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Archive for the ‘Atrocities’ Category

This picture shows an example of heavily armed but unmarked riot “police” in the streets of Washington, DC. Mind you, we don’t know who these people are. With no names, no identification and no badges we have no idea. If we were to be assaulted by one of them, there would be no recourse whatsoever. Is this not frightening to anyone?

Whether you are a 46-year-old black man, or a white female college student, or New York State Senator Myrie, or Rep. Ocasio Cortez, any of these thugs could assault you, possibly even kill you, and there’d be no recourse. How is this possible? How do we tolerate this?

Word is that these are mercenaries from Erik Prince, the brother of our illustrious Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, but how would we know? Also, do you all realize how expensive these forces are? Do we know how much money Trump is funneling into this buddy Prince’s pocket right now under the guise of national security?

The corruption is immeasurable.

I can’t believe I am writing this, but it seems like it’s time that we exercised our beloved Second Amendment Rights.

At the time when it was ratified, the Second Amendment was intended to have at least two security purposes other than a well-regulated militia:

  1. a practical purpose, to protect people from thieves, bandits, Native Americans, and slave uprisings
  2. a political purpose, to remind the rest of the world that the United States is well-armed

I haven’t been assaulted by any Native Americans in a long time, and I don’t know anyone who has been. We don’t have slaves anymore, so uprisings are not a danger. It also goes without saying that the rest of the world has, since 1792, figured out that the United States is well-armed.

However, the founders had another objective with the Second Amendment: During the early massive shift of power from the states to the federal government, the Anti-Federalists argued that the states and the people needed to be armed in case of federal usurpation of power. As a result, the American people are well-armed, as we all know, and as the NRA has been making sure we would be.

The picture above makes me feel assaulted by the federal government. Perhaps I should go to my local gun store (an essential business, after all, per the NRA), buy myself a few AR-15s, a helmet, a shield, black gloves and sunglasses, and go out there and fight for my freedom.

In other words, I should exercise my Second Amendment rights – since the federal government is clearly now turning against its own citizens.

Do you all see how Great America has become Again?

 

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As of this moment, 641,919 people are confirmed infected with COVID-19 in the United States, and 28,399 have died from the disease. Our government does not act like that is a huge deal. So far, the death toll has been like eight 9/11 catastrophes in a row, or over ten Pearl Harbors. I have not yet heard Trump utter any type of sorrow, remorse or empathy with the victims. Tens of thousands of Americans dying on his watch does not seem to faze him very much, other than it’s inconvenient, since the crash of the economy may affect his re-election.

28,399 dead people, so far, is a pretty big deal to me.

Remember when Benghazi happened? For a year after that, night after night, Hannity was droning on about “4 Americans dead, and Hillary Clinton is responsible!” Hannity got a lot of mileage out of the “4 Americans dead” phrase, and the “Lock Her Up” chant came out of that propaganda.

Our Pro-Life government seems to have a lot of interest in protecting unborn life, but once the life walks the streets of American cities, it does not seem so important to them anymore. And once the life is old enough to be in nursing homes, they seem to opt to not even count them amongst the dead anymore. I hear more and more talk about “they would have died soon anyway….” Remember the outrage we had about the “Obama death sentences for grandma?”

Pro-Life? Call me confused.

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I don’t know who Bill Mitchell is, and from the looks of this tweet, I don’t think I want to know.

There are so many things wrong with the statement above:

“losin it” who retweeted this with profanity is right. Who is “we” in this context? And who is Bill Mitchell?

Comparing the systematic, organized, planned murder of 6 million, per the Nazis “undesirable” people, mostly Jews, over several years during World War II with a viral pandemic in 2020 is entirely ludicrous. Despicable even.

Again, who is “we?” And to get the record straight, the Germans did shut down their economy, whether by plan or by default. Perhaps Bill Mitchell should read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer – my review here – and see what happened to the German economy during and after the war. It’s 1143 pages though, so it’ll take a bit longer than reading his tweet.

Perhaps Bill Mitchell should read Hungerwinter by Häusser and Maugg – my review here – which describes what happened to the German people after the war, when there was no economy, after their fearless leader first blamed the German people for the loss of the war (they didn’t have the will to win) and then blew his own brains out. That book is only available in German. Not sure if Bill Mitchell could read that.

So his claim about shutting the economy down is wrong, notwithstanding being an outlandish and inappropriate comparison.

