27 February 2014

America is Beautiful, Corrections and Additions

I was looking over one of my other articles (“Colonialization of the Americas, and the Growth of the American Empire”: http://notesfromtheninthcircle.blogspot.com/2011/08/colonialization-of-americas-and-growth.html) and found information that I need to correct an error and to make a couple of additions.

First, the Norse outpost in Newfoundland, which they called Vinland, began as a permanent settlement that lasted ten years.  It was first founded about 1000 CE.

Second, while the Spanish were indeed the first Europeans to settle in the Age of Exploration, the colony founded in 1559 by Tristan de Luna was not the first.

In 1526, Luca Vazquez de Ayllon established the colony of San Miguel de Gualdape at or near Sapelo Island, Georgia, with 600 settlers.  However, hardships including a harsh winter and trouble with natives led to the effort being deserted after three months.  They did, however, bequeath a lasting legacy in that they were the first to name the region Carolina, for Charles I & V of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.

More notable, especially this month of February in its role as Black History Month, were events connected to a portion of the San Miguel de Gualdape population.

A hundred of these settlers were slaves brought from Africa to help build the colony.  One of the main reasons for the colony’s failure was the first slave revolt in American history, by its first African slaves.  Victorious, the slaves faded into the forest and from history.  There is no record of what became of them, but those that survived are the first non-native Americans in the later United States.

If you happen to look at the original entry again (“America is Beautiful”: http://notesfromtheninthcircle.blogspot.com/2014/02/america-is-beautiful.html), you will find I have made the corrections there.


24 February 2014

Me in spacetime

I am Robert Charles “Chuck” Hamilton, III, of the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, species Homo sapiens, genus Homo, subtribe Hominina, tribe Hominini, subfamily Homininae, family Homininidae, superfamily Hominoidea, order Primates, subclass Theria, class Mammalia, subphylum Vertebrata, phylum Chordata, subkingdom Eumetazoa, kingdom Animalia, and domain Eukaryota.

I was born at 5 o’clock AM on the 27th day of the sixth month on the Gregorian calendar in the third year of the seventh decade of the twentieth century of the Common Era during the Age of Pisces in the Anthropocene Chron of the Subtlantic Stage in the Holocene Epoch of the Quartenary Period during the Cenozoic Era of the Phanerozoic Eon in the Current Supereon, during Galactic Year (GY) 20, in the 13.8 billionth year of the metric expansion of spacetime since the most recent Big Bang.

At present, I live at GPS coordinates 35.0464593/-85.3013331000000 (35° 2' 47.2535"N x 85° 18' 4.7992"W) in the neighborhood of Old East Side, in the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, State of Tennessee, United States of America, North America portion of the Laurentian Craton, on Planet Terra, in the Solar Star System of the Local Interstellar Cloud in the Local Bubble of the Gould Belt in the Orion Spur of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Local Group (in the Virgo Cluster of of the Laniakea supercluster of the 213 duovigintillion (213 with 69 zeroes) cubic kilometers of present spacetime.

All of this belongs in this Universe (“The Cosmos”) of this Multiverse (all universes connected to our own) in the Omniverse (the whole of causally-connected spacetime).


19 February 2014

A Brief History of Iran's so-called "Reformists"

“Our position has been and will be clear: Islam, revolution and the Islamic Republic.” – Mohammad Khatami, 12 January 2010 (22 Dey 1388)

“The Green Movement’s main goal has always been to revive the ideals and aspirations of Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution." – Mir Hossein Moussavi, 14 February 2011 (25 Bahman 1389)

“I remain faithful to the ideals of Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution of 1357.” – Mehdi Karroubi, 14 February 2011 (25 Bahman 1389)

Foreword

Considering the verbal support given on the anniversary of their house arrest by Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, and the U.S. State Department to prominent members of the so-called “leaders” of the so-called “opposition”—Mir Hossein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard—I thought it might be helpful to look again at that exactly their “opposition means”. 

Among the founders of Iran’s “reform” movement are the Butcher of Evin, the Hanging Judge of the Revolutionary Courts, the founder of the hezbollahi, the two founders of VEVAK, the man who suggested the Iranian Cultural Revolution, the first minister of culture and “Islamic guidance”, the man responsible for the Mecca Massacre, and the prime minister who presided over the Cultural Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the unnecessary extension of the Iran-Iraq War, and the Prison Massacres of 1988.

The two quotes above are from the last public statements of Moussavi and Karroubi before the beginning of their house arrest.  It doesn’t sound to me like they are opposed to much of anything the Islamic Republic has done in or to Iran and are seeking a return to the “Golden Age” of the Islamic Republic, when they were in almost complete control and when the regime’s worst abuses occurred and when it perpetrated its worst crimes against humanity.  For Moussavi, Karroubi, Rahnavard, and their allies in the so-called “reformist” movement, this is what they want to go back to.

Moussavi, Karroubi, and Rahanavard have indeed been unjustly held without charge, but there are many, many more persons held in actual prisons, tortured, raped, and executed, much more needful and deserving of the efforts of the above organizations.  And please, people, these three have little interest other than serving their own ambitions, so stop calling them by the designation “leaders” or even “opposition”.

In each and every one of the major atrocities and crimes against humanity, the Followers of the Line of the Imam, now “reformists” were at the forefront: the subversion of the workers movement, the persecution of the secularists, the early purges, the revolutionary courts, the hezbollahi, the Cultural Revolution, the Sepahi, the Basiji, VEVAK, the Reign of Terror, the unnecessary continuation of the Iran-Iraq War, the Prison Massacres, institutionalization of prison rape (really, by fatwa no less), and countless mass murders.  Moussavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard do not deserve freedom; they should be tried for crimes against humanity before the International Court at The Hague.

Introduction

In the early days of the Islamic Republic, the faction known as the Followers of the Line of the Imam, or the Maktabis (Radicals), dominated nearly every aspect of the regime.

It included all those who have deceptively rebranded themselves as reformists and also Hojat-al Islam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and, Hojat al-Islam Ali Hosseini Khamenei.

And others, such as Mohammad Beheshti, Morteza Motahhari, Hossein Ali Montazeri Najafabadi, Ayatollah Mohammad Mofatteh, Mohammad Javad Bahonar, Sadegh Khalkhali, Asadollah Lajaverdi, Mohammad Montazeri (son of Hossein Ali), and Mehdi Hashemi.

The undisputed leader of the Followers of the Line of the Imam at the time was Ahmad Moussavi Khomeini, son of the Grand Ayatollah and his chief-of-staff.

Their rivals in the Revolution, and later in the Majlis and government, were usually referred to as the Hojjattiyeh, after a conservative society later dissolved in 1983.

The early years

The earliest important Revolution-era association was the Jame'e-e Rowhaniyat-e Mobarez (Combatant Clergy Association), established in late fall 1978.

Founding included: Beheshti, Motahhari, Mohammad Reza Madavi Kani, Abdolkarim Moussavi Ardebili, Montazeri Najafabadi, Mofatteh, Javad Bahonar, Hosseini Khamenei, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karroubi.

An older and covert organization was the Fedayan-e Islam. That group’s founder had been executed in 1955, but Moussavi Khomeini instructed his followers Sadegh Khalkhali (later known as the “Hanging Judge”) and Asadollah Lajaverdi (later known as the “Butcher of Evin”) to revive the group.

Both now deceased, Khalkhali and Lajaverdi remained staunch Followers of the Line of the Imam for the rest of their lives and were charter members of the later “reform movement”.
The real organ of Khomeinist doctrine that was not exclusively clerical was the Islamic Republic Party, founded 18 February 1979 by the following men:

Mohammad Beheshti
Mir Hossein Moussavi
Ali Hosseini Khamenei
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Mohammad Javad Bohanar
Abdolkarim Moussavi Ardebili
Hojat al-Islam Hassan Ayat
Mohammad Ali Rajai
Hassan Habibi

Of course, the Party grew and its Central Committee soon numbered many more men. In time, it obtained a monopolistic chokehold on the country of Iran similar to what the Bolshevik Party had in the early Soviet Union.

Almost immediately after its organization, its Central Committee charged later reform movement stalwart Hadi Ghaffari with organizing the Hezbollahi (Party of God), its version of the Nazi Party’s Brownshirts.

Six days before, Ruhollah Moussavi Khomeini had tasked Ayatollah Madavi Kani with organizing the Central Revolutionary Komiteh to gain control over the komitehs around the country and purge them of the ideologically unreliable.

Among the later “reformists” who served with the Central Revolutionary Komiteh were Mehdi Karroubi, Mohammad Khatami, Dr. Saeed Hajjarian, Dr. Behzad Nabavi, and Hojat al-Islam Hadi Ghaffari.

When Rahbar-e Enghelab (Leader of the Revolution) Moussavi Khomeini announced the organization of the Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami (Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution), it was the Mohammad Beheshti and Mohammad Montazeri who oversaw it for the shadow government.

In the first round of the first Majlis elections under the Islamic Republic, the Party was surprised by the showing of candidates supported by it enemies, primarily the Mojahedin-e Khalq. Member Dr. Mostafa Moin suggested ideologically purging universities of elements not sufficiently supportive of their goals.

Holy Councils of Reconstruction were established in each institution, and the Basij-e Mostazafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) was established to assist.

The Iranian Cultural Revolution shut universities for two years, purged tens of thousands of liberal and leftist instructors and staff, and replaced of student organizations with “Islamic Student Associations”.

Dr. Moin, by the way, was the candidate for the united reformist front in the 2005 presidential elections, as well as of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front and the reformist Association of Combatant Clerics individually.

The Cultural Revolution Headquarters was established 12 June 1980 with the following men in its ranks:

Ali Hosseini Khamenei
Mohammad Javad Bohanar
Ahmad Ahmadi
Abdolkharim Soroush
Jalaleddin Farsi
Mehdi Golshani
Hassan Habibi
Ali Shariatmadari
Mostafa Moin
Hassan Arefi
Mohammad Ali Najafi
Asadollah Lajaverdi
Mir Hossein Moussavi

Not long afterward, Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded, beginning the Iran-Iraq War. The Followers of the Line of the Imam, with the connivance of their Imam, the Rahbar-e Enghelab, pushed to extend the war even past the eight times there was a serious chance for a cessation of hostilities. They used it to cement their control domestically.

With the advent of the Reign of Terror, Sadegh Khalkhali was returned to his post as Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor, which he held until 1985. The conductors of this early purge, which lasted from Banisadr’s ouster in June 1981 through December 1982, were either Followers of the Line of the Imam or acting on their orders.

Between 3000 and 5000 individuals were murdered during this time.

The split in the regime

Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Khamenei began forming their own faction in the regime after the appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as Deputy Leader in 1985. Ahmad Khomeini soon came over to the Hezbollah (Party of God), not to be confused the loose Iranian militia by the same name.

The Hezbollah soon gained a majority in the Conservative Clergy Association by alliance with the Hojjattiyeh. In the Islamic Republican Party, however, they were vastly outnumbered them. Fearing the party under the control of Prime Minister Moussavi, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ahmad Khomeini recommended the Party’s dissolution to the Rahbar-e Enghelab in 1987. He gave his consent.

The Maktabi minority in the Conservative Clergy Association earlier began meeting apart under the overall leadership of Deputy Speaker Mehdi Karroubi.

Still at the head of government, Mir Hossein Moussavi was now undisputed leader of the Followers of the Line of the Imam along with Mehdi Karroubi.

That’s right, in 1988 the Followers of the Line of the Imam were now led by the Dynamic Duo of Prime Minister Moussavi and Deputy Speaker Karroubi.

Karroubi and his associates made themselves publicly known as the Majma-e Rowhaniyun-e Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics) on 16 March 1988. Its founders were:

Mehdi Karroubi, secretary-general 1988-2005
Mohammad Moussavi Khoeiniha, secretary-general 2005-2010
Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur, secretary-general 2010-present
Mohammad Khatami
Sadegh Khalkhali
Hadi Ghaffari
Hadi Hosseini Khamenei (brother of the current Rahbar-e Enghelab)
Abdollah Nuri
Abdolkarim Moussavi Ardebili
Jalali Khomeini
Mohammad Hossein Rahimian
Asadollah Bayat Zanjani
Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari
Mohammad Ali Sadoughi
Ali Asqar Rahmani Khalili
Mohammad Ali Abtahi
Majid Ansari
Mohammad Hashemi
Rasoul Montajab Nia
Mohammad Reza Ashtiani
Mahmoud Doa’i
Mohammad Reyshahri

Several months later, on 18 July 1988, the Rahbar-e Enghelab ordered that the previously issued fatwa ordering the execution of every Monafeqin (Mujahedin-e Khalq) in Iran’s prisons, and another for the execution of the majority of the Mortads (leftists) should be carried out immediately and swiftly.

Sometime before, he had introduced his plan months before, to these six men:

Ali Hosseini Khamenei, President of the Islamic Republic
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Speaker of the Majlis
Mohammad Khatami, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance
Abdolkarim Moussavi Ardebili, Chief Revolutionary Justice
Mohammad Moussavi Khoeiniha, Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor
Ahmad Khomeini, the Leader’s chief-of-staff

The Rahbar-e Enghelab personally assigned implementation of the fatwas to Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor Moussavi Khoeiniha, future secretary-general of the reformist flagship Association of Combatant Clerics.

As Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance future “reformist” President and party leader Khatami was heavily involved with the prison massacres, as was Moussavi Ardebili, who has been retired from political life since Ruhollah Moussavi Khomeini’s death.

Mir Hossein Moussavi was Prime Minister at the time.

Mehdi Karroubi was Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur, current Secretary-General of the Association of Combatant Clerics, was Minister of the Interior.

Mohammad Reyshahri was Minister of Intelligence.

Saeed Hajjarian was Vice Minister of Intelligence and National Security for Political Affairs.

The massacres lasted from 20 July 1988 through 10 April 1989. Between 4500 and 33,700 were murdered.

In 1991, Behzad Nabavi revived the Sazman-e Mojahedin-e Enghelab-e Eslami (Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization). It had earlier fallen apart due to the same ideological conflicts which had doomed the Islamic Republican Party.

Exile and return

In 1992, then President Hashemi Rafsanjani used the Council of Guardians to disqualify Maktabi candidates from running in elections for the Majlis, which they had controlled since its beginning.

For the next eight years, they were shut out of power.

Soon afterwards, Saeed Hajjarian formed the Center for Strategic Studies to plan for a return to power for the Followers of the Line of the Imam and came up with the idea of a “reformist” movement as a way of getting back into power.

In 1997, his ally Mohammad Khatami was elected President. In 2000, control of the Majlis returned to the Maktabis.

The so-called reform movement proved a disappointment and a failure.

Primary organizations of the “reformists”, or Followers of the Line of the Imam

Daftare Tahkeeme Vahdat (Office for the Consolidation of Unity), founded 10 September 1979

Majma-e Rowhaniyun-e Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics), founded 16 March 1988

Sazman-e Mojahedin-e Enghelab-e Eslami (Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization), founded 1979, dissolved 1985, revived 1991

Center for Strategic Studies, established in 1992

Jebhe-e Mosharekat-e Iran-e Eslami (Islamic Iran Participation Front), founded 23 August 1998

Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, established 2000

Etemad-e Melli (National Trust Party), founded 2005

Rahe Sabz Omid (Green Path of Hope Party), founded 2009

Kaleme News (attached to the office of Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei)

Saham News (attached to the office of Medhi Karroubi)

Jaras

Rasa-TV

Tahavol-e Sabz

Leading reformist figures with a brief outline of their careers

Mr. MIR HOSSEIN MOUSSAVI:
Council of Islamic Revolution, 1979-1981
Political Secretary of the Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1981
Central Committee member of the Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Editor-in-chief of the Islamic Republic, 1979-1981
Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1981
President of Cultural Revolution Headquarters, 1981
Prime Minister, 1981-1989
Rahbar-e Enghelab’s representative to the Mostazafin Foundation, 1981-1989
President of the Economy Council, 1982-1989
Expediency Discernment Council, 1987-present
Senior advisor to President Hashemi Rafasnjani, 1989-1999
Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, (1996-present)
Senior advisor to President Khatami, 1997-2005
President of the Iranian Academy of Arts, 2000-2009
Presidential candidate, 2009
Leader, Green Path of Hope Party, 2009-present

Hojat al-Islam MEHDI KARROUBI :
Combatant Clerics Association, 1977-1988
Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Central Revolutionary Komiteh, 1979-1980
Chairman, Martyrs’ Foundation, 1979-1992
Chairman, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee
Chairman, Housing Foundation Majlis Deputy, 1980-2005
Deputy Speaker of the Majlis, 1985-1989
Chairman of the Pilgrimage Foundation, 1985-1990
Secretary-General, Association of Combatant Clerics, 1988-2005
Speaker of the Majlis, 1989-1992 & 2000-2004
Presidential candidate, 2005
Secretary-General, National Trust Party, 2005-present
Presidential candidate, 2009
Central Committee, Green Path of Hope Party, 2010-present

ZAHRA RAHNAVARD BOROUJERDI:
Co-founder, Women’s Society of the Islamic Revolution, June 1981, founded in support of the
ongoing Cultural Revolution
Chancellor, Al Zahra University, 1998-2006
Central Committee, Green Path of Hope Party, 2009-present

Hojat al-Islam Mohammad Khatami:
Combatant Clerics Association (1977-1988)
Central Committee, Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Central Revolutionary Komiteh, 1979-1980
Majlis Deputy, 1980-1982
Islamic Republican Party supervisor of Kayhan, 1981-1982
Cultural Revolution Headquarters, 1980-1983
Minister of Culture and Guidance, 1982-1992
Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, 1983-1992
Director of Cultural Affairs, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1982-1988
War Propaganda Headquarters, 1982-1988
Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, 1982-1988
Association of Combatant Clerics, 1988-present
Head, National Library of Iran, 1992-1997
President of the Islamic Republic, 1997-2005
Islamic Iran Participation Front, 1998-present
Chairman, Central Council, Association of Combatant Clerics, current
Chairman, Central Council, Islamic Iran Participation Front, current

Hojat al-Islam Mohammad Moussavi Khoeiniha:
Combatant Clergy Association, 1978-1988
Central Committee, Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Islamic Republican Party representative to hostage-takers, 1979-1981
Deputy Speaker of the Majlis, 1980-1985
Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor, 1981-1982
Chairman of the Pilgrimage Foundation, 1982-1985
Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor, 1985-1989
Association of Combatant Clergy, 1988-present
Secretary-General, Association of Combatant Clergy, 2005-2010

Dr. Saeed Hajjarian:
Central Committee, Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Central Revolutionary Komiteh, 1979-1984
U.S. Embassy hostage taker, 1979-1981
Vice Minister of Intelligence and National Security for Political Affairs, 1984-1989
Chairman, Institute for Strategic Studies, 1992-present
Political advisor to President Khatami, 1997-2005
Central Council, Islamic Iran Participation Front, 1998-present

Hojat al-Islam Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur:
Office of Islamic Liberation Movements, 1979-1984
Bureau of Assistance to the Islamic and Liberation Movements of the World, 1984-1985
Minister of the Interior, 1985-1988
Lebanon desk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1988-1989
Association of Combatant Clerics, 1988-present
Majlis Deputy, 1990-present
Secretary-General, Association of Combatant Clerics, 2010-present

Ayatollah Abdolkarim Moussavi Ardebili:
Combatant Clergy Association, 1978-1988
Central Committee, Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor, 1981
Chief Justice, 1981-1989
Association of Combatant Clerics, 1988-1989
Expediency Discernment Council, 1987-1989

Hojat al-Islam Sadegh Khalkhali:
Leader, Fedayan al-Islam
Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor, 1979-1980 & 1981-1985
Majlis Deputy, 1985-1992
Association of Combatant Clerics, 1988-2003

Dr. Behzad Nabavi:
Central Revolutionary Komiteh, 1979-1985
Central Committee, Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Founder, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, 1979-1986
Spokesman for the U.S. Embassy hostage takers, 1979-1981
Founder, Intelligence Office of the President, 1980
Economic Council, 1980-1988
Minister of Industry and Mines, 1985-1989
Central Committee, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, 1991-present
Deputy Speaker of the Majlis, 2000-2004

Dr. Mostafa Moin:
Central Committee, Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Cultural Revolution Headquarters, 1980-1983
Majlis Deputy, 1982-1989
Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, 1983-present
Chancellor, Shiraz University, 1979-1982
Minister of Culture and Higher Education, 1989-1993 & 1997-2000
Minister of Science, Research, and Technology, 2000-2005
Presidential candidate, 2005

Hojat al-Islam Hadi Ghaffari:
Combatative Clergy Association, 1978-1988
Central Revolutionary Komiteh, 1979-1988
Islamic Republican Party, 1979-1987
Supervisor, Hezbollah, 1979-1988
Association of Combative Clerics, 1988-present
Majlis Deputy, 1988-present
Chair, Al-Hadi Foundation, 1997-2005

Fatemeh Karroubi:
Deputy Minister for Social Affairs, 1997-2005
Secretary-General, Islamic Association of Women, 1997-present


Afterword

My disparagement of the reformists in the Islamic Republic of Iran is limited to the level of national leadership.  These “leaders” believe their followers exist to provide them with power and influence.  In contrast, most of the reformists below that level, the “mid-level management” as it were, sincerely want a better life for the citizens of Iran.  They believe their position exists to provide the people, all Iran’s people, with freedom.  In case you’re wondering, yes, that is a paraphrase of one of William Wallace’s speeches in “Braveheart”.

APPENDIX:

For more information on the Iranian Revolution and the early Islamic Republic, see my “Outline of the Iranian Revolution and the early Islamic Republic” at http://notesfromtheninthcircle.blogspot.com/2011/06/outline-of-iranian-revolution-and-early.html

See also:

The Myth of Autocracy, by Nuray Mert

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-myth-of-autocracy.aspx?pageID=449&nID=37487&NewsCatID=406

Ms. Mert's excellent article is about Turkey and the political situation there, but has truths that inspired me to repost and slightly rewrite this article.  Without the Followers of the Line of the Imam who in the 1990's whitewashed themselves as "reformists", Khomeini never would have become the absolute autocrat that he was and the Islamic Republic not as complete in its tyranny.

17 February 2014

America is Beautiful

There has been way too much shrill, screechy, hysterical chatter from right-wing talking heads and politicos over the debut during the Superbowl of the very well done Coca-Cola commercial “America is Beautiful”. 

The commercial in question featured scenes from across the country to the tune of the first stanza of “America the Beautiful” sung in eight different languages.  Almost as if in answer to the combined hopes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, The Young Turks, and the folks at The Onion, figures such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Allen West quickly jumped to condemn it.

The objections of most of the commentators centered around the stanza being sung in seven languages in addition to English and that America the Beautiful is a “Christian” song.  Of course, many also pointed out and objected most strenuously to a family in the commercial of which a same-sex couple was head.  Their overall claims seem to be that “America the Beautiful” is for white (with certain exceptions like ex-Rep. West), English-speaking, native-born, fundamentalist Christian, heterosexual Americans of the extreme conservative variety and for none other.

In truth, each language used in the commercial belongs to a group with a lengthy history in the land that is now the United States of America, some longer than the English.  There were eight in all:  English, Senegalese French, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Keres, and Tagalog.

Katherine Lee Bates, author of the song’s lyrics as well as the person who made Mrs. Santa Claus more than a shadow figure, lived for 25 years in conjugal bliss with another woman, Katharine Coman, professor of history and political economy (founder of the college’s economics department) at Wellesley College, where Bates was professor of English Literature.

Ms. Bates, a Republican until 1924, did not write “America the Beautiful” to promote the kind of ethnic and national chauvinism advocated by the detractors of the Coca-Cola commercial and which was rising in the country at the time (1893).  Rather, inspired by the view from the top of Pike’s Peak, the purpose of the song was an invitation and inclusion as a contrast to the jingoist trends of the 1890’s, in the same vein in which Christian socialist Francis Bellamy first composed the Pledge of Allegiance.

To refresh your memory or enlighten your unawareness, let me share Bellamy’s original text as he first wrote it in 1892:  “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty, equality, fraternity, and justice for all”.

Italians actually forged the way for European exploration into (some might instead say “invasion of”) the West.  The three most important milestones in the earliest stages were performed by pilot-cartographer-navigators from three different Italian maritime merchant republics.

In 1492, Cristoforo Colombo (aka Christopher Columbus) of the Republic of Genoa, sailing under a patent from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela of Spain, landed at an island in the Caribbean Sea.  Even after four voyages to the Caribbean, some of which included landfall in Central and South America, he remained convinced this was merely the extreme east of Asia.

In 1497, Zuan Chabotto (aka John Cabot) of the Republic of Venice, sailing under a patent from King Henry VII of England, made landfall in North America, most often identified as being at Newfoundland though no sure evidence of the exact location is known.

In 1502, Amerigo Vespucci of the Republic of Florence, serving as navigator in a fleet from Portugal, sailed far enough down the coast of South America and charted enough stars to determine that the landmass to his starboard (right) was completely separate from the Afro-Eurasian landmass.  A New World, as it were.

Of course, all of these were preceded five centuries, half a millennium, by the Norse who established colonies in Greenland, part of North America, as early as the late 10th century.  These Norse had outposts and camps on the mainland in the vicinity of Newfoundland, which the Norse knew as Vinland.  When first discovered, Vinland became a permanent colony that lasted for an entire decade, but afterwards became nothing more than a port of call.

The Greenland settlements of the Norse, and therefore their mainland outposts, died out with the population around 1400 due to starvation because their agriculture failed and they were too proud and “too Christian” to accept advice and help from their “heathen” Inuit neighbors.

Now back to the commercial.  Let’s start with the most recently arrived language and work backwards in order by which they were spoken by permanent settlers.

Tagalog is the “youngest” of the languages in the video in relation to the U.S.A. 

Tagalog is the language in the Philippines native to the Southern Tagalog region on Luzon and the basis for the national language, Filipino.  Filipinos did not have to immigrate to America, America advanced its western borders to take in the Philippines in 1898, though it did so without granting the country’s residents U.S. citizenship.

From that year until 1946, the Philippines Islands, along with Guam, were territory of the U.S.A., though its residents were not exactly citizens of the country.  Their money, however, clearly gave the name of their country as United States of America, including 1946, like the quarter from that year that my former mother-in-law gave me as a wedding present.

Mandarin is the next most recent arrival. 

The Chinese began appearing in Alta California in the 1820’s, when it was still part of New Spain.  The first major wave, however, began in 1849 with the California Gold Rush.  After the Civil War, another wave built the railroads of the West, most notably the transcontinental line of which the final spike was driven in 1869. 

These Chinese laborers were the Western counterpart of the Irish who built much of the railway system east of the Mississippi, like the laborers who completed the lines of the Western & Atlantic and the East Tennessee and Georgia into Chattanooga in the 1850’s, at least one of whom was an ancestor of mine.

The language used in the Coca-Cola commercial next most recent in arrival is Hindi. 

East Indians, meaning those from the Asian subcontinent, were recorded in the English settlement of Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia as early as 1634.

Speakers of Hebrew, at least as a religious language, first settled in large numbers in the later U.S.A. in the late 16th century,

Marranos, as they were called, formed the largest number of settlers in the newly founded New Spain province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.  Many of colonists in New Mexico descended from Jewish converts to Catholicism during the Reconquista of the Iberian peninsula, suspected the penalty for being found out (burning at the stake), one can hardly blame the discretion.  Some 1500 Hispanic families currently in New Mexico are descended from original Marrano settlers.

In the English colonies, the center for Jewish settlement was Charlestown, capital of the Colony of Carolina and later of South Carolina.  In its founding charter in 1663, Carolina guaranteed religious freedom to all, including “Jews, heathens, and dissidents”.  It was by far the most liberal law on freedom of religion in the colonies.  Charlestown remained the center of Jewish life in the later U.S.A. through the 1830’s.

Arabic arrived in the later Contiguous 48 with slaves brought over by the Spanish to Florida from West Africa, between ten and twenty percent of whom were Muslims. 

However, daily speakers of Arabic did not settle until 1586.  In that year, the privateer Francis Drake sailed to the Caribbean with a large fleet after raiding the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa, where he captured and razed the Spanish settlements at Cartagena, Colombia, and San Agustin in Florida.  In addition to these attacks, his forces fought sea battles and destroyed a number of Spanish galleys at sea, taking aboard the surviving galley slaves. 

To these he added the African slaves taken from the vicinity of San Agustin.  Partners with Walter Raleigh, he then proceeded to Roanoke with the freed slaves whom he identified in his records as “Turks, Moors, Greeks, Frenchmen, and Negroes”. 

Various accounts give their number as being from 200 to 1200; most likely the figure was 600-800.  These disembarked at Roanoke in order to bolster the personnel at the base there.  No record exists of what became of them, but some speculate that it was these may have become the basis of the Lumbee and Melungeon peoples.

English is the sixth-most recent of the eight languages used in the stanza of “America the Beautiful” used in the Coca-Cola commercial. 

By comparison to Spain, and France, the English were Johnny-come-latelys.  Though Zuan Chabotto’s 1497 expedition was English-patented, it only made a temporary landfall.  The first permanent settlement was the base at Roanoke Island in 1585, established for privateers raiding the Spanish Caribbean trade.  The first venture failed the next year, followed by the second in the same location in 1587, which became the famous Lost Colony whose members went to live with the Croatan Indians.

The first lasting settlement by the English in what became the U.S.A., of course, was at Jamestown in modern Virginia.  The Colony of Virginia embraced, or at least claimed, the modern states of Virginia, West Virginia (until the Civil War), the Carolinas (until these were detaches as a separate colony), and Bermuda, plus adjacent lands.  Founded in 1607 by profit-seeking adventurers, its main export became the drug nicotine in the form of tobacco.

French was the second European language spoken by permanent settlers in the later United States, represented in the song by the Senegalese-French dialect.

Though the Spanish mounted several expeditions into the interior of the Southeast and made two attempts at colonization, they were not moved to re-establish a permanent presence until the French did so first at Charlesfort on Parris Island and Fort Carolina near Jacksonville, Florida, in 1562.  The French named their colony Carolina after their king, Charles IX.

Three years afterwards, the Spanish destroyed the French colony’s settlements, later building Santa Elena on Parris Island and San Mateo where Fort Carolina had been in addition to the new settlement at San Agustin. 

Interestingly, though the whole was named La Florida, the Spanish kept the name Carolina for the northern region in honor of Charles V.  When its southern territory was detached from Virginia for a new colony in 1663, it was named Carolina for Charles II of England.

There are, by the way, four major dialects of French native to the Continental U.S.: New England French, Missouri French, and Louisiana French, of which there are two major subdivisions, Louisiana Creole and Cajun French. New England French is related to Quebecois; Missouri French was once spoken across Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri; Louisiana Creole developed in the south of French Louisiana; Cajun French derives from Acadian French and arrived with refugees fleeing the Grand Derangement in 1755.

The arrival of French in North America predates that of English by three-quarters of a century, and as for the Senegalese dialect represented in the commercial, no one can argue that Africans were not part of the American fabric from earliest days.

Spanish in the Contiguous 48 as a language spoken by permanent settlers dates from a quarter of a century before the French.  In 1526, Luca Vazquez de Ayllon established the colony of San Miguel de Gualdape at or near Sapelo Island, Georgia, with 600 settlers.  However, hardships including a harsh winter and trouble with natives led to the effort being deserted after three months.  They did, however, bequeath a lasting legacy in that they were the first to name the region Carolina, for Charles I & V of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.

A hundred of these settlers were slaves brought from Africa to help build the colony.  One of the main reasons for the colony’s failure was the first slave revolt in American history, by its first African slaves.  Victorious, the slave faded into the forest and from history.  There is no record of what became of them, but those that survived are the first non-native Americans in the later United States.

Three years before the French established their colony of Carolina, another expedition, this time by Tristan de Luna, landed in Pensacola Bay and travelled up the Alabama River to establish the colony of Santa Cruz at the former native town of Nanipacana.  This one lasted over a year before abandonment.

Spanish Florida occupied Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Before the foundation of the English colonies and their subsequent expansion, Carolina and Ajacan (Virginia) were also part of Florida.  In fact, the original capital of Florida was at Santa Elena on Parris Island, which had satellite forts well into the interior, as far as East Tennessee (San Pablo).

In the West, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, of which Florida was part, and later Republic of Mexico provinces of Alta California, Nuevo Mexico, and Tejas took in what are now California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Texas, as well as parts of the later U.S. states of Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska.

New Spain also took in the Spanish East Indies, the Philippine and Marianas Islands in the Western Pacific, both of which were lost to the U.S.A. in the Spanish-American War of 1898.  The Republic of the Philippines gained its independence in 1946; the Marianas Islands, which include the Northern Marianas and Guam, remain U.S. territory and their residents now citizens of the U.S.A.

The Spanish West Indies, also part of New Spain, included Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and other islands and archipelagoes.  Of these, Puerto Rico had remained U.S. territory since 1898, its residents U.S. citizens, Spanish-speaking as their ancestors were.

Keres, a Native American language whose roots date back to the almost mythical Anasazi of the Southwest, has been spoken there for over two millennia.  Today the Keres are a nation of Pueblo Indians living in northern New Mexico.

Except for Native Americans/American Indians (contrary to the politically-correct enforcement brigade, the 500 Nations themselves use both), we are all creoles.  The word “creole” is the French version of the Spanish “criollo, a person of non-native ethnicity born in the “colony” rather than in the homeland of his or her ancestors.




Declaration of Independence, core preamble

After reading several articles earlier this morning that have emphasized even more to me just how abusive and corrupt the current government of Turkey is and left no about that the current direction of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is toward an Islamic Republic of Turkey, I felt moved to post this part of the American Declaration of Independence and dedicate it to the freedom movement in Turkey.  Well, not just dedicate it, but offer it as a suggestion.  Under a Parliamentary system in which a vote a no confidence can be called at any time, the suggestion cannot even really be called "sedition", despite what the wannabe sultan Erdogan might think.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

See also:

The Myth of Autocracy

by Nuray Mert

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-myth-of-autocracy.aspx?pageID=449&nID=37487&NewsCatID=406

15 February 2014

Undeath (poem)

(written in university)

In Babylon
There is no death
Because of this
There is no life

Airtight caskets
And concrete walls
Keep us out
Of the food chain

Which is also
Called by others
The sacred hoop
And circle of life

By holding back
Food for the worms
Life's sacred hoop
Is torn apart

And we find that
When the circle
Closes again
We are outside

In not dying
We cannot truly live
We Americans
Have all become
The walking undead

12 February 2014

Socialist Ten Commandments

(From the Socialist Sunday Schools of the early 20th century.)

