Category: Race and Ethnicity

FACT: Hitler gassed his own people

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post quotes a Wikipedia article that includes a graphic description of atrocities that occurred as part of the Holocaust. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


The Jewish holiday of Passover began at sunset yesterday, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer marked the occasion by saying this about the Holocaust:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in an effort to shame Russia’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons, said Tuesday Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during World War II.

While Hitler did not use chemical weapons on the battlefield, Hitler and the Nazis used gas chambers to exterminate Jews, disabled people and others.

Here’s the truth about the Nazis’ use of gas to kill millions of Jews, people of other ethnic groups, and disabled people as part of the Holocaust:

Starting in December 1939, the Nazis introduced new methods of mass murder by using gas. First, experimental gas vans equipped with gas cylinders and a sealed trunk compartment, were used to kill mental-care clients of sanatoria in Pomerania, East Prussia, and occupied Poland, as part of an operation termed Action T4. In the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, larger vans holding up to 100 people were used from November 1941, using the engine’s exhaust rather than a cylinder. These vans were introduced to the Chełmno extermination camp in December 1941, and another 15 of them were used by the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet Union. These gas vans were developed and run under supervision of the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office) and were used to kill about 500,000 people, primarily Jews but also Romani and others. The vans were carefully monitored and after a month of observation a report stated that “ninety seven thousand have been processed using three vans, without any defects showing up in the machines”.

[…]

All prisoners arrived by train at the extermination camps of Operation Reinhard. At Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Majdanek, entire trainloads were sent straight to the gas chambers. At Auschwitz, the camp officials on duty subjected individuals to selections. A small percentage of new arrivals deemed fit to work were sent to slave labor; the majority were marched from the platforms to a reception area where all their clothes and other possessions were seized. They were then herded naked into the gas chambers. Usually they were told these were showers or delousing chambers, and there were signs outside saying “baths” and “sauna.” They were sometimes given a small piece of soap and a towel so as to avoid panic, and were told to remember where they had put their belongings for the same reason. When they asked for water because they were thirsty after the long journey in the cattle trains, they were told to hurry up, because coffee was waiting for them in the camp, and it was getting cold.

According to Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz, bunker 1 held 800 people, and bunker 2 held 1,200. Once the chamber was full, the doors were screwed shut and solid pellets of Zyklon-B were dropped into the chambers through vents in the side walls, releasing toxic HCN, or hydrogen cyanide. Those inside died within 20 minutes; the speed of death depended on how close the inmate was standing to a gas vent, according to Höß, who estimated that about one-third of the victims died immediately. Johann Kremer, an SS doctor who oversaw the gassings, testified that: “Shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives.” When they were removed, if the chamber had been very congested, as they often were, the victims were found half-squatting, their skin colored pink with red and green spots, some foaming at the mouth or bleeding from the ears.

Sean Spicer has no clue of what he’s talking about. It’s an indisputable fact that Hitler gassed his own people. There might be differences between how Hitler and al-Assad used gas to kill their own people, but they both gassed their own people.

There is a serious anti-Semitism problem in America

The election of Donald Trump to our nation’s highest office has emboldened anti-Semitic extremists in America. Two recent example of this involves the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in the St. Louis, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas.

Last week, vandals damaged dozens of headstones in Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University Park, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. More recently, a similar act of mass vandalism occurred in Philadelphia at Mount Carmel Cemetery. While I don’t believe in God or the afterlife, I view grave desecration as blatant disrespect to the deceased and something that I have zero tolerance for. I thank those who have assisted in repairing the damage done to the cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania, especially to the Muslim community in America, which has raised funds for, and assisted in, repairing the damage done to the Jewish cemeteries.

On a related note, after narrowly losing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair race this weekend, Keith Ellison was picked by new DNC Chairman Tom Perez to be DNC Deputy Chairman. While many on the right, and some on the left, have smeared Ellison by trying to paint him as an anti-Semitic extremist, Ellison’s first act as deputy chair was to condemn the desecration of Jewish graves:

Even before the desecration of Jewish graves in Missouri and Pennsylvania, there have been incidents where American Jews have been threatened since Trump’s election. Prior to Trump’s inauguration, a neo-Nazi website called for an armed march against the Jewish community in Whitefish, Montana. That march was postponed, and a block party in defense of the Jewish community in Whitefish was attended by several hundred people.

I call on Donald Trump to, at his address to Congress tomorrow, strongly condemn threats, intimidation, violence, and vandalism against Jewish people and institutions in America.

