Well, it’s official. Donald J. Trump, entitled trust-fund kid ($400+ million) and utter parasite, has just announced that he wants to reinstate his family-separation policy in order to terrorize (there’s no other word for it) already-traumatized immigrants fleeing desperate conditions.

In terms of domestic politics, the bad news is that approximately one-third of Americans are vicious, racist (“family values”) authoritarians goose-stepping behind the Glorious Leader, and they’ll enthusiastically support Dear Leader’s new exercise in state terrorism.

The good news is that two-thirds of us aren’t that bad.

Get out and vote on November 6.

 


This goes nearly a decade back, but I find it disgusting and revealing that one of the most obvious and profound truths ever uttered by a politician was met with near-universal ridicule. I’m referring to a statement of the bleeding obvious spoken by someone I otherwise despise: Donald Rumsfeld. That the left ridiculed him for speaking the truth in a somewhat awkward manner speaks more to the willful ignorance and maliciousness of much of the left than to Rumsfeld. Here’s the very short statement:

“There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.”

Who in their right mind could disagree with this? What Rumsfeld very obviously meant, especially given the context of his statement, was that there are known threats, threats of which we’re aware of but of which we know no details. and threats we’re not even aware of.

Again, who could disagree with any of this? If you think about it, Rumsfeld was more than obviously correct. But the MSNBC (corporate-Democrat) “left” seized on the awkward wording and ridiculed Rumsfeld for it.

This speaks almost entirely to their bankruptcy of ideas and shameful desire to ridicule opponents. Rumsfeld is a liar and war criminal, but this is what they seized on? Please.

That’s utterly appalling. Let’s leave deliberate misinterpretation of statements, deliberate misrepresentation of reality, and deliberate seizing on trivialities to those on the right. We shouldn’t stoop to engaging in any of it.


I’ve seen hundreds, probably thousands, of films over the years. Here’re the first few in my list of favorites. I’m not saying these are the best films ever made — far from it; my knowledge is far too limited to say that — just that I really enjoyed them and that there’s a good chance you will too, if you decide to give ’em a view. Here are the first ones, in no particular order:

  • The Third Man (1949, directed by Carol Reed, original screenplay by Graham Greene). A visually stunning, subtly menacing, intelligently written European film noir with great performances by David Niven, Joseph Cotton, and Orson Welles. This contains some of the most memorable images ever recorded. (Fun fact: for decades I assumed Carol Reed was a woman. Not so. He was — the Brits, go figure ’em — a guy.)
  • Double Indemnity (1944, directed by Billy Wilder, screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler). My all-time favorite film noir. Fred McMurray is absolutely great as a clueless insurance salesman manipulated by a femme fatale (the equally good Barbara Stanwyck) in this engrossing murder mystery that will keep you guessing until near the end. Edward G. Robinson is likewise great in a secondary role.
  • Life of Brian (1979, directed by Terry Jones, written by the Python crew). A fictional version of the life of Jesus, and one of the funniest films ever produced. As much about politics as religion, this incredibly insightful film remains as relevant today as it was four decades ago.
  • The Big Lebowski (1998, directed and written by Ethan and Joel Coen). Another nominee for funniest film ever produced. Great performances by Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, and David Huddleston. (As awful as it seems, The Dude reminds me all too much of myself — I even look like him.)
  • The Producers (1967, written and directed by Mel Brooks). Probably the funniest film ever made, it concerns the production by two Jewish hucksters of what they consider the certain-to-fail play, “Springtime for Hitler.” The choreographed scene is still jaw dropping four decades later.

As I said, enjoy ’em.

More to come.

It’s time for me to write some in-all-likelihood terrible fiction that will probably never see the light of day, and then practice guitar for a couple of hours for a band that will never be popular.

As some wise guy once said, “enjoy the trip, not the destination.”

