When others (aren't allowed to) arrive!


Concerning the Ken Burns film: It occurred to us, just yesterday, that we didn't know much about Ron DeSantis, given his increasingly prominent role in American politics.

We checked the leading authority on his life. When we did, we were surprised by some of what we learned.

We were (very) surprised to learn that he's only 44. He seems much, much older to us—and we don't mean that as a compliment.

We were (somewhat) surprised to learn that he's a native Floridian, born and bred. We don't know what "native Floridians" look and seem like, but we'd have to say that DeSantis isn't it.

We pretty much already knew that he graduated from Yale, then from Harvard Law School. He seems to have come from a working-class background. He was not to the manor born.

In this recent column, David Brooks described himself as "a DeSantis doubter...I doubt someone so emotionally flat and charmless can win a nomination in the age of intensive media," Brooks wrote. 

We agree with Brooks concerning the gentleman's remarkably lifeless affect. We can't say that we feel sure that Brooks' political judgment is accurate.

Immigration policy and procedure:

By the start of this week, DeSantis was starring in blue tribe discussions due to his recent dispatching of some Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard. 

Under terms of a prevailing mandate—No Bait Left Behind—this action produced waves of angry pushback. In a column she wrote with Bret Stephens, Gail Collins offered this overall view:

COLLINS (9/20/22): You have waves of folks fleeing from disaster back home—these days, particularly Venezuelans.

Many of them have endured terrible treks by foot, sometimes with children. If they present themselves at the border, their claims have to be processed, which can take a lot of time. The procedure is really a mess, and meanwhile there’s the choice between letting them live miserably in makeshift camps or providing them, and especially their children, with the services they need.

Like his predecessors, Biden has been trying to get the system improved, but the legal issues plus the politics make it almost impossible.

If these folks make their way into the country illegally, with luck they’ll get settled and work out their immigration problems later. But of course they can also wind up homeless and drift into crime. The border state residents have to bear most of the burden just because of their location, so you can see why they’d resent that.

Prevailing procedures are "a mess," Collins wrote—and it's hard to disagree with that assessment. That said, we were struck by her statement about the way border states, and their residents, have to bear most of the burden of this procedural chaos.

In the tumult of the past week, we saw no attempt from blue tribe tribunes to quantify the way the burden is or isn't distributed. 

How much of the burden of prevailing procedure does fall on the border states? Admit it—you don't really know either! As a general matter, our journalism is increasingly built on the angry transmission of narrative, not on the development of information and facts.

The Ken Burns film:

This weekend, we're catching up on the new Ken Burns film for PBS, "The U.S. and the Holocaust." Right from its opening scene, the film is built around a terrible fact:

Anne Frank's family was unable to gain admittance to the United States when they were living in Amsterdam. For that reason, Anne Frank—a brilliant child who would later be regarded as a sacred figure around the world—died in Bergen-Belsen at the age of 15 years, along with her older sister, Margot Frank.

We well remember the first time we learned about Anne Frank. We were maybe 9 or 10. We read about her in a full-length spread in Look or Life, or one of those mid-50s magazine monoliths.

It's estimated that the sisters died in February or early March of 1945. Bergen-Belsen was liberated on April 15 of that same year. They came that close to survival.

Once again, we recommend Francine Prose's 2009 book, Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife. Back in 2009, NPR published its interview with Prose under this headline:

Francine Prose Explores Anne Frank's Literary Genius

Along with the interview, an excerpt is posted. Prose begins her book with a quote from John Berryman, all the way back in real time:

"I would call the subject of Anne Frank's Diary even more mysterious and fundamental than St. Augustine's, and describe it as: the conversion of a child into a person..."

We can't recommend Prose's book strongly enough. For us, it came as a revelation, in several different ways. 

Our view? Its beautiful cover, a tribute to life, pays the price of admission alone.


  1. tl;dr

    ...and it's not just too long:
    "We were (somewhat) surprised to learn that he's a native Floridian, born and bred. We don't know what "native Floridians" look and seem like, but we'd have to say that DeSantis isn't it."

    What's with a word-salad, dear Bob?

    We're worried that the dembottery you're watching all day every day is rapidly killing your brain, dear Bob. ...whatever's left of it, after your suffering severe TDS for quite a few years now...

    1. Head scratcher of a sentence. I would suppose if you visit Miami, Sarasota, and the Florida panhandle you'll find vastly different kinds of native Floridians with everything in between populating the rest including whatever Desantis "is."

    2. 10 signs of a native Floridian (#10 was part of an air conditioning service ad):

      "People who live in Florida are a unique bunch. They get to live in one of the most iconic locations in the world. However, native Floridians are also able to easily identify themselves. Here are 10 signs you are a native of Florida.

      You know there are actually three distinct cultural sections of Florida. There is the north, the south, and all the theme parks in the center.

      Also, you know all the tricks to getting into those theme parks for free. At the very least, you know how to take advantage of coupons and discounts.

      Sweat doesn’t phase you one bit. It’s everywhere, and you learn how to deal with it.

      You get little tan lines between your toes from wearing flip flops so much.

      You have never seen or used a snow tire. Is it a tire made of snow?

      The idea of a furnace in your home seems alien and even dangerous to you. Why would you want to make a house hotter?

      You think a two-lane highway is only a country road. Six lanes on a highway are the real thing.

      You believe swimming pools are only meant to be used at night. After all, who wants to take a warm bath in the hot sun?

      You would rather pay for an artificial tan than sit outside in the real Florida sun for several hours.

    3. Native Floridians (Wikipedia):

      "The indigenous peoples of Florida lived in what is now known as Florida for more than 12,000 years before the time of first contact with Europeans. However, the indigenous Floridians living east of the Apalachicola River had largely died out by the early 18th century. Some Apalachees migrated to Louisiana, where their descendants now live; some were taken to Cuba and Mexico by the Spanish in the 18th century, and a few may have been absorbed into the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes."

      Somerby may have looked this up in Wikipedia, but he couldn't find a joke in it, so he didn't bother explaining who they were.


  2. ...also, dear Bob, Anne Frank has nothing whatsoever to do with economic migrants trying, to legalize by fraudulently claiming refugee status...

    1. "A person who requests asylum in the United States is called an asylee. A person who requests protection while still overseas, and then is given permission to enter the U.S. as a refugee, is called a refugee."

      "An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined. In contrast, a refugee is someone who has been recognised under the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees to be a refugee."


      "Most people in the world have had the experience of leaving the place where they grew up. Maybe they will only move as far as the next village or city. But for some people, they will need to leave their country entirely – sometimes for a short time, but sometimes forever.

      Every day, all over the world, people make one of the most difficult decisions in their lives: to leave their homes in search of a safer, better life.

      There are many reasons why people around the globe seek to rebuild their lives in a different country. Some people leave home to get a job or an education. Others are forced to flee persecution or human rights violations such as torture. Millions flee from armed conflicts or other crises or violence. Some no longer feel safe and might have been targeted just because of who they are or what they do or believe – for example, for their ethnicity, religion, sexuality or political opinions.

      These journeys, which all start with the hope for a better future, can also be full of danger and fear. Some people risk falling prey to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Some are detained by the authorities as soon as they arrive in a new country. Once they’re settling in and start building a new life, many face daily racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

      Some people end up feeling alone and isolated because they have lost the support networks that most of us take for granted – our communities, colleagues, relatives and friends."

    2. One of the periods of migration within the US involved people from the East and settled cities of the West who left their lives in order to pursue gold in the gold fields in the US, Alaska and Canada. Was that "economic migration"? Definitely. Did anyone hold it against those trying to get rich? No doubt, since the migration was disruptive to existing communities and also to families left by men pursuing their dreams of wealth.

    3. A good .05% of illegal migrants to the US have stories similar to Anne Frank's.

      "even more mysterious and fundamental than St. Augustine's, and describe it as: the conversion of a child into a person"

      A child is a person.
      It's a coming of age in the context of a genocide story. The conversion of a child to a wiser than typical adolescent. Augustine's is the conversion of a young adult into a saint.

    4. Typical adolescents don't live in the context of a genocide. No sane person would recommend that they be subjected to hardship in order to be made wiser. We have no idea how wise any given adolescent might become under pressure, but there is a genre of book that extols the bravery of dying kids, such as those with leukemia or cystic fibrosis, in the face of death.

      When Somerby and others extol a book about the surviving kids of the Parkland massacre, and tell us that their bravery in carrying on a gun-control movement is inspiring, I will consider them sincere. Instead, we have Marjorie Taylor Greene harrassing them and a general dismissal of their efforts as "political." Anne Frank would surely have been treated the same way, had she survived and joined an effort to wipe out fascism or resettle refugees.

      Worshipping her picture makes a mockery of what Jews have endured, not solely in the Holocaust, but today as a renewed wave of anti-semitism, spurred on by Trump's support for white supremacy, is making life ever scarier in the US.

      Somerby is not Jewish, so maybe he doesn't understand what is happening. But he has no right to remain ignorant, given what happened in our own past. Imagine Somerby holding up a picture of one of the kids killed in Uvalde, in their classrom with their teacher, and calling it "beautiful," a "tribute to life."

      @1:53 fails to realize that Anne Frank's life at the time her family applied to emigrate WAS closely similar to the lives of those being disparaged by the right. The consequences of her remaining in Germany were shared by millions. @1:53 has no idea what the lives of those seeking asylum here might have been, had we turned our backs on them as the US did to Anne Frank.

    5. The way America is headed, WE may be the ones seeking asylum elsewhere, if the Republicans are elected and begin their promised persecution of the left. Trump is as crazy as Hitler and has just as little restraint. It can happen here. We should treat our immigrants the way we would want to be treated ourselves. Somerby used to believe in stuff like that, but he has changed.

    6. It isn't Republicans murdering teenage boys by mowing them down with their cars because they're Republican. Or letting the psycho leftists who do it out of jail the next day.

