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A Pagan Christmas to All!

(thanks for the kind words over at the GOS, TheMomCat!)

Among the mouth-breathingest of mouth-breathing Republicans, it’s a well-known fact that every November or so, we libruls gather in our covens and plot the paganization of Christmas.  In their Left Behind-style fantasies, we are the legions of Satan, come upon the Earth to foist secular ideas and Godless traditions upon the flock of the Lamb.  Only the Bible stands in defense of the faithful against the pernicious attacks of the heathen First Amendment, as we the befouled seek to eradicate every trace of monotheism from our once-God-fearing civilization.  Each year, the scarred veterans of the (self-)Right(eous) stir their zealots to action, and in public squares and mangers throughout the land, battles over the soul of American culture are waged.  

As in all wars, sometimes an enemy’s gallantry on the field of battle impresses even a bitter foe – Napoleon, remarking on the Russian cavalry then crashing into his lines, said “Now these are Kossacks!”.  Rather like the Confederates at Pickett’s Charge, they may be trying to storm a solid position in the name of a dubious set of causes, but we have to respect the temerity it takes to throw oneself into the breach for an issue one really doesn’t understand.

Health Care is Our Waterloo: Here’s Why

They say that even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day (or at least it did back in the primitive analog era), and in his recent comment regarding the health care debate being Obama’s Waterloo, Senator DeMint (R-Mordor) proves “them” correct.  DeMint is using the famed 1815 battle as an analogy for a loss in an epic final stand, and while this may be enough to make him appear “smart” in Republican “intellectual” circles, it turns out that upon further inspection, there’s actually some depth to the analogies that can be drawn from the scene of Napoleon’s final defeat.

So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll take a hair-raising ride through Analogy-Land!  See the president play the role of a French emperor, the Public Option as a well-defended farmstead, and we progressives as the Imperial Guard.  The battle isn’t over, and we don’t yet (and may never) share their fate, but regardless, now is the time to learn what could’ve been done to alter the outcome of the fighting.

Europe’s First Police State

So I know you were just sitting around wondering, “What are the origins of the modern police state?,” and maybe, “Can an effort at genocide, if sustained long enough, actually work?,” or possibly, “What would happen if a bunch of religious zealots were in a position to exercise spiritual, temporal, political, and military authority over all they survey?”   Well, Pope Innocent III, the same guy who launched the Fourth Crusade, certainly asked himself these questions, and he sought to answer them through direct action.

So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, to get a glimpse of a nobly enlightened culture as it is extinguished by the hate-filled love of the Medieval Church.  We’ll also see the heretical Cathars subjected to travesties that only these people would not find barbaric…

The Nika Riots

The truly beautiful thing about history is the way it informs on such a multitude of levels.  Depending on the way one reads things, the same story can be anything from a simple, cautionary tale, to an eerily-similar depiction of current events, to a cause for awe and celebration of human achievement, to an inspiration for future generations – and all manner of interpretations in between.  But, since the understanding of history is ultimately a personal thing, I’ll leave it to my fellow historiokossians to figure out how we as a community should look at the story of the Nika Riot.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a look a one of the most divisive times in the history of one of the world’s great civilizations.  Now, far be it from me, a lowly historiorantologist, to claim that we as a community might see a bit of ourselves in the story – but I do confess to a hope that (if we have indeed laid waste to a third of our metaphorical city in the recent flamewars) the minds and passions here are capable of raising from the ashes our own Hagia Sofia.

I Am Spartacus!

My fellow Dharmatists, we have been called out (warning: this link and the next provide traffic/revenue to RedState).  No less a rightist luminary than Erick Erickson, Obergruppenf├╝hrer of scrappy little RedState.com, has revealed the hitherto-unthinkable: that left-wing bloggers might be communicating by e-mail!!!

But this particular leftie roach isn’t going to scurry for the darkness, now that the Light of Truth has shone upon me – I’m going to out in a blaze of glory, basking in the freedom of having nothing more to hide, and I invite you to do the same.  Let us together declare our membership in the dread JournoList!  Let us all stand and be counted!  Let us all shout, “I AM SPARTACUS!”

Return of the Blackshirts

It’s something out of a twisted wingnut fantasy: 25,000 identically-dressed, tough-looking men and a charismatic leader with a simple, strong motto (in this case, “Believe!  Obey!  Fight!”) barge into the capital city and bully their way into a leadership role in the government.  No complicated voting, no messy democracy, no stupid consensus; just a bunch of ballsy, take-charge kinda guys who know what’s best for the nation and its historically-destined people – and woe unto he who disagrees with their image of what “the nation” ought to be…

And yet, like so many bizarre, terrifying, and ultimately uncivilized events, this one actually happened.  Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll take a peek at Italy in 1922 – and if we’re lucky, we’ll even be able to discern how the shadowy rightists behind Santelli and the Teabaggers have moved beyond simply genuflecting before Zombie Reagan, and may now actually be trying to resurrect Benito Mussolini himself.

A Message from History: Democrats, Attack!

I’m not normally one to rant – among the scores of diaries I’ve posted over the course of the past three years, only a handful are of the “screed” variety.  The sort of diaries I usually do don’t lend themselves to soapbox-style indignation – there’s not much to be gained, legislatively or electorally speaking, from a knock-down, drag-out flame war over, say, assigning blame for the outbreak of the First World War.

Yet, as I’ve often stated, sometimes the worst thing about being an historian is that one often has a pretty good idea of what’s coming next, decline-and-fall-of-civilizationwise.  Certain patterns are discernable, and seem to play out each time a civ rises to a leadership role in human development or the exercise of might – and no civilization has ever shown itself immune to the degrading effects of time.  Since often an understanding of the events of the past can inform the shape of responses in the present, it’s here that this historian perceives a role for an historical rant.

Kenya

When future historioranters analyze the data from this past election, at least one thing will be abundantly clear: of all the nations in Africa, Kenya played the largest role in America’s 2008 electoral process.  It hadn’t been expected to be so – the odds were on perennial favorites like Egypt, South Africa, the still un-interdicted Sudanese Genocide, or that nutjob in Zimbabwe – but there Kenya was, looming like Kilimanjaro over the Serengeti.  And I mean over all the Serengeti: not only does the President-Elect have a close connection with the nation – Sarah Palin’s Witch Doctor is Kenyan by birth.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll contemplate a land that’s seen everything from the Dawn of Humanity to becostumed imperialists to a sad-but-all-too-typical history of governance since the Era of Decolonization.  Maybe along the way, we’ll come to know a little more about the most famous Kenyan-American of all – a guy who even now seems to be operating by that old African proverb, “Just because he harmed your goat, do not go out and kill his bull.”  

An Educator Hears A Dog Whistle in the Obamamercial

Senator Obama didn’t spend a whole to of time during last Wednesday night’s infomercial on education policy, but in the few seconds he did talk about it, he managed to send a chill down the spine of at least one Denver-area teacher when he held up as an example of positive change the Mapleton School District in Thornton, Colorado.  Regrettably, Obama’s staff doesn’t seem to have done much fact-checking on this District’s recent history beyond the talking points fed to them by District officials and politically ambitious administrators.

While it is indeed a fantastic success story that all 44 of this year’s Mapleton Expeditionary School for the Arts’ senior class have been accepted to college, the other numbers, not to mention the seamy history of the district restructuring project itself, paint a far bleaker picture of the effectiveness of “small school reform” measures – and gives at least one voter cause for concern about the educational company Senator Obama is choosing to keep.

Star Wars

Picture this: Thousands of warriors, clad in jaguar skins and the feathers of birds of paradise, armed with atlatls and obsidian-studded clubs, move steadily through a rainforest toward a distant cluster of pyramids and temples. Like every warrior on the eve of every battle in all of human history, they wonder if they will survive the coming fight.  Some of them probably think about the circumstances that had brought on the war in which they have found their generation cast, and perhaps a few of them even consider the part they are playing in the greater socio-cultural drama unfolding in northern Guatemala in the 7th century CE.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight’s historiorant centers around those quarrelsome city-states of the Classical Maya.  On this Columbus Day (a/k/a 7 Muluc 12 Yax), I invite you to take a break from Republican vileness and winking wannabe-veeps, and join me for a tale of the first Star Wars – a struggle between ancient Mesoamerican superpowers punctuated by some very recognizable story lines and subplots…

269-269: The Nightmare Scenarios

All right, Chicken Littles.  You wanna play “the sky is falling?”  Okay, I’ll bite.  How ’bout these possible outcomes?:

Cheney becomes Temporary President in January, 2009…or… casts a tie-breaking vote in Senate balloting to determine who will be Succeeder to the Decider…or…Obama is elected President, but is saddled with Cariboucuda as his Vice President…

All this misery – and more! – can be yours, for the simple price of an Electoral College vote of 269-269.  Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight’s theme is “The Implausible and its Potentially Apocalyptic Consequences upon Humankind.”  The subject is the ticking time bomb represented by the Twelfth Amendment – and just for fun, let’s look at some best- and worst-case scenarios it might spawn in the event of an Electoral tie.  The suggested headgear for the evening is a tinfoil hat; umbrellas might also be helpful, since everyone knows that the sky can’t be falling if you can’t see it headed toward you.  

Meet the Luddites!

Mention the term “Luddite” to most folks nowadays, and it’ll conjure up images of John McCain types – elderly folks still mystified by the electric typewriter, with “12:00” blinking perpetually on their VCRs – or the hard-core back-to-the-Earth sorts, who bristle at any device with moving parts.  As usual, the actual history is far more complex: these “frame-breakers” of early 19th-century England were not a variant on Amish farmers given over to vandalism, but rather the product of a complicated confluence of occurrences involving everything from newfangled labor-saving machines to the Napoleonic Wars.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll take a look inside the changing marketplace at the dawn of the 1800s – and at a group of folks who tried to plow the sea by attempting to arrest the flow of history.

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