Original & Snatched
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In 1945, Hannah Arendt wrote that evil would be the fundamental problem for postwar intellectual inquiry, but do the sheer magnitude of atrocities like Auschwitz defy human capacities for understanding?
"Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang".
~ Hannah Arendt.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander states Hannah Arendt, thus subscribing to the secondary mindset that inevitably distils to war and genocide. The execution of Eichmann, the holocaust, the Japanese atrocity, all share a common theme: survival of the fittest – the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life.
Arendt upon observing Eichmann found him banal. She was surprised at ‘the banality of evil’ and perplexed as to how totalitarianism could seduce such a person to the depths of evil. To properly understand the nature of evil we must raise our consciousness to awareness of totalitarianism on a level that embraces the higher truth of life: the cosmogonic cycle (Russell, Einstein, Campbell, Tesla etc.):
The universe is disappearing to eternity and each return is eternity inside out: a flip-flop between stillness and ultimate magnetic force. Albert Einstein’s Special Relativity explains the physics of eternal disappearance but the information was used expeditiously to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki and thereafter shelved. Nicola Tesla also took us to the precipice of eternal awareness but, again, we ate the icing and left the cake. One must wonder at the contrivance of this for there is no person or group of persons with the sophistication to enact such levels of control.
The energetic universe was sparked by resistance to eternity. The resulting annihilation was achieved by the ultimate magnetic force of eternity inside out. And thus, the cycle of life began.
The primary resistance is a though-form with an agenda to live and live it does through the secondary result of the universe flashing in and out of the ultimate magnetic field. Please take important note that the primary resistance remains the same as it flashes on/off to serve the demands of the secondary forms of thinking.
The primary lives through the secondary life-forms and just as any despot it will not give up its life of ultimate power and control.
We are all pawns until we learn better.
~ Tom Kitt.
At this level of existence "I" am immeasurably old; my forms are infinite and their comings and goings are simply the pulses or vibrations of a single and eternal flow of energy'
- Alan Watts.
Snagged from The New York Times:
By STEVEN LEVITSKY and DANIEL ZIBLATT
December 16, 2016
Donald J. Trump’s election has raised a question that few Americans ever imagined asking: Is our democracy in danger? With the possible exception of the Civil War, American democracy has never collapsed; indeed, no democracy as rich or as established as America’s ever has. Yet past stability is no guarantee of democracy’s future survival.
We have spent two decades studying the emergence and breakdown of democracy in Europe and Latin America. Our research points to several warning signs.
The clearest warning sign is the ascent of anti-democratic politicians into mainstream politics. Drawing on a close study of democracy’s demise in 1930s Europe, the eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz designed a “litmus test” to identify anti-democratic politicians. His indicators include a failure to reject violence unambiguously, a readiness to curtail rivals’ civil liberties, and the denial of the legitimacy of elected governments.
Mr. Trump tests positive. In the campaign, he encouraged violence among supporters; pledged to prosecute Hillary Clinton; threatened legal action against unfriendly media; and suggested that he might not accept the election results.
This anti-democratic behavior has continued since the election. With the false claim that he lost the popular vote because of “millions of people who voted illegally,” Mr. Trump openly challenged the legitimacy of the electoral process. At the same time, he has been remarkably dismissive of United States intelligence agencies’ reports of Russian hacking to tilt the election in his favor.
Mr. Trump is not the first American politician with authoritarian tendencies. (Other notable authoritarians include Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana and Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.) But he is the first in modern American history to be elected president. This is not necessarily because Americans have grown more authoritarian (the United States electorate has always had an authoritarian streak). Rather it’s because the institutional filters that we assumed would protect us from extremists, like the party nomination system and the news media, failed.
Many Americans are not overly concerned about Mr. Trump’s authoritarian inclinations because they trust our system of constitutional checks and balances to constrain him.
Yet the institutional safeguards protecting our democracy may be less effective than we think. A well-designed constitution is not enough to ensure a stable democracy — a lesson many Latin American independence leaders learned when they borrowed the American constitutional model in the early 19th century, only to see their countries plunge into chaos.
