Suckers and Losers

Service, sacrifice and the greater good are meaningless values in the transactional world of a mobster. Trump apologists are scrambling to paper over his 2018 comments about dead soldiers, published this week in The Atlantic. Their challenge is that those comments are entirely consistent with all of his previous statements, his behaviors and values. For a mobster, sacrifice is for suckers and losers, those too gullible to understand the grift. There are no public values in the world of the grifter, only a zero-sum scramble for resources where every person’s gain is another’s loss. Trump is struggling to suppress this story because it exposes the truth behind his Presidency. Beneath giant flags on pickup trucks, gaudy fireworks displays, and “patriotic” flyovers sits a ruthless scam, fed by fear and cowardice. Trump’s supporters sold the soul behind those symbols for protection from their phantom fears.

Author Mario Puzo captured essence of this parasitic worldview in The Godfather. When Michael volunteered to serve in World War II despite his father’s lengthy efforts to gain him a deferment, his brother Sonny summed up the wiseguy’s view of sacrifice, asking Michael, “Did you go to college to get stupid? You’re really stupid.”

Sonny describes military volunteers as “saps,” explaining, “they’re saps because they risk their lives for strangers.”

When Donald Trump made a brief visit to troops in Iraq at Christmas 2018, he denigrated their service to their faces, repeating this parasitic, transactional attitude toward sacrifice. He explained to the assembled audience of soldiers that they were sent there as “suckers,” but that he was going to fix it.

“If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price — and sometimes that’s also a monetary price — so we’re not the suckers of the world.  We’re no longer the suckers, folks.  And people aren’t looking at us as suckers.”

No more alliances. No more communal, shared values. In MAGALand, the “Free World” gets a new price tag. Sacrifice is for chumps.

Trump sees soldiers as the ultimate marks, fools who sacrifice their own safety for others. It’s something he’s never done and would never do. His family paid a podiatrist in Queens to diagnose him with “bone spurs” to avoid the Vietnam draft, a move he explained to Michael Cohen, “You think I’m stupid? I’m not going to Vietnam.”

Though he loves to use military symbols and tries to coopt the sense of loyalty and obedience attached to service, he’s demonstrated an insecure loathing for military leaders and those who served. His atrocious comments about John McCain are well-known, but he’s carried the same hostility toward the rest of the military chain of command. While Trump promotes a phony “man’s man” persona, he won’t get his hair wet, he can’t walk down a ramp without help, and he never appears in public without a thick coat of cosmetics.

Generals make him feel small, and when he feels small he lashes out like a toddler. In a Pentagon briefing in 2017 he ranted at senior military leaders, “I wouldn’t go to war with you people. You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

Trump fought a New York City law that granted disabled veterans the right to operate businesses on the street near his tower, “clogging and seriously downgrading the area.” He tried to keep visibly injured veterans out of his military parade because “no one wants to see that.” His phony university fired an employee, Corrine Sommers, because she needed time off for reserve duty. The Trump University scam targeted military vets, in one case stealing the entire death benefit from Iraq war widow, Cheryl Lankford.

Trump halted all visits to Dover Air Force Base, the receiving point for troops killed abroad, for two years after the father of a slain SEAL refused to shake his hand, hurting his feelings. Pence handles most receptions there now. That’s been helpful, as Trump has no capacity for dealing with these emotional situations. In a call with the widow of soldier La David Johnson, killed in a botched raid in Niger, Trump dismissed her pain explaining, “he knew what he signed up for.” What “he signed up for” was a sacrifice that Trump would never understand and never make. In a mafia worldview, service to a country is a bargain for suckers and losers.

Goldberg’s story in The Atlantic resonates because it seamlessly integrates all of Trump’s public performance toward the military. The suckers and losers comments get a lot of play, but it’s the details of his interactions with John Kelly, details Kelly has declined to refute, that seal the story.

Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father [Gen. John Kelly] and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

The core of the story relates to Trump’s infamous 2018 trip to France, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Trump petulantly refused to join leaders of the other free nations as they marched together in the rain to the Arc de Triomphe, making up some pathetic story about a security threat to avoid getting his hair wet. He then made up a new set of implausible excuses for skipping a ceremony at the US cemetery at Belleau Wood. Instead he remained in his hotel room.

Goldberg outlines what actually happened:

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed….

Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.

What do Republicans really think of Trump’s disdain for the military? Lindsay Graham summed it up best.

“If there was ever any doubt that @realDonaldTrump should not be our commander in chief, this stupid statement should end all doubt. At the heart of @realDonaldTrump statement is a lack of respect for those who have served – a disqualifying characteristic to be president.”

But that’s how Graham felt in 2015, when Graham felt safe enough to express his honest opinion about Trump’s attack on John McCain. Those days are over. Graham spends his days now fawning over his new patron, pretending “we have always been at war with Eastasia.”  

Why do Republicans tolerate Donald Trump? The same reason people tolerate mobsters: cowardice. There are three kinds of people left in the Republican Party: religious nuts and racists, accompanied by the packs of grifters who prey on them. What those religious nuts and racists hold in common is cowardice. Ask someone to explain why they support this utterly indefensible regime and you’ll hear stories of phantom terror, migrant caravans, a formerly broken economy, Antifa mobs, abortionists murdering children, or wild conspiratorial fantasies pulled from the darkest corners of Facebook fiction. It’s all part of the grift. It’s their fears that keep them pinned up, food for those who know the grift. They will bow to the parasitic values of a mob as long as they receive the protection their terrors demand.

These are people darting from their own shadow, weak, cowardly, convinced of America’s decline and doom. In 2016, living in the most prosperous and powerful nation in history, Trump supporters were clinging to guns in bone-shaking fear of their own imagination. These imaginary terrors are ginned up to justify the protection racket offered by the grifters. The Republican Party today has internalized the values of the mob, they are the suckers and losers.

The Godfather also offers the bookend to this era, an explanation of how it all ends. On a visit to Havana near the end of the Bautista regime, Michael witnesses a confrontation between mafia values and something more powerful. To these parasites who exploit moral hazard, exploiting the sacrifice and commitment of others, the ethic of public service isn’t just baffling, it’s frightening.

Michael explains to his business partner, Hyman Roth:

Michael Corleone: I saw a strange thing today. A rebel was being arrested by the military police. And rather than be taken alive he exploded a grenade he had hidden in his jacket. He killed himself and took a captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren’t.

Hyman Roth: What does that tell you?

Michael Corleone: They could win.

A parasite struggles to understand the worldview of sacrifice, but they see – and fear – its power. Trump lashes out at military figures because they frighten him. He wants to appropriate their strength, but their unwillingness to yield to transactional demands leaves him off-kilter, uncertain. Mob values are brittle. Under pressure from those willing to sacrifice for the greater good, those mafia values will be crushed.

41 Comments

  1. Meantime, in the real world, outside of the insane states of murica:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/15/weather/antarctica-pine-island-thwaites-glacier-climate-intl-hnk/index.html

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54127279

    For those that might just skim the articles, those events are occurring simultaneously at opposite ends of the planet.

    The tyrant, his regime, and all his cult members must be eradicated. No dialogue, no debate, no deals. They must be removed from any position of power and leadership, by any means necessary. And I am talking world wide. The cancer that is trumpism is found all across the planet. If that means wiping out 1%, or 10%, of the population, so be it. The most insane option is the only option left. The biosphere and the current form of civilization will not survive without the most radical steps.

    But, really, it is too late. Anyone who has kids and grandkids, well, you can weep for them. In the u.s., at least, they better be rich and white, because as the planet simultaneously burns, drowns, and starves, their walled communities with machine gun nests will be the last bastions.

