Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Conservatives: Willful Ignorance, Revisionist History, and Hate Seeking - Immigration, and the Gettysburg Address

The sad reality is that the far right believe a lot of things that are simply not true, including that it was John Quincy Adams rather than the Union Army, Abraham Lincoln, and the United States Government that ended slavery in the mid 19th century, not the founding fathers (or their sons) in the 18th or early 19th.  The view of the dollar bill imagery, and the view of immigrants is also pretty warped in the Bachmann version, but then she is a singularly stupid woman.  It is willful ignorance.

I recently engaged with a commenter identified as a troll over on the city pages coverage of facebook racism by the MN GOP.  Among the various claims made by the troll, who I don't doubt really believes many things that are not true, was the claim that 'Democrats are bringing in millions of illegal immigrants'; I don't doubt that this is just one more in the long line of right wing media and blogosphere baloney.  And yesterday, on the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, similarly, the radical righties attacked President Obama with another false accusation that demonstrated both their inability and unwillingness to fact check anything, and their malice in not doing so.

The only things wrong with the claim, and with the article below is 1. it does not identify any new or additional illegal immigrants having entered or being likely to enter as a result of this executive order, specifically it also does not identify the order as pertaining to any new illegal immigrants after the date of the executive order issue; 2. it refers to amnesty, but the executive order does NOT provide amnesty at all (amnesty:"a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction.") 3. undocumented means, in this context, without proper entrance papers to come across U.S. borders for an authorized period of time; it does NOT mean without any means of personal identification or identification of a relationship to another person.

The City Pages troll, when pressed for proof of his claim, gave as a source this piece from the Examiner.

On Friday, the Obama administration issued another amnesty for still, another group of illegal aliens, this time doing so under the guise of relieving "stress and anxiety" of our troops.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memo reads:
...our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans."
This executive action specifically allows the illegal alien spouses, children and parents of active duty troops, reservists and veterans to stay in this country, and even apply for permanent residence.
Of course, it will not only be the "spouses, children and parents" who will seek and gain legal status.
Remember, illegal aliens are 'undocumented.'

How can federal officials either prove or disprove the family lineage of someone with no legitimate papers?

Not only will this illegal order assist those living here illegally in abusing our laws, but it will serve as yet another encouragement, or 'magnet,' to those still South of the border considering making the illegal journey to what has become the world's largest welfare state.

Apparently, since amnesty legislation seems to have stalled in Congress, Obama plans on (illegally) granting amnesty to all illegal executive order at a time.

For those of you who are old enough to remember when Secular Right Wing Saint Ronnie Raygun, while president in 1986, supported and signed this legislation:

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), Pub.L. 99–603, 100 Stat. 3359, enacted November 6, 1986, also Simpson-Mazzoli Act, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.

In brief the act:[1]

required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status.
made it illegal to unknowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants.
legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants.
legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt.
Had to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, were in the country before January 1, 1982, and had to have maximum knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.
It was an attempt to solve the immigration problem during 1986
About three million undocumented immigrants were granted legal status.
That last line - being granted permanent legal status, THAT is amnesty.

So, we see one more claim (of many) that conservatives, especially the radical right, believe are factual that are in fact total bunkum.  Yes, thank goodness the President did this.  Anything which reduces the stress on our armed forces serving in conflict areas is a desirable thing, particularly given the abnormally high rate of suicides in our military.  This is a brief grace period, not amnesty, and it does NOTHING to bring in or legalize any new undocumented immigrants.  In point of fact - a fact that the right hates to acknowledge - the President has actually deported more undocumented immigrants than our previous presidents.

From back in 2011:

President Obama Holds the Highest Deportation Record New Statistics Revealed

In reviewing the record of deportations in the United States from the year 1892, this 2010 -2011 immigration fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2011 had the highest numbers of immigrants deported. Some deported for minor infractions were simply classified as criminals to justify the high number.

Statistics show that in 2000, 188,465 people were deported. In 2001, 189,026 were affected. In 2002, it was 165,168. The figure rose to 211,096 in 2003. It went higher again in 2004 to 240,665. The rising trend was maintained in 2005 as it hit 246,431deportations and another 280,974 in 2006. In 2007, this pattern peaked at 319,382. In 2008, it stopped when the number hit 359,795. In 2009, the first year of President Obama, the figured reached 395,165. In 2010, which was his second year, 387,242 people were returned to their home countries while in 2011, the record breaking massive deportation of 396,906 was accomplished.

