AFTER PRAGUE

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I am overcome with a premonition of history repeating itself in the fall of the American Experiment. So many voices have warned that the Experiment is on the brink, but they will not stop the fall. The top is too heavy with power, greed, and control.

From the Museum Kampa Exhibition, Prague, April 12, 2017 —

“21st August, Wednesday, early in the morning. The army, the people, tanks, confusion, astonishment, anger, and fear. Few could have imagined that twenty years after the war, in times of peace and ‘normal’ life, without warning, without any legal acknowledgement, troops of alien, albeit allied armies, could enter the territory of a sovereign state. . . . The intervention by troops of the Western Bloc was unrealistic; the spheres of power had carefully been built up over the course of many years. Society was mobilised by several living ‘human torches’ (Ryszard Siwiec, Jan Palach, Jan Zajic, Evzen Plocek) and there were also protests and strikes. However the process of repression . . . couldn’t be prevented.

“Many works of art were created in direct reaction to the occupation, while other works appeared in the second half of 1968 and throughout 1969 that reacted to the absurdity of the occupation, the shock and the disappointment, . . . and represented intense reflection on an incomprehensible event that couldn’t be accepted by a sound mind.

“Disillusionment — The process of ‘normalizing’ conditions, in other words eliminating all the reforms that had been adopted in 1968, began immediately after the occupation. Moreover, 18th October was the day on which the Treaty on Conditions of the Temporary Stationing of Soviet Troops in Czechoslovakia, which was consequently extended to more than twenty years, was approved. It seemed, for a moment, that nothing was going on. Or that it would quickly pass. . . . Nevertheless, it was the swan song of free culture.”

In Czechoslovakia, hope came and was dashed by incomprehensible regimes, regression, and repression. Now, around the world, repetition looms. Smiling leaders limit potential, refuse individuality, command and punish while aggrandizing themselves. Their admirers applaud them and see no harm because their beautiful riches make them right.

The current leader of the USA said he “would be the best for women,” and continued:

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.”
“I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
“Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

He said these things, and they were published before he was elected. He thinks of women as property, as objects to be used. He brags about his sexual assaults. He believes he is entitled to abuse others because he is rich and famous. He is a sexual predator and he disavows the importance of his actions because “boys will be boys.”

He represents my country, the country which in the past has professed itself as fair and just, as a haven for all, as a sanctuary for all religions, safe for children and women and immigrants, the country where one can strive to greatness no matter one’s background, where protection of the law is equally applied to all . . . unless one is elite and then one is excused because “boys will be boys.”

His egocentric arrogance carries over into his approach to non-white people, non-christian people, non-american people, and particularly to non-wealthy people. Workers, women, people of color, “foreigners” and even animals may be used, lied to, touched, stolen from, manipulated, or murdered, because they do not count as valuable beings, only as things at his disposal. I refuse to accept a person with this attitude of supreme entitlement. I am baffled by those who accept him, even those who profit by his actions.

My words are redundant. I have said them for almost two years. I am tired of being angry and aghast. It is exhausting. There is a limit to such feelings. The alternatives are acceptance, pretended ignorance, rationalization, or escape. Me, I do not seem to explode, as Langston Hughes said. I am festering syrupy sweet. I hold my breath. I run, but cannot escape my country.

I had been envisaging progress in the last 50 years, but I was naïve, as citizens today prove. Under this regime, we are caged zoo animals, already habituated to the current situation, acting as if it is normal. Our free space gets smaller and smaller, and it is eliminated when the zoo administration wants to squeeze out a few more dollars for itself. We are isolated and powerless. Groups of us are prevented from intermingling. We cannot provide for ourselves, cannot protect ourselves, and we have lost our instincts and nature.

This is not the first zoo administration. We are far from unique. The highly-developed culture of Persia with its fine arts and sciences toppled. It happened with Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Indians and Mongols, Africans, and a list of others.

Each time egoism destroys a culture, a new government rises out of the ashes, with the toxic Phoenix of egoism reborn, waiting for its chance to take over. Control, power, and wealth are not given up voluntarily. They are narcotic. There is never enough for those who ingest it, and they use others to get more. They will kill this American Experiment. The Phoenix feeds upon the middle and lower classes which have no power, no time to think, no way up except manipulation, lying, stealing, using and abusing others, denying laws, all in imitation of the egoism of the rulers.

We are workers, thinkers, artists, lovers, eccentrics, sellers and buyers: the French and Americans, old and young, the Germans, Muslims and Jews and atheists, women and men of all persuasions, Chinese, Africans, and Peruvians, to name a few. Some imagine, “We are best and special,” but the truth is, we are the same. It is the egoist in the role of leader who is different, the one who says “boys will be boys,” waving off concerns about ethics, family, respect, liberty and equality.

