On December 4, 2019, the National Geographic Science (NGS) newsletter began with two of many examples of technology outracing common sense and of greed taking on a stronger role in our already sick society.
Citing Spaceweather.com, NGS points to light pollution from the SpaceX Starlink satellites interfering with observations of the Alpha Monocerotids meteors. There are 120 of these satellites in low earth orbit (LEO). SpaceX, in a bid to provide worldwide broadband internet service, plans to orbit 100 times as many satellites (12,000) in LEO. Astronomers have concerns the satellites will interfere with critical observations.
It may be hard to get excited about observations of a meteor shower, but some astronomers warn the light pollution caused by these satellites will also interfere with observations of so-called “killer asteroids.” These asteroids are chunks of rock whose orbits bring them close to Earth. Please remember, it’s pretty clear that an asteroid impact off the Yucatan Peninsula was a significant contributor to the K-T Mass Extinction and the death of all non-avian dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.
It may be hard to get excited about predictions of killer asteroid impacts. Certainly, our global society doesn’t have the political will to mount any sort of defense against an existential threat so unlikely and so difficult to tackle.
In fact, we seem unable to mount a credible, global defense against an existential threat which is far better understood and far more likely to destroy our current civilization – global climate change. And here’s the rub: there are legitimate concerns that 5G service operates on frequencies that will interfere with satellite measurements of water vapor in the atmosphere, and make weather forecasts more unreliable.
Tides with swells averaging five meters (sixteen feet) swept over Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands last week. Hundreds of people evacuated. Inaccurate weather forecasts could do more than spoil a picnic or a baseball game – they could lead to deaths.
But 5G will be worth that sacrifice because it can provide near-real-time virtual reality gaming with players across the planet, 3-D holographic entertainment, and perhaps some support to medical diagnosis. It may allow someone to operate a milling machine in a factory while sitting at home. It may allow a physical therapist (or a prostitute) to provide a rub-down from across the planet.
For those who do not remember, when television was introduced, it was touted as a way to bring culture, history, Shakespeare, classical music, and education to the masses. Think, now, what television has become. To paraphrase Karl Marx: Television is the opiate of the massives.
“Climate change does not respect borders; it does not respect who you are—rich or poor, small or large. Therefore, it is what we call a global challenge which requires global solidarity.” Ban Ki-Moon 1944-_____ CE
2019-12-02 BBC News website (Climate King Tides) “…island nation in ‘fight to death’”
Lentz, Paul. “Holy Fire” Ty Ty Press, Peachtree City, Georgia. Kindle Edition.
In 1933, Nazis took power in Germany. By the end of World War II and the Nazi era, at least six million Jews and at least four million others – including Gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs and others considered racially inferior, and the disabled – had been murdered by the Nazis.
While this was happening, a struggle occurred between Christians and the Nazi regime and among Christian denominations. This has been called Kirchenkampf – church struggle.
When the Nazis took power, about 95% of Germans were Christians. They were, however, divided. Not only between Protestant (about 63%) and Catholic (about 33%), but also among Evangelical Protestants.
The German Christian (Deutsche Christen) Church was a movement within the German Evangelicals which supported the antisemitic and racist principles of Nazism. Their objective was to align the protestant churches within Germany in support of those principles. A schism occurred when Evangelicals who opposed Nazi efforts to create a unified Protestant Reich Church, formed The Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche).
Other struggles occurred between the Nazis and both the Catholic and Protestant (mostly Lutheran) churches. Some denominations were unsuccessful in defying the Nazis. Specifically, during the Nazi regime, the Salvation Army, Christian Saints and Seventh-day Adventist Church all disappeared.
It is easy to draw parallels between some of today’s Evangelicals and the German Christian Church. Ignoring or perverting the teachings of Christianity, many Evangelicals seem to overlook what I see as the immorality, lies, power grabs, intentional cruelty to immigrants (especially children), racism, orders for seriously ill foreign born children to leave the country, broken promises (e.g., to “drain the swamp”), relegation of immigrants to concentration camps (there can be no other name for those facilities) and other illegal, immoral, self-serving, and evil acts of Trump, his family, and his administration.
It is not as easy to see any signs of Kirchenkampf – a recognition and declaration by churches – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and others, and by the un-churched – that the Trump administration is evil, and a clear declaration of opposition to Trump and his coterie of vultures. It may, in fact, be too late. The Evangelicals of the “Trump Christian Church” have allied with the Trump Administration to create a synergy that is amplifying the power of both these Evangelicals and Trump.
Consider recent pronouncements by Franklin Graham in support of two children’s books which in a not-subtle manner, support Trump and denigrate any opposition. The books by Eric Metaxas are “Donald Drains the Swamp” and “Donald Builds the Wall.” They are written and illustrated in the style of children’s books and are, in my opinion, purely propaganda.
My purpose is not to criticize Trump, Graham, or Metaxas for these books. To be fair, I note a book, “If You Give a Pig the White House,” written and illustrated in the style of a children’s book and which denigrates Trump.
I have read these three books. As an author, editor, and reviewer, I have a single word for them all: “puerile.” Nevertheless, they are propaganda, written in a way that evokes children’s books. Are they aimed at children? I cannot know the authors’ intentions, so I cannot answer that. However, given the diction and art, I believe they would be very attractive to children.
A writer for Pathos, Libby Anne, published a commentary on Metaxas’ books on 24 November in which she compares the two books to a clearly antisemitic children’s book published in Germany in the 1930s. I have not read that book; only seen two illustrations Libby Anne published. The illustrations are clearly antisemitic.
On the other hand, one cannot speak of propaganda aimed at children without noting the efforts of this country during World War II when children’s cartoon characters were co-opted into clearly racist anti-German, anti-Italian, and anti- Japanese propaganda pieces.
Like Hitler, Trump must know his ideology is fundamentally (no pun intended) at odds with Christian beliefs. What will he do when he no longer needs their support? The Nazis’ goal for Kirchenkampf was the conscription, then subjugation, then destruction of the church, much as the communists attempted in the Soviet Union, and as the Chinese seem to be successfully accomplishing, today.
Returning to the Kirchenkampf : the Confessing Church was created after a major schism among Evangelicals. The Confessing Church was opposed to the principles of the German Christian Church and the philosophy of the Nazis. We have yet to see such a schism in this country; however, in my opinion, it is long overdue.
Patheos, “Metaxas’ ‘Donald Builds the Wall’ Recalls Nazi Children’s Books” by Libby Anne 2019-11-24
Wikipedia, “Kirchenhampf” and follow the links
Wikipedia “German Christians” and follow the links
Wikipedia, “The Holocaust” and follow the links
“Quantifying the Holocaust…” at ncbi.min.nih.gov [US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health]
https://www.youtube.com/ [“The Ducktators” video – one example of US World War II propaganda]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy9rGAO-qfc [Another US World War II propaganda film.]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO3lsSxJQ6w [Another such film, from a different perspective, but still propaganda aimed at children. These cartoons and others of their ilk, are as racist as anything the Nazis created.]
Holocaust Remembrance “Frequently Asked Questions” at un.org/en/holocaustrememberance/docs/faq
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.