Watership Down, Chapt 34’s Concl

We reach the end of chapter “General Woundwort” from Richard Adams’ amazing rabbit tale. Will the General believe Bigwig’s cover story? Will Bigwig succeed in becoming a spy inside Efrafa?

Let’s read “Watership Down” together!

Image Credit: Deviant Art

Resistance In The Shadows

From time to time the gringa likes to get a bit personal. This is one of those times. The gringa’s most recent political journey began as the caveman and I watched in disbelief as the election returns rolled in. The weeks leading up to inauguration day were filled with a series of stages: shock, denial, acceptance, sadness, and, finally, indignation. The gringa eventually become mobilized, joining resistance groups and being a social media activist. As the immigration ban came down, the caveman even joined me at a public protest at our local airport. It was quite impressive to see such unity and fire in the bellies of so many banding together in the resistance as the airport filled to capacity. 

However, despite what should have been an inspiring event, something happened to the gringa. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it for days. For some inexplicable reason the fire within my own belly, that determined boiling of resistance fever, seemed snuffed out. At first I didn’t want to admit it. I felt like a traitor to my fellow Americans. I even felt as if I had betrayed myself. I was ashamed and even too embarrassed to talk about my feelings with my politically active children. But it was undeniable. Why had I given up so easily? Was the gringa a coward? Did she not have the heart of a champion? 

As peaceful protestors at Standing Rock became labelled as terrorists, as journalists were arrested on charges of terrorism, the gringa recognized that these measures are intended to quell resistance. We must outsmart our oppressors because, right now, they have the power to guide law enforcement tactics against us and use the pen to craft laws to silence us. To outsmart your enemy, you must first understand them and know what it is, exactly, that is most valuable to them. Then deny them that which they value.

Slogging through history the gringa has discovered truths contrary to public school curriculum designed to churn out obedient, compliant little patriots generation after generation. This nation was never founded by idealistic religionists who were trying to escape persecution. They were wealthy British aristocrats who sought to preserve their wealth for themselves rather than submit it to the ownership of the crown. But to craft effective propaganda, they must convince the world that their mission was actually noble. Thus the age old misinformation story of religious persecution.

From the moment these materialistic European invaders first began to organize on these shores and recognize the vast wealth to be had in this continent’s natural resources, America’s forefathers began to plot how to most effectively create a slave labor class that would produce the products of their future wealth. From its inception this nation has been a slave nation, ruled over by a slim minority of wealthy, powerful elites and today is no different despite what happened as a result of the Civil War. From indentured service to open slavery of Africans and up to a modern day society that, in essence, entraps and enslaves the working class, nothing has changed except the rhetoric and packaging of slave practices. The enslavement of today’s American working class is simply covertly executed. 

The enslavement of unrepresented convicts in our prisons is not something our society even tries to hide. And slavery follows an American all their life. If a person like myself decides they wish to ex-patriate, rejecting their US citizenship status, social security benefits can be lost. If I wish to live abroad as a US citizen, the US still penalizes rebellious slaves for such action by taxing any income earned in other countries. This is punishment for our necessary economic contributions to another country’s consumer economy. In other words, Americans living abroad face double taxation. If you purchase property abroad and do not have the wealth to afford a clever accounting and legal representative, you will also, most likely, receive a property tax bill on a bit of dirt that exists in another country, perhaps another continent. The far-reaching fingers of the slavemaster into the American citizen’s pie will follow you everywhere, demanding you return to the plantation or pay a very dear cost. And, if you are considered an ex-pat, this is taxation without representation.

And becoming an ex-pat is not even a designation an American has to purposely seek. Unwitting American retirees may simply vacation a few days beyond the legal time limit. Then, to their surprise, their customary social security benefits suddenly no longer arrive. While they were enjoying a break after the many years of grinding servitude to the slave master, the slave master was cutting off their income, their actual earnings previously set aside for their golden years, as punishment for spending dollars for a few too many days for the benefit of another nation’s consumer economy. Yes, US slavemasters are legally protected thieves of an American retiree’s earned income. The enslavement trap is a tidy little package from birth to death for every American whether imprisoned, free or even on American soil.

