Gillibrand’s “Me-Too” Moment. Running as the women’s candidate.

A Classic Snarky WSJ Editorial. It’s Hilarious 1.17.2019

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined the 2020 presidential race this week, and you might call it her “me too” moment. We mean that in the sense that like Hillary Clinton she is running first and foremost as a woman candidate representing women’s interests. “I’m going to run for President of the United States,” she told a friendly TV interviewer on Tuesday, “because as a young mom I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own.”

Like Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Gillibrand plays up her gender more than her ideas. The 52-year-old is probably best known for her outspoken role in the #MeToo movement. She and former Senator Al Franken used to be squash partners, back before he was accused in 2017 of groping women. Ms. Gillibrand nevertheless was the first Senator to demand Mr. Franken’s resignation, calling it a “moment of reckoning.” Around that time she also made news by saying that, in retrospect, Bill Clinton should have stepped down in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Other Democrats soon lamented that Mr. Franken had quit too quickly, without getting a full hearing. Big donors, including George Soros, accused Ms. Gillibrand of railroading Mr. Franken for her own political benefit. Philippe Reines, a longtime Hillary Clinton aide, jabbedon Twitter: “Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite. Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries.”

The jolt leftward started in 2009. Mrs. Clinton became Secretary of State, and Ms. Gillibrand was elevated to fill the newly vacant Senate seat. By 2010 the NRA had downgraded her to an F rating. Today, Ms. Gillibrand wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while saying that President Trump’s positions on the issue are outright “racist.”

Ms. Gillibrand now says her old positions simply weren’t thought out. “I came from a district that was 98% white,” she said last year. “I didn’t take the time to understand why these issues mattered, because it wasn’t right in front of me. And that was my fault. It was something that I’m embarrassed about and I’m ashamed of.” Apparently this daughter of a legendary Albany lobbyist spent years at Dartmouth College and UCLA, and then worked at big Manhattan law firms, and somehow these issues never came up. Authenticity will not be her strength.

Believable or not, Ms. Gillibrand easily won re-election in November with 67% of the vote. She also ended 2018 with $10.5 million in cash on hand, second among Democrats to Elizabeth Warren. As Ms. Gillibrand passes the hat down Wall Street, the money will keep piling up. Maybe she can tap the Clintons’ network, too, if she has convinced them to forgive her.

Asked last February if she had spoken to them recently, Ms. Gillibrand demurred. “I don’t wanna talk about that, but—I can tell you one thing,” she said. “Hillary Clinton is still my greatest role model in politics.”

Now there’s a slogan for 2020.

German police raid suspected KKK homes

Nazis, KKK. All the Same. Repugnant, and Disgusting Vile People

Deutsche Welle 1.16.2019

Police conducted raids on several properties throughout Germany thought to be connected to an extremist group that associates itself with the Ku Klux Klan. A total of 17 people are at the center of the investigation.

German police on Wednesday raided 12 apartments in eight different German states belonging to suspected members of an extreme-right group calling itself the National Socialist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Deutschland.

A total of 200 police officers searched properties in Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate, Saxony Anhalt and Thuringia. More than 100 weapons — including air guns, swords, machetes and knives — were seized in the raids, prosecutors and regional police in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg said.

Read more: ‘The KKK is active here in Germany’

The raids targeted 17 people between the ages of 17 and 59, but there was no official word of any arrests. Authorities say around 40 people are under investigation.

“The members were united in their right-wing orientation, which included expressing a glorification of National Socialism,” investigators said.

Investigators began looking into the accused after they showed up in a chat history on a mobile phone. The device had been seized as part of initial investigations into the use of insignia of illegal organizations.

Authorities said they have found no evidence linking the extremist group with other KKK organizations. They say the group recruited members partly online and charged monthly fees.

The KKK is well known in the United States as a hate group. However, there is now research and publications on activities by similarly named groups in Germany.

California students caught forming swastika with their bodies

“No way to delay that trouble coming everyday,” to quote Frank Zappa in his 1966 LP “Freakout!”

Excerpted from The Guardian of London 1.15.2019

California youths traded racist and violent messages in Ojai.  County called ‘hotbed for white supremacists’

A group of California junior high students were caught forming a swastika with their bodies on school grounds and exchanging racist and violent messages on a group chat, administrators said.

The scandal at Matilija junior high school, which culminated in an emotional meeting with parents and school officials Monday night, has sparked intense debate in a region that has experienced a sharp increase in reported antisemitic incidents.

The middle school in Ojai, a small city 80 miles north-west of Los Angeles, told parents in a letter in December that officials had discovered photos showing “nine students laying on the field together to form the shape of a swastika during lunch”. Administrators said the images appeared in a group chat that was active in November and December and featured “racist, sexually inappropriate and threatening commentary”, including one student’s call “to bring knives to school”. The photos and texts have not been released.

Cyndi Silverman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who has been working with Ojai school officials, told the Guardian that there were 28 students on the group chat, which featured a wide range of hateful content: “There were a number of texts that were anti-LGBTQ, antisemitic, anti-black, anti-Latino.”

Antisemitic incidents in the US have recently surged to the highest level in two decades, according to the ADL, which documented 457 cases in K-12 schools in 2017, a 94% increase from the previous year.

The local ADL for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties responded to five antisemitic incidents in 2016, followed by 19 in 2017 and 21 in the last year, Silverman said. Ventura County is a “hotbed for white supremacists and the ‘alt-right’ movement”, she added.

The Ojai controversy follows numerous reports across the country of increased school bullying echoing the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump, and a rise in harassment, abuse and offensive language by students on InstagramFacebook and other digital platforms.

‘Red Rosa’ Luxemburg. The making of a revolutionary icon

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 1.14.2019

Revolutionary socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were executed 100 years ago in Berlin. In the ensuing century, Luxemburg has become a cult figure for the left — and for feminists, artists and pacifists.

On Sunday morning, some 10,000 people braved the rain and cold to march through eastern Berlin and place red carnations at the graves of Rosa Luxemburg and her comrade, Karl Liebknecht.

The march was commemorating 100 years since the brutal execution of the two revolutionary socialists on January 15, 1919.

In the ensuing century, this diminutive Polish-born Jewish intellectual with a limp has become a cult icon for the revolutionary left. Yet she has also had a broader appeal, admired by feminists, socialists and pacifists.

She has become part of Germany’s cultural memory, immortalized in art, poetry, an award-winning biopic, a musical and a graphic novel. And in her own words too: as well as being a brilliant Marxist theorist, Luxemburg was a prolific writer of letters, and her emotive, lyrical writing has seen her emerge as a literary figure in her own right.

Luxemburg, who as a teenager fled Russian-occupied Poland due to her socialist activities, first attained her doctorate in Zurich before arriving in Berlin in 1898. She quickly rose through the ranks of the Social Democratic Party, the biggest labor movement in Europe at the time. Yet she broke with the SPD due to its support for World War I in 1914, helped form the breakaway Spartacist League in 1916 and spent most of the war in prison.

In November 1918, a revolt by sailors and soldiers led to the overthrow of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the end of the war. In December, the Spartacist League renamed itself the German Communist Party (KPD) and Luxemburg asserted that they would not try to seize power without the support of the majority of Germans. Yet when a second revolt broke out on January 5, 1919, she and Liebknecht gave the movement their full support. The uprising quickly faltered and the SPD leadership ordered the army and right-wing paramilitaries, the Freikorps, to crush it.

On the night of January 15, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were abducted, tortured in the luxury Hotel Eden, and then driven separately to the nearby Tiergarten Park and murdered. Liebknecht was delivered to the city morgue while Luxemburg was dumped into a canal.

Her body was only recovered five months later after the winter ice had thawed. She was buried next to Liebknecht in the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery.

Germany marks 100 years since Luxemburg-Liebknecht killings

A History Lesson from Europe

Deutsche Welle 1.13.2019

Some 10,000 people from across Europe joined in the marches which have been going on for nearly 100 years. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were prominent socialists and activists in early 20th century Germany.

Germany’s annual Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstration took place in Berlin on Sunday, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1919 executions of prominent socialists Rosa Luxemburgand Karl Liebknecht.

Prominent anti-war activists Liebknecht and Luxemburg were killed by a government-supported paramilitary after they led a general strike known as the Spartacus Uprising.

Some 10,000 people, also hailing from other EU countries such as France and Spain, marched through the capital to mark the pair’s deaths. Prominent Lefty party politicians Katja Kipping, Bernd Riexinger and Sahra Wagenknecht were also there.

Both were born in 1871, Luxemburg in what is now Poland but then the Russian Empire, and Liebknecht in Leipzig. During World War I, they were fierce opponents of World War I. Originally members of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) party that still exists in Germany today, they split from the SPD to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1918.

In January 1919, the KPD and other leftists called for a general strike to protest working conditions and the administration of the Weimar Republic. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were shot dead by militants contracted by the government that same month.

The yearly Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstrations began almost immediately after the pair were killed, and has been ongoing almost without pause, with the exception of during the Nazi regime, when exiles arranged smaller protests in cities like New York and Mexico City.  The Berlin march goes from the city’s Frankfurter Tor square to the socialists’ monument in Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery.

As prominent writers and activists on the subjects of socialism and workers rights, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were held up as martyrs by communist East Germany. Since the war, the demonstrations have been held around different themes, including for example opposition to the First Gulf War and the Iraq War.

Over the years, the Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstrations have never lost steam, sometimes attracting up to 80,000 participants.