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Thoughts from Paris, Part 1

I spent the last week in Paris, mostly running around a bunch of museums, and some thoughts keep coming up.

First of all, I keep being reminded of the fragility of democracy. I’m sure everyone here knows that Hitler came to power in Germany through democratic means. But there is another example. There was a big exhibition at the Musee d’Orsay about the Second Empire. Amazingly enough, in 1852 the people of France, who were then ruled under the Second Republic, voted almost unanimously to hand over absolute power (and the title of “emperor”) to Napoleon III. That’s some irony, democratically voting to abolish their own democracy.

What these two examples have in common is fear. Propaganda was used to whip up fear, and the people then gave their power to a “strongman” who was the only person who could protect them. Sound familiar?


Also published on Medium.

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16 Comments

  1. David Freeman wrote:

    I keep reading posts saying it will probably be alright, wait and see, Trump won so give him a chance. I really don’t understand that attitude. People in at risk communities are really afraid. Those of us who were not directly threatened can only afford to wait and see if we’re willing to live with the fact that we are using LGBTQ and Muslim and all minority communities as human shields or sacrificial canaries before taking a stand.

    Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Part 2 of this will be about that concern.

    Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    Napoleon III. I just read a book about his wife (Spanish). While Napoleon III was in power (during out Civil War) his wife Eugenia established schools for girls, shelters for battered women and ladies of the night, did all sorts of charitable work, she even took control when he was off on war sorties. The people loved her. Although she was younger, she was very close to Victoria in England. A very long insightful book.

    I liken the election to ice cubes in the palm of each person who voted for Trump. They will soon have empty hands as the ice melts. Whoops.

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 4:40 am | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rSDUsMwakI

    John Oliver

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    Quite humbling video

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  6. Mountain Man wrote:

    Just now noticing the similarities, hunh? The guy’s always reminded me more of Mussolini, at least in his demeanor and speaking style. He’s a nasty bit of work no matter how you take him.

    What really gets me are the voices telling those of us who are disgusted by Trump to “get along with him for the good of the country.” Let’s see, when Obama was overwhelmingly elected in 2008 what was the first response of the Republican Congress? As I recall, the Senate majority leader said his whole effort would be put into seeing that Obama failed and was a “one-term President.” Where was all this “getting along for the good of the country” when the President was a Democrat. We tried the cooperation thing with Dubya and you see where that got us. I’d say we should give Trump the same kind of cooperation the Republicans gave Obama.

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
  7. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Hassan – Real Irony at its best!

    For those concerned about Trump watch his 60 mins interview where he proclaimed he’s “fine” with same-sex marriage. Seeing how he has appointed openly gay Peter Thiel to his transition team, that seems to be fact not fiction.

    Lest we also forget that during his speech at the Republican National Convention, for example, he proclaimed, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”

    Both of these quotes came from NBC.com

    Mountain Man, you are absolutely correct, there is heaping mounds of hypocrisy on both sides and the animosity runs deep. From Obama famously telling GOP leaders that “elections have consequences,” and, in case there was any doubt, “I won.” To Trump calling Obama the worst President in the history of the country and conservatives blocking him all the way. (except interestingly on legislation that Dems didn’t want)

    Here are some more examples of Dems giving it to Republicans in case you don’t remember:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/01/23/obama-to-gop-i-won/

    and a collection of inflammatory comments from the outgoing Potus.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYM6UjwwP90

    And here is probably the best, and some sound advice from the POTUS that all Hillary supporters should follow:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2013/10/17/president-obama-to-republicans-i-won-deal-with-it/

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink
  8. Hassan wrote:

    It seems Trump is quite indecisive person and cannot establish his authority over the factions that are trying to “advise” and “control” him. I see 3 possible factions:

    1. The Republican Mainstream/Establishment
    2. The alt-right who propelled him here
    3. His children

    Honestly for some reason I feel that his children are best of above three, specially Ivanka and her husband. They may be able to keep things sane. Although I think the establishment and alt-right want more or less same kind of judges, and he will give them those.

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Hassan- the alt right may have carried through the primary, but trust me it was the middle right and left that put him over the top. He knows that. I agree that if he listens to his family they will give him sound advice.

    Monday, November 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm | Permalink
  10. Jonah wrote:

    Well, despite Obama winning the popular vote and electoral college I don’t think anyone can say the republicans treated him with any respect so why would democrats treat trump with any respect when he lost the popular vote by a hefty margin? If those who voted for trump expect dem’s to behave the differently than the republicans to a guy who lost the popular vote that probably is asking for too much. That said I have a feeling the dems will behave better than the republicans.

    That said Obama’s taken the high road here so I’m not not what his comments have to do with anything, especially since those comments are far from being hateful as Trumps was. I don’t see Obama making fun of a disabled person, a gold start family or women. He’s probably rightly angry that people have been duped into voting for Trump. Some of the same voters who voted for change were the same who voted for the tea party and lower deficits etc. Guess what trump is going to do by the end of his term with tax cuts and infrastructure spending?

    The hypocrisy of this election is astounding. A guy who declared bankruptcy multiple times and who bent tax rules to the outmost got voted in by people who are pissed at obamacare for insuring uninsured people and immigrants? Its ok to choose someone who broke so many ethical rules as president but god help us we can’t provide healthcare to the needy. What do they think he can do besides drive the US to bankruptcy as well? Get the fox to guard the henhouse.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 3:35 am | Permalink
  11. ebdoug wrote:

    And now they are again talking of cutting food stamps. Better to deprive the poor of food and give tax cuts to the rich. How do they sleep at night? Well, Trump apparently doesn’t as he texts his pal Vlad at night.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 5:42 am | Permalink
  12. Jonah wrote:

    Our president elects thought process is worrisome

    Then
    https://theintercept.com/2016/11/10/trump-warms-electoral-college-4-years-calling-disaster-democracy/

    and now
    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/798521053551140864

    So this strategy of changing policy and opinion wasn’t just for the election. Its going to be happening post-election as well. This isn’t just policy evolving. WTF!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink
  13. PatriotSGT wrote:

    There’s a new mental disorder in the DSM and it’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome or TDS.

    It is very similar to Obama Derangement Syndrome or ODS, but scientists said it affects the opposite side of the brain.

    Researchers who have been studying this phenomenon say the causes of both syndromes seem to be rooted in deep idiological areas of the brain. They go on to say that a new treatment similar to the now outlawed frontal lobotomy might offer relief for the sufferers. By creating a permanent disconnect between the opposing factions of the brain that cannot seem to able to communicate in a normal way. They report that when one side of an affected brain attempts to communicate with the other it causes overcharged neurons to fire double shots of electrical stimulus thus causing a temporary overloaded neural pathway and basically shuts off the cerebral reasoning capacity much like a breaker in a fuse box. Researchers say some drug combinations such as ETOH and THC has shown promise, but cautioned that they only provide temporary relief and when the effects wear off the symptoms return, and sometimes at increased levels.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  14. ebdoug wrote:

    Too funny PATRIOTSGT

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  15. Don Hall wrote:

    Love it PSgt, but alcohol and dope at the same time? Wow, I don’t think I’m that young anymore. “>D

    As to giving the up-coming administration a chance – I judging by the company it’s keeping, it’s failing already.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  16. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Thanks Ebdoug and Don, I thought it was time for a humor break 🙂

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink