If you are different, you are less.

 

A number of years ago in a very conservative state, a state that went very strong for Trump and which in the past had voted for every conservative political referendum, and voted for anything that granted superiority of a particular religious view over all others, a statue to the Land Run was being dedicated.

While the western half of what is now the state had been given away to settlers, the eastern part was “Indian Territory” and was to remain that way as long as the grass grew and the waters ran. However, through a series of post Dawes commission legal tricks and maneuvers this land soon became owned by settlers who had the lawyers willing to play a land grab game for a good price.

The Dawes Commission, which was created to evaluate the tribes, found that the communal living and tribal, not personal, ownership of land had prevented poverty and hunger, and because families were responsible for all members, no child was an orphan or left on his or her own. It was an idyllic and successful arrangement.

But the Commission ignored its own findings and concluded that, as good as the tribal system had been, the tribes had to be introduced, actually forced, to adopt the American way of life.

To that end tribal land was divided into parcel that would become the property of individual tribal members, and this actually introduced poverty and hunger to where it had not been, and orphaned children were sentm to “Indian Schools” where they were made into good Americans by having the Indian beat out of them.

Each Native American, regardless of age, was allotted a certain number of acres. But since minors in the United States coukd not own and manage property, the land given to children was put under the care of guardians who raped that land while the children were in the Indian schools, and whatever profits fromlease or resources should have gone to the minor went to the guardian.

The profits from lumber and oil that should have been held until the children reached majority was pocketed by their guardians assigned by the courts until they reached adulthood and found themselves poor and often landless.

Tribes lost their battle to maintain what was theirs by the conveniently ignored treaties entered into by the U.S government and the tribes when they were removed by Indian Removal acts when many endured the trail of tears.

Instead of tribal members being the richest people in the state because of the natural resources on and under their lands, they became the poorest, and the settlers and children of the settlers condemned, and continue to condemn them for their poverty..

When statehood was declared, to mark the occasion a faux wedding was staged at the original Capitol in Guthrie where a male actor playing a settler married a woman portraying a Native American woman to symbolize the joining of the western territory with Indian Territory to become one state.

Although romantic in nature, it cruelly mirrored the Dawes commission provision that while a male Native American marrying a non-Native woman could keep his land, the land of a woman Native American would become the property of her settler husband upon marriage, and she would lose any claim to it. Settlers marrying Native American women was an easy way to come to own land you otherwise could not afford or was out of reach because it was allotment land, and there was no way to guarantee such a marriage was not a planned sham.

So a statue of a man jumping from his horse to plant the stake with which to claim the land was objectionable to the descendants of those whose lands were taken and to whom the land should still belong.

During the dedication ceremony held in the town that bore the name of the tribe who had their land swindled from under them, a group of tribal members were standing nearby protesting.

As one of the news stations was broadcasting the event live, a woman in the crowd of spectators turned on one of the protesters and in a spasm of total disconnect yelled that he needed to go home where you belong.

The protester smile and calmly said he was home.

I bring this up because of a story out of Arizonan where during an anti-immigration rally at the state Capitol a pro trump protester accosted a brown skinned man approaching the building, demanding to know if he was in the country “illegally”. Obviously, judging by things said to other brownish people that had been accosted, she was likely ready to tell him to go home and that he was not wanted here.

He replied by telling the person not to ask him such a question, and kept walking but not without  comments about illegals not being wanted here.

The brownish man as State Representative Eric Descheenie, a Navajo lawmaker.

Later he commented to the press,

“I’m indigenous to these lands. My ancestors fought and died on these lands. I just told them, ‘Don’t ask me that question.’”

There is, in the Southwest, a group of people known as the “Invisible Minority.” They are the descendants of those indigenous people who were there when the Spanish arrived, back before there were artificial borders.  Because of the imposition of the Spanish culture there, those people eventually took on Hispanic names, and today are assumed to be Hispanic, not Native American, and are often assumed to be Mexicans and, therefore, immigrants.

There are people there who have lived in the same area for a few millennia, and without moving have been citizens or subjects of a variety of European designated countries.

A native American whose family goes back to the mists of time can conceivably have lived there when there was no country designation, only to have lived over time on land claimed by Spain and France, were told they lived in Mexico when it became a country, spent some time in the Republic of Texas, and ended up living in the United States while never having moved more than a few yards from the location of where an ancestor built the family’s first hogan.

And many are being told by the descendants of European settlers that they are not wanted where they are and need to just go home.

If you are different, you are a target of uninformed hatred.

