“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

West fooled again in Iran , but so was Sadegh Ghotbzadeh صادق قطب‌زاده

I was fascinated by Sadegh Ghotbzadeh. He was all over US television in the late 70's, urbane, witty, perfect English and the Iranian face seen by most Americans.

He was spokesman for everything.

He was also consumed by the revolution, tortured, forced to give false testimony, tried and shot. He has no grave and precious little video to recall who he was.

Once again Iranian Revolution stands.

No wishful thinking will make it go away. There is no internal actor tall enough, broad enough and bulletproof enough to make it go away. Obama may be as surprised as was poor old Sadegh at the enduring power of the mullacracy in Iran. He shouldn't be, but once again in his short rookie presidency he will have to backtrack on his new hopeful and changed way of doing business.

A Little history on Sadegh Ghotbzadeh


Around the World; Iran Legislator Accuses Ghotbzadeh of a Plot

NY Times
Published: April 16, 1982

Teheran newspapers quoted a member of the Iranian Parliament today as having said that former Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh had planned to blow up Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's house with rockets.

The legislator, Movahed Savoji, was quoted as having told a rally in the city of Qum on Wednesday that the former minister had rented a house 150 yards from the Ayatollah's residence for that purpose.

Mr. Ghotbzadeh was arrested in Teheran last week and Iranian judicial authorities have accused him of leading a monarchist group plotting to kill Ayatollah Khomeini. According to the newspapers, Mr. Savoji said the monarchist group under Mr. Ghotbzadeh's direction had placed explosives in the house that were meant to go off before the rocket attack.

Mohsen Rezai, commander of Revolutionary Guards who arrested Mr. Ghotbzadeh in his house, said the former Foreign Minister had been arrested while smoking opium, the newspapers said. Mr. Ghotbzadeh faces a firing squad if convicted in the plot.

From Wikipedia:


As a student Ghotbzadeh was active in the Student Confederation of Iran. He attended Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service 1959-1963, but was dismissed before graduating due to his skipping studies and exams to lead protests against the government of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, including storming a posh party put on by the Iranian Ambassador to the United States, the son-in-law of the Shah.[citation needed]

He was a supporter of the National Front of Iran and the Freedom Movement of Iran and was a close aide of Ayatollah Khomeini when Khomeini was in exile in France. He accompanied Khomeini on his travel back to Iran on February 1, 1979. After the Islamic Revolutionaries took power, Ghotbzadeh was appointed as managing director of National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) and tried to overhaul it to be in line with Islamic teachings, purging royalist, women, and leftists.[1] This was criticised by a group of Iranian intellectuals and also the Interim Government. He was appointed as Foreign Minister after Abolhassan Banisadr resigned as acting Foreign Minister amid heated disputes on the fate of the American hostages. He was "quoted by Agence France Presse saying that he had information that presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was `trying to block a solution` to the hostage crisis. ... Two friends of Ghotbzadeh who spoke to him frequently during this period said that he insisted repeatedly that the Republicans were in contact with elements in Iran to try to block a hostage release."[2] He later resigned when his diplomatic approach to resolve the crisis ended in a deadlock.

[edit] Arrest and execution

In April 1982, he was arrested along with a group of army officers and clerics (including son-in-law of religious leader Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari), all accused of plotting the assassination of Khomeini and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. He denied the accusations but confirmed the existence of a plot to change the government, then led by Ali Khamenei as President. Ghotbzadeh's confessions came only after severe torture on the part of the Iranian government.

Further rumors include the story that Ayatollah Khomeini initially did not want to execute Ghotbzadeh; he was persuaded to do so after hearing a tape of Ghotbzadeh in prison agreeing to pay money and provide contact information of his allies in France in exchange for his freedom.[citation needed] Ghotbzadeh supposedly told this to a fellow prisoner specifically hired to entrap him.[citation needed] The veracity of these rumors is unknown.

At an April 1982 "press conference", hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Reyshahri, the chief judge of the newly created Military Revolutionary Tribunal, explained the plot with "an elaborate chart full of boxes and arrows linking Qotbzadeh and the royalist officers, on one side, to `the feudalists, the leftist mini-groups, and the phony clerics` and other side, to the `National Front, Israel, the Pahlavis and the Socialist International.` The last four were linked to the CIA."[3]

Ghotbzadeh was shot by a firing squad after a 26-day trial before the Military Revolutionary Tribunal found him guilty and sentenced him to death

June 14, 2009
The West fooled itself Iran would allow reform
Amir Taheri Times on line

Barack Obama found it “exciting” and Hillary Clinton saw it as “a positive sign”. Others, like Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser, went further and praised it as a “vibrant democracy”. A variety of useful idiots at home and abroad expressed similar illusions about the Iranian presidential election on Friday.

Many had hoped the exercise would dislodge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the maverick who has vowed to chase the United States out of the Middle East, wipe Israel off the map and prepare the ground for the hidden imam, Shi’ite Islam’s “end of times” figure of retribution. In the event, the election turned out to be a choreographed affair designed to reinforce Ahmadinejad’s position as the leader of “resurgent Islam”.

