Stuff to Read

An interview with historian Eric Foner, “People Know Next to Nothing About Reconstruction.”

I run into new college graduates who still think of Reconstruction as the time when grifter carpetbaggers went South and stole money from honest, God-fearing (and white) plantation owners. Or, it was the time the federal government sent federal troops to harass honest, God-fearing (and white) southerners and take away their vote and put illiterate former slaves into office, to everyone’s ruination. And the point of Reconstruction was to punish the South for Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. It’s still the Birth of a Nation / Gone With the Wind view.

Which is entirely wrong. And a lot of heads would explode if the truth were known.

Josh Marshall, “BREAKING: Nuclear Stuff Really Complicated.”

This is short, and a must-read. People who actually understand nuclear stuff and the Iran Deal say it’s as good and as tight as it needs to be. But that hasn’t stopped politicians (including Chuck Schumer) of feeding misinformation to the public, and so far news media aren’t doing any better.

The Right-Wing Hate Machine. Twitchy and the art of herding rage at selected targets.

Debt Is Good. Rand Paul says something stupid. Professor Krugman ridicules him.

One more: Planned Parenthood means fewer abortions.

21 thoughts on “Stuff to Read

  1. “Twitchy and the art of herding rage”

    Informative article though quite depressing. It’s really something that the radical racist right wing have as their lead social media misogynist / racist a woman of Asian decent! Little Lulu that “woman” has no soul!

  2. I thought I left a comment here, but it’s disappeared, and won’t even show it back to me.
    Maybe I didn’t.
    But I didn’t even start drinking yet!

    A mind is terrible thing to waste……………

  3. After all of the “Sturm und Drang” whining from the whites in the South, all Reconstruction basically did in a few decades of Southern politicians twisting things their way, was re-construct the old Plantation system, minus the slaves.

    Instead, the were indentured share-cropping servants, and the black prisoners – who were arrested for NO perceivable cause – to provide the back-breaking labor.

    And this is what still pisses-off today’s Southern conservatives!
    Hell, their Pappy’s had indentured and loyal obsequious servants. Why can’t they?


  4. That Twitchy site reminds me of the punch line of the old joke about the guy who was sleeping in the barn and had to deal with the annoyance of the flies in order to get a good nights rest. His solution to the problem had a parallel and kinship to Michelle Malkin’s creation of Twitchy..He simply shit in a corner and bunched them.

  5. “He simply shit in a corner and bunched them”

    If only they would stay in the corner. The problem with twitchy is Lulu and her minions are wiping the shit on everything they come in contact with!

  6. James..Thanks for that excellent link. It was very a informative article and added a lot of context to understanding how we’ve arrived at our current political situation. I’ve always viewed reconstruction with only a misguided cursory knowledge that lead me far away from the understanding that that article conveyed. And I’ve always been puzzled by how the role reversal of political parties from Southern Democrat to Repuglican occurred.
    I cringe every time I hear one of those racist Repuglicans declare that they are the party of Lincoln… I wonder how the hell did that happen? Because I know that they are as far from the spirit of Lincoln as the east is from the west.

  7. The author of that piece has written a history of the Republican Party, “To Make Men Free,” which I got for my birthday and hope to read soon. Since it covers the history of the Party all the way up to the Reagan years, the “switch” is no doubt discussed.


    You can definitely scratch Carson off the list of Presidential contenders. Not that he had much of a chance anyway, but if he’s so fucking stupid to suggest using drone strikes in any capacity to alleviate the problem of illegal entry of people along the Mexican border than he has shown himself to be just as off the wall as the rest of the clowns. He’s been consumed by the GOP idiocy.
    Gee, it’s like nothing could go wrong..And I’m sure Mexico would have absolutely no objections to the U.S lobbing missiles into their sovereign territory.

  9. RE: Foner on the Reconstruction….

    I forget who first said it (and I’ve heard variations on it too) that ‘History is written by the victors’ or something along those lines. In many cases, there might be some truth to that — but everything regarding the US Civil War does not apply. Or, perhaps, put differently, the Confederacy lost the war militarily, but ideologically it won.

    To say that THE reason for the Civil War was slavery isn’t entirely accurate. For the north, the war was primarily fought because Lincoln wished to keep the Union from splitting in two — but for the Confederacy, slavery and white superiority was the fundamental reason they wished to secede. The problem is the north wasn’t exactly the bastion of freedom and equality as opposed to the slaveholding south. When the war did finally end, while slavery was abolished, MOST northerners were only moderately better than their southern counterparts (i.e. most lynching took place in the south, whereas the north’s apartheid system had the superficial appearance of being a bit more civil).

