Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Class A straight to the major leagues

Today a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner on July 17 2014.

Eric Garner was allegedly selling loose cigarettes, the ostensible reason for the NYPD response.

NYC Mayor de Blasio has spoken to US Attorney General Eric Holder and his heir presumptive, Loretto Lynch about a federal investigation.

REUTERS:  The district attorney for Staten Island, Daniel Donovan, announced the grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in a chokehold.
"It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner," Pantaleo said in a statement released by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Associatyion

There's a rumor that a grand jury did manage to indict the dude who videotaped the police killing Eric Garner.

And... it's true.  A month after Eric Garner's death, a different Staten Island grand jury indicted Ramsey Orta, the guy who filmed the homicide, on weapons charges.  Mr. Orta claims he was targeted and framed by NYPD because he caught them killing a man on video.

Makes you wonder what city is next in line?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ferguson MO Grand Jury Watch, Day 7? 8? Nth?

The interminable wait on the Ferguson MO Grand Jury continues.

Specifically, will Ferguson MO officer Darren Wilson will be charged in the death of Michael Brown on 9 August 2014.  That shooting kicked off the proverbial 100 days of rage, with most of the rage being supplied by bused-in agents provocateurs.

Reuters reports that hundreds of civil rights attorneys are descending upon Ferguson MO as talks struggle to advance between protest groups and the police.  They're responding to requests from ACLU and the protest groups to monitor the situation.

It seems to be a given that Darren Wilson will not be charged, and once the announcement is made Ferguson and St. Louis will go up in flames.  In spite of my best efforts, I will be kept abreast of developments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On hold, waiting to upgrade my Java version

Some statements made this week that I found funny, or insightful, or just worthy to make a note of.
(Love ending sentences with prepositions - no slave to Latin construction here.)

John Kay in the Wednesday, October 29 Financial Times notes:
If opinions are not based on facts, changing facts will not necessarily change opinions.
Ed. note:  I am totally guilty of this.

Earlier in the week, on Sunday October 26, Jeroen Dijsselbloem confidently asserted “I definitely think the banking crisis is behind us[.]”

Also known as Dieselbomb to Zero Hedge readers, Jeroen's statement is funny on many levels, not least because he is currently the Eurogroup President AND Dutch finance minister.  The last time I paid serious attention to Diesel-Bomb was during the Cyprus implosion in March 2013 when he accidentally let it slip the Cyprus bail-in would serve as a template for future EU rescues.

After seeing the damage he did to the markets, Diesel-Bomb retracted his comments, denying he ever made them, which compounded the comedy because he had made those comments to Reuters and Financial Times.  His new version went something like this:
"Cyprus is a specific case with exceptional challenges which required the bail-in measures we have agreed upon yesterday. Macro-economic adjustment programmes are tailor-made to the situation of the country concerned and no models or templates are used."
Thanks for the clarification, Diesel-Bomb.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Cousins Weekend 2014 Sonoma - the reviews are in and it's a HIT

Cousins Weekend 2015 (Sept 24-27):  New England.

All we know for sure at this point is that we'll arrive on Thursday and part of the weekend will be in Boston.

It encapsulates 755 miles across 3 states.  Some winnowing will be required.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Faux outrage over the court of public opinion

So some hand-wringing is occurring since the outbreak of the NFL's woes over the court of public opinion.  That is, they don't want the NFL to make decisions in reaction to public outrage.

To recap, the outrage is over certain NFL personnel who beat their wives in public, physically abuse their children.

I heard 2 such individuals on a show this past Friday doing this very thing.  They would preface their remarks with "it's terrible what these people did BUT the NFL shouldn't allow the public to push them into doing something."

To which I would like to point out 4 things.
1)  Anyone decrying the court of public opinion on the radio is patently unaware of where they are speaking their opinions at best.  At worst, they're hypocritical idiots.  After all, they're airing their opinions publicly, in reaction, hoping to sway positions.

2)  The NFL's anti-trust exemption is due to their classification as entertainment.  If the public grows sickened by how this corporation does business, said corporation can choose to ignore its customers, try to persuade customers it is behaving correctly, or the corporation changes its behavior.

