U.S. Immigration Law / Not as friendly as you think

The first U.S. immigration law, passed in 1790, required that ONLY WHITE MALES who were not indentured servants, and who had been residents of the U.S. for two years, could apply for citizenship.

The social pyramid was in force from the beginning.

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From:

History of U.S. Immigration Policies (Wikipedia)

1864

Congress first centralized control over immigration under the Secretary of State with a Commissioner. The importation of contract laborers was legalized in this legislation.

1875

Direct federal regulation of immigration was established by a law that prohibited entry of prostitutes and convicts.

1882

The Chinese exclusion law curbed Chinese immigration. Also excluded were persons convicted of political offenses, lunatics, idiots, and persons likely to become public charges. The law placed a head tax on each immigrant.

1885

Admission of contract laborers was banned.

1888

Provisions were adopted–the first since 1798–to provide for expulsion of aliens.

1891

The Bureau of Immigration was established under the Treasury Department to federally administer all immigration laws (except the Chinese Exclusion Act).

1903

Immigration law was consolidated. Polygamists and political radicals were added to the exclusion list.

1906

Procedural safeguards for naturalization were enacted. Knowledge of English was made a basic requirement.

1907

A bill increased the head tax on immigrants, and added people with physical or mental defects or tuberculosis and children unaccompanied by parents to the exclusion list. Japanese immigration became restricted.

1917

Added to the exclusion list were illiterates, persons of psychopathic inferiority, men as well as women entering for immoral purposes, alcoholics, stowaways, and vagrants.

1921

The first quantitative immigration law was adopted. It set temporary annual quotas according to nationality. 

1924

The first permanent immigration quota law established a preference quota system, nonquota status, and consular control system. It also established the Border Patrol.

1929

The annual quotas of the 1924 Act were made permanent.

1943

Legislation provided for the importation of agricultural workers from North, South, and Central America–the basis of the “Bracero Program.” At the same time the Chinese exclusion laws were repealed.

1946

Procedures were adopted to facilitate immigration of foreign-born wives, fiance(e)s, husbands, and children of U.S. armed forces personnel.

1948

The first U.S. policy was adopted for admitting persons fleeing persecution. It permitted 205,000 refugees to enter the United States over two years (later increased to 415,000).

1950

The grounds for exclusion and deportation of subversives were expanded. All aliens were required to report their address annually.

1952

The multiple laws which governed immigration and naturalization to that time were brought into one comprehensive statute. It (1) reaffirmed the national origins quota system, (2) limited immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere while leaving the Western Hemisphere unrestricted, (3) established preferences for skilled workers and relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens; and (4) tightened security and screening standards and procedures.

1953

The 1948 law was increased to admit over 200,000 refugees above the existing limit.

1965

The national origins quota system was abolished. But still maintained was the principle of numerical restriction by establishing 170,000 Hemispheric and 20,000 per country ceilings and a seven-category preference system (favoring close relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens, those with needed occupational skills, and refugees) for the Eastern Hemisphere and a separate 120,000 ceiling for the Western Hemisphere.

1976

The 20,000 per-country immigration ceilings and the preference system became applied to Western-Hemisphere countries. The separate Hemispheric ceilings were maintained.

1978—The separate ceilings for Eastern and Western Hemispheric immigration were combined into one world-wide limit of 290,000.

1980

The Refugee Act removed refugees as a preference category and established clear criteria and procedures for their admission. It also reduced the world-wide ceiling for immigrants from 290,000 to 270,000.

1986

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was a comprehensive reform effort. It (1) legalized aliens who had resided in the United States in an unlawful status since January 1, 1982, (2) established sanctions prohibiting employers from hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee aliens known to be unauthorized to work in the United States, (3) created a new classification of temporary agricultural worker and provided for the legalization of certain such workers; and (4) established a visa waiver pilot program allowing the admission of certain nonimmigrants without visas.
Separate legislation stipulated that the status of immigrants whose status was based on a marriage be conditional for two years, and that they must apply for permanent status within 90 days after their second year anniversary.

1989

A bill adjusted from temporary to permanent status certain nonimmigrants who were employed in the United States as registered nurses for at least three years and met established certification standards.

1990

Comprehensive immigration legislation provided for (1) increased total immigration under an overall flexible cap of 675,000 immigrants beginning in fiscal year 1995, preceded by a 700,000 level during fiscal years 1992 through 1994, (2) created separate admission categories for family-sponsored, employment-based, and diversity immigrants, (3) revised all grounds for exclusion and deportation, significantly rewriting the political and ideological grounds and repealing some grounds for exclusion, (4) authorized the Attorney General to grant temporary protected status to undocumented alien nationals of designated countries subject to armed conflict or natural disasters, and designated such status for Salvadorans, (5) revised and established new nonimmigrant admission categories, (6) revised and extended through fiscal year 1994 the Visa Waiver Program, (7) revised naturalization authority and requirements, and (8) revised enforcement activities.

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More 1950s and 1960s
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of June 27, 1952, was a major revision of existing immigration and nationality law. It continued, with modifications, the essential elements of both the 1917 and 1924 Acts, as well as those provisions of the Internal Security Act of September 23, 1950, relating to the exclusion of Communists.

The 1952 INA reflected the cold war atmosphere and anti-communism of the period, following World War II at the onset of the Korean War. The law was in essence an act of conservatism rather that of intolerance. The difference between the climate of opinion in the 1920s and the early 1950s is apparent in the following statement in the 1950 report of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Without giving credence to any theory of Nordic superiority, the subcommittee believes that the adoption of the national origins quota formula was a rational and logical method of numerically restricting immigration in such a manner as to best preserve the sociological and cultural balance of the United States.” In contrast to the 1920s, the case for the national origins quota system in the 1950s was not generally argued on the grounds of racial superiority, but on sociological theories of the time relating to cultural assimilation. The discriminatory provisions against most Asian countries were also slightly relaxed by the 1952 Act.

