The worldpopulatioreview.com posts that “The population of the Bahamas is 85% African, 12% European and 3% Asian and 3% Latin Americans.”
Let’s put that on the scala naturae, The Great Chain of Being. That means only 12% are potentially White and near the top of the Chain. The rest? Not worth considering. Non-whites, whether African, Asian, or Latino are not worth worrying about. At least, that’s the position of the white supremacists and their spiritual and (im)moral leader, Donald Trump.
So, how do we offer aid to Whites Bahamians without also helping those other people? Hard to do without offering aid to those others. I suspect this conundrum is something even Trump can not solve.
Trump claims the US is sending aid to the Bahamas. Of course, he also claimed the hurricane was headed for Alabama, and claimed his well documented statement to that effect was “fake news.” His claim is demonstrably false. How can we believe anything he says? That’s the subject of a different blog.
Using the Royal “We,” from the oval office, Trump made a number of statements about how the US Coast Guard was helping the Bahamas with “numerous helicopters” and “numerous people.”
However, I found no details (or confirmation of his statements) in the legitimate news media. The US Coast Guard reports (see references) they had rescued 135 people and six pets and are using 10 helicopters, with three cutters “near” the Bahamas “ready to engage in … response efforts and seventeen shallow-water rescue teams standing by…”. [2019-09-05 @ 1023 hours EDT]
60,000 or more people in harms way and Trump claims credit for 135 people and six pet rescues?
Not to denigrate the Coast Guard. They work for the President, after all. Given their history of service and sacrifice, they must be chewing through their cheeks to keep from announcing their distain for the soi-disant commander-in-chief.
Trump’s statements to the press have been altered by the official transcript from the White House. This reminds me of Winston Smith in George Orwell’s “1984” whose job at the official press office was to rewrite history.
Anyone read or re-read 1984 recently? If you want a quick refresher, check this link:
Or, just Google “Cato still 1984.” Despite the Cato reputation as a right-wing site, this article seems to be very non-political.
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote in 1962, “…a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.”
The founding fathers did a good job in the First Amendment to the Constitution of keeping government out of religion. They utterly failed at keeping religion out of government.
The current moves by the Religious Right and the Political Right to amalgamate are the culmination and condemnation of that failure. They are also an open defiance of the law by Mr. Trump and his coterie of vultures.
Trump swore to “…preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution…” That oath of office is prescribed in the Constitution, itself. Add oath-breaker to Trump’s list of qualifications.
The goddess Nemesis had responsibility for punishing oath-breakers, and Zeus was fond of punishing those mortals who exhibited hubris – too much pride. Where are they when we need them?
[Originally published as a blog by “WhatDrWho” in the dystopian novel, “Holy Fire.” Copyright 2016. See the Home Page for ordering information.
I wondered why an intelligent, rational, and well-educated person could fall for the propaganda of MAGA. A dear friend provided the answer. She simply said, “Perhaps they’re expecting a First Class cabin on the Titanic.”
Immediately my mind filled in the blank: “The Trump Titanic.” The latest, greatest, and likely the last of the edifices he will erect as a monument to himself – and to the extinction of the human race.
He is supported by, I think, two classes of people. First are the folks who fear their status, beliefs, and heritage (white, evangelical, poorly educated, irrational) will be overcome by people of color, people whose appearance and beliefs are different, people far below them on the Great Chain of Being that is part of their understanding of reality and the teachings of their church.
Second are those who are willing to accept the existential threats to the human race in exchange for money, power, status, fifteen minutes of fame on a sycophantic news outlet, knowledge they are part of a group who thinks, believes, and breathes like them. A group that will die with them and the rest of us when too many of the drivers of climate change tip and we face a run-away greenhouse effect that will render Earth hot as Venus and all of us dead, desiccated corpses littering the landscape. Alternatively, when one of the enemies Trump has made pushes his button and initiates a global thermonuclear war. (There are other scenarios; these seem at the moment to be the most likely.)
Trump and the more persuasive of his puppets are trying to hide their activities by making us believe the problems are too big to solve, hoping the little people will be distracted by rearranging the deck chairs while the ship sinks. They are masters of today’s technology and of propaganda.
If Gobbles and Hitler had the internet, we would be speaking German, today.
A person who displayed hubris – overweening pride – was marked by the ancient gods for destruction. The Greek gods never had to deal with someone like Trump whose hubris could bring down a civilization and a species.
I invite you to read and remember Shelly’s poem:
I met a traveler from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
It appears Republicans in the House Oversight Committee decided to besmirch Mr. Cohen’s credibility rather than countering his claims. That’s an ad hominem attack and is usually considered the last resort of someone who doesn’t have a factual basis for his argument. It wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t adopted tactics more suited to a Middle School student by posting a sign in the hearing room with Mr. Cohen’s picture and the words, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”
Where is that from? Fifth grade, perhaps? I recall being ten years old in fifth grade and think I was probably a little more mature than that, even then.
It’s bad enough we have a president who seems to present the mental age, mentality, vocabulary, and diction of a Middle School bully with early-onset senility. It’s not surprising Republicans in Congress would mimic the president. The have tied their wagons (Little Red Wagons, I suspect given their seeming mental age) to Trump. They no longer display any ability to use critical thinking and logic to challenge him. This has eroded any credibility they might have once had as representatives of their constituents. They seem to be ruled by fear rather than fortitude, by an idiot rather than integrity, by madness rather than moral fiber. My conclusion is they are depending on the Rebellious and Righteous Right to draw them back into office in 2020.
We are a sick society.
References: Atlanta Journal Constitution e-paper, front page, 2019-02-28
I'm a one-percenter!
Not the kind you may think, the one percent of the population that controls (owns) 90% or more of the wealth of the world, but a one-percenter, none the less.
You see, I overpaid my quarterly income tax estimates last year. Not my fault. The quarterly amount was calculated by my tax software before Trump’s so-called tax cut. I am now due a federal refund.
In reality, what I did was lend the government, interest-free, some $450, by overpaying the estimated tax.
$450 isn’t quite one percent of my income. Actually, it’s a bit less. But this puts me in the upper percentile of the upper percentile.
You needn’t worry. I don’t plan to contribute to inflation by overspending my windfall, although I was lusting in my heart for a new Gulfstream. And the yacht does need replacing. It is, after all, nearly a year old.
Nor do I plan to ignore my friends among the hoi polloi when I pass you in the street. It’s just that the smoked windows of my Lamborghini Miura SV (completely restored) make it hard to see you.
For those of you who find it difficult to make your paycheck last from week to week, and those Federal Employees who missed a couple of paychecks (and who may miss more), in the words of an unknown “great princess” (but not, likely, Queen Marie Antoinette), “eat brioche.” Just kidding.
References: “Let them eat cake,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake
When my father reported for duty at Quantico Marine Corps Base in 1952, there was no officer housing available. For one summer and part of the fall, his family – wife and three children – lived in a rented farmhouse somewhere in Northern Virginia. We had indoor plumbing and electricity, but I remember my mother cooking on a cast-iron, wood-burning stove.
Behind the house was a patch of what I thought were vines, but which my father called weeds. He warned me not to play among them. “Besides probably some poison ivy, there’s kudzu and maybe other stuff. It’s all growing where the old outhouse used to be.”
It took some prodding before he would tell me what an outhouse was.
It was some years before I understood that the lush vegetation grew there because it was fertilized by the human excrement that had been deposited over the years.
My next exposure to outhouses was at Boy Scout camp the summer of my 13th year. All we had were outhouses, and it wasn’t long before someone discovered that shining a flashlight down the hole would reveal thousands of worms crawling among the excrement. Later, I learned they were not strictly worms, but maggots, the larvae of flies.
It took a letter today from the brokerage firm who handles my retirement accounts to bring these things back to mind.
