Category Archives: Poetry

Texas Recruits Armed Vigilantes With Immunity From Prosecution

Anyone in the world looking to cause some real harm to society, look no further than Texas.

The state is proposing a return to immunity from prosecution for anyone who signs up to commit crimes against humanity.

In 2021 a National Book Award went to a poet who described this Texas concept as…

…vigilantes hooded like blind angels, hunting with torches for men the color of night…

More to the point, this poet was reflecting how Texas implemented this under Woodrow Wilson’s nativist, xenophobic, genocidal platform called “America First“.

Dousing groups of Mexicans with kerosene and then burning them was also a topic of discussion for Americans on March 10, 1916 after the Battle of Columbus. Over 60 dead men were piled together, their bodies incinerated. Keep in mind this all was in the context of Americans a year earlier calling for the “extermination” of non-whites, which led to killing thousands of Americans who were of Mexican descent.

Let’s be honest.

Texas pioneered the kind of unaccountable racist vigilantism that Nazi Germany studied and applied in Europe.

Unlike Germany, however, America has never been held accountable and Texas is front and center in that issue. Hitler named his personal train “Amerika” (to honor genocide), and we can only wonder why he didn’t specify Texas.

Imagine someone in Germany proposing a bill to bring Nazi practices back. Impossible. In Texas, however, it’s hard to imagine someone NOT proposing a return to its worst chapters in history.

I too

by Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

At first glance this would seem to be a clever pun and eloquent distillation of W. E. B. Du Bois’ 1897 writing about two-ness in Black American identity.

…American world, — a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa; he does not wish to bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he believes—foolishly, perhaps, but fervently—that Negro blood has yet a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without losing the opportunity of self-development.

Yet Hughes also may be invoking a poem by a popular yet infamously racist poet.

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) supposedly wrote about diversity in 1867, invoking visions of variation in individual agency, with “I hear America singing”.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

What’s missing from the list of voices in 1867?

That’s right after the Civil War.

This is what Whitman called the varied voices in America? And he says “belongs to him or her” as if there’s freedom through ownership, yet leaves out the burning issue of those denied freedom because they… are varied.

Whitman wasn’t just a white guy being like white guys at the time. No. Definitely not.

We have ample evidence of millions of white men fighting to end slavery, to end racism. When people say white men weren’t anti-racist in 1867 they’re displaying sad ignorance.

The attorney general with a newly created 1870 Department of Justice, Amos Akerman, was in fact accused of wanting too much equality. And he was a former Confederate colonel who redeemed himself immediately at the end of war.

Silas Soule?

And hello, John Brown?

Whitman doesn’t get any slack on this point. Stop normalizing his racism at a time when many, many prominent white men were virulently anti-racist and gave the ultimate sacrifice to equalize rights.

Whitman should have known and done better. Hughes doesn’t call this out directly, but you can hear that message in his singing.

Putin’s Dropped Trousers Expose His Hitler Pants

Historian after historian knows and tries to relate the same basic story.

Putin’s job in East Germany for the KGB was to recreate Nazi cells in West Germany during the Cold War. He literally served Russia by surreptitiously growing far-right violent “sports clubs” after WWII, as if he saw breathing new life into Nazism as his preferred path to power.

If you derive Putin was a big fan of Nazism the evidence certainly agrees, even despite the fact West Germany continually blocked his fantasy.

Keep this in mind every time Putin tries to tell his worn out and false story that a target country is full of Nazis and needs liberation. He pulls this same tired thread so often everyone by now should be comfortable admitting the emperor’s trousers are gone.

What he really stands for, his ugly pants increasingly flapping in the cold breeze, is to breed Nazism and corruption in foreign nations as a step towards weakening and exploiting/annexing them.

When Putin says “I see Nazis” you can confidently reply “yeah, yours, now get out of here and take them with you”.

Here’s yet another damning example written about how Putin still gooses his steps onto the wrong side of history:

…Adolf Hitler, in his first move of conquest, annexed Austria in March 1938, claiming it as a historical part of the German Reich, and then held a plebiscite in which 99.75 percent of Austrians officially voted to join Germany. Putin’s first move in this war was to annex Crimea in March 2014, claiming it as a historical part of the Russian Empire, and then hold a plebiscite in which 97 percent of Crimeans officially voted to join Russia.

That writer goes on to suggest, absolutely on target, that Germany sending tanks to Ukraine today is an opportunity to correct its past. German tanks will be used in defense against agression, ridding a country of Putin’s Nazi dreams.

