Early this year, in the mad grab for Hamilton tickets, I decided to go ahead and get a full subscription to the Hippodrome in Baltimore. I invited a friend to join me, and we got a pair of tickets for the coming season. Continue reading “Still wondering if this shit’s real? Here’s a clue by four…”
I don’t think it’s a secret (at least not if you’ve kept up with my writing) that I am ethnically Jewish. In fact, though I don’t observe the faith of my ancestors, I am quite proud of my heritage as an Ashkenazi Jew. Continue reading “Solidarity…”
Until today, If you looked up the word “Holocaust” on The Cassie Times, you only found the following posts, in reverse date order. I wrote these articles based on discoveries I made in the news, as they related to me or my views of current events. Continue reading “Perspective…”
Here’s my latest, thanks to some recent ugly discourse on FB regarding immigration & the military. From the same source, some months ago, I got asked how I felt about Nazi re-enactors who came to local events. Now I’m chewing on why reenactments are needed at all.
There are multiple prompts for this post, but the core points come from the three articles below and the ensuing discussion of access to citizenship through service as an immigrant, which recently changed, thanks to isolationist bullshit coming from the white nationalists (read: Nazis) currently in charge of our country’s administration.
There’s also the editorial cartoon, dated January 17, 2018, from Jeff Danziger, through the Washington Post Writers Group, that depicts a couple of soldiers sitting and talking while on watch against attack in an unspecified desert location.
The first soldier says, “Remember that guy Morales who used to be in our unit? The guy who came to the U.S. at ten years old, did well in school, went to college, then enlisted, made Sergeant, served in a combat zone, honorably discharged, got married, had two kids…”
The second soldier says, “What about him?”
And the first one replies, “They’re deporting him.”
I’m not going to reproduce the dialogue from the FB post, because that would be wrong, but it got me thinking and then it got me angry.
I posted a link to the following HuffPo article because it popped up in the way only FB links to articles can, at least until FB screws up their feed and stops this from happening.
See, I’m from more than one of those “shithole” countries: Russia (Belarus and The Ukraine, if you must know), Poland, Austria, even England, if the English were Jewish. And I grew up in Rochester, in an Italian neighborhood, full of first gen kids. Me and my friends? We’re all children of immigrants. Some of us haven’t forgotten that. And just in case you thought it was only Latinx who were in danger here, there’s this guy, too. Being of European extraction isn’t enough to protect you, if you only have a Green Card.
In fact, some of the bloody awful stuff to come in advance of the Civil War revolved around immigrants who weren’t slaves. In the grand scheme, what white folks did to slaves is far beyond, but this is part and parcel of today’s immigrant trouble. Folks lose sight of it because the Civil War was about slavery and we want to maintain that focus for obvious reasons, but racism wasn’t isolated to slavery by any stretch. Here’s a sample of what I mean.
But you know what finally set me off? This article, HISTORYNET: The Civil War Reenactor’s Brave New World, in turns laments the “good old days” and sees current events as problematic. The money quote is below:
“Reenactors passionately affirm that they exist to honor history, not to serve as a conduit for hatred. But the history of the Civil War is entwined with hatred, both racial and political, and reenactors are confronted with emerging evidence that, in the public’s eyes at least, it is not always easy to take a scalpel and cleanly separate one from the other.”
And that led to the storm. Here’s the result, all in one post.
Seems to me, taking the losing side in any reenactment is an exercise in selective filtering. How do you play a Nazi without believing they were right? I mean, this is more than just a war game where you pick up a tiny plastic figure and put it on a table-based battlefield to explore strategy.
We’re talking about the full kit: Uniform, weapons, language. Same thing with Confederate soldiers. Same with virtually any war-culture where the winners write the books and the losers have to hope that someone will tell their side, eventually.
So that leads me to wonder…
If you can justify playing the bad guy, how does your brain allow it? How do you keep “this is what they did” from being “this is what I would do if I was given the opportunity?”
