste I was sent to dry myself with my half squadron behind the firing line. Still sopping wet we were sent off to another lot of trenches and from these I was then pulled out and sent off for a patrol. Every time I showed myself "ping" went a bullet!

However, I finally reached the line of the British Trenches I was making for where to cap all my troubles , I was arrested as a German spy!! It was not until I had been taken before the C.O., with a rifle muzzle in the small of my back, that I was allowed to depart.

Yesterday, we did a 25-mile march I have a pair of feet like balloons and an attack of neuritis and a chill! [...] My tootsies are awfully painful. Well we get well paid so mustn't complain I suppose.

Must stop now, so once more wishing you a Merry and Happy New Year.

Au revoir - Your Loving Trevor

Christmas in the Trenches
John McCutcheon

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.
'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.
I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, ``Now listen up, me boys!'' each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.
``He's singing bloody well, you know!'' my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war
As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
``God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'' struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was ``Stille Nacht.'' ``Tis `Silent Night','' says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky
``There's someone coming toward us!'' the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night
Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell
We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men
Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
``Whose family have I fixed within my sights?''
'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore
My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same