Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year 2012 in Images

From the International Herald Tribune, the year in images

In the rest of the world, 75% of humans live their lives being ransacked by mafias, cops, and the military

Something I never see mentioned as an argument for an armed citizenry: look at the everyday life of regular people in the rest of the world, outside of the West and other developped nations. Until today, 75% of humans live their lives being ransacked by mafias, cops, and military. That's why I've always been suspicious of law enforcement and military: these people should never been allowed to outgun the citizenry.
 Thus writes Hervé as he sends us this National Review piece from Kevin D. Williamson. (When you're done reading it, be sure to check out the No Pasarán post on the Sandy Hook shooting).
Regulating the Militia
The Second Amendment is about protecting ourselves from the state.
My friend Brett Joshpe has published an uncharacteristically soft-headed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, conservatives and Republicans should support what he calls “sensible” gun-control laws. It begins with a subtext of self-congratulation (“As a conservative and a Republican, I can no longer remain silent . . . Some will consider it heresy,” etc.), casts aspersions of intellectual dishonesty (arguments for preserving our traditional rights are “disingenuous”), advances into ex homine (noting he has family in Sandy Hook, as though that confers special status on his preferences), fundamentally misunderstands the argument for the right to keep and bear arms, deputizes the electorate, and cites the presence of teddy bears as evidence for his case.
Brett, like practically every other person seeking to diminish our constitutional rights, either does not understand the purpose of the Second Amendment or refuses to address it, writing, “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.” The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.
There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story — who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution:
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
“Usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers” — not Bambi, not burglars. While your granddad’s .30-06 is a good deal more powerful than the .223 rifles that give blue-state types the howling fantods, that is not what we have a constitutional provision to protect. Liberals are forever asking: “Why would anybody need a gun like that?” And the answer is: because we are not serfs. We are a free people living under a republic of our own construction. We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled.
The right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. If you doubt that, consider the history of arms control in England, where members of the Catholic minority (and non-Protestants generally) were prohibited from bearing arms as part of the campaign of general political oppression against them. The Act of Disenfranchisement was still in effect when our Constitution was being written, a fact that surely was on the mind of such Founding Fathers as Daniel Carroll, to say nothing of his brother, Archbishop John Carroll.
The Second Amendment speaks to the nature of the relationship between citizen and state. Brett may think that such a notion is an antiquated relic of the 18th century, but then he should be arguing for wholesale repeal of the Second Amendment rather than presenting — what’s the word? — disingenuous arguments about what it means and the purpose behind it.
If we want to reduce the level of criminal violence in our society, we should start by demanding that the police and criminal-justice bureaucracies do their job. Massacres such as Sandy Hook catch our attention because they are so unusual. But a great deal of the commonplace violence in our society is preventable. Brett here might look to his hometown: There were 1,662 murders in New York City from 2003 to 2005, and a New York Times analysis of the data found that in 90 percent of the cases, the killer had a prior criminal record. (About half the victims did, too.) Events such as Sandy Hook may come out of nowhere, but the great majority of murders do not. The police function in essence as a janitorial service, cleaning up the mess created in part by our dysfunctional criminal-justice system.
We probably would get more out of our criminal-justice system if it were not so heavily populated by criminals. As I note in my upcoming book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys:
For more than twenty years, NYPD detectives worked as enforcers and assassins for the Gambino crime family; in 2006 two detectives were convicted not only of murder and conspiracy to commit murder but also on charges related to such traditional mob activity as labor racketeering, running illegal gambling rings, extortion, narcotics trafficking, obstruction of justice, and the like. This was hardly an isolated incident; only a few years prior to the NYPD convictions more than 70 LAPD officers associated with the city’s anti-gang unit were found to have been deeply involved in gang-affiliated criminal enterprises connected to the Bloods street gang. Their crimes ranged from the familiar police transgressions of falsifying evidence, obstructing justice, and selling drugs seized in arrests to such traditional outlaw fare as bank robbery — they were cops and robbers. More than 100 criminal convictions were overturned because of evidence planted or falsified by officers of the LAPD. One scholarly account of the scandal concluded that such activity is not atypical but rather systemic — and largely immune to attempts at reform: “The current institution of law enforcement in America does appear to reproduce itself according [to] counter-legal norms . . . attempts to counteract this reproduction via the training one receives in police academies, the imposition of citizen review boards, departments of Internal Affairs, etc. do not appear to mitigate against this structural continuity between law enforcement and crime.”
The Department of Homeland Security has existed for only a few years but it already has been partly transformed into an organized-crime syndicate. According to a federal report, in 2011 alone more than 300 DHS employees and contractors were charged with crimes ranging from smuggling drugs and child pornography to selling sensitive intelligence to drug cartels. That’s not a few bad apples — that’s an arrest every weekday and many weekends. Given the usual low ratio of arrests to crimes committed, it is probable that DHS employees are responsible for not hundreds but thousands of crimes. And these are not minor infractions: Agents in the department’s immigration division were caught selling forged immigrant documents, and DHS vehicles have been used to transport hundreds (and possibly thousands) of pounds of illegal drugs. A “standover” crew — that is, a criminal enterprise that specializes in robbing other criminals — was found being run by a DHS agent in Arizona, who was apprehended while hijacking a truckload of cocaine.
Power corrupts. Madison knew that, and the other Founders did, too, which is why we have a Second Amendment.
Related: What Is to Blame for the Connecticut Shooting? Does the Blame Lie with the Right to Bear Arms Or Can It Be Found Elsewhere?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

