Facing South

VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave it

chip_pearson.jpgby John Sugg, Georgia Online News Service

History lesson time. Do you remember a gent called "Old Gimlet Eye?" He's worth some study. His real name was Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, a Marine and a two-time recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Quite a guy, you might say, great creds.

When Butler was a popular hero almost 80 years ago, America was in about as bad shape financially as it is today. The scenarios are remarkably similar. Republicans had let the bankers and corporations run amok. Investments without substance to back them exploded, and then imploded. Thievery of the white collar variety was fashionable. The late 1920s and this decade have another striking similarity: historic disparities in wealth between the very rich and everybody else. The common folk suffered while the mega wealthy were aghast at the thought that they might be asked to pay back some of what they'd looted.

In both time periods, a newly elected Democrat was freighted with cleaning up the awful mess caused by financiers, corporations and Republicans.

In such times, radical politics gain momentum. In the 1930s, we saw strong movements on both the right and left. And like today, demagogues toss about labels, slapping often contradictory epithets on their foes, hoping the very dumbest of society will twitch in approval. Here in Georgia during the 1930s, for example, FDR's detractors claimed machine-gun nests would be built on the top of low-income housing to make ready for a Bolshevik uprising.

FDR then, as is Barack Obama today, was called both a fascist and a socialist by his detractors on the right. He was, of course, neither. Indeed, he was capitalism's savior. And, Gen. Butler may have saved FDR. Read on to find out how.

Today, with their screeching magnified by technology, we hear Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, Karl Rove and even that most horrible perpetrator of crimes against constitutional government and American values, Dick Cheney, mouthing off in vicious attempts to bring down Obama.

The danger is that words can do more damage than coarsen civic dialogue. Often they provoke violence. Nothing new there. From Tennessee church killings to Pennsylvania cop killings to many other places in recent months, we've witnessed right-wing crazies attack and sometimes kill people they believe to be liberals or Democrats. And many of the nuts were clearly influenced by the radio and Fox News blowhards.

There has been a new twist in recent weeks: the talk of secession. On Boortz's show this week, for example, a caller at first raved that Jane Fonda should be executed for treason and then somehow found a way to use what happened almost four decades ago to justify "going our separate ways," meaning that his flavor of Americans should grab all they can steal and secede. Boortz used the call to justify one of his repetitive rants that democracy is the real villain, and then concluded: "We should all have our personal escape plans."

That pales, however, when compared with what recently transpired at the Georgia Senate. A group of Republican Senate misleaders in the closing hours of the legislative session declared war on the United States of America. They slipped a resolution onto the calendar and it was passed without most of the senators reading it. Ignorance is no excuse for the sponsors, however, including Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, who was absent from his usual duties of inciting the state's neo-Klansmen with his hate-immigrant legislation.

Key to the senate resolution was this passage: "Every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis), to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits." The senators threw in the bit of Latin to indicate they are not the rubes and fools that much evidence shows they are. Among the reasons justifying a "nullification" of the nation and its laws would be the passage of gun control laws. This "nullification" claptrap stems from the pre-Civil War days, and it is no more valid then than now.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution gave space this week to Sen. Chip Pearson (pictured above), one of the resolution's sponsors, defending the measure by wrapping himself in the words of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He deceitfully spins the measure -- which unequivocally calls for the destruction of this nation if leaders violate his and the other extremists' interpretation -- as merely an alert to Washington abuses.

Allowing Pearson to talk this treason is more or less equivalent to giving a Holocaust denier equal time with those who oppose genocide.

Moreover, this is pure John Birch Society style conspiracy loopiness. And the far, far, far, far right wingers have introduced similar resolutions in 30 states. All of this is bolstered by the secessionist talk on the radio (Glenn Beck: "It is our responsibility to get away from a government who doesn't listen to us any more") and even governors (Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "If Washington continues to disregard the states and continues to try to force states to change the way that they govern, who knows what may happen?")

The normally very sensible Bob Barr couldn't resist. Referring to Perry's musings, Barr opined: "If Texas were to secede, the state might enjoy a significant inward migration of independent-minded citizens from other states, and precipitate a real boom in its economy."

Independent minded? Well, no. White nationalist, perhaps. Ill-informed, certainly.

