Tag Archives: War Between the States

A CANNIBALISTIC ORGY OF MAYHEM—CULTURAL GENOCIDE & DEGRADATION

Mitch Landrieu’s program of cultural genocide in New Orleans has led to an orgy of cannibalistic mayhem across the United States. The injuries inflicted against the Southern People in particular, all real Americans in general, and against the ideals of the Constitution of 1787 and the legitimate disputes, grievances, and political failures that led to the War Between the States in 1861-65 together amount to an intentionally malicious attack on the very foundations of Western Civilization itself. It is time we fight back and pin the blame for all the destructions nationwide on the Mayor of New Orleans and his unnamed sponsors. 

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Eric Pierce
Eric Pierce Did he abolish gumbo???
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Katherine Connella Weissmann
Katherine Connella Weissmann Eric Pierce…that would have been preferable!
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Charles Edward Lincoln

Charles Edward Lincoln I wouldn’t call it “preferable”—because starving the body and mind of a people from the distinctive food and tastes that define their culture actually resembles starving their soul and mind by depriving them of their history and heroes… a lot more—

a lot more than you might imagine. Unique statues, street names, architectural monuments both reflect our memories and help shape our mind and values just as distinctive food shapes our daily lives. Gumbo reminds me of my grandmother and her sisters from Natchitoches and our cousins from Avoyelles….. just as the statues of the Confederate Generals remind me of the dozen or so male ancestors of mine on both sides who fought for the CSA, several under the command of Marse Robert himself at Gettysburg….. I would not wish to lose any of those memories, because they make me who I am…. and if they are not there for my grandchildren…. they will not know me or my life as I was.
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Katherine Connella Weissmann
Katherine Connella Weissmann True, Charles Edward Lincoln…what I should have said is that I personally am no fan of gumbo so — to me — it would have been preferable. 🙂
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Charles Edward Lincoln
Charles Edward Lincoln I will never hold it against you… I promise (lol!)… Your gastronomic predilections and tastebuds are your own….. We can still fight to overthrow ANTIFA together (besides, it means more gumbo for me…)
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Eric Pierce More gumbo! Less Kevlar sombreros with anti-drone armaments.
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Charles Edward Lincoln
Charles Edward Lincoln Eric Pierce I need some anti-drone armaments… where can I get them?
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Janine Dunn
Janine Dunn He has been blamed, he does not care
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Charles Edward Lincoln
Charles Edward Lincoln But has he been held responsible for starting the avalanche? Have the roots of the conspiracy been exposed? I am rethinking the strategy of counterattack…. and MITCH started it… so MITCH should be held liable for Baltimore, Charlottesville, Durham, Manatee, Orlando…..
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Janine Dunn
Janine Dunn No. We all know it’s true. Like the plague spreading rapidly and he was ground zero. In actuality he hasn’t really broken the law (morally another issue but he has no morals) and he may have been the person to whisper in every other mayors ears but they could have stood up to him and did not. There are also people that are pulling Mitch’s strings. He’s not smart or wealthy enough to have pulled this off solo
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Charles Edward Lincoln
Charles Edward Lincoln Janine Dunn, I would like to debate with you about whether Mitch has really broken the law or not on several levels. First, the original “Nuisance” Ordinance was entirely against the law. Now whether it was a crime or not is a separate story and a moot point, because we more-or-less know nobody around will prosecute him, but the Nuisance Ordinance was enacted, applied, and enforced in direct violation of Louisiana Civil Law and all court theses or precedents concerning the same.
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Charles Edward Lincoln
Charles Edward Lincoln In fact, Janine Dunn, I would say that the mere enactment of Ordinance in violation of Louisiana Nuisance law was so great as to constitute a violation of the Louisiana and Federal Constitutional prohibitions on Bills of Attainer/Bills of Pains & Penalties, and that the application and enforcement of the law violated both due process and, more interestingly, equal protection of the laws analyzed on racial and even possibly religious grounds (identifying and persecuting the monuments as part of an hypothetical “Cult of the Lost Cause”).
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Charles Edward Lincoln
Charles Edward Lincoln So basically, I think that, using the very “take ’em down” side’s widely published logic that public-sponsored iconographic and textual monuments are “icons” are created for and involve making symbolic statements about the upholding certain elite political structures and communicating the semiotics of power and the applications of the law, I think that the removal of those monuments is an affront to the honor and integrity of the people who love and support them—and that this hateful affront involves a suppression of our civil rights…
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Are the National (or Global?) Puppeteer’s Trying to Push us into “Civil War”? In the First American “Civil War” the Original Constitution and Spirit of the Land of the Free was mortally wounded in the name of freeing the slaves. Are we now facing a Second “Civil War” in which (in the name of health, safety, and welfare) we will all become slaves?

An Australian pen-named “Max Igan” from Queensland has produced a video or series of videos with the purpose of arguing that Sandy Hook, the Aurora “Batman” Shooting, and other related events are not merely a staged series of propaganda attacks on the Second Amendment, but a provocation of the “alternative” or “truther” minority movement to engage in violent confrontations which could be characterized as “civil war” necessitating, perhaps, the imposition of martial law.

(Sidebar: I have often written that it is both an insult and a travesty to call the war of 1861-1865 a “Civil War”—although you COULD call the period of Reconstruction after 1865 a “Civil War” in some if not all parts of the South—but for purposes of introducing Max Igan’s ideas, this particular quibble holds but little relevance)

I find his argument cool and persuasive and devoid of some of the sensationalist and fanciful attacks on the government which lead some to posit truly “other worldly” explanations for the current transformations in the status quo.  

I particularly like Igan’s use of the terminology of “Trust” and “Breach of Trust” to describe the relationship between the government and the people.  A “False Trust” of course lies at the heart of the U.S. Welfare State—the unfunded, empty trust of government “out of thin air” securities which constitute the “Social Security Trust Fund.”

In this video, Igan proposes that the release of highly suspicious, obviously fraudulent material in relationship to the Sandy Hook shooting in Newton, Connecticut, was designed (basically) to drive already angry people over the edge:

http://unifiedserenity.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/planned-american-civil-war/

I have been writing very little these past two months as I take classes  at my old Alma Mater of Tulane and try to improve my somewhat old and aging mind.  The “Unified Serenity” site carries a lot of very disturbing videos, but I find Igan basically focused on the “real world” and the “contradictions inherent in all things” without  any dependent reference to occult mythology or ancient symbolism.  

The interpretation of the use of ancient iconography for modern messages in 

http://unifiedserenity.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/more-proof-than-needed-to-show-the-final-plan/

is just too much for me, although I understand and appreciate that the methodology of tracing hermeneutic images and metaphors is neither significantly worse (nor significantly better) than the academic program advanced by late great Linda Schele (University of Southern Alabama during the 1970s, thereafter University of Texas at Austin until her untimely death from cancer), her students, and others during the 1980s and 1990s relating to the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphics and the interpretation of ancient Maya (and Mexican and Central American) society.  

“Schele Youth” as I used to call them engaged in some fairly fanciful comparisons and drawing of lines—but it was all part of the process of trying to discover the truth about ancient society, and competing conspiracy theories about modern society (and last year, of course, during the countdown to December 21, 2012, we saw the great conversion of Schele-esque thinking with new age mysticism and alien-abduction conspiracy theories).

The Academic exercise known as “Deconstruction”, especially “Post-Modern Hermeneutic Deconstruction” is fundamentally identical in logic to what is called “Conspiracy Theory” in popular and political culture.  I’m not sure that’s a criticism of either academic deconstruction or post-modern Popular and Political conspiracy theories—it’s just a fact that the use of fuzzy logic and fuzzier images of images (icons, symbols) juxtaposed without regard to time and space is very similar—and such juxtapositions may or may not reflect real patterns.  Somewhere in one of these videos is a series of words “Easter/Eostre/Astarte/Ishtar/Ashtaroth” which would seem to be “the mother of all false etymologies” and irrelevant to almost absolutely everything.  I firmly believe 

A Prayer for True Memory and History on the 206th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Edward Lee, Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, President of Washington & Lee University

Since December 9, 2012, I have been staying in the French Quarter, about a 20 minutes to half an hour leisurely walk to Lee Circle where a high pedestal support’s a statute of one of Virginia’s most famous sons, forever looking north because “you never turn your back on the enemy.”  My grandparents raised me to celebrate Marse’ Robert’s birthday and remember and study his life and heroism, both before, during and after the War Between the States.  I have never had any problem keeping his memory because I think he represents all the good values that were and ever could be called “American”—he was an exceedingly intelligent man of principles including loyalty and devotion, hard work, individual responsibility, skill and excellence.

