DON’T SCREW WITH HISTORY

Originally posted November 2021

 

History is history! What was was! Leave it alone! Don’t play with it! Don’t Change it! Don’t screw with it!

We learn from history. If so, keep it honest. Otherwise that “learned” will be false.

Two recent examples of “history change” which infuriate me.

Theodore Roosevelt has proudly sat astride a horse for more than 80 years in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The statue will soon be removed and relocated to North Dakota.

The reason why involves the two persons standing aside the statue. One on each side. On one an African man. The other, a Native American man.

The claim leading to its soon to be removal is that the statue glorifies colonialism and racism.

A statue of Thomas Jefferson has sat in the New York City Hall for 187 years. It was moved Monday. The reason being Jefferson owned slaves.

My advice why stop there. Remove Jefferson’s majestic statue in the Jefferson Memorial also.

What about George Washington? A slave owner big time. Lets remove Washington’s name from Washington, D.C. and the Washington Memorial.

Not correct to pick and choose. All or none.

Beware! The ongoing COVID problem could call for extreme government action. Action to be required because many people refuse to follow the rules.

Australia the perfect example.

Australia has begun forcibly moving residents from certain areas to quarantine camps. Those moved are positive cases and close contacts.

An Australian government official said, “Yes, these are strong measures, but THE THREAT TO LIVES IS EXTREME.”

Area persons primarily being sent to camps are from the northern portions of Australia. Primarily indigenous persons. The Australian army moves them by truck.

The Waukesha Christmas Parade SUV deaths total 8 dead and 40 injured. One of the dead is an 8 year old who died following brain surgery.

Eighteen children were injured and taken to Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital. The hospital has advised it has insufficient staffing.

The reason claimed has to do with the COVID vaccination mandate. Certain nurses and staff have refused to be vaccinated. The national mandate for vaccines became effective November 15.

The hospital presently has 200 open positions.

Seventy percent of the nursing/medical staff who claimed a religious exemption were denied. Most have already begun looking for other jobs.

Things are so desperate in the hospital that even its CEO is working the emergency room floor.

Police advise the SUV driver drove his vehicle into the parade in a “zig zag pattern” in order to “hit as many people as possible.”

Corporate profits hit a record high in the third quarter. $3,139.1 billion. Two percent higher than the second quarter.

Long term rise dramatic. From one year ago, 28.2 percent. From the fourth quarter of 2019 – before any impact from the pandemic, 37.7 percent.

Such being the case, why is the Senate nickel diming the social infrastructure bill? Also arguing against any raise in corporate taxes?

For shame!

I wrote about Allyn Walker in my 11/15/21 blog. The transgender professor at Old Dominion University. The female who became a male. He called for the stigma towards pedohiles to be removed.

He claimed pedophilia was merely another form of sexual attraction and should be tolerated.

Old Dominion has “fired” Walker. His termination will begin May 22, 2022 when “her contract expired.”

Seventy professors signed a letter in support of Walker saying “not everyone who is attracted to children abuses the children.”

I wonder how many of the 70 are pedophiles themselves.

On this day in 1890, Key West was the largest city in Florida. Population 18,786.

Key West only about 28,000 today. Key West remained basically the same size while the rest of Florida flourished.

On this day in 1962, President John Kennedy was in Key West on official business. He was here to review the military installations and troops that had been part of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Enjoy your day!

CAPTAIN BLIGH A GOOD GUY

Setting the record straight

Originally posted May 2016

 

Hollywood has a tendency to play with the truth.

Hollywood has made several Mutiny on the Bounty movies over the years. All depicting William Bligh as a despicable mean naval captain.

Typical of the industry, Bligh was misrepresented. He was not the Charles Laughton of the 1935 movie, nor the Trevor Howard of the 1962 movie, nor the Anthony Hopkins of the 1984 movie. Bligh was a competent caring ship captain.

Fletcher Christian as portrayed by Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, and Mel Gibson respectively not quite the nice guy reflected in the films. Though not bad per se. I think in the end his penis got in the way of his judgment.

Bligh’s notoriety comes from his Bounty experiences. The Bounty was not his only court martial trial, however. Two more followed the Bounty episode.

The Bounty mutiny occurred in 1789. The second was the Spithead Mutiny in 1797. The third and last, the Rum Rebellion in 1808.

Bligh was exonerated/found not guilty in all three court martial trials. He was returned to duty in each instance.

He was a Lieutenant at the time of the Bounty mutiny. He thereafter captained eight major vessels rising in rank from Commodore to Admiral. Followed by appointment as Governor of New South Wales.

Not reflective of Hollywood’s Charles Laughton, Trevor Howard or Anthony Hopkins.

The Bounty was a small ship. Not even referred to as a ship. It was a cutlass. Had on board only one officer. A lieutenant. Bligh was the lieutenant. No Marine contingency. Marines were placed on ships to maintain security.

Fletcher Christian was on board the Bounty. He and Bligh had met in the early 1800s and became close friends. Fletcher a younger man. Fletcher was eager to learn navigation. Bligh took him under his wing.

The Bounty was headed for Tahiti. The purpose of the voyage was to obtain breadfruit which grew on Tahiti. Then return the breadfruit to slave islands in the Caribbean. The British government was hopeful the cheap breadfruit would suffice in feeding the slaves.

Bligh’s intent was to take the Bounty around South America’s Cape Horn and then onto Tahiti. Bad weather confronted the Bounty. Bligh could not get it around Cape Horn. He was required to change direction to South Africa and around its tip.

The change in course screwed up the Bounty’s time table. Involved was the breadfruit growing season. The Bounty arrived in Tahiti not at the end of a growing season. Relatively close to the beginning of the season. The Bounty was required to remain in Tahiti five months waiting for the breadfruit to reach harvesting time.