However, the legislation was characterized by supporters and opponents alike as restrictionist, and it was a severe disappointment to those who had hoped for a liberalization of the immigration law. In particular, the continuation of the national origins quota system was viewed by critics of the legislation as being inappropriate to the needs of U.S. foreign policy. Foremost among these critics was President Truman, whose veto was overridden by a vote of 278 to 113 in the House, and 57 to 26 in the Senate. Quoting from his veto message:

Today, we are protecting ourselves as we were in 1924, against being flooded by immigrants from Eastern Europe. This is fantastic…We do not need to be protected against immigrants from these countries on the contrary we want to stretch out a helping hand, to save those who have managed to flee into Western Europe, to succor those who are brave enough to escape from barbarism, to welcome and restore them against the day when their countries will, as we hope, be free again…these are only a few examples of the absurdity, the cruelty of carrying over into this year of 1952 the isolationist limitations of our 1924 law. In no other realm of our national life are we so hampered and stultified by the dead hand of the past, as we are in this field of immigration.

In addition to continuing the national origins quota system for the Eastern Hemisphere, the INA also established a four-category selection system. Fifty percent of each national quota was allocated for distribution to aliens with high education or exceptional abilities, and the remaining three preference categories were divided among specified relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens. This four-point selection system was the antecedent of our current system, which places higher priority on family reunification than on needed skills. However, under the 1952 law, national origins remained the determining factor in immigrant admissions, and Northern and Western Europe were heavily favored. As in the past, the Western Hemisphere was not subject to numerical limitations.

Immigration during the decade 1951 to 1960 totaled 2,515,479 (an average of about 250,000 per year), the highest since the 1920s. This is not surprising, since the two intervening decades included the depression of the 1930s and World War II. The gap between Eastern and Western Hemisphere immigration also narrowed: of the 2.5 million entries, almost a million entered from the Western Hemisphere.

Less than half of the immigrants who entered during the 1950s were admitted under the quota system. Many came under special temporary laws enacted to permit the admission of refugees and family members outside the quotas, and many others entered as nonquota immigrants (e.g., from the Western Hemisphere). The gradual recognition that the national origins quota system was not functioning effectively as a means of regulating immigration was an important factor leading to the next major policy revision, which came in 1965.

Refugee Admissions in the 1950s and 1960s

Major refugee admissions occurred outside the national origins quota system during the 1950s. The Refugee Relief Act (RRA) of August 7, 1953, and the amendments of August 1954, authorized the admission of 214,000 refugees from war-torn Europe and escapees from Communist-dominated countries. Thirty percent of the admissions during the life of the Act were Italians, followed by Germans, Yugoslavs, and Greeks.

The RRA originated as an Administration bill, and combined humanitarian concern for the refugees and escapees with international political considerations. Quoting from President Eisenhower’s letter which accompanied the draft legislation:

These refugees, escapees, and distressed peoples now constitute an economic and political threat of constantly growing magnitude. They look to traditional American humanitarian concern for the oppressed. International political considerations are also factors which are involved. We should take reasonable steps to help these people to the extent that we share the obligation of the free world.

In particular, the inclusion of the category of escapees from communist domination in this and subsequent refugee legislation reflected the preoccupations of this Cold War period. This concern was also a major factor in the admission of refugees from the unsuccessful Hungarian revolution of October 1956. A total of 38,000 Hungarian refugees were eventually admitted to the United States, 6,130 with RRA visas and the remainder under the parole provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Act of September 11, 1957, sometimes referred to as the Refugee-Escapee Act, provided for the admission of certain aliens who were eligible under the terms of the Refugee Relief Act, as well as refugee-escapees, defined as persons fleeing persecution in Communist countries or countries in the Middle East. This was the basis for the definition of refugee incorporated in the INA from 1965 until 1980. A total of 29,000 entered under the temporary 1957 refugee provisions, led by Hungarians, Koreans, Yugoslavs, and Chinese.

During the 1960s, refugees from persecution in communist-dominated countries in the Eastern Hemisphere and from countries in the Middle East continued to be admitted, first under the Fair Share Law, enacted July 14, 1960, and subsequently under the INA. About 19,700 refugees entered under the 1960 legislation. Its primary purpose was to enable the United States to participate in an international effort to close the refugee camps which had been in operation in Europe since the end of World War II. U.S. participation was limited to one-fourth of the total number resettled.

Cuban refugees began entering the United States with the fall of the Batista government in 1959, and continued throughout the 1960s and, in smaller numbers, the 1970s. Approximately 700,000 Cuban refugees had entered the United States prior to a new influx which began in April 1980. The United States has accepted the Cubans as refugees from communism through a variety of legal means.

The INA Amendments of 1965 and their Aftermath

The October 1965 amendments to the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) repealed the national origins quota system and represented the most far-reaching revision of immigration policy in the United States since the First Quota Act of 1921. In place of nationality and ethnic considerations, the INA amendments (P.L. 89 236; 79 Stat. 911) substituted a system based primarily on reunification of families and needed skills.

The circumstances which led to this major shift in policy in 1965 were a complex combination of changing public perceptions and values, politics, and legislative compromise. It can be argued that the 1965 immigration legislation was as much a product of the mid-1960s and the heavily Democratic 89th Congress which also produced major civil rights legislation, as the 1952 Act had been a product of the Cold War period of the early 1950s.

The 1965 amendments adopted an annual ceiling on Eastern Hemisphere immigration of 170,000 and a 20,000 per country limit. Within these restrictions, immigrant visas were distributed according to a seven-category preference system placing priority on family reunification, attracting needed skills, and refugees. The 1965 law also provided that effective July 1, 1968, Western Hemisphere immigration would be limited by an annual ceiling of 120,000 without per-country limits or a preference system.

The INA Amendments of 1976 (P.L. 94-571; 90 Stat. 2703) extended to the Western Hemisphere the 20,000 per-country limit and a slightly modified version of the seven category preference system. Legislation enacted in 1978 (P.L. 95 412; 92 Stat. 907) combined the separate ceilings into a single worldwide ceiling of 290,000 with a single preference system. The Refugee Act of 1980 (P.L. 96 212; 94 Stat. 102) eliminated refugees as a category of the preference system, and set the worldwide ceiling at 270,000, exclusive of refugees.

Since 1965, the major source of immigration to the United States has shifted from Europe to Latin America and Asia, reversing the trend since the founding of the nation. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Europe accounted for 50 percent of U.S. immigration during the decade fiscal years 1955 to 1964, followed by North America at 35 percent, and Asia at eight percent. In fiscal year 1988, Asia was highest at 41 percent, followed by North America at 39 percent , and Europe at 10 percent. In order, the countries exceeding 20,000 immigrants in fiscal year 1988 were Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, Korea, India, mainland China, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Jamaica.

These figures reflect a shift in both accessibility and conditions in the sending countries. For example, Asian immigration, which was severely limited prior to the 1965 amendments, subsequently has been augmented by the large number of Indochinese refugees adjusting to immigrant status outside the numerical limits. On the other hand, Irish immigration fell from 6,307 in fiscal year 1964 to 1,839 in fiscal year 1986, with 734 entering under the preference system and the majority entering as the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Ireland had been heavily favored under the national origins quota system.

Immigration History: The 1970s to the Present

The 1970s through 1990s: Immigration Issues, Review, and Revision

The patterns of immigration and the policy considerations relating to it in the 1970s resembled in some respects those of the 1950s after the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In both decades, the entry of aliens outside the provisions of the basic law–both illegally as undocumented aliens, and legally as refugees was increasingly the dominant pattern in immigration and the basis for the major issues confronting the Congress. Legislative response to the issue of refugees in 1980 and undocumented aliens in 1986 was followed in 1987 by a shift in congressional attention to legal immigration.

The 1981 report of the national Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy contributed to congressional review of immigration issues. The sixteen-member Commission was created by legislation enacted in 1978 to study and evaluate immigration and refugee laws, policies, and procedures. Its basic conclusion was that controlled immigration had been and continued to be in the national interest, and this underlay many of its recommendations. The Commission’s recommendations were summed up by Chairman Theodore Hesburgh in his introduction:

“We recommend closing the back door to undocumented, illegal migration, opening the front door a little more to accommodate legal migration in the interests of this country, defining our immigration goals clearly and providing a structure to implement them effectively, and setting forth procedures which will lead to fair and efficient adjudication and administration of U.S. immigration laws.”

Refugees and the Refugee Act of 1980

Between 1975 and 1980, refugees and refugee-related issues dominated congressional concern with immigration more than they had since the years following World War II. Beginning with the fall of Vietnam and Cambodia in April 1975, this five-year period saw the admission of more than 400,000 Indochinese refugees, the enactment of major amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act in the form of the Refugee Act of 1980, and the exodus from Mariel Harbor, Cuba, to southern Florida.

The 1980 refugee legislation was enacted in part in response to Congress’s increasing frustration with the difficulty of dealing with the ongoing large-scale Indochinese refugee flow under the existing ad hoc refugee admission and resettlement mechanisms. By the end of the 1970s, a consensus had been reached that a more coherent and equitable approach to refugee admission and resettlement was needed. The result was the amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act contained in the Refugee Act of 1980, enacted on March 17, 1980 (P.L. 96-212; 94 Stat. 102).

The Refugee Act repealed the limitations which had previously favored refugees fleeing communism or from countries in the Middle East and redefined refugee to conform with the definition used in the United Nations Protocol and Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The term refugee is now defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act as a person who is unwilling or unable to return to his country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The 1980 amendments made provision for both a regular flow and the emergency admission of refugees, following legislatively prescribed consultation with the Congress. In addition, the law authorized federal assistance for the resettlement of refugees.

Shortly after the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, large numbers of Cubans entered the United States through southern Florida, totaling an estimated 125,000, along with continuing smaller numbers of Haitians. The Carter Administration was unwilling to classify either group as refugee, and no action was taken on the special legislation sought by the Administration. Beginning in 1984, the Reagan Administration adjusted the majority of the Cubans to lawful permanent resident status under P.L. 89 732, 1966 legislation enacted in response to the Cuban refugee situation in the 1960s. However, the status of the Cuban/Haitian entrants was not resolved finally until enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which included special legalization provisions.

Illegal Immigration and the IRCA of 1986

Immigration legislation focusing on illegal immigration was considered and passed by the 99th Congress, and enacted as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 P.L. 99-603 (November 6, 1986; 100 Stat. 3359), consists primarily of amendments of the basic 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).

Reform of the law relating to the control of illegal immigration had been under consideration for 15 years, i.e., since the early 1970s. The 1986 legislation marked the culmination of bipartisan efforts both by Congress and the executive branch under four Presidents. As an indication of the growing magnitude of the problem, the annual apprehension of undocumented aliens by the Department of Justice’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) increased from 505,949 in 1972, the first year legislation aimed at controlling illegal immigration received House action, to 1,767,400 in 1986. In 1987, after the adoption of IRCA, INS apprehensions dropped by a third to 1,190,488.

The prospect of employment in the United States is an economic magnet that draws aliens here illegally. The principal legislative remedy proposed in the past, and included in the new law, is employer sanctions, or penalties for employers who knowingly hire aliens unauthorized to work in the United States. In order to avoid a major law enforcement problem dealing with aliens who established roots here before the change in policy, a legalization program was established that provided legal status for otherwise eligible aliens who had been here illegally since prior to 1982. Second, the legislation sought to respond to the apparent heavy dependence of seasonal agriculture on illegal workers by creating a 7-year special agricultural worker program, and by streamlining the previously existing H-2 temporary worker program to expedite availability of alien workers and to provide statutory protections for U.S. and alien labor.

Legal Immigration and the Immigration Act of 1990

After enactment of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which adopted a major change in deterrence against illegal immigration, congressional attention shifted to legal immigration, including the 1965-adopted system of numerical limits on permanent immigration. This was an issue for a number of reasons. Concern had arisen over the greater number of immigrants admitted on the basis of family reunification compared to the number of independent non-family immigrants, and over the limited number of visas available to certain countries under the preference system. There was also concern about the growing visa waiting lists (backlogs) under the existing preference system and about the admission of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens outside the numerical limits.

Major legislation addressing these concerns passed the Senate and was introduced in the House in the 100th Congress (1987 to 1988). However, only temporary legislation addressing limited concerns passed both, leaving further consideration of a full-scale revision of legal immigration to the 101st Congress.

The Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT90) was signed into law as P.L. 101-649 by President Bush on November 29, 1990. It constituted a major revision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which remained the basic immigration law. Its primary focus was the numerical limits and preference system regulating permanent legal immigration. Besides legal immigration, the eight-title Act dealt with many other aspects of immigration law ranging from nonimmigrants to criminal aliens to naturalization.

The legal immigration changes included an increase in total immigration under an overall flexible cap, an increase in annual employment-based immigration from 54,000 to 140,000, and a permanent provision for the admission of “diversity immigrants” from “underrepresented” countries. The new system provided for a permanent annual level of approximately 700,000 during fiscal years 1992 through 1994. Refugees were the only major group of aliens not included. The Act established a three-track preference system for family-sponsored, employment-based, and diversity immigrants. Additionally, the Act significantly amended the work-related nonimmigrant categories for temporary admission.

IMMACT90 (P.L. 101-649) addressed a series of other issues. It provided undocumented Salvadorans with temporary protected status for a limited period of time, and amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize the Attorney General to grant temporary protected status to nationals of designated countries subject to armed conflict or natural disasters. It also authorized a temporary stay of deportation and work authorization for eligible immediate family members of the IRCA-legalized aliens, and made 55,000 additional visas available for them annually during fiscal years 1992 to 1994.

As a response to criticism of employer sanctions, IMMACT90 expanded the anti-discrimination provisions of the IRCA, and increased the penalties for unlawful discrimination. It significantly revised the political and ideological grounds for exclusion and deportation which had been controversial since their enactment in 1952.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act

Background

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), enacted in 1996, resulted from the process of deliberating on the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform established by President Clinton and the Congress to examine both legal and illegal immigration issues.

The Commission was chaired until her untimely death in 1996 by The Hon. Barbara C. Jordan who had served in the U.S. House of Representatives (D-TX) 1973-79, and was a professor at the Univ. of Texas-Austin 1979-96. The Commission’s members included distinguished experts in immigration law and history and others with experience in national politics and business.

After a long and arduous effort to develop bipartisan legislation dealing with both reform of legal and illegal immigration, Congress narrowed its focus on illegal immigration provisions with a promise by many that they would return soon to the effort to reform legal immigration. 

“Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave…For the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process.”
(Barbara Jordan, February 24, 1995 Testimony to House Immigration Subcommittee)

The provisions of IIRAIRA were aimed at adopting stronger penalties against illegal immigration, streamlining the deportation (removal) process by curtailing the never-ending legal appeal process that was used by immigration lawyers to keep their clients in the United States until they found a sympathetic judge who would grand suspension of deportation (cancellation of removal). Other toughening provisions adopted in the same year aimed at curbing the ability of terrorists to use the immigration process to enter and operate in the United States and to restrict the use of public welfare benefits by new immigrants contrary to the intent of the immigration law.

“For our immigration policy to make sense, it is necessary to make distinctions between those who obey the law, and those who violate it.”
(Barbara Jordan, address to United We Stand, America Conference, Dallas, TX, August 12, 1995)

Major Provisions of IIRAIRA
Authorized 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents by 2001 and included several hundred additional investigators to pursue employer sanctions violations, document fraud, and visa overstays.
  • Barred legal admission for removed illegal aliens (for 5 to 20 years depending on the seriousness of the immigration violation) and permanently barred admission for deported or removed aggravated felons.
  • Authorized a 14-mile-long triple fence at San Diego, California.
  • Authorized necessary funds to expand the “IDENT” program to include fingerprinting of all illegal and criminal aliens apprehended nationwide.
  • Facilitated deportation of criminal aliens by expanding the definition of aggravated felony to include crimes carrying a prison sentence of one year or more rather than time served.
  • Stopped the release of criminal aliens from custody prior to deportation.
  • Expedited the removal of inadmissible aliens by limiting judicial review.
  • Made excludable or deportable those aliens who falsely claim U.S. citizenship.
  • Required states to phase in, over six years, drivers’ licenses and state-issued I.D. documents that are tamperproof and counterfeit-resistant.
  • Increased criminal penalties for document fraud and smuggling. Added alien smuggling and document fraud to RICO (anti-racketeering) offences and granted the INS the authority to use wiretaps for such investigations.
  • Required that sponsors of immigrants have income at least 25 percent above the poverty level and made affidavits of support by the sponsors legally binding.
  • Tightened the Attorney General’s authority over special admissions by requiring “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” as grounds for admittance, and allowed for such admissions only on a case-by-case basis.

 

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What is it about trains?

The question is, Do autistics obsess about trains, or is this attachment a stereotype that has been repeated so many times that it has become the “go to” neurotypical junk cliché about autistics.

Comment from a train fansite.

Though it is a stereotype, there may be a correlation indeed, based on the few autistic people I know compared to the mass of NTs. What I like about trains is that they’re very harmonious – I like the way a train moves: no abrupt changes in pace or trajectory, but soft, regular moves and always on its railway.

Then the way a train network is organized and connects in many points makes for a great logical circuit. With many possible paths, and many trains at the same time on the network, all the technical/electronic equipment to back up the trains is also fascinating. In this regard, a train is really predictable, logical, and I find that relaxing, reassuring, when at the same time all the technology and logic behind it make it most interesting.

Don’t know if that makes sense to any of you guys, because I’m a NT, so what do I know…

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Is it not possible that trains are wonderful things, and that the qualities of the train, in particular, and as a system, are evident to certain people, regardless of NT or autistic perception? 