And both political parties have historically engaged in the same practices when uprisings have threatened mass exposure of this truth: acts of appeasement to settle hostile masses, government created crisis to serve as a distraction, and ongoing divisive methods to prevent all the groups of “others” from coalescing into unified, revolutionary power. 

You see, Trump is not really proposing anything new. The only distinguishing factor of his administration is its bumbling amateurish lack of spit and polish. He doesn’t give a crap about keeping up appearances. He doesn’t give a flip about appeasement. He doesn’t even care about divide and conquer. He is absolutely non-plussed to see the most historical crowds of protesters ever, comprised of every “other” who have finally united in a common purpose. 

Trump is only following the original layout the framers of this nation created. The framework which defines America as mass enslavement of less powerful citizens, exploiting their labor for the vast wealth it creates, then using that wealth to secure power for the wealthy through elected officials who will support an agenda that favors the wealthy through social policy, criminal justice and military might. 

The gringa recognizes that no matter how many citizens or guests to this country take to the streets, it doesn’t really matter. The kind of change that really needs to take place will simply never happen. Only appeasement measures that do not empower the masses, only mollify them, will ever take place. Or legislators will give the unruly rabble a “gift” they do not want to risk losing so they become willing to sit down and shut up.

Real change is always legislative. In a nation that is defined by a legal document, the Constitution, with every legal challenge measured against this document, the only real game changer to transition from a democratic republic governed by a minority elite who exploits the masses to a true democracy is to replace the Constitution. Can we really expect our legislators to produce the very laws that will neuter their power? Can we really expect a populace politically brainwashed to ever break faith with this revered document? 

Can we really expect a ruling class of white protestants to actually share equal power and opportunity with “others”? If you think this is not about race and religion, at its root, you have not been paying attention. Who is the Trump administration dead set on thinning from the herd? Muslims and immigrants who are recognizable by religious faith, melanin and accents. 

Why such aggressive action? Because the facts are well laid out by Census data: white Americans are set to become a numerical minority within the next decade. And in a country that keeps the ruling white elite in power through elections limited to candidates hand-picked by the ruling elites, this is a catastrophe. 

This is also behind the assault on women’s reproductive rights. Republicans are not pro-life, but forced birth. In particular, forced WHITE births. As for the masses of non-white forced births, they are just the next generation of slave labor, designated for the classroom to prison pipeline. Ever wonder why minorities get stiffer sentences compared to whites? Because convicted felons can’t vote. If a racist nation can’t purge certain people the next best thing is to enslave and disenfranchise them. Which is why the Trump administration’s policy has investors hedging their bets on an explosion of prison populations. Within days after his election, prison stocks skyrocketed.

Think the gringa is taking things too far? In case you haven’t noticed, there are open, unabashed white supremacists governing our nation, appointed and hand-selected by Trump himself. The FBI has also published reports that, as far back as 2006, white supremacists have effectively infiltrated our law enforcement, criminal justice and legislative communities. These would be those of the “alt-right” who wear suits and ties instead of robes and hoods. 

Wake up people. There has been a KKK coup. Every single alt-right, white supremacist, white nationalist, white separatist group is the spawn of KKK ideology. We are now, officially, a KKK nation. And there is going to be hell to pay for those of us who supported a black president. And there is going to be legislative hell to pay for creating the circumstances for such a thing to happen. This KKK administration is going to deliver vengeance on every person of color who has the nerve to rear their head in defiance as well as any white person who dares to betray their race by joining the ranks of the resistance.

We have always been a white supremacy nation. However, since the Civil Rights Act it has become socially acceptable to support the progress and ideology of equality. This has always been unacceptable to the white supremacists who fell out of favor. They resented this social demotion. The 90s saw a rash of white supremacist terrorism and violence. So much so that the FBI effectively cracked heads and took down many leaders of different powerful white supremacy groups.That is when the movement morphed into the “alt-right”, re-packaging their disgusting ideology, peddling it to the masses successfully, and landing their operatives in positions of power EVERYWHERE.

And to further confuse the masses, they recruited shills who would never fit the traditional profile of a white supremacist. Are you confused to find homosexual non-whites like Milo Yiannopoulos affiliated with a white supremacy group like Breitbart? Once you understand this public image strategy to put you at ease, believing that you are not being recruited into white supremacy terrorism, so many things begin to make sense.

And now, for white supremacists throughout the US, their day has come. Their president is in the White House. One of their guys is his chief strategist. Another one of their minions is Attorney General. And yet another is an official spokesperson. And the adherents to white supremacy ideologies are officially classified by the FBI as terrorists and a more serious domestic terror threat to our nation than even ISIS. They are also guilty of killing more Americans than any other terror ideology. And now they are governing this diverse country, purging the “others” that they can and making life hell for those that they can’t.

Can we really expect our legislators who aren’t on board with white supremacy ideology to save us? After all, they are privy to FBI intelligence reports. They know that these domestic terrorists are well-organized, led by highly educated, competent leaders, are well-armed, well trained in the use of explosives and are experienced killers and arsonists. They also know that as they mill about the House and Senate, they are rubbing elbows with terrorists who know where their families live. When they present legislation in a court of law, they recognize that on some judicial benches, a white supremacist terrorist presides. If they call their local law enforcement to report an act of terror against their person, office or family, they understand that a fellow white supremacist terrorist may be the responding officer.

Even if we did have a group of brave Senators and Representatives truly committed to a revolution, would they actually have the ability to follow through? Well, look at history. Whenever a threat has arisen to the dominion of those in the US who wield the wealth, what has happened to them? Assassination. The Kennedy brothers are just two examples. 

Short of a true, bloody revolution of citizens fighting in the streets with the powers that be, no revolution on behalf of the welfare of the masses is ever going to happen. One reason is because the wealthy ruling elites have succeeded in propaganda that has resulted in the average American idolizing everything attached to wealthy, elite status.

But, just for the sake of argument, say the masses did break free from their conditioning. Say the masses woke up to the revelation that they were slaves and a Bolshevik-like spirit welled up within their hearts. Say they were overcome with bloodlust, dragging the wealthy out of their mansions and burning them to the ground then turning their fervor to the compounds of race hate groups and stomping them out of existence, then what? Could they truly expect to be considered with any legitimacy after such a heinous blood-letting of fellow countrymen? Would a new administration with such roots have become exactly what it despised? And say there was some success at establishing a governing body. What then? Look what happened after the Bolshevik revolution. Corruption that led to the creation of Soviet Russia. 

So what has happened to the gringa’s fire? I think it’s still there but the flames flicker in a different direction. The direction of consumer activism. Why resist publicly? Why risk losing everything just to engage in a political cycle that always repeats itself? Why not detach economically as much as possible? Wouldn’t the most effective protest be for massive amounts of personal wealth to be re-directed into underground economies that are cash based? Wouldn’t it be a truer resistance to deny this racist administration the funding it needs for its discriminatory terror policies? Wouldn’t it create a stronger union of “others” if we networked our local businesses, patronizing one another with cash payment for goods and services? 

Sure, we might not be able to deny the US taxman 100% of our money, but we could create enough of an impact to really put a kink in the cogs of white supremacy terror machinery. But are the people of the resistance willing to sacrifice their current lifestyle to really do what it takes to destroy the economic empowerment of that which they despise? A more powerful resistance against a government that is designed to serve the needs of those with wealth is to hit them in their most vulnerable spot, their pocketbook. 

You see, although the wealthy elites despise us, they still NEED US in order to fund their oppressive programs. The resistance must then arrive at the realization that we must no longer participate in being a source of their wealth. We must arrive at the conviction to deny, as much as possible, nickels of income through taxation. We must refuse to empower corporations with our consumer dollars if these corporations are supporting the powers that oppress us. We must reward our fellow Americans and guests to our nation for remaining true to the principles of humanism, equality and fairness by patronizing their businesses. We must empower one another economically and dis-empower an illegitimate government and its corporate sponsors by denying its funding. We must be willing to let our country die economically, so a phoenix of true democracy, humanism, inclusion and fairness can rise from the ashes.

I mean, after all, don’t we want to just live in peace? Isn’t it happiness we want to pursue? Then why rumble in the streets and run the risk of winding up in a dissident prison cell, no longer able to help your fellow citizens in the resistance? Why not simply refuse to participate in the one action this nation needs your cooperation in: propping up the consumer economy and providing an income tax base? Buy local with cash as much as you can.

The resistance must build its own community because this is a long-haul condition. Protests and rallies are great but the reality is that their power is limited. Their emotional fuel is finite. And they run the risk of losing their effectiveness, the public becoming accustomed to them. Once they lose their shock value, they have no more power. Already, Republicans are simply ignoring the massive rallies that are still occurring across the nation as well as around the world. The long-term approach must be about the money.

By refusing to participate in the consumer economy that empowers this administration you are essentially telling the US government to stick it where the sun don’t shine. You see, we don’t need this country, but it needs us. Without us, who is going to pick those beans that families buy and keep the farm economy running? Who is going to buy that T-shirt and keep the apparel market humming? Who is going to get their car repaired at a national automotive chain that employs masses of Americans and provides a massive tax base that helps employ the ICE agents who are deporting our neighbors? We have to stop being a part of this.

Did you know that even apartment dwellers like the gringa can use a solar panel kit and small rainwater harvesting system to minimize dependency on municipal and corporate utility services? It’s easy to march in the streets and shout slogans, but are you going to actually walk your talk with your money and your lifestyle? Are you willing to risk neighbors, friends and family thinking that you are a bit daffy? The gringa is telling you, the power is the pocketbook and who you decide to open it for.

Now, the dear reader may think this is all a bit overly dramatic. After all, we just have to get rid of Trump. Problem solved, right? Don’t be so politically naive. Trump is really a nobody in the grand scheme of things. He was simply the slick celebrity coattails for the Republican party to ride into power. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they actually believed he had the skills to govern. No, even if we get rid of Trump the elephant is still in the room. And the elephant prefers to go unnoticed. And that is why we can all expect the Republicans to eventually throw their bombastic leader under the bus. They don’t want their real agenda so exposed by his political buffoonery. It might mobilize the masses enough to sustain a meaningful resistance.

So, once Trump is gone the Republicans will consolidate their power and enact the time-tested, successful strategies to pacify the people, distract them and inspire them to be satisfied with what they’ve got and settle down and be good patriots. In other words, they will put a coat of tasteful veneer on the authoritarian agenda they want. 

You see, they do really want it. They just don’t want the Trump effect that is so unpalatable to so many Americans that the cogs of the machine are getting clogged up. And their agenda is to whiten up America and empower Protestantism over all other religions. They know the writing on the Census wall, that white Americans are quickly becoming a minority. Republicans have to thin out the melanin laced herd to restore their ideal balance of power in favor of whites, and, most importantly, PROTESTANT whites.

The gringa is not interested in living in a country that will create policies that marginalize people because of skin color, ethnicity and accent. I will not contribute to the tax base that funds programs that discriminate against my children, grandchildren and neighbors because of their choices in how they worship, who they love or what their ethnic heritage happens to be. Screw you, US government. 

Screw you fellow Americans who have chosen to define that to be American means being white and Protestant. The gringa’s patriotism is reserved for a community that upholds the ideals of humanism, inclusion and tolerance. I will help build such a community, even if it has to be in the shadows. Then I will sit back and watch the US get everything it deserves because, by now, ALL of my fellow countrymen should have known better than to behave the way they are behaving. However, instead of progress, the majority of Americans have chosen to allow us all to be dragged back not just decades, but centuries. Well, now they’ve made their bed and they must lie in it. 

Rejection and disrespect by the world community? The US deserves that. Isolationism and marginalization? The US deserves that. Failed economy and not a single red cent of assistance from the world community? The US deserves that. Generation after generation of mis-educated children to perpetuate the failed society model the US has chosen? The US deserves that. Catastrophic economic depression? The US deserves that. Desertion by the best, brightest and most socially evolved citizens? The US deserves that.

The dear reader may be screaming, by now, about how the American people don’t deserve all of this. Yes, the American people darn well do. The entire population of the US, rich and poor, every race, every religion, has easy access to vast resources of historical data. There is NO EXCUSE any American can offer for how the nation has arrived at this condition. The only people truly baffled by what is going on are the decent white Americans who have enjoyed the privilege of living oblivious to systemic racism and discrimination. The rest of America, white supremacists who have have been organizing and plotting this moment in time, as well as the minorities and politically aware whites are not surprised at all. 

