Tag Archives: Yucatan

DONALD TRUMP’S WALL AND WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN…. a debate inspired by Pat Buchanan’s “What Trump’s Wall Says to the World”

Asmodeous Rex • an hour ago
Donald J. Trump intention to build a wall at the southern border is an insult to all of Latin America.
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Tim in NY to Asmodeous Rex • 13 minutes ago
Uh huh…
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Charles Edward Lincoln, III to Asmodeous Rex • 43 minutes ago
I don’t see that the WALL is anything more than a re-inforced border. By your standard, Mr. Asmodeous, isn’t every border an equal insult?

Does your house have walls? is that not an insult to nature, or at least to your local weather and all your neighbors?

Walls don’t work against every kind of invasion or catastrophe (modern bombs and the IRS can penetrate almost everyone’s walls) but walls do serve to establish and declare one’s claim to private space, of reasonable expectation of peace and tranquility within a space that we can call “home”.

I don’t think Trump’s wall is going to change America—but it MIGHT help prevent MORE change than has already happened, and perhaps we can start deporting millions of people BACK on the other side of the wall who should never have crossed the border.

As a Symbol of National Sovereignty and Identity, I accept the need for a wall, although we will need to back up that SYMBOL with substantial action—I’d like to see every Latin American, African, and Asian Naturalized in 1986 by “Amnesty” to illegal alines or who immigrated after that date, lose his or her citizenship….

America is the New Jerusalem of the Europeans, by the Europeans, and for the Europeans….
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Asmodeous Rex to Charles Edward Lincoln, III • 36 minutes ago
O.K. Your reply is sensible and polite enough but the USA should be building bridges to Latin America; not promoting distrust and hostility. Are you aware that the USA has spent a lot of money and energy and lives trying to prevent that region from turning to communism?
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Charles Edward Lincoln, III to Asmodeous Rex • 26 minutes ago
That’s kind of preposterous: we have thousands of bridges of every type (air, land, and sea) to and from everywhere in Latin America. It’s easier and quicker to reach Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cancun or Acapulco from any major airline “hub” in the USA than it is to reach Alaska, which is one of our own states. It also easier and cheaper to take a cruise in the Caribbean than to Hawaii or American Samoa…or again, along the “inland passage” to Alaska… just compare the effort it will take you to get to Curacao compared to the Aleutian Islands…. I’ve done both trips….

As it happens, I turned 18 as a legal resident of Honduras while working on an archaeological research project at Copan sponsored by Harvard and the World Bank. And since then I have lived about a quarter of my life in Latin America since then, in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela….

And I have been living and or visiting in several Latin American countries during Coups…. or kidnappings (I once watched the helplessly as the German Consul in Guatemala was kidnapped)…. And on top of it all, my grandfather did major business with the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, so yes, I’m quite aware of the U.S. attempts to fight communism all over Latin America….

So what exactly is your point? That because we have more-or-less succeeded in keeping communism from taking root anywhere except for Bolivia and Venezuela, and for a time in Chile—we should let all the rest of them in?

Chileans and Argentinians are pretty much “white people”…. as are MOST Colombians and many upper class Mexicans and Brazilians, for that matter, but other areas are much more racially mixed, and “upper class” immigration into the USA is NOT the source of any problems I’m aware of….
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Asmodeous Rex to Charles Edward Lincoln, III • 17 minutes ago
So then what is your point? What you’re saying is that there is already a lot of trade and commerce with that region. Shouldn’t that continue? Why create new hostilities in a region that wants to further integrate. I do hope sane people will stop all this recent madness.
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Charles Edward Lincoln, III to Asmodeous Rex • a minute ago
I guess we’re basically talking past each other about totally different things. You’re talking about Trade I guess, mostly, but I’m talking about the need to preserve America’s cultural and racial integrity by stopping the flood of immigrants. I don’t despise Latin American elites or peasantry IN THEIR CULTURAL CONTEXT. I think a lot of valuable lessons can be learned from the study of the Ancient AND Modern Maya—among other things, the value they have placed since the Spanish Conquest on resistance to cultural and racial assimilation.

The Maya of Yucatan and Guatemala are a great noble people. But that doesn’t mean they need to all move to Los Angeles. Out of heir historical physical environment and cultural historical context, I don’t think their nobility will survive any more than their culture. Los Angeles and Phoenix do not need to become Maya Cities—or Quechua cities or Nahuatl Cities for that matter.

Los Angeles has now the largest ZAPOTEC SPEAKING population IN THE WORLD…. larger than any city in the Zapotec Native (Mexican) State of Oaxaca. This is bizarre and perverse. The Zapotec will NEVER become real Americans but they won’t be real Zapotec anymore either. The Nahuatl (Aztec) speaking population of Los Angeles is not far behind. This is insanity. This is a perversion of nature.

And as for Trade, which seems to be your focus, I DO disagree with you if you think that NAFTA has been good for Mexico or that CAFTA is good for Central America.

Many if not MOST of our real racial problems, and especially those of Europe, come from the heritage of a Colonialism which was abandoned, not because the British and French and Dutch (or the Belgians or Germans, for that matter) FAILED at their enterprises of Colonialism, but because of the post-World-War II ideological shift….. towards communistic insanity and the demented doctrine of unearned freedom and meritless equality….

But NAFTA and CAFTA are essentially new Colonialist programs WITHOUT the benefits of Colonial Administration and Education. NAFTA and CAFTA have led to the mutual cultural degradation of North America AND Mexico and Central America…. and I applaud President Trump for his willingness to back away from these catastrophic enterprises (and to avoid new ones like the Trans-Pacific, which would have been the same only MUCH BIGGER and hence much worse).

Isolation leads to diversity…. and diversity leads to greater value in exchange…. So I think that we need to return to a world model where each region develops itself according to local traditions and environmental circumstances, and trade is an exchange of positive values developed in different regions, not moving plastics and electronics from cheap labor areas to expensive consumption areas.