Dear psychologists, let us love trains, in the way that dolphins love the sea, and in the way that we love watching dolphins love the sea, and in the way that we envy the dolphin its freedom of movement…

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Boring? No: soothing and hypnotic. A great way to “settle” your brain into calm rhythms. It’s a shame that the U.S. has destroyed its long distance passenger system.

NOTE (with video): A train is a form of rail transport consisting of a series of connected vehicles that usually runs along a rail track to transport cargo or passengers. Motive power is provided by a separate locomotive or individual motors in self-propelled multiple units. Although historically steam propulsion dominated, the most common modern forms are diesel and electric locomotives, the latter supplied by overhead wires or additional rails. Other energy sources include horses, engine or water-driven rope or wire winch, gravity, pneumatics, batteries, and gas turbines. Train tracks usually consist of two running rails, sometimes supplemented by additional rails such as electric conducting rails and rack rails, with a limited number of monorails and maglev guideways in the mix.

This is a clip from the NRK TV-program “Bergensbanen Minutt for Minutt”, that shows the train-ride through beautiful Norwegian landscape. Finse is the highest station on the Norwegian railway system at 1222 meters above sea level.

The original footage is made and owned by NRK, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

Links / U.S. Chemical – Biological Weapons Hypocrisy

One of the largest human experiments in history’ was conducted on unsuspecting residents of San Francisco http://www.businessinsider.com/the-military-tested-bacterial-weapons-in-san-francisco-2015-7

Veterans Used In Secret Experiments Sue Military For Answers (Mustard Gas) http://www.npr.org/2015/09/051437555125/veterans-used-in-secret-experiments-sue-military-for-answers

DDT: A Review of Scientific and Economic Aspects of the Decision to ban its use as a pesticide https://books.google.com/books?id=K9XjbKUfYk8C United States. Environmental Protection Agency, ‎United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations– 1975 – ‎DDT (Insecticide)

4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article24751351.html

Biological warfare and bioterrorism: a historical review Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2004 Oct; 17(4): 400–406. Stefan Riedel, MD, PhDcorresponding author1 1From the Department of Pathology, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

AND From GPF Global Policy Forum:

US Intelligence Helps Saddam’s Party Seize Power in 1963 | US and British Support for Saddam in the 1970s and 1980s

Saddam Key in Early CIA Plot (April 10, 2003)

According to former US intelligence officials and diplomats, the CIA’s relationship with Saddam Hussein dates back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad that attempted to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim. (United Press International)

A Tyrant Forty Years in the Making (March 14, 2003)

Roger Morris writes of the “regime change” carried out by the CIA in Iraq forty years ago. Among the CIA’s actions were attempted political assassinations and the handing over of a list of suspected communists and leftists that led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. (New York Times)

 

CIA Lists Provide Basis for Iraqi Bloodbath

In this excerpt from his classic study of Iraqi politics, Hanna Batatu discusses how the Ba`ath Party seized power for the first time in a military coup in February 1963. He speaks of lists, provided by US intelligence, that enabled the party to hunt down its enemies, particularly the Communists, in a terrible bloodletting.

 

The Riegle Report (1994)

This report by the Senate Banking Committee analyzes the US’s exports of warfare-related goods to Iraq and their possible impact on the health consequences of the Gulf War. The report concludes that the US provided Iraq “with ‘dual-use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs.” (Gulflink)

Officers Say US Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas (August 18, 2002)

According to senior military officials, a covert program carried out during the Reagan Administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when US intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons against Iran. (New York Times)

Did Saddam Die for Our Sins? (January 9, 2007)

The US-backed Iraq Tribunal sentenced Saddam Hussein to death for his role in the 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites in Dujail, Iraq. But the same court has dropped all charges against Hussein, post mortem, for the killing of 180,000 Kurds during the 1980s – crimes committed with Western complicity. The author of this TomPaine piece concludes that if the tribunal does not look into US and British involvement in the genocide case, it will fail “to educate the world about Saddam and his barbarous regime.”

 

This Was a Guilty Verdict on America as Well (November 6, 2006)

The US-backed Iraq Special Tribunal sentenced the country’s former ruler and “one-time [US] ally” Saddam Hussein to death by hanging – a verdict which came as no surprise to many. The court sought to bring Saddam to justice for crimes against humanity, but failed to acknowledge past US and British administrations’ roles in facilitating these crimes. For decades, Washington provided economic and military support – including chemical weapons – to Saddam’s regime. Therefore, in light of the court’s ruling and its positive reception in Washington, the author of this Independent opinion piece asks, “Have ever justice and hypocrisy been so obscenely joined?”

 

The True Iraq Appeasers (August 31, 2006)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has compared critics of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq to those who appeased Adolf Hitler. The author of this Boston Globe article points out the hypocrisy of such a statement, noting the arming and financing of Saddam Hussein by the Reagan and first Bush administrations. As the article shows, many of the planners of the 2003 Iraq war supported Hussein in the 1980s during his ruthless and genocidal dictatorship.

 

Morality in Iraq, Then and Now (August 27, 2006)

This Washington Post opinion piece criticizes the historically inconsistent US policy towards Iraq. The author tracks US involvement in Iraq from the 1970s up until the trial of the country’s former leader Saddam Hussein, which began in 2005. Although the US helped to set up the Special Iraq Tribunal, contributing to the exposure of some of these crimes, the author warns against overlooking US complicity with the Hussein regime.

US Military Assistance to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War (April 20, 2006)

This material highlights the various military, intelligence, and financial assistance given to Saddam’s regime by the US. In 1986, former Vice President George H.W. Bush traveled to the Middle East, repeatedly encouraging Saddam to step up Iraq’s bombing campaign against Iran. In addition, the US supplied Saddam with several big orders of helicopters and provoked a diversionary engagement with the Iranian navy in coordination with a major Iraqi offensive. (Global Policy Forum)

 

Saddam Hussein Trial: US-Iraq Military and Economic Relations (October 20, 2005)

Saddam Hussein’s trial has prompted discussions about US economic and military support to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. This bibliography offers a list of sources addressing US policy towards Iraq from 1979 to 1990. (Global Policy Forum)

 

Rumsfeld Visited Baghdad in 1984 to Reassure Iraqis, Documents Show (December 19, 2003)

While the US publicly maintained neutrality during the Iran-Iraq war, it privately attempted to forge a better relationship with the government of Saddam Hussein. This policy did not shift when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran. (Washington Post)

 

Saddam’s Arrest Raises Troubling Questions (December 2003)

For decades Washington supported the regime of Saddam Hussein. US officials responsible for such policies could themselves be guilty of war crimes and might face allegations in an international tribunal. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus on Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein (March 24, 2003)

This report, by the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, investigates the “revolving door” between the Bechtel Group and the Reagan administration that drove US policy towards Iraq in the 1980s. The authors argue that many of the same actors are back today, justifying military action against Iraq and waiting to reap the benefits of post-war reconstruction.

Britain’s Dirty Secret (March 6, 2003)

Britain secretly assisted in building a chemical plant in Iraq despite being fully aware that Saddam Hussein gassed Iranian troops in the 1980s. The warning about possibilities to make chemical weapons was dismissed by Paul Channon, British trade minister at that time, stating abandoning the project “would do our other trade prospects in Iraq no good.” (Guardian)

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The US Tilts Toward Iraq, 1980-1984 (February 25, 2003)

This extensive report from the National Security Archive uses declassified US documents to illustrate the nature of US involvement in Iraqi affairs under the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

America Didn’t Seem to Mind Poison Gas (January 17, 2003)

As part of his call for regime change in Iraq, George W. Bush has accused Saddam Hussein of using poison gas against his own people. However, in 1988 the US worked to prevent the international community from condemning Iraq’s chemical attack against the Kurdish village of Halabja, instead attempting to place part of the blame on Iran. (International Herald Tribune)

Rumsfeld “Offered Help to Saddam” (December 31, 2002)

As President Reagan’s Middle East envoy in the early 80s, current US Secretary of Defense and leading Bush administration hawk, Donald Rumsfeld, offered support to Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran conflict with knowledge that the Iraqis were using chemical weapons. (Guardian)

 

US Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup (December 30, 2002)

This Washington Post article discusses the US role in the military buildup of Iraq preceeding the Gulf War. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale of poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague.

 

Iraq and Poison Gas (August 28, 2002)

The US has always known about Baghdad’s deployment of chemical weapons and their use against his own people, especially during the Iran-Iraq War. “What did the US government do about it then? Nothing,” reports The Nation, “until ‘gassing his own people’ became a catchy slogan to demonize Saddam.”

Iraq Uses Techniques in Spying Against its Former Tutor, the US (February 5, 1991)

This 1991 article discusses the deep intelligence link between the US and Iraq in the 1980s, detailing the intelligence assistance that the US provided to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Excerpts From Iraqi Document on Meeting with US Envoy (September 22, 1990)

Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ms. April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein on July 25 1990, only 8 days before he invaded Kuwait. According to this excerpt from a transcript of their meeting, the two talked about oil prices, how to improve US-Iraq relations, and how the US has “no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” (New York Times)

And so much more: How does the U.S. dare take a “Holier than Thou” attitude toward the rest of the world’s nations?

 

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How much talent is wasted because society doesn’t like the package it comes in?

images

In the day-to-day experience of an Asperger child, moments of peace are rare. Whatever you are thinking or doing, someone, either a parent or teacher, or maybe another child, will interrupt you, to ask that you participate in another activity, such as playing a game with a group of children. If you don’t respond, or you resist their prodding, or if you state clear and repeated rejections, sweet tones of persuasion turn to harsh words and insults. An adult will express personal disappointment in your reluctance to obey and will continue to pressure you, as if whatever you are occupied with is not only unimportant, but that preferring to be alone means that you are depressed or unhappy, and that joining the group will cheer you up, which isn’t true. If you persist in thinking that what you are reading, or drawing or building is more interesting than what the other children are doing, you are apt to be yelled at and physically relocated like a disobedient dog. When this happens, the waves of anger that were hidden beneath the adult’s nice words hit like a shock wave. The effect is visceral and devastating.

It is said that Asperger children can’t infer what is going on in another person’s mind, but the message is clear: people, especially adults, will only like you if you agree with their statements, however false or petty, and obey their instructions, and not when you get around to it, but now! Your willingness to conform must be expressed in signs made by body, face and words. It’s not enough that you act promptly as they wish, but a child or grown person must show his or her deference to a person of superior status. It soon becomes evident that no social interaction is neutral: this ‘status thing’ is the point of social interaction. What is often referred to as ‘busy work’ takes place in schools and workplaces day in and day out, simply to prove that a certain category of human is The Boss. Obedience is a social necessity because it demonstrates that a child or adult will subordinate its happiness and well-being to the group. Rules and instructions are often designed to insult and confuse people, to challenge their morality or sense of fair play and for no other purpose than to test their willingness to shed their individual humanity and to become a tool in the construction and maintenance of the Social Pyramid – to blindly believe that The Boss Knows Best.

The Asperger brain simply doesn’t understand this social compulsion, not because we are dumb, defective, dangerous or disabled, but because inequality of status is alien to our instinct for fair play, justice and reason. For us the world is integrated, coherent, and dynamic and is a continuous expression of Nature’s truths: the universe as described by social concepts is a sad and dreary spectacle of human arrogance and ignorance; a childish place maintained by violence, lies and deprivation; established by the denial of human worth and by denial of basic needs: water, food, shelter to those who “don’t count”. Those who are on top must imprison millions of human beings on the low levels of the Social Pyramid in order to feel good.

The Asperger outlook on people is nearly the opposite: people are just people. Instead of a steep pyramid on which millions of human beings struggle for dominance, we have a visual landscape of reality in our minds. Each human, animal, plant, and object in the landscape is distinct and “counts” because our perception of the environment is concrete: humans live with their feet on the ground, not above or below, but as equal agents of Nature. Cooperation, not competition for status, makes sense to us. Let each human fulfill his or her gifts; don’t waste resources. How much talent is wasted because Society doesn’t like the package it comes in?

