Short Takes on the News and History

By Alden L. Benton

Of Lies and Memes

A meme is a cultural item that is passed on through repetition.  So is a lie.  In an article posted on, The Meme War We Must Win, the Red State staff discusses the importance of seemingly irrelevant and distracting issues during a campaign.  These so-called “distractions” are the groundwork for pigeonholing the opponent with easily remembered and repeatable labels, whether they are true or not.  In recent weeks, the Democratic Party lie and meme machine has been churning out all manner of dishonest defamation of the Republican Party front-runner, Mitt Romney. 

Read the article linked above and let me know what you think.  Are the Democrats liars and meme masters or can they run, and win, on the issues alone?

“New” Party Emerges

Dennis Prager is fond of saying there are two parties — the dangerous party and the stupid party.  He is referring to the Democrats (the dangerous party) and the Republicans (the stupid party).  Well, according to several items in the April 19 edition of Politico’s Morning Score, there should be a name change, or at least an addition to the name of the Democratic Party.  They are not just dangerous they are corrupt and sexual predators.  Politico cites a number of articles referring to the North Carolina state Democratic Party chairman who is embroiled in a sexual harassment and payoff controversy.  The first story is from Democratic Party Chairman Refuses to Resign, Calls for Referendum on His Job.  More details are found here, here, here, and here.

Does this incident, coupled with myriad scandals and corruption in the Obama administration, reveal a systemic corruption within the Democratic Party or, can these shenanigans be written off as simply the actions of weak and/or corrupt individuals?

Food for Thought

“If virtue & knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslav’d.  This will be their great security.”  ~Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1779

India Tests “Nuclear Capable” Missile

The Washington Times carried an Associated Press story Thursday marking the test of an Indian “nuclear capable” rocket with a 3,100 mile (5,000 km) range.  The missile is capable of striking major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.  When the missile is added to the Indian arsenal, it will make India a serious player in south Asia and the world.

Will the addition of long-range nuclear capability stabilize the south Asian region or exacerbate India’s often contentious relationship with China?  Additionally, will India play a larger role in the United States’ attempts to contain China’s influence and rising military power in the region?

Today in History, April 21

Tiradentes Day

In Brazil, Tiradentes Day commemorates the execution of Brazilian national hero Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier in 1792.  Xavier was a Brazilian revolutionary who fought for Brazilian independence from Portugal.  Xavier hatched a plan to take to the streets and declare independence on tax day.  The plan failed and Xavier was hanged on April 21, 1792.  Xavier was a dentist by trade and this holiday gets its name from “tiradentes,” meaning “tooth-puller,” the nickname Xavier adopted during his trial.

Kartini Day

Today Indonesia celebrates the birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini, the founder of the Balinese women’s rights movement.  Women throughout Indonesia commemorate her birth by wearing traditional Balinese clothing.

The celebration of Kartini Day began on the Indonesian island of Bali as a commemoration of the birth of the founder of the Balinese Women’s rights movement: Raden Ajeng Kartini.  While Kartini Day began in Bali, women throughout Indonesia commemorate the day by wearing traditional Balinese clothing.

Kartini was born in 1879 in central Java.  In 1964, Indonesian President Sukarno declared Kartini a national heroine and set her birthday as the day to honor her accomplishments.

According to,

“Lady Kartini, the daughter of a Javanese nobleman who worked for the Dutch colonial administration, was exposed to Western ideas when she attended a Dutch school.  When she had to withdraw from school because she was of noble birth, she corresponded with Dutch friends telling of her concern both for the plight of Indonesians under colonial rule and for the restricted lives of Indonesian women.  She married in 1903 and began a fight for the right of women to be educated and against the unwritten but all-pervading Javanese law, Adat.”

Adat was an unwritten traditional code governing all aspects of personal conduct from birth to death.  Developed prior to the 15th century, Adat was transformed by Islamic and European legal systems which largely displaced Adat by the 20th century.

Kartini died in 1904 at the age of 25, after the birth of her first child.  Her letters were published in 1911 under the title, Door duisternis tot licht (Through Darkness into Light).  Her letters created support for the Kartini Foundation, which opened the first girls’ school in Java in 1916.

San Jacinto Day

“Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.”  ~General Sam Houston

Today Texans celebrate the defeat of the Mexican army in 1836.  About 800 Texans, led by General Sam Houston, defeated a Mexican army of about 1,500 men under Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna.

Along the San Jacinto River, near the site of present day Houston, Houston’s men, after days of retreat, took the Mexican fortified position by surprise, shouting, “Remember the Alamo, remember Goliad!”  In less than half an hour, the Texans killed about 600 Mexicans and wounded 200 more.  Within 24 hours, 700 more were captured, including Santa Anna.  Santa Anna was released after he agreed to terms with Houston to end the war.  Six of Houston’s men were killed, and about 30 were wounded. 

The victory at San Jacinto ensured victory in the Texas War for Independence and which led to the formation of the Republic of Texas.  In 1845, Texas joined the United States as the 28th state, the only state to enter the union as a sovereign nation.

Final Thought

“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”  ~Barry Goldwater

©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
All Rights Reserved


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