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GOP Immigration Policy: ” . . . The Immigration Laws Were Changed to Admit . . . Members of the SS . . . . Nixon Himself Oversaw the . . . Program. . . .”

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COMMENT: Although we have discussed it frequently over the decades, recent comments by Trump disparaging Haiti as a “shithole” country and pining for immigration from Norway instead warrant a fresh look at the Crusade For Freedom.

During Trump’s brief tenure as President, the media have consistently lamented his actions as idiosyncrasies. Trump’s policies are not his alone, but follow in a linear path, along which the GOP has traveled for decades.

In this post, we review the Crusade For Freedom–the covert operation that brought Third Reich alumni into the country and also supported their guerrilla warfare in Eastern Europe, conducted up until the early 1950’s. Conceived by Allen Dulles, overseen by Richard Nixon, publicly represented by Ronald Reagan and realized in considerable measure by William Casey, the CFF ultimately evolved into a Nazi wing of the GOP.

“. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program. . . .”

The elder George Bush installed the GOP ethnic outreach organization as a permanent part of the GOP:

“. . . . . . . . . It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States. . . . “

1.    The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; pp. 122-123.

. . . . Frustration over Truman’s 1948 election victory over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jewish vote”) impelled Dulles and his protégé Richard Nixon to work toward the realization of the fascist freedom fighter presence in the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization. As a young congressman, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s confidant. They both blamed Governor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Truman in the 1948 presidential election on the Jewish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice president in 1952, Nixon was determined to build his own ethnic base. . . .

. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program.AsVice President, he even received Eastern European Fascists in the White House.. . .

2. More about the composition of the cast of the CFF: Note that the ascension of the Reagan administration was essentially the ascension of the Nazified GOP, embodied in the CFF milieu. Reagan (spokesman for CFF) was President; George H.W. Bush (for whom CIA headquarters is named) was the Vice President; William Casey (who handled the State Department machinations to bring these people into the United States) was Reagan’s campaign manager and later his CIA director.

The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; p. 605.

. . . . As a young movie actor in the early 1950s, Reagan was employed as the public spokesperson for an OPC front named the ‘Crusade for Freedom.’ Reagan may not have known it, but 99 percent for the Crusade’s funds came from clandestine accounts, which were then laundered through the Crusade to various organizations such as Radio Liberty, which employed Dulles’s Fascists. Bill Casey, who later became CIA director under Ronald Reagan, also worked in Germany after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘freedom fighters’ program. When he returned to New York, Casey headed up another OPC front, the International Rescue Committee, which sponsored the immigration of these Fascists to the United States. Casey’s committee replaced the International Red Cross as the sponsor for Dulles’s recruits. Confidential interviews, former members, OPC; former members, British foreign and Commonwealth Office. . . .

3. While serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee, the elder George Bush shepherded the Nazi émigré community into position as a permanent branch of the Republican Party.

The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; pp. 369-370.

 . . . . . It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States. . . . 

Discussion

3 comments for “GOP Immigration Policy: ” . . . The Immigration Laws Were Changed to Admit . . . Members of the SS . . . . Nixon Himself Oversaw the . . . Program. . . .””

  1. And now we have #JacketGate. Because it was just a matter of time: Melania Trump created a bit of a befuddled uproar over her highly unusual choice of jacket she wore while getting on an off the plane during a high-profile trip to visit the child detention centers currently housing thousands of undocumented children. The jacket inexplicably had the words “I really don’t care. Do U?” on the back in large letters, thus guaranteeing that this jacket would become a news story.

    But the exact nature of this story is still an open question because, while Melania appeared to be trying to send some sort of message, the message and its intended audience is highly ambiguous. President Trump tweeted out that it was a message to the ‘fake news’ media while Melania’s own spokesperson claims it was “just a jacket.” Regardless of the intended message and intended audience, though, it’s pretty clear that sending an ambiguous “I really don’t care” message while traveling to meeting detained children, many in a state of emotional turmoil, looked horrible.

