Weekend Open Thread: Die Schandmauer

| November 8, 2019 | 116 Comments

Tomorrow is the 30th Anniversary of the opening of the die Berliner Mauer (the Berlin Wall) – or as it was termed more colorfully by Willi Brandt, die Schandmauer (the Wall of Shame). It’s also the beginning of this year’s Veteran’s Day Weekend.

That wall, and the events and East German policies regarding it, were a particularly nasty bit of Cold War history. So the temporal linkage between the two events this year – the Fall of the Berlin Wall and Veteran’s Day weekend – seems somehow fitting.

Sadly, for one reason or another that particularly nasty portion of Cold War history is not well-known these days. I have my own theories regarding why that’s so, but those theories are not the point of this article.

But that bit of history hasn’t yet been totally lost. And it needs to be remembered – along with the inhumane acts committed by those building and guarding it, and the hardships it imposed on those living in Berlin.

. . .

A bit of historical background: at the end of World War II, occupied Germany was divided into four occupation zones. These zones were occupied by the US, the UK, France, and the USSR. The USSR’s zone was easternmost, and included Berlin.

However, Berlin was itself treated separately. It was also divided into 4 zones occupied by the US, the UK, France, and the USSR.

As one might guess, in the Soviet occupation zones a Soviet-style Socialist government and economic system were each rapidly and forcibly imposed by the Soviets. The US, UK, and French occupation zones did not follow suit. The sectors of Berlin occupied by the US, UK, and France in short order thus became a free enclave surrounded by a Soviet-style Socialist dictatorship.

Initially, departure to the West wasn’t that difficult. Prior to 1953, the Inner German Border, or IGB, (the border between the US/UK/French occupation zones and the Soviet occupation zone) was essentially uncontrolled; ditto the border between the US/UK/French sectors of Berlin and the surrounding Soviet occupation zones. Free movement was thus possible by simply sneaking across the border. Unfortunately for those desiring freedom, in 1953 the IGB was closed in all areas but Berlin (some sources say closure began in 1952).

However, conrol of borders within Berlin was handled differently than in the rest of Germany; Berlin was still technically occupied territory vice being part of the new postwar German states formed in 1949. As a result, the sector borders in Berlin remained effectively open. With no physical barrier between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin, free movement between eastern and western sectors was still possible (though closely monitored and increasingly tightly controlled by East German authorities) after 1953.

This situation created extreme difficulty for the new Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), AKA East Germany. By 1961, approximately 3.5 million East Germans (estimated to be roughly 20% of the East German population) had gone west – and a disportionate number of them were skilled technicians, engineers, doctors, teachers, and administrative professionals. After 1953, the vast majority of those leaving did so through Berlin. So the East German authorities, with at a minimum Soviet approval (and possibly in response to Soviet urging), decided to erect what became known as die Berliner Mauer.

The Berlin Wall went up literally overnight during the night of 12-13 August 1961, starting at midnight. It followed the border of West Berlin, encircling it; it divided neighborhoods and, in some cases, families.

Initially, die Berliner Mauer was only a barbed wire barrier; improvements to make it more permanent began immediately. It later became an immense concrete barrier over 100km in length, completely encircling West Berlin, with nine authorized crossing points – and a cleared “death strip” on the East German side, where guards had standing orders to shoot anyone trying to escape.

These orders to shoot explicitly made no exceptions for women and children. From a 1973 version of the orders, translated from the original German: “Do not hesitate to use your firearm, not even when the border is breached in the company of women and children, which is a tactic the traitors have often used”.

Post-unification research indicates documents a minimum of 140 individuals who are known to have died in incidents at the Berlin Wall. The full death toll is thought to approach and possibly even exceed 200; all of the deaths at the Wall will likely never be fully documented. Accounts of these individuals’ demise may be found here.

Another 251 persons died during or after passing through Berlin Wall checkpoints. Finally, an additional roughly 1,000 persons are believed to have died trying to cross other portions of the Inner German Border.

Die Schandmauer was opened, somewhat by accident, on 9 November 1989 by East German authorities (the actual change in policy opening the Berlin Wall and IGB was originally scheduled to have occurred the following day). Physical demolition of the Berlin Wall officially began on 13 June 1990. Small portions had been forced open prior to that date, but in many cases the damaged sections were repaired by East German authorities. Demolition was completed in 1992.

. . .

As I noted above: when die Schandmauer was first installed, it divided neighborhoods – and sometimes families. Here’s a photo of some German grandparents getting a look at their grandchildren, likely for the first time:

The children are being held aloft by their parents in West Berlin. Their grandparents are residents of East Berlin whose homes happened to lie in the Soviet Sector of Berlin near die Schandmauer when it was created.

