Category Archives: History

Retro Quote – Harry S. Truman

“Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.  Socialism is what they called public power.  Socialism is what they called social security.  Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance.  Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations.  Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.  When the Republican candidate inscribes the slogan ‘Down with Socialism’ on the banner of his “great crusade”, that is really not what he means at all.  What he really means is ‘Down with Progress, down with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal,’ and ‘Down with Harry Truman’s Fair Deal.’  That’s all he means.”

Harry S Truman, Syracuse, New York, October 10, 1952

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Retro Quote – Eugene V. Debs

“The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt.”

Eugene V. Debs

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Retro Quote – James Baldwin

“One writes out of one thing only – one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.”

James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

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Hypocrisy in Action

I’ve often noted that conservatives can be incredible hypocrites.  For years they said no divorcee would be elected to the presidency.  Then they got Ronald Reagan, the nation’s first divorced Chief Executive, whose wife was the nation’s first divorced First Lady.  They dubbed Bill Clinton a draft dodger and condemned him for protesting against the Vietnam War while he was in college.  Then they elected George W. Bush who earned a comfortable spot in the Texas National Guard in 1968 and failed to complete his tenure.  They also elected Dick Cheney who claimed he had “other priorities” during the 1960s.

Conservative hypocrisy has reared its bigoted head once again – this time in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.  Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Rick Scott and Tommy Tuberville submitted the correspondence to Garland complaining about what they perceive to be a double standard in punishment by the U.S. Department of Justice against the January 6 Capitol Hill rioters.  In contrast, they declare, many of the various protestors to the George Floyd killing who became violent haven’t met the same degree of discipline.

In part, the letter states:

“DOJ’s (U.S. Department of Justice) apparent unwillingness to punish these individuals who allegedly committed crimes during the spring and summer 2020 protests stands in stark contrast to the harsher treatment of the individuals charged in connection with the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. To date, DOJ has charged 510 individuals stemming from Capitol breach.  DOJ maintains and updates a webpage that lists the defendants charged with crimes committed at the Capitol. This database includes information such as the defendant’s name, charge(s), case number, case documents, location of arrest, case status, and informs readers when the entry was last updated.  No such database exists for alleged perpetrators of crimes associated with the spring and summer 2020 protests.  It is unclear whether any defendants charged with crimes in connection with the Capitol breach have received deferred resolution agreements.”

Please.  Spare me the anxiety.

The five angry White male senators don’t seem to understand the difference in the two events.  While some of the Floyd protestors devolved into rioting and vandalism, the original intent was to demonstrate against police violence; a recurring dilemma in the U.S.  The intent of the Capitol Hill rioters, however, was to disrupt congressional business and kill someone – most notably Vice-President Mike Pence.

Conservatives have warned about threats to national security posed by Islamic vigilantes and illegal immigrants for as long as I can remember.  But, these weren’t the people who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, as Pence oversaw certification of the 2020 presidential election.  The rioters were mostly White people – many of them former military and/or law enforcement – from across the country who felt their dear leader, Donald Trump, had been cheated out of a second term by a corrupt electoral system.  I can almost hear Al Gore and Hillary Clinton laughing.

But I don’t recall bands of angry liberals storming Capitol Hill in January 2001, demanding Al Gore be lynched.  I also don’t remember seeing similar renegades bursting into Capitol Hill in January 2017, calling for Joe Biden’s head.  And it’s obvious to most of us with more than half a brain that the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections were fraudulent.  Yet conservatives denounced anyone voicing their disdain to those two events as whiners and sore losers.  We were justified, though, in protesting.  But we never got violent.  No one smashed windows, kicked in doors and hollered for blood to be spilled.  Neither Al Gore nor Hillary Clinton stood before angry supporters, urging for violent retribution against Congress.

It’s ironic, however, that Merrick Garland is in a leadership position.  Five years ago President Obama nominated him to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Republicans – who held a majority in the Senate – refused to grant Garland the decency of a fair hearing.  Yet, they rushed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett last year, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Again – hypocrisy in action.

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Retro Quote – Desmond Tutu

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Desmond Tutu

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Retro Quote – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Retro Quote – Edward Filene

“Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them.”

Edward Filene, Boston department store magnate who helped establish the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1912

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Retro Quote – Atle Selberg

“The thing is…it’s very dangerous to have a fixed idea. A person with a fixed idea will always find some way of convincing himself in the end that he is right”

Atle Selberg

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Retro Quote – Jalal al-Din Rumi

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

Jalal al-Din Rumi

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Retro Quote – Miguel De Cervantes

“Love not what you are, but what you may become.”

Miguel De Cervantes

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