Tag Archives: Nazis

Where has Dick Cheney been hiding?

Paging the former vice president of the United States, Richard Bruce Cheney!

You might recall — as I do — that Dick Cheney was a vocal, frequent and occasionally obnoxious critic of President Barack H. Obama. Yes, throughout Obama’s two terms as president, Cheney was making himself available on TV and radio talk shows to tell us how the president was endangering the nation, that he was the “worst foreign policy president” in U.S. history.

So, Obama leaves office. Donald John Trump Sr. takes over. Trump has made a mess of a lot of things.

The Russia matter? Allegations of collusion with the Russians? North Korea? Declaring that an aircraft battle group was steaming toward Korea when it actually was traveling in precisely the opposite direction, from Australia into the Indian Ocean?

Then we have the domestic stuff: Charlottesville and the president’s seeming cozying up to Nazis and Klansmen; the transgender ban in the U.S. military.

Where is Cheney? Mr. Vice President, have you nothing at all to say about the new president? You were pretty damn quick on the verbal trigger when Barack Obama was the man in charge.

It’s not that I necessarily want to hear what the former vice president has to say. It’s just that the current political debate seems so quiet without his voice.

GOP taken over by ‘this hateful man’

We haven’t heard much from John Danforth since he left the U.S. Senate.

The highly respected former lawmaker — who also happens to be an Episcopal minister — has weighed in heavily against the president of the United States.

Sen. Danforth is urging the Republican Party — to which he is a member — to toss aside the principles espoused by Donald John Trump Sr., who he described as “this hateful man” who promotes division and disunity in the nation he governs.

One must accept that political figures from opposing parties are going to criticize those in high office. Danforth’s critique, which he offered in an essay published in the Washington Post, is another of a stunning array of criticism coming from politicians within the president’s own party.

It makes me ponder whether Trump actually is seen by Republicans as one of their own. Or is he a major-league anomaly, a political freak who elected president by a series of flukes that no one saw coming?

Danforth has laid down an important marker for his fellow Republicans. He writes of Trump: “He stands in opposition to the founding principle of our party — that of a united country.”

Read Danforth’s essay here.

Look back just a few days to the rhetoric he has spouted. He talked of “many sides” being responsible for the violence in Charlottesville. He doubled down a few days later by declaring that “both sides” were at fault and that “both sides” had “good people” clashing in the Virginia community, which brings to mind the question: What kind of “good person” marches with Klansmen, Nazis and white supremacists?

Such language from the president drives huge wedges between groups of Americans, which is what I believe Sen. Danforth seeks to underscore in his essay.

“For the sake of our party and our nation, we Republicans must disassociate ourselves from Trump by expressing our opposition to his divisive tactics and by clearly and strongly insisting that he does not represent what it means to be a Republican,” Danforth writes.
Nor does he “represent” anything about the presidency of the greatest nation on Earth.

Not much peace and harmony in that speech

That didn’t last long, not that anyone really and truly anticipated it would.

Donald John Trump Sr. spoke briefly on Monday about the need for America to heel the wounds that divide it, about how returning heroes fighting overseas to defend us need to return to a country where all Americans love each other.

Then came last night’s campaign rally. The president donned the brass knuckles yet again and tore into: The media, critics of his responses to the Charlottesville riot, the two U.S. senators from Arizona, those who oppose his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats in general, key congressional Republicans.

He tossed in a few insults along the way. Yes, the president reverted to form. Trump showed us once again — as if we needed reminding — that his version of “acting presidential” bears zero resemblance to what the rest of the nation understands that term to mean.

I’ll give him a sliver of credit at least for declining to pardon one of the nation’s most divisive lawmen, former Maricopa County “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio, who has been convicted in connection to his harsh treatment of illegal immigrants. Trump, though, did seemingly imply that a pardon was pending; so, we’ll just have to wait for that act to puncture the national mood with even more collateral damage.

Another bit of good news? No one was seriously injured outside the hall during the protests that were mounted against Trump’s speech.

We’re only seven or so months into Trump’s term as president. We have three more years — maybe — remaining before the next presidential election cycle.

