Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Plants and Mushrooms

People always ask me about my fascination with plants and mushrooms. When I was a child, I collected beautiful flowers and unusual plants and pressed them between the pages of an old book and made my own herbarium collection. It was difficult to name my finds, aside from the obvious, as I had to trek to the local library and look up plants and flowers in the only botanical encyclopedia within 60 miles.

Grandpa and I hunted for mushrooms; he knew how to discern the poisonous ones from the edible ones. There was no way to photograph my finds as cameras were out of the reach of the proletariat. Few could afford or were able to buy a camera. When they did, then film was hard to find and developing it was equally expensive. It was not a hobby for the poor masses which was most of us.
I loved the red colored poppies which could be found on the edge of the road and, in one particular case, I stumbled upon a wheat field which had a large crop of poppies in the middle. Unbeknownst to me, the crop of poppies and the field of wheat were guarded by a man with an ax. I am not sure if he was placed there by the communist party comrades or he did it on his own. All I remember that, as soon as we waded waist deep through the prickly field of wheat to reach the poppies, the axman appeared out of nowhere, started yelling and shaking his ax menacingly. We did not wait to talk to him, we ran away as fast as we could absolutely frightened to death.

Tuscan poppies
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2016
On our last trip to Italy, I found poppies on the side of the road in Tuscany, wine country. We had to stop for a photo op for the sake of my childhood fascination with the red flowers.

As a child, I never understood Frank Baum’s reference to poppies and sleep in his book, The Wizard of Oz.

To this day, on our walks through the woods, especially after a soaking rain, I stop every time when I find a fascinating mushroom I’ve never seen before and photograph it, to the desperation of my husband who sees them all just as they are - a fungus among us. But they are more to me – they are medicinal cures, potential food, possible poison, botanical beauty, and fragility, waiting to be explored and admired.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Bolshevik-Style Cultural Purge

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”  Mad Hatter, character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

If you wondered about the deplorable state of American mis-education, all you have to do is look at the historical revisionist indoctrination in the textbooks, the classroom-forced Islamization of students, the Common Core standards that are dumbing down students across the board, and the Bolshevik-style cultural purge of Civil War monuments and heroes that is taking place around the country with the full approval and instigation from academia, the MSM, politicians, the current administration, and American citizens.

Identity politics is the new front to fight and change the face of America forever into the Bolshevik state that the socialist Democrats demand, a state based on bogus “social justice.” Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Stalin, and Hitler could not have been any prouder of these American socialists, fascists, and anarchists.

Purging a culture by book burnings, statue destructions, repression and persecution of people arbitrarily deemed enemies of the state was something Bolsheviks, Stalinists, and fascists had done. But now, we have American hate groups, paid violent protesters like ANTIFA and BLM, rallied under the banner of fighting fascism and white supremacy, employing violent and fascistic tactics of terrorizing the population whose divergent views and skin color they were told to hate.

Such purges killed millions of innocents under the false accusations of political crimes, i.e., espionage, wrecking, sabotage, anti-communist agitation, conspiracies to prepare uprisings and coups. The accused were summarily shot or sent to Gulag labor camps. Many died in the camps of starvation, disease, exposure to the harsh elements, and overwork. One particular gruesome method of killing Soviet political dissidents was by gassing them in an airtight van. A famous photograph pictures Stalin with his communist henchmen but one of them is airbrushed out – he displeased the dictator and was shot.

This brings me to our mis-education of children who are now subjected to the Common Core standards that has caused 70 percent in some New York public schools to fail the exit test and has poorly prepared students for success in furthering their education.

What kind of schools mind-program students that loving one’s nation, language, culture, flag, national anthem, historical artifacts such as statues and monuments is racist, bigoted, fascist, and supremacist? The answer is simple, public and private schools who have adopted Howard Zinn’s history of America, Common Core Standards, and have hired licensed teachers who were themselves trained in the socialist indoctrination mills of Jimmy Carter’s Department of Education.

The mentality of these new globalist citizens created by the College of Education’s “social justice” curricula, coupled with the drug and sex culture promoted by Hollywood and the English professors obsessed with everything sexual ever written, and hygiene classes where students are introduced to perverted sexual behavior at an earlier and earlier age, it is no surprise that rational people wake up every day with a feeling that “we landed on another planet.”

Annie M., in her desire to be fair and well-informed, watched CNN all day. She found out that it was an “endless, in every way, bashing our President Donald J. Trump, implying he is stupid, insane racist, violent Nazi, and so are his supporters. … If this is what liberals are fed all day, every day, it is no wonder they are weeping and hating. They talk about Trump inspiring hate and violence while they do that relentlessly. Trump-phobia is real and alive at CNN and so is Nazi-phobia. They see a Nazi behind every Caucasian face, fearing a few hundred White Supremacists in our country.” The white-phobia is delivered by Teleprompter readers by MSM with a mean and frightened face.

CeCe explained that she had a hard time watching performances anymore. “I see the faces of angry actors and actresses that are so ignorant, I just can’t even look at them in a movie anymore. I can’t listen to singers I used to like because their political stance and temper tantrums have taken my enjoyment of their craft away.” Their rage that their female candidate has not won the presidency is non-stop and overwhelming. And the fifty percent of the population who voted in kind take their behavior cues from these highly-paid, spoiled and ungrateful actors, singers, and athletes, pitting blacks against whites, Muslims against Christians, LGBT against heterosexuals, and the haves against the have-nots.

“How did this country stray so far away from all the values, morals, and patriotism of days not so long ago,” she asked rhetorically. President Trump was elected because he was not a traditional politician swayed by greed.

We’ve never had so many college-educated Americans before who know so very little about their own history, civics, government, math and science, are unable to articulate and write cogent thoughts and essays spelled properly and grammatically correct, yet they are so demanding and unprepared for the real world of work.

When the Common Core developers who wrote the standards and explained in the propaganda literature that their standards prepared students for the global economy and the world of work, not even they could define or quantify how the dumbed-down mathematics and science are going to accomplish that when large numbers of students are failing the exit tests.

Our children are becoming drones attached to reality TV and electronic devices, envying the poisonous lifestyles of the rich and famous, and seeking their minutes of fame on Twitter. They date by Skype, are addicted to drugs and prescription drugs, reject the notion of family and children; godless, faithless, highly sexual and promiscuous, they have become the syphilis, STD, and HIV exploding statistics; body piercings and tattoos have created a better fit and acceptance into the cult-like self-indulgent and vulgar atmosphere of their lives in which immorality is the norm.

Government is pushing in every direction to normalize immoral and abhorrent behavior as witnessed in schools, on almost every program on television and even advertising. Gender-confused characters are made to look normal in movies and sit-coms. Often the dysfunctional family is run by obnoxious and disrespectful children manipulating their moms, while dads are deliberately portrayed as bumbling idiots the family could do without.

Kindergartners in California were subjected to indoctrination lessons into transgenderism, without parental knowledge, including cross-dressing, presenting the gender-dysphoria sufferers as normal, and scaring young children that they might become the opposite sex overnight. Teachers, who insinuate that sex is not a matter of chromosomes, but a choice and thus “fluid,” should be dismissed immediately.

Entertainment, violent games, marijuana peddled as medicine, and glossy magazines have finished the indoctrination of our children into a global utopia in which humans lose all sense of reality, personal safety, space, healthy morals and values, in other words, an alien culture of everything goes, why not do it in the street or in the desert with total strangers and multiple partners.

These new generations such as Millennials and Snowflakes are very different than the generations that built America and made it great.  We are considered “extremists” because:

-          we believe in two genders

-          we pray in public places and schools

-          we respect life as it begins at conception

-          we know climate changes naturally, not because humans have destroyed the planet

-          we respect the law and believe that it should be equally enforced

-          we know borders, the English language, and our culture are very important to the success, health, and cohesion of our nation

-          we respect the flag and the national anthem

-          we believe that nobody is prevented from voting and everybody has the capacity to get a photo I.D.

-          we know that Bolsheviks like to vilify and discredit the opposition

-          we believe in freedom and in capitalism as the best economic system that reduces poverty

-          we know that socialism/communism enslaves people to the all-mighty government and its dear leader.

The new generations who are detached from the real history, the angry ANTIFA types who destroy statues they have no idea what they represent and why they were erected, are eager to discard the alleged racist, homophobic, islamophobic, and xenophobic culture, destroy it, erase every trace of it, and replace it with Bolshevism where the “equality” utopia will reign supreme except for the elites who will continue to live their debauched and obscene lives.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Last Day of Chemo for My Hubby

On hubby's first day of chemo six months ago, our cubicle was next to an elderly colonel who talked on the phone the entire six hours we were there. We were scared in this environment of desperately sick people who wanted the miracle toxic cure cursing through their veins but also privacy to make peace with their diagnosis of cancer. There was no room for politics or the mundane affairs of a loud mouth who behaved as if he owned the place.

This old colonel broke everybody's serenity and peace with his rudeness. Yet nobody said anything to him. Each time, for the next six months, his boorish behavior continued. I suppose, he was accustomed to be the loudest in the room and all his minions bent to his every whim and order. What was the point of telling him now that the world did not revolve around him, that there were billion others who deserved respect and silence?

On the last chemo treatment we were unlucky again to be placed next to this man and his equally loud and obnoxious wife. We were in our favorite chemo bay by the window. As soon as this couple arrived, they started to loudly bash President Trump to the staff and his illegitimacy to the presidency. And how a female criminal would have been so much better!

We were separated by a thin curtain, it was so close as if they were talking in my ear. The wife was telling the nursing staff how stupid Trump was because he went outside during the solar eclipse and stared at the sun. I went outside too and took pictures, but both the President, his wife, and I wore protective glasses.  She then concluded that Trump was mentally deranged. Her husband, a retired colonel, agreed wholeheartedly.

I really wanted to ask them when they examined and evaluated the mental sanity of the president and when did they get their M.D. degrees. But then I recognized the MSM talking points echoed in their loud pronouncements.

Perhaps I should have asked them how our President had built an empire from a $700,000 inheritance instead of stealing it from taxpayers, political action packs, or bribes. But I didn't. Some people are not worth having a logical conversation with because they are illogical in their hate.

No time or place to say something today. Some people have no compass or manners. As a former soldier the man violated his oath of office to respect the office of the president regardless of his feelings for the current president. But, I did no expect much from his culture. A chemo clinic should be a calm and healing place, not filled by racist hate.

I bit my lips and kept quiet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Refresher on Chapter 4 of George Orwell's 1984

Winston Smith’s job (1984)
One of the characters in 1984 is Winston Smith. He works in the records department for The Ministry of Truth, which exercises complete control over all mass media in Oceania. Winston falsifies historical records in order to comply with the Party's version of the past, a sort of revisionist history in the vein of Howard Zinn's history books used by most public schools in the U.S. today.

The records department of Minitrue "rectifies" historical records and newspaper articles to conform them to Big Brother's recent decisions and decrees, in order to make the Party the ultimate arbiter of truth. If the Party says it is true, it must be true, and it becomes a matter of record.

George Orwell
Chapter 4 (Cliff Notes)
"In this chapter, Orwell gives a great deal of detail about Winston's job and the place in which he works, the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite history according to Party need. In this chapter, in addition to noting a few of his colleagues — among them Tillotson, a hostile co-worker in the next cubicle, and Ampleforth, a poet of sorts — Winston's task is to re-write an article in which Big Brother commended a person who is now in the Party's disfavor. Winston Smith creates a war hero, Captain Ogilvy, who has led an "ideal" life and was killed in battle. Winston writes a speech that Big Brother is supposed to have given, commending this hero that never existed. It strikes Winston that he could create a dead man but not a living one. Ogilvy, now in the records, exists on the same authority as genuine, living people.
This chapter is full of details about Winston's work life: from the speakwrite, a contraption into which Winston speaks the articles that will be later written (speaking and writing here considered opposites), to the memory holes in which "records" are thrown, not to be remembered and documented, but to be destroyed. The reader should note that Orwell consistently names items, processes, and events antithetically to their intents, results, and purposes and thereby makes Winston's world more terrible and frightening. The function of the Ministry of Truth, for example, is to create lies; the function of the Ministry of Peace is to wage war.
Here the reader gets the full detail of Winston's work and a better view into the political system of his society. He is engaged in forging the past into something palatable to the Party's ideology: Big Brother is never wrong, heroes are those who put their own lives aside for the Party's benefit, and goods are always manufactured at a quantity beyond what is expected. Of course, none of it is true, and so follows Winston's question, haunting him throughout the book: If a fact only exists in your memory, and yours alone, what proof is there that it really happened at all?"

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Technology of Yesteryear

1950 Leica IIIf-600 series
The world around us is changing vertiginously. It’s not that I am getting older and my perspective has slowed down; technology and the way we live are being fundamentally transformed under our own eyes, but we are too busy to notice.

We seldom ponder how far and how fast technology has forever altered our lives and who we are as people because of it. We have become the automatons we’ve been warned about decades ago when we thought it was just science fiction designed to entertain us. But here we are.

In my six decades on earth, my life went from riding a rickety, smoke-spewing Diesel bus with holes in the floorboard, a bus that took one hour to transport us six miles to grandma’s house, a wagon full of grain or hay pulled by oxen which took me and grandpa to the corn and wheat grinding mill, a pink Pegasus bicycle with a white banana-shaped seat and a basket, and a soot-smelling train that stopped in every little village and took all day to go 100 miles, to fast-speed trains, supersonic airplanes, fast boats, trucks, SUVs, eighteen-wheelers, and fast cars.

And Americans went from wagon trains in the American West, cowboys and settlers who made their slow and deliberate journey through the harsh landscape of the new world, to Ford’s Model T which helped eventually create the vast network of highways and interstates that crisscross America from “sea to shining sea.” With them came freedom, mobility, and a new way of life that cannot be matched anywhere else in history.

But the global elites are socially re-engineering this new-found culture of freedom into a controlled environment that would be given back to nature and re-wilded, while humans will be crowded into huge urban settlements, all with the idea to save humanity from itself, from climate change Armageddon.

From the humble communication beginnings of the telegraph and the beautiful gas-lit streets in Europe, we eventually got electrified, no more candles and oil lamps, but wood-burning stoves and charcoal-burning outdoor pits remained.

People bought rotary-dial phones but service was hard to get and expensive; often four customers were assigned to a line and we had to ask nicely the other three parties to get off the line if we wanted to make an emergency call or to call at all. And we had to listen for the clicks to make sure they were not listening in on our conversation.

The female operator, and it was always a female, would assist us in dialing an international line. We had to wait for hours before she would call with a connection to a number in a country across the Atlantic. And it sounded like the phone cable was swimming underwater and the voices were garbled as if they were drowning in the ocean. The call was very expensive, $10 the first three minutes and then $3 each additional minute, depending on the country called. A loved-one’s voice which did come across thousands of miles of underwater phone cable was very precious. And then one day phone connections were made via satellites deployed into space.

Now phone calls are cheap or free, but most of my relatives, the ones I really cared about, have passed away or are lingering in nursing homes. In 1989, I spent over $1,000 in a three-week period talking to strangers who were taking care of my dying father. I never got a chance to speak to my dad, but I was stuck with a phone bill from South Central Bell that was very hard to pay. As a college student, finishing my doctorate, it was way more than I was making in a month. And my babies needed that money for food and shelter. But, the bill was paid after my Dad passed away. I would give anything to be able to talk to him again.

When my children were small, I could not afford the very expensive camcorders, thousands of dollars, to film my precious babies. Today, a relatively inexpensive smart phone can videotape anything and everything and people take it so for granted. The social media is inundated with selfies and videos from wannabe photographers and videographers.

When the first cell phone came out in the 1990s, they were bulky, grey or black, expensive, often tethered to the car, and the minute-plans were very expensive. Only really well-to-do people could actually afford the luxury of owning one or the service. Within a decade, cell phones got smaller, more colorful, and minute-plans a bit cheaper. It was relatively easy to run up hundreds of dollars in phone bills each month and many people did get in trouble. And then cell phones became smart phones.

