Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 17, 2005

Frist They Came for the Jews

I see a theme in the following diaries read on dKos or elsewhere:

Forced Confessions: Third Time The Charm (by bellatrys on why the Salem Witch Trials hold a key to our present disaster)

Bush Administration tells girls to sit down and shut up (by lorraine, one of the more thoughtful diarists on dKos)

An Ex-Theocrat Speaks: They're Crazy Like Foxes (by bellatrys, this link was posted in one of the threads but the discussion was then focusing on unions)

all summed up by Bob Johnson's post (Bob Johnson is one of dKos's official clowns, so a fully humorless post from him is really striking...)

It's the Jews

Do you worry? Are you scared? Or are "they" overreaching? Or is it that "It can't happen here"?
But go read the links anyway.

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on April 17, 2005 at 7:48 UTC | Permalink


Niemöllers poem (if it is his) is often cited wrong, as it is here.

First they came for the communists and other political enemies, then the disabled, and then the jews (the definite source on this).

This is also confirmed by the historic dateline of the Nazis in power. After people like Martin Niemöller voted them into power, they first went after the political enemy (communist, social democrats, anarchists, Jehovah's Witnesses), then they started their racial hygiene by going after the mental disabled and then started to go after other "tribes", be it gypsies or jews.

Often "first they came for the jews" is cited to amplify the victimization of the jews, (in Poland 6 million died, half of them were jews, a lot but still only half of them) often people just do not know the historic context.

Carl von Ossietzky like other pacifists was put into a Concentration Camp in February 1933. The Night of Broken Glass only happend November 1938. Full five and a half years after the Nazis took power.

That said - the radical christians will of course go after the jews when they can. And of course they do use antisemitism as an instrument to rally their folks. But just like the nazis, they will only go after them when their political enemies are done with.

It is pure irony that Abramoff, a practicing Orthodox jew, is paying DeLay for favors to his native american lobbying clients. DeLay would kill both as soon as he would have the power to do so.

Posted by: b | Apr 17 2005 8:58 utc | 1

b - the title was a voluntary abuse on my side (including of course the "typo")... I promise to change it if Billmon asks me!

Thanks for the historical background. Very interesting. (It could also be linked to the discussion on trade unions... weren't these specific targets of the nazis as well, right from the start?)

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 17 2005 9:02 utc | 2

trade unions... weren't these specific targets of the nazis as well, right from the start

Yes they were. Either they were abolished, suppressed and the leaders incarcerated or changed into Nazi institutions. The same happened to women liberation groups. All this 1933/34/35 before the holocaust began.

Posted by: b | Apr 17 2005 9:11 utc | 3

Haven't they already gotten the papers, and the radios, and the TV stations, and the trade unions?

Only recently have we turned to Muslims, and now debtors, and I suppose it's almost a matter of chance whether the next target is women, or senior citizens, or judges. And the game is already in play for college professors.

The old Confucians knew that in times like these, it is time to stop seeking high posts, and instead simply seek an ordinary occupation. Grow vegetables and cultivate a neighborhood.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 17 2005 9:24 utc | 4

Lorraine's diaries are a lot about how women are targetted. I cannot recommend them heartily enough.

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 17 2005 10:03 utc | 5

forced confessions,

late here, but read this one tonight, and like pogo "we have met the enemy, and he is us" never more profound.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 17 2005 10:09 utc | 6

b- also important to note that both von Ossietzky and Kurt Tucholsky (along with John Heartfield) were exposing the Weimar rearmament, in violation of the peace treaty...that's what got von Ossietsky tossed in prison (by the Weimar). The Nazis just transferred him to a concentration camp...and the Nobel was an attempt to save his life.

(If someone wants to provide a link or explain picture hosting services to me, I have color versions of Heartfield's dada montages...such as the one of Hitler in the link, and the cover of Deutschland. Deutschland Uber Alles, by Heartfield and Tucholsky.

I found a link to the book cover with an article here

re: Johnson's post. In the US, I think Jewishness is a "problem" for the talibornagains in the same way that Jews were associated with Bolshevism and Republicanism (as in the social democracy that Germany tried to implement after WWI.) The anti-semitism in Europe was deeper than the issue of social democracy, of course, and also deeply tied to Christianity as a state religion, in various forms, over the ages.

