Tag Archives: Georgia

On April 10, the 208th Anniversary of the Birth of His Grace, CSA General Leonidas Polk, the First Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana

In thirty days, that is, on April 10, it will be the 208th Anniversary of the Birth of His Grace, General Leonidas Polk, the First Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana.  

OK, the Anglicans were clearly latecomers in Louisiana.  The RCs got here a long time before….although their Bishopric only preceded ours by a scant 48 years.  The RC ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS (NOVÆ AURELIÆ) was only erected on 25 April, 1793, as the Diocese of Saint Louis of New Orleans; raised to its present rank and title of Archdiocese on 19 July, 1850.  Amazingly enough to contemplate, the RC Bishop of New Orleans’ original territory comprised the entire original Louisiana purchase plus both East and West Florida, being bounded on the north by Canadian, on the west by the Rocky Mountains and the Rio Perdito, on the east by the English-speaking RC Diocese of Baltimore, and on the south by the Diocese of Linares and the Archdiocese of Durango.  The present boundaries of the RC Archdiocese include the State of Louisiana, between the twenty-ninth and thirty-first degree of north latitude, an area of 23,208 square miles (constantly shrinking due to bad hydraulic and wetland management, but that is a different story).

So it is no surprise that the political and ecclesiastical history of Louisiana are inextricably intertwined.  But Bishop Polk was, as they say, something completely different from any other prelate of local or even national memory.  He was a fighter.  I think it is important to remember and celebrate his 208th birthday this year because we have the opportunity to combine this celebration with the sesquicentennial memorial of his death and martyrdom on June 14, 2014, the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his death from enemy cannon fire atop Pine Mountain in Cobb County, Georgia.  Cobb County’s county seat is Marietta, and it is the last county guarding the northern suburbs of Atlanta (Marietta is now, pretty much a northern suburb of Atlanta, but in the historical metaphor for Scarlett O’Hara’s mythic reality, it was separate.

And it was there, in the 32nd year of Cobb County’s creation out of the Cherokee nation, that General Leonidas Polk died defending the “Old South” (was it really old when it had only existed for 31 solid years—by it’s 32nd Birthday on 2 December 1864—Cobb County was occupied by Sherman’s troops and thus under the heals of the most brutal enemy any Americans had ever known.  Yes indeed, to Southern Partisans and Confederate Patriots, General Leonidas Polk died a hero to right and Constitutional Government, every bit as much as, perhaps more even, than King Charles the Martyr in January 1648/9.  Oliver Cromwell was probably a lot like Sherman, in his self-righteousness, but he lacked the technology and strength of force to be as savage and brutal.  And oddly enough, I doubt Cromwell would have used his power as brutally against his own people (Roundheads or Cavaliers) even if he had had it.  I could be wrong.

There is a Society of King Charles the Martyr (SKCM) to which my devoutly Anglo-Catholic Father belonged.  I have considered joining it.  And there SHOULD be a Society dedicated to the memory of His Grace, General Leonidas Polk of Louisiana.  If I could find any “fellow travelers” I would certainly organize such a society, and you’d think I’d have an easy time of it.

When in New Orleans, on most Sundays (and on this immediate past Ash Wednesday) I attend services at Christ Church Cathedral on St. Charles & Sixth Street, the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.   His Grace, General Polk, has a magnificent tombstone inside the Cathedral, just to the right of the altar (when facing the Cross) and behind the elaborately carved, elevated wooden pulpit. On other Sundays, more rare in the past but perhaps soon to be more commonly, I attend Holy Eucharist at Trinity Church on Jackson Street, built under the direction of Bishop Polk in the 1850s, with an auditorium called “Bishop Polk Hall.”

And yet everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana is totally embarrassed by General Leonidas Polk.  “He was a villain” said Christ Church Cathedral Dean David A. duPlantier on Sunday, 20 October of last year (2013), just before delivering a sermon on the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18: 1-8), which just happens to be one of my favorite texts in the Bible.  And yes, I thought the irony was delicious: that Dean DuPlantier so harshly and unjustly judged the founder of the Church where he preaches….  I have become much colder in my feelings towards Christ Church Cathedral ever since.  How can they dishonor their founder?  How can a people so viciously toss away and condemn their own heritage?  My grandmother was baptized in a Church (Holy Trinity) built by Bishop Polk in Nachitoches, Louisiana even before Trinity on Jackson here in New Orleans.  Holy Trinity in Nachitoches is, I think, the oldest standing Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi.  It may well be the oldest Protestant Church West of the Mississippi.  Trinity on Jackson is, to be sure, East of the Mississippi although only by a few blocks.

I grieve for the disregarded and disrespected heritage of my Southern Ancestors who fought for freedom.  I certainly do not grieve for the passing of slavery, but I think the price was much too high: in no other nation on earth did it require a bloody “civil war” to abolish slavery.   Nor was the War of 1861-65 really either a Civil War nor a War to End Slavery—it was the first experiment in self-righteous Yankee Imperialism by a powerful centralized government designed for world conquest for the benefit of the few, not the many, and above all for the occult purpose of instituting a form of government which can only by called, somewhat ironically, “Corporate Communism”—an oligarchy of institutions sponsored by the government and sponsoring the government, who protest and proclaim that their purpose is to redistribute wealth and grant equality to all people.  

To all people except those who remember and respect history, of course.

 

Argo, Iran, and the September 1-6 New Horizon International Independent Film Festival & Conference in Tehran

Three weeks ago, on September 29, 2012, I attended a lecture by Mark Weber at the Institute for Historical Review headquartered in Newport Beach, Orange County, California.  It was a major eye-opener for me, and I would encourage anyone and everyone interested in international politics to listen to what Mark Weber had to say:  http://www.ihr.org/audio/MWIran092912.mp3.  

As a matter of fact, as I told Mark Weber after his speech, I think this presentation should be required listening in every college, high school, and army and navy recruitment center in the USA…..especially the latter.

Weber’s address focused on the questions of whether Iran poses a threat of nuclear or convention aggression in the West Asian arena, whether Iran has or plans to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, and whether the Israeli Prime Minister’s recent “saber rattling” against Iran rests on any rational basis.  

Weber answered summarily and categorically “no” to each of these questions, and as background discussed his recent visit to Tehran to speak at the conference held in conjunction with the First Independent International Filmmakers Festival “New Horizon” sponsored by: http://indfilmfest.com/ujcke3, held from September 1-September 6 of this year.

Apparently very few Americans were in attendance, owing doubtless to Iran’s reputation in this country as part of what our penultimate President W. Bush called “Axis of Evil” along with current member North Korea and (former?) member Libya.

Weber’s portrayal of Iran was certainly not of an evil nation or of a people anxious for war or “jihad” against the West, but Iran has had the dubious distinction of straddling all world conflicts as the largest truly “non-aligned” nation in Asia, throughout the 20th and now 21st centuries.  Iran stayed out of World Wars I and was only drawn into World War II, “kicking and screaming” by a joint British-Soviet invasion to secure the oilfields of the country, and Iran declared war on Germany in 1943 and thus became eligible for membership in the newly envisioned but then only just barely nascent United Nations.

What happened after World War II in Iran was one of the least known but most decisive events in shaping the Cold-War and Post-Cold War environments in Europe.

