Tag Archives: Civil War

Those statues they’re taking down honored REBELS. Let that sink in.

If we’re really aiming to discredit historic personages who faught for slavery we’ve got a lot more statues to take down. The Alamo first responders come to mind. Boone, Crockett, and gang delivered the Texas territories from Mexico which had abolished slavery there. Gringo Texas land grabbers needed slaves for their intended plantations. And we can go back to the colonial declarers of independance, who resented taxation without representation. What was England trying to foist on America without representation? ABOLITION OF SLAVERY. The statues being taken down in New Orleans are no doubt going to rich collectors to decorate vast private gardens. There the statues wil definitely be appreciated for overt racist and segregationist themes. In the historic town centers where those monuments belong, those statues celebrate REBELS. Let that sink in.

Before the victors chose the title “Civil War” for their prerogative to write the history, it was called the War of Rebellion.

When Honest Abe heard the news about your fall,
The folks thought he’d call a great victory ball.
But he asked the band to play the song “Dixie”
For you Johnny Reb and all that you believe.

‘Cause you fought all the way, Johny Reb, Johnny Reb.
Yeah, you fought all the way, Johnny Reb.

That’s what those statues are about, you Freedom-Fries munching knee-jerks!

Drop symbols of White Supremacy, but don’t embolden government supremacy

SORRY, I DO HAVE A PROBLEM with government telling me how to think or telling me what I can’t say. Flags mean a lot to me and I CAN imagine MY flag being declared hateful or a public threat. How is anyone to rally like-minded dissenters when a government and its corporate media can declare their rallying symbol non grata? I don’t like the Confederate rebel flag either, it is modern code for unrepentant white racism, but I’m hugely skeptical when Big Brother is driving the bandwagon. How amusing that activists eager to burn Confederate flags find that the major retailers have already banned them. There’s a statement you’re being prevented making.

Scrap White Supremacy but we must cling tightly to the supremacy of individuals over their government.

Could the censors come for your flag too? I’m not big on national flags. However, the flags with which I associate ideologically, let’s be honest, scream regicide.

Imagine if the next mass shooter lunatic leaves selfies with an Anarchist flag or an Anon mask. “Rise up” is hate speech to oligarchs.

Guys, when Walmart, Target, Dixie politicians and the White House are on your side, you’re fantasizing and you’re on the wrong side.

If the vocabulary of racism, such as the word “nigger”, is effaced, how are we to talk about it? We had this argument about Mark Twain’s use of the word in Huckleberry Finn. Literature lost as I remember.

How blessed we would be to forget about slavery, except the same demographic is enslaved today in the prison system, while we white-out the words we need to recognize it.

Let’s be generous for a moment. The “Rebel” Flag, even as it draws racists like flies, is also about rebellion. Did you know the Civil War wears a revisionist title? Until America’s foreign excursions, the Civil War was called the War of Rebellion. Formal documents of the period are still bound as the Union’s record of the War of Rebellion.

Who effected the name change and why? Did it benefit the victor to write the history of the Civil War to cast slavery as its predominant issue? To justify the sacrifice of lives and trampling of state sovereignty?

The American national identity is that of revolutionaries rebelling against authoritarian rule. Was it confusing to let the bad guys usurp the rebel image?

I think it’s a lie to believe the common Southerner fought to preserve slavery. Just as it is to pretend the common German soldier defended the extermination camps. The average Johnny Rebel fought off the Yankee foreigner. Johnny Rebel was racist but no more so than his northern adversary. Lynchings of black men happened in both North and South.

If you want to hold a flag to account for racism, you’ll find a greater offender in the Union Flag, and today’s fifty star equivalent. The Stars and Stripes flew over the slave trade, the genocide of Native Americans, and the conquest and exploitation of indigenous peoples everywhere since.

If you want to fight racism, address its mechanisms. Address its leaders, not its disputable standard. The flag is a distraction. Who are racism’s enforcers? I read that Maryland police just killed another unarmed black man. Eye on that ball.

Judging history as we’ve distilled it, the cause of the Confederacy was unjust, but the Southern soldiers fought the Union as rebels.

I am damn partial to REBELS.

I’m reminded of the lyrics to I’m a Good Old Rebel. These reflect sentiments contemporary to the Reconstruction era, unreconstructed by the abolitionist narrative. Read ’em and weep.

Oh, I’m a good old rebel,?
Now that’s just what I am.?
For this Fair Land of Freedom,
?I do no give a damn.?
I’m glad I fought again’ her,
?I only wish we won.
?I ain’t asked any pardon for anything I’ve done.

I hates the Yankee Nation and everything they do.
?I hates the Declaration of Independence, too.?
I hates the glorious Union, ’tis dripping with our blood.?
I hates the striped banner, and fought it all I could.

I rode with Robert E. Lee,?
For three years, thereabout.?
Got wounded in four places,
?And I starved at Point Lookout.
?I catched the rheumatism
?A campin’ in the snow.?
But I killed a chance of Yankees
?And I’d like to kill some more.

Three hundred thousand Yankees
?Is stiff in southern dust.?
We got three hundred thousand?
Before they conquered us.?
They died of Southern Fever
?And Southern steel and shot.?
I wish there were three million
?Instead of what we got.

?I can’t pick up my musket?
And fight ’em down no more.?
But I ain’t agonna love ’em?
Now that is certain sure.
?And I don’t want no pardon?
For what I was and am.?
I won’t be reconstructed?
And I do not give a damn.

Oh, I’m a good old rebel,
?Now that’s just what I am.?
And for this Yankee Nation,
?I do no give a damn.?
I’m glad I fought again’ her,?
I only wish we won.?
I ain’t asked any pardon for anything I’ve done.?
I ain’t asked any pardon for anything I’ve done.

If by UN declaring a civil war in Syria classifies atrocities as war crimes, US covert forces there are war criminals

UN observers have now labeled rebel clashes in Syria as having escalated into “Civil War”, initiating the legal foundation to go after Syrian president Assad on charges of “war” crimes. It’s a welcome bit of sophistry and should cut both ways. If the insurgent groups are armed and lead by covert special op forces of the US and NATO, then who are the bigger war criminals? So far the massacres ascribed to Assad, provoking Hillary Clinton’s condemnation, have proved to be the work of US-allied rebels.

Ron Kovic, Private Nation and the mystique of the Token Cripple

Because I get the same kind of crap in lower doses than Kovic and Max Cleland did and still do. When you become disabled at work you’re supposed to be grateful for any crust of bread thrown your way, and condemned as a whiner if you point out the guilt of the parties who brought you to that state. With war veterans it’s worse.
Ron Kovic and Max Cleland were “just fine” in the eyes of the Pentagon, until they started opposing the war, then they were and still are demonized. The Pentagoons, while Cleland was fighting to survive, leaving 3 of his limbs on the cutting room floor, (mixed metaphor there, cutting room is about films) his commanders were filling out paperwork exonerating themselves from any blame for what they had done to him. Like Kovic, and Private Nation, and John Kerry, and Flight Lt Joseph “Country” MacDonald, he was treated with the military equivalent of Honor as long as he consented to be the Token. The Warrior returning and still supporting a lost war. Touching, Heartwarming, (heartburn) but once they chose to speak out, save for Private Nation, they were the darlings of every parade, supporting sending even MORE young people off to kill other people in other lands, other mother’s sons… except for Private Nation. Who was Private Nation, you ask?

He was one of my ancestors. He, too, fought for the losing side, a hundred years earlier. Late in the war, the Civil one… hence, he wasn’t fighting to kill and die in Foreign Lands… he took a Minie ball upside his temple, tore off a chunk of his skull. Surgeon told him, “Private, that’s going to kill you eventually” and sure enough, 80 years later, it did. But he was a Confederate. He was fighting for the “states’ rights” cause. You know the one, the States’ Right to deny Liberty or even the definition of Humanity to HUMAN BEINGS based solely on the shade of their skins, and to deny them that Liberty before they were even born. And to use State Funds and State Police Powers to ensure that they remained in Slavery. In short, he was fighting not for States’ Rights, but for States’ WRONGS.

In VietNam, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, the Slave Owners live off premises, but it’s still the same concept. Still sending in the Private Nation and the Ron Kovic of the modern age. And if you get pieces of you blown off, you’re supposed to accept it, be rolled around in the parades like a Good Little Cripple, patted on the head and sternly warned not to say anything at all against the regime.

If Gunnery Sgt Nick Popavitch, proudly supporting the military that cost his eye and, really, their honor and his… If he ever stands up and says it’s wrong he won’t be their Tame Token Cripple anymore, and can expect His Comrades will turn on him like a pack of starving wolves on a pork chop. That’s the “freedom” they’re fighting. For. Against.

Private Nation never repented of his service to the cause of Slavery. Many people in the South feel that his “sacrifice” should be honored, but, you’ll notice, only those American Southerners whose ancestors were the Slave Owners, not those who have the slaves for ancestors.

Does the magnitude of the loss of limb or capacity or eye make the Cause of Slavery RIGHT? Turn it around and look at it from the perspective of the arbitrarily chosen “enemy”.

Does a Taliban soldier with pieces blown off of him, make the cause of the Taliban right, or wrong? What about an Afghan or Iraqi Civilian with pieces blown off him/her?

Is the measure of the human suffering of the human being, from whichever side, the True Measure of righteousness? For the ones who exploit the Token Cripple mystique, even using the wounds and disabilities of the wounded as Recruitment.. (that’s the nature of Military Parades, by the way, not to honor the dead and wounded, but to get more kids sucked into “serving”) According to the assmunches with that philosophy, yeah.

But, gentle reader, you decide. Private Nation was paraded every Confederate Memorial Day. Yeah, they actually did that. There wasn’t an Official Confederate Army into which they were trying to recruit the younguns. But there was always the Klan.

I can’t be ashamed of that heritage. Because I didn’t do the crimes nor do I support them. God-Damn if I’ll be proud of it either.