The bulk of responsibility for this national debacle must be owned by white America. ALL of white America, for it is the duty of ALL of white America to root out the evil in its own backyard, white supremacy terrorism. Rather than be their brother’s keeper, white America has chosen, instead, to indulge in their own insular life. Even the “good” white Americans, have refused to be bothered with this nasty responsibility, choosing instead an easier noble purpose like engaging in efforts to support under-privileged communities. Although they may believe they have a clear conscience by such activity, the truth is even they didn’t have the courage to do the work of confronting and excise the evils of white supremacy. White America, ALL of white America, is responsible for the continued existence and evolution of the white supremacists who now have governing power.

White America, in general, has allowed their race representatives of hate to thrive and go unchallenged throughout ALL of our nation’s history. And when  white Americans who did have the balls to challenge and expose white supremacy for what it is rose up, the rest of white America quickly marginalized them for embarrassing the rest of  “good” white America with exposure of these dirty, little white folk secrets. Because the privilege of being white means never having to be uncomfortable. How dare fellow whites disturb the peace in such a way.

 Well, “good” white Americans, eat your crow and accept your responsibility. If, as a race, you want to maintain the privilege of power, you must also accept the responsibility of failure and the messes created by your leadership. Whites represented about 70% of all registered voters. And the record shows that HALF of ALL American registered voters sat on their hands, unappreciative of democracy and unconcerned about what ideologies would govern the future of the US. In other words, they could have cared less if a bigoted, unqualified president beloved by the majority of white supremacy groups, was installed. Judging from the numbers, only 26% of registered voters resisted an authoritarian, racist and bigoted agenda. That indicates that the gringa’s ideologies of humanism, tolerance and inclusion are NOT what the majority of Americans want and believe in. In essence, I suppose you could say that already defines me, then, as NOT American.

What happens, then, if this cold, hard, brutal numerical fact is the social and political reality? What if it is the cold, hard, brutal truth that it is only a slim minority of American citizens who want to do away with the historical system of financial class and race based oppression? The gringa doesn’t like painful truths but the gringa is humble enough to accept them. And the cold, hard, brutal fact is that the majority of white America does not care about discrimination against their fellow Americans of color or guests to this country. They may not consider themselves race haters. It’s just that they don’t see discrimination as “their” problem, personally.

And another bitter truth is that many minorities support Trump. This tells the gringa that there are many people of marginalized groups who are willing to sell-out their brothers and sisters within their own “other” group in order to ride the coattails of the empowered white racist class for the benefit of their personal enrichment. In other words, the majority of Americans are not really “America First”. They are “Me First” at the expense of everyone else. That is, after all, the American way, isn’t it?

And the cold, hard, brutal truth is that from the first draft of the key document that defines America, this nation was designed to oppress the masses for the benefit of a wealthy and powerful minority. And if you became unable to be exploited, old or disabled, you were simply ignored with hopes of a hasty death so as not to be a stone upon the neck of exploitive capitalism. The same principles are practiced and enforced today because the masses of American people are too complacent to make the effort of historical research. And even if they did discover and accept the cold, harsh truth, it is most likely that they are too spoiled to risk losing what they have as the price of real revolution. The gringa doesn’t expect this nation to change. Ever. 

Despite the slick political marketing and propaganda campaigns the country permeates society with, THAT is America: a racist, oppressive country ruled by a few who exploit the many for personal power and gain and the masses accept this lot in life so long as they can live “comfortably”, and the majority conveniently look the other way when their neighbor is oppressed and suffering. And I want no part of it. I’m ashamed to call myself American. 

I don’t want to be an American but the most shameful truth of all is that I have been successfully trapped and enslaved by my country. Since I am prevented by the invisible bonds of American enslavement from ex-patriating, my only other option is to deny my slavemasters as much of the fruits of my labors as possible. If you are part of the resistance, you must strive to do this too. Establish local business networks within your local resistance community and support one another with cash-based patronage. THRIVE and deny our oppressors the funding they need to oppress us.

Sources: FBI Report Terror Threat Confronting the US

FBI Intelligence Assessment White Supremacy Infiltration of Law Enforcement

Retirement HQ

Image Credit: Jurist

Watership Down, Chapt 34, Pt 1

We begin a new chapter, “General Woundwort”. in this nature saga by Richard Adams. The General is one tough customer!

Let’s read “Watership Down” together!

Image Credit: Pooh Adventures

Who Is A Dissident?


The current political climate in the U.S., as well as many other countries throughout the world, has had the gringa interested in what exactly is a political dissident. Considering how some of the gringa’s ideologies, beliefs and personal life missions are diametrically opposed to all things Trump, as well as the gringa’s big, fat mouth, is it plausible to think that the gringa is a dissident? What happens to dissidents? Will I end up in a Trumpian gulag? Well, the gringa is not a fortune-teller. So, lacking the skill to predict the future, the next best thing is to form a conclusion based on what has happened in the past. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane of dissident history:

Definition of a dissident: A person who opposes official policy, especially if within an authoritarian state.

Yep, sounds like the gringa is a dissident. And who are my most illustrious partners in crime?

Ancient Dissidents: Apparently, dissidents are nothing new under the sun for the civilized world. Ancient world history is rife with famous dissidents. For these well-known names, no explanation is necessary for the work they did to turn the world upside down and inside out.

  • Jesus 
  • Socrates
  • Buddha
  • Confucious
  • Leonardo da Vinci

Modern Era Dissidents: Regardless of where you live on this magnificent planet we all call home, you probably have a native-born dissident that will make you proud.

  • Argentina: Jacobo Timerman, although born in Soviet era Russia, was actually an Argentinian of Jewish descent. As an author, journalist and publisher he was a thorn in the side of the regime in Argentina of the 1970s responsible for what is known as the Dirty War. He was arrested, tossed in the clink and tortured by the government of Argentina who didn’t appreciate Timerman exposing their dirty, little secrets. 

  • Azerbaijan: Elnur Majidli is an Internet activist promoting the principals of democracy. He blogs and organizes from self-imposed exile in France. Considering that his native government has accused him of attempting a violent overthrow of the powers that be during the Arab Spring of 2011, seems he won’t be going home anytime soon. Although criminal charges against him were dropped in the summer of 2011, the gringa thinks he should play it safe and remain in France!
  • Bulgaria: The 70s were turbulent times in many places. In Bulgaria, communism held sway with a regime known for its oppression and brutality. So brutal, in fact, that writer Georgi Ivanov Markov was assassinated by one of the favorite methods of Communist Eastern Europe despots, poison. Markov was an active journalist known for outspoken diatribes against Bulgaria’s communist regime. Defecting to the UK would not protect him from Bulgaria’s retribution. An assassin fired a micro-sized pellet of ricin into his leg from an umbrella as they both strolled down London’s streets.
  • South Africa: The gringa feels no need to elaborate on this nation’s most famous dissident, Nelson Mandela. Although he eventually liberated his country, it came at the cost of decades of imprisonment and years of torture and deprivation.

The gringa watches as what can only become terrible history for her nation unfold around her. Certainly she joins the ranks of dissidents. There is no doubt that authoritarianism is an apt descriptor for the current administration. Should resistance prove unsuccessful at changing the mad course embarked upon by the US government, the slide into brutal oppression will most likely be rapid. 

For those who remain outspoken and open about their resistance, there may be prisons especially erected, just for us. Guards will probably be trained in unique methods of enforcement and information extraction, just for us. New rules will be created to manage those who remain on the outside, special social governance, just for us. Although the US has historically divided the population into groups of “others” defined by gender, sexual preferences, ethnicity and religion, those divisional lines will become blurred as a new citizen class is created, just for us. So, if the gringa suddenly disappears, check out the new dissident prisons I expect will be springing up. Maybe you can get on the visitor’s list!

Sources:  The New York Times


Image Credit: Art Of The State

Video Credits: NoteworthyNews’ Channel


Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chpt 16’s Concl

We reach the end of this amazing journey as we conclude the final chapter, “The Very End of the World” from “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis. A dazzling scene is described as Reepicheep completes the journey all alone.

Let’s read all “The Chronicles of Narnia” together!

Image Credit: Coldrum

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chpt 16, Pt 1

(Originally posted 2/19/17 on Read With The Gringa)

We begin the final chapter, “The Very End of the World” from “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis. Lucy sees another mermaid and Caspian gets mad at everyone!

