Tag Archives: President Barack Hussein Obama

Meryl Streep, Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Other Strangers

There are different levels of winning and losing. In the the lifelong, trans-generational and eternal perspectives and in the quarterly earnings report or even shorter term perspectives. I would say that by most standards I consider myself to be very far from either success or influence. The news is mostly about successful and influential people and that is not a bad thing in itself. This post is about some of the influential people who are very far from my daily life.

President Barack Hussein Obama who said his farewells in Chicago recently was just one of several people who has recently grabbed national attention with words about this transition. I listened to and watched this speech and also heard Meryl Streep’s speech on the occasion of winning the Cecil B. De Mille Award at the Golden Globes.  In addition, I have been told about the Trump Tower Press Conference where Donald Trump laid out his plans for distancing himself from the Trump Organization while President of the United States. But I only saw the end of it and some clips and highlights over the last few days. One of the subjects of the press conference was the dirty dossier claiming that Trump was compromised by information collected by Russian intelligence. That report (it appears) was prepared by a former British intelligence officer for  private interests.

Many people have chosen to way in on these varied acts of communication. Much of the Hollywood community has banded together in support of the nearly legendary Ms. Streep — although some, such as Mark Wahlberg have been critical of her effort to politicize the occasion. One person who did reach out to her in support was Robert De Niro. His letter has since been published in the media.  “What you said was great. It needed to be said, and you said it beautifully. I have so much respect for you that you did it while the world was celebrating your achievements.” De Niro’s letter. Although MS. Streep is someone for whom I have the greatest respect as an actress she has been largely confined to her excellence in that field in my mind. I did not include her or very many other actors in my list published in 2011 of the Most Watchable People in the Coming Decade.  Clearly not including her or Donald Trump seems to indicate some limitations to the list. However I did include Robert De Niro in the list the link to his biography is here. What follows is the totality of his biography as it appears in this post about five years ago:

4. Robert De Niro, Jr.  was born August 17, 1943 and is an American actor, director, and producer. His father was a well-respected expressionist painter who was well-educated and whose own father was an Italian-American but whose mother was Irish American. Serious artistic respect runs in the family. This living DeNiro is widely considered one of the greatest actors of his generation and just a day or so before this posting he received the Cecile B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association ans that is a high ranking lifetime achievement ward presented at the Golden Globes. DeNiro’s first major film role was in 1973’s Bang the Drum Slowly. In 1974, he played the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, where he created a legendary niche for himself with an iconic character in a role that won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He made the first of a number of significant films Martin Scorsese in 1973 when he played in  Mean  Streets.  Later  DeNiro worked with Scorsese  and earned an Academy Award for Best Actor  for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film, Raging Bull. Other Scorsese films for which he was nominated  but did not win were  Taxi Driver (1976) and  Cape Fear (1991). In addition, he received nominations for his acting in Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978) and Penny Marshall’s Awakenings (1990). This was one of the many roles he has done which was outside of the urban American tough guy.   Outside of the Oscars he earned four nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: New York, New York (1977), Midnight Run (1989), Analyze This (1999) and Meet the Parents (2000).  He has made a large number of appearances in film and has succeeded as a director as well as an actor.  However DeNiro makes this list largely because he founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 with Craig Hatkoff and Jane Rosenthal.  This festival is part of Deniro’s identity as a New Yorker and was founded  in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center  and the many faced loss of vitality  and hope in the TriBeCa neighborhood and the rest of  Manhattan. The festival has featured hundreds of films and is making the world more aware of New York’s significant role in world of film. DeNiro  has tied himself into the story with which this series and this list is intimately tied.

De Niro did not make the top ten people on the list although he did make the list. However, two people much discussed in these days did make the top of the list. The truth is that these are strange times but Russia, Hollywood and the Presidency are predictably interesting parts of our lives in this society. Vladimir Putin has been the focus of a great deal of discussion and one wonders if there will still be and effort to nullify the election based on his alleged involvement. I say one wonders, we shall see  what happens next before and after the Inauguration Day events.

One of the strangers I choose to mention in this post who has been in the news a lot lately is Vladimir Putin. Following this sentence, I quote in its entirety here my brief biography of him which appeared in this blog in a post in 2011 to be found here:

 

5. Vladimir Putin ,Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин, born on October 7, 1952 is a vigorous probably more physically fit than I on almost every measure despite being almost eight years my senior at an age where that really matters. Putin served as the post Soviet Russian Federation’s second President and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus and he is a man of broad appeal among several segments of Russian society. He may be that kind of person once referred to as a reappearance of Aratos (a Greek politician of long ago) and because of who he is and his attitudes he will remain Putin while he remains alive. He became acting President as the world celebrated huge numbers of parties and even those disputing the calendric significance on all sort of bases had gotten into the act of a millennial party this happened on my ex-wife’s thirty-third birthday which was December 21, 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move. Putin’s rise to office slipped under this worldwide camouflage in a way that would be worthy of a former intelligence officer. He then began consolidating his power in a way that combined traditional Russian, Soviet, progressive democratic elements into a new decisive style. won the 2000 presidential election and in 2004 he was reelected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.He has many hopes he still cannot really do anything to achieve but he keeps chipping away at the obstacles. Putin did not demonize Yeltsin and the recent regime nor set about abolishing its forms and reforms in a systematic and aggressive way. Most of his harshest critics would acknowledge his role in creating or restoring political orderly process and Securing the rule of law. His presidency included gains such as the fact that Russia’s economy avoided a terrible and developing crisis, the increase by over 70% in the GDP , and probably lifting half the Russian poor out of poverty as well as securing the fragile middle class and working class segments of the new Russia by seeing average monthly salaries increase from less than $100 to well over $500. While high oil prices were part of this miracle his management of the oil boom was among the better responses to such mineral driven influxes of wealth in a crisis which the world has seen. He likes healing and building better but could become a figure of destruction fomenting hate — it just depends on too many factors to sort out here. His conduct in office has not always earned the respect of independent evaluators and its faults have been shown forth by domestic political opposition. Mostly he can be criticized his record of both real and perceived restoration of some Soviet abuses which have violated human rights and freedoms; this has included improper conduct toward vocal opponents acts towards the former Soviet Republics both aggressive and of questionable legitimacy. He has shown a talent for balance, both in becoming Prime Minister and waiting to be able to run again and in his UN behavior with former Soviet Republics he seems to play a very hard game of politics rather than the great communist fault of abolishing civilized politics until the need becomes to great to avoid restoring them. He helped save what he could of socialist safety nets, bureaucratic expertise and tradition while securing emerging capitalism, free markets and private property. President Putin passed into law essential reforms such as a flat 13% income tax , a reduced profits tax, was well as credible and juridically workable land and legal codes . Based on his achievements, Putin is a man about whom pop songs have been written and performed. He is still exceptionally vigorous. There is little that can be done to contain his personal networks or his base of popular support within and around Russia.
He is a man with whom a new future could be negotiated for the world should that happen and that has not been true of most Soviet leaders in my view.

 

Another stranger who was also on the list of Watchable people and made the final ten was President Obama. His biography appears just after this sentence, the link here is the same as the one above Putin’s biography.  The tone of both biographies written half a decade ago is  what it is and i do not shy away from either one. The truth is that Obama and Putin are juxtaposed at the middle of this decade as they were at the middle of my list.

4.President Barack Hussein Obama This President of the United States of America will continue to set the tone for much of the American future and its policies for the foreseeable future. We face the future as best we can in a world where the election of Barack Obama has already shown us as profoundly weak in the eyes of so much of the world.Barack Hussein Obama it is to be noted is the descendant of an American mother and has married and had children with an American wife. The mother was white, the wife is black. Obama’s father was an African student and he also had an Indonesian stepfather. In a society where forty-one percent of children are currently born out of wedlock, Schwarzenegger has been Governor of California, Jindal is currently Governor of Louisiana, Granholme was Governor of Michigan until two weeks ago and tens of millions live here without documents Obama has a strong basic appeal to our society which is committed to its own utter destruction at this time. Obama is a man with a very impressive resume and a lot of lessons and experiences that have not come together in the same individual before. Obama does not have any desire to compromise with the vast complicated burdens of American History. He is less aware of them than most Presidents have been and is more committed to policies and procedures that will undermine this country than he would be if he did not have the background he actually does have.

President Obama has been the expression of decades of continuous confusion and staggering forward. What will happen to him and to the country before he leaves the Oval Office behind is not entirely predictable. Nor is it it clear what he or the Presidency will be like after his administration ends. If he leaves office alive after completing one or two full terms then the Presidency of the United States will be part of his impressive curriculum vitae which includes editing Harvard Law Review , traveling the world, authoring two very successful books, serving in the United States Senate and given many famous speeches. If a major constitutional change occurs in the United States of America after his retirement from this office he will be in a powerful position to broker part of this change. However, his own tenure in office has contributed to America’s inevitably worsening troubles unless it does seriously reform.

The Trump saga is trying to start. I will try to cover it here. One person who is not in any loop in or out of the Beltway who was on my list is myself the author of this post. Perhaps, the future will seem me yet more isolated and alienated or perhaps not. But I am like a lot of other Americans to some degree who are watching these events not entirely surprised by anything  — but aware of the large events among influential strangers.

Racial Violence, Islam, Christianity, America and Me… Part Two

While Louisiana reels or tries not to reel from tensions centering around Baton Rouge. There are families in Texas that do not  yet feel the need to pivot mostly to our news stories. They are the families of the officers killed in the recent Dallas police ambush which preceded the one in Baton R0uge. The fallen officers killed have been identified as: Dallas Police Department  Senior Corporal. Lorne Ahrens, age 48, who had been with the department since 2002; Dallas Police Department Officer Michael Krol, 40, who had been with the department since 2007; Dallas Police Department  Seargent. Michael Smith, 55, a former U.S. Army Ranger who had served in the department since 1989; Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Officer Brent Thompson, 43, a former U.S. Marine who had been serving in DART since 2009. Thompson was the first DART officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department was founded in 1989 and last in this mention Dallas Police Department  Officer Patrick Zamarripa, 32, a former U.S. Navy sailor and Iraq War veteran who had been with the department since 2011.This event was without equal in carnage of this kind in the period since 9/11  as far as killings in the United States. On that fateful day in 2001 that we all can remember who were Americans and anything near adulthood 72 law enforcement officers died in the totality of horror that is lumped together as the September 11 attacks. But this attack by Micah Xavier Johnson surpasses the  two 2009 shootings in Lakewood, Washington, and Oakland, California, where four officers each were killed as well as the recent killings perpetrated by Long in Baton Rouge.

The shootings in Dallas were also a sort of peak thus far in the attack of radially conscious black actors against a combination of the white people of this country and the policing authorities as a direct and declared target. In addition to their significance for race relations they of course have other claims to fame and infamy. Five officers  in a community which has been honored for its excellent race and community relations were killed and nine other law enforcement officers as well as  two civilians were injured when shot by a decorated ( although not at the higher levels)  and experienced US military veteran whose life shows many of the tensions and stresses of life in America in his generation from his upbringing in Mesquite Texas, to his birth in Missisisippi. Most of the victims were shot during the protests, where they distinguished themselves by maintaining an unthreatening demeanor and presentation of a policing force. At least one Officer was killed  during a shootout that developed after the killer launched his attack.The dead comprised four Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer. Four of the injured officers were from DPD, three were from DART, and two were from El Centro College. Seven of the injured officers were treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital, famous for recieing the fallen President Kennedy. Two officers underwent surgery. One civilian was shot in the back of the leg, breaking her tibia.

Unlike Baton Rouge, no Black Officers were killed in the attack and the shooter was part of the city and community  in which he did the killing.  I reacted to that deadly attack on police with a post referenced here. I will not spend very much space or very many words revisiting that attack in this post.  There has been significant research into the background of the Dallas Cop Killer Micah Johnson who also had other names. The deceased and almost-certainly-correct-and-yet-never-to- be-tried-because-he-is-dead shooting suspect, Micah Johnson, had no criminal history.  In terms of understanding what happened in Dallas there are different levels  of understanding.

Micah Xavier Johnson had a number of aliases and one was of the Anglo type and the other was Islamic or at least Arabic with Islamic resonance.  He visited assertive  and strident political causes online and investigators found that he liked several websites dedicated to Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers. But he was also involved with groups that are seen as going over the line of respectable discourse in this country —  the Nation of Islam and the Black Riders Liberation Party, two groups the Southern Poverty Law Center considers hate groups.  The Nation of Islam stands out as the only one with a strong Islamic connection but there is more evidence of his interest in Islam.

Dallas shooting montage

There is no shortage of racial tension in the United States nor has there been in my lifetime and there is no single image, event or idea which epitomizes race relations here. There is no single person who embodies the experience of all or even most white people or black people in the country. There is no single position on a gauge which really accounts for how good or bad race relations are, that is the truth.  But truth, as I have cited John Denver’s song for saying many times, — is hard to come by.  The relations between the races in America have a complex reality and a complicated history. Before even getting to the many legal, economic, procedural,  and religious questions that are pertinent to this post there is also the question of language and terminology. The first image in this article is a montage of people including Steph Curry, Mariah Carey, Jeremiah Wright, Soledad O’Brien, Vanessa Williams and Corey Booker who currently identify as Black. That is a legal, political and cultural decision. In the State of Louisiana where this post centers its attention people like them — who look like them and perhaps more than that have not been considered Black. This division into Black and white was accomplished in large part getting people like this to accept the designation of African-American. But the same processes and struggles had been ongoing long before that particular drama of terminology… Polarizing the country into Black and White even occurs to some real degree in a country of white and non- white. But there has been a middle ground approach which in our history also fostered greater sensitivity to 0ther differences within a responsible context. This post will get into that history a bit below. I have proposed addressing that set of realities which is represented in this discussion in my model constitutions which take up many posts and pages and in my writing about them in posts such as this and this.  The current crisis is nothing compared to what may be coming down the road if we do not address our situation well.
Colored African Americans montage

The  place where I am writing is a place with very specific racial history which is very significant in the United States of America. Every other place may have a thing which they may have done with racial overtones that falls across the line of history into the realm of legends where history joins folklore once again. But South Louisiana has many claims to fame in racial history. Perhaps if a few are listed they will add to the discussion of racial identity and relationships in America

The Battle of New Orleans is one of those parts of American history which was an enormously important event which has been minimized by various group over the years for political reasons. Many of these varied minimizers would hate and despise each other more than anyone involved in that important battle and some in fact have hated and despised each other — but nonetheless it has been a very important event which could not be accepted by many as decisive in American history and occurring as it did. One of the reasons that the battle of New Orleans was not given the fair share of credit it deserves in the age of Jim Crow segregation was because of race relations and racial identities among those in the flotilla of Jean Lafitte. Today there is little incentive to resurrect the sources buried then because Blacks were not equal in the complex reality of the period but they had vastly more opportunities and nearly equal positions than at many other times and places. In addition the society as a whole had both better (not well known) and worse (very well known) positions for African Americans of various identities including but not limited to the free negroes. Mulattoes, Quadroons, Octaroons and others of mixed race could be slave or free but they were not negroes. Sometimes the differences were large and sometimes they were slight.

Acadians who increasingly are called Cajuns have a white identity which is careful and as nuanced as whatever the society they are in may allow but they are a white ethnic group which has attachments to non-white groups that included their involvement with Jean Lafitte. the arguably very small act of setting up a relationship with Jean Lafitte and the Baratarian Association specifically to provide for the defense of their interests in the region and of their own lives and liberties from the depredations of the British.  The person who would have been most in charge of this activity would have been Gils Robin. The memories of this period persist across Acadiana.  

There is a Jean Louis Robin Canal and a Jean Louis Robin Lake to this day in South Eastern Louisiana. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina  journalist Ken Wells did a book published in 2008 about the family still building their own boats and navigating the waters of that region. Today they are only partly Cajun culturally and genealogically  and have become part of another cultural fabric beside the homes of their Cajun ancestors. But in his book they remember the ties between the outlying Cajuns of that region  the pirates and privateers of the Barataria Association. Folkloristically, the story would be more or less that the brothers Gils, Martin and Jean Robin would have moved to the region shortly after the Acadians had settled in the Lafourche region relatively nearby. Their small community would have ties to  Attakakpas and Oppelousas Prairies of  Louisiana in the West as well as with Lafourche. Martin Robin who was a godfather to one of the Lafitte children was the grandchild of one of these brothers. Jean Lafitte also had a number of titles he sometimes used that are capable of being given Cajun interpretation unique to it Helllenic Centre Ouest Languedoc vernacular.  But the words have other possible explanations. In addition to the role Lafitte played in the Battle of New Orleans which was crucial in terms of artillery and supply and guides to the waters of the area Cajun units also fought in the area. Future Governor Henry Schuyler Thibodaux was a Lieutenant who saw action there. In addition Cajun or Acadian units served in several parts of the encounter. The service record was perhaps mixed in that battle but while some Acadians may have been farmed out to the other units and deployed some real expertise in throwing up defenses along the wetlands it does seem to be likely that the plurality of Acadians served on the ill-fated West Bank line under David Morgan.  Morgan had put his troops in a more or less indefensible position to support Patterson, the artillerist not from Lafitte’s group. The bad position was exacerbated by the Kentucky riflemen in the unit who were sick exhausted and without Lafitte and others from Louisiana would have been unarmed for all practical purposes. At the moment of the attack all witness blamed the break in the line on the lack of courage not of the Cajuns but the troops from Kentucky. However, a court of inquiry found them also without fault because the position was so ill conceived and because the overall glory of the event was enough to overshadow the failures. Nonetheless men  very likely to biased in favor of the Kentuckians over the men from South Louisiana thought they broke first.  So the ties between my own ethnic community and the Creoles of color are both deep and important ties.

