What if the 2nd Amendment is About Oppressing Blacks?

A while ago I wrote a long-form history of the NRA, in which I pointed out how it was started by Union Generals in the 1870s to arm Black Americans against white militias.

Now it seems a historian is making the case that a 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was designed to keep Black Americans from having any power against white militias.

Carol Anderson was interviewed by CNN about her book “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America”.

Protecting the militia means that they are protecting slavery. One of the things that many previous historians have not linked up was the role of the militia in putting down slave revolts, in buttressing slave patrols and keeping enslaved Black people, and free Blacks, under the boot of White supremacy.

Another useful angle on this was how President Jackson enlisted Black freemen to win an 1815 battle (and obviously took all credit for himself) then stripped the American veterans of their guns and other rights.

Censorship of “Seb Gorka, a Nazi, is collecting your ad dollars”

A new post about a notorious Nazi collecting ad dollars is getting banned by LinkedIn. This is what you see in the post form when you enter the URL:

Try posting this link to LinkedIn

And the following preview is what is reported when you submit the exact same URL to the LinkedIn “Post Inspector”. Quite different:

To be clear, what we’re talking about is Russian military information operations breaching American big data platforms:

…reports point to a broader trend: a mutual affection between Western white supremacists and the Russian government. It also highlights the reality that the distinction between foreign terrorism and so-called domestic terrorism is increasingly irrelevant. Dating back to 2004, David Duke characterized Russia as the “key to white survival,” and American white supremacist Richard Spencer recently identified Russia as the “sole white power in the world.”

I recently wrote about another case. An entire major American news source was censored by an influence operation hitting LinkedIn in order to deny reporting about police lynching blacks (a form of censorship straight out of American history, if you remember the 1837 story of Lovejoy).

Here too is a curious case of speech by good guys in America being censored by… secret pro-Nazi police.

(Historian Pro-tip: I find the term “neo-Nazi” to be a unnecessary wordplay concession to Nazism, since no Nazi would ever say neo-Communist when referring to anyone today they consider a Communist)

The original post is re-posted below for research sake (e.g. you can submit this blog post to LinkedIn without it being censored, despite exactly the same content):

Seb Gorka is a neo-Nazi. This is not an opinion or a personal interpretation. It’s a well-documented fact.

He has worked closely with antisemitic politicians and written for openly antisemitic newspapers. He has publicly worn Nazi insignia. When asked about it, he has said he inherited the insignia on the “merits of [his] father,” who was a member of the Hungarian neo-Nazi group the Vitézi Rend. There is strong evidence that Gorka himself has sworn a lifetime oath to the group.

If that isn’t enough, he publicly incited and encouraged the January 6th insurrection, claiming that “patriots” have “taken over Capitol Hill.” He has also publicly promoted voter fraud disinformation on his website, SebGorka.com.

All this makes him extremely — as we like to say in the advertising biz — brand unsafe. Even YouTube has banned him. But that hasn’t stopped Seb Gorka from running a profitable disinformation outlet. With help from a handful of adtech companies that either don’t know or don’t care about where your ad dollars go, Seb Gorka is cashing in.

How is this happening? There are two ways: an obvious way and a less obvious fraudy way. We’re going to explore both of them here. Grab some popcorn, we’re going to defund a Nazi today, folks!
1. The normal, regular ad placement method (simple!)

Ad placements are the obvious way SebGorka.com makes money. The following companies are serving ads on SebGorka.com, in violation of their own Publisher Policies and Acceptable Use Guidelines:

Criteo (of course)

Taboola

Google

The Trade Desk

How do we know this? We hovered over the ads and took screenshots. You already know how all this works. It gets more interesting from here.
2. The shady revenue-sharing ring method (sketchy!)

SebGorka.com doesn’t just earn money through ad placements.

SebGorka.com also monetizes by using shared DIRECT IDs — an ID meant for one publisher — across a shared pool of unrelated websites. This practice not only artificially inflates its CPM rates (cost per thousand impressions), but also allows it to get paid untraceable sums of money by an LLC.

Let’s break this down together.
Remember ads.txt?

We’ve talked about ads.txt before, but it’s important for us all to understand what a hot mess it really is.

Ads.txt is a protocol developed by IAB Tech Lab to bring transparency to the supply chain. An advertiser should be able to cross-check a publisher’s ads.txt directory against each exchange’s counterpart directory, known as sellers.json. If the data matches up, this tells the advertiser that things are fine.

In theory, these two specs allow advertisers and ad exchanges to verify that their ads are being placed on the correct inventory and that they’re paying the correct company. Here’s what this is supposed to look like when it’s working:
This screenshot is from CredCoalition’s ads.txt research, linked in the intro

In sellers.json, sellers can list themselves as one of three Seller Types (“seller_type”).

Publisher: If a seller is listed as a PUBLISHER, that means

the publisher owns the site

the money you spend is going directly to the publisher

Intermediary: If a seller is listed as an INTERMEDIARY, that means

the seller does not own the website or app which contains the inventory

the seller is paid indirectly for inventory

Both: The seller has been approved by the ad exchange both as a PUBLISHER and INTERMEDIARY.

Why does any of this matter? Because advertisers are willing to pay a premium for DIRECT and PUBLISHER ads because it signals to them that they have 1) a higher quality audience and 2) less potential for fraud.

But in practice, publishers like SebGorka.com have correctly surmised that ad exchanges aren’t performing the necessary checks — which means they’re able to declare themselves DIRECT and PUBLISHER across an unlimited number of websites and funnel the revenues into a single shared account.

In Australia, this is formally recognized as a form of ad fraud, and is illegal. In America, this is still just uh… fraudy.
Here’s what we found in SebGorka.com’s ads.txt

We looked at the DIRECT IDs on SebGorka.com — and it tells us an interesting story:

SebGorka.com is sharing DIRECT IDs with a number of local CBS, ABC, and NBC news affiliates.

Frankly Media LLC appears to be employing these shared DIRECT IDs for lot of publishers. Check out this list of Google results for just one ID.

Frankly Media is owned by Engine Media Holdings, a publicly traded company on Toronto’s TSX Venture Exchange.

And in the middle of it all are the ad exchanges.
Here’s what’s going on in SebGorka.com’s ads.txt

The following companies are allowing mislabeling, which lets publishers get away with misrepresenting themselves and misleads advertisers into thinking they’re paying for direct inventory when the reality is anything but:

RUBICON PROJECT (NOW MAGNITE)

It’s fraudy because: Only publishers should be calling themselves “publishers”. Frankly Media is not a publisher. This could be an attempt to defraud not-so-vigilant buyers and suppliers with poor supply optimization. Also Frankly Media is not a DIRECT seller of SebGorka.com

Let’s continue…

TRIPLELIFT

It’s fraudy because: Frankly Media is not a publisher, and certainly not a publisher of Newsweek. Also Frankly Media is not a DIRECT seller of SebGorka.com

INDEXEXCHANGE

It’s fraudy because: Frankly Inc. (what happened to Frankly Media LLC???) is not a publisher, and certainly not a publisher of 41NBC. Also Frankly Media is not a DIRECT seller of SebGorka.com.

VERIZON MEDIA

It’s fraudy because: Frankly Media LLC is not a DIRECT seller of SebGorka.com.

SOVRN

It’s fraudy because: Frankly Media LLC is not a PUBLISHER of SebGorka.com and Frankly Media LLC is not a DIRECT seller of SebGorka.com

SPOTX (NOW MAGNITE)

It’s fraudy because: Engine Media is not a DIRECT seller of SebGorka.com.
Is Frankly Media LLC a dark pool sales house?

It sure looks like Frankly Media LLC has been going around to all the ad exchange and telling some fibs.

They’ve told some of them that they own and operate SebGorka.com — but they don’t. They’re telling others that they are both PUBLISHER and INTERMEDIARY for SebGorka.com — and that’s not true either (SebGorka.com is owned by Salem Media Group).

But one thing is probably true: Frankly Media LLC and/or its parent company Engine Media Holdings is making payouts to SebGorka.com. But how much? This is where we hit a dead end.

Frankly Media LLC is what we call a dark pool sales house. We don’t know how much it’s earning for SebGorka.com through this revenue-sharing ring and we don’t know how it’s distributing the collective proceeds across its members.

Maybe they have a profit-sharing contract? Maybe they pay out SebGorka.com through yet another shell company? Anyone looking at these records would never know.
So what do we do now?

What we’ve just uncovered is a Nazi infiltrating the adtech supply chain through the very pipelines designed to keep someone like him out of it. If Frankly Media LLC can use the same DIRECT ID across NBC affiliates and a Nazi’s media outlet, we are in trouble.

Last summer when we first reported on ads.txt revenue-sharing, we noted the national security implications of not knowing where our advertiser dollars are being funneled:

One of the reasons that this is still legal, or not explicitly known to be illegal, is that ads.txt is only three years old and there hasn’t been, to our knowledge, any major investigative research into the consequences of its design… Ads.txt is a global standard, used in international markets. This giant security hole opens markets and mediascapes around the world to foreign propaganda, hate groups, money laundering, and, of course, fraud.

If ad exchanges don’t enforce ads.txt, all these problems run rampant.

Once again, it’s up to us, the advertisers, to take charge of our own ads. If you want to keep your ad budgets away from Seb Gorka, you will have to add the website “SebGorka.com” to your exclusion list. You will also need to block Frankly Media and its DIRECT seller ID’s. You can find them at sebgorka.com/ads.txt.

Thanks for reading,

Nandini & Claire

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NOTE: Originally, the first sentence of this post said “Seb Gorka is a Nazi.” We have updated this to read “neo-Nazi” because it is debated whether the word Nazi is a general term for someone’s ideology or if it refers specifically to a member of the historic National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Germany.

What If There Was No Good/Bad Split in Narratives?

Since I was a teenager I’ve preferred watching non-American movies because they aren’t saddled with the boring good/bad split.

Drama becomes exceptionally lame when you are told who is good, who is bad, and then you take an obvious side and wait out the inevitable results.

Nothing is at stake.

This was always one of the first points I made when I was teaching ethics to computer science graduate students.

A simple good/bad binary is like an empty premise, not food for thought; doesn’t come anywhere close to reflecting the messy and hard decisions of the real world.

On that note, here’s an interesting essay that says Robin Hood was transfigured into a moral tale to excite political resistance:

As part of this new nationalist consciousness, other authors started changing the old stories to make a moral distinction between, for example, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Before Joseph Ritson’s 1795 retelling of these legends, earlier written stories about the outlaw mostly showed him carousing in the forest with his merry men. He didn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor until Ritson’s version – written to inspire a British populist uprising after the French Revolution. Ritson’s rendering was so popular that modern retellings of Robin Hood, such as Disney’s 1973 cartoon or the film Prince of Thieves (1991) are more centrally about outlaw moral obligations than outlaw hijinks. The Sheriff of Nottingham was transformed from a simple antagonist to someone who symbolised the abuses of power against the powerless. Even within a single nation (Robin Hood), or a single household (Cinderella), every scale of conflict was restaged as a conflict of values.

My immediate thought is that this presents a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Were old stories changed only after nationalist consciousness, or did they create it?

I mean these narratives may have changed as a reflection of nationalist consciousness, but that doesn’t preclude narratives from having moral spin. Nor does it preclude moral stories from being messy and complex to stimulate thought instead of obedience.

Overall the essay lacks a lot of oral traditions and mostly centers around Greek literature. It makes no mention of Native American or African stories at all, for example, so I am unconvinced it has a fully researched view.

The Bizarre True Story of Where Ransomware Started

This story gets reported again and again every few years, but never with any real depth.

Nobody knows why a “Harvard-taught evolutionary biologist named Joseph Popp” invented ransomware.

Somehow he could afford to send 20,000 floppy discs “in the mail to people including targeted attendees of the World Health Organization’s AIDS conference in Stockholm”.

Not a small bill in 1989.

And reportedly 20,000 was just the first shipment as he had plans for sending even more.

But maybe, just maybe, there’s a big (Harvard-taught) clue:

…he advocated that the marriage age be lowered and young women focus their lives on birthing children…

That suggests he was power hungry, a predator with intent to victimize and control others. Was there a state involved? Was he leveraged by some political group, especially in terms of AIDS research?

Here’s what news looked like in 1990, which is what I mean by a lack of any real depth to the reporting (such as where Popp’s funding came from).

Source: InfoWorld, February 12, 1990

Pompeo Tried to “Fast-Track” PsyOps to Avoid Having to Sway Opinion

You have to appreciate the rich irony of people trying to sway opinion in PsyOps (information operations) failing to do so at home and instead installing a crude political shortcut to push operations faster without convincing anyone…

It is easier to get permission to put a Hellfire missile on the forehead of a terrorist than it is to get permission to put an idea between his ears.

And the obvious reason why there was a difference was because permission to kill someone is a far clearer request than dropping, and I quote an actual information operation here, “an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam”.

Why authorize something with unknown or unpredictable outcomes? Asking whether should someone be killed is a much simpler calculus than asking for authorization to persuade others, I mean if outcomes are meant to be measured and held up for scrutiny. You know when someone is dead. Do you know when someone is persuaded as intended?

Pompeo in this story sounds very much like an impatient tyrant (“executive privilege” addiction syndrome), unable to work with others or convince them of anything, with a clear lack of moral decency or responsibility.

He seems so bad at basic science, so unable to do the hard work of socially engineering things to have lasting value (required in the nuanced word of psychology and influence), that his big answer to difficult questions in life was to yell louder and ignore feedback.

Ironic, right?

Thus, if someone were to point out in advance of the operation that a target would be highly offended and an operation would fail on its first run, Pompeo’s likely would have removed the messenger to push a go button anyway and ignore the disasters.

“When we make a mistake with a kinetic strike, it can be catastrophic — wedding parties, things like that where mistakes are made in targeting,” [David Maxwell, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and retired Special Forces colonel] said. “Whereas if we make a mistake in the information realm, the news cycle is going to move on. We can recover from an information mistake. A kinetic mistake, the victims of it can’t recover.”

“We can recover”? Says who?

Sorry Colonel Maxwell that’s just flat wrong. While it’s true you can’t come back from being dead, there’s also no proof you can magically recover from blown PsyOps.

Think of it this way. If a news cycle moves on, the PsyOps failed in one particular way (like a gun jammed instead of firing). If the news cycle never moves on, a PsyOps operation actually worked, however you might have failed to have it work in the way intended (like a gun shooting the wrong person).

And then there’s the blended issue, where a kinetic mistake is a symptom of a PsyOps mistake — George Floyd’s death (despite systemic racism and so many other black men in America regularly being killed in the same way) isn’t just a news cycle that moves on.

Did white policemen think it was easier to get permission to put a knee on the neck of a black man than it was to get permission to put an idea between his ears? Apparently.

Yet the death of Floyd was called out eventually as an information operation (e.g. it’s harmful to allow a narrative that Americans are killing themselves when clearly they are being suffocated by white nationalist domestic terrorists) and the question isn’t just whether Floyd can’t recover, but whether policing in America now faces an information realm failure that will take a long time to overcome.

How “Gullah” Atlantic Creole Defeated American Surveillance

Sunn M’Cheaux of Harvard explains — in a brief history lesson on accents within a longer video — that American slaveholders tried to force learning English to surveil and thereby prevent rebellion of their slaves.

As he lays out in the video, there were many native languages among the Blacks kidnapped and forced into American concentration camps. Slaveholders worked hard to mismatch and divide people to prevent any two slaves from speaking with each other except using English (so they could be surveilled and freedom quashed).

Such a plan for racist dominance and control over Blacks (surveillance capitalism as a symptom) ultimately backfired, however. Diverse languages among the slaves evolved into a whole new “creole” that their oppressors struggled to understand.

This common example shows how a Gullah phrase would look versus an English equivalent:

De buckruh dey duh ‘ood duh hunt tuckrey.
The white man is in the woods hunting turkeys.

Kumbaya, as I’ve written about before in terms of American surveillance history, is alleged to be a Gullah phrase for “come by here” — an encoded expression of Black liberation theology.

The Gullah Geechie people are descendants of people from the rice-growing region of West Africa, who were forced into the rice plantations (concentration camps) of South Carolina and Georgia. Those who could escape tyrannical American abuses headed across the border at that time, towards the freedoms given to them under Spanish or French monarchy (even British monarchy by 1800s was abolishing slavery, so life in America was unquestionably the worst).

While Florida was still part of the Spanish empire the Gullah who arrived there built their own settlements and began to prosper, away from the white nationalist extremists running America. A series of wars were even fought to preserve these Black freedoms, which had the effect of further scattering the Gullah across North America.

More precisely General Andrew Jackson in 1818, a long-time white insecurity leader with the life-long objective to steal and destroy Black prosperity in America (e.g. note his abuse of Black American veterans in 1815), illegally invaded Florida to murder the non-white population there.

The video above lays out some of the important Gullah achievements against American tyranny, and the outsized role of John Horse:

  • They created the largest haven in the U.S. South for runaway slaves
  • They led the largest slave revolt in U.S. history
  • They secured the only emancipation of rebellious slaves prior to the U.S. Civil War
  • The formed the largest mass exodus of slaves across the United States and, ultimately, to Mexico

Since Mexico figures prominently here, crucial to understanding the “Remember the Alamo” phrase popular in America is that it had always been a racist white insecurity response to Black liberation and freedom… in Mexico.

The slave rebellions of the early 1830s thus were when white immigrants (like the assault by Andrew Jackson into Florida two decades prior) pushed white militancy upon Mexico (state of Tejas). White settlers were trying to replace existing freedom with a tyranny, ultimately with the aim to expand slavery.

So when a white militia occupied the Mission San Antonio de Valero (a ruin called “the Alamo” because Spanish for cottonwood) it was precisely to violently force a white nationalist state into being against the rising Gullah freedom movement (the foundation story for white police state of Texas).

American slave rebellions map from http://www.johnhorse.com

It’s shocking that today most Americans are more familiar with the gross disinformation spread about the Alamo and Texas as a whole, while few if any are taught about the Gullah Wars of the exact same period that show what was actually at stake.

That probably has something to do with the fact that American children are spoon-fed very North-Korean sounding “underdog” missives about the bogus heroism of white slaveholders fighting to expand slavery. The Civil War, like the Gullah Wars that preceded it, was to stop tyranny spreading.

Saying “remember the Alamo” or throwing around associated racist salutes are like stupidly trying to teach that expansion of slavery should be promoted as if it was a good thing. Here’s what it really means:

…no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens…

And, just like any tyrant would be expected to do, a Texas state representative has introduced legislation to censor the mention of slavery being one of the causes of the Texas Revolution (it was the primary cause).

Thus, Gullah history is interesting to consider when people talk about surveillance technology and oppression even today. It almost seems that soon the only safe way to teach real facts about places like Texas, Florida or Georgia (states where Blacks were free until they joined America) might be to return to roots and practice Gullah.


Update May 20, 2021:

Whit Diffie says in a preview for the RSA Conference Cryptographer’s Panel that increasing communication decreases freedoms, and we’re only a decade away from total freedom loss.

I would argue this is a false choice fallacy, and the Gullah history above hopefully shows why. Could the Gullah communicate securely while also being free? Indeed, by increasing their communication they realized greater freedoms than before.

As Tom Wolfe wrote in “The kingdom of speech“…

Physically, [the human] is a sad case. His teeth are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet [the human] owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.

Gullah Atlantic Creole is a superpower? Now that’s an American history story I would love to see kids learn.

WWII Exploding Cylinders of Wires in the Sky

A paragraph in the 1977 book “The Shamrock and the Swastika: German Espionage in Ireland” on page 44 has this detail:

…informers provided [Eduard Hempel, German Minister to Dublin from 1937 to 1945] with technical information. One, claiming to be a follower of the English Nazi, Oswald Mosely, said a Swedish firm was making 7-inch by 6-inch tin cylinders, each with tightly rolled strands of eight or nine wires, which were to be shot from cannon at planes. The exploding cylinders would open, throwing the wires out for gradual descent to the ground and, it was hoped, to be entangled in the aircraft propellers.

It doesn’t name the firm, but I wonder if it was related to the workplace of Victor Hammar (chief of Bofors design engineering after 1921).

Speaking of Bofors, an Australian recount of WWII mentions them right before describing a deployment of cannons that fired long strands of wire.

…12 static 40-mm Bofors guns of the 40th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, which were disposed singly around the harbor. In mid-August the Royal Navy provided three 20-barrel parachute rocket projectors whose missiles contained a parachute which opened above the vulnerable area and trailed long strands of wire — like an octopus with long tentacles; at the end of the tentacles was a small bomb. The rockets were first used on 18th August and achieved great success…

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare tells us that these weapons technically were not referred to as rocket, but “unrotated projectile” (UP Mark I).

Cordite was used to ignite (“Project”) a 3-inch (7.62 cm) rocket motor which propelled a fin-stabilized 7-inch (17.8 cm) diameter Parachute and Cable (PAC) rocket which carried a 8.4 oz (238 g) mine. When the rocket reached approximately 1,000 feet (330 m), it exploded and put out the mine which was attached to three parachutes by 400 feet (122 m) of wire. The design concept was that if a plane hit the parachutes or the wire, it would then pull the mine into itself.

Source: MicroMaster 3D printed ship parts

This British system is allegedly credited to the personal scientific advisor of Churchill, Oxford Physics Professor Frederick Lindemann who really annoyed people.

…continual and violent advocacy of a fantastic scheme for dropping bombs hanging by wires, in the path of attacking aircraft…

The whole thing was considered top-secret so records are hard to come by but a rough guess is maybe Swedes helped to design and deliver what a socially awkward British professor demanded be built early in WWII.

The British in WWII Reported Own Losses to Undermine Nazi Confidence in Wins

An old story from The Guardian reported how transparency played in a war with liars:

An academic trawl of the corporation’s archives has revealed that while the Nazi regime used puppet broadcasters such as William Joyce – nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw – to spin messages of German invincibility, the BBC was choosing to broadcast detailed news of Britain’s military setbacks. The decision was part of a deliberate strategy to win the hearts and minds of the German people, says Dr Vike Martina Plock of the department of English at Exeter University, who discovered memos from the time during research at the BBC Written Archives Centre in Caversham Park, Reading.

The strategy was simple.

If the Allies could openly admit defeats, it was believed [by Nazi listeners], they must be extremely confident, convinced of their eventual victory over Nazi Germany.

Tales of invincibility projects weakness, whereas confidence comes through when talking openly about losses.

For instance, on 27 November 1942 the service reported on the bombing of Toulon by the Germans and the scuttling of the French fleet by Allied forces to avoid capture by the Nazis. The invasion of Norway was covered with similar attention to detail. On 6 April 1940, days before the invasion the BBC German Service accordingly told listeners that the German navy had sunk 52 Norwegian ships causing the death of 392 people.

The BBC referred to themselves as “The Fourth Arm” of warfare and some of it still can be reviewed in their archives.

Source: BBC Genome

Here’s the kind of honesty in British reporting the Germans reoriented themselves towards:

Source: Indian Annual Register, Volume 1, 1945, page 253

On the flip side of this story about truth telling, it also seems important to look at examples of the “spin” such as all the fiction about Rommel, who I’ve written about before.

A couple years after his failures in North Africa and Europe he was coerced into suicide by state threats to kill his entire family, covered up by propaganda claiming he died from battle wounds.

Hitler indeed demanded Rommel commit suicide or be forced to watch all his family and contacts be gunned down first before being executed; chief of staff and commanding officer already having been executed by Hitler.

Rommel’s reputation obviously was artificially inflated during and after his life. This despite massive failures and pathetically supporting Hitler all the way to taking a poison pill to prove he remained loyal to the lies of fascism. He literally said in his final days the coming occupation (anti-fascism truth-telling) wouldn’t suit him.

And in that context we must also not forget “Lord Haw-Haw” was in the end held responsible for his Nazi “spin” broadcasts.

4 January 1946: William Joyce, known as Lord Haw-Haw, who started his Nazi propaganda broadcasts with ‘Germany calling,’ is executed for treason.

It was a similar fate for another Nazi “spin” broadcaster, Paul Ferdonnet from France, also who I’ve written about before.

“General MacArthur told President Truman the Chinese are not coming into Korea”

The news right now is about a widely respected and beloved leader in the US Military achieving the highest award for valor.

70 years after the battle of Hill 205, November 25, 1950; Ralph Puckett at 95 years old is to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Source: ArmyTimes. “Retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett stands alongside troops as they prepare to start a foot march during the 2021 David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition on Fort Benning, Ga., April 16.” (Sgt. Henry Villarama/Army)

Yet I can’t help but notice an important side-story.

In “Witness to War” Puckett clearly is using his current platform to point out (in a gripping combat story) what a terrible leader General MacArthur was.

General MacArthur had seen Truman the 8th of October and told the President the Chinese are not coming into North Korea… he obviously was wrong about that […] I just couldn’t understand why things appeared to be easy to MacArthur.

This has to mean something big. Puckett is very purposefully throwing MacArthur into the dustbin of history, as any literate historian would too.

…historians have reassessed Douglas MacArthur—not just his command style, but particular decisions he made, and particular episodes from his long and controversial career. In modern evaluations, more often than not, “Dugout Doug” comes up short. […]

How did MacArthur blunder so badly? How could he miss more than 300,000 Chinese soldiers? Once the intelligence finally came in loud and clear, he and his staff of sycophants continued to dismiss it, suppress it, or willfully misinterpret its import. In so doing, they recklessly put tens of thousands of American and other United Nations troops in mortal danger. The result was catastrophic: One of the worst defeats, and one of the most ignominious withdrawals, in American military history.

It was, in some senses, a repeat of his debacle at Bataan. Only in this case, MacArthur had been outwitted and outflanked by a guerrilla army with no air force, crude logistics, and primitive communications, an army with no tanks and precious little artillery. As David Halberstam put it, MacArthur had “lost face not just before the entire world, but before his own troops, and perhaps most important of all, before himself.”

All of this happened because MacArthur was almost criminally out of touch with reality.

I can feel the bitterness in tone when Puckett speaks to the camera about the 8th of October tension of 1950 between MacArthur and Truman, in an otherwise completely neutral and factual retelling of a near-death battle.

Here’s how it was reported to the public around the time Puckett was on the ground thinking MacArthur was dangerously clueless.

Truman fired MacArthur in April 1951 for disobeying orders. Truman surely regretted not firing him sooner.

“I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was,” Truman later said. “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect authority…”

The Medal of Honor for valor in the Korean War really gives us a chance to listen to a detailed retelling of American history from a soldier who by all accounts has the highest integrity, who is neutral in tone and ultimately who makes others perform better… and who is clearly pointing out MacArthur was a clueless disaster.

Reminds me of the Trump family repeatedly invoking MacArthur as their hero for being a “not nice guy”. I am pretty sure they mean the same sort of thing that historians might refer to as MacArthur’s extremist evangelical white supremacist beliefs.

As late as 1950 [MacArthur] commented to a visiting American churchman: “Please send ten missionaries for every one you now have in Japan. We must have ten thousand Christian missionaries and a million Bibles to complete the occupation of this land.” […] MacArthur’s conviction that democracy and Christianity were inseparable necessities for the rebirth of Japan was readily accepted by many chaplains.

Another fun history fact is — since we’re talking about MacArthur’s “not nice” evangelical views — that the Aryan Nations white supremacist domestic terrorist group was inspired by Colonel William Potter Gale (a close aide to MacArthur who also was a “Christian Identity” pastor).

Gale spent his time after WWII back in America to spread what the SPLC calls “a militia-type antigovernment movement that promoted racist and anti-Semitic views.”

Just to emphasize the point one more time… “MacArthur was almost criminally out of touch with reality” and his incompetence helped spawn veteran-led violent Christian domestic terrorist groups in America.

And that reminds me of a bunch of obviously clueless American flag officers who just published a completely tone-deaf fear-mongering disinformation letter (or as Steven Metz, professor at the US Army War College, called the letter: “unhinged, delusional and, frankly, stupid”).

Think carefully about all this in comparison to the typical caption of this photo…

“Probably one of the most unpopular of Harry Truman’s moves during his seven years and nine months as president was the firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. But Truman never publicly wavered in the belief that he did the right thing. Here Truman and MacArthur meet on Wake island, Oct. 1950.” Source: UPI

Truman was right and probably should have fired MacArthur sooner.

I’m certain Retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett would agree.

Though the Army had only been desegregated by President Harry Truman two years prior, Lt. Puckett selected two African Americans to serve in the 8th Army Ranger company. Why? Because they met the standards and to quote, ‘we were all Americans, the blood was the same color: red,’ Lock said on a call with reporters ahead of Friday’s ceremony, adding he later did the same for women.

Puckett was everything that General MacArthur was not, and America is hopefully at long last able and willing to recognize the significant differences. Puckett now becomes the oldest Medal of Honor Recipient, as Charles Coolidge (June 18, 1945 award) very recently passed away at 99.

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