This year I have not yet visited Confederate Memorial Hall, just south of Lee Circle.  It is probably the longest I have ever been in New Orleans without paying at least a quick visit, and there are many reasons for this but one is that it is no longer officially called “Confederate Memorial Hall” but has been recently rechristened “Louisiana’s Civil War Museum at Confederate Memorial Hall.”

Nothing is more insulting to Lee’s Memory or to the Heritage of the South in general and the Confederate States of America in particular than to refer to the War of 1861-1865 as “the Civil War.”  From the Southern adn Confederate standpoints, that War was as much the “American Civil War” as World Wars I and II were the “European Civil Wars.”   The analogy is fair enough only to the degree that after World War II, first the European Economic Community (E.E.C.) and then the European Union both sought to transform Europe into a new, single Continental Nation.  

The first movie ever filmed to be seen commercially by more than a million people was D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”, released in 1915, based on a historical novel entitled “the Klansman.”  The new nation born during and after the War Between the States was a centralized Republic with a top-heavy Federal Bureaucracy modeled very generally on the economic controls imposed top down from the Imperial Central in the later Roman Empire in a manner which has come to be known as “Byzantine.”

On this 206th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Edward Lee, son of  Governor Light Horse “Harry” Lee of Virginia, I pray that the honour and integrity of the South will be properly remembered, along with Lee’s individual, unique and irreplaceable, un-reproducable honour and integrity.  

I pray that people will start learning history more fully and accurately, and above all critically, with the understanding that the victors always write history, but that victory in war is not in fact justice in the eyes of God, despite what many of us, including many of us Southerners, believe about the value of “trial-by-battle” in the Mediaeval sense of “Justice by Duel.”  

Even in Mediaeval legal theory, Duels were ONLY fairly calculated to result in a decision by God when the two parties to the duel are equally equipped, armed, trained and skillful.  The armor and the horses had to be comparable and equivalent, and a weaker person had the right to appoint a “champion” to fight in his or her place, as Ilsa von Brabant famously did in Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin” which even preserved the notion of combat only coming “at high noon” so that the sun would be in neither combatant’s eyes at the outset.   The title of one of the finest Western movies about a duel, Gary Cooper’s “High Noon” (1950) also retains this reference to the equality of the Sun God (Shamash) who presided over such duels (judicially approved and jury-supervised “trials-by-combat”) even in Ancient Akkad, Asshur (Assyria), and Babylon.

I pray that even under the Dark Skies of the Obama Presidency and all the propaganda coming out in this day and age, that a more just and inquiring notion of history will prevail in the collective, cultural memory of America, and that the virtue and dignity of the Southern and Confederate Constitutional position be realized and recognized, and the glory given to the Victorious Yankee North be tempered by the reality that northern industrialism produced the same identical level of misery and deprivation among white workers as was chronicled by Charles Dickens in England and Victor Hugo in France.  

I pray that people will understand that if we weep for Fantine and her plight in Les Miserables (published precisely in 1862, during the first full year of the War Between the States), we must also recognize the condition of “Free” labor in the North and Europe was in a hundred ways worse and more depraved than the plight of black slaves in the South.  If in no other, this is true in one major regard: only an insane slaveholder would really work his slaves to death, without caring for them as human beings, in that slaves were wealth and capital, and senselessly to destroy the life or health of a slave was like throwing gold into the sea or burning paper money backed by real gold (unlike the trash Federal Reserve Notes we use today).

By contrast, as shown in Dickens’ writings and Hugo’s, and as analyzed by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels and their followers, “free” laborers in the mid-19th Century in the North had no life-long security whatsoever.  

As soon as the “free laborer’s” strength or health should start to fail, that free laborer’s productivity declined or perhaps he was eaten up by the very machines he tended due to “assumption of the risk” by accepting employment.  The “Free Labor” capitalist therefore had a strong motivation to dismiss his worn out workers and throw them into the streets, a version of the “hellish life” captured in Les Miserables was worse than death itself. This reality was revisited (1998) by Joss Whedon in an Episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called “Anne” in which the residents of Hell work in a 19th Century style factory until they are exhausted and old (in just a short time as it turns out) and thrown back out on the streets of modern Los Angeles to live as homeless derelicts.

All these realities need to be weighed against the supposed virtuous abolition of slavery. And accordingly, I pray that people will begin to think and remember and reflect not only about the history of the 19th century, but of the 20th and even our own times.  Were we the victors REALLY the more virtuous parties in World Wars I and II, for example?  In World War I, the answer is a fairly certain absolute NO.  In World War II, the mythology has grown into a reality and even a political constitution and ecumenical social theory so thick that it is almost impenetrable.  

But if we look, again, at the details, and if we dare to compare the early German rockets or “Buzz Bombs” sent by Wernher von Braun against London in 1944-45 with the American A-Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I think we will see that the American weapons were a far more sinister manifestation of technology.  What about the senseless fire-bombing of Dresden in 1945 when the war was almost over?  

Then if we look at the Soviets, whom we supported, and what they did to their own populations (Stalin’s purge of “the Kulaks” for instance, beginning in 1928), was our side as a whole really better than the Germans?

Even if the worst stories are true about German antisemitism, “ethnic cleansing”, and other population reorganizations and purges, no one can state that the Germans actually moved or relocated anywhere nearly as many millions of people as the Soviets and their allies forcibly relocated from the German sectors of East and West Prussia, Silesia, Posen, Danzig, and Eastern Pomerania, even as millions of Poles were uprooted and moved East to replace the Eastern quarter of Germany, after 1945-46.  

The Germans of the Sudetenland were also expelled from their homes of time immemorial.  The thousand year old Eastern boundary of the German people was moved back across Poland and Czechoslovakia to fit Stalin’s plans.  Again, who was guilty of greater genocidal crimes?  Or did Stalin’s relocations of the Poles, the Belarus, the Ukrainians, and the Germans count for nothing?

An since the war, have not the Allied Powers faithfully reenacted the predictions of perpetual war as framed by George Orwell in “1984“?  Have not the Communists become indistinguishable from the Corporate leaders they supposedly fought to overthrow as Orwell similarly predicted in “Animal Farm“?  Is there not evidence that, at least since Pearl Harbor and possibly since the explosion of the Battleship Maine, the United States Government has staged more than a hundred years of False Flag attacks against its own people to make certain that this condition of perpetual warfare exists and that there are more and more justifications (like the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut most recently) to curtail the fundamental freedoms and liberties for which George Washington, and Robert E. Lee, spent their lives fighting?

I pray that Americans will start waking up and thinking about reality, and observe the contradictions inherent in all things, but especially in our official versions of history, and that we will work to examine our past, our present, and our futures to discover and establish deeper and more meaningful truths about the sad story which is the epic of human history.

May everyone in the World in fact look to Robert Edward Lee and the Confederate States of America as emblematic of justice defeated, of liberty lost, and of the dangers of using imbalanced thinking and propaganda as tools of social change. 

As I have written a thousand times if I’ve written it once: Chattel Human Slavery was abolished everywhere in the world (as an openly and officially legal institution, anyhow….) between 1790 and 1930. ONLY in the United States of America did the abolition of legal chattel slavery result in war, and what a coincidence that this happened 13 years after the Communist Manifesto, in a Republican Administration with so many German Communist refugees from Europe in charge, and with Karl Marx’ official blessings and endorsements—none of facts which are EVER taught in American Middle or High School history classes…

The Strange Corollary Between “Emancipation” and “Overflowing Prison Populations”

I have posted two new items today: one includes the full text of Monday’s decision from the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Plata, the other is an excerpt from one of modern Historian Jacques Barzun’s books “The Culture we Deserve” in which Barzun makes the case that the decline in traditional values has opened the door to a much more unpredictable and potentially “antinomian” (lawless) society in which guidelines for the enforcement of “equality” becomes the hammer of oppression and injustice in the hands of arbitrary and capricious bureaucrats (and a species of soulless administrative functionaries rather than any “spiritual” or idealistic breed of judges).  (I once worked for a truly upstanding, virtuous, Christian [Presbyterian] U.S. District Judge in Florida, Kenneth L. Ryskamp, who had a plaque on the wall in his chambers “Judgment is Mine Alone, Sayeth the Lord”—quite a bit more idealistic than my own great grandfather, a Louisiana State Court Judge who had a plaque in his chambers that read, “Dead Lawyers Lie Still.”)

The reality is that “Emancipation” and Expanding Prison Populations are historically linked in the United States for many reasons, one of which is the 13th Amendment, which provides that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punishment for crime” in these United States.  So when did prison populations first start to explode in the United States?  Well, right after the war of 1861-1865, of course, during what is sometimes facetiously called the period of “Reconstruction” (in which the original American nation was torn down, thrown away, and the seeds of the modern corporate socialist-welfare state firmly planted all over the country).

So yes, indeed, this Candidate for the United States Senate from believes that there is a strong correlation between “Emancipation” in the sense that term is used by Jacques Barzun, below, and the problems of prison crowding described in Brown v. Plata.  What we have to avoid is what I predict will be Dianne Feinstein’s solution with which every “main line” Republican in the state will agree: If the prisons are overcrowded, then we must build more prisons.  I say: change the laws and release all inmates held on drug charges and all other non-violent criminals, provide them neither more nor less welfare than any other citizens, and let Freedom Ring as the population stops depending on locking up one large percentage of our co-citizens for the economic benefit of another large percentage of our co-citizens.  Tear down the prison walls, and let the people of California (and America) rebuild their lives free from a tyrannical government and all its “protective services” and pointless overregulation!  

Too many politicians are already warning about the horrible dangers of releasing prisoners into the neighborhoods and demanding that more prisons be built immediately and quickly—providing new jobs for the 12% of Californians officially unemployed (which only counts those who became unemployed during the past year of course…not those whose unemployment goes back farther….)

Please Support me in my Campaign to Emancipate California and the United States of America from Dependence on Prisons for Security and Prosperity!  

(Instead, let’s find those who REALLY profit by the destruction of freedom, and either lock THEM up or at least confiscate all their ill-gotten wealth and distribute it among the victims of law all over this country)

Nine Historical Vignettes for February 3, 2011: (1) Kosciusko’s Bridges 1781, (2) Hampton Roads Conference 1865, (3) Declaration of War against Germany 1917, (4) Death of Woodrow Wilson 1924, (5) Arrest of Karl Fuchs 1950, (6) Publication by Jacques Cousteau 1953, (7) Death of Buddy Holly 1959, (8) Landing of LUNIK 9 on the Moon 1966, (9) Alberto Gonzalez Confirmed as Attorney General 2005

What follows are nine moments in the history of the United States or Western Europe which relate to and lead up to the formation of the world as we know it.  All of these events happened on February 3, of one year or another.  THEY SAY THAT AMERICANS, FOR THE MOST PART, ARE the most HISTORICALLY ILLITERATE people in the world.  WHILE TEACHING AT AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN 2001-2003, ONE OF MY STUDENTS ASKED ME HOW I EVER CAME TO KNOW SO MUCH HISTORY—HOW LONG HAD IT TAKEN ME—I ANSWERED HIM I HAD BEEN STUDYING HISTORY MY WHOLE LIFE, AND THAT DISCOURAGED HIM, AND HE SAID, “SO NONE OF THE REST OF US REALLY HAVE A CHANCE”.  I RESPONDED THAT, NO, HISTORY WAS SOMETHING ONE COULD LEARN IN THE QUIET MOMENTS OF RELAXATION BETWEEN WORK, SLEEP, EATING, AND PLAY.  THAT HISTORY WAS LIKE CROSS-WORD PUZZLES OR VIDEO-GAMES—EASY AND RELAXING TO TAKE NOTES AND STUDY LINES OF HISTORY VERY CASUALLY—THIS I SINCERELY BELIEVE, AND TO THAT END, I HAVE COLLECTED 9 HISTORICAL VIGNETTES FOR FEBRUARY 3, 2011.
Today in History — Tuesday, Feb. 3 (52 Years Ago/The Day the Music Died, 87 years ago, the day Woodrow Wilson Died, 6 years ago, the day the decency of the Office of U.S. Attorney General Died)

Historical Vignette # (1)    On the evening of February 3, 1781, during the final year of the American War of Independence (“Revolutionary War” implies social change, and since the War of 1775-1781—peace resolved by the Treaty of Paris in 1783—with the United States Congress meeting in the dull & dreary Maryland Capital of Annapolis), American General Nathanael Greene and his troops successfully cross the Yadkin River to evade General Charles Cornwallis. The crossing followed consecutive Patriot losses at the Catawba River and at Tarrant’s Tavern, as well as heavy rainfall on February 1, which Greene feared would soon make the river impassable.

Although contradictory evidence exists, it is likely that the efforts of Polish engineer and military advisor Thaddeus Kosciusko made the crossing possible. Kosciusko had made a canoe expedition up the Catawba and Pedee Rivers, assessing Greene’s options, in December 1780. He then built a fleet of flat-bottomed boats for General Greene to use as a means of transporting his men across the water without having to waste time on manual portage, which would have involved soldiers removing the boats from the water and carrying them on their shoulders over land. The boats could be loaded into the Southern Army’s wagons for transport between river crossings. Kosciusko’s study of the rivers also allowed Greene to accurately predict the two-day interval between a heavy rainfall and rising river water.

Greene had ordered the Kosciusko-designed boats to be waiting for his men at the Yadkin. Thus, despite the flood of refugees clogging North Carolina’s roads in a desperate rush to leave before notoriously cruel British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton arrived, Greene was able to move his troops to the river and cross it. Although Cornwallis caught the tail-end of the Patriot crossing and shelled Greene’s camp on the far side of the river on February 4, he was not able to cause major damage or disruption.

Greene’s timing was impeccable–Cornwallis was unable to ford the quickly rising Yadkin behind him. Instead, Cornwallis was forced to march his men to the aptly named Shallow Ford and did not finish crossing the Yadkin until the morning of the February 7, by which time Greene and the Southern Army had a two-day lead in the race towards the Dan River and safety in Patriot-held Virginia.

Historical Vignette #(2) During the Final Year of the War Between the States (“Civil War” being as much a misnomer as “Revolutionary War”—the English Civil War of 1644-1649 was a truly “Civil War” between classes and religious groups within the same society, but it is only by a long post-war process that the full class, constitutional, economic, and socio-political implications of the American War of 1861-65  were resolved) President Lincoln met on February 3, 1865 at Hampton Roads with a delegation of Confederate officials to discuss a possible peace agreement. Lincoln refuses to grant the delegation any concessions, and the president departs for the north.

New York Tribune editor and abolitionist Horace Greeley provided the impetus for the conference when he contacted Francis Blair, a Maryland aristocrat and presidential adviser. Greeley suggested that Blair was the “right man” to open discussions with the Confederates to end the war. Blair sought permission from Lincoln to meet with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and he did so twice in January 1865. Blair suggested to Davis that an armistice be forged and the two sides turn their attention to removing the French-supported regime of Maximilian in Mexico. This plan would help cool tensions between North and South by providing a common enemy, he believed.

Meanwhile, the situation was becoming progressively worse for the Confederates in the winter of 1864 and 1865. In January, Union troops captured Fort Fisher and effectively closed Wilmington, North Carolina, the last major port open to blockade runners. Davis conferred with his vice president, Alexander Stephens, and Stephens recommended that a peace commission be appointed to explore a possible armistice. Davis sent Stephens and two others to meet with Lincoln at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The meeting convened on February 3. Stephens asked if there was any way to stop the war and Lincoln replied that the only way was “for those who were resisting the laws of the Union to cease that resistance.” The delegation underestimated Lincoln’s resolve to make the end of slavery a necessary condition for any peace. The president also insisted on immediate reunification and the laying down of Confederate arms before anything else was discussed. In short, the Union was in such an advantageous position that Lincoln did not need to concede any issues to the Confederates. Robert M.T. Hunter, one of the delegation, commented that Lincoln was offering little except the unconditional surrender of the South.

After less than five hours, the conference ended and the delegation left with no concessions. The war continued for more than two months.

Historical Vignette #(3) On the 3rd day of February, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson speaks for two hours before a historic session of Congress to announce that the United States is breaking diplomatic relations with Germany.

Due to the reintroduction of the German navy’s policy of unlimited submarine warfare, announced two days earlier by Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollwegg, Wilson announced that his government had no choice but to cut all diplomatic ties with Germany in order to uphold the honor and dignity of the United States. Though he maintained that We do not desire any hostile conflict with the German government, Wilson nevertheless cautioned that war would follow if Germany followed through on its threat to sink American ships without warning.