    7. What about Heather Heyer?

    8. 7:18,
      Tsk, tsk. Bob Somerby isn't going to be happy with you politicizing mowing down teenage boys with cars.

    9. Brandt (who hit the Republican pedestrian with his car) was drunk at the time. He was released on bail, not "let go". He was charged with criminal vehicular manslaughter, not murder, while the case is being investigated.

      Every headline in a right wing news source calls Brandt a leftist and Ellingson a "Republican." Brandt charges that Ellingson was a member of an extremist group that was chasing him. If anyone has "politicized" this crime, it is the right, who says Ellingson was persecuted for being a Republican, by Brandt, who was not just a Democrat but a "leftist" (whatever that means).

      Normally a fight involving alcohol would not be described by labeling either combatant by political party. This was North Dakota, and perhaps people there are targeting each other over politics, but if so, Democrats are surely in the minority and less armed than Republicans, who do tend to be involved in militia and other right-wing extremist activities.

      So, Ellingson may not be as innocent as the right is trying to portray him. Brandt has admitted hitting Ellison and his blood alcohol was tested.

      Somerby will, of course, defend Ellingson. Regardless of what he may have said, he shouldn't have been deliberately hit by a car, but there don't seem to be the necessary elements to charge Brandt with murder either. That doesn't preven the right wing noise machine, from Fox on down, from calling for him to be charge with murder and locked up forever. The right is equating Brandt's action with the 1/6 insurrectionists, who deliberately brought weapons to storm the capitol building, killing several people and injuring hundreds more, including police officers.

      Note how this troll says the Republicans don't do such things, then refuses to answer the comment about Heather Heyer, who was similarly run down and killed by a conservative attending the Unite the Right rally, without provocation and without being drunk.

    10. Complaining about politicizing a crime that the right has been politicizing in every story about it (check for yourself using Google), strikes me as disingenuous.

      When a white man goes into a church or market in order to shoot Jews or black people, is it "politicizing" to call that a hate crime? California State Law makes attacking someone for their political party a hate crime. Here are the protected classes:

      sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, immigration status, political affiliation, and position in a labor dispute

      North Dakota does not seem to have the same protection for political affiliation, but perhaps this willl have to change if Republicans start targeting Democrats. However, this situation may have been another case of a teen baiting a mentally ill person for kicks, like Kyle Rittenhouse did, with nothing to do with politics.

      There is no evidence that this was about politics at all. For one thing, the investigators have not corroborated Brandt's story that Brandt and Ellingson argued about politics, nor that Ellingson was involved in a Republican extremist group. Brandt has a history of DUI and mental health issues. So this may not have had anything to do with politics but may be a simple hit and run accident with an invented cover story, or perhaps instigated by the teen mocking the older man, who retaliated with violence due to mental health issues (described by his neighbors) exacerbated by alcohol (both were at a street party).

      Nevertheless, the right is milking this story as if a Democrat deliberately targeted a teen for being a Republican. Fox and other right wing news sources have been inflating this into a story of deliberate targeting, witness the troll above.


      "The facts of the case so far do not support Brandt’s claims that he and Ellingson argued about politics or that the teenager was calling for people to come after Brandt, North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind told The Forum on Thursday."

      Fox has known this since Thursday, yet they keep representing this as a deliberate politically motivated targeting. Someday, perhaps, this type of inflammatory reporting will be considered a hate crime.

      On the other hand, if witnesses were young friends of Ellingson, they may not be telling the truth about what happened either.

  3. "Under terms of a prevailing mandate—No Bait Left Behind—this action produced waves of angry pushback."

    So, are we supposed to ignore a Republican stunt that harms people? As usual, Somerby implies that Democrats have no natural reactions to any current event -- it is all political posturing on our side -- no genuine anger.

    And then he gives us a rundown on DeSantis's bio, as if he cannot do his own campaigning. Along the way, he throws in semi-positive comments: "He was not to the manor born." And he disagrees with Brooks about DeSantis's electability, given his stiffness and inability to connect with an audience (the same traits Al Gore failed to overcome).

    Since when do supposedly liberal blogs waste space promoting Republican MAGA candidates like this? Somerby utterly fails to link any of the background info on DeSantis with anything else in today's essay, so it stands there as unsolicited campaign material that can only serve to get the word out on DeSantis among FL readers of his blog. Hopefully, they know enough else about the man to vote intelligently, but it won't be because of Somerby, who dismisses the migrant trafficking as perhaps justified by the disproportionate burden felt by border states. He fails to mention that FL does not have a border with any other country and thus is uninvolved in this migrant crisis. But that would conflict with Somerby's own narrative, that DeSantis is not a fat cat despite going to Harvard and Yale, and that he is youngish in comparison with who? Biden? Or perhaps Trump? And who is paying Somerby's rent today? How does a liberal write an essay about a FL candidate for Governor without mentioning his Democratic opponent, Crist?

