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The Rise of the Billionaires Leaves the Middle Class Stranded

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Friday, June 28, 2013

THE LIMITS OF POLITICAL THINK

I am tired of reading about willfully stupid humans, such as the well education and well accomplished drones at the Language Research Center at Georgia State University. For decades the LRC was mired in intellectual orthodoxy and mediocrity, investigating what you would expect and discovering what you would expect.. Then in 1982 a 2 ½ year old bonobo chimpanzee named Kanzi shattered their ethos. 
 Using American Sign language, which he had picked up from his mother, Kanzi spontaneously signed “marshmallow” and then “fire”. Given matches and marshmallows by the obliging staff, Kanzi gathered twigs, struck a match (above) and set the wood to burning. Next he jammed a stick into a marshmallow (above), which he then toasted and gleefully ate. What the humans finally learned from this “Noah Chimp-anski” was that language is not about syntax, its about communication. The revelation changed their whole scientific process...for a time..
Long after Kanzi had retired to a farm in Iowa, the humans in Atlanta appear to have fallen back into their academic lethargy, as they recently released a study indicating that apes not only think about food, but they also think about thinking about food. To the humans with degrees this is “metacognation”. As one of the two directors of the experiment explained, “There has been an intense debate in the scientific literature in recent years over whether metacognition is unique to humans.” This was the statement which convinced me that homosapians are still in search of a clue. Why didn't they just ask Kanzi? But I would like to talk to you for a moment about Flouride.
 
Flouride is an isotope of the element Flourine. The nine electrons of Flourine are the hormone ravaged teenager of the periodic table, hungrily sharing its electrons with abandon . It took 74 years to purify and isolate Flourine because it bonds with whatever container you put it in, corroding right through it. Even when finally isolated the pale yellow gas desperately bonds to itself – which is why it is called a diatomic. This hunger to mate made Flourine an industrial wunderkind, transferring wanted qualities to other compounds. It is essential for the smelting of metals. It is the F, in CFC, once used in cooling systems. And when you hit the button on a spray can, there's still a good chance the effective material that jets out, is being carried on some isotope of Flourine.
Flouride is one of those isotopes, one electron short of its parent Flourine, making it twice as eager to bond with any available electron, even ones already happily married - as when six atoms of Florine mate with two atoms of hydrogen already bonded to a sodium atom or a single atom of chloride. And those are the two most common chemicals, hexafluorosilicic acid and hexafluorosilicate, used in water fluoridation in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control, also in Atlanta, calls fluoridation "one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.” And yet there are some humans who call it a government intrusion, and even spreading poison. To which I am inclined to respond by screeching and throwing my poo at them.
Yes, Flouride is toxic. And toxic is always bad. But remember that salt, which is vital to your survival, is made up of sodium and chlorine, both of which are extremely toxic. And drinking salt water will quickly kill you. Fresh water, on the other hand, is good for you, unless you are drowning. Sugar gives you energy, but is toxic to a diabetic. And don't even get me started about peanuts. Toxic is a level of consumption, not an absolute. Flouride is toxic in anything over moderate amounts. But at minimal levels, it is a powerful weapon against tooth decay. Areas in Colorado with naturally occurring Flouride in their drinking water had lower rates of tooth decay, which is how it occurred to medical doctors in the late 19th century to suggest adding Floride to water supplies. And stopping tooth decay turns out to also be a defence against heart attacks. It is a public health measure that costs less than a dollar a year for the average family. But try telling any of that to a libertarian, and you are liable to get a riacin tainted post card from hell. And that is what I really want to talk about – the politics of conspiracy.
Any discussion of American conspiracy theories over the last 100 years, must include a mention of Robert Henry Wineborn Welch, Jr., the North Carolina native who invented the “Sugar Daddy”, a 40 gram hunk of Carmel on a stick, 24 grams of which are sugar. The confection made Mr. Welch very rich, which predisposed him to believe anyone suggesting that sugar caused cavities must be a dirty stinking anti-capitalist. So naturally the political organization which Welch founded, “The John Birch Society”, saw fluoridation of the nation's water supply as a communist mind control plot. Lots of people wanted to believe in that conspiracy. But the only one man made millions propagating the myth: Robert Welch.
Among the 12 acolytes at the first meeting of the JBS, on December 8, 1958, was a chemical engineer from Texas named Fred Koch (above). An admirer of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Fred was described by a family friend as “a monarch, untouchable.” Just out of college in the 1920's, he had invented a better method for cracking gasoline out of oil. But the big four oil companies drove him out of business in the United States. So Koch moved to Russia, where his built a dozen new oil refineries for Uncle Joe Stalin. While the communists made Fred rich, he also found their regulations restricting. When the Second World War forced him home, he felt much the same way about the U.S. government. Anyone who stood between Fred and what he wanted, was not merely wrong, they were evil. Fred now saw a communist hiding under every bed, and like his friend Welch, believed Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and even Eisenhower were either communist or had been duped by them..
Fred's son David admitted in 2007, “He was constantly speaking to us children about what was wrong with government.… It’s something I grew up with.” Charles was told, “If you don't make it, you'll be worthless..” Says David, “He could do that sort of thing so effectively." And when the old man died in 1967 while shooting ducks, he left behind a quartet of sons who felt entitled, inferior, cheated and arrogant. As a progressive writer described them, “The two middle brothers, Charles and David, are the crazy ones. The other two, Frederick and William, are the loony ones.”
David and Charles (center and right, above) took control of the family fortune, cutting William (above, left) out of the loop after he heavily invested in coal mines, which have never lived up to the Koch profitability standards. So William began decades of litigation against his two brothers. He sued over his share of a trust fund, over the sale of company stock, over a coin collection. At one point he even dragged their 87 year old mother onto the witness stand just months after she had suffered a stroke. Did I mention that William and David are twins?
If Fred is looking on from Valhalla, he must be proud of David and Charles, especially for the political groups they have founded and funded with more than $200 million, such as Americans For Prosperity, and The Tea Party. They even found a way to make William's erratic coal mine profits more dependable, by funding the global warming conspiracy movement. It was the lesson handed down by Robert Welch. Many climate change critics are honestly driven, or just honestly stupid. Every “green” project stands the same chance of failure and fraud as any “non-green” business. But the only people profiting from climate change denial are Charles and David Koch. And that is not an accident.
Which brings me back to our cousins the bonobos. Another recent research paper out of Yale and Duke University “discovered” that our fellow primates “exhibit emotional responses to outcomes of their decisions by pouting or throwing angry tantrums when a risk-taking strategy fails to pay off” according to the press release. This research may be worthy of a reward for restating the obvious 
We might ask Kanzi (above) about the Koch brothers, and their risk-taking behavior, but the old boy is now retired on a farm in Des Moines, Iowa. Like Charles and David, Kanzi is the alpha male in his troop, but since bonoboos are matriarchal, his is largely a symbolic role. He spends his time constructing complex sentences complaining about his grandchildren and screwing anything and anyone with reach, just like the Koch brothers. But in the Bonoboo world, fucking each other is a way of reducing tension. In the ethos of the Koch brothers, sex and business are a form of aggression. And that is the difference between humans and the less evolved apes. They know something we don't.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

MOTH TO THE FLAME

“I'm a lady of the evening. And while youth and beauty last, I never worry who will pay my rent. For a while I'll be in clover, And when easy days are over, I know I'll go the way that all, My predecessors went.”
Our poet, Benita Franklin, was born in Joliet, Illinois in 1891. Her father was a strict disciplinarian, and when the young drama queen rebelled, he dispatched her to the Ladies of Loretto Convent School in nearby Wheaton. Benita was so miserable there she claimed to have tried to commit suicide, but the nuns labeled her behavior as “insubordinate”. So Benita ran away, looking for an audience who would appreciate her performance. And being young and beautiful, she found a way to make her way, working as a chorus girl on the nightclub circuit, and using the name, Vivian Gordon. In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1912 the 21 year old met a dull accountant named Joseph E.C. Bischoff.  Perhaps it was her need for security, or perhaps she really fell in love, but within a few months they were married. And in 1913 Benita/Vivian gave birth to a girl, Benita Frederica.
The new family moved to the Philadelphia suburb of Audubon, New Jersey, and Joseph went to work for the United States Marshal service, as an office manager. Benita/Vivian was left at home with little Benita Frederica . But Benita/Vivian's search for drama reasserted itself after Joesph secured a promotion to the D.C. Woman’s Reformatory, in Lorton, Virginia. The money was good, but Joseph was away from home for weeks at a time. Eventually Benita/Vivian sought out the attention of Al Marks, a lingerie salesman, from Long Branch, New Jersey. And in 1923, while the couple was having a dramatic tryst in the seedy Langwell Hotel (above), on West 44th street, just above Manhattan’s Time Square, Vice Patrolman Andrew J. McLaughlin dramatically burst in on them. Under pressure Al Marks confessed he had paid Benita/Vivian for the sex, and she was charged with prostitution.
Shuffled abruptly through the Brooklyn night court of Magistrate H. Stanley Renaud, Benita/Vivian quickly came to the realization she had been set up. Of the 219 women the Brooklyn night court convicted of prostitution in 1923, 72% were first time offenders, like Vivian, and one in ten were pregnant – which should have told officials they were not really prostitutes. But judge Renaud never asked such questions. Benita/Vivian was convicted of prostitution on the statement signed by Al and detective McLaughlin, and even though she was a first time offender (at least in New York City), she as sentenced to three years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, in Westchester County. Even before she left Brooklyn , Benita/Vivian was served divorce papers, filed by her husband Joseph, who was seeking custody of Benita Frederica . That quickly the previous decade of her life was simply wiped out.
“I'm a lady of the evening, With a morning glory's beauty. The payment for my raiment, I get in devious ways. When some big and wealthy brute, Wants to love me 'cause I'm cute, I admit that I submit, Because it pays.”
Bedford Hills had been built by well intentioned do-gooders, who had designed the facility to be communal, and to emphasize reform. The 3-400 prisoners, each between 16 and  30 years old, some along with their infants and newborns, were housed in two story cottages, each with their own kitchens. Mornings everyone worked on the 300 acre farm, but in the afternoon there were classes in secretarial work and sewing. However, time had converted Bedford Hills into an understaffed prison devoid of much good. Inmates were isolated and allowed only one letter a month. And the last note Benita/Vivian received from her daughter read, “Dear mama. I am very sorry you are sick. I hope you will be better soon. I miss you very much.” The pressure on her to be dramatic must have been overwhelming, but dramatic prisoners were reclassified as Mentally Defective, and chained to beds in what had once been the infirmary. Their sentences were now indeterminate, meaning the doctors decided when and if to release them. Under this threat, Benita/Vivian quickly became just another dull inmate. Her father would have been proud.
The woman who came out of Bedford in 1926 had a single goal, to get her daughter back. And a single name, Vivian Gordon (above). She went into the only profession now open to her, and as she noted in her poem, she was good at it. She was still beautiful and looked far younger than her age. Vivian was a "high class" hooker, and quickly branched out to blackmailing her wealthier customers. As the roaring twenties approached their end, Vivian Gordon was often seen at Manhattan speakeasies with Jack “Legs” Diamond, the gangster who ran the city.
Vivian “loaned” Jack (above) thousands of dollars, to enlist his help. On his advice she hired crooked lawyer John Radeloff, to get her conviction overturned. Radeloff took her money, but all three of his three attempts to nail McLaughlin, failed. On Radeloff's advice she even hired a dope named Sam “Chowder-head” Harris to kidnap her daughter in New Jersey and bring her to New York, where the judges could be bribed. All “Chowder-head” managed to do was to terrify the 15 year old Benita. Vivian began to suspect that Radeloff was only interested in sucking her dry. And then Vivian saw another way to get at the crooked cop, and get her daughter back..
In August of 1930 State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Force Crater disappeared on West 45th street. Press reports about the mob connections of “the missingest man in New York” were so explosive that New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt was able to pressure Mayor Jimmy Walker to accept an independent and wide ranging investigation of graft in city government. The man Roosevelt pushed on Walker to lead the committee was above suspicion, retired judge Samuel Seabury.  He was so honest he could barely get elected. Early in February of 1931 Vivian wrote to the committee (below), saying she had “some information in connection with a 'frame up' by a police officer and others which . . . will be of great aid to your committee.” 
Lead counsel Irving Cooper met with Vivian at committee offices at 80 Center Street, on Friday, February 20th, 1931, and he was impressed. Vivian would make a good witness, beautiful and articulate. She was an intimate of Jack Diamond's. Her story was filled with names, from Mayor Jimmy Walker down to dozens of judges and hoods who were all "on the  take".  But Cooper wanted more. He asked Vivian to come back with corroboration, paperwork, photos and letters, the kind of thing she used in her blackmail. And Vivian agreed to return with “the goods”.
Shortly after eleven on the night of Wednesday, February 25th , 1931, Vivian Gordon (above) was seen leaving her three room apartment at 156 East 37th Street in Manhattan. She was wearing a black evening dress with white lace trim and a matching handbag, which was covered by an ankle-length mink coat and topped off with a black straw hat. On her left wrist she wore a platinum watch and on her right hand a two caret diamond ring. Vivian Gordon got into a waiting Cadillac and disappeared into the night.
Nine hours later an oil company employee on his way to work spotted her body in a ditch (above) beside a lonely section of the Mosholu Parkway, adjacent to the golf course in the Bronx's Van Courtland Park 
 Vivian (above) had been beaten about the head, but the cause of death was the clothesline knotted about her throat. Her hat and one of her sued shoes were found not far away. Her coat, her watch and her pocketbook were all missing.
The New York papers lit up like the Fourth of July. A beautiful prostitute, a witness for the Seabury Commission, had been murdered just six months after Judge Crater had gone missing. And it turned out Vivian and Crater knew many of the same people, including Jack "Legs" Diamond and Mayor Jimmy Walker. All of that made her murder front page news, even in the papers out in the sticks (above).. The reporters noted the autopsy of the “Queen of the Courtesans” (as they now called her) revealed that about one in the morning of Thursday, February 26th she had eaten sauerkraut, raisins and some egg whites – a “working girl's” dinner, heavy on the protein. And over the course of the evening Vivian had consumed five or six stiff drinks. But that was as far as the facts could take them. Still having a paper to fill, the reporters switch to speculation.
The cops searched Vivian's apartment (above) for the corroboration she had promised the Seabury Committee. They reported finding no little black book, or photos, or hotel receipts or love letters, not even any business cards. They may have found them, they just didn't report them. What they did find and report was $50,000 in cash and Vivian Gordon's dramatic diary. In it she railed against Detective McLaughlin, her ex-husband and all the men who had cheated her. There were also the names of 200 of New York's rich and dishonest. The most telling passage was when she dramatically called her own lawyer, John Radeloff, “the only man I fear...who, if he wanted, could get (Chowder-head) Cohen and a couple of his henchmen to do away with me.”
Those with something to hide waited for the story to fade. But just six days later, at about 4:30 pm on Tuesday March 3, 1931, 16 year old Benita Frederica was discovered by her stepmother. The teenager  was near death on the kitchen floor. The previous weekend, members of Benita's prep school hockey team had refused to practice with the daughter of the infamous Vivian Gordon. The newspapers turned that into the headline, “Squeeler's Daughter Unable to Face Schoolmates.” According to her diary, that was why Benita had turned on the gas. She died a few hours later in a Camden hospital. The story, which had been hot the week before, was white hot now. A Daily News editorial screamed, “The rope that jerked tight about Vivian Gordon's neck to keep her from talking, is about to jerk the lid off a sizzling pot of scandals, frame ups, charges and counter-charges in New York's city government.”
The Seabury investigation focused on Detective McLaughlin. He had an iron clad alibi, being aboard the Cunard liner S.S. California, on a six-day cruise to Bermuda. He was 800 miles out in the Atlantic on the night Vivian was murdered. But investigators also discovered that over the last three years the $60 a week detective had managed to accumulate $35,800. Andrew McLaughlin would be indited, and although not convicted he was through as a New York City cop.
The local cops meanwhile zeroed in on Vivian's diaries, which showed she was no madam. The diary said attorney John Radeloff had been her pimp, while his brother Joe had been her boyfriend and partner in a stock scam, funded by Vivian's various skills. But the year before Vivian had turned on Joe, testifying against him in front of a grand jury. For some reason, the records of that jury had disappeared, but reporters suspected hard feelings remained between Vivian and Joe.  Reporters also discovered that Vivian had been the owner of record for gambling houses in Queens and Brooklyn. Were they actually owned by Jack Diamond and other mobsters? Or maybe even Mayor Walker. Vivian Gordon it seemed, had been the Donald Trump of the roaring twenties underworld. And just when it seemed the publicity would bring down the whole rotten structure of New York politics, the cops came up with a trio of the usual suspects who shut down all other investigations.
Harry Stein was a small time crook and occasional partner in Vivian's scams. He had also once been accused of strangling a woman. But the primary justification for his arrest was that he sold Vivian's mink coat and ring the day after her murder, or so the police said. A few days after his arrest, his tailor Sam Greenhauser was indicted. And for a topper, the cops arrested the small time hood Harry Schlitten. In exchange for immunity, he confessed to driving the Ford coupe (above) in which Vivian had been beaten and strangled, or so said the cops.
But Stein and Greenhauser had alibi's. And the front seat of the coupe looked too small to fit more than two people, which meant the killer would have to drive and strangle Vivian at the same time. And that did not even consider beating her in the head. The trial began on June 18th, 1931, just 16 weeks after Vivian's murder, and it ended two weeks later, on July 1st .  After just three hours of deliberation, the jury declared all the defendants “not guilty”. And that was that.  
Nobody would ever be convicted of Vivian's brutal murder. As corrupt mayor Jimmy Walker (above) would observe, when he returned from his California vacation, “There were more frames than there were pictures”. But the ultimate judgment on Vivian, may have been delivered by Polly Adler, the most infamous "Vice Entrepreneuse" in New York City. Vivian Gordon, the infamous madam said, was “just another woman out to feather her nest quickly.”
“I'm a lady of the evening, Just like Cleopatra was. The Queen of Sheba also played my game. Though by inches I am dying, There's not any use in crying. I stay and play 'cause I'm that way, A moth that loves the flame.”
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

1828 - THE CORE PROBLEM


I want to introduce you to a peculiar man in a peculiar city. The night was May 21st , 1827. And if his home had not been so close to the year-old Athenum on the southwest corner of St. Paul and Lexington streets in downtown Baltimore, I doubt if State Senator Roger Brook Tawny (above) would have attended the meeting. It was not the dark streets that discouraged Tawney. What unnerved him was the prospect of facing the 17 men due to arrive in carriages and on foot, 6 from the city and 12 from every county in Maryland. You see, Roger Tawney suffered from Prosopagnosia, the inability to recognizing human faces, “...unless I had seen it frequently, or there was something striking about it.” As he later admitted, “I felt awkward entering a room, for consciousness of this defect” And yet most of the prominent Marylanders were coming to this particular meeting , in large part because of him.
They called themselves “The Central Committee” - this was their first meeting - and Tawney was quickly elected their Chairman. He was “a tall square shouldered man, flat chested...with a stoop that made his shoulders seem more prominent, a face without one good feature, a mouth unusually large, in which were discolored and irregular teeth.” He “dressed always in black, his clothes sitting ill upon him...in a word a gaunt, ungainly man.” And when he spoke, his faint voice “was hollow, as the voice of one who is consumptive.” His hands remained at his sides or in his pockets. He used no alliteration, and approached a monotone. But when men heard what he said, they believed him, “so clear, so simple, so admirably arraigned were his low voiced words.”
Within four months Roger Tawny would be chosen Attorney-General of Maryland by universal acclimation. He would later write, presaging the Tea Party reactionaries by 150 years, that the Constitution “...must be construed now as it was understood at the time of its adoption.” And this man who freed those slaves he had inherited from his father, providing pensions for those too old to work, would also write “We must look at the institution of slavery as publicists, and not as casuists. It is a question of law, and not a case of conscience.” This was the best legal defense for slavery one of the best legal minds in America could conceive, in effect saying, slavery was just because it was judged just by our fathers. And illuminated by the flicker of whale oil lamps, these 18 Marylanders, lead by Roger Tawney, met this night to begin working to elect Andrew Jackson, slaveholder, as the next President of the United States.
Maryland was the most northern slave state, and its capital of Baltimore in 1827 was a very peculiar place. This industrial harbor of 80,000 was known as the 'city of transients', where free labor, white and black, mixing with black slave labor, produced a hybrid - “Term Slavery”. Baltimore streets were teaming with so many free blacks, escape was easy for the black industrial slave. It was here that Fredrick Douglas stole himself from his master. For the white and black free workers it was harder, much harder.
Slaves were 20% cheaper than freemen, and suppressed their wages. Thus, less than 30% of the residents were paid enough to even pay taxes themselves. It was a capitalist's dream market, where workers were easily replaced and controlled. Except , where the line between slave and free worker was so blurred, the slaves could not be whipped to build clipper ships on the Fells Point ways, or blow glass in the Maryland Chemical Works, established in 1825. Here the slave had to be negotiated with, even given guaranteeing manumission after a number of years of labor. But here, also, seamstress invented the phrase “living wage” to describe their desperate need for a subsistence income - 15% of the cities' households in 1827 were headed by women. And they did not get it the increase they begged for.
On February 2, 1827, two dozen capitalist royalty, met to incorporate the nation's first commercial railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio. The city was 100 miles further west than any other East Coast port, and thus might compete with New York's Erie Canal. Maryland quickly approved their $5 million capitalization, and just a year later, at about 11 on the morning on July 4, 1828, the first stone was ceremonially laid by 90 year old Charles Carrollton, the last surviving signer of Jefferson's Deceleration of Independence. Within two more years the mighty Tom Thumb would be puffing up the first 13 miles of track to Elliot's Mills, Maryland. A second revolution was remaking America.
As first glance Tawny and his slave owner allies seemed in a prime position to profit from this revolution. While the election of 1824 saw Maryland's votes almost evenly split, with about 14,000 votes for both Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, the electoral college results were more comforting, as it apportioned Jackson 7 votes to Adams 3. (Crawford got 1 elector and Henry Clay received none.) And while those vote totals were a mere fraction of Maryland’s 1,600,000 population, the plantation owners could still rely on the state's over 107,000 slaves. Their voices were silent, but each slave, under the U.S. Constitution, counted as 3/5ths of every white male vote. This seemed to guarantee the tobacco plantation aristocracies' electoral clout.
However Tawny saw ominous clouds gathering. With growing pressure for universal white male suffrage, and with a growing wave of immigration – largely Irish at this point – and higher wages drawing the vast majority of those immigrants north to the free states, slaves states like Maryland seemed destined to fall behind in the electoral college. In fact,. Maryland would lose one electoral vote in the upcoming 1830 census. Tawny, and the other members of  the tobacco aristocracy, were beginning to realize the box their peculiar institution had put them in.
In 1821, an impetuous United States Naval Lieutenant named Robert F. Stockton (above) marched into the jungle of the Alligator coast of Africa, pursuing a reluctant chief he knew as King Peter. Stockton finally fell upon the native retreat, and tried to restart negotiations to buy a strip of coastline. King Peter had been willing to sell the land, until he learned Stockton wanted it as home for freed American slaves. Most coastal tribes profited from the slave trade, and touching the “peculiar institution” was no more welcome in Africa than it was in Maryland. King Peter now hotly ordered Stockton and his small expedition to leave at once. Whereupon Stockton pulled a pair of pistols and, Ala “The Godfather”, made King Peter an offer he couldn't refuse. With a cocked gun to his head, King Peter agreed to sign the deal, and thus the nation of Liberia was born.
Indirectly Liberia was the dream of Henry Clay, of Kentucky. In 1816 the Speaker of the House - who in 1824 would negotiate the “corrupt bargain” to make Adams President and himself Secretary-of-State and next presumptive President - had helped to form The Colonization Society, whose goal was to recruit free African-Americans to return to Africa, thus removing freed slaves from cities like Baltimore. Lt. Stockton's mission was the implementation of Clay's dream. It had the political and financial support of Christian societies, north and south, such as the Quakers, and northern abolitionists And it would fail.
By 1830 there were about 2 million black humans held in slavery in America. No African tribes were willing to accept such a flood of humanity, and the United States saw no way to finance a black homeland. And more importantly, the freed slaves did not want to go. After even several generations in humiliating bondage in America, they no longer thought of themselves as Africans, anymore than second generation Irish-Americans thought of themselves as Irish. Having inhaled the air of America since birth, they were Americans. They would fight for the nation they claimed, even as those who kept them in slavery grew more uncomfortable in their presence. There was something about the idea Thomas Jefferson, slave owner, had put on paper that got into people’s DNA, even a slave's DNA, and ennobled them in ways that horrified Tawny and even Jefferson. The black slave in America -  even more importantly the freed black slave, was a reality everyone would have to deal with, one way or the other.
Roger Tawny's way of dealing with it, was to deny and resist. This man who was originally a Federalist like John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, as a young lawyer had eloquently defended a local minister, arrested for preaching abolition from the pulpit. But Tawny had now grown so frightened by the prospect of cultural change, he had come to insist slaves were not really humans. Later in his life he would write, “It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed...when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted...They... (were) regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
Those were the words of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Tawny, in the 1857 Dredd Scott v John Sandford decision. It was this decision, which the Albany New York Evening Journal observed, “...converted the Supreme Court...into a propagandist of human Slavery”, just as Tawny had insisted they must become 30 years before. The newspaper warned, “The Legislation of the Republic is in the hands of...Slaveholders...The body which gives the supreme law of the land, has just acceded to their demands.” But the Albany Evening Journal then went on to issue a call to action. “All who love Republican institutions and who hate Aristocracy, compact yourselves together for the struggle which threatens your liberty and will test your manhood!” Using the law to defend an extreme position, Roger Tawny wold give his opponents no choice but to become extremists as well.
And the next step in that march, begun this night in 1827 with what would become the oldest state Democratic Party organization in America, which was determined to see Andrew Jackson, slave owner, elected President in 1828
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