Monday, January 31, 2011

Tattered Remnants #040: Fred Hargesheimer (1916-2010)


"I thank God from the depths of my heart for blessing me in such an abundant way when He brought Suara Auru Fred Hargesheimer." - New Britain Villager Garua Peni, 2006

Amy Johnson's life adventure ended in the skies of war. In those same skies, only a few months later, Fred Hargesheimer's adventure only began. While his path did not lead to the stars (and only barely not to the drink), rather, it led to something quite different, and in its own way, just as wonderful.

Let Wikipedia tell the tale:

Hargesheimer served with the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was flying a Lockheed P-38 on a photo reconnaissance mission on June 5, 1943, over the island of New Britain,Papua New Guinea, when his plane was attacked by a Japanese Ki-45 Nick fighter. Despite his injuries and jammed canopy, he was able to parachute to safety. For the next month he fought to survive in the jungle. He was found by members of the Nakanai tribe after 31 days.

Fred's website tells it this way:

In the lining of the parachute there was a“survival kit.” A compass, ten matches, two chocolate bars, and a guide about friendly fruits and vegetables, etc.

For 31 days he made his way through the jungle. Loneliness. Despair. Delirium. Nightmares. He prayed. Slogging through mud, crambling up and down ridges, pushing through clinging jungle. Emergency rations soon ran out. At night mosquitoes shared his camp.

He eventually reached a riverbank where he set up a bit of a camp. He ate snails, a lot of snails. On the 31st day, just before sunset he took off his clothes and walked into the edge of the river to gather bamboo shoots for supper. Fred heard voices, thought perhaps he was hallucinating until a slender nose of an outrigger canoe pushed into view from behind a clump of trees that flanked the near side of the stream. It was followed by a crowd of natives chatting and singing as they waded through the shallow water. They both stood is silence watching each other. Lauo, their leader, broke the silence, greeting Hargesheimer and handing him a crumpled note. It was from an Australian officer. Lieutenant Hargesheimer broke down and cried.

It should be noted: the Japanese pilot who brought down his plane deliberately failed to shoot Fred as he parachuted. Fred eventually found him in a hospital in Japan many years later, but the man could not communicate with him, as Alzheimer's had taken his memory.

Again, Wikipedia:

[The people who found him] sheltered him for five months in the village of Ea Ea risking their lives to protect him from being found by Japanese soldiers. He met up with Australian Coastwatchers who moved him inland. On February 5, 1944, Fred, along with other downed airmen, was rescued by the USS Gato. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. After the war, he returned to his hometown of Rochester, Minnesota, where he raised a family of his own.

Most men would simply have gone home after the war and thanked God that they had escaped with their skins and moved on. But Fred remembered.

He made contact by post with a local missionary, who kept him appraised on the progress of the people of Ea Ea. In 1963, having made a successful career as an engineer, he returned to the village that had sheltered him.

He had raised the then-significant sum of $15,000 US and he vowed to bring the money to the village and build a school. The school was built and, in 1964, the doors were opened to 78 children.

In the years that followed, Fred Hargesberger made many visits to Ea Ea; he and his wife chose to live among them for four years from 1970 to 1974. His last visit was in 2006; he visited the wreckage of his aircraft which had been found in the jungle. He was known to the people of the village as "Mastah Preddy." They named him a Chief Warrior of their people on his last visit.

He died in Lincoln, Nebraska, the day before Christmas Eve, 2010.

From his web site:

There are three possible things that you can spend in life, your time, your money or your talents. I have never met anyone who has spent all three so well….and still has change in his pocket.

Fred gives us all an invitation, mostly by example. Some will miss it, but if you’re watching carefully, eyes truly open passed just seeing, you will come to learn what it is you need most for a life well spent....

We come together to celebrate the humanity of Fred Hargeshiemer, the humanity that could be with us all, the humanity that should be with us all.

The very definition of the Tattered Remnant.


I would like to thank the family of Fred Hargesheimer for their kind permission to tell his story.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tattered Remnants #039: Amy Johnson (1903-1941)

AMY JOHNSON (1903-1941)

O! I have slipped the surly bounds of Earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings....

Today is the 30th day of January, 2011 A.D. A quarter century has passed since the seven Challengers touched the face of God ten miles above the sea off of Florida. Today we remember them, and the crew of the Columbia (whose eighth anniversary is Tuesday), as well as the Apollo 1 astronauts, along with all those who have died – even those of our erstwhile enemies who died from 'devil's venom' – to take us on our first baby steps to the rest of the Universe.

But let us remember all those who have chosen to risk all to take wing.

Death has always been the dark lining of the silver cloud of flight; many have had to pay the price of Icarus. Otto Lilienthal gave his life flying an early glider; his last words as he lay dying from his injuries were "small sacrifices must be made."Army Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge died at 26 in the first fatality in a powered plane crash; he is memorialized by an air base named for him not far from my home.

Thousands of young men gave their lives in the days that followed hard by, in those early days of flight when the wings of God were girded as the wings of war.

And yet those who have gone to the skies have risked all so that perhaps our children and great grand children and beyond may one day see the skies of new worlds undreamed of today.

One cannot remember them all. In lieu thereof, let us then remember one sky pioneer who gave her life to the skies and for her country.

Amy Johnson was, ahem, not a great pilot. In fact, she was positively unsuited for the role she was to play in early aviation. She was a heavy hand at the stick, and her landings were often almost disastrous. She alienated many in her single minded pursuit of her goal. And yet her great will overcame her lack of talent, and she achieved an immortality and a greatness, both as a pioneer of powered flight (having set a record flying from London to Australia in 1930) and as an exemplar for future generations of flying women. She lived at the razor's edge of the technology of her day and she died in the line of duty in those dark days immediately following the Battle of Britain.

She was born, only months before the triumph of Kitty Hawk, the daughter of a British merchant. She had no extraordinary parentage; her father, a fish seller, made a small but comfortable fortune in his field, and was able to finance her adventures.

She was not very sociable as a young girl; physically aggressive, she lost her front teeth to a cricket ball at age 14. Finding herself a bit of an outsider in school, she withdrew socially and concentrated on her dream of flying.

But first things first; one must eat after all. After she ended her schooling she took a job in London as a legal secretary. While she did very well in her new line of work, she was obsessed with the new world of airplanes. She took it upon herself to learn to fly.

At first it seemed absurd. The flying school she investigated demanded a fee far beyond her means. But she then found a local flight school that allowed her to learn to fly at half the cost. She was not an entirely apt student, but after fifteen hours of flight instruction (considered the longest allowable before they gave up on you!) she soloed and gained her pilot's license. She also distinguished herself by becoming the first woman in British history qualified as a flight mechanic.

It was after only eighty seven hours of flight experience that she conceived of her dream: she wanted to set a distance flying record, from London to Australia: her wish was to beat the then existing fifteen days' record.

The spur to her effort came when her employers at the legal firm confronted her: her flying obsession had caused her work quality to fall; they told her to choose between the law office and the aerodrome. She quit her job that same day.

After some difficulty, she found a sponsor for her attempt; after raising a thousand pounds–some $100,000 in today's money, half of which came from her dad–she took off for Darwin in a secondhand Tiger Moth she dubbed the Jason (nominally for her father's corporate brand).

The story of her travails are almost comic to read today. On one occasion, she landed in a soccer pitch in India; on another, she landed in a primitive village in Java where her departure was delayed by the need to clear enormous ant colonies on her makeshift flight line. She crash landed frequently; at one point, she repaired her aircraft using air-cloth that locals had turned into shirts, doping it with an ad-hoc mix created for her by a local chemist. She flew most of the trip with a spare propeller lashed to the side of her craft; which she used after landing one occasion nose-forward.

"I was not the least bit afraid," she said later, "because I had taken off with almost complete ignorance of the magnitude of my undertaking."

She landed at last in Australia on May 24, 1930, having flown 11,000 miles; while she failed to break the current record for that achievement, she was hailed internationally as a hero of aviation, esteemed in the same breath as Charles Lindburgh and her friend Amelia Earhart. She was given a hero's welcome in Australia and again in London, was granted £10,000 in prize money and was named a Companion of the British Empire (CBE), a high knighthood, by King George V.

She continued flying; she set further records for flights from London to Tokyo and London to Cape Town, South Africa. She married (and later divorced) a well known test pilot, but after South Africa, she ended her long distance flying career.

But war drew her again to the skies. In the days following the Battle of Britain, the British suffered a famous shortage of pilots. In order to keep as many as possible on the battle lines, they asked air-licensed women and older men to act as ferry pilots, bringing craft from factories to airfields. Amy enlisted for this effort. On January 5, 1941, while ferrying a newbuilt plane, she crashed, or possibly was shot down, in circumstances that remain unclear. She landed in the Thames River.

Although she survived the crash, a rescue effort from a British Naval vessel failed, and she was lost. Her body was never recovered. (Let us remember too Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher of HMS Haslemere, a British Naval officer who died in the rescue attempt.)

She was feted in her youth with a song, "Wonderful Amy." And although she had accurately predicted her doom and thought that she would be quickly forgotten after her death, her status as a pioneer no less great than Amelia Earhart remains.

She was also honored, in 1976, by singer/songwriter Al Stewart, on his masterwork, Year of the Cat. He recalls her in the song Flying Sorcery, which some regard as his greatest single.

Are you there?

In the jacket with the grease-stain and the tear?

Caught up in the slipstream of a dare?

The compass rose will guide you anywhere

Oh, are you there?

I would like to dedicate this essay to my dear friend, once known as Miss Jocelyn Patterson, the girl who sat next to me in Mrs. Anderson's first grade class in 1969.

Today she is known as Jocelyn Seng, Ph.D., formerly Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, ...

... and she shall be formally promoted tomorrow afternoon to the rank of Brigadier General, United States Air Force, on Monday, January 31, 2011, at the Pentagon.

I salute you, dear friend. Ad astra!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ad Astra Per Aspera: Challenger and Columbia

'Through Hardships To The Stars'

front row: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair;
back row: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

We remember the great Challenger disaster, 25 years ago this weekend.

(embedding disabled, alas)

We also remember the crew of Columbia, the eighth anniversary of which comes on Tuesday, February 1:

The crew of STS-107. L to R: LtC David M. Brown, Col Rick D. Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, LtC Michael P. Anderson, CDR William C. McCool, Col Ilan Ramon (Israeli Air Force)

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God. - Ronald Reagan (speech by Peggy Noonan)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chris Christie Tells The Truth

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enlightens a New Jersey Police Officer who is dissatisfied with his raise.

(Salute: Coalition of the Swilling. I'd embed the vid but it won't let me do that, alas.)

Money quote:

Policeman: “My salary went up 2%. And after the increase in my healthcare costs went in, do you know how much my check went up Sir? $4. How am I supposed to live on that?”

Gov. Christie: “Here’s the difference. You’re getting a paycheck. And there are 9% of the people in the state of NJ who are not.”

No kidding. Some of us have been going broke since the economy tanked in '08. A $90K a year cop complaining about his raise strikes me as... well, how can I put it? Let's say that I have this tear in my eye that refuses to be jerked.

This guy Christie's only drawback is that he's, ahem, very, very big. And not like Lincoln. But he's a truthteller.

I like that. A lot. A whole lot.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jawdropper! - "I'm not worth $12 Mil. I quit."

Baseball Player Quits, Says "I Don't Deserve $12M"
Royals starter Gil Meche walks away from a guaranteed contract

He walks away from $12 mil because he believes he didn't deserve it and hadn't earned it.

Now, this isn't exactly like he's dying to save a child from a burning building.... but I gotta salute this.

Gil Meche, you're a mensch.

Birth Certificate: Mystery Solved
(And It's Nothing Impeachable)

Here's a trivia question to amaze your friends with.

Do you know what years Leslie King Jr. was President of the United States?

This is not a trick question. He really was President for two years. Possibly within your lifetime. And you don't remember him?

Well, he succeeded Richard Nixon and was succeeded by Jimmy Carter.

We know him by the name of "Gerald R. Ford Jr." Apparently, Leslie King Sr., his biodad, was highly abusive, and his mother divorced him while their son was still in diapers. He was adopted by Gerald R. Ford, Sr. and was given his name before he was two years old. (I always loved that old picture of Ford dancing with Elizabeth II: The Queen dances with King.)

This is not just minor trivia; this is, indeed, an important point.

Long term readers of this blog (and I salute you both) will recognize that I find names and memory of supreme importance. A good name is a treasure, a bad name a curse. I try to recall the names of many invisible and unknown good people in my Tattered Remnants series; on the thankfully rarer occasion I recall the evil, their names are not mentioned.

There is indeed a well known Catholic tradition that when one achieves Heaven, one is given a new name; in token of this, your baptism is the day you take your name (your "christening") and when you are confirmed in the Faith you take another name in addition to your original two. (Mine is "Mark".) Furthermore, when one becomes a professed Religious, a monk, nun or sometimes priest, you might take an entirely new name: my great aunt Martha Ann Remski, namesake of my mother, took the name Sister Marie Fidelis when she was accepted by the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters.

Names are important, far more than we know.

So. As to the Obama birth certificate:

There has been a lot of yammering on the internet over these last couple years, concerning the mysterious fact that the President of the United States would not, for whatever reason, release his original birth certificate for public inspection.

The "certificates of live birth" that have been released OTOH are pretty clearly bogus; they appear to have been crudely photoshopped.

This is, I will say, highly unusual. It has raised its own cottage industry: Why would Barack Obama refuse to let us see the proof that he was born in the United States, even if it is true that he was? Why the mystery?

While I'll admit I was tempted to believe it for a while, but I have to reject the idea that he was really born in Kenya. He wasn't; contemporaneous birth announcements in both of Honolulu's newspapers are pretty irrefutable. So there's no chance of his not being a US Citizen from birth on American soil.

(And the further argument of some--that he was not a "natural born" citizen because his father was not a USC--I find stupid, abominable, and I reject it outright. Any nonsense about "natural born citizenship" is based on 18th century British law and is clearly made obsolete by the Fourteenth Amendment, which is clear as day on the subject.)

So. He's born here; he's a US Citizen--why won't he release it?

We think we now have an answer. Short version: when his mother married her second husband, the Indonesian Lolo Soetoro, Lolo adopted Barack, and gave him the name "Barry Soetoro." Hawaii, under the law of the time, would modify the birth certificate showing that Lolo, and not Barack Sr., was the actual father of the man we call President Obama.

So: the reason President Obama is blocking access to his birth certificate is simple: it shows his legal name is Barry Soetoro, not Barack Hussein Obama Jr.

Is this important?

Well, yeah. There is a large minority of individuals, many of them my fellow Republicans, who are simply foaming at the mouth at any possible impeachment of President Obama for any plausable reason. And the reason that Obama would block access to this information is simple: He doesn't want to give them ammunition.

Is it possible that the fact that he is using the name "Barack Hussein Obama" instead of "Barry Soetoro" in the least bit construable as a high crime or a misdemeanor?

Let me say it:

Absolutely not.

Now, if he'd been calling himself by any other name, we might have trouble--although other Presidents have gone by non-legal monikers and have never called to task for it; President Jimmy Carter is President Jimmy Carter, not President James Earl Carter, and even though he signed bills under the name "Jimmy Carter" they're still law.

But Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is his name, given him at birth. The thought that he goes by that and not "Barry Soetoro" is somehow illegal is pettifogging BS at worst. It's his name. 'K?

And so I would say that Obama calling himself Obama and not Soetoro is not impeachable.

He is not using someone else's name or a made up name like some mindless Hollywood B-lister. He's using the name that was given him at birth. If he has done so without ill effect and not for any reason to defraud, then as far as I am concerned this is a non-issue. If he HAS been using his birth name, well, that's his privilege. It's his name. It means him and nobody else.

Nobody can ever say I'm a fan of Obama; I am most decidedly not. I oppose him and everything he stands for. But if he has been using his birth name instead of his adoptive name, then so what? He's still who he is.

People undergo changes in their name. It's a fact of life. (Hell, women have to go through it all the time--one of the minor inconveniences of life men don't have to put up with.)

So long as Obama didn't change his name for some illegal reason, then that is perfectly OK as far as I am concerned. And it should be perfectly OK with the GOP.

If the name on his BC reads, "Barry Soetoro," I say, Fine, and... so freaking what? If we impeach him we had better have a dead solid case or not try it. And this is not an impeachable offense.

Next question?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Todd Palin: Not A Whoremonger

Whelll, surprahze, surprahze, surprahze.

Todd Palin is not a Call girl's massage therapist's sex customer after all.

National Inquirer said he was just a few days ago....

but lo and behold? It ain't so.

Well, I hate to say Itoldjaso, but.... Itoldjaso. (Page down to Comment #42.)

Now, you don't exactly have to be Cassandra the Seer to have seen where THIS one was going. There has been a cottage industry of BS generators in Alaska trying to crucify the entire family since 2008. They won't be happy until something horrible happens to Sarah, and when it does--likely at the hand of someone who will NOT be a crazed psychopath--they will of course take no responsibility for it.

And that last line is one prediction I pray to God does not come true.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tattered Remnants #39: Sergei Magnitsky

The Tyrants' Bane: Sergey Magnitsky (1972-2009)

I don't have time at this point to do this entry justice, so I'm going to give the Wikipedia version, downloaded as of this evening.

Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky (8 April 1972 – 16 November 2009) was a Russian attorney whose death in police custody generated international media attention and launched an investigation into allegations of abuse. Magnitsky, who had alleged wide-scale tax fraud sanctioned by officials before being himself arrested, died days before the one year limit that he could be held without trial would expire.

Magnitsky was an attorney representing American Investment advisory firm Hermitage Capital Management on charges of tax evasion and tax fraud. Over the years of its operation, Hermitage had supplied information to press on a number of occasions related to corporate and governmental misconduct before in 2005 alleging corruption within Gazprom. Company co-founder Bill Browder was soon expelled from Russia as a national threat, though Browder himself has indicated that he represented only a threat "to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats", believing that the ouster was conducted to leave his company open for exploitation.

Illness and deathMagnitsky — who had testified that police, members of the judiciary, tax officials, bankers and the Russian mafia had been involved in a $230m (£140m) tax fraud against the Russian treasury — was arrested and imprisoned in November 2008 after being accused of colluding with Hermitage. Held for 11 months without trial, he developed gall stones, Pancreatitis and calculous cholecystitis, for which he was given inadequate medical treatment during his incarceration. Surgery was ordered in June, but never performed; detention center chief Ivan P. Prokopenko later indicated that he "...did not consider Magnitsky sick...Prisoners often try to pass themselves off as sick, in order to get better conditions."

On November 16th, eight days before he would have had to have been released if he were not brought to trial, Magnitsky died for reasons attributed first by prison officials as a "rupture to the abdominal membrane" and later to heart attack. It later emerged that Magnitsky had complained of worsening stomach pain for five days prior to his death and that by the 15th was vomiting every three hours, with a visibly swollen stomach. On the day of his death, the prison physician, believing he had a chronic disease, sent him by ambulance to a medical unit equipped to help him, but the surgeon there — who described Magnitsky as "agitated, trying to hide behind a bag and saying people were trying to kill him" — prescribed only a painkiller, leaving him for psychiatric evaluation. He was found dead in his cell a little over two hours later.

According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Magnitsky's death "caused public outrage and sparked discussion of the need to improve prison healthcare and to reduce the number of inmates awaiting trial in detention prisons."

An independent investigatory body, the Moscow Public Oversight Commission, indicated in December 2009 that "psychological and physical pressure was exerted upon" Magnitsky. One of the Commissioners said that while she had first believed his death was due to medical negligence, she had developed "the frightening feeling that it was not negligence but that it was, to some extent, as terrible as it is to say, a premeditated murder."

An official investigation was ordered in November 2009 by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Russian authorities had not concluded their own investigation as of December 2009, but 20 senior prison officials had already been fired as a result of the case. In December 2009, in two separate decrees, Medvedev fired deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Piskunov and signed a law forbidding the jailing of individuals who are suspected of tax crimes. Magnitsky's death is also believed to be linked to the firing of Major-General Anatoli Mikhalkin, formerly the head of the Moscow division of the tax crimes department of the Interior Ministry. Mikhalkin was among those accused by Magnitsky of taking part in fraud.

Wikinews has related news: Russian police to 'check' officer allegedly involved in large theft and murder

Opalesque.TV released a video on February 8, 2010, in which Hermitage Capital Management founder Bill Browder revealed details of Sergey Magnitzky's ordeal during his eleven months in detention, while the Russian Untouchables group prepared a film Russian Untouchables. Episode 1: Artem Kuznetsov about his prosecutors On 25 June 2010 radio-station Echo of Moscow announced that Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Own Security started investigations against Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Kuznetsov, who has been accused of improper imprizonment of Magnitsky. The investigation was in response to appeal by the Hermitage Capital Management and United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Increasing international tensionIn late 2010, international attention to the matter intensified, with the European Parliament calling for 60 officials believed to be connected to Magnitsky's death to be banned from entering the European Union and the Parliament of Canada resolving to deny visas to and freeze the Canadian assets of allegedly involved officials. The EU Parliament has also urged members to freeze assets of officials, while similar measures are under consideration in the United States. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the Canadian resolution as "an attempt to pressure the investigators and interfere in the internal affairs of another state", while in a November statement the head of the lower house's international committee Konstantin Kosachyov criticized the European Parliament's conclusions, indicating that sanctions violated the "presumption of innocence" principle and should wait the resolution of the Russian court. Bloomberg reported in December that, according to an Interfax story, "identical measures" will be taken by Russia if a European Union ban is effected.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Currency & Gold Manipulation
(Explained By Cartoons Who Talk Like Robots)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Holes in the World:
A January 23 Reflection

Today is the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In consideration whereof, I ask you to look closely at the picture below.

Yes, look closely: but before you recoil, this is not a picture of an aborted baby.

This is not the picture of an aborted baby, but one that lives. And the doctor whose finger he holds is not there to take his life but to save it.

The hole through which the child reaches in this picture is a hole in his mother's womb. It is a hole that symbolizes the holes in our world that the missing leave behind.

I'd like to tell you a couple of stories about these holes in our world.

First, I'd like to start with the happier of the two tales. It seems that, until recently, there lived in Connecticut a girl known as Najara Nance. She had very poor relations with the woman she knew as her mother; the woman had often beaten and abused her over the years. But now she was up against a wall: now 23 years old and with a child of her own, in order to get a job, she had to provide her new employers with a birth certificate. And the woman refused to give her one.

Eventually the girl, known to all as Najara, confronted the woman who raised her and demanded the truth. And the truth was that she was not the woman's natural child at all. The woman couldn't even provide her with adoption papers.

Eventually, Najara contacted the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and she discovered the truth: she had been kidnapped as a baby.

In 1987, her parents, a poor, unmarried couple in Harlem, New York, had taken their seventeen day old baby girl to a hospital. The baby disappeared, taken, apparently, by the nurse who had greeted them at the emergency room door. The kidnapper was apparently suffering from 'baby hunger' and could only cure it through stealing the child of another.

That 'nurse' raised her and gave her the name "Najara Nance". But her true name was Carlina White: and she was the longest unrecovered kidnapping victim in American history. A DNA test proved that she was the child.

I will save the story of her return home; you can read about it here. Let it stand that her true mother had been waiting for 23 years for her to return, and the involuntarily prodigal daughter was welcomed home with open arms.

But that story of rejoicing and the Mother and Child Reunion had an ugly echo only a few miles down the interstate: that is, the arrest last week of a doctor whose job it is to kill infants just a few days younger than Carlina was on the day of her disappearance.