“And the shame was on the other side.” Indeed it was, Mr. B.

Sidebar: On 6 June 1987, the late David Bowie played an outdoor concert in Berlin near die Schandmauer. The above tune was doubtless one of those in his playlist for the concert.

Attendee accounts indicate that East German crowds gathered to listen. Those accounts also indicate that the East German crowds were clearly audible in West Berlin.

Rioting in East Berlin allegedly followed the concert. According to some, these riots were the first event in a series of internal disturbances within East Germany that culminated in the events of November 1989.

FWIW: the German Forign Office apparently believes Bowie was at least somewhat helpful in bringing down the Berlin Wall.

. . .

A personal note: an acquaintance and I visited a portion of the former East Germany about 6 months after the Wall fell. At the time, remnants of the IGB fortifications were still clearly visible perhaps 100 meters from where we crossed the former IGB.

We then traveled a moderate distance into former East Germany (the visit wasn’t restricted to the immediate vicinity of the former IGB). It was literally like going back in time 30 or 40 years.

The infrastructure in former East Germany was in poor shape, to include the roads (in Germany!). There was still what appeared to be hastily-patched World War II damage visible on some buildings.

There was precious little that appeared to be new construction. Many if not most buildings I saw while passing through a small or mid-sized city – some of which appeared to far predate World War II, and seemed likely at one time to have been rather grand structures – appeared run-down, grimey, and in need of general exterior maintenance.

Conditions were obviously the result of decades of neglect and/or deferred care.

The overall impression was of a dingy, sad, and both economically and psychologically depressed land. The contrast to West Germany was absolutely stunning.

And remember: East Germany was the most prosperous and best run part of the former Soviet bloc. The rest of the Soviet bloc was far less developed and more poorly governed.

So don’t bother to try and convince me of Socialism’s “superiority” as an economic and political system. I’ve personally seen direct and obvious visual evidence to the contrary.

. . .

OK, enough Cold War history for today. Enjoy the WOT, everyone; have a great Veteran’s Day weekend.

“And hey – be careful out there.”

—–

Author’s Note: And before any SJW Leftist blowhard shows up with their “manties/panties in a wad” and starts waxing ignorant with ridiculous statements supporting a nonexistent and nonsensical “right to migrate”, then tries to compare US border control barriers to the Berlin Wall: don’t bother. Doing that will only demonstrate, again, that you’re an illogical fool or ideological dupe – and an incredibly dense one at that.

Why? Because there’s an obvious and huge difference between the two.

US border control measures are there to control unlawful immigration into the United States. That’s something any nation has the absolute right to do, and is little different in that respect than a backyard fence or a locked front door. All three represent the same idea: “Get the owner’s permission before coming inside”.

In contrast, leaving the US via land is easy – just show acceptable ID to the other nation’s border guards (if they’re even there), give a reason, and walk or drive across without further impediment. I’ve personally done so at both US land borders; as I recall, US authorities didn’t even so much as look at me twice on departure.

In contrast, the Berlin Wall and IGB were built to keep East German residents from leaving – e.g., to prevent Soviet-bloc subjects from escaping their “Socialist worker’s paradise” prison-states. (The same was true for the border control barriers along the rest of the Iron Curtain.) In other words: like prison walls, the Berlin Wall and IGB were built specifically to keep people confined – not to prevent unlawful entry.

Category: Historical, Open thread

Comments (116)

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    • ninja says:

      Congrats to KoB for another victory!

      Back to Back Football tomorrow.

      First the Black Knights. Then Crimson Tide. And finally the Dawgs.

      *smile*

      Next week, the Dawgs face the War Chickens. After Thanksgiving, it will be Crimson Tide versus those Chickens.

      And it won’t be until 2020 until the Dawgs play the Tide.

      garbn/rtr/hbtd

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Tanks Troop! Just got lucky today. Sometimes better to be lucky than good. The FIRST two games I’ll be able to see, broadcast on CBS. The Dawgs sold out to ESPN so I’ll have to catch that on the radio. Remember the good old days when they would do a simu-cast on a local channel. All about the money now. I lost any and all respect for anything to do with LousyAnna when they started erasing history. I want the Tide to just beat the Tiger Turds right on out of LSU.

        Enjoy the Games!!! 😀 😀 😉

      • Club Manager, USA ret. says:

        Rollllll Tide!

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        ROLL TIDE!!!

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Well…just…DAMN…. Will have to congratulate The Boys from LSU on helping Alabama beat themselves. Nick I told you not to wait till the last quarter to win the game. LSU came, not only to play, but to win. And they did. At least Go Army had a good day. My Dawgs better do us some good tonight.