Throwing gasoline on the fire was the Fox News agitprop called "Tea Parties" on April 15, attended by generally not-huge, almost entirely white crowds fervent in their determined ignorance about the economy and taxes -- and, as more than a few observed, motivated more by hatred, some of it racist and all of it extremist, against Barack Obama. It shouldn't surprise us. After all, Hannity, one of the leaders of the Fox-orchestrated tomfoolery, won't give up on trying to construct a non-existent substantive relationship between Obama and 1960s radical Bill Ayers -- yet it is Hannity who has lied about his own friendship with and tutelage by white supremacist and aspirant judge killer Hal Turner.

Add to that another factor. The Department of Homeland Security recently issued an analysis of the threat of right-wing terrorism, and pointed to the very observable fact that many of the Obama-haters are tinged with racism. The report also alluded to the clearly evident fact that many returning veterans are angry that they have been screwed by the government (when that government was run by war profiteers and torture cultists of the Bush regime), and are therefore susceptible to overtures from extremist groups.

There's nothing either false or demeaning in the report. It is speculative, and it is the sort of threat assessment law enforcement agencies routinely do. Yet, the right wing howled, and never noted among their wailings that the Bush administration commissioned the study -- and commissioned a similar one on left-wing threats.

What really has the right mad is how badly they've been marginalized. George Bush didn't win a mandate or even a popular majority in 2000, and he likely wouldn't have won except for a highly politicized majority on U.S. Supreme Court. He won re-election in 2004 only because the preposterous lies that led to the Iraq war hadn't been fully exposed and the colossal incompetence of his administration hadn't been revealed.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, did win a mandate to overhaul the economy and reset the American game plan. Americans want a new social compact, one that provides security and a level playing field for all, and not just a few privileged people. It likely will take a modified form of Europe's social democratic movement, and the fact that Americans have spoken clearly on this matter is what galls the 30 or so percent in the rapidly dwindling right-wing minority.

And that brings us back to Gen. Butler. In 1934, Butler reported to Congress that he had been approached by wealthy right-wing fascists to lead a coup against FDR. With interesting resonance to today, it was called the "Business Plot." According to a 2007 BBC report, the conspirators included George Bush's grandfather Prescott, who in 1942 was involved in a bank whose assets were seized for trading with Nazi Germany. (Which begs the question: Who would have more influence on a president, a casual political acquaintance such as Ayers or a grandfather?)

A Congressional committee reported that it was able to confirm the most serious allegations of the general, other than the participation of an alleged ringleader. However, there is considerable division among historians on exactly what was planned to go down. Few dispute there was, at the very least, a lot of buzz in boardrooms about toppling FDR.

Whatever, there is a very important parallel with the recent Homeland Security report. In 1932, thousands of veterans, the "Bonus Army," had set up tent cities in Washington to protest being shafted by the government. It was these disgruntled vets that Butler said the fascist conspirators sought to enlist to be the storm troopers of a coup.

Just as the conspirators in 1934 were wholly un-American and traitorous, so, too, are those advocating secession today. Their motive isn't "liberty," but rather a society where only the wealthy count; for many of them, it would also be a society where people of color would again be second class.

As a sizable majority of Americans now perceive, the misguided class warfare policies of those now shouting secession have brought the nation to its knees. They are not patriots - illustrating that, few of the Fox and radio dissemblers have ever worn a uniform. It was fun to watch Hannity squirm the other day when confronted with his military avoidance. And my favorite is Boortz, who for years blatantly lied about his draft dodging.

I've looked around at a model locale for these traitors and secessionists to adopt as their new nation. Some of them say they want South Carolina and/or Texas to secede, and there is some attractiveness to that idea, although I suspect we'd have to beef up immigration patrols to keep these future illegal aliens from trying to sneak back into the real America.

But the best place, the place that exemplifies the very ideal of secession for these people is ... can you guess? ... yes, the former Yugoslavia. There they could hate all they want, in the midst of people who have built a culture on secession and lethal animosity towards their neighbors.

America: Love it or leave it, I say.

John F. Sugg is executive editor of the Georgia Online News Service.