Officially put at 85%, voter turnout was the highest in Iran’s history. Ahmadinejad won with 63%, collecting more votes than any of his predecessors. The results were arranged to give him a two-thirds majority among all categories of voters – men, women, young and old, poor and middle class, and in all of Iran’s 30 provinces. Whoever wrote the script also made sure that his three rivals, all veterans of the Khomeinist revolution, were roundly defeated even in their respective home towns.

Only one candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former prime minister, has tried to contest the results. Some analysts had tipped Mousavi, a cousin of the “supreme guide” Ali Khamenei, as the likely winner and the ideal partner for President Obama in his quest for unconditional talks with Iran. By midday Saturday it was clear that Mousavi would not try to rock the boat. Rather than calling his supporters into the streets, he wrote a letter to his cousin, pleading for “action to avoid injustice”. Ahmadinejad’s camp responded by announcing a rally in Tehran today to celebrate his victory.

Ahmadinejad’s narrative was simple. He presented himself as a man of the people with a mission to restore the purity of a revolution sullied by corruption and hypocrisy. He portrayed a ruling elite that spoke of the “downtrodden” but lived in palaces, of mullahs who spoke more of contracts and deals than of faith and doctrine.

Branded “a dangerous masquerade” by Mousavi, Friday’s election should end illusions about the possibility of changing the regime’s strategy through internal evolution and peaceful action. Ever since the mullahs seized power in 1979, Iran has suffered a crisis of identity, torn between its ambitions as a force for messianic revolution on the one hand and its interests as a nation-state on the other. Mousavi had incarnated the hope of Iran reaffirming its identity as a nation-state. Ahmadinejad’s victory symbolises the determination to emphasise the revolutionary aspect of Iran’s identity, even if that means sacrificing some of its interests as a nation-state. Iran may continue behaving like a cause rather than a country.

Ahmadinejad will have to cope with the deep divisions in the ruling establishment that he has brought to the surface. During his campaign he portrayed the terms of his two predecessors, Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani, as “murky periods” when some mullahs and their associates “plundered” the nation’s wealth and kowtowed to “imperialist powers”.

The president has a mandate to purge the regime of its allegedly corrupt elements who tried to form a united front to defeat him. By focusing on an internal purge, Ahmadinejad may want to ease tension on the foreign policy front.

The United States under Obama is bending over backwards to open a dialogue with the Islamic republic. In his Cairo “address to the Muslim world”, Obama implicitly accepted Iran’s right to seek a nuclear capability. “No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons,” he said. Since then Obama and Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, have tried to repackage the Iranian nuclear issue not as a problem in itself but because it might trigger “a nuclear arms race in the Middle East”.

It is possible that Ahmadinejad, radical rhetoric notwithstanding, may try to ease tension with Washington provided he is allowed to pursue his nuclear ambitions. Days before the election he dispatched Manouchehr Mottaki, his foreign minister, to Paris to ask President Sarkozy to broker a telephone conversation between Obama and the Iranian leader. Paris and Washington dismissed it as “electoral opportunism”.

Ahmadinejad has won a massive victory over his rivals in the Establishment. But the Khomeinist regime remains deeply unpopular, especially among young Iranians, who account for two-thirds of the population. Yesterday Tehran and other cities witnessed antiregime demonstrations, mostly young people shouting, “Shame on you Ahmadinejad! Quit the government!” Although small and isolated, these protests could in time grow into a mass movement. Iran is also heading for economic meltdown, with a daily loss of 1,000 jobs and inflation of more than 20%. Ahmadinejad’s election slogan is “Ma mitavanim” (We can), like Obama’s “Yes we can”. Iran’s leader has been true to his slogan by showing he can fix the election results to the last detail. But can he cope with a restive population, a divided establishment and an economy heading for deep recession?

Amir Taheri is an Iranian journalist and author


  1. bobal, my friend, you brought up a series of thought provoking observations earlier including, among other things, our great debt to our literary heritage. How right you are!

    Recently, in juxtaposing pantheism and monotheism during debate with my undergraduate son, I found myself searching for just that "right" turn of phrase to carry my point. It came from the giant among Christian apologists, G. K. Chesterton (Yeah, I know: What's a good Jewish boy doing reading that stuff? There is something to be said for eclecticism.) To the point, it is attributed to Chesterton: "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything."

    What does all art, be it literature, graphic, musical etc, have in common? Could it be a childish sense of self-awareness; that part of us all, "created in the image of God"? And does not self-awareness lead us to "conscience"?

    Sadly, some men are not truly self-aware; instead, they are self-absorbed. Self-absorption is the precursor to idolatry, including that which would sacrifice the good on the alter of the perfect.

    …just some ramblings from a man who spent last evening in Atlanta enjoying “Jersey Boys” at the Fox Theater and did not get home to bed until the wee-hours…

  2. Saddam Hussein brutally, efficiently put down the '91 anti-government uprisings. And to this day it's difficult to overstate the mileage we got out of it. Gassing the Kurds (in '88) and gunning down the Shiia: If Americans, along with much of the rest of the West, knew nothing else of the regime's behavior on its own turf, they were familiar with these two markers of a viciously inhumane individual and his government.

