h/t to Mister Bob [youtube]YuG0ifhPxRc[/youtube]
My friend "The Freak" offered the following as a comment to a prior blog post linking to two articles about economic fascism on the rise in America. I thought it was worth having its own posting rather than just being a comment. ------------------- The text below was written by Benito Mussolini the night before his execution, after he had been captured by partisans. It is interesting reading in light of the articles Ross references and in light of the reference to fascism. Particularly interesting is Mussolini's contention that he was a pragmatist socialist. I hurriedly translated this document from the original Italian. Any inaccuracies are my fault alone. Freak. ----------------- No real Italian, whatever his political faith, should despair of the future. Our people’s internal resources are immense. If our people will be able to identify a common ground, we will regain our strength before any victor. For this common ground, I would give my life even now, willingly, so long as this impetus is truly aligned with real Italian spirit. After defeat, I will be furiously covered by spit, but later I will be cleansed with veneration. Then I will smile, because my people will be at peace with themselves. The worker who fulfills his social duty with no other hope than a piece of bread and the health of his family repeats, on a daily basis, an act of heroism. Laborers are infinitely superior to all false prophets who pretend to represent them. These false prophets have an easy time of it due to the insensitivity of those who have the sacrosanct duty of taking care of laborers. It is for this reason that I have been, and I am, a socialist. The accusation of inconsistency is without foundation. My behavior has always been consistent in the sense of looking to the substance, not the appearance of things. I have adapted myself, socialistically, to reality. As the natural evolution of society proved more and more of Marx’s predictions to be wrong, true socialism retreated from the possible to the probable. The only socialism that can be truly implemented, is corporativism, a merging point, a place of equilibrium and justice vis-à-vis individual versus collective interests. The art of politics is very difficult, amongst the most difficult, because it works on matter that cannot be grasped, that wobbles and is more uncertain. Politics works on the spirit of men, which is much more difficult to define because it is subject to change. Most changeable of all is the spirit of Italians. When I will be gone, I am sure that historians and psychologists will ask themselves how a single man was able to successfully lead a people like the Italian people. If I had accomplished nothing else, this single work of art would have been sufficient to prevent me being forgotten. Others have been able to dominate with iron fists, not with consensus and agreement as I managed. My dictatorship was much milder than many democracies that are run by plutocracies. Fascism lost more men than its adversaries and on 25th of July there were no more than thirty persons in exile. When it is written that we are the guard for the bourgeoisie, it is the vilest of lies. I defended, and I state this with full conviction, workers’ progress. Amongst the principal causes for the fall of fascism I blame the quiet and implacable fight of some financial and industrial groups who, in their mad egoism feared and hated fascism as the worst enemy of their inhuman interests. I must say for the purpose of justice, that Italian capital, the part which is legitimate and holds itself up with the ability of its industry, has always understood social necessities, even when they required sacrifice to address new labor pacts. The humble folk of labor have always loved me and love me still. All dictators have always done a holocaust of their enemies. I have been the only mild one: a few hundred dead against several thousand. I believe I’ve ennobled dictatorship. Perhaps I emasculated it, but I rid it of instruments of torture. Stalin sits on a mountain of human bones. Is this bad? I don’t regret to have done al the good I’ve done, even to my adversaries, even enemies who plotted against my life. I’ve done this through the provision of subsidies that were so frequent as to become stipends, as well as by saving their lives. But if tomorrow they will kill my men, what responsibility will I have for having spared them? Stalin is left standing and wins; I fall and lose. History only concerns itself with victors and the volume of their conquests; triumph justifies everything. The French revolution is studied for its outcomes, while those who died with the guillotine are relegated to the obituaries. Nobody will be able to erase twenty years of fascism from Italy’s history. I have no illusion regarding my fate. They will not give me a trial, because they know that from a defendant I would become a prosecutor. I will probably be murdered, and they will claim that I will have taken my own life, overcome by remorse. He who fears death has never lived, and I have lived, perhaps even too much. Life is nothing more than an intersection between two eternities: the past and the future. As long as my star shone, I was enough for all. Now that it fades, everybody is not enough for me. I will go where destiny will want me because I always did what fate requested of me. It is not the faith that arrives