Showing posts with label Duce!. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Duce!. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Any Questions?

They're Selling Postcards Of The Hangings

Granting that it is not necessary to like the leaders of a democracy, it is necessary that they grasp the responsibilities of democratic governance, including respect for free speech, reciprocal obligations, and public accountability. In a week’s time, Trump and his proxies have trampled on the expectations of even this very low bar, throwing tantrums over crowd size, naming billionaires with no civic experience to prominent cabinet positions, and making the stunning, Orwellian claim to the existence of “alternative facts.”

Alarming as each moment has been, we cannot misjudge such actions as being merely appalling statecraft. Rather, when taken as a whole, they amount to a fairly coherent set of actions that displays the traits of an emergent totalitarian regime. This is unprecedented in American history.
When the president’s chief strategist declares he is at war with the press and identifies the pillars of free speech as “the opposition party,” we need to ask how many institutions will be severely weakened, maybe permanently, as an administration wantonly challenges the foundations of democratic life.

-- Christopher Lebron, "What Totalitarianism Looks Like";
    Boston Review, January 28, 2017   (Courtesy Soul Of America)
I see a few key patterns here. First, the decision to first block, and then allow, green card holders was meant to create chaos and pull out opposition; they never intended to hold it for too long. It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.

... Note also the most frightening escalation last night was that the DHS made it fairly clear that they did not feel bound to obey any court orders. CBP continued to deny all access to counsel, detain people, and deport them in direct contravention to the court’s order, citing “upper management,” and the DHS made a formal (but confusing) statement that they would continue to follow the President’s orders. (See my updates from yesterday, and the various links there, for details) Significant in today’s updates is any lack of suggestion that the courts’ authority played a role in the decision.

That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get [Italics Added]: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored.

Yesterday was the trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States. It gave them useful information.

Now for the less pleasant part of this: What is the likely next step, in each of these cases?

While I hope that most people are beyond the stage of saying “oh, this is all just campaign rhetoric,” I know that many people will still say that... But given that in his first eight days in office, Trump has proven himself quite honest on the campaign trail — going out and doing exactly the things he said he would ... I’m hoping people are starting to realize that no, it wasn’t just a joke.

So I expect to see certain next steps ... each of these is a major move, which can have significant political value if spread out over time. This is roughly a roadmap for the next 2–3 years.

>> For Latinos, increased laws and orders exerting pressures on employers, landlords, etc., to get rid of anyone who even might be undocumented... i.e., making the situation bad enough to cause people to flee the country...

>> For Muslims, increased surveillance of (leading up to registration of) groups. The next big step would be bulk revocation of visas from people from various countries, at which point they fall under the same “illegals” program as is set up for Latinos. This also gives political cover for mass deportation — which, as an operational footnote, also requires mass internment for logistical reasons...

>> For black people, an increased crackdown on protests, if that’s actually possible... Any protest, no matter how peaceful, will be declared a “riot” and a reason for sharply increased police presence, not just then, but going forward; we should expect to see a lot of very visible marching of cops through the streets, arrests of anyone for insubservience, and so on... already happening; I simply expect the knob to be turned higher, much as it was in the 1960's...

>> For trans people, a systematic passage of laws somewhere between legalizing and mandating discrimination in all things...  I would expect that this is the first place where we’ll see a resurgence of “purity” laws. We used to have a lot of these, e.g. “gay people are a danger to our children and cannot be allowed to work in schools.” Here, you could not only have that, but you could have restrictions on where people are allowed to live...

>> For the press, I expect to see real attempts to silence it — but we’ll see how the power balance plays out. This is not going to be a simple fight.

>> For academia, I expect to see tremendous pressure brought to bear immediately: all research funds for research which either goes against some policy objective of the administration (e.g., climate research), or which sounds too aligned with “liberal elites” (e.g., anything involving gender and sexuality), will be targeted first... the first major orders cutting research funds were issued last Tuesday...

...Milo Yiannoupoulos is scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Monday, for example; it will be interesting to watch how the administration responds to any opposition to his presence. (NB that at his last speech, at UW last week, a medic was shot by a neo-Nazi. Past speeches he’s given at universities have included doxxing and calling for attacks against individual students. Sending him to talk at universities is a deliberate provocation.)

I expect to see a lot of people described as “un-American” and this to be used as an excuse to do various things to universities — which are not just schools, but also where people meet, discuss, and organize, things which the regime has a lot of reason to oppose.

... Now the grimmest part of all: Working through timelines. I’m going to be extremely blunt about this, because measuring these timelines accurately and knowing when to jump is the most basic survival skill I was taught from childhood... I also know that this time people are affected who don’t have twenty generations of practicing this behind them, so we need to speak out loud sometimes.

... For foreign-born Muslims and Latinos who are undocumented, related to someone undocumented, or who might be confused [about their documentation status], I’d say that the red flag is up, and it’s time to consider exit strategies with a 6-month window.

US-born Muslims, Latinos who have more stability inside the country, and Jews have a somewhat longer time horizon available, but I’d start quietly thinking about options for when things change.

Advice for the black and trans communities is simpler, because everyone already knows it: Organize! The advantage there is in numbers and shared strength, and in community. That’s also good advice for all of the other groups: even if you’re thinking about your exit strategy, you have very good reason to make common cause, and for everyone to work and pull together. That’s the thing that has a chance of preventing all of this, and of saving the most lives when that fails.

-- Yonatan Zunger,  
    "Trial Balloon For A Coup?", January 31, 2017; and
    "What Things Going Wrong Can Look Like", January 30, 2017
    Mediumdotcom (courtesy Soul Of America

“Prepare for malice; hope for incompetence.”
 -- ( @nomikkh )


Not everyone agrees with Yonatan The Wise. Courtesy of Your One Stop Shop For Cats 'n Culture, we bring you "Liberals On The Edge

P.S. -- Not like Sam Kriss doesn't make a point... but you don't have to hear Ian McDiarmid cackling Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen in the background to find it plausible that Lil' Stevie Bannon, Rinse "Nancy" Prebius, Ugly Bignose and Tiny Teddy have a plan. These people are the incarnation of evil; they smell and don't fit in their clothing very well, but they're not stupid.   

Overreaching; greedy; besotted with a sense of power, yes -- and, by the way, it's the overreaching and arrogance which will ultimately be their undoing. Sadly, that Undoing may mean the same for all the rest of us.

( Artist Unknown - Courtesy TomClarkBlog, via Soul Of America; February 2, 2017 )

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Morning Of The Day Before

January 29, 1933

Statue Advertising Restaurant, Northern China
(John Woo, Reuters / 2016)

(Sh'vat, 5693, for those who do.  Note: The 1933 [Gregorian] calendar is the same as that for 2017.)

Poet Sarah Teasdale dies in New York City after an overdose of sleeping pills. She is most commonly remembered for "There Will Come Soft Rains" (aka War-Time), published in 1920.

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound...

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

On January 29, Edouard Daladier, French centrist politician, was asked to assume position of Prime Minister and form a new coalition government, which would last from January to October, 1933.

In 1938, Daladier was again a minister in (yet) another coalition government in France, and with extreme reluctance supported the 1938 Munich agreement to cede the Sudeten portions of Czechoslovakia to Germany, and (presumably) avoid a general European war.

Returning to Paris after the agreement was signed, Daladier expected hostile crowds, but was instead warmly cheered. A combat veteran of the Western Front in WW1, Daladier understood: The Great War had been such a monumental bloodletting for the world, a fall of European empires and whole ways of life, that few people wanted to see new monsters on the horizon.

However, Daladier understood that Munich was nothing but appeasement. He had no illusions about the ultimate intentions of Hitler and the nazis -- to him, Munich only delayed what he saw as an inevitable war. 

