This Wrongful Conviction Will Make You Angry and Inspired at the Same Time

Iva Toguri D'Aquino did not betray her country, her country betrayed her --- grievously so.

Mislabeled by Americans as the mythical "Tokyo Rose" --- the voice of Japan's propaganda machine during WWII --- D'Aquino, an American citizen, had every reason to disown the country that betrayed her. But she remained loyal nevertheless.

Before working on the “Tokyo Rose” episode of Glenn’s hiSTORY series as a producer for the show, I regrettably knew very little about D'Aquino's remarkable story. After researching her life story, I found her story very moving. The losses she endured --- her mother, her only baby, her husband, her citizenship and her freedom --- coupled with the injustices against her perpetrated by the United States government are staggering.

American history is frequently grayer than the black-and-white clarity we often assign to it. We learn so much of it in black-and-white fashion, I suppose, because it’s easier to package and communicate that way. It takes more effort to teach the complexities, the subtleties, the gray reality.

As this pertains to the World War II era, we can get caught up in the rah-rah aspects of America saving the world, and that should be emphasized, of course, because it’s true. But we weren’t always squeaky clean in the process. In fact, in some ways, America's leaders utterly failed many of her own people. Japanese-American internment, for example, is brushed past too often in the teaching of World War II. A more appropriate name might be "American internment," since they were American citizens being interned. Our history books seem to justify this move, perhaps in an effort to maintain Franklin D. Roosevelt’s veneer as the sage savior of the free world.

There are so many lessons to glean from D'Aquino's story. It is at once an inspirational tale of perseverance and unwavering allegiance to one’s country. It is also a cautionary tale about our members of the press acting irresponsibly with their Constitutional freedom --- their willingness to sacrifice an innocent life to appease popular sentiment and to abuse of the power of the microphone. These are areas we still wrestle with today.

If anyone in American history had just cause for jettisoning their American citizenship, it was D'Aquino, yet she did not. Remarkably, she had easy opportunity to do just that, and was even pressured to do so by the Japanese government, and later by her Portuguese husband who urged her to become a Portuguese citizen. But D'Aquino remained an American even when her loyalty was rewarded with eight years of jail time.

In our current “selfie,” celebrity-obsessed culture, we would do well to remember D'Aquino, who didn’t sue anyone when she was finally released from prison, or write a tell-all book, or cash in on movie rights to her story. She didn’t burn American flags or go on the lecture circuit to slam her government. She didn’t make a cottage industry out of her victimhood. In fact, she quietly and gradually paid off the $10,000 fine levied on her by the federal government as part of her treason conviction, finally making the last payment in 1973.

She just wanted to go home. She just wanted to be an American. She continued that desire even after being stamped with a criminal legacy by her fellow Americans under the ironic guise of patriotism.

Glenn’s hiSTORY episode about Tokyo Rose airs tonight at 5pm ET on TheBlaze.


Critical race theory: Struggle sessions

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China has a rich legacy of torture. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party used a variety of torture techniques. These became more and more advanced over time. This included public humiliation and public executions.

One specific kind of public humiliation is what's called "The Struggle Session." It was a punishment reserved for people who committed wrong-think. The point was to publicly degrade the person until they swore allegiance to the Communist Party. Their focus is on the elimination of the power base and/or class position of enemy classes or groups. It was also a warning to everyone watching: If you don't bend your knee to communism, you will be destroyed.

If you don't bend your knee to communism, you will be destroyed.

It was a way to punish anyone who so much as disagreed with Communist Party dogma.

These struggle sessions often took place in busy areas.

They also took place at universities, like the struggle session for the professor You Xiaoli, as recounted by Anne Thurston, in Enemies of the People:

You Xiaoli was standing, precariously balanced, on a stool. Her body was bent over from the waist into a right angle, and her arms, elbows stiff and straight, were behind her back, one hand grasping the other at the wrist. It was the position known as "doing the airplane." Around her neck was a heavy chain, and attached to the chain was a blackboard, a real blackboard, one that had been removed from a classroom at the university where You Xiaoli, for more than ten years, had served as a full professor. On both sides of the blackboard were chalked her name and the myriad crimes she was alleged to have committed...

The scene was taking place at the university, too, in a sports field at one of China's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. In the audience were You Xiaoli's students and colleagues and former friends. Workers from local factories and peasants from nearby communes had been bussed in for the spectacle. From the audience came repeated, rhythmic chants ... "down with You Xiaoli! Down with You Xiaoli!"

"I had many feelings at that struggle session," recalls You Xiaoli. "I thought there were some bad people in the audience. But I also thought there were many ignorant people, people who did not understand what was happening, so I pitied that kind of person. They brought workers and peasants into the meetings, and they could not understand what was happening. But I was also angry."

Struggle sessions have been revived, and exported to America. They come in many forms.

Forced apologies.

Beatings in public—like the mob attack on Rand Paul.

Or the 12-year-old boy who was sucker-punched.

Or the 12-year-old boy who was stabbed for being white.

Anti-racism seminars, like the one in Seattle.

Or the one involving Sandia Labs executives seminar.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

The long-awaited New York Attorney General's report on the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is out — and it is bad for Cuomo. The Democratic AG concluded that the Governor did sexually harass multiple women during his time in office.

On Tuesday's radio program, Glenn Beck questioned is the AG's report would be enough for Democrats to condemn him and call for his resignation? This is what the #MeToo movement was started for, Glenn noted, if Gov. Cuomo doesn't resign quickly, that says a whole lot about today's Democratic Party. Watch the clip to hear more of the conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Critical race theory: The education trap

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The fall semester isn't far away. If you aren't prepared for that, someone else is. Predatory behavior. The most important takeaway from this piece is, whatever is happening on campuses right now is what is going to play out through the rest of society in about 30 years. We're seeing it right now with Critical Race Theory.

It started on the campus. It started in the classroom. And our children are set to be the next victims in the cultural warfare for a nightmare that seems like it will never end.

Colleges are manipulating the system.

It's a little ironic that colleges are overflowing with Marxist professors who preach the Gospel of Karl Marx in their classrooms, because academia in America is the perfect example of capitalist achievement. If anything, colleges are manipulating the system in a way that should make Marxists furious. And they hurt the people that Marxism is supposed to rescue.

Colleges are an enterprise. They are Big Business. It means nothing to them to send thousands of students into debt—not if it means the campus will get a new fountain or another office for the Diversity and Inclusion department.

They'll never admit it, but a big part of their problem is that they have put so much into the myth of progress. They can't even admit that it's a myth. Because it's useful to them.

Roger Scruton once said:

Hence the invocations of "progress", of "growth", of constant "advance" towards the goal which, however, must remain always somewhere in the future.

In reality, they don't give a damn about actual progress.

That's how they have turned academia into instruments of social engineering. They use college to change society.

Their purpose is no longer educational. It's social. They're using the classrooms to cause social change.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere were joined by Pat Gray to discuss "woke" Olympic athletes.

In this clip, the guys discussed how "bravely" some athletes are for threatening to protest the national anthem, for twerking on stage, and for showing off how woke they are.

Glenn reminded America of actual bravery at the Olympics when Jesse Owens won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. "He [Owens] was oppressed," Glenn said.

Watch the clip to hear Glenn tell the full story. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.