Saturday, November 05, 2016

Book Review: ‘The Earth Is Weeping' by Peter Cozzens

By Dan Cryer
November 3, 2016

When I was a boy playing cowboys and Indians in the backyard, I invariably signed up with the cowboys. I knew darn well who the bad guys were. I knew which side represented civilization, and which, savagery. Later, as a serious student of history, I knew better. America’s treatment of the continent’s native inhabitants had been no less shameful than its treatment of African slaves and their descendants.

After all, how “civilized” could perpetrators of genocide be?

While in no way minimizing the devastating impact on Native Americans, Cozzens contends, contrary to revisionist works like Dee Brown’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” (1970), that official U.S. policy was never genocide. It was cultural assimilation. Indians were pushed and prodded to shed traditional ways, adopt Christianity and be transformed into settled farmers and ranchers. Though some may regard this as cultural genocide, a distinction without a difference, the author disagrees.

Confronted with the reality of fierce Indian resistance, Army officers learned to respect their enemies’ martial skills. The Lakota were unmatched horsemen, the Apaches masters of lightning guerrilla strikes. Their courage was never in doubt. Tribal unity, however, was their Achilles’ heel, not only among tribes but within the same one. Resisting wiser voices counseling restraint, youngbloods sometimes lashed out in fury and hurt their own cause.

The troops arrayed against them tended to be underfunded, poorly trained, badly paid and undisciplined. Only the overpowering force of greater numbers, the devastation of the buffalo herds, the railroads that knifed through Indian territory and the unstoppable in-migration of white settlers (fueled by the Homestead Act of 1863) allowed the soldiers to prevail. Using a divide-and-conquer strategy, the Army split off one group from another, and eventually saddled up Indian warriors to ride side by side with bluecoats.

Treaties, Cozzens notes, were “mere legal veneer to conceal wholesale land grabs.” As whites poured into the West, as gold was discovered, pacts signed but not fully understood by the tribes were overruled by government agencies. Once Indians were corralled onto reservations, the granting or withholding of rations proved an effective tool of pacification. If the only options were to acquiesce, depart in search of vanishing game or starve, tribal leaders usually knew what they had to do.

As Spotted Tail, chief of the Brule Sioux, accused, “Your words are like a man knocking me in the head with a club.” He signed up his band for rations anyway.
Without implying any false equivalence, Cozzens emphasizes history’s tangled complexity. Outbreaks of violence were sometimes provoked by Indians, sometimes by whites. Neither side had a monopoly on cruelty.

General Phil Sheridan represented the majority Army view, imposing a blame-the-victim interpretation on every misunderstanding between whites and Indians. Yet even Gen. George Crook, who battled Indians for decades, turned advocate for their rights. “All tribes tell the same story,” he wrote late in his career. “They are surrounded on all sides, the game is destroyed or driven away, they are left to starve, and there remains but one thing to do — fight while they can.”

Not all tribal leaders chose to fight. Cozzens sees dignity in two great Lakota chiefs: Red Cloud, who concluded that accommodation was the only path to survival, as well as Sitting Bull, who fought as long as he could. Likewise, Cochise of the Chiricahua Apaches laid down his arms after a decade of struggle, while Geronimo kept eluding his captors by slipping away to Mexico until his luck ran out.

Cozzens excels at crisp, muscular prose that offers clear pictures of men at war. (Numerous maps also aid our understanding.) His account of the Battle of Little Big Horn, for instance, portrays with scorching vividness the doomed George Custer and his Seventh Cavalry: “Calhoun’s men were easy targets. They knelt or stood, silhouetted along the barren hilltop. Arrows rained down on them. Bullets kicked up dust or entered flesh with a sickening thud.”

If individual battles are described with clarity and brio, the reader’s overall sense of things can nonetheless be blurred. So many tribes and chiefs, so many Army officers and Indian agents parade across these pages in pursuit of each other that it’s hard to keep them straight. The book is heavy on action, light on personality. Just when we think we’ve grasped a figure, he is whisked offstage and others take over.

One can’t help thinking, by way of contrast, of S.C. Gwynne’s masterful “Empire of the Summer Moon,” whose focus on the Comanches in Texas and Oklahoma made for a scintillating reading experience.

In the final analysis, “The Earth Is Weeping” doesn’t seem that far removed from the spirit of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” Both throb with the pain of Indian defeat and humiliation; both honor varied Indian cultures; both grieve at the inevitability of cultural clash.

Cozzens’ account begins and ends with massacres by U.S. troops. At Sand Creek, Colo., in 1864, some 200 Cheyennes, including women and children, were killed. Never mind that Chief Black Kettle had raised a white flag. Col. John Chivington did not want any prisoners.

At Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, Army cannons raked over a band of Miniconjou Lakota led by Big Foot preparing to surrender their weapons; 82 men and 64 women and children were killed.

