Saturday, September 19, 2020

Masks are effective as soon as they’re put on

More from my accumulated browser tabs: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning us that a vaccine is still many months away. However, CDC director Robert Redfield said there is already a solution to allow the nation to return to normality – masks. Mark Sumner of Daily Kos listened to Redfield and reviewed the advantages of masks. * Masks – if worn properly – offer more protection than a vaccine, which might be only 50% effective. * A vaccine is still (maybe 6-9) months away. Masks are available now. * Masks are significantly cheaper than a vaccine, cheap enough they’re not a burden to the poor. * A vaccine takes a while – weeks – to become effective. Masks are effective as soon as they’re put on. * Masks have no risks of adverse reactions. * A federal mask mandate could reduce the spread of the disease to a manageable few hundred new cases a day across the country (the latest check of Michigan data shows it alone has a few hundred new cases a day). Sumner offered another – Americans don’t trust any vaccine the nasty guy might recommend. Alas, there are people, thankfully a much smaller number, who don’t trust masks. Justin Warren tweeted a thread to people who say, “They should be ashamed!” Here’s his key point:
But it feels to me like too many people think shame *is* a consequence, when it isn't. Not really. Shame is due to fear of consequences. If there aren't actually consequences, then the fear is unfounded, and if you realize that, the deterrent is gone.
A study by RAND showed a massive income shift. An excerpt from their report:
A full-time worker whose taxable income is at the median – with half the population making more and half making less – now pulls in about $50,000 a year. Yet had the fruits of the nation’s economic output been shared over the past 45 years as broadly ad they were from the end of World War II until the early 1970s, that worker would instead be making $92,000 to $102,000.
Christopher Mims tweeted in response:
The median worker should be making as much as $102,000 annually—if some $2.5 trillion wasn’t being “reverse distributed” every year away from the working class.
Meteor Blades of Kos quoted Brett Wilkins of Common Dreams who wrote about the study. Much of what Blades quoted is similar to that above. It is the title Wilkins’ article that caught my attention:
'$2.5 Trillion Theft': Study Shows Richest 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From Bottom 90% in Recent Decades
Joan McCarter of Kos reported that Judge Stanley Bastion of the US District Court of eastern Washington has ruled that the damage Louis DeStroy has done to the Postal Service is a politically motivated attack and public harm has already taken place. His order blocked the changes DeStroy has made. I now wonder if DeStroy might simply ignore the judge’s ruling. What are the consequences if he does? Mark Sumner reported William Barr, the head of the department that no longer has anything to do with justice, has declared himself to be king of the department. He declared he has authority to investigate anyone he pleases and dismiss any case he pleases. In particular, he will dismiss cases against someone with power (presumably someone wielding GOP power). His minions should focus efforts on determining (making up) the “political agenda” of black protesters. Hey, Bill, the “political agenda” is rather simple: Don’t shoot. Sumner also reported Barr is instructing federal prosecutors that charges of vandalism and curfew violation against protesters aren’t strong enough. Prosecutors should be going for sedition. It’s definition is conveniently vague, including “to take, seize, or possess by force any property of the United States.” Meaning it could be applied to anyone in Portland, Oregon who set foot on federal property. The penalty for sedition is 20 years. Sumner wrote:
But simply unpacking the sedition charge against people whose weapons were spray paint or tossing back a canister of tear gas may accomplish everything Barr, and Trump, want. Like other actions taken by the DOJ, it shows that this White House is willing to go hugely overboard in prosecution, and it allows Trump to advertise the charges as if they’ve caught some of those phantom antifa militants.
Something soothing to end today. Watch the two minuet video and scroll through the responses.

To tip the decision in their favor

There are a lot of online remembrances of Ruth Bader Ginsburg today after her death yesterday. I haven’t even read all of the ones that have come through my regular sources. Of those I have seen or heard the best is the one by Nina Totenberg on NPR. It’s 8 minutes, though there should be a transcript soon. Also widely discussed is the process of nominating and confirming her replacement on the Supreme Court. Again, there are lots of voices out there and I have read little even in my regular sources. Though here’s one from Leah McElrath. She cited a tweet from Kelsey Carolan, a tweet with Moscow Mitch’s statement that the nominee will get a vote, and another quoting a Dear Colleague letter from him, then tweeted:
McConnell’s wording sounds like he is planning to rush a vote on the Senate floor and bypass any confirmation hearings. Forgoing even a performance of respect for regular order is a pattern of behavior on his part. They are also likely looking to SCOTUS to decide the election.
Note that well – they anticipate the election will be decided by the Supreme Court, as it was in 2000. They intend to have their person on the bench ready to tip the decision in their favor. Though without RGB they already have a 5-3 advantage. Shortly after Ginsburg died money started flowing to ActBlue, an online tool for raising money for progressive candidates. Between 9 pm last night as about 2 pm this afternoon the amount donated was $56 million. The message is clear: Democrats are to do everything they can to prevent another conservative justice from being seated. It isn’t just the 45 days until the election where this might happen. It’s the lame duck session as well. Moscow Mitch’s refusal to hold hearings for Merrick Garland and his eagerness to fill this vacancy has a lot more Democrats saying when Democrats hold power it is time to expand the number of seats on the court.

Red Orchestra

A while back I was intrigued by the book title Red Orchestra by Anne Nelson, published in 2009. The description talked about Nazis and resistance. A symphony orchestra managing to do some resistance sounded like something I would enjoy. So I put it on my Christmas list a year ago and got it as a gift. I just finished reading it. Alas, no violins and cellos in sight (though one character occasionally pulled out an accordion). It is the real story of a resistance cell in Berlin during the Nazi era. They never considered naming themselves. Once officials found them they gave them the name Rote Kapelle. From the little German I know, and from what Google Translate confirms, that should translate to “Red Chapel.” The author didn’t make this translation error, it came from various official documents. The cell’s center was Greta and Adam Kuckhoff, Arvid and Mildred Harnack (she was from Wisconsin), John (born in Detroit) and Sophie Sieg, and Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen. Most had affiliations with the Communist or Social Democrat parties. Harro was notable for refusing all political labels. They were united in their rejection of what the Nazis stood for and were doing and wanted to do something about it. Several held notable positions within the Party, which gave them access to classified information, which they wanted to be used to bring the downfall of the Nazis. A big problem was who to give it to. America didn’t have an intelligence service at the start of the 1930s. Britain and France weren’t much interested – who are these people and how do we know we can trust what they give us? That left the Soviets. Which meant after the war those still alive were accused of being Soviet spies. The Jews in Berlin in the latter half of the 19th century were well integrated into society. They were German as much or more as they were Jewish. Starting in the 1880s Czarist Russia attacked the Jew there. Many fled to Berlin, which promoted itself as being welcoming (well, much more welcoming than other places in Europe – many non-Jewish Berliners declared anti-Semitism to be barbaric, though it still existed). After WWI more Jewish refugees flooded in from the newly recreated Poland and from Russia. These refugee Jews tended to stick to East European dress and religious custom. They didn’t consider themselves German and didn’t look German. That caused friction between the German Jews and the newcomers. Society in general felt overrun. In the late 1920s the German Communist and Social Democrats together could have kept the Nazis out of power. But in 1928 Stalin brought the Communist International under his control. This international body decreed that local Communist groups be under their control. Another resolution, rammed through by Stalin, declared that socialist parties were their most dangerous enemies. Unable to form a coalition these two parties could not block Hitler’s rise. Most of what the group could do was distribute flyers trying to contradict Nazi propaganda and present what was really happening out in the world. I don’t think they could tell whether they had much success in changing opinions. If Hitler had been satisfied with pulling in German speaking Austria and the Sudetenland, a German speaking part of Czechoslovakia, he might have stayed in power much longer. His attack on Poland changed world opinion. Many in the Rote Kapelle circle recognized this was a step too far and would lead to Hitler’s eventual downfall. In 1941 Germany began to implement plans to invade the Soviets. The Rote Kapelle group had access to the plans and tried various ways of warning the Soviets. Other resistance groups did too. But this all came down to Stalin, who refused to believe his pal Hitler, who had signed a non-aggression pact a few years earlier, would renege on the pact. So the Soviets were unprepared when Hitler invaded. The swift victories made the Nazis more popular with the citizens. One reason why the Nazis were so swift in their invasion of Russia was because of Stalin’s purges. He got rid (usually through execution) of anyone that didn’t express total devotion to him. That meant, for example, he got rid of fourteen of the top sixteen army commanders. Stalin’s purges killed 9-10 million people. His military was a shambles because he had killed off the leadership and their knowledge. Of course, Hitler did his own purging. In just May 1939 there were 1,639 people executed for political offenses. After the Polish and Soviet campaigns a few in the group began another phase of resistance – documenting and saving the atrocities German soldiers committed against the citizens of Poland and Russia. Along with that they began to document what we now call PTSD in the soldiers. They wanted a record for after. Their Soviet contact was in Brussels. He and those with him made a couple big blunders for a professional intelligence organization. One error was to broadcast for too many hours in a row from one place. Another was to tell Soviet agents to meet a couple people in the group giving actual names and addresses. Yeah, the radio signal was encrypted, which meant the Nazis didn’t move against the group until a year later when they had decrypted the messages. When one or two of the group went missing the rest got busy destroying evidence, including the catalog of atrocities. Most of the group were “tried” by bloodthirsty judge Manfred Roeder and executed. Part of the trials included being smeared, their actions declared to be because of some sort of sexual degeneracy. Nope, they said, we did it because we hate Nazism. That enraged Hitler. Greta Kuckhoff was one of the few who survived. We in the West tend to think the Nuremberg Trials as bringing justice to those Nazis who perpetrated atrocities and crimes against humanity. The number actually brought to justice was rather small. One who escaped justice was Manfred Roeder. Part of what he did was accuse Greta of being a Soviet agent. The Americans overseeing the Trials were more concerned about communists than they were about Nazis and kept delaying his trial while Greta was investigated. Greta lived in what became East Germany, trading one dictator for another. For a while she was the darling of the leadership and given prominent posts. After they tired of her she wanted to set the record straight by publishing her story of Rote Kapelle. Because of her association with the Soviets West German publishers wouldn’t touch it. An East German publisher agreed to publish. But then it was a long battle, page by page, because the publisher wanted the story to glorify the Communist cause. Greta won some battles and lost many others. Those reading her story now have to guess which words are Greta’s and which are from the publisher. At a time when we seem to be heading towards fascism, reading about the brutality of the Nazis towards even the slightest opposition was occasionally difficult. Even so, it seemed necessary to understand and prepare for our own future.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Stop running elections on the cheap

My friend and debate partner sent an article from the website Electoral Vote. The article is How to Fix a Broken Democracy and lists several things Democrats could enact if they add control the White House and Senate. For many of these I’ll let the article describe them.

* End the filibuster. There are movies about senators using the filibuster to keep some bad law from passing. But this is a relic of Jim Crow where it was mostly used – and now widely used by the GOP – to prevent good laws from passing.

* Pass a new voting rights bill. The House already did so, HR-4.

* Allow same day voter registration nationally.

* Make voting easier. Dems did this one too – HR-1.

* Stop running elections on the cheap.

* Pay people to vote. $100 to each of 200 million voters is only $20 billion, not much at all.

* De-gerrymander the Senate. Hard to do without a Constitutional amendment. But we could get a closer balance by admitting DC as a state, Puerto Rico too, and maybe even ask California to divide itself in half.

* Pass National Popular Vote Interstate Compact where Electoral College votes go to the national winner, not the state winner.

* End gerrymandering in states. Also in HR-1.

* Public financing for candidates to eliminate influence from rich people.

* Prevent judges from sabotaging reforms. While the Constitution defines the Supremes (though not numbers of seats), Congress defines the lower courts. It could do such things as create special courts to handle voting issues.

Of course, no GOP is going to vote for any of this. They don’t want to fix democracy. But with the filibuster gone (and the Senate in Dem hands) the rest is possible.

The question is are THEY worse off than they were 4 years ago?

I spent a couple evenings writing about an episode of Gastlit Nation and I accumulated a lot of browser tabs. So some that are still interesting:

Greg Dworkin, writing his pundit roundup for Daily Kos, included several quotes of interest. The first is by John Stoehr of Religion Dispatches. Stoehr wrote of the disconnect between rural residents and reporters of the New York Times. Some excerpts:

When rural Arizonans talk about “law enforcement” over a plate of eggs and bacon, what they mean is punishing the weak. When they talk about their “liberty,” what they mean is their dominance. When they talk about their “traditional values,” what they mean is their control. A Times reporter can’t possibly know any of that. 
What [the reporter] should be reporting is that some Americans are willing to say anything to justify any action—violence, insurrection, even treason—to defeat their perceived enemies. Elite reporters, and some non-elite reporters who are following suit, keep talking about conspiracy theories as if they were a “collective delusion.” They are no such thing. The authoritarians who espouse them don’t care if QAnon is true. They don’t care that it’s false. Conspiracy theories are a convenience, a means of rationalizing what they already want to do, which is precisely what elite reporters can’t know and do not report.
Sarah Posner of NYT is contradicting that her colleagues are clueless and echoing what Stoehr wrote. She includes quotes from Warren Throckmorton, an evangelical who is a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Evangelicals are drawn to posts that are similar to QAnon
because they reinforce their belief that Mr. Trump is under attack. “It’s a way of trying to justify their support for the president,” he said. “Anything that makes Donald Trump look honest or compassionate or good, they’ll spread, without checking out where it comes from, who posted it, who the source is.”
Dworkin included a tweet from Brandon Friedman with a quote from the nasty guy:
The people I like the best are the people that are less successful because it makes you feel so powerful. I always say it. Never go out with a successful person.

That is supremacy – always comparing himself against others in a way he knows will make him look better.


Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics tweeted:

I don't think people voted for Trump hoping he'd make their lives better. I think they hoped he'd make other folks' lives worse. His failures don't matter to them. The question isn't are you better off than you were 4 years ago? It's are THEY worse off than they were 4 years ago?
Jason Stanley added:
This is what Tim Snyder calls sado-populism. It’s at the very basis of far right authoritarianism.
Andy Horowitz responded:
And it lies at the heart of most white conservatives’ calls for limited government for most of American history: it is more important that government not help Black people, this logic goes, than that it does help white people.

This is also an aspect of supremacy – a person making himself look better by making the lives of others worse. Authoritarianism takes that to the extreme. I had come to the same sort of conclusion. I’m glad to see others are already there.


The Washington Post tweeted an opinion column with this tag line, “I fear Biden would merely be the facade for an administration controlled by hard-left ideologues.” I didn’t follow the link to find who wrote it. Jamelle Bouie, a NYT columnist tweeted:

i know this is a troll column but i feel compelled to say it is the dumbest thing i read today
And Adam Serwer summarized it:
Look, I understand that Trump is an authoritarian who wants a one party state. But if Biden wins, liberals might pass legislation, and it’s worth never having another free election again if I can prevent that from happening.


About that “controlled by hard-left ideologues” thing … Leah McElrath tweeted pictures from Bend the Arc: Jewish Action showing Bernie Sanders as a puppet master behind Joe Biden. We can easily forget that Sanders is Jewish.

Presenting Jewish people as puppet masters is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope. (The same trope is also being employed whenever you hear allegations that George Soros is behind events.)
McElrath added:
On Rosh Hashanah call, Trump tells American Jews “We love your country.” He means Israel. The idea of Jewish Americans having dual loyalty is a foundational anti Semitic trope. You can be sure his white nationalist supporters heard this dog whistle.


I’m not sure what chain of links got me to a Twitter thread by A.R. Moxon from last May. It’s still accurate, though one should multiply the death count by 2.3. The American Independent had tweeted a video of the nasty guy saying:

It's a very small percentage, a very, very small percentage … a tiny percentage.
Moxon explained:
The points he’s making are: 
1) most people aren’t even affected 
2) most affected don’t die 
He’s saying “look, it’s a percentage game, and you’ll probably beat it.” 
You see? 
If unchecked, the projection is several million dead. 
Trump’s saying “yeah but it’s a big country.” 
Not merely unconcern for those who have died; rather deliberate unconcern for those who will die if we simply decide we're going to let them die rather than doing the work and paying the cost. 
Not just a case for acceptable loss, but a case to make any amount of loss acceptable. 
It's a level of unconcern for human life so deep and vast and total that most people refuse to comprehend it for what it is. 
A leader capable of it is capable of killing millions. A population obeying such a leader makes such death inevitable. 
That's what we're fighting.
Leah McElrath, speaking of the nasty guy tweeted:
His attacks the media are analogous to narcissistic abusers’ efforts to isolate their victims. 
As those of us who have lived through these dynamics interpersonally know, the sad reality is there is no easy end to this situation. 
Malignant narcissists attempt to annihilate those with whom their relationships end. 
Trump will target our nation for annihilation if he loses.

Mark Sumner of Kos commented on a decision by Scientific American. The nasty guy – and the GOP in general – are so anti-science that this science magazine has, for the first time in its 175 year history, endorsed a candidate for president.

Of course they endorsed Biden.

1845 was back in the Polk administration.

Notorious RBG

This bit of news wasn’t on NPR’s All Things Considered and didn’t interrupt while I was listening to Michigan Radio until 7:00 this evening so it must have happened just after then. NPR tweeted and Daily Kos reported that …

 Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, our Notorious RBG, has died from complications from cancer. She was 87. She charted a course for women’s rights and became a legal, cultural, and feminist icon. She was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court.

I read that and said some unprintable things. Even though Moscow Mitch declared up, down, and sideways four years ago that a Supreme Court justice can’t be confirmed in an election year, he will most definitely play the double standard and confirm someone in an election year. I’m sure he has plenty of time to do so by the end of December (this would take priority over anything else he is doing – which is nothing). And knowing the nasty guy will do the nominating this will be someone who has zero regard for anyone not straight, white, male, and rich. Perhaps worse that Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Roberts. Which will make six conservatives on a nine member court.

 Even with the nasty guy gone and even if we take the Senate and control the entire legislative process there are enough people with enough money that everything President Biden does will be litigated to the Supreme Court where the legacy of Moscow Mitch and the nasty guy will have a chance to block it.

That probably includes the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that I worked to get approved in Michigan two years ago and is about to begin work. Even though it is a part of the Michigan Constitution the GOP in Michigan has continued to litigate it, working to get it before the Supremes. And now, when they do, they’re likely to get a receptive audience. Grrr!


I read several Twitter feeds, though I’m not a member. Twitter continuously reminds me I’m not with a banner (I can’t make disappear) that says “Don’t miss what’s happening. People on Twitter are the first to know.” Twitter’s sidebar of top topics is where I learned about Ginsburg’s death – and I didn’t have to be a member of Twitter to do so.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Good Germans

This Gaslit Nation podcast is from a week ago. I think the transcript was posted later than usual. The hosts are the usual Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa. This episode is titled The Good Germans. The header defines the phrase this way.
The phrase “good Germans” refers to the Germans living in the Third Reich who enabled Hitler and his Nazi regime yet remained in denial that they were doing so. Or they did know, but they put on a show of respectability. They were “just following orders,” they’ll say, or they’ll claim they didn’t have a choice. The good Germans were liars: you always have a choice. And the “good Germans” of Trump’s America are no different.
Kendzior starts off by saying that the nasty guy has been a public figure for 40 years. There have been countless studies of his psychology. We know he views other humans as disposable. His actions are easy to predict (and Kendzior has been doing so rather accurately for at least five years).
This is well known and understood. What we don't understand is how people sit by and watch, and why people who could have stopped him and his crime cult and can slow it down right now have refused to do so. These people are the Good Germans of America, and you will find them in big tech, big business, the military industrial complex, the mainstream media, the intelligence community, the Vichy Democrats who refuse to use the full powers of the House, and in the GOP.


Fascism is about the limitation of choices. The way to prevent fascism is early, before you run out of options. Unbelievably, the US is still on the early side of fascism, though it is much farther along than we were even a year ago. That means people with power still have a choice and they are choosing cowardice, complicity and cruelty. This is a choice that they are making. They made their choice and we at Gaslit Nation made ours.

Chalupa quoted a bit from the documentary Final Account by Luke Holland. It opens with a quote from Holocaust survivor Primo Levy.

Monsters exist. But there are too few to be truly dangerous. Ordinary men are more dangerous.
Chalupa and Kendzior aren’t reading tea leaves, they study authoritarians in history. The authoritarian playbook
doesn’t change. And authoritarians depend on complicit actors, authoritarians depend on good Germans in order to come to power, consolidate power and stay in power.
Chalupa proposed a parlor game: Who Goes Nazi? She’s
asking the question in regard to specific personalities; kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. … But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success, they would all go Nazi in a crisis.

Believe me, nice people don't go Nazi. Their race, color, creed, or social condition is not the criterion. It is something in them. Those who haven't anything in them to tell them what they like, and what they don't, whether it is breeding or happiness or wisdom or a code, however old fashioned or however modern, go Nazi.

Kendzior and Chalupa start naming the Good Germans in America. Reporters covering up dictatorial regimes is common. There’s obviously Fox News, though their intention was obvious from the start. More dangerous are the ones who pretend to be objective or accountable while printing propaganda. Kendzior says the worst of these is the New York Times.

Other reporters act more like court stenographers, simply repeating what the regime says without analysis or context – or whether the regime is lying. The worst of these is Maggie Haberman (of NYT). She takes after her mother, Nancy Haberman, who was part of the PR firm of Howard Rubenstein, whose clients, back in the 1980s, included the Trump and Kushner families, plus Jeffrey Epstein. Maggie’s father, Clyde Haberman had also been at the NYT and his columns also whitewashed the nasty guy.

There are also the non-scandals, such as Hillary Clinton’s emails and the non-investigation reported in the NYT a week before the 2016 election saying the FBI saw no ties between the nasty guy and Russia.

They also say the NYT has been printing fluff pieces on far-right militia groups, climate deniers, and racists while attacking investigative journalists. Chalupa says of the media:

If you're wondering, how did it get so bad? It's because of the hyper capitalism of major media corporations like the New York Times profiting off of the decline of our democracy in real time.
People say it’s just about money and ratings. Kendzior said:
I wish that were true. I wish it were that simple, but it's about something much darker, because the thing is, you get ratings and money for reporting about crimes just like you would if you are covering it up.

With Trump and his cohort, you really have it all. You have the mafia, you have spies, you have sex crimes, you have treason. These are the classic topics that bring in mass audiences, and obviously, there's a deep hunger for this information, but you will not see them reporting it. You see them skirting the topics, fluttering around it, or revealing it only after it's too late.

An example was the deeply flawed Mueller Probe, and the NYT didn’t say so until the report was released. There are several reporters who say the NYT wouldn’t publish their articles about the nasty guy and authoritarianism.


So, what's in it for them? What's in it for them for the long run? That's what I wonder about is the psychology of that choice. Because with Trump, it's very obvious; he's evil, he's a psychopath, he's greedy, he wants money, he wants power, he wants immunity from prosecution after being a career criminal all his life. This isn't complicated. The rest of them, when you're handed that, you're handed this life, you're born into wealth and privilege, and this is the avenue that you are choosing. And again, it's not everyone. You brought Ronan Farrow who also was born in wealth and privilege and chose a different avenue, chose a moral avenue. But I just... I don't understand it. There's just such a depth of heartlessness to it. The bad explanation of ratings and greed isn't even the worst of what they are willing to do and what they are willing to abet, because with coronavirus, they are willing to abet mass death, and they absolutely know it, and they are fine with it. And that is why they are the Good Germans.
Chalupa poses an answer:
Yeah, well, it's just simple power. When you're on the side of power, that protects your own power. It's access journalism. It's not just profiteering in real time, but it's access. They're protecting their access to all these stories.
Chalupa wrote the film Mr. Jones (out now) that is a tale of the dangers of access journalism.

I also pose an answer. Yes, it is power, though I think more precisely, it is supremacy. What’s in it for the media people is the same supremacy that the nasty guy is selling. And supremacy is the only thing the nasty guy has been selling.

Kendzior then turned to the military. The nasty guy called the “losers and suckers” yet many in the military remained silent. The big question is: When the election is being stolen will the military serve the constitution or the nasty guy? Chalupa is a bit vague on this, but I think she is saying the military might sit it out.

The police are another matter. It already has a Good German mentality where officers are discouraged from speaking out against the brutality in their ranks. Also there is documentation of links between police officers and far-right militias where their violence is ignored (while police attack peaceful demonstrators). These are the kinds of people for whom police brutality is a recruitment tool. Racist sadists join the police to have a cover for their sadism. Chalupa talked about an FBI bulletin that said white nationalists have been infiltrating police to disrupt investigations into fellow members and to recruit other supremacists.

Kendzior adds that white supremacy and vigilante culture is a big business and part of the dark money crisis of the transnational organized crime syndicate that is pretending to be our government. The media likes to portray these militias as salt of the earth, as rugged individuals. But it’s a culture of violence backed by the far-right and the GOP and it dates back decades.

Chalupa turned to the next category of Good Germans, which is Big Tech. She quoted April Glaser of NBC News:

Google has drastically rolled back its diversity work due to fears of being perceived as anti-conservative. Sources say employees have been pushed out, programs cut and workers have been discouraged from even using the word diversity anymore.
I wonder why they feel the need to avoid being perceived as anti-conservative?

Facebook has been allowing posts and accounts for far-right militias for over a year. This includes groups that called for violence in Kenosha after protests against its police shootings. Facebook is doing some things, and doing them publicly for praise, but it isn’t enough compared to all of the far-right and Russian bot stuff on their site. Big Tech is playing, “I see nothing.” And this blindness is deadly because several shooters, most recently the one in Kenosha, have been radicalized based on what is on Big Tech sites. Media sources demonize victims and sanctify the white perpetrators.

Chalupa quoted Shannon Martinez, program director of the Free Radicals Project, which helps people leave extremist groups:

The digital world gives white supremacists a safe space to explore extreme ideologies and intensify their hate without consequences. Their rage can grow under their radar until the moment when it explodes in the real world.

Kendzior said:

When I talked about everyone has a choice in the beginning of the episode, that is what I mean, because they can take everything else from you. They can take your material possessions, they can try to destroy your career, your livelihood, what have you, but they can't take who you are as a human being. They can't take how you treat people and they can't take away what you will stand up for and what you will stand up against. That's up to you, no matter how difficult that process is, and it's not easy at all, though it is easier when you find a good friend, which is why we have the show and why we have worked together and encouraged other people to kind of do some soul searching, figure out what they stand for and then fight for what they see as the side of good.
Chalupa added:
Yeah, I want to say, use your power of free will, because you are always free even under fascism. Under tyranny, your mind remains free. There's a lot of beautiful stories of resistance from the Soviet Union. People smuggling art and novels and that exists, of course, under the Nazi regime. No matter what happens in America, it's going to exist here. Your mind will always be free, and never forget that, and always fight to remind yourself of that.
Next on the Good German tour, though when they’re so proudly evil they don’t fit the profile, are the families that have supported the GOP’s gutting of America for 40 years: Koch, DeVos, Prince, Mercer, Adelson, and others. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling made their influence bigger. See the book Dark Money by Jane Mayer for details.

On to the donors of the Democratic Party, such as Michael Bloomberg. His goal is to make sure the Dems can’t hold others accountable and can’t enact the wealth tax (he would barely notice the money that would go for this tax). Alas, many Dems excuse him while he takes up time that should go to actual champions of the poor.

Billionaires, starting with Jeff Bezos of Amazon, qualify as Good Germans. They made big bucks in the pandemic and recession. We’re now at the point that income inequality is a human rights crisis. Bezos has been threatened by the transnational crimes syndicate. If he, the richest man in the world, had trouble holding them off what chance do the rest of us have? So don’t say anything about the syndicate being incompetent or stupid.

Kendzior and Chalupa add another category: the people who write to them and say “I thought you were nuts. Turns out you’re correct.”

Both women talk a bit about their backgrounds. They didn’t study authoritarian regimes because they thought they could get rich (they haven’t). They did it because they care. So when the nasty guy began his rise back in 2016 they knew what it was. They were doubted because media outlets put out a barrage of hit pieces against them.

Kendzior is a white woman with a PhD is denigrated by the power brokers.

If it's that hard for me, how hard is it for Muslims and Latinos and Black Americans and Native Americans, these direct targets of the Trump administration who from the very beginning, just like we were, were screaming about what was coming and that their lives were at risk, their families were at direct risk, and again, not taken seriously?

Their warnings, which were founded on knowledge, on personal knowledge and history, but also on research, were dismissed. It was like, "Oh, you're being emotional because Trump's a racist." It's like, well, yeah, you're fucking emotional! He encourages white supremacists to murder people. You get emotional about that. But that's also, this is knowledge. This is wisdom that should have been utilized by people in power. They also were not taken seriously.

We did not want to be right. We very much wanted to be wrong.

And on to actual Democrats. Kendzior said:
There's a difference between knowing about an atrocity, whether ongoing or impending, and acting to protect people and to save people from suffering. And those who had a choice, whether it was Comey or Mueller, or the court system, or Nancy Pelosi, the head of the Vichy Democrats, they all had that choice and they all chose wrong. This was not necessarily a straight line to autocracy. There are all sorts of bumps in the road that could have been put in place, all sorts of side paths we could have gone down and possibly a U-turn that we could have made had people acted early.


But when I see people like good Democrats, Democrats who are actually trying to solve these problems, who are trying to enforce accountability, tweeting that they would like to use some power of the House–say inherent contempt, but they're blocked–not naming Pelosi as the individual blocking them from this power, not explaining how this directly impacts the public and how the public could be protected to a greater extent if this power were allowed to be used, because they fear her, and they fear the donor network behind her, and they fear these billionaires.

But, you know, we don't have time for timidity anymore. All we need right now is just brutal honesty. So for God's sake, if you feel like you can't do anything else, tell the truth and stand up for the vulnerable. If you can do nothing else, at least try to do those two things.

Another Good German: John Roberts, chief justice of the Supreme Court. He led the court when it gutted the Voting Rights Act. And Southern states have closed 1,200 polling places.

But don’t forget the Bush Crime Family who appointed Roberts. George’s grandfather Prescott Bush was a financial backer of Nazi Germany.

Definitely a Good German.