Picture map creoles

The most fierce fighters on the American side in the battle of New Orleans  may well have been the Free Blacks. I did write earlier that no North American Colored officers existed before the Confederates of the Louisiana Native Guard. However, anyone who knows the battle well will remember Major Savary and Lieutenant Listeau were officers of color who fought in the battle. However, it seems very likely that their commissions like many titles of the era were carried over from other service. They held commissions as Spanish troops in Santo Domingo and the US recognized those commissions. This was intended to be temporary. Dominique Youx the Lafitte artillerist who played the most significant role of direct fighting by any Baratarian is of uncertain  (certainly not Cajun) ancestry and became a respectable citizen of Louisiana when others went to galveston for  the chance to continue a disreputable way of life.  He likely had some colored ranking people in his unit but they were not formally commissioned, that leaves Listeau and Savary as exceptions to my statement about the Louisiana Native Guard. The Spanish had a few knowingly and  officially commissioned colored officers in the Caribbean but not in their North American forces. Nonetheless, the victory at New Orleans was the greatest in American history at that time by many measures and Cajuns were there. So also were many creoles of color not all of whom considered themselves black or were considered such.

President Barack Hussein Obama has explicitly condemned the supposed absurdity of words and ideas such as “Octaroon”. He has been quick to make every African American Black in his ordinary speeches and has few real options given his ideology. He  has presided over the dismantling of the Confederate Heritage preserved in monuments across much of the South. He has added to the  impossibility of seriously examining the Confederate legacy as regards race relations. All those things listed above I believe to be demonstrable parts of his presidential legacy. But the truth is that the lack of understanding and discussion of the racial realities — realities we may not understand but which we nonetheless use to guide every day decisions that affect millions — has been badly inhibited for a long time.

I think that the constitutional realities were less than ideal for Micah Xavier Johnson, that does not excuse him for avenging Philando Castille and Alton Sterling as he did. But he was a man who had a gift for killing and attacking and for forming passionately held political convictions.  A child of divorce and a marginal student he found a way to honor and decency in the US military. But he came home an alienated and violent man in an individualistic and dishonest society.  Alienation underlies the violence,rage, unreasoning rhetoric and chaos coming from much of the Black community today. Alienation affects many others in our country and I think in part for constitutional reasons.  That includes alienated white southerners and many cops.

But the Cajun people with whom I most identify have suffered enormous alienation in this country.  For Cajuns it was often the case that there was a sense of facing three unpalatable realities at the same time. It was a cultural shift from a time when French heritage and American citizenship had enjoyed a more promising and positive relationship than they were coming to have in the years between 1865 and 1943. The portraits of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI had hung in honor in the halls of the Congress in Philadelphia before the Capital was moved to Washington and the District of Columbia. The Louisiana Purchase was both a friendly act and one which established a very definite equality between Citizens of France in Napoleonic Imperial Louisiana and those of the current United States of America. The result was a new country which was in a real sense a merger of two societies. This unity had been imperfectly but impressively sealed in the Battle of New Orleans. While other states, like Missouri would find themselves under the British common law after entering the Union, Louisiana itself at least would remain under the State’s new version of the French Civil Code. In 1847 the first laws describing language in schools were passed and the assurance was made of right to English only, French only and bilingual education. The Acadian Governor Mouton had from the Cajun point of view presided over the zenith of antebellum life in Louisiana before the forces of chaos and destruction which led to the Civil War were pouring across the region and were contested by his son Alfred Mouton. That same Alfred Mouton was killed in that war and so it was to that same golden age which Margaret Mitchell commemorated in Gone With the Wind was in fact a golden age in memory for many Cajuns as well. The horrors that followed were no less horrible for them than for other Southerners in fact they may have been worse years to come on average but the complexities of the period which followed were not going to be simply defined. Postbellum America was an increasingly alienating and hostile place for Acadians to live out their lives and destiny as Acadians or Cajuns.

But one may well argue that Black people are far more alienated and that certainly the Confederate monuments help to alienate them and cannot possibly point to anything that Black or other African American people  would relate to in a way that might point to a path forward. A path rooted in Christian experience primarily, in the leadership of whites but in hope for full realization of African American  potential. Probabaly most people who feel that way would still feel that way after reading this post but there are other arguments to be made from the facts. There is no way to avoid writing that despite all that has been written by very many competent people about the issues related to race in these decades I find that there are many large areas of important experience that are not duly explained.

While the Code Noir of 1685 was not the law in effect in Louisiana in 1860 it was still the strongest single source of the legal spirit behind the Louisiana Civil Code and the customs and practices of the State. That law stated in its final article the following: Article LIX. We grant to freed slaves the same rights, privileges and immunities that are enjoyed by freeborn persons. We desire that they are deserving of this acquired freedom, and that this freedom gives them, as much for their person as for their property, the same happiness that natural liberty has on our other subjects.

An ocean of ink has been expended to show that by no means did any spirit of this law exist in the South. That has been done by those of a more Southron party and disposition and those more inclined to extol the benevolence of the wonderful Union reconstruction. There is evidence that much of that ink does not deal adequately with the facts as they existed in Louisiana. We see that in the period of time immediately following Louisiana’s secession, Governor Thomas Overton Moore issued pleas for troops on April 17 and April 21, 1861. There is a great deal to be learned from the incidents related to the creation and the rest of the story of the Louisiana Native Guard. So that story is outlined here in brief. It remains in testimony to realities of that era.
In response to the governor’s request, a committee of ten prominent New Orleans free people of color who included people across the color spectrum which in their society was not the only factor for determining a family or an individual’s rank but was the single most important purely social factor in a complex social system. The certified were a group of people less than one eighth Negroes who were proven to be committed to the social order of antebellum Louisiana and these enjoyed a special relationship with the Creole and Cajun elite. These people were being woven into the fabric of the merged culture of Louisiana after Statehood until the War. Below them were the Octoroons, the Quadroons, the Mulattoes and the true free blacks. Writers today will tend to call all of these people free blacks and they have their reasons for doing so but that is not how they saw themselves. This complex and racially conscious and stratified community was represented in this Committee of Ten who called a meeting at the Catholic Institute on the 22d of April. About two thousand people attended the meeting where muster lists were opened, with about 1,500 free men of color signed up. The anglo Southron Governor Moore included in all the proper and ordinary channels these applications and included these men as part of the state’s militia. The Louisiana Native Guard is so named because they were natives who were not quite citizens but they were accepted as armed patriots in the Confederate cause. It bears adding that while this text asserts that Acadians were largely very free under the laws of 1685 many French people were not. Thus in the way of thinking of many in Louisiana including most Cajuns these freed people had preserved the kind of liberty and status a 1685 Frenchman would have who did not enjoy the freedom of a Coutume, a religious order, a knightly order, a chartered city or a privileged family. That was still a real level of freedom. Ancient Acadian rights, the Louisiana Purchase and the US Constitution allowed the Cajuns more freedoms to which the freedmen were not a party. Likewise the “Kentucks” as Cajuns sometimes called the newcomers asserted the rights of Scotsmen, Englishmen and the rights of the Louisiana Purchase and the US Constitution. Those were rights to which these people were not a party but did not preclude them from preserving the rights of French Colonial Natives which were transferred as an unspecified adjunct to the rights of Citizens under the Purchase. So the new militia regiment of colored Natives was formed during May 1861. The men were mostly but not all from the Francophone community, some members of the colored Confederate regiment came from wealthy prominent gens libres de coleurs families. they filled the majority of NCO posts initially but the majority of the men held the rank of private soldiers and were in civilian life clerks, artisans, and skilled laborers. at the end of that fateful May on the 29th in 1861, Governor Moore appointed three white officers as commanders of the regiment, and company commanders were appointed from among the larger group of elected non-commissioned officers. This volunteer militia unit was the first of any in North American history to knowingly have African-American officer. That is not because there had not been colored soldiers under the United States, Britain, Spain and France. It was Louisiana as she rose up for Dixie that chose to take this step.Though ten per cent of the members of this Confederate unit would later join the Union Army’s First Louisiana Native Guard, the two are regarded by most as separate military units. It is one of the tragedies of the falling and failing South that these men never fired a shot in anger as Confederates against the Yankee invader. While there may be many other stories for which their fate is a better one for a Cajun view of what the South it was supposed to be it was a sign of bad times to come. It indicates something about the customs, commerce and status of person in Louisiana that these Native Guards were traditional American militia volunteers, and as such supplied their own arms and uniforms. One here is reminded of another article of the Code Noir, as follows: Article XV. We forbid slaves from carrying any offensive weapons or large sticks, at the risk of being whipped and having the weapons confiscated. The weapons shall then belong to he who confiscated them. The sole exception shall be made for those who have been sent by their masters to hunt and who are carrying either a letter from their masters or his known mark.

There is every reason to believe that the even as the Code lived on in more current laws regarding arms restrictions strictly enforced against slaves were not applied to these men in their daily lives before the war.These were displayed in a grand review of troops in New Orleans on November 23, 1861, and again on January 8, 1862. The terribly wasted troops offered their services to escort Union prisoners taken prisoner by the Confederate forces at the First Battle of Bull Run. One could imagine that this could have been done with white troops as well and with international observers it might have been a means of showing the possibility of Confederate policy working out a secure future the abolitionist powers they sought to ally with as they marched through New Orleans.But this would have required the kind of social daring the COnfederacy would usually lack.

Confederate General David Twiggs failed to accept the unit’s offer, but thanked them for the “promptness with which they answered the call. That was a response that reflected the way such transactions occurred in the military. The Louisiana State Legislature had begun to change the society into something new when they passed a law in January 1862 reorganizing the militia into only “…free white males capable of bearing arms… ”. The Native Guards regiment was effectively disbanded by this law on February 15, 1862. Despite the change in racial ideology already starting Governor Moore used his executive powers to reinstate the Native Guards to oppose the U.S. Naval invasion. But when the regular Confederate forces under Major General Mansfield Lovell abandoned New Orleans the whole system was plunged, into disarray. Cajuns served in the regular Confederate Forces and had militia units advancing to defend the city as well as the unauthorized units that have always been part of the culture who hoped to join in the fight in their traditional guerilla manner. But none of these units did well when the Confederate forces withdrew and the militia units were left to fend for themselves. The Native Guards were subject to the same relative disgrace and so it was no great surprise that they were again, and in finality, ordered to disband by General John L. Lewis, 1862, as Federal ships arrived opposite the city. General Lewis of the Louisiana Militia as he sent word to their units deployed in useless positions disbanded these colored Confederates and cautioned them to hide their arms and uniforms before returning home. He also began the process requiring them to hide their COnfederate service, later ten percent of this unit would serve in the Union and be among the most distinguished colored troops. Some came to the irregular Cajun militia according to spoken tradition and assisted in the armed and highly secretive smuggling supplies to Confederate forces during the war. None of those ever received much recognition even though some did fire shots in anger at Union forces in these irregular units. The white creole Colonel Felix Labatut maintained the belief that colored troops could make a difference and was proven right by the Union service with distinction of his former officers Cailloux and Morrison in the cause of the Yankee invaders.

The moratorium of colored troops by the South certainly did not limit the deployment of colored troops by the union. Whatever the injustices and horrors of the slaveholding South may have been there were plenty of woes in the war and reconstruction that followed. From the Cajun point of view it was a bitter irony to lose possible GLC units and see that throughout the war and in the time of the period after end of hostilities in the Civil War was a time in which Cajun folklore reports that people believed that Yankee bureaucrats had motivated and armed a quarter of a million freed slaves and loosed them in strongly encouraged rage upon the Southland. This period followed the kinds of endless horrors described in books like Yankee Autumn in Acadiana and local institutions of my ancestors rolled over to face the new challenge. the Knights of the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan Also known with the same name given here but with the word White preceding all the others i.e. “White Knights…” also known as the Ku Klux Klan, the KKK and the Klan. The Klan share many motifs, traditions and operating procedures with the much older Ridelles and somewhat older Comites de Vigilance that existed among the Acadians. However, the Klan always had it own symbols too and those grew in importance and common symbols declined. The Cross-Lighting was never an Acadian symbol but perhaps went with the ideas of ethnic differentiation that are very Acadian. Knights of the White Camellia have been basically a special Louisiana version of the Ku Klux Klan. The name is a triple entendre it references the beautiful flowers of this area, the legendary kingdom of Arthur of the Round Table, and the Chivalric legacy left by French Catholic  Christian Prince Camille de Polignac, a fine specimen of all that being white as well as being human can offer. Aside from a relatively long list of titles his ordinary name was Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac.  He was a handsome, well educated, musical, mathematical, valiant and well traveled aristocrat who was a Confederate General during the Civil War. This Prince took command from the Acadian Confederate General Alfred Mouton after he died achieving the last major victory under the Confederate flag. Cajuns cannot be expected to say that right or wrong as life may be there is nothing to be admired in this Prince that is absent in a miserable ignorant Black field hand given a gun and a few weeks training. The Prince as a friend of Mouton embodied a sense of the lost potential of Acadiana to bring the South into a prominent place in the world. Christian institutions in the White Supremacist South did offer a flowering of African American potential and that flowering was largely vandalized by Southern factors but also by the union. Getting rid of Confederate heritage will not mend our woes. The roots of our struggles these days in my opinion are in various forms of alienation and a solution I could tolerate will start with telling the truth. Telling the truth many times in difficult ways will not solve the problems alone but it will  be part of making a start at solving the problem.

Racial violence is not going to end tomorrow. Ending racial violence cannot be achieved in isolation form other challenges.  I believe that we need radical change. But most radical change is bad. Getting the right radical change when it is needed is almost miraculous….

 

 

I have posted about race in America before on more than one occasion. This is a link to one such post. But I will provide much of the text as needed here below.  It is only a moderately distilled and limited boiling down of the original in the next few paragraphs.  There is some effort to cover the news but there is more than that an effort to discuss how a great deal of America’s trouble seems to me, it is made real by near experience.  That includes a sense that law enforcement and the judicial system are not exactly fixed in the role of protecting me from outside invasion — they have other roles as well. In following the economic collapse and in 2013 the official financial bankruptcy of Detroit, I remembered my ex-wife’s trips to Troy and our entertaining one of her supervisors when she came to Louisiana. I also remember my numerous trips to Michigan. I remember troubled neighborhoods and cities I have visited or lived in around the world.  The school shootings remind me of my many experiences in schools. The soaring prison population reminds me of my many visits to and interactions with prisoners. One of the pastors of the church parish to which I belong and which I have regularly attended most of the last fifteen years has been to prison. Governors Edwards and Leche, Attorney General Jack Gremillion, Commissioners Brown and Roemer (Roemer was the father of Governor Roemer) all went to prison.  One of the more successful members of my father’s law school class who was also one of his good friends went to prison. Several of my first cousins have gone to jail and a sizable number of my friends and classmates over the years have done time.  Those numbers are not an abstraction for me. Lots of prisoners are black and a lot of others are in some way tied up with the results of our attempt at a misguided racial revolution.  But misguided or not I do understand to some real degree the resentments and fears of many black people in the United States.  I could empathize with black kids protesting over the Trayvon Martin shooting who were afraid of getting shot and the many whites and Asians not protesting who are afraid or disturbed by the racist Black masses of vengeful, ignorant people who harbor those calling for blood, making death threats and collecting money for bounties. This is a real tension and crisis but there are plenty of people who are not black who are concerned about run-ins with the police.  When discussing the Trayvon Martin case the role of the President in responding to this crisis is very debatable but it surely can be said that it was not quickly resolved or defused.

White House redo

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Much of the current Black Lives Matter movement began with the shooting of Trayvon Martin.  But actually it was less on the fateful night of February 26, 2012,  when in Sanford, Florida of these United States, George Zimmerman delivered the bullet that killed Trayvon Martin that the protests really became intense.  There were large protests that Trayvon’s killer was not charged. the masses of Blacks who erupted in the streets in those early days could make some claim to acting within reason. The original discussion focussed on the factual reality that after the largely untrained and officious Zimmerman shot Martin, who was young and  unarmed, during an altercation  which went on in the context of some kind of policing by Zimmerman and became physically intense between the two men and he was not charged with anything. The police who arrived were perhaps predisposed to see his side of things (so it could be argued) because they were responding to an earlier call from Zimmerman, the police had fresh and clear evidence as well because of the call and the fact that they arrived on the scene within two minutes of the shooting. Zimmerman was taken into custody, treated for head injuries, then questioned for five hours — a reasonably thorough response but still not as exhaustive as many. The police chief in charge of the investigation and arrest stated that Zimmerman was released for lack of  evidence to refute Zimmerman’s claim of having acted in self-defense. In fact it did seem to be the case that  under Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute, the police were prohibited by law from making an arrest in this case. But the optics were at least controversial and the protests might be just. They became intense  and also really anti social in a new way when the issue became different. Right or wrong Zimmerman was arrested and charged for the fatal  shooting of a 17-year-old African American high school student.  The shooter was a significantly battered  28-year-old mixed race Hispanic man who was the neighborhood watch coordinator obviously doing his earnest best for the gated community and in this situation he killed Trayvon  Martin  living with relatives there and he was acquitted on July 13, 2013 and the protests began to deny the basic legitimacy of the justice system. This dislocation from a watchdog of the system was intensified when the protest spewed hatred at many parties when on February 24,  2015, the United States Department of Justice announced that “there was not enough evidence for a federal hate crime prosecution.” In that intense 2013 period there was another set of racial realities on my mind.

The posts I wrote about the Trayvon  Martin case came at a time when I would rather have been paying tribute to a local and personal connection in an uncomplicated with one of that  same  year’s National Medal of Arts recipients: A man who has had his work put into successful television formats, who has a center named after him in my undergraduate alma mater, who has had his work and career recognized in many ways as this native of Louisiana and former Stanford University Stegner Fellow Ernest Gaines had that same year at eighty years old received an important  award from the hands of President Barack Hussein Obama. Gaines was the only novelist on the National Medal of Arts list that year – he had already received the National Medal for the Humanities in 2000 and a similar honor from France and his work has been translated into Chinese and most large European languages.  Poets and novelists have been awarded regularly the National Medal in both categories but I am not sure how many have received both awards.  The language of the citation includes the following statement that Gaines is “recognized for his contributions as an author and teacher. Drawing deeply from his childhood in the rural South, his works have shed new light on the African-American experience and given voice to those who have endured injustice.”

Gaines was born more than 80 years ago on the River Lake Plantation near the small town of Oscar, in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His ancestors had lived on the same plantation, River Lake, since slavery, remaining after emancipation to work the land as sharecroppers for five generations. Gaines and his family lived in the houses, much expanded, that had once served as slave quarters. His parents separated when he was eight; the strongest adult influence in his childhood was a great aunt, Augusteen Jefferson, crippled from birth, who crawled from kitchen to the family’s garden patch, growing and preparing food, and caring for him and for six of his brothers and sisters.

This became the setting and premise for many of his later works. He was the oldest of 12 children, raised by his aunt, who was crippled and had to crawl to get around the house. Gaines’ first years of school took place in the plantation church. When the children were not picking cotton in the fields, a visiting teacher came for five to six months of the year to provide basic education. Gaines then spent three years at St. Augustine School, a Catholic school for African Americans in New Roads, Louisiana. Pointe Coupée Parish, “Negro schooling” in the Parish did not progress beyond the eighth grade at that time.

At the age of fifteen, Gaines moved to California to join his mother and stepfather. He wrote his first novel was written at age 17, while babysitting his youngest brother, Michael. In 1956, Gaines published a short story, The Turtles, in a college magazine at San Francisco State (SFSU). He graduated in literature in 1957 from SFSU. After spending two years in the Army, he won the Stegner, a writing fellowship to Stanford. In most years since 1984, Gaines has spent the first half of each year in San Francisco and the second half at the university in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he has taught a workshop every autumn. But in 1996, Gaines did spend a full semester as a visiting professor at the University of Rennes in France where he taught the first Creative Writing class ever offered in the French University system  Gaine  remains deeply rooted and he and his wife a home on part of the River Lake Plantation where he grew up.[ He has also had the church he grew up with moved to his property.

He has been open about what he most treasures from those days, “I was raised by a lady that was crippled all her life but she did everything for me and she raised me,” he wrote. “She washed our clothes, cooked our food, she did everything for us. I don’t think I ever heard her complain a day in her life. She taught me responsibility towards my brother and sisters and the community.””

Ernest Gaines has at least two ways in which he has walked the path of a man of letters, a race man and a son of Louisiana.  One part of his legacy is his work and life as a writer in residence, commercial success and regional celebrity. That must be taken into account in any assessment of his work and its impact on racial identity and politics. In that area he has been about the advance of his racial group as well as himself.  When I was at enrolled the university where Gaines taught I was never enrolled in one of his classes, I did however attend lectures he gave, two of which were hosted by Dr. Patricia Rickels, now deceased,  whom both of us knew very well and who was both in the English Department and head of the Honors Program to which I belonged.  I spoke to her and students who knew him well about him much more often than I spoke to him and I read his books and bought several although at a time when I often got books signed I never had his books signed nor asked him for anything that I recall except once for his plans for classes in the coming semester which I recall he did not much appreciate.  Gaines was a well dressed, disciplined man who was an intimidating physical specimen and more often in the national spotlight than anyone else in the Department when I was there. A strong academic, a strong son of Louisiana and a strong Black man – he was all those things.

The other side of Gaines is his writing itself. He preserved characters and scenes of White Creoles, Cajuns, Anglos and other people along with the African-American characters often described in ten different ways by use of the same “N word” now left out of some versions of Huckleberry Finn. The black people are humans with hopes, dreams, consciousness and aspiration. In A Gathering of Old Men, there is cowardice, backwardness, ignorance and folly portrayed with realism in the African-American Community. There is also courage, cleverness, hope and community as old men with shotguns having fired a shot face down the white supremacist Cajun establishment.  In the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman there is failure and lack of achievement but also perseverance, a struggle for decency and a triumph of continuity.  In A Lesson Before Dyingthere is a bit of heavy-handed moralizing, racial philosophizing, and more Black assertiveness than anywhere else but there is real pathos, tender regard for life and law and compromise as people of all colors find them.  These are likely his most important works but not as revealing or upsetting to mainstream America as some of his lesser pieces.  I have always liked reading Gaines and found him fulfilling to read as well.  I once gave a copy of a Gaines novel, I believe it was Of Love and Dust to a friend and relative of mine, now deceased, who was a self-identified White Racist and asked the person to read it and get back to me. The response as best I recall it was, “That N***** can write. I really could hardly put the book down because it is story you feel. He knows and sees everything I do about N****** and he writes in a fully N*****ish fashion but he makes you think about what is right and how people should relate to each other because you know he is not afraid of the truth.”  Gaines has a unique voice, I doubt that friend would have read an entire book by many other Black writers and maybe none at all who wrote about Blacks chiefly.   Marcia Gaudet of the University of Louisiana’s Ernest Gaines center was quoted by a West Coast interviewer associate with the Stanford University where Gaines has long had ties and she said: “His literature is based on memory of the past, and it’s somewhat different from that of many African-American writers of the mid-20th century, who based their work on erasure of that past and moving their characters to Northern urban settings. Gaines was one of the first to go back and look at what the hardships were.” I pay tribute to Ernest Gaines here. But we all know that the arts alone will not save our society — they have an important part to play but it will no alone decide our fate.

The school shootings and other mass killings which Obama has loved to lump in together in his cries for gun control are not all racially motivated. The toll they take are also both real and significant. But so are all the acts of violence, disorder and depravity which destory our quality of Iife and do not involve a gun It is hard to see how the Rolling Stone cover of Dzokhar Tsarnaev helped to address the problem then or why  it helps that nobody can discuss the fact that police and much more so unarmed white citizens have been driven by violent and disorderly blacks for so much our American heritage in a sustained campaign of ethnic cleansing.. However, it does remind us of how real our social problems are today.  This is a society in crisis. I have a different perception of the Tsarnaev’s to add to the big picture of who they are which includes them being Muslim, Chechen, young, living in Boston and a dozen other realities that defined who these brothers were and who Dzokhar still is. But I want to think about their sense of ethnicity and identity and heritage in a society without very strong moorings in that regard. The alienation they felt led them to radical Islam and we have found a kindred and connected set of empathies in the recent cop-killers which is outlined in this post. Alienation and an inability to seriously understand diversity, federalism and sicuss one’s own background with those who surround one’s daily life — these are realities of American daily life.

If it is dangerous not to know one‘s self and it is dangerous not to know the world it is also more dangerous than some would think not to know the elements of one’s history as played by one’s neighbors. I am an Anglo-Acadian. I will not be discussing that heritage here as it relates to the Confederate heritage or American heritage but I have written of such things elsewhere .  The word Christian was first used in Syria. It makes all Christians weak that there are few Christians left there and a priest was beheaded and it was scarcely reported here.   We are living in a deadly blindness and are seeking a solution in trying to wipe out our own white supremacy for no particularly good reason – rather than trying to make it better. The Trayvon Martin movement is full of racist and violent blacks who want to control the country but not themselves. We are running out of time for a good plan.

Besides the Trayvon Martin protests, the bankruptcy of the City of Detroit and the collapse of al sense of a real legal system I have learned other things.  I learned them over a life which has been punctuated by crises before the current cop killings. I have made proposals here which seem radcial and far-fetched and even if they do not seems such have a small chance of success. But they are serious proposals. Such proposal have in large part come about from the realization that it is a demonstrable fact that cowardice, corruption and cruelty are normal in governance and yet fatal as well and those who live in such modes of what might be called evil often applaud themselves most loudly for doing their best. I know hard times loom large and am aware of the fact that life is without apparent justice in countless cases, but I am trying to be part of creating a plan for a better future. My model constitutions have already spelled out the answers I would propose. What I am asserting here is mostly that the course we have been on will not work and will not be survivable if continued.  Race and ethnicity must be faced and understood differently and that must happen soon. Doing it right will matter a lot.
I have decided to write most of everything I write from now on in preparation for the future which has stretched out so bleakly and horribly ahead of me for so long to be vastly worse than it has long been. I think that the time will be coming soon enough when I will sign off my web presence entirely but I will at least have written the things I will have wanted to say as the years of living hell extend into a limitless misery at least until death. I need to set a frame of reference I suppose, the person I respect the most among the living in the world today is me. That does not make me happy but it is the truth.

The truth of much policy and political philosophy is that it exists framed and living in a dialectic between that which must be done in a crisis and that which can be reasoned and properly debated in relative leisure during times not defined by a particularly urgent crisis.  Lives like those of Gaines and others do map out a path of the minds that must engage the crises in which we live. History well understood makes it possible to be better informed about what is possible in a the new time in which we live. But we must have the basic facts and realities of society clear enough for our decisions to possible matter .  The struggle of every society to formulate policy and then to put it into effect is one of the great themes of history although it may less often make its way into the titles of books or even their chapter headings. The truth is that most good historians telling most good and important histories have at least some interest in how the people of a given period discussed and intellectually prepared for a great historical crisis when it was incipient, developing and the then escalating. The activity during the time when the crisis is acute is not likely to produce original theoretical frameworks or innovative discussion which is really excellent. Instead those acting in the acute stage are often doing more than can be expected if they can reach for and apply the best theories and remedies which have been reasoned out and proposed in advance.

 

There is no shortage of information out and about which connects Islam to terror, here is such a post. The concern about how intense and intrinsic the basic disagreement with Islam may be is also something which has been discussed here and there online.  The first link given has John Quincy Adams expressing the awareness of a basic animosity in Islam itself. The second post shows how Sarah Palin feels that Iran is outside the pale of diplomacy and how this relates to Islamic governance there.

One of my Facebook friends who also purchased the house I was living in before recently moving into my grandparents old house has long published a string of posts about Islam and its history with the West. I publish one of those posts here. It is unattributed beyond him but the facts are more or less right — with the exception that Crusade is a Christian word and Jihad is the Muslim equivalent. I reproduce this post from a man whose names start with the initials P. P. only knowing that it is largely correct and also expresses the feelings of a real American in my own sphere of contact and influence:

“ISLAMIC CRUSADES
630 Muhammad conquers Mecca from his base in Medina.
632 Muhammad dies in Medina. Islam controls the Hijaz.
636 Muslims conquest of Syria, and the surrounding lands, all Christian – including Palestine and Babylonia/Mesopotamia (Iraq).
637 Muslim Crusaders conquer Iraq (some date it in 635 or 636).
638 Muslim Crusaders conquer and annex Jerusalem, taking it from the Byzantines.
638 – 650 Muslim Crusaders conquer Persia (Iran), except along Caspian Sea.
639 – 642 Muslim Crusaders conquer Egypt.
641 Muslim Crusaders control Syria and Palestine.
643 – 707 Muslim Crusaders conquer North Africa.
644 – 650 Muslim Crusaders conquer Cyprus, Tripoli in North Africa, and establish Islamic rule in Iran, Afghanistan, and Sindh.
673 – 678 Arabs besiege Constantinople, capital of Byzantine Empire.
691 Dome of the Rock is completed in Jerusalem, only six decades after Muhammad’s death.
710 – 713 Muslim Crusaders conquer the lower Indus Valley.
711 – 713 Muslim Crusaders conquer Spain and impose the kingdom of Andalus. The Muslim conquest moves into Europe.
718 Conquest of Spain complete.
732 Muslim invasion of France is stopped at the Battle of Poitiers / Battle of Tours. The Franks, under their leader Charles Martel (the grandfather of Charlemagne), defeat the Muslims and turn them back out of France.
762 Foundation of Baghdad.
785 Foundation of the Great Mosque of Cordova.
789 Rise of Idrisid amirs (Muslim Crusaders) in Morocco; Christoforos, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, is executed.
800 Autonomous Aghlabid dynasty (Muslim Crusaders) in Tunisia
807 Caliph Harun al—Rashid orders the destruction of non-Muslim prayer houses & of the church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem.
809 Aghlabids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Sardinia, Italy.
813 Christians in Palestine are attacked; many flee the country.
831 Muslim Crusaders capture Palermo, Italy; raids in Southern Italy.
837 – 901 Aghlabids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Sicily, raid Corsica, Italy, France.
869 – 883 Revolt of black slaves in Iraq.
909 Rise of the Fatimid Caliphate in Tunisia; these Muslim Crusaders occupy Sicily, Sardinia.
928 – 969 Byzantine military revival, they retake old territories, such as Cyprus (964) and Tarsus (969).
937 The Church of the Resurrection (aka Church of Holy Sepulchre) is burned down by Muslims; more churches in Jerusalem are attacked.
960 Conversion of Qarakhanid Turks to Islam.
969 Fatimids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Egypt and found Cairo.
973 Palestine and southern Syria are again conquered by the Fatimids.
1003 First persecutions by al—Hakim; the Church of St. Mark in Fustat, Egypt, is destroyed.
1009 Destruction of the Church of the Resurrection by al—Hakim (see 937).
1012 Beginning of al—Hakim’s oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians.
1050 Creation of Almoravid (Muslim Crusaders) movement in Mauretania; Almoravids (aka Murabitun) are coalition of western Saharan Berbers; followers of Islam, focusing on the Qur’an, the Hadith, and Maliki law.
1071 Battle of Manzikert, Seljuk Turks (Muslim Crusaders) defeat Byzantines and occupy much of Anatolia.
1071 Turks (Muslim Crusaders) invade Palestine.
1073 Conquest of Jerusalem by Turks (Muslim Crusaders).
1075 Seljuks (Muslim Crusaders) capture Nicea (Iznik) and make it their capital in Anatolia.
1076 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) (see 1050) conquer western Ghana.
1086 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) (see 1050) send help to Andalus, Battle of Zallaca.
1090 – 1091 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) occupy all of Andalus except Saragossa and Balearic Islands.

START OF WESTERN CRUSADES
Only after all of the Islamic aggressive invasions is when Western Christendom launches its first Crusades.

1094 Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus I asks western Christendom for help against Seljuk (Muslim Turks) invasions of his territory.
1095 Pope Urban II preaches first Crusade; they capture Jerusalem in 1099.”

 

So now I conclude, what do we expect or want to happen if America does not face the facts of being eroded and interpreted into a position where it cannot respond. People like our President tend to believe that the Christianity among Blacks emerged as a sort of covert Islam. There is an element of truth in that. But all Christianity brings forth the culture of those who embrace the faith. In addition not all slaves came to the new world with Islamic roots and not all converts were slaves. We have much to do and honestly not much chance of of doing it. But our national future hangs in the balance.

BRexit from the Bayou

What will become of the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom in coming months and years?

What will become of the funds in peoples varied accounts and peoples varied investments in America and the world?

What will become of the European Union?

These are all questions brought to the fore by the recent event called the BRexit Referendum.  They are important questions and will only be slightly ventured into within this post but it is possible that some more insight may be forthcoming from other portions of this site past, present and future.

This blog is a place in the wide world where very ambitious plans (which to many would seem absurdly ambitious and very unusual) are put forward. But the reason that I do put forth such plans is in part because the economy does not just respond to purely economic forces and purely economic plans made by typical economists are not likely to steer it all that well. Nor do I believe that conservatism — which I lay claim to here repeatedly –means having no plans at all. In fact I believe both planning and a limited socialist and communitarian element belong in any  healthy conservative economic philosophy. Among many plans in this blog is a desire expressed to bring the United States to a floating quatrimetalism which is something like the gold standard. As I type this many are rushing to gold. Compared to either panic or the pure gold standard this standard might actually seem moderate. But in recent years it would usually have seemed very bearish and conservative indeed.

 

The Current Queen of England and Scotland's United Kingdom with Eisenhower

I don’t think any two constitutional changes are the same. The British Monarchy is not our target here in the problems I as an American and a Cajun may point out.  But it was among the targets of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Do you come to this blog to get a sense of what stock market and financial  trends are urgently important? Perhaps you should. I seldom discuss market volatility or warn of impending short term risk in that aspect of life but prior to one of the biggest crashes in my lifetime my humble blog warned of the possibility in time for a handful of readers to have called their brokers and accountants if they were inclined to do so . But I make no claim to being unique in pointing out the risk, nor to having given specific advice. Nonetheless, the overall pattern of advice here seems to have been better than that being offered in some other quarters.

