Selbstverständlich habe ich meine Eltern gefragt, ob sie damals etwas vom Holocaust mitbekommen hatten. Zumindest mein Vater war während des Holocaust alt genug, um zumindest eine Ahnung zu entwickeln. Gerüchte habe es gegeben, allerhöchstens, wenn überhaupt, mehr nicht. Auch meine Großmütter – meine Großväter sind beide im 2. Weltkrieg gefallen – haben eine Ahnung vom industriellen Massenmord durch die Nazis kategorisch abgelehnt. Ach wo, wir wussten nichts, konnten wir nicht, wir waren kleine Leute und hatten genug zu tun mit unserer eigenen Not. Ich habe ihnen das nicht geglaubt, habe ihre Antwort allerdings akzeptiert. Verdrängung ist eine mächtige Strategie zur Selbsterhaltung.
Seit Herbst 1939 töteten Ärzte und Pfleger in sechs über das gesamte Reichsgebiet verteilten Mordzentren bis Ende August 1941 mindestens 70.000 Menschen in Gaskammern und äscherten ihre Leichen anschließend ein. Nördlich von Wiesbaden, in der Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Hadamar, wurden innerhalb weniger Monate von Dezember 1940 bis zum Frühjahr 1941 rund 10.000 Patienten umgebracht, was die Menschen der Umgebung sehr bald wussten. Dieses Wissen verbreitete sich über die Region hinaus. […]
Zur selben Zeit, unmittelbar nach dem Überfall auf die Sowjetunion, erreicht die Verfolgung der Juden eine neue Eskalationsstufe. In Polen und den besetzten sowjetischen Gebieten beginnt der Holocaust – Hunderttausende Menschen werden erschossen. Das Wissen von diesen Morden dringt bald schon ins Reich, bis in die Provinz. So auch zu Kellner, der am 28. Oktober 1941 schreibt: »Ein in Urlaub befindlicher Soldat berichtet als Augenzeuge fürchterliche Grausamkeiten in dem besetzten Gebiet in Polen. Er hat gesehen, wie nackte Juden u. Jüdinnen, die vor einem langen, tiefen Graben aufgestellt wurden, auf Befehl der SS von Ukrainern in den Hinterkopf geschossen wurden u. in den Graben fielen. Der Graben wurde dann zugeschaufelt. Aus den Gräben drangen oft noch Schreie!!«
Für Kellner gibt es da nur eins: die konsequente Verfolgung der Täter. Auch die breite Masse der Bevölkerung will er nicht aus der Verantwortung entlassen: »Es gibt keine Strafe, die hart genug wäre, bei diesen Nazi-Bestien angewendet zu werden. Natürlich müssen bei der Vergeltung auch wieder die Unschuldigen mitleiden. 99 Prozent der deutschen Bevölkerung tragen mittelbar oder unmittelbar die Schuld an den heutigen Zuständen.«
Höcke bleibt draußen 2: Höcke von Landtags-Gedenkstunde für NS-Opfer ausgeschlossen: „Thüringens AfD-Fraktionschef Björn Höcke ist nach seinen umstrittenen Äußerungen zur deutschen Gedenkkultur von einer Gedenkstunde des Thüringer Landtags ausgeschlossen worden. Er habe Höcke gesagt, 'dass seine Anwesenheit als Provokation empfunden würde', sagte Landtagspräsident Christian Carius am Freitag zu Beginn der Gedenkstunde im Landtag. Höcke, der ebenso wie andere Abgeordnete der AfD-Fraktion erschienen war, habe das akzeptiert.“
Thüringer Allgemeine: AfD-Chefin Petry verfasst Brandbrief gegen Höcke: „Im Streit mit Thüringens AfD-Chef Björn Höcke geht die Bundesvorsitzende Frauke Petry in die Offensive. In einem mehrseitigen Schreiben an die Mitglieder der Partei macht sie Björn Höcke für „Hunderte von Parteiaustritten und Zerreißproben auf verschiedenen Parteiebenen“ verantwortlich.“
Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s newly appointed top White House aide, once objected to his twin daughters going to school with “whiny brat” Jews, court documents revealed. The incoming president’s future right hand man complained that there were too many Jewish students at the Archer School for Girls, an elite private school in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution.
the specter of an ideologically coherent and organizationally united Populist International — one that already controls Moscow and Washington — wrongly suggests that right-wing populism is an unstoppable electoral force.
In reality, liberal democrats are still much more united, ideologically and organizationally, than the right-wing populists. Europe’s center-right and center-left parties continue to dominate politics both in individual countries and in European Union institutions. Despite recent tensions, they agree on the fundamentals of a social market economy, a tolerant multiethnic society and an integrated Europe.
Westfahlenpost: Warum immer häufiger gestreikt wird, aber keiner es merkt: „Das Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI) der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung erfasst Kennzahlen zu den Arbeitskämpfen in Deutschland. Demnach hat es in den Jahren 2010-2015 (mindestens 145) weit mehr Arbeitskämpfe gegeben als etwa von 1975-1980 (Höchstwert 1979: 118). Auch die Zahl der ausgefallenen Arbeitstage ist laut Agentur für Arbeit von 24.501 (2010) auf 1.092.121 (2015) angestiegen.“
Economist: Declining trust in government is denting democracy: „America, which has long defined itself as a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a 'flawed democracy' according to the taxonomy used in the annual Democracy Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit […] The downgrade was not a consequence of Donald Trump, states the report. Rather, it was caused by the same factors that led Mr Trump to the White House: a continued erosion of trust in government and elected officials, which the index measures using data from global surveys.“
Instead of dribbling out one headline at a time, so the vultures and critics can focus their fire, Trump has flooded the playing field. You don’t know where to aim your outrage. He’s creating so many opportunities for disagreement that it’s mentally exhausting. Literally. He’s wearing down the critics, replacing their specific complaints with entire encyclopedias of complaints. And when Trump has created a hundred reasons to complain, do you know what impression will be left with the public?
He sure got a lot done. Even if you don’t like it.
In his 1944 letter, Orwell presciently argued that “there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark.” And in “1984,” the word “science” does not even exist: “the empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles” of the Party.
This sort of marginalization in “1984” speaks to some of the very fears scientists have expressed in response to reports that the Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency while placing new work on “temporary hold.” Similar concerns about an Orwellian consolidation and centralization of government media control have been expressed over administration efforts “to curb the flow of information from several government agencies involved in environmental issues,” and the possibility, as Politico reported, that the new White House might also try to put its stamp on the Voice of America, the broadcasting arm that “has long pushed democratic ideals across the world.”
Those who study the decline in standards of evidence and reasoning in the U.S. electorate chiefly blame politicians’ concerted efforts from the 1970s to discredit expertise, degrade trust in Congress and its members, even question the legitimacy of government itself. With those leaders, institutions and expertise delegitimized, the strategy has been to replace them with alternative authorities and realities.
In 2004, a senior White House adviser suggested a reporter belonged to the “reality-based community,” a sort of quaint minority of people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.… That’s not the way the world really works anymore.”
Orwell could not have imagined the internet and its role in distributing alternative facts, nor that people would carry around Telescreens in their pockets in the form of smartphones. There is no Ministry of Truth distributing and policing information, and in a way everyone is Big Brother.
Growing up a Jewish kid in the nineteen-seventies, in a house full of Holocaust books, giggling at Mel Brooks’s “The Producers,” I had the impression that jokes, like Woody Guthrie’s guitar, were a machine that killed fascists. Comedy might be cruel or stupid, yet, in aggregate, it was the rebel’s stance. Nazis were humorless. The fact that it was mostly men who got to tell the jokes didn’t bother me. Jokes were a superior way to tell the truth—that meant freedom for everyone.
But by 2016 the wheel had spun hard the other way: now it was the neo-fascist strongman who held the microphone and an army of anonymous dirty-joke dispensers who helped put him in office. Online, jokes were powerful accelerants for lies—a tweet was the size of a one-liner, a “dank meme” carried farther than any op-ed, and the distinction between a Nazi and someone pretending to be a Nazi for “lulz” had become a blur. Ads looked like news and so did propaganda and so did actual comedy, on both the right and the left—and every combination of the four was labelled “satire.” In a perverse twist, Trump may even have run for President as payback for a comedy routine: Obama’s lacerating takedown of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. By the campaign’s final days, the race felt driven less by policy disputes than by an ugly war of disinformation, one played for laughs. How do you fight an enemy who’s just kidding? […]
The Big Lie is a propaganda technique: state false facts so outlandish that they must be true, because who would make up something so crazy? (“I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.”) But a joke can be another kind of Big Lie, shrunk to look like a toy. It’s the thrill of hyperbole, of treating the extreme as normal, the shock (and the joy) of seeing the normal get violated, fast. “Buh-leeve me, buh-leeve me!” Trump said in his act, again and again. Lying about telling the truth is part of the joke. Saying “This really happened!” creates trust, even if what the audience trusts you to do is to keep on tricking them, like a magician reassuring you that while his other jokes are tricks, this one is magic.
It could be surprisingly hard to look at the phenomenon of Trump directly; the words bent, the meaning dissolved. You needed a filter. Television was Trump’s natural medium. And television had stories that reflected Trump, or predicted his rise—warped lenses that made it easier to understand the change as it was happening.
This is the day that we are asking every single Juggalo to join us in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., to make a collective statement from the Juggalo Family to the world about what we are and what we are not. Recently Psychopathic Records’ court case in our lawsuit against the F.B.I. and Department of Justice for listing Juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang” in their 2011 Gang Task Force report was once again dismissed, meaning we are back to square one from a legal standpoint. We have tried to use the American judicial system to achieve justice and we failed.
So on Saturday, September 16, 2017, we are taking out fight to the streets. Literally.
On one of my first reporting trips to Vladmir Putin’s Russia — of which there’d be so many that they’d blend into residence — my friend Alex and I got stuck in Moscow traffic a few cars ahead of an EMT van. The siren wailed, the lights whirled, but no one would budge: The ambulance crawled along at the same pace as the rest of us. When I noted this, Alex scoffed. Everyone knows that ambulance drivers make money on the side selling VIP airport rides, he said. Who knows who’s in that van right now? Fuck ’em.
What struck me most, at that moment, was how little difference it made whether his allegation was true, an urban legend, or something that had occurred only once or twice. All you needed for it to matter was for it to be plausible. The moment you lived in a society where someone could conceive of an EMT van used as an Über-Uber, you lived in a society where ambulances no longer received the right of way.
One tends to imagine life in an autocratic regime as dominated by fear and oppression: armed men in the street, total surveillance, chanted slogans, and whispered secrets. It is probably a version of that picture that has been flitting lately through the nightmares of American liberals fretting about the damage a potential autocrat might do to an open society. But residents of a hybrid regime such as Russia’s — that is, an autocratic one that retains the façade of a democracy — know the Orwellian notion is needlessly romantic. Russian life, I soon found out, was marked less by fear than by cynicism: the all-pervasive idea that no institution is to be trusted, because no institution is bigger than the avarice of the person in charge. This cynicism, coupled with endless conspiracy theories about everything, was at its core defensive (it’s hard to be disappointed if you expect the worst). But it amounted to defeatism. And, interestingly, the higher up the food chain you moved, the more you encountered it. Now that Russia has begun to export this Weltanschauung around the world, in the form of nationalist populism embodied here by Donald Trump, I am increasingly tempted to look at my years there for pointers on what to expect in America.