Later that day, Count von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to the U.S., received a note written by Secretary of State Robert Lansing stating that The President has directed me to announce to your Excellency that all diplomatic relations between the United States and the German empire are severed, and that the American Ambassador at Berlin will be immediately withdrawn, and in accordance with such announcement to deliver to your Excellency your passports. Bernstorff was guaranteed safe passage out of the country, but was ordered to leave Washington immediately. Also in the wake of Wilson’s speech, all German cruisers docked in the United States were seized and the government formally demanded that all American prisoners being held in Germany be released at once.

On the same day, a German U-boat sunk the American cargo ship Housatonic off the Scilly Islands, just southwest of Britain. A British ship rescued the ship’s crew, but its entire cargo of grain was lost.

In Berlin that night, before learning of the president’s speech, German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann told U.S. Ambassador James J. Gerard that Everything will be alright. America will do nothing, for President Wilson is for peace and nothing else. Everything will go on as before. He was proved wrong the following morning, as news arrived of the break in relations between America and Germany, a decisive step towards U.S. entry into the First World War.

Historical Vignette #(4) *CLOSELY RELATED TO #(3):  On February 3, 1924, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, died.  Woodrow Wilson was the first Southerner elected President of the United States since 1856, and the first Southerner to hold the title of President within the territory of what is now the United States since Jefferson Davis, and the only Ph.D. and Academic ever to be elected President (he was previously President of Princeton University in New Jersey).  Wilson died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 67, 7 years after the declaration of War on Germany that effectively ended American Isolation in the New World and launched the country, unwillingly and unnecessarily, as a world power forever.

Wilson was also the President who presided over the “ratification” of the 16th Amendment and implementation of Income Tax, the establishment of the Federal Reserve Banking System, and the 17th Amendment to the United States which effectively abolished the power of the States in Federal Government forever.  OK, his administration also saw the extension of the voting Franchise to Women and many other “progressive” acts, but on the whole, Wilson effectively crystalized the implementation of the foundations of Corporate-Socialist government in the United States of America.  It was all very tragic.

But in 1912, Governor Wilson of New Jersey was elected president in a landslide Democratic victory over Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and Progressive Party (“Bull-Moose”) candidate (and formerly Wildly-Popular President) Theodore Roosevelt. The focal point of President Wilson’s first term in office was the outbreak of World War I and his efforts to find a peaceful end to the conflict while maintaining U.S. neutrality. In 1916, he was narrowly reelected president at the end of a close race against Charles Evans Hughes, his Republican challenger.

In 1917, the renewal of German submarine warfare against neutral American ships, and the “Zimmerman Note,” which revealed a secret alliance proposal by Germany to Mexico, forced Wilson to push for America’s entry into the war.

At the war’s end, President Wilson traveled to France, where he headed the American delegation to the peace conference seeking an official end to the conflict. At Versailles, Wilson was the only Allied leader who foresaw the future difficulty that might arise from forcing punitive peace terms on an economically ruined Germany. He also successfully advocated the creation of the League of Nations as a means of maintaining peace in the postwar world. In November 1920, President Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at Versailles.

In the autumn of 1919, while campaigning in the United States to win approval for the Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations, Wilson suffered a severe stroke that paralyzed his left side and caused significant brain damage. This illness likely contributed to Wilson’s uncharacteristic failure to reach a compromise with the American opponents to the European agreements, and in November the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles or the League of Nations.

During his last year in office, there is evidence that Wilson’s second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, may have served as acting president for the debilitated and bed-ridden president who often communicated through her. In March 1921, Wilson’s term expired, and he retired with his wife to Washington, D.C., where he lived until his death on February 3, 1924. Two days later, he was buried in Washington’s National Cathedral, the first president to be laid to rest in the nation’s capital.

Historical Vignette #(5) On February 3, 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British scientist who helped developed the atomic bomb, was arrested in Great Britain for passing top-secret information about the bomb to the Soviet Union. The arrest of Fuchs led authorities to several other individuals involved in a spy ring, culminating with the arrest of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and their subsequent execution.

Fuchs and his family fled Germany in 1933 to avoid Nazi persecution and came to Great Britain, where Fuchs earned his doctorate in physics. During World War II, British authorities were aware of the leftist leanings of both Fuchs and his father. However, Fuchs was eventually invited to participate in the British program to develop an atomic bomb (the project named “Tube Alloys”) because of his expertise. At some point after the project began, Soviet agents contacted Fuchs and he began to pass information about British progress to them. Late in 1943, Fuchs was among a group of British scientists brought to America to work on the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop an atomic bomb. Fuchs continued his clandestine meetings with Soviet agents. When the war ended, Fuchs returned to Great Britain and continued his work on the British atomic bomb project.

Fuchs’ arrest in 1950 came after a routine security check of Fuchs’ father, who had moved to communist East Germany in 1949. While the check was underway, British authorities received information from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation that decoded Soviet messages in their possession indicated Fuchs was a Russian spy. On February 3, officers from Scotland Yard arrested Fuchs and charged him with violating the Official Secrets Act. Fuchs eventually admitted his role and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced, and he was released in 1959 and spent his remaining years living with his father in East Germany.

Fuchs’ capture set off a chain of arrests. Harry Gold, whom Fuchs implicated as the middleman between himself and Soviet agents, was arrested in the United States. Gold thereupon informed on David Greenglass, one of Fuchs’ co-workers on the Manhattan Project. After his apprehension, Greenglass implicated his sister-in-law and her husband, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. They were arrested in New York in July 1950, found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, and executed at Sing Sing Prison in June 1953.

And Now for Something Completely Different #1, Cross-tabbed as Historical Vignette #(6)   On February 3, 1953, French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau publishes his most famous and lasting work, The Silent World.

Born in Saint-Andre-de-Cubzac, France, in 1910, Cousteau was trained at the Brest Naval School. While serving in the French navy, he began his underwater explorations, filming shipwrecks and the underwater world of the Mediterranean Sea through a glass bowl. At the time, the only available system for underwater breathing involved a diver being tethered to the surface, and Cousteau sought to develop a self-contained device.

In 1943, with the aid of engineer Emile Gagnan, he designed the Aqua-Lung, the world’s first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). With the Aqua-Lung, the largely unexplored world lying beneath the ocean surface was open to Cousteau as never before. He developed underwater cameras and photography and was employed by the French navy to explore navy shipwrecks. In his free time, he explored ancient wrecks and studied underwater sea life.

In 1948, he published his first work, Through 18 Meters of Water, and in 1950 Lord Guinness, a British patron, bought him an old British minesweeper to use for his explorations. Cousteau converted the ship into an oceanographic vessel and christened it the Calypso. In 1953, he published The Silent World, written with Frederic Dumas, and began work on a film version of the book with film director Louis Malle. Three years later,The Silent World was released to world acclaim. The film, which revealed to the public the hidden universe of tropical fish, whales, and walruses, won Best Documentary at the Academy Awards and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

With the success of the film, Cousteau retired from the navy to devote himself to oceanography. He welcomed geologists, archaeologists, zoologists, environmentalists, and other scientists aboard the Calypso and led numerous excursions to the world’s great bodies of water, from the Red Sea to the Amazon River. He headed the Conshelf Saturation Dive Program, in which men lived and worked for extended time periods at considerable depths along the continental shelves.

His many books include The Living Sea (1963), Three Adventures: Galapagos, Titicaca, the Blue Holes (1973), and Jacques Cousteau: The Ocean World (1985). He also produced several more award-winning films and scores of television documentaries about the ocean, making him a household name. He saw firsthand the damage done to the marine ecosystems by humans and was an outspoken and persuasive environmentalist. Cousteau died in 1997.

HISTORICAL SUB-VIGNETTE: As a personal note, when I was a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1992 (Ryskamp was, without doubt, one of the most completely decent, distinguished and honorable men I have ever known, as well as one of the most dedicated and hardworking Judges), I had the occasion to participate in and prepare jury instructions and other papers relating to the trial for drug trafficking of a Cousteau apprentice and protege, Michael Wludarszcik, an East German who had earned fame in 1971 or thereabouts by jumping the Berlin Wall and running through a hale of bullets to “Freedom” in the West. In 1989-1990, I had had occasion to participate in the dismantling of that wall, and so I felt a special kinship to Wludarszcik.  Michael Wludarszcik was a sailor, merchant marine, oceanography, and underwater archaeologist who worked closely with Cousteau on several expeditions.  He was also an expert welder, and was accused of having welded several tanks or containers full of marijuana and other contraband and bringing it across the Caribbean into the United States.  He was a handsome, young, good-looking rugged man and had a beautiful wife and infant child who sat, the wife often sobbing, the baby well-behaved and quiet, throughout the trial.  Wludarczsik was found guilty and sentenced under the then current sentencing guidelines to 20 years, although Judge Ryskamp commented on what a terrible loss was this man and his life to society and science, even as he pronounced sentence.  Wludarczsik’s case awakened in my mind a passionate hatred of the war on drugs, which was only repeatedly reinforced throughout the remainder of my clerkship.  I had been disgusted by some drug defendants, the corrupt cops and the slimy drug dealers and all the double-crossing informants, but Michael Wludarczsik was a man whom I would have been honored to know, and his “acts of piracy” involved providing substances which almost all of my friends and colleagues in academia and social circles generally used, enjoyed, and actually valued.  The hypocrisy of the American War on Drugs as a means of incarcerating hundreds of thousands of Americans continues to aggrieve and offend me.   I hope that in my lifetime I will see a time when freedom of choice and freedom to choose an individual lifestyle is restored to the American people, and where no person will ever be imprisoned for providing good value to a willing marketplace.  I deeply respected and will always treasure the time I spent with the Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp, but I wish he had fought harder, as did his Palm Beach Colleague the Honorable James C. Paine, to neutralize and counteract the War on Drugs, which began in this Country as a power grab after prohibition by oligarchs such as William Randolph Hearst and John D. Rockefeller, the war on drugs itself being a phrase coined or at least popularized by Nelson A. Rockefeller while Governor of New York  (later first unelected Vice-President under Gerald R. Ford).

And now for something completely different #2, Cross Tabbed as *Historical Vignette #(7): On February 3, 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.

Holly, born Charles Holley in Lubbock, Texas, and just 22 when he died, began singing country music with high school friends before switching to rock and roll after opening for various performers, including Elvis Presley. By the mid-1950s, Holly and his band had a regular radio show and toured internationally, playing hits like “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!,” “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all his own songs, many of which were released after his death and influenced such artists as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

Another crash victim, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a disk jockey in Texas and later began writing songs. Richardson’s most famous recording was the rockabilly “Chantilly Lace,” which made the Top 10. He developed a stage show based on his radio persona, “The Big Bopper.”

The third crash victim was Ritchie Valens, born Richard Valenzuela in a suburb of Los  Angeles, who was only 17 when the plane went down but had already scored hits with “Come On, Let’s Go,” “Donna” and “La Bamba,” an upbeat number based on a traditional Mexican wedding song (though Valens barely spoke Spanish). In 1987, Valens’ life was portrayed in the movie La Bamba, and the title song, performed by Los Lobos, became a No. 1 hit. Valens was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Singer Don McLean memorialized Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit “American Pie,” which refers to February 3, 1959 as “the day the music died.”

And now for something completely different #(3), Cross-Tabbed as Historical Vignette #8:  On February 3, 1966, the Soviet Union accomplishes the first controlled landing on the moon, when the unmanned spacecraft Lunik 9 touches down on the Ocean of Storms. After its soft landing, the circular capsule opened like a flower, deploying its antennas, and began transmitting photographs and television images back to Earth. The 220-pound landing capsule was launched from Earth on January 31.

Lunik 9 was the third major lunar first for the Soviet space program: On September 14, 1959, Lunik 2 became the first manmade object to reach the moon when it impacted with the lunar surface, and on October 7 of the same year Lunik 3 flew around the moon and transmitted back to Earth the first images of the dark side of the moon. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. space program consistently trailed the Soviet program in space firsts–a pattern that shifted dramatically with the triumph of America’s Apollo lunar program in the late 1960s.

OK, so saving the worst of all for last of all (as Historical Vignette #9), on February 3, 2005, Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation as the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general despite protests over his record on torture.   Alberto Gonzalez would have been a disgrace to his profession and to the United States of America and its Constitution as a county prosecutor handling misdemeanors and traffic tickets and clearly had no business being the Attorney General of the United States.

The Senate approved his nomination on a largely party-line vote of 60-36, reflecting a split between Republicans and Democrats over whether the administration’s counterterrorism policies had led to the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. Shortly after the Senate vote, Vice President Dick Cheney swore in Gonzales as attorney general in a small ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. President Bush, who was traveling, called to congratulate him.

Gonzales was born in 1955 in San Antonio, Texas, the son of migrant workers and grew up in a small, crowded home in Houston without hot water or a telephone. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1973 after graduating high school. Following a few years of service, Gonzales attended the U.S. Air Force Academy.

After leaving the military, Gonzales attended Rice University and Harvard Law School before Bush, then governor of Texas, picked him in 1995 to serve as his general counsel in Austin and in 2001 brought him to Washington as his White House counsel. In this new role, Gonzales championed an extension of the USA Patriot Act.

After Gonzales became attorney general, he faced scrutiny regarding some of his actions, most notably the firing of several U.S. attorneys and his defense of Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program. The firings became the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007. Concerns about the veracity of some of his statements as well as his general competency also began to surface.

Democrats began calling for his resignation and for more investigations, but President Bush defended his appointee, saying that Gonzales was “an honest, honorable man in whom I have confidence,” according to an Associated Press report from April.

A few months later, however, Gonzales decided to step down.

On August 27, he gave a brief statement announcing his resignation (effective September 17), stating that “It has been one of my greatest privileges to lead the Department of Justice.” He gave no explanation for his departure. In his resignation letter, Gonzales simply said that “. . . this is the right time for my family and I to begin a new chapter in our lives.”

Gonzales and his wife Rebecca have three sons.

TODAY IN HISTORY
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2011. There are 331 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
Fifty-two years ago, on Feb. 3, 1959, a single-engine plane crashed shortly after midnight near Clear Lake, Iowa, claiming the lives of rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as pilot Roger Peterson. That same day, an American Airlines Lockheed Electra from Chicago crashed into New York’s East River while approaching LaGuardia Airport, killing 65 of the 73 people on board.
On this date:
In 1809, 202 years ago, German composer Felix Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg. Congress passed an act establishing the Illinois Territory effective March 1.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens held a shipboard peace conference off the Virginia coast; the talks deadlocked over the issue of Southern autonomy.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, was ratified.
In 1916, Canada’s original Parliament Buildings, in Ottawa, burned down.
In 1924, the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington, D.C., at age 67.
In 1930, the chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft, resigned for health reasons. (He died just over a month later.)
In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester, which was carrying troops to Greenland, sank after being hit by a German torpedo. (Four Army chaplains gave their life belts to four other men, and went down with the ship.)
In 1966, the Soviet probe Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the moon.
In 1969, Yasser Arafat was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization’ s executive committee during a council meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
In 1989, Alfredo Stroessner, president of Paraguay for more than three decades, was overthrown in a military coup.
Twelve years ago: The Clinton administration told Congress a NATO-led peacekeeping force could be needed in Kosovo for three to five years and might include up to 4,000 American troops.
Seven years ago: John Kerry won Democratic presidential contests in five out of seven states. Work in the U.S. Senate slowed to a crawl, a day after ricin powder was found in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Three years ago: The New York Giants scored a late touchdown for a spectacular Super Bowl win, 17-14, that ended the New England Patriots’ run at perfection.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shelley Berman is 85.
Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 71. Actress Bridget Hanley is 70. Actress Blythe Danner is 68. Singer Dennis Edwards is 68. Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese is 66. Singer-guitarist Dave Davies (The Kinks) is 64. Singer Melanie is 64.
Actress Morgan Fairchild is 61. Actor Nathan Lane is 55. Rock musician Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) is 55. Actor Thomas Calabro is 52.
Actor-director Keith Gordon is 50. Actress Michele Greene is 49. Country singer Matraca Berg is 47. Actress Maura Tierney is 46.
Actor Warwick Davis is 41. Reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee is 35. Musician Grant Barry is 34.
Singer-songwriter Jessica Harp is 29. Rapper Sean Kingston is 21.
Thought for Today: “I can, therefore I am.” — Simone Weil, French philosopher (born this day in 1909, died 1943).

Death Came, as it must to all men, to Georges Kourembanas, my brother-in-law, age 51

I will say it again:

I have been an unworthy hypocrite to judge you; you and I were so much alike; you were always my brother; I shall miss you.

