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Remembering Pearl Harbor

It’s hard to believe that it’s December 7 here in Central America where I’m sitting in front of a big fan trying to stay cool. The only clock around here only gives the day of the week. There are no US flags flying at half mast to jog the memory.

It is instructive to recall that just as with the attacks of 9/11, there were conspiracy theories about Pearl Harbor, including the one that the US government “let it happen.” So we pause to remember those who died in that attack, and the heroism displayed during that tragedy by people like Dr. Rodney T. West who treated the wounded amid the wreckage. (Dr. West also is one who remembered the birth of an unusual child named Barack Obama.)

29 Responses to Remembering Pearl Harbor

  1. avatar
    misha December 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    “It’s hard to believe that it’s December 7 here in Central America where I’m sitting in front of a big fan trying to stay cool.”

    You are in Costa Rica, right?

  2. avatar
    Majority Will December 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    misha:
    “It’s hard to believe that it’s December 7 here in Central America where I’m sitting in front of a big fan trying to stay cool.”

    You are in Costa Rica, right?

    Well, it’s not Sri Lanka.

  3. avatar
    Keith December 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Majority Will: Well, it’s not Sri Lanka.

    He’s been talking about Belize lately.

  4. avatar
    Majority Will December 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Keith: He’s been talking about Belize lately.

    Yeah. I got that. Google Images guessed Sri Lanka.

  5. avatar
    Sean December 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Here’s video of a guy who felt it necessary to vandalize an Asian man’s car to commemorate Pearl Harbor.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=961_1323305158

    Strange. Neither the racist man, nor the Asian man look/sound old enough to serve in WWII.

  6. avatar
    misha December 7, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Sean: Here’s video of a guy who felt it necessary to vandalize an Asian man’s car to commemorate Pearl Harbor.

    It’s quite popular in the States:

    “Vincent Jen Chin (May 18, 1955 – June 23, 1982) was a Chinese American beaten to death in June 1982 in the United States, in the Detroit, Michigan enclave of Highland Park by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens, with the help of his stepson, Michael Nitz. The murder generated public outrage over the lenient sentencing the two men originally received in a plea bargain, as the attack, which included blows to the head from a baseball bat, possessed many attributes consistent with hate crimes. Many of the layoffs in Detroit’s auto industry, including Nitz’s in 1979, had been due to the increasing market share of Japanese automakers, leading to allegations that Chinese American Vincent Chin received racially charged comments before his death.

    Ebens instigated the incident by declaring, “It’s because of you little motherf——- that we’re out of work!” referring to U.S. auto manufacturing jobs being lost to Japan, despite the fact that Chin was not Japanese. Ebens and Nitz searched the neighborhood for 20 to 30 minutes and even paid another man 20 dollars to help look for Chin, before finding him at a McDonald’s restaurant. Chin tried to escape, but was held by Nitz while Ebens repeatedly bludgeoned Chin with a baseball bat. Chin was struck at least four times with the bat, including blows to the head. As Chin slipped into a coma, he whispered to his friend, “It’s not fair.” When rushed to Henry Ford Hospital, he was unconscious and died after four days in a coma, on June 23, 1982.

    Ronald Ebens was arrested and taken into custody at the scene of the murder by two off-duty police officers who had witnessed the beating. Ebens and Nitz were convicted in a county court for manslaughter by Wayne County Circuit Judge Charles Kaufman, after a plea bargain brought the charges down from second-degree murder. They served no jail time, were given three years probation, fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $780 in court costs. In a response letter to protests from American Citizens for Justice, Kaufman said, “These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail… You don’t make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal.”

    A civil suit for the unlawful death of Vincent Chin was settled out of court on March 23, 1987. Michael Nitz was ordered to pay $50,000 in $30 weekly installments over the following 10 years. Ronald Ebens was ordered to pay $1.5 million, at $200/month for the first two years and 25% of his income or $200/month thereafter, whichever was greater. This represented the projected loss of income from Vincent Chin’s engineering position, as well as Lily Chin’s loss of Vincent’s services as laborer and driver. However, the estate of Vincent Chin would not be allowed to garnish social security, disability, or Ebens’ pension from Chrysler, nor could the estate place a lien on Ebens’ house.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Chin
    and the video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_rwnyM1vtE

  7. avatar
    Sean December 8, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    misha: It’s quite popular in the States:

    All because Chin walked around with the wrong facial features. Great logic.

  8. avatar
    G December 8, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    What a horrible hate crime!

    misha: It’s quite popular in the States:
    “Vincent Jen Chin (May 18, 1955 – June 23, 1982) was a Chinese American beaten to death in June 1982 in the United States, in the Detroit, Michigan enclave of Highland Park by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens, with the help of his stepson, Michael Nitz. The murder generated public outrage over the lenient sentencing the two men originally received in a plea bargain, as the attack, which included blows to the head from a baseball bat, possessed many attributes consistent with hate crimes. Many of the layoffs in Detroit’s auto industry, including Nitz’s in 1979, had been due to the increasing market share of Japanese automakers, leading to allegations that Chinese American Vincent Chin received racially charged comments before his death.

    Wow. From the report, the guy had tagged 6 other cars before getting caught and given a proper licking. I don’t care if he was drunk and had been layed off from work. One has to be responsible for their actions and he brought on the consequences he received…

    So sad that humankind is afflicted with such a base mindset of when life gets rough and people get angry that they need to create some sort of bogeyman to hate, blame and take their anger out on…

    I understand the motivation, but I don’t have much sympathy for it at all. The only way to improve society is to not tolerate when peole give in to such primitive impulses.

    If you want people to learn how to control their baser emotions and start using their brains… then our society needs to bring back both a sense of honor and shame and respect for the discipline of using reason over emotional reactions.

    The consequences for those that can’t control their impulses deserve to be fairly harsh…or at least in some form that can lead to learning their lesson and building better habits through rehabilitation. But tolerating these types of behaviors is not helpful; it only enables it and the lazy mentality that goes with it.

    Sean: Here’s video of a guy who felt it necessary to vandalize an Asian man’s car to commemorate Pearl Harbor.http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=961_1323305158Strange. Neither the racist man, nor the Asian man look/sound old enough to serve in WWII.

  9. avatar
    Lupin December 8, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    Sean: Strange. Neither the racist man, nor the Asian man look/sound old enough to serve in WWII.

    This is the part that puzzles me about this. When reading articles about the OCCUPY movement, I have seen comments overflowing with hatred towards “hippies” by people who are obviously too young to have lived through the 60s, even the 70s.

    Here in France, my parents never forgave the Germans, because they lived under the Occupation, and their traumas were very real and unforgettable.

    My own generation (born 1954) had no problems making friends with Germans and I can’t think of any anti-German xenophobic attack by someone of my generation or younger.

    We’ve had xenophobic incidents against Algerians (later, “Muslims”, an imperfect, more generic term, but that’s another discussion) and in a lesser ratio, Roms and Jews (the latter because the Jews remain a well-identified enemy in the right-wing propaganda, which is illegal in France). In all instances, you can usually link the attacker to some factors he has experienced in his lifetime.

    I understand a US autoworker could similarly strike back at an Asian because of blaming the state of the US auto industry on the Japanese, for example.

    But I confess I found the hatred of “dirty hippies” in some quarters of the US rather puzzling. Maybe you can enlighten me?

  10. avatar
    The Magic M December 8, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Lupin: But I confess I found the hatred of “dirty hippies” in some quarters of the US rather puzzling. Maybe you can enlighten me?

    I suppose this kind of hatred is infused by parental education.
    As a minor, I used to be right-wing (and borderline racist and anti-Semite) simply because I had been exposed to a decade of “anti-foreigners” and “anti-Jews” rants by my father.
    And he had this attitude because he grew up during the Nazi regime and had this hatred instilled by the system and possibly his parents.
    Until this day we have conversations where he goes “But the British had concentration camps, too” and I go “yeah, but they didn’t kill any Jews there” and he mumbles something and changes the subject.

    It takes intelligence/education and mental strength to free oneself from such childhood imprints – just like it took me a long time to shake off the payload of Christian faith dumped onto me, something I never reflected upon when I was 12 or 15.

