United States fascism, from William Pelley to Donald Trump

This 2015 video from the USA shows some propaganda material by William Pelley; with the main emphasis on his religious fantasies, not on his anti-Semitic fascist politics.

By Pauline Murphy:

William Pelley: Rousing the US‘s fascist rabble

Wednesday 19th October 2016

Donald Trump is not the first US presidential candidate to inspire fascistic militia-like supporters, writes PAULINE MURPHY

EARLIER this year Donald Trump sent out a tweet to his legion of followers in which he used a quote from Benito Mussolini: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

A month later a new account was created on Twitter called @lionsoftrump and its first tweet simply stated: “The Lion Guard is born.”

The Lion Guard describes itself as a “civilian group dedicated to the safety and security of Trump supporters.” These unofficial guardians of Trump supporters got their name from the Mussolini quote the Republican candidate had tweeted that cold morning in February.

As the race for the White House now gathers pace, the rallies of Donald Trump have become more intense. These gatherings have taken on a violent streak as clashes erupt between Trump supporters and those who do not support him.

The Lion Guard depend heavily on social media to smoke out potential troublemakers at Trump rallies. Many have dubbed this unofficial militia the “red caps” due to the $25 “Make America Great Again” baseball hats both they and their straw haired idol wear.

Trump isn’t the first presidential candidate to bear witness to violence at his rallies and neither is he the first to see some supporters turn into a menacing militia group.

During the 1936 US presidential election, the son of a Methodist minister from Massachusetts entered the race as a candidate for the Christian Party.

William Dudley Pelley was a foreign correspondent across Europe and Russia in the years after World War I and a Hollywood screen writer in the 1920s before becoming leader of the Silver Legion of America and the Christian Party in the 1930s.

Pelley embraced the wave of fascism that washed over society in the ’30s and openly declared: “The time has come for an American Hitler.” He printed his own mouth organ newspaper called Pelley’s Weekly which focused its written attacks on Roosevelt, left-wing politics, blacks, Jews and immigrant minorities.

On January 30 1933 Pelley founded the Silver Legion of America in Asheville, North Carolina. Membership was open only to white Christian males while the uniform consisted of a silver shirt, blue trousers and a red letter “L” emblazoned on the breast of the shirt.

The silver shirts, as they became known, turned out across many towns and cities across the United States putting on mass rallies where Pelley spoke about restoring America through extreme patriotism. The right-wing rabble rousing Pelley targeted African Americans, Jews and Irish immigrants through his speeches. To the delight of his followers, Pelley promised to disenfranchise such minorities if he ever rose to power in the land of the free.

Membership of the silver shirts numbered somewhere around 15,000 but this small group and its charismatic leader spewed a terrifying influence over ordinary Americans. Both working-class and middle-class whites saw Pelley and his silver shirts as the answer to America’s problems; this was a time in the country’s history when the great depression was sweeping the land.

At silver shirt rallies, Pelley’s speeches hung heavy with words of great threat. Pelley favoured building a mental wall of isolation around America. He favoured a ban on immigrants, most notably Jewish and Irish, from entering the United States. He favoured a more militaristic approach to creating a moral America.

Pelley received funds through connections in nazi Germany and set about building a world headquarters for the Silver Legion in a remote part of the Hollywood hills.

At Murphy Ranch outside Los Angeles the flag of the silver shirts — silver with a red L on the upper left — flew over an urban sprawl. From Murphy Ranch, Pelley established the Galahad College where Christian economics were the main staple of education for the future makers and breakers of America.

A year after forming the Christian Party of America (CPA), Pelley then used it as an engine to propel him to the White House, or so he thought.

The 1936 presidential election campaign in the United States was a particularly dirty one, with Roosevelt receiving most of the personal slander. During the campaign Pelley was largely ignored by the mainstream media who viewed him as a deluded outsider.

