Kudyard Kipling – “If any question why we died…”

Kipling wrote this quote towards the end of WWI, or maybe a little after, and it seems to be a reflection of his feelings about his son John dying in the war. Arguably, the quote is reference to British leaders claiming they were more prepared for the war than they were, but I think even the hawkish Kipling probably realized by the end the war had kind of been a waste. I found this quoted at the end of Adam Hochchild’s To End All Wars and it seemed fitting for so many wars that have been fought.

Image was put together with GIMP and is 2560×1440

Walnut

Walnut

I was playing around in GIMP, working on a different picture when this just kind of popped out of nowhere. I liked it, so I saved it and am posting it here now. The image is 2560×1440 and would make a decent wallpaper in my opinion.

Why raising minimum wage is obvious….

So, I think I’m really improving on making titles that will draw in readers while simultaneously pissing them off. I really do believe that raising the minimum wage is obvious; by obvious I mean this is something that should be easy and bi-partisan. The easy part for me is that Democrats and progressives already think this is a good idea, so all I’ve got to do is convince Republicans, libertarians, and conservatives. I guess I shouldn’t make it sound so easy. I do think there is one really, really good and convincing reason for Republicans to want to do this, but, of course, there is a pretty big reason not to in the ether at the moment.

Let’s tackle the major obstacles to raising the minimum wage before considering my argument for why Conservatives should support raising it. I think the recent CBO report that claims raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would apparently cost us about 500,000 jobs. I’ve heard differing opinions from economists on whether raising the minimum wage would cost jobs, but let’s just accept that it would cost some jobs. Let’s note the positives from the same report before going any further. Raising the minimum wage would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and raise the wages of 16.5 million Americans. This becomes a question of which side of this you think is better if we’re just accepting the CBO report.

Tackling the objections to raising the minimum wage is one thing, but fortunately most Americans, Republicans and Democrats, support raising the minimum wage already. Only Republican leaders in Congress, and in the Media, are opposed to raising the minimum wage; which unfortunately leaves us in a similar position to background checks on guns and immigration. These things are broadly supported, but not particularly in the interest of Republican leaders in Congress. My goal, as unachievable as it seems, is to make this an issue that’s in the interest of Congressional leaders to pass. To do that I think I need to make an argument that makes Conservatives call for raising the minimum wage as loudly as Democrats and progressives are.

Personally, I’m a strong supporter of the social safety net and programs like food stamps and TANF, but I know some Republicans have problems with these programs. The argument seems to be that people who don’t work or don’t work hard enough are getting free money from the government. Which, of course, only encourages them not to work. This isn’t true, a huge proportion of the people on food stamps are actually people working long hours in minimum wage jobs, but it could be. IF we raise the minimum wage, then people who are working could afford their own food, thus making the Republican and conservative criticisms of the social safety net ring truer. Making it easier to argue for cuts to those programs. This is why I think it makes sense for Conservatives to support raising the minimum wage. It makes it easier for them to reach their political goals.

Fuck Love

Fuck Love

All I did for this picture is take the girl from a smaller photo and put it onto a wallpaper sized background – oh and maybe added a tiny bit to it. Image is 2560×1440 and all of my work was done in GIMP.

David Brooks’ Confession

So in his column from yesterday David Brooks let a little confession slide into his weird misconstrual of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Come on, Jesus just wanted you to love each other and realize none of us are qualified to judge each other. Still though, this quote was amazing, “But the father in this parable exposes the truth that people in the elder brother class  are stained, too. [David Brooks] is self-righteous, smug, cold and shrewd. [David Brooks] wasn’t really working to honor his father; he was working for material reward and out of a fear-based moralism. The father reminds us of the old truth that the line between good and evil doesn’t run between people or classes; it runs straight through every human heart.

 

 

The Ku Klux Klan in Oregon, 1921-2 (Part 2, The Birth of a Movement)

The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s began on Stone Mountain, Georgia on Thanksgiving night in 1915. Sixteen men, including Colonel Simmons, drove from nearby Atlanta to Stone Mountain to swear allegiance to the reborn Ku Klux Klan. Arnold Rice describes the ceremony this way, “the small group soon found itself gathered under a burning cross and before a hastily constructed rock altar upon which lay an American flag, an opened Bible, an unsheathed sword, and a canteen of water.”1 Colonel Simmons in his typical grandiose fashion described the ceremony differently, “And thus on the mountain top that night at the midnight hour, while men braved the surging blasts of wild wintry winds and endured a temperature far below freezing, bathed in the sacred glow of the fiery cross, the Invisible Empire was called from its slumber of half a century…”2 The Thanksgiving night ceremony may be the ceremonial rebirth of the Klan, but the legal rebirth of the Klan began in October 1915 when Simmons explained the reborn Klan and convinced thirty-four men to petition the state for an official charter. The charter came a week after the Thanksgiving ceremony of December 4, 1915.3 For the next five years Simmons lead a relatively disorganized, entirely Southern Klan.

Born in 1880, in Hapersfield, Alabama, Simmons saw the Klan as his, “it was MY creation—MY CHILD, if you please, My first born.”4 Simmons was the son of a country physician and heard glory stories of the Klan in his youth. He served in the Spanish-American War, but never advanced beyond the rank of Private. The title Colonel, an honorary one from the Woodmen of the World, did not reflect military achievement. After leaving the Army, Simmons worked for a period as a minister and salesman for fraternal orders.5 Arnold Rice describes Simmons eloquently, “Possessed of a spellbinding rhetoric, he talked like the old-time revivalist preacher he resembled. His pleasures, however, were anything but clerical—horse races, boxing matches, ‘social’ drinking.”6 Simmons may have preached Klan values, including prohibition, but he lived hypocritically. One example of Simmons motives can be seen in Simmons’ copyrighting the secret Klan instruction manual, the Kloran. Simmons told Klan members to keep the Kloran secret, but to avoid losing money on unofficial copies of the Kloran Simmons copyrighted it, forcing him to leave public copies in the Library of Congress. “In the coming years therefore, when candidates for initiation swore themselves to eternal secrecy, the object of their oath was available in the nation’s capital for any who might wish to examine it.”7 Simmons may have held the values he argued for, but he valued the profitability of his book over the secrecy of his secret organization.
The expansion of the Klan beyond a few thousand Southern members began with the partnership of Simmons and the Klan with the Southern Publicity Association. The Southern Publicity Association, headed by Mr. Edward Young Clarke and Mrs. Elizabeth Tyler, had previous success promoting the Anti-Saloon League and a variety of other organizations.8 “Clarke and Tyler completely reorganized the secret society’s finances and membership procurement procedures, floating large new loans and hiring hundreds of full-time recruiters.”9

Kleagles, as the recruiters were called, collected a ten dollar membership fee. The fee was divided among five people; four dollars went to the Kleagle, one dollar went to the State level recruiter (King Kleagle), fifty cents went to the state leader (Grand Goblin), two dollars and fifty cents went to Clarke (Imperial Kleagle), and the remaining two dollars went to the Imperial Wizard (Simmons).10 Between June 1920, when the contract was finalized, and October 1921, during a Congressional investigation of the Klan, the Klan grew from a few thousand members in the South to a 100,000 members spread across the country. Kleagles had a financial incentive to shape their presentation of the Klan’s message specifically to the values of those they sought to recruit.

The Ku Klux Klan came to Oregon in the 1920’s the same way it spread to most of the country. A Kleagle, armed with membership forms and an ideology, convinced Oregonians to pay ten dollars to join the Invisible Empire. Oregon in the 1920’s lacked a wide racial and cultural diversity; Ninety percent of the population was Protestant, with Catholics accounting for only eight percent, and eighty-five percent of the population was white, native born. There were decreasing numbers of Asians and 2,000 African-Americans.11 “Neither Know-Nothingism nor the A.P.A. (older nativist movements), however, played as important and lasting a role in Oregon history as the Ku Klux Klan. But to them must go much of the credit for laying the groundwork of organized nativism.”12 There seems to be historical consensus that the values of the Ku Klux Klan did not represent a radical view in 1920’s Oregon. In the summer of 1921, the Klan sent three Kleagles to Oregon. Luther I. Powell established the Medford Klan, recruiting from local fraternal organizations. Powell convinced some to join the Klan to work to stop bootleggers in the county. C.N. Jones applied Powell’s techniques, with some success, in Eugene and Salem. “In the state’s largest metropolis, Portland, Brad Calloway… distributed patriotic literature to police, firefighters, and fraternal groups…”13 Kleagles in Oregon took advantage of the existing prejudice against Catholics to argue that the moral integrity of the state was in danger and joining the Klan was the most productive counter-measure to moral degradation. “Since many of the causes of this moral degeneration were attributed to Orientals, other aliens, and Roman Catholics, emphasis was placed on “Americanizing” the aliens and stopping Oriental immigration.”14 The Oregon Klan grew relatively quickly, Klan leaders claimed 14,000 members state-wide in the spring of 1922. Of those 14,000 members, 9,000 belonged to the Portland Klan.
The Klan in Portland elected Fred. L. Gifford as exalted cyclops, or leader, at its inaugural meeting. “By 1922 Gifford had won Atlanta’s endorsement as Oregon grand dragon(leader of all Oregon) and imperial representative in the Pacific states.”15 Portland soon became the center of the Klan in Oregon and the Pacific Coast. Portland had 258,000 residents in 1921. Kenneth Jackson describes Portland eloquently in The Ku Klux Klan in the City, “Old as west coast cities go, Portland was a conservative and prim scion of the Maine city from which it took its name.”16 Brad Calloway disclosed his recruitment intentions to local newspapers, drawing the ire of Atlanta. Luther Powell quickly replaced Calloway as Kleagle in Portland. Powell quietly recruited support through the late summer and early fall of 1921. Oregon Governor Ben Olcott told the New York World in September 1921 that there was no Klan influence in Oregon. In October 1921 Powell organized the first official Klan meeting in Portland. The Portland Klan elected Fred Gifford as leader. The first public appearance of the Klan in Portland came on 22 December 1921. Six thousand peopled crowded into the municipal auditorium to hear “The Truth About the Ku Klux Klan.”17 The public introduction of the Klan to Portland brought new importance and influence to the Klan. Fred Gifford quickly became a prominent name in local political discussions and news coverage.
The most important man in the Oregon Klan, Fred Gifford, set the course of Portland’s Klan toward political influence, fraternity, and charity instead of violence and vigilantism. Kenneth Jackson describes Fred Gifford as, “of iron-grey hair and average build, Gifford was a native Minnesotan who had spent thirty of his forty years in Portland, mostly as a telegraph operator… and as a business agent… The father of four was working as a field superintendent… when Powell tapped him as first exalted cyclops of Klan No. 1.”18 Gifford planned for the Klan to have extensive influence in Oregon politics. The Portland Klan, like every other, held the regular ideology of the Klan, but unlike some, expressed the ideology in the political sphere instead of as masked vigilantes. This does not mean that the Portland Klan did nothing outside of the political sphere. Gifford directed or oversaw a number of non-political Klan activities. These include the creation of a ‘100% Directory’ so Klan members knew which businesses to support. Gifford approved the antithesis of the directory, a boycott of the Meir and Frank Jewish department store. Klan lectures regularly attracted audiences exceeding 5000 people. The Klan participated in charity work, according to Kenneth Jackson, “fifty thousand dollars was pledged to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union’s Children’s Farm Home, baskets of food were distributed individually to the needy, and a Klan Kommunity Kit was organized.”19 The Klan also regularly appeared in full regalia to make donations to local churches. David Horowitz describes the most visible sign of the Klan in Portland, “fiery crosses frequently were burned on such nearby hillsides as Mt. Tabor and Mt. Scott.”20 Despite the magnitude of some of these endeavors, none them match the importance to politics in the eyes of Gifford and the Portland Klan.
Fred Gifford may have had political ambitions for the Portland Klan from the beginning, but it took Klan violence in Medford for the state and Governor to begin to take the Klan seriously. In May 1922, just before the Republican primary, six Klan members abducted three Medford citizens and drove them out-of-town. David Horowitz paints the picture beautifully, “Accusing an African-American, a Hispanic Indian, and white piano merchant of moral offenses against the community, six Jackson County knights staged three separate abductions, which resulted in ‘necktie hangings,’ terrorist acts that avoided death… by permitting the victim’s feet to skim the ground.”21 A few days later, Republican Governor Ben Olcott issued an anti-Klan statement. The Governor’s statement brought increased political attention to the Klan, who had previously supported candidates, but garnered limited press attention of their political activities. Gifford could now focus his and the Klan’s attention on the political sphere. Gifford identified three primary political ambitions for his Klan in Portland. First, opposition of aliens and Catholics in politics; second, opposition of alien land ownership; third, compulsory public education.22 Fred Gifford and the Portland Klan managed to wield significant political influence in the 1922 election. Passing a compulsory education bill and electing a Klan friendly Democratic governor in an overwhelmingly Republican state.

 

The Ku Klux Klan in Oregon, 1921-2 (Part 1, Introduction)

Author’s note: I wrote this paper about two years ago for a history seminar I took at OSU. I think the paper stands on its own and I think it’s an interesting topic. Either way, there’s not a ton of easily accessible information about the Klan in Oregon online so I figured I’d add this. I’m sure there are a few errors still in there, but it’s been edited to the point of being readable.

Introduction

The Ku Klux Klan elected Oregon’s governor and passed anti-Catholic legislation in 1922. In 1915 Colonel William Simmons, the title of Colonel being an honorary one, of Atlanta, Georgia formally re-founded the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Less than two weeks later, the iconic film The Birth of a Nation showed for the first time in Atlanta. The film, considered a technical masterpiece, redrew the image of the Klan for millions of Americans. The Klan, in the film, represent saviors against evil Northern carpetbaggers and immoral, ignorant freed slaves. The film completed the revision of Reconstruction history in the American mind. Simmons patterned his Klan on the fraternal organizations he represented professionally in the past. Combining his knowledge of the Klan, born in Mississippi Simmons listened to tales of a heroic Klan growing up, with his knowledge of fraternal orders, Simmons hoped to create a new fraternal order. Simmons lacked the skills to help his Klan grow, the organization floundered with a few thousand members in the deep South until 1920. In 1920 Simmons hired an Atlanta publicity agency to spread Klan membership. The partnership succeeded in creating an explosion in Klan membership reaching a peak of one to two million members in the next three to five years. The propaganda arm of the Klan, as the advertising agency was officially titled, expanded the Klan in many areas that were not traditional Klan breeding grounds.

The state of Oregon became associated with a powerful Ku Klux Klan in the national mind in 1922. The 1922 Gubernatorial election, including a toughly fought Republican primary, and the Oregon School Bill, the anti-Catholic mandatory public education initiative, brought the role of the Klan in Oregon politics to a national stage.

The political nature of Oregon’s Klan is revealed in newspaper coverage of the Klan. Most coverage is political in nature and the remaining coverage consists of donations to churches and acts of charity. The political nature of Oregon’s Klan presumably affected who joined the Klan in Oregon. This paper focuses on the political nature of the Klan in Portland, which represents nearly 50% of Klan members in Oregon. How did that potentially affect who joined the Klan and why they joined? These two questions have been debated by historians since John Moffatt Mecklin published The Ku Klux Klan: A Study of the American Mind in 1924. Mecklin argues that a cultural predisposition combined with the boredom of rural life led Oregonians to join the Klan (John Moffatt Mecklin, 43-45). Mecklin believed, erroneously, that the Klan was predominantly rural. In 1967 Kenneth Jackson argued that the Klan had an urban focus, refuting Mecklin. Jackson argues in The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930 that the urban Klan dominated rural Klaverns. Jackson suggests urban Klansmen joined the Klan as a means to stem the tide of change in the urban environment.

The authors of Invisible Empire in the West, edited by Shawn Lay, argue that Klan recruits represented average citizens and the reasons for joining the Klan generally depended on local conditions instead of a being a battle between the rural and urban mindsets as Mecklin and Jackson argue. This paper includes a brief introduction of contextual information relating to the growth of the Klan nationally, in Oregon, and in Portland specifically. The following analysis of the political coverage of the role of the Klan in Oregon politics in The Morning Oregonian hopes to examine the public actions of the Klan to infer the mindset and nature of who might join the Klan in Portland. Newspaper coverage shows the Klan’s ideology to be uncontroversial and politically acceptable. It appears that the generally positive and political nature of Portland’s Klan led the membership to be primarily those interested in fraternal orders and conventional political action.