9/8/18

Senseless Protest:The Emptiness of Both Sides of the Kneeling Issue

Protest and What It Means by Frank Russo

 There has been a lot of talk recently about Colin Kaepernick, kneeling and Nike that has come up once again due to the latter’s politicized usage of the sport stars fame for marketing purposes. Oddly enough, or perhaps not so oddly, this has had a huge effect on the Christian community which has seemed to double down on either the social justice gospel and the self flagellation that comes with it, or in reactionary language and rhetoric, in which they burn their Nike products and counter protest.

Now, the jury really is still out on if kneeling is disrespectful, be it to American values or the American troops. That's not an argument that is meant to be made here. What is my argument to make is that we need to address the racist implication of what is being said and done by the Kaepernick crowd.

First we must look in on the accusations being leveled. I've seen it from two angles, the first of which comes from a secular parody of Christians and the second coming from the Babylon Bee, a Christian parody source. Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Perfect Christian is a Facebook page owned by a secular satirist. One of her segments included a speech about Kaepernick and kneeling in which she accused American Christians, (of course specifically white Christians), of wanting black people to “know their place”, a phrase that it constantly used by leftist demagogues to imply, rather overtly, that white Americans still have a “klan” mentality.

This first source was an older source and the rest of her material is the usual one dimensional leftist propaganda filled with the rantings and delusions of the everyday social justice warrior. The newest source, which mirrored and echoed this sentiment, is the Babylon Bee, who posted a satire about a “conservative male”, (obviously depicted as being white), who supported black people's right to protest as long as they did it “quietly in their own home”. The message, while using differing and less obvious language, was the same one that the secular satirist used, (bad news for the Babylon Bee? Evidence of it becoming and evangellyfish organization? The jury is out),.

The insinuation is the same. White American Christians just don't want to hear black voices in any meaningful way and we are just racists who think black people should, “know their place”.
While there are undoubtedly white people who feel this way, I doubt any of them are actually Christian, (this coming from a former alt righter who claimed to be a Christian at the time so i have a bit of authority on this), and I have to seriously take issue with characterizing an entire group of people based on their skin color. I know that my lack of support for the kneeling crowd has nothing to do with black voices. It just has to do with disagreement. I don't believe black people shouldn't have a voice or should be silenced. In fact I believe they should be given a platform to speak which is a bit better than the media groups who have silenced Alex Jones and other conservatives, (does Facebook have a racist bias against white men? This is that logic in actions).

Simply put just because Colin Kaepernick speaks does not mean I or you or anybody has to agree with him. While it might be ignorant to do so I am not even bound by law to even listen to Black Lives Matter or the kneeling crowd. I don't believe that he shouldn't be allowed to kneel or speak but I do believe I have the right to vocally disagree with what he says or how he does it. Me personally? I don't really care for the protest. I disagree with it's tenets, (blacks are being targeted by police), it's rhetoric, (you disagree with my protest ergo you're a white supremacist who wants blacks to know their place), or it's screeching if I'm being completely honest.

I won't burn my Nike shoes, (I never owned any), or screech in moral indignation. I think the last place morality can come from is the adultery filled, wife beating permeated and felony soaked NFL. I've stated the case of why I think the self flagellation of white Christians is stupid before, I've also stated the case of why this whole if you're not with me you're against me mentally is bad and why it's soaked into the evangellyfish community is bad. Let me go over the facts on why i think the protest itself is stupid. It's over police brutality yes? Let's look at the statistics.

In 2017, 987 people were shot to death by police. Of these 473 were white males while 223 were black males. It is true that whites are the majority population in the United States while blacks constitute about twelve percent of the overall u.s population. This would indicate that blacks are being “targeted” at a higher rate than whites. However, despite being a minority 50% of murders in the United States are committed by black males. There is a myriad of reasons for this such as poverty, social collapse, lack of fathers and none of them involve race as a cause. That's not the argument I'm making. The argument I'm making is that you're more likely to be mauled by a tiger if you're a zookeeper than a normal civilian. Your exposure is the proving point of that. Ergo it's only logical say that with the black community's higher involvement with law enforcement, they are more likely to have violent encounters with law enforcement, especially when you consider how many black males are involved in violent crime. That is not to say white males aren't involved in violent crime, that is to say that it is disproportionate to population size.

Consider this. 940 of the 987 people shot by police in 2017 were men. That means that men in general are being targeted by police at a rate that is 95% more than women. Do we claim that there is a police war on men as a result? Or do we recognize statistically that men are more involved in violent crime than women by a large margin? Or is that sexist to say there are differences between the genders? Wait, I said there are only two genders. I keep making oopsies here.

The fact of the matter is that no, there is not a widespread police bias against black men in general. Are there racist police officers? Of course. Just like there are racist teachers and doctors of every gender,(the two there are), race and sex,(wait gender and sex are the same thing, sorry),.

The knee jerk reaction of those on the right to this issue is not one of statistics and logic, the game we just played above, but of whataboutism such as when they point out black on black crime. The left’s response to this is “why don't we talk about white on white crime?” And then again, it's because you're racist. However, the right is not the one that has to carry the burden of proof on this issue. When the left out out a campaign entitled “Black Lives Matter” one would have to assume that they meant all black lives matter, not just the ones killed by police that can be used as political leverage. So let's do the stereotypical thing and talk about black on black crime, white on white crime, and how it relates.

The number of whites murdered in 2017 numbered 3,005 with only 409 being murdered by black perpetrators. That means that the majority of whites were murdered by other whites. The number of blacks murdered was 2,409 with only 189 being murdered by whites. A rather small number in comparison to the overarching idea of a dangerous America for minorities. That means that 79% of black Americans killed, are killed by other black Americans. My point is that police shootings, which are often justifiable self defense, are not the major focal point of what is killing black males on the streets of America.

My point is that drug related gang violence is the real bane of our communities, and black communities in particular. You do nothing for black Christians by self flagellation, police bashing, kneeling or buying Nike just like you do nothing by burning your Nike shoes, protesting the NFL or fighting back against evangellyfish online. The only way we can health violence in all communities is by sharing the gospel and praying for revival. Racial reconciliation isn't working ladies and gentlemen. Works based salvation will never help. You're avoiding the causes of sin and hoping that if you're just a good enough ally you'll help fix the problem. You're not helping our black brothers and sisters by lying and going along with an agenda based on skin color. You're aiding and abetting racism. Giving ammunition for the real racists to use. Instead read scripture on why killing happens.

James 4:2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

9/6/18

The Fall of the Third Republic and the Reasons Why

By: Frank Russo

On May 10th, 1940, Operation Fall Gelb commenced with German armored forces spearheading assaults through the Ardennes and over the Mouse river into France. In conjunction with this assault came separate assaults on Belgium and the Netherlands, with astonishing success. It was an unprecedented assault, and nobody, not even the German high command flush from successes against Poland, expected it. The French high command was sent reeling and was never able to recover. There are many questions that remain. The most pressing is, “what went wrong” for the French and “what went right” for the Germans.

Modern historians and revisionists alike point to German invincibility and French decadence as the answer to both of these questions. In fact, many consider it a verdict on secular republicanism as a whole. And in many senses they are right. But in many senses they are also dead wrong. Before looking at the events of  May 1940, we must look at the 1930s and French policy as a whole. Following the first world war, threats loomed greatly over the French nation. ¼ of their land was devastated by the fighting and there were still signs everywhere of what happened. Subway seats were still reserved for disabled veterans. Movies and reels were shown every day in French cinemas. The trenches had not even completely vanished.

The French of the post war years were a people who were bound together in a collective memory of suffering, in which their armed forces and countryside had effectively been used by their allies as a blunt to the German colossus. In the event of another war with a rising Germany the French had no desire to once again take the brunt. But in order to forestall such a outcome, the French needed allies. These were short in coming. In 1914 the French could rely on the Russian empire to serve as strong ally and force the Germans to fight a two front war. In 1940 this was not the case. The Russian empire was gone and in its stead stood the Soviet Union, an authoritarian power bent on continental domination just as much as the Nazis. Aside from this stood the fact that anti communism was a uniform ideology that bonded both right and left, (or at least many parties on both ideological sides), in French parliamentary politics.