To wit, in 1951, a Democratic-Social reformer  Prime Minister of Iran Mohammed Mosaddeq (also “Massaddegh”), appointed by the Shah, persuaded the Iranian parliament to nationalize the British-owned oil industry, in what became known in the international press as the Abadan Crisis.

The Shah owed his crown to British power and his wealth to British Oil, but he did little or nothing to stop or restrain Mossaddegh. Despite British pressure, including an economic blockade, the nationalization and seizure of all British Oil Interests continued. Mossadegh (the 60th Prime Minister of Iran) left office briefly 1952 but was quickly re-appointed by the shah as the 62nd prime minister, due to a popular uprising in Mossadegh’s support. The Shah himself went briefly into exile in August 1953 after a failed military coup by Imperial Guard Colonel Nematollah Nassiri.  

Then  on August 19, 1953, a successful coup was organized by the American (CIA) with the active support of the British (MI6) (known as Operation Ajax).   The nominal leader of this coup was headed by a retired army general Fazlollah Zahedi.   The coup included a propaganda campaign of disinformation and outright lies designed to turn the population against Mossaddegh, finally forced Mossaddegh from office.

These events of sixty years ago have lingered bitterly in the memory of Iranians of all classes until the present time. Mossadegh was arrested and tried for treason. Found guilty, his sentence reduced to house arrest on his family estate while his foreign minister, Hossein Fatemi, was executed. Zahedi succeeded him as prime minister.  The new British and American supported regime suppressed all opposition to the Shah, specifically the National Front and Communist Tudeh Party.

Last year on this blog I described Josh Tickell’s movie “The Big Fix” as the best documentary ever produced in the United States.  It covered the history of Mossadegh’s deposition by the British oil interests as one of the key starting points for understanding British Petroleum’s complete indifference to democracy and human life seen throughout the 2010 “Deep Horizon” Oil spill and its aftermath off the coast of Louisiana.  

Earlier this year, other pundits proclaimed Dinesh D’Souza’s “Obama 2016″ as the greatest documentary of all time, but D’Souza would clearly NOT have felt at home at the International Filmmaker’s conference in Tehran because of his vociferous support of Israel, and his criticism of Obama for taking a “soft” stance against Iran and the “threat” it poses.

All this brings up a very interesting point, ONLY radicals (of both the right and left) ever have anything good to say about Iran and/or anything bad to say about Israel.  Dinesh D’Souza singled out Dr. Edward Said (Ph.D. 1964, Harvard GSAS) as one of Obama’s personal “Founding Fathers.” Ironically enough Said was a nearly exact contemporary and sometime classmate (in English Literature) together with my late father.  According to Dinesh D’Souza, Said influenced Obama against Israel and shaped his thinking about the Post-Colonial World.  

Again, readers of this Blog know that I despise Barack Hussein Obama with the bloodiest of purple passions, but I cannot say a single bad thing about Edward Said, no do I think that Said was a socialist or anti-American in any of the ways Obama quite clearly is. Indeed, it is somewhat ironic to me that Dinesh D’Souza would attack Said, since they are both Christians born in populations which are overwhelmingly “something else”).

Quite aside from the fact that my father had known him in graduate school, and always spoke highly of him, I attended at least two dozen lectures by Said over the course of about 30 years from New Orleans 70118 to Cambridge 02138 and from New Haven 06511 to Chicago 60637.  I was never once less than overwhelmed by his erudition and articulate presentation of the relationship between the Arab-Islamic and Anglo-Christian worlds.  Said was born Jerusalem to Palestinian Christian parents (his mother hailed from Jesus’ town of Nazareth), and Said advocated justice for the non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs, both Christian and Muslim.  

Whether D’Souza has justly grouped Said with Obama or not, the perception of most “mainstream” conservatives (and centrist liberals) in the United States is that only radicals of the left or right could possibly say anything bad about Israel or anything good about Iran.  Despite admiring Edward Said almost as much as D’Souza claims Obama does, I am generally of a radical right-wing persuasion, if any at all.

Among the radical rightists who have supported Iran are David Duke of Louisiana, whose commentaries on the (in many ways inspiring, and technically irreproachable) movie The 300 (about the Spartan resistance at Thermopylae—a name which means “Hot Springs” in Greek) show how certain pro-Israeli propagandists were preparing to turn the American population against Iran by massive disinformation equivalent to the old American & British Campaigns against Mossaddegh.  See especially: http://www.davidduke.com/?p=2381 “The Movie 300: Neocon Racial Propaganda for War.”

Now I cannot sympathize in the least with David Duke’s obsessive antisemitism, but (again ironically), Duke in all his commentaries on Iran directly echoes Edward Said in his judgment that American perceptions of Iran rest on media disinformation and politically motivated mischaracterizations intended to dehumanize the people of Iran.  

I am probably the only person on planet earth to see a major analytical parallel between David Duke’s racial politics and Edward Said’s post-Colonial, post-modern deconstruction of American popular culture perceptions of Iran. But my analysis fits in with the routine conundrum it is to say that ONLY the radical left-and-right wingers oppose Israel.  

The late William F. Buckley once (back in the 1970s I think, during or shortly after the Henry Kissinger era) satirically commented that so central was Israel to American National Defense Policy that it would make sense to admit Israel as the 51st state of the Union.  Buckley noted in support of this proposal that the 4500 air miles from Washington D.C. to Honolulu are only approximately 1000 miles less than the distance from Washington to Tel Aviv…. and that Guam remains a recognized U.S. Territory at 9,000 miles from Washington….

Mark Weber highlighted, as has Representative Ron Paul, that Israel remains to this day the center of U.S. Foreign Policy—more critical in so many ways than the U.K., Germany, or Japan—

Men of my father’s and grandfather’s generation read the poetry of the East as part of a “Gentleman’s education” (only partly as Colonialists in Said’s interpretation, but also as men seeking deeper understanding of the wisdom of the world, especially in conjunction with the mysticism of their beloved Scottish Rite Freemasonry.

As Mark Weber emphasized, most modern American perceptions divorce the people of Iran from their deep historical traditions of literate civilization, which has produced some of the most distinctive poetry and philosophy of both the pre-Islamic (e.g. Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta) and Islamic (e.g. Ferdowsi’s “Book of Kings” or Shahnama followed by the Sufi [“Sophy”] poets Rumi [The Masnavi and Divan-e Shams], Sadi, Hafiz Shirazi, and Al-Ghazali [e.g. “Alchemy of Happiness”] not to mention Scheherazade’s Thousand and one Nights which I, like countless generations of schoolboys before me, grew up reading in awe and fascination of the “mysterious orient”).

The concept of “mysterious east, land of snake charmers and flying carpets” got at least passing message in Ben Affleck’s new movie Argo which I finally got to see last night (October 19)—delayed by my going on two weeks in Fresno—but Peyton and I finally discovered that they DO have cinemas here…. and we desperately needed a break from the Medical Marijuana/Federal vs. State power constitutional controversies we’ve been working on.  

Argo is an excellent movie, whether you remember just how ashamed you were to be traveling abroad during America’s most disgraceful 444 days in history from November 4 1979-January 20 1981, or whether you’re of the modern (born, like my own son Charlie, in 1992 or after) generation for whom even the name of President Jimmy Carter conjures up nothing more than a little bit of a vague and fuzzy memory that he might or might not have been the first peanut farming Navy Officer from Georgia ever to become President…. and the first (and last) U.S. President to be born in the DEEP South (which does not include Texas) since before the War Between the States of 1861-65.

I remember the Iranian Revolution distinctly and I remember thinking it was a very bad thing.  The Shah had favored the modernization and Westernization of Iran—women could wear dresses without veils and things like that.  

The outrages of the Oil-Based Political Economy became intolerable in 1973—but not only did the American people accept that status quo without revolution, they did not seek to punish the oil companies for their price-gouging and irrational profiteering and the wild fluctuations in the price of oil (with a steady and inexorable upward trend) that has become a permanent feature of our lives…..

In any event, Argo did not “trash” the Islamic Revolutionary Iranians but it portrayed them very much as I remember them from the “mainstream media” in 1979-1981.  They were definitely America’s enemies.  At Chichén Itzá on my archaeological project, one of my student assistants Rafael “Rach” Cobos Palma used to go around with a towel on his head (before “towel-head” was considered a politically incorrect racist epithet) chanting “Death to America” and periodically trying to rattle me by reporting fictitious news items that the price of oil had doubled or tripled and the dollar had accordingly collapsed…. He thought this was the funniest thing on earth since back in those days I was working in Mexico on that extremely advantageous dollar-to-peso exchange rate that prevailed throughout the 1980s.  

Argo was basically historically truthful in all details, so far as I can tell anyhow.  The cast and script were both beyond reproach, from Affleck’s heroic role as Anthony Mendez to John Goodman’s predictably brilliant and humorous performance as John Chambers [Clea Helen D’etienne DuVall has certainly had a fascinating career since she played Marcie Ross the invisible girl in the First Season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—Episode 11 “Out of Mind, Out of Sight”.]

In any event—Argo reminded me of the first time I bitterly reflected on Iran as a true humiliation to the United States.  We (our UK and US governments and the American and British oil cartels whcih control our governments) created the Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi as an absolute monarch.  He had started out, during his early post-war years as a young King, apparently in favor of Mossaddegh and Constitutional Democracy) and supported him blindly, ignoring the unhappiness of the vast majority of the people of Iran.  

Reza Pahlevi ended his life and career envisioned by many of his people as a blood-sucking vampire.  But the US supported the Shah and, as Argo clearly showed, our intelligence did not anticipate, perceive, or recognize any threat to his rule as late as a month before he fell in 1978.  Our country was then humiliated by the Revolutionary Guard of the nascent Islamic Republic over and over again, not least when Ross Perot sent in a private paramilitary team which literally crashed and burned….

When I first heard that Ronald Reagan might have authorized or encouraged Oliver North to purchase Iranian weapons for the Contras of Iran, my first reaction was that Reagan was aiding and abetting the enemies of the United States and should be impeached for treason—and how could Reagan have done it when he knew all about the hostage crisis and how the Iranians had made us look like mental and moral midgets….McDonald’s munching morons whose only values were comfort and pleasure obtainable with the least possible effort….in thought or work.

Mark Weber’s perspective on Ahmadinejad marks the most major, thoughtful counterposition to the mainstream media views, which were (to the extent they were reasonable) formed and shaped by the Iranian Islamic Revolution and the Hostage Crisis, in which the Iranian actors played the parts of the most-grotesquely brutal haters of America.  As bad as the American role in the Shah’s rise and evolution as a tyrant may have been, there was not a single member of the embassy staff who could possibly have been held responsible.  The Iranians, as shown in Argo were just formulaically bullying their prize captive Americans as spies….and threatening them all with kangaroo trials and public executions…..

So Iran has suffered from its status as a Non-Aligned nation with significant oil wealth—it was reduced to a quasi-Colonial status right at the end of the Colonial Period, in the early 1950s—and was the first example of a nation colonized primarily for Oil—Oil at any cost, oil above all other human values.   

Mark Weber of the Institute of Historical Review gave a wonderful presentation—he is mostly conceived as a right-winger, although a much more academically respectable right-winger than “Dr.” David Duke with his degree from a rather obscure “Management” school (MAUP) in the Ukraine… 

Equally respectable and more directly politically active than Duke, currently, with less seemingly preposterous baggage, was another American in attendance at the New Horizon Independent Film-Fest in Tehran, Merlin Miller.  Merlin Miller is the Presidential candidate of the newly formed American Third Position “AP3” Party, which just came into existence in or about January 2010, formed and chaired by William D. Johnson, a Nippono-philic Los Angeles lawyer  currently running for Congress in Michigan’s “open” 11th Congressional District.  Merlin Miller has apparently only achieved ballot access in 3 states for the November election and California is not one of them.

What does it say about the United States that the only Americans of any note willing to attend a film festival in Iran are two solid right-wingers (Weber & Miller) and apparently several black film-makers and artists from the extreme left of Detroit and Miami?  Apparently, “core” Hollywood and Beverly Hills media figures were all but totally absent and unrepresented. 

And at this conference in Tehran, I get the impression that very little was said about the American popular conception of Iran—even a relatively positive perspective as formed in Josh Tickell’s 2011 The Big Fix, the mostly neutral but historically accurate portrayal in 2012’s Argo or the negative (but not particularly highlighted) view of Iran suggested in D’Souza’s Obama 2016.

Cultural exchange combined with political dialogue would, in my opinion, produce positive results between Iran and the US—and the American People MUST somehow become educated.  Mark Weber reports and I have independently confirmed that certain polls have shown that 71% of the U.S. population believe that Iran now possesses Nuclear Weapons.  

After the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” lies that roped us into Iraq—into COLONIZING Iraq—the American public DESERVE to hear Mark Weber and Merlin Miller speaking out about their recent first hand experience with the Iranian people and in particular with President Ahmadinejad. 

Did you know that intelligence and achievement are irrelevant to education? So the “Old Fifth” Circuit held in 1967…

12-04-1967 – Stell v Board of Public Ed for City of Savannah and Chatham County – 387 F2d 486 (Old Fifth Circuit 1967)

July 18 in History—-Great Fire of Rome under Nero, A.D. 64, End of Papal Authority in England under King Henry VIII in 1536, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf published in 1925 Edward Kennedy Drive’s off Chappaquiddick Bridge in 1969 while Apollo 11 Heading Towards the Moon—thoughts Tom Lehrer’s “The Year that Was” = 1965, also the first year without silver coinage in U.S. History, the year of (truly deadly) Immigration and Nationality Act if 1965, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the time-setting for Wes Anderson’s movie “Moonrise Kingdom”—with memories of an America that is truly Gone with the Wind….and July 18-23 there was massive flooding in Missouri….

