A Holiday Potpourri - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Holiday Potpourri

Re: Bill Croke’s Western Renaissance Man: Kit Carson at 200:

My thanks to Mr. Croke for his article on Kit Carson. One correction, Kit’s father was more likely 55 and not 64 years old when Kit was born. Lindsey Carson was probably 64 when he died. While Sides’ recent book is an interesting and well written work, I consider him more of a journalist and story teller than historian. The best Carson biography is Kit Carson, A Pattern for Heroes by Thelma S. Guild and Harvey L. Carter. Carter’s Dear Old Kit is the best academic study. Marc Simmons is the best current historian on Carson.

In regard to the Navajo campaign several elements should be kept in mind. It was during a time of war while the Union was very vulnerable. At the beginning of the Civil War the army was very small and much of it was scattered across the west. When the solders were withdrawn to fight the Civil War the native tribes not surprisingly tried to take advantage of the situation, the Dakota in the north, the Comanche in Texas, and the Apache/Navajo in the Southwest. Many today would confuse the Navajo with the Pueblo peoples. The Navajo were then much more like their linguistic kin, the Apache, than they were the Pueblo. The Pueblo and Spanish more or less lived together for about two and a half centuries up to that time. The Navajo, Apache, Ute and others were their near neighbors. The ethic the more nomadic people lived under was living by the right of conquest. The Navajo among others raided and killed the Pueblos and Spanish/New Mexicans for corn, horses, slaves and sheep. The Pueblos and New Mexicans retaliated when they could, including taking slaves. Carson’s campaign made the Navajo a subject people and ended their raiding.

Secondly, Carson refused to follow the harshest orders from his Army superiors. He several times tried to resign.

Thirdly, he clearly saw Native Americans and the various tribes as people. He had two Indian wives before his Spanish wife. He learned their languages. He raised a Navajo boy in his home as a son. He and his wife Josefa Jaramillo knew the boy would die if they had not taken him into their home and family. He saw how contact with Americans was destroying the Natives and how important it was for that time to separate them for the Natives to survive. Carson spoke out publicly about this and traveled from Colorado to Washington and back when his health was very poor just before his death.

Kit’s father was not the only Carson to have children late in life. Many people would be surprised that Kit and Josefa have one granddaughter alive, living in Colorado, and fifteen great grandchildren around the country. Although not a Mason, I very proudly wore his Masonic ring on December 24, 2009 to honor him on the 200th Anniversary of his birth.
— Will Lange

(William Carson Lange, great grandson)

Re: The Prowler’s Abdulmutallab and the Obama Mindset:

Wow. So some government employees were “uncomfortable” with the Bush administration policies that might profile Muslims and “were relieved to not have to live under them anymore.” I can only assume they don’t have to worry about their family members being on flights from Amsterdam.

We have, apparently, a number of government employees who either need to immediately quit or, if they don’t, be immediately fired. What kind of person puts their comfort with a policy ahead of protecting American lives? Only someone who is sick.
— Garry
Gearhart, Oregon

I stared at my television screen incomprehensibly when I heard Janet Napolitano say, “the system worked.” The next little bit I heard was that a new directive was being made, “That all passengers must stay seated until landing.” Then I sat back and realized, not only does the Obama administration not care one wit about terrorism, but they likely were disappointed the attack failed. And why, well, my old Daddy said it best a few months back when he observed, “That fella is looking for an excuse to declare martial law.” He went on to add, “Then he has us tightly in a bear hug with no chance of us getting free.” And I reckon Daddy’s right. Once B.O. declares martial law, over some event, either real or imagined, there will be a suspension of laws like we have never seen before, and I figure likely all elections will be suspended as well. It is the only way he can actually clamp down on the American public, who are fed up with his Marxist practices.

Thank God for lively passengers who derailed the attack through brute force. But what will happen when the next attack happens? Will the passengers hear a flight attendant remind them to stay seated? I think not. 