3)  People are not entitled to jobs.  I wonder how many of those hand-wringers have the affected players on their fantasy teams?  The hand-wringers also put up the false argument that if you, the average Joe, were to strike your wife would your company fire YOU?  Well, if you were to strike your spouse and get charged and your job and company relied heavily on reputation - then yes, you very likely would get terminated.
And lawyers in at-will states will point out that you most likely would get fired without cause being given (that insulates them for legal repercussions).

4)  If the hand-wringers would step away from the NFL and spend some time on other issues, they'd find the people get worked up over injustice all the time.  For example, a SWAT team invaded a home in Georgia and threw a flash grenade into a baby's crib.  The baby is critically injured.  The SWAT team used bad information for the warrant - they did not have just cause to be in that home.  And to add (financial) insult to (grievous) injury, the county refuses to cover the costs of the baby's medical care.  People are outraged over THIS and making noise about it.  What say the hand-wringers on this?

5)  And an extra point.  A lot of horrible things have happened on the color of law.  Slavery.  Genocide.  War.  Public outrage got some of these things changed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Moving from passive boycott/resistance to active boycott/resistance

It's been a bad month for the NFL.

As someone who walked away from NFL games years ago, and gave up on NCAA football in the last few years (and was never interested in high school football), I don't give football my time or money.

But now it's time to hit the next gear.  Namely, don't patronize businesses that use NFL/NCAA to draw customers - like bars.  Whaaaa - give up the corner bar?  Surprisingly enough, there are bars that do not run sports 24/7.  Granted, there are not many of them and you'll have to look for them but they're out there.

Another target:  "official" sponsors of the NFL and NCAA.  The NFL site helpfully lists their official sponsors here.  The list includes Microsoft - ugh.  And Procter & Gamble's "Cover Girl" line.  That makes me want to see a current breakdown of demographics of NFL/NCAA fans.

I wish I could say the boycott idea came to me on its own.  It didn't.  I heard this morning that Radisson is suspending their sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of Adrian Peterson's reinstatement.

And I thought - of course!  I shouldn't be supporting businesses that support NFL/NCAA!  Egads!

The San Diego Union-Times maintains a database of NFL players Arrest Database (since 2000).  It's a good start, but at the time of this writing doesn't include Vikings' Adrian Peterson for child abuse.

The Daily Beast runs down the current players that are causing problems for the NFL:  The NFL Is Full of Ray Rices.

Let the boycotts begin!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ferguson MO. Getting curiouser and curiouser.

Applying the “what if” and ‘what the hell?!” approach to initial reports I’m getting the feeling that maybe Ferguson MO was a set up from the get-go (like Boston b*mbing and Sandy Hook).

Saturday, 9 August 2014
Michael Brown shot and killed by Ferguson MO police officer Darren Wilson.

Local FOX report 8/15/14 on the convenience store supposedly robbed:
Owner says neither he nor employees called 911 – a customer did.
The owners emphasized they do not want to be wrapped up in this.

The attorney stresses that neither the employees nor owner called the police.
Nor had they seen Mike Brown.
The dude who recorded the CNN interview and posted it then draws the conclusion that the black community destroyed the store owner’s goodwill by looting & destroying the store.
Dude just isn’t suspicious enough – what if the store had to be destroyed?

IF this is true (granted, a big if) then St. Louis (County?) dispatch reporting the news called twice to report an officer shot in Ferguson, and the Ferguson PD knows nothing about it, reeks of Boston B*mbing/Sandy Hook.
I have not vetted the YouTube poster DAHBOO7.

Allegedly St. Louis (County?) dispatch.
At 9:41 into the video dispatch says “Ferguson asking for assistance with crowd control.  Can I send 1?”
10:50 “A large group is gathering.  I don’t know anything further.”
11:20 “We just got another call saying there’s an officer involved shooting. . . Be advised this information came from the news.”
(Emphasis mine.)
11:55 “We’re just getting the information from the news and we just called Ferguson back again and they don’t know anything about it.”

