Archive for January, 2016

WHOSE HOLOCAUST?

In today’s edition of The New York Times, the top story should be this:

After Arrests and a Death, an Oregon Siege Takes On a Dark Feel

But it’s not.

Instead, the top story is this:

Letter Reveals Plea for Mercy By Eichmann

Above this top story, there is a very large photograph with the caption:

Survivors observed the 71st anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation Wednesday, the same day Adolf Eichmann’s letter was released.

The top story reads, in part:

The letter, handwritten by Eichmann in German, and other original documents from the case, were made public for the first time on Wednesday by Israel’s current president, Reuven Rivlin, during an event to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed, all over the world, on January 27 of each year.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is the only international remembrance day set aside for remembrance of the victims of any holocaust in world history.

Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning, among other things:

a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life esp. through fire

and

a mass slaughter of people; esp : GENOCIDE

There have been numerous holocausts, throughout world history.

Yet International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed only for the remembrance of the Jewish victims of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi German regime.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of the genocide of Native Americans committed by the United States Government under numerous U.S. presidents, especially Andrew Jackson.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of Imperial Japanese troops under Hirohito.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. Government under Harry S. Truman.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of the Dresden firebombings by the U.K. under Winston Churchill and the U.S. under Harry S. Truman.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of Papa Doc Duvalier’s regime in Haiti.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

There is no international holocaust remembrance day for the countless victims of Bosnian Serb forces under Slobodan Milosevic and others.

And of course there is no international holocaust remembrance day for the victims of the genocide of Palestinian Arabs by the Zionist State under Benjamin Netanyahu and all other Israeli prime ministers before him–because it is still going on, as it has been going on since 1948.

But the Zionist Jews certainly do know how to use an international holocaust remembrance day set aside exclusively for Jews to justify their genocide of Palestinian Arabs, don’t they?

WE ARE CAPABLE OF FAR BETTER THAN THAT

“The official story that the war was about the South’s desire to protect and expand slavery and the North’s determination to abolish it is not merely an error in academic history.  The evidence against it has not been ignored so much as it has been suppressed.  It had to be suppressed because it contradicts the legitimating myth of the centralized nationalist regime that emerged after the war.  Having been repeated so often, it has come to be believed because of repetition.”

From Why the War Was Not About Slavery

An essay by Donald W. Livingston

The above excerpt–from one of the most enlightening writings I have ever read–contains one of the most profound observations about our aversion toward critical thinking that I have ever encountered:

Having been repeated so often, it has come to be believed because of repetition.

We human beings like to think simplistically, if we think at all.  We have a natural aversion toward critical thinking–a natural aversion toward questioning anything. We don’t like to examine the complex nature of any issue–we like to believe what is easiest to believe, no matter how questionable or outright false it is.  Our shared human tendency is toward two-valued thinking–all or nothing, black and white.  We don’t mind the truth unless we are uncomfortable with it.  But we are uncomfortable with the truth most of the time.  We like to believe–but we don’t like to know.

Having been repeated so often, it has come to be believed because of repetition.

The simplistic claim that the American “Civil War” was about slavery is not true. But it has been repeated so often that it has come to be believed because of repetition.

Yet there are so many other claims–some of them simplistic, some of them not–that have come to be believed because of repetition.

Consider this one:

“Six million Jews were killed in the Nazi German concentration camps.”

There is no evidence to support this claim at all.  Yet in some countries one can be imprisoned for questioning this claim.

Many Jews died in the Nazi German concentration camps.

But the “six million” is completely arbitrary–there is no evidence to support that figure.

Furthermore, there was a typhus epidemic that swept through the Nazi German concentration camps–many, if not most of the Jews who died in the Nazi German concentration camps died of typhus.

This does not mean that the Nazi German regime was not responsible for the deaths of many Jews–it was.

But to simply accept the claim that six million Jews were killed in the Nazi German concentration camps is irresponsible.

Because–to accept any claim as truth simply because it has been repeated is irresponsible.

There are even claims Christians believe simply because they’ve been repeated–claims that are not even substantiated anywhere in the Bible.

One such claim is that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

There is absolutely nothing in the Gospels that substantiates the claim that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.  In fact, Mary Magdalene is portrayed, throughout the Gospels, as a very close friend of Jesus–one who stayed with Jesus in his time of crucifixion, even after all of his disciples had abandoned him.

A minister even pointed out to me, once, that Mary Magdalene may have been Jesus’ wife.  And this is possible–women truly were considered second class citizens throughout the Roman Empire, and it would not have been unusual for the male Gospel writers to have failed to mention such a close relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

What about the three wise men who brought gifts to Jesus?

The Gospels do not say that there were three of them.

The Gospels only describe the magi as “wise men from the east.”

Even the date of the holiday commemorating Jesus’ birth–December 25.

