Buffalo, and the North American Plains Indian

Must have been some life out there on the plains with all those Buffalo. Seems to me the Plains Indian had quite a piece of the pie, until the pale faces showed up.

In today’s excerpt – the tragedy that ensured the doom of the North American Plains Indian was the unprecedented slaughter of the American buffalo since they had become almost completely dependent on the buffalo for identity, sustenance and supplies:
“The greatest threat of all to the [North American Plains Indian] identity, and to the very idea of a nomadic hunter in North America, appeared on the plains in the late 1860s. These were the buffalo men. Between 1868 and 1881 they would kill thirty-one million buffalo, stripping the plains almost entirely of the huge, lumbering creatures and destroying any last small hope that any horse tribe could ever be restored to its traditional life. There was no such thing as a horse Indian without a buffalo herd. Such an Indian had no identity at all.
“For hunters, the economics of the new business was miraculous, all the more so since the animals were so stupefyingly easy to kill. If a buffalo saw the animal next to it drop dead it would not flee unless it could see the source of the danger. Thus one shooter with a long-range rifle could drop an entire stand of the creatures without moving.
“Within two years these hunters, working mainly the Kansas plains close
to Dodge City, had killed five million buffalo. Almost immediately, they were victims of their own success.
“Surprisingly, only a few voices cried out against the slaughter of the buffalo, which had no precedent in human history. Mostly people didn’t trouble
themselves about the consequences. It was simply capitalism working itself out, the exploitation of another natural resource.
There was another, better
explanation for the lack of protest, articulated best by General Phil Sheridan, then commander of the Military Division of the Missouri. ‘These men [hunters] have done in the last two years … more to settle the vexed Indian question than the entire regular army has done in the last thirty years,’ he said. ‘They are destroying the Indians’ commissary … For the sake of a lasting peace, let them kill, skin and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated. Then your prairies can be covered with speckled cattle and the festive cowboy.’ Killing the Indians’ food was not just an accident of commerce; it was a deliberate political act.”
Author: S.C. Gwynne
Title: Empire of the Summer Moon
Publisher: Scribner
Date: Copyright 2010 by S.C. Gwynne
Pages: 259-262
Delanceyplace is a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. Read more at campaign.constantcontact.com
 

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ethnic Diversity and Ethnic Conflict

Amazing statistics!…. 5000 ethnic groups, and only 190 countries.

In today’s excerpt – ethnic conflict, which is more pervasive today than ever before, is tragically fundamental to history. In fact, many of the world’s problems stem from the fact that it has 5,000 ethnic groups but only 190 countries, and ethnic conflict is essential to understanding situations such as present-day Afghanistan and Iraq:
“The list of ethnic massacres is a long one.
“As Scientific American said in September 1998, ‘Many of the world’s problems stem from the fact that it has 5,000 ethnic groups but only 190 countries.’ …
“Ethnic diversity does not automatically imply ethnic conflict, violent or otherwise, it merely reflects the potential for such conflict, if opportunistic politicians try to exploit ethnic divisions to gain an ethnic power base. Apparently such opportunism is common
“[However,] ethnically diverse countries with good institutions tend to escape the violence, poverty, and redistribution usually associated with ethnic diversity. Democracy also helps neutralize ethnic differences; ethnically diverse democracies don’t seem to be at an economic disadvantage relative to ethnically homogeneous democracies.”Read more at campaign.constantcontact.com
 

Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Echoes of the Bush tax cuts!

Boy does this sound familiar! Well,at least you can’t call them Socialists!

Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com

Pakistan’s Elite Pay Few Taxes, Widening Wealth Gap

A security guard standing at the entrance of a Mercedes Benz dealer in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Much of Pakistan’s capital city looks like a rich Los Angeles suburb. Shiny sport utility vehicles purr down gated driveways. Elegant multistory homes are tended by servants. Laundry is never hung out to dry.

But behind the opulence lurks a troubling fact. Very few of these households pay income tax. That is mostly because the politicians who make the rules are also the country’s richest citizens, and are skilled at finding ways to exempt themselves.

That would be a problem in any country. But in Pakistan, the lack of a workable tax system feeds something more menacing: a festering inequality in Pakistani society, where the wealth of its most powerful members is never redistributed or put to use for public good. That is creating conditions that have helped spread an insurgency that is tormenting the country and complicating American policy in the region.

It is also a sorry performance for a country that is among the largest recipients of American aid, payments of billions of dollars that prop up the country’s finances and are meant to help its leaders fight the insurgency.

Though the authorities have tried to expand the net in recent years, taxing profits from the stock market and real estate, entire swaths of the economy, like agriculture, a major moneymaker for the elite, remain untaxed.

“This is a system of the elite, by the elite and for the elite,” said Riyaz Hussain Naqvi, a retired government official who worked in tax collection for 38 years. “It is a skewed system in which the poor man subsidizes the rich man.”

Read more at www.nytimes.com

 

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Some Great Advice For Our Military!

The last paragraph in this article says a lot!
“Mr. Mortenson acknowledges that his solution in Afghanistan, girls’ education, will take a generation and more. “But Al Qaeda and the Taliban are looking at it long range over generations,” he said. “And we’re looking at it in terms of annual fiscal cycles and presidential elections.”

Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com
Unlikely Tutor Giving Military Afghan Advice

WASHINGTON — In the frantic last hours of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s command in Afghanistan, when the world wondered what was racing through the general’s mind, he reached out to an unlikely corner of his life: the author of the book “Three Cups of Tea,” Greg Mortenson.

The collaboration, which grew in part out of the popularity of “Three Cups of Tea” among military wives who told their husbands to read it, extends to the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Last summer, Admiral Mullen attended the opening of one of Mr. Mortenson’s schools in Pushghar, a remote village in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains.

Mr. Mortenson — who for a time lived out of his car in Berkeley, Calif. — has also spoken at dozens of military bases, seen his book go on required reading lists for senior American military commanders and had lunch with Gen. David H. Petraeus, General McChrystal’s replacement. On Friday he was in Tampa to meet with Adm. Eric T. Olson, the officer in charge of the United States Special Operations Command.

Mr. Mortenson, 52, thinks there is no military solution in Afghanistan — he says the education of girls is the real long-term fix — so he has been startled by the Defense Department’s embrace.

“I never, ever expected it,” Mr. Mortenson, a former Army medic, said in a telephone interview last week from Florida, where he had paused between military briefings, book talks for a sequel, “Stones into Schools,” and fund-raising appearances for his institute.

For Mr. Mortenson’s part, his growing relationship with the military convinced him that it had learned the importance of understanding Afghan culture and of developing ties with elders across the country, and was willing to admit past mistakes.

Mr. Mortenson acknowledges that his solution in Afghanistan, girls’ education, will take a generation and more. “But Al Qaeda and the Taliban are looking at it long range over generations,” he said. “And we’re looking at it in terms of annual fiscal cycles and presidential elections.”

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a school in Pushghar, Afghanistan, with Greg Mortenson, who wrote about his effort to build schools in “Three Cups of Tea.”

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Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Much Needed Shift On Deregulation

The Ayn Rand theory of Super-Capitalism is put to rest! Wall-Street is not our God and Savior!

Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com

Financial Overhaul Signals Shift on Deregulation

WASHINGTON — Congress approved a sweeping expansion of federal financial regulation on Thursday, reflecting a renewed mistrust of financial markets after decades in which Washington stood back from Wall Street with wide-eyed admiration.

The vote was the culmination of nearly two years of fierce lobbying and intense debate over the appropriate response to the financial excesses that dragged the nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Over the last half-century, as traders and lenders increasingly drove the nation’s economic growth, politicians of both parties scrambled to get out of the way, passing a series of landmark bills that allowed financial companies to become larger, less transparent and more profitable.

Usury laws were set aside. Banks were allowed to expand across state lines, sell insurance, trade securities. The government watched and did nothing as the bulk of financial activity moved into a parallel universe of private investment funds, unregulated lenders and black markets like derivatives trading.

That era of hands-off optimism was gaveled to an end on Thursday as the Senate gave final approval to a bill that reasserts the importance of federal supervision of financial transactions.

“The financial industry is central to our nation’s ability to grow, to prosper, to compete and to innovate. This reform will foster that innovation, not hamper it,” Mr. Obama said Thursday. “Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear.”

Read more at www.nytimes.com