Jul 172019
 

Trump’s twitch. No not that one, the tweet about certain congresspeople “going home” (despite the fact that of the four women targeted, three were born in the USA).

Quite rightly it has been labelled as “racist” but without meaning to minimise that criticism, that is a personal insult to the four women (and we can get outraged on their behalf). But something that has been less pronounced: it’s also an insult to every single voter who elected those four women.

Trump was criticising those four women because they are criticising US government policy; as duly elected representatives and part of the US government, they are doing what they were elected to do. Criticising those women for doing their job is essentially saying they are not entitled to do their job and in turn those who voted for them are not entitled to their say.

And this attack on democracy is as important to highlight as the racism.

Jun 272019
 

@AOC seems to have poured a dramatic amount of petrol onto the fiery discussion regarding Trump’s border concentration camps by simply calling them concentration camps.

No matter how many people assume that ‘concentration camp’ means a Nazi extermination camp, that is not what ‘concentration camp’ means. As one dictionary states :-

camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as suspect.

Although that is not from the full Oxford English Dictionary, I have checked with that definitive work and it’s definition agrees with the above. 

The relevant Twitter threads are filled with agreements and disagreements, and it is the later I’ll take a closer look at.

At least in some instances; more than a few consist of approximately “Well they’re illegal immigrants so they deserve it” which is so repulsively disgusting that the only appropriate response is a good slap.

The next objection is along the lines of: “You can’t call them concentration camps; that would be disrespectful to the 6 million Jews that the Nazis murdered”.

Funnily enough, it’s rarely mentioned that the Nazis also killed 11 million other people as well as the 6 million Jews. Almost as if there is a politically acceptable “holocaust denial” (strictly speaking the Holocaust is only the Jews; there isn’t an acceptable ‘cool’ name for the entirety of the Nazi crimes against humanity).

Let’s correct a few misconceptions about Nazi concentration camps (and there have been plenty of other concentration camps around the world) :-

  1. The concentration camps were first created in 1933 to hold political prisoners and union organisers. Those targeted for starvation rations, brutal treatment, and slave labour rapidly grew to include homosexuals, Romani, communists, socialists, the disabled, Poles, Slavs, Soviet POWs, and just about anyone who could be labelled “undesirable”.
  2. Jews were also targeted as soon as the Nazis came to power but weren’t sent en-mass to concentration camps until 1939 when they were forced to live in Jewish “ghettos” (effectively concentration camps).
  3. The extermination camps were set up in 1942 to speed up the “final solution”; approximately 90% of those killed at these extermination camps were Jewish.

There is also “But Obama did it first” (these camps were first instantiated in 2014 under the previous administration). This is distinctly reminiscent of the wailing child that gets caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar “But someone else did it first”. As I understand it, the scale of the previous administration’s camps was far less than now, but give me a time machine and I’ll still go back and tell off Obama.

Now back to our original topic. Is it fair to call the border camps ‘concentration camps’? They certainly meet the dictionary definition, and there are genuine reasons why the comparison with the Nazi concentration camps is entirely appropriate.

That is not to say that the border concentration camps are comparable to the Nazi concentration camps in 1944, but there are many disturbing parallels to the Nazi concentration camps in 1934. The time to stop these camps potentially evolving into something similar to the Nazi concentration camps of 1944 is now.

Spume on the Beach
May 282019
 

The European election results in the UK are being commonly classified as an enormous victory for the Brexit Party. Which is regrettably true, but not quite the whole truth.

If you were to take a list of the numbers of MEPs each party got :-

PartyMEPs
The Brexit Party
29
Liberal Democrat16
Labour10
Green7

You can see that if the next three parties were to hold a pact, they could outvote the Brexiteers every day and twice on every Sunday. Interestingly enough, whilst the Brexit party got 5,248,533 votes, the petition to revoke Article 50 got 6,085,584.

Which seems to indicate that whilst Brexit is the largest ‘party’ in the European elections, the remainers have actually got a slim majority!

Mar 152019
 

Not.

I encountered this sign today at lunch when walking past a bunch of environmental protesters. I agree totally with their intentions, but this particular message is just wrong.

The earth (if sentient) is just about waking up and wondering what we are – the whole of human history and pre-history (the bits that weren’t written down) is no more than a blink in the eye of the earth. If we successfully cause an extinction-level climate change event (and so far it looks pretty successful), our entire extinction will be just another layer in the geological record – just a bit more unusual than other thin extinction layers.

The earth will quite happily get used to a warmer (or colder if it eventually settles down that way) climate equilibrium and might just (if sentient) wonder where we’ve gotten to.

The earth will go on without us; barely noticing we were here.

We’re not a plague on the earth; we’re a plague on our children.

And when you come down to it, the slogan “We Are A Plague On Our Children” is far better – it’s accurate and more personal, and harder hitting.

Early Morning Seatrip
Feb 262019
 

The most peculiar thing about antisemitism (except for the concept itself which is frankly ridiculous) is the phrase itself. The words “Semitic” is in fact today used to refer to a group of languages rather than a group of people.

And that group of languages is used by a wide collection of different people – including Arabs, Maltese, and yes, Hebrew speaking Jews.

The phrase “antisemitic” was first coined by Jew-haters to make their hatred seem more normalised and scientific. Yet, the word has been normalised and accepted by their opponents – essentially letting the Jew-haters win.

According to Jonathan M. Hess, the term was originally used by its authors to “stress the radical difference between their own ‘antisemitism’ and earlier forms of antagonism toward Jews and Judaism.”

It is not for me to dictate to anyone, but it seems to me that we should perhaps give these scum back their original names. Call a spade a spade, and a Jew-hater exactly what they are.

The Edge Of The D (Curved Brick Wal)
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