Saturday, 28 July 2018

American Racism. The plunder and murders of the Osage Nation

Osage and "white" people 1924

Much against their will (of course)  the Osage Nation was forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in Kansas to what was then called the "Indian Territory"  (modern day Oklahoma).

They were alloted land which was utterly unsuitable for agriculture, but rich in grazing land which they leased to "white" ranchers, providing the Osage with necessary income.

The Osage leaders were wise and tough and had won for themselves the rights to minerals on their Oklahoma land.  This was of little account until the discovery of oil.  Those same wise Osage leaders negotiated with the oil explorers for royalties should the "black gold" be found.  Those royalties amounted to $30 million in 1923 dollars.  Wealth indeed.

So much wealth: (Osage people built fine mansions, owned luxurious autos, employed white servants etc).

All this was too much for "the powers that be"  in the County and in the Territory.  They thought and said "Why should these  minority native American peoples be more prosperous than we?"

In the face of Osage prosperity the "whites" employed very same canard which is the stock in trade of racists everywhere.  viz: They are lazy, violent, ignorant, cheaters, drunkards, filthy people.

Thus began what the Osage still call "The Reign of Terror", spearheaded by one William "King of the Osage Hills" Hale.

Hale, a wealthy business man, was the spider at the centre of an evil web which by foul means and foul every effort was made to deprive the Osage of their wealth and property.

Local law enforcement (such as it was) was unwilling to effect justice for the Osage.

Meanwhile back in Washington D.C. the young J. Edgar Hoover was anxious to notch a success for his embryonic  F.B.I. 

His special agent Tom White was the man for the job.  His dogged and painstaking work brought Hale and others to justice.  Not that Hoover cared about justice.  His chief concern was to burnish his own reputation.  Years later he would preside over another and national reign of terror.


None of which I have written above is a product of my imagination.   It is rooted in a splendid book called "Killers of the Flower Moon" by David Gramm, (on loan to me me from my friend Ashley Lloyd).

Gramm faithfully records the the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, but he moves beyond the FBI/William Hale case to his own contemporary investigations into what William Hale missed, and the broader story which must be told.

Please get this book if you value one untold story of American Racism  -  a shame to us even now.

Killers of the Flower Moon  - The Osage Murders and the birth of the FBI.  David Gramm, Vintage Books, 2017

Friday, 27 July 2018

The Blazing Planet

7:00 p.m. Friday 27th July 2018, Sarasota FL.

Outside temp 92f

Humidity  85%

Outdoors fan almost essential

In my car port. Recycling bins behind the fan

Thursday, 26 July 2018

At "Our Park"

An urban park which preserves some of "old Florida".

Decaying leaves have their own particular beauty.

Zion leads the way,  I tag along.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Of course you know about this.

In these hotter than hades days..

Fill a glass pitcher with water.  Add some chunks of cucumber.  Let it "marinate" in the fridge for a few hours.

Makes a delightful and flavourful hydrating drink  (with no useless calories).

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

What do we see?

How broad, deep and wide is your vision?

Is it no greater than what you see on a screen?



40" flat screen T.V.

Mercy me, these screens give us one dimensional sight in a multi-dimensional world.  The screens are dangerously alluring as they seduce us and demand our immediate attention.

Regular readers know that I am not a T.V. addict.  My set is about 20 years old, it does not dominate my room.

But place me somewhere which has a big T.V. on the wall (e.g. a Doctor's Office)  and my eyes and attention are inexorably seduced by the flickering light.

I use my smart phone to make smart phone calls, and not much else.

But I have become a near addict to the seductions of my lap top and my i Pad.

I am not addicted enough to abandon the larger sights of life as I walk (sans electronics) in the Park and with my dog. There my sight is so much wider, deeper and broader.  In the park I see, and smell and even taste a smattering of what we call nature,

In the Park I can greet other walkers with a smile and get a good response (or not).

My vision is broader in the outdoors. It's great. Thirty minutes in a Park is richer  than the  ninety minutes of a Travel video.

BUT I am still in danger.  My semi addiction to my lap top screen is changing my brain.

I believe this to be so 'cause as I drift off to sleep, my early dreams appear as a web page.  In my sleep I try to scroll up or down,  without success. 

Has the computer screen "model" gotten into my mind and changed it ?

Should I/you have deep concerns about the two and three year olds who,  having been weaned by a screen, will grow up to become  one dimensional adults?

Monday, 23 July 2018

What do we hear?

What do we hear?

Back in the days when they were the latest thing, a dear friend  (Irene R) gave me a Sony Walkman AM/FM radio.   I was thankful.

But I rarely used it indoors or out.  Those early Walkman's were clunky, heavy-ish, and difficult to keep in tune. The headphones were hard to keep in place.

That was in the dark ages.  Nowadays the I-'phones or Smart 'phones are small, sleek and stylish.  Headphones are a thing of the past having given way to comfortable "ear buds".

There is an unhealthy downside to this progress.  The use of highly efficient ear buds cuts the listener off from all manner of other sounds.  (I owe my thoughts to a lecture I heard a year or two ago).

For you see, when ear buds are used, the hearer has restricted her/his range of sound. 

He/she is cut off from sounds above (birds, airplanes, winds, thunder  etc); 

from sounds around - a car horn, a bird in a tree, the greetings from another person; 

from sounds below  - the rustling of leaves, the wind blowing through the trees and grass, the tramp of feet

He or she is living in  a world which is deaf to the joy and pain of  the Universe.

It is a one dimensional world in a multi-dimensional universe.