So no, I think that fewer bridges and more barriers will benefit EVERYONE.
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Funruffian • 20 hours ago
“To the tens of millions for whom Trump appeals, what the wall represents is our last chance to preserve that nation and people.’

This wall is more than just Political theater and a way to stymie the bureaucratic onslaught of the Multicultural monster. This is a bold statement White America is making against the world who has intentions of undermining and destroying us. Many other nations have criticized America for years, but at the same token they want to reap the rewards and benefits America has to offer. I know that President Trump finds this attitude obscene.
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Happy Birthday, Robert Rivernider, of Wellington, Florida! Lessons about Never Giving Up, and Fighting no Matter how much they lie about you…..

My friends and former allies Bob Rivernider and Robert J. Ponte are now in Federal Penitentiaries, sentenced (respectively) to 12 and 7+ years plus five years supervised release.  For men near my age, this is a virtual death sentence.  LOTS of people die in American prisons….that’s a reality not everyone knows.  I did not always agree with these two gentlemen, did not always (well, actually, never) understand their business plans, but one thing I am pretty sure: they are not and never were dangerous criminals.  The real question is whether they were criminals AT ALL, in any sense.  It seems to me that they are part of a growing universe of white men in white collar positions who are being punished for making bad business decisions.  In essence, business failure, like poverty itself, is now a crime in America.  In terms of their personalities, Bob Rivernider was gruff and cantankerous—perhaps why he got a 144 month sentence.  Robert J. Ponte was much smoother and sweeter—perhaps that why he “only” got 7 1/2 years….  

The names “Rivernider” and “Lincoln” have for a long time been hyper-linked in Google Searches, especially if paired with two other search terms: “Palm Beach” and “Orly Taitz.”  Ok, we all know that anything that Orly touched in my life was a fricking disaster…. But Orly was not responsible for Bob Rivernider’s troubles—although the real power behind her, namely the lying and deceitful, treacherous American Executive Branch, certainly was.

The Orly phenomenon originated and found extravagant sponsorship in the local Washington, D.C., branch of the Globalist government by financial-military-industrial cartel.  This Cartel, official leaders Larry Summers, John Shepard Reed***, Jacob Joseph (“Jack”) Lew, and their crowd of corrupt financiers, designated Orly as their “Clown Princess” and Jester extraordinaire to the Courts in defense of Obama’s qualifications to serve as Chief Executive after having been elected by the Bilderbergers.  Orly, as a movement and phenomenon, was created in the brilliant “reverse logic” (Kafkaesque, or more to the point, positively Saul Alinskyesque) defense of Barrack Obama’s citizenship by absurdist attack.  Only Orly Taitz’ ludicrous behavior could have made the world safe for Obama, the most Constitutionally unqualified and inappropriate president imaginable.  Only Orly could have turned strict construction of the Article II Presidential eligibility clause into the laughing stock of the entire nation, and the world which once again had to endure the shakes of the 6 billion heads who live outside of the boundaries of “E Pluribus Unum” to wonder how Americans could possibly be so stupid and gullible.

This same cartel, for less obvious reasons, apparently found in Robert Rivernider an extreme threat and made him a “high value target” even before I first met Bob in 2008-9 at one or more of Bob Hurt’s seminar/conferences in and around the Tampa Bay Area, Florida.   Bob Rivernider now wears an ankle bracelet and has a 7:00 curfew as he awaits final sentencing pursuant to a plea bargain he probably never should have entered.  I know a thing or two or three about the U.S. Government’s ability to coerce plea agreements out of innocent people:  “you agree to this or you’re going away for life while we impoverish your family” is extremely persuasive, no matter what the truth may be.  But in Bob Rivernider’s case—they talked him into going away for life, or something pretty close to it, AS his plea bargain, after he had already started a trial.  Since Bob was certainly never going to be subject to the death penalty, it was hard to see how he had struck a good deal here…..so I was anxious to hear his story.  I had known and celebrated his birthday with him in 2009, but had forgotten all about it in the intervening years—but right now I can say I am only hopeful that (if there’s anything at all to Astrology, though frankly I doubt there is) my son will turn out to be a man of half the fighting character and spirit of resistance I see in Bob Rivernider.  I would like to see Bob Rivernider on his birthday again, maybe before another four years have passed.  It would be a bad thing, and a great loss to society, for him to be locked up for the next 25 or 30 of his birthdays.  It would be a major miscarriage of justice….

Partly in Honor of my son’s 21st birthday, which I could not share with him because of choices apparently made either by him or his mother, and otherwise partly because of a frivolous motion filed against me in a case in the 15th Judicial Circuit Court in and for Palm Beach County, I came back to my old haunts in beautiful Palm Beach 33480 for the first time since just after Easter 2010.

Nobody would say that this is the best, or even a pleasant, time to come to South Florida.  Late August is the heart of hurricane season.  But even without any hurricanes, South Florida is hotter and more humid than New Orleans, and nowhere near as pleasant as Yucatán, México, in this season.  This is true only because it rains so much more in South-pointing Florida’s North-pointing Southern opposite Peninsula just across the Gulf.  The greater daily rainfall and cloudcover in México means that the full tropics of Southeastern México are actually cooler than the Florida subtropics just to the north in the USA.  

It has turned out to be one of the best and most exciting weekends I’ve had in a very long time, primarily because I met my new lawyer, my new partner and representative, Dara Leigh Bloom, for the very first time when I arrived here Saturday evening, and other my new partner and expert witness in securitization and pooling analysis—Mario Kenny, on Sunday afternoon.  It occurred to me while here that although I have worked hard, been worried, and been angry from time-to-time in Palm Beach County, this is one part of the world where I can truly say I have never been really unhappy or deeply depressed. 

Sunday morning I got up early and went to 8:00 Holy Communion and Eucharist at Bethesda-by-the-Sea—a Parish Church significantly grander than Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans, though not even half as old and lacking the same amazing direct connexions to Southern American history.  Located just south of the Breakers at 141 South County Road, Bethesda-by-the-Sea is the Church where my son Charlie was Baptized on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1993.  It was an honor and privilege to return here, and to sit a while in Bethesda’s beautiful gardens after the 8:00 service was over, contemplating the Rector’s sermon on Sabbath being a time for thinking, reflecting, and doing nothing.

Doing nothing, of course, was not a significant part of the plan for coming to Palm Beach.  Just after 10:00 a.m., Bob Rivernider arrived at the Bradley Park Hotel at 280 Sunset, across from Publix and just five very short blocks from our old home here on the Island, where my son Charlie spent just over the full first year of his life, after being born on the eve of Hurricane Andrew while I completed my term as Judicial Law Clerk to Kenneth L. Ryskamp of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.

Bob Hurt of Clearwater, old friend, frequent recent critic, whom I had not so long ago written that I disowned writing, “I know thee not old man”….came down with his charming wife Maria to visit for the weekend and argue some more.  I had walked to Bethesda before the morning service but by the time it was over, it was too bloody hot to walk back and Bob Hurt did me the courtesy of picking me up.

We arrived back at the Bradley just as Bob Rivernider was pulling up.  And then Bob began to tell us his story…. to a small audience consisting of me, Dara Leigh Bloom, and Bob Hurt.

For two and a half hours, Rivernider expostulated to us regarding the devious, manipulative stratagems and trickery that the U.S. Attorneys’ Office (and his own CJA Attorneys) in Connecticut, used to get him, his former partner Robert Ponte, and his sister Lorraine Seneca, to plead guilty almost a month into a jury trial in Hartford, Connecticut.  

I can’t say that I really understood Bob’s business before or now.  It may have been a good business plan, it may not have been, but what it fairly clearly was, was an honest business plan, even if “high risk” was written all over it.  Robert Rivernider and Robert Ponte somehow planned to generate high returns on investments in real estate and foreign exchange swaps to their clients, who invested hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions of dollars.

So far as I can tell, the great sin that Ponte & Rivernider committed in all this was to try to piggy-back on the real estate speculation in which the major banks of the world were so famously engaged in the middle of the first decade of the new Millennium.  Because they were doing this, they were apparently “high value” targets to be designated “fall guys” for the fallout and collapse of this speculative roller-coaster.  Everyone over the age of 14 knew that ONLY real estate speculation of the wildest and most absurd nature could have driven the market as it climbed up to its peak in 2007, triggering the collapse of 2008-9.  

In 2008 the banks of the United States, along with other major industries (e.g. the automobile industry, especially the “Big Three” GM, Ford, & Chrysler) were effectively nationalized—although nobody important or “in control” used that term or word publicly, or if they did, not very much or very often, at least on prime time TV.   Yet it was precisely at the end of the W. Bush’s term and the beginning of Obama’s that full scale Socialism was instituted in the USA.

Among the significant but lower profile announcements of the new Obama administration was that the Department of Justice would be going after “White Collar Crime” involved in and relating to the banking collapse.  And it was then that Robert Rivernider, Robert Ponte, Lorraine Seneca, and so many others suddenly crossed over from being “the managers of distressed businesses” to “high value targets of criminal investigation.”

As a practical matter, targeting failed business enterprises like the Ponte-Rivernider-Seneca group was a way of declaring war on the White Middle Class which Obama so clearly despises.  Ponte-Rivernider-and-Seneca were accused, among other things, of a “scheme to defraud” under 18 U.S.C. §1343 (“Wire Fraud”) of a scheme to manipulate real estate appraisals unrealistically high to obtain greater extended credit leverage from banks.   Again, as every person who was at least 14 after 2000 must have known—well over half the population was playing Real Estate Roulette at this time (2000-2007)—not merely with the full cooperation and collusion but egged on by the banks and, for that matter, State and Federal lawmakers and regulators.  

Scapegoats are always necessary in such situations—you can’t very well sacrifice the real criminals like Lawrence Summers, John Shepard Reed, and Jacob Joseph  Lew, so you look for “little people” like Ponte and Rivernider.

After listening to Rivernider’s story, all I can say is this: (1) the U.S. Attorneys in Connecticut were prosecuting to cover up Bank misconduct and justify bank losses, (2) the C.J.A. (government-paid-defense) attorneys appointed to defend Rivernider at least (he told mostly his own story), were not accidentally incompetent, but active members of the prosecutorial team.  Listening to Rivernider, it seemed that his defense team chronically and repeatedly failed to make proper and warranted objections, failed to offer well-founded affirmative defenses, and above all, pushed Rivernider, Ponte, and Seneca to plead guilty BEFORE the U.S. had even rested its case.  The defense team did this after announcing that they would put on no defense whatsoever (and hence waiving what could have been a very strong defense on the part of the three defendants).

The U.S. District Court seemed to have cared much more about the jurors’ time and length of trial than whether the Defendants had full and fair opportunity to challenge the facts alleged against them.  It seemed that the Prosecution’s consistent strategy was one of deception, disguise, and dissimulation ranging from willfully misrepresenting the obvious meaning of words and phrases in e-mails up to making outbursts in Court which we were taught in law school and bar review courses, and saw as practitioners, would have been grounds for immediate motions for mistrial (e.g. the prosecutor calling out “He’s Lying” during a witnesses’ testimony in front of the jury and later apologizing to the Court).  It seemed that the Defense strategy was to meekly accept all prosecutorial misconduct and not to object.

Among the most disturbing direct quotes that Bob gave us were that his attorney told him, “I was hired to get you the best sentence possible” and the prosecutor admitting to the Court that certain behaviors alleged in the indictments forming the basis for a lengthy sentence recommendation were “not per se illegal.”