People Referenced:


re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

although the term "fascist" gets thrown around a lot, i've often considered that the vast majority of Americans completely disregard as lunacy any notion of a legitimate fascist threat emerging in this country. part of the reason may be a sense of complacency from taking for granted the relative* stability and civil liberties enjoyed in this country. another may be a lack of detailed historical knowledge; i know i was never taught in school about the fascist rumblings in this country of the 1930's by some of the corporate elite.

the hypocrisy and double standards exhibited by the more extreme elements of the GOP (Bush and friends very much included), over the past decade or so, truly amazes and disgusts me. the accusations of domestic treachery during the early years of the war in Iraq, wrapping of the flag while unraveling civil liberties, ...etc. i remember being quite shocked upon learning of George W. Bush's grandfather Prescott's association with fascism.

far short of reaching hysterics in reacting to these new hysterics coming from the far-right, i hope more people will take greater notice and take more seriously the need to remain vigilant in protecting against this sort of potential threat.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

How typical of a left wing loon. Don't argue the facts, just distort, lie & name call. This article is full of so much horse hockey that it would take pages to refute all the lies. This is one for "file 13".

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

The best reason for Texas succession is the coming colapse of the US dollar. It is impossible for the dollar to survive with the amount of debt we are accumulating each year.

I see no reason to call people who don't want to be drowned on stupid debt - as "traitors" or pretend they are commiting treason.

Our last Republican president gave us 1.1 trillion in debt his last year. Now Oboma is giving us 1.75 Trillion his first year. The only choice given is the debt party or the bigger debt party. I think the choice to take their ball and go home makes allot of since for Texas

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

There will be no secession under any circumstances.

It is against the law and unconstitutional.

More importantly, E. Pluribus Unum, From the Many, One WE THE PEOPLE.

That is the REAL U.S. motto, not "In God We Trust". Our unbreakable union of fifty states is the reason why America is the greatest country on Earth. We will not allow Texas or any state to destroy the U.S.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

If these states secede, no chance, but "if" they were; all american industry would have to come back to the states; Texas would lose all industry or at least be subjected to heavy tariffs. Same would go for all military installations and for Georgia, all of the Government dollars being spent around Atlanta would be gone as well. Let them go. Georgia takes out more government dollars than it puts in so it makes them a welfare state. These states would become failed third world nations and a threat to National Security soon as they would not have an economy without the United States.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

The reference to General Butler is only a small bit of information.. Buy the book " THE PLOT TO SEIZE the WHITEHOUSE:
The Shocking TRUE Story of the Conspiracy to Overthros FDR.";It is availible at AMAZON for about $11. Not mentioned is that all the material is from the Government Hearings; Chaired by Sen. John McCormick and is in the United States Archives.
The Bush family has a history of supporting the Nazi's as did most of the wealthy in the USA in the 1920's, FDR's New Deal was passed as a result of FDR threatening to try many of the well known Bankers of that period for Treason. Their companies still exist and the Investment Bankers J.P. Morgan is one of them. So let Georgia and Texas go. Their leadership apparently believes that stupidity is a virtue. I feel sorry for the many good people of those states.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

"Whatever, there is a very important parallel with the recent Homeland Security report. In 1932, thousands of veterans, the "Bonus Army," had set up tent cities in Washington to protest being shafted by the government. It was these disgruntled vets that Butler said the fascist conspirators sought to enlist to be the storm troopers of a coup."

There was a report the other day (Buzzflash? Rawstory? Think Progress?) that an Ohio guy was calling for a million man march on Washington July 4th...all armed. Hmmmm, the more things seem to change, the more conservatives stay the same. Of course, the guy said that it was only to make a point, to protest peacefully, this showing up in Washington of a million armed men on July 4th, kind of a teabaggers party with assault rifles. Odds are some will show up, armed to the teeth. I wonder what the Department of Homeland Security, that Bush and the Republicans created, will think of this?

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

Erik, I know your side isn't all that keen on accepting reality or fact based arguements these days. You *really* don't like the fact that the American people finally caught on to the white-collar corporate criminals screwing this nation (aided and abetted by the GOP and a lot of the "Blue Dog" Democrats).

So, why don't you try to refute some of the factual claims by the author of this article? And if you can't (because they are, indeed, documented facts), why don't you focus on the opinions in the piece and explain why they are wrong?