Think about it like how General Ludwig Beck, head of the German Army, wanted to forcibly remove Hitler from power by 1938. He resigned his post and instead became the center of German military resistance to Hitler.

Imagine if Beck’s vision for German armor had done back then to Nazism what it can do today.

To drive this point home Ukraine could rename its German tanks the Beck, like how Churchill named the influx of American tanks after Grant and Sherman. Even better perhaps would be to name the tanks after the Widerstand.

…‘moral capital refers to individual conduct’, and hence, the Widerstand has rightly been called a ‘rebellion of the conscience’.

Source: GDW Memorial

An American advocating for anti-corruption and moral capital perhaps put it best:

Take nothing less than the supreme best
Do not obey for most people say
’cause you can pass the test
So what we have to do is
move on up and keep on wishing
Remember your dream is your only scheme
so keep on pushing

Putin won’t invoke the Widerstand when he speaks, and that should tell you everything. The Germans now are rising to roll out an ignored chapter in their own military history, to restore honor to Germans who served against Nazism.

Germany Shuts Down Telegram… Forever

It’s being called an end of an era.

The era of the telegram came to an end in Germany with a final flourish of thousands of the once-popular message service, the country’s main postal service, Deutsche Post, said Wednesday.

Deutsche Post said that 3,228 telegrams were dispatched on the final day of service on New Year’s Eve.

Kinda curious if the last word someone paid to send was “stop”? The cost of operating and using it had gotten quite high.

It also never really shook a reputation for being monitored and intercepted.

The canonical example is when German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent the following encrypted text to Germany’s minister in Mexico on January 16, 1917.

Encrypted left. Decryption work right. Click to enlarge.

You may notice the telegram says “via Galveston” (Texas) but more importantly it routed through England. The British at the start of WWI severed cables connecting Germany to the world in order to intercept all its telegrams.

WWI map of global telegram cables. Source: BBC

The British delivered a decrypted version of Zimmerman’s telegram to the U.S. government on February 24. The text also was exposed by the press on March 1, raising public anger immediately about a German military alliance with Mexico and Japan carrying threats of invasion.

Public knowledge of these secret German plans was how the British government helped American public opinion overcome powerful leaders trying to aid Germany (i.e. Henry Ford) and shift the balance of power to better men.

Most notable, perhaps, was that former President Theodore Roosevelt along with the U.S. Army Chief of Staff (former commanding officer of the famous “Rough Riders”) had heavily promoted active response to aggression. Roosevelt objected since the start of WWI to America being passively in alignment with Germany, and objected even more in 1915 when “America First” became Wilson’s racist campaign for re-election (including a restart of the KKK).

Roosevelt instead campaigned for a civilian Preparedness Movement to ready America for defense of freedom.

1915 film “The Battle Cry of Peace” promoted by U.S. Army General Leonard Wood and former President Theodore Roosevelt

Basically, in the two years before the Zimmerman telegram exposed Wilson’s treachery, Americans had watched their President fraudulently blame “leftists” and “labor” for a growing “holocaust” of German attacks bombing cities, burning factories and sinking ships.

When a Preparedness Day parade was bombed by German military intelligence, for example, Wilson had for years before secretly been advised of this and related plots. On July 22, 1916 (just eight days before the infamous Black Tom explosion in NYC) a massive explosion rocked downtown San Francisco and killed 10 people.

Source: SFGate

Authorities under Wilson, despite strong counter intelligence, intentionally ignored their known and obvious German suspects and instead falsely used the violence as pretense to target “leftist organizers”. Today it’s known as a “one of America’s darkest miscarriages of justice”.

Think about the outrage then if Wilson had been caught enabling a foreign military to kill Americans so he could win elections (e.g. what Richard Nixon also did).

If that sounds like something the GOP still would do today, you know now exactly why Donald Trump calls himself America First when he invites Russian attacks and divisively blames “leftists” for everything. Separatist movements in 2016 America driven by foreign adversaries? Sounds like a memo straight out of 1916 Germany.

Public knowledge of secret German military plans abruptly destroyed best attempts by Henry Ford and Woodrow Wilson to side with the enemy of America. Note how California was labeled as property of Japan, an often overlooked detail that foreshadowed internment camps 30 years later.

After the British vociferously exposed the public to German secret communications, Wilson no longer could sustain such devious German alignment meant to fraudulently blame foreign military attacks killing Americans on domestic political opponents.

In April 1917 the unpopular U.S. President finally had his hands tied and Americans very quickly joined the war against Germany, with thanks to the leadership of Roosevelt and England, not to mention poets such as Alan Seeger (American soldier in Foreign Legion of France) who in 1916 wrote “I Have a Rendezvous with Death”.

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear …
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Powerful stuff, and Roosevelt was a legend (pumping out preparedness books, movies, speeches), but nothing overcame Wilson’s secret executive alliances and elevated American public sentiment into active defense like that decrypted Zimmerman telegram.

Well done England.

Another interesting footnote is that the KKK had pushed for suffrage (white women voting) as a means to dilute Black votes, especially in “young” states like Montana.

This effect was seen clearly in 1917, after Germany had bombed major American cities, when Jeannette Rankin of Montana (first woman elected to Congress in her first term) voted against war authorization. Again in 1941, after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, Rankin voted against war (placing the only no vote). She expected America could align itself with Nazi Germany and Hitler.

Historians recently have pointed out something to better frame Rankin’s hard edge politics; “anti-labor” actions in 1917 were in fact planned attempts at ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

…after all of this research, the deportation was not a response to a labor action. It was that to a limited extent, but it was also in the nature of an ethnic cleansing.

Obviously she did not in any way represent Americans who weren’t white. She was especially toxic to Black women who had been rebuffed by racism of most white women’s organizations including Rankin’s suffrage groups.

Black women by comparison famously supported the war efforts and many served with distinction, despite attempts by Rankin’s carefully crafted role to erase them and their communities. This divide is what led into the tragic Red Summer and Wilson sending troops to massacre non-white Americans who had supported the war and even served in it.

Thus, one decrypted telegram from Germany also changed entirely the course of Civil Rights in America. Who knows what damage Rankin might have done if she hadn’t been exposed as part of American systemic racism.

The toxic America First platform in both WWI and WWII, a barely concealed front for the KKK, actively manipulated sentiment using highly targeted propaganda pushing white women to make their sons serve German interests instead. Obviously those efforts failed under the reality of German aggression that grew after WWI (modeling itself on Wilson and Ford), such that by WWII any mention of America First was labeled seditious.

Perhaps, with great subtlety, the fizzle and end of the historic German telegram thus signals something wider: the long overdue end to Wilson’s racist America First platform as well.

Finland Brags It Does Trust Better Than Other Countries

An experiment on trust was conducted by dropping 192 physical wallets in 16 cities.

Helsinki, which also boasts that it doesn’t believe in comparing itself to neighbors, seems to be very proud that 11 out of 12 wallets there were returned to the owner.

As the famous Finnish poet Eino Leino once wrote: “Kell’ onni on, se onnen kätkeköön” (Don’t compare or boast about your happiness).

Kell’ onni on, se onnen kätkeköön,
kell’ aarre on, se aarteen peittäköön,
ja olkoon onnellinen onnestaan
ja rikas riemustansa yksin vaan.

Ei onni kärsi katseit’ ihmisten.
Kell’ onni on, se käyköön korpehen
ja eläköhön hiljaa, hiljaa vaan
ja hiljaa iloitkohon onnestaan.

How can you trust the Finns if they boast about happiness while telling everyone they’re so happy because they don’t boast about being happy?

“Being honest is a characteristic of Finnish culture – at least if we compare to other cultures,” said Johannes Kananen, a lecturer at the Swedish School of Science at the University of Helsinki.

Uh huh, compare to others again?

Returning a wallet in Finland might be symptomatic of something besides trust, such as a security that comes from sustainability (lack of want).

How about this for a translation of the poem?

If there is luck, let it be your luck,
when there is treasure, may it be hidden treasure,
and let him be happy with his happiness
and rich in joy alone.

No luck comes in being seen as lucky.
If you’re lucky, let it be
and live quietly, just quietly
and silently rejoice in your happiness.

Accepting where you are, what you are, means something quite different from cities where people go to acquire, change and become something else.

In that sense, Finland may feel secure about things happening to them, rather than having trust to make things happen. They reject change, if you’ll pardon the easy pun.

They return wallets as symbolic of things they have come to believe should and will happen (as a matter of faith), not because they have more trust.

Compared to 11 other European countries, Finnish residents with African backgrounds experience the most racism, according to a new EU report.

Racism is clear evidence of lack of trust, and also can be resistance to change.