Acting “presidential” used to mean that our head of state lifted our spirits, comforted us in times of trouble and appealed to our higher ideals.

Those moments are gone — at least for as long as Donald Trump occupies the Big Office in the White House.

Swastikas are back in the news … for the wrong reasons

The “Greatest Generation” of Americans marched off to war in 1941.

Millions of them went off to fight the Empire of Japan in the Pacific; millions of others went in the other direction, to take up arms against the Third Reich and its fascist allies in Italy.

The Nazis who governed Germany did so under the banner featuring the swastika, which has remained the symbol of unequivocal evil over the decades since the end of World War II.

Events of the past few days have brought that symbol back to the fore in the United States. It’s good to ponder for just a moment the very notion that Americans would associate themselves with that symbol in any fashion.

The Charlottesville riot over the weekend involved Nazis who marched under that very banner yet again. They wore the swastika on their t-shirts, on arm bands. They adhere to the very philosophy that perhaps their grandparents or great-grandparents fought. Perhaps they lost ancestors in that conflict.

How in the name of all that is holy can anyone associate themselves with that philosophy? How can they in good conscience stand with that symbol of evil? Oh, wait! I guess I assumed that such sociopaths even have a conscience. Silly me.

I have my own deep-seated bias against that symbol. My late father enlisted in the Navy in early 1942, not long after our country entered World War II. He wanted to get into the fight right away and Uncle Sam obliged, sending him to Europe to wage war against that swastika.

And he did. His involvement in the Mediterranean theater of operations was intense. It was brutal. Men who fought under that swastika tried to kill my father — repeatedly and I am quite certain with maximum malice. Dad responded with equal intensity.

Quite obviously, he was able to come home at the end of the war. He got on with the rest of his life.

Over time, he talked occasionally about his war experience. He didn’t hate Germans. He did hate the symbol under which those young men fought against him. As I grew up, I was imbued with the feeling of hate as well for that swastika.

As we’ve seen over many years, though, not all Americans share that hatred. Some of us embrace that symbol. For the life of me I cannot fathom it.

But here we are, talking to each other once again about an emblem that symbolizes the very worst in our human existence.

And to think that the president of the United States has just elevated those who today are marching yet again under that evil symbol effectively to the same level of those who oppose them.

Call out the president by name, GOP leaders

We’ve heard a lot of chatter about the responsibility of leaders to name their adversaries by name, to call out those who act irresponsibly or reprehensibly.

Republicans implored Democratic President Barack Obama to label international terrorists as “radical Muslims.” Obama declined during his time in the White House, saying we must not suggest the terrorists are associated with a great religion.

Just recently, we heard others say that a Republican president must call out the instigators in the Charlottesville riot by their names: white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen. Donald Trump at first declined to do so, then he did.

Today, though, he reverted back to his initial response to the violence in Virginia, blaming it on “both sides.” He sought to attach some sort of moral equivalency between the racists who were protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with the counter protesters.

The president put on a shameful display today at Trump Tower.

So it now falls on Republicans across the land to call out the president — a fellow Republican — by name. There’s been a lot of social media chatter from GOP leaders about how we must not tolerate hate groups, racists, bigotry, anti-Semitism. It’s no longer enough to denounce these hideous groups. It’s time to denounce the president who today demonstrated what he truly believes about these hate mongers.

They now need to take the next step. These Republican leaders — including members of Congress — need to say: Donald Trump, you are consorting with hate groups and we will not tolerate such disgraceful behavior from the president of the United States.

I mean, c’mon. Are they going to seriously tolerate a word of good cheer for the president’s performance today from David Duke … of all people?

Not everything was saved in The Netherlands

rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands — Our friends in The Netherlands took great pains to show us communities that were spared the ravages of world war.

Indeed, the nation is a gorgeous collection of Renaissance architecture. Its neighborhoods charm the socks of those who see them for the first time.

Amsterdam is mostly water and a canal cruise is an absolute must for any visitor. My wife and I took one on a warm sunny day in that beautiful city.

Rotterdam is a magnificent city, too. But for a different reason.

It was essentially rebuilt after World War II. Rotterdam was not spared the savage consequences of armed conflict.

The Nazi air force, the Luftwaffe, bombed central Rotterdam into oblivion as it fought to conquer The Netherlands. Adolf Hitler’s high command expected the conquest to take 24 hours; it took the Nazis five days to subdue the Dutch, who put up extraordinary resistance against the invaders.

What emerged from the rubble is a city of gleaming skyscrapers ringing one of the world’s largest and busiest harbors.

The picture attached to this brief post is of one of those modern marvels. My wife and I, along with our friend Coen, took a high-speed tour of the harbor. We saw hundreds of ships in port, anchored in the harbor waiting to dock and we saw one ship that had been hoisted out of the water, sitting in a drydock.

ship

Yes, some neighborhoods survived the aerial onslaught that devastated Rotterdam. Our journey to Europe that enabled us to see Old World charm also exposed to us a country that was able to rebuild a great city.

The Dutch did that in Rotterdam.

Anne Frank’s wish came true

anne-frank-house-amsterdam

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands — Anne Frank wanted her words to outlive her

They have done so, but perhaps not in the manner the little girl ever thought.

There’s a museum on a street corner in downtown Amsterdam. Inside the museum is the girl’s house, where she lived with her mother, father and older sister.

The house was their prison. They had to hide there, inside where Anne Frank’s father, Otto, ran his business. They couldn’t go outdoors. They couldn’t be heard by anyone beyond the walls. They had built a bookshelf to hide the doorway where the family was hidden.

The house imprisoned them, but there were no bars.

Their imprisonment was due simply to their religion. They were Jews and Adolf Hitler had begun his genocide against them.

Anne Frank kept a diary. It has become the stuff of literary legend. It has been published in countless languages.

This German girl whose family fled to The Netherlands to escape the persecutors of Nazi Germany wrote of her life in “prison.” She wrote with stunning eloquence.

One of the most stunning elements of this exhibit lies in the silence that envelops it. All the scurrying, the noise, the hustle and bustle outside the walls of that place is lost the moment you walk inside. It reminds me mildly of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., where one can hear chatter right up to the moment you stand before The Wall; then it becomes something of a religious experience.

One gets the same sense of spirituality when walking through Anne Frank’s house.

She lived just 15 years on Earth. The Nazis from whom she and her family were hiding found her and her family eventually. They sent them to Auschwitz.

Only her father survived. Otto Frank lived until 1980, and only after retrieving his daughter’s diary and ensuring that it was published.

It is an astonishing exhibit to see up close. The courage of this girl has lived through the ages since her death.

My sense is that it will live forever.

I don’t know if Anne Frank knew she would die so soon after she wrote these words in her diary on April 5, 1944: ” When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!” She died of typhus in February 1945.

It doesn’t matter, really, what she might have known.

This little girl should inspire all of us who have followed her.

Hideous demonstration erupts at UC-Davis

How to describe what took place on a California university campus.

Hideous? Ghastly? Unconscionable? Reprehensible?

All of the above … and then some?

Sure, let’s go for it.

A group of anti-Israel students this past Thursday disrupted a University of California-Davis rally by Jewish students by shouting “Allahu Akbar!,” an Arabic phrase that means “God is great.” The pro-Israel students sought to protest a student government decision to divest from Israel as part of a student movement designed to protest Israeli policies in the Middle East.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/02/03/pro-palestinian-students-heckle-cal-davis-opponents-with-cries-allahu-akbar/

It got worse.

Some unknown vandals spray-painted swastikas on a fraternity house. Swastikas! The very symbol of the Nazi regime that exterminated an estimated 6 million Jews prior to and during World War II.

Some anti-Israel student posted a note on a Facebook page about Hamas and Sharia law taking over the UC-Davis campus. Whatever. Actually, Sharia law hasn’t taken over anything — let alone a major public university campus. As for Hamas — the notorious terrorist organization that runs the government in Gaza — it has been identified for what it is: a cabal of killers.

But the point here is that this kind of monstrous behavior shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere.

The anger expressed on the campus is preposterous in the extreme.

Free speech is worth protecting — but it ought at least to be civil.