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There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

From NPR:

President Trump said on Tuesday “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Va. The statement comes a day after Trump specifically called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists — and three days after his initial statement on the protests, for which he was criticized for not condemning those groups and instead cited violence “on many sides.”

Tuesday’s apparent backtrack came during a televised event about infrastructure attended by some members of his Cabinet. Trump took questions from reporters, who asked about his earlier statements and their timing. When pressed, the president pushed back and began placing blame on counterprotesters and the “alt left.”

Instead, he returned to equating the demonstrators — who came to the college town to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, donning Confederate flags and swastikas, some carrying guns and shields, chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” — with counterprotesters.

… and in the transcript section at the bottom of the NPR piece is a very revealing Trump quote:

You had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides [emphasis added].

Right… those racist bigots on the alt-right side are very fine people – model citizens!

This was part of a press conference that was supposed to be about infrastructure. Reporters were more interested in his response to the chaos in Charlottesville – and respond he did in ways that stunned pretty much everybody except leaders of the alt-right like Richard Spencer, who said he was “Really proud of him”.

Trump’s erratic, volatile statements elicit such strong responses from the public, the media, elected representatives and other government officials that his agenda gets buried in the dust. He is without a doubt the worst leader to ever reside in the White House. He lacks any sense of right and wrong, and is ignorant of how government works. He is overtly vainglorious and responds to those who criticize him with impulsive, petulant tweets.

How much longer can such a morally bankrupt, incompetent person hold the office of President of the United States of America?

One month? Six months? a year? a full term?

Wagers anyone?

D-Day Remembered on 70th Anniversary

D-Day Remembered on 70th Anniversary

Friday, 6th of June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, when a fleet of aircraft and an armada of ships delivered an invasion force of American, British and Canadian soldiers to liberate France and the rest of Western Europe from Nazi German occupation.

Airborne troops preceded the seaborne invasion to secure vital bridges, causeways and approaches to the beaches. Unlike their British allies, the US paratroopers were badly scattered in the drop but this fact actually served to confuse the Germans and impede a coordinated response.

To the east, the British and Canadians at Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches, and the Americans in the far west at Utah Beach were met by relatively light resistance, which enabled a speedy deployment inland. But American troops at Omaha Beach found themselves subjected to a cauldron of machine gun, mortar and artillery fire directed from the heights above the beach, and the issue remained in doubt for the balance of the day. But even here the assault would succeed and the Allies would go on to build a beachhead from which they would never be driven.

With the passage of time it’s easy to forget the enormity of the task and risks that confronted the allied soldiers on that day in June 1944 and thereafter. Before them Fortress Europe, defended by arguably the best army in the world, formidable even in this 5th year of the war. Whilst German infantry formations were of uneven quality, many had a cadre of battle hardened veterans that made them tough on defense. This was particularly so in the confined countryside of what would be the American sector of the beachhead in the west of Normandy, characterized by fields bordered by almost impenetrable hedgerows – the bocage. The Germans would also deploy some of their best armored (panzer) divisions in Normandy. These were exceptionally well equipped and possessed of high quality personnel.

Allied air superiority would be overwhelming, and especially useful in attacking and delaying German reinforcements to the Normandy front. However, airpower was also used indiscriminately at times by the Allies and the people of Normandy would suffer grievously, such as in the bombing that all but destroyed Caen.

Most American divisions lacked battle experience and this would prove brutally expensive in lives lost as they struggled against a well-entrenched enemy who skilfully utilized the defensive advantages afforded by the confining and claustrophobic bocage country.

By occupying the more open country to the east, the British and Canadians would draw the formidable German panzer divisions. In a slugfest of epic intensity both sides would be pummeled but, critically, the elite German units would be pinned down, to afford the Americans time to mount the decisive breakout offensive which would lead to the defeat and near destruction of the German forces in Normandy.

My family and I had the privilege to visit Normandy in the spring of 2010. We stayed in the lovely town of Bayeux. We visited the British and Canadian military cemeteries, saw the Pegasus Bridge secured by British airborne troops in the wee hours of June 6th and drove the length of the British and Canadian D-Day beaches. We stood atop the bluffs scaled by US Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc near Omaha Beach, and saw Utah Beach from which American forces advanced to secure the vital Contentin Peninsular.

