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When Heroes and Despots are the Same Person

The conflict about Confederate statues reflects the contradictions within historical figures themselves.

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A Confederate Soldier Statue stands on the Texas Brigade monument on the east side of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Photograph by Eric Gay/AP Photo

On August 11, 250 white supremacists, shouting “Jews will not replace us,” marched towards a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Thirty counter-protestors, holding up a sign reading “UVA Students against White Supremacy,” locked arms around the statue. But the history of the bronze Jefferson itself contained a conflict between slavery and tolerance: Did the white supremacists know the sculptor of the 1910 piece was a gay Jew? And did the counter-protestors know the sculptor also was a former Confederate soldier whose family’s tailor shop in Richmond prior to the Civil War had sewn women’s clothing so young, multi-racial women could be sold at a nearby slave auction as “fancy girls”?

To some, statues of Confederate heroes glorify slavery and racism. To others, the statues commemorate brave soldiers who shouldn’t be forgotten because of the immoral values of their era. But America’s history, and particularly the Civil War, is one of contradictions, often within a single person. We explore people with ties to Confederate monuments, including a Confederate captain who paid abolitionists to raise his multiracial children, a suffragette who fought to deny black men the right to vote, and a slave who fought for Texas and survived the Alamo.

Sul Ross, A&M advocate and Confederate brigadier general

After the white supremacist rally against removing Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick denounced the violence but said the existing Confederate statues on the Texas Capitol grounds should remain. While the University of Texas quietly removed the statues of Confederates Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John H. Reagan from the Austin campus under the cover of darkness,  Texas A&M President Michael Young and Chancellor John Sharp defended keeping the statue of Sul Ross on campus. “Without Sul Ross, neither Texas A&M University nor Prairie View A&M University would likely exist today,” Young said in statement. “He saved our school and Prairie View through his consistent advocacy in the face of those who persistently wanted to close us down.”

History is never that simple, though. Lawrence Sullivan Ross was a brigadier general heading Texas cavalry in Mississippi. Ross’s troopers encountered the federal First Mississippi Cavalry, which consisted of recently freed slaves with little military training, and Ross ordered a charge. “The negroes after the first fire broke in wild disorder, each seeming intent on nothing but making his escape. Being mounted on mules, however, but a few of them got away. The road all the way to Yazoo City was literally strewed with their bodies,” Ross wrote in his official report. Two days after the fight, a Union colonel determined that five of his soldiers were dismounted in the engagement and then “brutally murdered” by the Texans.

Is Sul Ross the hero who saved Texas’s black universities, or the Confederate traitor whose men murdered black soldiers on the field of battle?

Moses Ezekiel, Confederate sculptor

The most important Confederate monument in the United States surely is the memorial at Arlington National Cemetery at what once was Robert E. and Mary Custis Lee’s plantation home. Approval for the monument was granted by Secretary of War William Howard Taft under President Theodore Roosevelt. The sculptor chosen for the task was Moses Ezekiel, the same man who produced the Thomas Jefferson statue at the University of Virginia. As a young man in Richmond, Ezekiel had known the Lee family, and as a cadet at Virginia Military Institute, Ezekiel fought for the Confederacy at the Battle of New Market. Ezekiel was a proud Confederate, but spent most of his adult life living in Rome because the city was more tolerant than America of his homosexual lifestyle. “He was adamantly opposed to slavery, and yet his bread and butter after the Civil War was commemorating Civil War Confederate heroes. He had countless commissions,” Ezekiel biographer Peter Adam Nash told me. “Most people knew him as a dignified Southern bachelor.” On dedicating the Arlington monument, Ezekiel described his intent was to create a work about the future with the past not forgotten. Figures marching around the base “represent the sacrifices, the devotion, the heroism of all the classes of the South in upholding and fighting for what they passionately believed to be right.” Descendants of Ezekiel’s siblings have called for the monument’s removal.

