Friday, May 7, 2010
There has been a persistent myth in American culture that Native Americans were a populous, thriving, peaceful people who's Utopian existence was destroyed by the bloodthirsty white European invaders. Listed below are some facts that give a much more realistic insight into Native American life, and the effects of European colonization.
According to the most current and in depth archaeological and anthropological evidence:
1.) Far from the popular estimates of 50-60 million Native Americans, pre-European migration, the number is in reality somewhere between 8.5 million (highest estimate) and 1.8 million (lowest estimate). The popular, and inflated number, gives the impression that the much lower population figures recorded after the mass European migration were the result of European action.
2.) While Europeans did bring some illness from the old world to the new, it was not a one way street. Many highly contagious forms of diseases were brought home to Europe as well. The popular narrative of European illnesses wiping out vast Native American populations is also disingenuous. Native Americans lived in isolated tribal societies, often in conflict with their neighbors, thus making it difficult for an illness to spread outside of their own tribe.
3.) One startling discovery coming from the research on disease exchange between populations was this: Native American health overall, across the continent, was on a downward decline long before Columbus arrived.
Among the findings:
a.)Native Americans were consistently shorter than previous generations.
b.)Their bones show sings of long term exposure to a plethora of serious illnesses. c.)A marked increase in the graves of children.
All of these discoveries point to long-term societal stagnancy and malnutrition.
4.) Native Americans did not live in a state of perpetual peace with each other. In fact they were often at war with each other, with some large tribes being so dangerous to their neighbors that large coalitions of smaller and weaker tribes were created so the smaller tribes could survive.
5.) Large parts of what we now consider to be "America" were almost completely depopulated over one hundred years before Columbus ever stepped foot on western shores. Particularly in the American south west, where incursions of Mexican Natives and diseases caused many groups to leave, or disappear completely.
6.) While it is indisputable that Native Americans suffered major mistreatment at the hands of some Europeans, especially during the big push west, it must also be recognized that many of Native American tribes actively engaged with European settlers when it gave them an advantage over their traditional Native American enemies, both in combat, and in the acquisition of their enemies land and resources.
As it has been across the great expanse of human history, one more advanced society slowly pushed out, or assimilated, the less technical, stagnant society. The mass European migration to the Americas should be viewed as such.
~" The Indian Population in 1492", William and Mary Quarterly
~"American Journal of Physical Anthropology"
~""Disease and Demography in the Americas", Smithsonian Institution Press
(Update: I have done a little trimming and editing to this post, having wrote it with a head full of flu, and various cough and cold medications, I have found it lacking a little in the grammar department. Apologies to those who read the original. The changes were mostly grammatical in nature, and aside from the second example, added nothing new to the post. ~Philo)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
"Chairman David Obey announced today he will not seek re-election, citing fatigue and a desire to step aside after more than 40 years in the House."
Yeah, I bet being an abrasive, uptight, classless clown really takes a lot out of you after awhile.
Here's some wisdom from House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.):
"If violence is decreasing in Iraq, it may be because insurgents “are running out of people to kill,”
Makes me sad to know that I won't have to listen to this clown waste our time on C-Span anymore....
"Graham said he would envision creating a special court similar to that of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for electronic surveillance. Law enforcement officials could appear before a judge of the special court to get permission to withhold rights from a citizen while they are interrogated...He said he wanted to create a separate category of citizens who are deemed enemy combatants..."
Read the whole thing here.
Read the whole thing here.
You know, I've made a conscious effort to slowly steer this little blog away from lunch room brawl time, while trying to explore issues with a little more thought and clarity.
I am going to voluntarily suspend that effort now however, in response to one of the most despicable, un-American, sickening things I've ever heard or seen.
We all know what happened in Times Square, New York. For those of you who have missed it, it was a plot by a Paki-American who parked a car bomb in Times Square.
(Surprise! Contrary to early reports that is was a 40'ish white guy.)
But how many of you know that right now, as we speak, Bloomberg and his head Cop are rallying Congress to "close the terrorist gap" in America's gun laws.