One final thought. Hopefully to tie it together. You know how some Veterans who are still in Denial (Pvt Nation until he died) say that only those who went to the wars can criticize? Kind of like “Only Mafia Hitmen can sit on a jury in a murder trial” but… what of those who DID go to the wars and criticize? Why the sudden dumping of them into the trash bin of history? Especially when their former Masters told them and still tell us that they fought for “freedom” especially of speech. “Them Soldiers fought for YOUR freedom of speech, how DARE you use that freedom?”

What about George Bush, no, the OLDER one, GHW… who was simultaneously tearing down the names and reputations of Ellsberg, Kovic, Cleland, Kerry, Country Joe (and the Fish) MacDonald, every man-jack of the VVAW, while using his influence to keep his own Junior out of the war from which both were profiteering?

What of Junior, and the Other ChickenHawks? If we call the ChickenHawks by their proper title of ChickenHawk, highly paid Billionaire Professional Liars like Rush Limbaugh accuse us of Hate Speech. Just applying the same logic but with a better twist is all.
If only those who fought can criticize, then only those who fought can START wars, or support them for that matter.

Better yet, none of them should start or support the wars either.
Sherman said “War is Hell” but he was wrong. War is Murder. Pure and simple, and making war is a crime against everybody.
Protesting against it isn’t even Officially a crime, but they sure as Hell punish people for it. Even if the people they’re punishing actually fought in those wars. “Double Standard” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Hysterical Revisionist Virginia Tea Party attempts another test of Anti-Smart Bomb Strategy, EPIC FAIL!

As we approach the Sesquicentennial (150 years) of the Civil War (massive contradiction in terms) the Commonwealth of Virginia attempted to pass off a “Confederate History Month” with no mention whatsodamnever of slavery. Even with decades of attempting to show that display of the Confederate Southern Cross battle flag (not an official confederate national flag, incidentally) is somehow not a symbol of Racism.
 
(These colors don’t run… A God-Damn thing.)

The slogan “Not Hate – Heritage!!” is on posters, tee-shirts, bumper stickers, pasted onto Bibles, whatever and wherever. Pure Chumba-Wumba.
“Sure, we don’t hate us no Nigras, we just feel y’all are so inferior to us that we can deprive you of liberty directly from birth, just on account of the color of your skin”
Due to the institutionalized “right” for the slave “owners” to RAPE any one of the slaves they wished at any time, unless a Black American is a recent immigrant from Africa, he’s got Confederate heritage too.
They’ve been teaching, for generations, that the Confederacy wasn’t about Slavery, that it was “States’ Rights”… Meaning, the state has the right to spend Public Money, and use State police and court powers, to the direct benefit of Private Corporations who systematically denied Liberty to Human Beings, based on the color of their skin.

And they’re STILL trying to push off this Racist Lie as being real. It has a double edge to it, first the Rich Bastards who would profit from another civil war, or think they would, believe that Black and Hispanic and Indian Southerners will be STUPID enough to ignore the history, much of it very recent, of Racism openly displayed alongside the Confederate battle flag.
They also believe that WHITE Southerners will be retarded enough to believe it, so, y’all rednecks, guess what? The slavery cartel think YOU are stupid too.

Now, here’s the fun part. The Governor of Virginia, and the Governor of Texas, both have loudly threatened to secede over the pure Arrogance of a Black man bucking THEIR system and actually being elected President. They deny it, but then, they deny that Slavery was the reason for secession and for the Confederacy and for the Civil War.

To use a Jewish saying, they’re pissing on our collective leg and saying that it’s rain.

But the Citizens of the Commonwealth, a HUGE bloc of voters, who voted in the 70 MILLION voter bloc who rejected the Racist Regime of Bush and his annointed replacement Sarah Failin’ and John McInsane… forced the newly elected governor (the one who is supposedly a rejection of the Black President by the same voters) to concede on this.

So, will Texas, and Virginia, and Tennessee, etc.. actually Secede? Fat Chance.

The last time Texas seceded the black and hispanic and Native American Indians didn’t have the vote, were forbidden by law to own firearms, and the Blacks were forbidden under pain of well, PAIN to learn to read, and the death penalty for anybody who TAUGHT slaves to read.
They continued this “Not Hate” tradition all the way into the 1960s, Teachers were the primary targets of the “Not Hate, Heritage” Flag waving Ku Klux Klan.
Feed the rednecks the Chumba-Wumba about how proud and noble their ancestors were for being STUPID enough to buy into that Lie the first time around, and then forbid the Blacks to become educated. Didn’t work, did it? The Plan, since the Nixon Regime, was to cut public Education as far as they could, accelerated greatly by the Reagan/Bush/Bush Jr Regime.

And after Generations of MASSIVE indoctrination of the Whites and equally massive attempts to suppress educational opportunities for “the others” they failed to slip that “no mention of slavery” bit past The People of Virginia. They’re failing to slip it past the people of Texas.

The only way Secession would work is with an overwhelming Majority of Texans or residents of other states backing it up. They don’t even have an overwhelming Majority of WHITE Texans, what are they going to do? Secede anyway and force the dissenters to leave their homes, families, businesses, communities? “Love it or Leave It”?

