Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin...

So as not to be guilty of peddling any hidden agenda here, I am challenging one of the good folk of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin to correct me on a matter of their local history.


Because a person from Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin has been regularly reading this blog ( a heinous crime in itself) but has so far failed to engage in commentary on what they have been reading here (another unforgivably heinous crime).

Not good enough, Wisconsin!

And so I looked up Soldiers Grove and found their website. In particular, their telling of the "history" of their place. And that's when I spat my dummy!

I'm good at spitting my dummy...

To me, their "history" represents one of the very worst examples I have ever seen of the European white man's disgusting use of propaganda to cover up his evil actions. In this day and age of "civilisation", I find this utterly unacceptable.


Now, I'm not a scholar of the history of that area (or any area), therefore I have issued this challenge in the hope that, if I've got it wrong, some informed scholar (as opposed to brainwashed regurgitator), will correct me.

Here's a couple of references to start us off:


In this chautauqua I will be using the format "he said, she said". By that I mean that I will quote a bit of the "village history" and then offer my "translation" of it. The Wikipedia article is there merely to help those who wish to go deeper, to find some start-points for their own research. You gotta do your own learnin' dudes...

Ready? Here we go:

"Settlement came to the Kickapoo area in the first half of the 19th century. Much of the local land had been deeded to veterans of U.S. wars."

Translation: "The dispossession of the traditional owners, the Kickapoo Indians, by the white supremacist invaders was finalised with the deeding of their land to the murderous marauders who did most of the killing. Namely, the soldiers." Once again, "might is right" triumphed over anything even remotely resembling "truth", "respect" and "fairness". And thus, this part of the world lurched one notch further towards racist corruption.

Image: Chief Black Hawk, the leader of a band of Sauk and Fox Indians,

Tobacco growing also became a staple of the area’s small family farms. High quality cigar leaf and chewing tobacco became valued cash crops as evidenced by the unique tobacco barns that still dot the countryside.

Translation: "The lucrative rewards of the drug trade replaced more subsistent forms of agriculture and the rule of the drugs barons set a chilling precedent which future generations all over the world would come to rue."

"The 20th century saw the rise and decline of small family dairy farming. Remaining local dairy farmers are fiercely competing with large corporate farms, trying to maintain the American tradition of family farming."

Translation: Having invented globalised capitalism, America is rapidly falling victim to the evil it created (a tick for the buddhist concept of karma.) Ironic, given that America is the most rabidly extremist Christian nation on earth and yet it seems to fail to understand Jesus's injunction against capitalism. Jesus might well have said "He who lives by the dollar, shall die by the dollar." Even more ironic is the fact that the All-American invention, "agribusinesss", is replacing "family farming" all over the world in order to subjugate local farmers everywhere into the blood-sucking service of the American (and their global co-conspiritor) "shareholders".

"The area provides breathtaking scenery and outstanding opportunities to hunt, fish, canoe and hike."

Translation: Having failed to survive through the time-honoured work of subsistence farming, the corrupted locals are now trying desperately to sell themselves
, their wildlife, and the natural features of the countryside they murdered the traditional owners for, to the few who remain with sufficient access to The New God (The God of the Almighty Dollar), in a final attempt to survive. A revolution cannot be too far away...

(The biblical floods) A temporary dike built in 1968 seemed to be working fine until the weekend of July 4, 1978. On that weekend, heavy rains saturated the area and sent the Kickapoo over the dike and again into Main Street. This flood was the last straw that convinced local residents that the business section of Soldiers Grove had to be moved.
A new site for the downtown businesses was selected about one mile east of the original location. More the 6.5 million dollars of Federal, State, and local funding was obtained, in part by agreeing to incorporate solar heating systems into the new buildings. Thus Solar Town Soldiers Grove was born.

Translation: Having realised that they had set themselves up on a floodplain (something the original inhabitants might have told them about, had they not brutalised them quite so badly), the Big Money Boys used money syphoned off from the proles to relocate themselves. Realising that an energy crisis was looming, they cunningly switched to solar heating in order to save future dollars, and made a big deal about being "green and clean". Spinmeisters preened themselves, and the gullible public loved it. A real win-win outcome...

The former downtown section was transformed into a large public area which includes sports fields, a playground, a camping area, and a beautiful Veteran’s war memorial. The park area is also home to Region 5’s only Medal of Honor Wall, celebrating the heroism of more than 600 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from eleven Midwestern states.

Translation: The floodplain, which once might have provided the promise of rich alluvial soil for farming, was now turned into a place for the glorification of those poor sods who were sucked into fighting for the interests of Big Money. And the locals love it!


Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Gerry, you're so excellent with words and you have some mighty fine opinions; how could a newbie possibly begin to have a discussion with you? Besides, in most cases, you're preachin' to the choir here. I'm just tryin' to figure out the allure of this whole blogging business, and yours has caught my eye for a bit, sort of the way a glossy button appeals to a bowerbird. As for your finding the Soldiers Grove website utterly unacceptable, I would like to point out that, in Wisconsin, the correct phrase would be udderly unacceptable.

And, okay, I'm busted! But so should you be, for jumping to conclusions. Some talented bear-baiter you are. You've caught yourself an aetheist lefty with deep love of nature who has stuck himself in one of the most beautiful, most affordable, least-populated parts of the entire country to escape the same sorts of things you rant about regularly, so we may as well shake hands now.

I escaped to this relatively remote place because I needed to get away from all the craziness of consumerist/materialist/Republican/Bush-lovin'/religious/SUV+techno-crazy USA that so many of us hate. Yup, I'm yellow. Needed to get away from it all and out into nature. Well, not completely into nature. Whilst I highly commend my neighbour for collecting her water from a spring and peeing in a bucket, I'm personally too old to stoop that low every day. I am the first to admit that, were it not for electricity and the internal combustion engine, I would have been eaten by coyotes a long time ago. Or by Lyme disease. Anyway, I digress from your topic.

Yes, you are right. Soldiers Grove used to be called Pine Grove. That was before the US soldiers of the Black Hawk War camped of course it absolutely needed to be renamed for the heroic and virile white men who, armed and on horseback, chased a bunch of defenseless, starving, exhausted barefooted Indians through the area and slaughtered the (mostly) women and children as they were attempting to cross the Mississippi River to escape. Indeed, a dated and racist highway marker marks the mouth of the Bad Axe River where the deed was done. I have bowed my head at that sad, sad place. Sad, history. I can't disagree there.

You might find some consolation in the fact that the Ho-Chunk nation is slowly getting some power, money, and their lands back, thanks to successful gambling casinos and bingo parlors. There are other tribes too in the region which benefit from such activity (Red Cliff, Lac duFlambeau are two I recall). And if you google "Kickapoo Valley Reserve", you might find more information on Ho-Chunk regaining access/governance to some lands again. Small consolation, I agree, but better than 100 years ago.

This southwest region of the state is sparsely populated, and in fact the population is declining. The diversity of people is interesting; you will find longtime, homegrown "locals" with surnames that go way back to the Norwegian/Irish pioneer days; you will find back-to-the-land hippies who arrived in the 1970s and 80s; and now the turnover comes from incoming retirees and recreational landowners. Unfortunately, many of the recreational landowners are rich idiots from Chicago and Minneapolis with too much time and money on their hands, who come here on weekends to ravage the land with their ATVs. Wisconsin has always been the playground/vacationland for Chicagoans. [If you want to have some fun poking at American decadence, try googling and wiki-ing the Wisconsin Dells, Noah's Ark at Wisconsin Dells, Kalahari Resort. You will see how an area of great natural and spiritual beauty has been whorified into one big amusement park. Now, please note that the Dells area is a 2 hours' drive from Soldiers Grove, yet light years away culturally. One can only hope it stays that way.]

Crawford County is the poorest county in a state that isn't exactly rich. You can say the same about the quality of its soil; to call what the farmers did "subsistence farming" is an overstatement. No farmer ever made money here. It should have never been farmed. But those Norwegians were tough cookies. To illustrate the poverty, I present to you the tiny town of Viola. It got hit by a tornado last year but you couldn't really tell because the town is already in such bad shape. So, you see, nature, the land, and tourism are the only commodities and thus the only way that money comes into the area (if you can call Harley clubs riding through the area a few times a year, and two weeks of deer season, "tourism").

As far as building Soldiers Grove originally in the floodplain, well, floodplain is the only level ground around for hundreds of miles. Hey, look at it this way: at least after 140 years somebody figured it out. Probably a woman, my wife would say. I imagine the invention of bulldozers helped make the move more comfortable.

Upon re-reading the village's website content, it's my guess that someone simply copied the text from an old, outdated flyer/brochure about the town. I do think you hit the nail on the head with your assessment of just about everything, including the rah-rah mentality of many Americans towards this veterans-memorial-obsession thing (and extreme, over-the-top patriotism in general). However, if you contrast the million-dollar apartments and sailboats on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive with the log cabins and mobile homes in southwestern Wisconsin that are filled with people who can barely afford to paint their houses let alone buy health insurance, then maybe you will cut those hard-working, extremely-Caucasian webpage writers of Soldiers Grove a little slack.

Unless, of course, they voted for Bush. Then you can do with them what you will.

July 03, 2006 3:30 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kurt Reply, eh... :-)

Upon seeing that name I dreaded what I thought I was about to read. What you wrote was actually much more polite than I deserved, Kurt.

I thought I'd get a bunch of hostile veterans passing the hat around to pay for a hitman to come over here, track me down and snuff me out. Musta been watching too many movies, I guess.

Thanks for the informative reply, Kurt.

I don't know how deeply you've read this blog but readers soon discover that I'm a cranky old fart too cynical to bother with. I don't blame them.

I don't mean any offence towards the hard working working class over there. I know they do it real tough.

Actually I'm thinking of cross-posting (anonymously of course) some text from an email I got from an Aussie expat over there giving his take on things. I commiserate with the plight of your working class. It's not so bad over here yet, but by the time your major corporations (and the WTO, IMF, World Bank, etc) finish dictating the new terms to our government, it'll soon get as bad if not worse than it is in the US. Seems most Americans have no idea why so many in the word despise them with a vengeance. No idea.

Tell me Kurt, is it mostly non-Americans who read Vidal, Chomsky, Bloom, Prestowitz, Ellsberg, Bakan, etc? (See the booklist links in the sidebar.) I get the impression that this must be how it is, because otherwise I reckon there'd be really strong "third force" in politics emerging over there around about now. I don't know enough about the political structure over there, so maybe it's rigged to prevent any "third force" emerging, I don't know...

I'm just an idiot who's not short of an opinion or two, and a blog to hang them out of...

You're more than welcome to drop by here regularly to tell me when I'm too full of shit, etc. (You're also welcome to drop in and tell me how terrific I am, but you'll get sick of that after a while... :-)

Like with this post, I was seriously starting to think I had gone too far.

I regularly go further than I should, and not often enough do people tell me to pull my head in. Of course, when they do, I often just snarl back at them and that can be a bit off-putting too, I imagine.

I am I really so intimidating? I can't understand it..

I was starting to feel so guilty, I looked up the word "malice" to see if that fit me. I know I don't INTEND to hurt people, but often...

Enough ranting for now...

July 03, 2006 4:12 PM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

I thought I'd get a bunch of hostile veterans passing the hat around to pay for a hitman to come over here, track me down and snuff me out.

Na, Gerry, the people of Grove are a little too busy at the moment. There's a parade and a tractor pull scheduled for this Independence Day weekend, and the following week I think there's a Dairy Breakfast at one of the Olson farms and 4-H heifer judging classes, so you won't find anyone knocking on your door soon. Sleep well.

Seems most Americans have no idea why so many in the word despise them with a vengeance. No idea.

Yeah, I know what you mean. This is a huge topic. Amongst other things, humility doesn't seem to be terribly rife in America, but that might be partly because of this country bein' so darn huge.* It's difficult to put people into boxes. When I was in high school 35 years ago, The Ugly American was the book we read to help us get over ourselves. Now the book to read is The United States of Europe.

Tell me Kurt, is it mostly non-Americans who read Vidal, Chomsky, Bloom, Prestowitz, Ellsberg, Bakan, etc?

Yes, possibly. I can only speak for myself. I have certain brain parts that work well: those that appreciate and understand biology, nature, art, music, the environment, all sorts of visual things, and a few other things. But the parts of my brain that process politics, history, and mechanical things must be the size of peas because I just cannot retain most of it nor find much use for it, once I have formulated a general opinion on an issue. Not that I don't WANT to retain and discuss. This handicap of mine precludes the reading of so many of the books and authors you mention. Extreme lack of time prevents it, too.

A political "third force" has been trying to erupt for decades but it's tough. Liken it to three people going on a date. The third guy always steals attention from the liberals, which causes them to lose. Ralph Nader, a green guy, a brilliant guy, is blamed for taking away just enough votes from Al Gore six years ago to have caused Bush to be the winner. We know now it was crooked Republican precincts in Ohio that really stole the election. You are speaking with a politically inept person, so please don't expect too good a response on this.

* Huge is what America is. No wonder no-one, not even we, can get a handle on exactly what America is: it's so ethnically, culturally, politically, geographically, biologically diverse. For example, the size of Wisconsin alone is about the size of England/Wales, but we have 1/10 the population (and 16,000 lakes!). Another example: it takes 7-8 days of 12-hour driving to get from Maine to California. If you would like to enjoy a humourous interlude whilst at your computer, you can listen to this episode of What d'ya Know? The humour is witty, and this episode will introduce you to an interesting French author of a book about America which you may wish to know about. The interview starts six minutes into the program, but I recommend beginning at time 0:00 because Michael Feldman, the host, offers a few good Bush and Pope jokes. You and I are so lucky to live in the age of audio archives....

July 03, 2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger JahTeh said...

"I have certain brain parts that work well: those that appreciate and understand biology, nature, art, music, the environment, all sorts of visual things, and a few other things. But the parts of my brain that process politics, history, and mechanical things must be the size of peas because I just cannot retain most of it nor find much use for it, once I have formulated a general opinion on an issue. Not that I don't WANT to retain and discuss. This handicap of mine precludes the reading of so many of the books and authors you mention."

July 04, 2006 12:02 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kurt, I'll get back to you real soon.


July 04, 2006 12:18 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kurt (or Kurtine), I'll get back to you soon. I need to sober up first... But there's one thing I gotta say right now (like my 'merican accent?) And that is: Too many words, man (or chickiebabe). Each of your comments contains so many ideas I'd have to write a book in reply.

Knock it off.

I've only got a very small brain with a limited access ratio... :-)

July 04, 2006 12:32 AM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Hey, you're the one who asked the questions.
By the way, stats can be more dangerous in the hands of fools and laypeople than in the hands of politicians and scientists. Surely you are not so vain as to assume that someone appearing to visit your blog every day is actually reading it. I merely use your eminent bloglist as a convenient on-ramp for entering and perusing the superhighway of blogdom.
There. I gave you a compliment.

July 04, 2006 2:00 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kurt, thanks for the heads-up about "The United States of Europe". I went and read the reviews at Amazon. Seems we're still talking about global economic domination. Not good news whichever way you cut the cake.

You are speaking with a politically inept person Well that makes two of us. And yeah any emerging third force will always be accused by one (r both) of the two parties as undermining their chances. But if this reasoning is used to capitulate, a third force can never win through. Besides, in the interim, surely deals and coalitions can be struck. No?

Audio archives: I don't have broadband so I must pass.

My protests about "too many words" was a mock protest. I was jesting. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

July 04, 2006 6:39 PM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

You're a great guy, Gerry, and certainly an impressive blogger. I was only having a little fun with you in return. Your command of language and the ability to express emotion is equally impressive. As for your perception that I talk girly, that comes from, well. . . Let's just say you are a perceptive person.
Yeah, I have dialup too. It s ucks.
I'll reiterate that you're great with words and ideas, and that's one of the reasons why I like reading your stuff. Plus, your committment and tenacity are overwhelming.
Keep up the good work here. (I suspect your letters to organisations and government have a lot more impact on society than you think, so I'd certainly keep up the good work there as well.)

July 04, 2006 11:44 PM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Gerry, I would like to add that whenever you do write and mail your letters, you're doing it for me, too, and for a lot of others. "Lack of time" is a universal excuse for some of us, but you've MADE the time, and that is all the more impressive.
So, if you don't see me commenting here much, it's for lack of time, not enthusiasm. Keep up.

July 05, 2006 12:03 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kurt, I am NOT impressive. I am a hostile, offensive, abusive fuckwit. Ask those who don't read this blog anymore and you will know that this is true.

You are temporarily dazzled by my cheap crap. In time you will realise that I am pure evil. I will make not one iota of difference to the organisations or governments I chastise.

I did not say you talked "girly". I was trying to say that I did not really know which gender you were.

That's what you get for using nom de plumes.

Thanks for your kind comments, Kurt.

Keep well.

July 05, 2006 12:18 AM  
Blogger JahTeh said...

Watch it you hostile, offensive, abusive fuckwit, that could be the man of my dreams you're dazzling with cheap crap.

July 05, 2006 1:28 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Heh! He ran a mile the moment you showed up, you brazen hussey! ;-)

July 05, 2006 1:54 AM  

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