al sharpton

The face of hate.  Of whites, that is. One of the uglier personalities, both outwardly and inwardly,  to grace the American landscape in a long long time.  A regular troublemaker and provocateur who has made his living as a racial gangster. This guy gets away with more hate laced rhetoric in a week than those listed in the “who’s who” of the white right might spew in a lifetime. But you must remember that all racism comes from the latter group, and that the ‘most reverend’ Al is a member of a protected group who are incapable of racism.  Sharpton was an obscure Brooklyn “preacher” and “organizer” until he concocted the infamous Tawana Brawley hoax Continue reading


JOHN WHITEHEAD  The Rutherford Institute

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.”
Author Tom Clancy

Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. Continue reading


tom briggs

Our ten day winter vacation in this West African country was an unforgettable and often surreal adventure. It was a  only a five hour flight but it seemed at least a few light years from Belgium. We were looking for winter hot and we got it, because the dry Harmattan trade-winds help to soar Senegal’s January temperatures to over forty celcius or roughly one hundred and four Fahrenheit. Senegal is a former French colony and while many of its people speak French or Arabic, the native language is  Wolof. There are thirty-five other languages spoken as well. The country is home twelve million inhabitants and almost all of them live in dire poverty. Amazingly many of its poor, who live in simple huts and block houses, have cell phones and music systems.

The one hundred and fifty kilometer five hour taxi-van ride from the airport in Dakar to the Royal Lodge Hotel in Palmarin was an adventure laced with the omnipresent uncertainty that we would ever arrive there.  The road was paved for just the first seventy kilometers. The remaining eighty kilometers was an adventure that reduced auto speed by two thirds. Crowded on either side of most of the paved section were an endless display of buyers and sellers amid all manner of colorful and chaotic entrepreneurial dilapidation. Many often crowded against our vehicle, selling fruits and various Senegalese trinkets. I had never witnessed such a spectacle, such a panorama of bright smiling darkness. As night fell, the last thirty kilometers turned into a lunar-like mud and stone laced nearly undriveable surface. Humanity vanished and the only lights were those from our vehicle. A white-robed native-man suddenly appeared wielding a rifle. I’ll never forget that image. The hearts of all six passengers skipped a collective beat, but fortunately he was friendly and known to our driver.

The Royal Lodge Hotel, an African thatched building with a congenial contemporary look, was a great place to stay and had a beautiful swimming pool that appeared to blend right into the Atlantic Ocean. The patio restaurant offered an ocean view that included the remains of a wrecked cargo ship resting on a sand reef some two hundred meters out to sea. Our bungalow was one of twenty-six, and had a uniquely authentic  yet contemporary African hut styling. It also had a fabulous high ceilinged interior complete with a jacuzzi. Lieve and I met some very interesting people from England, France and Belgium, and the entire staff of the hotel,  all Senegalese except for one Nigerian,  were extremely courteous and friendly. We also made friends with a great group that sold carved wood artifacts out of their straw huts on the beach located near the hotel. Jean Noel, who spoke fluent French, was friendly and very helpful. He became our unofficial guide throughout our stay. Others of this group were Gambian English-speaking Alex, and several other Senegalese. All were accomplished djembe  players. Lieve and I celebrated the New Year by dancing with un-western abandon in the sand to their ageless rhythms in the African star-lit night. Spikey, who was a major hit with everyone, joined in this gala display of inter-continental joy.

Later, we brought the locals some food from the hotel, as well as cigarettes and packets of sugar. That staple is a rare commodity in Senegal. In fact, there exist numerous smuggling operations between salt-rich Senegal and nearby sugar-rich Gambia. On New Year’s night, while I was taking food to them, I saw a distant flashlight glowing in the darkness. We learned the following morning that it was from a pistol-carrying ex-commando who was patrolling the beach for hyenas. These night predators often wander many kilometers in search of dogs or wild pigs. The commando later expressed a liking for the white shirt that I was wearing. Later, I gave it to him. Always nice to have protection. And wise to accommodate anyone carrying a gun. And from a guy who could also pull a tree out of the ground, I’m exceedingly fortunate that he wasn’t desirous of my pants or underwear.

