The More Things Change…

As life in these United States has gotten steadily less civil and more hostile, I have had increasing “flash-backs” to a scene from the movie “An American President.” The scene is near the end of the film; it’s a press conference where the President (played by Michael Douglas) finally has had it with Bob Rumson, the candidate from the opposing party. The entire speech is great, but this is the dialogue that sticks with me:

We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it.

The speech especially resonated with me (and undoubtedly with other members of historically marginalized populations), thanks to centuries of experience with being the scapegoats for society’s ills. Jewish history, for example, has made me an especially nervous observer of the GOP’s QAnon cult, with its uncanny echoes of  Nazi propaganda.

As someone named Hunter posted to Daily Kos,

The “QAnon” movement is not a set of new conspiracy theories, but a recasting of some of the most popular neo-Nazi, white supremacist, antisemitic themes of the last century for broader conspiracy consumption. Nazi-era antisemitic conspiracy theories declared that “Jews” were secretly controlling the world, that they were working to undermine governments and cultures, and that they drank the blood of children in secret rituals.

QAnon’s version is identical: A shadowy cabal of “globalists” is secretly controlling the world, is working to undermine governments and cultures (for example, through a “great replacement” of Americans with new nonwhite immigrants, as supposedly funded by wealthy Jewish American George Soros), and is secretly trafficking children to harvest compounds from their blood. The most bizarre of Nazi and neo-Nazi themes have found eager new homes in the brains of supposed “real” Americans who have invariably settled on the same targets and solutions as their neo-Nazi enablers: Round up the “globalists”—meaning liberals, socialists, Democrats, those who fight for LGBT rights, those who treat immigrants with decency—and jail them. “Lock them up.” Purge them.

Observers have been warning that the movement has begun exhibiting  a less-veiled antisemitism.

Recently, John Sabal, identified as an “influential QAnon promoter” recommended a notoriously neo-Nazi film to his followers–a film identifying Jews as the architects of communism, World Wars I and II, and the sabotage of Naziism. “Europa – the Last Battle” is a 10-part film that claims Jews created Communism and deliberately started both world wars as part of a plot to found Israel by provoking the innocent Nazis, who were only defending themselves. Sabal told his 70,000 followers that it was “The most important historical film of all time.” (When Vice News reported the recommendation, Sabal claimed he hadn’t actually watched the film and didn’t know it was anti-Semitic. Right.)

As Vice also reported

While this film has been shared by some of QAnon’s more fringe and extremist figures, the fact Sabal feels emboldened to share it so publicly is a testament to how antisemitic thinking has become normalized within the movement…

When one follower did attempt to criticize Sabal for posting the link, other members of the channel quickly attacked that user, claiming they were some sort of undercover agent of the “deep state.”

Others credulously claimed the user criticizing Sabal had misunderstood the film: “I’m sorry that’s what you took away from our neo-Nazi film. It’s really about how killing the Jews is necessary and good because they’re not real Jews,” one of Sabal’s followers wrote.

QAnon believers are an increasingly important part of the GOP.  When the Sabal story broke, he was preparing to host a conference featuring a significant number of Republican lawmakers, including two sitting Arizona Representatives, Wendy Rogers and Sonny Borrelli. Multiple Republican candidates were scheduled to speak, including candidates from the swing states of Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada.

This is not an isolated example. As Hunter noted in his post,

Conservatism in general is increasingly flirting with antisemitic speech and candidates: In Idaho, a Republican with a long history of antisemitic speech, one who claims “all Jews are dangerous,” is enjoying his local party’s support for joining the local school board.

Call it QAnon. Call it fascism, Nazism, racism. It’s all about fear of the “other”–all about having someone else to blame for what is wrong with one’s life. People of color, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ folks…you know–“those people.”

After WWII, we can’t claim ignorance of where this sort of thinking leads.

I used to think it couldn’t happen here. I was wrong.


  1. How appalling that anyone can buy into this thinking and still claim to be a Christian and a patriot. What ever happened to us being a melting pot? What happened to following the Golden Rule?

    All I can see is that we are definitely on the path of destruction of our country. We will be the newest third world country if we allow this separatism BS take over!

  2. The important part is they have someone to look down upon – to blame or feel superior. It’s great stuff for the ego.

    As with all conspiracies, there are truths mixed in with complete fabrications. Some of this is intentional while others are not.

    For example, there is a shadowy network of oligarchs who control the Western governments. We see images of this in movies and documentaries and there are plenty of books on the subject. We just got a treasure trove of hacked documents called the Pandora Papers.

    There’s a great documentary called “The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire” which explains the City of London vs Britain.

    But, they don’t dig that far because they’re intellectually lazy or just lack critical thinking skills. They spin a yarn instead. Kind of like the ole campfire stories we did as kids. Fox News and Sinclair are great at pushing these theories to their viewers. Radio hosts too. In fact, anybody without a conscience could make a bundle off these people. Look at all the TV preachers who scam them for millions.

    “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

    Beware though, there are lots of con men and women along the so-called political spectrum. 😉

  3. Speaking of Nazis… The Texas State School Board has just announced that it is encouraging teachers to squeal on other teachers who dare teach “radical” and “extreme” theories like the truth about racial strife, science and other things.

    Republicans there are, of course, insane with their clutching of power. They continue to scream about freedom of choice regarding vaccines, but pass laws preventing women those freedoms over their own reproductive rights.

    People on this blog often talk about “both sides” being corrupt, and maybe that’s true. But one side chooses to follow the Constitution and govern for the people, while the other side takes their bribes in order to do the bidding of the 1% (Todd’s kleptocrats)) who are trying to install true fascism in our country.

    Well done, voters. Just keep hatin’ those lib-rulls and watch you and your family become slaves to the capitalist fascists.

  4. HCR’s letter suggested that the ‘secretive CNP’ is trying to push toward a more’moral America’.
    I think that (CNP) has pushed that ‘swing’ too hard.

  5. Sheila’s last line is worth thinking about. “I used to think it couldn’t happen here. I was wrong.”

    Read “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis, published in 1935, and still in print. And still timely.

  6. Here is another good read that demonstrates this subject. It is Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. It gives a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis. It is the true story of one couple who stand up to the Nazis giving the reader a portrait of how that world of terrified neighbors and snitches turn on each other. Not for the faint of heart.

  7. They lionize punks like Kyle Rittenhouse while demonizing Tony Fauci. They enjoy siccing their dogs on anyone they think is against them. They are bullies. Now they believe they’re in a holy war.

    Vote like your life depends on it, because it probably does.

  8. Tribes who fail to adapt as the world changes look for things to blame it on and, naturally, first focus on those who are different than the average. In hunter/gatherer times they could conveniently make up a myth about gods being angry. As that ran out of ignorance to feed on they looked for other people to blame. Europeans struggling here blamed the reds then the blacks and then the yellows in turn. Now the rurals are blaming the urbans and those north of the “border” are blaming those south, and the Christians are blaming those who don’t follow their leaders.

    The story is old but the reaction to local failure to prevail is not an event but a cycle. Anger and fear of what’s coming focused into blame.

    Of course, predators sense fear and anger and take advantage of it not as leaders promising solutions but as war chiefs promising revenge and retribution.

    Human predation explains our success as a species but that success also leads to our failure and we need someone else to blame.

    We have been gifted with unique and special problem solving abilities. Will we unleash them or are we too angry and afraid and will rely on blame instead?

  9. I wonder if the government has yet to call Q-Anon a domestic terrorist group.They sound like one to me. This is the sort of propaganda that incites hate crimes. They sound exactly like Nazis to me who demonized the “other”.

    All the anti-Semitic insanity points back to the false assertion started by the gospel writers that the Jews killed Jesus. I, like some Biblical scholars, believe he was executed by the Romans for sedition. Jesus proposed a way of life that was a direct rebuttal to the brutal oppression of the Romans. And Jesus was, in my view, a profound Jewish prophet.

    It also points back to the belief that the Jews were evil because of usury.( Interest on loans.)

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be appalled by the Q-Anon’s conspiracy beliefs. He tried to end Hitler’s regime along with some others. What they did not understand is that if their assassination of Hitler had been successful another Nazi would have taken his place.

    If we are not going to fall to this Nazi propaganda, we must find ways to disempower this extremism. I suppose we should follow the money and find a way to cut off their supply. But we must also find a narrative that totally ruins the credibility of their assertions.

    We can share our fear and dismay on this blog. The question for me is how can each of us undermine Q-Anon? Will we have the courage that so many rescuers of the Jews during WW II demonstrated? Will we have the courage of Martin Luther King, Susan B Anthony, and others who confronted the unjust laws based on bigotry? I certainly hope that I have that courage.

  10. In 1961, the local John Birch Society hosted a locally well-known weatherman from Indy, Gilbert Forbes. He spoke on Der Bilderbergers – describing them as a shadowy, Jewish group that financed Communism and worked to help the Reds take over the world – at which point they would ‘call in their loans’ and THEY would take over! I ended ALL contact with the ‘conservative’ movement. These leopards have always had the same spots!

