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.
* * * * *
Media reports today (Sunday, April 8, 2018) include (again) claims that government forces commanded by Bashar al-Assad have (again) used chemical weapons on civilians
The response from the world is (again) denial from Syria, “alarm” from the French government, and a wimpy response from the British Foreign Office. In their words, if this is true “it is further proof of Assad’s brutality.”
I haven’t seen anything from Trump, by the way. But, then, I no longer subscribe to Twitter, which seems to be the official organ of the United States Government. (The official nature Trump’s penis, which seems to be leading his philosophy, I fear to contemplate.)
But I have seen photographs of children, hooked up to oxygen masks and heart monitors, and wonder if any of these children are still alive.
Where are the good people of the world? The evidence is overwhelming that chemical weapons – chlorine gas from barrel bombs, and perhaps other similar weapons, for example – have been repeatedly used to attack civilians in the Syrian war. Whether the fault lies with Assad, some ill-defined “rebels,” ISIS, or the Turks and Kurds, it’s clear that children are dying not only from chemical attacks but also from bombs released by Turkish, Russian, and American planes. Perhaps others.
The proximate fault – the match which ignited this fire – may lie with one of the several combatants. However, the ultimate cause lies with you.
Yes, you, who have read (or could have read) of this horror for years.
You, who could have joined with other good people to force your government, whether of the United States or of Britain, or of France or of Russia or of many other nations to stop the insanity.
But you did nothing. You sat in front of your television sets, glued to the latest basketball, soccer, or cricket match, glued to the latest fake-reality show, glued to the current “who has talent” display, while munching on some unhealthy snacks, while people, including children, died at the hands of despots.
Their blood is on your hands.
Mental health (with respect to the Christian Terrorist in Austin, TX and the shooter in Florida) and Trump's latest sexual escapades are both red herrings *. The first was created by Trump in order to distract people from the real issues (military assault weapons in the hands of children, for example); the second is more likely serendipitous – for Trump.
* Red herring: something that is intended to be misleading or distracting from an important issue. Logical fallacies may be used as red herrings.
In Trump's usage, mental illness falls in the class of relevance fallacies, the notion that one topic is connected to another topic in a way that makes it appear that the second should be considered when considering the first.
If you believe Trump, then studies of mental illness and throwing money at detection and treatment become the sine qua non of preventing mass shootings and gun violence. If you believe the premise that children shouldn't have military assault weapons then things that fall under the rubric of "gun control" become the sine qua non.
The problem is exacerbated by the seeming inability of the American people to conduct a civil, rational, and logical conversation about this issue – or most issues. No matter what the issue, we the people seem to be immediately and rigidly polarized. I blame social media as well as the so-called mainstream media.
By the way, did you catch my logical fallacies? Tying "children" and "military assault weapons" together was designed to provoke a strong emotion and increase polarization. Saying "sexual escapade" rather than "adulterous behavior" was designed to minimize the importance of that issue.
What about "Christian Terrorist"? The man was a home-schooled, Christian fundamentalist who, if the press is to be believed, attended a home-school social group that conducted war games with cream pies. No one seems to be calling him a Christian Terrorist (much less a "White Christian Terrorist"). If he'd been Muslim, the press and Trump would be pissing "Muslim Terrorist" and "radicalized" until their bladders were flat.
If you want to read how one NY Times writer explains his coverage, try this link:
My linking "Christian" to "Terrorist" is no more valid than Trump and the press linking "Muslim" to "Terrorist." Or, it is equally valid. God is love and Jesus preached "love thy neighbor"? Yes, but Jesus also told his disciples, "If you do not have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Of course, it's all mythology, and the Quran is largely plagiarized from the Jewish Bible.
I've said this, before. It's in the introduction to "Holy Fire": "If Hitler and Goebbels had the internet, we'd be speaking German."
Can you imagine Leni Riefenstahl turned loose on YouTube? Compare "Triumph of the Will" to something like "Across the Pacific," which (after “Casablanca”) is probably the second best Hollywood propaganda film of the era. (Second best, in this case, is still pathetic. Seriously. Picture Sidney Greenstreet kneeling at a Japanese style altar committing seppuku.)
At the risk of hyperbole (itself a fallacy of logic), the internet may be more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.