The Sun Belong To Everyone
Vermont Is Such A Bully
This is a few weeks old, but an article at Vermont Watchdog just popped up into my FB feed and made me snort: Vermont bullies Indiana as American Muslims rise to defend religious liberty.
Reminds me of Vermont's ante bellum bullying of those defenseless slavers:
Vermont's anti-slavery laws and resolutions irritated the Southern States exceedingly, a knowledge of which did not in any wise deter the Green Mountain lawmakers from expressing their opinions freely and fully.
In a message to the Virginia Legislature, Governor Wise, referring to one of the Vermont resolutions on slavery, said: "We cannot reason with the heads of fanatics, nor touch hearts fatally bent upon treason." Copies of Vermont resolutions relating to Kansas sent to the executives of the various States, called forth along message to the Georgia Legislature from Gov. Herschel V. Johnson, in which he characterized the resolutions as insulting.
The Vermont resolutions are said to have caused "much high feeling and indignation in the House." One member offered a resolution directing the "Governor to transmit to the Governor of Vermont, with a request to lay the same before the State Legislature, the Georgia resolutions of 1850, declaring that the State would resist acts of aggression therein enumerated, "even (as a last resort) to the disruption of every tie that binds her to the Union"; and enclose the same in a leaden bullet. Other members suggested that powder and a coil of rope should be included.
The following resolutions were offered:
"Resolved, By the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, That His Excellency the Governor be and is hereby requested to transmit the Vermont resolutions to the deep, dank and fetid sink of social and political iniquity from whence they emanated, with the following unequivocal declaration inscribed thereon:
"Resolved, That Georgia, standing on her constitutional palladium, heeds not the maniac ravings of hellborn fanaticism, nor stoops from her lofty position to hold terms with perjured traitors."
In the Georgia Senate this resolution was offered:
"Resolved, That His Excellency, President Pierce, be requested to employ a sufficient number of able-bodied Irishmen to proceed to the State of Vermont, and to dig a ditch around the limits of the same, and to float 'the thing' into the Atlantic."
Such delicate little flowers...
News For The Hard Of Hearing
Not Full Enough Of News?
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass
No News Is Good News
A day without sunshine:
Sometimes...nothing interesting is happening, even if we can’t quite bring ourselves to admit it. On this day,  years ago, the BBC just came right out and said it on the evening news. “There is no news today,” they announced. Piano music followed.
April 18, 1930 should give today’s blog-fixated world pause. Today, we troll the entire planet for news and not just one single quixotic island nation, and so there’s more to talk about. Also, there’s a lot more of us doing things. But it’s not always relevant to our own lives. Some days piano music is just a better option.
I would love to see CNN's re-enactments of this day.
Failure Is An Option
Heroes are made in the hour of defeat. Success is, therefore, well described as a series of glorious defeats.
- MK Gandhi, Young India (January 15, 1925)
The day after Apollo 13 safely splashed down, Richard Nixon awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the folks at the MSC in Houston:
I have a very special honor, first as President of the United States to speak for all of the American people in expressing appreciation to the men and women on the ground who made it possible for the men to return to earth. We express our appreciation to you.
But I also am authorized to do something that even in this office I cannot usually do, and that is to speak not just for Americans but to speak for people all over the world.
There has poured into the White House in these past 24 hours, an unprecedented number of wires and letters and cables. There has poured in the kind of messages that have told me over and over again that it is vitally important to convey to the wives, to the astronauts, and to the men and women on the ground NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] the fact that not just Americans but people all over the world, not just people in the free world but people in the Communist world, people of all religions, of all faiths, of all political beliefs, that they also were on that trip with these men.
I could read many, many wires today that express those sentiments. I have one that I think perhaps summarizes them as well as any. I read it to you:
"To the President of the United States:
"For the safe return of three astronauts, we express profound gratitude to God, to men of science and to all those who contributed to make this possible."
On Jan. 13, 1920, a New York Times editorial stated that Dr. Robert H. Goddard, "seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools" because he thought that rocket thrust would be effective beyond the earth's atmosphere. These doubting Thomases could not have imagined that Goddard's determination and optimism would make it possible to get through failures with phrases like, "valuable negative information"...
During his few years in the Southwest, the physicist attempted 48 launches of liquid-propelled rockets, of which 31 lifted off...
Can't find the specific editorial mentioned, but I did see this in the Times' archive:
BELIEVES ROCKET CAN REACH MOON; Smithsonian Institution Tells of Prof. Goddard's Invention to Explore Upper Air. MULTIPLE-CHARGE SYSTEM Instruments Could Go Up 200 Miles, and Bigger Rocket Might Land on Satellite.
The Landlord's Tale
Listen, my children, and you shall hear why Paul Revere rode down that road:
On Tuesday evening, the 18th, it was observed, that a number of Soldiers were marching towards the bottom of the Common. About 10 o'Clock, Dr. Warren Sent in great haste for me, and beged that I would imediately Set off for Lexington, where Messrs. Hancock & Adams were, and acquaint them of the Movement, and that it was thought they were the objets.
And what happened as he was out alarming the countryside?
I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back, and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from, & what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up.
He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out.
He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms. He then orderd them to advance, & to lead me in front. When we got to the Road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we had got about one Mile, the Major Rode up to the officer that was leading me, & told him to give me to the Sergeant. As soon as he took me, the Major orderd him, if I attempted to run, or any body insulted them, to blow my brains out.
We rode till we got near Lexington Meeting-house, when the Militia fired a Voley of Guns, which appeared to alarm them very much.
[The Major told the Sergeant], take that man's Horse. I dismounted, & the Sargent mounted my Horse, when they all rode towards Lexington Meeting-House.
I went across the Burying-ground, & some pastures, & came to the Revd. Mr. Clark's House, where I found Messrs. Hancok & Adams. I told them of my treatment, & they concluded to go from that House to wards Woburn. I went with them, & a Mr. Lowell, who was a Clerk to Mr. Hancock.
When we got to the House where they intended to stop, Mr. Lowell & I my self returned to Mr. Clark's, to find what was going on. When we got there, an elderly man came in; he said he had just come from the Tavern, that a Man had come from Boston, who said
there were no British troops coming.
Oh, so it wasn't just Paul Revere? Weird.
I Spend The Day Your Way
Pro-Vax Click Bait
I was pleasantly surprised to see this Raw Story hed: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Sesame Street’s Elmo call anti-vaxxers out.
Naturally, it's as misleading as an anti-vaxxer screed. The video is quite nice and a Good Thing in terms of helping kids understand why they get shots and such, but it only focuses on the individual benefit of vaccination and has no discussion about herd immunity. It therefore doesn't counter any of the anti-vaxxer tripe about "individual choice."
Not that I really expected Elmo and the Surgeon General to call out anti-vaxxers.
Cease To Resist
Giving my goodbye:
Legislators here are deeply divided over a proposal to make the holy text an official state book, with some saying it's far too sacred to be trivialized like the state fruit (tomato), the state amphibian (Tennessee cave salamander) and several state songs ("Tennessee Waltz" and "Rocky Top").
Conversely, others believe the Bible is an integral part of the state's history, or don't want to appear to be against it. And then there are a host of constitutional questions to consider.
JFC. Oh, yeah, BTW, we still have constitutional wall of separation! Good on the TN Senate for kicking the bill to the dead letter office.
Making A Splash
Past Is Prologue
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes...
PS--Also see a nice translation into Modern English by Nevill Coghill.
A Mill Pond Sea...Calm As Could Be
Today's Edition Of Treason In Defense Of Slavery
Suppose they elevated Sumner to the Presidency? Suppose they elevated Fred. Douglas, your escaped slave, to the Presidency?...I say give me pestilence and famine sooner that that.
- Henry Benning, Commissioner from Georgia, to the Virginia Secession Convention
Adopted by the convention of Virginia, April 17,1861:
[T]he Federal Government having perverted said powers not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slave-holding States:
Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain, That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying and adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
But it wasn't about slavery.
A Blind South Carolinian Finds A Nut
I tell you, an honest man gets sick when he hears the word ‘Tyranny’ today, after what the Ted Cruz did to it:
It all started with a fundraising email Cruz sent making the case that “The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution isn’t for just protecting hunting rights, and it’s not only to safeguard your right to target practice. It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny — for the protection of liberty.” TPM’s Sahil Kapur asked Graham what he thought of his Texan colleague’s view of the Second Amendment, and the South Carolina senator was not impressed. He even invoked the Civil War, which should make Cruz’s people plenty upset. “Well, we tried that once in South Carolina,” Graham said. “I wouldn’t go down that road again.”
T Minus 20 To The Penultimate Mission
Speaking Of Rebel Movies
What makes Alien such a classic? Is it the iconic monsters? The story? The way it was shot? Sure, it's all of those. But there's also another reason it became a classic in the '70s — and it's not one of the reasons we still think of today...
Not only was Tom Skeritt the obvious "hero" in the movie, but Sigourney Weaver's Ripley was a character type that was edgy in 1979 (and arguably to this date, though more widely accepted in SF movies than in other genres and in the real world): she was the kind of woman a certain generation might call "mouthy" or a "ball-breaker". She's a stickler for rules; she's disliked, disrespected and disobeyed by her crewmates; she doesn't scream or cower (nothing against Veronica Cartwright's Lambert; just that there's a reason there's a horror film archetype called the "scream queen"). To be fair, even if Ripley had been cast with a male, the anal-retentive guy is supposed to get it in the last reel of a horror film, having proven he's not really such a huge asshole after all.
Ripley, a brash and (by the standards of the era) unwomanly woman prevails. Without compromising. And the brave, bearded manly-man? Turns out to be a likeable but incompetent dweeb who gets his halfway through the film. Younger audiences just don't get how groundbreaking that was when Alien came out. The movie defied convention, broke not just the rules but social mores that were still popular, and created archetypes that people take for granted these days.
And that's why it's a classic. People seem to think it's the brilliant art design or something. No. It's because it's a rebel movie.
She was no Anne Francis, that's for sure...
Speaking Of Rebels
How about Charlie Chaplin, born April 16, 1889? Coupla years ago, I was annoyed by a meme claiming he was an anarchist.
Ella Winter interviewed Chaplin in 1957. Their discussion ranged a bit, including exchanges on his distaste for "modern technique" in filmmaking. And that's where the meme quotation comes from:
We started up to the house again. His mercurial mood had given way to quiet. “As for politics, l'm an anarchist. I hate govemments and rules and—fetters. . . . Can't stand caged animals. . . . People must be free."