          • ninja says:

            KoB,

            5 points.

            5 POINTS!!!

            Yep, Bama just HAD to wait until the 4th Quarter for a comeback.

            Bet Nick is POed at all of the mistakes, I mean “Happy Accidents” (H/T to Bob Ross) his team made.

            Oh, well. Both teams still did well. Same with the Black Knights.

            At least the Stadium was packed, compared to the NFL.

            How ‘Bout Them Dawgs. SEC Rules.

            Beat Auburn. Beat Navy. Beat Schiff.

            😉😊🐘🦅🐎🐐

    • ChipNASA says:

      You’re lucky I was on travel and my computer shit the bed about 8:30 in the morning Friday and it wasn’t until I got back in the office this morning that it worked again. I think it may have been something with the hotel’s unsecured wifi because once at home office and in the docking station, it fired up just fine with my CAC card.
      Cheers dickweeds!!

  1. Hack Stone says:

    Missed it by “that much”.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    Bam Bam Bam Bam…. Another Time on Target Fire Mission Fire Mission Fire Mission from the King of Battle. Rolling like the Tide. Going like the Dawgs. Weren’t even abusing the F5 Key, was on the other thread running my mouth with The Stranger.

    Pulled pork, hot wings and Yuenglings all around. This one is dedicated to you Wilted Willy!

    • Wilted Willy says:

      Thank you my Brother! All I ask is for you to direct your minions to all write their congress critters or you local VSO and ask them to please look into my pos brothers file and put him back in prison where he belongs!!
      Thank you All!!!
      Willy

  3. The Stranger says:

    Sneaky…very sneaky!
    Top five!

  4. Hack Stone says:

    Hack Stone would have posted first on the WOR, but he was on the phone making a sales pitch to an Amish community to pre-purchase their Y3K software. You don’t want to get caught short handed, Y3K is 980 years away.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Change WOR to read WOT. That is what Hack gets for using the mobile device issued by his proud but humble woman employer. Seriously, who ever heard of a cell phone where you have to insert a quarter to get a dial tone?

      • 26Limabeans says:

        If you use a nickel in the quarter slot and
        slam the the coin return button as it drops
        you can get a dialtone.

        Or, stick a piece of wire in the mouth end
        of the hand set and ground it to the booth.
        Instant dial tone.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Hack Stone, the good news about Y3K is that Elaine will still be missing and Bernasty will still be maintaining a minus 6 feet AGL.

      The bad news is the demon rats will still be investigating daTrumpster.

      • Hack Stone says:

        Will there even be mailbox doors in the year 3000? And when archeologists start digging up Bethesda Maryland in the year 3000, what will they think when they find them remains of a 1980’s vintage Jaguar?

        • The Stranger says:

          Why is my mind’s ear hearing “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans?

          • 5th/77th FA says:

            Another installment of history. Gotta Love it. Thanks Hondo. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere near Berlin or too close to the IGB during the early 70s. Had some troops disappear unexplainably/supposedly by the Red Army Faction and or Badar Meinholf Crowd.

            Thanks too, to my man CW on the trivia and to my loyal minions for the congrats on the Coveted TAH Weekend Open Thread FIRST. Heard a tale a good while back attributed to a Reagan official that Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising is what caused Gorby to tear down that wall. 😀 😀

            I’ll try to leave this here for Pappy.

  5. Commissioner Wretched says:

    Love it when it’s sneaky! Since I missed out on the coveted First again, I heartily congratulate my man 5th/77th FA! And for all, the week’s trivia is presented thusly:

    DID YOU KNOW…?
    Did the Apollo 11 astronauts have life insurance during their Moon trip?
    By Commissioner Wretched

    Fall is upon us in full fall force!

    In fact, winter itself is just around the corner, in another six weeks or so.

    The air is crisp, chilled, and clean (somewhere). There’s the hint of cinnamon in the breeze – where it comes from I don’t know, but I’m glad it’s there.

    Deer are scampering around in the woods.

    Migratory birds are doing their migratory thing.

    And I … am inside my office, as usual, putting fingers to keyboard to bring you another trivia column.

    I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but you know I’m always looking for input from you, my wonderful readers. If you feel so inclined, you can drop a note to me at didyouknowcolum@gmail.com and I can almost guarantee you a rapid response, whether I know what I’m talking about or not.

    So, with fall in the air, let’s fall into some trivia!

    Did you know …

    … it is illegal for a man to knit during fishing season in New Jersey? (Frankly, I wasn’t aware New Jersey had a fishing season, to tell you the truth.)

    … Billy the Kid had his first brush with the law when he was 16 years old? Born Henry McCarty (1859-1881) and also known as William Bonney, his first conflict with law enforcement came in 1875, when he was arrested for stealing butter. (See? If he’d stuck to margarine, his life might have turned out very different.)

    … when Mt. Vesuvius in Italy erupted in 79 A.D., destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the gases it expelled reached temperatures of 1,000º F? That is hot enough to cause the liquid inside a human skull to boil and explode in less than one second. (That’s what I call a splitting headache!)

    … velociraptors – the carnivorous dinosaurs made popular in the “Jurassic Park” movies – were not as large as they were presented? Scientists now think the little meat-eaters were only slightly larger than modern chickens. And they are certain that the velociraptors, like most other dinosaurs, had feathers. (Now my dreams will be filled with toothy chickens trying to eat me. Thanks.)

    … the Russians arrived late at the 1908 Olympics? They were using the wrong calendar. Most of the rest of the world had switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian by the turn of the 20th Century, but Russia had not done so and were twelve days late arriving to the 1908 games. Russia did not change to the Gregorian calendar until 1923.

    … the first crew to land on the Moon had no life insurance? The members of the Apollo 11 crew – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (born 1930), and Michael Collins (born 1930) – were unable to obtain life insurance policies at any cost, due to the tremendously dangerous nature of their work. So, before they took off for the Moon, each man signed dozens of autographs, with the idea being that their families could sell them, should the ship not return home. Fortunately, the crew did return safely, and the “policies” were not needed. Those autographs do turn up occasionally on the trading circuits now, and command prices up to $30,000. (Somehow, the idea that an astronaut who didn’t make it back would still have autographs available boggles my mind.)

    … the extinct Tasmanian tiger may not be extinct after all? The thylacine, a marsupial native to Tasmania and Australia, has been known as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf, even though it is neither a tiger nor a wolf. The tiger designation comes from the unusual stripes on its back, while the wolf part derives from the dog-like appearance of the animal. Scientists have thought the thylacine extinct since 1938, but they are re-thinking that since there is video evidence from the 1990s and early 2000s showing what appear to be thylacines in the wild. Until one is actually captured, however, the official verdict is that the Tasmanian tiger is extinct.

    … those “fresh” apples at the grocery store may be much older than you think? To prevent apples from rotting, they are kept in cold storage and treated with chemicals when not in season. Therefore, those beautiful red apples in the grocer’s shelf may actually be a year old by the time you see them. (Yet another childhood memory ruined by the modern world.)

    … the majority of milk drinkers in the world drink goat’s milk? Cow milk is tops in North America, but in the rest of the world, it’s the goat who produces the preferred milk. (Not a baa-a-a-a-d item.)

    … for every 230 cars that are made, one will be stolen? (As long as it’s not mine. Or yours.)

    … the phrase “raining cats and dogs” comes from 17th-Century England? During heavy rainstorms, many homeless animals would drown. Their corpses would float down the flooded streets, giving the appearance that it had actually rained cats and dogs. (Yeah, people kept stepping into poodles.)

    … cockroaches are used in a medicine? A popular Russian folk treatment for the common cold calls for cockroaches to be fried with garlic. (Let ‘em get fried with vodka, like everyone else in Russia!)

    … there is a proposed system of government in which intelligence is the criteria for governance? It’s called a geniocracy. (Well, that’s what they’d call it if the intelligence was high. If not, it’d be called Washington, D.C.)

    … every day, between 50 and 70 billion cells in your body die? To compensate, your body has to make the same number of cells, or else … well, you fill in the rest.

    Now … you know!

    • 26Limabeans says:

      “… those “fresh” apples at the grocery store may be much older than you think?”

      Always check for worm holes sealed over
      with wax.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Here is another little known fact; airplanes require a sufficient level of aviation fuel in order to reach their destination. This is know as The Bernath Factor.

      • rgr769 says:

        It is quite lower than the reserve fuel factor required for VFR and IFR flight. The Bernath factor when followed by our fave founder of the DRG usually turns out to be not quite enough to make it to the runway threshold. His misunderstanding could have been caused by his inability to get fuel burn rates from an IPad.

    • Devtun says:

      People step into poodles, and Shih Tzus. Not much has changed from Old England, and modern San Franshitco.

    • ninja says:

      “the first crew to land on the Moon had no life insurance”.

      Interesting.

      Wasn’t Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on Active Duty in 1969?

      Weren’t they covered by SGLI?

    • Martinjmpr says:

      I don’t know where your first bullet point came from but it’s nonsense.