 

Britain Exits — the United Kingdom is finding a path forward without EU membership. Company will not be kept by the same countries in the same way ant longer — or so it all would seem. The news which has been developing includes a seeming set of contradictory signals from various places as to how fast this split should be. Voices are urging speed in the EU, as seen in detail here. But there have been voices from Spain, the UK and several other countries that have emphasized the need to proceed at a measured and not overly hasty pace.  The question on the most minds these days seems to be how severe the financial and economic impacts will be. Alan Greenspan. former Federal Reserve Chairman of the United States of America  has been a voice warning that there could be extensive and extended effects. TIME has been able to put together an article that is much more optimistic, that is linked here.

France one would think is still France, Germany is still Germany, the UK is still the UK. Italy may even be Italy and so forth. One feels when a severe corrections sets in that there were reasons in the market for panic. One suddenly sees Europe, the U.K.,  stock markets and financial markets as well as other institutions in a different way than one saw them before. During the Chinese crisis a while back I urged a more moderate view of the crisis than was then in vogue but I did not produce any large autonomous piece on the subject which I can now locate. However in the case of BRexit I posted on this subject just a day before the historic vote. That post is here.

I began with these words:

 

The British who it seems are by far America’s closest association in the world — even if to me it is not obvious that this must or even should be the case or deciding whether of not to leave the European Union.  NATO is surely in decline and is troubled despite being very big and victorious. As a Cajun I would like to see better relations between the US, France, Belgium,  Spain and the UK especially. But realistically those relationships may be as good as they are going to get.  the Brits who want to stay in the EU fall into those who see Europe as a country and say the sooner it becomes a superpower nation state the better and those who believe it is better for British interest to stay in the EU.  Those who want to leave include people who fear woes of limitless migration, economic collapse and cultural corruption in the new order. But the real thorny issues are not simply resolved into two camps  — but the votes are in tow camps. Some have said the shooting in Orlando helped the leavers most — called Brexit. BRexit can argue that families like the Mateens can arrive anywhere in Europe and strike anywhere else and nobody has a chance to know the risk.  Some who want to stay in believe Europe must change and offer better collective security and that will be best for Britain.

Armed with a few links to various articles, I raised the alarm on a potential Stock Market  Crisis to those among my readers who might not have been prepared.

The lack of certainty this vote has created in the stock market and elsewhere is discussed here.  But this is an analysis mostly of how the markets will react if BRexit beats the Remainers. It is a bit more complicated to decide whether the current process itself is affecting financial markets and other economic indicators, perhaps some of that complexity can be recaptured here.

So BRexit has happened. Why did it happen that Britain left first because there was a referendum. Lord Norton discusses that here. TIME has put together an approach to why there was a referendum as well, a sort of history linked here. But here is a telling quote from Lord Norton in a post linked herein a post linked here:

In the post-war era, the issue of European integration has been a fault line of British politics.  Both main parties have been divided internally  and both have changed their stance on the issue.  However, there has been no formal requirement for a referendum on the issue.  Harold Wilson used a nation-wide referendum, a constitutional innovation, in 1975 in order to resolve conflict within the Labour Party.  David Cameron moved to initiate one in response to conflict within Conservative ranks.  The roots are to be found in the last Parliament.  Details can be found in the chapters by Phil Cowley and me in Seldon and Finn’s The Coalition Effect.

There was no commitment in the Conservative 2010 manifesto to a referendum on continued membership of the EU.  The crucial development was the decision of the newly-formed Backbench Business Committee to schedule a debate, initiated by Conservative MP David Nuttall, in October 2011, calling for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.  Had the Committee not come into existence the previous year, with responsibility for scheduling debates (which it did on the basis of proposals from private Members), there would almost certainly not have been a debate – the Government would not have found time for it.   Despite a heavy whipping operation against the motion, 81 Conservatives voted for it.

The Referendum may or may not have been the right or best thing to do but it was note purely inevitable. Had it not happened the EU and the world would have muddled a long a bit longer on a more similar path. What happened after that is up for debate. I discuss reasons below why I think that things were not so secure as they seemed. But for now let us turn to what did happen.

This is the link to the speech in which David Cameron announced his intention to resign after the BRexit vote.  Cameron invested his very considerable political capital very heavily in this referendum. We may well hear from him again but he is tied to it forever. Tizres a commenter on this blog on occasion has on her own blog posted a while ago a post linking Cameron and the EU over time and this has surely proven her right on that and other scores as well. The BRexit may well see a resurgence of the Commonwealth, a stimulus to improve the EU constitution, the impetus for liberty enshrined in better rules around the world. It may be a very good thing. Whether good or not it may be necessary. But today it is a scary thing for many and the most obvious sign of that is the crash in the stock markets and the worldwide wealth erasures. We shall see where all that leads.   There is a great deal more that can be said about BRexit and that has to be said somewhere and perhaps many places if the current political environment is to be properly understood. Here is one place I have been discussing such things. Lord Norton had already had something to say on all of this issue which has led to BRexit, he tangentially discussed it here and has now said a good bit about the mechanic of the thing here in a brief and early post. The results of all this are likely to be significant for many people.

The European Union has 28 member countries, here is the list from the European Union’s own official website :

On the road to EU membership

Candidate countries

Potential candidates

The list above shows the difficulties compared to the United States of America. In the United States we have the Senate where votes are equal and the House where votes are by population. Then we have an Electoral College where votes are identical to a State’s votes in each of these houses and they elect our President. We have a Supreme Court charged with seeing that the basic system is preserved.  i think our own system is corrupt and this blog is a place where I have spelled out model constitutions for the United States and for Louisiana.  But our Constitution as it was originally approved and as  it exists today has the basic components to make it possible to preserve healthy state identity and a healthy federal union — just barely so in my view. However, the EU is made to work by will and skill without really having anywhere near and adequate constitutional framework. Whether others leave or not that is clearly the case. But it has been a socially and politically cheap arrangement and now it has failed a major test.  The people who paid r it to survive as it as it was were equally the US tax payers and the Soviet and Russian people who kept up a nuclear terro balance that left Europe’s great powers and their vast depository of skilled diplomats and diplomatic resources free to patiently deal with many issues while not being pressured to clearly lead or fight for survival. Would it have been good for them to become a true United States of Europe? People will disagree for good reasons about the answer to that question.  But they never built the structures we have. The comparison was always a misplaced one by any standard. Now what will happen next is a different matter — I am not making predictions in this posting.

 

How to Blog in Uncertainty

The British who it seems are by far America’s closest association in the world — even if to me it is not obvious that this must or even should be the case or deciding whether of not to leave the European Union.  NATO is surely in decline and is troubled despite being very big and victorious. As a Cajun I would like to see better relations between the US, France, Belgium,  Spain and the UK especially. But realistically those relationships may be as good as they are going to get.  the Brits who want to stay in the EU fall into those who see Europe as a country and say the sooner it becomes a superpower nation state the better and those who believe it is better for British interest to stay in the EU.  Those who want to leave include people who fear woes of limitless migration, economic collapse and cultural corruption in the new order. But the real thorny issues are not simply resolved into two camps  — but the votes are in tow camps. Some have said the shooting in Orlando helped the leavers most — called Brexit. BRexit can argue that families like the Mateens can arrive anywhere in Europe and strike anywhere else and nobody has a chance to know the risk.  Some who want to stay in believe Europe mus change and offer better collective security and that will be best for Britain.

The uncertainty that grips the world is  much larger than the issue  of one political referendum outside of the country where I am blogging today. We are not sure who will be the next President of the United States, not sure how the  tensions over issues of guns, terrorism, Islam, LGBT issues, migration and wars will shape up in coming years and months. We are not sure if Britain will leave the European Union. To undertake any blog with a political awareness in these times calls for an ability to embrace some high degree of uncertainty. Of course that is largely true for all journalists in most situations in which they earn their keep.  Nor is uncertainty limited to journalists. I am bringing attention to my resume being more accessible on this blog now and in that resume I have something about published writing:

Publications

Academic Publications:Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television; 1993,  Review – FDR’s Moviemaker: Memoirs and Scripts.

Journalism:   Extensive journalistic work in the: Abbeville Meridional, The Daily Advertiser, The Vermilion, Bonne Nouvelles ;Straight Street, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines. Resounding Praise newsletter, International , Serve  (Global) newsletter,  Family Missions Co.

Those positions and opportunities do not make me a world or national figure in journalism. But they did give me a chance to see what it is like to write in uncertain times.  In every life and almost very job we find that managing the unusually stressful and difficult situations that arise is a part of our lives. For many people that is to some degree  the secret to earning a living as opposed to not earning a living. Just a few example of my won life experiencing some kind of crisis management modality are on my mind as I blog today. Some instances included under the heading Crisis Management Experiences in the brief resume that I now include in the links on the blogroll of this blog are that I:

  1. Taught extremely long hours as a substitute teacher after Hurricane Lili.
  2. Cared for my brother Simon as IBC caregiver during Hurricane Rita and afterwards.
  3. Directed a Youth Conference in Bukidnon in the Philippines while in my late teens during a set of separate national, regional  and familial crises.

But the truth is that a reader of that document would find other things that relate to my own belief that I can and do manage to deal with uncertainty.   I cover a great deal of ground about my personal life and background very briefly when I write a simple section that gives some sense of my journey through these fifty two years:

Special Adaptation Challenges:

Have lived in and adjusted to new conditions in: Mexico City, London, New York, New Orleans, Manila, El Paso, Saltillo, Yantai,  and other urban environments. I also have lived & adjusted to new conditions in rural Colombia, Mexico, Philippines, Louisiana, Virginia, Tonga & other rural environments.

Have had a great deal of exposure to people under extreme duress, the poor, the sick, those in disciplinary education situations, those in special education, those in need of transport to and from jail and so forth.

America is shaken by the sustained carnage which has not been  so easy to categorize politically and culturally. It has many faces and many issues emerge in any discussion including which issues to include in the discussion and which events to look at when describing the carnage of which I am speaking. It is clear to me that these shootings do not occur in a vacuum. They are connected to the violence of crime, “protests”, riots, war and other facets of our troubles and current struggles.

In the United States house of Representatives the Democrats have rallied to a significant degree behind the sit-in demanding a vote on gun limiting bills that are linked to others already voted down in the Senate. One can find  stories about this revolt against House governance and procedure here and here. The protest is led by Representative John Lewis who has a long history of protest in the Civil Rights movement in his own background. In the trying and uncertain times that the country currently faces it is somewhat natural for him to bring this new level of seeking change through Civil Disorder to a new level. Many around the world feel and have felt that even if protest and demonstrations can be condoned on the street this is exactly the kind of thing that does not belong in a legislative assembly. On the other hand, many may see this as just another kind of extension of the Senate filibuster made famous beyond the norm by Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and which has been a part of our lives during many crises in American politics.    The occasion for all this acrimony and uproar is the shooting in Orlando of scores of people. I dealt with that shooting in a post on this blog which can be found here. The implications for discussion of gun control, Islam, LGBT issues and terrorism have continued to shape the American political season.  Trump has shown a strong support for the idea that Terrorists do appear on the no fly list and are then conveniently found to be prohibited from buying guns. But he has conceded the merits of Republican plans for a due process mechanism that would review the cause for not being allowed to buy a gun. This comes in the context of his campaign’s overall support for gun control. Hillary Clinton would like to restore the Federal Assault Weapons Ban as  instituted under her husband’s administration, would support Democrat bills making the No Fly List also a No Buy List for guns. In addition there is no doubt in the minds of conservatives that no real conviction would keep her from evolving as far as she could toward a completely disarmed lawful citizenry. But she insists that such characterizations of her intentions are not fair.

Beyond the fact that the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was shot up by a man who seems to have given countless warnings that he was likely to do such a thing as he actually did there are many questions about how he did what he did that are not answered. It is also unclear whether Latin Night at a Gay bar was a very important part of the targeting strategy are only a clearly relevant one as regard this killing by a man who pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS. The human cost even if one limits the discussion to those killed is huge. Having given the killer’s name in my earlier post I add a link to a site discussing the victims here. I also take the time to list the names themselves here: In the wake of so many other mass shootings it is clear that this issue will not go away as a gun violence issue despite having many other facets.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 | Stanley Almodovar III, 23 | Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 | Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 | Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 | Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 | Luis S. Vielma, 22 |Kimberly Morris, 37 |Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 | Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 | Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 |Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 | Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 | Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 | Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 | Martin Benitez Torres, 33 | Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 | Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 | Amanda Alvear, 25 | Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 | Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 | Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 | Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 | Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 | Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 | Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 | Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 | Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 | Cory James Connell, 21 | Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 | Luis Daniel Conde, 39 | Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 | Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 | Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 | Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 | Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 | Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 | Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27 | Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 | Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 | Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 | Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 | Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 | Frank Hernandez Escalante, 27 | Paul Terrell Henry, 41 |Antonio Davon Brown, 29 | Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 | Akyra Monet Murray, 18 | Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

Britain is considering leaving the European Union. It is a  special time of turmoil and many people are affected by this whole vote directly. That includes the recent death of Member of Parliament Jo Cox , who was shot dead while campaigning for the United Kingdom to remain in the EU. One of my relatively long-time correspondents Lord Norton of Louth has blogged about her death and about some political aspects of it without blogging much about the BRexit vs Remainers debate itself.  His link should be available here however.   The lack of certainty this vote has created in the stock market and elsewhere is discussed here.  But this is an analysis mostly of how the markets will react if BRexit beats the Remainers. It is a bit more complicated to decide whether the current process itself is affecting financial markets and other economic indicators, perhaps some of that complexity can be recaptured here. The Lords of the Blog which has been a major influence on this blog has been notably quiet as of and up to this date of June 23 at noon on America’s great central river valley, deltas and Gulf Coast. It is also interesting that some have suggested that American Neo Nazis helped the killer of Jo Cox to arm himself. It is certainly true that Britain has rigid gun control and it also seems well documented that Cox’s killer had ties to America’s Neo Nazis. Lots of people will draw contradictory conclusions about what the all means but ties between the killer and American Neo Nazis are spelled out here. One possible belief, which I myself espouse is that when large and compelling ideals, plans and dreams for societies and nations become less successful then individual acts of violent and murderous  political expression abound and are more influential. The role of Neo Nazis in Europe’s politics is clearly on the rise and violence is likely to play a major role in their politics.  How does one deal with an act of violence? Lord Norton has been an influence on this blog for a long time and his post is relevant if only for that reason…

Lord Norton’s Post does bring up some interesting points about politics and political perception in Britain.

The appalling death of Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, generated considerable reflection on the role of an MP.   There was recognition that MPs are generally dedicated public servants.  Jo Cox was a remarkably able and dedicated Member.  She was one of many.  There has been a tendency to generalise from the unworthy few rather than the hardworking many.  MPs work long and unsocial hours and the demands of the job have got greater over time.  If there is one positive thing that may possibly come out of this tragedy (other than the amazing public response in donating to Jo Cox’s favoured charities) is a better public awareness of what MPs do.  It may provide some balance to the cynical and generally ill-informed view taken of MPs and the work they undertake.

 

Lord Norton has a compelling position from which to comment on the events shaping Britain at the moment as does Representative John Lewis and as do the major Presidential candidates. My own position is less to be envied but I have included my resume on the blogroll to provide blog readers with a concise summary of my experience and  other relevant information related to my life and work and availability for future opportunities. But Also and principally to give some context to my writing. I am able to mention there, and have it stay accessible, that I have accumulated the marks of a measurable education. These studies have included receiving  two degrees — Master of Arts, Louisiana State University, August 4, 1993. Cumulative G.P .A. 3.846 and Bachelor of Arts,  University of Southwestern Louisiana, ( now University of Louisiana at Lafayette), May 14, 1989. Cum Laude G.P. A.:  3.686. In addition, the resume lists some  distinctions acquired along the way.  These include the 1991-1993 Board of Regents Fellowship, 1989 Outstanding Graduate, Alumni Association Honors at Spring Commencement for then  USL,  being  the 1989 Outstanding Graduate of the College of Arts and Humanities and also the same  season being the 1989 Outstanding Graduate of the Department of English, USL. The Document recollects that in 1987  I was admitted to Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and in 1985 recieved  Sophomore Class Award for a male student at the  Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.  It was in 1990 as a memeber of the business community that I was recipient of the title of Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. While a graduate student I received a 1992 LSU Research Grant to study at the Ekstrom Photographic Archives, University of Louisville in  Louisville, Kentucky. It also includes such data as the fact that in 1992 I was admitted to Mensa. Further that in 2012 I became a Grand Prize Winner Lord Norton’s Quiz on the official blog of the House of Lords.

Those distinctions do not mean more or less than they mean and they connect in ways not altogether clear with other parts of my life like the work I have done or have not done in various years.But today as i watched Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on the Today Show and was reminded of the role celebrity plays in getting a hearing in America I could not help comparing my blog to the popular songs and the comments associated with them that also influence policy.  I recently wrote about America’s national conversation.  That focused on journalism and violence but as we also consider legislative procedures, blogs and popular song we get a fuller picture.

This is one of those posts that only appears really in my blog. It does not really introduce all the main elements of my resume. it does not really resolve any questions related to Britain leaving the EU. It only adds these to discussions of American politics and enables a few readers  get a bit better grasp of how a few things fit together in our world.

 

 

Mass shooting in Pulse Nightclub

Over fifty killed and another fifty injured in a firefight begun, sustained and led by American Islamic extremist Omar Mateen.  The young Mateen had been interviewed by the FBI several times. The belief is stated that he did not have ties to foreign Islamist extremists but his family is from Afghanistan and NBC News has reported that the father Seddique Mateen openly lobbies for the Taliban. So perhaps a more nuanced statement about his connections abroad should be made. There seems to be a basic agreement in the family that homosexuals deserve to be put to death although the father does not see it as lawful for people to perform that act of execution — leaving it to God.  the CBS link to a relevant story is here and I heard similar reports on other networks. In addition the young man bought weapons very recently.  His ex wife brings up the mental illness idea but one has to question what that means, but he does seem to have been a controlling wife-beater to some degree. The gay bar on the other hand seems to have been entirely unprepared for an Islamist attack of a military terrorist nature.  perhaps that is incorrect but that is how it seems.

