By J. Speer-Williams – My Catbird Seat
“No thief will ever guess that we have $10,000 sewn into Grandma’s old quilt,” said Mrs. Donner to her three girls and husband, after dinner, one cold night, while in their warm and comfortable living room.
In early 1846, the wealthy Illinois family of George and Tamsen Donner, with their three daughters, were about to become American pioneers to California. And 10,000 dollars – equal to about 150,000 to 200,000 dollars, today – would go a long way in ensuring their success in California. But why go?
Many pioneers believed in Manifest Destiny, an idea that the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans belonged to America , and Americans had not only the right, but the duty to settle those lands.
And, they – like many Americans of that day – were robust, brave, and instilled with the pioneer spirit, a spirit so lacking in many of us, today.
There would be no fast, warm, comfortable vehicle to quickly transport them over smooth highways, with restaurants, motels, and gas-filling stations along the way. Instead, they’d be driving a team of oxen, that pulled all of their most important and vital possessions, in a wagon covered with canvas.
Their covered wagon would not be averaging 60 mph, but two miles per hour … if everything went right.
In the 1840s, most Americans lived East of the Mississippi River. West of the Mississippi, all the way to the Pacific Ocean, lay a vast, untapped, unsettled wilderness.
But with plows on the rear tailboards of their covered wagons, those of the pioneer spirit went west, some all the way to California, by way of the Oregon Trail. These vanguards of conquest were intent on turning the Western wilderness into a living land.
The Oregon Trail, as the route to the West Coast was called, was no more than wagon ruts, that cut a dim path across our great continent, across our great deserts and over the mighty Rockies.
In the Spring of 1846, the Donner party of nine wagons and 32 people left Independence, Missouri bound for Fort Sutter, California. Within a week of their departure, 50 wagons joined the Donners, making a total of 87 men, women, and children headed west, as a group.
The New World, however, bared access to her bounty with stifling heat, deadly cold, and driving storms. Our pioneer forefathers and mothers were met with hardships, danger, and possible death with every turn of their wagon wheels.
Soon the heavily laden wagons of the Donner train of wagons were hit and slowed by daily soaking thunderstorms, causing deep muddy bogs, which reduced their travel speed from two mph to two miles a day.
The wagon journey to California, which usually took between four to six months, had to be very carefully planned, so as to be out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains before snow fell, otherwise food and water supplies would not last.
Some time before July of 1846, the Donner party finally reached Fort Laramie in eastern Wyoming.
There George Donner was warned not to try to make up lost time, by taking what was known as the Hastings Cutoff, that reportedly could cut 400 miles, or more off the trip.
But Donner and others would not listen.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” said an old gizzled mountain man. “ If you make it over the deserts, you’ll be lucky. You’ll be even luckier if you cross the Sierras before the winter snows block the passes.”
On July the 31st, The Donner party reached the critical fork in their long trip. Would they take the questionable Hastings Cutoff, or follow the safer, but longer way?
They took the Hasting Cutoff, which would take them through the Wasatch Mountains, across the Great Salt Lake Desert, all before they would reach the Sierra Mountains … hopefully before the winter snows.
In time, the wagons were struggling through the Wasatch Mountains; but were stopped in the heavily treed Weber Canyon.
There the men labored cutting down huge trees, with hand axes, close to the roots, so their wagon wheels could pass over them.
The oxen, unable to pull their heavy loads over some of the steeper ridges, necessitated the pioneers also becoming beasts of burden. Tying ropes to the wagons, men and boys, alike, pulled their wagons forward.
On August the 27th, the struggling pioneers came to the Great Salt Lake.
Standing on a knoll, Tamsen Donner said to her husband, “Who could image anything so barren? We might be in the mountains of the moon.”
“We haven’t seen the worst yet,” said George Donner. “The desert lies, ahead … about 80 miles of it.”
Luckily, a few days later, the party found fresh water as their supplies of it had run dangerously low. Water is heavy, but they took all they dared, as their oxen, cattle, and mules needed many gallons of it to survive.
In September, the Utah desert becomes miles of deep and blazing sand, causing the oxen to heavily labor in intense heat. Soon the last of their water was at hand.
“Mama, I’m so thirsty I can’t swallow,” said one of the little Donner girls, as she tried to go to sleep in their covered wagon.
“Tomorrow, dear, the desert will end and we’ll find some water. For now, suck this sugar lump,” said Mother Donner.
But the desert did not end the next day … nor the next. Their cattle and oxen began to die.
Walking around one of his wagons, George Donner said, “We don’t have enough oxen to pull this wagon. We’ll have to leave it here.”
Some people had to abandon the only wagon they had, along with everything they owned … and walk.