    1. Democrats don't care about migrant trafficking when it involves raped children but they do when it involves flying illegal economic migrants to a luxury island filled with wealthy people who sent them gold embossed invitations.

    2. Republicans don't care about anything but bigotry and white supremacy.
      If you want to make the argument that there is a Republican who believes in something other than that, drag them here so that he or she can make the case.

  4. Collins says:

    "But of course they can also wind up homeless and drift into crime. The border state residents have to bear most of the burden just because of their location, so you can see why they’d resent that."

    Somerby then complains because the media didn't fact-check her statement about the burden of the border state residents. I think they should have fact-checked the comment about migrants drifting into crime. Facts show that the crime rate among migrants is lower than that for citizens, most likely because they do not want to be deported. But Somerby just accepts the remark without blinking.

    Last week, I posted info about whether border states do have a greater burden, or whether they are whining because they dislike the people coming across their border. San Diego CA has a border too, which it manages without the difficulties claimed by Texas. Migrants cross the northern border to enter the USA, without the difficulties claimed by Texas and without needing to build a wall. But most migrants enter by flying into airports as tourists across the USA and overstaying their visa.

    Texas and Arizona have resentments related to conflict with Hispanics and bigotry and that exacerbates their problems. California, a blue state, has accepted its significant Hispanic heritage and doesn't consider their migrants a threat to their culture, but an important strength. Attitude makes a huge difference. Trump made an issue of his border wall and has purposefully inflamed tensions in red states. They tried the same thing in CA but it didn't work.

    But Somerby doesn't read his comments. Apparently, it has never occurred to him to wonder why Gavin Newsom doesn't have the problems Greg Abbott claims. But Somerby's goal here today is to generate sympathy for DeSantis and Abbott and those poor poor white Texans, who are not even the majority in the Southern part of the state where migrants are crossing the border. Southern Texan is blue because of its Hispanic population. And there lies the real reason for the attacks on migrants.

    Where Somerby sees too many political motives on the left, he is blind to the political motives on the right, even though they are obvious to everyone else, an even baldly stated in the alt-right's replacement theory.

    It shouldn't matter to anyone whether migrants are from Venezuela or anywhere else. Notice the way Somerby keeps mentioning it, though. Why? Is he worried that Baltimore will become Spanish speaking? Or is he following today's talking points about generating demographic existential fear among voters ahead of the midterms? I hope he is getting paid enough to do this. It would be sad to think he writes drivel because he believes his own bigoted propaganda.

    1. A lower crime rate than that for citizens isn't an effective selling point.

    2. It demonstrates the untruth of Collins statement that migrants drift into crime. Aside from not wanting to be deported, they have more support via non-profit programs than criminals do, including ex-pat communities of people from their own country. They typically also have a strong work ethic, not found among criminals. This is why so many people familiar with immigrants were outraged when Trump talked about other countries not sending their best, saying they are rapists etc.

    3. Immigrants aren't Republicans, is the effective selling point.

  5. "It's estimated that the sisters died in February or early March of 1945. Bergen-Belsen was liberated on April 15 of that same year. They came that close to survival."

    The closeness of liberation is irrelevant. She should never have been in that camp, nor should anyone have been. None of the victims of the Holocaust deserved to die, regardless of their dates of incarceration.

    If she had been born 20 years later, she would have missed WWII. So what? This sort of math is offensive to those who suffered and died, and it does not excuse or worsen anything that the Nazis and their enablers did.

    1. most people (at least those without an axe to grind) would find the date of her death of interest

    2. She is not of interest in a documentary about The Holocaust and our country’s failure to help its victims. This is akin to the media’s focus on missing white girls, to the exclusion of all other abducted women. This fascination with a murdered 14 year old is sick.

    3. but she apparently is very much of interest. and it's not sick at all. the interest is a natural, human reaction to the unique perspective her diary provides. you just didn't like Somerby going after Maddow all those times, so now you're on a mission to find anything at all to criticize him about. in doing so, you deliberately misread him most of the time (i.e., lie about what he wrote), and draw unfounded and sometimes laughably absurd conclusions about him (e.g., that he's a bigot and Trump supporter and that he writes what someone else tells him to write in exchange for money).

    4. Fawning over a 14year old’s diary cannot make up for the indifference shown to desperate families trying to find safety. Somerby’s comment about her beauty is creepy. He should make a trip to the DC Holocaust Museum instead of leering at a long dead child. This attempt to romanticize Frank’s suffering is beyond inappropriate. Every time I think Somerby cannot be worse, he outdoes himself.

    5. "Fawning" is a mischaracterization. And no one said that "fawning" over the diary made up for anything. You're also implying that Somerby's interest in Frank is sexual. You have nothing to base that on. But such unfounded insinuations suit your mission of getting back at Somerby for hurting your feelings about Maddow. "He should make a trip..." You sure seem to know a lot about what everyone else should and shouldn't be doing, church lady. Is there maybe something you should be doing rather than typing thousands of words on someone else's blog every day, attacking them with lies and baseless insinuations?

