Tag Archives: 1861

Comparing Catalonia and the Confederacy—States and Nations (with notes on the Monstrosity of Moderation in Media)

SPAIN TRIED AND FAILED TO SUPPRESS A VOTE FOR SECESSION IN ITS WEALTHY NORTHEASTERN CORNER OF CATALONIA TODAY (Sunday October 1, 2017).  According to the latest tally I have seen on the BBC, 2,020,144 Catalan voters cast their ballots in favor of an Independent Republic, centered on the Mediterranean seaport of Barcelona.  These two million plus voters constituted 90.09% of the 42-43% of the eligible electorate who voted, but Spain itself had urged pro-Spanish “no” voters to stay away from the Polls, and the massive police intervention and use of force must have discouraged some….

Although during the past 42 years that “Francisco Franco is still dead,” Spain has acknowledged the right of the several nationalities (Basque, Galician, Catalan) to assert regional autonomy, Spain has declared this vote illegal and non-binding. The Central Government of Spain in Madrid has been arguing ever since the election of the pro-Independence party in September of 2015,  that Catalonia’s vote was going to be “illegal” and they threatened to, and actually did, try to suppress the vote by Police Action.  

Most of the world (which has spoken) has either come out expressly in favor or seems tacitly on the side of Catalans who want independence.  Only Madrid and the Spanish government seem strongly against it—fearful, undoubtedly, of losing prime Mediterranean beach resorts, Barcelona (the second largest city in Spain, seventh largest and “most successful” in all Europe), plus the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera).  In essence, Catalonia includes some of the best real estate IN ALL OF EUROPE AND THE CIRCUM MEDITERRANEAN WORLD.  This is indeed “the Spanish Riviera”.

The comparison to the Secession of the Confederate States of America is obvious, but it isn’t getting much currency in the U.S. or British Media, despite the fact that the Confederate States have made a renewed appearance in the news since April, here in New Orleans and around the USA…. and even in the consciousness of the whole world.

So, since nobody else is making the comparison (that I’ve seen so far, anyhow, I will).   In 1860, the Southern states formed (per capita) the richest part of the United States.   Catalonia had better hope that world opinion remains on its side!    Because Spain has its eyes and tax collectors all focused on this rich province, and history tells us that the rich can be laid low when they try to retain their wealth….

For the record, Catalonia was originally, and has always considered itself, a separate “Nationality” (i.e. ethnolinguistic group). During the Middle Ages, the County of Barcelona became the Capital of the “Principality of Catalonia” which later became incorporated into the Kingdom of Aragon.  Aragon, in turn, was one of the most powerful and richest states in the post-Reconquista/Crusader world of the Mediterranean.  Then Aragon, later, under the 15th century reigns of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, merged to form the modern Nation-State of “Spain”, leading to 500 years of almost continuous unity, although Aragon and Catalonia have several times reasserted their identities as monarchies or republics.

As James Ronald & Walter Donald Kennedy have shown in their most recent book “Punished with Poverty: the Suffering South, Prosperity to Poverty and the Continuing Struggle”  Columbia, South Carolina: Shotwell Publishing (2016), and as my dearly beloved grandmother always told me, THE SOUTH WAS THE WEALTHIEST PART OF THE UNITED STATES, “before the War” and the poorest part afterwards.   The combined cash value of the crops in any of the three pairs of Virginia and Georgia or Mississippi and Louisiana or North & South Carolina (each pair taken alone) exceeded the cash value of all the manufactured goods produced north of the Mason & Dixon-Ohio River—as of 1860.  But as of 1870, war had irreversibly altered the situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Shsf–rh4PE

While neither historians or any Southerners today doubt that the people of the South overwhelmingly favored secession in 1861, the state legislatures only voted to hold popular votes as referenda/plebiscites/”propositions” in three of the thirteen states and one territory seceding (there were fifteen “slave” states, but a secession vote in the legislature in Maryland was suppressed at gunpoint and the state of Delaware never tried—West Virginia seceded from Virginia but kept its slaves and (ironically) after the war was among the most hostile toward enfranchisement of the newly freed slaves, as evidenced in several of the early major civil rights cases which emerged from that idiosyncratic Appalachian state opposite Ohio that seceded to nullify secession—oh, and Arizona was a territory constituting the southern half of what is now Arizona and New Mexico, but had then all been “New Mexico” until 1861).

