Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 18 in Today I Learned – the Madagascar Plan

In June of 1940, Nazi Germany was kicking about Europe, just being a real group of assholes, as they were wont to do. As big a group of assholes they were, they had not yet evolved into their final asshole form – they were still the Charmeleon to the Charizard of terrible they would soon become. They were “reincorporating” surrounding nations, with France on the immediate horizon, but still had this issue with the Jews. They were EVERYWHERE, with prior efforts to force them to emigrate not taking hold as they had wished (many European Jews interpreted the Nazis’ hostile actions through Kristallnacht and programs encouraging them to leave as a sign they should leave, but many other stayed). Enter: the Madagascar Plan, where the Nazis would shove all the Jews onto boats and ship them to Madagascar.

(I apologize if this all seems too flippant for a truly atrocious period in human history, but I am trying to keep this as light as possible while avoiding being contemptuous, because I think this is an interesting wrinkle of history not many people are familiar with.)

The Nazis were manhandling the French, as everyone in history tends to (excluding all those years Napoleon fought the entire world and won), but the Nazi domestic leaders didn’t know what to with all these Jewish people they had been accumulating as they romped around the continent. Obviously, they couldn’t just STAY, because they were the root of all evil in the world, but they also were not embracing the opportunity to leave as they had hoped (estimates suggest roughly 250,000 of Germany’s 437,000 Jews had voluntarily left by 1939), when one of the heads of the German Foreign Office, Franz Rademacher, figured, ‘hey, the French have this huge tropical island we could drop all of them off at!’ This would get rid of the Jews, plus give them a beautiful tropical island all to themselves. I like to imagine Rademacher figured all these people who had lived in Europe for generations as cobblers or grocers being plotted in the middle of a jungle would lead to a whole bunch of wacky sitcom-esque hi-jinks with monkeys – think Gilligan’s Island but everyone is the Professor.

This would not be the case. Madagascar is a relatively inhospitable territory still today, so you can imagine what it was like in 1940. Yes, France had colonized it, but really only because Africa was treated like one of those game show cash boxes where a fan whips loose bills around – you just grabbed what you could regardless of the practicality or actual use. So Madagascar – useless, remote and inhospitable, with barren lands where the Nazis figured the Jewish population would succumb eventually to the brutal conditions anyway, all of this governed as a police state under the SS. So… the Nazis didn’t originally want to outright kill Jews, but was totally cool if they just, ya know, happened to die.

As of August 15, 1940, this plan was a go, with Adolf Eichmann calling for one million Jews per year for the next four years be relocated to Madagascar. Giving the eventual alternative, this could be confused as a humane alternative, but if we look closer, German experts estimated that – at best – 7,000 families could be reasonably accommodated on the vastly underdeveloped island, with many others stating 500 families was the best the Nazis could reasonable expect to live there. So this was not quite as benevolent as it originally seemed once you realize they were no longer okay if Jewish prisoners died, but were actively banking on the fact most would perish in order to make room for others.

How did this plan get so close to fruition and then fall apart? Reports suggest that this plan was considered so certain, construction of Polish ghettos were ceased nationwide. Germany had very few ships to spare for a long trip to the African coast, which was implausible due to the British blockade placing them essentially on lock-down. The Nazis figured, once they repossessed Madagascar from France, they would be on to hammering Britain into submission, relieving them of the blockade as well as supplying them with suitable merchant ships. Once they began to struggle against Britain, the Nazis turned for help to Soviet Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, who had originally endorsed the idea and agreed to ship Russian Jews as well to the island, but ignored the plea to help by lending ships.

The Nazis had kept the Jews imprisoned in ghettos around Poland, but figured they could be shipped to Siberia after they flipped the script on the Soviets and conquered them. If you’re rusty on your World War II history, England did not succumb to the Nazis, and Russia turned out to be a bit more of a dilemma than anticipated. Within a year, the Madagascar Plan was discarded and the Holocaust had began shortly after.

