Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Must not portray Hitler as human
The official wisdom is that he was an abnormal monster or freak. They are afraid that people will find out that he was a fairly mainstream socialist by the standards of his day
When intimate colour film of Adolf Hitler cuddling a pet dog and smiling as a baby reached out to play with his moustache was shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival 36 years ago, a scuffle broke out in the audience and the screening had to be abandoned.
The documentary, Swastika, by the Australian director Philippe Mora, contained never-before seen footage of Hitler entertaining friends, family and his inner circle - including Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels. Much of it was shot by his lover Eva Braun at Hitler's mountain home in Obersalzberg, Bavaria.
The documentary later opened in several countries, including the US, Britain and France, but despite widespread critical acclaim from the art critic Robert Hughes in Time, The Washington Post and Le Monde, it was mothballed and Germany banned it.
Last week, however, Swastika - and Mora - were warmly welcomed back to Berlin. Championed by the German documentary maker, Ilona Ziok, the film was shown in the cinema used by the Nazis in Berlin, opened the Biberach Film Festival in Munich and special screenings are planned in Dresden this week.
Mora, who is Jewish, has lived in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. He was just 22 and living in London when he proposed documenting the making of Albert Speer's book Inside the Third Reich into a US-backed feature movie by the British producers, David Puttnam and former Fox boss, Sandy Lieberson.
When Hollywood pulled out of the Speer project, its producers agreed to back Mora and his research partner, the German filmmaker Lutz Becker, to finish their own film about the Nazification of Germany. Four months into production in 1972 they had managed to unearth the startling new footage in Pentagon archives.
Free Enterprise— Time for Respect instead of Envy
Milton Friedman said with passion: “The record of history is absolutely clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activity that is unleashed by the free enterprise system.” American capitalism, as imperfect a system as it is, has made America the “shining city on the hill” where immigrants still stand in line and cross borders to find opportunity.
Those who worked hard to earn their American Dream used to be respected. They were a source of inspiration and jobs for those who aspired to their own success. Americans took pride in being the land of opportunity where anyone could better their position in life.
How then have those who have worked hard to achieve success now become the subject of envy and derision? When did it become acceptable for Americans to embrace candidates who could openly brag about redistributing the wealth of the top 5% of wage earners to subsidize their supporters?
A recent trip to the UK surfaced some clues. In Europe, many hold wealthy in such contempt that vandalism against the rich is growing.
In hopes of providing rich urban Paris commuters an alternative bicycle-rental system to match this age of global warming hysteria, the French have provided 20,600 sturdy bicycles—a low-cost, low-carbon alternative to using cars. In a blow to Parisian civility, 80% of the bicycles have been stolen, trashed or damaged. The stylish bicycles are seen as symbols of the “bobos,” the “bourgeois-bohemès,” the rich and trendy urban class. A sociologist reported in the International Herald Tribune commented: “They stir resentment and covetousness. They are often vandalized in a socially divided Paris by resentful, angry, or anarchic youth.”
At one of my leadership programs in Edinburgh, an international sales manager pointed to a beautiful, silver Porsche in the parking lot, “You don’t see many here anymore. Not because people can’t afford them, but because if you own one, you are likely to have the hood keyed by vandals. They don’t think the rich deserve what they own; they must have taken it from someone else to get to where they are. It’s tragic. I hope it never becomes that way in America. The American Dream isn’t just important to your country; it’s important to the world. In the past, America has been living proof that anyone can better themselves.”
Certainly media news has played a role, and some dishonest business people have given them all the ammunition they need to paint all “rich” achievers with the same brush. Whether it’s the Enron’s debacle, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, or the sub-prime derivative abuses, some highly-visible executives failed to live up to the values they had on their walls. Rightfully, many have and continue to pay for their ethical lapses. Unfortunately, the good bosses, the ethical managers, the charitable rich benefactors and the job-creating entrepreneurs don’t make the headlines. Most of the rich earn their wealth from hard work. Many hire workers, support charities and provide dividends to stockholders.
Hollywood adds to the negative image of free enterprise and business executives. Robert Lichter and others have found that the negative portrayal of businesspeople has grown over the years. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, businesspeople were three times more likely to exhibit characteristics of rampant greed than were other characters in identifiable occupations. In the 1980s, business characters where 10 times more likely to exhibit greedy behaviors than were other characters. In the 1990s, Lichter found that 81 percent of the shows that addressed the question of whether business were honest and honorable or unfair and corrupt, portrayed business dealings as dishonest and corrupt.
