Thursday, October 13, 2011

Did Hitler escape to South America?

I am inclined to think that he didn't but the case is not as open and shut as you might imagine. Consider two things:

1). We only have the word of the Red Army for what they found in Hitler's bunker and the old Soviet apparatus told lies as easily as some people tell the truth. They even had a word for such lies: "Disinformation" -- with one of its more successful examples being the demonization of that great man of God, Pope Pius XII.

And it would have been a great disgrace for the Soviets if they had let Hitler slip through their fingers. So they would have claimed to have got him even if they had not -- reasoning quite cogently that Hitler would not blow the cover that they had conveniently provided for him.

2). It is undisputed that many Nazis, including some senior ones, DID escape to South America. So if them, why not the Leader himself? He would only have had to manage a night flight from somewhere in the Reich to Fascist Spain and all his troubles would be over. A transfer from there to one of the South American dictatorships could have been arranged in a variety of ways. And the Latin American elite were at that time (and to a considerable extent still are) apostles of Bolivarism -- which is just Fascism by another name, Fascism complete with a Fuehrerprinzip of course. So Hitler's welcome would have been warm, though secretive.

And a night flight would not even have been particularly dangerous. It would be assumed by all concerned that only Allied aircraft would be in the air by that time and the profile of some German military aircraft was similar to the profile of some Allied aircraft (e.g. the Junkers 88 could be mistaken for a Mosquito bomber) so any challenge would be unlikely.

But the reason I doubt that Hitler escaped is that I cannot see him ever shutting up for long. The man was a born preacher so I am sure that if he had survived we would have eventually heard something from him in some way.

But if you want to read an interesting article offering evidence that he escaped, see here or here


Government the Job Killer

John Stossel has some good stories:

President Obama says government will have to build the nation out of the economic trough.

"We're the country that built the intercontinental railroad," Obama says. "So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads?"

Ironic that he mentions the Chinese. Progressives used to complain that to build the railroad, bosses abused Chinese workers -- called them "coolies" and treated them badly. Now this is big success?

I guess Obama doesn't know that the transcontinental railroad was a Solyndra-like Big Government scandal. The railroad didn't make economic sense at the time, so the government subsidized construction and gave the companies huge quantities of the best land on the continent. As we should expect, without market discipline -- profit and loss -- contractors ripped off the taxpayers. After all, if you get paid by the amount of track you lay, you'll lay more track than necessary.

Credit Mobilier, the first rail construction company, made enormous profits by overcharging for its work. To keep the subsidies flowing, it made big contributions to congressmen.

Where have we heard that recently?

The transcontinental railroad lost tons of money. The government never covered its costs, and most rail lines that used the tracks went bankrupt or continued to be subsidized by taxpayers. The Union Pacific and Northern Pacific -- all those rail lines we learned about in history class -- milked the taxpayer and then went broke.

One line worked. The Great Northern never went bankrupt. It was the railroad that got no subsidies.

We need infrastructure, but the beauty of leaving most of these things to the private sector -- without subsidies, bailouts and other privileges -- is that they would have to be justified by the profit-and-loss test. In a truly free market, when private companies make bad choices, investors lose their own money. This tends to make them careful.

By contrast, when government loses money, it just spends more and raises your taxes, or borrows more, or inflates. Building giant government projects is no way to create jobs. When government spends on infrastructure, it takes money away from projects that consumers might think are more important.

When government isn't killing jobs by sucking money out of the private sector, it kills jobs by smothering the private sector with regulation. I talked to Peter Schiff about all this. Schiff is a good authority because he was one of the few people to warn of the housing bust. Now he's had a run-in with the federal government over job creation.

Schiff, who operates a brokerage firm with 150 employees, recently complained to Congress that "regulations are running up the cost of doing business, and a lot of companies never even get started because they can't overcome that regulatory hurdle."