The Gospels do not tell the time of year of Jesus’ birth.  In fact, most historians place Jesus’ birth sometime in June.

I have even felt, for a very long time, that Christmas ought to be moved to June–to separate it from the secular, commercial trappings of the December 25 holiday. Because, no matter how hard they try, it is impossible for most Christians to truly “keep Christ in Christmas.”

We have come to believe that the “Civil War” was about slavery–simply because this claim has been repeated so often.

We have come to believe that six million Jews were killed in the Nazi German concentration camps–simply because this claim has been repeated so often.

We have even come to believe that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, that there were three wise men who brought gifts to the infant Jesus, and that Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25–simply because these claims have been repeated so often.

Having been repeated so often, it has come to be believed because of repetition.

There are millions upon millions of people–all over the world–who truly believe that the only purpose we human beings have is to be happy–that happiness is our only reason for living.

Even those who believe in intelligent design, rather than evolution, cannot deny that we human beings are animals.  We are animals.  We are mammals, we are primates.  We are omnivorous, predatory animals.  And physically, we are the most defenseless animals on the planet.

The only reason we are the apex predators on this planet–the only reason we have dominion over all other animals is that our minds are so highly developed. It is our extremely advanced intelligence–and only our extremely advanced intelligence–that gives us dominion over our fellow animals.  We are the only animals on this planet that are born with spirituality–but even our spirituality exists because of our advanced intelligence.

We truly are “put on this earth to think.”

If our Creator expects anything of us at all, our Creator expects us to think.

And thinking requires questioning.

And it is our responsibility–as the most intelligent animals in the world, by far–to question everything.  Even everything we have come to believe, simply because it has been repeated so often.

Having been repeated so often, it has come to be believed because of repetition.

We should not believe anything simply because it has been repeated so often–we are capable of far better than that.

FREUDIAN SLIP

As I stood in the kitchen, after waking up, I meant to say to myself,

I’ll be so glad when this cold (weather) is over.

Instead, I said,

“I’ll be so glad when this Digital Age is over.”

As if this were just a temporary spell–not a permanent hell.

If it weren’t for this Digital Age, this assault on Southern American history, heritage, and culture–this cultural genocide–wouldn’t be happening.

Because there would be no Facebook, or other such social media.  So there would be no pictures of souvenir-sized Confederate battle flags–held by some killer driven by mindless, misplaced rage–to incite such mindless, misplaced rage in an entire nation.

And if it weren’t for this Digital Age, this mindless addiction to mobile devices wouldn’t be happening.

Because there would be no cellular technology–so no mobile devices, in the first place.

And there would be no Digital-Age slaughter on roads and highways in the State of Florida (or anywhere else in the world where there are no laws to stop this willful distracted driving).

Because there would be no cellular technology–so no mobile devices by which drivers could murder their fellow human beings, and not even be charged with a crime.

I want the Eighties back, the Seventies back, the Sixties back–or any decade or century or millennium before this goddamned Digital Age.

“I’ll be so glad when this Digital Age is over.”

I wish to God it were that simple–that this were something that would simply end tomorrow.

CITY OF FIVE FLAGS

If this flag offends you, you need a history lesson.

If those other flags don’t offend you, you need a history lesson.

If you don’t know what this flag is, or what those other flags are, you need a civics lesson.

And if you don’t care what this flag is, or what those other flags are, you need a civics lesson.

ONE POSSIBLE FUTURE–OR PROBABLE FUTURE?

Once all Confederate flags were censored from all state and local flags displays, local-government-sanctioned demolition of all Confederate memorials began in New Orleans.  Soon state and local governments everywhere else demolished all Confederate memorials too.  State and local governments didn’t bother digging up Confederate graves.  They just removed all markers from all Confederate cemeteries, cleared the plots, and built government office buildings on them. State and local governments all over the American South completely eliminated every trace of the Confederate States of America.

And as the Federal Government continued its war on Muslims abroad, state and local governments began denying entrance of all Muslim immigrants, and denying reentry of Muslim U.S. citizens into their jurisdictions.

The next mass shooting was committed by a Christian extremist.  He gunned down attendees of an atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and freethinkers meeting.  On his Facebook page, he was pictured holding a Bible, standing in front of a cross.

State and local governments removed all crosses from state and local properties–including those in historical displays.

And all U.S. corporate retailers ceased producing and selling Bibles.

And the next mass shooting was committed by a radical American nationalist.  He gunned down the Hispanic congregation of a Catholic church.

On his Facebook page, he was pictured standing in front of a large United States flag.

State and local governments removed all United States flags from state and local properties, including all state and local government buildings.

And all U.S. corporate retailers ceased producing and selling United States flags.

Eventually, all Confederate flags were confiscated from individuals who had managed to buy them before the corporate retailers stopped selling them.  All bumper stickers–as well as all T-shirts and other apparel with any semblance of Confederate flags–were also confiscated.

And eventually observance of Islam was prohibited by state and local governments–and all Muslim U.S. citizens were deported.

And eventually all Bibles, crucifixes, and United States flags were confiscated from individuals who had managed to buy them before the corporate retailers stopped selling them.

After the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion were indefinitely suspended–other rights followed with each mass shooting.

In the end, the right to keep and bear arms was even suspended.  All guns were confiscated from all U.S. citizens–whether or not they had permits.  Of course, many used their guns to keep this right–but the firepower of state, local, and Federal government forces was simply too overwhelming.

The only right that remained was the right to freedom of the press.  And the puppetmasters who controlled the American press gloated in triumph.  For they were the ones who had started it all.

A WOMAN OF LETTERS

It’s too cold to sit outside and drink my coffee.

There are four armchairs–two facing two–in the corner of the Starbucks.

I sit in the one unoccupied chair.

In the other three chairs sit three women–none of whom knows the other two–and none of whom knows me.

Each woman in each of the two chairs facing mine is mindlessly texting on a goddamned smartphone.

But the woman sitting in the chair beside mine is doing something I haven’t seen anyone do in a very long time.  She is writing–with a pen–on paper.

Unlike the other two women, this woman acknowledges my existence–though she maintains focus on her writing.

She writes on a small writing tablet, or small notebook she holds on her lap. Her legs are crossed.

She’s writing a letter, or a poem, or a narrative.  But she’s definitely not writing for work or school.

At least twice, she tears a page from the tablet or notebook, crumples it, places it on the end table between my chair and hers–then starts over.

And her handwriting is beautiful.

And she is beautiful.

And oh God, I desire her–more than she will ever know.

AN INDIRECT VIOLATION OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH

[This was originally posted November 9, 2015]

Scott Mayo, 1st Confederate Flag shirt

It still seems so surreal to me, so hard to believe.

A young maniac kills nine people in a church because they are of a different race than his.  He uses a handgun that he acquired by taking advantage of loopholes in gun regulation laws.

And nothing is done to close these loopholes in gun regulation laws.  Guns remain as easy to acquire as ever for people who simply should not be able to acquire guns.

But simply because this killer posted pictures of himself on social media with Confederate flags–Confederate flags are suddenly targeted.  Politicians all over the American South (most of them Republicans) immediately remove Confederate flags from all displays–even purely historical ones.  And producers and retailers, nationwide, immediately stop producing and selling Confederate flags.

And I think this won’t happen where I live–because the Confederate Battle Flag was replaced with the First Confederate Flag, in the displays of the Five Flags of Pensacola’s history and heritage, fifteen years before.

Then a small group of power-hungry contrarians demands that the mayor of Pensacola remove even the First Confederate Flag from the Five Flags displays. And he gives in, without any regard for the citizens of Pensacola.  Later, the Escambia County Commission follows up on the Pensacola mayor’s decision with a proposition banning any variation of the Confederate Flag from any display–historical or otherwise–forever.

It is an act of mass censorship, committed by state and local governments and corporate retailers alike.  It is a dangerous precedent–an indirect violation of freedom of speech.  And indirect violations of freedom of speech lead to direct violations of freedom of speech.

And I seem to be one of only a small percentage of people–in this tiny metropolitan area of the American South–who truly realize how dangerous this is.

A BIZARRE KIND OF BARGAINING

[This was originally posted December 22, 2015]

A flag is a piece of cloth that says something.  It is a piece of cloth that speaks.

The Confederate Battle Flag (the Southern Cross) says, “This is the Confederate side of the battlefield.”  And that is all it was designed to say.

The First Confederate Flag (the Stars and Bars), the Second Confederate Flag (the Stainless Banner), and the Third Confederate Flag (the Bloodstained Banner) say, “This is the Confederate States of America.”  And that is all they were designed to say.

Because the Confederate Flag (all four designs) is a piece of cloth that says something, a piece of cloth that speaks, it is representative of speech itself.  Thus an infringement on the Confederate Flag is an infringement on our right to freedom of speech.

Dylann Roof abused our right to keep and bear arms, and murdered nine people. Yet the Confederate Flag has been censored–as if the Confederate Flag is to blame for this mass shooting.

Because our right to keep and bear arms was abused, our right to freedom of speech has been infringed.

Islam is a religion.

Because Islam is a religion, it is representative of religion itself.  Thus an infringement on Islam is an infringement on our right to freedom of religion.

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik abused our right to keep and bear arms, and murdered fourteen people.  Yet Islam has been scrutinized–as if Islam is to blame for this mass shooting.  Muslims–adherents of Islam–have been ostracized, persecuted, and (in some cases) murdered.

