Archive for December, 2011

how will history remember Kim Jong Il? Can we get past the amusement factor to the horror?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Hm.

Take this day for instance. When I got up, I read that North Korea dictator Kim Jong-il had died. I wanted to make sure it was true. So I did a news double-take, if you will, reading the story again. And it appeared that yes, it was true, Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s tyrant, had indeed died.

And not a minute too soon. […]

But when I glanced at the news later in the day aftering gloating in Kim Jong-il’s demise to see a report that Jon Bon Jovi had died, I had a very different feeling. For starters, there was also doubt. Heavy doubt. So I looked deeper into the story beyond Twitter, a source that can lead to truth but also is ripe for spreading mass rumor and lies if just one tweeter with followers gets out of hand. I read a good account in IBTimes that explained it all — the hoax.

Shot in the Heart… and you’re to blame.  You give love… a bad name.

The sad reality is that we can probably just pluck all the footage for a retrospective on the life and times and influence of Kim Jong Il from Team America.

I look forward to reading the coverage on the Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  I’ll post the more interesting links right here.

And the bottom line in international relations:
Kim Jong-il, the pygmy tyrant of North Korea, is dead at the age of 69. His 28-year-old son, Kim Jong-un, now assumes the throne of Pyongyang. According to various press analyses, the new leader is either a bumbling naïf or a clever, multilingual operator who’s already formed alliances with key generals. He will either push market reforms or preserve the status quo. He will reach out to the West or step up confrontation or do neither.

Maybe there’s a gray area in between.

The Marxist Case for Richard Nixon

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

From America in our Time, the Marxist reason to elect Richard Nixon.

Harrington has described one particular meeting at which Max Schachtman “launched into a Marxist attack on pacisfism and the moralistic approach to politics.  In Max’s view, a condemnation of the Vietnam War primarily on the grounds that it was immoral was an excercise in phrase-mongering.”  Schacthman and his freinds argued, on spurious Marxist grounds, that because the peace movement was largely middle class, which it was, ergo it must be acting in a manner contrary to the interests of the working class.  There was a profoundly pessimistic assumption that the mass of of the working class would inevitably support the war:  an assumption that was, in spite of some dramatic and highly publicized symbolic events, only partially borne out, and which might have been even less justified if the Left, in 1965 or even earlier, had thrown its considerable influence with organized labor into the scales against the war.

Michael Harrington, in the end, broke with Schachtman on this issue and finally resigned his cochairmanship of the Socialist Party rather than “pretend any solidarity with people who, in the name of Marxism, were helping Richard Nixon.”  Bayard Rustin, on the other hand, found himself in the tragic posture, for a lifelong pacifist, of justifying the war in the name of a radical coalition that never materialized.

 

(Actually this isn’t what I was looking for.  I was looking for Schachtman in 1972 further explaining his Marxist precepts in support of Nixon.  Maybe I’ll find it when I get back to this search.)

Some neoconservatives such as former Trotskyist dialectician Max Schachtman, whose arguments were influential with top members of the ALF-CIO hierarchy, offered reasons for voting for Nixon in purely Marxist terms: if the AFL-FIO isn’t backing McGovern and it represents the proleteriant, then which side are you on?

— Max Blumenthal, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, p 115

Abe Rosenthal, Lewis Powell, Tony Coelho: Ralph Nader’s three enemies from the 1970s

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

From Chris Hedges, Death of the Liberal Class

The pressure of the meetings by the corporations like General Motors, the oil companies, and the drug companies with the editorial people, andd probably with the publishers, coincided with the emergence of the most destructive force to the citizen movement mise-en-scene:  Abe Rosenthal, the editor of the New York Times, Rosenthal was a Right-winger from Canada who hated Communism, came here, and hated Progressivism.  The Times was not doing well at the time.  Rosenthal was commissioned to expand the suburban sections, which required a lot of advertising.  He was very receptive to the entreaties of corporations, and he did not like me.  I would give material to Jack Morris in the Washington bureau, and it would not get in the paper.
Rosenthal, who banned social critics such as Chomsky from being quoted in the paper, decreed that no story built around Nader’s research could be published unless there was a corporate resp0onse.  Corporations, informed at Rosenthal’s dictate, refused to comment on Nader’s research.  This effectively killed the stories.