Nunes’s cat

Representative Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says he has a memo that could very well destroy special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign. The memo discredits FBI work central to Mueller’s work.

Nunes claims, however, that it cannot be made public because it is classified, and it is classified because it is based on a classified file that means you cannot check the information that Nunes memo claims it is based on.

The intelligence panel voted along party lines to let all members read the four-page summary of the Nunes investigation into the FBI and the Justice Department’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, in a classified setting, but they cannot check to see how correct the conclusions in it are because they cannot see the file it is based on.

“I know something you don’t now and it proves I am right, but I can’t show you the proof that I am right because it’s a secret.”

House conservatives who have reviewed the report say the American public would be shocked to learn about what they believe is widespread abuse by the FBI , if, of course, what is in that memo is actually based on what is in the classified file they cannot see.

Nunes has a credibility problem when it comes to backing up his claims.

Last March, at the time Trump had been claiming President Obama had wire tapped his offices in Trump Tower without citing any evidence to support  the claim, Nunes announced that he’d received information that the names of some people on Trump’s transition team were in internal intelligence reports concerning surveillance operations targeting suspected foreign spies

Although no one seemed to know where Nunes had gotten this information, the congressman had gone to the White House grounds by himself the night before his announcement, so there is the distinct possibility that the White House itself gave him the information so that he could provide Trump with some cover for his baseless accusation,

Just days before Nunes made his announcement, Trump has told Fox News that evidence to back up his wiretapping claims would soon emerge, while FBI Director James Comey publicly testified that there was no evidence that then President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.

Not long after this chain of events, Nunes’ office confirmed that his allegations are based on reports that came from the White House.

So, the source of the information Nune’s used to back up the White House claims was the Whit House.

This was a lack of honesty on the part of the man who now claims his summation of a classified file is based on file that no one can look at.

Republicans claim the report shows rampant FBI abuse during 2016 and misuse of the FISA law, but Democrats say that Nunes’ memo is skewed to help the White House undercut the Mueller.

This memo is a political Schrodinger’s cat. It is both true and false until we can see the source file.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has pointed out that the Nunes memo is

“Rife with factual inaccuracies and referencing highly classified materials that most of Republican Intelligence Committee members were forced to acknowledge they had never read, this is meant only to give Republican House members a distorted view of the FBI. This may help carry White House water, but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals.”

Members of neither the Democratic House Intelligence Committee nor the Republican House Intelligence Committee have seen the underlying intelligence to support Nunes’s memo.

Meow.

Or not.

the persecuted male speaks

On January 20, 2018, there was a meeting before the Women’s March in New Bedford, and the organizers limited the attendance to women, although men took part in the March afterwards, the rally in front of the downtown library, and the small get together after in the room where the meeting had been held.

This was understandable as those in attendance may have wanted to express thoughts and opinions in a safe space with people of like mind and experiences. The presence of men could very well have limited the free flow of the discourse. Some women would probably want to speak without fear of judgment or lack of empathy, while others might have been attending the meeting after much internal debate having never attended a meeting like this before and at which they may speak about their concerns and experiences publically and for the first time ever.

Although the media was not barred, the organizers specified they wanted only female reporters in attendance.

Again, the desire was to have the coverage as close to the actual proceedings and content as possible without the fear of its being filtered through the male perspective which, as pure as the intentions of the reporter may have been, had a greater chance of misrepresentation and bias than with women reporting.

The male reporters would have filtered their coverage through a male perspective and understanding, and their presence could have impaired free expression and would have been a subtle and unintentional form of control and disruption.

A male host on the local talk radio station, a station that is known for its heavily conservative bias, wrote an opinion piece on the event the following day on the radio station’s website condemning it as having been an example of hypocrisy as the women who in his words “screech” about discrimination, not only exercised it themselves, but in so doing violated the freedom of the press by their requirement that reporters be women.

It is important to note, they did not bar members of the media from attending, but wanted those who did to be women for obvious reasons.

With women reporting on women and the content of the discussion they had, there would have been a better chance of reportage being more faithful to the meeting than how a male might have reported it. Something that was important to the women may not have seemed so to a male, with the opposite being true, and the reportage could be skewed because of that.

The radio host’s claim of First Amendment suppression was somewhat illustrative of the problem many of the women may have spoken of, ie the lack of women employed in certain male dominated positions because the station had no women reporters to send, or so it claimed, nor, it would seem, any female employees in any position who could be sent to cover the event for that matter. This would be hard to accept, especially when, once it was pointed out that only 15% of the station’s on air talent are women, the defense was that 50% of their off air employees are female, yet it was decided that none of them were capable of covering the meeting for the station.