Ahead they saw Pilot Peak, and hoped they’d find water there.
After six days, they came to the end of the desert, and found water; but now, a lack of food became their most pressing need.
Donner sent Charles Stanton and another man ahead. “Go on your mules to California and get food for the rest of us.”
Soon, the little band of emigrants faced another desert. And as they were crossing it, they were attacked by Indians on horseback. Forming a circle with their wagons, the fearless pioneers fired at the Indians, eventually running them off.
By the middle of October, the Donner party came to the Truckee River, still in Nevada, but happy to see the first trees they had seen in 500 miles.
Now, once they crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains, they’d be home free.
Gratefully, Charles Stanton had returned with food and supplies, and with an important message:
“The worst pass over the Sierras is 50 miles ahead. We must make it before snow falls.”
On November the 2nd, Stanton again went ahead to make a trail to the pass.
Later returning, Stanton reported to the rest of the party: “It’s only three miles to the pass. Let’s cross it tonight. Once over it, we’ll be safe.”
But, no one believed it would snow that night, so they rested, instead of crossing the pass.
The snows, however, came early to the Sierras in the year of our Lord, of 1846. That every night, it snowed. It snowed heavily, blocking the pass for the entire winter.
There was nothing to do but to set up winter quarters, as best they could. And above all, they had to conserve their food.
In December, 17 of the strongest pioneers set out on foot to cross the pass, with food for only six days.
With their food running low, the 17 were hit with a snowstorm that lasted for two days and nights. Huddled together in the snow, Charles Stanton became too weak to walk on.
“Go ahead. I’ll rest a while longer. Then, I’ll catch up with you, said Stanton.
But, Charles Stanton died there in the snow, a hero who served others well.
Eight others died on the way. But after 33 days, the rest of the band reached food, warmth, and rest in California.
Back in the mountains, many of the Donner pioneers were dying of cold and starvation.
The first party of rescuers arrived in February. They took 24 people out to safety.
Tamsen Donner made sure her three little girls were among those taken out.
“Thar’s lots of money in this old quilt, enough to see my girls until they are married,” she told a close friend. “Take it and my girls, and may God go with you.”
“And you Tamsen?”
“George is dying. He cannot move. And, I cannot leave him to die alone.”
But, Tamsen Donner died alone – in the snow – at age 44, after her husband died at age 62.
Of the original 87 Donner pioneers, 47 died trying to build our country into all she could be.
Are you about to lose your home? Have you lost your home? Can you make the interest payments on your credit cards? Can you afford to maintain your car, your family’s incidental needs, your children’s health, or even buy enough food, gasoline or heating fuel?
How did such a sad state of affairs come about in our country, once the most affluent in the history of the world?
Unlike Tamsen Donner, George Donner, Charles Stanton, and thousands of other leaders in our mass migration to the West, who sought to build a country, we have been massively betrayed by our national leaders, who have sought to destroy what brave men and women have built.
To satisfy their greed or to feed their lust, or to enjoy the sufferings of others, our once wonderful, brave country has been subverted by the lowest of the low, while they pretend to be warring on the worst of the worst terrorists.
Compare Charles Stanton with Dick Cheney. Or compare George Donner with either of the George Bushs. Try comparing Tamsen Donner with either Hillary Clinton or Janet Reno, or Janet Napolitano, if you have the stomach for it.
And as if that was not bad enough, our high level national leaders are appallingly ignorant of the basics in economics and finance, in addition to being traitors to their oaths of office, and to the American people.
Our elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats in Washington have become no more than highly paid, but ugly and atrocious actors, pretending to represent the American people.
But the American people be damned! It’s the foreign and private International Monetary and Banking Cartel our fraudulent leaders represent.
Giving trillions of dollars to the ultra rich, while increasing taxes on our ever diminishing affluent, then exporting jobs and creating inflation, until all of us are tapped-out, has long been the standard operating procedure in Washington.
Since the inception of the Banking Cartel’s Federal Reserve System, in 1913, our courts, congresses and presidents have come under lock-down to a relatively small, but powerful group of foreign plutocrats; but, former President Bill Clinton worked overtime for this crime syndicate.
With the backing of the stealthy Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, and a compliant republican controlled congress, Clinton signed on to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), both of which essentially destroyed our ability to be a self-sufficient nation, and caused a tremendous exodus of jobs out of the US.
Ross Perot, forced out of the presidential race of 1996, warned us about the dangers of both GATT and NAFTA; but the International Banking Cartel wanted both Trojan horse “trade” agreements forced on America, in order to eliminate her as a beacon of hope and light in a dark world. In the Cartel’s One World Order there is to be a parity amongst all nations – all equally poor.