As it happens, I think (but could be wrong) that I am often the only available “Jew” in this social circle, and that makes me de facto authority on the subject of “what’s offensive” to my people when subjects like these come up. Here’s the funny thing: I make for a poor sounding board. I’m a practicing UU, ethnically but not religiously Jewish. I relate because of my heritage, but I wasn’t raised in the faith.
So when I’m asked how I feel about Nazis who re-enact, I come at it from a different angle than most of my more religious tribe members. It’s personal because I lost family on both sides of the Front in Germany. Austrians who never made it out. They died in the camps.
I also lost a Russian-American cousin who fought in the military. Jack Orshansky was a member of the Army Air Force and he was killed in action in 1945, in Germany. His mother was my Great Aunt. He was a first generation anchor baby for the family, who immigrated around 1900.
Funny, that. Chain migration brought the Orshansky family from Russia to the US, where Jack was born, and then at the tender age of 26 died to help free the Germans from the Nazis.
His brother, Nat, was born in Russia. His cousin, my Grandmother, was born here, in Brooklyn.
In fact, all of my grandparents were born here. All of them were anchor babies. My father, second generation, served in the Army just after the end of the Korean War. Immigrants. Worthless? Because we come from Europe, but not the part the Nazis in this country value.
When I hear how awful these DACA people are today, how they’re all “illegals” and should go home, I have a problem with that. A big one.
I want to know when your family arrived in this country. Forget about “legal” immigration. Laws change and what was once legal now isn’t.
When you call me out for asking when your family arrived, and you suggest that I’m not serious about this, maybe think about WHY I’m asking the question, because almost certainly I’m not joking. I’m deadly serious. I don’t care who you are or how long we’ve known each other.
If you haven’t thought about when your family came here, if you lack empathy and can’t put yourself in the place of these families, many of whom left home for a better life and often just to survive because certain death awaited them otherwise? That’s your privilege talking.
If you can’t see how your privilege makes it possible for you to call these people “illegals” or you side with your friends rather than calling THEM out over their privilege? If you think I’m kidding, I don’t think you know me well enough. I don’t joke about this stuff.
I never ever thought it was funny. I don’t think it’s funny now. I’m not amused. I’m angry. I may not practice my faith but I own every inch of this Ashkenazi Jewish skin and I will call you out. If you don’t like it, feel free to unfriend me. Unfollow me. Whatever you need.
And don’t EVER ask me again what I think of Nazi re-enactors. Or Confederates. Or anyone else who purports to show “the other side, because someone has to.”
If you feel comfortable playing Nazi, I don’t want to be near you. Not ever. If your friends are okay with it? Same.
It is my contention that it is disingenuous at best to point a finger at someone who got here because his parents brought him here without permission, who has served as a member of our defense department, who pays taxes and contributes as a member of society and say that the person is “illegal” when those laws are arbitrary and often designed to shut out people based on race, religion, or any other society-assigned trait. It’s not how or why this country was founded and is antithetical to the purpose of the United States as a whole.
Dave, from Colorado, sums it up best in this sound clip from Washington Journal, courtesy of C-SPAN.org:
I have a lot more to say on the subject, none of it polite.
So, just last week, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump himself admitted it was because of Comey’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 US Presidential election. Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 3): People will NOT SEE this coming…”
It’s been a while. Sorry about that. With all the distractions and changes between November 9 and January 29, it’s nearly impossible to take in everything that’s happening. There’s another name for these things: Bread and Circuses.
We are so used to paying attention to entertainment, to the spectacle, we’ve lost the ability to concentrate on what’s important. And the far Right know it. In fact, they’ve been working extra hard to ensure we’re too distracted to see what’s really happening here.
I stored a lot of these links when they hit my feed, way back in November. So much feel-good or buck-up media attempts out there, to shore up the losing side of the election, to try and make us feel better. From Dave Chappelle’s appearance on ‘SNL’ and Kate McKinnon’s appearances as Hillary Clinton to that piece about the Kids who sued the US Government Over Climate Change, we thought we had plenty of reason to think things would still be okay, and that this was just the usual more conservative swing.
There’s so much at stake, with freedom of the press (a right so important it came in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), to assemble peacefully, to separate church and state. And now these rights enshrined in our Constitution are at risk, along with so many other rights we have as citizens of this country. In classic Orwellian double-speak, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is just one of the concentrated attacks put forth in the 115th Congress against our citizens.
How did we get here? Well, if you think it’s all about the Republicans and President Obama, or Trump and his rise to power, truly, you’re missing the big picture in a really big way. There’s a lot more to the story, and it starts with George H. W. Bush, in the Reagan administration.
There are pieces to the puzzle we’re missing, and I know it, but I have to wonder, given the sheer number of racist YouTube clips and other samples from around the Internet, whether Congressman Keith Ellison’s remark in July, 2007 regarding similarity between Germany’s Reichstag fire and America’s 9/11 attacks was correct after all.
I could review all the ways in which the Saudi attack on the US worked to damage our civil liberties over the last 16 years, but reality shows that we’ve simply incorporated all those reductions in rights presented as necessary in passing the USA Patriot Act and other legislation designed to “keep us safe” from terror.
We are witnessing the forced erosion of rights, from the gutting of the Voter Rights Act and CrossCheck purging voter rolls, to cameras tracking our every move on the streets and in our homes, and now the new “Muslim Ban” enacted last Friday, coupled with all the threats designed to keep us “safe” from harm, we are already living our lives in Oceania.
And now, thanks to the massive distraction of Trump’s Muslim ban, this has happened:
Enjoying those reality shows? I can’t watch anymore.
Real life is reality show enough for me.
There’s only one message here: If you’re not terrified, either you’re not paying attention or you are part of the problem.
Decades from now, will we remember all the warnings? Will we even be able to find the evidence that was there?
In the last few days, since the start of the 115th Congress, there have been reports all over the internet of rules changed to favor the GOP, to give them the power to strip away protections that keep our citizens healthy and safe.
None of these steps are new. Not one.
From the “victory tour” Trump recently finished, to his incessant Tweeting, he’s providing all the propaganda and smokescreen Republicans in the House and Senate require to hide what they’re doing. In the meantime, state legislatures are continuing to flex their ALEC-fueled conservative wings. Just yesterday, two new North Carolina-style bathroom bills surfaced, in Texas and Virginia. Restricted rights are just the beginning. We’re seeing a fascist takeover of the country, and we may well be too late to stop it.
Anyone who failed to recognize or who now denies the truth of what Trump says he will do, who believes he wasn’t serious about the things he said before the election, deserves everything that’s coming. The hate, the denial, are symptoms of a much larger problem: Blame.
Regardless of who’s responsible for the ills of the country’s midsection and rust belt, the implications are very, very real. But it’s far, far more than just the ACA that’s going to fall in the next month.
It is denial of the parallels between the US and Germany that cost us the White House. Republicans denied the history. Liberals did, too. It’s all very well and good to deny history, to assume that it can’t happen here, but that’s a foolish path to take, because it has left us unprepared.
Two days ago, Ann Coulter Tweeted “14” to her fans. Today is the 14th day to the Inauguration. Make no mistake here: Her Tweet was a reference. Ignore that message, or the appointment of Steve Bannon to Trump’s administration, at your peril.
There’s only one way to deal with this. Resolve to resist what’s coming. Carry the truth. Print it on paper, because Net Neutrality is not guaranteed.
Have you stored a lot of your things in the “Cloud” to back up your business? Start figuring out now what you’ll do when your internet access goes away.
You have 14 days left to get the most important things out of the cloud.
Are you ready?
But that doesn’t matter, because time moves on whether I like it or not.
So here are two raw links. Read everything, including the sublinks.
What comes after January 20, 2017 is on you.
I’ll be back soon to write the posts I’ve got sitting in drafts.
Go do your homework.