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I think it may have something to do with Ben Johnson a/k/a Cooter

Ben Johnson has been very vocal about his support for the Confederate flag; going on an ALLCAPS Facebook rant and penned an opinion piece for the New York Times that appeared only a couple of days after the Charleston murders. Read the Times piece. It's a bit tone deaf especially in light of what happened two days earlier. His FB rant takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Timing is everything. I suspect it's what I'm calling the Rush Limbaugh Effect. For years, it seemed like Rush couldn't say anything that was too over the top for advertisers. Then his comments on Sandra Fluke reached a wider audience and companies didn't want to be associated with his brand. Trump is the latest idiot to get some serious blow back for his comments. I believe Limbaugh and Trump have made advertisers more sensitive to the prospect that there are people out there saying negative things about women or people of color. Now, when someone says something mildly controversial, the advertisers start running for the exits because they don't want to wait for you to say something really offensive.


Posted by TheOther95Percent | Thu Jul 2, 2015, 12:53 AM (0 replies)

We Need Truth and Reconciliation

We need truth and reconciliation on the civil war. We need to remove the symbols of racism and American apartheid and have a frank and open dialogue on what hundreds of years of slavery and oppression have gotten us to where we are now as a nation.

Many factors inhibited bringing about the social changes needed in the post-Civil War period. Lack of leadership on the national level didn't help and neither did widely held views about African Americans inferiority. If you look at the period before and after the Civil War, it seemed that there was little consensus on what to do with freed slaves. Even some abolitionists supported policies of repatriating African Americans to Africa. When Jim Crow laws began to sprout in the 1880s and 1890s, the courts could have stopped it, but did not.

De-nazification wasn't the panacea either. It didn't work because a large part of the population - for one reason or another - was left untouched There were many obstacles that complicated the process. Membership in the Nazi party comprised maybe 7% of the German population or roughly about 6 million members. The sheer number of Germans and Austrians subject to de-nazification was overwhelming to the various Allies. The bulk of Nazi party members lost voting or other privileges for 3 or fewer years.
Some who weren't classified major offenders spent less than a decade in jail. There's a reason it's taken 70 years for some people working in concentration camps to be brought to trial. The formerly West German criminal justice system required proof that a person killed specific people. That requirement was only lifted about a decade ago. "Former" nazis played a role in the West German criminal justice system and didn't make it easy to bring people to justice.

There were also tens of thousands of ordinary Germans engaged in the mass murder of European Jewry and others Nazi ideology deemed unacceptable. Daniel Goldhagen's book, Hitler's Willing Executioners, basically destroys the myth that Hitler and his SS henchmen murdered millions of people all on their own.

Sexism also played a role. Some female guards were apprehended and prosecuted, but the vast majority of women who were complicit in carrying out war crimes were never brought to justice because of their gender. You know because women are genetically incapable of committing atrocities. Insert eye roll. Insert eye roll There's an excellent treatment of female nazis by Wendy Lower called Hitler's Furies. You can read a synopsis here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2432620/Hitlers-Furies-The-Nazi-women-bit-evil-men.html

Posted by TheOther95Percent | Sun Jun 28, 2015, 07:41 PM (0 replies)

About that "they didn't own slaves and still fought" argument.

I will posit these possible explanations for why non-slave holders fought for the Confederacy:

* Quite possibly heard or read the various Secession Acts specifying any or all of the following: separation from the Union is necessary to preserve and maintain the supremacy of the white guy over all others; the basic "some day I can get me some slaves and be rich like that guy over there"; and freed slaves are going to rape the women in my family. In other words, the non-slave holder was of the same political bent as the slave-owner. You can read the causi belli for various states here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/

* God. Yes, God. God condoned slavery. It's in the Bible! God didn't condone slavery.That's in the Bible too! You can't go against the Almighty, now can you? There were few religious minorities in the United States in the run up to the Civil War. Most Americans were of one protestant denomination or another. The three main protestant sects: Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist split in the 1840s over the issue of slavery. So, for example, the Northern Baptist preacher would rail against slavery and its negative effects on society while his Southern counterpart spoke just as determinedly about maintaining human bondage because it was a good thing for everybody. This link has more on the impact of religiosity, personal belief systems and the echo chamber here: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/civil-war-overview/why-non-slaveholding.html

* Conscripted and fought with the army.

* Joined a slave patrol and ended up in the army. In addition to the regular army units, local militias formed slave patrols. Now slave patrols had been a regular feature of Southern life for more than a hundred years. White Southerners feared slave rebellions and many more slave patrols were formed in the first year of the Civil War since - truth be told - a slave rebellion was feared more than the still far away Union army. As the war dragged on, slave patrols contributed more men to the war effort. Men with "20 negroes or more" were automatically exempted from military service. Rich man's war, poor man's fight.

Posted by TheOther95Percent | Fri Jun 26, 2015, 01:50 AM (0 replies)

Several Biographies Are Worth A Read

George Washington's views on the institution of slavery evolved over his lifetime. In his last years, Washington believed slavery was a mistake and should be abolished.

I can recommend several biographies. His Excellency by Ellis is the most comprehensive. IMHO, the best treatment of Washington and slavery comes from Wienchek's An Imperfect God.

A quicker read on the evolution of his views on slavery can be found here:

Influenced by the rhetoric of the American Revolution and constant contact with anti-slavery men from the northern colonies and states, George Washington became increasingly critical of the institution of slavery. Tracing the details of his changing views and the reasons for it may not be possible, but there can be no denying the change. He became increasingly eager to see slavery put on the path toward ultimate extinction, although he cautioned, "Time, education, and patience were needed" in the struggle.

"I never mean (unless some particular circumstance should compel me to it) to possess another slave by purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted, by which slavery in this country may be abolished by slow, sure, and imperceptible degrees."

After Lafayette purchased in 1786 a plantation in Cayenne to carry out his scheme of emancipating slaves, Washington praised the Frenchman: "Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country," he wrote, "but I dispair of seeing it. . . . To set the slaves afloat at once would, I really believe, be productive of much inconvenience and mischief; but by degrees it certainly might, and assuredly ought to be, effected."

"I wish from my soul that the legislature of this state could see the policy of a gradual abolition of slavery. It would prevent much mischief."

"… No man desires more heartily than I do [the end of slavery]. Not only do I pray for it on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union." [And by the way, GW made clear that if slavery caused a break up of the union, he would cast his lot with the North!]

"The unfortunate condition of the persons whose labour in part I employed, has been the only unavoidable subject of regret. To make the Adults among them as easy & comfortable in their circumstances as their actual state of ignorance and improvidence would admit; and to lay a foundation to prepare the rising generation for a destiny different from that in which they were born, afforded some satisfaction to my mind, and could not I hoped be displeasing to the justice of the Creator."

These quotes, and others that could be given, while heartfelt, must be understood in context or one might reasonably conclude that the first President was an abolitionist. It is important to note that virtually all of GW's anti-slavery quotes were expressed in private correspondence or conversation. During his lifetime, the General never took a public stance against slavery or called for its end. If his growing opposition to slavery was genuine and internalized, why did he not take a more public stand against it and use his unparalleled prestige in the cause of human freedom? This was a calculated decision by the President. It was a matter of priorities. A critic might write, "the only true policy is justice; and he who regards the consequences of an act rather than the justice of it gives no very exalted proof of the greatness of his character," but George Washington knew it was not that simple. In Roger Wilkins words,

He was "politically shackled by the grating chain [racism and slavery] that snaked through the new republic and diminished every life it touched."


President Washington told Secretary of State Randolph that if the Union ever split, "he had made up his mind to remove and be of the Northern [side]."
Posted by TheOther95Percent | Wed Jun 24, 2015, 08:24 AM (1 replies)

Excellent Points

Although I would not put General Braxton Bragg in the category of celebrated Confederate generals. Not bad as a strategist as long as he didn't require a Plan B when his initial battle script went off the rails. He had horrible interpersonal skills and fought with his staff as much or more than he did his opponents. When asked, most historians would rank him more on the meh scale than anything else.
Posted by TheOther95Percent | Wed Jun 24, 2015, 12:35 AM (1 replies)

Mr. Benning's Speech to the VA State Convention (Vote of Secession)

I have been appointed by the Convention of the State of Georgia, to present to you the ordinance of secession of Georgia, and further, to invite Virginia, through you, to join Georgia and the other seceded States in the formation of a Southern Confederacy.


