Eric Horton

About Eric Horton

I play guitar and stuff.

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Category: Civics

Resist the Shock Event


By EricHorton, 2017-01-31
Resist the Shock Event
From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:

"I don't like to talk about politics on Facebook-- political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends-- but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night's ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries-- is creating what is known as a "shock event."

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.
When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Last night's Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won't like.

I don't know what Bannon is up to-- although I have some guesses-- but because I know Bannon's ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle-- and my friends range pretty widely-- who will benefit from whatever it is.

If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.
But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.
A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.
If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln's strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.

Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it."
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Baby Steps to Fascism


By EricHorton, 2017-01-27
Baby Steps to Fascism
To recap:
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.
And today: the wall and a Muslim ban.
If you plan to share, please copy and paste rather than share. You'll reach more people.
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Please Join Me - The Safety Pin Network


By EricHorton, 2017-01-24
Please Join Me - The Safety Pin Network

Some people like to complain, and let's face it, there is a lot to complain about!  Unfortunately, complaints do nothing but add to the noise.  Now, if complaints are followed by clea, decisive, sustained action, that is how you bring about change.

I built The Safety Pin Network with a group of like minded friends with the sole purpose of providing a network in which we can organize, plan, and execute resistance to the rising hate, misogyny, and bigotry we are witnessing in our country.  We launched the Safety Pin Network on January 20th, for symbolic reasons, but we need your help!

www.Safety-pin.me is a full blown social network, built for conscientious, active people to network locally, regionally, state-wide, and nationally.  To share ideas on how to resist hateful attacks against minorities, to build a barrier between attackers and their victims, to push back and let the newly emboldened racist movements that they will not be allowed to grow.

We are in "alpha-mode" right now, which means we are building as we go.  The site is fully functional, but we need YOUR HELP to build it - suggestions, ideas, creation of groups, sharing with your friends, and recruiting like-minded users.  Over half of the country agrees with our message, let's get them onboard as soon as possible.

Some features of www.safety-pin.me:

  • Start Your Own Groups - works just like Facebook. Start groups for local marches, support groups for victims of violence, environmental protection, or outreach to elected officials. 
  • Photo and Video Sharing - visual evidence is powerful.
  • Personal profiles - Works just like Facebook, a very familiar environment.
  • Instant Messaging - communicate with other like minded individuals.
  • TOTALLY PRIVATE - no data sharing with corporations, no intrusive ads that sell the contents of your posts, your messages, your friends.  You ARE NOT THE PRODUCT.  

Here is a passionate letter written by one of my cofounders, Mike:

"In the days following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, many British citizens began wearing safety pins to let their immigrant neighbors, co-workers, friends, brothers, and sisters know that they still were welcome and safe in their communities.

On November 9th, millions of children, their parents, and families woke up to an America that no longer seems safe or welcoming to them. These young minds are suddenly forced to grapple with the kind of fears and anxieties that can cripple many adults: loss of identity, loss of community, and the paralyzing fear of losing the only life they've ever known.

'Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.'
Every man, woman, and child has a right to live without fear of persecution, and to live in a world inclusive of all faiths, beliefs and backgrounds.

America is the product of incredible diversity. We believe in promoting leaders, policies, and actions that inspire America's children, promote solidarity, and safeguard the rights of all our communities' liberties that so many before us have fought and died to promote and protect.

Please join us."

Posted in: Civics | 0 comments
Idiots Who Draw Parallels Between Trump and Hitler

Arguing with people on the internet can sometimes inspire a focus of thought. I recently got that focus from a friend's response to an article I shared about a history teacher who had been suspended for teaching a class where he drew parallels between Hitler's rise and the rise of Donald Trump. Here is my response...

Please debate, but using 'idiot' to describe people who disagree with you undermines your position and makes you look weak.

In that light, and this context, let's reexamine what 'idiots' like me have been saying for over a year:

1. Like 1932 Germany, we are coming out of a very bad economic place, people are very angry, afraid and looking for answers and someone to blame. Unemployment is still rampant between the coasts, and salaries are 30% less than they were before the crash in 2008. The economic recovery left a lot of people behind.

2. There is a massive shift to hard right ideologies not only here, but all across the West. Far right candidates and parties are gaining seats and influence all across Europe for several years now.

3. Trump did follow Hitler's strategy with the identification of scapegoats for people to focus their fear and rage, promising to kick them out, keep them out, prosecute them, and kill their families. He is talking about millions of people.

4. He followed the demagogue's handbook on oration: vague, grandiose promises; deflect and redirect; demonize criticism.

5. Seriously, anyone with a very little bit of time could continue this list with dozens of parallels between Trump’s rise and that of Hitler that are fact check-able.

Put this together with what some of us 'idiots' have been extremely concerned about for over 4 years, because we have been paying attention:

1. In 2012, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, H.R. 1540, or the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) 2012.

2. Two sections, buried in the middle of the texts, did something that fundamentally altered the Patriot Act: Section 1021 and Section 1022.

3. Originally the Patriot Act gave the POTUS broad powers to detain and indefinitely hold persons caught in battlefields and suspected of terrorism by declaring them enemy combatants. Because they were in battlefields, outside our borders, and kept in holding sites outside our borders, the Constitutional Right to representation is denied them. It effectively suspended Habeas Corpus, which is the very cornerstone of our Rights:

**Habeas Corpus is a legal term meaning that an accused person must be presented physically before the court with a statement demonstrating sufficient cause for arrest. Thus, no accuser may imprison someone indefinitely without bringing that person and the charges against him or her into a courtroom.**

4. Until the Patriot Act, this did not apply to U.S. Citizens inside our borders. Then Sections those sections the NDAA 2012 declared the United States a battlefield. With the signing of that document, the President of the United States was given the authority to arrest any U.S. Citizen, without evidence, without representation, or one phone call. Without the guarantee of the Right to a speedy trial. The only thing the President needs to do is declare that person an ‘enemy combatant”…without ANY evidence. At his discretion. I didn’t trust President Obama with this kind of power – I don’t trust any President with it – and neither did the architects of this country. It is literally un-American.

So, in that context, how do you feel about a man who has a list of enemies (his transition manager’s own words), who has shown that he has a thin skin and will not tolerate criticism, has said he will shut down news organizations who are critical of him, and has given an in-person interview to Alex Jones on InfoWars, has been proven to be a complete liar on video dozens of times….how do you feel about him being POTUS? And how can you not see the obvious parallels?

So, to answer your question, “Does any idiot out there think Trump has any power to turn the U.S. into the 4th Reich?” I do. And so does Congress, as of 2012.

Some of us were hoping people would wake up before it is too late, before we give that kind of power to a person who might abuse it. It just might be too late. I hope it isn't.

It's okay to disagree, if you can do it rationally, with solid arguments, and a respectful tone.

Posted in: Civics | 0 comments

Godwin's Law is Suspended


By EricHorton, 2016-11-08
With Trump, Godwin's Law is suspended. He literally does display all of the historical earmarks of a fascist dictator. If there is a test for 'fascist dictator', or a scale, you can bet he scores near 100%. The time in which he is elected is a perfect mirror for 1930's Germany. Down economy, people scared for their way of life, uncertain times. He played the exact same cards Hitler did when he got elected: pray on people's fears, paint a bleak picture of doom and hopelessness, identify a perpetrator to blame, this time Mexicans and Muslims instead of Jews.

He has legitimized rape culture and empowered the public rise of the KKK. Combine all of this with the powers bestowed on the POTUS by NDAA of 2012 and the The Patriot Act, in the hands of a man as unstable as Trump, and I really am worried.

So, as far as I'm concerned, Godwin's Law is suspended, and for the first time in my lifetime, invoking Hitler is not crying wolf.
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