The Americans and visitors to America were attacked this morning by a man who called 911 to pledge support and loyalty to the leader of ISIS. This call to emergency services was made in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The bloody ordeal went on until a final firefight with police sometime after five in the morning. Experience has taught me that not all links will be readable over time and I cannot check them all but a pretty good summary of the event should link here.

My first post on this event came shortly after I woke and was on Facebook.  I wrote,

Taking a moment to acknowledge the deaths of dozens of Americans and other people in America killed while celebrating a Saturday night out. The families and friends affected by this and also the wounded are also in my prayers. It would feel good to say that politics has no place here. It would be comforting to say that real issues related to homosexuality, to the obligation of nightlife to have more security now than in the past, to the views of American Muslims, to the policing of districts where clubs are located, to the disputes about guns and even more disagreeable to the electoral implications of these deaths –to hold that these issues didn’t matter. But all that and more matters. 

These are trying times…”

The President of the United States in his initial press conference largely minimized the Islamist nature of this incident. The Press Conference with the White House Press Corps was not his first response however and some of the tweets and actions that came out earlier are mentioned below.  Many issues will emerge over time. The effort to respond reasonably will be opposed on all sides directly and indirectly. A reasonable response in my view would examine honestly all the weakness  this attack reveals. It would deal not only with the many who have lined up to give blood for the victims but the many who are offended by federal bathroom laws, Gay Pride Parades in front of their children and would prefer not to live near a nightclub like the Pulse. Most of those people would not hesitate to condemn this act and take real measures to prevent it.  The gun control debate might include ind reasonably requiring high power assault weapons in a vault near security guards at sites very attractive to known terrorist organizations, might license accountable community militia groups, might acknowledge the fiasco that gun free zones occasion.  A reasonable conversation might   also realize that people call those with deadly records mentally ill in a way that has almost no definable meaning.  But after all the reason was brought to bear then perhaps real restrictions on trading, transporting, storing and using assault weapons could be put in place. When not at the shooting range, at the community armory or in your annually inspected home vault your assault gun might be at risk of seizure and you might risk a fine.  I don’t consider this country a safe place not because I expect to be shot today but because the social fabric is constantly being degraded. Few are interested in the hard work of repairing it. 

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

As the names and stories of the dead emerge the understanding of the events will evolve as well. For me their deaths came on an anniversary of another death.  Here is a link from the television station on Channel Four in Jacksonville which begins to disclose the names — but this is a step in a long journey. I would have discussed these events with that old friend almost exactly my age. His country and mine have changed and continue to change. But that will not lessen the tensions underlying the many faces of this tragedy. President Obama will continue to behave in a way which will evoke a very belated response from a very limited legitimate opposition press as seen in the New York Post story linked here. The journalist cites Obama as saying that ” We”not Islamic terrorism are at fault for the Orlando massacre. Social networks were abuzz but not as much as after some events. I think that the truth is people are unable to write as freely about the incident because it involved a gay nightclub. They may not like the current LGBT agenda and the may not be crazy in love with Gay nightclub scenes on morning television. They do not know how to deal with these realities without mentioning them if they post their sincere outrage at the attack and sincere condolences.  Apparently the club was largely a Hispanic clientele, and had the double empathy issues of current animosity by some towards the LGBT community and by others to the Hispanic community. But fencing things around with so many verbal protocols that one’s critics cannot feel safe to join you in opposing a common enemy seems risky to me.  Remember this man drove a distance to kill people indoors. He was not being forced to deal with any particular assault to his religion directly.

 

My brother, whom I always called my half-brother  and whom I did not know until I was in graduate school and who had a separate legal set of parents who adopted him was named Paul. He was a homosexual who died of AIDS and was living with me and my family after falling out of whatever support system the LGBT community in San Francisco had to offer. I called a friend and former fraternity brother in the LGBT AIDS assistance community to get help for him and corresponded with several others and with Paul when he first came there to us and nobody helped. However, my experience with programs helping in this country is that they usually have not responded to any request I made but did do many things I did not think worth doing. Those are painful memories for me. That set of memories does not make me an expert on the pain and loss these families are suffering. I tried to help Paul and we were fairly close at the end but he never even admitted to me that he was gay. It just remained a wide open secret between us. My mother gave him up for adoption before I was born. When I met him he was married to a woman from the Middle East and had a stepson named Jameel. I was married in those days as well. Families and sexuality are both complicated things. Death also comes for us all. But the horror of a mass slaying like this goes beyond death.   Nothing can compare to the loss and horror of those personally connected to the tragedy and tragedies like this.. That is true even if like me you do not put a gay bar at the same level as a church or an elementary school. I do not put it at the same level. There is no reason to ask someone like me to make it a shrine. The deaths of their loved ones doubtless make it sacred to the bereaved.  But the public nature of the place is otherwise. The issues of hate crimes, terrorism, murder, national security and civic injury ought to be enough to bother all of us — we do not need to have a belief that the space itself was a sacred one. But it was a privileged space. It was a gathering place for people who are different to do things not everyone will like or approve of them doing. It seems that whether one is opposed to the ambitious LGBT agenda or not one could support the idea of a safe, politically conscious place for adults to gather without disturbing neighborhoods. Many in the building would doubtless want to do all kinds of things in my neighborhood I would not like. But as an American I can still see a need for them to protect their basic civil rights even if we disagree about some of the boundaries, a place to congregate and a place to create a cultural of communication and sexual interchange within boundaries they define for themselves as proper which I do not have to witness. Driving a long way to shoot up a gay bar is more than a hate crime it is a small step in the direction of the extermination of gay people. In scale it is trivial but in type it is a kind of sexual act of genocide. It is of course not trivial to those who had a loved one exterminated.

. The families, friends, first responders and others have been traumatized to varying degrees and the wounded of course intensely injured. The President deserves some credit for trying to strike a tone of human compassion and his response is outlined below. White House Tweets at intervals varying from pauses of a couple of minutes or less to pauses of a few hours included attached materials and video summing up the President’s actions and words. There are other accounts involved and the White House retweeted itself and yet one can map out a response from the following principal tweets.

  1. “In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give into fear.” —
  2. “We stand with the people of who have endured a terrible attack on their city.” —
  3. “As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.” — on

  4. orders U.S. flags flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the attack in Orlando:

  5. Attacks on any American—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation—is an attack on all of us.

  6. This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends—our fellow Americans—who are LGBT

The policy does not seem to reflect an ongoing series of attacks from Radical Islamists. It would make me feel better to focus only on the facts of the massacre as a massacre but terrorism is always political. Here are some of the political victims I can think of so far as the process is being led by the White House.  From the point of view of Americans who like Obama was fond of saying “cling to their religion and their guns”  this seems to be a chance to expose them to three prongs of pressure. They feel the hostility for Americans from ISIS and the family’s Taliban connections. They feel the hostility from the White House stirring up criticism of all those not fanatic cheerleaders for the LGBT agenda.  They feel what they cannot help but believe will be greater tensions from LGBT leadership who follow Obama’s lead in seeing this as a social hate crime and not part of an Islamist Jihad. For the conservative Muslim who wants a better future as a loyal American — this has to be a bad day. For homosexuals and others who are sexually aligned to the LGBT but while they want to have safe nightclubs do not seek a culture war or value its purported triumphs this is a bad day. For Hispanics who see countless ways this incident pushes out the kinds of connections they have spent a lifetime building with others this is also a bad day.   For those

Today is the first anniversary of a friend’s death. I am inescapably aware of how the United States we grew up in has become a place where Islamists frequently express themselves by killing people gathering places.

We have a responsibility to understand the words we use to shape our live and society. This is a picture of the Declarators committee.

We have a responsibility to understand the words we use to shape our live and society. This is a picture of the Declarators committee.

We must pray, vote, think, write and be  brave. But I make no claim that the path we are on is a promising one. Nor do I believe positive change is a foregone conclusion. The promise of America has been made simplistic and almost ridiculous in my view but it does have a promise and we can come to understand it. We can face the fact that crises like these play far too large of a role in shaping any national dialog we do have.  I just published a post about national conversation and this is the link to it here. I will also mention its title:  https://franksummers3ba.com/2016/06/09/presidential-politics-and-the-current-american-mindset/

I have some empathy with those who  wish to keep political comments for the future although I do not do so here.  I end with a quote from a politically active Facebook friend younger than myself, named Rick Fisher:

I am a conservative republican. I believe a person who is gay has a right to go to a nightclub without fear of being shot, just like everyone else. I believe a person who is Muslim has every right to be in this country, to live and work here just like everyone else. And I believe there is nothing wrong with expressing sympathy and sorrow first for the families of those who lost a live one due to an act of such extreme hatred I cannot comprehend.

Like everyone else I have several thoughts about the horrific tragedy that occurred last night in Orlando. Those thoughts will be shared in due time. But not today. Today we pray for the fillies of the deceased, and for the well-being and recovery of those who survived a battlefield they rightfully didn’t expect to enter.

So where do I get the incentive to do this analysis as I slide into the silent dark perhaps? I get it from the commitments I have made over the years.  From those who sought out my advice and published my stuff. From those of you I do not know who still read these posts. I also get it from inside as well. I do not know if I will return to this subject directly but sadly it is a subject  that is tied to many others across this blog.

 

How Lame are these Ducks?

I am eager to make up a round-up of sorts and get to Christmas errands and  Christmas related blog posts. But this is not exactly a typical rounding up of facts from current events in the world and my life. This is about the acts of the USA in these days and what they might mean. Winter following late autumn or fall is always the season after our federal elections and before the new Congresses and White House administrations take office.  It is often very appropriate to the tone of the institutions. However, the current situation in Washington D. C.  does not seem frozen, inactive  and bleak to me this is perhaps a different face of winter.

The icons of our country are precious as are our diverse people.  But changes of interpretation have been continuous.

The icons of our country are precious as are our diverse people. But changes of interpretation have been continuous.

America is facing a crisis and the US Congress seems to realize that this is the case and seems to be seeking to act responsibly. The trillion dollar agreement the Congress has achieved and which now goes to the vote is one sign of the real work, real effort and real politics going on there. In addition, the Healthcare.gov website at the heart of Obamacare seems to be working much better this year.  Washington has hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and real meetings have been going on all over the town to prepare for the new Congress. Overall, this is a bit more like the Winter Olympics than it is  like a blizzard caught up in smog of a big city’s early winter in many years gone by. The ducks that are the Congress and the White House do not seem so blind. In addition, the new report on torture during the Bush Administration shows that these two institutions can still inflict some  political pain and are willing to do so. This seems like a serious group of important institutions about their business. But is that the whole story?  If not the whole story then how much of the story is it?

 

Julia Mancuso skied for two silvers to add to her Gold from Turino's 2006 games.

American Julia Mancuso skied for two silvers in Russia to add to her Gold from Turino’s 2006 games.

In addition to the facts I mentioned above there are other factors to consider.  Among these facts are the fact that the Democrats suffered the most severe partisan battering in their history of 225 years in Congress with only two possible exceptions. Both of those exceptions occurred long before the age of radio and television — much less this evolving period of social networking. Further, America has been able to lend very little real support to the Democracy movement in Hong Kong in recent weeks which have been crucial weeks for that group. By “support” I mean also the kind of mature advice and critical diplomatic triangulation that  an old democracy and China’s largest single trading partner might be expected to provide. Despite the role the United Kingdom must play in such matters and despite the varied views of Americans toward all things Chinese this is an area of substantial interest to the United States. It is also true that things have not gone all that badly so far and many Americans have been engaged under varied guises and in many capacities. Nonetheless, America is once again more flat-footed and out of sync in the world of foreign affairs in part because of the degree of flux and transition and in part because of the policies which drove people to vote for change and transition.

This is me acting as faculty advisor and guest speaker to an English Corner meeting in China.

This is me acting as faculty advisor and guest speaker to an English Corner meeting in China.

In addition to these events in China there is the rise of ISIS, the failed rescue raid and the less failed on an Al Qaeda camp including the death of Luke Somers and the South African humanitarian. There is the death sentence of a Christian woman in Pakistan for blasphemy and all the horrors associated with that situation. The world is spinning on and Russo-Ukrainian situation, the Syrian crises, the Egyptian crises, the brewing political turmoil in  Britain and much more so in other parts of Europe are not suggestive of a time in which there is room for a lot of error and indecision. In addition we have school shootings that are certainly a real disaster and crisis despite our disagreements about how they ought to be addressed. Then we have the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever whose story combines school shootings and religious extremism in Pakistan. Our President is a Nobel Prize winner and Hillary Clinton is one of the world’s most prominent feminists but our support for Malala’s cause in these days has been more muddied and muted than not.  That is because of failed policies and the electoral judgment on those polices. One can imagine a neo-con  WHite House being more engaged.

So, on longer look the Lame Ducks are not so lame as they could be but they are showing signs of lameness nonetheless. America’s challenges never sleep. The transitions we make have to be made in realistic terms and in awareness of all that is going on. Stagnation is deadly but believing that change is without cost can lead to disasters as well.

Last Day of Early Voting

The election to determine the Senator from Louisiana who will  hold the seat of Senior Senator Mary Landrieu will be held December 6, 2014. The last day of early voting is today November 29, 2014. Mary Landrieu’s party will have lost its chairmanships no matter who wins. In addition if Cassidy wins he will be the Junior Senator from Louisiana and David Vitter will become the Senior Senator.  A great deal has changed regardless of the outcome as regards this seat. But a vote by those who read this blog and can vote is important.  I have already discussed the election which includes many issues already decided here.  I have set out some of the impressions the Election Day experience made on me here.  I have set out some of the signs of Obama’s declining stock and discussed its meaning here.  I have discussed Louisiana politics and politicians in a way different than most media have here.  I took two side journeys one on the military and one on race but still part of this election cycle of the blog. But I have not discussed every aspect of the race, I have voted for Landrieu in the past and I voted for Cassidy this  time. I hope people vote according to enlightened self-interest and their consciences. I hope whoever wins will do their duty well. I am giving Cassidy a chance to prove worthy of my support.

 

 

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

Landrieu tied her reputation to the sing of her party in directions that neither I nor the majority of voters support. America is in a time when many transitions must be made. The GOP will have a chance to show that it can make things better. There will be a lot of conflict with the White House.  Next year will be interesting.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

In all this readers should remember that I belong to no political party. My own political ideas for America are put forth throughout this blog including here, here and here. I am a radical who is committed to the society I would like to change and to its constitutional well-being. I encourage those who can to vote.

Veterans Day, the Berlin Wall and the Winter

This is the time when somehow autumn and winter begin to dance with each other in many places in the Northern hemisphere much as autumn and summer danced with each other in the subtropical climes like Acadiana not so long ago. Remembrance Day was observed yesterday in the United Kingdom and Veterans Day will be observed tomorrow here in the United States of America. I have written about US military holidays here, here and here.

Because of our Memorial Day traditions we only tie in indirectly with British Remembrance Day

Because of our Memorial Day traditions we only tie in indirectly with British Remembrance Day

This Veterans Day is a bit unique in that it is the Veterans Day which comes at the start of a new era of divided government. It is a Veterans Day when we remember the American President who called for and saw the demolition of the Berlin Wall.  Speaking in Germany Ronald Reagan called for a Soviet Premiere who was deeply Russian to take down the wall.  Today Germany is unified, is at the heart of a European Union which is tied to the US and NATO but also buys lots of gas from a resurgent Russia.  I have written of Russia and the US, its policies and its leader in this blog. But despite this blog post’s title, I will not do justice to the removal of that wall that was the essence of the Iron Curtain. Today as Barak Obama is in China and Asia. China is emerging and both the US and China deal with that nation closely.  I will return to the Asia issues below. I will not address ISIS in this post except to mention it here. All those in Armed Service today face the most complex set of challenges we have ever faced. Things may become more predictable but that may come at a cost. This post is mostly about the American military itself. It is about the holiday to mark those who join its ranks across time and space.

 

There is no limit to the words that could be used to describe the costs of war. There are no words to fully describe the stark necessities in which the words and phrases valor, honor, esprit des corps, and warrior spirit find their meaning. We simply do the best we can with the words we have and the images available to each of us. The struggle for such meaning as we can find in the events which cost hours, years, wounds, lives and billions is a real struggle. While we may not all agree on the path our country must take we cannot doubt that the military must play a crucial role in preserving whatever future the United States of American may have.   I am nowhere near where I would like to be in achieving the simple goals I have set in supporting the US military. Yet I am nowhere near discharging the balance of my critiques of that same military. Veterans Day is a day to put aside those discussions of policy and engage in some rituals of appreciation. However, that is n0t all that it can and should be. It can also be a time to quietly remember the fallen which Americans do more on Memorial Day and to quietly refresh our knowledge of the American Armed Forces which is not really a big tradition and if it is a tradition is focused on Armed Services Day. But Veterans Day is our broadest military holiday. It is a good time to think and to reflect.

The link of living Veterans, active troops and the fallen in battle is a chain of duty we must all remember.

The link of living Veterans, active troops and the fallen in battle is a chain of duty we must all remember.

