June 23, 2008

Support Prop 13: Broken sewage pipes swamp San Mateo Houses

Resident wages pungent battle – Examiner.com

When 75-year-old Naomi Silverstein climbed out of bed late one night last October, she was shocked that she stepped into raw sewage.

A city sewer had backed up, and flooded her home with sludge, she said. The damage was so great that all the floors had to be replaced and walls repainted.

Her home was repaired in December, but it happened again one month later. She was standing in the shower when she heard the sewage burbling through her pipes. She ran through the house, ready to gather towels to protect her new floors. Then she looked out her window: Excrement was floating in her flooded yard.

Silverstein filed a claim this spring with the city of San Mateo to reimburse her cleanup expenses. She said she the flooding was caused by the city’s broken sewage main lines near her home on Gillis Drive. City officials rejected the claim, saying the problem was on her end. But she argues none of it would ever have happened had the city’s sewer line not flooded during the rains, and she has now filed a lawsuit against the city. In the meantime, she has taken a part-time job as an office assistant to make ends meet.

[snip]
» 20 to 25 per year: Claims received by the city about sewage backups into homes

» 30 to 40: Percent of those claims where the city accepts responsibility

» 236: Miles of sewers in San Mateo

» $2 million to $2.5 million: Amount devoted to maintaining the lines annually

» 37 million: Total cost of recommended sewer fixes

» $12 million: Amount the city is planning to spend on priority fixes

Source: City of San Mateo

Burbed reader Madhaus submitted this find. I figured it would be a good way to start off the week. This, to me, is an example of why we need to support Prop 13 more than ever. If it weren’t for Prop 13, many of these homeowners would be drowning in high property tax, and would be unable to afford paying to clean up these bursting sewage pipes. How awful would that be!

So keep on Supporting Prop 13, Californians. Otherwise, people will be unable to afford to fix problems caused by decaying infrastructure.

Comments (80) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:51 am

80 Responses to “Support Prop 13: Broken sewage pipes swamp San Mateo Houses”

  1. Hmmmmm Says:

    I love the Prop 13 discussions… (evil grin)

  2. San Mateo Home Sellers in Trouble Says:

    The sewage backup problem is more common than you think in San Mateo. My uncle owned a place in Foster City for about six or seven years. When he sold it he discovered that sewage was leaking into his backyard. So he decided to pave a layer of cement over it. When they were getting rid of the old cement to pour the new one they discovered that there are at least 2 previous attempts at cementing the sewage. The problem is especially bad in the engineered landfill areas like Foster City & Redwood Shores.

  3. Ross Says:

    I am so sick of all the whining about Prop 13. It basically says if the gov’t wants to raise taxes, it must obtain voter approval. What a concept! Just like saying if you want a raise at your job, you must obtain your boss’s approval. Gov’t needs to learn to live within its means just like the rest of us.

  4. WillowGlenner Says:

    Well Ross, if you were paying $10K in property taxes while your neighbor paid $1K simply because he is 30 years older than you, you might be whining too. Prop 13 is blatant reverse age discrimination.

  5. rick Says:

    Gosh, even sewage is a problem now? That is much worse than schools. It is funny that San Mateo county has one of the highest prices in the BA and probably collects little taxes. :)

    Ross,
    Wow, that is an over-generalization. How many props is about govt raising taxes? What is prop 13 about again? Can you quote?

  6. San Mateo Home Sellers in Trouble Says:

    Yep, as far as I know Foster City and Redwood Shores both have “sinking funds” meant to make sure the areas don’t slip into the ocean completely since they’re landfills. Supposedly there are areas in these places that are supposed to liquefy during an earthquake, too.
    http://www.fostercity.org/city_hall/council/Grade-A-for-Disaster-Preparedness.cfm

    I wonder if there is liquefication insurance available.

  7. madhaus Says:

    I bet the City of San Mateo could fix their sewer system if they weren’t suffering under Prop 13. So they figure if they can’t raise taxes by assessing houses for what they’re actually worth, they’ll just let ‘em all drown in their own “under” values.

  8. california resident Says:

    If my house is worth and assessed for x dollars in 2000 and then my house value goes up 3 times in 8 years to 3x, does this mean that I’m now requiring 3 times the amount of municiple services?

    Prop 13 just prevented government from taxing the tax payers to death. If I’m so stupid that I want to buy a home and pay 10 times the property tax than my neighbor who owns EXACTLY the same house, who is to blame?

    Property taxes are a scam and thank God for Prop 13 since it has protected all of the residents of this state from the crazy out of control RE bubble.

    The people who are now paying ridiculous property taxes on inflated properties get exactly one ounce of sympathy from the rest of us homeowners.

    LOL!

  9. california resident Says:

    I have another idea for sinking municipalities. Maybe they can get their overpaid fire fighters, police officers, bus drivers, etc to go out and fix sewers in their spare time! Hell, these clowns are getting paid $150,000/yr with unlimited retirement benefits to boot!

    San Mateo and all the other cities in California should just get these mega-rich government workers to do double time and earn their keep.

    Every time I see a cop or fire fighter now I just think how much he’s raping us taxpayers. And please, don’t give that line about how dangerous or unpleasant their line of work is.

    If you want to check Federal statistics, all of these lines of work are more dangerous than either being a cop or fire fighter: farm worker, lumberjack, fisherman, construction worker, electrical utility worker.

  10. madhaus Says:

    If my house is worth and assessed for x dollars in 2000 and then my house value goes up 3 times in 8 years to 3x, does this mean that I’m now requiring 3 times the amount of municiple services?

    Of course not. Homes bought in 1985 are serviced by municipal workers who live in 1985, are paid 1985 wages and use 1985 products and services. That’s how they can pave your portion of your street for 1/3 the cost of your new neighbor’s. Now it does make things challenging for the school district keeping the 1985 kids from learning any science discovered after 1985.

  11. california resident Says:

    That’s facinating–the fact that the cost of municipal services is directly related to inflated real estate bubble prices.

    Let’s see, Prop 13 does allow for an increase in assessed value since my property have gone up in the last 7 years. Little did I know that instead of going up a few percent, they should have risen by 3 times (the increase in prices in my area).

    Wow! Home prices increase two times and cost of services increase goes up two times! Does it work the other way too–when home prices fall by half, does the costs of services fall by one-half? Will Californians now be able to slash the pay of government workers?

    I guess I missed that lecture in Econ 101 in college (back in 1976). But we all know that all the laws of physics, mathematics, biology and everything else known back in 1976 don’t work anymore. Hey does the binomial distribution still work?

    What about the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus?

    I’m sure they’ve been replaced it by FTC 400.01.

  12. madhaus Says:

    I think you ended up in an alternate 2008 where none of those things work anymore. You’re going to have to go back to 1976 and stop Howard from betting from that future sports book passing Prop 13 in order to return physics, calculus, algebra, and economics to working order.

    The rise of Intelligent Design as a strategy to wedge creationism into biology class also has something to do with this. So while you’re at it, you’re also going to have to de-fund the Discovery Institute. In order to do that, you’ll have to impoverish Howard Ahmanson (their principal underwriter), which means you need to destroy Home Savings Bank while you’re back there.

