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Posted: March 26, 2023 --- by Post Co-Webmaster, C.R. "Chris" Christophersen 

I got a text from Tim Miller. He is now on antibiotics for a colon infection. He has been scheduled to have his appendix taken out on April 11th. Tim did confirm that he will be at our April 5th VFW meeting.

Stay tuned.

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Posted: February 20, 2023 --- by Post Co-Webmaster, C.R. "Chris" Christophersen

The following is from my "Cliff notes” version of the book "The 1619 Project" in the "Members Only” section.

Page 101 – There have never been a time in the U.S. when Black rebellions did not spark fear among white people, often leading to violent response. When resistance has been peaceful or purely symbolic --- such as Black fist raised during … a ceremony … or a knee taken … during the national anthem … Any sign of rebellion has frequently resulted in threats or acts of violence perpetrated by white vigilantes, militia groups, and the police, often culminating in the creation or strengthening of systems of racial and social control.


Page 102 --- The reflexive impulse to respond to Black people with severe punitiveness is traceable to the 18th and 19th centuries, when whites desperately sought to control a large unfree population who refused to submit to their enslavement. The deep-seated, gnawing terror that Black people might, one day, rise up and demand for themselves the same freedoms and inalienable rights that led white colonists to declare the American Revolution has shaped our nation’s politics, culture and systems of justice ever since.


The forms of repression and control have changed over time, but the underlying pattern established during slavery has remained the same. Modern day policing, surveillance, and mass criminalization, as well as white vigilante violence and "know your place aggression” have histories rooted in white fear --- not merely of Black crime or Black people but Black liberation. Nothing has proved more threatening to our democracy, or more devastating to Black communities, than white fear of Black freedom dreams.


Most school children are taught the Declaration of Independence’s most famous lines: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Happiness.” But relatively few children or adults today are familiar with the right to revolt that follows: "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evince a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”


When Thomas Jefferson penned those words, he owned hundreds of enslaved people. Yet he was aware that Black people yearned for freedom no less than white colonists who had waged the American Revolution and that no principle of justice could defend slavery. Even God, he later claimed, would likely side with enslaved people if they organized a successful revolt against their enslavers.


In Notes on the State of Virginia, published in 1785, Jefferson admitted that rebellions were a legitimate, rationale response to an immoral and inhumane system” "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference.”


Page 103 --- At the heart of slavery lay a terrible conundrum --- an epic struggle between enslavers who sought to extract labor, loyalty, and submission from their human property and the enslaved people who longed for freedom and were willing to obtain their liberation by any means necessary. Jefferson, whose ancestors had been enslaving Africans on large Virginia plantations since the 17th century, understood the dilemma well. Slavery was akin to having a "wolf by the ear” --- white people could not release their grip on it, but they also knew that beneath the surface boiled a formidable Black rage that could not be fully contained.


From the founding of the 13 colonies, white people in the North & South lived in fear that the men and women they whipped, raped and forced to work without pay would, given the chance, rise up and take revenge on their white enslavers. This is why governmental surveillance and severe punishment of Black people began concurrently with the introduction of slavery itself. In 1669, one of the 2 Carolina colonies granted every free white man "absolute Power and Authority over his Negro Slaves.” Within decades, Carolina law bolstered white authority, mandating that all white people ought to be responsible for policing all Black people’s activities.


This notion that Black people were inherently devious and criminal, and that white people were required to monitor and police them --- ultimately defined the nature of race relations in the United States. Convinced that the prevailing social and economic order would be preserved only if Black people were objects of perpetual surveillance and control, authorities across the colonies enacted slave codes, laws that governed Black people’s lives and denied them basic human rights, including the rights to move freely, to "resist” any white person, and to carry weapons of any kind. Failure to adhere to these restrictions resulted in brutal punishment.


Early slave codes legally empowered enslavers to beat, maim, assault, or kill an enslaved person without penalty. And if found guilty of participating in insurrection activity, an enslaved person would receive the death penalty.  

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Posted: February 6, 2023 --- by Post Commander, Carl "Chris" Christophersen

The following is from my "Cliff notes” version of the book "The 1619 Project" in the "Members Only” section.

In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson sat at his portable writing desk in a rented room in Philadelphia and penned these famous words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." As Jefferson composed his inspiring words, however, a teenage boy who would enjoy none these rights and liberties waited nearby to serve his master’s beck and call. His name was Robert Hemmings, and he was the half-Black brother of Jefferson’s wife, Martha, born to her father and a woman he enslaved.


It was common and profitable for white enslavers to keep their half-Black children in slavery. Jefferson, who would later hold in slavery his own children by Sally, had chosen Robert Hemmings (Sally's brother), from among about 130 enslaved people who worked on the forced labor camp he called Monticello, to accompany him to Philadelphia and ensure his every comfort as he drafted the text making the case for a new republican union based on the individual rights of men.


At the time, one-fifth of the population within the thirteen (13) colonies struggled under a brutal system of racial slavery that through the decades would be transformed into an institution unlike anything that had existed in the world before. Chattel slavery was not conditional but racial. It was heritable and permanent, not temporary, meaning generations of Black people were born into it and passed their enslaved status onto their children. Enslaved people were not recognized as human beings but were considered property that could be mortgaged, traded, bought, sold, used as collateral, given as a gift, and disposed of violently.


The laws, known as slave codes, varied from colony to colony, State to State, and over time. Some prohibited enslaved people from legally marrying; others prevented them from learning to read or meeting privately in groups. Enslaved people had no claim to their own children, who could be bought, sold, or traded away from them on auction blocks alongside furniture and cattle, or behind storefronts that advertised NEGROES FOR SALE.


Enslavers and courts did not honor kinship ties to mothers, siblings, cousins. In most courts, the enslaved had no legal standing. Enslavers could rape or murder their 'property' without legal consequence. In the eyes of the law, enslaved people could own nothing, could "Will" nothing, and could inherit nothing. They were legally tortured … They could be worked to death, and often were, to produce exorbitant profits for the white people who owned them.


It is useful to remember the situation in the colonies at the time in order to understand why evoking slavery proved so powerful. The colonies had not yet united to form a new nation. They remained thirteen (13) physically separate and distinct jurisdictions with their own leadership and individual charters and relationships with Britain. They had differing economic, agricultural, and social practices … yet in the period leading up to the Revolution, burdened by rising debt to the motherland (Britain), higher taxes, and an intermittent recession, many white colonists felt their status deteriorating.


The wealthy educated men (aka white Founding Fathers) who led the revolt against Britain needed to unify the disparate colonists across social class and region. For those leaders, the comparison to slavery constituted a powerful rhetorical tool. "The crisis is arrived when we must assert our Rights or submit to every imposition that can be heaped upon us; till custom and use, will make us as tame and abject slaves, as the Blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway." Washington warned in August 1774.


It was precisely because white colonists so well understood the degradation of actual slavery that the metaphor of slavery held so much power to consolidate their disparate interests; no matter a colonist’s politics, background or class, by being white, he could never fall as low as the Black people who were held in bondage.” "Once transposed into metaphor, slavery could serve to unite white colonists of whatever region under a banner of white exclusivity."

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Posted: January 25, 2023 --- by Post Commander, Carl "Chris" Christophersen

 The following is from the 1st page of the "Cliff notes” version of the book "First Principles” in the "Members Only” section.



The U.S. "Senate" meets in the "The Capitol” --- both terms come from ancient Rome. "Republican” is a name derived from Latin; "Democrat” is a word of Greek origin. East of the Capitol is the U.S. Supreme Court which meets in a marbled 1935 imitation of a Roman Temple, with bronze doors weighing 26,000 lbs. each. To the west stands the Lincoln Memorial, which resembles the Parthenon of Athens, Greece and the Jefferson Memorial, which borrows from Rome’s Pantheon.


On the reverse side of a $1 bill, you will see, in very small print, 3 Latin phrases:

1.   Annuit Coeptis --- "Our undertakings are favored”

2.   Novus Ordo Seclorum --- "new order of the ages”

3.   E pluribus Unum --- "Out of many, one”


Overlooking New York Harbor, towers a statue of a Roman goddess named "Libertas” --- better known as "The statue of Liberty”.


Classical ancient (Rome & Greece) knowledge ultimately steered the Founders wrong on 3 critical issues:


1.   Whether the new nation could subsist on "public virtue” --- which relies on the self-restraint of those in power to act for the common good and not their personal interest. It was a proposition that would be tested almost instantly during the War for Independence (aka the Revolutionary War).


2.   On party politics, which the classical writers taught them to regard as unnatural and abhorrent. Their misunderstanding of partisanship, or "faction”, as they tended to call it, nearly wrecked the new Republic in the 1790s.


3.   Most troubling, was their acceptance of slavery, which would prove very destructive to the nation they designed. Often seeing it as part of the social order, they wrote it into the fundamental law of the nation, and so sustained a system that was inhumane, and rested on a foundation of physical and sexual abuse.




{Editor's Note: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all grew up in a society that accepted African-American slavery as normal. It was "built in" to their psyche.}

Six years before James Madison was born, his great uncle burned a slave woman at the stake for attempting to poison her owner. Some of George Washington's "famous false teeth” came from slaves --- who had their teeth pulled out of their living jaws. When Thomas Jefferson was President, he received a report that his plantation’s lucrative nail-making shop output had improved after "the small ones” working there (slave boys aged 10 to 12) had been whipped.


Americans, especially southerners, were fond of noting that both the Romans and the Greeks embraced systems of slavery. In the New World, slavery became more pernicious with slaves defined as less than human. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1857, in the Dred Scott decision, that black people, whether enslaved or freed, were social outcasts who were not citizens and in fact could never become so.  Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that they were "beings of an inferior order” who "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  

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Posted: January 12, 2023 --- by Post Commander, Carl "Chris" Christophersen

This is an excerpt from the book "First Principles":



During the runup to the Constitutional Convention, the youngest of our 4 Founders, James Madison, had been reporting regularly to the oldest, George Washington, on the preparations for the meeting. The following 1787 spring, the young politician kept the former General posted on the state of ratification in various States, writing to him 10 times that year and another 21 times in the first 7 months of 1788.


In just a few months between October 1787 and March 1788, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, with some contributions from John Jay, wrote and produced the Federalist Papers. They brought a new perspective. Hamilton and Madison, the younger founders, differed from their elders in their relationship to classicalism. They were very well acquainted with the ancient classical texts --- but had less faith in the classical values therein.


In the 85 Federalist papers, there were twice as many references to Greeks as to Romans. As early as 1775, Hamilton had mused that "it is not safe to trust the virtue of any people." At the Constitutional Convention, he had elaborated on that thought: "We must take man as we find him. A reliance on pure patriotism has been the source of many of our errors." The pillar of "virtue" had fallen.


When James Madison wrote about virtue, it often was not to invoke it, but to emphasize that it is a finite resource in humans. For example, in Federalist 53 he refers to "the period within which human virtue can bear the temptations of power." He was not saying that humans are wicked and have no virtue --- just that virtue alone is insufficient. Madison's most extraordinary contribution was Federalist 10 published November 22, 1787. In it, he attacked the conventional classical republican view that to pursue one’s own interest was to violate public spirit. Madison said:


"Do not waste your energies, fighting party and faction. They will always be there. The causes of faction cannot be removed. Relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects. The way you do that is to harness its energies by involving the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government.”


In other words, use one man’s interest against another’s. The more interests that are in play in the political arena, the smaller the chance that one intense passion will prevail. Madison continued:


"Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests, you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it, to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.


So, Madison argues, that the larger the Republic, the more such checks will exist:


"The extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage. The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.” In such "a well-constructed Union”, he argued, there will be a "tendency to break and control the violence of faction.”  


James Madison was saying that in making checks & balances the heart of the American system: 


"Constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it … To prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things, power should be a check on power.”


James Madison was not done with the ancient world, returning in Federalist 18 to the subject of the Amphictyonic Council, arguing that its structure exacerbated tensions between member cities. He said:


"It happened too often that the deputies of the strongest cities, awed and corrupted those of the weaker, and that judgement went in favor of the most powerful party.” Among other things, this was a reason for giving smaller cities the ability to resist coercion. Athens and Sparta "inflated with the victories and the glory they had acquired, became first rivals and then enemies. That led to the eventual destruction of Athens,” he noted. "Their mutual jealousies, fears, hatreds and injuries, ended in the celebrated Peloponnesian war, which itself ended in the ruin and slavery of the Athenians who had begun it.”  

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