Pretense

Here is a story from the New York Post that set off a few of my pet peeves.

The co-owner of a queer Indigenous artists’ collective in Wisconsin is facing accusations of being white after claiming to hold Native American heritage, according to a report.

Kay LeClaire, who identifies as non-binary, allegedly faked their indigenous heritage and used the front to make money, according to a local outlet.

LeClaire was accused in an online forum of actually being white after claiming since 2017 they were of Metis, Oneida, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Cuban and Jewish heritage, Madison 365 reported on Tuesday.

LeClaire, also a founding member of the collective and emerging leader in the Madison Indigenous arts community, earned artist stipends, a paid residency at the University of Wisconsin, speaking gigs, and art exhibitions with the help of their Native American claim.

But LeClaire, who went by the Native American name nibiiwakamigkwe, was allegedly exposed after a hobbyist genealogist posted evidence of LeClair’s real genealogy on an online forum, Madison 365 reported. The online forum user, AdvancedSmite, told Madison 365 that questions about LeClaire’s claims led to some digging.

The user, who did not want to reveal their actual identity to the outlet, used online records and resources to connect LeClaire’s lineage to German, Swedish and French Canadian ancestors and posted the findings on a forum.

LeClaire didn’t answers questions when contacted by Madison 365, but instead sent a long statement. LeClaire reportedly said any culturally related items they had are being given back to the community and vowed not to seek new grants while taking themselves off current grants.

“I am sorry,” they reportedly wrote. “A lot of information has come to my attention since late December. I am still processing it all and do not yet know how to respond adequately. What I can do now is offer change.

“Moving forward, my efforts will be towards reducing harm by following the directions provided by Native community members and community-specified proxies. Currently, this means that I am not using the Ojibwe name given to me and am removing myself from all community spaces, positions, projects, and grants and will not seek new ones.”

I admit I am something of a grammar Nazi (Are we still allowed to say that?), so using the pronoun ‘they’ to refer to a single person really irritates me. In English, there are three singular third-person pronouns and one plural third-person pronoun. When the subject or object is masculine, we use he/him. When it is feminine, we use she/her. When it has no gender, we use it. It is almost always used for inanimate objects. The plural third-person pronoun is they/them. They can be used for a single person if the person’s gender is indeterminate, as a shorthand for he or she. They should not be used for a single individual whose gender is known unless that individual is a conjoined twin or suffers from multiple personality disorder. Judging by the picture, Ms. LeClaire is a woman. The article ought to use the pronouns she and her.

This brings me to my next peeve. There is no such thing as being of nonbinary gender. On Earth, the most complex organisms, certainly every vertebrate animal, are divided into two genders, male and female. Every human being is either male or female, except a very few persons who due to some birth defect or medical condition are intersexed. Unless you are one of the very few intersexed, you are not nonbinary. You are either male or female, and your supposed nonbinary condition is a product of your imagination. It is a free country, and you can imagine yourself to be whatever you want, but you cannot expect the rest of us to validate your delusions.

If you truly are non-binary then you are most likely an extraterrestrial. If so, welcome to Earth. You will find that there is no intelligent life here, and we are not eligible to join your Galactic Federation.

The final point I want to make is not a peeve but an observation. There is a lot of talk from the left about White privilege. Whenever I hear someone talking about White privilege, I wonder if they think Eddie Murphy’s “White Like Me” sketch is real.

 

Perhaps being White in America has its advantages, but that is far less true in 2023 than in 1923. In fact, in 1923, not all Whites were privileged. If you happened to be of southern or eastern European ancestry, then you were not quite the right sort of White. Considering all of the government affirmative action legislation and the diversity initiatives sponsored by every major corporation, one might argue that being White is a disadvantage in twenty-first-century America. In any case, the question of privilege is more complicated than many seem to think. There are many privileged Whites but also many Whites who aren’t especially privileged at all. There are many Blacks who are not privileged, but many who are privileged. This is not simply a black-and-white issue.
But, if Whites are so privileged in today’s America, then why are people like Kay LeClair pretending to be non-white. No one goes out of their way to fake being a member of an oppressed group. No one pretended to be Black when Jim Crow was in force. No one claimed Native American ancestry when the U. S. Calvery was herding the Indians into reservations. Why did Rachel Dolezal claim to be Black if Whites are so privileged? Why did Senator Elizabeth Warren pretend to have Native American ancestry? It seems that it is not so clear which precisely the privileged groups are?

What all this seems to have in common, besides irritating me, is pretense. Kay Leclair and many others are pretending to be something they are not. They pretend we still live in a country where George Wallace is standing at the school door proclaiming, “Segregation forever!!“. They invent imaginary genders with strange new pronouns. They pretend to be tolerant while acting like intolerant bullies. They pretend to be victims of oppression by reimagining themselves to be members of an allegedly marginalized group in what is undoubtedly the least oppressive country and most tolerant society in history.

The pretense cannot go on forever. At some point, pretense collides with reality. There are only two genders. There are no truly oppressed groups in twenty-first-century America. The sooner we return to reality, the better.

Advertisement

White Supremacy

Writing that postNot Teaching English about the teacher who decided not to teach her students proper English because speaking clearly and intelligibly has something to do with reinforcing White supremacy has got me wondering about the whole subject of White supremacy.

To start with, who exactly out there is promoting White supremacy? As far as I can tell, everybody in every major institution is dead set against any manifestation of White supremacy. Yet somehow, White supremacists are lurking around every corner, threatening to hold back people of color by reinstituting Jim Crow. There is not a single politician of either major party who is openly campaigning for White supremacy. There is no Theodore G. Bilbo out there. No corporation has adopted White Supremacy as a policy. Instead, corporations are falling all over themselves to issue statements affirming their support for diversity, inclusion, and equity, even at the expense of profitability.

The woke left assures us that evil racists bent on keeping people of color down threaten the whole country, but where are these racists? Most of the hate crimes the woke produce as evidence of the omnipresent White supremacists turn out to be hoaxes. The situation reminds me not a little of Orwell’s 1984. Everyone believes that agents of the evil Goldstein are everywhere, subverting the wise rule of Big Brother. Yet, somehow no one ever encounters any actual agents of Goldstein, except for the people on the telescreen who have been tortured into confessing. Maybe that’s the whole point of the anti-racist hysteria, to provide an Emmanuel Goldstein for the masses to hate.

I wonder how Whites came to be supreme in the first place. Are Whites somehow more wicked than other races? Are Whites more ruthless, perhaps, more willing to use violence to take what they want from others? Do Whites have some insatiable need to dominate and exploit the world around them, including the natural world, as well as people of other races? That is what the logic of woke anti-racism seems to suggest.
This anti-racist idea that Whites and whiteness are somehow evil seems more than a little racist itself. It is reminiscent of Nazi ideology concerning the Jews. If the Aryans were the master race, how was it that the Jews tended to be more successful? Well, the Jews must be cheating. They are parasites who rip off the efforts of the noble Aryans. If all races are equal, how did White Europeans come to dominate the world through colonialism? Whites must be more vicious.

If it were true that Whites are inherently racist villains bent on oppression, then there can only be one solution to the problem of White supremacy, a final solution, if you will. It will not be enough to continue teaching Whites to revile their own history of racist oppression. Sooner or later, the White instinct to dominate and oppress will come to the fore. The only way to ensure the end of White supremacy is to end the White race. That is far from a mainstream position even among the wokest left, but the logic is quite clear.

But are White Europeans really more violent and ruthless than other races and cultures? An honest review of world history: real history, not what the Marxist professors are teaching, shows that there is plenty of wickedness evident among every race and culture in every corner of the world. The sins that the woke attribute to Western civilization, slavery, and colonialism, are the sins of the whole human race. The colonial powers who conquered the Americas and ruled most of Africa and Asia may have been oppressive. Still, they were no worse than the indigenous rulers who preceded them. Indeed, in some respects, colonial rule was an improvement.

If Whites are no worse than other races, perhaps they are better. Maybe they are better. Maybe the reason that Whites became supreme is that they are, in fact, superior to other races, particularly those Whites from nations that became colonial powers. If this is the case, why should anyone be against White supremacy? If Whites have superior traits that have allowed them to rule most of the world, then Whites should be supreme for the good of everyone, especially the inferior races who may not be able to govern themselves.

So what are these White traits that have led Whites to colonize most of the world in centuries past? Perhaps we should look at the notorious chart issued by the Smithsonian Institute to see what it means to be White.

 


The curious thing about this chart is that many of the supposedly White traits, a strong work ethic, desire for competition, scientific and rational thinking, using correct language, and others are not uniquely White at all. There are many cultures all over the world that prize some or all of these traits; while there are many White cultures that do not. Individuals and cultures that value these “White” traits are successful. People and cultures that do not value these traits, no matter the color of their skin, tend not to be very successful. This assault on White supremacy is really an assault on the qualities that lead to success. These are values that should be encouraged in every young American, whatever their race or ethnicity.

This leads me to my final question. Why do people like that woke teacher want minority children to fail? By teaching them that working hard, being on time, and speaking proper English are examples of White supremacy, to be avoided at all costs by people of color, they are setting their students up for failure. As long as they fail, they will always need anti-racist White leftists to protect them. Woke anti-racism is about really affluent White Progressives holding power over people of every race by dividing us to rule over us.

 

Not Teaching English

I know I’m missing out on a lot of left-wing lunacy because I have never gotten into the habit of watching Libs of Tik Tok. I don’t know why I have never gotten around to watching these short videos on a regular basis. I suppose it’s because I don’t spend much time watching videos on the internet. Fortunately, some people do watch Libs of Tik Tok and post links to some of the most insane content. I read about this gem at the American Thinker.

Human beings developed languages, such as English, to communicate ideas and feelings to one another. For a language to accomplish this purpose, there are rules about grammar and usage that people must follow. These rules are different in each language and may be arbitrary and made up to some extent. Yet, if a person wishes to communicate as clearly as possible, they must abide by these rules. If a person is ignorant of these rules or chooses not to follow them, they will not be able to communicate as well as they might like. Other people may not understand what they are trying to say or dismiss them as uneducated or stupid. It may not be fair, but no one ever said that life was fair. It may be an act of ‘White Supremacy’ to organize your thoughts logically, using an introductory thesis and connecting words. Still, it is necessary if you want to communicate thoughts and ideas, especially when writing. An essay or article that is not written using such tools is gibberish, no matter what language it is written in.

This teacher in the video is not helping her students by not teaching them the rules and tools they need to communicate clearly. She is handicapping them by deciding that it is more important to virtue signal than to give them the knowledge they will need to be successful in our society. She is actually giving credence to White supremacist ideas if her non-White students seem to be incapable of speaking and writing proper English. She needs to be fired and replaced by a teacher who will actually do the job.

The Real Threat to Our Democracy

I have always been told that President Nixon’s actions in covering up the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel was a severe threat to democracy in American history, and so Nixon was obliged to resign. I have also been told that President Trump was such a grave threat to our democracy that he should have been impeached not just once but twice. If this is the standard, then what are we to do with a president whose administration colludes with big tech to suppress negative stories even before it is elected? Then, once elected, this administration attempts to establish a Board of Disinformation that actively creates an atmosphere of censorship that even a totalitarian regime such as the People’s Republic of China might envy.

Difficult as it might be to believe that something like that could happen in America, this was precisely the intention of the Biden administration and the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. As Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air reports:

It would appear that Alejandro Mayorkas has “some ‘splainin to do,” as the kids like to say these days. As you may recall, the Biden administration briefly attempted to set up a Ministry of Truth under the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year. The quickly abandoned office was fancifully named the “Disinformation Governance Board” and it was planned to be headed by Nina Jankowicz, who quickly left the government after the effort was curtailed and went on to register as a foreign agent for Great Britain. When Congress looked into the attempt to establish the board, Mayorkas offered lengthy testimony as to what had been going on and sang lofty praises of Jankowicz. But newly revealed documents presented by Senator Josh Hawley and others strongly suggest that the board had progressed far further than Mayorkas testified and he seemingly lied under oath about some of the details

During his testimony in May, Mayorkas claimed that the Ministry of Truth had only been in its planning stages and that the board “had not yet met” to plan any actions. But the leaked documents show that the board had initially met on Feb. 4, 2022, and had continued to schedule weekly meetings thereafter, despite not having been formally approved or established.

Further, the documents indicate that the board’s plans to partner with the Big Tech companies were “far more extensive” than Mayorkas or the Biden administration ever revealed. The Disinformation Board planned to meet with Nathaniel Gleicher of Meta, who was in charge of the company’s security policy group when they acted to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story.

These revelations only serve to add another layer to the cake of badness surrounding the Biden administration’s coordination with social media platforms in an effort to suppress free speech in the name of “battling disinformation.” These efforts to enlist the aid of Big Tech to silence voices critical of various government policies are a clear violation of the First Amendment’s assurances of the right to free speech. They should be seen as obvious justifications for the impeachment of not only Mayorkas but Joe Biden himself. Of course, with the Democrats still controlling the Senate, that will almost certainly not happen, but this is a worrisome sign of how vastly the federal government has grown out of control and how the fundamental rights of citizens are being trodden upon or simply disregarded.

This attempt to give the federal government, in conjunction with Big Tech, the ability to censor dissenting voices is a threat to our liberties greater than anything Nixon did in the Watergate scandal. Nixon was only trying to cover up a tawdry and pointless effort by his campaign workers to attempt to influence the election of 1972. The Biden administration has been conspiring with social media gatekeepers to suppress information damaging to the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects. They have been attempting to establish totalitarian control over social media. That is a direct threat to the first amendment and to the constitutional order that guarantees American liberty. That is far worse than any other scandal in recent history.

The Biden administration must not be allowed to get away with this. Joe Biden must be impeached and removed from office along with Alejandro Mayorkas and anyone else implicated in these actions. The Department of Homeland Security should be abolished, along with the whole surveillance state that was set up in the wake of 9/11. It is becoming increasingly evident that the greatest threat to our lives and liberties comes not from Islamic terrorists but from our own government using the powers we have entrusted it to fight the threats from without, turned against us. We need to pare back the state to its constitutional limits if we’re to have any hope of maintaining the legacy of freedom bequeathed to us.

 

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. The story of Thanksgiving that we remember, with the turkey meal, etc is based on the Thanksgiving celebration held by the settlers of the Plymouth colony in 1621. They had a lot to be thankful for. These Pilgrims had decided to immigrate to the New World so that they could practice their religion freely. They had intended to settle at the mouth of the Hudson River but their departure from England on the Mayflower had been delayed and the trip across the Atlantic had been rough. They reached America farther north than they had intended, at Provincetown Harbor in November 1620. While they did not really have a legal right to create a colony in what is now Massachusetts, no one really wanted to spend the winter at sea so, on December 21, 1620, the Pilgrims began to build the settlement at Plymouth.

Model of a 17th century English merchantman sh...
Would you spend any more time in a leaky ship like this than you had to? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first winter at the new colony was very hard. About half of the colonists had died by spring. By what must have seemed incredible luck or divine providence, the colonists were able to make contact with two Natives who could speak English. One of these was named Samoset and he had learned some English from English trappers and fishermen. He introduced the Pilgrims to the other man, Squanto, who had a truly remarkable life. Captured by Englishmen, he was taken to England and instructed in the English language in the hope that he could serve as an interpreter. When he was brought back to New England, he was captured again, this time by members of John Smith’s expedition who planned to sell captured Indians as slaves in Spain. In Spain, some friars learned of this plan and had the Indians freed and instructed in the Catholic religion. Squanto was able to make his way back to England and then across the Atlantic. There, he discovered that his whole tribe had been destroyed by the diseases, probably smallpox, that the Europeans had brought to the New World.

Squanto was willing to help the Pilgrims and taught what they needed to know to survive in New England. The harvest in the summer of 1621 was good enough that the Pilgrims did not need to fear starvation that winter. They had a feast that Autumn to celebrate their good fortune and to give thanks to God. This celebration was not considered to be very remarkable. Thanksgiving celebrations were fairly common at the time, especially among people who had successfully made the difficult and dangerous voyage across the ocean. It was not really the first Thanksgiving.

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...
The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930).

There were proclamations of thanksgiving at various times in American history, especially during the Revolutionary War, but the holiday we know of as Thanksgiving really began in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that a national day of Thanksgiving was to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November. It might not seem that there was all that much to be thankful for in the middle of the Civil War but the tide was turning in the North’s favor after the victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg that July and the country was continuing to grow in strength and prosperity despite the horrors of the war. Lincoln’s proclamation set the date for the national holiday that has been celebrated ever since. Franklin Roosevelt set the date a week earlier in 1939 in the hope that an earlier date would mean a longer shopping season for Christmas, thus helping the economy still mired in the Great Depression. This was not without controversy and in October 1941 Congress officially set the date of Thanksgiving on the fourth, and almost always the last, Thursday in November.

So, enjoy your turkey but remember to be thankful to God. If you happen to be an American you really are one of the luckiest people on Earth.

Democracy Deniers

Everyone else is talking about the failed red wave in the last midterm elections, so I might as well put in my two cents worth. That is probably what my opinion is worth, but I might as well. It ought to have been a wave election. The alleged president Joe Biden is historically unpopular. The economy is doing poorly, with levels of inflation not seen since the Carter years. Biden is senile, and the United States has become a laughing stock under his administration. The Republicans should have won big. Why didn’t they?

There has been a lot of blame attached to President Trump, particularly from the establishment, Never Trump Republicans. It has to be admitted that thanks to the lying propaganda of the mainstream, Democratic (but I repeat myself) media, Trump has become toxic among large swaths of the public, particularly the low-information voters. Yet despite the narrative that Trump-backed candidates were losers, the vast majority of his candidates won the election. If there is anyone who deserves blame, it is more likely to be the Republican establishment, particularly Mitch McConnell. It seems obvious, to me that McConnell, along with most of the rest of the establishment Republicans, would prefer to be in the minority. This preference may be either because being in the minority absolves them from actually governing, or because they prefer to be in the junior wing of the elite uniparty rather than allow the people to have a say on governing the country.

But all this discussion of which Republican is at fault for the party’s disappointing showing in the last election is ignoring the elephant, or rather, the donkey in the room, the question of fraud. I do not know to what extent fraud determined the results of the elections of 2020 or 2022. I cannot prove that there was any fraud at all. The fact is, however, that it is all too easy, in many states, to commit election fraud. I do not believe that it was a coincidence that the Republicans did well in those states like Florida or my own state of Indiana, which have made some effort in securing our elections, while the Republicans did more poorly than expected in those states that did not. Call me cynical, but it seems to me to be obvious that where it is easy for people to cheat, many people will cheat. If you do not want people cheating, make it difficult to cheat. I do not believe that the Republicans are more honest or virtuous than the Democrats, yet it does seem that the Democrats are the main beneficiaries of electoral fraud in this country. The Democrats are certainly the ones who have opposed even the most elementary measures to secure our elections while sponsoring a ‘For the People‘ bill that would entrench fraud on a national scale while overturning what limited protections the Republicans have placed against electoral fraud.

The Republicans need to make election integrity an issue, perhaps the issue. Election integrity laws should be in place in all fifty states. This means everyone should be required to show proper identification at the polling place. Ballots should be paper, not electronic. Absentee voting should be limited to voters who legitimately cannot be physically present at the polling place; the physically disabled, soldiers deployed overseas, etc. There should be no same-day voter registration, no unsupervised ballot drop boxes, no ballot harvesting, no early voting, and no mail-in ballots that are not postmarked on or before election day. Ballots that lack a clear chain of custody should not be counted under any circumstances. Elections in states that fail to take these common-sense measures should be regarded as suspicious as best and assumed to be fraudulent.