Suddenly he put a thumb in each armhole. "Greatest little comedian in the world," he smiled, and he sat down. Then he was on his feet again. "My picture isn't political. I'm anxious only that people laugh. The ﬁlm is satire; a clown must satirlze; I've never made a picture that didn't. " After a moment he added, "This is my most rebellious picture. I refuse to be part of that dying civilization they talk about."
“But it's sad, " Charlie said as we walked toward his happy ménage. "It's me. I keep repeating what I am. The boy and I are human beings, that's all," and his intense blue eyes shone with his radiant, sad comedian's smile.
To someone looking for bumpersticker affirmation of their worldview by a wealthy entertainer, this would naturally be attractive. I'd submit, however, that Chaplin is saying something much more complex, nuanced and thoughtful than, "I'm an anarchist." Seems that he affirms MY worldview, actually. Ahem.
His statement might come from a world-weary, cynical space--who wouldn't be tired of all the hounding by government and media--but it strikes me as completely consistent with everything he said and did before. A few years earlier he was quoted by the Guardian (linked above):
I am not a political man and I have no political convictions. I am an individual and a believer in liberty. That is all the politics I have. On the other hand I am not a super-patriot. Super-patriotism leads to Hitlerism - and we've had our lesson there. I don't want to create a revolution - I just want to create a few more films.
I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible -- Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another; human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there's room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
Soldiers: Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written, "the kingdom of God is within man" -- not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite!! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age a security... Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.
A call for humanity to unite, democratically, to create a better world. Also a critique of greed and machinery and all the trappings of the modern Western world. And maybe even homage to Gandhi and Tolstoy?
Afterall, Gandhi was inspired in part by The Kingdom Of God Is Within You, written by Christian anarchist, Leo Tolstoy (with whom he corresponded quite a bit). And Chaplin met Gandhi in 1931 (a slightly different account in the actor's autobiography):
CHARLIE CHAPLIN: Naturally I am in sympathy with India’s aspirations and struggle for freedom. Nonetheless, I am somewhat confused by your abhorrence of machinery.
GANDHIJI : I understand. But before India can achieve those aims, she must first rid herself of English rule. Machinery in the past has made us dependent on England, and the only way we can rid ourselves of the dependence is to boycott all goods made by machinery. That is why we have made it the patriotic duty of every Indian to spin his own cotton and weave his own cloth. This is our form of attacking a very powerul nation like England...
DId this exchange and the rest of their brief encounter inform some of Chaplin's maturing politics? Can we hear its echoes in Modern Times?
Certainly between 1931 and 1937, Chaplin was influenced by many things, particularly the Depression and the problems associated with mechanization, but I like to think Gandhi might have helped a little to plant the crystal seed. And while it's not clear whether there's any anarchist aesthetic (as opposed to parody of, or plain neutrality on the subject) in the movie, it certainly reflects Chaplin's consistent advocacy of individuals over the dehumanizing aspects of modern society.
I guess I don't have a larger point after all that. Was Chaplin an anarchist? Dunno, don't think it matters much. If he were, does quoting him make a convincing argument for anarchy? Not really.
More importantly, how many people who are quoting that interview (without citation) have explored the interesting depths of his philosophy, art and life? The entire context is rich and fascinating, and offers a lot more than a superficial meme.
Anyway, happy birthday, old man.
You Can Choose To Take Their Victory From Them. And They Will Remember You.
We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom.
[T]hey then held fast the same resolution, without wavering, which they had upon the hearing of Eleazar's speech, while yet every one of them still retained the natural passion of love to themselves and their families, because the reasoning they went upon appeared to them to be very just, even with regard to those that were dearest to them; for the husbands tenderly embraced their wives, and took their children into their arms, and gave the longest parting kisses to them, with tears in their eyes.
Yet at the same time did they complete what they had resolved on, as if they had been executed by the hands of strangers; and they had nothing else for their comfort but the necessity they were in of doing this execution, to avoid that prospect they had of the miseries they were to suffer from their enemies. Nor was there at length any one of these men found that scrupled to act their part in this terrible execution, but every one of them despatched his dearest relations.
Miserable men indeed were they! whose distress forced them to slay their own wives and children with their own hands, as the lightest of those evils that were before them. So they being not able to bear the grief they were under for what they had done any longer, and esteeming it an injury to those they had slain, to live even the shortest space of time after them, they presently laid all they had upon a heap, and set fire to it.
They then chose ten men by lot out of them to slay all the rest; every one of whom laid himself down by his wife and children on the ground, and threw his arms about them, and they offered their necks to the stroke of those who by lot executed that melancholy office; and when these ten had, without fear, slain them all, they made the same rule for casting lots for themselves, that he whose lot it was should first kill the other nine, and after all should kill himself.
Accordingly, all these had courage sufficient to be no way behind one another in doing or suffering; so, for a conclusion, the nine offered their necks to the executioner, and he who was the last of all took a view of all the other bodies, lest perchance some or other among so many that were slain should want his assistance to be quite despatched, and when he perceived that they were all slain, he set fire to the palace, and with the great force of his hand ran his sword entirely through himself, and fell down dead near to his own relations.
So these people died with this intention, that they would not leave so much as one soul among them all alive to be subject to the Romans. Yet was there an ancient woman, and another who was of kin to Eleazar, and superior to most women in prudence and learning, with five children, who had concealed themselves in caverns under ground, and had carried water thither for their drink, and were hidden there when the rest were intent upon the slaughter of one another.
Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number, the women and children being withal included in that computation. This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan].
"I [do] not believe in passive resistance. Satyagraha is something very active. It is the reverse of passive. Submission is passive and I dislike submission. The Jews of Germany made the mistake of submitting to Hitler."
"Hitler," Gandhi solemnly affirmed, "killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs. I believe in hari-kiri. I do not believe in its militaristic connotations, but it is a heroic method."
"[That] would have been heroism. It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to the evils of Hitler's violence, especially in 1938, before the war. As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions."
[N]on-violence has to be non-violence of the brave and the strong. It must come from inward conviction. I have, therefore, not hesitated to say that it is better to be violent if there is violence in our breasts than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.
The Mahatma hated impotence and passivity even more than violence. Suicide is, at the very least, active--doing and dying.
God Money Just Tell Me What You Want Me To
They Speak English In WTF?
Bow down before the one you serve:
[W]e are shocked. And if you are anything like us — that is, a More Or Less Intelligent Being-American — you’ll be shocked too. And then you’ll throw up. And then you’ll shake your head and say, “I must be reading that wrong, it is UNPOSSIBLE,” and you’ll read it again, but yes, you read it right the first time, sorry:
Republicans by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 say the U.S. should support Israel even when its stances diverge with American interests, a new Bloomberg Politics poll finds. Democrats, by roughly the same ratio, say the opposite is true and that the U.S. must pursue its own interests over Israel’s.
Further illustrating how sharply partisan the debate has become, Republicans say they feel more sympathetic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than to their own president, 67 percent to 16 percent, while Democrats are more sympathetic to President Barack Obama than to Israel’s prime minister, 76 percent to 9 percent.
We know. You don’t believe it. You have to read it again anyway. Go ahead. We’ll wait for you.
OK, wipe the vomit from your chin, and let us growl and groan about what this poll reveals about the Republican Party in 2015, but together, so we do not have to sob and drink ourselves to death, alone.
The Grand Ol’ Party of Lincoln — who kept the union together and freed the slaves, so it canNOT be racist, as the GOP of Lincoln is so fond of reminding us — is more loyal to another country than their own U.S. America, and more supportive of the prime minister of another country than their own president of U.S. America. What? How? Who? What? Huh? WHAT EVEN THE FUCK?
They must really want to bring about the End Times.
Just about a year ago.
To Exist Is To Resist
The earth is a feast for losers(and we are among them).
We are left in place as the echo of an epic hymn.
And like an old eagle's feathers, our tents are swept away with the wind.
We were kindhearted and self-denying even without the teachings of Jesus.
We weren't stronger than plants, except at the end of summer.
You are my reality. I am your question.
We inherited nothing but our names.
You are my garden, I am your shade,
in the final passage of an epic hymn.
This Is The Night
Only Money Keeps Green
Wake to find everything blackwhat was white, all the viceversa—white maids on TV, blacksitcoms that star white dwarfscute as pearl buttons. Black Presidents,Black Houses. White horsecandidates. All bleach burnsclothes black. Drive roadswhite as you are, white songson the radio stolen by black bandslike secret pancake recipes...
A 10-Foot-Tall Crybaby
Fox Business host John Stossel joined Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" on Tuesday night to tell host Bill O'Reilly that Christianity is not under attack.
"Your 'war on Christianity' — you’re just a 10-foot-tall crybaby," Stossel told O'Reilly. "It’s not so bad. Christians aren’t being killed."
"Not yet," O'Reilly jumped into say.
"And not in America, and they’re not going to be," Stossel said.
O'Reilly then claimed that Christians are "verbally being killed."
"You shouldn’t be diminished because you believe a certain way," O'Reilly said. "Aren’t you outraged by that?"
"What’s diminished?" Stossel asked in response, adding that Christians make up a majority in the U.S. "You've won."
"It’s not a matter of winning. It’s a matter of respect," O'Reilly replied.
Dear Bill: Fuck you.
New blog in the Wild, Wild West, if'n you got the munchies.
Little C and Sadie scour the playing field for birds on our way to pickup the pre-kers.
Speaking Of The Treaty Of Paris
Well, yeah, so I'd mentioned the Treaty of Paris the other day in that Jefferson meme post, and I'd alluded to John Quincy Adams' (non)role in their adoption. Naturally I must follow up on the winding route to ratification.
Whereas Provisional Articles were signed at Paris on the Thirtieth Day of November last, between the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States of America for treating of Peace, and the Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty' to be inserted in and to constitute the Treaty of Peace proposed to be concluded between the United States of America and his Britannic Majesty, when Terms of Peace should be agreed upon between their Most Christian and Britannic Majesties...
We have thought fit to make known the same to the Citizens of these States and we hereby strictly Charge and Command all our Officers, both by Sea and Land, and others, Subjects of these United States, to Forbear all Acts of Hostility, either by Sea or by Land, against His Britannic Majesty or his Subjects, from and after the respective Times agreed upon between their Most Christian and Britannic Majesties as aforesaid.