Actually, the easiest way would be, if you can’t deal with Democracy, can’t deal with a rejection of your Racist Values, oh Mighty Whitey Secessionists, YOU leave. There’s a colony of U.S. Imperialists in Costa Rica, they even forced the natives to abandon their own language and adopt English names and the English language for the privilege of being their Servants.

The dialog goes something like this “What’s yo name, boy?”
“Miguel”
WHIPLASH Whip whip whip…
“No, Yo name TOBY…”

This would work until the “peasants” have had quite enough of it, storm the gated communities of their “masters” and drag them out and kill them.

The U.S. Army, which already has a huge percentage of the soldiers being Black and Hispanic (because the whites just ain’t turning out in droves to fight for their own profits and Black and Hispanic children are the new favorite target of the recruiters) will refuse to fight for the New Confederacy. They would also refuse to fight for a New Confederacy in Texas and Virginia.

Shit, people ain’t as stupid as Governors Rick GoodHair Perry and Bob McDonnell think they are.
The Anti-Smart Bomb is proving to be a Dud.

John Brown, from a grateful people

John BrownThis weekend marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, an attempt to appropriate from the US armory to defend a slavery free territory. The already notorious anti-slavery evangelist had lost the earlier Free State sanctuaries Palmyra and Osawatomie. On October 16-17, 1859, the band of 22 abolitionists and free men, held off the townsmen and US Marines, until ten were killed and five escaped. The seven survivors were hanged, including Brown, who said at the scaffold: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”
 
The raid on Harpers Ferry set into motion the fight in earnest to emancipate the southern slaves, ending 305 years of American slavery. Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, and all British, French, Danish, Dutch, and Portuguese colonies, had already abolished slavery between 1811 and 1863. The US was followed by Cuba then Brazil in 1888.

Osawatomie Brown‘s band were fanatical and violent, but were hailed as heroes by the Union in the Civil War. This statue was erected in 1911, inscribed “erected to the memory of John Brown by a grateful people.” It stands in Kansas City, in a neighborhood which once was the town of Quindaro, a major stop along the underground railway.

Brown’s fellow domestic terrorists were:

Killed: Jeremiah G. Anderson, Oliver Brown, Watson Brown, John H. Kagi, Lewis S. Leary, William H. Leeman, Dangerfield Newby, Stewart Taylor, Dauphin Thompson and William Thompson.

Executed: John E. Cook, John A. Copeland, Edwin Coppoc, Shields Green, Albert Hazlett, and Aaron D. Stevens.

Escaped: Osborne P. Anderson, Owen Brown, Barclay Coppoc, Francis J. Merriam, and Charles P. Tidd.

I’m a good old rebel

Excepting that the South fought for slavery and rural feudalism, their nostalgia is libertarian. Is that the enduring emotional charge behind flying the Confederate flag? Hoyt Axton recorded I’m a Good Old Rebel as being a “song of the Civil War,” but the spirit is decidedly Post.

I’m a Good Old Rebel
 
Oh, I’m a good old rebel, now that’s just what I am.
For this here land of freedom I do not give a damn.
I’m glad I fought against it, I only wish we’d won.
I ain’t asked any pardon for anything I’ve done.
 
I hates the Yankee nation and eveythin’ they do.
I hates the Declaration of Independence too.
I hates the glorious union, ’tis dripping with our blood.
I hates the striped banner, I fought it all I could.
 
I rode with Robert E. Lee for three years there about.
Got wounded in four places and I starved at Point Lookout.
I caught the rheumatism a campin’ in the snow,
But I killed a chance of Yankees, and I’d like to kill some more.
 
Three hundred thousand Yankees is stiff in Southern dust.
We got three hundred thousand before they conquered us.
They died of Southern fever and Southern steel and shot.
I wished it was three million, instead of what we got.
 
I can’t take up my musket and fight ’em down no more,
But I ain’t a-goin’ to love them now, that is certain sure.
I won’t be reconstructed, I’m better now than them.
And for that carpetbagger, I don’t give a damn.
 
Oh, I’m a good old rebel, now that’s just what I am
And for this Yankee nation I do no give a damn.
I’m glad I fought against her, I only wish we’d won.
I ain’t asked any pardon for anything I’ve done.

Next to the White House

While visiting Washington DC in March, I found it interesting to note the edifices closest to the White House.
The Executive Office Building

EAST, WEST
The neighbor to the immediate East of the Obama’s White House is the Department of the Treasury. Is that any surprise? Of course not, but how bourgeois! I could imagine Scrooge McDuck sneaking across the White House garden twice a day to check his reserves. To the West is what we now call the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. It’s the site of the suspicious office fires which may or may not have masked a recent vice-president’s misdeeds. The edifice looks straight out of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and check out the plaque which commemorates what the building used to be called:

State War and Navy Departments

Probably that should be no surprise as well: the White house sandwiched between Treasury and War. “State, War and Navy.” How so much less duplicitous than the “Department of Defense.”

SOUTHWEST
Behind the former War offices, to the Southwest of the White House, lies the war memorial to end all war memorials. It’s the WWI Memorial, of considerably diminutive size compared to those commemorations of subsequent wars which have spilled unto the Mall, but its form followed the convention of the typical Great War monuments erected throughout Europe among the nations who had participated.

