Why Didn't They Tell You?

Dr. FRANK MARTINS COMMENTARY ON HISTORICAL, SOCIAL & ECONOMIC ISSUES OF OUR TIME

about actions taken by President Trump aimed at helping Black People?

about actions taken by President Trump aimed at helping Black People?

A constant refrain of much, if not most, of the media (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and most of the well-known media outlets) and the Democratic Party is that Donald Trump is a racist. In doing a geometric proof, the truth of certain assertions has to be demonstrated but axioms, such as the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, don’t have to be proved; it’s a given or is evidently true. For most of aforementioned news outlets, Trump’s alleged racism is asserted as an evident truth, an axiom that requires no justification or explanation. Yet if we dispassionately look at the record and actions of President Donald Trump over the past four years, they are at variance with the axiomatic assertion that Donald Trump is a racist. What follows below is a list of actions taken by Trump in the past four years which contradict the charge of racism brought against him.

  1. Posthumous pardon of heavyweight champion boxer, Jack Johnson
    a. In 1913, Johnson, a black man, was convicted by an all-white Chicago jury on a contrived “morals’ charge under the Mann Act, a federal law that made it illegal to cross state lines with a woman “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”1 Supporters of Jack Johnson and congressional leaders had sought a pardon for Johnson for years. A bill requesting a pardon from George W. Bush passed the House of Representatives in 2008 but died in the Senate under the leadership of Harry Reid, Democrat majority leader. Congressional leaders requested a pardon from President Obama in 2016, which was not granted. Obama’s Justice Department had recommended against a pardon in 2009.2
    b. President Donald R. Trump posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson on May 18, 2018.
    The featured image above is the White House ceremony of the signing of Jack Johnson’s pardon.2
    c. The charge brought against Johnson was clearly racially motivated, mainly for two reasons. In the 1910 boxing match for the heavyweight championship of the world, Johnson whipped the “Great White Hope”, James Jeffries, so badly that it was said that riots were caused when Black People went into restaurants saying “I want my coffee strong as Jack Johnson and my steak beat up like Jeffries”. You might say that he had humiliated White People, in the eyes of the white racists, by crushing their “Great White Hope”. The second factor was that Jack Johnson liked white women and married two of them, a clearly an affront to white supremacists.
    d. So I ask this question. How could someone who pardoned a black man who defied the notion of white supremacy by destroying the white supremacist’s hope and by violating the white supremacist’s taboo by marrying white women be himself a white supremacist? It doesn’t compute.
  2. Commutation and pardon were given to an African-American woman, Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for a drug related conviction.
    The sentence imposed was considered to be excessive. Furthermore, she had been incarcerated for 21 years.
  3. Pushed for passage and signed into law the prison reform bill, First Step Act, which resulted in the freeing of thousands of black prisoners and issued an executive order on police reform.
    African-American commentator, Van Jones, host of the Van Jones Show and the Redemption Project and CNN contributor, had this to say about the One Step Act: “There is a Christmas miracle underway. For the first time in a generation, Republicans and Democrats are arm-in-arm tonight saying we are sending too many people to prison. … Hakeem Jeffries on the left, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump on the right, have brought together a coalition like I have never seen. … Something beautiful is happening and it is not that you have to see it to believe it, you have to believe it to see it (italics added). It is happening right now, people coming together to help the people who have nothing. And it is amazing.”3

Van Jones’ words are not only truthful but are so eloquently stated that they touched something inside of me. My plea to my fellow Americans of African Heritage is that we believe the things we see Donald Trump doing. They are actually happening.

On June 16, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order on police reform (https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-safe-policing-safe-communities/). Van Jones secretly attended White House meetings to help craft the President’s executive order, something he has gotten a lot of heat for, from his fellow Americans of African Heritage.

  1. Creation of Opportunity Zones
    Opportunity zones are economically distressed communities where investors may receive tax credits for economic activities in the zone that create economic opportunities for the people living there. Many areas that are economically distressed are predominately black. Evidently this incentive program has enjoyed some success.
  2. Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    A bill signed by President Trump on December 19, 2019 helps HBCUs in two ways: (1) increases the amount of funding from the Federal government and (2) makes the funding permanent for 10 years. Therefore, the institutions do not have to apply for funding every year but, instead, are now on a 10-year funding cycle.
  3. The Platinum Plan (https://cdn.donaldjtrump.com/public-files/press_assets/president-trump-platinum-plan-final-version.pdf)
    The Platinum Plan was developed in corporation with black rapper/entertainer Ice Cube who came up with a Contract with Black America, calling for reforms to close the opportunity gap in the country, which he shared with the leadership of both Democrats and Republicans. In the words of Ice Cube, “Facts: I put out the [Contract with Black America],” … “Both parties contacted me. Dems said we’ll address the CWBA after the election. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA.”4 Ice Cube met with Jared Kushner for three hours. The result of their interaction was the Platinum Plan which you can see by clicking on the link above. It is a very comprehensive document.

The four pillars of the plan are: Opportunity, Security, Prosperity, and Fairness. In a sense, it is Trump’s contract with Black America.

Other Actions by President Trump that benefited the Black Community

Other actions by the President that benefited the Black Community

In addition to the above actions aimed at directly benefiting Americans of African Heritage, there are actions that have been taken by President Trump that have benefited Black People, sometimes more than in proportion to the general population, even though they did not directly target Black People. What is said below applies to the 3 years up to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  1. Tight labor market resulting from record low unemployment.
    Large wage increases. Indeed for a long time, real wages were stagnant. During the first three years of the Trump administration the biggest increase in real wages has been at the low end of the wage scale and black wage earners have been the recipients of these increases.
    Black unemployment fell to historically low levels.

2. Black labor force participation rates increased to record levels; a larger percentage of the black working age population was in the labor force and working.There was an enormous increase in household incomes.

3. Slowing down the amount of illegal immigration has been a factor in the increases in real wages for working class Americans. The avalanche of illegal immigrants has clearly been one of the factors depressing the wages of working class Americans.

4. The poverty rate among African-Americans fell to historically low rates as the overall poverty rate fell to 11.8% by 2019.

5. Food Stamp dependency fell. Between February 2017 and the summer of 2019, a total of 6,268,285 individuals were able to get off the food stamp program.

6. Black benefited from manufacturing job creation over the past three years.

The benefits of the robust economy of the past four year have been widespread across income classes. It was not an expansion that benefited the rich at the expense of the poor. Indeed the wealth gap actually lessened. The tax cuts did not just benefit the rich, when benefit is reckoned in terms of decrease in federal taxes paid. The lower half of the income scale essentially pay no federal income taxes on net. The higher standards deductions benefited everyone who filed a federal tax return. Also a benefit for everyone was the simplification of tax filing.


I will end this post with another quote from Van Jones:
“Donald Trump — and I get beat up by liberals every time I say this, but I’m gonna keep saying it — he has done good stuff for the black community,” Jones said on CNN, where he is a frequent contributor. “Opportunity zone stuff, black college stuff. I worked with him on criminal justice stuff. I saw Donald Trump have African American people, formerly incarcerated, in the White House — embraced them, treated them well. There’s a side to Donald Trump that I think he does not get enough credit for.”5

Notes and References

  1. Bogage, Jacob (2018). Jack Johnson, boxer jailed under Jim Crow, is being considered by Trump for pardon. Accessed at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/04/21/who-is-jack-johnson-the-boxer-trump-is-considering-for-posthumous-pardon/

2. Eligon, John and Michael D. Shear (2018). Trump Pardons Jack Johnson, heavyweight boxing champion. “… in late 2009, Robert Gibbs, the president’s press secretary, told reporters that the Justice Department had recommended against a pardon.” Accessed at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/sports/jack-johnson-pardon-trump.html

3. Quoted in David Horowitz (2020). Blitz. Humanix Books: http://www.humanixbooks.com. p. 182.

4. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ice-cube-interview-trump-campaign-platinum-plan-black-americans

5. Levine, Jon (October 24, 2020). Ex-Obama adviser Van Jones says Trump ‘has done good stuff for the black community’, New York Post. Accessed at https://nypost.com/2020/10/24/van-jones-trump-has-done-good-stuff-for-the-black-community/

why Operation Warp Speed (OWS) is so quickly making available effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19?

why Operation Warp Speed (OWS) is so quickly making available effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19?

Imminence of Availability of Vaccines and Treatments

When the President announced that we may have a COVID-19 vaccine available by the end of 2020, maybe even before the election, many found this hard to believe in light of various news outlet assertions, based on the opinions of various experts, that rolling out a new vaccine generally takes years rather than months. Nonetheless, at this point in time, it seems almost certain that by the end of this year effective vaccines, therapeutics (treatments), and diagnostics (testing) will be available and accessible to the general public. Therapeutics are drugs used to treat people afflicted with COVID-19. The availability of the vaccines and therapeutics is imminent, right around the corner. The progress has been so promisingly fast that the New York Times noted on Monday, October 12 that “Experts are saying…that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected [Italics inserted]…. The Times further notes “… Despite the chaos in day-to-day politics and the fighting over issues like masks and lockdowns, Operation Warp Speed … appears to have been working with remarkable efficiency” [Italics added]. Right now the quibbling seems to be over whether the countermeasures (vaccines and treatment) will be ready in early November, late November, or December.1How have we been able to do this so fast, in a matter of months rather than years? What is the basis of the New York Times’ optimistic assessment? For the New York Times to have given such an optimistic assessment, the writing had to be on the wall and the Times surely wanted its readers to say that it was on top of this important development. What it is about Operation Warp Speed (OWS) that made this possible?

