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Weekly Reader: Hidden history; hidden agendas

Different groups employ various methods to control the historical and political narrative. Michael Adkison, in Facing South, has a fascinating piece about one such instance entitled The University of Arkansas’s hidden history of helping Nazis.

As always, this Weekly Reader features links to recent articles that grabbed my interest or tickled my fancy. I hope you find something that makes you laugh, think, or cry.

As we face our racist past, many are just discovering the troubling ties between Nazi Germany and the United States.

“‘The U.S. led the world in eugenic thinking in the 1930s,’ said John Treat, a historian who teaches an honors humanities seminar at the University of Arkansas that covers Krieger. ‘We were the model for the Nazis.’

Not much is known about Heinrich Krieger. He was a German lawyer who attended the University of Arkansas in 1933 and 1934 to study business and American race law — particularly laws regarding Indigenous Americans. The Nazis had long been interested in American race law; in his book ‘Mein Kampf,’ Nazi leader Adolf Hitler said the U.S. was ‘the one state’ in the world creating the kind of racist society the Nazi regime wanted.

In the battle with home-grown fascism in America in 2021, this is a history that needs to be understood, not swept under the rug.

Hidden agendas

Writing in Religion Dispatches, the Roman Catholic theologian and activist Mary E. Hunt suggests that the Bishops’ Attempt to Deny Communion to Biden Will Backfire Even More Spectacularly Than Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage.

Mr. Biden is currently the subject of some bishops’ braying and bleating about his fitness to receive communion. From the time of his election, through the upcoming annual June meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the right flank of the Conference has been rehearsing its old songs…(and) set up a committee to consider how to respond to a Catholic president who doesn’t interfere with the law of the land when it comes to abortion. How do you solve a problem like Joe Biden? was their hit tune.

The bishops’ Inauguration Day missive 

“stood in sharp contrast to Pope Francis’ kind, diplomatic words of welcome to the second Catholic president of the United States. The Bishops acknowledged Mr. Biden’s personal piety, but charged that he “has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity…” They weren’t referring to building walls, supporting the death penalty, interfering with voting rights, and/or withholding healthcare from those made poor. The chorus was a tired refrain: “abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.” It was as if Catholics cared about nothing else during a global pandemic when systemic racism and economic inequality reign. The timing was rude, the content familiar, the impact minimal.” (emphasis added)

With the archbishop who chairs the Conference’s Pro-Life Activities Committee, “we have a bishop, not of the president’s diocese, who tells a practicing Catholic that he is not devout.” In terms of hidden agendas, Hunt suggests that the most vociferous bishops on these questions “tend to be the ones who’ve had their heads measured for new regalia because they’re banking on being named cardinals, especially after Pope Francis is conveniently, for them, out of the picture.”

The radicalization of politics

Ted Cruz’s agenda is never hidden.

Author and lawyer Teri Kanefield has an interesting piece on her blog entitled The Radicalization of the Republican Party. She begins with a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Cruz where the Texas Senator calls out corporate America for pushing back against the Republican party’s radical politics, and he ends by posting his conclusion, which he also tweeted:

Social media understood right away this was a stunning admission that Ted Cruz takes corporate money in exchange for doing their bidding. But of course we know that. The other reaction on social media was, ‘Ted Cruz turn away corporate money? Don’t make me laugh.

…Are the right wing extremists and Corporate America on a verge of divorce? Is Ted Cruz singing, ‘You’ll be back?’Will the Republican Party, which started as the party of business and industry, jettison the industry and business portion and become purely the Party of White Grievance and extremists?

The party that began as the anti-slavery pro-business party would end up, Kanefield notes, as the party of white supremacists and insurrectionists.

More to come…


Image by USA from Pixabay.

This entry was posted in: The Times We Live In, Weekly Reader


I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.

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