The Right’s Re-Branding, 1860 to 1776

Exclusive: A new poll says 44 percent of Republicans believe “an armed revolution” may be needed in the next few years “to protect liberties,” proof of the Right’s success in re-branding itself with Revolutionary War symbols and fueling paranoia about the elected national government, Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry

The Republican Party has talked a lot about the need to re-brand, but the Right has pulled off a very successful re-branding of its own by shifting its imagery from the Confederacy to the American Revolution – while maintaining the same states’ rights message and stamping its anti-government ideology falsely on the Framers of the Constitution.

The Right’s re-branding can be seen visually in the downplaying of the Confederacy’s battle flag, the “Stars and Bars,” and highlighting instead the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag of the Revolution. This change, in effect, recognizes that many Americans now find images from the slave-owning South and the Ku Klux Klan as racist and unpalatable.

The battle flag of the Confederacy, often called the “Stars and Bars.”

So, the Right has insinuated itself into the more admired symbolism from the War of Independence, meaning that instead of pulling on a “Stars and Bars” t-shirt or dressing up in Confederate gray, today’s right-winger is more likely to wear a tri-corner hat or a Revolutionary War costume. The naming of the modern right-wing movement after the Boston Tea Party of 1773 is another obvious sign of this re-branding process.

This Revolution War symbolism has accompanied revolutionary-style rhetoric from the likes of Glenn Beck and other right-wing demagogues who agitate their followers into a violent state of mind. A May 1 poll by Farleigh Dickinson University found that 44 percent of Republicans – and 29 percent of all Americans – “think that an armed revolution in order to protect liberties might be necessary in the next few years.”

Strident Second Amendment claims are another indication of how the Right has co-opted the Founding era to convince millions of Americans that the elected federal government – and especially Barack Obama, the first African-American president – must be resisted with violence. This paranoia has fed into the stockpiling of weapons, apparently for use killing police, soldiers and other government representatives once the revolution begins.

However, the Right’s claim to be the heirs to the Framers of the Constitution has required a brazen theft of American history, particularly the ideological kidnapping of James Madison, the Constitution’s principal architect. In today’s right-wing fantasies, Madison has been reinvented as a states-rights ideologue who always wanted a weak federal government.

The fact that the real James Madison – along with his ally George Washington – took nearly the opposite position, disdaining states’ rights and favoring a powerful central government has disappeared into a fog of right-wing mythology.

This historical hijacking has been carried out with surprisingly little resistance from mainstream commentators who either don’t know the history or don’t think the fight is worth having. Yet, ceding the historical narrative to the Right has meant that many Americans now think they are following the guideposts that the Framers left behind when they are actually being led in the opposite direction.

A Unified Nation

Madison and Washington wanted a unified nation that addressed the country’s practical needs and overcame the rivalries among the states. “Thirteen sovereignties,” Washington wrote, “pulling against each other, and all tugging at the federal head, will soon bring ruin to the whole.”

Prior to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Madison told Washington that the states had to be made “subordinately useful.”

However, what modern right-wing propaganda has done is essentially replace the Constitution with what it replaced, the Articles of Confederation, which governed the young nation from 1777 to 1787 and indeed had made the states “sovereign” and “independent” and relegated the central government to a “league of friendship.”

Madison and Washington were among the pragmatic nationalists who recognized that the Articles were a disaster threatening the fragile independence and unity of the country.

For instance, both Madison and Washington believed the central government needed the power to regulate national commerce, a reform that Madison tried to get added as an amendment to the Articles of Confederation. Washington, who as commander in chief of the Continental Army had chafed under the states’ failures to provide promised arms and money for his soldiers, strongly supported Madison’s idea.

Washington called Madison’s commerce amendment “so self evident that I confess I am at a loss to discover wherein lies the weight of the objection to the measure. We are either a united people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of a general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending it to be.”

After Madison’s commerce amendment died in the Virginia legislature – and as Shays’ Rebellion shook western Massachusetts in 1786 while the central government was powerless to intervene – Madison and Washington turned to the more radical concept of a Constitutional Convention. Here is how historians Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg describe Madison’s thinking in their 2010 book, Madison and Jefferson:

“Building a case against the Articles of Confederation, [Madison] needed to explain why the United States was so ill equipped to accomplish the basic tasks of raising money, making treaties, and regulating commerce. By April 1787 he had a diagnosis in hand. He called it ‘Vices of the Political System of the United States,’ and it became his working manifesto, a summary view at the end of his first decade as a state and national politician.

“Chief among the vices Madison identified was the undue power lodged in the individual states. Having held a seat in Congress longer than anyone else (four years), he had come to feel that the Confederation was barely a government at all. Like most confederations, the U.S. system was a voluntary compact, a weak ‘league of friendship’ among the states, and subject to internal dissensions. It lacked executive and judicial components; it rarely if ever represented the collective will of the people. …

“Madison saw little to be gained in rescuing the Confederation. It was a dysfunctional system, its flaws too ingrained for it to be made energetic or even stable. … Moreover, the aggrandizing state legislatures of the 1780s resembled nothing so much as a group of rambunctious children refusing to play together fairly. … Damning the states unmercifully, Madison found his solution in a centralizing government. …

“Madison explained his thinking to George Washington shortly before the Constitutional Convention was set to open. There was only one way to save the nation, he said. The states had to be made ‘subordinately useful.’”

Subordinating the States

The phrase “subordinately useful” is evocative of Madison’s intent in the Constitution, a document that essentially shifted national sovereignty away from the individual 13 states to “We the People of the United States,” i.e. to the federal Republic.

In Madison’s original draft of the Constitution, the federal Congress would even be given veto power over state legislation, a provision that eventually was dropped. However, the Constitution and federal law were still made the supreme laws of the land, and federal courts had the power to strike down state laws deemed unconstitutional.

Though not giving the federal government all the powers that Madison had wanted, the Constitution still represented a major shift of authority from the states to the central government. Indeed, in crafting the Constitution, the Framers engineered the single largest shift of power from the states to the federal government in U.S. history.

And, that transformation was not lost on the Anti-Federalists who struggled desperately to block ratification in 1788. It was during that nip-and-tuck battle that Madison – in the Federalist Papers and as a delegate to Virginia’s ratifying convention – sought to play down how sweeping the expanded federal powers were.

Those minimizing words are the ones cherry-picked by right-wing “scholars” who have sought to reinvent Madison as a big enthusiast for states’ rights. To make the case, today’s Right is fond of citing Federalist Paper No. 45, entitled “The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered.”

Madison wrote: “If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS.

“The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the Articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them.”

Today’s Right also trumpets Madison’s summation, that “the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

What the Right ignores, however, is the context of Madison’s comments as he sought to tamp down the fiery Anti-Federalist opposition to the Constitution. A skilled politician, he was finessing his opponent.

After all, if Madison really thought the Articles only needed a few tweaks, why would he have insisted on throwing them out altogether? Plus, replacing toothless powers with ones with real teeth – or substituting “a more effectual mode of administering” those powers – is not some inconsequential change.

Under the Constitution, for instance, printing money became the exclusive purview of the federal government, not a minor change. And, stripping the states of their “sovereignty” and “independence” meant they would not be free to secede from the Union, a very important change that the South would challenge in the Civil War.

Madison, the Builder

To cite Madison as an opponent of an activist federal government, the Right also must ignore Federalist Paper No. 14 in which Madison envisioned major construction projects under the powers granted by the Commerce Clause.

“[T]he union will be daily facilitated by new improvements,” Madison wrote. “Roads will everywhere be shortened, and kept in better order; accommodations for travelers will be multiplied and meliorated; an interior navigation on our eastern side will be opened throughout, or nearly throughout the whole extent of the Thirteen States.

“The communication between the western and Atlantic districts, and between different parts of each, will be rendered more and more easy by those numerous canals with which the beneficence of nature has intersected our country, and which art finds it so little difficult to connect and complete.”

What Madison is demonstrating in that essay is a key fact about the Founders – that, by and large, they were practical men seeking to build a strong and unified nation. They were looking for peaceful means to work out political and regional differences, while avoiding the sort of violent uprisings represented by Shays’ Rebellion. They also viewed the Constitution as a flexible document designed to meet America’s ever-changing needs, not simply the challenges of the late Eighteenth Century.

Today’s Tea Party – in claiming Madison and other Framers as fellow-travelers disdaining a strong central government and favoring states’ rights – makes much of the Tenth Amendment, which asserts that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

But the Right’s historical revisionists again miss the key point here. The Constitution already had granted broad powers to the federal government so the states were left largely with powers over local matters.

To further appreciate how modest the Tenth Amendment concession was, you must compare its wording with Article II of the Confederation, which is what it replaced. Article II stated that “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.”

In other words, the power relationship was flipped. Instead of the states being firmly in control, the new central government would now set the supreme laws of the land with state “sovereignty” largely confined to local matters. Arguably, the most important American leader effecting this monumental change was James Madison.

A Battle Rejoined

In later years, Madison – like other Framers of the Constitution – switched sides in various debates over the practical limits of federal power. For instance, Madison joined with Thomas Jefferson in opposing Alexander Hamilton’s national bank, but then as Jefferson’s secretary of state, Madison applied an expansive view of national authority in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase from France. Madison also shifted regarding the value of the national bank after his frustrating experiences as president during the War of 1812.

The struggles between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists also didn’t end with those early disputes over how the new government should function. The battle lines formed again when it became clear to the agrarian South that its economic model, based on slavery, was losing ground to the industrial power of the North and the influence of the Emancipation movement.

In the early 1830s, Southern politicians led the “nullification” challenge to the federal government, asserting that states had the right to nullify federal laws, such as a tariff on manufactured goods. But they were beaten back by President Andrew Jackson who threatened to deploy troops to South Carolina to enforce the federal supremacy established by the Constitution.

In December 1832, Jackson denounced the “nullifiers” and declared “the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”

Jackson also rejected as “treason” the notion that states could secede if they wished, noting that the Constitution “forms a government not a league,” a reference to a line in the Articles of Confederation that had termed the fledgling United States a “league of friendship” among the states, not a national government.

Jackson’s nullification crisis was resolved nonviolently, but a few decades later, the South’s continued resistance to the constitutional preeminence of the federal government led to secession and the formation of the Confederacy. It took the Union’s victory in the Civil War to firmly settle the issue of the sovereignty of the national Republic over the independence of the states.

However, the defeated South still balked at the principle of equal rights for blacks and invoked “states’ rights” to defend segregation during the Jim Crow era. White Southerners amassed enough political clout, especially within the Democratic Party, to fend off civil rights for blacks.

The battle over states’ rights was joined again in the 1950s when the federal government finally committed itself to enforcing the principle of “equal protection under the law” as prescribed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Many white Southerners were furious that their system of segregation was being dismantled by federal authority.

Southern rightists and libertarians insisted that federal laws prohibiting denial of voting rights for blacks and outlawing segregation in public accommodations were unconstitutional, citing the Tenth Amendment. But federal courts ruled that Congress was within its rights in banning such discrimination within the states.

Racist Symbols

The anger of Southern whites was reflected in the prevalence of the Confederate battle flag on pickup trucks and in store windows. Gradually, however, the American Right retreated from outright support of racial segregation and muffled the rhetorical threats of secession. The growing public revulsion over the “Stars and Bars” as a symbol of racism also forced the Right to make a stylistic adjustment as well.

The Right stopped deriving its key imagery from the embittered unreconstructed South and turned to the far more palatable era of Lexington and Concord. Instead of highlighting slogans like “the South will rise again,” the Right glommed onto Revolutionary War messages like “Don’t Tread on Me,” with the elected American government placed in the role of a tyrannical British monarch.

Though the Right’s imagery changed, the message remained the same. From the Anti-Federalist days of 1788 through the Civil War and the segregationist South to hatred of the first African-American president, there was a determination to prevent the federal Republic from acting against injustices existing inside individual states.

Only occasionally is there a flashback to the Right’s pro-slavery and pro-segregationist traditions, such as when the National Rifle Association’s new president, Jim Porter, a 64-year-old Alabama attorney, is recorded in a 2012 speech referring to the Civil War as “the War of Northern Aggression” and calling President Obama a “fake.”

Today’s violent right-wing rhetoric is also reminiscent of the pre-Civil War days when demagogues riled up Southern whites to defend their “liberty” to own blacks or of the Jim Crow era when white racists swelled the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize blacks in defense of Southern “heritage.”

The major difference now is that instead of waving the “Stars and Bars” or burning crosses on lawns, today’s Right harkens back to the Minutemen fighting the British Crown. The Right also embraces the Framers of the Constitution as ideological brethren. All that’s required is fictionalizing the Founding era’s real history.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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18 comments on “The Right’s Re-Branding, 1860 to 1776

  1. FoonTheElder on said:

    They’ve already voted for nullification of federal laws in a number of states, just like what helped casue the run up to the Civil War.

    The extreme right is in fantasyland. Recreating history and religion to meet their own personal biases and using the whack job media to spread their propaganda.

    50 years ago this John Birch/KKK philosophy was thrown to the crackpot bin where it belonged. Today in the era of ‘reporting both sides’ it becomes mainstream media.

  2. Arlene McCarthy on said:

    I have in an apartment complex where the white males, ages 30 to 50 seem to love the Ron/Rand Paul school of so called thinking. The think, or so it seems that The Articles of Conferation is the Constitution. Btw, just a week ago I was chatting with two, both around age 40, and they were complaining about high taxes, so I asked them what was the highest tax bracket was when Eisenhower left office, one said that he didn’t know, the other said 17%. It was actually 91%. If you start from the wrong premise how can you be correct-EVER !

  3. Morton Kurzweil on said:

    The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion. The Second Amendment grants States the right to raise a militia for the sol purpose of the security of a free State. The Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery or involuntary servitude within the jurisdiction of the United States.
    Is has become the intent of Conservative Jurists and legislatures to perpetuate the beliefs of antebellum landholders, the modern day capitalists, to interpret these rules of law for the benefit of small class of bigots. These are the same acts of treason and anarchy used by every foreign dictatorship and are the distractions of domestic terrorists in the Republican conservative extremist right, inciting fear and weakness in the population.
    Nazi propaganda accomplished this over an educated and scientifically advanced nation through racial and religious dogma that appealed to ignorant and deluded mobs who finally succumbed to the ‘militia’ of private Nazi troops.

  4. Jym Allyn on said:

    Right wing rationality is an oxymoron.

    The self justification of 44% of the Republican Party only reflects their bigotry and stupidity.

    It is why their patronage of the NRA has become membership in a terrorist organization.

    The good news is that their “success” will be tragic but have the same constructive results as the shit-head Boston Bombers.

  5. Bill on said:

    So we have the NRA and the many delusional 2nd Amendment wing nuts calling for an armed revolution, and at least preparing to show their zeal for ‘defending against a tyrannical government’ – which is more like showing how easily the silly putty in their skull is shaped at will by Beck, Palin, Wayne, Hannity, Limbaugh, et al.

    But they have no clue at all as to when tyranny has struck in America. They fail to realize that “state tyranny” has already very recently come to pass, inflicting terrible damage upon the country – back in 2000. Then the NRA and other defenders against the “tyrannical government” were AWOL. The tyrannical government came not in the form of “Black Helicopters”, but from “Black Robes”, when 5 Supreme Courtesans decided to kill democracy by refusing to insist all Florida votes be counted correctly, and instead installed their ideological brethren, W and Cheney. In 2000 we already knew that American did not want W to be president, and it was later proven every which way to Sunday that Florida voters also did not elect him. Yet the Black Robes of the Tyrannical Government murdered the vote by refusing to order a full recount in Florida, and instead installed W.

    So it came to pass that the millions of Americans who have fought and died to protect the Right to Vote were shown to have died for nothing, their sacrifices meaningless, their memories desecrated by the gang of 5 federal Supreme Courtesans. As for the NRA and other Gun Hugging Opponents of State Tyranny (GHOSTs) – those stalwarts against Tyrannical Government were invisible. There was no 2nd revolution, no march in DC, no showing of armed force near the halls of justice, not a single word by these “Patri-Nots” against that Tyranny. The self appointed defenders against tyranny were shown then to be a gigantic gas bag of worthless citizenry, having allowed our democratic process to be murdered by government tyrants.

