Melania Trump’s Coat Celebrates Fascist Regiment

Roger Benham  June 22 2018

01-mt captioned_1Giovanni Tiso wrote a short and enlightening essay today about the history of “I Really Don’t Care” in Italian: https://overland.org.au/…/a-brief-fascist-history-of-i-don…/: I don’t really speak Italian, so I didn’t realize this right away, but “Me Ne Frego,” or “I don’t really care,” was the slogan of the World War I Arditi, the Italian stormtroopers. It came from the writings of the soldier poet and proto-Fascist Gabrielle d’Annunzio, who led Arditi veterans in taking the city of Fiume in Croatia after the war, a brief nationalist revolution that indirectly led to Mussolini’s seizure of power in 1922.

02-mt death head me ne frego i don't really careHere’s what’s startling to me, after finding this out. I have been to northeastern Italy, and just across the border into Slovenia. You cannot drive through the smallest village in this region without seeing a monument or cemetery dedicated either to the World War I dead, the Fascists, or the defeat of the Fascists by Communist Yugoslav partisans and Italian antifa geurrillas at the end of World War II. Streets everywhere are named after Fascists or antifascists. There are references to d’Annunzio everywhere. There’s some photos here of some of these monuments, in Redupuglia, Trieste, the Val Di Risondra and elsewhere.

But as I said, I don’t speak Italian and was only there for two weeks.

Melania Trump was born in Novo Mesto, a city in Slovenia which was part of first Fascist Italy, then the Third Reich in World War II. Her father was a Yugoslav Communist Party member, from a village which has three large mass graves from the struggle against the Fascists and Nazis. She went to school and first worked in Lubljana, a city full of references to the fight against Fascism. She started her modelling career there before moving on to Milan, the city where Mussolini was executed after a mass uprising against the Nazis and Fascists. She speaks Italian.

Let me repeat that: Melania Trump speaks Italian.

When you add to this the fact that Fascists have just had an electoral victory in Italy, that there are active Fascist street movements everywhere there today, actively resurrecting and using the Fascist slogans and mottos of the 1920s and ’30’s (including “I Don’t Really Care”), that admirers of these movements have worked and do work in the White House, from Steve Bannon to Sebastian Gorka to Stephen Miller, and that Zara, the jacket manufacturer has previously been controversial for producing a swastika themed handbag and a shirt with a concentration camp Jewish star on it, it is impossible for me to think that this signalling was not intentional.

Some may think the jacket is a distraction from the very real threats facing our country and world right now, from scapegoating of vulnerable immigrants and refugees to the stripping of the social safety net and the destruction of workplace and environmental protections. I firmly believe it is not. The First Lady of the United States, who grew up in the heartland of symbolic contestation over Fascist symbols and mottos, wore a Fascist message jacket from a company with a history of Fascist messaging.

I care about that very, very much.

Melania’s Coat Wasn’t A Dogwhistle

The meaning of ‘Me ne frego’
[I Don’t Care] by Mussolini

“The proud Black-Shirt motto ‘I don’t care’ written on the bandages that cover a wound isn’t just an act of stoic philosophy or the summary of a political doctrine. It’s an education to fighting, and the acceptance of the risks it implies. It’s a new Italian lifestyle. This is how the Fascist welcomes and loves life, while rejecting and regarding suicide as an act of cowardice; this is how the Fascist understands life as duty, exaltation, conquest. A life that must be lived highly and fully, both for oneself but especially for others, near and far, present and future.”

Drought Map for June 21st 2018

Minneapolis Cops Are EVIL

posted 6/16/18 at ebmisfit
Dear Minneapolis: Warm Up Your Checkbooks, You Fuckers
You’re going to get sued.

Minneapolis police officers have repeatedly requested over the past three years that Hennepin County medical responders sedate people using the powerful tranquilizer ketamine, at times over the protests of those being drugged, and in some cases when no apparent crime was committed, a city report shows.