  11. good day,from NoDak, trumpdakota.. i dont get to join in often due i still work a slaves day and paid as such. when i was a kid, the 50/60s, i was fortunate to spend days i the park listening to the ones who served in WW2 and Korea. places of battle and where and what, wasnt as important as why. many had european accents yet, even a few generations after Ellis Island. this was Newark,N.J. the early 60s.
    my grandfolks being the ones who raised me, and immigrants of the 1880s, their parents.. when one leaves the homeland,,one wants to believe its the new future, and they did. they were not ones to listen to false proverbs of cheap talk, factual history and immediate times taught them how to come to answers for themselves. i was a avid reader of WW2/euro. today i look between lines and follow like journalists who have kept pace with the changes. i do no social media, and this is the only blog i follow, Thanks Sheila. an open mind to who also joins in here. being i look over the fence at social media i can see and hear the rehtoric and cheap crap that is spewed in my blue collar world. few if any here in nodak ever go beyond whats yelled inones ear to merely agree. most conversations lack facts, or any intelligence. but, as the subject today, ignorance is followed by tragety. if carried on and not rebuked, whats next? as i see and read it on the liberal side, in detail one can understand by reading and keeping abreast of changes. unfortunatly, the Q crowd and such only want to hear what they want to hear, and bubbas cheap slants on saturday nite at the dew drop watching it as it happens in real life. seems filling ones ear with why dontcha ask why you will never see a living wage?, and explain why, and who keeps that scam alive?,look in the mirror.. the billionaires are why they are, billionaires, by your living wages you worked for,went into thier pockets as they laugh at your ignorance.
    i read a piece awhile back 0n who started the term, ” the big lie”m seems the Bradley foundation paid a think tank to provide more fire to the cults. i suppose jim jones is laughing his dead ass off..

  12. One of the under-emphasized virtues of being in a position to blame others for the country’s state of affairs is that with such an ability one may deflect attention from the blamers’ stands on the issues, and lately, the blamers’ felonies, what with such far-fetched claims that Biden brought about the insurrection of 1/6, or in a pinch, the always handy claims that prey on ancient prejudice available with the targets of Soros and “the Jews” as the culprits.

    All such claims are, of course, ridiculous, but with Fox and other mouthpieces spouting out such asinine claims, we are called upon to refute them while calling attention to what those spouting such claims are doing under the cover of such claims made against those terrible liberals, Democrats, Jews et al, and this from blamers who tried to overthrow our government and destroy our democracy! Such gall!

    There is an old saying that the best defense is a good offense, and that is what we are seeing with the Republican out front framing and fault-finding, all while themselves conspiring to overturn the results of one of the cleanest election results in history and while legislating at the state level to remove election results from the will of the people to the will of partisan legislatures – which to my mind is clearly unconstitutional (if Republicans these days care about what is or is not unconstitutional).

    To do? Unmask such phony claims and indict the insurrectionists, their planners, financiers and any and all others who in any way, shape or form were involved in the 1/6 attempt to overthrow our government and destroy our democracy. Pass federal legislation which will thwart state attempts to remove election results from the will of the people to that of partisan legislatures.

  13. Robin: the fact is many a think tank or,like institution, are being paid in many cases by the elites who sow discord to thier advantage. many a millionaire/billionaire has the stake in this game. as working class ive followed such money in many a opinion,story,investivgative piece to see how the game works on ignorance. a docu.agnatollogy,manufacturing ignorance, i watched how the parties game some of the topics and hire the counter views,money here is the same. though we have a better understanding in general, we too can be conned. following the money since reagans spew has given me some open doors to see how its done,merely by keeping the topic open,and a lot of past files/pieces and journalists who have a bone to eat. keep away from social media allows one to see the flack, call the bluff and send em away rebuked. though one wants to know for sure, only working a few subjects and keeping a clear head will lead the way to who. ill admit,ive met a few people in my time who just jerks ones chain for gravy. others,are just out for themselves at any cost.. i figure the next goverment will be run by billionaires,banker and bigots. seems a shame our country is going to drown in that cesspool..
    i get out and talk with these walking corpes who are always ready to pounce on my theories, instead i leave em slack jawed being on their level, except, im talking about why they dont have a savings account that matters and why and who,has pocketed their hard work.. alls im left with is a comment that seems to come out at the end of such conversations, believe it or not, its, how do we change it? damn, civics never made it in their schooling. and thats the other story,,eh texas?

  14. Not this follower of the Way, Ormond. I must admit Islam does scare me because of the way women are treated. Even so, the Sufi’s. Buddhism, Taoism, and Judaism have deepened my faith. Rumi’s poetry often leaves me speechless.

    Even so, you are right, some Christians treat people of different faiths as an “other” who must be guarded against and avoided at all costs.

    Yes, Jack, the oligarchy uses its money to conquer and divide in many different ways.

  15. The irony of Qadumb anti semitic/black race/Those People ignores those who may in fact become the world power – THE ASIANS mostly yellow and brown skinned. Enough said. This is not a fearmonger speech, just fact. The northern and western Europeans have accepted their modest role in world leadership or so it seems a few thousand miles to the west. Sadly, we Yanks are tearing the country apart with extreme views from violent facism to unrealist socialism(everyone is a sweetie). “no one is right when everyone is wrong”

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