Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Origin of the term "Nazi"

A recent book born of research in the British library gives the following nonsensical explanation:
Nazi - an insult in use long before the rise of Adolf Hitler's party. It was a derogatory term for a backwards peasant - being a shortened version of Ignatius, a common name in Bavaria, the area from which the Nazis emerged. Opponents seized on this and shortened the party's title Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, to the dismissive "Nazi"

I think that explanation shows that you can't always look things up. The author obviously knows little of German pronunciation.

"National" is the same word with the same meaning in both English and German. The difference is in the pronunciation. In German it is pronounced (approximately) as "Nartsiohnahl". But in German the letter "z" is pronounced as "ts". So substituting "z" for "ts" in "Nartsiohnahl" gets us "Nazionahl". And "Nazi" is simply an abbreviation of that. Any nationalist would therefore tend to be called a "Nazi". I suppose an equivalent process in English would be to call any nationalist a "Nasho". But nationalism was never popular in the Anglosphere so that didn't happen. In time, of course, the prominence of Hitler's party made the term specific to members of Hitler's party rather than being applicable to nationalists generally.

For what it's worth, Friedrich Engels (Karl Marx's co-author) was a fervent German nationalist so he could theoretically be termed a Nazi, but I don't know that he ever was described that way.


Perry hedges on Obama's birth certificate

TEXAS Governor Rick Perry expressed some uncertainty about the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate in an interview with Parade magazine published Sunday.

When asked directly if he believes Obama was born in the US, the candidate responded, "I have no reason to think otherwise" before hedging that he does not have "a definitive answer."

When Parade interviewer Lynn Sherr noted that Perry has seen Obama's birth certificate, Mr Perry said, "I don't know. Have I?"

Mr Perry noted he recently had dinner with Donald Trump, whose repeated questions about Mr Obama's place of birth helped push the president to release his long-form birth certificate in April.

"He doesn't think it's real," Mr Perry said about Mr Trump's view of the president's birth certificate.

"I don't have any idea," Mr Perry added. "It doesn't matter. He's the president of the United States. He's elected. It's a distractive (sic) issue."

Later, Mr Perry said he would like to have Mr Trump's endorsement for his presidential candidacy. "He is a job-creating machine, and that's what I'm all about," Mr Perry said.



Obama's show trials deflect blame from where it really belongs

The Department of Justice is not in the sales industry. Yet the DOJ appears hell-bent on prosecuting provocative cases that deflect responsibility for the financial crisis away from the government and onto the private sector.

A recent Gallup poll reveals that most Americans blame the government, not Wall Street, for the economic downturn. Americans are fed up with disgraces like Fast & Furious, Solyndra and high unemployment. Now, it appears that President Obama may be relying on the DOJ to help him regain public approval for his collectivist policies.

Preet Bharara is the man President Obama nominated as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, headquartered in lower Manhattan.

With impeccable timing, Bharara is delivering the Occupy Wall Street progressives (potential Obama 2012 campaigners) exactly what they are clamoring for by prosecuting sexy, high profile cases that send an anti-wealth, anti-capitalism and anti-Wall Street message. Here is a timeline:

* September 17: Occupy Wall Street protest begins.

* September 21: Bharara announces that former Galleon Group LLC trader Zvi Goffer will serve 10 years in prison, the longest prison term on record for insider trading.

* October 7: Bharara announces that Emanuel Goffer will serve three years for acting on "inside information" that he received from his brother Zvi.

* October 12: Bharara announces that former attorney Michael Kimelman will serve 30 months for his involvement with the Goffer brothers (despite a very close jury and no clear evidence that Kimelman knew the he was acting on illegal information).

* October 13: After utilizing admittedly "aggressive prosecutorial methods and unprecedented tactics," Bharara announces that billionaire and Galleon Group LLC hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam will serve 11 years in prison, setting a new record for insider trading prison terms.

FBI press releases state that these cases were "brought in coordination with President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which U.S. Attorney Bharara serves as a co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group." Government records indicate that President Obama created this tax force to "hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial crisis."

The obvious problem with this task force is that shady Clinton-era government housing policies initiated the financial crisis, not Wall Street. So, how can a government task force hold the government accountable?

