August 26, 2010

It can’t happen here . . . or can it?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:58 pm

When we were presented with the opportunity to buy a copy of Ian Patterson’s (no relation) book, “Guernica and Total War,” we were curious about the topic and tantalized our self with the possibility that the book might spark an idea for a column. We snapped it up and started to read it in the hopes that we could finally figure out who was who in that conflict and which side was “the good guys.”

A short time later, we stumbled on a copy of Caroline Moorehead’s biography of Martha Gellhorn and since we were unaware of that resource for Hemingway fans, we quickly added it to our library and ripped into it as fast as we could.

We sensed that the Spanish Civil War could provide us with the basis for a comparison with the contemporary American political turmoil, but we still couldn’t find the handle. Many moons ago, we read George Orwell’s “Homage to Calalonia.” We trundled off to the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library and from the assortment of books on the topic, selected Daniel S. Davis’ “Spain’s Civil War: The Last Great Cause” and commenced reading that book.

The task of comprehending the turmoil is rather complicated. A coup by rebels in the Army was resisted by the legitimate government. It was the Republicans vs. the Nationalists. That causes a bit of difficulty for readers in modern America because in the USA, the Republicans have copyrighted Patriotism thus making their Party’s name synonymous with the concept of national pride. Thus the good guys can’t be both Nationalists and Republicans in a comparison with the Spanish Civil War. In the Spanish Civil War, the Fascists fought the Republicans; in the USA, the fascists are the Republicans.

The rebel faction requested aid from Germany and Italy but Germany and Italy had both agreed to abide by an international agreement to remain neutral. That agreement was just another pesky scrap of paper like the Geneva Accord and so they complied with the appeals for help. Hitler sent “volunteers,” including a group of aviators called the Condor Legion, supplies and weapons. Mussolini sent men, tanks and trucks.

Various countries sent groups of volunteers to the Nationalist side. The American volunteers chose the name “the Lincoln Brigade.”

Daniel S. Davis, on page 92 of “Spain’s Civil War,” wrote about a battle where Mussolini’s Italian legions were fighting Italians in the “Garibaldi Battallion.” Davis describes the effect produced by loudspeakers used by the Garibaldi Battallion: “Demoralized by the barrage of emotional appeals not to fight their countrymen, knots of Italian soldiers melted across the Republican lines.” (How soon will Fox News be able to provoke Americans into bloody confrontations with other Americans?)

We were struggling with the challenge of finding a way to apply the analogy with the Post Dubya American scene. Could the Carlists (who wanted Spain’s royal family to resume their role as the country’s sovereign and legitimate rulers) be compared to the Bush family as they anxiously await the restoration of the Bush dynasty via a Jeb win in 2012?

The Germans and the Italians broke the International agreements to stay out of the Spanish Civil War. Great Britain and France did not. France closed its border with Spain and caused some fleeing peasants untold grief. Stalin committed Russia to a limited amount of help which also broke the aforementioned International Agreement to back off.

Davis states that the Germans, the Italian, and the Russians all interfered but notes that for selfish reasons none of them sent a massive amount of help which would bring a quick resolution to the conflict. It seems that the Spanish Civil War provided an excellent testing ground for all three countries to measure the effectiveness of their new weapons and tactics and a prolonged test run was much more preferable than a limited tryout period.

We were just about to scrap the analogy column when “the Rosetta stone” inspiration appeared (like the Lady of Fatima?). Rebels got an amount of help from the Germans and the Italians that was limited but ultimately sufficient enough to tip the balance in favor of the rebel troops under the command of Francisco Franco. Fasten your seatbelts, boys, here it comes: could the electronic voting machines give America’s Republicans the extra bit of slightly unfair advantage similar to the help that the Condor Legion gave to the rebel troops?

Think about it. With just a slight push in some carefully chosen election contests, the electronic voting machines could deliver an undetectable edge and thus provide the Republicans with a few choice swing victories in enough contests to deliver a “veto-proof” majority in the House. Maybe even the Senate.

The fools in the lapdog press are following the Fox News’ lead and are already crippling the possibility of an intransient public’s refusal to accept the results as genuine with a constant stream of stories subtly suggesting that American citizens should expect a Republican takeover of the House. The stories carefully include words like “possible,” “likely,” and “expected” and are appearing in a stream of increasing frequency. What part of “you’re being set-up,” do American voters not understand?

If Fox News pushes religious intolerance what’s to stop them from including propaganda that will dissolve all skepticism about phony election results? Religious intolerance is an integral part of the Nazi philosophy. Does anyone want to seriously deny that assertion?

Does anyone seriously think that an unscrupulous news organization would promote religious bigotry and then balk at endorsing rigged elections?

Haven’t some Republicans already hinted that Obama should be impeached? If the Republicans get a majority in the House of Representatives what’s to stop them from immediately starting impeachment proceedings? Did someone in the back row seriously suggest that good sportsmanship will stop them? Get ******* serious. Ask Bill Clinton how many nanoseconds it will take for the Impeachment movement to get going.

When Guernica got bombed, it was obvious to most of the Americans journalists who were covering the carnage, that the deck was stacked in favor of the Rebels and fascism. That indicated to an assortment of American Journalists that Hitler would not be intimidated by the British and French into abandoning his plans for further aggressions. The amount of reading material for folks who wish to fact check the pre-war premonitions and warnings that ran through the community of American foreign news correspondents like a virus is contained in a considerable amount of books. Even Ernie Pyle covered the Battle of Britain. The journalists saw what was coming and tried to warn the American public.

In the November of 1935 issue of Esquire magazine Hemingway warned (By-Line Ernest Hemingway Scribners paperback page 212): “Europe has always fought, the intervals of peace are only armistices. We were fools to be sucked in once on a European war and we should never be sucked in again.”

Wouldn’t it be incredibly sad, if on some future day, Americans were to lament the fact that the big names in American Journalism ignored prescient warnings from the bloggers who tried to raise an effective amount of righteous indignation about the electronic voting machines? With Fox as America’s point man in the realm of journalism, it seems as if worrying about honest elections is just about as serious a topic as wondering if wrestling matches have predetermined winners.

On the one side you had the workers and a legitimately elected government and on the opposing side were capitalists, nobles, clergy, police, and the military. The fascists condoned torture, murder, disregard for international agreements, and bombings with extensive collateral damage to civilians. Sounds just like what’s happening in America, to this columnist. Do you think Rush Limbaugh will spend any time refuting this column?

Daniel S. Davis, on page 10 of “Spain’s Civil War,” says: “An old proverb describes the situation: ‘In Spain there are two Spains: one that works and does not eat, and the other that eats but does not work.’” Which side do you suppose would support the continuation of the Bush tax cuts?

Now the disk jockey will play “Four Dead in Ohio,” “Kung Fu Fighting,” and “Dixie.” We gotta go get something to eat. Have a “true gen” type week.

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