If I Were the Devil by PAUL HARVEY

Duncan Hill sends us the following:
For those unfamiliar with Paul Harvey, he was the most popular radio commentator of his time … in the US. In 1965, he broadcast this message. Amazing how clear things were for him. Thank goodness we have Obama to prove him right.
Valerie adds that several
versions of the text can be found
for the message was rebroadcast over the years, again and again, slightly rewritten at times from its original form, in 1964.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Quoted During Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech for European Union

Should one feel impressed? And flattered? Or amused?

(And should we put the question to Nigel Farage?)
While accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for the European Union in Oslo’s City Hall a couple of weeks ago, Herman Van Rompuy quoted Abraham Lincoln in his acceptance speech.

As reported by Andrew Higgins in the New York Times, the president of the European Council said: “If I can borrow the words of Abraham Lincoln at the time of another continental test, what is being assessed today is whether that union, or any union so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
Besieged by economic woes and insistent questions about its future, the European Union accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday with calls for further integration and a plea to remember the words of Abraham Lincoln as he addressed a divided nation at Gettysburg. 

The prize ceremony, held in Oslo’s City Hall and attended by 20 European leaders as well as Norway’s royal family, brought a rare respite from the gloom that has settled on the European Union since the Greek debt crisis exploded three years ago, unleashing doubt about the long-term viability of the euro and about an edifice of European institutions built up over more than half a century to promote an ever closer union. 

Unemployment — now at over 25 percent in Greece and Spain — and sputtering economic growth across the 27-nation bloc are “putting the political bonds of our union to the test,” Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, said in his acceptance speech. “If I can borrow the words of Abraham Lincoln at the time of another continental test, what is being assessed today is whether that union, or any union so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
The European Union, said Mr. Van Rompuy, will “answer with our deeds, confident we will succeed.”

“We are working very hard to overcome the difficulties, to restore growth and jobs,” he continued.
Aside from economic misery, the most serious threat to the bloc so far is growing pressure in Britain for a referendum on whether to pull out of the union. The British prime minister, David Cameron, did not attend the ceremony, but most other European leaders showed up, including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the French president, François Hollande, who sat next to each other and whose countries, once bitter enemies, have been the main motors driving European integration. 

Mr. Van Rompuy’s comparison of the European Union to the United States is likely to irritate critics of the European Union, who reject efforts to push European nations to surrender more sovereignty in pursuit of what champions of a federal European state hope will one day be a United States of Europe. 

Just how far Europe is from such a goal, however, was made clear by the presence of three Union presidents in Oslo. In addition to Mr. Van Rompuy, whose European Council represents the leaders of the union’s member states, there was José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the bloc’s main administrative and policy-making arm, and Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament. 

Instead of the customary Nobel lecture delivered by the winner, Mr. Van Rompuy and Mr. Barroso each read parts of what Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, described as “one speech but two chapters.” 

Hailing the European Union for helping bring peace to Europe after repeated wars, Mr. Jagland said, “What this continent has achieved is truly fantastic, from being a continent of war to becoming a continent of peace.”
Mr. Barroso spoke of the horrors of past wars and tyranny and Europe’s efforts to overcome them through the building of supranational institutions, which began in 1951 with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community by France, Germany and four other countries. But he also cited the current conflict in Syria, describing it as a “stain on the world’s conscience” that other nations have “a moral duty” to address. The European Union’s member states are themselves divided about how far to go in supporting opponents of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.
The decision to honor the European Union with the Nobel Peace Prize stirred widespread criticism in Norway, whose citizens have twice voted not to join the union. On the eve of Monday’s award ceremony, peace activists and supporters of left-wing political groups paraded through the streets of Oslo, carrying flaming torches and chanting, “The E.U. is not a worthy winner.”
Many peace activists say they have no problem with European integration but question whether the union has lived up to conditions laid down by Alfred Nobel, the 19th-century Swedish industrialist who bequeathed the peace prize and four other Nobel Prizes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How do You Say the Word "Kafka" in African?

A poster showing foreigners how the system works:
What leads to work documents (papers) is a pay slip;
what leads to a pay slip is work;
what leads to work are… work documents
What leads to work documents is a… Etc…
(In the center of the poster: You are here!)
• Bureaucrat to colleague: How do you say the word "Kafka" in African?

While the Europeans are, as usual, denouncing racism in America, as well as its heartless system (capitalist or otherwise), and giving them lessons in civility and honing their society in a humane manner, while asking that the country's clueless inhabitants look toward their shining shores for the type of society that would be ideal for everybody, it turns out that the system which allows for foreigners to obtain papers in France is hardly more humane, or generous, than elsewhere — and that, even under a socialist government…

Indeed, a better word is Kafkaesque, for while "the holy grail" for getting settled legally through work is the pay slip, as Elise Vincent and François Béguin explain in Le Monde, the cartoon points out that things ain't that simple…

Related: The above does not invalidate the simple fact that
It So Happens That Every Illegal Alien (in America or elsewhere) Already Does Have Papers

"Undocumented Worker": The Left's Preferred Expression for "Illegal Alien" Is False and Misleading

Adolf Hitler in Religious Surroundings: Is There Really Evidence That the Führer Was a Christian?

On Christmas Eve, No Pasarán posted an article giving evidence that Adolf Hitler wanted to replace Christianity with the "religion" of National Socialism.

A couple of readers have taken issue with this (as you can see among the comments section), and, between them, they offer more than a dozen photos of der Führer or other Nazi leaders in religious settings (a couple are listed twice or show the same event from different angles) in order to show, apparently, that Christianity was an integral element in the Nazis' seizure of power and in their scheme of power proper.

I think that anytime a blogger (or anyone else) makes a mistake, he or she should not be fearful but should own up to it.

Having said that, I am not going to admit to any mistakes before examining the evidence.

Truth is, I kind of suspect the two or three readers of being militant atheists, but I don't know this, I have no way of knowing this, and anyway I am open to examining their evidence and assume that they are objective observers, perhaps (but not necessarily) mistaken observers, entirely open to dialogue one way as well as the other.

So let us take an in-depth, dispassionate look at the evidence they bring.

Let us dissect the 14 photos and the half-dozen quotes they have, and be unafraid to make the appropriate conclusions thereto.

One photo can be disposed of straight away: One of the pictures allegedly demonstrating that Hitler was a Christian or pro-Christian shows the Führer in the company of an admiring nun. But take a closer look: Unless I am very much mistaken, what is actually happening is that a political celebrity is doing nothing more than — briefly — interrupting his outdoor lunch, or a snack, or drinks, to sign an autograph for a fan. A fan who happens to be a nun (let us assume that she is one, even though that there is the — admittedly, remote — possibility that she may simply be a traditionally-dressed peasant). Indeed, even the person who uploaded the photo doesn't see fit to mention the nun, calling the image simply HitlerWithFan.jpg. Is it unfair to say that it is likely that the fan, or the nun, stopped by the table — possibly invited thereto by the Nazi propaganda service — and spent maybe 20 seconds there while Hitler signed his name on a head shot (one provided the nun by his services a few moments earlier?) while his personal photographer snapped a picture?

Taking issue with the statement that a photo and a video of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem "seem to show the only time Adolf Hitler has met any religious leader of note", Writeby and John link to several pictures.

Let us see what they show:

One of them shows a formal meeting with various dignitaries, one of whom is some kind of bishop or cardinal. (The other people seem to be various types of ambassadors.)

Two other photos show "Hitler shaking hands with a bishop (a cardinal in this one)". It's actually two photos, taken from a different angle, of the same bishop (or the same cardinal) at the same event at almost the same moment.

In any case, these photos indeed seem to pretty much destroy the following phrase of mine, which Writeby quotes:

no pictures seem to exist with any Catholic priest or Protestant preacher, German or foreign. 
Do these photos not disprove that? (Und nein, the "seem to" phrase will not help you out of this one, Herr Svane…)

But wait a minute!

Look at the lack of a capital letter at the beginning of the phrase "quoted" (it is not "No pictures" with a capital N): It turns out that Writeby — deliberately — decided not to quote the entire sentence!

Check out the beginning thereof:
Of course, another reason a Nazi leader might meet with a religious leader might be for reasons of diplomacy with an ally [I might have added "with an ally, domestic or foreign"] …
What is the main purpose of these meetings of Hitler's with these religious people?

Is it for respect for the religious sphere and Adolf's concern for, say, his personal spiritual path? Or is it for diplomatic reasons — internal and external? And/or for show?

We do not know, do we? We cannot say… Actually, I'm pretty willing to bet that it has more to do with diplomatic reasons and/or for propaganda purposes…

Now take a look at the other pictures of religious men in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s that John and Writeby link to.

In every single one, with or without the presence of the Führer, the religious men are giving the Heil Hitler salute or, to be more precise, they are joining the neighboring crowd to give the Heil Hitler salute.

Alright, so what I should have written was that
"no pictures seem to exist with any Catholic priest or Protestant preacher, German or foreign" unless it were for reasons of diplomacy (foreign or domestic) [which in fact, I had already written] or — unless the latter agreed, willingly or otherwise, to forfeit their independence, to follow the brain-washed crowds, and to submit to the Nazi state.
My mistake.