In the states that held popular vote referenda, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, the votes in favor of secession were nowhere nearly as lopsided as the vote held in Catalonia today (Sunday, October 1, 2017), but it should be noted that NO NORTHERN STATE, nor the United States Federal Government, under President James Buchanan, ever questioned or attempted to quash secession in any state.  From South Carolina’s legislature’s first Ordinance of Secession on December 20, 1860, through Louisiana’s secession as the sixth state on January 26, 1861, the popular support for separation from the Union never appeared to waver or be doubtful.

SOUTHERN SECESSION PLEBESCITES

In February of 1861, Texas’ legislature voted to dissolve the state’s barely 16 year old affiliation with the Union on February 1, and a popular referendum was held on February 23, wherein the vote was 3.13:1 in favor of disunion.  

Virginia went through a similar two stage process in April and May of 1861, and the vote there (after Fort Sumter) was 3.53:1 in favor of taking the Old Dominion state into the Confederacy.  Robert E. Lee had opposed secession, but IN THOSE DAYS ONE’S CITIZENSHIP BELONGED TO THE STATE, NOT THE FEDERATION.  It would be comparable to calling us all “Citizens of the United Nations”—maybe some people WANT Global Citizenship, but so far, THANK GOD, no politically viable majority anywhere have ever voted for such a thing.

Finally, in May-June, Tennessee voted to secede, although the popular vote in that state was only 2.21:1 (for reference and comparison, NO PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS EVER WON ANY ELECTION BY A 2.21-1 POPULAR VOTE (although Lyndon B. Johnson came closest in 1964 against Goldwater at 1.58 to 1 comparable to FDR in 1936 against Alf Landon at 1.61 to 1—there being more third party votes in 1936 which reduced Roosevelt’s over all majority win very slightly).

IS FREEDOM TO CHOOSE REALLY TREASON?

How many of you have been divorced?  No, it’s a serious question.  How many of you have been divorced AFTER taking a vow “Til Death do Us Part”?  I was born an “Anglo-Catholic” (i.e. Episcopalian) and my wife was born Greek Orthodox in Greece.  My parents, despite their vows, split up when I was pre-school/kindergarten and it had a major impact on my life, mostly negative.  I especially regret now, looking back on it, how my grandmother taught me to scorn my own father.  That MIGHT have been a bad thing…  Anyhow, my point was this: my wife Elena and I swore personally to each other, quite aside from the marital vows, that we would never be divorced, that we would always stick together.  And we made collateral agreements that made I think this was actually a genuine promise that we would really keep, but we didn’t.  She hired the nastiest team of divorce lawyers (and their wives) in the entire state of Texas.  She turned into a monster.  Now, I blame the system, not her, but we split up, and it wrecked me.

But, in a sense, as one of my law school professors of international law at the University of Chicago said, “the nations of the world are all in a Roman Catholic marriage with one another.”  Or are they?  Are legal unions really indissoluble?  Most people do not believe that law should stand in the way of divorce, although most marital lawyers want divorce to be as much like an expensive world war as humanly possible.  So: is divorce “normal” or is divorce “treason?”

I have to admit, I led a fairly pro-Southern, sheltered life.  Even when I lived up north and attended Harvard GSAS (A.M., Ph.D.) and the University of Chicago law (J.D.) programs, I never ever heard ANYONE ever call the Southern Confederacy TREACHEROUS or the Southern Confederates called “Traitors”—as a matter of fact, everyone I knew at Harvard kind of went out of their way to apologize for Harvard’s apparent iconography of Yankee imperialism and to point out the rather obscure stained glass windows on Memorial Hall and inscriptions dedicated to the graduates of Harvard who fought for the South—(There were 257, significantly more than you might think, including five major generals, eight brigadier generals, and fully 38% of all Harvard Graduates who died in combat 1861-1865 died in the service of the armies the CSA, including three of those brigadier generals).  

