EDITORIAL: Flirting With Nazis Is Dangerous

EDITORIAL: Flirting With Nazis Is Dangerous

The dark days of the Nazi control of Europe led to the death of millions.


Flirting With Nazis Is Dangerous

A Neighbor’s Nazi Experience

D. S. Mitchell

Martin Hartman is a tall slender man. His thinning white hair is brushed back, his jacket zipped against the winter wind, as he leans against his cane for support. There is a deep sadness in his eyes and a soberness in his demeanor. You can tell he has a story, and he wants to share it. Martin Hartman is my neighbor.

Martin was born in Holland in 1924. Prior to the Depression of the 1930’s, his family had owned a prosperous construction business. His family like many others had suffered during those economically depressed times, but by 1940, the 97-year-old said, the economy “had begun to turn around,” things were looking up he confirmed. The future looked promising.

There had been rumblings of war, but few took them seriously, after all WWI was a mere twenty two years in the past. No one could imagine the world once again plunging into conflict. The next few days would change his life and those of his friends and family forever. “I was 16. It was May 10, 1940. We heard bombing and saw planes. It was the German invasion, and the blitz was over in three days.” The squashing of Holland’s defenses was quick, but far from painless.

After the German invasion, they began barricading city blocks and then sweeping the apartments for young men to fill the military ranks due to troop loss. Hartman describes it, “Gradually Nazism crawled into Holland. Good people were killed, or sent to prison . . . Jews and ministers.”

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OPINION: Trump Embraces Fascism

OPINION: Trump Embraces Fascism

(In Plain Sight)

By Trevor K. McNeil

The Vital Importance of Language

Words matter. Talk can be both cheap or expensive depending on the context. All words are arbitrary in their invention but also vital in terms of their function which is to help understand existence. Which is why people can get quite irritable about words being used correctly. Misuse of words quickly leads to miscommunication. Something the last four years of Trump has shown us.

The Definition Is This

A favorite word tossed at Trump is fascism. A much used and seldom understood word. This is at least a linguistic issue, the original word being the Italian fascismo, roughly translated as fastening or togetherness. The main symbolism of the time being a bundle of sticks. One stick can be broken, a bundle of sticks cannot. A nice idea undercut by the fact that by fastening together, the members of a fascist society also close others out.

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Sectarianism In Europe; Fear Of Foreigners



By Trevor K. McNeil

The Roots of Difference

Human beings are tribal. By definition. Whether it is literally in the context of a family, or a tribal group, or a nation, there is always an “in” group.  And as the Newtonian law of opposites tells us, there is also an “out” group. There has always been a fear of foreigners. Also known as xenophobia. Such is a biologically determined certainty.

Persecution  Of “Out” Groups

What is not certain, or even particularly static, are the qualities that separate the “in” groups and the “out” groups. There are some factors common to many situations but no single indicator that determines whether a group is accepted or rejected. Not even what is called “race” or “culture.” There being cases of persecution between groups of similar if not the same, or close cultural and racial backgrounds. On going hostilities have existed for thousands of years.

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This, Too, Shall Pass

The Dark Jester

by T.K. McNeil

“Every empire turns to dust and every ego will be crushed”
Martyn Jacuqes, The Crack of Doom

No one can see the future. Just ask stock traders, poker players, or the weather man. One method used to predict future events is trends. Unfortunately, trends come and go. Be it good or bad, there is a tendency to be trapped in the current scenario. Which is why when it came to imagining transportation of the future, Futurists of the 19th century described what was basically a horse and buggy with a mechanized horse.

The very concept of the internal combustion engine was so far beyond the context that they knew it was difficult to foresee a time beyond it. In the throws of the Second World War the National Socialist regime referred to their administration as “the thousand-year Reich.” While the Nazis were only in power for 12 years there was no reason not to believe the “thousand-year” rhetoric at the time.

Donald Trump is president but it will not be forever, even though it already feels like it has been.  The Nixon administration was truly abhorrent and seemed like it would never end but it did, because people took action. Remember George W. Bush? Me neither. Not unless I really try.

It is both funny and somewhat tragic to realize that we thought W. was as bad as it could get and Obama arrived just in the nick of time to save us all. It was warm and fuzzy while it lasted.  But, going from Obama to Trump was a shock that the country has not yet recovered from.  The ‘he’ll never win’ complacency that let him do just that hangs over every day of his presidency.

Cultural amnesia can be a terrible thing that can allow us to get used to anything, but we can’t allow it. This is not normal and it is not right. This is exactly why our systems has checks and balances like the two houses and the judiciary as well as two term limits on the presidency. To keep the unfit from ruling too freely for too long.

No matter what happens we need to remember that. The power is ultimately ours, as is our destiny. It might hurt but we need to remember everything Donald Trump has said and done. Hold it our hearts and minds and make sure he does not get away with it. It is a dark time now but this, too, shall pass. Hopefully sooner than later.

A Neighbor’s Nazi Experience

A Neighbor’s Nazi Experience

D. S. Mitchell

Martin Hartman, a tall slender man, his thinning white brushed back leans against his cane for support. There is a sadness in his eyes and a soberness in his demeanor. You can tell he has a story, and he wants to tell it.

He was born in Holland in 1924. He looks to the ground, before looking back into the reporters eyes. His family had owned a prosperous construction business, until the Depression he tells us. His family like many others had suffered during those economically depressed times, but by 1940, things he explains slowly as memories cloud his 93-year-old face, the economy “had begun to turn around”.

The turnaround was slow, but things had been looking up.  Within just a few days his life, and the life of friends and family were inexorably changed forever.

“I was 16. It was May 10, 1940. We heard bombing and saw planes. It was the German invasion, and the blitz was over in three days.” The squashing of Holland’s defenses was quick, but far from painless.

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Moving Backwards With Trump

Moving Backwards With Trump

D. S. Mitchell

As a Progressive liberal I have clung to the base expectation that we, as Americans were moving forward, arguably slowly, but always in a forward trajectory toward social justice.  A journey toward more respect and equality between the sexes, the races, and the various religions. To a more open and honest place, where conversation about racism, sexism and every other negative-ism which have for so long separated us could be discussed. In that perfect progressive dream, people of varied colors, sexual orientation and diverse faiths came together without distrust or hate and together worked for the betterment of their community and the country.

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States was a gigantic step backward for the country in so many ways.  From a historical perspective, there is usually no continuous imaginary “forward trajectory.” In fact, regression often comes after a period of steady social forward movement. This Trump Regression has caused many people that have never been active in politics to come out and join in a resistance movement against the hatred, bigotry and isolationism of this small, mean spirited man.

Trump attacks anybody and everybody. The man is not only a deranged narcissist, but a bigot, a racist a xenophobe , homophobe and probably two dozen other “phobics” that I don’t want to get sidetracked on,.  Trump is immoral.  And because of that immorality he is a danger to the morals, ethics and norms of propriety that guide our collective sense of civility.  His contempt for rules and his ignorance of policy is demoralizing and embarrassing.

Trump uses Twitter to attack his former opponent Hillary Clinton, his predecessor Barack Obama, his AG Jeff Sessions, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Rosie O’Donnell, Mexicans the transgender community, pipeline protesters and multiple other groups.  In fact, his attacks are nearly universal, except for Russia and Vladimir Putin.  He uses Twitter to inflame and agitate, to divide and aggravate, to humiliate and degradate.

Charles Blow in the NY Times described it this way, “multiple populations are being assaulted at once, across race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity.” He further added, “we were unprepared for the daily reality of living in a nightmare.”

Blow finished his piece with a reprint of the famous Martin Niemoller’s poem, which is seen in many versions.  Moeller was an anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor who was quite outspoken against Hitler and the Nazi movement and was imprisoned by German authorities until the end of WWII.  Niemoller’s poem and the “bystander” speech by Elie Wiesel are threads of the same theme.  Do not allow yourself to stand back and do nothing, do not be complicit through silence to the subjugation, persecution, and murder of your fellow man, no matter what color, race or ethnicity.

In an earlier post I talked about Wiesel and his bystander speech, so  like Charles Blow, I will reprint Martin Niemoller’s famous and frightening reminder that we must always be alert to injustice and when seen, point it out and push back against its dangers.

“First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out–because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out–because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Wow. That pretty much sums it up.  Doesn’t it ? I wish I could put such simple words together for such perfect impact.I pray this period of Trump Regression will be only temporary. And hopefully, this disgusting vision from the past will be short lived and in fact will be the catalyst for a new generation of Progressivism and tolerance. Don’t allow the targeting of individuals or groups to occur on your watch. Speak up, speak out. Do not be silenced. Join the Resistance.

Calamity Politics is here to be a voice for the Progressive community.  I try to present a relevant and engaging article on a near daily basis. I admit right now that I am pretty irritated with the activities in Washington, D.C. and am airing my anger and frustration through my somewhat snarky posts.  But, in the current irritable political climate it is understandable.  Have a great day. It is beautiful and the beach and Lily thinks it’s time for a walk.

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