    Many of the racist attitudes the northerners had just as much in common with the southerners, and so it was never challenged much in all the years following the Civil War. So it isn’t even accurate to say the south nevertheless won the war ideologically — the sad fact is that there was little argument regarding the underlying racist assumptions about ‘the Negro’ — it was only a difference of degree in the north and the south.

    So it wasn’t that the north dropped the ball when they had the chance — the north never had the ball in the first place! It took African Americans themselves to protest again and again before ENOUGH whites in the 1960s finally thought ‘Hey, you know, maybe these Negroes have a point.’

    The Civil War at best got rid of slavery. But very few whites– too few– had the moral courage to challenge the racist foundation that made the enslavement of black human beings possible in the US (even many of the Abolitionists– a tiny minority already!– were no adherents of actual racial equality). And so we went from slavery to Jim Crow. And then Jim Crow to the Southern Strategy. Most white Americans STILL can’t face up this ugly past — a past which MADE the US as powerful as it is today.

    • Lucillus — Much of what you say is true, but we didn’t go from slavery to Jim Crow in one step. There was a real effort by the “radical” Republicans in Congress, many of their constituents, and eventually the Grant Administration, to help the freedmen live decent lives and enjoy the full protections and privileges of citizenship. Foner’s books on Reconstruction explain what was tried and how it failed, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking and enraging. Did you know, for example, that President Grant used federal troops to destroy the Ku Klux Klan? He did, but of course it reconstituted itself after Grant left office. Much of the reputation of Grant as a “failed” President and stupid drunk came about because of his efforts on behalf of the freed people, btw. He also appointed an actual Native American to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which was unthinkable in those days.

      Immediately after the Civil War, popular opinion in the North was largely in favor of the work of the Freedmen’s Bureaus to help the people freed from slavery. Also, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were ratified relatively quickly. Those same amendments probably would have failed to pass, the 14th and 15th in particular, 20 years later. The reasons public opinion changed and enabled Jim Crow are complicated, but Foner explains it all in his books. Recommended reading.

  10. In the GOP, stupidity and ignorance are both cherished attributes!
    And bigotry is the cherry on top.

  11. maha… Considering the damage control the GOP had to go through to shore up their desired appeal to the Latino vote in the wake of Trump’s aspersions on Mexicans. You’d think there would be some sort of sensitivity to tying drone strikes to anything related to illegal aliens.
    To my mind anybody who would voice such a bizarre notion in a public setting is on the outskirts of reality. I see a parallel in objective to the use of Agent Orange or bombing the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vietnam to what Carson is proposing.. Namely, depriving an enemy( illegal aliens) of safety and cover by use of firepower. Common sense should dictate that you don’t connect military firepower to combating illegal border crossing in any capacity. It ratchets up the level of hatred against Hispanics. And it won’t serve the GOP or the image of the American people in a positive light.
    Maybe I just expected more from Carson. With his being Black and being a doctor also, I kinda expected his experience in life would generate bit more compassion and understanding in that he’s talking about human beings who are simply trying to survive. Why does Carson focus on methods of cruelty to try and solve illegal border crossing issues?

    • Swami — people attending a Trump rally recently suggested people ought to be able to buy a “hunting” license and shoot people crossing the border. They suggested a $50 bounty for a “confirmed kill.” I don’t think there’s any way to stoop so low as to turn off the GOP base. As far as Carson is concerned, I wouldn’t rule out some form of dementia. I think the same thing of Trump. According to the Mayo clinic, early dementia can cause psychological changes, such as:

      Personality changes
      Inability to reason
      Inappropriate behavior

      Maybe Carson always was crazy and people didn’t notice, but it’s hard to believe some of the things he’s saying are coming out of the mouth of a person bright enough to accomplish what he accomplished.

  12. Regarding Carson: I understand he was a neurosurgeon. He may be brilliant but in the medical profession, surgeons are known to have the biggest egos and having no compassion for co-workers. When I was a student nurse, one of my teachers told of a surgeon throwing a body part at her in the operating room. They are truly narcissists. Also, being black is no guarantee of having compassion. Look at Clarence Thomas. I’m not sure what Carson’s life experience is but whatever, it has not given him compassion. Sometimes it’s all about power.

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