I went to see Moonrise Kingdom for the Third Time last night and was reflecting on the significance of the choice of 1965 as the historical setting for a nostalgic movie about an all-white American small town community such as hardly exists anymore.  1965 was the subject of Tom Lehrer’s wonderful album of political and social satire called “The year that was”—“this year being the hundredth anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the 20th anniversary of the end of World War II, it’s been a good year for the War Buffs.”  He also noted that Malcolm X was assassinated that year on February 21, the first day of National Brotherhood Week, Winston Churchill died at the age of 90, and the nation trembled at the threat of Southern Resistance to Federal Power from Sheriff Clark in Georgia and (in a song about Nuclear Proliferation: “we’ll try to stay serene and calm, when ALABAMA gets the BOMB… who’s next? who’s next? who’s next?  WHO’S NEXT?”   The Heroic George Corley Wallace was then in his first term as Governor of that same terrifying Alabama… his first term was completed in 1966 and his wife Lurleen took over—as I’ve noted before, Lurleen in her short political career founded the school of theatre and dramatic arts which Suzanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games) attended.  If Lehrer could have foreseen the future in 1965, he probably also would have mentioned that this was Jim Garrison’s greatest year as District Attorney of Orleans Parish in New Orleans, when he began the investigations which ultimately led to his indictment of Clay Shaw for the Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the greatest of all of Oliver Stone’s movies, JFK.
1965 was indeed a critical year for the death of a much simpler, and a much better, America I knew only in its death agony years of 1966-1980 (I think it’s fair to say that, with the election of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the “Old America” was officially dead—it was Reagan’s job and role in history, in fact, to bury that old America even while he praised it….and appointed on fake conservative after another to stomp on the Old Constitutional Federal Republic’s grave….).
On a personal level, I did not know America at all in 1965 (except through TV and letters from my grandmother—people still wrote actual physical letters back then)—it was the last full year I was resident with my parents as toddler/small child in England.  My direct memories of the year are pretty much nil, the shock of relocating from Sloane Square in London, England to Highland Park in Dallas, Texas, was probably a much more powerful memory eraser than those flashes they use in “Men in Black”, especially at the age of 6….  But in 1965, there was the disastrous Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which set out to destroy whatever remained of the hopes that Adolf Hitler must have had in 1925 that America would be the future home and center of the “Greater German” race…. That was the year when Pakistanis and Indians were first invited to take over America’s gas stations, late night convenience stores, and motels.
And in fact, oddly enough, one of my earliest memories of an American businessman not related to me was of a certain “Mr. Lewis”—an elegant Southern White man who owned ran the Texaco station within walking distance (albeit “on the other side of the tracks”) from the Highland Park “Katy” Railway station.
Yes, there really was such a place, and yes, I really did learn how to walk or bike from my grandparents’ house to which I relocated in the summer of 1966 to Mr. Lewis’ filling station to buy “a penny’s worth of peanuts”—which was actually an extremely large cloth bag, probably about 2 lbs if memory serves.  Yes, that was a very different world.  Mr. Lewis was white (he lived just a few doors down from his Texaco Station, which he had operated probably for 30 years by the time I met him and continued to operate until he died around 1980 or so) and all of his employees were white, and nobody ever thought anything of it then, and probably nobody else now remembers him or his employees except me, but I’m writing it all down as a historical fact because it was.
The first important historical fact I ever learned about 1965, I learned by the time I was nine because I had by then become an avid coin collector: 1965 was that the year that the U.S. stopped minting silver coins.  That in itself (the abolition of silver coinage) was a great tragedy, but I didn’t learn until much later that the U.S. actually went off the Silver Standard, and thus (apparently) forever abandoned Constitutional Currency.  Coppernickel dimes, quarters, and fifty cent pieces just never looked quite right side-by-side with their silver predecessors.
By about 1974-75, finishing High School at 14, taking a year off to go with my grandfather while he supervised cleaning and lubrication processes in cold climates during the construction of the first Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline from Anchorage to Point Barrow, and then starting my undergraduate college years at Tulane University (in August 1975, when I was 15, with a fake ID so I could drink), I had learned that August of 1965 was the year of the great “Voting Rights Act” which Texas to this very day (July 2012) is contesting in Federal Court, even though it was passed under the signature of the first Texas President, who was (in retrospect) the most disloyal to his state that any President could possibly be.
  • July 18, Anno Domini 64 Great fire of Rome: A fire begins to burn in the merchant area of Rome and soon burns completely out of control while Emperor Nero reportedly plays his lyre and sings while watching the blaze from a safe distance. 
  • July 18, Anno Domini 390 “BC – Roman-Gaulish Wars: Battle of the Allia – A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.” 
  • July 18, 1100 Jerusalem’s Godfrey of Bouillon dies at age 39 after successful forays against the Seljuk Turks that have taken him as far as Damascus
  • July 18, 1195 “Battle of Alarcos, great victory of Almohad ruler Abu Yusuf Ya’qub al-Mansur over the Castilian King Alfonso VIII.” 
  • July 18, 1536 Henry VIII declares himself the Head of the Church of England, having been “Fidei Defensor” for about 15 years already. 
  • July 18, 1536 The authority of the Pope is declared void in England. 
  • July 18, 1656 Polish-Lithuanian forces clashes with Sweden and its Brandenburg allies in the start of what is to be known as The Battle of Warsaw which ends in a decisive Swedish victory.  
  • July 18, 1753 “Lemuel Haynes, escapes from slaveholder in Framingham Mass” 
  • July 18, 1779 Commodore Abraham Whipple’s squadron captures 11 prizes in largest prize value of Revolutionary War. 
  • July 18, 1792 “John Paul Jones dies in Paris, France” 
  • July 18, 1813 “U.S. Frigate President captures British Daphne, Eliza Swan, Alert and Lion” during the War of 1812. 
  • July 18, 1814 British capture Prairie du Chien (Wisc) during the War of 1812….the British Couldn’t Figure out what to do with a town called “Prairie of the Dog” and this made them more willing to negotiate peace by November—which they did, only to lose the first land Battle of the War which they actually lost, namely the Battle of New Orleans, on January 8, 1815. 
  • July 18, 1830 Uruguay adopts its first constitution.  No one anywhere else really noticed or cared, but there were very few Nazi German escapees in South America at this point, so it wasn’t all that critical anyhow… 
  • July 18, 1853 “The first train to cross the US-Canada boundary, Portland, Maine – Montréal, Quebec”  
  • July 18, 1857 “Louis Faidherbe, French governor of Senegal, arrives to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall’s war on the French.”   These were indeed the early days of the French Foreign Legion.  The French Foreign Legion still exists and the French are still fighting the Muslims who came in from North Africa and decided France was a better place to live…. Vive Marine Le Pen…. 
  • July 18, 1861 American Civil War: Skirmish at Blackburn’s Ford prior to First Battle of Bull Run (1st Battle of Manassas).  Robert E. Lee should have marched on Washington at this point, but he made his first critical mistake by failing to do so—he was too much of a gentleman, as it turned out, ever to really win a war…. 
  • July 18, 1872 Britain introduces secret ballot voting. 
  • July 18, 1872 The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland introduces voting by secret ballot. 
  • July 18, 1873 Oscar II of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway in Trondheim. 
  • July 18, 1914 “The U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, this gives definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.” 
  • July 18, 1914 “US army air service first comes into being, in the Signal Corps” 
  • July 18, 1918 US & French forces launch Aisne-Marne offensive in WW I 
  • July 18, 1920 Naval aircraft sink ex-German cruiser Frankfurt in target practice. 
  • July 18, 1925 Adolf Hitler publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf. 
  • July 18, 1925 First edition of Mein Kampf is published.  
  • July 18, 1931 The first air-conditioned ship (Mariposa) launched 
  • July 18, 1932 US & Canada signed a treaty to develop St Lawrence Seaway 
  • July 18, 1936 “Spanish Civil War: Francisco Franco’s rebellion reaches peninsular Spain and the Fallangists (Fascists) conquer Galicia, west Castile, west Andalucia and Aragon.”  Essentially, Franco’s victory by this time was assured. 
  • July 18, 1938 “Douglas “”Wrong Way”” Corrigan arrives in Ireland-left New York for California” —you’d think he would have noticed that the Midwest had an awful lot of water in it—before he landed in Ireland, anyhow…. 
  • July 18, 1940 “Democratic National Convention, Chicago: President Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated for an unprecedented third term in office.”  This event, of course, was a necessary precursor to the abolition of the Silver Standard and Silver Coinage in 1965, and was not UNrelated to the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965, in that World War II was a necessary pre-requisite to the abolition of an identity-conscious/identity proud America.
  •  
    July 18, 1940 “The first successful helicopter flight, Stratford, Ct”
  • July 18, 1942 “Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe, first jet fighter, takes first flight”  
  • July 18, 1942 The first legal NJ horse race in 50 years; Garden State Park track opens 
  • July 18, 1943 “German submarine shoots down K-47, the first and only U.S. airship lost during WW II.” 
  • July 18, 1944 World War II: Hideki Tojo resigns as Prime Minister of Japan due to numerous setbacks in the war effort. 
  • July 18, 1947 US receives UN trusteeship over Pacific Islands 
  • July 18, 1951 Jersey Joe Walcott KOs Ezzard Charles in 5 for heavyweight belt 
  • July 18, 1951 Uruguay accepts its constitution 
  • July 18, 1953 Rock star Elvis Presley made his first recording in Sun Studios.
  • July 18, 1955 The first electric power generated from atomic energy sold commercially  
  • July 18, 1959 The first black to win a major golf tournament (William Wright) 
  • July 18, 1963 Number one hit on UK music charts – Frank Ifield – Confessin’ 
  • July 18, 1964 Race riot in Harlem (NYC); riots spread to Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bkln) 
  • July 18, 1965 “Zond 3 launched to fly by Moon, enters solar orbit” 
  • July 18, 1966 “Bobby Fuller rocker (I Fought the Law), found dead” 
  • July 18, 1966 “Launch of Gemini 10 with LCDR John W. Young, USN as Command Pilot. Mission involved 43 orbits at an altitude of 412.2 nautical miles and lasted 2 days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes. Recovery was by HS-3 helicopter from USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).” 
  • July 18, 1967 Silver hits record $1.87 an ounce in NY 
  • July 18, 1968 Intel incorporates 
  • July 18, 1968 “Vietnam War: The two-day Honolulu Conference begins in Honolulu, Hawaii between US President Lyndon B. Johnson and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu.” 
  • July 18, 1969 “After a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dies.”  
  • July 18, 1969 “Barbara Pepper actress (Doris Ziffel-Green Acres), dies at 57” 
  • July 18, 1969 “Joe Namath agrees to sell interest in Bachelors 3, to stay in NFL” 
  • July 18, 1969 Mary Jo Kopechne & Sen Kennedy plunge off Chappaquiddick bridge  
  • July 18, 1970 Arthur Brown arrested for stripping on stage in Palemo Sicily 
  • July 18, 1970 Ron Hunt gets hit by a pitch for a record 119th time 
  • July 18, 1970 “Willie Mays hits # 3,000” 
  • July 18, 1972 “200,000 attend Mt Pocono rock festival in Penns” 
  • July 18, 1973 “British actor Jack Hawkins actor, dies at 62” 
  • July 18, 1974 “World’s tallest structure, 646-m Polish radio mast, completed” 
  • July 18, 1976 “Gymnast Nadia Comaneci, age 14, scores first ever perfect 10 at the Olympics.” 
  • July 18, 1976 “Thiokol conducts 2-min firing of space shuttle’s SRB at Brigham, Ut” 
  • July 18, 1977 Vietnam joins the United Nations. 
  • July 18, 1978 Egyptian & Israeli officials begin 2 days of talks 
  • July 18, 1979 Gold hits record $303.85 an ounce in London 
  • July 18, 1980 Billy Joel’s Glass Houses album tops charts 
  • July 18, 1980 “Rohini 1, first Indian satellite, launches into orbit” 
  • July 18, 1982 “268 campesinos (“”peasants”” or “”country people””) are slain in the Plan de Snchez massacre in Ros Montt’s Guatemala.” 
  • July 18, 1984 James Huberty kills 21 McDonalds patrons in San Ysidro Calif 
  • July 18, 1984 James Oliver Huberty shot by police after killing 21 in McDonalds 
  • July 18, 1984 “McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California: In a fast-food restaurant, James Oliver Huberty opens fire, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others before being shot dead by police.” 
  • July 18, 1984 Walter F Mondale wins Democratic presidential nomination in SF 
  • July 18, 1986 A tornado is broadcast live on KARE television in Minnesota when the station’s helicopter pilot makes a chance encounter.

  • July 18, 1986 Videotapes released showing Titanic’s sunken remains 

  • July 18, 1987 Molly Yard elected new pres of Natl Org for Women 
  • July 18, 1987 Yanks Don Mattingly ties major league record of HRs in 8 cons games 
  • July 18, 1989 “Actress Rebecca Schaeffer is shot by a crazed fan, prompting California to pass America’s first anti-stalking law in 1990.” 
  • July 18, 1992 The ten victims of the La Cantuta massacre disappeared from their university in Lima. 
  • July 18, 1995 “On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the Soufriere Hills volcano erupts. Over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee.”  
  • July 18, 1996 “In an event very similar to the Oklahoma tornado that would occur three years later, an F5 tornado hit the town of Oakfield, Wisconsin.” 
  • July 18, 1996 “Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River, beginning one of Qubec’s costliest natural disasters ever.” 
  • July 18, 1997 8000 low-caste Indians riot in Mumbai (Bombay) following a funeral for 10 children who had been killed by police. 
  • July 18, 1998 “A 23-foot tidal wave kills nearly 3,000 people in Papua New Guinea.”
  • July 18, 2001 “In Baltimore, Maryland, a 60-car train derails in a tunnel, sparking a fire that lasted for days and virtually brought downtown Baltimore to a standstill.” 

On the Tenth Day of Christmas—An Unprecedented Decision Handed Down in Georgia, 01-03-2012

01-03-2012 Georgia Secretary of State Administrative Court Farrar v Obama order denying motion to dismiss

Yes, I used to be closely involved in the controversy over Obama’s birthplace.  Yes, I personally really and truly do believe that Lucas Daniel Smith brought back and offered some valid evidence that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya, even though that kid has caused me some serious trouble.  No, I don’t think that this minor victory (after nearly four years) in a non-constitutional administrative court in Georgia “clears” Orly of suspicion that she acted as a double agent, possibly for a foreign power, or of having acted consistently in support of Obama by making everyone involved in the “right” or “Constitutional” side of the “Birther” controversy look like a raving lunatic (and yes, for a while at least that definitely did include me).  I continue to believe that Obama should not be president, not merely because I believe he was born in Kenya but because he is either a very thinly disguised and deceitful Global Communist-totalitarian or an extremely dishonest International Socialist-totalitarian.  

