This is the text of a letter I sent to our local newspaper in response to a letter published on March 30, 2018. You can read the original letter, the one I’m responding to, here.
The Oedipus Complex may no longer have much weight in the field of psychology, but Freud’s concept of “projection” is alive and well. We saw a textbook example of this in the March 30th letter, “Don’t Remove 2nd Amendment Freedoms,” written by E. Rose. The author ascribed Hitler-like tactics to a perceived enemy by employing Hitler-like tactics.
Hitler placed the blame for all of Germany’s problems on the Jew. The Jew was behind every war, behind every economic collapse, behind every revolution. The Jew was cunning, and would stop at nothing to assure victory. It didn’t matter that the majority of Jews in Europe were poor, or that, in Germany itself, many of the Jews were assimilated and fought in World War I on behalf of Germany. The Jew was the enemy and needed to be destroyed.
For Rose, the all-powerful enemy is the Progressive Left. This group is pushing its “progressive agenda” which, in this case, is some sort of sensible gun control. The Left, like the Jew, is quite powerful, and is so determined to win that there is “no depth to which the left will not stoop.” They have even “weaponized the IRS and the FBI against political enemies.” The Left, like the Jew, aspires to complete control of society, having infiltrated our universities where they’ve used “goon squads that act like the Hitler Youth and enforce ideological conformity with physical violence.” The Left, like the Jew, are “would-be tyrants of the authoritarian collective state.”
This projection of evil onto the Left (or the Jew) masks the evil that lies within Rose. It is an evil that has no empathy, no conscience. Like those Germans who were told to ignore the pleading and the screams of those who were being hauled away, tortured, and killed, the evil represented by Rose will not be swayed by the deaths of children. Hence Rose writes that while “[W]e all feel terrible for the tragedies at these schools…public policy must not be based on emotion and hysteria.” That statement should make us pause, and should frighten us. When someone writes a public letter stating that our decision-making should not be influenced by the killing of children, we have a clear indicator that our society has crossed a dark line. It is also indicates that the letter writer, not the fictitious enemy, is the one who has crossed into Hitlerian territory.
The image below was posted on Twitter. The young gentleman in the image is David Hogg, one of the survivors of the mass shooting in the high school in Parkland, Florida.
If we have the 2018 midterm elections, and if the Democrats win big, the results will be invalidated, the losing Republicans will remain in office, and that will be the end of elections. Here’s how it will happen.
The Democrats will win back control of the House.
The Republicans will say that the Russians hacked the election, therefore the results are invalid.
The Democrats that won will not be allowed to take office until the investigation has been completed.
While we are waiting for the results of the investigation, the Republicans that lost will stay in office.
The Democrats will cry foul.
The Republicans will use the results of the Mueller investigation and various committee investigations, which examined Trump-Russia collusion, as proof of Russian meddling on behalf of the Democrats. (We’ve already heard this upside-down version of reality many times on Fox News.)
The Democrats will remain in a powerless position and, therefore, will not be able to do anything about it.
People will take to the streets but they will be dismissed as “crisis actors,” “dupes of Soros,” and “enemies of democracy.”
This will eventually become a matter for the Supreme Court which, as we saw in Bush v Gore, has shown a willingness to overturn election results.
Post Script: I discussed this “end of democracy” scenario with a trusted friend. Her response was, “Don’t post it. You don’t want to give them [Republicans] any ideas.” I’ve often worried about things like that. There are things that I don’t post because I worry that I may give someone a crazy, diabolical idea. However, I’m not a genius. I’m sure others have figured out what I’ve written here. Further, I believe that the only way to prepare for the future is to engage in these types of speculative thought experiments. Hopefully someone in the DNC is already strategizing how to deal with this “end of democracy” scenario.
1. There will never be a DACA deal. The Dreamers are a bargaining chip used by the Republican proto-Nazis, the same people who joyfully voted to take health insurance away from 24 million Americans. As I noted in a post on May 4, 2017,
…the passage of H.R. 1628 by the Republicans, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, does not rise to the level of Nazi torture. Yet the result bears a striking resemblance. It was no secret that upwards of 24 million people would be impacted by the bill’s passage. It was no secret that people would die as a result. It was no secret that millions looked to the Republicans for help. With a glee that echoes that of Amery’s torturer who, after landing blow after blow, stopped to admire his handiwork and enjoy a cigarette, the Republicans rejoiced in their victory over the helpless, the sick, the weak. Like good Nazis, they congratulated themselves for having broken the social contract and ignored pleas for help. (See: Republican Nazis)
2. The death of “The News” is not news. But with the election of Hair Füror has come a resurgence of the importance of real, fact-based news. While there’s still an audience for Infowars-style “news” (Conspiracy theorists, like the poor, will always be with us), we have seen audiences for fact-based reporting, such as that from Rachel Maddow to the Washington Post, Mother Jones, and other news sources, grow at an enormous rate. Many who had ignored politics have woken up to the realization that it might be as important as sports. They’ve also realized that maybe they should have paid attention during those school lessons about the way democracy works. While it’s never too late to learn, we better learn fast. (I include myself in that collective “we.”) The walls are tumbling down. Much like the early years of the Nazi regime, we’re at a critical period.
