When They Come Home – Critical Update

Another critical update: As of 3 June, the army’s 2012 active-duty suicides reached 154, compared with 130 in the same period last year, the Pentagon confirmed Suicides have outnumbered combat deaths in US troops in 2008 and 2009.

NATO chief insists no rush to exits in Afghanistan

Sunday, May 20, 2012 – CHICAGO — The United States and NATO leaders are insisting the Afghanistan fighting coalition will remain whole despite France’s plans to yank combat troops out early, but leaders weary of plummeting public support for the war are using an alliance summit Sunday to show they want to move quickly away from the front lines.

“There will be no rush for the exits,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday. “Our goal, our strategy, our timetable remains unchanged.”

Public opinion in Europe and the United States is solidly against the war, with a majority of Americans now saying it is unwinnable or not worth continuing.

United States to Unveil Plans to Bolster NATO Alliance

By    WASHINGTON — President Obama on Sunday will unveil a new package of NATO initiatives that includes the alliance purchasing a fleet of surveillance drones, sharing weapons and training facilities, and sustaining nuclear deterrence in Europe even as disarmament efforts continue with an often belligerent Russia, according to senior administration officials.

Although debate on winding down the Afghan war will dominate the NATO summit meeting in Chicago, Mr. Obama will also disclose agreements designed to guarantee mutual security in an era of global austerity that includes sharply reduced military spending across the alliance.

A central element of Mr. Obama’s announcement will be the hand-over to NATO of control for the components of an emerging European missile-defense system built by the United States.

A radar station in Turkey will become permanently under alliance command. In times of crisis, American Navy Aegis warships — with radar and interceptor missiles — would be transferred to NATO command. When interceptor missiles planned for Poland and Romania are in place, they would also be placed under NATO command in time of crisis.

Another major agreement is that the alliance will purchase and maintain five Global Hawk surveillance drones, said one administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the initiatives in advance of the meeting.

Although NATO carried out an offensive that toppled Libya’s Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the campaign revealed a critical gap in the alliance’s war-fighting capabilities: The United States had a near monopoly on surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, and NATO needed its own remotely piloted vehicles.

As the Pentagon reduces the number of Army brigades permanently in Europe, the United States will pledge to rotate units through training facilities on the Continent so the ability for allied and American troops to fight side-by-side is sustained even after withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama also will describe the results of NATO’s review of its defense and deterrence posture, and how the alliance will field a combination of nuclear weapons, missile defenses and conventional forces to guarantee the security of all members.

No reductions in NATO’s nuclear arsenals will be announced, although the door remains open to negotiations with Russia on shrinking stockpiles.

NATO nations in Central and Eastern Europe remain particularly nervous about aggressive talk from Russia’s returning president, Vladimir V. Putin, and want continued assurances of an alliance nuclear umbrella.

Similarly, the alliance will pledge to continue air patrols over the territory of Baltic nations in NATO, so those states do not have to invest in fighter jets. The alliance will also announce initiatives to share maritime patrol aircraft, route-clearance vehicles and medical facilities, as well as pool maintenance costs for helicopters and armored vehicles.

If and when American troops home from Afghanistan, the fabric of American culture will be tested. Between the start of the Afghanistan War in October 2001 and today, the character of the war has morphed from the passion of revenge, to the forgotten child, to the head of the class.  Afghanistan has America’s undivided attention, now that the ramp down is supposed to be in process.  The international consequences will be argued for the next decade.  The economic cost will be felt and debated for decades to come, but the human cost remains forever.  After all, war is the most expensive folly humans engage in, because investment in destruction is always required, and instruments of destruction are expensive.  But, reconstruction is sooooo profitable.  This is a great philosophy for inanimate objects, but terrible for living things.  The profits are always corporate, and corporations will go through the motions of charity.  However, the individual and their family is left with whatever safety net the American Congress claims it can afford, that also will be argued for decades.

WIKI: On 1 December 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would deploy an additional 30,000 soldiers over a period of six months.[46] He also set a withdrawal date for the year 2014.[47]    Since that declaration many more soldiers, civilians and contractors have been injured, maimed or killed.  Thousands of troops are coming home.  Those troops are in various stages of condition.  Hopefully, the vast majority will adjust with little or no problem as they integrate back into American society.  But, that still leaves a great number of casualties that will need special attention for their wounds, no matter how they are classified.

The US Military is very cautious about classifying injuries, because those injuries have dollar signs assigned to them.  This is where the Veteran’s Administration and the US Military have to behave like insurance companies.  Congress reminds each government agency that it is all about budget and funding, every day.  The assignment is to question each claim, as if it were false.  Too many valid claims are dismissed only because the reporting officer did sloppy paperwork or lost it or cannot remember, did not take an injury seriously because it was not reported right away, or some other issue with the soldier making the claim. Whatever the condition of the claim and paperwork is in, and wherever it is in the processing pipeline, there is a human casualty that paperwork represents … WAITING for a decision.  Most of the time, the casualty asking for help is in limbo.  Many times, a soldier’s identity has been compromised while they were deployed.  Sometimes the home or car they left behind is being repossessed.  Maybe their family has been having financial or emotional difficulties.  Many times the job they expected does not exist anymore.  The challenge of adjusting back into a ‘civilized’ environment has trauma of it’s own.

WIKI:  A strategic partnership agreement between Afghanistan and the United States was signed by the US President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in May 2012. After the signing Obama laid out his plans to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan. The plans call for 1.) the removal of 23.000 US troops at the summer end of 2012, i.e. at at the end of September 2012[57], 2.) Afghan security forces to take the lead in combat operations by the end of 2013 while ISAF forces train, advise and assist the Afghans and fight alongside them when needed and 3.) the complete removal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2014, except for trainers who will assist Afghan forces and a small contingent of troops with a specific mission to combat al-Qaeda through counter-terrorism operations.[58][59][60][61][62].

The Human Cost of Combat and Occupation for Iraq and Afghanistan – iCASUALTIES REPORT

320,000 Vets Have Brain Injuries –  War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked –  18 Vet Suicides Per Day?

I am re-posting this article from July 2008, about returning combat veterans.  Many of these veterans are experiencing the same problems as Joseph Dwyer.  When I first wrote this story, four years ago, I had not anticipated how long America would engage in war. Iraq and Afghanistan exposed enough  young men and women to combat, cruelty and death, to populate a small country.

Between 2001 and 2012 the casualties on both sides include thousands of unintended victims.  Yes, many are intended victims, but this has been a very sloppy war, too reminiscent of Viet Nam. To kill and maim so many civilians when only a handful of “enemy combatants” are the target, is abominable.  Sorry, we are here fighting a war in your back yard, you just happen to be in the way … and we will be here for a long time destroying our mental health.

Soldier in famous photo never defeated ‘demons’

They found Dwyer lying on his back, his clothes soiled with urine and feces. Scattered on the floor around him were dozens of spent cans of Dust-Off, a refrigerant-based aerosol normally used to clean electrical equipment.

Dwyer told police Lt. Mike Wilson he’d been “huffing” the aerosol.

“Help me, please!” the former Army medic begged Wilson. “I’m dying. Help me. I can’t breathe.”

Unable to stand or even sit up, Dwyer was hoisted onto a stretcher. As paramedics prepared to load him into an ambulance, an officer noticed Dwyer’s eyes had glassed over and were fixed.

A half hour later, he was dead.

Returning to the U.S. in June 2003, after 91 days in Iraq, Dwyer seemed a shell to friends.

He wanted to be a medic. (Dwyer’s first real job was as a transporter for a hospital in the golf resort town of Pinehurst, where his parents had moved after retirement.)

In 2002, Dwyer was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas. The jokester immediately fell in with three colleagues — Angela Minor, Sgt. Jose Salazar, and Knapp. They spent so much time together after work that comrades referred to them as “The Four Musketeers.”

When he deployed, he was pudgy at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. Now he weighed around 165, and the other Musketeers immediately thought of post-traumatic stress disorder.   Dwyer attributed his skeletal appearance to long days and a diet of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). He showed signs of his jolly old self, so his friends accepted his explanation.   But they soon noticed changes that were more than cosmetic.

When people would teasingly call him “war hero” and ask him to tell about his experiences, or about the famous photo, he would steer the conversation toward the others he’d served with. But Dwyer once confided that another image, also involving a child, disturbed him.

He was standing next to a soldier during a firefight when a boy rode up on a bicycle and stopped beside a weapon lying in the dirt. Under his breath, the soldier beside Dwyer whispered, “Don’t pick it up, kid. Don’t pick it up.”

The boy reached for the weapon and was blasted off his bike.

In a telephone interview later … from what he called the “nut hut” at Beaumont, Dwyer told Newsday that he’d lied on a post-deployment questionnaire that asked whether he’d been disturbed by what he’d seen and done in Iraq. The reason: A PTSD diagnosis could interfere with his plans to seek a police job. Besides, he’d been conditioned to see it as a sign of weakness.

“I’m a soldier,” he said. “I suck it up. That’s our job.”

Dwyer told the newspaper that he’d blown off counseling before but was committed to embracing his treatment this time. He said he hoped to become an envoy to others who avoided treatment for fear of damaging their careers.

“There’s a lot of soldiers suffering in silence,” he said.

“And so it’s a dance between the clinicians and the patient.”

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, feels the VA is a lousy dance partner.

Rieckhoff said the VA’s is a “passive system” whose arcane rules and regulations make it hard for veterans to find help. And when they do get help, he said, it is often inadequate.

“I consider (Dwyer) a battlefield casualty,” he said, “because he was still fighting the war in his head.”

In 2005, Daily Koss Blog referenced Dwyer’s photo in an article about PTSD on MyLeftWing 

Returning Vet PTSD – One Soldier’s Story

by ilona Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 03:29:10 PM PDT  [Front-paged at My Left Wing]

This photo was taken on March 25, 2003.  Snapped by AP and published in newspapers and magazines world-wide a week following the invasion, Army medic Pfc. Joseph Dwyer carries an injured Iraqi boy to safety. Caught in the crossfire in a fierce battle near the village of Al Faysaliyah, the lines of hero and victim appear to be well-defined, not blurred.

On October 7, 2005, Dwyer was arrested after a 3 hour standoff with police in which he discharged ‘volley after volley’ of gunfire in his apartment.

And, so Joseph Dwyer’s story unfolds from the date of impact, 2003, to the date of conclusion, 2008.  Five years of suffering and delusion about the “manly” thing to do, has ended in the sad news about his suicide.  The part of the story seldom, if ever, followed up on is how the family he left behind, will unfold.  There should be someone following their progress and recovery, especially his children.

The children asked what was wrong.

“Joseph is dead,” she told them.

“You said he wasn’t sick any more,” Justin said.

“I know, Justin,” his mother replied. “But I guess maybe the help wasn’t working like we thought it was.”

The kids were too young to understand acronyms like PTSD or to hear a lecture about how Knapp thought the system had failed Dwyer. So she told them that, just as they sometimes have nightmares, “sometimes people get those nightmares in their head and they just can’t get them out, no matter what.”

Despite the efforts she made to get help for Dwyer, Knapp is trying to cope with a deep-seated guilt. She knows that Dwyer shielded her from the images that had haunted him.

Since Dwyer’s death, Justin, now 9, has taken to carrying a newspaper clipping of the Zinn photo around with him. Occasionally, Knapp will catch him huddled with a playmate, showing the photo and telling him about the soldier who used to come to his school and assemble his toys.

Justin wants them to know all about Spc. Joseph Dwyer. His hero.

Joseph Dwyer Obituary [here]  – Obituary responses [here], [here], [here], [here], [here

Joseph is not the first, nor last, example of the ‘time bomb’ effect that PTSD has.  Past posts on TrurhHugger and BlueBloggin have illustrated the consequences and ultimate social and economic impact this nation should be preparing for.  Veterans from past wars have had PTSD symptoms, but were accepted as “he never was the same when he came back”, then they are just written off.   Today’s US veteran was plucked from a consumer society whose deepest thoughts concerned sports, celebrities, cars and electronic toys.  They started out soft.  They were plunged into a physical nightmare where the infrastructure they took for granted was destroyed.  The social norm they are accustomed to is turned upside down. The results of firing their weapons no longer resembles video games.  Bodies no longer evaporate into a haze of pixels.  They hear, see, smell and taste the results of their actions and the actions of their opponents.  This sensory assault upon an American Soldier defies representation by recruiters, news media or politicians.  These sensory memories become their ghosts.  Whether or not a soldier has religious foundation, there is a moral dilemma, even for atheists. 

 The American moral starting point for armed conflict is so disconnected from reality. Not only physical damage, but mental damage should be expected, especially when the same soldier attempts to incorporate back into the world they left.

 The only renewable resource this administration has taken advantage of is HUMAN.  Citizen or not, volunteer or not, literate or not, America will accept you into its ranks of cannon fodder.  If you survive, you will be patted on the back, given some bandages and salve (maybe an artificial limb) and expected to go along your way.  This is WRONG! The inequities of war shine a harsh light on class disparity … if this angers and motivates the under class to rebel, it has happened before. 

 This treatment inspired the impetus for socialism, and it’s more violent offspring, communism … maybe in America we can vote for sounder leadership, maybe not. 

 War makes a lot of money for someone, so there will always be wars.  The consequences are different now, because more people survive, and they survive differently.  They are damaged in a way that impacts every one of us.  These changed people cause medical debates, law enforcement debates, insurance, employment and individual households, both economically and emotionally.  The returning soldier is getting a different kind of attention, because of the myopic condition in American culture.  The social and economic dynamic for the families these soldiers return to is already stressed.  So, is there any accountability to be applied?  Does the Government and it’s corporate sponsors have any culpability?  Why should you care, unless of course, you are a returning soldier with an injury, need a job, need to figure out how to relate to your family and friends.

Both of these men need a new job.

TPA Roundup – 5/14/2012

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds everyone that early voting has begun as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.

Off the Kuff finished his interview tour of Texas with a conversation with Domingo Garcia in CD33.

BossKitty at TruthHugger will not weigh in, whether or not the truth was actually served in court, when a black lady fired a warning shot into a wall. Firing a gun in irresponsible ways is natural in Texas. But, Florida has contradictory laws that allow courts to pick and choose who gets punished for similar irresponsible behavior. You can decide for yourself how good a job of it they do.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came to Williamson County this week, he endorsed John Bradley for DA. WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the rest of the story, Birds of a feather.

It was a good week to be gay if you were Barack Obama and John Carona, and a bad week to be gay if you were Mitt Romney and Dan Patrick. And if you think that’s confusing, wait until you read what PDiddie at Brains and Eggs said about Greg Abbott’s rose petals and Joe Arpaio’s pink panties.

Lewisville Texan Journal looks at Republican candidate for HD 106, Pat Fallon’s residence, and addresses whether he committed voter fraud by voting from an address where he apparently did not live.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker asks Could the Education Cuts be the beginning of the End for Texas Republican? Check out the details.

Neil at Texas Liberal endorsed Sean Hubbard in the Democratic primary for the open U.S. Senate seat.

The Week of May 14 in Texas History:

Today in Texas History: Treaty of Velasco signed

On this date in 1836, ad interim president David G. Burnet and Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna signed the Treaties of Velasco, following the Texans’ victory at San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution.


Two treaties were signed &#151 a public treaty providing for the end of the war, exchanging of prisoners and the safety of Santa Anna; and a secret treaty wherein Santa Anna promised to try to deliver on the conditions of the public treaty.

Both the Texas and the Mexican government, however, violated the treaties and their conflict continued. Mexico did not recognize Texas’ independence, and the Texas boundary was not established until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in February 1848, ending the Mexican War.

Texas Germans declare slavery to be evil – May 14, 1854

On this day in 1854, Texas Germans gathered to discuss the national crisis over slavery. At the the annual Staats-Saengerfest (State Singers’ Festival), held on May 14 and 15, delegates from various local political clubs of German citizens in western Texas met in San Antonio and, following the lead of the Freier Mann Verein (Freeman’s Association) organized by fellow Germans in the Northern states, adopted a mildly worded plank declaring that slavery was an evil and that abolition was the business of the states. The resolution went on to maintain that a state should be able to obtain help from the federal government to effect abolition. By “help” the convention meant that the state would ask the federal government to pay the owners for freed slaves. The declaration, along with more strongly worded antislavery newspaper articles in the German language press, led many Anglo-Texans to question the loyalty of their German neighbors on the slavery question, and eventually helped fuel mistrust when Texas joined the Confederacy in 1861.

Leaks notwithstanding, new Capitol dedicated in Austin – May 14, 1888

On this day in 1888 began a week-long celebration dedicating the present Capitol building of Texas. Unfortunately, the Capitol Board refused to accept the structure because its copper roof leaked and because of several other minor problems. After builder Gustav Wilke repaired the roof and made other corrections, the board accepted the building on December 6 of that year.

Related Handbook Articles: CAPITOLWILKE, GUSTAV

TPA Roundup – 5/7/2012

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks Mrs. Sarkozy would have been the better candidate than her husband as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Three more Congressional candidate interviews from Off the Kuff: State Rep. Joaquin Castro, the heir apparent in CD20; Bexar County Tax Assessor Sylvia Romo in CD35; and former Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald in CD27.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is overwhelmed by the disgusting realization that everyone’s future will be determined by America UNDER THE INFLUENCE!

BlueBloggin sees Zombies everywhere. Zombies are disengaging Common Sense and promoting the Great Unlearning of America at the bidding of the Koch Brothers. Zombie Politics Desecrates Science Education and Economy.

Texas GOP House Speaker Joe Straus and anti-abortion groups make nice. WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the skinny, The political calculus is changing in Texas.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme hopes the Valley recognizes Filemon Vela for the opportunistic a**hole he truly is.

The Libertarians selected former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as their presidential nominee at their national convention in Las Vegas this past weekend, and then pushed all their chips in on the pivotal issue of 2012: weed. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs doesn’t think it’s a smokescreen.

Lightseeker explains, over at TexasKaos, how Texas has a shoot first law – Even the Sponsor Didn’t Know It. Give it a read.

The Week of May 7 – 12 in Texas History:

Mission San Francisco de la Espada

Mission San Francisco de la Espada – The first mission established within the boundaries of Spanish Texas was San Francisco de la Espada. In 1689, Spanish authorities found the remnants of a French settlement, Fort Saint Louis.[3] During their expedition, the Spanish met representatives of the Caddo people, who lived between the Trinity and the Red Rivers. The Caddo expressed interest in learning about Christianity,[4] and the following year Alonso De Leó   led an expedition to establish a mission in East Texas. It was completed near the Hasinai village of Nabedaches in late May, and its first mass was conducted on June 1, 1690.[5][6]

In its first two years of existence, the mission faced much hardship, as floodwaters and then drought destroyed their crops. After an epidemic killed half of the local population, the Hasinai became convinced that the missionaries had caused the deaths.[7] Fearing an attack, on October 25, 1693 the missionaries buried the mission bell, set the building ablaze, and retreated to Mexico.[8]

The mission was reestablished on July 3, 1716, as Nuestro Padre San Francisco de los Tejas.[9] In 1721, it was renamed Mission San Francisco de los Neches. It was moved in 1731 to San Antonio where it was named Mission San Francisco de la Espada. The surviving structure is now part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park operated by the National Park Service. A commemorative representation of Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, is located in Weches at Mission Tejas State Park.

May 07, 1844

On this day in 1844, the Scioto Belle, a river steamer believed to have been built on the Scioto River in Ohio, arrived at Galveston from New Orleans. The vessel was described in the Telegraph and Texas Register as a substantial, well-built ship, nearly new, well adapted for carrying freight, and with excellent accommodations for passengers. The steamer operated between Galveston and Houston and landings on the Trinity River but, probably because of the poor condition of the Trinity channel in the 1840s, was not able to go much farther up the river than Liberty Landing. In 1844, during a yellow fever epidemic, the Scioto Belle was docked at Lynchburg and converted by Dr. John Henry Bowers into a hospital.

May 07, 1861

On this day in 1861, Anna Pennybacker, clubwoman, woman suffrage advocate, author, and lecturer, was born in Petersburg, Virginia. She graduated from the first class of Sam Houston Normal School in Huntsville, Texas, continued her education in Europe, and subsequently taught grammar and high school for fourteen years. In 1884 she married native Texan Percy V. Pennybacker. Mrs. Pennybacker wrote and published A New History of Texas in 1888, and the textbook was a staple of Texas classrooms for forty years. She founded one of the first women’s clubs in Texas, the Tyler Woman’s Club, in 1894. She went on to serve as president of the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1901 to 1903, a position in which she raised $3,500 for women’s scholarships at the University of Texas and helped persuade the legislature to fund a women’s dormitory there. After holding important offices in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Mrs. Pennybacker was an associate member of the Democratic National Committee (1919-20) and through her work with the Democrats met Eleanor Roosevelt in 1924. Their fourteen-year friendship was based on mutual interests in the advancement of women, world peace, and the Democratic party. Anna Pennybacker died in Austin in 1938.

Civil War in Texas

The so-called battle of Adams Hill occurred on May 9, 1861, between federal forces under Lt. Col. Isaac Van Duzer Reeve and Texas Confederate troops under Col. Earl Van Dorn. The confrontation took place on the military road between San Antonio and El Paso, about fifteen miles west of downtown San Antonio. Under the terms of the surrender of the Department of Texas, Reeve proceeded from Fort Bliss to the Texas coast to join other federal troops in the evacuation of Texas. His force consisted of companies B, E, F, H, I, and K and a detachment of Company G, Eighth United States Infantry, which represented the garrisons of Fort Bliss, Fort Quitman, and Fort Davis. Reeve reported the total strength of his command at 320 men, including two hospital stewards, twelve musicians, and ten officers. Col. James V. Bomford of the Sixth United States Infantry also accompanied the column.

Upon arriving at Fort Clark, Reeve became aware of the Confederate internment of paroled federal troops in Texas and of concern by Confederate officials in San Antonio that Reeve’s force was, in fact, hostile. He nevertheless resolved to continue his march to the coast to evacuate his command in compliance with former Department of Texas commander David Twiggs‘s terms of surrender. On May 8 Reeve camped his command on the east side of the Medina River opposite Castroville. At midnight, having received further word of Van Dorn’s advance from San Antonio with the purpose of confronting the column, Reeve resolved again to push forward to San Antonio.

Upon the advice of Lt. Zenas Randall Bliss, Reeve halted his column on a high hill a few hundred yards from San Lucas Springs. There was a small collection of buildings and corrals, which Reeve supplemented with his wagons for defense purposes. At around nine that morning, two officers representing Colonel Van Dorn arrived under a white flag with the Confederates’ demand that Reeve surrender unconditionally. With no actual hostile force in sight and his position a strong one, Reeve declined.

Van Dorn, on the march, soon arrived in full force. His command, which consisted of six companies of Col. Henry E. McCulloch‘s cavalry regiment, a squadron of Col. John S. Ford‘s State Troops (under the command of Lt. Col. John Robert Baylor,) Capt. William Edgar’s battery of light artillery, and a battalion of infantry under Lt. Col. James Duff, comprised nearly 1,370 men and six pieces of artillery. Van Dorn’s representative now offered Reeve an opportunity to inspect the Confederate force. Lieutenant Bliss was sent forward and examined it, then quickly reported the strength of the force to Reeve. Inasmuch as the federals’ effective strength had been reduced to 270 by sickness, desertion, and stragglers, Reeve resolved that resistance would be futile and surrendered his command to Van Dorn. The Confederates, satisfied with this turn of events, retired, allowing Reeve to continue his march, under arms, at his own leisure. The federals arrived at San Antonio on May 10, and the next day a Confederate officer was sent to recover all arms and public property.

Period accounts of the confrontation refer to the event as having taken place at San Lucas Springs. Later accounts say Adams Hill. There were no shots fired; it appears that both sides were eager to avoid bloodshed.

Preparations for the very last battle of the Civil War At Palmito Ranch begins:

The Confederates in Texas were aware of the fate of the Confederacy’s eastern armies. On May 1, 1865, a passenger on a steamer heading up the Rio Grande towards Brownsville tossed a copy of the New Orleans Times to some Confederates at Palmito Ranch. The paper contained the news of Lee’s surrender, Lincoln’s death, and the surrender negotiations between Johnston and Sherman. Within the next ten days several hundred rebels left the army and went home. Those who remained were as resolute as their commanders to continue the fight in Texas. The federals, meanwhile, had received an erroneous report that the southerners were preparing to evacuate Brownsville and move east of Corpus Christi. In light of this intelligence Colonel Barrett ordered 250 men of the Sixty-second United States Colored Infantry and fifty men of the Second Texas United States Cavalry (dismounted) to cross to the mainland from Brazos Island at Boca Chica Pass to occupy Brownsville. Carrying five days’ rations and 100 rounds of ammunition per man, the Union troops crossed over to the coast at 9:30 P.M. on May 11, 1865. Under the command of Lt. Col. David Branson, this detachment marched all night and reached White’s Ranch at daybreak. There Branson’s men halted and tried to conceal themselves in a thicket along the Rio Grande. The camp was spotted by “civilians” (probably Confederate soldiers) on the Mexican side of the river. Realizing that any hope of surprising the Confederates was lost, Branson immediately resumed his march toward Brownsville.

Zombie Politics Desecrates Science Education and Economy

Russian Roulette on a global scale, Zombie US Lawmakers gamble with the intellectual destruction of a whole country. If you can justify what you see with your own eyes with the fantasies these extremists are selling you, then you have become a Zombie Voter.  Desecration of intellectual growth is suicide.

Removing science from the toolbox of education is the destruction of a whole culture.  Tearing down the fabric of education in America is contrary to the original Founding Father’s vision.  America was created out of necessity. The colonists spirit needed to grow and discover it’s limits.  Education was integral to this. 

America’s invasion by Europe was opportunistic, based on greed for marketable resources.  This was a survival move for a crumbling Europe.  Refugees from political and religious persecution along with Europeans sent to pay off their debts to a monarch, were sent to establish a foothold on the continent.  The resulting country was a golden opportunity to profit and expand the power of monarchs.  What resulted was the colonists a desire for independence from oppressive, controlling elitists and launch an experiment where progressive ideas were no longer suppressed.  The European elite felt threatened by progressive, inclusive political thought.  The Revolutionary War bought the freedom for the colonists to use their brains for their own advancement, for a change. 

Unfortunately, what has evolved in America, is corporate disdain for any science questioning their methods of conduct.  Corporations use science to create new and wonderful consumer products for profit.  Science has also brought questions addressing the safety and long term consequences for many consumer products.  Each and every product is entrenched in the corporate formula for profit.  Corporations will not tolerate questions until the volume of consequences is too big to deny.  How many court settlements have been made to victims with the restriction of non-disclosure.  Corporations can pay huge sums of money to protect their profit margin.  Corporations can also pay politicians to withdraw or reduce funding to science projects, especially those that may hold them accountable for their misdeeds.  Yes, corporations, in general, are full of misdeeds.  There are some exceptions, but the general rule is profit over accountability, so let’s buy a legislator to help us profit.  We are experiencing the symptoms of this philosophy right now. 

Strategic Budgeting for Faculty & Staff, of college science programs, have been devastated by unprecedented budget deficits within state and federal levels of government…

The recent spam advertising by the Heartland Institute about Global Warming, the extreme right wing (Koch brothers funded campaign to undermine science and deny evidence for climate change), wants us to dump the same science that will save our future asses, if we use it right. Market-based, rather than Government-based science, will not address real earth issues, it will only ensure some elite group will profit while the rest of us perish.  This often politically referenced “Institute” is but a tool by Koch Brothers, Tea Party Extremists, to pander to the under educated voter.  If we elect these Koch Brothers anti-science ‘Zombies’ to Congress, the United States of America is truly doomed.

The Heartland Institute Self Destructs

Zombie CongressIf Rep. Jim Cooper is right, fiscal negotiations are in danger. Big danger.

Not only will the Zombie Congress devastate the system that funds the US Government and education system, it will screw the American taxpayer by failing to address the consequences of allowing the Bush Tax Cuts expire.  The Zombies will complete the ruination of America’s science education.  All to satisfy the “Anti-Global Warming” contingent, funded by the Koch Brothers. Zombie voters provided by the Koch Brothers Tea Party will turn out in swarms to make sure their uneducated “values” will be elected to Congress.

Zombies Walk The Halls Of Congress  – NPR describes a different kind of Zombies populating Congress …

What will new ‘climate zombie’ Congress be like? Ask Utah  – Nobody knows for sure what things will be like, or how bad they will get, once the type of people who are comfortable rejecting the conclusions of the top 80 scientific bodies of the world take power.

Rapid Decline in US Earth Observation Capabilities  – ScienceDaily (May 2, 2012) — A new National Research Council report says that budget shortfalls, cost-estimate growth, launch failures, and changes in mission design and scope have left U.S. earth observation systems in a more precarious position than they were five years ago. The report cautions that the nation’s earth observing system is beginning a rapid decline in capability, as long-running missions end and key new missions are delayed, lost, or cancelled.

Earth observation capabilities in ‘precarious position’ as budgets decline, says study

Scientists sue Arizona for $18 million  – PHOENIX, May 22 (UPI) — A group of scientists in Arizona say they’re suing the state for $18 million in research money cut by the Legislature to cover a budget shortfall.

Hawaii ending universal child health care  – … . Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program

Texas Education Chief Steps Down  – Scott launched the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math … He also had to downsize the agency twice, after critical state budget shortfalls.

May Day ‘funeral’ for education draws student and employee mourners  – More than 200 hundreds of students, teachers and staff gathered to mourn and protest the “death” of education Tuesday May 1 in the LAC Quad.

The “The Funeral for the Death of Education” was presented on international workers day, May Day, following the Board of Trustees’ decision to lay off of 55 support staff and reduce hours and pay of 96 others.

Lynn Shaw, a professor of electrical technology and president of the full-time faculty union, said, “We decided to do the funeral for education because the students were suffering and faculty feel that students are natural allies so we came up with an idea to draw attention to this that would be dramatic and make a statement.”

No Matter How Right-Wing Media Spin It, Millions Would Feel “Sharp Effects” Of GOP Budget  – CAP: Ryan Budget Would “Strip More Than $871 Billion From Public Investments In Education, Infrastructure, And Science And Technology.” A Center for American Progress (CAP) report compared Ryan’s projected outlays to 2010 outlays for education, infrastructure, and technology, …

Corporate and political denial of long term consequences is in our face right now.  If you missed the past hundred years of examples, you cannot ignore this most recent ‘Mother Nature vs Human Arrogance’ event.  Corporate Humans do not want to think about anything that would interfere with their profit motive, but Fukashima should be the eye opener.  Recent news shows this lesson is being forgotten already.  The risk of another massive disaster, without preparation, will happen in the USA.

It’s Not Just Fukushima: Mass Disaster Evacuations Challenge Planners  – … in the U.S., more than four million Americans live within 10 miles of the 63 sites of nuclear power plants with at least one operating reactor, according to data compiled by the NRC based on the 2000 census. That number swells when the radius extends outward to 50 miles to affect more than 180 million Americans, and includes major metropolitan areas such as , Philadelphia, San Diego and even West Palm Beach, Fla.

In the wake of the and subsequent evacuations, could all these people in the U.S. be evacuated–or take some form of protective action–in time in similar circumstances?

Incomplete science guarantees an uncertain future for humans on this planet.  Mother Nature has erased her errors many times before, but this crop of biological occupants of her planet has taken a lot for granted … Mother Nature will pay humans back for their arrogant desecration.

TPA Roundup – 4/30/2012

The Texas Progressive Alliance is slow jamming this week’s roundup.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme sees Republicans holding on to private power at the expense of children.

More Congressional candidate interviews from Off the Kuff, who has conversations with Marc Veasey, Ramiro Garza, and Anthony Troiani.

BossKitty at TruthHugger takes a vacation from the sanitized, filtered, hollywood marketing of political candidates and looks at the world. The dramatic trial in Norway, for a mass murderer, has unified civilized Europeans who sang … To Annoy The Monster.

The myth of the disgruntled Texas Republican. WCNews at Eye On Williamson says they’re like a GOP Chupacabra, we always hear about one, but never actually see one. Deeply unhappy Republicans? Don’t be so sure.

Greg Abbott and Susan Combs have both, in the past year, made the serious mistake of exposing millions of Texans to identity fraud by failing to safeguard their social security numbers. Both seek a promotion to higher office in 2014. Is there ANY amount of incompetence and malfeasance a Texas Republican can be guilty of and NOT get elected? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs doesn’t have confidence that the answer is ‘yes’.

BlueBloggin wants Americans to understand there is always more to sensational stories in the headlines. UpDated: What is Adrenarche and Why Are America’s Services Sexually Immature.

Libby Shaw nails it again over at TexasKaos. She explains why she is hoping 2012 is a “buyer’s revenge” election, a judgement on the kiss-ups, brain dead zombies and other assorted creatures that got elected in 2010. See it here: Gov. Oops Grovels for Norquist While Houston Business Leader Kowtows to Perry

Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about Dick Clark and Johnny Rotten.

The Week of April 30  through May 5 in Texas History

European Exploration and Development  April 30, 1598

April 30 – A ceremony of thanksgiving is held near present-day El Paso by Juan de Oñate, the members of his expedition and natives of the region. The Spaniards provide game and the Indians supply fish for a feast, Franciscan missionaries celebrate mass, and Oñate claims all land drained by the Rio Grande in the name of the King Philip II of Spain.

Bosque-Larios Expedition sets out for Texas  April 30, 1675

On this day in 1675, an expedition led by Fernando del Bosque and Fray Juan Larios left Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe mission in present-day Monclova, Mexico, to convert the Indians of Coahuila. On May 11 the expedition reached the Rio Grande, probably a little below the present site of Eagle Pass. Bosque took formal possession of the river, erected a wooden cross, and renamed the river the San Buenaventura del Norte. On May 15 members of the expedition celebrated what may have been the first Mass on Texas soil, in present-day Maverick County. In all, the Spaniards traveled forty leagues past the Rio Grande and made six halts in south-central Texas. They returned to Guadalupe on June 12.

On this day in 1768, Gaspar José de Solís wrote in his diary of a striking encounter with a Tejas Indian woman in what is now Houston County. Fray Solís was inspecting missions for the College of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas. His diary presents a valuable contemporary account of the missions, country, and Indians of Texas. The woman, Santa Adiva, held high status in her village. There, Solís writes, the inhabitants were nearly naked, “much painted with vermillion and other colors,” and wearing beads and feathers. Solís states that the Indians were “great thieves and drunkards because whiskey and wine are furnished to them by the French.” Santa Adiva, whose name was said to mean “great lady” or “principal lady” and who was accorded queen-like status, lived in a large, multi-room house, to which other Indians brought gifts. Solís reports that she had five husbands and many servants.

On this day in 1986, the city of Houston proclaimed Albert Moses Levy Memorial Day, in honor of Jews who participated in the fight for Texas independence. Levy was born in 1800, probably in Amsterdam. His family immigrated to Virginia in 1818, and he completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1832. After the death of his first wife in 1835, he went to New Orleans, where he joined the New Orleans Greys and left for Texas. He was quickly appointed surgeon in chief of the volunteer army of Texas and was wounded at the siege of Bexar. In 1836, after leaving the army, Levy joined the Texas Navy. In 1837 his ship, the Independence, was captured by two Mexican brigs-of-war. After three months he escaped and walked back to Texas, where he set up medical practice in Matagorda. Levy committed suicide in May 1848.

Mission, precursor of the Alamo, founded at San Antonio May 01, 1718

On this day in 1718, San Antonio de Valero Mission was founded by Franciscan father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares at the site of present-day San Antonio. Four days later the nearby San Antonio de Béxar Presidio and the civil settlement, Villa de Béxar, were established. The mission, originally located west of San Pedro Springs, survived three moves and numerous setbacks during its early years. After a hurricane destroyed most of the existing buildings in 1724, the mission reached its latest site on the east bank of the San Antonio River. After the mission was secularized in 1793 it became the Alamo. Due to its rudimentary fortifications, the abandoned mission became an objective of military importance in the conflicts of the nineteenth century, and it changed hands at least sixteen times. Portions of the mission’s structures have survived as part of the Alamo Battlefield Shrine.

First heart transplanted in Houston May 03, 1968

On this day in 1968, surgeon Denton Cooley and his associates at Houston’s St. Luke’s Hospital performed the first heart transplant in the United States. The patient, Everett Thomas, lived for 204 days with the heart donated from a fifteen-year-old girl. Texas physicians and scientists made numerous contributions to the field of human heart transplantation as it evolved from preliminary experimentation to an accepted orthodox therapy for patients with end-stage cardiac disease. Two Houston surgeons, Cooley and Michael E. DeBakey, have been in the forefront in developing heart surgery and heart transplantation; their rivalry was the subject of a book by journalist Tommy Thompson. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a total of 26,704 heart transplantations had been reported worldwide by the mid-1990s, and 1,804 of these were performed in Texas. Worldwide, just over 3,000 heart transplants are performed each year. In 1994, 167 of these were in Texas.

Texas Radical Republican involved in Haymarket Massacre  May 04, 1886

On this day in 1886, Albert Richard Parsons, a labor organizer from Texas, was implicated in the infamous Chicago Haymarket Massacre. The brother of Confederate colonel William Henry Parsons, Albert served in Parsons’s Brigade, a unit of Texas cavalry commanded by his brother, during the Civil War. After the war he became a Radical Republican and traveled throughout Central Texas registering freed slaves to vote. When Reconstruction came to an end in Texas, Parsons was hated and persecuted as a miscegenationist and a scalawag. He moved to Chicago with his wife, Lucy E. Parsons, a woman of mixed racial heritage, and became a leading agitator for social change there. On the evening of May 4, 1886, Parsons spoke at a meeting in Haymarket Square to protest police brutality. He and his family were in nearby Zepf’s Hall when nearly 200 policemen marched into the square; an unknown person threw a bomb, and police began shooting wildly. Most of the seven police officers and seven members of the crowd who died apparently sustained wounds from police revolvers. Albert Parsons and seven others were tried for conspiracy to murder; he was among the four men who were eventually hanged for the crime. Six years later, Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the three defendants who remained in prison and condemned the convictions as a miscarriage of justice.

Victory over French marks origin of Cinco de Mayo celebration May 05, 1862

On this day in 1862, Mexican general Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French expeditionary forces at Puebla, Mexico. This event is celebrated annually as El Cinco de Mayo. Along with El Diez y Seis de Septiembre (September 16), on which is commemorated Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s 1810 call for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico, El Cinco de Mayo is one of the Fiestas Patrias, annual celebrations of Mexican national holidays and of the ethnic heritage of Mexican-Americans.

Texas native Zaragoza repels French army on Cinco De Mayo   Zaragoza was born on March 24, 1829, at Bahía del Espíritu Santo in the state of Coahuila and Texas, near present Goliad, Texas. With Mexico’s defeat in the Texas Revolution, his father moved the family from Goliad to Matamoros. Zaragoza eventually entered the Mexican army and served in many campaigns. When the French invaded Mexico in 1862 he was entrusted with the defense of Puebla. French forces attacked the town in a battle that lasted the entire day of May 5, 1862, the now-famed Cinco de Mayo. Zaragoza’s well-armed, well-trained men forced the withdrawal of the French troops. The number of French reported killed ranged from 476 to 1,000. Mexican losses were reported to be approximately eighty-six. Although the French captured Mexico City the next summer, the costly delay at Puebla is believed to have shortened the French intervention in Mexico and changed its outcome. Zaragoza became a national hero, but died from typhoid fever the following September. Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican national holiday, is celebrated in Texas and the Southwest as well.

UpDated: What is Adrenarche and Why Are America’s Services Sexually Immature

What has been true since armies began, remains true today. This repost from TruthHugger’s 2008 article, shows it all.  What is Adrenarche and Why Are America’s Services Sexually Immature

With the recent revelations about the US Military and Secret Service, this poignant reminder shows nothing has changed.  The written word, in rules, policy and law, is totally ignored in the ‘good ‘ole boy club’.  And, the lesson not learned, Mother Nature is not fooled by political restrictions, cultural restrictions or dogma.  America’s military population is sexually immature when it comes to choosing between cultural and political policies and their sexual urges.  Political and religious leaders have NOT been role models for responsibility.  Even Presidential Candidates have shown irresponsible behavior.  History also demonstrates the sexual mores of our past presidents.  How can anyone expect any better behavior when the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ structure exists?  Read the headlines … but don’t stop at the headlines.  Learn that laws that are contrary to nature, cannot be enforced.  There is a big difference between being in ‘HEAT’ and being ‘In Love’.  Being responsible and accountable never wins.

Adrenarche is nature’s maturation process that brings mammals into puberty.  Puberty is the sexual awakening of mammals.  When puberty is interfered with by a culture or chemical exposure, normal maturation process is interrupted.  When a normal process is interrupted, mutations occur.  The whole American population is exposed to toxins, pharmaceuticals and political/religious restrictions.  The normal maturation process for Americans is mutating.  US Military personnel are effected, just like the rest of America.  When events and incidents of sexual misconduct dominate our headlines, there is a lot more to the story than wringing your hands, shaking your head, sniggering or grumbling.  America is mutating.

Today’s reminder: U.S. military faces scrutiny over its prostitution policies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – No one talks tougher against prostitution than the U.S. military.

Even in countries where prostitution is legal, military personnel violating a seven-year-old Department of Defense policy against paying for sex face up to a year in jail and dishonorable discharge if caught.

Officers and troops are taught about the links between human trafficking and prostitution. They also face country-specific instructions at bases like the U.S. installation in South Korea, where the policy describes prostitution as “cruel and demeaning.”

But the involvement of U.S. military personnel and Secret Service agents in a raucous April outing with prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, has underscored the gaps between the written policies and real-life experiences at military assignments around the world.

 The US Military has a whole department devoted to keeping sexual indiscretions by military personnel under control? as recent as January 2012. Subject: ALARACT 007/2012-SEXUAL HARASSMENT/ASSAULT RESPONSE AND PREVENTION (SHARP) PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION GUIDANCE ?it is no secret that the US Military is far behind the social and cultural maturity of European Military organizations.

A lot of research went in to the original article.  There are a lot of links to scientific studies and medical texts.  This is not funny.  This is a serious wake up call for humans who think they are more powerful thanyou figure it out.  There is a big difference between being in ‘HEAT’ and being ‘In Love’.  Being responsible and accountable never wins.


Sing To Annoy The Monster

This is a moving statement for a bruised and injured population.  I am proud to see such unity of spirit come together.  This demonstration is more powerful than any statement by politicians, lawyers or clerics.  This is a statement from the hearts of Norway and the world.  The twisted reasoning from this self absorbed monster shrivels before the honesty of this peaceful demonstration.

Norwegians sing to annoy mass killer

Norwegians raised their voices in unison on Thursday to get under the skin of admitted mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.

An estimated 40,000 people turned out in central Oslo’s Youngstorget square to sing “Children of the Rainbow,” a Norwegian version of “My Rainbow Race,” written by American folk singer Pete Seeger.

During his trial for the killings of 77 people last summer, Breivik cited the song as an example of Marxist influence on Norwegian culture.

The Norwegian version of the song describes a “World where – every sister and every brother – shall live together – like small children of the rainbow,” according to a report in the Norway Post.

Breivik, whose trial in Oslo City Court began last week, boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway.

Thursday’s event, which included a march to the courthouse to drop roses outside, was “a beautiful, touching scene,” said Geir Engebretsen, the court chief justice in charge of Breivik’s terror trial, according to a report on Views and News from Norway.

“It’s a very moving manifestation of Norwegian culture,” Engebretsen said, according to the report, which cited Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

In November 2011: Anders Behring Brevik, Norway mass murderer, declared insane

Brevik baffles mental health experts -The debate goes on among specialists whether he is sane or psychotic

Brevik not insane and is responsible for his crimes

Norway killer admits massacre, claims self-defense

Anders Behring Breivik claims he slept well, ate breakfast and even prepared a lunch bag for himself (a baguette with ham and cheese) before he embarked on his terrorist attacks that killed 77 persons last summer. Breivik was back on the witness stand Wednesday, bashing a psychiatrists’ report that he’s insane and spending hours defending his mental health.

Nine months after a terrorist’s bomb severely damaged Norway’s government headquarters and left eight people dead, the street running by the country’s Parliament building just a few blocks away remains open to traffic. Neither city nor state politicians have ordered the street blocked off, and they’re still debating other security measures as well.

Mental Health is the most under reported and least addressed across the world.  Factors effecting the mental health of individuals, groups and whole countries are totally ignored.  No one is brave enough to decide what good mental health is and is reluctant to devote agreed scientific methods to reach a conclusion.  Mental Health is the TABOO no one wants to address, because it just might direct attention to the person speaking about it.  Why is everyone so afraid?  Every one of us has some flavor of mental health issue, whether we admit it or not.  Too often, our mental health is determined by whoever we associate with.  Humans are social animals and will morph into whatever helps them incorporate into a group. Most often the desirable group is religious or political.  When groups determine a person’s mental health and coping ability, objectivity is sacrificed.  When a group decides that another group is inferior or a threat, the mental health of the individual has been kidnapped…
Cross Posted by TruthHugger

TPA Roundup 4/23/2012

The Texas Progressive Alliance honors the life of Dick Clark by bringing you a weekly roundup with a good beat that you can dance to.

Off the Kuff began a series of interviews with Congressional candidates in contested primary races, publishing conversations with Rep. Silvestre Reyes, State Rep. Pete Gallego, and former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.

Republicans are talking like they want a race war. Either that, or they want to just kill all the liberals. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs documents last week’s conservative verbal atrocities.

BossKitty at TruthHugger has had enough of 2012 Zombie Voters.

BlueBloggin wants American voters to understand that until they force honesty and accountability from the leaders they elect, they will become subjects to the Koch Brothers Machine vs American Destiny.

We do, in fact, have a revenue problem in Texas. But there are few, of either party, willing to admit it. WCNews at Eye On Williamson points that out in this post, Little human interest side notes.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme sees the republicans escalating its war on women.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw brings us up to date on what Governor Oops is up to, and it isn’t pretty. Read Rick Perry Grovels for Norquist While His War On Women, Children and the Poor Continues.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted the newsletter of Occupy Wall Street: Houston. A strong effort to reboot the Occupy effort in Houston, OWSH is meeting on a regular basis, and has a Facebook page where you can join in and take part.

Stace at Dos Centavos tells us about a study which basically slams Higher Education in Texas. The post is basically an “I told you so!” about Texas’ screwed up priorities in pushing “Tier 1? funding, while leaving retention and graduation rates to suffer.

The Week of April 23 in Texas History:

Spring, 1836 Excerpts from letters describing the birth of Texas from eyewitnesses and participants, The Runaway Scrape by Mrs. Kate Scurry Terrell from Wooten’s Comprehensive History of Texas.:

… To disparage the sublime martyrdom of the heroes of the Alamo does not add to Houston’s fame, nor can it stain the memory of Travis. The news of the fall of the Alamo, and the inhuman butchery at Goliad, flew with be wind to the pioneer families scattered between San Antonio on the west and Nacogdoches on the eastern border of the State. Houston sent Lieutenant Sharp to assure the people that there was no cause for alarm; but the fact that his army was retreating flew faster than his courier, and added panic to the widely spread terror.

All the able-bodied men of the settlements were with the army, only a few old men and boys being left to guard the homes. On the women-brave wives and mothers of brave men fell the responsibility of protecting their families. Knowing the quality of Mexican mercy, they gathered their children and servants and started at once for the Brazos. Any kind of vehicle served for transportation; in carriages, wagons, ox-carts (sometimes with cows hitched to them), were piled the bedding and babies, the women driving, or following on foot or on horseback as they could. The panic was so great that frequently families would leave a meal on the table to join the rush, and the next one that came that way would snatch it as they raced by. It was an unwritten law that smoke-houses were to be left open for the hungry to supply their wants, but nothing was to be wasted. Many pathetic incidents are related of this women’s exodus as well as ludicrous ones. In Jasper County, a woman tied a feather bed on her one pony and fastened three of her children on it; taking the fourth in her arms and leading the pony, she joined the “flying squadron” of Jasper’s “runaways.” Another started from home in a wagon with a baby nine days old. While camping for the night there came up a terrific rain-storm, when the women in camp gathered around the sick woman and held blankets over her to keep her and her baby dry and warm. No “red badge of courage” shows finer than this.

It had been an unusually wet winter, and the roads were long quagmires of bottomless mud, the prairies trackless sheets of water. Colonel Guy M. Bryan, in a paper on early days in Texas, says he can never forget the pitiful sight of the runaways when his family joined them at Cedar Bayou. On the road, as far as the eye could reach, east and west, a motley crowd of suffering and perplexed humanity struggled, uncomplaining, through the mud. Many women and children were walking, some barefooted and bareheaded. A woman whose cart-one of those rude “truck-carts” with wheels sawed from a large tree, into which the spindle of a wooden axle worked, the rough body being fastened to the axle by wooden pegs, and covered with a cotton sheet for tent; you may see many such in old Mexico today was bogged in one of the numerous reedy mavilas of the Neches prairie, the oxen lying in the water with only their noses out for air. The woman, with two little girls, sat on a little knoll patiently waiting for help. Colonel Bryan took his mother’s carriage to her assistance, but she would drive her oxen herself. Cracking her whip, she called to them, “Rise, Buck! Rise, Ball! Now is the time to do your best!” And Buck and Ball rose to the occasion. The cry of “Mexicans,” though of daily occurrence, always created a panic. Bedding, provisions, any and everything, would be thrown off to lighten the wagons, and the horses whipped into a run. The prairie at times was white with feathers emptied from beds, and the road lined for miles with household goods. Mrs. Anson Jones, wife of the last President of the republic, tells of camps suddenly abandoned, where trunks were left open from a hasty rummage for some needed article, and mirrors were left hanging on the trees. Danger from the disaffected Indians was another source of alarm. A solitary horseman across the prairie would often cause a stampede. Soon hunger and sickness added their gaunt forms to the general distress. Women sank by the roadside from exhaustion, and many little children died. The stronger women became veritable Sisters of Mercy as they went about nursing, encouraging, and comforting the less fortunate. General Rusk pays a glowing tribute to these noble women. He said:

“The men of Texas deserved much credit, but more was due the women. Armed men facing a foe could not but be brave; but the women, with their little children around them, without means of defence or power to resist, faced danger and death with unflinching courage.”

General Rusk’s wife [Mary Cleveland Rusk] was one of the heroines of those trying times. Calm, thoughtful, and steadfast, she set an example of fortitude and self-reliance to all who came under her influence. A true and fit “helpmeet” she was to the noblest and most disinterested patriot Texas ever knew. When General McLeod advised the women and children to leave Nacogdoches, Mrs. Rusk and the other women, with quiet self-control, placed their children and such things as were indispensable in the wagons, and started on their perilous march to the Brazos.

Not so the men. They were wild with excitement and terror, and would ride at full speed along the line of the wagons loaded with women, shouting, “The Indians are coming!” Mrs. Rusk would beg them “not to be alarmed; the army was between them and the Mexicans, and the thirty men at Nacogdoches would fill bloody graves before the Indians could reach them.” And she would look so calm that her courage became infectious. The runaways from the west found the Trinity River out of its banks, and were compelled to halt until such time as they could be ferried over. The old rule “first come first served” held good here as elsewhere in the colonies. The eastern contingent halted, for the same reason, at Groce’s Ferry on the Brazos, and some time was spent in camps. At Donoho’s, three miles from Groce’s, General Houston and the little army on their way towards Harrisburg passed the runaways. A young officer on Houston’s staff, attracted by a blue-eyed tot of a girl in the camp, leaned from his saddle and patting her pretty head, called her a “little heroine.” Ten years afterwards, in the old town of Washington, the then capital of the republic, this same soldier, now member of Congress and Speaker of the House, met this “wild rose” and a love-match followed!

The 16th of April, after a long march in a cold rain, the runaways halted at McCauley’s plantation, on Buffalo Bayou, the women refusing to go another step. They had borne privation and suffering so far without complaint, but human nature could bear no more. “Rest, only rest,” was their crying need. On the 20th, a squad of soldiers riding into camp found a Sabbath stillness, the children asleep under the trees, the women in groups talking quietly or reading aloud, the old men dozing around the campfires. The 21st day to be remembered of all time was misty and cold, but strangely electric; the suspense was intense and the waiting agony, Suddenly, as the sun shone out, the booming of cannon came faintly across the prairie.

“God of battles, remember the helpless! Let thy strength be with us this day!” Towards sunset, a woman on the outskirts of the camp began to clap her hands and shout “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” Those about her thought her mad, but, following her wild gestures, they saw one of the Hardins, of Liberty, riding for life towards the camp, his horse covered with foam, and he was waving his hat and shouting “San Jacinto! San Jacinto! The Mexicans are whipped and Santa Anna a prisoner.” The scene that followed beggars description. People embraced, laughed and wept and prayed, all in one breath. As the moon rose over the vast flower-decked prairie, the soft southern wind carried peace to tired hearts and grateful slumber. As battles go, San Jacinto was but a skirmish; but with what mighty consequences! The lives and the liberty of a few hundred pioneers at stake and an empire won! Look to it, you Texans of today, with happy homes, mid fields of smiling plenty, that the blood of the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto sealed forever “Texas, one and indivisible!”

April 23
Rock and roll legend born in Vernon (1936)
Legendary jazz pianist dies (1984)
Seed of modern art museum planted in Fort Worth (1892)
April 24
Magnolia Petroleum Company founded (1911)
Tigua leader dies (1988)
Black Texas leader assassinated (1931)
April 25
One-time port of Saluria was prominent in the Civil War (1861)
U.S. recognizes Republic of Texas claims to disputed territory (1838)
Black Seminole scouts rescue commander from Comanches (1875)
April 26
War Department orders surveys for Indian reservations (1854)
Texan earns Medal of Honor for heroism (1968)
First letter from “Pidge” appears in Austin paper (1874)
April 27
Rolling Stone rolls no more (1895)
Texas history library opens in Austin (1950)
Disastrous tornado presages community’s demise (1907)
April 28
Gospel singing convention established (1900)
Prairie chicken namesake born in England (1854)
Pioneer memoirist born in Missouri (1825)

Koch Brothers Machine vs American Destiny

Bernie Sanders must be reading my mind … he posted the Rolling Stone article about the Koch Brothers on his Senate web page.  I take the liberty of giving you this entire article.  Not having caught Bernie Sanders in a lie, yet, I am grateful for his exposing the dirty truth about America’s Manipulators.  I love this guy.

With so much evidence exposed about dirty shenanigans by the Koch Brothers, it appalls me that the Right Wing of American Politics decides that it is OK for corporations to determine America’s destiny. Just go to YouTube and type in “Koch Brothers” and you will see how many times Americans have tried to get the attention of main stream media and politicians to stop the sell out of this country.

The Koch Brothers – Exposed!

April 22, 2012

If the Koch brothers didn’t exist, the left would have to invent them. They’re the plutocrats from central casting – oil-and-gas billionaires ready to buy any congressman, fund any lie, fight any law, bust any union, despoil any landscape, or shirk any (tax) burden to push their free-market religion and pump up their profits.

But no need to invent – Charles and David Koch are the real deal. Over the past 30-some years, they’ve poured more than 100 million dollars into a sprawling network of foundations, think tanks, front groups, advocacy organizations, lobbyists and GOP lawmakers, all to the glory of their hard-core libertarian agenda. They don’t oppose big government so much as government – taxes, environmental protections, safety-net programs, public education: the whole bit. (By all accounts, the Kochs are true believers; they really buy that road-to-serfdom stuff about the the holiness of free markets. Still, you can’t help but notice how neatly their philosophy lines up with their business interests.) They like to think of elected politicians as merely “actors playing out a script,” and themselves as supplying “the themes and words for the scripts.” Imagine Karl Rove’s strategic cunning, crossed with Ron Paul’s screw-the-poor ideology, and hooked up to Warren Buffett’s checking account, and you’re halfway there.

For years, the brothers shunned the spotlight. David Koch used to joke that the family business, the Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries – with annual profits estimated at $100 billion, it’s the second-biggest private firm in America – was “the largest company you’ve never heard of.” But when Barack Obama became president, the Kochs, like a lot of right-wingers, flipped out. They threw their weight behind a stealth campaign to turn back the president’s “socialist” agenda: They were early backers, some say puppet masters, of the Tea Party movement, and when the tea-infused GOP retook the House in the famous midterm “shellacking” of 2010, it was with a big assist from Koch money. (They later blessed the brief, ill-fated presidential run of Tea Party-favorite Herman Cain. That’s how crazy – or cynical – these guys are.) Progressive activists and the news media started paying attention – most notably ThinkProgress and Jane Mayer of The New Yorker – and pretty soon the Kochs had become the poster boys of “the 1 percent” and a surefire fundraising tool for the Democratic Party; at the mere mention of the Koch name, liberal wallets fall open.

TPA Roundup – 4/16/2012

The Texas Progressive Alliance is happy to contribute its fair share towards the maintenance of our great nation as it brings you this week’s roundup.

TruthHugger is appalled that the same old lies keep working on Americans. Whatever happened to “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, George Santayana. BossKitty has a ringside seat to watch Mother Nature Ready To Bite The Ass Of Clueless Politicians, and is so grateful that God Has Different Plans For Santorum.

BlueBloggin is very skeptical that the enforcement efforts of the Texas Ethics Commission will actually work, Texas Wants Ethics? ROFL

Planned Parenthood gives Texas a taste of its own litigious medicine. Off the Kuff has the details.

The lies we’ve been told for the last 40 years are simply not true. We can’t have it all and low taxes. WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out that Taxes are the solution.

The Harris County Democratic Party’s dirty laundry spilled out of the basket and blew all over the neighborhood this past week. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs spent some time wrangling it, but finally… uh… tossed in the towel.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know that the batsh*t crazy states have higher rates of teen pregnancies. Republicans do have a war on against women.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted about a petition drive in Houston to put two anti-immigrant ballot issues up for a vote in 2012.

April in Texas History:

The Brief: Top Texas News for April 16, 2012: Receding from the national spotlight, Gov. Rick Perry today will make his first foray back into state policy.

Tejana superstar born in Lake Jackson – April 16, 1971

On this day in 1971, Tejana superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez was born in Lake Jackson. She won the first of eight Tejano Music Awards as female entertainer of the year in 1987. Her 1992 album Entre a Mi Mundo made her the first Tejana to sell more than 300,000 albums, and her bilingual 1995 album Dreaming of You hit number one on the national Billboard Top 100 the week it was released. On March 31 of that year in Corpus Christi, Selena was fatally shot by the founder of her first fan club. More than 30,000 people viewed her casket at the Bayfront Plaza Convention Center in Corpus Christi. A biographical film of her life was released in 1997.

Catastrophic explosion kills hundreds in Texas City – April 16, 1947

The worst industrial disaster in the United States, resulting in the largest number of casualties, in American history, the ship SS Grandcamp exploded at the docks in Texas City.  Such was the intensity of the blasts and the ensuing confusion that no one was able to establish precisely the number of dead and injured. Ultimately, the Red Cross and the Texas Department of Public Safety counted 405 identified and 63 unidentified dead. Another 100 persons were classified as “believed missing” because no trace of their remains was ever found. Estimates of the injured are even less precise but appear to have been on the order of 3,500 persons.

 And in the Texas War for independence:

Headquarters, Burnett‘s Place on Cypress Creek, April 16, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

Praise the Lord, we are moving against the enemy. May the justice of our mission be realized against the tyrant of the land.

Due to an early morning rain, our march today did not begin until 10 a.m. It was three miles to Abram Roberts’ place near New Kentucky on Spring Creek and we stopped briefly. Mr. Roberts has served in the army and has been a staunch supporter of the cause. No one is sure if the General ordered the men to take the right fork which leads to Harrisburg and certain confrontation with the enemy, or if the head of the column simply turned on its own when Mr. Roberts pointed the way. The civilians traveling with the army did not follow, but continued on the left fork of the road to Liberty on the Trinity River. There was an incident involving Mrs. Mann. At Groce’s’ she lent her oxen teams to pull the two cannons. She caught up with the army several miles after the turn and demanded her oxen back since she had understood that the army was going to Liberty and the eastern border. General Houston protested, but to no avail. She was quite forward in taking possession of her oxen and Wagon Master Capt. Rohrer took up the army protest. He sadly underestimated the conviction and determination of that woman. I am afraid that it has so broke his spirit that his effectiveness has been greatly weakened. Anyway, the day’s trip was on a level, boggy prairie that frequently gave way to wagon wheels. Even the General would assist in pushing the wagons out of the damnable mud. We arrived at dark at Burnett’s and fatigue kept the camp quite all night.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp at the head of a little bayou, April 17, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

We continued to march along the muddy road to Harrisburg, resting for the night at the head of a little bayou about six miles from Harrisburg. The days are now rather hot and quite uncomfortable with all of the water around. We are close to a forced march, as we believe that we are on an intercept course with the enemy.

As of this writing I have no confirmation of a report given by a civilian that Santa Anna himself has taken a small force and has rushed to Harrisburg to catch the new Texian government. The government had moved there from Washington, but had then departed for Galveston by way of Morgan’s point before Santa Anna‘s arrival. In an effort to catch the government, the Mexican army then proceeded to New Washington on Col. Morgan‘s point on Galveston Bay. The main body of the Mexican army is still on the Brazos at Thompson’s ferry. This is perhaps the opportunity we have been looking for, to confront the enemy while vulnerable with a decisive battle. The spirit of the men has risen to a higher pitch than I have witnessed on this whole campaign.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp opposite Harrisburg, April 18, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

We arrived opposite Harrisburg about noon and witnessed the smoking ruins of the city. The army established camp down river about 800 yards. Deaf Smith with Henry Karnes crossed over the river, called Buffalo bayou, and set out to spy on the enemy. They returned jubilantly with captured couriers and a report confirming the location of Santa Anna at New Washington. This is less than a day’s march from this spot. With only 500 men, Santa Anna is in a most vulnerable position. General Houston, with the council of Secretary War Rusk, is busy at work on a plan of action.

Although General Houston and Secretary Rusk put out a General Appeal to the people of Texas to rally to the cause, it is too late to wait for additional supplies and volunteers. Victory goes to the swift. The camp has been put on alert that we cross the Buffalo tomorrow and will march to our destiny.

The army has moved quickly to this point and many men are sick and infirm. Without proper transport, the crossing of the bayou will be difficult. The army can not be burdened with supply wagons during this final assault, but must arrange to carry the cannons across. A rear guard camp will be established with sufficient effective men to protect the infirm and baggage. Those men selected to move forward were instructed to travel light and prepare rations to carry. The night was passed in anticipation.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp south of Buffalo bayou, April 19, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

This morning the army began crossing Buffalo bayou about a half mile below the remaining rear guard camp. An old ferryboat was repaired using the flooring from a nearby cabin that was owned by Isaac Batterson. It’s main use was to transport the cannons across, weapons and ammunition, and what men that did not swim or ride their horses across. The landing on the opposite shore was a few paces below the mouth of Sims’ bayou. The crossing took the greater part of the daylight and the army was on the move by dusk. Near the bridge over Vince’s bayou Santa Anna had camped a few days earlier and his extinct campfires were in evidence. The march continued along the very wet, muddy plain, following the tracks of the enemy, for another couple of miles. The army was allowed to rest at a small ravine in the open prairie. While it was not a camp in the conventional sense of the word, some of the men took the opportunity to set fires and cook what game and cattle could be conveniently had nearby. Others cleaned their weapons while I composed this report. Few slept.

Ahead of us is the despotic serpent of Mexico. Behind us is the balance of his merciless army. There is no turning back from this course of action. Blood will flow. Our just cause, and a passion for vengeance, will give us the strength to strike this blow for freedom. All will be gained, or lost, soon.

Respectfully your, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp at San Jacinto, April 20, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

Scarcely were the fires set last night when the call to march was received. We marched into the rising sun and reached Lynch’s ferry to learn that the enemy had not crossed. We withdrew to a high wooded ridge about a half-mile back and set up camp. Our scouts encountered a contingency of lancers and banished them in gallant style. It was learned that Generalissimo Santa Anna has put New Washington to the torch and is headed in our direction.

Contact has been made with the villainous enemy that struck down our brothers at the Alamo and at Goliad. The main body of our army was concealed in the timber along Buffalo bayou so as to deny Santa Anna the knowledge of our true strength. Col. James Neill commanded our two cannons and from a forward position exchanged fire with the lone Mexican cannon of superior caliber. Col. Neill was wounded and the Mexican piece was damaged and one of her artillerymen wounded. Col. Sherman advanced with the cavalry in an attempt to capture the disabled Mexican cannon, but was driven back by Mexican Dragoons. Private Mirabeau Lamar made a valiant defense, which spared the life of our beloved Secretary of War, Thomas Rusk. General Houston honored Lamar by elevating him to commander of the cavalry. Since both Houston and Santa Anna declined to present their full armies to the engagement, the skirmish ended and the Mexican army withdrew to establish its camp.

The demand for vengeance and the small victorious moments today has elevated the spirits of the men. It will be hard to keep them calm tonight as surely a decisive battle will be waged tomorrow.

Respectfully your, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

And then on April 21, 1836 … The Republic of Texas was born.