What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? That reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction; a deep conviction on the part of Georgia, that a separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery. This conviction was the main cause. It is true that the effect of this conviction was strengthened by a further conviction that such a separation would be the best remedy for the fugitive slave evil, and also the best, if not the only remedy, for the territorial evil. But, doubtless, if it had not been for the first conviction the step would not have been taken. It, therefore, becomes important to inquire whether this conviction was well-founded.


I beg to refer to a few of the proofs; and the first that I shall adduce consists in two or three sentences from a speech of Mr. Lincoln's, made in October, 1858. They are as follows: "I have always hated slavery as much as any abolitionist; I have always been an old line Whig; I have always hated it, and I always believed it in the course of ultimate extinction, and if I were in Congress and a vote should come up on the question, whether slavery should be excluded from the territory, in spite of the Dred Scott decision, I would vote that it should."


These are pregnant sentences. They contain both a sentiment and a principle of political conduct. The former is that his hatred of slavery equals that of an abolitionist, and, therefore, that it equals that of Sumner or John Brown. The latter is that his action against slavery is not to be restrained by the Constitution of the United States. If you can find any degree of hatred greater than that, I should like to see it. This is the sentiment of the chosen leader of the Black Republican party, and can you doubt that it is not entertained by every member of that party? You cannot, I think. He is a representative man; his sentiments are the sentiments of his party; his principles of political action are the principles of political action of his party. I insist, then, that it is true that at least the Republican party of the North hates slavery.

Posted by TheOther95Percent | Tue Jun 23, 2015, 09:55 PM (0 replies)

What About the Army Bases Named For Confederate Generals?

I am a Civil War buff. I don't do re-enactments but I do attend educational seminars held in various places throughout the year. For the last seven years - to encourage serious and factual scholarship on this important time in our history - I've sat through lectures at the Museum of the Confederacy (MOC) in Richmond; something I swore I would never do since it was - until fairly recently - a major force behind the "Lost Cause" myth. I've been going now for about 8 years. The first 2 years I thought that I made a serious fucking mistake showing up because the audience was and usually two out of the five speakers were - to put it mildly - rabidly biased toward the Confederate side. Two years ago I was in the audience, when the MOC announced it was merging with the American Civil War Museum. There was an audible gasp from some in audience while people like me applauded. This symposium has gotten much better with speakers who provide a balanced and fact-based assessment of both sides.

Anyway, getting back to the army bases. I drive down from my home in the North to Richmond. I pass by Fort A.P. Hill. As a Liet. Gen., Hill commanded Third Corps for the Army of Northern Virginia and is believed to have instigated the first skirmishes which led to the Battle of Gettysburg. Hill would be killed in the waning days of the war in April 1865. At some point, the U.S. army named a military base for him. I would say there are more worthy candidates. A.P. Hill is not the only Confederate general to have his name bestowed on a military facility. This article names 10.


Fort Benning in Georgia is named for Henry Benning, a State Supreme Court associate justice who became one of Lee’s more effective subordinates. Before the war, this ardent secessionist inflamed fears of abolition, which he predicted would inevitably lead to black governors, juries, legislatures and more. “Is it to be supposed that the white race will stand for that?” Benning wrote. “We will be overpowered and our men will be compelled to wander like vagabonds all over the earth, and as for our women, the horrors of their state we cannot contemplate in imagination.”

Another installation in Georgia, Fort Gordon, is named for John B. Gordon, one of Lee’s most dependable commanders in the latter part of the war. Before Fort Sumter, Gordon, a lawyer, defended slavery as “the hand-maid of civil liberty.” After the war, he became a United States senator, fought Reconstruction, and is generally thought to have headed the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia. He “may not have condoned the violence employed by Klan members,” says his biographer, Ralph Lowell Eckert, “but he did not question or oppose it when he felt it was justified.”

Other Confederate namesakes include Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, Fort Rucker in Alabama and Camp Beauregard in Louisiana. All these installations date from the buildups during the world wars, and naming them in honor of a local military figure was a simple choice. But that was a time when the Army was segregated and our views about race more ignorant. Now African-Americans make up about a fifth of the military. The idea that today we ask any of these soldiers to serve at a place named for a defender of a racist slavocracy is deplorable; the thought that today we ask any American soldier to serve at a base named for someone who killed United States Army troops is beyond absurd. Would we have a Fort Rommel? A Camp Cornwallis?

Posted by TheOther95Percent | Tue Jun 23, 2015, 09:38 PM (90 replies)
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