    Your best bet is to nuke Omaha, Nebraska in 1906, but that could have the unfortunate side effect of taking out Warren Buffet.

  13. nomadic Says:

    Hell, repeal prop. 13 and all property taxes. Charge a flat tax for each human. No more tax deductions for little baby bundles of DNA either. Rent or own – you all pay the same. Seems fair to me.

    It is rather ridiculous that prop. 13 caps, at what? 2% per year? That’s less than inflation, which then amounts to a subsidy for the homeowners. Specifically those who stay put for many years. The cap ought to be at LEAST as high as inflation each year.

  14. madhaus Says:

    Flat taxes are regressive, especially if the amount needed to balance the budget is $627,478.32 each.

  15. WillowGlenner Says:

    california resident, you are the poster boy for the angry ignorant white guy. Just remember those younger than you (you gave your age away in a prior post) don’t have much interest in taking care of your sort when you get old. Thats what the current elderly don’t get.

  16. WillowGlenner Says:

    They can’t implement a flat tax because those with incomes less than 102K are in a 50% tax bracket right now with federal, fica etc combined. A flat tax would roll all of this into a general fund and our flat tax would be 40% of income if you use a gradual scale or 50K per person per year- too high.

  17. WillowGlenner Says:

    Now it does make things challenging for the school district keeping the 1985 kids from learning any science discovered after 1985.

    Don’t be silly madhaus, all the science worth knowing happened precisely 2008 years ago according to the school board in Kansas- thats all you need to know.

  18. RealEstater Says:

    >>if you were paying $10K in property taxes while your neighbor paid $1K simply because he is 30 years older than you, you might be whining too. Prop 13 is blatant reverse age discrimination.

    Say you bought a median priced home at $750K. Your neighborhood next door bought it for 30 years ago for only $30K. Do you want to whine about that too?

    Of course we don’t want to pay higher taxes year after year. Are you nuts, WG? 30 years from now, you’d be the one having low taxes. Therefore, it all balances out. Actually it’s quite fair.

  19. Renter4 Says:

    All of that only makes sense if you insist that housing prices must double or more every 10 years. If prices were tied to fundamentals, the assessed values would rise in a rough proportion w/ area salaries, & be within the means of working people.

  20. Renter4 Says:

    Sorry, didn’t finish the thought, though it must be fairly obvious. Reasonable prices = reasonable taxes = no one taking a property tax bath.

    Something like this happened during the height of the bubble in the rural area where some of my family live. Nice old houses, not much employment, generations of history. Area suddenly became fashionable among the hedge-funders. Assessed values absolutely skyrocketed, to RBA levels, and these were not people making RBA salaries. My cousin showed me one street where six houses were for sale, all by long-time residents who could not make the tax payment. None of them were actually selling, because the assessed value somehow didn’t translate to market… I don’t know what happened in the end.

  21. madhaus Says:

    If housing prices were tied to fundamentals, my Sunnyvale shack would be worth about $225,000. The rest of the markup is for the specialness.

  22. Renter4 Says:

    I think that techies kind of skew the discourse on this issue because we’re mostly fairly mobile. I’ve had to travel a lot in the course of my life for school & work & it would be no particular hardship to me to take $1.1 mil in profit & go spend it someplace else. So I can be pretty callous about how people who can’t afford the property tax should just sell & move someplace cheaper, & I think most of my friends would be the same way. But it’s not that way for most of the people in this country, or I think even in the Bay Area. In my cousin’s town, these are people who most often grow up & go to school & marry & raise kids in the same 100-mile radius, usually closer, & they’ve been doing that for at least a couple generations. There’s an intangible value there (for them) that will be lost if they move, & the money’s not going to buy it back.

  23. Renter4 Says:

    If housing prices were tied to fundamentals, my Sunnyvale shack would be worth about $225,000.

    I’m sure it’s a very nice shack.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to sit tight for now, madhaus. The amount of quiet distress that’s out there, even among the fortunate, is just awful. I think you’re wise to be cautious.

  24. burbed Says:

    If housing prices were tied to fundamentals, my Sunnyvale shack would be worth about $225,000.

    I think the income stats are misleading due to the number of renters.

  25. bob Says:

    The bottom line with prop 13 was that it was made to solve one problem and only created another that’s just as bad. All it did was shift the burden from one group to another. I’ve mentioned before that if everyone has to pay for the pain, this will in effect put a damper on prices that are unrealistic. That’s why prices in places like Austin where there’s a 3% property tax haven’t gone absolutely crazy.

  26. nomadic Says:

    Renter4, you have a good point (#20, first sentence). They have a similar thing to Prop 13 in Michigan (Headlee amendment, I believe) but people don’t get too bitter about it because prices never rose dramatically in a 5 year time frame. Sure, the people who stayed put for 30 years still made out but the differences weren’t as glaring as here because you’d be looking at a difference in assessment of maybe $200k in a good area.

    I was stirring things up when I brought up a flat tax. My point is that there are more equitable ways of ensuring the consumers of city services pay fairly. And my 60+ year old neighbors paying $2k per year for the same police & fire protection, sewer system, et al is not in any way equitable. It isn’t my fault I was born many years later. I guess I’m just fed up and need to go back to renting for awhile.

  27. mrbogue Says:

    Prop 13 is pretty fair, but should only be applicable to primary residences only. I can’t count how many times I have seen a decrepit, empty, bulldozer-ready house in an otherwise beautiful tree-lined neighborhood.

  28. Crossroads Says:

    it should not be limited to 2%. when inflation is 5%-10%, 2% might as well be 0%

  29. madhaus aka guitar hero Says:

    The most unreasable thing about Prop 13 is that it applies to corporations as well as people. (as I said earlier, blame Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific, the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court except for many Bush v Gore. The second most unfair thing is that parents can gift a house to their children along with the Prop 13 assessment, so it keeps the property below market value indefinitely.

  30. madhaus aka guitar hero Says:

    That Sunnyvale crackhouse has affected my brain, I see 4 typos in my post above. Here it is again:

    The most unreasonable thing about Prop 13 is that it applies to corporations as well as people. (As I said earlier, blame Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific, the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court except for maybe Bush v Gore). The second most unfair thing is that parents can gift a house to their children along with the Prop 13 assessment, so it keeps the property below market value indefinitely.

  31. california resident Says:

    nomadic: “And my 60+ year old neighbors paying $2k per year for the same police & fire protection, sewer system, et al is not in any way equitable. It isn’t my fault I was born many years later.”

    What a board full of whiners! “Oh it’s not fair!”

    Has it occurred to any of you that life has never been “fair”? In fact, what exactly does “fair” mean?

    The baby boomer generation and the Gen-Xers are the most self-absorbed, selfish, and spoiled group of people ever to walk the planet. I’m smack in the middle of the boomers and it never fails to amaze me about all of the so-called “hardships” that us post-WW II whiners have to endure.

    Oh, I forgot, our generation (and especially our children’s cohort) have NEVER faced any real adversity.

    Our generation and the vast majority of the people on this board live at a standard of living that our parents could hardly imagine and our grandparents couldn’t even dream of. Hardship is having to RENT and live in a multi-bedroom home or, God Forbid, an APARTMENT! When will the horrors stop!

    My dad grew up in the depression and fought as an infantryman in WW II. He came home with 2 Purple Hearts and was 40% disabled (back in those days you really had to have significant war related injuries to get any disability). He never really recovered from the war and towards the end of his life was classified as 100% disabled by the VA.

    He never really had a good job after 1963 when he was laid off from his aerospace industry job. He never had a retirement plan. We lived in a 1100 sq ft home that my parents bought for $14,000 in 1954.

    My parents had 4 kids and 3 of us boys grew up in a 10’x12′ bedroom. We never ate out, and I mean never. My mother started working full time shortly after the youngest went away to school and she was making $1.85/hr.

    My parents never went off on a single vacation after the kids were born and only took ONE vacation in their entire married life together. Even if they had wanted to go off somewhere we didn’t have the money. For their 40th wedding anniversay us kids sent them off on a vacation–that was the one real trip they got.

    My mom was born in a dirt room shack in Imperial County. Her family was more than poor.

    My mom went out of the country ONE time during her life–she went back to the old country to visit relatives after she retired. Except for his time in Europe during the war, my father also only traveled overseas once and that was after my mom died.

    My mom never had a new car until shortly before she died. The heaps that we drove around in retrospect were absolutely embarrassing.

    My mom cooked probably 98% of the meals in our home while all of us were home–there was rarely any take-out. And she washed all of those dishes by hand, and no, my dad didn’t help at all.

    But that’s how many people in my parents generation lived. I have many friends whose lives were similar while growing up.

    Today it is considered bad when the family can’t take a vacation away from home at least once a year. Disneyland or a cruise or a trip in nice motels to where ever is the norm.

    Would you like to switch places with my parents? Would I? Of course not.

    We have it extraordinarily easy today. There are jobs and affordable housing all over this country. But the spoiled brats here (and elsewhere) all complain because THEY CAN’T HAVE EVERYTHING THAT THEY WANT!!!!!

    Did it ever occur to you that we’re living in a time of unprecedented wealth and prosperity? That even the “poorest” person on this board is wealthy and living a life of luxury compared to most Americans of just a few decades ago?

    Oh, by the way, I ain’t white but that hardly matters. Face it, no one on this board has had a tough day in their lives and our entire generation is so soft and spoiled that we can’t appreciate what we have.

    You all feel that you DESERVE to live in million dollar homes, get paid good six figure salaries, go on 2 vacations a year in foreign places, have unlimited cheap medical care AND have a retirement plan that will sustain this lifestyle until you die.

    So complain on about Prop 13. The mere fact that it has your ire up speaks volumes. Yes, life is SO unfair….

  32. california resident Says:

    Oh, BTW, when my dad was throwing hand grenades at the Germans, he wasn’t doing it to protect America from the Nazis.

    America was fighting in Europe to protect our political and economic interests and to promote democracy. Sound familiar?

    The difference in WW II was that America lost 300,000 men killed in combat and over another 100,000 killed in war related (non-combat) activities.

    We didn’t fight Hitler to save Jews or anyone else from the concentration camps. America has never fought a war to save people from concentration camps and extermination.

    I bring you this reminder since very few young people these days knows anything about World War II. Oh, and the combat troops that did do all of the fighting and dying didn’t prosper from the war as much as the multitudes of Americans who rode out the war in relative comfort.

    Life’s not fair but it seems that we forget who brought us all of our present day prosperity. Hint: The men who didn’t come home and those at the point of the spear.

    Please refrain from commenting on the successes of diplomacy. That’s a concept cooked up by post-WWII boomers who hid behind that big shield called the U.S. Military.

  33. madhaus Says:

    Hey Calif resident! My dad suffered more than your dad. An 1100 sf house that he bought? Luxury. My dad was arrested by the Germans for the crime of being Jewish, and was thrown into a railroad car that had bombs dropped on it several times.

    My grandfather suffered more than your grandfather. He got taken to Auschwitz, but he was lucky. He died on the train instead of in the camp.

    For some reason I cannot fathom, you seem to believe your parents’ life somehow gives you the right to dismiss people’s complaints about Prop 13. What one has to do with the other is completely beyond me.

    But guess what? My dad’s life makes me morally superior to you! So from my stronger vantage I’ll just tell you to chill out already. You’re incredibly boring and in all that talk you only mentioned real estate in two sentences. If you want to talk sacrifice and diplomacy and politics and disability, go find a politics blog for the cranky. This is real estate. That means people who post here have an interest in, surprise, real estate. And if it offends you that people who are interested in real estate have enough money to buy some, well, that’s just too flippin’ bad.

  34. mrbogue Says:

    hey, a “my dad suffered more than your dad” thread on a real estate blog. who’d ever think.

    My dad went to UCB but worked part time as a janitor in a local gambling hall. He saw lots of former vets squander their life savings over poker, taking it out on him in the bathrooms “Chinaman this”, “Chinaman that”, “I killed your kind over there, etc. etc” I bet he wanted a grenade for every time that happened.

  35. bob Says:

    CA resident,
    Both of my Grandfathers and five of their brothers fought in the war. One was in Guadalcanal. One was in Iwo Jima. My Grandfather on my Dad’s side was in Normandy a week after the initial invasion and fought in the hedge rows all the way to Berlin. Almost all of them died alcoholics and never talked about the war. My Grandmother is still living at 87 years old. She and all of the other family members who fought in the War would gladly tell you that they fought because the Axis was a serious threat. of course its easy now to sit back and analyze was we know. But the fact is that nobody knew exactly what was going to happen. You seem to forget that America was an isolationist country before the war. Perhaps you have an opinion about what the war was fought for. But none of my relatives who were in it, or who are still living would agree with your idea as to why.

    And to answer your question if I would personally trade places with that generation with this one, I for one would do it in a split second. At least back then people had pride in themselves, a sense of community, and perhaps a better idea of morality. I have more respect for those who survived that generation than any other. Certainly more than their kids who were intentionally sheltered from the horrors that their parents had to endure. All for nothing since all those kids wound up becoming spoiled entitled brats. ( not ALL of course).

    As far as whining, Well there’s something about your argument that’s kind of ironic. See, you mentioned the way in which you grew up. In reality, it wasn’t entirely different from the way I grew up either. The difference is that I grew up literally in the sticks. The town, if you could call it one, was maybe 300 people alltogether. I’ll spare you the details. I don’t doubt that at one time in the Bay Area, working people had crappy little houses, worked their tails off, drove clunkers, and didn’t have vacations. But the irony about all of this is that those crappy little houses that you might have grown up in now costs 600k-700k. Your parents would never be able to afford even what they had back then if they were to buy now. In other words, perhaps your parents were not as well off. But at least they had the ability to actually afford to live here. An entire gigantic swath of the social strata in this area is shut off entirely from having even extremely modest living situations here. So when people whine, they aren’t because they want a Paris Hilton mansion and a Porsche and stupid little dog in the front seat. All they want is the ability to afford the bare-bones basics.

    I agree with you- there are tons and tons of other places to live in this country that are more affordable. Me and my Wife have zero interest in staying here because the quality of life is frankly quite terrible compared to other places that we’ve been to. But for those who have to stay for one way or another, the options are becoming slim unless you simply work your ass off and make “da-money”, which in turn creates a stale, strictly materialistic atmosphere.

    So to me, there’s no mystery was to why this area has such a cloud of discontented humanity. I don’t blame them for feeling as they do. The situation here is ridiculous.

  36. mrbogue Says:

    I think Stevie Wonder summed it up best in ’73:

    His father works some days for fourteen hours
    And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
    His mother goes to scrub the floor for many
    And you’d best believe she hardly gets a penny
    Living just enough, just enough for the city…

  37. california resident Says:

    You all are whining about Prop 13 and the reasons for your complaints hardly are confined to REAL ESTATE. in fact, your complaints have to do with everything EXCEPT real estate: eg, it’s not fair, “I’m entitled to”, “They’re getting more than me” etc etc.

    As to why America fought World War II, you all are making the mistake of over 60 years of hindsight. At the time we entered and started fighting the war, we were NOT doing it for our national security. That’s what our government propaganda machine cranked out in the newsreels and war advertising.

    The fact is after the Battle of Midway in the beginning of June 1944, the Japanese could no longer even threaten Hawaii. General Marshall as well as the rest of the brass knew that Japan could NEVER threaten the United States. Japan had no intention of “invading” America.

    That’s was a bunch of lunacy but that irrational fear caused many people in America to throw 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps. Japan wanted America out of the far east. We didn’t have any business being there in the first place.

    As to the Germans, they even had less interest in invading America and they had absolutely no military means of doing so–they had no blue water navy and no long range bombers. The Germans wanted Europe not North America!

    Americans have rewrote history by saying that we fought WW II for our security. We fought WWII mainly because FDR and many other Americans wanted to preserve Britain and democracy in Europe. No one had any idea that after the end of the war America would be a “superpower” or that things would turn out so well for us.

    Since the end of the war we’ve made up all kinds of grand “reasons” why we fought the war. Most of these reasons were not there when our boys were running down the ramps at Tarawa or Omaha Beach.

    As to madhaus’ relatives, that’s unfortunate but what relevance does that have to America? The Germans did those nasty things, not the USA. Right now as we speak someone in the world is doing evil things to some poor defenseless person–since WWII there have been many holocausts where millions of people have been slaughtered. What’s your point?

    This has to do with real estate because this entire bubble has been motivated by the greed and wish for ordinary Americans to be wealthy and rich. It’s exactly like the tech bubble and the current stock market.

    Our parents generation bought houses to live in, not make money by speculation. Greed has pushed the stock market to unsustainable highs as well. This greed has also destroyed companies with the buyout mania that is still going on.

    MONEY is what is driving this and the current generation is stuffed full of this desire. Who cares about the price of X piece of land in the RBA. This isn’t where the action is–the action is what is driving all of you money hungry consumers.

  38. bob Says:

    I tell you what California resident,
    Why don’t you go down to your closest Elks Lodge, Eagles lodge, or retirement home, ask all the WW2 vets to gather round, and then proceed to tell them precisely what you’ve told us un-enlightened folks here on this blog.

    Secondly, let me ask you exactly how the US and the world would be a better place had the Germans been allowed to enslave Europe?

  39. california resident Says:

    Bob, you have no idea how difficult WW II was on the American people. Today people portray the war as this glorious crusade against evil. That was hardly the case in 1943.

    If we were fighting World War II today America would lose the war. Why? Because the people and press would simply not support a war that was a quagmire from beginning to end and where our boys were being slaughter at horrendous numbers.

    Iraq is a quiet walk in the park compared to France or the Pacific Islands.

    I don’t need to talk to your vet groups because I already am a member of my dad’s veterans group and I’ve interviewed and talked to countless combat vets from the War.

    My father did not feel about the Germans the way civilians did in 1944 (or today)–he did not hate them or feel that they were evil. In fact he respected them because they were soldiers just like himself.

    You Cliff Notes version of the war has been shaped by over 60 years of “Oh, now I understand why we went off and fought that crazy war.”

    We have MORE strategic, economic and political reasons to be fighting this current war than we had reasons to fight either Japan or Germany in WWII. And that’s what virtually EVERY WWII combat veteran I know has said.

    So yes, it’s better that we won. Of course that is true. But we didn’t fight for our own security. We fought for political reasons. Why in the world should we have been having American boys die for what was essentially a European problem?

  40. bob Says:

    CA resident,
    First of all, you’re simply being insulting because you’re incorrectly assuming that I’m “just another one of those stupid Americans” that doesn’t know anything about WW2 other than what was spit out from school text books.I’ve read quiet a bit about WW2 and no, I do not blindly agree with every single thing that we did in it. In summary, no war is inherently “good” or entirely necessary.

    You also have no clue what the war was like because you didn’t participate in it. Neither did I, and neither do I claim to know what it was like or what people felt like at the time.

    Of course it was political. All wars are political. That isn’t and wasn’t the premise of previous argument. The point is that in hind site, it is always easier to sit back and claim that horrible events were unnecessary. Let’s say that today, a madman suddenly up and starts taking over Europe. The reaction today would be precisely the same. The people I talk to who survived that era were indeed concerned about their national security and viewed involvement as necessary.It was a truly scary time with no assured outcome.

    Anyhow, this is a chicken and egg argument. No single person is entirely correct in their opinion. If you really want to read perhaps one of the best documentary commentary written about the war, I’d recommend the book by Studs Turkle called: The”good” War.

  41. WillowGlenner Says:

    What a board full of whiners! “Oh it’s not fair!”
    Has it occurred to any of you that life has never been “fair”? In fact, what exactly does “fair” mean?

    It is simply amazing to me, to hear people over a certain age decry soundbytes like this.

    The old cliche “its not fair” was typically a remark intended for a CHILD. It was what you said to a child when he whined about rules he had to adhere to. It was never meant to explain WHY the elderly deserve handouts at the expense of their kids. This is the first elderly generation who has ripped off their kids to this degree. The roles are completely reversed – and since the elderly as asking their kids to support them, they WAIVE THE RIGHT to make lecturing “Its not fair” commentaries like you just did, California Resident.

    Bottom line to use an old adage its “who pays the bills” who gets to lecture the others in society and that is NOT YOU.

  42. Crossroads Says:

    the other day the new president of UC was saying that right now UC tuition has the lowest point of taxpayer funding.

    the highest point? when the baby boomers were in school.

    figures those who paid the least to go to the UCs would now abandon the system.

  43. mrbogue Says:

    If WWII was lost against the Japanese, I’m very sure I wouldn’t be born. The victorious, murderous Japanese Imperial Army would have probably executed my paternal grandfather (a guerrilla Chinese soldier) and raped/killed my grandmothers.

    Prop 13 wouldn’t matter anymore for me since I would just be some matter/anti-matter swimming forever in the universe. I think the same concept would apply to most non-Japanese Asian Americans whose parents came to the US after 1970.

  44. madhaus Says:

    I would not have been born either, as my father and everyone in his family would have been smoke particles. My dad survived the war by escaping, joining the French resistance, and then serving as a translater for the Americans. He translated hundreds of interviews in Munich after the Allies took over, and almost every one of the Germans insisted up and down that they never did anything bad to their Jewish neighbors (who had their property stolen, their rights revoked, and their lives forfeit, yet not a one of them knew a thing). Hearing calif resident make comments like “gee that’s too bad but what does that have to do with me” and then go off with his ill-informed commentary about WW2 just makes me sick.

    The attitude of “I’ve got mine, screw you” is what brought Prop 13. Jarvis and his followers kept complaining taxes are too high, but compared to almost all other Western societies, the US has low taxes. Because the budget needs a 2/3 vote in the legislature, anything with any tax increase is automatically dead, despite crumbling infrastructure and insufficient funding for schools and colleges. It really says something about our priorities when we spend more on prisons than schools, and there are still a loud minority (and they are a minority) decrying socialized medicine. Health care is going to be a huge issue in the 2008 election.

    All over the map here, but I’m really disgusted by the post (and follow-ups) by CA-R that started all this. As someone who has every reason to understand the causes and effects of WWII, I’m not too pleased to have this jerk lecture me, either.

    Sorry, no flip comments this time. Too ticked off.

  45. burbed Says:

    . It really says something about our priorities when we spend more on prisons than schools

    Actually, other states do this too. Massachusetts is the most recent of states to flip this way.

    California simply innovated.

  46. california resident Says:

    Hey maudhaus you should be thanking people like my dad and his men for saving Europe and probably your father’s life. Without the Americans your dad would have been toast.

    My father’s company had over 300 casualties including 50 men killed in action. My dad lost all of his best friends in combat, killed by German bullets.

    America didn’t owe a damn thing to anyone in Europe–it wasn’t our war. Why are Jewish lives more important than Cambodian lives? Answer me that since America stood by while half the population of Cambodia was annihilated by the Khymer Rouge–over a million people dead and the world did nothing.

    You and many others get indignant at the notion that World War II was realyl fought for purely political and economic reasons. America has NEVER fought a war overseas for domestic security reasons.

    In our current War on Terror we are attacking an enemy that wants to kill us and has struck America harder than anyone in history (except the British). But you complain that this was is “unjust” and claim that World War II was “just”?

    Excuse me but how do you come to that conclusion?

    So be very thankful that patriotic Americans went off and got slaughtered all to make the world better for other people living on foreign soil.

    BTW, we are not a democratic socialist state like Europe. That’s why we don’t allow our government to tax us to death. Read about our Revolutionary War–taxes had something to do with why it started.

    You should be angry at the stupid French and British and Germans for World War II. Instead idiots like you show no appreciation to people like my dad or his men.

    And then you have the gall to distort history because of your own selfish agendas.

  47. california resident Says:

    BTW maudhaus, get over your anger with Germany. Most Germans had nothing to do with the death camps. The SS ran those places.

    My father and his men treated the Germans they captured with respect and dignity. And except for a couple of isolated incidents the German Werhrmacht that my dad fought abided by the Geneva Convention and the rules of war. My dad didn’t hate the Germans even though they killed his best friends and wounded hundreds of others.

    The German and Japanese people today have absolutely no responsibility for World War II. They are two of America’s most important allies. I know all kinds of people that still hate both Germans and Japanese.

    All they are doing is sowing the seeds for the next war. It’s funny how people can hate an enemy that existed before they were even born and then be blind to an enemy that wants to kill them today.

  48. bob Says:

    Ca resident,
    There was a serious threat to the US in WW2. I read a book a number of years ago about the Nazi architect Albert Speer. Some of his guided plans included large farming plantations to be setup all over Europe after Germany’s victory. Residents of these areas were to be indentured servants to former German soldiers. Essentially, it was the desire of Germany to return to a pastoral landscape complete with Serfs and the whole nine yards. Jews were of course to be removed entirely. They were dead-serious about this too.

    I recall watching the PBS documentary by Ken Burns called “The War”. Fantastic film. In one scene, A Jewish guy from Connecticut mentioned that he was in Germany and his group captured a group of Germans. One spoke perfect English. The German asked him where he was from. He said Connecticut. The German guy asked him what part, and so on until they got down to a small creek running through his small town. The prisoner was part of a group analyzing the US for possible future settlement. Would this have ever happened? Who knows. But if we had allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do, we would have probably been next. So yes- it was a national threat and we acted upon it.

    I don’t agree with all aspects of the War. I grew up near where they made parts of the Atom bomb. It was a sort of regional pride to have been the location for such an historic event. Was it necessary to use it? I don’t think so because fire bombing Tokyo was actually more devastating. But it was used anyway.

    We cannot go back and change history. But Sometimes there’s such a thing as a just cause and I believe WW2 was such an event that had some of the most unfortunate outcomes in human history.

  49. Pralay Says:

    CA Resident (post#37): We fought WWII mainly because FDR and many other Americans wanted to preserve Britain and democracy in Europe.

    CA Resident (post#46): But you complain that this was is “unjust” and claim that World War II was “just”?
    Excuse me but how do you come to that conclusion?

    ———–

    Gosh, too much history in real estate forum.

    CA Resident,
    To answer your above question in post#46, you yourself answered in post#37. Iraq war wasn’t about democracy, brining peace in middle east or war against terrorists. The Iraq war is based on lies. It’s as simple as that. That’s what makes it “unjust” war. Please don’t give those Faux News bullshit “we are fighting against terrorists over there so that we don’t have to fight against them here”. Please remember a few facts:

    1. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia still has enough wahabi madrasas to generate enough hatred against America in middle east.

    2. Bush admin fabricated connection 9/11 and Iraq.

    3. After Iraq invasion, there was no plan for bringing peace in Iraq. The only success Bush achieved is “Mission Accomplished” sign on USS Lincoln.

  50. RealEstater Says:

    California Resident said,
    >>In our current War on Terror we are attacking an enemy that wants to kill us and has struck America harder than anyone in history (except the British). But you complain that this was is “unjust” and claim that World War II was “just”?

    Let’s be precise here. In our current “War on Iraq”, we attacked a country that possessed no weapon of mass destruction, has no ability to attack us, posed no threat to us, and had no Al Qaeda force before we got there.

    By contrast:

    – Bin Laden is in Pakistan. Why do we not attack them?
    – North Korea has a horrible dictator with WMD. Why do we not attack them?
    – Iran is openly building nukes, which would pose a great threat to our national security. Why do we not attack them?

    Could it because we are now out of bullets, out of credibility, and out of money? All thanks to George Bush and war supporters like you.

  51. Pralay Says:

    then be blind to an enemy that wants to kill them today.
    ———

    And how did you come to come to this conclusion? Just because we don’t agree with you and don’t support Iraq war? Iraq war has nothing to do with terrorism.

  52. california resident Says:

    Bob:
    The Germans couldn’t even cross the English Channel and invade England and that’s a distance of 20 miles.

    How could they possibly cross the Atlantic Ocean? If Britain had fallen to the Germans there would have been no American involvement in Europe during WW II since we would have had no base of operations to launch an attack on North Africa much less Europe.

    So no, militarily there’s not a shred of evidence that George Marshall or any of our military leaders of the TIME were worried that Germany could ever threaten America.

    I absolutely agree with you that World War II was the most important event in modern times and because of America, the world was changed forever and for the better.

    Everything that we have today is due to our victory during the War–computers, aviation and most importantly, a stable democratic Europe and Asia (except for China and N. Korea). The modern standard of living is all due to the fact that America won the war and we then won the peace by rebuilding our former enemies.

