Witness accounts of 9/11

I remember all of this. It was the worst thing that happened in my lifetime. I worked across the street from the Trade Center, but hadn’t gotten to the office by the time this happened. I ended up working at an emergency site. I never worked in New York City again.

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Who goes Nazi: A parlor game

The stub-fingered krimson klad klansman has made Nazis fashionable. That where the legion of pump truppets have taken us. Now the question is “How do you spot a Nazi?”

Dorothy Thompson

Back in 1944, Dorothy Thompson, an American journalist and one of the most influential women in the country at the time, wrote a piece in Harpers Magazine titled “Who Goes Nazi.” The world was at war and everybody knew the Nazis were evil, they just didn’t know the depth of their depravity. But Americans wanted to figure out what kind off person would be a Nazi. Thompson envisioned a cocktail party and scanned the room looking for the guests who were inherently fascist:

It’s fun—a macabre sort of fun—this parlor game of “Who Goes Nazi?” And it simplifies things—asking the question in regard to specific personalities.

Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes—you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success—they would all go Nazi in a crisis.

Believe me, nice people don’t go Nazi. Their race, color, creed, or social condition is not the criterion. It is something in them.

Those who haven’t anything in them to tell them what they like and what they don’t-whether it is breeding, or happiness, or wisdom, or a code, however old-fashioned or however modern, go Nazi. It’s an amusing game. Try it at the next big party you go to.

Read the whole piece here. It explains why there are idiots who believe there are “very fine people on both sides.”

Thompson actually met Adolf Hitler. She interviewed him in 1931, before he took power in Germany.

“He is formless, almost faceless, a man whose countenance is a caricature, a man whose framework seems cartilaginous, without bones,” she wrote. “He is inconsequent and voluble, ill-poised, insecure. He is the very prototype of the Little Man. A lock of lank hair falls over an insignificant and slightly retreating forehead. . . .The nose is large, but badly shaped and without character. His movements are awkward, almost undignified and most un-martial. . . .The eyes alone are notable. Dark gray and hyperthyroid—they have the peculiar shine which often distinguishes geniuses, alcoholics, and hysterics.”

To that unflattering description, she added: “There is something irritatingly refined about him. I bet he crooks his little finger when he drinks a cup of tea.”

She basically saw him as a crank, maybe even a clownish buffoon, thinking that no sane electorate would choose him as their leader. As history.net puts it:

But she couldn’t believe that this “Little Man” could actually succeed in that grandiose goal. “Imagine a would-be dictator setting out to persuade a sovereign people to vote away their rights.” That idea seemed preposterous to her.

But the thing was, he didn’t need a majority of the popular vote to take power. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum notes:

In the Reichstag (German parliament) elections of November 1932, the Nazis lose almost two million votes from the previous elections of July. They win only 33 percent of the vote. It seems clear that the Nazis will not gain a majority in democratic elections, and Adolf Hitler agrees to a coalition with conservatives.

You’d think we would have learned something from World War II. But no one pays attention to history.

This is how a real president uses social media

From Barack Obama, on Facebook:

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

A comprehensive and cogent statement, grammatically correct and more than 140 characters. And when I read it, I can hear his voice.

Those were the days.

Mustardgate 2009

As we spend each day reeling from the latest assault on democratic decency by the early onset Alzheimer’s Crimson Bratman, Crooks and Liars asks us to step back and remember the scandal seering through the blackened hearts and space for rent head cavities of the typical viewer of Fox News.

And, today, if you ask rancid, rabid Fox viewer who’s the better president, they’ll pick the Man of Tweet every time.

That’s how divorced from reality the pump truppets are. And we’re supposed to consider their point of view?

I go back to this analogy:

It’s like taking a date to a fancy restaurant, and you want to order a nice steak, but your date wants anthrax and tire irons.

With Grey Poupon.

The history of Vladimir Putin

This is why he needed to knock Hillary Clinton out of the presidency and why he’s keeping his little pony in check:

You think the pony isn’t obeying orders?

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday intensified his accusations that NATO allies were not spending enough on defense and warned of more attacks like this week’s Manchester bombing unless the alliance did more to stop militants.

In unexpectedly abrupt remarks as NATO leaders stood alongside him, Trump said certain member countries owed “massive amounts of money” to the United States and NATO — even though allied contributions are voluntary, with multiple budgets.

His scripted comments contrasted with NATO’s choreographed efforts to play up the West’s unity by inviting Trump to unveil a memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States at the new NATO headquarters building in Brussels.

“Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks, or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever,” Trump said, referring to Monday’s suicide bombing in the English city that killed 22 people, including children.

“These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct … in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share,” Trump said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg defended Trump, saying that although he was “blunt” he had “a very plain and clear message on the expectations” of allies.

But one senior diplomat said Trump, who left the leaders’ dinner before it ended to fly to Italy for Friday’s Group of Seven summit, said the remarks did not go down well at all.

“This was not the right place or time,” the diplomat said of the very public harangue. “We are left with nothing else but trying to put a brave face on it.”

In another unexpected twist, Trump called on NATO, an organization founded on collective defense against the Soviet threat, to include limiting immigration in its tasks.

And Trump did say that the United States “will never forsake the friends who stood by our side” but NATO leaders had hoped he would more explicitly support the mutual defense rules of a military alliance’s he called “obsolete” during his campaign.

Instead, he returned to a grievance about Europe’s drop in defense spending since the end of the Cold War and failed to publicly commit to NATO’s founding Article V rule which stipulates that an attack on one ally is an attack against all.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying for their defense,” Trump said, standing by a piece of the wreckage of the Twin Towers.

“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years,” Trump said as the other leaders watched.

Nicholas Burns, a former long-time diplomat and ambassador to NATO from 2001-2005, now a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said every U.S. president since Harry Truman had pledged support for Article V and that the United States would defend Europe.

You undermine NATO, you give Putin more power.

Thanks, pump truppets.

Alternate history: the Civil War

The inspiring light to pump truppets everywhere said this:

I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to he Civil War, he said “There’s no reason for this.” People don’t realize you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?

There are many things wrong with this but let’s focus on one part by quoting the liberal bias of history:

Andrew Jackson
7th U.S. President
Andrew Jackson was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh President of the United States from 1829 to 1837 and was the founder of the Democratic Party. Wikipedia
BornMarch 15, 1767, Waxhaws
American Civil War
The American Civil War was an internal conflict fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America.Wikipedia
DatesApr 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865

 

Look at when Andrew Jackson died, and look at when the Civil War began.

This is what you did in middle school when you didn’t study the chapters on Andrew Jackson or the Civil War in history class and the teacher hit you with a pop quiz. Unless, of course, the ghost of Andrew Jackson showed up in the White House and told Abe Lincoln, “There’s no reason for this!”

Anything else?

Did anyone know? Uh, yeah. This was also on the pop quiz.

Anything else?

Ok, fuck it, We’ve failed the quiz.