View from concrete bunker overlooking Omaha Beach close to where the Rangers scaled Pointe du Hoc.
View from concrete bunker overlooking Omaha Beach close to where the Rangers scaled Pointe du Hoc.

On a grey, drizzly day that somehow seemed appropriate, we visited the US military cemetery at Omaha Beach, with its myriad rows of white grave markers facing west – towards the country that sent those who lie beneath them.

For those interested in reading more on D-Day and the Normandy campaign there are many fine books. My favorites are:  Six Armies in Normandy by John Keegan, Eagles and Bulldogs in Normandy 1944 by Michael Reynolds, and Antony Beevor’s D-Day The Battle for Normandy.

Adolf Hitler was a Meth Head

Adolf Hitler was a Meth Head

German World War II soldiers’ drug of choice.

pervitin-thumb-570x392-123230

From The Atlantic:

Pervitin was the early version of what we know today as crystal meth. And it was fitting that a German soldier would become addicted to the stuff: the drug, Der Spiegel notes, first became popular in Germany, brought to market by the then-Berlin-based drugmaker Temmler Werke. And almost immediately, the German army physiologist Otto Ranke realized its military value: not only could the methamphetamine compound keep fighters (pilots, in particular) alert on little sleep; it could also keep an entire military force feeling euphoric. Meth, Spiegel puts it, “was the ideal war drug.”

And it was, as such, put to wide use. The Wehrmacht, Germany’s World War II army, ended up distributing millions of the Pervitin tablets to soldiers on the front (they called it “Panzerschokolade,” or “tank chocolate”). The air force gave the tablets to its flyers (in this case, it was “pilot’s chocolate” or “pilot’s salt”).

Soldiers took it in tablet form. Hitler mainlined it.

Hitler himself was given intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician, Theodor Morell.

Hitler the meth head, Gangnam style:

And you think like I do, you are probably thinking Pervitin would make a great band name. Too late, already done.

 

Richard Iott, Republican, Enjoys Dressing Up like a Nazi

Richard Iott, Republican, Enjoys Dressing Up like a Nazi

Richard Iott, a Republican “Tea Party” candidate is running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District.

Joshua Green of The Atlantic asks, why is he dressed like this?

Iott Nazi
Richard Iott, second from the right

Richard Iott claims it’s all in fun, anyone who says otherwise is just playing dirty politics.

From The Atlantic article:

When contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. “No, absolutely not,” he said. “In fact, there’s a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you’ll find that on almost any reenactment website. It’s purely historical interest in World War II.”

The Wiking website says their reenactments are all about fighting communism, not killing Jews. but…

Historians of Nazi Germany vehemently dispute this characterization. “These guys don’t know their history,” said Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., a retired history professor and author of “Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death’s Head Division, 1933-45,” which chronicles an SS division. “They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred.” Sydnor added that re-enactments like the Wiking group’s are illegal in Germany and Austria. “If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you’d be arrested.”

Richard Iott, meet Lt. Aldo Raine “The Apache” from Inglourious Basterds:

Lt. Aldo Raine: Y’know… Utivich ‘n myself heard that deal you made with the brass. “End the war tonight”?… I’d make that deal. How ’bout you Utivich, you make that deal?

Pfc. Smithson Utivich: [busy scalping Herrmann] I’d make that deal.

Lt. Aldo Raine: I don’t blame ya! Damn good deal! And that purty little nest you feathered for yourself. Well, if you’re willing to barbecue the whole high command, I ‘spose that’s worth certain considerations. But I do have one question. When you get to your little place on Nantucket Island, I ‘magine you’re gonna take off that handsome-lookin’ S.S. uniform of yours, ain’tcha?… That’s what I thought. Now that I can’t abide. How ’bout you Utivich, can you abide it?

Pfc. Smithson Utivich: [finishes scalping Herrmann] Not one damn bit, sir.

Lt. Aldo Raine: I mean, if I had my way… you’d wear that goddamn uniform for the rest of your pecker-suckin’ life. But I’m aware that ain’t practical, I mean at some point you’re gonna hafta take it off. So. I’m ‘onna give you a little somethin’ you can’t take off.

Forehead Swastika

Bob Dylan on Hitler and Obama

Bob Dylan on Hitler and Obama

If you’re looking for the big link here, sorry.  No comparison. 

I read an interview with Bob Dylan today in the the August edition of Mojo Magazine.  Bob had many things to say about his career, his songwriting and his “voice” in the songs that he says is always himself.   You can read the whole interview here, but here are a couple of excerpts that I thought were worth passing around.  The first is Bob’s impressions of Obama and how he doesn’t expect too much of him, because most all presidents don’t live up to their expectations:

What in his book would make you think he’d be a good politician?

Well nothing really. In some sense you would think being in the business of politics would be the last thing that this man would want to do.  I think he had a job as an investment banker on Wall Street for a second – selling German bonds.  But he probably could’ve done anything. If you read his book, you’ll know that the political world came to him. It was there to be had.

Do you think he’ll make a good president?

I have no idea. He’ll be the best president he can be. Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men. Johnson would be a good example of that … Nixon, Clinton in a way, Truman, all the rest of them going back.  You know, it’s like they all fly too close to the sun and get burned.

The second one jumped out at me because of the Nazi post last week and because I recently saw Inglourious Basterds, about the American team of Nazi hunters.   (Quentin Tarantino’s best film in years.  Go see it!)

Do you remember images of Hitler from growing up?

No, not growing up. He was dead by the time I was four or five.  I never had a real understanding of that.

Never had an understanding of what?

How you take a failed landscape painter and turn him into a fanatical mad man who controls millions.  That’s some trick.  I mean the powers that created him must have been awesome.

Well, the social and economic conditions of the Weimar Republic were so different than now.

Yeah sure, looking back in hindsight, you can see that someone would have to take control.  But still, it’s so perplexing.  Like why him?  You could see that the man’s a total mutt.  No Aryan characteristics whatsoever.  You couldn’t guess his ancestry. Brown hair, brown eyes, pasty complexion, no particular type of stature, Hitler mustache, raincoat, riding whip, the whole works. He knew something.  He knew that people didn’t think.  Look at the faces of the millions who worshipped him and you see that he inspired love.  It’s scary and sad.  The torch of the spoken word.  They were glad to follow him anywhere, loyal to the bone.  Then of course, he filled up the cemeteries with them.

Like Leonard Pitt said last week, Obama is no Nazi and definitely not a Hitler, so he won’t be exterminating the white race like so many of his deluded detractors want every fool to believe.

Barney Frank’s Frank Response to an “Obama is a Nazi” Imbecile

Barney Frank’s Frank Response to an “Obama is a Nazi” Imbecile

What was Barney talking about when he said, “vile, contemptible nonsense?”  Let Leonard Pitts explain:

So I thought it would be good to make you sick, i.e., to spend a few minutes reminding some and teaching others what you invoke when you invoke the Nazi regime.

For the record, then: it was Nazis who shoved sand down a boy’s throat until he died, who tossed candies to Jewish children as they sank to their deaths in a sand pit, who threw babies from a hospital window and competed to see how many of those “little Jews” could be caught on a bayonet, who injected a cement-like fluid into women’s uteruses to see what would happen, who stomped a pregnant woman to death, who once snatched a woman’s baby from her arms and, in the words of a witness, “tore him as one would tear a rag.”

That’s who the Nazis were, ladies and gentlemen — those obscenities plus 6 million more. They were the triumph of ideology over reason and even over humanity, the demonization of racial, religious and political difference, the objectification of the vulnerable other. And the authors of a mass murder that staggers imagination, still.

You would think, then, that where they are invoked to draw a parallel or make a point, it would be done with a respect for the incalculable evil the Nazis represent. You would think people would tread carefully, not because of the potential insult to a given politician (they are big boys and girls) but because to do otherwise profanes the profound and renders trivial that which ought to be held sacred by anyone who regards himself as a truly human being.