Ignorance of the Holocaust

A study of young Americans has shown some terrifying results about the Holocaust.

  • 23% says it’s a myth or exaggerated
  • 10% don’t think it happened
  • 12% had never heard of it
  • 11% think the Jews were responsible
  • 63% are unaware that 6 million Jews perished

Adults between 18 and 39 (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto in the second world war.

These facts are astonishing and very disturbing.

Arbeit macht frei – work makes you free – a big lie at Auschwitz
The train would bring those who were to be gassed through this gate at Birkenau
Memorial stone at Auschwitz
Zyklon B cannisters used at Auschwitz to gas people
The cattle cars that bought those be gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau

On the 16th October 2019, I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim near Krakow, Poland. It is a place that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

On the 12th October 2019 I was in Berlin and visited the part of Berlin called Wanssee and the house where the Final Solution was planned by a group of highly educated men

Wansseekonferenzhaus

The highly educated men were Reinhard Heydrich, Otto Hofmann, Heinrich Müller, Adolf Eichmann, Martin Luther, Erich Neumann, Wilhelm Kritzinger and Drs. Roland Freisler, Josf Bühler, Alfred Meyer, Wilhelm Stuckart, Rudolf Lange, Eberhard Schöngarth, Georg Leibbrandt, Gerhard Klopfer.

It is truly alarming this ignorance as the right wing in several countries are on the rise so could genocide once again be inflicted on the human race?

Changes

In February I moved to The Philippines to marry my sweetheart but it didn’t work out so I have returned to the U.K.

I have come back to a Government that is so totally incompetent and quite alarming. The U.K. has the worst Covid-19 infections in Europe due to this incompetence.

Even more alarming is that the Brexit Trade negotiations are going nowhere and the latest event is that the Government is introducing a piece of legislation that will break International Law and is quite open about this fact. The Prime Minister, a quack called Boris Johnson, led by an adviser Dominic Cummings who is intrinsically evil, is so disorganised in his thinking that he is way out of his depth. Johnson is a Trump clone with sociopathic tendencies who is out for just himself. He has surrounded himself with Cabinet members who are out of their depth as well.

The Conservative Party has brought this situation to the present mess. First David Cameron called a Referendum on our membership of the European Union and lost it. He called it to try and unite the factious party. Instead he has divided the nation into two camps. He resigned and was succeeded by Theresa May who was worse still. She would say memes like Brexit is Brexit which had no meaning at all. She was intransigent in her dealing with the E.U. and failed. She even called a General Election to attempt to get a bigger majority and only succeeded in reducing her majority to single digits.

So she resigned and the party chose Boris Johnson as its leader. He is a chancer, a father of many children whom I fully expect he cannot name and a man of no firm conviction. As a journalist for the Daily Telegraph he wrote two columns – one pro-EU (Remain) and one anti-EU (Leave). He decided that being a Leaver would get him the top job so that is the way he jumped. He called an election and won in a landslide due mainly to the fact that the Labour Party was led by a man (Jeremy Corbin) incapable of leading his party let alone the country. He was far left and seemed to be anti-semitic to boot as the party fell in the polls. He has now been replaced by Keir Starmer, a more centrist man.

So the situation in the United Kingdom is that it is far from United. Scotland is led by the Scottish Nationalist Party which wants to remain in the EU and leave the Union. Wales may go the same way. The biggest problem is Northern Ireland which shares the island it is on with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state. There is an unmanned border between the two as long as the UK is a member of the EU but once it is out trade becomes problematic. This is the major factor between the EU and the UK on trade. To complicate matters even further the new bill, mentioned above, could scupper the Good Friday Agreement, the Peace Treaty that united the Loyalists and the Republicans. The real issue is that the UK has no right to be on the island of Ireland and the sooner Northern Ireland becomes part of the Republic the better. That would leave England on its own.

The problem with Conservatives is that they live in the past admiring British history and are bad at dealing with the present. Who wants to return to the 1950s? It is a racist party preferring English speaking Australia and America to foreign speaking European countries that share our values.

Remember the UK chose to leave the EU and not the other way around and yet the UK expects the EU to give it the same terms it had as an EU member.

Editorial – The Guardian

The Guardian view on Facebook and democracy: real and present danger

Editorial

Political advertising is banned from being broadcast on television or radio. Unless Facebook changes, it may be time to extend this prohibition to social media

Mark Zuckerberg
 ‘In a speech last October, Mr Zuckerberg had controversially signalled that Facebook’s interests aligned with Donald Trump’s.’ Photograph: Erin Scott/Reuters

In every political debate since Facebook began to dominate democracy, the company has placed itself on the wrong side of history. The social media firm cannot be reformed from within because its business model profits from hosting bomb-throwing circuses of hate, humbug and hogwash. The platform harvests users’ personal data to algorithmically recommend content but can’t seem to help steering people towards vilifying one another while keeping their attention. It is not good for society, but it is good for Facebook.

That apparently is fine for the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth $85bn. Consider the latest ugly episode in the firm’s life. After some of the world’s biggest brands boycotted Facebook over its refusal to ban racist and violent content, the company reached for the usual bromide of reassurance that the matter was being taken seriously. Internally it was a very different story. The boycotters, Mr Zuckerberg said, would be back and his company was “not going to change our policies … because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue”.

In America there is a view that capitalism fixes things. In Britain, government usually acts. The Lords select committee on democracy and digital technologies last week was correct to say it was a mistake to allow social media firms to grow unimpeded by regulation. This, the peers said, had “become acutely obvious in the current Covid-19 pandemic where online misinformation poses not only a real and present danger to our democracy but also to our lives”. Facebook cannot be allowed to remain beyond the restraints applied to the rest of society. This message has been received by the UK’s competition authority, which has proposed forcing Facebook to give consumers a choice over whether to accept targeted advertising and even suggested breaking it up.

The Lords select committee was right to praise the UK government for putting forward an online harms framework, requiring social media platforms to protect users and sanctioning those that fail to do so by, for example, taking too long to remove offensive material. However, ministers have been tardy in bringing forward legislation and there’s no sign the platforms’ duty of care will shield voters from misinformation campaigns.

Such a move would be in necessary conflict with Facebook’s “neutrality”. The firm’s hands-off approach means it won’t drain its swamp of racism, misogyny and conspiracy. In a speech last October, Mr Zuckerberg had controversially signalled that Facebook’s interests aligned with Donald Trump’s. The Facebook founder said it’s not right to censor politicians. Mr Trump has been notably softer on Facebook than its rivals.

This bargain is unravelling. Faced with a growing backlash over Mr Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, the social network removed a Trump ad that used a Nazi-era symbol. Facebook will also start allowing US users to opt out of seeing political ads. Yet in Britain Facebook is used to spread false political advertising. It does so knowing that the network’s algorithms spit out, in the words of its own research, “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention and increase time on the platform”. There is an easy solution. The UK bans all political advertising from being broadcast on television or radio. Unless firms like Facebook change radically, it may be time to extend this prohibition to social media.

Facebook – from The Guardian

You can’t maintain a social network of 3 billion people without a few algorithms, and Facebook has them in spades. There are algorithms that calculate what ads you are most likely to click on, algorithms that calculate which groups you are most likely to join and algorithms that decide which of your friends’ births, marriages, divorces and deaths merit prime placement at the top of your newsfeed – and which you won’t mind missing.

On Wednesday, in response to the growing advertiser boycott over Facebook’s failure to address hate speech, the executive Nick Clegg described a new kind of Facebook algorithm – one that calculates the social network’s moral worth. Writing for the advertising industry trade publication Ad Age, Clegg attempted to argue that the good on Facebook outweighs the bad.

“Focusing on hate speech and other types of harmful content on social media is necessary and understandable, but it is worth remembering that the vast majority of those billions of conversations are positive,” the former UK deputy prime minister wrote. “Look at what happened when the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Billions of people used Facebook to stay connected when they were physically apart.”

This is not the first time that a Facebook executive has hinted at such attempts to calculate the incalculable. (One imagines Clegg totting up the balance sheet at the end of the quarter: “I see that in the red we have this murder of a security officer allegedly carried out by extremists who met and coordinated their attack on Facebook but here’s one for the black: an adorable grandmother just liked a photo posted by her grandson who lives 500 miles away.”)

On 2 June, facing an unprecedented public protest by Facebook employees, Mark Zuckerberg told his staff that even if they disagreed with some of his decisions he hoped they agreed that “the net impact of the different things that we’re doing in the world is positive”, according to a transcript published by Vox. “I really believe it is,” he added.

As with all of Facebook’s algorithms, there is no transparency on how Facebook arrived at this net positive impact. We can only look at the outcomes and attempt to reverse engineer the decisions that produced them.

Take, for example, the campaign of genocide against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. I don’t know exactly how Facebook accounts for its role in inciting the violence and ethnic cleansing that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee the country as refugees, but I do know that no one at Facebook was fired over its deadly failures. No one resigned. No one staged a “virtual walkout”. No one put together a hastily arranged press appearanceto quell outrage from advertisers.

It’s clear that according to Facebook’s moral calculus, the lives of people in the global south do not count for as much as the lives of people in its own country, but one need not struggle to find violence and harm from Facebook here, either. Let’s not forget that the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Heather Heyer was murdered, started as a Facebook event.

A demonstrator holds up a photo of Heather Heyer during a demonstration against racism in Los Angeles. The Unite the Right rally where Heyer was killed started as a Facebook event.
 A demonstrator holds up a photo of Heather Heyer during a demonstration against racism in Los Angeles. The Unite the Right rally where Heyer was killed started as a Facebook event. Photograph: Mike Nelson/EPA

Heyer’s killer has been convicted and sent to prison, but how does Facebook evaluate its role in the event? Does the calculation change at all when you consider that just a few weeks before Charlottesville, I sent Facebook a spreadsheet with links to 175 neo-Nazi, white nationalist and neo-Confederate hate groups that were using its platform to recruit and organize? And that Facebook had declined to take any action against the vast majority of them until after Heyer’s murder, when it belatedly cleaned house?

How many sewing circles or bird watching groups or kickball teams using Facebook tools does it take to make up for that?

When I read Clegg’s generic paean to the “grandparents and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors” who use Facebook’s tools to communicate this morning, I couldn’t help but think about my own grandmother.

My grandmother was 105 and slowly dying of kidney failure when I went home for Thanksgiving together last year. It was a joyful and dreadful holiday as we crammed as many special meals and celebrations into four days as we could. On Thanksgiving day, I vividly remember my grandmother declaring that those of us who chose not to eat the sausage in our traditional Chinese-American sticky rice stuffing “don’t know how to live” – and feeling happy that it could never be said of my grandmother that she didn’t know how to live.

I also remember, just as vividly, glancing at my phone in my parents’ kitchen, and seeing that I had just been emailed another violent and racist rape threat. I remember looking away as soon as I could, as if that would wipe what I’d just seen from my mind. I remember thinking that I had to pretend nothing had happened, that I shouldn’t ruin Thanksgiving.

In mid-November, I had reported on the continued presence of white nationalist organizations on Facebook. I had again provided Facebook with a list of groups that were using its platform despite its stated policies against white nationalist hate, and Facebook had again failed to take action against them. What ensued was a vicious, weeks-long campaign of racist and sexist harassment, coordinated by white nationalist organizations (and amplified by Breitbart News). 

The neo-Nazis and white nationalists I had written about published articles with my photograph that described me as a “racial molotov cocktail” with “the cunning of the Jew and the meticulous mathematical mind of a Chink”. They encouraged their followers to go after me too, and I received a steady stream of racist vitriol on Twitter, on Facebook and by email. I tried to ignore it as much as I could. I tried not to ruin Thanksgiving. The worst were the messages that referenced my family, or imagined my rape.

The only existential threat to a $650bn multinational corporation is a threat to its revenues

(I’ve struggled with whether I should admit to being affected by what happened – journalists aren’t supposed to show weakness after all. I’ve worked hard to feel “fine” about all of this, but I have yet to reach a point where I can remember what happened without feeling my heart rate raise, without feeling an unwanted surge of adrenaline start to course through my body.)

I’m not saying that Facebook is solely responsible for the actions of every hate-addled individual who harassed me, let alone for the decisions made by Heyer’s murderer or Myanmar’s military.

But I do think that Facebook played a role in creating the conditions necessary for those things to happen. I think that not because I am a bitter and cynical reporter who is chasing clicks with outrage, but because over and over and over again reporters, researchers and activists have documented the real and devastating costs of Facebook’s algorithmic negligence and record of accommodating hate.

So when I hear Facebook touting all the good it has supposedly done for the world, I want to know just how it’s making that accounting, because I’m not prepared to say that it’s enough.

Hate is an existential threat to the people it targets, but it’s no threat at all to Facebook. The only existential threat to a $650bn multinational corporation is a threat to its revenues. That’s where the real calculations are taking place right now at Facebook. When hate hurt people, Facebook did nothing. Now that it’s hurting Facebook, we’ll see what it really values.

Julia Carrie Wong

Jürgen Klopp…

…is one of the most personable football managers around who has had huge success. Unlike someone like Jose Mourinho who complains a great deal and gets angry at officials, Klopp is first and foremost a gentleman.

As a Liverpool fan, I send my thanks in bringing them the Premiership Title for 2019/20 – the first one for thirty years.

His managerial career has been wonderful:

Manager

As of match played 24 June 2020

TeamFromToRecordRef.
PWDLWin %
Mainz 0527 February 200130 June 2008270109788340.4[227]
Borussia Dortmund[a]1 July 200830 June 2015316177697056.0[228]
Liverpool8 October 2015Present258156594360.5[228]
Total84444220619652.4

Honours:

Honours

Mainz 05[229][7]

Borussia Dortmund[7][230]

Liverpool[231][230]

Individual

YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE.

Don’t ignore this Facebook legal fight from the N.Y. Times

Here is an essential truth about Facebook: Everything it does is intended to suck up as much information about you as possible, so it becomes more capable at selling ads.
Because Facebook tracks everything you say about yourself inside its digital walls, and tracks your activity online and in the real world, the company is armed with so much information that it can find Ford exactly the people who might buy a new pickup.
Facebook is an incredibly successful business in part because of this creepy data harvesting machine. (See also Google, but I’ll leave that for another day.)
That’s why I want you to pay attention to what a German antitrust watchdog is doing. It is saying that limiting Facebook’s data harvesting could address both the company’s data privacy problems and questions about whether the company competes fairly.
Facebook said Germany’s antimonopoly regulator is misapplying the law. The country’s top court sided with the regulator this week, but the case might continue to wind its way through the legal system. I’m certainly not an expert in German laws, and I won’t try to predict the outcome.
But the philosophical idea was a jolt to me. The regulator is treating two major concerns about Facebook — violations of people’s privacy and potential abuses of the company’s power — not as disparate issues but as two sides of the same coin.
Imagine if the Facebook data-sucking machine had more limits? Maybe its ads wouldn’t be as effective and politicians and ice cream companies would have to find other places to pitch what they do.
Facebook would be less creepy AND internet competitors might have a stronger hand.

From the BBC

Ben and Jerry’s has joined a growing list of firms pulling advertising from Facebook platforms throughout July.

It’s part of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, which calls on Facebook to have stricter measures against racist and hateful content.

Ben and Jerry’s Tweeted that it “will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US”.

Facebook has said it is committed to “advancing equity and racial justice”.

Earlier this week outdoor brands The North Face, Patagonia and REI joined the campaign.

Ben and Jerry’s said it is standing with the campaign and “all those calling for Facebook to take stronger action to stop its platforms from being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy.”Skip Twitter post by @benandjerrysBen & Jerry’s@benandjerrys

We will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Facebook, Inc. must take the clear and unequivocal actions to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate. >>>https://benjerrys.co/2CtB2WE 

View image on Twitter

12KTwitter Ads info and privacy3,667 people are talking about thisReport

End of Twitter post by @benandjerrys

After George Floyd’s death in police custody, Ben and Jerry’s chief executive Matthew McCarthy said “business should be held accountable” as he set out plans to increase diversity.

George Floyd died in Minneapolis in May as a white police officer held a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The final moments were filmed on phones. Four police officers involved have been sacked and charged over his death.

Earlier this week the freelance job listing platform Upwork and the open-source software developer Mozilla also joined the campaign.

“We’re taking steps to review our policies, ensure diversity and transparency when making decisions on how we apply our policies, and advance racial justice and voter engagement on our platform,” Facebook said on Sunday.

The statement also pointed to the company’s Community Standards, which include the recognition of the platform’s importance as a “place where people feel empowered to communicate, and we take seriously our role in keeping abuse off our service”.

A European Commission report this month found Facebook removed 86% of hate speech last year, up from 82.6%.

The social network, says almost all of the content which violates its policies is automatically detected by its systems and removed before it is reported. 

Stop Hate for Profit

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was launched last week by advocacy groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Color Of Change.

The movement has said it is a “response to Facebook’s long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform”.

Stop Hate for Profit has called on advertisers to pressure the company to adopt stricter measures against racist and hateful content on its platforms by stopping all spending on advertising with it throughout July.

Last year the social network attracted advertising revenue of almost $70bn (£56bn).

Facebook, and its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, have often been criticised for the handling of controversial subjects.

This month the company’s staff spoke out against the tech giant’s decision not to remove or flag a post by US President Donald Trump.

The same message was shared on Twitter, where it was hidden behind a warning label on the grounds that it “glorified violence”.

Unilever, the parent company of Ben and Jerry’s, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

From Bloomberg Technology

Hi all, it’s Eric. On Friday, clothing brand North Face signed onto an advertiser boycott of Facebook Inc., joining civil rights groups’ calls for the company to crack down on hate speech. The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and other groups charged that the social media company’s permissive stance fueled racism that endangered Black people, and demanded more intervention. So far, much of that work has fallen to a small army of content moderators, several of whom say they have contracted post-traumatic stress disorder on the job.

There’s been great reporting on the poor conditions endured by these workers, who are often employed by contract firms, and receive low wages and few benefits. Facebook in particular has taken a reputational hit for the way its moderators are treated. Then again, tech companies like Reddit Inc. and Nextdoor.com Inc. don’t pay their moderators anything at all. Instead, they rely on thousands of volunteers, who subject themselves to similar stresses, apparently due to their own sense of communitarianism.

I recently wrote a story about Reddit in particular, where moderators are now pushing back against violent imagery, endemic racism and misogyny on the platform. One Reddit moderator coded a computer program to help protect users from harassment. Another, a retired schoolteacher in her late 60s whose son initially turned her onto the site, now fills her day moderating dozens of subreddits—the company’s term for individual message boards—with tens of millions of total members. “I still don’t know why I do this at the end of the day. I never have been able to tell myself the exact reason,” said Therese Singer, the former English teacher. She asked to be identified by her maiden name because she feared retaliation online.

There’s certainly more satisfaction to be had shaping a Reddit community or your neighborhood Nextdoor page than applying Facebook’s content policies to the disconnected posts of strangers. But it has always been common for Reddit moderators to get exhausted and quit. Now, many of them are demanding the company better protect them and other users by implementing a policy banning hate speech and cracking down on corners of the site dedicated to prejudice or abuse. Absent from the list of demands of the group, which calls itself r/AgainstHateSubreddits, is to be paid for their labor.

Singer said she’d like to be paid but just doesn’t think it’d ever happen. Another moderator involved in the protest, TheYellowRose, saw good reason not to turn the activity into a job. “I don’t want to be a Reddit employee because that then means I have to follow their rules,” said TheYellowRose, who asked to be identified by her screen name because she is already the target of regular online abuse. “I reserve the right to cuss out any racist that comes in my inbox.”

Unlike Facebook moderators, both Reddit and Nextdoor volunteers feel a sense of ownership over their communities, which can aggravate tensions. At Nextdoor, some of the site’s moderators filtered out Black Lives Matter posts over the last month, citing restrictions on posts that solicit donations or violate other guidelines. This led to criticism about the censorious nature of Nextdoor’s restrictive content guidelines. Then, when Nextdoor endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement, some of its volunteer moderators were upset that they had been essentially swept up into a cause they didn’t support.  

There is a middle ground between paid and volunteer approaches: Site administrators and community managers can help make moderators’ tasks more manageable and make sure their feedback is getting implemented. In their call to action, Reddit’s r/AgainstHateSubreddit (co-signed by moderators in more than 800 communities) asks the company to hire more community managers. Reddit gets the benefit of free labor. The company should be able to hire enough employees so that moderators don’t feel the need to mount another rebellion. —Eric Newcomer