Ku Klux Klan, a British view

Ku Klux Klan advertisement

This 1920s advertisement from Illinois in the USA shows various businesses were Ku Klux Klan sponsors then; including Ford Motor corporation of the anti-Semitic big businessman Henry Ford.

The ‘Everybody Welcome’ in the ad probably excludes African Americans, Jews, socialists, Roman Catholics, LGBTQ people, feminists, etc. etc.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

A dark corner of US politics

Friday 25th August 2017

PETER FROST explores the origins of one of the nastiest, most racist organisations in world history – the Ku Klux Klan

HOWEVER much President Donald Trump ducks and dives and carefully edits his latest soundbite, it is clear that he is one of a very few US citizens who doesn’t think the tiny Ku Klux Klan is a racist organisation fit only to be condemned to the dustbin of history by all reasonable people.

Perhaps that isn’t too surprising. There is overwhelming evidence that Trump’s father Fred was arrested at a Klan rally in New York in the 1920s and there’s good reason to suppose that his grandfather was also close to the obnoxious organisation.

The Klan has a long history. The dust and smoke of the civil war had hardly cleared in 1865 when a small group of white southerners on the defeated side met to form what would become one of the nastiest, most racist organisations in world history — the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

That first Klan flourished in the southern states in the late 1860s, but had almost died out by the early 1870s. It sought to overthrow the Republican state governments in the south during the Reconstruction Era, especially by using violence against African-American leaders and to bring back slavery.

Members made their own, often grotesque, colourful costumes, robes and masks designed to be terrifying and to hide their true identities.

The white sheets and conical hoods would come later. They were actually copied from D W Griffith’s 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation. The curious titles like “grand wizard” and such, also first saw light of day in that film script.

It triggered a second Klan flush in 1915 which flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, particularly in urban areas of the midwest and west.

Rooted in local Protestant communities it opposed Catholics and Jews as well as black people at a time of high immigration from mostly Catholic nations of southern and eastern Europe. It also virulently opposed socialist and communist politics and the organised labour movement.

This second organisation adopted a standard white costume and used code words, which were similar to those used by the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades to intimidate others.

The third and current manifestation of the KKK emerged after WWII. It focused on opposition to the civil rights movement often using violence and murder to suppress activists.

Today, it is back in the headlines with its greatest fan in President Trump.

Last year, Klan membership nationwide was between 3,000 and 6,000 but, because of its long and colourful history, it punches well above its weight when it comes to media coverage.

Best estimates suggest only a very few hundred of the thousand or so racists who appeared at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally were actually Klan members, but clever public relations from the likes of the Klan’s former grand wizard David Duke managed to snatch most of the credit for itself.

It is worth remembering that in the past, Duke has offered support and publicity advice to former BNP leader Nick Griffin and various other British racist individuals and groupings.

Shrewd business decisions from early founders ensured that the Klan would always be on a firm financial footing.

In 1921, the second Klan adopted a modern business system of using full-time paid recruiters.

The national headquarters made its profit through a monopoly of costume sales, while the organisers were paid through initiation fees. Many national and local leaders became rich running their local Klan group rather like a franchised hamburger shop.

This second KKK preached “100 per cent Americanism” and demanded the purification of politics, calling for strict morality. Its official rhetoric focused on the threat of the Catholic Church.

It also demonstrated the right-wing attitudes that marked out their other politics. In major southern cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, Klan members kept control of access to the better-paying industrial jobs and opposed the labour unions.

During the ’30s and ’40s, Klan leaders urged members to disrupt the Congress of Industrial Organisations (CIO), which advocated industrial unions and accepted African-American members.

Using dynamite and skills from their jobs in mining and steel in the late 1940s some Klan members in Birmingham used bombings to destroy houses in order to intimidate upwardly mobile blacks from moving into middle-class neighbourhoods.

Internal divisions, criminal behaviour by leaders and external opposition brought about a collapse in Klan membership, which had dropped to about 30,000 by 1930. It finally faded away in the ’40s.

In the ’50s and ’60s the Ku Klux Klan name was used by numerous independent local groups opposing the fast growing civil rights movement.

These Klan groupings often forged alliances with southern police departments as in Birmingham, Alabama, or with governor’s offices as with George Wallace of Alabama.

Several members of KKK groups were convicted of murder in the deaths of civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964 and children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. There are many other examples of both convictions as well as Klan members literally getting away with murder.

I neither know, nor care, if 20-year-old nazi James Field who used his car to murder Heather Heyer and injure 19 other brave anti-fascist demonstrators was a member of the Klan.

His car-based method of attack has become a typical terrorist murder and is just as wrong when carried out by extreme so-called believers in either the Muslim, the Christian or any other faith.

The group of white supremacists who gathered in Charlotteville wore all sorts of uniforms and badges but shared the same obscene philosophy of race hate wrapped in the flag of extreme patriotism.

What I do care about is that they seemed to do it with the blessing of a man who claims to be the leader of the free world — President Trump.

When I first saw Trump winning his presidential candidature last year, I wrote in this paper that I began to understand how Hitler had made it to the top. Every day Trump sits in the Oval Office that comparison gets more and more terrifying.


Did oviraptor dinosaurs behave like birds?

This 24 August 2017 video is called New discovery of dinosaurs suggests: new species [roosting] together like modern birds.

From the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology:

New dinosaur discovery suggests new species roosted together like modern birds

August 24, 2017

The Mongolian Desert has been known for decades for its amazing array of dinosaurs, immaculately preserved in incredible detail and in associations that give exceedingly rare glimpses at behavior in the fossil record. New remains from this region suggest an entirely unknown behavior for bird-like dinosaurs about 70 million years ago. At least some dinosaurs likely roosted together to sleep, quite possibly as a family, much like many modern birds do today. Gregory Funston, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Alberta, will present the team’s research findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, held this year in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) on Friday, Aug. 25th.

This new evidence for dinosaur roosting stems from a confiscated fossil block that was illegally exported from Mongolia, which preserved the amazing remains of three juvenile dinosaurs known as oviraptorids (part of the bird line of dinosaur evolution). These three dinosaurs represent the same species that were roughly the same age, preserved in a sleeping posture, so close to each other that they would have been touching in life. Known as “communal roosting,” this behavior is seen in many birds today including chickens and pigeons. The specimen luckily made its way into the hands of researchers currently led by Gregory Funston of the University of Alberta, along with his advisor Dr. Philip Currie (also of the University of Alberta) and the Institute of Paleontology and Geology of Mongolia (based in Ulaanbaatar). Regarding the finding, Funston said, “It’s a fantastic specimen. It’s rare to find a skeleton preserved in life position, so having two complete individuals and parts of a third is really incredible.”

The three juvenile oviraptors had several features that indicated they belonged to a whole new species. Other fossils found in Mongolia also seem to belong to this new species, and further flesh out the life history of these animals. The notable head crest is present even at a young age, but the dinosaurs would have had gradually shorter tails as they aged, and some of their bones fused across their lifetime. Their head crests and tails have been argued to represent sexual display features used in mating, somewhat similar to modern peacocks or turkeys. Funston added “The origins of communal roosting in birds are still debated, so this specimen will provide valuable information on roosting habits in bird-line theropods.”

Rare spurge hawk-moth caterpillars in Dutch nature reserve

This 24 August 2017 video is about rare spurge hawk-moth caterpillars, found in the Millingerwaard area of Gelderse Poort nature reserve in Gelderland province in the Netherlands.

This year, there are also more swallowtail butterfly caterpillars in the Gelderse Poort than usually.

God Save the Queen played in war-torn Libya

This video says about itself:

The UK’s national anthem as you’ve never heard it before – BBC News

25 August 2017

A Libyan military band tried to perform the British national anthem for the arrival of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as he arrived in Benghazi.

These Libyans are warriors of warlord General Haftar, boss of one of at least three governments killing each other’s soldiers and civilians in NATO’s brave new Libya.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that Mr Johnson is the first NATO country politician ever to visit General Haftar, who, they say:

reigns in the east of the country and does not obey the UN-recognized [so-called] unity government in the capital Tripoli.

This is euphemism by the NOS. Warlord and [by now ex?] CIA asset Haftar not only does not only not recognize the Tripoli government, he has bloody fights with them.

Libyans respond to Boris Johnson’s ‘dead bodies’ comments: ‘He doesn’t know what he’s talking about’. Politician calls remarks ‘cruel and unacceptable’ amid calls for Foreign Secretary to be sacked: here.

Babylonians, world’s oldest trigonometrists discovery

This video says about itself:

Ancient Babylonian tablet – world’s first trig table

24 August 2017

UNSW Sydney scientists have discovered the purpose of a famous 3700-year old Babylonian clay tablet, revealing it is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, most likely used by ancient mathematical scribes to calculate how to construct palaces, temples and stepped pyramids.

Read more here.

Plimpton 322, the most famous of Old Babylonian tablets (1900-1600 BC), is the world’s oldest trigonometric table, possibly used by Babylonian scholars to calculate how to construct stepped pyramids, palaces and temples, according to a duo of researchers from the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia: here.

Black-footed tree rat rediscovery in Australia

Black-footed tree rat, by John Gould

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation today:

Black-footed tree rat rediscovered in Kimberley after three-decade absence

The black-footed tree rat has been rediscovered in Western Australia‘s north 30 years after it was last seen.

Parks and Wildlife staff on a monitoring expedition to the Bachsten Creek in the remote north-west Kimberley caught a glimpse of what appeared to be one of the native rats last year.

To confirm its existence, they installed a dozen remote cameras in the bushland over the wet season.

Parks and Wildlife Service ecologist Ben Corey said the cameras were collected after eight months in the field.

“Many species, such as the endangered northern quoll and golden-backed tree rat, as well as sugar gliders and scaly-tailed possums were recorded,” he said.

“However, the biggest surprise was photographic evidence of the black-footed tree rat.

“We were a bit unsure at first, we tried to explain it away and said ‘no, it can’t be, it can’t be, it’s got to be this or it’s got to be that’ but the images speak for themselves which was really exciting.

“It had not been seen in the Kimberley since 1987, despite considerable survey efforts during this period.”

Python poo provides further proof

The black-footed tree rat is a large tree-dwelling rodent with distinctive black feet and a long black and white tail.

It was thought to have died out in the region due to large bushfires and human activity.

Mr Corey said another unexpected record of the species came from the identification of hair in python scat [faeces] which was found in a nest box at one of the monitoring sites.

The department said the north Kimberley was recognised as a stronghold for species that were now extinct across the northern regions of Australia.

It said each year, researchers from the department survey mammals in more than 100 locations across the north Kimberley.