Yep, that's right. Mayor Bloomberg and his cronies are asking that America's gun laws becoming even more restrictive. They sited, among others, a car bombing and a case in which the terrorist shot several people with his military issued weapon(s).
Mayor Bloomberg, I mean this with the utmost sincerity: Fuck You. You are a despicable partisan hack, who seeks to push a political agenda, refuted by every bit of information available, by framing our greatest of rights as an aid to terrorists.
Fuck You Bloomberg. I fear more than ever for the citizens of New York knowing that an ignorant son of a bitch like you is supposed to be looking out for them.
(Update: Senator Graham stating his concerns over American's 2nd Amendment rights. Every time I start to really dislike Graham, he starts to make me like him. Then, he makes me not like him again. Cut It Out Graham!)
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I've been working on some papers on early US history and how it's widely misunderstood. The series of work covers everything from early European-Native American interactions to current day issues. It is a work in progress.
If any of the few remaining readers of this little blog have any questions on US history, please let me know. While being rather dense overall, I am somewhat adept in US history studies :)
Below is a piece on Andrew Jackson and his legendary war with the centralized banking system.
Andrew Jackson's legendary fight against a centralized bank has become the stuff of legend. His comments and actions have become fodder for everything from commercials advocating gold purchases to conspiracy theories.
But in reality, Andrew Jackson didn't have an issue with a centralized bank, unless it was run by one of his political opponents. Far from the small government advocate he has been portrayed as, "Old Hickory" institutionalized some of the worst aspects of the federal government, including the spoils systems and a greatly increased budget. More than any president before him, Jackson consolidated power in the executive branch.
Jackson's war with the BUS (Bank of the US) stemmed from the fact that it's president, Nicholas Biddle, was in a position to fund Anti-Jacksonian politicians. Prior to becoming the head of the BUS, Biddle had served as the U.S. minister to France. He was wealthy, well educated and well spoken. He was also, by all accounts, an outstanding bank administrator. He ran the BUS with such acumen that the state chartered banks overwhelmingly supported the BUS being rechartered. In short, Biddle knew how to make people money.
There is little evidence that Biddle supported anti-Jacksonian political candidates. He didn't have to. Simply being in a position where he could threatened Jackson, Biddle (and "his" BUS) were dangerous and had to be eliminated.
Jackson used his talents at inflaming populist anger to rally against the BUS, and the very idea of a centralized bank. Using such Inflammatory rhetoric as "The bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill the bank." roused the sentiment that people more wealthy than the common man were evil and dangerous.
Upon being elected as president, Jackson promptly ordered the withdrawal of all US monies from the BUS. This was a blatantly unconstitutional move, and subsequently Jackson had two Treasurers refuse. Not until he appointed Roger B. Taney did he get his wish. Taney, a long time Jackson loyalist, was awarded a spot on the Supreme Court for his loyalty. Jackson had the US monies moved to a series of smaller banks, who's officials all had supported his political career, establishing a "spoils system" that endures to this day.
Jackson's "spoils banks" were hardly more reliable than a strong centralized bank. With the Texas revolt Mexican silver all but disappeared from the international market. The silver had fueled commerce in Europe, particularly in England. The lack of Mexican silver created inflation in America, but worse, it caused England to raise it's interest rates. The combination of price inflation domestically and the spike in interests rates from her prime lender spun the American economy into a tailspin. Jackson's banks were incapable of stopping the economic decline. Whether Biddle's BUS would have fared any differently will never be known. By then it operated only in limited capacity in Philadelphia.
It is vital to understand that Jackson, despite his claims, never sought to eliminate a centralized bank. He sought to replace one national banking institution, (the BUS) with another one that was even more centralized, (And run by pro-Jacksonians), a "A bank with a branch in each state, entirely national..."(!)
Jackson was ultimately successful in dismantling the BUS. But his reasons for doing so are widely misunderstood. Jackson was a president that would fit right into American politics today. Brash, outspoken, ambiguous, and power hungry, Andrew Jackson destroyed a stable US banking system for political gain, and in doing so acted as the very thing he rallied against.