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Friday
Dec082017

REDEYE 12/20/17

75 years ago, Battle of Stalingrad was turning point of WW II
NYT, 11/16 — Hitler’s murderous advance into Russia during World War II…was halted at the Battle of Stalingrad — a critical turning point in the war.The fight raged for 200 days….Resistance to the German onslaught was fierce…following Stalin’s order: “Not one step back.”
….The city has been renamed Volgograd, an effort to erase Stalin’s legacy. But memories of the fighting, 75 years ago this year, are strong….The main memorial…a statue....visible from almost every vantage point in the city…is a powerful reminder of the price that Soviet people paid to defeat Nazism….
When the Germans sent in tanks, Mikhail Panikakha was fighting in a trench. He had just two Molotov cocktails left. He was raising one bottle to throw when a bullet smashed it, setting him on fire. He took the remaining bottle, jumped out of the trench and hit the nearest German tank, setting it on fire. The other tanks withdrew….
Vladimir Turov, 97, is a war veteran….On Sept. 12, 1942, his battalion was almost completely surrounded by Germans. But he refused to leave his wounded friend, fighting off the advancing forces with his machine gun….These days Stalin’s portraits are seen more frequently…and there is a museum dedicated to him as well….The Square of Heroes…contains a monument to a nurse carrying a wounded soldier from the battlefield. The Volga River was Hitler’s main target. Soviet soldiers fought to the death to keep possession of this strategic artery and important symbol.
U.S. probation system entraps thousands of Black people daily
NYT, 11/18 — Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating his probation….Meek was around 19…when he was convicted…and he served an eight-month sentence. Now he’s 30, so he has been on probation for basically his entire adult life….He’s been stalked by a system that considers his slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside….
[This] criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day….Probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew….He was arrested…in a St. Louis airport, but all charges were eventually dropped….but the judge sent him to prison anyway….
As of 2015, one-third of the 4.65 million Americans…on…probation were black. Black people are sent to prison for probation and parole violations at much higher rates than white people.
Fascists in Poland and racist Trump join forces
NYT, 11/5 — …When 60,000 far-right nationalists from Poland and all over Europe marched through Warsaw with red flares and racist signs like “White Europe of brotherly nations” and “Clean Blood.”
Poland’s Foreign Ministry…defen[ded]…the demonstration as an outpouring of patriotism….
…Words from an old Polish nationalist song that were the march’s slogan — “We want God” — were cited by President Trump to huge applause on his visit to Warsaw in July. Neo-fascist and white-supremacist groups have become more visible in Europe and the United States….Trump…[on] the white-supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Va…said their ranks included some “very fine people” — could have only heartened the racists.
Slave owner Madison helped U.S. Constitution guarantee slavery and the slave trade
NYT, 10/29 — James Madison….is the founding father who…[held] slaves on his plantation in Virginia and failed to free them upon his death., but he also originated the notorious three-fifths compromise in the Constitution which counted a slave as three-fifths of a person for purposes of legislative representation….
Madison understood…the economic reality on which his entire livelihood and that of the family plantation was based….At the Constitutional Convention in 1787….South Carolina and Georgia, backed by Connecticut, insisted on protecting the slave trade as a condition for agreeing to the Constitution. Madison went alone….Without the guarantee of slavery and the slave trade, there would have been no Constitution….The need to accommodate the realities of economics [and] politics…has continued to hold back equality in practice.
U.S. colonial racist devastate Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery
NYT, 10/10 — Of all Puerto Rico’s continuing miseries seven weeks after Hurricane Maria’s devastation, the most blatantly unjust is that islanders have been denied the…food relief distributed to storm victims…in Texas and Florida….
Both the island and mainland victims are United States citizens. But not all citizens are created equal: A 35-year-old congressional budget cap on Puerto Rico’s food stamp program has limited the amount of disaster immediately available. Texas and Florida have no such restraints….The disparity [is] painfully evidence of a colonial second-class status suffered by citizens of this American territory….
…Nearly 60 percent of the island’s power generation remains offline, its tourist and farming economies have been crippled….The lack of power may be killing the very sick and the very old in overheated hospitals and nursing homes….
…Recovery will fail without…tens of billions of dollars to restore housing, water and electric power, and to repair infrastructure….Trump is probably no more interested in this than he’s been in any of the island’s problems.

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