    And as the following article makes clear, wearing an “I don’t care” jacket looks even more horrible when you consider that “I don’t care” was an important fascist slogan:

    Overland

    A brief (fascist) history of ‘I don’t care’

    By Giovanni Tiso
    22.Jun.18

    This article was sparked by the jacket that Melania Trump wore as she travelled to a detention camp for migrant children, but my intent isn’t to argue that she or her staff chose that jacket in order to send a coded message to the president’s far-right followers. It is, rather, to highlight some of the historical echoes of that phrase – ‘I don’t care’.

    The echoes of which someone ought to have been aware, especially in an administration that includes – to put it mildly – several far-right sympathisers. And also to show that the attitude, the theatrical ‘not caring’, was an explicit character trait of Fascism.

    Fascism lay its roots in the campaign for Italy’s late entry in the First World War, of which Mussolini was one of the leaders. It was at this time that the phrase ‘me ne frego’ – which at the time was still considered quite vulgar, along the lines of the English ‘I don’t give a fu ck’ – was sung by members of the special force known as arditi (literally: ‘the daring ones’) who volunteered for the front, to signify that they didn’t care if they should lose their lives.

    The arditi were disbanded after the war, but many of them volunteered in 1919 for an expedition led by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio to capture the city of Fiume (Rijeka, in present-day Croatia) and claim it for Italy during the vacuum created by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the time of this occupation, former arditi also formed the backbone of the original Black Squads during the terror campaigns that began in 1919 and culminated with the ‘March on Rome’ of 1922, which completed Fascism’s swift rise to power.

    This lapel pin worn by an original member of the Black Shirts was recently sold on a website devoted to military memorabilia. It is emblazoned with the words ‘Me ne frego’ underneath the original symbol of the arditi and the acronym FERT (which stands for the motto of the Royal Family). The seller calls it ‘bellissimo’.
    [see image of “me ne frego” pin worn by the Black Shirts]

    ‘Me ne frego’ was the title of one of the most famous songs of the Fascist era. Its original version, dating around 1920, hails D’Annunzio and Mussolini as the fathers of the fascist movement, recycling the old war song of the arditi as the third stanza.

    Me ne frego I don’t care

    me ne frego I don’t care

    me ne frego è il nostro motto, I don’t care is our motto

    me ne frego di morire I don’t care if I should die

    per la santa libertà! … For our sacred freedom! …

    Later versions removed mentions of D’Annunzio, who faded fairly quickly into the background. In the meantime, Mussolini made the slogan his own, and explicitly elevated it to the philosophy of the regime.
    [See image of Benito Mussolini “me ne frego” quote]

    The meaning of ‘Me ne frego’

    The proud Black-Shirt motto ‘I don’t care’ written on the bandages that cover a wound isn’t just an act of stoic philosophy or the summary of a political doctrine. It’s an education to fighting, and the acceptance of the risks it implies. It’s a new Italian lifestyle. This is how the Fascist welcomes and loves life, while rejecting and regarding suicide as an act of cowardice; this is how the Fascist understands life as duty, exaltation, conquest. A life that must be lived highly and fully, both for oneself but especially for others, near and far, present and future.

    The connotations of altruism at the end of the quote are in direct contrast with the meaning taken on by the word menefreghismo (literally, ‘Idontcareism’), which ever since the regime has meant in common parlance a kind of detached self-reliance, or moral autocracy. Just as Italy broke with its former allies and charted a stubborn path towards the ruin and devastation of the Second World War, so too the Fascist citizen was encouraged to reject the judgement of others and look straight ahead. It should be remembered in this regard that the regime treated ignorance and proclivity to violence as desirable qualities to be rewarded with positions of influence and power. This required a swift redrawing of the old social norms, and of the language used to signify the moral worth of individuals. ‘Me ne frego’ was the perfect slogan for the people in charge of overseeing such a program.

    Four years ago, speaking at a First World War commemoration in the small town of Redipuglia, Pope Francis linked ‘me ne frego’ not only with the carnage of that conflict, but also with the horrors of Fascism, recognising its ideological and propaganda value for Mussolini’s project. This is the form in which the slogan has survived until the present day, as a linguistic signifier not of generic indifference, but of ideological nostalgia. And because the attempts in Italy and beyond to stem the spread of such signifiers have been comprehensively abandoned, we readily find those words appearing not just on seemingly ubiquitous Fascist-era memorabilia but also on posters,
    [see image of poster]
    t-shirts,
    [see image of t-shirt]
    or this line of stickers that can be purchased for $.193 from Redbubble (motto ‘awesome products designed by independent artists’), where it was uploaded by user ‘fashdivision’.
    [see image of stickers]
    The international neofascist movement is of course well aware of this lineage. By way of example, if you search for it online you’ll find a long-running English-language podcast called Me ne frego which recycles this imagery in support of arguments against immigration and multiculturalism, or to opine on the subject of ‘the Jewish question’.
    I don’t doubt that people close both to the Trump administration and this world are similarly cognisant of the uses to which those three words have been put. But even for those who aren’t, claims to indifference have a history which we mustn’t allow ourselves to forget.

    ———-

    “A brief (fascist) history of ‘I don’t care’” by Giovanni Tiso; Overland; 06/22/2018

    “This article was sparked by the jacket that Melania Trump wore as she travelled to a detention camp for migrant children, but my intent isn’t to argue that she or her staff chose that jacket in order to send a coded message to the president’s far-right followers. It is, rather, to highlight some of the historical echoes of that phrase – ‘I don’t care’.

    Yep, it turns out the phrase “I don’t care” has a rather interesting fascist history. The slogan was part of the rise of Italian fascism from the very beginning of the movement, sung by members of the Arditi Italian special forces on the front lines of WWI who went on to make up the backbone of Mussolini’s Black Squads and eventually the Black Shirts. They were singing about how they ‘didn’t care if’ they lost their lives. So it’s like a fascist brainwashing song that :


    The echoes of which someone ought to have been aware, especially in an administration that includes – to put it mildly – several far-right sympathisers. And also to show that the attitude, the theatrical ‘not caring’, was an explicit character trait of Fascism.

    Fascism lay its roots in the campaign for Italy’s late entry in the First World War, of which Mussolini was one of the leaders. It was at this time that the phrase ‘me ne frego’ – which at the time was still considered quite vulgar, along the lines of the English ‘I don’t give a fu ck’ – was sung by members of the special force known as arditi (literally: ‘the daring ones’) who volunteered for the front, to signify that they didn’t care if they should lose their lives.

    The arditi were disbanded after the war, but many of them volunteered in 1919 for an expedition led by the poet Gariele D’Annunzio to capture the city of Fiume (Rijeka, in present-day Croatia) and claim it for Italy during the vacuum created by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the time of this occupation, former arditi also formed the backbone of the original Black Squads during the terror campaigns that began in 1919 and culminated with the ‘March on Rome’ of 1922, which completed Fascism’s swift rise to power.

    This lapel pin worn by an original member of the Black Shirts was recently sold on a website devoted to military memorabilia. It is emblazoned with the words ‘Me ne frego’ underneath the original symbol of the arditi and the acronym FERT (which stands for the motto of the Royal Family). The seller calls it ‘bellissimo’.
    [see image of “me ne frego” pin worn by the Black Shirts]

    And those “Me ne frego” (I don’t care) lyrics went on to become part of one of the most famous songs from the fascist era. A song appropriately title “Me ne frego”:


    ‘Me ne frego’ was the title of one of the most famous songs of the Fascist era. Its original version, dating around 1920, hails D’Annunzio and Mussolini as the fathers of the fascist movement, recycling the old war song of the arditi as the third stanza.