Trump hints at declaring martial law in Illinois’s largest city, even though seven cities have higher murder rates

A few hours ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and hinted at possibly declaring martial law in Chicago over the city’s high murder rate:

I really don’t know of any presidential powers at Trump’s disposal that could be used in regards to a city having a high murder rate outside of two presidential powers: one would be to declare a state of emergency in Chicago, and the other would be declaring martial law in Chicago. Unlike a state National Guard or a state militia, the President cannot take over a city police force.

States United, part of the Mike Bloomberg-aligned pro-gun control political network that has been known to support far-right Republicans, has a couple of infographics about the actual state of the Chicago murder crisis:

As you can see, guns originally purchased in states like Indiana, and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin and Mississippi, all three of which have weaker gun safety laws than Illinois does, have played a large role in Chicago’s murder crisis, and seven U.S. cities (St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, and Memphis) all have higher murder rates than Chicago does. Despite the facts, Trump and his Republican allies haven’t hinted at martial law in cities with a higher murder rate than that of Chicago, and Trump and his Republican allies want to make it easier, not harder, for people to take guns across state lines.

While murder is a serious problem in this country, declaring martial law is going to do absolutely nothing to solve the murder crisis of Chicago or any other city.

Obama’s free trade policies, not race, were the primary reason why Trump won

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Opinions and punditry expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.


While a core component of President-elect Donald Trump’s unorthodox style of politics is openly spouting all forms of bigotry and appealing to bigots in many different ways, another major component, and the component that got Trump elected, of Trump’s style of politics is his unabashed opposition to free trade policies.

Bigotry did not get Trump elected to the White House. As someone who is an election judge in Vermilion County, Illinois, it is not my responsibility to judge voters based on which candidates they vote for, but it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of my fellow election judges, to ensure that voters are able to vote for the candidates of their choice. In this year’s general election, I was one of five election judges who worked the polls in Danville Township Precinct 4 in Vermilion County, Illinois (although I live in a different part of my home county), and here are a couple of interesting results from the precinct where I worked (source here):

 

PRESIDENT / VICE PRESIDENT
Total Number of Precincts 1
Precincts Reporting 1 100.0 %
Vote For 1
Times Counted 272/447 60.9 %
Total Votes 271
Times Over Voted 0
Number Of Under Votes 1
CLINTON/KAINE DEM 67 24.72%
TRUMP/PENCE REP 189 69.74%
JOHNSON/WELD LIB 8 2.95%
STEIN/BARAKA GRN 4 1.48%
Write-in Votes 3 1.11%

 

COMPTROLLER
Total Number of Precincts 1
Precincts Reporting 1 100.0 %
Vote For 1
Times Counted 272/447 60.9 %
Total Votes 261
Times Over Voted 1
Number Of Under Votes 10
SUSANA MENDOZA DEM 82 31.42%
LESLIE MUNGER REP 155 59.39%
CLAIRE BALL LIB 17 6.51%
TIM CURTIN GRN 7 2.68%

 

The first result I posted is the presidential/vice-presidential general election vote in the precinct in which I was an election judge, the second result is the Illinois state comptroller special election vote. Results do not include any late-arriving absentee ballots that have not yet been counted, which, if there are any received between now and November 22, will be counted no later than November 22. In the precinct where I was an election judge, here’s the difference between the comptroller vote and the presidential/vice presidential vote by party (mathematical formula used is D = cp, in which c is the comptroller vote total for a political party’s nominee and p is the POTUS/VP vote; positive number means party received more votes for comptroller than POTUS/VP):

 

DEMOCRATIC +15
REPUBLICAN -34
LIBERTARIAN +9
GREEN +3

 

The differential figures are my own calculations that are based on the vote totals.

In the precinct where I worked as an election judge, Hillary Clinton got 15 fewer votes against Donald Trump than Susana Mendoza did against Leslie Munger, even though Trump is notorious for his anti-Hispanic bigotry and Mendoza is Hispanic. Had Hillary Clinton received 15 more votes per precinct across the entire country, Clinton would have won Michigan (media has not projected a winner as of this writing), Wisconsin (won by Trump), and Pennsylvania (won by Trump), which, not counting any other electoral college unit (state, Nebraska or Maine congressional district, or federal district) would have resulted in Clinton winning 274 electoral votes, which would have been enough to win the presidency.