You see, in October of 2012, I received a check from that firm. The check was to cover interest earned on an account I had recently closed. The check was for 30¢ (yes, thirty cents). Back then, we didn’t have the option of scanning or photographing a check to deposit it. I didn’t have a local bank. To mail the check back to the brokerage firm, in San Francisco, to be put into another account, or to mail the check to my bank in Texas would have cost 45¢ postage plus the cost of a Number 10 envelope. Easy decision: I shredded the check.
In August, 2018, almost six years later, I received a stern letter from the brokerage. (I say “stern” because it began with bold type and all caps). Here’s the message:
THE STATE OF GEORGIA REQUIRES US TO NOTIFY YOU THAT IF YOU DO NOT CONTACT US, FUNDS FROM YOUR UNCASHED CHECK WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE STATE.
Please contact us by September 30, 2018
Wow! I was impressed. Flabbergasted. Puzzled. First, why was the 30¢ – interest earned after the account had closed – reported to the State of Georgia? In my opinion, that amount is de minimus, and all the interest on that account (less than $10.00) was not reportable to the IRS under federal rules. Question 1: How did Georgia know about it? Were they somehow able to examine my six-year-old brokerage accounts? If so, under what authority?
Second, I filed a Georgia income tax return in 2012 but owed no Georgia state tax. (I’m old, retired, and not wealthy, despite having a brokerage account). An additional 30¢ interest income would not have changed that. Question 2: Why didn’t Georgia cross-check with my income tax return for that year?
Finally, (and I will use the same stern letters as above) Why is Georgia going after 30¢ when it probably cost them way more than that to find this incident, notify the brokerage firm, and establish a suspense file. Why is Georgia burdening the brokerage firm with more than $2.00 in cost * to send the notice to me, burdening me with the cost of a 50¢ stamp and a Number 10 envelope to return the form letter to the brokerage firm, and burden the brokerage firm about $5.00 * to recut the check and mail it to me? Is Georgia that desperate for money? Should the residents of Georgia therefore heed James Thurber’s injunction, “Run, do not walk to the nearest desert island”? Are the state’s finances in such dire straits? Is this insanity being perpetrated by state employees or by contractors who are paid based on how much “illicit funds” they recover and who do not have to account for their expenses?
It’s clear to me that the Georgia State Bureaucracy is feeding not only at the cesspit of our civilization but at the trough of those too ignorant of their rights to dispute such ridiculous, insane, costly, stupid, insane (I said that, already, but it’s worth saying again) attempts at extortion?
* Costs of preparing and mailing a letter, the cost of a “postage paid by” return letter, and the cost of cutting a check are an amalgam of several Google searches. I suspect the actual cost may be a bit lower, if the brokerage has automated this process, a bit higher if Georg
John Schnatter is being erased. And, he’s neither the first nor the last person to be erased. We will see more and more of this in the next few years. The tragedy is that it was predicted years ago. The tragedy is that we allow it to happen. The pendulum has swung too far from the center, and that bodes ill for us all.
“The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past,” and now, fake news and political correctness. These are the children of our social conscience. These are the dread offspring of George Orwell’s “1984” which – more like vultures than chickens – have come to roost in this country in 2018.
John Schnatter is being erased not only from the corporation he established and nurtured, but also from his charitable works. And George Orwell predicted this. Explore with me, for a moment, the mind of Winston Smith, the anti-hero of “1984.”
It is my hypothesis that John Schnatter was encouraged to use the “n-word” during a corporate training exercise. Nothing in the news reports contradicts that. Further, it is a technique I’ve seen employed in such training as early as a “race relations” course mandated, and offered by a government contractor as early as 1973. There are always “fresh dupes waiting to be seduced,” Winston thought. He was right. No matter how unbelievable are the pronouncements of “racism,” no matter how inconsequential the sound bites offered by politicians, no matter how confusing the statements and contradictions of the president, there are people who continue to be seduced by them.