Bob Hurt chimed in at this point, “what does “not per se illegal” mean?”  I opined that “not per se illegal” could be reasonably translated out of prosecutorial lingo into English as “not illegal at all”, i.e. “legal” meaning “the Defendants conduct was in fact lawful and therefore unimpeachable.”

Bob Rivernider says that his PSI “number” is 41, and that the prosecution is seeking a 25-30 year sentence, quite plausible given what I know of the Federal Sentencing guidelines (I think my PSI number was 5-6 when I agreed to give up my law license in Texas in August 2000 but I can’t remember exactly anymore).  Bob said that Monday, August 26, 2013, was his 48th birthday.  He looks a lot older than that, closer to 58 to me—and he’s significantly grayer than when I last saw him in the Spring of 2010.  

Listening to Bob talk on Sunday and then again on Monday, seeing the obvious rage in his face and heart, I tend to think that his cause was just and that he should probably try to withdraw his guilty plea (even though that’s very difficult to do) or do an appeal, conditional or otherwise, on the constitutionality of the proceedings.  I think that 18 U.S.C. §1343 has been stretched beyond its reasonable limits.   Any law or statute becomes “void for vagueness” if stretched too thin, and “fraud” means very little if it is said that every business deal that turns out bad was “fraudulent”—although this is an argument consistent with Obama’s communistic hatred of free enterprise, which always implies reasonable assumption of risk, even in the simplest and most honest businesses.

To hear Rivernider talk, the government’s case against him sounds flimsy and borderline insane, justifiable only by deep-seated hatred and anxiousness to make him (and Ponte and Seneca) suffer for the government-sponsored, bank sponsored rampage of speculation that led to the financial collapse of 2008-2009 AND (not coincidentally) the election of Barack Hussein Obama.  

Bob asked me to try to help him promote “the truth” and all I can say is, that’s the best present I know how to give him, and this little write-up is about the best I can do based on the state of my knowledge at this point.   I have not defended Bob’s business plan, but I do not think it was inherently or even tangentially fraudulent,  because “fraud” implies (and requires) “intent to deceive as to material facts.”

My only truly analytical thought is this: I wonder whether Bob (& Ponte & Lorraine) would have been prosecuted if he (they) had taken out “business liability insurance” which would have covered all losses, like the Government’s FDIC and similar programs, TARP, for instance, to bail out the banks.  Does purchasing insurance against likely losses make one more honest or more obviously aware of the likelihood of loss?  Would anyone be willing to ensure real estate practices such as those in which the Banks engaged OTHER than the U.S. Government?    

Are we so afraid of the “failures of freedom” and free enterprise that we would or should require every business to carry “loss insurance”, or stay out of business?  Is that a productive and constructive way to advance science and industry, or to create new wealth?   Or should we point our fingers at the banks, as Rivernider, Ponte, and Seneca, were given some sort of authority to do in February 2013, shortly before the pled guilty.  

Rivernider says that his defense attorneys hired a psychiatrist to convince him that he did not understand the wrongfulness of his own conduct, due to a psychological “executive function deficit” of some sort, and that he could receive lenity at sentencing by acknowledging his condition.   This, again, is a rather extraordinary element of Rivernider’s story.  I had never heard of “executive function deficit” before (although it sounds fairly applicable to about half a dozen recent Presidents I can think of, and several dozen current and recent bank Presidents and high officers).

I strongly doubt, however, on listening to him, Bob Rivernider’s “Executive Function” operates at a lower level than, say Orly Taitz’ or Barack Obama’s—unless surviving and doing what you were assigned to do (e.g. Keep Obama immune from Constitutional attack, in Orly’s case, dismantled the U.S. Constitution as a whole, then institute communism, in Obama’s case) is the SOLE test.  

Rivernider’s prosecutors seem to have twisted facts and misrepresented circumstances and presented an altered, fractured, reality consistently enough to the Court as to constitute actual “witness tampering” and obstruction of justice (and only coincidentally, I guess, thereby effecting a denial of due process of law).  Orly also has twisted facts, misrepresented circumstances, and presented an altered, fractured, reality to MANY courts.  Orly has done so quite incompetently, although as noted above, her monotonously consistent incompetence appears to have been her intentional modus operandi and raison d’etre, and Rivernider’s defense attorneys seem to have done something quite similar, or aided and abetted the prosecution to do so.

My friends, as I have written on these pages many times before, do not judge harshly anyone you know or hear of who is prosecuted these days.  “Everybody knows that the system’s rotten.”  Good people go down every day, and the American jails are filled with innocent people, whom you might be proud to know and happy to have to your home as guests.    The American Criminal Justice system is BROKEN, CORRUPT, and needs to be torn down to the ground and rebuilt from the bottom up—if at all.  

Perhaps the power to identify, prosecute, and punish criminals should be returned to the people, as it was throughout history, essentially until the 20th century, everywhere.

***”There’s no clearer example of the collusion between government and corporate finance than the Citicorp-Travelers merger, which — thanks to the removal of Glass-Steagall — enabled the formation of the financial behemoth known as Citigroup. But even behemoths are vulnerable; when the meltdown hit, the bank cut more than 50,000 jobs, and the taxpayers shelled out more than $45 billion to save it.”  http://billmoyers.com/segment/john-reed-on-big-banks-power-and-influence/

THE VOICE OF HIM THAT CRIETH IN THE WILDERNESS: PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE STRAIGHT IN THE DESERT, A HIGHWAY FOR OUR GOD

Today, Monday, June 24, 2013, is Johannistag, the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.  The bad news is that it’s 3 days after the Summer Solstice and I can already see the days start to grow shorter.  The good news is that there are still 181 shopping days left until Christmas.

TO ALL MY FELLOW: Constitutionalists, Patriots, Radicals, Terrorists in the Pursuit of Freedom, Justice, and the Preservation of the Common Law, like other Traditional Values, and other Madmen of the World: THIS IS OUR DAY!!!!  SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS SURELY ONE OF US, I TELL YOU, AND HE WOULD STAND WITH US IF HE WERE HERE TODAY.