    For those observers who cannot sleep soundly without the near-term prospect of regime *removal*, and whose purpose it is to bring pressure to bear toward this end, it's all good.

  3. Again,

    "Power comes from the barrel of a gun"___Mao

    no guns = no revolution = no power

    To slightly paraphrase Barzun, "Revolution is the VIOLENT overthrow of an existing system."

    Of course, James A. Baker III would not approve.

  4. Allen, the reason I post some poems by Theodore Roethke once in a while is--well, first, I love the guy and his poems--it was the best thing ever happened to me in college, worth the tuition, and took me a while to catch on --but also because he doesn't seem to speak from any particular religious point of view. But he seems to me to speak from all our heart and soul. Though I know too in my reading about him he had great appreciation of the Judeo/Christian heritage.

    I wish I could find, dang it I can't--it may be out in the garage--a prose essay of his, about God still existing in our world.

    He was a mystic fellow, home born, right here in America, and he said in that essay, something along the lines of 'I don't know where I get this, but it just comes sometimes'

    Like he says in some poem, it comes

    "unasked for, and final"

    So yes, I think he is in the best tradition of what we have, along with all the others of our American greats, all colors, all races.

    I think we have a wonderful literature here, if we take the time to explore it.

    Go, America!

  5. Jersey Boys
    The Atlanta caste was the best I've ever seen/heard. See, if you haven't...full of life's lessons, set to a musical theme.

  6. "We just have this One Last Favor to ask."

    "Uh-huh. We're booked up."

    "You can't be."

    "Take a look for yourself...2013. Maybe you can call back."

    "I'll call back next week. You might have a cancellation."

    "Suit yourself."

  7. I think a way to understand a poet like Roethke, is to think of it as a struggle to get things 'into whack.'

    You know, so often things seem to be 'out of whack'.

    We'd rather have things in whack than out of whack.

    We feel better that way.

    He struggles with this, and, finally, succeeds, for the benefit of us all.

    Things can be in whack.

  8. Bobal,

    Somewhere, buried within my library or computer, is a good-natured, satirical pun used by Socrates, wherein he says, “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” The two words he used for “know” are slightly different. One is of the form that tells me that I “know” (am aware) of my liking for Yellow Fin Tuna. The other speaks to the “absolute comprehension” of something.

    Therefore, Socrates is saying, in essence, “I am aware that I am intelligent because I am aware that I comprehend nothing absolutely.” In essence, he is saying, “I am a work in progress.”

    Yes, I too have felt from my earliest recollection the presence of the Other, the Transcendent. Somehow, in some inexplicable way, I (we) are all part of some infinite cosmic adventure that we will never comprehend absolutely. Religion is often an attempt to rationalize this wholly unsatisfactory discomfort; but more often than not has more to do with Yellow Fin Tuna than E=mc2

    Religiously, I am a Jew, in the best rendition of that epithet, I hope. Like the great Sages, I hope that I am unorthodoxically orthodox. That is, I am not at all a religious being; rather, I hope that I am a spiritual one. The minutiae are of little consequence to me, while the small numbers of fundamentals are everything.

  9. Allen said:
    "Sadly, some men are not truly self-aware; instead, they are self-absorbed. Self-absorption is the precursor to idolatry, including that which would sacrifice the good on the alter of the perfect."
    Just Make Stuff Up - Victor Davis Hanson -

    Why has President Obama developed a general disregard for the truth, in a manner far beyond typical politicians who run one way and govern another, or hide failures and broadcast successes?

    First, he has confidence that the media will not be censorious and will simply accept his fiction as fact. A satirist, after all, could not make up anything to match the obsequious journalists who bow to their president, proclaim him a god, and receive sexual-like tingles up their appendages.

    Second, Obama is a postmodernist. He believes that all truth is relative, and that assertions gain or lose credibility depending on the race, class, and gender of the speaker. In Obama’s case, his misleading narrative is intended for higher purposes. Thus it is truthful in a way that accurate facts offered by someone of a different, more privileged class and race might not be.

    Third, Obama talks more than almost any prior president, weighing in on issues from Stephen Colbert’s haircut, to Sean Hannity’s hostility, to the need to wash our hands. In Obama’s way of thinking, his receptive youthful audiences are proof of his righteousness and wisdom — and empower him to pontificate on matters he knows nothing about.

    Finally, our president is a product of a multicultural education: Facts either cannot be ascertained or do not matter, given that the overriding concern is to promote an equality of result among various contending groups. That is best done by inflating the aspirations of those without power, and deflating the “dominant narratives” of those with it.

    The problem in the next four years will be not just that the president of the United States serially does not tell the truth.

    Instead, the real crisis in our brave new relativist world will be that those who demonstrate that he is untruthful will themselves be accused of lying.

  10. al-bobal said...
    "Allen, the reason I post some poems by Theodore Roethke once in a while is--well, first, I love the guy and his poems--"
    We don't need any reminders of your homo-erotic proclivities, al-bobal.
    You've been more than outspoken about your Swedish "Roots."

  11. :)

    Well, al-Doug, I didn't really mean it that way.

  12. There is a really beautiful phrase, by Gregory of Nyssa, about how the dove flies through the darkness, and the darkness, the being of God, always recedes, the dove flying evermore through the darkness, ever receding.

    We are that dove.

    Always something more.

  13. Eventually, the Mideast will run out of oil. Then, we can "Nuke" them and go about our business. Hopefully.

  14. Mitt:

    "[T]he comments by the president last week that there was a robust debate going on in Iran was obviously entirely wrong-headed. What has occurred is that the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you're seeing a brutal repression of the people as they protest.

    "The president ought to come out and state exactly those words, indicate that this has been a terribly managed decision by the autocratic regime in Iran.

    "It's very clear that the president's policies of going around the world and apologizing for America aren't working.... [J]ust sweet talk and criticizing America is not going to enhance freedom in the world."

    On the one hand, there wasn't a robust debate going on in Iran. On the other hand, the parallel "election" apparatus felt sufficiently compelled to overturn an election by subterfuge.

    I repeat: WHAT.EVER.

  15. 45. buddy larsen:

    “I’d rather be right than be President” –POTUS, candidate, Goldwater

    “I’d rather be President than be right” –POTUS, Democrat, generic

    “I’d rather be wrong and be President” –POTUS, Manchurian, current

  16. al Arabiya

    " a protest against election results Iran’s Hashemi Rafsanjani resigned from his posts as the chairman of the Assembly of Experts and as head of the Expediency Discernment Council, the two most influential institutions in the country."

  17. And foreign reporters have been kindly asked to unass themselves.

  18. the Assembly of Experts--

    heh, I wanna be on that board, first Citizen at the top.

  19. Then, when I am esconced in my High Place,

    I will be able to say--

    Rat, shut the fuck up.


    And mean it.

  20. NDE Czar, more like it.

    I can see doctors' offices across the country offering little pamphlets: The Afterlife and You. Drive-time Radio PSAs: It Doesn't End Here.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  21. I will be able to say--

    Rat, shut the fuck up.


    - bob

    The easiest way to say this, is to simply quit engaging him on any point, seemingly benign or otherwise.

    Let him talk to himself.

  22. The last few nights I have been reading Plato's "The Republic".

    While there is some very good stuff here, and, in particular, the Myth of Er, at the very end, which conduces with my after death outlook, based on my deep reading, I would not recommend such a Republic.

    I still remain, politically, with Huck Finn, the best thing is to have an 'out west' to head out to.

    And indeed, when you get the gist of it, Plato, (I think) is just playing with some concepts, as he seems to say, such a Republic would never last long.

    Out this way, we tried to set up a sane society, where murder was punished, and labor was rewarded, and we had a working court, but I have been criticized for this, by Desert Rat.

    If I wasn't so old, I migh want to go to Australia.

  23. Not simply the easiest way; the most effective way.

  24. What is "the lede" and where did that come from?

  25. re: lede (?)

    "History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory. It might almost be said to be no science at all, if memory and faith in memory were not what science necessarily rest on. In order to sift evidence we must rely on some witness, and we must trust experience before we proceed to expand it. The line between what is known scientifically and what has to be assumed in order to support knowledge is impossible to draw. Memory itself is an internal rumour; and when to this hearsay within the mind we add the falsified echoes that reach us from others, we have but a shifting and unseizable basis to build upon. The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe."

  26. re: lede (?)

    Are you talking to me?

    If so, the link name seems appropriate, and the off topic subject was merely an attempt to lighten up the thread after the never ending pissing contest between bob and rat.

    Sorry. I should celebrate nice Sunday mornings more privately.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. This one is for you, bobbie.

    I tried to restrain, as our host requested, but since you're to rude to honor his requests, I'll just have to respond, to you and Nurse Hatchett.

    THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

    The line of this work by Mr Paine, that most applies to you, bobbie ...

    ... What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly ...

    Maybe I'll go back to the Novemeber thread, and clip your abort the black babies post, maybe not. Doubt if it's worth it.

    The Homestead Act, bob, is the 19th century solution to economic slavery. It's a shame that someone whose family profitted from government largesse cannot see the wisdom of the Federals further divesting their holdings. Instead offers only the option of ever greater Federal debt, to pay for foreign adventures and domestic subsidies.

    Why even duece has supported the idea of the Federals divesting portions of their vast land holdings. Putting that land to good, productive use.

    That you are perpetually behind the curve, just something we'll adjust to.

    Our den mother, Nurse Hatchett, does not understand persistence.
    She may be married to a Ranger, but she's not qualified, herself.

    She'd have scratched that itch, before the course was complete.

  29. By caitlin.mcdevitt - The Big Money.

    Amusement park operator Six Flags declared bankruptcy yesterday but says that it will keep its parks open, at least for now. According to the Washington Post, the company is carrying $2.4 billion in debt. Despite the fact that Six Flags reported 25 million visitors and posted record revenues in 2008, the debt is simply unsustainable, the Associated Press reports.

    Yesterday, Obama proposed an additional $313 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs in order to pay for health care reforms that could cost about $1 trillion over the next 10 years, Reuters reports. "I know some question whether we can afford to act this year," the president said, "But the unmistakable truth is that it would be irresponsible to not act."

    Two of the nation's most influential bank regulators are at it again, reports the New York Times. John Dugan, comptroller of the currency, is reportedly feuding with Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC. Dugan has lambasted a proposal to impose harsh insurance fees on banks, which he views as unfair to the largest banks (which he regulates). Bair responded in defense of small banks, charging that the big banks should take the blame for the financial collapse.

  30. linearthinker,

    The photo was "extraordinary".

  31. Six Flags is too fun to fail!

  32. Record attendence and still they cannot make the nut.

    Makes ya wonder, what were they thinkin'?

    What was their banker thinking, other than how nice it'd be to own and operate Six Flags, after foreclosure.

  33. A year of investigation yields ...

    The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office arrested 14 people during an illegal-immigrant raid at a carwash at 30th Street and Indian School Road in Phoenix.

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio said 12 workers at Lindstrom Family Auto Wash were booked into county jail on suspicion of fraudulent identification; two others were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants and will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The Sheriff's Office had been investigating the carwash for about a year

  34. "Lede, follow, or get out of the way."
    Thomas Pain in the Butt

  35. That from before they used LEAD in printing.

  36. Little boys don't exhibit pure innocent joy like that, much anymore.
    (Ted Nugent's kids maybe)

  37. linearthinker,

    ...just viewed the whole series of photos...MAGNIFICENT...what a pleasure to be gifted such an endlessly fascinating, wondrous, exhilarating world...

    ...took a short afternoon nap...dreamt of a tornado...awesome, undulating, bright uncontrolled fear or dread, simply transfixed by its unbridled beauty...

    I love being Ha Ish, a combination related to Aish (fire).

    Thank you, linear!

  38. Where you leading to?

    How we gettin' there, from here?

    As another hero of this Nation's past, one of the founding fathers of the US Navy, Stephen Decatur.

    On returning home in April 1816, he was feted as the Conqueror of Araby. It was at one such banquet that he raised his glass and spoke the words,

    'Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.

    Now Stephen Decatur was no summertime sailor, nor a sunshine patriot. Not at all.

    ... he lives on, as great sailors do. There has always been a U.S. Navy warship named Decatur. The current vessel is an Arleigh Burke—class guided—missile destroyer, DDG—73.

    With thanks to the American Thinker

  39. "My country right or wrong" Hmm...

    Arlington, Washington City, P.O
    20 Apr 1861

    Lt. Genl Winfield Scott
    Commd U.S. Army

    Since my interview with you on the 18th Inst: I have felt that I ought not longer to retain any Commission in the Army. I therefore tender my resignation which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the struggle it has Cost me to separate myself from a Service to which I have divoted all the best years of my life, & all the ability I possessed. During the whole of that time, more than a quarter of a century, I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors & the most Cordial friendships from any Comrades. To no one Genl have I been as much indebted as to yourself for kindness & Consideration & it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry with me, to the grave the most grateful recollections
    of your kind Consideration, & your name & fame will always be dear to me. Save in the defense of my native state shall I ever again draw my sword. Be pleased to accept any more [illegible] wishes for “the Continuance of your happiness & prosperity & believe me

    Most truly yours
    R E Lee

  40. Stephen Decatur would tell ya, straight to your face, that to claim that the sworn Preseident of the United States was a usurper to the position. Why that be sedition, at least.

    Especially as it impacts the global straegies of US enemies.

    Thinking that they can splinter the people of the US over the legitimacy of Barak Hussein Obama. The "birthers" helping to further weaken the US position, exacerbating the likelyhood that the President's policies will not succeed. Giving the enemies of US hope, that change will come.

    That all they have to do, arm up and hunker down.

  41. R.E. Lee's country was Virginia, right or wrong.

  42. Save in the defense of my native state shall I ever again draw my sword.

    The conflict from 1861 to 1865 often referred to as "The War of Northern Aggression", in some parts of the US.

    I'm sure that General Lee saw it in that regard.

  43. Thanks, Allen.

    Your remarks reinforce my thoughts this afternoon.

    My good friend and neighbor is in the hospital with kidney failure. Prognosis is grim. He was a logger and outdoorsman all his life. A tough member of a tough breed.

    Early on in his recent ordeal, I would think of him as I encountered the towering cumulus buildups over the Sierras, anxious for him to return home to enjoy his mountains.

    My thoughts now turn to the realization that although that may not be in the cards, his presence will be there in the future.

  44. As long as you sing their songs, lineman, they're still with you.

    As long as others remember, then immortality beckons.

    In the mountains or on the seas.

    As the saga of Stephen Decatur so profoundly exemplifies.

  45. Or Achilles

    Still famous after all these years.
    Eternal in the mind of Western man.

  46. The anchor was Shepard Smith, speaking after Wednesday’s mayhem at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Unlike the bloviators at his network and elsewhere on cable, Smith is famous for his highly caffeinated news-reading, not any political agenda. But very occasionally — notably during Hurricane Katrina — he hits the Howard Beale mad-as-hell wall. Joining those at Fox who routinely disregard the network’s “We report, you decide” mantra, he both reported and decided, loudly.

    What he reported was this: his e-mail from viewers had “become more and more frightening” in recent months, dating back to the election season. From Wednesday alone, he “could read a hundred” messages spewing “hate that’s not based in fact,” much of it about Barack Obama and some of it sharing the museum gunman’s canard that the president was not a naturally born citizen. These are Americans “out there in a scary place,” Smith said.

    Then he brought up another recent gunman: “If you’re one who believes that abortion is murder, at what point do you go out and kill someone who’s performing abortions?” An answer, he said, was provided by Dr. George Tiller’s killer. He went on: “If you are one who believes these sorts of things about the president of the United States ...” He left the rest of that chilling sentence unsaid.

    These are extraordinary words to hear on Fox

  47. Slapping a friend!

    The State Department managed to convince the president of Palau -- a Pacific island nation known for its singular scuba diving -- to "temporarily resettle" most of the Uighurs.

    But first, four of them were quietly shipped off to Bermuda, where they're now reveling in their new homes in the Caribbean paradise.

    That's where the diplomatic slight comes in: Bermuda is a protectorate of Britain, which provides for its defense and foreign affairs. Problem is, Obama neglected to ring up Brown and give him a heads-up.

    Nor, apparently, did anyone of stature in Washington bother to consult with an opposite number in London about the transfer until last Wednesday.

    This, even though a State spokesman insisted that talks with the Bermudan government have been under way since last month.

    Organizationally, responsibility for the mess devolves to Hillary Clinton: The secretary of state had to hold what, according to news reports, was a "tense conversation" with her British counterpart, Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

    But all indications are that foreign policy is being made directly -- and solely -- in the White House

  48. Presumably, the brilliant General Lee understood the difference between "country" and "state", within a Federal republic. That's why it was the "War of Northern Aggression."

  49. linear, I was actually referring to the use of it (lede) in the times. stricly an academic enquiry,nothing more, nothing less, please carry on.

  50. It's not the matter of the birth certificate that's the big deal, though there might be something there.

    It's rather the question of what is a Natural Born Citizen, a question on which our courts haven't made a very clear ruling.

    The idea is that to be a Natural Born Citizen, one has to have a citizen mother, and a citizen father. Which Obama does not have. The father being Kenyan.

    It's the only place in our basic law where such a qualification is set down.

    If you go back and read the sources, it does seem that is what they were concerned about, making certain the Prez was sure to be loyal to the country.

    But, our courts have let us down, and don't seem to want to rule on the issue.

    The Homestead Act wasn't really an issue of governmnet largesse, but rather an administrative proceeding, the folks were going to settle in any case, and the U
    S Army at the time just being a reflection of the folks, Uncle Sam being a reflection of the folks as well, a drawing of lines in the sand, a vast wave of immigrant whites coming into, with their slightly higher level of technology, that is to say, the plow, and the idea of farming, coming into a land not entirely uninhabited, but nearly so, in many areas, and carrying their ideas with them. One of these ideas being the idea of land ownership, and basic law, thou shalt not kill, and get away with it.

    It was an entirely new thing, as we recall, when Lewis and Clark came back from the Pacific Ocean, they saw that noble savage, with a necklace of human scalps about his neck.

    The national forests, these folks have so far decided, are a part of what they consider to be a national heritage, to be kept for everyone.

    My ancestors on the east coast pre-dated the Declaration of Independece, predated the Civil War, pre-dated the Homestead Act, pre-dated Robert E. Lee's group, I imagine. Pre-dated practically everyone, but the noble savages.

    When we go back there next, I'm going to try to track some of the old footsteps down.

    Anyone that hasn't read "Black Elk Speaks" should do so.

  51. The view that each State was capable of leaving that Federal Republic was widely held.

    The allegience was to the State, not the Federal Republic.

    This changed, post civil war, in a dedicated propaganda effort to make US all Americans. Culminating, politically, in the neutering of the State governments, at the Federal level, with the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, during the 'Progressive' era.

  52. If some of my ancestors came across the vast Atlantic in a tiny wooden bark, and landed on the shores of Virginia, what rights do they have?

    What rights do they have against the reds.

    What rights have the native Americans--the reds-- against one another?

    The battles between reds and reds were endless. And not written down.

    The idea of a line in the sand, human rights, thou shalt not kill, an entirely new thing.

    I think we've actually made some progress.

  53. Incorrect reading on the Homestead Act, bobbie.

    It had been a Republican platform issue that the Southern States objected to. When they withdrew from Congress the Republicans quickly passed the Act. Then incrementally reformed it to make it ever easier to obtain a homestead.

    While the Southern States were held under occupation, by General Sheridan and his contemporaries.

    The idea being to manipulate the Congress, by adding states that were loyal to the growing power of the Federal Government.

    It working as a economic stimulous in those areas effected, as your testimony as to the actions of your forebearers makes clear.

  54. I'm taking a longer view than you, Rat.

    Not chewing on this or that act of Congress.

    Or some political program of some party or other.

    In the long view, it was all inevitable.

    "How many are they?"

    "Like the stars, uncountable."


  55. And, we've progressed to this point, where we can argue things over the Internet, and not at the Tavern, where there might be blood on the floor, and someone dead.

  56. The Federalists using the under populated states to implement policies that would have never passed muster, prior to the Civil War and the realignement that followed, during Reconstruction and through to 1907.

    37 Nebraska, March 1867 (104,260 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 49,201,920
    Total homestead acreage: 22,253,314
    Total percentage of State: 45%

    38 Colorado, August 1876 (107,618 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 66,386,560
    Total homestead acreage: 22,146,400
    Total percentage of State: 33%

    39 North Dakota, November, 1889 (118,472 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 44,156,160
    Total homestead acreage: 17,417,466
    Total percentage of State: 39%

    40 South Dakota, November, 1889 (97,197 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 48,573,440
    Total homestead acreage: 15,660,000
    Total percentage of State: 32%

    41 Montana, November, 1889 (151,600 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 93,155,840
    Total homestead acreage: 32,050,480
    Total percentage of State: 34%

    42 Washington, November, 1889 (58,156 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 42,611,840
    Total homestead acreage: 8,465,002
    Total percentage of State: 20%

    43 Idaho, July, 1890 60,221 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 52,960,640
    Total homestead acreage: 9,733,455
    Total percentage of State: 18%

    44 Wyoming, July, 1890 (67,315 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 62,147,200
    Total homestead acreage: 18,225,327
    Total percentage of State: 29%

    45 Utah, January, 1896 (16,798 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 52,587,520
    Total homestead acreage: 3,607,688
    Total percentage of State: 7%

    46 Oklahoma November, 1907 (99,557 homesteads):
    Total acreage: 43,954,560
    Total homestead acreage: 14,865,912
    Total percentage of State: 34%

    Providing for an era of Republican dominance in US politics, from Lincoln through to FDR.

    With Mr Wilson obtaining the White House only because the Republican majority went to pieces surronding Teddy 'Rex' Roosevelt.

    This data set provided by the Homestead National Monument of America

    "State by State Numbers"

  57. "The view that each State was capable of leaving that Federal Republic was widely held."

    to point out the obvious: obviously not - hence, the Civil War

    Jackson had previously quelled South Carolina's step in this direction.

    The widely held belief was that the states held to themselves exclusively the right to regulate all matters not expressly granted the Federal government by the Constitution.

  58. The Republicans regaining power when the combined the low density West with the old Southern bloc.

    Losing both VA and PA and CO dooms the Republicans.

  59. Your view not shared by those that became the Confederate States of America.

    They felt they had every right and ability to leave the Republic.

    Your view skewed by 150 years of propaganda and miseducation. Achieving the desired effect.

    It was masterful work, spearheaded by Mr Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    During the 1860s, Longfellow supported abolitionism and especially hoped for reconciliation between the northern and southern states after the American Civil War. He wrote in his journal in 1878: "I have only one desire; and that is for harmony, and a frank and honest understanding between North and South". Longfellow, despite his aversion to public speaking, accepted an offer from Joshua Chamberlain to speak at his fiftieth reunion at Bowdoin College; he read the poem "Morituri Salutamus"...

    We all recall just who Joshua Chamberlain was, don't we?

    For his gallantry at Gettysburg, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    He was given the honor of commanding the Union troops at the surrender ceremony for the infantry of Robert E. Lee's Army at Appomattox, Virginia. After the war, he entered politics as a Republican and served four terms of office as Governor of Maine

  60. Mr Longfellow making Paul Revere an icon of the Revolution, when in fact the yeoman's work of spreading the "Call to Arms" fell to Israel Bissill.

    Israel Bissell (1752-1823) was a post rider in Massachusetts who alerted the American colonists of the British attack on April 19, 1775. He rode for four days and six hours covering the 345 miles from Watertown, Massachusetts to Philadelphia along the Old Post Road, shouting "To arms, to arms, the war has begun," and carrying a message from General Joseph Palmer which was copied at each of his stops and redistributed ...

    At the end of Bissell's first leg, in Worcester, his first horse collapsed and died from having been driven so hard. At each town along the way, church bells were rung and muskets fired to spread the word; when he reached Philadelphia, the pealing of the Liberty Bell caused a crowd of 8,000 to assemble to hear the news. Bissell then returned to Connecticut, where he joined the army alongside his brother, Justis.

  61. Linear,

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. As we age, our losses mount accordingly. Unless our faith mounts commensurately, I fear our plight will be most terrible.