English Words from Old Norse / Video Dr. Jackson Crawford

One of a boatload of videos by Dr. Jackson Crawford. My question? Why is the Wyoming Cowboy Bucking Bronc on his whiteboard?

Neanderthal mtDNA from before 220,000 y.o. Early Modern Human

Fact or Baloney…read on…

Neandertals and modern humans started mating early

For almost a century, Neandertals were considered the ancestors of modern humans. But in a new plot twist in the unfolding mystery of how Neandertals were related to modern humans, it now seems that members of our lineage were among the ancestors of Neandertals. Researchers sequenced ancient DNA from the mitochondria—tiny energy factories inside cells—from a Neandertal who lived about 100,000 years ago in southwest Germany. They found that this DNA, which is inherited only from the mother, resembled that of early modern humans.

After comparing the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) with that of other archaic and modern humans, the researchers reached a startling conclusion: A female member of the lineage that gave rise to Homo sapiens in Africa mated with a Neandertal male more than 220,000 years ago—much earlier than other known encounters between the two groups. Her children spread her genetic legacy through the Neandertal lineage, and in time her African mtDNA completely replaced the ancestral Neandertal mtDNA.

Other researchers are enthusiastic about the hypothesis, described in Nature Communications this week, but caution that it will take more than one genome to prove. “It’s a nice story that solves a cool mystery—how did Neandertals end up with mtDNA more like that of modern humans,” says population geneticist Ilan Gronau of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel. But “they have not nailed it yet.”

 The study adds to a catalog of ancient genomes, including mtDNA as well as the much larger nuclear genomes, from more than a dozen Neandertals. Most of these lived at the end of the species’ time on Earth, about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. Researchers also have analyzed the complete nuclear and mtDNA genomes of another archaic group from Siberia, called the Denisovans. The nuclear DNA suggested that Neandertals and Denisovans were each other’s closest kin and that their lineage split from ours more than 600,000 years ago. But the Neandertal mtDNA from these samples posed a mystery: It was not like Denisovans’ and was closely related to that of modern humans—a pattern at odds with the ancient, 600,000 year divergence date. Last year Svante Pääbo’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, offered a startling solution: Perhaps the “Neandertal” mtDNA actually came from modern humans.

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Strange! Everything I’ve read previously has said the Neanderthal mtDna was not at all similar to any H. sapiens mtDna haplogroups. 

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In the new study, paleogeneticists Johannes Krause and Cosimo Posth of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, test this wild idea with ancient mtDNA from a Neandertal thighbone found in 1937 in the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave (HST) in Germany. Isotopes in animal bones found with the Neandertal suggest that it lived in a woodland known to have vanished at least 100,000 years ago.

Researchers compared the coding region of the HST Neandertal’s mtDNA with that of 17 other Neandertals, three Denisovans, and 54 modern humans. The HST Neandertal’s mtDNA was significantly different even from that of proto-Neandertals that date to 430,000 years ago at Sima de los Huesos in Spain, suggesting that their mtDNA had been completely replaced. But the HST sample was also surprisingly distinct from that of other Neandertals, allowing researchers to build a phylogenetic tree and study how Neandertal mtDNA evolved over time.

Using modern humans’ mtDNA mutation rate to calculate the timing, the researchers conclude that the HST mtDNA split from that of all other Neandertals at least 220,000 years ago. The ancient H. sapiens’ mtDNA must have entered the Neandertal lineage before this time, but after 470,000 years ago, the earliest date for when modern human and Neandertal mtDNA diverged. That’s early enough for the new form of mtDNA to have spread among Neandertals and replaced all their mtDNA.

“The mtDNA of Neandertals is not actually from Neandertals, but from an early modern human from Africa,” Krause says. The researchers speculate that this key mating may have happened in the Middle East, where early H. sapiens may have ventured. Other researchers find the scenario remarkable but plausible. “It seems magical but this type of thing happens all the time … especially if the populations are very small,” Gronau says. For example, the mtDNA in some grizzly bears has been completely replaced by that of polar bears, Krause says.

But some experts say DNA from other Neandertals is needed to prove that their mtDNA was inherited entirely from an early H. sapiens rather than from an ancient ancestor the two groups shared. “Is there other evidence of another [early] mtDNA introgression event?” asks Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

Not yet, Posth says. Pääbo is seeking evidence of early gene swapping by trying to get nuclear DNA from the HST Neandertal and others. “We will learn a lot about the population history of Neandertals over the next few years,” he says.

Posted in: Evolution

doi:10.1126/science.aan70

 

Prose / Old Ladies, Ranches, Dust and Dirt


When I first moved to small town Wyoming, in 1995, I didn’t have much to do, so I volunteered to deliver meals to seniors and disabled people; to private homes and a small apartment building (our version of low-income public housing). It sits at the base of a large outcrop of sandstone. A stand of big Aspen, planted when the place was built, lures deer; the residents can watch them browse on the lawn and to settle in for the night. It’s a decent solution for people living on social security or disability. Quiet, safe, pets allowed.

My challenge was handling the fiendish molded plastic containers that stacked up like legos – slipped apart easily or fell over, even though cinched together by thick nylon shipping straps. How many times did they twist open disgorging tiny potions of chili-mac or chicken tetrazzini, canned pears and cranberry sauce in the icy parking lot or on hallway carpets? I didn’t like going to private homes: my undiagnosed Aspergerness balked at that intrusion: private being the operative negative fact. But, I didn’t have that hesitation within the apartment building.

Two women soon became “chat friends” They were unlike each other; one had been raised on a ranch well outside town. She was in her late 80s; tall, sturdy, healthy and consistent in her lament: she had outlived everyone in her large family; siblings, husband, children. She wanted to die. Life had been wonderful. She was overflowing with memories of a stellar childhood – the ranch, so far from town. Freedom, family; challenges, hard work and material deprivation. They knew nothing else. I could feel the warmth that still glowed inside her, like a campfire burned down to ashy coals.