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

Wednesday, Neil Horsely, candidate for gov in Georgia gave an interview to the Examiner. He not only advocated ceding Georgia from the US, he repeatedly stated he would kill his son if that is what it took ...while providing biblical text as to why his son's life was at risk.

He did confess that killing his son, (also admitted he was one blow away from previously killing him during a beating) has caused a rift in his family.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

I recall that the 1934 DuPont plotters intended to hide their coup. The Bonus Army marchers had been crushed by Herbert Hoover with Regular Army troops as potential leftists. The new plan was to recruit veterans into a large militia movement, then use that movement's existence to blackmail Roosevelt into moderating his reforms. The Regular Army had only 80,000 men at the time, many tied down in immoral occupations in Central America and the Caribbean that FDR was terminating. So he might have been vulnerable for a while.

It is important to recall that the Nazis in Germany were not ideologically monolithic; the Brownshirt faction, typically veterans, blended far left and far right ideas and its leader resisted Hitler's absolute authority. It was the corporate bosses and the generals who demanded that Hitler crush these right-wing anarchists, which he did in the Night of the Long Knives. The survivors were brought into the partnership with "normal" German conservative elites that characterized Hitler's 3rd Reich. So there are many ways that militias and fascism can interact and even alter each other.

For instance, not all secessions produce liberty. Pakistan was created out of parts of India when Moslem leaders expressed mistrust of the Hindu majority. However, the Pakistani Army has continually overthrown elected leaders, even executing one, while the Indian Army has respected democracy. Your mention of Yugoslavia shows how complicated secession can become, and the variety of murderous Serb, Croat, Slovene and Bosnian movements that emerged were all a threat to liberty.

In America's case, secessionists champion the absolute power of states over the Federal government, yet never discuss the possibility that a state government can be a localized tyranny. The Mississippi Citizens' Council and the KKK were certainly in alliance with individual state governments on the right, and Huey Long created an authoritarian state on the left. The Confederate state governments gave no voice to their hill people, who largely supported the Union.

There is no principle here; this is a fight to build up or tear down the United States based on one's belief that his own faction will thus gain a monopoly of power. The right said nothing of states' rights when Christian leaders were literally retiring to signal to their flocks that Bush was their new fuehrer and right-wing corporations had a perpetual relationship with the Department of Defense and American banks ruled the world. This power grab has collapsed, so the right is in retreat to its rural strongholds and desires to maximize local power for now. The corporate class will do what the DuPont plotters did: use the threat of militia violence to privately blackmail Obama into avoiding FDR's road, which led America to 40 years of prosperity and greater equality and justice at the expense of the upper class. Like the inbred planter elite that violently kept the South backward, poor and medieval from 1876 to 1964, the national-level corporate elite would rather have a monopoly of power in a broken nation than share power in a modern nation. That, not state-federal legal theory, is the real struggle.

It is also insane. Like the planters, our corporations are no longer the center of wealth. The greatest pools of both private and public capital in the world are now located in the People's Republic of China. Their businessmen are proud to not be white or Christian. An America run like El Salvador or 1955 Georgia cannot attract much of their investment. It will be even worse for secessionists, unless they actually restore black slavery so that they can beat Chinese wages.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

Missing the mark. Fox is disingenuous. Centrist and "Leftist" media are fluffy. We should ignore the media and start to become the gover-nators of our own "ship". I'm not agreeing to the concept of disolving the US...much the opposite. As another poster put: E. pluribus unum. Media only isolates us into our little false cliques and distracts us into introspective, woe-is-me mentalities - ignoring the greater idea of living side-by-side with different opinions and lifestyles. It would behoove us all to just go back to local-interaction...outside...away from mind-numbing and -controlling media. Get involved in your community.

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

Neil Horsely, pro-secessionist candidate for gov in Georgia had sex with mules and bragged about it on TV. I can't imagine how any political opponent of his is NOT going to replay THAT juicy tidbit over and over again... Hmmm maybe they'll intersperse it with the stuff about Neil killing his son? You have to love these people for their "Family values"

re: VOICES: To Georgia secessionists: America, love it or leave

Big Ern,

couldn't make any sense of your comments as directed to me. i think you musta been addressing someone else.