The government's Wall Street "watchdogs" are particularly tainted. The DOJ has notoriously blown taxpayer funds on extravagant conferences featuring $16 muffins, and, last spring, 33 Congressional probes uncovered high-level SEC employees using taxpayer time and equipment to indulge their addiction to porn.

Furthermore, economists including the widely recognized founder of the economic analysis of law, Henry Manne, argue that deregulating insider trading would benefit both the economy and society. UCLA School of Law Professor Stephen M. Bainbridge writes: "Insider trading is one of the most controversial aspects of securities regulation, even among the law and economics community. . Deregulatory arguments are typically premised on the claims that insider trading promotes market efficiency or that assigning the property right to inside information to managers is an efficient compensation scheme."

The New York Times has reported that, "Insider trading does not appear to have any appreciable effect on the markets, at least as measured by the volume of trading that occurs." The Guardian also reports that many insider prosecutions do little to anything to stop the practice, and, more importantly, the trading itself may not be inherently destructive to the market.

Bharara genuinely seems to think he's whipping horrific crimes. But what is more scandalous? To threaten America's food supply by ignoring and even facilitating drug cartel border violence (think Fast & Furious)? Or, to leverage your connections and cut backdoor deals on Wall Street-when there is no evidence that such trades hurt the economy?

Government waste and corruption is a far greater threat to the economy and society than insider trading. But when was the last time you saw a government regulator get perp-walked? I think the President's task force could send a superior anti-corruption message by securing the border and attacking government waste.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan in Manhattan suggested that historically high prison terms like Goffer's and Rajaratnam's: ".will be used to send a message to Wall Street." And Wall Street represents capitalism. So, these men appear to be sexy scapegoats serving drawn-out prison terms to send an anti-capitalism message to the progressive mob.



All sides should agree: down with the Big Banks

They mainly support Democrat candidates anyway. They know who can be bought. And Obama definitely was a bargain for them

Liberal protesters "occupying" Wall Street hate the big banks, which they see as the engine of capitalism. But conservatives ought to hate the big banks because they are the enemies of capitalism.

Three events last week cemented how the bailed-out subsidy sucklers of Wall Street continue to profit, not from the free exchange and risk-taking that embodies the market, but from cronyism and offloading their risk onto the taxpayer.

First, Bank of America, which would have collapsed if not for the 2008 taxpayer-funded bailout, moved a reported $55 trillion in derivatives from its investment banking arm, Merrill Lynch, to a subsidiary that is backstopped by taxpayers through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Bloomberg news reported that FDIC officials don't like the move, which puts depositors' money at risk and taxpayers ultimately on the hook if risky derivatives blow up. But Wall Street insiders like the move for precisely that reason: If Bank of America melts down, these hedge fund managers or other big-time investors want their money in a division of the bank propped up by government. In short, big-time investors in risky financial products want taxpayers to bear some of their risk, and Bank of America has come up with a clever way to do that.

Banks play the same public-risk-private-profit game in the mortgage industry, where lenders and Realtors have successfully pushed a measure to expand taxpayer insurance for mortgages to include big-dollar homes. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., last week passed through the Senate a measure to expand the size of a loan that the federal government can insure, up to $729,750.

The Menendez-Isakson measure would allow government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy loans of that size off of lenders, and the Federal Housing Administration could insure loans that big. If a loan owned by Fannnie or Freddie (or insured by the FHA) fails, taxpayers take it on the chin while banks still get paid.

Assuming a 20 percent down payment, this proposed new bailout limit would have taxpayers subsidizing homes worth more than $910,000. Even in pricey Potomac, Md. -- plush with the wealth of lobbyists, government consultants and dual GS-15 incomes -- that sum could buy you a five-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home with a two-car garage on a cul-de-sac.

Finally, last week we learned how much self-dealing was involved in the 2008 bank bailouts. A Government Accountability Office report highlighted plenty of conflicts of interest at the Federal Reserve. New York Fed official Stephen Friedman was on the board of Goldman Sachs and actively buying up shares of Goldman while the Fed moved to give Goldman special access to its lending windows.