All of us must know that our nation is engaged in the world in ways that few nations were engaged in most of human history. The military is not the only aspect of that engagement but it is a very important aspect. We face life and the future as Americans and our flag is supported by the might and dedication of our military. In this blog the image of my cousin Severin Summers appears often because he is my nearest relative to die in combat. But for every American there must be someone who is our truest connection to the terrible and beautiful Duty which makes this great military tradition. Severin is not interchangeable with other people but he is my sense of the reality of loss. Precisely a symbol because he is so individual to me.

My cousin Severin was killed in battle in Afghanistan.

My cousin Severin was killed in battle in Afghanistan.

 

As a citizen and an American I feel compelled both to support and to criticize. This challenge which makes us parts of the society in which we live is often a thing which seems remote from our ordinary concerns. My life is not all that ordinary when taken as a whole. But there is much in it that has been affected by the policies and practices of my country as regards national security and defense. Life lived here in the United States and life live well beyond its borders has made me constantly aware of the price of our national sovereignty and how many threats will confront those who stand up for our liberties, security and prosperity. Some would say that because the threats are so real and the challenges are so great we should not be engaged in the kinds of discussions which typify most free societies. Others would argue that we should always welcome any discussion and that all of these challenges make us stronger. I certainly do not hold to wither of those positions. We cannot afford either the kind of ideal free expression which fills some tomes on political philosophy and journalism as taught at some universities nor the deathly conformity and lack of scrutiny which many societies have attempted at one time or another to offer their military. Some of my thoughts are available here, here and here.

My mother in front a Confederate monument in New Orleans reminds us of what complexity there is in violence and duty.

My mother in front a Confederate monument in New Orleans reminds us of what complexity there is in violence and duty.

The US Marines standing guard at embassies, the carriers sailing the seas are all part of the world in which America plays neither a perfect nor an unlimited role but a role both large and necessary. There is no way this can be done without risk and without engagement. The future is compelling or dreadful in large part to the degree that we maintain a military which is credible and excellent in the difficult challenges which face the holders of the sword.

US Marines guard many embassies where our diplomats seek peace with security around the world.

US Marines guard many embassies where our diplomats seek peace with security around the world.

It is a sobering holiday which matches the first chill in the air. The future winter and the joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas are waiting for all of us and we are also looking back at all the armed struggles that have preserved what we have and helped give us the chance for a future. Obama has been received at a summit in China and the world is watching that summit more in general than America is but it gives him the chance to remind Congress that he is head of state here.  I have written about Asia recently here, here and here. I think US policy there is very important.  Obama’s trip is described here. But the trip will also get him out of Washington on a veterans Day when people have rising concerns and anxieties.

My family stopped at a Battleship park after one vacation and I have a long interest in studying and observing military history.

My family stopped at a Battleship park after one vacation and I have a long interest in studying and observing military history.

So before our thought turn to other holidays we have this day. A day to say thanks to those who serve in the armed forces, those who have served and those who have fallen. But this is also a day to think about our military and examine the society we live in and the government we have.  The next two years of divided government will be years when the world will keep changing and many new crises can and likely will arise.  All of us will face them together in more ways than we are often conscious of in our daily lives.

New Horizons and Some Signs

This post comes at a time when a lot is going on in the world including the mourning in South Korea over the hundreds of youths drowned on a ferry that went down in the Yellow Sea. I used to look out at the Yellow Sea daily where I lived and worked and my sympathy and empathy are with those people. There is some insight into the depth of this tragedy here. However, I have not mentioned that tragedy before this post in this blog. President Obama will be heading to Asia soon to shore up relations with our treaty partners Japan and South Korea.  those are in North East Asia as is Taiwan. I lived in China and in our other treaty partner in the region — the Philippines. But I have not spent much time in Japan and have never been to Taiwan or South Korea. All of us  who are well informed of my generation see a connection between World War II in the Pacific and the Korean War and then the Vietnam War. As tensions occur in the entire Asian region we must remember the tragedy  of huge and sustained wars in Asia. we must grieve for our world neighbors in South Korea and still remember what it  has been like to losemany ships of young people.

Where the Bohai Sea meets the Yellow Sea and  China looks out to Korea.

Where the Bohai Sea meets the Yellow Sea and China looks out to Korea.

I do pray for those involved in that tragedy in a world of so much tragedy. The Malaysian Airlines disaster is yet another tragedy, But the crises brewing in Ukraine and nearby lands may be far greater still. As I look at these events I am also remembering the  events of 150 years ago known as the American Civil War. Several of my posts have mentioned anniversaries of that war. But it is certainly not the only war whose anniversaries are remembered.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

So many leaders on both sides of the war had been formed in some way by the American – Mexican War and the Confederacy had George Washington on its seal who had been formed in his life and skills in what Americans call the French and Indian War before leading the Continental regulars and colonial militias in the American Revolution and War of Independence.  Struggle does not seem to end and so one struggle prepares its survivors for the next.  That is not all their is to human history and experience but the theme of constant and evolving struggle certainly is a major theme of human experience.

From each crisis and tragedy of the human past we can learn a few things. I think we are obliged to try.  I certainly am formed of all the experiences of my personal history. I am not sure what life may have in store for me but I am sure it will be connected to the rest of my life so far.

Not a very flattering image. A selfie taken a few nights ago.

Not a very flattering image. A selfie taken a few nights ago.

The centennial commemoration of the First World War is starting up around the world. It will continue for the next few years. Some called that war “The War to end all wars”. It certainly did not end all wars and Adolph Hitler was one of the people most affected by the  trials of that war but millions of other would join him in quickly imagining that another war must follow in many of the same lands to resolve issues  that had emerged before, during and after World War One — The Great War. Some call the war that followed The Big One. Most call it the Second World War. I have been writing about the struggle with Islamist terror almost continuously since 2001. I have been caught up in that struggle in a number of ways.

The world is a complicated place and so are the lives of many of us who live in this strange world. This post is going to be largely about what may be on the horizon or just over the horizon of the future. But it is also about how I come to see it in a particular way. I have a picture below of myself with my ex-wife more than  twenty years ago and think of all the seasons that have passed since then for me. I wonder what if any future crises my life has prepared me to face.

 

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It is still the start of the long Catholic Easter Season which goes until Pentecost Sunday. Easter Tuesday, the day after the day that follows what much of the world calls Easter  was a special day for the family.  Easter Monday I bought my Louisiana resident basic fishing license and Louisiana resident saltwater license to go crabbing on the Rockefeller Refuge tomorrow. Crabbing with a string or a small drop net requires no license unless one is on a refuge or wildlife management area. I posted on Facebook that night that I would be going with the family tomorrow and be back online by Tuesday evening. It was later Tuesday evening when I posted on the subject. But my post which is largely subsumed into this one reported good outcomes not mixed with any tragedy.

We had a good time at Rockefeller Refuge. I caught four small crabs. We brought back enough all together from those who also caught (some much more than I ) for me to purge and boil them and everyone had one eating size crab and then I made a stew of the small crabs. I snapped a few pics about nothing in particular although there were particularly nice birds and fish and the crabs and people. (4 photos)

Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
 Clearly my life is not caught up in long hours spent in the halls of power. One of the themes of Easter is baptism and evangelism and I have a political view of how things play out on those themes. I do rejoice that Obama talks about Jesus as a Christian would and seems to be a Christian although his father was Muslim. I value his affinity for Islam as a Christian if that is in fact real, Such connections are important to reaching out to evangelize in Muslim countries  and to protecting Christians there. In addition I have real reticence to denying what God may be doing in Barack Hussein Obama’s heart. Had he remained a Senator those themes might have remained my dominant themes. However, in the case of Obama I feel we must consider the possibility of him being a Muslim and a liar as some have accused him of being  even as we have him as our Head of State and US executive.
Russia is squaring off with us in quite few places. You can read about the situation developing in Russia here. Obama is more or less holding his lines in the Russian Crisis. America is meanwhile under strain. The US Supreme Court has recently dealt a blow to the affirmative action which helped to create the environment in which President Obama matured as a human being. You can find one account of the new Supreme Court opinion and analysis of its impact  here.
Nationalism rises in many places in the world, Financial problems abound. Men like Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Henry VIII and Washington may all seem very different from one another but all were empowered by crises.  There are many emerging crises just now and those crisis will call forth those who can exploit them.
Hitler rose to power in the Weimar Republic and Mao rose to power in the Chinese  Republic founded by Sun Yat Sen. Those men like Napoleon had the luxury of hitting a new regime still finding its way. Nonetheless each of these men came to power by remaining involved and exercising force in the milieu in which they existed. Putin remembers fondly the Soviet Union and the Communist revolution that replaced the Tsarist Empire directly and slaughtered the Imperial family. Soviet founders paid more for power than many have paid. Russia is often willing to pay a great deal to protect vital interests and that may be important to remember.
In my own life I have written some model constitutions  and done some politicking too. I look out on a future which will be problematic. I see challenges and roots of conflict.  I see lots of reasons to be concerned but I do not believe that we are without hope. One institution for peace is one among many which exist around the world and is a big party I have attended many times.  You can learn about that  institution of soft peace policy here.
Right now I ave little specific to write about or do about many of the challenges facing America and the world. I am almost fifty years old and obscure. My vision for my country is pretty peaceable and moderate for one which still constitutes a a radical proposal. I am tired as I often am and so bring this to post with a few corrections to be made later and a few aspects to be polished. But as I look out at the world I do not feel less inclined to propose that America needs some serious reforms. I will continue to work towards some of those reforms.
In some ways the great hurdle is inside oneself. At some point I have decided that i will work for relatively radical change. That closes many doors as well as opening a few. I have never sought more trouble for my country. Hitler for example labored to bring down the Weimar Republic for decades. Napoleon is famous for firing canons on the crowds running the reign of terror which preceded him in France’s revolutionary journey. But mild as I am I remain alarmed and radical. A bit old and quiet these days, I am more than ever aware of the future which will demand some radical change or other. I still seek more peace and harmony than many other emerging radicals will. The changes I propose remain more respectful of the present institutional climate.

The Final Ten Most Watchable People in the Coming Decade

Reasons for this final list are somewhat varied and complex. I have actually seen a dcline in my number of Facebook friends by almost half of one percent of the total since I posted the most recent and second to last installment. This ought to be another great reason to quit publishing this list and yet I do not choose to do so… I suppose that I feel that we as a nation and a society are not really doing well enough and that by setting out the list of cast members in the great world play of our times I can contribute to a better understanding of what is in general going on in life. I believe the time is running out for us to undertake the changes which will be necessary to save our civilization. My final list is indeed ranked from most watchable not to least watchable but rather to tenth most watchable person in the world which is in itself a staggering claim. It is made the more staggering as I have listed myself as most watchable. In this case the ten became a tie sharing tenth and eleventh place.

The Ten Standards:

The Standards used for selecting the final ten most watchable people on this list were aproximately the same as the standards used for ranking them on the list. In other words, more or less (but not perfectly and exactly) these people each generated a score by these standards and these scores were then ranked.

1. The absolute standard: All candidates from the list of one hundred and absolutley no other candidates were considered. Osama Bin Laden was not disqualified initialy because he was killed. Dominique Strauss Khan and Steve Jobs were not disqualified for losing their positions. Catherine Lagarde was not considered because she rose to DSK’s position and got lots of new attention. Nor were great overlooked painters, architects and sculptors reconsidered. How the first list was determined is not included in this discussion.

The First Cut: ONLY CANDIDATES WHO RANKED IN THE TOP FORTY AFTER THE FIRST THREE FACTORS WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE NEXT PHASE.
2.Current relevance: The persons on the list of one hundred were considered as towhether they were currently engaged in something really relevant to the likely readers of this post, to humanity and to the United States.
3.Potential: The candidates were considered as to whether they had a strong possibility that they would sustain or increase their significance or the significance of the work they have already done and still support over the next ten years.
4.Maximum Impact and Ambition: The candidates were considered in terms of what the significance would be of the success of their most ambitious or largest or most radical perceived ambitions.
The Second Cut: The Bonuses and Debits decreased the number to the last thirty
5. Candidates who could positively or negatively affect US national security were given a modest bonus.
6. Candidates Were given debits for the likelihood of becoming dead or less relevant right away, in a year or two or before September 2021.
7. Candidates were given a bonus if I thought they were under-reportsed or badly reported in key respects in larger media.
The Final Selection
8.All remaining candidates were ranked on three lists:
a.potential to continue doing what got them on the list.
b.Potential to do some new significant thing that did not directly get them on to the list.
c. Unique importance
9.Candidates on the bottom three slots of two or more lists were eliminated and those not in the top half of any list were eliminated.
10. Using my best judgement I attempted to reach a total of ten people but ended up with the eleven people most worth watchin in the coming decade ranked in order. To do this I considered those just missing the final list and all those in the final group on the basis of all the standards of the process from the start and weighed this against the standards i had set.

About the writing itself, I have to acknowledge Wikipedia, the CIA FActbook online, official websites for Chinese, US, British and Russian Governments, homepages of various associations, the Holy See’s online and the UK Parliament’s online resources among many others. All this comes on top of television, radio, periodical and book sources too numerous to mention. The work is mine as are the errors and the list remains little more than a list throughout and so I have not done much in terms of acknowledgements for what is mostly a list of public figures and my own opinions. Honestly, my on-line sourcing and crediting process is always haphazard. That is all I can say about this process here.

1.HRH Charles Prince of Wales is the Prince of Wales with the most formal education in history. He will not be a pet or showdog for anyone. Much of what he does is decent, admirable and very fine. He deals with issues others fail to see as vital as well as offering a unique and sustained contribution in areas where many otheres are also engaged in addressing various crises. The global warming issue is a trendier one which he has embraced but in his case it is part of large nexus of environmental and economic commitments which have occupied him for decades. He is not naive about the influence of American republicanism nor about the role the UK has played in manipulting its old adversary and in the rquisite conditions he could be very dangerous to US interests. On the other hand he may help resist greater mutual dangers. As is often found in Kings (which he is not yet) the best and worst of his complex heritage are present together in him. One of his many newer initiatives greatly acclerated since this series began is Accounting for Sustainability which is I think in part a response to the BP disaster. I think he was also very involved in the marriage of his son Prince William and trying to make a better and more secure future for both British royalty and the British people. prince Charles has been involved in restoring crafts to the Muslim world, in giving out starter funds to small businesses, i working to promote a more livable built environment, in seeking for greener and more sustainable agriculture to be preserved and has focused on preserving the British cultural heritage in countless ways. He is notanle for the many ways and times he has repeated the founding pf anew particualr instance in the network of ways in which he has taken modest sums of money from the Duchy of Cornwall, combined those funds with management resources made available through his Civil List and Royal House resources and joined all these things together with large groups of donors and key groups of leaders. He has sought to enhance and adapt to the best of it martial culture and to fulfill the duties of a Prince of Wales and Heir Apparent to the throne of the United Kingdom. He is socially learned and traveled as only a few widely diverse people of varied classes and types are in all the world. He takes account of a great number of factors in his life and in politics and he plays a very serious and well prepared game at the various tables at which he sits.

2. Josef Ratzinger, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is the second consecutive Patriarch of Rome, Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff and Successor to the Throne of St. Peter who has not been an Italian and that (without saying the Italians are not agreat people and without saying that Bishops ought mostly to come from their own lands or related lands) is a good thing. It would probably be good if about half of all Popes were Italian over time but I would not want to see dozens of Popes in a row who were not Italian so everyone must do the best they can. He is a German who fought in the regular nonpolitical part of the German forces doing his duty in World War II and is a very accomplished scholar. However, the service to any state headed by Adolf Hitler and his lunatics is a blemish on the Papacy. But the Papacy has had many blemishes — nonetheless I do not lay all the blame on him personally but I do hold it against him. He remembers the insanity of Nazi political religion and although his experience was more ambiguous than he admits he will work to see that the liturgy and practice of the Church draws forth a milieu such as produced Mozart, the Bach family and the Gothic Cathedrals. If he could say anything kind and honest to the Jews in the way of professional advice and have it received he would advise them to invest in their worship and liturgy to reach and surpass the heights of the Temple’s musical past.

Pope Benedict XVI has at once to contend with a very broad spectrum of issues and demands and has brought to bear his talents as a writer, thinker and organizer as well as his prodigious mental capacities. He, like everyone on this list and in the human race, is both empowered and sometimes trapped by who he is an by the experiences he brings to this office. He has written about Jesus Christ in a very compelling way and has sought to bring the Christ of Faith, the Jesus of History and the Jesus Christ of Cultural developments into a proper and good focus centered around the Jesus revealed in the Gospels. This is certainly a worthy goal and it fits in the larger context of a body of work. He specifically struggles with that German Teutonic impulse towards the struggle of the spiritual and the State which has always been pronounced but which which has been agonizingly disfunctional since the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

3.Hu Jintao 胡锦涛 is The Premiere in the People’s Republic of China will continue to try to develop the Presidency and Premiere powersharing and to increase the importance of the Congress of People’s deputies if he can. He will try to restore full regularity to the Chinese governments by incorporating Imperial and Confucian elements. He will reform the Party and execute those who commit crimes which bring the party into ill regard. Minority and foreign relations will be a continuous challenge and he will foster the development of Chinese urban consumer life to make China less dependent on Exports. He has been able to assert his policy agenda in the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. His relationship with Wen Jiabao is very clearly important to him both personally and politically and although Wen has not often been named as a likely successor I believe that this option is being explored by Hu. Despite some minor progress in formal and informal regulations, the handover of national political power still remains one of the most under-institutionalized sectors in CCP political life. In CCP history, the practice of single-handedly picking successors by supreme leaders has had more failures than successes. Mao failed three times in personally appointing his successors and Deng Xiaoping, together with other party elders of his era, failed twice. Prescient of the intricate complications and potential disastrous consequences of any leadership transition fallout, Deng Xiaoping not only designated and offered a strong helping hand to his immediate successor Jiang Zemin, but also unequivocally decided on Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao. Owing to Deng’s authority as well as Hu’s extreme personal circumspection, the last power transition has been unprecedentedly smooth and apparently well-organized.There is on-going speculation and intrigue about Hu’s successor. Although the subject of succession speculation is largely taboo within the mainland Chinese media, Hong Kong and Taiwan media, as well as western media, have predicted a hot contest between Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, currently party chief in Shanghai and Liaoning, respectively.

