(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.
(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.
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.
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.
(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.
(10-29-2017, 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.
(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.
(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.
(10-20-2017-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.
(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."
(09-26-2017, 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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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?
(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.
(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.
(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