WARP Speed and Massive Scale

The word warp has been around a long time in association with the weaving of cloth. One meaning is changing the shape of something in an unusual way. It’s warped. The term warp speed was introduced by the science fiction show Star Trek. We all remember Captain Kirk telling Mr. Sulu, or one of his crew members, to go to warp speed. It meant faster than light travel. So the idea behind Operation Warp Speed (OWS) was to speed up the development of vaccines and therapeutics to the point where the whole process takes only months rather than years. In reply to a question from President Trump, researchers and scientists said it would take two (2) years to develop a vaccine. The President’s response was that two years was too long; they had to get it done in a year. And it seems that it will be done in about one year or less.

OWS is a massive operation. The Federal Government has arranged for the development, manufacture, and distribution of hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines and therapeutics through contracts with private companies and universities. Massive amounts of money ($10 billion or so) has been allocated to this operation, and hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines and therapeutics are to be distributed and given to people at no cost (free) starting in the fall of 2020. The medications will be free to individuals because the Federal Government has already paid for the development, manufacture, and distribution of the vaccines and therapeutics.

Mission and Vision of Operation Warp Speed

According to the Department of Defense (DoD), “Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures.”2It appears that OWS is on track to achieve its goal and will be able to begin implementing it before January 2021.

The following updated reports, from the Department of Health and Human Services OWS factsheet, are examples of activities undertaken under Operation Warp Speed

Moderna began Phase 1 trials of its candidate vaccine, on March 16 and received a fast-track designation from FDA. The Phase 3 clinical trial, which began July 27, is the first government-funded Phase 3 clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson “began Phase I trials for its candidate vaccine in Belgium on July 24th and in the U.S on July 27th. Janssen’s large-scale Phase 3 clinical trial began on September 22, 2020, making them the fourth OWS candidate to enter Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States. Up to 60,000 volunteers will be enrolled in the trial at up to nearly 215 clinical research sites in the United States and internationally).”

AstraZeneca

On May 21, “HHS announced up to $1.2 billion in support for AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine, developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford. The agreement is to make available at least 300 million doses of the vaccine for the United States, with the first doses delivered as early as October 2020, if the product successfully receives FDA EUA [Emergency Use Authorization] or licensure. AstraZeneca’s large-scale Phase 3 clinical trial began on August 31, 2020.”

On July 7, “HHS announced $450 million in funds to support the large-scale manufacturing of Regeneron’s COVID-19 investigational anti-viral antibody treatment, REGN-COV2. This agreement is the first of a number of OWS awards to support potential therapeutics all the way through to manufacturing. As part of the manufacturing demonstration project, doses of the medicine will be packaged and ready to ship immediately if clinical trials are successful and FDA grants EUA [Emergency Use Authorization] or licensure.”

Pfizer. Large Phase 3 clinical trial of its candidate vaccine began July 27, 2020. HHS provided up to $1.95 billion in funds to Pfizer for the large-scale manufacturing and nationwide distribution of 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate. The federal government will own the 100 million doses of vaccine initially produced as a result of this agreement.

As I am writing this blog, a CNN news alert reports that drug maker Pfizer will begin testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12 and the a “team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will begin vaccinating teenagers aged 16 and 17 this week…”

Novavax July 7: HHS announced $1.6 billion in funds to support the large-scale manufacturing of Novavax’s vaccine candidate. By funding Novavax’s manufacturing effort, the federal government will own the 100 million doses expected to result from the demonstration project.

On the Ingraham Angle on October 13, 2020, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief science advisor for OWS, said two of the vaccines had finished efficacy trials and will be ready by Thanksgiving.

Other companies partnering with the Federal Government are GlaxoSmithKline, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, Inc., Api-jet, Corning, Materials Science, and Mckesson Corporation.

Federal Government Participants

  • Department of Health & Human Services: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; 
  • Department of Defense (DoD);
  • The departments of Agriculture, Energy and Veterans Affairs.

This whole operation is under the auspices of the Department of Health & Human Services and the Department of Defense. Therefore, “Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II and Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper are overseeing the effort. Former pharmaceutical executive Dr. Moncef Slaoui is the chief science advisor for the project, and Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna is the chief operating officer.”3 The Department of Defense is playing such a critical role because the President views the COVID-19 pandemic as an attack that requires the mobilization of the military and the military is able to effectively deal with the enormous logistical operation that OWS entails given that it specializes in such logical operations. When necessary, it can move very swiftly.

Why We Have Been Able to Achieve Warp Speed

1. Early Recognition of the Reality of a Severe Emergency

According to officials of OWS, “Government agencies and private drug firms began working on medical countermeasures when the coronavirus first became known late last year” [fall of 2019]. Please note that this was before the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the U. S. in January 2020.

2.  Federal Government Funding

Federal Government funding to the tune of $10 billion means that the financial risks are assumed by the Federal Government. Besides research and development risks of failure, the Federal Government has taken on another enormous financial risk by starting the manufacturing of the countermeasures (vaccines and therapeutics) before clinical trials are finished. The risk exists because there is a chance that that countermeasures will not work; vaccines and therapeutics are being manufactured when there is no guarantee that they will work. A private entity could and would not assume such risk. It is right and proper for the government to take on such a task. Finding a cure and vaccine for this virus is in the nature of a true public good with widespread and incalculable benefits to the society at large.

Officials of OWS stated it this way, “The federal government is making investments in the necessary manufacturing capacity at its own risk, giving firms confidence that they can invest aggressively in development and allowing faster distribution of an eventual vaccine. Manufacturing capacity for selected candidates will be advanced while they are still in development, rather than scaled up after approval or authorization. Manufacturing capacity developed will be used for whatever vaccine is eventually successful, if possible given the nature of the successful product, regardless of which firms have developed the capacity”.

3. We Were Not Starting From Scratch

COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus. In other words, scientists have been researching the nature of coronaviruses for years. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief science advisor for OWS, noted that 80 to 90 percent of how you make a vaccine was already predefined.

I encourage you to read the OWS factsheet at OWS factsheet and watch the video ( Watch the video) to get a better understanding of the process of getting a medication to the consumer. 

Operation Warp is the vision of President Donald Trump. A pertinent question each citizen and voter needs to ask is this: Would a new administration be able to execute this operation as effectively as the person whose vision it is? Do we want to change horses in mid-stream? The choice is yours. This is literally a matter of life and death.

Notes and References

1. Mark Terry (October 12, 2020). Operation warp speed boss projects COVID-19 vaccine EUA by Thanksgiving, BioSpace. Accessed at https://www.biospace.com/article/operation-warp-speed-boss-1st-covid-19-vaccine-eua-likely-around-thanksgiving/

2. Department of Defense. Fact Sheet: Explaining Operation Warp Speed. Accessed at https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/explaining-operation-warp-speed/index.html

3. Jim Garamone (August 12, 2020). Operation Warp Speed on track for end-of-year vaccine delivery, DOD News. Accessed at https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2311177/operation-warp-speed-on-track-for-end-of-year-vaccine-delivery/#:~:text=Operation%20Warp%20Speed%20on%20Track%20for%20End%2Dof%2DYear%20Vaccine%20Delivery,-Aug.&text=Operation%20Warp%20Speed%20is%20a,the%20end%20of%20the%20year.

4. Featured image is taken from the Jim Garamone article cited above.

… that the continual attempt to connect Trump with Russia is ludicrous?

The continual attempt to link President Trump to Russia is a laughable absurdity. In spite of the fact that the Mueller Report definitively declared that there was no evidence of a conspiracy (read the page from the summary of the Special Counsel Report shown as Featured Image above and a few pages from the full redacted report issued by Mueller under References below; pertinent passages are highlighted in yellow) between Trump or the Trump Campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, some highly placed individuals are still asserting or implying that Trump colluded with the Russians or was elected because of Russian interference on behalf of Trump; Mueller investigated whether there was a conspiracy rather than collusion because collusion is not a crime, according to Mueller. In recent testimony before Congress, former FBI Director James Comey intimated that there was some nefarious connection between President Trump and Russia. A few days ago (September 29, 2020), Hillary Clinton asserted that Trump knows that he was elected with the help of Russians. Furthermore, in the minds of many (probably millions) Americans, Trump and Putin are in bed together.

Besides the fact that when the Special Counsel Investigation headed by Mueller began, there was no evidence indicating any crime or any conspiracy/collusion between Trump and the Russians, an understanding of Russia’s geo-political goals relative to Donald Trump’s actions and stated goals should have ruled out the possibility of the Russians’ pushing for Trump to be elected President of the United States. Donald Trump’s election in no way served the self-interest of the Russians. In fact, a case could be made for the contention that Trump’s being elected President of the United States was Russia’s worst nightmare.