Rather than a reward for offering valued goods and services, profit was ordinarily portrayed as the result of exploitation and fraud. Hollywood has no interest in showing the power of free enterprise to generate prosperity, to tap the human spirit’s pursuit of excellence and to create innovative products and services that make a difference to us all.
The church also does its part to create envy and chastise the “rich.” Pastors pray for “social justice” which has come to provide justification for redistribution and government services for the poor. Yes, Biblical passages make it clear that being “rich” has its challenges. Faith trumps wealth. How one uses one’s riches is crucial, but Jesus didn’t come to call Rome to institute universal healthcare. He called believers to be good stewards of their gifts and their money. Believers were to give to the poor, not to elect politicians to take from others to do the giving for them. As Margaret Thatcher once said, "No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money, too."
Then, of course, we have President Obama and his liberal Democrat leaders who have declared “war on wealth.” They’ve promised not to renew the Bush tax cuts on the top 5% of wage earners. The top 5 percent already pay 60.63 percent of all the individual income taxes collected, even though they earned only 37.44 percent of the money. The President wants them to give even more because they are not paying their “fair share.”
Lincoln believed in the American Dream for all Americans, but he never condoned any attack on the rich. He said, “I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war on capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.” Lincoln understood what Obama and other class warriors never do. When American freedom and free enterprise is working, there’s no war between capital and labor. Capital and labor are the same people at different stages of their lives. Workers work to save, then to invest and ultimately to become owners of capital and entrepreneurs themselves.
Margaret Thatcher had another warning we should heed, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money." It’s time we start showing a little respect to those that have and are making America work. Instead of trying to take from them and punish achievement, it’s time to learn from what they do and emulate it. President Obama is looking for new strategies that will unleash private economic growth. As Steve Forbes new book, How Capitalism Will Save Us, reminds us—we don’t need a new idea! The President can unleash a tried-and-true strategy—stop throwing money away on losing companies “too big to fail” and start rewarding companies willing to invent the future and hire more Americans to do it. Whether you want to believe it or not, the American Dream can still work if we let it.
Obama will meet Netanyahu at White House: "The White House announced Sunday that President Barack Obama will be meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli prime minister’s trip to Washington, ending days of uncertainty. Netanyahu was to arrive in the U.S. capital Sunday night for a speaking engagement at the three-day 2009 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America. He will meet with Obama on Monday evening.”
Lieberman: Senate will investigate Army shootings: "The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee says he plans to begin a congressional investigation of the shootings at Fort Hood. An Army major, Nidal Malik Hasan, is suspected of killing 13 people and wounding 29 others at the Army post in Texas. Sen. Joe Lieberman says he wants to determine whether the shootings constitute a terrorist attack. He says he also wants to find out whether the Army missed warning signs that Hasan was becoming extreme in his Islamist views.”
Obama sitting out Berlin Wall Anniversary: "President Obama squeezed in a trip to Copenhagen last month to lobby, unsuccessfully, for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. He plans to travel to Oslo next month to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that even Obama has said he does not deserve. And this coming week, he sets out on a weeklong tour of Asia. But the president does not plan to travel to Germany to attend the 20th anniversary celebration Monday of the fall of the Berlin Wall, drawing heated criticism from those who say he’s ignoring a shining triumph of American-inspired democracy.”
Jobless: 10 percent is tougher than it used to be: "It hurts more to be unemployed now than the last time the jobless rate hit 10 percent. Americans have more than triple the debt they had in 1982, and less than half the savings. They spend 10 weeks longer off the job. And a bigger share of them have no health insurance, leaving them one medical emergency away from financial ruin. For these reasons, the unemployed are more vulnerable today to foreclosure and bankruptcy than they were a generation ago.”
Truer U.S. unemployment rate hits recent high of 17.5%: "Each month, as regular readers know, I like to unpack the new unemployment number and get behind the data. The news this month continues to be grim. Indeed, it is climbing rapidly toward record-grim territory. The official U.S. unemployment rate in October rose to 10.2 percent from 9.8 percent in September, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But the truer measure of unemployment -- a total count of everyone who should be working full time but is not -- hit 17.5 percent in October, the highest level in modern times. The Labor Department changed to its new unemployment survey method in the mid-'90s, moving to the narrower count that gives you the official number, or today's 10.2 percent. Which, by the way, is nothing to sneeze at. It's the highest rate since 1983. Counts were obviously cruder during the Great Depression, but the 25 percent rate, reached during 1933, is analogous to our 17.5 percent today. Both numbers include the widest possible measure of unemployment."
Will Obama ever become President?: "Folks, we’re at the one year mark. It’s been exactly a year since Barack Obama was elected president and the question must be asked: How is Brand Obama doing? Take a look through the marketing lens and you’ll see that there are really two brands that make up today’s Brand Obama: Obama the candidate and Obama the president. Even though the election is long over, Obama the candidate is still hanging around. … Meanwhile, Obama the president has not really arrived. Barack Obama has not transitioned into the White House. Even his staunchest supporters don’t really feel like the man in the oval office is the change they have been waiting for. After all, Obama the president is so unlike Obama the candidate. Where Obama the candidate was bold, fresh and new, Obama the president seems like a big helping of big-government Democratic leftovers served cold. This is a dish virtually none of the electorate wants to eat and no one voted for"
A deadbeat Congress: "Jaws dropped when the government announced recently that the national debt would increase by $14,000,000,000,000 over the next decade. Right now, roughly every third dollar the government spends is one it does not have. Even more worrying is how politicians are reacting to the news. Few are talking about cutting spending, which would be politically difficult. Instead, Congress and the administration could resort to spending off-budget through a neat trick known as the unfunded mandate.”
Lousy jobs, in such small portions: "Two dissatisfied customers comment about a restaurant. One says, ‘The food here is terrible.’ The other replies, ‘I know, and such small portions!’ In many ways, they could be describing our current employment picture. Not only are the portions shrinking, but the jobs themselves are steadily losing quality.”
Does background count?: "In its November 7, 2009 (Saturday’s), issue The New York Times ran an editorial tutoring its readers in how they ought to ignore the background of the accused murderer of the soldiers in Texas. All that matters is what he did, not what groups he joined in the past. So, his being Muslim should be ignored and nothing should be concluded about any Muslims in the light of his actions. Now this advice has a ring of truth to it except that it is wrong. Certainly not all Muslims may be suspected of bad intentions in light of what one Muslim does. Not without some additional information. Did the shooter’s motivation stem from his Islamic convictions? Maybe a version of Islam, a radical variety, had something to do with how he felt or what he believed about his victims. If so, then his ‘background’ certainly needs to be attended to. It all depends what aspect of his background one has in mind.”
Bailout promises, Mao’s famine and bad incentives: "I suspect a lot of people are shocked by the blatant falsification of statistics by various government bureaucrats, at different levels, which gives a pretense to the Obama administration to claim their stimulus package created, or saved, jobs. I’m not sure why people are surprised at all. One of the problems with the bureaucratic system of management is that such self-reporting is often the criteria used to measure ’success.’ The problem is that the incentives for the bureaucrats are such that they pushed to fudge the numbers, in whichever direction necessary, to please their superiors. In the bureaucratic system pleasing the overlords, is necessary for advancement. So it’s best to tell them what they want to hear.”
Thugocracy: Another SEIU Beating Reported -- in CA: "A state worker is recovering after a bloody brawl at a union hall. He says members of the local SEIU 1000 beat him up and sent him to the hospital all because he wanted to expose alleged corruption within the union. Ken Hamidi is a state worker at the California Franchise Tax Board. Last night he walked into a union hall in Sacramento for an SEIU local 1000 meeting. "We had every right to be here, very simple; it wasn't anything private or anything exclusive," said Hamidi. But Hamidi says the union members did not want him there. "Three, four people jumped at me, wrestled with me, then did all that," said Hamidi. "I was covered in blood and then over to the emergency room." So why did this happen? Besides being a state worker, Hamidi says he's an unpaid reporter for a cable access show and a vocal critic of the SEIU. He calls the state workers' union corrupt. "This is a union hall that is leased and is being furnished and equipped and everything with our money," said Hamidi. Hamidi says he came to the hall to expose how he says SEIU union leaders are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a political race"
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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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)
Posted by JR at 1:36 AM