[…]
Lewis Powell, who was the general counsel to the US Chamber of Commerce, wrote a memo in Aguust 1971 that expressed corporate concern over Nader’s work […]

Moreover, much of the media-for varying motives and in varying degrees-either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these “attackers,” or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.
One of the bewildering paradoxes of our time is the extent to which the enterprise system tolerates, if not participates in, its own destruction
.

[…]
The press in the 1980s would say “Why should we cover you?  “Who is your base in Congress?”  I used to be known as someone who could trigger a Congressional hearing pretty fast in the House and Senate.  They started looking toward the neoliberals and neocons and the deregulation mania.  We put out two reports on the benefits of regulation and they, too, disappeared.  They did not get covered at all.  This was about the same time Tony Coelho taught the Democrats, starting in 1979 when he was head of the House Campaign Finance Committee, to start raising big time money from corporate interests.  And they did.  It had a magical effect. […]

Wake me up when World War 3 is over.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Rick Potvin lays down the Larouche line on the Demonstrations in Russia.
My comment: Clearly , this is more British subversion intended to destabilize Russia. This is the value of reading Larouche. All other mainstream media are complicit in the destabilization by failing to report the essential features of what’s going on as Larouche does.

There’s a few things that are curious with this.  Recent larouchie deployments have shown a renewed focus on Hillary Clinton for President, with a suggestion of support for one of those wary Hillary Clinton primary campaigns against the Hitlerite tool of British interests, Barack Obama.

And Hillary Clinton has chimed in with a one of these things.

Sec. Clinton listed out a specific claim that election observers were thwarted in attempts to monitor the Russian elections. She argued that ‘independent Russian election observers, including the nationwide Golos network, were harassed and had cyber attacks on their websites, which is completely contrary to what should be the protected rights of people to observe elections, participate in them, and disseminate information.’ This is another allegation tossed at Putin’s ruling party.

Clinton concluded that the ‘Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. And that means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.’ This provoked a strong response from Putin and his allies.

Putin fired back that Clinton ‘set the tone for some of our public figures inside the country, sent a signal to them. They heard this signal and launched active work with the U.S. State Department’s support.’ Putin accused the United States of organizing and setting the stage for the large protests.

If there were any intellectual honesty in the cult, this would set up the biggest crisis in the Lyndon Larouche Movement since Summer Shields was unable to obtain ballot access in California, or since the failed prediction about 20 dollar bread loafs.  It appears that their love for Vladimir Putin outstrips their love for the Clintons — must be taken in by those shirtless photo ops he made

and the Putin loving is curious in a way, since one of the larouchie deployments had a call out to an Obama supporter that she was just for Obama because she wants to have sex with him.  See too the Get Out the Vote ads that Vladimir Putin’s party ran on Russian tv.

We’ll just have to see how this story develops, and how they’ll rationalize  the inconsistencies of Hillary Clinton’s hawkisheness and concern for developments in Russia — “Was It Hillary’s Error?” lest it embarrass Jeffrey Steinberg’s “Desperately Seeking Hillary“, and make themselves available to Russia Today, and to PUMA outlets.

Odd thing about Russia Today — Larouche was cut off on his second appearance, when even they couldn’t stand for his insanity.  He did get a third appearance on, but I suppose it’s better now to swirl down the list of EIR.

Jeff Steinberg of E.I.R. discusses the central role that LaRouche has played to catalyze a global resistance to the British plans for thermonuclear World War III.
Yeah.  And the org has declared War On Christmas — and all the other Holidays.

Christmas is Cancelled: Stop the Threat of Thermonuclear War
by Rachel Brown (Congressional Candidate in Massachusetts.)

To continue with one’s holiday fantasies, and say “It’s not the time to be political,” is no different than those political leaders and citizens who maintain that Hitler could be voted out in the next election, or who today say, “It’s not the time to remove Obama.” The fantasy that Obama can remain in office, and that WWIII will wait, is just that, and cannot be tolerated. All signs point to the immediate danger of thermonuclear war and dictatorship, including Obama’s recent attack on Hillary Clinton to sabotage her work on the U.S.-Russia relationship and provoke a hostile reaction from Russia, and his demand that American citizens be able to be arrested and held without legal counsel. Recent “explosions” in Iran, troop buildup in the region, and reports of U.S. covert activities in Iran, demonstrate the ongoing determination to “create” an incident which would launch WWIII. The time by which the British must do it, driven by the collapse of the European system, is now
.

