A Place for Cafe Refugees and Others Like Them


File:Germaniae antiquae libri tres, Plate 17, Clüver.jpg


The word ‘barbarian’ comes from the ancient Greeks. It simply meant anyone who is not Greek.

There once was an award winning historian by the name of Richard Hofstadter. Evidently the powers that be are reprinting a book of his. I read this quick review at Salon today-

That said, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” (along with most of the essays in the collection) never seems to get old. The John Birch Society, the state of the art in anti-Communist fringe groups in 1964, was, as Hofstadter pointed out, merely the latest iteration of a mentality that cropped up every generation or so, each time with a new supervillain. Over the centuries, America’s political paranoids have fomented scares about the Bavarian Illuminati (a European anti-clerical movement — “it is uncertain whether any member of the Illuminati ever came here,” Hofstadter remarks), Catholics, Freemasons, Mormons and international bankers (often characterized as Jews) before finding the ideal antagonist in international Communism

The reason I cite this book review today is because I witnessed all of this; that is the development of the right wing talking points over the years.

Professor Hofstadter died in 1970. Twenty years later the right felt they had no more use for the imaginary, ephemeral threat from ‘international communism’. This was interesting to me as a development in American Politics because we still had 1.2 Billion Chinese ‘communists’ as well as North Korea, Vietnam…..

I recall as recently as ten years ago watching silly shows like point counterpoint and people like Pat Buchanan would let slip the term ‘communists’ or ‘communism’ from time to time. With Pat there was a palpable tic in his expression when he caught himself doing it.

We, on the left, always knew ‘international communism’ was bullshit as far as any real threat; especially when a million or more soldiers would be found on either side of the Chinese and Russian border; or when China invaded Vietnam after we left; or when….oh who cares. There were hundreds of thousands of pages written on the myth of international communism throughout the 20th century and hundreds of thousands of pages of propaganda from the right attempting to buttress our continual concerns over international communism.

Pat Buchanan will still argue that we lost the Vietnam War because of left wing traitors in this country.

Then, under the watch of a repub Congress and a repub President, we were caught off guard when some Jihadist figured out that planes were really flying missiles of mass destruction.

Well, the right not only talked themselves out of a real embarrassment but managed to used the pain and suffering caused by the destructive missiles to its own advantage.

Now we are not worried about two billion communists but a billion Muslims.

I remember thinking by 2002 or so:

The repubs will use the threat of international Mohammedism for the next hundred years.

Instead of tearing down walls, we wish to build them.

I was watching Imus in the Morning back in 2004? And he had as one of his guests a fellow by the name of Richard ‘Bo’ Dietl.  Bo is a brother-in-law of this old shock jock and has an interesting bio.

Bo was in the NYPD for years and retired due to some ankle injury.

After injuring his ankle in a skydiving accident, Dietl retired from the NYPD in March 1985 (rather than take a desk job) and went on to found Beau Dietl & Associates, specializing in corporate investigations for major international companies. Among his clients are Columbia Pictures, Coca-Cola, Grey Advertising, PaineWebber, Lehman Brothers, Bankers Trust and the Saudi Royal Family.

The Republican and Conservative Parties of New York State for the 6th Congressional District nominated Dietl for the U.S. Congress in 1986.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_Dietl

So it is clear that Mr. Dietl is a thoroughly despicable person, indeed.

He is heavy set and gruff and has a deep seeded NYC or Jersey accent. (Us Midwesterners have trouble pin pointing the exact location of these accents so forgive me.)

The man is a pig in a four thousand dollar suit and people from central casting will actually throw him into movies as an extra; giving him three or four lines.

Anyway, I recall that about six years ago he is on Imus in the Morning on MSNBC and he starts going into this rant about how we should just nuke all those Muslims. And Imus asks him: Which ones?

Iran, Iraq, Syria…all of them. They hate us. They hate everything about us and they wish that we were all killed. (This tete a tete is from memory so forgive me. But this is what he said as far as content)

Imus then changes the subject after going to commercial. Even Imus was not sure about airing rants that called for the murder of hundreds of millions of people.

It caught me off guard. Now I did not realize that he was working for all these corporate oligarchies or the Saudi Royal Family.

I was more interested in the fact that there were Americans out there, millions of Americans most probably, who would actually wish to wipe five hundred million people off of the map.

But then I recalled that millions of Americans at one time wished to wipe out three hundred million Ruskies and a billion Chinese.

This type of hatred is not peculiar to Americans. An awful lot of Ruskies and Chinese wished they could destroy America.

And there are millions in the so-called Middle East who would like to destroy America and everything that is American.

It just struck me, after reading all of these articles and blogs discussing the NYC Mosque that we have not really changed that much as a nation.

I do have trouble understanding how millions of Americans wish to bar citizenship to a Christian people like those who come from our southern borders.  But I think this hatred underlines that religion has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HATES AND FEARS OF A POPULATION.

Religion and political beliefs have nothing at all to do with this deep seated hatred among a people whether or not one is discussing this nation or some other part of the world. It is all part and parcel of the human condition.

To say that political parties in general will always make use of this human defect of deep seated hatred is a lie and that pisses me off. I hear this equivocation on MSM and it pisses me off.

Russians and Chinese were the barbarians of the 20th century.

Muslims and Hispanics (from south of our borders) are the barbarians for the 21st century.

The right wing in this country is what uses this innate human frailty to its advantage. And that will never change.


  1. It seems to me that one of the seeds that this kind of thing springs from is a very narrow sense of one’s identity. Such a narrow, cramped identity, that it easily feels threatened. And threats are viewed as such even when no one has made any attempt to assert such a thing. But the “bunkered identity” believes that your religion or skin color or sexual preference or political party or set of values is out to obliterate the “impoverished and depleted identity” which is fed only with rage and a sense of entitlement (to stamp out the dreaded invader).

    People who are at home with themselves and also view the world as a place where others have a right to feel at home with themselves too don’t get into these “identity binds” I think. Their identity, far from being cramped and narrow, reaches out to feel a sense of identification with “the other” – the other as a mirror of the self. There is an expansion of self. A sense of identification with humanity itself, not just in the aggregate but in the people on the street, in the supermarket, in prisons, hospital beds, maternity wards, hospices, everywhere people collect or congregate, rich and poor, one by one… individual human beings in all their rich diversity.

    This kind of identification is lost on the bunkered mentality that feels threatened. A perfect example is the cardinal who branded Great Britain (including Heathrow and British Airlines) as Third World:


    The right wing everywhere use this to maintain power – via getting their “subjects” to project hatred onto those who are viewed as “different”. (It’s those same straussiann principles at work again – the ones that fed Nazism, the ones that despots use to stay in power. Despots, who do not trust the common person, do not trust Democracy.)

    You got me going this morning! 😉

      • Eggsactly!! Of course you underline the need for real growth in our spiritually in order to ‘overcome’ or a least ‘abate’ the innate hatred and prejudice we all carry with us.

        The bunker.

        Oh and I replied to your blog on this Vatican official elsewhere. But I really feel better now that I can read you and communicate with you on a regular basis.

        This is nice!!

        • I feel the same way, dd. It is much easier on me to come to a smaller place. Much easier! So nice to have the chance for these interactions. Without so much else going on. I love the intimacy here! (And you and I grew up when that word “intimacy” meant simply “closeness” – so I mean it in the traditional sense.)

          So good to see you regularly! And others too! 🙂

  2. Genghis is a bit of a Hofstadter maniac, I think. And I think his book is gonna get at this stuff. Be interesting what he thinks. I actually think you’re right, and that it has very very little to do with the specifics of one’s religion or political ideology. But that doesn’t give the experts and the PR masters much to work with, now does it?

    • Not it does not Q.

      Propaganda is such an art these days. You know they already get groups of people with wires on their bodies and compute their reactions to words and phrases that help the ‘scientists’ advise on how best to sell toilet cleaners as well as politicians.

      The hate and the fear is innate and the experts just ‘pull it out’ and use it to their advantage.

  3. One distinction Hannah Arendt made in her Origins of Totalitarianism is between what she referred to as straightforward hatred for Jews as “other people” and the use of Judaism as a way of explaining the world as a system. In this vein, she emphasized the international character of a number of anti-Semitic organizations that had formed in the first half of the 20th century.

    I think the distinction plays a part in the way “systemizers” not only expel readily identifiable members of the hated group but run purity tests to see who amongst their own kind are actually members.

    The form this has been taking lately can be seen by those wing nuts who demand Muslim-Americans to renounce sharia if they are to be accepted as members of the society they already were a part of. There always seems to be some sort of post dating involved with these ideological haters that is not seen in straight forward hatred of people who are just different.

    • Yeah, like the lawyer/judge in Judgment at Nuremberg.

      The intelligentsia takes over these kind of philosophical quandaries and in Germany they took their burden of proof seriously.

      If it is US VS THEM, you must define US.

      That is why this birther ‘movement’ is soooooo very strange, and yet logical. Obama is them!!

    • I really like that distinction, moat. Very helpful. Especially the part about then needing to ferret out the dangerous elements in one’s own group.

      Ok, when the Tea Partiers turn on each other?

  4. Ever since 9/11 rabid nationalism has been heating up and is just now coming to a boiling point. Frankly, it’s scary to know that a whole lot of Americans are being herded into this mindset.

    What I see is a frightening epidemic of hatred and fear being very skillfully marketed to the masses.

    I think we share an intuitive awareness of what is being sought here. And it ain’t pretty. I wish I knew how and had the means to combat this. I have neither. If you speak to the average person on the street in these terms they’ll brand you as a nut.

    We have the last administration to thank for this by opening the Pandora’s box of pre-emptive war. Now, because of Iraq, anything goes. It has become unwritten national policy. This policy was criminal then and it’s criminal now. Our Predator drones are carrying out this policy every day in Pakistan. We just keep adding fuel to the fire. Before long it’ll erupt into an uncontrollable firestorm. I have the sinking feeling that grandaddy Bush is looking down (up?) upon his great grandson with the same twisted pride he bequeathed to the latter. Dam!!! and Double Dam!!!

  5. It occurs to me that being born of immense wealth and power is truly a curse. It isolates you from all of humanity and fosters an unwarranted fear. Along with the means to spread that unwarranted fear as far as the eye can see. How screwed up is that?

    • The seeds were sown by neocons after they found the front man, w bush.

      Yeah, like Pandora, how in the hell do you put the evil back in the jar?

      I was thinking that some just wish to hate and they have no fear; they just use fear for argument sake.

      But the other half of these followers buy that fear so easily.

  6. When Don Imus was actually entertaining.

    Don Imus hit Cleveland radio twice in the 1970s — first as a springboard to the top in New York City, then as a net that broke his fall and bounced him back.

    He grabbed listeners and headlines both times, arriving and leaving with a reputation as one of radio’s bad boys. When he left the first time, the headline on a column in The Plain Dealer said, “Garbage mouth goes to Gotham.”

    That was in late 1971, after 14 months at the old WGAR AM/1220. Imus — 30 years old and three years out of broadcasting school — was hired to jump-start mornings when it dropped a staid, middle-of-the-road format to become the first major-market oldies station.

    He’d previously worked in Stockton, Cal., where he was fired for running an Eldridge Cleaver look-alike contest, and Sacramento, where he did the prank phone call, “1,200 Hamburgers to Go,” that became the title cut of his first comedy album and where he was named Billboard magazine’s middle-market air personality of 1969.

    In Cleveland, “Don was the shock jock of the era from his first show,” said Chuck Collier of WMJI FM/105.7, who started the same day as Imus at WGAR.

    • An Eldrige Cleaver look alike contest? haahahahahahah

      He would hate people regardless of their riches or race.

      But then he would open his mouth at the wrong time and….hahahha

    • Yes I remember Imus being on WGAR. The second time he ended up being on after midnight, but I don’t remember if the second time it was the same station. I had to pick up my husband at night from his job at Goodyear when I was going to school. We only had one car in those days. My husband thought he was cool and I would have to listen to him on the long drive home. Imus was fired for having a drug problem and you could sometimes hear it in his voice. One night he was just gone and they were playing only music. I was happy that I would not have to listen to him anymore. His show stunk.

  7. when i try to figure where the great hatred in this country comes from, dick, i always come back to the same place. certainly we’re manipulated by a right wing element that understands (and always understood) how effectively sowing fear works. but seed has to land on fertile ground.

    so i think at bottom it is, as acamus has often pointed out, fear of the other. primal and instinctual fear of the not self, the not like us. and how do you fix that?

    i say you don’t, or you don’t so long as there are elements in society that will use the more primitive aspects of our collective psyche to their benefit. and unfortunately, with obama’s election, the manipulators saw a real opening. and what’s unfolding now is almost as ugly as the backlash against civil rights in the 60’s.

    i’m actually astonished that the manipulators have gotten so far so fast. i actually thought that electing a black man president here signified a great sea change. of course it does represent significant change, it never could’ve happened forty years ago. never.

    but it’s mournfully apparent now we still have miles and miles go.

    • Yeah, I get a little mournful over all of this also. So we are left to till our own garden and speak out against evil.

      We have to get our own egos, spirits, souls straightened out. And that aint easy.

      • Dick and Anna, we need a better plan. It takes us the best part of a lifetime to get this figured out and just when we’re getting to where we have it somewhat sorted out it’s all over. And that only applies to those of us who work at it. For the rest we have a mix of don’t care and screw you. We need a plan B. Big time.

  8. What a great thread!

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