THE LAST DICTATOR – WHEN CHARLIE CHAPLIN TOOK A STAND – Marilyn Armstrong

The Final Speech from The Great Dictator

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost …

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St. Luke it is written: “The Kingdom of God is within man.” Not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you!

You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Final speech from The Great Dictator Copyright © Roy Export S.A.S. All rights reserved.


The Great Dictator was Chaplin’s first film with dialogue. Chaplin plays both a little Jewish barber, living in the ghetto, and Hynkel, the dictator ruler of Tomainia. In his autobiography, Chaplin quotes himself as having said: “One doesn’t have to be a Jew to be anti-Nazi. All one has to be is a normal decent human being.”

For RDP-Sunday-HELP

MIXED BLESSINGS

The Blue Ripple, by Rich Paschall

My mother used to refer to many things as mixed blessings. In part that was because she could always see the down side of anything good. Her mother was the same way so I guess it sort of runs in the family.

Visits from her aunt Harriet would probably fall into that category. (That named is changed although I am not sure any living relative would be offended).  The joyous greetings and fun visits would sooner or later degenerate into negative conversations regarding the hard life we all live.  This may have been fueled by too many adult beverages.

We might hear about the “good old days” but that was usually followed with stories of living through the Great Depressions.  Of course we could understand that the family struggled greatly after the market crash of 1929.  It seemed unfortunate to me that 50 years later so many conversations were brought down by this memory.

Visits to grandma were mixed blessings even though I liked her a lot.  There were always hard candies, marzipan and cookies from the German bakery. We were not allowed too many, but we were always given something.  The joy of our arrival seemed to be followed by the annoyance of our presence.  As children, we were always to be corrected so we tried to sit quietly and do nothing.  You can see how well that works on little ones.

Illness or accidents could be a mixed blessing in my mother’s mind or a “blessing in disguise.” Although the situation was bad, it was meant to teach you a good lesson.  Be careful.  Take care of yourself.  Avoid accidents.

When she was elderly, took a bad fall and was taken to the hospital, she noted that it was a good reminder of our blessings.  “Did you see that woman who was in the other bed?  Tomorrow she will have her leg amputated.  Someone else’s situation can be worse than yours.”  I guess I saw all of that as two negatives, so “mixed blessing” is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

We have all had jobs that were mixed blessings.  I had one that paid well but was unpleasant to work at. Another did not pay well but was rather enjoyable most of the time I was there.  In our working lives, many of the things we encounter contain mixed emotions, mixed benefits, mixed results.  In some, the negative outweighed the good by so much, I had to walk away.

When I was young and needed a car, some people I knew made me an offer on an automobile that was rarely used. I could not refuse. It was a mixed blessing. I felt I had to spend more time with the people who sold me the car and I always felt indebted to my father who loaned me the money. I was grateful and in their debt.

If I thought long and hard I guess I could think of many examples of mixed blessings of people, places, and events.  We could often see local, national and international events in this way.  In Chicago, we could look at the tenure of certain politicians as mixed blessings.  While there was too much patronage and even corruption, they managed to achieve great results for us.  This is why we referred to Chicago as “The City That Works” for many decades.

Very recently, many have hailed the great success of what they called the “Blue Wave.”  Of course, it was not that at all.  It was more of a ripple as many political analysts have noted.  While the current political situation energized many people to vote, equally as many stayed home.  NPR reported an estimated 47 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.  That means democracy was the loser again as the majority of voters elected to have no voice in the elections.

Voter turnout

For Democrats, the results were a mixed blessing.  If they were energized to work harder, so were the followers of 45.  Dems took back the House and declared their “Blue Wave” was a success, but Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate which gives POTUS more power in some areas.  While energizing more “blue” voters, Dems may also have alerted “red” voters of the importance of getting to the polls.

Photo Garry Armstrong

The House Dems will gain control of committees and have increased oversight of government next year, but Senate Republicans will have an easier time pushing through 45’s appointments to government posts and federal judgeships.  That could push the courts more to the right, helping protect POTUS and friends.  Many Dems will be praying for the good health of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

When you wish to energize voters to get more people to the polls, you may end up with a mixed blessing. Your opponents might be energized too and get some extra victories.

There will never be a strong Blue Wave, Red Wave or any wave until there is a strong wave of voters.  That would be a great blessing.

DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

A cautionary fairy tale by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

The King Brothers strode through the luxurious lobby of the grand Wilford Washington Hotel. It is a stately old hotel with all the modern amenities. Only the richest of the rich can stay at the Wilford, and the King Brothers were among the one percent that controlled most of the nation’s wealth. It was a particularly joyous night for the highly successful businessmen as they again used their business skills and wealth to get what they wanted.