In high school, we were taken to a data processing center in my hometown. One large computer occupied an entire building. And they literally got computer bugs, a moth to be exact. Later they sized it down to a very large room.

Desk top computers arrived but were very bulky, and the small screen was green or black and white. It was quite a step up from the Remington typewriters or the IBM Selectric typewriters from college. In a communist country, we had to have special permission from the security police in order to have a Remington typewriter in the home and few were so lucky. We had to give them a written sample so they can identify the specific way our typewriter printed, the strokes of each letter, so they can later isolate us if we published any kind of political materials they deemed unacceptable and anti-communist.

Computer users had to learn so many different computer commands just to do word-processing because nothing interfaced. And the large 8-inch floppy disks, which were used with the floppy drives invented at IBM by Alan Shugart in 1967, filled up fast. The smaller 5.25-inch disk was developed that was used on the first IBM personal computer in August 1981.

I lost twenty pages of my dissertation because I ran out of computer space. Research was cumbersome, we actually did have to go to the library and paid the librarian to run one search at a time for about $28 which often did not yield much usable information, depending on what key words we used, but it sure printed hundreds of cards with perforated holes; if dropped, the cards would be out of order and unusable.

My first personal computer was an IBM and it cost $5,000. It was a gift from IBM since I was the first teacher in 1990 to impart knowledge to far-away high schools on a fiber-optic network that could communicate two-way instantaneously all over the country. It was called MS Fiber-optic 2000 and it prepared me for both radio and television as I was teaching from a room with half a million dollars-worth of equipment, no students, TV screens filled with classrooms far away, with whom I was instantaneously interacting, and only a technology person present. The companies that sponsored this effort thought that I needed my own computer at home. It was a good thing since I could not have afforded the price tag on my young teacher salary.

In the early 1980s through the 1990s we used VCRs to play movies rented from Blockbuster or Movie Gallery. Sony’s Betamax was in competition with VHS manufacturers such as JVC. The video cassette recorder had its down side as it was sensitive to humidity and temperature changes and could often damage tapes. Moisture or dryness could affect the magnetic tape.

The first cartoon that I taped for my children on our first VCR was “Stanley, the Ugly Duckling,” followed by hundreds of hours of Disney cartoons. Very expensive at first, upwards of $500-700, eventually the typical VCR model price dropped to $50. In time, the VHS blank tapes became rather inexpensive as well and could only record a set number of video hours. The DVD player took off and VCRs became obsolete. The movie rental places survived for a while but most have gone out of business as movies on DVDs became cheaper and cheaper.

There was a lady in Romania who used to translate through 1990 all the American movies smuggled into the country. She would translate the dialog on screen and write the subtitles in Romanian for later viewing in private homes. She did this for so many years because Romanians were not allowed to watch what movies they wanted, only what the communist party censors would allow.

During my teenage years in Romania, if a person owned a cassette recorder, they were really well-off. Prior to that, reel to reel expensive German players were available on the black market, usually smuggled on a cargo ship. When tape recorders/boom boxes became available, people paid huge amounts of money to own one. The audio cassettes made it easy to record music which was not available or forbidden by the communist government. Cassettes were eventually made obsolete by the Sony Walkman, portable radios, CD players, iPods, mp3 players, and the iPhone.

The phonograph, invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison, called later the gramophone, and in the 1940s the record player, is still used today by people who love to collect vinyl records. I have a pretty good collection myself but no record player with the diamond needle to play it on.

My husband gave me a small boom box in 1977. I sold it for $150 so I could pay the tuition I owed to the communist government for high school and two years of college. A very cheap price to pay considering how expensive education was in the west. I should not have had to pay anything at all because all Romanians were guaranteed free education. But it was suddenly no longer free for me because I was marrying an American and somebody else was going to reap the benefits of my education. Some cassette recorders sold for upwards of $300. That is still a lot of money today for many Romanians who earn on the average about $400 a month.

During Ceausescu’s communist regime, people were forced to use strange things as commodity money, cigarettes, cassette players, cassette tapes, soap, shampoo, makeup, panty hose, and other things in short supply, better produced in the west, economically forbidden to the proletariat, or grossly mismanaged by the communist party.

In the late 1970s, I was shocked to find that there was such a thing as an eight-track tape. Very popular in the United States from mid-1960s to late 1970s, it was relatively unknown outside the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. Then it was replaced by the compact cassette tape.

My uncle Ion owned a manual Leica camera with Carl Zeiss lenses. It must have cost him a fortune back then or he traded rationed food for it. Nobody else in the family owned a camera. The photos were black and white, no color film was available. I am grateful because his camera captured a few moments in my early life in communism that otherwise would not have seen the light of day and the special moments would have been forgotten. I never owned a camera myself until I moved to the U.S. and bought a Kodak with disposable flashbulbs and an Instant Polaroid camera.

Today people take for granted the relatively inexpensive digital cameras that are so affordable. Smart phones have become our cameras, computers, compass, maps, weather bulletins, TVs, theaters, typewriters, VCRs, printers, and spying devices that liberate us but have also enslaved generations of young people more than the Bolsheviks of the former Iron Curtain could have ever dreamed of.

Most people now own a smart phone, sharing every snippet of their daily lives with the world on social media, while technology is charging full-speed ahead with Nano-technology that will further alter our lives in ways that even the sci-fi novels and thrillers of the last century could not have ever imagined.

Household goods have made our lives infinitely better, freeing America’s chores and cooking time. Vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, convection ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, driers, coffee makers, refrigerators, and air conditioners have made life more enjoyable and shortened the time people spent in the kitchen or cleaning. Air conditioners made hot climates more bearable; refrigerators/freezers helped store food and reduced daily trips to the grocery stores significantly.

Push mowers created verdant and well-manicured neighborhoods to the frustration of the U.N.-driven globalists who think that suburbia represent “urban blight” and thus “unsustainable.” They say nothing of the third world slums. Instead of creating a better life and environment for those people, globalists are interested in destroying our middle class suburbia.

Despite all technology, we seem to have reached a paradox of technology affluence, the more gadgets we invent, the busier and more overwhelmed our lives appear to be; it is a paradox of invention overflow and information overload. What was meant to help us has turned into so many choices that people are turning back to the old adage, less is more.

People were afraid to use microwaves in the seventies. Large signs warned shoppers in stores and restaurants that microwaves were in use. Most people were so fearful of getting cancer that many potential buyers did not purchase them for years until they finally became conventional and prices dropped.

Not so long ago most people had only two television channels to choose from, in our case in black and white, and running mostly communist propaganda. No remote controls to change the channels, viewers had to get up and do it manually. And reception was achieved by rooftop antennas and rabbit ears, often adorned with aluminum foil to improve picture clarity. And TV sets with their huge tubes were encased in large boxes, made from plastic or nicely carved wood like Curtis Mathis sets. By midnight, all stations signed off with a patriotic song. But then color TVs became more affordable and cable companies started offering a variety of newly-minted channels which offered night-owls non-stop television choices. We now have 500 plus channels but we only watch about ten on a regular basis.

What will become yesteryear’s technology in the future?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Education Created and Promoted Progressivism, ANTIFA, and BLM

George Washington's teeth
historical artifact in the Mount Vernon
estate and museum in northern Virginia
As a parent who struggles to pay tuition for their child at the average university in America, or goes in debt borrowing the money, consider what your child must face in order to finish four years of college education which may or may not help them get a job.

The American campus is no longer the place of learning, to discuss and exchange ideas, it has become a place of indoctrination, of fear, a place where your children are further indoctrinated, and are not prepared to deal with or function in real life and in the job world.

Students have to deal with bullies, who call themselves “social justice warriors,” who are as far removed from justice and warriors as they can possibly be. They have to deal with college professors who are obsessed with quotas, perverted sex novels, ethnic studies, invented “white guilt,” “white privilege,” and “micro-aggression,” manufactured constructs that are now suffocating every corner in America.

Your children demand and are sent to “safe spaces” where they escape from reality, from any concept or person that contradicts their fantasy world where they have dwelt since birth. They’ve been told their entire lives how special they are, and have received so many undeserved awards each year, they see themselves as real trophies who can waltz through school by virtue of who they are.

Students claim, they are so stressed from school that they demand no grades be given for their poor attendance or non-performance; sadly, half the schools in the country have obliged.

Your students must deal with classes in which they are afraid to express a different opinion from the teacher’s, lest they be dropped from class, failed, or expelled.

Your child may be beaten by mobs of minority students simply because they’ve been oppressed and your Caucasian student happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and catch the ire of their wrath.

Your child is subject to different theories of education methodology that come and go. Experimental surveys and tests supplement these hair-brained fads designed by different College of Education professors in order to justify their existence, their fat salaries, and to make the conference circuits around the country and the world as speakers. When it is obvious that Johnny is doing worse and is unable to pass the tests that have nothing to do with what was taught, and parents revolt, the fad is dropped.

Your child is indoctrinated into Marxism blatantly or subtly in every subject matter – nothing escapes the radar of the tenured college brain-washer. They find clever ways to insert their subjective ideological view of communist utopia into every lesson plan.

Your child studies and receives excellent scores on ACTs and SATs but is disappointed when someone with lesser scores is admitted to college ahead of them simply based on their socio-economic profile and the color of their skin.

These minorities, protected based on the color of their skin, not their intellectual merit, have created a society that is no longer based on merit, but on affirmative action, diversity, and “social justice.” It is these “social justice warriors,” as they euphemistically named themselves that are creating the chaos in our society.

History does repeat itself because these ANTIFA, BLM, and other fascist and race-baiters learned a revisionist history in school. They are very busy, with funds from well-placed billionaires, echoing the actions of the Bolsheviks, Taliban, and ISIS, who have destroyed priceless artifacts of history.

Sanitizing history because they did not like the Civil War, these “social justice warriors” cleverly indoctrinated by their college professors and agitated by neo-communists/globalists and progressive anti-Americans are fast removing any traces of our history under the guise of white nationalism. These statues have been on display for almost a century and longer, nobody batted an eye on seeing them but now, they are suddenly offensive and traumatic.

They are not going to stop at Confederate monuments. They will destroy other parts of history they do not like, i.e., Lincoln, Ted Roosevelt, WWII, etc. How long will it be before they go after churches?  

Gregory B. asked the question, “because Mary Todd Lincoln’s three sisters were married to Confederate soldiers and her brother was a Confederate surgeon, should her memorabilia be removed from the White House Lincoln bedroom?”

Instead of having a History Department, we will have the Fiction Department. Just like George Orwell had warned us in 1950.

He said, “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street, building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Ceausescu, the Taliban, and ISIS have ordered the destruction of history, books, painting, statues, and the renaming of schools and streets. It ended badly in the enslavement and death of millions of innocents.

The brain-washed fascist and progressive groups, with no solid point of historical reference, have painted every white person with the same brush of hate-mongers, even though most of the hate and the violence are coming from the left. Caucasians are suddenly evil “white nationalists.”

Since when is maintaining self-governance, sovereignty over one’s homeland, preserving a national identity based on culture, language, race, religion, political goals, patriotism, and belief in a common ancestry, hateful and racist?

The fads in education come and go but they are presented as facts and “evidence-based.”

Shane Vander Hart wrote a recent article, irately criticizing an educational propaganda post which was praising “social-emotional learning as good for the economy” and urging readers to look at Mindful meditation. It cites large companies with entirely leftist leanings and culture and the tiny country of Bhutan as success stories in using social-emotional learning (SEL), another educational fad pushed by the left. The article makes a weak and bizarre connection of this educational fad to Real Gross Domestic Product Growth.

Because most people are economically ignorant, they don’t know that “Economic growth is the increase in the market value of the goods and services produced in the economy over time. It is measured as the percentage rate change in the real gross domestic product (GDP). Determinants of long-run growth include growth of productivity, demographic changes, and labor force participation.”

Forcing children to meditate in class is not going to create jobs, will not alter demographics, immigration policies do, and will not affect productivity. Math and science knowledge, not the Common Core variety, will make a better mechanic, builder, engineer, doctor, scientist, nurse, chemist, physicist, researcher, and statistician.

As Vander Hart wrote in his article, “Do you know what would help boost kids’ self-esteem and happiness in school? Being able to understand math and to read well. Do you know what would help our economy down the road? Graduates being able to understand math, be well read, be able to write well, and who have a well-rounded education.”

Un-sanitized, non-revisionist history will live for a while through those who were eye witnesses such as my friend, “Ironman.” In his own words, he describes the negative changes that have occurred in the last decades which I attribute to the brainwashing of academia, Hollywood, communist foreign infiltrators, and the main stream media.

“Having lived through WW-II and the booming 50’s and 60’s that followed, I’ve seen the negative changes in our way of life. I well remember my brother and 14 million others of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation” march off to war, and sadly the gold stars that appeared in the windows of many homes. I fondly recall the high standards in the news and entertainment media when a radio announcer would never even say ‘Hel’” or ‘damn’ for fear of losing his broadcasting license, and the uplifting movies like ‘Going My Way’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ that were typical of our entertainment fare. Before globalization I recall when a man’s factory salary supported his many children, with mom in the home, and he could expect a significant pay raise each year. I recall when the safest person in America was the baby in the womb, in contrast to the 61 million innocents that have been brutally murdered in the womb since 1973. I recall when nearly every black child was properly raised by having a father in the home, contrasted with the 72 percent now born to an unwed mother…..leading to a disordered family, supported forcefully by working taxpayers, and producing druggy members of gangs that often end up in prison. I certainly remember when the sole mission of our schools was to teach the three R’s as well as possible, not to indoctrinate their charges with liberal social precepts. I lament the 1970’s when universities stopped operating women’s dorms as safe, wholesome homes-away-from home, instead irresponsibly letting the male students in without limit.”
Would all museums and artifacts be destroyed?

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Calendar Castle of Romania

Calendar Castle Photo: Andreea Dogar and Cosmin Meca and
Cosmin Meca wrote about a fascinating and lesser known castle in Romania, built in 1911. Its owner, Baron Istvan Ugron, was the former Austro-Hungarian ambassador to Russia.

Istvan is said to have fallen in love with one of Czar Nicolai II’s daughters. But when the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, the entire family and the love of his life were killed. The Baron was so heartbroken that he withdrew from public life to mourn his loss.

Istvan commissioned the castle and construction began in 1911. According to, the construction in medieval French style, lasted three years and the castle served as Baron Ugron’s summer residence.

Located in the village called Zau de Campie, state of Mures, Istvan’s castle is known to the locals as the Calendar Castle, because all the details were constructed to reflect our modern measurements of time.

Istvan’s Calendar Castle has 365 windows, 4 towers like the seasons, 52 rooms like the weeks in a year, 7 balconies like the days in a week, and 12 hallways like the months in a year.

While the communists ruled Romania with an iron fist, the castle served various purposes. As it was always the case, communists in power were fond of appropriating things they did not own, private property and wealth they deemed bourgeois. So the communist leadership confiscated the castle’s furniture and sent it to Turda, the capital of the state at the time.

Following confiscation, the castle became a sanatorium for people infected with tuberculosis, a school, a grain depository, and, most recently an orphanage.

Presently, the Calendar Castle is listed as a historical monument and is part of the patrimony of the state of Mures. In a terrible state of decay, neglected during the communist era and now, it awaits restoration.

According to Andreea Dogar, the authorities are seeking EU funds to restore this architectural jewel.

The occasional tourist can appreciate the exterior, the façade, the turrets, and wander around the courtyard.

There are so many beautiful places in Romania that are decaying more each day while awaiting restoration. A beautiful art deco building in my home town of Ploiesti, which was used as a marriage house during the communist era, is now oozing rust, decaying with neglect; and the courtyard is covered in weeds up to the rooftop. It is where I got married in 1977 on a beautiful fall day. 

The powers that be don’t seem to be extremely preoccupied with the preservation of Romania’s rich historical past and its beautiful buildings, but are concentrating on a hurried quest for globalism.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grant Hall and the Fate of Conspirators

Grant Hall and the burial sites of those hanged
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
Grant Hall is located on the green and perfectly manicured grounds of Ft. McNair, near the banks of the Anacostia River and the Washington Channel of the Potomac River.

Building 20, Grant Hall, was part of the Federal Penitentiary that was built on this site in 1829. It was designed by Charles Bulfinch, the same architect who designed the Capitol. In 1831, a women’s ward was added to accommodate female prisoners. The Old Penitentiary was built on the Arsenal Grounds, formerly enclosed by a high brick wall.

The population of 200 inmates of the federal prison grew to 322 during 1862. Prisoners were taught useful skills such as shoemaking hence the existence of a shoe factory.

The original larger building was used during the Civil War to keep Confederate prisoners.  After the assassination, the conspirators were housed on the third floor cell block; Harper Weekly published a drawing of the exact location.

Burial site and scaffold by the tennis courts today
Photo: Ileana Johnson
The penitentiary was eventually torn down but one part of the building was spared, the wing where the trial took place.  The courtroom was used through the 1990s for various things such as enlisted members quarters, officers’ quarters, and five apartments, until 1996 when the Army had plans to tear it down. 

Dr. Hans Binnendijk, professor and vice president for research and applied learning at National Defense University, wrote to his congressman and made the case that Grant Hall could not be torn down as it is a national treasure. The funding was raised to restore the building, a process which took three years, from 2009 to 2012. During restoration, Robert Redford’s 2010 movie “Conspirators” could not be filmed in the building, but he came to measure the room and loaned props from the film to the museum.

As quoted in the Washington Post, Dr. Binnendijk said, “This was a place where, in some ways, the Civil War ended.”

The assistant warden’s office was converted into a courtroom per instructions from the Secretary of War. Bars were put on the windows and on doors. In this courtroom on the third floor, the eight conspirators who had helped John Wilkes Booth assassinate President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, faced the military tribunal.

Grant Hall
Third floor courtroom where the trial took place
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
Upon entering the courtroom, the first table on the right was reserved for the military tribunal. Each seat was marked with a photograph of the respective officer.  The defendants were seated on a bench against the far wall, behind a wooden rail. The accused’s portraits were placed in the exact location on the bench.  Mary Surratt’s table was in the middle. A pot-belly stove provided heat.  A third table located on the left side was reserved for journalists. Prominent people from the area, with a pass, could come and stand against the wall, behind this press table. Two side rooms contained props from the 2010 movie “Conspirators.”

Four conspirators were sentenced to death by hanging, including the first woman in the history of the U.S., Mary Surratt. The executions took place on July 7, 1865, on the gallows constructed in the Penitentiary Courtyard. Mary Surratt, J. W. Atzeroth, David Harold, and Lewis Payne were hanged for complicity in the murder of President Lincoln, and for the attempt upon the life of Secretary Seward.

The military commission that tried and convicted the Lincoln conspirators was composed of the following: Lt. Colonel David R. Clendenin, Colonel Charles H. Thompkins, Brigadier General Thomas M. Harris, Brigadier General Albion P. Howe, Major General Lew Wallace, Brigadier General James A. Eakin, Major General David Hunter, Major General August V. Kautz, Brigadier General Robert S. Foster, Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio, General Henry L. Burnett, and Brigadier General Joseph Holt.

Because Lincoln and Seward were officers of the federal government, the conspirators were tried by a military commission, not by a civil court. The charges against the conspirators included “maliciously, unlawfully and traitorously being in aid of the existing rebellion… combining, confederating, and conspiring to kill and murder Abraham Lincoln, the late president; Andrew Johnson, vice-president; William H. Seward, secretary of state; Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the army of the United States.”

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd was represented by Frederick Stone and General Thomas Ewing. Mary Surrat was represented by Reverdy Johnson, Frederick Aiken, and John Clampitt. William E. Doster represented both Lewis Paine and George A. Atzerodt. Frederick Stone represented David E. Herold. Walter Cox and General Ewing defended Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlin, and Edward Spangler.

The trial held the country spellbound; everyone wanted justice, eager and curious to know how far the conspiracy stretched from Richmond to Canada, and what the role of the woman was in the conspiracy to kill the nation’s beloved tyrannical president and the heads of the federal government.  The trial started on May 8, 1865 and ended in June 30, 1865 when the verdicts were read. All eight defendants were found guilty.

Perley Moore wrote, “Mrs. Surratt naturally attracted the most attention as she entered the room where the Military Commission was held every morning, the irons which connected her ankles clanking as she walked. She was rather a buxom-looking woman, dressed in deep black, with feline grey eyes, which watched the whole proceedings. The evidence we showed that she had been fully aware of the plot. Her house was used by Booth, Payne, Atzerott, and Herold as a meeting place.” (Perley’s Reminiscence of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis, Hubbard Brothers, Pa, 1886, p. 184)

Mary Surratt's coffin bottle
According to D. Mark Katz, before leaving her cell, Mary Surratt told one of her priests, Jacob A. Walker, “Father, I wish to say something. That I am innocent.” On that hot day, her two attending priests, Walker and Bernardin F. Wiget, held umbrellas over her head to shield her from the sun. (Witness to an Era: The Life and Photographs of Alexander Gardner, Viking Press, New York, 1991, p. 182).

The hanging was so popular that tickets were given to members of the government who wanted to witness the four conspirators die. Pictures from that day show people standing on the tall brick fence behind the gallows. Soldiers are seen beneath the gallows. The museum contains wooden fragments from the scaffold.

D. Mark Katz wrote in his book that Payne forced his way into Secretary of State Seward’s home around 10 p.m., tried to shoot his son, the pistol jammed, struck him over the head with the butt of his gun instead, and then stabbed the ailing Seward repeatedly. (pp. 143-146)

Gen. John F. Hartranft read the order of execution to the prisoners seated in armchairs; soldiers knocked out the props supporting two hinged trap doors.

From the third floor window, one can clearly see the spots where the four were buried in unmarked graves, with heads against the wall, and a bottle inside the coffin with their names written in:  Atzerrodt, Herold, Powell, and Surratt.

Barry Cauchon studied, mathematically calculated, and marked the exact location of the graves. It was revealed on the 150-year anniversary of the start of the Lincoln Conspirators Military Tribunal (May 8-9, 2015). A fifth grave was also marked for Confederate Officer Henry Wirz, who was tried, convicted and executed in November 1865 for Civil War crimes.

The dried wooden floors creak and groan; one window stays damp and foggy all the time, and snow seems to melt curiously on the pathway to the gallows where tennis courts are located today. Some really believe that the place is haunted by Mary Surratt’s ghost.

According to the archives, “The gallows were constructed in the Penitentiary courtyard and the executions ordered on a sweltering July 7, 1865. This historic event generated such interest that the Potomac River was filled the day of the execution with boats crowded with spectators. Witnesses to the execution included federal troops and 100 civilians. One of the most famous photographers of his time, Alexander Gardner, and his assistant, Timothy O’Sullivan, documented the execution by taking photographs as the events were unfolding. The photographers set up their cameras on the second floor of the shoe factory to take the most astounding series of photographs, thereby expanding the new art of photojournalism.”

The other conspirators were sentenced to life imprisonment at the Dry Tortugas, Florida. All served three years and nine months before they were pardoned by Andrew Johnson. One of the conspirators died in prison. The famous Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, who worked on Booth’s fractured leg, was among the pardoned group. Interestingly, one of his descendants, LTC Joseph F. Mudd, Jr., USAF, graduated from NWC in 1998.

Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was temporarily buried under the penitentiary cellblock and his body was later released to the family and reburied in Baltimore, MD.  Lewis Powell’s remains experienced a bizarre misadventure.

Powell’s body was not claimed by his family, even though ads were placed, urging family members to come forward and claim it. When the local cemetery went under, the undertaker buried Powell’s body in a mass grave in Rock Creek cemetery, but the head had detached from the body and he kept it for some lugubrious reason and it stayed with him for twenty years.

Eventually the undertaker donated the head to the Army Medical Museum which was temporarily housed in Ford’s Theater. The collection then went to the Smithsonian Museum. Powell’s head wound up among the Native American collection and displays.

The Repatriation Act was passed in 1990 and all Native American relics had to be returned to their proper tribes. Powell’s skull was found among these artifacts, clearly labeled with name, date, and place of death. Powell’s descendants were contacted in Florida and they buried the skull in late 1990s next to Powell’s mother.

D. Mark Katz explained in his book, on p. 149, that Alexander Gardner had the inspiration to photograph for posterity the following:

-          the exterior of the Ford Theater with the black muslin cloth draped over the façade

-          the interior of the box at the Ford Theater and the torn flag caught in Booth’s boot

-          the stables of John C. Howard, where Booth kept his horse

-          the telegraph office where the world learned about Lincoln’s death

-          the Navy Yard Bridge where Booth escaped across

-          the execution

The actual photographs of the conspirators can be seen on this site. The fate of the conspirators was outlined in the PBS documentary as follows:

-          John Wilkes Booth – killed at Garret farm with a bullet to the neck (actor)

-          David Herold – surrendered at Garrett farm and was executed by hanging (pharmacy clerk)

-          George Azterodt – assigned to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson, lost courage and got drunk instead; death by hanging (German-born carriage painter and boatman)

-          Lewis Powell – former Confederate prisoner of war, assigned to kill Secretary of State William Seward when the kidnapping plot failed; he injured Seward, his son, and a body guard; death by hanging

-          Mary Surratt – owned boarding house where the conspirators met; death by hanging

-          Michael O’Laughlin – Booth’s childhood buddy; turned himself in; life in prison in Fort Jefferson, off Key West; died of yellow fever in 1867 (ex-Confederate soldier)

-          Samuel Arnold – Booth’s friend; tied to the original kidnapping plot; not present in Washington during the assassination; life in prison; pardoned by President Andrew Johnson; died in 1906 of tuberculosis

-          Samuel Mudd – set Booth’s broken leg during the night of April 14; life in prison by one vote; pardoned in 1869; died of pneumonia in 1883 (medical doctor)

-          Edmund Spangler – knew Booth; six years in prison; pardoned in 1869 by President Andrew Johnson; lived in Maryland until his death in 1875 (carpenter at Ford Theater)

-          John Surrat – conspired in the failed kidnapping  plot; was not present in Washington at the time of the assassination; fled to Europe; was apprehended in Egypt in 1866; civilian court did not convict him in 1867-1868; died in 1916 (college educated Confederate spy).

Six feet to the right of a beautiful tree is the place where Booth was temporarily buried. The verdant grass and a tennis court are peaceful settings today, obscuring what was once a place that witnessed the tragic and tumultuous history of our country that forever changed the character of the nation.