I was duped in 1973 into using the “n-word,” and watched the instructor’s pleasure as he made an example of me. I will not say John Schnatter was duped, but I will suggest the instructors might have been equally pleased when he fell for what was likely a trap.
The attacks on reason are “so exaggerated and perverse that a child should [be] able to see through [them], and yet they are just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in…” Someone who would neither use the n-word or the q-word might easily be led to say them in a training session – but without the euphemisms, “nigger. … queer.”
Winston Smith’s job was to “alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to “rectify” news articles later shown to be incorrect – or inconsistent with current thinking. He did so not only by adjusting numeric predictions, or, “substitution of one piece of nonsense for another,” but also by rewriting history until “the chosen lie would pass into the permanent records and become truth.”
Smith chose to do this with “a piece of pure fantasy.” This included the erasure of a real Comrade Withers, replacing him with a fictitious Comrade Oglivy.
In like manner, the management of “Papa John’s” and the popular press seem to have decided to erase John Schnatter.
But with what is he being replaced?
That is, indeed, the question.
References and notes.
All quotations are from the Kindle edition of George Orwell’s “1984.”
Winston Smith thinks “Ingsoc” might have once been “English socialism.”
There was a rally in Newnan, Georgia, on Saturday, April 21 – one day after Hitler’s birthday. I mention that only because the media characterized it as a “neo-Nazi” rally. The rally was led by Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. [“Nazi” is an abbreviated form of “National Socialist German Workers Party.”] About a dozen people labeled by the media as neo-Nazis or fascists, most in really cute costumes with shields and flags, rendered Nazi salutes and faced (at considerable distance, apparently, enforced by police) perhaps a hundred people labeled by most of the media as Antifa (Anti-Fascists). (Fox news said only that some of the opposition were members of Antifa. I don’t know how anyone could be sure … I mean, do they have ID cards or something? Another reason to be careful about believing what we read in the news. Besides, shouldn’t everyone in America be against Nazism and Fascism? Well, perhaps if they really knew what those were. But that’s another story.)
Both groups were outnumbered by as many as 700 police-persons.
Our goobernor tweeted that we should "pray for Newnan." Lot of help, there, Goobernor. Thanks for the thought. Go back to sleep.
Schoep "criticized illegal immigration, skinny jeans and the removal of Confederate monuments." He also claimed the "Nazi salutes" were actually "Roman salutes." (I would really like to know where that came from.) Bert Colucci (sounds Italian, to me – see below) the soi-disant Chief of Staff of the National Socialist Movement said we should put illegal immigrants "in camps ... Like we did the Italians, Germans and Japanese." Oops! He forgot Jews, although a sign at the rally attributed to the Neo-Nazis "claimed Jews were behind the refugee movement." Maybe these folks are all-inclusive bigots, after all.
You know, of course, that the US government interned Americans of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps during World War II. Did you know we also interned Italians and Germans? The Italians and Germans were almost all non-citizens (diplomats, businesspersons, students, and merchant marine sailors) who happened to be in the US when we declared war on Italy and Germany. Few, if any were American citizens. (Of course, the history of these actions is considerably blurred by those who conducted them, those who abhor them, those who claim they never happened, and those who think they didn’t go far enough.)
Skinny jeans? I guess that should be added to the list of things to be banned if we're going to make America great again. What about Confederate monuments wearing skinny jeans? The possibilities are endless.
As many as ten of the opposition (Antifa, Antifa-wanna-bes?) were arrested for refusing to take off their masks. Apparently, there’s still a law on the books in Georgia banning the wearing of masks in public places. It was designed to target the Ku Klux Klan, and is suspended on Halloween, or the jails would be full of kids in Darth Vader and Spiderman costumes – and masks. Selective enforcement of the law? Is that “right”? No. It isn’t. It’s fundamentally wrong. On the other hand, it’s often reported that the Antifa people try to get photographs of the Nazis in order to “out” them to their employers. Yet Antifa people wear masks to protect their own identities? Another fundamentally wrong thing.
Yes, we live in a crazy world.
This is letter I sent to the Fayette County, GA, Board of Commissioners and to "The Citizen" newspaper.
I am a citizen of Fayette County and an Air Force veteran with more than 20 years service to this country. I am opposed to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners recognizing April 26 as “Confederate Memorial Day,” and the month of April as “Confederate History and Heritage Month.”
I was reared in the South until college graduation at age 22. I was thoroughly indoctrinated in the Confederacy. In grammar school, during assembly, we sang songs from the southern side of the Civil War: "The Girl I Left Behind Me," "The Bonny Blue Flag," “Dixie,” and others of that ilk.
On May 10, which was Confederate Memorial Day in North Carolina, we were dismissed from school to walk to the Courthouse where we decorated a Confederate Monument with flowers. (This, of course, applied to the white schools. Integration, although ordered by the Supreme Court before this, was not implemented until at least 12 years later.)
After the ceremony at the Confederate Monument, the Children of the Confederacy (of which, of course, I was a member, having a great-great grandfather who died in Pickett's Charge, Gettysburg) went to the home of the docent of society for cookies and punch. No, we were not marked absent or tardy from school.
I was a Distinguished Military Graduate from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, which, I learned, was created first as a garrison to house the young men of Charleston, SC, following a slave uprising.
I learned the (possibly apocryphal) story that the first shot in the "War of Northern Aggression," as the elders of my family described it, was fired by cadets from The Citadel under the command of a man who was said to have been a relative.
I learned that my paternal grandfather had been a member of an organization that was a front for the Ku Klux Klan.
I learned about segregation at an early age, but that's another story.
History must be preserved. While those who do not remember history may not be doomed to repeat it, those who do learn from history will certainly annihilate them. It is far past time to relegate the history of the confederacy and the civil war to textbooks, and not in flags that fly from pickup trucks, not around bonfires where stand men in white robes and hoods, and certainly not in the chambers of the Fayette County Commissioners.
Paul Lentz, Peachtree City
Thomas Malthus was an optimist. His mathematics – word problems – would not be allowed in today’s schools because they are too hard, too complicated, and too unfair. Nevertheless, they were correct in their times. He predicted that population would increase exponentially (warning: word problem) while food production would increase only arithmetically (another word problem) until population exceeded food. The result would be what is sometimes called a Malthusian Crisis; sometimes, a visit by the Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse. (I promise to explain why five and not four before this article ends.)
Malthus suggested several outcomes, Famine and Disease being the most likely. Others have added War (to control scarce resources) and the ultimate result of the first three – Death. Those are the traditional “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” based on the myths in the Book of Revelation.
To those I would add the fifth likely cause of Death and the Fifth Horseman – Global Climate Change.
Back to my first sentence. Why do I say Malthus was an optimist? Is it not already true that the world’s population seems likely to exceed its capacity to support human life? Is it not already true that we have overtaken the amount of greenhouse gasses Earth can sustain without catastrophic results? Is it not already true that perhaps nine million people die of starvation every year? Is it not already true that half-a-million to one million people die of malaria each year? Is it not already true that more than one million people have died as a direct or indirect cause of war in the past year? Is it not already true that a quarter of a million people or more will die as a direct result of climate change in 2018? Is it not already true that antibiotic-resistant strains of staphylococcus aurous and typhoid fever (caused by Salmonella tryphi bacteria), and other deadly diseases are infecting populations – mostly in what we consider the third world? Is it not already true that in the United States black babies die at twice the rate of white babies?
Wait a minute! Where did that last come from? Malthus never…
No, Malthus never wrote about the endemic institutional racism in the United States that keeps black mothers from the pre-natal care that would keep their babies alive at the same rate as white babies.
Is institutional racism the Sixth Horse of the Apocalypse?
Based on what I read in the news, it may be. It just may be.
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Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.