It was a chaotic election for Pelley who carried out an extensive country-wide campaign called The Silver Cavalcade, which saw mass rallies often marked by violence.

His running mate was the firebrand silver shirt leader from San Diego Willard Kemp, and even though Pelley had achieved in whipping up enough hysteria through his mass rallies, he did not achieve in winning over the political system.

Washington state was the only place where his name appeared on the ballot paper.

On election day, Pelley won just under 2,000 votes. He finished far behind both the socialist and communist candidates.

The violent tendencies of Pelley’s supporters continued after the 1936 presidential campaign. In 1938 three Chicago silver shirt meetings ended in riots. One of them saw Pelley’s right-hand man Roy Zachery fined 15 dollars for disorderly behaviour and a stint in hospital when he received severe head injuries.

In 1939, five silver shirt members from Chicago smashed the windows of the Goldblatt brothers’ department store. The streets became mini war zones for those attending silver shirt rallys but Pelley’s supporters were all too often met by counter demonstrators which usually resulted in the silver shirts turning on their heels.

After the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 Pelley dissolved his silver shirts and Galahad College disintegrated. That same year, state police in California took over Murphy Ranch and Pelley’s dream of a morally upright, fascist and isolated America faded away.

Pelley would spend the rest of his years battling the federal government through court cases. Pelley was later sentenced to 15 years for sedition and after serving just under eight years, he was released. Pelley died at the age of 75 in 1965.

The … politics of the ’30s which propelled Pelley and his like were summed up by the writer Mary McCarthy. In 1936 she wrote about the atmosphere around Pelley’s presidential campaign in The Nation magazine as being “wild, comic, theatrical, dishonest, disorganised, hopeful and not revolutionary.” Eighty years later those words might hold some meaning again as we enter the end stages of what has been a wildly comical non-revolutionary presidential campaign.

Pelley propagated the paranormal, and was an influence on the I Am religious organisation, an influence on later ‘New Age’ movements like the ‘Church Universal and Triumphant‘.

Dutch seventeenth-century art about Brazilian animals

Giant anteater by Frans Post

This drawing, by Dutch painter Frans Post (1612-1680), depicts a giant anteater.

In 1637-1644, Post was in northeast Brazil, then part of the Dutch colonial empire. He painted local landscapes. And he also made 34 drawings of Brazilian animals; these drawings were only recently found again.

From 7 October 2016 till 8 January 2017, there will be in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands an exhibition showing these drawings, paintings and stuffed animals of the depicted species from the collection of Naturalis museum in Leiden.

Some of the animal species depicted by Post can also be seen alive in Artis zoo in Amsterdam. On 7 October, a drawing contest will start of depictions of these animals by zoo visitors.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Friday, March 4, 2016, 1:30 pm

The Dutch painter Frans Post was the first European-trained artist to paint landscapes in the New World. His depictions of the Dutch colony in northeast Brazil provided Europeans some of the earliest glimpses of South America. After a seven-year stay in Brazil, Post returned to the Netherlands to create for the Dutch art market numerous landscape paintings of this remote and exotic place. James Welu, Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum, in Massachusetts, explores the wealth of information these paintings offer, both about the land that inspired them and the people who acquired them.

Ancient Jewish scroll now legible

This video says about itself:

How to open an ancient scroll without touching it | Science News

21 September 2016

Researchers describe the digital steps it took to unwrap a charred, roughly 1,700-year-old scroll and read its ancient Biblical text.

Credit: Seth Parker, Univ. of Kentucky.

From Science News:

Digital rehab exposes Biblical roots of ancient Israeli scroll

Virtual unwrapping reveals Hebrew text inside fragile artifact

by Bruce Bower

2:00pm, September 21, 2016

Researchers have digitally unwrapped and read an ancient Hebrew scroll that’s so charred it can’t be touched without falling apart. It turns out the document contains the oldest known Biblical text outside of the roughly 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, the investigators say.

