Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Hitler’ Category

RANDOM ARCANE COVID-19 THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS

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There are some parallels between Trump and Hitler. In late 1942 the Russians surrounded the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad. This was an incipient disaster of epic proportions, however, all was not lost. The Sixth Army easily still had the supplies and ammunition to fight their way to safety. Hitler however, rather than authorizing this sensible action, listened to Herman Goering, a sycophantic toadie eager to get himself back into Hitler’s favor. He swore that his Luftwaffe could airlift enough supplies into Stalingrad to keep the Sixth Army afloat. This was pure, unadulterated BS, and several people desperately tried to get Hitler to look at the numbers, the Luftwaffe simply didn’t have the capacity to do this, period. Hitler refused to listen to anyone but Goering, ordered the Sixth Army to hold on, and the Luftwaffe would save the day. Reality won of course, the Luftwaffe was only able to deliver a tiny fraction of the needed supplies, and the Sixth Army quickly starved and ran out of ammunition. Surrender soon followed, a catastrophic loss the Germans would never recover from. I see parallels between Hitler’s refusal to listen to experts and Trump’s refusal to do the same over Covid-19. Magical thinking illustrated by both, both Hitler and Trump listen to people who tell them what they want to hear. Not a good trait in an emergency requiring a rational response.

As I’ve said before, Trump is no Hitler. I don’t see Trump hunkering down in the White House till the end. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he resigns soon. He has a long history of walking away from failures and letting other people clean up the mess. He wanted his legacy to be Space Camp and a supercharged stock market, not hundreds of thousands of dead Americans and a devastated economy. The sooner he resigns the easier it will be to spin it all as a plot by his enemies, and the easier it will be to convince himself he was brilliant, it was the country that failed him. We needed a Lincoln, we got a Jefferson Davis.

Wait, what? OK, history lesson here. When the South seceded and the US Civil War started, what did their respective leaders do? Lincoln took the bull by the horns, and seized national power to organize a national response to the crisis. For example, he put the entire North’s railroad grid under central control, thus making the massive coordinated movement of troops and supplies possible. The Confederacy, being wedded to the idea of “State’s Rights,” did nothing of the sort. Lincoln raised a huge Union Army, and deployed it as needed. Lee led, the Army of Northern Virginia, yes, the Confederate states each raised their own army! And in numerous other respects, Lincoln formed a united force to promulgate the war, while the Confederates cooperated but did not centralize and coordinate. It was a big part of the reason Lincoln won the war, the Confederacy had enormous advantages, but they squandered them by not having a centrally coordinated war effort. And we have the same today, Trump for all purposes practically stated that he thinks state governors should be responsible for the Covid-19 fight, not him. Jefferson Davis lost the war with the same thinking, Trump is losing to Covid-19 the exact same way. You are not only no Lincoln Mr Trump, you do not even appear to understand the concept of leadership, it’s doing what’s best for the nation, not yourself.

And just to reiterate, the senators and such who used their inside information to protect their wealth should be tried for treason. Using your government power to enrich yourself at the expense of American lives is treason. That’s what treason is, hurting the country to help yourself. Just to give a historical example, we all should be studying history now, Jane Fonda’s trip to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War was not treason. Yes, what she did hurt Americans, it was misguided, stupid, and a propaganda victory for North Vietnam. However, and it’s a huge however, she was trying to promote peace, not benefit herself. Not treason. Using your position in government to protect your wealth instead of protecting America, treason.

Historical meanderings aside, I ventured forth today. A new world. Empty shelves in the markets. Many businesses closed or with altered practices/hours due to Covid-19. People were friendly but wary of each other and mostly kept their distance. Gallows humor prevailed, my grocery checker sneezed, and I said “Sneezes are OK.” A lady in the next aisle laughed, she got it. In any event, I’m going to be posting more random thoughts and observations during the Covid-19 outbreak.

One last thought, boy, global pollution levels are plummeting as the world goes into a shutdown. This is a good thing. And a message from reality (or God,) that we need to clean up our act. If shutting down non-essential services makes such a difference, and we all win when pollution plummets, why were we polluting so much in the first place? Because a small number of people profit from burning oil and passing the pollution costs onto the public. We can live without that, nu?

And Trump is still thinking his hunches will save the day. Yeah, no, reality rarely works that way. Latest rumor is that Trump is going to declare martial law and shut the whole country down for two weeks to halt the spread of Covid-19. Well, that will be intense. A Hail Mary pass by Trump. Could he try that? Maybe. Will it work? I would have to review what pandemic experts say to even guess. Is it a good idea? No, it’s a shallow simplistic idea that could have all sorts of negative unintended (or even intended!) consequences. Stay tuned I guess.

Oh dear. It’s a hell of a time to be alive. It’s 1914. It’s 1939. It’s 1941. 1776. 1521. 1453. Stay safe everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych.

(Image: Destroyed German He-111 during the Battle of Stalingrad. Credit: Unknown, a wikipedia image, public domain as far as is known.)

Written by unitedcats

March 21, 2020 at 7:58 pm

IRAN, UPDATES, TRUMP, LIFE, SHEESH

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OK, Sunday night, Iran admitted their people accidentally shot down the airliner from Ukraine. Sadly not the first airliner accidentally shot down in a war zone, almost certainly not the last. The first was a Chinese DC-2 airliner shot down by Japan over China in 1938. (Image above, the Kweilin Incident.) The plane made a safe water landing in an attempt to escape, but the Japanese planes strafed it for an hour, so Japanese claims that the plane had “acted suspiciously” were not terribly credible. Big deal at the time, Japan’s image in the US suffered. The shoot down was likely an attempt to kill the Chinese president’s only son, but he had flown on another flight.

I literally just stumbled on Kweilin searching for the world’s first airliner shoot down. There are clear parallels to Trump’s recent targeted killing of an Iranian general. Japan was at least at war with China, Trump’s assasination, not so much. In any case, both were attacks on civilian targets under pretense of military necessity. Both were BS state extrajudicial killings. Maybe nothing will come of this, and it’s just another of America’s endless war scares with Iran. At the very least, it’s made me think.

Especially since I just read a great book about the Battle of Stalingrad, the largest battle in Earth’s history. The book made me realize the one great parallel between Trump and Hitler, the parallel from which all other parallels flow. In both cases, their rise to greatness was largely due to a happy combination of faith and circumstance. IE they were people whom history paved the way for, and they brilliantly took advantage of the opportunity. Neither of them was born to power, but they achieved it nonetheless. If one can’t give credit for that, you’re probably not a reader of my blog.

Moving on, when the German Sixth Army was surrounded and trapped at Stalingrad, Hitler was still a God to most Germans, including Germans who should have known better. And they just blithely assumed Hitler knew what he was doing, since so far his results had been spectacular. By the end of 1942 Hitler’s Nazi Empire stretched from France to North Africa to Stalingrad, deep in the heart of Russia. He was the greatest military genius of all time, what could go wrong?

The ugly truth was that Hitler had no freaking clue what to do, since the Russians hadn’t followed his playbook and collapsed. And the whole story and its ultimate horror for the German Sixth Army is a post or two for another day. Today, the parallel I’m pointing at is that Trump’s missile strike really does signal that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I don’t think the repercussions will be as ugly as Stalingrad, but I don’t see any good coming out of it.

So, here is what I wrote before Iran admitted their forces shot down the airliner:

“At least Trump isn’t a warmonger!” Technically true, and a wonderful example of damning someone with faint praise I suppose. So yeah, whole Iran thing is still a mess. An airliner from Ukraine possibly shot down a few hours after Iran’s missile strike on US bases. Trump is now claiming the Iranian general he killed was going to attack four US embassies. And killing him prevented these attacks. The scary thing is that lots of people will believe it, even though it makes no sense on multiple levels. Sigh.

So the airliner, likely shot down by accident by an over alert AA military unit. That’s easily the most likely event. There are other possibilities, all unlikely and all scary. Scary because anyone who would kill a plane full of innocent people on purpose is scary. Governments tend not to do that. There have been shoot downs of commercial airliners before. The one over Ukraine a few years back, and the USS Vincennex shot down an Iranian airliner by mistake over the Persian Gulf in 1998. The later incident seems fairly straightforward, the Ukraine one less so.

Kind of odd that this shoot down involved a Ukrainian airliner. I suspect clarity for us worms will be hard to get on this one. Iran is paranoid and secretive, with every reason to  be so, and the Trump administration plays fast and loose with the truth. Let’s hope things calm down, way too many people dead for wa war scare, God rest their souls. 

Back to the topic on hand, Trump isn’t a warmonger, but that’s not saying much. He’s certainly appointed plenty, given the Pentagon free rein, and his cancellation of the Iran nuclear deal and subsequent pressure on Iran got this all rolling. You talk to Trump though, the Iran deal was a bad deal, and Iran was going to use it as cover to acquire nuclear weapons. All of the other major powers on Earth were fine with it, including our allies. American exceptionalism on steroids.

So I finished this book about the Battle of Stalingrad. Fascinating on so many levels. One of which is one of the parallels between Trump and Hitler. One of the parallels with most (all?) leaders who make it big time into the history books. A lot of their early, if not all, of their success is too to a combination of fate and circumstance. And if that gets one too far, the clash with reality can be painful.  

And we’re back to Trump and Stalingrad parallels. 2019 was a hell of a year, both personally and globally. 80 years since 1939, the year Hitler’s invasion of Poland set the world on fire for the second time in a century. The few people alive today who still remember 1939 were children at the time.

What a time to be alive. Of course, that pretty much always goes with the “I’m freaking alive!” thing, but still. Many of the humans since the invention of civilization have lived gruelling lives of backbreaking labor on an inadequate diet. I’ve managed to avoid that for the most part due to a combination of smarts and privilege. Which is why I am able to write this nonsense. And because I didn’t toil harder, I’m a failure in some eyes.Go figure. Writing is hard work too, as is all art. Another blog for another day.

Have a great week everyone. God bless.

I wrote the above a few days ago. Then life intervened. I still think we may be on the run up to an ugly war, stuff is still happening. A lot of it absurd

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: DC-2 being salvaged after the Kweilin incident. Credit:No idea, got it from this fascinating site. Because of its age and origin, going with Public Domain under US copyright law. )

Written by unitedcats

January 14, 2020 at 8:06 pm

TRUMP ISN’T HITLER REVISTED

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If your thinking doesn’t evolve as you age, you’re doing it wrong. Thinking and aging. Awhile ago I wrote a post titled ‘Trump Isn’t Hitler.’ In some ways I stand by what I wrote, historically speaking the comparison is still weak. Still, the mall shooting in El Paso forced me to re-evaluate my position. And I realised my position suffered from intellectualism and white privilege. Both are problems for me from time to time. I was concentrating too much on the details, and not enough on underlying themes. Overlooking the fact that since I am not being targeted, I would have a tendency to minimize what is going on. Academically and historically Trump and Hitler are far apart, socially and personally they are all too closely related.

There’s basically two ways there are alarming similarities between Trump and Hitler. The first is that both have a pool of fanatic supporters. Almost all politicians have die hard supporters, but a rare few are basically messiahs to their followers. Hitler was one, he has supporters to this day. Napoleon is another great example. Robert E. Lee. George Washington. And, oddly enough, Trump. I might not put Trump (OK, I would not) in the same league as these guys, he’s more a Mussolini type. And when one has a pool of fanatic supporters and a leader who encourages bad things, bad things happen.

And that’s what Trump is doing. He is “othering” people who don’t fit his definition of American. Dehumanising is another word. In the common speak, encouraging hatred against minorities. Hate speech. It’s clear again and again that only white people fit Trump’s definition of American. His refusal to condemn American Neo-Nazis. Comparing desperately poor people seeking shelter to an invading army. Referring to African Americans and Latinos as “the African Americans” and “the Latinos.” Trump calling for the death penalty in the Central Park Five injustice. His “Go back to where you came from” to four Americans. Trump is of course not the only person doing this, but his doing so from his bully pulpit (The Oval Office) is emboldening others to take up the cause. And an ugly cause it is, as the El Paso shooter showed us.

In other words, the parallels between claiming Latinos are invading the country as some sort of Democrat plot to take over the country and claiming Jews secretly sabotaged Germany in World War One are scary. And just today he said that Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal. Got a lot of clapback from Jews. And his sentiments are creepily similar to Hitler’s stated belief that Jews were not loyal to the state.  Or we can just go with the facts, the science is absolutely clear, there’s been a huge uptick of hate crimes unequivocally linked to Trump’s rhetoric.

It’s really not debatable at this point that there some ugly parallels between Trump and Hitler. I’m not sure it really helps to make the comparison though. Some of his base like the comparison. And the rest are just going to regard it as name calling and claim it’s Liberal overreaction. Or worse. I no longer really care what most Trump supporters think, I’ve yet to meet a politically active one that could construct a logical argument. (To be fair, not something limited to Trump supporters in our burgeoning Age of Unreason.) I now have friends who have been hurt by the GOP’s policies under Trump, and who have been victimized by hate crimes since Trump got elected. Kinda makes it hard to be well disposed towards people who support Trump.

Trump isn’t a patriot, he doesn’t give a crap about anyone but his rich friends, and he is blatantly encouraging Americans to hate their non-white neighbors. While he and his rich friends rob working class Americans blind. Granted every president since Reagan has been a friend of the rich, but Trump comes with a giant slice of racism and hate as well. And I don’t think most of his followers will ever see it. Well, the blatantly racist ones do, but they like it. And many of the rest live in a fantasy world where feminism has gone too far and whites are a discriminated against minority. Hopefully working class Americans who don’t hate their neighbors will desert Trump in 2020 in enough numbers to kill his reelection chances.

If not, things are going to get a lot uglier. I hope I’m wrong. This was a very difficult post to write, which is why I am posting it late. I still like my Trump supporting friends and relatives, but they are taking America to a dark place. I see no greatness in that. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Mussolini and Hitler. Credit: Unknown, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 23, 2019 at 10:50 am