Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Napoleon is something of a puzzle.  Almost every family in France lost a son in his wars -- and for what?  What did France gain for all that blood?  Nothing.  He was as bad for France as Hitler was for Germany.

And yet Napoleon is still a hero in France while Hitler is decried in Germany.  Why?  They both lost so it can't be that.  And there was a lot about Napoleon that one might normally dislike.  He ran a police state, for instance.  Dissent from his rule was swiftly  dealt with.  It was Napoleon who invented Fascism, not Mussolini.  Mussolini just supplied the word for it.  And like later fascists (including Hitler), Napoleon built up a personality cult around himself.  Like later Communist dictators, he also circulated heroic images of himself.

But unlike Hitler, Napoleon was not much of a patriot. Hitler undoubtedly was a fervent German patriot and lover of his people but Napoleon was not.  Largely because he was Corsican and not French, he spoke quite ill of France and the French -- at least in his early days.  He shut up about that later on however.

Arthur Silber has put up some excerpts from the  biography of Napoleon by Paul Johnson that show how very Fascist Napoleon indeed was:

"The [French] Revolution was a lesson in the power of evil to replace idealism, and Bonaparte was its ideal pupil. Moreover, the Revolution left behind itself a huge engine: administrative and legal machinery to repress the individual such as the monarchs of the ancien regime never dreamed of; a centralized power to organize national resources that no previous state had ever possessed; an absolute concentration of authority, first in a parliament, then in a committee, finally in a single tyrant, that had never been known before; and a universal teaching that such concentration expressed the general will of a united people, as laid down in due constitutional form, approved by referendum. 

In effect, then, the Revolution created the modern totalitarian state, in all essentials, if on an experimental basis, more than a century before it came to its full and horrible fruition in the twentieth century."

And another of Bonaparte's policies shows him as a forerunner even in the racist aspects of Fascism:
"In Le Crime de Napoleon the historian Claude Ribbe recalls that the emperor brought back slavery in the French empire in 1802, a decade after it had been abolished by the Revolution. The decision led to brutal fighting in France's Caribbean colonies in which thousands died. Less well known, according to the book, is his imposition of racial laws in metropolitan France, which led to the internment of blacks and the forced break-up of inter-racial marriages".

And Napoleon was as brutal and unscrupulous as any other Far-Leftist (whether Fascist or Communist).  We read:
In 1799 Napoleon was in the Middle east. He took 2,000 prisoners in Gaza. At Jaffa 3,000 defenders surrendered to the French on condition that their lives would be spared.  Once in possession of Jaffa, Napoleon ordered the execution of all the prisoners from Jaffa and most of those from Gaza.  To save bullets and gunpowder, Napoleon ordered his men to bayonet or drown the prisoners. There were reports of soldiers wading out to sea to finish off terrified women and children.

And more from Ribbe:
A French historian has caused uproar by claiming Napoleon provided the model for Hitler's Final Solution with the slaughter of more than 100,000 Caribbean slaves.

In The Crime of Napoleon, Claude Ribbe accuses the emperor of genocide, gassing rebellious blacks more than a century before the Nazis' extermination of the Jews.

His accusations refer to the extreme methods used to put down a ferocious uprising in Haiti at the start of the 19th century. Then known as San Domingo, the colony was considered a jewel of the French empire and to save it troops launched a campaign to kill all blacks aged over 12.

"In simple terms, Napoleon ordered the killing of as many blacks as possible in Haiti and Guadeloupe to be replaced by new, docile slaves from Africa," Ribbe said yesterday.

He said he had found accounts from officers who refused to take part in the massacres, especially the use of sulphur dioxide to kill slaves held in ships' holds.
Since Napoleon is still a French national hero, it is no wonder that the Nazis found it relatively easy to get the French to "collaborate" in World War II.

So what is it, then, that the French still like about Napoleon?  There can be only one answer:  He gave a string of victories to a nation much more accustomed to defeats.  At Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt the English gave France a hard time in the late medieval era and, much later, even the Sun King could not prevail against the first Duke of Marlborough.  And we won't mention the humiliation at Sedan or Von Manstein's Blitzkrieg. The idolization of Napoleon is then rather pathetic: Clinging to the memory of a very bad man simply because French military victories are so rare.

And was he a military genius?  Not really.  The French revolution had produced a Volksturm (the whole nation at war) long before Hitler thought of it and the enthusiasm of such troops for a while swept all old-fashioned armies before it.  And his disastrous  invasion of Russia was plainly hubris, not genius.  Even his acclaimed victory at Austerlitz was enabled by a very old stratagem.  He secretly  brought up fresh troops overnight so surprised his adversaries next morning.  Using secrecy to surprise your enemy is of course as old as Hannibal at Trasimene and even Hannibal was not the first to think of it.

And his half-day hesitation at Waterloo gave the Prussians time to come up and turn the tide against him.  The military genius in that affair was Gneisenau, the Prussian strategist.

So Napoleon is very much an idol with feet of clay.  The continued high regard for him in France bespeaks a very flawed national morality.  Americans go into spasms of indignation over just a word -- "nigger" -- but to the French a genocidal tyrant is a cool guy.  And they think of themselves as a civilized people!  They have considerable claims of cultural excellence. It's a pity that they can't be satisfied with that

UPDATE:  Some amusing info about Napoleon's personal life here.  And for the French view of Napoleon, see here


Why Doctors Quit

By Charles Krauthammer

About a decade ago, a doctor friend was lamenting the increasingly frustrating conditions of clinical practice. “How did you know to get out of medicine in 1978?” he asked with a smile.

“I didn’t,” I replied. “I had no idea what was coming. I just felt I’d chosen the wrong vocation.”

I was reminded of this exchange upon receiving my med-school class’s 40th-reunion report and reading some of the entries. In general, my classmates felt fulfilled by family, friends and the considerable achievements of their professional lives. But there was an undercurrent of deep disappointment, almost demoralization, with what medical practice had become.

The complaint was not financial but vocational — an incessant interference with their work, a deep erosion of their autonomy and authority, a transformation from physician to “provider.”

As one of them wrote, “My colleagues who have already left practice all say they still love patient care, being a doctor. They just couldn’t stand everything else.” By which he meant “a never-ending attack on the profession from government, insurance companies, and lawyers … progressively intrusive and usually unproductive rules and regulations,” topped by an electronic health records (EHR) mandate that produces nothing more than “billing and legal documents” — and degraded medicine.

I hear this everywhere. Virtually every doctor and doctors' group I speak to cites the same litany, with particular bitterness about the EHR mandate. As another classmate wrote, “The introduction of the electronic medical record into our office has created so much more need for documentation that I can only see about three-quarters of the patients I could before, and has prompted me to seriously consider leaving for the first time.”

You may have zero sympathy for doctors, but think about the extraordinary loss to society — and maybe to you, one day — of driving away 40 years of irreplaceable clinical experience.

And for what? The newly elected Barack Obama told the nation in 2009 that “it just won’t save billions of dollars” — $77 billion a year, promised the administration — “and thousands of jobs, it will save lives.” He then threw a cool $27 billion at going paperless by 2015.

It’s 2015 and what have we achieved? The $27 billion is gone, of course. The $77 billion in savings became a joke. Indeed, reported the Health and Human Services inspector general in 2014, “EHR technology can make it easier to commit fraud,” as in Medicare fraud, the copy-and-paste function allowing the instant filling of vast data fields, facilitating billing inflation.

That’s just the beginning of the losses. Consider the myriad small practices that, facing ruinous transition costs in equipment, software, training and time, have closed shop, gone bankrupt or been swallowed by some larger entity.

This hardly stays the long arm of the health care police, however. As of Jan. 1, 2015, if you haven’t gone electronic, your Medicare payments will be cut, by 1 percent this year, rising to 3 percent (potentially 5 percent) in subsequent years.

Then there is the toll on doctors' time and patient care. One study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that emergency-room doctors spend 43 percent of their time entering electronic records information, 28 percent with patients. Another study found that family-practice physicians spend on average 48 minutes a day just entering clinical data.

Forget the numbers. Think just of your own doctor’s visits, of how much less listening, examining, even eye contact goes on, given the need for scrolling, clicking and box checking.

The geniuses who rammed this through undoubtedly thought they were rationalizing health care. After all, banking went electronic. Why not medicine?

Because banks deal with nothing but data. They don’t listen to your heart or examine your groin. Clicking boxes on an endless electronic form turns the patient into a data machine and cancels out the subtlety of a doctor’s unique feel and judgment.

Why did all this happen? Because liberals in a hurry refuse to trust the self-interested wisdom of individual practictioners, who were already adopting EHR on their own, but gradually, organically, as the technology became ripe and the costs tolerable. Instead, Washington picked a date out of a hat and decreed: Digital by 2015.

The results are not pretty. EHR is health care’s Solyndra. Many, no doubt, feasted nicely on the $27 billion, but the rest is waste: money squandered, patient care degraded, good physicians demoralized.

Like my old classmates who signed up for patient care — which they still love — and now do data entry.



Chartmanship and the jug man

Leftist economist Krugman is well know for being able to find somewhere support for most Leftist causes.  Below we see he uses a well known chartmanship technique: carefully choosing the beginning and endpoints of a series.  You can "prove" almost anything that way. It's a technique much loved by Warmists

Someone sent me an email this evening with some details on the Paul Krugman response to James Montier which I discussed here. I had previously stated that the Krugman response was lacking meat. But it’s actually worse than that. It’s actually highly misleading and appears intentionally so.

In the post Dr. Krugman tries to show how much interest rates matter by comparing the Fed Funds Rate with Housing Starts. He shows a chart and declares that there appears to be a strong correlation. Except, as this emailer notes, he appears to have shifted the chart to make it appear as though there’s a correlation where there isn’t one. Here’s the Krugman chart:

And here’s the version that would have originally shown up when the data is pulled from FRED:

See what was done there? The period in the early 1960’s was removed and so was the period from 2000 on. In other words, out of a 55 year time period Dr. Krugman decided to remove 20 years worth of data because it fit his argument better. For those keeping track that’s removing almost 40% of an entire data set just because the data didn’t fit the narrative. And when you add those years back in you get a result that shows a very weak correlation

I can understand why he might remove the period from 2008 on. But why remove the 1960’s data and the early 2000’s? After all, the 2000’s were the period of Alan Greenspan’s famous “conundrum” where interest rates appeared to have no correlation with the housing market.  That’s not just an important part of this discussion, it’s a critical part given that it includes the housing bubble and is outside of the mythical Liquidity Trap era….

This is why people often complain about economics. When economists take a data set and just blatantly alter it to fit their argument it doesn’t do much to help build credibility for their work. Especially when you do it within a post that basically declares economists are smarter than everyone else who says they might not have the whole world figured out.

SOURCE. ("Krug" is German/Yiddish for "jug")

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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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bet you can figure out the difference between Napoleon killing huge numbers of negro slaves in Haiti and Hitler putting a large number of a special racial group in concentration camps and killing large numbers of enemies of the 'Third Reich'! One group was associated with communism and was labeled as enemies of all nations by Hitler but they controlled media and had huge financial control of many of the countries in the world! Throw one crippled Jew off a cruise ship and the New York Times writes about it for ten years. Murder millions of Christians in Russia and the Times writes of the glories of the Russian Revolution and tens of thousands of blacks in Haiti would not even make print anywhere!