Aside from that the Soviet Union by the time of the late thirties was no longer in the mood to form an anti fascist Bloc as it was in the early and mid thirties. Josef Stalin, had started to reach out to pro Moscow parties across Europe, the most famous of which was the Popular Front in France, in order to build an anti-fascist coalition. However, following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, attempts were made by many in France, most notably French socialist Prime Minister Leon Blum, to force intervention on the side of the Republican loyalists against the Nationalist forces of Francisco Franco. The Republican forces were soon overtaken by communist and socialist factions which dampered any enthusiasm held by the British for direct military intervention on the behalf of the Republicans. Blum, seeing direct intervention as an impossibility,instead advocated for a mutually agreed upon non-interventionist policy between all major European powers.

This was not to come to fruition either as the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany would send aid to the nationalists,(in the Fascist party Bloc), and the Republicans,(in the communist party Bloc) ,. This left a bad taste in the international community’s mouth, a community already afraid of communist subversion. If a movement to protect democratic institutions could so easily be overtaken by Moscow loyalists, what would come of any such coalition that included the Soviets? In any case the point would become moot for two major reasons. The first being that France was largely subservient to Britain in its foreign policy decision making and in the United Kingdom anti-communist sentiment ran too high. The second was that any such coalition would become impossible on August 23rd, 1939 when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, a nonaggression treaty between two powers that despised each other. The pact sent shockwaves through the world and left France in a worrying position.

From Stalin’s perspective, the move was one of forward thinking. He knew that Hitler was dedicated to the destruction of communism and the addition of the Soviet Motherland to the German Reich. The nonaggression treaty was simply to buy time. Stalin as well wished to let the western Allies take the brunt of Hitler’s attack and let a world war one style stalemate play out which would drastically weaken German forces and resources. The great purges of the 1930s had killed off 40,000 experienced military officers of the Red army and by all field projections Stalin's advisers had told him that the Red Army was not ready for war.

While Russian political maneuvering would not pay off in short term, France was still left with very few allies. The loss of backing from potential anti-fascist communists,(now being ordered by Moscow to back down), was a harsh blow. To further enhance the embarrassing lack of friends Belgium refused to ally herself to the French via coalition and voided a 1929 agreement, instead opting for strict neutrality. The Dutch were equally, if not more so, uncooperative. While the Belgian government itself struck to the path of appeasement, its top military officers remained in conversation with the French high command, attempting to coordinate defense and assault plans. This is still a indicator of how alone France must have felt. The low countries could not be counted on.

It may come as a shock but Italy was also an ally that France looked to to blunt German aggression. In 1936, Hitler began to saber rattle against Austria, demanding it's addition to the Reich or war. Italy,(a fascist power but at this point not an Axis one), was against such an action as it would put Germany on an even more impressive footing in case of war between the two powers. Thus the Stresa front was born, an alliance between Mussolini,(Italy), Daladier,(France), and Chamberlain,(Britain) that forced Hitler to back off on his demands and leave Austria alone, (for the time being),. The Stresa front was almost a thing of French dreams but it was indeed to good to be true. In 1937, Mussolini would invade Ethiopia, sparking international outrage, especially in England.

While Italy was not officially punished, (in fact it would take over Ethiopia), the relationship was soured. England would begin to distance itself from the Stresa front and not amount of French posturing for unity would keep it together. The same year the pact of steel would be signed, officially tying Italy and Germany together in an alliance. France was quickly running out of options. The United States, while sympathetic, was officially neutral and England was more intent on appeasing Germany than fighting her. It took the 1938 seizure of Czechoslovakia following the Munich agreement to stoke serious British opposition to Germany but at this point it was almost too late, at least for France.

We must now turn to the military side of affairs in order to get a good glimpse of the situation. To all intents and purposes the French army was superior to the Wehrmacht from a numerical scale. It had more numerous and better tanks than the Germans and in fact had more motorized units than the Wehrmacht. This was even before the outbreak of hostilities following the German assault on Poland. In fact, following Poland, Germany was without a full quarter of her armed forces. If there was ever a time for the French to attack, it was the winter-spring of 1939-1940. The French did not attack. The reason for this is well known. The French high command was still dedicated to outdated modes of defensive warfare. In fact France’s overall military plan was to absorb a German attack, (preferably anywhere but on French soil), blunt it, gather supplies and men before pushing back into Germany and winning the war.

Hitler in fact wanted to attack the French Homeland in November, a move that would have been disastrous had the German high command not dissuaded him. The Polish campaign, while a stunning success, had cost the Germans much and they needed time to regroup. They also needed a plan of attack. The Maginot line, spanning from the Mediterranean to the Ardennes, was immediately not an option. Despite being outdated tactically, it represented the world's most impressive defense line. It had only one major flaw. It did not extend all the way to the English channel. The French, not wanting to upset the Belgians, had declined to extend the Maginot line across their border. This left Northern France particularly vulnerable to a Schlieffen style plan of attack, which is exactly what the Germans had originally planned. That was until a German officer, carrying the invasion plans while on a recon flight, was shot down and interrogated revealing the German plan of attack.

This prompted the German command to make a quick change. The Ardennes, considered impassable for tanks, was the new route of invasion. The area was the one that was only sparsely defended by lower quality French troops while the French moved all their motorized and crack troops north to where the German attacks meant to originally be, a fatal mistake as it would turn out.

Many mock the idea of the Maginot line but when it was conceived it was actually quite a brilliant solution to many problems. While undoubtedly expensive the line would be less expensive than maintaining a larger standing army, which was a huge bonus, especially in a time of economic crisis. The French economy actually began to improve by the time of the rearmament drive, the production of planes and tanks actually outpacing the Germans. The SOMUA main battle tank and the CHAR B1 were fearsome threats to German tanks. But they suffered from the same problem that hampered the planners of the Maginot line. They failed to grasp the full measure of modern war. While the Germans used mass tank formations for quick piercing attacks to be followed up by infantry assaults, the French preferred to use line formations for their tanks in mostly defensive maneuvering.

Another fatal flaw of the French tank organization was a lack of radios. Line of sight was necessary for communication whereas the Panzer divisions acted with a good degree of flexibility due to their ability to exercise a fair degree of autonomy. This was proven on May 10th, when a diversionary raid kept the elite French forces in the North busy while General Rommel and Guderian advanced across the Ardennes and the Meuse. Their assault met initially fierce resistance and almost ended in calamity as British air forces and French fought to get a crack at the army advancing into them. However, German anti air was just too good. 45 of the 71 British bombers were downed and German tanks were able to provide lateral fire on the French positions to allow their engineers to build bridges.

General Heinz Guderian, a tank commander, wanted to keep going. However, field marshall Von Kleist, afraid of the idea of his panzers outpacing the infantry. Guderian, ignoring his orders, swept through to the coast cutting allied forces in half and sealing Frances fate. While their soldiers fought hard eventually France would seek a negotiated peace and Marshall Petain would take over, installing an Authoritarian regime that was collaborationist. France was not defeated by Germany alone. It was defeated by outdated military tactics and a political elite that was all too willing to surrender. This is evidenced by Prime Minister Reynaud needing power to Maximillian Weygand and Marshall Petain, both military elites, who disavowed Charles De Gaulle's move to make a government in absentia in London.

They also refused to acknowledge the chance of starting a resistance movement from their African colonies, stating that any Frenchmen who left French soil was committing an act of treachery by doing so. In this way these select few military men had dashed any French hope of continuing the war. France had done everything in it's power to make sure the water did not advance on their own soil. Their adventures in Norway and their hopes of an Eastern front were indicative of this attitude. In the end however, the shocking triunoh of the Wehrmacht had proved too much and French spirit was dampened. The third republic, claimed to be especially weak and decadent but in reality no more so than any other democratic power at the time, was killed by a majority vote in the National Assembly on June 25th, 1940 with Marshall Petain assuming dictatorial powers from the spa town of Vichy in southern France.

9/3/18

Historical disinterest, a values dilemna

By: Jonathan Harris

The study of history cannot be neatly contained behind the tall foreboding doors of an ivory tower nor swept under the rugs of dusty corner offices housing stacks of paper. It bleeds into other fields as it serves to inform both individual and group identity. It gives context to the current world and helps one understand their place in it culturally, socially, and spiritually. The modern disinterest in studying history has more to do with a lack of identification with the subject matter presented than it does an actual disdain for stories of the past. 

Joyce Appleby, a former history professor at UCLA, sought to explain this controversy as a somewhat unsurprising development given the collective nature of history and the cultural change occurring in American culture. For example, Appleby, in discussing the inclusion of African-American experiences into the greater story of America, tells us that “incorporating these details of the African-American experience in national history . . . proved almost impossible, because they represented such an indigestible element in the tale of American democracy (Appleby, Telling the Truth About History, 299). In other words, the traditional consensus would not stand for African-American history that shown poorly on the greater narrative. Part of Appleby’s solution for attracting interest in the subject of history while avoiding the discarding of traditional concerns was to democratize the subject along pragmatic lines. A moderation intended to include newer groups who have been allegedly left out of the American story while still maintaining an overall group cultural identity was the goal.

Appleby’s solution comes across in some ways as overly naive and optimistic. If her assessment is accurate the question then becomes, “Are disenfranchised groups desiring their cultural stories to be incorporated into the larger American story?” Perhaps this is taken for granted since the battle Appleby may have been observing was being played out in board room tug of war matches located in American history textbook manufacturing plants. It would be nice to think that everyone could “just get along,” but this is rarely the case over something so fundamental to national identity. The question is not asked, “Why do Irish, Italian, Jewish, German, and perhaps many Asian cultures not seem (broadly speaking) to have the same problems identifying with the American story as other minority groups, though they experienced varying degrees of bigotry as well?” Could it be that certain groups are not interested in history, especially American and Western history, not because they do not feel included, but rather because they fundamentally have a dislike or disagreement with the country in which they reside. They simply do not wish to identify. Perhaps the common ground with one’s culture necessary for even forming an identity is not present. It is likely that the only exposure to American or Western history known by many is a negative. Since the divide in this matter is also generational, this would certainly suggest that the proposed solution will not work. Appleby may as well have been trying to un-poison a well in that case.

So how can history be made more relevant? Most humans do not wish to know a great deal about something they find offensive. Repulsion gives birth to avoidance. After all, if one knew their great-grandfather was a horse thief, drunk, and a swindler, how much more about their grandfather would they want to know, and would they ever make one of their children his namesake? If parents are not engaged in civic duties, families are too broken down to impart identity, and Hollywood produces art that vilifies American heroes, teaching names and dates will not suffice to cultivate an interest in a topic thought to stink in the first place. Though it be an up-hill battle, perhaps the only option available to the historian is to first become the philosopher. If the values passed down through law, legend, and lore are castigated as fundamentally offensive, then the values themselves are what need explanation and defense first, not the stories that flow from them.

If one thing remains clear it is this: All people use standards by which to judge those who preceded them. If the theme of American history is to be “how the people of the United States did terrible things and continue to do terrible things,” it would not come as a surprise that such a course would need to be mandatory in order to have any participation. The more moderate alternative (hinted at by Appleby), “how the people of the United States failed to live up to their values but are getting better” is not much of a rallying cry either. If the standard of measure for judging the past happens to be egalitarianism, there does not seem to be any way of recovering an interest in American history as a identity marker. Its main function will most likely be sacrificed on the alter of identity politics.
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