Reasons Why Russian Collusion/Conspiracy with Trump Is Unlikely

  1. Trump’s announced intent to strengthen the U. S. military was not welcomed by Russian but had to be viewed with alarm. Again, it is ludicrous to think that Russia welcomed a militarily strong America. A militarily weak America is what Russia wanted and was more likely to get under a Clinton administration than under a Trump administration. Trump has followed through with his announced intent by building up the U. S. military as evidenced by the large increase in military spending. How does this square with the alleged continual intimacy between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin?   
  2. Donald Trump’s campaign was very pro-Israel. Trump put his promises in action by moving the U. S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and taking the U. S. out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I doubt that these moves endeared Trump to Putin.
  3. Donald Trump’s push for American energy independence puts the U. S. in direct competition with Russia which is a major exporter of oil and natural gas. Regardless to how you feel about it, the U. S. expanding fracking is not viewed by Russia as a good thing. Generally Democrats are against it; Biden said he would stop it but has equivocated a bit lately.
  4. The U. S. has supplied Ukraine with the lethal weapons, Javelin anti-tank missiles, needed to deter Russian aggression. The temporary withholding of $250 million of U. S. aid to Ukraine was the centerpiece of the argument for impeaching President Trump. The pause in releasing military aid to Ukraine in 2019 did not put Ukraine’s security in jeopardy because the weapon sales had been approved and taken place before the impeachment hearings and did not affect those military hardware sales. Even witnesses hostile to the President, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, for example, acknowledged that during the first two years of the Trump administration lethal weapons had been supplied thereby strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities, something which the Obama administration denied the Ukrainians. Do you think the Russians were elated over this development? I think not. If Putin and Trump had been playing footsie, this action would have been enough to put an end to it.
  5. Under President Trump, the role of the United Nations in dictating U. S. positions on foreign policy has been diminished considerably. This cannot be a development that Russia has viewed favorably.
  6. It seems that historically Russia and the Communist Party generally have targeted the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, because their outlook, platforms, and in general, world view, have been viewed as more congruent with the Russian world view than those of the Republican Party. One of the important factors in breaking the Republican Party monopoly on black votes in the 1930’s was Russia supplying resources to the Democratic Party apparatus through its Communist Party USA. Wilson Record concluded that the civil rights platform adopted by the Democratic Party in 1948 was essentially that articulated by the Communist Party. Recently it has been revealed that the person responsible for coming up with the disinformation in the Steel Dossier, the document used to secure warrants to spy on the Trump campaign and that led to the multiple year investigation of the President, was a Russian operative. Furthermore, Hillary Clinton paid for this “opposition research”. In the summer of 2016, the then Director of the CIA John Brennan relayed to President Obama that Hillary Clinton was cooking up something to connect Trump with Russians in an alleged attempt to influence the presidential election of 2016 in Trump’s favor.

Lessons That Should Have Been Learned

It is fashionable to say that Donald Trump is a divisive figure. Yet what could have been more divisive than when right after the election and before inauguration, massive demonstrations against President-Elect Trump began with people screaming and shouting, “He’s not my President.”? Immediately, these demonstrators alienated almost half the country and the 63 million people who voted for Trump. The only way this divisiveness can be attributed to Trump is to say he caused it by getting himself elected President of the United States. The Resistance shifted into full-gear. To this very day, people are saying that Trump is not a legitimate President. The main proof of his illegitimacy was the allegation that Trump won the election through colluding with Russia. That was the clarion cry for three years.

The three years of promoting what Greg Jarrett has called the “Russian Hoax” and the subsequent impeachment have exacted a heavy toll on the nation. It clearly contributed to divisiveness. In many ways, it crippled efficient and stable governance. Though the economy did well before the COVID-19 epidemic, it could have done better. The one area of the economy that that did not take off as it should have is real investment. I am not talking about the buying and selling of stocks and bonds but things like construction of new factories, expanding business operations, and implementing new innovations. Such real investments look for political stability. The decrease in taxes and regulations was good for real investment but it was dampened by the uncertainty about how long these policies would stand, given the threat and actual impeachment of the President. The Republican majority in the Senate was not large enough to ensure that the Democrats could not have peeled off enough Republicans to remove the President from office. Though the majority of incumbent presidents have been reelected, the continual onslaughts against this President put that in doubt. When there is robust investment, the largest gains accrue to workers. Greater real investment increases worker productivity and increases in wages follow. It’s like clockwork. Given this atmosphere of uncertainty, the President’s hand in negotiating trade deals has been weakened. China may reason that maybe they should wait and see if a president who does not strike as hard a bargain as Trump is elected.

Our relationship with Russia has been damaged by this multiple-year investigation into alleged collaboration between Trump and Russia. Acknowledging that Russia is a geopolitical threat to the U. S. (an assessment by Presidential Candidate Romney during a 2012 presidential debate and ridiculed by President Obama and other Democrats) does not mean that we cannot, or should not, have a somewhat amicable relationship with Russia. Indeed we have had that type of relationship in a number of ways since the fall of the Soviet Union. U. S. and Russian scientists have collaborated as evidenced by Russian scientists even spending time at our national research laboratories. After President Obama discontinued the U. S. space shuttle flights, the U. S. had to hitch rides with Russia to the Space Station. We now have our own transportation there. And lastly, and very importantly, Russia is a major nuclear and military power that we need to have continual dialogue with. Such dialogue does not mean that we are in agreement on all, or most, things, but such relationships are necessary in an interconnected world. We had that with Russia even during the Soviet era when the relationship was much more adversarial.  

Please note that nothing said above denies that Russians interfered in America’s electoral process in 2016; they had done it before 2016 and will do it again. What is denied is that Trump or his campaign conspired or colluded, explicitly or implicitly, with the Russians in an attempt to influence the 2016 election.

Accept the truth and the truth will make you free.

References

Mueller Report, Pages 1 & 2

As set forth in detail in this report, the Special Counsel’s investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations. First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents. The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

Mueller Report, page 9

… while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation. Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

… that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus? – Part IV – the Cultural Impact

The Africans who came to America before Columbus, over a period of 2,500 years or more, had a profound influence on American culture. The following are some of the probable areas of influence:

  1. Pyramid building
  2. Hieroglyphic writing
  3. Religious practices
  4. Language
  5. Agriculture
  6. Smoking

Before talking about the contributions, I invite you to view at the end of this essay the samples of “Negroid” individuals depicted by Ancient Americans. Some of these representations from Latin America precede Columbus by more than 2,000 years.

Pyramid Building

Interestingly the appearance of the pyramids and hieroglyphic writing in Mexico among the Olmecs is associated with the appearance of the massive Negroid heads. Van Sertima very effectively established the connection between Mexican pyramid building and Egypto/Nubian pyramid building. I discussed this in my previous blog post. Generally when scholars discuss the Central American pyramids, they will also mention Egyptian pyramids without making a connection because of the obvious similarities between the two.  

Hieroglyphic Writing

A few examples of actual Egyptian hieroglyphs writing have been found in Mexico. Obviously Egyptian and Nubian flora, fauna, and other symbols were replaced by American flora, fauna, and symbols. Cheikh Anta Diop tells us that most of the animals and plants used in Egyptians hieroglyphs are from Nubia.  

Religious Practices

Van Sertima makes the following observation:

“Some ritual practices that are almost identical in America and Egypt, which we may safely date from the Olmecs onward and which point to an outside influence, are the wearing of false beards by high priests, the ritual use of purple as an exclusively royal and priestly color, incest between royal siblings and a complex of royal paraphernalia, such as the ceremonial umbrella and litter and the bird-serpent motif in coats of arms and royal diadems.” (They Came Before Columbus, p. 164)

Thus the plumed serpent, or bird-serpent, motif (a part of religious symbolism of Mexican religious practices going back to the Olmec civilization), appears to be an African import from Egypt. Van Sertima posits that the bird-serpent motif comes from inner Africa where we find the secretary bird who is the mortal enemy of snakes. Eagles, and probably other birds of prey, kill snakes but none can approach the ferocity and deadliness of the African secretary bird in dealing with snakes. In Egyptian symbolism, the Horus Falcon or Hawk (one of the titles of the pharaoh was Hawk of Nubia) replaces the secretary bird. The fight between Horus and Seth may be viewed as the battle between the hawk (or falcon) and the serpent, the representation of evil. In the end Horus wins, good overcomes evil. This motif is incorporated into Egyptian royal symbolism in the winged sun disc.1

As we come up to the time of the Aztecs, the Middle Ages, we see the bird-serpent motif associated with the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. Indeed, quetzal means bird or plume and coatl means serpent. An eagle killing a snake at the spot where Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City) was founded is part of the founding legend for the modern state of Mexico. Hence the coat-of-arms of Mexico incorporates an eagle standing on a cactus fighting a rattle snake (See Featured Image at the top of this post).

Because Emperor Ababukari and his Mandingos landed on the shores of Mexico exactly six cycles after the last appearance of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztecs took him to be the reappearance of that god. The fact that as the Emperor’s ship came in “they could see quite clearly the outlines of a great golden bird” (p. 74) served as further confirmation that this black man from a land burning in the white heat of the sun must be the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl. This explain why Quetzalcoatl was sometimes represented as black.

While doing research for a work for a comparative grammar on American languages, Leo Wiener noticed that some American words had a foreign origin, some European and some African. In the area of magic and religion, he claimed to show “… by documentary evidence to what extraordinary extent the Indian medicine-man owes his evolution to the African medicine-man …”2

Language

Wiener demonstrates that the American words for banana, yam, sweet potato, manioc (cassava), and tobacco in American languages are of foreign origin. He shows that the word for tobacco was introduced to the Americans by Africans and is of Arabic origin and conclude that “Indeed, when we turn to the appellations of the sweet potato yam in America, we find nothing but African forms.” (Wiener, p. 262).  Van Sertima reinforces Wiener’s conclusions. The linguistics analysis of these transfers is quite complicated. I refer you to Van Sertima and Wierner for some very illuminating discussions.

Agriculture

The following are some of the crops introduced to America from Africa.

