Friday, February 27, 2009

Ira Hayes and Other Heroes

Ira Hamilton Hayes (1923 – 1955) was Pima Native American and member of the Gila River Indian Community. He was in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and a veteran of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima. Hayes was one of five Marines (along with a Navy medic) shown in Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi.

Hayes (on the far left of the photograph) became a national hero, along with the two other survivors of the famous photograph, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley. Hayes's story drew particular attention because he was Native American.

After the war Hayes was arrested some fifty times for drunkenness. He apparently suffered greatly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which was not well known or understood at the time. Hayes was found dead in 1955 at the age of 32, face down and lying in his own vomit and blood near an abandoned hut close to his home on the Gila River Indian Reservation. He had been drinking and playing cards with several other men. The coroner concluded that Hayes' death was due to both exposure and alcohol. Hayes is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Ira Hayes appeared in the 1949 John Wayne film Sands of Iwo Jima along with the two other surviving fellow flag raisers. All three men played themselves in the movie when Wayne hands the flag to be raised to the three men. (The actual flag that was raised on Mount Suribachi is used in the film.) The life of Ira Hayes was featured in a book by James Bradley called Flags of Our Fathers

Johnny Cash (who was actually Scottish and not part Native American as he had believed for a time) performed “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” by Peter LaFarge. Cash took the song to No. 3 on the Billboard country music chart in 1964. Here are some of the lyrics--

There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived
To walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian Ira Hayes

Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored
Everybody shook his hand

Then Ira started drinkin' hard
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
Like you'd throw a dog a bone

He died drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Another Native American war hero was Billy Walkabout (1949-2006) who served in the US Army during the Viet Nam War. He was a native Cherokee from Oklahoma. He died at the age of 57. He is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Billy Walkabout was one of the most decorated soldiers of that war. He received the Purple Heart, five Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism in Vietnam in 1968 while with U.S. Army Company F, 58th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The citation states that—

Sgt. Walkabout (then a Specialist) distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions during a long range reconnaissance patrol southwest of Hue. After successfully ambushing an enemy squad on a jungle trail, his patrol radioed for immediate extraction by helicopter.

When the helicopters arrived the lead man was seriously wounded by hostile machine gun fire. Walkabout started shooting at the enemy while the wounded man was pulled back to safety. Walkabout then administered first aid to the soldier. As the wounded solider was being loaded onto the helicopter, enemy elements again attacked the team.

While maneuvering under heavy fire Walkabout started shooting at the enemy again. A mine then blasted through Walkabout’s team, killing three men and wounding all the others. While he was wounded himself, Walkabout rushed from man to man administering first aid, bandaging one soldier's severe chest wound and reviving another soldier by heart massage. He then coordinated gunship and tactical air strikes on the enemy's positions.

When evacuation helicopters arrived again, he worked single-handedly under fire to board his disabled comrades. Only when the casualties had been evacuated and friendly reinforcements had arrived, did he allow himself to be extracted.

Lori Ann Piestewa (1979 - 2003) was the first woman in the US armed forces to be killed in the 2003 Iraq War. She was also the first Native American woman to die in combat while serving with the US military. She was a member of the Hopi Tribe from Arizona.

PFC Piestewa was a member of the US Army's 507th Army Maintenance Company, a support unit of clerks, cooks, and repair personnel. Her company was traveling in a convoy through the desert and was meant to bypass Nasiriyah in southern Iraq during the opening days of the war.

The convoy became lost and ran into an ambush in Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003. Under heavy enemy fire, PFC Piestewa drove at a high speed, successfully evading the enemy fire until an RPG hit the front-left wheel-well of her Humvee. The force of the explosion sent her vehicle into the rear of a disabled tractor-trailer. Three other soldiers in the Humvee died in the crash.

Piestewa was injured in the ambush, as was her friend Jessica Lynch. Both Piestewa and Lynch survived but were wounded. They were taken prisoner, with Piestewa dying soon after of her wounds. Piestewa and her company were first considered missing in action. Later it was learned that Piestewa and several other members of her company did not survive the ambush.