Archaeologists discovered the scroll’s remnants in a synagogue’s holy ark during a 1970 excavation in Israel of En-Gedi, a Jewish community destroyed by fire around 600.

In a series of digital steps, slices from a 3-D scan of the En-Gedi scroll were analyzed to bring letters and words into relief on a pieced-together, virtual page. Those images revealed passages from the book of Leviticus written in ink on the scroll’s disintegrating sheets. Radiocarbon results date the scroll to approximately 300, making it the earliest copy of an Old Testament book ever found in a holy ark, scientists report September 21 in Science Advances.

This computerized recovery and conservation process can now be used to retrieve other ancient documents “from the brink of oblivion,” the researchers say.

How to read a book without opening it. Radiation technique can aid studies of ancient texts. By Emily Conover, 6:00am, October 19, 2016: here.

Colours in painting, video

This is a September 2016 video in Dutch, with English subtitles.

In it, Dutch artist Monica Rotgans discusses paint and other material used by visual artists.

According to Ms Rotgans, the colours in many old paintings have deteriorated through the ages, as, eg, paint decayed.

Eg, the painting The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh now looks grimy and dark; while, just after Van Gogh had painted it, there was much more light in it.

The cause, Ms Rotgans says, is Van Gogh’s use of Prussian blue paint, which makes paintings darker as it decays eventually.

New Hercules Segers paintings discovered

This video shows the painting by Hercules Segers: View of Rhenen.

Music: Bach: Pastorale BWV 590.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Rijksmuseum discovers six new paintings by Hercules Segers

Today, 00:48

A team of specialists from the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has discovered during the preparation of an exhibition on Hercules Segers six new paintings by the seventeenth-century artist. Segers’ work is very rare. Until this discovery art historians ascribed ten to twelve paintings to the painter and graphic artist. The total number of known works by Segers is now sixteen paintings and two oil sketches. …

Segers had his own technique for etching and printmaking. Art historians call him a pioneer of colour printing. Rembrandt owned eight of his paintings.

Between October 7 and January 8, 2017 a complete overview of Segers’ works will be in the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition consists of 18 paintings, 110 print outs and 54 prints. After January 8 the collection will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

See also here.

Seventeenth-century poetess’ wedding ring discovered

Maria Tesselschade's wedding ring

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Experts agree: diamond ring is Maria Tesselschade’s wedding ring

Today, 15:34

A diamond ring and a shoe found during archaeological research in Alkmaar belonged “with probability bordering on certainty” to 17th century poetess Maria Tesselschade.

Her father, the ship owner Roemer Visscher, named her Tesselschade (“Damage on Tessel/Texel”), because he had lost a ship near Texel island on Christmas day 1593, three months before her birth.

Experts have established this. Almost certainly the ring was her wedding ring.

Maria Tesselschade [Roemer’s] Visscher (1594-1649) was part of the Muiderkring group, to which famous writers like Huijgens, Bredero and Vondel belonged. She is often described as the muse of the group.

The ring and shoe were found along with engraved glass fragments which had been previously established as Maria Tesselschade’s property.

Large fire

The finds were made in the Langestraat in Alkmaar, where she lived. The archaeological research there, where in the seventeenth century were the most expensive houses of the city, began in 2015 after a major fire during the New Year. …

From the shape of the cut [the experts] could conclude that the diamond ring was made in the 1620s. This corresponds to historical data: Maria Tesselschade married Allard Crombalch in 1623. …

‘Historic sensation’

Alkmaar Alderwoman Van de Ven today publicized the new discoveries. She calls the findings a historical sensation. “Apart from her preserved hand written correspondence so far no personal belongings of her had been found. The discoveries make a tangible picture of a very special woman.”

The archaeological finds will be on display from February 2017 at a temporary exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.

Maria Teselschade’s most famous work is a 1642 poem about a nightingale. It concludes by saying how wonderful it is that such a small bird can sing so beautifully.