29 November 2016
I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down. . . . This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty unless the opposing side learns to combat poison gas with poison gas. . . . Terror at the place of employment, in the factory, in the meeting hall, and on the occasion of mass demonstrations will always be successful unless opposed by equal terror. Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925
Posted by tomitron at 11/29/2016 09:26:00 PM
25 November 2016
Posted by tomitron at 11/25/2016 10:12:00 PM
24 November 2016
23 November 2016
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.
Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.
1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.
6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don't use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps "The Power of the Powerless" by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.
10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.
14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.
15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.
17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.
19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.
Posted by tomitron at 11/23/2016 09:49:00 PM
22 November 2016
Posted by tomitron at 11/22/2016 05:53:00 PM
21 November 2016
how did we come to this? i sorta know and i sorta don't --- below is a rant this morning from a cousin ---- for the record, i never called her any names, but just kept asking what she thought of all the racism and what not surrounding trump --- she was also ill, i think, because i sent her little photo albums of the protests i attended
all this frightened, anxious, etc is a bunch of crap. Infuriating to me. Where is American's historic bravery, self confidence, and willingness to give someone a chance.....we used to be a proud, self reliant, strong people...now we have college students who have to go to 'safe spaces' and can't take their classes because of an election....where are we going? Thank Goodness for pickup truck driving, gun toters, someone is going to have to save this country when embracing change multicultrualism welcomed immigrants come to slit their throats, burn them in cages, throw folks off buildings, etc (all the things they're doing right now in other countries)...those folks are going to really cry and wish they had a big strong bully to protect them. Because it's going to take folks who don't cry like babies when they don't get their way to fight folks who want to kill everyone who isn't just like them.....I'm really done with this I am quite disgusted with the whole "I'm so afraid" movement. People in general are convinced that the Boogeyman is going to get them at every turn. That it's a wonderful thing to tell each other the duly elected president to be is Hitler ( but everyone they don't like is Hitler, it's quite overused, and thus carries no meaning, like racist). Let the people do something before you begin the constant bitching and whining. Once again, I'm done with this. You've called me enough namesi should have known better than to try with her at this late date: she has a disabled daughter and still gave trump a pass when he mocked the disabled reporter
then this, which is truly horrifying on so many levels:
Posted by tomitron at 11/21/2016 09:20:00 PM
20 November 2016
18 November 2016
Posted by tomitron at 11/18/2016 08:40:00 AM
17 November 2016
Posted by tomitron at 11/17/2016 09:40:00 AM
13 November 2016
No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let's choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
shakespeare, richard ii
Posted by tomitron at 11/13/2016 07:07:00 PM
12 November 2016
Posted by tomitron at 11/12/2016 11:02:00 AM
10 November 2016
09 November 2016
and then nephew jeff's girl friend this morning: "And Jeff is smiling. The epitome of uneducated white male privilege who didn't even vote, has never voted, is thrilled because he understands trumps supporters and simply thinks Clinton is "a cunt". I find all of this beyond terrifying"
followed by his thoughts on facebook:
i don't know him anymore
i'm not sure that i chose the right time to try to cut back on the anti-depressants, also --- and however
Posted by tomitron at 11/09/2016 08:08:00 PM
04 November 2016
“Believe me, nice people don’t go Nazi,” Dorothy Thompson wrote. “Their race, color, creed, or social condition is not the criterion. It is something in them. Those who haven’t anything in them to tell them what they like and what they don’t—whether it is breeding, or happiness, or wisdom, or a code, however old-fashioned or however modern, go Nazi.” Trump supporters are people who, were he to become president, would explain away the mosque firebombing or Attorney General Chris Christie’s “opening up the libel laws” against , just as passive Nazi voters looked away from the “Don’t buy from Jews” graffiti spray-painted on the neighborhood grocery store. These people are lacking “something in them,” a moral code, and their very large numbers are a troubling indicator of a rot in the American soul.
Posted by tomitron at 11/04/2016 08:09:00 PM