For the American talibornagains, I think they fetishize an idea of the "Jew" as a component of their apocalyptic vision for the world. Of course, real humans don't fit this fetish, but that's not the point...instead of Ford's "International Jew," it's the "Idealized Jew" who will be converted (or die a horrible death...oops) when Jesus is revealed to them as the Messiah. For now, Jews who are "with them" on making Israel safe for the apocalypse are okay.

But something that's frequently overlooked in the US is that so many of the Jews and social democrats, etc. fleeing the Nazis ended up in the "moral pollution" the right wing rails about coming from Hollywood reminds me of the Nazi concept of "Decadent Art." Of course, what comes out of Hollywood is popularized entertainment, not, for the most part, art.

The assault from the right in America is really not aimed at Jews, it seems to me, except in the way that they align with other liberals in their support of academic freedom and issues of social justice and all that. They're one among many...godless ex-protestants are as much of a problem...and homosexuals, no matter what their ethnicity are more of a target than Jews, imo. Also, as the two female posters noted, control and limitation of females is big on the agenda...whatever their ethnicity. In the south, they also have the history of rationalizing slavery via the Bible...something the Reconstructionists are doing again...though I don't think it's limited to blacks.

It seems that Frist's decision to align himself with the theocrats and declare that liberals are against Christianity, has unleashed a firestorm, at least in blogland. It is outrageous.

I would hope that non-theorcratic Christians would gather outside of this meeting to protest the hijacking of their faith by theocrats. Frist has agreed to demonize more than half the nation (because he's mistaken if he thinks all conservatives are theocrats or even Christian.)

Frist, btw, grew up in a wealthy enclave (Belle Meade) in Nashville, TN that used to ban Jews from their country club, long into the recent past. Most of the people there, however, have nothing but disdain for the sorts of people that Falwell speaks to and's a matter of class revulsion. Frist is willing to use their belief, however. I would imagine his faith is as substantial as Bush's or (we will fuck them) Rove's.

Nashville, for you Europeans, is a very class conscious city (and most would deny it to their core.) Country music and the Southern Baptist Convention are located there. In addition, there is Frist's world of Belle Meade and Montgomery Bell Academy (private boy'school) or Harpeth Hall (private girl's school)...places funded by banking and insurance and, now things like Frist's health care biz. The two meet in the way that old money meets new money in a Henry James novel.

An telling example is the "Swan Ball" and the "Swine Ball" -- the first is the rich debutante's Tiffany jewelry encrusted big day in the sun versus the people's get drunk and listen to loud music acknowledgement thumb-to-the-nose of the class division.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 17 2005 14:35 utc | 7

unfortunately jérôme i have my hands full just with moon & lespeakeasy

& unfortuantely fauxreal i wouldn't read henry james again if my ife depended on it - if i die i want my soul to go to heaven

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 17 2005 14:52 utc | 8

rgiap- but you know exactly what I'm talking about to align the two, right? I'm not a fan of James either.

That link to the Heartfield cover for the book has a nearly indecipherable translation from German into English, btw. I linked for the picture.

I cannot help but note, however, Heartfield's attack on the financiers behind fascism...from the link Heartfield link above:

In 'Instruments in Gods Hand? Toy in Tyhssens hand!' (Fig. 3)...Heartfield again employs the device of creating a unified and symbolic visual space which plays on the technique of the documentary by which to counter the rhetoric of Nazi propaganda. Here we see industrial giant Thyssen as the puppet master, clearly pulling the strings of a jumping-jack

...and how those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, from The Guardian (not new, but bears repeating in the context of Heartfield's work.) The Guardian does not claim that Prescott Bush supported the Nazis...saying there is not direct evidence...I would argue there is not direct evidence in the same way that Henry Ford was not "directly" implicated. From 2004:

[newly discovered files in the National Archives] reveal that the firm [Prescott Bush] worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.

Bush was also on the board of at least one of the companies that formed part of a multinational network of front companies to allow Thyssen to move assets around the world.

Thyssen owned the largest steel and coal company in Germany and grew rich from Hitler's efforts to re-arm between the two world wars. One of the pillars in Thyssen's international corporate web, UBC, worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands. More tantalising are Bush's links to the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border. During the war, the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 17 2005 15:11 utc | 9

...and it's more than a little ironic that Congress made it possible for those families who made their money by financing Hitler's rise to power free from any tax on that money, too...under the presidency of Prescott's grandson.

