The Racial Wealth Gap: Two Reports on Income and Asset Disparity

(05-27-2018, updated 08-02-2018) So segregation held African Americans back until the Civil Rights Movement. But there has been no institutional racism since, so they have no excuse for being less well off today, do they? And what about poor white people? Well, it just so happens that two recent reports dispute the myths about the wealth gap between whites and people of color.

Fake News, Real News and Custom News

(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.

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

(02-23-2018, updated 07-08-2018) The Black America Show: Slavery as Entertainment. Like Buffalo Bill's "Wild West Show", but about the Old South. A news headline called it a show about the “Fun-Loving Darky of Old Slavery Days.” I kid you not. This may well have been the beginning of Southern revisionist history: whitewashing Southern slavery and romanticizing the antebellum South.

American Eugenics Programs and the Holocaust

Americans Gave the Nazis Eugenics Know-How (12-19-2017, updated 07-11-2017)  An article I saw yesterday: "The Nazi Breeding and Infanticide Program You Probably Never Knew About". Yeah, there's a reason you probably never knew about this. 1920s: Hitler's impressed by American eugenics programs. Rich Americans give Germans funds, science and technology for their own programs. 1940: news of atrocities reaches America. 'Eugenics' is never mentioned again in America.

MAGA: Trump’s Propaganda for Chumps

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.

My Honey-Do List For Post-Trump America

(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.

Book Bans and Gag Rules and Fox, Good Grief!

(10-29-2017, updated 07-11-2018)  Propaganda, Censorship and Other Suppression of Dissent. The fascist attitude: if you're not for us, you're against us and therefore an enemy of the state. Suppression of opposition is key. Book bans, book burning, press censorship, etc. The flip side of government suppression of dissent is government propaganda. Distorting facts and history to create a convenient story to force-feed to the masses.

Trump: The Terrible Toddler and His Toxic Masculinity

(10-26-2017, updated 07-11-2018)   From Toxic Masculinity to Total Annihilation? Machismo is a problem the world over, but in 'the West" America is unique in some aspects of society that nurture and encourage male aggression and toxic masculinity. Gun ownership, football, anti-intellectualism and the need and pressure to all be leaders. Also: more comparisons between Trump and Hitler.

Government and Militia Violence and Intimidation in 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.

Totalitarianism in America: Nothing New

(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.

Authoritarianism Is the American Way

(10-20-2017-updated 07-08-2018)  Respect: American For Blind Submission to the Authorities. Americans, you sacrifice too many freedoms to institutions. The president should not be an adored god, the police are not heroes (as a collective group) and you pay schools to educate and care for your children, not to police them. It's ridiculous how you let them abuse their powers to the extent that they do. Powers that, half the time, they shouldn't even have,You really need to take a step back and have a good look. 

The Flag, the Pledge, The Anthem: Patriotism v Nationalism

(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.

America Is the Greatest Country in the World!

(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.

American Exceptionalism Is a Myth

(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."

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

(09-26-2017, updated 07-12-2018) What Are American Values? What Is Patriotism? NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem!They're  disrespecting the troops! The country! The flag! You are confused, but I understand. The symbols have become so important to you that you forget what they stand for. Do I need to remind you what your ideals are? Well fine, if you insist. Here's a little refresher, from an immigrant. You're welcome.

Charlottesville: Patriotism versus Malignant Nationalism

(09-05-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  Optimists still think that the white supremacists in Charlottesville were outliers, or that this is when everything changes. I'm not that optimistic. Too many Americans can't distinguish between patriotism and nationalism, let alone malignant nationalism. Or why that's important. To many outsiders America already lives with "a very quiet kind of fascism". I've always felt that America is primed for a fascist takeover. I'm sure most readers will still think, even after Charlottesville, that I'm overreacting, But I don't think I am.

American Re-education: America After Trump

(08-15-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  How To Bring Effective History Education To American Public Schools. So, Charlottesville happened. Trump is to blame, as well as all Trump supporters. It was 100% predictable. Only the willfully ignorant didn't see this coming. "Wir haben es nicht gewuβt" hasn't been a valid excuse since 1946, and neither is not knowing what that means.

Collective Stockholm Syndrome and Battered Wife Syndrome: They Could Explain Everything!

(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.

Open Letter To Livid Boy Scouts Parents

(07-29-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  Concerning Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts of America at the 2017 National Jamboree. Dear Boy Scouts of America (BSA) parents, those of you who were shocked, livid, dismayed, appalled, about Trump's speech at this year's National Jamboree, Tom Horneman probably spoke for a lot of you when he wanted the BSA to apologize.

Trump’s Success in the Republican Primary a Surprise

(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? 

Trump’s Muslim Registration and Identification Plans

(11-20-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  What Americans should learn in History class: Just because something starts off small doesn't mean it's not a big deal. In an interview on NPR a few people discussed Trump's Muslim registration and identification plans. One person immediately brought up the Holocaust. Another thought it wouldn't hurt anyone to just register Muslims and require a Muslim ID.

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen: A Look at American High School History Education

(11-18-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  This explains American lack of historical perspective, the weird nationalist pride, the idolization of individuals and the notion that universities are communist breeding grounds. Loewen argues that high school history textbooks are the source of the problem.

What Passes for History Education Here is Pathetic

(11-17-2015- updated 07-14-2018) Historical bibliographies with unimportant anecdotes, alphabetically arranged; wars are about dates of battles and numbers killed -- I can see why kids think, "Why even bother?"

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s Campaign Demagoguery

(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.

Officer Slam’s Sea of Troubles and Authoritarian Arguments Against the Abused Student

(11-01-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  Both the police force and the school were okay with letting Ben Fields loose on kids, and so, apparently, are many others. The Spring Valley High School SRO had two lawsuits filed against him, for excessive violence and for targeting black students. Were these the first ever incidents that he was perceived as violent and racist? It's possible. But one his nicknames was Officer Slam.

What Do We Want Our Schools To Do? Discipline Or Teach?

(10-29-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  When and why did it become acceptable to have Officer Slam in school? And why is discipline seen as the be-all, end-all in American public education? If you had asked me last week what a school resource officer was, I wouldn't have known, but my guess would have been someone who was somehow involved in directing students to the appropriate resources for whatever they needed, be it the school library, the counselor, a local college, whatever. But no, SROs--School Resource Officers--are police officers who have been placed in public schools "to keep the students safe".

Spring Valley High School Student Violently Arrested in Class

(10-28-2015, updated 07-14-2018) If you're black in a public high school in South Carolina, using your phone in class can be extremely dangerous. When a sixteen-year-old girl at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina was caught with her phone, the teacher told her to hand it over. She refused. The teacher then ordered her to go to the principal's office. She refused.The teacher called the assistant principal, who then told her to leave the classroom. She refused. So the assistant principal sicced the cop--excuse me, I mean School Resources Officer Ben Fields--on her.

Ignorance in the Information Age: Quality over Quantity or Vice Versa?

(10-13-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  Conspiracy theories and other craziness, what to do about the disinformation and lies on the Internet. Previously I wrote that I believe that in the long run humanity is getting better, in part due to the ready availability of information. In the short term, though, easy access to information has it's downsides as well.

A Little History Poke About American Education

(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.

American History Education and Me: Broad Strokes, Please!

(03-19-2014, updated 07-15-2018)  What should history education be: the battles (and the dates and the dead) or the reasons they were fought? Let me pause for a moment and make an even stronger disclaimer than I made in last night's post. My focus is on slavery in this series of posts, so I focus on slavery when discussing the Civil War.