Skip to main content

I mostly read Daily Kos Elections diaries and stories, but I'm also interested in diaries and stories on the front page. For various reasons, reading the response threads in such diaries can be an uncomfortable experience for me, as it was in this great diary about the absolute outrage of thousands of destitute Detroiters having their water cut off for an extended period of time and the great advocacy by Maureen Taylor on a show on MSNBC, which I urge you all to read.

This diary is not about the cutoff of water to Detroiters or how outrageous and almost unfathomable it is. Instead, it's about the insensitive and sometimes downright bigoted loose talk on this site, in which some people would rather compare everything to Nazism with dumb slogans like "reich wing" instead of "right wing" than just stick to the facts, and when called on it, refuse to change their ways but may even get angry, blame the messenger, and loudly proclaim their right to be insensitive. I don't think this diary will get through to many of my intended targets for consciousness-raising, but if it gets through to a few of you, it will have been worth it. If you've read this far, you'll probably want to continue reading further below the squiggle.

A lot of what happens on this site (though probably still not enough) is consciousness-raising. Anyone who thinks of him-/herself as a progressive should do his/her best to be sensitive to the feelings and rights of people of color, women and LBGT folks, regardless of his/her color, sex and sexual orientation, and even that is not nearly enough: We all need to fight for their rights and against those who attack them. Sadly, the progressive movement is not free of racism, sexism and homophobia, but at least most of us know it's wrong to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, or to hate transgendered people. Partly because of this, most of us know that it's inappropriate to compare every bad thing to the atrocity of the kidnapping, transportation and enslavement of Africans in the US or the genocidal campaigns against the Native Americans. But there doesn't seem to be the same level of consciousness about being sensitive to Jews (and I'm not talking about the Israeli-Palestinian issue here or criticism of the Israeli government - which is very often quite appropriate and amply justified, in my opinion - so please don't bring those up here, as they're irrelevant to this diary).

Please read this statement that I made here:

Just concentrate on the facts. Don't bring up the Nazis in any way. And if you forget why, last summer, I saw a movie called Night and Fog. [Edit: And you should see it, too.] Nothing happening in the US today, no matter how bad, remotely approaches the mechanized murder machine the Nazis created and used to murder, conservatively, over 20,000,000 people, not counting war casualties. You really are not going to get me to change my mind about that, no matter how long and heartfelt a message you post or how many depredations you cite. The Nazis tried to wipe out the entire Jewish people, everyone they considered a cripple or mental defective, and were well on their way toward their plan of annihilating the Romany/Sinti people and Serbs and planned to remove all [but] a few hundred thousand Polish non-Jews from Poland by 1952 if they had won World War II, enslaving the rest temporarily until they were "disappeared," too. I really don't need to go on, and neither, my friend, do I think you do. Please consider the disproportionality of associating the non-Nazi right wing with Hitler, and if that's not enough for you, think about how some Jews like me think about the whiff of trivialization of the pretty successful attempt to utterly annihilate us. It always has to be the Nazis, never Pol Pot, the Rwandan genocide - people would probably realize it was inappropriate to bring up those spectres, but somehow, it sometimes seems like every victim wants to be a Jew. Please stop.
My interlocutor in that subthread has declined to stop conflating the Republican Party with the Nazi Party, but at least has been quite respectful and heartfelt about it, and you can read her reply at the link above. However, here's another reply I got:
I personally do not give a flying fuck how Jewish Americans feel about the comparison when it is so very, very apt. And frankly, by pissing and moaning about it when it is made, you only make it more likely to happen again.

You. Do. Not. Own. The. Word. Get it through your head. These people are doing many of the EXACT SAME THINGS and the fact they aren't loading "the Other" on trains- YET- doesn't mean we can't point out how similar they are.

Imagine what would happen if someone posted the following:
I personally do not give a flying fuck how African-Americans feel about the comparison of everything bad to slavery when it is so very, very apt. And frankly, by pissing and moaning about it when it is made, you only make it more likely to happen again.

You. Do. Not. Own. The. Word. Get it through your head. These people are doing many of the EXACT SAME THINGS and the fact they aren't loading "the Other" on boats- YET- doesn't mean we can't point out how similar they are.

I daresay it would get a lot of HRs as violently racist remarks by a non-black bigot. But last I checked, I have gotten no uprates for any of my pleas to avoid comparing a very bad but lesser atrocity to Nazis, whereas the remark above, which I believe should be hidden as abusive bigotry, has gotten an uprate.

So while I think it's unhelpful, in any case, to use excessive rhetoric in comparing everything to the most extreme examples of murderous totalitarianism you can think of (see this remark that addresses that point, if you like), I'd like to ask all of you to think about whether you consider Jews OK to "not give a flying fuck" about, and whether you think bigotry and insensitivity toward Jews is fine, whereas you know it's not OK to treat other people like that. If you do, I don't consider you a progressive but a bigot.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  So it's come down to being a Nazi Nazi. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, tardis10, annominous, rduran, NE2

    Soup is so 1990s.  

  •  I heartily recommend this diary (6+ / 0-)

    And approve its message thoroughly. The rhetoric on this site isn't significantly improved from that seen on a Tea Party site, just with the names reversed. The response you got that attempted to gentile-splain things was utterly inappropriate, and I've seen people HR'd for much, much less.

    •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, serendipityisabitch
      The rhetoric on this site isn't significantly improved from that seen on a Tea Party site, just with the names reversed.
      The other day on a thread about the Hobby Lobby decision I said:
      Protestants have diverse views about birth control (0+ / 0-)
      and almost everything else. Many fundamentalist Protestants do not object to birth control used by married couples or rape victims. This is essentially a Roman catholic issue.
      and followed up with quotations about five examples of Roman catholic businesses that wanted to prevent all their employees from having insurance coverage for any kind of birth control. The Supreme Court had just sided with these businesses.

      The response was (with my addition of bold emphasis):

      There's a succinct definition of "bigotry ..." (0+ / 0-)
      This is a raw paraphrase of Sigmund Freud's analysis of the GODWIN REDACTION.
      It was first applied to modern European antisemitism ... but it works for any other anti-ism as well:

      When you attribute faults and crimes exclusively to one particular group when the same behavior is found among members of other groups as well ... that's Bigotry
      When you attribute to ALL members of one particular group crimes and faults that only SOME members of that group engage in ... that's Bigotry.
      And that's all I'm reading here ... BIGOTRY.
      I looked up the reference to Godwin. It refers to comparisons to Hitler by internet users. Somehow the conversation was moved from the rather obvious motivations of the Supreme court to accusing me of Nazism. The religious groups in question openly publish the beliefs I comment on.
      in footnote 34 Justice Alito cites Fr. Henry Davis's book Moral and Pastoral Theology (1935) as the source of certain supposedly legal reasoning in the text of the majority's ruling.
      •  It seems to me, you made a fair comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Catholics have diverse views about birth control, too, with most American Catholics supporting it; however, their church is officially opposed, even if there are dissenters within the hierarchy. If you had accused all Catholics of opposing birth control, that would have been incorrect, but I figure you wouldn't make such a claim.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 11:56:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The nastiness of the Nazi accusation motivated me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, serendipityisabitch

          to collect my comments and turn them into a diary. Two new members have had their first diaries on this issue attacked for false reasons, but the attackers managed to avoid implying the Hitler comparison. After reading your diary I am going to complain to the Help desk if they bring up the Holocaust again, even by implication.

          The Roman catholic church vocally opposes birth control. 98% of women in the US use birth control at some time in their lives.

          It is deeply offensive to me to compare pointing out well-known facts to the mass murder of Jews. In light of the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Blood Libel, references to perfidious Jews in the Latin mass, and other historical issues it would be more tactful for them to avoid specious Nazi comparisons.  

  •  I see not only here but across the internet (7+ / 0-)

    comparisons with today's Tea Party crowd to the days of Jim Crow and to Germany of the 1930's and 40s. I agree with the comparisons in that these horrendous acts were carried out by a group mentality (propaganda) of hate against people they deemed inferior.

    I do see similarities. When one crackpot says something, it becomes truth until ...  I even get the impression that they want to see lynchings make a comeback. That's how evil they are and I think bloggers and progressives do a great job to hold their feet to the fire.

    History teaches us many things and too often the one consistent theme is lack of independent thinking, particularly when it came to Jim Crow and the Holocaust.

     I think they are trying very hard to erase the racism perception, but that is only because progressives have called them on it.

    Also, just as Hitler and then the German people  - blamed the Jews for WWI -  there are an awful lot of Americans here blaming immigrants for the bad economy. Or they are blaming Obama because I don't know - maybe they don't believe he is smart enough to deal with these things because of his skin color.

    We have a dreadful hate mongering right wing propaganda machine here yet I think the progressives are up to the task of calling them out. They're doing a great job challenging these people every day.

    I have visited a few death camps in Poland - they existed because of hate and monsterous actions by thousands upon thousands of people.

    I do not like what I am seeing from white Americans since our first black president was elected. Bill O'Reilly is still looking for that traditional white America. As is the tea party. The death threats against Obama I have read are staggering.

    It shames me. It shames most of us. And we are quite vocal about it. As we all should be.

    •  But you see your remark was very specific (5+ / 0-)

      and explained some troubling similarities without conflating everything with Nazism, especially not with a slogan like "reich wing." I would call your post consciousness-raising, and anything that raises consciousness is good. Insensitive sloganeering, on the other hand, is not good, and being indignant and abusive when called on it is very bad.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:16:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't believe most people conflate "everything" (0+ / 0-)

        with Nazism, as the diarist seems to say. For myself, I have consistently made the comparison with the Tea Party, for reasons I outline in full (too full, probably) below. What is wrong with doing so?

        I think the diarist is simply reacting to the fact that there isn't YET a body count from America's right wing or Tea Party. However, I think it's folly to demand that there be such a body count before we can warn that it's coming, if these clowns are voted into power (though admittedly, it'll be a far dumber, more inept Nazism).

        •  Oops, you ARE the diarist, excuse me (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry--I don't know why I thought the diarist had a different handle...

        •  Yeah, your post is the kind that I'm fighting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jersey Jon

          against. You've read my diary and comments and still say "What is wrong with doing so?" It sounds like no argument, whether of fact or an appeal to sensitivity, will work for you. So then, do you get angry when Tea Party people make bizarre claims like Obamacare is worse than slavery, or do you think it's fine for both sides to engage in that kind of offensive loose talk? Because from where I stand as a left-wing Jew, I think your approach is not much better than theirs.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 11:19:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "angry," no--I disagree with it since it isn't apt (0+ / 0-)

            because--as is obvious to everyone--Obamacare does NOT display the potential to take millions of people from their homelands, move them thousands of miles away, torture them, and hold them and their descendants in servitude for centuries.

            However, political figures like Cheney and W, who (like the Nazis) champion torture with all the eagerness at their command; start wars of aggression; say--repeatedly--"dictatorships are fine, just so long as I'm the dictator"--like a surveillance state; and are happier than the left with imprisoning millions of Americans

            and (this part is important) have done so

            ARE comparable with the early Nazi Party, before the war started. If they're comparable with the 1933-39 Nazis, and I believe the above demonstrates that they are, then I, as the left-wing half-Jewish, half-English son of a Holocaust survivor and an English WWII prison camp survivor, feel that making the comparison is demonstrably--and has been demonstrated to be--apt.

            Yes, I still say "what is wrong with doing so?" (concluding that the above elements demonstrate that one comparison is apt, and the other is not). And I think I've offered PLENTY of argument in support of it, thanks; you're just not listening because it doesn't fit your preconceived opinion.

            •  Should read: (0+ / 0-)

              "If they're comparable with the 1933-39 Nazis, and I believe the above demonstrates that they are... then it's CERTAINLY apt to compare them with the PRE-1933 Nazis, which is all I've been talking about."

              I get that we disagree. I don't think you're ready to listen to anything that doesn't fit into your pre-decided discussion, so I don't know what more there is to say (but I see you've replied to my other comments, so...)

            •  No, this was my first reply to you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              before I saw detailed explanations of your opinion from you.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:29:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Jim Crow (4+ / 0-)

      I should say, too, that it's very clear there are loud voices on the Right that do want to bring back Jim Crow. Stating that, especially with relevant quotes from them (of which there are many) is the right thing to do. But even Jim Crow is not the same as Nazism - it's a similar racist ideology, to be sure, and the Nuremburg Laws in the early days of Nazi government definitely relate to Jim Crow, but everyone actually knows the difference between Nazism and Jim Crow, if they permit themselves not to ignore it. And it's precisely the genocidal nature of Nazism that makes it such a mistake to conflate lots of bad and even evil things with it.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:21:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So it only took 6 years? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, allie4fairness
      I think they are trying very hard to erase the racism perception, but that is only because progressives have called them on it.
      They aren't erasing the racist even if they stopped appealing to them directly. Sometimes I wish we just had the conversation on race without restrictions so we could again come to a consensus on why racism is wrong. There is so much of angry racial hatred simmering just below the surface it's scary.  

      "History teaches us many things and too often the one consistent theme is lack of independent thinking, particularly when it came to Jim Crow and the Holocaust."

      Jim Crow wasn't simple group think. The white society had a culture established over hundreds of years supporting racial segregation and oppression. In other words these whites independently wanted nothing to do with black people beyond having them in service to whites.  Nazism emerged over a relatively short period of time making hate filled group think a requirement to overcome the more tolerant established culture that preceded it.

      Also, just as Hitler and then the German people  - blamed the Jews for WWI -  there are an awful lot of Americans here blaming immigrants for the bad economy.
      That's a bad analogy. Hitler blamed Jewish power. The right isn't blaming immigrant power for causing a massive war or sending the economy into the dumps even with their undocumented voter conspiracy theories. They suggest these poor people are taking jobs from other poor people.  That was not Hitlers issue with Jews who he felt were dominant socially and politically.  Showing respect for the history means avoiding bad analogies. Better you draw a comparison to our own "Chinese Exclusion Act".
      The first significant Chinese immigration to America began with the California Gold Rush of 1848-1855 and continued with subsequent large labor projects, such as the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad. During the early stages of the gold rush, when surface gold was plentiful, the Chinese were tolerated, if not well received.[1] As gold became harder to find and competition increased, animosity toward the Chinese and other foreigners increased. After being forcibly driven from the mines, most Chinese settled in enclaves in cities, mainly San Francisco, and took up low end wage labor such as restaurant and laundry work.[citation needed] With the post Civil War economy in decline by the 1870s, anti-Chinese animosity became politicized by labor leader Denis Kearney and his Workingman's Party[2] as well as by California Governor John Bigler, both of whom blamed Chinese "coolies" for depressed wage levels. Another significant anti-Chinese group organized in California during this same era was the Supreme Order of Caucasians with some 60 chapters statewide.

      "It shames me. It shames most of us. And we are quite vocal about it. As we all should be."

      I have more fear than shame. Just because you shut them up doesn't mean they don't feel the same way tomorrow.  We on the left haven't been very vocal about all the racism because in part we were overwhelmed by a endless stream the likes of which we've never seen. Our single incident based approach to outrage was pointless when prominent people like Donald Trump comes out as a birther and keeps his hit TV show. The far right could care less about being offensive much like their attacks on Muslims post 9/11.  I wonder if they just get so bored with inciting racial offense when the left appears powerless to stop them. They were far more successful at sustaining the left's outrage by saying things about women even when they weren't trying to be offensive.  Offending a marginal 13.5%(black) or the than 1-2% muslim of the population is nothing compared to the 52% actually living in their homes.

      On the left the first priority of the party is getting votes which usually means avoiding race whenever possible to avoid alienating white voters.  This is what are black president had been doing for 6 years. The same goes for defending Muslims and alienating Christians.  Neither group is independently powerful enough to impose their counter narrative on the majority without considerable support from the White/Christian Americans.  

  •  The Difference Is that Slavery For Every African (10+ / 0-)

    began either at the instant of birth or with a frequently-lethal capture process in Africa followed by transportation that killed into the same power of ten as the Holocaust population by accident because the slaves weren't valuable enough to warrant attentive packing.

    Slavery was always full bore, 100%, the worst it could be for that entire population. So any comparison to slavery at any point of its 3-4 century history is necessarily a comparison to its ultimate logical extreme.

    That's not true for the Nazis. Of course it is preposterous and sick to compare today's tea party with the peak-Holocaust 1940's Nazis. But that's not the point. Heading off a potential course all the way into disaster when too much of the early track record is has parallels to before, that's the point.

    And for that the relevant comparison is to the early period when extremism is weak enough to be contained.

    Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

    "How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know.

    There in bold is the point, and it was raised not by any of us here but by someone from that place in that time, obviously very concerned that the future be better prepared than his generations had been. We're part of that future.

    I don't know the answer either but I know what the answer is not: it's not to encapsulate that history in glass on a museum shelf, never to be examined or used for comparative measure. If it is, then never to forget becomes the same thing as never to remember.

    There's a fine balance to be struck between respect for victims along with full appreciation of the monstrosities of the past, against the need to avoid a future repetition, because history shows that even civilized humanity has proven itself capable of great evil more than once.

    Meanwhile science is telling us that humanity is heading towards global crisis of a scale unprecedented in history, including the worst of 20th century in terms of potential losses however differently events may play out. And it's history not debatable that we've arrived where we are by a series of steps "so small, so inconsequential, so well explained" that our people have mostly helped bring us to the brink of new and very dire consequences.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:28:12 PM PDT

    •  Do you see the difference between your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yonit, allie4fairness

      thoughtful remark and the kind of sloganeering and abusive insensitivity I posted about?

      Also, I really don't think the comparison of the numbers of people killed in enslavement vs. the Holocaust is relevant to the discussion, except as information (and in that spirit, do you really mean that 200,000,000 Africans were killed by accident, given the figure of over 20,000,000 Holocaust dead I cite?). The percentages of the European Jewish and Romany/Sinti population vs. the percentages of the African population could also be discussed, but I don't think that's relevant, either, except as information. I think you understood my point, as you say

      Of course it is preposterous and sick to compare today's tea party with the peak-Holocaust 1940's Nazis.
      And the point is that without being specific, that's what conflating them with Nazis does in almost every reader's mind.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:37:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some dope insinuated I am a Holocaust Denier (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, allie4fairness

    and do you know what his excuse was?  That he had done it before.  True story.

    If he weren't quite so dim, he'd probably know that going godwin as a usual MO says more about him than the people he was trying to bait.

    Paraphrasing Mencken, today's republicans are motivated by the haunting fear that somewhere, some black guy may be getting away with something.

    by Inland on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:37:31 PM PDT

  •  A lot of people complained in a similar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, blueoasis

    fashion, back during the Bush years, when we had to resort to Nazi analogies to explain the extent and nature of the Bush torture regime.

    But the problem is, what CAN you make comparisons to when you are talking about codified and widespread government torture by a modern western country?

    Comparing it to the Inquisition doesn't come close.  That was too long ago, norms of behavior in the west were different.  

    We couldn't compare it to Pinochet's Chile because Chile was a third world country, not really an heir to western tradition, and because of this, not so obviously a shocking train wreck.

    So the natural analogy was the Nazis, and nobody should have to apologize for that.  The Bush administration basically made Godwin irrelevant.  We tortured people.  We manufactured legal justifications for torture.  We had doctors in leadership from the American Psychiatric Association collaborating in the attempt to make better torture programs.  We deserved to be compared to the Nazis.

    By the way, I'm a Jew.  Because I'm a Jew, I'm more horrified by the prospect of those kinds of horrors repeating themselves again in our country even in small ways.

    •  I was always specific when I made these (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      comparisons. I compared the Bush Administration to the early years of Nazi Germany, when it seemed like their policies might be reversible. And we have to acknowledge that any fears that Bush might devise a way to end elections and stay in power were unwarranted, thereby showing a crucial difference between that administration and Hitler's.

      And in answer to your question, while I think you're totally wrong in your characterization of Chile, which had had a long history of democracy until the CIA-assisted coup, the spectre of Franco or even Mussolini is less inflammatory than the spectre of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 04:32:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hitler staying in power was the least (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        egregious thing of all that Hitler did.  There have been so many benign dictatorships throughout history where political freedom was oppressed, but torture and murder wasn't an assembly line operation, the way it was under both Bush and Hitler.

        Bush was not Hitler.  But the comparison needs to be made.  Dick Cheney is not some elder statesman waiting for his day to be recognized as a foreign policy genius.  He's a torturer in the same mold as Himmler and Heydrich.  The same goes for so many other members of the Bush administration, including present members of the NSA, who were collaborators in the enhanced interrogation and extraordinary rendition programs.  These are not forgiveable things.

        •  I fully agree that those folks are war criminals (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allie4fairness, Jersey Jon

          But comparing them to Nazis actually weakens the argument because their crimes pale so much by comparison. We could instead compare them to people like either member of the Assad family who ran Syria or any number of other inhuman folks - or, much better, to non-dictators like Nixon and Kissinger. That's American history - the Phoenix Program. And if people don't know about it, they should be informed, instead of pointing them to Nazi Germany for everything.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:31:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you think that, and I know many (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            people who do think like that, so you're not alone, then you totally miss one of the most important lessons of the Holocaust.

            It wasn't just a story about a lot of Jews being killed by barbaric people.  It was about western civilization failing, and the bureaucratic mechanics of a western government being molded into an impersonal machine for the destruction of other human beings.  Some people like to focus on the hatefulness of individual Nazis, but the real horror to me is the system, and how a modern system well designed for mass assembly and communications and mass transit was harnessed with no problems at all to an evil task, and people of all stripes of life just went along with it because that's the 20th century way of doing things.  It was like a post office that killed people.

            And one of the keys to that operation was the large German bureucracy, not all haters of Jews or rabid Nazis, but just cogs in a familiar machine, who went along with it, like the judges and attorneys.

            There's a great film about the Conference of Wannsee, called Conspiracy (2001) starring Kenneth Brannagh as Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Eichmann.  The whole 90 minute film is available on Youtube here.  It gets to the heart of what went wrong more than all the biographies of Hitler could ever do.  At the Conference of Wannsee, the Final Solution wasn't just put into its final plan for implementation, but JUDGES AND ATTORNEYS of Germans were present in order to find legal justifications for what they were going to do, and to create a framework for the lawful execution of the plan.  

            In other words, it wasn't a bunch of rogue assholes.  All the machinery of a modern 20th century country was ready made before the Nazis for what was to happen.  It wasn't some barbaric act of Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan.  Guys like you and me did it in a country not very different from our own.

            So I think there are more lessons to be learned about what Cheney did from studying the Nazis than from some make-nice comparison to some other less historically important country.  It was how they did it, and how they all cooperated that is chilling, not just how many they killed.  It can happen again.  It can happen here.  It can't happen this way in a country like Syria or Cambodia.  But it can happen here.

            •  But why is Nixon and the Phoenix Program (0+ / 0-)

              a bad comparison? It sounds like an excellent comparison to me.

              I guess I'm starting to come to a different tack on this, which is that it's OK to compare less-bad stuff to Nazism, but only if you carefully clarify the exact nature of the parallels you're making and don't try to use it as merely a way to overuse the spectre of the genocidal state for shock value or in such a way as to cheapen the analogy by overuse.

              However, I still think that apter examples from previous US history are more instructive and more helpful.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:34:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let me point out some major differences (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                between enhanced interrogation and the Phoenix Operation.  I don't do this to excuse Phoenix at all, just to show the qualitative difference of what Bush and Cheney did.

                By the way, you might want to read a very old diary of mine that one time made the top of the rec list, My Mother Baked Biscuits for Nazis, about how well we here in the US treated Nazi POWs.

                People were tortured under Phoenix, but there was enough consciousness of guilt, of the system having gone wrong, that it was done in secret.  Alibis were created through the use of SVA middle men who did the torture for us. When the truth came out, NOBODY defended what was done.  How could they?  The North Vietnamese were torturing Americans at the Hanoi Hilton.

                But in Bush's enhanced interrogation program, the president of the United States himself, in international press conferences, defended the program and chose the carefully and transparently phrased wording that what we did was not torture, because we choose to redefine the word in a way that makes us not torturers.  They even boasted about what they did.  Cheney still does.  Their surrogates went out and claimed that waterboarding, an old torture technique that the same Heydrich of the Conference of Wannsee, previously mentioned, approved under the Nazi program called Sharpened Interrogation, with a number of very civilized sounding rules  and safeguards for how and when people could be chosen for torture.  

                The Bush administration didn't skulk like the CIA guys during Nixon days.  Nixon might not have even known the details of Phoenix, might have just turned a deaf ear to the details, or the CIA might have deliberately skimped on details that weren't solicited.  We don't know.  But there was no outraged statement during Vietnam of how we're doing the right thing to torture these poor motherfuckers.

                The Bush administration didn't just do it in the dark.  They got their attorneys on the ball, working out legal and constitutional "justifications" for the torture.  My favorite was the one by former Whitehouse attorney Jon Woo who stated in response to a question that it was allowable under the constitution for the president to crush the testes of an interrogated man's baby if the president "felt," in his executive capacity, that it was necessary to America's defense.

                They didn't just cause torture.  They created a system of torture and they were proud of it.  Still are.  They would do it again given the opportunity.  Traditional mores of American behavior that might have once have blanched at this have changed since then, to where TV hero characters can torture victims on a weekly basis on the ticking time bomb theories that the Bush administration gladly embraced.

                I remember having a conversation a couple of years ago with a guy about enhanced interrogation and abu ghraib, and he asked me a question that startled me in its simplicity.  He asked me, "But if you don't torture them, how do you get them to talk?"  The implicit burden of that question is almost refreshing, it's so crystal clear.  How do you get them to talk is the problem.  Whether it brings shame on the US to do that isn't a given anymore.

                And Obama aggravated the situation by giving unofficial amnesty from prosecution to all the war criminals that participated in the Bush torture programs.  "Look forward, not backward."  Yes, because if we look backward, we might have to face up to what we did as a country and really decide if that's acceptable.  As it is, the torturers are still there, still working for our government, some in high positions like Keith Alexander at NSA, and they'll be there after Obama's gone and the next president comes along and asks them how you torture people.

  •  Nazism went well beyond the genocide of Jews (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara, blueoasis

    "But there doesn't seem to be the same level of consciousness about being sensitive to Jews "

    Let's be real for a second. Jews are not some voiceless marginalized group who have some how been ignored by public nor were the atrocities of the Nazi's limited to their ethnic group. These were people trying to take over the world starting with Europe and Russia who lost 20 million people fighting them in WWII. Are we sensitive to their loss? Are we sensitive to the many genocides and mass murders perpetrated sense? If anything the fact people raise the Nazis speaks to the deeper awareness of that atrocity because Jews have done a excellent job of making sure we don't forget but that message didn't spare us the genocides in Rwanda or Bosnia. The latter two are forgotten by young people who weren't alive to see the News coverage. Those people's influence is too marginal to keep their history in the public consciousness even 30 years later. There will be no Museums  on the mall or yearly remembrance days attended by our President.