The only consolation to me is to know that, if the theocrats are temporarily successful, they have sealed their own doom. The future is not in their vision of America or the world. Maybe their current moves will finally make the body politic aware of this poisoning of democracy and the theocrats will be vomited out of the American system.

I know this will happen. I just would prefer that it happen before they can do too much harm.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 17 2005 15:33 utc | 10

Your questions: Do you worry? Are you scared? Or are "they" overreaching? Or is it that "It can't happen here"?

Yes, I'm worried. I wouldn't have believed it could happen here, were it not for a few things.

First, a couple of years ago, I discovered a forum. General Chat at Homesteading Today. (You have to be registered in order to see and read the General Chat forum). If you all think the freepers are noxious, you ought to see these guys. More troubling, the board is administered by a darling of CBN, Pat Robertson, etc., and a well known Christian author.

I've seen people on the site blame the Jews. For real. They hate just about everyone and advocate the entire Bush agenda and more.

Look, I live in rural Oklahoma, and I honestly never knew people like this really existed, except for small enclaves of them here and there.

Furthermore, the willful blindness of so many Americans to what's going on is very problematic --- it speaks to me of an undercurrent of agreement, although nobody would ever say it out loud. Yes, get rid of the Jews. Yes, to hell with the poor, let's just work them to death, even though poor these days increasingly encompasses middle class. Who cares if you've worked your whole life, you're a pain now? Etc. Etc. Etc.

The one thing they're not counting on is the sheer number of people they're so certain are supporters aren't at all. They don't like what's happening one bit, and they see this admin and its minions as upper class brutes and thieves.

Despite that, however, I'm not convinced we stand a chance. So I've been following the Confucian advice given above by citizen.

Posted by: cookie | Apr 17 2005 16:32 utc | 11

of course fauxreal i understood your precision but alos wanted to give thanks for the formal reintroduction of john heartfield who like mayakovsky was a hundred years ahead of his time

the marxist intellectuals of that period - chiefly benjamin but also people like heartfield showed the absolute richness of both their analysis & their scholarship. also for the materialists they were they also gave great space to wonder - to the capacity for human beings to awaken from their sleep using their natural instinct to wonder instead of to fear

no, thomas hardy like james - gives me the willies if i should pass them on a bookshelf - when you have culture beat into you with a baseball bat it is hard to reread them with any sort fo douceur or even distance

as to the theme of this thread - i absolutely believe that the process of elimination has begun in america & it began with cointelpro - it liquidated, imprisoned or marfinalised all opposition activity

the litterateurs of the left are allowed to speak because they are after all ineffective & are kept well within the walls of the institutions. what is clear though is even within those walls - they are beginning to do waht the germans would call a 'cleaning operation' of which the middle east studies department at columbia & ward churchill at boulder are just the beginning

what was true 100 years ago is true today - if your opposition is effective - you will be stopped - one way or another

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 17 2005 16:54 utc | 12

am I remembering wrong or is the Brown Brothers firm that Prescott was involved with, the lineal antecedent of Brown as in Kellogg, Brown and Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton)? confirm or deny? I have company coming over and should be tidying up, can't afford to get sidetracked into a webcrawl right now. back later.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 17 2005 18:28 utc | 13

just for the yuks value (insert pun here) from a hagiography of George I (and no mention of his dad's biz association with the biggest Nazi financier..strangely...

Eager to make his own career, Bush turned down the Wall Street job that Brown Brothers, Harriman had offered him (despite its policy against hiring employees' relatives). Instead, he approached his father's friend Neil Mallon, the president of Dresser Industries, a petroleum company for which the senior Bush served as a director, and secured a position as a trainee at Ideco, Dresser's oil-drilling equipment division, in Odessa, Texas. For some months he did such odd jobs as cleaning and painting machinery. Within a year he was transferred to California, where he worked as an assembler in the factory of another Dresser subsidiary. Next he worked as a traveling salesperson, peddling Ideco drill bits. When, in 1950, Ideco promoted him to a higher-level sales job, he settled with his family in Midland, Texas, and soon became heavily involved in community and church activities.

In 1951 Bush resigned from Ideco to enter the independent oil business. With the help of hundreds of thousands of dollars from an uncle and additional thousands from other backers, he and his Midland neighbor John Overbey established the Bush-Overbey Oil Development Co. The partners dealt in oil properties: after learning from hired geologists the locations of land under which oil deposits were likely to lie, they would buy the oil rights from the landowners and then solicit investments for drilling for the oil. Deal-making suited Bush, who has a knack for quickly establishing a rapport with individuals. In 1953 the partners joined William and Hugh Liedtke to form Zapata Petroleum, and their financial fortunes took a significant turn for the better. Within a year the output from wells Zapata had drilled on an 8,100-acre plot exceeded 1,000 barrels of oil daily. Bush retained his stake in the corporation until 1959. Meanwhile, in 1956, he and the Liedtkes formed the Zapata Off-Shore Co., a pioneer in the construction of offshore drilling platforms. After the Liedtkes left that partnership, Bush moved the company's offices, and his family, to Houston. As Off-Shore's president until 1964 and chairman of the board from 1964 to 1966, he traveled throughout the world to sell its oil-drilling services. Zapata Off-Shore grew into a multimillion-dollar concern, and when he sold it, in 1966, he became a millionaire.

From < a href="">Truthout:

In 1998, Cheney oversaw Halliburton's acquisition of Dresser Industries Inc., which exported equipment to Iraq through two subsidiaries of a joint venture with another large U.S. equipment maker, Ingersoll-Rand Co.

The subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co., sold water and sewage treatment pumps, spare parts for oil facilities and pipeline equipment to Baghdad through French affiliates from the first half of 1997 to the summer of 2000, U.N. records show. Ingersoll Dresser Pump also signed contracts -- later blocked by the United States -- to help repair an Iraqi oil terminal that U.S.-led military forces destroyed in the Gulf War.

(Dresser was facing extensive litigation from asbestos lawsuits, as I remember....let me go find a link...)

ah, from the Wapo

...let's talk about Halliburton's well-executed $5 billion escape from its asbestos problems, most of which Cheney created when he orchestrated Halliburton's purchase of Dresser Industries in 1998. Few people connect this problem with Cheney, but they should, given that he was in charge at the time and got a raise as a result of buying Dresser.

Kevin Phillips (R. turned I), in American Dynasty, argues that Harriman, Bush, and other industrialists of the turn of the gilded age invested in Hitler in the same way they invested in the political intent, just biz. In the same way that Cheney, at Halliburton, invested in Iraq. Because there is, of course, no personal responsibility when you're a corporation. If, however, you are an individual who would do these same things, you would be tried for giving aid and comfort, I would assume.

other corporate heroics here (Barrick gold mines, Iran-Contra, buying workers alive, just biz as usual...)

And this whole subject is a minefield of conspiracy theories, so I was trying to stick with reputable sources. I find the whole "skull and bones" hysteria and the LaRouche-ites totally uncredible. Yes, skull and bones is an elite society at an elite institution that is known for its recruitment by the CIA. Who you know and where you are is as much a part of most "success" stories as what you can do...especially in the "land of liberty and equality." Skull and Bones is a fast track network for the elitist wing of American society, and has served to exclude minorities, women and lots of other "undeserving" for decades. But the occultism that ties them to Nazis and the Dalai Lama and the Knights Templars seems like a fever dream to me, that detracts from the real issues of access and affirmative action and accountability by corporations to democracy.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 17 2005 19:35 utc | 14

fauxreal - I am not sure you can make any kind of serious link through Dresser between Bush Sr and Cheney. Like you also point out, Dresser was not the smartest of purchases. Cheney cannot be accused at the same time of making fortunes for Halliburton and blowing that same money in stupid purchases ( i.e. spoiling his shareholders for the benefit of someone else)?

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 17 2005 20:34 utc | 15

No, Jerome, I think it relates to that old boys network and cronyism and corruption. The revolving door that spans generations...Yale Legacy, Pretend Oil Col Legacy (Harken)...

I should go find a reputable link... but it seems I read at one point that Halliburton's buy out of Dresser was seen as a quid pro quo...and the pay is no-bid contracts in Iraq amounting to far, far more than the 4bil in asbestos liability.