    6. She is an ordinary looking child. Only someone like Roy Moore would call her picture worth “the price of admission” whatever that means when talking about mass murder. Somerby sounds like a creepy lech.

      This evokes his fawning over Malala, another young girl, still alive. It is hard to find an ounce of real feeling in Somerby’s reaction to Burns’ series. Anne Frank has become an industry but real people were killed by Germany for being Jewish or otherwise deviant (non-Aryan). Somerby has said nothing about that— he seems only touched by a teenager, sad old man that he is.

  6. "and describe it as: the conversion of a child into a person..."

    A child is a person. With age comes maturity. It is not a wonder that this happens, but a natural part of the lifespan. Celebrating it in Anne Frank strikes me as working way too hard to find something to eulogize. The wonder of her diary is that she could lead a semi-normal life while imprisoned in hiding. But it is obscene to suggest that she was made greater by her circumstances or grew up because of them, when we all grow up no matter what our circumstances.

    Anne Frank was presented in schools with the hope that school children would identify with her youth and thus understand the magnitude of the tragedy of the Holocaust, that children too were killed. It was shocking to me when I first read it in school. More shocking than the books now being banned as too emotionally upsetting, I would imagine. But I was never taught that her childhood diary was great literature. Elevating it to that stature stinks -- it is as if Berryman or Prose are searching for a reason to care about Anne Frank, other than the obvious one, that she was a human being and shouldn't have been killed that way. To see this, note that most people have heard of Anne Frank but hardly anyone can name her sister, who suffered and died along with her, for the same reason -- being Jewish.

    There are still long lines at the Amsterdam memorial to Anne Frank, a Disney-version of the Holocaust. There are not similar lines at other memorials, but there should be. Burns could have told so many other stories -- why focus on Anne Frank and neglect the meaning of what happened to all Jews?

  7. There is a book that explains why America stood by and watched while Hitler enacted the Holocaust, slaughtering millions of Jews and other stigmatized people:


    Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust, by historian Theodore S. Hamerow (2008)

    Instead of focusing on Anne Frank, Burns should explain the actual reasons why the US admitted so few Jewish immigrants in the run-up to WWII and during the war, and why it failed to admit even the desperate ships full of immigrants begging for entry, like those fleeing Cyrpus who were turned away by all nations until Palestine accepted them, overcoming British obstruction (see the film and novel, Exodus).

    This isn't a pretty little story about nothing that could be done to save little girls such as Anne Frank. It is about American bigotry, nativism and fears of being overrun, much like the immigrant crises ocurring today in Europe.

    We need to hear the truth if we are to avoid the mistakes of the past.

    1. Burns should explain the actual reasons why the US admitted so few Jewish immigrants in the run-up to WWII and during the war,

      He did. I watched most of all three parts and there was quite a bit about why America made it so difficult for Jewish refugees.
      My only complaint was he never followed up and showed Charles Lindberg's reaction after the war ended and the true magnitude of the genocide in the concentration camps was revealed to the world.

    2. So, this is Somerby's focus, not Burns's. I will try to watch it then.

    3. Burns shows clearly that the German measures to prohibit Jews from engaging in business and otherwise working to support themselves and their families created an economic desperation. That makes the line between economic immigration and political or persecution-based asylum much blurrier than Republicans seem to acknowledge.

    4. As with his other productions, Burns tends to feature those with lots of family photos and clear memories, not those who are most representative of any historical events. That is fine, because it makes historical events real to people, to see photos of those who are being discussed. However, that makes it not history but more on the entertainment side, more manipulative and less truthful, as a dryer continuous narrative might be.

      It seems to me that there is a lot of excusing Roosevelt and not a lot of focus (so far) on those working on behalf of Jews seeking entry. And too much justification of American actions by referring to what other countries would not do. When polls show that 85% of Americans opposed changing quotas, you can't pin everything on Lindburgh or the American Bund. We each have a conscience that we are answerable to. And letting people be killed overseas is not a NIMBY phenomena. It is a massive failure of empathy, whose roots should be explored more thoroughly than just saying people listened to bad guys on the radio.

      If this is what Americans do when the chips are down, no wonder we all let Trump become president, and are now standing by saying nothing as he scapegoats immigrants and Democrats and even the FBI! This isn't a joke. We are at 1938 and counting in America.

    5. I don't think Burns was too kind to FDR either.

    6. Nor should they be. Do they discuss Morgenthau in episode 3? I only had stomach for episode 2.

      It all got out of FDR's control, but he also did nothing to dampen conservative enthusiasm for fascism. I like the woman who talked about when to stop a genocide.

    7. @5:49, it made me appreciate Biden's speech more

  8. "We can't recommend Prose's book strongly enough. For us, it came as a revelation, in several different ways.

    Our view? Its beautiful cover, a tribute to life, pays the price of admission alone."

    Why would anyone adult on this planet expect to read a book about a tragedy of the Holocaust and find beauty? Why should anyone expect pleasure from such a book that would "pay the price of admission"?

    Just as everyone grieves in their own way, no one can dictate how one should feel about life's atrocities, but beauty just doesn't seem like a sane reaction to this part of world history. To evoke such a reaction, there would have to be a huge whitewash of what happened and why. But we need to preserve the truth, not romanticized or humorous takes on these events, if we are to recognize and avoid repeating what happened here in our own country, where we have put children in camps separated from family, to prevent national contamination by others who seem different.

    Somerhow I doubt that Somerby will learn anything by watching Burns.

    1. Anne Frank looks like a young girl on that cover. If Anne Frank had come to American and lived in Alabama, she might have married someone like Roy Moore at the age 14, if her mama had approved. Parents can marry off their daughters to much older men under the laws of that state. Ironically, her Jewishness might have protected her from marrying such predators. But why is Somerby gushing over her pre-death appearance? And how can a photo of a wrongly killed girl be a "tribute to life"?

    2. "if we are to recognize and avoid repeating what happened here in our own country, where we have put children in camps"

      It's already repeated, not recognized, and not avoided in our own country. Forget camps, we see the mass legal killing of a million defenseless humans every year. They're defined as subhuman by those who approve of the status quo, just like in Nazi Germany.

    3. So, you think a fetus is equivalent to Anne Frank. Try selling that one to voters, especially women and young women Anne Frank's age, who are victims of rape and incest. Irritating people isn't the way to win support for your cause -- but we suspect you anti-abortion trolls are mainly white males who are about controlling women and not saving any lives, given that men are notoriously reluctant to pay child support, leave their kids when they become inconvenient, and won't vote for measures to help other people's kids either. In other words, assholes.

    4. Yes, a fetus is equivalent to Anne Frank and when Anne Frank was at fetal age she deserved not to be killed just as much as she did when she was killed at a later age.

      No one should be irritated by the acknowledgement that humans should not be killed, or that something is wrong with a society that accepts killing them by the millions, half thinking the atrocity is anything from meaningless to a moral good. Like Nazis.

      The rape and incest and life of the mother exceptions involve other considerations but represent minuscule proportions and are moot since they exist everywhere.

    5. Your first paragraph is where most of us disagree. Just as we don't consider fingernail clippings to be a life, nor the sperm in discarded condoms, nor the large number of miscarriages that nature produces itself. None of these are human beings, though some have a potential to become so.

      I doubt any woman considers her rape or incest to be moot or minuscule. Women take their lives seriously, which is why they must be permitted to decide between threats to their own life and death.

    6. They're defined as subhuman by those who approve of the status quo, just like Newt Gingrich does.

    7. Some things that come from humans are subhman. Saliva contains dna and can be cloned into a human. Does that make saliva a human being? You have to draw a line, which means inevitably other considerations come into the decision.

    8. And fairly frequently the process goes wrong and the organism is not viable , due to natural causes. Gene expression can go wrong too. Nature makes plenty of errors, and be sure to talk about mutation too.

    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    10. "This means that the embryo has the same nature—in other words, it is the same kind of entity—from fertilization onward; there is only a difference in degree of maturation, not in kind, between any of the stages from embryo, to fetus, infant and so on."
      This is metaphysical gobbledygook. They're spouting religious dogma but trying to make it sound scientific. Needless to say, anyone who thinks there's no difference in an embryo's "nature" and that of a child has been brainwashed by their religious authorities -- you know, like "saint" Augustine.

    11. If the human embryo is a complete organism, why would anyone bother carrying it to term? Equating a zygote with a third trimester embryo is nonsense. But since we are on the subject of genetic programming, let me know when you are interested in adopting the full term product of a pregnancy , half of whose genetic material is inherited from a rapist.

  9. Well, I’m glad our intrepid Bob will do,
    on occasion, some homework beyond
    what people look like and how they
    seem. His parents tuition money
    at Harvard was well spent.
    I think I knew that that illegal
    immigration is likely to cause more
    problems to boarder states because
    It’s a logical conclusion to draw.
    Last night MSNBC did a show
    about how and why Dems are
    struggling with Latino voters in
    boarder towns. It was balanced
    and informative. (MSNBC isn’t
    always. In fact, just the kind of
    work Bob would once pretend
    to be untested in.

    1. Republicans are suggesting that Hispanic voters are abandoning the Democratic party, but polls don't support that, nor do actual voting results from 2020. When you look at a map of Texas, the Southern portions are solid blue because that is where Hispanic Democratic voters live. Texas Republicans are trying to change that. Border towns represent a handful of votes compared to the large Hispanic regions surrounding border areas (see El Paso for example).


    2. It seems to be a product of organizing evangelicals, if the show is to be believed.

    3. Hispanics tend to be Catholic, not evangelical.

    4. Mayra Flores is evangelical. You obviously didn't watch the special on MSNBC.

      “These are pastors from South Texas praying over me and our campaign efforts. … It’s time to elect GODLY people who reflect our morals and values according to the Word of God. … Thank you Pastors for being involved in your civic duties.”