WWI monument to US Army Expeditionary Force

Except the American version is dedicated to the “Expeditionary Forces” which I just love. That’s what WWI was about for the US. The trenches of Europe were no place Americans needed to defend their freedom. The troops we sent, to relieve France and England, represented a foreign expedition, exactly that. More precisely, our troops were an R&D expedition for our blustering capitalists.

(This may be no time or place to note that history books do not link America’s WWI experience with the Influenza outbreak of 1917-18, which began in the barracks of US soldiers being mobilized for war. American soldiers took their flu to Europe and ultimately killed 50 million people. Those were not the days before we knew better to stay home to prevent infecting others.)

The US entry into WWI was bitterly opposed by a peace movement which the war-opportunist-profiteers maligned as isolationist. Selfish globalization-denying isolationism has been the slander ever since, used against anyone who tries to block military interventions in all their guises.

Ultimately WWI was no affair of ours, had the Huns emerged victorious, American foreign affairs would hardly have changed. Our foreign trading partners would have numbered more Germans, that’s all. But it’s useless to compare alternative outcomes of WWI, all things staying constant, because America participated and profited wildly.

If American investors had not jumped in Over There, the greatest business opportunities of blossoming industrialism would have been missed. The opportunities offered by the Europeans fighting amongst themselves, proved to have been momentous.

And here was the monument to those lost American lives, sacrificed so that American industrial might, in particular the new banking monopolists, could seize the European spheres of influence throughout the world. Of course the lost lives of the American Expeditionary Force were remembered thus:

“…WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WORLD WAR THAT LIBERTY AND THE IDEALS OF OUR COUNTRY MIGHT ENDURE”

It would take another World War for the US to appropriate the colonies and oil fields by means of contracts and loans, with the leverage of coming to their aid again, this time armed with lend-lease bills.

SOUTHEAST
To the Southeast of the White House, across the back lawn, lies the monument antecedent to the Great War. It’s the Civil War Memorial, atop which rides the triumphant General William Tecumseh Sherman. (Who, to be fair, presided over the War Department for a long stretch after the Civil War, actually this nation’s longest peacetime period.)

Sherman monumentCurious that I chose to crop his personage from my pictures, but my eyes were drawn to the lesser figures around the base of the monument, in particular, a half naked woman.

The memorial seemed to include various uniformed Civil War participants. How egalitarian to include a woman. But this woman was no French Revolutionary with breast bared oblivious as she rallied her comrades to victory. This delicate woman was unarmed and stripped to the waist, her children in tattered rags at her feet.

Could this statue be offering another conceit to the reality of war, to Sherman’s March to the sea, to the burning of Atlanta, to the shameful destruction he visited on the secessionist South? Was this a nod to the real role given to Women in war, their sons and husbands taken from them, a non-combatant left helpless to defend her children or herself. Did the shirt torn from her body confess to the woman’s rape?

More probably the feminine likeness personified man’s attraction to war, a soldier’s predilection for her beauty. How many war monuments memorialize as they also beacon?

Much of the terrain around the White House grounds is blocked off by secondary and tertiary security perimeters. But for the arrival of bus unloadng its visitors to see it, the Civil War Monument is normally cordoned off. When I had passed it earlier, a balaclava-clad guard was blocking the only entrance.

SOUTH
The grassy expanse immediately South of the White House, permitting the First Family an uninterrupted view of the National Mall, has actually been given over to parking permits. The loop of asphalt across the lawn, with cars strewn diagonally along the edges, gives the unfortunate impression of overflow event parking. In any other neighborhood, the crowd of cars would be a dead giveaway that someone on the block was having a party.

UN Security Council and US government rubber stamp Sinhalese slaughter of Tamils in Sri Lanka

Like how the UN Security Council and the US government ONCE hid in the shadows egging on Saddam Hussein-led Iraq and its assault on Iran in previous times, today it is doing the same with the Sri Lanka Civil War. But Saddam Hussein couldn’t get in the death blow against Iran that the Security Council lusted for on behalf of the US in the ’80s. Sinhalese Sri Lanka is though against its Tamil opposition, and now the Security Council has come out of the shadows and is egging the final kill on. See Tamil Tigers urged to surrender (by UN Security Council)

Geopolitical reasons always dictate who the world corporate press declares as being righteous and who is denounces as being villainous in these conflicts. The US and its European allies have definitely tilted towards using India as regional ally against China and Russia, and India wants the end of Tamil rebellion, both inside India itself, and also inside Sri Lanka. That’s enough to spin the conflict as it is being done. While the ‘Security Council’ with the name of the United Nations attached to itself is calling for the Tamil insurrection to lay down its arms, we sincerely doubt that it will ever do anything to protect the Tamil population from slaughter at the hands of Sri Lanka’s government. It certainly hasn’t in the past.

Roughing it in DC

WASHINGTON DC- We caught the Metro, dragged our bags across the streets and sidewalks, but alright, we haven’t exactly been roughing it.

Map of Washington DC hotels
First stop, the Capitol Hilton, from which we can promenade to the White House. It’s a stuffy hotel, with historic presidential-themed porcelain plates on display featuring an eagle that would look more comfortable on Luftwaffe place settings.