    In that regard it was a momentous moral victory but we had to literally destroy Europe and a big chunk of Asia to save it. Over 50 million people died in the War.

    And when the war began for America on December 7th, we had no modern Army, Navy or Air Force. It is a miracle that we prevailed. My brother-in-law is a career Naval officer and I asked him what would happen today if the Navy lost 4 cruiser in one night like happened during the Battle of Savo Island in 1942. Over 1,000 men died when the Japanese sunk 3 American and 1 Australian cruiser.

    My brother-in-law said, “The people wouldn’t accept those kinds of losses. We couldn’t fight a war like that again.”

    I have another friend who recently retired from the Air Force as a Lt.Col. I remember him just shaking his head when he was a cadet at the Air Force Academy when he talked about the losses that our 8th Air force sustained during the War. He said, “I don’t know how the generals could order men into battle like that with those kinds of losses.”

    I’ll never ever say that the War was a “good” war. I only say that we were fortunate that we won and they lost. We destroyed the very countries we set out to liberate. That is the tragedy.

  53. bob Says:

    CA resident,
    Your point is only valid based off of information and outcomes that were not known at the time of the War. We went in not knowing what they outcome would be, and only that there was a considerable threat to out national security.

    In the late 30’s, Albert Einstein sent a letter to FDR concerning the Nazi’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Put two and two together: A highly competent military dictatorship suddenly starts pursuing a young technology that has an enormous potential for destruction. I also recall that the Germans came up with the V2 rocket. What do you think was going through the heads of the upper-ups? So yes- we went into something with a large amount of unknowns but with a sense of absolute urgency to assure that these potentially devastating possibilities weren’t taken out on us .

    To suggest that it was perhaps not as necessary due to the actual outcome is ignorant. What if we hadn’t done a thing? What if we hadn’t shipped the UK, Russia, or anyone else any weapons to fight off the Germans from 1939-1941? Then What? Would the UK have held? What happens to your theory then?

    Oh and by the way, German U-boats did in fact sink a lot of freight within us Waters. In fact, one ship less than 5 miles off the US coast was sunk in 1942. So yes- they had the capability to cross, and did so to great effect.

    Anyhow, this is a tiresome debate. I’m done.

  54. madhaus Says:

    California Resident, whatever your inner troubles are, I suggest you deal with them somewhere other than this forum. You attribute all sorts of emotions and opinions to me that I don’t have and never showed, such as hate and selfishness. Since they didn’t come from me, you are projecting. I want no part of your serious mental instability and suggest you get help in the appropriate place. In the meantime, once you exorcise your demons learn to read for comprehension.

    You are way out of line. Take your Prop 13 exemption and shove it way up your Maginot Line.

  55. california resident Says:

    So many simple minded fools here.
    1. We don’t attack N. Korea because they don’t threaten us and we have no pressing ecnomic or political interests in taking out the communists in N. Korea.

    2. We don’t attack Pakistan because there is ONE person there that we want. Pakistan is an important ally in The War on Terror. We want to cultivate our relationship with them.

    Also, bin Laden is hardly a threat to anyone right now. Al Qaeda is on the run and impotent. We’ll get him one day, don’t worry.

    3. One day we might all wake up to the news that we bombed Iranian nuclear facilities into the stone age. So be patient, if Iran doesn’t change their course we will attack them to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.

    And we all know that Saddam Hussein Obama, (sorry I just had to say that) intentionally misled the world in believing that he had WMDs. Incorrect intelligence wasn’t invented by GW Bush. FDR got incorrect intelligence and it resulted in Pearl Harbor and all of our bases in the Pacific being annihilated.

    President Kennedy had incorrect intelligence and he almost started World War III with the Russians.

    Any way you cut it we’re all better off with a solid foot hold in the middle east since Israel has been carrying America’s water too long now.

    America and the developed world have extraordinary interests in the Middle East. In case you haven’t noticed gas is almost $5/gallon. What would happen if Iran choked off the Straights of Hormuz?

    Oil = American and British and Japanese and Chinese and German and Russian etc etc interests

    God you people are naive and not too bright. Thank God that Obama is going to lose in a landslide.

  56. Pralay Says:

    Any way you cut it we’re all better off with a solid foot hold in the middle east since Israel has been carrying America’s water too long now.
    ——–

    That’s right. Therefore, don’t keep babbling “war against terror” or fighting against terrorists.

  57. Pralay Says:

    Also, bin Laden is hardly a threat to anyone right now. Al Qaeda is on the run and impotent. We’ll get him one day, don’t worry.
    ——-

    Oh, yes, Al Qaeda was strong till 2004 presidential election and magically become impotent after that, right? That explains why there was no DHS Orange Alert on 2004 Christmas evening. Must be another Christmas miracle!

    Secondly, if your president cannot catch a guy who killed 3000 Americans, that means only one thing – president is incompetent. You don’t have to give excuse “bin Laden is hardly a threat“. That sounds too lame and shows that you are a brainwashed guy.

  58. mrbogue Says:

    amen madhaus the one thing I always enjoyed about burbed is the slapstick humor intertwined with serious real estate discussion. I mean its all about the Real Bay Area right? C.R. does seem to be all about hate/viciousness, and from what I have observed no matter what anyone says, he’s right and they’re wrong. If we are all indeed greedy, simple-minded, uninformed POS fools that watch too much TV, then maybe he should find a more conservative board filled with selfish pr*cks, whose hobbies consist of following stupid presidents and trolling over-analysis.

  59. Real Estater Says:

    California Retard says:
    >>1. We don’t attack N. Korea because they don’t threaten us and we have no pressing ecnomic or political interests in taking out the communists in N. Korea.

    Why don’t you just say so? It’s the war for oil interests. Saddam never threatened us either, so stop lying about the “War on Terror”.

    California Retard says:
    >>2. We don’t attack Pakistan because there is ONE person there that we want. Pakistan is an important ally in The War on Terror. We want to cultivate our relationship with them.

    An important ally that does not allow us to go in and capture the single guy responsible for the 911 terror? Sounds a lot like the Taliban.

    >>Also, bin Laden is hardly a threat to anyone right now. Al Qaeda is on the run and impotent. We’ll get him one day, don’t worry.

    LOL. Let me come and level your house. I promise I won’t be a threat to anyone else ever again.

    California Retard says:
    >>3. One day we might all wake up to the news that we bombed Iranian nuclear facilities into the stone age. So be patient, if Iran doesn’t change their course we will attack them to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.

    Why are we not seeing any ultimatums? Why are we allowing such long time for diplomacy to a regime that wants to wipe out Israel from the face of the earth?

    After we attack Iran, shall we attack other countries we don’t like that possess nuclear weapons, such as China? Shall we start WW III, so that more soldiers can have the opportunity to win a Purple Heart?

  60. WillowGlenner Says:

    Oh man I know not to get into this but I can’t resist…..

    I went to both CA public schools in the late 70s/early 80s as well as private boarding schools also in CA that were very expensive. Here’s what they taught about the causes of WWII in the private school:

    – Treaty of Versailles (negotiated by USA) after WWI ensured the German economy would fail
    – As the German economy whithered away, the Jewish sections of German society actually accumulated more wealth and increased their isolation with the rest of German society (the implication being, the jews did not assimilate with the rest of Germany, and started to monopolize the money supply while others were starving).
    – this resentment of the isolated jewish quarter, by suffering segments of German society caused an emotion within the government that the Jews, and their unwillingness to circulate the money supply within the economy, caused the collapse of their economy and country. In other words Jews put their sheer Jewishness above country where no other German would.
    – WWII had nothing to do with Christianity vs Judaism or any religious argument – it was all economic.

    Is that what they teach in public schools? Don’t think so.

  61. madhaus Says:

    WG, my, that’s a rather interesting analysis of the causes of World War II. And here I thought it was the hyperinflation of the 1920s that led to economic collapse, allowing the rise of a megalomaniac (although it took him another 10 years to engineer that after his arrest). If only the danged art school hadn’t rejected his application.

    I’m intrigued that your school blamed everything on us greedy Jews. Did they mention the laws that existed preventing Jews from entering certain segments of German society? It’s so amusing to instead blame the Jews for staying separate when the laws required it. For example, all the men in my family served in the German Army during WWI, but none were permitted to rise to officer because they were Jewish. That’s how it worked, the Jews did the best they could under those circumstances.

    Hitler’s rise was not taken seriously by his ultimate victims until it was too late. Most German Jews considered themselves Germans and couldn’t believe they would be treated as anything else.

    What kind of school was this, anyway? Were they under the influence by Father Coughlin or Henry Ford?

  62. WillowGlenner Says:

    They didn’t blame everything on greedy jews madhaus. What they made very clear was that jews isolated themselves at a time when the nation was under a great deal of stress, and this isolation is what caused the entire country to blame the issues of the day- which were severe economic ones, primarily- on this one group.

    Thats fairly accurate I believe. This is the REAL REASON jews were targeted, because they were an easy target because they were isolated.

    It was a $5K per year boarding school in southern california back in 1980, where rich people sent their kids.

  63. madhaus Says:

    I dunno, WG, as well as loads of family history I studied this in college, and the 12 different texts I read never phrased it like that. Yeah, the Jews were an easy scapegoat with lots of money to impound, but there was never anything in them about the Jews isolating themselves. I really have to question what that school taught you. Given you said Southern California, I’m wondering if it was Orange County. There’s a strain of belief there that tends to blame minorities of all stripes for their problems and refuses to look at how the social, political, or economic system has hurt them or kept them down. It’s almost like in the water there.

  64. Pralay Says:

    WWII had nothing to do with Christianity vs Judaism or any religious argument – it was all economic.
    ———

    In the end most of the genocides are due to economic reasons, whether it is jews holocaust, Rwanda or Durfar.

    In India I have seen many hindu-muslims riots and other regional/conflicts. Although they manifest as religious or regional conflicts, but underlying issue is just economics. When economics goes bad due to failed policies of the state, the minorities become easy targets and scapegoats – as if they are the primary reason for failed economy. For example, the latest in India is the right wing party is targeting migrants from north India.

    Similar kind of issue I have seen here where immigrants are blamed for unemployments (“they are taking away our jobs” kind of mentality).

    When it comes to Germany, the story is no different. The German economy went south due to various failed policies by German govt after WW1 – and that includes creating a system where military industry was the only viable industry.

  65. Pralay Says:

    - this resentment of the isolated jewish quarter, by suffering segments of German society caused an emotion within the government that the Jews, and their unwillingness to circulate the money supply within the economy,
    ———–

    If this is way they taught in high school, then I have say that the book tried to blame Jews people in a very delicate way. The concept of isolation is very subjective. Any person/community can be tagged “isolated” in many ways. In fact you can call me “isolated” because my everyday dinner is Indian food (not cheeseburger or sandwich).
    And not circulating money? I think it has nothing to do with being Jewish. It has more to do with greedy nature of most of the rich people. If US economy goes south, you will find plenty of rich people who would behave same way.

  66. bob Says:

    This has gotten down to a fairly crude argument. The fact is that humans don’t like other humans who are in the minority or act differently or have varying customs. Persecution against religion is nothing new. The Romans enslaved and killed Christians. During the Bubonic Plague, Jews were persecuted because they were thought to be causing the plague. The real reason was because bathing and cleanliness was part of Jewish culture, hence by virtue of their customs, it was also conveniently healthy and prevented them from suffering from the plague as much as the rest of the European populace, who seldom bathed and lived in filth. Yet they were persecuted because they survived. It wasn’t because they were doing anything wrong, but because the rest of the populace was ignorant and looking for scapegoats. The same was the case in Post WW1 Germany. Lastly, exactly who’s fault was it that Germany suffered from their economic depression in the first place? The cause was definitely not anyone except themselves.

    We LOVE scapegoats. If a ship sinks, we blame the Captain. If the economy goes sour, we blame the President. Hell- I know for a fact that I occasionally get flak because I have a Southern accent and therefore am assumed to be stupid from automatic stereotypical assumptions.

    Perhaps it can all be summed up as the nature of humanity. People simply don’t like things that are different and that’s it. In one way or another, you too are different from someone or some group.

  67. WillowGlenner Says:

    I might be transposing something that was taught, after all it was decades ago- but my school definitely taught that isolationism, and economic panic was the root cause of the persecution of the jews in Germany. This was diametrically opposed to what I was taught in CA public schools which didn’t really present any hard reasons for what happened and tended to allude to religious issues. I don’t even remember isolationism being mentioned in my public schools.

  68. madhaus Says:

    It’s entirely possible you’ve transposed or otherwise mixed up some of the causes you were taught, but it’s not too far off an OC attitude I’ve run into before where anything bad that happens to anybody is probably their own fault.

    I’ve usually heard the term isolationism in terms of foreign policy, not as a strategy by a minority group. I’d also ask if what I mentioned above in #61 is new information to you.

    btw I agree completely with Pralay and bob‘s view that this was scapegoating for economic reasons. Hitler did not frame it as a religious issue, but as a racial one, complete with the definition of a Jew as one with 3 of 8 (or more) great-grandparents. His movement had no interest in Jews converting to Christianity, he just wanted them dead.

    We can segue this to real estate with discussion of confiscation of Jewish assets. Or we could let this discussion end.

  69. WillowGlenner Says:

    Your post 61 is not news to me madhaus but if you start a post to me claiming I said something about “us greedy jews” when I said nothing of the sort, I tune out a little, you know? I said assimilation was an issue in Europe and you say essentially that yes it was an issue because it was mandated. OK fine.
    The point I was trying to make, is that a private school in Southern Ca, teaching out of a standard textbook (this was not some wacked out teachers view of the world)- truly tried to explain what happened, where the emotions came from and why- that led to WWII and the persecution of the jews. On the other hand the public schools in CA taught nothing of the sort, and the kids never really “got” why what happened, happened. If you asked kids in public high school in the 80s why the jews were persecuted in WWII, you were likely to get some kind of response that this was about Christianity! What? Thats the difference between private education and public, private has the luxury to present facts.

  70. Pralay Says:

    Thats the difference between private education and public, private has the luxury to present facts.
    ——–

    First of all, I don’t think the presented view you got from private school is PLAIN SIMPLE FACT, especially when it talks about isolationism. It sounds like to very opinionated fact (and a disputed one). It’s perfectly fine to present opinionated and disputed facts in college level where students/scholars are more matured minded. But, in my opinion, high school students don’t need to be served those kind of stuffs.