Fletcher was a Master’s Mate. Bligh gave him the added responsibility of being in charge of one of the three watches. In effect making Christian a sort of number 2 in authority.

The crew had nothing to do during the five months of wait. Tahiti was beautiful. A care free attitude existed among the natives. Love making was a constant activity. Sexual license pervasive.

The crew became accustomed to the hedonistic pace.

When the time came to leave Tahiti, the men were reluctant. They had found heaven on earth.

During the trip to Tahiti, Bligh might be described as a kinder captain that most in the British Navy. He punished sparingly. Never hung. Whipped where other captains would hang. Maintained a good diet for the men and strict sanitation on the ship.

He could not be labeled as cruel.

His one negative was that he could be abrupt and insulting.

Bligh’s nature and disposition had nothing to do with the mutiny. Most of the crew was reluctant to leave the idyllic life they were enjoying on Tahiti.

The Bounty did depart Tahiti. It did not get too far. In the middle of the night, Fletcher led the rebellion. Fletcher and some mutineers entered Bligh’s cabin, woke him, tied him and brought him upon deck.

Bligh chastised his friend Fletcher. Fletcher’s response was short…..I am in hell.

Bligh and most of the crew not supporting the mutiny were placed in a 23 foot launch. Too many bodies for such a small boat. They were given four cutlasses, food and water for a week, a quadrant, and a compass. No charts.

The Fletcher led mutineers returned to Tahiti. History tells us they lived the exotic life a while till Fletcher told them they had to leave to avoid discovery and arrest. Fletcher and the crew took their native loves and sailed off. History knows not where they went.

Bligh was a sailor of the first class. He was determined to get himself and his men home.

The nearest island with European settlers was Timor. 4,164 miles away. Bligh got the cutlass and men there. Only one died on the way. The trip took 47 days. Bligh and the crew survived on 1/12 pounds of bread per day. Bligh navigated the whole way. To this day considered a marvelous accomplishment.

The court martial honorably acquitted Bligh. Note was made that had there been more officers and a Marine detachment, the mutiny would never have occurred.

A small number of crewmen were found guilty. Only three hung. Found guilty not of mutiny, but barratry. Barratry was defined as the misappropriation by those entrusted with the care of a ship to the detriment of the owner (British Crown).

Bligh was returned to duty as a captain of a larger vessel.

Bligh was to stand court martial a second time in a mutiny situation in 1797. Bligh was captain of the HMS Director. Several other ships were involved in the mutiny. The mutiny referred to as the Spithead Mutiny.

The mutiny had nothing to do with Bligh personally. The crews mutinied for more pay and an end to brutality.

Bligh was found not guilty and returned to sea duty as captain of an even larger vessel.

Bligh’s competency and leadership were recognized by the British government in 1805 when he was appointed as Governor of New South Wales. New south Wales was near or a part of Australia.

New South Wales had a high society consisting of colonists and senior officers of the New South Wales Corp.

They were stealing the island and British government blind.

Bligh was confrontational. Actually pissed off. He ordered them to cease and desist.

No one heard him. No one wanted to hear him. Those he was chastising were making huge profits from illegal private trading. The trading primarily in rum. The incident is referred to as the Rum Rebellion.

Four hundred soldiers revolted. Took over. Found Bligh hiding under his bed. Arrested him. Kept him prisoner for two years till a court martial trial was held.

Bligh again was acquitted. The rebel leader was found guilty and dismissed from the military service with loss of pension. Meant nothing to him. He returned to New South Wales and enjoyed the balance of his life living off his ill gotten gains from the rum trade.

Bligh was obviously a competent leader. Good to his crews in comparison to other naval captains of the time. A straight arrow, however.

He faced trial three times. Was exonerated three times. Continued in service after each acquittal.

Why do I write this piece re Bligh? Simple. I think Hollywood has given him a bad deal. Hollywood has portrayed him as a villain in the Bounty movies. I wanted to set the record straight. Showing also that Bligh walked with a black cloud over his head. Three times subjected to court martial trial.

400-500 B.C. TO MODERN KEY WEST…..A HISTORY OF COCKFIGHTING

Some fun history today!

Originally posted October 2020

I am sick of politics! The political junkie has had it. Felt the need for a day off.

The sole topic today will be a history of cockfighting. A bit like politics. Both roosters going at each others throats to bloody the other.

Cockfighting is the sport of ancients, Presidents and common man. Though illegal, it is still considered a sport.

Roosters are trained to be killers, to hate other roosters. Their natural spurs are altered by adding on razor shop metal ones. The roosters are then ready to fight to the death.

Cockfighting is referred to as a blood sport because of the preceding.

Cockfighting had it’s beginnings sometime around 400-500 B.C. It was considered a sport.

The Chinese, Persians and Greeks were the first. Rooster owners were considered sportsmen and trainers. Much like horse owners and their trainers of today.

Spectators involved. They paid an entry fee to watch the fight and gamble on its outcome.

Three Presidents participated in and enjoyed the sport. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

Over the centuries, the sport became illegal. Primarily in the 20th century. All States ban cockfighting.

In 2007, George W. Bush signed a federal law banning cockfighting.

Both State and Federal law carry severe jail time.

Two reasons are put forth as to why cockfighting is philosophically  illegal. First, it is gambling. Second, animal cruelty.

Key West and the lower Keys historically have been a home to the sport.

Roosters and chickens today walk around freely.

During the 1800’s, chickens became big business in Cuba. Breeders purchased varieties of Filipino Fowl from Spain. The Cubans created their own breed called Cubalayo. Their size and aggressiveness made them perfect for cockfighting.

In 1860, the Ten Years’ War began in Cuba. Cuba’s fight for freedom. Many Cubans moved to the United States. They brought their love of cockfighting with them.

Then came the cigar industry. Its success in Key West brought more Cubans and cockfighting chickens.

When Cubans migrated to Key West, an insufficient food supply existed. There was no U.S. 1 or railroad. Ergo, the Cubans also brought chickens for human consumption.

The chickens provided eggs and meat. They reproduced easily. Roosters and chickens are very prolific. The gestation period 29 days.

As Key West became more connected with the rest of the world and with the advent of local markets and supermarkets carrying chicken products, there was no need to raise chickens for food.

Most people stopped raising chickens. They freed them to wander wherever.

The chickens learned quickly how to survive on their own. They ate native insects, lizards, scorpions and worms.

Many believe the roaming chickens have also provided a benefit to the community. It is claimed they have minimized Key West’s cockroach population.

Key West outlawed cockfighting in the 1970’s. Cubalayo chickens were no longer of value. Most owners put the Cubalayos on the street to fend for themselves.

Roosters and chickens roamed freely. Nature took its course. Sex abounded. A chicken’s gestation time is 29 days. It did not take long for Key West to have chickens galore.

The marriage of the food chickens with Cubalayp ones resulted in what today are known as Gypsy chickens. The Gypsys are the ones running around Key West today.

Gypsys are a protected species.

The outlawing of cockfights has not eliminated the sport. Merely minimized it. There are still those who like to breed and train. Others who enjoy making money sponsoring cockfights. And those who enjoy watching and gambling as to the outcome of a fight.

Cockfights therefore do exist. Generally outside of Key West. In mangroves and other isolated places.

In 2017, a drug raid in Ramrod Key discovered 250 cockfighting chickens and fighting paraphernalia. The owners/operators of the cocks and fighting paraphernalia were arrested.

For some reason, present day cockfighting appears to be moving out of the Keys to mid Florida. In 2019, a raid took place in Summerland, Florida. Summerland being in Marian County. Fifty roosters were discovered.

The only place in Key West that I am aware of that had regular cock fights was the Gato House at 1209 Virginia Street. I could not ascertain the time frame. I doubt it could have been when the Gato family was residing there.

Gato moved out. Donated the house for a hospital. He had one condition. The hospital had to be named after his wife Mercedes. The Mercedes Hospital came into being.

The Mercedes Hospital closed down around 1942. It was vacant for a while. Then it was purchased and turned into a guest house. Today an apartment building.

The Gato House is the place where Key West’s most famous ghost resides. The hospital’s matron Maria Valdez de Gutsens. It is claimed she still walks the rooms and hallways of the Gato House.

The Gato House has a backyard. It was also constructed in such fashion as to have a center court. The cockfights probably occurred after the hospital closed. During the years the building was run down and overgrown with weeds.

Hope you enjoyed.

Have a nice day!

FISH FOR YOUR DINNER…..IT’LL BE A LOT CHEAPER

Even worse today!

Originally posted May 2021

Groceries have consistently risen the past several years. I have made the observation during the last four.

Michael Snyder is a blogger. I have previously mentioned him. His blog yesterday alarming. It’s title: “What Will You Do When Inflation Forces U.S. Households To Spend 40 Percent Of Their Income On Food?”

Snyder starts with corn. He reports the price of corn has gone up 142 percent in the last 12 months. My advise: Stop eating corn!

However people can’t merely stop eating. Sustenance is required to survive.

The cost of food typically used to be 10 percent of disposable income. The 10 percent of course did not apply to the poorest. They are required to spend more than the middle class or richest.

The USDA recently wrote that in 2019, income for the poor remained static as the price of food rose. The USDA claims the poorest have been required to spend 36 percent of their disposable income on food.

What about the average American family? Some economists believe that eventually the percentage of disposable personal income for the average American family will each 40 percent. Sooner than later.

Which means the poorest will spend more than 50 percent of their disposable income on food.

The theory behind the percentage of disposable income is simple to understand. The salary of the poor remains constant at a time when the price of food is increasing. The rich on the other hand do not feel the increase cost of groceries since their disposable income is so high that the increase is never experienced.

Inflation is moving up. The largest increase month to month in 9 years.

Government spending comes into play. The government this year hopes to spend a whopping $11 trillion. The government does not have $11 trillion. If Biden’s tax plan does not work, the money will have to be borrowed.

Note I believe Biden did the right thing with the stimulus spending. It was the only way to prevent a deep recession, the only way to be sure most Americans had some money to spend on necessities or anything else.

The American people loved receiving the stimulus checks. However if a cart of groceries will cost $400, nothing will help. Forget any more stimulus checks. The money in any fashion is just not there.

Snyder predicts a major national crisis. As smart as he is, he is not always correct. I hope he is wrong in this instance.

Gun shootings. Will they ever stop?

The most recent occurred yesterday at the Rigby Middle School in Rigby, Idaho. Sixth grade. A female 6th grader yet unnamed came into class with a gun in her bag pack. She pulled the gun out, shot 3 persons in the limbs. Two students and a custodian. Her teacher was finally able to take the gun from her.

No further details are available at this time.

Texans are on a roll. I am not referring to the voter restriction package being worked on at this time.

There is another bill of consequence moving  legislatively. It passed the Texas Senate yesterday. A “Constitutional Carry” bill allowing handguns to be carried without a permit.

Republicans do not believe a permit should be required in order for a person to “carry.” They believe other gun laws passed by Texas in recent years contain sufficient restrictions on gun control.

Facebook’s monopolistic problems continue to grow. Could reach a point where government interference will be required. To break Facebook into several smaller companies with no connection one to the other.

Reminds me of the telephone company of old. I thought the break up stupid at the time. I obviously was wrong. My problem was the government was punishing a company for becoming too good at what it was doing.