Dee Brown has been updated and improved, but hardly countermanded.

Dan Cryer is author of “Being Alive and Having to Die: The Spiritual Odyssey of Forrest Church.” Email:


As they lose their grip, the political and media elites are getting desperate.

November 4, 2016
(Getty Images)
The mainstream media in Western Europe and North America isn’t even pretending to be an objective news source anymore; instead, “journalists” are working openly to quell what looks increasingly, on both sides of the Atlantic, like a popular revolution against the hegemony of the self-appointed political and media aristocracy that seems hell-bent on driving Western civilization over the cliff. And so it’s time for another round of their Two-Minutes Hate against Dutch politician and freedom fighter Geert Wilders.
Wilders has yet again gone on trial in the Netherlands for “hate speech,” and this time the case against him is especially flimsy: as Europe is roiled by the criminal activity of Muslim migrants, he is being accused of “hate speech” for saying that the massive influx of immigrants from Morocco (from which most of the Muslim migrants in the Netherlands come) has to be stopped. 
This trial could very easily backfire on the Dutch inquisitors, and make Wilders more popular than ever with the people of the Netherlands and Europe in general, as they are increasingly fed up with the political and media elites’ forcing them to accept a massive influx of Muslim migrants that ensures a future only of civil strife, bloodshed, and Sharia oppression. 
Consequently, those elites are trying desperately to shore up their position. Wilders chanted “No more Moroccans” at a rally. The horror! To any sane person, this means “Stop the influx of Moroccan immigrants who only inflate crime rates and welfare rolls.” To the media, which at this point is quite insane, insofar as insanity means an inability or refusal to accept reality, this means “Genocide!”
And so, in this Deutsche Welle (DW) piece by freelance “journalist” Teri Schultz, we’re told that European Parliament lawmaker Cecile Kyenge, who was born in Congo, had “numerous racial slurs - not to mention, bananas, literally - thrown at her, along with suggestions she go back to ‘her country.’” Does this have anything to do with the crime and civil strife that are the foundations for Wilders’ position? Of course not, but Wilders, Schultz tells us, is (of course) “far-right,” that all-purpose and meaningless semaphore that serves only to signal to right-thinking Deutsche Welle readers that Wilders is, as far as the media elites are concerned, unsavory, and must be opposed and shunned, his positions left unexamined. 
Schultz contacted me to serve as the villain of her piece, being sure to tell her hapless readers that I am “known for extreme anti-Islam views,” to make sure that if any of them are foolish enough to find themselves agreeing with me, they will immediately reverse themselves and get their minds right. The term “extreme” also, since the Western governing class unanimously refers to jihad terrorists as “extremists,” also implies that I am a terrorist. 
After the article came out, I challenged Schultz on this; she replied: “I don’t think even you would consider your views ‘mainstream’, do you?” I responded: “Absolutely yes. My views were the broad mainstream in the Western world from 632 AD until the 1960s. What changed? Not Islamic teaching.” To that she said: “Okay. You’d have to argue it with another expert, which I am not. But thanks again for contributing.” Indeed, she is just a mouthpiece for the views the political and media elites want us to hold. 
In any case, Schultz’s article merely reveals the desperation of the ruling class and the self-appointed opinion-shapers. They can call those of us who wish to defend the people and culture of Europe and North America “far-right” and “extreme” every day (and they do), but the public can see with their eyes what is happening. Wilders’ popularity isn’t growing because he is a charming fellow (which is, of course, not to say that he isn’t). It’s growing because he speaks the truths that the political and media elites are in a frenzy to obscure. 
And it’s only going to get worse for them: the Brexit vote and the Trump candidacy (whether he wins or loses) shows that their hegemony is beginning to be challenged. Those challenges will continue, and grow. They will before too long be decisively voted out and repudiated.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

You knew it couldn’t come easy, but the Cubs are World Series champions

 The Chicago Cubs won the World Series here Wednesday night for the young, the old and the long dead, too. Of course these Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-7, in 10 thrilling, brain-warping innings in Game 7 for themselves, for their own joy and glory.
But as they have been reminded endless times in the past seven months of this baseball season, they also won the Cubs’ first title since 1908 for the citizens of a nation without borders. They lifted the silly “curse” of Murphy the Goat and roused the spirits of a worldwide legion of interwoven sufferers who share a passion and an affliction — a lifelong freely chosen Cubness.
Because this game went beyond the baseball surreal, because it provided forgetfulness and forgiveness for several Cubs who might have been enormous goats, including reliever Aroldis Chapman and Manager Joe Maddon, it seemed to encapsulate the team’s long history of staring into the abyss. Only this time, at long last — it only took a century or so — the abyss blinked.
With a 6-3 lead and just four outs required to clinch this series, the Cubs brought on Chapman, who, earlier this year, threw a 105-mph fastball. Cubs fans all over the world thought they knew what would happen when he entered with a man on first base and two outs in the eighth. He would slam the door on the Indians and extend Cleveland’s own World Series drought, which dates from 1948.
So much for assumptions.
With two of the most unexpected swings in World Series history, the baseball worlds of these two cities flipped. Obscure Brandon Guyer smashed an RBI double off the center field wall on a 97.9-mph fastball. Then on the seventh pitch of his at-bat, 35-year-old journeyman Rajai Davis launched a two-run homer into left on a 97.1-mph fastball. His blast, fair by less than 10 feet and a few rows deep into the bleachers, might as well have traveled 600 feet — and the score was 6-6.
For 108 years, this is when the “curse” arrives and gags the life out of the choking Cubs. But, finally, not this time. Chapman finished the eighth, then he pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game into extra innings. Next, it rained. Honest. For a 17-minute rain delay. Was that the baseball gods’ idea of an appropriate amount of time for prayer, begging and unspeakable promises to all available deities?
When the tarp was removed, the sun rose on the Cubs, even though it was past midnight. Kyle Schwarber greeted losing pitcher Bryan Shaw with a single. Soon World Series MVP Ben Zobrist had sliced a double into the left field corner to break the tie, then Miguel Montero singled home an insurance run.
Finally, in the 10th inning, reliever Carl Edwards Jr., who had dressed as Mr. Incredible on a Cubs Halloween plane ride, tried to get the save. He allowed one run, but Mike Montgomery finally put out the blaze — the largest, perhaps, in the view of Chicagoans since Mrs. O’Leary’s barn had that little accident in 1871. At 12:47 a.m., after 4 hours 28 minutes, the mound mob scene began. Just a guess: It was better than the one in 1908.
Actor Bill Murray reacts on the field after the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years.(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The happiest Cub may have been Maddon, who, in the view of many — okay, almost the whole baseball universe — had overused Chapman unnecessarily in Game 6, allowing him to pitch in all or parts of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, even though he had already gotten an eight-out save, the longest of his career, in Game 5. Now all that will be forgiven, though probably not forgotten.
This whole night and early morning seemed jammed with Cubs symbolism. When Dexter Fowler hit the third pitch of the game over the center field fence, then danced backward between first and second base, exhorting his teammates, he was, by his spontaneous jubilation, honoring so many great Cubs of the past who never played in a single World Series game, like the late Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub.
When Javier Baez and David Ross, 39, playing his last game, also hit solo homers, perhaps they were not just high-fiving teammates as they returned to the jumping Cubs dugout but also saluting a long tradition of baseball affection on the North Side of Chicago that is so powerful and authentic that it has withstood a century of frustration while keeping alive a powerful multigenerational baseball love affair.
How fitting, after all of this, that the Cubs would become the first team since 1985 to have the fortitude to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a World Series. And the first since 1979 to win the final two games on the road.
How ironic — but suitably sweet — that the 2016 Cubs will be known for playoff grit in all three rounds of this postseason. In their division series, they trailed San Francisco, 5-2, in the ninth inning of Game 4 and seemed certain to face scary Johnny Cueto in a decisive fifth game. Yet they scored four in the ninth to kill the Giants.
The Dodgers shut them out back-to-back to take a 2-1 lead in the National League Championship Series. Then, with their first pennant since 1945 at stake, the Cubs stomped Los Angeles flat, winning three straight games by a combined score of 23-6.
No one season erases a century of lousy teams, bad management and a half-dozen famous choke jobs, including defeats in the NLCS in 1984 and 2003 when the Cubs held three-run leads but lost and did it with haunting misplays, whether by first baseman Leon Durham or one of their own fans. But this season, with its balm and blessings aplenty, will have to serve — and considering the style with which this whole affair was completed, including three relief innings by ace Jon Lester — it should more than suffice.
From now on, wherever two or three Cubs fans are gathered together and still wonder, smacking their foreheads, how Jose Cardenal once missed a game because his eyelids were stuck together, there will be joy and relief whenever Nov. 2, 2016, is recalled. And there will be amazement, too, that they were resilient and hopeful for so long — and perhaps just a touch dopey for sticking with America’s biggest bunch of baseball losers.
Poor Cleveland. Now it is the leader in frustration, without a World Series title since 1948. Unless, of course, you count a city, rather than a continuous one-town franchise, in the futility calculation. Then, Washington, with no such celebration since 1924, takes the bitter prize.
Chicago Cubs' Ben Zobrist watches his RBI-double against the Cleveland Indians during the 10th inning of Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Cleveland.(Charlie Riedel/AP)
Perhaps there has never been a World Series in which there was as much or perhaps more focus on the fans of the two teams, both living and long departed.
In the past 40 years, there has certainly never been a World Series crowd so divided in loyalty. The cause: Enormous numbers of Cubs fans paid huge prices for tickets on the secondary market. Some, if they risked buying from scalpers who might have bogus tickets, got “bargains” as low as $1,200. But one pair of tickets behind the Cubs’ dugout was sold on StubHub for $23,000 — apiece.
“[Cubs fans] might have more money than us,” Indians Manager Terry Francona conceded.
Among the reveling Cubs fans was Kevin O’Brien, a Chicago lawyer wearing a vintage Bruce Sutter jersey. “If you count from birth, which I do, I’ve been a Cubs fan for 55 years,” he said. “My mom’s 82, and she’s been a Cubs fan all her life, too. She used to clean the Wrigley Field bleachers after games in the ’40s and ’50s to get free tickets to the next game.
“So I was stuck. The whole family are Cubs fans — brothers, sisters, cousins,” said O’Brien, who was asked how much he had paid for his ticket since he was, in a sense, representing all branches of his family. “Too much. Not going to say,” he said. “But my wife is happy it was less than her engagement ring 26 years ago.”
When the Cubs fell behind 3-1 in this series, some Cubs fans simply hoped this series would be extended back to Cleveland for a sixth game so that they could glimpse their team in a World Series for the first time since 1945 even if the Cubs ultimately lost.
“In Wrigley Field, tickets were $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000. I live there, and I couldn’t get into my own park,” said Eddie Opitz, 58, a truck driver from Mt. Prospect, Ill., who found a much cheaper ticket here for the Cubs’ victory in Game 6. “I called my wife this morning. Last week was our 25th wedding anniversary. She said, ‘So you’re coming home today, right?’ I said, ‘Errrrrr. . . . ’ ”
“I wish it wasn’t Cleveland we had to beat. What they’ve gone through all these years is so much like us,” Opitz said long before that final winning pitch. “Wish it could’ve been the Yankees.”
But after 108 years, the Cubs and their fans have come to a decision: They won’t be picky. They will just take this World Series — and its incredible final Game 7 — in their loving arms and toddle off into a long and blissful winter.


