Controversial Symbols Photo by Gilles DETOT on Unsplash

President Biden’s Memorial Day speech was a full-throated defense of democracy. Was it merely a string of safe applause lines? Didn’t the voters just reject the cheap patriotism of bone spurs on one side and an American flag lapel pin on the other?

I rise to dissent from the view that the battle’s over. If our current situation is victory for democracy, I should hope to never taste defeat.

Poor old Karl Marx. His name got attached to so much nonsense. Yet, he is one of those rare thinkers who left his mark on so many disciplines that it’s hard to earn an advanced degree even now without encountering his work — though seldom in the original because his writing was a hard slog. Marx left tracks in political science, economics, sociology, philosophy, literature and most other arts.

He died a stateless person…


GREENWOOD, 1921. Wikimedia Commons

Today marks a century from a wrong that some of us would like to excavate from the memory hole, but the R word often impedes even a frank discussion.

A discussion about whether there was law in Oklahoma after it ceased being Indian Territory in 1907?

Considering the facts on the ground, it might be fruitful to examine whether the white supremacists in our times running with the Adolf Hitler fan club is coincidence or just because the neo-Nazis agree on white supremacy but nothing more?

What will the discussion cost us in reputation? Will it cost us money? What could we tell the kiddies after all these years of lying silence?

R word? Racism?

Even scarier. Reparations.

A hundred years makes a lot of distance but I grew…


What Every Teenager Thinks When He Joins the USAF. Photo by Pixabay

I am about to spew forth a river of loosely-connected thoughts that have little to do with current events or each other.

I have decided that if I’m not going to make money with my writing, I am at least going to enjoy it. Godwin’s law, for those who need a refresher, instructs us as follows:

As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or Nazis approaches 1.

Mike Godwin, the law maker, has been forced by current events to recognize the size of Hitler’s fan club and to admit that when people do harm and cite Hitler as the reason, it might be a good idea to call them out in the terms they have…


Photo by Boo Swindon from Pixabay

I first noticed what was going on during the debate over Obamacare, but it could be I’m just slow. The leader of the Republican Party in the senate had stated plainly the very top of his agenda was “making Barack Obama a one term president.”

Taking him at his word would have saved me a lot of grief, but it was the kind of grief that comes with playing pundit. Errors come with the territory. You don’t have to admit your errors, although I do as a matter of commitment to being right as often as possible.

I take little solace in being only one of many who could not believe that such a high-placed player in a two-party system would lead his party off the field when there was so much governing to be done. …


Image from Pixabay

We are the blind men and all of human knowledge is the elephant. The Covid 19 virus might be a tiny parasite the elephant hopes to find and kill.

Viruses are not “living” as we understand life, but a virus can still be “killed” in the sense of being rendered unable to do harm to human beings. The purpose of viruses appears to be making copies of themselves. You have heard that viruses have DNA profiles, you say? Well, you can claim they “have DNA” and that would be a true statement, but it’s truer to say they are DNA lurking inside a protective sheath of protein. Stripping away that protection disables or kills.

The important thing for human beings defending against viruses is that some of the awful…


Wall Street Bull Graphic from Pixabay

This article is inspired by Why do you need to get started investing?, an article by Marcus Tan, published on May 9, 2021 in Age of Awareness.

First some thoughts about money, relationships, and why you ought to pay attention to lining up some passive income. That is, an income that continues when you quit working.

You may go forward into the future or you may allow the waves to rake you over razor-sharp reefs and leave you unable to do anything for your family but bleed on them.

If you start your life journey alone, as I did, you will find it easier to bond with another human being if it’s obvious that you are able to take care of yourself. …


U.S. Airman Holding Refugee Child in Dar Ul Aman, Kabul by Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr., photo courtesy Department of Defense

My generation thought we had a problem finding the exit ramp from Vietnam. LBJ’s White House tapes showed no daylight between his public handwringing and what he said to his closest advisors in private, that his position on withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam was not centered on “whether” but on “how.”

John Kerry, testifying for Vietnam Veterans Against the War before a Senate committee, famously answered,

Ships and planes, Senator, ships and planes.

That was a clever remark, but it went the way of Kerry’s later presidential campaign.

In 2004, Kerry was a senator from Massachusetts, running on withdrawal from Afghanistan as being not a question of whether, but of how. We had been there since 2001, when the Taliban government that sheltered Osama bin Laden had been deposed. Bin Laden’s trail had gone cold since a very close call in the caves of Tora Bora.

The caves are located near…


I just discovered this series and I believe I'll chase down the rest--but only after the earworm goes away from this one. The Everlys make a pleasant one, as earworms go. Carole King is one helluva songwriter and they did this one up right.

I feel the same way about music. I don't know if you've read my memoir, Lighting the Fire, but whether or not you have, I want to list off the tunes that I put in the credits. Paying back the musicians a tiny bit.

"Never Been to Spain" Hoyt Axton

"Little Egypt" Leiber and Stoller wrote…


LBJ Signs Voting Rights Act of 1965 (RIP) Photo by Robert Knudsen Courtesy LBJ Presidential Library

Intellectuals — sometimes I think most of them — go through thinking they don’t fit in. It takes a while to get that straight.

Law school, I used to tell my pre-law students, was like an intellectual boot camp. What basic military training did for your body, the first year law courses are supposed to do for your mind.

I gave some thought to whether I was creating a danger of putting them off by using the term, “intellectual.” While the danger was real, I decided, there is in fact a class of people for whom the world of ideas…


This article is inspired by the one Sal published in Medium on April 29, What if Hitler Had Won the War?

Image by Gerd Altmann in Public Domain by Creative Commons

Sal’s title attracts readers because it’s both scary and possible. It could even be argued that WWII was Hitler’s to lose, and he lost it.

Given the subtext of racism in any literary depiction of Hitler, it’s a good idea to confess any possible bias. I will cheerfully admit that I disagree with every position I know for certain Hitler took in his lifetime, with the exception of the unfairness and overreaching in the treaty that ended WWI.

“Treaty of Versailles” has come to stand for some 16 treaties among various belligerent parties that were supposed to redraw the world…

Steve Russell

Enrolled Cherokee, 9th grade dropout, retired judge, associate professor emeritus, and (so far) cancer survivor. Memoir: Lighting the Fire (Miniver Press 2020)

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