Because our right to keep and bear arms was abused, our right to freedom of religion has been infringed.

“So what?” you say.  “The Confederate Flag is not my flag–an infringement on it is not an infringement on my right to freedom of speech.”

Guess what–your flag will be next.

“So what?” you say.  “Islam is not my religion–an infringement on it is not an infringement on my right to freedom of religion.”

Guess what–your religion will be next.

A bizarre kind of bargaining is going on here.

Americans are saying, “You can infringe on our right to freedom of speech, as long as you don’t even question our right to keep and bear arms.”

Americans are saying, “You can infringe on our right to freedom of religion, as long as you don’t even question our right to keep and bear arms.”

Our right to keep and bear arms is as important as every other right guaranteed us in our Bill of Rights.

But if we lose our right to freedom of speech, our right to freedom of religion, and every other right guaranteed us in our Bill of Rights–by overzealously guarding our right to keep and bear arms, and leaving every other right wide open to infringement–what good will our right to keep and bear arms be to us?

RED HERRINGS

[This was originally posted December 10, 2015]

red herring (15c)  1 : a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color  2 : [fr. the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs] : something that distracts attention from the real issue

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition)

The negative association attached to the Confederate Flag is a red herring.

Christian Americans’ stereotype of Muslims is a red herring.

Donald Trump’s personality (specifically demonstrated in his theatrics) is a red herring.

We must recognize red herrings for what they are–red herrings.

State and local governments, in alliance with corporate retailers, have completely censored all Confederate flags–and these mass shootings continue.

If all Muslims were denied entry or reentry into the United States, even if all Muslims in the United States were deported–these mass shootings would continue.

And if Donald Trump were elected President of the United States–these mass shootings would continue (and Trump would inevitably start a global thermonuclear war).

We must stop allowing our attention to be distracted by these red herrings–and start focusing on the real issues.

DER FUEHRER, DONALD TRUMP?

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts as he speaks at the 2015 FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Nevada July 11, 2015. REUTERS/L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun - RTX1K10O

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts as he speaks at the 2015 FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Nevada July 11, 2015. REUTERS/L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun – RTX1K10O

Reading The New York Times article about Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump this morning, I found something very familiar:

“Are you ready for the leader to make America great again?”

The leader, I thought, as I pondered Sarah Palin’s words, The leader . . .

Der Fuehrer!

That was Adolph Hitler’s title, as Dictator of Germany–Der Fuehrer (The Leader).

Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933.  To become Dictator of Germany, Hitler used a clause in the constitution of the Weimar Republic–Article 48–which effectively allowed for the suspension of constitutional rights.

If such a clause existed in the United States Constitution, a U.S. president would have used it, thereby becoming Dictator of the United States, long ago.

As aforementioned, I am reasonably certain the Republican Party will not nominate Donald Trump–he would ruin the reputation of the Republican Party. And if Donald Trump leaves the Republican Party, and runs as an independent (he would not be a true independent, of course) he will definitely lose.

So I’m not frightened of Donald Trump–because I know he will not likely be President of the United States.

What frightens me, though, is that so many U.S. citizens seriously consider Donald Trump to be suitable for the position of President of the United States. This is a man who feels very much–but thinks very little.  Likewise, his supporters feel very much–but think very little.

And the saddest thing is that these people represent the American people, in general, more than we’d like to think.

I remember first hearing the phrase, “the dumbing down of America” in a television commentary on Americans’ response to the film, Forrest Gump.  Forrest Gump is a favorite film of mine.  It is a parody of American society, as seen through the eyes of the mildly retarded Forrest Gump.  But it is not about Forrest Gump–it’s about American society.  Yet so many Americans didn’t get this–and still don’t get it.  Instead of looking at the world from Forrest Gump’s perspective–they looked (and still look) at Forrest Gump from the world’s perspective.  And this was the point of the television commentary–how the “dumbing down of America” was demonstrated in so many Americans’ response to Forrest Gump.

Yet the “dumbing down of America” is not a phenomenon of Americans becoming less intelligent–Americans are as intelligent as ever.

And Americans feel as much as ever.

But Americans are thinking less and less–and this is what is dumbing us down.

Hitler felt enough–and his feelings were valid.

But Hitler didn’t think enough–and this was his undoing.

Likewise, Hitler’s supporters felt enough–and their feelings were valid.

But Hitler’s supporters didn’t think enough–and this was their undoing.

Trump feels enough–and his feelings are valid.

But Trump doesn’t think enough–and this would be his undoing.

Likewise, Trump’s supporters feel enough–and their feelings are valid.

But Trump’s supporters don’t think enough–and this would be their undoing.

We Americans feel enough–and our feelings are valid.

But we Americans aren’t thinking enough–and this will be our undoing.

We’d better start thinking more–right away.


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