Just the thoughts from an East Texas Rancher who has seen terrorism first hand in Europe.
— B. Gunn

Governor Ed Rendell insulted Janet Napolitano at the time of her appointment by saying that she would do a fine job, since she has no social life and so would devote herself completely to the job. Maybe he was wrong about the deduction. Two things for which she made headlines after her appointment: 1) After a big raid on a factory to catch illegal immigrants angered her, she saw to it that such raids stopped. 2) She took away Sheriff Joe’s participation in the federal program regarding illegal immigrants and then ordered an investigation of Sheriff Joe for profiling. Those two items might suggest that she both does little or nothing and then tries to stop others from doing anything either.
— Richard L.A. Schaefer

Dubuque, Iowa

Re: Ben Stein’s A Ron Paul Moment:

Ben Stein is so full of crap he needs to carry around a roll of toilet paper in his briefcase. Instead of being a man and admitting he screwed up in his remark to Ron Paul, he attempts to rationalize his remark, further destroying his credibility and embarrassing himself. I could find more intelligent words in an elementary school. If I had a talk show I would distance myself from this lunatic. A wise man thinks twice before speaking once. Ben showed no wisdom.
David A. Ricks
Miami, Florida

Mr. Stein: It doesn’t matter if Rep. Ron Paul was “taking that line” or not. The relationship between America, Israel, and the rest of the Middle East is academic and anti-Antisemitism is neither necessary, or even relevant, to an accurate assessment… Res ipsa loqitur. If, Mr. Stein, you want Americans to stop blaming Israel for murder and occupation, Israel should stop murdering and occupying. And if, Mr. Stein, you don’t like American “anti-Semites” following the money trail to Israel’s military occupation, ask the Knesset to remove Israel’s grubby little hands from America’s coffers.
Glen McCarthy

Everyone knows Ron Paul is soft on Islamic terrorism. The real question is when is this government “pork king” going to renounce earmarks? My guess he’ll remain an appeaser of tyrants and terrorists till he dies and as long as he’s in Congress he’ll make Democrats look parsimonious in his grab for cash.
— Michael Tomlinson

Jacksonville, North Carolina

Re: Tom Bethell’s Wikipedia Meets Its Own Climategate:

If you want some further evidence of the changing of Wikipedia information to diminish contrary info to AGW, check out the Axel Heiberg information now and many months back, say April of 2008. The previous paleontology section seems to have disappeared. Compare current to the April 2008 version where there is long discussion of evidence of a previous warmer and even tropical climate on the island which is above the Arctic Circle.

You just can no longer trust Wikipedia, if the subject is at all controversial.
— Neal

I have noticed in recent times that when I put “climategate” into Google, it shows less and less responses each day. Once it showed over 40,000,000, and increasing. Once it showed over 100,000,000. It now shows about 3,600,000. In addition, it gives no reference names as I type it in. This is unlike anything I have ever seen. I think there is something fishy going on. You may want to examine this .
Leonard Weinstein, ScD

Re: Eric Peters’ New Year New Car Resolutions:

And can we please have an end to the remote door lock/unlock devices that give a blast of the car’s horn every time the device is used! The device itself is fine, but in this already overly noisy world who needs more car horns tooting? Here’s a suggestion: for all those too lazy to push a button on the door before exiting their cars, or turn a key to enter it, and who insist on using their little key fob horn-tooters, let there be a silent electric shock to let them know their gadget worked, and did so without disturbing others.
— C. Vail

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s War Is Hell — Not Litigation:

Respectfully, how can we expect Gates to do the honorable and sensible thing here? He’s Obama’s Secretary of Defense — and we all know what Obama thinks of the military.

And given how the Army brass reacted after the Ft. Hood massacre by the Muslim jihadist, the morale and protection of the soldiers appears a distant second to heel-clicking boot-licking obedience to political correctness.

As I heard someone say on a conservative talk-radio show, this entire debacle is payback to the SEALs for having taking the initiative and killing those Somali pirates.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton , West Virginia

Excuse me, but where was Babbin when Col. Chessani and Col. West went through their hells with garbage charges against them. If Mr. Babbin is so interested in these Seals getting justice, why didn’t he do the right thing for the above guys when he was a big cheese at the Pentagon. Just another Republican right, Democrat wrong politician. If he was so concerned why didn’t he resign under Bush? He’s a phony. And Gates? He has been in charge through all these circuses. And this is not to mention all the silent flag ranks. Name one, just one General or Admiral that has risked his career and stood up for any of these guys. I won’t hold my breath. Thank god I’m too old to be in a foxhole with any of these paper pushers.
— Jim Welsh
Nehalem, Oregon

If they continue with this court martial, the SEALs should sack their rifles and tell their commanders to fight the war themselves…
— Ralph

Do you know how someone can donate to their legal defense?

Thank you,
— Donna Madden

Re: W. James Antle III’s Dreaming of Repeal:

I can only say, in response to Mr. Antle’s holiday fantasy, that, as one born shortly after the war, I have never seen the Federal government do anything but grow. In terms of its overall size, percentage consumption of GDP, our national debt, the number of laws on the books, its level of intrusiveness into the lives of all Americans in matters great and small, and on and on ad nauseam, what was a tadpole in 1783 is now a Leviathan that could snack on whales. Even Mr. Reagan didn’t really roll things back; as I recall, anyway, he just slowed things down; and he was the best of us, the likes of whom we won’t see again for a century or two.

 All of which is to say that, while we can write amusing holiday pieces and such, and congratulate ourselves on our erudition and cleverness, unless someone, somewhere, comes up with an actual, workable strategy, which can be implemented — make that, actually gets implemented — and, in fact, successfully rolls back the size of the Federal government (it doesn’t matter how long it takes; a slow ratcheting process in the reverse direction would be perfectly fine; that’s the very successful method Liberals used throughout the twentieth century), then what is point of everything else? In the end, we will lose.
— D. Reich

The Republicans lost their grip on power because they were no longer fit to hold it.

The Republican Party, post-Reagan, has completely surrendered its ideals of limited government, balanced budgets and pro-American foreign policy. It has, to its lasting shame, gone Bush: A go-along-to-get-along, me-too, wishy, squishy, wet bag of good intentions and, beside the Iraq war, not much else. You can look through the GOP today and hardly find anybody who will FIGHT– who will not begin by ceding the debate to the other side, who is not afraid to call things by their right names and cut through the cant and whining and lies. Hell, they won’t even call foul against the low blows. Give them their due, the Democrats would be roaring with synthetic rage if one of theirs had been borked and slimed the way Sarah Palin was. The Republicans just looked on. Hardly even a tsk-tsk was heard.

Repeal the health care mess? What a laugh! What is left of the GOP is playing “mother may I” while the Dems

play for keeps. Republicans will be lucky if the Obama EPA doesn’t order the Party dissolved on some carbon pretext or other — if so, they won’t even have the guts to sue. Somebody might say something mean.
— Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

Antle is right the GOP must state clearly that it plans to repeal bad laws once the American voters have punished the profligate and terrorist-appeasing Democrats. Republican Congressional majorities and a future Republican President have to begin thinking outside the box to rebuild America after years of Democrat misrule in Congress (2007-2010/2012) and the Obama White House. Everything from Obamacare to the arrogant and out-of-control EPA need to feel the wrath of the American people through their elected Republican officials. What Reagan talked about, but never did must become reality and the Federal bureaucracy must be cut down to a workable size that is efficient and effective. A Federal government that works for the American people and not for itself or the Democrat party only.
— Michael Tomlinson

From the “the more things change, the more they stay the same” department, Mr. Antle, G.K. Chesterton said it best a long time ago: “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives an Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”

As for repeal? Dream on!
— Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Re: RiShawn Biddle’s Bargaining for Reform?:

Let’s not forget, as you are discussing unions and education reform, the AFT’s most famous member, whom I doubt Randi Weingarten even knows was a member unless I reminded her of it, was Albert Einstein. He was a founding member of the AFT Princeton chapter, as he believed in professionals needing to organize to protect intellectual integrity. Although, he is viewed as a lightweight intellect in your assessment, since he was a socialist and didn’t embrace your Ayn Rand solipsism.

Turning schools into mini-corporations where the principals are dictators is every dictator’s dream. A democratic society that abolishes public schools and teachers’ rights to due process (called tenure), which every worker should have, is doomed to tyranny. How ironic it’s the path this “conservative” journal is advocating.
John Elfrank-Dana
UFT Chapter Leader
Murry Bergtraum High School
New York, New York

Re: Christopher Orlet’s The Gift Delusion:

Whenever I hear someone say Santa Claus doesn’t exist, I have to ask them, “Are you sure?” How can you be sure?
— Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Is Santa Claus real?

My oldest son had a proof worthy of Anselm (well, maybe Michael Mann and Phil Jones). When confronted by a skeptic, the lad said, “There has to be a Santa Claus; my parents wouldn’t buy us all this stuff!”
— Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Re: Quin Hillyer’s Laughing at the Left:

Great piece, Quin. Yes, the Left is quite a hoot. Truth be told, most of us probably do laugh at them, at least under our breath, but they get elected anyway, and that’s not so funny. So, why do these adolescents keep getting the keys to the family car after they’ve wrecked it time and time again, even when someone’s been injured or killed? Chesterton had the answer, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”

Until, as responsible adults, we stop giving them the keys, and put good drivers behind the wheel, the car will just keep getting wrecked, and eventually, we could all lose our licenses, or maybe even our lives. Then, it won’t matter anymore. I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a change anytime soon.
— Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Re: Reader Mail’s Smooth-Talking Saviors/Worth the Costs:

Mr. Kessel has it exactly backwards. Folks went out and got “civil marriages” long before Queen Victoria knew there were such things as homosexuals precisely because they didn’t want the Church involved — particularly they didn’t want to bind themselves with the obligations required in Christian marriage. The State and Mr. Kessel may view marriage as a matter of contract but the Church(s) does not. The more “orthodox” among the Christian denominations will either counsel the couple or show them the door if the “to-be-married” insist on a “contract”. You have no business in a church if you want to “shop a contract” around.

The more conventional suggestion is for couple to register at the county courthouse where once signatures are on the dotted line they have a “contract.” (Contrary to the popular imagination, a ceremony is not an actual necessity.) Then the couple may proceed to the Church for marriage under the doctrines of Christianity. Those couples of other faiths may do the same under the laws of their religion.

Marriage (as recognized by Conservativism) is a “pre-existing institution” that antedates the State. States come and go; but marriage persists. It is for this reason the State has only limited legitimate jurisdiction. The precise meaning of marriage is beyond the State’s competence to determine or set. Any attempt by the State to do so IS A VIOLATION of liberty.

Oddly, under the guise of liberty and equality, the “simple” solution in Mr. Kessel’s proposal will attack the very liberty society has from the coercive power of an overweening State. The individual needs institutions (in this case, both religion and marriage separately and together) to stand between him/herself and the State as the individual’s abilities to stand up for him/herself is no match to the resources and powers of the State. Any attempt by the State to impose a “reasonable” meaning of marriage is really a challenge to undermine the authority of those free institutions. Clearing away those free authorities will leave the individual naked before the whims of those in power. While those now in power may be benign toward marriage, there is nothing in principle to stop them from imposing what they think should be required and what a couple must do in the future. If you think the Right is “imposing its morality” now (and I don’t accept that premise), wait until a Left-friendly government imposes its ideals on us and our children. You will look back and “rightwing morality” will look like a day at the beach.
— Mike Dooley

Re: Robert Stacy McCain’s Political Psychosis:

Nice group psychoanalysis, Mr. McCain, and no doubt accurate.

What is puzzling is that the present leader of this merry band is Harry Reid, whose definition is different for me than simple madman.

A definition of the “common reed” (Phragmites australis) — a tall thin plant that lives in shallow water out of the mainstream, characterised by a hollow core and a propensity to bend in the slightest breeze, whose only common use is to make a loud shrill sound when someone else plays the tune.

That’s eerily similar to the definition of the “harry reid” (Phragmites nevadis) a tall thin man who lives in shallow water out of the mainstream, characterised by a hollow core and a propensity to bend in the slightest breeze, whose only common use is to make a loud shrill sound when someone else plays the tune.

Didn’t the Pied Piper of Hamlin play his fatal music on a reed instrument?

Ah, History!
–A.C Santore

Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder’s Business as Usual:

It is good at this holiday season to see the return of Jackie and Raoul even if it involves the execrable Tiger Woods. Their musings are always welcome although too rare. I certainly do not want to insult two fine Jewish Gentleman, (well Raoul anyway), but they really do seem to practice Christian principles all year long.
— Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

Tiger, Tiger, not too bright Philandering in the forests of the night. (With profound apologies to William Blake!)
— Gretchen L. Chellson
Alexandria, Virgini
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III’s Seeking the Welfare of the Citiy of Our Exile: This is an excellent Review of Fr. Neuhaus’ book by Tracy Mehan. I look forward to reading it.
— Mary Ellen Schweitzer
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