Category Archives: Food

Something is Fishy in the Tuna Supply-Chain

Should a company be responsible for integrity failures in its supply-chain?

That’s the question that comes to my mind when I read the latest news:

Seafood experts have suggested Subway may not be to blame if its tuna is in fact not tuna. “I don’t think a sandwich place would intentionally mislabel,” Dave Rudie, president of Catalina Offshore Products, told the Times. “They’re buying a can of tuna that says ‘tuna’. If there’s any fraud in this case, it happened at the cannery.”

Whether the vendor “says tuna” on a label is such an odd thing to pin this case on, given the vast majority of such claims have been proven fraudulent for a decade now.

…59% of tuna is not only mislabeled but is almost entirely compromised of a fish once banned by the FDA. Sushi restaurants were the worst offenders by far [75%].

In other words is it still a form of fraud to not know or validate integrity of a source but to sell it anyway, especially when sources are known to have very low integrity?

Timeline of Lies About Tesla “FSD”

A domain called motherfrunker has compiled a huge list of lies. It’s really quite amazing Tesla operates as such an obvious scam. Here a just a few examples out of the dozens:

  • September 2014: “They will be a factor of 10 safer than a person [at the wheel] in a six-year time frame.”
  • December 2015: “We’re going to end up with complete autonomy, and I think we will have complete autonomy in approximately two years.”
  • June 2016: “I really consider autonomous driving a solved problem, I think we are less than two years away from complete autonomy, safer than humans.”
  • March 2017: “I think that [you will be able to fall asleep in a Tesla] in about two years.”

It’s this kind of disregard for truth that generates cults of fraud and irresponsibility. The actual crash data released by Tesla shows their safety declining fast over time:

Source: Tesla Vehicle Safety Report

One shining new example is…

Man arrested for riding in the back seat of his driverless Tesla got out of jail, bought a new one, and did it again. […] Consumer Reports said Full Self Driving performed inconsistently and sometimes disengaged without warning. Still, Sharma said he has no plans to stop riding in the back seat of his car, despite the clear dangers the stunt poses to pedestrians and other drivers. “I feel like by mid-2022 the backseat thing will be normal…”

To be clear here, this guy in 2014 was “sentenced to 90 days in prison for selling a stolen iPhone” and claims to have an “honorary” PhD from Berkeley in a degree that doesn’t seem to exist.

Rich idiot?

He bought a new Tesla after police confiscated his other one since, as he put it, he’s so rich he is above the law and “blue-blue-collar villagers can’t understand my life”.

His online persona is being a cruel wealthy troll who claims, and I swear I’m not making this up, that he likes…

…pooping in sparkling water. I use wealth as a comedy…

So there you have it.

Think of Tesla like a bunch of rich kids taking a dump in your drinking water so they can laugh at you choking on it, because all these lies about safety apparently aren’t being taken seriously at all.

Just for comparison, you also may want to read a post here on the truth about Tesla safety.

Edible Wrappers Are Centuries Old. Why Are They Now Disruptive?

In 1846 a chef in Paris created a disruptive edible paper portrait of a visiting Egyptian dignitary, perched on top of a pyramid of pulled sugar steps:

On the top of the [sugar] pyramid was a portrait painted in food dyes on sugar paste, of the Pasha’s venerated father Ibrahim. As the Pasha picked it up to examine it more closely he saw that embedded in the filigree icing frame of the portrait was a tiny, but perfect, portrait of himself.

Pretty innovative, considering edible wafer paper already had been around for hundreds of years before that.

In another disruptive example about 50 years later, a London chef started a “fad” of edible paper, including a dinner menu.

It appears an ingenious chef conceived the idea of making an edible menu card, and, after many experiments, he produced one composed of the sugar tissue paper which is used on the bottom of macaroons, and which is, of course, edible.

Edible wrappers have been so common, so easy to make and use, we might take them for granted and forget they even exist.

Here’s a sentence I found on a site that sells very large boxes of edible wrappers at super low cost, right next to their DIY recipe:

Wafer paper is a single most affordable product in edible printing industry, everyone uses it, from big box bakeries to stay at home moms.

Surely that was supposed to say stay at home parents. Or are they trying to imply stay at home dads can’t afford or use edible wrappers?

Anyway here is some “big disruption” news, in stark contrast to all this ancient history of edible wrappers:

‘A disruptive solution to pollution’: introducing edible packaging.

Indeed. Someone has just introduced something very familiar.

We’re told an inexpensive and common thing, centuries old, is about to start disrupting.

Combining her engineering background with her passion for a ‘cradle to cradle’ lifecycle, Lamp has launched a new company, Traceless, to commercialise the idea.

Lamp? She didn’t want to name her new company something like Illuminated? Also “cradle to cradle” sounds like it’s going exactly nowhere. Like saying from point A to point A. Are we there yet?

And I would be more impressed if she was marketing her idea as a way to deliver one-time written passwords (OTWP), or send ephemeral messages, which obviously you eat after reading.

One can only imagine if she had an history background. Would she still have gone commercial? I suspect no historian would be framing something centuries old as her new idea.

Traditional nougat wrapped in traditional traceless edible packaging anyone?

Why Charity Water Wells May Be Worse For Women Than Long Walks With Cans

Women had been carrying important information over private networks for centuries if not longer. It was so effective that to outsiders only the water was seen.
Part four in a three part series

I told myself I wouldn’t treat this lightly and so it ended up being delayed a long while.

In a nutshell when a “water charity” would roll into villages in Africa they believed dropping a well directly outside homes would liberate women and children from the burden of long walks with heavy loads.

These wells in fact undermined a core network and fabric of social order and thus dangerously unbalanced power — women no longer had private time in shared chores away from the home at their “workplaces” and overall safety/security of the region was significantly undermined.

This is not conjecture. I was working with a huge global tech firm that was pushing a water charity donation pledge. When I started to question the ethics of the charity, the head of it came to meet with me in person.

At first it was cordial and he said things like “happy to answer your questions” though soon he seemed a bit frustrated, even deflated as if I had unmasked him. I had asked straight questions like “exactly how many villages had security issues after a well was dug”.

To his credit he told me could confirm exactly 15 examples (at that time). I appreciated the transparency, yet he seemed disturbed by having to admit to the fact an utterly simplistic solution (get donations, drive in, dig a well, leave) to a complex problem was in fact making lives worse.

In other words I was told by the head of a major charity that in more than a dozen cases soon after the new well was established armed rebels were known to target it, seize control and force all residents into refugee camps. That was fascinating, and still didn’t go deep enough for me as it focused on militant action more than the subtle process of cultural devaluation and collapse (e.g. Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart“). He admitted the lost villages were never reported, despite his transparency with me.

He also tried to muster some of the usual “big picture is we’re helping a lot of people” chaff. When I dug into his actual data (at that time) even it was questionable, suffering from big data integrity issues like obvious copy/paste numbers for a map of the wells scattered across an entire continent.

Finally, when I broached this subject with regional conflict experts they confirmed that the resource charity model was typically flawed from the start, and conditions worsened without analysis. They knew of the problems, and again said none of it was ever reported. More to the point, they confirmed they knew how introduction of wells (or similar technology shifts for that matter, such as men on bicycles fetching water) destroyed a traditional model of safety and power for women.

While perhaps counter-intuitive that reducing a burden creates far worse burdens, it lays bare the kind of false assumptions someone can make when they look at ways to “fix” networks and markets they observe only as “do good” outsiders.

If we think only about carrying water as hard we risk projecting that mindset into other communities and look for ways to remove that specific pain point. Instead we should think about how hard life becomes for people if they don’t have the opportunity to carry water on long isolated paths (removal of private time/place to communicate translates directly to loss of power).

The water charity seemed to be attempting what Fela had written about in the mid 1970s, in a song called “Water no get enemy“.

Water probably calculated at first as the safest possible bet for large and sticky donations — nobody could hate something as useful as this, and detractors were expected to only look wrong. However someone seriously underestimated wider risk management related to resources.

To be blunt, the water charity appeared to be started by a man who felt guilt for being an awful person and decided “white savior” of black people by delivering water meant nobody would question him, probably including himself. Unfortunately things are not so easy, and the fact he was searching for such trivial criticism-proof answers to the wicked complexity of real life just circles back onto how he ended up disliking himself in the first place.

The security processes and procedures around assets and political power, not to mention the privacy and safety of women and children, all were tragically disrupted by a simple failure to threat model water distribution. Hubris proved even water could get an enemy.

Why Violent Suicide Biker Gangs Love And Hate Masks

A long time ago, what seems like a hundred years from today, I wrote a post called “1873 Slaughterhouse Cases Explain US #Covid19 ‘Anti-Mask’ Cultism” on why Americans are so slavishly (pun not intended) obsessed with refusing to wear a simple safety mask that benefits society as well as themselves.

Today we have multiple examples of this manifesting in violent “biker” culture, as aggressive fringe groups and criminal syndicates operate campaigns to undermine rights by campaigning for suicidal anti-freedoms.

I don’t use the suicide phrase lightly, as just the other day I was sitting down with a biker (yes, I ride) who proudly explained his machine to me — an open fat drive belt by his ankle “sometimes rips pants off”, situated just in front of a giant “suicide shift” lever topped by a skull. He said he made it all so hard to operate safely it prevented anyone from stealing his ride and living to tell.

Imagine a guy thinking he needs to make his seat so miserable for others they wouldn’t dare try to steal it from him, devaluing it entirely while at the same time bragging about what a supremacist he is for being able to keep power out of the hands of others. Here’s how HD Forums describes the suicide shifter lifestyle:

Now, I realize there are plenty of semantic arguments about what constitutes a “suicide” shifter. But for the sake of this question, let’s just say the term refers to a hand shifter, rather than the conventional foot set up which became standard around the end of the Eisenhower administration.

Do you know what else became standard around the end of Eisenhower administration? Desegregation meant to allow blacks to have a seat.

As we talked I noted this guy had hung on his wall a framed Confederate dollar above a picture of Ronald Reagan, which clearly to him represented the same thing.

In other words, do you want to ride a motorcycle safely for yourself and everyone around you? Some bikers hate that.

Do you want to be free of mindless assaults and horrible designs of a simplistic/selfish predator? Some in society violently disagree — are more than ready to kill you and themselves as a “protest” against such asinine freedom (of course fraudulently calling it a defense of freedom when they deny freedom to you).

This is like asking do you want the freedom to drink water without known poison, or breathe air without known toxins? Allegedly there are restaurant and factory owners who ride bikes and demand their “god given” right, above any governmental interference, to deny everyone else any freedom from harm.

These are the people who see themselves as individual victims of concepts of society, fighting against everything always, angry at the world. The idea that someone could be given kindness or spared a dangerous moment without some kind of divine intervention or having to pay a huge price… is an unthinkable one.

Such perpetually dis-satisfied and unhappy people are in a constant state of anger at the world.

They ride without helmets, emitting noise and pollution, smoking cigarettes… and thus it is no stretch (pun not intended) that just like all the other ways to do harm since 1873, they can’t put on masks even today if they think it would help someone else. If it helps them directly (e.g. avoid being identified and held responsible for their actions) they have no hesitation to put on a mask. However, in terms of helping society… about as likely as that guy taking Ronald Reagan’s portrait off his wall. For them it is only one more thing to be angry about.

The Give and Take of Cake

I’m curious about a theory posted in a rhyming-slang encoding guide meant to demystify some fun yet secretive communication:

…no cake can be eaten that has not been given (by a shopkeeper) and taken…

“Give and Take”, which rhymes with cake, is thus said to mean cake.

However, cake can be eaten alone. Cake also can be baked and not given away, only eaten. Does nobody in the rhyming slang context bake a cake and eat it themselves?

And that brings to mind something more like a “cake and eat it too” explanation:

…to have or do two good things at the same time that are impossible to have or do at the same time…

It looks like there are interesting cultural clues in a key to decoding signals, although the current reference may actually be incorrect or misleading.

The Movie “Jaws” Foreshadowed America’s Disinformation Crisis

If you want to talk about disinformation in America, “Jaws” is one of the best examples of how a simple story based on a false fear can do exceptional long lasting harm.

It is very difficult to get sharks back to what they are, correctly seen as loving and affectionate.

An example of shark reality is from 1959 to 2010 the TOTAL number of fatalities was 26 in America (0.5/year average). Only 1 in a 3.7 million chance.

For an obvious comparison in risk homeostasis, lightning data shows a 37.9/year average. That average means 1 in 180,746 Americans will be killed by lightning. And that actually is less likely even than being killed by a dog, which is 1 in 118,776!

Ok, to be fair American citizens killed by anything means we take the population total and divide by recorded deaths. The resulting number really shouldn’t be substituted for a probability because factors creep in.

Do you swim every day with sharks? Things like that make better factoring for probability.

Speaking of swimming with sharks then, here is another example of shark reality, as written by Sune Nightingale:

On a dive one day Cristina Zenato noticed a hook inside a shark’s mouth. In the end she just stuck her hand in and pulled it out. From that moment on the shark changed her behaviour and would show up on the dive and allow Cristina to stroke her, and would give Cristina a little nudge on the hip as if to say “hey I’m here”

Then other sharks started showing up wanting hooks removed…..Cristina now has a box of over 300 removed hooks.

“This is a wild animal and she’s giving me full trust…….It is something to be absolutely in awe of no matter how many times it happens …..what I developed is an appreciation for their vulnerability.”

Really changes your perception of sharks doesn’t it to see one being so cuddly and kind?

Again the odds of an American being killed by shark are about 1 in 3.7 million for everyone in the general population. It’s super remote on a generic predictive scale prone to error.

Yet here we see the odds of being killed by a shark actually even MORE remote, reaching towards zero for someone swimming with them constantly. They seem to love her and trust her.

The author of Jaws expressed his deep regrets for writing such a dangerous fiction, but obviously it did little to change the disinformation effect of his book and the movie.

“Spielberg certainly made the most superb movie; Peter was very pleased,” Wendy Benchley told Associated Press. “But Peter kept telling people the book was fiction, it was a novel, and that he took no more responsibility for the fear of sharks than Mario Puzo took responsibility for the Mafia,” she said, referring to Puzo’s screenplay and novel “The Godfather.”

“Jaws” was “entirely fiction,” Peter Benchley repeated in a London Daily Express article that appeared last week.

“Knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today,” said Benchley, who also co-wrote the screenplay for “Jaws.” “Sharks don’t target human beings, and they certainly don’t hold grudges.”

Americans target sharks and hold grudges against them. Not the other way around.

The Doritos Conspiracy

As I am sure many of you know, a racist white male executive at Disneyland “created” Doritos to crush the Hispanic local tortilla chip inventor (Rebecca Carranza) and drive her family business under.

The headline in Popular Mechanics magazine saluted a manufacturing triumph in Los Angeles: “Tortillas Meet the Machine Age.” It was 1950, and the El Zarape Tortilla Factory, among the first to automate the production of tortillas, had used a tortilla-making machine for three years.

Corn and flour disks poured off the conveyor belt more than 12 times faster than they could be made by hand. At first many came out “bent” or misshapen, as company President Rebecca Webb Carranza recalled decades later, and were thrown away.

For a family party in the late 1940s, Carranza cut some of the discarded tortillas into triangles and fried them. A hit with the relatives, the chips soon sold for a dime a bag at her Mexican delicatessen and factory at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Arlington Avenue in southwest Los Angeles.

El Zarape 1950s Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles

Ok, let’s be honest. Nobody talks about her or how Disneyland crushed her with intention.

Here’s the Disneyland side of the story just so we’re clear here about racism and appropriation of others’ ideas:

1968 Doritos bag

When Disneyland opened [in 1955], it featured a Mexican(ish) restaurant called Casa de Fritos run by the Frito company. It was on New Orleans Street, near another product-placement eatery: Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House. It at the Casa de Fritos that the beloved Dorito was invented. Yes, really. Arch West, the Frito (later Frito-Lay) marketing executive credited with the product’s creation, died in 2011 and was buried with a layer of his tasty legacy sprinkled over his ashes. The Dorito legend varies: one version has it that West discovered tasty tortilla chips at a roadside stand…

The Frito Company “Mexican(ish)” restaurant was NEXT TO AUNT JEMIMA?!

Need I say more about Disneyland executives?

So in 1964 West was running Frito’s “Mexican(ish)” amusement park feature in “Frontierland” and he “discovered” tortilla chips at someone else’s stand that had been popular in Los Angeles since the late 1940s.

He was on a family vacation in Southern California in 1964 when he first bought a grease-smeared bag of toasted tortillas at a roadside shack.

That’s a quote from the Washington Post obituary for Arch West, which apparently didn’t think twice about writing “grease-smeared” to describe Hispanic-Americans (historically a very derogatory term used by racist lynch mobs as well as California legislators who in a 1855 “Greaser Law” criminalized “Spanish and Indian blood”).

West shamelessly copied the Carranza product and gave no money or credit to the inventor, let alone the stand.

Shameless appropriation.

But wait, let’s go back a step into Frito Company history where West was an executive.

Frito was a company started by a white man who “discovered” corn chips made and sold by someone else.

In 1932, C.E. Doolin entered a small San Antonio cafe and purchased a bag of corn chips. After learning the manufacturer was eager to sell his business, he bought the recipe and started making Fritos corn chips in his mother’s kitchen.

Do you believe Doolin “bought the recipe”?

I mean did Doolin while living with his mother and selling depression-era ice cream really fork out $100 in the middle of the great depression ($1500 today) for the recipe from his former boss (contrary to the story he just happened upon a newspaper ad, or just walked into a cafe one day)?

…purchased from Gustavo Olguin, a Mexican-American restaurant owner in San Antonio, where Doolin had worked as a fry cook. Olguin’s “fritos” (the name came from the Spanish word frit, meaning fried) were small fried corn chips made from masa dough. Doolin bought the recipe, Olguin’s hand-operated potato ricer, and nineteen customer accounts for the snack, all for $100.

And what made Gustavo Olguin rush to sell his “corn chips” business, hand over all his paying customers and flee to Mexico just as chips and snack foods were becoming widely popularized?

This sounds to me almost as bad as taking some 1812 European fairy tale and putting a copyright on it, or taking some 1843 European amusement park and building a copy of it… but I digress.

Fast forward to today, the genius of Carranza’s tortilla automation machines and her invention of mass-produced tortilla chips are obscure at best for Americans, yet everyone can recognize Doritos.

Now a member of the insurrection against the US has raised a stir by supposedly wearing Doritos on his lapel.

A fabricated image was used to incorrectly accuse him of wearing a “Q hate symbol“… or is that correct, even tangentially?

The “I love Doritos” response by the accused, instead of letting a correction of a correction stand on its own, perhaps clarifies everything.

The US Coup Was 2016

I am growing very tired of Americans calling violent coups unprecedented in their country.

Hello 1868?
Hello 1870?
Hello 1873 and 1874?
Hello 1876?
Hello 1886?
Hello 1889?
Hello 1894?
Hello 1898?
Hello 1919?
Hello 1921?
Hello 1923?
Hello 1933?
Hello 1954?

Ring any bells yet, or is there a feeling of denial?

Many violent coups were perpetrated by white nationalists after civil war who were angry about losing in 1865 and angry that black and brown people gained rights; coups manifested in attacks on anti-racist Americans to prevent them from reaching or holding public office.

The KKK threatened that March 4, 1869 — first day of rule by avowed racist presidential candidate Horatio Seymour — would bring widespread lynchings of white Americans if the losing candidate Seymour wasn’t planted into the White House.

The KKK instead was destroyed by President Grant’s “let us have peace” platform after he won the Presidency in a landslide.

It was after this a Princeton professor named Woodrow Wilson in 1902 published a book that fraudulently described Civil War as simply a matter of white men wanting their independence — completely ignoring the official and very obvious statements of reason made in the actual articles of secession (i.e. maintenance and extension of slavery):

It was necessary [for the United States defending itself] to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery.

Wilson’s writing was so very patently false and wrong, an intentional disinformation campaign intended to harm democracy, as to beg the question how Princeton could have allowed the man to continue teaching.

It ranks right up there with Wilson’s protests against Congress because he saw it becoming too representative and diverse, recommending instead the U.S. shift into some kind of fast-moving all-powerful executive system.

Instead of firing him, however, Princeton promoted him to be their President.

Fast forward to 1915 and Woodrow Wilson had been elected President of the US (in 1912, by a mere 42% of the vote) and sat in the White House. On February 18 of 1915 he infamously screened a propaganda hate film called “Birth of a Nation” by his friend and former classmate (based on “The Clansman” book), calling its obvious lies “true” — giving it his blessing.

Screen capture from “Birth of a Nation”, quoting President Wilson’s book, which he then used to restart the KKK and incite violence across America

This was a complete reversal from Grant’s “let us have peace” time in office.

American cities erupted into fights over bans of a KKK disinformation film that promoted domestic terrorism.

Even if cities chose to allow a spread of violent disinformation, cities also fought over bans meant to prohibit blacks from seeing the film (isolating and enabling white-only audiences to spread disinformation faster even framing hate as art to evade censors).

As a young journalist in the late 1970s, Lehr infiltrated the local Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for a story. He met their leader at the time, David Duke, who was there to recruit the next wave of Klansmen. “[Duke’s] idea of a meeting was to show this film, in which he stood there narrating it and adding his own very racist spin on events. And that’s when it hit me: the real propaganda value for the Klan, not only way back when but here it was, like, six, seven decades later,” says Lehr. And while civil rights leaders in 1915 tried to get the film banned entirely, The Birth of a Nation is still taught in film schools.

That is a notable comparison to today’s disinformation debates by itself, yet even more relevant is a Wilson speech a few months after the film had been running, on July 11, 1915 at the 25th anniversary convention in DC of the Daughters of the American Revolution (“Mothers of Fascism“).

Wilson encapsulated his racist sentiments in a particular motto that he gave in that 1915 speech, which became his 1916 election platform:

Our whole duty for the present is summed up in the motto ‘America First.’

This was captured by Souza, who wrote a 1916 march to commemorate the speech

Souza’s march “America First” as found in his complete works.

Thus in 1916 Wilson campaigns were branded with “America First” as screenings of “Birth of a Nation” expanded to restart the KKK, blacks were forced out of government and monuments to domestic terrorists were erected around the country kicking off mass murders (1918 Porvenir massacre, 1919 “Red Summer”) and coups like the 1921 Tulsa massacre and 1923 Rosewood massacre. (64 Americans were lynched by the KKK in 1921 as it very officially stated that their ABC started with “America First”)

Source: Behold, America: The Entangled History of “America First” and “the American Dream”, Sarah Churchwell, 2018, p. 113

W.E. DuBois around this time, noting how more lynchings happened in 1915 alone than the ten years prior combined — obviously rueful that he had been fooled to help put a white supremacist in office — described Wilson’s method for transfer of power in America as a return to…

…cruelty, discrimination and wholesale murder.

“America First” entered service as a battle flag of white power groups who believe the enemy of America is any non-white (white power over the nation is diminished — leading to feelings of loss and guilt — by any other race gaining some).

This history of violence under Wilson’s “America First” and since then, the symbolism and a run of coups in America, should be treated as very important history for every citizen to know. It should be mandatory history in schools, like how America forced German children to learn about the holocaust.

Historians have wisely pointed out for years what this implies for those inclined to accurately explain American government:

New Deal and Cold War liberal internationalism may have been the exception and [racist, white supremacist ideology of the Ku Klux Klan] America First may be the norm.

Perhaps more to the point the “America First” platform has continued unabated as a toxic “grievance” signal of white nationalists/isolationists:

It was used by supporters of President Woodrow Wilson during the 1916 election to defend his decision at that time to keep America out of the First World War; by Republican President Warren Harding in the 1920s to reject Wilson’s call for the United States to join the League of Nations; and by the America First Committee in September 1940 opposing President Franklin Roosevelt’s assistance to Britain in the face of Hitler’s aggression. Most recently it was used by presidential candidate and former Nixon aide Pat Buchanan in 1992, opposing George HW Bush’s decision to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, and further calling for a withdrawal of all US troops from Europe.

Even Trump himself back in 2000 released a statement that he wouldn’t want to associate with “losers” in America such as Pat Buchanan, calling him a Neo-Nazi and at the same time very clearly calling David Duke out as a Klansman:

…David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman — Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi — Mr. Buchanan…

This attack on these two men probably is read most accurately as Trump distancing himself from hate groups during times of exception. He appears to be saying he wouldn’t join with Nazis and KKK at the time he thought they were going to lose an election; in fact meaning Trump would be very glad to join these hate groups if guaranteed a win (returning to the norm).

Thus we saw in 2016 the Trump family did just that, and very openly claimed the KKK/Nazi’s tainted “America First” banner as their own platform. The soft/silent coup had begun.

“I like the expression,” the candidate said. “I’m ‘America First.'”

Suddenly, without any real explanation, the banner of losers was being held up by “winners”.

Source: Me on Twitter in January 2017, providing background to what “America First” always has meant: KKK.

Everyone plainly saw something was unusual in early 2017 and started to debate who supported such an odd transfer of power, who really made it happen. My tweets about American history, to explain what “America First” really means, were getting record levels of attention.

Unfortunately mainstream commentators never got to the point of asking the most important question: whether “America First” entering the White House could be a coup, which I had called out immediately.

Source: Me on Twitter again warning it was a silent coup when I saw the empty stands and inability of “America First” leadership to gather a crowd in Washington DC. Consider as direct comparison to their success with calls for a violent crowd to arrive on January 6, 2020.

Just to be clear here about my tweet, those “932 national votes” for America First in 1996 went to a candidate named Ralph Forbes who was “former member of the American Nazi Party“.

Forbes was the same man who in the 1988 presidential election had managed the campaign for David Duke (infamous for “Nazification” methods intended to grow KKK membership in America).

Read that closely because “America First” in 1996 ran a self-avowed Nazi as their candidate and had 0% of the vote. Then twenty years later in 2016 they held a parade to empty stands in Washington DC claiming a large support base.

Want to guess why the Trump family regularly waffled when asked to denounce or distance themselves from David Duke? Sadly nobody asked them to denounce or distance themselves from “America First”!

Whereas in 2000 Trump went out of his way to label Duke a loser (as well being as a Klansman), in 2016 he tried to play around like he never heard of the guy (as horribly mis-reported by Politifact, who fell for the ruse).

…Trump dodged multiple questions from Tapper asking if he’d disavow the support of white supremacist and former KKK leader David Duke (he would later blame a “bad earpiece” for his noncommittal answers).

What we’re seeing now is an incompetent violent end to a “slow motion, in-plain-sight attempt” at a coup, not the start.

Thus I argue (and have said since that time) that we actually saw a coup in America back in 2016 and these last four years have been little more than an idiotic bumbling attempt by wannabe tinpot dictators to figure out how to close the door on democracy.

The Far Side perhaps a long time ago best illustrated the assault on the capitol:

I’ve been asked to write this into longer form so maybe I will shortly.

Related: If you’re searching for details on prior coups, they are easy to find.

Georgia Republicans elected three Black state senators and 30 state representatives in 1868. White insecurity forces rushed to remove them from power and then kill anyone protesting the coup, as well as destroying and suppressing votes, after a Camilla massacre:

In early September, white Democrats in the Georgia legislature expelled all 28 African-American members. In response, one of the expelled members, Philip Joiner from southwest Georgia, led several hundred freedmen on a March from Albany to Camilla for a Republican rally. As the marchers entered the courthouse square, the sheriff and other local white residents opened fire, killing a dozen and wounding thirty others.

After a contested 1872 election for governor of Louisiana and local offices, a group of white Democrats with rifles and a small cannon overpowered Republican freedmen, state militia and even federal troops sent by President Grant to support the elected official.

Upon surrender most Americans were murdered by domestic terrorists (e.g. “White League“) and then 50 more were murdered later that night after being held prisoner for hours. Death estimates for this “Colfax massacre” on Sunday, April 13, 1873 were hard because the terrorists used hidden mass graves and threw many victims into the river.

The Colfax Massacre was more or less ignored until the 1920s, when local officials raised a monument honoring the three white men who died [while massacring hundreds of Americans and destroying the evidence].

The 1874 New Orleans violent coup attempt by the “White League” should be mandatory reading for any American class on history:

After cutting the city’s telegraph lines and killing at least thirteen members of the integrated New Orleans police force, the White League overran the state house and attempted to establish a new government. After three days, President Ulysses S. Grant ordered the U.S. Army to put down the rebellion and the elected government was restored.

For another example, the horrors from a successful 1898 Coup continue to be felt to this day.

…summer of 1865, just after the Civil War, Union commanders in the battered port city of Wilmington, N.C., appointed a former Confederate general as police chief and former Confederate soldiers as policemen. The all-white force immediately set upon newly freed Black people. Men, women and children were beaten, clubbed and whipped indiscriminately… One of the most terrifying examples erupted more than a century ago, when white supremacist soldiers and police helped hunt down and kill at least 60 Black men in Wilmington in 1898.

For another example, Hawaii in 1893 (as I’ve written about here before) had a coup on behalf American sugar barons; violence was used to force a black woman out of power.

Queen Liliuokalani was of the belief that the then president of the U.S. would reinstate her as queen, however, President Grover Cleveland deceived her by promising her a reinstatement after she granted amnesty to all those who had been involved in the coup.

Republican former President George W. Bush even said about the January 6th “Capitol Storming”…

This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic—not our democratic republic.

Yet those “banana republics” got their name as a direct result of well documented American policy on regime change!

His comment sounds like “this is what we do to others, not ourselves” given the sad fact it’s why Americans love eating their banana splits (spoiler alert, both bananas and pineapples on expensive dessert represent spoils of American imperialism).

The “delicious banana split” of America. Tastes like political oppression.

Even Bush should remember 1954 shootings or the 1978 shootings, both very recent and sad chapters in violent opposition to American transfer of power. I guess I should ask how many people today remember assassination of “the people’s mayor” Moscone?

And for those saying 2016 or 2020 wasn’t related to a coup, and offering us some very misguided analysis (e.g. Defense One has an awful hot take that they see no signs the military was involved, despite obvious and overwhelming evidence), I offer you this humorous example of what that “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy sounds like to me:


Update January 12:

Now This has posted a brief video collection with some of the many violent incitement statements by Trump directly calling for harm to Americans.

CSIS Brief similarly reported in 2020:

Based on a CSIS data set of terrorist incidents, the most significant threat likely comes from white supremacists… right-wing attackers were most likely to cause more deaths in a given year.

Source: CSIS 2020 Brief

Update February 2:

I’ve been asked (by a cryptography researcher, for what it’s worth) if I can explain why Wikipedia makes a strangely unsubstantiated claim that Wilson opposed the KKK, given its obvious falseness.

Soure: Wikipedia

Look very closely at that highlighted sentence before the semicolon (click image to enlarge) as it has no reference.

None.

Nothing.

Nobody in their right mind should be able to get on Wikipedia and plainly assert Wilson, the first President elected from the pro-slavery secessionist states since the Civil War, was opposed to the very thing he grew massively during his presidency and afterwards.

Later in the sentence it has a reference to a book by a man from North Carolina who was a professor at Princeton. Conflict of interest maybe?

This is why Wikipedia can slide into a propaganda system. Who wrote that sentence? When and why? Very dangerous stuff, as it creates a lot of unnecessary churn and conflict by throwing an obviously false statement into a supposedly reputable “pedia” site.

Maybe someone is sitting back and laughing about such an absurd phrase inserted, while many people have to waste untold hours cleaning it up and explaining why it’s false.

I have seen no evidence to even suggest Wilson opposed the KKK. None. At best he didn’t want the KKK to get in the way of him recruiting and sending non-whites to fight in WWI.

Let me put it like this:

President Grant, upon reports of the KKK acts of violence against Americans, passed an act to destroy them.

President Wilson, with all the history of the KKK before him (and in his own writings) sat unopposed to its extremely rapid growth during his administration, despite all measures available to him to stop it dead like Grant.

A movie glorifying the KKK is screened in the White House, using President Wilson’s words and then promoted under President Wilson’s name with little to no resistance at all from Wilson.

Come on. Someone really wants to say he was opposed to this yet didn’t lift a finger?

The first peak of the KKK was 1868 (end of Civil War) to 1870 (given President Grant’s decisive actions to destroy it). Wilson would have been 15 years old at this time and very well aware of the need for America to crush the KKK.

Instead the second peak came squarely during the time of President Wilson (his terms were 1912-1916 and 1916-1920), with an alleged peak of 6 million members in the 1920s following his administration.

In fact, the first federal government action during the second rise of the KKK was when Simmons (the man who claimed to have grown it from a dozen members to millions) was called to testify for The Ku-Klux Klan: Hearings Before the Committee on Rules, House of Representatives, Sixty-seventh Congress, First Session… nearly eight months AFTER Wilson was out of office, in October 1921.

Indeed, someone at Wikipedia is bending themselves into a pretzel to fraudulently explain away the obvious racist politics of Wilson, let alone his obvious support and growth of the KKK. Why? Who? Wikipedia is seriously untrustworthy and flawed.

Why Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

I’ve written about Thanksgiving history here many times (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010) and this year it feels like time to write again.

It is clear that the holiday was created by President Lincoln after Civil War to bring the pro-slavery rebels back to the table with their American neighbors and family.

Don’t know if I can do the topic any more justice, however, than a 2019 New Yorker article by a historian. So here is the TL;DR

Fretting over late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century immigration, American mythmakers discovered that the Pilgrims, and New England as a whole, were perfectly cast as national founders: white, Protestant, democratic, and blessed with an American character centered on family, work, individualism, freedom, and faith.

The new story aligned neatly with the defeat of American Indian resistance in the West and the rising tide of celebratory regret that the anthropologist Renato Rosaldo once called “imperialist nostalgia.” Glorifying the endurance of white Pilgrim founders diverted attention from the brutality of Jim Crow and racial violence, and downplayed the foundational role of African slavery. The fable also allowed its audience to avert its eyes from the marginalization of Asian and Latinx labor populations, the racialization of Southern European and Eastern European immigrants, and the rise of eugenics. At Thanksgiving, white New England cheerfully shoved the problematic South and West off to the side, and claimed America for itself.

Shocking reversal. Lincoln brought the pro-slavery forces back to the table and they pivoted on his gesture to a false cover-story while still enacting divisive racial violence.