      The pictures are reminiscent of images showing Donald Trump being similarly prayed for by groups of pastors convened by Paula White. In Flores’ picture, hands are stretched toward her. Others are laid on her shoulders; one is on her forehead. The gathered crowd appears to be composed of both Latinos and non-Latinos, women and men. Behind Flores’ head, a campaign poster reads, “Make America Godly Again.”

      In the caption for this post, Flores thanks just one pastor for his prayers and guidance. Luis Cabrera is pastor of City Church in Harlingen, Texas. The church’s most recent Facebook posts document its July Fourth festivities, complete with red, white and blue balloons, tiny American flags to wave and nearly everyone in “Make America Godly Again” T-shirts. Another image has 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom,” splashed across a flag motif: a doubling of the idea of biblical freedom with political freedoms.

      The church’s website suggests it is Zionist and affirms the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit, including those in Acts 2, which are key to Pentecostal claims that the baptism of the Holy Spirit (i.e., speaking in tongues) is for practice in the present day. Crystal Cabrera, Luis’ wife, went to Southwestern Assemblies of God University, part of the second-largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S. Like Paula White’s Florida church, City Church appears to be “nondenominational” in name but Pentecostal in practice.

    5. No, I didn't watch it. She ran for a seat that is being eliminated due to redistricting. It remains to be seen how she does with a real seat, not an uncontested one where no one cared who won a lame-duck to-be-eliminated district. She beat a Democrat, but not one who put much energy into the race.

      You can celebrate that as a meaningful victory, but it makes you look kind of foolish to do so.

    6. The "religion" of Evangelicals is bigotry.
      Take that away, and they have nothing.

    7. I am not celebrating anything. Just wanted to point out that she got a big boost from the evangelical church and particularly pastor Luis Cabrera. Definitely not Catholic. The whole mixing of the evangelical church with politics in this country offends me greatly.

      Flores asserts her loyalties stand to “God, Family, Country | Dios, Familia, Patria.”

      My ass.

    8. Yes, anonymouse 5:41pm, the family over country stance is debatable.

    9. Everyone has those same priorities (if they have a family), but at some point family and country are merged. Patriotism tends to merge God and country too, but perhaps not for conservatives who have defined their country as enemy, as the Q-Anoners do. That is one reason why their dogma is so pernicious. No one gets to live outside the law.

    10. Elected congresspersons put their hand on the bible and swear allegiance to the constitution, they do not put their hand on the constitution and swear allegiance to their bible. Unfortunately, a lot of republicans don't understand this. You want to put God first, Cec? Ask the women in Iran right now how that works out.

    11. Not for nothing but the unborn are mentioned at the top of every list of petitions at most Catholic Churches and that probably has something to do with the shift, especially given the radicalization of the Democrats as a party on that issue.

    12. It makes sense that families pray for the health of mother and child during a pregnancy. They aren’t praying for your cause. Ask them.

      In Hispanic culture, no one buys anything for the baby before it is born, because that would second-guess God’s will.

    13. @6:34, they are swearing to tell the truth on whatever is holy (taken seriously). They can also affirm, without a bible.

    14. "We pray for the protection of the unborn and the end of abortion" is how it goes verbatim.
      An insinuation that Hispanics don't offer gifts to the unborn because they believe killing a baby in an abortion would be "God's will" is beyond twisted, but a good example of the radicalization of Democrats.


    15. “Elected congresspersons put their hand on the bible and swear allegiance to the constitution, they do not put their hand on the constitution and swear allegiance to their bible. Unfortunately, a lot of republicans don't understand this…”

      mm, please. There’s not a Republican in existence who doesn’t understand this.

    16. Let me add, mm, there is difference in god as opposed to God.

      Your latest god…will minimize your xx daughter in a way you and Iran have yet to comprehend .

    17. A benevolent, all-powerful God, who could snap His fingers and end child abuse and hunger, but doesn't?

    18. @9:19 They fear that God will take the child. Your deliberate twisting of what I said is noted.

    19. Anonymouse 9:58pm: https://www.npr.org/2022/06/19/1106173020/swimming-bans-transgender-women

    20. Sure, Cec.

      Most Republicans Support Declaring the United States a Christian Nation


  10. Here is what a native Floridian is not (from Rawstory):

    "According to a report from the New York Times, controversial former Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) -- who is making another bid for his old job -- has been availing himself to tax breaks in the state of Florida where he and his wife own property.

    However, those breaks were designed to only benefit full-time residents."

    LePage took the resident tax breaks while living in the Maine Governor's mansion. This kind of tax finagling has been going on for a long time.

    The reason there are more of these kinds of stories about Republicans than Democrats is because Republicans are more likely to believe that laws and rules don't apply to themselves, and more likely to consider such theft to be clever, not criminal.

    We have a rash of Republicans running for office in states they do not reside in, trying to pretend an unoccupied farm property is a residence, or that living with relatives is the same as being a resident (even when you vote and get health care in a different state). Trump seems to have given permission to his entire party to flout rules, procedures, even laws, because he does it himself and hasn't been prosecuted yet. We can only hope his time is coming, or else our society will have to endure a wave of similar rule-breaking by moronic scoff-laws whose main motive is personal gain.