President Obama and his administration has continued actively reducing the number of illegal immigrants in the country, while at the same time trying to promote immigration reform.  But nothing underlines how impossible it is to satisfy anyone, much less everyone, than this op ed piece from last month noted:
President Obama is closing in on a record. Sometime around the end of this year, he will have deported 2 million undocumented immigrants, more than any other president.

Enough, already. The Obama administration should put the brakes on its deportation train. The president has the authority to offer temporary relief from immigration removals. With reform stalled, the president ought to stop trying to appease Republicans by being strong on immigration enforcement. He should consider executive action.

Obama has options to allow undocumented immigrants to live without the threat of deportation. Remember, this impacts only immigrants already here. He could end the controversial Secure Communities program, which turns local law enforcement officers into immigration agents. He could let more immigrants qualify for temporary protected status, which provides them with work and residence permits.
Conservatives believe themselves to be brilliant, which apparently the confuse with being factually deficient and willfully ignorant.

In the same interval, we have the right wing blogosphere going nuts about the horror of our President reciting the words of the Gettysburg address, while presuming to edit it by taking out the words "UNDER GOD".  Um.........NO. Rather the correct information is that the President read those words of the Gettysburg address in cooperation with a project by learned historian and documentarian Ken Burns, using the language from one of the early draft forms of the Gettysburg Address in which Abraham Lincoln did not include the words 'Under God'.  In point of fact, it is not clear if the words 'under God' were in the version he actually gave, since we have no recording of the event, and as accounts of the wording he did use differ. 

Five manuscripts

Each of the five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address is named for the associated person who received it from Lincoln. Lincoln gave a copy to each of his private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay.[30] Both of these drafts were written around the time of his November 19 address, while the other three copies of the address, the Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss copies, were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after November 19.[31][32] In part because Lincoln provided a title and signed and dated the Bliss copy, it has become the standard text of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.[33]
Nicolay and Hay were appointed custodians of Lincoln's papers by Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln in 1874.[30] After appearing in facsimile in an article written by John Nicolay in 1894, the Nicolay copy was presumably among the papers passed to Hay by Nicolay's daughter Helen upon Nicolay's death in 1901. Robert Lincoln began a search for the original copy in 1908, which resulted in the discovery of a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address among the bound papers of John Hay—a copy now known as the "Hay copy" or "Hay draft."[30]
The Hay draft differed from the version of the Gettysburg Address published by John Nicolay in 1894 in a number of significant ways: it was written on a different type of paper, had a different number of words per line and number of lines, and contained editorial revisions in Lincoln's hand.[30]
Both the Hay and Nicolay copies of the Address are within the Library of Congress, encased in specially designed, temperature-controlled, sealed containers with argon gas in order to protect the documents from oxidation and continued deterioration.[34]

Nicolay copy

The Nicolay copy[a] is often called the "first draft" because it is believed to be the earliest copy that exists.[35][36] Scholars disagree over whether the Nicolay copy was actually the reading copy Lincoln held at Gettysburg on November 19. In an 1894 article that included a facsimile of this copy, Nicolay, who had become the custodian of Lincoln's papers, wrote that Lincoln had brought to Gettysburg the first part of the speech written in ink on Executive Mansion stationery, and that he had written the second page in pencil on lined paper before the dedication on November 19.[35] Matching folds are still evident on the two pages, suggesting it could be the copy that eyewitnesses say Lincoln took from his coat pocket and read at the ceremony.[36][37] Others believe that the delivery text has been lost, because some of the words and phrases of the Nicolay copy do not match contemporary transcriptions of Lincoln's original speech.[38] The words "under God", for example, are missing in this copy from the phrase "that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom..." In order for the Nicolay draft to have been the reading copy, either the contemporary transcriptions were inaccurate, or Lincoln would have had to depart from his written text in several instances. This copy of the Gettysburg Address apparently remained in John Nicolay's possession until his death in 1901, when it passed to his friend and colleague John Hay.[30] It used to be on display as part of the American Treasures exhibition of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.[39]

Hay copy

The Hay copy, with Lincoln's handwritten corrections
The existence of the Hay copy[b] was first announced to the public in 1906, after the search for the "original manuscript" of the Address among the papers of John Hay brought it to light.[30] Significantly, it differs somewhat from the manuscript of the Address described by John Hay in his article, and contains numerous omissions and inserts in Lincoln's own hand, including omissions critical to the basic meaning of the sentence, not simply words that would be added by Lincoln to strengthen or clarify their meaning. In this copy, as in the Nicolay copy, the words "under God" are not present.
This version has been described as "the most inexplicable" of the drafts and is sometimes referred to as the "second draft."[36][40] The "Hay copy" was made either on the morning of the delivery of the Address, or shortly after Lincoln's return to Washington. Those who believe that it was completed on the morning of his address point to the fact that it contains certain phrases that are not in the first draft but are in the reports of the address as delivered and in subsequent copies made by Lincoln. It is probable, they conclude, that, as stated in the explanatory note accompanying the original copies of the first and second drafts in the Library of Congress, Lincoln held this second draft when he delivered the address.[41] Lincoln eventually gave this copy to his other personal secretary, John Hay, whose descendants donated both it and the Nicolay copy to the Library of Congress in 1916.[42]

Everett copy

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as printed in Everett's 1864 book[43]
The Everett copy,[c] also known as the "Everett-Keyes copy," was sent by President Lincoln to Edward Everett in early 1864, at Everett's request. Everett was collecting the speeches at the Gettysburg dedication into one bound volume to sell for the benefit of stricken soldiers at New York's Sanitary Commission Fair. The draft Lincoln sent became the third autograph copy, and is now in the possession of the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield, Illinois,[41] where it is currently on display in the Treasures Gallery of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Bancroft copy

The Bancroft copy[d] of the Gettysburg Address was written out by President Lincoln in February 1864 at the request of George Bancroft, the famed historian and former Secretary of the Navy, whose comprehensive ten-volume History of the United States later led him to be known as the "father of American History."[44][45] Bancroft planned to include this copy in Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors, which he planned to sell at a Soldiers' and Sailors' Sanitary Fair in Baltimore. As this fourth copy was written on both sides of the paper, it proved unusable for this purpose, and Bancroft was allowed to keep it. This manuscript is the only one accompanied both by a letter from Lincoln transmitting the manuscript and by the original envelope addressed and franked by Lincoln.[46] This copy remained in the Bancroft family for many years, was sold to various dealers and purchased by Nicholas and Marguerite Lilly Noyes,[47] who donated the manuscript to Cornell in 1949. It is now held by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University.[41] It is the only one of the five copies to be privately owned.[48]

Bliss copy

Discovering that his fourth written copy could not be used, Lincoln then wrote a fifth draft, which was accepted for the purpose requested. The Bliss copy,[e] named for Colonel Alexander Bliss, Bancroft's stepson and publisher of Autograph Leaves, is the only draft to which Lincoln affixed his signature. Lincoln is not known to have made any further copies of the Gettysburg Address. Because of the apparent care in its preparation, and in part because Lincoln provided a title and signed and dated this copy, it has become the standard version of the address and the source for most facsimile reproductions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It is the version that is inscribed on the South wall of the Lincoln Memorial.[33]
This draft is now displayed in the Lincoln Room of the White House, a gift of Oscar B. Cintas, former Cuban Ambassador to the United States.[41] Cintas, a wealthy collector of art and manuscripts, purchased the Bliss copy at a public auction in 1949 for $54,000 ($530,000 as of 2013), at that time the highest price ever paid for a document at public auction.[49] Cintas' properties were claimed by the Castro government after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, but Cintas, who died in 1957, willed the Gettysburg Address to the American people, provided it would be kept at the White House, where it was transferred in 1959.[50]
Garry Wills concluded the Bliss copy "is stylistically preferable to others in one significant way: Lincoln removed 'here' from 'that cause for which they (here) gave...' The seventh 'here' is in all other versions of the speech." Wills noted the fact that Lincoln "was still making such improvements," suggesting Lincoln was more concerned with a perfected text than with an 'original' one.[citation needed]
From November 21, 2008 to January 1, 2009, the Albert H. Small Documents Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History hosted a limited public viewing of the Bliss copy, with the support of Mrs. Laura Bush. The Museum also launched an online exhibition and interactive gallery to enable visitors to look more closely at the document.[51]


Another contemporary source of the text is the Associated Press dispatch, transcribed from the shorthand notes taken by reporter Joseph L. Gilbert. It also differs from the drafted text in a number of minor ways.[52][53]

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