The current egoist makes my stomach heave. He is like an abusive husband. Community and family members stay with him, smiling, making excuses, saying they love him, waiting for the good man to emerge who they know is hiding behind the façade. They say they can control him, that there is no harm being done. They stay and smile, despite the insults, despite the blows and bruises, but they cannot hide the horror.

He continues, not because he is good or powerful or right, but because he tricks others into thinking he is more important than they are. He says he is “the man,” he is “the one,” and he says it often enough, that others lose energy to contradict him. He says they need him, and finally, they believe it, even though he is not Goliath. He is the merely the king with no clothes.

For me, forget his treason with Russia, forget his IRS evasions, forget his nepotism, his lurid greed and misuse of federal funds for personal pleasure, forget his desecration of precious land and water, forget his obvious stupidity, limited attention span, and illiteracy, forget his aggressivity and impulsivity, forget his subversion of laws and the constitution. All of this would have been of no consequence, if the country had rejected the “boys will be boys” argument in the first place, before the election. Too many did not take note of their nausea in response to the rapist attitudes of this predator. They did not reject this so-called man. Now it is too late. His type, hallmarked by his misogyny, is institutionalized and will spread until the contagion kills us, even if he disappears.

I do not see a thread of hope for the American Experiment. I am not sure there will be enough air or water or land left for a new human zoo to arise after he kills us. Please, others will have to hope for me.

 

REVISITED: Predictions for 2017 – 2020

mp900314250UNFORTUNATELY, THE PREDICTIONS I MADE 5 MONTHS AGO ARE COMING TRUE FASTER THAN EXPECTED.  HERE THEY ARE AGAIN.

Napoleon, who fought to protect and empower the populace, proceeded to crown himself emperor and take the spoils of his own country.  This happened with 2 different Napoleons.   I predict Trump will follow in their footsteps.

I predict Trump’s friend Putin will manage Trump as if the President is a 2-bit hustler.  Trump will destroy Russia’s enemies without the Russians having to foot the bill.  Trump will arrange for Snowden to be extradited, prosecuted as a traitor and executed.

I predict Trump will appoint 2 or 3 Supreme Court justices who are right of right, who will destroy abortion rights, the separation of church and state, voting protections, civil liberties and privacy protection for the individual, and who will make wholesale changes to constitutional limits of presidential powers for the sake of eliminating threats to Trump and his regime.

I predict sexual predators will receive societal acceptance and endorsement from the media, entertainment, Trump, and his followers.  But homosexuals will be branded as deviant, and their marriage will be disallowed, especially for tax reasons.

I predict the US government will go bankrupt.

I predict the US military will flourish.  There will be popular uprisings, which will be stopped quickly, and the best of the rebels will be enlisted into the national military.

I predict corporations will shrink in number and grow in strength, enjoying extraordinary tax incentives.  The Congress will back this.

I predict lynchings will be ignored.  The police will grow more confident.  Riots will erupt and be silenced.  News blackouts will occur.  The KKK will continue to grow, with off-shoots under new names.

I predict congress will consider bills to make the US a Christian nation.

I predict more news blackouts will occur, replaced by “announcements.”

I predict Trump will get mad and push the nuclear button.  If he can time the event properly, he will cancel the 2020 election.  I will be in the wrong ½ of the world when the explosions happen and will be maimed or dead, but the fallout will eventually kill the rest of the population too.

I used to be such an optimist.

Maybe 4 years will not be enough time for Trump to achieve this list of predictions.

We will see.

Contagion

     Yesterday, I listened to a woman passionately defend the U.S. administration and vehemently denounce all Muslims. Clearly, she had caught a contagious illness. She had listened to the rants of a man holding the presidential office, which in turn ignited her own rants.

     She felt justified because she was agreeing with the top dog. For her, it was like agreeing with god. Yes, god was on her side, because she was out of work, because her father was a drunk, because her mother was an invalid, and because she never got what she deserved. Any excuse supported her self-righteousness and dissolved her intelligence.

     Self-righteousness: I am right; you are wrong; I hate you and I want you dead.  Or at least I want you to disappear unless you change as I demand.

     The self-righteous bug feeds itself, because it feels so good to be better than others and to be RIGHT. We are all susceptible to this bug. The contagion is not a new phenomenon in human history.

     In the 19th and 20th centuries, licenses were printed and sold: “FEDERAL NIGGER HUNTING LICENSE” which specified “[name] having paid the license fee is hereby licensed to hunt & kill NIGGERS during the open search hereof in the U.S. This license must be carried on person when hunting NIGGERS and gives the holder permission to hunt day or night, with or without dogs.” Lynchings were accepted in certain circles, and today they continue in the imagination and plans of some.

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     Replace racist America’s language with “Jews,” and we hear the Nazi message. Or substitute Japanese, Mexican, Catholic, Feminist, LGBT, Muslim, Planned Parenthood, or any number of other groups, and voila, there is the hatred du jour, self-righteousness gone viral.

     The passionate rage against blacks in the 19th and 20th centuries is equaled by the passionate rage against immigrants now. I do not understand it. No matter how much someone explains why we must protect ourselves, why we must cleanse our borders, why we must take action to exterminate the threats, the words seem to me less an explanation than a confession of self-righteousness.

     When people hear insane rage, they grab onto it, as onto a life-preserver that will keep them afloat in the swamp of hatred. Even if one agrees with a leader’s politics, it is a mistake to support a leader with unhinged rage. It is better to follow anyone other than a maniac.

     It is clear how NOT to solve our world problems. Over-reactions, perversions, greed, manipulations, misogyny, stereotyping, and lies – these are not solutions. They are the worst representation of human capacity, and they are dangerous, igniting more and more self-righteousness, reversing our progress toward tolerance and respect, draining our energy for creating a safer and saner environment for future generations.

     Bright people may find solutions despite today’s contagion of hatred. Let us all be leaders who think, analyze, confer, and act with wisdom.

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The First Time

     I grew up in a family that hunted deer, ducks, quail, and rabbits. I learned early how to shoot a rifle and a pistol, and I am still a good shot, though I would never think of owning a gun. I am a vegetarian and pacifist. So, besides the logical arguments against gun ownership, such as shooting myself by accident with or without an aggressor in my home, such as endangering children, such as avoiding the temptation of killing someone in the heat of an insane argument, besides those things, I believe in non-violent solutions.

     With the epidemic of mass murders by Americans, it seems prudent to require people to register for a gun purchase, to demand a background check to prevent felons and emotionally handicapped individuals from buying a gun, and to have a waiting period before someone receives a gun. This certainly does not stop a sane person from owning a gun for any legal purpose. In fact, it ensures that qualified gun owners have their rights preserved, rather than tarnished by crazy killers.mp900315556

     For similar reasons, assault weapons and arms with the sole purpose of military usage are exempt from 2nd amendment protection. My neighbor next door does not need a tank in the driveway.

     However, for the first time in my life as an educated liberal, I can understand needing an AK-47. Under the radical regime which now rules Washington D.C., the possibility of a military junta to change the presidency into a dictatorship is within the imaginable scenarios for the U.S.A.  Americans would fight against that.

     As I understand the 2nd Amendment, it was composed to ensure a national militia could stand up to protect the country against a tyrant who wanted to overthrow the government. Hunting was not the issue at the end of the 18th century.

     I will not buy a gun. I will not become a gun advocate. I will continue to believe that citizens of the United States can protect their constitutional rights through protest, through judicial recourse, and through the strength of human logic.

     But still, just saying, who knows….

 

The Beast with Breasts

     Helmut Newton’s pictures of the female body show her to be an animal. Not an animal of the Playboy Bunny ilk to aggrandize masculine egos, although his oeuvre includes models wearing rabbit ears. No. His female animal is a palpitating splendid creature like her male counterpart. Communicating such life in the two dimensions of photography is quite an art.

     In the current exhibition of works by the portraitist and fashion photographer for Vanity Fair, an assortment of pubic hair is made public. Most of the pubic hair is untrimmed, or trimmed only a bit. It is good to see real pubic hair instead of tweezered, plucked, shaved, waxed nothingness.

     Newton’s subjects often seem like animals caught in the glare of headlights during a private thought or action.  The physicality of the models is extraordinary. Several of his models had breasts and showed them.

helmut-newton

     Well, of course. What is extraordinary about that? Generally speaking, women have breasts. To a certain extent, men also. Newton presents breasts belonging to young, healthy, beautiful white women, and still the breasts range in size and shape dramatically, like dogs, as different as Chihuahuas and Saint Bernards.

     Add in breasts of women of different ages, weights, and colors, and the variety is astounding. The diversity includes nipples. Big, flat, dark, minuscule, beige, poofy, you name it, and it exists.

     How is a girl supposed to know if her breasts are within the range of “normal” as she matures? Someone must tell her that no matter how she looks, she is perfectly formed. She has breasts that fit the standard gamut of women, an array so broad it is surprising we are a single species.