Category Archives: America

Inspiration From The Art Of The Amerindians

America, Art, Business, History

A PLEASANT DISTRACTION.I happened on a high-end, all-American business which has been going strong since 1863: Pendleton Woolen Mills. The reason for this happy find was my disdain for the ugly, fussy things called duvet cover sets. Offered up across department stores to cover bedding, the fabrics are horrid, the whole production fluffy, fussy and feminine—with cushions and other ugly accoutrements that spell nonstop work. In Israel, I used bedspreads in striking patterns, made locally in the Druze villages.

And this is precisely what Pendleton Woolen Mills specializes in: The family produces Indian blankets and has introduced,

new designs, colors, and patterns to their product line. They also changed the construction of the mill’s Indian blankets. Prior to 1909 the blankets had round corners. The Bishop blankets featured square corners. Pendleton round corner blankets are highly coveted by vintage Indian blanket collectors. The company expanded their trade from the local Indians to the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni peoples of the American Southwest. They also copied the multicolor pattern found on Hudson’s Bay point blankets for their Glacier National Park line of historic blankets. The Pendleton blankets were not only basic wearing apparel, but were standards of trading and ceremonial use.

(Wikipedia)

Woven in an eastern Oregon mill, the blankets make for stunning bedspreads. It has been a while since I felt the thick, rough, yet unscratchy texture of pure wool; saw the label “Made in the USA,” and not China. Needless to say the blankets—art really—do not stink of chemicals impregnated in fabric made in China.

The online images of these Amerindian-inspired blankets do not do them justice.

Micmac Quill Basket Blanket:

Navajo Newspaper Rock Blanket:

Eagle Saddle Blanket:

MORE.


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Our Father Who Art In 1600 Pennsylvania

America, BAB's A List, The State

Our Father Who Art In 1600 Pennsylvania
By Myron Pauli

Americans are religious zealots and politics is our common religion. And while we have two rival religious factions, both focus on that object of veneration or cursing, the Presidency. Together with His Winged Angels (e.g. the trillions of dollars of federal bureaucrats, invisible “contractors,” and drones), His Holiness can perform miracles or wreak punishment upon the nation at his complete whim. No mere obstructions such as laws of nature, common sense, or the US Constitution can impede His Divine Will to bring utopia to America or to punish us for our wickedness.

The Dow goes up – get on your knees and pray to the Heavenly Father of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If the Dow tanks, go ahead and curse that evil President Mephistopheles. If something bad happens when your good God is in the White House, it is clearly punishment brought upon by the wicked idolaters of the Evil Party. If Satan is in the Oval Office, you can pray for redemption, political power, and “hope and change”.

No problem is too small, too remote, or too impossible for our Heavenly Father of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Yes, you might be sitting on your butt in your basement ignoring warnings when Hurricane Katrina comes but it is up to President Dubya Bush or his Winged Angels of FEMA to come and sweep you to safety. Hundreds of local municipal buses sitting in low-lying areas while the elderly are ignored in nursing homes and the local cops and firemen have scrambled away are clearly the fault of Bush and his Chief FEMA Angel and former horse judge Michael “hell of a job” Brown to haul everyone’s ass out of New Orleans.

While the President is, of course, omniscient and perfect, it is the wicked “American Haters” or “Racists” or “The One Percenters” or “Alien Welfare Bums” which caused that supernova to blow up 5,000,000,000 light years away. The latest plague is Ebola, either brought on by Satan Obama and flying monkeys from Africa or the evil racist Koch-Brothers who cut the budget for the Center for Disease Control. Even your toilet backing up is political. Our divine government can do ANYTHING– our NSA can track every terrorist, our TSA keeps our airplanes safe, or CDC solves all illness, our FEMA handless all emergencies, the Agriculture Department puts food on our table, the State Department makes us beloved throughout the world, the FBI catches all the bad guys, the CIA are all prophets, and the Marines can turn Afghanistan into the Switzerland of central Asia at the will of his Holiness. As the old saying goes, “we put a man on the moon”.

