Tag: Republican politics
What is that smell?
Remember Hitler’s Boogaloo Boys
Hitler with SA Brownshirts
The key to reading history of Nazi Germany, a wise professor once explained to me, is to attempt to understand the logic and mentality of those who embraced the Nazi movement without ever losing sight of what an ultimately absurd and fundamentally evil project theirs was. This is the approach readers must bring to Daniel Siemens’s Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts, a superbly detailed account of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the main paramilitary wing of the Nazi party from its inception in 1920 until the consolidation of Hitler’s power in 1934. Siemens, a professor of European history at Newcastle University, looks beyond the traditional trope of the SA, or “Brownshirts” as they were commonly known, as a group of rowdy young psychopaths looking to brawl. His book paints a far more frightening portrait of a million-member organization that flourished by promising young German men a world of hypermasculinity, camaraderie, and egalitarianism—with genocidal undertones…
Of course, the phenomenon of far-right militias taking up the mantle of “border defense” in the face of migrant influxes is hardly a thing of the past. Present-day groups such as the BNO Shipka in Bulgaria or any of the sundry militias in the Arizona desert similarly seek to supplant the democratic state as the protector of the “people” and the “homeland.” While there is no group of equivalent influence to the SA in America today [article written in 2018] histories like Siemens’s should give pause to those who would think that the problem of far-right violence will disappear if we simply dismiss it as the actions of a few thugs.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was…
Cartoon: The Party of Trump
Florida scientists discover super termites
A hybrid colony of Coptotermes termites. A king C. gestroi (nutty-brown abdomen) is shown on the left, and a queen C. formosanus (orange abdomen) on the right. They are surrounded by their hybrid offspring, including eggs, larvae, workers, and soldiers.
Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) and Asian subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi) are the most damaging pest species in the world. Both are highly invasive and have spread throughout many areas of the world due to human activity, and their distributions overlap in some areas.
Now scientists in Florida have observed Formosan males mating with Asian females — in fact, they seem to prefer the Asian females more than females from their own species — and their hybrid offspring seem to grow colonies twice as fast as their parents…
Many hybrids are unable to reproduce…And many hybrids that actually can reproduce tend to lose vigor after one or more generations, which is why farmers often buy new hybrid seeds each growing season…But so far that doesn’t seem to be the case for these termite hybrids. In the laboratory, the Florida researchers are raising a hybrid colony that is growing twice as fast as same-species colonies, suggesting a potential case of hybrid vigor…
While these laboratory observations remain to be confirmed in the field, the results still raise a tangible concern about the hybridization of these incredibly destructive pests, which could have significant economic impacts…
However, even if they do not produce viable reproductives, the hybrids could still be problematic in the wild. A C. formosanus colony can grow to contain millions of individuals within five to eight years, and since the hybrid colony in the UFL lab is growing at least as fast as its parental species, it’s reasonable to assume that hybrid colonies will also contain millions of termites after five years or so…
“What we are dealing with here is a termite colony that acts like a super organism,” said Dr. Nan-Yao Su, another UFL professor and co-author of the study. “Whether or not it produces reproductives, the colony itself poses a serious threat to homeowners.”
Florida’s Republican governor is a reasonably consistent thug. He’ll probably handle this threat to homeowners the way he handles climate change. First, he’ll deny it exists. Them, he’ll order all scientists on the state payroll to censor their work so there will be nothing on the record admitting to the danger.
Philosophical idealism is laughable outside the world of academia. Attempting to justify a causal relationship between concepts held in thought – and material reality – is always refuted simply by the absurdity of trying to prove something comes from nothing. In today’s Republican politics, molding the bigotry of neo-cons around a core of religion and superstition, politicians behave as if denying a problem will make it go away. Refusing to answer a question will somehow eliminate the physical processes that provoked the question in the first place.