By Ann Coulter
November 2, 2016

(EDITORS: Please note graphic language in column.) 

Image result for donald trump november 2016
Donald Trump(Credit: Reuters/Mike Carlson)

For every argument the media make against Trump, Hillary's worse.

(1) Eleven years ago, Trump said on a secretly recorded tape that celebrities can do anything -- even grab a woman's p*ssy.

Hillary, born-again Victorian virgin, campaigns with Beyonce, who performs a duet with the words "curvalicious, p*ssy served delicious.”

Hillary is thrilled to have the support of Madonna -- who has publicly offered to give blow jobs to anyone who votes for Hillary. (She'll even remove her teeth!)

Hillary's campaign has deployed Miley Cyrus to canvas for her -- when Cyrus is not busy inviting men in the audience to reach up and grab her p*ssy. (Video of delicate flower Miley Cyrus in action.)

When Vernon Jordan was asked by CBS' Mike Wallace what he talked about while golfing with Bill Clinton -- aka Hillary's husband -- he answered: "P*ssy.”

Oh, and 11 years before Teddy Kennedy ran for president as the Conscience of the Democratic Party -- he killed a girl. After grabbing her p*ssy.

(2) Trump's a sexual predator!

Hillary's husband is a well-established rapist, groper and pants-dropper. She's his fixer.

Unlike the serial predations of her husband, leveled repeatedly throughout the decades, the timing of these 11th-hour allegations against Trump make them highly suspect.

Recall that The New York Times spent months investigating Trump's treatment of women earlier this year. The Newspaper of Record put its best reporters on the job, interviewed a dozen women, and the paper splashed the story on its front page. But the best the Times could come up with was a story about Trump, as a bachelor, publicly praising a model for looking great in a bikini at his pool party. Then they dated. The horror.

Five months later, just days before the election, there doesn't seem to be a female Democrat who isn't claiming to have been groped by Trump -- and getting loads of fawning publicity.

(3) Trump doesn't give enough to charity.

The media only counts "charitable giving" if it can be taken as a tax deduction with the IRS. When Trump spent time and money saving a Georgia family farm from foreclosure in the 1980s, for example, he didn't get any tax write-off.

Hillary, by contrast, was a big philanthropist because, at about the same time, she was taking a deduction for donations of Bill's used underwear -- the modern equivalent of smallpox-laden blankets. Today, the munificent Clinton Foundation spends less than 10 percent of its revenues on actual charity, using about 90 percent for salaries, offices and travel.

(4) Several of Trump's businesses went bankrupt.

Trump has created or helped create hundreds of businesses. Fewer than 10 went bankrupt. Hillary had one business, Whitewater Development Corp., and it went bankrupt -- after ripping off scores of ordinary Americans. Also, a dozen prominent Arkansans went to prison in connection with sleazy financial transactions involving Whitewater.

(5) Trump University was a scam!

Approximately 10,000 graduates of Trump University were thrilled with the program and said so in writing. But a law firm that paid Hillary and Bill Clinton $675,000 for three speeches managed to find a handful of disgruntled students to be the named plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against it.

Trump University was a minuscule portion of Trump's portfolio. Whitewater was a huge part of Bill and Hillary's get-rich-quick schemes, scamming the elderly, retirees and working-class Americans for the money-hungry Clintons.

As described by The Washington Post, people who bought property from the Whitewater Development Corp. were required to submit a down payment, followed by monthly payments, until the entire purchase price of the property was paid off. But if buyers missed a single payment for any reason, the entire transaction would be deemed null and void, and the property, as well as all prior payments, would be forfeited to the Whitewater corporation. No foreclosure proceeding, no court hearing, no due process.

More than half of Whitewater's customers lost their entire investment. (See "Whitewater Repossessions; Sales Practice Benefited Clintons, Partners," The Washington Post, April 21, 1994.)

Though Hillary had long claimed to have nothing to do with the operation of the business, when the books were finally opened, it turned out that the monthly checks were mailed to the Whitewater Development Corp. -- "care of Hillary Rodham Clinton." (See "Records Show Wider Role for Hillary Clinton; Whitewater Papers Detail Involvement," The Washington Post, April 21, 1994.)

(6) We can't allow Trump access to nuclear codes!

Hillary is the one who is champing at the bit to go to war with Russia, which, I am reliably informed, is a nuclear power.

At least Hillary's adept at dealing with sensitive digital information. Huma! Quick! Are the nuclear launch codes on my Blackberry, my desktop thingy or my Facebook page?

Compared to Hillary, we'd be safer if the nuclear codes were held by Miley Cyrus (unless she kept them in her p*ssy).

(7) Trump's temperament will get us into World War III.

Hillary's temperament drove her to push for intervention in the Libyan civil war against Moammar Gadhafi for the sole purpose of giving her a foreign policy success that could be all her own.

Obama was skeptical. Libya was Hillary's baby. (Sidney Blumenthal's email to Hillary: "First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it.”)

After Gadhafi was killed, Hillary's temperament led her to go on TV and laughingly say, "We came. We saw. He died.

Unfortunately, Hillary hadn't given the slightest thought to what would come next. What came next was: the Muslim Brotherhood, the murder of Americans in Benghazi and millions of refugees pouring into Western Europe.

(8) Trump failed to denounce David Duke with the ferocity deemed sufficient by our media.

No one even knows if Duke actually exists or is just a phantom produced by the media every four years to smear Republicans.

I know that no one has ever been incited to commit murder after listening to a David Duke speech. Lots of people have been murdered by someone who'd just heard an Al Sharpton speech: seven at Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem, and one Orthodox Jew, plus one Italian mistaken for a Jew, in Crown Heights.

Hillary has not disavowed Sharpton -- nor would our media be so rude as to ask.

The mother of Ferguson thug Mike Brown, Lesley McSpadden, campaigns with Hillary -- she even took the stage at the Democratic National Convention. The father of Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter, appeared on stage behind Hillary at a rally.

If the media won't ask her to "disavow" the relatives of criminals and terrorists featured at her events, could they at least ask her if she approves of their parenting techniques?

(9) Trump is a "racist" because of his plan to remove Muslim jihadists, Mexican drug dealers and rapists from our country.

Apart from the fact that "drug dealer," "rapist" and "jihadist" are not races, we didn't do anything to Muslims or Mexicans, except send them billions of dollars in foreign aid. The only "racism" Americans care about is that toward black Americans. We did something to them.

Hillary asks blacks to vote for her, then vows to bring in millions of Muslims and Mexicans to take their jobs -- the ones that "Americans just won't do." That's racism.

(10) Trump "fat-shamed" Miss Universe!

No, he didn't -- he saved her crown and she was grateful. It’s on tape.

But more importantly, the Miss Universe in question is Alicia Machado, well-known in Venezuela as a publicity-seeking clown.

Machado is credibly accused of: driving the getaway car in an attempted murder; threatening to kill a federal judge; and being the baby mama to drug cartel kingpin Gerardo Alvarez-Vazquez, who was on the State Department's "Most Wanted" list under -- let's see, checking my notes -- Hillary Clinton.

Until 1975, everyone would have realized that it's stupid to bring in single mothers with no marketable job skills, to add to the dependent class. If we did bring them in, politicians wouldn't proudly introduce them at rallies.

But Machado is Hillary's model immigrant. Her only job skill is voting. Upside: Hillary gets another vote. Downside: You'll be supporting Machado and her anchor baby for the rest of their lives, America.

(11) Trump is challenging the very foundation of our democracy by saying elections are rigged!

