Ding Dong (Open Thread)

Friends, let us savor (even though the fare is provided by Politico):

‘I’m worried’: Allies fear NRA has lost its power in Washington

The National Rifle Association’s internal turmoil is preventing the once-mighty organization from crafting a plan to blunt the latest gun control push, highlighting the group’s weakness at a crucial political moment.

The disarray at the NRA is alarming allies who say President Donald Trump and Congress appear to have a brief opening to pass legislation while the group is so politically feeble it isn’t able to aggressively lobby lawmakers against proposals or hold them accountable for their votes, according to a half-dozen Republicans familiar with the situation…

Multiple Republican Senate offices said they haven’t heard from the NRA, which touts 5 million members. The NRA has been slow to respond to the litany of scandals. And Trump has told aides the NRA is vulnerable and on the verge of being “bankrupt,” according to a Republican close to the White House.

The article says Republicans are worried that meaningful gun safety legislation will be passed in the short term. They needn’t be. Trump has already moved on to blaming mass shootings on the closure of old-timey insane asylums.

It’s perfectly on-brand for Trump to question the death merchant lobbyist’s fiscal health after they gave him $30 million in 2016, but a Venn diagram of gun nuts and Trump supporters would be damned close to a perfect circle, so he’s unlikely to cross the NRA in any significant way.

Still, it’s glorious to see the blood-gargling sociopaths at the NRA engulfed in cascading corruption scandals like common TV preachers. LaPierre seems determined to cling to power, which is great news for people who wish the organization a messy, protracted demise.

An unfavorable election cycle that sweeps NRA toadies out the door might finally wrest political power from the organization’s cold, bloody hands. It wouldn’t solve our gun nut problem, but it sure would make it harder for gun nuts to impose their will on the majority of Americans. A girl can dream, anyway.

Open thread!








Lackey Lindsey

Another day, another breach of rules in the Senate.

Donald Trump is having another rally tonight, and he needed some material, so Lindsay Graham was only to happy to provide it for him.

Ben Orlebeke (yeah, I don’t know him either, but the thread looks okay and Emptywheel went with it) live-tweeted. Here are the highlights of his thread.

I see that some folks are making hashtags with Russian cities added to Republican names, in the manner of #MoscowMitch. So there seems to be #LeningradLindsey, but that’s anachronistic and not really relevant. I prefer #LackeyLindsey.

Open thread!

 








I Just Don’t Get It

What is wrong with these people? I remember seeing footage of people cheering executions outside jails and thinking wtf is wrong with them, but this is even worse. These are just innocent folks who all they want to do is live a better life.

It’s really sick.








Let’s Put an End To This Stupidity Right Now: They’re Concentration Camps

We are very fortunate that the US Holocaust Museum has spent the time, money, and effort to compile an Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945.

Auschwitz, Dachau, the Warsaw Ghetto… These are names that resonate with anyone who knows the story of the Holocaust. Most people are shocked, however, to learn just how many camps, ghettos, and other sites of detention, persecution, forced labor, and murder the Nazis and their allies ran: over 42,000. Likewise, few people know much about the conditions in those places, or how broad the range of prisoner experiences was.

In order to fill this vast gap in our knowledge, the Museum and Indiana University Press are compiling and publishing an Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. Specifically, the work aims to answer basic questions about as many individual sites as possible; to provide scholars with leads for additional research; and to memorialize the places where so many millions of people suffered and died.

Work on this enormous project began in 1999; it involves a small team of editors, writers, and researchers at the Museum, plus hundreds of volunteers and scholars from all over the world. Three volumes have already appeared, and four more are in preparation. When it is complete, the Encyclopedia will be the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the Nazi camp system in existence.

Volume one entitled, Early Camps, Youth Camps, and Concentration Camps and Subcamps under the SS-Business Administration Main Office (WVHA), focuses on (emphasis mine):

This volume contains entries on 110 early camps, 23 main SS concentration camps (including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau), 898 subcamps, 39 SS construction brigade camps, and three so-called youth protection camps. Introductory essays provide broader context, while citations and source narratives offer the basis for additional research.

From Volume I (pps. 1525-1526 and emphasis mine):

INTRODUCTION TO THE YOUTH CAMPS

The idea of establishing a separate prevention institution (Bewahranstalt) or assembly camp (Sammellager) for the “difficult or impossible to educate” youth, who had become noticed because of their stubborn and deviant behavior, was not new. From the mid-1920s, youth welfare workers, lawyers, medical practitioners, psychiatrists, and adherents of the “racial hy- giene” movement had been demanding such institutions to deal with the high level of care (and thus expense) for such youths. Without any further education, they would be held for an indefinite period of time in such institutions with their labor being exploited. Those advocating such a policy were not successful during the Weimar Republic, but this changed from 1933 with the assumption of power by the National Socialists and the establishment of the concentration camp system.

A series of decrees and orders from 1937 set the legal and institutional basis for the struggle against youth de- generation. A decree dated October 14, 1937, on “preventive criminal measures” established what was regarded as “asocial behavior,” which was “someone who acts against the community, even if such actions were not criminal, but showed that he or she did not want to be part of the community.”1 This decree formed the basis for the persecution of anyone who deviated from National Socialist norms and ideals. In 1938, there followed a further series of decrees and regulations that dealt with the treatment of asocials and called for the “protective custody” of whole families as well as suggesting the registration and police surveillance of asocials.

Following a circular decree by the Reich Ministry of the Interior (RMdI) on May 24, 1939, the Reich Center for Combating Youth Criminality (Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Jugendkriminalität) was established as a department of the Reich Criminal Police Office (Reichskriminalpolizeiamt, RKPA). This authority was tasked with the police surveillance of youths and the power to use force, including sending youths to closed reform institutes. Later, it would be in charge of the “police youth protection camps” (polizeiliche Jugendschutzlager). In actuality, they were concentration camps for youths. On December 22, 1939, at a conference on “degenerate youth,” Reinhard Heydrich demanded the establishment of reform camps for youths (Jugenderziehungslagern). This demand was supported in the following months by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler. On June 26, 1940, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) issued a circular announcing that the confinement of youths to police youth protective custody camps could begin within a short period of time. In the end, three such camps opened: Morin- gen (for boys) in August 1940, Uckermark (for girls) in June 1942, and Litzmannstadt (for Polish juveniles) in December 1942. All remained in operation almost until the end of the war.

Youths were admitted to the Jugendschutzlager on racial, religious, or political grounds. They included the so called Hamburg Swing Youth (Swing Jugend), who were accused of establishing a dangerous clique even though they only wanted to listen to jazz, then regarded as un-German, and had formed their own subcultures to do so. The authorities also confined homosexuals, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), Jews, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Youths in the camps were subjected to military drill, euphemistically termed “community training” (Gemeinschaftserziehung). The stated aim was character education, focusing on cleanliness, order, punctuality, discipline, and above all, work. The inmates worked on agricultural estates, at armaments firms, and at workshops of various sorts. Living arrangements were primitive, the food and clothing inadequate, and the punishments severe. Death rates were not as high as in some of the adult concentration camps, but prisoners did die in significant numbers.

SOURCES Sources on the youth protection camps can be found in the individual camp entries.

Jürgen Harder

NOTE

1. Quoted in Detlef Peukert, Volksgenossen und Gemein- schaftsfremde. Anpassung, Ausmerze und Aufbegehren unter dem Nationalsozialismus (Cologne, 1982), p. 250.

They’re concentration camps.

Open thread.








Look At Their Faces. Learn Their Names. Never Forget Them!

Anne Frank didn’t die in one of the Zyklon B gas chambers. She died from typhus contracted from the unsanitary conditions in Bergen-Belsen, the concentration camp she was interned in waiting for execution. She contracted typhus in that camp because her father’s attempt to get a refugee visa for the Franks to come to safety in the US was denied. The reason we have the immigration rules we have now, no matter how in need of updating and revision they are (like too much else in the US), is because of how the Franks, the refugees on The St. Louis, and others trying to flee NAZI tyranny and the Holocaust were treated in the run up to and during World War II. The stories brought back by American Soldiers of what they’d seen in the liberation of the camps and the historical documents found, utilized, and archived by both Civil Affairs personnel and US civilian personnel for the Nuremberg Trials shamed the US into making the changes. It are these changes, changes to prevent the US from ever again being a passive party to the death and destruction of tyranny, state terror, and genocide, that the President, Stephen Miller, former AG Sessions, Senator Cotton, Congressman King, the President’s base of supporters, the base of the GOP and the conservative movement now seek to overturn in an attempt to return to the Immigration Act of 1924.

The children that are dying in the concentration camps that the Trump administration have established on or near the southern border are dying from disease contracted from unsanitary conditions or worsened by them. And they are in those camps because instead of processing their initial asylum requests and releasing them along with their parent or parents, they are being separated and detained in the hope that news of this will somehow get to desperate people in villages in Central American and that will deter them from trying to seek asylum in the US.

Here are the faces and the names of the children who have died in US custody or because they were in US custody* so far.

Here is the Google Docs document that has been created to record these crimes against humanity.

We will need a Truth & Reconciliation Committee to come through this. And it will not only need to have the authority to refer prosecutions, the legislation establishing the Truth & Reconciliation Committee will need to include language establishing a crimes against humanity tribunal for the people who conceived of this policy and strategy, who ordered it, who carried it out, and who have tried to cover it up.

Look at their faces! Learn their names! Never forget them and what is being done to others like them in the name of the United States.

Open thread!

* US personnel have, apparently, been transferring seriously ill detainees from custody to hospitals so that they technically do not die in one of these camps or other Customs & Border Patrol or Health & Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities.