Ronald Reagan's "Welfare Queen" was a real person. Until now, every single report I have read about this says that Reagan made up the story. She was also accused of insurance fraud, identity theft, forging documents, multiple kidnappings, and a few murders. Somehow it became racist to have said that she should have been investigated. That may be the bigger story.

The New York Times lied about the contents of the Pentagon Papers back in the '70s.

Matthew Shepard was killed over drugs by his gay lover. In everyone's defense, the killer and accomplice did claim they killed him for being gay, probably for a temporary-insanity defense.


Apr. 21st, 2013 07:16 pm
For decades, the news agencies covering elections in the US were so wary of fascism and its mechanisms that they would flip the party colours from red to blue in every presidential election so that no party could lay claim to either colour. Today, Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica website consistently use the colour blue to represent Democrats and the colour red to represent Republicans in showing the results of past elections. The first reason I can imagine for them doing so is so as not to offend Republicans who claimed the color red for themselves after the Bush-Gore election of 2000 showed Republican control over high-volume, low-population states, painting most of the map red. Then comes Occam's Razor: it's technologically easier.


Apr. 21st, 2013 06:16 am

Imagine if there were a political party that stood for social justice, economic justice, human rights, and grassroots organization; that demanded we uphold the Constitution in its entirety and restore the checks and balances between the three branches of government; that opposed the expansions of police powers leading to a federal police state that have been supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties; and that was racist as hell.

The IRS 1040 form in 1913 was four pages, including one page of instructions. There are surely reasons for us to have the mess of forms we have now, but we could probably benefit from some simplification in the direction of that original form.

quoting from William Ziff, The Rape of Palestine, p.406-408:

Those who believe the assurances of the English have only to read the gory history of the Christian Assyrians in Iraq, after Britain terminated its Mandate there in 1932, to gain a picture of what is impending in Palestine. Just as the English made an arrangement with the Zionists, so they had made a similar one with the Assyrians, inviting them to rise against the Turks and promising them independence and protection if they would do so. Moved by these pledges, the Assyrians were the only people in what is now Iraq who took up the Allied cause and fought loyally for the British Empire.[97] Their territory was later placed under Arab rule because London was anxious to include the Mosul Oil District within Iraqian frontiers.

When the Assyrians expressed alarm over the British proposal to grant statehood to Iraq, the Mandates Commission was solemnly assured that the anxiety of these minorities was due to "mischievous propaganda." Iraq, said the British representative, was "a country where the Moslem, Christian, and Jew have lived happily side by side for centuries... His Majesty's Government fully realizes its responsibilities in recommending that Iraq should be admitted to the League. Should Iraq prove unworthy of the confidence which has been reposed in it, the moral responsibility must rest with His Majesty's Government.[98] [sic]

In vain the Assyrians pleaded. The engineer A. M. Hamilton and other thoughtful Englishmen immediately called the turn without reservation, stating that "the lives of the minorities have been placed in the hands of people without any morals or conscience."[99]

Scarcely a year after Iraq was granted its 'independence,' and despite the readiness of His Majesty's Government to assume "moral responsibility," the Kurdish settlements were bombarded by airplanes. A month later (in August 1933), a holy war was proclaimed against the Assyrians. The Government offered Arab tribesmen one pound bounty for every Assyrian head brought in, as well as license to plunder any Assyrian property they could find. The Arab press made it known that all acts of violence were lawful and that anyone not participating in the war would be betraying his religion and country.[100] At the head of the Criminal Investigation Department was an Englishman, who watched this terrific barrage of wild propaganda and incitement without making a move.

Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Stafford, British Administrative Inspector in Iraq, gives a blood-curdling eye-witness account of what followed. The Assyrians were first systematically disarmed. On August 5, an Army detachment swept through their territory and the Assyrians were hunted down as one stalks rabbits. "No pretence was made that these operations had any purely military objective, for the Army Intelligence Officers did not even take the trouble to cross-question that captured Assyrians, who were simply shot as they were rounded up."[101] [...]

On August 7, the inhabitants of the whole surrounding district were ordered to come down to Simel, the largest Assyrian settlement. After days of sacking, the troops began a cold-blooded and methodical massacre. [...]

The troops engaged against the defenseless Assyrians were given a royal reception on their return. In Mosul the Crown Prince, now King of Iraq, decorated their colors with his own hands. The various officers concerned were promoted. Enthusiastic applause greeted their triumphant procession through the capital.

After this cowardly slaughter, occurred other massacres, this time of the Yezidis, "planned by the Central Authorities at Baghdad and conducted by the army with no less barbarity than the previous ones." [105]

Ziff's citations are:

  • 97: Lieut.-Col. A. T. Wilson, Mesopotamia : A Clash of Loyalties, p.291; Sir A. Haldane, The Insurrection in Mesopotamia, pp.288-296; Lieut.-Col. A. T. Wilson in The Nineteenth Century and After Review, October 1933.
  • 98: Sir Francis Humphreys, British High Commissioner for Iraq, speaking for His Majesty at Geneva, January 5, 1932. Only four years later, Great Britain and the East (issue of June 4,1936) is glibly repeating the same assurances that "Jews and Arabs have lived in amity ... for many centuries without racial or religious friction of any kind."
  • 99: Hamilton's statement was carried in the entire Hebrew press. See also his book, Road through Kurdistan.
  • 100: Yusuf Malkak, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, pp.267-268
  • 101: Lieut.-Col. A. S. Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, p.168
  • 102: Ibid. p. 169.
  • 103: Ibid. pp.174-177.
  • 104: Yusuf Malkak, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, pp.269-270 ; 281-284.
  • 105: Dr. David Barsum Perley, Nero's Rule in Iraq.

Side note: the author is the Ziff in Ziff-Davis, as in the ZDNet tech publisher.

Interesting link: Rhode Island after the Revolutionary War actively sought to redistribute the wealth of the city merchants by forcing merchant creditors to accept paper money that was then printed in such volume that it would depreciate. On that matter of forcing, merchants who refused to accept paper money had their property seized and their citizenship revoked after being tried in "special courts without juries and without the right to appeal". These policies were popular because there were more farmers with debts than merchants lending credit. There were also proposals in the Legislature to require everyone to swear an oath to the paper money system and for the State to simply seize all merchant assets, but these proved unpopular and were defeated.

Just as interesting are the responses from educated outsiders, as there was talk of forcibly invading Rhode Island and annexing it to Connecticut and Massachusetts to stop these policies. This sounds similar to the anti-Communist reactionary movements of the 20th century.

As for the effect that these policies had on the economy, the policy seems not to have had any significant deleterious effect. At least, none is mentioned in the essay. With its wartime debts paid off, Rhode Island may have come out the other end of these policies healthier than when it started.

via a Republican who is trying to argue that this is what Democrats are doing right now.

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