The Gospel of Mark (echoing Isaiah 40), introduces the story of Saint John:  in Mark 1: 1-14

King James Version (KJV)

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

I know that I and all other radical believers in the Constitution and Free Enterprise must seem like wild men (and women) live in the desert wearing camel’s hair and skins and eating locusts (I love wild honey, that’s not a problem at all.  And you know, as far as Camel’s hair goes—that’s some of the most expensive stuff you can buy—but anyhow….).  

Who but madmen, madwomen, and deranged children could hate the Untouchable, Sacrosanct, Freedom Suppression, Constitution-obliterating Obama administration with a purple passion exceeded only by our scorn for a Senate and House of Representatives that seems to ratify ALMOST everything that this monstrous fraud of a President perpetrates on us?  On the positive side, eating Locusts may soon become Chic–the U.N. FAO Organization recently pointed out that people should start eating insects for protein (May 30 (Bloomberg) — Afton Halloran, consultant at Food and Agriculture Organization, describes the use of insects as food in developing nations to provide nutrients missed in local food supplies and how the practice is spreading globally. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.”—-http://www.bloomberg.com/video/are-insects-the-next-frontier-in-food-061gnlbvQ~KAkeT2tPBIuA.html).

Those who have known me for any length of time will recognize why I think it is that whether it’s “chic” or not to eat insects, it’s always been a CHIIC way of living.  (CHIICs being Yucatanian coatimundis, Nasua narica yucatanica–there are Xchupachiics [female coatis who live in social groups] and Kotonchiics [adult male coatis who wander in the forest alone, ahead of the group, announcing food sources but then bouncing on forward].  This is a happy time of year for the coatis of Yucatán and Central America because the corn fields have just been planted and small ears of sweet corn are the best thing in a young coati’s life….  Where St. John the Baptist stood on small coatimundis I’m not sure, but when there’s no corn, the Chiics will eat locusts or any kind of insect as happily as corn.

Today I feel I live and breathe, and I would hope all the adopted and lineal descendants of Abraham live and breathe, the words of the prophet Isaiah foretelling of John in Chapter 40 of that greatest of all books of Prophecy, the most inspiring verses 1-5 of which are indelibly etched in my memory set to the music of the overture to Part I of Handel’s Oratorio—The Messiah.  The remainder of the Chapter has a certain “circle of life” feel to it.

Isaiah 40

King James Version (KJV)

40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?

14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.

17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.

20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.

24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Oz: Mythic Power in the Power of Mythic Deception

Ok, my not so amazing prediction: “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” will not be nominated for any academy awards next year.  The new Oz comes out just over 11 and under 12 months after The Hunger Games (premiered March 23 2012) which is its ideological opposite: Hunger Games is a movie of the people against the government crowds are shown, but closeups of faces in the crowd are not cartoon snapshots of stereotypes—in the new Oz, all the common people are cartoon snapshots). 

Oz is a movie which not only glorifies but presumes that monarchical government and autocracy, a government of “Archons” is both natural and essential.  In Oz: the Great and Powerful, we see only the cartoonish choice between good dictators/kings and bad dictators/kings (reminiscent of the 1939 Glinda’s question to Dorothy: “are you a good witch or a bad witch?”)

“Oz, the Great and Powerful,” may neither be certainly a great or powerful cinematic event, but it is not a bad movie.  It is more than worth seeing and thinking about.  As a statement of political power mythology, it is closest (but superior both as a movie and as a dramatic contribution to mythic evolution) to “Batman, Dark Knight Rises”.   

As a Disney Production and product of the Magic Kingdom, Oz finds pro-monarchist, elitist ideological common ground with The Lion King (June 15, 1994).  But whereas world of Simba and Mufassa was elegantly pure Dumézilian structuralist mythology in support of the absolute monarchy of the lions, Oz merely celebrates Bush-Cheney-Obama low-brow dictatorship by deceit.  

Fair to say I enjoyed Oz: the Great and Powerful more than I thought I would given the almost universally disappointed/disappointing reviews.  It is true that the three witches are pretty much flat, two dimensional, and on the dull side even if they are more conventionally attractive than even Glinda was in the 1939 Classic and each is more beautiful possessing more sex appeal than Elphaba in “Wicked.”  But Elphaba is a MUCH more interesting character, developed with oh so much more depth and dimensions.

“Wicked” has ten to a hundred times more lasting mythological power as a post-modern statement of relativism than anything in “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”   But on the other hand, James Franco’s Oz is more realistic as a portrayal of conservative, monarchical values than Batman or Bruce Wayne was in the last installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy.  Oscar Diggs is not exactly Scar from the Lion King either.  He is really closest to any of the past four U.S. Presidents Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama.  His personality comes nowhere close to as engaging as Ronald Reagan or as articulate and humble as Carter.

There are really only three ways to portray political power in a story:  (1) as natural and necessary—so that the struggle is between good and bad “rulers”, (2) unnatural and not only unnecessary but oppressive and therefore evil—so that the struggle is between the people and the power structure, and (3) natural or at least “a given” —“always with us” (kind of like “the poor”) but essentially trivial and irrelevant.

Movies of the third type used to be fairly common in the American cinematic repertoire, but they have all but vanished in modern times.  The third type of movie was the “heroes ride off into the sunset” variety of “Western” or “rugged individualist” myth embodied and exemplified seriously as in (1) Casablanca, (2) High Noon, and (3)  The African Queen or comically as in (4) Cat Ballou.  

Recent years have seen Hunger Games and Serenity in the “Government is the Enemy” category pitted against Batman: Dark Knight and now Oz: the Great and Powerful.  Oz and Batman presume the paradoxical necessity of autocratic rule in society, with “Good” Autocrats guaranteeing “Freedom & Justice” while “Bad” Autocrats are just like the Good Autocrats only “Bad.”   Television series such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,”, “Angel”, and “Dexter” tend to vacillate between “Government as the Enemy” and “Government is always there but Irrelevant.”  

In “Oz: the Great and Powerful”, we see a very specific “real world” dramatic retelling of the story of the disembodied leader becoming more powerful after death, as an Icon and a Myth, than he ever could have been as an earthly individual.  The Character of the Wizard Oscar Diggs is not even “intriguingly” Banal and Ordinary.  He is really kind of uninspiringly banal and ordinary—much like the real life Bill Clinton or George W. Bush.   Like George W. Bush, Diggs is a master of illusion and deceit, and that is his primary qualification as a leader.  Like Clinton, Oscar Diggs’ “Oz” is attractive to the ladies and that makes the movie at least somewhat pleasant to watch.  But as with last year’s somewhat deadly dud “Dark Shadows” with Johnny Depp, stories involving beautiful but jealous witches are really so awfully unoriginal as to be boring—and I’ve not only watched too many I’ve lived the story in real life just several too many times….ahem, but I digress…

Unlike the stories of both Dorothy Gale (or her as yet cinematically almost unknown friend and colleague in adventure in most of L. Frank Baum’s later stories, “Ozma”) and Elphaba, there is hardly a hint of feminism or “girl power” in any of the three witches.  (No “Buffy” or “Willow” or even “Anya” on the scenes of this Oz).   Even Glinda (Michelle Williams) is at best a kind of exquisitely delicate, weak, very pretty and attractive but only marginally talented “second rate” witch outshown and outperformed by Oz’ mechanical illusions which ultimately succeed in vanquishing and exiling the evil sisters to the East and West of the Emerald City.  [It made sense to see Oz on St. Patrick’s Day weekend since Oz, like Ireland and Ancient Maya Yucatán, is a magic land divided into four color-coded cardinal direction (NSEW) quarters of the world with Green at the Center—the Emerald City = the Yaxché at the Center of the Maya universe and Tara at the cosmic and ritual center of the Emerald Isle itself].  

[The beautiful witch who turns green and ugly (the future W.W. West, Mila Kunis) reminds me ever so much of my own former wife Elena K….. beautiful and ambitious in the beginning, looked really good in red, but ultimately deadly and green   for all the wrong reasons (Elphaba was green for “good” reasons).]

What are interesting from the standpoint of mythic deconstruction in “Oz, the Great and Powerful” are Oz’ assertions that he is more powerful as a disembodied image than as a man, that illusion is more powerful than reality.  This IS a valid post-modern deconstruction of the American Presidency, and of Institutional “Corporate” government and economy in general.

Does the generalization apply to the life of Julius Caesar, or merely to the post-mortem TITLE of Caesar, which endured for a thousand years as the Supreme Emblem of “Imperial” Authority in the non-Latin monarchs (Kaisers & Tsars) of Germany, Austria, and Russia?  

A certain kind of post-modern deconstructionalist will tell you that Jesus Christ and Julius Caesar both planned their deaths for the purpose of Apotheosis and Institutionalization of Power.  This is exactly what Oscar Diggs does in “Oz: the Great and Powerful.”  

Power by deception and illusion is the political science of Machiavelli’s Il Principe and Cardinal Richelieu’s dictum “to dissemble is to rule” as well as the apparent embodiment of the theory underlying American foreign policy probably since the sinking of the Battleship Maine. Power by deception and illusion is a very anti-democratic theory of the origin and nature of power, totally opposed to the Katniss Everdeen or Buffy Summers schools of “Divine Kingship through Combat and Sacrifice.”  Katniss and Buffy were both pitted against dictatorships built on bloody lies and concealment of the truth, as were the “Wild West” type heroes on the Crew of “Serenity” (paired with Buffy and Angel, also by Joss Whedon).  As I have been writing for more than ten years, Buffy Summers’ death in Season Five of her series was a classic “Golden Bough” moment, though after Buffy’s resurrection in Season Six she was not quite “divine” after all.  Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in Hunger Games together played the game of the Rex Nemorensis in Diana’s Wood at Aricia very well as a team (a wonderful team unprecedented in history or myth).

Essentially, the lesson we should learn from “Oz: the Great and Powerful” is that all institutional (aka “Corporate” = permanent but impersonal, perpetual) government originates in and works best when founded on lies. In this political theory, lies and falsehood and illusion are sources of strength, and the secrets must be kept by those in the “inner circle” of government, even by China Dolls….(a reference to the “Dainty China Doll” in L. Frank Baum’s original book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” which did not make it into the 1939 Judy Garland “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” musical movie).

Batman: Dark Knight surely reflects the same ideology, but never states it quite so bluntly.   So Oz now joins with certain deconstructionist interpretations of the lives of Julius Caesar, Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy…. in articulation the rule by deception explanation of the origin and nature of political power.  I can only pray for the ultimate triumph of the poor man’s “Divine Kingship” model of weak government, an essentially anarchical theory of government as a model of or metaphor for nature red in tooth and claw…. wherein the King (or Queen) is normally only a symbol of nature rather than an actual wielder of power.  

In which connexion, long live Buffy Summer & Katniss Everdeen.

Gateways in our Lives, Rites des Passages, Can we Really be Reborn?

When I was 25, I thought my life was as close to perfect as life could be.  I was a graduate student at Harvard University.  I had a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and a National Geographic Society grant to conduct archaeological research at one of the greatest archaeological ruined cities in the entire world: Chichén Itzá, Yucatán.  I had good relations with the Mexican archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology & History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) both in Mérida, Yucatán and Mexico City, and the support and admiration of, if not all, quite a few colleagues in at least four or five countries.  My life seemed charmed.

In May of that year, 1985, I met a diminutive young Greek girl with large real breasts and fake-blonde hair named Elena Kourembana.  I teased her that just looking at her she reminded me of the title of a famous American Movie, namely “Roots” and was otherwise initially quite viciously cruel to her, every chance I got, but she was different from anyone else I had ever encountered.  She was an “old world” witch—none of these new age crystals for her. She never ever wore a bra under her loose fitting tops and flirted with me intensely from the moment I met her, despite the fact that I had quite a wonderful sweet, and loving American girlfriend at the time…. oh well, I’m a worthless cad—always was, always have been—couldn’t cure it then and I certainly can’t cure it now.   Within two and a half years we were married, twenty five years ago to the day on December 5, 1987.

Now, 25 years later, we could, might, should, would be celebrating our Silver Anniversary.  I’m actually hanging out, at the moment, at what would have been a wonderful house and place for a 25th Silver Anniversary.   I am in Maui, Hawaii, living (albeit temporarily) on a hillside, looking at an ocean, beautiful and still…. In case anyone who reads this is too young to recognize it, which probably everyone is, those are lines from a duet Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza sang each other in the musical made from James A. Michener’s South Pacific.  

The songs from that particular musical were always very important to me, but the emphasis on cultural distance and crossing cultural boundaries in Michener’s novel and the musical became extremely important to me in my life with Elena.

By some truly bizarre consequence, I had also just been hired as a consultant by James A. Michener and was traveling with him fairly regularly in Mexico, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.   Mr. Michener also by coincidence moved to Austin, Texas, and there he died in 10 years later, 15 years ago this past October 16, in 1997, just as my own life was facing a major meltdown in Austin……   James A. Michener’s wife Mari Yoriko Sabusawa was Nisei Japanese.  Mr. Michener obviously loved his wife intensely and to my observations was never separated from her even for a minute, even after 39 years marriage.  I Mari utterly and completely insufferable for many reasons, not least because she was constantly extolling the virtues of interracial marriage (I guess it worked for her…..).  Mari predeceased her mass-producing novelist husband by three years and led to his last depression, and slow suicide by disconnecting dialysis….

But now, 25 years have passed since the December 5, 1987 when Elena and I got married.  We have been totally and completely separated for more than ten years, since late July 2002.   She has managed completely and totally to alienate me from my son, a project she worked on intensively from, well, basically, the moment he was born.

I have thought of many epitaphs for my marriage, including “I married Medea.”  My son might as well be dead to me now for all the contact and communication I have with him, even though just two years ago we were (I thought) fast friends.  It turned out he kept a lot of things secret from me, I guess, at his mother’s instance or not  I have no idea.  But we apparently were not nearly as close even in his last years in High School, Summer School sessions at Harvard, and Freshman year at Saint John’s College Annapolis as I had imagined.  So, “I married Medea” is definitely a possibility—and an old friend and (another) former sweetheart came up with this analysis and comparison entirely by independent invention on hearing the story just recently.

I have tried very hard to “blame the system” and society for the failure of my marriage, but I’m sure I had at least something to do with it.  On the whole, looking back, I would trade absolutely everything else I’ve ever had in my life NOT to have had that catastrophic marriage which (literally) destroyed absolutely everything I was and had before I got married.  Medea?  Another possible goddess identity for my “tiny tiger bride” as I called her when we got married in 1987 was the Hindu Kali—the inverse of Parvati, Siva’s perfect wife.

There is a little known (at least in America) movie in Swedish by Russian Andrei Tarkovsky (in large part a tribute to Ingmar Bergman) called Offret “the Sacrifice”.   It is by far the most moving of all the Ronald Reagan era movies about the end of the world.

(Still another of my girlfriends from that era, a brunette art-historical Yalie named Mary Ellen, had recurring horrific nightmares about nuclear holocaust and the end of the world—too many “duck and cover” exercises in her elementary school youth I guess, followed of course by Reagan and Bush talking the Cold War into nearly Hot Life in the 1980s….).   Ronald W. Reagan and George W. Bush both seemed quite willing to launch a nuclear war if necessary to end the Cold War, and whether they were or not, Reagan’s Star Wars (Strategic Defense Initiative, of SDI) quite justifiably sent a lot of folks completely over the edge—and made a lot of other people, especially around Harvard and Bostons’ Route 128 generally, regions where absolutely everyone either hated or at least convincingly pretended to hate Reagan, quite unjustifiably rich.  The American movies of this genre, like The Day After, were simply dreadful, barely tolerable melodramas.

But Tarkovsky’s Offret was something else: it was the story of an individual man’s choice to sacrifice himself to save the world. When a television newscaster announces the end of the world and darkness begins to consume the world, the “hero” named Alexander makes a Faustian vow to God and embraces (it’s never clear, either divine faith or earthly magic) to change the destiny of the world.  He prays as low flying planes and the sounds of war begin: “I’ll give Thee all I have, I’ll give up my family, whom I love, I’ll destroy my home and give up Little Man.”

I have so often wished I could make a time-and-destiny changing vow of this sort, to make the mute speak, as “Little Man” does at the end: “In the beginning was the Word.  Why is that, Dad?”  In some ways, I am no better off now than was Alexander at the end of “The Sacrifice”, but in other ways I am in this beautiful spot, in a place full of the scent of tropical flowers enjoying a couple of weeks in a vacation villa that’s much more luxurious than old 17th-18th century Hacienda Chichén Itzá ever was or could have been back in the 1980s, even when I rented the whole place from Carmencita Barbachano and had it just for my dissertation project…. To Carmencita on the one hand and Elena on the other I owe my decision to move from archaeology to law…..Carmencita had one lawyer named Alan Molina who always worked to make feel like the most worthless and insignificant of worms…. and another Licenciado Humberto Rosado Espinola in her office, a kindly old criollo Yucatecan man whom Molina considered an idiot….who died on that famous Martes Trece when Hurricane Gilbert went through Yucatán on September 13, 1988.  The oppression I felt from and through Licenciado Alan Molina Montes, even while living at Hacienda C.I. for the better part of three solid years (1983-1985) was part of what made me think I should be a lawyer, or at least acquire the knowledge and skill of a lawyer.  Elena pushed me for completely ignoble reasons: she didn’t feel that an archaeologist could ever make enough money to satisfy her (but neither could a lawyer).