Finally, COVID-19 is a virus, not a rogue government. In first world, modern and industrialized countries like Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, the virus seems to kill about 10% of those verified to come ill with it (understanding that many are probably unreported). That’s a huge percentage of fatality. In the United States, we have now 340,000 verified cases, that would mean we should expect about 30,000 to 40,000 of those to die, if we follow the same trajectory as Italy.

And here is the kicker: These are the death rates with a still functioning and moderately coping healthcare system.

What does Bill Mitchell think will happen in any country once the sick have no more place to go, when the hospitals simply can’t accept any more patients? Obviously, the death rate will go up. People will just perish in their homes.

Uncounted.

Does Bill Mitchell want an economy, or does he want to live?

I can answer for myself:

I can live without restaurant food, without movies, and without malls for a few weeks, or even a few months, as long as I get to live afterwards.

I am not likely to go to Hobby Lobby when I am dead.

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World War I was one of the deadliest conflict in human history. Almost 40 million people died in that war. We generally think of WW I as the war of trench warfare. Soldiers lived in trenches on both sides of the front.

In April of 1917, two young British soldiers, Shofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), are sent on an impossible mission: cross into German-held territory in northern France and warn the commander of a British unit of about 1,600 soldiers about a deadly trap they don’t know about. Without any means of communications, the two soldiers are hand-carrying a letter. Blake was picked because his brother is a lieutenant in the endangered unit and the commanding general assumes that will give Blake the necessary motivation.

They only have one day and one night for the mission, since the unit is scheduled to attack in the morning and run into the ambush.

The movie follows the two hapless soldiers on their journey. The entire picture is filmed in one continuous shot, not in individual scenes. This gives the action some urgency and fluency. As they progress through the war-torn wasteland, they come across an endless stream of corpses in trenches, ditches, bunkers, on fields and in streams. The brutality and horror of war comes to life in 1917, and the senselessness of it all is ever present.

Some people just want to fight.

And therefore, many others have to die.

As I watched 1917, I realized that Adolph Hitler was a common German soldier in that war, and the experience of the conflict, and the aftermath and subsequent humiliation of the German people, was one of the driving forces that shaped his world-view and fueled his eventual rise to power – just to repeat the whole atrocity again.

Everyone should watch 1917 for the political and humanitarian message it sends, not just because it’s going to win many awards.

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Stolen Dreams and Childhood


Three questions come to mind:

  • Which of these children cried: “How dare you, you have stolen my dreams and my childhood!”
  • Which of these children was never given the opportunity to cry?
  • Which of these children had the slightest reason to lament and complain?

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Germany’s president is Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The president of Germany is a largely ceremonial position, with the chancellor serving as the chief executive. In the U.S., our president serves as both. In Germany, these duties are spread over the two positions. At the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, when the U.S. president made a serious faux pas by “congratulating” Poland and stating it was “a great country,” Steinmeier asserted at a ceremony:

I Affirm our Lasting Responsibility

— Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Germany did a lot of damage in the world during the last century and it still as an inferiority complex as a result to this day. Contrary to what the U.S. president currently often does when world affairs do not go right, namely blaming his predecessors, blaming his staffers and appointees, or blaming other nations and their leaders, the president of Germany took responsibility for the brutal and unprovoked attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 that started World War II.

Steinmeier and I have a few things in common. His mother was born in Breslau, which is in now a part of Poland and called Wrocław. She was a refugee after the war. My father was also born in Breslau, and he was a refugee. Steinmeier was born in 1956. I was born in 1956. When I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, World War II was ancient history to me. I only know the Germany of the economic miracle of the 1960s. Due to his age, the same would be true for Steinmeier. I am certainly not personally responsible for the atrocities committed by the people of Germany in World War II, even though my grandfather was a German soldier of low rank serving in the Wehrmacht during the war, and several of my uncles from the maternal side were reportedly members of the SS, even though I never had a chance to actually talk about this with them. It was not talked about then.

There are very few Germans alive today that were alive during World War II. Those who are still with us were children then. Nobody of any position of responsibility or authority is still alive. Nobody who has personally committed atrocities is still alive. And yet, the German president affirms the country’s lasting responsibility for damaging the Polish nation, resulting in the deaths of about six million Polish citizens, about a fifth of the country’s pre-war population, both by the occupation by Germany and then the Russians when they attacked from the eastern front. Six million Polish civilians were killed by war crimes, crimes against humanity and by starvation.

The U.S. president congratulates Poland for this.

The German president affirms his country’s lasting responsibility, even though he himself was born 17 years after the event.

Nations carry responsibility for their actions. The United States is currently responsible for millions of civilian deaths due to wars it started in Afghanistan and Iraq, which triggered conflicts all over the Middle East. That responsibility will remain with our nation. I wonder, in the year 2099, when a U.S. president, who is today not even alive yet, gives a memorial speech for the victims of these wars, whether he will exhibit the same sense of responsibility and grace for those victims?

Countries are bigger than people. They can do more good, and they can do more damage. Where does our country rate today? Will we be proud of our actions today come 2099?

 

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This Sunday morning in the San Diego Union (of Sep 8, 2019) I found this article:

[click to enlarge]

Our government just issued another permit to allow a Michigan trophy hunter to import skin, horn and skull of a rare black rhinoceros he shot in Africa. The guy paid $400,000 to anti-poaching programs for the privilege.

Our government needs to stop issuing these permits. So do those of other nations, including China. To be fair to Trump, he has issued “only” two such permits during his tenure. Obama issued three since 2013. My question is, what do those trophy hunters have that makes our government bow to their pressure?

There are only 5,500 black rhinoceroses living in the wild, half of them in Namibia. And they are allowing some of them to be killed by trophy hunters. In what universe do you have to live for this to make sense?

The argument is that the money from trophy hunting funds the anti-poaching efforts. Scary as it seems, it’s probably correct, but I believe it’s still misguided.

I call bullshit.

If there were a properly conducted crowd-funding campaign to collect $400,000 to offset this one Michigan man’s permit, I believe it would be successful. If only 400,000 people around the world put in just one dollar, it would be accomplished. I’d put in a lot more than one dollar.

I really think we need zero tolerance for all big-game hunting, both trophy hunting and poaching. We need to make it so big game hunting is socially viewed as disgusting, so nobody can get away with it anymore. Those hunters with heads of big game in their lodges in Michigan, Montana and Shanghai need to be embarrassed about the trophies, not admired. Only once the practice is socially unacceptable in all rich countries will this stop.

I know that this is not likely to happen, and we will kill those last 5,500 rhinos.

Then where will the Chinese get their placebo rhino horn powder?

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Here is a list of books about Nazis and their atrocities that I have read and reviewed in this blog. You can follow the links to the reviews.

Books about Nazis and their atrocities

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Lale was a Slovakian Jew who was ordered by the Nazis in 1942 to go to a work camp. After days of travel in a cramped and filthy cattle car, he stepped off the train in the infamous Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

Rather than despairing, he commits himself to survival. Because he speaks six languages, he is chosen to become the tattooist, the person who marks arriving prisoners with a number on their arms. He serves as the camp’s primary tattooist from 1942 to 1945. The position comes with privileges, like his own room to sleep in, additional rations, and the ability to come and go with much more freedom than the common inmates. Through his resourcefulness, he starts smuggling food into the camp, not just for himself to survive, but to help as many of his fellow prisoners as he can. One day, when he writes a number on a trembling girl’s arm, he looks up and instantly falls in love. Her name is Gita. Over time they develop a friendship and eventually a love that transcends the conditions in the camp and gives them both a reason to survive, and fight for their future.

This story is based on the true experiences of Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, the tattooist of Auschwitz. Just last month I posted this story about three men who arrived at Auschwitz on the same day and had their numbers only 10 apart. Chances are high that we’re looking at Lale’s work.

I have heard people talk about how good this book is and that it’s a love story. I found that – yes – it’s a love story, but that is not the reason to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The reason to read it is because it illustrates life in a concentration camp and it shows the atrocities the Nazis committed, the murders, the mutilations, the humiliation, the forced starvation, the diseases, upon millions of innocent men, women and children. There are many books about Auschwitz, and this is one more, but in my opinion, you can’t read enough of those.

Fascism, and what it does to people, must be exposed, over and over again.

 

This book reminds me of many other books I have read and documented here that deal with the subject of Nazis and the atrocities they committed in the concentration camps. I have compiled them here in a separate post.

 

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In April 2013, I reviewed the book Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy. It tells the story of a Sylvia Perlmutter, a Jewish girl in the Lodz ghetto who was liberated in 1945 when she was 12 years old. Out of a quarter of a million people in the ghetto, only 800 survived, and of those 800, only 12 were children. Sylvia was one of them.

When I read the book in 2013, I wrote this in my review:

The Germans, for reasons I do not understand, took all the children away in the latter years and told their parents they were going to care for them better than they could in the ghetto. However, the children, being of no use to the Germans as workers and only a distraction to the adult Jews, were jammed into cattle cars and taken to death camps like Auschwitz, which was only a few hundred kilometers south from Lodz – where they were killed within hours of arrival.