1. Love your school companions, who will be your co-workers in life.

2. Love learning, which is the food of the mind; be as grateful to your teachers as to your parents.

3. Make every day holy by good and useful deeds and kindly actions.

4. Honour good men and women; be courteous to all; bow down to none.

5. Do not hate or speak evil of any one; do not be revengeful, but stand up for your rights and resist oppression.

6. Do not be cowardly. Be a good friend to the weak, and love justice.

7. Remember that all good things of the earth are produced by labour. Whoever enjoys them without working for them is stealing the bread of the workers.

8. Observe and think in order to discover the truth. Do not believe what is contrary to reason, and never deceive yourself or others.

9. Do not think that they who love their own country must hate and despise other nations, or wish for war, which is a remnant of barbarism.

10. Look forward to the day when all men and women will be free citizens of one community, and live together as equals in peace and righteousness.


10 February 2014

Vote 'Yes' for UAW, Chattanooga

In his first State of the Union message, Abraham Lincoln our 16th President of the United States, said, “Labor is prior to, and independent of, Capital.  Capital is the only fruit of Labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed.  Labor is the superior of Capital, and deserves the much higher consideration.” The date was 3 December 1861.

Here in Chattanooga and Hamilton County the past year, we have been inundated with so many carpetbagging opponents of the card-holding majority of workers at the Volkswagen plant here that is makes Tropical Storm Sandy which hit Chris Christie’s State of New Jersey seem rather tame by comparison.  Notice I said “card-holding majority”.  Yes, a majority of workers at the VW plant here in Chattanooga already have cards with the union. 

The carpet-baggers to whom I referred have as their aim the subversion of that already established result.  Some of the more prominent outsiders have been from well-known Koch-affiliates, such as the National Right to Work Committee.  Don’t be fooled by the name; the phrase “right-to-work” is an Orwellian term of Stalinesque proportions.  The NRTWC’s legal team vigorously works to prevent labor from pursuing its right to work.  “Right-to-work” laws favor Lincoln’s Capital rather than his Labor.

Another carpet-bagging group is Grover Norquist’s “Center for Workers Freedom”, which has as much to do with the rights and interests of workers as the anti-abolition Knights of the Golden Circle had to do with freeing slaves in the ante-bellum years.  As Deep Throat advised Woodward and Bernstein in “All the President’s Men”, follow the money.

Naturally our business-oriented Governor, Bill Haslam, and our equally corporate-friendly U.S. Senator, Bob Corker, weighed in on what might seem the side of the poor, poor, pitiful underdog multibillion dollar conglomerate.  Tennessee House Majority Leader and former Southern Democrat Gerald McCormick agreed.

It is a bit odd, though, that not only have they taken a stance directly opposite that of the expressed will of the majority of workers at the plant (remember the card-holders), but these supposedly pro-business politicos also opposed the expressed will of the management and board of directors of the business in whose name they pontificate.

Perhaps the most insidious of the organizations standing in opposition to labor democracy is the one called Southern Momentum.  Though other members have been quoted in the media, its spokesperson is Maury Nicely, invariably called a “labor lawyer” in the media.  Since Mr. Nicely’s career has been built upon defending business against labor, that’s a bit like calling Vladimir Putin a gay rights activist.  Follow the money.

Please don’t get me wrong; I fully support the right of defendants, corporate or criminal and even criminal corporate, to utilize counsel in the forum of legal proceedings, and I understand Mr. Nicely is good at his job.  But what Mr. Nicely and his group advocate is the same as demanding his court opponents come to court unassisted by counsel of their own.   Denying workers their own representatives is the same as advocating defendants be denied access to an attorney, which would put Mr. Nicely out of a job.

One of the goals of detectives and agents of law enforcement agencies in interrogations is to bully, intimidate, trick, or otherwise dupe suspects into giving up their guaranteed constitutional rights.  For some reason, our legal system holds that this descent into the gutter doesn’t make our LEO’s any dirtier than those they target; in the UK, suspects cannot waive their rights until they have consulted an attorney. 

The onslaught taking place with Norquist’s 13 billboards and the rest of what I mentioned above is the attempt to do the same to the workers at the Chattanooga facility of Volkswagen Motors.  I urge you all to vote Yes, not only for yourselves and your families, but for all of the rest of us and for all those who have been the target of bullies.  After all, he who represents himself has a fool for a client.

It is quite fitting that the vote for representation of the workers at VW by the United Auto Workers begins on 12 February, the 205th birthday of the president who ended slavery in our country, and ironic too, considering his party has become what it is today.