I also continue to believe, as I wrote in 2009 (09-cv-00082-DOC – Plaintiffs’ Sur-Reply 10-01-09) that the First and Ninth Amendments should be construed to guarantee to the American people the uncontested and indisputable right to challenge by judicial action for declaratory judgment and the potential right to obtain injunctive relief relative to the qualifications and actions of all governmental officials, whether elected or unelected.  And it is this last point which I will carry forward with me to the United States Senate if God and the People of California will grant me the right to represent this Golden State and its population in what has been called the world’s greatest deliberative assembly: NO OFFICIAL IMMUNITY EXCEPT FROM SUIT FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM POLITICAL OR GOVERNMENTAL OR LEGAL SPEECH, OPINION, AND DEBATE!  09-cv-00082-DOC – Flast v Cohen Taxpayer + First + Ninth Amendment Standing09-cv-00082-DOC Motion for Leave to File Surreply

The New Deal: When Lawyers Became the Masters of our Destiny by Making Paper more valuable than Property

New Deal of Deception by Designation: “Security”                                  A Working Draft of Research in Progress © Charles Edward Lincoln Sunday October 23, 2011 

         The “New Deal” is the name given by political historians to the “recovery & relief” programs initiated during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term as President (March 4, 1933-January 20, 1937).   While many of Roosevelt’s iconic “relief” programs, including the NRA, the WPA, and CCC were either struck down by the Supreme Court or repealed during World War II, the modern legacy of the New Deal includes some familiar names of the most powerful governmental agencies and programs.

The list of six most famous “New Deal” agencies which remain active today, still operating under their original names, includes (1) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), (2) the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), (3) the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and (4) the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). By far the largest “New Deal” programs still in existence today are (5) the Social Security Administration (headed by the Independent “Commissioner of Social Security”) and (6) the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—because these two “independent commissions” in essence control and define the modern economy.  All of these programs are tightly knit together in one single tapestry of centralization of economic “command and control”.

What each of these six programs had in common with the other was nothing less than the transformation of various areas of American life by redefining it, by altering the cultural and normative understandings of certain words, phrases, and standards of behavior and transforming the legal landscape, replacing the traditional Anglo-American common law with modern regulatory codes.  The trajectory of each program merits some attention and reflection here, from the most general program to the most specific and limited.

TVA: TEMPLATE FOR A CENTRALLY PLANNED FUTURE

         Most discrete and delineated territorially within the country, and yet most overwhelmingly powerful in regard to “cradle to grave” impact on the lives of those forming its target population, the TVA was the most comprehensive governmental regional reorganization and restructuring plan ever undertaken in world history, and remains the longest lived such plan (still operating up to the present day after almost eighty years as a major techno-economic and socio-cultural planning “corporation”).

Chartered by Congress during Roosevelt’s famous “First Hundred Days” (in May 1933), the TVA manifests, in essence, the ideal of the Centrally Planned Society: a region including parts of seven States in the Protestant Old South transformed and reshaped under the leadership of an ethnic Jew of Austro-Slovakian parentage named David Eli Lilienthal, trained at Harvard by fellow Austrian-born Jew Felix Frankfurter. Frankfurter was famous in teens and twenties as a socialist radical, paving the way for the New Deal by advocated “judicial restraint” in dealing with government misdeeds, including greater freedom for administrative agencies from judicial oversight…..  In practice, this meant that (as Roosevelt’s 1938 appointee to the Supreme Court as the third Jewish Supreme Court Justice to Replace Benjamin Cardozo) Frankfurter would generally uphold all executive branch actions, including those of administrative agencies and government corporations against all constitutional challenges so long as they did not “shock the conscience” (meaning of course, his own conscience).

After 20 years in government, establishing first the TVA and then the Atomic Energy Commission, Lilienthal worked for several years for the investment bank Lazard Freres, and in 1955, formed an engineering and consulting firm called Development and Resources Corporation (D&R) which took the TVA’s objectives worldwide: major centrally planned public power and public works projects. Lilienthal was able to leverage the financial backing of Lazard Freres to found his company. He hired former associates from the TVA to work with him at D&R.  D&R focused on overseas clients, including Post-Mossadegh/Early Shahist Iran, and similarly politically oriented “forced cultural evolution” or “regional development” projects to suppress regional dissent and thus support U.S. backed regimes or programs in Colombia, Venezuela, India, Southern Italy, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, and above all, South Vietnam.

Because of Lilienthal’s leadership, TVA is said to be the model which the State of Israel emulated in its reorganization and redesign of Palestine after 1947, and the Tennessee Valley Authority stands as the template for U.S. Overseas Development up through and including the reconstruction of Iraq after 2003—a nearly eighty year run.  Nothing quite like the TVA ever happened again inside the United States, however.

FHA: TO ABOLISH THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN CITIES AND URBAN AREAS

         After the TVA’s design to redefine 100% of the way of life in a general region, the next broadest program of the six surviving New Deal Programs has been the acquisition and maintenance of interests in housing.  Born of a depression wherein millions were displaced, providing housing for about forty years for tens of millions, the New Deal legacy in 2011 is a cloaked depression, or perhaps a planned “genocide” in which an astounding 30-50 million Americans are losing or have lost their homes acquired and maintained since the New Deal under the aegis of Federal Government Programs.

For its “constructive” part in the transformation, the Federal Housing Authority was a massive nationwide “lending” umbrella project to fund the mass construction of housing—it also could be called the “Suburban Genesis Authority” or “the Abolition of Urban-Rural Distinctions Authority.”  Just as the TVA transformed parts of the landscape from Virginia through Tennessee to Mississippi, the Federal Housing Authority played a decisive role in moving people out of the cities and off farms into the vast suburban wastelands which now occupy immense percentages of the most fertile farm land in the world and are increasingly marred by decay and degeneracy brought on by foreclosure and eviction—empty ruins being sold off through “Investment Visa EB-5” and “Green Card” sales to thousands of Arabic and Chinese foreign investors with interests hard to characterize or predict except with the wildest speculation.

The Federal Housing Authority was originally created by the National Housing Act of 1934, which was amended in 1938 (Roosevelt’s Second Term) to create the Federal National Mortgage Association “Fannie Mae”, which under Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon metamorphosized and split into “Ginny Mae” (Government National Mortgage Association”) and “Freddie Mac” (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association) to “foster competition”, even though all three entities remained entirely government controlled and Freddie and Fannie are now [since their “renationalization” by executive fiat in September 2008] owned by the U.S. Treasury Department and controlled by FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Authority).

The Federal Housing Authority now exists within the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  “HUD” was established in 1965 among the first steps of Lyndon B. Johnson’s program called the “Great Society”, which was not coincidentally also the first major expansion of Government Centralization in the United States SINCE the “New Deal” (and also not coincidentally formed part of the same program as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965).  The Federal Housing Authority remains today the key government agency supervising the Banking Industry’s role in mortgage finance and securitization of home loans.

In short, the TVA was all about completely reconditioning and reworking technology, society and culture in one region considered particularly “backward” and in need of “development”.  And having done so without significant protest or expressions of pain, TVA, became the model for “foreign aid” for the development of “Third World” Countries, while the FHA was a more general program to restructure the urban and rural landscape by “stimulating” housing construction and lowering costs nationwide.  There are those who say that the housing foreclosure and eviction crisis brought on by Federal financial programs means that the time for a national TVA has finally come, and that the next “Third World Country” to be forceably re-engineered and developed is the U.S., except this time it will be a much more diverse consortium of Near Eastern and Chinese experts who will impose their own standards of “conscience” on our legal system and the interpretation of our constitution.

