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OH HERE IT COMES: Venezuela Is Heading for a Soviet-Style Collapse 

Remember last time an oil economy crashed catastrophically?

Anders Aslund writes: Venezuela is not the first developed country to put itself on track to fall into a catastrophic economic crisis. But it is in the relatively unusual situation of having done so while in possession of enormous oil assets. There aren’t many precedents to help understand how this could have happened and what is likely to happen next.

There is, however, at least one — the Soviet Union’s similar devastation in the late 1980s. Its fate may be instructive for Venezuela — which is not to suggest Venezuelans, least of all the regime of Nicolás Maduro, will like what it portends.

Venezuela has been ailing ever since the decline in oil prices that started in June 2014, and there is no reason to think this trend will shift anytime soon. Energy prices move in long quarter-century circles of one decade of high prices and one decade of low prices, so another decade of low prices is likely. Similarly, the biggest economic blow to the Soviet Union was the fall in oil prices that started in 1981 and got worse from there.

“Maduro seems intent on printing money like crazy, so the next step will be hyperinflation.”

But the deeper problem for the Soviet Union wasn’t the oil price collapse; it’s what came before. In his book Collapse of an Empire, Russia’s great post-Soviet reformer Yegor Gaidar pointed out that during the long preceding oil boom, Soviet policymakers thought that they could walk on water and that the usual laws of economic gravity did not apply to them. Soviet policymakers didn’t bother developing a theory to make sense of their spending. They didn’t even bother paying attention to their results. The math seemed to work out, so they just assumed there was a good reason.

This is as true of the current Venezuelan leaders as it was of the Soviet leaders. The Venezuelan government, though it doesn’t claim to be full-fledged in its devotion to Marxism-Leninism, has been pursuing as absurd an economic policy mix as its Soviet predecessor. It has insisted for years on maintaining drastic price controls on a wide range of basic goods, including food staples such as meat and bread, for which it pays enormous subsidies. Nonetheless the Venezuelan government, like the Soviet Union’s, has always felt it could afford these subsidies because of its oil revenues.

TOPSHOT - Demonstrators clash with the riot police during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on April 20, 2017. Venezuelan riot police fired tear gas Thursday at groups of protesters seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro, who have vowed new mass marches after a day of deadly unrest. Police in western Caracas broke up scores of opposition protesters trying to join a larger march, though there was no immediate repeat of Wednesday's violent clashes, which left three people dead. / AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

But as the oil price has fallen by slightly more than half since mid-2014, oil incomes have fallen accordingly. And rather than increase oil production, the Venezuelan government has been forced to watch it decline because of its mismanagement of the dominant state-owned oil company, PDVSA.

And now Venezuela seems intent on repeating the Soviet folly of the late 1980s by refusing to change course. This is allowing the budget deficit to swell and putting the country on track toward ultimate devastation.

The Soviet Union in its latter years had a skyrocketing budget deficit, too. In 1986 it exceeded 6 percent of GDP, and by 1991 it reached an extraordinary one-third of GDP. Venezuela is now following suit. The Soviet Union used its currency reserves to pay for imports, but when those reserves shrank, the government financed the budget deficit by printing money. The inevitable result was skyrocketing inflation.

It seems as if President Nicolás Maduro has adopted this tried-and-failed combination of fiscal and monetary policy. Venezuela already is dealing with massive shortages as a result of its controlled prices, because the government can no longer afford its own subsidies. But it will get worse from here.

Maduro seems intent on printing money like crazy, so the next step will be hyperinflation. Inflation is already believed to have reached 700 percent a year, and it is heading toward official hyperinflation, that is, an inflation rate of at least 50 percent a month. Read the rest of this entry »

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[FILM] ‘The Stranger’, Directed by Orson Welles, 1946

Set in Connecticut after World War II, The Stranger is a cat and mouse game between Wilson (Edward G. Robinson), a member of the Allied War Crimes Commission and Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a Nazi who has assumed the false identity of Dr. Charles Rankin. To complete his new intelligentsia disguise, Kindler marries Mary Longstreet, daughter of a Supreme Court justice.

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Run time 95 min Read the rest of this entry »


Life Under Alternative Facts 

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The Soviet Union bombarded its citizens with such facts in the seventies and eighties. No one was fooled.

 writes: There was no real cognitive dissonance existing in the minds of most people in the Soviet Union of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Everyone knew that everything said on the radio or on television, everything (with the exception of weather reports or sports results) was a blatant lie, spoken pro forma, just because that’s the way things were and had to be: outside, it was dark or light or drizzly or sunny or cold and snowy or pleasantly warm or too hot for comfort—and on the radio and on TV and in newspapers and magazines the untold legions of official-propaganda folks talked about the kind of reality which did not remotely exist in the reality of Soviet people’s lives.

“Everyone knew that they, the Soviet people, lived in a veritable funhouse of a giant isolated world unto itself, in the parallel reality of that endless hall of crazily distorted mirrors.”

Just because from dawn to dusk everyone was forced to hear on the radio and read in newspapers that everyone’s life in the Soviet land was wonderful and was going to be infinitely better still, and that everyone else out in the capitalist world envied the happiness of Soviet people’s lives, no one was duped into thinking this was actually how things were, neither in their own lives or in the lives of people all around them, in their cities and villages.

[Read the full story here, at The New Yorker]

Everyone knew the truth, even in the absence of any alternative, more reality-bound source of information. Everyone knew how things were in reality. How could one not? One had one’s eyes and ears and one’s own life to live. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Most Destructive Weapon of All Time for Sale: Hitler’s Phone 


Libby Watson reports: If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars and are extremely creepy, you can now buy a one-of-a-kind piece of history: Adolf Hitler’s personal telephone.

The phone will be sold by Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, and is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. It was taken from Hitler’s bunker shortly after his death by Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner, who died in 1977; his son Ranulf inherited the phone. According to the auction listing, Rayner was given the phone by Russian officers:

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Very likely the first non-Soviet victor to enter the city, Rayner went to the Chancellery where Russian officers offered him a tour. On entering Hitler’s private quarters, Rayner was first offered Eva Braun’s telephone, but politely declined claiming that his favorite color was red. His Russian hosts were pleased to hand him a red telephone – the telephone offered here.

The listing goes on to note the phone’s uniquely horrific history:

It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history to annihilate countless innocents, lay waste to hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, and in the end, destroy his own country and people…with effects that still menacingly reverberate today.  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer on NATO: We Blow Up Alliances at Our Peril 

Trump’s Foreign-Policy Revolution

His intimations of a new American isolationism are heard in capitals around the world.

Charles Krauthammer writes: The flurry of bold executive orders and of highly provocative Cabinet nominations (such as a secretary of education who actually believes in school choice) has been encouraging to conservative skeptics of Donald Trump. But it shouldn’t erase the troubling memory of one major element of Trump’s inaugural address.

“For 70 years, we sustained an international system of open commerce and democratic alliances that has enabled America and the West to grow and thrive. Global leadership is what made America great. We abandon it at our peril.”

The foreign-policy section has received far less attention than so revolutionary a declaration deserved. It radically redefined the American national interest as understood since World War II.

“Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose.”

Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose. As in: “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries” while depleting our own. And most provocatively, this: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

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“Imagine how this resonates abroad. ‘America First’ was the name of the organization led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II — right through the Battle of Britain — to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.”

JFK’s inaugural pledged to support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the success of liberty. Note that Trump makes no distinction between friend and foe (and no reference to liberty). They’re all out to use, exploit, and surpass us.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

No more, declared Trump: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”

Imagine how this resonates abroad. “America First” was the name of the organization led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II — right through the Battle of Britain — to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.
Read the rest of this entry »


They Are All Pauline Kael Now

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The Pauline Kael Award Goes To… The Left

 writes: The other day, when a friend who is old enough to have matured past her Bernie Sanders infatuation—but hasn’t—said to me with a mixture of awe and disdain that I was the only person she knew who voted for Trump, she put me in mind of the New York film critic Pauline Kael. “I can’t believe Nixon won,” Kael is famously supposed to have remarked of Richard Nixon’s landslide victory in 1972. “I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”

New York Times

As likely the only out-of-the-closet Trump voter in my trendy Adams-Morgan neighborhood in Northwest Washington D.C., I feel it is my right and solemn duty to bestow upon some unsuspecting worthy the Pauline Kael Award for 2016. Only problem is, there aren’t enough Paulies to go around this year. The competition is fierce. But a few contenders stand out:

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New York Times columnist David Brooks, for example, almost made Kael look like a woman of the people in his column three days after the election:

“If your social circles are like mine,” Brooks wrote, “You spent Tuesday night swapping miserable texts. Not all, but many of my friends and family members were outraged, stunned, disgusted and devastated. This is victory for white supremacy, people wrote, for misogyny, nativism and authoritarianism. Fascism is descending.”

Further demonstrating his gift for unintended humor, Mr. Brooks professed himself to be “humbled and taught by this horrific election result.” How humbled? In the column, Brooks goes on to humbly offer himself and like-minded thought leaders (his social circle?) as being graciously available to pick up the pieces when Trump resigns or is impeached, which Brooks humbly predicted would happen within a year, thus sending all those chastened Trump yahoos back into their hollows so that Brooks and his ilk can redesign American politics.

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“The job for the rest of us,” Brooks argued without a trace of irony or self-awareness, “is to rebind the fabric of society, community by community, and to construct a political movement for the post-Trump era. I suspect the coming political movements will be identified on two axes: open and closed and individual and social.” Humble pie this is not. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan: Nazi-Like Costumes Cause Backlash

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TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Keyakizaka 46 girls group provoked an international backlash over their use of Halloween costumes looking like Nazi military uniforms in an event in Yokohama on Oct. 22.

The U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which monitors anti-Semitism movements, issued a statement on Monday demanding an apology from Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., which the group belongs to, and its producer, Yasushi Akimoto.

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The center called the costumes, including black cloaks and uniform caps with eagle emblems, “inappropriate and deeply offensive.” Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Scientists Unearth Remains of Secret Nazi Arctic Base

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  reports: Scientists at the Russian Arctic National Park have unearthed the remains of a secret Nazi base on the remote island of Alexandra Land that was abandoned during the latter stages of World War II.

“The station was called ‘secret’ because during the Second World War its existence was unknown in the USSR. Starting from 1952, Soviet polar explorers were living there, waiting for the opening of a new weather station. In 1956, the German station was destroyed.”

— Russian National Park Service spokeswoman

Due to this year’s warm Arctic summer, experts could fully explore the ground where the military weather station was located, finding more than 600 items.

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“These artifacts unmistakably advise about the German identity of the station, and also suggest that its designation was both military and meteorological,” explained a spokeswoman for the Russian Arctic National Park, in an email to FoxNews.com.

Researchers found German mines, hand grenade fragments, cartridge boxes, cartridges for Mauser 98 rifles and boxes for MG-34 submachine gun feed belts. Parts of uniforms, overcoats, underwear, socks, and pieces of footwear, were also discovered, as well as sacks bearing the label of the German army.

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[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

Scientific items found include pieces of weather balloons, thermometers, astronomic tables, journals with meteorological data and textbooks on meteorology stamped with the seal of Germany’s Navy. Books of fiction such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” were discovered, as well as packages for food and even toothpaste.

The German weather station Schatzgräber (Treasure Hunter) was located on Alexandra Land, an island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, from September 1943 to July 1944, during which time it sent more than 700 meteorological reports. Military personnel at the weather station fell ill after eating polar bear meat contaminated with roundworms, forcing the base’s evacuation in 1944. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Stalin: Inside the Terror 

This is a BBC2 documentary from 2003 and probably one of the best on Stalin. The archive footage is very good and it draws upon some excellent evidence from close witnesses, including Stalin’s own family.

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Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Lind: What Politics Is(n’t) 

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In defense of what politics is and is not.

Michael Lind writes: What is politics? The answer is not obvious. Most Americans on the left and the right either do not know or have forgotten what politics is. Conventional American progressives have pretty much abandoned any distinction between the political realm and society and culture in general, while conventional American conservatives treat politics as an exercise in doctrinal purity. Both sides, in different ways, undermine the idea of a limited public square in which different groups in society can agree on a few big things while agreeing to disagree with others — progressives, by including too much of society in the public square, and conservatives, by blocking compromise with too many ideological tests.

February 23, 2014: People paint on the KGB officers monument in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

February 23, 2014: People paint on the KGB officers monument in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

“The secularization of the population was not necessary, but the secularization of the public sphere was. You could no longer win political debates by appealing to a particular interpretation of divine Scripture. Under the rules of Enlightenment liberalism, you had to make a case for the policy you preferred that was capable of persuading citizens who did not share your religious beliefs. A mere numerical majority was not enough. If the politicians express the will of a majority of voters, and the majority are told how to vote by clerics, then the democracy is really an indirect theocracy.”

Politics is only possible in a society in which much, if not most, of social life is not politicized. In premodern communities in which every aspect of life was regulated by custom or religious law, there was no politics, in the modern sense. There was no public sphere because there was no private sphere. Tribal custom or divine law, as interpreted by tribal elders or religious authorities, governed every action, leaving no room for individual choice. There were power struggles, to be sure. But there was no political realm separate from the tribe or the religious congregation. And disagreement was heresy.

A February protest against a liquified natural gas export facility in Maryland. Susan Yin/Chesapeake Climate Action Network

A February protest against a liquified natural gas export facility in Maryland. Susan Yin/Chesapeake Climate Action Network

The separation of church and state — strictly speaking, the privatization of religious belief, beginning in early modern Europe and America — was the precondition for modern politics. The secularization of the population was not necessary, but the secularization of the public sphere was. You could no longer win political debates by appealing to a particular interpretation of divine Scripture.

“Conventional American progressives have pretty much abandoned any distinction between the political realm and society and culture in general, while conventional American conservatives treat politics as an exercise in doctrinal purity. Both sides, in different ways, undermine the idea of a limited public square in which different groups in society can agree on a few big things while agreeing to disagree with others — progressives, by including too much of society in the public square, and conservatives, by blocking compromise with too many ideological tests.”

Under the rules of Enlightenment liberalism, you had to make a case for the policy you preferred that was capable of persuading citizens who did not share your religious beliefs. A mere numerical majority was not enough. If the politicians express the will of a majority of voters, and the majority are told how to vote by clerics, then the democracy is really an indirect theocracy.

