Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Not today

This is what happens when you don’t punch Nazis.

Bags of women's hair at the concentration camp at Auschwitz - Photo Credit, Polish National Archives

Bags of women’s hair at the concentration camp at Auschwitz – Photo Credit, Polish National Archives

 

Rather than putting up the usual pictures of pits full of starved, shot and tortured people. I thought this was more fitting. The people who were murdered in concentration camps were being harvested.

This is what those who support America First wanted to allow to keep happening.

There are some things that are always wrong and do not deserve to be protected or repeated. I have once supported the idea that I would support to the death that people have the right to say what they want. No longer. I am happy to punch Nazis. And I’ll be happy to die to make sure that they don’t do again what they did before.   It’s not punch who you think is a Nazi, punch who *shows* you he, or she, is a Nazi.

If we don’t punch the Nazi, then there will be no free speech of any kind to defend. There are Nazi wannabees in the Trump White House, who don’t think we remember that their kind said to turn away the refugees just like their forebearers who also touted “America First”, turned away the MS St. Louis, to hate anyone who is different, and who do their best to fracture the facts of the Holocaust so it doesn’t sound so bad. It’s too bad that not one Republican seems to be willing to stand up to these people, and lead the conservative Americans away from being supporters of Nazis.

This is where the new meme fits.

First they came for the Muslims

And we said “Not today.”

The current meme often has “motherfucker” appended to it. I find that entertaining but watering down the point. I’d suggest adding “Yippee ki-yay motherfucker” if one wishes after a suitable pause after the quote above.

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I had a Jewish man, a survivor of the Holocaust, take the time to find my contact information and thank me for a letter I wrote to the editor of the local newspaper standing against the attempts of some Christians to force their religion on students in public school in an attempt to create an “us” and “them”. I’m going guess he has probably died by now but in his memory, it will always be “Not today.”. Never think that you can’t do something, even if it is just a blog post or a letter to the editor. Enough of these and the evil retreats.

I recently watched the movie Conspiracy with Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci, playing Reinhard Heydrick and Adolph Eichmann, respectively plus many other excellent character actors.   This movie shows how such “gentlemen” conspired to annihilate people during the Wannsee Conference, mostly the Jews but their hate extended to others, Romany, homosexuals, the disabled, etc. One copy of the notes of this meeting survived and this is what the movie is based on. The one of the movie’s last lines is “”It is night in Moscow already. Soon it will be dark here. Do you think we will ever see the dawn in our lifetime?” It’s up to us to prevent the dark from coming.

And those of you who are about to type and call me a hater, or some such, for daring question you and not tolerating your nonsense, please do. You might want to consider why you’re defending such things and why you believe in a liar who claims that he’ll take care of everything. Many supporters of hatred and ignorance haven’t quite got the idea that their rights stop when they infringe on others. These rights are shared.

Here’s a quote often attributed to George Orwell, “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” The quote is a shortened version of the opinion of the state, Oceania, in Nineteen Eighty Four (1984). (support Project Gutenberg if you can)

There are three stages in your reintegration,’ said O’Brien. ‘There is

learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance. It is time for

you to enter upon the second stage.”

“A world of victory after victory, triumph after triumph after triumph: an endless pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve of power. You are beginning, I can see, to realize what that world will be like. But in the end you will do more than understand it. You will accept it, welcome it, becomepart of it.’” 

“Forty years it had taken him to learnwhat kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needlessmisunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast!Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was allright, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had wonthe victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

 

and as a bit of biting humor

rangers

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “alternative facts” and that tie…

It is no surprise that Trump is having a tantrum over the fact that it was noted that the audience for his inauguration was quite a bit smaller than other inaugurations. He was so taken aback that the truth was told that he dishonored men and women who have died in service to this country when he gave a speech at the CIA by whining about this fact.

Then we get his mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, insisting on “alternative facts”. Sounds quite Orwellian, doesn’t it? The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, went in front of the cameras and claims that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period”. This is of course a bald faced lie and we have lovely photographic evidence to show this wasn’t the case at all.

Photo by Reuters and Pool Camera

Photo by Reuters and Pool Camera

When confronted with this lie, Ms. Conway said “”You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,”. This amazingly pathetic response was given to Chuck Todd, the moderator on NBC’s Meet the Press. When asked again why she was trying to spread nonsense, she responded “”Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job.”