Democratic institutions must be reinforced by strong informal norms. Like a pickup basketball game without a referee, democracies work best when unwritten rules of the game, known and respected by all players, ensure a minimum of civility and cooperation. Norms serve as the soft guardrails of democracy, preventing political competition from spiraling into a chaotic, no-holds-barred conflict.
Among the unwritten rules that have sustained American democracy are partisan self-restraint and fair play. For much of our history, leaders of both parties resisted the temptation to use their temporary control of institutions to maximum partisan advantage, effectively underutilizing the power conferred by those institutions. There existed a shared understanding, for example, that anti-majoritarian practices like the Senate filibuster would be used sparingly, that the Senate would defer (within reason) to the president in nominating Supreme Court justices, and that votes of extraordinary importance — like impeachment — required a bipartisan consensus. Such practices helped to avoid a descent into the kind of partisan fight to the death that destroyed many European democracies in the 1930s.
Yet norms of partisan restraint have eroded in recent decades. House Republicans’ impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 abandoned the idea of bipartisan consensus on impeachment. The filibuster, once a rarity, has become a routine tool of legislative obstruction. As the political scientists Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have shown, the decline of partisan restraint has rendered our democratic institutions increasingly dysfunctional. Republicans’ 2011 refusal to raise the debt ceiling, which put America’s credit rating at risk for partisan gain, and the Senate’s refusal this year to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee — in essence, allowing the Republicans to steal a Supreme Court seat — offer an alarming glimpse at political life in the absence of partisan restraint.
Norms of presidential restraint are also at risk. The Constitution’s ambiguity regarding the limits of executive authority can tempt presidents to try and push those limits. Although executive power has expanded in recent decades, it has ultimately been reined in by the prudence and self-restraint of our presidents.
Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Trump is a serial norm-breaker. There are signs that Mr. Trump seeks to diminish the news media’s traditional role by using Twitter, video messages and public rallies to circumvent the White House press corps and communicate directly with voters — taking a page out of the playbook of populist leaders like Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.
An even more basic norm under threat today is the idea of legitimate opposition. In a democracy, partisan rivals must fully accept one another’s right to exist, to compete and to govern. Democrats and Republicans may disagree intensely, but they must view one another as loyal Americans and accept that the other side will occasionally win elections and lead the country. Without such mutual acceptance, democracy is imperiled. Governments throughout history have used the claim that their opponents are disloyal or criminal or a threat to the nation’s way of life to justify acts of authoritarianism.
The idea of legitimate opposition has been entrenched in the United States since the early 19th century, disrupted only by the Civil War. That may now be changing, however, as right-wing extremists increasingly question the legitimacy of their liberal rivals. During the last decade, Ann Coulter wrote best-selling books describing liberals as traitors, and the “birther” movement questioned President Obama’s status as an American.
Such extremism, once confined to the political fringes, has now moved into the mainstream. In 2008, the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin linked Barack Obama to terrorism. This year, the Republican Party nominated a birther as its presidential candidate. Mr. Trump’s campaign centered on the claim that Hillary Clinton was a criminal who should be in jail; and “Lock her up!” was chanted at the Republican National Convention. In other words, leading Republicans — including the president-elect — endorsed the view that the Democratic candidate was not a legitimate rival.
The risk we face, then, is not merely a president with illiberal proclivities — it is the election of such a president when the guardrails protecting American democracy are no longer as secure.
American democracy is not in imminent danger of collapse. If ordinary circumstances prevail, our institutions will most likely muddle through a Trump presidency. It is less clear, however, how democracy would fare in a crisis. In the event of a war, a major terrorist attack or large-scale riots or protests — all of which are entirely possible — a president with authoritarian tendencies and institutions that have come unmoored could pose a serious threat to American democracy. We must be vigilant. The warning signs are real.
-Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are professors of government at Harvard University.
A PETITION TO MITIGATE THREATS TO THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF UNSHELTERED INDIVIDUALS IN THE SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT COUNTY AREA BY A DECLARATION OF A SHELTER CRISIS.
there is an ongoing shortage of adequate housing, a persistent population of transient individuals, and continual disruption of camps used by unhoused individuals in the Southern Humboldt area by law enforcement officers and unofficial agencies that needlessly expose individuals to additional risk to their health and safety.
