Tag Archives: History

SOME MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS FROM THE PHILIPPINE WAR (1899-1902)

Medal of HonorMemorial Day Weekend is just a week away.

In keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing items that slip through the cultural cracks I’m showcasing a few of the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the neglected war fought in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902.

Hiram BearssHIRAM BEARSS (Correct spelling) – This Captain won the Medal for his actions on November 17th,1901 during a battle at the confluence of the Sohotan and Cadacan Rivers in Samar. Bearss led his men in a surprise attack on the enemy positions in the fortified cliffs. Relying mostly on bamboo ladders the Captain and his troops drove their opposition from their entrenched positions, literally “charging uphill” against enemy fire.

They also had to contend with the countless booby-traps lining the hills, many of which had been in place since the Spanish- American War of 1898. Those deadly traps took the form of pits, poison- tipped spears, trip-sprung vine nets loaded down with literally tons of stones and many others. The opposition in the caves honeymooning the cliffs needed rooting out as well with various forms of death lurking around every twist and turn in the caverns.

Following that Bearss and his men kept up their advance, seizing gunpowder and arms in addition to food and other supplies before driving the enemy forces out of their secondary positions in the cliffs. The U.S. forces had never penetrated so far before. Bearss went on to serve in World War One.

FRANK L ANDERS – Corporal Anders served in the storied unit remembered as Young’s Scouts. He was decorated for actions taken on May 13th, 1899 in Luzon. The Corporal and ten other Americans stormed 300 – yes – THREE HUNDRED – of the enemy and, in a case of truth REALLY being stranger than fiction, they attacked so ferociously they drove their hundreds of foemen into retreat. Continue reading

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TRUMP CARDS: MAY 8th

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsIt’s no secret that I consider President Trump to be America’s first de facto Third Party President, nor that I consider him to be the new Franklin Roosevelt AND the new JFK. He has accomplished a great deal for the working class and the poor and I’m not going to ignore all that just because the violent fascists and moronic conformists who hate him whine about him 24/7. These are historic times kicked off when Trump shattered the glass ceiling in November of 2016.

JUDGE ELLIS – Judge Ellis has excellently pointed out how out of line and ridiculously crooked Mueller’s absurd “investigation” is. (Most Trump-haters won’t even know who Judge Ellis is since the only thing they know about our political system is that Trump is the president. They’re in over their heads beyond that.)

(And by the way, for you Trump-hating morons who like to sound so butch I’ll advise you right now I’m NOT a conservative, which means I won’t let you get away with lies and misrepresentations like they do and I won’t be the least bit intimidated by what you imbeciles apparently think is blistering language. Okay? Or as you bitchy little boys like to say “M’kay?”)  

The link to the whole piece is below, but first some excerpts per Reuters: 

“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Mueller Witch HuntAt a tense hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the judge said Mueller should not have “unfettered power” in his Russia probe and that the charges against Manafort did not arise from the investigation into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. 

“It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unfettered power to do whatever he wants[.]” … “Our investigative scope does cover the activity in the indictment,” Dreeben [the Department’s deputy solicitor general] told the judge.

“Cover bank fraud in 2005 and 2007?  Tell me how!” Ellis retorted. …

During the oral arguments, Ellis repeatedly chided Mueller’s $10 million budget.

Trumping KimHe also asked whether Rosenstein, who oversees the probe and is considered an important witness into whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, is recused from the case.

And he repeatedly claimed that the indictment appeared to serve as a way for Mueller to “assert leverage” over Manafort. …

Rosenstein’s May 2017 order laying out the scope of the probe, [Dreeben] told the judge, did not reveal all the details because they involve sensitive national security and counterintelligence matters that could not be divulged publicly, but were conveyed to Mueller.

Ellis balked, saying Dreeben’s answer essentially means the Justice Department was “not really telling the truth[.]” …

[Ellis] directed Mueller’s office to take two weeks to consult with U.S. intelligence agencies to see if they will sign off so that he can personally review a sealed, unredacted version of the memo.

Dreeben told him the redacted portions did not pertain to the Manafort case.

“I’ll be the judge,” Ellis said.  

James Woods, actor, tweeted: “I can’t in my lifetime remember when a case of this import featured a judge calling the prosecutor a liar from the bench. This is a landmark moment.” Continue reading

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DEMOCRAT ATROCITY ROUNDUP: FEBRUARY 28th

Because it is ALWAYS fun to puncture the pomposity of Democrat asses who think that only Republican asses are disgusting:   

Obama Derp*** ANOTHER OBAMA CROOK PLEADS GUILTY – In what seems like the 999,897,789th scandal from what Obama and the Democrat media try to pretend was his “scandal-free” (LMAO) administration, YET ANOTHER Obama Gang Soldier goes down.

Raphael A Sanchez, Obama’s top attorney for I.C.E. in Seattle, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Sanchez proved that Democrats – especially from the Obama Administration – never run out of ways of exploiting the illegal immigration problem. Sanchez admitted forging documents with info obtained through his access to I.C.E. resources and used those documents for stealing identities to open credit card and bank accounts.

I guess Obama’s motto was really “Yes we CAN exploit illegal immigrants for more than just vote fraud!” You can find more on the Sanchez story wherever you like. But seriously, though, “The Sanchez Method” may be the wave of the future in Democrat Fund Raising Efforts!

Democrat slogan*** AND SPEAKING OF VOTE FRAUD, the Best Friend of Democrat Politicians everywhere, around ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND MORE non-citizens have been found on the voter rolls, this time in Pennsylvania. Talk about “election interference!”

Funny how it’s only Democrats who keep saying this is not an issue that should be pursued.     Continue reading

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PRESIDENTIAL LOSERS: PROS AND CONS

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsHappy Presidents Day Weekend! Over the years Balladeer’s Blog’s irreverent, tongue-in-cheek looks at the pros and cons of U.S. Presidents have been among my most visited items.

For a change of pace here’s a look at the pros and cons of the LOSERS who were left in a defeated heap enroute to the Oval Office. In reverse order:

hillary-clinton-haitiHILLARY CLINTON (Lost to President Donald Trump)

Motto: “When the money keeps rolling in (to your fake charity), what’s a girl to do? Skim a little (well, quite a lot, actually) off the top for expenses wouldn’t you?”

Nickname: The Rapist’s Wife/ Crooked Hillary 

Hillary clinton dough nationPro: Her childish refusal to address her own supporters the night Donald Trump utterly humiliated her provided a look at how truly petty, shallow and classless she is. 

Con: She and her fascist followers tried to threaten the members of the Electoral College into casting their votes for her instead of Trump, thereby reaching the absolute lowest and most disgusting level that any American politician has ever sunk to. 

MITT ROMNEY (Lost to Obama)

Motto: “Pushing women back to the Fifties … the EIGHTEEN fifties!”

Nickname: The Mormon Mondale/ Ol’ Sploog Face (tie)

Pro: His even more pathetic running mate Paul Ryan actually made him look good by comparison. 

Con: Was so thoroughly inept he managed to lose to Barack Obama even after voters saw what a disaster he was.

John Mccain cheatingJOHN MCCAIN (Lost to Obama)

Motto: “I didn’t spend years in the pockets of the McCain Foundation’s billionaire donors just to watch a candidate even MORE deeply in their pockets beat me … but once Barack did I was happy to kiss his butt!” Continue reading

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND HARRY FLASHMAN

abraham-lincoln-pictureBalladeer’s Blog’s recent look at my Top Five Harry Flashman Novels was a hit. Combine that with the upcoming Presidents Day Holiday on Monday and let’s take a look at one of the other Flashman novels for future president Abe Lincoln’s interactions with George MacDonald Fraser’s infamous antihero Harry Flashman.

In 1971’s Flash for Freedom, set in the second half of 1848 and early 1849, one of the historical figures that Harry encounters is the young Abraham Lincoln when Abe was just a Congressman. Flashman himself – like Lincoln – has not yet achieved the fame that will be his in later life.

Alan Bates -better Flashman than MalcolmThe pair first meet in the fall of 1848 in Washington, DC, when Harry – a Cavalry Captain in Queen Victoria’s army – is trying, Bret Maverick-style, to pass himself off as a Royal Navy Lieutenant named Beauchamp Comber. (Don’t ask.) Abe senses something off about the scurvy Brit and uses seeming politeness mixed with alarming insinuations to set Flashman on edge, terrified that he’ll be exposed.

The author George MacDonald Fraser handles this section very cleverly as Lincoln comes across like a homespun Sherlock Holmes, chewing up Harry’s lies and spitting them out on the b.s. pile. Harry/ Beauchamp counters with an observation that Abe isn’t entirely on the level, either, masking his obviously calculating nature behind a facade of folksiness.

The two part on reasonably friendly terms, but Lincoln smilingly makes it clear that he knows Flashman/  Comber is conning everyone about being a naval officer. However, Abe also makes it clear that whatever the rascal is up to it doesn’t seem to pose any harm to him, so he shrugs it off and goes on his merry way. 

The second meeting between the future President and the future Sir Harry comes in the very early months of 1849 in the novel’s thrilling finale. A convoluted set of circumstances have led to Lincoln being at just the right place at just the right time to face down a pack of Fugitive Slave Hunters in order to save Harry and a female slave that Flashman is smuggling to freedom in Canada. 

Flash for FreedomThe next day a bedridden Harry is recovering from wounds received during this adventure. He’s staying at the home of an acquaintance of Lincoln, and Abe has been visiting the ailing Englishman, sitting in a bedside chair. They’ve had a lengthy conversation during which Lincoln has made it clear that he now knows who Harry really is and Flashman asks why Abe continues to cover for him.

By way of an answer Lincoln muses aloud about the various newsworthy escapades that “Beauchamp Comber” has been having as a reluctant agent of the Underground Railroad. He also recaps the number of former slaves that Flashman has incidentally helped recently during his usual selfish pursuits. We join the narrative as Abe sums up:

“I don’t pretend to know why you’ve done these things and I don’t think I want to know. It’s enough for me to know that you HAVE done them, and that none of those unfortunates will ever wear chains again.”   

I started to make with the kind of simperingly compassionate noises that I thought would appeal to a man like Lincoln but he stopped me short with a raised hand and a wry smile before saying “Save it for the Recording Angel, Captain Flashman. I have a feeling you’ll need it on that day.” Continue reading

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GEORGE WASHINGTON: INDISPENSABLE TO THE REVOLUTION?

George WashingtonPresident’s Day is coming up in 11 days so here’s yet another seasonal post. It’s one of my random takes on one of our Presidents. Or in this case just one aspect of one of our Presidents. More will be coming, some positive and some negative, including my close personal friend Barack Obama.

GEORGE WASHINGTON – My other posts about Washington have bashed him over the slavery issue, but this particular blog post is on a whole different topic. (Point being don’t leave a juvenile, snarky remark about him being a slave-owner. Everybody knows that. You won’t be retroactively freeing a single slave by indulging your ego that way.)

THE INDISPENSABLE MAN – George Washington is often called the Indispensable Man to the success of the American Revolution. I’m generally not a Washington fan but I’ve yielded on this point over the years. Here are three reasons why:

A. Odd as it may sound, reading several books about the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Turks helped convince me of Washington’s value. His name is never mentioned in any of my books about that war but there are parallels to our Revolution.

Scattered Greek guerrilla/ outlaw chiefs often let their petty feuds distract from fighting the common enemy: the Turks. Some chiefs would even refuse to let their men fight anywhere else in Greece, just in their own little fiefdom. Shades of how our various State Militias endlessly squabbled and would often refuse to cross state lines to continue fighting. Continue reading

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THE TOP FIVE HARRY FLASHMAN NOVELS: NUMBER ONE

Flashman cutGeorge MacDonald Fraser’s series of novels about his infamous anti-hero Harry Paget Flashman are thought-provoking, educational, thrilling and most especially – gloriously dark-humored.

Collectively referred to as The Flashman Papers, the books are DEFINITELY for adults only and not just because of the raucous sexual escapades of the main character. The historical and philosophical themes explored are not for the squeamish nor the simple-mindedly outraged.   

Fraser’s first Harry Flashman novel appeared in 1969, the same year as the American novel Little Big Man. The two books are similar in approach since they both depict a main character who gets caught up in a series of historical adventures involving Great Events and Great Figures with the events being looked at in a critical light and the figures largely lampooned.

FlashmanIn the case of Harry Flashman, however, the adventures are much more detailed because Fraser used an entire series of novels. (The 4th book in the series, not the 1st, is my Number One listing) Flashman himself is amoral, ruthless and driven largely by his lust for loot and sex.

And therein lies the genius of Fraser’s writing: the reader is permitted to feel THEIR OWN outrage over the atrocities depicted in the novels. There are no shrill lectures in the narrative, just an often bleak backdrop in which the misdeeds of history’s Great Names often make Harry Flashman’s mere monetary and carnal pursuits look almost noble by comparison.   

Flashman himself often brings to mind James Garner’s slick-talking gambler/ gunslinger Bret Maverick from 1950s television. Like Maverick, Harry Flashman proudly calls himself a coward and thrives on trying to con or outsmart his adversaries rather than fight them. (But he often winds up having to fight them anyway.)

And like Maverick, the needs of adventure fiction eventually make the claims of cowardice wear thin because – no matter how reluctantly – both Harry and Bret always wind up in situations calling for conduct above and beyond the call. But when it comes to underhandedness “Ol’ Flash Harry” beats Maverick hands-down. Continue reading

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