Film noir true story of American Nazis during WW II

My mother loved Rachel Maddow, and I like her okay, though I was often annoyed by her coy long-windedness and premature gloating. She was at the top of the food chain at MSNBC for many years and then stepped down to do some independent research and reporting. All I can say is, holy shit, go listen to her report, an eight-part podcast called Ultra. Mind-blowing, fascinating, horrifying, typical, amazing — a film noir acted out in real life by a cast of Nazi loving villains right out of today’s Freedom Caucus.

As Hitler invaded country after country in Europe, in the USA his allies in Congress, the America First Committee, were actively supporting Hitlerism, attacking FDR and his “failed” New Deal and readying the US for Nazi rule. Senators and congressmen gave the Nazi salute at rallies and sent out mass mailings, signed by them, that were written by Nazi propagandists. This continued even once America entered the fucking war against Hitler. The federal trial of some of these insurrectionists, a raucus affair that continued throughout the war, and the angry, defiant, deflecting defenses made by the America First senators and congressmen implicated in the plot… you got to hear this.

I have to say, Maddow tells the story so compellingly, and in such piquant detail, that I don’t wonder that Steven Spielberg has already purchased the movie rights to this story. I wish it was in movie theaters right now. I can’t recommend this podcast highly enough. Here’s a link to the first episode:

https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-podcast/rachel-maddow-presents-ultra/episode-1-trip-19-n1299374

Here’s their description of Ultra, followed by a bit from the final episode.

Sitting members of Congress aiding and abetting a plot to overthrow the government. Insurrectionists criminally charged with plotting to end American democracy for good. Justice Department prosecutors under crushing political pressure. Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power. When extremist elected officials get caught plotting against America with the violent ultra right, this is the story of the lengths they will go to… to cover their tracks.

American groups that were getting support and instruction and even funding from the Nazis. American businessmen who were not just personally sympathetic to the Nazi cause — they were finding ways around the law to continue doing business with the Nazis even during the war.

And these American political figures. It turns out, the Nazis had kept meticulous records about which members of Congress were the most help to them, which might be the most help to them in the future after a fascist takeover of the United States, and which were on the payroll or otherwise involved with their senior propaganda agent in America, George Sylvester Viereck.

Hart: Rogge details in great depth, the extent of involvement between members of Congress and George Sylvester Viereck

https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-podcast/rachel-maddow-presents-ultra/transcript-ultra-vires-n1300885

When trust is gone between two people

When trust is replaced by fear and defensiveness, your relationship is moribund, dead or starkly inauthentic.

Superficial friendship may be the best many people can do. It has its virtues. It rarely, if ever, hurts, it can be easily walked away from, should the need arise. Only a troubled friendship that felt like mutual trust and love over a long time can rip your heart apart.

“You broke my heart,” says one, feeling unfairly blamed for everything bad that happened between them.

“I did not, you just want to blame me and end our friendship.”

Set and match, if the stakes involve anger and a shudder of humiliation that makes honesty way too dangerous.

Psych 101

Traumatic experiences in childhood often have long-term effects [1] on a person’s ability to trust, to form close bonds with others, to be honest. Let’s just apply a little psychology 101 to this needy disturbed, dangerous when wounded guy who’s constantly in the news.

His father was known to be a psychopath. He was a famously hard charging judgmental workaholic who parlayed millions of dollars in government grants and his own great business acumen, and willingness to take risks to keep and pass on every dollar of his money, into a billion dollar empire. The father had little use for his young fuck up son as he was grooming his charismatic oldest son to succeed him. Imagine the psychopathic father’s disappointment when he learned that his heir apparent was not a killer, didn’t have what it takes to take everything from everybody by constantly fighting to the death. So the much younger brother, an incorigible bully with limited smarts and very poor people skills, was eventually chosen and groomed to be a killer like Dad.

You don’t get much love from a psychopathic father, the best you get is approval when you carry out his orders. It’s a hard life for a sensitive young person.

When that sensitive young person was in his period of most intense need for his mother’s love and protection, before he was two, his cool, slightly distant and distracted mother became ill and was out of the house for many months, while her youngest son cried for her and got disgusted looks from psychopath dad when he got home from a long day of making the world in his image.

In other words, the time when this kid most needed love, understanding, appreciation and guidance, he was left alone and made to feel weak because of his whining. Is it hard to understand the kind of adult this hurt little boy would likely grow up into?

Imagine his relief a few years later when he got a younger brother, someone he could take out his frustrations on by tormenting every day. Kind of restored the little fucker’s belief in God.

Look at the rest of this now widely adored, widely despised, infamous, beleaguered rich reality TV star/F POTUS. You can draw a straight line from his early childhood injuries to his total war against anybody inclined in any way to contest his will.