  1. An African species of cotton (Gossypium herbaceum) was introduced to America during the 4th millennium (between 3,000 and 4,000) B.C. and crossed with a wild New World cotton “to form the New World tetraploid cotton…” This was accomplished by an “… African man, bearing cotton seed, made the drift journey to the Americas in the fourth millennium B.C.” (Van Sertima, p. 193). Scientific experiments proved that the cotton seed could not have gotten here by floating in the ocean. That is why Van Sertima concluded that an African man had to have brought the G. herbaceum cotton seed to America. Additionally this is indirect evidence of a very early African contact with the Americas.
  2. We know for certain that the cultivation of the yam originated in Africa, probably West Africa, and, therefore, was a transplant to the Americas.
  3. Wiener concluded that “Indians learned the cultivation of manioc (cassava) from the Congo Negroes … “(p. 248).
  4. In her seminal work, Black Rice: African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas, Judith Carney argued for, and conclusively demonstrated, the primacy of African rice and skills in rice’s development in the Americas. She noted that “A knowledge long practiced in West Africa was brought with slaves across the Atlantic” (p. 2). It stands to reason that this same knowledge was transferred by Africans who came to America before Columbus, especially since the Mandingos are prominently mentioned as one of the African people who came to places such as Veracruz in Central Mexico. The Mandingos, being descendants of the people of the West African medieval empire of Mali, would have had intimate knowledge of rice cultivation. The village that Carney accidently discovered south of Veracruz is called Mandinga and the villagers were Afro-Mexicans living in an areas where rice had been grown.

Smoking

Wiener first notes that “there arose in Africa the habit of smoking.” (p. 112) In other words, Africans invented the habit of smoking but did not domesticate tobacco; domestication is attributed to Arabs. Wiener goes on to say that “… there can be little doubt that the pipe was equally introduced by them [Africans] into America, and that the Arawaks and Negroes carried it north, to Florida, together with tobacco.” (p. 177). Van Sertima comes to the same conclusion, namely, that Africans introduced the Native Americans to pipes and the smoking of tobacco. The Africans made pipes with an artistic flair, usually decorated with animals. The fact that some of the early pipes in American were decorated with elephants was further proof that these pipes were made or inspired by Africans. No elephants are native to America.    

This brief list of African contributions to the culture of the Americas is by no means exhaustive. It does not address transfers such as iron-working that undoubtedly occurred during the slave era.

Notes and References

  1. Below is an example of an Egyptian winged sun disc
  • 2 . African Medieval Pipes
  • Von Wuthenau, Alexander (1975). Unexpected faces in Ancient America: The historical testimony of Pre-Columbian artist (1500 B. C. – 1500 A. D.).
  • Van Sertima, Ivan (1976). They came before Columbus: the African presence in Ancient America. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, pp.145-155.
  • Wiener, Leo (1920). Africa and the discovery of America. Philadelphia: Innes & Sons, Forward.Carney, Judith A. (2001). Black rice: African origins of rice cultivation in the Americas. Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Harvard University Press.

1. Three Terracotta heads


92.  a. Terracotta head from Morelos, Mexico, Pre-Classic. This piece shows an African hair style and nose ring. b. Terracotta head from La Venta, Tabasco, showing kinky hair, Museum Villahermosa, Tabasco. Height 7 cm.  c. Pre-Classic head from Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala.
Source: Von Wuthenau

2. Tattoo with Scarification Tattooing

106. Veracruz Classical terracotta head with scarification tattooing. The eye technique resembles earliest Nock-style terracotta from Nigeria, Africa. Height 11 cm.
Source: Von Wuthenau

3. Mountain Rock Face at Morelos

Source: von Wuthenau
Von Wuthenau makes the following observations about this rock carving, “Recently an incredible rock carving was discovered on a mountaintop in the state of Morelos, Mexico … For us the most unexpected surprise was a big stone face carved out of the living rock, situated above all the other reliefs in the same place. For almost 3,000 years this face has been gazing over the vast valleys of Morelos in the direction of the snow-covered peak of Pococatepetl, Mexico’s famous volanco. The features of the face are indisputably Negroid.” (p. 136)

4. Magician from Honduras

Source: von Wuthenau

5. Terracotta Heads from Tlatilco

Source: von Wuthenau

6. Monumental Head from Tres Zapotes

Source: von Wuthenau

7. Early Negroid Representation at Morelos

Source: von Wuthenau

8. Classic Olmec Head

Source: von Wuthenau

9. Head from Veracruz

Source: von Wuthenau

 10. Classic Terracotta

Source: von Wuthenau

11. Veracruz Terracotta

Source; von Wuthenau

that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus? – Part III – The Mayas

that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus? – Part III – The Mayas

In an extraordinary documentary called Unearthed: Lost City of the Maya, the narrator shows scenes from a mural from Central Mexico of soldiers marching from Teotihuacan (about 30 miles northwest of Mexico City) to the Mayan City of Tikal, Guatemala (a 600 mile trek from the west) who overthrow the Mayan King Jaguar Paw and replace him with the Mexican King Spear Thrower Owl. All of the Maya king’s attendants are killed and Jaguar Paw’s head is cut off. This happened in the year 378 A.D. The dates and events are known because they are recorded in the Mayan calendar and hieroglyphic writing. As the narrator points out, this date is associated with the meteoric rise of Tikal and is the most celebrated date in Mayan history. The city’s population would grow to 100,000 at its peak. Along with the growth in population would be tremendous economic growth, including building of massive monuments and temples.

The narrator goes into some detail in describing the overthrow of Jaguar Paw and his replacement with Spear Thrower Owl, but he never comments on the thing about the mural that grabs the eye immediately. The deposed Maya king and his guards are pale white with blond hair but the king that replaces him is black. (See the camera snapshots of the murals below). The Mexican soldiers are brown, not red, but their King Spear Thrower Owl is darker than they are; he is black. It would seem that this stark contrast in the appearance of the conquered and the conqueror would have elicited some comment but there is none. It is not just the blackness of Spear Thrower Owl that should have elicited comment or explanation but also the paleness of the Maya king. Clearly the typical Guatemalan of today is not as pale as Jaguar Paw and his guards and the typical Mexican from Central Mexico is not as dark as Spear Thrower Owl. The commentator chose to just let the sleeping dog lie; he did not want to open that can of worms. Von Wuthenau informed us that Caucasoid types found their way to the Americas on numerous occasions many centuries before Columbus arrived. But let us examine the dark Mexicans from Teotihuacan.

These dark warriors with their black king come from Central Mexico, Teotihuacan, center of the Olmec civilization, the mother of Mesoamerican civilization, going back some 3,000 years, and of the medieval Aztec civilization. When the soldiers of Spear Thrower Owl march on Tikal, Classic Olmec civilization has been over for about 700 years. Recall that the colossal African heads appear at the beginning of Classic Olmec period, some 3,000 years ago. But that was not the end of African appearance in Mexico and the Americas. Indeed, Van Sertima reminds us that, “Africans move through all their major periods, from the time of the Olmec culture around 800 B.C., when they rise in massive stone sculptures, through the medieval Mexico of the Mayas.”1 The fact that these appearances are in Central Mexico, not far from the Mexican state of Vera Cruz, which sits on the Gulf of Mexico to the east, is not accidental, though their landing there may have been an accident. It’s the ocean winds and currents.

There are winds and currents between Africa and America that can take hold of an ocean vessel leaving   Africa, be it West Africa or northeast Africa, and cause it to drift into American lands. Alphonse de Quatrefages has noted, “We only see these black men in America in those places washed by the Kouro-Sivo [a Pacific current known as the black stream] and the Equatorial of the Atlantic or its divisions.”2 (See map below). One of the Atlantic currents can take a ship or a boat right to Central Mexico to the part that borders on the Gulf of Mexico. Van Sertima makes the case that Africans have been making seaworthy vessels for several millennia. Using paintings and reliefs in Egyptian burial chambers as models, Thor Heyerdahl hired boat builders living near Lake Chad in central Africa to build his reed boat the Ra which was used to demonstrate that such a boat could make the Atlantic crossing to America from North Africa. A few days before reaching the New World, the crew of the Ra ran into trouble because they had left off a rope running down the middle of the boat in Egyptian painting. They found out that the rope was essential to the boat staying together, made the correction, and successfully made the journey in Ra II.3

Most Americanists (those who specialize in Ancient American studies) still will not acknowledge that any Africans came to America before Columbus, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It is important to keep in mind why the traditional Americanist scholar will not accept the evidence. It is because they have been inculcated with a point of view that denies that African are capable of the things that are attributed to them, even if the crossing was accidental. Also some may stick to the dogma that all Native Americans are descended from the Mongols who crossed the Bering Strait into America 40,000 years ago. They disregard the testimonies of Columbus and early Portuguese and Spanish who found Africans here when they arrived.

There is evidence in Spanish and Portuguese records that the Portuguese received reports from African mariners on the Guinea Coast that if one went due west from the Guinea Coast, one would arrive at a new land. Columbus had visited the Guinea Coast before he set sail for America. Furthermore, there is also evidence that there was trade going on between West Africa and the Americas.4   

Van Sertima relates the following account of a meeting between King Don Juan of Portugal and Christopher Columbus (after his first voyage to America):

“It became clear that Don Juan’s real concern was not with the chain of islands Columbus claimed to have discovered in the Gulf of the Ganges. Beyond them, beyond the mainland of Asia [Columbus thought he had found a new route to Asia], to the south and southeast, lay another world. The king was certain of this. Africans, he said, had traveled to that world. It could be found just below the equinoctial line, roughly on the same parallel as the latitudes of his domain in Guinea. In fact, “boats had been found which started out from Guinea and navigated to the west with merchandise.” He was a fool not to have sent an expeditionary fleet into these waters in spite of persistent rumors and reports.”5

Whether you buy the arguments I have presented or are skeptical, I suggest that you examine the evidence for yourself by going beyond these vignettes I have provided. Someone can tell you there is evidence and even describe it for you but you may not be completely convinced until you investigate and see the evidence for yourself, such as Alexander von Wuthenau’s volumes of pre-Columbian art depicting black Africans, Negroid types. I urge you to do that.

Notes and References

  1. Van Sertima, Ivan (1976). They came before Columbus: the African presence in Ancient America. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, p. 27.
  2. de Quatrefages Alphonse (1905). The human species. Appleton: New York, p. 200. Quoted in Van Sertima, They came before Columbus, p. 25.
  3. Van Sertima, p. 59.
  4. Van Sertima, pp. 12-15
  5. Van Sertima, pp. 7-8

Images

Map is taken from The Came Before Columbus, p. 132

The five scenes are phone snapshots from Unearthed: Lost City of the Maya

Scene 1: Spear Thrower Owl’s Soldiers marching to Tikal
Scene 2: Jaguar Paw sitting on throne before arrival of soldiers from Teotihuacan

Scene 3: Killing of Jaguar Paw’s guards
Scene 4: Decapitation of Jaguar Paw
Scene 5: Spear Thrower Owl sitting on Jaguar Paw’s throne

that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus? – Part II

that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus? – Part II

My last post was meant to whet your appetite by dropping a few ironic gems such as my storing in memory the photo of a black Aztec dancer from high school Spanish book and my being president of a high school Spanish honor society called Quetzalcoatl, an important Aztec-Mexican god. In the next couple of posts, I will give more detail and explanations of the African contacts with Ancient Americans over a period of some 3,000 years.

I realize that these assertions about the presence of Black Africans in pre-Columbian America may seem, to many, if not most, to be “fantastic” romanticizing or speculation on the part of the advocates of these assertions. Therefore, I find it necessary to lay out very clearly the logic of and evidence for these “fantastic” assertions. I need to remind the reader of the obstacles to fairly judging or assessing this issue. The obstacle is a type of “genteel” racism that is a legacy of slavery; this racism is found in the most unlikely of places, our academic institutions. It is the paternalistic type of racism espoused by those who, on the surface, appear to be friends of Black People but who, in actuality, view Black People as not having the ability to measure up to other races. It is not red-neck racism but a type of racism that views Black People as hapless, weak victims who have never been able to compete with the superior white and yellow races. Do they come right out and say this? No. But read between the lines.

This is a legacy of slavery that caused African Black People* to be viewed as somehow inferior to whites and, therefore, enslaving them was a net benefit in exposing them to white civilization, thereby assuaging the guilty conscience of the slave owners and a country which allowed slavery. Before the advent of modern slavery, this was probably not the view held by most Europeans. What I am saying is that racism did not bring about slavery but that slavery brought about racism§. When such thinking has become unconsciously embedded in the mind, it dictates what the mind will and will not allow. Anything that contradicts this unstated axiom will be thrown out.

In light of the above considerations, three tasks are before us:

  1. Establish that Black Africans were in America going back some 3,000 years.
  2. Demonstrate how these Africans impacted the culture of Ancient America in significant ways, not as subservient individuals but as rulers and/or individuals of high position.
  3. Establish how the Africans got here.

None of what is said in this post is meant to denigrate the wonderful achievements of the Ancient Mexicans and other Ancient Americans who built marvelous civilizations. It is to say that at certain points, they were helped along or impacted by Africans over a long period of time. This does not diminish the achievements of Ancient Americans no more than acknowledging that the Greek alphabet is derived from the Phoenician alphabet which as derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs diminishes the great and wonderful achievements of Europeans. Indeed, practically all modern writing systems, with possible exception of the Chinese writing systems, ultimately go back to the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Yet this great modern civilization of the Western world is an achievement the Europeans can rightly be proud of. You cannot separate the civilization from the genius of the Europeans, notwithstanding the outside contributions.

Proof of African Presence in Pre-Columbian America

The most compelling proof of the African presence in Ancient America is found in the representations of Ancient American artists. This essay and the other essays that follow draw heavily upon the work of the late historian Ivan Van Sertima and the German Art Historian turned archaeologist, Alexander von Wuthenau. When viewing the Ancient American representations of Africans, keep in mind the admonition of von Wuthenau speaking about how the Ancient American artists saw things, “…they possessed and still possess two remarkable abilities. To begin with they can see without looking; and what they see they do see, and nobody can tell them that they did not see what they did see.”1 Von Wuthenau found it necessary to issue this admonition because he saw how expert Americanists (those who study the culture and history of the Americas) more often than not refuse to acknowledge what their eyes see. To illustrate this point, von Wuthenau recalls a young graduate student saying, after he had looked at photographs for his book, “They look like Negroes but they aren’t.” Wuthenau comments that his thinking was the “result of university training.”2 Von Wuthenau did not argue with the young man.  

Though there is ample proof of the pre-Columbian African presence throughout the Americas, this essay concentrates on the heartland of early Mexican civilization which encompasses the Southeastern Mexican states of Vera Cruz, Tabasco, Puebla, Mexico, and Oaxaca. The states of Guerrero, Chiapas, and Campeche also come into play.

Let us now view one of the types of evidence the Ancient Mexican artists left us, the huge stone heads found at San Lorenzo, Tres Zapotes, and La Venta which are located in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. One of the large heads from San Lorenzo is shown as the Featured Image of this post. View below photographs of several other huge Olmec heads.  Altogether, seventeen of these huge heads have been found, 10 at San Lorenzo, 4 at La Venta, 2 at Tres Zapotes, and 1 at Lacobata.They range in height from 5 to 11 feet and weigh between 6 and 50 tons. All but 4 were found in the state of Veracruz.3 They go back approximately 2,500 years ago, having been estimated as being made between 800 B.C. and 600 B.C.4 These heads are not simply stylized productions; each one is different facially and each may be considered to be a portrait of a living individual. Also their helmets are different. An unbiased observer would conclude that these faces are Negroid, without hesitation.

Many, if not most, historians and archaeologists either do not talk about the racial/ethnic identity of the heads or deny that they are African. Those who touch on the racial aspect of the heads will say the physical features are common to people who live in the areas where the heads were found. If these features are common to the people still living in the areas, perhaps it is because they carry the genes of those ancient Africans. Consistent with the aforementioned suggestion is the fact that the Afro-Mexican population of 1.8 million tends to be concentrated in the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Guerrero where most of the heads were found.5 Some have labelled these heads as accidental creations of the artists. I guess you could call this the “Oops Theory”!6

Though some question what they see, there seems to be pretty much agreement that the individuals sculptured were rulers. However, starting with José Melgar y Serrano, who first brought these colossal heads to the world’s attention, many authoritative scholars have acknowledged the “Africanness” of the heads. Melgar described them as Ethiopian (meaning African, not Abyssinian) in appearance in the 1870’s. Wuthenau described Melgar’s reaction this way: “Melgar’s mind, not yet tainted by certain currents of modern (and perhaps not so modern) anthropology, reacted quite normally to this newly found evidence of black man’s presence in Ancient America.”7

Von Wuthenau gives a summary of the evidence in the following words: “…the startling fact is that in all parts of Mexico, from Campeche in the east to the south coast of Guerrero, and from Chiapas, next to the Guatemalan border, to the Panuco River in the Huastecas region (north of Veracruz), archaeological pieces representing Negro or Negroid people have been found, especially in archaic or pre-Classic sites. This also holds true for large sections of Mesoamerica and far into South America – Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.”8 The pre-Classic period is before Olmec culture was fully developed, before it had fully come into its own. In short, the Africans were there at the beginning of Olmec civilization.  

Based on illustrations in his book, von Wuthenau concluded that “the finest sculptural efforts of San Lorenzo came first, with not the slightest indication of an artistic evolution leading up to the masterpieces. The implications of the second fact are prodigious. Several distinguished Negro personages and at least one, or several, first-rate artists, complete with well-developed stone sculpture techniques, appeared, so to speak, out of the blue on the American continent 3,000 years ago! Up to now absolutely no reasonable explanation has been given by any scientific professional for this startling event”9. To my knowledge, that is pretty much where the state-of-knowledge stands now.

Further developing von Wuthenau’s statement, how can we determine what the Africans found upon arrival and what did they bring with them? To answer that question, we now turn to Van Sertima who developed the following guidelines for determining what is a loan and what is native.

  1. Be time-specific and culture-specific.
  2. Cite evidence, where possible, of a long evolution of the habit, artifact, system or technique, in the area of the donor.
  3. Demonstrate a lack of known antecedents in the area of the recipient.
  4. Consider levels of identity in complexity as against superficial stylistic similarity,
  5.  Think not in terms of single traits but of complexes or clusters of interlocking parallels.10

Van Sertima applies his guidelines to come to a position on whether the Egypto-Nubians (the Black Africans represented by the colossal heads) brought the knowledge of pyramid building to Mexico.

  1. There was a very long history of pyramid building in Egypt, Nubia (Cush), and Western Asia (Babylon) but there were no pyramids in America before the “contact period” (800-680 B.C.).
  2. “The first American pyramids appear at La Venta along with the colossal Negroid heads. Suddenly in the “contact period” the Ziggurat or stepped temple (a particular kind of Babylonian/Egyptian pyramid) begins to appear in America, and not only is the design identical but, like its presumed prototype, it is sun-star oriented and encircled by a precinct [fenced enclosure]. Not only are the shape and religious functions the same but also the astronomical and spatial relationships.”11
  3. During the period under consideration, the Nubians (Cushites) were still building stepped pyramids.

Based on numerous considerations, Van Sertima concluded that the Egypto-Nubians who landed on the Gulf were sailing on Phoenician vessels in search of metals when they got caught up in currents that caused them to drift into the Gulf of Mexico, eventually ending up in Mexico. The Phoenicians were the merchant Marines of the Egyptians who for centuries maintained close ties with Phoenicians who at times were essentially a colony or vassal state of Egypt. This is plausible because the Ancient American artists created a statue of a Semite alongside the colossal Negroid heads and who appears to be Phoenician based on his dress, something there seems to be pretty much agreement on. The “contact period” postulated by Van Sertima falls within the 100-year period of the 25th Dynasty, the last Cushite dynasty to rule Egypt, and fits with the carbon-dating of the heads and the pyramids. Additionally it is almost certain that Semites from Western Asia and Japanese drifters made contact at numerous times with the Americas and Mexico in particular, centuries before Columbus.

Von Wuthenau and Van Sertima are generally in agreement except for the contact period. Von Wuthenau accepts R. A. Jairazbhoy’s thesis that the “the Olmecs were transatlantic emigrants from Egypt who had been sent on an Expedition by Rameses III”.12 Jairazbhoy puts the date of the expedition at around 1187 B.C. Van Sertima rejects that date because it is too early relative to when the colossal heads and the first pyramids were built. Furthermore, he points out that the Egyptians had stopped building stepped pyramids, or pyramids period, centuries before but the Nubians were still building them.

It is right and proper that I should end this post with the words of a Mexican scholar and investigator, Alfonso Medellin Zanil, who as Director of the Archaeological Museum of the State of Veracruz in Jalapa, said,

“Kinky hair, broad chubby noses, thick lips and other less definable corporal features, belong to the ethnic group of Negroes, alien to Amerindian man. It is possible that at the end of the pre-Classic a small group of Negroes arrived on the Atlantic shores of America, though they could not perpetuate their biological inheritance, on account of their small numbers. Memory, legend and myth would surely deify them or endow them with the character of cultural heroes depicted in terracotta figurines and who were immortalized in monumental stone sculptures”.13

In other words, the physical characteristics of the individuals shown below (broad chubby noses and thick lips. We cannot see their kinky hair because it’s covered up) are alien to the Ancient Native American (the Amerindian). The numbers may have been more significant than he thinks.

Can we drop the mike?

Notes

*I specify “African Black People” because Black People from Asia and the Pacific (Papuans (New Guineans), Native Australians, Fijians, and other Melanesian people) are viewed somewhat differently. For instance, the Mormon Church doctrine that Black People could not be part of the Mormon Priesthood (which they changed recently) applied only to African Blacks, not to Fijians and other black Melanesians.

§Interestingly during the first half of the 1600’s, before the institution of slavery became entrenched in the English colonies in America, black indentured servants interacted with white indentured servants on the basis of equality as evidenced by black-white unions and marriages not being proscribed. This would change during the latter half of the 1600’s as chattel slavery became entrenched and legalized.

References & Citations

  1. Von Wutheran, Alexander (1975). Unexpected faces in Ancient America: The historical testimony of Pre-Columbian artist (1500 B. C. – 1500 A. D.), p. xiv
  2. Von Wuthenau, p. 70.
  3. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec_colossal_heads
  4. Van Sertima, Ivan (1976). They came before Columbus: the African presence in Ancient America. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, pp.145-155.
  5. Love, David (December 14, 2015). Mexico officially recognizes 1.38 million Afro-Mexicans in the National Census, as Black People fight against racism and invisibility throughout Latin America. Atlanta Black Star. Accessed at https://atlantablackstar.com/2015/12/14/mexico-officially-recognizes-1-38-million-afro-mexicans-in-the-national-census-as-black-people-fight-against-racism-and-invisibility-throughout-latin-america/.
  6. Von Wuthenau, p. 136.
  7. Von Wuthenau, p. 58.
  8. Von Wuthenau, p. 77.
  9. Von Wuthenau, p. 146.
  10. Van Sertima, pp. 156-157.
  11. Van Sertima, p. 157.
  12. Von Wuthenau,  p. 195.

                                        There are 7 different faces here. The helmets they are wearing are Egyptian.                                        

Found at San Lorenzo, Veracruz
Found at La Venta,Tabasco
Found at San Lorenzo, Veracruz
Side View of Previous Photo
Found at San Lorenzo, Veracruz
Found at Tres Zapotes, Veracruz
Found at San Lorenzo, Veracruz
Found at San Lorenzo, Vera Cruz

that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus?

that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus?

As a 15 year old boy, I remember gazing at and pondering on a full-page picture of an Aztec Indian in my second year Spanish book, El Camino Real. He was a black man or as I would have said in 1958, he was a Negro. For many years I never talked to anyone about this black Aztec but I stored the image in my memory bank. It remained a puzzle for many years. The only thing that I was certain of was that he was a Negro, the conclusion I came to at the first glance. How did this Negro Aztec Indian get to be in Mexico? Sixty-two years later, I decided I needed to find the book to make sure that I remembered correctly. Therefore, I did an internet search for this textbook and found it on eBay.

Once I flipped through the first few pages on the book, I was gratified to see that my memory was correct except for one important detail. He was, according the caption, an Aztec dancer, not an Aztec chieftain as I had been thinking all these years. I have attached a camera shot of that photograph as the Featured Image at the beginning of this post.

Since I took Spanish for four years, ninth to the twelfth grade, my association with things Spanish and Mexican continued throughout high school. I was a member of the Spanish Club (Los Cardenales) and every year participated in the Language Field Day Contest at San Bernardino Valley College. All of this was under the auspices of our Spanish teacher, La Senora Maria Florencia Rivera, a great lady. Before I left high school, Mrs. Rivera established a Spanish Honor Society which we named Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl was an Aztec (Mexican) god, one of Mexico’s major gods and a very complex figure. In my senior year, I was President of Quetzalcoatl. (See graphic below). The word Quetzalcoatl comes from two Aztec words, quetzal meaning bird and coatl which means serpent. Thus throughout the years, Quetzalcoatl has been associated with the plumed-serpent motif.     

Over the 62 years since I first saw the picture of the black Aztec dancer, I have acquired some information that may throw light on how he might have gotten there. And thus I return to write about the enigmatic figure I first encountered as a 15-year old boy. There are essentially two ways Africans could have ended up in Mexico: the African slave trade and migration.  

From the beginning of the 1500’s to the end of the 1700’s, Spain imported about 200,000 Africans into Mexico; most were brought in during the 1500’s and the 1600’s, and a few at the beginning of the 1800’s. By the end of the eighteenth century (1700’s), the majority of them had become mixed with the white and Indian populations.1 In short, the Africans who came into Mexico came much earlier than the ones who were brought into North America. Our Aztec dancer could have been a descendant of those enslaved Africans. However, that is not the only possibility.

First I would note that many authors and scholars have documented the fact that black Africans made contact with the Americas over a period spanning 2,000 years before Columbus came in 1492. The earliest contacts have been documented to have occurred between 800 B.C. and 600 B.C. (more than 2,500 years ago), at the latest, and the latest contacts during the late Middle Ages, around 1311 A.D., only 200 years before the first enslaved Africans were brought into Mexico. The contacts spanned the length of Latin America, an area extending from the southern United States to deep into South America. Focusing on Mexico, we know Africans made contact with the Olmecs over 2,500 years ago and the Aztecs during the middle ages in Central Mexico.

The late historian Ivan Van Sertima presents convincing evidence that Mandingos from the West African Kingdom of Mali made contact with the Aztecs around 1311 A.D.2 Van Sertima maintains that the Emperor of Mali, Abubakari himself, made the voyage, though he never returned to Mali. Some of you will be familiar with the name of someone connected to Emperor Abubakari, namely, Emperor Kankan Musa, the brother of Abubakari, who made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 and spread so much gold throughout the Middle East that it took years for the area to recover from the inflation it caused. Abubakari told his brother to assume his position if he did not return. These events are recorded in the courts of Mali and in Cairo and by Arab historians. Evidently he did not return to West Africa but it seems that he did make it to America. Another voice presenting convincing evidence of these contact is Art Historian turned Archeologist Alexander von Wuthenau.3 He too presents incontrovertible evidence of contacts between Africans and Americans, and Mexicans in particular, over a period of hundreds of years. In my next blog, I will present some of the details of the evidence of Van Sertima and von Wuthenau.

 One more piece of evidence connecting the Africans who came to Central Mexico with the Mandingos of West Africa is supplied by Judith Carney in her book Black Rice, an amazing piece of work that conclusively demonstrates that Africans from the rice producing areas of West Africa brought rice and the culture of rice cultivation to South Carolina and other areas of the Americas. In other words the Africans taught the white planters how to grow rice. As regards the Mandingoes in Mexico, I give you the words of Judith A. Carney, “On a research trip along the [Mexican] Gulf Coast in 1988, I came across a road sign south of Veracruz that caused me nearly to veer off the road. The name of the approaching hamlet was Mandinga (Italics added), the same as that of the rice-growing ethnic group with whom I had worked in Gambia. A stop in the village revealed a Mexican population of mixed African descent and the presence of some abandoned rice fields.”4

Many have heard of the Mandingos due to a series of novels by writer Lance Horner. The first of this series was made into the movie Mandingo, starring Ken Norton. Every description I have read of the Mandingos describes them as well-built, big in size, and above average in height. They evidently are impressive physical specimen. Explorer Mungo Park who visited Senegambia in 1794-95 said, “The Mandingoes, generally speaking, are of a mild, sociable, and obliging disposition. The men are commonly above the middle size, well shaped, strong, and capable of enduring great labour; the women are good-natured, sprightly and agreeable. The dress of both sexes is composed of cotton cloth, of their own manufacture.”5 The Mandingos live over a large area in West Africa which includes Gambia. During the time of Mungo Park’s visit, the Mandingo language was spoken throughout large areas of Senegambia and other parts of West Africa.

Returning to the Aztec dancer, he looks to be a tall, big man. My wife, who is an artist, says that he is about 8 head spans tall, which means that he is probably quite tall. He very well may be a descendant of one of the Mandingoes who landed along the coast of Veracruz in the early 1300’s.

References and Sources

  1. Franklin, John Hope (1967). From slavery to freedom: A history of Negro Americans, 3rd edition. New York: Alfred A Knopf, pp. 113-114.
  2. Van Sertima, Ivan (1976). They came before Columbus: the African presence in Ancient America. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.
  3. Von Wuthenau, Alexander (1975).  Unexpected faces in ancient America. New York: Crown Publishers.
  4. Carney, Judith A. (2001). Black rice. Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Harvard University Press:, p, xi.
  5. Park, Mungo (2000, first published in 1799). Travels in the interior districts of Africa. Edited with an Introduction by Kate Ferguson Marsters. Durham and London: Duke University Press, p. 80.

1961 school picture of the Spanish club (Los Cardenales) and the Spanish Honor Society (Quetzalcoatl), San Bernardino High School, San Bernardino, CA

… that you are blessed to be living in the USA today?

that you are blessed to be living in the USA today?

There is an old hymn called “Count Your Blessings” which admonishes us to take stock of the good things God has provided us with. With all of the unsettling things going on, I believe it is right and proper for we Americans to look around and count our blessings.

Being the 14th child of my parents’ 17 children, I have been blessed to have attained the age of 77 and to be in reasonably good health, with a sound mind. Before the end of the last century, I recall reflecting on the fact that by the year 2000, I would be 57! Twenty years later, that doesn’t seem so ancient anymore. My five surviving siblings have each attained three score and ten years or more (70, 75, 81, 84, and 86) and still have sound minds.  One of my brothers died at the age of 12 from an accidental gunshot wound. Five of the rest attained three score and ten years or better (73, 74, 74, 78, 84, and 87), one died in his forties, and the other three in their sixties. Though none of us have achieved the longevity of our great grandmother Jane (107+) or our Cousin Dora Leonard Brown (108), God has blessed us with reasonably long life. I am blessed to have five siblings still in the land of the living.

Though we have experienced tragedy such as the recent untimely death of my niece Tasha Sams Saucier, my siblings, nieces and nephews, and I can look back upon where we came from and truly say, “Thank you God”. Sixty to seventy years ago in the month of July with its stultifying heat, many of us were working in cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta from sunup to sundown with only an hour break in the middle of the day. We returned home to houses with no running water, no electricity, outdoor toilets, no radio, no television, and no air-conditioning. Sometimes the only transportation we had was mules hitched up to a wagon! This scenario describes the situation of millions of other families (black and white) in the rural South of the United States in the middle of the 20th century.

Today everybody has running water, air-conditioning, electricity, microwave ovens, cellphones, and televisions in almost every room. Most families have at least one car. Besides these creature comforts, we are free to worship as we please, regardless of our religious affiliation. We are free to express our opinions. We are free to start businesses; many who start out with nothing become millionaires. Today we have Black Billionaires (Oprah Winfrey, Jayz, and Kanye West are three examples); Dr. Dre and Sean Combs are very close to being billionaires. With the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States for two terms, any doubt about the possibilities for people of color in the political arena should have been shattered. In short, we Americans are blessed because we are living in the land of great opportunity, and millions are taking advantage of it.

Poor people have access to food stamps and many receive money directly from the government. Various types of financial aid for college is available to poor students. Ivy League colleges and other elite colleges do not award merit scholarships, only need based scholarships, if the student has the proper academic preparation.

Though we are in the midst of this terrible Corona Virus Pandemic, hope is on the horizon. More treatments are becoming available, and promising vaccines are also being developed. I consider treatments to be more pressing than vaccines since so many of the people who are already infected need help right now in overcoming this vicious disease. There is no doubt that we are going to overcome this ugly, nasty virus, hopefully very soon.

 Fellow Christians, you have something at your disposal regardless of you circumstances, and that thing is prayer. You must believe James 5:16b: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV). I like the way the Amplified version puts it: “The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” You don’t have to be a bigshot to touch the Heart of God. Your prayers matter and will have an effect when sincerely offered up. Pray for speedy treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Pray for the homeless, especially seeking God on how to address the mental health issues of the homeless. Ask the Father for direction that you may pray according to his will.

Prayer is not a substitute for action. They go together. If you see someone in need and have the means to help them, then you are obligated to do so. Ask God to give you wisdom and guidance in all your endeavors and He will do it.

And lastly, look around and count your blessings. Focus on the half full jar, not the half empty jar.

that the Russians influenced voting in U. S. presidential elections of 1932 and 1936?

that the Russians influenced voting in U. S. presidential elections of 1932 and 1936?

The Mueller Report concluded that there was no evidence that Russia colluded with or conspired with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump or that voting was affected by Russian interference, which did happen. Indeed, Russia has been meddling in American domestic politics for almost a century, and there was a time when Russian meddling may have affected voting in two presidential elections, in 1932 and 1936.

In his classic work, The Negro and the Communist Party, Wilson Record spends most of his time trying to explain why, after three decades (1920-1950) of trying, the Communists never made any significant inroads among Negroes, i.e., Americans of African Heritage. Their attempts to recruit Americans of African heritage into the Communist Party, for the most part, were abysmal failures. Though the Communists had not been successful in recruiting Americans of African Heritage for membership in the Party, they evidently were successful in the 1930’s in putting more cracks in what had been an almost monolithic attachment of Black People to the Republican Party, the reverse of present circumstances.

It is important to understand that the Communist Party in the United States was an arm of the Communist Party in Russia, certainly from the 1920’s to the end of the Soviet Union in the 1990’s. The American Party got its marching orders from the Kremlin in Moscow. Speaking of “boring from within” as an ineffectual strategy, Wilson notes that, “No one was more aware of this than the men in the Kremlin who directed the activities of the Communist International and of the American section”.1 In short, any influences attributed to the American Communist Party during the era under consideration must ultimately be connected to Russia.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first run for President as the standard bearer for the Democratic Party was in 1932, against incumbent Herbert Hoover, when the country was in the depth of the Great Depression; he won the election by a landslide. His 1936 victory was also a landslide. Though their loyalty to the Republican Party had been diminishing since the late 1920’s, the majority of Americans of African Heritage still voted for Hoover in 1932. Nonetheless, 1932 seems to have been an important turning point.2 Thus in 1934, Arthur W. Mitchell, who had served four years in the U. S. House of Representatives as a Republican, switched party affiliation and was elected to the U. S. Congress as the “first Negro Democrat”3.

Wilson attributes this change in party affiliation partly to the activities of the Communist Party in noting that “Communists played a role in weaning Negroes away from the Republican Party in 1932 and in piling up the black vote for Roosevelt in 1936.”4, when Roosevelt received 71% of the black vote.5 This was done through putting “… their canvassers and precinct workers at the disposal of the Democratic Party machines. … By 1936 the [Communist] Party had dropped much of its criticism of Roosevelt and the New Deal, redirecting its vitriol almost exclusively towards Roosevelt’s detractors.”6 Since Roosevelt’s victory was so lopsided, it is doubtful that the black vote affected the election outcome. Nonetheless, if Wilson is right, the Russians did impact voting in American Presidential elections going back more than 80 years. Obviously, the Russians felt that the Democratic Party’s world view was more sympathetic to their agenda than that of the Republican Party.

Since 1936, a majority of the black vote in every presidential election has gone to the Democrats. Another breaking point occurred in 1964 when the Democratic nominee Lyndon Johnson received 94% of the black vote. Black Demographics concluded that it was “… the association of civil rights legislation with John F Kennedy and Lyndon Banes Johnson that solidified Black loyalty to the Democratic Party for good. JFK proposed and LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed public discrimination.  LBJs Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, opposed it garnering Johnson 94% of the black vote that year, which was a record until 2008. Johnson later signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.” Interestingly, though the Democrats had a supermajority in both the House and the Senate, it was the Republican minority that carried the day in approving the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In 1964, Democrats held 253 of the 431 seats (four seats were evidently vacant) in the House of Representatives and 67 of the 100 seats in the Senate. In other words, the Democrats had enough votes to pass any legislation without any Republican support and had enough votes to override a presidential veto. However, in the voting for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only 153 Democrats (60% of all Democrats) voted for the bill which fell short of the 216 votes needed to pass the legislation. Republicans made up the difference with 136 (76% of all Republican in the House) votes for the legislation. In the Senate 46 Democrats voted for the legislation, thus falling short of the 51 needed. With 27 of the 33 Republicans voting for the bill, the required number of votes was assured. However, given Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the legislation, the overwhelming Republican support for the civil rights legislation in both the House and the Senate was not enough to fend off the Democratic landslide among black voters.7

In 2004 when George W. Bush ran for re-election, fifteen percent (15%) of Americans of African Heritage identified as Republicans, the highest since 1960. Eleven percent (11%) identified as independent, and eleven percent (11%) voted for George W. Bush in 2004. By 2016, only three percent (3%) identified as Republicans while 23% identified as Independent. Donald Trump received 8% of the black vote in 2016.8 In short, the black vote is not as monolithic as we may assume it is. It will be interesting to see how much of the black vote goes to Donald Trump in 2020.

Featured Image of Communist Party protest of 1930’s accessed at https://www.google.com/search?q=great+depression&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS894US894&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiy5eO-1IHrAhUSca0KHXxLAnoQ_AUoAnoECBwQBA&biw=1920&bih=871

  1. Record, Wilson (1951). The Negro and the Communist Party. Atheneum: New York, p. 52.
  1. U. S. House of Representatives, “Party Realignment and The New Deal”. Accessed at https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Historical-Essays/Keeping-the-Faith/Party-Realignment–New-Deal/
  2. Franklin, John Hope (1967). From slavery to freedom: A history of Negro Americans, 3rd edition. New York: Alfred A Knopf, p. 528.
  3. Wilson, p. 311
  4. Black Demographics. Accessed at https://blackdemographics.com/culture/black-politics/
  5. Wilson, p. 131
  6. Information on voting accessed at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/88-1964/h182
  7. Black Demographics.

that recent protests have been anything but peaceful?

that recent protests have been anything but peaceful?

As I have listened to the reporting on the protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, invariably the protests were, and still are, described by reporters as mostly peaceful; however, the scenes shown of the protests more often than not showed protesters setting fires, breaking windows in buildings, fighting with or taunting police officers, painting graffiti on buildings or sidewalks, or pulling down statues. All of these actions constitute violent behavior.

Mischaracterization of Protests by Media

There often has been a disconnect between the descriptions of the protests and the scenes actually shown or described. An example of this disconnect is the reporting on a protest in Sacramento by the Sacramento Bee as, “A peaceful protest turned briefly into a tense standoff with police on a highway overpass. Demonstrators threw water bottles, trash, and other objects at officers, who then fired pepper bullets and flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd …” Was that a peaceful protest? Of twenty-two (22) protests, in as many cities, in late May/early June, listed and described by the news website nj.com, only two (Memphis and Boston) were peaceful. When I think of peaceful protests, I think of the non-violent marches and sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and the 1960’s. The protesters in that peaceful, non-violent movement never engaged in any of the above mentioned violent behaviors. They were trained to accept abuse and even beatings without retaliating. These current protesters are aggressively confronting and physically attacking police officers and committing other acts of violence. The current funeralizing of Congressman John R. Lewis should be a reminder of what truly peaceful protests look like.

Cities in Turmoil

The protests have continued in cities like Seattle and Portland, Oregon. In actuality, what’s going on in Portland and some other cities is rioting, not protesting. Innocent bystanders, police officers, and protesters have been killed or injured. The turmoil has continued unabated in Portland for the past two months (61 days). During all of this, too often the police have been told to stand down by the mayors of these cities where this rioting is occurring. As a result crime is soaring, including homicides with the killing of innocent children in New York, Chicago, and other cities. Some of these places are in turmoil, and local officials and governors are not doing very much, if anything, to stop it. Many citizens are living in fear in certain areas.

Reaction to Federal Government Intervention

What is most disconcerting is that many public officials, from city mayors up to the Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives seem to take the side of the lawbreakers while denigrating law enforcement officials and efforts of the President to protect Federal property. The Seattle City Council tied the hands of the police in dealing with violent demonstrations, to the dismay of the Police Chief. In Portland, demonstrators launched an assault on the Federal Courthouse and other Federal installations in that city. Therefore, the President ordered additional federal officials to be dispatched there to protect the buildings. Federal law enforcement officials right away arrested some of the perpetrators. A fence was constructed around the building. Demonstrators immediately began to try to tear down the fence. The following statement issued by the Portland Police Bureau and reported in the New York Post describes what happened Saturday night/Sunday morning (July 25-26),

“Throughout the night some people in this crowd spent their time shaking the fence around the building, throwing rocks, bottles, and assorted debris over the fence, shining lasers through the fence, firing explosive fireworks into the area blocked by the fence, and using power tools to try to cut through the fence,” the bureau said in a statement.

“People wore gas masks, carried shields, hockey sticks, leaf blowers, flags, and umbrellas specifically to thwart police in crowd dispersal or attempt to conceal criminal acts. People against the fence sprayed unknown liquids through it toward the courthouse. People tied rope to the fence and attempted to pull it down,” the bureau said.

“At about 1:03 a.m. people in the crowd attached a chain to the fence and with many people pulling managed to pull a section of it down,” the bureau said, with protesters also lighting fires in the street.

“People climbed over the fence to get close to the federal courthouse. People continued to launch mortar style fireworks at ground level that were exploding near others.”

Lasers aimed at Federal officers resulted in the possible permanent blindness of three individuals. The Portland Police Bureau declared a riot in the early hours of July 27 which marked the 60th straight day of violent demonstrations in Portland.

There was a time when such actions would have brought forth unanimous condemnation from elected officials but not in this case. Last week, the mayor of Portland went to the protest site and told the rioters that he was on their side. Their response was to demand that he quit his job. Mayors of other cities have made it clear that they do not want help from the President and have asked him not to send in additional federal officials. In a statement condemning President Trump’s acting to protect Federal buildings, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, called the federal officers “storm troopers”.  Meanwhile Federal buildings in Portland are being destroyed. Evidently the aim is to burn down the Federal Courthouse.

Antifa and BLM

Who are the leaders of these riotous protests? Who are the drivers? Some of the demonstrators in these crowds are legitimate protesters who are concerned about police misconduct. However, the protests have been hijacked by radical groups. Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) seem to be the primary instigators. Most of the rioters appear to be white. Literally Antifa means anti-fascist. It is a somewhat elusive organization of groups who coalesce for disruptive and usually violent protests. They oppose fascism and white supremacy but do not stop there. They are anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-conservative, anti-Christian, and anti-Trump; ditto for BLM. Both Antifa and BLM are hard-core revolutionaries bent on tearing down the United States of America and remaking it according to their Marxist/Socialist image of what they think is the good society. At a gathering of BLM near a Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles in support of the rioting taking place in Portland, the spokesperson urged, “…  unity against President Trump, as well as fascism and capitalism.”1 (Italics added)

They are not interested in reform. Hence they do not want to reform the police but abolish the police. After they have taken down statues of every Confederate, they will concoct reasons to take down the statues of each and every historical figure they target. They also are working on undermining the Church and the Family. In the final analysis, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence must go. The Declaration of Independence must go because it declares that our rights come from God. They want a clean slate.

The Consequences of Antifa and BLM Having Their Way

The Radical Left’s getting in control would spell the end of freedom as we know it. One of the tenets of those who adhere to Marxist/Socialist doctrine is equality of outcomes, not equality of opportunity. It seems that the primary reason for the Left’s assertion of the existence of systemic racism is the inequality of outcomes. Thus the fact that the median family income of African-American families is less than that of whites is prima facie evidence of discrimination and racism, even if the differences can be explained by differences in productivity factors. Some people earn more than others because they have more education or more marketable skills. Egalitarian socialism has always failed. A few examples will suffice to illustrate the point.

The Pilgrim Experiment

Initially the Pilgrims tried to implement a system of egalitarian socialism. All that was produced by the community was put into one pot and redistributed to everyone based on the principle, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” What was the result? Eminent starvation. There were the freeloaders who worked very little or none at all. Some young men resented widows with children receiving more than they who had worked to produce the goods. William Bradford, their leader, saw that this was not working. Therefore, he instituted changes by assigning land to individuals who were allowed to keep the fruit of their labor. In short order, they had plenty. The system of socialism destroyed incentives to work, thereby impoverishing the whole community.

The Chinese Reset

When Mao Zedong and his supporters took over China in 1949, they set up a Marxist/Leninist system of socialism. Almost 20 years later, the wife of Chairman Mao unleashed the young Red Guards on the population in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s, creating much chaos. The Chinese had tried to implement a system of egalitarian socialism that did not allow anyone to become rich; there were no millionaires. During the Cultural Revolution, highly trained scientist had been pulled out of their labs and put in the rice fields. The result was disastrous. Eventually Madame Mao’s youngsters were reigned in. Though still communist, the Chinese government allowed some free enterprise to emerge. Market forces were allowed to operate. Individuals were allowed to get rich. The unleashing of the creative energies of the Chinese people led to the Chinese miracle we know about. Chinese communism had to be modified to allow individuals to benefit from the fruit of their labor. Imposing equal outcomes did not work.  

Which Way America?

I hope that my readers see that there is more at issue here than race. Indeed, all of the turmoil right now is not primarily about race or racism. Racism is a ruse. Playing the race card is the means to another end. Socialist revolution is the end objective. This is an especially critical time because the American public attitude toward socialism has softened. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 42% of Americans had a positive view of socialism. The subtitle of this section is the title of a publication by my classmate from Tulane University, W. Michael Cox, Which Way America, 2011 Annual Report, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, SMU Cox School of Business. The way of socialism is: big government, equality [of outcomes], redistribution, taxes, dependence, decline, and poverty while the way of capitalism is: economic freedom, opportunity, production, incentives, responsibility, progress, and wealth. Venezuela is a good example of the decline that may ensue when a previously prosperous country opts for socialism.  

Which way America?

Sources

  1. Black Lives Matter Protesters Gather at LA Federal Building In Solidarity With Portland. https://laist.com/2020/07/26/protesters_gather_at_la_federal_building_in_solidarity_with_portland.php
  2. Featured image of flag being burned at Federal Courthouse in Portland, OR accessed at https://www.google.com/search?q=riots+in+portland&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjnsZ3EgfHqAhURXlMKHSDWBwMQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=riots+in&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQARgAMggIABCxAxCDATICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoECAAQQzoFCAAQsQM6BwgAELEDEENQvIIGWKicBmCAsAZoAHAAeACAAX-IAdEFkgEDNi4ymAEAoAEBqgELZ3dzLXdpei1pbWfAAQE&sclient=img&ei=2qggX-fcO5G8zQKgrJ8Y&bih=871&biw=1920&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS894US894