In Philadelphia, a well known abortion doctor, and several of his staff, have been arrested and his abortion clinic shut down. It is alleged that the good Doctor and his staff had stabbed at least seven newborn abortion survivors, living children, in the back of the spine with scissors in order to complete the abortion process. They also allegedly killed at least one woman patient through gross incompetence.

Now, there are those who find it ironic that this doctor and his staffers are going to go to prison for doing something that had it been done while the child's head was still in the birth canal would have been perfectly legal.

But that's not what this story is about.

It's not about the doctor and not about the kidnapping mother in the story above--both of whom I have deliberately left unnamed (ymach shemo).

This story is about the babies.

In the case of Carlina, we see a baby whose mother loved and mourned her and had spent more than two decades waiting for the return of her baby. Carlina's evaporation had left an unfillable hole in the world--and in this case a hole that at last joyfully was filled when Carlina came home.

But the women who went to see the Philadelphia doctor have no hope of a reunion with their children in this world. Their babies are gone, whether killed legally or illegally.

But those missing babies have also left a hole in the world.

You may see that hole in the kidnapper of Carlina: what could drive a woman to steal another's child? Given other horrible stories I've heard akin to this, there can only be one answer: "Najara's" kidnapper surely was mourning her own aborted child. I have no proof but I would bet the rent that that is so.

When a person dies, whether in an abortion clinic or elsewhere, it leaves a hole in the world. And you see that hole in every closed school, in every empty playground, in every weed-overgrown, destroyed urban neighborhood. You see that hole filled by Mexican and Central American 'eeeleguls' slaving for under minimum wage here in the United States. You see that hole filled by desperate people running across the desert into the waiting arms of DHS for return home (only to try again). You see that hole gape in the collapse of housing prices caused by wage earners who are not alive to buy them; you see it gape wider in the immanent collapse of the Social Security System. You see that hole manifest itself as the evaporation of the our people as a whole.

Norma McCorvey, the Roe of Roe v. Wade, saw the holes in the world in the early 1990s when she saw the empty playground near her home, and it struck her: where are the children who should be playing here? And she knew: they had all been aborted.

America is evaporating (and black America even faster than white America) because we are consuming ourselves; we have outsourced our babies as we have outsourced our manufacturing. It is taking a toll that would make a yersinia pestis microbe gape in disbelief. The only thing that keeps it from destroying us utterly is that every other major culture in the world has embraced the same logic; China, Japan, Europe, Russia, India, even Israel! ... every one of them are aborting themselves into disaster as well.

There are only two major cultures that have not wholly embraced what John Paul II called the Culture of Death: nominally-Catholic Latin America and the Islamic world. Latin America has come here by the million to do the work Americans were aborted to prevent them from doing; in Europe, the Islamic masses have gone to do the same thing. Britain, for instance, looks in bewilderment at the millions of Muslim fanatics among them and they ask, how did this happen? Yet they dare not look their neighborhood abortion business straight on and make the connection.

Given the fact that Americans have exterminated 50 million of our fellow citizens since 1973, who are we to look on either of those cultures as less civilized than we are?

Returning to the picture at the top of this page: again it is not an aborted-baby picture. The fetus is 21 weeks old from conception; he is being surgically treated for spina bifida. The picture was taken in June 1999 and the boy was born in December of that year.

The child in the picture is named Samuel Armas. This is what he looks like today:

He is not a hole in the world. Thank God. And the ribbons he won for swimming are nothing compared to his reward to come.

If you see the holes in the world--if you can see the fnords--don't be a mere functionary. Join us. Act.

Don't just stand there. Do something!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

If Charles Johnson had Blogged in 1944

It has been a long time since I have had much to say on the disgusting Charles Johnson, the Squire of Gothos at Little Green Footballs. It's hardly been necessary to do so; his growing irrelevance has been very gratifying. I've hardly heard a peep from him since he noisily left the realm of the sane for the far, far left field last year.

Nevertheless, a couple days back he denounced former Senator Rick Santorum for speaking the self evident--i.e., that the destruction of unborn children is the moral equivalent of human slavery and is built on the same logic.

Johnson had the temerity to call this honorable man a "spokeshole."

I wonder, what would Johnson's blog have looked like if he was writing in 1944?

(Translated from the original German, von Kleinegruenefuessballen.dr)

Religious right spokeshole Dietrich Bonhoeffer is in the news today for playing the race card on our Leader, by comparing transshipments of undesirables to the East for honest labor to slavery in the antebellum United States.
Discussing The Leader’s views on the resettlement during a two-hour sit-down mit BBC Nws on Dienstag, Bonhoeffer said the Reichskanzler’s pro-removal position meant he was valuing some lives over others.
The question is, and this is what The Leader didn’t want to answer — is that human life a person under the Reich law? he said. “And The Leader says no. Well, if that human life is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’
That might seem pretty tone-deaf (to say the least), but this kind of talking point is very common among anti-resettlement fundamentalists like Bonhoeffer. They see the issue in stark black and white with no room for reasonable people to disagree, which means that those who support safe, legal Final Solutions aren’t just mistaken or wrong — they’re evil. And evil monsters are capable of anything; slavery, mass murder, genocide, every hideous crime.
That absolutist world-view is also what drives the periodic eruptions of violence from the more extreme anti-resettlement groups. Just last year, anti-resettlement fanatics murdered Reinhard Heidrich in the occupied territories! If your enemies are committing mass murder of innocents on a gigantic scale, anything is justified if it stops them. After the statement above, Bonhoeffer followed up and made this demonization even more explicit.
For decades certain human beings were wrongly treated as property and denied liberty in the United States because they were not considered persons under the U.S. Constitution. Today other human beings, minorities of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life under law for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under Reich law. I am disappointed that The Leader, who rightfully fights for civil rights for all Germans, refuses to recognize the rights of so-called 'undesirables' in this country
And anybody who thinks that Godwin's law applies hasn't read this.
It is, indeed, Charles Johnson who is deaf--not merely tonedeaf but deaf--to the silent screams of the victims we have as a nation made.

Tattered Remnants #037: Dr. Ramin Pouradarjani (1983-2009)

I don't have time at this point to do this entry justice, so I'm going to give the Wikipedia version of his story, downloaded as of this evening.

The Torturers' Witness: Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani

Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani (9 June 1983 – 10 November 2009) was an Iranian physician who examined prisoners wounded and killed during the 2009 Iranian election protests. He died under mysterious circumstances on November 10, 2009, at the age of 26. Tehran's public prosecutor Abbas Dowlatabadi said Ramin Pourandarjani died of poisoning from a delivery salad laced with an overdose of blood pressure medication. The findings fueled opposition fears that he was killed because of what he knew. Pourandarjani had worked as a physician at the Kahrizak detention center. Iranian authorities earlier had claimed at various points that Pourandarjani had been injured in a car accident, committed suicide, or died of a heart attack in his sleep at the health center at the police headquarters in Tehran where he worked.

Pourandarjani was responsible for the medical care of several prisoners believed to have been tortured. One of his patients was Mohsen Ruholamini, a government scientist's son, arrested following his participation in the post-election protests. Ruholamini, who was 25 years old, died in prison in July 2009. The death certificate originally identified Ruholamini's cause of death as multiple blows to the head. A report given to judicial authorities stated that Ruholamini had died of "physical stress, the effects of being held in bad conditions, multiple blows and severe injuries to the body."

Pourandarjani testified before a parliamentary committee investigating misconduct at the Kahrizak jail. This jail was subsequently closed by order of Ayatollah Khamenei, because of the poor conditions there. An investigation was conducted by Iranian judicial authorities on misconduct in this prison. In August, former presidential candidate and cleric Mehdi Karroubi publicly accused Iranian police of having tortured and raped detainees in this prison. Subsequently, police raided Karroubi's office, confiscating names, addresses, and testimonies of witnesses. In October, the deputy chief of the national police, Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Radan announced that ten persons were under investigation for misconduct at the Kahrizak facility, characterizing the issue as "minor."

Following his testimony, Pourandarjani was arrested by the police. During his imprisonment, Pourandarjani was interrogated several times by the police force's investigative unit, the martial court, and the Physician General's regulatory council. He was released on bail, warned to say nothing about what he had seen at Kahrizak, and threatened with further imprisonment and with losing his medical licence. Following his release, the physician also received threats from unknown persons warning him to keep silent about what he had witnessed at the Kahrizak jail. Shortly prior to his death, Pourandarjani had told his friends that he feared for his safety.

Iranian authorities prohibited Pourandarjani's family from performing an autopsy. Pourandarjani was buried in the northern city of Tabriz, and unusual security measures were in place for his funeral. Iran's judiciary is reluctant to investigate Pourandarjani's death.

Pourandarjani was born on June 9, 1983 in Tabriz, Iran. When he was eleven years old, he was admitted to a school for gifted students, and at the age of 13 he was the winner of a national poetry competition. In 2001, he began his medical studies in Ardabil. He later transferred to the medical school at the University of Tabriz, and graduated with distinction in 2008. Pourandarjani was fluent in English and French as well as Persian.

Pourandarjani was a co-author on a paper entitled "Finasteride induced depression: a prospective study," published in BMC Clinical Pharmacology in October, 2006. This paper concluded that finasteride, which is used to treat benign prostatic enlargement and male pattern baldness, might induce depressive symptoms in patients. At the time, Pourandarjani was doing research at the Drug Applied Research Center at the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Tabriz, Iran.

Pourandarjani also volunteered on a medical advice web page, where he answered questions relating to HIV/AIDS.

Sums It Up

Friday, January 21, 2011

Halfway There

Today is the beginning of the second half of the Obama Administration.

We survived two years. We'll survive another two.

(Not six, I'm sure, but two.....)

Republicans Want To Kill Old People!

Salon wants us to be aware that there is an ongoing plot to kill the old and sick in America.
But it's worth drilling down on the third biggest item on the list -- weighing in at $16.1 billion -- the "Repealing Medicaid FMAP increase," because I can't think of anything that better demonstrates the priorities of the current Republican Party.

Medicaid is the government's primary social insurance program targeted at poor and disabled Americans. Medicaid is responsible, for example, for such things as nursing home care for the indigent. It is jointly funded by the states and the federal government --it is, in fact, one of the biggest items in most state budgets.

When the recession hit, two things happened almost immediately at the state level: tax revenue plummeted, and applications for Medicaid coverage boomed. The two phenomena were intimately related, of course. People who lost their jobs and homes as a result of a cratering economy also lost their healthcare.

Yeah. Damn them Pubbies. I just read an article the other day about a Republican-supporting doctor in Philadelphia who stabbed seven old people in the spine with a pair of scissors, killing them all, so he wouldn't have to spend any money or effort to keep them alive.



Uh. Wait.
Let me check that again.

"Nyever mind." - E. Litella

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ronald Reagan's Inaugural was 30 Years Ago Today.

Oh, and:


I remember when we actually had Presidents who had a clue....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This is totally unfair. I love it.

...particularly as I was told my freshman year in college (Fall 1980) that journalism was no major for me because, as a conservative I had no future in the newspaper business. "There is no room in journalism for a Nixonite."

So I became a blogger....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You say You Want a Revolution? Nein.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vatican City: Criminal Central!

The irreplacable Phil Lawler reports:
Among all the world's countries, which one has the highest reported rate of crime? Vatican City...The statistics are skewed since there are only 27 legal residents of Vatican City, but an estimated 18 million people visit each year. If just one visitor out of every 666,666 (hmm; that's an interesting number) committed a petty crime, that would yield a rate of one reported crime per resident, which would be enough to send your local police chief into a tailspin. ... Last year Vatican officials reported 1,300 misdemeanors....

That works out to about 48 crimes per citizen.

Oh well. Look at the bright side. The population isn't exactly growing; for some reason the Vatican City also has the world's lowest birth rate.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More Truth About Tucson and Palin
From Teddybears Who Talk Like Robots

To the STUXNET Hackers: Bravo! Bravo!

Just a short note today.... The New York Times reports that Israel and the United States have confirmed, indirectly, the fact that we pulled a long march on the Iranians through the STUXNET virus.

What is STUXNET?

To put it simply, Iran has thousands of centrifuges at work in their nuke bomb factories. Those centrifuges were designed to spin standard Uranium, called U-238, at a certain, very high rate of speed so that the heavier but much rarer isotope U-235 could be isolated. The U-235 is then brought together using a design well known since the days of the Rosenbergs to make thing to make big boom.

So how do we stop them? The Israelis wanted to bomb the factory where the centrifuges are hard at work, but that has the disadvantage of being a highly destabilizing act of war.

Turns out the German company Siemens--against what should have been its better judgment--sold these centrifuges to the Iranians. And they'e all identical.

So we had to use a different method.

So the US and Israeli hackers got together and created STUXNET: a self-propagating computer virus designed to find Siemens-brand computer-driven centrifuges and make them crash. The Jerusalem Post summarized it as follows:
The [NY] Times' report explained how Stuxnet operates. First, it spun Iranian nuclear centrifuges out of control. It would also secretly record the daily routine at the nuclear plant and play back the recording of a regular day to operators at the plant. This way, it would seem that the facility was operating correctly, while the centrifuges were being destroyed.

Upshot? Iranian nuke program put years behind schedule, the equipment destroyed, the Iranians lose zillions of dollars in equipment... and not a single life lost in the process. And no acts of war so hard to explain on the evening news.

Bravo, hackers! I mean it. Bravo!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Palin: "Blood Libel"? Yes.
--Holocaust Survivors' Son

As we all know, the last few days have seen a number of ignorant yet vicious individuals of, ahem, a certain political persuasion blame the Tucson shooting on the GOP, the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin.

Sarah, God bless her, has blasted back, saying that to blame her, the Tea Party and Conservatives for the shooting is "blood libel."

Does she really have justice on her side in saying that?--even though the expression has anti-Semitic overtones? ("Blood Libel" historically refers to the evil lie that Jews use the blood of Christians in rituals.)

I for one defer to an expert, although frankly, I shouldn't have to (expressions are not trademarked for use by certain ethnic groups only).

The website Vos Is Nieas posted the following statement by New York State Assemblyman Dov Hilkind about the "Blood Libel" controversy. I'm taking the liberty of quoting the article in full, but urge you to check out their website.

New York - Statement By Assemblyman Dov Hikind in defense of Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel”
“As someone whose grandparents were slaughtered in the Holocaust; whose parents survived the horrors of Auschwitz; and as the Assembly representative of the largest contingency of Holocaust survivors, I resent the recent attacks on Sarah Palin for her use of the term “blood libel” in defense of accusations lobbed against her by those wishing to lay blame for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona. This is nothing more than an attempt to vilify and malign her, and I am not a Palin supporter. I would argue that those who continue to demonize her are themselves engaging in a blood libel.”

Alan Dershowitz--a man I both deeply admire and despise, and himself no Sarah Palin fan--concurs in a separate statement.

Methinx that pretty well settles it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bad Day At A Vodka Factory

Supposedly nobody was hurt. Which makes this hilarious.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

With thanks to Srebrenica-Genocide.Blogspot.Com

I am humbled.

Thank you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Day of Mourning for Tucson

No posts today.

Today we remember:

The Honorable John Roll, 63, Presiding Judge, United States District Court for the District of Arizona

Mr. Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, Director of Community Outreach for Hon. Giffords, M.C.

Rev.Dorwin Stoddard, 76, Pastor at Mountain Avenue Church of Christ, who died protecting his wife

Mrs. Dorothy Morris, 76

Mrs. Phyllis Scheck, 79

Miss Christina Green, 9, born on 9/11/2001, who was there to learn about politics.

God grant rest and eternal memory to them all.

And may God grant full healing to the wounded, including Rep. Giffords, who may face the toughest recovery of all those injured in this evil deed. God grant comfort to the families of the lost and the wounded.

And God grant healing, mercy and the wisdom to be silent to the rest of us today.

Please forgive me for offering this pagan hymn of death, but there is little hope to be had as of this moment.

Christ have mercy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tattered Remnants #36: Anna Elizabeth Rosmus

That Terrible Girl: Anna Elizabeth Rosmus

To read more of the Tattered Remnants
series click
-->here<-- .


It's a German word, appropriately enough.

Like "Schadenfreude" (the mischevious delight taken in another's troubles), "Schrechlichkeit" is famous for being largely untranslatable.

It means "frightfulness" or "terror" in German, although the Germans have taken to borrowing the English word "terror" in modern context--It is "Terror" that Al Qaida commits, not "Schrechlichkeit."

It's well that the Germans avoid that word.

Schrechlichkeit has an ugly history. A fascinating discussion on the history of the word on Wikipedia seems to show that it's not a "real" German word at all, i.e., not a natural part of the language. The word is derived from "Schrechlich," or "Terrible". However, the grammatically correct word one would use in German is "Scheusslichkeit": "dreadfulness, awfulness, terribleness, hideousness, exceptional ugliness, horridness, nastiness."

In short, Schrechlichkeit is a coined word--possibly by British propagandists-- created for an ugly reason.

In the early days of the First World War--when Adolf Hitler was but a mere twentysomething Bavarian Army private and the Nazi Party was but a gleam in his maniacal eye--the German Army adopted a policy that has come to be called "Schrechlichkeit". When they invaded France and Belgium in their initial lunge toward Paris, the German Army encountered, or claimed to have encountered, civilian snipers firing at their forces in areas that they had conquered. They named these snipers "Franc-Terreurs," French Terrorists, after irregular forces who took up guerilla resistance in Germany's previous concert tour of northern France in 1870.

So the Germans struck back. Hard. Barbara W. Tuchman's classic The Guns of August, at page 351-352, tells the following story as part of a lengthy discussion of German Schrechlichkeit:

At Tamines, [Belgium], captured on August 21 [1914], sack of the town began that evening after the battle and continued all night and next day. The usual orgy of permitted looting accompanied by drinking released inhibitions and brought the soldiers to the desired state of raw excitement which was intended to add to the fearful effect. On the second day at Tamines some 400 citizens were herded together under guard in front of the church in the main square and a firing squad began systematically shooting into the group.

Those not dead when the firing ended were bayoneted. In the cemetery at Tamines there are 384 gravestones inscribed: "1914: Fusille' par les Allemands." ["1914: Shot by the Germans."]

This word Schrechlichkeit now refers to indiscriminate violence against civilians in order to terrify the local populace into compliance with the demands of the government. And very effective a tool it was, too; so effective that other powers in later wars have drawn a lesson from what the Germans did and didest themselves likewise.

Of course, the atrocities of 1914 were as nothing compared to those of 1944 and thereabouts, but the crop of horrors of the Holocaust had their seeds in the terrors of the First World War. Not for nothing were the vast majority of German death camp commanders former 'trench comrades,' who'd lost their sense of the worth of human life among the barbed wire of World War One. And terror unconfronted in 1914 became monstrosities unparalleled only thirty years later.

Which brings us to That Terrible Girl.

At first glance she was not terrible at all. Anna Rosmus, born in 1960, was, in fact, one of those frighteningly intelligent schoolgirls one might remember from elementary school: the kind of girl who sat in the front row, quiet, studious, a wall full of gold stars on their reading reports, straight A's, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. The kind of girl who grows up to be a doctor or a lawyer or something important, and who is always remembered kindly by her teachers as the 'star of her school.'

When Anna Rosmus was a teenager, a high school junior, her father--himself a schoolteacher--urged her to enter into a writing contest. This she did, writing about her home town of Passau, Germany, and its history during the Middle Ages. She won a national prize.

Her primary interest, however, was contemporary history. When she was 20, she turned her interest to writing a history of her home town of Passau in more recent times, particularly during the Second World War.

The city's history had been skimmed over in her high school education. The history of Passau during the war was summed up in the punchline to the old joke of the egg robber in the henhouse, "Nobody here but us chickens!" There was only one open Nazi in the city, the former mayor. The city leaders had congratulated themselves as anti-Nazis, and there was no sign that anything untoward had happened to the place.

Nobody here but us chickens, indeed.

As she looked into her city's past, she was stonewalled: documents became unavailable, public officials became unavailable, and those she planned to interview told her, in essence, "don't go there." She sought truth and found...nothing.

But she didn't give up. She waited.

She went away, studied history in university, then came back home.

It wasn't until after years of litigation (modern Germany, thank goodness, now has its own 'Freedom of Information Act') she finally gained unlimited access to the records of her city.

And what she found was... terrible.

Bavarian Passau had been a Nazi hotbed. The city leaders who had publicized themselves as anti-Nazi had been, themselves, passionate Nazis; the mayor scapegoated as the "city's only Nazi" had hidden some of Passau's Jews from the Nazi persecutions. A memorial built to the dead Jews of Passau in 1950 was plastered over within a year. And the city, as it turned out, was home to no less than eight contentration camps, slave labor camps, and prisoner of war camps.

And as Anna uncovered the truth, she named names, gave dates, exposed family secrets. She told the truth of the past.

The people of her hometown didn't like that, not one bit. She turned from local celebrity to scapegoat, and became "The Witch of Passau." People Magazine (of all sources!) profiled her in 1991:

Rosmus's investigations won her the undying enmity of the people of the town. The local paper began editorializing against her, calling her "the nest soiler" and subjecting her to a series of persecutions. "For a long while," recalls Rosmus. "I received threatening and obscene phone calls virtually day and night. I was spat upon. Children, but also grown-ups, used to scream, 'Judenhure!' (Jew's whore)." When Rosmus defiantly continued her research and published a book based on her essay, the threats continued into adulthood. "When I gave birth to my daughter Salome [in 1984]," she says, "the location of my hospital room was kept secret because of threats that my baby would be killed."
She paid a high personal price as well. Her husband--her former high school math teacher--left her, scornfully deriding her as one who would "do anything who would get in the news." And her siblings keep a respectful distance from her, as they deem that "one is enough to hold up the flag" in her family.

German filmmaker Michael Verhoeven took her story and turned it into fiction, making a well known movie that told Anna Rosmus's story... in a way.

In the film, Lena Stolze, a very pretty German actress, portrays a fictionalized Anna: winsome, attractive, mischevious. The real life Anna was, well, a real life person; she was maybe a bit plainer than Lena Stolze (remembering of course that Lena is movie-star gorgeous!), perhaps in person a little bit more awkward, and, of necessity given her life work, much more stolid and dark. Fashionable, yes, but no "cute pixie" was she. Rather, she is a truthteller: and a teller of truths to the unwilling must be a bit of a panzer by nature. Her greatest beauty was within.

But it is in the title of the movie that, oddly enough, we find the nature of Anna best summed up. Not in the English title of "The Nasty Girl," however. The movie plays off of the winsomness of Lena Stolze for commercial purposes and judging from the cover art would lead the unwary to believe that she was a "Nasty Girl" because she did something "nasty," probably sexually. (Gotta sell those DVDs!) The picture on the cover doesn't help things:

But "The Nasty Girl" is not the true title of the movie: the title is "Das Schrechliche Mädchen" --"The Terrible Girl."

She who spoke of her nation's schrechlichkeit (Terror) became, herself, schrechliche (terrible): the bearer of truth became the bearer of bad news. By speaking the truth of her home town she became a scapegoat for all their bigotries and hatred. She became terrible because she inspired fear in those who had been terrible in the past. She became as one holding up a picture of a victim of violence who is herself derided for the violence in question.

So she became a true scapegoat: The sins of the city were projected on her and she was cast forth.

Her city regarded her with the heart of Grima Wormtongue: "Lathspell I name you: Ill news is an ill guest!"

But that is the fate of the teller of unwanted truth. Her hometown may not have loved her work, but she is held in high professional regard. Historian Robert E. Herztein found her work "remarkable", saying it illustrated and illuminates the distinction between the impersonal historical accounts of World War II and Rosmus’ steadfast examination of real people and their secrets.

Despite the opposition of her teachers and of the people who ran Bavaria’s educational establishment in the late 1970s, Rosmus decided to examine the history of the town of Passau during the years of the Third Reich. She has never stopped, and in the process has found the bodies and identified living culprits.*
And she paid a price for her endeavours.

She was driven from her home, from her husband, from her city, from her nation. She now lives in Maryland, and writes history here, where she now writes without let or hinderance, in this far land beneath the trees.

But if Passau calls her a nest-soiler, her histories have become memorable and noted for their excellence. Her first book, Resistance and Persecution - The Case of Passau 1933-1939, won singular recognition, for it was honored with The Geschwistern-Schöll-Preiz: The Schöll Sibling Prize, given to those who best hold up the spirit of Hans and Sophie Schöll.

--"The Line"

One might call her the daughter that Sophie Schöll never had.

*(Source: Herzstein, R. E. (2002), Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s “Ordinary Germans”: A Heretic and his Critics. Journal of The Historical Society, 2: 89–122. doi: 10.1111/1540-5923.21006.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tucson/The Gabby Giffords Shooting

Information is still coming in as of this blog post, but the latest is the following:

11 people shot at a Safeway in Tucson, AZ at 10:30 AM local time (12:30 PM EST).

1 confirmed dead, a 9 year old girl.

2 others shot include a United States District Court judge and one staffer.

At this instant, the word is that the Congresswoman is alive, was hit in a through-and-through head-shot, and the neurosurgeon is "confident of recovery."

The shooter was a 22 year old white male [NOT an Afghan war vet as reported], Jared Lee Loughner of Tucson, AZ.

I will not speculate at this time as to political motivations. Let's wait for the dust to settle.

All I can say is this:

Christ help us, Christ forgive us, Christ have mercy!


Two words: Batshit. Crazy.

And if so, then NOBODY can ascribe a political motive to this, any more than to the guy that shot the two cops in the Capitol a few years ago. Serious delusional illness has no politics.


From his YOUTUBE video:

and his YOUTUBE profile:

Name:Jared Lee Loughner
Channel Views:271
Joined:October 25, 2010
About Me: My name is Jared Lee Loughner!
Country:United States
Schools:I attended school: Thornydale elementary,Tortolita Middle School, Mountain View Highschool, Northwest Aztec Middle College, and Pima Community College.
Interests:My favorite interest was reading, and I studied grammar. Conscience dreams were a great study in college!
Movies:(*My idiom: I could coin the moment!*)Music:Pass me the strings!Books:I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

RK here. IOW, NOT a Teapartier. NOT a conservative. Not a Republican. Not an illegal-immigration anything. Ahem. Thank you for not blaming us.

UPDATE, 1830 hrs EST:

1. 18 shot. 6 dead, including AZ Fed Circuit Chief Judge John Roll and a little girl, unnamed [who was apparently born on 9/11/2001, God rest her soul].

2. Congresswoman Giffords expected to 'live', further info not known.

3. No new developments as to the shooter. I still think he's merely batshit crazy and this is a non-political event.


1. He's nuts.

2. His politics, FWIW, appear leftist with a libertarian twist. But don't blame the left for this.

3. Don't blame the right for this either.

4. Again, he's nuts. Nuts happens.

To swine like Michael Daly, and all those who want to blame Sarah Palin for yesterday's abomination, I quote Glenn Reynolds at INSTAPUNDIT:

If you’re using this event to criticize the 'rhetoric' of Sarah Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either asserting a connection between the 'rhetoric' and the shooting — which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie — or you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. So which is it?

Anathema sit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Define dancing."

"Dancing. A series of movements involving two partners where speed and rhythm match harmoniously with music."

Dance with your Eva tonight. It's what life is all about.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cry, The Beloved City

A corpse called Detroit.

God help us all.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Memory, Denial and Forgetfulness:
A Srebrenica New Year's

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

-- George Orwell, 1984

My memory says: I did that. My pride says: I could not have done that, and remains inexorable. Eventually-- memory gives in.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

On Christmas day, I was granted the honor of having an old essay of mine, entitled A Srebrenica Christmas, reprinted in The American Thinker. It recounted the story of how, when I was in Bosnia during Christmas of the year 2000, a group of soldiers I knew brought a load of Christmas toys to be dropped off at an orphanage outside our headquarters in Tuzla. This particular, multiethnic orphanage was chosen because here, some 95 children, including some orphaned by the Srebrenica massacre, were being raised. We did the same the following year.

A very happy and heartwarming event, it was, and the comments I received from readers pleased me. I was glad to have written something that gave a bit of sparkle to the season.

But then it started, as I should have expected. Vicious attacks from Serb massacre apologists began to appear in my in-box denying anything had happened and that the Bosnian Muslims had deserved every bit of it--classic doublethink. Most were anonymous rants, generally consisting of absurd conspiracy theories purporting to explain away the horrors of July 1995. I unhesitatingly deleted them upon identification; for life is too short to argue with crazy people.

But one message I received was of a different order: it contained an essay by one Julia Gorin, a blogger who has tried to make a name for herself as a 'Defender of Serbia' when not doing stand up comedy (true story). Her quite unhappy response to my post appeared a couple days after Christmas.

What she had to say was not all that important; she is just another pro-Serb, anti-Bosnian Muslim partisan regurgitating baseless slanders she heard from bitter folks of the old country (an old country it appears she has never seen). Normally, I would have simply disregarded this misguided young woman and consigned her to the same deletionland as the other ranters... had it not been for one part of her letter that was not her own.

In the course of her post she'd shared an Email she had gotten from a personage of much greater prominence: Ms. Doris Wise Montrose, President of the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Los Angeles, California.

Ms. Montrose had apparently read my essay, and contacted Ms. Gorin for an explanation. Ms. Gorin claimed that Ms. Montrose "asked for my assessment because she didn’t trust the content and was confused as to what it was doing on one of her favorite sites."

Ms. Montrose's response to Ms. Goren read as follows:

I suspected the article was BS and that’s why I asked you about it. I found it at AT b/c it’s one of the sites I visit very often. I don’t know if you are considering responding to this article but why not write an entire article and submit it to Thomas Lifson? That’s what I would like to see. This is fraudulent narrative passing as fact b/c this narrative gets so much more attention. A lot like the other BS narrative called the Palestinian narrative. .... Doris

Given the seriousness of the charge -- given that Ms. Montrose was quoted by Ms.Gorin calling my essay "B/S" and a "fraudulent narrative" -- a response is imperative: not to Ms. Gorin, whom I do not view as rating an answer, but to Ms. Montrose. Given her status as the head of a Holocaust survivor's group, hers is too serious an allegation to ignore.

I thus sent the following letter. (Warning: it's lengthy.)
Law Offices of
Richard L. Kent, Esq.

January 3, 2011

Ms. Doris Wise Montrose
President, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors
20058 Ventura Blvd., #198
Woodland Hills, CA 91364 Email:

Dear Ms. Montrose:

I am bound by honor to write today in response a statement made by yourself to one Julia Gorin, and published by her in her blog, concerning an essay I wrote some ten years ago. That article, entitled "A Srebrenica Christmas," was reprinted in The American Thinker this past Christmas day. In your comments to Ms. Gorin, you seemed to indicate that you thought that my article was "B/S" (to use the term attributed to you).

It appears from your comments that you are not familiar with the historicity of the Srebrenica massacre, the reality of which has been established for over fifteen years by means of investigatory resources of all the major nations of Europe and North America, the work of thousands of investigators and judicial personnel, as well as testimony of hundreds of eye witnesses closely examined and cross-examined in open court.

It is a historical certainty a great war crime occurred at Srebrenica in July 1995: the organized and planned murder of some 5000 to 6000 captured male Bosniac civilians and militia and the killing of an additional 2000 to 3000 unarmed individuals fleeing captivity, as well as the forced expulsion ("ethnic cleansing," to use an odious phrase) of 18,000 or so women and children from the town. The killers were members of the Bosnian Serb Army, known as the Army of Republika Srpska ("VRS"), Fifth Army (the "Drina Corps") plus a unit from RS Ministry of Interior. The VRS army commanders and the national leadership of the wartime RS, including its President, Radovan Karadžić and Drina Corps commander General Radko Mladić, were criminally responsible for the Srebrenica crime.

Furthermore, many of the dead were videotaped as captured alive. Many dead were found blindfolded with hands tied. Neither were battle casualties. And their disinterment by backhoe and reburial to secondary graves under highways testify that the RS authorities knew of the profound evil they had done.

There have been extensive efforts to bring those responsible for this great crime to justice. Over a dozen officials now serve long sentences for their actions in the Srebrenica, some serving life terms. Others await judgment, including Karadžić, who ordered the crime, and Mladić, who oversaw it. And Slobodan Milošević himself died in prison at the Hague while standing trial.

So how am I qualified to say that Srebrenica occurred? This: I was an American peacekeeper in Bosnia for just under two and a half years, from January 2000 to May 2002. I was Deputy Political Advisor to the Commanding General of Multinational Division (North), the US headquarters on 'Eagle Base' near Tuzla, Bosnia from October 2000.

I was sent to Bosnia by the U.S. Government as a peacekeeper: which is to say, you sent me, and the work I did there is of the same general nature as yours: to bear witness, to never forget, and to give effect to the phrase, "Never Again." However, my work like yours went beyond remembrance only.

At the time I took this assignment in 1999 I had some background in the local history but was a "tabula rasa" as I have no family connections to the region. My previous career in the defense world and on Capitol Hill (working for the GOP) plus my then-new law degree all served as preparation for this work. I was directed to learn the truth so that I could advise the US command.

Over the course of my time there, I had full active access to all official US documents on the subject. I traveled extensively through all parts of Bosnia but especially in the US sector and met with scores of people of all nationalities. I interfaced extensively with the investigators from the International Committee on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Finally, from October 2000 to the spring of 2002, among other duties, I helped to organize a cemetery for the Srebrenica dead-–the same cemetery you see on TV every July 11th when Srebrenica is in the news–-so my work directly applied to the aftermath of the massacre.

I am here to speak the truth: and that truth is that the Srebrenica massacre is an actual event: a crime of world historical importance for it showed that WW2 style atrocities are still possible even in Europe today. It was, as the UN, the World Court, and the ICTY found, a war crime, a mass slaughter in contravention to the laws and customs of war–a crime against all humanity. It was so serious a matter to the government of the Netherlands (whose troops failed to prevent the slaughter) that, when their report on the subject was published in April 2002, the entire Dutch government resigned. Furthermore, on November 10, 2004, RS President Dragan Čavić publicly admitted what had happened at Srebrenica and apologized.

The Srebrenica massacre as history is firmly established. Furthermore the ICTY, affirmed by the World Court, has found the events there to constitute an act of "genocide" under the terms of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by which the parties were bound. The Convention, art 2., defines genocide, as "...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [or] (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

That the victims were almost entirely Bosniac has been irrefutably established by DNA identification of most of the dead and there is no doubt they were shot because they were Bosniac. There is also no question that shooting them constitutes "serious bodily harm." The shootings were "deliberately inflict[ed]." And the children (and their mothers) there were forcibly transferred out of the region to make the Srebrenica region Bosniac-free. Therefore, as a legal matter genocide has been established by judicial finding. While one must not call it "the same as the Holocaust" (a claim I don't make for many reasons) the fact that genocide happened at Srebrenica as a legal matter is not a matter of mere opinion.

To suppose that the massacre never occurred would require that we also suppose that thousands of US peacekeepers, hundreds of ICTY and ICMP investigators, the UN, World Court, the EU, the US government under three Presidents of both parties, even Secretary of State Clinton, all cooperated in grand conspiracy. This is political fantasy, "grassy knollism" or "9/11 trutherism" for a new decade.

I acknowledge that the Srebrenica Bosniacs often raided their besiegers in the years prior to the fall of Srebrenica. Those were acts of war. Investigation shows that the number of Serbian dead in the region 1992-1995 from those were approximately 580, including some 120 civilians–not the "3000" often claimed. Furthermore, these raids are irrelevant as regards the criminal nature of the massacre. The VRS had a positive duty not to murder these men once the city fell. History shows they chose to do differently.

There are indeed those who wish you to believe that Srebrenica "never happened," and even if it did, "they had it coming." They do not wish the truth to be known and understood. I believe that if you take the time to examine the historical record you will not number yourself among them.

I wish to point out those children at the Lukavac orphanage who are in fact children of Srebrenica are like you: survivors of and the offspring of victims of genocide (albeit, yes, of a much different scale). Your sympathy should go to them, not to their fathers' killers.

I went to Bosnia as a result of having learned of the Holocaust in my youth. I agree with you from the bottom of my heart: "'Never Again' must," indeed, "remain more than a mere slogan" both for the children of Israel and for all humanity. This message I wholeheartedly accepted as a child when I learned of the Holocaust, and by unlikely circumstance, was able to put into practice in a very small way as a man.

Certain Srebrenica atrocity apologists would pretend that Serbia is like Israel since "our mutual enemies are Muslims." Don't fall for it. Serbia is not Israel and Srebrenica is not, say, Jenin. I am a full-throated supporter of Israel as a Jewish state, and know well the difference between the two. Jenin was no war crime. The same must not be said of Srebrenica.

I have examined your web site and agree with you that Israel and the Jewish people get a profoundly raw deal in this world and that the state of Israel is under grave threat. With you, as a friend, I tremble for Israel. But to speak the truth of Srebrenica is not to oppose your cause: truth is not a zero sum game.

I invite you to learn the truth on this matter for yourself. I suggest you begin with an excellent video on the events associated with the fall of Srebrenica, to be found on Youtube in a program entitled "A Cry From The Grave." While dated (for instance, the number of Serbs killed at Kravica on January 7 1993 is now known to be 35 soldiers plus 11 civilians) it remains an excellent record of the Srebrenica crime. I have been to almost all the sites shown in that program, have met some of those giving testimony in the film. I believe that it is accurate (95%+) "beyond a reasonable doubt."

I also recommend the classic Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica by David Rohde as an introduction to the subject. Wikipedia is also a surprisingly solid source (moreso than usual). And of course the ICTY website itself, being judicial evidence, is the gold standard for reliable information as to what occurred. For the larger political background of the war, I suggest a five hour BBC series, "The Death of Yugoslavia," also on Youtube.

To conclude, let me paraphrase the immortal Ron Ridenhour: something rather dark and bloody occurred at Srebrenica in July 1995. It constituted a violation of the laws and customs of war, a crime against humanity and, by law, genocide, so found by a tribunal recognized as fully legitimate by the United States and after many thousands of hours of investigation by a hundreds of multinational investigators.

Given the status you hold in the community at large I respectfully request you reconsider your words and withdraw them, for "B/S" Srebrenica was not. Neither was my article on the children. Truth is easily determined if you look. I urge you to investigate this issue on your own. Don't take the word of a highly interested ethnic partisan who as far as I know has never been anywhere near Bosnia.

Sincerely yours,
/Richard L. Kent/
Richard L. Kent, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
Former Deputy Political Advisor to the Commanding General, Multinational Division (North),
Peace Stabilization Force (SFOR), Tuzla, Bosnia, 2000-2002


Government institutions, like most humans, have a reflexive reaction to the exposure of internal corruption and wrongdoing: No matter how transparent the effort, their first response is to lie, conceal and cover up. Also like human beings, once an institution has embraced a particular lie in support of a particular coverup, it will forever proclaim its innocence.

--Ron Ridenhour, first reporter of the My Lai atrocity, Los Angeles Times, 1993

I offer and request you, the reader, to take an hour or so out of your life and watch the following TV documentary on the Srebrenica Massacre. It is entitled A Cry From The Grave, and it is in 11 parts.

I urge you to watch it and learn the truth of what happened at Srebrenica. Warning: Not Safe for Work and not for the squeamish.

Part 1 is below.

The other parts follow:
Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11