Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day Redux - And Mohammed Morsi

I haven't made it my life's work to condemn antisemitism, although I'll occasionally say something, as I did in my last post.  I must be either lazy or a coward, maybe both.  Anti-Semitism has always seemed like, I don't know, just an evil history.  Like racism and the Klan in the American South.  Yes, I know that both still exist but really, aren't they just the ramblings of a few twisted leftovers? Turns out, they're not.

Antisemitism is not merely the embittered mutterings of a dwindling few.  There are world leaders (besides Silvio Berlusconi) who proclaim themselves not only anti-Semites but are Holocaust deniers.  And not just in anti-west failed-or-failing countries.  (NB:  I know an American Holocaust denier but I have always been content to blithely dismiss him as just another crackpot.  I'm going to have to re-think that weak-kneed attitude.)

Today's hate speech comes (yet again) from Egypt, that home of the Arab Spring.  From a Fox News story today:
A key figure in Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's government called the Holocaust a hoax cooked up by U.S. intelligence operatives and claimed the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazis simply moved to the U.S.
The outrageous claims, by Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a senior figure close to President Morsi who is now responsible for appointing the editors of all state-run Egyptian newspapers, came as the world marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, and also as the U.S. continues to assess its relationship with the increasingly radical Arab state.
And he couldn't have stopped there.  Oh no.  He went on:
“The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented,” Shihab-Eddim said, leaving no room for doubt that the Egyptian government -- like Iran's -- has at the very least significant elements that deny one of history's best documented genocides.

“U.S. intelligence agencies in cooperation with their counterparts in allied nations during World War II created it [the Holocaust] to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb
* * * * *

Moved to the US?  Seriously?

This wasn't simply an aberrant moment, either.  Like Berlusconi, Morsi has a long history of anti-Semitism.  Maybe that is de rigueur for an Arab leader.  I don't  know.  But once Anwar Sadat had his epiphany - 'I think these guys are here to stay... and they've got a really good army' - I thought that anti-Semitic pronouncements from world leaders would fade away like a monster's death throes.

Those words words were spoken by a Morsi underling, true, but a very highly placed underling.  They carry the ring of endorsement, though, and they are consistent with things Morsi has said in the past, things like:
Jihad is our path... And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.
It is shameful that the free world accepts, regardless of the justifications provided, that a member of the international community (Israel) continues to deny the rights of a [Palestinian] nation that has been longing for decades for independence.
* * * * *

Ike saw this madness coming as soon as he saw for himself the extent and true nature of the Final Solution.  He ordered immediate and full press coverage of the camps, ordered his men into the camps as witnesses and forced locals to parade through the camps to see the truth about the Third Reich, truths they had told each other were lies.  Ike is the reason we have so much proof of the horrors of the camps.  'It happened,' he told all of us in essence, 'and everyone needs to know the truth so it won't happen again.'

It did happen again, of course.  I was simply too naive to believe it for a long time.  Who could believe stories about the gulags, about North Korea, Cambodia, Rwanda, Argentina, Kosovo... the list goes on and on.  But doesn't America expect its leaders to at least know the global realities, if not deal with them?  I do.  

I have long since been disabused of the idea of rational government, but some things make me think our leaders intentionally work against our national best interest.  Like sending 20 F-16s... to Morsi, under a 2010 deal with Hosni Mubarak... in addition to the 200 he already has!  FREE!  Cost to us?  $213mil and a piece of our national honor.

People whine that it's hard to tell which side are the good guys.  No, it's not.  We've got at least some eyes on pretty much every situation in the world, even though we often don't do much.  (Hello, Benghazi.)  

But we do know how to tell the difference.  Here's how:  When one side is killing children and the other side is building hospitals and water plants for enemy non-combatants (Hello, Gaza), the kid killers are the bad guys.  The other guys may make a ton of mistakes along the way but they're building hospitals!  See, it's not that hard.  How do we get it so wrong, so often?
There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same. … Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence.
--Barack Obama, February 11, 2011
Rania Rifaat is the ultimate secular-oriented, social media-using, Egyptian "Arab Spring" activist. During a recent demonstration in Tahrir Square she complained:
"We, the youth, did the revolution. We didn't say that it should be Islamic or whatever. And people felt good. They felt relaxed here. And then suddenly these Islamic liars came, and they want us to go back 300 years."
Good so far, right? Sounds just like Western counterparts. But there's more.
How did she characterize the Islamists? "They are like the Jews—-they always break their promises."

--Rania Rifaat, from Tahrir Square, from The Rubin Report, July 21, 2011
"For the United States, supporting democratic transitions is not a matter of idealism. It is a strategic necessity," she said. ... And she pointed to the "undimmed promise of the Arab Spring" in the backlash against extremist groups in Libya and Tunisia, saying that in many cases newly empowered Arab societies were standing up for peaceful, pluralistic democratic principles.
--Hillary Clinton, October 12, 2012 (Thank you, Reuters)
"Though it took a decade to find bin Laden, there is one consolation for his long evasion of justice: He lived long enough to witness what some are calling the Arab Spring, the complete repudiation of his violent ideology."
--John McCain, May 11, 2011
But a few, darn few, got it right, albeit not at all in a timely manner:
I think some of this fascination with the "Arab Spring" is just a grand experiment with Israel's survival
--John Bolton
The Arab Spring is dead - and Syria is writing its obituary
--Headline to a Richard Engel story published September 7, 2012
* * * * *

So, what's the point here?  

The point is that we're allying ourselves with evil world leaders in order to confront or contain other evil world leaders.  Morsi vs Ahmadinejad, for instance.  The only thing this insures is that an evil leader will prevail.  Is that the best our leaders can do?

And we're not justifying it as choosing the lesser of two evils.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  Consider the incessant Hamas rocket attacks vs the killing of American troops.  Is one more evil than the other?  

We justify our failures to act firmly as a hands-off policy for fledgling democracies vs. nuclear containment.  But that's not the whole truth.  We are presented with the false choice of one despotic leader who denies the Holocaust and hates Israel vs another despotic leader who, um, denies the Holocaust and hates Israel.  Where is the "Choose peace" choice, the "Let's go home" choice, the "Let's oppose evil everywhere" choice, the "Stand by Israel" choice or the (God forbid) "Bring it on" choice?

Yet again, our leaders at every level (but perhaps not every one of our leaders) have led us in the wrong direction.  Are you satisfied with that?

* * * * *

Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else there is war. This is what the occupiers of the land of Palestine know—these blood suckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, these descendants of apes and pigs.  
--Mohammed Morsi 

As I have said before the quotes were taken out of context.
--Mohammed Morsi (I put that one in for laughs.) 

As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.
--Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

When you have a regime that would be happier in the afterlife than in this one, this is not a regime that is subject to classic themes of deterrence.
--John Bolton

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.
--Robert Fritz

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
--John F. Kennedy 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day... and Mussolini

It's that day again, Holocaust Remembrance Day, as designated by the UN and adopted by the US.  Quite a day, too, with remembrances taking place with honor and sorrow in many countries. 

Of course you know that there are also a lot of Holocaust deniers (hello, phony moon landing folks), neo-fascists and just plain Hitlerites, young and old.  What may surprise you is that a recent world leader chose this day to tell us how Benito Mussolini was just a misunderstood guy who did some really good things.  Yep, for "having done good" to be exact.  

And not in a secret meeting where he might claim some plausible deniability.  Oh no:  "(former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi) spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Milan to commemorate the Holocaust."  (My emphasis.)  That's really making a statement.  THEN he said ""It is difficult now to put oneself in the shoes of who was making decisions back then." 

No, Silvio, you putz, it's not.  I thought a Mussolini review might be in order.

Okay, I know that a lot of you only remember Mussolini as a junior (in comparison) leader of the WW II Axis - Germany, Japan and Italy.  There were some other countries involved but you get the picture.  But do you recall that while Hitler was languishing in jail and writing Mein Kampf, Benito was embarked on vicious campaigns to reclaim Ethiopia (then Abyssinia)  and Albania for his modern Roman empire.  Called it Italian East Africa.  The Ethiopians didn't have much of an air force, army or navy - nor much of a chance - and Beni won in a walk.  Pretty much the same for Albania.  Incidently (unless you were there), he also used mustard gas and phosgene on civilians and he summarily executed captured guerrillas. Hey, that's just the kind of guy he was.

Beni backed Franco in the so-called Spanish civil war.  Then there was that whole "Let's kill all the Slovenes" thing.  After sucking up to England, Beni made common cause with Hitler - The Pact of Steel - and sent troops to fight in Russia without being invited.  Free killing with booty for all?  Not so much, as it turned out. 

He invaded North Africa (again) and when the locals turned the tide against him, Hitler had to send in his Afrika Corps to bail Beni's butt out -- but only until the allies launched Operation Torch and eventually sent both armies packing with massive losses.

Did I mention that Beni rounded up and executed 6,000 Italian Jews, "the most assimilated Jews in Europe", and murdered most of them? How assimilated was Italian Jewry?  "(I)n 1910, Luigi Luzzatti, a Venetian Jew, became prime minister."  Thank you, AJC, for both quotes.

Beni and his mistress were escaping to neutral Spain shortly before the war ended but they were captured and executed en route.  Finis with disgrace, or so you might have thought.  But noooo (thank you, John Belushi).  There's been a lot of revisionism since WW II but my summary is pretty well established fact.

But this piece is really about Berlusconi.  This isn't the first time that Silvio Berlusconi has extolled Beni "for having done good."  It's been a theme of his for years.  In 2003 he told world leaders at a Paris conference that he had been reading Mussolini's journals, and Berlusconi claimed that Mussolini "never killed anyone.  (Thank you, Reuters.) 

In 2010, Berlusconi said:
"I will dare to quote you a phrase from someone considered a dictator, a great, powerful dictator, Benito Mussolini.  In his diary, I recently read this phrase. 'They say I have power. It isn't true. Maybe my party officials do. But I don't know. All I can do is say to my horse go right or left. And I have to be happy with that.'"
"Considered" a dictator?  Considered?  Mussolini was a dictator even before Hitler's rise to power.

Speaking his thoughts about judges:
"If they do that job, it is because they are anthropologically different from the rest of the human race."

Like Mussolini, Berlusconi has opined on conquest:
"The West will continue to conquer peoples, even if it means a confrontation with another civilisation, Islam, firmly entrenched where it was 1,400 years ago."
And more on conquest, of a more personal nature:
"I never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest."   (regarding his notorious sex life, especially with underage women and prostitutes)
Conquest is a recurring theme with Silvio.

And finally, on himself:

"In my opinion, and not only mine, I am the best prime minister we can find today." 
"I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone."
"In Italy I am almost seen as German for my workaholism. Also I am from Milan, the city where people work the hardest. Work, work, work - I am almost German."
"When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said, 'Yes', while the other 70% replied, 'What, again?'"... (OK, I admit that one is a little bit funny.)
There are two important things to remember about Berlusconi.  The first is that he's a rich politician and the second is that he's running for parliament next month. 

Running for Parliament?  Could Italy really be that far out of touch?  Well, there was that fling with Mussolini.

* * * * *

Please:  Remember the cost and terror of fascism and racial politics today, and mourn their numberless victims... and teach your children the truth.

Holocaust Memorial - Berlin

* * * * *
Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial in Israel.  Click HERE for Wiki's explanations.

* * * * *

So long as the Duce lives, one can rest assured that Italy will seize every opportunity to achieve its imperialistic aims.
--Adolf Hitler, November 1939

It is the height of revisionism to try to reinstate an Italian dictator who helped legitimize and prop up Hitler as a `reincarnated good guy.' 
--Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (Thank you, HuffPost.)

* * * * *

Note:  I got my quotes from various credible sources on the Internet.  (Thank you, Al Gore.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Say WHAT, Mr. Speaker?

"Go f*** yourself."  Yep, that's what Speaker Boehner said to Sen. Harry Reid last Thursday.  Harry had accused John of running the House like a dictator.  Snivelin' John didn't much like that.  I guess Harry didn't notice when NancyP ran the House like the prez of an out-of-control sorority house.  It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry. 

The tax bill passed, of course.  It really wasn't a fiscal cliff and it was created by Congress in the first place.  They didn't roll back the 2% SocSec cutback, either.  You lose.  Your taxes also likely went up if your household income is more than $40K, but not nearly as much as if it happens to be >$450K.  We all feel the pinch but that's not what they promised.  The more you make, the more you pay, which sounds fair enough if you don't stop to think about it.  

The natural extension of our current tax debate is the two-line tax form:  
  1)  How much did you make?  
  2)  Send it in.

Our national debt was $10.6 Tril when the prez took office.  Today it's more than $16 Tril and the new spending plan will add another tril or more annually for the next four years.  $20Tril.  What a sorry legacy to hand down to our kids.  How do you repay $20Tril?  DO you repay $20Tril?  Think about it. 

The NYSE is up 308 points.  Gold is up, too.  In fact, gold is up more than 100% in the past five years.  Is that in the hope that stuff will be worth more than money some time soon?  Are Z-Bux coming to the USA?

* * * * *

The credit of the United States has, both at home and abroad, been so heavily and perhaps imprudently laden that care should be taken lest the strength should become inadequate to its burdens.
John Jay letter to General Schuyler
November 25, 1780 

Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations during it’s course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. generation receives it clear of the debts and incumbrances of the 1st., the 3d. of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation. Then no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of it’s own existence.
Thomas Jefferson
September 6, 1789 

I can make a firm pledge.  Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.  Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, not any of your taxes.
Barack Obama
September 2008

It's not a tax.  You just have to pay more taxes
Your humble blogger, HERE

Look, I'm very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money.  And the problem we've gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money, and at the end of the day that proves disastrous.  And my view is, I don't think we can play subtle policy here.
Alan Greenspan

Go f*** yourself.
John Boehner

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Did You Feel It?

We tumbled off the fiscal cliff last night.  Finally.  I didn't feel a thing, did you? But not really fell, we're told today.  That was only to get Congress to do... something.  Please.

Your withholding will feel like it's going up.  That's because you've been paying 2% less recently.  Yep.  Social Security is bankrupt and the government's answer had been to reduce our contributions to it by 2%.  Now it's payback time unless and until our gummint heroes can reduce it again and call themselves, yes, tax cutters.  Then we can resume stealing from our children's future and call it revenue.  It's a liars game.

A bunch of taxes, some new and some not, went up this morning.  I suppose with us being in collective $16 Tril of debt, something had to happen.  Raise taxes or cut spending, those were the choices Congress told us we (they) had.  

The latest deal from the Senate raises taxes $620B and cuts spending $15B.  That will really annoy the House so don't look for complete agreement.  Heck, they couldn't even get unanimous consent to declare war in 1941.  

The Senate wants most of the new tax revenue to come from families making more than $450K.  Was $250K (those fiscal demons), now it's $450K.  Just kidding, you $250K people.  Relax.  

It's kinda hard to pin down who's a dirty capitalist kulak who has to cough up "just a little more" and who's just one of the folks.  More on kulaks soon.

Remember the Repub presidential debate when the moderator asked each job applicant if he/she (Michelle was still in it) would trade ten bucks of deficit cuts for one buck in increased spending?  10:1.  'Nope, wouldn't do that' was the unanimous answer.  Bet it wouldn't be today.  Today's Senate proposal was 41:1 ... the other way.

India has a novel idea.  Remember Eunuch Tax Collectors?  This time, why not just hand cash to poor people?  Direct deposit, actually.  You know, to the Indian poor who actually have bank accounts and aren't lucky enough to be eunuchs.  Both of them. No, really.  Billions of IndiBux.  What could go wrong?  

I was shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- to learn that India has an election coming up in 2014.  Remember when Mitt accused the Prez of trying to buy votes by increasing welfare, health care and food stamps?  Same thing.  As ever was.

 * * * * *

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape it. Alexis de Toqueville

To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection: it is plunder. 
Benjamin Disraeli