Cheney saddled Halliburton with Dresser, got a big bonus out of it, went on to choose himself as the best vp candidate, and then went on to reward Halliburton with no bid contracts that, we all know, have horribly overbilled while providing subpar services.

Here are some blurb on Halliburton

btw, before he died, I used to talk to a former representative who had cancer and knew he was dying. When I mentioned Halliburton, or especially Kellogg, Brown, and Root, he said, "Oh, well they're government."

I took this to mean that they are front companies for the CIA, in part, and no doubt part of the money that goes to overbilling has gone into all sorts of unaccountable funds (including lining the wallets of Cheney and Bush) and covert ops...

Bush Sr. was the head of the CIA, and the idea is that he was recruited in college (Yale..this is common knowledge that the CIA would recruit among the "best and brightest" there.)

So, joining Dresser...for all I know, it was also a CIA front, or maybe not.

Spider's Web, by a former Financial Times reporter, offers some interesting information about CIA front companies that Bush Sr. used to finance Hussein (while paying Iran with weapons).

the book is out of print, but you can find it online as a used book.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 17 2005 21:35 utc | 16

Well, as I've written elsewhere, Halliburton is a good provider of oil industry services to the oil majors, who certainly do not overpay for these services. It is also a major contractor for the government, which seems much less capable of getting a good deal...

So the common theme in all this would be abuse of governmental power and of taxpayers' money for private interests more than oil. (It's just that oil being a heavily regulated industry and dealing in vast sums with relatively few people involved makes it an ideal ground for the kind of public/private looting of the general interest).

I admit that I see big oil mostly through the lense of big industrial projects where they have much less leeway for all these shenanigans and where we bankers can impose a mot pf transparency; I don't deal in the regulatory / government relations side of the business, neither in the US or in the projects' countries...or worse, the government spending arms.

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 17 2005 22:03 utc | 17

Jérôme: I'm a little surprised by your note, because in my experience, the banks have very little idea of what is done with their money in large projects. I see mostly high tech, so it may be different in other areas - but oil is very technical too. It has struck me as peculiar that banks do not have technical experts of their own to evaluate projects. At least what I see seems to involve a lot of "so-and-so is well known and highly respected among others who are similarly without any real ability to evaluate". I guess it works out in the aggregate, at least well enough.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 18 2005 0:29 utc | 18

I will provide you with a very rare glimpse into my personal life and experience. I usually reserve such digressions for more intimate audiences, but but this is a very good bar and the topic demands it. So I will abandon the academic I am now and part time humorist to tell you of Diogenes the preacher of many years ago. After a sherry, of course.

In the early 1970's, at the odd cross roads of the free love and Jesus movements, that I came of age with an undying curiosity about spiritual things. A nun at my church tried to convince my I was a psychic, my older sister had me send a month at a commune of American Sufi Movement, and I began reading the Bible. The Bible (and a pile of, at that time, very convincing tracts) won my young soul and I became a solo Christian (there are solo Wiccans, so why not?), unsure of any church or movement and very much interested in developing my faith. I bounced from prayer group to church as a 19 or 20 year old. taking it all in and I was as ignorant as the day was long. For example, convinced that I needed to be baptized, I stopped at a Baptist Church in New Hampshire I had never been to before because "that's what you guys do, it says so on the door!" Believe it or not the elderly pastor baptized me that night. I was as innocent as any Christian Candide in a very confusing world and there were plenty of Panglossses to help me along, especially the Pentecostals!

I was as sincere as naitivity can make me with the intellectual power of a high school education and a year of college (where I watched at least two professors sleep with the one girl I had a consistent crush on). But a Christian I was now. I read the Bible through numerous times (It takes around 15 hours to read the New Testament). The Old Testament/Hebrew Bible I took on one book at a time. I was a pest at all family gatherings. And I explored almost every kind of church from fundamentalist to Greek Orthodox, trying to understand how this faith worked.

So at the ripe old age of 21, I settled on a non-denominational church that had a pastor as young as I was and stayed there for almost 8 years. Now why share this with you? Well for one thing I got to meet many of these religious right bigshots back when they were little shots and more importantly, I witnessed the afterbirth of the Religious Right early in the Reagan Years.