They are rigged -- ask former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, whose 2008 election was provably stolen from him when more than a thousand ineligible felons voted for Al Franken in a race Coleman lost by 312 votes. (At least it wasn't an important election: Franken provided the 60th, and deciding, vote to pass Obamacare.)

In any event, Hillary says the election is rigged, too -- by the Russkies!

The Democrats and the media have gone full John Birch Society on us. There's a fifth column in America -- and their leader is Donald Trump!!!

This is a marked departure from their previous cosmopolitan sangfroid about communism. We could have really used this fighting spirit during the Cold War. Instead, we got Jimmy Carter warning Americans about their "inordinate fear of communism.”

Today, bad-ass, eye-rolling journalists are somberly announcing: "I have in my hand a list -- a list of Donald Trump supporters, who are a conscious, articulate instrument of the Russian conspiracy …"

(12) Trump is shallow, has a microscopic attention span and has not studied political issues deeply.

On the other hand, he has a good heart, good judgment and wants the right outcome for America: limits on immigration, fair trade deals, the elimination of Wall Street tax breaks and no more pointless Middle East wars.

Hillary doesn't want any of these things. She is good at memorizing all her little facts, but is deeply evil. She wakes up early in the morning to make sure she does the wrong thing for America.

(13) Trump has personal baggage.

This election is not about Trump. It's never been about Trump. Anyone running on his platform of putting Americans first would be torn to shreds.

There are probably lots of bad things Trump's done in his personal life in the past. The ruling class wants Hillary to do bad things to our country in the future.


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Book Review: 'An Iron Wind' by Peter Fritzsche

'An Iron Wind' is an unsparing, riveting examination of life under Hitler

This is a book about how people behave when a kind of moral plague sweeps through their world.

By Steve Donahue
October 28, 2016

Image result for an iron wind fritzsche

The “iron wind” referred to in the title of historian Peter Fritzsche's riveting, important new book An Iron Wind: Europe Under Hitlerrefers the inscription on Stalingrad's World War II memorial: “An iron wind beat into their faces,” followed by “but they all kept marching on.” The sentiment will be familiar to survivors of the war and their many commemorators, the idea of people pulling together against formidable odds, against the threat of the world's ending. This sentiment holds unchanged across ideological boundaries – Germans in the Nazi fatherland and warriors on the front lines of the Japanese Empire told themselves that they were feeling the same sense of shouldering-together against the iron wind of war.
But the reality for civilians was quite different, and although Fritzsche isn't the first historian to point this out, "An Iron Wind" is the most bracing and unsparing dissection of the subject to appear in many years. Fritzsche's previous book, "The Life and Death of the Third Reich," was likewise a granular study of the individual people caught up in national trauma, but in "An Iron Wind" the canvas is broader and the shading is even darker. This is a fiercely unsettling book, demonstrating in every page the undiminished power of World War II to bring fundamental certainties into question.
Fritzsche begins by reminding his readers that the war was mostly a civilian concern, both physically and psychologically: Civilians were by far the greatest victims of the war's violence, and, as "An Iron Wind" relentlessly makes clear, they were also the greatest facilitators of that violence. The war was “an extraordinary assault on civilians,” he writes. “Civilians constituted the great majority of the victims in the war, but they also deliberately refused to see or they misunderstood what they did see.” The war brought its savagery, its privations, and its blunt ideologies directly into the civilian spheres of life in ways that hadn't been seen in the First World War; ordinary non-combatants were first hemmed in by violence and then expected to “do their part” in furthering that violence on the home front, where “trouble in the streets, noises in the stairwell, and wartime curfews” increasingly forced people to look inward in an attempt to understand how their worlds had changed.
Those inward glimpses were recorded in diaries and letters, including thousands of letters sent to soldiers in the field, or forlornly mailed off by deported Jews on their way to their fates. As Fritzsche writes, “war generated copy,” and he sifts through that copy in some new and fascinating ways, tracing patterns of denial and hope in sources that haven't been scrutinized in quite this way before.
The composite that emerges is a grim picture of how badly that iron wind of war ripped through the lives of the people in its path. Words, in wartime, were “broken off and broken,” Fritzsche tells us, and during the war “horizons of empathy” were limited and very selectively narrowed – often pushed along by state effort. As an example, Fritzsche points to the Nazi denial of the existence of “mankind” itself. “Man as such does not exist,” pronounced Walter Gross, head of Germany's Office of Racial Policy. “The notion of species, or humanity, was dropped in favor of race,” Fritzsche writes. “It followed that universal principles did not apply.” This kind of split thinking was likewise prevalent in occupied France, where attempts by the civilian population to concentrate on the idea of “the good German” were complicated by “feelings of shame about the defeat of France, its political divisions before the war, its collaborationist tendencies, and even its anti-Semitism.”
“People helped each other, but they also betrayed each other,” Fritzsche writes, and nowhere was this more appallingly evident than in Germany itself, where friends and neighbors, spurred on both by enflamed old prejudices and more pragmatic situational fears, turned on – and in many cases turned in – people they'd known for years. Even now, after nearly a century, the dissonance is painful to read in the passages our author has unearthed, as in the case of a Stuttgart Nazi party member who wrote to his local newspaper: “An effective means to curb false pity and false feelings of humanity is my habit of long standing not even to see the Jew, to see right through him as if he were made of glass, or rather as if he were thin air.”
The iron wind of Fritzsche's book laid bare those “false feelings of humanity,” and the account leaves more comfortable Greatest Generation narratives in tatters. His pages are full of collaborators and suborners, full of traitors surprised by their own weakness, full of moral compromises of a kind that can often feel disarmingly relevant to contemporary times. This is a book about how people behave when a kind of moral plague sweeps through their world: some turn away from the afflicted, others hoard medicine for themselves, a precious few risk everything to render aid. It's a gripping performance.

