The Watering Hole; Friday December 5 2014; Party Plank?

I ran across an interesting paragraph the other day, one that seems to reflect a very familiar politic, a politic that seems to stress the notion that in order for America to remain “free,” we the people must succumb to the realities of the day, that in order for our future to be blissful we must agree to various restrictions today, such as:

“Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”

Reminded me of recent SCOTUS rulings: e.g. Hobby Lobby and its implicit Establishment Clause assault; the Shelby County (Alabama) case opinion that effectively overturned Section 5 of 1965’s Voting Rights Act; the Citizens United decision which essentially equates money with “speech” and corporate entity with personhood — predictably with MUCH more to come, given the right wing court majority and all the issues outstanding, including abortion, public education, housing assistance, food stamps, medical care . . . the list is endless. And don’t forget the PATRIOT Act and the “liberties” it extends to the Executive branch in re warmongering and domestic surveillance, among numerous other diminishments of individual privilege, many of which are named in the statement quoted above.

It’s hard to say just exactly how we the people, in our Constitutional Democratic Republic (so called), have benefited from any of these changes. In most societies, however, the benefit to ‘the people’ of rights expression invariably remains secondary to the benefits of wealth, of power, of hate and fear, of racism, each and all embedded in those who decide who gets how much, and why. And though today is far from the first time that the power of the people has been squelched, it’s surely not the last. But the trends — the methods implicit, when written down — can be revealing of purpose, of intent; untruths and disparate realities can be exposed, and sometimes all it takes is a little luck, a few words, and a forum . . .

So. The above quote — could it be a statement of policy made by most any Right Wing candidate? An elected Congressman? Senator? President? A GOP Platform Plank?

Sure. It could easily be any of the above. But it’s not. It was, in fact, written in the early 1930’s, in Germany, following the February 27 1933 Reichstag fire, an event which proved to be an open door for Germany’s then newly-appointed Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Hitler promptly blamed the incident on terrorissts — “the Communists” — and used it as the rallying cry for a brutal crackdown on the freedoms implicit in the Weimar Constitution. It was parcel to The Enabling Law, an ’emergency’ decree “for the Protection of the people and the State.” It called for Restriction on . . .

. . . personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of . . . communications . . . are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”

The result was simple and predictable: The combination of political terror and state-run propaganda gave the Nazis their best election result yet.” Familiar again? Some eighty years later? Other side of the world? It was in March, 2005, that Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) said, in a speech on the floor of the US Senate:

“. . . witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that ‘Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.’ And he succeeded.

“Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.”

So how about it?  What say you Ted Cruz? Mitch McConnell? Rand Paul? Mike Lee? Boehner? King? Bachmann et al. et al.? Make illegality legal? Hand the power of government, in true Fascist fashion, to the corporate world? To the wealthy?

I hope not. Sincerely. But then I’m only one voice. E. pluribus unum. Not worth much in this upside down world. Not any more.

Fortunately there are other worlds, worlds where “upside down” is not necessarily a disadvantage – – –

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Reflections — of Better Times

“Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?”
Wm. Wordsworth

OPEN THREAD

34 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday December 5 2014; Party Plank?

      • We leave an oscillating fan running 24 hrs a day in our bedroom. The white noise helps us fall asleep. If we didn’t run it, we would hear all kinds of noise from down our street which, even though it’s a dead end, can still produce quite a bit of odd noises.

    • Human culture/society has evolved to the point where only one thing stands tall and defines for all to see the “worth” of each and every member of the species, and said defining feature is human created and largely undefinable: Money.

      Money is, at the same time, the most valuable thing humans have ever created, have ever possessed, and the most ridiculously useless and stupid species-defining non-entity in the known universe. Sadly, it outranks in importance everything else on the planet, including knowledge, truth, beauty, wisdom, and even the earth itself. Nothing anywhere is perceived to be more valuable . . .

      and in reality is more worthless . . .

      than money. Unless the “more worthless” category is expanded to include all humans to whom money is definitive of individual success or failure. Money’s sole virtue is, i.o.w., simply that it redefines the antics of the common pasture bull mentality in more acceptable “human” terms.

      • “Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.”

        ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

        • Succinct and mostly accurate. The ONLY problem I have with the concept embraced by the word “succeeded” is that it almost invariably implies money accumulation. That’s like saying the Koch bros, Adelson, Romney, et al. are “successful” when they are, each and all, nothing other than monumental failures.

          We need a new word, one that does NOT — ever — imply that accumulated monetary wealth has anything at all to do with human value. Or values. Or anything that’s remotely considerable as “virtuous.”

          • Yes, if your definition of success involves money then your effed up.
            I succeeded in teaching myself Russian.
            I have succeeded at keeping my bees alive in a world that is falling apart around them.

            Success is defined by you and the goals you have set, not someone else.
            When people understand that, they will have succeeded.

  1. Ijeoma Oluo tweeted out many examples of actions that prompted officers to use lethal force against African-Americans. A round-up of her tweets:

    “Don’t play in the park with toy guns and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t ask for help after a car accident and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t wear a hoodie and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t cosplay with a toy sword and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t shop at Walmart and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t take the BART and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t ride your bike and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t reach for your cell phone and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t go to your friend’s birthday party and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t sit on your front stoop and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t “startle” them and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t “look around suspiciously”and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t walk on a bridge with your family and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t play “cops and robbers” with your buddies and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t work in a warehouse repairing instruments and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t stand in your grandma’s bathroom and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t pray with your daughters in public and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t go to your bachelor party and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t have an ex boyfriend who might be a suspect and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t call for medical help for your sister and maybe they won’t kill her. Don’t hang out in the park with your friends and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t get a flat tire and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t park in a fire lane and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t reach for your wallet and maybe they won’t kill you. Don’t let your medical alert device go off and maybe they won’t kill you.

    I’m done for today. My heart can’t handle any more.”

    https://twitter.com/ijeomaoluo

  2. Conspiracy Theories Fan Fears Of Race War, With Alex Jones Leading The Parade

    . . . the notion that President Obama is inciting a race war in America has been floating around the extremist right almost since the beginning Obama’s presidency. Right-wing pundit Wayne Allyn Root theorized along similar lines when the situation in Ferguson first erupted this summer. Gun-rights extremist Larry Pratt has argued for some time that Obama’s immigration policies are intended to provoke a race war. Some anti-immigration extremists accused Obama of intending to spark such a conflict with his executive order on immigration.

    Yep, “it” clearly has nothing to do with racism, with irrational hatred, fear, feelings of superiority, etc. etc. “It” is all because we got a ni**er in the damn White House, and that’s immoral, anti-god, and probably unconstitutional too! And if it ain’t unconstitutional it oughtta be cuz this here’s a white country!!! YEE HAW!!!

  3. Not a good day for some publications

    via LGF

    Today’s Rolling Stone Train Wreck

    Today’s depressing item on the state of US journalism is this very odd retraction by Rolling Stone, whose editors now say they can’t back up their recent story about a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house: A Note to Our Readers | Rolling Stone.

  4. LA Times: “California drought is most severe in 1,200 years, study says”

    Yeah, these things run in cycles.

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