    A lot of countries are already like that, but there goes American exceptionalism, if it happens to us.

  11. "When others (aren't allowed to) arrive!"

    Asylum-seekers are allowed to arrive. There is a provision in our immigration law to consider their applications for asylum. These people are not illegal. They are following the law. We have not decided, as a people, to keep out all asylum seekers.

    Anne Frank's case was about bigotry, not asylum laws. The US at various points refused to change existing restrictive laws, forcing endangered Jews and others to remain in German controlled territories. Other nations did the same, giving the Jews (and others) nowhere to go.

    Here is a description of the efforts to change quotas and the political response in the US:


  12. One way we have approached remembering
    the legacy of Frank and the Holocaust
    was to beware of cheap political
    Demagogues and bullies. Given
    Bob’s response to Trump, he has a
    long way to go in absorbing the
    lesson of Anne Frank.

  13. I'm surprise Somerby hasn't been telling us to watch Burns' series in order to better understand the perspective of The Others, who are the direct descendants of those who were responsible for all those Jewish deaths, as they blocked immigration, just as they are doing today.

    That series is radicalizing for a liberal. A handful of Jewish people succeeded in coming to America, where the backlog in unprocessed applications was 9 years (in 1938), just as it is now, for the same reasons. We're supposed to feel happy for them, after watching the way Jews were slaughtered in Russia and Poland. No, there is no way to happy-ending this story, and attempts to cheer up the audience are repulsive in their exclusion of everyone who died. But Somerby thinks Anne Frank is "beautiful" despite her ugly death. So I guess that's all right then. Meanwhile, how many America-firsters will feel vindicated by the pomp and interviews with their ancestors, not realizing how awful their actions were because the narration doesn't point anything like that out. Yes, it should be obvious, but if that were true, Trump would never fill a stadium rally, much less be elected President. Ken Burns needed to do better, in my opinion.

    FDR's appeasement of the right looked a lot like Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. At some point, someone needs to show some courage and stand up for what is right, even if it will cause a fight in Congress that might cause FDR to have to take a stand.

    1. This Ken Burns documentary is excellent history and should be required viewing for all high school students in this country. It is also the kind of history the current crop of republican governors (Desantis) will ban.

  14. It is silly to magnify Anne Frank into a "sacred figure worldwide" when she was just one of many children who were put to death by the Germans. Magnifying her importance slights the many other children and the people who cared about them, desperate for their rescue.

    Does Somerby magnify Frank's importance in order to safely ignore the other kids stacking up at our own borders? Are they somehow too ordinary to care about? Or might one of them go on to a future life worthy of Somerby's angst?

    If there is any hostage bargaining to be done during the next holocaust, I nominate Somerby to be first on the list of expendables. I cannot think of a more offensive way to present Anne Frank's tragedy, than what Somerby has written today. Perhaps he knows he is supposed to care about her, but he just doesn't know how.

    in my Sunday school, we were always taught that God cares about the least among us, not solely a "sacred figure" who only did what all 14 year old girls do, when given a diary.

    1. Overanalysis of her literary merit is required to justify our morbid interest in her life in the shadow of death.

    2. Have to disagree here. I revisited
      the book about five years ago
      and was astounded. How would we
      view the book if it were a work
      of fiction? Hard to say. Doesn’t
      matter much. It seems a great
      literary achievement to me.

    3. You need to read more. And don’t forget that it was written in German and translated to English by an adult. For what purpose?

  15. “in my Sunday school, we were always taught that God cares about the least among us, not solely a "sacred figure" who only did what all 14 year old girls do, when given a diary.”

  16. You don’t read your comments, Bob. but they are still all yours!

  17. Let's go MIGA.
    Italians are about to elect a woman who will oppose abortion, gay marriage, and abuse of children with "gender affirming care" also known as mutilation and sterilization. Democrats call this sane trajectory "fascism" because they can't call it "racism."


    1. Re: immigration
      I'm old enough to remember the Right lying about how they believed "All Lives Matter", just because they didn't want black people to have equality under the law.

  18. "Washington Post: “Republicans are increasingly centering their pitch to voters on crime, casting Democrats as weak and ineffective buffers against violent criminal conduct. As Republicans advance that argument, they are drawing growing accusations from Democrats that they are engaging in a pattern of stoking racial divisions, a charge they reject.”

    “At the same time, Democrats worry the attacks could resonate amid the rise in violent crime that has taken place with their party in power at the federal level and in many cities.”


    If this is true, then we can expect Somerby to start talking about crime on Monday or Tuesday. We have already seen some troll comments about it.

    1. So Republicans have totally dropped the meme about 87,000 IRS agents being hired to assure criminals are being prosecuted.
      If you don't like Republicans' deeply held ideological beliefs, wait a minute, they might change*.

      *does not apply to bigotry and white supremacy.