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20 Aug 15:23


by Gail Heriot

ON THIS DAY IN 1919, RODDIE EDMONDS WAS BORN NEAR KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE:  Almost a century later, in 2015, he was posthumously recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations,” Israel’s highest honor for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

He never told his story to his friends or family. His son learned about it only after his father’s death.

Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds’ unit was surrounded by the Nazis during the Battle of Bulge. While they held out as long as they could, they eventually surrendered on December 19, 1944. On January 27, 1945, Edmonds arrived at Stalag IX-A along with well over a thousand fellow POWs, all of them exhausted, dirty, half-starved, cold, and no doubt frightened. As the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer among them, he was in charge.

For reasons I cannot begin to understand, the camp commandant’s first priority was to separate the Jewish from the non-Jewish POWs. Germany’s defeat was all but certain by then; you’d think he’d have given it a rest. Nevertheless, as soon as Edmonds arrived with his men, the commandant ordered Edmonds to assemble all Jewish soldiers the next day so that they could be dealt with separately.

“We are not doing that. We are all falling out,” Edmonds’ men remember him saying to them. So instead, all of the American POWs assembled that morning. The irate commandant held a pistol to Edmond’s head and ordered him to identify the Jews: “They cannot all be Jews!”

We are all Jews,” Edmonds replied.

Edmonds told him that if he wanted to kill the Jewish POWs, he was going to have to kill them all. He reminded him that there is such a thing as a war crime and that under the Geneva Conventions name, rank, and serial number are all you get, not religion.

Miraculously, the commandant relented.

The Jewish-American prisoners at the other camp—Stalag IX-B—were not as lucky. It’s not clear what the facts were there. By some accounts, Jewish prisoners were asked to identify themselves and the senior officers there urged cooperation. By other accounts, the Nazis picked out the prisoners who looked Jewish (along with prisoners who were identified as troublemakers). Both stories may be true. In any event, those selected were sent to a slave labor camp where the death rate was horrifically high, despite the fact that the war in Europe lasted only another 3 ½ months.

Jews were only about 2 or 3% of the American population at the time, but they were a higher percentage of the prisoners at Stalag IX-A.  Edmonds’ courage is thought to have saved about 200 lives that cold, winter morning. He was then, now, and forever an American hero.

23 Jul 19:15

Todd, Kenneth Mayo

Todd, Kenneth Mayo Went home to his God & Savior on July 17, 2019, following 10 month battle with cancer. Ken's final days were comforted by his...
09 Jul 15:29

The Left's Metaphorical Holocaust Denial

by Daniel Greenfield
The Revolutions of 1989, which ultimately brought down the Soviet Union, were marked by major symbolic events and minor ones. One of those seemingly minor events was a Holocaust memorial.

In that year, it was announced that the first Holocaust memorial had been permitted in the USSR.

Soviet policy in the past had been to refer to the millions of Jews massacred in the Holocaust as “victims of fascism”. Information about the atrocities circulated through Samizdat and covert channels. The Black Book of Soviet Jewry was censored and would not be published until the fall of the Soviet Union.

Memorials to the Jewish victims were held covertly by political dissidents.

The Soviet ban on the Holocaust was not merely due to anti-Semitism. It followed the same political line as the current progressive historical revisionism which erases the Jewish character of the victims while emphasizing that the atrocities could only be the result of a right-wing, not left-wing, political ideology.

Jewish Communists, like their non-Jewish counterparts, worked to minimize the Jewish element of Holocaust histories. Vasilij Grossman, the co-author of the Black Book of Soviet Jewry, urged replacing "Jews" with "people" and "civilians". This approach defined the USSR’s approach of memorializing millions of undefined people murdered by the former allies and later political foes of the Communists.

The erasure of the Jews in the Holocaust was not limited to the leftists in the Soviet Union.

The Diary of Anne Frank, the play seen by more people than any other depiction of the Holocaust, was hijacked by Lillian Hellman, a militant Stalinist, who turned it over to Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, the Communist-linked married couple who excelled at churning out heartwarming leftist propaganda from traditional material, whether it was It’s A Wonderful Life or the story of Anne Frank.

The Jewish elements of Anne’s story were purged. “We’re not the only people that’ve had to suffer,” the fictionalized version of a dead Jewish girl declares to applause. “Sometimes one race, sometimes another.” The real message soon became about the evils of segregation and racism. The various Anne Frank memorial organizations have promoted BDS, banned Jewish clothing and compared Jews to ISIS.

Just as in the USSR, the erasure of Jews from the story of the Holocaust paves the way for anti-Semitism.

