Rendering Surrender

So the drums are pounding yet again by the Bloodthirsty Caucus in American politics: Iran, Syria, Iraq Part Three, it doesn't matter, as long as we can bomb the sand until it glows in the dark. Someone somewhere has to die to satisfy a need to react, oddly from the side of the aisle that most embraces the lessons of Christ, at least when it is convenient. One can hardly think Jesus would approve of such turning of cheeks as when Mr. Trump promises to "bomb the hell out of ISIS."

But what, then, should the American reaction be? How do we handle situations like this and, should we react with force, what should be done after once Surrender is Rendered?
For that, let us look to History:

Following World War I, the idea was to take revenge on Germany, making it impossible for them to become a power in the region again. The crippling payback leveled on Germany lead to an economic disaster that saw the rise of the Nazis.
Following World War II, America poured an never-before-seen amount of money into restoring our former enemies in Germany an Japan. We did not want to see another Hitler come to power. As a result, both have become economic players on the world stage and, until only this recent economic downturn, have managed to nearly eradicate dangerous and fascist elements within their own discourse. It should be noted that the harsh austerity that is feeding a rise in new European fascism is similar to the austerity forced on Germany after World War I.
Following the Korean War, American money again flowed into South Korea in an attempt to show that the American way of life was better than the Soviet influence in North Korea. Years later, the benefits of public American aid can be seen, even from space.

Unfortunately, our approach to conflict changed not long after that. President Eisenhower, three days before leaving office, warned of an insidious threat where people would wage war not for good, not for defense, but for profit. Ever since, the US has suffered from confused and ultimately poisonous policies toward that end.

Following the War in Afghanistan, we again did not spend our money wisely, letting private contractors run wild. Like Iraq, Afghanistan is now destabilized as our troops try to leave, and is in danger of falling back into the grip of the Taliban, rendering our entire invasion violent and pointless
Following the Second Iraq War, America has seemed more interested in punishing the ill-defined enemy than helping the people get back on their feet. As a result we see private corporations fleecing the US government for billions, and a destabilized Iraq leading to the creation of the terrifying Islamic State. Just like in Germany following the Great War, using the stick instead of the carrot leads to madness.
Following the Vietnam War, the US left in disgrace after going to war on shoddy pretenses. Decades later, companies outsource to the Communist country, which now supplies cheap labor for our manufactured consumer products. We did not surrender in Vietnam when Saigon fell, but it seems our big businesses are all too willing to submit to Communism if the price is right

The answer could not be clearer: the answer is not more bombs, the answer is not more hate. When we rendered surrender from the Germans and the Japanese, we did so with the knowledge that we would, and should, help them get back on their feet. For one final example, let us look at the Big American Banks who, after receiving large amounts of support money, are now doing better than ever.
The verdict is in: Public Spending Works. History, and the bank, Says So.
When we run our system for the profit of the few and that alone, we are doing nothing but enriching a small group of people while sowing the seeds for the next nightmare to come. Maniacs in government will then insist again on obliterating the nightmare with no follow-up plan, ensuring the next profitable war. Perhaps these maniacs could take a look at the book they claim to know so well the next time they bring their swaggering bravado to the forefront:

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
Matthew 5:44

Game Over

Drive through any rural community on any given day, and you're likely to see benefits for some local person just to survive after various sorts of tragedy. This is what makes small towns amazing: people giving out of the goodness of their heart for their numbers. It is what people think of when they think of small-town America: the old tale about borrowing a cup of sugar. However, there is a question we should be asking: why is our economic system so broken that those of us in the majority can't manage our lives if anything goes wrong? Why are we all one incident away from relying on our neighbors, most of whom also don't have any money anymore, to give what they can so we can all survive? This is a system that takes advantage of the best part of America to benefit the worst part of America: obscenely rich, endlessly greedy, and ultimately heartless.
But the funny this is... if those of us down here with the majority started acting like the rich, our system would fall apart. What do you think would happen if all of the "little" folks down here decided we didn't want to pay our taxes anymore? The rich do it: they hide their money offshore or even give up their American citizenship to avoid paying taxes. So what if we all did that?
Or what if we all decided we weren't going to help anyone in need? Every time a rich business owner says he can't afford healthcare for his workers while he lives in a ridiculous mansion, he's doing the same thing. What if we all decided we were going to spend our money on a luxury automobile instead of our children or families, the people that depend on us? When the rich refuse to pay an honest wage but tool around in cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, they're doing the same thing.
And when some of us decide we've had enough, when we say we've been taxed too much, or we're too deep in debt, or we're not receiving any help for all we pay in taxes, that's when the knives come out. That's when we're lazy, or we're too entitled, or we're just dumb, poor white trash out here in the sticks. It's always so amazing to see what happens to the morally bankrupt at the very tip top in America when the people who keep their system running try to give them a taste of their own medicine. Their shock and surprise only speaks to how completely disconnected they are from the life of a vast majority of Americans.In short: you need to be able to afford pearls to clutch at them.
We don't have to keep playing this game. We don't have to keep going to the coffee can behind the fridge and pulling out our last five dollars to help the poor family down the street whose kid has cancer. We can start demanding things of the the people with all the money; money they took from us through tax breaks and loopholes, money they take by sending our families to war for their fat wallets, money they take from us every day when we buy their products. We can start demanding that they give us our money back when we vote in people who will hold them accountable, when we start voting in people who are down here with the rest of us and know about the struggle. We need to start putting into office people who will call the rich and powerful out onto the carpet at the Capitol and remind them just who keeps this game running.
Give those way up at the top a taste of their own medicine. Electing more DFL representatives will guarantee that when push comes to shove, it'll be "game over" for their rigged system.

At Your Service,

Doremus Jessup

Fascism and America

America was one of the few world powers that did not succumb to the siren song of fascism following the Great Depression. We all know of the movements in places like Germany & Italy, but the effects of the Depression were farther reaching than that. In Hungary, Gyula Gömbös rose to power in 1932, and the Iron Guard movement swept into power in Romania in 1933. France had a major Fascist riot in 1934 and Greece, Lithuania, Poland and Yugoslavia all developed governments with fascist underpinnings. Brazil and Chile had fascist uprisings and, most distressingly, dictator Francisco Franco had a fascist-style government in place until 1975.

For reference, Watergate concluded in 1974.

These are words from Benito Mussolini's articulation on Fascism, which can be found here in its entirety:
" Fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action with all his energies; it wants him to be manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle in which it behooves a man to win for himself a really worthy place, first of all by fitting himself (physically, morally, intellectually) to become the implement required for winning it. As for the individual, so for the nation, and so for mankind (4). Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (artistic, religious, scientific) (5) and the outstanding importance of education. Hence also the essential value of work, by which man subjugates nature and creates the human world (economic, political, ethical, and intellectual).
This positive conception of life is obviously an ethical one. It invests the whole field of reality as well as the human activities which master it. No action is exempt from moral judgment; no activity can be despoiled of the value which a moral purpose confers on all things. Therefore life, as conceived of by the Fascist, is serious, austere, and religious; all its manifestations are poised in a world sustained by moral forces and subject to spiritual responsibilities. The Fascist disdains an “easy" life (6).
The Fascist conception of life is a religious one (7), in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the in­dividual and raising him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. "Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the Fascist regime fail to realize that Fascism is not only a system of government but also and above all a system of thought."

This second block comes from the Fascist Decalogue, to which I have provided the link as well.

1. Know that the Fascist and in particular the soldier, must not believe in perpetual peace.
2. Days of imprisonment are always deserved.
3. The nation serves even as a sentinel over a can of petrol.
4. A companion must be a brother, first, because he lives with you, and secondly because he thinks like you.
5. The rifle and the cartridge belt, and the rest, are confided to you not to rust in leisure, but to be preserved in war.
6. Do not ever say "The Government will pay . . . " because it is you who pay; and the Government is that which you willed to have, and for which you put on a uniform.
7. Discipline is the soul of armies; without it there are no soldiers, only confusion and defeat.
8. Mussolini is always right.
9. For a volunteer there are no extenuating circumstances when he is disobedient.
10. One thing must be dear to you above all: the life of the Duce.

 The ideas laid forth here are similar, if not identical, to the ideas currently being trumpeted by the American Republican party: it has its own media, it has its own culture. The current American Republican can exist in an echo chamber where only its ideas are championed: it can buy Republican movies, watch Republican TV, read Republican books, and have Republican discussions with other Republicans on places such as Conservapedia.

(According to Conservapedia, Mussolini loved FDR's ideas so much... he then went to war with him less than ten years later.)

Now is the age of Donald Trump and permanent posturing. The world must be kept safe for the majority white, majority rich, and majority sociopathic. Anyone who doesn't agree with you must be wrong, or there's some sinister motive keeping your one correct truth from being heard. This close-minded, hateful and violent ideology thrives on perceived victimhood, driving a culture of conspiracy and cover-up that borders on fetishism. Fearing that their time as lords of Earth is coming to an end, they wish to strike out at anything contrary, and attempt at all costs to remove the idea of compromise. The increasing insular nature of the American Republican party, seen most disturbingly in the maniacal "Tea Party" movement, is nothing more than a move toward fascist policies that seek to hold up a shrinking minority of Americans to be worshiped by the rest of society, fattened by government, and most importantly, never questioned or challenged in the hegemony they have created.

There is no better time and no better way to say it. There is fascism in America. It is coming, and it can happen here. In many ways, it already is. I leave you with those quote, often misattributed to the author Sinclair Lewis, and explained here:
  • When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
    • Many variants of this exist, but the earliest known incident of such a comment appears to be a partial quote from James Waterman Wise, Jr., reported in a 1936 issue of The Christian Century that in a recent address here before the liberal John Reed club said that Hearst and Coughlin are the two chief exponents of fascism in America. If fascism comes, he added, it will not be identified with any "shirt" movement, nor with an "insignia," but it will probably be "wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution."[1]
    • Another early quote is that of Halford E. Luccock, in Keeping Life Out of Confusion (1938): When and if fascismcomes to America it will not be labeled "made in Germany"; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, "Americanism." Harrison Evans Salisbury in 1971 remarked about Lewis: "Sinclair Lewis aptly predicted in It Can't Happen Here that if fascism came to America it would come wrapped in the flag and whistling 'The Star Spangled Banner.'" [2]
  1. The Christian Century, Volume 53, Feb 5, 1936, p 245
  2. p. 29, The Many Americas Shall Be One, Harrison Evans Salisbury. Published by W. W. Norton, 1971.
Franklin Roosevelt kept America from slipping into fascism in the 1930s and, make no mistake, the frustration and fear felt by many Americans whose lives were shattered by the Depression caused a significant growth of fascist support in pre-New-Deal America. It was only through those massive social programs began by FDR and continued even under Republicans like Eisenhower that America was able to become the booming social democracy that was the world's envy in the 1950s and 1960s... but the Americans with fascist ideas never really went away. Now, with America crawling ever so slowly out of another economic collapse, the worst since the Depression, we see the fascists once again surfacing to prey on fear and anger. We can't let them. If the Reagan Revolution set the stage for this collapse, and it did, it must now be time for a Roosevelt Revolution to return America to the great social contract and social democracy that brought about our last Golden Age, and can bring us into another.

At Your Service,

Doremus Jessup