And We do further require all Governors and others, the Executive Powers of these United States respectively, to cause this our Proclamation to be made Public, to the end that the same be duly observed within their several Jurisdictions.
On April 15, Congress approved the preliminary articles, which included the 9th (and last):
In case it should so happen that any Place or Territory belonging to Great Britain, or to the United States, should be conquered by the Arms of either, from the other, before the Arrival of these Articles in America, It is agreed that the same shall be restored, without Difficulty, and without requiring any Compensation.
The finally treaty added a 10th article which added a time limit on ratification, which caused Thomas Jefferson a great deal of anxiety. It was approved the following January and noticed arrived in France 1 year and 1 day after the provisional treaty was approved.
Then everybody started twitter hashtag wars (#WeAreImpressingUrSailors, #WeWillTakeCanada, etc) until 1812...
And Could You?
I suddenly smeared the weekday map
splashing paint from a glass;
On a plate of aspic
the ocean's slanted cheek.
On the scales of a tin fish
I read the summons of new lips.
could you perform
a nocturne on a drainpipe flute?
Speaking Of Founders Working Tirelessly To End Slavery
I brought up John Quincy Adams again, so here's a little background into his vaunted antislavery career:
[He] had shown little concern about slavery during his early career, and although he had no love of the institution he in no way condemned it...Still, to Adams the obligation to respect and obey the law of the land did not mean he had to assist slavery's expansion or gag congressmen who wished to express their opposition to it, or, most importantly, abolish a citizen's right of petition.
As the issue continued to inﬂame the country Adams came to real-ize that the question of slavery threatened the very existence of the Union. And that he could never abide. "The real question convulsing the Union,” he wrote in a statement that was later echoed in Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, “was whether a population spread over an immense territory, consisting of one great division of all freemen, and another of masters and slaves, could exist permanently together as members of one community or not.”
In addition he began to see slavery as the root cause of all sectional divisions, be it the tariff internal improvements, Indian removal, public land, territorial expansion, whatever. And he claimed that the Democratic party was responsible for protecting slavery and preventing its free discussion in Congress...
In a very real sense Adarns’s hatred of the South and Democrats in general stemmed from his desire to punish them for having wrecked his administration...By attacking slavery he could inﬂict the revenge he so desperately sought for the role played by Democrats, north and south, in ruining his presidency.
Still that motive alone does not entirely explain his present attitude toward slavery. Although it had taken many years it is possible that, following the massacres of blacks during the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy and the Nat Turner Rebellion, along with the race riots of the 1830s, he ﬁnally came to the realization that something had to be done about the "peculiar institution.” Not that he joined the abolitionists or agreed with their tactics. He opposed the idea of emancipating slaves in the District of Columbia because he did not believe Congress had the constitutional authority. And he showed only contempt for radical abolitionists who would actually destroy the Union to achieve their goal...
He would tolerate slavery where it existed but he would ﬁght its expansion as well as any attempt to prevent the free expression of those who abhorred the institution. So when he ﬁnally raised his voice in defense of the right of petition he not surprisingly gained the reputation of a ﬁerce and dedicated enemy of slavery.
In a number of ways, JQA was the proto-Lincoln: not an abolitionist, but saw slavery as something ungood, and that caused a great deal of strife in the Union. Consider this floor speech by JQA that meandered from April 14-16, 1842:
I would compound never to take Texas, or, if they will agree that slavery shall be abolished there, I will agree to take her. But no, never, while breath is in my, body, will I consent to the annexation of any foreign State which is burdened with the curse of slavery.
What I am now to say, I say with great reluctance and with great pain. I am well aware that it is touching upon a sore place, and I would gladly get over it if I could. It has been my effort, as far as was in my power, to avoid any allusion whatever to that question which the gentleman from Virginia tells us that the most lamblike disposition in the South never can approach without anger and indignation. Sir, that is my sorrow. I admit that the fact is so. We cannot touch that subject without raising throughout the whole South a mass of violence and passion, with which one might as well reason as with a hurricane.
That I know is the fact in the South, and that is the fact in this House. And it is the reason why members coming from a free State are silenced as soon as they rise on this floor; why they are pronounced out of order; made to sit down ; and, if they proceed, are censured and expelled...
What I say is involuntary, because the subject has been brought into the House from another quarter, as the gentleman himself admits. I would leave that institution to the exclusive consideration and management of the States more peculiarly interested in it, just as long as they can keep within their own bounds. So far I admit that Congress has no power to meddle with it. As long as they do not step out of their own bounds, and do not put the question to the People of the United States, whose peace, welfare, and happiness are all at stake, so long I will agree to leave them to themselves.
But...if they come to the free States and say to them you must help us to keep down our slaves, you must aid us in an insurrection and a civil war, then I say that with that call comes a full and plenary power to this House and to the Senate over the whole subject. It is a war power.
[T]his is a reason with me for not desiring the annexation of Texas to this Union, because, if we go to war for that annexation, I entertain serious apprehensions that this will become a practical question...[T]he day is not remote, when, in one of the slave States, an invading army from abroad may be combined with an insur- rection of the slaves and with a civil war, and the danger still further heightened by an irruption of that whole body of Indians whom you have accumulated and compressed together as if for the very purpose of organizing them for a hostile movement upon our frontier.