Although trying to compare the political power of the largely technocratic state office of Comptroller of Illinois to the highly political federal office of President of the United States is like trying to compare a train to a sports car, Mendoza ran a far better campaign for the office she sought than Hillary did for the office she sought. While Hillary completely ignored large segments of the electorate that she had to win the support of (including Wisconsin, a swing state in recent presidential elections), Mendoza ran a television ad in heavily-Republican areas of Illinois that educated voters about the role of the Illinois Comptroller’s office without insulting voters in any way:

Neither Mendoza nor Munger had to take a position on issues like President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal because they were running for a largely technocratic office responsible for controlling Illinois state tax dollars, but Clinton and Trump, who were running for the highest and most political office in the country, did. Trump railed against the TPP, and that’s how he won enough electoral votes to win the presidency. While Trump indisputably won the presidential election, don’t tell me that Trump won because of his bigotry, because I just cited an example to prove that’s not true.

I’m not suggesting that Susana Mendoza should run for president in 2020 by any imagination, but this year’s presidential election was decided by less than 15 votes per precinct. Remember, every vote counts.

Canadian YouTube roadgeek subtly criticizes Donald Trump over border walls

From Canada, the land where curling is the national pastime and ice hockey is the unofficial national religion, comes a YouTube user who goes under the screen name Trans Canada Phil (hereafter referred to in this blog post as TCP), and, judging by one of TCP’s captions on a recent roadgeek video he produced, I’m guessing that TCP no fan of Donald Trump:

Near the end of the video (I’ve set the embed to show the section of the video in question), TCP noted in the video that TCP was driving in the direction of the border between the Canadian province of Manitoba and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and that there were “no fences, no walls” along the actual U.S.-Canadian border in that area of the North American continent. TCP also noted that there were “certainly” no walls that Canadians are “going to pay for”. While TCP didn’t mention Trump by name, I’m nearly 100% certain that TCP was referring to Donald Trump. As a political figure here in the United States, Trump is best-known for stirring up virtually every kind of bigotry and resentment that one can think of, and some of his ideas that he’s campaigned on as a U.S. presidential candidate are deeply rooted in bigotry, such as his proposal to get Mexico to pay for a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

While TCP is not a Canadian government official that I’m aware of, I’m guessing that most Canadians don’t want a U.S.-Canada border wall. It’s also worth noting that the last American politician to propose such an idea, Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who was briefly a Republican Party candidate for U.S. president, ended up dropping out of the presidential race altogether not long after he proposed such a ridiculous idea.

San Jose Mercury News can’t say the name Simone Manuel

Make no mistake about it, Simone Manuel became the first black American woman to win an individual gold medal in the sport of swimming when she won the women’s 100 meter (109.3613 yard) freestyle swimming event at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were actually two gold medalists in the event, as Manuel tied Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal position. In Olympic swimming, a tie occurs when two or more swimmers post the same time, measured to hundredths of a second. When a tie occurs in Olympic swimming for a medal position, all tied competitors receive a medal of the same color (gold for a tie for first, silver for a tie for second, and bronze for a tie for third).

However, The Mercury News, a newspaper covering the San Jose, California area, used this headline to document Manuel’s historic victory:

Not only is that headline factually incorrect, it’s racist and sexist. First off, Manuel and Michael Phelps never shared an Olympic podium, as men and women compete in swimming events. In fact, the only Olympic sport (summer or winter) in which there are not separate competitions for men and women is equestrian (although a few Olympic sports, such as tennis (summer) and curling (winter, starting in 2018) have events featuring mixed-gender teams competing against each other, and modern pentathlon, of which equestrian is one of the five component sports, has separate men’s and women’s competitions). Secondly, The Mercury News was unwilling to use the name of a black woman who won the event in its headline, but had no problem using the name of a white man who wasn’t eligible to compete in the event in its headline.

The corporate media isn’t willing to say any part of her name, but I am more than willing to say the full name of my favorite Olympic champion of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad so far: Simone Ashley Manuel.

STRAW POLL: 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin Democratic primary

Recently, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for…well, being the kind of presidential candidate who appeals to white male bigots like himself. These are Duffy’s actual words, as quoted by the progressive website ThinkProgress:

There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.

It is inherently clear to me that Duffy is supporting Donald Trump because he is a loud-mouthed bigot who would destroy America and everything that this great country stands for if elected. Duffy’s congressional district, while gerrymandered to make it a lot easier for him to win re-election, is not a total Republican stronghold, and Trump’s style of politics don’t play well at all in the Upper Midwest.

Unlike what I’ve done for races in the 3rd and 6th congressional districts of Wisconsin, where I’ve endorsed progressive-minded Democrats in contested primaries, I’m going to do something different for the contested primary in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I’m going to conduct a straw poll for the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are, in the order in which they will be listed on actual primary ballots and in the straw poll, Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake and Joel Lewis of Wausau. Here’s the straw poll:

The straw poll, which is completely non-binding, will be open for voting until 10 P.M. CDT on July 31, 2016 (the polling program I use does not allow me to geoblock the poll outside of the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin). The actual primary, which is open to voters in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin who choose to vote in the Democratic primary, is August 9th. The winner of the real Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, also held on August 9th, between Duffy and Donald Raihala, in the general election on November 8th.

In 2011 email, Bruce Rauner made false, racist claim about Chicago public school teachers

In a 2011 email to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other people seeking to dismantle the Chicago public school system, Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner claimed that half of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers are “virtually illiterate”.

Not only is that an absurdly false claim about public K-12 teachers in our state’s largest city, it’s also a flagrantly racist one.

According to the CPS website, 50.3% of CPS teachers are white, and the race/ethnicity of 1.7% of CPS teachers is unknown. That means that 48% of CPS teachers are of a known ethnic minority. I’m very convinced that Rauner was referring to non-white CPS teachers as “virtually illiterate”.

The latest email release from Rahm’s administration in Chicago has proven that Rauner is a total racist who thinks that minority teachers are illiterate, and that the Rahm-Rauner agenda to destroy public education in Illinois is motivated by racism. The truth of the matter is that public school teachers in Illinois, whether it be in Chicago or another part of our great state, are intelligent, functionally literate, and do a great job of educating our state’s children.

The percentage of rapes committed by white people is higher than the percentage of white Americans

Leslie Salzillo, a contributor to the progressive website DailyKos, wrote this piece about an online video showing a white woman, who was harassing a black man, falsely accusing the black man of threatening to rape her. You can view the video here.

I want to make a couple of points here.

First, rape and fear of rape have been used since before the founding of the United States of America in a racist manner against black people. Examples of this include Europeans in the 17th century falsely accusing black slaves of rape, accusations of rape being committed by black people being used to cover up crimes committed by white people, and the infamous Willie Horton ad that was aired on American television by a political organization supporting Republican George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential bid. Rape is a serious crime, and, if you’re using rape or the fear of rape to spew bigotry towards minority groups, you’re part of the problem when it comes to the pervasive rape culture in this country. While some black people are rapists (a famous example being former professional boxer Mike Tyson), and all rapists are criminals, black people are often falsely accused of rape, while actual white rapists often get no punishment or very light punishment for violating women.

Secondly, these are actual statistics on the demographics of American rapists, as well as the demographics of American aggravated assaulters and American automobile thieves:

For the sake of completion, 63.7% of the total American population is Non-Hispanic White, meaning that the percentage of rapes committed by white people in America (67.2%) is higher than the percentage of total white people in America.

Joe Walsh issues death threat against President Obama and Black Lives Matter activists

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a screengrab of a death threat made by a former elected official against the current President of the United States. The author of this blog post strongly condemns violence and all threats of violence.


Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who represented parts of the Chicago suburbs for one term from 2011 to 2013, took to Twitter to declare a race war and issue a death threat against President Barack Obama and activists of the Black Lives Matter movement. Walsh has since deleted the tweet, but here is a screengrab of it:

It’s worth noting that the death toll last night’s mass shooting in Dallas, Texas is, as of the writing of this blog post, at five.

Walsh has (rightfully, in my opinion) received a lot of criticism online for threatening to kill the president, with lots of people calling for WIND-AM, a Chicago radio station that employs Walsh as a right-wing talk radio host, to fire Walsh, as well as for the Secret Service, which is legally responsible for protecting the president, to detain Walsh:

Joe Walsh, who was voted out of office in 2012 after repeatedly making vile, rude, and bigoted remarks, declared a race war against America and the values America stands for, and he also threatened to kill President Obama and people who are active in the Black Lives Matter movement, a non-violent movement that seeks reforms to law enforcement and criminal justice practices that are discriminatory against black people. WIND-AM should fire Walsh immediately, and all appropriate law enforcement agencies should detain Walsh, and, if it can be proven that Walsh was plotting to kill anyone, he should be arrested and charged with all appropriate crimes. Walsh is a disgrace to my state and my country.