    Nazism is representative of fascism with the accompanying extremism, purging of dissent, chauvinistic nationalism, all propagated by the foulest of demagoguery replacing reason and compassion with appeals to emotions like hate and pride. Even if we're only discussing this aspect it's appropriate to bring them up.

     Certainly it would be better if we all had a deep enough knowledge of history to find better things to compare to but the readers would need to be taught the history just to understand the points being raised.  Slavery comparisons and the genocide of native peoples are also constructive where the crimes against humanity are proportional even if it's only aspects of those atrocities.  

    History is something for us to learn from and cutting off a referencing regrettable periods in human history out of sensitivity to descendants  far too young to personally have experienced these things seems ridiculous. The best way we can show respect is to make appropriate comparisons that speak to the truth of our history rather than employing these analogies to address routine restrictions on our freedom or the loss of a public utility like water due to poverty; on that I agree.  

    •  I'm not sure how much we agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aimeehs, allie4fairness

      So by analogy, you think it's fine for whites to conflate all kinds of stuff with slavery, on the basis that no African-Americans alive today can remember American slavery? I doubt most African-Americans will agree with this. Similarly, I find it offensive that you disrespect the sensibilities of Jews just because the survivors are very old now.

      As for your point about history, do you really think that insensitive sloganeering is justified as a shortcut, rather than informing people about history?

      Finally, if I were insensitive to the non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as you might or might not be implying, why would I have given the figure of at least 20,000,000+ murder victims, rather than the figure of 6 million Jews?

      I think everyone should understand that there are two aspects to the Nazi Holocaust: The large-scale mass murder of humanity in many aspects and the narrow scale of attempted annihilation of the Jews and Romany/Sinti people, with a good argument for considering the Serbs in the same category, and which the Nazis intended to broaden to Poles and others if they had won the war but put somewhat on the back burner in favor of eliminating those they hated most - and continuing to do so even faster as they were losing the war. There is much for everyone to learn from informing themselves about the Nazi Holocaust and other aspects of Nazism, as indeed there is in informing themselves about other genocides and mass murders which, as you said, should be more publicized (and I cite the depredations of King Leopold in The Congo as Exhibit A in that regard), but as an attempt at annihilating a "race" of people, it applied first of all to the Jews and Romany/Sinti people, so if we're sensitive about conflating it with everything and you are a progressive, which thinks that avoiding insensitivity is a good idea, you should avoid conflating it with everything. I also don't think your point about the current power of Jews in the US is relevant to sensitivity. That's a matter of decency.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 05:37:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmmm. (0+ / 0-)

    Point A: most people throwing around comparisons to the Nazis actually know little to nothing about the actual programs, actions, and even accomplishments (gagh) of the National Socialist Party.  They are unaware of the historic economic and physical constraints which made the Nazi leadership embrace what they considered "tough choices", nor the cultural elements which caused them to fixate on Jews as their primary Other (hint: not all Jews are or were bankers, but for about six hundred years in GERMANY, all bankers were Jews.  The Great Depression was caused by bankers.)

    Point B: "These people are doing many of the EXACT SAME THINGS and the fact they aren't loading "the Other" on trains- YET- doesn't mean we can't point out how similar they are." In fact, people in countries all over the world have been doing many similar things since two decades before the Nazis and continuing on for decades afterward.  Ask your average Hungarian or Romanian about Stalinism, for instance.  Nazism (see Point A) was an exaggerated outgrowth of ideas which had been bouncing around Europe for the prior fifty years; an ultimate exercise in the cult of Modernism down to its infamous efforts to scale mass murder up to the industrial level.  There are deep and disturbing lessons to be learned from studying it.  Many of them involve recognizing how those same ideas lie at the root of many widely accepted myths and truisms today.

    I highly recommend a book I found available free online:
    The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, by Adam Tooze.  It's a rather intense read.

    •  Are you sure all bankers were Jews? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aimeehs, allie4fairness

      I am extremely uncomfortable in reading the kind of stuff that's in your first paragraph.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 05:39:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I got that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        from Yiddish Civilization, an interesting book I read as part of researching a Jewish heroine for the immediate pre-War era.  It details the foundation of Jewish presence in Germany and Eastern Europe during the medieval era as self-governing enclaves deliberately established by local rulers to provide financial and mercantile services that Christian society could not, either due to lack of knowledge or, in the case of banking, the Christian prohibition on lending money at interest.  It took another three centuries after the Jewish banking groups were established, for Christian organizations to develop the resources and devise workarounds for their religious scruples.  In the meantime, Jewish bankers had become dominant, and were preferred by secular authorities for, among other things, the ease with which they could be reined in by religious rabble-rousing and pogroms.

        The history of anti-Semitism in Germany vastly predates WWII (of course) and is both complex and ugly.  But while OF COURSE "all bankers were Jews" was no longer operative after the 18th century, the centuries of cultural association had already been built, and had contributed to mountains of ill-feeling (periodically and deliberately re-stoked by leaders with something to gain from exclusions, confiscations, and occasionally complete evictions).  Goebbels, deliberate mythmaker that he was, did not create the "Ewige Juden".  He merely played upon an existing construct which like all myths, originated with a distortion of facts.

        Oh, first paragraph -- do see the source I referenced.  The Third Reich was far less incompetent and irrational than they are often portrayed.  Your Hitler, Goebbels, Goering were far from evil in their own minds.  Many (like Goering) were merely selfishly ambitious; others (Hitler, Goebbels, Darre) had a Dream of "restoring" Germany to its place as the dominant force in Europe and having committed to that goal, found their options limited.  And don't forget that they seriously, really, truly BELIEVED that all Jews were fundamentally their enemies.  Somewhat like certain persons in America today feel about Muslims.  Once that assumption was made, their embrace of "rationalist", "realist" philosophy led inexorably to complete dehumanization of the Other.  As purely "modern", "scientific" men, they lacked the conviction of core principles that human beings remain human beings regardless of conflict and competition.  Thus, their efforts to apply industrial principles to the elimination of inconvenient human beings.  They had lost the fundamental ability to separate fellow humans from cockroaches in principle.

        Yes, I've been studying them.  Research for my novels. Also I find it interesting to explore the complex realities that lay behind what I learned in school as canned responses and blanket statements without the substance to substantiate it.  I'm inclined to disbelieve what I'm told that obviously serves the purposes of those in power over me.  I prefer to consume mass quantities of information and form my own judgments.

        •  Thanks for clarifying that (0+ / 0-)

          That's a lot of good stuff, and your novels are probably pretty interesting.

          I'm aware of how Jewish settlement in Germany started. As you probably know, it was Charlemagne, King of the Franks and the first Holy Roman Emperor, who invited Jews to settle on the Rhine, believing they would be good for business. In fact, one of my paternal great-uncles traced our male family line back to Worms in the Rhineland in the 14th century. When the Jewish community of Worms was expelled, they were invited to Poland by the Polish king, and my ancestors settled in Bozanow, Poland, where some of them still lived until fleeing or falling victim to the Nazis, and from where others emigrated to the Americas in the early 20th century.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:59:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The religious history (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of Poland is fascinating, and virtually unknown to most English-speakers not of Polish descent.  They seem to have had the good sense to avoid most of the religious conflicts that tore Western Europe apart. Of course, I know only what I've picked up from Yiddish Civilization and a string of interconnected Wiki articles and tourist ads, but definitely worth exploring further.  My oldest tribe-sister's family were Polish immigrants, and we've talked about going there to do some poking around.  When the Polar Vortex isn't visiting either Poland or the Great Lakes.

          •  Oh, and sorry (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for not saying this first: obvious why this is a very hot-button subject for you.  Your people were at the very center of the cyclone, where Generalplan Ost collided with an "inconvenient" local population. If the Nazi leaders allowed themselves to see Others as people, there was no way they could accomplish their fundamental desires.  So they sacrificed their own humanity along with a serious chunk of the Polish population.  Please forgive me if I sound clinical.  I do have to turn some of my own emotions into the "OFF" state to even read the basic information on the extermination camps.  But I think it better to do that smaller avoidance, than to refuse to assimilate the information at all because of the pain.

            No wonder that your guts rebel at someone comparing the modest authoritarian creep of modern America to the actions of men who deliberately made themselves into monsters.  But I agree with others who have raised the point: it starts slowly.  Even the worst of the Nazis didn't begin with the intention of  industrial mass extermination.  We still have American doctors and psychologists protesting that their involvement in blatant torture was (and is) professionally "ethical" because either the pain isn't quite severe enough, or they don't intend to kill their victims (despite the number who have died).  The road to hell is paved with a thousand small steps.  Those who lack a moral touchstone find it very slippery.

            •  Yeah, I agree with that, too (0+ / 0-)

              My Poilisher ancestors would have been in trouble regardless of Generalplan Ost, as they were Jewish.