A de facto state of crisis exists that creates a threat to the health and safety of a significant population, and mitigating action by local government to reduce these risks, for the benefit of the communities affected is required, as specifically allowed by Title 2, Division 1. General Chapter 7.8. Shelter Crisis [8698 - 8698.2] of the California State Government Code.
We therefore request:
That the elected Supervisors of Humboldt County declare a shelter crisis in Southern Humboldt County, pursuant to Sec.8698 (2) & (d) of the California code
That the county identify and designate appropriate public facility in the form of unused land in the Southern Humboldt area pursuant to Sec. 8698 (c) for the establishment of an orderly and self regulated campground for the relief and comfort of an at risk, unhoused population, and declare that a sanctioned tent site significantly improves the safety and security of those individuals affected by a shelter crisis.
That the County provide minimal waste disposal service, consistent with the sanitation needs of the campground dwellers and additionally, a rudimentary water storage system be sanctioned, as allowed by the provisions of Sec. 8698.1 (b)
That the County Supervisors agree to allow and support an ongoing, self governing compact of tent dwellers that protect their health and safety by collectively working to maintain a clean and and safe environment that benefits those that choose to participate and causes no impact to those who do not.
GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 8698-8698.2
8698. For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) "Political subdivision" includes the state, any city, city and county, county, special district, or school district or public agency authorized by law
(b)"Governing body" means the following: (1) The Governor for the state.
(2) The legislative body for a city or city and county.
(3) The board of supervisors for a county.
(4) The governing board or board of trustees for a district or other public agency.
5) An official designated by ordinance or resolution adopted by a
governing body, as defined in
paragraph (2), (3), or (4).
(c) "Public facility" means any facility of a political
subdivision including parks, schools, and vacant or underutilized
facilities which are owned, operated, leased, or maintained, or any
combination thereof, by the political subdivision through money derived by taxation or assessment.
(d) "Declaration of a shelter crisis" means the duly proclaimed existence of a situation in which a significant number of persons are
without the ability to obtain shelter, resulting in a threat to their health and safety.
8698.1. Upon a declaration of a shelter crisis, the following
provisions shall apply during the period of the emergency.
(a) The political subdivision shall be immune from liability for
ordinary negligence in the provision of emergency housing pursuant to
Section 8698.2. This limitation of liability shall apply only to
conditions, acts, or omissions directly related to, and which would
not occur but for, the provision of emergency housing.
This section does not limit liability for grossly negligent, reckless, or
intentional conduct which causes injury.
(b) The provisions of any state or local regulatory statute, regulation, or ordinance prescribing standards of housing, health, or safety shall be suspended to the extent that strict compliance would
in any way prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects
of the shelter crisis. Political subdivisions may, in place of such
standards, enact municipal health and safety standards to be
operative during the housing emergency consistent with ensuring
minimal public health and safety. The provisions of this section
apply only to additional public facilities open to the homeless pursuant to this chapter.
8698.2. (a) (1) The governing body may declare a shelter crisis,
and may take such action as is necessary to carry out the provisions
of this chapter, upon a finding by that governing body that a
significant number of persons within the jurisdiction of the
governing body are without the ability to obtain shelter, and that
the situation has resulted in a threat to the health and safety of those persons.
(2) For purposes of this chapter, the governing body of the state,
in making a declaration of a shelter crisis pursuant to paragraph (1), may limit that declaration to any geographical portion of the state.
(b) Upon a declaration of a shelter crisis pursuant to subdivision
(a), the political subdivision may allow persons unable to obtain
housing to occupy designated public facilities during the duration of
the state of emergency.
Beneath Fading Flags
Weaving through the front lines,
a reflection of our culture's decay,
I notice a consistent fading of sticky patriotic flag ads,
on lifted, mud-baptized
and blue, red
worn to white, like
Illusions of separateness.
The most sentimental beings
from fruitful forests
forgotten streets for coffee,
beside bohemian guitars
empathetically escorting wheel chairs
to a remedy.
Weathered street wanderers
surviving on scraps
migrate to huddle in that
hacked-up Humboldt alleyway,
across from the filth's glistening cage,
beneath a mural depicting
farm folk laughing ironically
with grinning neighbors
who appear helpful,
contrasting the entirety of their Hand-me-down reality,
in tattered, tortured souls, concrete camping,
I watch them,
watching Posh bank tellers counting their Cache of cash,
as a status-pearl-parade
comes prancing proudly
concerned mostly for soul-paralyzing stilettos,
but I notice them not noticing the cracks.
The nearer we close in on
the more often I notice
a survival split
You either work for the system,
or to dismantle it.
I stumble from establishment to establishment
where podiums are warm and hallow
while gunfire hammers
against a dulled-florescent-lit fog
Old-Paradigm Professors wallow in anger,
Luna observes in confusion,
Inspiring me to muster up a smile
just to marinate
in variations of Housewife anthems,
and other ignorance's I couldn't claim,
that inspires the perpetuation
of this species-disconnect- feeling.
Sullen super-psychic souls
grow to find acceptance
for life's not what
were trained to make it.
They warn “Pay no attention
to the man behind the curtain”
Same fear-based plots re-branded,
same industries enabled,
same frail, male
genetically modifying natural law,
and at interest, selling us our free will.
So I just retreat to the interior of my eyelids
The safest place I have ever been,
Where compassion is confirmed,
Vivacious colors twirl and spin
My abstractions, legitimate.
It is being widely publicized on the corporate (and "public") media that the Republicans control both houses of Congress and almost every governor's mansion in the country. What is somewhat less widely publicized is the fact that now, as usual, the vast majority of US cities are controlled by the Democratic Party. In most cases, US city governments are essentially one-party institutions, where the Republicans don't even bother putting up a fight, since they never win.
And there's a clear pattern in terms of the governance of all of these cities, and it goes like this: the more the rents go up, the more shrill the rhetoric of the ruling Democratic Party politicians get.
And who are they criticizing with such enthusiasm? The real estate speculators and gentrifying developers who are primarily responsible for the growing misery? Or maybe the 48 (out of 50) Republican-controlled state governments which have banned rent control in their states?
No. They prefer safe targets. Ones that don't affect the bottom lines of the real estate profiteers that bought their political offices for them. They acknowledge that we are having a rent crisis, a housing crisis, and still suffering from the long-term aftermath of the foreclosure crisis. But they say their hands are tied, nothing much they can do. Other than making it easier for the developers to build more "low-income" housing -- in actual terms meaning far above the median income. It is Orwellian doublespeak.
And why not go ahead and break state law and impose some desperately-needed legal controls over the cost of housing? Simple. Because these supposedly progressive Democratic politicians don't give a shit about us. They are bought and sold by real estate developers and other rich people, and they govern on behalf of these scum.
In the 1980's, in response to rising property taxes, property owners formed a lobby, and the Reagan administration passed a law that limited the annual rise in property taxes across the country to 1%. Why has such a law never been passed for renters? Because both parties rule on behalf of the (bigger) property owners, not the lowly renters.
The proof is in the pudding. If these politicians cared about the working class, they would immediately break state laws across the country and institute sensible forms of rent control. In doing this, they would become tremendously popular among the working class residents of their cities. They could change the face of the country. And then of course they would become objects of hatred, victims of smear campaigns led by the real estate developers and property speculators who they would have just betrayed.
Portland has lost most of it's African-American population in between the last two censuses, and statistics in San Francisco, Seattle and elsewhere are similar. If these Democratic politicians cared about Black people, they'd institute rent control.
Instead, they'll take what they see as the safe road. They know that most of their constituencies hate Trump and the Republican establishment. They know that most of their constituencies are life-long Democrats with egalitarian impulses, who voted for Obama, who believe in an inclusive society. So they'll focus on things we can all agree on -- racism and sexism and fascism are bad. We stand against these things. What do we stand for? Who the fuck knows. Hope and change, or something. Entrepreneurship. Small business. The middle class, whatever the fuck that is.
But Mexicans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asians, poor people, and women who are all struggling to make ends meet, who desperately need governments to intervene on their behalf, against the rapacious greed of the landlord class, the big banks, etc.? Fuck them. The mayor of Portland, the mayor of Seattle, the mayor of New York City, the mayor of Boston -- that's what they would be saying if they were honest. Fuck them. We don't give a shit.
Now go protest against Trump and the governor of North Carolina and racism and sexism some more -- just don't pay any attention to the landlord behind the curtain.