And then there’s the attorney for the store owner, Jay Kanzler.  He’s a FILMMAKER.  From ST. LOUIS.
Then there are independent films like St. Louis' own, 23 Minutes to Sunrise.
For them "straight to DVD" is an accomplishment, which is why director Jay Kanzler is absolutely beaming about the release this month of his movie on Redbox, Netflix and Amazon.com. The film, starring Eric Roberts and a few lesser-known celebrities, was shot almost entirely in the metro East St. Louis town of Sauget in the summer of 2011.
He’s got an IMDb profile too, including a 2010 documentary “Close But No Cigar: Bob Zany.”

This is reminding me of Jessia Ghawi who survived the Toronto mall shooting, only to be killed at the Colorado theater shooting.  She was an aspiring sportscaster.  I.e. someone who wanted to get into the biz.

Degringolade

Learned a spectacular new word from the Market Ticker comments: DEGRINGOLADE.

Per Dictionary.com:
noun, plural dégringolades /deɪ grɛ̃ gɔˈlad; English deɪˌgræŋ gəˈlɑdz/ (Show Spelled) 1. French. a quick deterioration or breakdown, as of a situation or circumstance.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When you're quitting smoking

And you hit a rough spot, remember Laurel & Hardy, with Mae Busch, from "Chickens Come Home:"

Friday, July 04, 2014

The last thing anyone should do is read up on the causes of the American Revolution

That is, the last thing the U.S. Federal Government wants is citizens of its own country or erstwhile allies reading up on the causes of the American Revolution.  Or French Revolution, which is celebrated 10 days later on 14 July.  Bastille Day.

But today is Independence Day.  Usually referred to as The Fourth of July.  It works out better for the movers and shakers that way, as the Fourth of July brings to mind a day off with fireworks and cookouts.  It does NOT bring to mind a bunch of people agitating for their rights against an empire, with those grievances listed eloquently by many writers, in many publications.


In a bit of serendipity, I began reading Jeff Shaara's Rise To Rebellion a few days ago.  It turned out to be a great reading choice on Independence Day.

However, 2 founders have minor roles in this book when they should be primaries:  Sam Adams and Patrick Henry.  So why is it that some founders are more equal than others?  Why John Adams over Sam Adams? Why James Madison over Patrick Henry?  Why Alexander Hamilton over Henry Lee?  Why is the Sons of Liberty groups so little noted?

Is it because those men who fought for liberty, for independence, and moved 13 colonies to do the same, also were against a strong central government?  Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry opposed the Constitutional Convention scrapping the Articles of Confederation and replacing it with the Constitution.  The Anti-Federalists don't get a lot of play either.

If one were to use Independence Day as a jump-off point to remind themselves of what it's all about, try starting with Benjamin Franklin's Rules By Which A Large Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One (11 September 1773).

Up the Republic!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

And now for a little levity from "Rockford Files"


Big Pharma enlists New England Journal of Medicine AND Christian Science Monitor

At first blush this seems like a strange pairing. The Christian Science Monitor has an article titled "The real marijuana story."

 It starts off with this:
"The narrative has been firmly established: Marijuana use is innocent, a pleasurable pastime with few if any harmful effects. Those who caution that making pot legal might create significant problems have been laughed off as alarmists or old fuddy-duddies. A sobering new article in today’s New England Journal of Medicine may startle some people out of this hazy-dazy reverie. A report titled “Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use” from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health, summarizes the latest research into marijuana use."
To recap, the Christian Science Monitor is quoting the New England Journal of Medicine to buttress its anti-marijuana position. Where does Christian Science stand on western medicine? From the Christian Science website regarding their position on western medicine (emphasis mine):
"It’s up to each person who practices Christian Science to choose the form of health care he or she wants. Many Christian Scientists decide to pray first about every challenge—including health issues—and find it effective. Many health care professionals today are recognizing options outside of conventional medicine. Christian Scientists recognize and respect the interests of medical professionals and don't oppose them. We all care about the preventive and curative aspects of health care. Like all systems of healing, the track record for Christian Science isn’t perfect. But, over 80,000 Christian Science healings have been published throughout the past 140 years, including severe cases."
Did CSM pray first before accepting the help of a representative of western medicine to combat marijuana? Did the press arm of the church note their positions on alcohol and tobacco in this article? They do, obliquely, right at the end of the article.
"As with alcohol and tobacco, the two most popular legal drugs, the supposed pleasures of marijuana are ephemeral, the lasting effects most often dissatisfying and destructive. Alcohol and tobacco have been trying to take hold of their users for centuries, long before the kind of studies now beginning to be made on marijuana were possible. The fact that both alcohol and tobacco are still legal – and still harming society – does nothing to enhance the case for adding a third ruinous partner in marijuana."
Regrettably, no mention that the church prohibits use of alcohol and tobacco. Shouldn't they just add marijuana to the list instead of roping in the New England Journal of Medicine to support their position, which is NOT based on western medicine concerns?

Monday, May 05, 2014

Innocent frauds abroad

Central bankers boss the markets around.  They think.

It's May 5, 2014 and the biggest trees in the park still don't have leaves.  Now I'm neurotic about them - are they dead?  Do they just need sustained higher temperatures?

Jim Rickard's and his new book The Death of Money introduced me to Goodhart's Law:
  • `Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.'
Or, when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

So, as Rickards posits, what kind of crazy town are we in with several years, nay decades, of central banks making policy decisions based on data that itself is the result of prior policy manipulations?
The answer:  One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest type of crazy town.  Further, it's a nice incidental parallel that most of the people in that group signed themselves in to Crazyville.

All of this aligns with the theory that the mere act of observation changes the object being observed.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

In like a lion

Reported in local news this past week Sentinel Management Group CEO Eric Bloom's fraud trial has begun. From the Chicago Tribune article:
The downfall of Sentinel has been described as one of the largest financial fraud cases ever prosecuted in Chicago's federal court. The company’s sudden fall into bankruptcy rocked markets just as the global mortgage crisis was strengthening its grip on lenders. Prosecutors alleged that when the markets seized up and it became clear that Sentinel might default on more than $400 million it had borrowed on a Bank of New York credit line, Bloom used misleading account statements to keep clients in the dark about the deteriorating situation. Sentinel’s head trader, Charles Mosely, pleaded guilty to fraud last October [2013] and agreed to testify for prosecutors at Bloom’s trial.
Moving on to Bloomberg's Business Week on the US's winter weather:
“Not one of our better forecasts,” admits Mike Halpert, the Climate Prediction Center’s acting director. The center grades itself on what it calls the Heidke skill score, which ranges from 100 (perfection) to -50 (monkeys throwing darts would have done better). October’s forecast for the three-month period of November through January came in at -22. Truth be told, the September prediction for October-December was slightly worse, at -23. The main cause in both cases was the same: Underestimating the mammoth December cold wave, which brought snow to Dallas and chilled partiers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
And then there's the Ukraine. From the Financial Times: Obama warns Putin against Ukraine intervention. 2014-03-01
After an opposition force chased Yanukovich out of Ukraine to Moscow, they installed Oleksandr Turchynov as president of the interim government. The decision by the Russian parliament on Saturday to authorise the deployment of troops into Ukraine has raised the spectre of war on the European continent for the first time since the Russia-Georgia conflict of 2008. In reaction to the threat of Russian invasion, president of the interim government Oleksandr Turchynov told journalists that Ukraine’s national security and defence council had decided to mobilise the army and was preparing a “detailed plan” to counter “direct military aggression from the Russian Federation”. Sergey Aksyonov, the new Russia-friendly Crimean prime minister, confirmed that armed men guarding buildings and patrolling the streets were Russian soldiers.
The story is not complete until somebody weighs in on Twitter:
Nato’s secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen weighed in on Twitter saying there was an “urgent need for de-escalation in Crimea”.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is Harvey IL the new Mena AR?

Chicago Tribune reporters Joseph Ryan, Joe Mahr and Matthew Walberg did a series on Harvey IL, a south suburb of Chicago.  In the course of reading these articles, one notes Harvey IL bears a striking resemblance to Mena AR.  Read more about Mena here at What Really Happened (Michael Rivero).

The Trib's series started on February 8, 2014 with "Victims, statistics show serious deficiencies in Harvey police work."

From the article:
It's a suburb that commissioned an audit that ripped its Police Department's detective work, and then promoted the head of the detective bureau.
It's a community where officers can keep their guns and badges despite questionable conduct highlighted in scandal after scandal.

The Harvey Police Department audit which excoriates the police and town can be found here.

Then on 10 February 2014 the Tribune ran 2 articles:  In Harvey, who polices the police? and Some Harvey police have controversial records.

From "who polices the police:"

On a patch of land near the Tri-State Tollway, trees were bulldozed so trucks could pile mounds of waste up to 22 feet high.
Within months, the brush and meadow gave way to dirt piles mixed with oil, broken bricks, asphalt, plastic tubes and concrete with protruding metal bars — all a block away from a strip of homes.
The state deemed the dump illegal. The landowner who let it happen was a Harvey police officer.
The same officer had already been found by a federal jury to have shot a teen in the back without cause and lied to cover it up.
Neither case led the state to yank the officer's gun and badge.
This is Illinois, where the state-imposed ethical standards for a cosmetologist are far higher than those for a cop.

And this:
In charge of them was a chief who once testified that he wasn't sure whether he drove home drunk from bowling one night but did remember that he was detained that night and then a fellow chief intervened to get him home with no charges.
Above them all was a mayor who used his clout to become a certified police officer. The state has allowed him to carry a gun and a badge even after he repeatedly invoked his right to remain silent when questioned about his alleged role in helping to arm a killer.
All of the allegations are contained in public records. Many are included in sworn statements.

The Trib followed up on that article the same day, expounding on police with controversial records:
Officer Marcus Patterson
Charged by his former police employer, Bolingbrook, with misdemeanor theft and assault, Patterson beat the charges in court and started with Harvey.
He rose to become the department's top ethics officer, despite records showing a girlfriend in Romeoville accused him of abuse and a woman in a Posen bar accused him of spying on her in a bathroom.
He avoided charges then, as well as on two traffic stops in Midlothian where an officer said he suspected him of drunken driving and reported finding open alcohol. The first time the officer let Patterson go. The second time the officer gave him a $40 ticket for expired plates. (To view the squad car video, go to chicagotribune.com/duivideo)
Patterson later did get demoted for causing a crash in a Harvey car with alcohol in his system, records show, but was given a commendation last year — before another girlfriend accused him in civil court of abuse.

The article outlines the work histories of several more Harvey police officers.

Like Officer Darnell Keel:
Another officer alleged Keel was siding with one drug gang by ordering illegal arrests of their rivals, according to court records. Another said he saw Keel beat two suspects who were kneeling, facing a concrete wall. Keel had so many complaints from citizens, one officer said, internal affairs called them the "Keel Chronicles," court records show.

On 11 February 2014 the Trib reported "State, feds turned blind eye to problems in Harvey:"
His his first term was coming to a close, Kellogg was hit with headlines that said his police didn't solve any homicides in 2005, and the numbers hadn't improved much in 2006. City Council members revolted, asking in vain for state police to audit the local force.
Soon state and county investigators marched into police headquarters and seized records and evidence related to dozens of unsolved crimes. By then, Harvey's violent crime rate had jumped 30 percent over Kellogg's first full year in office.
Amid all that, Kellogg asked voters for a second term.

But he needed help.  Ryan, Mahr, and Walberg continue:
Harvey Good Government Group, created in 2007, by Carlos Vargas, who happens to be an undercover FBI agent.
Vargas (not his real name) had been placed in a local strip club to investigate corruption. And for reasons federal officials won't discuss, records show the agent formed a special political committee and primed it with about $140,000. The committee then flooded the crucial 2007 mayoral race with money that helped Kellogg to victory, even as federal agents were probing the mayor's police department.
The FBI's involvement — uncovered in this Tribune investigation — set the stage for a series of actions by state and federal agencies that preserved the status quo and masked problems in Harvey.
---
After the undercover federal agent aided Kellogg's campaign, another powerful federal agency came in to document systemic problems in his police department — only to leave without forcing reforms.
---
Court records would later reveal that Vargas was an undercover FBI agent with about a dozen assignments under his belt, working national security, public corruption and organized crime cases — though few knew that at the time.
His cover: the new manager helping remodel the Skybox strip club on Halsted Street. The club was owned by Michael Wellek, who became an FBI informant at some point after IRS agents seized $12 million in cash from a warehouse he controlled in 2003, according to court records.
---
At the same time that Justice officials did not force reform, state officials were failing to enforce a key law that would have exposed how the city's finances had started to spiral out of control.
Illinois law requires cities and villages to hire licensed auditors to go through their books and release an annual report that sheds light on their financial state. It's meant to ensure public finances are readily known and aboveboard.
Harvey stopped producing the audits in Kellogg's second term, saying they were too expensive.
---
[Ed. note:  This next item I find particularly hilarious as it shows that there is no honor among thieves.]
The state says Harvey stopped paying into its police and fire pension funds, paying just $140 toward $7.3 million owed over a three-year period. The back payments owed have reached about $10 million.

On 12 February 2014 Walberg and Mahr report "Harvey problems prompt sheriff to seek audit powers."
Citing a Tribune series this week that exposed a litany of problems in south suburban Harvey, Sheriff Tom Dart is asking the County Board to let him become a suburb's inspector general if that municipality has failed to file two consecutive years of financial audits as required by state law. As inspector general, he would be able to audit nearly every aspect of that suburb's government, from policing to spending.
---
Dart's office said four other suburbs could qualify as well: Country Club Hills, Dixmoor, Maywood and Sauk Village.

The 13 February 2014 edition had "Harvey, Ill - A city abused and ignored."
Even though Harvey's City Council members bucked their mayor as early as 2006 and asked the Illinois State Police to audit their police department and advise the suburb on how to better protect the streets — a request reinforced by then-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who had spoken of the city's "dire public safety debacle" — nothing much happened. A spokeswoman told the Tribune the state police aren't geared to evaluate the competence of local departments.

And there it is.  One of the comments on the last article asks:
Brian Vuolo ·
"...We tolerate Harvey as is because getting involved would be a boatload of trouble. There's nothing in it for us..."
I wonder what it is about Harvey that scares bureaucrats and politicians from investigating and prosecuting elected officials and city employees.

I wonder how much Harvey has in common with Mena AR.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Found my Mark Twain-on-a-globe cartoon at last

I've been searching lo these many years for an image of Mark Twain astride a globe.  I had been searching for Benevolent Assimilation Society, thinking it was a Mark Twain irony on the imperial ambitions of the United States.

Ho, was I wrong!  The US actually used the term "benevolent assimilation" describing their conquest of the Philippines.  Searching on something related, which I've already forgotten, I found the image.  Huzzah!  Mark Twain was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League, and that's the inspiration of the cartoon.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hungary's doing something right

Budapest is taking on a lot of the bullies at the same time.

Tells IMF to f*ck off.

Tells Monsanto to take their GMO and cram it.

And its plans for a Holocaust memorial has p*ssed off the Jewish communities in Hungary.  Why?  Check this out.
"(JTA) — The president of Hungary’s Jewish umbrella group criticized a planned monument to victims of the Germany occupation for ignoring Hungary’s complicity in the Holocaust.
The memorial announced Thursday would be built in Budapest’s Freedom Square and pay tribute to “all Hungarian victims with the erection of the monument commemorating the tragic German occupation and the memorial year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust,” according to the Hungarian Government Information Center
The proposed monument “would serve to blot out the responsibility of the Hungarian government of that time,” Andras Heisler, president of Mazsihisz, the umbrella group representing Hungarian Jewish communities, told JTA Friday.
Heisler said that Hungarians were also involved in the mass killings of Hungarian Jews 70 years ago and that any monument commemorating Holocaust victims should reflect that fact.
The proposed monument on Freedom Square would be situated opposite a monument commemorating the victims of Communism. Heisler said this risks creating a false comparison between the Holocaust and communist oppression."

Good heavens, we don't comparisons made between the Jews' holocaust and what the communists did to so many more people.  Tsk, tsk.