  71. madhaus Says:

    I also question whether it was in fact a standard textbook, as opposed to one with an AGENDA. Believe me, given my family history, I go out of my way to read about causes of the rise of Hitler as well as WWII, and I have never heard the term “isolationism” as a reason for the entire German people turning on the Jews. Isolationism is a term I’ve heard before… as a discussion of US foreign policy in the 1930s, and what Roosevelt was up against in pushing for US entry into WWII.

    My comment about “us greedy Jews” was a reaction to your stated “cause” of WWII:

    As the German economy whithered [sic] away, the Jewish sections of German society actually accumulated more wealth and increased their isolation with the rest of German society (the implication being, the jews did not assimilate with the rest of Germany, and started to monopolize the money supply while others were starving).
    – this resentment of the isolated jewish quarter, by suffering segments of German society caused an emotion within the government that the Jews, and their unwillingness to circulate the money supply within the economy, caused the collapse of their economy and country. In other words Jews put their sheer Jewishness above country where no other German would.

    The Jews “accumulated more wealth” and had “unwillingness to circulate their money supply within the economy.” What else is that if a bunch of five-dollar words for “greedy Jews?” It sounds like something the Reichspropagandaleitung came up with! What I am hoping is the case is that your textbook quoted this as an example of Goebbels’ work, and you misunderstood it as the actual cause rather than his self-serving rationalization. Because if this isn’t a conflation but the actual contents of the book… To hear that high school students were deliberately spoon-fed this blame-the-victim propaganda is appalling. To hear you defend this muddled thinking as education it is absolutely dumbfounding.

  72. Pralay Says:

    you misunderstood it as the actual cause rather than his self-serving rationalization.
    ———

    And this is the primary reason why these kind of disputed and opinionated facts should not be taught in high schools. It’s very easy to corrupt young minds.

  73. Renter4 Says:

    truly tried to explain what happened, where the emotions came from and why- that led to WWII and the persecution of the jews. On the other hand the public schools in CA taught nothing of the sort, and the kids never really “got” why what happened, happened.

    I don’t think anyone really fully understands why what happened, happened. If my kids don’t come back from school thinking that they’ve got the answers about the Holocaust in particular, and ethnic cleansing generally, honestly, I’ll be just as well pleased. Complexity calls for humility. There’s entire areas of religious philosophy, history, group psychology, etc, where scholars are still trying to unravel the various bits & pieces. I’ve had a Spanish acquaintance argue–and I have no idea how plausible this is, it seems a bit slanderous to me–that there’s something inherent in the nature of German culture that was at fault, and that it could happen again, regardless of whatever minority was involved.

    It is not true that German Jews were particularly isolationist; in fact, according to my reading, they were one of the most assimilated Jewish communities in Europe.

    I’m a Muslim from the subcontinent, incidentally, and this stuff is very interesting to me… I read last year of a farming community in CA, Lodi I think it is, where a big chunk of the population are Punjabi, and rather than being the stereotypical doctors/techies, are actually farming in the new country. The article focused on Muslims, but I met a Hindu family last year.

  74. Renter4 Says:

    And this is the primary reason why these kind of disputed and opinionated facts should not be taught in high schools. It’s very easy to corrupt young minds.

    There’s always interpretation on some level, though, right? Even my desire for the complexity to be acknowledged. When I was learning history it was a basic recitation of facts (British version). I never got to do any of the stuff American kids do with, “Imagine you are a friend of Anne Frank’s & she doesn’t show up to school one day,” or whatever. American educators seem to go for the immersion thing, in which you try to imagine what it would be like in that world. On the one hand, it *should* awaken a kind of passion for history; but then on the other, you’re still looking at the past through the lens of what you’re taught & the culture in which you grew up, and the illusion of connection to the past lets you think you know more than you really do.

    So maybe it’s not as important to buy in a good school district as we think it is.

    So hey, does this whole thing count as an instance of threads following Godwin’s Law?

  75. RealEstater Says:

    I remember hating AP History back in high school. Almost got a B and would’ve screwed up my GPA…

  76. madhaus Says:

    So hey, does this whole thing count as an instance of threads following Godwin’s Law?

    I think this is only the 2nd or 3rd time we’ve gotten a burbed thread that hit the Nazis. But once WWII was brought up, it was inevitable.

    So maybe it’s not as important to buy in a good school district as we think it is.

    It’s important in pre-screening your childrens’ peer groups. Other than that, YMMV.

  77. WillowGlenner Says:

    I didn’t want to get into a debate about WWII, the point I was making is that private schools hit some of the issues of WWII head-on whereas that did not happen in the public school I had attended the year earlier. Was what they taught 100% functionally correct as to various reasons something like this happened? Of course not. Is my recollection cloudy- of course it is. And it wasn’t just the persecution of the jews. For example Pearl Harbor, the private school spent a fair amt of time on the US oil embargo against Japan prior to Pearl, and I heard nothing about that topic in the public school at all. The public school was one grade earlier so that could account for some of it (more mature topics for older kids) but how much? Lets take some recent history as an example. Will public schools document Bush’s “cowboy diplomacy” and actually convey the fact that Bush is perceived as an child with a gun by many EU allies (and these are ALLIES I am talking about). If they do- much of the Bush image will need to be watered down in order to get the textbooks passed through the school board. Private schools have no such limitations- they will take Bush apart in private schools- one thing that is tabu for public schools will be to discuss the appropriateness of Bush praying for advice from God for his executive decision making. This is a hot potato for the public schools.

  78. madhaus Says:

    WG, I also attended both public and private schools, but not boarding school as your did. Where private schools can excel is in having extensive discussions due to smaller class sizes, and in being able to limit which kids they’ll admit (or kick out any troublemakers). Where they may not measure up is lack of standards, most private school teachers don’t have state credentials because they’re not needed, also private school teachers are usually paid less than public school.

    I am not in any way putting down private schools in general, it was the specifics you brought up that concerned me. I sincerely hope you are misremembering those “causes” of WWII because they are seriously distorted.

    Don’t worry about public schools discussing Bush anytime soon. The joke was when we were kids that American history always ended in 1946 because we ran out of class time. We never studied the Cold War, why should my kids study the War of American Aggression in the Gulf?

  79. WillowGlenner Says:

    I actually noticed a really big difference in that public schools spent a tremendous amt of money trying to bring everybody up to the mean in everything, while at least my private school said “to hell with the fact that you are a bad speller Einstein, we are going to work with you in mathematics”, if that makes any sense.

  80. Pralay Says:

    There’s always interpretation on some level, though, right?
    ————

    No. It’s not even issue of interpretation. The material in high school should not be based on some disputed interpretation which is not even capable of standing in front of some basic scholarly scrutiny.

    It’s like inserting Intelligent Design in biology class.

    ———-
    When I was learning history it was a basic recitation of facts (British version). I never got to do any of the stuff American kids do with, “Imagine you are a friend of Anne Frank’s & she doesn’t show up to school one day,” or whatever.
    ———

    That’s personification and humanizing the suffering in war. And personification or humanizing does not change the basic facts.


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