    Thus, if your parents raise you with the “darn hippies” attitude, it may be hard to shake off, though you never experienced the ’60s yourself.

    In a similar vein, this is why you still find people in Germany whose grandparents were pushed out of their East-European homes, who themselves have never lived anywhere but Germany, yet still call Silesia their “home” and demand it be reunited with Germany and bear a hatred towards East-Europe. Never understood that, either, but I suppose that also comes with what their parents taught them.

    In the end, it’s all indoctrination.

    Lupin: I can’t think of any anti-German xenophobic attack by someone of my generation or younger

    The Netherlands are a country where a minority of the youth still feels a certain degree of animosity towards Germany, but that may also be due to Holland being a small country and some of the Dutch having a perception of Germany as the “big arrogant neighbour” (which may be true in part).
    In general, though, it’s more some kind of playful version of animosity, mostly centered around each other’s football performance (and Orange, the Dutch national colour, happening to be the colour of the working clothes of German street sweepers ;-)).

  11. avatar
    Lupin December 8, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    The Magic M: n general, though, it’s more some kind of playful version of animosity, mostly centered around each other’s football performance

    Very true! We have football [soccer] to stoke the fires of blind, stupid xenophobia, and at the same times contain them in a hopefully harmless framework.

    In France, despite it all, the ancestral enemy is still England anyway, not Germany. πŸ™‚

  12. avatar
    Lupin December 8, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    More Obama Derangement Syndrome, Pearl Harbor-related:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/insanepeople.jpg

    To quote John Cole:

    “There are so many things to love about this, starting with the fact that someone is actually spending their time rummaging through school website to find out what Obama’s kids are having for lunch, the conflation of Asia with Japan, the notion that what a school serves is somehow a reflection on Obama, and so on.”

    Poor kids.

    Should I apologize to thrifty to point out that this is really crazy sh*t?

  13. avatar
    Arthur December 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Lupin,

    The link didn’t seem to work for me; if others have trouble getting to the story, try this:

    http://capitolhill.wusa9.com/news/news/83976-presidents-kids-school-serves-japanese-food-pearl-harbor-day

    What utter foolishness . . . but apparently some people were outraged that the President’s children, of all people!!, should be feted with Japanese food on PEARL HARBOR DAY!!! Why that would be like eating sauerkraut on May 7 (the day the Lusitania was sunk) or drinking tea on August 24, (the day the British burned down the White House during the War of 1812)!!! Do we need anymore evidence that the Obama is a traitor???!!!!

  14. avatar
    sfjeff December 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Lupin: Very true! We have football [soccer] to stoke the fires of blind, stupid xenophobia, and at the same times contain them in a hopefully harmless framework.In France, despite it all, the ancestral enemy is still England anyway, not Germany.

    You sure that applies to Parisians?

    I still remember checking into a Parisian Hotel and the hotel clerk glancing at me with a sneer, and asking my friend if I was German. Mind you this was 20 years ago or so, but then I found Parisians in particular to heap tons of abuse on Germans in general- more so than the English, maybe less than the Belgians.

    Never quite understood why they disliked the Belgians so much.

  15. avatar
    G December 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Absolutely. Indoctrination *is* brainwashing. Especially on young and developing children’s impressionable brains. It can be very hard to overcome when set in and reinforced over someone’s formative years.

    The Magic M: In the end, it’s all indoctrination.

  16. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    The Magic M: The Netherlands are a country where a minority of the youth still feels a certain degree of animosity towards Germany, but that may also be due to Holland being a small country and some of the Dutch having a perception of Germany as the “big arrogant neighbour” (which may be true in part).

    No, anti-German feeling in the Netherlands, which did not exist before World War II, is due to the Hunger Winter of 1944-45. Children scavenging for food in garbage cans, dying because they ate inedibles (rhubarb leaves for instance), cannibalism, Germans executing children for stealing food. You may have seen it in the film Black Book and disbelieved it, but it happened and was actually worse than shown in the film. (And German officers arresting each other and executing each other while Canadian officers watched, even after Germany itself had capitulated, all that happened too.)

