No holocaust in Gaza
The Israeli Government runs no death camps, anywhere
MUSLIM leader Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali says the Israeli incursion into Gaza last month was "another Holocaust". No it wasn't. The Holocaust was an act of German state policy, a systematic attempt to murder every Jew in Nazi-controlled Europe. It was not a mass execution of political prisoners or the killing of enemy combatants. It was an attempt to slaughter an entire people. When they were not murdering Jews, the Nazis and their allies were happy to kill as many gypsies and Slavs and homosexuals as they could. But the death camps existed primarily to kill Jews.
In contrast, the Israelis went into Gaza to stop Hamas terrorists firing rockets into Israel. Certainly, 1200 people, at least half of them civilians, died. There is no denying the Hamas regime in Gaza and the Government of Israel both have innocent blood on their conscience. However, for Hamas to incite Israeli attacks in urban areas was to invite casualties. Given Israeli firepower, it is astonishing there were not more. But civilians were not -- not -- the targets. If Sheik Hilali does not know this, he has no interest in the facts of the Middle East conflict. But if he is aware of the evidence but uses "holocaust" to save him the trouble of calmly debating the continuing crisis in the Middle East, he can play no useful role in helping the people of Gaza. There are different dictionary definitions of "hyperbole" and "hysterics". In the case of this claim by Sheik Hilali, the words are synonyms
Government control of the economy will increase but only up to a point
I have long argued that the Fascists won and that we live in very much the sort of State that the Fascists designed, particularly in the economic sphere. Note that Fascist leaders are almost always popular in their own countries: Hitler, Mussolini, Peron, Putin etc. The writer below is historically correct in that Fascism always was a form of socialism-- JR
The headline of Newsweek's current cover story reads: "We Are All Socialists Now." The story tells us that Republicans and Democrats, oligarcos y peones, have given up on the market economy and, however reactionary some people's rhetoric may be, we are all in fact being swept toward bigger government by an irresistible wave. Pretty soon, we Americans will be just like the French, though lacking a comparable command of the beautiful French language. I don't recommend the Newsweek article. Although the writers, Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas, have absorbed a number of true facts, their level of economic understanding is abysmal, and hence their reasoning is close to worthless.
Truth is, socialism is not the wave of the future. Indeed, it is already almost as dead as the dodo. Hardly anybody in a position of political power or influence now wants to establish socialism along the lines of the Soviets or the Maoists. Everyone knows that doing so is a one-way ticket to widespread poverty, which leaves precious little surplus for the political kingpins to rip off.
No, the world is converging ever more visibly, not toward socialism, but toward what I (following Charlotte Twight's usage) have for many years been calling participatory fascism. The hallmarks of this system are, on the political side, the trappings of democracy (parties, elections, procedural niceties, etc.), and, on the economic side, the form of private property rights (though not much of the substance that characterizes the real thing).
The beauty of this system is that the political system can easily be corrupted so that the power elite retains a firm hold on the state, despite the appearance that they rule only with the consent of the governed. The major political parties appear to compete, but for the most part they coalesce and conspire; on the basics, they are in complete agreement. The apparent "consent" they enjoy they actually manufacture by their control of the mass media, the schools and universities, and other key institutions, and no political opinion outside the 40-yard lines ever receives a hearing in serious political circles. (Remember how the oligarcos rolled their eyes when Ron Paul managed to get in an occasional word during the debates last year?)
And while the ruling establishment retains an iron grip on state power, it allow entrepreneurs just enough room for maneuver so that innovators can continue to produce the new products, new methods of production, new raw materials, and new organizational forms that move the economy forward. The most enterprising entrepreneurs can still get rich, although even they will see a large chunk of the fruits of their labors ripped away by the state. The economy will improve its productivity sufficiently to keep a growing supply of creature comforts and amusements flowing to the masses, who are content with these things, along with the illusion of security that state functionaries induce in the people.
Lest you suppose that the masses are getting a raw deal, because their level of living would be so much higher in a genuine free-market system, bear in mind that virtually all of these people despise the free market. If you don't think so, just give them an opportunity to live in one or even to move in that direction, conditional on their willingness to accept the personal responsibility and bear the risks that attend life in such a system - and you'll see them flee quicker than a vampire exits at the first light of day. How do you think we got into our present situation, anyhow? It's not as though the masses were repeatedly given what they didn't want. They had plenty of opportunities to say no to dependency on the state, but they turned away; and they do not intend to go back any time soon to what they imagine to be an unbearably harsh style of life. Rugged individualism might have been okay for their great-grandparents, but they want no part of it.
All of which leaves us - by which I mean nearly everybody on earth - converging on the only form of politico-economic system that has a stable equilibrium in our present ideological circumstances: participatory fascism. I am not saying that this system is the only one possible, forever and ever, amen. I am saying, however, that until the world's people abandon en masse the collectivist ideologies that now determine their social cognition, policy evaluation, political practices, and personal identities, any hope for moving to a freer form of economic order as a stable equilibrium is virtually nil.
Stimulus no fix for health insurance: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger raised the ire of many in California by calling for $1.1 billion in cuts to Medi-Cal, the state healthcare program for the poor, as part of an effort to head off a projected $42 billion budget deficit over the next 17 months. The federal government is now throwing him a lifeline. A cool $32 billion from the massive economic stimulus bill winding its way through Congress was designated for California. About a third of that is earmarked for Medi-Cal relief. But a bailout of Medicaid (the federal version of Medi-Cal) with no checks and balances to ensure funds are spent as specified only kicks healthcare reform further down the road."
Instead of stimulus, do nothing ... seriously! "As we wait to see how the politicians in Washington will alter the stimulus package the Obama administration is pushing, many questions are being raised about the measure's contents and efficacy. Should it include money for the National Endowment for the Arts, Amtrak, and child care? Is it big enough to get the economy moving again? Does it spend money fast enough? Hardly anyone, however, is asking the most important question: Should the federal government be doing any of this? In raising this question, one risks immediate dismissal as someone hopelessly out of touch with the modern realities of economics and government."
The Great O has spoken! "President Barack Obama is getting angry about his 'stimulus' package, now stalled in the Senate. Like the Great and Powerful Oz when faced with a courageous Dorothy, he is not taking well to criticism of his leadership, and he does not want critical eyes peering to see the man behind the curtain. This is a President who is watching his mandate to govern - alongside his vaunted trillion dollar 'stimulus' plan - evaporate quicker than a drop of water on Venus. He says the point of a stimulus plan is to spend. And apparently, in his eyes, to spend as much as it takes, no matter the cost."
Economic change we can believe in: "President Barack Obama's stimulus proposal entails an awkward tradeoff between spending and efficiency. Fiscal stimulation suggests large, rapid increases in spending, while efficiency means cautious, modest increases. Similarly, Obama's plan favors tax cuts for low-income families, since they are most likely to spend rather than save, yet the drive for efficiency means cutting marginal tax rates on high-income consumers. One policy change, however, can stimulate both the economy in the short-run and enhance efficiency in the long-run: repeal of the corporate income tax, which collects up to 35% of the difference between revenues and costs of incorporated businesses."
The disastrous Smoot and Hawley return: "As if the `economic stimulus' bill was not bad enough, it also contains a `Buy American' provision. It is now truly an economic sabotage bill. This is particularly scary. When the economy soured last year, one could reassure oneself that this would not be a repeat of the 1930s because 1) a dramatic contraction of the money supply was unlikely (the Fed presumably having learned the lesson of the Great Depression) and 2) we would never see the likes of Smoot-Hawley again. This, of course, refers to the monstrous tariff bill that Congress passed and President Herbert Hoover signed in 1930 in the name of protecting American jobs."
The US government has no business taking over banks: "The U.S. government has no business taking over banks. Outright nationalization of banks would lead to poorly run banks and, in the long run, make America poorer. As a trip to any Motor Vehicles Dept. can illustrate, the government doesn't always do a great job running things. Even when they provide decent service, in fact, government-run `businesses' like the Postal Service and Amtrak almost always lose money."
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)