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The more things change the more they stay the same

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For Americans the concept of 100 years is looked at as an eternity, but it is little more than a life time and as I move to the shady side of 50, 100 seems just around the corner.  Maybe not around the corner but not as far off as 18 did when I was 13. My father-in-law was born in 1900, and when he died in 1997 I found myself looking at what a bunch of history he had seen in his life. The Civil War was a mere 35 years prior to his birth. Thirty-five years after the civil war the consequences and repercussions were still a part of daily life.

In An Address Delivered By Judge George L. Christian,

Before the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans at the Annual Meeting held at Culpepper C. H., Va., October 4th, 1898, the honorable judge went on to enumerate the South's case, describing the North's push for war and grievances over what came after the war. I find that parallels between their time and the quagmire we find ourselves in today are inescapable. For instance the south claimed:

"Administrative usurpation of extraordinary and dangerous powers, not granted by the Constitution" in the North's push for war. (Sounds a lot like going to war in Iraq.)

"That after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretense of a military necessity of a war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution has been disregarded in every part. Justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for the cessation of hostilities."  (Sounds a lot like the whole GWOT.)

After the war voter suppression was utilized by the Republican Army of Abraham Lincoln.

"As a sample of the interference by the military authorities in that election, tells us in his book how he was sent by Mr. Stanton to New York with General B. F. Butler a military force to control that city and State for Mr. Lincoln. He says he stationed his troops conveniently near to every voting place in New York city, and that 'he took care that the Southerners should understand that means would be taken for their identification, and that whoever of them should vote would be dealt with in such a manner as to make them uncomfortable'; and 'the result was,' he says, that 'substantially no Southerners voted at the polls on election day.'"

Even with voter suppression the Republicans narrowly carried the day. (accordingly a similar mandate was awarded GW Bush, only this time the Supreme Court got in on the fraud.)

"It is most interesting to notice the vote in some of the great States of the North in this contest on the issue thus presented. Notwithstanding the interference by the military, as above stated by General Butler, the vote in New York was 368,726 for Lincoln and 361,986 for McClellan, or a little over 6,000 majority for Lincoln and his cause. Can any one doubt what the result would have been but for what General Butler says he and his troops did? In Pennsylvania the vote was 296,389 for Lincoln, and 276,308 for McClellan. That in Ohio was 265,154 for Lincoln, and 205,568 for McClellan. That in Indiana was 150,422 for Lincoln, and 130,233 for McClellan. That in Illinois was 189,487 for Lincoln, and 158,349 for McClellan. That in Wisconsin was 79,564 for Lincoln, and 63,875 for McClellan. In New Hampshire it was 36,595 for Lincoln, and 33,034 for McClellan. In Connecticut it was 44,693 for Lincoln, and 42,288 for McClellan; and whilst McClellan got the electoral votes of only New Jersey, Delaware and Kentucky, it is shown by the large vote he polled in all the States that the feeling of the people of the North against their cause was not confined to any State or locality, but pervaded the whole country; nearly every State, except perhaps Massachusetts, Vermont, Kansas, Maine and West Virginia, endorsing the war policy of the Republicans by smaller majorities than they have since given to the same party on purely economic issues. And just think of it, my comrades, that by a change of 209,000 in a vote of more than four millions, a majority of the people of the North would have voted that their cause was wrong, and that ours was consequently right."

And the hits just keep on coming, the apparent haste for war and voter suppression is only the beginning in a series of historical events that one way or another shaped this country. In that period of time after the Civil War the US was just beginning to dabble in world-wide expansion as well as the great western migration. In their narcissistic righteousness Puerto Rico was absorbed, Cuba was considered ripe for the picking, and Panama was a done deal and it was just a matter of time till Hawaii would be annexed.

During the final years of the 19th and the early years of the 20th centuries we were to experience a case study in contradictions known as Teddy Roosevelt, an avid outdoorsman who idolized the likes of Boone and Crockett and the cowboys of the west. He was also a man who was convinced of his own moral superiority and ultimately the final word on all policy matters he encountered in his career in politics. he also believed in Americas Manifest Destiny of world domination due to American exceptionalism and "Big-Stick Diplomacy" .

While Roosevelt was an ardent expansionist believing that the white American was destined to dominate the landscape, he was also keenly aware of the unholy alliance between politics and corporations. And of the prevailing view of these malefactors was that "capital was king; the corporation was society in microcosm; and government was the oil which made industry throb". What reportedly worried Roosevelt was the inability of ordinary people to understand the danger of this proliferation .

The industrial revolution was picking up steam and the "Titans of Industry" were dividing up the country as if they owned it all. There was the Indian problem to be dealt with, a railroad to build on the backs of immigrant forced labor or as some might call it slavery (the very thing we have been told the Civil War was fought over), and a work force of hungry Americans to exploit. Morgan, Chase, Rochefeller, Carnegie, Edison, etc., etc., had Washington sewn up with unfettered clear sailing ahead, until Teddy Roosevelt came to power unexpectedly upon the death of Pres. William McKinley,  corporate America's man in the White House.

Up to the time of the Civil War there were maybe a dozen corporate mergers.  After the war there was a boom in mergers totaling more than 300 by 1900. Roosevelt busted 44 monopolistic corporations and trusts, in keeping with the Progressive Party Platform, the wing of the Republican party that was trying to reform the party from the self-described "Radical Republicans". The same Republicans that pushed for the Civil War. In the end Roosevelt's reforms failed and corporations and Wall Street grew stronger.  

The early years of the 20th century saw huge fortunes made by the well connected, the annointed 1% at that time; perhaps it was the .5%. 1900 thru the 1920's was laissez-faire capitalism at its finest, no rules to impede corporate growth. Then in the 1930's the truth tried to surface once again within the unexpected form of Marine Corps General Smedly Butler, whistle blower. See the video.

Born in 1881, his father and grandfather were U.S. Congressmen, and Butler was born into the upper class of Pennsylvania. His family was Quaker, and traced back its Pennsylvania lineage to the days of William Penn. Although he could have pursued the life of an aristocrat, Butler evidenced a martial spirit from a young age, and in 1898 enlisted in the Marines, swept up into the "Remember the Maine" fervor that began the Spanish-American war. He saw action in Cuba, and his career continued to the Boxer "Rebellion" in China in 1900, where he was twice wounded with bullets. His father was influential in the military establishment, as he chaired the House Naval Affairs Committee and served in Congress for thirty-two years. Butler then saw action in Nicaragua and Haiti, with a spying interlude in Mexico.

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52 yo Alaskan who is utterly and compleatly asstounded by the last 12 years of the cirqe d' absurde we call our govement in washington. anger and disappointment in the current occupants of the Whitehouse make it really hard to remain focused with a (more...)
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