Piestewa was a single mother of two children at the time of her death. She was 24.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Pendleton 8"

A couple of years ago it was disturbing to read the story of a young Marine who had gone to the same Mukilteo high school as my kids. The Marine was being held in shackles in a San Diego military prison while awaiting trial for the April 2006 killing of a man in Iraq. The young Marine was on his third combat tour of duty. According to military reports, Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington and six other Marines and a Navy medic plotted to seize and kill a suspected insurgent and then staged a scene to cover it up.

Reports assert that four of the men went to find their intended target but he wasn't home, instead grabbing a neighbor. The neighbor was led to a crater left by a roadside bomb, then tied up and tossed in. A sergeant gave the order to several fellow Marines to shoot the man.

Pennington was not one of those who shot. The men then placed a shovel and an AK-47 next to the body to make it appear the victim had been planting a roadside bomb. This occurred in the village of Hamdania Iraq.

The squad was incarcerated in Iraq and returned to the US in May 2006. The men were held in continued custody in the maximum security division of the Camp Pendleton brig as potentially dangerous and violent. Supporters dubbed them the "Pendleton 8" and conducted rallies in front of Camp Pendleton's main gate.

While he was awaiting trial, the presumption of innocence was abandoned and Pennington was kept in shackles. He also had difficulties getting medical treatment. His normal discharge date passed while he was in custody and his pay was stopped even though he had not yet been convicted of anything.

His parents set up a web site which told the story of their son, requested contributions for a defense fund, and contained pictures of supportive demonstrations in California and of neighbors holding candlelight vigil. They hired a civilian attorney to work with the three military lawyers for Pennington.

Within months of being accused, five of the eight men (including Pennington) pleaded guilty to a variety of reduced charges. The other three (including the sergeant) were tried and convicted. The sergeant, described as the leader and mastermind of the killing, was sentenced to fifteen years, later reduced to eleven.

As part of a plea bargain, Pennington pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy. He was not the first to plead guilty. He was to serve either the sentence imposed by the military judge or eight years, whichever was less. While awaiting sentencing the conditions of his confinement were improved.

Evidence was presented at the five-day sentencing hearing. On the website his family writes--

"We listened to Rob's testimony about that night, but also heard a lot of information that we never heard before about the previous two deployments. . . one of the most important things we learned in that courtroom was that Fallujah was far more horrific, far more devastating than any of us really understood. We watched film, listened to testimony and realized how devastating this was for the boys who fought that bloody battle."

"We knew something was wrong when Rob came home, but we took his word that he could handle it. That's what those grunts do, right? Suck it up . . . We did not think he was in any shape to return to Iraq after Fallujah, but we took the easy route and let him tell us what we really wanted to hear -- that he was really okay."

The judge sentenced Robert Pennington to fourteen years in a military prison, which was limited to 8 years by the plea bargain. He was also to receive a dishonorable discharge. Then in 2007 his commanding general made a clemency decision that reduced the sentence to 21 months of confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

Except for the sergeant who is still seeking an appeal and sentence reduction, none of the eight served more than 15 months behind bars due to a combination plea deals and clemency.

In December 2008 Robert Pennington was "working hard at a tack and feed store in Del Mar California as a truck loader and driver, doing well."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Black Cat of Anarchy

Twenty years ago I wrote a play about the “Everett Massacre.” (It’s the subject of another posting). In short, on November 5, 1916, there was an armed confrontation between city officials and members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The IWW were also know as “Wobblies.”

The Wobblies were “one-world” idealists professing solidarity with workers of all nations. Their goals included the dissolution of capitalism, employers, management and all the rest. No doubt there was a connection to Russia’s Marxists and Leninists, but the US Wobblies seemed to be more like anarchists.

In theory “anarchy” suggests the absence of all direct or coercive government as the political ideal, and proposes cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups. That sounds fine. As a practical matter however, “anarchy” suggests confusion, disorder and chaos. That seems to be its reality, too.

Anyway, while doing research for the play I noticed that the black cat had been adopted by the Wobblies as their mascot.

It seems the black cat is also called the “wild cat” or “sabot cat.” The Wobblies were no strangers to labor violence, and there was some use of company-busting “sabotage.” A “Wobbly” named Ralph Chaplin is credited with the design.

One story about the origin of the black cat symbol is that a IWW strike was going badly, with beaten members hospitalized. About that time a skinny black cat wandered into the strikers’ camp. It was fed by the striking workers, and as the cat regained its health events looked better to the Wobblies. Eventually the striking workers got some of their demands and they adopted the cat as their mascot.

