Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Police State”

Pussy Riot‘s new release, “Police State” is a good Sunday Interlude, after the one-sided bromance visit between Putin and Trump last week, in which Trump stated that he believed Putin when he said Russia did not interfere in last year’s election, contradicting our country’s Intelligence. (“I swear, baby, I never touched the voter rolls!”) That, and the song is about Trump as much as Putin.

Pussy Riot released a statement on Facebook about the song:

“We’d be able to achieve fantastic results if we were not trapped by the idea that nothing can be changed. […] There’s a lot that can be done and should be done. Putin will not disappear tomorrow, but we can show our fellow Russians how corrupted, damaging and ineffective his rule is. If everybody who denounced Trump on social media showed up on the streets and refuse to leave until he’s gone, he’d be out of office in a week. What it takes is just to abandon our learned helplessness.”

Since day one of this coup, I’ve said, “Never normalize!” Every time I hear the news reporting with any normalcy about this dangerous, criminal Administration, I cringe. I understand the importance of reporting only facts. But that facts are we now have an avalanche of information that Russia and Trump and his circle conspired to install him. The election tampering we feared and suspected is coming to light as another fact. Indictments are rolling in and, based upon those indictments, Trump is guilty of obstructing justice by firing FBI DIrector Comey and dictating a fabricated story about the meeting between a Russian attorney and Manafort, Trump Jr., et al. I’ve no doubt this goes far deeper into laundering dirty, Russian, mob and other dirty money and Trump’s outstanding debt to Putin, not to mention Trump’s insatiable ego needing to crush Obama for mocking him and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which was the perfect ploy for Putin to exploit.

Who knows how long we will be under this regime? Maybe this is the beginning of the end, thanks to Mueller’s investigations, and maybe it’s only the first year of this slog into fascism. The Constitution and we the people are being tested, perhaps never moreso since the Civil War. So far, I feel confident in both. But our future stands on the point of a sword at this moment. Or a nuclear test missile. Or a 3 a.m. twitchy toilet tweet – or twoop .

Here’s Pussy Riot and their new single “Police State:”

This week also marks a year since the stolen election. Do not get complacent. We are the boss in this country! Never normalize! Get out there, get active, get in the streets!

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Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Love Is the Answer”

This song keeps popping in my head lately, thankfully. My friend David put it there following the death of Glen Campbell. Leave it to a musician to find a deep cut of a Glen Campbell recording of a song written and originally performed by Todd Rundgren.

It’s a good reminder that our greatest strength is love. Last week should have reminded everyone of that. Sadly, it did not. But division, hate and violence never win because love always eradicates it. Last week should also remind us that constant vigilance is needed toward those who wish to conquer with hate.

I’m not surprised Joseph McCarthy, Adolf Hitler and today’s Republicans attack artists. Artists speak truth. That is art. Their “identity politics” moniker to dismiss anyone acknowledging systematic and historic inequality, injustice or plain hardship upon fellow citizens is another attempt to divide and hush us. So to all the creatives, stay right where you are. Satirists must mock Nazis. Techies must shine ten-story messages on Trump’s properties. Musicians must sing of love and expose bigotry with music. Writers must broadcast the absurdity of hateful chants from the tacky, khaki tiki brigade. The fight for love gets more important every single day now. No rest. Resist.

“But there’s no easy way around it                   Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer”

And in homage to Glen Campbell, I submit his version. (RIP)

“Love will be a means, yeah, yeah
Shine on us all
Know that love can save the day
Just give it one more chance.”

No question we are at another global, moral crossroads. Sitting it out is not an option. Love is the answer. It’s true in any genre or any language. We’ve got to love one another.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Eve of Destruction”

The roots of hate are deep. It’s been passed through generations in families, on right-wing hate radio, social media, Trump, US Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and via Russian marionetting (fueling actions from afar). Daylight helps but it must be eradicated root and branch, and outlawed, as Germany did to its Nazis after WWII. All terrorism in the name of fill in the blank is all the same. It is evil and wrong. I pity those who go through life with such a chip on their shoulder. But they don’t belong in a civil society. Let’s not forget, we all share this place, like it or not. Poisoning any part of it is done to us all.

Day by day, week by week, things are getting worse under the Trump regime. We not only had a savage attack right here in Charlottesville, VA yesterday by people carrying torches and opposing the removal of a statue of a traitor to our nation, but the President of the United States egged on a nuclear war with North Korea and then just replied when asked for detail, “You’ll see,” like the sniveling bully Scut Farcus in “A Christmas Story.” No, I didn’t forget he also threatened Venezuela. But the day’s still young and there are so many other countries to belittle when a wholly unfit narcissist binges on propaganda media, seeks constant adulation, controls the nuclear codes and has a Twitter account.

Just after the election, I shared my fear for our nation to a cashier I know at a local store who replied to me, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I replied immediately with, “Fascism.” She didn’t reply. Not hyperbole folks. This is how it happens. “Leaders” divide, threaten, keep us off balance and always, always tell us we’re in danger and “only [he] can fix it.” That is all authoritarian followers need to react accordingly. Hitler had his Brown Shirts of brainwashed civilians. Trump has his red caps, although don’t you think Orange Shirts is more fitting?

Even before Heather Heyer was murdered and many others severely injured by a kid so filled with rage, he used his car as a missile, this song came to mind: Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction.” It was written by P. F. Sloan about 53 years ago. We don’t need to change a word, really.

“The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

Resist.

F Is For Fascism #atozchallenge

Fascism is a word first coined in 1919 by the Italy’s former Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. In school I learned Fascism meant the combining of government and big business, because Mussolini defined it that way and ran Italy so. Further defining fascism by Mussolini’s Italy, it is an extreme, totalitarian government on the far right end of the political spectrum, if Communism is on the far left. A political “spectrum” is more of a circle, which is why there are similarities between Fascism and Communism when it comes to restricting speech and dissent under a strong authoritarian power. The distinction lies in ownership, however. Under Communism, the government owns business and industry, while under Fascism, business and industry own the government. For the purposes of this post, I will use this definition.

     The Nazis are Fascists, as well, although they deliberately named themselves the National Socialist Party (“Nazi: being its acronym). Calling things the opposite of what they are is not new in politics. Bush’s “Clear Skies Initiative” released more toxins into the air so unless he meant clearing the skies of birds (attribution to Senator Al Franken), the title of that initiative is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, Nazis are an extreme right-wing group, regardless of what they are called.

     When I hear the word “Fascism” thrown around, it seems it has taken on a popular definition of authoritarian-style government or dictatorial leader, without the distinctions I noted above. I imagine that is why the term Fascism and Communism are often used in the same breath. There is some merit to the evolution of politicla terms, as different groups embrace them. For example, many racist, Neo-Nazi and skinhead groups call themselves Fascists. But I think I is dangerous to ignore the original and fundamental distinction, which is how power is granted to the government and by whom.

Hitler

 

     I mention Nazism because it is the quintessential textbook example on how an extreme political entity can take over a country. Hitler transformed Germany slowly with his charisma, repeated phrases and small and seemingly positive and innocuous laws. I compare it to the frog placed in a pot who does not notice the water slowly heat to boiling until it is too late. It works on humans, too, if they are all diverted by mass distractions like sporting contests, new technology and thoughtless entertainment. If our fifth estate, journalism, is not doing its part either, a lot can happen in plain sight.

     Most Americans pay very little attention to the politic in this country. Perhaps in another blog I will lay out why I believe the diversion is deliberate. European counties with much longer history leave their citizens with a greater cynicism, which I believe is healthy and keeps them more engaged. They think we are naive to think our way of life or our current government can’t be drastically changed overnight or that our leaders would never try to destroy our democracy. They know better because their countries have lived though it.

     The Internet has had its share people posting concern over the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United case, which, building upon the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, grants personhood to corporations (from any country), thereby granting them the First Amendment right to free speech and free and unlimited permission to donate to campaigns, even anonymously. Since the 2010 decision, it is now a near certainty the interests of the wealthiest 1% will be put into law, verses virtually zero chance for the interests of the majority.

     Yet the majority of people polled say they favor the right for workers to bargain collectively, the importance of manufacturing jobs staying here, that college education should be free, that the rich should pay more in taxes, that health care should be a right for all, that the government should improve our roads and bridges, and yet many of our states and Federal government votes against these majority opinions. This is even more that case in recent years. Demos.org lays out how money in politics has stacked the deck against the rest of us.

     Most of the corporations influencing Congress and our presidential and even state candidates with fat stacks are not even American companies but according to the Supreme Court, all corporations are people. And we are not even allowed to know who these donors are. But this didn’t happen overnight. It’s been happening gradually and not enough of us are paying attention. It might not be Fascism but it sure is Fascism-adjacent. I don’t know about you, neighbor frog, but I think the pot is heating up.

Fascism: Not Funny and Never Leftist #atozchallenge

Fascism is a word first coined in 1919 by the Italy’s former Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. In school I learned Fascism meant the combining of government and big business, because Mussolini defined it that way and ran Italy so. Further defining fascism by Mussolini’s Italy, it is an extreme, totalitarian government on the far right end of the political spectrum, if Communism is on the far left. A political “spectrum” is more of a circle, which is why there are similarities between Fascism and Communism when it comes to restricting speech and dissent under a strong authoritarian power. The distinction lies in ownership, however. Under Communism, the government owns business and industry, while under Fascism, business and industry own the government. For the purposes of this post, I will use this definition.

     The Nazis are Fascists, as well, although they deliberately named themselves the National Socialist Party (“Nazi: being its acronym). Calling things the opposite of what they are is not new in politics. Bush’s “Clear Skies Initiative” released more toxins into the air so unless he meant clearing the skies of birds (attribution to Senator Al Franken), the title of that initiative is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, Nazis are an extreme right-wing group, regardless of what they are called.

     When I hear the word “Fascism” thrown around, it seems it has taken on a popular definition of authoritarian-style government or dictatorial leader, without the distinctions I noted above. I imagine that is why the term Fascism and Communism are often used in the same breath. There is some merit to the evolution of politicla terms, as different groups embrace them. For example, many racist, Neo-Nazi and skinhead groups call themselves Fascists. But I think I is dangerous to ignore the original and fundamental distinction, which is how power is granted to the government and by whom.

Hitler

 

     I mention Nazism because it is the quintessential textbook example on how an extreme political entity can take over a country. Hitler transformed Germany slowly with his charisma, repeated phrases and small and seemingly positive and innocuous laws. I compare it to the frog placed in a pot who does not notice the water slowly heat to boiling until it is too late. It works on humans, too, if they are all diverted by mass distractions like sporting contests, new technology and thoughtless entertainment. If our fifth estate, journalism, is not doing its part either, a lot can happen in plain sight.

     Most Americans pay very little attention to the politic in this country. Perhaps in another blog I will lay out why I believe the diversion is deliberate. European counties with much longer history leave their citizens with a greater cynicism, which I believe is healthy and keeps them more engaged. They think we are naive to think our way of life or our current government can’t be drastically changed overnight or that our leaders would never try to destroy our democracy. They know better because their countries have lived though it.

     The Internet has had its share people posting concern over the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United case, which, building upon the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, grants personhood to corporations (from any country), thereby granting them the First Amendment right to free speech and free and unlimited permission to donate to campaigns, even anonymously. Since the 2010 decision, it is now a near certainty the interests of the wealthiest 1% will be put into law, verses virtually zero chance for the interests of the majority.

     Yet the majority of people polled say they favor the right for workers to bargain collectively, the importance of manufacturing jobs staying here, that college education should be free, that the rich should pay more in taxes, that health care should be a right for all, that the government should improve our roads and bridges, and yet many of our states and Federal government votes against these majority opinions. This is even more that case in recent years. Demos.org lays out how money in politics has stacked the deck against the rest of us.

     Most of the corporations influencing Congress and our presidential and even state candidates with fat stacks are not even American companies but according to the Supreme Court, all corporations are people. And we are not even allowed to know who these donors are. But this didn’t happen overnight. It’s been happening gradually and not enough of us are paying attention. It might not be Fascism but it sure is Fascism-adjacent. I don’t know about you, neighbor frog, but I think the pot is heating up.