What bestial people take babies, toddlers, small and older children under 14 away from their parents by force, by the thousands – with the full intent to just kill them? My German ancestors did.

The desperate parents went to extraordinary measures to hide their children. When the soldiers went house to house, they kicked open locked doors and ransacked apartments, looking for children in closets, trunks, under beds, wherever they could possibly be hidden. The agony the parents went through is unimaginable.

The agony for the children – well, you need to read Yellow Star to find out.

The key sentence here is:

What bestial people take babies, toddlers, small and older children under 14 away from their parents by force, by the thousands? 

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Here is what our agricultural system does to animals. This calf is wearing a device that prevents it to suckle from its mother. Can you even imagine the frustration? This is what homo sapiens does to its subjugated species just so there is a good supply of milk.

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If I was a guest at your house for a backyard BBQ party and

  • I mocked your father or grandfather who was a prisoner of war?
  • I mocked your disabled child by making spastic movements?
  • I mocked your neighbor’s family who lost a son in Afghanistan?
  • I mocked your daughter who had been sexually assaulted?

You would throw me out and I would likely no longer be your friend – at best.

And yet, here is our president doing exactly those things on national TV, and the people standing behind him laugh and applaud and act like this is funny.

It would be horrendous if I did it as a private citizen. You would throw me out and beat me up.

But here is the man who holds the office that we teach our schoolchildren they should look up to as a role model, and we accept it.

It destroys the dignity of the presidency, and it may take generations before the image and decorum recovers.

I don’t know exactly what the people standing behind Trump laughing and applauding really think deep inside. But I know that I think that Trump is a despicable human being, one that I will try to forget about quickly once he is voted out of office.

I also don’t know exactly what the Republican leadership, all those men and women that ran against Trump in the campaign, are thinking. I remember Rubio and Cruz saying that it was our duty to make sure that Trump never got anywhere near the Oval Office.

Really – damn their careers – one or more of these cowards need to stand up, man up, and do what they know is right, and do what they are really thinking inside, and end this national disgrace of a reality show of a country.

We need to take our country back.

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Testmarketing a Dictator

[picture credit: Irish Times]

From the Irish Times:

Read this article and watch the 2-minute video, and scare yourself shitless.

 

 

 

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I am tired of Trump supporters telling me that Trump is a brilliant business man. He is not. He is a failing business man who routinely files bankruptcy when he can’t make his businesses work, stiffing his creditors and workers. He is a con man who spent his entire career sucking money out of the middle class to enrich himself. Trump University is just one example.

Trump knows the game of the rich class, and he is putting on a circus for the middle class to distract us from what is really going on. The ultra rich, and the corporate world, are benefitting from what is going on quietly behind the scenes while we’re all distracted by the dazzling magic show of blunders and corruption and outrageous stagecraft at this rallies.

He puts on the Immigrants are Evil public show, knowing fully well that none of his facts make any sense, immigrants have nothing to do with the problems of America, because he knows we can only be angry about one thing at a time.

It’s the deeds of Congress and his cabinet behind the scenes that we should really be worried about. Here are just a few of them:

  • Dismantling National Parks or opening them to exploitation by mining and logging.
  • Removing consumer protections imposed on banks and credit companies.
  • Instituting tax cuts that favor businesses and super wealthy individuals and are largely meaningless to the middle class.
  • Neutering the EPA, whose mission it is to protect the public from corporate pollution.
  • Dismantling the Department of Education and pushing our public funds to private for profit schools where we have no control over the use of the funds.
  • Increasing the military budget and thus feeding the military industrial complex. The increase of $80 billion this year alone is more than the entire military budget of Russia.
  • Removing civil rights protections.
  • Removing all our work toward research and protection against climate change. This is the worst crime of all, since it’s going to take decades to fix, and our grandchildren get to clean up the mess. This is a crime against humanity.

Watch the hand behind his back, not the circus in front of our faces.

We, the middle class, are getting hurt and exploited everywhere along the way. The debt is skyrocketing. Some day we will have to pay for all this, and Trump won’t be around to help with it.

Corporate America is doing great and the middle class is not getting the benefits. That’s why the stock market is rising.

When it all comes crumbling down, the rich aren’t going to be affected much. They’ll still eat and travel in helicopters. It’s the middle class that will lose everything – once again.

Trump will long be gone by then.

We will still be here.

 

 

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