    Now, I personally am pleased there was in fact no show of force, threats, or armed intimidation by Americans against Americans in 2000. And I’d be thoroughly pleased to see this armed collection of rabble leave their guns at home. If they have a point to make in DC about the government, they should learn to carry and wave a Banner, not a Bush Master. Americans taking up arms against other Americans was tried once and failed miserably, and that war remains a wound from which we’ve not yet recovered. This babble about a 2nd revolution is really code for a 2nd Civil War.

  6. BillB on said:

    The new president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has let it be known guns against tyranny will be part of the NRA’s jihad on what’s left of American civilization. The ludicrous guns-against-tyranny proposition deserves to be labeled with pungent words not appropriate for a public forum so let’s settle for meretricious nonsense.

    But first, let us define tyranny as the abuse of power that denies people what a civilized society would consider their basic human and civil rights. Then consider if these events qualify as making progress towards tyranny:

    • On a party-line vote, the US Supreme (?) Court decided to toss out the votes cast by citizens in Florida and appointed George W. Bush as president.
    • In a hysterical reaction after the 9/11 attack Congress passed (without reading) the Patriot Act that threatened Americans’ civil rights. (Only one senator voted against this travesty – Russ Feingold, the liberal senator from Wisconsin, who would eventually be tossed out of office by Wisconsin “patriots.”)
    • The Bush Administration, supported by mendacious propaganda from the neocon media and a Constitution-rejecting majority in Congress, began shredding the Constitution to wage an illegal and immoral war on Iraq.
    • After the disastrous consequences of bank deregulation during the Clinton years became obvious, the Obama Administration and Congress assumed the task of protecting the bankers from prosecution of what many informed commentators have described as crimes.
    • Congress also made it legal for telephone companies to help government agencies spy on Americans’ private communications without a court order and made the law retroactive to let guilty corporations go free.
    • The Obama Administration has assumed the right to assassinate American citizens without their right to a trial in court.
    • Whistleblowers who exposed crimes and corruption have been persecuted and sent to jail while the perpetrators remain free to repeat their sins.

    And, where were these gun-toting patriots when this march towards tyranny was taking place. It’s a good bet most were cheering the parade.

    Now let’s consider an armed revolt, or the threat of one, as implied by the mantra of guns against tyranny. There are two possible scenarios at the extremes with a variety in between.

    One, the most likely, is that very few people would show up and the police and military (a sign of tyranny) would wipe out the thoughtless gunslingers who signed up for this fools’ errand in short order. People who are apathetic about voting are not likely to sign up for a fight in which they could be killed.

    The other, equally unlikely, is that there would be a massive rebellion with hundreds of thousands of armed citizens taking over government offices. That would be a civil war with the military on the side of the government. Think the American Civil War and how many lives were lost then. Consider Syria today and multiply the carnage there by 20, 30 or more times.

    There is another approach for opposing tyranny that we should consider. It is that of the liberal (not to be confused with neoliberal) and often irrelevant minority advocating for civil and human rights. But that calls for intelligence and character that seem to be in short supply elsewhere.

    The people of Tunisia and Egypt recently proved that tyranny could be defeated without guns. These nations still have problems to resolve but nothing like what face Syria and other nations afflicted with armed revolts.

    Then there is the prospect that history shows as a possibility – that an armed revolution is likely to result in another tyranny with just a change of characters. How does the idea of a President LaPierre in the White House appeal to you?

  7. John Hoctor on said:

    If this continues a repeat of the same clashes will occur

  8. Andreas Wirsén on said:

    Perhaps the “Don’t tread on me!”-t-shirts should be countered by “Join or die!”-t-shirts, featuring the same snake and originating from the same era. In this political cartoon, the snake is chopped into thirteen pieces (Get the symbolism, B.J.?) that ought to stick together against the outer enemy, the UK, to be able to form that aggressive snake in the other political cartoon, the one the Brits would be wise not to tread on. This would also demonstrate how “Don’t tread on me!,” has been taken grossly out of contexts, and once our legion of t-shirtbearers disseminate this thought into the minds of all the Tea Partiers I’m sure they’ll return to their right minds, forget all their personal frustrations and channeling all that aggressive energy into the noble cause of becoming, again, the standard-bearers for Democracy. . . Nah, who am I kidding – you can’t repair that which never worked in the first place.
    Tea parties are pretty faggy, anyway. Americans drink beer or Cola.

  9. Don Bacon on said:

    Oh, right, we need a more active federal government. Washington just isn’t doing enough. Bunch of lazy-heads. Let’s give them some more money so they can do more, home and abroad. Not.

    • BillB on said:

      Don: How did you come to the conclusion that the comments that preceded yours were supportive of recent and present governments after being presented with a list of government sins in favor of tyranny? Could it be that you wanted to defend your version of the Second Amendment, but the only think you could come up with was a red herring to change the subject?

  10. Roger Thomas on said:

    You Yanks do need some sort of revolution to escape your enslavement by Zionist Israel. What a pathetic scenario – the World’s super power dancing like puppets on a Zionist string. Your economy blown in fighting proxy wars for the Zionists and thousands of your young people killed or maimed in action just to protect that evil, apartheid,thieving and murderous bunch of Zionist terrorists.

    So you believe in freedom and democracy for all – yea,yea, except for Americans saddled by the Zionist yoke and Palestinians who have suffered decades of oppression by the invading Zionists? Your President and corrupt government are hypocrites and morally bankrupt.

    In your own interests, get rid of the Zionist lobbyists – do not let AIPAC terrorise your politicians into non-American activities. Someone start that revolution!

    • BillB on said:

      “So you believe in freedom and democracy for all”

      Not really. That concept only applies to a very small percentage of the American people. For the Establishment, the political oligarchs and the plutocrats that’s just more propaganda for the masses like Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Most Americans are more focused on their financial situation ranging from making ends meet to an insatiable desire for more material wealth.

  11. BillB on said:

    Paul Craig Roberts has a related article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/08/washingtons-presumption/

  12. dpfeif80 on said:

    The right is fooling their follower, to be sure – dangerously and despicably so. But they are using a very real and justifiable suspicion of our government to do so. For who among us can claim any faith or trust in a government that does not reflect the will of the majority of its own people, finds plenty of money for wars & tax breaks to the super-rich but denies prosperity to its own people, and records every bit of electronic communication it can suck up? – not to mention such obvious betrayals of justice such as wars of choice, torture, the war on whistleblowers, drone warfare, the NDAA, etc., etc., etc. We may not need an armed, ignorant insurrection, but we certainly need a revolution.

    • BillB on said:

      There is an interesting example of hypocrisy from Congress that continues to play out with hearings today in the House of Representatives (representatives of whom is an open question). This concerns the deaths of four Americans that have shocked the right in Congress, and they want to have the guilty parties held accountable. Fair enough. They are doing their job there if not for the most ethical of reasons. But what about accountability for the more than four thousand service personnel who died in Iraq and the tens of thousands maimed there physically and mentally because of the lies from the Bush Administration and its accomplices in the media and in Congress – from both sides of the aisle? Of course, it goes without saying the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed are of no consequence to these hypocrites.

  13. hammersmith on said:

    Our Glorious Union. Any disaffection, especially from southerners, brings out the fascist in the rest of the country. Look guys, it is just another corrupt lying government.

  14. HISTORICVS on said:

    I remember carrying a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in 1975, when a bunch of us local leftists and malcontents greeted the unelected Gerald Ford at Lexington on the 200th anniversary of the battle. In those days only the marginal loonies like the John Birch Society prattled the nonsense we are inundated with today.

    These are words from a song written in 1861 which is the best comment on the Confederate flag:

    Which, which, which, and which is the flag of the free?
    Is it old Washington’s flag with the stipes and the stars,
    Would you give such a name to that thing with the bars?
    I speak my mind quite freely, now really!