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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. continued to tarnish his family’s name with a speech at the anti-vaccine rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. Kennedy, who is suing Daily Kos over a user post reporting on his participation in an anti-mask rally in Germany that was organized and attended by Nazis, used Sunday’s high-profile (if not especially well-attended) event to … compare vaccination mandates to the Holocaust while spewing out a word salad of conspiracy theories.
“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did. I visited in 1962 East Germany with my father, and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped. So it was possible. Many died [inaudible], but it was possible,” Kennedy said to what The Washington Post described as a crowd that had begun drifting away. “Today, the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run and none of us can hide. Within five years, we’re going to see 415,000 low-orbit satellites. Bill Gates said his 65,000 satellites alone will be able to look at every square-inch of the planet 24 hours a day. They’re putting in 5G to harvest our data and control our behavior. Digital currency that will allow them to punish us from a distance and cut off our food supply.”
Lucky, lucky Anne Frank. Did Kennedy forget how her story ended? After two years of fear and deprivation in hiding, she was arrested with her family and the other people hiding with them. She was taken to Auschwitz, stripped naked, had her head shaved, was forced to labor. After a time at Auschwitz, she was moved to Bergen-Belsen, where she died within months, probably of typhus, emaciated and brutalized.
By contrast, Kennedy and his fellow anti-vaxxers are free to rally in the nation’s capital—at one of its most hallowed monuments and just miles from where an ideologically related mob attacked the seat of government just over a year ago. During their event, “Law enforcement had a visible but not overwhelming presence on the Mall,” the Post reports. Does this sound like these people would be better off hiding in an attic, at risk of transportation to a concentration camp?
But Kennedy’s downplaying of the horrors of the Holocaust is of a piece with his decision to appear at a German rally with Nazi sympathizers. He’s firmly picked a side here, where his life as a wealthy, famous white guy who rose to be one of the top spreaders of anti-vaccination disinformation before being banned by Instagram and YouTube is worse than the life of people targeted for genocide—and as such, the ideological heirs of the Nazis who committed that genocide are his allies.
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 people a day are dying of COVID-19 in the United States, the vast majority of them unvaccinated—as people like Kennedy encourage, whether through disinformation or Holocaust comparisons.
The Auschwitz Memorial responded to Kennedy’s remarks: “Exploiting of the tragedy of people who suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany—including children like Anne Frank—in a debate about vaccines & limitations during global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay.” But who knows? When you are that morally and intellectually decayed, being condemned by the Auschwitz Memorial may feel like a badge of honor.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
The fact that not everyone in Texas is a far-right Republican was evident on Sunday, January 23, when San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was interviewed by reporters and spoke his mind about voting rights — slamming not only Republicans, but also, two centrist Democrats: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Before the Spurs’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers — the basketball team known for everyone from Julius Erving, a.k.a. Dr. J., to Allen Iverson — the 72-year-old Popovich told reporters:
“As many have said, it’s been time, it’s past time for hardball. The Republican Senate will just not participate, they just will not. So, whatever can be done needs to be done. And Sinema and Manchin, they get it, but they don’t get it. They know what’s going on. They understand. But there are more important things to them, and it’s damn selfish and dangerous to our country," said Popvich.
Although Manchin and Sinema have voiced their support for voting rights — Manchin has pushed the Freedom to Vote Act as an alternative to the more comprehensive For the People Act — they are adamantly opposed to altering the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass. And Democrats, with their narrow Senate majority, don’t have 60 votes.
Some voting rights activists have proposed a compromise to Manchin and Sinema: keep the filibuster on the whole, but create an exception for voting rights. Manchin and Sinema, however, are even opposed to that.
Popovich, who is vehemently opposed to the voter suppression bills being proposed by Republicans in state legislators, told reporters, “It’s ironic, but as much as the community of color has been oppressed and denigrated, those are the people who try to save this damn country from itself. It’s just ironic to me.”
Popovich continued, “Every time we take steps forward, you get the backlash. The fact that the voting rights issue is in the situation it’s in is just mind-boggling to me in one sense, because we’ve already gone through this back in the ‘60s — and we know what the Supreme Court did earlier in gutting it. But it's like, we don’t get it. It’s like, maybe there wouldn’t be a democracy if it wasn’t for Black people.”
Popovich, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has been the Spurs’ coach since 1996.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet