‘The devil’s rope’| Bullsh*t | Got Class? | UBI | Baby Daddies | Bear’s Ears ++

I’m reading:

How the spread of barbed wire helped redraw the map of the USA.

96827134_hi019703274-2There was a reason they were so hungry for it.  A few years earlier, President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Homestead Act of 1862.

Uncharted territory

The act specified that any honest citizen – including women, and freed slaves – could lay claim to up to 160 acres (0.6 sq km) of land in America’s western territories. All they had to do was build a home there and work the land for five years.  The homesteading farmers were trying to stake out their property – property that had once been the territory of various Native American tribes. No wonder those tribes called barbed wire “the devil’s rope”.  READ UP: ‘The devil’s rope’: How barbed wire changed America – BBC News

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Scream it into the cake?

With a few notable exceptions, we should assume that any celebrity talking about “resistance” is actually pointing to limited change, and proceed with caution accordingly.  READ: A Resistance Led By Celebrities Will Always Be Bullshit | L.A. Weekly

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CLASS?

“What makes Currid-Halkett’s argument powerful is that she mines the data to prove that the members of this group are passing on their privilege to their children in just as pernicious a way as the old aristocrats passed on their estates and titles.”–Harry Wallop, The Times

“There is a lot to learn here about the contemporary face of income inequality.”–Publishers Weekly

“Social class is not produced through consumption but rather it is attained through the adoption of values and aesthetics and the ability to decipher symbols and signs beyond materialism,” writes Elizabeth Currid-Halkett in The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, published in May of this year by Princeton University Press. That’s true, and not news; mannerisms count. In the United States, new money has long been shunned by old, in part because new money sometimes found its way into the hands of non-whites and non-Protestants, and in part because people heady with fresh fortune tend to flaunt tacky taste. (They insist every room be gold, choose Orlando as the site for the country’s largest home, and flip tables when they’re angry.) But there’s class and then there’s class.

“The aspirational class is a big and powerful cultural formation,” she writes, and it’s a group that may be “even more pernicious than the superrich who are vilified in the media.” In alleged contrast to the superrich, the aspirational class is a threat because they “shore up their and their children’s distinct sociocultural (and often economic) position of privilege, leaving everyone else out.”

Rich people are notorious for being out of touch, but they’re not always completely stupid; flaunting wealth during a time of expanding economic inequality doesn’t just make you reviled, it may make you a target

READ: So You Think You’ve Got Class? – The New Inquiry

***** Universal Basic Income

Around the world, there is a lot of buzz around the idea of universal basic income (also known as “unconditional basic income” or UBI). It can take different forms or vary in the details, but in essence: UBI is the idea a government would pay all citizens, employed or not, a flat monthly sum to cover basic needs. This funding would come with no strings attached or special conditions, which would remove any potential stigma associated with receiving it. In short: it would be free money.

READ MORE on the FINNISH EXPERIMENT

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Baby Daddies and Dandy Scandals

Excerpt:

The case of dynastic gazillion-heirs Kate Rothschild and Ben Goldsmith’s recent public implosion made for startlingly expensive dirty linen. Repudiating their illustrious predecessors’ unwavering dedication to keeping up appearances, yet unwilling to settle for the unspeakably bourgeois condition of unhappy monogamy, 29-year-old Kate and 31-year-old Ben duked it out on Twitter this summer over Kate’s trysts with a hip-hop star. Her naughtiness was preceded, it emerged, by Ben cheating “several times” (including with Pippa Middleton, if tittle-tattle is to be believed). The fascination with which the English-speaking world greeted Kate and Ben’s deranged tweeting was all the greater, given their ilk’s usual ethos of “not in front of the servants.” Indeed, Rothschild family members have otherwise invariably shunned the limelight: in a rare 2010 newspaper interview, Kate’s uncle Jacob beseeched the journalist: “If you decide to write anything, I’d rather it wasn’t about me.” And Ben’s late father, litigious billionaire financier James Goldsmith, was once so outraged by a reporter’s personal question that he performed a citizen’s arrest.

Zac, Ben’s older brother, has inherited both his father’s privacy concerns, and his predilection for behavior that might call for privacy. Last year, Conservative MP Zac, 37, called for parliament to “design proper privacy laws” so that the media can’t “invade people’s privacy unless there’s good reason.” Whether snapping photos of Zac visiting Kate’s younger sister, Alice Rothschild, for an “afternoon of passion” constitutes good reason is a conundrum for sharper minds to ponder; suffice it to say that without the media glare directed on Zac’s extramarital activities, he may well not have divorced his wife, Sheherazade, but rather continued to exercise his genetic entitlement to sexual carte blanche.   MORE HERE

The Rothschild Family Are (still) the Wealthiest Family in Human History (really) – read this (top photo, family crest)

Despite the dilution of the Rothschild Family’s wealth, there are still a number of extraordinarily wealthy individuals bearing the Rothschild surname. The largest of these fortunes belongs to the British financier Jacob Rothschild, who is worth around $5 billion USD, whilst another British financier, Sir Evelyn De Rothschild, has a fortune of $20 billion USD.