Lieve came close to catastrophe one afternoon while we were walking along the roadway. Two boys aged around thirteen, were racing their donkey-driven carts. One lost control, knocking Lieve to the ground. The donkey’s hoofs inexplicably avoided crushing her. That she also sustained only a minor injury from the wagon wheel that just missed crushing her abdomen is a miracle of sizable proportion. All this in a few seconds. What dark thoughts can race through one’s mind in this sliver of time. We were too far from a hospital, with not a doctor anywhere close. Nor was there sufficient medical  aid at the hotel.

We had just returned from a visit to a village that was actually a cultural/learning center complete with a small museum. The leader was Oozman, a kind and sagacious Uncle Remus type, who left a good position and comfortable life in Dakar to help give hope and substance to young minds. We had a great time there, as everyone was gracious and friendly. All of the children and most of the adults went crazy over Senegalese Spikey. Lieve had an unbelievable rapport with everyone we met, as almost all of the natives spoke French. Of course, Lieve had to later translate into English for me. Most of the locals also spoke the native Wolof. We soon were greeting Senegalese with “nagadef” (hello, how are you?), and said thank you with “jerrijef”.

One afternoon we were driven by car to a marketplace some thirty  kilometers from the hotel. The driver then assigned us a guide who was friendly at first, but not so friendly later. He walked with us through a hellish and foul-smelling catacomb which was inundated as far as the eye could see, with natives of varying ages selling fruits, vegetables and meats in varying stages of decay. They also offered clothing of the type worn by locals along with off-brand western styles. An endless variety of other items, including pots, pans, blankets and the like, rounded out the menu. All this in the midst of the potential insidious serpents of malaria, cholera and yellow fever. The air permeated with the smell of burnt fish, dust swirled and an unfriendly mid-day sun melted our will. After about thirty minutes,  Lieve and I wanted to get the freak out of there. Our opportunistic guide tried to get some extra money out of us, but Lieve held fast. I could’ve told him that you just don’t “spit into the wind, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, and you don’t mess around with Lieve!  Doo, doo-dee-doo-doo-dee-doo-doo”….!

Another trip of six to eight kilometers was taken by donkey with cart. Not the most accommodating way to travel, I assure you. It heightened the experience of Senegal to traverse the dirt roads in this manner. Riding along the beach, on the way to a nearby village, Lieve spotted a group of about twenty-five “LaLutte” wrestlers engaged in their daily Spartan-like training. Lieve couldn’t resist, and asked the driver to stop. She then brazenly exhorted a few of the group to “let’s get it on”. Our photographic evidence of this epic encounter is priceless.

Other adventures included a foray into the “bush” where we spotted a group of hyenas from a safe distance. Later, we crossed the salt flats for a few kilometers with our guide Pierre. We then boarded a colorfully painted boat of about ten meters long. This craft was  powered by a Yamaha motor appropriate for a boat that could fit in a bathtub.  Pierre then took us about twelve kilometers across a magnificent saltwater lake to an island where very friendly and colorfully clad artisans and sellers of jewelry,  carvings and sand paintings engaged us.

I developed flu symptoms late New Year’s day. By the time we headed back towards the airport, I was feeling pretty bad. Fortunately, we took the precaution of taking malaria tablets every day and were vaccinated before the trip for yellow fever. We passed again the tsunami of humanity on either side of the road to Dakar. A tapestry of disorder strewn with litter of all sizes and makes as far as the eye could see. If this social menace were a cash crop, Senegal would be basking in prosperity. Our African-robed driver, a Michael Jordan look-a-like, was affable and a great driver. He even called when we were back in Belgium to ask if I was feeling better. That’s typical of the Senegalese that we met.

My richest and most enduring memory of Senegal are of its people. Lieve and I and we’re sure Spikey as well, look forward to coming back one day. We returned to Belgium, where most everyone wears a long winter face, with a renewed appreciation for the great conditions in which we live. Inspite of the abject poverty and desolation in Senegal, most of its residents, it seemed to us, shine in contentment.   Their bright smiles tell that their hearts sing. But a growing number of discontented and dispirited others are willing to risk their lives to cross the often angry Atlantic to the safe haven of the Canary Islands. From there on to Spain, France and elsewhere in Europe. The whole experience left me asking a few questions such as: Is contentment the brother of ignorance? Is courage a product of desperate desire? Can a heart be taught to sing?




My last article documented the funding of the March 1917 Revolution in Russia.  1] The primary financier of the Russian revolutionary movement 1905–1917 was Jacob Schiff, of Kuhn Loeb and Co., New York. In particular Schiff had provided the money for the distribution of revolutionary propaganda among Russians prisoners-of-war in Japan in 1905 by the American journalist George Kennan who, more than any other individual, was responsible for turning American public and official opinion against Czarist Russia. Kennan subsequently related that it was thanks to Schiff that 50,000 Russian soldiers were revolutionized and formed the cadres that laid the basis for the March 1917 Revolution and, we might add–either directly or indirectly–the consequent Bolshevik coupof November. The reaction of bankers from Wall Street and The City towards the overthrow of the Czar was enthusiastic.  Read More


Published in YNETNEWS.COM

We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish.  Here’s a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 100 years ago, between the 19th and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.

Within a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.  Continue reading


tom briggs

The tent  We started out with a pop-up tent. The circular kind about a meter and half in diameter.  It springs to final shape in a second or two, then takes two hours for the novice to figure out how to get it back into its original shape and ready for storage. Our next tent was a little bigger, an elongated half circle model of about 1.5 meters wide with an infinitely wider learning curve. An abysmal struggle ensued on a wind swept beach to a chorus of benign derision from a group of nearby German inebriants. Those hilarious grainy pre Wright Brother’s films of failed flight attempts came to mind. Continue reading


tom briggs

The sun had just come up and I needed a beer.  Lot’s of canned Coors,  mostly empty, were left over from Saturday. Warm, but with a few  in the refrigerator. No Winston’s left either,  just butts.  Still two hours until that place on University Avenue opened.  I don’t remember the name. They opened at seven. I had twenty bucks in change left. Remnants of last nights McDonald’s lay on my desk and on the floor. How much did I piss away the night before? How much did they steal off the bar? But I had enough cash until the Coo Coo Club opened. There I could tab it. Continue reading


tom briggs

One of my all time favorite songs. Every time I hear it, it’s for the first time. It’s on my list of timeless songs. There were many hits from 1964 – 1966 that have that quality. A soulful version of California Dreaming is sung by Johnny Rivers, a great artist who made the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard the place to be for rock bands of the mid-sixties and later. River’s rendition might even be better than the M&P hit. As far as Los Angeles groups of that period, I liked The Turtles, but not The Doors. Continue reading


tom briggs

The  83 year old white haired craggy faced owner of La Sirena Italian/French restaurant where we dine most every Sunday.  Mastro Geppetto in an Armani suit,  which drapes his wiry frame perfectly, Fausto is the personification of one who takes liberties with others while remaining ready to strike back at any perceived “liberty” taken against him. There once was a famous crooner from Hoboken who had similar traits.

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tom briggs

I had a summer job in New York City in 1965. It was to help pay my tuition for art school. My cousin Carol’s husband Bob, who set type by hand at Royal Typographers on 44th street, helped get me an entry level position as press boy. I would run a block of text, set in metal type, through a small press. It would produce a proof for the client. Usually for an advertising agency like Doyle Dane Bernbach, BBD&O or Grey Advertising.  Continue reading