The gentleman is soon to plant the lone star of Texas and slavery on the walls of Mexico; and then what is to become of the liberties of these United States. [A laugh.] Is it conformable to the history of the world that the leader of such an army after conquests not reaching to one-tenth the extent of those which the gentleman will achieve, should remain content with the station of an humble, private citizen? No. No.
The experience of all mankind has given us warning that if that is to be the course of our public affairs, and such are to be the brilliant fortunes of the gentleman from Virginia, our liberties will stand as little chance in after times as those of the nine millions of the people of Mexico after he shall have conquered them.
Turns out, there's a direct line from this speech to the Emancipation Proclamation:
Lincoln...feared that Roger Taney’s Supreme Court might object. The constitutional basis for such a bold decree would have to be the war powers of the president, a somewhat vague concept implied in the chief executive’s status as “Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States” and in the presidential oath of office. In 1842, Congressman John Quincy Adams had emphatically insisted that in a civil or foreign war, “not only the President ofy the United States, but the commander of the army has power to order the universal emancipation of the slaves.” Charles Sumner, Henry Ward Beecher, and other antislavery militants had endorsed Adams’s dictum and urged Lincoln to act on it. With these thoughts in mind, Lincoln drafted his momentous proclamation.
There is a higher agency that may be invoked, which is at the same time under the Constitution and above the Constitution : I mean Martial Law in its plenitude, and declared by solemn Proclamation. It is under the Constitution, because the War Power to which it be longs is positively recognized by the Constitution. It is above the Constitution, because, when set in motion, like necessity, it knows no other law. For the time it is Law and Constitution.
The civil power, in mass and detail, is superseded, and all rights are subordinate to this military magistracy. Other agencies, small and great, executive, legislative, and even judicial, are absorbed in a transcendent tribune power, which, for the time, declares its absolute will, while holding alike the scales of justice and the sword of the executioner. The existence of this power nobody questions. If rarely exercised in our country, and never largely, the power is none the less fixed in our political system. As well strike out the kindred law of self-defence, belonging to states as to individuals. Martial Law is only a form of self-defence.
That this law might be employed against Slavery, without impediment from State Rights, was first pro claimed in the House of Representatives by a Massachusetts statesman, who was a champion of Freedom, John Quincy Adams. [Applause.] His authority is such that I content myself with the sanction of his name, which becomes more commanding when we con sider the circumstances under which he first put forth this great rule, then repeated it, and then again most defiantly vindicated it.
Student of history, and of Public Law in all its forms, from earliest youth, under the teaching of his father, counsellor-at-law, Senator of the United States, Minister at foreign courts, including Holland, Prussia, Russia, England, negotiator of Peace at Ghent, then Secretary of State and President, this illustrious citizen, after such varied experience, entered the House of Representatives, where it became his duty to expound the War Power in our government, especially with regard to Slavery. On such a question, his whole life was the open book from which he spoke with magistral authority. No well-worn, dog-eared volume was needed. Himself was enough. And the circumstances of the debate, with the sensitiveness of the hour, gave new force to the principle which he announced.
I'm not so sure how much Henry Ward Beecher endorsed the view, though:
How far our government, by a just use of its legitimate powers under the Constitution, can avail itself of this war to limit or even to bring slavery to an end, is matter for the wisest deliberation of the wisest men.
If there be in the hand of the warpower, as John Quincy Adams thought there was, a right of emancipation, then let that be shown, and, in God's name, be employed. But if there be given to us no right by our Constitution to enter upon the States with a legislation subversive of their whole interior economy, not all the mischiefs of slavery, and certainly not our own impatience under its burdens and vexations, should tempt us to usurp it.
This conflict must be carried on through our institutions, not over them. Revolution is not the remedy for rebellion. The exercise on the part of our government of unlawful powers cannot be justified, except to save the nation from absolute destruction.
The South, like an immense field of nettles, has been overrun with the pestilent heresies of State rights. Because our hands are stinging with these poisonous weeds, we shall be tempted inconsiderately to go to the opposite extreme, and to gather up the diffused powers of the State and consolidate and centralize them in the National Government.
It's No Fun Being An Illegal Alien
They Were Only Negroes, Poor And Despised
Happy birthday to The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage:
The first notice we find upon record of associated action [on behalf of the coloured people], was a meeting of a few individuals at the Sun Tavern, in Second street, in Philadelphia, April 14, 1775, at which time they adopted a Constitution, the Preamble of which Sets forth the objects for which the Society was formed...
The Society proceeded to the election of officers, and chose John Baldwin, President; Samuel Davis, Treasurer; and Thomas Harrison, Secretary. They also appointed at the first meeting a Standing Committee of Inspection, consisting of six members, who had forthwith a number of cases committed to their care. Their Reports from time to time manifest a lively interest in the concern, and a good degree of success in rescuing many of the unfortunate objects of their care from the avaricious grasp of their claimants.
The Society met four times in the course of the year, the last of which meetings was held in the 11th month, 1775. After transacting the usual business, they adjourned to meet at the same place in the 2d month of the following year, 1776. About that time, however, the difficulties between this country and Great Britain, which preceded the Revolution, had resulted in the war, in consequence of which no further meetings of the Society took place until it was over. The next meeting occurred in the 2d month, 1784. The opening minute explains the occasion of the interregnum, by stating, "The national commotions that have prevailed for several years, are the only reasons why the company have not met according to the rules."
