Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Saturday, March 11, 2017
(This photo from my home garden last spring shows one row of bales that has already been used for one growing season, and a second row of bales that is newly placed and ready for conditioning.)
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
On January 21, 2017, the world saw a taste of the potential power women wield through nonviolent protest, a power that continues to be exerted as women come to realize the extent to which the agenda in Washington, D.C. does not reflect their interest.
This was not the first time women have instigated change through nonviolent revolt. In fact, this year is the 100th anniversary of the demonstration that brought down the Czarist Empire of Russia.
According to Wikipedia, "In 1917 demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Saint Petersburg on the last Thursday in February (which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar) initiated the February Revolution. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for "Bread and Peace" – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism. Leon Trotsky wrote, "23 February (8th March) was International Woman's Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this 'Women's Day' would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike... all went out into the streets."
For all the women who think that there's no longer a need for International Women's Day, I'd like you to consider something: If an average woman and an average man with exactly the same skill started working at exactly the same job on January 1, 2016, the woman still, as of today, would not have been paid as much as the man had been paid as of the last day of December, 2016. Nope. In 2017, equal pay day is April 4, 2017.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Friday, December 23, 2016
People, look at the sword, not the flag!! Trump is a master of deceit, deftly focusing attention away from the real stories. Real stories include rampant conflicts of interest, deliberate manipulation of news in ways that harm political enemies, cabinet appointments of people who plan to dismantle the agencies they're assigned to shepherd, and fishing expeditions for the names of career civil servants who worked on particular projects.
But there's also a dual purpose in the scintillating hint that the nuclear arms race is about to be revived. One of the first steps that every authoritarian / fascist / totalitarian regime takes is to create a perceived threat which is then utilized to justify allocation of resources and erosion of liberty and privacy. Both Putin and Trump need an excuse to rattle their sabers and create crises, in order to justify what comes next.
If you are a Republican and have read this far and think the poor little liberal has lost their mind, be warned. Consolidation of power by the would be despot takes awhile. The first who will be attacked are the old-school Republicans who stand up for principles of fairness and decency, like McCain, Romney, and Lindsey. But after that, anyone who crosses the fascist Right will be targeted. It took Stalin 23 years to fully consolidate his power, but by 1940, Stalin was the only survivor, literally, from among the top political officials at the time of Lenin's death.
You say it can't happen here, but it can. The only gate that prevents this happening in any society is the gate imposed by those who recognize the signs and stand against it.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Why President Elect Trump Does Not Represent Politics As Usual (Part I: COMMONALITIES OF FASCIST REGIMES)
These small, baby steps have been happening in the USA for a long time. I won't go into details to support that statement. Those who choose not to see, would not believe me anyway, no matter what evidence I present. Let me merely say, "He who has eyes, let him see, and he who has ears, let him hear." The USA is well on its way to becoming a Fascist state. This is not a "Democrat" or "Republican" thing, either. In a future blog post, I will show how policies of both major political parties have failed to staunch these tendencies.
Moreover, Trump is not an anomaly. He is a logical result, merely taking a tendency one step further. But he is, indeed, extreme. This is why his election does NOT represent "politics as usual." The water has turned from tepid to hot. It's time to take notice, and stop it, before it's too late.
No one wants to hear that, including me. But, if you are willing to be honest, take a hard look at these characteristics I've compiled below, with characteristics of Fascist regimes. Judge for yourself where the USA falls on this scale. Whether you believe me now, or not, it is important for all of us to know the following signs of the slide into Fascism, and resist wherever we find it:
Thursday, December 8, 2016
|Image is Hitler at a 1932 political rally, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.|
Check out this first hand account of how one person experienced the slide from decency and tolerance into a different world, piece by piece, bit by bit:
Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' Why not? - Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad' or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're an alarmist.'
And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. ...
But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked - if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in '43 had come immediately after the 'German Firm' stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in '33. But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying 'Jew swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in - your nation, your people - is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.
Exerpt above is from They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945, (University of Chicago Press. Reissued in paperback, April, 1981), in which Milton Mayer interviewed people who had lived through the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.