I am not a reporter, but this blog has shown I can report on things I have participated in, as could a woman from the station have done in this case.

In spite of the time between the event’s being announced and its taking place, the station could not find a woman employee who would attend and report? Or was their intention to create a situation they were hoping to complain about?

Again there was no lock out of the press, but obviously the station was unable to send a woman, or chose not to so it could have a false issue to bloviate about.

They sent a male reporter.

The women may not have been all that incorrect in assuming a male would not speak about the discussion in the meeting in a faithful way. The opinion piece to which I referred described the meeting as being held in the bowels of the building, obviously to imply something hidden and nefarious. In reality, the meeting was held in a building that had once been a department store, and took place on the ground floor in a large corner room that had two glass facades, one facing a street with high pedestrian traffic due to its location, the other the vacant lot behind that is used as a pedestrian walk way.

Obviously a purposeful misrepresentation.

Further evidence of bias was the author’s describing the women who participated as “those screeching against discrimination”.

Males discuss and offer reasoned arguments concerning things they oppose. Women screech.

According to one of the radio station employees, defending the women’s restriction would have been a valid position if the male reporter “had been allowed in, stripped himself naked and screamed something contrary or disruptive to the message of those speaking and assembling, but that isn’t what happened.”

Obviously this lacks the understanding that disruptions do not always have to be loud and demonstrative, but can be quiet and subtle if it effectively silences those who would have spoken without it.

Sometimes presence is enough to stifle.

At the school I taught at in Southern California in the 1980s many parents and students were immigrants, and of those many were refugees from the wars taking place in Central America at the time. On one particular parents’ night the parents were gathered in the auditorium for the introductory speeches and award presentations. While it had no affect on the other parents, when the Junior ROTC students walked unannounced into the auditorium for the presentation of colors and quietly lined up along the two sides of the auditorium, there was panic among the Central American parents and students, some of whom fled out the doors at the rear of the room. Those who remained were visibly nervous and kept surreptitiously looking over at the ROTC, and only became visibly relaxed when they left. However, they were obviously not as cheerful about the proceedings then as their smiles and chatter had shown they were before.

The JROTC were not screaming and acting in a demonstrative manner, but their mere uniformed presence was threatening and disruptive to those for whom the quiet entrance of people in military uniforms had been a harbinger of death.

Fear is disruptive.

Having not experienced what the Central Americans had, the other parents may not have understood the reaction, but their understanding or lack of it did not change the reality of the people whose participation in the program was stopped immediately.

This had been a silent and silencing disruption.

So here, with the pre-Women’s March meeting, we have yet another case of those with privilege feeling persecuted because something either does not include them, can happen without their input, or they experienced the same treatment they have traditionally meted out to others.

People without the experiences should not be so eager to pass judgment on the actions of those who have had them.

It must be tough to be a male in the United States what with all the historical mistreatment they have suffered at the hands of women.

 

Limbo

The early Christian church had a problem.

Only those could be saved who had accepted Jesus Christ and were baptized. Some more contemporary churches would say you are not saved unless you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. My father, a Boston Irish Catholic from the old school, would occasionally joke about some really Christ-like person who was not Catholic saying, “Nice person. Too bad they won’t be saved.”

But the early church had a geography problem. There were a lot of people who were in places disciples couldn’t get to, North and South America are two such examples, so they could not get baptized.

What happens to them now?

It is one thing to reject Christ, but what about those who have not heard of Him. Between Adam and Eve with the apple and Jesus showing up, there were a lot of people who died with that Original Sin that Jesus was coming to erase, and obviously would have had no chance to accept or reject Him.

The church solved that problem by explaining that over that weekend between His death and resurrection, whatever He spent His time doing, one thing Jesus did was go to where all the dead people were hanging around twiddling their thumbs and introduce Himself, giving them the chance to be saved. Apparently, since no one said otherwise, they all took the deal and went to heaven. But this applied only to good people as the bad ones had already been sent to hell. There was no uncertainty for those guys.

Those good people Jesus saved were in for a surprised since they hadn’t known how much better heaven was going to be and thought all those years they had been in the best place possible. It had been like thinking that the local amusement park was the best place to be, and then getting to go to Disneyland.

But this still left the baby problem.

Adults can hear the teachings and then either accept or reject them, so the heaven or hell thing is somewhat acceptable, if you don’t count those who haven’t heard about Him yet, and who still need a place to go.