And now some commentary from a Larouche linker on this coming WW3:
In the 30’s England and Jewry (If there is a difference) sought to destroy Nationalism in Europe, squaring up to their opponent, then starting a(nother) World War after getting slapped the fuck down. Now the Anglo-Jewry changed Germany with Iran. The England of the Middle East, Israel, squaring up to the Germany of the same, Iran. Their hubris will lead an attack that’ll backfire. Of course the useful idiots are no longer Communists waves played off by these twin-vampires, rather American beefcakes who aren’t engineered to enter the breach in the same way. There is no tsunami of endless Russian rapists this time around, rather a multicult Burger-King army whose lack of eagerness can only mean pressing the cheat button.

Some comedy gold from Howie GIgor Panarin, ladies and gentlemen.  Maybe this guy can be put in charge of the Russian Larouche Movement?

This guy needs to get on the right page.  Hillary Clinton is not the enemy here.

II.
December 11 National Webcast, as posted to “Peninsula Virginia Tea Party” thingy.

The subject of the Symposium was “Mankind in the Galaxy: Will You Permit the Extinction of the Human Species?”, of which Lyndon LaRouche’s presentation was the final part.

Yeah.  Well.  Apathy reigns in the fight against Human Extinction.  We see this by public reaction to the Fight to save humanity from the org.

Kick Obama out of office on grounds of insanity as La Rouche suggests in his video on youtube.com or look up his website!
Will do, Pat.

“6 billion must die”
Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, aka Lyndon LaRouche … discussing the mindset of the Queen of England and rulers of Europe on the Alex Jones radio show
a mind that can destroy its own ….
HUNT DOWN THE ROTHSCHILDS (Every Fu&%ing One Of Them) AND AFFORD THEM THE LUXURY OF REMOVING THEIR HEADS FROM THEIR BODIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hm.
After years of listening to these men [larouche and tarpley] lead us around by the nose, I finally gave up on them. I am unlearned and therefore just a bit more FREE, alive and awake.
Interesting stuff.  Worth a gander in a moment.

On a slightly different note, recently a few people unsubscribed from the mailing list because of “too much info.”
Well, it’s interesting that – because these days it’s the 3D world that brings me to overwhelm!
Sure all the ‘truth info’ is pretty mind-bogglingly hard-to-believe sometimes, but as the Lyndon LaRouche video I posted recently says, you need to know the truth otherwise how can you make an informed choice. (Btw, Lyndon LaRouche also goes on to say a lot of other things that, for sure, may seem ‘too much.’)
Sure they didn’t unsubscribe due to posting larouche crap?

Candidate Diane Sare, representative of the LaRouche Democratic national slate in NJ, hosted a LaRouche PAC Symposium on December 11, 2011. She gave an address titled “Should We Hold Elections Before or After World War III?
Personally, I think we should do it after World War III.  We survived holding elections after the Civil War started, and after the two world wars started, what’s different with World War III?

III.  In 1971 the editors of the Mormon journal Dialogue invited Georgetown historian Carroll Quigley to write a critical review of Skousen, who had extolled his work. Quigley condemned his whacked-out admirer in the harshest possible terms: “Skousen’s personal position seems to me perilously close to the ‘exclusive uniformity’ which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan.”

I found that in this book — Blowing Smoke:  Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack Job Fantasies about [clever subtitle by way of length]  By Michael Wolraich.  The chapter of interest to anyone with interest in the Larouche Movement is Chapter 8 — Return of the International Jew.  The focus circles around one of the more common items one sees cited from Executive Intelligence Review, here for instance:
“The Secret Financial Network Behind ‘Wizard’ George Soros”. William Engdahl. Executive Intelligence Review. 11-1-96.

I was a little curious about the background for the “Dialouge” piece.  Naturally, it is online.  Right here. I’m slightly disappointed with this set-up, but I suppose if Quigley wished to respond to Clousen’s response he had ample places to do so.

Hm.
Though Egypt is not remotely the economic basket case depicted by the “ex”-LaRouchie and derivatives-trader David Goldman (who seems to think Daniel Pipes-linked publications are legitimate primary-source material), it will be about as “threatening” as a beached whale for at least three generations
.

IV.  PO TOUR
Dateline Davis:

The man working the booth explained to a passerby that the Euro was deliberately designed to fail by the British in an attempt to squash sovereign nations in Europe. You can read much more about their stances on their website. It’s more complex and broad than this brief characterization. Regardless, why the large Obama-Hitler signs?
The man working the booth made several Obama-Hitler comparisons, mostly in the form of America’s involvement in Libya and other countries. But he didn’t answer the question as it relates to the signs themselves, which are obviously an attempt to get people’s attention.

Dateline East Greenwich
Officers said they had been sent to the site by dispatch and did not know who made the call. They said it did not come from Dunkin’ Donuts, but employees they spoke to said the owner was probably not going to be happy about the display.

The two men gave their names to the officer when he asked, but would not give them to Patch and would not be interviewed. Any more information, they said, would have to come from LaRouche Pac.

The two did say they had not asked permission from the Dunkin’ Donuts owner to be in front of store, and the police told them the display did not violate any ordinance. They did make them move one sign which was impeding traffic. The men were accepting donations and the officer said he would have to check as to whether that was a violation. The two said they were not selling anything.

Dateline California:
(I did tell the LaRouchies, who were collecting signatures, to impeach Obama, that they were nuts.)

V.  Media citations.

Good lord.  This guy just lost credibility in tackling Andrew Cuomo right here:
But “public-private partnerships” are yet another disturbing step away from accountability. PPPs were favored in Italy in the 1920s, according to an article in the Executive Intelligence Review. The facsists called it “corporatism.”
Douglas Turner, writing for the Buffalo News, randomly tosses out an unnamed article from the larouche publication — the same one that disclosed a vast conspiracy made up of a variety of websites including this one that are at war with America.
The great thing about this particular criticism is it leaves EVERY possible government policy “fascist”, because they’re dealing with “business”.

Meanwhile, this guy — standing before an unflattering picture of Dick Cheney — wants you to know that he predicted everything coming.  And that the powers that be hate him and want to stop him.

Image was found here.

 

Maybe he should sign up with the one percent by grimacing in the manner of Cheney?

 

 

Hey!  Prison Planet now publishing the works of Nancy Spannaus.  Neat!

La Rouche is insane
May the evil queen of England get a bad case of severe Diarrhea, dehydrate and die a slow aggonizingly painful death and her ugly evil corpse be buried in a sewer filled to the very top with smelly disease ridden shit.

For this is what the rest of the evil New World Order loving child molesting, mass murdering bastards deserve also.
Let freedom ring througout the nations of the Earth for the wicked witch of Britian is soon to be dead.
Obama needs to pull out of all foreign councils and treaties and protect American citizens on American soil. He needs to tell the Queen to take a hike and do her own dirty work!
That’s Dr. Paul’s dialogue.
It’s not the House of Windsor we must fear. It’s the Zionist House of Rothschild. Rothschild controls the money supply of the whole world. Rothschild’s minions created the central banks that have turned us into debt slaves. The queen and our so-called presidents and prime ministers are merely puppets following orders. LaRouche is way off base on this.
the queen of england is rothschild’s groom of the stool.

duo name hyphenating

Monday, December 12th, 2011

During Saturday night’s ABCNews.com debate, on repeated occasions, Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann referred the two GOP frontrunners — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich — as one: “Newt Romney.”

This is an old gimmick.  I don’t know how far it goes back, and I would be interested in a research study.  We know we have a whole bunch of “Obamneys” and such.  A cousin to this may be the Joseph McCarthy / Richard Nixon trick that transposed Adlai and Alger — Stevenson and Hiss — with a cutsey “whoops”.
Like, can we get old Jefferson Republicans referring to Federalist rivals with as “Benedict Adams”?
Ah.  Newt.  Beware the EMP attacks.  What an odd little race we have here for the moment.  Maybe Bachmann will let you not vaccinate against that one.
Another Lincoln Douglas debate from Newt.  And Huntsman.  Because… ?

