Monday, October 6, 2014

Just Bloody Fed Up: October 7, 2014

October 7th, 2014

Neville Angove, The Black Swan

Been playing around, trying to get things done. I know that you can pay Google to list you higher in the search results, and that Wikipedia is as reliable as a $100 watch (that's $100 because a $10 watch is damn reliable until it fails comletely). But I do searches now that yield results that bear little resemblance to results I achieved five years ago. And when I try to correct errors in results, I am not allowed or asked to pay money!

For example, has the wrong derivation for my surname. It insists it was found first mentioned about the 16th century in Cornwall, and says it is derived from "an" (the) and "gov" (smith). This is wrong. But very convenient.

Nope. That is how today's Cornish describe it. But....

It comes from "Ango,", a place name in NE France. The word means "under dispute" in a local Germanic dialect. I first saw the name in an old atlas on display, in a glass case,  in a maritime shipping company, open to a page displaying France. The area I mentioned had the name "Ango" flowing across it, like a mapmaker's warning, "There be dragons here."

The location was the crossing of the major NS trade link from Germany to Marseilles, and the EW link to Normandy. In the late first millennium, my ancestors traveled both south and west, styling themselves as "of Ango" (D'Ango) or just "Ango.) This can be partly traced by current telephone listings. The group's going west were often styled "Angot" with the "t" silent (a common spelling), hence the later confusion about the spelling.

The extended family settled into Normandy and started a seafaring empire, visiting most of the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The were well enough established and influential in Normandy by 1066 to join with William the Conqueror in invading England (and definitely were involved in the invasion of Ireland in 1067), and by the middle of the 13th century were established in Cornwall as people of influence (and having adopted the name of "Trengove";  one record explained to me by Wendy Angove had one family - six children and two parents - with five different spellings of the name).

I do not know where "Tren" originated. I met a distant relative in Melbourne in 1976, named "Trungove," and he said his forbears had come from Wales. I know that "trun" was found in several central European dialects and vaguely meant "the place,", so I can imagine a forbear and Cornwall, when asked of his name, said he was (say) "Jean Trun Ango" in reply. To a French person, it would mean "Jean from the place of dispute," and easily be written by scribes as "Trenango" and eventually turned into "Ango."

Remember that the pronunciation of "Angove" follows a mix of English, French and German rules. Add general illiteracy and phonetic transcription by scribes, anything is possible. Why people think "gof" is involved is both simple and easy (and knowing how easy names are modified for little reason, definitely easy). "Gof" is often spelled as "Goff," to ensure the vowel is pronounced as short. It is also spelled as "Gough" to stop the vowel from being pronounced as long. If it is pronounced as long (as  in "although") is spelled as "Gof" instead, we are part way there. Remember that "gof" (long vowel) can be spelled as "gov" (using the Germanic pronunciation of "v"), with the "e" added to the end to mimic the French rule for making the preceding vowel long, then we have the accidental evolution of "Trengove" which has a vaguely Cornish ring to it. Illiteracy could have generated "Angove" by the 15th/16th centuries when it appears to have been first written that way (with the name probably pronounced as "Ango" to reflect its origins).

For various reasons the heavy "v" sound became standard. And for a name which has always been so easily misspelled, the "Angove" spelling has always returned (except in Eire and Scotland, where the name is rare in spite of the fact that the census data says that a large number of Angove women  migrated there). If the name was derived from "the smith," why are the names Thesmith, Thebaker, Theplumber, and so on, so rare? The article "the" was always removed. The name "Gove" is fairly common, but it first appeared in the UK in Aberdeen at the time of the French revolution (the reasoning is obvious), and spread south from there. It is not to be found in the west Scottish province of Gowan (pronounced "govvan") from whence it is supposed to have originated.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rubbery Holocaust Numbers

Go Figure on September 9th, 2014

During the 1960s I read that during WWII, the Allies calculated that the Nazis killed almost 4 million Jews and almost 2 million others during what was later called the "Holocaust."  This approximate figure was repeated often during the next few decades, even by representatives of the Holocaust Museum. So I had no reason to doubt it, and vilified those who denied this barbaric mass murder. I also saw this as undeniable reason for Israel to fight against Muslim attempts to destroy the re-occupied traditional Jewish homeland.

