Enemies Within

A group calling itself the Freedom Socialist Party has been in the news lately. This prompted me to look into FSP, its values and its goals.

From their very own website:

“Welcome! The U.S. Freedom Socialist Party is a revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers’ democracy that will guarantee full economic, social, political and legal equality to all who are exploited, oppressed and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot—imperialism.”

“FSP’s founders….linked their own rich experiences to the Marxist understanding that only the working class has the power to take humanity to the next level.” Their world view “flowed directly from the ideas of early socialist thinkers like Marx, Clara Zetkin, and the co-leaders of the Russian Revolution, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky.”

This group idolizes ruthless mass murdering communists such as Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Russian revolutionaries Lenin and Trotsky. Why should millions of peace loving, hard-working Americans have a problem with this group of fanatics?

Let’s look at what kind of person their hero Trotsky was.

“Vladimir Cherniaev, a leading Russian historian wrote that,

“Trotsky bears a great deal of responsibility both for the victory of the Red Army in the civil war, and for the establishment of a one-party authoritarian state with its apparatus for ruthlessly suppressing dissent. As a Jacobin in spirit, he was not frightened by the smell of freshly spilled blood. He was in ideologist and practitioner of the Red Terror. He despised ‘bourgeois democracy'; he believed that spinelessness and soft-heartedness would destroy the revolution, and that the suppression of the propertied classes and political opponents would clear the historical arena for socialism. He was the initiator of concentration camps, compulsory ‘labour armies’ and the militarization of labour, and the state takeover of trade unions. Trotsky was implicated in many practices which would become standard in the Stalin era, including summary executions.”[i]

Ukranian Victims of Socialist Utopian Dreams. The murder of millions of Ukranian peasants in 1932-33 by Stalin’s Soviet regime has become widely known as the "Holodomor" , which means “to kill by means of starvation.” Of course, the policies that led to this humanitarian catastrophe were done in the name of “progress” for the “good” of the communist motherland.

Ukranian Victims of Socialist Utopian Dreams.
The murder of millions of Ukranian peasants in 1932-33 by Stalin’s Soviet regime has become widely known as the “Holodomor” , which means “to kill by means of starvation.” Of course, the policies that led to this humanitarian catastrophe were done in the name of “progress” for the “good” of the communist motherland.

 A group that looks to Leon Trotsky for inspiration is a group that is out to destroy America as we know it. The Freedom Socialist Party is run by fanatics who believe in suppressing free speech, and spilling the blood of middle class and wealthy Americans for their utopian dreams. They wish to tear down the fabric of American society and replace it with something else. These misguided people are the ideological offspring of history’s most ruthless killers. They are truly enemies within.

Frotho Canutus

[i] p. 191, Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914-1921; Edited by Edward Acton, V. I͡u. Cherni͡aev, William G. Rosenberg; Indiana University Press, 1997.

The Obama Problem

President Obama signs the mis-named Affordable Care Act in 2010. Many of these happy Democrats may not be so happy after the upcoming election.

President Obama signs the mis-named Affordable Care Act in 2010. Many of these happy Democrats may not be so happy after the upcoming election.

President Obama recently explained that although he is not on the ballot in November, the election will be a referendum on his policies. This thought made many Democrats on the campaign trail cringe. They know that Obama’s popularity with the American people is near an all-time low and they are trying their best not to associate with him (unless it is at a closed door fundraiser, of course). Several days ago, Alison Grimes, a Kentucky Democrat running for the Senate, repeatedly refused to admit that she had voted for Barack Obama. How entertaining was that?

But in many ways Obama was right; this election will be about him, about his policies, about the direction this country is heading. Why is America in decline? As long as the Progressive Left, which controls the modern Democrat party, stays in power, the country will continue to decline. The Progressive Left’s ideology is severely flawed and therefore can never succeed. Any world view that denies human nature, that denies the limits of government, that denies the laws of economics can never govern effectively. The Democrats in and out of Congress that have supported Barack Obama and his policies will hopefully get what they deserve come Election Day.

If Obama really believes the upcoming election will be a referendum on his policies, will he change course if his party gets another shellacking like it did in 2010? What a silly question! Arrogance knows no self-reflection, it merely blames others for its failures. Just ask President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

Frotho Canutus

“A rough style with truth is preferable to eloquence without it.” –Cadwallader Colden

Wanted: Democrats who believe that the America which was passed down to them is worth preserving.

Signing of the U.S. Constitution

Signing of the U.S. Constitution

The Saul Alinsky* radicals are  now in charge of our federal government. Barack Obama, Eric Holder and the other Jacobins who do not like the America they inherited are in the process of tearing it down and remaking it into something closer to their radical world view.

Of course, all American institutions are imperfect (for nothing created by man is perfect), but that does not give any administration license to turn its back on our traditions and our Constitution. It does not give President Obama and Eric Holder license to flout and ignore our country’s laws. It does not give them permission to break the law. But the Obama administration has done all of these things. The actions of this President and his team are causing many Americans to lose faith in their government. The Obama legacy will lead to a lower standard of living, or worse, for succeeding generations of Americans.

For years the Obama administration has been sending signals south of the border that illegal aliens are welcome here. This encourages illegal immigration. In other words, by his actions, by his words, President Obama encourages illegal activity. We shouldn’t be surprised then that we now have tens of thousands of illegal aliens many of them children unaccompanied by their parents streaming over our southern borders into states like Texas and Arizona – link to story here. Now we are expected to feed, house and provide medical treatment and legal services for these people. Obama has invited these people to come here on the taxpayer’s dime. The taxpayers being you, and me. Why should Obama get to decide that every hard-working American must chip in some of their earnings to support these immigrants that have crossed into our country illegally? He and many Democrats like this arrangement because it allows them to bring groups of people to this country, at taxpayers’ expense, who are more likely, if they gain citizenship, to join the Democrat party. If citizenship is not granted to this immigrant generation, Democrats still know the likelihood is that their American-born children are more apt to identify with Democrats. It will help give them power in numbers and they obviously don’t seem to mind encouraging lawlessness to achieve this goal. There can be no other explanation why the Democrat leadership continually coddles illegal aliens despite the fact that they constantly distract the American public with their deceptive rationalizations.

Why does the Obama Administration think it is ok to release tens of thousands of incarcerated illegal alien criminals back into American society? (It has done so recently - click here for link to story). It doesn’t have to be so, but only if enough good, informed Americans come to their senses and begin to stand up against the present out of control Administration. That’s a big if.

What the so-called progressives in the Democrat party seem unwilling to acknowledge is that free people, governed by the rule of law is a rare thing in the history of mankind and that it is a great thing that should be revered, treasured and protected. Of course, one such rare example is our very own constitutional republic, which, with the ascendance of Barack Obama has come under vigorous attack from the Left. This is tragic because the American legacy of rule of law, economic freedom and consent of the governed has afforded previous generations so many inestimable blessings yet is now being replaced with the rule of executive and bureaucratic whim, economic servitude, the redistribution of wealth, and a diminution of the representative branch of government. Under Obama, momentum has been in favor of executive orders, bureaucratic bullying and court decisions by unelected judges that are contrary to the perpetuation of justice and liberty for all. Under Obama, the American ideals of liberty and individual rights are subservient to the idea that a benevolent central government must confer new rights on people based on their association with certain racial, ethnic or social groups who claim victimhood status. The redistribution of wealth, the reordering of the health care system, the emasculation of our national defenses and the pillaging of our national treasury is justified by so-called “progressives” using catchy but nebulous language like “social justice” and  “sustainability.”

Here’s a link to an opinion piece by Michael Goodwin in the New York Post that is worth our attention. The most important point Mr. Goodwin makes regarding all of the destructive chaos caused by the Obama administration is that the country will continue to disintegrate because Democrats in media, in Congress, in small town America are not willing to challenge this President. Until most Democrats really begin to realize what a monster they have created the country will continue disintegrate into something very regrettable.


*Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, is a favorite of people on the Left like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Hillary wrote her college senior thesis on Alinsky and no doubt community organizer Barack Obama followed in the footsteps of Alinsky who is the acknowledged Father of Leftist Community Organizing. It’s notable that Alinsky paid tribute in his bible for radicals to Lucifer, better known as Satan or the Devil.

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very
first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to
know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which),
the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and
did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
—SAUL ALINSKY, Rules for Radicals

An Open Letter to Rand Paul

Many of the sentiments expressed in this letter are really intended for almost every member of Congress. Unfortunately, there seems like little hope for most of them to do what is in the best interests of our country as a whole.

Dear Senator Paul:

In February of 2013 I wrote to you and said this regarding the confirmation of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense:

“He clearly is unqualified and you were wrong to give your consent. I pray to God this man’s appointment does not lead to needless bloodshed or an avoidable sacrifice of American lives.

Now we know Chuck Hagel rubberstamped President Obama’s decision to exchange five dedicated Taliban jihadists for one American army deserter (and the Obama administration is now trying to deflect some of the blame to Mr. Hagel). I fear this foolish prisoner exchange will encourage the jihadists to target Americans for the purpose of ransom. In fact, I have no doubt the orders have already gone out to do so.

Would any appointee chosen by Obama for that position have rubberstamped his decision to release these five Taliban killers? Probably. But you and I knew from his performance at the confirmation hearings that Chuck Hagel was not up to the job of defending American security. You made a stupid political calculation. Some things are worth a fight and you refused to do it. (I don’t think a man of John Bolton’s character would have rubberstamped anything George W. Bush desired).

Dear Senator Paul, I still think you are one of the good guys left in Congress, but I am losing faith in you. Stop running for President, stop with the political calculations and do only what you can now to save our country from the madness of this Administration.


Frotho Canutus 

Update: The Democrats’ War on Women Continues

The Democrat Party’s War on Women Continues…

“It is one thing to gossip or complain about your boss, but quite another to watch her head get chopped off in the cold light of day. The lack of decorum was stunning.”   –David Carr, writer for The New York Times, May 18, 2014.          

So Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times has been fired. One of the reasons given is that she found out that she was not being paid the same as her male predecessor, Bill Keller, and so she asked for a raise. She got it, but she did have to take a stand and ask. Did she deserve the raise in pay? Maybe, maybe not. But apparently NYT boss Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger, Jr. thought he could find a better match for that high-powered position at the Times and so Ms. Abramson was handed a pink slip on Wednesday. While the Democrat party and their willing partners in the media are ginning up this campaign again to paint this picture that Republicans want to keep women down, look at how the Democrat propaganda wing, a.k.a. The New York Times actually treats women, like Jill Abramson. Add it to the long list of the hypocritical actions of the Democrat left, progressive machine. Remember socialist senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was the biggest abuser of his female staff when it came to equal pay. Any women who fall prey to this phony narrative propagated by the Democrats and the left-wing media that conservatives and Republicans are at war with women are either not paying attention or need to have their heads checked. Are women so easily manipulated that they fall for this phony propaganda from the Left? The Democrats hope so because it helps them win elections. Cynical, manipulative politics indeed!


Pondering an American Cultural Treasure

Most of you who read my blog probably don’t know it, but I am a big-time “jazzmaniac” * and I have been for a long time. It all started around age 16 when I discovered my father’s 33rpm of Louis Armstrong’s ground-breaking recordings from 1927-28 with Earl “Fatha” Hines. Well that was around 1978 or 1979 when most kids I knew who were around my age were listening to rock groups like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones. Most of them couldn’t give a hoot about Jazz. Sure, I dug Rock and Roll then and still do, but I knew that there were other great forms of music as well. Jazz just grabbed me from the beginning and I’ve been in love with this great music ever since. One thing I sensed early on – there was a lot more to Jazz than the music alone.

* A term invented by drummer Kenny Washington.

This has given me a long time to ponder the meaning of Jazz – about 35 years. And for some reason I am now compelled to put my thoughts to paper. This will be my humble, incomplete and certainly imperfect attempt to explain what Jazz means to me. And if this gets one person who was formerly apathetic about Jazz to sit down and enjoy it, then I will have accomplished something. Jazz is, after all, also about sharing.

One thing about Jazz, it made me want to know – who were the people who created this amazing music. I think part of this drive to know is the amateur anthropologist/historiographer hiding inside me. Where did the music originate? What culture or cultures did it emerge from? You cannot separate the people from the music. Jazz is the expression of almost everything it is to be human. In this sense Rock and Roll seems far more one dimensional – the product of youthful, somewhat immature concerns and obsessions. What was unique about Jazz was that it came out of the experiences, for the most part, of the American Negro. Therefore, its roots are folk music. It can be argued that it was the Negro’s music that was his or her primary form of artistic expression and the only one visible to most of the outside world. Incidentally, anyone who studies the history of rock music knows that “Negro music” played an essential role in its development. Rock and Roll would not exist if it were not for the blues which originated out of the southern Negro culture.

It is the people who made and created jazz that give it its depth. Lester Young, the great tenor saxophone player who came to prominence in the late 1930’s with the Count Basie Band, once said that he would never play a solo if he did not know the words behind the song. He had to know the song, even if the band was playing an instrumental version with no vocals. Lester knew that if he did not understand the meaning of a song, the human story, the emotions, that his solo would be in vain, it would be meaningless. The ideas behind the song were the compass that gave his solos direction. The mechanics of playing music did not seem to matter to Lester Young.

Lester Young playing tenor saxophone ca. 1940.

Lester Young playing tenor saxophone ca. 1940.

Near the end of his life, when he was deteriorating rapidly both mentally and physically, Lester Young played one of his greatest solos ever. Lester may no longer have had the capacity to play some of the jubilant solos of his earlier days, but that did not matter. The song was “Fine and Mellow” and during this recording and filming session Lester was reunited with female singer Billie Holiday after several years. I do not know if Lester and Billie were ever romantically involved, but there is no doubt in my mind that they loved and respected each other very deeply. Because that’s what their music tells me. Lester was so frail that day that no one was sure if he would be able to play with the band. But oh did he play!

Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster played his solo before it was Lester’s turn. Webster was no slouch, after all, the great bandleader and composer Duke Ellington thought highly enough of Webster to ask him in 1935 to join his band. But when Webster solos on “Fine and Mellow” you know what he is playing – a tenor saxophone. His instrument sounds like it’s supposed to, like you’d expect it to sound. Contrast that to Lester’s solo a little later in the tune – it doesn’t sound like a tenor saxophone at all. It doesn’t sound like any instrument that has ever existed. It is pure Lester, pure emotion. It’s as if there are no mechanics, no reed, no instrument there at all, just Lester’s spirit, Lester’s soul.

Lester’s whole solo can be broken down to about 50 notes or so, whereas Webster’s probably contained several hundred notes. Amazingly, Lester’s solo seems to have a pronounced effect on the band; the tempo slows a bit, the band plays more softly and it’s as if the members of the band are stepping aside for the moment out of reverence and respect for Lester. Compare Lester’s “Fine and Mellow” solo to ones like his blazers on Taxi War Dance, or Woodside, or Limehouse Blues and one cannot help but be astonished at the range and depth of expression that Young was able to communicate through his horn.

Jazz critic Nat Hentoff was in the control room during the recording of “Fine and Mellow” and recalled that Lester’s solo literally brought everyone in the control room to tears:

“Lester got up, and he played the purest blues I have ever heard, and [he and Holiday] were looking at each other, their eyes were sort of interlocked, and she was sort of nodding and half–smiling. It was as if they were both remembering what had been—whatever that was. And in the control room we were all crying. When the show was over, they went their separate ways.”

The great jazz musicologist, Gunther Shuller wrote, “Billie and Lester – two great tragic figures of jazz – never saw each other again. Little more than a year later, they were both gone; they died within four months of each other. Billie was only 44, Lester, 49.

Billie Holiday, 1947 by William Gottlieb.

Billie Holiday, 1947 by William Gottlieb.

Billie Holiday, 1949 by Herman Leonard.

Billie Holiday, 1949 by Herman Leonard.


Jazz is also a great medium through which to learn about American history, the good as well as the bad. Most of the great jazz musicians were Black. I’ll leave it to someone else to explain this, but there are certainly exceptions, like Bix Beiderbecke and Benny Goodman. So if you study the lives of these great Black masters of 20th century Jazz music, you cannot escape the stain of racism on our history. Some of these all Black bands and musicians tried to avoid touring in the Deep South altogether if they could. Trumpet virtuoso, Roy Eldridge, was one of the first Black jazz musicians to be integrated into an all-White swing band. The trouble was that although Roy was at least on equal footing musically with anyone else in the band, he still felt like an outcast. While traveling on the road with Gene Krupa’s band, Roy could not dine in the local eateries with the rest of the band because of his skin color. And Roy knew the only proper entrance for a Black man at many of their music venues was through the back door. It was too much for poor Roy to take and he had to quit playing with the all-White bands. But Gene Krupa and Artie Shaw both showed guts when they asked Roy to join their bands, they didn’t care that Roy was Black. What they cared about was Roy’s playing and what he brought to the stage and Roy was really great. He wasn’t called “Little Jazz” for nothing.

Roy Eldridge.

Roy Eldridge.

Gene Krupa even got into a fistfight once when one restaurant owner refused to serve Roy because of his skin color. On another occasion one local police official trumped up charges against Krupa because he didn’t think it was proper that a Black man was playing and travelling with an otherwise all-White band. In addition to being a great musician and performer, Roy Eldridge was one of the nicest, sweetest guys ever and so these stories really break your heart.

One amazing human being who played jazz was a man who went by the name of Chick Webb. Born William Henry Webb in 1905, Chick was one of the greatest swing drummers of his era. His powerful, often melodic solos, were innovative displays of swinging, syncopated rhythms. As everyone knows drumming is a physically demanding part of any Jazz band, which makes Chick Webb’s playing all that more amazing because Chick was a very sickly human being throughout most of his short life. He contracted tuberculosis of the spine as a young child which resulted in a badly deformed spine. Chick wasn’t even 5 feet tall and he looked like a hunchback.

Chick Webb at his drums, ca. 1937.

Chick Webb at his drums, ca. 1937.

In the 1930’s Chick and his orchestra played regularly at the Savoy Ballroom, an upscale dance club in Harlem were the “Battle of the Bands” competition was often held. His band often came out on top even edging out the Benny Goodman and Count Basie bands. One might say that Chick Webb deserved the title “King of Swing” as much as anybody. You can really hear Chick driving the band on some of the suggested listening numbers below. Listen to Chick’s drums during the first break on “Who Ya Hunchin’.” Later in the tune you can hear Chick joyfully shouting “YEAH!” as the band pushes to the heights of swing.

Chick died from his spinal tuberculosis when he was only 34. He kept playing almost to the very end even though he was often in great pain. Although small in stature, Chick Webb was big in spirit. He had a lot of heart and played big.

Look for the next Jazz post where I’ll explore some of the other great Jazz personalities and their music.

Frotho Canutus

Note: My use of the words Black and Negro are not meant to offend anyone. These words are simply better choices (in my opinion) for communicating the history of Jazz and are the same words used by jazz musicologists of previous generations. The point of this post is to learn something about Jazz and the wonderful people who made it. The purpose of this blog is not to be concerned about political correctness and self-censorship. P.C. is anti-freedom, and therefore anti -Jazz.

Suggested listening (some can be heard on YouTube):

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven (Armstrong – cornet, trumpet, vocals):

“Potato Head Blues” (Recorded 5/10/27)

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five:

“Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” (12/9/27)

“Sugar Foot Strut” (6/28/28)

Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra:

“Basin Street Blues” (12/4/28)

Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five:

“St. James Infirmary” (12/12/28)

Lester Young (tenor saxophone) with the Count Basie Orchestra:

“Jumpin’ at the Woodside” (August 22, 1938)

Taxi War Dance (March 19, 1939)

Lester Young (tenor sax, clarinet) with Glenn Hardman and his Hammond Five:

“On the Sunny Side of the Street” (June 26, 1939)

Lester Young (tenor saxophone) with Billie Holiday (vocals):

“He’s Funny That Way” (8/13/37)

“When You’re Smiling” (January 6, 1938)

“All of Me” (3/21/41)

“Fine and Mellow” (12/8/57)

Roy Eldridge (trumpet, vocals) with the Gene Krupa Orchestra:

“Let Me Off Uptown” (May 8, 1941)

“Rockin’ Chair” (July 2, 1941)

“Skylark” (November 25, 1941)

Chick Webb (drums) and His Orchestra:

“Harlem Congo” (Nov. 1, 1937)

“Liza” (May, 1938)

“Who Ya Hunchin’” (August 18, 1938)

“Undecided” (Feb. 17, 1939)

Chick Webb on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgX5_waK–w

Should we be frightened by the IPCC’s new Climate Report?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report today that is grabbing the headlines. The report basically concludes that mankind’s current activities will lead to catastrophic climate change. But is there really a climate crisis underway?

AP Photo: Providence Rhode Island in 1938. Are storms really worse than they used to be? Or do we suffer from climate amnesia?

AP Photo: Providence Rhode Island in 1938. Are storms really worse than they used to be? Or do we suffer from climate amnesia?

I would like to add a little additional context to the climate debate from a different perspective – the discipline of the archaeology.

In his 2003 book, Looking Beneath the Surface: The Story of Archaeology in New Jersey, R. Alan Mounier says that, “About 11,000 years ago the sea stood as much as 262 feet below its present level, and the shoreline lay as much as 100 miles to the east of its current position (Edwards and Emery 1977).”

So you see people the oceans have been rising for a very, very long time. This is not a new phenomenon. When we build along our coasts it is always at our own peril.

Archaeologists study climate change and even they know that climate change is nothing new:

Environmental conditions in the (U.S.) Southwest are extremely variable in terms of both place and time. By this I mean that there are not only marked seasonal changes that play out over decades, centuries, and millennia. Readers should keep in mind that irrespective of similarities in temperatures and rainfall patterns, the environment that we experience today is not the same environment that pre-Hispanic people experienced. Over the past millennia many water sources have dried up, arroyos have been cut, and much of the naturally occurring flora and fauna have disappeared. The last few thousand years have been subject to general and consistent climatic patterns, but we need to be sensitive to the existence of some highly erratic and severe periods that acutely affected the choices available to indigenous people.” Before Santa Fe: Archaeology of the City Different, by Jason S. Shapiro, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2008, p. 6.

And while the climate always changes, whether it be from natural or man-made forces, it will present challenges, but it will also bring new opportunities as it did in the past:

“Eventually the persistent warming trends associated with the Altithermal caused even more noticeable changes throughout the Southwest. The new opportunities associated with different plant and animal foods, as well as the techniques needed to collect, process, and store them, became integral to the next cultural period that we will examine, the Archaic.” Before Santa Fe: Archaeology of the City Different, p.47.

Don’t believe the doom and gloom hype coming from the IPCC. If we take a rational approach to the changing climate we will be far better off than if we act out of fear. The fear-based approach will cost us far more in lives and wealth than a rational approach. Technology and economic freedom will solve our problems, not fear mongering and coercive governing which seeks to mold human behavior and raise the price of the energy that heats our homes, powers our hospitals, produces and delivers our food, etc. The Kerry-Obama-IPCC-AlGore approach is based on false assumptions – the IPCC climate models did not predicted the lack of warming over the last approx. 17 years or so. The climate does not seem to be as sensitive to CO2 as we have been led to believe. There is no crisis. Stop the nonsense IPCC!

Frotho Canutus