Our sect's peculiarity might have been a component of the interruption to regular meetings:
Perhaps a more explicit reason for this suspension of the public labours of the Society, may be derived from the fact, that the members of that little association were also mostly, or perhaps all of them, members of the religious Society of Friends, who, from their peculiar tenets, particularly their testimony against War, could not participate in the forcible opposition of their fellow-citizens to the Government of England, under which they were then living; on which account they were, in many instances, closely tried with persecution, and much individual suffering was endured.
A number of very valuable Friends, who were amongst the most respectable and influential members of the community, were suddenly arrested, and without being permitted to see their wives or families, or make any preparation for leaving their business, banished from the city, and carried away into the interior of Virginia, where they were confined for some time—and one or more died there. On account of the obloquy thus cast upon them, Friends were necessarily obliged to avoid as much as possible mixing in public affairs.
This may also serve to account for their not appearing to have been ostensibly engaged in promoting the passage of the Act of Assembly, for the gradual abolition of slavery in this State, which took place in 1780, at which time their enemies were numerous, and many of them slaveholders, who hated the Quakers because they were abolitionists.
Anyway, after the War this group reformed a couple times and rebranded itself as Pennsylvania Abolition Society, which was formally incorporated by the Commonwealth in 1789. Among the myraid luminaries in the membership were Benjamin Franklin, who became president. They signed a petition on February 3, 1790, which was submitted to the House on February 15:
A memorial of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery was presented to the House and read, praying that Congress may take such measures in their wisdom, as the powers with which they are invested will authorize, for promoting the abolition of slavery, and discouraging every species of traffic in slaves.
The memorial of the People called Quakers, at their annual meeting, held at Philadelphia, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, presented yesterday, was read the second time: Whereupon,
A motion being made and seconded, that the said memorial be refered to the consideration of a committee,
- It was resolved in the affirmative,
- Ayes ... 43,
- Noes ... 11.
Ordered, That the said memorial be referred to Mr. Foster, Mr. Huntington, Mr. Gerry, Mr. Lawrance, Mr. Sinnickson, Mr. Hartley, and Mr. Parker; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House.
Ordered, That the memorial of the People called Quakers, at their annual meeting held at New York, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine, as also the memorial of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, presented to-day, be referred to the committee last appointed; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House
Ah yes, those very pesky Quakers, always bugging Congress. So annoying to the sensibilities of certain Members that a Gag Rule was imposed upon the House, against which John Quincy Adams railed for quite a long time. More about that later...
Use the Force, Sam.
What Misogyny Isn't
Criticizing Hillary Clinton on issues like these is not misogyny:
- Tax policy
- Climate change
- Military intervention
Attacking her for stuff like this is misogyny:
- Standing by Bill
And this is just fucking stupid:
Please make a note of it.
* Ronald Reagan. John McCain. Mitt Romney. STFU.
Richard Gloucester Is At Hand
Our Fearful Trip Is Done
After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods, and last night being chased by gunboats till I was forced to return wet, cold, and starving, with every man's hand against me, I am here in despair. And why? For doing what Brutus was honored for.
- JW Booth (April 21, 1865)
NYTimes: The Murder of President Lincoln.
The heart of this nation was stirred yesterday as it has never been stirred before. The news of the assassination of ABRAHAM LINCOLN carried with it a sensation of horror and of agony which no other event in our history has ever excited. In this city the demonstrations of grief and consternation were without a parallel.Business was suspended. Crowds of people thronged the streets -- great gatherings sprung up spontaneously everywhere seeking to give expression, by speeches, resolutions, &c., &c., to the universal sense of dismay and indignation which pervaded the public mind.
Perhaps the paramount element in this public feeling was evoked by personal regard for ABRAHAM LINCOLN. That a man so gentle, so kind, so free from every particle of malice or unkindness, every act of whose life has been so marked by benevolence and goodwill, should become the victim of a cold-blooded assassination, shocked the public heart beyond expression. That the very momoment, too, when he was closing the rebellion which had drenched our land in blood and tears -- by acts of magnanimity so signal as even to excite the reluctant distrust and apprehensions of his own friends -- should be chosen for his murder, adds a new element of horror to the dreadful tragedy.
But a powerful element of the general feeling which the news aroused was a profound concern for the public welfare. The whole nation had come to lean on ABRAHAM LINCOLN in this dread crisis of its fate with a degree of confidence never accorded to any President since GEORGE WASHINGTON. His love of his country ardent and all-pervading, -- swaying every act and prompting every word, -- his unsuspected uprightness and personal integrity, -- his plain, simple common sense, conspicuous in everything he did or said, commending itself irresistibly to the judgment and approval of the great body of the people, had won for him a solid and immovable hold upon the regard and confidence even of his political opponents. The whole people mourn his death with profound and sincere appreciation of his character and his worth.
In this hour of mourning and of gloom, while the shadow of an awful and unparalleled calamity hangs over the land, it is well to remember that the stability of our government and the welfare of our country do not depend upon the life of any individual, and that the great current of affairs is not to be changed or checked by the loss of any man however high or however honored. In nations where all power is vested in single hands, and assassin's knife may overthrow governments and wrap a continent in the flames of war. But here the PEOPLE rule, and events inevitably follow the course which they prescribe.
