Sunday, August 25, 2013

Avoiding prewar Germany’s Fate

Egypt’s military did not repeat the ghastly mistakes of its German counterparts in the 1930s.

I don’t often agree with a top Egyptian diplomat, but I thought Egypt’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ashraf el-Kholy, was right on target when he compared Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood to the Nazis. As he told the Telegraph on August 19:

“Morsi was elected president and held office for one year, but in that time he tried to make everything Moslem Brotherhood-controlled…The Moslem Brotherhood are like a Nazi group that demand[s] that everything changes and people [do] everything their way.”

Fortunately the Egyptian army did not emulate the pre-World War II German army, which failed to overthrow Hitler after he came to power through democratic elections in 1933. Although the army was led by traditional conservatives who regarded Hitler and his Nazi thugs as little more than proletarian riff-raff, they continued to support him, even as it became increasingly clear that he was bent on dragging Germany into a potentially ruinous war.

Why did Germany’s generals fail to mount an anti-Hitler coup? After the war, German officers cited their oath of loyalty to Hitler, but that, I think, was a relatively minor reason. A more compelling consideration was that Hitler was immensely popular with the German people — a political rock-star of sorts — and that overthrowing him would lead to massive protests and considerable bloodshed. The German generals didn’t want to have rivers of German blood on their hands.

Another reason the generals didn’t act is that they couldn’t take the loyalty of the German army for granted. Germany’s senior officers might have despised Hitler, but junior officers idolized him. Would they obey orders to overthrow him, and turn their guns against his enraged civilian supporters? The generals weren’t sure.

For all these reasons the generals, despite their reservations, went along with Hitler, and the fact that — initially, at least — he went from one successful gamble to another appeared to justify their judgment. In the long run, however, the army’s failure to act brought about the most terrible war the world has ever seen.

But as I said, the Egyptian army didn’t follow Germany’s example. It overthrew Morsi knowing full well that far from meekly vanishing from the stage, the Moslem Brotherhood would never accept such a “humiliation,” and that the army would have to act forcefully and violently against Brotherhood supporters. I assume Egypt’s generals also recognized that the Muslim Brotherhood enjoys significant support among the army’s junior officers. After all, it was an Islamist army cell, led by Lt. Khalid Istambouli, that assassinated Egyptian President el-Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Nonetheless, the army decided that preventing Morsi from completing his Islamicization of Egyptian society justified their coup. It was a brave decision, and it has already transformed the politics of the region. Before the coup, it seemed that the spread of Islamist radicalism was irreversible. Today, that’s no longer the case. As the Chinese might say, the Islamists no longer enjoy “the mandate of heaven.”

It’s probably too much to expected to expect the Obama administration — and the American political class in general — to understand the stakes in the Middle East, to recognize that Egyptian politics (like Arab politics in general) is a zero-sum game in which compromise is despised, and to give Egypt’s generals the support they need and deserve.

But of all people, the Germans should know better. That’s why I was surprised by Germany’s decision to suspend arms exports to Egypt. Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle justified the suspension by saying that there must be “consequences” to the bloody military crackdown. But in this wicked world of ours, there are also consequences to the military’s not cracking down bloodily, and it is a foolish person indeed who assumes that inaction is invariably the wisest course.



Putting Bicycles Ahead of People

This is a story of raw power, collusion and government corruption. A story that is taking place in countless towns all over America. A story of “reinvented” government, where self-proclaimed private “stakeholders” and pressure groups set the rules, local elected officials rubber stamp them, and non-elected regional governments enforce them, sometimes with an iron fist – all with no input from citizens, and apparently no rights for private citizens and property owners to stop them or even have a say.

It’s the story of the destruction of private property rights in America. Of injustice and tyranny. Of unaccountable government run amok. We need to take action! (See below, in blue, for what you can do.)

Jennie Granato is a tax-paying citizen of Montgomery County, Ohio. She and her family own a 165-year-old historic house and farm just outside of Dayton. They’ve lived there forty years. On July 31, Jennie’s front yard was demolished – thanks to local, county and planning commission bureaucrats!

The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) has begun seizing people’s private property for its latest “essential” project – a $5-million bike path extension! It has seized almost all of Jennie’s front lawn. The bike path will come within just a few feet of her front door!

Jennie and her family tried for over a year to negotiate and reason with this unelected planning commission. Unfortunately, their neighbors were advised by lawyers not to say anything publicly about the pending land grab, so the media viewed it as a non-story. The county and its appraisers kept stalling, saying they wanted a meeting with Jennie, even as they ignored her pleas and offered a pittance for taking her front yard, and likely driving the value of her home down by tens of thousands of dollars.

The meeting never came – and officials didn’t even allow Jennie’s uncle to speak at a hearing. But the bulldozers certainly came! Last week, with no warning, they just started demolishing trees. Jennie and her family still own the property – BUT the county has barged in, torn out their trees and destroyed their front yard! They will never be able to walk out their front door again, without worrying that they will be run over by bicyclists roaring by at 10 or 20 miles per hour, just inches from their bottom step.

The government trucks and bulldozers also precipitated an even worse tragedy. Jennie’s 85 year old mother became so upset over seeing the government’s heavy machinery destroying her yard and favorite trees that she suffered a heart attack and died.

Of course the government refuses to accept any responsibility for this tragedy. It was just promoting the “public welfare” of the private “stakeholders” and pressure groups it works with.

That too has become far too common. The government and these groups want more and more control over our lives, more power to tell us what we can and cannot do with our property and lives. But they accept no transparency and no accountability, responsibility or liability when their actions hurt … or even kill … someone – or when they destroy the property values, peace and integrity of a home.

The MVRPC is an unelected regional government force driven by federal Sustainable Development grant money. It never faces voters over its actions or positions of seemingly unbridled power. It simply deals with other government agencies – local, state and federal – and with private groups like the American Planning Association, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, and a hoard of other organizations that represent faux “conservation and environmental” interests whose real motivation is money, and the power to control our lives.

They are “stakeholders” only in the sense that they want something – and are holding the stakes that their government friends are driving through the heart of our constitutional rights.

With the assistance of Federal and State grant programs and willing politicians, who see another way to build their own power and get elected over and over, they rule over us like unaccountable dictators. It’s the same story in nearly every community in our nation.

Neither Jennie nor any of her neighbors voted to institute the agency or its policies.

* There was no vote for this bike path.

* There was no referendum on the ballot to approve this project or the spending of their tax dollars.

Yet the MVRPC imposed itself on privately owned property, giving the owner no say in the matter and giving her a pittance in exchange for the land it is taking away. Soon, strangers on bikes will be crossing her land, passing within seven feet of her front door. And she fears there is nothing she can do about it.

How does she secure her home? How can she ever hope to sell it? Who will compensate her for the loss of value, now that her once lovely and private front lawn is gone? Certainly not the MVRPC.

My American Policy Center has warned Americans over and over about the dangers of this fraud called “Sustainable Development” – and the enforcement of top-down control through non-elected boards and regional governments. Here is that reality, in all of its outrageous raw power.

Jennie’s neighbors, property rights activists and Tea Party leaders are joining forces to support her fight to stop this outrage. They have gathered at the property, to protest and take the issue to the news media – and will do so again. To its credit, the media are finally starting to notice what is happening. But if that is the extent of it, you know full well that these government officials will simply laugh, ignore the protests and news stories, wait for the attention to go away, and then grab someone else’s property.

That’s why concerned citizens across the nation need to join this fight and put power behind this effort to stop these bureaucrats from taking Jennie’s property. Freedom fighters need to build a huge protest fire and turn this into a national property rights issue.

Corrupt government officials use taxpayers as doormats, pawns, bank accounts and land holders for their agendas and power plays. If we continue doing nothing to stem the rising tide of government tyranny and corruption, we will watch our rights and property disappear, one by one.

Here’s what you can do to help

As the local Dayton area residents do all they can with sign waving, demonstrations and protests to call attention to this blatant property theft, outraged Americans from across the country can bring an avalanche of phone calls and emails on the perpetrators – the scoundrels who think they can prey on any citizen without consequences. Make them feel heat for their actions!!

Click here for the names, phone numbers and emails of the Montgomery County, Ohio Commissioners, the Washington Township Board, and the members of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. Then call them and let them know what you think!

Americans concerned for their own liberties need to bury these officials in calls and emails of protest. We need to make these dictators and thieves aware that what they are doing is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We need to inform them that We the People have rights, and will fight for them.



Feds Threaten To Arrest Email Provider for Closing Rather Than Snoop on Customers

Big Brother doesn't like being thwarted

Recently, encrypted email provider Lavabit closed its doors rather than spy on its customers at the command of the United States government. Lavabit's action was almost immediately echoed by Silent Circle, which preemptively shuttered its encrypted email service and purged users' stored data without warning so that it couldn't be subject to a similar order.

Unfortunately, the government's position seems to be the same as that of the Mafia: If you're told to do business with the mob, you don't get to decide otherwise. Lavabit owner Ladar Levison reportedly faces arrest for his decision to shut down rather than cooperate.

From NBC News:

    "The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.

    "I could be arrested for this action," Ladar Levison told NBC News about his decision to shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, in protest over a secret court order he had received from a federal court that is overseeing the investigation into Snowden.

    Lavabit said he was barred by federal law from elaborating on the order or any of his communications with federal prosecutors. But a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that James Trump, a senior litigation counsel in the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., sent an email to Levison's lawyer last Thursday – the day Lavabit was shuttered -- stating that Levison may have "violated the court order," a statement that was interpreted as a possible threat to charge Levison with contempt of court."

Among the people supporting Lavabit and its owner is Ron Paul. The former congressman and presidential candidate is championing Levison in statements to the press and on his new online news service. According to NBC News:

    "Among those now backing him is former Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who told NBC News on Tuesday that Levison's legal battle "should be in the interests of everybody who cares about liberty."

Levison may need that support. He says he has been "threatened with arrest multiple times over the past six weeks."



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1 comment:

Robert said...

The Egyptian military has a great chance to perform one of the best services for all of humanity imaginable, by cleansing every last trace of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt. And if they want to cleanse every last trace of the Muslim Brotherhood from the face of the Earth, let's quadruple their aid and support them fully for that purpose!