So, I confess I was shocked, bowled over in fact, while I was standing in line at the very first public debate held in New Orleans on a steaming day in July in 2015 and an exceedingly unpleasant and unattractive woman in line started talking about how Confederates were all TRAITORS.

Wall Street JOURNAL MODERATE MUGWUMP: Allen C. Guelzo

“A YANKEE VISITS CHARLOTTESVILLE, WHERE GEN. LEE IS UNDER COVER.”

Some writers take poetic license, some take journalistic license.  But let’s face it: some writers DO NOT DESERVE A LICENSE.  Allen C. Guelzo is such a writer, and yet he writes for the Wall Street Journal…. and this is a disaster.  This USED TO BE a conservative, respectable journal***.   But no decent or respectable conservative would ever write that:

“As a Yankee, I find it a little difficult to grasp why monuments to Lee are here in the first place.  He lost, and if there is one sin American culture still prefers to bury from sight, it’s losing. Worse, Lee committed treason against the flag and the Constitution.  And behind that is the ugly truth that the Confederate cause was, when all the rhetorical chaff is swept away, designed to protect Chattel slavery, the singular birth defect of the American republic.” 

This is one of those sad moments when I have to admit I’m glad I’m not Chairman Mao or Uncle Joe Stalin…. because if I were, Guelzo would be TOAST—there wouldn’t be enough left of him to fill a matchbox, I promise.

UNLIKE THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT IN CATALONIA ON SUNDAY OCTOBER 1, 2017—NO POLICE OR TROOPS TRIED TO STOP THE SOUTHERN LEGISLATURES FROM SECEDING OR THE PRO-CONFEDERATE POPULAR VOTES FROM HAPPENING

So, if secession didn’t bother the outgoing President James Buchanan, or if it bothered him he didn’t do anything to stop it.  Buchanan was a Democrat, but he was a PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRAT—a Yankee….the only Pennsylvanian ever to be elected President and the last President born in the 18th century.  

Buchanan supported his own Vice-President, John C. Breckinridge, in the election of 1860—Breckinridge being the choice of the “Southern Democrats” over Stephen Douglas of Illinois.  Breckinridge became a Confederate general—that’s right folks, the Vice-President of the United States who came in Second in the Electoral Vote and Third in the Popular Vote in 1860 became a Confederate General.  Was he a traitor too?  

I ask you (and Guelzo) somewhat rhetorically: IF the Vice-President of any country decides to take up arms agains that Country—don’t you suppose that there are some MAJOR issues at stake?  If James Buchanan believed that he had no constitutional power to stop secession, where did Abraham Lincoln get the idea that he had that power?

For the moment, I will leave that idea to you, but recommend to all my readers the words of James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy, but also of Von Mises Institute Economist Thomas James DiLorenzo.

But is it significant that England would surely have allowed Scotland to opt out of the UK if Scotland had voted to do so several years ago?  Is it significant that Spain is trying very hard to look like a bully as it tries to bully Catalonia into submission, but that the world will almost certainly accept Catalonian secession in fairly short order?

***The Wall Street Journal was a feature of life in and around my maternal grandparents’ home in Highland Park in Dallas from the time I went to live there at age 6 years, two months, until my grandmother’s death in May 2001.  I respected it as perhaps the best newspaper in all of North America—I even arranged to have the WSJ delivered to Hacienda Chichén (and later the adjacent Casa Victoria) when I lived there, and made it the headquarters of my Harvard-Peabody-National Geographic-Chichén Itzá Archaeological Project 1983-1988.  Arranging such things by courier delivery from the Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancún in the 1980s was no piece of cake.

 

R.I.P. Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925-July 31, 2012—the last aristocratic Democrat, a Sexually Liberated William Buckley—with thoughts on the leftist naiveté that led Timothy McVeigh’s most vocal supporter to misunderstand April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City Completely….

I for one will never forget those two April 19ths, in 1993 and 1995.  On April 19 in 1993 I was working in the chambers of United States District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, one of the most upstanding men I have ever known, and everyone in the chambers was speechless as we gathered around the television to watch the events unfolding in my native Texas, just outside of the town of Waco, where I had stopped a thousand times if once on the way from Dallas to Austin/Lago Vista.  As it happened, I was IN Lago Vista on April 19, 1995—at a horribly dull country club luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club (I might even have been a speaker that day, I don’t remember).

What I saw that Gore Vidal failed to see in his treatment of Timothy McVeigh, the most thoughtful treatment of Oklahoma City anywhere in the media, was that the government had apparently actually implemented the program of domestic terrorism which I had heard predicted by my friends in Washington in 1989-1991—around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union….  Washington Bureaucrats needed a new Perpetual but “Cold” War to maintain their power, and they had predicted with uncanny precision an outbreak of domestic terrorism in the 1990s.

As I have written many times before on these pages, 1963-1972 was the decade of major political figure assassinations in the implementation and justification of domestic and international policy, but 1992-2001 was the decade of domestic terrorism in the implementation and justification of domestic and international policy.  The Watergate Scandal, Jimmy Carter’s naiveté and Ronald Reagan’s major program of “Neo-Con” solidification of the New Deal and Great Society dominated the 1970s and 80s….. but George H. W. Bush (41st President) was ready for a new advance in the Police State and the New World Order, globally speaking…and William Jefferson Clinton was more than obliging to implement that program…. Newt Gingrich and his “Contract on America” took the Congress in the 1994 elections, taking office in 1995.  The crowning achievement of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract” and the Republican Congress in the 1995-1997 term that defined this era in U.S. History was the April 19, 1995 domestic terrorist attack by a supposedly white conservative patriot in the heartland, Oklahoma City, where nothing politically important had ever happened before except for the 1948 convention of Strom Thurmond’s Democratic States’ Rights “Dixiecrat” Party, and the resultant Bill-of-Rights killing AEDPA—the infamous “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996”.  AEDPA, Newt Gingrich’s triumphant abrogation of Habeas Corpus and the substantive and procedural “due process” protections of the 4th, 5th, & 6th Amendments to the Constitution, laid the foundation for the much more draconian 2001 Patriot Act, which was already prepared and ready to sign when George W. Bush (43rd President) completed his Dad’s plans for the transformation of America into a Corporate-Socialist Dictatorship of Deception…a sophisticatedly postmodernist Communist state within the Global New World Order where two mulatto Secretaries of State (Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice) paved the way for the first mulatto President of (highly controversial) African birth and/or parentage.

Without AEDPA and the Patriot Act, the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (Senate Bill 1867) could never have passed to finally lay the Bill of Rights in this Country into an unpeaceful grave under that first tragic mulatto President (and what a tragic MULE or mullet he really is…)

I do not understand how anyone as insightful and sophisticated as Gore Vidal could possibly have missed the clear trends and associations in and among the events of 1993-2001, or how he could have suppressed his comments if he saw them, but looking back over his fabled Vanity Fair article and related writings on McVeigh, I simply do not believe that Vidal ever quite could overcome his age, the fact that he was born in north the 1920s and wanted to believe in the grander myth of a good Yankee America…. to accept that just as much as Ruby Ridge and Waco, Oklahoma City and 9-11 were tailor-made designer products to implement and justify the suppression of the American Constitution of 1787.

Perhaps it is easier for those with Southern Heritage to see the modern corruption of our country for what it is, namely the end result of a process of degradation that began in 1861….and is not quite over yet.   Still, I will heartily miss Gore Vidal’s erudite commentary…. I agreed with much of what he said and wrote and the brilliance of his mind was undeniable.

He may have been “conservative” as Hollywood Democrats go, but that just reflects how far left that party (and “the culture of Hollywood”) really have gone….  Gore Vidal was certainly not a Conservative Democrat by comparison with men like the Harry F. Byrds, (Sr. & Jr.), Robert Carlise Byrd, James O. Eastland, Sam Ervin, Olin D. Johnston, John Stennis, Eugene and Herman Eugene Talmadge, Strom Thurmond, or George Corley Wallace.  Nor is his analysis of the post-Constitutional world of America quite as on-point as former Alabama theatrical studies student Suzanne Collins.   But Gore Vidal was a breath of fresh air among the establishment elite—especially compared to other so-called “Eastern Aristocrats” such as the despicable Bushes….who Vidal always staunchly opposed and justly (if insufficiently) criticized.

Here in his memory is Gore Vidal’s Vanity Fair Essay on Timothy McVeigh as a misguided “Sanity Fair” Patriot (rather than, as I would see him, just an extremely well-trained “patsy” who played his governmentally designated role scrupulously and admirably, exactly as Andreas Breivik in Norway and James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado are doing right now, at this very moment):

truth and politics

The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh

Americans were fed the story of Timothy McVeigh’s trial and execution as a simple, unquestionable narrative: he was guilty, he was evil, and he acted largely alone. Gore Vidal’s 1998 Vanity Fair essay on the erosion of the U.S. Bill of Rights caused McVeigh to begin a three-year correspondence with Vidal, prompting an examination of certain evidence that points to darker truths—a conspiracy willfully ignored by F.B.I. investigators, and a possible cover-up by a government waging a secret war on the liberty of its citizens.

Toward the end of the last century but one, Richard Wagner made a visit to the southern Italian town of Ravello, where he was shown the gardens of the thousand-year-old Villa Rufolo. “Maestro,” asked the head gardener, “do not these fantastic gardens ’neath yonder azure sky that blends in such perfect harmony with yonder azure sea closely resemble those fabled gardens of Klingsor where you have set so much of your latest interminable opera, Parsifal? Is not this vision of loveliness your inspiration for Klingsor?” Wagner muttered something in German. “He say,” said a nearby translator, “‘How about that?’”

How about that indeed, I thought, as I made my way toward a corner of those fabled gardens, where ABC-TV’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Early Show had set up their cameras so that I could appear “live” to viewers back home in God’s country.

This was last May. In a week’s time “the Oklahoma City Bomber,” a decorated hero of the Gulf War, one of Nature’s Eagle Scouts, Timothy McVeigh, was due to be executed by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana, for being, as he himself insisted, the sole maker and detonator of a bomb that blew up a federal building in which died 168 men, women, and children. This was the greatest massacre of Americans by an American since two years earlier, when the federal government decided to take out the compound of a Seventh-Day Adventist cult near Waco, Texas. The Branch Davidians, as the cultists called themselves, were a peaceful group of men, women, and children living and praying together in anticipation of the end of the world, which started to come their way on February 28, 1993. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, exercising its mandate to “regulate” firearms, refused all invitations from cult leader David Koresh to inspect his licensed firearms. The A.T.F. instead opted for fun. More than 100 A.T.F. agents, without proper warrants, attacked the church’s compound while, overhead, at least one A.T.F. helicopter fired at the roof of the main building. Six Branch Davidians were killed that day. Four A.T.F. agents were shot dead, by friendly fire, it was thought.

There was a standoff. Followed by a 51-day siege in which loud music was played 24 hours a day outside the compound. Then electricity was turned off. Food was denied the children. Meanwhile, the Media were briefed regularly on the evils of David Koresh. Apparently, he was making and selling crystal meth; he was also—what else in these sick times?—not a Man of God but a Pedophile. The new attorney general, Janet Reno, then got tough. On April 19 she ordered the F.B.I. to finish up what the A.T.F. had begun. In defiance of the Posse Comitatus Act (a basic bulwark of our fragile liberties that forbids the use of the military against civilians), tanks of the Texas National Guard and the army’s Joint Task Force Six attacked the compound with a gas deadly to children and not too healthy for adults while ramming holes in the building. Some Davidians escaped. Others were shot by F.B.I. snipers. In an investigation six years later, the F.B.I. denied ever shooting off anything much more than a pyrotechnic tear-gas cannister. Finally, during a six-hour assault, the building was set fire to and then bulldozed by Bradley armored vehicles. God saw to it that no F.B.I. man was hurt while more than 80 cult members were killed, of whom 27 were children. It was a great victory for Uncle Sam, as intended by the F.B.I., whose code name for the assault was Show Time.