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon sat on the New York Fed's board while the Fed was pouring billions of bailout dollars into JP Morgan and granting JP Morgan special regulatory exceptions.

Meanwhile, the banks keep hiring the "public servants" who help steer bailouts their way, further corrupting both the market and the government. Fed bailout honcho Brian Madigan, who, according to the New York Times, "played a leading role in the emergency lending programs during the financial crisis," cashed out to Barclays this year.

Senate Banking Committee counsel Amy Friend, who helped pass the summer 2008 housing bailout (dubbed the "Bank of America Bill"), now works for a leading financial consulting and lobbying firm. And FHA Commissioner David Stevens, who helped craft a handful of mortgage bailouts, cashed out to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That's just naming a few.

And all of these big banks still profit from an implicit bailout. The credit ratings agency Moody's recently downgraded Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup because the agency saw the likelihood of a bailout decrease from certain to "very high." These banks' credit is rated higher than they would be in a free market, meaning they profit from the expectation of a bailout, if necessary.

So banks profit largely through activities that do not create value or efficiencies. They profit through financial games that rest on government favors. Many Occupy Wall Street protestors demonize all profit. Conservatives defend profit-seeking as the engine that creates prosperity for all of society.

But the big banks have rigged the game so that they profit without creating value. In fact, they profit from activities that weaken the economy by creating instability. Today, big banks give capitalism a bad name. Believers in the free market should stop giving banks cover.




Jindal reelected by nearly 2-1 in Louisiana>: "In an election scarcely noticed by national political reporters, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was reelected yesterday with 66% of the vote-far more than the absolute majority needed for victory in this multicandidate election. In second place with 18% of the vote was Democrat Tara Hollis; three other Democrats got 10% of the vote. Jindal carried every one of Louisiana's 64 parishes (the equivalent of counties in other states) and got less than 50% in only five of them, including Orleans who is coextensive with the city of New Orleans, and four small rural parishes with large black percentages. Jindal was elected in 2007 with 54% of the vote; he improved his percentage in all but one parish (East Baton Rouge, which includes the state capital of Baton Rouge) and made especially big gains in the Cajun country along the Gulf coast.

Wholesale deception: "Beer wholesalers contend that alcohol legislation they are pushing on Capitol Hill would safeguard state and local rights -- but in reality, it is designed to simply serve the wholesalers' special interests. Wholesalers crafted the text of the Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act (H.R. 1161, aka, the CARE Act) to appear very similar to language in a 2005 Supreme Court case, Graholm v. Heald, which addressed direct shipping of wine from wineries to consumers and retailers"

No doubt about what Occupy Wall Street believes: "Since I wrote my op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, arguing that the Occupy Wall Street protestors believe in redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, and largely reject the basic tenets of the capitalist system, many have come to question the research that my firm did. ... But right now, a validation of the survey has come from Occupy Wall Street itself. Their Demands Group has put forward their agenda, subsequent to the publication of my poll. And their demands closely mirror what my survey showed they want."

Let sleeping failures lie: The reconstruction finance corporation: "As the signs of the faltering economy become ever more manifest, some prominent businessmen and others are seeking solutions in the recent past. Believing that the present crisis is comparable to that of the Great Depression, they are showing interest in discarded economic strategies. The bygone getting the most attention is the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). Created in January 1932, the RFC extended loans and guarantees to industries, banks, railroads, mortgage companies, farmers, and state and local governments in the name of economic recovery."

Yes, let's have real localism: "Let's have a national income tax rate of 3.76%. OK, if you really insist we'll have a top national income tax rate of 15% as well. That's plenty to pay for the things that the national government really does have to do, defence, the higher courts systems and so on. Everything else we'll raise the money for and pay for at the lowest political level possible."

Infrastructure projects to fix the economy? Don't bank on it: "Increased infrastructure spending has bipartisan support in Washington these days. President Obama wants a new federal infrastructure bank, and members of both parties want to pass big highway and air-traffic-control funding bills. The politicians think these bills will create desperately needed jobs, but the cost of that perceived benefit is too high: Federal infrastructure spending has a long and painful history of pork-barrel politics and bureaucratic bungling, with money often going to wasteful and environmentally damaging projects."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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)


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