(08-02-2018) How are President Johnson, socialists, a CEO giving an employee a car, universal healthcare and office birthdays connected? Read on. The media are abuzz with 'socialism' and 'democratic socialists'. Technically, a democratic socialist is an oxymoron. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are social democrats. They don't want a totalitarian government like in Venezuela that takes away your business.
(05-16-2018, updated 07-08-2018) To discuss race and real estate, we must go back the beginning of white land use in America. Slavery gave the white South land ownership, labor, currency, collateral and political clout. The wealth and power of the large plantation owners -- the richest and largest property owners in the country --depended entirely on the number of slaves they owned.
(05-1-2018, updated 07-08-2018) How Segregated Housing Policies and Redlining Led to Racial Housing Disparity. How did we get to so many impoverished black neighborhoods, especially inner-city neighborhoods? It wasn't inevitable. A brief history of black housing.
(05-07-2018, updated 07-11-2018) Institutional Racism, Past and Present. A question I saw on Facebook, "What have whites done, since slavery, to prevent blacks from succeeding? Why do we owe them anything?" This series explores centuries of institutional racism, the many creative ways that whites have systematically excluded blacks from the American dream.
(03-22-2018, updated 07-08-2018) From Facebook to Flipboard: How I Avoid the Information Bubble. In this Age of Internet, most of us more or less have a custom news feed. We live in an information bubble. Many of us live in a fake news bubble. It really becomes dangerous when folks live in a fake news coccoon.
American fascism: one fell swoop, or small steps via gradual government centralization? (02-15-2018, updated 07-11-2018) One of the elements of fascism is government consolidation. ICE really wants to join the intelligence community. Such centralization of government would give them access to more information and surveillance in their search for illegal immigrants.
A comparison of Trump's Message and Hitler's propaganda (11-26-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Trump's propaganda is similar to Hitler's. Hitler's ideas on propaganda: focus solely on the lowest common denominator. Trump said at a rally, "I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and I wouldn't lose any voters." That tells you what he thinks of his voters: they're schmucks, useful idiots. Hitler felt the same way.
(11-04-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Conversations with Gun Nuts and Homeless Guys. I went to an anti-Trump demonstration at Republic Square Park today. It didn't happen. But I did converse (sort of) with some militia men about the need to protect themselves, Antifa, the U.S. Constitution and the second amendment, and with two homeless guys about racial disparity and how Nigerians should just shut up.
(10-30-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Fascism in America Part 11: Conclusion. Most of you Americans on the left were gobsmacked when Trump won the election. You completely underestimated his allure. So we now have a wanna-be fascist in the White House. Apart from dealing with the matter at hand, you all also have to think about post-Trump America.
(10-24-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Trump's Calls For Violence in Historical Perspective. Fascists don't mind violence, as long as they're meting it out, through violent and intimidating government policies and actions, and by encouraging a militarized citizenry. This post explores America's history of violence and intimidation, Hitler's Nazi Party in Germany, Trump rallies, and his encouragement of violence against his opposition.
(10-21-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Totalitarian governments don't acknowledge individual liberties. Everyone must support the state. No dissent, democratic elections, freedom of speech, or a free press. North Korea is a totalitarian state, as are theocracies like Iran and Pakistan. In a theocracy the leaders' holy book is the supreme authority, not democratically created laws. American Christian extremists want this as well.
(10-10-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Patriotism v nationalism -- nationalism v patriotism. How Indoctrination With National Symbols and Rituals Has Primed America for a Fascist Take-over. The flag, the Pledge, the national anthem--these are supposedly meant to instill patriotism and unity in Americans. They instill nationalism instead. And they're not to be questioned. Patriotism is a love of country. Nationalism demands conformity and incites hatred toward The Other.
(10-03-2017, updated 07-11-2018) How Language Shapes Americans' Attitudes Toward the Outside World. "America is the greatest country in the world." If you're born in America you've heard it all your life. This kind of nationalistic language is not just an innocent expression of patriotism -- it stifles curiosity, it prevents necessary dialogue about serious issues and it even leads to xenophobia.
(10-01-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Nationalism is Both Dangerous and Dangerously Naive. Americans aren't special or immune to fascist tendencies -- I think we all know that now. I have said for decades that it's dangerous to make kindergartners pledge allegiance to the flag, because it's nationalist indoctrination and it can easily lead to fascism. The response was always a breezy "Oh, that would never happen here. We're just proud of our country--nothing wrong with that."
(09-30-2017, updated 07-12-2018) American Fascism: Don't Get Me Started! I was invited to speak at an anti-fascist group meeting today, to give my Dutch perspective on American fascism, since Holland was under German occupation during WWII. Folks, be careful what you wish for! I had way too much information just getting through a definition of fascism. That's okay, though. It gave me fodder for another series of posts (and a year later it's the reason I'm starting a separate blog on the topic! 07-12-2018).
(08-14-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Hostages, Domestic Abuse Victims, White Southerners, Working-Class Trump Supporters and Cognitive Dissonance. I read this and sympathized. Just like Trump's base always believes him, despite overwhelming evidence that he's lying. They won't face facts either. Why do they act against their own interests? Collective Stockholm Syndrome and Battered Wife Syndrome could offer some insight.
(02-25-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Trump's Muslim ban on refugees from majority Muslim countries that isn't a Muslim ban and the attack on three Men from the Middle East who were from India. No refugees from the banned countries have killed anyone in America in at least twenty years. American extremists, on the other hand, have murdered, injured and harassed plenty of Muslims in America.
(02-22-2017, updated 07-12-2018) When the President of the United States tweets Fox News fake news about Sweden, (and on Presidents Day) all of Sweden lets us know it's fake news. I predict that there's going to be more of this. Like King George says in the musical Hamilton: "They're going to tear each other into pieces, Jesus Christ, this will be fun!"
(11-15-2016, updated 07-13-2018) Wake up, America! This is not alarmism -- you have one last shot at preventing fascism in America. The only reason I could see for super-delegates was to prevent an anti-Constitutional train wreck, but they wimped out. You have a second chance with the electoral college. If it doesn't throw Trump out, that's it. America will have committed the biggest fuck-up in history.
(05-30-2016, updated 07-14-2018) Feeling empty while the pundits catch up I've got nothing left to say other than: I told you so, America. Too bad that it took Trump to open some eyes. Glad as I am that eyes are opening, it's hard to remain optimistic. I wonder if we've passed the point of no return.
(03-20-2016, updated 07-14-2018) Bernie Sanders alienates folks by using the wrong term. Democratic socialism is an oxymoron. Although he's otherwise pretty shrewd, I don't understand why Bernie Sanders refers to his ideas as such. It scares people and it's incorrect. He's a social democrat. His ideas: democracy and capitalism, but keeping the well-being of everyone in mind.
(02-03-2016, updated 07-14-2018) What if Trump became president? Is America's democracy at risk? Would the American political system hold? Trump came in second in the Iowa caucus. Many pundits predict that this is the beginning of the end for Trump, but who knows. This is just the Iowa caucus; there's a lot more to come.
(01-31-2016, updated 07-14-2018) Surprise? Only in America and only to Americans. In an otherwise good article, Ann Marie Cox claims that Trump's success in this GOP primary race could not have been foreseen with logic or by looking at history. Really?
(11-12-2015) This is when high school history education comes in handy, if you've had any. The 2016 presidential election campaign is in full swing and the angry goldfish at the top of the GOP presidential candidate polls blames all the country's woes on a vulnerable group in society--undocumented immigrants in this case.
(07-05-2015, updated 07-14-2018) Don't blame the Koch brothers for bad American history education -- it was always terrible. When I saw this video on Facebook, it didn't surprise me how many Americans don't know that the Fourth of July celebrates the American Revolution, and independence from Britain. What did surprise me, although I suppose it shouldn't have, were a lot of the comments blaming the GOP and the Koch Brothers.
(08-30-2013, updated 07-15-2018) Two days after my last post, the daily prompt is "I Pledge Allegiance". Very funny. The question: "Are you patriotic, and what is patriotism to you". It has never meant one country that I love above all others. When I lived in Australia, I couldn't wait to go back to the Netherlands, because my grandfather, who was a teacher, told me that in the Netherlands teachers go to jail if they hit a child.
The time I stood up for world citizens and battled nationalism and boycotted the Pledge of Allegiance in a Montessori school and won ... sort of. (08-29-2013, updated 07-15-2018) Ipledgeafallegiance just changed the lyrics to the song "God Bless America". Which reminded me that I once wrote my own version of the Pledge of Allegiance. It was not too long after 9-11
(08-12-2015, Updated 07-15-2018) What's more important, Real Americans, staking out exactly where your Real America is or solving some of your real problems? One response to my open letter to police chief Mark Kessler by Steve Harmon includes the following line: "The Chief, God bless him, is simply trying to unpussify my America." I'm not sure he thought that through