Your Vote CountsAlthough they were knowledgeable and successful businessmen, Chauncey and Derrick King owed most of their wealth to inheritance. Their father discovered a new way of making energy. It was not the most environmentally responsible method, but it sure made a lot of money.

When old Farley King passed on, Chauncey and Derrick aced out two other brothers to grab control of the largest privately held corporation in the nation. Now they had their sights set on power. They wanted the sort of power that would assure continued success to their business as well as that of their friends. This meant no environmental controls that would limit their production.

The boys were all smiles as they moved to the elevators, one of which would take them to an exclusive penthouse party to celebrate victory. It was election night in the nation and everything was falling into place. Despite the massive price tag of their efforts, they were pleased with what their investment had purchased.

When the doors of the elevator opened, the King brothers found family, friends and a few carefully selected politicians on hand. They all had the opportunity to partake in the best drinks and hors d’oeuvre money could buy.  Chauncey was partial to a particular wine from France, Pierre Jouet Champagne, at a mere $6,500 per bottle. The hotel secured a case of it just for the event.

Cal Rhodes came up to the boys with the latest good news. “We have won another one. Just one more and we will control the Senate as well as the House. There are victory celebrations in just about every one of the party campaign headquarters across the country.”

For all the money the brothers dumped into attack ads and digging up dirt on the other party, they felt they ought to win most of the battles. And win them they did, all night long.

Time to vote! - Marilyn Armstrong

The party went well past midnight as they all kept a careful eye on the western states. The laughing and joking and storytelling of the earlier hours had given way to watching election results. Giant screen televisions around the room had been playing FIX News all night, but now they turned up the sound so everyone could hear. The audience hung on the words of the political reporters they knew and loved.

Elections in Oregon and Idaho were unexpectedly close. While Oregon was supposed to be a battle, Idaho was considered “a lock” for the brothers prior to election night.

“What the hell is going on in Idaho?” Chauncey shouted at Cal.

“I’ll check it out,” was all Cal could say as he went back to working the phones, a task he normally relished. It would not be good for Cal or any of the architects of the Senate strategy if they did not pick up one of the remaining states.

The numbers on the election boards were moving agonizingly slowly. Derrick said to no one in particular, “No one lives in Idaho, how long can it take to count a few votes?” At just past one in the morning, Eastern time, the crowded roomful of conservatives heard the news they’d been waiting for.

“With 93 percent of the precincts reporting, FIX News projects the incumbent Senator from the state of Idaho has held off an unexpected challenge and will retain his seat.”

With that announcement, Chauncey ordered another bottle of his favorite champagne. “Give everyone a glass. Let’s toast this hard-fought, hard-bought victory.” They toasted until the wine was gone and the guests headed home or back to their rooms in the warm, friendly Wilford Washington Hotel.

Derrick went to Cal with hardiest congratulations.

“You know, Cal, it’s time we set our agenda for the next two years. We need to start working on it immediately. But let’s get a good night’s sleep first. We’ve all earned it.” With that, Cal got a big hug from both King brothers before heading downstairs to his room.

On the very next day, with the House and Senate in hand, the King brothers discussed who should be the candidate for the highest post in the land two years hence. Whoever they picked would become their anointed one, their monarch and would serve the brothers well.

They would send him off to live in a big white house. Congress would pass all the Kings’ proclamations and the brothers would live happily ever after.

The very end.

DEMOCRACY STARTS ON THE PLAYGROUND – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I never thought that parenting practices could have a direct effect on the health and functionality of our democracy, yet that was the thesis of an article in the Sunday New York Times on Sept. 1, 2018.

The article, by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, is called “How to Play Our Way To A Better Democracy” – subtitled ‘If we want saner politics, we need to start building better foundations from the playground up’.

The article postulates that democracy requires work and the kind of people who can work well together. “Democracy is hard. It demands teamwork, compromise, respect for rules and a willingness to engage with other opinionated, vociferous individuals. It also demands practice. The best place to get that practice may be out on the playground.”

In 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville was impressed with Americans’ talent for democracy. He felt that the secret to our success was “… our ability to solve problems collectively and cooperatively.” He praised our mastery of the “art of association”, which was crucial, he believed, for a self-governing people.

In recent years, we seem to have lost that ability to work together across party lines. We have lost the ability to cooperate with anyone who doesn’t share our core views and opinions.

There is apparently a biological, evolutionary aspect to our need to play as children. Playing helps develop our ability — as adults — to cooperate and compromise. “… Mammals enter the world with unfinished nervous systems and they require play – lots of it – to finish the job. The young human brain ‘expects’ the child to engage in thousands of hours of play, including thousands of falls, scrapes, conflicts, insults, alliances, betrayals, status competitions and even (within limits) acts of exclusion, in order to develop its full capacities.”

The type of play required for this beneficial brain development is referred to as ‘free play’. It’s defined as unsupervised activities, chosen by the kids and done for its own sake, not to achieve some goal. For example, guitar lessons and soccer practice do not count as free play.

On the other hand, a pickup soccer game with no adults present would be considered free play. Without the adults, the kids have to practice their social skills and take risks.

Starting in the 1980’s and 1990’s, children in America became increasingly more supervised during their downtime. Children became more scheduled, with an increasing amount of organized after-school classes and activities. Children’s play moved indoors and involved computers, but often no other children.

Even schools have reinforced this trend. They have reduced recess and free play time and are giving more homework to be done after school, from an early age.

Kids have two main areas of difficulty if they are deprived of free play and adequate interactions with their peers.

First, they are less resilient. This can be seen in the increased incidences of anxiety and depression in college kids. Second, they are less able to negotiate and deal with conflict management. Instead, kids learn to go to an adult to settle disputes instead of working things out on their own.

Liberal democracies rely on conversation and negotiation to resolve conflicts. But overprotected, play-deprived people tend to appeal to higher authorities to apply coercion to their opponent. Coercion is the enemy of self-governing democracies. The increase in litigation, inside and outside of the government, is a symptom of this.

If this thesis is correct, our high hopes for the younger generations may be misplaced. These young adults may actually be less capable of maintaining democracy than the baby boom generation has. And right now, we’re not doing too well on that front.

Let’s hope the pendulum swings back to allowing kids more free play time. Even if it’s not going to directly help our society as a whole, it will be healthier for future generations of kids.

“AMERICA FIRST” DREDGES UP RACISM FROM THE PAST

This post is primarily quotes from Huffpost and others. Because “America First” has a rather long and ugly history … and it started long before Donald Trump.

Dr. Seuss Cartoon from 1941 on antisemitism. The old story, just updated with a red hat.

Trump Was Not First To Use The “America First” Slogan
The phrase has a long history.

01/25/2017 11:11 pm ET Updated Apr 17, 2017

In his Inaugural Address, President Donald Trump repeated a theme from his Presidential Campaign, telling the world: “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.” Many Trump critics point to the fact that this was a watchword for those who opposed U.S. intervention in WWll before the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor. Actually, the phrase has a longer history.

President Woodrow Wilson, a hardened internationalist, ironically coined the term today associated with Nationalism. In 1916, Wilson was running for re-election by promising to remain neutral in WWl. His campaign slogan was: “He kept us out of War, America First.” Once Wilson was safely re-elected, he ordered troops into what was, at the time, called “The Great War.”

Once the U.S. was enveloped in the war, newspaper Publisher William Randolph Hearst, a vociferous critic of Wilson, used the slogan against the President. Hearst was sympathetic to Germany, and warned the U.S. not to aid the allies in the fight against Germany. Hearst exclaimed: “Keep every dollar and every man and every weapon and all our supplies and stores at home, for the defense of our own land, our own people, our own freedom, until that defense has been made absolutely secure. After that, we can think of other nations’ troubles. But until then, America first!”

This slogan soon became an imprimatur for non-interventionists in both major political parties. Once WWl ended, the Americans became weary of foreign intervention. Wilson had failed in his effort to garner the requisite two-thirds majority needed in the U.S. Senator to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, which included allowing the U.S. to join a collective security alliance called “The League of Nations.” Some Senators would have supported the agreement if the President agreed to certain reservations. However, the bi-partisan group that steadfastly opposed the treaty came to be known as “the irreconcilables.”

Complete post: TRUMP WAS NOT THE FIRST TO USE AMERICA FIRST” – Huffpost 


If anyone thinks what Trump is doing is new, it isn’t. This is classic Fascism on the rise. So far, he’s still working at it, but it isn’t hard to slip over that line and suddenly discover that “free” means “people who agree with The Leader.” We are damned close to that already.

Democracy is a slippery slope. Our slope is covered in ice.

TRUMP IS THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR NAIVETY

Did you vote? Did you think if you didn’t vote someone would do it for you … like maybe a proxy? You know we don’t do that in this country. No democracy allows proxy voting. You can vote by mail, but you are still the person voting. No proxy. You. Always you. So if you didn’t go to a booth or mail it in, you didn’t vote. No matter how many protests you go to now, it’s too late. You blew it.

Was there anybody with half a brain who did not know the Democratic National Committee was firmly committed to Hillary Clinton long before the DNC convention? Was there anyone shocked by this revelation — especially one being made by someone who was part of the problem in the first place?

If you were shocked, what dark hole were you living in before the election? Did you really believe deals for huge amounts of money to run gigantic, organized electoral campaigns — which go on for years — are made on a wish and a handshake? Seriously?

I’m not saying this because I’m so cynical. This stuff is obvious. Of course they were committed to Clinton. Obviously. Of the candidates to whom they could be committed, I was okay with Hillary. She had earned her shot at it over the years. Hard work and 8 years as first lady and another bunch in the senate. And she is one smart cookie.

How naïve are you? If you are so naïve, maybe it’s time you get it together with reality. The one in which you live. We are never going to like all the stuff that goes on in our world. We will always be making compromises between the ideal — and with what we can live.

I could have lived with Hillary Clinton as president. I am having the devil’s own time surviving Donald Trump. It never crossed my mind for a moment that there weren’t a thousand deals in place to put her up as the candidate. Given the options? I was fine with the choice. I thought she could make a pretty good president. I didn’t think Bernie would accomplish anything much even if elected. An old guy with head full of ideas and ideals — with little or no research behind them. Ideas are great, but the presidency requires more than good ideas.

It requires leverage. Connections. Enough dirt on the people you’ll need to bribe, beg, and bedazzle if you want to accomplish any of your goals. Even had he won, he didn’t then or now have the stuff he would need to lead.

He also didn’t do his homework. The numbers he put up to go with his ideas were about as realistic as Trump’s, which is to say NOT. We liked his ideas better, but that didn’t make them more viable. Bernie had zero chance of turning his concepts into reality.

But hey, what do I know, right?

I actually don’t know how you can survive in a modern environment with so little understanding of how the world works. It boggles my mind.

You know what I do know? I could never be president. Of anything, much less the U.S. Forget about ill-health. I couldn’t make those decisions. I couldn’t survive the oval office. Moreover, I do not know anyone who could do it better than me.

I know people who want power are supposed to be the last ones who should get it … but would it be okay if the people who do get it have the wits to manage it? The intelligence to understand it? The presidency isn’t anything like being mayor of a small town. Being President is a big deal — except we have an incompetent moron as president. He knows nothing. Will never know anything. Doesn’t care that he knows nothing. It’s all about the money and the power. He wanted to be god and we made him one.

Now, we are trying to live with it.

If you still think (a) not voting, (b) voting for some a third-party idiot, or (c) voting for the Orange Moron to express your displeasure with the status quo, was perfectly fine? You’re a moron too.

TRUMP SMELLS LIKE A WHITE SUPREMACIST, PERIOD. — REBLOG by “A LOT FROM LYDIA”

Trump Smells Like a White Supremacist, Period. 


As the Bard once said:

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The same could be said of fecal matter.


Nevertheless, it’s time to call things by their proper name. A rose is a rose, what happened in Charlottesville was terrorism, and Donald Trump is a white supremacist…among other things.

Donald Trump knows which side his bread is buttered on. KKK leader David Duke knows which side Donald Trump’s bread is buttered on. Vladimir Putin knows which side Trump’s bread is buttered on. Trump has a lot of people buttering one side of his bread, and they’re all despicable.


Merck CEO Kenneth Frazer has taken a stand against Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists by resigning from Trump’s Jobs Advisory Council, saying:

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.”

Trump’s response was not to make himself clear in opposition to white supremacist hate groups, instead he attacked the black man who took a stand against them in a tweet.

The bottom line here is that Trump will not speak out against hate groups, like he will not speak out against Putin. They own him.

If there is any question left in anyone’s mind about Trump’s Nazi tendencies consider this often used gesture of Trump’s. Coincidence?

Point made?

There is a big push today to get Steve Bannon out of the White House. Yes, he should be removed, but, the man who put Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Stephan Miller, and Gorka there, did not do so by accident. You don’t surround yourself with racist hate groups if you are opposed to their thinking.


Trump will be gone soon enough. His financial crimes will be his undoing. What is happening to America in the meantime has to stop. The only way for this to stop is to make clear to hate groups that this behavior is not going to be tolerated. How?

  • In Germany and in several other countries it is a criminal offense to make the Nazi salute. They have good reason. That should be considered here.
  • Neo-Nazi white supremacist organizations, are terrorist organizations, and should be registered as such.
  • Twitter has been outing those at the rally, that is another way to combat this.


Can we stop pretending Donald Trump is less of a racist than Steve Bannon? Trump was raised in this.

It’s time for the KKK to put their white hats and robes back on and crawl back into the hole Trump let them out of.

Source: Trump Smells Like a White Supremacist, Period.