Let’s read all “The Chronicles of Narnia” together!

Image Credit: Pinterest

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chpt 15’s Concl

As we finish “The Wonders of the Last Sea” from “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, we discover something more exciting than the Sea People!

Let’s read all “The Chronicles of Narnia” together!

Image Credit: Gallery Hip

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chpt 15, Pt 1

(Originally posted 2/17/17 on Read With The Gringa)

We begin “The Wonders of the Last Sea” from another book in the series “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Lucy is fascinated with what is going on deep below in the sea as they sail along.

Let’s read all “The Chronicles of Narnia” together!

Image Credit: Jeremy Love – Art

Epictetus 9

(Originally posted 2/15/17 on Read With The Gringa)

We continue reading an interpretation of the works of Epictetus in “The Art of Living” by Sharon Lebell.

Let’s read about philosophy!

Image Credit:  QuotesGram

Are African Elephants Saving Themselves?

Although conservation groups have been trying to save the African elephants, could it be that now elephants are trying to save themselves? It seems that Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” is being witnessed by humanity in real-time as an amazing biological transformation is taking place among elephants. Reports from researchers at Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park indicate an alarming increase of elephants being born without tusks.

This Is No Accident

In 1930, out of all of the young bulls and cows born to mature elephants, only 1% arrived in the world without tusks. Here we are, less than a century later, and the number of tuskless elephant calves has risen exponentially. About 15% of female calves are born in the wild without tusks and about 9% of males arrive in the same condition. Evolution for any species is an extremely slow and gradual process that generally takes thousands of years. Scientists have never expected to see genetic mutation on this scale to occur so rapidly. It certainly can be no accident. Elephants have grown wise to the reason that they are slaughtered. They are responding biologically to protect their own future. This news is simply incredible.

Not An Isolated Incident

The elephants of Uganda are not the only ones exhibiting this amazing response to the threat to their survival. Elephants everywhere are giving birth to tuskless calves. North Luangwa National Park in Zambia reported an unusually high number of calves born without tusks. Kenya is not only reporting tuskless births but that, for elephants who retain their tusks, they simply do not grow to the same scale. Elephants are now either tuskless or sporting smaller than normal tusks as a means to survive the threat of ivory profiteer poachers. Researchers have compared these results with calves born to elephants living in relatively stress-free conditions. Elephants living without the threat of slaughter for their ivory generally experience a 2% rate of calves born without tusks. Threatened, wild elephants are sacrificing their tusks in order to survive. Here is video on the evolution of elephants:


What Tuskless Really Means

This may sound like wonderful news. Tuskless elephants would surely be elephants left alone in the wild to enjoy their natural lives, right? Actually, this may not the great news it would seem. There is actually a very high price to be paid by elephants who lose their tusks voluntarily as a survival mechanism. In essence, they become a crippled creature. Elephants have tusks for a reason. They are not just aesthetic. Elephants are not graced with tusks so trophy hunters have a prize. Tusks are needed to dig for water and food. They are used to root about trees and self-defense against predators. Tusks play an important role in attracting a mate. It is easy to say that a crippled elephant is still better than a dead elephant, but I don’t think an elephant would agree with you. At about the 1 minute mark in the next video, you see an elephant use its tusks to dig in the mud in order to reach water:



Saving Tusks & Elephants

How can a person help African elephants survive and thrive in a world where they are free to live as elephants should, un-threatened and with their tusks? There are numerous conservation initiatives designed for protection of the species. However, a novel approach to conserving the African elephant in the wild is to support a local artist. Historically, artists have been able to fulfill their potential through the generous patronage of others. King George III supported a small group of artists who established the Royal Academy in 1768. France’s Marie Antoinette may have very well have been the catalyst for the French Revolution with her patronage of the arts, as well as political activist groups. Many artists use their craft to draw attention to specific causes. By supporting a local artist who devotes their talent to the plight of Africa’s elephants, patrons can follow a great historical tradition as they endeavor to do their part to save these awe-inspiring and majestic creatures. Hang a painting and save an elephant! How awesome is that!


Image Credit:  Fan Pop

Video Credit:  InformOverload