at the moment of death that sustains me, it is the faith of my childhood and my life which demands that I must believe, even as I might have reason to doubt. I don’t know if the Italian people will ever read these notes of mine. I would like to believe they will, to give them the opportunity to accept my last thought as confession of faith. I also don’t know if men will provide me with sufficient time to finish writing. Twenty-two years of governing do not make me, by human judgment, worthy of living another twenty-four hours. I believed in the victory of our arms, as I believe in God our Lord, but even more I believe in the eternal. Now defeat provides the test-bench upon which we must show the whole world the strength and enormity of our hearts. It is now a fact that the war is lost, but it is also certain that one is not defeated until one calls oneself defeated. This, Italians will need to remember if, under foreign domination, they begin to feel the undeniable awakening of their spirits. Today I forgive those who don’t forgive me and condemn me, thereby condemning themselves. I think of all those to whom it will be denied to love and suffer for the fatherland, and I would like them to feel not only witnesses of a defeat, but also knights leading to a rebirth. After the time of terrible hate and revenge, there will be the time of reason. Thus, the sense of dignity and honor will be regained and I am certain that Italians of tomorrow will be able to evaluate, serenely, the causes of the tragic hour that I am living. If this is the last day of my existence, I want to extend my forgiveness even to those who abandoned me and those who betrayed me, much as I have forgiven the king for his weakness. Fascists who will remain faithful to the principles will need to be exemplary citizens. They must respect the laws that the people will want to give themselves, and cooperate loyally with legitimate authorities to help them heal, as quickly as possible, the fatherland’s wounds. Whomever will behave differently will demonstrate the he no longer supports the fatherland when he has to serve it from down low. Fascists, in other words, will have to act out of passion, not resentment. From their behavior will depend a speedier historical rehabilitation of fascism. Because now it is night but, later, day will break. Benito Mussolini 27 April 1945
Thanks to Amanda of Liberty on the Rocks for this graphic demonstration of what your government is doing to your financial future. [youtube]2bSGgBtqyKY[/youtube]
Hello all, A friend of mine is trying to get a job as "caretaker of the Great Barrier Reef", with most of the job really being a glorified blogger...something my friend is very good at, having been blogging travel for years (and having invented a great way to display photos on a blog). Part of the job application is a 1-minute self-made video. Here's the link for Scott's: http://www.islandreefjob.com/#/applicants/watch/7AudvMYpYh8 Please do me a favor and watch his 1-minute video and then give him a "5-star" rating by clicking on the right-most of the 5 stars on the right side of the screen after the video plays. Thanks a lot!
This is a must-watch for any mother...or for any father who has watched his wife (or mother) at work: [youtube]M256-DtEuoI[/youtube]
I've written recently about the upcoming Leadership Program of the Rockies retreat, at the Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs on March 6th and 7th. LPR has added a couple truly excellent, if less famous, speakers, including Maurice McTigue, a former Ambassador and member of the New Zealand Parliament. Also speaking will be Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute. Regular participant Mike Rosen will also be a session speaker. As I noted earlier, other speakers include Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, and Colorado's own Michelle Malkin. The Leadership Program of the Rockies retreat is a wonderful event for anyone who is interested in hearing the thoughts of some of the most influential and most intellectual members of the media and pro-liberty organizations. Not only are the speakers great, but the crowd is also an interesting assortment of young and old, men and women, people from all sorts of businesses and backgrounds. And, of course, the Broadmoor is such a fantastic place that even my wife likes to go to this event even though she usually shuns politics.
Over at Pajamas Media, Michael Leeden has written two must-read short articles. First, "We Are All Fascists Now" explains how what we are witnessing in America is more correctly called economic fascism than socialism. It's a convincing argument and I think I might begin using the term "fascim" more in my own writing (with regular caveats as required for who think I'm talking about Nazism.) Second, and more important, is his article entitled "We’re All Fascists Now II: American Tyranny" in which Leeden explains how Alexis de Tocqueville's prophecies about the slow death of America under its "democracy" seem to be coming true. Basically, there are two important points: One, government inserts itself into every aspect of life. Two, people delude themselves into thinking it's OK because they elected the government. And for those who want to read the Tocqueville uninterrupted, the relevant chapter, called "What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear" can be found HERE. It's well worth the 5 minutes...
OK, it was a very tiny slip, but I can't help mentioning it: President Obama is speaking at a press conference in Canada following his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and began his remarks by saying "It's good to be here in Io...Ottawa." Clearly he was starting to say Iowa. And this just a few days after Obama mispronounced the mane of Congresswoman Diana DeGette (he said "de-jet" instead of "de-get"), whose Denver district he was in to sign the spendulus bill. As he keeps speaking in Canada, it's more of Obama's usual "uh", "um", etc. And doesn't anyone notice that Obama can't say "to"? It's always "tuh", the way an uneducated third-grader might say it. For some reason, that particular one really gets under my skin. Maybe that's why he does it. I can't help enjoying seeing him look so much less impressive than liberals seem to expect of The Chosen One. Actually, they don't notice his flaws, small or large, so this stuff is really just preaching to the choir, mostly because it's fun.
Several months ago, the publisher of Alan Dershowitz’s new book, “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies” sent me a copy of the book to review. Although it’s taken me far too long to get to it, I have finally read the book…and I encourage you to read it as well. It took some courage to ask me to review Dershowitz, a guy who other than on this issue I generally disagree with. But on the issue of Israel’s enemies, not least its enemies within America, Dershowitz is right on target. In a continuation of their ongoing battle, Professor Dershowitz levels some of his fiercest criticism at former president Jimmy Carter, who is at best a naïve dupe and at worst a sell-out to Middle Eastern tyrants. Dershowitz shows Carter not simply to be philosophically in error, but also to be a bald-faced liar regarding his “facts” about the Israel-Palestinian issue. Carter wrote a book comparing the situation in Gaza and the West Bank to apartheid. Dershowitz explains not only how that highly inflammatory term is absolutely inapplicable, but how Carter (1) does not even define the term, (2) only uses the word three times in the text, so clearly chose it just to have a catchy title, and (3) only applies the term to Israel despite other situations around the world where it might be much more applicable, such as in Darfur. Basically, Dershowitz makes Carter look like a liar and an idiot, with Carter’s substantial assistance by his refusal to debate Dershowitz to support his own book’s outrageous claims. Carter has accepted money from Arab sheiks and Holocaust-denying “think tanks”. He goes out of his way to say that Palestinian missiles fired at random civilian targets in Israel do not qualify as terrorism. And Dershowitz makes an argument that Carter may have encouraged Yasser Arafat (whom Carter wrote about in pleasant, almost glowing terms) to torpedo the Camp David peace talks. At the end of the book, Dershowitz has an additional 20-page appendix (in small print) of errors in Jimmy Carter’s book. Another major target of Professor Dershowitz is the anti-semitic duo of Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer who made a name for themselves saying that the “Israel Lobby” controls American government and media. Dershowitz takes them apart and leave them a bloody mess…but of course people who believe things such as what Walt and Mearsheimer write aren’t susceptible to logic and facts. Later chapters in Dershowitz’s book explain the danger posed by Israel’s local and distant enemies, from far-left and far-right academics and media personalities, terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran and their seemingly insane president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While many of the arguments that Dershowitz makes have been seen elsewhere, they have rarely been seen so cogently and in one volume. One area of explanation which I found particularly useful and interest was his description of the involvement of the man who was essentially the founder of Palestinian Islamic extremism, Haj Amin al-Husseini, with Adolf Hitler. It’s a devastating response to the criticism that the Jews should be given land in Europe instead of in the Middle East because the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust. As Dershowitz puts it, “It is fair to conclude that the official leader of the Muslims in Palestine…was a full-fledged Nazi war criminal, and he was so declared and sought by Yugoslavia as a war criminal after the war.” Some of Dershowitz’s evidence: “Husseini’s significant contributions to the Holocaust were multifold: first, he pleaded with Hitler to exterminate European Jewry and advised the Nazis on how to do so; second, he visited Auschwitz with Eichmann and urged Eichmann and Himmler to accelerate the pace of the mass murder; third, he personally stopped 4,000 children, accompanied by 500 adults, from leaving Europe and had them sent to Auschwitz and gassed; fourth, he prevented another two thousand Jews from leaving Romania for Palestine and one thousand from leaving Hungary for Palestine who were subsequently sent to death camps; fifth, he organized the killing of Bosnian Jews by Muslims, who he recruited to the Waffen-SS Nazi-Bosnian division. He was also one of the few non-Germans who was made privy to the Nazi extermination while it was taking place… Husseini personally has the blood of more than twenty thousand Jewish children and adults on his hands.” I haven’t included a lot of quotes from the book in this brief review because the book is relatively short and I encourage you to read it yourselves. It is excellent intellectual ammunition against the liars and haters who oppose the very existence of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and one of America’s closest allies. Allow me to conclude with some of Alan Dershowitz’s conclusion: “Israel is the only country in the world that is accused by its enemies of practicing apartheid without racism; of perpetrating a Holocaust without gas chambers; of engaging in genocide without mass murder; of committing war crimes without targeting civilians; and of being the worst human rights violator in the world, while having one of the most responsive legal systems in the world. This is accusation by metaphor, prosecution by propaganda, trial by bigotry, guilt by hyperbole, and sentence by sloganeering.” Dershowitz has done us a great service by writing this book, and despite all the other areas in which one might disagree with a Harvard liberal, this book should be required reading for anyone reading, writing, or thinking about the past and the future of the Middle East.
A day after signing a bill that will likely cost American taxpayers more than $3 trillion over the next decade, Barack Obama announced today that his interest in interfering in private contracts and forcing all Americans to absorb the losses for bad decisions by some Americans remains as strong as ever. As the media continues it’s fawning with headlines like “Obama’s housing plan ‘to help 9m’” and “Obama aiming high with housing plan”, Obama is announcing that he will have the government redistribute $75 billion of taxpayer money to homeowners who are near foreclosure or help people make their mortgage payments. The disgusting truth is contained in Obama’s statement that “All of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis.” Indeed, Obama is forcing those of us who either bought only as much home as we could afford or those of us, like my former business partner, who decided to rent because he thought real estate was in a bubble, to pay for the investing (or often more like gambling) losses of those who took out loans they never should have taken…and probably wouldn’t have been given except for pressure from government. My taxes and my former partner’s taxes will be higher forever because Obama is forcing us to pay for other peoples’ stupid or greedy decisions. It reminds me of a bunch of people going out for dinner with the understanding that they’ll all be splitting the check. Every person but one orders a beer and a modest dinner. One person orders a bottle of Dom Perignon, an appetizer of caviar, and a main course of lobster tails, knowing that he’ll be laying off most of the cost on the others. Actually, the situation is worse than this. It’s more like people who all went to dinner separately, and then the restaurant manager comes to several tables and tell them they each must contribute to the last guy’s extravagant meal because he can’t afford it…even though he knew he couldn’t afford it when he bought it. Had I known this was coming, I would have bought a much bigger house and then let the government force the bank to let me have it at a discount! It's true that the proposal isn't quite as bad as it could be, aiming at people who are currently paying mortgages. But the bottom line remains: The government is forcing the losses of those who made bad decisions on to the rest of us. Imagine the furor if a Republican President suggested that people whose stock market investments had dropped should get an transfer of money from those who for whatever reason lost much less in the market. In addition, Obama also wants to let judges modify mortgages…and not just the interest rates, but also the principal amounts, letting them reduce it to “fair market value”. This interference in a private contract is an extremely dangerous precedent to set. Can you imagine the pall that will cast over an already-reeling mortgage business? What banker will ever give a mortgage except to someone who really doesn’t need it, knowing that a judge can just say that the borrower suddenly doesn’t have to pay back the whole loan? What’s next, car loans? Industrial loans? What contract is sacred in the world of Obama? And don't forget: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee the principal on billions of dollars of mortgage securities (essentially bonds whose interest payment comes from mortgage payments on the mortgages contained in them). Any reduction in the principal amount of the mortgages contained in those securities will have to be made up to the bond holders by the GSE's, whose primary source of funds is now taking money from taxpayers! So, reducing principal amounts isn't just screwing the lenders (which the Democrats seem to think sounds like fun), but it's also screwing the responsible taxpayer in essentially the same way that the proposed outright cash transfers do. Here’s a thought: If the law passes, it should include a provision that the judge also has the authority to raise either the interest rate or the principal due on a loan. Much in the way that a loser in a court proceeding can be forced to pay the winner’s court costs, as a bit of incentive not to bring frivolous or merit-less lawsuits.