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Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism.  It’s okay to say it out loud.  Incipient Fascist (AS) totalitarianism.  This is a moment in our national history when we get to look at ourselves and catch a glimpse of what happens when an organized authoritarian minority with an amoral narcissistic leader attacks everything that is necessary for human wellbeing, and attacks everything at the same time.

Attack children.  Attack women.  Attack people who have ancestors who are at least 1/64 nonEuropean (as revealed by their complexion).  Attack health care. Attack journalists. Attack democracy.  Attack any healthy human function that might expose and threaten your attack—such as truth, fact, reasoning.  Attack anything that moves—if it might move against you.

Established verities crumble, orderly minds are thrown into chaos, resistance cannot be adequately organized in time.

That’s the intuitive strategy of Herr Trompf, and the well-plotted game plan of Reichsmarschall McConnell and his Republicans.  (Starve the people, then throw a loaf of bread into the air, or drop it from a delivery drone.)   

Their goal is self-aggrandizement and total control of everyone else, permanently (as in their fantasy of a “permanent majority”) or at least for the imaginable future—say 2000 years, or until climate change makes social control impossible and they hide away in the mountains or on the islands of their wealth.

Words are a major, organizing mode of imagination, both healthy and unhealthy.  To have a healthy imagining, we must give a thing its right name, thereby making it real to us, and making us real to it. 

So say it.  Totalitarianism.  Unless we let them get away with it, their fantasy is a bubble.  Burst it!  Fight back!  

[Also see “Trompf from Here on Out (5)”]

Trompf from Here on Out (5)

6-23-19 It’s Impeachment Time. Because we had not imagined that Trompfist fascism (American Style) could happen, we were unprepared to deal with it—indeed even to imagine it—when it happened.  We didn’t imagine that that was who we are, or ever could be.  So now it’s hard, for many of us, to wrap our minds around the reality of it.  So, on this day, toward a reality-based imagination of ourselves, let’s be clear about some facts (in no particular order, as appropriate to the deranged mind that is their main subject):

(1) Immigrant koncentration kamps are real.  The children in them must be Rescued! and given sanctuary.

The Trompf Kampfs are horrendous acts of State terrorism.  I.e. the State, as an agent of the fascists, in service of the fascists, is using extreme fear as a political tactic, including attacks on the physical and psychological health of children, in the worst cases featuring torture, to motivate a population to do what it wants them to do (go away, stay away).  These are international crimes against humanity.  In case there might come attempts to hold these State actors accountable before the law, they are molding a court system that will defend them.  Their motivation is political; simply by acting, regardless of whether they achieve their nominal goal, they use their acts to inspire their citizen supporters to keep them in power.  The major State actors are Herr Trompf, Stephen Miller, and Mitch McConnell.  Many other Republicans are complicit, individually and as a Party (6-24 example, Sen. Cornyn).

(2)  For the purpose of enhancing their personal wealth and power (privilege), Trompf and his Fascist collaborators (R and Libertarian) have withdrawn the American State from an international agreement that was designed to promote peace, and was doing so, and have replaced it with unilateral actions that risk provoking a catastrophic war. Their motivation is political; simply by acting, regardless of whether they achieve their nominal goal, they use their acts to inspire their citizen supporters to keep them in power (and profit).  The major State actors are Herr Trompf, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Mitch McConnell.  Many other Republicans are complicit, individually and as a Party.

(3)  The American Pr*sident is a confessed sex offender, and probably a serial rapist.  This is an extraordinary individual. Totally fuktup personality.

When we are talking with a woman about sexual harassment or assault, we understand that there is a likelihood that she is a victim of male aggression. If her path of life has been crossed by Trompf, no matter who she is we must keep in mind that she may have been grabbed. If she has remained in his company for a while, we must think about, not just kompromat, but cult leader and Stockholm syndrome.

One of our great political parties selected as its champion the single most odious and immoral figure in American public life, then went to every length they could to defend him. (6-24, Waldman, WaPo)

(4)  For the purpose of enhancing their personal wealth and power (privilege), Trompf and his Fascist collaborators (R and Libertarian) have withdrawn the American State from an international agreement that was designed to moderate the destructive effects of climate change. This act is one of many by which they intend to prevent accountability while they take daily steps to undermine public knowledge of present danger and impending disaster. Their motivation is political; simply by acting, regardless of whether they achieve their nominal goal, they use their acts to inspire their citizen supporters to keep them in power (and profit).  The major State actors are Herr Trompf and Mitch McConnell.  Many other Republicans are complicit, individually and as a Party.

(5)  To make it difficult for us to imagine reality and govern ourselves accordingly, Trompf and his collaborators are systematically subverting the honesty, search for truth, pursuit of justice, and mutual respect, trust, dependence, and generosity that are required by democracy.  Their program for governance is defiance, noncooperation, obstruction, and chaos.  Their motivation is political; simply by acting, regardless of whether they achieve their nominal goal, they use their acts to inspire their citizen supporters to keep them in power (and profit).  The major State actors are Herr Trompf and Mitch McConnell.  Many other Republicans are complicit, individually and as a Party.

Unlike the analogous scenes, circumstances, and characters in dystopian novels, these of factual America are not complicated and subtle.  They only seem so if we refuse to factually imagine them. 

Probably we need to take Camus’s advice, influenced by his experiences in Resistance to the Nazis:  rebel, to achieve consciousness, clarity, passion for life.

If we allow Trompf and his people to continue to commit these acts, they will do worse, and worse.  We’ve seen too much already.  Impeach the Mother-fukkker.

6-22-19 Anger is appropriate now (for instance, this example of State terrorism put in place by Trompf-Miller et al.). In fact it might be a necessary source of energy for fighting back, in a successful self-defense. I’m looking to see (1) how long it takes for another 10% of American adults to realize that the country is being run by a psychopath, enabled by a large pack of other psychopaths and sociopaths, (2) how they find out, and (3) most interesting, what happens then. I’m looking for a Reckoning. I think the pressure in the boiler is building near that point.

6-21-19  Well.  So here we are.  Things can still get much worse and probably will.  But we’re at a point where few people are more morally gross and repugnant than the American Pr*sident, our Predator-in-Chief.  On top of which, he is risking a catastrophically foolish war with Iran, for the benefit of oily oligarchs, corrupt politicians like Netanyahu, and despots like bin Salman.  Who are we?  Electing Obama was one of our most noble acts as a people; electing and tolerating Trompf was and is one of our most ignoble.  We have paid an enormous price for our folly.  But it’s like extortion.  We’re not through paying, and the price will go higher. (If you are in a self-flagellatory, or thank-you-sir-may-I have-another, mood here’s a lash for your back, and another.)

I mean, seriously. It’s getting to the point where even a narrator starts pulling his hair out. Next I’ll be chewing my fingers off.

Hey, I almost forgot to breathe!

[Episode pages (1) and (2) and (3) and (4). I’m getting dizzy.]

Merde. (4) FOOLS

I just want to point out, that the people who are acting to severely damage or even destroy the best are, tout simplement, fools.

That observation used to matter. There was a general understanding and agreement, to a degree ranging from embarrassment to ostracism, that it was negative to be foolish There was a general understanding and agreement on the nature and high importance of wisdom. Life worked better with wisdom; it was dangerous to be a fool.

We still know what wisdom, of thought and act, consists in. Or at least we certainly should know. In the present epoch, we have texts and preachings of many widely recognized spiritual traditions that, while they disagree about which god is actually god, agree in more than adequate measure on what constitutes wisdom, as right thought and action, in our conduct of life, within our relationships with each other, the natural world, and the gods. It takes real effort to countermand such wisdom.

And our wisdom includes an adequate understanding of the kinds of thoughts and actions that are not wise, indeed are so unwise as to be downright foolish. Herr Trompf and his people are wonderful illustrations of that universally recognized foolishness. They are fools.

People who still support Trompf are at best foolishly ignorant and misguided. At worst they are, like him, willfully, egotistically foolish to the point of evil. All are making fools of themselves.

That matters. Fools!

Merde.

[First page of this shitty episode:  I was so wrong. Pages (2) What IS going on here? (3a) Why Now? megas v. climate, (3a2); (3b) America’s sociopaths; (3c) A uniquely representative pr*sident.]

Trompf from Here on Out (4)

6-18-19 Trompf is so full of himself that he doesn’t breathe. But he’s starting to gasp.