Back then we met at Yale University in one of the lecture halls. And this church grew. Rare in the inner city. Rarer still was the amazing mix. Rich folks from Woodbridge and Hamden, Blacks from Congress Ave and Dixwell Ave who were burned out of the Cadillac cult and needed something different, Hispanics, old Catholic ladies from a Charismatic Catholic church, recovering drug addicts, Muslims from various countries curious about Chritianity, gays and lesbians, the mentally ill seeking exorcisms (my claim to fame: I led George Bush's cousin in a exorcism where we all coughed out our demons in paper bags back in 1979!)and a host of folks in various stages of drug and alcohol recovery or relapses. It was slice of the whole world and about 350 people meet twice a week to figure out what it meant to be a Christian (Oh yes, and a number of Yale Divinity School students and undergraduates). I often wonder if Bush was around Yale at that time.

The thing that characterized this church and fascinated me was the complete lack of condemnation towards those who were different. Lesbians embraced men during the greeting part of the service. Blacks hugged Hispanics. We all knew that no one was perfect, that all lives were characterized by struggle and that the goal of a Christian was to help others along the Way. We were politically inactive, having concluded that voting and prayer were two personal matters best left to individuals and that politics, being the pandering profession that it was, was too "carnal" or "of the flesh" (yes, those were the words we and many others used back then)for a Christian to get involved with. It required deception as well and that was dangerous.

That ended early in 1982, when our young pastor was invited to a three day Ronald Reagan "prayer breakfast and conference" in Washington D.C. He was flattered and went with the church's blessing.

The Sunday after he returned, the world turned upside down. No one expected it. A usually kind hearted (if not long winded) pastor turned into a right wing hate machine, repeating in his sermon (several times in case we missed them) the most outlandish and insulting language I ever heard. I remember portions well. I didn't hear things like this again until the early days of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

"God has called us as a church to destroy the evils of the liberal welfare state and its hand outs for laziness."

"God has annointed this church to stand as a wall and defense against the evil manipulations of the hairy legged lesbo-feminists of the teachers unions and the secular humanist educators."

There were then cracks about blacks being on welfare, welfare laziness, the ungodliness of Democrats in general, and "taking the country back for God." And within two weeks, almost every black, Latino, homosexual (though they were not singled out in the sermons), poor person, and student was gone. For good. The church split two or three more times in the next few years, leaving me a lost and stranded soul. My view of the church was increasingly assaulted by demands of 1000% loyalty, shameless pandering and financial matters that I will not elaborate upon. When I think of the turning points of my life (and there have been many), nothing determined the course of the next 23 years as that one out of the blue offensive right wing sermon.

From there I drifted from church to church over the next few years and then decided to sell my businesses and continue my education (I thank God for women who push you on to do this (my late mother) and bear the consequences of that decison (one hell of a mate). Though I originally considered studying for the ministry I soon declared a double then triple major (theology, history, linguistics). And I did well. Then I got talked into grad school and a Ph.D program. I progressively moved to the left (contrary to Horowitz, I was a Republican grad student and never encountered discrimination in grad school. We all got our asses kicked by professor after professor). I completed my Ph.D in 1998. I now teach Ancient History (primarily Church and Roman history and World History. Once in a while when I get the bug I teach a Greek or Coptic class for fun.

I didn't become a Democrat until I was teaching at a fairly well known southern institution in 2000 and George Bush's goons roughed up two of my students who simply brought a sign into an open meeting that read, "Mr Bush: What is your position on the Environment?" It was one of two dozen questions on signs that students brought in. They were knocked to the ground, their sign was ripped up and they were ejected. There was quite an uproar since me department had invited the chimp to campus. I am now a moderate Democrat, but anger is moving me further to the left. It is not the best motivation, but it has made me politically active.(Sherry #3 now). I now teach in a northern state hard hit by Bushanomics and very happy as a liberal Methodist in an open and affirming church.

Why am I writing this? I think because I enjoy the illusion of the bar and miss the many good conversations and stories of grad school. But more seriously the idea of Frist's "Judgement Sunday" has brought flooding back into me that sea of faces shocked by the relentless right wing semonizing/demonizing back when the religious right was young and Sun Myung Moon wasn't funding it. That shock and my reaction to it defined my life to this point more than other personal event. I can only hope that when this travesty of both government and faith is perpetrated upon congregations across America that honest people will react with the kind of revulsion and disgust that I felt two decades ago. Good night friends and bar keep. Say hi to Billmon.

Posted by: diogenes | Apr 18 2005 4:48 utc | 19

@diogenes wow.

thanks. eyewitness to history...

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 18 2005 4:53 utc | 20

We'll be damn lucky if the outcome of the present bout of
witch hunting ends as quickly
as that of the 1692 Salem trials. Who will be our
Samuel Sewall and will we live to see a scene like
Finally, a slightly off-topic
question: The 1692 Salem witch trials took place in what was then culturally and geographically a remote backwater. When did the last execution for witchcraft take place in tolerant and cultured

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 18 2005 5:21 utc | 21

@ Deanander
I believe the "Brown" of KBR
is Herman Brown, so memorably
portrayed in the first volume
of Caro's biography of LBJ. The
Brown of "Brown Brothers Harriman" is Alexander
Brown, who is however a direct
ancestor of the "Deutsche Bank Alex Brown" of pre-9/11 United Airline put option infamy. But
don't worry, the 9/11 (Keane-Hamilton-Zelikow) commission has assured us that there is nothing to earlier
allegations regarding such shenanigans.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 18 2005 5:37 utc | 22

I'm a frequent reader here and usually don't have anything to add to the mix but I would second DeAnander's "wow" and wonder if a fourth sherry would get diogenes to start his own blog.

Posted by: Shoeless Joe Stalin | Apr 18 2005 5:39 utc | 23

This may or may not be accurate, but this question came up recently someplace, perhaps even here, and according to the consensus of opinion, Europe may have been slightly ahead of the curve. According to this site:

"The last execution of an English witch was in 1685, and the last trial for witchcraft was in 1717.
In 1751 in Tring in Hertfordshire, Ruth Osborne died from her injuries after a particularly rough episode of "swimming." The ringleader of the mob, Thomas Colley (who seems to have been blind drunk when he incited the swimming) was sentenced to be hanged. A troop of soldiers had to be brought in to make sure the locals (who believed Osborne was a witch) did not take mob action to stop the hanging."

Posted by: Shoeless Joe Stalin | Apr 18 2005 5:53 utc | 24

That link didn't work. Cornell has a reference source:

Posted by: Shoeless Joe Stalin | Apr 18 2005 6:03 utc | 25

thanks for that story. I have often wondered how the real solicitude of Bible Study Group leaders gets blinkered to render it compatible with all the small hearted rhetoric. I remember with blinding clarity the fear of doom those very sincere groups can burn into your heart.

I can only imagine how much fear was poured into your pastor friend to move him from charity to hate in a mere three day weekend. Or more specifically, I can still recall freshly how much fear was poured over me one such weekend. But it never occurred to me before how vulnerable those young preachers are.

Peace, brother diogenes.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 18 2005 6:23 utc | 26

The superstitious are usually vulnerable. Fear, belief, superstition are potent social control mechanisms. Last witch burning in Germany 1775? Last in Switzerland 1782?

Posted by: Shoeless Joe Stalin | Apr 18 2005 6:36 utc | 27

@ Shoeless Joe Stalin
Thanks for the links (even
broken ones can be useful).
My question was not well posed, since "execution" is
ambiguous in that it could apply to lynchings as well as to formal judicial processes.
If the dates you give are for
the latter, they are quite striking evidence for the
extremely recent nature of legal modernity.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 18 2005 6:52 utc | 28

Lots of great reading here, all this cultural dialogue brush-firing around the blogs these past several days should not be underestimated, as this anecdotal experience is experience -- and so carries within it minutia indicitive of the larger whole -- with its weakness' laid bare through living it. It is after all, how our own personal experience will meet up with the changes underway, and how we react, how we as individuals push back. I surmse that the collectivization of such knowledge, in its imprecise bits and pieces, would swell from drops to a river of greater truth, and subsume this one- trick- pony excuse for culture back to its tennessee walker legacy for what it's always been -- the rich riding the hobbled and poor for show.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 18 2005 8:59 utc | 29

They cannot come first for the Jews because they have already come for the gays. I am not worried, I am sure that soon enough those of my people that are running the world will reveal themselves and say enough.

Posted by: Leslie | Apr 18 2005 19:37 utc | 30

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