Cornelia Branch Stone, suffragette and advocate of the Lost Cause

Fundraising for the monument in Arlington was headed by Galveston’s Cornelia Branch Stone, president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy–Texas. Stone believed in women’s suffrage and helped push through the state poll tax, believing that the Legislature was more likely to give women the vote if lawmakers did not have to fear black men voting. Stone also developed the Confederate Catechism for Children to indoctrinate school children in the Lost Cause mythology: that the South tried to leave the Union peacefully, and fought for state’s rights and self-determination, not for slavery. “To emphasize the perception that the Old South was a more advanced civilization than the northern industrialized wage slavery system, Stone and others worked to memorialize the South’s great leaders,” Stone biographer Elizabeth Hayes Turner wrote to me in an email. “Hence the Daughters pushed hard to influence the politics of memory with giant statues and out sized rhetoric extolling the glories of southerners’ defense of the region.”

Milton Holland, Medal of Honor winner and son of a Confederate captain

Milton Murray Holland, the first Medal of Honor winner born in Texas, was born to a slave and a Confederate official. Holland’s mother was a multiracial house slave on a plantation near Carthage, and his father, Bird, was a white politician who served as an aide to five Texas governors. As Texas secretary of state, Bird Holland’s signature made Texas secession official. But almost a decade earlier, Bird Holland had purchased Milton, his mother, and three siblings, freed them in Ohio, and paid abolitionists to rear and educate his children. Bird died as a Confederate captain in 1864 during a charge against federal lines in Louisiana.

Because Milton Holland had northern European facial features and light skin, he was offered the opportunity to pass as a white officer in the Union Army. Instead, he chose to serve as a black sergeant, the highest rank an African-American could hold in the U.S. Army in 1863. When President Lincoln rode a horse among the black troops at Petersburg, the soldiers reached out just to touch his horse as he passed. Holland called the president, “our Moses.” Several months later, Holland earned his Medal of Honor as a member of the Fifth U.S. Colored Troops during a successful assault of an earthworks held by members of Hood’s Texas Brigade outside of Richmond.

A short distance from the Ezekiel monument at Arlington rests Holland’s remains, buried in the segregated section for “colored” soldiers of the Civil War. At the Texas Capitol, there is a small photograph of Milton in the basement, but outside the building, there is a 38-foot-tall monument to the Texas Brigade. Bird Holland’s remains were returned from Louisiana in 1865 and reinterred in an Austin city cemetery under a monument raised by his friends. The Latin inscription translates as ‘Tis sweet to die for your country.

Joe, a slave who fought for Texas and survived the Alamo

With Texas in open rebellion, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrived on February 16, 1836, at the town of Villa de Guerrero on the Rio Grande with his army to suppress the insurrection. While awaiting his troops to amass for the final march to San Antonio to take the garrison at the Alamo, Santa Anna wrote the Mexican minister of war about his goals for the coming war. One was to address how the Texans had gotten around the Mexican laws prohibiting slavery by declaring their slaves as indentured servants. “There is a considerable number of slaves in Texas also, who have been introduced by their masters under cover of certain questionable contracts, but who according to our laws should be free. Shall we permit those wretches to moan in chains any longer in a country whose kind laws protect the liberty of man without distinction of cast or color?”

Twenty-two days later, the Constitutional Convention for the Republic of Texas meeting at Washington on the Brazos adopted a provision to convert all bonded servants into slaves for life and declaring that “No free person of African descent” was to be allowed to live in Texas without the specific permission of the Republic’s Congress. A quarter of a century later, one of the men who signed that Constitution, Edwin Waller, was the second man to autograph the Texas Ordinance of Secession from the United States—a document that declared the perpetuation of slavery as the primary cause of disunion and exposes the Lost Cause as a lie.

Today, there is on the state Capitol grounds a monument commemorating those who fell in the name of liberty at the Alamo. The men of the Texas Revolution against Mexico did not like having to do business in Spanish or follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, and central government tariffs were punishing to the economy. But there also was a nagging concern that someday the Mexican central government would enforce its laws against slavery. The monument commemorating the Heroes of the Alamo was built in 1891. Keeping to the myth that all the defenders bravely gave their lives fighting for freedom, on the monument is inscribed: “Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat, but the Alamo had none.”

But the Alamo did have one messenger of defeat—William B. Travis’s slave Joe, the only male defender known to have survived. Less than a month after the battle, Joe appeared before Sam Houston and members of the Republic of Texas government. Joe described the fall of the Alamo and his own role as a Texas soldier in the fight. During the Mexican attack, Joe ran to the wall with Travis. A moment after Travis fired his rifle at the oncoming soldiers, Joe unloaded a shotgun on them as well. “Come on boys, the Mexicans are upon us, and we’ll give them hell,” Travis shouted. Then a bullet hit Travis in the forehead, killing him. Joe retreated to the barracks building and fired several more times before deciding the cause was lost, quit fighting and awaited his fate. When a Mexican officer called out in English, “Are there any Negroes in here?” Joe responded by saying, “Yes, here’s one.”

Joe was at the Alamo against his will, but by firing shots at the Mexican soldiers, he became a combatant for Texas. Afterward, Joe was returned to plantation work as a slave of Travis’s estate. A year later, on the first anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, Joe ran away from a plantation near Columbia. Travis’s executor placed a newspaper advertisement seeking Joe’s return. “This negro was in the Alamo with his master when it was taken; and was the only man from the colonies who was not put to death.” The reward offered was $40 for Joe and the small bay horse he rode away on, but Joe escaped to freedom. In 1877, the Civil War had come and gone and Joe was living as a free man somewhere near Austin. A local newspaper, noting the presence in the city of Alamo survivor Susanna Dickinson, suggested having both attend a San Jacinto Day festivity. “We do not see why the veterans should not be feted by the city government or by the citizens of the capital.”

One hundred forty years later, I agree. It is far overdue to celebrate the last defender of the Alamo. Joe is mentioned on the Texas African-American History Memorial on the Capitol grounds, but he is missing from the Alamo monument. And perhaps it would be fitting to replace the controversial Confederate plaque with one honoring him: Joe, the slave who fought for liberty even though he had none.

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  • roadgeek

    Good piece. History is full of nuance, all the shades of grey, and is never just black and white. And as Ben Stein opined earlier this week, “And if it isn’t forgotten, if the struggle to make war on inanimate objects goes on for a decade, will it raise the Math proficiency scores of Chicago high school students by one percent? Will tearing down the Gallant Pelham make one black father stay home with his son? Will sawing off the nose of Jefferson Davis keep one young man from joining a gang? It’s all just excuses and blame shifting….”

    • jammerjim

      Will fighting to keep the statues up “raise the Math proficiency scores of Chicago high school students”? No it will not, and poo pooing the effort to remove them is a false concern.

      Symbols *matter*. It’s why those statues were put up in the first place.

      • BCinBCS

        Hear, hear jammerjim.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Or one white father? The largest percentage of welfare recipients are white women.

      • WUSRPH

        Please don’t shatter his myths with reality…..

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    • WUSRPH

      Probably not…but it might make that young black child feel a little more “at home” in his own country….It must be hard to do that when people like the present occupant of the White House go around praising people who thought it was okay to own someone like you….

  • WUSRPH

    As you so eloquently make clear, individuals have many facets…One day they may be a courageous hero…Another day the circumstances may make them look like a coward…There is no better example for Texans that Sam Houston…..tarred with the brush of cowardice for retreating before Santa Anna on day and proclaimed a great hero the next day for his victory at San Jacinto…..A slave owner who was pulled out of the governor’s chair and despised because he would not abandon the Union he loved and because he tried to tell his fellow Southerners what would be the result of their treason…

    Our even Lincoln who said blacks could never be our equals and called Mexican’s mongrels who despite his hate for slavery said he would accept it if that was the price of saving the Union…

    But, despite their faults, we have erected numerous statutes and monuments to them (but not enough to Houston in my view) but today some claim that if we cannot honor the confederates, we are hypocrites to honor them..

    As an amateur (but college trained) historian I recognize that no man (other, we are told, than The Christ) was perfect….and that even our greatest heroes have “clay feet”…Some would say that means that, if we are going to place placards explaining their faults and weaknesses and their now felt to be incorrect views and beliefs next to the statutes of confederates we should do the same for Lincoln and Houston and Grant and Jefferson and Washington, too. Maybe we should…or at least we should strive to tell the whole story of their lives instead of only those “good” things….to, as I like to say, “put it into perspective”..

    Let’s do that…BUT, let us always remember that, despite their faults and despite the fact that they are not gods to be worshiped, there is a basic and vital difference between a Lincoln and a Houston and the men and women who followed them and a Davis and a Lee and the people like my great-grandfather who followed them into battle….

    The difference is simple and stark….When the moment came in their lives to make a choice between a country which proclaimed that “All men are created equal” (even if it failed to live up that standard) and one founded on the doctrine of white supremacy—as so proudly proclaimed in Texas’ own secession ordinance—Lincoln and Houston chose the side of history and morality while Davis, Lee and my great-grandfather did not.

    It is for that choice that we honor Lincoln and it is for the different choice that he made that we should not honor Lee.

    • BCinBCS

      Well said, W.

  • SpiritofPearl

    How about erecting statues of Gen. Sherman, U.S. Grant, and A. Lincoln alongside their Confederate counterparts? Teach the controversy.

    • WUSRPH

      That would be a form of “moral equivalency”, It would suggest that it was morally acceptable to go either way….It was not…and we cannot tolerate anything that would give that impression.

      • SpiritofPearl

        W, some of my ancestors owned slaves and some of them fought for the Confederacy in KY and AL, not a Union soldier in the lot.

        Lincoln was respected in my family, not despised. Education is the key.

        • WUSRPH

          A major part of the problem is the education that several generations of southerners received…..We were never told about the Texas secession ordinance or the Cornerstone speech…Instead we were feed a diet of “state rights”, “the Second American Revolution” and Yankee aggression against a people who just wanted to be left alone, all wrapped in the images of Gone With the Wind…..with a dose of racial/cultural superiority added to the mixture on occasion…and how the oppressed South had to throw off “carpetbagger rule” to restore democracy, as the South created the image of the “Glorious Lost Cause”—complete with all these statutes and monuments to our courageous heroes.

          In my family we were spared the pure hate of racism for “Noblesse Oblige” with charming stories of how right up thru as late as the 1920s “our people” would come to call on “The Family” at Easter and how my grandfather had to step in to help when one of them needed a job or was in trouble with the law.
          Meanwhile the North got on with the business of building a new, richer and even more diverse society and gave up on “reconstructing” the South out of a combination of growing bored and politics…(Hays-Tilden, etc.) with only periodic use of “the bloody shirt” to spur oppositions to the resurgence of the Democratic Party… (That seemed to have begun to staring losing its appeal by the time of the 1884 attack on the Democrats for being the party of “rum, Romanism and rebellion” although the backlash that led to a the first election of a Democrat as president since the war was more from Catholics outraged by the attack on their religion than by southerners.)
          So, you are right..education may be the answer. After all, its misuse was one of the major factors that got us into this situation….Now it has to get us out. Removing the statutes is one step in that direction.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Mr. P. attended elementary school in Maryland, junior/senior h.s. in Florida. They were taught that it was “the War Between the States” and it ended in a draw. I in Catholic schools in STL was taught that it was called the Civil War and the Union won.

            States rights rhetoric emerged during the Little Rock school integration fights. My best friend from childhood moved to LR after our freshman year of h.s. I learned then what a few hundred miles of distance made in outlook on race relations. STL was – and still is – a very Catholic city. When John Glennon came from Indiana in 1944 to be the archbishop, he was horrified to learn that the Catholic schools were segregated. He immediately integrated the Catholic schools under penalty of mortal sin. Nothing like eternal damnation to effect change . . .

          • WUSRPH

            The threat of eternal damnation was not as effective in other areas…I had a distant cousin in New Orleans who was excommunicated for opposing the Bishop when the Bishop closed the door to the Catholic schools to those “good” Catholics who, following the order to desegregate the public schools, suddenly discovered the need to give their children a “Christian education”…He went to his grave still an ardent racist which supposedly means he went straight to the hot place…but a man has to stand up for his principles eternal soul or not.

          • SpiritofPearl

            The Mason-Dixon Line is hard to eradicate.

          • John Bernard Books

            You two are sanctimonious idiots Lincoln pushed the South into a war for political gain. He put wanting to be president ahead of the country.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be2e4c3bfd5e6546c39d4b457c9791d468dd49ed14b6ed7b228bba6541137c44.jpg

  • José

    It goes without saying that every person, no matter how saintly, has faults. If perfection was a prerequisite for praise then we would have need for no memorials. So let’s set aside that false argument.

    We recognize people not for who they were but for their accomplishments. We define them by their deeds. When we hear a name or see an image we should be able to name their specific contributions to the betterment of humankind. Ideally we should recognize and acknowledge that there is more to their history, acts that are not praiseworthy.

    Lincoln pledged to preserve the Union of a fragile young nation, which he accomplished at great cost and with a terrible struggle. He is the Great Emancipator, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and pushed for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Those are mighty deeds. It’s true that in early years his advocacy of emancipation was less than full throated. But his memorials are not there to celebrate his views of African slaves as second class creatures. We admire him despite his faults.

    Contrast that with Robert E. Lee, a gifted soldier and military leader who also served as president of a fine university. Those are fine deeds, but that’s not why we remember him today. Lee is defined by his decision to lead an insurrectionist army against his own country. It is disingenuous to suggest that the many memorials to Lee are anything but a celebration of his act of disobedience to his nation.

    We should never deny that our heroes have records which carry stains and imperfections. Their complicated and sometimes inconsistent stories should be addressed fully whenever possible, in biographies and in exhibits that have the space. And at the same time we should never allow historical revisionists to lift up as heroes those people whose sins outweigh their virtues.

  • John Bernard Books
  • WUSRPH

    Okay, I confess..

    Okay, okay…so I may not be a “good” Christian (or any kind at all)…but it is not, as I am being accused, because I cannot forgive a sin and give a sinner another chance when it comes to Robert E Lee, Jeff Davis and their ilk.
    Yes, as I am being lectured, I recognize that people can change. In fact I am praying that some do ….And “that people can learn” (but apparently not Trump)….And even that we should not forever rub their faces in their past transgressions….All of that it true…

    After all, Jesus sat and talked with a women who appears to have been a prostitute…And, he was surrounded by repentant sinners and even a couple of those with the most despised occupation possible in Israel
    at the time—Jews who worked as tax collectors for the Romans.

    So, yes, it is true that is the way a real Christian (as opposed to most of the self-proclaimed Christians I know) would treat Lee, Davis (and maybe even confederate VP Stephens, he of the Cornerstone Speech, but probably not Nathan Bedford Forrest). However, just because we should forgive them DOES NOT MEAN that we should put up statutes to them.

    But, when it comes to this forgiveness thing….as I told the John McCain campaign when I asked them to take me off their mailing lists (I had gotten on back in 2000 when I contributed to his first GOP presidential primary campaign)….I am sorry that some sins have to be forgiven in heaven…and his having picked Sarah Palin as his VP was one of those whose forgiveness was way above my level.

    So, I guess you can strike me off the list of good Christians….but, then, I don’t think I ever claimed to be one.

    • SpiritofPearl

      To be foregiven, one must confess one’s sin and ask for forgiveness.

      • WUSRPH

        Apparently that does not apply to Sheriff Joe.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Bingo!

          Will he get a job at Breitbart?

  • John Bernard Books

    Trump to pelosi…”hold my beer”
    “On Thursday, the NY Times posted an article on why the President can’t pardon Sheriff Arpaio. CBS News said he was warned not to do it, and on Friday he did it. The President pardoned the persecuted sheriff.”
    http://www.independentsentinel.com/president-trump-pardoned-sheriff-arpaio-left-goes-wild/
    Arpaio wasn’t prosecuted he was persecuted……

  • SpiritofPearl

    Germany dealt with this much more effectively than America has:

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/20/why-there-are-no-nazi-statues-in-germany-215510

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems can’t win so they seek to destroy…
    ““American liberalism in the twenty-first century is in crisis,” writes Columbia University Professor Mark Lilla, due in no small part to its embrace of a “disastrous” identity politics that divides instead of uniting.”
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/25/columbia-professor-urges-democrats-to-end-disastrous-identity-politics/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social
    This brings me back to the question…why are liberals so angry?

  • WUSRPH

    Would someone please track down those left-anarchists involved in the attack in San Francisco, try them and, if it were not considered cruel and unusual punishment, put them in the same prison with some of the right-anarchists from the Charlottesville protest They deserve each other…Both are an affront to America.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Moral equivalency?

      • WUSRPH

        Probably not “equivalency” as I would like to think that at least one or two of those who hide behind the black masks—unlike those in the white hoods—are doing it out of some sort of twisted belief in the equality of humans and think they have good intentions….while I know the other side is not….But, whatever their intentions may be, both are contributing to the possible destruction of this country….John Brown may have been striking back in anger for the Slaves’ raid and murders in Lawrence but when he and his sons took their axes to some of them at the Pottawatomie massacre there were no less murderers…..And, despite his good attentions when he attacked the federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry Brown was as much of a traitor to this country as was, Capt. George S. James, the man who pulled the lanyard that fired the first shot at Ft. Sumter.

        • SpiritofPearl

          The tragedy is that there is no adult supervision.

          • St. Anger

            And not all people wearing masks are, either.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Violence on either left or right is unconscionable. Let’s not lump everyone into the same category – which you are not.

        • St. Anger

          Worse than equivalency – you are accusing a leftist group of something that anonymous people did, while the analogous violence in Charlottesville was anything but anonymous.

          Talk about swallowing the framing whole.

          • WUSRPH

            As I said, it makes no difference if they were leftist, rightist, centrist or KKK in disguise, there acts are an offense and need to be punished.

    • St. Anger

      How do you know the violence last night was antifa?

      Or leftist? Or anarchists?

      • WUSRPH

        I don’t know for sure…that is why I said that someone needed to track them …..But whomever they may be…right, left, uppity centrists…their act is an offense that should not go unpunished…..Just like those of the racialist thugs in Charlottesville.

  • WUSRPH

    Is someone planning ahead?

    The Trump administration will now allow local police forces to take and use armored vehicles, high-caliber weapons and other kinds of heavy equipment that were once used in the military, USA Today reported Sunday.

    Back during the dark days in Germany they developed a practice that they called “police justice” in which the police were used to “fix” problems they saw in the justice system which although it basically had surrendered to the Fuhrer’s will, still occasionally produced a result that the Fuhrer might not have liked. For example, some local official might have refused to use the force of law to harass and intimate the regime’s opponents/victims or some judge might have got hung up on little things like constitutional niceties and handed down a rare acquittal or imposed what was felt to be too short of a sentence. Or some prisoner might have been released when he had completed his sentence; or even worse, some court might even going so far as to actually convict some “good German” for protecting the nation against is internal (including citizen) opponents—all in conflict with the “People’s Will” as interpreted by the nation’s leader.