6-16-19 Today, even more so than already, we have a crisis on our hands.  In the spiritually devastating interview with George Stephanopoulos (broadcast in its entirety tonight—transcript), in which Herr Trompf said that he would break the law by accepting helpful campaign “dirt” offered by a foreign government (note, it is against the law even if offered by a private foreign individual) and would not inform the FBI of the offer unless he, Trompf, decided there was “something wrong with it”—which is to say, he invited foreign intervention in our election and said he would collude, he also suggested that his supporters might “demand” that he stay in office beyond the time allotted by the Constitution (so he can “Keep America Great.”)  

Against an American Pr*sident who is insane, we are struggling to protect our nation (and the asylum seekers at our southern border), the other peoples of the world, and much of life on this planet.

By “insane” I mean that Trompf is out of his gourd, not in his right mind, suffers extreme mental/emotional illness—severe loss of homeostasis, balance, stability.   He is malevolently delusional (as well as illusional), with daily acting out of his delusions of grandeur.  He is incapable of social ego-restraint and mutual give-and-take. He is reckless with other people’s lives, paranoidally insecure, vindictive, aggressive, pitiless. He’s nuts.

I don’t think that his outburst about remaining in the White House is merely designed to, for instance, deflect from bad re-election poll numbers.  I think it is a crazy tell.  Trompf is a compulsive thinker-actor-talker.  That is, he knows what he wants (albeit a fantasy), and he must have it, now.  He believes that he deserves it, he can make it happen, nobody can stop him or has a right to try.  Because he just can’t wait, he talks it, making it seem (to himself) an external reality, and signaling his supporters that he expects them to get it for him, by whatever it takes.

The Trompf brain longs for a steady state of euphoria, of perpetual triumph, over somebody, anybody, everybody.  Self-vindication and security.  To have that, he must be a completely unrestrainable Executive, quaintly known as king or dictator.  (I know, you’re thinking “That’s crazy.”)

Throw the dice, or don’t throw the dice. This game is called Krishna.

So we have two, urgent tasks:  get him out of office just as soon as we can, and until then minimize the damage that he does.  Beginning the process of removing him from office is imperative, in the name of truth, moral principle and practice, and self-defense (here is today’s example of the corrosive influence of an evil Commander-in-Chief:  monkey see, monkey do—with apologies to monkeys).

Impeachment will not officially happen in the House until Speaker Pelosi says to go for it.  She has remarked that T might “almost impeach himself,” meaning, I take it, that she believes he might do something that would make the impeachment process unavoidable and make the case open-and-shut. I thought he did so in the interview (if not, indeed, before that).  She has also remarked that she knows more about T’s wrong-doing than anyone other than T himself.  Okay, the only possible factor that would definitely allow me to depend upon the Speaker’s reasoning in holding off is that she knows something that I don’t know.  With no idea of what that is, I’m worried that she is making a mistake.

Granting that elections can have grave consequences, it is also possible that Speaker Pelosi is heavily weighting the affects, of an attempt to remove from office, on Nov 2020.  We would indeed fail to protect, if T were re-elected, or even if the Republicans kept their Senate majority, not to mention loss of the Dem House majority.  The stakes are high (as the Speaker knows as well as anyone).

But surely, before long, we’ll have to take one or the other risk. This game is called Krishna.

6-14-19 Surely the merde has hit the ventilateur now, and a lot of influential people are feeling the splatter.  They want things cleaned up (see ad).  Let’s try to get a grip on the situation by scaling down to ordinary, analogous folks like ourselves.

As I was waking up this morning, having forgotten what I had dreamed, I thought, well, the headlines might be very interesting, given T’s assurances that he would break the law and betray his country by undermining its practice of democratic governance, by accepting help, toward his re-election, from a foreign country, and not inform the FBI of the offer of help, thus putting the country at risk of having a president who was serving the interests of that foreign country because he was being blackmailed. After making coffee I started with the liberal-biased Huff Post.  

Et voila! Screen filled with these:  Andrew McCabe Says It’s Time For Impeachment Inquiries Into Trump / FEC Chair: It’s Illegal To Accept Election Help From Foreign Governments / Trump Says What Ex-White House Lawyer McGahn Told Mueller ‘Doesn’t Matter,’ President Donald Trump also told ABC News that he never told Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, despite McGahn’s testimony [i.e. says McG perjured himself] / Actually, 10 Cities Are Reportedly Waiting For Trump Campaign To Pay $841,000 In Rally Bills / Fox News Legal Analyst Pulls No Punches: Trump Is ‘Prepared To Commit A Felony’ / Toronto Raptors Grab NBA Championship In Game 6 To Dash Warriors’ Dynasty Hopes / Trump’s Lawyers Are Practically Daring Congress To Impeach Him.

Impeachment is unavoidable.  The only Q now is when. From the mouth of Diamond Li’l: “Come clean or get cleaned.”

Related story:

So there’s this guy where you work.  Donald.  He’s in a department that works with yours, so you have to interact cordially, but his personality rubs yours the wrong way, so you’ve never become friends.  Guy’s the can’t-get-enough-of-myself, loudmouth, office bully type.  You’ve seen it before. It’s rotten, and it rots everything it touches.  However, your spouses have met, hit it off, and often talk.

One evening your wife mentions that Donald’s wife said she was worried.  She sounded like something was worse than usual.  Then she said that for quite a while Donald has talking about how bad the Democrat Party is.  Bunch of degenerates.  He’d been sounding angrier and angrier.  But now he’s talking about wanting to just blow things up.

That definitely sounds worrisome.  So you start discreetly asking around.  Casual conversations with friends in his department.  Turns out others have heard him make comments like that.  Someone mentions that recently, in a bar at a convention, when everybody was feeling pretty relaxed, Donald was bragging about plans to do something big about how bad things have gotten.  Said he has contacts and friends who would help.  Guy’s a Big Mouth, soused, so your friend just blew it off.

Do you just blow it off?  Let’s say you contact the police.  Do they blow it off?  “Not good, pretty dumb, nothing to worry about.”  Say they contact the FBI.  Blow it off?  No, it’s their job to look into it.  They check him out.  Do a sting.  Turns out your Donald has recruited a couple of like-minded types, loaded his garage with explosive materials, picked a specific target, made a plan and set a date.

Blow it off?  They arrest the guy and he appears before a judge and jury.  Blow it off?

This story is so ordinary it’s boring.  The “new normal.”  Practically writes itself.  By the third paragraph you guessed what was coming.  I almost ended it right there.

Did you guess that the building to be blown up is the one where you work?

[Pages (3) and (5) of this episode.]

Dream: What?

This dream doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but here it is.

When I woke up this morning I realized that a very long and detailed dream had just ended.  My immediate thought was: That has to be the most useless, wasteful, and ridiculous dream of my entire life!  I quickly forgot the details, but I remember the jist of it.  I spent a very long time completing a task with a great many parts.  It went on and on, and didn’t amount to anything.  When I finished, several friends stopped by, and one of them asked me what I had been doing.  I then took a very long time telling my friends every detail of what I had been doing before they arrived, in exactly the original sequence.  When I had recounted the last detail I woke up, and immediately thought: that has to be the most useless, wasteful, and ridiculous dream of my entire life!

Dreams: Rotting Buildings, Traffic, Violence

6-6-19 (1)  A friend and I, teenagers, were walking home, heading north.  Home was many miles away, so we walked through many towns and cities.  Mostly we walked on the sidewalk or in the street, but from time to time we went indoors and walked through houses and other buildings.  We never saw another person.

All of the buildings had been abandoned.  The homes were single story, or two or three floors high.  There were other buildings nearby that had four or more stories, and farther in the distance loomed buildings in clumps that reached twenty or more stories.  All of the buildings were made of wood, and all were rotting and falling in on themselves and each other.  Walls were bending down or curving inward with dry rot.  Some buildings, or the several top stories of tall buildings, were reduced to vast piles of beams and studs and splintered boards.  All of the window glass was broken out.  In the homes the furniture and appliances were still in their places but covered or partly covered with fallen boards.  We kept walking.

(2)  I was driving in a city.  The traffic got more and more congested, until finally I abandoned my car and continued toward my destination on foot.  The farther I walked, the more people there were on the sidewalks, so that when I arrived at a major cross street, more like a very wide boulevard with no pedestrian island at the midpoint, there was an enormous crowd waiting to cross.  The cars were moving very fast, in both directions.  Finally the traffic lights turned red, and along with the masses of people I hurried to get across in time.

(3)  I’ve forgotten meaningful details of the third dream; but:  in the evening, on a street in the business area of the city, a Proud Boy was severely beating an older man.  I intervened and gave the young man a thrashing.  Many people who had seen the incident then gathered around me, and we had a philosophical discussion, serious and interesting, about whether my violence was justifiable.  I felt mildly under attack, although I agreed that the matter was debatable.  I defended my actions, on the basis of the right to self-defense, although I had been defending someone else, whom I did not know, and who had not requested my aid.  Most people accepted my defense, but some suggested that I nevertheless bore a measure of guilt.   

What is myth?

Whadaya mean, that’s a myth? Or at least what do I mean by that?

I. “Myths” are stories (narratives) that members of a group with a shared mythology tell each other. We tell them verbally, but also, in a sense, nonverbally, in that we live their themes, plot lines, characters, images, received truths. These stories and behavior patterns communicate, generation to generation, thoughts that we consider to be the most true and most valuable truths known by our group. These stories and truths are about ourselves, our group, and help identify our group. For instance, how we came to be, what we’ve gone through, who our heroes are, what we value, what our fate will be. If it’s really a myth of ours, we don’t think of it as a myth (in fact we normally use that word to say that some idea is untrue but all too frequently believed to be true). We don’t think of our myths as fiction, or “just a story,” we think of them as history, fact, truth, wisdom. We live our mythology, without even much thinking about it–except when we are telling our stories.

Being a bit more academic about it: mythic stories are one form of the oral culture, “folklore,” of a people, a folk (volk).  All peoples talk among themselves, and therefore all develop a lore.  Some other forms of lore are legends, jokes, song lyrics, children’s rhymes, tales such as animal tales (e.g. Brer Rabbit) or ghost tales. Wherever people talk (at “the water cooler,” over the dinner table, at the bowling alley), they share lore. Thereby the lore is passed from person to person and from generation to generation.  The most liked (valued, repeated, because useful—entertaining, educational, and/or wise) specific examples become fixtures of the culture for long periods; they become part of “the oral tradition.”  Like everything, they go through changes, including conscious inventions, inevitable errors as in a game of “telephone,” or memory lapses, that produce “variations.” Sometimes a talker will borrow an element from one story to fit into another. But the basic story or song is recognizable.

Some talkers are especially talented—someone with “the gift of gab” tells jokes or stories especially well.

Mythic stories, because they tell the very skeleton, organs, and skin of a culture, the look in the eye, the stance of the body, without the people even being conscious of their bodies, are a people’s grand gestures that reveal their souls.

The truths and wisdom in myths aren’t universally truths or not—or at least the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, because they are expressed in stories. The people story their shared thoughts in this way because, rightly or wrongly, they believe them to be true and wise.

Looked at from outside a culture, by someone of another culture, the myths are recognized as such, and might be analyzed for the ways they fall short of human universality or factuality; but for the people who tell them as tradition or history, they continue to be True.

Because of the power of the shared thought, tradition, history, values, belief, and faith told in myths, people form their behavior patterns and codes, even their institutions in accord with their myths.  We live our living myths. For instance, a culture’s criminal justice system will be variously affected by whether its religious mythology includes stories of radical change of an individual from blindness to sight, darkness to light, sinfulness to grace. Rehabilitation, anyone? Or just punishment?

Sometimes there are competing or even clashing myths within a culture, maybe especially a pluralistic culture, or a culture that has been wracked by civil war, like America. Sometimes we are still living a myth that we no longer believe to be truth, if we think about it. Then we risk living un-consciously, and we need to be more self-reflective and raise our consciousness.

II. It’s the mythology, stupid.  (It’s the humanity.  Stupid.) Re-emphasize: If, for us, it’s part of our mythology, a mythic tale about ourselves, we tell the story in a variety of verbal forms and circumstances, and we live its patterns, outwardly (in our social and institutional behaviors) and inwardly (in our conscious and unconscious mental processes).

III. So in the context of this novel (another form of narrative) about the psychopathologies of American democracy, I need to address the relationship between mythology and psychology, and between American mythology and history. To imagine the logos, the logic, of the soul, of its pathos, and of our storying our identity. Maybe I’ll get to that soon.