In the meantime, let us note that in the 12 years of the Third Reich, or over 4,380 days, our Christian detractors have managed to find photos from only a couple of events of Hitler meeting some religious authority (none of whom seem to be specially "of note") along with a couple of photos (some of which may predate Hitler assuming power) of brain-washed priests giving the Hitler salute.

This brings us to the Göring church wedding "with his best man (Hitler)".

Is this not damning evidence?!

I wish it were, but unfortunately for John, we cannot tell, because people have gotten married in churches for centuries whether feeling religious or not. And in this case, the question is, Was the church wedding done for the sake of belonging to, and respect for, the Christian religion? Or was it done for the usual totalitarian reasons — for propaganda and spectacle? A full description of the events in April 1935 provide a clue:
During the early 1930s Göring was often in the company of Emmy Sonnemann (1893–1973), an actress from Hamburg. They were married on 10 April 1935 in Berlin; the wedding was celebrated on a huge scale. A large reception was held the night before at the Berlin Opera House. Fighter aircraft flew overhead on the night of the reception and the day of the ceremony.
"Finding [this information took] literally seconds on" Wikipedia via "google [name] search", John. If you don't mind me saying so: "The internet is really cool that way, you should try it some time."

This brings us in turn to the prominent presence of a majestic church in several photographs. But as John himself notes, they are (here too) "propaganda shots". If they are propaganda, what purpose does the majestic building have? Is the Church of Our Lady "a potent symbol" to denote the Christian religion? Or is it "a potent symbol" to symbolize the majesty of the Nazi movement, of the Aryan race, of the anointed leader, of the Christian religion submitting to, and standing behind, the Führer? In addition, at least one (1928) is, and possibly both are, from before the Nazis took power in 1933.

This brings us to a major problem regarding all the photos that John and Writeby — photo after photo turns out to be taken during the 1920s and early 1930s, when the Nazis were not in power, i.e., during campaigns for the hearts of the German people.

Why should early news reports from the Nazi movement disprove later ones, such as the 1937 reports showing that the Nazi neo-pagans wanted to replace the words of Christian hymns with paeans to the glory of the Aryan race?!

When are the pictures of Hitler exiting a church taken? When Hitler is the chancellor of Germany? When he has become the dictator of the German Reich? Is he the Führer? With full powers?

No, again unless I am mistaken, Dolfi seems to be young, a civilian, wearing a hat, and he seems to be in Bavaria. He seems, indeed, to be what he still was in the 1920s, a politician trying to gain power — through (as we later will find out) whatever means necessary…

Do we know for sure that they are "pictures of him walking out of church after worship"? Was he really in there to worship and, if so, did he do so in his soul or did he just go through the "motions"? Have we never heard of people going to church without feeling particularly religious? (It was in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, if my memory doesn't fail me, that the main reason for young people going to church turned out to be not to commune with the higher power, but to "check out" and meet young people of the opposite sex…)

For certain politicians, young or old, the reason comes to being seen by, being checked out by, and meeting the populace. Have we never heard of politicians, past or present, engaging in activities they didn't particularly care for because it was necessary with regards to the electorate or to a certain segment of the population?

Specifically, have we never heard of politicians, past or present, claiming to be Christian when it was obvious they weren't so or when the extent of their commitment was doubtful?

This brings us to the photo of "Hitler in prayer".

Not only don't we know if the Führer is really turning to his religious side, we don't even know if he is praying — or to what.

We don't know if this shot is taken after the Nazis came to power or while they was still vying for the soul of Germany. (It might not be for propaganda purposes, might it?)

Is Adolf even in a church? If so, it is one whose purpose has been radically transformed by a (great) number of swastika flags hanging from its walls…

If the photo is from the latter part of his career, Hitler may be showing respects towards a dead Nazi, or towards dead Germans in a battle that just ended.

But in any case, what he is doing is not necessarily Christian, as Romans, vandals, Vikings, and samurai, among many others (not least Goths and Teutons as well as a number of neo-pagans), have behaved the same way in the same type of formal events, and have done so long before they ever heard of Christianity.

Some may say I am splitting hairs.

I would say that, given what we know about the Nazi state — given what we now know about the fact that neo-pagans had started replacing the words of Christmas carols with paeans to the glory of the Aryan race — isn't it rather posting these (rare) photos which amounts to splitting hairs?!

Speaking facetiously of his hyperlinks to the religious images, John quips
Finding these too [sic] literally seconds on google image search. The internet is really cool that way, you should try it some time. 
Guess what, John. Taking a good, hard look at some of the evidence before one's eyes takes a little longer and demands more use of one's brain cells.

Why no Christian symbols at events like this?
That's something you might want to try some time…

Caption: Why no Christian symbols at events like this? —>
In order to prove something, it is not sufficient to point out evidence in your favor, you must also explain away (if possible) things that do not prove your point — for instance, the absence of Christian symbols at Nazi gatherings in Nuremberg as well as in most of the NSDAP's gatherings as well as in the ensuing propaganda records such as Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will

For an answer as to who is splitting hairs, let us go to the quotes that Writeby provides.

Might it be that the very words that he quotes — i.e., the words of Hitler, Göring, et al — turn out to prove the exact opposite of what he and John are claiming? (I.e., that Christianity is an integral part of the Nazi creed…)

Could it be that the very words that Writeby quotes confirms what we are saying on No Pasarán?

Writeby and John seem to think that I wrote, or that I think, that Nazi leaders were atheistic and/or — overtly — anti-Christian. Ergo, any photos with religious leaders and any quotations about God and/or Jesus prove that I am wrong.

As it happens, you cannot note what seems like a damning quote of Hitler's — that "The National Government … regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality" — without noting the date he made the "Proclamation to the German Nation".

February 1, 1933 is the day after he finally was appointed chancellor — against the better judgment of President Hindenburg and with less than 40% of the vote. Is it any wonder he would make a uniting statement like that?

(Muhamed Morsi —not that he should be compared to Adolf, the Egyptian is just being used as an illustration — also sounded good in his first weeks in office, waiting until months later to show his true side.)

Writeby goes on to give us two quotes from Hitler, which are even older, from the 1920s, both when he was a struggling politician, again when he was a politician vying for the hearts of the German people.

Might it be revealing that in one quote, Hitler does not call Jesus "the Son of God" but, non-commitally, "the founder of Christianity"? And in the other, while he mentions the "Lord and Savior", does he not speak more of himself — while comparing himself to Jesus?!

The tenor of both the Mein Kampf quote and the 1922 Munich quote is hardly one of respect and love for Jesus Christ or as someone attempting to be a (fellow) humble follower of the "true" religion. It is one of hatred for a group or a policy (the Jews). Adolph [sic] Hitler is in no way trying to give an interpretation of the Bible, or of a Bible story, for his readers or listeners; he is claiming that evidence from the Bible, for which he seems to have little interest per se, supports the policies of he himself and of his party.

Is Hitler saying anything to the effect that "in order to be good Christians, you, we, must do such and such"? No, Hitler is saying "Christians, if they (if you) are good and sensible, ought to (you ought to) join the Nazi party and follow us"!

In fact, quotations from other German leaders do not support Writeby and John's contention at all. What the Nazis are saying is "Christianity is good — insofar as its members bow to, and support, Adolf (literally, our Lord Adolf Hitler) and his Nazi policies" (see the photos of the brain-washed priests doing the Hitler salute).

"Hermann Goering" [sic]:
"God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany." 
Robert Lay:
"We believe on this earth in Adolf Hitler alone! We believe in National Socialism as the creed which is the sole source of grace! We believe that Almighty God has sent us Adolf Hitler so that he may rid Germany of the hypocrites and Pharisees."
What is it that you don't understand, Writeby, in that this disproves your point altogether?

What is it that you don't understand, John, when Christianity is turned on its head and reinterpreted, in a self-serving manner, so that, say, humility and the need to own up to your mistakes (sins) are done away with, while the messiah becomes whoever is the leader of your political party and of your nation?!

Update: Worshipping Little Else But the Aryan Race, Hitler Abhorred the Christian Faith and Wanted to Replace Christmas with the Pagans' Yuletide

Related: • Jonah Goldberg: Just for the record, Hitler detested Christianity

• Ray Comfort, whose “Hitler, God and the Bible” points out Hitler devised a master strategy to crush all Christian churches, explains that it would be either ignorant or disingenuous to call Hitler a Christian:
In a special Christian Broadcasting Network program, Comfort cites the head of Hitler Youth, Boldur von Schirach, who said, “Destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist Movement.”

 … The CBN program explains how Hitler put on a religious, even Christian, façade, until he became powerful.

 … But later one of his inner circle acknowledged: “I’m absolutely clear in my own mind, and I think I can speak for the Fuhrer as well, that both the Catholic and Protestant churches will vanish from the life of our people.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Independent" Journalist in France Offers Some "Neutral" Propositions to Barack Obama, Later Deletes Tweet

After congratulating Barack Obama on Twitter for being named Time's man of the year, and after dissing "strident" gun-rights advocates, a French journalist shows his independence, his objectivity, and his neutrality by calling for the Apologizer-in-Chief to "cash in some of that bonus capital" (not realizing that the "honor" won — hardly earned — by Obama is an entirely artificial one made up by the like-minded mainstream media) and for him to stand up to…

 To whom?

 To the Chinese?

 To Vladimir Putin?

To Bashir Al-Assad?

To Mohamed Morsi?

No, of course not;
to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu…
Yes, one tweet shows that a news editor is both ignorant and biased against Israel. Not surprisingly, the two often go hand in hand. …
Subsequently, Douglas Herbert deletes the tweet.
UPDATE: Herbert deleted the tweet, perhaps thinking that no one will notice. You would think a person in the media would realize that silently erasing evidence makes things look even worse.

Monday, December 24, 2012

One to Two Dozen Volumes of Classic History Books for Christmas — For Less Than $10

Guess what: it's not too late to order Christmas gifts, for others or for yourself, if you head to Amazon's Kindle store — nor need it be expensive.

Glenn Reynolds mentions that Edward Gibbons' multi-volume Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is available on Kindle for only $2.99 (the price rises, faintly, to $3.48 when ordering from Europe, which you will agree is fairly acceptable).

While you're at it, you may do as I did, and go berserk by going on a shopping spree and spending like a maniac. (I cannot tell from here, but, as noted, the prices may be even lower when ordering within North America.)

I went on to order:
Livy's History of Rome ($1.16),
The Complete Works of Julius Caesar ($1.49), and
Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars ($1.16).
Besides those, I bought
• the Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson ($0.96)
• and Tocqueville's Democracy in America ($1.16)
• as well as the five volumes of John Marshall's Life of George Washington which are among the Amazon books you can download, on a constant or on a temporary basis, for… free.

Joyeux Noël et 
Bonne Nouvelle Année 
to one and to all!

PS: Be sure to order Amazon items through an affiliate like Instapundit, which amounts to blog support through your purchases, albeit at no cost to yourself…

Recently Uncovered by Archaeologists: The earliest online comments known to man

Writes Craig Brown: Archaeologists recently uncovered what they believe to be some of the earliest online comments known to man.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Breaking News From 1921

The 1921 headline on this Washington Daily News issue — sold by a newsboy with a sign on his hat asking, "Have you read The News? One cent" — reads "Millionaire tax rends G.O.P".

(Thanks to The Andrea Shea King Show)

卐mas Caroling: The Extremes Hitler Wanted to Go To in Order to Replace Christianity with the "Religion" of National Socialism

You undoubtedly know the rumor — commonly accepted as uncontroversial truth — that while Soviet tyranny was atheistic, its German equivalent was based on such traditional aspects of capitalist society as traditional religion (a rumor undoubtedly nourished — and that, entirely plausibly, it must be admitted — by Nazism's persecution of the Jewish minority). (Aktualisierung: Danke für die Linke, Glenn Reynolds, Ed Driscoll, Sarah Hoyt, und der blog Instapundit.)

The alleged link between Christianity and Nazism is quickly debunked by a few seconds' thought. Think about it, indeed: how many times, in how many World War II books, in how many documentaries with 1940s footage, have you seen pictures — whether fake poses deliberately prepared for propaganda purposes or simply "innocent", matter-of-fact news shots — of Adolf Hitler or any high-level Nazi official in silent (Christian or other) prayer?  Hands joined and/or eyes closed with head down?

How many times have you seen photos of Hitler, Himmler, Göring, Goebbels, or any SS member seated in a pew or even simply appearing inside a church?

That's right, it's like snapshots, or films, of ostriches sticking their necks in the sand: there ain't any.

Pictures of Nazis honoring traditional religion and religious traditions simply do not seem to exist.

(Unless, of course, the presence of the high-level Nazi inside or in front of a given church has nothing to do with religion per se.  For instance, there may exist photos of der Führer in front of the Sacré-Cœur cathedral — just like when he poses at the Trocadéro with the Eiffel Tower in the background — but that is as a tourist visiting a foreign capital or, rather, as a war leader visiting a defeated city.)

Now, should the need for more confirmation really exist, we have the 75 Years Ago section of the International Herald Tribune.

It is edifying — to say the least.
1937 — ‘Neo-Pagans’ Target Carols
BERLIN — De-Christianization of famous German Christmas hymns, such as “Silent Night, Holy Night,” is the outstanding contribution to the current holiday season of the rapidly spreading German faith movement or “religion” of National Socialism. In the new versions of the old songs reference to Nazi tenets of race, blood and soil replace familiar words concerning Christ, Child and the like. The accepted English translation of Mohr’s “Silent Night,” stanza three lines two and three is: “The Son of God loves pure light, radiant beams from thy Holy faith.” Equivalent lines in the Nazified version are “German blood, O how laugh the lips of thy children, blessed with joy.”
Of course, another reason a Nazi leader might meet with a religious leader might be for reasons of diplomacy with an ally — but again, no pictures seem to exist with any Catholic priest or Protestant preacher, German or foreign.

As it happens, this photo and this video seem to show the only time Adolf Hitler has met any religious leader of note.

Update: Adolf Hitler in Religious Surroundings: Is There Really Evidence That the Führer Was a Christian? — an in-depth, dispassionate look at the evidence brought by a couple of commenters claiming that Christianity was an integral part of Nazism…

Update 2: Worshipping Little Else But the Aryan Race, Hitler Abhorred the Christian Faith and Wanted to Replace Christmas with the Pagans' Yule

Related: • Jonah Goldberg: Just for the record, Hitler detested Christianity

• Ray Comfort, whose “Hitler, God and the Bible” points out Hitler devised a master strategy to crush all Christian churches, explains that it would be either ignorant or disingenuous to call Hitler a Christian:
In a special Christian Broadcasting Network program, Comfort cites the head of Hitler Youth, Boldur von Schirach, who said, “Destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist Movement.”