AKA How dare you say that the Emperor has no clothes! Ms. Conway seems to think that Trump and his coterie have the right to lie to others and take away their ability to make informed choices. Calling the things she and Trump et al say ridiculous, lies, false, etc is exactly the job all of us have now, and if the press doesn’t lead the charge, we all do.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. Hugo L. Black, associate justice US Supreme Court (New York Times Company v. United States, 1971).

To preserve the freedom of the human mind then and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Green Mumford (18 June 1799).

And then there is the tie. The really really long red one that Trump wore the inauguration. The one that was held together by tape. Ties are generally made with a loop in the back where the narrow end is tucked to keep it in place. This always works if the tie is knotted correctly. And this isn’t a hard thing to do. Millions can do it (my spouse suggests bringing the wide end down to the crotch and then tying it because it will then be at the beltline after the knot is made). But evidently not Trump.  Tie tacks and tie bars are also evidently beyond him.

It may seem petty to pick on the man’s tie but it reveals two possibilities, neither of which are reassuring: this man has no friends that will keep him from looking like a buffoon or that he has no one he will listen to. Not one of his family members, not one of his staff said “Don, let me take care of your tie for you.” or he was stupid enough to ignore them. I’ve had no problem telling my boss that she has snot hanging from her nose from a less than successful blow. If no one can do that for you, it’s just sad.

Stephen Colbert does a great monologue on the inauguration and that tie

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the lying lips of a prince

Photo by Reuters and Pool Camera

Photo by Reuters and Pool Camera

We’re deep in it now. The sad little orange man has been inaugurated thanks to the ignorant and fearful and greedy who have sold their honor and responsibility for false promises.  Update:  The women’s march is doing quite well. Poor Donnie, he doesn’t react well to reality. What will TwitterFuhrer do?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/womens-march.htm  ( I don’t know if you will be able to see it. I have a subscription)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/21/chicago-womens-rally-massive-march-canceled/96882902/

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/womens-march-heads-washington-day-trumps-inauguration/story?id=44936042

and this interesting bit: http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/womens-march-canadian-protesters-denied-u-s-entry.html  and here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/20/womens-march-canada-protesters-denied-entry-us

Donald J. Trump, still is trying to spread those lies and spread that fear. Fear and greed is what fascism and totalitarianism grows in. Willful ignorance is what fertilizes it. Trump’s inaugural speech was nothing but lies, intended to spread fear. He claims that the US is in shambles, that “carnage” reigns in our streets and that simply isn’t true. He need people to believe though, because he can’t get his way if people stand strong and say “no”.

The US does have its problems, like any other country. However, we’ve always gone forward and have shed the shackles of our ignorance and fear, albeit slower than I would wish. Now we have to stand up against men and women who would wish to return us to the bad old days. They intentionally lie to us, trying to take away our right to make informed decisions on our own. They want obedience and no one to speak against them. They want the truth hidden, so people will believe them without question.

They can’t stand the truth, so they try to punish those who speak it. A National Park Service employee retweeted true tweets that showed how small the crowd was for the inauguration and this was termed not sympathetic to the president. It was also noted that the new administration stripped the White House website of any LGBT, climate change and health care webpages (snopes has the lowdown here. And it again shows that the transition team for Trump is utterly incompetent since they had nothing to put up). This was also declared not sympathetic to the president. The account was shut down with claims of urgency.

It has been reopened with the understanding that everything depends on the confirmation of Trump’s nominee, Rep. Ryan Zinke, who is of course supports mining, oil, loggin, trophy hunting, etc on public lands, and wants to transfer public lands to states, so the federal laws concerning wildlife, clean water and clean air don’t apply: anything but what his supposed hero, Teddy Roosevelt would have approved of.

The truth doesn’t have to be sympathetic, it is what it is. And it is in everyone’s interest to constantly point out the false claims and lies told by anyone, but especially when its someone in power.

Trump and his team were wrong when they claimed that millions would attend his inauguration (and more shots of the emptiness, and a great timelapse video of the Mall being occupied – scroll down on that link). Trump and his team were wrong when they claimed that there were no more fancy dresses in DC. Trump and his team were wrong when they claimed that hotels were sold out. They lied that he won the popular vote and they lied when they said it was a landslide and that Trump has a “mandate”.  This is only a few false claims about petty little things. It’s a problem when the lies keep coming about important things that will affect everyone.

“It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. — Abraham Lincoln, October 15, 1858 Debate at Alton, Illinois

Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.” – Proverbs 17 (KJV)

One might think that some of those Christians who voted for Trump might consider one of the few admirable things about their bible.

And just because I like them:

nazis

 

Not Polite Dinner Conversation – “The Snow is Very Dirty”

helluva thing to be afraid of

helluva thing to be afraid of

This is the warning they have in Beijing,  don’t touch the snow, it’s polluted. ““We suggest everybody stays indoors,” Beijing’s Meteorological Bureau said in an announcement obtained by TIME. “The snow is very dirty! The snow is very dirty! The snow is very dirty!”   This was what the US was like pre Clean Air Act.  I remember going to Pittsburgh PA when the sky was brown.  I was being taken to an allergy doctor, which you can see as a bit ironic considering the air.  I also remember being stuck in one of the tunnels for hours (Pittsburgh is ringed by hills and the tunnels were outdated even back in the 70s.  And this is 30 years later).

Care for a glass of flaming water?  Or a cup of tasty toxins?  I grew up within about 30 miles of one of the worst Superfund sites, the “Bruin Lagoon” (now cleaned up. If I recall correctly, it was number 2, and only Hanford in Washington state, a nuke site, was worse)and we can’t forget Love Canal.  I used to work in the hazardous waste clean up industry and did a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) for a list of Superfund sites back in the 90s.  The computer print out I got (in the classic greenline track fed paper) was about 6 inches thick.  It’s likely thinner now since things are being cleaned up, and there are laws against allowing such horrible destruction to happen.

But…

now we have the arrogant and the ignorant insisting that we don’t need the EPA any more. The deplorables deserve Trump and his coterie of idiots.  Unfortunately, the rest of us will suffer too.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – fundamentalist white rural America

burialWhite, rural fundamentalist America is where I grew up.  This article on Raw Story (which seems to have come from Alter Net) gets it very much right.

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

“When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. ”

Is this true for everyone in white rural America? Nope, but unfortunately it’s become the way to bet. Sometimes you can get free of such nonsense, sometimes you can’t and sometimes you choose not to.  We have had people, friends and relatives, we thought were humane people who supported the ideal of America, of the lady with the lamp beside the golden door, that where everyone deserved to be considered equal and to have the same rights.  We never thought they would decide that they could ignore racism, misogyny, lies, cheating employees, xenophobia, etc, for the promise that someone will fulfill “every dream they ever dreamed“.  I don’t think even a three year old child would believe this.  But they did.

I’ve read where some people have said it has felt like someone died when Trump won.  I think that is pretty accurate.  The people we thought we knew “died” that day, and their places were taken by people we didn’t recognize anymore.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “I’m shocked, shocked…..”

(addendum: unsurprisingly, we have some of those “shocked” people now insisting that Trump is perfectly fine now, including a number of pastors.  Thanks folks, nothing like showing the religious right is simply cowards and hypocrites)

“I’m shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in here.”

“Your winnings, sir.”

Just finished watching CBS Sunday Morning, where it had Ben Stein being just as sincere as Captain Renault in his indignation about how bad Donald Trump is. Ben Stein, as a lot of you know, is the same fellow who was involved with the nonsense “Expelled” about creationism in schools.

He’s just the latest in a long line of Republicans who are now condemning Trump, despite having no problem with Trump saying things about women, immigrants, Mexicans, veterans, etc, all disgusting and all lies. We have two choices in what they say here: it’s just hypocrisy, or it is people who made a terrible choice and now have finally come to their senses, and it took Trump touting how great sexual assault is to do it. Neither conclusion reflects well on these people, but if it is the second, at least they did come to their senses, like Captain Renault does in Casablanca.

Of course we still have Republicans who are saying that what Trump says is just fine, including people who self-describe as conservative Christians. They say that their god is using Trump. Well, if this god can’t come up with a better tool than Trump, then it isn’t much of a god, is it?

Trump apologized for something 11 years ago. And never once changed his actions or his words in those intervening 11 years right up to now, consistently treating women, and everyone else, like the bully he is. There is no reason to accept the crocodile’s tears.