And we are all, here in the United States and worldwide, much the poorer, and our lives much more precarious, than they were before this twisted creature came onto the world scene to prove to his psychopath daddy that he’s not a loser.

Winner!

[1]

The personal roots of “political” rage

When you feel helpless, are in need of the consoling connection to others that all living creatures require, a common response to this desperation is anger.  You derive energy and a feeling of righteousness from galvanizing your hurt into rage.  You can also turn anger on yourself, blaming yourself for feeling helpless, hopeless, weak, abandoned and so forth, but this self-directed rage inflicts even more damage than what has already been done to you.   Turning the anger outward requires only a good story, a good enough story (it can actually be a completely incoherent story), to let you know who is to blame for the pain you are in.   Once you can ascribe blame you’re on your way.

Today’s radical right wing has become expert in keeping the rage turned up all the time.   You feel fucked?   We’ll tell you why — it’s that senile puppet Joe Biden’s fucking fault, like it was Obama’s before him, and fucking Clinton’s before that.   The only time you were watched over tenderly in recent memory, these extremists preach, was under Donald Trump and Dick Cheney.   Radical antidemocratic oligarchs like Charles Koch have no hesitation to use any tactic that works to convince millions that large societal problems aren’t being solved, not because of the zero sum divisive political warfare he has been relentlessly waging for decades, and the lawmaking gridlock their obstructionist tactics have caused, no! — it’s the fault of the fucking communists who have taken over one of the major political parties in the country!   

I suspect that every person susceptible to this “argument” — that everything was, more or less, perfect until these “woke” libtard cucks took over the party of our enemies and are constantly acting like “snowflake” victims, cynically exploiting “identity politics,” to win rigged elections that always favor majoritarian tyranny — has personal reason to be angry.  Focusing the free floating personal anger and anxiety on enemies, who can be blamed, hated and, in a perfect world, publicly executed, is the genius of the radical right, has been all throughout history.  It exploits the feeling of justice we have every time we put a bully on his ass.

On a personal level we can often see the roots of rage quite clearly.   An abusive parent, insisting they never abused anyone.  A rape that nobody in the legal system, unfortunately, is going to be able to do anything about.  That one day hesitation to report the crime proved fatal to the legal case against the rapist fuck.   Indigestible things happen to us sometimes, and those things are food for anger, which, like water, can take on any shape, fit any container perfectly, and is always flowing.   The ratings king of rage, the guy with the puckered brow who just keeps asking innocently leading questions of his gigantic audience, Tucker Carlson, has only recently revealed the partial roots of his always boiling, though jovially presented, “just asking” anger.

For many years, Tucker Carlson was tight-lipped about the rupture [with his mother]. In a New Yorker profile in 2017, not long after his show debuted, he described his mother’s departure as a “totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all.” But as controversy and criticism engulfed his show, Mr. Carlson began to describe his early life in darker tones, painting the California of his youth as a countercultural dystopia and his mother as abusive and erratic.

In 2019, speaking on a podcast with the right-leaning comedian Adam Carolla, Mr. Carlson said his mother had forced drugs on her children. “She was like, doing real drugs around us when we were little, and getting us to do it, and just like being a nut case,” Mr. Carlson said. By his account, his mother made clear to her two young sons that she had little affection for them. “When you realize your own mother doesn’t like you, when she says that, it’s like, oh gosh,” he told Mr. Carolla, adding that he “felt all kinds of rage about it.”

All kinds of rage, you know.  Many different forms of rage.  Rage rages, it’s all it can do.  It may rage quietly or loudly, but everything it does is in the service of keeping the righteous feeling of being totally fucking right pumping away.   And, as everybody knows, there are few feelings to equal the satisfaction of knowing that you are totally fucking right and justified, in anything you do to bring justice to the vicious fucks you blame for hurting you.

Being propagandized to in our age of instant information is lazy and stupid

A friend, making the point that the left and the right both live in echo-chambers today, asked me if I believed things I heard from the media sources I generally trust.   I told him I did.   He smiled and rested his case — everybody on both sides faithfully believes the bullshit of their own political side.   I smiled and let it slide, as we were having a nice dinner, and there was no need to further comment on this unending, rapidly escalating, dark money funded march to one-party rule, the open oligarchy that has been plowing ahead for decades here, during our long “culture war”.   It occurs to me that next time we have dinner I have to clarify one thing.

When I read something that surprises me, or hear something that sounds too outrageous, or convenient, to be true, I consult the world’s knowledge base that is in my pocket.   It is so fucking easy to find corroboration or refutation in a few seconds of research by looking at a few disparate sources.   If Democracy Now!, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal all agree that certain things actually happened a certain way, it’s a pretty safe bet they happened that way.  

Certain claims are easy to dismiss out of hand, like the brief rumor during Donald Trump’s alarming rise to power that Trump and his friend Sheldon Adelson gang banged a thirteen year old girl — and videotaped themselves doing it.   You wouldn’t put it past men of their high moral standing, maybe, but at the same time, I knew the story was clearly bullshit.   That one I didn’t need to check.   But there are claims that shock, like that all but twelve House Trumpists recently voted against lowering the price of insulin, and those claims are easy to find multiple sources to confirm or refute, or spin according to echo chamber.   Verification takes literally seconds.  Here you go:

So, yes, I generally trust Ari Melber, Mehdi Hasan, Amy Goodman or Glenn Kirschner, when they make statements about reality, or present complex issues.   I generally dismiss the vapors that come out of things like furrow browed TV dinner heir Tucker Swanson Dansby Dickhead Carlson’s puckered blow hole.   Make a false equivalence between these sources of information/disinformation if you like, but also, do an honest ten seconds work before accepting statements from any of those sources and we’ll compare notes afterwards.  Then I’ll join you on your armed trip to that DC pizza place to liberate those child sex slaves Hillary and Barbara Streisand keep chained up there for Tom Hanks to molest and bleed, for his Satanic pleasure.

Transparency, anyone?

The truth is important, for its own sake and to advance intelligent decision making. It is impossible for the governed to give informed consent about anything if important information is hidden.   Those who don’t know all the facts can’t decide anything knowingly, can’t meaningfully consent to anything. 

Would it have hurt a presidential candidate if the voters knew he paid off a porn actress and a Playboy model to keep quiet about having sex with him while he was married to his third wife?   We’ll never know, but keeping that damaging information secret certainly didn’t hurt him in the polls.  The only person who paid any price for the crime of using campaign funds to buy the silence of hired adulterous sex companions was the henchman who did some time in jail carrying out his Evangelical Christian-endorsed master’s wishes for absolute secrecy.   

The best policy for those who would hide shameful or otherwise damaging things, it appears, is simply not to be transparent.  It doesn’t take a dictator to realize this.   Here’s an example from the recently elected DA of NY County, Alvin Bragg.   He decided he didn’t want to risk being the first to criminally prosecute Donald Trump, it was too dangerous for him, or for whatever his reasons are.  He kept everything nice and opaque as he brazened his way through quietly dropping the case.

His predecessor, a fairly cowardly (or just compromised) man named Cyrus Vance, Jr. hired two experienced, specialized lead prosecutors to try Donald Trump for his regular, fraudulent, wildly changing valuations of his properties.  Vance convened a criminal grand jury, put the crack legal team in place to collect the evidenve and then announced he would not run for reelection as Manhattan DA.  His successor, Alvin Bragg, appeared to be dragging his feet on the criminal prosecution of Trump’s business empire. The grand jury hadn’t heard testimony for weeks, there was rumbling as the gathering case suddenly stood still.  Then the two top Trump prosecutors resigned.   

Bragg immediately announced that his criminal probe was going forward, that the two lead prosecutors who’d resigned would be immediately replaced by a lawyer who had defended many powerful white collar defendants in Trump’s position.  In response to requests for the resignation letters, he claimed he could not release them because they contained information that might compromise the prosecution of Trump.   A ridiculous claim, since no experienced prosecutor would include compromising info in a resignation letter.   Bragg refused to release the letters, but he appeared to be letting the grand jury’s term expire, quietly running out the game clock, ending the prosecution before an indictment could be filed.  In this case, appearance was soon confirmed as reality.

Eventually things come out.  Sometimes it is decades later, but in this case, only a few weeks.   The NY Times published Mark Pomerantz’s resignation letter yesterday.  It reads, in part:

As you know from our recent conversations and presentations, I believe that Donald Trump is guilty of numerous felony violations of the Penal Law in connection with the preparation and use of his annual Statements of Financial Condition. His financial statements were false, and he has a long history of fabricating information relating to his personal finances and lying about his assets to banks, the national media, counterparties, and many others, including the American people. The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did. . .

. . .You have reached the decision not to go forward with the grand jury presentation and not to seek criminal charges at the present time. The investigation has been suspended indefinitely. Of course, that is your decision to make. I do not question your authority to make it, and I accept that you have made it sincerely. However, a decision made in good faith may nevertheless be wrong. I believe that your decision not to prosecute Donald Trump now, and on the existing record, is misguided and completely contrary to the public interest. I therefore cannot continue in my current position. . .

. . . To the extent you have raised issues as to the legal and factual sufficiency of our case and the likelihood that a prosecution would succeed, I and others have advised you that we have evidence sufficient to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and we believe that the prosecution would prevail if charges were brought and the matter were tried to an impartial jury. No case is perfect. Whatever the risks of bringing the case may be, I am convinced that a failure to prosecute will pose much greater risks in terms of public confidence in the fair administration of justice. As I have suggested to you, respect for the rule of law, and the need to reinforce the bedrock proposition that “no man is above the law,” require that this prosecution be brought even if a conviction is not certain.

source

Jesus, no wonder Bragg tried to keep the letter secret.  It questioned his good faith belief that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute (while refusing to call further witnesses for even more grand jury evidence) and makes a pretty good argument for that questioning.   Bragg openly saying he had decided it was too risky (for his career) to prosecute Trump, and fail, would not have flown, virtually no American politician would have done that.  So, you do next best thing — tell a few lies, keep everything nice and opaque and count on the two second attention span of overwhelmed consumer/citizens who will soon turn their shattered attention to the next titillating outrage.  It happens every few seconds in our frantic 24/7 news cycle.  No worries.  I’m just sorry I wasted my vote on this lying sack o’ non-transparency.

Roots of Klan terror and banning history

The white men of the Confederacy who went to war to defend states’ rights to keep the Blacks in chattel slavery were not wrong to be terrified of the righteous retribution people they tortured for hundreds of years might rightfully visit upon them once free. That there was little of it was no reason not to fear a bloodbath. They themselves would have wished to do no less to their former enslavers, finding themselves no longer in chains.

After the war was lost Confederate veterans formed white terrorist gangs for a preemptive strike against a potentially powerful enemy. From the KKK point of view it was terror motivated survival, common sense to use terror against a terror they rightfully feared. They dressed up in disguises (many of them were respectable local professionals), ride at night, in numbers, shoot into their houses, their churches, whip the snot out of them, burn their houses, burn crosses, if he is an outspoken man they grab him at gunpoint, whip him bloody, sometimes, before they killed they tortured, cut off body parts, ears, nose, lips, fingers, breasts, genitals, then, if a man, castrate him, set him on fire and hang him slowly, so he can do one last dance for the boys. Pregnant women’s could be sliced open during hanging, a KKK twofer. Their argument: they’d do no less to us if they had the chance!

The irrefutable logic of hatred, the echoes that are so easy to hear in their populist modern day version.

Their logic is always the same, if we don’t dominate them they’ll seek justice against us, just like we would if the roles were reversed and they had the power.

The roots of the klan, a crazed terrorist organization if there ever was one, was the terror of righteous retribution, the recognition of what they themselves would have done in the freed slaves’ position, after centuries of rape and brutality, their anguished Jeffersonian mortal terror of a just God’s certain, terrible punishment of a long crime so wicked.

No reason to traumatize our own kids by making them read descriptions of this ugly war that needs to be fought everyday… ban history.

Volodymyr Zelensky footnote

After the 2014 Ukrainian revolutionViktor Yanukovych abandoned his office and fled the country. He was subsequently impeached, and replaced by Oleksandr Turchynov as the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, who serves as acting president when the office is vacant. Early presidential elections were held on 25 May 2014 and won by Petro Poroshenko; Poroshenko was inaugurated as the fifth president on 7 June 2014. On 18 June 2015, Yanukovych was officially deprived of the title of President of Ukraine.[2]

After defeating Poroshenko, the comedian Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated as the sixth and current president of Ukraine on 20 May 2019.

Hurting a Nazi’s feelings, so mean!

Six months ago President Biden nominated the scholar and historian Deborah Lipstadt to the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Although her credentials for this position seem impeccable, people in Trump’s party have a problem with confirming her. Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, a racist, lie-embracing asshole, based on his public pronouncements, took offense at Lipstadt’s frank appraisal of his racism.

In March 2021, Lipstadt tweeted an article about a statement by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who said he would have been more concerned by the Jan. 6, 2021, mayhem at the Capitol if the rioters had been “Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters” instead of Trump supporters. Lipstadt tweeted: “This is white supremacy/nationalism. Pure and simple.”

During Tuesday’s hearing, Johnson said Lipstadt engaged in “malicious poison” when she criticized his comments. She said her comments were not nuanced and she would not do diplomacy by tweets. She said that while she disagreed with what Johnson said, she was sorry if it seemed like a personal attack. She noted she has criticized Democrats as well, describing herself as “an equal-opportunity foe of antisemitism.”

From today’s Washington Post

So yes, racists and antisemites of all stripes tend to be very sensitive about the people they hate calling their motives into question. “Malicious Poison, Jew, to call me a fucking racist just because I’m more comfortable with a violent mob of my own people than a horde of savage others!”

Understandable, of course, to take that stance. We all want to believe that we behave according to a moral code. The Nazis had a moral code, Donald Trump has a moral code. For some reason, hard to explain, Trump never put anybody in this Special Envoy position during his chaotic four years as the most important person in the world. Hmmmm…

If approved by the Senate, Lipstadt will have the rank of ambassador, unlike her predecessors. She would oversee the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, which was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 under President George W. Bush. The position of envoy was mostly vacant during President Donald Trump’s term

Very fine people, on both sides, on both sides!