Monday, August 14, 2017

The Party Controls The Past

General Lee

“He who controls the past controls the future… He who controls the present controls the past,” wrote Orwell. Here in 2017, the left is firmly in control of both academia and media and is using both to control the past. That’s what played out last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee which had been there for a century. Nearby is a statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Both Lee and Jackson were southern heroes. They were also Democrats, but you won’t hear about that in media or academia.
Stonewall Jackson

They fought for the Confederacy and that makes them villains in the view of the 21st century left, which is in firm control of the Democrat Party. No matter that most slaveholders were Democrats. No matter that Democrat US Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia who served until his death in 2010, had also been a member of the KKK. There was so many Democrats south of the Mason/Dixon line, the party referred to it as “The Solid South.”
Byrd eventually apologized for his KKK membership and denounced the organization, but it remained part of his history: “I apologized a thousand times ... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened,” he wrote. He was right to apologize and also right that he could not erase his personal history.
But the Democrat Party believes it can and continues trying to pin its own shameful heritage onto Republicans — the party of Lincoln. Just prior to its 2008 convention, the Democrat National Committee erased fifty years of party history from its web site. How many Democrats lynched blacks? There isn’t room here to list them. How many Republicans? None that I know of. The Democrat Party has never apologized for protecting slavery before the war or for preserving Jim Crow for a century afterward.
Recorded under cover by James O'Keefe

Leftist media from the Huffington Post to CNN is downright gleeful as it tries to associate today’s Nazis and KKK with the Trump Administration. Trump issued a statement after Charlottesville saying: “We condemn in strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence — on many sides.” It was a reasonable response considering all the violence leftist groups perpetrated during his campaign, beating up Trump supporters as they left his rallies. Many of those agitators were were paid by the Democrat National Committee and the Clinton Campaign and wore “Trump is a Nazi” T-shirts. They violently shut down Trump rallies in Chicago and New Mexico.
Jared Loughner was obviously nuts

Then came James Hodgkinson, a Democrat Bernie Sanders supporter, who shot Republican Congressman Steve Scalise and several other people at a Republican softball practice two months ago. The New York Times editorial board blamed “both sides” for political violence claiming that Sarah Palin caused Jared Loughner to shoot Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and political rhetoric motivated Hodgkinson to shoot Republican Rep. Scalise. Trouble is, there’s not a scintilla of evidence associating Palin and Republicans with Loughner who was obviously nuts, whereas Hodgkinson had long, strong association with Democrats. He had a hit list of Republicans.
It’s okay for the NYTimes, but Trump is not allowed to blame “many sides.” Leftist media demand that he specifically denounce white supremacists which he subsequently did. NBC’s Chuck Todd called his "many sides" statement, “a failure of presidential leadership,” From his "Meet The Press” platform, he assembled a panel who did their best to associate white supremacists with the Trump Administration and Republicans.

Media went out of their way to avoid blaming President Obama’s anti-cop rhetoric after five Dallas policemen were murdered by a black man who “wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers." Few people reading this will have heard that several police officers and a former federal prosecutor have sued President Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, Black Lives Matter, and others for sparking the murders of policemen around the country. That’s because leftist media controls perception and in politics, perception is reality. Thus it controls the present, and the past.

Back to Orwell:

Party official O’Brien asked Winston Smith where history exists. “In records… In the mind. In human memories,” said Winston under torture.
O'Brien and Winston Smith

“Very well then,” said O’Brien. “We, the Party, control all records and we control all memories. Then, we control the past, do we not?”

“But how can you stop people remembering things?” asked Winston.

“You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right,” said O’Brien. “…When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists… only in the mind of the Party …Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Social Engineering By Census

Does racial discrimination still exist in the United States? If so, how does it show? One manifestation, perhaps the biggest, is in the US Government. As it prepares to fulfill its constitutional responsibility under Article I, Section 2 to count how many people live here, let’s ponder what the Census has become. Its original purpose was to figure out how many seats in the US House of Representatives each state gets as our population grows and shifts, but America’s obsession with race has expanded the function of this basic count. Right now, there’s a political struggle to add even more racial categories to the 2020 census. Why? Well, the Census Bureau itself brags that the data it collects determines how and where $400 billion of federal money is spent, much of it according to race.
Article I Section 2 originally mandated that Congress count: “the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons… within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”
Linda Sarsour

The “Manner” Congress has subsequently directed leads us to look at ourselves not as Americans, but as members of some oppressed minority competing for taxpayer funds. Left-wing activist Linda Sarsour is lobbying the Office of Management and Budget to include another racial category President Obama wanted: “MENA” for “Middle East and North Africa.” Sarsour calls herself a Palestinian American. She wants Persians, Arabs, Turks, Lebanese, and Somalis and Sudanese to be categorized under that label too. Why? She explains:
“When we look at accessing federal, you know, any types of federal support, for example, we lose out dramatically because we don’t have a separated category … because we are quote ‘white,’ we are not seen as a priority area for city or state or federal funding.”
At least she’s honest about it. According to the Heritage Foundation, Sarsour wants: “Another ‘oppressed’ group that will be eligible for racial preferences (‘affirmative action,’ ‘disparate impact,’ ‘underrepresentation,’ etc.) in employment, college admissions, federal contracts, and congressional redistricting.” She wants a bigger slice of the $400 billion pie.
Under the first census conducted in 1790, the head of household was listed as well as number of “free white males” over and under sixteen, the number of “free white females,” the number of “free persons” (boarding in household) and the number of slaves. That was all. No questions about race, but we can assume the slaves were black. Ten years later more questions about the ages of both free white males and free white females were asked. Twenty years later, data on the number of factories in a given district were gathered. In 1820, the census takers asked the ages and sexes of slaves, as well as whether people worked as farmers, factory workers, or other commerce, and counted “foreigners not naturalized.” In 1830, more specific data on ages of white males and females, slaves, as well as the number of all who were deaf, dumb, or blind was determined.
In 1850 came the first questions on race. There were two broad categories: “Free Inhabitants” and “Slave Inhabitants,” but free non-white inhabitants were differentiated between “black” and “mulatto.” Also gathered were values of real estate owned, data on occupation, place of birth, marital status, schooling, literacy, and if person was "deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.” Slaves were given numbers, not names, and classified black or mulatto. Listed under “Owner” were “uncaught escaped slaves in the past year”; “the number of slaves freed from bondage in the past year” and, “is the slave deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic?”
More race questions came in 1870 with categories for Chinese and [American] Indian. In 1890: “Enumerators were instructed to write ‘White,’ ‘black,’ ‘Mulatto,’ ‘Quadroon,’ ‘Octoroon,’ ‘Chinese,’ ‘Japanese,’ or ‘Indian.’”
More questions about Indians came in 1900, including tribal affiliation, “Fraction of person's lineage that is white”; “Is this person living in polygamy?”; “Is this person taxed?” A note on the Census site explained: “An American Indian was considered "taxed" if he or she was detached from his or her tribe and was living in the White community and subject to general taxation.
“Mulatto” was dropped in 1930 and “Mexican” added, but only that year. “Hindu” was called a race. Mixed black and white was marked as Black. Mixed Indian and white was marked as “Indian.” Ethnic questions were increased in 1970, asking about Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American, or “Other Spanish” descent. Now those groups also want to be classified as a “race” separate from white in 2020. If you’re not white, you're eligible for a piece of the pie.
Whenever I’m asked to describe my race, I write in “human,” and refuse to go any further. How soon before government substitutes the subjective term “gender” for the scientific term “sex” and how many categories will there be? Five? Ten? Thirty? How long before questions about sexual preference are included? They were drafted under the Obama Administration but dropped by the Trump Administration last March. Had Hillary won, they’d have been on there for 2020.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Politics of Fatigue

Summer is half over and I haven’t played enough — almost not at all, but I’ve begun to make some changes to allow it. Yes, I have to finish a book proposal and send it out, but I hate doing it and have to force myself to work at it every day for a little while at least. I have to get outside more and clear my head between sessions. I also have to stop reading obsessively about political goings-on. I’m staying away even though it's especially hard to do when so much is happening. It's been a nice break to avoid politics and write about other things, but here are some political “reflections on the passing scene” as the great columnist Thomas Sowell used to pen occasionally before he retired.
*After seven years of promising to repeal Obama care and passing countless bills to do so knowing they’d be vetoed by Obama, Republicans in Congress can’t do it with a Republican president who would sign it. Meanwhile, Obamacare is collapsing as predicted. Thanks Democrats. Thanks Republicans. You’re both pathetic. If members of Congress and everyone else who works for our way-too-big federal government were forced to be under Obamacare along with the rest of us, it would never have passed in the first place, or would surely be fixed now.
 *Seventy years ago, Congress passed Amendment 22 which limited a president to two terms. It’s time for Amendment 28 to limit senators and congressmen to a total of twelve years each, after which they must be banned from lobbying for an additional ten years. Think of all the obnoxious senators and congressmen we wouldn’t have to listen to if Congress’s terms had been limited seventy years ago too? Think of where we’d be today instead of where we are.
*Finally, finally, we have some actual evidence of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It’s very thin — not evidence of actual collusion, but only an email indicating that Donald Trump, Jr. was open to hearing about possible help from a Russian back in June, 2016. Over a year of investigation, and that’s all we’ve got. Will another year of even more investigation yield anything else? Don’t hold your breath. The investigation is having the desired effect however. It’s driving Donald Trump crazy, much crazier than he otherwise might be.
*Meanwhile, I’m kicking myself for not working harder against Donald Trump during the primaries. I should have trusted my first instinct that any guy in his seventies who would pay that much attention to his hair has personality problems. When I think that we had sixteen alternatives, any of which would have been so much better, including Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, or anyone else except John Kasich. Okay, maybe even him.
*President Trump’s antics are so embarrassing I can hardly stand it, but Hillary Clinton? I could never have brought myself to put a check next to that name. If I could go back to that voting booth last November, I believe I’d do the same thing. In the meantime, I’d like the president’s sterling cabinet to get together and prepare an ultimatum for their boss: Fire the Mooch, stop tweeting, do what General Kelly tells you, use the speechwriters you had for the Middle East and Poland speeches, and use the teleprompter exclusively when speaking in public — or we resign, en masse, right now. Maybe that would smarten him up.
The Mooch was fired the day after I wrote this on Sunday. Hooray for General Kelly!
*Yeah, Trump’s approval ratings are very low, but guess whose ratings are even lower — the media’s. Trump deserves his ratings and media have certainly earned theirs as well. Can there be any more doubt about left-wing mainstream media bias? Yeah, Fox is biased right, but nearly every other television media outlet is biased left — and most newspapers too. I’ve spent years on both sides of the spectrum and it’s patently obvious to me. Are we all ready to admit this now?
*Trump’s worst mistake would be to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It would be worse than firing Mueller, which would only make the left — in media and in government — go even more crazy than they are now. But how much crazier can they get? They’re already cutting Trump’s head off in effigy and one leftist wing-nut opened fire on Republicans at a baseball practice, nearly killing Congressman Scalise and wounding several others. But to fire Jeff Sessions would sink Trump with conservatives who are already annoyed with his tweets. His support would dry up almost entirely.
*Maybe a third party will emerge of disaffected Democrats and Republicans who would shrink the federal government and return power to the states. We could call it the Tenth Amendment Party. 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. (Amendment 10)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Picking Up History

There are places along the Saco where I like go looking for Indian artifacts when conditions are right. I won’t dig for them because to do so would disturb the site. If I did, I’d have to abide by strict guidelines to document what I found, where, and at what level. Then I’d have to publish results. In other words, it’s a lot of work and I’m not inclined to make that much of a commitment. Instead, I let farmers excavate, which they do in the course of their work. Then, after a sufficient amount of rain has fallen on the plowed and harrowed field, I go looking. The strata in which the artifacts existed originally has already been disturbed and real archaeologists wouldn’t be interested in what I find unless it were something very unusual. What I find, however, is routine to them.
Flood and freeze on the Old Saco

I don’t find very many arrowheads. Where I look has been picked over for many decades, but I do find one occasionally. Mostly I find the small chips produced while making arrowheads and all the other sharp tools necessary for Indians to live as they did. I find a lot of scrapers — sharp pieces of stone used to remove flesh from inside animal hides or to remove fur and hair from the the outside. I find those every time I go out. Arrowhead hunters eschewed picking them up but I do and they make up most of my collection.
Nearly everything I find is made of stone because everything else has rotted away. Wood, bone, hide, turtle shells, mussel shells, and so forth don’t last in New England soils. Once I found a bone amulet, but it was largely disintegrated. Archaeologists can find bone if it has been heated to the point where its chemistry changes into something called calcined bone. That will resist disintegration longer, but I haven’t found any of that. I do find pottery sherds though.
Stockade like this was in Fryeburg

The arrowheads I’ve picked up are only 1000-2000 years old and they’re dated by their size and shape to the “Woodland Period.” Indians were thought to have started using pottery around 3000 years ago, around the time they began farming. Local Indians are believed to have begun farming only a few centuries before European contact and cultivated three main crops: corn, beans, and squash here in southwestern Maine where I live now.
I don’t know how old the scrapers are. They could be much older but I have no way to tell because I didn’t find them “in situ” — or where they were originally left by the Indians who used them. If they were found near a hearth with charcoal in an intact level they could be dated by both the charcoal and the strata. All I know is that they were in the "plow zone” turned up by farmers which goes down about two feet.
On Sunday I spent a wonderful afternoon along the Old Course of the Saco completely by myself. It was sunny, in the seventies, and with a slight breeze to keep most mosquitoes away — perfect conditions. It was perhaps three centuries ago that the last Pequawket Indians used the site, just prior to Captain John Lovewell’s raid in 1725, after which Indians abandoned Pequawket (now called Fryeburg, Maine) and went to live with their fellow Abenaki in St. Francis, Quebec. That’s an Abenaki reservation (otherwise known as Odanak) at the confluence of the St. Francis and St. Lawrence rivers.
Champlain's map of Pequawket village at mouth of the Saco River

It occurred to me as I picked up each artifact that the last person to have touched it might have been an ancestor of my wife and children. I’d been reading my wife’s extensive pedigree going back to the 1600s in Quebec. Several of her ancestors were born, married, and died in St. Francis (also called Odanak). Joseph Forcier, her fourth great-grandfather, was married there to her fourth great-grandmother, Agathe (nee Gagne) in 1729 — just after the fight at Lovewell’s Pond. Were they Pequawkets? I don't know. It’s possible. Their daughter, Marguerite Forcier, lived there her whole life and was herself married in 1767 to my wife’s third great-grandfather Joseph Clement. That means Marguerite was present with the legendary Molly Ockett during the infamous raid by Rogers’ Rangers in 1759. Both survived, but over 200 men, women, and children didn’t.
Except for the women and children, they were not necessarily innocent victims of racist, white males in Rogers’ company. Abenaki warriors from St. Francis were allied to the French and often conducted raids south against British colonial settlements. While the Pequawket lived in what is now Fryeburg before 1725, they raided south too, including attacks on Andover, Dunstable, and Tyngsboro. Captain Lovewell and his men didn’t come up here just looking for scalps. They were also here for revenge. While descendants of men who fought with Lovewell settled Lovell, some of Rogers’ Rangers settled Fryeburg.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Window On The Doors

Fifty years ago, I worked at the newly-built Holiday Inn at the intersection of Interstate 495 and Route 38 in Tewksbury, Massachusetts,  the town in which I grew up. I’d started in the summer of 1966 as a dishwasher, then a groundskeeper, and ultimately a porter carrying room service trays, vacuuming the lobby, setting up tables in function rooms, and emptying ashtrays. My father would often pick me up on his way home from work. I had my learner’s permit and he’d let me drive the rest of the way in our 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne.
Rock-and-roll groups stayed there when playing concerts at the Commodore Ballroom in Lowell. One of my jobs was putting red plastic letters up on the marquee to welcome them. Sometimes my father couldn’t drive me home and I’d hitchhike. One such evening in 1967, a late-model Buick Riviera pulled over and I hopped in. Driving was the drummer of The Doors, John Densmore. I had never heard of The Doors or of Jim Morrison, who was crashed out and sprawled across the back seat. Though I’d just come from work, nobody told me The Doors were staying there because they weren’t that popular at the time. Nobody was excited enough to tell me they were in residence. Neither was I told to put up a greeting for them on the marquee.
Anyway, Densmore was miffed that he had picked up an American teenager who didn’t recognize him. “Do you know who I am?” he asked.
Densmore and Morrison

“No,” I said.

“Ever hear of ‘Light My Fire’?”
“Umm… yeah, I think so,” I said, feeling uncomfortable. It sounded vaguely familiar but I wasn’t sure. He didn’t look like a typical guy from Tewksbury and nobody I knew drove a brand-new Riviera. His hair was longish, his clothing was different, and he was driving with bare feet. The guy in the back seat had bare feet too and a small tattoo on his ankle. I think it was a flower.

“Ever hear of ‘The Doors’?” he asked, getting more peeved.
Morrison crashed at performance in Amsterdam

“No,” I said. He seemed to sense my nervousness then and eased up. I turned to look behind me at the unconscious guy, and Densmore said something about him. I don’t remember exactly what, but it had a tone of disapproval, disgust even. By this time we’d gone about four miles and I was relieved to tell him he could stop at the next crossroad and let me out. He pulled over and I thanked him before closing the door. “You’re welcome,” he said.
Not long after, I heard “Light My Fire” on the radio and I liked it. So did millions of others and The Doors were invited to perform it on The Ed Sullivan Show. Morrison had been asked to modify the lyric “…girl we couldn’t get much higher,” as the audience might consider it a reference to using drugs, but he sang it anyway and was banned from further appearances.
After that encounter, I paid closer attention to stories about The Doors as Morrison was becoming notorious for his hedonistic lifestyle. He was convicted of exposing himself onstage to an audience of mostly junior high and high school girls in Florida when evidently very drunk. Densmore wrote later that Morrison had a serious alcohol problem and he died in Paris at twenty-seven, only four years after our short ride together. There was no autopsy so his cause of death can’t be known for sure, but many believe it was alcohol-related. 
During his four years of fame, Morrison became a symbol of sixties alienation, of rebellion, and of “the counterculture.” Though I liked his music, I was put off by his behavior and that of so many other counterculture figures too numerous to mention who also died of lifestyle-related causes. I liked much of their music as well and all were heroes to baby boomers. To me, however, they were reverse barometers — examples of how not to act. Some posthumously diagnosed Morrison as bipolar. Such people are often highly creative, highly intelligent, highly sexual, and highly prone to substance abuse. Add his Irish genes to that and what happened to him wasn’t inevitable, but understandable. 
One Morrison biography claims he knocked on Jack Kerouac’s door while he was in Lowell, but was turned away by Kerouac’s wife and told to “get a haircut.” Kerouac died of alcoholism two years later in 1969. While Morrison’s music still appeals to me, Kerouac’s books never did.
Doors Drummer John Densmore who picked me up half a century ago, said in an interview for Huffington Post recently: “Jim was one of those kamikazes who had creativity and self-destruction in the same package, dammit.”
A fitting symbol of his generation? Maybe. What do you think?