Among Clinton’s worse crimes against humanity, was perhaps not his alive-incineration of children at Waco, Texas; but, his repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which has led to millions of starving people around the world.
From the time of these sweeping deregulations of the private banking fraternity until 2002, the once illegal practice of packaging and trading in the toxic paper known as derivatives had reached monstrous proportions of about $102 trillion, enough to destroy the real basic economies of the entire world.
But by September of 2008, the once illegal practice of trading in derivatives had reached $530 trillion to 1.5 quadrillion dollars, amounts and figures well beyond human comprehension.
This black hole of derivatives is now about ten to thirty times the gross domestic products of the whole world, meaning it’s about ten to thirty times what is needed to throw all societies of Earth into a neo-feudalism.
Derivatives, sometimes called Asset Backed Securities are nothing more than financial contracts that DERIVE their falsely perceived value from other weak, underlying securities, mortgages, or other financial instruments.
There has been so much blatant fraud from Wall Street brokerage houses and investment bankers for so long, it was virtually impossible that the financial kingpins, and US government regulators of the financial services industry, not to have known how the world-wide packaging, grading and trading in derivatives would eventually crash national economies all over the world.
But even so, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, not only gave his stamp of approval to the derivatives scam, he constantly campaigned in congress for legislation that would permit the international and mega-scaled trading of derivatives.
Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton, and Clinton’s Secretaries of Treasury – Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers – should all be indicted and held accountable for their crimes against all of humanity, as their pernicious derivatives have caused so much insidious harm in thousands of obvious and subtle ways.
But instead, Clinton is portrayed by the Cartel’s corporate media as a centrist or New Democrat of Moderation, rather than the criminal Cartel puppet he was and still is.
Greenspan, the more obviously embedded alien agent of the dark, is today treated as a National Treasure, and grand old man of finance.
Robert Edward Rubin went back to Wall Street, from where he came, to further the Banking Cartel’s agenda in America.
After Lawrence Henry Summers committed his crimes in the Bill Clinton administration, he was appointed by President Obama to be on his White House economic staff, where Summers served for two years.
Greenspan, Rubin, Summers, Clinton, and many others all claim ignorance in causing the greatest financial crises in recorded history.
But to now have Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner try to fill up, or combat in any way, this international black hole of funny money, with real debt dollars of bailout and “stimulus” packages, all paid for by tax-paying Americans is not only insane to its extreme, it is criminally on a scale never before known to mankind.
And still to this very day, there have been no real regulations from our congress, or our financial regulators, or even serious presidential proposals made to curb the criminal excesses of the Banking Cartel’s Wall Street banks or their Federal Reserve System.
Thank you very much Messrs. Clinton, Bush and Obama, you have all allowed a very few private, financial oligarchs of our world to continue to privatize their unethical, dirty profits; but are socializing their loses, thus starving to death about a billion people, while making peasants of the rest of us in the process.
Even junior plutocrat Warren Buffet said America will become a nation of sharecroppers [one he helped to make].
And according to estimates of the National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty, on any given night, between 700,000 and about two million Americans are without beds on which to sleep.
This controlled demolition of the world’s economy has been purposely confused by the International Monetary/Banking Cartel’s corporate media with their “word play” of avoiding the pejorative term “derivatives,” with their repeated use of various red herrings: Swaps, credit default swaps, futures, mortgage backed securities, hedge funds, options, forward contracts, warrants, or assets are all used to mislead and to confuse the American public, as the word “derivative” is incriminating.
But then again, practically everything our national leaders do is incriminating, as there is a profound difference between what they say, what they do, and what the American people need and want.
The point is the American people have been raped, are now being raped even more, with much more to come; and unless enough people wake up to the plundering that has taken place, is taking place, and will take place, the rape and plunder of America will only get worse.
History provides potent lessons to those wise enough to garner them out, learn from them, and then take protective actions.
Mean while, learn from Tamsen Donner, “Thar’s money [to be put] in that old quilt.
J. (Jack) Speer-Williams: Jack is a former Hollywood producer of live stage shows that featured various movie and TV stars. In Los Angeles for almost a quarter of a century, Jack had a front-row seat in observing the disintegration of the foundations of America society before he retreated to the woods of New Hampshire. A graduate of the University of Florida, where he studied economics. According to Jack, “Those of us stuck deeply into the engineered left/right paradigm have no desire to be objective, and are thus blinded to all truth that does not reinforce biased opinions. Remedial work in geo-politics will not open the minds of such people, as they are badly in need of spiritual remedies; nevertheless, facts are facts, and some are available to truth-seekers, the subject matter of my writings.” He can be reached at: JSW4@mac.com