CEL III: Georges Kourembanas was a big man

He was a great body builder!

Georges in competition sometime in the mid-1980s

who loved his women, loved his dogs, loved his liquor and cigars, and was loved by all in turn.  He was strong and seemingly indestructible, but he just died at age 51.  How I resented him!  How I envied him!  How I hated him for his life of leisure and luxury living the last ten years of his life on Greek Islands in the Aegean and Cancun!  How I envied the fact that certain people loved and cared for him who could not love and would never care a fig for me!   How I wished that I were as physically strong as he was!   How I wished I had his life, and so, could any two males of the human species be less alike than me and my brother-in-law Georges, who died one week ago on Friday, January 22, 2010, at about 8-8:30 PM in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, at his home with his mistress Lena who called him “Daddy”, even though knowing that he was beloved by his wife Lisa?

Last Saturday January 30, 2010, Georges Kourembanas was laid to rest beside his father, Panagiotis Kourembanas, a Greek Orthodox Priest, who also died young (at 54, in 1984) in Detroit, Michigan, though both father and son were born in Athens, Greece.  His family all surrounded and mourned him during this past week, although he had literally been an exile, shunned or ignored by all but his Anglo-American wife Lisa, who collapsed at the graveside, his mother, who after 37 years in the United States speaks less English than most foreign secondary school pupils immediately after flunking their first year exams in English, and his sisters, one of whom is my wife from whom I have been estranged for 8 continuous years now and my son, whom she and the system hid from me until he broke through the barricades and found me.

Not having any memory of the heartaches associated with Georges during 1990-1999, my 17 year old son Charlie was very sad about his uncle Georges, who died at age 51, just about two weeks after his birthday in fact, which was January 9—he was born in 1959, one year, three months and one day older than I am now.  He was healthy, at least considering everything, he was a body-builder (contestant representing Greece in the Mr. Universe pageant in 1983), who later became addicted to steroids and then to crack cocaine, which caused his family (including me) no end of trouble and grief.  But he was a good natured and happy guy. “I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”, said Shakespeares’ Mark Anthony, “the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones, so let it be with Caesar.”  In Georges’ case, it seems almost exactly the opposite (his family cried and forgave him all his sins), except that I plan here to write the good, the bad, the ugly, and try to put it all in the context of the world that I think made him who and what he was, and how he and I, as unlike as any two people could be, in so many ways have travelled along similar and parallel paths…rather lonely, difficult paths in fact….

You see, Georges and I both became, in very distinctive ways, victims of American injustice and oppression and the corruption of the American government in the “land of the free.”  We were both deprived of our rights.  We were both made to seem less that ordinary worthy citizens, and we suffered from these unconstitutional offenses against us, as did our country which inflicted these offenses…

First I should quote what my son Charlie, born August 23, 1992 under windows taped with St. Andrews Crosses at St. Mary’s Hospital “Birth Place” in Palm Beach, Florida, during the early landfall of Hurricane Andrews, wrote about his Uncle—(The Following Paragraphs are Charlie’s epitaph for his uncle):

CEL IV: To me, to my mother, to his own mother, and to his wife and friends, Georges Kourembanas was a Great Man, he lived a life that in some ways was extraordinary, eccentric, perhaps unenviable, but many, including some who never met him, would agree that there was something Great about his heart and soul as well as his body—his physical strength.  His mother was my maternal grandmother, Neonina (aka “Nina”) Kourembanas.

One of the dearest of all God’s Saints to me is Saint George.   I grew up reading my Father’s English stories of St. George and the Dragon under the white and red flag of England, but St. George was also the Patron Saint of my mother’s native Greece with its universally recognized blue and white flag, but also of Aragon, thus triangulating Europe (and my parents’ lives—my mother from Greece, my father of Anglo-American heritage, but they met in Mexico, speaking Spanish).   One of the few things my parents ever agreed on was to celebrate St. George’s Day on April 23, and we used to go to Saint George’s Church on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, where there were dragonslayer windows made and set by George Comfort Tiffany (damaged but not destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, 2005).

My Uncle Georges, had a traditional Orthodox Greek icon of Saint George in his room above his bed.  One of my earliest memories with Georges was in the 90s when I went to a Karate Tournament.  I won by tapping my opponents head, Georges remembered that very well and reminded it to me many times; I imagine he was proud as he himself was a boxer who won “golden gloves” in several tournaments (he told me this when I was in Cancun during the summer of 2007).

If I were to describe my uncle Georges in one word it would be that which he told me ran in our blood, Spartan.

Beside mere physical ability strength Georges was one of the kindest men I have ever met, he would often tell me that he loved me with all his heart, and “Charlie I have a big heart.”

Together while spending the summer with Georges in Cancun during July and August of 2007 he decided to train me in body building for he was one of best bodybuilders in the world. During the 80s he was awarded Mr. Michigan three times consequently he went to Greece and became Mr. Greece then in the Mr Universe competition which he won 8th place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Georges Kourembanas was born in the Kingdom of Greece, son of an Orthodox Priest who married a model, so an unlikely start for a champion body builder. His Mother and Father immigrated to the United States in 1970 foreseeing the downfall of the Dictatorship of Papadoupoulous, and meeting up with George’s maternal Uncle John Samohin and George’s maternal Grandmother in Detroit, bringing both of Georges’ young sister, my mother Elena, with them (my aunt Alex was born in Detroit in 1973).

In the summer of 1974, after Georges had already started working out at the original PowerHouse Gym on Woodward St. in Detroit,  Georges went to Greece to visit with his parents and little sister Elena; there he witnessed the commotion in the streets of Athens during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

By 1980 Georges won “golden gloves” in boxing, having already won 1977 Teen Mr. Highlands 4th Place, and several other teen bodybuilding awards.  After graduating from High School George went to Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1981 Georges won Mr. Michigan, then in 1982 he was awarded Mr. Michigan Most Muscular, and then in 1983 he won 1st place Tall Mr. Michigan.

Since Georges was born in Greece, and could was not eligible to compete for the American title Mr. USA, so he went back to Greece to become Mr. Greece and to represent Greece in the 1984 Mr. Universe tournament in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, where he took eighth place.

In 1984 Georges and his family suffered the loss of his Father, Panagiotis (aka “Peter”) Kourembanas; who was a Greek Orthodox Priest and fell of a heart attack while delivering the Good Friday Sermon in Toronto, Canada (Detroit and Toronto form part of the same Orthodox Diocese, or at least they did back then).

Georges by this time had already come to be known as ‘The Greek’ in many parts of Detroit. He met his future wife Lisa Ann Cook in 1983/4.  She was a beauty queen and a body builder herself—they were quite a striking couple.

Like so many athletes, I’m afraid that my uncle succumbed to the temptation of “enhancement” drugs, i.e., steroids, and unfortunately for him this led to other kinds of “substance abuse” with consequences I think my father will write more about below.  Drugs are apparently sold on credit—but since repossession of collateral to users is rarely an option, collection techniques tend to be significantly more than dunning letters followed by notices of default and acceleration.

In connection with one deal gone bad, Georges was shot on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1990, in the head through the ear, a bullet that he would carry with him to his death, and while still conscious he protected himself, left the area in his 1987 Camaro, and instead of going to the hospital right away he drove, with blood squirting out of head, to Lisa under the impression that he was going to die. When Lisa saw him she convinced him to go to the hospital where he spent about a week not knowing wheather he would survive or not. By the Grace/Protection of God Georges said he survived.

Georges was shot again in Austin on Christmas morning 1990—he carried some of the bullets he got on those two occasions to his grave, but God had other plans for him than to die a victim of crime.  Instead, Georges died a victim of injustice, American injustice, and that’s where my father is going to take over and write the rest of this.  I can say very little more, except that my whole family have cried every night since he died, and I have lost one of my best friends, one of the few people who remained loyal both to my Father and Mother (along with his wife Lisa) during their long divorce and fighting.

CEL III: I confess that there was a time when I felt my brother in law was a terrible burden, an imposition, a weight sinking my life which I could not bear.  I blamed my wife and mother-in-law for what I called their “Co-Dependence” on Georges during his steroid abuse and crack-cocaine addiction years.  Today as we all remember him, I will try to forget the bitterness that I once felt—the unjust accusations I once made that he was the breaking factor in my marriage to Elena—because it was obviously our fault and no one else’s—oh well, perhaps some fault can be laid at the doors of “the system”, some of its judicial officers and agents, and particularly one false and treacherous Hungarian archaeologist ex-friend of mine, perhaps they were to blame also, but not Georges—Georges was true blue—flawed but stained if by anything then only with his own blood, and his own human frailty—yes, frailty, for all that he was strong enough to tear phonebooks apart.