Seeing the crowds cheering his arrival -- to the man on the street, war over Czechoslovakia had been averted! Yay! -- Daladier turned to an aide and said sadly, "Ah, these morons".

German Chancellor General Kurt von Schleicher had resigned on January 28th. The recently re-elected German President, Paul von Hindenburg, had to appoint a replacement who could form a new government. On January 29th he offered the position to Franz von Papen, who refused.

von Papen had already been Chancellor from June through November, 1932. The possibility of another civil war in Germany between the extreme right and extreme left was growing, and von Papen had tried and failed to resolve tensions. On January 29th he suggested to Hindenburg that Hitler be named Chancellor -- because, he explained to the old Field Marshall, Hitler could be controlled.

The Weimar Republic had survived the 1919 civil war between the Center-Right and the 'Spartikus' Left (which became the Communist Party), only because the Center begged the German army to crush the Leftists. That bargain linked the survival of a moderate democratic republic to the officer class, heavily linked to Prussia's landed nobility -- part of the same mixed bag of conservatives which had always been on top under the Kaisers. 

The 1929 stock market crash (Thanks, America! Didn't see that coming!) resounded around the world. By 1932, the Depression had kicked Germany's population to the curb. The most significant aspect of the country's politics was how the majority appeared to gravitate to one extreme or the other in their political spectrum. Times were desperate; there wasn't much of a Center left to hold.

On the left were the Communists (KPD) and Red Front. On the right were a number of nationalist / conservative parties; the nazis (NSDAP) were the most radical.

Something usually glossed over in summary histories about the period is the backstage maneuvering by the same traditional conservative layers of German society, attempting to maintain a grip on power. In April of 1932, a national election was held: Hitler ran against Hindenburg for the Presidency of the German Republic -- and while the NSDAP overall made gains in the Reichtag, Hiter wasn't popular enough to beat the Old Man.  

National elections for Reichstag deputies saw support for the nazis rise to 37% : they were the majority party. Anyone who wanted to govern in Germany's parliamentary system would need their support (Remember, however -- Hitler's stated position was to eliminate all political parties in Germany, except his own).

In May of 1932, the moderate conservative government was frightened there would be an eventual revolution from the Left  -- enough that General Kurt von Schleicher, and a previous Chancellor, Franz von Papen, held secret meetings with Hitler to offer a proposal. 

In order to keep the KPD and the nazis from fighting in the streets, the brownshirts and SS had been banned from holding public rallies and marches. von Schleicher told Hitler the ban would be lifted -- also, the Reichstag would be dissolved, and new elections called. The then-Chancellor, Heinrich Bruening, would be dismissed by Hindenburg.  von Papen would replace him... and Hitler would support von Papen's conservative nationalist government. 

Conservatives were just as frightened of Hitler and his NSDAP as they were the Kommunisten Partei Deutschland. This was an attempt to appease Hitler by including the nazi party in a legitimate government -- the nazis would have a minister or two in the cabinet, he was told; they would have a real 'seat at the table'. Hitler agreed to von Schleicher and von Papen's offer -- only in order to have the ban on nazi public appearances lifted. 

So, Bruening was dismissed; von Papen was named by Hindenburg as Chancellor. However, Hitler had no intention of being co-opted into von Papen's government, and said so -- that he considered von Papen's government a 'temporary measure'.

When the political situation continued to deteriorate through 1932, Hitler claimed to be the only political figure who could hold the Republic together. He requested a meeting with President von Hindenburg so that he could demand to be appointed Chancellor. 

In a humiliating session, the old Field Marshall treated Hitler like the ex-Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) he was, and refused Hitler's demands. The entire episode fed into Hitler's general delusions, and made it impossible for the conservatives to later offer him anything less than what he wanted -- to control the government of Germany.

On January 29th, 1933, the New York Times ran three separate articles about events in Germany.  The first looked at European stock markets, saying “apprehensions [are] generally felt over the fresh evidence of Hitler’s influence in the German situation.”

The second summarized events in Germany, stating that Hindenburg was seeking a coalition government -- and that Hitler could only be made part of it through a guarantee that his power and that of the nazis would be limited. Many leading intellectuals in Germany had serious misgivings about any government that might include Hitler -- “a straight Parliamentary government headed by [him]... is not envisaged in sober-minded political quarters.”

The third article was a long piece on Mussolini, Stalin, and Hindenburg. Hitler was only briefly mentioned, in comparison with Hindenburg; the article spoke of Hitler's "extreme policies", and inferred that he and the nazis were not the future of Germany in the same way that Mussolini and his fascists, and the Soviets under Stalin, appeared to be.

Monday, January 30, 1933

Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of the Weimar Republic.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Avanti !

Faremo Una Nuova Nazione Del Popolo!

Today, we introduce a new Blog category: Duce!

You must always be doing things and obviously succeeding. The hard part is to keep people always 'at the window', because of the spectacle you put on for them. And you must do this for years.
 --  Benito Mussolini


Welkommen ins die neues Welt!



... I actually feel quite sorry for Hillary Clinton as a person because I see someone who is eaten alive by their ambitions, tormented literally to the point where they become sick; they faint as a result of [the reaction] to their ambitions. She represents a whole network of people and a network of relationships with particular states.  

The question is, how does Hilary Clinton fit in this broader network?  She's a centralizing cog. You've got a lot of different gears in operation from the big banks like Goldman Sachs and major elements of Wall Street, and Intelligence and people in the State Department and the Saudis. She's the centralizer that inter-connects all these different cogs.  She's the smooth central representation of all that, and "all that" is more or less what is in power now in the United States. 

It's what we call the establishment or the DC consensus. One of the more significant Podesta emails that we released was about how the Obama cabinet was formed and how half the Obama cabinet was basically nominated by a representative from CitiBank. This is quite amazing....

... [Let's talk about] Donald Trump. What does he represent in the American mind and in the European mind?  ... Because he so clearly -- through his words and actions and the type of people that turn up at his rallies -- represents people who are not the middle, not the upper middle educated class, there is a fear of seeming to be associated in any way with them, a social fear that lowers the class status of anyone who can be accused of somehow assisting Trump in any way, including any criticism of Hillary Clinton. If you look at how the middle class gains its economic and social power, that makes absolute sense.

--  Julian Assange; Interview with John Pilger 
(Read some of it here, or watch the entire interview on UTub. Go. Now.)


... nothing shifted. People have been homeless, addicted, without protection or help from government for thirty years now. Hillary wanted, it was rumored, to privatize social security. The US population is drugged, desperate, and angry. But THAT America is invisible in media. People toil for minimum wage, as guest workers in their own country. Unpaid internships are now the norm. College degrees mean shit...

Trump is not the answer, of course. He is the symptom... of the virus of neoliberal Capitalism. I never thought Trump would win because I didn’t think he wanted to win. And maybe, maybe he didn’t. None of that mattered, as it turned out...

[But w]hen you have fifty bucks in the bank, how important is it that Trump makes sexist jokes? The public turned more and more as the campaign process went on. Never have the debates looked so staged and fake. Never have they seemed so removed from daily life for most Americans. The... poor black and latino communities could find little enthusiasm for either candidate. But I sensed a resentment to the smug liberals that come to gentrify neighborhoods, and who ASSUME everyone should think as they do. ... The poor are the object of derision and are patronized and ridiculed. 

The one thing I am surprised about... is that the Clinton machine allowed it to happen. But then, in certain corners of the financial elite, trust was eroding in their favored candidate. But the Dems were arrogant, too. And inept. They ran a terrible campaign with one of the worst candidates ever to run for president. So, no, it wasn’t sexism or racism, it was anger at the status quo. An inarticulate anger, but still anger.  The big mistake of liberals was to think Trump was bringing fascism, without realizing fascism was already here.

-- John Steppling, "The Big Split" / Counterpunch, November 10, 2016