Her greeting was always the same. “Still here,” she’d say, and I’d steer her thoughts to the “old days” because I liked her stories about the difficult and rare trips to town on  horseback, mule, or in a wagon, eventually an old truck; candy at the store, some provisions, maybe new shoes or jeans, but always the family together fighting dust, ruts, snow, broken wheels, axles, deep in mud, pushing, pulling, dragging and shoving vehicles, depending on Dad and Mom for everything. And the big land that cradled them all.

The other woman? A marvel of endurance. Tiny, crooked, crippled, twisted by  arthritis; confined to a big recliner that swallowed her whole. Each slight move jabbed her body with searing pain. She was fastidious regardless, about herself and her apartment; always “dressed up” in local terms and apologetic about the state of her rooms. A spec of dust, a missed cobweb, drove her mad. It was soon apparent that this obsession with “cleaning” kept her alive – as well as habit and routine and rage against disobedient “stuff” that fortunately for her, is abundant in Wyoming: windblown sand, clay and muck that penetrates all human habitations. One more day to vanquish disorder; that’s how she greeted the morning. It’s how she had evidently greeted every dawn of her long life.

So different, these two. Each with their attitudes toward death. Memories smoothed and sculpted and selected by their personalities, increased by time, and the “whole” of their lives neglected for chosen mythologies. What else had happened to them in 80+ years? It didn’t seem to matter. Their lives, their choices.

 

Prose / Viet Nam Vet in a Chicago Bar

Our fall “season” barely exists: it “slushed” yesterday; icy rain that fell and accumulated in patches that melted away. The end of summer is arbitrary: for me it’s the morning after – the morning after my carefully-coaxed potted flowers have turned to mush in the freezing night and / or have been chopped into salad by hail and wind.  This morning is damp; heavy clouds comfort the southern horizon, above the hills that form one boundary of the bowl in which town rests, just before the river turns south into canyon country. Pale blue sky is gaining on them, as the “late” sun begins to clear the overcast away. The span of daylight is noticeably shorter; incremental, but suddenly profound: my sleep habits must adjust. I am so dominated by climate; by body feels like a substance that is pushed and pulled along with the land and atmosphere by solar change – a strange metamorphosis that has occurred since childhood, and ever since, directed by unseen forces, in the way that the ocean responds to earth-moon geometry.

The dog feels it too; or is she responding to me? My little planet; I am her world. It’s bizarre what we have done to dogs. She follows my intentions, even when dozing in another room; the fridge door opens, a spoon touches china; a cellophane package crinkles and she’s instantly in the doorway with her eyes fixed on mine.

“For me?” they ask. And if I say “no” with my eyes and movements, she says, “Why not for me?” and disappears. So I wait awhile, and give her a bite of something, when she’s not begging, just to let her know that I love her, and all is well between us.

This “fall weather” is a time of visions: not the “spooky” type, but pictures begin to fall upward, the reverse of leaves now descending from trees, from memories ignored, out of reach while summer demands attention. Bits and scraps float by; neither here nor there, important nor unimportant. They taste sweet but bitter at the edges, and an emotion I feel as gratitude wells up with them, like gas bubbles that are released from a lake bottom, rising slowly to join the air: I watch them carefully as they dissolve.

One is familiar, and visits me frequently, arising due to the airing of the Viet Nam “documentary” on PBS. A disappointing work; I won’t go into that now.

In my memory, it’s nighttime in Chicago; a typical Chicago bar. My husband and friends from work are in the crowd, laughing, dancing, replaying the week as usual. I’m standing at the bar; dark wood, crowded bottles, busy bartenders filling beer glasses at breakneck speed, the sweet sticky liquid slopping over onto the wood. I’m wedged between two bar stools; all are occupied. A man turns his head toward me; he looks like a young Teddy Roosevelt; blondish and drunk, holding a shot glass and staring through his eyeglasses; he’s seething at me through squinty eyes.

He turns his whole body toward me, and orders another beer. He grinds out a question that takes me by surprise. It seems that my friends and I are insulting him by having a good time. He’s just returned from Viet Nam: we’re all stupid idiots. Don’t we know how bad it is over there?

My reaction was immediate; not angry, but close. I knew that I would never forget his face and that body; solid, tense, coiled to explode and seething with pain. I knew that if I were a man, one wrong response and he might have punched me. Is that why he chose me, a woman, to confront? Maybe he wanted comfort; maybe he wanted to cry.

“We didn’t send you to Viet Nam,” I said. “No one here sent you: you either volunteered or were drafted. We’re living our lives as we believe life ought to be lived.”

He smirked. “You’re idiots,” he said. And continued along that line of thought. I knew he was in trouble; in an impossible personal battle; changed irrevocably into “seeing” the people, places and homeland he had once participated in, as “unclean” in thought, action and careless adventure. He was angry because it would never be the same place for him again. He couldn’t differentiate between individuals; we were all guilty of destroying his illusions. To be happy and enjoying ourselves was to deny his crisis. But it wasn’t; not really. More joy, less suffering, seemed to me to be the obvious equation. The impulse to make others suffer one’s own conflicts, misfortune and despair reminded me too much of my mother’s perpetual need to “shit on” whatever happiness other people found.

“You can’t bring Viet Nam back here,” I said. “It will never make sense. You made it back alive, without being wounded or injured, from what I can see. You’ve escaped great danger. That’s enough to build on.” In my mind was a picture of Odysseus, Man of Sorrow, Man of War.

I’ve never forgotten that man. My sense was that he was a solid person; capable of finding accommodation within his suffering, for eventually grasping the notion that life begins today as a creative project, whatever has happened in a thousand days, a hundred thousand days, or in all of human history. We’d intersected in a bar, in Chicago, on a Friday night, in a place where people brought all kinds of misery and joy and history to release into the night. But he’s never left my mind.