Cheers


Barbara Kingsolver

“To begin, give yourself permission to write a bad book. Writer’s block is another name for writer’s dread—the paralyzing fear that our work won’t measure up. It doesn’t matter how many books I’ve published, starting the next one always feels as daunting as the first. A day comes when I just have to make a deal with myself: write something anyway, even if it’s awful. Nobody has to know. Maybe it never leaves this room! Just go. Bang out a draft.”

–Barbara Kingsolver in “5 Writing Tips: Barbara Kingsolver” on the Publishers Weekly site

* * *

(Kingsolver’s five writing tips constitute the best writing advice in a short space I’ve ever seen. I’d highly recommend reading all of her tips.)


AGNOSTIC, n. 1. An atheist who craves social acceptance; 2) A person who feels superior to atheists by merit of his ignorance of the rules of logic and evidence.

(Adding weight to the second definition, Pew Research Center just released a poll showing that agnostics were two-and-a-half times more likely than atheists to hold at least one irrational new age belief [“new age” being pronounced as a single word starting with “s” according to Penn & Teller] — in spiritual energy; psychics; reincarnation; and/or astrology. Agnostics were only slightly less credulous in this regard than Christians.)

* * *

— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Chris Mato Nunpaby Chris Mato Nunpa, PhD
retired professor of History at Southwest Minnesota State University and author of the upcoming (Sept. 2019) The Great Evil: Genocide, the Bible, and the Indigenous People of the United States

Back in October of 1947, I entered first grade at the Granite Falls Public Schools, Granite Falls, Minnesota, USA. This is when I first heard about a man named Christopher Columbus. As far as I can remember, I never heard my father or mother mention this person. When one of my teachers talked about Columbus, she taught us a poem which began, “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” This is a line that I have remembered, now that I am 78 “winters” on. The teacher taught us that Columbus “discovered” America. The second thing I remember is a picture of Columbus on the shore with a cross. In my mind, I thought, “Columbus must be a Christian. So, he must be a good man.” The Christian missionaries had taught us Dakota children, in the late 1940s, that Christians are good people because they are serving God, and that the cross was good and sacred. The white man’s educational system did, and does, very efficient teaching, or indoctrination, or brainwashing, along with help from his religious theology system, and the missionaries.

Later, as I grew up and became educated, I discovered that the things which I heard and learned not only in first grade in 1947, but also in the other grades up to 1959 when I graduated from high school, were mostly lies. Columbus DID NOT DISCOVER America, and that there were approximately 16 million, if not more, Indigenous Peoples already here in the continental United States. Columbus may have been the first western-European to make it to the Americas and even there, there is some debate about that. The other thing I learned was that Columbus was a bad man, a very bad man – that he and his soldiers killed millions of our Native Peoples on the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was a Genocidaire, a perpetrator of Genocide. This Genocide of the Native Peoples began what I call “The Great Evil,” which I discuss at length in my book of the same name, The Great Evil (Wosice Tanka Kin): Genocide, the Bible, and the Indigenous Peoples of the United States, to be published in September 2019.

Let me provide an incident which illustrates the cruelty and brutality of Columbus and his soldiers. In the course of Columbus’ making of war, what the Spanish called “pacification” to describe their campaign of terror and killing against the Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. Las Casas, a Catholic missionary, witnessed an event. And I quote:

Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties, the more cruel the better, with which to spill blood. They built a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen natives at a time in honor of Christ our Saviour and the twelve Apostles.

Note that Las Casas mentions that the Spaniards hanged and killed thirteen Native Peoples at a time “in honor of Christ out Saviour and the twelve Apostles.” In the upcoming book, The Great Evil (for September 2019 release), I’ll provide many specific Bible verses that were quoted by the killers of Indigenous Peoples in hundreds upon hundreds of genocidal massacres in the first four centuries the invaders, stealers, killers, and destroyers were here — the 1500s, the 1600s, the 1700s, and the 1800s.

Here are a few of the genocidal actions that were perpetrated against the First Nations Peoples of the Caribbean: using “ferocious dogs that had been trained to kill and disembowel”; Columbus’ troops “went wild, stealing, killing, raping, and torturing natives”; “would test their swords and their manly strength” on captured Indigenous Peoples by “slicing off of heads or the cutting of bodies in half with one blow”; “cutting off of hands” of Native Peoples if they did not bring in their quota of gold; tearing “babes from their mother’s breast by their feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks” (see Psalms 137:9, KJV); the soldiers would “rip open the bellies, to cut and kill those lambs – men, women, children, and old folk”; etc. In twenty-one years, 8 million Indigenous Peoples “had been killed by violence, disease, and despair” (compare with the more than the 6 million Jews killed by Hitler and his Nazis in WWII. These examples and information can be found in David Stannard’s book American Holocaust (1992, pp. x, & 69-72).

Let me quote a few comments from Dr. Ward Churchill:

As a symbol, Christopher Columbus vastly transcends himself. He stands before the bar of history and humanity, culpable not only for his deeds on Española, but, in spirit at least, for the carnage and cultural obliteration which attended the conquest of Mexico and Peru during the 1500s. He stands as exemplar of the massacre of Pequots at Mystic in 1637 . . . His spirit informed the policies of John Evans and John Chivington as they set out to exterminate the Cheyennes in Colorado during 1864, and it rode with the 7th U.S. Cavalry to Wounded Knee in December of 1890 . . . .  (A Little Matter of Genocide p. 92)

The arrival of Columbus began the period of “The Great Evil,” or Wosice Tanka Kin (a Dakota phrase), which has lasted for the past 526 years. In that period, 16 million people have been murdered in the continental United States, and anywhere from 110 to 125 million slaughtered in the Americas primarily by U.S. Euro-Americans and western Euro-Americans. Stannard writes, “The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world (Stannard, American Holocaust, p. x).

Columbus was an evil man.


Yep, a lot of white folks are scared shitless of losing majority status in this country. Listen to the fear-mongering racist jerks and they’ll have you believing it’s a coming apocalypse.

It’s not. In my neighborhood, where white people are a minority, there are plenty of problems, but they aren’t related to race.

A lot of that has to do with Tucson’s being the most integrated million-plus city in the country, and my high-density neighborhood being the most integrated neighborhood in Tucson. People just get along here. We have to.

I moved here (The Keeling Neighborhood — Official Motto: “It’s not as bad as it looks”) in 1992. At the time, it was probably 55-60% Mexican, 30-35% white, and 5% to 10% black, with a scattering of Yaquis and Tohono O’odhams. When I moved in, in terms of violence it was somewhat like, though not as bad, as what I was used to in the North Mission in San Francisco: being constantly on edge and hypervigilant. (A few weeks before I left there, around dusk walking down Mission Street by the armory, I flattened against the wall as I heard rapid footsteps approaching coming up behind me — it was a guy with eyes wide as plates being chased by an equally crazed motherfucker brandishing a machete.)

When I moved in here, there were shots every night, but they were mostly a good half-mile away, not pleasant background noise, but far enough away to ignore. After living in the North Mission, this neighborhood was a relief in comparison.

Since then, things have gotten progressively more peaceful. The DEA hasn’t busted a meth lab on the block in over 15 years (there was only one such bust); it’s been almost as long since they busted the Hell’s Angels clubhouse three blocks south of here; there hasn’t been a murder within half a mile in over seven years; there hasn’t been a shootout on the corner (a hundred feet away — duplexes owned by slumlords) in well over five years (there have been two while I’ve been here); and the last real excitement was about two or three years ago when some asshole half a block down got busted by the ATF for building pipe bombs. Anymore, it’s rare to hear shots — no more than maybe once a month.

It’s become a safe neighborhood. Poor, but a pretty decent place for kids (but for the shitty, underfunded schools).

And you know? That improvement in the neighborhood has corresponded to a decrease in the white population. Right now the neighborhood is probably 65% Mexican, 10% to 15% black, and only 20% to 25% white.

Guess what, folks — we don’t need to fear our black and brown neighbors. All of the real problems, especially the economic ones, are systemic, not due to race. Let’s worry about those real problems, not made-up ones such as white people losing majority status.