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Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:04 PM
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Need advice on using credit cards outside of the USA, fraud alerts...

Hello kind readers,

Some of you know that I love travel very much. In February 2022, I am doing another round-the-world trip (as in 1997) to South Korea, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Colombia. I will be using some local currency, of course, but also my credit cards when I need to.

Question: I know the most important thing to do, is to call the bank/credit union and inform them exactly what you're doing, where you are going, and what you will be purchasing (as much as you can). Yesterday, I did just that. I called my credit union, went through all the airfares and hotel reservations I would be purchasing, and asked explicitly what else I could do to fend off the fraud department. An hour later, the fraud department demanded I call them. I was a tad frustrated.

My impression (perhaps faulty) is that American Express is the most friendly credit card to international travel and what you have to buy.

Any more advice ? I just don't want any problems or have to make any phone calls. Thank you in advance !


P.S. Yes, I am fully aware of COVID-19 issues. I will deal with those. Hopefully by February, the COVID-19 threat worldwide will be either dead or on its last legs.

A parallel: November 1923, Munich Germany, Beer Hall Putsch


To summarize from this lengthy article:

The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,[1][note 1] was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund leaders in Munich, Bavaria, on 8–9 November 1923, during the Weimar Republic. Approximately two thousand Nazis marched on the Feldherrnhalle, in the city centre, but were confronted by a police cordon, which resulted in the deaths of 16 Nazi Party members and four police officers.[2]

Hitler, who was wounded during the clash, escaped immediate arrest and was spirited off to safety in the countryside. After two days, he was arrested and charged with treason.[3]

The putsch brought Hitler to the attention of the German nation for the first time and generated front-page headlines in newspapers around the world. His arrest was followed by a 24-day trial, which was widely publicised and gave him a platform to express his nationalist sentiments to the nation. Hitler was found guilty of treason and sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison,[note 2] where he dictated Mein Kampf to fellow prisoners Emil Maurice and Rudolf Hess. On 20 December 1924, having served only nine months, Hitler was released.[4][5] Once released, Hitler redirected his focus towards obtaining power through legal means rather than by revolution or force, and accordingly changed his tactics, further developing Nazi propaganda.[6]

Now... who would have thought this former Austrian World War One corporal would be relevant and come to power LEGALLY in January 1933 ? Less than ten years later.

Caveat: Yes, yes, there are many differences between the 1923 Nazis and the 2021 Trumpublicans/white supremacists/QAnon gang. The biggest difference, of course, is that anti-semitism is not overt or a major issue for these people.

January 2021 insurrection at the Capitol. What's next ?

On February 25, 1932, Adolf Hitler became a citizen of Germany. Hitler, who was born in Austria, had immigrated to Germany in 1913, and renounced his Austrian citizenship in 1925. After years of being stateless, a fellow member of the Nazi Party appointed Hitler to a low-level government job that came with automatic citizenship.


Good long article to rebut anti-vaccination arguments


It is 6 years old but it seems extremely relevant to 2021's issues.

This lady tells it like it is, about the fight for democracy


Rebekah Jones (former DoH whistleblower) suspended off Twitter for "platform manipulation and spam"


Rebekah Jones — one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ most vocal internet critics — has been suspended from Twitter.

The social media platform has not provided a public explanation for its action, but a screenshot of Twitter’s notification to Jones cites “platform manipulation and spam.” Jones said her account was flagged for spam because she was “overzealous” in sharing a Miami Herald article.

“I am appealing it now,” she said Monday. “I shouldn’t be locked out for long.”

Jones, a former Department of Health data manager fired for alleged insubordination, emerged as a political lightning rod as COVID-19 cases spiked in Florida last year.

Supporters see her as a whistleblower speaking truth to power and exposing an effort by the state to paint a rosier picture of the pandemic. Her detractors say she has peddled disinformation for her own financial benefit, unfairly casting doubt on the reliability of Florida’s COVID-19 statistics.

Both DeSantis supporters and Glenn Greenwald are happy about it. F**** DeSantis and Greenwald.

(Jewish Group) David Dushman, last surviving Auschwitz liberator, dies at 98


BERLIN — David Dushman, the last surviving Soviet soldier involved in the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, has died. He was 98.

The Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria said Sunday that Dushman had died at a Munich hospital on Saturday.

"Every witness to history who passes on is a loss, but saying farewell to David Dushman is particularly painful," said Charlotte Knobloch, a former head of Germany's Central Council of Jews. "Dushman was right on the front lines when the National Socialists' machinery of murder was destroyed."

As a young Red Army soldier, Dushman flattened the forbidding electric fence around the notorious Nazi death camp with his T-34 tank on Jan. 27, 1945.

What small (or large) thing restores your faith in humanity ?

In the face of the usual dreck of life and especially the Trumpublican's rush to fascism, I think we all need the occasional or regular dose of refresh of faith in humanity.

I will give you one trivial one: I use a video-game-viewing service called Twitch. You can watch the games and other events for free, or you can pay $5 a month to gain extra privileges and avoid the recurrent advertising.

It is very common for TOTAL STRANGERS to donate $5 to your account to give you a month of extra privileges. These people don't know me from Adam's housecat. Yes, it's only $5 but still.... it's a very nice generous gesture.

What's yours ?

Hypothetical: Trump announces 2024 candidacy, Twitter and Facebook reinstate him, prosecutions die..

Note: I do NOT believe all those would 100% happen. It's a theory at the Lincoln Project. Listen, please, to the clip below:


If all those happen in reality....depressing, to say the least.

Just for fun: how many of these very large world cities have you ever been to ?


I could type them all out, but the list is topped by Tokyo, and ends with Guadalajara, Mexico.

eta: You have to scroll down the page a little to see the list.

Fun geography games here (my Africa score sucked)

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