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March 23rd, 2014
thesmithian

The strong showing [in France] by the National Front will alarm Europe’s liberal progressives, with the party long associated with racism and anti-Semitic statements. Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, was prosecuted several times while party leader for Holocaust denial, once referring to the deaths of millions of Jews as a “detail in the history of World War Two”. He has also been prosecuted for incitement to discriminate against Muslims. Since becoming leader in 2011, Marine Le Pen has sanctioned or ejected party members found to have made racist comments in an attempt to make the party more palatable to French voters. Her policies focus on reduced immigration and take an anti-EU stance.

more.

The strong showing [in France] by the National Front will alarm Europe’s liberal progressives, with the party long associated with racism and anti-Semitic statements. Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, was prosecuted several times while party leader for Holocaust denial, once referring to the deaths of millions of Jews as a “detail in the history of World War Two”. He has also been prosecuted for incitement to discriminate against Muslims. Since becoming leader in 2011, Marine Le Pen has sanctioned or ejected party members found to have made racist comments in an attempt to make the party more palatable to French voters. Her policies focus on reduced immigration and take an anti-EU stance.

more.

February 8th, 2014
thesmithian

After the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks…Fred Korematsu challenged President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 that authorized the U.S. military to forcibly remove more than 120,000 people, mostly of Japanese descent, from their homes and into incarceration camps throughout the country. Two-thirds of these people were American citizens. Mr. Korematsu went into hiding in the Oakland area, becoming a fugitive, and was arrested and convicted of violating the federal order. His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Jan. 30, the White House issued a statement honoring the legacy of Fred Korematsu.

November 16th, 2013
thesmithian

…recalls the practices and beliefs of the first- and second-generation immigrant copper workers of Montana while advancing the historical conversation on gender, class, and the formation of a white ethnic racial identity. Meet Joe Copper provides a context for our ideas of postwar masculinity and whiteness and finally returns the men of the home front to our reckoning of…the New Deal era.

more.

November 7th, 2013
thesmithian

'…the United States is far from the only hypocrite in international politics. But the United States’ hypocrisy matters more than that of other countries.'

That’s because most of the world today lives within an order that the United States built, one that is both underwritten by U.S. power and legitimated by liberal ideas. American commitments to the rule of law, democracy, and free trade are embedded in the multilateral institutions that the country helped establish after World War II, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and later the World Trade Organization. Despite recent challenges to U.S. preeminence, from the Iraq war to the financial crisis, the international order remains an American one. This system needs the lubricating oil of hypocrisy to keep its gears turning.

more.

October 12th, 2013
thesmithian

Ulric Cross, who has died aged 96, is thought to have been the most decorated Caribbean airman of the Second World War; he went on to enjoy a distinguished career in Trinidad as a judge and diplomat…Cross was active in…the Cotton Tree Foundation to aid the deprived, and in 2011 he received his nation’s highest award, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In the same year the local military airbase at Piarco was renamed the Ulric Cross Air Station…The thriller writer Ken Follett based the character of the black squadron leader, Charles Ford, on Ulric Cross in his book Hornet Flight, published in 2002.

he passed away on October 4. more, here.

September 22nd, 2013
thesmithian

uses the lives of…choreographer/dancer Pearl Primus, writer Ann Petry and composer/pianist Mary Lou Williams—as signposts through an era, in a work that paints the “greatest generation” in a much less flattering light than do the usual jingoistic accounts.

more.

August 5th, 2013
thesmithian

…sunset lit up the skies over the gutted Atomic Bomb Dome on Monday in Hiroshima on the eve of the 68th anniversary of the destruction of the Japanese city near the end of World War II. The Genbaku Dome has been preserved as a memorial to the first A-Bomb attack where as many as 140,000 people were killed.

more.

June 24th, 2013
thesmithian
…there’s no plausible meaning of “democracy” in which democracy gave us Jim Crow. Even if you take democracy to relatively narrowly mean majoritarian voting procedures this doesn’t work. In the periods between the Civil War and World War II, African-Americans were a majority in quite a few southern states and would have been a large—and potentially decisive—voting bloc in the others. If, that is, they were allowed to vote. But instead of voting, African-Americans were disenfranchised via a systematic campaign of terrorist violence. The same campaign that gave us the Jim Crow social system. The point of the Civil Rights Act, including its provisions regulating private businesses, was to smash that social system. And it succeeded. It succeeded enormously. The amazing thing about retrospective opposition to the Civil Rights Act is that we know that it worked. It didn’t lead to social and economic cataclism. In fact, the American south has done quite a bit better since the smashing of white supremacy than it was doing previously.
Matthew Yglesias, at Slate
June 6th, 2013
thesmithian

Samantha Power will come to the job [as US Ambassador to the United Nations] with a deep and nuanced understanding of how the UN works. Her latest book, Chasing the Flame, chronicled the life and death of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top UN official who was killed when terrorists struck the UN Compound in Iraq in 2003. Since the publication of the book…Power has been a vocal advocate for the safety and security of UN humanitarian workers around the world. This is a critically important issue [as] The UN has become a preferred target of Jihadi organizations in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel…The UN is now gearing up for a major mission in Mali where the UN will almost certainly come under direct assault from Jihadi groups in a way that…could be unprecedented…On Syria, her influence could be lasting. Power is best known for her…A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, which was hugely influential in liberal foreign policy circles. The book argues that the institutions of US foreign policy failed to respond adequately to the big mass atrocity events since World War II.

more.

Samantha Power will come to the job [as US Ambassador to the United Nations] with a deep and nuanced understanding of how the UN works. Her latest book, Chasing the Flame, chronicled the life and death of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top UN official who was killed when terrorists struck the UN Compound in Iraq in 2003. Since the publication of the book…Power has been a vocal advocate for the safety and security of UN humanitarian workers around the world. This is a critically important issue [as] The UN has become a preferred target of Jihadi organizations in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel…The UN is now gearing up for a major mission in Mali where the UN will almost certainly come under direct assault from Jihadi groups in a way that…could be unprecedented…On Syria, her influence could be lasting. Power is best known for her…A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, which was hugely influential in liberal foreign policy circles. The book argues that the institutions of US foreign policy failed to respond adequately to the big mass atrocity events since World War II.

more.

June 6th, 2013
thesmithian

There is not much literature that illuminates the story of Taiwan before 1949, the year Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist party were chased out of Mainland China by the Communists…Prior to ‘49, Taiwan was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese until the end of World War II. It is a land of divided loyalties, a people who struggle to define themselves in a colonized homeland…My mother tells…of running to hide from American planes that were bombing the country. My father tells…of how things got worse when Nationalists came to “liberate” Taiwan. People were shot. Families starved. Nobody could be trusted…This novel tells the story of…the bright but least favored son of a wealthy Taiwanese family, coming of age at the end of World War II…The history of Taiwan and the Taiwanese is…one that should not be forgotten. Wu’s writing is compelling as a witness to this story.

more.

March 1st, 2013
thesmithian
The Atlantic has a great photo retrospective on the end of World War 2. The story contains an image of Levittown, New York. Levittown was one of the country’s first planned suburban communities. It was also an ideal-typical example of how American Apartheid was created in suburbia. Non-whites, and other ethnic “undesirables” were explicitly prohibited from living in Levittown. These rules would be in place in similar communities all across America where they would be enforced by physical violence in the public sphere, and also by the law in the form of restrictive housing covenants. the Atlantic’s caption of the Levittown photo contains no such information. Images of the past when viewed in the present are a representation of reality. These realities tell us just as much about our present concerns as they do about the supposed “facts” of the past…
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culture is politics. politics is culture.
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