(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.
(05-29-2018, updated 07-16-2018) The history of crime in inner-city black neighborhoods and the response by law enforcement over time have seemingly made it a chicken-egg matter. Seemingly. I explained how inner city black neighborhoods came into being to begin with. From the start cities responded to crime in black neighborhoods differently than in white areas.
(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.
(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.
(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 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.
(01-16-2018, updated 07-11-2018) The 13th Amendment Loophole Kept Slavery Alive. The 1800s interstate slave trade between the slave-breeding states and the Deep South was especially lucrative. Slave trader Isaac Franklin (1789 - 1846) became one of the South's richest men and the owner of land in several states. He named one piece of land in Louisiana 'Angola'.
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.
(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.
(10-26-2017, 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.
(10-13-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Respect For Authority: The Dutch Learned From WWII. The German occupation (1940-1945) was a watershed moment for us. Before discussing authoritarianism in America, I'll talk about authoritarianism and the police in the Netherlands, so you understand where I'm coning from. And I'll describe 1980s Dutch police training, which focused more on de-escalation training than on using force.
(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).
(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.
(08-31-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Also, My Own White Privilege and a Peek at Life While Black in Trump Country. Topic: white privilege and responsibility for racial disparity in the Trump era. Am I a racist? Are you a racist? Many whites say they're not racist, but neither are they responsible for race problems they didn't cause. Here are my thoughts, about Dutch responsibility, my personal privilege and responsibility, and a few shocking encounters.
(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!"
(01-30-2017, updated 07-13-2018) Will the legislative branch and the judicial branch hold up against authoritarianism? American democracy the checks and balances, the separation of powers over the three branches of government only work if everyone sticks to the rules. When you elect a president who doesn't play by the rules, he can replace it with a dictatorship.
(01-25-2017, updated 07-13-2018) How stupid is this? Let me count the ways. Trump lost the popular vote. Since I'm in a counting mindset, let me also count the ways it's stupid of Trump to insist that he would have won the popular vote, were it not for those millions of illegal immigrants and other fraudulent voters.
(01-22-2017, updated 07-13-2018.) The Women's March in protest of the degenerate-in-chief was a yuge success. More than three million people in America alone protested against Trump and his misogynist cabinet yesterday, so the march also serves as a visual of the difference in the popular vote between Clinton and Trump.
(12-01-2016, updated 07-13-2018) Bullying bigots beware: I'm an obese middle-aged white bitch and I'm not afraid to use it. I pledge intolerance to bigotry. I will wear a safety pin as long as Trump is president. I will wear it as a warning to any bullying Trump supporter. I won't stand by and do nothing.