Saturday, June 03, 2006

Miland Brown's Eight Tips for American Separatists

In April, I wrote a post titled The Dominion of British West Florida and Tips for Creating an American Separatist Cause. In retrospect, I should have written two separate posts. Most people found the second part of the post (the tips for separatists) the most amusing or informative. Many people have linked to the post and then reproduced the 8 steps. Two different web carnivals have even pointed them out. In an attempt to make these tips easier to find, I am reproducing them here on their own. Feel free to reproduce these anywhere you want but please do not change anything and please give me proper credit.

Miland Brown's Eight Tips for American Separatists

I guess if we get creative, every part of the USA is under illegal occupation by the USA. Here is a list of tips for creating your own American separatist cause! (These tips would work for non-American parts of the world too.)

1. Look over every treaty, agreement, document, or ruling that impacts the current legal status of the area in question. Go back as many centuries as you need to find the right dirt. Can you find even a single instance where someone forgot to dot an "i" or cross a "t"? Is there any technicality (no matter how minor) that could be highlighted? If so, congratulations! You can now claim that American sovereignty is illegal under American and international law and that all subsequent legislation by the USA is not binding.

2. Has even a single American military member been in your area since the time you can "prove" American ownership of you area is bogus? If so, you can now claim an invasion happened and can throw around the word occupation. It does not matter if shots were fired. The mere presence of American soldiers constitutes an act of war.

3. Did the people of your area actually vote to join the USA? If not, claim the annexation as illegal and undemocratic. If so, did it happen after the "occupation" began? Did people (or their descendents) who were not citizens of your area prior to American "occupation" participate in the vote? If so, dismiss the election and declare it invalid as the "occupiers" rigged the election by voting too.

4. Put up a web site bolding stating your "facts." Claim to be the legitimate representative of your nation under occupation. Be sure to put up lots of pages detailing the alleged violations of international law and showing American aggression. Be sure to get your site listed in as many places as possible. Be aggressive in search engine optimization. (Create a blog or two too!)

5. Have a forum at your site. Use it to repeat your claims over and over again and link to any website or news article which in any way could be twisted to support your arguments. Ruthlessly use ad hominem attacks on anyone who posts anything you disagree with. Calling them ignorant of international law and history or even racist should do the trick.

6. Head on over to Wikipedia, learn the ropes, and start inserting your version of history in every article you find! If you are subtle, good at edit wars, and have a lot of patience, you can make a real difference.

7. If you are brave, start up your own national bank and start issuing money and loans. You can also sell passports! When you get busted, use this as evidence of continued American aggression and attempts to silence your movement. Be sure to highlight on your site the "political prisoners" the USA puts in jail. (Go ahead and sell stamps too!)

8. Distance yourself from other separatists groups. Some Hawaiians, Texans, Alaskans, etc. may be claiming occupation but in your case it is real. You may all use the same arguments but there are important differences. Also, deny you are a separatist. Since your area was never legally American, you are not separating or seceding. You are asking to be restored. Further, make clear your area never has been and is not currently legally American.

Update 19 July 2007: The list has been expanded to eleven at Illegally Occupy This! Miland Brown's Tips for American Separatists Updated.

Friday, June 02, 2006

History of Oman

History of Oman. This is a brief essay on the history of the Asian nation of Oman.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "The Omanis are predominantly Arab and tribal in organization. There are also many migrant workers from South Asia and eastern Africa who reside there. Languages: Arabic (official), others. Religions: Islam (official); also Hinduism, Christianity. Currency: Omani rial. Oman is a hot, arid country with high humidity along the coast. The Hajar Mountains parallel the shore of the Gulf of Oman, reaching an elevation of more than 10,000 ft (3,000 m). A broad expanse of sandy desert covers much of the country. Oman has a developing mixed economy, and the production and export of petroleum is its largest sector. It is a hereditary monarchy, with an advisory council; its head of state and government is the sultan."

From the site:

Oman adopted Islam in the seventh century A.D., during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibadhism, a form of Islam distinct from Shiaism and the "Orthodox" schools of Sunnism, became the dominant religious sect in Oman by the eighth century A.D. Oman is the only country in the Islamic world with a majority Ibadhi population. Ibadhism is known for its "moderate conservatism." One distinguishing feature of Ibadhism is the choice of ruler by communal consensus and consent.

Contact with Europe was established in 1508, when the Portuguese conquered parts of Oman's coastal region. Portugal's influence predominated for more than a century, with only a short interruption by the Turks. Fortifications built during the Portuguese occupation can still be seen at Muscat.

Except for a period when Iran conquered Oman, Oman has basically been an independent nation. After the Portuguese were expelled in 1650 and while resisting Persian attempts to establish hegemony, the Sultan of Oman extended his conquests to Zanzibar, other parts of the eastern coast of Africa, and portions of the southern Arabian Peninsula. During this period, political leadership shifted from the Ibadhi imams, who were elected religious leaders, to hereditary sultans who established their capital in Muscat. The Muscat rulers established trading posts on the Persian coast and also exercised a measure of control over the Makran coast (now Pakistan). By the early 19th century, Oman was the most powerful state in Arabia and on the East African coast.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New History Carnival Up

The New History Carnival is up at Aqueduct. This blog by Amy is described as "Welcome to the aqueduct, where knowledge flows like water. The site is named after the hiking trail that runs by my office window." There is a part two promised for Monday so check back for more carnivl fun next week.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of history carnival at (15 June, host Jenni Weber at American Presidents Blog, (email coppertop67[AT] using the carnival submission form.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

So Much for TV, Violence and Society: Actually These are Quite Peaceful Times

So Much for TV, Violence and Society: Actually These are Quite Peaceful Times. Do you think most of us live in violent times? If you are in Iraq or Sudan, you might indeed be living in a violent world. For most of us though, we have it rather peaceful in comparison to the past.

A recent study by Rick Schulting and Michael Wysocki (and written about by Heidi Dawley at Media Life Magazine) looked at 350 skulls of men, women and children living in Britain between 4,000 and 3,200 BC. The results showed a great deal of violence. The study found, "In all, 7 percent of the skulls studied had fractures. Some 5 percent of the skulls had depression fractures that had healed, showing the person had recovered from their injury. But the other 2 percent had cranial injuries that had not healed, indicating that the victim had died of that injury or another one sustained at the same time. "

In other words, if you lived in Neolithic Britain, you had a one in 14 chance of sustaining a hit to the head severe enough to fracture the skull and a one in 50 chance of dying from this injury. Both Detroit and Washington D.C. are safer than that!

Dawley wrote, "While the researchers looked at British skulls, Schulting believes that the results are similar to that found in other cultures in pre-history, largely blowing away often dewy-eyed presumptions about such earlier times."

I am soft. I live in a quiet college town with little violence other than drunk college students getting into fights. I do not think I would have survived long in the ancient past. However, I have seen a lot of violent movies so maybe that would give me an edge. Or maybe not as a violent media culture still delivers nothing comparable to Neolithic Britain.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Teaching History: A Journal of Methods

Teaching History: A Journal of Methods. This journal was designed for history teachers at all levels who wish to read about, or contribute to, innovative methods of teaching history.

It is a good journal. I have read several articles from it and liked them. They were helpful to me in designing lesson plans and having new ideas for teaching history.

Unfortunately, this journal is virtually invisible on the Web. Even though the information economy has shifted to the Web, this journal has no articles (not even some sample ones!) online. This means that search engine spiders do not find the content of this journal, people do not find it when searching online for history topics, and no one can link to journal content. Good articles are read by few when the potential exists for these same articles to be read by multitudes.

I understand that a journal needs to protect a revenue stream. However, can it consider some alternate routes to reflect the reality the information world? How about giving full-text access but placing Google ads which would probably generate more revenue than subscription fees? How about giving away a significant number of notable articles to generate Web traffic which might get more subscriptions? At least give out the table of contents of each issue with abstracts...

I have no doubt that this journal (like many others history journals in the field suffering from Web phobia) will either get a real Web presence or vanish into oblivion. I hope this excellent journal will choose relevance and survival.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Unexplained Mysteries of World War II

I recently finished reading Unexplained Mysteries of World War II by William B. Breuer. It was a fun easy read book with lots of short stories that allow for a book you can put down and pick up again frequently without having any difficulty picking up with a new historical tale you can finish in a few minutes.

Here is the publisher description of the book, "From Germany's invasion of Poland to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, from D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge to Iwo Jima and Bataan, the legendary battles and encounters of the Second World War have been the subjects of innumerable books. Yet, within the history of World War II, a wide range of mysterious, baffling, oddly coincidental, and inexplicable events remain. Now, critically acclaimed military historian William Breuer presents the first comprehensive book to focus on this vast, intriguing, and unexplored area. Over a period of years, Breuer collected materials from newspapers, magazines, military reports, correspondence, and interviews with the participants. His painstaking research uncovered a wealth of fascinating, at times startling, true tales: captivating cases of strange coincidences, curious happenings, and peculiar premonitions - all as vital a part of the war's history as its great campaigns, strategic designs, and high-level decisions. "

It is this part ("captivating cases of strange coincidences, curious happenings, and peculiar premonitions") which bugged me about the book. I did not find the various prominition or coincidence tales "unexplained" at all. Examples of this are Churchill deciding to switch seats in a car saving his life, Mrs. Eisenshower's predictions of her husbands greatness, a sailor who begs to go on a mission and is refused saving his life, etc. There were millions of soldiers and civilians involved in World War II. The sheer numbers indicate statistically that by chance some coincindences, near misses, correct dreams, etc. would happen.

In a response I made to a comment on my Caesar Assassination post where a reader argued that soothsayers had acurately predicted Caesar' death, "And the National Enquirer makes lots of grim predictions too. Will future historians ignore the 99% of the time that the tabloid was wrong and claim the 1% successful predictions as great prophecy? And then as historical fact? How many times did those old soothsayers make inaccurate predictions? History ignores those and highlights that one successful guess!"

Of course, Breuer ignores the stories of soldiers who made predictions and had dreams which did not happen. He ignored the many times that soldiers had preminitions, acted on them, and got hurt while had they did what they normally did would have been OK. I would think that the majority of preminitions (which were wrong) were never written down or even orally passed on.

Again, I liked this book. I stated some of my reasons already. But this sort of preminition/coincidence type of tabloid history bugs me. I wish it had been left out. There are enough unexplained World War Two stories out there to have left this sort of content out.