    When in the late summer of 1944, Allied tanks rolled through the North of France and through Belgium on their way to the Rhine, the Germans in Fortress Holland flooded the countryside (a tactic the Dutch had successfully used often before, against the Spaniards but also against Loouis XIV). After Arnhem, the Northern Netherlands were totally isolated and a large part of the harvest had not been collected. The results were predictable. When the Allies offered food droppings for the civilian population, the Germans refused, until it was agreed German troops could take part of it.

    During the last weeks of the war, many of the non-Germans (Georgians and Russians) in the German army revolted, adding to the confusion.

    The “legend” describing the Germans fleeing from Holland on stolen bikes has some truth in it as well: during the Arnhem campaign, many German soldiers had to flee the South East of the Netherlands on stolen bikes. But that was in 1944.

    Now you know why Dutch soccer fans visiting Germany will hold up placards saying “Granny, I have found your bike!”

  17. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    sfjeff: Never quite understood why they disliked the Belgians so much.

    Er, they don’t dislike Belgians, they just think they are stupid. Oh, and never tell a Frenchman the French invented French fries. La Belgique s’effrite.

    We have no problem with the French for calling us stupid since we get the fries in return. But we absolutely cannot stand the Dutch for calling us stupid so in return we call them misers with a fear of dirt (which accidentally but appropriately is called MYSOphobia in Latin).

    Now you should understand this joke. A Belgian plane (Sabena in the old days, now Brussels Airlines) has to make a crash landing in Holland. The pilot just manages to halt the plane one meter from the control tower. He tells the co-pilot: “We must be in Holland, this is obviously the stortest runway in the world.” The co-pilot, after looking out of the cockpit left and right: Γ„nd the widest.”

  18. avatar
    Daniel December 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    G:
    Absolutely.Indoctrination *is* brainwashing.Especially on young and developing children’s impressionable brains.It can be very hard to overcome when set in and reinforced over someone’s formative years.

    Which explains why, despite the religious right’s protestations to the contrary, the reason this is a “Christian” country is not because that is the right and proper thing to be, but rather because if your parents were Christian, you are likely to be Christian.

  19. avatar
    G December 8, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Oh, definitely. Same reason that if you are born in most areas of the Middle East, you are likely to be Muslim or Hindus in India, etc.

    There seems to be a fairly strong link here between political affiliation/views and parentage and where you are born as well.

    Daniel: Which explains why, despite the religious right’s protestations to the contrary, the reason this is a “Christian” country is not because that is the right and proper thing to be, but rather because if your parents were Christian, you are likely to be Christian.

  20. avatar
    Kupuna December 9, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Mahalo Doc, for your thoughts on “The Day that will Live in Infamy”. December 7 is always an important date to us in Hawaii, as I’m sure it was to the Dunham-Obama-Soetoro family. Some of us Locals here became interested in Birthers because we’re proud that President Obama grew up in Hawaii, & we just got irritated at all of the BS we read about Hawaii on Birther blogs. I have Republican in-laws on the Mainland who don’t like Obama & ask why I support him. The “melting pot” analogy about race relations here isn’t always a rosy story but its still true that we get along with & enjoy each others cultures in a unique way. I still maintain that the President’s childhood experiences here made him uniquely suited to govern our country in the 21st century. The Birthers hate & fear the idea of Globalism but, like it or not, in today’s Facebook world,that’s how it is today

  21. avatar
    Lupin December 9, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    sfjeff: I still remember checking into a Parisian Hotel and the hotel clerk glancing at me with a sneer, and asking my friend if I was German. Mind you this was 20 years ago or so, but then I found Parisians in particular to heap tons of abuse on Germans in general- more so than the English, maybe less than the Belgians.

    The Parisians are rude to everyone, especially in the service industry. πŸ™‚

    It’s like a tradition that began in the Middle Ages. πŸ™‚

  22. avatar
    The Magic M December 9, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    Paul Pieniezny: No, anti-German feeling in the Netherlands, which did not exist before World War II, is due to the Hunger Winter of 1944-45.

    I was mostly referring to young Dutch people who didn’t experience the War and also weren’t spoon-fed anti-German stories by their parents who suffered under German occupation.
    In fact, their typical reproach isn’t “you used to be evil Nazis” but simply “you’re such arrogant people”.
    (To be fair, I have rarely met a Dutchman who wasn’t friendly towards me. Then again, I’m probably not a typical German, either. And I speak enough Dutch to get along. :))

  23. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 9, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    The Magic M: I was mostly referring to young Dutch people who didn’t experience the War and also weren’t spoon-fed anti-German stories by their parents who suffered under German occupation.
    In fact, their typical reproach isn’t “you used to be evil Nazis” but simply “you’re such arrogant people”.
    (To be fair, I have rarely met a Dutchman who wasn’t friendly towards me. Then again, I’m probably not a typical German, either. And I speak enough Dutch to get along. )

    How do you know these young people are not influenced by what happened in 1944-45? Studies have proven that:

    1) children who had to fight over the contents of garbage cans developed a syndrome very close to that of people who survived concentration camps. There may have been non-mental factors at work, since studies also proved that children from the areas liberated in 1944 performed much better at school and sport than children who went through the Hunger Winter.

    2) these people very often passed on the KZ syndrome on to their children and grandchildren.

    I am glad you are not treated like a nazi when in the Netherlands. Let’s face it, most people prefer to be welcoming to strangers and can make a distinction between “the Germans”as a people and the individual guy sitting in front of them.

    Talking about arrogance, the funny thing is that, notwithstanding the usual stereotypes about misers, stupid people and an unhealthy fright of dirt, if you should ask a representative sample of Belgians what they consider the most characteristic negative property of Dutch people, I am quite sure the dominating answer would be arrogance. For Germans it would rather be Ordnung (we would say it in german, yes) and cadaver discipline.

  24. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 9, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Oops, that last one got mangled. Read: “For Germans it would rather be Ordnung …

  25. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 9, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Lupin: The Parisians are rude to everyone, especially in the service industry. πŸ™‚

    It’s like a tradition that began in the Middle Ages. πŸ™‚

    Except when they get invaded by Russians and have to work fast. That is why they invented the bistrot. Consider yourself lucky, if it had been Poles, the bistrot would now be called a chypchet.

    The Dutch word “pierewaaien” (play truant, get drunk during the night, start a fight, …) is derived from Russian “pirovat’ ” which smply means to have a party. Peter the Great and Russian sea men in general knew how to put up a party.

    Interestingly, the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor made the linguistic verb “to Copenhagen (a fleet)” obsolete. Of course, it had been used without any problem by the British press when the Japanese attacked Port Arthur in 1905.

  26. avatar
    The Magic M December 9, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Paul Pieniezny: How do you know these young people are not influenced by what happened in 1944-45?

    Well, those who admitted they didn’t like Germans in general all more or less said “you people are so arrogant” and not “you people did evil things (to my people) in WW2”.
    That attitude is a lighter type of hostility, pretty much like the prejudices that exist within countries as well (e.g. people from Bavaria are considered rude, people from Hamburg haughty and arrogant etc.).
    Among the older Dutch people, latent hostility was darker, as in “I can’t forget what your people did to my father/sister” – they are usually polite, but very reserved. Not all of them, but I met quite a few.
    The young tend to open up once they realize I’m not the typical German tourist (who expects everyone to talk to him in German), the older sometimes keep a distance.

    Then again, I find the Dutch in general one of the most amiable and hospitable people (at least in Europe). I get much more negative feedback or stereotypes for being German in Austria – but that is more due to rivalry and not history.

  27. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    The Dutch used to be the most tolerant people in Europe. Thanks to both radical Islam and Lieberman lover Geert Wilders they are no longer.

  28. avatar
    misha December 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Paul Pieniezny: Thanks to both radical Islam and Lieberman lover Geert Wilders they are no longer.

    True story: Before Lieberman was elected to the Knesset (Parliament in Hebrew), he was a bouncer. That’s right: Israel’s Foreign Minister has the intellect of a street thug. He’s also a Settler.

    Way to go guys.

  29. avatar
    The Magic M December 10, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    misha: he was a bouncer. That’s right: Israel’s Foreign Minister has the intellect of a street thug

    Hey, don’t disrespect bouncers. Some of them have more brains and common sense than most politicians I know.