    Police justice took care of those gaps in “the people’s justice” by supplementing what the courts might do to by
    grabbing those who it felt had been treated too leniently by the judiciary and confining them in party-run “concentration camps” or by placing those who had yet to commit a crime, but who might, into “protective
    custody”. And, in its ultimate expression, by encouraging police to be both violent with those they arrested and to actively use their full powers to harass and intimidate anyone who complained or who might have the wrong political or sexual views or certain offending skin tones, accents or religion. And it backed up that policy by pardoning citizens and officials whom some overzealous traitorous judge had seen fit to hold accountable for their unfortunately technically illegal acts.

    There were times in American history when at least some local police seem to have adopted some version of the German police law concept in dealing with uppity blacks and other members of minority racial and ethnic
    groups, labor union members and others…but we like to think that was rare and all behind us…but you have to worry just a bit when our Great Leader tells police to “treat ‘em rough” and proudly uses his first pardon to approve the acts of an official who blatantly abused his powers to harass, intimidate and confine people because of their nationality and accent. Let us hope those police who rejected Trump’s call to use violence in making arrests represent the majority of today’s police….But maybe Trump thinks otherwise.

    • José

      What makes this alarming news even more distasteful, of course, is to contrast these facts with all the fiction about former President Obama. Remember Jade Helm, secret concentration camps, suspicious military deployments on US soil? All these rumors spread wildly among the mass of tin foil hat right wingers, whipped into a frenzy by Alex and Rush and others. All bogus.

  • WUSRPH

    ON THIS DAY

    In 1963, 200,000 people participated in a peaceful civil rights rally in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln
    Memorial.

    The dream goes on.

  • WUSRPH

    Does anyone think there is a chance that Gov. Abbott will call a special session to do something about Harvey?

    Of course, he could delay a decision based on a claim that it is too early to be talking about such things…..That we have to get thru it….add up the costs and develop “solutions” before bringing in the Legislature. All of which makes sense…..but I am sure that, when they dry out a bit, the folks who have suffered the most from Harvey
    will start calling for the State to state some action other than tisk-tisking the local leaders for not evacuating a city of millions.. (to where?) and sending in some national guard units.

    So, I suspect the best we can expect out of Abbott is perhaps the order that state agencies “study” the situation and “develop” plans……What good that does for someone who had no flood insurance (after all, they were not
    in the flood zones were coverage was mandatory) is questionable…..but at least it would sound like he is doing something (other than probably posing with Trump on Tuesday).

    (BYW anybody hear anything from Dan “the cities are evil” Patrick over the last few days?)

    Abbott’s biggest problem with dealing with Harvey’s impact is that any long-term solution is, first, going to cost a lot of money (tap that Rainy Day Fund anyone) and, second, is likely to require the development of regulations on where and what you can build and that would violate his firm principle against telling anyone what they can do with their property (even if it kills their neighbor)…..But I guess the smell of a flooded home or business
    is part of that “smell of freedom” that Abbott loves so much.

    • jammerjim

      Well, all the insurance and federal cash that will go to reconstruction firms no doubt smells good to Abbot as he courts them with regulatory cutbacks..

      • WUSRPH

        What would be even better would be:

        A gubernatorial commission (forget that the Land Commissioner has such a group) to develop a long-term plan, complete with full representation by the developer community. That can drag out having to do anything for a year or two, plus insure that whatever regulatory measures are recommended are properly respectful of “property rights”.

        Calling the leg. into town to pass the bill limiting the time cities can consider building
        permits (and what they can require) that not even Dan Patrick could get thru
        the Senate but this time as an emergency item to help recover from the storm……Size
        the day, so to say.

        BYW, would it be okay for a transgendered person to use the bathroom other than as shown on his/her birth certificate it the “right” one is flooded?

        • John Bernard Books

          dem lawyers lining up smelling the loot….let the looting begin. Lawyer Steve Myston bilked the tax payers for over $300,000,000 after Ike.