4.President Barack Hussein Obama This President of the United States of America will continue to set the tone for much of the American future and its policies for the foreseeable future. We face the future as best we can in a world where the election of Barack Obama has already shown us as profoundly weak in the eyes of so much of the world.Barack Hussein Obama it is to be noted is the descendant of an American mother and has married and had children with an American wife. The mother was white, the wife is black. Obama’s father was an African student and he also had an Indonesian stepfather. In a scoiety where forty-one percent of children are currently born out of wedlock, Schwarzenegger has been Governor of California, Jindal is currently Governor of Louisiana, Granholme was Governor of Michigan until two weeks ago and tens of millions live here without documents Obama has a strong basic appeal to our society which is committed to its own utter destruction at this time. Obama is a man with a very impressive resume and a lot of lessons and experiences that have not come together in the same individual before. Obama does not have any desire to compromise with the vast complicated burdens of American History. He is less aware of them than most Presidents have been and is more committed to policies and procedures that will undermine this country than he would be if he did not have the background he actually does have.

President Obama has been the expression of decades of continuous confusion and staggering forward. What will happen to him and to the country before heleaves the Oval Office behind is not entirely peedictable. Nor is it it clear what he or the Presidency will be like after his administration ends. If he leaves office alive after completing one or two full terms then the Presidency of the United States will be part of his impressive curriculum vitae which includes editing Harvard Law Review , traveling the world, authoring two very successful books, serving itn the United States Senate and given many famous speeches. If a major constitutional change occurs in the United States of America after his retirement from this office he will be in a powerful position to broker part of this change. However, his own tenure in office has contributed to America’s inevitably worsening troubles unless it does seriously reform.

5. Vladimir Putin ,Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин, born on October 7, 1952 is a vigrous probably more physically fit than I on almost every measure despite being almost eight years my senior at an age where that really matters. Putin served as the post Soviet Russian Federation’s second President and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus and he is a man of broad appeal among several sgments of Russian society. He may be that kind of person once referred to as a reappearance of Aratos (a Greek politician of long ago) and because of who he is and his attitudes he will remain Putin while he remains alive. He became acting President as the world celbrated huge numbers of parties and even those dsiputing the calnedric significance on all sort of bases had gotten into the act of a milennial party this happened on my ex-wife’s thirty-third birthday which was December 21, 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move. Putin’s rise to office slipped under this worldwide camouflage in a way that would be worthy of a former intelligence officer. He then began consolidating his power in a way that combined traditional Russian, Soviet, progressive democratic elements into a new decisive style. won the 2000 presidential election and in 2004 he was reelected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.He has many hopes he still cannot really do anything to achieve but he keeps chipping away at the obstacles. Putin did not demonize Yeltsin and the recent regime nor set about abolishing its forms and reforms in a systematic and aggressive way. Most of his harshest critics would acknowledge his role in creating or restoring political orderly process and Securing the rule of law. His presidency included gains such as the fact that Russia’s economy avoided a terrible and developing crisis, the increase by over 70% in the GDP , and probalbly lifting half the Russian poor out of poverty as well as securing the fragile middle class and working class segments of the new Russia by seeing average monthly salaries increase from less than $100 to well over $500. While high oil prices were part of this miracle his management of the oil boom was among the better responses to such mineral driven influxes of wealth in a crisis which the world has seen. He likes healing and building better but could become a figure of destruction fomenting hate — it just depends on too many factors to sort out here. His conduct in office has not always earned the respect of independent evaluators and its faults have been shown forth by domestic political opposition. Mostly he can be criticicized his record of both real and perceived restoration of some Soviet abuses which have violated human rights and freedoms; this has included improper conduct toward vocal opponents acts towards the former Soviet Republics both aggressive and of questionable legitimacy. He has shown a talent for balance, both in becoming Prime Minister and waiting to be able to run again and in his UN behavior with former Soviet Republics he seems to play a very hard game of politics rather than the great communist fault of abolishing civilized politics until the need becomes to great to avoid restoring them. He helped save what he could of socialist safety nets, bureaucratic expertise and tradition while securing emrging capitalism, free markets and private property. President Putin passed into law essential reforms such as a flat 13% income tax , a reduced profits tax, was well as credible and juridicaly workable land and legal codes . Based on his achievements, Putin is a man about whom pop songs have been written and performed. He is still exceptionally vigorous. There is little that can bedone to contain his personal networks or his base of popular support within and around Russia.
He is a man with whom a new future could be negotiated for the world should that happen and that has not been true of most Soviet leaders in my view.

6.Britney Spears: Ms. Spears is a dancer, singer , brand manager, sometimes a songwriter, a mother and an ex-wife. She is also a sort of political voice for the idea of a sexually explicit class or group of performers who are serious about not being antisocial. Avoiding uncontrolled drug abuse, staying with relatives, seeking to maintain discipline and other values have long been evident despite her many troubles. She is a person who could play a role in the emergence of a formal courtesan culture in the West even if she herself did not become one. I doubt that she would consider herself an intellectual revolutionary but she has played a role with social significance. Britney has had plenty of problems and they persist but her audience has moved and evvolved without ever losing some of its amazing vitalty as a group of listeners, viewers and consumers. She has continued to push the envleope for decades in some respects while attending to the basics of her business and art on the other hand. Her album and tour Circus and the still developing Femme Fatale show that she can still motivate the audiences and she inspire large number of women ranging from the very young to the nearly middle-aged to celebrate in her the Struggle for a humane and decent life and world for those for whom the sexual and social realities are never going to be entirely ordered and smoothly flowing in time. Rearing her childredn, marketing her range of products and maintaining her presence on the web are all part of her continuous struggle to express and develop a set of comments and expressions that are evolving in some relatively genuine way.

7.Philip Lord Norton Baron of Louth A created Peer and a prominent Conservative he is the author of many books including the British Polity and others that deal with issues of Parliament, governance and civil society. He is a professor at Hull University and leads a Parliamentary academic internship program as well as being active in varied fora in Europe and the Commonwealth. He is a truly prolific author and is supposed to write a great deal on the trains he rides frequently. He really is committed to his own connection to civilization as are so many on this list. He is the blogger on Lords of the Blog with whom I became most involved in dialog and later followed to the newerThe Norton View. I am back to commenting on the Norton View though not on the LOTB as I type this and perhaps comment often and but less in-depth.. Lord Norton was the youngest politics or government professor in the United Kingdom when he was appointed Professor of Government at the University of Hull in 1986 at the age of 35. In 1992 he also became Director of the Centre for Legislative Studies at the same university. In 1998 he was elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Norton of Louth. He chaired the Conservative Party’s Commission to Strengthen Parliament, which reported in 2000. From 2001 to 2004 he was Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution. He is a cofounder of the Committee for an Effective Second Chamber. He is the author or editor of 28 books. His media appearances have been so very numerous and varied as to defy any listing whatever.

8.Her Royal Highness Princess Catherine Elizabeth, Princess William of Wales, Duchess of Cambridge
Her name title and form of address have changed and continue to change a great deal over the next decade or so. She was born on January 9, 1982 and on mugs, plates spoons and several television dramatizations as well as on the news she has been popularly known as “Kate”. This young woman, who is fairly mature for a first-time modern British royal bride, is the wife of Prince William, named Duke of Cambridge in the season of his wedding to her. William is second in line to the thrones of the varied realms of her Britannic Majetsy and the Queen of the Commonwealth realms. William’s grandmother is a Queen Regnant and in the event that he becomes king she will become queen consort like the current Queen’s deceased mother was. By its very event her marriage to Prince William embodies a commitment by the British royal family to the British people. She is smart and pretty and discreet as it is possible to be (which I admit is almost not at all in her situation). Catherine was born a true commoner whose industrious parents supported her and her siblings in country comforts and a the benefits of an elegant English education. The Princess grew up in Chapel Row at Bucklebury, a village near Newbury, Berkshire, England — deep in the Home Counties. She studied in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, where she met William in 2001. They started a friendship with overtones of attraction and then a romantic relationship that continued to bloom for some time. Upon the public acknowledgment of their relationship, “Will and Kate” were objects of media attention of various levels of ethical soundness and professionalism and there was much popular speculation that she and William would eventually marry.u In this very publlic affair there seemed to be peace and progress until a perhaps not quite certain cooling-off became the object of worldwide publicity and a break-up lasting for several months in 2007. However, the couple both behaved more clevery than some of theose hoping for real public emotional bloodshed would have liked and theyrekindled their relationship later that year. Prior to the wedding, Catherine attended many high-profile royal events. Their engagement was announced on November 16, 2010, and they married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. the Duchess is amodern woman with a degree, good athletic credentials, fashion sense, caution and the necessary conservative instincts as well as a popular touch. She is devoted to her man. She dresses modestly enough to be respectable and revealingly enough to let the world see that her Prince has a woman who can do the very important wifely job of turning him on sexually. She is sweet and quiet in presentation and yet you can imagine a Knight who loved life wanting to seduce her in the days when this might have gotten his head rotting on a stake. She covers the bases and may turn out to be far more than that once her role is second nature. certainly a young woman of vast potential.

9.Ms. Gail J. McGovern was born in 1952 and reared as Gail J. Rosenberg in Springfield, New Jersey. She seems to have been a good student most or all of her life and not one to attract much public attention as a child. Upon coming of age McGovern attended John Hopkins University and there she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in quantitative sciences in 1974 when I was turning ten in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. McGovern an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1987. She is the American Red Cross’s current and seventh president and chief executive since 2002 facing in this 2011 calendar year the most epensive year of Natural disasters in US history day for day and doing so at a time when FEMA and the rest of the US government are really struggling much more than usual. However, she project amodest confidence that is very appealing and reassuring and it seems rooted in reality as she has more or less balanced the budget in a battered organization. The Red Cross she took over had tumbled with a $200 million deficit, and with penalties and fines related to its blood collection and distribution business it had other crises leading to low morale amid widespread staff cuts at the Washington headquarters. She left a position as a professor at Harvard Business School to lead this mess. She has stayed out of the spotlight except when doing expert and relevant things in dignified fora or running the large charity with a grand tradition. Gail J. Mc Govern, is a woman who like political leaders such as Sarah Palin seems to be really doing something to integrate the traditions of the distaff side with the values and leadership of a new feminist society. Unlike Palin and other professional politicians she does not have to give her opinions on this subject or any other very often. McGovern was a senior executive at AT&T and Fidelity Investments where she had a distinguished but not world-ranked carreer. At AT&T Corporation McGovern was a programmer and also worked in sales, marketing and management to the position of executive vice president for consumer markets where she was responsible for $26 billion in residential long distance service. She served in this high office for about a year and then left to join Fidelity Investments in September 1998 as president of distribution and services. At Fidelity McGovern’s department served 4 million customers with $500 billion in assets.She was recognizedas one of the top 50 most powerful women in corporate America by Fortune magazine in 2000 and 2001. She taught marketing and consumer marketing to first and second year students as an adjunct faculty of the Harvard Business School. From all of this she moved to her current role.
She assumed the role of president and CEO of the American Red Cross on June 23rd, 2008. She replaced Mark W. Everson, a former IRS commissioner and quickly added to internal challenges the challenge of making a mark in the new realtionship of the world to China. In a short period after starting her work McGovern was part of a delegation of 30 chosen by the United States Agency for International Development to visit China and those affected by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. So far her work seems to be successful.

10 & 11. Mark Zuckerberg and Me
Me, Wynerth Summers III, Frank “Beau” Summers, Beau Summers. I make a note here that I am refraining from using and disclosing anumber of honorifics which mean something to some other people and also to me but which I do not use in my usual correspondence. I have worked in a number of public endeavors more or less continuously since I was four years old. However, I now feel that even if I die tomorrow my own mostly frustrated efforts will produce a few tangible and discernible ripples in the future which an astute person could discover and find significant. However, by any measure it is hard to argue that I am as successful as any other member of this list. They also have their secret successes but I must rely almost entirely on undisclosed successes to make up for the obvious differences, However, I will give myself a longer biographical note than anyone else because it is my post and becuase of the lack of other publicity. Of course because this is my blog I had a much easier time making the blog list than anyone else. This list is like most of the things I have done in my life in that it more resembles a failure than a success and yet it is a completed and worthy project which some people will read and some already have read.

I was born in 1964 and my mother Genie Summers and father Frank Summers began educating me imediately, lots of other people played small parts in the project My father was himself a student during much of my early childhood, so unlike some oldest children I was always in a house where school was in some sense part of life. while my Dad was a young law clerk for a federal judge my mother bought a course called Teach Your Baby to Read and did just that. I never stopped. I attended Happy Howard’s Nursery School in Abbeville and then my Dad went on to pursue an advanced law degree at King’s College in the University of London. We (Mom, Dad, my uncle Jed and I) lived in a small apartment in Soho. Jed however was usually at boarding school. I attended a a kindergarten that Americans call public in America. My mom educated me in museums, galleries, castles and markets. I also went to a cartoon theater and really was a pretty authentic Londoner. On holidays Dad took the helm and the steering wheel of our car and with Mom researching and Jed joining us or not we saw and studied Europe.

For first grade I attended Mount Carmel Elementary School in Abbeville. Dad then pursed yet another advanced law degree at Columbia University in New York. While he was there I attended Second Grade at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School in Manhattan. I returned from there to Mount Carmel Elementary from the third grade to the middle of Fifth grade.
My parents (and I ) had a transforming religious experience and went into the missions with the Marists. We lived in Maufanga, Nukualofa, Tongatapu, Tonga in Polynesia in the South Pacific. I attended Tonga Side School. Then we moved to Pago Pago American Samoa where I began to home school. I continued this as we worked for a while among the Navajos in New Mexico. Then I returned and did another year of Junior High School at Mount Carmel Elementary in Abbeville. Then I attended a very small start-up school at Our Lady’s Youth Center in El Paso while my parents ministered in a ministry to a large public high school. The little school I attended was called The Lord’s School. Then after a little home schooling, I attended a IDEAL (Instituto De Estudios America Latina) in Cuernavaca, Mexico for a basic course in conversational Spanish and Mexican culture. My father and I were classmates. Afterwards I returned to a homeshcooling program through many grand and small journeys. In Colombia where I lived in the same lay Catholic farming community as Miguel Angel Barriga, I borrwed the Colobian Government correspondence books and workbooks from other community kids while learning more Spanish, chess and agriculture. I resumed homeschooling thereafter until I both apprenticed informally to Bert Farquarh of Titahi Bay and enrolled formally at Viard College in Porirua near Wellington New Zealand. I was already involved in ministry and music and media for several years by that point. It was at that time that I reached the age of most Americans starting High School’s Senior year and we left in the middle of it to go to the Philippines. In the Philippines my main focus in school terms was accompanying my sisters on a long weekly journey to attend class, go to the library and hand in a week’s work at Nancy Knobloch School. . In Malalybaly and elsewhere I took minicourses in Cebuano-Visayan and I often taught mini courses in Theology or English. However I also did certified work, Icompleting a formal course at the Ateneo de Manila’s East Asian Pastoral Institute. It was called Scripture Ventures and was spear-headed by Fr. Herb Schneider SJ. Dad and I were classmates again. This was the last formal studying I did before enrolling in a University in the USA. I began my studies at USL in Lafayette Which is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and I earned about a smemester of Advanced credits which I certified by completing the courses above them in the catalogue, I also took the course required to be enrolled in the Honors Program and this filled out my first semester pretty completely at the end of which I was a sophomore gaining on those my age who had started college a year before I did. But I left the uNited States returned to tthe Philippines with my family and ended up missing the next semester and the summer. When I returned I was enrolling at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. I won the Sophomore Class Award there (so did a young woman as they were awarded to one male and one female student). I also had the part with the most line in  the University of Steubenville production Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town — that of Stage Manager.  But I left the school in the middle of my third semester there. After a bit of time welcoming my family back from the Philippines and working in  parish based religious education I returned to U. S. L. My first semester there I met Michelle Denise Broussard the only person I have been legally and/or sacramentally married to and we began dating. We wed in December of 1987. I graduated in May of 1989 and was the Outstanding Graduate selection of my department and college as well as of the Alumni Association of the whole university. Michelle graduated the next semester in December. I enrolled at Tulane Law School the next fall — August 1989. I left the school in early 1990. I won the Board of Regents Fellowship to study History and did so at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. My last year was the only time I have so far been enrolled at the same place and at the same time with one of my syblings, Sarah was at LSU. I had driven her as a student to STM High School when I taught there. I received my Master of Arts degree there in 1993 shortly after the death of my grandfather former Louisiana Chief Justice Frank W. Summers. While there I published an article in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. I returned to Tulane Law School in August of 1994. Michelle and I separated in January or so of 1995. I went to Micronesia to be with my family and shortly afterwards we divorced without contest on my part.

