Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why Republicans Demonize Antifascists

For almost 20 years now, I have identified my politics as “antifascist.” Given the enormity of historic evil that has resulted from fascism, that ought to be a noncontroversial position. Any sane, decent human being should be antifascist.
But the Republicans have decided to do to the term “antifascist” what they previously did to the terms “liberal,” “entitlement,” “social justice warrior” and “politically correct.” Republican propagandists like Frank Luntz and Karl Rove successfully demonized those terms through their minions at Fox News and elsewhere. Their intent was to discredit the very concepts of compassionate politics, earned government benefits, people who fight for the rights of others and politeness.
The GOP is on a constant propaganda mission to redefine language and make the better appear the worse. As Jeffrey Martini observed, science and education are now described as “liberal scams.”
The Republican Party has decided to demonize the term “antifascist” for the obvious reason. The GOP is the American fascist party, thriving in a dung heap of its own propaganda, screaming in fury whenever it’s scalded by the cleansing touch of factual truth.
Batman's got the right idea.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Guide to the Good Should Be Within

Developmental psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development.

“In the esoteric traditions, codes of morality are less important for the simple reason that the ultimate purpose of the spiritual effort if to attain a level of personal development at which morality is natural,” Walt Anderson wrote in Open Secrets: A Western Guide to Tibetan Buddhism. 
“It is discovered within oneself, and external authority is no longer necessary or meaningful. This principle is not foreign to western psychology. Lawrence Kohlberg theorized that the most highly developed human beings operate out of inner moral principle. The same point is made by Abraham Maslow in his studies of healthy, ‘self-actualizing’ people who, he says, have relatively little respect for the formal rules and regulations of the society but at the same time a strong sense of concern for others.”

Saturday, August 12, 2017

And What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last...

My friend Dan said, “A racist in a sports car runs over a crowd of counter-protesters. His act was instigated by his anger over state officials having removed a statue of Robert E. Lee, a symbol of oppression and bigotry that was erroneously sanctioned by the State of Virginia. The state’s decision to remove it addresses one simple question: Why should African Americans pay taxes to support erecting a statue of a man whom had he won, would have kept them in bondage? They shouldn’t, thus the removal was the right thing to do, so don’t give me that bullshit Lee is just part of their history or heritage. For in this case, as James Joyce put it, ‘History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.’”
Matt Mattingly, Joseph Bryan Judd and I were just in Joe’s book store wondering when the Virginia racists would start killing people. But we were behind the times. They already had.
This was fascist murder, coldly planned and executed, to protect the symbol of a state that fought for human slavery.
Let’s remember, there’s only one side that's wrong here. Utterly, historically wrong. And — for anyone who can’t add two and two, and lacks all moral sense — that would be the side fighting to protect a memorial celebrating a rebel slave state. Don’t let anyone try to “both sides” their way out of this horror.
I'm looking forward to the holidays this year. I want to greet the people who tried to lecture me last year on what a great president Trump would make. Always presuming we survive to the holidays, of course.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Just Don't Pretend to Be Surprised

If we survive the current North Korean situation without nuclear war, it will be in spite of Trump, not because of him. Not a terribly encouraging fact to ponder.
But I kind of ran through all my emotional reactions to this nine months ago, when Trump was elected. That’s when the American nuclear nightmare became inevitable, and haunted me. After all, Trump had already repeatedly expressed his puerile, criminally irresponsible desire to use nuclear weapons in war.
How bizarre it must be to be someone who cannot foresee simple, inevitable, logical consequences.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Finally, a Film Worthy of Godzilla's Stature

The 2016 Toho film Shin Godzilla is about an inept bureaucratic response to the monster's arrival in Tokyo. That alone makes it one of the rare Godzilla movies that offers an actual interesting story in which humans play a real role in the drama.
Shin Godzilla is excellent, a social and political satire wrapped neatly and adroitly in a giant monster movie. It’s wryly observant about the way bureaucratic confusion, ego-stroking and timidity generally fk things up. The politicians matter-of-factly regard the disaster as secondary to their political ambitions. Boy, is that true to life.
The film is really quite smart, and holds together thematically in a way most Godzilla movies don’t.
The appearance of Godzilla’s nuclear breath is deliberately delayed, and incredibly dramatic and formidable when it’s finally used.
For my money, this is the best Godzilla movie since the first, and my friend Nicholas Swaim may have answered the question of why that is. “It’s a comment on the 2011 tsunami/meltdown in Japan, much like how the first film is on the atomic bombings and Lucky Dragon irradiation,” he observed.


Friday, August 4, 2017

At Dawn With the Dog on Democratic Streets

Every morning at dawn, George Hilton Beagle and I take a dawn walk through a public park and on open, connected streets past beautiful old houses, the kind built before the cowering, furtive cul-de-sacs and ruling-class “gated communities” became fashionable. You know, back before all the Republicans started sneering at the very word “democracy.”
This is one of the houses George and I pass every day, the historic Thomas Marshall house at 218 Jackson St., Charleston, IL.  Abraham Lincoln stayed there when practicing here as a lawyer and during the Lincoln-Douglas debates.