      The first astronauts were either military officers or at the very least, Federal employees (I believe Buzz Aldrin was a Marine officer when he joined NASA but I don’t know if he resigned his commission when he was assigned to NASA or not) so they would have either had SGLI or FEGLI.

      Either way, it’s not accurate to say they didn’t have life insurance.

      • Devtun says:

        Buzz was chair force btw. Way to smart to be a Gyrene :>)

      • Drag Racing Maniac says:

        Buzz Aldrin was an Air Force pilot, graduated from West Point.

      • Commissioner Wretched says:

        I see a correction of sorts in next week’s column … Aldrin and Collins did indeed have SGLI. The issue was primarily Armstrong’s, as FEGLI coverage wasn’t as much as SGLI according to my sources – and for the other two, it would involve supplemental life policies, not a primary one. Thank you for pointing this out (and shame on me for not remembering SGLI).
        There was actually a policy issued that NASA accepted from Travelers, paid for by two Houston-based companies.
        I should have written the item to note that the men could not afford life insurance policies on their own, because the premiums would have been astronomical.
        Thanks again!

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Speaking of “fresh” Produce, just compare the taste between something grown in the garden versus what you buy in the store that was sprayed and “gassed” as soon as it was picked, I remember sampling citrus fruit fresh from a Florida Orchard that tasted like candy versus store-bought!

  6. Roh-Dog says:

    Congrats FA, here’s your crown and sceptre (you may want to lysol that btws…)
    Have a GREAT weekend yall!

  7. ninja says:

    Thank You, Hondo, for the History lesson.

    Additional information reference the 30th Anniversary:

    Ronald Reagan Statue To Be Installed in Germany, Marking 30 Years Since Fall of Berlin Wall”

    https://nypost.com/2019/11/08/ronald-reagan-statue-to-be-installed-in-germany-marking-30-years-since-fall-of-berlin-wall/

    “The U.S. Embassy in Berlin is unveiling a statue of Ronald Reagan, a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on a site overlooking the location of the former president’s iconic speech imploring the Soviet Union to remove the barrier.”

    “The larger-than-life statue is being installed Friday atop the embassy’s terrace, at eye-level with the landmark Brandenburg Gate in downtown Berlin.”

    “The gate, on the East German side of the Berlin Wall, was the backdrop for Reagan’s 1987 speech when he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to go further with the reforms he was instituting.”

    “Reagan implored him: “If you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

    You can see the Ronald Reagan Statue at this 2 Minute Video:

    “Pompeo Helps Unveil Ronald Reagan Statue in Berlin”

    “The U.S. Embassy in Berlin unveiled a statue of Ronald Reagan on Friday at a site overlooking the location of the former president’s iconic speech imploring the Soviet Union to remove the Berlin Wall.”

    “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the inauguration of the work a “monumental moment” before helping remove the cover from the larger-than-life statue on the Embassy’s terrace, at eye-level with the top of the landmark Brandenburg Gate.”

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      I still challenge liberal snowflakes with the challenge question of “If Socialism is SO great then why does it have to be kept upon a populace at gunpoint once it’s inflicted?” to which the reply once their hyperventilating has ceased they whimper that it still hasn’t been properly applies, liberalism is TRULY a Mental Disorder!

      “I RISKED EVERYTHING to escape from Capitalism” said NO sane person ever.

  8. Lars Taylor's Narcissism says:

    I tried this, but it did not work because my farts lasted longer than my comments.

    https://youtu.be/l88AL3GJFCg

    • David says:

      NOTHING lasts longer than Lars Taylor’s comments. When still an intel officer, they changed the name of his meetings from ‘briefings’ to ‘foreverings’.

      Re ninja’s comments: if Trump said that, the headlines would read “Trump offers quid pro quo to Putin and Twitter users clap back”

      • Commie-Tsar says:

        I must do my part to indoctrinate all of you to the ways of woking in a socialist paradise. I always present to you my binders full of empiric data that has been massaged to fit the correct narrative. My talisman (THE FLACCID MOCROPENIS OF TRUTH) is all that I need to lead you and the other members of the naive working class to the socialist/communist workers state that all of you are desiring.

        ORANGE. MAN. BAD.

  9. ninja says:

    On 5 November 2019, the Huffington Post came out with this article.

    Seriously?

    You can only guess what they are advocating based on the title of the article.

    “The Environmental Impact Of Your Thanksgiving Dinner”

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/thanksgiving-dinner-ecological-impact_l_5db07ef7e4b0d5b78944bc6e

    Well, these two have a comeback on the article. The video is hilarious.

    “HuffPo Writer Wants To Limit Thanksgiving Because Of Climate Change: Tucker Carlson And Mark Steyn Push Back”

    • rgr769 says:

      Watched it last night. This idea is classic progtardism. I like Tucker’s idea that these rich proggy pols should have to plant a tree for every mile they fly in their private jets.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      FUCK THEM and their ilk to death up the ass sideways with rusty tangled barbed wire wrapped in asbestos soaked in diarrhea and nuclear waste. When was the last time any of those pampered candyassed chickenshits mentioned China and/or India, both of which pollute FAR more and worse than the USA does!

  10. Devtun says:

    More SEALs behaving bad to the bone. Four SEALs arrested in Okinawa for alleged drunk disorderly behavior. Wonder if their CO, XO, and CMC gets the sack like at SEAL Team 7…

    https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/10/29/another-report-of-special-operators-behaving-badly-this-time-in-oki/?utm_source=clavis

    • ninja says:

      Thank You, Devtun, for updating this Story for us, i.e. identifying the Four belonging to the Naval Special Warfare Command.

      How does that song go about drunken sailors?

      *smile*

  11. ninja says:

    Here’s another interesting story reference the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall:

    “Fake US Soldiers ‘Verboten’ at Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie Amid Reports They Harassed Tourists”

    https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/fake-us-soldiers-verboten-at-berlin-s-checkpoint-charlie-amid-reports-they-harassed-tourists-1.606042

    “Actors dressed as U.S. soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin have been banned from the iconic Cold War location because of their aggressive and abusive way with tourists, city officials said.”

    “Passersby were “literally forced to pay for a picture with the actors,” Stefanie Kunze, a spokeswoman for the district in Berlin that houses the former border crossing, said in an email.”

    “Following several complaints from citizens and tourists, local authorities decided to take action and bar the soldier-impersonators from the popular tourist site, she said.”

    “The impersonators, who were from the casting agency “Dance Factory,” were verbally abusing and even following tourists who refused to offer donations after having their pictures taken with them, the German newspaper Bild reported Monday. Around 10 actors from the agency posed for pictures and stamped tourist documents, the tabloid said.”

    “The actors did not have a permit to masquerade as U.S. soldiers at the site, said Kunze, and were only “tolerated” by authorities up to now. Police will intervene if any of the soldier-impersonators continue working at the former border crossing, she said.”

    • rgr769 says:

      I would love to see some of the photos of these fake soldiers. Bet they are rocking lots of bogus bling on their costumes. They seem to have acted like the squeegee pests in New Yawk.

  12. ninja says:

    54 years ago today, 8 November 1965:

    On November 8th 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on “Operation Hump”, war zone “D” in Vietnam, were ambushed by over 1200 VC. Forty-eight American soldiers lost their lives that day.”

    “Severely wounded and risking his own life, Lawrence Joel, a medic, was the first living black man since the Spanish–American War to receive the United States Medal of Honor for saving so many lives in the midst of battle that day.”

    “Niles Harris, retired 25 years United States Army, was one of the wounded who lived. This song is his story. Caught in the action of kill or be killed, greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his brother.”

    Never Forget.

    • SFC D says:

      Great minds, Beans. Gotta be a signal thing…

    • The Stranger says:

      I remember that Jonn posted an article about COL Rescorla before. May be nice to post it as a “Blast from the past” to remember an honorable man who died doing his duty.

      Reminds me: I had a Brit classmate in OCS who had a great sense of humor and was an all around good guy.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        Having read “We were soldiers once” before
        9/11 I was stunned to see his name and story
        of heroism on that Day.
        I look for it each year as there are many who
        see his life as a model for Americans to follow.

    • Thunderstixx says:

      The picture on the cover of the book, “We Were Soldiers Once; and Young” and subsequent articles and other postings is a picture of Rescorla.
      The movie took a lot of artistic license, but the best part of it is that he treated all of the GI’s in that movie with the deep respect they deserved.
      Read the book, quite enlightening.
      I traded a few emails with his lovely wife a couple years after 9-11.
      She was still heartbroken as the two of them loved each other more than anything.
      If you can, please say a prayer for Rick Rescorla, his wife Susan, Colonel Moore and all those that fought at the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley.
      Mr Rescorla saved every one of the charges that he was responsible for from Morgan Stanley and died trying to save as many more as he could…….
      He predicted 9-11 immediately after the first
      WTC bombing and was proven right on the method of attack.
      This has a lot more information than I could ever hope to convey.

      https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/09/13/story-rick-rescorla-vietnam-vet-and-9-11-hero.html

      Take a few minutes and read it, you won’t be disappointed and if you don’t get some tears, you, my friend, are a cad…

  13. ninja says:

    SFC D:

    You did not hijack the thread.

    THANK YOU and 26Limabeans for sharing the video and story on Rick Rescorla.

    And Thank You to Pappy (The Stranger) for the Kudos on the Video/Song.

    Those heroes, to include Lawrence Joel, Medal of Honor Recipient, need to be recognized more often.

    And thanks to Mason and AW1Ed, they are.

    Hanoi Jane cares more about the bogus “Climate Change”. Said she who protests on that topic, but fails to realize that her Plastic Surgeon had to drive to his office/hospital to stretch her plastic face and other parts of her traitor body.

    Hanoi Jane. Loser.

    Rick Rescorla. Winner.

    The Soldiers of the 173rd Brigade and Lawrence Joel. Winners.

    Here is Lawrence Joel’s Story:

    https://www.dodlive.mil/2018/02/12/army-medic-receives-medal-of-honor-for-heroic-actions-in-vietnam/

    His MoH Citation:

    https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/2182

    SALUTE TO THOSE HEROES.

    SCREW HANOI JANE.

  14. Hack Stone says:

    This week also marks the fifth anniversary of the 2014 midterm elections, in which a Florida Republican Congressman lost his seat, setting off a chain of events that caused a major shakeup in the executive leadership of a proud but humble woman owned business that sells software to the federal government ultimately leading to the disappearance of Elaine Ricci. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

    #BringElaineRicciHome!

  15. Cameron Kingsley says:

    Here are some pictures from Tokyo Disneyland. I know some of you train lovers will take interest in the Western River Railroad. Fun fact: it is the only Disney railroad that does not complete a full circuit around the park due to Japanese laws regarding trains so it instead was built with one station which can be found in Adventureland to skirt this rule (I do believe the law was later amended to exclude the park). It is also a 2 foot 6 inch narrow gauge route while the railroads at the rest of the parks are three foot narrow gauge making it the smallest of any Disney park. All locomotives are named after American rivers. Names are, Colorado, Missouri, Rio Grande, and Mississippi.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/mufWgw3vJ4v8CvVx6

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnCF5_X3C5U&t=115s

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_River_Railroad

  16. aGrimm says:

    There is always the 10% who don’t get the message, isn’t there? Shamefully, the bride and I fell into that category. Last week we finally discovered TAH changed its URL. We thought TAH had gone bye-bye.

    The bride has me going back through all the FGS stories we missed. Yeah,she’s kind of blood thirsty that way. Anyway, call us stupid (just don’t call me late for dinner)and please welcome us back.

  17. ninja says:

    Anyone here enjoy watching “Old” Movie Stars dancing, such as Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, Groucho Marx, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Mickey Rooney, etc. etc.?

    If so, check out this 4 minute video of “Old” Movie Stars Dancing to the tune “Uptown Funk”.

    Nostalgia mixed with Modern.

    Whoever put this together is a genius. Blending old with new. The past with the present.

    Classy!

    Enjoy!

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Ya don’t see moves like that anymore…

      • rgr1480 says:

        Damn! Those splits near the end hurt ME!

        Great dancers! Fred Astair, Gene Kelly, James Cagney, Buddy Ebsen, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson!!!

        Plus all the girl dancers!!

        • David says:

          The Nicholas brothers, I believe in “Stormy Weather” for the splits descending the giant stairs. Forty years LATER the surviving brother showed he could still do it in a movie called “Tap”, probably Gregory Hines’ best film.
          Oh, speaking of stairs-the quick shot of Jimmy Cagney dancing down the White House stairs in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was an ad lib. Think of how good you have to be to throw off a two story dancing ad lib in one take. And they call twerking dancing…

  18. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Fiftysomething and Honorary First once again.

    ((((OVER))))

  19. Ret_25X says:

    New Topic:

    Why does this organization exist?

    https://www.naavets.org/about-us/

    One of the first cause problems in the USA is the proliferation of “veteran’s” organizations…all competing for members, money, relevancy, and mission space.

    The first step in stopping SV is going to have to be a complete clean up of the VSO landscape….

    At least that is how I see it.

  20. LC says:

    Mark Bowden, the author of “Black Hawk Down”, has an article about top military officers on Trump. It won’t go over well with this crowd, but it’s still an interesting read:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/military-officers-trump/598360/

    • ninja says:

      Too bad The Atlantic did not interview Top Military Officers who served under Obama, Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, FDR, Wilson….

      I left out Truman because he DID have a Run-In with a 5 Star.

      I left in Nixon because he DID bring home POWs.

      Would be nice once in a while to read articles about Folks that like President Trump and working for him.

      Thank You, anyway, LC, for sharing. Can you imagine serving under Hillary or Bernie or Elizabeth or Joe?

    • timactual says:

      Now I am confused. I thought the folks here were supposed to be war-mongering, militaristic hard-line hawks who slavishly believed everything the military-industrial complex said.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        I believed them every month for thirty years
        when the paycheck cleared.
        The 401K was awesome and lives on in CDs.
        The “exempt salaried” pension at 65 is generous,
        lifetime and fully funded beyond my demise.

        Dwight was right but he gave us high speed roads.
        Who doesn’t like high speed roads?
        I drive a nice fast vehicle on a well kept I-95
        in northern Maine. Heh, it’s a purple heart highway!
        Thanks Ike.

  21. Thunderstixx says:

    I just found out that the Madison WI VA feels that, as they have so totally fucked up my daughters ankle, that they now need to amputate her foot……
    Amputate my daughters foot………
    Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck………
    Ad Infinitum….

  22. GDContractor says:

    Watched the first few episodes of Season 2 Jack Ryan with my girlfriend last night. “Bishop” washed out of Buds, went SWCC, and has a CIB in his shadow box. It’s a thriller!

  23. Just An Old Dog says:

    As far as the Fall of the Berlin Wall I remember the “Sticker Shock” That the former West Germany went through when they realized it would take Decades To get the Former East Germany’s Infrastructure up to standard.
    It will even be worse when Korea is united.

    • David says:

      Martin Cruz Smith (“Gorky Park”) described reunification as like waking up after a wild night with a woman you’ve lusted after for years, to find she’s taking your wallet and car keys.

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        Gorky Park was Martin Cruz Smith’s first novel. I might be wrong, but the line about the woman, wallet, and car keys sounds like it might have come from Red Square. As it happens, I’ve just finished re-reading Havana Bay, the one set in Cuba after the Russians have all but left.

        Homo Sovieticus wins again…

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          Smith’s first novel was “The Indians Won”, an alternate history set in the eras of the old West and “current”.

          The major history change was that someone managed to keep the 1876 war coalition together, thus an eventual “Indian Nation” split the USA into two united but separate coastal blocs.

  24. Skippy says:

    So I’m venting here
    But WTF gives with the IG report that was supposed to be released the first week of September and
    Then the FOIA that was supposed to be released the 3rd week of September????
    It’s now November and my low info voter friends
    Think this is telling of no collusion and that comey
    Is innocent of what he’s being accused of
    It’s got me thinking maybe they are on to something
    It doesn’t take 3 years to get to the bottom of the
    BS that happened back in 2016 does it ???
    How am I supposed to debate the issue
    Here when it looks like Barr is covering up what these dirty shit balls did in 2016 ???

  25. 26Limabeans says:

    Donated a twenty for “veterans” today and got
    thanked for my service and a “buddy poppy” for
    the rear view mirror.
    Local Legion thing.
    In your face on the Post Office steps.
    I love it.
    It is amazing the excuses people offer as they
    slink away, fishhooks in their pockets.

    Don’t just let people thank you for your service.
    Get right in their damn face and demand it!
    And roll them for a few bones while your at it.

  26. 26Limabeans says:

    Many that served at Loring AFB stuck around after the closure. Nice place to live and raise kids.
    Here is a good example of what it is like to be a
    veteran in the area:

    https://www.wabi.tv/video/?vid=564701802

    I visit Presque Isle occassionally for the Super
    Whalemart but it is the Medical care that is the
    gem of the area and the large percentage of AF
    veterans working in the medical field.
    Figures they would raise good kids, have good
    schools and hospitals.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The Hoff celebrates at Wall in ’89 (Communism couldn’t do that):

  28. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Los Angeles California versus Kigali Rwanda.

    …..daaaaaaaaanng….

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/11/how_dystopian_los_angeles_measures_up_to_rwanda.html

    Anyone been to Kigali recently who could confirm (or not) the statements of the article?

  29. ByrdMan says:

    Good morning everyone,

    I have a favor to ask.

    A high school friend and fellow Marine recently lost his fight with PTSD. His family is trying to raise money to get him to his home in Ohio. I have included a link to the gofundme. Any help anyone can offer would be appreciated.

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/vcvqy-bring-tommy-home?pc=fb_dn_postdonate_r&fbclid=IwAR0-gYe-MOAE7VIKpbMVMa4EvmZGWME3hlKGUlJuHL_KS7YKbl8l-bVd2u0

  30. Frankie Cee says:

    I have closed the “Go Fund Me” that I had. I didn’t raise enough to buy another, older, travel trailer, (my residence of choice), so I use the money that I did raise to reinforce the weakened areas of my trailer. It made the move to my new location and has been set up and leveled. I thank those who did help out.

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