Statue of Lenin in park of the statue near Budapest in hungary

“As the Marxist substitute for Abrahamic religion has faded away, its place on the political left is being taken by the new secular political religions of environmentalism and identity politics. Each of these is strongest in post-Protestant Northern Europe and North America, and weakest in historically Catholic and Orthodox Christian societies.”

Unfortunately, as Horace observed, “You can drive out Nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back.” The same might be said of religion. While some forms of religion have been expelled from politics, new forms keep trying to creep in, to recreate something like the pre-Enlightenment world in which a single moral code governs all of society and disagreement is intolerable heresy.

[Read the full text here, at The Smart Set]

Marxism can only be understood as a Christian, or Judeo-Christian, or Abrahamic spin-off — a faith militant, with its prophets, its holy scriptures, its providential theory of history, its evangelical universalism, its message of brotherhood and sisterhood transcending particular communities. Marxism was the fourth major Abrahamic religion. Nothing like Marxism could have evolved independently in traditional Confucian China or Hindu India, with their cyclical rather than progressive views of history.

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“Other elements of religion, expelled from the public sphere, have crept back in via the left, thanks to environmentalism. As the great environmental scientist James Lovelock has pointed out, anthropogenic global warming is affected by the sources of energy for large-scale power generation and transportation. But refusing to fly on airplanes or reducing your personal “carbon footprint” is a meaningless exercise, explicable only in the context of religion, with its traditions of ritual fasts and sacrifices in the service of personal moral purity.”

As the Marxist substitute for Abrahamic religion has faded away, its place on the political left is being taken by the new secular political religions of environmentalism and identity politics. Each of these is strongest in post-Protestant Northern Europe and North America, and weakest in historically Catholic and Orthodox Christian societies. A case can be made that militant environmentalism and militant identity politics are both by-products of the decomposition of Protestantism in the Anglophone nations and Germanic Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


Liberals Say Media is Failing

TRUMP-tv

…Because Public Still Supports Donald Trump

The press obviously is failing, they argue, because it isn’t convincing the American public that Mr. Trump is, indeed, Lucifer.

 writes: Is it journalistic malpractice to quote each side of the argument and leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions?

Apparently to liberals — who are fretting Hillary Clinton could lose this presidential contest to Donald Trump — the answer is yes.

How could a man who tells lies, and promotes conspiracy theories, even still be competitive, they ask. Isn’t it obvious he’s a know-nothing buffoon?

Apparently not. So they’ve turned against the one institution that’s always been on their side: The media. The press obviously is failing, they argue, because it isn’t convincing the American public that Mr. Trump is, indeed, Lucifer.

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Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wrote the media shouldn’t be treating Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump the same — that there’s a so-called “false-equivalence.”

One you see, is a reasonable, but flawed politician. The other is a monster who will take down the Republic.

“Clearly, Clinton shades the truth — yet there’s no comparison with Trump,” he writes, arguing, the press should be clearer in its reporting that Mr. Trump, is indeed, a “clown” and a “crackpot.”

Richard Cohen, perhaps heeding Mr. Kristof’s advice, wrote a column this week in The Washington Post that compared Mr. Trump to Adolf Hitler. (A simple Lexis-Nexis search found 406 articles have appeared in the Post with the search terms “Trump” and “Hitler” since June 2015.)

For good measure, the paper, two days later, ran an editorial about Mr. Trump’s campaign dubbed: “This is how fascism comes to Amrica.”Still, liberal writer Paul Krugman, in The New York Times, thinks the media is objectively pro-Trump.
Read the rest of this entry »


‘After America, There Is No Place to Go’

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‘I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.’

If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.

“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”

“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.

She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.

“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”

No so.

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Hitler is welcomed to Austria

“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.”

Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.

“My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.’

“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.

Possible Presidential Candidates Attend South Carolina Democratic Convention

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.”

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.

“Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.

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“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.”

“After the election, German officials were appointed, and, like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.”

“Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.

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“Then we lost religious education for kids”

“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.

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“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”

And then things got worse.

“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.”

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“We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.”

“My mother was very unhappy,” remembers Kitty. “When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew Alle_zehnjaehrigen_zu_unsup, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination.

“I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.

“It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.”

“In 1939, the war started, and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and, if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.”

“Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.”

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

“Soon after this, the draft was implemented.”

“It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps,” remembers Kitty. “During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for heller_5military training just like the boys.

“They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines.

“When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat.

“Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.

“When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers.

“You could take your children ages four weeks old to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, seven days a week, under the total care of the government.

“The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.”

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“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.”

“Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna..

“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.

“When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.

“As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80 percent of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families.

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“All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.”

“We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables.

AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / FILESBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.”

“Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.”

“We had consumer protection, too”

“We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the livestock, and then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.”

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

“In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. Read the rest of this entry »


Associated Press Willingly Cooperated with the Nazis, New Report Reveals

News agency and Third Reich said to have made mutually beneficial deal, with AP providing countless photos for Nazi propaganda; AP denies collaboration.

Raphael Ahrenrsz_ahrenraphael-7226-medium reports: The Associated Press news agency willingly cooperated with Nazi Germany, submitting to the regime’s restrictive rulings on the freedom of the press and providing it with images from its photo archives to be used in its anti-Semitic and anti-Western propaganda machine, a new report reveals.

When Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists rose to power in 1933, all international news agencies but the US-based AP were forced to leave Germany. The AP continued to operate in the Third Reich until 1941, when the United States joined World War II.

According to German historian Harriet Scharnberg, the world’s biggest news agency was only allowed to remain in Germany because it signed a deal with the regime.

The news agency lost control over its copy by submitting itself to the Schriftleitergesetz (editor’s law), agreeing not to print any material “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home,” she wrote in an article published in the academic journal Studies in Contemporary History.

“Instead of printing pictures of the days-long Lviv pogroms with its thousands of Jewish victims, the American press was only supplied with photographs showing the victims of the Soviet police and ‘brute’ Red Army war criminals.”

— Harriet Scharnberg, a historian at Halle’s Martin Luther University

Scharnberg’s research was first reported by the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

[Read the full story here, at The Times of Israel]

According to the paper, the Nazis’ so-called editor’s law forced AP employees to contribute material for the Nazi party’s propaganda division. One of the four photographers working for the company in the 1930s was Franz Roth, a member of the SS paramilitary unit’s propaganda division. His pictures were handpicked by Hitler, the Guardian writes.

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Photocollage cover of Der Untermensch (The Subhuman), a 52-page SS pamphlet that used images taken by the Associated Press (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

The AP’s images appeared in many of the regime’s propaganda publications. Most of the images in a pamphlet called “Jews in the US” were provided by the AP. In a different publication entitled “The Subhuman,” the AP provided the second-largest number of photographs, according to Scharnberg.

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It is possible to argue that the AP’s agreement with the Nazis allowed the West a “peek into a repressive society that may otherwise have been entirely hidden from view,” the Guardian writes. Read the rest of this entry »


Thomas Sowell: Socialist or Fascist

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What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Thomas Sowellthomas_sowell writes: It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

“What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.”

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

“The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves.”

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

[Read the full story here, at TownHall.com]

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

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Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.

[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  from Amazon]

The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.

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One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

“Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.”

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg‘s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s. Read the rest of this entry »


Roger Scruton: ‘These Left Thinkers Have Destroyed the Intellectual Life’ 

The philosopher talks to Mick Hume about politics, marriage and Islam.

Mick Hume writes: Ours is an age of intellectual conformism, in which expressing offensive opinions often seems to be deemed the worst offence of all; academia is decreed a ‘safe space’ where ‘uncomfortable’ ideas are banished, and using the wrong word can see you accused of committing a ‘microaggression’. And you are supposed to apologise at the first sign of a wagging finger.

“When I was in Paris in ’68 I became indignant at the total ignorance of the people who tried to tell me that this revolution was something important. I couldn’t argue with them about the thing that really mattered to me, culture. To them that was just ‘bourgeois’. This word bourgeois really got up my nose.”

Roger Scruton apparently didn’t get the memo. During our conversation, the conservative philosopher gently but unapologetically delivered blunt and cutting opinions on subjects ranging from Slavoj Zizek to Jeremy Corbyn, from banning the veil to Islamist terrorism, from homosexuality to fox hunting. Whatever anybody thinks of his views, they should surely endorse his aversion to the ‘radical censorship of anything that disturbs people’ and his insistence that the controversial ‘needs to be discussed’ rather than continually ‘pushed under the carpet’.

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“I decided, yes, of course there is such a thing as the bourgeoisie and you are it, these well-fed, pampered middle-class students whose one concern was to throw stones at working-class people who happened to be in a policeman’s uniform.’”

Now 71, Scruton has been the bête noire of British left intellectuals for more than 30 years, and gives them another beastly mauling in his new book Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left. It is a tour de force that, the introduction concedes, is ‘not a word-mincing book’, but rather ‘a provocation’. In just under 300 pages he Scruton-izes a collection of stars, past and present, of the radical Western intelligentsia – the likes of Eric Hobsbawm and EP Thompson in Britain, JK Galbraith and Ronald Dworkin in the US, Jurgen Habermas, Louis Althusser, Jacques Lacan and Gilles Deleuze in Europe. An expanded and updated version of his controversial 51-wPXgmYqL._SL250_Thinkers of the New Left(1985), the book ends with a new chapter entitled ‘The kraken wakes’ dealing with the ‘mad incantations’ of Alan Badiou and the left’s marginally newer academic celebrity, the Slovenian Zizek.

[Check out Roger Scruton’s bookFools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left” at Amazon.com]

The slightly pained look on his face suggests that I am not the first to ask Scruton why he has devoted a book to taking on a collection of largely declining or deceased intellectuals and a culture that he concedes ‘now survives largely in its academic redoubts’. ‘They may seem like obscure intellectuals to the man in the street but actually they are still dominant on the humanities curriculum’, he explains. ‘If you study English or French, even musicology or whatever, you have to swallow a whole load of Lacan and Deleuze. Take Deleuze’s book, A Thousand Plateaus – the English translation has only been out a few years, but it’s already gone through 11 printings. A huge, totally unreadable tome by somebody who can’t write French.’

“Defending academic freedom against the forces of conformity matters to Scruton because ‘My life began, insofar as it had a beginning, in the university. That’s where I grew up, and I love my subject, philosophy, love the whole idea of the academic and scholarly life, that one has a place apart where people are pursuing the truth and communicating that to people who are eager to learn it.”

‘Yet this is core curriculum throughout the humanities in American and English universities. Why? The one sole reason is it’s on the left. There is nothing that anybody can translate into lucid prose, but for that very reason, it seems like a suit of armour around the age-old prejudices against power and authority, the old unshaped and unshapeable agenda.’

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“‘And this thing has completely destroyed the intellectual life.’ He considers these leftists prime culprits in what might be called the closing of the university mind, though ‘whether they caused the closing of the mind or are the effect of it is another matter’.”

Defending academic freedom against the forces of conformity matters to Scruton because ‘My life began, insofar as it had a beginning, in the university. That’s where I grew up, and I love my subject, philosophy, love the whole idea of the academic and scholarly life, that one has a place apart where people are pursuing the truth and communicating that to people who are eager to learn it.

[Read the full story here, at spiked]

And this thing has completely destroyed the intellectual life.’ He considers these leftists prime culprits in what might be called the closing of the university mind, though ‘whether they caused the closing of the mind or are the effect of it is another matter’.

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“Scruton’s powerful aversion to ‘the French gurus of ’68 and their jargon-ridden prose’ dates from that student revolt in Paris in 1968. It gave birth to a generation of radical thinkers, and, in the process, helped turn at least one young Englishman into a conservative.”

Scruton’s powerful aversion to ‘the French gurus of ’68 and their jargon-ridden prose’ dates from that student revolt in Paris in 1968. It gave birth to a generation of radical thinkers, and, in the process, helped turn at least one young Englishman into a conservative. ‘I was there in Paris and I was indignant at the stupidity of what I observed. I was a normal young person in England, I was brought up in a Labour Party family and as far as I had any views they’d be vaguely on the left.’ His father was a working-class lad from Manchester who became a schoolteacher and moved his family south, where Scruton attended High Wycombe Royal Grammar School, played bass guitar and listened to The Beatles before being expelled shortly after winning a scholarship to Cambridge University. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Victory at All Costs, Victory in Spite of All Terror, Victory, However Long and Hard the Road May Be’ – Churchill, May 13, 1940

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Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat’: Winston Churchill, May 13, 1940

First Speech as Prime Minister to House of Commons

On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.”

I beg to move,

That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.

On Friday evening last I received His Majesty’s commission to form a new Administration. It as the evident wish and will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties, both those who supported the late Government and also the parties of the Opposition. I have completed the most important part of this task. A War Cabinet has been formed of five Members, representing, with the Opposition Liberals, the unity of the nation. The three party Leaders have agreed to serve, either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. The three Fighting Services have been filled. It was necessary that this should be done in one single day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigour of events. A number of other positions, key positions, were filled yesterday, and I am submitting a further list to His Majesty to-night. I hope to complete the appointment of the principal Ministers during to-morrow. The appointment of the other Ministers usually takes a little longer, but I trust that, when Parliament meets again, this part of my task will be completed, and that the administration will be complete in all respects.

I considered it in the public interest to suggest that the House should be summoned to meet today. Mr. Speaker agreed, and took the necessary steps, in accordance with the powers conferred upon him by the Resolution of the House. At the end of the proceedings today, the Adjournment of the House will be proposed until Tuesday, 21st May, with, of course, provision for earlier meeting, if need be. The business to be considered during that week will be notified to Members at the earliest opportunity. I now invite the House, by the Motion which stands in my name, to record its approval of the steps taken and to declare its confidence in the new Government.

To form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many other points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations, such as have been indicated by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Europe: Hard-Left ‘Anti-Fascists’ Clash With Cops At Pro-Migrant Protest

Hundreds of the hard-left protesters, and a group calling themselves ‘The Revolutionary Youth’ gathered in the Swiss capital of Bern to call for German-style mass immigration and a change in asylum policy.

Liam Deacon reports: A pro-migrant protest turned violent today, with Swiss police forced to use water cannon and rubber bullets to quell the self-described ‘anti-fascists’ who violated law by demonstrating on an election day.

Hundreds of the hard-left protesters, and a group calling themselves ‘The Revolutionary Youth’ gathered in the Swiss capital of Bern to call for German-style mass immigration and a change in asylum policy. The group started to violently clash with local police at around 2pm.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart.com]

Around 110 people were arrested or detained, local publication Blick reports. A Bern police spokesman referred to “violent attacks” on officers and a “great potential for violence.”

The protesters defied an election time ban on demonstrations in Switzerland, and were accompanied by young children when they turned to violence, Switzerland Radio Und Fernsehen reported. Read the rest of this entry »


Comedy: Benghazi Committee ‘Whistleblower’ is a Professional Storyteller

 reports: The fired House staffer who is accusing the Benghazi select committee of running an anti-Clinton witch-hunt also moonlights as a professional storyteller around the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Maj. Bradley Podliska, who is suing the committee after getting axed in June, claims the panel is running a “partisan” probe against Clinton. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), called Podliska’s allegations “sensationalist and fabulist” on Sunday. The committee said that Podliska was fired after mishandling classified information and using resources for an unrelated PowerPoint project.

The former staffer has some experience with storytelling. Podliska performed last year with the live Virginia-based storytelling group “Better Said Than Done,” where he recounted a terrible blind date he went on as part of the Washington Post’s “DateLab” feature in 2011.

His story started out mild and self-deprecating, but he soon launched into a tirade of insults against the woman.

According to Podliska, his date was a drunken disaster who “liked to drink like a fish” and told him to “quit the chit-chat, I’m here to drink on the Washington Post’s dime” when he attempted polite conversation.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]

By the end of the night, Podliska said, the woman “was looking as if she had run 300 miles in a tornado, while jumping on a trampoline, all while upside down, underwater. In other words, she was two sheets to the wind.”

He also claimed the “blindly drunk female” bad-mouthed him in the Washington Post article after their date, calling him a “Neanderthal” for attempting to walk her to the train. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] National Review’s Jay Nordlinger Talks ‘Children of Monsters’ on Morning Joe

September 22, 2015: National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger joins Hugh Hewitt 41fbu6kJhwL._SL250_and MSNBC‘s Morning Joe to talk about his new book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators“.

[Order Jay Nordlinger’s book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators” from Amazon.com]

What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?

Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children.

Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.

Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Django Reinhardt in a Hotel Room in 1945 With Gypsy Singer Sonia Dimitrivich

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Django Reinhardt in a hotel room in 1945 with gypsy singer Sonia Dimitrivich. Django spent his time during the Nazi Occupation oscillating between a suite on the Champs Elysee and gypsy encampments.

 


Jerry Lewis Never-Released Holocaust Film ‘The Day the Clown Cried’ Inches Closer to a Possible Screening

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Not much is known about the film’s plot except that Lewis plays a German circus clown named Helmut Doork who is sent to a concentration camp during World War II and ordered to entertain children.

Joe McGovern reports: Lovers of film history and legendary movies — even ones supposedly so tasteless that they’ve never been released—had their interest piqued this week when a piece of exciting news was dropped in the 21st paragraph of an Los Angeles Times articleThe Day the Clown Cried, Jerry Lewis’ notorious unreleased Holocaust drama in which he stars as a clown playing with children before they are sent into gas chambers, has been acquired by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

“After I’m gone, who knows what’s going to happen? …The only thing that I do feel, that I always get a giggle out of, some smart young guy…is going to come up with an idea and he’s going to run the f—ing thing. I would love that. Because he’s going to see a hell of a movie!”

What does this mean? Well, that we might finally see the film, though we shouldn’t hold our collective breath. According to the article, Rob Stone, the moving-image curator at the library, received the one known print of the film as part of a larger collection of Jerry Lewis work. Stone did not respond to EW’s requests for comment, but told a group of movie buffs at a festival of “lost” movies that the library has agreed not to screen the film for at least a decade.

See clips from The Day the Clown Cried, as seen in a 1972 TV documentary that aired in Belgium, below:

[Also see – interview with Jerry about the film]

Lewis, now 89, made The Day the Clown Cried in Sweden in 1971. Read the rest of this entry »


Printing Firm Refuses to Make Anti-Islamism T-Shirt, Still Sells Che, Bin Laden Gear

Truth About Che Guevara

Raheem Kassam: Global printing firm Spreadshirt.com has refused to create a design for a supporter of the anti-Islamism ‘PEGIDA’ group, but still sells t-shirts of Osama Bin Laden’s face.

Spreadshirt, which is based in Germany, has refused to create the design for one of its native customers, Kerstin Bergel, instead replying with strongly worded e-mail that sought to distance the company from the idea of free speech.

“Some have been quick to point out Spreadshirt’s hypocrisy, as even if they were right in claiming that PEGIDA is a racist group, the company still sells t-shirts with the face of mass murderer and avowed racist Che Guevara, Joseph Stalin and the communist hammer and sickle, and even Osama Bin Laden.”

A Spreadshirt spokesman said: “What PEGIDA represents is in our eyes not an opinion, but rather a series of racist, discriminatory and inhuman pronouncements.

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Spreadshirt still sells Bin Laden swag

“For this reason, we have decided on ethical grounds not to print the name of this ridiculous association. I hope that one day, you realise that you are taking to the streets alongside Nazis.”

But PEGIDA’s followers say it isn’t a Nazi or Neo-Nazi group, but rather, stands for “Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes”, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West. Read the rest of this entry »


Carol J. Williams: Putin, Once Critical of Stalin, Now Embraces Soviet Dictator’s Tactics

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Carol J. Williams reports: Only six years ago, President Vladimir Putin visited the Polish port of Gdansk, birthplace of the Solidarity movement that threw off Soviet domination, and reassured his Eastern European neighbors that Russia had only friendly intentions.

Putin spoke harshly that day of the notorious World War II-era pact that former Soviet leader Josef Stalin had signed with Adolf Hitler — an agreement that cleared the way for the Nazi occupation of Poland and Soviet domination of the Baltics — calling it a “collusion to solve one’s problems at others’ expense.”

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But Putin’s view of history appears to have undergone a startling transformation. Last month, the Russian leader praised the 1939 nonaggression accord with Hitler as a clever maneuver that forestalled war with Germany. Stalin’s 29-year reign, generally seen by Russians in recent years as a dark and bloody chapter in the nation’s history, has lately been applauded by Putin and his supporters as the foundation on which the great Soviet superpower was built.

Across a resurgent Russia, Stalin lives again, at least in the minds and hearts of Russian nationalists who see Putin as heir to the former dictator’s model of iron-fisted rule. Recent tributes celebrate Stalin’s military command acumen and geopolitical prowess. His ruthless repression of enemies, real and imagined, has been brushed aside by today’s Kremlin leader as the cost to be paid for defeating the Nazis.

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As Putin has sought to recover territory lost in the 1991 Soviet breakup, his Stalinesque claim to a right to a “sphere of influence” has allowed him to legitimize the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and declare an obligation to defend Russians and Russian speakers beyond his nation’s borders.

[Read more here, at LA Times]

On May 9, the 70th anniversary of the Allied war victory was marked and Stalin’s image was put on display with glorifying war films, T-shirts, billboards and posters. Framed portraits of the mustachioed generalissimo were carried by marchers in Red Square‘s Victory Day parade and in the million-strong civic procession that followed to honor all who fell in what Russians call the Great Patriotic War. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Mark Kelly: Thousands Gather for Anti-Islamization Rally in Dresden

Dutch politician Geert Wilders questions whether Islam is a religion of peace at a rally against the perceived “Islamization of the West” in Germany. Mark Kelly reports.


Men More Likely Than Women To Go Back In Time And Kill Hitler

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The Hitler question was among a range of moral questions asked of 6,100 people in a study conducted by U.S., Canadian and German researchers.

Jim Algar writes: Here’s a question; if you could go back in time and kill Hitler – likely saving millions of lives – would you do it? Your answer, researchers were surprised to find, might depend on your gender.

New research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology suggests that, given such a question, men seem more willing to accept the need for harmful actions for the sake of the greater good than do women.hitler-tall

“Women were more likely to fall into the deontology camp and agonize for a long time over a decision, while men were somewhat more likely to lean toward utilitarianism and make a quick decision.”

The Hitler question was among a range of moral questions asked of 6,100 people in a study conducted by U.S., Canadian and German researchers.

“Women seem to be more likely to have this negative, emotional, gut-level reaction to causing harm to people in the dilemmas to the one person, whereas men were less likely to express this strong emotional reaction to harm.”

— Lead research author Rebecca Friesdorf

Although both men and women carefully considered the consequences of their potential decision, women said they found it harder to commit murder and were more likely to let Hitler survive, the study found.

“Women seem to be more likely to have this negative, emotional, gut-level reaction to causing harm to people in the dilemmas to the one person, whereas men were less likely to express this strong emotional reaction to harm,” says lead research author Rebecca Friesdorf. A master’s degree student in social psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Friesdorf analyzed 40 data sets from previous studies.

“Although both men and women carefully considered the consequences of their potential decision, women said they found it harder to commit murder and were more likely to let Hitler survive.”

In the study participants were asked 20 questions, all of them involving a moral dilemma centering on such things as murder, torture, abortion, lying or the morality of animal research. Read the rest of this entry »


Realignment: French Jews Turning To Le Pen After Muslim Attacks

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An increasing number of French Jews are turning to Marine Le Pen’s Front National, despite the party’s past reputation for anti-Semitism, as they now see Muslims as a bigger threat.

Roger Cukierman, the Chairman of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions, said the party was no longer violent and that its current leader had never used anti-Semitic language, The Times reports.

The statement comes as at least 14 percent of France’s half a million Jews look set to support Mrs Le Pen in the country’s Presidential elections in 2017.

“Many Jews now see second and third generation Muslim immigrants, rather than the far-right, as the biggest threat to their community’s safety.”

The feisty blonde daughter of Jean-Marie has been consistently rising in national polling, but has seen a surge of support following the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket terrorist attacks earlier this year which left 20 dead.

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Many Jews now see second and third generation Muslim immigrants, rather than the far-right, as the biggest threat to their community’s safety.

“The National Front is a party for which I would never vote but it’s a party which today doesn’t commit violent acts. Let’s be clear: all the violence [against Jews] is now committed by young Muslims,” Mr Cukierman said.

His comments sparked a row among French Jews, some of whom see the Le Pen family as political descendants of the Vichy regime which collaborated with the Nazis following the occupation in 1940.

Serge Klarsfeld, the celebrated French Nazi-hunter, whose father was among the 75,000 Jews deported from France to the death camps in the East, remains sceptical of the party.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Republican Party Is Not Your Friend

GOP-not-your-friehd-Federalist-Jay-Cost

The Roots of the Republican Party’s Conservative-Establishment Divide, Revealed

Cost_Jay.SENT_.bio_Jay Cost writes: I had a bad dream the other night that I still cannot get out of my head. It’s January 20, 2017. Inauguration Day. The Republican candidate for president has triumphed over Hillary Clinton, ushering in the largest Republican majority since 1929. The inaugural balls are finished, the parties over.

[Read the full text here, at The Federalist]

The new president retires to the Oval Office, and sits down with the top leaders of Congress to ask: “Okay. We have the largest majority we’re ever going to see again. What do we do with it?”

“Let’s accelerate depreciation!” somebody says

“Let’s repeal the inheritance tax!” another chimes in.

The new president, nodding solemnly, responds, “Okay, okay. These are good. But what we really need to do is quadruple our guest-worker visas.”

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“The last time the GOP had complete control over the government, 2003-07, it massively expanded Medicare and enacted more pork-barrel spending than any prior Congress in history.”

Nightmarish? Yes. Fanciful? Maybe a little (bad dreams are like that), but it still derives from a stark truth: the Republican Party, while far preferable to the unchecked liberalism of the Democrats, is not all that conservative.

Sure, it has conservative members, important ones who cannot be ignored. And it talks a good game about small government; just about every Republican candidate 510xdRr8ICL._SL250_for every office is duty-bound to aver his fidelity to Ronald Reagan’s brand of conservatism.

[Check out Jay Cost’s book “A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption” at Amazon]

However, if we understand conservatism as advocating smaller government that treats people impartially, many in the party struggle mightily not to act on those principles. Instead, the recent history of “conservative” governance has been one of ever-larger government, and an expansion of the cronyism and corruption built into the system. The last time the GOP had complete control over the government, 2003-07, it massively expanded Medicare and enacted more pork-barrel spending than any prior Congress in history.

Franklin Roosevelt

“Conservatism really began to develop as a political force in the wake of the New Deal, which effectively inverted the constitutional schema. Previously, the federal government was only allowed to do what the Constitution expressly authorized…”

Political parties are not coterminous with ideologies. They are big, broad, unwieldy coalitions that contain lots of factions and varying traditions. Oftentimes, these forces are in direct conflict with one another.

William F. Buckley Holding Book

“…From the New Deal onwards, the government could more or less do anything that the Constitution did not expressly forbid. This inversion gave birth to the conservative movement.”

Conservatives are part of the Republican Party, but so are other forces that—while they might call themselves “conservative”—are actually something quite different.douglas

From Slavery Defeaters to Business Defenders

Conservatism as we know it today did not really exist before the twentieth century. Prior to that, it was just the way things were done. The powers of the federal government were limited, states and localities were dominant, and people did not look to Washington DC to solve every last problem. Granted, the scope of federal power increased during the nineteenth century—for example, during the Civil War—but conservatives today are wont to celebrate those expansions.

Conservatism as we know it today did not really exist before the twentieth century. Prior to that, it was just the way things were done. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] New York City Council Chamber Councilman David G. Greenfield Exposes and Passionately Denounces Anti-Semitic Outburst

New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield makes remarks on the floor of the council moments after Pro-Palestine activists protested the commemoration of 1.1 million people killed in Auschwitz. Greenfield is the grandson of holocaust survivors.

 


The Apocalypse Tapestry

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The Apocalypse Tapestry is a 14th century French work commissioned by the Duke of Anjou. In over 90 scenes it portrays the apocalypse as described by John in the New Testament book of Revelations. Allusions to the 100 years war with England are also present. The Anjous held the tapestry for a century before gifting it to Angers Cathedral. During the French Revolution the tapestry was stolen, cut into pieces, and used for functional purposes ranging from floor mats to insulating stables. During the 19th century a canon of the cathedral located the pieces (all but 16 were successfully recovered) and began restorative work. After World War II the tapestry once again moved, this time to Chateau d’Angers. In order to preserve the 300 foot masterpiece a special gallery with dim lighting and custom ventilation was built within the castle where it remains on view today.  


The Global Panic of 2014 Remembered: Wired Looks at Our Slow Descent Into Dystopia

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Devon Maloney writes: This year was, to put it as gently as possible, the devil’s playground. Oh sure, every year has its horrors and there are far worse annums behind us (the Crusades, anyone?), but 2014 proved to be a year in which long-festering social, environmental, and political problems were exposed in ways we have not seen in a very long time.

Thank social media, or globalization, or perhaps the recent explosion of hyper-accessible dystopian entertainment (though that is something of a chicken/egg scenario), but no single year  in recent memory has so closely resembled the exaggerated conditions employed as metaphorical warnings in dystopian sci-fi. In fact, a lot of dystopian fiction we saw this year is at the very least on par with everyday realities, if not tame by comparison.

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Around the world, instances of palpable, immediate environmental catastrophe and brazen, systematic oppression proliferated at a terrifying rate, which underscores a position we and others have taken of late: With such nightmares growing more real each day, where does dystopian fiction end and reality begin? Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg on the Sony Fiasco: ‘No Superheroes in The Interview Cave-In’

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The first issue of Captain America came out on December 20, 1940. It shows Cap slugging Adolph Hitler in the mouth.tyranny-cliche

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

Good stuff, but note the date. America wouldn’t enter World War II for about another year. At the time, many Americans wanted to stay out of another European war. And here was an American superhero punching the leader of a sovereign nation in the kisser. Subsequent issues kept pitting Captain America against Hitler and his goons.

“A theater chain caved. The movie studio caved. As of now, The Interview will never be theatrically released. In theory, Sony could release it online, via on-demand and streaming channels.”

The angriest reaction came from the German-American Bund, Hitler’s stooges in the U.S. They harassed Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America, with hate mail and telephoned death threats.

“The theme was ‘death to the Jews,’” Simon wrote in his memoir. “At first we were inclined to laugh off their threats, but whoop-assthen, people in the office reported seeing menacing-looking groups of strange men in front of the building on 42nd Street, and some of the employees were fearful of leaving the office for lunch.”

[read the full text at National Review]

Simon called the cops, and as soon as the police showed up, the phone rang. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia wanted to speak to the creators of Captain America. Simon got on the line. “You boys over there are doing a good job,” the voice squeaked. “The city of New York will see that no harm will come to you.’”

That is how it’s supposed to work in a democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


Museum Set to Accept Art Nazis Looted

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The Kunstmuseum Bern is expected to decide as early as Saturday to accept the estate of the late Cornelius Gurlitt.

BERN, Switzerland— MARY M. LANE reports: A small art museum in the Swiss capital is preparing to take possession of more than 1,000 artworks bequeathed to it by the son of one of Hitler’s main art dealers, unshackling Germany from an embarrassing burden that has weighed on it for a year.

Barring any last-minute legal objections, the Kunstmuseum Bern is expected to decide as early as Saturday to accept the estate of the late Cornelius Gurlitt, according to three people familiar with the museum board’s discussions.

‘When something like this falls into your lap of course you’re going to vote to take it.’

—A person at the Kunstmuseum Bern’s board meetings

That could expedite restitution for heirs of Holocaust victims, many of whom have seen their claims that the art was stolen from their families languish since the existence of the trove was publicly revealed a year ago. For some works, restitution could happen within days if the museum accepts the bequest.

Stuart Eizenstat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ’s special adviser on Holocaust issues, called the prospect “tremendously welcome and wonderful.”

“It was obvious from the start, and a huge source of angst, that accepting the works would fundamentally change the identity of our museum forever.”

The collection includes masterpieces by Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Pierre Auguste-Renoir and was amassed during and shortly after World War II by Mr. Gurlitt’s father, a museum director turned art dealer for Hitler. Historians and lawyers have already concluded the trove contains several pieces stolen from European Jews by the Nazis.

The Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland.European Pressphoto Agency

The Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland.European Pressphoto Agency

The German government has been quietly urging the museum to accept the art, according to the people familiar with the discussions. Since the existence of the trove was revealed a year ago, Berlin has been under pressure from Holocaust victims’ families as well as the U.S. and Israeli governments to return all stolen pieces to their original owners.

“One of the prime pieces is an Henri Matisse portrait of a creamy-skinned brunette that a German-government appointed group of experts has already determined is looted.”

Mr. Gurlitt unexpectedly bequeathed his estate to the museum shortly before he died May 6 at 81. According to the will Mr. Gurlitt signed on his deathbed, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Kunstmuseum Bern would be required to conduct this research and restitution. Museum director Matthias Frehner has pledged that it would do so if it accepts the bequest.

If the museum were to decline the collection, it would go to Mr. Gurlitt’s distant relatives, who are dispersed in and outside Germany. While his will stipulates that they also return Nazi-looted art, lawyers say there is no way to make sure the multiple heirs conduct such research properly or efficiently outside of going to court, meaning individual cases could drag on for years.

One of the prime pieces is an Henri Matisse portrait of a creamy-skinned brunette that a German-government appointed group of experts has already determined is looted. Read the rest of this entry »


[CHART] Keeping Score: Which Dictator Killed the Most People?

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Source: Gawker

 


Neo-Nazis, Islamists Declare ‘You Jews are beasts’ During Protest of Israeli Operation

Man holds boycott Israel sign Photo: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANNFor JPost, Benjamin Weinthal reports: A demonstration in Frankfurt against Operation Protective Edge erupted into violence, with protesters tossing stones at the police.

According to the Frankfurter Rundschau paper, about 2,500 protesters appeared in downtown Frankfurt, screaming “God is great,” and slogans such as “freedom for Palestine” and “children-murderer Israel.”

Eight police officers were injured. One sign at the rally was titled, “You Jews are Beasts.”

German media reported that after the protests, groups sought to locate Jewish institutions. Read the rest of this entry »


George F. Will: Can NATO restrain Russia?

putin-obamaGeorge Will writes: Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer, said of Poland, perilously positioned between Russia and Germany: “If you pitch your tent in the middle of Fifth Avenue, it is quite likely you will be run over by a bus.” Poland has been run over hard and often; indeed, between 1795 and 1918 it disappeared from the map of Europe.

“Obama evidently harbors the surreal hope that Putin will continue to help regarding Syria and Iran…”

Geography need not be destiny, but it matters, as Ukraine is being reminded. During its hazardous path to the present, all or bits of it have been parts of Poland, the Austro- Hungarian empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian empire, the Soviet Union and now another Russian empire. Czarist Russia, which Lenin called “the prison of the peoples,” is reemerging and has in Vladimir Putin an ambitious warden.

“Obama, always a slayer of straw men, has eschewed something no one has contemplated, “a military excursion in Ukraine.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘excursion’ as ‘a usually short journey made for pleasure’.”

In last week’s Kremlin address, he said, “Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea. We do not want to divide Ukraine; we do not need that.” The word “need” is not reassuring. It suggests that Russia’s needs are self-legitimizing and recalls the definition of a barbarian as someone who thinks his appetites are their own justification. Read the rest of this entry »


Nazis: STILL Socialists

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Tim Stanley’s definition excludes basically all real socialists, past and present. 

de_nsdapI almost missed this, from a few days ago. NRO‘s Jonah Goldberg is uniquely qualified to contribute to this debate, if you’ve not read Jonah’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”, I’ve plugged it here before — accessible as an ebook download through Amazon — and recommend it again, any chance I get.  To get a fuller picture, flip back to Daniel Hannan‘s provocative essay Leftists Become Incandescent when Reminded of the Socialist Roots of Nazism, and Tim Stanley‘s opposing essay, Hitler wasn’t a socialist. Stop saying he was

Jonah Goldberg weighs in:

This feels like old times. Across the pond at the TelegraphTim Stanley and Daniel Hannan are having a friendly disagreement on the question of whether the Nazis were in fact socialists. I don’t usually wade into these arguments anymore, but I’ve been writing a lot on related themes over the last nazis_posterfew weeks and I couldn’t resist.

Not surprisingly, I come down on Hannan’s side. I could write a whole book about why I agree with Dan, except I already did. So I’ll be more succinct.

Fair warning, though, I wrote this on a plane trip back from Colorado and it’s way too long. So if you’re not interested in this stuff, you might as well wander down the boardwalk and check out some of the other stalls now.

Stanley makes some fine points here and there, but I don’t think they add up to anything like corroboration of his thesis. The chief problem with his argument is that he’s taking doctrinaire or otherwise convenient definitions of socialism and applying them selectively to Nazism.

Stanley’s chief tactic is to simply say Nazis shouldn’t be believed when they called themselves socialists. It was all marketing and spin, even putting the word in their name. Socialism was popular, so they called themselves socialists. End of story.

So when Nazi ideologist Gregor Strasser proclaimed:

We are socialists. We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today’s capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging the worth of human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever happens!

. . . he was just saying that because, in Stanley’s mind, socialism was “fashionable.”

Obviously there’s some truth to that. Socialism was popular. So was nationalism. That’s why nationalists embraced socialism and why socialists quickly embraced nationalism. It wasn’t a big leap for either because they’re basically the same thing! In purely economic terms, nationalization and socialization are nothing more than synonyms (socialized medicine = nationalized health care).

Nazis Hated Bolsheviks, Who Knew? Read the rest of this entry »


Leftists Become Incandescent when Reminded of the Socialist Roots of Nazism

 writes:  On 16 June 1941, as Hitler readied his forces for Operation Barbarossa, Josef Goebbels looked forward to the new order that the Nazis would impose on a conquered Russia. There would be no come-back, he wrote, for capitalists nor priests nor Tsars. Rather, in the place of debased, Jewish Bolshevism, the Wehrmacht would deliver “der echte Sozialismus”: real socialism.

Goebbels never doubted that he was a socialist. He understood Nazism to be a better and more plausible form of socialism than that propagated by Lenin. Instead of spreading itself across different nations, it would operate within the unit of the Volk.

[Daniel Hannan is the author of“How We Invented Freedom and Why it Matters”]

So total is the cultural victory of the modern Left that the merely to recount this fact is jarring. But few at the time would have found it especially contentious. As George Watson put it in The Lost Literature of Socialism:

“It is now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Hitler and his associates believed they were socialists, and that others, including democratic socialists, thought so too.”

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The clue is in the name. Subsequent generations of Leftists have tried to explain away the awkward nomenclature of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party as either a cynical PR stunt or an embarrassing coincidence. In fact, the name meant what it said.

[Order Jonah Goldberg’s classic “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning” From Amazon]

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You can’t accuse the NSDAP of downplaying the “Socialist” bit

Hitler told Hermann Rauschning, a Prussian who briefly worked for the Nazis before rejecting them and fleeing the country, that he had admired much of the thinking of the revolutionaries he had known as a young man; but he felt that they had been talkers, not doers. “I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun,” he boasted, adding that “the whole of National Socialism” was “based on Marx”.

[Order Daniel Hannan’s book “How We Invented Freedom and Why it Matters” from Amazon]

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The Dutch Nazi Party was equally explicit: “With Germany Against Capitalism”

Marx’s error, Hitler believed, had been to foster class war instead of national unity – to set workers against industrialists instead of conscripting both groups into a corporatist order. His aim, he told his economic adviser, Otto Wagener, was to “convert the German Volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists” – by which he meant the bankers and factory owners who could, he thought, serve socialism better by generating revenue for the state. “What Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism failed to accomplish,” he told Wagener, “we shall be in a position to achieve.”

Leftist readers may by now be seething. Whenever I touch on this subject, it elicits an almost berserk reaction from people who think of themselves as progressives and see anti-fascism as part of their ideology. Well, chaps, maybe now you know how we conservatives feel when you loosely associate Nazism with “the Right”.

To be absolutely clear, I don’t believe that modern Leftists have subliminal Nazi leanings, or that their loathing of Hitler is in any way feigned. That’s not my argument. What I want to do, by holding up the mirror, is to take on the equally false idea that there is an ideological continuum between free-marketers and fascists. Read the rest of this entry »


History: Guns and Good Intentions

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The Weimar Republic’s well-intentioned gun registry became a tool for evil. 

Stephen P. Halbrook writes:  The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence did not.

In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be executed. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the registration of all firearms and the confiscation thereof, if required for “public safety.” The interior minister warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.

In 1933, the ultimate extremist group led by Adolf Hitler seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”

During the five years of repression that followed, society was “cleansed” by the National Socialist regime. Undesirables were placed in camps where labor made them “free,” and normal rights of citizenship were taken from Jews. The Gestapo banned independent gun clubs and arrested their leaders. Gestapo counsel Werner Best issued a directive to the police forbidding issuance of firearm permits to Jews. Read the rest of this entry »


Munich II

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James Jay Carafano writes: No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.

The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.

The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.

This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown.  They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Won’t Kimmel Apologize Some More?

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Our culture is surreally obsessed with taking offense

Rich Lowry writes:  Jimmy Kimmel used to be a professional comedian. His new job is apologizing.

A few weeks ago, the host of ABC’s late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live aired a bit where a six-year-old boy recommends killing everyone in China. Kimmel and the network have been apologizing ever since. Over the weekend, protesters besieged ABC studios around the country. They want Kimmel fired or, failing that, more apologies.

[See our coverage of the Jimmy Kimmel ‘Kill Everyone in China’ Controversy]

The bit was part of a routine called “Kids Table,” where Kimmel talks to cute five- and six-year-olds, and hilarity ensues. In the offending episode, Kimmel asked the kids what to do about our debt to China, and one boy chirps, “Kill everyone in China.” Kimmel laughs and jokingly calls it “an interesting idea,” before returning to it later when, with mock seriousness, he asks the kids whether the Chinese should be allowed to live.

Read the rest of this entry »