Marie arranged the other couples nights at the St. Gregorys, the nearer to hang around the university and explore Georgetown.

St Gregory Hotel, Washington DC
The St. Gregory Hotel was reputedly a favorite of Marlyn Monroe’s. Which I suppose is enough to explain the life size statue of Monroe in their lobby. Monroe stands poised above the famous subway vent, her dress permanently fixed immodestly. Billy Wilder had the good sense to shot the scene from the front, but the St. Gregory didn’t have that foresight, and they’ve bent this Monroe forward like a hood ornament, for short customers maybe.

I’m not sure the titillating sight is something to complain about. Call it a land mind for involuntary ogling. Easily avoided once you know it’s there, but if your mind is on something else, a conversation for example, Monroe’s pose catches your reflex unawares.

Wal-mart drives its chariot of predatory commerce over bones of Civil War dead

Union Soldiers fight on Brock Road 1864
WAL-MART wants to build a Virginia super-center on the edge of the memorial site of one of the most consequential battles of the Civil War. The Wilderness marked the first engagement between Generals Lee and Grant, ignited a forest fire which the soldiers fought through, and left 24,000 dead and wounded. Now 253 historians have joined in asking Wal-mart to reconsider.

Mr. Lee Scott, President and CEO
Walmart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

Dear Mr. Scott:

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to pursue alternate building locations for the Walmart Supercenter proposed in Orange County, Virginia. The site currently under consideration lies within the historic boundary of the Wilderness Battlefield and only one quarter mile from the current boundary of the Wilderness Battlefield unit of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

The Battle of the Wilderness was among the most significant engagements of the Civil War. It marked the first time legendary generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant faced off against one another on the field of battle. During two days of desperate conflict in a harsh, unforgiving landscape tangled with underbrush, 4,000 Americans lost their lives and nearly 20,000 were wounded.

The proposed location will greatly increase traffic through the area and encourage further development to encroach upon and spoil the battlefield. This, in turn, will seriously degrade the experience for the many tens of thousands of heritage tourists who visit this National Park every year. The Wilderness Battlefield is easily the biggest tourist attraction in Orange County, with visitors coming from around the world to experience its serenity and contemplate its history and significance.

As a historian, I feel strongly that the Wilderness Battlefield is a unique historic and cultural treasure deserving careful stewardship. Currently only approximately 20 percent of the battlefield is protected by the National Park Service. If built, this Walmart would seriously undermine ongoing efforts to see more of this historic land preserved and deny future generations the opportunity to wander a landscape that has, until now, remained largely unchanged since 1864.

The Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved. Surely Walmart can identify a site that would meet its needs without changing the very character of the battlefield.

There are many places in central Virginia to build a commercial development, but there is only one Wilderness Battlefield. Please respect our great nation’s history and move your store farther away from this historic site and National Park.

Signed,

* Terrie Aamodt, Walla Walla University
* Edward D. Abrahams, Silver Spring, Md.
* Sean P. Adams, University of Florida
* Garry Adelman, History Associates, Inc.
* Nicholas Aieta, the Marlborough School, West Springfield, Mass.
* A.J. Aiseirithe, Washington, D.C.
* James Anderson, Ashburn, Va.
* Adam Arenson, University of Texas
* Jonathan M. Atkins, Berry College
* Arthur H. Auten, University of Hartford
* David Bard, Concord College
* Alwyn Barr, Texas Tech University
* Craig A. Bauer, Metairie, La.
* Erik Bauer, West Hollywood, Calif.
* Dale Baum, Texas A&M University
* Edwin C. Bearss, Historian emeritus, National Park Service
* Caryn Cosse Bell, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
* Jeffrey R. Bennett, Waterford, N.Y.
* Shannon Bennett, Ellettsville, Ind.
* Melvyn S. Berger, Newton, Mass.
* Arthur W. Bergeron, Shippensburg, Pa.
* Edward H. Bergerstrom, Port Richey, Fla.
* Eugene H. Berwanger, Colorado State University
* Fred W. Beuttler, Deputy Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
* Darrel Bigham, University of Southern Indiana
* John Bloom, Las Cruces, N.M.
* Frederick J. Blue, Youngstown State University
* Christopher Bobal, Lees Summit, Mo.
* Thomas Bockhorn, Huntsville, Ala.
* Keith Bohannon, University of West Georgia
* Phillip S. Bolger, San Diego, Calif.
* Patrick Boyd, the Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
* Vernon S. Braswell, Corpus Christi, Tex.
* Roger D. Bridges, Bloomington, Ill.
* Ronald S. Brockway, Regis University
* Col. George M. Brooke, III, USMC (Ret.), Lexington, Va.
* Bruce A. Brown, Cypress, Calif.
* Norman D. Brown, University of Texas, Austen, Tex.
* David Brush, the Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
* Jim Burgess, Manassas National Battlefield, Va.
* Ken Burns, Walpole, N.H.
* Brian Burton, Ferndale, Wash.
* Victoria Bynum, Texas State University-San Marcos
* Peter S. Carmichael, West Virginia University
* Marius M. Carriere, Christian Brothers University
* Katherine Cassioppi, National-Louis University
* Gary Casteel, Lexington, Va.
* Jane Turner Censer, George Mason University
* William Cheek, San Diego State University
* John Cimprich, Thomas More College
* Thomas G. Clemens, Hagerstown Community College
* Leon F. Cohn, Plantation, Fla.
* Thomas B. Colbert, Marshalltown Community College
* James R. Connor, Chancellor emeritus University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
* William J. Cooper, Jr., Louisiana State University
* Janet L. Coryell, Western Michigan University
* Charles E. Coulter, Yankton, S.D.
* Robert E. Curran, Richmond, Ky.
* Thomas F. Curran, Saint Louis, Mo.
* Gordon E. Dammann, National Museum of Civil War Medicine
* Guy Stephen Davis, Atlanta, Ga.
* William C. “Jack” Davis
* Joseph G. Dawson, III, Texas A&M University
* Mary DeCredico, United States Naval Academy
* James Lyle DeMarce, Arlington, Va.
* Charles B. Dew, Williams College
* Steven Deyle, University of Houston
* Richard DiNardo, Marine Corps Command and Staff College
* Luis-Alejandro Dinnella-Borrego, Warwick, N.Y.
* Richard R. Duncan, Alexandria, Va.
* Kenneth Durr, History Associates, Inc.
* David Dykstra, Poolesville, Md.
* Mark Elliott, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
* Robert F. Engs, University of Pennsylvania
* C. Wyatt Evans, Drew University
* Daniel Feller, University of Tennessee
* Rex H. Felton, Tiffin, Ohio
* Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School
* Jeff Fioravanti, Lynn, Mass.
* Joseph C. Fitzharris, University of Saint Thomas
* J.K. Folmarm California, Minn.
* George B. Forgie, University of Texas Austin
* Lee W. Formwalt, Organization of American Historians
* Janet B. Frazer, Narberth, Pa.
* Gary W. Gallagher, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
* Jonathan Gantt, Columbia College
* Jason Gart, History Associates, Inc.
* Louis S. Gerteis, University of Missouri, St. Louis
* Kate C. Gillin, the Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
* Mary Giunta, Edinburg, Va.
* Martin K. Gordon, Columbia, Md.
* Cathy Gorn, University of Maryland
* Thomas M. Grace, Amherst, N.Y.
* Susan W. Gray, Severna Park, Md.
* A. Wilson Greene, Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
* Debra F. Greene, Jefferson City, Mo.
* Jim Griffin, Frisco, Tex.
* Linda J. Guy, Clearville, Pa.
* Edward J. Hagerty, American Military University
* Alfred W. Hahn, Midlothian, Va.
* Judith Lee Hallock, South Setauket, N.Y.
* Jerry Harlow, President, Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation
* D. Scott Hartwig, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pa.
* David S. Heidler, Colorado State University
* Jeannie Heidler, United States Air Force Academy
* John S. Heiser, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pa.
* Earl J. Hess, Lincoln Memorial University
* Libra Hilde, San Jose State University
* T. John Hillmer, Jr., Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Mo.
* David Hochfelder, State University of New York – Albany
* Sylvia Hoffert, Texas A&M University
* Patrick Hotard, Philadelphia, Pa.
* Richard Houston, Harwich, Mass.
* Randal L. Hoyer, Madonna University
* Richard L. Hutchison, Fort Worth, Tex.
* Brian M. Ingrassia, Georgia State University
* Perry D. Jamieson, Crofton, Md.
* Jim Jobe, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Tenn.
* Willie Ray Johnson, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Ga.
* Vivian Lee Joyner, New Hill, N.C.
* Whitmel M. Joyner, New Hill, N.C.
* Walter D. Kamphoefner, Texas A&M University
* Amalie M. Kass, Harvard Medical School
* Philip M. Katz, Washington, D.C.
* Brad Keefer, Kent State University
* Brian J. Kenny, Denver, Co.
* Victoria A. Kin, San Antonio, Tex.
* George W. Knepper, University of Akron
* Christopher Kolakowski, National Museum of the U.S. Army Reserve
* Carl E. Kramer, Indiana University Southeast
* Arnold Krammer, Texas A&M University
* Robert K. Krick, Fredericksburg, Va.
* Michael E. Krivdo, Texas A&M University
* Benjamin Labaree, Saint Alban’s School, Washington, D.C.
* Dan Laney, Austin, Tex.
* Connie Langum, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Mo.
* William P. Leeman, Coventry, R.I.
* Kevin Levin, Charlottesville, Va.
* Richard G. Lowe, University of North Texas
* Robert W. Lowery, Jr., Newport News, Va.
* M. Philip Lucas, Cornell College
* R. Wayne Mahood, Geneseo, N.Y.
* Daniel Martin, Lancaster, Pa.
* William Marvel, South Conway, N.H.
* Matthew Mason, Brigham Young University
* Dinah M. Mayo-Bobee, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
* George T. Mazuzan, Springfield, Va.
* Nathan McAlister, Hoyt, Kan.
* David McCullough
* Dennis K. McDaniel, Washington, D.C.
* James M. McPherson, Princeton University
* Kathleen G. McKesson, Eighty Four, Pa.
* James G. Mendez, Chicago, Ill.
* Brian Craig Miller, Emporia State University
* Roger E. Miller, Eagle River, Alaska.
* Wilbur R. Miller, State University of New York – Stony Brook
* Eric J. Mink, Fredericksburg, Va.
* Robert E. Mitchell, Brookline, Mass.
* John Moody, Orange Park, Fla.
* Richard Moore, Woodbridge, Va.
* Richard Morey, Kent Place School, Summit, N.J.
* Geoffrey Morrison, Saint Louis, Mo.
* Brenda Murray, North Pole, Alaska.
* Richard J. Myers, Doylestown, Pa.
* Eric Nedergaard, Mesa, Ariz.
* Robert D. Neuleib, Normal, Ill.
* Kenneth Noe, Auburn University
* Justin Oakley, Martinsville, Ind.
* Kristen Oertel, Millsaps College
* Marvin Olson, La Crescenta, Ca.
* Beverly Palmer, Claremont, Ca.
* John T. Payne, Lone Star College
* Graham Peck, Saint Xavier University
* William D. Pederson, Louisiana State University, Shreveport
* William E. Pellerin, Santa Barbara, Ca.
* Don Pfanz, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Va.
* Michael Pierson, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
* Kermit J. Pike, Western Reserve Historical Society, Mentor, Ohio
* Ann Poe, Alexandria, Va.
* Kieth Ploakoff, Rossmoor, Ca.
* Lawrence N. Powell, Tulane University
* Adam J. Pratt. Baton Rouge, La.
* Gerald Prokopowicz, East Carolina University
* John Quist, Shippensburg University
* Steven J. Rauch, Evans, Ga.
* S. Waite Rawls, III, Museum of the Confederacy
* Carol Reardon, Pennsylvania State University
* Douglas Reasner, Durant, Iowa
* Michael Reis, History Associates, Inc.
* Robert V. Remini, Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
* James Renberg, Southern Pines, N.C.
* Gordon Rhea, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
* Jean Richardson, Buffalo State College
* Jeffrey Richman, Brooklyn, N.Y.
* Harris D. Riley, Jr., M.D., Nashville, Tenn.
* James I. Robertson, Jr., Virginia Tech
* Stephen I. Rockenbach, Virginia State University
* Sylvia Rodrigue, Baton Rouge, La.
* Rodney A. Ross, Center for Legislative Archives, Washington, D.C.
* Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, Johnson Space Center
* Jeffrey J. Safford, Montana State University
* Frank Scaturro, New Hyde Park, N.Y.
* Mark S. Schantz, Hendrix College
* Laurence D. Schiller, Deerfield, Ill.
* Christopher A. Schnell, Springfield, Ill.
* Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, Springfield, Ill.
* Frederick Schult, Jr., New York University
* Donald L. Schupp, Warrenton, Va.
* Richard D. Schwartz, Morristown, N.J.
* Cynthia Seacord, Schenectady, N.Y.
* Tomas Seaver, Woonsocket, R.I.
* Diane Shalda, Chicago Military Academy
* Peter D. Sheridan, Torrance, Ca.
* Mark Snyder, Akron, Ohio
* John Sotak, O.S.A., New Lenox, Ill.
* Clay W. Stuckey, DDS, Bedford, Ind.
* Carlyn Swaim, History Associates, Inc.
* Andrew Talkov, Virginia Historical Society
* Robert A. Taylor, Florida Institute of Technology
* Paul H. Tedesco, Northeastern University
* James Thayer, Milford, Mass.
* Emory M. Thomas, University of Georgia
* JoAnne Thomas, Peoria, Ill.
* Joseph Trent, Worcester, Mass.
* Tony R. Trimble, Plainfield, Ind.
* I. Bruce Turner, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
* Edwin C. Ulmer, Jr., Feasterville, Pa.
* Charles W. Van Adder, Forked River, N.J.
* Charles Vincent, Baker, La.
* Joseph F. von Deck, Ashburnham, Ma.
* Brent Vosburg, Elizabethtown, N.J.
* Robert Voss, Lincoln, Neb.
* George N. Vourlojianis, Lorain County Community College
* Christopher R. Waldrep, San Francisco State University
* John Weaver, Tipp City, Ohio
* Robert Welch, Ames, Iowa
* Lowell E. Wenger, Cincinnati, Ohio
* Jeffrey Wert, Centre Hall, Pa.
* Bruce E. Wilburn, Glen Allen, Va.
* Diana I. Williams, Wellesley College
* Mary Williams, Fort Davis National Historic Site, Tex.
* Terry Winschel, Vicksburg National Military Park, Miss.
* Roger Winthrop, Lansing, Mich.
* Eric J. Wittenberg, Columbus, Ohio
* Ralph A. Wooster, Lamar University
* Donald Yacovone, Harvard University
* Shirley J. Yee, University of Washington
* Mitchell Yockelson, National Archives and Records Administration
* William D. Young, Maple Woods Community College
* Mary E. Younger, Dayton, Ohio
* Jack Zevin, Queens College, City University of New York