Our presidential libraries cost hundreds of millions of dollars and rival the ancient pyramids for the faithful to make pilgrimage to and genuflect at the greatness of the previous Holy Provider of all that is good.

And the media serves as the Yeshivas and Monasteries for the Faithful. Archbishop Hannity and Rabbi Maddow can lead us, the righteous and loyal, in our prayers “Blessed be Bush” and “Cursed be Obama” – Amen! – or is it the other way around?

Over 40 years, while Watergate was “testing our faith” (yes, we must have “faith” in the national government), I wrote up a Prayer For the President – albeit with a little help from King David. Picture a despondent H. R. “Bob” Halderman in search for a miracle and I leave you with this bit of inspirational satire:

The PRESIDENT is my shepherd, I shall not want
He maketh me lie before Senate Committees
He leadeth me before the Grand Jury
He restoreth my office
He leadeth me in the paths of eavesdropping for His re-election’s sake
Yea, though I walk through the valley of Watergate, I will fear no jail;
For thy re-election victory and executive privilege art with me
Thy clemency and thy staff, they comfort me
Thou preparest a coverup before me in the presence of thy enemies
Thou annointest my office with power; my zeal runneth over
Surely a light sentence and a good corporation job shall follow me all the days of my life
And I shall dwell in the White House forever.

******
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.


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Africa Above America

Africa, America, Barack Obama, Healthcare

Barack Obama’s feelings about Africa run deeper than ordinary, gullible Americans can appreciate. The president—whose addresses are all “hot air,” bereft of substantive argument—expressed his fellow feelings during the August 4-6 U.S.-Africa Summit, this year: “I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America,” he said.

In anticipation of the event, the president waxed even fatter:

We’ve got a U.S.-Africa Summit coming up next week. It is going to be an unprecedented gathering of African leaders. The importance of this for America needs to be understood. Africa is one of the fastest-growing continents in the world. You’ve got six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in Africa. You have all sorts of other countries like China and Brazil and India deeply interested in working with Africa — not to extract natural resources alone, which traditionally has been the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world — but now because Africa is growing and you’ve got thriving markets and you’ve got entrepreneurs and extraordinary talent among the people there.
And Africa also happens to be one of the continents where America is most popular and people feel a real affinity for our way of life. And we’ve made enormous progress over the last several years in not just providing traditional aid to Africa, helping countries that are suffering from malnutrition or helping countries that are suffering from AIDS, but rather partnering and thinking about how can we trade more and how can we do business together. And that’s the kind of relationship that Africa is looking for.
And I’ve had conversations over the last several months with U.S. businesses — some of the biggest U.S. businesses in the world — and they say, Africa, that’s one of our top priorities; we want to do business with those folks, and we think that we can create U.S. jobs and send U.S. exports to Africa. But we’ve got to be engaged, and so this gives us a chance to do that. It also gives us a chance to talk to Africa about security issues — because, as we’ve seen, terrorist networks try to find places where governance is weak and security structures are weak. And if we want to keep ourselves safe over the long term, then one of the things that we can do is make sure that we are partnering with some countries that really have pretty effective security forces and have been deploying themselves in peacekeeping and conflict resolution efforts in Africa. And that, ultimately, can save us and our troops and our military a lot of money if we’ve got strong partners who are able to deal with conflicts in these regions.
So it’s going to be a terrific conference. I won’t lie to you, traffic will be bad here in Washington. (Laughter.) I know that everybody has been warned about that, but we are really looking forward to this and I think it’s going to be a great success.

Tellingly—and despite the love—Obama did not forget to address Ebola screening, in the context of the safety of Summit participants only, of course:

Ebola … is something that we take very seriously. As soon as there’s an outbreak anywhere in the world of any disease that could have significant effects, the CDC is in communication with the World Health Organization and other multilateral agencies to try to make sure that we’ve got an appropriate response.
This has been a more aggressive Ebola outbreak than we’ve seen in the past. But keep in mind that it is still affecting parts of three countries, and we’ve got some 50 countries represented at this summit. We are doing two things with respect to the summit itself. We’re taking the appropriate precautions. Folks who are coming from these countries that have even a marginal risk or an infinitesimal risk of having been exposed in some fashion, we’re making sure we’re doing screening on that end — as they leave the country. We’ll do additional screening when they’re here. We feel confident that the procedures that we’ve put in place are appropriate.


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South Africa: Made-In-America Constitutional Tyranny

America, Constitution, Private Property, South-Africa

Continued on Barely A Blog is my conversation with South African philosopher Dan Roodt, Ph.D., a noted Afrikaner activist, author of the polemical essay “The Scourge of the ANC,” literary critic and director of PRAAG. (Previous interviews with Dan: “The Elephant In The Pistorius Courtroom” and “Little America At The Tip Of Africa.”)

ILANA MERCER: The Afrikaners still linger as a people, clinging to what Barack Obama would indubitably deride as their Bibles, their guns and their bigotries. Dubbed the white tribe of Africa, this organic nation has, however, ceased to exist as a nation-state, dissolved by democratic decree. The sundering of state sovereignty has, in turn, exposed Afrikaners to ethnic cleansing, a familiar feature of democracy a la Africa. You once remarked that the tale of this negotiated betrayal has yet to be told. “Into the Cannibal’s Pot” tells something of how Mandela’s ANC said “No” to minority veto power, power-sharing, or any meaningful devolution of power to the regions of South Africa. Its wish was the command of power-brokers in Britain and America. Do elaborate. What role did the US play in compelling South Africa’s permanent minority “to legislate itself into a permanent position of political subordination” (to quote Duke University’s Donald L. Horowitz)?

DAN ROODT: I have already referred to US economic sanctions imposed on us at the behest of the Black Caucus in your Congress, supported by the Republican Party. Under current conditions there will be no White Caucus in the USA stepping in to force our government to accord us the right of self-determination, to be free of racial-preference in hiring and in business, will there? Baron Robin Renwick of Britain also made sure that he stripped the white minorities of the ex-Rhodesia and South Africa of all political and military power. Even in areas where we are in the majority, we cannot even influence local, municipal politics.

The problem in South Africa is precisely that we have been destabilized by outside intervention, just like Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria and all the other countries. Now the natural balance of power in this country no longer holds and there is a free-for-all for predators. The ANC and their Communist Party allies actually use the term “National Democratic Revolution” for their takeover in 1994 and for all intents and purposes it was a revolution. We needed reform, not revolution. This country would naturally have developed into a federation or confederation, to the benefit of all. Some people were arguing for a complete devolution of power along Swiss lines, with our legal districts being turned into cantons. I still think that would be a way to get South Africa out of the mess it is in, but we lack the institutional or media influence to even argue this in public. The universities also kowtow to the government and no meaningful research will be undertaken on this topic, as there used to be in the past.

I actually popularized the term, first used by J.S. Mill and De Tocqueville, “tyranny of the majority”, in South Africa. You hear that more and more. Here the Western minority – who actually made this country into the jewel of Africa that it is – is constantly subjugated and even punished. The paradox is that the USA gives its own minorities special rights in relation to the majority, but in its foreign policy supports exactly the opposite, a “tyranny of the majority” which flies in the face of classical liberalism.

That is why many Afrikaners these days root for our Cold War enemy, Russia, in international contests. At least Putin seems to care for European minorities, as in Crimea. Many Europeans also think that Putin’s Russia represents the last bulwark against a global, multicultural empire ruled by billionaire oligarchs from Wall Street and the City of London and which will not tolerate nations anymore.

MERCER: “I would not look to the US constitution,” said US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an interview with Al-Hayat TV. “If I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012, I might look at the constitution of South Africa …” Having studied this wordy but worthless document while writing “Into the Cannibal’s Pot,” I concluded that South Africa’s constitution allows a good deal of mischief for the ostensible greater good. It even has a clause devoted to “Limitation of Rights.” So too is redistributive “justice” a constitutional article of faith therein. And nowhere does this this obese document state whether South Africans may actually defend the most precious of rights. If anything, self-defense can be an offense in progressive South Africa. How well has Ginsburg’s preferred constitution served the endangered Afrikaners?

ROODT: Yes, you are quite right. The South African Constitution is a horrible document, full of platitudes and unnecessary clauses and setting up bureaucracies to supposedly protect us but that have proven either ineffectual, toothless or guilty of anti-white racism. The so-called South African Human Rights Commission, for example, almost invariably singles out whites for attack and does not even respond to complaints laid by members of the Western minority. I a country where the right to life does not seem guaranteed by the state, given the huge number of murders taking place, you would think that the Human Rights Commission would at least admonish government about this dire state of affairs. Alas, no! It is precisely busy sniffing out Orwellian thoughtcrime, speechcrime and harassing authors and bloggers for not being politically correct. In one absurd case, it fined a hair saloon for not doing both Caucasian and ethnic hair – whereas there are thousands of ethnic hair saloons who would never serve a Caucasian customer.

I could well imagine that American liberals could like our constitution, as it has affirmative action built right into it. Most rights enshrined therein are qualified in terms of “rectifying the injustices of the past”, etc., so no right can stand on its own against the universal need for affirmative action and race preferences.

During the very one-sided negotiations or capitulation by FW de Klerk and his chief netotiator, Roelf Meyer, some clauses were inserted, supposedly to placate conservatives, usually to do with language and culture, as well as the right to self-determination. However, these have remained a dead letter and are not applied by the state. At least two bodies supposed to oversee language rights, as well as cultural and religious rights, have at times stopped functioning completely.

As in the USA, litigation in South Africa is expensive and fighting a case through the courts for years up to the level of the so-called Constitutional Court results in frustration most of the time as the court has been packed with ultra-liberal judges who even go beyond what the ANC government would require. In fact, the SA Constitution is an activist judge’s dream.

You must understand that, despite the lack of order, corruption and other hallmarks of African culture, Africans are essentially conservative, holding on to their beliefs within a largely patriarchal society. They also have a fairly direct sense of justice, so if you attack me or steal from me, I kill you. The death penalty is often meted out on the spot by mobs in South Africa who might catch a thief, rapist or murderer red-handed. The majority in South Africa, white and black, support the death penalty for certain crimes. Soon after 1994, however, the Constitutional Court declared the death penalty “unconstitutional” and it was abolished. The same thing happened with same-sex marriage. Africans are mostly homophobic and the majority would never support same-sex marriage if a referendum were held on the issue. Yet the Constitutional Court interpreted the anti-discrimination clauses in the constitution in such a way that it also applied to gays and that was it. We got same-sex marriage and all the women’s magazines started to carry articles featuring married lesbians showing off their brand-new babies after a visit to the nearest sperm bank.

One of the greatest defects of the constitution is that it does not guarantee private property which again is qualified in terms of the “public interest”. Section 25.4.1 states:

… the public interest includes the nation’s commitment to land reform, and to reforms to bring about equitable access to all South Africa’s natural resources.

South Africa has always had a very efficient and precise register of all immovable property in the country and to claim that some land was simply “stolen” as has become the fashion, is simply ridiculous. Yet the constitution has placed all property in jeopardy and there have been almost a 100 000 “land claims”, none of which would stand scrutiny in a court of law but have been processed by the government bureacracy.

Without the constitution, I think we would have had far more protection under Roman-Dutch law and the English common law that have served South Africa for centuries. Also, there would have been no “super court” above all others to which the state so often appeals when the citizens obtain favorable judgements in the normal courts.

MERCER: Other than Hermann Giliomee, author of “The Afrikaners,” I don’t know of a writer in South Africa more insightful than you. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, however, saw fit to ruthlessly lampoon you. Tell our readers about being ambushed by that smart-aleck, smarmy icon of the American left.

ROODT: Yes, I must say that has been the singular most absurd experience I have ever had and certainly does not say much for the ethics of some American TV interviewers. We spent almost a whole day here near my home filming while they asked me questions like: “Do you feel concerned about your people becoming extinct in South Africa?” Obviously, I would then reply with “Yes” and give some further explanation. Four or five hours later, they would steer the conversation in the direction of “racism” and then ask me: “Do you feel concerned about racists becoming extinct in South Africa?” To that question I would then reply “No” and perhaps say that there are not many more racists in South Africa than in most other places, etc., and that we are actually highly tolerant of non-Western cultures with a magical worldview, strange customs, superstitions and so on.

However, during the final editing, they cut up the lengthy interview completely and presented it in jumbled form, so that where I originally said “no” they would insert a “yes” from another part of the footage. It was all part of a joke, but presented in such a way that I would look like a ridiculous, die-hard “racist” worrying about my fellow racists “becoming extinct”. The meaning was exactly the opposite of what I had said. Afterwards, the episode was also placed on the internet and some of my local and foreign enemies repeatedly posted the link on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere in a whole campaign to vilify me.

I suppose I could go and sue the Daily Show for libel in a New York court. However, my faith in New York courts being limited, as are my time and energy already being copiously expended on our asymmetrical struggle here, I have not actually pulled the trigger on that one yet.

MERCER: The accusations of racism and other isms you keep getting from haters: I’ve never heard you say anything remotely anti-Semitic. I’m Jewish. You and I are friends.

ROODT: Anti-Semitism is not really an issue in South Africa, and we do not have a Muslim threat as Europe does. Amid all the multicultural conflict between races and cultures here, that is perhaps our one blessing. Personally, I have interesting discussions with both Jews and Muslims – many South African Muslims actually speak Afrikaans very well – so I try not to get caught up in the Middle-Eastern conflict. My only criticism of South African Jews is that they tend to be too liberal! But then I tell myself there are many other liberals too, so one should not generalize.


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UPDATED: D’Souza’s Epic ‘America’ Error (Readers Can’t Reason)

America, Government, History, Neoconservatism, Pseudo-history, Pseudo-intellectualism, Reason, Uncategorized

“D’Souza’s Epic ‘America’ Error” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

There are certainly good things about Dinesh D’Souza’s film “America: Imagine a World Without Her,” as sharp-eyed critics like Jack Kerwick have observed. But those don’t matter much for this reason: The central question asked and answered by the film maker is premised on an epic error of logic. …

… D’Souza’s theories about “America,” good or bad, can be dismissed out of hand because of rotten reasoning. The reader will recognize the central error of logic in the following excerpts from interviews conducted by D’Souza’s biggest booster, Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

In “Bill Ayers, Dinesh D’Souza debate [on]American values,” both Kelly and D’Souza “challenge” the “Weather Underground” terrorist-cum-educator Ayers for his part in the “blame America first” crowd; for holding that “American history is a series of crimes visited upon different [peoples],” for his contention that, in their words, “America is bad,” “America is a force for evil.”

Noodles neoconservative D’Souza: “America is benign in the way it exercises its power.” “America has made mistakes. But there is a difference between making a mistake and doing something inherently wicked.”

Is the reader getting the gist of the D’Souza doozie?

The duo’s almost-identical exchange with Ward Churchill, former chairman of the ethnic studies program at the University of Colorado, should instantiate D’Souza’s cock-up, amplified by megaphone Megyn Kelly:

“Is there anything good about America?” the anchor asks the author of the screed “Some People Push Back.” Kelly continues to conflate the “we” pronoun with the U.S.: “The United States of America; have we done any good?” D’Souza, for his part, doubles down with the example of immigrants to the U.S.: “They’re coming here, voting with their feet, leaving everything that matters behind. Are they coming to an evil empire?”

My reply to Dinesh should give the game away …

Read the complete column. “D’Souza’s Epic ‘America’ Error” is now on WND.

UPDATE: No wonder people quit writing for the public. What’s the point? One is writing for individuals who are incapable of comprehending anything beyond an eighth-grade tract. The article is at pains to explain the D’Souza error of 1) equating “America” with the government. 2) Referring to those who oppose government actions as anti-American. For if America does not equal the government, then to be anti-government is not necessarily to be anti-American.

What is it about this simple logic that these people fail to grasp?

When D’Souza says “America,” he means the government. Don’t these simpletons understand that the government is not the same as the people? Apparently not. So you get called a leftist for liking logic. You get bombarded with letters from people who clearly have very basic comprehension levels. To wit:

—–Original Message—–
From: rcarrows15@yahoo.com [mailto:rcarrows15@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 8:21 PM
To: imercer@wnd.com
Cc: rcarrows4@mi.rr.com
Subject: America

I disagree with your article.

The US saved the world not once, but twice. On balance, America is a good nation. Read history. Do you really believe America is or was (under a few leaders) as bad as tyrant nations?

By the way, when people come to the US, they accept government handouts and kick the citizens in the teeth. Most have no respect for our flag, language, culture, etc.

Liberals will always blame America. But, without America, the world would have been purged of all races, save one, in the 1940’s.

I think you owe the readers an apology. Also, more than 75% of present Americans trace their lineage to other nations and were not even here during the time of which you speak.

RCA

From: Terry Flick [mailto:leenterry@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 7:04 PM
To: imercer@wnd.com
Subject: Who were the true Americans

Probably the people that were here when the oriental tribes now known as the american indian came across the land bridge to America. Those oriental tribes/american indians did away with the then natives to take control of this land. Estimates that before the europeans ever came to America so we will say 1500 there were somewhere in the vicinity of 750,000 oriental/american indians alive in north america. One ethnic group invading and taking over the land from another group has been going on throughout recorded history. It’s time the american indian quit their wining or at least those liberals that love to continue that mantra.


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Language Patriotism & The ‘Shangri-La Of Socratic Disinterest’

America, English, Media

I’m forever surprised as to which of my columns will appeal to readers. Much to my surprise, “Killing English by Bill O’Reilly” went down well. I believe the coda clinched it. Or, maybe it was the change of pace and the break from the political cesspool that endeared this column.

The title, incidentally, alludes to Bill’s many “Killing This; Killing That,” “co-authored” books.

The “Shangri-La of Socratic disinterest” is how Canadian commentator Rex Murphy deliciously dubbed Mr. O’Reilly’s method of inquiry.

Wrote (another) Bill:

Dear Ms. Mercer,

I am a confirmed liberal, but need to keep track of the ‘opposition’, so often read your columns at WND.

I am enchanted, if you will, by your latest. One of the current usages now in vogue among sportscasters is “verse” rather than versus….makes me crazy…willful ignorance.

Thanks so much,
Bill W.

This from JOSEPH W.:

You wrote: “The brilliant Richard Burton exulted in his love of English. ‘I am as thrilled by the English language as I am by a lovely woman,’ exclaimed the great actor.”

Ilana: I love English so much that I REFUSE to learn any other language; object to the teaching of other languages in school.
English is the most commonly spoken language on earth; more people speak it as a first or second tongue than any other. English has a speacial status as the international language of commerce, of freedom, of democracy.
Come to the country my ancestors settled in 1642 and learn English…that’s what we speak here.
English is all I need, if someone wants to learn a foreign language, let them take it up like other people take up a hobbie or craft. At least O’Reilly presents so new words to listeners … even if better educated folks like yourself have to correct him!
Thanks for being a champion of our native tongue!

Joseph R. W. II

And from my kind editor at Quarterly Review, a superb writer himself:

Brilliant writing Ilana
Leslie


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