Last year, a Los Angeles theater put on a production of Anne Frank with a Latino cast hiding from ICE. After a backlash from Holocaust survivors and Jewish organizations to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar equating immigration law enforcement to the Holocaust, the media doubled down. A plethora of leftist essays defending the slur spread the historical revisionism through the echo chamber.

Rep. Omar and Rep. Ocasio Cortez had their own anti-Semitic moments. By transforming anti-Semitism and the mass murder of Jews from a reality to a metaphor about the oppression of minorities, they become the metaphorical victims and the Jews objecting to them become metaphorical Nazis.

The USSR mastered this technique when having renamed the dead Jews as “victims of fascism”, it was free to work toward the murder of millions of Jews in Israel by denouncing them as “Zionist fascists.” A typical example was a Pravda article, “Fascism and Zionism” which claimed that Israel, like Nazi Germany, was guilty of capitalism, imperialism and genocide. The Communist article argued that Jews everywhere were a “fifth column” while insisting that the USSR was anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.

Modern leftists also argue that Jews are the real Nazis. Hating them isn’t anti-Semitism. It’s anti-Zionism, which is really anti-Fascism and anti-Nazism. Killing Jews becomes the real message of the Holocaust.

Turning the Holocaust into a political metaphor makes Nazis out of its victims and its commemorators.

Instead of condemning evil, the transformation of the Holocaust into a metaphor whose protagonists are interchangeable, turns a real event into a blank slate on which any agenda can be superimposed. If everyone can be Hitler and anyone can be the Jews, then the Holocaust becomes a myth. A fairy tale into which any of us can read our own meaning and offers us no morality we do not already possess.

The Holocaust is not a metaphor. It is not a toolset to apply to every political event to demarcate the borders of the political spectrum. It was not the work of fascists, as the Soviet Union insisted. The Franco regime in Spain made efforts to save Jews even while the Soviet Union was executing some Jewish refugees as spies. FDR, a progressive hero, blocked the entry of Jewish refugees to the United States. El Salvador, governed by a fascist dictator, turned a blind eye to thousands of visas given to Jews.

When you study the Holocaust as history, rather than metaphor, it becomes impossible to reduce the events to a simplistic progressive parable about the virtue of tolerant lefties who resist racism. Bigotry is inherent in human beings and mass murder is how totalitarian regimes implement their utopian visions.

The Nazis and the Communists both imagined an ideal world in which the Jews did not exist. They went about implementing it in somewhat different ways because, like all fanatics whose morality comes from ideology, they had different theories to explain their own supremacism and the inferiority of the Jews.

The Nazis believed that they were superior for genetic reasons and viewed the Jews as a racial phenomenon that had to be physically eradicated at the genetic level. The Communists believed that they were superior for political reasons and the Jews had to be eradicated as a cultural phenomenon. The erasure of Jews from the story of the Holocaust, then and now, is part of that leftist genocide.

Erasing the Jews makes it easier to eliminate these complex realities while leaving only the metaphor. But the danger of reducing people to metaphors is part of the reason why the Holocaust happened. Lefties universalized the Holocaust, shifting it from a story about Jews to a universal tale about the wickedness of being mean to people, of bigotry, discrimination and general meanness of spirit.

And yet, anti-Semitism has come roaring back and is bigger than it’s been in generations.

The trouble with universal messages is that they’re meaningless. Most people already believe that being mean to others is wrong. They just disagree on the specific implementation of it. For leftists, the story of Anne Frank or the Holocaust is, at the moment, about the evils of deporting illegal aliens. It has nothing to say about the evils of anti-Semitism or of Islamic terrorists who cheer Hitler and murder Jews.

Learning about the Holocaust hasn’t made them better people, only more self-righteous about their views. They haven’t questioned their beliefs, instead they appropriated the Holocaust to support them.

When you turn history into metaphor, all you’re really doing is manufacturing propaganda.

On the campaign trail, Senator Cory Booker attacked President Trump’s immigration policies by invoking the Holocaust. “There was a ship that came here during World War II with a bunch of folks trying to escape the Holocaust, and we turned it around where they got killed in the Holocaust. The shame of that, you think we would learn our lesson about people coming here to seek asylum escaping terror.”

The “folks” in question were Jews.

Booker’s anonymization of Jews as “folks” strongly echoed Obama’s dismissal of a Muslim terrorist attack on a Jewish supermarket before the Sabbath, as “randomly shot a bunch of folks in a deli.”

The 2020 candidate, who had condemned criticism of Rep. Omar as Islamophobia, has announced that he would be okay with meeting with “Minister Farrakhan”, a bigot who has praised Hitler. This was the second time that the New Jersey senator had good things to say about a man who praised Hitler.

"I am very familiar with Minister Louis Farrakhan and his beliefs and his values," Booker told an audience member in South Carolina.

Those values include calling Hitler, a "very great man".

Previously, Booker had favorably quoted Stokely Carmichael in a Senate speech whose most famous line was, “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist, we must take a lesson from Hitler.”

Historical revisionism isn’t just denying that the Holocaust happened, it’s also eliminating the history. When you wipe out the context, then before you know it, you can end up next door to Hitler.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

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Thank you for reading.
07 Jul 15:09

The Week in Pictures: Covfefe Sequel Edition

by Steven Hayward
(Steven Hayward)

The news media and Trump-haters everywhere are on DefCon1 over Trump’s latest supposed verbal confusion, in which he reveals the long-held secret that the Continental Army of 1775 secured the nation’s airports from the British. They haven’t had this much outrage since the infamous “covfefe” tweet. It prompted Jim Acosta to embarrass himself once again (I know—a daily occurrence). Now I think this just shows the far-sightedness of the Founding Fathers in anticipating the rise of the airplane and travel lounge, but also the brilliance of Trump, as the anti-American left now has one more injustice—America’s horrible airports—to blame on the Founding. Score another win for Trump, even if he did have to give away the Founders’ greatest secret yet. Settle in for this extra-strength special edition of the Week in Pictures.

Headlines of the week:

And finally. . . because it fits the holiday:

Bonus—I’m sure there’s a gun somewhere:


21 Jun 13:25

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Mural of George Washington that ‘traumatizes students’…

by Ed Driscoll

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Mural of George Washington that ‘traumatizes students’ of George Washington High School in San Francisco to be covered up.

And that cover-up won’t be cheap, no matter what method is chosen:

A high school in San Francisco is considering three options for censoring a mural of George Washington deemed problematic by the local activist community: putting up a curtain (price tag: $300,000), painting over it ($600,000), or hiding it behind panels ($875,000).

* * * * * * * *

According to National Review‘s James Sutton, most of the students want to keep the mural, or don’t really care one way or another. The controversy is the work of “outside busybodies.” Naturally, it looks like they are going to get their way. The school board is currently deciding between three different plans, all of which involve destroying the mural, or covering it up. A final decision is expected next week, reports The College Fix.

By the way, if you’re wondering why it would cost several hundred thousand dollars to get rid of the mural, here’s your answer: Officials are required to conduct environmental impact reports before they take any action.

It’s important that the memory hole be as carbon-neutral as possible.

Flashback: “Here’s the irony, though. The murals were painted in 1936 by artist Victor Arnautoff, who was a protégé of Diego Rivera and a communist.’ He included those images not to glorify Washington, but rather to provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy. The scene with the dead Native American, for instance, calls attention to the price of ‘manifest destiny.’ Arnautoff’s murals also portray the slaves with humanity and the several live Indians as vigorous and manly,’ The Wall Street Journal reported in late April.

As I wrote in May at that last link, Stalin smiles (and so does Mao).

15 Apr 19:09

Review: Space Opera

by Dann
Space Opera Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a 2-star, DNF, Dorothy Parker review. That is a thoroughly accurate representation of my experience.

Minor spoilers ahead. Nothing that will ruin the plot as this one flew across the room in the fifth chapter.

Read as a part of evaluating the finalists for the 2019 Hugo award for "Best Novel". Selected as my first novel this year at random.

John Scalzi blurbed the book as:

"As if Ziggy Stardust went on a blind date with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then they got smashed and sang karaoke all night long. Cat Valente is mad and brilliant and no one else would have even thought of this, much less pulled it off."

Surprisingly, I've not bothered to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But I've read lots of other humorous and/or off-beat works. They can be fun.

And I enjoy listening to David Bowie along with a lot of other musical oddities. So again, this sounds like it could be fun.

I was already more motivated to write about this book rather than reading it by chapter 3. The first two chapters were filled with the message that humanity is not the sole sentient species in the universe. The other species think their expression of sentience is the gold standard of sentient life. Everyone else is "meat".

And some gratuitous slagging of Enrico Fermi.

Lots of extended exposition that does a lot of "telling" and not very much "showing".

The story does not improve when we begin to meet our erstwhile protagonists in chapter 3. They are rock stars of mediocre wattage that over-imbibe in various mind-altering substances and glam rock style makeup. The lead singer seems inspired by the pastiche of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. But those two were wholly likable. Little work is done to create a connection between the reader and the protagonists.

Chapter 4 is filled with the "wacky" efforts of one of the afore-mentioned sentient aliens (an Esca) to communicate with every inhabitant of planet the same time.

Essentially, the major sentient life-forms have decided that humanity is sufficiently advanced to be invited to a galactic sing-off where humanity isn't expected to win and will be thoroughly obliterated if they don't manage to be sufficiently entertaining. You see, these major sentient species had an ugly war in the past. And they decided a dance/sing-off was a better method for resolving difference? Put a pin in that for a minute.

The book blurbs suggested that this book was funny. And there were a few amusing moments. Nothing nearly as amusing as the works of Robert and Lynn Aspirin or Piers Anthony.

In chapter 4 there is a passage where the Esca is using familiar mental images (parents, a friendly waitress) to break the news to all of humanity that their collective lives are on the line.

Perhaps because, no matter their luck in life, they knew in their bones that at least they were better than the kid who brought them their steak medium, not medium-rare, and so could cling to the idea that humans were still the ones being served with a smile, the ones who were always right, the ones with a place at the table, not a place at the dishwasher, for a few precious minutes longer.

Hogwash. Most people appreciate waitstaff because we have had that sort of crappy job. We sympathize with the person that has a crap job and still does their best at it...just like we did.

Later on the Esca is defending the intergalactic sing-off with:

We have a responsibility to those who were here already when that chap with fangs and fur turned up pretending to be civilized.

Is the author actively supporting immigration restrictions, colonialism, and mass slaughter of aboriginal peoples?

By the time I made it to chapter 5, I'd had enough. The text heaps derision on the idea of the individual; at one point the Esca indicates that they had a "problem with libertarians", but they eventually pulled it out.

The entire history of the science fiction and fantasy genre is filled with authors illustrating the efforts of individuals to struggle against and hopefully break the efforts of the collective to make the collective's definitions of "acceptable" to be the only acceptable standard for every individual's behavior. If there is a sub-text to the sf/f genre, it is one of extolling the individual above the desires of the collective.

This novel didn't go into the Dorothy Parker bin because of all those nitpicks. The nitpicking was an indication of a book that contained serious flaws. Extensive exposition, protagonists with few features to base a connection, the humor was barely there, and other general editing flaws (i.e. we are told that the Esca refer to themselves as a "choir" only to have a later self-reference be to "the Esca". The editor was either absent or ignored in this book.

Back to that "pin".  The book does have the nut of a good idea worth exploring.  How do we treat less advanced civilizations?  Should we intrude on peoples that do not have a desire for our level of technology and force them to demonstrate an ability to be "civilized" according to our tastes?  It is [Is it] legitimate to shield ourselves from civilizations that might pose a lethal threat?  Interesting ideas coupled with a less than stellar execution.

View all my reviews
01 Feb 20:33

Authors and Social Media

by Dann
I had an interaction with an author a short while back via social media.

The author is an indie author.  They had put out something that was unrelated to their works.  It was something political.

The item considered a comparison between a socialist/communist dictator to Che Guevara as being positive towards the dictator.  I pointed out that Che Guevara murdered a whole ton of people.

The author responded by calling me a "crypto-fascist" and attempted to get a dogpile going in my direction.  No dogpile resulted.  The author also went into "whataboutism" mode by pointing out that the US government had killed a bunch of people in the 20th century.  (He is right on that count.  More context below.)  The author was either unwilling or unable to engage in a civil discussion about Che Guevara's history of malign actions against the people of Cuba.

I lamented the fact that our modern age offers enough access that we can learn all sorts of things about authors that most readers would never have known.  Nothing I offered was insulting.  The author asked me not to respond any further and I honored that request.

Some other person (also an author....I think)  came along with a response that was more pointed than mine.  That individual made some mildly insulting remarks towards the author while also questioning whether Che is worthy of laudatory comments.

And that was largely the exchange.

You may note that I haven't named the author, their books, the social network, or the socialist/communist dictator.

That is because, this incident aside, I like this author and I enjoy their books.  They only have two books out right not, but they are both great.  The third book in the trilogy is due out later this year.  I can't wait.

And I do not want anyone harassing the author.  Again, this incident aside, I like this author and I enjoy their work.

But I do want to talk about the author's ultimate response which was a couple of blog posts.  One was about indicating that they were stepping back from social media.  The other was lamenting the emotional drain that being in near constant contact with one's readers/fans has on an author.

Ironically, the first one was titled to give the impression that a discussion of that social media platform in particular.  No such discussion was forthcoming.

I'm sure that the constant contact with fans and the perceived need to continually create new engagement is emotionally draining. 

Everyone has to figure out how much social media they can take without harming their own well being.  

One helpful approach is to be well grounded in one's postings.  Kind words for Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, or Adolph Hitler (number 4 on the mass murdering dictator list) are going to invite a pretty significant reaction.  While Fidel Castro (and by extension Che Guevara) didn't have the same raw numbers in terms of people murdered, the percentage of the population that was murdered was certainly closer to that for the people that suffered under history's "big four" murdering dictators than to a true democracy.

The table below comes from the Power Kills website that is maintained by the University of Hawaii.  That website presents the research data of the now deceased Professor Emeritus R.J. Rummel.  Professor Rummel researched the number of civilians killed by government action; military combatants excluded.  I have extracted a few lines of data from the professor's database.

My point?  Cuba under Castro was a bloody mess.  His regime murdered at least tens of thousands of Cubans for the crime of dissenting from his communist regime.  We aren't talking about violent dissent.  We are talking about people that were insufficiently supportive by cutting corners on rationed goods or who participated in black markets for staples that most Americans purchase at a local grocery store.  And gays.  Castro murdered (and imprisoned) lots of gay folks for the "crime" of being gay.

Cuba under Castro was a far more bloody mess than it was under Batista.  That is almost always the case when comparing a non-socialist/communist government with the socialist/communist government that replaces it.

In fact, the Cuban government killed far more Cubans (domestic deaths) than Americans that were killed by the American government (again domestic deaths).  The US is clearly a much larger nation, yet the government killed far, far fewer people.  In an apples-to-apples comparison, the Cuban government was far more murderous (0.807% of the population vs. 0.016% in the US).

Looking at democratic governments, including the US, in comparison with totalitarian and communist regimes (kinda the same thing, IMHO), democratic governments are far less likely to start killing their own people.  Democratic governments, including the US, are far less likely to run around killing civilians in other nations as well.

We should all be decent to one another online.  Don't reach for invective and insults too quickly.

And don't offer praise for people that are undermining the human condition on a massive scale.  You will get called on it.

Edit - 6 September 2019

I've had limited exchanges with the author after the events above.  Mostly I've just "liked" and re-posted their promotional posts.  The third entry in their series dropped this summer. 

I'm about halfway through it and the author's performance remains excellent.  I said so in the same forum where we had that more heated exchange.

The author apologized for their behavior, acknowledged that I had responded to their behavior civilly, and thanked me for my support despite their self-described unacceptable behavior.  Supporting the work of someone with whom one has other disagreements was in some measure remarkable to this author.

For my part, I apologized for offering an opinion where it was not expected.

Neither one of us apologized for our opinions.  It wasn't required.

Again, I'm not calling out the author by name as that wouldn't be helpful.  But I do think it is helpful to note that given a bit of time and introspection, they came to regret the manner of their response.

I try to be a work-in-progress.  I think this author is trying as well.
01 Feb 20:33


by Dann
Inspired by Amélie Wen Zhao and in honor of a book that no one else will read. See also this and this.

by Dann Todd


Author, Author, what did you do?
Can't read your book, no one should want to
You lack sophistication and craft and more
Your book will never be in a book store

Author, I got your number
Gonna make it stick once more
Author, here comes your number


Author, Author, I'll burn the galley
You don't know me, but you make me unhappy
I'll call you out, 'cause you've got some nerve
Your little novel has made me disturbed.

Author, I got your number
Gonna make it stick once more
Author, here comes your number


I shame you, (I shame you), I shame you
I shame you for offenses perceived
I shame you, (I shame you), I shame you
I'll shame you, until I feel relieved

Hey, Author, I got your number
Gonna make it stick once more
Author, I'll shame your opus


Author, Author, what did you do?
I am offended just by looking at you


Offered with apologies to Alex Call, Jim Keller, and Tommy Tutone.  And with deepest thanks to Messers Ray Bradbury and George Orwell.  Their works were never intended to be "how to" manuals.

09 Aug 03:12

KASICH REALLY SEEMS TO GO OUT OF HIS WAY TO BE A DICK: Ohio drops CCW fees for vets without Kasich …

by Glenn Reynolds

KASICH REALLY SEEMS TO GO OUT OF HIS WAY TO BE A DICK: Ohio drops CCW fees for vets without Kasich signature on bill. “Ohio Gov. John Kasich refused to sign a bill waiving fees for active duty military and veterans who apply for a concealed handgun license in protest over a gun control impasse.”

25 Sep 20:31

What to Bring

I always figured you should never bring a gun to a gun fight because then you'll be part of a gun fight.