    • Gunslinger

      I can’t think of a better time to use the RDF.

      • WUSRPH

        But, how to use it is the question? I doubt the Legislature is going to do anything to put cash directly into the hands of someone who got flooded out and did not have Flood Insurance.
        The best we can probably hope for is that it MIGHT be willing to fund some infrastructure improvements out of the Rainy Day Fund–one a one-time basis.. But, we are talking MANY BILLIONS if we get serious about storm surge barriers, rebuilding the beaches and dunes and other natural barriers, increasing the size and number of “impoundment dams” (like the Addicks and Barkers Reservoirs in Harris County were built to be many years ago)…and upsizing, expanding the extending our channels to move water our of areas subject to floods plus making the changes required just to deal with the combination of a continuing sinking of the land and rising of the sea .
        (Sorry, Trump, Abbott, Patrick, Cruz and company….IT IS HAPPENING….There really is such a thing as Climate Change. Go ahead and try to deny that man has played a role in bringing it about, if you want…BUT recognize that something MUST BE DONE.)
        We are also probably talking about some of those dreaded “regulations” on “what a man can do with his own property” that will mean we may just have to tell some people that they cannot build or REBUILD in certain areas…..no matter how much money they are wiling to spend or how much (federally and state taxpayer subsidized) wind and flood insurance they buy. And, being Texas with our current leadership and Texas Supreme Court (which changed the law on ownership along the shore a few years ago) this probably means that we are going to have to buy them out at some outrageous price…
        All of this will cost more than the balance of the Rainy Day Fund now and the income to it for many years to come…And, based on the screams from the Inlanders (the Panhandle folks are the worse) when the Legislature talks about something so much smaller—such as the state subsidized windstorm insurance pool—and their reluctance to help their fellow Texans along the coast, I am not that optimistic that you can get this massive of a program thru the Legislature.
        As such, it may have to be broken down into a little piece here and a little piece there and even then be approved ONLY IF the residents of our coastal counties vote BILLIONS of bonds on themselves to pay for most of it.

    • SpiritofPearl

      When Rita hit so soon after Katrina, Houstonites evacuated en masse, then got stuck in a massive traffic jam. A young couple I know spent twelve hours to travel 30 miles with their two toddlers in an attempt to escape.

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems claim they have a “right to rig elections”…….
    “On August 25, 2017, Federal Judge William Zloch, dismissed the lawsuit after several months of litigation in which DNC attorneys argued that the DNC would be well within their rights to rig primaries and select their own candidate. “In evaluating Plaintiffs’ claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true—that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent,” the court order dismissing the lawsuit stated. Though this assumption of a plaintiff’s allegation is inherently taken to be true in a class action lawsuit, the court’s decision reflects a dire state of democracy in this country where the DNC’s own rules in holding primary elections is out of the court’s hands, proving the DNC attorney’s claims that the DNC is within their right to rig primaries.”
    http://www.freemarketcentral.com/post/9178/court-admits-dnc-and-debbie-wasserman-schultz-rigged-primaries-against-sanders
    if you buy this then you’re a dummazz….

  • John Bernard Books

    Why do democrats keep electing dummazzes for mayors in Houston….
    Guv Abbott told Mayor Turner to evacuate and Turner refused…….
    Now Houston is a bigger disaster than New Orleans….If you recall Prez Bush wanted school bus Nagin to evacuate and he refused. Nagin of course is now in jail for stealing tax payer monies intended for rebuilding NOs. Sylvester you big dummie….
    https://apnews.com/1be70a05bd0848c9aba361ab509d0fce/Rescuers-pluck-hundreds-from-rising-floodwaters-in-Houston

  • SpiritofPearl

    Museums are not empty.

  • John Bernard Books
  • John Bernard Books

    With the estimates into the $100s of billions for damage from Harvey…..how much will dems steal?

  • John Bernard Books