When the TV show, "Band of Brothers," had an episode on the military discovery of the Nazi concentration camps, the epilogue to the episode reported that 6 million Jews and 2 million others had been murdered. I thought this apparent error was typical of TV producers showing their high disregard for accuracy.

Until in a press conference a few weeks later when an Israeli politician, arguing his country's justification for fighting Arab terrorism, repeated the same 6 million figure! I took it as opportunism, since that figure would be known to enough people because of the TV show, and would be treated as factual.

Then last week, an editorial matter in my Sunday newspaper (yes, I read print, and in fact prefer it to the Internet because the author can't sneak in gross changes) mentioned that 5.5 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. I decided that I better check my memory, and found that the various articles on the Internet reported similar figures. Since I have solid, verifiable reasons to definitely distrust the generally unverified and unreliable "facts" reported on the Internet that contradict my experiences, I decided to investigate more deeply. I discovered that my fears were well-founded: all the articles I read, that others would find most easily, carried the same figures. But these were presented them in such a way that their accuracy and reliability were questionable and unverified except through other Internet articles that were equally questionable.

I cannot give a fuller argument in a single blog post to support my reasoning, but I will mention some of the most characteristic of the worrisome figures. I can say though, that the reported length of the Holocaust and the deaths due to it, have doubled since I read about it first fifty years ago. And I find no reason to reject those reports, just how the actual numbers were calculated. I can however argue that the contradictory figures I first mentioned at the start of this post are typically questionable, but in no way reject how poorly they reflect on humans, especially today.

The pages presented by "" are a good collection of about 90 paragraphs of information about the  Holocaust. They are also presented in such a way as to be good evidence of why careful editing can make obviously "anecdotal" information appear to be verified fact. The comments are based on information gleaned from other sources, including the Internet, and I haven't checked their accuracy. Please note however, that the sources quoted as references were published between 1998 and 2011. I have no idea what these references used as references, or how reliable they were (given the timescale involved, there would be enough accidental misreporting of misreports of misreports of  references to keep even Sherlock Holmes confused).

"The Holocaust began in January 1933...and ended on May 8th 1945...." The article continues with: "Between 1933 and 1945, more than 11 million men, women, and children were murdered in the Holocaust. Approximately six million of these were Jews."

I have no verification of these numbers, but since the length of the pogrom was doubled, increasing the number of Jewish murders by 50% to cover the extension of the period seems reasonable. I am disturbed that this is the first mention I have had that the non-Jewish murders being extended by 150% (from about two million) to cover the extended period. I would like an explanation why some people consider non-Jewish deaths at the hands of the Nazis and their sympathisers (especially in eastern Europe) to be less needy of accuracy.

The next comments in this article are interesting, and seemingly ignored by mankind at its peril. "Over 1.1 million children died during the Holocaust. Young children were particularly targeted by the Nazis to be murdered during the Holocaust...." This was published in a primary source on The Holocaust (Hayes, Peter. 1999. Lessons and Legacies: Memory, Memorialisation, and Denial).

The Nazis believed that since young children would parent the next generation of Jews, killing them would stop the next generation. The children were usually executed immediately on arrival at the concentration camps. No information on how many of the children were non-Jews, or what happened to the mothers (no waiting for the children to father the next generation if the mothers were allowed to live). But the positioning of the statement implies that the children were all Jewish.

Given the age distribution of the Jewish population, if it were a viable distribution, then there is a problem. Depending on the average age distribution of parents, their children, and their own parents, you would expect far less than five adults murdered per child murdered (no more than 3.5 per child murdered).

"An estimated 1/3 of all Jewish people alive at that time were murdered in the Holocaust." This was published in The Holocaust Encyclopedia in 2001. It conflicts with Angela Gluck Woods' book published in 2007, "Holocaust: The Events and Their Impact on Real People," that argues for 2/3 Jewish deaths out of a total population of nine million (in Europe, for these figures). I can't explain the discrepancy, but the six million/nine million pairing makes more sense (even though this still leave too few Jews after 1945 to rebuild the group).

"More than half of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were women. Most women with small children were immediately sent to the gas chambers...." This is taken from The Holocaust Encyclopedia. One reference quoted by this article (Byers, Ann. 1998: The Holocaust Camps), ascribed over one million deaths to Auschwitz, but at the end of the article, the same book has the number of deaths at this camp increased to two million.

Another "respected" source read for this post says in contradiction that at least half of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust were males, with the other half being women and children.  One of them has to be not quite correct. There seems to be no room for the children murdered.

One difficulty in querying the figures provided by the various sources is that each one seems to suggest that anyone who mentions that the figures given contain contradictions is a "Holocaust Denier" and therefore has no valid view.

There are other notions that suggest that writers are ignoring possibilities that should be considered. For example, a person was considered Jewish if just one grandparent was Jewish. Any children that person had fathered were not considered Jewish. It was irrelevant if that person had not practised that faith or did not associate with other Jews or did not considered themself to be Jewish, or was not considered Jewish for purposes of any census. Also, the Nazis often stated they preferred to move all foreign Jews to the concentration camps, to hide the industry of death. So not only was the total number of pre-Holocaust European Jews understated, the number of European Jew victims may have been overstated.

Nothing I have said in any way denies the number of deaths during the Holocaust. I just am arguing that there are many severe inconsistencies in how the figures are calculated and presented. Just one inconsistency casts doubts on the whole thesis, and 75 years have shown that a noisy minority will gleefully cast such doubts. Emotional attacks on anyone who even implies that there are such inconsistencies simply adds strength to the anti-Holocaust attacks.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Religious Terrorism

September 8th, 2014

Thus afternoon, the TV news reported that an auction for Islamic aims was held at the community mosque at Liverpool. The story referred to the auction of a copy of the flag used by the Islamic State religious terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. The flag sold for $2000, the proceeds to be used to support the mosque. But an attendee posted a video of the auction, along with a masked picture of himself and a promise to kill the Syrian president.

What struck me most forcibly was the denial of a spokesman for the mosque (?) that the auction of the flag was in any way to be taken as support for Islamic State, and that the flag was an old Islamic symbol that had be hijacked by Islamic State. This implied that the Islamic moderates who supported this auction were either incredibly stupid, or thought that Australian society as a whole was incredibly stupid.

There is no doubt that non-Muslims have seen this flag or anything similar as supporting Islamic State and its religious terrorism. There is no doubt that any Muslims or Arabic speakers would see this flag as definitely supporting these terrorists, regardless of any devout religious connotations it might have, and thereby showing that the moderate Muslims running the auction overtly supported the terrorists.

And if at least some of the religious moderates who attended the auction did not support the barbarism of Islamic State, how was it that at least one was able to attend the auction, record it, and post the recording and his own message of hate and murder on-line?

If any of those organising the auction were sincere in their protestations against the methods of Islamic State, or in their professed knowledge of the feelings of the bulk of western society about such barbarous behaviour, then they would have shown at least some small diplomacy and not included this flag in the auction. Instead they demonstrated a lack of understanding of the psyche of Australian society (and contrary to the pricks of the Labor Party, our society does not pander to Muslims of any persuasion). They demonstrated a possibility that they lied about not supporting the aims of Islamic State, if not its methods. They demonstrated to other Muslims that the unofficial line of the mosque was to tacitly support Islamic State.

Worst of all, the organisers fostered in the children of Australian Muslims, needing some guidance in a confused world, that murder in the name of religion was acceptable.

In spite of the either insincere or misleading protests by Muslim spokesmen recently, I was disposed to tolerate people who felt it OK to support the destruction of my society (I admit it could do with reform, but nihilism is the name of Allah and proposed by unrepresentative and unelected psychotics, does not promote my tolerance). My view is now that Muslims anywhere are no longer worthy of the benefit of the doubt, and doubt, under any circumstance, and if they object they can are welcome to go to Allah directly and let Him sort it out.