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How Did I Miss That? Racist Float; Kiowa Gridlocked

USAToday, The Indianapolis Star, and a number of other media outlets that will be dismaying to sane Hoosiers carried news of a Fourth of July parade sponsored by the Lion’s Club in Sheridan, Indiana, that featured a toilet labeled “Royal Flush.” Being flushed was an effigy of President Obama labeled “Lying African.”

The top of the golf cart with the racist message was festooned with Donald Trump signs. The cart was driven by Don Christy, 73, who told the Star, “I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I’m a patriot.”

While Indiana was on the Union side of the Civil War, it was considered to have the most politically powerful KKK in the nation after WWI, peaking in 1924 at an estimated one third of all native-born white men. The governor and over half of the members of the Indiana General Assembly were proud KKK members.

While the Klan was always racist, it’s worth noting that at their peak of political power outside the former Confederacy, their primary target was Catholics, with Jews and blacks less important and Indians hardly at all. Hate is hate, but there were only so many bullets to go around.

The Klan only lost political potency after a scandal involving Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson, who kidnapped, repeatedly raped, and killed a young woman. When Republican Gov. Edward Jackson—elected with Klan support---refused the Grand Dragon a pardon, Stephenson spilled the beans on prominent politicians who had taken bribes from the Klan, and the Indiana KKK was never the same again.

“I’m sure glad,” my fed up Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller snarked, “that all that racism stuff left Indiana in 1926.”

I’m convinced Ray is going to give up on the GOP and join me on the independent side of politics. There’s only so much embarrassment he can take.

Speaking of the Klan, The Crime Report featured an interview with Laurence Leamer, who has just published a book about a gruesome case from Mobile, Alabama, in the ancient times of 1981. Leamer’s book is The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan.

Not liking a hung jury in a case where a black man was accused of killing a white cop, two young Klansmen killed a random black man and hung his body from a tree in a black neighborhood. The older one was executed and the younger—only 17 at the time they killed their 19-year-old victim—served 25 years before being paroled.

How this one lynching brought down the Klan after generations of lynchings was that Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center watched the trial and formulated the legal theory that would bankrupt of the United Klans of America.

The Texas Observer, back on the subject of Fourth of July fireworks, reported the important facts revealed in a constituent letter from State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs). After a paean to the patriotic values embodied in fireworks, Isaac reminded the voters that Texas repealed the fireworks sales tax in 2015, “making fireworks more accessible to all Texans.”

In case anybody gets as nervous during fireworks as my dogs, he claims there were only two fireworks injuries in Texas in 2014 and arguments otherwise are “cherry-picked horror stories.” One horror story out of that very year happened in Comanche, where a trailer full of fireworks exploded, killing one and injuring several others. That one “cherry-picked horror story” shows the reliability of the figures from the Texas Department of Insurance.

Rep. Isaac did not attempt to explain the “cherry-picked horror story” that he got $60,000 of in kind campaign contributions from the CEO of American Fireworks and former lobbyist for the Texas Pyrotechnic Association. Isaac co-sponsored a bill to increase number of holidays for lawful fireworks sales and the time bracket around the holidays. Cinco de Mayo has been added as a fireworks time if you live within 100 miles of the Mexican border.

Of course, the campaign contributions have nothing to do with Rep. Isaac’s love of watching fireworks “keep the spirit of liberty alive.”

The Trump campaign was in full denial mode over accusations that an anti-Hillary tweet from Trump was not anti-Semitic no matter what the Anti-Defamation League said. That six-pointed start on the pile of money could have been the symbol of some sheriff’s office. Then Mic published an analysis of where the picture came from and it became a race to scrub the image off websites belonging to racist kooks. Trump’s overtures to the white supremacy movement alternate between dog whistles and trumpets.

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman salted his New York Times column with numbers again, but the numbers were all comments on Trump’s economics speech.

Number of jobs that would be added by completely eliminating the trade deficit: Two million. Number of persons wanting jobs: 140 millions plus. Improvement in manufacturing as a percentage of the rest of the economy: From 10 percent to 11.5 percent.

Trump says we are “one of the highest taxed nations in the world." Among the 34 advanced countries, we are 31.

Trump says that regulations are an even greater drag on the economy than taxes, destroying our competitiveness. Actually, Germany has way more regulations that we do and runs a trade surplus.

The First Lady of Metropolis, Noel Darleen Neill, has walked on from her home in Tucson at the age of 95. Her signature role was Lois Lane opposite George Reeves as Superman. Reeves inhabited the Superman role in the fifties. 

In 1978, the late, great Christopher Reeve became Kal-El for a new generation. You could tell because John Williams wrote him a theme song

Too many news outlets to suss out who got it first reported that Oliver Park, 51, went into a restricted area of the pre-Incan ruins at Machu Picchu. He asked a fellow tourist to snap a smartphone photo as he jumped into the air, but he came down off-balance and fell to his death. It was a distance of between 650 and 130 feet, depending on which reports you believe.

Cousin Ray pointed out the death was probably not caused by a curse aimed at the Spanish, because the Spanish never discovered Machu Picchu.

Navajo Times ran a story on the 150-year anniversary of the Long Walk, when about 8,000 Diné were force-marched at gunpoint to join about 500 Mescalero Apaches at the Bosque Redondo concentration camp. One out of four Diné would die either on the 300 mile walk or from disease and malnutrition at the place they would call Hwéeldi, situated outside the bounds of the Four Sacred Mountains where their creator had told them they belonged.

The Times story revealed that the National Park Service has done a study to determine if the route of The Long Walk would qualify for preservation under the National Trails System Act. The NPS found the route qualified, but the Navajo Tribal Council voted down the proposal and the NPS turned over the results of the study to the tribal government, which will not release it.

Tony Joe, supervisory anthropologist of the Traditional Culture Program, told the Times, “our leaders at the time told us never to go back to that place, and it is the tribe’s position to take that advice.”

Remembering another forced march that is part of the National Trails System, The Cherokee Phoenix reported that Cherokee Nation citizen Chance Fletcher, 20, spent a big part of his summer hiking the Trail of Tears from Red Clay State Park in Tennessee to the Cherokee Courthouse in Tahlequah.

Fletcher had an ancestor removed by Andrew Jackson. He noted that he got excellent treatment by people along the way, unlike the way he imagined it was for his ancestor. He also noted that many of the people on the Trail of Tears had no shoes—and he was able to buy a new pair whenever he needed them.

He kept a journal of his experiences, but did not tell the Phoenix what he intends to do with it. His summer exercise was funded by the Dale Summer Award from Princeton University. Princeton is quite a distance from Oologah, which is Fletcher’s home and Will Rogers’ birthplace.

Native Times reported that the BIA is invoking a seldom used authority granted in the Kiowa Constitution to call an election by September 30. The federal government has not recognized a Kiowa election since 2010.

Three of eight business committee members have either resigned or quit showing up. The Kiowa Hearing Board does not have a quorum to examine the legality of the rump business committee. In the meantime, there have been abortive attempts to have elections in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The Tribal Election Board has also been unable to reach a quorum.

“Sounds like,” Cousin Ray was shaking his head, “self-government has been cancelled for lack of interest.”