We’re not Nazi Germany and are not in danger of becoming exactly like Nazi Germany. But then, history doesn’t really repeat itself in the exact same way. It does, however, echo across time and space. If you listen carefully, “Work For Medicare” has a faint echo of Arbeit Macht Frei, the latter being shorthand for a fast and efficient killing machine, the former for a slower form of mass killing. There are other echoes of the past.
At this point in the post I’m supposed to end on a hopeful note, so here goes. I’m hopeful that people will wake up to the danger. I’m hopeful that they will educate themselves. I’m hopeful that Good will triumph over Evil. But I worry that people think a single election will fix everything. I worry that our unwillingness to imagine awful outcomes somehow means that awful outcomes cannot occur. (It took nearly twenty years for the Nazis to gain power. There were people with the foresight to see what was coming. See the chapter on the Munich Post in Ron Rosenbaum’s Explaining Hitler.) It took over forty years to get to where we are now. It will take a decade or more of sustained pressure and political engagement to fix what has been broken. Hashtags, Likes, and Shares alone will not do it. We, the Sheeple, need to wake up, need to get educated, and need to get engaged with the world of politics.
3. I obsessively check Twitter. I listen to news podcasts. I read the Guardian, the Washington Post, even the New York Times (though I hold my nose). I feel like a hunted animal, forever on the lookout for signs of danger, worried that if I stop being vigilant, something crucial will happen that will forever alter my life. In this anxiety-ridden ritual I hear echoes of Nazi Germany, when people would hang onto any bit of news and rumor in search of hope. I imagine that the DREAMERS must be feeling the same way, always on the lookout for danger, searching for bits and pieces of hope.
4. We’ve become strangers in our own land. We don’t recognize our institutions. We don’t recognize our neighbors. When James Comey was fired, I protested by rehanging, upside down, the American flag in front of my home. Two neighbors yelled at me for being unpatriotic. A letter was sent to the local newspaper, informing the police that I may be a “person of interest.” I received an anonymous letter telling me to leave the country. From this experience I learned that there are those who only give lip service to free speech. I also learned that there are some neighbors who will gladly give my name to the Gestapo.
I’m sitting here in the diner, where I spend most every morning, thinking, writing, kvetching, joking. It’s owned by a shithole family whose only skill is working a grill and serving up standard diner fair: eggs, pancakes, burgers, coffees, etc. These shitholes put two children through college. They also have shithole employees who work six days a week, baking fresh muffins, making soups, and preparing for the always large weekend rush.
My shithole family came here in 1949. They were Polish Jews, “vermin” that required extermination, as far as the Nazis were concerned. Stalin, inadvertently, saved their lives. They were in the eastern part of Poland where about 300,000 mainly Polish Jews were part of 1.3 million Poles swept up by Stalin and sent to Siberia. When the war ended, these shitholes spent four years — 1945 to 1949 — in DP (Displaced Persons) camps in Germany. They did not want to return to Poland and the U.S. wasn’t eager to accept them. Eventually they were allowed in. They came with no education and, unless we had a dying need for shoemakers, no valuable skills. Were Trump president at that time, they would not have been allowed into the country.
Trump Supporter Number 1: Male. 50 years old. Married. Wife has cheated on him numerous times, sometimes disappearing for days. Works as a promoter for a secularized version of the Prosperity Gospel: speakers in custom-tailored suits claim to share the secrets of wealth creation. He’s been dependent on his mother for financial support for most of his adult life.
Trump Supporter Number 2: Male. 64 years old. Divorced. He’s involved in local politics, and spends time buying and selling penny stocks. After his divorce, he moved in with his elderly mother.
Trump Supporter Number 3: Male. 58 years old. Divorced. Housepainter. Much of his work is painting the exterior of homes and, since he’s located in New York, his work is seasonal. After his divorce, he moved in with his elderly mother.
New Content Added On: Jan 9, 2018 (Scroll to the bottom)
Note to the Reader: It is not possible to deal with the Trump nightmare in a single blog post or even a series of topic-specific posts. I’ve decided that this blog post will remained pinned to the top of the page. I will continue adding content to the bottom of this post. Each addition will have its own title and date. I hope you don’t find this too confusing.
American-Style Fascism (Sept. 5, 2017)
The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed — William Gibson
The biggest con job ever pulled on the American people, besides the presidency of Hair Füror, was the rhetorical sleight of hand that equated freedom with capitalism. No matter how much lipstick you place on it, capitalism is the antithesis of freedom. Decisions come from the top. Everyone is expected to obey. Disobedience (dissent!) is not tolerated. Information is tightly held and shared only on a ‘need to know’ basis. Everything is done for the benefit of those at the top.
Tr/mp and his advisors have brought this ethos into the executive branch of the government. Decisions come from the top or from hand-selected Wall Street advisors. Obedience is required. Disobedience is not tolerated. Information is tightly held, and everything is done for the benefit of Tr/mp, the royal family, and his sycophants.
This same ethos exists in the Republican party. We saw their slash-and-burn politics with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, and the delight with which they hope to throw twenty-four million people out of our already-hobbled national health plan.
While Tr/mp has not fully embraced the idea of a dictatorship in America, he has provided more than ample evidence that the idea is beginning to crystallize in his mind. The dictator-in-training expressed frustration with our government, calling the system “archaic,” and the rules of the House and the Senate “a bad thing for the country.” Following the same logic used by businesses that are opposed to regulations on their activities, the rules of government “forces you to make bad decisions.” Those rules, messy, frustrating, but integral to a country of laws, need to be changed “for the good of the nation.” We already know that the Republicans are on board with anything that changes rules in their favor. We also know that the dictator-in-training is ready to enforce his will with a “good ‘shutdown’ in September.”
We are in a race against time to see what happens first. The indictment of Trump and his cronies on charges of collusion with the Russians, or a terrorist attack, whether real or imagined, that will be the lever used to flip the country to an American-style dictatorship.
Our American Hitler (Sept. 6, 2017)
With the termination of DACA, our American Hitler signed a death warrant for 800,000 people. His Hitler-inspired advisors are following the Hitler playbook. Removing citizenship from a group of people makes them vulnerable. It removes the umbrella of legal protection. People without legal protection can become victims. Hitler instituted the Nuremberg Laws to codify, in law, who was and who was not German, and therefore who would, and would not be protected by the government. Then he made life miserable for German Jews so they would leave. Then in 1938 he expelled approximately 15,000 Polish Jews who, like many in the DACA program, were more familiar with their host country than their country of origin. Some had not been in Poland for a generation or more.
What do we think will happen to 800,000 people who suddenly find themselves without a country? What if they have children that are U.S. citizens. Will they be expelled too? Does that mean anybody can be expelled from the country. Where will it end? How will it end? The future does not look bright.
Hope for the Best (Sept. 9, 2017)
We haven’t gone “full Nazi” though, in our own way, we’re accelerating towards a similar goal. Our version of the Nuremberg Laws is the rescinding of DACA and the (re)classification people as “illegals.” Our version of the Gestapo – ICE – has been known to use Gestapo-like tactics, pulling people out of their homes, out of courtrooms, out of the custody of local police, and placing them in detention camps before they are finally deported. Our version of mass extermination will be the defunding of Planned Parenthood and throwing twenty-four million people off of health insurance. However, like some Germans of the 1930s who were appalled by the violence unleashed by Kristallnacht, who helped to hide Jews in their homes and feed those who hid in the forests, we hope that our better nature will prevail. Unfortunately, history has shown us that hope is not a plan of action.
“Like some Germans of the 1930s” : This is documented in Konrad Heiden’s 1939 book, The New Inquisition.
Keep Fighting (Sept. 19, 2017)
Are we seven months in? Seven years in? We’re already exhausted. Burned out. Call your senator. Call your congresswoman. Call your governor. Call your mayor. Sign petitions. Write letters. March in the streets. Talk to neighbors. Tweet. Share. Like. Post. Scream. Cry. Curse. Pray. Think. Read. How can we continue like this? We have to live our lives. Change the diapers. Cook the meals. Slog through work. Shit. Shower. Pay bills, and protest again, and again, and again. Victory! But only for the moment. Tomorrow, do it all over again. Everywhere you turn, the walls are crumbling, pressing, pushing, crushing the people, yet somehow ‘We the people’ must find the strength to push back. We are the only ones who can save us. Have more coffee. Go for a long walk. Think. Meditate. Refresh. Relax. Then back into the fight, because this is a fight. It is not some hashtag-retweet-digital bullshit. We’re fighting for our lives, our children’s lives, for future generations.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in – Greek proverb
A Glimmer of Hope (Oct 16, 2017)
I never thought it would happen. We’ve argued over Trump’s policies, argued over what Hillary did or did not do (as reported by Fox News, his major source of information), and we’ve argued over, well, everything else. Today, however, something changed. My adversary, a patron at the diner I’ve been frequenting for more than two years, is a diehard Trump supporter who is tired of the “Russian interference” story. He said there’s no evidence of it. I said that there is evidence, and that there were attempts to hack into voting machines in 15 or 20 states. Further, I said that we need to know definitively if the hack was successful. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. This is a democracy issue. He paused for a moment, then said, “You’re right.”
A Jewish Nazi (Dec 28, 2017)
Nazis had no concept of human rights. You were either part of the master race, or you were subject to the master race, which included extracting your labor, followed by your extermination. Even those within the master race faced extermination. Euthanasia programs were aimed at German children and adults who were in mental institutions, and at those who were identified as inferior by school teachers or doctors. It is believed that German soldiers who were badly injured during the war against Russia were euthanized by German medical staff. Within the killing centers (Auschwitz, Treblinka, etc.), murder was one of the products produced in these camps, in addition to extracted labor, and things that could be extracted from the bodies and reused (e.g., gold teeth, hair). Human rights had no place in any of this. Human feelings had no place in any of this.
I was shocked when I heard this Nazi ideology come out of the mouth of a religious Jew. You had to be quick to pick up on it, but it was pretty clear. Human rights mean nothing. There is no basis for asserting they exist. Don’t even think about appealing to human feelings because, well, they’re subjective. In other words, they have no value, no basis for guiding human behavior.
Here’s a snippet of the discussion between Rubin and Ben Shapiro. You can also view it in the Youtube clip.
Ben Shapiro: “Every belief system is based on something unproven, all of them. Human rights means nothing. Where do you get them, your basis of human rights?”
Dave Rubin: “From a feeling. How about that?”
Ben: “Exactly, which is subjective.”
How Will It End? (Jan 5, 2018)
As the Mueller investigation gets closer and closer to the Trump team, the response from Trump has wavered from ‘this investigation is a hoax,’ to ‘the FBI and Department of Justice are filled with Clinton partisans,’ to ‘Michael Flynn and all the others are liars.’ In case the character assassinations and disparaging of American institutions do not have the desired effect, one congressman has floated the idea of a purge of the FBI, an idea that not only echoes McCarthyism, but also decades of Stalinism and other dictatorships around the world. All of this reflects the Trump administration’s contempt for democracy, contempt for precedent, contempt for rules, regulations, and laws. So here’s the question. What do we think will happen if the Mueller investigation concludes that the Trump administration is guilty of collusion? Do we expect Trump to simply say “You got me,” or do we expect Trump to ignore the findings, ignore the results, essentially fight back in any way possible? Do we expect someone who built his business by breaking the law to suddenly obey the law?
Let’s take this a step further. Trump is crazy. But there are much crazier people out there. Might Newt Gingrich suggest, through the President’s Daily Briefing, aka, “Fox and Friends,” that Mueller, et al., are enemy combatants and, therefore, should be rounded up and sent to Guantanamo Bay? Is this out of the realm of possibility? I don’t think so.
The End of Democracy (Jan 5, 2018)
Our problem is not Trump. It is the entire Republican Party, Fox News, Hate-Talk Radio, Jew-Nazis (Stephen Miller, Ben Shapiro, Sheldon Adelson, et al.), Bannon, Breitbart, Mercer family, Koch Brothers, and much of Wall Street. Trump came into office with no ideas. All of these people supplied him with cabinet appointments and policies. We get rid of Trump, we still live with the Republicans and their henchmen, along with the on-going influence of the Russians. Democracy is crumbling before our eyes. We better hope there is a god who can save us because it sure ain’t gonna be Schumer or Pelosi.
Famous Last Words (Jan 5, 2018)
The Supreme Court would never overturn the results of a presidential election.
We know that Saddam Hussein has WMDs.
Give the money to the banks and they will redistribute it to homeowners.
No need to campaign in that state. The numbers show Hillary will win.
The whole point of the Electoral College is to make sure that a madman doesn’t become president.
The Democrats will sweep the Republicans out of office in 2018.
Dear America (Jan 8, 2018)
November 2018 Is Too Late (Jan 9, 2018)
Billionaire activist Tom Steyer: “My fight is in removing Donald Trump from office and from power—and that starts with taking the House back in 2018.” There’s one problem. This “take back the House” stuff, while laudable, assumes we’ll have something of a working government by then. The on-going assault on all our institutions and our way of life makes it obvious that we need to do something now, RIGHT NOW. Waiting to take back the House will be, well, too late. Too late for 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico. Too late for 200,000 El Salvadorans in the United States. Too late for 60,000 Haitians in the United States.