Hitler, Bush and Historical Accuracy

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“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our Homeland.” This quote, according to hundreds of pages on the web, is by Adolf Hitler from a 1933 (or 1932 or 1922 on some pages) announcement of the creation […]

Ludlow Amendment, the Draft, and a culture of war

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I’m reading the somewhat disappointing book Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss. I’ll have to do a complete review, but in brief, the disappointing part is that in most episodes, I get to the end and think “Oh, it’s over.” Somehow it reads a bit like a core […]

The Great Catchphrases of Presidential Administrations

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It seems that every great president says or provokes a succinct quote or two that somehow define his administration for years to come, catchphrase that “tag” their time in power and their era. My memory only goes back so far, and I’m a European not American history, so I’m sketchy on pre-Nixon examples. But I’ve […]

Lost Lessons from the War on Communism

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One would think that, having spent the second half of the twentieth century fighting one protractrated struggle against an implacable ideological enemy, we might have learned something. The Bush administration’s actions would seem to indicate that we did not. What should we have learned? That in a war of ideals, ideals that are not practiced […]

John Calvin Joins The Ranter in the War on Christmas

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NEWSFLASH: The Ranter has declared war on Christmas! Or at least Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson and the other genius right-wingers at Faux News believe that liberal, left, secularists like The Ranter have declared war on Christmas. I hate to disappoint, so I have created a “Make war on Christmas, not Iraq” bumper sticker. Joining […]

"The people just do not understand the war"

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No, that’s not a quote from The Ranter’s close friends Dubya or Rummy. That’s from David Maraniss’ book They Marched Into Sunlight (Simon & Schuster, 2003). Maraniss follows two parallel stories, that of a battle in Vietnam and that of a student protest in Madison, Wisconsin. The two stories converge on October 19, 1967, when […]