THE FOURTH BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT: INDEPENDENT COMMMISSIONS OR AGENCIES, INCLUDING THE SEC, SOCIAL SECURITY, IRS, AND FEDERAL RESERVE: UTTERLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL & CONTROLLED BY INDUSTRY INSIDERS

Regarding distinct onomastic pattern characterizes the list of six after the TVA “Corporation” and the sub-cabinet level FHA: two “Insurance Corporations” and two “Security Commissions”— (1) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), (2) the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), together with (5) the Social Security System and (6) the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

It is worth noting that in 1933 the United States Government owned no corporations whatsoever, at least not “outright”, although it had certainly chartered and funded some, including the great transcontinental railroads in the 19th century and many large banks after the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, and regulated many others, especially after the enactment of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 and (never coincidentally, the establishment of the first “Independent Commission” namely) the Interstate Commerce Commission (“ICC”) in 1887.

With the aforementioned dominance of the great transcontinental railroads in the U.S. in the late 1800s, legislators in the several states established commissions to effectively supervise them. State legislators delegated power to unelected and “independent” commissions in the belief that “specialists” could more readily accumulate expert knowledge to regulate the railroads than the legislators could do on behalf of the people. However, when the U.S. Supreme Court in 1886 struck down an Illinois statute on railroad commerce involving neighboring states, the U.S. Congress intervened. Congress copied state “unelected industry specialist” approach and established the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1887.  Congress authorized the ICC to issue orders regarding the rates set by the railroads and to enforce its orders in court.  The Constitutional authority for Independent Commissions under the United States Constitution of 1787, and as amended since then is, as the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger once confided to me in 1993 in Palm Beach, Florida, “absolutely nil.”

However, no successful challenge to the existence of these “independent commissions” has ever been litigated through the courts.  For this reason, after the ICC, Congress established many more {independent} regulatory commissions in the early 1900s, to include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Power Commission (FPC), the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS: Headed by the “Commissioner of Internal Revenue”), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC—which took over from David Lilienthal’s Atomic Energy Commission or “AEC” mentioned above), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and of course, last but not least, the Social Security Administration (SSA: Headed by the “Commissioner of Social Security”).  More recently many “Independent Agencies” such as the Environmental Protection Agency have been created, always preserving, for whatever reason, the three letter monogram style of name.

These Commissions almost always work closely with Executive Branch Cabinet Officers and Administrative Bureaucracy whose officers CAN be fired by the President.  Officers of the Independent Commissions cannot be discharged by the Chief Executive nor, at least not without impeachment, by Congress, although they serve for limited terms.  In “Constitutional Law I” at the University of Chicago with Judge Richard Allen Posner, we spent a great deal of time on the unsuccessful constitutional challenges to the Independent Commissions over the past century.

In blatant defiance of any principles of separation-of-powers, the independent commissions/independent “executive” agencies all both have and exercise powers that functionally parallel all three branches of federal government as established by the Constitution. These Commissions/Agencies legislate by publication in the Federal Register/Code of Federal Regulations when they adopt or enact their own regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency, for example, adopts or enacts regulations limiting pollution emissions by industry.

Independent agencies also carry out executive functions, such as when the Interstate Commerce Commission checks to ensure that trucks have proper safety features.  Finally, many officers of independent agencies act in judicial capacity in “administrative” courts when they hold hearings and issue fines for violations of their undemocratically decreed regulations. Their powers, however, are at least theoretically limited by Congress. Congress may alter, amend, or appeal legislation delegating authority to an agency. The president may remove the head of an agency “for cause” (but not for disagreement with policy or decisions).  Under the desperately deferential “Chevron” standard, the courts (also mostly theoretically) may (but only very occasionally do) declare agency action to be unconstitutional or outside the grant of authority from Congress.

While not officially described as an “Independent Commission”, the Federal Reserve is set up in exactly the same way as the others listed above, and for many of the same practical and political reasons, its de jure “independence” of the government means de facto dependence on the industry being regulated, namely in the Federal Reserve’s case, the banking industry. Like every other “Independent Agency,” the Federal Reserve is independent within government in that “its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government.”  However, its authority derives from Congress and Congressional statutes and is subject to “congressional oversight.”  Additionally, the members of the Board of Governors, including its chairman and vice-chairman, are chosen by the President and confirmed by the advice and consent of the Senate. Congress and the President also exercises not insignificant political control over the Federal Reserve by appointing and setting the salaries of the system’s highest-level employees.

Thus the Federal Reserve Board is populated by Banking “Industry Insiders” and its chairman always hails from Wall Street in New York or at least La Salle Street in Chicago. Like the original ICC, the Federal Reserve epitomizes the government-and-corporate cooperation which is neither democratically controlled by the people through their elected officials for the public good nor permits any genuine “laissez-faire” free-market competition by the operation of any such primitive principles as supply and demand, never mind customer satisfaction with service.   “Independent Commissions” are quintessentially creatures of government “by the industry, of the industry, for the industry” allegedly being “regulated” in the public good.  “Independent Commissions”, in short, constitute a fraudulent and unconstitutional mixture of governmental authority and corporate (financial) power.

TRANSFORMING THE MEANING OF “SECURITY” FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY TO PUBLIC PROMISES

Janus—January—Ganesha—REL & MLK—Liminality and Transition in Modern Holidays

As Jadis, the White Witch/Queen of Eternal Winter in Narnia once said, “A door from the world of men; I have heard of such things; this may wreck all”.  Clive Staples Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

If there ever were a god who personifies the door from or to the world of men, or any other portal, it would be the Roman god Janus, the two-faced deity who looked forward and backward through time and space.   Janus was among the most ancient of the distinctively Roman gods, one of my earliest girlfriends/ crushes in life was named “Jana”—Janus’ female counterpart and closer cognate to the Hindu Ganesha-Jayanti.   Ganesha is the elephant-god whose “pachydermal” strength and size permit him to remove all obstacles from the way—like an elephant charging through the forest (or anything else, I guess).  Janus personified and presided over the obstacles themselves—especially barriers, passages, and doorways in particular.

As through the barriers of time we fly on our annual travels to and from the dimensions of one year to another, we pass each year through the month of “January” named for this particular god of most apparently ancient and revered antiquity in the Indo-Germanische Ur-sprach und Ur-Gesselschaft as they (the proto-Indo-European language and society) might have existed in some vague yet certain to have been real at one time Indo-Arisches Ur-Heimatland.

New Year’s Eve-to-New Year’s Day is the generally recognized boundary or liminal moment between one year and the next, but I would suggest that the joint celebration of General Robert E. Lee’s birthday together with Reverend Martin Luther King’s birthday this coming Monday January 17, 2011, is a much more profoundly liminal, Janus-like moment—Robert Edward Lee’s birthday (January 19, 1807) looking backwards towards the Old Confederacy, and the Old Constitutional Federal Union from which it sprang, and Martin Luther King’s Birthday (January 15, 1929) which (at this point in time also looks back) albeit on the Post-Robert E. Lee South of Reconstruction and Jim Crow more than on the early Republic.

I grew up taught to love and revere General Robert E. Lee as the brilliant military commander under whom my ancestors fought in 1861-1865.   And although I’m sure that MLK and I would have disagreed on many particular questions of policy, I cannot help but feel deep and profound awe when I re-read Reverend Martin Luther King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail, to which I can personally relate so many times more than his “I have a Dream” speech which is by far the best known of his speeches.   I do believe that Martin Luther King was a man after Jesus Christ’s own heart—the heart of a revolutionary bludgeon against legal tyranny and hypocrisy on the part of a self-centered elite.  But I see so much of myself in Robert E. Lee’s life, internal conflicts, and career that I cannot help but feel closer to the Confederate leader—even though my life, frankly, is more that of a civilly or uncivilly disobedient activist.   Does it have anything to do with my status as a white man, son of the South?  Of course it does.  And it tortures my mind and conscience, because I realize the contradiction—-Lee was a product of the Establishment who remained an instrument of the establishment.  MLK was a product of the underclass who always remained an instrument of the underclass struggling for some measure of equality.  I am a product of the establishment and child of upper class (read “rich”) family who, having lost it all or most of it all to what he perceives as serious injustice and governmental-corporate malfeasance has dedicated his own life to the assisting struggles of the underclass, of all underdogs, and of the disenfranchised.

When recently in Baltimore I went to several of the Thurgood Marshall exhibits scattered around Thurgood Marshall’s home city and was similarly moved by the struggles of the First African-American Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  I do not think he was a good lawyer, and he was frankly an abysmal justice—but he was definitely in the right place at the right time, and his struggle for freedom is much like mine.  The airport between Baltimore & Washington, located closer to Annapolis where my son studies at St. John’s college than anywhere else, has one of these exhibits and in fact the BWI Airport is called the “Thurgood Marshall” International Airport.  Strange that there is no airport named after John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States from 1801-1835, even though this Justice Marshall is justly credited with forming and shaping the modern Anglo-American tradition of constitutional jurisprudence in the United States.  John Marshall was former and shaper to the same degree that Thurgood Marshall was formed and shaped by the times in which he lived, and was an effective and competent participant in those times and events.

When checking out how the transition in my lifetime had occurred between the mid-January celebration of Robert E. Lee’s Birthday and the Mid-January celebration of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, I was more than mildly surprised to learn that Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi all jointly designated the Third Monday in January as Robert E. Lee day AND Martin Luther King Day.   In Florida, January 19, is still Robert E. Lee Day, but not a paid holiday, so nobody gets an extra day off, while in Virginia the day is jointly Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s birthday.  I’ll bet there are a lot of racially segregated parties this weekend with very few crossover members attending both.

In a very real sense, that is too bad I guess—in the spirit of Janus and Ganesha, the lives of both Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King represented (and up to a point, constituted) the ritual re-enactment of boundaries.  One of the great boundaries that Robert E. Lee had to cross in his life was the boundary between the blue and the grey.  He was a graduate of West Point and up to a point the founder of the effective U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  He built up the levees around St. Louis—a kind of boundary maintenance between dry land and riverbeds—and he retained his U.S. Army commission until the secession of the State of Virginia, to which he felt a primary loyalty traditional in those early days of the Federal Republic.  He believed he was a Virginian more than an American, so he respected the boundary between the State and Federal government more than most of us can imagine possible in this modern era.

For Martin Luther King, the primary boundary was one of color, between black and white, of all the symbolically and physically cordoned spaces which separated black and white in the buses, trains, schools, parks, restaurants, and movie theaters of the Southern United States and many other parts of the country as well.  (In the Northern part of the United States, where de jure segregation was less rigid, de fact segregation by residential areas was much stronger.  As former California Senator (and Japanese-American linguistic/semanticist) S.I. Hayakawa once explained it to us when he addressed my high school in 1973, “Southern Whites don’t care how close the Black man gets so long as he doesn’t get too high; the Northern Whites don’t care how high the Black man gets so long as he doesn’t get too close.”

So Robert E. Lee’s life was all about boundary maintenance, and Martin Luther King’s life was all about boundary destruction.  Some say that Robert E. Lee’s strategy for fighting for Southern Independence in 1861-65 was hampered by his excessive respect for boundaries: when the Northern will and organization was low during the two earlier years of the war, Lee several times stood back in Northern Virginia and failed to invade Maryland and seize Washington D.C.  By the time Lee finally decided to cross the boundary and go—I’ve never quite understood why—into Southern Pennsylvania (did he expect an uprising of the Pennsylvania-Dutch/German Amish in favor of the Confederacy? probably not….for Lee was a very smart and well-educated man) it was too late.  The Northern Armies had become stronger and better organized and even if Lee had won Gettysburg, he could not have realistically conquered Pennsylvania—so as I say, I’ve always wondered why he bothered at all—it’s as if he was afraid frontally to attack Washington—too close to the “boundary” of his own home in Arlington perhaps?  If so, his respect for boundaries really did “cost him the farm” for Arlington was seized and made forfeit.

In my world, as I’ve said so often before, I am interested in boundaries, albeit in very different ways.  With regard to the law—I want to crash the remaining boundaries between Black and White in regard to the enforcement of Civil Rights—I think that the idea that Civil Rights Law is primarily a welfare program for racial minorities is just AWFUL—both un-American and Anti-American—and it is wholly inconsistent with what the Supreme Court has been preaching about affirmative action and racial categories in the law since at least 1978.  I would love to see the Civil Rights Laws completely removed from their Public Welfare location in Title 42 and moved perhaps to Titles 4, 5, or 28, or perhaps entirely into Title 18.  It is evil to associate constitutional rights with Welfare programs in my opinion: equally evil to using access to civil rights laws to maintain racial conflict and competition in the U.S.

Which is not to say that there should not be competition between the races, or even some degree of separation.  Readers of this blog will also recall that I am a constant critic of the failed doctrines of “diversity” which suggest that everyone should mingle and mix and get together and physically as well as culturally obliterate all the boundaries between different cultural, economic, ethnic, occupational, racial, and social groups.   I submit that the real appreciation and maintenance of diversity, and all the socio-economic an cultural (as well as physical) evolutionary and competitive-stimulus benefits which real diversity provides—mandates that we encourage and foster the ability of the people to test out alternative ways of life and see which ways work better for different people—and to watch these ways of life compete for the betterment of each cultural, economic, ethnic, occupational, racial, and social group.  Why should we NOT want a diversity of ideas fomented by separate but parallel development?  Why would we, how could we, really want a world characterized by bland homogeneity in which everyone shops at Walmart and CVS, the Gap, Starbucks, and maybe a MAXIMUM of a dozen other name-brand stores throughout the world.  Such drab uniformity to me as a nightmare, but also an inevitable consequence of promoting “diversity” meaning “shake-and-bake-hamburger helper-mixed-powdered just add water world global society.”

In conclusion the Mississippi proclamation of the joint holiday we celebrate this weekend seems to me worth quoting, even if it is last year’s proclamation which I just found  (Martin Luther King’s & Robert E. Lee’s Birthday):

Martin Luther King’s Birthday
Robert E. Lee’s Birthday

Print Holiday Notice

TO THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI: WHEREAS, the Legislature has designated the third Monday in January as the day for the observance of the birthdays of ROBERT E. LEE and DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., and under the provisions of Section 3-3-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is a legal holiday in the State of Mississippi; 

THEREFORE, all officers and employees of the State of Mississippi are authorized and empowered, at the discretion of the executive head of the department or agency, to close their respective offices in observance of the holiday on

MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010 GIVEN under my hand and seal of office at Jackson, Mississippi, this the 4th day of January, 2010.


C. DELBERT HOSEMANN, JR.
SECRETARY OF STATE
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI