November 28th, 2018

*Focus*, dammit.

I'm writing for my usual reasons; I have things I need to be doing and I can't focus on doing them. Maybe writing why might help.

During high school, I only had one part-time job. Not because I didn't want more money, but I was the one taking care of a lot of the "dying generation" -- great-aunts and uncles in their late 70s who were in the process of dying out.

Most of 'em had numbers tattooed on their arms. Tattoos are common now; this probably doesn't mean anything to you. What it means is that they had been concentration-camp inmates. Jews don't have ten commandments, we have 613, and one of 'em is "no body mods," so of course the Nazis hit on that as their way of identifying prisoners and humiliating them at the same time. And in the mid-1970s, laser tattoo removal either hadn't yet been devised or hadn't been well-publicized; I just know *I'd* never heard of it.

One of the things I learned from the older generation was that there are three responses to Nazis: Shoot. Run. Or shoot and *then* run. This was reinforced by reading a biography of Gandhi, in which he was quoted as saying that militant nonviolence worked with the British, because they had active consciences, but wouldn't've work with the Germans.

I've been dismissed from the Democratic Socialists Information Security committee, because the chair doesn't think I'm radical enough. But I'm still on the texting-list, and they'll be sending 3 "security people" (de-escalation training only) to an internal informational meeting that the Proud Boys, a neonazi group, has called for an action against.

Nazis in Portland. Who'da thunk? What do I do? Stay away, or "just happen" to be walking down the right street at the right time carrying a stick? The police have already been informed, and have commented that this doesn't seem to them like sufficient reason to become alarmed. That's the fascist pattern; when *we're* getting hit, there's no reason for alarm. If we hit *back*, suddenly it's a riot and the tear gas and batons come out. Same thing we did to the blacks in Mississippi in '64, for a value of "we" I'd prefer not to think too deeply about.

So for a week from Tuesday I can either take a walk with a stick or stay home and do nothing. Is it time for me to go take an extended visit to my brother in New Zealand? I don't think so, but it's starting to get close.

The other thing going on is I'm trying to do a paper on the Commerce Department. In one incarnation or another it's been around since 1785, so there's a truly massive amount of bureaucratic inertia going on there. Having the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under that umbrella made sense when sail was the major mode of transport, but you may have noticed we haven't been doing that for a while. But the NOAA is still there.

That's silly, but largely benign. OK, we've needed a Department of Science, Research and Technology (where NOAA belongs) since I was a kid, but continued bureaucratic inaction is just what bureaucracies *do*. But the Department of Commerce would be better named the Department of Business Welfare, as most of what they do is give away huge chunks of money to businessmen, with very little of that silly "prove you need it" shit that poor people have to go through.

So, yeah. We can't give inner-city school kids a lunch program, but we can give millions to billionaires because they claim they can make more millions with the seed-money.

I'm a "warrior" only when fascists are trying to shame people by calling them "social justice warriors", a label I accept with pride. In the real world, I'm a 62-year-old cardiac patient who had some martial arts training 40 years ago. I may have to go try to save the asses of some of my young friends who think they can talk Nazis out of beating on them, and I'm researching the government I once thought existed to help me and it's looking grimmer and grimmer the deeper I get into the details. Makes it kind of hard to get my homework done.

Maybe next I can use y'all as a sympathetic audience to do homework in front of. Would be a lot more constructive than what I've *been* doing.