The Republic is Burning… to the Ground

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Can you smell the acrid smoke of fascism?  Can you see the flames rising from the once great institutions of the Republic?  Can you hear the screams of the defiant masses as they slowly burn to death in the inferno of authoritarianism as the Constitution chars to ash?  The Republic is burning to the ground.

I’m a cynic.  I can’t help it.  The facts are crystal clear to me.  Der Pumpkin Führer, henchman Steve Bannon, the faithful GOP minions, and the Religious Reich, are gleefully torching the country with blitzkrieg like precision.  Meanwhile, most of the opposing population tries desperately to fight the onslaught using traditional democratically legal and civil means… Protests, calling members of congress, petitions… All of it to no avail.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  This coup was meticulously fantasized about in the wet-dreams of the GOP and the Reich for the past 30 years.  And although it’s far from being well planned and organized, the deceptions that have led to this moment were planned. Instill fear, dehumanize opponents, full tilt legislative obstructions, manufacture “alternative facts”, lie, cheat, steal… The perfect recipe for George Orwell’s “1984” in 2017.

The Russians are Coming

Yes.  Yes, they are.  And Vladimir Putin wants you to know that you have nothing to worry about.  Western democracies have run their course and it’s time to change the guard.  Think I’m kidding?  What happened to the investigation/s into Russian hacking?  What happened to investigations into Der Pumpkin Fuhrer’s dealings with Russia?  What happened to investigations into Steve Bannon and other Reichstag devotees and appointees as to their involvement with Russia?  Nothing.  And there WON’T be.  Why?  Because the GOP controls both houses, and most of the institutions that are meant to be the checks and balances within our democratic republic.  No checks and balances… No democratic republic.  It’s not rocket science.  Speaking of science… With Betsy Devos now confirmed as the new Education Secretary, the teaching of Evolution will soon be supplanted by the teaching of Creationism.  How?  The GOP has plans to terminate the Department of Education.  Not a big deal.  Turn education over to the States and let them decide what to teach.  And you know who wants that really, really, bad?  The Religious Reich.  No national standards.  No interference with the Jesus juice that will be pumped into the veins of children in an effort to rebuild the “Christian Nation” and the future Christian warriors needed to combat the evil brown people, atheists, secular institutions…

Fight?  Resist?

How?  Really.  How?? The onslaught is only two weeks old and the masses are giving it their all.  Even the mainstream media is starting to fight back.  But, I’m afraid that simply pissing on an inferno will not be enough.  Without a congress willing to put the brakes on the abuse of power – a pipe dream for the naïve – and with more deplorable cabinet appointments about to be confirmed… Checks and balances?  Checks and balances?  There are none!  There are no facts.  There are no truths.  Everything has become subjective.  Unless, of course, you’re on the winning team in the war against democracy.  Fight?  Resist?  Yeah.  I’ll keep fighting.  If for only the fact that it’s the human thing to do.  It’s the right thing to do.  More importantly, given the choice between fight or flight, I’ll take fight for survivals sake.  But, I cannot… I truly cannot see through the flames, and smoke, and utter destruction being brought upon this nation.  It’s not just a travesty of injustice.  The Republic is burning to the ground.

The New America – Authoritarians, Fascists, Doomed

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“They attacked liberalism because it seemed to them the principle premise of modern society; everything they dreaded seemed to spring from it: the bourgeois life, Manchesterism, materialism, parliament, and the parties, the lack of potential leadership.  Even more, they sensed in liberalism the source of all their inner sufferings.  Theirs was a resentment of loneliness; their one desire was for a new faith, a new community of believers, a world with fixed standards and no doubts, a new national religion that would bind all Germans together. All this, liberalism denied.  Hence, they hated liberalism, blamed it for making outcasts of them, for uprooting them from their imaginary past, and from their faith.”

Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology (1961)


If you replace the word “Germans” with “Americans” in the above quote, the paragraph is terrifying.  And it should be.  Because the Republican party, Donald Trump and his cabinet, and Trump voters, have embraced this ideology to the letter.  Anyone or anything that the Right disagrees with is automatically considered, labeled, condemned to be “liberal” and must be expunged from the American landscape. It’s time for a New America!

 Authoritarians Anyone?

Donald Trump and the Republican party are authoritarian by nature.  To them, everything in their fantasy world is black and white.  Evil or good.  Their world is one of absolutes. They’re terrified of the shades of gray (and brown) in the uncertain world of reality.  They have rooted themselves in an imaginary past, where the history of the United States is perfect, sanctified, and sacred.  The only thing that stands between them and living in this imaginary past under a vengeful, righteous god, is anyone who disagrees with them.  And it is here where they have nested their authority to subjugate, rule, and conquer.

 Fascists Please

In the book “American Fascists – The Christian Right and the War on America”, author Chris Hedges lays out 14 ways of identifying what he calls “Ur-Fascism”.  Below are some of the 14 ways which are applicable to the Republican mindset today.

Hedge’s writes:

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for actions sake. Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection.  Thinking is a form of emasculation.  Therefore, culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes.  Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Herman Goeriing’s fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play (“When I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals”, “eggheads”, “effete snobs”, and “universities are nests for reds.” The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.”

This should sound familiar… Climate deniers, creationists, anti-vaccination zealots, home schoolers… These are just some of the folks who take irrationalism to new heights of absurd.  It is here that we find the most robust rejection of facts and evidence, and the afterbirth of the slimy scourge of fake news.  Here, I’m reminded of a quote from “Idiot America – How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free” by Charles P. Pierce:

“But Idiot America is a collaborative effort, the results of millions of decisions made and not made, to reduce everything to salesmanship. Debate becomes corrupted argument, in which every point of view is just another product, no better or worse than all the others, and informed citizenship is abandoned to the marketplace.”

Fox News? Breitbart? Name your poison!  Moving on… Back to “American Fascists – The Christian Right and the War on America”

 Hedges continues:

“4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.  For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.”

Disagree with the fascist Right? You’re a liberal, communist, atheist, pig! You’re not a “patriot”!

“5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference.  The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus, Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”

This should sound VERY familiar.  The war against civil rights is well documented.  More so, the current legislative assaults on immigrants, people of color, and others who hold different religious viewpoints, underscores this one well.

 Doomed

 “Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations. The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda – before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world – lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.”

Hannah Arendt “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951)


Yes.  That about sums up where we are right now.  And it is where we are right now that leads me to believe, based on the facts and evidence at hand, that we are truly doomed.  The United States of America, the people, and the country’s institutions, will be tested as never before.  Unfortunately, I cannot foresee any of us surviving this onslaught.  The coffin has been built, the lid is wide open.  All that’s left for us to do is to lay down and close our eyes one last time.  That shouldn’t be a problem.  We’ve closed our eyes to the possibility of this for a long time.

Fascism, Nationalism, Oligarchy – An Education

It’s surprising to me how ignorant Republican voters are regarding the meaning of the words “fascism”, “nationalism” and “oligarchy”.  More importantly, they are totally convinced that these political ideologies are somehow inherent and exclusive to “liberalism” and “socialism”.  This lack of knowledge has led to the fall of American democracy this past election cycle, and is the result of years of brain-drain at the hands of Right Wing purveyors of putrid, polarizing, propaganda.  So, even though I’m officially a cynic of monumental proportions, and suffer from bitterness and disdain amid the ruins of what’s left of our country’s conscience…  It’s time for a last-ditch effort at educating the willfully, or otherwise, ignorant.

Fascism – It’s Elected

Let’s start with the definition of the word.  And before those of you on the Right throw a hissy fit over the use of Wikipedia, let me assure you that you will find the same definition everywhere you look.  I understand that facts don’t matter to you, but at least consider this just once.

From Wikipedia:

“Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.”  (Emphasis is mine)

“Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A “military citizenship” arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.” (Emphasis is mine)

The interesting thing about fascism is that it doesn’t announce itself by showing up at your door to “take your guns” away.  In fact, it wants you to keep your guns as a means of defending itself. A strong militia, straight away, is the goal of fascism and it wants to draw from those, the “patriots”, the people, that are willing to sacrifice for the cause.   Initially, fascism convinces the populace that they hold the power by appealing to the authoritarians in the fold. More importantly, the authoritarians are the key to fascism’s success as a means of getting elected on a wave of extreme authoritarian nationalism. The citizens of Germany and Italy didn’t wake up one morning to find thugs at their doors demanding their guns and taking away their freedoms.  They were slowly coerced, rallied, and then convinced that they were superior.

Nationalism – Potential to Become an Infectious Disease

From Wikipedia:

“Nationalism is a complex, multidimensional concept involving a shared communal identification with one’s nation. It is expressed as a political ideology oriented towards achieving and maintaining communal autonomy, and sometimes sovereignty, over a territory of historical significance to the group. Additionally, it is further oriented towards the development and maintenance of a common communal identity based on shared characteristics typically including culture, language, religion, political goals and/or a belief in a common ancestry. Individuals’ membership within a nation, and their support of the associated nationalism, is illustrated by their concomitant national identity.”

Nationalism in its simplest form is relatively benign.  However, it has the potential to exceed simple patriotic fervor.  In the worst case, it can be driven by racism, xenophobia, with a very focused discriminatory bent.

From Wikipedia:

“There are various definitions for what constitutes a nation, however, which leads to several different strands of nationalism. It can be a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to one ethnic, cultural, religious, or identity group, or that multinationality in a single state should necessarily comprise the right to express and exercise national identity even by minorities.” (Emphasis is mine)

 Oligarchy – Trump Anyone?

The 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump is a great example of what an “Oligarchy/Plutocracy” is.

From Wikipedia:

“Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning “few”, and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning “to rule or to command”) is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people might be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.” (Emphasis is mine)

“Throughout history, oligarchies have often been tyrannical, relying on public obedience or oppression to exist. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which another term commonly used today is plutocracy.” (Emphasis is mine)

 Consider Yourself Educated

Assuming you read through the above and paid attention to the reality of these definitions, consider yourself educated.  What you do with that education is up to you.  In my estimation, it’s too late to change what has already been done.  My only advice is to get used to saying “Heil Der Pumpkin Fuhrer!” and kiss the Democratic Republic of the United States goodbye.

Trust No One

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In my very early years I was taught, much like every other child at the time, to trust authority.  Parents, teachers, coaches, police officers, firemen, immediate neighbors, all had the right to tell me what I could and couldn’t do.  I was taught to listen and obey. I was taught to trust them all.  When I entered my teen years, I quickly discovered that trusting authority came at a price. Of course, the common price was the freedom to be an idiot, stupid, and ignorant. A typical teenaged angst and rebellion. But, for me there was a much more serious and detrimental price.  My need for the necessary guidance to become a productive and confident adult was summarily ignored.  Parents, teachers, coaches, police officers, firemen, and immediate neighbors never once took the time to guide me toward self-reliance, a higher education, or took the time to teach me how to dream and reach for that dream.  Instead, I was maligned, told I would never amount to anything, and that I would always fail. At 13 I was left to my own devices. After my parent’s divorced I ran away multiple times, covering thousands and thousands of miles hitchhiking across the country, bouncing from the road to juvenile detention centers to foster homes, from one school to another.  It was the streets of America where I learned, very quickly, that trusting anyone could cost you your life. It was the streets of America where I learned to trust no one.

 

America the Beautiful

On the open road throughout my teen years, the one thing that stood out to me the most about my travels was how beautiful America was.  The vastness and diversity of the ecology, geography, the places, the people… As dangerous as it was for me to be wandering the country, I always felt that America was still home.  Even though I’d had many different “homes”, America was my real home. I was free.  And no matter how bad things were, or how bad they would get, I knew the open road and the beauty of America was always there for me. For some reason, I still bought into the idyllic, Norman Rockwell, version of America that I’d been taught in grade school.  For some reason, I trusted that one thing, that one single ideal burned deeply into my brain.  America was my home.  America was MY home.  America the beautiful.

 

The Bald-Faced Lie

Some 20 years later, I came to know that the idyllic Norman Rockwell version of America is a bald-faced lie.  It is a carefully crafted illusion designed to manipulate, subjugate, and control the ignorant and the gullible.  Essentially, everyone with a pulse and a penchant for fairy tales.  The great faux nostalgia of U.S. history is nothing more than an attempt to cover up the unseemly, violent, and often despicable birth and creation of a nation that lays supreme claim to the idea of freedom for all.  The “great experiment” has been glossed over with impenetrable acrylic, wrapped in the prettiest of wrapping paper, and then tied tightly with an inviting Bald Eagle shaped bow.  It’s been scented with grandma’s apple pie laced with the aphrodisiac of patriotism.  It’s been masterfully marketed and is jealously protected by a fierce nationalism and exceptionalism of dangerous proportions.

 

Divided We are Falling

American citizens have proven, generation after generation, election cycle after election cycle, that they are deaf, dumb, blind, scared and stupid.  Self-governance can only be achieved if the PEOPLE are attentive, informed, involved participants. Self-governance can only succeed when the PEOPLE listen, open their eyes, have courage of conviction to the principle of freedom for ALL, and are willing to compromise for the benefit of ALL.  Unfortunately, no one appears to really care.  Compromise has become anathema. Anyone or anything that benefits ALL is unpatriotic.   Facts, evidence, knowledge, truth… Totally acceptable collateral damage in a self-inflicted war.  Authoritarians, thugs, deplorables, xenophobes, homophobes, racists, fascists against social justice, fairness, equality… reality.  Divided we are falling.  Democracy.  The “great experiment” is over.  Fear, jealousy, ignorance, anger, violence, tribalism, zealotry… These will now rule the future.

Trust No One

I trust no one.  Survive.  That is all I will do. Trust no one.  Hope?  No.  I have none.  I’ve learned that without trust, there’s no hope. When we can no longer reach out to one another, no matter our differences, there can be no trust.  Trust is for fools.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc

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“What can be done when an important fact is lost in a flood of impostors, and the voice of truth becomes drowned out in an ungodly din? When that voice, though freely resounding, cannot be heard, because the technologies of information have led to a situation in which one can receive best the message of him who shouts the loudest, even when the most falsely?    – Stanislaw Lem-

 

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… Tomorrow, December 19, 2016, the Electoral College will convene to allow the nation’s electors to cast their votes for President of the United States.  In all likelihood, Donald Trump will become the nation’s 45th president.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will take the Oath of Office during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, DC.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… No matter who you are. No matter your party affiliation. No matter your race, your religion, your lack of religion… No matter who you are… If you are a citizen living in the United States of America, the second-hand on your clocks, watches, smart phones, tablets, will begin a countdown to the end of the country and quite possibly your lives.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… If you voted for Donald Trump and are convinced that he’s going to “make America great again”, I forgive you.  If you didn’t vote for anyone, I forgive you.  Both of you are going to face the same demise as those of us who voted, but did not vote for him.  However, when the time comes, when the second-hand stops,  I will be the first to stand, say to you and demand, “Own this moment!  Own this horror!  Own this end!  And as you face this end with all the rest of us, may your last moments be marked by the unbearable guilt of your conscience!”

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… No.  I’m not joking.  I’m not sounding the alarm.  There’s no need for an alarm.  You’re already awake.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic…

 

 

 

Real Is No Longer Reality

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“But Idiot America is a collaborative effort, the results of millions of decisions made and not made, to reduce everything to salesmanship. Debate becomes corrupted argument, in which every point of view is just another product, no better or worse than all the others, and informed citizenship is abandoned to the marketplace.  Idiot America is the development of the collective Gut at the expense of the collective mind.  It’s what results when we abandon our duty to treat the ridiculous with ridicule.  It’s what results when the politicians make ridiculous statements and we do not only surrender our right to punish them at the polls but also become too timid to punish their ideas with daily scorn – because the polls say those ideas are popular, and therefore they must hold some sort of truth, which we should respect.”

 “Idiot America – How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free” –  Charles P. Pierce (2009)

Real is no longer reality.  From the stumps of the political arena, the airwaves of television and radio, and the Internet… To the eyes, ears and mouths of brain-dead consumers…  Real has become a matter of opinion.  And reality is now roadkill.  Up is down.  Down is up.  Science isn’t a noble endeavor. Science is sacrilegious. News isn’t news. News is views. Hot isn’t hot.  Hot is cold. Cold isn’t cold.  Cold is hot. The Land of the Free is no longer free.  It’s “How much can you afford to spend to be free? “

President-elect Trump and his cabinet picks should strike fear into the hearts of the 26% of eligible voters who voted for him.  “Drain the swamp” has turned into widening it, digging it deeper, building a dam, and reinforcing it with $12 billion worth of corporate concrete.  And let’s not forget Trump’s attempt to militarize the civilian controlled military.

Real is no longer reality.  As Charles P. Pierce said: “It’s what results when we abandon our duty to treat the ridiculous with ridicule.”

Three Minutes to Midnight – Two – One…

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On January 26, 2016, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board announced to the world that the hands of their Doomsday Clock would remain at three minutes to midnight:

“Three minutes (to midnight) is too close. Far too close. We, the members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, want to be clear about our decision not to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock in 2016: That decision is not good news, but an expression of dismay that world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world’s attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change. When we call these dangers existential, that is exactly what we mean: They threaten the very existence of civilization and therefore should be the first order of business for leaders who care about their constituents and their countries.” 

– Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2016 –

Tick. Tick. Tick. 2017?

From Daily Kos:

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I wrote about Blind Trust, Faith = Fail in my last post.  Should we place blind trust, and faith, in the leaders of the world because they’re “popular”, “outgoing”, “politically incorrect”?  Should we place blind trust, and faith, in leaders who rule their countries with an iron fist?

I suspect that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board are considering moving the minute hand one minute ahead for 2017.  If they do, your blind trust… your faith… your hope…

This is not a back story to some dystopian television or motion picture screenplay.  This is reality.  And, unfortunately you’re not an actor.  None of us are.  We will be the cannon fodder for blatantly ignorant greed and folly.

Meanwhile… This is what people worry about?

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