The break up of the Bell System occurred on January 8, 1982. The Department of Justice had filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Bell in 1974.

The break up was resolved by Bell and the U.S. entering into a Consent Decree providing, among other things, that the AT&T Corporation would relinquish control of the Bell Operating Companies that had provided local telephone service in the U.S. and Canada up to the date of the Consent Decree. AT&T would retain the long distance part of the business and its Western Electric subsidiary which provided most of the telephone parts in the U.S.

A monopoly split. Life went on.

If the U.S. goes after Facebook to split it up into smaller companies, it will not happen overnight. It will take years for the litigation to be resolved. Note that the telephone company break up took 8 years before the lawsuit was finally resolved.

Schadenfreude. A big word.

Read it for the first time yesterday. Had to look it up. The word means to derive pleasure from the misfortune of another person.

Fits Trump.

All a lawyer has is his reputation. Not only as a skillful practitioner, but also as an honest person.

William Barr was not a man of ethics when he served as Attorney General under Trump. His reputation as an issue arose in a federal case being presided over by Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

She wrote in a decision handed down this week that Barr was a fixer and corrupter of justice. The rule of law went out the window when he decided matters.

More is to be revealed in a further decision to be handed down in the next two weeks.

Barr now walks with a “sullied reputation.” His series of wrongdoings many.

Little Palm Island has for years maintained a world wide reputation as one of the finest resorts in the world. Irma blew it away. Took 3 yeas to rebuild.

Little Palm Island in located 30 miles north of me on Little Torch Key. A boat ride off U.S. 1.

Conde Nest announced its Hot List this week. Hot List referring to the finest resorts in the world. Little Palm Island is on the list. Conde Nest says it offers “a fresh take on tropical chic” and redefines “the exotic castaway fantasy.”

Twenty years ago, my former wife and I enjoyed dinner one night at the Island. Out of sight food and service! At the time, the resort had something like 11 cottages. The wife wanted to check them out.

When she returned, she told me the cost was $1,100 a night and not worth it.

A portion of the article I read included price per night. TripAdvisor advised the lowest cost is $3,890 a night. Ridiculous money. No way would I spend it.

My 412 days of self-quarantine continues to affect me. I stayed in again last night. No problem. I was comfortable remaining in with my books and old movies.

I find my problem is a common one. Psychologists are writing about it. People are talking about it.

I know I will get out tomorrow night. Dinner with Donna and Terri. I have not seen them in over a year.

I told Donna I have one requirement. We have to eat outside. She laughed. She and Terri have already has been eating inside.

Enjoy your day!

THE SHOOTING GALLERY CALLED AMERICA

Originally posted August 2019

 

America has become a shooting gallery. Citizens shooting citizens. Who would have believed 50 years ago it could happen.

I am motivated to write re the gun issue this morning because of the El Paso and Dayton shootings which occurred in the past 24 hours.

Why has the U.S. become a maniacal society when it comes to citizens killing each other? The reasons many. Cause and effect unending.

I share my thoughts.

  • Gun manufacturers.
  • The NRA.
  • The Republican Party. Elected and party officials having neither the desire nor guts to stand up to gun manufacturers and the NRA. They have been bought body and soul.
  • Lobbyists. Those hired by gun manufacturers and the NRA. Powerful. Loaded with money. Threaten Republican legislators easily with…..If you don’t cooperate/dance to our tune, you will be primaried in the next election.
  • A conservative Supreme Court for many years. Even worse in coming years. Two bad decisions. The right to bear arms and corporations having the right to give unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns.
  • An NRA that has bought “experts” to tell the American people that the gun problem is primarily caused by persons having mental difficulties. Repeated so much over the years that many believe the lie today.
  • The rise of nationalism.
  • A President who stands with those who want to bear arms in a manner and degree not before seen in any President.

All contributing to the carnage.

When a person plays with dynamite, such person should be careful. Could blow up in one’s face.

I refer now to the tariff wars being experienced. The brain child of Donald Trump. A game that could quickly end in a world war.

One of China’s largest companies is Huawei. Employs 320,000 people.

Huawei big in i-phones and electronic equipment world wide.

Huawei needs Android updates for its phones. Out of business without. One of the tariff war’s fallouts is that Google is prohibited by the U.S. from doing business with China.

Trump and China President Xi discussed the matter several months ago while negotiating the tariff situation as a whole. To evidence the cooperative spirit of the U.S., Trump granted a temporary ban on the no Google sales to Huawei. A reprieve. The reprieve expires later this month.

Could literally put Huawei out of business. At the very least hurt it dramatically, along with China’s economy.

I read this morning a comment by Trump to the effect he does not care.

What will China’s next step be? Could very well be the start of World War III.

Turn things around. Suppose China took steps to hurt Amazon big time. Place Amazon in a position where it might have to go out of business. Note that Amazon employs 556.000.

The U.S. could not, would not, stand for it. So it may be with China.

Time is of the essence. The end of the month is around the corner.

Going to be interesting how this works out, if it does.

Henry David Thoreau. His time at Walden Pond. Most Americans read Walden in high school or college.

It was on this day in 1854 that Thoreau published Walden.

The book was a recounting of Thoreau’s time at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. He lived there 2 years and 2 months. Simply. In a home 10′ x 15′ which he built himself. He grew his food in his garden.

The home was located on a 62 acre pond.

Thoreau’s closest neighbor was Ralph Waldo Emerson who lived one mile away.

Thoreau’s intent was to explore mentally his views on nature, politics and philosophy.

The book’s first publishing was 5,000 volumes. Sold only 300 the first year. Took 5 years to sell the whole 5,000.

Today continues as it has for many years as a best seller. One reason being it is required reading in many American class rooms today.

We all know the story of Custer and the Sioux Indians when Custer and his 200 plus men were wiped out by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse led Sioux. The time the Indians won. There was a time 3 years earlier when Custer defeated the Sioux, however. At a time when the Sioux were led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

It was August 4, 1873. Custer and the 7th Army were protecting a railroad survey party. A relatively easy task. No one bothered anyone. Neither soldiers nor Indians.

Custer was taking an afternoon nap. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse for whatever reason attacked Custer’s camp. Custer woke and mounted an effective defense. The skirmish was brief. The Indians withdrew. Only 1 soldier and 1 Indian killed.

Three years later, the Battle of Little Big Horn. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse on one side. Custer on the other.

We have learned several variations as to why Custer lost the battle. The true one little known.

Custer’s greatest fear was the Indians would turn and run before he could attack and defeat them as had occurred 3 years earlier. Custer wanted a victory over the Indians. So he rushed into the battle without proper reconnaissance. One item knowing the size of the Indian force. Thousands.

Custer and his 200 plus men were annihilated.

Key West loves dogs! Seems like every other household has a pet dog. Dogs permitted everywhere in Key West. All bars and most restaurants. Even super markets and retail stores.

There is a national organization called Better Citizens for Pets. Made up of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Marc Pet Care.

Recently, Key West received the group’s “Small City” award. A $10,000 grant. The purpose of the grant “to keep furrys off the streets and out of shelters by offering pet wellness services for free or at a reduced cost for income-qualified pet owners.”

Key West dog owners be proud!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

MONEY CORRUPTS

In light of the Supreme Court decision yesterday…

Originally published April 2015
We live is a present day society where big business/corporate America controls. No longer are we a government of the people, by the people, for the people. We have been transformed into a government by the rich, for the rich.
How did we get into this situation? What has caused power to be shifted to the rich?
The answer is three-fold. It begins with the Federalist Society, moves then to Citizens United, and ends with New Jersey’s Senator Menendez.
I attended law school in the late 1950s. We were taught that the Constitution was a wondrous document because it accommodated itself to the times. It was pliable enough to meet current day needs and problems. Without altering the Constitution’s written words.
A group of conservative Republicans recognized that change had to take place. The Supreme Court’s interpretations were liberal from their perspective. Conservatism had a limited place in decisions.
The time, 1982. A group of unknown conservatives came together whose purpose was to change Supreme Court rulings. These men were backed by corporate America and the rich who felt they were not getting a square deal.
They were unknown in 1982. Today, they are recognized as giants in the conservative movement. Men such as Edwin Meese, Robert Bork, and Steven Calabresi. Soon thereafter to be joined by conservative stalwarts such as Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Ashcroft, Orrin Hatch, and Kenneth Starr.
The movement began at three high-ranking law schools. Harvard, Yale and Chicago. Antonin Scalia was one of the original faculty advisers when the Federalist Society was being formed.
The Federalist Society was a group of conservatives and libertarians who sought to reform the American legal system. It was to be done by interpreting the Constitution differently than it had for over 200 years. Interpretation was to be a textualist/originalists one.
States rights were to receive precedence over national rights. Since the end of the Civil War, the Constitution had been interpreted as giving power to the federal government as opposed to the states. The Federalist Society advocated moving power to the States. By doing so, conservative views would come to the forefront in cases involving the Second Amendment, campaign finance regulation, state sovereignty, and commerce clause issues.
In some 20 years, the Federalist Society has accomplished its goals. It did so by first encouraging law students to become members and think as Federalists. Then by moving Federalists up the political and government ladders rapidly.
The Federalist Society has changed the brand of the Supreme Court to conservative. It has enabled corporations and the rich to control Congress and influence the Court. It has encouraged the means whereby corporations and the rich can contribute millions of dollars to a campaign.
Money has become the influence in all chambers of government. No longer is it right over might.
During the time the Federalist Society was growing in influence and power, the Supreme Court evolved into a conservative body. The ratio generally being 5-4.
The Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. FEC in 2010. A revolutionary decision. The Court ruled corporations were people and that laws should not be passed limiting their right to make contributions. The Court reasoned that everyone had a right to free speech. Just because corporations had more money was no reason to inhibit their right to participate in the democratic process via financial giving.
Citizens United involved political expenditures by non profit corporations. It subsequently was extended to include for profit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.
Interestingly, the case involved a video critical of Hillary Clinton.
The Court in Citizens United felt limitations on corporate contributions banned free speech. That corporations and organizations had the right to use their treasury funds for advocacy purposes.
The Court was of the opinion that such contributions would not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. What a joke! The Court was effectively saying that multi million dollar contributions by one corporation or rich person would not influence the decision of the person receiving it. Respectfully, a crock! Human nature unfortunately does not work that way. Money talks!
The 2012 Presidential race began the expose of the folly of the Court’s thinking. Newt Gingrich had a friend/supporter in Sheldon Adelson. The same Sheldon Adelson I mentioned in my Tom Cotton article two weeks ago. Adelson contributed $15 million to Gingrich’s primary race. Wyoming financier Foster Fries donated just under $2 million to former Senator Santorum’s Super PACs.
Neither Gingrich nor Santorum would have been able to stay in the primary race as long as they did without such big dollar support.
Senator Mitch McConnell is Majority Leader in the Senate. In 2010 when he was Minority leader, he said that Citizens United struck a blow for the First Amendment. I thought the decision struck a blow against the First Amendment. McConnell is almost as old as I am. I do not know what law school he went to. Apparently one that taught the rich should have power over the poor.
Citizens United immediately increased the number of Washington lobbyists. They are the people who tell Congress persons how to vote and draft legislation. .
Many said at the time of the Citizens United decision that it opened the door to political bribery and corruption in future elections.
One of the few Republicans who saw through the smoke was John McCain. He said he was disappointed by the decision which lifted limits on corporate and union contributions. He further indicated that over time there would be a severe backlash to the decision.
Permit me to portray the evil which can develop. A lobbyist suggests to a Congressman that if he votes wrong, corporations and the rich will spend unlimited amounts in the next election to beat that Congressman.
Another major evil of Citizens United is the secrecy involved with donations. Money goes through two sets of hands before it is put to use on behalf of a candidate. It is in a sense legitimate money laundering. Voters never get to know who donated what and in how much to a candidate.
Now comes Senator Robert Menendez. A Democrat who has represented the State of New Jersey since 2006. A man of influence. He chaired the Foreign Relations Committee for two years.
Menendez ran for reelection in 2012. He won.
Menendez had a doctor friend in Florida. Let me put It another way, the Senator claims the doctor was his friend. The doctor was under investigation for $9 million of Medicare over billings. He contributed $600,000 to Menendez’s campaign through a PAC. In addition, the doctor provided Menendez with a private jet for the Senator’s world wide trips and paid for his vacations at island getaways.
Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges on April 1, 2015. The doctor was also indicted.
Menendez claims he was only doing favors for a friend, that the $600 thousand, private jets, and island vacations did not influence him.
I am compelled to return to the Citizens United decision. Therein the Court said that bought influence and paid for access were not corruption standing alone. The Court’s words, not mine.
What do you think?
A final observation. Citizens United is going to be with us for at least 20 years. Subsequent decisions may eat away at it. None will totally eliminate the decision. A liberal court is needed to overcome Citizens United. That means a Democratic President till the turnabout takes place. I suspect a Democratic President will be required in 2016. Otherwise, complain not when it hits you that our government has slid into the hands of corporations and the rich.
The government claims Menendez exerted influence on behalf of the doctor re the $9 million of Medicare over billings at the time the $600 thousand in contributions were made. It is claimed also the doctor had girl friends in other countries and that he leaned on Menendez to help him obtain visas for them.
One has to be blind not to see the error in the Citizen United decision. The basic freedom to select your elected representatives is at stake. Not a Republican or Democratic thing. A basic American one.

ABORTION, CATHOLIC CHURCH, U.S. CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS, AND PRESIDENT BIDEN

Still battling today…

Originally published June 2021

First a personal reflection. It is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to me and all you Dads out there.

The telephone call came early. Lisa and family. All talking at once. Even Jake getting into the act.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Love it!

Now for a difficult topic. Abortion. Abortion has been more prominently reported these days by the media. The reason involves the Catholic Church, the U.S. Conference of Bishops and President Biden.

I begin with “Let Him Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone.” John 8:7.

The Biblical reference will play into the theme of today’s blog as it develops.

The U.S. Conference of Bishops. There is a need to know who and what they are. A conglomeration of Catholic bishops in the United States. Its organization comparable to our Congress in that its members cannot agree. Most items a close vote.

The group is made up far right thinkers. Very few middle of the road liberals. The Bishops’ group dislikes Pope Francis I. They constantly work in the background trying to come up with a winning procedure to dump him.

The Vatican is a state and operates with the same scabs and boils as any other government.

Two lay confidants are Steve Bannon and Newt Gingrich. Their affiliation with the Bishops though informal says it all.

A certain group of the Bishops should have been politicians rather than clerics. They are deeply involved in U.S. politics.

Political influence began building in the Catholic Church in the 1960s. Along the way the Bishop Conference came into play. At some point, the Bishops Conference and far right Republicans married.

The Catholic Church is buried in the abortion issue. As is the Bishops Conference.

A very important meeting of the Bishops Conference was held friday. The world was aware before hand that abortion and President Biden would be the prime topic.

Biden, though Catholic, supports the right of a woman to choose. The Bishops group do not. The Group decided to go after Biden and embarrass him with his position. In a down and dirty manner.

The world was aware the Conference wanted to put forth a preliminary document, whose intent would be to rebuke Biden and other Catholic lawmakers from receiving Communion while supporting abortion.

The U.S. has only had two Catholic Presidents. Kennedy and Biden. Though abortion an issue in Kennedy’s time, it was not so much in the forefront as it has been the past 40 years.

Respectfully and with no intention of negating Kennedy in any fashion, Biden is not only the most Catholic person to be President, he wears his religion on his sleeve. Mass and Communion each week. What he does in private is for him alone to know.

The Bishops intended to submit a “draft” of a “teaching document” for approval. If in its final analysis it passes, technically it would prevent Biden from receiving Communion.

Note I earlier advised not everyone supports the Bishops position. The Bishop of Washington several weeks ago in no uncertain terms said no one was going to prevent Biden from receiving Communion in his Washington Diocese.

Francis I had a strong sent to the Bishops to cease and desist. Everyone thought that would end the problem. As you can see, it did not.

The Bishops group is like our present Congress. Most of the Republican Congress do not respect Biden. Most of the Bishops group do not support the Pope.

The vote approved the “draft.”

The cry by those not supporting the group’s position is “stop the partisan politics.” One prominent cleric described it as a “right wing hit job.”

We are at the let him without sin cast the first stone portion of this blog.

The Catholic Church has not been the most moral of organizations for centuries. The Church has either sinned all over the place or put its nose where it did not belong.

A wrong is the Church’s active efforts to influence political decisions. Centuries ago, it was wrong in promoting the Crusades. A sin as grave as the one to embarrass Biden.

Something rarely discussed is the Catholic Church’s involvement in the 20th century with nationalist states. Then there is financial corruption seemingly in an ongoing basis with the Vatican Bank.

In yesteryear, many bishops and archbishops in addition to being clerics were feudal lords equivalent to counts and dukes. They lived in opulence. treated their serfs badly.

The French Revolution was a direct shot at the Catholic Church. Louis XIV was not the prime reason the French government was overthrown. It was the Church philosophy that “monarchs rule by God’s will.”

In modern times, the Church in many instances supported or remained quiet when an autocratic leader took over a government. Pope Pius XII provided little assistance to the German people, those suffering at the hands of the Nazis in other countries, and Jews.

Spain’s Franco enjoyed the support of the Catholic Church.

The Church’s misdeeds in relative times involves the abuse of children (primarily young boys) and an issue receiving public attention since 2019: Nuns having sex with priests, becoming pregnant and then an abortion.

Priests have been forcing themselves on nuns for centuries. Or, enjoying consensual sex with nuns. Either way a no no.

An Irish saint whose name escapes me performed abortions on nuns by taking a cross and pushing the cross down with force on the nun’s stomach until the fetus evacuated the nun’s body.

“#metoo caused many nuns to go public. The nuns even have their own hashtag “#nunstoocarespeaking out.”

Francis I came forth also in 2019. He issued the First Remake on Sexual Abuse of Nuns by Priests.

Many nuns have spoken out, formed societies whose sole purpose is to reveal sex by priests with nuns. One of the nun leaders claims priests felt free to do what they wanted with nuns because their power was extremely strong when compared to the power a nun had. She said, “It was abuse of power, they climbed up a career staircase of evil.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

99 44/100 % Pure

More history today!

Originally posted May 2015

This is the story of Proctor & Gamble and one of the Company’s best sellers, Ivory Soap. An interesting tale.

The United States in 1837 was in the middle of a gigantic financial crisis. Panic everywhere.

Alexander Norris was a midwestern businessman. He had two daughters. Both married. Norris’ son in laws were experiencing financial difficulties. One made candles and the other soap. Raw materials for both consisted of animal fats.

The brothers in law did not like each other. Norris convinced them that if they were to survive the economic crisis, they had to join together. Animal fats would be decidedly cheaper because of the volume they would be purchasing.

Father in law knew best. They finally listened to him. They each invested $3,596.47 in 1837 dollars. The sum each invested equivalent to roughly to $75,000 today.

The brother in laws’ small business made them a fortune. The Company today sells roughly three hundred products world wide. The son in laws last names obviously were Proctor & Gamble. The name the Company carries to this day.

Now comes Ivory soap. It Floats! and 99 44/100 % Pure became slogans/advertising that made Ivory sell even more.Two stories persist as to It Floats!

One is that a workman left his machine running when he went to lunch. The machine whipped more air into the composition of the soap. It was soon discovered that the addition of the extra air caused the soap to float.

The other story is that James N. Gamble, son of one of the founders, was a chemist. He is given credit in some circles for making the soap float.

The 99 44/100 % Pure is credited to Harley Proctor, son of the other Company founder.

At the time, castile soaps were claimed to be the purest soap available. Castile soap was made with olive oil. Harley Proctor disagreed. Ivory was the purest. He hired a laboratory to make a comparison. The lab’s report stated that Ivory was 99 44/100 % pure. From that point forward, everyone recognized Ivory as pure. Mothers for generations bought Ivory soap believing it was pure.

An attractive model/actress became the Ivory girl, in effect. Her picture was on everything Ivory holding a baby. Mother and child. Purity. Ivory’s sales increased. Her name Marilyn Chambers.

For some reason, Chambers left Ivory and the baby to become a porn actress. In 1972, she starred in Behind the Green Door. One of the first feature length hard core films. Preceded only by Deep Throat. Behind the Green Door was an adult film shown in movie houses across the country. Next door in the same theater to Sound of Music and the like.

An instantaneous success! Grossed $50 million.

Chambers was no longer pure and neither was Ivory due to the association with Chambers. Ivory was tainted by her pornographic success. Chambers went on to get rich doing such films. Proctor and Gamble hurried to get Chambers’ picture off their advertising and products. The Company went so far as to recall any product on a store’s shelf that had Chambers’ picture on it.

In 1992, skin irritability became a problem for soap manufacturers. Each claimed their soap did not irritate. Proctor & Gamble included. Ivory went back to the lab. A new soap with a number of different ingredients was developed.

A problem, however. The new product did not float. Floatability had to come out of its advertising. Also, calling the product soap. Due to the ingredients in the new bar, soap was not a correct description of the product being sold. Soap disappeared from Proctor & Gamble’s labeling.

No more floatability, no more designation as soap.

The problem did not hurt Ivory in any fashion. Its loyal supporters continued to use it and over the years since 1992, Ivory sales have increased.

My columns generally cover heavy thought provoking material. Every now and then I like a week off from such writing. I believe that you my readers enjoy a break also. The Ivory story represents such a break.

BUBBA BUSTS

Some fun Key West History!

Originally published May 2018

 

Bubbas are native born Key Westers. Also referred to as Conchs. A distinction. Those so born are proud of their heritage. Bubbas are also those who though not born in Key West have been residents a very long time and are deeply entwined in the business of the community.

On this day in 1985, the jury returned in a federal court criminal case involving 14 Bubbas. Twelve were found guilty. Involved were drugs.

The 1985 bust was not the only Bubba bust. There was one 10 years earlier in 1975 and another 10 years later in 1995. The feds would swoop down and make arrests.

The federal authorities in 1995 were concerned local authorities would reveal the investigation. The feds never advised local authorities of the investigation till arrests had actually been made.

The 1975 Bubba bust is best remembered.

James “Bum” Farto was Fire Chief. He was arrested and convicted of drug dealing. Following conviction, he disappeared on a trip to Miami. His car was found in a Latino neighborhood.