 … The CBN program explains how Hitler put on a religious, even Christian, façade, until he became powerful.

 … But later one of his inner circle acknowledged: “I’m absolutely clear in my own mind, and I think I can speak for the Fuhrer as well, that both the Catholic and Protestant churches will vanish from the life of our people.”
Update 3: How Hitler's Nazi propaganda machine tried to take Christ out of Christmas (danke zu Ed Driscoll)
 … the way Christmas was used by the atheist Nazis, who tried to turn it into a pagan winter solstice celebration.

 … 'Christmas was a provocation for the Nazis - after all, the baby Jesus was a Jewish child,' Judith Breuer told the German newspaper Spiegel. 'The most important celebration in the year didn't fit with their racist beliefs so they had to react, by trying to make it less Christian.'

The exhibition includes swastika-shaped cookie-cutters and Christmas tree baubles shaped like Iron Cross medals.

The Nazis attempted to persuade housewives to bake cookies in the shape of swastikas, and they replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas, who traditionally brings German children treats on December 6, with the Norse god Odin.

The symbol that posed a particular problem for the Nazis was the star, which traditionally decorates Christmas trees.

 … The is a legacy of the Nazi Christmas. The wartime version of the traditional Christmas carol 'Unto us a time has come' is still sung. 'The Nazis took out the references to Jesus and made it into a song about walking through the snow,' Breuer said.

Surprisingly, German churches put up little opposition to the Nazification of Christmas. 'You would have expected them to protest loudly and insist that it was a Christian festival,' said Breuer. 'But instead they largely kept quiet, out of fear.'

Update 4: "Out With Jesus" — During His 12 Years in Power, Hitler Tried to Ban the Tradition of Christmas

Update 5: "Hitler remained to the end a socialist"; the Führer "was totally irreligious and" wanted to hang the Pope in St Peter's Square

We're Alive! We're ALIVE!!

An inspiring and uplifting video helps explain exactly how we averted Mayan catastrophe (thanks to Damian Bennett) and why we all of us are still alive today… (You may have to press Play twice…)

Friday, December 21, 2012

While Depardieu Undergoes Criticism, Le Monde Contrasts the Star's Current and Future Homes

On the sign of the Belgian town where Gérard Depardieu is moving, a joker has scratched the word Nounours (Teddy Bear), which has been Depardieu's nickname (another is Gégé) since the actor started gaining weight many years ago.
Update: While Nounours welcomes people to Néchin, we wish to say welcome to the readers of Instapundit… 

Criticism of (the departing) Gérard Depardieu has been mounting, but that expecially among government ministers. Nounours hates François Hollande, calling the French president the "Piglet".

Amongst his fellow actors, a Philippe Torreton has joined in the criticism, while Brigitte Bardot has leapt to Gégé's defense.

In any case, Le Monde's Florence Aubenas and Geoffroy Deffrennes offer a full-page comparison of Gégé's current home (in one of the poshest streets of Paris) to his future home (in the small town across the Belgian border — see photos above and below this paragraph).

In his Paris street, the man whom one storeowner called "Saint Depardieu" enjoys the company of the locals, helping them with various problems and calling all of them by the familiar tu. Indeed, because he has helped save so many stores and jobs — opening a couple of restaurants in the process — Rue du Cherche-Midi might have ended up being called Rue Depardieu, had not the Belgian "scandal" erupted…

Depardieu vouait une passion tonitruante au président Nicolas Sarkozy. Avec François Hollande, c'est tout aussi bruyant, mais à l'inverse : "Il semble le détester de manière presque physique", note un voisin. En tout cas, en public, sans se cacher, il a l'habitude de le désigner sous un seul nom : "le porcelet".

Pour un amateur de bonne bouffe, ça passerait presque pour aimable, et le boucher de la rue de Sèvres, où Depardieu vient en personne choisir son agneau de lait, serait peut-être prêt à le certifier. Le surnom a fini par arriver aux oreilles de Hollande soi-même. 

… un commerçant énumère volontiers les miracles de saint Depardieu, qui a sauvé une coiffeuse jetée à la rue par son bailleur, en lui offrant un local. En fait, tout le monde le connaît dans la rue, même au magasin bio, seul commerce de bouche où il n'entre jamais, "contrairement au fils de Johnny Hallyday", lui aussi du quartier. Et s'il fallait prendre parti, la plupart des voisins le trouvent plutôt chic, plus chic en tout cas qu'Alain Delon, résident suisse depuis 1999, qui vend des lunettes mais pas comme oculiste : il est devenu une des plus grandes marques du secteur.

"It's the Middle Ages" Inside a Prison Filled with Rats, Refuse, and Rainwater, Denounces an Inmate; An American Jail? No, a French One

The team of the Controller General of Prisons left the premises unnerved. By the dreadful smell of garbage and urine, by the crumbling walls, by water trickling inside buildings, by rats that swarm to such a point that guards stamp their feet during night patrols to scare them off. They found a scorpion in a puddle and came upon a prisoner lapping water from the toilet, tired of three weeks' worth of ignored requests to repair his cell's faucet. Another inmate, petrified by fear, ended by admitting that he was the slave, including in the sexual sense, of his two fellow prisoners.
While French intellectuals continue lambasting the lack of humanity in the rotten capitalist system of the clueless and backwards-looking Americans — people who are totally reactionary and have not the slightest idea of what human rights entails — Franck Johannès publishes an article on the front page of Le Monde on Marseille's prison of shame (see the slide show as well as the video).

The "overpopulation of detainment places" is a thing which the daily of reference describes as nothing less than a French disease, while National Syndicate of Prison Directors (SNDP) leader Boris Targe warns that the "situation in [French] prisons has become truly alarming" as he deplores "an explosion of violence between prisoners and against the prison personnel." (Read the original French version.)

Jean-Marie Delarue, the Comptroller General of Places of Liberty Deprivation [yeah, how more bureaucratese can you get than that?!], found the shipwreck of Marseille's Baumettes prison sufficiently alarming to ring the emergency bell provided for in case of the "serious violation of fundamental rights." 
… The treatment of waste "is problematic," notes the report politely, and the electric grid "does not fill current needs": one guard made ​​his night rounds, in full darkness, with nothing but his own tiny personal flashlight. Seven showers in ten are broken. The kitchen was indeed renovated in 1998, "but the hallways of the basement where it is located are extremely dirty." When inmates have not been brought back from their promenade, their meal trays are left in front of the cell doors, to the great satisfaction of the rat population used to waiting for feeding time. Most trays end out the window. "It's a miracle that there has been no epidemic," exclaims the Comptroller, "if an inmate were to become seriously ill, it would spread like wildfire."
… These detention centers are bursting at the seams with an overpopulation averaging 136.6%.
There is a scarcity in personnel, and given the conditions of work, absenteeism is high: 2.6 days' worth of absence per person per month, according to the Comptroller's calculations. One of the guards remembers the day when a rat jumped on his chest, something that duly traumatized him. Sometimes there is only one warden per floor, which amounts to 200 prisoners. Judges' clerks responsible for sentencing refuse to show up at the jail — consequently, the judges themselves do not go there either, something the psychiatric MDs refuse as well.

There is, moreover, strictly nothing to do inside les Baumettes. ... "In these circumstances," says Jean-Marie Delarue, "the only activity there is is the promenade, for up to six hours per day."
Guards do not supervise the walk — "because they're afraid" — or, indeed, the showers, where bloody scores are settled. Since the beginning of the year, doctors have identified 14 multiple bruises, eight deep wounds, seven fractures, three head traumas, and one rape. Because inside a prison, everything has a price. Like a telephone. "I have two phone providers," said one officer. "The retailer and the thugs."
… The poorest, or the weakest, go into debt (15% on average are indigent), many no longer dare leave their cells, even to take a shower. Others go into the service of thugs — or try to escape.
Prisoners testify to Simon Piel that "Les Baumettes is a dungeon" and that inside, "it's the Middle Ages":
The nine months one inmate spent in les Baumettes, the Marseille detention center which he was released from in 2006, left permanent scars. "Some of the others tried extortion to get my shoes or pants, but I had become friends with some hefty dudes. And then I did the warrior spiel. When guys know that if they want to assault you, they will have to fight, they pause to reflect. If you allow it to happen only once it is finished." The staircases, the showers, and the walking areas are the places that are most feared. "Never make a move by yourself," he says. "There are no cameras or guards in that kind of area. When I was inside, one guy got stabbed three times in the stairwell. To be alone is to be a target."
… In addition to this daily violence and the difficulty for a staff suffering shortages to manage it, there is a dilapidation which spares not a single building. "This is the Middle Ages," says a former inmate. "The rats are the size of a big cat," testifies another … He says: "My cell was foul with regards to hygiene: the toilets were appalling, the mattress and blanket were filled with hair." As for cockroaches, he identified "three different types."
Referring to "the indignity of the situation" and to what it calls a "national scandal", a Le Monde editorial concluded that "France is regressing and is treating its prisoners in an inhumane fashion."
Camus said it best: "The only way we can judge the degree of civilization in a nation is by visiting its prisons." A visit to les Baumettes prison in Marseille shows that France is regressing and is treating its prisoners in an inhumane fashion.
On Thursday, December 6, Jean-Marie Delarue, Comptroller General of Places of Liberty Deprivation, took stock of the alarming state of this particular prison: the rats and cockroaches are swarming, the cells with broken windows are repulsively filthy, inmates lacking running water drink from the toilet bowl. The prison is overcrowded, the inactivity forced, the settling of scores and the racketeering pervasive. In fact, the deprivation of liberty is no longer makes any sense, because it produces madmen more violent on the way out than on the way in.