Wednesday, August 16, 2017

After Charlottesville

I’ve been wondering what to post about Charlottesville, if anything – there are so many important facets to it.

I’ve thought for some time that Trump’s candidacy was a proto-fascist one but that he came along before the powers that be actually needed fascism. However the events at Charlottesville are being recognized throughout the country as a step too far, a tipping point for the country. Trump’s statements of energetic support for the marches and actions by white Nationalists and Nazis pull off the hood, so to speak, on his candidacy and presidency. While he has said he is opposed to those specific groupings, still he emboldened them with his stunning and clueless remarks about the nature of the Friday procession and the Saturday events -- as shown by their statements, 'Thank you very much!’ So now the alt-Right, Nazis, et al. will hold more rallies, including here in Berkeley and San Francisco, feeling they have the backing  of the pinnacle of the US government.  

How to respond? One important issue is – Is the ACLU right to defend their right to speak?

I was part of and arrested in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in 1964 but even at the time I did not think one could always stand for unqualified free speech. What if a group’s platform is the eradication of humanity as a blight on the planet? What if a group wants free speech to argue for the eradication of the Jews? I thought there could be limits, depending on the circumstances - and my stepmother called me a hypocrite for taking that position.

So what about now? Tonight I heard Mark Bray on “Democracy Now!” He is a Dartmouth historian who has studied the rise of fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain and elsewhere. He has written a handbook on fascism which I plan to purchase. (And here is a link to a Feb 2017 discussion with him.)

As a long-time radical, NOT a liberal, I basically agree with his position. (And in the article he discusses differences between radicals and liberals on the free speech). The basic belief is that fascism proved so destructive to humanity that we must prevent its ever arising again. And he notes that Germany has laws which prevent the promotion of Nazism in public, but otherwise has healthy dialog and discourse. And if anyone, they should know. Bray says the lesson is not to let a tiny fascist group grow, to nip it in  the bud. Elections are no guarantee that all will be well - the Nazis used a parliamentary system to their advantage. The long history of white supremacy in this country and the admixture of Nazism make for a lethal combination.

In his Democracy Now! interview, Bray concludes that fascism must be opposed and prevented “by any means necessary”. I agree.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A while ago I asked myself why I often listen late at night for an hour or so to "bracing music" - music which builds me up. For me, it's most often Sibelius, but also Procol Harum, rock/pop songs, Rachmaninoff, sometimes Mahler, and more. I think it's to counter all the negativity in the media and the world these days. Plus as a one-time Left activist and (still) a Marxist, you absorb a lot of negative news and history. So I've got a backlog. So this music for me is a balancing measure toward  a positive outlook.

In that vein, with all the attacks on simple truth, veracity, straightforward reporting of what's there, and esp. the gagworthy crapola from the current administration (not to mention the Right-wing echo chambers), "Nothing but the truth" just rings very true and feels very good.

Procol Harum: Nothing but the truth"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Making a portal

I decided to create a more uptodate web site and link to my existing web sites (hosted by StartLogic). I considered WordPress, which is very flexible, but then decided to try Wix, which has a free version. (The link to the portal is in the Links section).

Wix is very easy to use - it took about 4.5 hours to put up the site with links to 120+, ABCZ, and other entries.

Starting in October I worked on a book on the remote viewing company called TransDimensional Systems and after about 8 months, it was done. I used CreateSpace, which is a kind of do it yourself site, to self publish it. I learned this weekend that about 750K titles are self published now each year! So it's clearly a very popular and increasingly acceptable way to publish. (The links to the Amazon and Kindle versions of Remote Viewing from the Ground Up are in the Links section.)

This is becoming a "literary year". Allison Hepler, a Professor in Maine had written a book about my mother and her case during the McCarthy era and Allison wrote me recently that she had finally found a publisher. The book will be out within a year.

In addition, my sister and I are going to be working on getting my father's autobiography, "Passing Through" published. Clive Knowles was a Unitarian minister turned Communist and CIO organizer. He was an organizer with oil workers in Texas, meatpackers in Iowa, farmworkers and carpenters in California. He led an amazing life.