              What do you mean about Poland avoiding religious conflict? You mean because very few Poles ever became Protestants or otherwise strayed from Catholicism? Because there certainly was a long history of pogroms, as I'm sure you're very much aware.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 04:29:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I'm probably not as up on it as you are.  But I got the impression that the Poles avoided making blanket pronouncements of religious "fatwa" against Protestants of any variety and adopted a more live and let live attitude -- avoiding the civil wars which wracked Germany.  Also, the large Jewish population was a sign of generally less violence in that direction, although no European country was free of pogroms.  Perhaps the very size of the Jewish constituency in Poland made it less of an easy target, however, than the very small enclaves in Britain and France. Generally, I just found it fascinating to discover the history of central and eastern Europe, as a standard American education virtually ignores anything that went on east of the Alps!

                •  I don't believe your impression of the position (0+ / 0-)

                  of Polish Jews is accurate. As happened in various other Christian lands, at first, they were welcomed in, but later on, they were quite often the targets of pogroms, and while at certain points, Jews were in even more danger in Ukraine, much of Poland was part of the Russian Empire, too, with all the deadly consequences that had for Jews. After the Russian Empire's demise, anti-Semitic violence did not end in Poland. And even after the Germans were defeated at the end of World War II, there were still pogroms against the survivors, which is why very few Jews remain in Poland. You can get some basic background here, but knowing you, you'll want to read more.

                  Now, having said all that, it is also true that the Polish Home Army fought heroically against the Nazis and is held responsible for helping to save 50,000 Jewish lives (and tried to save many more, had the Allied powers, for example, took them up on their plan for a rebellion at Auschwitz), and there are more Poles among the "Righteous Gentiles" who risked summary execution to save the lives of their Jewish neighbors than members of any other nationality. So the picture is mixed. But it's not an accident that Jews ran from Poland in huge numbers starting in the late 19th century.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 10:04:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  However, read this as counterpoint (0+ / 0-)

                    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                    by MichaelNY on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 10:43:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks for the sources. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      It's been interesting talking to you, Michael.  If we meet up again and I seem to be taking an anti-semitic line, remember that I'm always open to education!

                    •  Thanks for the references. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      The initial summary in the Wiki article is about the understanding that I had -- statutory freedom of religion, at a time when the rest of Europe was cutting each others' throats over it.  You can hardly blame the Poles for being partitioned into Prussia and Russia, or for the actions of governments imposed on them by force.  Generally, the Poles themselves seem to have been more tolerant than anyone else in Europe.  Their medieval positions were part of the inspiration for my treatment of how werewolf kings of an independent Transylvania might have seen things ;-).

                      It's been nice talking with you, Michael.  Please, if you run into me making socially insensitive statements in public again, remember that I'm willing to be educated!

                      •  You've done fine (0+ / 0-)

                        The only thing you could have done was be more specific in the first post about which period of x-hundred years in Germany had only Jews for bankers.

                        But at certain periods, the Dutch were arguably more tolerant (within Europe; they were horrible colonists), and Prussia announced complete freedom of religion under Frederick the Great.

                        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                        by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 12:29:54 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not because of the Jewish angle, but more because it is never conducive to constructive dialogue.  On Bill Maher's last show 12 days ago,  Max Brooks made a Nazi comparison, and I just couldn't believe he went there.  I can't even remember what exactly was the topic of conversation;  see my first sentence.  Everyone else on the panel plus Bill basically told him that he shouldn't have gone there.

  •  If people start comparing everything to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sonno joi, I might be amused.

  •  I'm not unaware of the horrors of WWII, and I am (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not uncaring about them either.  It is because I do care that I and others call today's villains by the name that they most resemble.

    If what we see and hear looks like and sounds like the rise of nazism, what are we to do?  How are we to discuss the reality that is here in our own nation if we are coerced, by a guilt trip, to be mute?

    Do we repeat what the Europeans did in the 30's and ignore it?

    All of WWII and the Reich was not about the Jews, as
    horrible as that was, it was only a part of a whole that was en masse more horrible than any single part.

    Do we blind our eyes and stop our ears to the truth and risk repeating history at its worst?

    The far right is behaving in ways that are uncomfortable,  incredibly offense, it is also often frightening and even sometimes violent.  

    So we cross our fingers and hope that it all is not real.

    Many ethnicities and races suffered in Europe, Africa and Asia in the 1930s and 40s.  
    They are not calling for us to stand mute before truth that there are violent bigots in our nation and in the world and that many who are their targets, were targets in the past.

    Some of us do not want to see that part of history repeated in our life times.  

    •  If you think I have the power to coerce anyone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to stop conflating everything with Nazism, you have really lost touch with reality. So far, no-one has even been persuaded to consider changing their ways, as far as I've seen.

      And I will say this bluntly: Anyone who thinks the only way to speak against bigotry, reactionary politics, homophobia or/and effort to bring back Jim Crow is to use puerile slogans like "reich wing" is simple-minded. Democracy requires eternal vigilance, not eternal sloganeering, and if you really can't see the difference, at least stop arguing that anyone is trying to use "coercion" to get you to see it.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:32:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Nazi", no, "Fascist" yes. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree wholeheartedly with MichaelNY that calling the current  American far right "Nazi" trivializes history's most evil movement and its enormous crimes. I'm not similarly squeamish about the term "fascist", however. The American far right today closely resembles interwar and contemporary fascism in its racism, authoritarianism, social ultraconservatism, and hostility to science and reason. Furthermore, in contrast to the Nazi's, who merely tolerated the Christian churches as a tactical expedient, most other fascists then and now have cloaked themselves in conservative Christianity and style themselves defenders of the faith. Sound familiar? So while I won't call these miscreants Nazi's, I won't cavil at calling them Fascists.

        "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

        by Blue Boomer on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:20:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you still have to make the explanation (0+ / 0-)

          "Fascist," used by itself, has just turned into an insult, and I feel sure that most people who aren't left-wing activists consider the use of "fascist" for the non-totalitarian right to be just as silly as the use of "communist" for the non-totalitarian left. So calling Republicans "fascists" with no qualification or further explanation is just a caricature, and in any case a loaded term.

          Having a discussion about similarities you've noticed, and with which Republicans, is different. I'm not sure that it's the most effective way to show why the things they say and do are wrong, as I doubt most Americans have a clear sense of what fascism is, other than that it's something bad used as an insult, but if you make the explanation, you at least have a fighting chance of getting through to someone other than the already-converted.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:39:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So call it shaming people who have nothing to (0+ / 0-)

        do with what they are being shamed for.  That is coercion.

        Calling people puerile for naming what they see by the name it most resembles is shaming those who are trying protect from the evil they see.

        You can call the person who is yelling "wolf" a string of insults   and shame  them into silence.  But what if there is a wolf?

        Calling evil by pretty names does not make evil any less evil.  In fact it facilitates. it.

        You aim your name calling at me.  Even if that coercion stops my words ti does nothing to stop other's acts.

        You prove a lot of my point by aiming insults at me and not at entities that actually are causing harm in this country.  You use insults to coerce.

        •  If you can't tell the difference between (0+ / 0-)

          expressing an opinion and coercion, consider yourself coerced to stop replying. Did that work? Really, I can't take that seriously. Is this just an issue of your not knowing the definition of "coercion"?

          Also, no-one is suggesting that anything bad should be called by a good name. What I've stated is that people are way too quick to compare anything bad to Nazism, and that unless the alleged similarity is explained in careful detail as to precisely how it's in any way similar to Nazism, it risks both cheapening the word "Nazism" and dishonoring its victims and also weakening the argument about how bad the incident or policy in question is. But I don't see much point in having a substantive discussion with someone who thinks that whatever I say might have a coercive effect on her. So therefore, I command you to stop posting! See, did that work?

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:05:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you, who don't like the name nazism, (0+ / 0-)

            want that world to not be used then name do you want?

            I'll happily use a different word but it has to describe what I feel I am seeing.

            You can't have it both ways.  Come up with a better description with the same meaning, or stop bad mouthing the people who see a wolf and call it a wolf.

            What the right is doing in this country is not raising cute puppies.

  •  We are not allowed here to compare Israel's (0+ / 0-)

    Treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazis.

    I am not understanding that one.

    •  Do you understand the concept of irrelevance? (0+ / 0-)

      If you want to introduce irrelevant references to the Israeli-Palestinian issue in this thread...actually, I don't even want you to explain why. Just reread my remarks.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:34:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well wait a second--I'M half-Jewish, too, and (0+ / 0-)

    I think that it's perfectly apt to compare the Tea Party wing, at least, to the Nazi Party--of the mid-1920s, before they came to power.  This is your problem: yes, of COURSE America's right wing hasn't yet had the body count of the Nazi Party.

    So? What would be the POINT of warning "there's the Nazi Party," about some genocidists, if they had already committed the genocide? Even Godwin, of Godwin's Law fame, made his law precisely because there ARE some times when it IS apt to compare someone with them.

    The pre-Holocaust Nazi Party DOES compare, and compares perfectly, with the Tea Party.

    They: 1) are bigoted, 2) favor aggressive war, 3) favor wild and uncontrolled military deficit-spending to fund such wars, 4) hate a) immigrants, b) those of a certain religion, c) gay people, liberated women, and all with such "nontraditional" lifestyles, d) the poor "workshy," e) socialists, f) internationalists, g) etc. 5) favor torture, 6) favor a surveillance state, and 7) LOVE imprisoning people.

    Is there any one of those points which the Tea Partiers don't love as well? They have, I'll remind everyone, been among the loudest proponents of keeping the justice system a) nice and bigoted, and b) well-populated. Two MILLION Americans are imprisoned, right? And the right wing are most in favor of that, with the left more "namby-pamby" and "coddling criminals" according to the prison-building right, isn't that right?

    Tell me: in 1941, when the Nazis, with a similar history, blundered into "possession," if you like, of many millions of prisoners, and realized they had nowhere to put them and nothing to feed them with, what happened? And what will happen--say, if there's a global climate change-driven drought or famine--if they someday can't feed those millions of prisoners, and the Tea Party happen to have power?

    Do you really tell me that you have any doubt?

    •  (The Nazis' "similar history" should say "similar (0+ / 0-)

      policies," instead; the Nazis' history involved a) a failed violent putsch, and b) a society that fetishized its army in a way we don't QUITE do (the right wing fetishizes our business leaders the way conservative Germans of 80 years ago fetishized the military) and c) paramilitary units as backup for the Party, in a country where millions of people, on right AND left, belonged to such paramilitaries. That history, of course, and several other aspects, diverge from the Tea Party and similar hard-right American outfits.)

      •  Who are you going to convince to oppose (0+ / 0-)

        the Tea Party who currently is not already a convinced opponent, by making these parallels? Instead, you'll turn some people off.

        The more meaningful parallels are with the Dixiecrats of yesteryear, I submit to you. Those folks weren't Nazis, but they were quite bad enough and had all the qualities of bigotry and militarism the current Tea Party folks tend to have.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 11:27:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mm... if I'm not going to convince anyone who is (0+ / 0-)

          not already a convinced opponent of the Tea Party, then who do you think I'll convince that they

          1) AREN'T bigoted,
          2) DON'T favor aggressive war,
          3) DON'T favor wild and uncontrolled military deficit-spending to fund such wars,
          4) DON'T hate a) immigrants, b) those of a certain religion, c) gay people, liberated women, and all with such "nontraditional" lifestyles, d) the poor "workshy," e) socialists, f) internationalists, g) etc.
          5) DON'T favor torture,
          6) DON'T favor a surveillance state, and
          7) DON'T LOVE imprisoning millions of people, with cavalier disregard for (or even glee at imagining) any torture or even death that might befall those millions?

          Who on earth do you claim will be put off, when not one person can deny the almost perfect agreement (only substituting Muslims for Jews, and Mexicans for east European immigrants)? Every single person reading this can google each and every one of these sentiments and discover for themselves both that the Nazis were, and that America's hard right are, perfectly in favor of each and every one of those things. Do you disagree, or do you need me to cite examples? I certainly can and will, if you like...

          •  There's a difference between that (0+ / 0-)

            and calling for or creating a genocidal state. When a major leader of the Republican Party calls for all American Muslims, Hispanics, or African-Americans to be lined up and shot or transported in cattle cars and gassed, get back to me. And by the way, some of the Tea Party folks are isolationists and opposed to NSA surveillance, so things are not quite as simple as you're making them.

            Meanwhile, you seem to have some funny ideas of what the Nazis actually did and the degree to which they planned them.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:29:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, of course there's a difference--I said so (0+ / 0-)

              explicitly, in my first post: comparisons are being made regarding the Nazis BEFORE the Holocaust, obviously, since no one yet has created the concentration camps. I've been saying that since the first; you're not listening, I guess.

              No one will EVER be worthy of comparison with the Nazis, by your measure. I'm just not buying your argument that until we see someone unrolling blueprints of concentration camps, we have to assume that no mass murders will ever take place. No sale on that one.

              (And the Nazis didn't offer any such blueprint either, by the way; their verbiage was very hateful, but no more so than MANY modern American right-wing leaders. And their body count and torture victim count was WAY less, before 1933, than our right wing already has under their belt.)

              And you can stop making cracks about me having "funny ideas," when I think it's you who have yet to really get your feet wet in the Functionalist versus Intentionalist debate. Do you even know what that is?

              •  Well, you said the Nazis blundered into prisoners (0+ / 0-)

                and then started killing them because they didn't have food for them. I guess you were joking, but it wasn't funny.

                I've already addressed the difference between discussing the Nazis before 1936 or so, and the fact that anyone seeing the word "Nazi" without qualification is going to immediately think "genocide," not "gradual increase in oppression and totalitarianism."

                Why don't you like my analogy with the Dixiecrats, as discussed earlier in this thread?

                I'm not really interested in discussing Functionalism vs. Intentionalism in this thread, and I really don't find it very interesting to enumerate the depredations of today's right-wingers in the U.S. My politics are about on par with Bernie Sanders, so I don't need to be convinced that the Republican Party is no good.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:05:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think you can make parallels (0+ / 0-)

      But keep them specific, and avoid the kind of empty sloganeering I'm attempting so futilely to fight on this site.

      Also, really, you want to make this argument?

      Tell me: in 1941, when the Nazis, with a similar history, blundered into "possession," if you like, of many millions of prisoners, and realized they had nowhere to put them and nothing to feed them with, what happened?
      Really? That's how history unfolded - that the Nazis created all those gas chambers and train lines to them and shot all those thousands of people at Babi Yar and the forests outside of Wilno because they didn't have enough food for them? What book is the Mein Kampf of the Tea Party, and who wrote it? If you really think that's the history of Nazism, you need to study more before you compare anything to it.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 11:24:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ha! My friend, I only have TWO degrees in it (0+ / 0-)

        I've read HUNDREDS of books and articles on Nazi Germany, and I've translated documents from German into English, for my scholarly work.

        I'm well aware of Mein Kampf, but if you know the slightest thing about the history of Nazi Germany, you'll know volumes about the Functionalist versus Intentionalist historical debate? If you don't, there's no shame in admitting so, but please be aware that you're talking to a guy with a LOT of knowledge about it (though someone else will always have some that I don't have, and you may well).

        There is HUGE historical controversy, anyway, on the Functionalist versus Intentionalist debate. Such controversy does NOT, of course, deny the Holocaust (no serious controversy does, anyway), nor the Nazis' natural bloodthirstiness or cavalier disregard for, and even desire for, human suffering; nor do I. (This should, of course, be plain from my previous comment.)

        It merely states that there is a WORLD of difference between Hitler's anti-semitic and warlike hatred and rantings in Mein Kampf--which did not NEARLY, please note, outline specifics of the Holocaust--and a blueprint for the Holocaust that Hitler methodically followed. My own view is that most Nazis and their leaders were horrible, callous, and capable of bigoted judicial murder and torture; but

        IN THEIR OWN LEADERS' WORDS, if you go to the Wannsee House museum on the outskirts of Berlin, you'll find the very architects of the Holocaust said that


        of their impetus (I didn't say all, but it was certainly ONE) for the Holocaust was, indeed, the fact that they couldn't feed all the prisoners of war. So yes, that IS one of the things that led to the Holocaust, sorry to tell you. Another is, without doubt, the bigotry that they started with; but it's far from certain that that was the cut-and-dried plan from the start that you're implying it was.

        Dick Cheney was too, and he spoke in favor of torture many times, and George W. knew his justice system in Texas took in WAY greater proportions of black people than white, but never once stopped an execution. Does this mean they could become the authors of mass murder and torture of millions? Or that they'd stick at aggressive war that might kill TENS of millions--oh, that's WAY too many--when they already killed hundreds of thousands in an aggressive war?

        Why not, exactly?

        What book is the Mein Kampf of the Tea Party, you ask? I have OFTEN seen posters on Youtube advising concentration camps for immigrants. That's their rank and file. I have also seen right-wing American political LEADERS saying things about putting gays in concentration camps, like Todd Kincannon did. You say that Mein Kampf, which DIDN'T talk about concentration camps, is a perfect blueprint that Hitler methodically and predictably followed to the Holocaust, but the Right's talk of concentration camps--and, for God's sake, as I say for the third time, the fact that they cheer for a bigoted ACTUALITY of our record of imprisoning more people than any dictatorship now extant on earth--is not? The Tea Party book is written by all their footsoldiers every day, as they joke about taking lives for 2nd Amendment rights, putting people in concentration camps; you claim they don't?

        •  (On Functionalism versus Intentionalism, note, too (0+ / 0-)

          that if the Nazis intended the Holocaust all along, then why on earth did they let 2/3 of their Jews flee the country, instead of murdering them all right then, before the war ever started? They had 450,000 German Jews in 1933, and by 1939, they'd made 300,000 flee, according to historian Richard Evans' texts.)

        •  Shorter: (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, the Nazis were murderous, and talked about their murderous hatred. Many people do, without EVER going on to, or even planning to, mass-murder 20 million people.

          My own Jewish grandmother, living in Germany, thought that Hitler would only last six months, despite his blather.