Schiff claims he would have hired a thousand more people but for regulations. "I had a huge plan to expand. I wanted to open up a lot of offices. I had some capital to do it. I had investors lined up. My business was doing really well. But unfortunately, because of the regulations in the security industry, I was not able to hire."

So if he wants to hire an analyst, he can't just hire him? "I had to get permission to publish their research, which I didn't get for years. And so I can't pay analysts if I can't sell their research.

People don't appreciate the number of regulations entrepreneurs face. Schiff pays 10 people just to try to figure out if his company is obeying the rules.

"You can't just act very quickly, because everything has to be done through this maze of compliance. Even my brokers ... find out that maybe 20 percent, 30 percent of their day is involved in compliance-related activity, activity that is inhibiting their productivity. ... All around the country, people are complying with regulations instead of producing, instead of investing and growing the economy. They're trying to survive the regulations."

This is no way to create jobs or wealth. Keynesian pundits and politicians can't understand why businesses sit on cash rather than invest and hire unemployed workers. It's really no mystery. Government is in the way.



Morality, Not Theology

Jonah Goldberg

Robert Jeffress introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit on Friday. He started a great big hullabaloo by asking, "Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person, or one who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?"

Before we go on, let me just say, I'd probably go with curtain No. 1. Don't get me wrong -- I've got no problem with a born-again Christian being my president, my pilot or my chiropodist. But saying someone is a born-again Christian, for me at least, is not inherently synonymous with being a "good, moral person," never mind being transparently preferable to one.

In other words, I might vote for a born-again Christian on the assumption that his professed faith makes it more likely he's a good person. But if the choice is between someone we know is a good person and someone who just might be, why take the chance?

Jeffress was practicing "dog whistle politics" -- a term of recent Australian vintage that has caught on here and in Britain and that simply means trying to send a message to a certain constituency that the dog-whistler hopes won't be heard by anyone else. In this case, Jeffress wanted evangelical Christians to decode his remarks as an attack on Mitt Romney's Mormonism. And they got it. Alas, so did everyone else.

But apparently Jeffress couldn't take any chances. So after Perry's speech, Jeffress blew the dog whistle hard enough to give himself a hernia, telling reporters that Mormonism is a cult and that "every true, born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian."

It's difficult to parse what's the most annoying thing about all this. Is it the bigotry, the intellectual incoherence or just the incredible lameness?

According to Jeffress, Mormonism's cult status merely disqualifies Romney when the rest of the field is evangelical Christians. "The reason I would probably select Mitt Romney over Barack Obama is, I do think being an evangelical, or Christian, is important, but it's not the only criteria by which we select a leader," he told Fox News. "I personally would rather have a non-Christian like Mitt Romney who embraces [my] principles than Barack Obama."

So why is he wasting everyone's time?

Just in case Jeffress still doesn't get it: It's not called the Christian Voter Summit but the Values Voter Summit. And yet Jeffress doesn't claim Romney doesn't share his values, only that he doesn't share the same theology.

Is Mormonism a cult? Yes, no, maybe, who cares. From a Jewish perspective, you could say that Mormonism is simply one of the more recent additions to a very long line of cults. From an atheist perspective, it's cults as far as the eye can see.

But from a moral perspective, contemporary Mormonism is squarely within the Judeo-Christian tradition, promoting decency, self-restraint, family values, etc.

The old Moral Majority had its flaws, but its core mission was admirable: to promote moral unity under the banner of theological pluralism. However you worship, if you shared the same "traditional values" you could work together. Jeffress turns all that on its head.

He also plays into the worst stereotypes about the Republicans as a bigoted and theocratic party for evangelical Christians alone. And that's ironic, too, because anti-Mormon prejudice is not a particularly acute problem on the right.

According to Gallup, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they'd never vote for a Mormon presidential candidate (27 percent compared with 18 percent). Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll of voters taken earlier this year says 68 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents are comfortable with a Mormon president, while only 49 percent of Democrats are.

It's good and right that Perry is distancing himself from Jeffress. Then again, maybe he put Jeffress up to this stunt in the first place so the idea would get out without him taking the heat for it.

Ironically, if Perry did goad the Dallas-based pastor to blow the Mormon dog whistle, or if he picks it up himself, it would only lend credence to Jeffress' insinuation that a choice between Romney and Perry is a choice between a "good, moral person" and "a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ."


Jonah might have added above that it takes a "broad tent" person to win elections and the good pastor was advocating a very narrow tent. Strait and narrow may be the way to salvation but it is not the way to win American Presidential elections -- JR


Protesters Occupy the Liberal Media

When the Tea Party movement erupted in the spring of 2009, the media elites dismissed them as corporate-generated "Astroturf" noise. They found them barely worth covering, even to besmirch them.

But when the Occupy Wall Street protests began on Sept. 17, the liberal media was quickly bombarded with complaints from the left that the media were ignoring this massive "news" story. NPR Executive Editor Dick Meyer said the early protests "did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption, or an especially clear objective." So the protesters went out and blocked the Brooklyn Bridge and drew 700 arrests -- voila, a national story.

Contemplate this: The Occupy Wall Street folks drew more broadcast network stories in the first nine days of coverage (with 24 stories) than the Tea Party drew in the first nine months(with 19 stories).

NBC's Michelle Franzen was the first promoter - OK, she calls herself a reporter -- on the scene. "Protesters fed up with the economy and social inequality turned out en masse over the weekend," she announced on "Today" on Oct. 3. "Voicing their discontent and marching for change." Her expert source, Columbia professor Dorian Warren, dutifully proclaimed the Wall Street protests were "a liberal version of the Tea Party" that "could potentially carry over into the 2012 elections and get people to the polls."

So let's get this straight. The protests were like a stumbling little fawn trying to find its legs. They'd been in existence for about two weeks, and NBC was already suggesting the "potential" for what the Tea Party achieved in 2010 -- a massive Democratic wave election in 2012. Journalists are either easily impressed or very energetic practitioners of wishful thinking.

ABC's Dan Harris followed that night to offer his tributes. "This past weekend, 700 people were arrested when they stormed the Brooklyn Bridge. Now major unions are joining in, as are celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin, and similar protests are popping up across America." It might seem a little funny -- and noteworthy -- to have a protest against the mega-rich with mega-rich movie stars standing around, but it fits the media's "prominent people" standard, so never mind.

This provides a crystal-clear contrast with the first Tea Party events in 2009. "There's been some grassroots conservatives who have organized so-called Tea Parties around the country," NBC's Chuck Todd noted on the April 15, 2009, "Today," but "the idea hasn't really caught on." On ABC, Dan Harris warned viewers that "critics on the left (wonder who?) say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests."




Temporary employment: The new permanent?: "Uncertainties about future tax and health care costs could be inhibiting permanent job growth, shifting more of the labor force to temporary and part-time employment, say Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow, and Peter Swanson, a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, with the National Center for Policy Analysis. In 1956 there were only 20,000 temporary employees. By the early 1970s, there were 200,000 temporary employees, representing 0.3 percent of U.S. employment."

President Obama’s attack on the oil companies: "A widely recognized economic principle is that when you subsidize something, you get more of it, and when you tax it, you get less. Unfortunately President Obama's guiding economic principle is to impose more taxes on profitable companies and subsidize those that can't make a dime. It's no wonder the economy is struggling"

Hilda Solis, Secretary of Unions: "Lenin argued that communism is so obviously virtuous that any worker who resists it must be a victim of 'false consciousness.' He cannot think straight because his oppressors have muddled his brain. Hilda Solis, Obama’s secretary of unions -- oops, labor -- thinks a bit like Lenin. She thinks labor unions are so obviously virtuous that any worker who votes against unionization does so only because evil labor relations consultants have conspired with the worker’s malevolent employer to muddle the worker’s brain."


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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)


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