I want to list some or most of the groups and associations with which I have been involved although I cannot do much more than list them: Known Groups I have belonged to but did not help to Found and in which my records may be imperfect:National Rifle Association,Louisiana-Mississippi Press Associations Joint Roll, Louisiana Sportswriters Association, Community for Creative Nonviolence, Pax Christi, Bread For the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Blue Men of America, The Optimist Club and Student Catholic Action of the Philippines. Known Groups I have belonged regularly but did not help to Found and am now lapsed: Democratic Party, Certified Foreign Experts of the People’s Republic of China, University of Southwestern Louisiana Pre-Law Club, Knights of Columbus, Family Missions Company, American Cancer Society, United Blood Services, Louisiana State University Alumni Association, Mensa, Gamma Beta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, USL Honors Program, University of Louisiana Honors Program Alumni Association, University of Louisiana Alumni Association, The Black Scorpions, Tulane Public Interest Law Foundation, Christian Association for Carreer Development in Youth Services, and numerous Facebook Groups. Known Groups I have Founded or Helped to Found outside of Facebook Groups regardless of other factors: Juventud San Pedro, Maranatha Youth Group, Bukidnon State Catholic Youth Congress, Brotherhood of the Cross, Open Dooor Community, 7 Cs. Facebook Groups I founded and destroyed when the rules changed: Crater Cap Colony Concept Group, Abbeville Louisiana’s Mount Carmel Elementary School Attendees, Summers Family Name Association, Seedbed of a New Geopolitics, Responsible Royalists Reforming Republics, Vermilion Parish Library Independent Patrons Association, Historical Restorarions, and eight others. HOWEVER, MUCH OF MY LIFE HAS BEEN SPENT IN SECRET GROUPS THAT ARE TRULY SECRET.

My work life woven in with my education is an almost impossible story to digest in a brief sketch like this so I am representing it here as a separate timeline. When I got back to Louisiana my family were coming back from the Philippines. We met up at my maternal grandparents home called Kisinoaks on the Bayou. My grand parents were now living only in the small house in the back leaving what some would call the mansion in the front unoccupied. Mom and Dad settled in and Dad (who had done legal work during many trips home) worked as a lawyer. They bought a house in Abbeville and I (who had broadcast experience of various kinds and who had taken mass communications in college) got my lifetime FCC radiotelephone license and got a job as a country music DJ. I went to work as a Director of Religious Education at St. Theresa Church in Duson , Louisiana where I lived in the rectory with Monsignor Ignatius A. Martin.I worked in seafood brokering and sales (which I had done before)and my contributions won me the honor of recognition as Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. I left this work to be full-time theology teacher at Saint Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette where I taught for the 1990-1991 academic year. That year I was also certified as a Catechist at the basic level by the Diocese of Lafayette. My wife became the youngest branch manger in a major corporation with many branches and we lived well within our means. I went into food sales again and then did some legal assisting work of various kinds during the summer before I returned to Tulane Law School again. After Tulane I almost taught in Micronesia but returned to the United States to tend to my divorce before really getting started. Shortly after or before the final saga of the divorce procedure I returned to Abbeville alone from Micronesia. I was staying in Abbeville with my paternal grandmother and my family came back fromwhere we had all been in Chuuk together. I had been spending some time together with the only one of my sisters who had not made the journey. Sarah was married, had a daughter named Alyse and had graduated with a top ranking and perfect grade point average from LSU. She was giving birth to her second daughter Anika at about that time. I became Anika’s godfather. The role of parrain is very important to me and to some others around me. The rest of my family came back after my mother had come back to be with Sarah and the children and her husband. I reunited with my parents and younger siblings and all of us moved into a tiny house (for us a very crowded one) near the railroad tracks in Abbeille. Mom and Dad began building a large home on the smaller farm called the Big Woods Farm which was part of a larger feature called Big Woods and which had been part of my Dad’s large family farm when I was growing up. This would be a long process it seemed with my mother shopping for bargains on materials and her brother Bruce working as the contractor as well as one of the hands on carpenters. I was homeschooling my brothers Joseph and Jon Paul for free that year. I taught them film class, logic, the classics, an introduction to the martial arts and the Bible in five formal classes each meeting a few times a week and they worked on other things the rest of the time. I did many things in those early years after ending my publicly growing carreer but I did little that is well documented or worth including here.I went with my mother, brother John Paul and others on a pilgrimage to Grand Pre in Acadie Canada. We traveled to Domino Farms in Michigan to visit Susanna at FUS, Niagara falls, to historical sites in Boston, to the Shrine of the First North American Martyrs, and to visit my sister Sarah who was working at Yale’s Project on Nonprofit Organizations (PONPO) while her hubbie Jason was studying at Yale Divinity School. We had met up with her and her daughters at Niagara Falls and vacationed there. Some of the stops I mention were made on the way back but our trip’s high point for me was the sacred and powerful time in Acadie. The sense of union with my Acadian heritage was very meaningful to me. I came back and Dad transferred a very small farm to me called the Rock-a-Bye Tract One which I improved a good bit and later returned to him. The words buy and sell could be used but these family transactions are not the same as ordinary purchases really. I worked with this farm and distributed my mother memoirs Go! You are Sent around the country and the world along with other tasks. In the summer of 2000 I went alone on a long train trip. My mother met me at the end of it. I had business in Virginia and Alabama but also went to New Haven to watch Jason graduate, treat Sarah to a birthday celebration and bond with Alyse and Anika. On return in August of 2000 I began work as a substitute teacher for the Vermilion Parish School Board and continued to do the work on my farm and business doing this. While I was subbing my sister Susanna married Mike and at this writing they have Michael, Anthony, Dominic and Thomas. Susanna’s wedding was held in Mexico out of our family home and mission base once part of the palace of the Marquess de Aglaya to which I had then and later would make many short trips. I now kept up teaching, writing and continued the other things I was doing.The school system and other parts of my life were battered by a series of storms less famous than Katrina and Rita’s joint devastation years later. Just as that whole pattern was coming to an end I attended the Health and Life Insurance License required training offered by Insurance Specialty Training of Louisiana. I completed the course successfully. I then took the test, passed it and got my license. However, I was unable to find a real job selling insurance and have since let my license lapse although I once did renew it. The well known phenomena of Gulf of Mexico hurricanes in the form of storms less famous than Katrina or Rita had a lot to do with me looking for a change. In 2004 I went to China, a country I had always wanted to visit. I flew into Hong Kong hoping to take a train from there. Instead, I flew the rest of the way. I taught at the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology. I taught in several of the colleges within the university including the China Canada Higher Applied Technology College. I had wonderful students and a full load. From several of my classrooms I had a fabulous view of the Yellow Sea and a small view of it from my apartment. I toured extensively in Yantai, Shandong where I lived and in other places. I finished a semester having taught almost a year’s load of courses completely. Due to passport and visa paperwork problems I left early and was not able to return but had no calsses left in progress though others were scheduled to start. I returned feeling somewhat transformed to the United States fairly early in 2005. I wrote an article with photographs about my trip for a local cultural newspaper called Bonnes Nouvelles and that was the last real paid job transaction I have had in the united states outside of family transacttions except when I took a job helping my disabled brother Simon adjust to life outside his aprtment by working full time for IBC Healthcare. That job ended in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when I was injured and fled the chaos to San Diego and then Mexico. I have over the course of my life in fact been employed as a writer by The Daily Advertiser, the Abbeville Meridional, Bonnes Nouvelles, and The Vermilion among other periodicals. I have been employed to teach by quite a few institutions. I have over the course of my life had my own business, a farm, and numerous small jobs and projects. I have at one time or another spoken, read or written a really large number of languages although I am not comfortable calling myself fluent in very many of them. I think Americans are unlikely to re-examine ideas and assumptions about work but I think that they should.

I am still fascinated by the idea called “true work.” My work has been distributed or not in ways that have not made me rich or famous and sometimes without influecing others but includes studies and essays and group organizing related to family needs, scriptural exegesis, physical geometry, sexuality and politics among other things. That arduaous and obscure route has been my path on to this list. It has been in this larger and deeper context of work and responsibilities not so easily seen that I have done the things which qualify me for this list. Even here there are many things which will not be disclosed. Of the people in this list I am by far the least famous. Although I am known in some circles which are less reprted than broad that difference does not overcome the basic fact that I am the least known. Most of the reason that I am on this list will not be included on this little biography. However some reading no one part and some another part of the hidden realities. Only in the unlikely event of a large readership will most people reading it be entirely at the mercy of this brief sketch. To those few who are now I apologize.

Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 and is the youngest person on this list, although close in age to the Duchess of Cambridge. Zuckerberg is someone millions of Americans picture as Jesse Eisenberg who portrayed him in the clever film the Social Network. However, a smaller group of millions can picture the young man himself who remains a very youthful self made billionaire and founder of Facebook on which medium this post is being completed first. In the last couple of years or less his real face and voice have complemented the Eisenberg portrayal during a special 60 Minutes episode and in the television show where he was designated by Barbara Walters as one of the years ten most interesting people. He is an American, one of four, besides myself, in the final ten, besides myself. He is the only one of the final ten whose main claims to fame or as computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. Facebook’s chief executive and president has continued to grow and evelop his company and to avoid any sign of becoming the victim of fashion which other internet successes have become. Facebook has again and again received investments loans and venture capital which have boosted its value and Zuckerberg’s net worth since he co-founded the company in 2004 with classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes while they were students at Harvard. He was young but not naive when he founded the company. His home life was not aristocratic or very wealthy perhaps nut certainly his background included exposure, sophisitcation and breadth on a substantial scale. Born Mother Karen, a psychiatrist, and Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist Mark Zuckerberg is a native of White Plains, New York. Mark and his three sisters, Randi, Donna, and Arielle were reared in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Zuckerberg were relatively observant Jews andholidays were celebrated in meaningful ways and Zuckerberg also had a Bar Mitzvah as an adolescent. Although he has since described himself as an atheist it is unlikely that he rejects the Hebrew ethnic part of his background. Zuckerberg was involved with computing in a fairly sophisticated way even in middle school. His father began his instruction in programming in the 1990s, and then software hired developer David Newman to advance his private technical education in about 1995. Zuckerberg actually took a graduate course in the subject at Mercy College near his home in the mid-1990s. He complimented all this study with a variety of personal projects for fun and to meet business needs around him. He did show other interests at Ardsly High School but in his junior year transferring to one of America’s most exclusive schools the Phillips Exeter Academy and it was there his education and life began to become even more focused. Zuckerberg won prizes in science (math, astronomy and physics) . But according to official records he continued to excel in Classical Studies and could read and write to some degree in English, French, Hebrew, Latin, and ancient Greek. He was an athlete who became captain of the fencing team. He was already anle to trun his computer skills and creativity into a significant commercial success in high school but he avoided becoming too much the child prodigy and chose to go to Harvard and continue his education. There he found even larger success in Facebook and up until now that has largely defined his subsequent activity. He also met his girlfriend Priscilla Chan in college and they are still together. The bonds he developed in founding facebook and the woes that followed inspire and shape the movie The Social Network but it is doubtless a complicated story. Zuckerberg moved to Palo Alto, California, with Moskovitz and some friends. They leased a small house that served as an office. According to later interviews in Wired magazine and elsewhere, the group had intended to return to Harvard but eventually decided to remain in California. The company has resisted Buyouts and going public under Zucjerberg’s leadership and has resisted imposing heavy burdens on consumer type users. There has always been an element of a revolution involved and it continues to this day. Over that college experimental summer, Zuckerberg met Peter Thiel who invested in the company. They got their first real corporate office in 2004.
nce at college, Zuckerberg’s Facebook started off from Harvard and spread thropugh elite American universities such as Stanford,Dartmouth, Columbia, New York University, Cornell, Penn, Brown, and Yale. It then spread to other universities and later across Americansociety and the world. Facebook coroporate structure serves a social network with over 600 million members.
Named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2010 Zuckerberg continues to get richer and more influential. He has acquired this great fortune without being prostrate before avarice it seems as he funds huge school support charities in New Jersey and within the last two years and possibly once before (in a smaller amount of similar proportions) he gave away an enormous amount of money to various charities and especially to support public schools his giving is reported to have been about half of his net worth at the time the money was given. On this basis of 2011, his personal wealth was estimated to be $13.5 billion. He has at times been a vocal supporter of Barack Obama and is a very strong and hard personality. In the days when people read faces (as recently as the eighties a study was ublished but ignored in a big way) he has many facial characteristics of a general. He may play a vital role if America is to prosper in the coming period of years in which there are so many challenges. I think like a few other people he could do some entirely new things with, around and without Facebook.

O

The Snowball of Old Materials from this Series:

The five taken from those already my list of one hundred who are included for potential to break out and make a different mark are:
Myself, Sir Richard Nicholas Branson, Charles Allan Murray, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Vitaly Alexandrovich Lopota.
At least eight and not more than nine of the people on my final list will come from those two short lists above. One or two will come from among the remaining eighty-five names on the basis of reasons not so easily categorized. However, whether a long and more satisfactory post will be possible I am not currently sure. But at least a final list of ten will be posted before the eleventh of September ifat all possible.
The last four of my 100 most watchable in the second post 9/11 decade can be found at this link:
https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/four-people-to-watch-in-the-second-post-911-decade/
Ben Shelley, President of the Navajo Nation; Helene Valerie Hayman née Middleweek , Baroness Hayman,
Phyllis Miller Taylor; Robert De Niro, Jr.
My first post on this list appeared in its original version September 11, 2010 and had twenty-five names:
Series Link 1. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/the-last-year-of-the-9-11-decade-has-begun/
President Barack Hussein Obama , Josef Ratzinger, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Her Britannic Majesty, Elizabeth, HRH Charles Prince of Wales, David Cameron, Sarah Palin,George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Glen Beck, Hillary Clinton, President Nicolas Sarkozy,Benjamin Netanyahu, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Carl Svanberg, UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon, Hu Jin Tao, Timothy Geithner, Al Franken, Barney Frank, Vladimir Putin, Bobby Jindal, Bill Richardson, Bill Clinton and Osama Bin Laden
The second portion had fifteen people to watch:
SL 2. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/fifteen-more-people-to-watch-in-9112011-9112021/
Barons Rothschild, Britney Spears, Carl A. Brasseaux, Philip Lord Norton Baron of Louth, Carlos Slim Helu, Charles Bolden, Taylor Swift, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, Kate Middleton, Catherine Princess of Wales, Princess William of Wales, Princess Catherine, Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza (born Luís Gastão Maria José Pio Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança e Wittelsbach, Ms. Gail J. McGovern, Me, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Prince William of Wales
The third portion of my list had ten people watch:
SL 3. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/ten-more-people-to-watch-from-9112011-9112021/
Gaudencio Borbon Cardinal Rosales, Queen Sofia of Spain, Su Graciosa Majestad Sofia la Reina Catolica, Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly, Julie Ann Yannatta, Vitaly Alexandrovich Lopota, Amy Grant, Ratan N. Tata, Mark Zuckerberg and Jean-Cristophe Niel
The fourth portion of my list had five people to watch:
SL 4. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/five-more-people-to-watch-in-the-second-post-911-decade/
Liu Zhijun: 刘志军, King George Tupou V, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Heinz-Otto Peitgen, Julie Taymor
The fifth post had thirteen people to watch:
Charles Alan Murray, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr, Professor Ei-ichi Negishi, Drew Brees,Angela Dorothea Merkel(- Kasner), General Stanley Allen McChrystal, Danica Sue Patrick,Melinda French Gates (born Melinda Ann French, Marilyn Vos Savantt, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi, Madame Nicolas Sarkozy, Air Defense Commander Shigeru Iwasaki and Amy Hungerford
SL 5.
https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/thirteen-more-people-to-watch-in-the-second-post-911-decade/
My sixth post in this series had eight people to watch:
Howard Lutnick, His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco (Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi), Elbert Leander “Burt” Rutan, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i ( سید علی حسینی خامنه ای), Dr.Tracy E. Caldwell – Dyson(Ph.D.), Lang Lang,Natalie Portman ( נטלי פורטמן‎, Natalie Hershlag), John Christopher “Johnny” Depp II
SL 6.
https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/eight-more-people-to-watch-in-the-second-post-9-11-decade/
My seventh post added thirteen more people to watch. In it I also published a final decision to make the list one hundred names long.
Joanne “Jo” Rowling, OBE, J. K. Rowling , Nicholas Sparks, Nicholas Charles Sparks, Maria Ioannidou, Μαρία Ιωαννίδου, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, Дми́трий Анато́льевич Медве́дев, Buzz Aldrin, Dr. (Col. {retired})Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., Dalai Lama, Zachary Richard, Chett Chiasson, Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, ” ‘Tit Jo’” Savoie
SL 7.
https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/nine-more-people-to-watch-in-the-second-post-911-decade/
My second to last post had eleven names:
Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Bill Ford, William Clay Ford, Jr., Michael Fred Phelps, Patriarch Kirill I, or Cyril I Кирилл, Патриарх Московский и всея Руси, born Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, Владимир Михайлович Гундяев, His Suinine Majesty, Carl XVI Gustaf, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus , General David Howell Petraeus, Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) , Father Adolfo Nicolás Pachón S.J., S.T.D. , The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Serena Jameka Williams , Shakira, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, Letizia Moratti née Letizia Brichetto-Arnabold , Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall,Camilla Rosemary née Shand, previously Parker Bowles
https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/eleven-more-people-to-watch-in-the-second-post-911-decade/