The Democrats will, no doubt, call these measures acts of racist voter suppression. The fact is, however, that people of all races are more likely to vote when they see the process as honest. Why bother to vote when the outcome is already determined? Isn’t it racist to assume that Blacks or Hispanics are somehow incapable of acquiring documents that prove identity when it is all but impossible to get along in our society without some way of proving identity? The Democrats will continue to call those of us who are concerned with election integrity democracy deniers or election deniers. I would say that it is the Democrats, who stand in the way of election security who are the true democracy deniers. A government that is put into place through fraudulent, rigged elections can hardly be accurately described as democratic. People who are concerned about ‘our democracy’ can best show their concern by ensuring our elections are fair and honest.

COINTELPRO

Lately, there has been increasing skepticism among conservatives about the Federal Bureau of Investigation among many on the right. The raid on Mar-a-Lago, the involvement of the FBI in the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer, and perhaps the ‘insurrection’ of January 6, harassment of prominent Trump supporters such as Mike Lindell, and arrest of pro-life activists have all contributed to the impression that the FBI has become a corrupt and repressive tool of the Democratic Party and the deep state elites.

This new skeptical attitude represents a sea change in the positions of the Right and the Left. It used to be liberals who expressed doubts about the power and possible civil rights violations of federal law enforcement agencies while law and order conservatives have tended to blindly support the police at every level and ignore all but the most obvious cases of corruption and violations of civil rights. Now that the force of the federal government has become increasingly weaponized against conservative dissent, the Right is awakening to the very real dangers of an over-powerful FBI. The Left, which now benefits from the increased repressive power of the federal government now supports federal, though not local, law enforcement, and we see the strange spectacle of the same people who urged defunding the local police suggesting that questioning the FBI is somehow unpatriotic and taking the side of the domestic terrorists.

The fact is that contrary to what many conservatives believe the corruption of the FBI is no new thing. The FBI has, in fact, been problematic since its beginning, with a long history of civil rights violations and prioritizing suppressing dissent over fighting crime. Most people have been unaware of the dangers posed by the FBI because they have generally targeted unpopular fringe groups. It is only recently that the FBI has used its power against mainstream organizations. The danger has been there all along, however.

To see the threat the FBI has posed to our liberties, one needs to look no further than COINTELPRO. According to Wikipedia, COINTELPRO was:

a series of covert and illegal projects actively conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic American political organizations

COINTELPRO began in 1956 and only ended when the program was revealed to the public by the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI in 1971. The Citizen’s Commission managed to steal documents from an FBI office and get them published by the Washington Post. Congress subsequently investigated COINTELPRO as part of the Church Committee’s general investigation of illegal surveillance and covert actions by intelligence and law enforcement agencies of the U. S. government.

The targets of COINTELPRO included:

 feminist organizations,the Communist Party USAanti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement and Black Power movement (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party), environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), Chicano and Mexican-American groups like the Brown Berets and the United Farm Workers, independence movements (including Puerto Rican independence groups such as the Young Lords and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party), a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left, and far-right groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the National States’ Rights Party.

Now, to be clear, most, if not all, of these organizations deserved at least some scrutiny from law enforcement. The Communist Party and associated Socialist organizations were, at least in theory, committed to the violent overthrow of the US government, and the Communists were funded by a hostile foreign power. The Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers were both racist organizations with a history of violence. Not all of the anti-Viet Nam war protestors were peaceful flower children. It would have been entirely appropriate for the FBI to conduct surveillance on many of these groups. Indeed it might have been negligent for them not to keep an eye on them. The problem is the FBI did much more than simply watch these groups. The FBI actively sought to harass, break up, and discredit organizations that held unpopular fringe political opinions. The FBI’s methods included:

  • Infiltration: Agents and informers did not merely spy on political activists. Their main purpose was to discredit, disrupt and negatively redirect action. Their very presence served to undermine trust and scare off potential supporters. The FBI and police exploited this fear to smear genuine activists as agents.
  • Psychological warfare: The FBI and police used myriad “dirty tricks” to undermine movements. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged correspondence, sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone calls. They spread misinformation about meetings and events, set up pseudo movement groups run by government agents, and manipulated or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, school officials, and others to cause trouble for activists. They used bad-jacketing to create suspicion about targeted activists, sometimes with lethal consequences.
  • Harassment via the legal system: The FBI and police abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to be criminals. Officers of the law gave perjured testimony and presented fabricated evidence as a pretext for false arrests and wrongful imprisonment. They discriminatorily enforced tax laws and other government regulations and used conspicuous surveillance, “investigative” interviews, and grand jury subpoenas in an effort to intimidate activists and silence their supporters.
  • Illegal force: The FBI conspired with local police departments to threaten dissidents; to conduct illegal break-ins in order to search dissident homes; and to commit vandalism, assaults, beatings and assassinations.The objective was to frighten or eliminate dissidents and disrupt their movements.
  • Undermine public opinion: One of the primary ways the FBI targeted organizations was by challenging their reputations in the community and denying them a platform to gain legitimacy. Hoover specifically designed programs to block leaders from “spreading their philosophy publicly or through the communications media”. Furthermore, the organization created and controlled negative media meant to undermine black power organizations. For instance, they oversaw the creation of “documentaries” skillfully edited to paint the Black Panther Party as aggressive, and false newspapers that spread misinformation about party members. The ability of the FBI to create distrust within and between revolutionary organizations tainted their public image and weakened chances at unity and public support.

These methods go far beyond what ought to be acceptable for a law enforcement agency in a free, constitutional republic. These are police state methods, the sort of procedure you might expect from the KGB or the Gestapo. All of the members of the political organizations targeted by the FBI had a perfect right to belong to and promote the ideology of those organizations so long as they obeyed the law and abstained from violence. There is no law, and ought not to be a law that prohibits anyone from being a Communist, a Black Panther, a Klansman, or anything else they want to be.

COINTELPRO officially ended in April 1971. The FBI was supposed to have ended the illegal surveillance and harassment of law-abiding citizens, but there is good reason to suspect their illegal shenanigans have continued. Over the years, members of fringe movements on both the right and left have complained about the FBI’s actions. Lately, the FBI has been more blatant in its actions against groups deemed to be threatening to the political order, and as the FBI, along with many other federal agencies, has become less professional and more politicized under the Obama and Biden administrations, it has increasingly targeted mainstream conservatives.

The history of the FBI has generally been that of a rouge agency that threatens rather than defends the life and liberty of American citizens. A law enforcement agency with wide-ranging powers and contempt for the rights of the American people has no place in a constitutional republic. If there is, indeed, a need for a federal law enforcement agency like the FBI as part of our government, it should be an agency of strictly limited jurisdiction and under the oversight of Congress. I do not believe the FBI can be redeemed or reformed. It must be defunded and abolished.

Rosh Hashanah

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the first of the High Holy Days. To be more precise, Rosh Hashanah actually began yesterday evening, since the Jews traditionally begin a new day at sunset. This holiday takes place on the first two days of the month of Tishrei in the Hebrew calendar. Because the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar, the dates wander a bit in our Gregorian calendar. This year it takes place on September 25-27. The New Year is celebrated for two days because of the difficulty of determining the precise day of the new moon.

Rosh Hashanah, which means “the head of the year”,  is not mentioned as such in the Bible. Instead, the day is called “Zikaron Teru’ah” a memorial of the blowing of horns in Leviticus 23:24, and “Yom Teru’ah” the day of blowing the horn in Numbers 23:9.

 23 The LORD spoke to Moses: 24 “Tell the Israelites, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you must have a complete rest, a memorial announced by loud horn blasts, a holy assembly. 25 You must not do any regular work, but you must present a gift to the LORD.’”  (Lev. 23:23-25)

1 “‘On the first day of the seventh month, you are to hold a holy assembly. You must not do your ordinary work, for it is a day of blowing trumpets for you. 2 You must offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the LORD: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs one year old without blemish.  3 “‘Their grain offering is to be of finely ground flour mixed with olive oil, three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths of an ephah for the ram, 4 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs,note 5 with one male goat for a purification offering to make an atonement for you; 6 this is in addition to the monthly burnt offering and its grain offering, and the daily burnt offering with its grain offering and their drink offerings as prescribed, as a sweet aroma, a sacrifice made by fire to the LORD. (Num 29:1-6)

I mentioned that the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar. That is not quite correct. A fully lunar calendar would be based solely on the phases of the moon that would cycle through the year, as the Islamic Calendar does. Instead, the Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar. The twelve months add up to 354 days, so to keep up with the seasons extra, intercalary months are added in a nineteen-year cycle. Seven intercalary months are added during the cycle so that a thirteenth month is added every two or three years. This means that the dates wander a bit compared to the Gregorian calendar but stay within the appropriate seasons.

Anyway, Shana Tova everyone.

Twenty-One Years

It has been twenty years since the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and I still remember it as if it were yesterday.

On that Tuesday morning, I was at work, driving from Madison to North Vernon when I got a call from my wife. She asked me if I was listening to the radio. I was not. She told me to turn it on because something terrible was happening. I turned my car radio on and listened to the coverage of the attack.

I went about my duties at the stores in North Vernon in a sort of state of shock.  The North Vernon Walmart and Jay C played continuing news coverage of the day’s events instead of the usual soothing Musak. Not too many people were working or shopping in the stores. They were mostly just listening.

I had to go to Seymour for a meeting that afternoon. On the way, I noticed that some gas stations had raised the price of gasoline to a then unheard-of price of $5 per gallon. At the meeting, no one wanted to discuss the business at hand. Instead, we talked about the terrorist attack. It seemed certain to us all that more attacks were on the way and that this time we couldn’t just launch a few missiles, blow up some tents, and then move on. We were in for a long fight.

I don’t remember much about the rest of that day. I went home but I don’t remember much about it.

I was once in the World Trade Center. I was in New York with some friends as a sort of tourist and we took the elevator to the top floor of one of the twin towers. There was a gallery up there where you could look out over the city of New York. The day was foggy so I didn’t see anything. They had a gift shop in the center section of the floor. It sickens me to think that the people who worked there went to work one morning, and then had to choose between burning to death or jumping, Not to mention the tourists, who only wanted to look at the city.

It still sickens me to think about the people who were only doing their jobs having to lose their lives.

It sickens me, even more, to have an alleged president turn tail and run from the kind of terrorists who committed this atrocity, abandoning Americans in Afghanistan, or to have this so-called president declaring his fellow Americans a threat to the country while ignoring the external threats, probably because the traitor president is bought and paid for our enemies, but there it is.

twin

The End of an Era

Queen Elizabeth II is dead.

Long live King Charles III

From the Washington Post.

Queen Elizabeth II, the seemingly eternal monarch who became a bright but inscrutable beacon of continuity in the United Kingdom during more than seven decades of rule, died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle, her estate in the Scottish Highlands. She was 96.

Her death, of undisclosed causes, was announced by Buckingham Palace.

In her reign, which began in February 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth served as a constant and reassuring figure in Britain and on the world stage as she helped lead her country through a period of profound shifts in geopolitical power and national identity.

The designs of postage stamps and bank notes changed through the decades, but they all depicted the same, if aging, monarch. The British national anthem now shifts to “God Save the King,” but most Britons have only known the other version, for the queen.

It is the end of an era. Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch most Britons, and most of us elsewhere, have ever known. Although as an American I live in a republic without any kings or queens, I am enough of an anglophile that I felt that she was my queen. I am sorry to see her go and I wish the best of luck to the new King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: