Friday, May 01, 2015
The old Nazi recipe still works
The Scottish National Party is a Nazi party. They are not going to gas or invade anyone but that is largely because Scotland is a pipsqueak of a country compared to Germany. But they do have an enemy to demonize: England. And they have already done a fair bit of persecution of their largest minority: the English.
"Nazi" is a German abbreviation of "National Socialist" and those two things -- nationalism and socialism -- were what Hitler offered Germans. It was a heady mix. To the appeal of socialism ("we will look after you") Hitler added "We are the greatest". Scotland does not claim to be the greatest but it does claim to be a lot better than England in various ways. And it feeds on long-held Scottish beliefs that the English (Jews?) have been holding Scotland (Germany?) back.
There is vast and historic resentment of England in Scotland, despite the fact that only English money keeps Scotland afloat. The resentment goes back at least to the 14th century and the various wars between England and Scotland, which the English mostly won. To many Scottish minds, those wars were only yesterday and they brand England as an oppressor.
So Scots have a strong national consciousness and sense of their Scottish identity. They sing about it a lot. In that sense they are even more nationalist than were Weimar Germans. Up until Hitler, most Germans felt first loyalty to their Land (State). A Saxon, for instance, saw himself as a Saxon first before he saw himself as a German. It was actually Hitler who created a strong sense of National identity among Germans.
Hitler's magic formula can be summarized as Socialism+Nationalim = Popularity. And, for better or worse, Hitler was very popular among Germans in the late '30s. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is having the same success with that old formula. She is very socialist, mocks the English often and is hugely popular in Scotland. See below. (Ed Miliband is the English Labour Party leader and the rather dim son of a Polish/Jewish Marxist theoretician so his politics are very Left. But the SNP is even more Leftist).
Senior Labour figures have rounded on Ed Miliband over his "complacency" in Scotland as a new poll revealed that the SNP is on course to win every seat north of the border.
Henry McLeish, the former Scottish Labour leader and first minister, said that Mr Miliband had been kept in the dark by his own MPs about the scale of the disaster facing the party in Scotland.
The New Statesman, which has been described as the "bible of the left", said that the surge in support for the SNP has "definitively ended Mr Miliband's hopes of winning an absolute majority".
It warned that if he becomes Prime Minister he will be "reliant" on the support of the nationalists and his "greatest task" will be trying to stop Nicola Sturgeon's party from breaking up the Union.
The editorial said: "Even after the SNP’s victory in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, which we predicted, he remained complacent over Labour’s decline in Scotland, where he is even less popular than David Cameron.
"It is the surge in support for the SNP, which has positioned itself to the left of Labour, that has definitively ended Mr Miliband’s hopes of winning an absolute majority.
"Should he become prime minister, he will now almost certainly be reliant on the support of a large nationalist bloc to govern."
It came as an Ipsos-Mori survey for STV News suggested that he SNP is on course to win an unprecedented clean sweep of all 59 Scottish seats, forcing some of Mr Miliband's closest allies out of office.
The poll, which suggested Labour's share of the vote is only marginally higher than the Conservatives, led to a bitter backlash from Labour MPs who said that Mr Miliband has become so "toxic" he has been told not to campaign in Scotland.
If America sent the Hispanics home ...
IMMIGRATION RESTRICTIONISTS often claim that there are no "jobs Americans won't do," if only US borders would be secured against economic migrants who are willing to work hard for low pay and few benefits. If the fruit-and-vegetable industry couldn't rely on seasonal farmhands from Mexico and Central America, for example, growers would perforce offer the higher wages necessary to attract American citizens to pick the country's fresh produce. What alternative would they have? Let crops rot in the field?
In reality, agriculture is no more of a zero-sum industry than any other, and there is no fixed number of people it must employ.
That point is strikingly made by recent stories on the development of new technology poised to transform the nation's $2.5 billion strawberry business.
While most grain crops in the United States have long been cut and gathered by giant combine harvesters, growers of strawberries have continued to employ human workers to pick a crop too delicate to be left to mechanized equipment. That was "partly to avoid maladroit machines marring the blemish-free appearance of items that consumers see on store shelves," as The Wall Street Journal noted last Friday. No less important was the "trained discernment" needed to select only the ripe strawberries from plants that also have immature fruit not yet ready for picking.
From the standpoint of strawberry farmers, it doesn't much matter whether the dwindling of migrant labor is due to tougher border enforcement in the United States, better economic prospects in Mexico, or some other factor. The farmers' overriding concern is that the fruit must be harvested, and they can no longer rely on immigration flows to get the job done.
Nothing to do, then, but boost the pay and perks for strawberry-pickers until they're high enough to induce more US citizens to work in the fields?
Far from it: Strawberry growers have become increasingly committed to finding a technological solution. The Journal story describes the Agrobot — a prototype of a 14-arm automated harvester that couples vision sensors and advanced software in a device capable of "pluck[ing] ripe strawberries from below deep-green leaves, while mostly ignoring unripe fruit nearby."
The Agrobot is only one entrant in the race to revolutionize the strawberry industry. Another competitor is Harvest CROO Robotics. The Florida-based engineering team is at work on a high-tech harvester able not only to pick ripe fruit at the rate of one per second per mechanized arm, but also to run continuously for an entire day.
Strawberries and strawberry fields may be forever. But the strawberry industry, like every industry, changes. If those changes make it more productive, the whole economy stands to gain.
In Australia, most crops are picked using mechanization, including tomatoes
Biblical Values -- or Vegas Values?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Almost all of the declared and undeclared Republican candidates for 2016 could be found this weekend at one of two events, or both.
The first was organized by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, and held in Point of Grace Church in Waukee.
Dominated by Evangelical Christians, who were 60 percent of Republican caucus-goers in 2008 and 2012, the Point of Grace Church event drew no fewer than nine Republican hopefuls.
Ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, past winners of the Iowa caucuses, were there. So, too, were Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Scott Walter. Cruz and Walker are sons of Christian preachers.
All nine GOP hopefuls espoused Judeo-Christian values, and all nine pledged unyielding opposition to same-sex marriage.
"At a forum before evangelical Christians," wrote The New York Times, "the Republican candidates told a cheering crowd that the fight over same-sex marriage would not end with a Supreme Court decision.
"Mr. Cruz said advocates of traditional marriage should 'fall to our knees and pray.'" Sen. Marco Rubio declared that the "institution of marriage as one man and one woman existed long before our laws existed."
Onward Christian soldiers!
At the second event, however, there was not a lot of kneeling and praying, and not much talk of same-sex marriage. For it was held in Sin City at the Venetian hotel-casino and home of Sheldon Adelson.
Having amassed a fortune of $29 billion from gambling dens in Macau and Vegas, the 81-year-old Adelson is among the richest men on earth. The event was the annual conclave of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
In Vegas, The Washington Post reports, "a crop of White House aspirants sought to outdo each other in opposition" to the Iran nuclear deal. "Ted Cruz declared that he 'intends to do everything possible to stop a bad Iran deal.' ... Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pledged that 'Israel's enemies are our enemies. Israel's cause is our cause.'"
Now, there is no conflict between being pro-Israel and anti-same-sex marriage. Yet there is still something jarring here.
What are candidates who profess Christian values doing in Sin City courting a casino mogul for millions in contributions, when that mogul compiled his immense fortune by exploiting the moral weakness of Christians and non-Christians alike?
Does not the Bible condemn gambling? Do Evangelical Christians not regard gambling as a vice, and a moral failing? Are not Christians supposed to practice what they preach?
Googling "Evangelicals" and "gambling" one comes across a compelling 2009 essay of Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"The nationwide explosion of legal gambling may well be the most underrated dimension of America's moral crisis," writes Mohler.
"The Bible is clear on this issue. The entire enterprise of gambling is opposed to the moral worldview revealed in God's word. The basic impulse behind gambling is greed — a basic sin that is the father of many other evils. Greed, covetousness, and avarice are repeatedly addressed by Scripture ...
"Gambling is a direct attack on the work ethic presented by Scripture. ... Gambling corrupts the culture, polluting everything it touches. ... Why are Christians so silent on this issue? ... The silence and complacency of the Christian Church must end."
In defense of their courtship of Adelson, Republicans say that gambling is now legal. Yet, so is prostitution and marijuana in some precincts, and abortion and homosexuality are constitutional rights.
Would Christian conservatives accept campaign contributions from men who grew rich running abortion mills, or bathhouses for homosexuals, or from selling pot, or from Planned Parenthood?
Reportedly, Adelson contributed $92 million in 2012, to the campaigns of Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other Republicans. And he is poised to spend more for a Republican president in 2016.
A tiny fraction of that $92 million, in attack ads, could break a candidate to whom Adelson is opposed. A large fraction could make credible a candidate who would otherwise be an also-ran who would not survive the first primary.
With that kind of money on offer, the temptation to tailor one's views to accommodate Adelson is great. But it is a temptation.
In this tale of two cities this weekend, Waukee and Vegas, we may be witnessing a shift in moral power in the Grand Old Party.
Baltimore in a vicious spiral
According to a notice by the Baltimore Police Department, there is a credible threat that the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods, Crips and other gangs entered into an agreement to attack police and coordinate looting. Furthermore, some of Baltimore’s outlaw elements may want to take the violence outside the city, targeting white police officers. The West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center released a memo warning police officers that they might be the target of gang violence. Remember: The man who killed New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos earlier this year was associated with the Black Guerilla Family gang in Baltimore.
And what about the man whose death sparked the rioting? The Baltimore Sun has attempted to piece together a timeline of the arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, looking to discover how he sustained the injuries that led to his death. Like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Gray has been made out to be a martyr at the altar of police brutality, but he was no angel. Gray’s rap sheet includes at least 18 arrests for various offenses. Baltimore police have not shed any light on why Gray was arrested earlier this month, stating only that he was carrying a knife, which was actually discovered after he was arrested.
It can be said that Gray was not a model citizen; however, the Baltimore Police Department is not a model law enforcement agency. The local police department has some problems of its own. A lengthy investigation in 2014 by the Baltimore Sun uncovered numerous incidents of police brutality and resultant civil suits that cost the city $5.7 million over three years.
As with civil unrest in Ferguson, Oakland, CA, and other cities around the country, a terrible pattern is playing out in Baltimore, and it looks something like this: In an effort to reclaim the city from criminals and gangs, police have on occasion gone beyond their mandate and sometimes been guilty of the very crimes they attempt to stop. The community, which should welcome and feel protected by the police, instead fear and loathe them because of injustices, either real or perceived. The situation can fester for years until an incident, oftentimes the shooting or death of someone in police custody, pops the top off a pressure cooker.
Not all those arrested are victims, and not all cops are criminals. Far from it. Yet, the media, ever in pursuit of a story, will report any angle that feeds the story. Sometimes facts are optional. Race hustlers like Al Sharpton and naïve liberals like Stephanie Rawlings-Blake don’t help the situation. Cooler heads must prevail and examine the root causes of these issues; otherwise Baltimore will be just another name on a sad and growing list of cities tearing themselves apart.
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Posted by JR at 12:32 AM