Tag Archives: propaganda

ISIS is Innocent

For a long time I thought people  like Osama bin Laden and the leaders of ISIS were evil. That they fomented violence against the US. They should be blamed for 9/11 and other bombings and murders committed by their supporters.

By was I wrong.

I just learned that propaganda and words have no value. No influence. Mere words cannot be the cause of violence. Or even influence violence. The supporters of Trump have taught me that I was wrong.

Donald Trump has made a living calling for violence against his opponents. Calling the jailing of Hillary Clinton, implying that she is a criminal . Claiming that Barack Obama created ISIS, implying that he is a terrorist. Calling Mexicans and Guatemalan immigrants rapists and murderers. Claiming that CNN is the enemy of the people. The list goes on.

But none of the president’s words or claims or lies has any effect on his supporters. According to Trump and his team. And Fox.

When Trump supporters murder Jews or blacks or immigrants or gays, they are acting only on their own. They are not part of any racist movement. They are not part of any white nationalist agenda. They are not influenced by the President of the United States. Mr Trump can say whatever he wants and it has no effect on them.

So the Trump administration would have us believe. His words have no influence. He cannot be blamed for setting a tone. He has killed no one. He simply says stuff.

Which why I can now proclaim that Osama bin Laden is an innocent. He never flew a plane into the World Trade Center. He could not help it if some of his followers took his rhetoric too seriously. Bin Laden just said stuff. It had no effect on his followers.

And ISIS is innocent. Yes, they say Americans are evil. But it is not their fault that some wack jobs in the Middle East kill Americans to root out evil. Their words do not matter. They have no effect on their followers.

So, let’s stop criticizing racist speech. Let us rehabilitate Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and the rest. They only said stuff. Like Mr Trump, they are innocent of any actions taken by their followers.

ISIS is innocent.

3 Comments

Filed under candidate, Christianity, Clinton, gays, GOP, Hilllary, Islam, Judaism, nazi, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Republicans, Trump, United States

Understanding the Nazis

One of the great mysteries for normal people is how Nazism grew and eventually dominated Germany. 6,000,000 – 8,000,000 Jews, gays, intellectuals, journalists, gypsies, etc murdered. All due to one man, Adolph Hitler.

Yet, to the best of our knowledge, Hitler never murdered a Jew. Never sent a Jew to the gas chamber. Never extracted a tooth from a living Jew without anesthetics. Never separated children from their mothers and exterminated them.

All this was done by German citizens. Volunteers. You see, the Nazis did not force anyone to work at the camps. The death camps were staffed by volunteers. True believers.

Normal people wonder at this. Normal people cannot understand.

Yet, history is full of human behavior which is both cruel and vile. Savonarola and the bonfire of the vanities as he cleansed Florence of decadence. The Spanish Inquisition aimed initially at Muslims and Jews, then expanded to include all who may not be true believers. Pol Pot and his wholesale slaughter of millions of Cambodians. Wearing glasses was enough to get you executed. The Hutus murdering Tutsis and vice versa. The extermination of the Native Americans by the European invaders. The Bible tells us of the justified genocide by the Jews of the Canaanites. Not just victory, but complete extermination of a people. The Armenia massacres. Etc. etc.

Hitler was not alone. The history of the world is filled with stories of people executing each other based on ethnic origins. Or language. Or skin color. Or religion.

It seems as though this is a rather regular occurrence. It seems as though at least some people are easily influenced to murder, torture and degrade. It must be somewhere in the genes.

But what triggers it? In all cases it is the demagogue. The man or small group of men who lead others. They use fear of the “other”. The “other” is out to get you. The “other” is the fault of all of your problems. Fear is the strongest emotion.

And, if the “other” is a danger, what is the next step? Dehumanization. People don’t kill people except in self-defense. But the “other” is not a person. The other is less than a person. The other is sub-human. It (not he or she) can be dealt with. Confine the “other”. Deport the “other”. Exterminate the “other”. Spray the hornet’s nest. Set out the mouse traps. Shoot the varmints. The other is not worthy of life.

Understanding Hitler. Hitler understood the power of the “other”. The power of propaganda. The power of labeling. The power of prejudice. The power of hatred. He understood the very small step to dehumanization. He understood that people will do what is necessary if you can convince them to cross the line. The line of viewing other humans as less than human. As vermin.

So, watch the Trump rallies. Watch the snarls. Watch the hatred displayed toward the “liberals”. Listen to the “Lock Her Up” chants. Watch the leader foment hatred . Encourage hatred towards the other. And a candidate talks about roughing those who disagree with him.

And watch as “normal” people separate 3 year olds from their mothers . Watch as a judge passes judgment on  a 5 year old who doesn’t even speak English and sits alone in a courtroom. Watch as unarmed men are shot down in the street because their skin color tells you they are dangerous. Listen as the president’s spokesperson calls members of the FBI “crooked”. Wonder as the president of the United States call a free press the “Enemy of the People”.

Consider.

Are you really still confused about how the extermination of the Jews was carried out? Do you think that some of the citizens of the industrialized nation of Germany in the 1930s are somehow any different than some of the citizens of the United States today? Have people evolved to a higher plane in 70 years?

You want to understand the Nazis? Look around you.

 

3 Comments

Filed under government, nazi, Politics, Religion, Society, swastika, tea party, Trump, United States

Lugenpresse…Testing the Waters

At a Trump campaign rally in Ohio two of the Trump supporters called out to the journalist filming that rally that he was “lugenpresse”.  A term used by the Nazis to condemn any newspaper or journalist that did not toe the party line . Especially newspapers owned by Jews. The epithet aimed at any newspaper that criticized the Nazi Party. Or failed to bow down to the Fuhrer. “Lying press”.

On Sunday Kellyanne Conway did her weekly news “alternative fact” show, this time in an interview with Chris Wallace.  While not using the term, she echoed the sentiments of the “lugenpresse” when she wondered aloud why many members of the press had not been fired.  Why? For their coverage of Donald Trump.

She wondered why these members of the press were not dismissed by their bosses. Why they continued to appear on talk shows and give their opinions. Why are they not being silenced?

One of the first things the Nazis did when they gained control of Germany was to intimidate and suppress the free press. I say “gained control” because the Nazis never won the popular vote in a free election. They were always a minority party. Hitler was able to get only 32% of the vote for president in the last free election in Germany, with massive support from the rural  areas.

Once the Nazis did gain power they were quick to use it to suppress any opposition. Key to that was the free press. Communist newspapers. Jewish-owned newspapers. Independent newspapers were quickly brought under the control of the new regime. By intimidation.

The “lugenpresse” were any newspapers or journalists who dared contradict the Nazi facts. The Nazi “alternative facts”. Control of the media was seen as crucial to ultimate control of the nation.The opposition, no  matter how slight, must be silenced. Real news must not be reported. Facts must not be reported. An “alternative ” reality must be established with Goebbels deciding what is acceptable. The idea that the press must be the mouthpiece of the government  was the goal. And , for the most part, it was.

Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon are testing the waters. Attacking the press. Calling for the removal of those who dare criticize. Calling for a ban on people of the Muslim faith based on an idea that Muslims are all terrorists and all alike. Mr Trump calling into question the actual photographic evidence of the crowd size at his inauguration.  An attempt to bully the leader of Mexico into paying for a wall that Trump wants to build.  The first “press conference” with Sean Spicer, Mr Trump’s spokesman, was an attack on the press. And the attack ended with Spicer walking off refusing to answer questions. The message was clear. We will control the press. We cannot allow any contradictions or criticisms.

An all out attack on the facts, evidence and common sense. An “alternative” reality compete with “alternative  facts”

They are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Can they bully the press into silence? Can they bully our neighbor into compliance? Can they bully the American people into subservience? Can they bully the GOP controlled Congress into silence?

I think not. (Well, maybe they CAN bully Congress). The USA in 2017 is not Germany in 1933. The US citizens in 2017 are not going to sit back while Muslims are treated harshly and Mexicans are stereotyped and the free press is under attack. And the press is not going to roll over to an alternative reality.

The Trump folks are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Those waters will get hot very quickly.

(Note: The most thorough set of books on the Nazi rise to power is the trilogy by Richard J Evans. The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power and The Third Reich at War)

2 Comments

Filed under Congress, government, immigrants, Islam, Judaism, Neoconservative, news, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Senate, swastika, Trump, United States

The Worst Communist Ever

Karl Marx had been caught in a time warp. You know, the ones we see on old Star Trek episodes. He was “beamed” into the 21st century.  I heard he was recuperating at a local hospital . I managed to get in and find his room. As I walked in I noticed he was grinning with delight and nodding his head in agreement to some TV show.

Me: Hello,  Karl. What do you think of the 21st century?

Marx: Excellent (laughing). Finally. Finally the worker’s paradise has arrived ! The capitalist behemoth of the USA has a real communist leader. At last.

Me: Karl, why do you say that ?

Marx: Look. Look. At this Fox News . I have been watching for two days. This President Barack Obama is a communist. Thank god…oops..there is no god…thank the proletariat for electing this communist ! Workers of the world unite!

Me: Well,  Karl, I wouldn’t get too excited.

Marx: Capitalist stooge! Look at this Obama and what he has done for communism. No  more wars of imperial domination ! He is afraid to use military force. No more using the proletariat for capitalist wars!

Me: Well. He did bring most of the troops back  from Iraq. But,  he also sent even more to Afghanistan. And the US does have military bases in about 100 countries around the world.

Marx: Oh…well..but now all the “means of the production” are in the hands of the people. The workers control the banks. The bankers no longer gouge the proletariat.

Me: Uh…well,  Karl. Not exactly. There was a depression caused by the financial  sector. True.  So, Obama and Congress did give billions of tax dollars to save the economy.

Marx: Yes.  A classic “redistribution of wealth ” from the bankers to the workers! Communism triumphs. As I predicted.

Me:  Actually,  Karl. It was a “redistribution of wealth”, but it went the other way. The tax dollars from the workers went to bail out the bankers who then took that money and loaned it back to the workers at a profit. Banking profits at an all time high. Wages very low.

Marx:  OK.  But now the people  own the factories,  not the bourgeoisie. I saw on Fox News that the government bought the auto industry. For the people !

Me: Yeah…about that one Karl. The US taxpayers DID bail out the auto industry. But then Obama gave it back to the private sector. Another “redistribution of wealth” thing. From the proletariat to the capitalists.

Marx (getting a little glum): At least in the area of health care the people are now in power. Since this communist Obamacare, like they call it on Fox News,  is now the law. Everyone gets free health care. And the proletariat  government controls hospitals, doctors and all medical facilities. All are equal at least in that regard. All paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy.

Me:  Sorry, Karl. But while  the ACA did bring more of the …uh…proletariat into  the health care system, millions are still not covered. And the government does not control health care. Another “redistribution of wealth”…from the working taxpayer to the health  insurance companies.

Marx: …So…there has been no people’s revolution? No equality ? This Obama has not taken money from the wealthy and given it to the worker? “To each according to his needs” ? But Fox News says that Obama is taxing the rich out of existence. Power to the people !

Me:  Actually Karl,  the income disparity between the workers and the elites is greater than ever.  About one-third of the major corporations pay no tax at all. But the workers still have taxes deducted automatically from their checks. And the part about “according to their needs” ?  Well,  you know, maybe the Koch Brothers just NEED more than a single mother working at Wendy’s ? Maybe?

Marx: So, this Fox News tells me Obama is a communist. Yet he redistributes wealth the wrong way. Are there other TV channels I can watch to get a more accurate picture?

Me: If you want a more accurate picture of politics than offered on Fox News,  I suggest you start with the Cartoon Channel.

Marx:  Hmmm…The wealthy are wealthier than ever. Obama bails out bankers. Gives the car factories to the capitalists. Sends billions of tax dollars to health insurance companies.  Continue wars of imperialistic aggression ….One last thing. Can you get me back into the time warp.  I want out of here.  This President Obama…The Worst Communist Ever !

Leave a comment

Filed under ACA, Economy, Foreign policy, healthcare, Obamacare, Politics, Society, Taxes