  2. It seems a few climate chickens came home to roost:

    https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/2020/09/oregon-senator-goes-home-to-find-rubble-and-devastation-after-beachie-creek-wildfire.html?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

    This guy was one of the state Senators who split on a legislative session in order to scuttle a climate change bill. I doubt he connects the dots. A shame about the cats.

  3. If any of you follow the fb site, “The Weeds”, there is an terrific thread on the failure of the current republic and what a second republic might look like, including:

    What form of government? (Parliamentary, presidential or some hybrid?)
    If a presidency, strong or weak?
    What kind of Congress? Bicameral or ?
    What changes to the Constitution- new Bill of Rights?
    What kind of Supreme Court?
    What kind of voting system?

    The comments are as interesting as the questions. This NYT article was the springboard for the post.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/opinion/presidency-donald-trump.html?

      1. Here’s Part 2, Mary: https://broadstreet.blog/2020/09/14/the-lost-history-of-southern-republicans-part-ii/

        tl;dr: The Republican Party had to move toward whiteness and black vote disenfranchisement before it became an electorally viable party. This move started in the ‘Outer South’ and took generations to spread to the Deep South, which could only be done with the Democrats moving left on Civil Rights and GOP implicitly promising white supremacy across multiple electoral cycles (/ generations).

      2. Thanks, Aaron. On a more contemporaneous note, this article got my attention on how voter registration is shifting. Personally, I am far more interested in younger voters aging into voting eligibility than I am with older voters (who are baked). But, in viewing the T rallies, there sure seems to be a young audience. I don’t know if our assumptions about his base being old, white folks is as accurate as we may believe.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/19/more-voters-are-registering-than-dying-but-differences-by-state-could-shape/

  4. Here’s the latest bad consequences of posting w/o verifying on social media, gumming up the works of the wildfire response:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.opb.org/article/2020/09/11/antifa-wildfires-oregon-rumors-fact-check-debunked/%3FoutputType%3Damp

    I can empathize with people on the West Coast, as a little more than 2 weeks ago I had to board up, pack up, and be ready to bugout in case Hurricane Laura decided that she’d rather go more west. I wouldn’t dream of going to Facebook for weather info, but some people probably do. The bad info on the fires is hampering the people trying to protect the public. Zuckerberg doesn’t display much concern for the repercussions of the lies spread on his platform. I wonder what level of liability he has here. I know the legalities about responsibility for social media posts are an ongoing debate, and I’m a big 1A proponent (even to the point of accepting that even hate speech is often protected), but it’s way past time to figure something out. The falsehoods are getting more dangerous.

    Even though I love the Internet, I get the view that it’s Pandora’s box.

    1. I am stating the obvious, but many of the laws created that are considered sacrosanct were made in a far different time, when technology like today was not even considered as magic. No one could envision the damage that can be done with weaponized tools like social media.

      The only logical action is to wipe out Facebook, Instagram, You Tube and every other social media platform.

      Is it democratic? Nope.
      Is it best for humanity? Yep.

  5. This is an interesting piece, but I disagree that our society divides so easily along those lines. The truth is, each side has its true believers and its mercenaries. Plenty of Trump’s supporters would be willing to strap a bomb on their chest and blow themselves up if they could take down a libtard with them (they’re currently doing so with covid). And plenty of people plan to vote for Biden because Trump has been bad for business (e.g. Silicon Valley which would turn Republican in a second if there was someone like Romney running the party). Wall St. does it best: they fund both sides, to make sure whoever wins, the next Treasury Sec’y will still come from Goldman Sachs.

    Soldiers are a mix of true believers, bored folk who want to blow shit up without getting arrested, and guys doing it because they have no better options for escaping their dying hometown. Same could be said for the police force and just about every other institution out there, regardless of which side they’re allied with.

    Perhaps rather than Michael, Don, Sonny, et al from the Godfather, the more accurate analogy is that every side contains within it all the characters from George Orwell’s Animal Farm:
    https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/animalfarm/characters/

  6. It is one thing for the mob to buy judges. But in their wildest dreams, the mob never thought they could buy the entire justice system and use it as both a weapon and a shield.

    Now that the tyrant has done that, there really is nothing stopping him.
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/08/politics/e-jean-carroll-trump-lawsuit/index.html

    Sorry folks, every day the evidence piles on that the election is a farce. Now we have confirmation that the tyrant will have his cult members at the polls “checking ballots” (check out his suggestions at the cult rally last night) , which we knew months ago would happen.

    And, of course, we now see that Florida is within the margin of error, which means the tyrant can take it without even breaking out the more egregious methods of vote tampering and suppression.

    There is only one way to stop the tyrant.

    1. I’m probably not as convinced as you that the election is pointless, although I still think the election itself is a toss-up regardless of what polling shows, because of the election fraud that Trump has promised.

      Make sure that you vote early and in person. Make sure that the people in your life who want to vote (D) vote early and in person. We still have to show up even if there’s election fraud.

      And start preparing yourself for the after.

      1. n1nicholas, that’s good advice.

        I spoke with a clerk in the county elections office today.

        She said that many, many callers are asking if they can vote in person even if they’ve requested a mail-in ballot that they have not marked nor mailed in.

        In Texas, If you request a mail-in ballot but then decide to vote in person and do not bring that unmarked ballot with you to the polling place, you will be offered an opportunity to cast a provisional ballot — which you must validate at the county’s main building, not your polling place — after the polls close, like the following day.

        She also said that mail-in ballots must be RECEIVED by 11/3, not just postmarked on 11/3, in order to be counted.

        More than ever, it seems voters must be encouraged to commit to a voting plan.

        Ask everybody in your sphere of influence where they are going to vote, which day are they going to vote, going alone or with a friend…do they have masks, etc.

        If you vote by mail, return your marked ballot long before Election Day.

        Rocky road ahead.

      2. So this is good news:

        https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-voters-must-be-notified-of-signature-issues-15551613.php

        “Texas voters are required to sign their mail ballot envelope, and that signature is used to verify their identity against a database of voter signatures. However, issues can arise when the voters’ name changes or their signature differs from the one in the database, according to a news release from the League of Women Voters.

        U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia found that the process violates voters’ constitutional rights because it does not provide a method to remedy the signature issue. The ruling on Tuesday requires that election officials give voters an opportunity to confirm their identity and save their ballot from rejection.”

      3. There is a new FB group called “Nasty Women for Biden”. One recommendation is for each of us to commit to asking 10 people daily if they need any information about the election – mail in ballots, precinct locations, candidates, etc. I am working on this and have been surprised at how much help people need.

    1. Damn, this is excellent:

      “Europeans could not do this. They had to go outside the group to engage in exchange. But how could they do this, if they could not trust non-kin? Greif argued that Europeans set up institutions to overcome this problem. These institutions aligned the incentives of all parties to act truthfully. Institutions like these have huge set up costs. They will not be established where there is not an overwhelming need. An unintended consequence of these institutions is that once they are established, they open up a much larger world for economic exchange. This world is much larger than even the largest kin unit. What had at one point been an impediment ended up being a blessing in disguise.”

      1. I read the original blog post. You are right Chris, it is indeed excellent. Great find Aaron.

        But that leads me to several questions:

        1. As Mary asks, what is defined as an “institution”, particularly with respect to the U.S.? Is it the political system, the justice system, capitalism in general? How micro or macro does one get to define an “institution”?

        2. Given what has happened in the past 10 or so years, not only in the U.S., but the world at large, does the Internet qualify as an “institution”? And is this a case of “institution driving culture”, or “culture driving driving the creation of an institution”? I cannot imagine a more culturally polarizing force that the Net or, more specifically, social media. I, just like everyone else, have lost friends because they have absorbed so much insanity from social media sites.

        I don’t imagine the tyrant would have risen to power without the existence of the Internet.

      2. Mary,

        This country has been rich in healthy institutions. It’s those institutions which have held us together through this Fascist moment, which will hopefully only be a moment.

        A few stand out. One is our long history of town halls and local civic engagement. This is highly unusual even in the more developed democracies.

        Another is our highly sophisticated, accurate and reliable system of property title tracing. This developed in a pretty organic manner and it has slashed the relative cost of transferring and proving ownership in real property compared to many other countries.

        In our bureaucracy, our environmental, worker and food/drug protection institutions have been an impressive beacon, though they’ve all been eroded quite a bit over the past two decades.

        Though Americans love to complain about education, our educational institutions are remarkably powerful, far-reaching and cheap. They are also notable for their degree of inclusion, which probably sounds odd to American ears, but education for minority populations in other democracies tends to be much worse than in the US, often a complete afterthought. And no other country in the world can boast a university system in a class with ours.

        Our dense networks of local political participation beyond political parties, institutions like the League of Women Voters, service clubs, school boosters, and other local social groups remain the envy of the world, even after considerable recent decline.

        Almost all of America’s strength in the world was based on its rich network of participatory institutions.

      3. Agreed. That was a great blog piece! I wonder if what we’re seeing as not so much the destruction of institutions, as an organization of institutions around a different construct.

        If the first set of institutions people had was centered in their clans, and the second group was the city/state (I’d throw the church in there somewhere too), I’d argue that the next is actually a regression to the clan model, but one built on online communities. People are closer to their facebook clans than many of their own kin (you probably interact less with your Trump-supporting family members than they do with their fb and reddit friends, for example). Heck, I discuss more politics with my ‘clan’ of political orphans here, and trust their judgments more than I do most of my family members or govt authorities 🙂

        This is both good and bad. The good is that online clans can indeed span the world and be big enough to carry out most of your day-to-day necessities. I’d even argue things like bitcoin are an internet clan-based attempt at a monetary infrastructure.

        The downside is that, because online clans are so fluid, you never have to face a dissenting opinion. When family was important, you sucked it up and found a way to co-exist and find common ground with various kin. Similarly, if you depend on govt institutions, you can’t really fundamentally disagree with them without emigrating to another country. But there are infinite online clans to join, so you never need to assimilate or find common ground. Don’t like that your Mom and your medical doctor want you to vaccinate your child? Easy. Find a facebook group that validates your opinions. You can then rely on them for medical advice on what to do when your child starts coughing with a weird “whooping” sound. Disagree with the FDA approving GMO foods? Join the Food Babe network and use them as your preferred regulatory authority on food safety.

        For many of us, the world has reversed: our online clans are now more world-spanning, fluid, and up-to-date with rapid changes (whether they’re right or wrong about them is another matter) than increasingly isolated, parochial, and sclerotic govt institutions.

  7. Another scenario to noodle about:

    Precisely, what are the powers that the tyrant, or any president, have when it comes to pulling out of NATO? Say it is May 2021. What happens when the tyrant is still in power, Russia starts rolling armor into the Baltic states, they invoke Article 5, and the tyrant’s regime says “nah, we are not honoring our commitment.”?

    Does the military have any legal duty to override the presidency?

  8. Is this supposed to stick or anything? I don’t see how this thing is any more newsworthy than any other thing, esp. since this was territory covered in 2016. Didn’t stick then, no actually new information, why is THIS the topic du jour?

    The only thing that stuck out to me about this post was that so much dumb shit has happened that I forgot all about Trump University, and it brought me back to 2016 when it felt like pointing that out should sink him. More innocent times.

    1. It sticks because it pierces through the amoral muck of Donald Trump in, perhaps, the only way that anything could: it hits people in the heart. President Tangerine von Whinestein made it personal.

      Ask yourself why he’s been freaking out over this ever since the article first hit. Why none of his usual game of distract and destroy? It’s because Trump, a singularly incompetent individual in nearly all respects, does possess a conman’s one legitimate skill – he’s a salesman. He knows what people listen to and what sticks in their minds.

      This doesn’t need to sink Trump’s approval within military families. He doesn’t need to take a 10 or 20 pt hit. Even shaving just a few pts off in a few key states is enough to cripple him.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/04/us/politics/trump-military-vote-democrats.html

      1. And that *did* hurt him, just not enough.

        Regardless, I’d advise against extrapolating from ’16 here. We know that Trump was already losing support among military families – and even if you take the cynical approach that this won’t hurt him further, one thing you can’t argue against is that the time the Dear Leader’s wasted in defending himself against this is time he can’t spend attacking Biden.

        https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/08/31/as-trumps-popularity-slips-in-latest-military-times-poll-more-troops-say-theyll-vote-for-biden/

      2. “I’d advise against extrapolating from ’16 here.”

        True, I also advise against extrapolation. I can’t claim to know what is going to happen.

        My intellectual struggle here is that for me to follow cause and effect, I would have to expect something to have an effect. 45 has literally covered probably every possible “this is bad, this is wrong, and this is dangerous” political act short of smearing his own feces on the wall of the Oval Office and aborting a baby on its desk, and it hasn’t changed his support, so therefore I simply don’t see the purpose of seeing a catalyst and expecting it to have an effect.

        If a rat reaches for some food and gets an electric shock, the rat stops reaching for the food. But if the rat gets an electric shock regardless of what it does, independent of its actions and in no discernible pattern, the rat gives up trying entirely. My brain is fried.

      3. There was a type of voter who thought Trump’s personality would change if he got elected. (A stupid judgment, to be sure) Besides, this goes well beyond draft-dodging. Instead of saving your own skin, it’s the foolishness to mock the people who are going instead of you.
        Two biggest differences between ’16 and now are the virus, and it being *known* Trump can win.

      4. Gotta go with Aaron here. I don’t think this sticks. Of course, 2020 is different than 2016, point taken. But if anything, people who support Trump are even more entrenched in their views after 4 years. In 2016, people might have been intrigued and took a chance on him hoping for the best. Now, everyone knows what he is. Not saying no one changed their minds over the 4 years, but the people that are still supporting Trump today don’t care about any of this.

        At this point, there’s no real benefit to going after Trump. Whoever supports him will continue to do so. They won’t listen to anything else. Now we must simply outvote them by firing up our own base. I would say we should also demoralize their base so they won’t vote, but I genuinely don’t know what would convince a Trump supporter to stay home. Not even the risk of death by covid at the polling location got them to stop! To get the answer, we may need to throw away the political analyses and look at histories of cults and what gets members who’ve sworn a death pact to finally break free.

        Ryan-
        Thanks for that link. What most surprises me is that the officer corp is less supportive of Trump than the enlisted ranks. I always thought that the officer corp, which generally is richer, whiter, more male and more conservative, supported Trump more than enlisted, which, yes consists of lots of young rural red state men but also a large contingent of minorities and poor urban kids. But that’s tempered with the understanding that almost 50% of them still support a Russian-controlled President who sneers at their sacrifice, secretly regards them as losers, and is willing to throw thousands of their lives away if it gets him one more hotel property in some autocrat’s capitol. If military ranks themselves are still nearly 50/50 on Trump despite them knowing what he really thinks of them, I doubt his civilian supporters care more about these revelations.

        Jon-
        For the virus to make a big difference, people have to first believe it’s real. Most Trump supporters are so deranged they still think the virus is no big deal. They literally discount the death figures, saying that the liberal media is counting regular heart attacks, etc. to stuff the covid numbers. If you ask them who’s to blame for covid, the economy, and the body bags in the morgues, they’ll say Obama (I’m being completely serious).

        I literally don’t care to engage with Trump voters any more. If they still support the man after 4 years, they’re a lost cause. Their power must be wiped out by force, first at the ballot box, then through a systematic purge of their influence in our institutions, and, if those fail, then by any means necessary.

  9. Based on my single watching of The Godfather Part I, Coppola chose to leave this out, but a major theme of Puzo’s novel is that the mafia sometimes did right by the Sicilian people (first in Italy, later in America) when no one else would. This is why Vito has the title Godfather; he continually redressed wrongs in his community. Trump, as the post on the Wall gofundme describes, is the opposite: a parasite who exists mainly off “his people”.

    Of course, Vito isn’t real, and the mob comparison is apt. Best to commit crimes with family members; they’re the only ones close enough to trust. Anyone further out seldom enters into their moral calculus.

    1. Watch the first 7 minutes of the movie. Many consider it the best opening scene in a movie, ever. You can find it on YouTube. It deals precisely with the Godfather gaining justice for Sicilians when the American justice system fails them.

      Now, was this romanticized? I don’t know. Maybe the mob was always like The Sopranos, which is Chris’ view of the tyrant, his crime family, sycophants and enablers. But I do know the mob patrolled the Navy docks during WWII. Now, that was transactional, as it got Luciano out of prison, in 1946.

      What I do know is this. The past few years have exposed the entire federal justice system in the U.S. as a joke. A cruel, sad joke. You want real justice, you don’t look to vehicles of the law.

      1. Ah. Let’s not invent a cause for the mob. Mafias happen when legitimate authority is unavailable. They are inferior to almost any form of political organization, more brittle, incapable of stable, mass reach, and far more dependent on violence than other forms of organization.

        You get mafias in places legitimate authority has abandoned. They are a symptom of dysfunction.

      2. @Dins That scene is excellent. I’d forgotten. A small thing this probably is to others, but it stood out to me that Don Corleone pronounced his name correctly, with the terminal ‘e’ audible.
        I’ll amend the claim to be that Coppola doesn’t care about this theme as much as Puzo did. In the novel, for instance, the part that’s in Italy has a history lesson about the mafia. (He claims, and I’ve never corroborated this, that the Allies invading Italy reinstated mafia chiefs to positions of power, out of the mistaken belief that everyone Mussolini had imprisoned was a democrat.)
        Some books adapt well to film. Others don’t. The core plot of The Godfather adapts very well; the slow, reflective sections taking place mostly in Vegas and Hollywood do not, and thus are not present.

  10. A few questions and comments:

    1. Is there another person, in the free world, that could still be a viable political force after these comments have been made public? The fact that upwards of 40% of the american electorate either don’t believe they are true, or don’t care, is the truly damning fact.

    2. Following up with the above point, as you say, the death cult is made up of racists, religious nuts, and criminals. So logic follows, that means 40% plus of americans are racists, religious nuts, and criminals. Yet so many want to “dialogue” with this slime. They are not going anywhere, no matter who is in charge.

    3. With reference to point #1, assuming no other person in the free world could weather the storm after making these comments, does not logic dictate that the u.s. is no longer part of the free world?

    4. With reference to your last comments about sacrifice for the greater good, I would like to know why certain 4 star generals, a Marine general in particular, when alone with the tyrant, experiencing first-hand the madness and evil of the tyrant, did not end this regime in a few seconds. No one can tell me they did not have the physical ability to do it. I am quite certain that it is part of every u.s. military code that when a superior officer is certifiably insane, and a threat to not only the troops but civilians, other officers are beholden to stop that insane person, by any means necessary.

    5. Godfather I and II are two of my favorite movies. I remember quite well the scenes you described. Now, you have not spelled it out explicitly, do you believe that the 55-60% of the u.s. that are not evil and insane, could actually mount a rebellion against this regime, like in Cuba. Frankly, for the reasons I laid out previously, I don’t see the majority having the capability to do it. Things are not bad enough, yet, for the masses to rise up, and when the tyrant has the backing of 40% of the populace, it is not possible.

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