It would be wonderful if life’s gateways were reversible, if you could walk back through a portal after you walked in.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.”  But what word was that?  Was it “Love”?  When we are young, we are stupid for love and its mere alter-egos sexual passion and infatuation from afar, but that is all Eros.  Agapé in modern Greek has become just another word for love, although in Ancient Greek it seems to have meant so much more.  Nothing is more trivial in modern Greek than to call a lover or child, agapimou (my love).

For me, my marriage, the little Greek girl, the wedding in the heart of Athens, even our two honeymoons, one in Colombia and a later in Eastern Europe, were unidirectional gateways from which there was no return.  Either I could not, or simply I did not, I failed to make the necessary sacrifice to reverse it all.  If my son ever reads this, I hope he will know that I would like to have made such a heroic sacrifice for him.  But he will probably never read it.  His mother has achieved (now that he is an adult) the censorship she could never achieve when he was a child/adolescent/minor.

I have completed 52 years—the twenty five I lived before I met Elena, the two and a half years of our courtship and the twenty five years since—and now I am nearly 2/3 of the way through my 53rd year.  My son has completed 20 years since the eve of Hurricane Andrew on August 23, 1992.  I know my wife hated me from before he was born and certainly ever since.   My son has not yet quite finished the first half of his 21st year.  He has not spoken to me since May of 2011.   Either he or someone using his e-mail occasionally sends “phatic” messages—but they convey nothing of his life.  “Hello” and then no reply to my response.

And so I live for the moment in a beautiful place, knowing that

Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.
Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
fecemi la divina podestate,
la somma sapienza e ‘l primo amore.
Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’entrate.

August 12—a Bloody Day in History: in 30 BC Cleopatra Committed Suicide; in 1480 AD the Ottoman Army Beheaded 800 Christians at Otranto for Failure to Convert to Islam; in 1914 Great Britain Declared War on Austria-Hungary—and it’s a Bloody Hot Day in Fresno, California, too….

How One Day In History Outlines the Creation of the Present World Order and World Mythology under which we live

  • 1898 – An Armistice ends the Spanish–American War—the U.S. acquires Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands, Guam and simultaneously—-by no coincidence:
  • 1898 – The Hawaiian flag is lowered from ʻIolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States.
  • 1914 – World War I: the United Kingdom declares war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire follow suit.
  • 1914 – World War I: the Belgium Battle of Haelen a.k.a. (Battle of the Silver Helmets) last cavalry style attack from the German army on the city of Halen Belgium—in the battle of horses against tanks and machine guns, the horse fared very poorly….
  • 1944 – Waffen-SS troops massacre 560 people in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.
  • 1944 – Nazi German troops end the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people were killed indiscriminately or in mass executions—one historian wrote, that in the aftermath of the Warsaw uprising of 1944: “the massacres in Wola had nothing in common with combat” as “the ratio of civilian to military dead was more than a thousand to one, even if military casualties on both sides are counted”
  • 1944 – Alençon is liberated by General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces (most French cities were liberated by U.S. and British Forces)
  • 1950 – Bloody Gulch massacre : American POWs were massacred by North Korean Army.
  • 1952 – The Night of the Murdered Poets: 13 prominent Jewish intellectuals are murdered in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union.
  • 1953 – Nuclear weapons testing: the Soviet atomic bomb project continues with the detonation of Joe 4, the first Soviet thermonuclear weapon.
  • 1953 – The islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia in Greece are severely damaged by an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale.
  • 1960 – Echo 1A, NASA’s first successful communications satellite, is launched.
  • 1964 – South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies—-the politicization of the Olympics had already begun….
  • 1964 – Charlie Wilson, one of the Great Train Robbers, escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom.
  • 1969 – Violence erupts after the Apprentice Boys of Derry march in Derry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom resulting in a three-day communal riot known as the Battle of the Bogside; this is the first of these historical events of which I have some vague personal memory of contemporary awareness—I was with my grandparents in London that August—we were staying at the Savoy Hotel—I was nine and misbehaving and my grandfather offered me a hundred pounds if I would shut up at the dinner table and my grandmother made him pay when I did….they wanted to talk about the Protestant-Catholic conflict in Ireland and I have no idea what I was talking about.
  • 1976 – Between 1,000 and 3,500 Palestinians are killed in the Tel al-Zaatar massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the Lebanese Civil War
  • 1977 – The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
  • 1977 – The 1977 riots in Sri Lanka, targeting the minority Sri Lankan Tamil people, begin, less than a month after the United National Party came to power. Over 300 Tamils are killed.
  • 1978 – The Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China is signed.
  • 1980 – The Montevideo Treaty, establishing the Latin American Integration Association, is signed.
  • 1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.
  • 1982 – Mexico announces it is unable to pay its enormous external debt, marking the beginning of a debt crisis that spreads to all of Latin America and the Third World.  This is the event on this list I remember most clearly—I was in Merida, Yucatan, after my first summer at Chichen Itza, and when President Jose Lopez-Portillo nationalized the banks a few weeks later, I was there for the incredible panic and crisis, and the eerie scene of all the bank facades being draped in immense Mexican flags….

Happy Birthday to Patricia K. Anderson

Assistant Director of the Harvard/Peabody Museum/Bowditch Fund-National Geographic Society-National Science Foundation-Zemurray Foundation Archaeological at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, México, 1982-1987, later director of Yulá Archaeological Survey and Founder of Anthropozoology, and Professor of Anthropology & Sociology at Western Illinois University—also a marvelous artist and humorist.