    Me ne frego I don’t care

    me ne frego I don’t care

    me ne frego è il nostro motto, I don’t care is our motto

    me ne frego di morire I don’t care if I should die

    per la santa libertà! … For our sacred freedom! …

    Later versions removed mentions of D’Annunzio, who faded fairly quickly into the background. In the meantime, Mussolini made the slogan his own, and explicitly elevated it to the philosophy of the regime.
    [See image of Benito Mussolini “me ne frego” quote]

    And from the fascist perspective, “I don’t care” symbolized the ‘stoic philosophy’ of the fascists. It was literally an encapsulation of the self-glorifying fascist narrative:


    The meaning of ‘Me ne frego’

    The proud Black-Shirt motto ‘I don’t care’ written on the bandages that cover a wound isn’t just an act of stoic philosophy or the summary of a political doctrine. It’s an education to fighting, and the acceptance of the risks it implies. It’s a new Italian lifestyle. This is how the Fascist welcomes and loves life, while rejecting and regarding suicide as an act of cowardice; this is how the Fascist understands life as duty, exaltation, conquest. A life that must be lived highly and fully, both for oneself but especially for others, near and far, present and future.

    And while the “I don’t care” slogan represented to fascists an altruistic view of themselves of living “highly and fully, both for oneself but especially for others, near and far, present and future,” the notion of ‘Idontcareism’ in the post-fascist era has come to represent something more like moral autocracy. And as the article notes, this outlook meshed well with the encouragement Mussolini’s government gave to fascists to ignore the judgement of others. Ignorance and a proclivity to violence were deemed desirable qualities by fascists and ‘Idontcareism’ was part of formalizing that as a ‘new normal’:


    The connotations of altruism at the end of the quote are in direct contrast with the meaning taken on by the word menefreghismo (literally, ‘Idontcareism’), which ever since the regime has meant in common parlance a kind of detached self-reliance, or moral autocracy. Just as Italy broke with its former allies and charted a stubborn path towards the ruin and devastation of the Second World War, so too the Fascist citizen was encouraged to reject the judgement of others and look straight ahead. It should be remembered in this regard that the regime treated ignorance and proclivity to violence as desirable qualities to be rewarded with positions of influence and power. This required a swift redrawing of the old social norms, and of the language used to signify the moral worth of individuals. ‘Me ne frego’ was the perfect slogan for the people in charge of overseeing such a program.

    “It should be remembered in this regard that the regime treated ignorance and proclivity to violence as desirable qualities to be rewarded with positions of influence and power. This required a swift redrawing of the old social norms, and of the language used to signify the moral worth of individuals. ‘Me ne frego’ was the perfect slogan for the people in charge of overseeing such a program.”

    “I don’t care.” The perfect slogan for fascist proles. And as we should expect, “I don’t care” this isn’t just an interesting fun fact of the fascist era of Italy. The ‘me ne frego’ slogan is predictably part of today’s far right iconography:


    Four years ago, speaking at a First World War commemoration in the small town of Redipuglia, Pope Francis linked ‘me ne frego’ not only with the carnage of that conflict, but also with the horrors of Fascism, recognising its ideological and propaganda value for Mussolini’s project. This is the form in which the slogan has survived until the present day, as a linguistic signifier not of generic indifference, but of ideological nostalgia. And because the attempts in Italy and beyond to stem the spread of such signifiers have been comprehensively abandoned, we readily find those words appearing not just on seemingly ubiquitous Fascist-era memorabilia but also on posters,
    [see image of poster]
    t-shirts,
    [see image of t-shirt]
    or this line of stickers that can be purchased for $.193 from Redbubble (motto ‘awesome products designed by independent artists’), where it was uploaded by user ‘fashdivision’.
    [see image of stickers]
    The international neofascist movement is of course well aware of this lineage. By way of example, if you search for it online you’ll find a long-running English-language podcast called
    Me ne frego which recycles this imagery in support of arguments against immigration and multiculturalism, or to opine on the subject of ‘the Jewish question’. I don’t doubt that people close both to the Trump administration and this world are similarly cognisant of the uses to which those three words have been put. But even for those who aren’t, claims to indifference have a history which we mustn’t allow ourselves to forget.

    “The international neofascist movement is of course well aware of this lineage. By way of example, if you search for it online you’ll find a long-running English-language podcast called Me ne frego which recycles this imagery in support of arguments against immigration and multiculturalism, or to opine on the subject of ‘the Jewish question’. I don’t doubt that people close both to the Trump administration and this world are similarly cognisant of the uses to which those three words have been put. But even for those who aren’t, claims to indifference have a history which we mustn’t allow ourselves to forget.”

    Yeah, it seems like a safe bet that people close to the Trump administration are well aware of the fascist connotations of “I don’t care”. And that’s part of what makes Melania’s jacket so chilling: The fascist connotations of “I don’t care” are a chillingly apt slogan for what’s going on with the “zero tolerance” approach to undocumented immigrants. It’s an attempt to normalize the key fascist principle of viewing entire groups of people as lesser beings, a critical element of the hyper-hierarchical authoritarians inherent in fascism.

    Additionally, Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of Fox & Friends, Trump’s favorite cable news show, tried to make the case on Friday morning that Americans shouldn’t get too upset about the child separation policies and throwing undocumented kids into prison-like conditions, a large number refugees seeking asylum. According to Kilmeade, they aren’t “our kids” so Americans shouldn’t be too bothered by their conditions. And Ann Coulter proclaimed on Fox News that these children were child actors and implored Trump not to ‘fall for it. That sure sounds like an attempt to normalization the formal dehumanization of ‘others’.

    Not be be outdone, Fox & Friend’s super-fan President Trump declared that the Democrats want illegal immigrants to “infest” the US:

    Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018

    This, of course, is Nazi-style languge that implicitly dehumanizes an entire group of people.

    Sure, the dehumanization of ‘others’ is nothing new when it comes to humans. Sometimes its hypocritical dehumanization by societies that proclaim a higher moral ground and don’t live up to those self-proclaimed standards. But when the dehumanization is openly embraced and explain away in blunt terms like Kilmeade used that really is scarier. Hypocritical dehumanization could be worse and openly dehumanizing philosophies like fascism are a good example of worse.

    And Kilmeade’s disturbing rationalizations were just one example of this push to formally normalize an “I don’t care” moral framework. There’s also the “I don’t care” embrace of ignorance on prominent display as this child immigration crisis plays out. Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham described the living situation of these kids as ‘summer camp’.

    But perhaps the most disturbing embrace of ignorance was President Trump’s Friday morning tweet in response to the leaked audio and video evidence of distraught children and reports of the forced drugging and abuse. According to Trump, those stories are “phony stories of sadness and grief” orchestrated for political gain. And in the same tweet and then excused away the reports with an ‘Obama did it too and no one cared!’ response. Of course, Trump is incorrect. President Obama did use family detentions but not family separation. So Trump denied the reports and simultaneously dismissed the criticisms as unfair by inaccurately asserting that the same thing happened under Obama. It’s the ‘I don’t care about the truth’ dimension of this creeping ‘Idontcarism’:

    Talking Points Memo
    Livewire

    Trump Claims There Are ‘Phony Stories Of Sadness And Grief’ At The Border

    By Nicole Lafond | June 22, 2018 10:15 am

    President Donald Trump has fully embraced a far-right conspiracy theory that the images and audio of devastated children distraught after being ripped from their parents arms are fake.

    In a tweet Friday morning, President Donald Trump called the media coverage of traumatized immigrant children and parents “phony stories of sadness and grief,” orchestrated by Democrats for political gain. Then, in an unhinged twist, he defended the validity of the images because they existed during the Obama administration, but his predecessor “did nothing about it!”

    We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections. Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2018

    Earlier this week, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said during an interview on Fox News that the crying children recently separated from their families were “actors.” She warned the President to not “buy” the show.

    Trump’s tweet comes just days after Trump appeared to believe the stories of grief-stricken families, signing an executive order Wednesday that called for the detainment of families together, but sought to abolish a federal protection that limits how long a child can be held in detention.

    Republicans, at Trump’s behest, are scrambling to piece together an immigration plan to address the issue of family separation, which was created by his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. Apparently peeved on Friday morning, Trump told GOP lawmakers to “stop wasting their time on immigration” because Democrats have indicated they won’t support Republican immigration bills. In the Senate, Republicans would need at least 10 Democrats to jump onboard for a bill to move to the House.

    ———-

    “Trump Claims There Are ‘Phony Stories Of Sadness And Grief’ At The Border” by Nicole Lafond; Talking Points Memo; 06/22/2018

    “In a tweet Friday morning, President Donald Trump called the media coverage of traumatized immigrant children and parents “phony stories of sadness and grief,” orchestrated by Democrats for political gain. Then, in an unhinged twist, he defended the validity of the images because they existed during the Obama administration, but his predecessor “did nothing about it!””

    That’s the Orwellian place we find ourselves: And the underlying message to the American people in this ‘Idontcarism’ push is the message that Americans shouldn’t care about non-Americans and when they claim asylum Americans should assume they are lying as part of a far right push to formally normalize the idea that there are some people, including children, who we just shouldn’t care about very because they ‘aren’t us’. And the president himself is promoting this by tweeting out doublethink that is simultaneously promoting both ignorance and a lack of compassion, two key elements of the fascist mindset. It was a tweet that remarkably managed to touch on nearly every aspect of ‘idontcarism’.

    So who knows if Melania herself had any idea about the cryptomessage her jacket sent to the world. It wouldn’t be too surprising if someone else convinced her to wear it without telling her that slogan is like a fascist gang sign. Using the FLOTUS as a fascist prank prop seems like kind of thing we should expect from this White House. Regardless, while the First Lady’s choice of jacket was clearly an inappropriate choice for this kind of situation, from a historical context it was actually a highly appropriate. A historical context we should all care about learning about so we don’t repeat it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 23, 2018, 1:40 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    Now Melania has TRULY given us an example of “badjacketing!”

    Best,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 25, 2018, 2:48 pm
  3. @Dave: It’s also worth recalling that Zara, the company that made Melania’s jacket with the fascist slogan, has a history of this kind of stuff. As the following article from 2014 points out, not only did the company offer a children’s shirt that looked alarmingly like the outfit for Jewish concentration camp victims (a blue and white striped shirt with a big yellow six pointed star that looks like a Star of David), but it also was caught selling a handbag with a swastika back in 2007:

    The Guardian

    Zara removes striped pyjamas with yellow star following online outrage

    Social media users likened the baby’s pyjama top, featuring horizontal stripes and a ‘Sheriff’ star to clothes worn by Jewish concentration camp prisoners

    Elena Cresci

    Wed 27 Aug 2014 06.51 EDT
    Last modified on Thu 30 Nov 2017 04.39 EST

    High street retailer Zara has pulled a striped shirt featuring a yellow star on the front on Wednesday after social media users likened it to the uniform worn by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps during the second world war.

    The striped “sheriff” T-shirt, aimed at children aged three months to three years, drew criticism for a design which featured white and blue stripes and a six-pointed yellow star on the front. The star itself had the word “sheriff” written across it, which was not completely clear in the zoomed-out images on the Spanish chain’s website.

    But from first glance, many people felt the shirt bore too close a resemblance to the striped uniform and yellow star Jewish prisoners were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

    The shirt was available via Zara’s UK homepage as well as in a number of its international outlets, including Israel, France, Denmark, Albania and Sweden. Israeli journalist Dimi Reider was among the first to notice the resemblance.

    Writing on 972mag.com, he said: “It’s a SHERIFF shirt for your three-year-old. Obviously. What else could it be?

    “Why, what else does it remind you of?”

    The retailer has since apologised, in several languages on its Twitter feed, and confirmed the shirt is no longer on sale.

    A spokesperson for Zara’s parent company Inditex said: “The item in question has now been removed from all Zara stores and Zara.com.

    “The garment was inspired by the classic Western films, but we now recognise that the design could be seen as insensitive and apologise sincerely for any offence caused to our customers.”

    This is not the first time Zara has made an unfortunate design choice. In 2007, the retailer withdrew a handbag from its stories after one customer pointed out the design featured swastikas..

    ———-

    “Zara removes striped pyjamas with yellow star following online outrage” by Elena Cresci; The Guardian; 08/27/2014

    “The striped “sheriff” T-shirt, aimed at children aged three months to three years, drew criticism for a design which featured white and blue stripes and a six-pointed yellow star on the front. The star itself had the word “sheriff” written across it, which was not completely clear in the zoomed-out images on the Spanish chain’s website.”

    It was innocently inspired by classic Western films. That was Zara’s story.

    So, at best, Zara marketed a bizarre shirt for children what looks like a prisoner’s striped shirt with a sheriff’s badge. At worst, someone at Zara decided to market Holocaust shirts for kids.

    Should we assume the best or worst? Well, if if this was the only time something like this happened, and Zara hadn’t marketed a handbag in 2007 with a blatant swastika on the design, it would be a lot easier to assume the best. But Zara indeed did market a swastika handbag just seven years earlier…:


    This is not the first time Zara has made an unfortunate design choice. In 2007, the retailer withdrew a handbag from its stories after one customer pointed out the design featured swastikas..

    And, of course, there’s now Melania’s jacket. So that’s three fascist items over the past 11 years.

    Oh, but there’s more! Zara’s fascist fashion sense just keeps bubbling up. It turns out Zara made a skirt in 2017 with what appear to be ‘Pepe the Frog’ faces

    The New York Times

    Zara Loses Its Skirt Over Pepe the Frog

    By Vanessa Friedman
    April 19, 2017

    Digital activists have claimed another head. Or, rather, skirt.

    On Tuesday, Zara, the Spanish chain owned by Inditex that has more than 2,100 stores in 88 countries around the world and was rated No. 53 on the Forbes 2016 list of the world’s most valuable brands, quietly withdrew a distressed denim miniskirt printed with a cartoon face from its websites and stores in the United States and Britain after it became a subject of social media controversy for the graphic’s resemblance to Pepe the Frog.

    You know, the green amphibian that was originally intended as a “peaceful frog-dude,” according to Matt Furie, the man who created him, but that was co-opted by anti-Jewish and bigoted groups and designated an alt-right hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League last September.

    The skirt had been on sale as part of Zara’s limited-edition “oil on denim” offering of spring-fling artist partnerships.

    Twitter got on it pretty fast. “Zara is really out there trying to sell a P*pe the frog skirt, apparently unaware (?) of its current implications,” @meaganrosae wrote. Added @ccarella, “Hmm Pepe on a Zara skirt.”

    There is a lot of “how did this happen?” and “how deluded could they be?” going around the cybersphere, but the answer may come down to a blunt collision of globalism and cultural ignorance.

    A spokeswoman for Zara said: “The skirt is part of the limited Oil-on-Denim collection, which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets. The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”

    Mr. de Santiago is a Spanish artist based in London whose biography on his official web page states, “I like to explore social interactions and gather them into quirky and colourful storytelling compositions.” According to Zara, he said the frog face “came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.” It is not hard to imagine he was unaware a similar frog face had been used for a somewhat different purpose in the United States.

    Unfortunately for Zara, however, the brand has a history with public pressure over a product with potentially offensive implications — especially anti-Semitic implications — which may have exacerbated the reaction. In 2014, it apologized for offering, and then withdrew, a set of children’s striped pajamas with a yellow star on the breast that was widely seen as resembling a concentration camp uniform (the star was supposed to be a sheriff’s badge). In 2007, it withdrew a handbag printed with folkloric designs, one of which happened to look a lot like a swastika.

    All of this may add up to something of a teachable moment for the fast-fashion model. Because the business is based on the constant turnover of new products that are effectively “tested” on the shop floor, so that companies can respond quickly to what sells and drop less popular items without much cost, it involves a higher than usual amount of churn. This may mean designs are subject to less stringent vetting than they might be in, say, a traditional fashion brand in which products are created and assessed more than six months ahead of production.

    Add to that the recent commercialization of the summer festival circuit, in which corporate giants are leveraging the fashion appeal of sartorial rebellion (always a dangerous game, since it co-opts symbols without really understanding their use), and the pitfalls were potentially pretty big. Just think for a minute of the absurdity implicit in choosing a hate symbol to stick on a garment seemingly meant for a summer-of-love/dancing-in-the-muddy-fields-type event. Oops.

    Given the increasing role of the internet in policing brands and companies, it was probably only a matter of time before a company attempting to make hay while the music played made a mistake instead.

    Consider it a cautionary tale.

    ———-

    “Zara Loses Its Skirt Over Pepe the Frog” by Vanessa Friedman; The New York Times; 04/19/2017

    “On Tuesday, Zara, the Spanish chain owned by Inditex that has more than 2,100 stores in 88 countries around the world and was rated No. 53 on the Forbes 2016 list of the world’s most valuable brands, quietly withdrew a distressed denim miniskirt printed with a cartoon face from its websites and stores in the United States and Britain after it became a subject of social media controversy for the graphic’s resemblance to Pepe the Frog.”

    Yep, Zara wants to assure everyone that Pepe the Frog just innocently showed up on a Zara skirt in 2017 and the Spanish designer had no idea about the contemporary symbolism of Pepe-like cartoon frogs:


    You know, the green amphibian that was originally intended as a “peaceful frog-dude,” according to Matt Furie, the man who created him, but that was co-opted by anti-Jewish and bigoted groups and designated an alt-right hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League last September.

    A spokeswoman for Zara said: “The skirt is part of the limited Oil-on-Denim collection, which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets. The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”

    Mr. de Santiago is a Spanish artist based in London whose biography on his official web page states, “I like to explore social interactions and gather them into quirky and colourful storytelling compositions.” According to Zara, he said the frog face “came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.” It is not hard to imagine he was unaware a similar frog face had been used for a somewhat different purpose in the United States.

    And the article goes on to suggest that maybe Zara made such a mistake due to its “fast-fashion” model of rapidly introducing new clothing based on current trends that leads to less time to vet the items:


    All of this may add up to something of a teachable moment for the fast-fashion model. Because the business is based on the constant turnover of new products that are effectively “tested” on the shop floor, so that companies can respond quickly to what sells and drop less popular items without much cost, it involves a higher than usual amount of churn. This may mean designs are subject to less stringent vetting than they might be in, say, a traditional fashion brand in which products are created and assessed more than six months ahead of production.

    Add to that the recent commercialization of the summer festival circuit, in which corporate giants are leveraging the fashion appeal of sartorial rebellion (always a dangerous game, since it co-opts symbols without really understanding their use), and the pitfalls were potentially pretty big. Just think for a minute of the absurdity implicit in choosing a hate symbol to stick on a garment seemingly meant for a summer-of-love/dancing-in-the-muddy-fields-type event. Oops.

    Given the increasing role of the internet in policing brands and companies, it was probably only a matter of time before a company attempting to make hay while the music played made a mistake instead.

    Consider it a cautionary tale.

    And, sure, maybe the Pepe the Frog skirt was just a cautionary tale about the risks of ‘fast fashion’. Maybe it was just an inevitable ‘fast fashion’ problem.

    Or maybe Zara has a ‘fascist fashion’ problem: A Nazi handbag in 2007. Holocaust pajamas seven years later. Then Pepe the Frog skirts three years after that. Followed by Melania’s fascist slogan jacket the next year.

    So based on the accelerating pace of these incidents, not only does it appear that Zara has a ‘fascist fashion’ problem, but that problem is getting noticeably worse in recent years. #TrumpEffect #FascionableFashion

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 26, 2018, 3:08 pm

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