Most of the substances which constitute modern illegal drugs have been known to man since the dawn of time….at least since the beginning of civilization. Some modern drugs, like “LSD” the favorite of so many young people in the 1960s-70s, and “Crack”–the synthetic form of Cocaine which became popular in the 1980s, and to which Georges eventually became addicted, are artificial, but clearly the need for mind-numbing intoxicants and poisons is one of the “discontents” of civilization to which Sigmund Freud so often referred.

In Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, a substance called “Soma” was rationed out to all people liberally—without any of the side effects of alcohol or other drugs.  The importance of drugs to the 19th century British Empire is epitomized by the “Opium Wars” which forced drugs on an isolationist China.  The importance of drugs to the 20th century American Empire is punctuated by the events of 1919, during which year the United States acquired the patent for Heroin and Bayer Aspirin from Germany as part of the Treaty of Versailles, at the same time that the United States passed the 18th Amendment imposing the Prohibition so definitive of the 1920s, and the origins of both organized crime and the earliest formation of a Federal Police State in the United States of America.  There are those who say that William Randolph Hearst was responsible for making George Washington’s favorite crop—Cannabis Sativa illegal in the 1930s to protect his own interest in synthetic fiber ropes, but the true beneficiaries of the suppression of marijuana were each and every police department and above all the FBI, DEA, and ATF organs of the Federal government, which grew and maximized their power with every new “commercial” regulation of drugs in violation of the constitutional liberties of the people.

Psychoactive or narcotic drugs have been used throughout history, and alcohol is still used without prescription to this day.  So I have asked myself, since I was a small child, how is it that opium aristocratically inspired so many poets and other historical figures from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius to Cardinal Richlieu, as well as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Allen Poe only to become an abomination forbidden by law in modern times….all over the Americas and Europe….

The reason to me is obvious: government cannot thrive except by forbidding and monopolizing that which people crave.  The earliest example of this in the history of the United States is the play of righteous emotions similar to those I confessed, at the start of this post, to feel about my brother-in-law Georges: envy and resentment of what others have.  The War Between the States in the years 1861-1865 was about many things, but one of them was the envy and resentment of the Northern Whites who prided themselves on hard work and self-sacrifice against the more indulgent, hedonistic, and languid slave-owners of the Southern white world.

The 13th Amendment forbade slavery or involuntary servitude, “except as a punishment for crime”—and from the day of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox until the present day, the prison population of the United States of America has grown until it is the largest in the world (relative to the population of the country as a whole) and the absolute number of incarcerated, paroled and otherwise judicially restrained black people now exceeds the number of African-American slaves in 1860 (and the number of white prisoners, parolees, and probationers exceeds the entire population of the American Colonies in 1776).

Three years before the secession of South Carolina on December 20 1860 through the secession of Texas on February 1, 1861, the United States Supreme Court, per Chief Justice Taney, handed down a significant decision in a case called Scott v. Sanford (1857) which decided, among many other things, that one state could not declare to be illegal a form of property which was legal in others, as a matter of comity, due process of law, and many other reasons.  The “due process” reasoning of Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in “the Dred Scott” case is still worth reading, although the memory of the 19th century’s most deadly and devastating war, three constitutional amendments, and many generations of civil rights litigation have otherwised tarnished the memory of the only U.S. Supreme Court case which can ever be said to have had an effect more disastrous than the Judgment of Paris….

So the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery or involuntary servitude EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME, and all of a sudden, the U.S. Criminal Codes started to expand exponentially—because civilized society will apparently not exist without slaves.  Having abolished one species of private property by war and constitutional amendment, the United States Government in the 20th Century started to regulate all manner of commerce and private property, which caused much unhappy spinning in the graves of the Founding Fathers.  Worst of all, the 1920s saw the triumph of the First Prohibition, in which the constitution was amended to forbid the sale of alcohol.  Having proved to be the worst experiment in the moralistic legislative history of the human race, Prohibition of Alcoholic Liquors was repealed in December  of 1933, but it was almost immediately replaced by utterly unconstitutional restraints on drugs such as cannabis sativa, cocaine, opium, and all their derivatives.  The “commerce clause” justification for the federal regulation of drugs is a farce, one of the cruelest hoaxes ever played on a free people, but to explain why no American Patriot would ever suggest that George Washington should have ploughed under his profitable “rope” crop would just be to go too far astray from this story, which is still about my brother-in-law, Georges Kourembanas.

The bottom line, to my mind, is that Government wanted to expand its power, and Government DID expand its power, by controlling what people have always naturally desired and craved: narcotic and psychoactive drugs.  The “War on Drugs”, since the phrase was coined by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in an attempt to fill the prisons of his state and build more, but especially since this “War” was adopted by Richard Nixon whose advisors told him not merely to make “detente” with Communist China, but also to start emulating its policies of mass incarceration, has operated as one of the largest slavery-cum-corporate welfare programs in the history of the world.  Vast numbers of unemployed youths, skillful middle-aged businessmen, and entrepreneurs of every kind have, since about 1966, been swept into prison through coerced plea agreements engineered by a cabal of licensed attorneys and the judges who love and control them together with the corporate franchises which fund all of them, and between 1-2% of the American population is now locked into slavery from which escape is much less likely, and emancipation much more stringently regulated, than Antebellum slavery ever was in the South.

Computers mean that tracking of “escaped slaves” is much more certain and recapture much more likely than it ever was in the days of the “underground railroad”—and of course, all middle class whites, Northern and Southern, Eastern and Western, rejoice in the burgeoning population of the prisons until they or their relatives end up in the trap—at which time it’s just “too bad, so sad” that the privileged middle class population never learned that “none can be free until all are free.”

White America loves the “war on drugs” and the explosion of prison population which has accompanied it.  African and Hispanic Americans can be disproportionately incarcerated for the most trivial crimes, and the most uppity and enterprising white people are likewise incarcerated or threatened with incarceration whenever they get to “uppity” and/or “big for their britches”—unless of course, they are part of the truly immunized elite inner circle.  Entrepreneurial spirit and individual initiative rot in prisons—but corporate values flourished and corporate subservience is instilled in prison, in case you missed the lessons or ignored them in U.S. Elementary-High School (or for that matter in British schools whether portrayed by Dickens or in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”).  Every indication is that President Barack Hussein Obama fully intends to crush every relic of American freedom that exists, and enforce a rigid conformity to his plans by ever expanding the powers of government through Homeland Security and more and more prisons, private and/or public. Guantanamo will eventually be closed, of course, and replaced by prisons inside the U.S. where indefinite detention without trial will be permitted and the Writ of Habeas Corpus lost forever.

But this is the unjust world reality which trapped and destroyed Georges Kourembanas during the years 1990-2000 and, more than any other single factor, caused his death in exile, however luxurious, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico on January 22, 2010.

You see, Georges, as noted above, was not born in the United States.  He was accepted and respected as an American in Michigan for years, as so many immigrants have been.  But Georges never gave up his Greek passport—he was content with a “Green Card” (as was his sister, my wife, throughout our marriage—although since our separation she has apparently gotten a Blue American Passport and given up her Democratia Hellinika-E.C. Diabaterio which I always thought was so neat….).  Well, at the very least, she’s voting now…..I’m not quite sure about all that….but I digress…

Georges Kourembanas was (unsurprisingly) arrested several times during his years “under the influence.”  In this he differed little from another fellow named George who just happened to be governor of Texas in 1999.  Aside from the natural class-based consequences of having an Orthodox Priest rather than a U.N. Ambassador and CIA Director for a Father, Georges Kourembanas’ life was little less accomplished than George W. Bush’s.  But as George W. Bush was riding on the modern American prison-based slave-ocracy and its attendant envies and corruptions, Georges Kourembanas was arrested and the government of his adopted land sought his deportation.   There is no “exile” for American citizens who misbehave, but there is deportation for legal residents who do the same or less.  Literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS bordering on MILLIONS of Hispanics are imprisoned throughout the United States for nothing much more than job hunting and maybe then getting drunk (and stopped) on a Saturday night.

