Primary Sources

Im a few dozen pages into Teddy Roosevelt’s “The rough riders” and it was written about 114 years ago after the Spanish-American war.

The fascinating thing is how much Teddy tells us, frankly, about how he sees the world and how things should be.

The chapter where he trains the Rough Riders discusses how men should comport themselves. with Honor, hard work, diligence, and not asking for favors but earning positions.

the phrase “native American” was used which i found fascinating.

comments about drunkenness which reflect his previous actions trying to dry out New York City are slipped in.

The justification and mindset of the war, a short victorious war, good for american blood and spirit, these are talked about too. War was seen as a good thing, a testing ground.


Remembering 9/11

12 years ago we were attacked by al qaeda. It wasn’t the first time, or the last. They hit us again at Fort Hood, at Boston. They also hit London, Paris, Madrid, and places in Africa, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and all over the world.

Al qaeda is arabic for “The base” or network, group, collection. It is a network of terror cells and supporters and funders. Unlike a Bond Villain there is no al qaeda world head quarters with a huge round table filled with colorful characters all bowing down to the new Bin Laden who has a monocle and a cat.  They work through the internet and messengers.

They are a new type of army. They are a non national threat. Many people say “We can’t be at war with them, they aren’t a country.”

This is telling since countries as we know them didn’t exist until the 1790s. Before then there were kingdoms, cities, empires, but not countries.

Since 9/11/01 everyone wants to make a public display of remembering 9/11. I have met people who have lost friends and family on 9/11. But what have we done? We have tied our hands and headbutted al qaeda around. Not fighting a serious war. We are so peace oriented that we can not muster the force to destroy this little pest. The giant wont wake up.

We have anti war movements in the face of being under siege. This is how powerful we think we are, that we are immune to such threats.

We think we have brought it upon ourselves. What did we do to the Cechyian brothers who hit us at Boston? We did nothing to them other than offend their religion. What did we do to Nadal Asan? nothing but offend his religion.

What did Spain do to al qaeda, they weren’t messing around in the middle east, yet they were attacked. Or France?

To say we brought this upon ourselves is to say being who we are is offensive to some and WE should be punished for other peoples’ opinion of us. Meaning, our liberalism, women’s lib, religious toleration, open culture, those are the reasons we were attacked.  We are different from them and we are a threat to them.

Remember that instead of a stupid candle.  Remember that the threat remains undefeated.

Remember that Obama is now aiding al qaeda by attacking Bashar Al-Assad.

Gun control debtae, Plato style

Charlton and his friend Ted were sitting in a cafe, Ted was reading the news paper and the headline said “Gun control bill moves to floor for a vote.”  Ted said “I think this law would put a stop to the shootings.”

Charlton put his coffee down and said “Why is that?”

“It will make it illegal to own a gun,” Ted replied.

“But isn’t it illegal to shoot some one?” Charlton asked.

“In most cases, yes,”

“So that law has already failed,” Charlton said.

“True, but this law prevents the manufacture and import of guns,” Ted said.

“Isn’t it illegal to come into the country without crossing at the check point?” Charlton asked.

“Yes, of course,” Ted agreed.

“So, wouldn’t people smuggle in guns the same way they smuggle people?”

“I suppose this could be true,”

“and so we could never stop the flow of guns, even if we outlawed their importation,” Charlton pointed out.

“I see, yes. But they would still be illegal to own,”

“So, lets define criminal. Would you agree that a Criminal is a person who ignores the law and does as he or she wishes?” Charlton proposed.

“of course,” Ted nodded.

“Then this gun law would be ignored by people who would Intend you harm, and followed by the targets of that harm,” Charlton connected.

“But what of the police?”

“Can the police be everywhere at all times?”

“No, of course not!” Ted stated,

“Then the men and women who would remained armed would be the only ones to use this power in violation of public safety, while those who would be disarmed would be the only ones to use this power in support of public and personal safety.”

“But if this is true, why pass this law?” Ted asked.

Charlton sipped his coffee.

Happy birthday California!

Today is the 163rd birthday of the State of California.

First encountered in the 1500s by the spanish, (or 7,000s BCE by the natives) it was thought to be an island because the spanish encountered Baja first. Eventually they realized it was attached to the main land. But they still named it for a fictional island Califa.

Biologically it is rather island like, it has a number of major barriers keeping outsiders out, the Sierra Nevada mountains are a major example.

The spanish had a hard time with the place, it was too far from Mexico City to entice many to move there. As a result few did. They called themselves Californios and they were distinct from other cultures developing throughout new spain.

The missions were unkind to downright brutal to the natives, but luckily enough, at first, the missions only preyed (and prayed) upon coastal natives. They started going farther inland to find “converts” but that came later.

In 1810 Napoleon invaded Spain and broke the last straw holding their new world empire together. The uprisings broke up and by 1821 Mexico was free from Spain. The Mexican government destroyed the mission system because they were far more secular than their Spanish mother country. They also realized that the British moving in from Oregon proved  a threat so they threw open their doors to Immigrants who would 1) learn Spanish 2) convert to roman catholic and 3) be good Mexican citizens.

Many took up the offer in Texas and California. (New Mexico, which includes modern day New Mexico and Arizona, had about 50-60,000 people already and didn’t need filling up), John Bidwell, John Sutter, and Alexander Leidesdorf were three of many men who gained much land in California by applying for land grants. The problem was these men came from protestant backgrounds and rarely converted to Catholicisms or embraced Mexican nationalism.

In 1844, James K Polk was elected president, (3rd Democrat to ascend) and part of his platform was Manifest destiny. He was a disciple of Andrew Jackson and a military veteran. He pushed American boarders in the Oregon area and along the Texas boarder. Texas joined the USA in 1845 and Mexico decided that Josè don’t play that. 

About the time that Zachary Taylor and Robert E. Lee were fighting in and around Mexico, Captain John C Frèmont was “exploring” California. He may or may not have had orders from Polk or a flunky of the president’s to help speed up the process of taking California.  Frèmont talked to a number of American settlers in California, and a handful of unhappy Latino Californios and helped to start the Bear Flag Revolt. about 600 people vs the might of the Mexican army in California. The battle was met and Mariano Vallejo was locked up in his house.

Commodore Stockton landed marines on long beach and the Battle of Los Angles was the other major battle.

By 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the transfer of $50,000 dollars brought much of the south west into US hands. the Gadsen Purchase would finish the south western boarder.

Shortly there after, John Sutter was building a Lumber Mill when John Marshall discovered gold. Sam Brannan overheard Sutter and Marshal talking. He went to san Fran and bought up mining supplies then broadly announced “GOLD!”

cleaning up on his mining supplies, people ran up river to find their gold. by 1850 10% of People in America lived in California. Not only White Americans, but some blacks (both free and slave), many Mexicans from the Sonoran Mines, Latinos from all over south and central America, Europeans of many kinds, some direct from Europe and last and not least, the Chinese looking for Gum Shan, the mountain of gold.

California had enough people that it went from acquired land to state in 1850 September 9.

This created a slight problem. From 1820 through 1850 the national slavery debate had been kept in check by the senate. 2 senators from each state. each state gets an equal voice. 1820 Missouri and Maine were admitted. One slave, one Free. California was admitted alone, it was Free. it was the 31st state, 16 free, 15 Slave.

As part of the compromise of 1850, which is how California was admitted, The south would balance its loss of power in the Senate with a strong fugitive slave law. It also opened up Arizona and New Mexico to slavery, should the voters so choose.  But other issues were coming to a head.  The north was industrializing, the west was going small farms, and the south was boxed in. California created a stop, no more expansion west.

They thought about Annexing Cuba, but that failed to work out.

California was one of several key factors that triggered the Civil war.

Zachary Taylor was elected president in 1848 as the second Whig to be elected, he died in 1850. After him, Filmore, Pierce, and Buchanan all failed to reduce the stress between north and south.  The Kansas-Nebraska act pushed by Stephan Douglas to get a rail road to California caused bleeding Kansas, a civil war in the farm country. John Brown got his violent start there which ended at Harper Ferry in 1859.

The Fugitive slave law caused resentment form people in the North. Now they would be FORCED to enforce southern slavery. Blacks in the north were not safe as slave catchers didn’t care about a person’s status.

In 1854 a coalition of former Whigs (the party dissolved), free soilers, and abolitionists formed the Republican party and in 1856 ran John C Frèmont against James Buchanan. They didn’t win.

By 1860 the country was ready to split. The Democrat Party ran both Northern and Southern candidates allowing Lincoln to win. The civil war had begun.

All of this triggered by California entering the union 163 years ago today.

Red line? WTF Obama

So… Syria is falling apart and for some reason Obama wants to go in there and bomb stuff. There is al qaeda in there. There is Bashar Al-Assad who is a jerk. There are Syrian local rebels who don’t like or support either. It’s a three way war. And Obama wants to start bombing, why

Lesson learned from the war in Iraq is that the USA needs better methods if finding out who is members of terrorist networks. Have we made developments in this area? Are we not going to learn from the Iraq war?

I supported the Iraq war and still do. It was needed. the thousands of dead terrorists were well worth the cost in men and money. The liberation of the 30 million Iraqis was worth the cost, even though the birth pangs of Arab democracy are still going on. (It took the USA 200 years to figure out democracy starting in the very early 1600s with the house of Burgesses in Virginia and the General Court in Massachusetts.) The people in Iraq are learning all that in ten years, all the fighting other countries went through to develop modern democracy is accelerated in Iraq. It’s going to be bloody, and if it lasts for another decade, it will probably survive.

Are we going to invest another 800 billion over 10 years into Syria, sacrifice another 4000 soldiers? I don’t think it will come that cheaply. Mistakes from the current fronts int he War on Terror are that we don’t let our combat troops engage in real combat. We force them to endure all kinds of handicaps. The focus from DC isn’t victory, but making Arabs and Central Asians like us. We should not worry about being liked and worry more about being respected.

Unfortunately the people who run the State Department seem to be xenophobic and ethnocentric. This can be exampled by Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button to Russia that didn’t have the word “reset” on it, but some other word. You’d think the State Department would have people who know Russian, our major world wide rival and number 1 diplomatic point of communication…

Many people have compared Iraq to Vietnam in order to justify an excuse to protest the war. They were absolutely wrong as tactics and methods go. But they were right as far as government operational mindset was concerned. Seeing what I just posted, the Idiots in DC have decided not to fight for victory, but for social goals. Social goals in a war. Social goals in economics, in education, in business, in legislation, in everything. The government of the USA cares too much about social alteration than management of their duties.

And all of this is connected to Obama denying that he set a “red line” on Syria. The link i posted has both videos. The Setting and the Denial. Obama is so arrogant, so protected by the media, that he believes he can just deny he did something and the public will support him. He can get away with murder because the media will deny the victim ever existed.

And he might be right…

Why Butter is not civilized

So, I am sitting here eating a late supper, eggs and buttered toast. Damn that butter makes the toast taste good.

Toast is civilized food, that is food that comes from an urban environment, again that is food from a settled population who have time to invest not only in grain farms, but ovens to bake bread. 

Butter, as some of you might know, comes from milk, usually cattle milk, and people who domesticated great beasts like cattle, camels, horses, goats, pigs, sheep, were nomadic, ie not civilized, again that is to say, did not live in cities.  It is hard to raise cattle in a city, very little for them to graze upon and the manure piles up quickly.

Dairy products were first developed by the semi nomadic pastoral peoples of the world. True many eventually settled down and adopted urban ways. Arabs are a great example, but so are Turks, Mongols (some), Huns, and others.

One story i have heard is that dairy products happened when nomadic horsemen stored milk in a leather bladder attached to the horse and as they galloped around in the heat, the milk churned into some kind of butter or yogurt. It was good, so they played around with it.  They now had an extra thing to trade with city people. Leather, meat, and now butter.

Butter is barbarian food because good “Civilized” people don’t have time to futz around touching non human boobs to extract milk….  and then churn it into butter. Well, they eventually learned. Once states expanded beyond the small hinterlands of a single city there became room for ranches. the Pastoral and Agrarian side of life was united in a new civilization type….

Retrospection on the 1963 march on washington

You know, thinking about Dr King today. When he got arrested for his activities and was stuck in Birmingham Jail he responded to a bunch of white preachers who recommended slowing down and letting time pass before pushing too hard for this equal rights stuff. Dr King wrote his letter explaining why he wasn’t going to wait any more.

Both sides were correct and both actions needed to be taken. How can you wait and at the same time push for reform? Because social reform takes decades. It has to. Society is written into our collective minds and that doesn’t change over night. One man may change, one thousand men and women may change over night, but all of society, the millions of us, that takes generations.

Fifty years ago the state sponsored depression segregation, that is, policies designed to depress one group below another. Some might say Affirmative action is depression segregation, but it was designed to be uplifting segregation, that is policies designed to uplift one group above another. The enforcement of this policy has some depressive components, however.  The state can be made to change much more quickly than society.

Racism is still around in our world. It wont go away easily because its a nice scapegoat. It gets people elected and makes people feel better when they fail due to their own short-comings.

Racism is but one form of bigotry (and i have endless debates trying to explain how racism is a new form of bigotry and not an old one)  and blaming others, turning disagreements into personal attacks, fearing change, difference, or otherness, all of this is part of the human condition. All of it won’t be overcome with education because education isn’t the answer. Education can’t change who you are, just what you know about.  

If you put a racist into a library with hopes that they read King, Gandhi and others and they end up reading Byrd, Duke, Hitler, Stalin, and Wilson. History is full of justifications of racism and hate. Send him to read letter from the Burmingham jail and he might pick up another tract written from jail… Mein Kampf.

Telling some one “hey people of this type are not that way” and they turn around and say “but this person has evidence that such-and-such people are out to get us, degenerate, sub human, and need nothing but our final solution.”

Remember that education isn’t the answer, it can’t be. you can’t fix stupid. Remember the real solution is being an example and outlasting them. This is were the preachers who told Dr King to wait and where Dr King who wouldn’t wait come together. King was the example, the man how stood up and said “this is how it should be!” and the preachers were the men who knew it wouldn’t happen in 1963, or 1973, but maybe in 1983 or 1993.

Lets review the progress. in 1993 a pair of black men, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson were enthralling all of America with their skills. A black man stood on the supreme court, the second black man at that! A black man was governor of Virginia (a southern state).

In the last few years there has been strain. Politically speaking President Obama who grew up in the aftermath of civil rights was weened on the idea that the country was inherently unfair. He combined post war European socialism and the post civil rights black racism into something that has exposed a toxic chancre in the USA. But it is only a chancre where before it had been a cancer. Chancres are annoying and you keep poking them for some sadistic reason. But they can go away with the right ointment.  It will not be too many more decades before all of this is returned to the history books.  In only a handful of decades when a deranged white man kills a black man no one will cry “racism!” they will only mourn the loss of a man and ponder the insanity of another. A trial will be had, and Jessie Jackson’s heirs will be no where around.

Perhaps by 2063 people will look back and interview old men and women of all races and ask “what was it like living in a time when people truly cared about the color of one’s skin?”