It wasn’t until May 14, 1995, that Janet Reno, on 60 Minutes, confessed to second thoughts. “I saw what happened, and knowing what happened, I would not do it again.” Plainly, a learning experience for the Florida daughter of a champion lady alligator rassler.

The April 19, 1993, show at Waco proved to be the largest massacre of Americans by their own government since 1890, when a number of Native Americans were slaughtered at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Thus the ante keeps upping.

Although McVeigh was soon to indicate that he had acted in retaliation for what had happened at Waco (he had even picked the second anniversary of the slaughter, April 19, for his act of retribution), our government’s secret police, together with its allies in the Media, put, as it were, a heavy fist upon the scales. There was to be only one story: one man of incredible innate evil wanted to destroy innocent lives for no reason other than a spontaneous joy in evildoing. From the beginning, it was ordained that McVeigh was to have no coherent motive for what he had done other than a Shakespearean motiveless malignity. Iago is now back in town, with a bomb, not a handkerchief. More to the point, he and the prosecution agreed that he had no serious accomplices.

I sat on an uncomfortable chair, facing a camera. Generators hummed amid the delphiniums. Good Morning America was first. I had been told that Diane Sawyer would be questioning me from New York, but ABC has a McVeigh “expert,” one Charles Gibson, and he would do the honors. Our interview would be something like four minutes. Yes, I was to be interviewed In Depth. This means that only every other question starts with “Now, tell us, briefly … ” Dutifully, I told, briefly, how it was that McVeigh, whom I had never met, happened to invite me to be one of the five chosen witnesses to his execution.

Briefly, it all began in the November 1998 issue of Vanity Fair. I had written a piece about “the shredding of our Bill of Rights.” I cited examples of I.R.S. seizures of property without due process of law, warrantless raids and murders committed against innocent people by various drug-enforcement groups, government collusion with agribusiness’s successful attempts to drive small farmers out of business, and so on. (For those who would like further evidence of a government running amok, turn to page 397 of my The Last Empire.) Then, as a coda, I discussed the illegal but unpunished murders at Ruby Ridge, Idaho (a mother and child and dog had been killed in cold blood by the F.B.I.); then, the next year, Waco. The Media expressed little outrage in either case. Apparently, the trigger words had not been spoken. Trigger words? Remember The Manchurian Candidate? George Axelrod’s splendid 1962 film, where the brainwashed (by North Koreans) protagonist can only be set in murderous motion when the gracious garden-club lady, played by Angela Lansbury, says, “Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?”

Since we had been told for weeks that the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh, was not only a drug dealer but the sexual abuser of the 27 children in his compound, the maternal Ms. Reno in essence decreed: Better that they all be dead than defiled. Hence, the attack. Later, 11 members of the Branch Davidian Church were put on trial for the “conspiracy to commit murder” of the federal agents who had attacked them. The jury found all 11 innocent on that charge. But after stating that the defendants were guilty of attempted murder—the very charge of which they had just been acquitted—the judge sentenced eight innocent church members up to 40 years on lesser charges. One disgusted juror said, “The wrong people were on trial.” Show Time!

Personally, I was sufficiently outraged to describe in detail what had actually happened. Meanwhile, the card players of 1998 were busy shuffling and dealing. Since McVeigh had been revealed as evil itself, no one was interested in why he had done what he had done. But then “why” is a question the Media are trained to shy away from. Too dangerous. One might actually learn why something had happened and become thoughtful. I wrote in these pages:

For Timothy McVeigh, [Waco and Ruby Ridge] became the symbol of [federal] oppression and murder. Since he was now suffering from an exaggerated sense of justice, not a common American trait, he went to war pretty much on his own and ended up slaughtering more innocents than the Feds had at Waco. Did he know what he was doing when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City because it contained the hated [Feds]? McVeigh remained silent throughout his trial. Finally, as he was about to be sentenced, the court asked him if he would like to speak. He did. He rose and said, “I wish to use the words of Justice Brandeis dissenting in Olmstead to speak for me. He wrote, ‘Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.’” Then McVeigh was sentenced to death by the government.