There was a lumber and hardware store in Arlington Washington called “Copeland Lumber” which had orange buildings and a sign which featured the black cat of anarchy. I don’t know the history of that sign—I believe there were other Copeland Lumber stores. Perhaps there is an historical connection between the mill-working Wobblies and the lumber store.

Yet, well before the Wobblies appointed the black
cat to be the symbol of disorder and chaos, the black cat had long been associated with witchcraft and the dark side.

American short story writer Edgar Allen Poe (1809 – 1849) wrote a short story called “The Black Cat.” Poe wrote that his wife got a black cat for them. It was . . .

“. . . a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. "

"One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him, when in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body, and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity. "

Well, I can only hope that Poe’s story was not autobiographical. Poe did not soften the part of the black cat in the rest of the story, which of course caused him a lot of revenge and stress.

Maybe the Wobblies just wanted a little more sinister version of other black cats who were popular at the same time—

“Felix the Cat” (on the left) is a black cat cartoon character created in the silent-film era. He was pretty popular in the 1920s. Krazy Kat” (on the right) was also a popular newspaper black cat cartoon strip character between 1913 and 1944.

“Fritz the Cat” was a popular underground comic book cartoon character in the 1960s. Fritz was "glib, smooth and self-assured.” In 1972, Fritz starred in his own movie called “Fritz the Cat.” Cartoonist Robert Crumb, who created Fritz, did not like the way Fritz was portrayed in the film and reportedly decided to have Fritz “killed” in the comic strip-- After recording a television appearance, Fritz is approached by a neurotic ex-girlfriend of his, who urges him to have sex with her. At her apartment, he ignores her as he watches the television show, despite her repeatedly threatening to commit suicide. When the show is over, Fritz gives her a kick in the pants before leaving. As he walks out of the apartment, she stabs him in the back of the head with an icepick. After having killed off Fritz, Crumb never drew another story featuring the character.

The evolution of the cartoon black cat has resulted in the sexy female version, of course, but still somewhat out of society’s mainstream--

“Black Cat” is a Marvel Comics anti-hero who has been an ex-girlfriend of Spider-Man. Black Cat should not be confused with Cat Woman,” who is associated with DC Comics. Cat Woman has been one of Batman’s most enduring love interests, occasionally depicted as his one “true love.”

And, finally, is it any surprise that the evolution of the black cat of anarchy would result in a child's toy, still looking like a sinister trouble-maker?

Order out of chaos and anarchy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Redistribution -- Part 1 of 4

This is Part 1 of 4 on this subject—the promised “rescue” of families having delinquent mortgages by spending $75,000,000,000 through yet another federal "bail out" over and above the other "bail out" and "stimulus" money to be printed and spent.

When I write here that “The federal government is taking your real estate equity,” you might be thinking “He’s nuts” or “Prove it.” Fair enough, so please follow—

Suppose for the moment that federal government politicians want you to help fund an existing or new project— like the new currently proposed $75,000,000,000 ($75 Billion) “homeowner mortgage foreclosure rescue plan.” It is claimed that the plan will assist between 7 and 9 million people who applied for and received home loans with little or no down payment, and who have not been making their mortgage payments for some reason. (Defaults of these “sub-prime” mortgages appear as threatening liabilities on bank balance sheets).

It can be argued that other taxpayers and responsible homeowners have already paid enough to help delinquent buyers get into their houses and condos and stay there. Consider the “affordable housing” policy of the federal government . . .

The federal policy to provide “affordable housing for all citizens” has been advanced for several decades during both Democratic and Republican administrations through programs such as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Also, the “fractional reserve” scheme of the Federal Reserve (to be discussed in a later posting) has helped facilitate the policy. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-private institutions which encouraged such risky sub-prime loans through assurance that any losses would be covered by the taxpayer.

These programs and policies were utilized to sell houses to people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify to afford them (whether it was a “poor” person buying a modest home, or a working couple trying to get into a more “expensive home,” or a speculator trying to “flip houses”).

President Obama has announced that he intends to enact such a "rescue" into law.

Thus, $75 Billion will be needed immediately to pay the investors and banks holding the mortgages on the houses owned by the people not making their monthly payments. The money needed to fund this new program can’t come from those who have not made their house payments because they have no money or have chosen to not pay.

Those who are in default will be getting a big gift by this program— because somebody else (you) will pay for part of their housing (as well as your own). (We haven’t quite reached the point yet where the government will simply tell the banks they can’t collect the loans at all . . . and can’t get their collateral back, either). You the taxpayer must pay for the “bail out” of these defaulting homeowners. You can voluntarily surrender and give your money to the government by sending in a check (in addition to what you are already paying as income tax, sales tax, real estate taxes, gasoline taxes, vehicle excise taxes, etc., etc.). Or . . .

(Continue to next posting on this subject, Part 2 of 4).

Redistribution -- Part 2 of 4

This is Part 2 of 4 on this subject—the claimed “rescue” of people having delinquent mortgages through a new $75,000,000,000 federal “bailout.”

To fund a new program such as President Obama’s promised “homeowner mortgage foreclosure rescue plan” the federal government must have you pay for it—

The federal government can (a) confiscate your property (whether real estate equity or savings account), or (b) raise your taxes and get your earnings that way, or (c) print more money to pay for the projects, which inflates the amount of spending money in circulation (which in effect dilutes the buying power of the money in your pocket or savings account), or (d) do all of these things.

Overt Confiscation— Open confiscation would not be popular among law abiding, hard working citizens. So this method of taking property is sparingly used, although it has been used in history. There are laws authorizing condemnation (but this “eminent domain” usually requires “just compensation” after “due process”), and laws authorizing civil forfeiture (as where there are violations of “civil laws”) and seizure (for non-payment of taxes), and confiscation claimed under “war powers.” But these don’t endear politicians to the citizens.

Subtle Confiscation— Another federal government method accomplishes confiscation more quietly. It is the printing of fiat money (which is discussed in another posting). The effect is a redistribution of your equity to another person. In fact, if you have been responsibly paying your mortgage over the years, equity in your real estate has already been taken during the last year. Please follow—

Have you noticed that there are a lot more “For Sale” signs in front of homes and condos, but that not many are selling? Have you noticed more “For Rent” and “For Lease” signs lately? Have you noticed that the value of your home or condo has gone down during the last year or so? How did this happen, and what does it mean?

(Continue to next posting on this subject, Part 3 of 4).

Redistribution -- Part 3 of 4

This is Part 3 of 4 on this subject—the proposed “rescue” of people with delinquent mortgages at the expense of other homeowners who have timely paid their mortgages.

Redistribution of Equity— Here’s an illustration of how real estate equity is effectively confiscated and redistributed to others.

Assume that a homeowner bought a house or condo some years ago for $200,000. The bank probably required a 5 or 10 percent down payment, or about $10,000 to $20,000 paid from savings. Suppose that over the years, the owner has been timely paying off the $180,000 loan, and that the house had recently appreciated to about $250,000. Estimate that $150,000 is still owed on the mortgage, meaning that there should be equity of about $100,000.

Under the federal government's “affordable housing” policy, another person could buy a similar $250,000 house or condo for little or no money down. These are called “sub-prime” mortgages because this buyer would not qualify for the same loan as the buyer above, and there is a risk that this buyer will default and walk away because he has invested nothing of substance in the property. (Yet, stockholders, mutual funds and retirement plans owning the banks and holding the mortgages have their capital and savings at risk).

Now assume that for any number of reasons that the “sub-prime” mortgage is currently in default and the bank may have to take the property back. Envision millions of similar situations across the nation. Such properties are dumped on the market for sale in hopes they can be sold before they are foreclosed upon.

But, where will the new buyers come from? Millions who could “qualify” already bought a house for little or nothing down, and banks are reluctant to make any more risky “zero down” loans. So, the asking prices for these houses are lowered in hopes of attracting buyers. After the property sits on the market for a while, the asking price is lowered again. If the properties don’t sell, they may be repossessed by the banks. But what would the banks do with them? Who would the banks sell them to? There are more sellers than buyers.

The values of all houses and condos in the neighborhood are lessened because a property stubbornly listed for more than others in the area would never sell. The true value of any property is determined by a comparison to similar properties in the area.

Meanwhile, the owner who believed he had a $250,000 property with equity of about $100,000 now finds that the “fair market value” has probably diminished to $225,000, $200,000 or $175,000. So, it must be concluded that—

--unsuccessfully trying to provide “affordable housing” for others has cost responsible mortgage payers in the neighborhood $25,000 to $75,000 in lost equity (10 to 30 percent loss); or

--the true growth of equity over the last few years was never that big anyway (so hopefully the property was not re-financed and equity taken out against the inflated value for money to make repairs, pay off credit cards, or pay college tuition); and

--the only way to avoid the “loss” is to not sell the property until the higher values return— if they ever return.

(Continue to next posting on this subject, Part 4 of 4).

Redistribution -- Part 4 of 4

This is Part 4 of 4 and the last on this subject— a hoped-for “rescue” of people with delinquent mortgages by an additional $75,000,000,000 "bailout."

Part 3 discusses how the federal government’s printing of fiat money to fund such a program effectively confiscates one person’s equity in real estate and redistributes it to another.

Continuing, there are two additional ways in which the taxpayer pays:

Higher Taxes— On top of the involuntary loss of real estate equity (through confiscation and redistribution) for that troubled “affordable housing” program, there will now be higher taxes to pay to help fund the new “homeowner mortgage foreclosure rescue plan.” Some of the $75 Billion in promised spending to try to correct the problem will come from taxes, diminishing the net income of each earning taxpayer.

Inflation— Inflation is discussed in other posts. But in short, the $75,000,000,000 to be printed and paid out immediately under the “homeowner mortgage foreclosure rescue plan” means that there will be that much more money circulating in the economy. The $75 Billion is not backed by the production of something of value, but is created from “thin air.”

The additional $75,000,000,000 will be competing with your now existing dollars.

As an illustration (using “small” round numbers to keep it simple), assume there is now $150 Billion of spending money in circulation, some of which may be in your savings account. Soon the federal government is going to print another $75 Billion out of thin air (not backed by any new assets or other things of value— no roads have been built, no bridges erected, no crops produced for the $75 Billion). Thus, there will be $225 Billion in circulation to buy, trade or exchange for the same things or services now existing. Prices of existing products and services will rise, perhaps costing three times as much. Or, stated another way, the purchasing power of the dollar in the savings account has lost a third its value.

Inflation is a form of taxation. Instead of overtly taxing the population $75 Billion, the federal government accomplishes the same thing by diluting the value of the dollar. I.e., for this new program, the government politicians in effect take the $75 Billion from everybody’s cumulative savings accounts or 401(k) plans or IRAs by diluting their value by 33%.

So, that’s why I write here that the federal government has taken some of your property and transferred it to others . . . and continues to do so through subtle confiscation, higher taxes and inflation.

May I suggest reading . . .

Adams, Charles, For Good and Evil (The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization), Madison Books (1993)

Folsom, Burton, Jr., New Deal or Raw Deal? (How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America), Simon & Schuster (2008)

Parkinson, C. Northcote, The Law and the Profits, Houghton (1960)

Shales, Amity, The Forgotten Man (A New History of the Great Depression), Harper (2007)

Sowell, Thomas, Basic Economics (A Common Sense Guide to the Economy), Perseus Books (2007)

White, Andres Dickson, Fiat Inflation in France (1876)

Woods, Thomas E., Jr., Meltdown (A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, The Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse), Regnery (2009)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bailout -vs- Bankruptcy

Thomas E. Woods Jr. has just written a book called "Meltdown" (February 2009). It's very current and includes facts and sources after the election of President Obama in November 2008. The $800,000,000,000 "stimulus package" (passed just a couple of days ago) was anticipated. "Meltdown" is so well-written that I'll probably refer to it in future posts.

But this week the automobile companies were back in front of Congress begging for more money. Woods has written about letting big companies go bankrupt. I found the following passages succinct--

". . . the idea of bankruptcy should not be so unthinkable as the Fed and the Treasury consider it. A firm doesn't disappear when it declares bankruptcy. Its capital equipment and its assets continue to exist. But they pass out of the hands of those who have failed to employ them in ways that best satisfy the public, and into the hands of those more likely to do a capable job. If they in turn should fail, these assets will pass into the possession of still other owners."

". . . these firms we're told are too big to fail are in fact too big to be kept alive. The longer they are kept on life support, the more they drain capital and resources away from fundamentally sound firms that could put those resources to much more productive use from consumers' point of view. Keeping such firms alive via government bailouts discourages rather than encourages capital formation and economic recovery."