    I choose to be a man, not a dog. While respecting opposing points of view that would have me nothing more than a cerebrally endowed beast, I choose to believe in the “soul”. Consequently, my choice is for eternal life, implied by the soul’s eternal, indestructible origin in the Creator.

    Every man must do his own accounting. Will his progress, from this day forward, be one of Tikun Olam (perfecting or making the world better) or shall he live to “eat, drink, and make merry”? My choice is the former, holding to the idea that my duty is to do my best, leaving with God the rest.

    As I move toward my ultimate fate, may I do so as my younger sister, with courage and confidence, making a good death.

  62. The Glorietta Battlefield Trail was dedicated Sunday in northern New Mexico.

    The Battlefield is the site of the westernmost major battle of the Civil War. It's located on the Santa Fe Trail, east of the capital city.

    The Battle of Glorietta Pass actually covered three significant phases of the war in March 1862.

    Trail Dedicated

  63. I'm not to sure about that NM battle being the "furthest West" of the Civil War.
    Perhaps 'major' is the pivot point.

    Battle of Picacho Pass or Peak was fought on April 15, 1862 near Picacho Peak, 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Tucson, Arizona, USA.

    It was fought between a Union cavalry patrol from California and a party of Confederate pickets from Tucson, and 3 Union soldiers were killed. The engagement was a tactical draw, as both sides withdrew from the field. Though actually little more than a skirmish, it has been considered the western-most engagement of the American Civil War

    Figure it was a major incident to those three Union cavalry troopers from CA.

  64. The Battle of Glorieta Pass being more intense than Picacho Peak.

    There are no numbers, but a reading indicates more than four men died in NM.

  65. If, as Bill Withers famously sang, we all need somebody to lean on, some Beckley natives restoring a prominent cemetery are glad they can count on the Raleigh County native.

    Withers, who was raised in Beckley, has donated $5,000 to help restore Greenwood Memorial Park, where about 3,000 people are buried, including many Civil War veterans.

    Doris McCormick, president of a group working to restore the cemetery, hopes others will follow Withers' example. She estimates the work will cost $250,000 for landscaping and a new road.

    Bill Withers

  66. You get it wrong, Rat, mixing up some temporary politics (sure there was some of that) with the basic surge of a whole group coming from Europe, and expanding across a, for the most part, vacant landscape.

  67. As we age, our losses mount accordingly.--

    I remember when my aunt died, and how I got the feeling, for the first time in my life--there isn't anyone out in front, anymore--I'm next on the chopping block.

    When I think of my ancestors, I think of them all gathered together somewhere, in some sunlight meadow, and I hope to be welcomed among them, one day.

    Pure identities, every one, radiant, as Katherine Anne Porter had it.

    All sins washed away, I presume.

    Or, as Black Elk said, joining the hoop of one's nation, amongst the hoops of all nations.

  68. I know I can be a bore, but thinking about life, and death, and what may come after, if anything, I recommend that all folks read that near death literature.

    When I was going through the hardest time in my life, fighting lawsuits, papa died, wife left, I turned myself in finally to my local church, where the pastor hooked me up with a member psychologist, who gave me a test, and I scored totally out of the world on stuff in your life that gives you anxiety, but she also, in a very sincere way, pointed me to some books, (she asked me, whatcha think about death, Bob? know anything about that?)--she was a wonderful woman-- that I was cognizant of before, and I began to read 'em.

    I think there is really something to this, or obviously I wouldn't be mentioning it. With my reading I began to see connections, and reflections all across what I had read before, in Hemingway, in Frost, of course in Whitman, in Porter, Black Elk, and others of our American flavor, and too, all across the world, back in time, all cultures. So I got into it deeper and deeper, and found more and more.

    One theme that always comes up in this literature is

    "Surprise, Surprise"

    Do I know anything?

    Not really.

    But it might be different than you currently think.

    It might not be how you thought it to be. It might not that way at all.

    We have a term for the benefits of this kind of reading--


    I urge everyone to try it sometime.

    You might be amazed.

    Black Elk called Venus the Daybreak Star of Understanding.

    They used to get up in the morning and watch its rising.

  69. And of course I forgot to mention Campbell, my guru.

  70. Does Achilles live in the hearts and minds of the people?

    Sun Jun 14, 09:07:00 PM EDT

    Well, perhaps in the mind of some wayward Swede in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Achilles was just another thug.

    But Hector, the Trojan, lives in the minds of them that know, a true model of manhood, as the poet said.

  71. Christ on a Popsicle. How hard can it be, bob?

  72. I used to like the Popsicles with three colors, banana, red and brown, as I recall.

    Or was it banana, red and blue?

  73. "I'll catch Christ with a greased worm."

    Dylan Thomas

  74. bobal,

    Recently, I too have had to do some soul-searching. There always seemed enough time; there would always be another tomorrow. Well, there will be, even if I am not there to see it.

    What I have is now - this moment; and in this moment, I choose to wish you well and applaud your candor and generosity of spirit.

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