Biden’s train wreck

By Christopher Harper

Joe Biden and I have at least one thing in common. We both love riding the rails.

Unfortunately, Biden’s proposed $80 billion for Amtrak over the next 10 years is a train wreck. 

Biden rode the line between his home in Delaware and Washington, D.C., during which he says he has traveled more than two million miles.

My mileage is somewhat above 100,000 miles. But I’ve traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and China, the world’s best rail system. I’ve slogged through subways in Chicago, Washington, London, New York, and Guangzhou, China. 

Much of Biden’s plan is to repair Amtrak lines, particularly in the Northeast Corridor that runs between Boston and Washington. That’s like repairing your aging car rather than buying a new one. At this point, it’s time to quick paying for a fix-me-up.

To make rail travel a serious alternative for Americans, people must see trains as a fast and easy way to get from place to place.

That’s a tough sell without high-speed trains. In 2019, for example, Americans traveled an average of 15,000 miles by automobile, 2,100 miles by plane, and 1,100 miles by bus. Amtrak’s contribution was less than 20 miles per person. Even in the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak carried only six percent of intercity travelers.

According to the best available estimates, Americans bicycle 8.5 billion passenger miles a year compared to Amtrak’s 6.5 billion passenger miles. With less traffic than bicycles, Amtrak certainly doesn’t deserve the current $2 billion in annual subsidies unless it reinvents itself. 

What’s more is that Biden has a terrible history in trying to make the rails better. 

When Biden was tasked with implementing the Recovery Act in 2009, the $8 billion dedicated in the bill to high-speed trains was his favorite initiative. He equated it to the beginning of the interstate highway system, but it was a bust.

“The high-speed rail program that Vice President Biden and our team proposed ended up being a pretty big disappointment,” said Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation at the time. 

For example, the high-speed line between San Francisco and Los Angeles won’t be ready until 2033, if at all. 

His current play includes the expansion in the South and West, with new rail lines connecting cities like Nashville and Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, and bringing back service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Amtrak has also proposed “enhanced services” on nearly all of its routes in the northeastern United States, with CEO Bill Flynn saying a priority would be rebuilding the “many major tunnels and bridges” in the Northeast Corridor.

Meanwhile, Americans will continue to fly in aircraft and drive their cars because nothing really will have changed after spending $80 billion. 

India pulls a Trump on Saudi Arabia

Oil Refinery, from Wikipedia

One of President Trump’s greatest achievements was to drive America away from importing Middle East oil. It made the United States capable of sitting out any regional crisis, which in the Middle East seems to happen on a frequent basis. For example, if the Iranians threaten to close the Straits of Hormuz, the United States can take its time to act accordingly, not being pressured by rising gas prices at home. Heck, the U.S. could tell other countries to solve that crisis if it wanted to. Having options makes it harder for your opponent to win, and puts you in control.

India is, ironically, fast approaching where the U.S. was in terms of oil a few years ago. India is the third largest consumer of oil (behind the U.S. and China), and it imports almost 85% of that oil. This leaves India vulneable to any oil interruption, and with OPEC cutting production this month, India is actively trying to diversify its energy and vehicle oil usage. This is also why India is OK negotiating with Iran (which supplies 10% of India’s oil), mainly because it doesn’t have a lot of choices.

By the way, none of this is news, it was being called out last year and the year before that, so India “unsheathing a weapon” is a bit of a misnomer, since they’ve been working on this for some time. This could have been a great moment for the United States and Canada to step in and sell lots of oil to India. Not only would it be democracies helping democracies, but it would provide a 1 billion person counterweight to China’s aggression. Plus we’d make money on the deal. What’s not to love?

India probably paid attention to history and saw how the U.S. got screwed in the 1970s, plus how President Trump gave the U.S. more foreign independence. They are pushing lots of initiatives like solar cars and solar cells to reduce transportation and home usage, but these take time to build in, and India’s sporadic infrastructure doesn’t help the process. Again, all these initiatives provide opportunities for the U.S. to work with India and strengthen that relationship, something we sure don’t seem to be pushing all that much.

Oil isn’t leaving anytime soon as the fuel of choice, and inter-country relationships will continue to be heavily influenced by who produces, consumes and ships oil. The United States has a pretty significant interest in helping countries like India source their oil from friendly places while seeking to become energy independent in the long term. Not only does it make our planet better, but it makes our foreign policy a lot more stable, and we could all use that.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Thanks, Larry McMurtry!

By Christopher Harper

Larry McMurtry provided an opportunity for my father and me to get to know one another a lot better.

In 1989, McMurtry’s novel, Lonesome Dove, became one of the most-watched series in television history.

It’s difficult to summarize a nearly 900-page book, but Texas Monthly did a pretty good job of it: McMurtry wrote his novel about “two retired, hard-bitten Texas Rangers in the forlorn [Texas] border town of Lonesome Dove.

“The ex-Rangers, Augustus ‘Gus’ McCrae and Woodrow Call, lead a cattle drive to Montana with a ragtag team of cowpokes, which includes a black cowboy, a bandit turned cook, a piano player with a hole in his stomach, a young widow, a teenager who is Call’s unacknowledged son, and a prostitute. On their journey, the group encounters psychopathic outlaws, vengeful Indians, buffalo hunters, gamblers, scouts, cavalry officers, and backwoodsmen. They endure perilous river crossings, thunderstorms, sandstorms, hailstorms, windstorms, lightning storms, grasshopper storms, stampedes, drought, and a mean bear. There are plenty of shootings and a few impromptu hangings. The prostitute, Lorena, is gang-raped. In the end, after McCrae is mortally wounded by Indians, he asks Call to bury him in a little peach orchard by the Guadalupe River near San Antonio, where he was once in love with a woman. Call dutifully carries his partner’s half-mummified body back to Texas.”

My father spent much of his early life in Rawlins, Wyoming, as the son of a man who worked the Chisolm Trail as a cowboy and later became a sheriff who died after a gun battle. His mother then married another cowboy. 

Just before I was born, my family moved out of Rawlins to Idaho, then crisscrossed flyover country from Idaho to Colorado to South Dakota. 

Like the folks from Lonesome Dove, we were constantly on the move. 

Somehow, Lonesome Dove reminded my father of the better days of his early life, and he shared the memories of hunting and fishing and country life. 

He wanted to get his family out of Rawlins to build a better life—much like Gus had wanted for his friends from Lonesome Dove. Along the way, our family didn’t suffer as those from Lonesome Dove. But the wandering from place to place took its toll.

Near the end of my father’s life, Lonesome Dove provided him and me the opportunity to talk about his adventures and discuss the tough times, including my mother’s death when I was 13, in a way he could never have done before.

Thanks, Larry!

No inflation? Not buying it

I affectionately call her The Kraken!

During the early part of 2020, when COVID restrictions were in full swing and everything fun had to arrive in an UberEats or Amazon delivery vehicle, I built a pirate ship. A big, frickin’ pirate ship. Like, adult sized, complete with cup holders for your adult beverages. Home Depot had a massive truck drop off all the lumber, and every weekend until the beginning of summer, there I was, building away on the ship. Luckily, as the summer and COVID dragged on, my kids had something to play on while the city shut down all the other playgrounds.

The lumber I purchased was fairly hefty: 4×4 posts, 5/4 decking board, 2×6 framing, and all of it is pressure treated. Recently I went to add a simple enclosure for my garden, and looked at the price for some 4x4s. And man, did they look expensive. Curious, I pulled up my receipts from the pirate ship project. And sure enough….4x4s had nearly doubled in price.

If 4×4 was a stock, it would have beat an awful lot of the market. I also looked at our Walmart receipts, and sure enough, food prices bumped up a bit too. Gas is more expensive as well.

So I’m super skeptical when I get told we have little to no inflation. In real prices, I don’t see it. Everything is more expensive, and a lot more than the 2% you would normally expect. Maybe that makes me dumber than an economist, but I’ll take my actual experience of buying things over some book knowledge that seems to have no place in reality. Given how high these prices really are, I’m worried that inflation is going to skyrocket once people start buying things again in large numbers. If ever there was a time to worry about inflation, now would be that time.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Foreign follies

By Christopher Harper

Joe Biden’s foreign policy is shaping up as a real mess.

China, the West’s most powerful adversary, obviously sees weakness in the Biden administration. China’s director of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, Yang Jiechi, noted what he called the superiority of “Chinese-style democracy” and listed “America’s sins.” The latter included a reference to Black Lives Matter, human-rights problems, and that the U.S. “has exercised long-arm jurisdiction and suppression and overstretched the national security through the use of force or financial hegemony.”

Yang added: “We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world. Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”

Instead of giving Yang the verbal back of his hand, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken seemed like a kid who’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Blinken responded that the U.S. “acknowledges our imperfections, acknowledges that we’re not perfect, we make mistakes, we have reversals, we take steps back.” But then the United States makes progress again.

Round One to the Chinese.

Although I realize Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t a nice guy, it seems pretty silly for Biden to call him “a killer” and expect the two to conduct a way to conduct business and at least some diplomatic niceties.

Responding to the comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “these are very bad statements by the president of the United States. He definitely does not want to improve relations with us, and we will continue to proceed from this,” Peskov said.

Vlad the Bad offered Joe a chance to calm down in a meeting sometime soon.

Round Two to the Russians.

But there’s more. The Biden team has managed to anger Saudi Arabia by temporarily halting the sale of weapons to the kingdom, mainly because of its role in the death of a Saudi journalist and the ongoing war in South Yemen. Let’s face it: Saudi Arabia has been a key ally in the Middle East, particularly in halting Iranian moves in the region.

At least Biden finally got around to speaking with Israeli leaders. In a telephone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden reaffirmed the relationship with the Jewish state.

The two leaders were described as speaking for about an hour and having a “very warm and friendly” call, touching on their personal ties and saying they’d work together to “continue strengthening the steadfast alliance” between the two countries, according to the Israeli reports.

Biden also said he hoped to strengthen the partnership, including on “defense cooperation,” according to the White House. The president said it was important for the two nations to work together on “regional security issues” such as Iran.

Nevertheless, one out of four isn’t particularly good when it comes to such critical elements of U.S. foreign policy.

Cryptocurrency for conservatives

Cryptocurrency and their symbol, from coinmama

Boycotts and deplatforming seem to be all the rage in 2021. Won’t stand for the National Anthem? People will vote with their remote controls and watch something else. Don’t like someone’s opinion? Easy, just demonetize their videos, like what YouTube is doing to PragerU right now. It’s easy to sit back and watch this as a passive observer when you don’t really care about ESPN or make YouTube videos.

But when your bank cancels your account, or you can’t use a credit card, it makes that passive stance no longer tenable. You might not care about ESPN, but not being able to purchase gasoline with a credit card becomes a regular nightmare. Worse still, what if no major bank will carry your money? Almost all employers pay employees electronically. What would you do?

If that sounds far fetched, its not. Bank accounts associated with conservative groups like the NRA have been under pressure to get canceled. Mastercard and Visa, the biggest names in credit cards, stopped donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center (although they eventually restored it). Attacking financials hits home for everyone, because you can’t boycott banks, and that makes them a juicy target for radical liberals wanting to hurt conservatives.

While we should all be standing up and fighting these efforts, we should also protect ourselves. If you own a business that risks cancellation, you should be accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, is a disaggregated ledger system where individual nodes on a network verify accurate transactions, and pay for that with a coin. If it sounds confusing, it is, however, so is trying to understand how banks process your money electronically. A good Bitcoin primer is this video from 99 BitCoins:

More importantly, Bitcoin and other blockchain cryptocurrencies have now been around for a while. Most of the bugs are worked out, and major companies are accepting them as payment. Tesla is the most notable, but add AT&T and even Burger King (only in Venezuela) to that list. Its growing and its not going away.

For conservatives, cryptocurrency offers the ability to pay people in a peer-to-peer mode that nobody can cancel. No government can freeze your account. No financial institution can be bullied into canceling you. Even better, the money transfers between crypto wallets (think of them nominally as the account that holds your cryptocurrency) only lists account numbers. This makes it incredibly difficult to track down or dox people that are frequenting a business or donating to conservative candidates.

Speaking of donating, since we’ve seen a fair amount of doxxing of people who donate to PACs, Political Action Committees can accept cryptocurrency, and its happening more frequently. Conservatives that think they shouldn’t get hassled about legal donations should consider telling their candidates to take cryptocurrency. Most PACs right now immediately cash the cryptocurrency into US Dollars and report it, which is fine, and it still maintains a decent level of anonymity for the donor.

Now is the time to get started. I recommend all conservatives learn about cryptocurrency, get a cryptocurrency wallet, and purchase some common cryptocurrency (Bitcoin and Ethereum are good candidates due to their popularity). For individuals, you should get an account that allows easy bank transfers, such as Coinbase, which doesn’t charge for ACH transfers. Even better, Coinbase has a series of short videos that teach you about different cryptocurrency and pay you in small amount of crypto to help you get started. If you use this link, it also helps me out.

For businesses, Coinbase offers a commerce site, https://commerce.coinbase.com/. The site generates a separate commerce wallet for common cryptocurrency and makes transferring to your commercial bank account easy. Even better, if your bank tries to cancel you, you can hold your money in cryptocurrency until you setup at a different bank.

Cryptocurrency is going to be the conservative answer to financial cancel culture. Now is the time to start, so that when the times get bad, you’re one step ahead of the liberal juggernaut.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

China fails faster than the US Navy in shipbuilding

Image courtesy of USNI

In the 1950s and 1960s, the term “Made in Japan” was a way of pointing out the poor quality of items, particularly vehicles, coming from Japan. Recovering from World War 2, Japanese manufacturing was just getting back on its feet, while America had enjoyed not being bombed or nuked into submission. But the Japanese were pretty industrious, and while American cars continued to decline in quality, particularly in gas mileage, Japanese vehicles slowly improved. All that was needed was a spark, and when the oil crisis happened in 1973, imports of the more fuel efficient Japanese cars soared. “Made in Japan” no longer implied poor quality.

“Made in China” is going through the same throes now. The picture above is the LUYANG III destroyer. If it looks uncannily like a US Destroyer, you’re not wrong, and capability-wise, its pretty close in many respects. The PLA Navy is on pace to crank out 2-3 of these every year. That alone is scary, but more importantly, the LUYANG III represents a Chinese 3 step building plan that involved failing fast, then making a big investment.

China didn’t have the most robust ship building, and its first LUYANG model, the Type 052B, was more of a test platform. They built two of these and learned a LOT about shipbuilding in the process. The Type 052B isn’t very capable in a big fight, but the point was to build something and be OK at failing a lot.

The next failed step was the Type 052C. Here China added extensive air search capabilities and used only Chinese systems. They also made these at different shipyards, exposing them to the issues created when you build ships in an enterprise. It’s not a bad ship, but again, was built to teach the Chinese how to build warships.

Enter the Type 052D, the LUYANG III. Extremely capable warship. Now that China has the right design, its cranking these out quickly. There are 13 in service and 11 in construction now. To put this in perspective, in 2019 the US Navy commissioned 2 new destroyers, and 8 total ships, one of which was an aircraft carrier.

Speaking of aircraft carriers, China is working on carrier #4 now. You’ll see the same “fail fast” pattern here as well. First carrier was a Ukrainian purchase. It sucks, but it was mostly designed to teach China how to operate with a carrier. The second carrier was China’s first Russian-knock off, the Shandong, and it taught the Chinese how to build something pretty large. The third carrier, with an estimated 85K tonnage, will likely be completely Chinese design and help iron out bugs in the design process. Talks about carrier number 4 being nuclear are already happening. I’m guessing that when China begins carrier #5, it will have a design it likes and will crank out 10 of them in a row.

In the meantime, we can’t get a US shipyard to crank out a warship on-time or on-budget, and we’re cutting the shipbuilding budget anyway. We have more experience than the Chinese Navy, but that gap is closing as the Chinese deploy around the world, including near constant deployments to the Middle East and Europe.

Give it five years, and China’s Navy will have the numbers and equipment to be better than the US Navy in nearly any combat situation. That should scare us.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

A royal mess

By Christopher Harper

I’ve never really understood the American fascination with the British royal family.

For centuries, the monarchy has been a dysfunctional band of malcontents who battled over religion and turf. Henry VIII and George III were bona fide madmen. Princess Margaret and Lady Diana didn’t get along with the other royals. Prince Charles always struck me as a dopey mope.

So why did 17 million Americans watch an interview by Oprah Winfrey with Prince Harry and Princess Megan?

I don’t know. Maybe prurient interest?

A quick survey of my friends on Facebook found no one would admit to watching the two-hour attack on the royal family.

One British friend, a former BBC reporter, disagreed. “It’s quite important, he wrote. “Just think about it. It’s about institutions, race, personal freedoms, mass idiocy, and it’s told through a story of two young people who went against the grain. Yes, they’re rich. But does that make The Grapes of Wrath better or less significant than The Great Gatsby?”

It’s not a bad defense for watching the program. Since there’s little I haven’t watched on Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix during the pandemic, my standards are pretty low, but I still wouldn’t spend two hours on Harry, Meghan, and Oprah.

Then there’s the money. It’s reported that someone—probably Oprah’s production company—paid between $7 million and $9 million for the interview. There was a time that paying for news was an ethical breach. I guess the interview may not be technically news, but still.

It’s unclear who got the money. Everyone swears that Harry and Meghan didn’t get a dime. Since they face being cut off from the royal treasury, particularly after the interview, I find the disclaimer hard to believe.

Since the program aired on CBS, how much did the one-time “Tiffany Network” plop down?

I never thought Oprah was a particularly good interviewer. I worked with the best: Barbara Walters.

It seems that Oprah didn’t press the royal couple on what I would consider the most crucial question: What did they expect to happen after they got married?

In 1936, King Edward VIII took over the reign of England. However, he abdicated his throne to marry the love of his life, Wallis Simpson, an American and two-time divorcee. In an interview many years later with the BBC, Edward provides a path Harry and Meghan should take. See https://www.telegraph.co.uk/royal-family/2021/03/07/meghan-can-learn-mrs-simpsons-tell-all-tv-interview/

At the end of the interview, the reporter asked the duke if he had any regrets about not having remained king. “No,” he said. “I would have liked to have, but I was going to do it under my conditions. So I do not have any regrets. But I do take a great interest in my country – my country which is Britain – your land and mine. I wish it well.”

Judging our neighborhood overseers

I’ve been enjoying my time away from Facebook, with the biggest benefit being more time to do things that really matter. I’ve hung out with more actual friends, gotten more work done on the house, and read more actual news and a lot less opinions.

I am still on MeWe and Nextdoor, and Nextdoor supplies me with any additional drama I may need. A few days ago, this gem popped into my feed

Overseer? Rid of crime? Whoa…what’s going on here!

So, for starters, this person lives in a crappy part of town. Nextdoor lists your neighborhoods, so I looked it up…and that neighborhood sucks. It’s not Chicago level, but its not a nice place. On a scale of “let my kids play in front yard” to “requires military escort to visit 7-11,” I’d give it a “keep a knife in your car for protection” level of safety. Basically, the person posting it isn’t off the mark about safety.

Now, when you read the word “overseer,” most people reading this blog probably sucked in their breath. I know I did. But I kept reading.

  • “Rid of crime?” I personally think that’s why we have police officers, but I don’t disagree with the sentiment
  • Streets are clean. Not disagreeing here.
  • Helping people repair homes. Sounds like charity work. I’ve helped my neighbors clean up, and they’ve helped me.
  • Make sure everyone is safe. Define “safe.” If its a neighborhood watch sort of thing…ok.
  • Make sure everyone has food. I donate to the local food pantry, so again, not opposed.

The more I read it, the more I realized I’m not in total opposition to this person. As you can see from the comments, plenty of people paused on the “overseer” word. Given that there are plenty of grammatical errors in the post, I would say this person doesn’t have a great grasp of English. Is it possible that this person made a poor word choice? I think so.

Even better, what if I made some tweaks. Let’s say the post looked like this:

OK, so I had some fun at the end with Karen and CNN. But if someone posted about starting a militia, most of the readers here (including me) would be OK with it. And if we also helped our actual neighbors, again, most would be fine. If we did a food drive, or a repair homes drive, or walked the streets at night to provide presence and deter criminals, again, most people reading this are probably OK with that.

I don’t blame people for jumping on the word “overseer,” but anymore social media has made people so quick to judge others that we’re missing opportunities to connect with real people. If you want to jump on every comment from Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi, I don’t blame you, because they don’t have good intentions. But your local neighbor is not Nancy Pelosi (hopefully not anyway). Maybe, just maybe, instead of instantly lashing out against the person, asking for some clarification might be in order.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Well-deserved pushback against Chicago Monuments Project underway

Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It is one of Chicago monuments “under review.”

By John Ruberry 

Last week in my DTG post I wrote about the Chicago Monuments Project, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s response to last summer’s riot surrounding the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park south of downtown.

The committee for the project earlier this month identified 41 monuments, mostly statues but also plaques, reliefs, and one painting. Five of the monuments are statues of Abraham Lincoln. Yes, that guy, the one who led the Union during the Civil War, which led to ending slavery in America. Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, that slogan has been emblazoned on every Illinois license plate for decades. His face is on all standard Illinois license plates. On every Illinois driver’s license and state ID card is Lincoln’s countenance–and automobile titles too.

Other monuments “under review” by the project include statues of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Leif Erikson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, several pieces honoring Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, and works featuring anonymous Native Americans. 

But don’t worry! Really! In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed published last week–on Washington’s birthday–three of the project’s members assured us:

Various accounts, especially on social media, have inaccurately described this project as an effort to tear it all down. This could not be further from the truth. It is a discussion.

I don’t believe them. The “discussion,” in my opinion, is a first step to, yes, “tear it all down.” Liberals work by way of incrementalism. Many left-wing politicians, probably most, want to ban private ownership of guns. They can’t express that sentiment because of the predictable outrage–and it could mean that they’ll be voted out of office. So they start with the easier targets, such as bans on semi-automatic rifles. If they succeed they’ll move on to other firearms, ending with the banning the type of handgun Mrs. Marathon Pundit purchased this year.

So the Chicago Monuments Project is beginning with “a discussion.” Without pushback that discussion very well may devolve into moving statues in the wee hours, which is what happened to two Christopher Columbus statues, including the one at the center of the riot, into storage. Both of those statues of the Italian Navigator are on the project’s “under review” status. 

It’s not just social media users and conservative news sources that have objected to the Chicago Monuments Project. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, Lincoln biographers Sidney Blumenthal and Harold Holzer wrote, “The Orwellian idea of removing Lincoln from Chicago would be as vain as an attempt to erase the history of Chicago itself.”

The editoral board of the Chicago Tribune–paid subscription required–favors keeping the Lincoln stautes.

Lori Lightfoot even weighed in, “But let’s be clear, we’re in the Land of Lincoln, and that’s not going to change.”

But I’d like to explain to you that the other monuments are also worth keeping. Benjamin Franklin owned two slaves but he freed them and he later became an abolititionist. Ulysses S. Grant, when he was under tremendous financial hardship, freed the only slave he owned. Grant of course was the commander of all Union armies in the Civil War. George Washington’s slaves were freed after the death of Martha Washington. Yes, Washington is the Father of our Nation.

Other than being white, I can’t astertain why Marquette and Jolliet, or Leif Erikson, are “under review” in Chicago.

The source of the rage against Lincoln likely comes from his approving the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors in 1862. But Abe commuted 264 Dakota War executions. There were atrocities in that conflict committed by both sides. Here’s what a Norwegian immigrant described in a letter at that time, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society:

The Indians have begun attacking the farmers. They have already killed a great many people, and many are mutilated in the cruelest manner. Tomahawks and knives have already claimed many victims. Children, less able to defend themselves, are usually burned alive or hanged in the trees, and destruction moves from house to house.

If the Chicago Monuments Project is about education, then it probably means that Lightfoot sorely needs one. “In time, our team will determine there are no monuments to African Americans in this city,” Lightfoot said last summer while announcing what has become the Chicago Monuments Project. “There are no monuments to women. There are no monuments that reflect the contributions of people in the city of Chicago who contributed to the greatness of this city.”

But in her namesake park on the South Side stands a Gwendolyn Brooks statue. Brooks was the first African-American to serve as Illinois’ Poet Laureate. A couple miles north of that statue is the beautiful Victory Monument, which honors a World War I African American regiment, and a bit north of that one is the Monument to the Great Northern Migration. I believe each of these are on city of Chicago or Chicago Park District property.

Does Chicago need more monuments featuring women and minorities? Absolutely. It can also benefit with a Ronald Reagan statue. The Gipper is the only president who was born in Illinois and the first to live in Chicago, although the apartment where he lived as a child was razed by the University of Chicago in 2013.

Click here to view the monuments in question. To express your comments about the Chicago Monuments Project please click here. Please be courteous. And if you Tweet this blog post–please do!–use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Make your voice heard. They’ve begun to listen.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.