The babies.

They can’t understand what is said to them for a good year, so what chance did they have to accept or reject the noises they hear people pushing in their direction. So the practice began to baptize the babies soon after birth so that the babies would be saved, assuming they would continue to accept Jesus when they got older and knew words.

But what about those still-born ones and the ones who died between birth and baptism? They couldn’t be sent to hell. That would be so un-Christ-like.

So, Limbo was invented. That place all those people who had died between the Garden of Eden and Jesus  went was reopened and called Limbo.

These “Innocents”, whether newborn babies or isolated people in places where missionaries haven’t shown up to give them the either/or choice went to Limbo where they enjoy what they think is ultimate bliss because they have not done anything that warrants hell, but also not the right thing to go to heaven. They will spend eternity thinking this is the best that is.

Basically Limbo is that place you put people you don’t know what to do with. You just hang them out there.

They haven’t committed any sins because they don’t know the rules they would have to break in order to do that. They are too young.

The early church made up all these rules and then held people who didn’t know about them, the babies that is, to them, and then threatened them with some sort of punishment because of situations over which they had no control.

I have no idea why they didn’t just acknowledge the babies have no real responsibility for things and would just give them a break.

But people in charge like having rules that insure that power, and go to great lengths to find ways to maintain that power. Of course, part of that is just putting people in Limbo because you just don’t want to address the absurdity, or revamp the faulty approach they have been using.

The DREAMers have broken no laws. They came as children with the parents they had no reason, or capacity to question. They lived according to the rules they know.

And now, as they wait to learn what will happen to them, they are placed in Limbo, but unlike the people who are supposedly in the real one, they had a chance to see the American dream, and know what they could be a part of, if the people in charge would look at reality and adjust.

 

 

He isn’t

When I was a kid in elementary school, the nuns told us all about the saints hoping we might become like at least one of them. Of course, whether or not we did was not simply a question of our proclaiming it, but it had to be witnessed by others and display consistency. You couldn’t say you were like St Jerome, the hermit who lived and prayed in the wilderness merely because you stayed in your room one night eating just one slice of pizza instead of two, watching  news shows on television instead of the stuff you liked while claiming you are a hermit separated from the world while fasting.

You might not have had to move into the mountains and live in a cave, but you did have to live with his spirit.

We all want to be like someone much better than our self-esteem allows us to think we are, and we want others to think that too.

Donald Trump wants to be just like Ronald Reagan or to at least be thought of as such.

He said so.

In explaining the new Trump, the one who sold himself to whoever would buy his act that he was their candidate, especially evangelicals he said,

“If you look at Ronald Reagan, and he was a Democrat, he was actually, he was a Democrat with a very liberal, or at least a pretty liberal bent, and he became a Republican with a somewhat conservative — I wouldn’t say very, but he was a conservative Republican.”

And how he suffers the same slings and arrows as Ronnie.

“I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!”

The problem there is that people had been looking to the book he referred to as containing proof that Trump is not all there, and Ronald Regan had that same problem when people began to wonder if he was suffering with a touch of Alzeimers.

Sort of in line with this he tweeted,

“Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence.”

When he touted his tax plan he claimed,

“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago. It eliminated dozens of loopholes and special interest tax breaks, reduced the number of tax brackets from 15 to two, and lowered tax rates for both individuals and businesses. At the time, it was really something special. It was a time of extraordinary optimism — it was truly ‘Morning in America,’ an economic miracle for the middle class.”

He was just like Reagan, if, of course, Reagan’s plan had not been a bipartisan bill in whose formulation Congressional Republicans and Democrats worked together with Reagan.

With his “Make America Great Again” he points out that Reagan’s America was the last time America was great.

But the big difference that threatens the necessary consistency to merit a real likeness was the bill that allowed migrants to qualify for temporary status if they showed that they entered the United States before Jan. 1, 1982, and had continuously resided since then, and which could get them permanent residency within 18 months if they met certain requirements, such as learning English. The program took effect in 1987, and covered 350,000 people who had worked in U.S. agriculture at least 90 days in each of the preceding three years.

2.7-million migrants got green cards.

Reagan called it amnesty, and Edwin Meese, Reagan’s former attorney general, explained the law this way,

 “President Reagan called this what it was: amnesty. Indeed, look up the term ‘amnesty’ in Black’s Law Dictionary, and you’ll find it says, ‘the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already in the country.’ “

The difference is Trump wants to play with the DACA kids and has gone so far as to throw over 1,000 out of the country after they served in the military.

Trump is no Ronald Reagan

 

 

 

an economic fable

An old man was walking in an unused field near where many children often played, and found a wide and very deep hole, as deep as he was tall.  He thought this could be dangerous since any child running in the area could accidentally fall into the hole and not be found until it was too late.

The old man asked around, but it seemed whoever owned the land and was responsible for the hole had moved on leaving the hole behind.

So, whenever he had the chance, the old man would bring a wheelbarrow full of dirt and dump the contents in the hole. He did this as often as he could, but it was not the only thing in his life, so it took quite a number of trips.

Another man had seen the old man pass by his house occasionally, but then only the part of the trip when the wheelbarrow as filled with dirt, and told his neighbors about the obviously feeble minded old man who was always pushing a wheelbarrow filled with dirt  down the street.

The man’s neighbors began to watch him as well.

After a few months, he had filled the hole within three inches of the rim, but on what should have been his last trip to finally fill the hole, he felt a pain in his chest and went home to rest where he died that night.

When the man who had made fun of him noticed he had not seen the old man for a few days, out of curiosity, after mentioning this to his neighbors,  he and a few of them walked in the direction the old man had always walked when pushing his dirt filled wheelbarrow to maybe see what he had been doing.

As they walked through the unused field, they came upon the old man’s wheelbarrow lying on its side with its contents spilled out of it and a shovel lying beside it.

While the others looked on, one of them shoveled the remaining dirt into the hole giving it a small additional inch high mound on top.

Many parents of the children who played in that field praised him because their children could have skinned a knee tripping on the rim of the hole as they ran by it. Having seen the wheelbarrow with the dirt spilling out of it, they couldn’t understand why the old man had begun digging such a dangerous hole, and some got angry at the old man.

In their praise of the man who put the last dirt on the hole, few of those who had seen the old man with the wheelbarrow filled with dirt seemed to recall that he was always walking toward, not away from the hole with it.

Although the old man had filled in the lower 5’7” of the hole, those who looked on had only seen the last 4 inches being put on the top.

When he left office, President Clinton left his successor a hefty surplus which he in turn reversed, leaving his successor with an economy that was the worst depression since the big one in1929.

This president’ successor had to make a major course correction, and, in spite of the expressed plan of his opponents to make him a one term president, and attempting to make that happen through continuous obstruction, he set in motion the improvement of the economy..

What is happening with the economy now isn’t something that began at the bottom or which suddenly happened, but is the continuation of what began before the present president took office, but for which he is more than happy to claim  total responsibility for.

The hole he claims he filled alone is merely topping off the progress he inherited.

 

They did it again

Apparently forgetting that there are DACA people in the military who could be sent away to a country they were taken from by their parents and, so , know nothing about, and from the country they grew up in and joined the military to defend, and forgetting most Americans who pay attention have seen repeatedly that as long as troops are good photo ops or can be used as the go to “victim” to justify some harebrained political proposal, but are abandoned the moment they are of no use, losing benefits and programs, the Republicans, with Trump leading the charge, have decided on a tactic of claiming that the other party that wants to do right by the DREAMers must hate the troops.

But no amount of flag pins worn, bunting hung, and loud, but empty, protestations of utter troop support can erase or hide the reality.

As the government shut down, there was an attempt to play the troops against the DREAMERS by calling the DREAMers “illegal aliens” that people want to protect while claiming the troops are being betrayed by having their pay frozen.

Trump tried to do this by tweeting,

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!”

and

“A government shutdown will be devastating to our military…something the Dems care very little about!”,

Mitch McConnell, with the appropriate breaking voice verging on tears, told the Democrats as the shutdown they were willing to accept unless DACA was dealt with as it should have been before Trump changed his mind again was approaching,

For America’s men and women in uniform, shutting down the government means delayed pay.” 

But the truth we are not supposed to know or remember, if we once knew it, is that before the shutdown, Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, had proposed a measure to guarantee military families get paid even during it.

As she stated,

“I don’t want one moment to pass with there being any uncertainty of any soldier anywhere in the world that they will be paid for the valiant work they do on behalf of our national security…I ask for immediate consent.”

Mitch McConnell objected to her proposal.

He complained that the Democrats did not like the troops and preferred foreigners to them, and, yet, he is the one who, as the head of the Senate majority, prevented a pro-troop action.

If the proposal was brought up for a vote and passed, the GOP, and Trump, would have lost their manufactured victim tactic.

This is not supporting the troops.