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READ: Secretary Zinke Advises Trump to Leave a Legacy of Broken Promises with Tribes – Native News Online

Federal Protection For Utah National Monument Threatened

New Hampshire Public Radio

There are five Native American tribes whose homelands border the Bears Ears National Monument in Southeast Utah.

NOYES: Bears Ears National Monument is protected now, and it’s actually been 80 years in the making to realize its protection. And its ancestral lands of not only these five tribes but many other tribes who have built cliff dwellings here, who have recorded their histories, who visit the area to gather medicinal herbs, to hunt, to conduct ceremonies.

SIEGEL: Now, that was the case before it was declared a monument. What are the specific protections that came with monument status and that are at risk if they’re withdrawn?

NOYES: It’s had a lot of looting and grave robbing that’s been happening at the site – there’s approximately a hundred thousand archaeological sites in the region. And so people have been taking these sacred objects out of the area. And it’s also at increasing risk to uranium development, potash, oil and gas. And so there are a lot of threats to the area.

***White Nonsense Roundup on Facebook.

“Would You Be Interested in Getting (Atty Gen) William Wirt’s Head Back?” | News In The News | Fantasyland and more

Rebecca Roberts describes the theft of Attorney General William Wirt’s skull from his crypt in the Congressional Cemetery.

But no one ever accused Robert White of being a thief. It’s safer to bet that White bought Wirt’s skull for his collection. Perhaps surprisingly, it is entirely legal to sell and possess human bones in the United States. There are some exceptions; the bones of Native Americans are federally regulated, for instance, and certain municipalities (like New Orleans) and states (New York, Georgia, and Tennessee) have local restrictions. But by and large, when human skulls are for sale, it’s legal to buy them. Most buyers seek skulls for educational purposes, so price is driven more by quality than the identity of the skull. When Robert White was buying, a skull could be had for $100-$600. Since then, prices have tripled, because the two biggest sources of human bones, India and China, have both banned exports. If White discovered the existence of Wirt’s skull through his connections in the ‘head hunting’ world, he could have simply purchased it legally, and without breaking the bank.

READ: “Would You Be Interested in Getting (Attorney General) William Wirt’s Head Back?” Rebecca Roberts Brings Us a Tale From the Congressional Cemetery | In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress … By the way: William Wirt represented the Cherokee Nation in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, and Samuel Worcester in Worcester v. Georgia.

***NEW BOOK  Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America MORE

***White supremacy is in the DNA of this nation and has left its traces large and small across the commemorative landscape, shaping US history and identity.  READ

***As a society and a polity, the US has never been cured, never been treated, and it has never resolved its murderous racist history.  READ: The Invention of the White People | USA | Al Jazeera

5 ***** Must-read –> The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates has an eloquent essay on Donald Trump’s core ideology: “White supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power.” (audio too)

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By LT

History repeats like a cycle, a chugging churning wheel. And we can’t seem to grasp or adequately process this. Why? Maybe we are too busy surviving, working our butts off at minimum wages, maybe too tired to notice how this “repeat cycle” is centuries in the making.  (Picking up a history book? I don’t think many people would know where to start, what century or what account or story to trust.) If we know the truth, all of it, then we can see the cycle…

I woke up with this thought: When did we become elephants with chains around our feet? When did we get tricked into not knowing our own past, and America’s earliest days, the plant-the-flag mentality, and our own ancestors in its making? See the book description for Fantasyland below. (DNA is still news and Ancestry(dot) com is making millions for the Mormons – with slick TV ads and blood quantum charts. WOW! People are apparently driven by concern over blood and ancestry? Really?)

Photo (left):  Seated L-R Dr. Thomas Augustus Bland (1830-1908) and Oglala Chief Red Cloud (1822-1909) Standing:  Dr. Mary Cornelia Davis “Cora Bland” (1834-1919), interpreter Randall.  Courtesy of Daniel G.

My cousin Charlie and I started writing a research paper on the editors of Council Fire, a radical publication read by Native people [and our cousin and its editor Dr. Thomas Augustus Bland] – well this paper has grown to almost 200 pages (with footnotes). History is like that. It grows and grows once you start digging and chasing ghosts. (And you send emails to helpful historians who knew more than we did.) I will let you know when we get this novella-book done and how to read it. I never expected to feel so desperately sick in this process, doing research. It’s been a few years of work (but not every day.) I admit it was and is hard to sleep when some chapters are so brutal, violent, graphic and ultimately tragic (all researched and true accounts). I told Charles we might want to put a warning label in the introduction.