Sic transit gloria mundi...
Looking At The Comet Bennet
When The Spade Sinks Into Gravelly Ground
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slapOf soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edgeThrough living roots awaken in my head.But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.Between my finger and my thumbThe squat pen rests.I’ll dig with it.
Speaking Of Jefferson And Memes
Well, goddammit, dKos:
Yes, yes, very nice. Hahaha, Congress blathers on, and Jefferson--author of the first manual for our Senate--totes knew it.
What's more, the quotation is even 100% accurate! Yet it loses so much without the context.
This comes from Jefferson's autobiography of 1821. He was reminiscing about the Treaty of Paris, ending our War of Independence almost 40 years prior, and his anxiety about Congress getting its collective act together to ratify the document.
Our body was little numerous, but very contentious. Day after day was wasted on the most unimportant questions.
A member, one of those afflicted with the morbid rage of debate, of an ardent mind, prompt imagination, and copious flow of words, who heard with impatience any logic which was not his own, sitting near me on some occasion of a trifling but wordy debate, asked me how I could sit in silence, hearing so much false reasoning, which a word should refute?
I observed to him, that to refute indeed was easy, but to silence was impossible; that in measures brought forward by myself, I took the laboring oar, as was incumbent on me; but that in general I was willing to listen; that if every sound argument or objection was used by some one or other of the numerous debaters, it was enough; if not, I thought it sufficient to suggest the omission, without going into a repetition of what had been already said by others: that this was a waste and abuse of the time and patience of the House, which could not be justified.
And I believe that if the members of deliberate bodies were to observe this course generally, they would do in a day what takes them a week; and it is really more questionable than may at first be thought, whether Bonaparte's dumb legislature, which said nothing and did much, may not be preferable to one which talks much and does nothing.
Yes, and Bonaparte made the post run on time. I'm sure the folks at dKos would love a more productive GOP Congress.
I served with General Washington in the legislature of Virginia, before the Revolution, and, during it, with Dr. Franklin in Congress. I never heard cither of them speak ten minutes at a time, nor to any but the main point which was to decide the question. They laid their shoulders to the great points, knowing that the little ones would follow of themselves.
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise, in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour? That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together, ought not to be expected. But to return again to our subject...
Remember, the man thought he possessed no gift of oratory, and sent his annual messages to Congress in written form. Small wonder he wouldn't tolerate a lot of gab.
Anyway, with the rich veins of written thoughts available, this is the quotation our friends at Orange Satan chose to meme-ify? What a waste...
Maherism Is The Motherlode Of Being A Dick
No, this cannot be:
You know what you call someone who makes sweeping generalizations on billions of people based on the extreme actions of a few? A bigot. Bill Maher, for example, is a bigot. And if you’re a fan of his smug, dismissive shtick, you’re a bigot too.
He says some funny things sometimes. Even some insightful things sometimes. Still a dick.
The Best Thing We Can Do Is Go On With Our Daily Pledge
Paging Nurse Ratched:
On the morning of April 2nd, most of the students of Wilson Middle School in Pennsylvania rose to recite the daily Pledge of Allegiance. One student, however, had sought medical treatment from the school nurse at the same time. As is her constitutional right, she refused to stand even as the nurse ordered her and other students to do so.
After the normal day resumed, the school nurse demanded to know why the girl didn’t stand and recite the pledge. She informed the nurse that she had every right to do so. That’s when the nurse snapped, berated her and refused to treat her medical needs, causing her to tearfully run to the office to contact her mother. But she was prevented from making the phone call by the same nurse, who arrived in the office to inform the girl that she wouldn’t be allowed to use the phone until after she sat through a long lecturing.
Der Treueschwur macht frei!
C'mon, big brother, let's hurry home and get some lunch.
I SAID HUG YOUR SISTER!
Later we went for a walk with Mex, who is recovering from a sneak attack upon his hindquarters by a vicious neighbor dog.
Some of us ran.
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride.
Using my uncle's old walking stick.
This Is Gospel For The Fallen Ones Locked Away In Permanent Slumber
Hecate Gives Good Quotes, Too
My favorite witch:
[L]ike Melissa, here’s my bottom line:
And no matter what, I am going to push back with all of my might against misogyny unleashed at [Hillary Rodham], because that’s how feminism works.
So strap in, y’all. Here we go.
I’ve spent my life watching Patriarchy demonize smart, ambitious, aggressive women, although often subtly and from the shadows. Now, it’s all going to come out into the open.
*munches on eclair thoughtfully*
Adams Gave Good Quotes, Too
Speaking of that article about Jefferson, which said:
John Adams was quite colorful, but not inspirational.
Dunno, I find stuff like this inspirational:
I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study...Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.
To Coin Money Quotes
If I had a nickel:
[T]he Jeffersonian currency is easily counterfeited. Internet traffic in spurious quotes got so out of hand in recent years that Monticello’s research department compiled a long list of them, posting explanations on its website so as to distinguish among the accurate, partially accurate, and wholly inaccurate. With such confusion, and with politicians who see a Jefferson who speaks only to their particular ideological persuasion, the “real” Jefferson gets lost.