          However, it was only when the thing he DID intend, which was war, ended him up with several million Jewish and slavic prisoners, that the Final Solution was created. Then, of course, Hitler and company's hatred for the Jews, Slavs and others, which they certainly had, found several million more victims than they had made plans for dealing with.

          You... you are aware that it's only in late 1941 that the Wannsee Conference even PLANNED the Final Solution... aren't you?

          If Hitler planned the Final Solution from the first, then may I ask why he didn't have Himmler and Heydrich plan it from 1933, or even sooner, rather than waiting until the very moment when he suddenly had over six million prisoners?

          Hm? I really want you to answer that honestly, if I have such "funny ideas about history" as you claim I do. I can't make you, of course, but I'll figure you for dishonest if you don't give that last paragraph an honest answer.

          •  Yes, I am aware that the Final Solution was (0+ / 0-)

            decided on at the Wannsee Conference, which actually took place in early 1942. But the wholesale murder of Jews was certainly already well underway in Poland and the occupied areas of the USSR in 1941. Since you've read so much about the Nazis, I'm sure you're well aware of the Einsatzgruppen.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 02:12:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry--when I powered down I realized the mistake (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry, I was posting late at night. I know that the Wannsee Conference occurred in 1942, but meant to say that the PLANNING for what culminated in Wannsee didn't begin until 1941.

              Yet if Hitler intended all along to murder six million Jews--

              again, being very clear that he hated Jews all along, and as I've mentioned, was always happy enough to murder them on the sort of small scale that suggested Weimar era street fighting, but that that is very different from mass-murdering six million people, including families with small children--

              then why was this only planned in 1941? Why, since he announced to his generals that he'd go to war in eastern Europe as early as 1937, did he never have a discussion with Himmler to plan the mass murder of the Jews back then?

              •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

                Was every discussion he ever had documented? That wouldn't surprise me, but it's possible he had some unrecorded discussions.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:35:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In fact, he was very loath to record any decisions (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  This is one of the problems that gives fuel to Holocaust deniers (though, of course, there is still ample documentation to refute them, not least the fact that they can't explain where the missing millions of people ARE now).

                  Hitler had a very cunning and devious mind for his dictatorship. It is a thing that makes dictatorship inherently inefficient:

                  1) The dictator cannot have perfectly secure seconds-in-command, or they will use their security eventually to overthrow their own master. Therefore,

                  2) Hitler made sure to play one satrap against the other, bribing one with a huge cash bonus, another with titles like "Reichsmarschall," another with responsibilities; but always leaving the lines of responsibility just blurred enough to have his lieutenants constantly yelling at him that "I should really be given responsibility for this!" and telling them "no," so that they'd fight with one another; however,

                  3) This led to inefficiency, as blurred lines mean lack of clarity in how to run things; work was duplicated, for instance, in areas like intelligence and spy work.

                  4) Since this was a purposeful act on Hitler's part, to keep his top brass fighting with each other instead of turning on him, he became ever more reluctant to commit any orders to paper, because that would clarify things, and the strategy depended upon lack of clarity. So it was rare that he committed much of anything to paper.

                  For this reason, any random rant that he went on, on any given Sunday, would become a "Fuehrerbefehl" (command of the Fuehrer), with the force of law. Several Berlin Jews owe their lives to this: a group of German saboteurs were landed in America, with orders to blow up factories and such, but were caught and hanged instead (see a US Supreme Court motion called "Ex Parte Quirin," where some of the hanged men tried to demand that they be tried as civilians instead of in a military court; recent cases Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and one or two other recent terrorism cases still cite this today). Hitler screamed at Admiral Canaris of military intelligence (for whose spy organization Oskar Schindler of "Schindler's List" fame was a spy, and this is the spy organization that saved Schindler from the Gestapo), for getting good Germans killed, saying "Use Jews or criminals for this kind of work next time!" Just so, Canaris "trained" several Jews as spies--really, just using the "Fuehrer order" as a ruse to save their lives, and secret them into Switzerland. Unintended consequences make good.

                  •  (That, #4, was among the reasons he micro-managed) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    and claimed "see? I have to do everything around here!" He was a megalomaniac because he was pretending he was indispensable, so that none of his chiefs would think himself strong enough to be independent.

          •  I suppose you're aware of this, too (0+ / 0-)
            In 1922 Joseph Hell asked Hitler, "What do you want to do to the Jews once you have full descretionary powers?"

            Hitler, who until then had spoken calmy and with measured words, underwent a total transformation:    

            "His eyes no longer saw me but instead bore past me and off into empty space; his explanation grew increasingly voluble until he fell into a kind of paroxysm that ended with his shouting, as if to a whole public gathering:

            'Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. As soon as I have the power to do so, I will have gallows built in rows - at the Marienplatz in Munich, for example - as many as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately, and they will remain hanging until they stink; they will hang there as long as the principles of hygiene permit. As soon as they have been untied, the next batch will be strung up, and so on down the line, until the last Jew in Munich has been exterminated. Other cities will follow suit, precisely in this fashion, until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews.' "

            Source, with footnote.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 02:26:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Think of it this way (0+ / 0-)

              Say a country's political system declines so that the only people polling effectively are some murderous streetfighter biker gangs (in Weimar, the Communists started the murders off, after the Kiel mutinies, though the right wing very quickly topped them in murder, until both sides together had murdered several hundred, before 1933).

              The biker leader of the Assassins, let's call them, HATES the Hashashim gang, talks always of retribution against them, and has been known to have his guys kill Hashashim; same on the other side. Everyone knows that a vote for him is a vote for hostility to the Hashashim. The Hashashim, for their part, have injustices to point to, but have also indulged in low-level, extrajudicial murder.

              The Assassins' leader gets elected, and starts not only imprisoning every single Hashashim leader, which everyone knew he would; he also murders several, which everyone knew; but then, after he invades the home country from which many Hashashim ancestors come, he mass-murders, on an industrial scale, every single person there, men, women, children, and grandparents.

              Could we have seen it coming? Yes, but we really expected it would just be a little "score-settling."

              Should we expect such brutality now? I say, we've already started to see it.

              •  Please clarify your last sentence. nt (0+ / 0-)

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:36:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Torture, aggressive war, unconcern for justice, (0+ / 0-)

                  mass murder (Iraq; I don't fault them for the Afghan War, as I feel that was self-defense for the 9/11 training camps), unconcern for letting 45,000 Americans a year die of neglect for lack of health care, when they could stop it with the stroke of a pen; I mean, that's a body count.

                  What are 45,000 dead Americans per year--that's PREVENTABLE deaths, according to the Harvard study--but a Holocaust? They may not be Jewish, but I simply have no other word for it. These people--they CHEERED for it, and Ron Paul lied and said charity would prevent it (if so, why hasn't it?), at the Republican debates. They CHEERED "let 'em die!" at the thought of 45,000 of their fellow Americans dying. What can I think?

                  •  Self-defense AGAINST the 9/11 training camps, I (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    mean--I want to be clear in my meaning. I don't fault George W. for acting against the Taliban, because that was justified. He was acting in self-defense against the perpetrators of 9/11 in that case. However, he was WAY wrong to go after Iraq, and I think that was aggressive war of choice, and a living atrocity.

                    •  I've pointed out quite a number of times (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      though in places where you wouldn't have read it (such as DKE threads) that there were Nazis who were executed at Nuremberg solely for the crime of conspiracy to commit aggression, which is precisely what the Bush Administration did. But saying that is not saying that the Bush Administration were Nazis, nor that they were just like Nazis, but that they committed some crimes that got some Nazis executed, and shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

                      I'm not convinced on Afghanistan. An attack may or may not have been justified, but occupying the country was stupid at best, in my opinion.

                      And I'm sorry, but as ugly as that incident was (and I remember the footage with the "let 'em die" chant), there really is a difference between excess deaths and intentional murder. And calling that "Nazi" really doesn't strengthen anyone's argument.

                      Plus, the Bush Administration is gone and not what mostly is getting discussed on this site anymore, and it isn't what prompted this diary.

                      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                      by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:52:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Agreed that the OCCUPATION of Afghanistan was (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        an awful idea, yes. However, the strikes against Afghanistan, I felt, were justified.

                        OK, my friend--I stayed up WAY too late with this last night, so I will let you and your other posters have the last word. Whoever's right, you seem a fine person, and at least we're agreed on most of the large, important questions of what's right, wrong, decent, or indecent. Thanks for indulging me in the debate!

                        •  Thank you very much for the discussion (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          It has not always been fun to look at sources about Nazi crimes to take part in this discussion, but it was certainly a good discussion, and you absolutely have my respect.

                          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                          by MichaelNY on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 01:11:23 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you Michael, you have mine too (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I'd say, too, the same thing I always say when a good person says "why do people never do this?" or "why don't people say that?" That, my friend, is the reason good people like YOU are here. You have a perspective to offer that no one else quite has.

                          •  Briefly: you've done here exactly what (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            you said was needed: elevated the discussion. Though you are right that there will never be enough thoughtful commentary, I am also right that there will ALWAYS be enough thoughtful commentary.

                            On the subject of the diary, I'll close with this: in the 1930s, before the word "Gestapo" had yet become the synonym for police brutality, overreach, and surveillance state, the word "Cheka" (for the Soviet Russian secret police) was the word for it. German officers like Canaris warned against the Gestapo turning into the Cheka; he was ignored. Food for thought.

                            Thanks again, and be well!

          •  I'll say something else to you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I appreciate your willingness to engage in a discussion that has details in it, and I hope you can see that that's quite different from using "reich wing" as a trope. But here's the danger: If we really start seeing the entire right as Nazis, then shouldn't we take up arms and kill them? I don't know if you have friends who are on the right. I do, and they are not Nazis and are all at least on some level nice people, or I wouldn't have anything to do with them. In Nazi Germany, too, there were some people who were conservative but anti-Nazi.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 02:37:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks--me too (0+ / 0-)

              I have PLENTY of right-wing friends; even one who is a Tea Party type. I never agree with her on ANYTHING. Yes, with her, I don't say "you're thinking like a Nazi," but I DO say "your thinking about immigrants, I don't agree with, and I think it will end with some unspeakable cruelties being visited upon them one day; people cavalierly talk about putting them into concentration camps, and I really worry about that."

              Such discussion gets across precisely the same ideas, in around the same terms, and makes clear that I think it's a parallel to Nazism. The reason it's not offensive to mention concentration camps is that people ARE posting in public fora about putting undocumented immigrants in concentration camps, and people DO fail to care how much misery they're in, or what fate befalls them.

              Yes, there were plenty of conservative anti-Nazis. There were also Nazis who were ready to murder Jews or Communists in street-fighting, but blanched when it came down to mass-murdering respectable families, or even unrespectable ones, with babies. That is another way the two are similar--a LOT of Tea Partiers blab in murderous terms about people they exclude, but aren't ready to face the reality of what that would mean, if they put it into practice, and actually had the power to prevent or carry out mass murder.

              I think, to your larger point, that there is MUCH more thoughtful use of the terms "Nazism" and such, on Kos at least, than thoughtless use of them.

              •  I disagree with your last paragraph (0+ / 0-)

                Do you not see "reich wing" used as a trope here? I might also say that I don't see "rethuglican" and the like as useful, but at least they're hateful only toward Republicans.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:38:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't remember seeing it here, though (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I might simply ignore it, as I gravitate to the more interesting comments. In any case, it certainly exists online, yes, and it is clunky.

                  However, here's what I was thinking about today: you have read people saying these things, and thought "well that seems thoughtless," right? But you've also read more thoughtful comments, say, from some of the other posters even on this very diary, and you've told them "now see, Gooserock, your reply is much more thoughtful; etc." Right?

                  So what I'm thinking is, if you can read, and you see something thoughtful, then as a thoughtful person, you recognize it as thoughtful. If you WEREN'T a thoughtful person, then of course, you wouldn't grasp the thoughtful comment, even if it WAS thoughtful; no matter how thoughtful, it would be beyond you. But if both the online commentary and you ARE thoughtful, then likewise, don't worry--you won't miss it.

                  So what's the danger? I mean, I get that given Cheney's torture, the mass, helter-skelter imprisonment of millions of Americans in a bigoted system of justice, aggressive war against Iraq and others that kills hundreds of thousands and makes millions homeless, allowing 45,000 Americans a year to die of neglect from lack of health care and screaming "let 'em die!" to even more of them, this all still doesn't add up to an atrocity in the making like Nazism to you (again, I mean pre-WWII Nazism; I don't argue that we've had our Holocaust here yet). So we disagree. But I actually don't see that my holding that different opinion degrades the public debate, or causes any damage. I think that I, and (as you acknowledged with Gooserock) others are thoughtful enough that there is enough thoughtful comment to focus on, that there is enough to ignore the thoughtless. No?

                  •  No, not really (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    The thoughtless degrade discussion here. But otherwise, yes, I fully agree.

                    But please understand, I never said that nothing should ever be compared to Nazism, but if "Nazi" becomes a synonym for "bad" or even "dictator," "oppressor" or "war criminal," that clarifies nothing and just weakens the word.

                    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                    by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:55:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  And actually, we have had the equivalent of (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    holocausts here: The enslavement of Africans and African-Americans and the genocidal campaigns against Native American tribes, which I referred to much earlier. Lest we forget!

                    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                    by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:57:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Yes, and they say that the Native Americans' decimation actually inspired Hitler in his own mass murder, too. Could be an apocryphal story, but that genocide, and slavery, are two great shames either way, equivalent in my mind to the Holocaust as well.

        •  I am not a supporter of the imprisonment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of so many people for prostitution, drug possession, and drug sales, but for you to compare that to the internment of people specifically because they were Jews or Romany/Sinti people is pretty extreme, and I say that in full knowledge of the way the system is biased against people of color. Also, I have no idea who Todd Kincannon is, but he is not a major leader of the Republican Party, and the U.S. has if not always, for quite a long time had a right-wing extremist fringe, and the difference today is that whereas the Ku Klux Klan actually used to run some states, they themselves have very little membership and influence now, but the successors of the John Birch Society and the Dixiecrats, and even the Citizens' Councils, still exist and spew bigotry today.

          I take some of your points. I am a musician and don't have degrees in history. But when you talk of prisoners of war, that sounds like one of the reasons the Nazis would have murdered so many Soviet Red Army prisoners, not Jews who were non-combatants - though I have to point out that they were much more ready to murder Soviet POWs than POWs from other Allied nations, so I would think that part of that had to be hatred toward Slavs and communism. I am aware that at the beginning, the Nazis would have been satisfied with expelling all the Jews from Germany, but are you really claiming that they "blundered into" Jewish prisoners in 1941 and then decided to murder them? That's certainly a version of history I've never heard before. Instead, what I understand is that they had gas chambers built because, after their experience at Babi Yar, Vilno, etc., etc. on the Eastern Front, they couldn't shoot the Jews fast enough to murder them efficiently.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:20:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And there was also another part of it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Some of the German soldiers who were ordered to shoot Jews felt trauma because of it, and the trauma was decreased or eliminated if they didn't have to personally shoot so many Jews but were merely herding them onto trains, so that ultimately, a single SS officer was the one who dropped the Zyklon B pellet and may have dealt with trauma, whereas the others were just cogs in the wheel.

            You're probably aware of this.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 02:20:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  There are hateful anonymous posters (0+ / 0-)

          on the left, too. In order to be dangerous, the right needs to have a charismatic leader with politics at least as bad as Buchanan who can win. GW Bush and his administration were horrible, but they're out of power, though unpunished, and the chances that a Republican could win in 2016 are not good unless something terrible happens that greatly changes American politics in the interim (a sudden depression, for example, or God or whom-/whatever forbid, massive terrorism or something else unforeseen). Furthermore, in spite of the prevalence of right-wing extremism in the Republican Party - extremism of the "obstruct everything for partisan reasons and try our best to sabotage the economy" variety, more than any other, but with other, uglier overtones we all know about - they have selected the most moderate major candidates in their presidential primaries the last two times. Calling McCain and Romney "Nazis" would be pretty insane, don't you think?

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 02:32:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            They don't seem to have the delight in torture, or carelessness in starting an aggressive war that left millions homeless, for instance, that Cheney does and did.

            What gets me, though, is that the Tea Party is quite comfortable if such wars and torture--preferably with a bigoted crusader mentality against muslims--are repeated. And they poll almost exactly the way the Nazis did--around 1/3 support from the electorate.

            •  (Though that has gone down to 1/5; yet (0+ / 0-)

              so did the Nazis' polls go down, just before they came roaring back.

              The Tea Party doesn't need a charismatic leader; they may never have one (remember, where Germany fetishized the army, modern American right-wingers fetishize boring old businessmen). All they need is sufficient support at the polls, and vote-rigging, such as the gerrymandering which we all know is occurring now.

              Yes, it won't happen against Slavic and Jewish prisoners of war this time; it'll be a different group of prisoners, mostly brown people, and a different religion, Islam, and a different group of "work-shy," like the 45000 Americans who died EACH YEAR from lack of health care until recently.

              Those 45000 a year were actual deaths, totals which even the Nazis in power before 1939 could never match. And the right wing yelled "let them die!" at the Republican debates, in front of Ron Paul, and Ron Paul announced that under his rule, he'd prefer to pretend that charity would keep them from dying (in other words, he'd let them die too).

              Sorry for such a contentious debate, and I didn't mean to say that you were being thoughtless (I snapped at you a little in my first post this morning, sorry about that). I just think that the comparison is perfectly apt, that's all. I really do.

              •  There really is a difference between excess deaths (0+ / 0-)

                for lack of medical insurance and murders by shooting people in the head. Of course I understand that the people in question are all equally dead, but fudging the difference between the causes of death is not something we should be doing. Even Alan Grayson never said the Republicans were worse than Nazis for opposing the Affordable Care Act.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:43:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I've seen a few posts calling for right-wingers (0+ / 0-)

              or some leader or other to die or be assassinated. They're exceptional, to be sure, but if we're going to bring up the totality of anonymous posts online...

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:40:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site