Re-reading DIPLOMATS IN BUCKSKINS (author Herman J. Viola) and OUR HEARTS FELL TO THE GROUND: Plains Indians views of How The West was Lost (primary documents collected by Colin G. Calloway), I found the best word to describe many tribal leaders of the last century: resilient.  (My own heart falls to the ground knowing what happened in North America.) That one word “resilient” defines the First Nations in North America in both mentioned books and in our research. Not all history is bad, of course but there are many heroes we’ve never heard of, as they are rarely mentioned in any history textbook or classroom… So if the material in these remarkable books and in our own research makes a tiny dent in the wide world of history, I’d celebrate and invite you all to a big party.

Here is a brief look at our research:

As previously mentioned… this was made possible in the dismal final years of 1888-1890, by the liaison between Thomas and Cora Bland with Catherine Weldon who acted as an intermediary with Sitting Bull. Through Weldon, Bland had flyers in the Sioux language distributed urging total resistance and Thomas Bland asked Red Cloud to not even meet with the (BIA) commissioners. Weldon provided maps and documents that explained the implications of these acts for the Sioux and is probably the reason Sitting Bull held out until he was killed in December 1890. These documents undoubtedly made their way to Red Cloud as well, though by then his health was failing, he was losing his hold on the Oglala and was more inclined to conciliation with the U.S. authorities.

(Michael Greyeyes and Jessica Chastain will play Sitting Bull and Catherine Weldon in Woman Walks Ahead, a movie forthcoming in 2017.) (I did read Eileen Pollack’s fantastic book Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull (2002) which gave us a very good look at Thomas Bland’s activism on behalf of Native people.

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The Media Is the Villain – for Creating a World Dumb Enough for Trump

Matt Taibbi writes: “We learned long ago in this (media) business that dumber and more alarmist always beats complex and nuanced. Big headlines, cartoonish morality, scary criminals at home and foreign menaces abroad, they all sell. We decimated attention spans, rewarded hot-takers over thinkers, and created in audiences powerful addictions to conflict, vitriol, fear, self-righteousness, and race and gender resentment….  There isn’t a news executive alive low enough to deny that we use xenophobia and racism to sell ads.” Read: The greatest reality TV show on Earth

Fantasyland book description:…What’s happening in America today is not uncharted territory, but the flowering of the DNA that has defined our country from its inception. From an acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author and razor-sharp cultural critic, comes a new paradigm for understanding our post-truth world. There’s a tendency at this moment – this alternative-facts moment – to see our situation as an aberrant new American phenomena. In fact, it is the logical progression of our national character. America was created by wishful thinkers and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is in our bones. From Manifest Destiny to witch hunts to P.T. Barnum to Joseph Smith and the Scopes Monkey Trial, from Walt Disney to Billy Graham, from the birther movement to, yes, Donald Trump, we have proven, again and again, to be uniquely susceptible to magical thinking, delusion, illusion, conspiracy, and bullshit. In other words: what do you get when you mix epic individualism with extreme religion, show business, and everything else; run it through the Great Awakening and the Great Delirium, the anything-goes Sixties and the internet age; and let it ferment for a few centuries? You get Fantasyland, a place where reality and fantasy are dangerously blurred and mingled.

“This is an important book – the indispensable book – for understanding America in the age of Trump. It’s an eye-opening history filled with brilliant insights, a saga of how we were always susceptible to fantasy, from the Puritan fanatics to the talk-radio and Internet wackos who mix show business, hucksterism, and conspiracy theories.” – Walter Isaacson

***…afterlives of Soviet monuments

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Photographing the hidden afterlives of Soviet monuments.  Of course, it wasn’t the first time Soviet monuments had been brought low, as statues had been destroyed as early as 1990.  READ: The Hunt for Ukraine’s Toppled Lenin Statues – Atlas Obscura

*** I’m all for anything that helps us get along, and this seems like an exercise that might actually make a real difference and it’s HAUNTING me (so click) Believe by The Oatmeal

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(click)Memo to the Publisher: We Need a “Vehicle of Indian Intelligence”

Excerpt:

One more thing: About that why.

This is a moment in history where the free flow of information is critical. Indian Country needs a vehicle of Indian intelligence. As Elias Boudinot wrote in 1832 (as he was losing his editorship of The Cherokee Phoenix) “I do conscientiously believe it to be the duty of every citizen to reflect upon the dangers with which we are surrounded; to view the darkness which seems to lie before our people— our prospects, and the evils with which we are threatened; to talk over all these matters, and, if possible, come to some definite and satisfactory conclusion.”

That is why.

[Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) is an independent journalist and a friend.]