Bum Farto has never been found. A famous saying has developed over the years: Bum Farto Where are You? On tee shirts, etc. Farto has gained more notoriety in disappearing than if he had lived a calm routine life as Key West Fire Chief.

Tuesdays always quiet for me. I remain at home and fine tune my podcast to be delivered at 9 in the evening. The Show: Tuesday Talk with key West Lou.

Show went well last night. Love doing it! I sit back and vent. Share my feelings with everyone.

My numbers are increasing. I have national advertisers. Who would have believed!

Yesterday’s Rosanne Barr incident. ABC and Disney did the right thing. Costly, also. Not only for ABC and Disney. The many minions who worked the show, also. The little people. A hit show and their jobs lost.

Roseanne has a big mouth. Always has. Even 20 years ago. Would she have been as racist in her comments yesterday were it not for Donald Trump?

A President sets the moral tone for the country. The standard. Trump is a racist. Ergo, everyone else is entitled to be. He gives license to the Roseanne Barrs to be more vocal than they might have been.

This week’s KONK Life hits the stands at 5 this evening. My column this week: The FBI of Today The Jews of Yesterday. One of the best columns I have written. Read it, if possible.

In May 1937, the Volkswagen was born. Hitler wanted a state owned automobile company that could produce a cheap car. An affordable vehicle for the masses.

Hitler achieved his goal. The Volkswagen. Cost under 1,000 Reich marks. $140 American money.

The German term for Volkswagen means “The people’s Car Company.”

Hitler’s concept got its start in 1937. The company produced few or no cars. Hitler needed tanks. The plant was converted to a tank making facility.

The U.S. is in a time of diminishing influence world wide. For this we have Donald Trump to thank.

An example being the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear pact. There was and is money to be made in and with Iran. China recognized this fact immediately. It was recently announced a Chinese investment firm is going to invest $2 billion in an oil refining plant in Iran.

China and Russia are looking for ways to invest in Iran.

On this day in 1431, Joan of Arc was martyred. She was burned at the stake. By decision of the Catholic Church.

Burning at the stake. A religious inspired death. Concerned and caring.

Not one of the Church’s finest moments.

Church and government do not mix. Like oil and water.

We have a problem today with religion. Evangelicals have become politicized. They support Trump regardless of his many wrongdoings. The Catholic Church also on occasion.

Not a healthy scenario.

Have to hustle. I have a late morning heart doctor appointment with Dr. McIvor. Routine.

Frequent doctoring a scourge for the elderly. Tiring. A pain in itself. Necessary, however. I am glad I am able to do it.

Enjoy your day!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Reminiscing…

Originally published May 2017

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! Happy Mother’s Day to my mother!

My mother has been gone some thirty-odd years. I still think of her every day.

I have a large painting of my mother that sits over my desk. I see her constantly. I even talk to her on occasion. I vent.

We had a good relationship. She was retired. I would stop by to see her almost every day on my way home after work. Not for long. Fifteen minutes to a half-hour. A bottle of Beefeaters and a glass of ice are on the kitchen table. My mother did not drink. The Beefeaters were for me.

We talked about this and that. Rarely important. Just mother/son chit-chat.

I miss her.

Hurricane season is around the corner. Begins June 1.

The prediction is the season will be slightly below average. Six hurricanes are anticipated. Two which will be major ones.

We have been lucky in recent years. Hurricanes, yes. But they always bent at the last minute and missed us. May that continue to be the case!

Key West Songwriters Festival this weekend. Musicians come from all over. They play just about every bar and location in town.

I walked Duval and the side streets yesterday listening.  Occasionally, stopping. I stayed a while to hear the group playing on Duval in front of Sloppy Joe’s. Then to Smokin’ Tuna. Finally, Margaritaville.

The walk, crowds and heat did me in.  I had anticipated it would. Knew dinner would be at home for me.

I took out one of Fran’s containers of frozen pork sauce in the morning. Left it on the counter to thaw. Last night, I enjoyed stove pipes buried in Fran’s thick red pork sauce. Covered generously with Parmesan cheese.

Ate too much. I did not care. Good was good.

Fran and husband Tom are in Paris for ten days. I e-mailed Fran and told her how great her sauce was.

Some things I do not understand. Like why a toll on US 1. The only road in and out of Key West.

An Islamorada councilman named Mike Forster went to Washington last week to discuss a toll. He favors it. He is pushing it. Why, I do not understand.

US 1 is generally a narrow two lane road for 140 miles. Key West at the southern end. When I go to Hogfish, Roostica, Geiger Key, Square Grouper, Mangrove Mama’s or to visit my Sugarloaf friends, US 1 is involved at some point.

I have to pay to travel 1/2 mile to 20 miles?

Forster is speaking to the issue tomorrow evening at 5:30 at the VFW on the Boulevard. I plan on attending.

This will be a big week for me. Thursday night the Key West Art & Historical Society is sponsoring a talk at Tropic Cinema. An Arlo Haskell speaking. His topic: The former Jewish underground involving Key West and Cuba. 1918-1939.

Charles Krauthammer is a noted columnist for the Washington Post. A conservative.

He wrote in a recent column re the Trump/Comey situation: “The king asked whether no one would rid him of this troublesome priest, and got so impatient he did it himself.” Henry VIII had Thomas More beheaded.

Comey’s firing no different.

History may speak of it as the beginning of the end of Trump’s Presidency.

Reap the Wild Wind was published by Thelma Strabel in 1940. A story of Key West and wreckers. The Saturday Evening Post immediately serialized it.

Strabel used the Saturday Evening Post money she received to build a home in Key West. In 1940, she obtained a building permit to construct a house at 400 South Street.

At the time, she claimed it was the most southern point in the United States.

The home was later demolished and a larger one built on the site. Strabel was long gone from Key West by that time.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day! Enjoy your Sunday!