All my adult life I've been loyal to Ford and General Motors automobiles, wanting to "support the US." Yet for the last 40-50 years I've watched these companies fail to match the products of other manufacturers. No doubt union contracts and expenses have hampered them. But to force the US taxpayer to subsidize these auto manufacturers will only reward incompetence and delay the inevitable while increasing the national debt. (I also object to "bailing out" big banks . . . as well as state governments which are starting to salivate for federal funds).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Joe "The Boss" Hipp

I saw heavyweight boxer Joe Hipp break Mike Cohen’s jaw in 1991. I remember Cohen bent over the canvas spitting out a tooth. I was sitting at ringside at the Executive Inn in Fife Washington as the guest of boxing promoter Brian Halquist. Hipp was 29 for that fight. Later that evening I got to meet him and shake his hand.

(That’s Halquist on the left of the black-and-white photo below. Halquist had been working on a couple of projects involving convicted triple-killer Charles Rodman Campbell and “Seattle Arsonist” Paul Keller, people I’d represented at one time).

Joe Hipp was a professional boxer between 1987 and 2005 (an 18-year career)-- although he is scheduled to come out of retirement to fight on March 7, 2009 in Billings Montana (at the age of 47). In his professional career Hipp has won 43 (29 by KO) and lost 7 (6 by KO) with no draws.

Hipp was born in Montana in 1962 and fought out of Yakima Washington. He is a member of the Blackfoot Tribe. Joe's mother was a Blackfoot and Joe was born on a reservation. Hipp began his professional career in 1987 at the age of 25. He was the first man of Native-American ancestry to box for a version of the heavyweight championship when he fought Bruce Seldon in Las Vegas in 1995.

In 1992 Joe Hipp fought Tommy Morrison (called “The Duke" because he was a grandnephew of Hollywood star John Wayne) in one of the most remembered fights of Morrison's career. Suffering from what was later discovered to be a broken hand and broken jaw, Morrison had to rally late in the fight to score a technical knockout in the ninth round. Hipp described the fight as “A great war! I lost the first 3 rounds when he was trying his best to take me out. But then I thought-- if I'm gonna lose, I'm not gonna lose backing up-- so I stood and traded with him. But the ref stopped it. It was hard fight-- I broke his jaw, he broke my cheek bone.”

Morrison was in the 1990 Movie Rocky V with Sylvester Stallone. In 1993 he fought for the WBO (World Boxing Organization) heavyweight title against legend George Foreman (who was making a comeback) and won that 12-round decision.

Hipp became a favorite and was referred to as "The Boss" by his loyal fans. In 1994 he captured the NABF (North American Boxing Federation) heavyweight title with a points win over Alex Garcia. That gave Hipp a shot at WBA (World Boxing Association) heavyweight champ Bruce Seldon.

Hipp relinquished his own NABF title (held 1994-1995) in order to challenge Bruce Seldon for the WBA title. The 1995 title bout was on the under card of the Mike Tyson v. Peter McNeeley fight, which was Tyson’s first fight after being released from prison for rape. The fight was stopped in the 10th round by the referee after Hipp had massive swelling and bleeding on his face. Hipp and others felt the Seldon fight was another bad stoppage.

Basically, if Hipp was standing upright he wanted to keep fighting. He didn’t want to be pulled out of a fight simply because his sight was being affected by swelling around his eyes. His bravery and willingness to grit his teeth and take the pain were pure Hipp.

Joe Hipp has also spent a lot of time throughout his career going around working and talking to troubled kids. He’s helped raise money for the non-profit All Nations Foundation out of Puyallup Washington. (In 2000 an anonymous arsonist burned Hipp’s Yakima house to the ground. He has no idea who deliberately torched his home. Not even his cat survived the blaze). It’s reported that in December 2005 Hipp was a FEMA worker at the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He joined other Blackfeet who were called upon due to their experience in wildfires and search and rescue missions. In 2007 Hipp was working for his former manager Ray Frye at a Seattle area sweeping company. He’s also co-owned a small construction company.

Joe Hipp is scheduled to come out of retirement to fight March 7, 2009 in Billings Montana with something called the CBA heavyweight title on the line (Carolina Boxing Association?). He’s billed as “Indian Joe.”

"Seattle Arsonist" Paul Keller (in glasses) and triple-murderer Charles Rodman Campbell (in custody)--