Lest we end on the most distressing of terms, let’s consider had this worked out. Not the Nazi resettlement plan, which was essentially a death sentence, but one of the earlier plans to do so (German and Polish Jews had independently investigated the legitimacy of relocating and establishing a Jewish state in 1885 and 1937, respectively). Had a fair number of Jewish families been permitted to settle without the existential threat of a police state that would just as prefer them dead, imagine if Madagascar had been used instead of modern-day Israel as a designated Jewish state.

Geographically, Madagascar is 226.6k square miles whereas Israel is 8.5k square miles if we include the disputed West Bank, and provides far more available natural resources like chromite, coal, salt and bauxite in addition to an expansive fishing and ocean shipping industry rather than a relatively small reserve of crude oil in Israel (sorry if this feels like a seventh grade social studies class). The Jewish population would likely have resisted this alien terrain seeing as how their religious beliefs lay just as significant a claim to Jerusalem and the region as do modern day Palestinians. Without really diving into that whole thing, we would probably STILL talk about a one- or two-state solution in Israel, albeit without nearly the intensity we currently do. The Jewish stereotype of well-educated white collar families would be likely be replaced with Jewish sea captains and miners, which is probably the furthest apart two stereotypes could be. A Jewish nation in the Indian Ocean would not face the persistent existential threat posed by Iran, Egypt and Syria, but would probably would find some new neighbors outraged by their presence (sorry native Malagasians!) (and let’s be honest, the Iranians – I have a hunch they’re going to piss-y with a Jewish nation-state no matter where it is). Madagascar would likely not be the forgotten outpost it essentially is today, and would not have immediately fallen in disrepair because the rest of the world forgot about it too. This is my new favorite historical what-if.

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Cross- and Intra-Asset Correlations are Plummeting…

Volatility is skyrocketing. VIX…soar, like Eagle. The 30 year bull market in fixed income is coming to an abrupt end. Trade wars on a global scale are looming. Currencies and hard assets are getting thrashed. The 10 year bull market in equities has already baked in a massive tax cut and is running out of steam. Recession on the horizon. Prospects are bleak. Correlations are down.

It’s becoming a stock picker’s market…

Daddy’s gotta go to work.

In other news…God!:

Great bumper sticker. Wonderful. It NEVER gets old.

This post is brought to you by:

Even if your Kumho has a lot of mileage, you’ll still feel comfortable letting your family ride that rubber.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 5 of Today I Learned – Papal Schism