Hoover through history

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

From “The Winning Side”, 1963, Ralph Toledano.  Page 62-63.  Found here.

A good deal of rose-colored historical misrepresentation obscures the condition of the nation in those months between
the conventions and the first Roosevelt Inaugural. “There is very good statistical evidence which goes to prove,” Walter
Lippmann has written, “that the world depression reached its lowest point in the mid-summer of 1932.” And again: “His-
torians will see that President Hoover . . . had hold of the essence of the matter in the spring of 1932 when [he] arrested
the depression.” Yet the Democrats had made such a howling joke of Hoover’s theme, “Prosperity is just around the cor-
ner/’ that the public became convinced the depression was here to stay. This, in itself, helped to wipe out the economic
gains discernible in the spring and summer of 1932.

President Hoover was powerless to act. Since 1931, a Democratic House and a Senate dominated by a coalition of hostile
Liberal Republicans and whooping Democrats refused to go along with his efforts to hasten recovery. After the election,
Jloover might have been able to continue the upward swing. But business and public confidence drained away in the in-
action imposed by the President-elect. All of Hoover’s efforts to bring about some joint action in those months were re-
buffed by Roosevelt. According to Raymond Moley, who at the time was very close to him, “Roosevelt felt Hoover capa-
ble of acting without his concurrence, and that until noon of March 4th it was Hoover’s baby.” This was smart politics
but hardly responsible behavior.

The curious figure of Herbert Hoover.

A non partisan figure who was not wholly categorized into either faction of the Republican Party, and had enmity from all.  A prominent Democratic strategist had in 1920 suggested that the only way to win the election was with a Hoover / Roosevelt ticket — a mixture of the idea of an Engineer at the top, a Roosevelt at the bottom, and the electoral math of California plus New York.

And so in 1932, the election campaigning between the two figures occasionally wound its way to confusion.  Hoover charged Roosevelt with emerging socialism while defending his government expenses as unprecedented in times of economic crisis historically, while Roosevelt charged Hoover with neglect and unconcern at the same time he charged him with government extravagence.

Congress, despite what Toledano says, was pretty well supportive in passing Hoover’s policies, even as the Democrats bludgeo0ned him politically — if we are to believe this book.  But Toledano is contradictory with his Hoover apologetics.  Congress stopped him from doing anything, he got things well in hand by 1932…

By 1936, Hoover had transformed from his 1928 visage as a not wholly compatible with his party to the Tragic Hero derided unfairly, and indeed on to the definition of Conservative Old-Guard Republicanism.  He “Kept the Faith”  It is an interesting transformation, though it should be said Hoover changed right alongside it.  By the 1950s, he proved to be the key figure that a young William Buckley ended up turning to after hitting a number of early dead ends in funding his National Review project, and his Institute transformed itself.

But it interesting with Ralph Taledano in this book, hawking the presidential ambitions of Goldwater against the incumbent Kennedy and moving through an at one time all too familiar litany of what the Republican Powerbrokers hampered the party with — Willkie and Dewey, tossing Taft aside for Eisenhower — another non partisan figure, and compromising an otherwise sound Nixon with the doctrines of Rockefellar — Today, I can spot figures to the Right of this Goldwater Conservatism pegging Hoover with Hoover originating the New Deal, and drawing strong continuities between Hoover’s “New Era” and Roosevelt’s “New Deal“.  It is curious to note that Toledano celebrates William McKinley in this book, and more to the point his political manager Mark Hanna who you’re dutiful to mention in discussing McKinley along the lines of Bush and Rove — in a similar point to Kevin Phillip’s short biography of McKinley setting him up as a proto-Progressive receiving none of the credit that Theodore Roosevelt got for the same political makeup — driving home the complimentary quote from La Follette.  And here we have Toldano point out that McKinley came to the attention of Hanna when he defended a striking union… the message here from a Goldwater Republican in 1963… who needed to defend his preferred political line from a degree of accepted liberalism.

damned politicians

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Why Barack Obama was in Osawatomie, Kansas: to create evocations of a speech by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago when announcing a “New Nationalism”.

… Which was a little creepy when Roosevelt did that.  But never mind.  Roosevelt looms large in American history — he’s figured as someone who did things Obama wants people to think he’s up to doing…  and so goes Obama’s 2012 branding.

In a way in which I’ve mused about a fashion assemble in a store in evoking a style from the 1980s that was evoking a style from the 1950s… things don’t repeat in history, but they rhyme:

Theodore Roosevelt was in Osawatomie, Kansas because Abolitionist Radical John Brown was there 5 and a half decades prior.

Roosevelt had been invited to Osawatomie to preside over the dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park, near the site where the radical abolitionist and a small band of his followers had skirmished with a much larger pro-slavery force in 1856. Roosevelt, who had been mulling re-entering the political arena after leaving the White House in 1908, agreed. The association with Brown, who had led the 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry that helped to spark the Civil War, would allow Roosevelt to align himself publicly with the insurgents within the GOP and to rebuke the conservative Old Guard establishment.

Much of the contemporary reaction to his “New Nationalism” speech regarded it as channeling the uncompromising spirit of old John Brown. “It is impossible to conceive of a more radical speech, in relation to the interests of wealth, being delivered in this country at the present time by any one outside of the socialist party,” announced the Springfield Republican. Other papers labeled it “communistic” and “anarchistic.”

But Roosevelt did not mean for his speech—the writing of which he largely delegated to an ally, Giddord Pinchot, who held even more extreme views on governmental authority—to be a statement of radical beliefs. He had initially hoped that by championing progressive principles, he could take control of the potentially irresponsible insurgent forces within the GOP and orchestrate a reconciliation with the party’s more conservative wing. In fact, in the address itself, he did not merely define himself as a crusader against special interests; he also signaled his resistance to the excesses of radicalism as well.

His delicate political positioning became clear to those who assembled at the dedication of the John Brown memorial, including a few elderly veterans of the fighting at Osawatomie, expecting to hear something of the abolitionist martyr. In fact, Roosevelt made only a passing reference to Brown in his speech. To many, the omission seemed like a rebuke. As one Kansas editor recalled the event a few years later, with only a slight exaggeration (Roosevelt did invoke Brown twice), the former president “dedicated a monument to John Brown without mentioning…Brown’s name.”

The neglect of Brown was intentional. In the weeks leading up to the speech, Roosevelt’s advisers, specifically Kansas editor William Allen White, had been urging the former president not to forge too close an association with Brown, for fear of taking on his radical taint. As White wrote Roosevelt, he considered Brown “a bloody butcher and a fanatic,” and he used his ambivalence toward Brown to make a larger point about the ineffectiveness of extremism in the cause of reform. Roosevelt responded that he largely agreed with White’s estimation of Brown—and extremists more generally. “At the moment I am endeavoring to prevent the John Browns among the insurgents getting themselves into a position from which the Abraham Lincolns cannot extricate themselves,” he explained.

Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts was to suggest that his party had gone off course from its origins with Lincoln — curiously it’s a difficult fit for Roosevelt — Lincoln gnashed his teeth at John Brown’s activism.

And so it goes.

President Obama could have delivered his speech anywhere — the Theodore Roosevelt national historic site in Oyster Bay, N.Y., for example. To link his message with Roosevelt’s was clever and perhaps effective. But to go to Osawatomie and ignore the history that brought Roosevelt there in the first place is disrespectful of, to quote Lincoln again, “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,” and the “work which they who fought here … so nobly advanced.”

Coincidentally, on the same day in nearby Kansas City, Tony Horwitz, author of the wildly popular “Confederates in the Attic,” spoke at Unity Temple to promote his new book “Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War.”

“One of the reasons I’m fascinated with Brown,” Horwitz notes, “is how he touches so many hot buttons in our culture. There’s race, violence, religious fundamentalism, the right of individuals to defy their government. All these issues are still with us, and Brown poses questions for which there are no easy answers.”

Historical literacy is at an all-time low in a nation that never needed it more than now. We don’t require our presidents to function as “Historian in Chief.” But the best ones often do and use soaring rhetoric, historical allusion and context to help us better understand the challenges and opportunities we face. To go to Osawatomie and neglect a nod to its history diminishes the point in being there and squanders an opportunity to leverage its meaning as a milestone in America’s epic journey of freedom.

Franklin Roosevelt 1936: With Enemies like this, who needs friends?

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Arthur M Schlesinger, The Politics of Upheaval, The Age of Roosevelt, pages 519, 520

Two thousand guests gathered in the banquet hall of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on January 25, 1936.  Among them were an even dozen du Ponts, old Democratic leaders like Davis and Ritchie, dissident younger Democrats like Warburg and Dean Acheson, businessmen like Winthrop Aldrich and Ernest T. Weir, and a miscellany of other figures like Elizabeth Dilling and her husband.  The audience, according to the New York Times, “represented either through principals or attorneys, a large portion of the capitalistic wealth of the country.”  For an hour Smith, resplendent in white tie and tails, assailed Roosevelt and all his works.  “It is all right with me,” Smith said of the New Dealers, “if they want to disguise themselves as Karl Marx or Lenin or any of the rest of that bunch, but I won’t stand for their allowing them to march under the banner of Jackson or Cleveland.”  (While he no longer mispronounced the word “radio,” he still frequently employed “ain’t,” enchanting listeners who had been repelled by precisely such solecisms eight years earlier.)  His peroration summed up his message.  “Let me give this solemn warning:  There can be only one capital, Washington or Moscow.  There can be only one atmosphere of government, the clean, pure, fresh air of free America, or the foul breath of communistic Russia.” […]

One hearing that Smith was coming to Washington, Roosevelt had promptly asked him to spend the night at the White House, an invitation which Smith as promptly declined.  […]  And he had reason to be grateful to his old friend.  Arthur Krock of the New York Times subsequently dated the revival of Roosevelt’s popularity in 1936 from the Liberty League dinner.

Page529

[Frank Knox, Republican Presidential hopeful and eventual vice president pick — 1936].  Knox somehow convinced himself there was a deep anti- New Deal groundswell throughout the nation.  His editorials and speeches therefore took a rather mechanical anti- New Deal line, with much forthright talk of Marxism, “Tovarich Tugwell”, State socialism, and coercion supplanting liberty.  “Upon what food does this our Caesar feed?” Knox cried in Los Angeles in 1935.  “What madness has seized upon him?  Does he not see how dangerously close this comes to conspiracy to break down our institutions of government?”  After a certain amount of this, a newspaperman asked Roosevelt whether Knox and Hoover were on the Democratic payroll.  “Strictly off the record,” the President replied, “it is a question of how much longer we can afford to pay them.  They have been so successful they are raising their prices.”

His public expressions did Knox something of an injustice.  Like Ickes, Pinchot, Richberg, and other TR devotees, the Colonel had adopted the Bull Moose rhetorical convention of picturesque exaggeration by which nothing seemed worth saying if not said at the top of one’s voice.

page 522

Late in January 1936 the forces gathered at Macon, Georgia to save teh republic — Thomas L Dixon, the author of the Clansman, Gerald L K Smith, an assortment of other southern spellbinders, and Eugene Talmadge himself, in a green double breasted suit with a sapphire pin on his black necktie.  Above the platform hung the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy.  On every seat lay a copy of the Georgia Woman’s World with a two-column photograph splashed across the page; it was as described by Vance Muse, “a picture of Mrs. Roosevelt going to some nigger meeting, with two escorts, niggers, on each arm.” […]

What gave the episode significance was the readiness of northern businessmen — who presumably knew by 1936 all that it was necessary to know about Gene Talmadge — to give him money to advance his ideas and ambitions.  […]

Other attempts on the part of the Liberty Leaguers, du Pont section, to break through to the masses were even more ludicrous.  One shrewd promoter sold them the idea of establishing something called the Farmers’ Independence Council.  The only known address of the organization was the Liberty League office in Washington.  “The biggest contributor,” remarked the Philadelphia Record, was that old hayseed, Lammot du Pont, who kicked in $5000.  (Crops pretty good this year, ain’t they Lammot!)  Other interested agriculturists were Sloan, Ogden, Mills, Wintrhop, Aldrich, and Pew of Sun Oil.  Relentless congressional investigation failed to disclose a single working farmer in the membership.

……………………

Dueling thoughts of the day.

Story Number One:  Money in Politics as it is right now.
Story Number Two:  RNC conference call warns of attacking Obama Personally.   Always a tricky business, because it does tend to get you where you need to get… for a good long while.