THE SPANISH-AMERICAN FRONTIER; THE MISSISSIPPI QUESTION, 1783-1803

By Arthur Preston Whitaker

The historian, Arthur Whitaker, was an eminent fellow who wrote diplomatic and foreign relations history simply and well. He researched in Spain before the Spanish Civil War and next published these two volumes 80-90 years ago.

What are the stories? Governments of Spain, the United States, France and Britain all tried to exert influence and control west of the Appalachians. The targets were native Americans, who didn’t like any of the Europeans, and emigrants from the eastern States coming into the Ohio and the Tennessee Valleys. They wanted to use the Mississippi River to the sea. Movers and shakers were land spectators, commercial sharks and politicians, somewhat represented by John Wilkerson, US Army Brigadier General who negotiated with the Spanish to bring Kentucky under Spanish rule, had a Spanish pension (mostly unpaid), and had other intrigues with Spanish authorities in New Orleans. Wilkerson, of course, had been a friend of Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War.

Having no rules and less law and order west of the Appalachians between 1783-1803 was a boon to many, one being William Clark, brother of George Rogers Clark, Revolutionary War hero. Clark intrigued, tried to push the Spanish out, had a military unit, fought Native Americans in private wars, speculated in land and complained to the Spanish that the natives were restless. After the Louisiana Purchase (1803) he went west with Meriwether Lewis and came back to become governor of the Missouri Territory. Later he was Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Incidentally, having connived and intrigued for 20 years James Wilkerson survived the 1807 Treason Trial of Aaron Burr; with a few wrinkles he kept offices and rank.

The story begun in these books tell of New York interests, involving Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. They were good friends, having vibrant conversations, dining together and partying. Hamilton’s fingerprints are all over plans and intrigues involving British-American plots to diminish Spanish contacts and push Spain from North America. Hamilton and Burr likely talked much about west of the Appalachian intrigues and filibustering. After 1804 Burr continued those activities but not enough to constitute treason. Note, at some time Aaron Burr moved his personal papers to North Carolina, a staging area for a move west. Americans now know of these papers because Burr has few: They were lost at sea along with the ship and Burr’s daughter.

Whatever happened west of the Appalachians involving Burr and Hamilton, was further obscured by The Louisiana Purchase, Burr killing Hamilton in a dual (1804) and the Burr Treason Trial judged by John Marshall(1807).

More history needs researching, but these two volumes provide a solid foundation on which to begin. 

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NEW MARTHA MITCHELL

Remember the old Martha Mitchell, wife of Attorney General John Mitchell? She not related to Margaret or to Andrea. She was nicknamed, Mouth of the South, and forcibly sedated by a shrink. While intoxicated on something himself, Nixon said she had a drinking problem. 

The new Martha Mitchell is Ginni Thomas, wife of Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court. 

Ginni believes she can scold persons who she disagrees with using Twitter-like words. It is Twitter when the writer writes “u” rather than “you,” and uses words that comprise incomplete sentences.

Ginni wrote: “To all the kids that walked out of school to protest guns. Those are the shoes of Jews that gave up their firearms to Hitler. They were led into gas chambers, murdered and buried in mass graves. Pick up a history book and you’ll realize what happens when u give up freedoms and why we have them.” (From The Hill website.)

Also from The Hill website Ginni rants, “I want the old regular America back,…MINUS left’s awful tactics.”

First Issue: Is this how Clarence Thomas wants to be represented? It detracts from the dignity and the serenity of the Supreme Court. It suggests on any Second Amendment issue, Clarence Thomas has already made up his mind and is forcibly influenced by an intimate voice. He should disqualify himself from those deliberations and any Court opinion. It supports the inference that if Clarence Thomas does not recuse himself, he has not fulfilled his oath of office: He is not servicing “in good behavior.”

Second Issue: Americans can expect anyone writing about Constitutional issues and politics to discuss the issues using rational means, unlike an angry Don Trump tweet. Perhaps Ginni Thomas knows her audience and apparently like herself, she knows the full extent of the attention span: State what is needed in 25 words or less. Framers of the Constitution, except Luther Martin, had longer attention spans than 25 words. No one arguing about the Bill of Rights in Congress in August, 1789, would listen to Ginni. 

Third Issue: Ginni urges gun protestors to read and learn history. That is commendable. But what of her history?

Ginni is ignorant. No one in Europe except the Swiss, had customs and statutory policies [not Constitutional Rules],  about owning and using firearms. Neither Jews nor anyone else had access to firearms. No one gave up firearms and next were marched into concentration camps. Where most of the Jewish victims of the camps came from – Central and Eastern Europe – there were no rights to bear arms.

Would the Holocaust have happened in a state where everyone could obtain firearms is a consideration which is off-point. It the German “left” had arms, would they have begun a Civil War to stave off Hitler? That’s a “what if” question. Note in Iraq Saddam Hussein let Iraqis bear arms, yet they lived under a “brutal” dictatorship.

What is the history in the old regular America of the 1960s. Eldridge Cleaver called for responses from “armed mad N—–s.” I don’t know how Ginni balances things because Cleaver was on the “left,” but he favored using firearms.

Also in the history of the old regular America were the right to bear arms and using them to kill political persons, “the left.” For instance within the life of Clarence Thomas, the Civil Rights Movement lost two notable figures Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King along with others trying to gain rights under the United States Constitution.   

Is is unfair to infer that the rant from Ginni Thomas suggests, Guys with guns have a right to kill everyone on “the left?” 

It is unlikely Ginni Thomas wants to leave that impression, but who knows? Her powers of communication must amplify beyond the 25 words-or-less audience.

Go back to Jim Crow days, does the old regular America include the times when some African Americans used guns to threaten whites and the KKK? Books have been written, but apparently unread and not considered.

“I want the old regular America back…MINUS the left’s awful tactics.” Does that support the America favored by Roy Moore, who believed everything in America was good and fine, when America had slavery, before the Thirteenth Amendment?

Fourth Issue: There is vehemence and hate in Ginni Thomas’s statements. During Bob Dole’s concession speech after the 1996 election results became public, he was interrupted by someone in the audience calling Bill Clinton “an enemy.” Dole corrected that voice: Bill Clinton was my opponent, not my enemy. Curiously, one can write derogatorily and humorously about an opponent, but that writing is very difficult against an enemy.

I grew up in a Conservative community and most of the people were ignorant and dull. I next went to Berkeley where the students and residents were ignorant, excitable and drugged. I learned along the way the all Americans must learn how to express themselves and support social and political positions beyond slogans, advertising or otherwise. (See Mein Kampf for political usefulness of slogans.) Americans are beyond Hitler and beyond the old regular America, unless they resort to homilies, slogans, chants, cheers, bromides, mottos and shibboleths. 

As Americans we must do better. Don’t wait for your opponents to steal a base or get a leg up. Do better now!   

STORMY DANIELS PRIVACY

A confidentiality agreement is a promise to keep something private, or a pledge to keep something private.

Stormy Daniels signed a 2016 confidentiality agreement supposedly prepared by an attorney representing candidate Don Trump. Trump did not sign; the attorney, a non-party to the agreement, did not sign. The attorney advanced $130,000 of his own money to pay Daniels. Don Trump and his minions now claim the candidate did not know of the agreement with Stormy Daniels; Trump has not repaid the attorney for advancing the money. The reasons to disclaim knowledge of the agreement and of the money appears campaign finance law violations.

Under these facts a third party, the attorney, is trying to interpose a confidentiality agreement on Daniels (1) which has been disclaimed by the principal on other side, (2) which was never executed by the principal on the other side and (3) an executed fully enforceable agreement presents a prima facie case of a crime.

Stormy Daniels’ situation is like circumstances of victims, suspects, and law enforcement, on one hand, and internet companies and computer/telecommunication companies, on the other hand. The so-called electronic privacy agreements between the Internet/computer companies and suspects who commit crimes is the same as Stormy and the attorney. The Agreements drafted by Internet/Computer companies can be modified at will by the drafting parties e.g. Apple Computer routinely grants the Chinese government any access it wants. Consideration can be gone. Yet some Internet/Computer companies assert the right to keep secret the actions which may constitute an obstruction of justice; or they be aid the commission of the crime and be an ancillary after the fact; or they may interfere with an investigation, or they may lie to law enforcement. [When a person omits to disclose pertinent facts which are known or easily available to a person, individual or corporation, that is lying and may be a crime.] These omissions may arise in a number of circumstances: After a police shooting when the cops circle the wagons against investigators; when someone with foreign help (government or organization) commits a crime within this country; when an American kills another American and interposes an electronic privacy agreement.

Most Americans know what privacy is: home, family, talking. Benjamin Franklin warned (paraphrased) The only way a secret can be kept among three persons is for two of them to die. If something needs to be private don’t tell anyone. However, relying on agreements prepared by third parties which may not be executed, or is changed or violated at the whim of the drafting party, means there is no privacy at all.

IDIOTS, Jr.

Now that Pres Don has gotten rid of competent, intelligent white guys, individuals who have done something with life and prospered, unlike himself, he’s going for the retreads of the second string.

Larry Kudlow, new Director of the National Economic Council, is of CNBC fame where Don had his TV show. Larry wasn’t as big a person as Don; he’ll never be exposed to the elements on the Hollywood Walk of Fame i.e. the homeless. Both Larry and Don believe the homeless are using the tax cuts to bilk millions from the government from favorable programs handing out dough. How else, could the homeless live in such an exclusive neighborhood?

These attributes fit Larry’s behavior when giving advice on TV: Angry rich man complaining the United States government taxes him to give money to the poor. He sounds like and is as current as George Bush proposing economic prosperity, the lift of a driving dream. WRONG POLICIES! Larry’s a very retro guy: Let’s Make America Great Again Like It Was During The 1920s. That decade finished well, didn’t it?

John Bolton, new National Security Advisor, looks like a walrus, with a white lip. Give him a uniform, narrow his mustache and he looks like someone else. He also sounds like that person: Adamant, right and righteous, hard, and opinionated based upon faith and fibs.

Both men have had stints in government, and no one in government hired either of them later for any position of responsibility. But each stuck around getting whatever exposure was available – CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business and mail solicitations. Bolton had a petty foundation he was the face card for, and once a month, bi-weekly and sometimes weekly envelopes arrived with cant writings inside expounding political and social positions edging toward totalitarianism. The only benefit a right minded, red blooded American got from Bolton was observing in the photographs that Bolton was getting gray. (Kudlow is mostly bald.)

The big advantage that Don Trump has over Bolton and Kudlow – they are lower on the food chain. Neither has Don Trump’s girth, 400 pounds of flab. Each is relatively trim ready to wear second-hand, empty suits. They are names, sometimes recognizable, unrespected, timeless and each has fallen into Don’s event horizon. The best that can be said about each man: When Don fires them, no one will know they are gone.

UNWILLING TOM STEYER

Tom Steyer, billionaire speculator, made loads of money disregarding climate change by investing in coal and fossil fuels and ripping off Americans by using tax laws for the rich. Steyer believes he is all right and now purified! He’s moved to San Fran. He is running ads why Don Trump should be impeached. Steyer’s impressions of Trump are not grounds for impeachment. They may support arguments and inferences of Trump’s abysmal judgment, his everlasting proneness to gross distortion and proof of the large vacuity where his brain ought to be, but grounds for impeachment?

In the ads Steyer features himself as the good advocate. In 2009 Trump featured himself as a searcher for truth with the birther issue. Trump claims to have forced the state of Hawaii to produce Barrack Obama’s birth certificate. If it had been produced immediately, there would have been no Don Trump. But Trump took a sliver of notoriety, added a game show, ran for President and won.

Steyer features himself on the same path, except in the end he will have no document saying Trump was born in the USA. Trump is a Queenie. Thanks to Trump we have learned Obama was born in Hawaii, and always was. Steyer says Don Trump has conspired, colluded and combined with a foreign power, the Ruskies. Saying something does not prove it. Steyer’s ad campaign is no more effective than the RIGHT-WING AMERICANS erecting billboards during the 1960s: IMPEACH EARL WARREN.

Steyer should stop the ads and prove one impeachment charge. Try loans to Trump, his children, his businesses, his business associates, his son-in-law, his son-in-law’s family by Russians, Russian banks, the Russian government, or anyone in Cypress. This is a financial detective investigation. Although certain statutes and regulations may prevent an investigation within the United States of America, those laws and rules do not extend beyond our borders. Palms frequently get greased, overseas.

Steyer knows this. No one makes a billion dollars after taxes and does not know the ways of money in the world or how to use it. A proper investigation producing evidence (dates, documents, times, places, assets) may cost 10, 20 or $50,000,000. Come on, Tom. Break open the piggy bank! If Steyer does not want to do it himself, there are plenty of underemployed lawyers who would with hourly payments. Steyer knows this. He can do his best, but is too cheap. Will Steyer’s tax evasion schemes in which he is participating be exposed?

Perhaps Steyer is now distracted. He has lost interest in politics. Or he’s getting married, divorced, changing relationships or has to move because he lives in the sinking Millennium Tower embedded in a foundation of sand, set in a city of progressivism prone to earthquakes. Or, he might want to begin a start-up, a pot growing operation in the fire area of Sonoma County – help the tax base!

TRUMP VULGARITIES

In the draft of the film script, The Lady Eve, which Preston Surges handed to Barbara Stanwyck read on the pages where she and her father watched Henry Fonda, the mark, come aboard:

JEAN [Stanwyck]
,,,and I hope he’s got a big fat wife so I don’t
have to dance in the moonlight with him. I don’t
know why it is but a sucker always steps on your
toes.

COL. H [Father]
(looking over rail)
And is a mug about everything.

JEAN
I don’t see why I have to do all the dirty work…
There must be plenty of rich old dames just
waiting for you to push them around.

COL. H
You find them and I’ll push them.

JEAN
Boy, would I like to see you giving some old
harpy the three-in-one.

COL. H
Don’t be vulgar, Jean. Let us be crooked but
not common.

(Axel Madsen, Stanwyck, Harper Collins, NY, 1994, p. 189.) A Brooklyn girl, Stanwyck, knew every vulgar term and could use each appropriately. She never did.

But last week we had Anthony Scaramucci mouth off, vulgarly, in the most ordinary, common ways showing no class, no education, of awareness or propriety, morals, ethics and comportment. Being a street thug was good enough.

Living the low life of a ground crawler was surprising to Scaramucci’s boss, Don Trump, and he was upset that Scaramucci upstaged him: Fire Scaramucci, who may now be mooching in his infamy and notoriety. Don Trump is on vacation.

POLITE DISCOURSE

Everyone wants polite social discourse especially after the Republican congressman was shot. But it’s hard to leave the old ways: In the government sandbox be rude, be offensive and pee but use no plumbing. I’m sure Don Trump got solace from that good Christian woman, defending him and blessing his actions. I bet, though, when Sarah Huckabee is at home, if her kids are as rude and offensive as is the President, she whips them. [Spare the rod, spoil the child is the Proverb modified from 13:24.] In this matter spanking anyone would produce adverse results. The guy’s been spanked before.

BORDER WALL

Should the United States Congress fund the border wall? NO. Don Trump made a sacred promised, forged by fire, to the American people that the Mexicans, not Americans will pay for the border wall.

Don Trump should not let the Mexicans breach one of his sacred promises. He has not publicly demanded that the Mexicans pay for it. Mexico may not realize they have an obligation. Don Trump should admit if the Mexicans do not fund the border wall, the wall will not be built.

Americans should give the Mexicans more time. There are many issues:

The Mexicans should know what the tax rate is on this new construction. Is any part of the wall deductible? Does the wall affect the free flow of money, north and south?

Who pays health care? With the status of health care uncertain in the United States, wall funding and construction cannot be determined until health care is resolved, so employers know what the landscape looks like for five years.

Don Trump must waive any requirement that only USA made ingredients go into wall construction. If the Mexicans are paying, they will use Mexican (yet North American) steel, cement, plastics, rocks and bricks. They should use Mexican plans. Mexican materials are durable; the construction is sound. Missions in California have survived earthquakes and floods. Those buildings have been in place ten times longer than any edifice Don Trump has ever erected. And architecturally the missions are much more pleasing than glass, steal, plastic and cement towers.

If the Mexicans are paying to construct the border wall, they should be equally allowed to hire Mexicans to do the work. Those workers should NOT be arrested and deported while working on the wall, only the next day to grant them entry into the country and later they will be arrested and deported. These workers should be granted documents so everyone, Mexicans and Americans, knows who everyone else is.

The wall should be built according to American standards, none of the fly-by-night construction leaving a trail of 100 law suits against the general contractor or the owner. Labor must be protected. There are volumes of labor statutes, already enacted and in the books, to guarantee worker’s rights. Everyone must follow the law.

Having made sacred promises to the American people about the border wall, Don Trump cannot flip his principles like he’s selling teepees and go against American ways. It is the free market, free enterprise, unfettered competition. If the Mexicans are paying for materials so their own labor will have jobs to do this foreign aid project on American soil, those workers would be treated as well as any other worker at a job in America.

ANALYSTS, COLUMNISTS & EXPERTS

Why did the Democrats lose? Each analyst, columnist and expert reads the results and expresses good points, many of which are found in statistics of the election.

A compelling, overarching reason for the Democratic loss is their static view of the electorate and issues. The Democrats constructed a model, like a model guiding stock market trades. The Democrats enunciated the model and gave it support at every opportunity. The pre-election polls indicated the model was sound; the Democrats were favored.

The model included philosophy as well as philosophy of governing; where to spend money. It included psychology, how to react to things (insults), what to say, how to contact the electorate, etc. The model representing the theory of philosophy and the psychology was imprecise and incomplete. Bless her, Hillary Clinton stuck with the model.

What the model also overlooked was Hillary Clinton’s effectiveness as a candidate. At the beginning of the campaign the candidate and the Democrats knew of her flaws and ingrained behaviors. Hillary is bookish; her speech can be elevated to obscurity and incomprehension – she spoke in complete sentences; her movements and motions before a crowd can seem defensive. Hillary Clinton did improve as a campaigner, but she also lapsed into more familiar ways. There are things – Certainly if talk is in complete sentences, but talk in short sentences. Never say Motor Vehicle; say car. Use the Anglo-Saxon side of the language rather than the French (Latin). The grammar is Anglo-Saxon. Mark Twain also observed, At a dime a word, I never use metropolis when I can use city. [Note Metropolis is used in cartoons today.]

Hillary Clinton also had a public record that was known to the American people. Whether they believed she did some or all the things listed, her ratings on trustworthiness were very low. She never got a positive trustworthy rating, even in comparison to her opponent. She carried that load through the election but lost to another New Yorker whom Americans also did not trust. In the end Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate beaten by another flawed candidate.

Analysts, columnists and experts don’t talk about the best candidates. I am not referring to Bernie Sanders, who was incredibly sincere and seemingly honest in his campaign. He spoke well and had enthusiastic crowds, but the Democrats would have suffered the same fate. Bernie was more to the Left and easily placed there. The Democrats who came to Trump would not have gone elsewhere in large numbers.

A Sanders nomination, along with Trump, would have brought forth a real third party – Michael Bloomberg. He had the revenues, he had the ability, he had the resume, he had the ability and he had conducted polling. He could have taken the middle of America. Second Amendment people complain about him, but in California and especially in Nevada, his local, small-step gun control measures won in referenda. Bloomberg did not run.

The Democrats lost their best choice, Joe Biden. Certainly, he was part of the Obama Administration; he had that baggage. But he likes people and attracts crowds; he seems openly friendly. Despite a long public record, he had no glaring embarrassments to bite him.

Sanders’ supporters believed if Hillary Clinton were dropped or were rejected in the Winter 2016, Bernie would have gotten the nomination. Head to head with Biden, it is likely Sanders would have lost.

This speculation over candidates and each of their strengths is why columnists, analysts and experts forego looking at the Democratic nominee. Nobody wants to believe that Hillary Clinton lost one or two-tenths of a percent of the vote in Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin based upon perceptions of her earlier public life. The percentage of the vote lost in each state may be narrower.

Now, reporters, analysts and experts are coming from the woodwork for their year-end analyses. THIS IS WHY IT HAPPENED. In The Big Short, Michael Lewis, quotes a trader who sums up his trade and the after reaction from the financial community:
“I must say that I have been astonished by how many people now say they saw the subprime meltdown, the commodities boom and the fading economy coming…And if they don’t always say it in so many words, they do it by appearing on TV or extending interviews to journalists, stridently projecting their own confidence in what will happen next. And surely, these people would never have the nerve to tell what’s happening next, if they were so horribly wrong on what happened last, right? (p. 246)
Guess what journalists, experts, analysis’s and columnists are doing today, all without doing much thinking, doing no research, doing no analyses and failing to be trustworthy and honest. They’re just moving their mouthes because that’s all these jokers can do!

Looking at the entire election and asking about the substance and method to convey it, plus scrutinizing the candidates. is important. The whole thing did not need changing. Hillary Clinton won a majority of the popular vote; she came close to victory. Democrats now cannot turn off her voters. But the message of the Democratic Party should be more hopeful. For example,
the problem with Obamacare is Bill Clinton is correct: It’s crazy to double costs and cut in half services provided. As costs got worse over the years, the Democratic Party never announced solutions to address the issue. They stuck with the model; they adhered to theory. They worshipped Health Insurance figureheads that might be idolized. No one in Congress proposed anything resembling healthcare – paying for health insurance does not mean one has healthcare. Happily one roadblock is removed in January 2017. Old-timer, Harry Reid was a deceitful, detestful man whose slime trail leads to the flames of Hell.