This is less something new I learned rather than perhaps my favorite bit of historical esoterica – the Papal Schism! (or the Great Schism) (or the Western Schism) (or the Schism of 1378) (or the Occidental Schism) (but not “Schism” by Tool, despite being a great song). Really, it’s probably just because of the word “schism” – go ahead and say it out loud. It’s delightful. Also, how many different schisms can there be where this many names are needed?
Anyway, for those of you who were not blessed to take AP European History with Mr Yanko in high school, this particular event concerns the time the Catholic Church accidentally appointed three concurrent popes. Three popes! An orgy of popes! The madness! Consider, if you will, the United States having three simultaneous presidents (rather than the current two – salute to our Comrade in Chief Putin!), and the chaos that would ensue. Now, imagine everyone actually GAVE a shit about what each of these people said, since your allegiance to the wrong one would lead to eternal damnation.
In the 1300’s, the head of the Catholic Church was moved from Rome to Avignon, France; the story behind this is pretty wild but we’ll keep it brief — the French king didn’t like the current Pope, who beat and tortured a 73-old religious figure until he died, leading to an emergency conclave to pick the next Pope, in which the French king forced the conclave to vote for the French nominee by pointing to the last guy who didn’t go along with his wishes; this French guy decided Rome was trash and moved the entire Catholic Church to southern France. The Middle Ages are considered the dark ages of history, but this is merely the background to a weirder story – the Middle Ages were WILD.
This Avignon papacy had developed a reputation for corruption, which alienated everyone that wasn’t French (the French – pissing everyone else off for as long as they’ve been around). After an Avignon pope died in 1378, the Romans saw their chance to reclaim the papacy for themselves, and they elected Bartolomeo Prignano, put fourth by the Italian mob (the Italians – hand-in-hand with the mafia since as long as they’ve been around), who became Urban VI located in Rome. Everyone was happy (note – still the Middle Ages, so no one was happy as everyone died all the time for like, NO reason, and you had to shit in buckets, assuming you were one of the lucky ones), until everyone realized Urban was kind of a dick to his cardinals. Or insane. Being the middle ages, who can tell the difference. The cardinals, being the catty mean girls of the Medieval period, fled Rome to Avignon to pick a new Regina George, electing Robert of Geneva (who became Clement VII) as the antipope located in Avignon. ANTIPOPE. THIS IS A REAL THING AND NOT A JOKE. The Antipope sounds like he was infected by a radioactive batch of holy water, and given the superpower of knowing the last time everyone masturbated. These cardinals claimed they were ‘pressured’ into their selection, and therefore it was all invalid, thus premiering the first ever anti-bullying campaign (or antipope campaign?)
Urban VI, with his feelings hurt by everyone’s change of heart, regretfully stepped aside. PSYCHE — he doubled down and proclaimed everyone who followed the other pope a heretic and destined to burn in hell. Medieval period Catholics were understandable not chill about this whole situation. An array of battles occurred between the cities and states on both sides while everyone tried to figure which side they were on. On the one hand, the FIRST pope (Urban) was in Rome, where the Catholic Church had historically been, but on the other hand, the SECOND pope (Clement) came as part of the the undisputed line of previous popes in Avignon, and all the Church leaders advocated for him as the legitimate pope. Eventually, after decades of separate papal lines, church leaders agreed they should hold an official church council to pick a newer, MORE official pope, but for realsies this time. The only issue is canon dictates an official church council could only be called by the pope, which neither would do at the risk of losing power. Wacky hijinks ensue.
In 1409 (thirty-one years after the original split), two groups of cardinals from both locations met and elected a new pope in order to solve the crisis, electing Alexander V to be the realest pope, damned if canon permitted it. TWO ANTIPOPES! Alexander died almost immediately, and John XXIII was elected in his place — this isn’t really relevant, but John’s original name was “Baldassare Cosaa” – Bald Ass the Pope.
In the most shocking twist of events yet, Bald Ass eventually agreed to hold an OFFICIAL church council, which the Roman pope at the time (Gregory XII) agreed to, thus bringing legitimacy to whoever was elected without lakes of bloodshed. This is the only time something has been decided by papal majority, with two of the three popes agreeing and overruling the third. John and Greg resigned, but the Avignon pope at the time (Benedict XIII) refused to abdicate; he was promptly ex-communicated. Being excommunicated was sort of like getting thrown out of a group chat, except you get condemned to burn in hell to boot. The new, OFFICIAL, NO FOR REAL OFFICIAL Pope, Martin V, was elected and resided in Rome. The Avignon papacy continued for two more popes but had lost all steam and support. Fun fact – Gregory XII, in 1415, was the last pope to resign until Benedict XVI did so in 2013.
Today, you (hopefully) learned that the Catholic Church is basically run the same way Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” approaches getting a cat out of a wall (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wco2uE6vyQ). And there was a time you could name your kid Bald Ass.

Random Bidtits (6/6/2018)

HEY-OOOOOOO!!!! So who among you is into Christianity and religion? Great, watch this wonderful video on YouTube titled George Carlin on Christianity. He nails it. Next, read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion because it’s well worth your time if you’re considering pissing away your life on the invisible man in the sky.

Next, who among you are video gamers? Great, you’re not pissing away your life in the slightest. Righteous, broheim. Here’s a YouTube video on how Halo Changed Everything. The guy brings up some solid points that made my neckbeard wither with delight. I’d also suggest that the GTA series changed everything as well. Halo 1 and 2, as well as GTA Vice City and V, are the greatest games ever made. Tangentially, here’s a photo you guys/gals will find interesting:

And another photo that will strike a little too close to home for the bad hombres out there:

And finally, which one of these six stores isn’t like the others?

#hoodrich

And finally finally, I was home visiting my family last month when a family member entered the room with the following watch. Made. My. Day.

“If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow” – Theodore Roosevelt

Article: The Kushner Family Passover Haggadah

Article from here, shared with me by a surprisingly good hombre.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to our Passover Seder! The history of the Jewish people reaches back nearly 4,000 years. We began as slaves in the land of Egypt but today we are free. As we recline in the luxury of freedom in our new Kalorama mansion, let us not forget our white Christian brothers and sisters yearning for release from bondage. We remember the baker forced to bake for every wedding and the ovum oppressed by its mother’s womb. May this Seder inspire us to light the torch of liberty and burn anyone who stands in our way. Thus we begin with the lighting of the candles.

KIDDUSH BLESSING OVER THE WINE

Next, we recite the blessing over the wine, given to us from Eric Trump Winery, the largest winery on the East Coast. This wine symbolizes the sweetness of a wealthy father and the joy we feel when we are all together, with the exception of Melania who prefers to stay in New York. Amen.

PARSLEY

The parsley on our Seder plate reminds us of spring and the earth’s natural bounty, which does not need cumbersome government regulations. We dip the parsley into salt water representing the bitterness of liberal tears. Then eat.

MATZAH

This is the bread of affliction. It is the simple bread our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt, Brooklyn, and New Jersey before reaching the Promised Land of Washington D.C. Our ancestors overcame great suffering in their journey to freedom without any government assistance. To those who are hungry and in need, we offer our prayers and hope, which is enough — Dayenu!

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

We’re not answering any questions today. No questions.

THE FOUR CHILDREN

The Torah instructs us to teach our children the story of Passover. The sages tell us there are four types of children:

The Wise Child — He understands what’s going on but is unable to convince others.

The Wicked Child — He understands what’s going on but goes along with it because it enriches him.

The Simple Child — He hasn’t a clue what’s going on but stupidly trusts Steve Bannon will figure it out.

The Child Unable to Ask — This kid is so shell-shocked by what’s happening that he turns mute like in the movie Tommy.

MIRIAM’S CUP

A cup of water is placed on the table to honor the prophet Miriam. Legend says God sustained the Jews as they wandered the desert with a steady stream of water coming out of Miriam’s wherever. We embrace this new Passover tradition as passionate advocates for the empowerment of women as symbolized by our “Make Women Great Again” luxury candle, available for sale at ivankatrump.com. This candle combines notes of peony, sandalwood, and conflicts of interest.

THE PASSOVER STORY

Now it is time to retell the story of Passover: A Pharaoh came to power in Egypt who feared the Jews because they wore strange head coverings. He didn’t believe the Jews were loyal to Egypt and loyalty was extremely important to Pharaoh, more than spelling, honesty, or the Constitution.

Pharaoh enslaved the Jews and forced them to make bricks for his tacky buildings with his name written on them in giant hieroglyphs. Then he issued a “Pharaoh-Order” mandating every Jewish male newborn was a security risk and must be drowned in the Nile, Pharaoh’s way of keeping “bad dudes” out of Egypt.

One Jewish mother resisted. She placed her baby in a tiny boat made of ancient Planned Parenthood signs, remnants of a bygone era, and set him afloat in the Nile, hoping he’d be saved. An undercover CIA operative posing as Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby, named him Moses, and raised him as her own.

Eventually, Moses learned of his true family’s identity and tried to help the Jews. (Family must always remain loyal—through felony convictions, product boycotts or impeachment.) Moses started @RoguePALACEfamily to spread hope, but failed to get Pharaoh to pivot on the Jewish labor issue. That’s when God had to step in and visited ten terrible plagues upon Egypt. They were:

Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Tuition-Free Public College

Paid Family Leave

Sensible Gun Control

$15.00 Federal Minimum Wage

Internet Privacy

Carbon Tax

Dodd-Frank

Campaign Finance Reform

Universal Health Care

Egyptians suffered greatly during these plagues. Everyone was getting the same opportunities. Pharaoh couldn’t handle it. After each plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jews go. But once the plague disappeared he’d tweet:

“FAKE NEWS got it wrong again — Jews know they r better off w/me than Moses. LOSER!!”

Curiously the tweets always happened on Shabbat. But amid great sorrow over the final plague of universal health care, Pharaoh relented. The Jews fled quickly into the desert without allowing their dough to rise and were stuck with a dry, tasteless, constipation-invoking bread substitute instead — the first matzah.

EXPLANATION OF PASSOVER SYMBOLS

SHANK BONE

The shank bone represents the sacrificial lamb Jews slaughtered the night they left Egypt. This Passover we engrave the shank bone with “Elizabeth Warren 2020.”

BITTER HERBS

These herbs remind us of the unfathomable bitterness of white working class America who threw a Hail Mary into our system of government in a last-ditch effort to bring back jobs in coal, steel, and VCR repair.

CHAROSET

A yummy salad of apple, nuts and cinnamon which shows off Ivanka’s cooking skills and her relatable desire to be a sweet and caring mother to her children. #familytime

ROASTED EGG

This egg is a symbol of rebirth and new opportunities for revenge on those who have betrayed us.

WELCOMING ELIJAH

We set aside a special cup of wine for the prophet Elijah. Legend says Elijah will return to earth to lead the way for peace. Unfortunately, we are unable to open our door to welcome Elijah as tradition dictates due to the protesting crowds outside.

CONCLUSION

As we conclude our Seder we give thanks to the Lord, our God, and ask for his greatest blessing of peace but take nothing off the table.

This year we are here; next year in Moscow!

Pascal’s Wager Paying Off Big League!!!

The driver of this Toyota Avalon really pulled a fast one on the old man upstairs!

This man wagered…wisely. 

Also, disregard the Flyin’ Hawaiian on my dash.  She serves as a constant reminder of my white privilege.

Speaking of cars facts, I guarantee you this guy insists on driving a stick:

And finally, this man has been lining the pockets of his shareholders for years…KA-CHINGGGGG!!!

Song of the Day (4/16/2017) and Arrested Development/Reagan

Happy Easter/Passover everyone!  This week, we take a moment to remember a final supper, a betrayal, and a beard (and the man beneath it) that rose from the ashes postmortem (how’s my Latin?  Do I need to go back to the Roman Catholic Church and do some boning up?).

I’m not quite sure how JC rose from the dead – he really pulled a rabbit out of his ass, and while I have never pulled a rabbit out of my own, I have definitely pulled out my fair share of hares.  Write that down.

Today’s song of the day is May we All by Florida Georgia Line.  Some easy listening for you while you’re searching for eggs, either in your backyard or in your wife.  Your Sunday is your business.

Obligatory Arrested Development references:

…dot com.

…climb that wall, homo!

This blog is looking more and more like it should just be an instagram account; however, fuck tech savvy millennials.  I was at a friend’s parents’ house a few weeks ago – the mother works as a political correspondent for Fox News (fingers crossed she gets a big payday from Bill “Fuck it, we’ll do it live” O’Reilly) – and I came across this epic shrine to Ronnie:

Next.  I walked through an estate sale yesterday and came across the best piece of marketing of all time:

Whatever happened to Amoco?  Ohhhhh, I know, it was swallowed up by BP (no joke).  I haven’t heard of BP since that big oil spill in the gulf.  Wonder what they’re up to these days

we’re sorry.

Alrighty!  Time to go eat dinner, happy Easter/Passover everyone!

(Photo above from Brooklyn last week.  As someone said, when Brooklyn is sending their people into Manhattan, they’re not sending their best).

Today’s bad taste joke of the day comes from a close family member and all around funny guy: I was at the church the other day and the Father was complaining that while the nativity scene out front was beautiful, the local youth kept on stealing the baby Jesus.  Easy fix, I told the priest that I could probably find four roman centurions to nail it down.

Stay thirsty, mis amigos.