Book Review: 'Black Elk' by Joe Jackson

By Timothy J. Lockhart
October 21, 2016
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The darkest stain on American history is undoubtedly slavery. But America’s treatment of its native peoples was almost as cruel – forcing Indian tribes onto bleak reservations, hunting the buffalo almost to extinction, solemnly making but routinely breaking treaties, killing women and children as well as the warriors who sought to defend them. That by the end of the 19th century any Native Americans were willing to work with white people – wasichus, as the Lakota Sioux called them – is surprising. That Hehaka Sapa, Black Elk – the Lakota “medicine” or holy man, whose oral history was the basis of the 1932 book “Black Elk Speaks” by John G. Neihardt – believed he had a divine mission to bridge the gulf between the groups is as amazing as his life itself.
In “Black Elk,” Virginia Beach author Joe Jackson does a magnificent job of relating, explaining and commenting on that life in what is by far the most comprehensive biography of its subject to date. Jackson portrays Native Americans with a clear-eyed sympathy that avoids sentimentality, bringing historical figures such as Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull to life and providing fascinating insights into Indian life, culture and, most notably, religion.
Sweeping in scope, this book covers events as disparate as Custer’s Last Stand, Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in New York and London, the Paris of la belle époque, and the massacre at Wounded Knee. What links them is Black Elk’s evolution from Lakota warrior to medicine man(wicasa wakan) to Catholic catechist.
The life of Black Elk (1863-1950) stretched from the Civil War to the nuclear age and spanned two world wars as well as the Indian Wars in which he and his tribe fought, occasionally winning battles over the better-armed and better-supplied U.S. Army. Born in the Powder River Country that crosses northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, he almost died, perhaps from meningitis, at age 9 and during his illness experienced the grand vision that would shape the course of his long life.
Black Elk later said that Thunder-beings, the most powerful Lakota spirits, took him to the Grandfathers, spiritual representatives of the west, north, east, south, heaven and earth, the six directions in Lakota religion. Through showing him several scenes – some beautiful, some terrifying – and several symbols such as a cup of water and a bow and arrow, the Grandfathers brought Black Elk to understand that the sacred medicine hoop of the Lakota was, he said, “one of many hoops that made one circle.” In a revelation that perhaps few of his people would have accepted then, Black Elk realized that, as Jackson puts it, “for the Sioux to survive, all must survive, even the hated wasichu.
But his vision did not prevent Black Elk from shooting and scalping a U.S. soldier in 1876 when the Lakota and their Indian allies defeated the Army troops under Lt. Col. George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Nor did his vision prevent him from fighting members of the Crow tribe over scarce food after some of the Lakota crossed into Grandmother’s Land – their name for the Canada of Queen Victoria’s empire. Jackson relates these incidents in a refreshingly factual matter, without making the all-too-common mistakes of either excusing the beliefs and actions of a historical figure or condemning the person for being of his time and place.
Although not a historian by training, Jackson is a gifted storyteller with an eye for telling detail as well as the broad canvas of a chronicle such this one. He has published six nonfiction books and a novel, including “Leavenworth Train,” a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime; “The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire”; and “Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic.” Jackson was an investigative reporter for The Virginian-Pilot for 12 years, covering criminal justice and the state’s death row. He now holds the Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University.
Based on extensive research, well documented, and reflecting Jackson’s thoughtful and thorough analysis of its subject’s times as well as his life, “Black Elk” will appeal to scholars as well as to readers interested in Native Americans or the history of the American West. The book contains a helpful list of “dramatis personae,” several maps, and a number of striking photographs.
In 1882, barely six years after fighting Custer and only four after fighting the Crow, Black Elk began fulfilling his grand vision by becoming a medicine man and healing the sick through religious ceremonies and medicinal herbs. In another four years, curious about the white world he had heard of but never seen, he joined Cody’s Wild West Show and performed first in New York and then in London, where he met Victoria. After missing the boat back to the United States, he joined “Mexican Joe” Shelley’s Western show and toured in England and on the Continent. In Paris he had a love affair with a woman named Charlotte, an episode that had a lasting impact on him, as attested by his great-granddaughter, the activist Charlotte Black Elk, quoted in Ian Frazier’s 2000 book “On the Rez.”
After returning to the United States in 1889, Black Elk became involved in the “Ghost Dance” religious revival that made the U.S. government nervous about a possible Indian uprising and led to the Wounded Knee battle in 1890 that turned into a massacre of more than 150 Native Americans – an event that Black Elk witnessed. The holy man became convinced that if his people were to survive into the 20th century, they would have to adapt to the modern world.
Seeing similarities between the Lakota religion and Catholicism, Black Elk, baptized “Nicholas,” became an ardent catechist and converted more than 400 Native Americans to Catholicism. But as revealed in “Black Elk Speaks,” he never entirely ceased to practice his native religion, which distressed the priests with whom he worked at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
The final quarter of the book, which discusses Black Elk’s work for the Catholic Church and his giving to Neihardt his oral history, is understandably slower than the crowded events that precede it, but vital to understanding his life and legacy. One finishes “Black Elk” with a profound respect for the man Jackson correctly calls an “American visionary.” Equally important, one gains a deeper understanding of our country’s native peoples, who, ever since Europeans and then Americans coveted their territory, have celebrated many triumphs but suffered even more tragedies at their hands.
As one Lakota said of the wasichus, “They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land and they took it.”
Timothy J. Lockhart is a Norfolk lawyer.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Weiner revelation proves Comey dropped the ball on Hillary probe

October 28, 2016
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Hillary Clinton and James Comey (Greg Nash)
It appears the FBI agents investigating Anthony Weiner for sexting an underaged girl have done the job that the FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information didn’t or weren’t allowed to do.
Agents reportedly found thousands of State Department-related emails ostensibly containing classified information on the electronic devices belonging to Weiner and his wife and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The discovery has prompted FBI Director James Comey to, on the eve of the election, reopen the Clinton case he prematurely closed last July.
How did agents examine the devices? By seizing them. It’s a common practice in criminal investigations, but one that clearly was not applied in the case of Clinton or her top aide — even though agents assigned to that case knew Abedin hoarded classified emails on her electronic devices.
The two special agents who interviewed Abedin on April 5 noted as much in their 302 summary of their interview, which took place at the FBI’s Washington field office and notably was attended by the chief of the FBI’s counterespionage section.
On page 3 of their 11-page report, the agents detail how they showed Abedin a classified paper on Pakistan sent from a State Department source which she, in turn, inexplicably forwarded to her personal Yahoo email account — an obviously unclassified, unencrypted, unsecured and unauthorized system. The breach of security was not an isolated event but a common practice with Abedin.
“She routinely forwarded emails from her account to either or her account,” the agents wrote. Why? “So she could print them” at home and not at her State Department office.
Abedin contended that she “would typically print the documents without reading them” and “was unaware of the classification.” Uh-huh.
The FBI also pointed out that “the only person at DoS (Department of State) to receive an email account on the ( domain was Abedin.”
“Multiple State employees” told the FBI that they considered emailing Abedin “the equivalent of e-mailing Clinton.” Another close Clinton aide told the FBI that “Abedin may have kept emails that Clinton did not.”
In her April interview with the FBI, Abedin incredulously maintained that she “did not know that Clinton had a private server until about a year and a half ago, when it became public knowledge.” The server was set up in the basement of the Clinton family residence in Chappaqua.
However, another witness told agents that he and another Clinton aide with computer skills built the new server system “at the recommendation of Huma Abedin,” who first broached the idea of an off-the-grid email server as early as the “fall (of) 2008.”
Skeptical agents showed Abedin three separate email exchanges she had with an IT staffer regarding the operation of the private Clinton server during Clinton’s tenure at State. Abedin claimed she “did not recall” the email exchanges.
So if you believe Abedin, she didn’t know the private server that hosted her account even existed until she heard about it in the news. Comey was a believer; he didn’t even bother to call her back for further questioning. Case closed.
But Abedin’s role in this caper begs for fresh scrutiny. Making false statements to a federal agent is a felony. So is mishandling classified information.
By forwarding classified emails to her personal email account and printing them out at home, Abedin appears to have violated a Classified Information NonDisclosure Agreement she signed at the State Department on Jan. 30, 2009, in which she agreed to keep all classified material under the control of the US government.
Let’s see if Comey puts the screws to Abedin and leverages her for information on her boss. If he agrees to cut another immunity deal, we’ll know the fix is still in.
Paul Sperry, a former DC bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily and Hoover Institution media fellow, is author of “Infiltration.”