On multiple occasions, in the presence of police, Hennepin Healthcare EMS workers injected suspects of crimes and others who already appeared to be restrained, according to the report, and the ketamine caused heart or breathing failure, requiring them to be medically revived. Several people given ketamine had to be intubated.

And you fucking have it coming to you. Maybe a few seven o eight-figure civil judgments might get your attention.

People should be going to jail over this. But with a certain jackbooted elf now in charge of the Department o Justice, that’s not going to happen.
Posted by Comrade Misfit

The Music of Epirus In Northwestern Greece

The Music of Epirus In Northwestern Greece
NYReview of Books

…The word mirologi typically refers to vocal laments; there are versions of them in Homer and on ancient epitaphs. In some parts of rural Greece, women sing mirologia beside the graves of family members every day for years, until the bones of the deceased are exhumed and put in the village ossuary. Epirus is the only place where mirologia are performed instrumentally, and musicians preserve the lugubrious mood of the sung versions found elsewhere in Greece:

For the world is a tree, and we are its fruit,
And [Charon], who is the vintager, gathers its fruit.

The second-most-mountainous region in Europe, Epirus has harsh weather and little arable land. As one Epirote told King, “Life has always been hard in the mountains, everything has always been uncertain.” Ancient Greeks believed the entrance to Hades was here: the Acheron River that Odysseus—and later Dante—crossed to reach the underworld flows, in reality, west from Epirus’s mountains toward the Ionian Sea. Pilgrims hoping to summon the ghosts of departed loved ones visited the Nekromanteion, a temple located in a cave near the Acheron.

 

Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey into Europe’s Oldest Surviving Folk Music
by Christopher C. King… Norton, 304 pp., $29.95

Kitsos Harisiadis: Lament in a Deep Style, 1929–1931
an album produced by Christopher King with Vassilis Georganos
Third Man Records, $15.00

While You Live, Shine
a documentary film directed by Paul Duane

LINK

The Collapse

CC License – 1st Appeared in TruthDig

It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion.

By  Chris Hedges

US CAPITOL BLACK STORM CLOUDS

“Trump, like all despots, has no ethical core.” (Photo: coolloud/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

The Democratic Party, which helped build our system of inverted totalitarianism, is once again held up by many on the left as the savior. Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay workers a living wage. It will not defy the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will not get corporate and dark money out of politics. It will not demilitarize our police and reform a prison system that has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although the United States has only 5 percent of the world’s population. It plays to the margins, especially in election seasons, refusing to address substantive political and social problems and instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics.

In an open and democratic political process, one not dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not hold political power. They know this. They would rather implode the entire system than give up their positions of privilege.

This is a doomed tactic, but one that is understandable. The leadership of the party, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, are creations of corporate America. In an open and democratic political process, one not dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not hold political power. They know this. They would rather implode the entire system than give up their positions of privilege. And that, I fear, is what will happen. The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism.

Trump has tapped into the hatred that huge segments of the American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them. He may be inept, degenerate, dishonest and a narcissist, but he adeptly ridicules the system they despise. His cruel and demeaning taunts directed at government agencies, laws and the established elites resonate with people for whom these agencies, laws and elites have become hostile forces. And for many who see no shift in the political landscape to alleviate their suffering, Trump’s cruelty and invective are at least cathartic.

Trump, like all despots, has no ethical core. He chooses his allies and appointees based on their personal loyalty and fawning obsequiousness to him. He will sell anyone out. He is corrupt, amassing money for himself—he made $40 million from his Washington, D.C., hotel alone last year—and his corporate allies. He is dismantling government institutions that once provided some regulation and oversight. He is an enemy of the open society. This makes him dangerous. His turbocharged assault on the last vestiges of democratic institutions and norms means there will soon be nothing, even in name, to protect us from corporate totalitarianism.

But the warnings from the architects of our failed democracy against creeping fascism, Madeleine Albright among them, are risible. They show how disconnected the elites have become from the zeitgeist. None of these elites have credibility. They built the edifice of lies, deceit and corporate pillage that made Trump possible. And the more Trump demeans these elites, and the more they cry out like Cassandras, the more he salvages his disastrous presidency and enables the kleptocrats pillaging the country as it swiftly disintegrates.

It refuses to critique or investigate the abuses by corporate power, which has destroyed our democracy and economy and orchestrated the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history.

The press is one of the principal pillars of Trump’s despotism. It chatters endlessly like 17th-century courtiers at the court of Versailles about the foibles of the monarch while the peasants lack bread. It drones on and on and on about empty topics such as Russian meddling and a payoff to a porn actress that have nothing to do with the daily hell that, for many, defines life in America. It refuses to critique or investigate the abuses by corporate power, which has destroyed our democracy and economy and orchestrated the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history. The corporate press is a decayed relic that, in exchange for money and access, committed cultural suicide. And when Trump attacks it over “fake news,” he expresses, once again, the deep hatred of all those the press ignores. The press worships the idol of Mammon as slavishly as Trump does. It loves the reality-show presidency. The press, especially the cable news shows, keeps the lights on and the cameras rolling so viewers will be glued to a 21st-century version of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” It is good for ratings. It is good for profits. But it accelerates the decline.

All this will soon be compounded by financial collapse. Wall Street banks have been handed $16 trillion in bailouts and other subsidies by the Federal Reserve and Congress at nearly zero percent interest since the 2008 financial collapse. They have used this money, as well as the money saved through the huge tax cuts imposed last year, to buy back their own stock, raising the compensation and bonuses of their managers and thrusting the society deeper into untenable debt peonage. Sheldon Adelson’s casino operations alone got a $670 million tax break under the 2017 legislation. The ratio of CEO to worker pay now averages 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. This circular use of money to make and hoard money is what Karl Marx called “fictitious capital.” The steady increase in public debt, corporate debt, credit card debt and student loan debt will ultimately lead, as Nomi Prins writes, to “a tipping point—when money coming in to furnish that debt, or available to borrow, simply won’t cover the interest payments. Then debt bubbles will pop, beginning with higher yielding bonds.”

An economy reliant on debt for its growth causes our interest rate to jump to 28 percent when we are late on a credit card payment. It is why our wages are stagnant or have declined in real terms—if we earned a sustainable income we would not have to borrow money to survive. It is why a university education, houses, medical bills and utilities cost so much. The system is designed so we can never free ourselves from debt.

However, the next financial crash, as Prins points out in her book “Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World,” won’t be like the last one. This is because, as she says, “there is no Plan B.” Interest rates can’t go any lower. There has been no growth in the real economy. The next time, there will be no way out. Once the economy crashes and the rage across the country explodes into a firestorm, the political freaks will appear, ones that will make Trump look sagacious and benign.

And so, to quote Vladimir Lenin, what must be done?

We must invest our energy in building parallel, popular institutions to protect ourselves and to pit power against power. These parallel institutions, including unions, community development organizations, local currencies, alternative political parties and food cooperatives, will have to be constructed town by town. The elites in a time of distress will retreat to their gated compounds and leave us to fend for ourselves. Basic services, from garbage collection to public transportation, food distribution and health care, will collapse. Massive unemployment and underemployment, triggering social unrest, will be dealt with not through government job creation but the brutality of militarized police and a complete suspension of civil liberties. Critics of the system, already pushed to the margins, will be silenced and attacked as enemies of the state. The last vestiges of labor unions will be targeted for abolition, a process that will soon be accelerated given the expected ruling in a case before the Supreme Court that will cripple the ability of public-sector unions to represent workers. The dollar will stop being the world’s reserve currency, causing a steep devaluation. Banks will close. Global warming will extract heavier and heavier costs, especially on the coastal populations, farming and the infrastructure, costs that the depleted state will be unable to address. The corporate press, like the ruling elites, will go from burlesque to absurdism, its rhetoric so patently fictitious it will, as in all totalitarian states, be unmoored from reality. The media outlets will all sound as fatuous as Trump. And, to quote W.H. Auden, “the little children will die in the streets.”

As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License Republished with permission from Truthdig

Drought Map for June 14th 2018