I have often said that if Mexico were to imprison rowdy Americans in Cancun, Acapulco, and Mazatlan at the same rate that Mexicans are rounded up in the United States, that the United States would invade Mexico and bring about the North American Union immediately, without further delay or debate.  I also think to myself that there is no real contradiction between building a big prison-like unescapable/uncrossable fence along the Mexican border and proposed a North American Union, because the corporate powers of the United States would like nothing better than to convert Mexico into one gigantic prison-labor camp from which workers could be employed or removed as market conditions should necessitate.  If the politicians of Mexico had any pride….things would be different, but they are mostly former employees of American Corporations such as Coca-Cola, so it hardly matters.

“Moral Turpitude” is what makes people like Georges Kourembanas deportable.  “Moral Turpitude” is a concept as amorphous as “original sin” which Immigration Courts use to send “undesirables” back from whence they came.  Was Georges Kourembanas less desirable than George W. Bush?  In my opinion, and probably in the opinion of hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans around the world at least from Iraq-to Afghanistan, there is really no comparison or competition at all.  Georges Kourembanas as a man who loves his women, loves, his dogs, and loved his liquor, and never hurt anyone.  “No one died when Clinton lied” was one of my favorite Bush-era bumper-stickers.

Georges family—my in-laws—took good care of him at the same time that they shunned me as my marriage to his sister resolved itself into a dew.  Care packages and love and visits flowed from Austin to Athens during the early 2000s after Georges took “voluntary departure” instead of deportation—he could have contested deportation but he would have stayed in jail for God knows how long while he did, and he was never convicted of anything which the Greek authorities thought worthy of note.  After a year or so in Athens Georges eventually settled in a Lemon grove amid olive and fig trees on a little island in the Aegean.  He lived there with Lena his mistress while his wife Lisa and his mother and sister and even my son visited him de temps en temps.

I am sure he was lonely and bored living there in a fruit orchard, but his family took care of him, so he never had to work, and I did envy him his existence no end.  I lived along during the years 2002-2007, but I talked to Georges’ American wife Lisa—sometimes almost daily, sometimes only once a week, recently (especially since I left Texas in 2007) not quite so often.  But Georges and Lisa talked to me and helped me keep up with news about my son when the truly criminal state domestic relations courts of Williamson County, Texas, took my son away from me.  So I got to know Georges better and talked to him more often by telephone during those years than I ever had when he lived in the United States.  And yes, Georges was a very kind, good, and big-hearted man, and he always assured me that my son loved me and missed me—and he was obviously telling me the truth.

His wife Lisa?  Well, I have often written that Georges and Lisa were like Tristan and Isolde—always separated, always longing for each other.  Lisa was the ideal loyal and patient wife, in every way tolerant of Georges and his needs (including his need for a permanent female companion on the other side of the Atlantic).  In spite of the situational peculiarities, I think that they really did love each other on an epic, Wagnerian level which few can understand.  Lisa supported Georges, assisted occasionally by my wife Elena and her mother Nina, not so much by any of the other Greek relatives on this side of the Atlantic, except possibly for Tia Maria whom I only met a few times at her home in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City.  Lisa, like Georges, had a huge heart, great compassion and almost boundless love, at the same time that she became physically weak due to breast-implant poisoning caused by Dow Pharmaceauticals.  She was as much a victim of the American Corporate love-hate affair with drugs, in that sense, as Georges himself.  But Lisa was my true and steadfast friend and through her love for Georges I came to care for my brother-in-law more than I ever dreamed I could have.  My wife Elena always resents the fact that Lisa (alone among my in-laws) supported me in my quest for custody of my son, and she sometimes quotes hatefully and sarcastically how I called Lisa my “Rock of Gibraltar”, but I stand by my evaluation.  I know of no one truer and more loyal and steadfast than Lisa Ann Cook, and Georges was the luckiest man alive to have the love and generous acceptance and tolerance and support of such a wonderful woman, who never judged others but always tried to understand why those who inflicted harm on her might have done so.   In this, she was the truest of true Christians.

So Georges was strong, likable if not downright lovable, and yet he was caught up in currents of history which rendered his life difficult, a struggle, almost impossible.  He was “a man without a country”—never quite American enough to give up his Greek passport while he was living here throughout the nearly thirty years from 1970-1999.  Georges Kourembanas was a three-time “Mr. Michigan” (different awards) who represented Greece in the “Mr. Universe” competition in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He was determined to be a morally turpitudinous undesirable by the same government which created first the demand for drugs and then the war against drugs as a means of maximizing governmental power and control over the population at large.

Was America made any safer or more morally upstanding by deporting my brother-in-law?  No, definitely not—America became poorer and probably more dangerous—indeed, almost certainly more dangerous, because every person removed against his will is another person whose destroyed life is a feather-in-the cap of brutal authoritarianism in America.

Several members of my family-in-law feel so very sad and guilty that they did not do more for Georges during his lifetime.  My main suggestion that may have improved his life was that he relocated from Greece to Cancun, and was closer to his family during the last several years of his life as a consequence.  I made this suggestion because almost as completely as the United States as George’s adopted homeland, Mexico era durante muchos anos mi segunda Patria, aun mas que Inglaterra—Mexico was the land of more of my young adulthood life, dreams and ambitions than any other, and I figured that George could benefit from the amazing Caribbean winds and waters of Northern Quintana Roo.   I had intended to spend at least half of time with Georges in Cancun (en mi Mexico lindo y querido), but for several reasons that never happened.  I am happy to say that my son Charlie, whose first trips outside the U.S. were to Yucatan and Quintana Roo Mexico as a baby, toddler, and elementary schoolboy, was able to spend one summer with George in 2007—even though the purpose at that time was to make sure that Charlie spent as little time in contact with me as humanly possible….

One of the reasons, of course, that I was lacking in funds to spend half of my time in Mexico during the first decade of the Third Millenium Anno Domini was the troubles I had during these same years with the same American government which oppressed my brother—yes, in that he was not just my brother in law, but my brother.   I too had to struggle with charges of ridiculously trivial criminality (I never did drugs—at least I have never done them as a mature adult—that wasn’t my problem—I had plenty of others—when I was indicted (coincidentally in December 1999, shortly after Georges took his involuntary departure) my pre-trial release officer finally stopped giving me the degrading urine tests because they were just pointless).

I too had to struggle with questions of moral turpitude and the significance of such charges for my professional life.  I had had such a fine education and opportunities unparalleled in most people’s lives.  I was very lucky.  But in 1997 I had stood up to the system and sued my local police department for not one but 7-9 instances of police brutality, corruption, and civil rights violations.  And at that point, all-of-a-sudden, my previously essentially dull and blameless life became “morally turpitudinous” and I became in the eyes of many critics an “incompetent attorney.”

So if Georges Kourembanas can hear me—if he had a coin for the Ferryman Charon and has thus crossed the River Styx—or if he is standing somewhere in the upper levels of limbo or purgatory, I hope he will hear my apology for my hypocrisy in criticizing him, in thinking myself superior to him, in believing that my education was in any way superior to his physical strength and good heart (even though his physical heart finally gave out on him, much too soon).  I apologize to him that I could introduce him to the Quintana Roo and Yucatan and Mexico and Belize that I know and love, because I think it would have made his last few years so much better than just hanging around the beach and hotel zone of Cancun.  He and I were both victims of some of the very same authoritarian and repressive forces in the United States in Texas which reached their political apogee in the years after 1993-6.  He and I were both victims of the streamlining and mass production of criminal prosecutions in the United States which all have, as Ayn Rand predicted so many years ago, the sole purpose of rendering us all “criminals” just waiting to be arrested here “in the land of the free” or any of the formerly freedom-loving countries of Europe or the Americas.

Georges and I are also victims of some of the same personal and familial situations.  Now in his epitaph I will not speculate here on what any members of his family could have done for him that they did not, because all I know for sure is that they loved him more than me, so very much more, in spite of all his flaws, and since he was blood, I suppose I can forgive them that.   But in the midst of all that I think he was ten times blessed to have Lisa as his wife and lifetime companion and supporter.   The bottom line is that our two lives, so different, as that of my late brother-in-law and my own, were actually parallel in terms of the circumstances of our “exile” from society.  I still envy him for all the love he enjoyed, and up to a point, I even envy him his early death in Mexico.  Sometimes I wish that I had died, when I had the chance, ten years ago in Egypt.  But I apparently had a purpose to live, and for that reason I do continue to live, and breath, and fight, and remember the pointless injuries done to Georges, my brother-in-law, my brother-in-suffering, and my brother-in-the sometimes loneliness of exile.