September 2nd, 2011
Forbes / Bill Flax
“The line between fascism and Fabian socialism is very thin. Fabian socialism is the dream. Fascism is Fabian socialism plus the inevitable dictator.” John T. Flynn
Numerous commentators have raised alarming comparisons between America’s recent economic foibles and Argentina’s fall “from breadbasket to basket case.” The U.S. pursues a similar path with her economy increasingly ensnared under the growing nexus of government control. Resources are redistributed for vote-buying welfare schemes, patronage style earmarks, and graft by unelected bureaucrats, quid pro quo with unions, issue groups and legions of lobbyists.
In Argentina, everyone acknowledges that fascism, state capitalism, corporatism – whatever – reflects very leftwing ideology. Eva Peron remains a liberal icon. President Obama’s Fabian policies (Keynesian economics) promise similar ends. His proposed infrastructure bank is just the latest gyration of corporatism. Why then are fascists consistently portrayed as conservatives?
In the Thirties, intellectuals smitten by progressivism considered limited, constitutional governance anachronistic. The Great Depression had apparently proven capitalism defunct. The remaining choice had narrowed between communism and fascism. Hitler was about an inch to the right of Stalin. Western intellectuals infatuated with Marxism thus associated fascism with the Right.
Later, Marxists from the Frankfurt School popularized this prevailing sentiment. Theodor Adorno in The Authoritarian Personality devised the “F” scale to demean conservatives as latent fascists. The label “fascist” has subsequently meant anyone liberals seek to ostracize or discredit.
Fascism is an amorphous ideology mobilizing an entire nation (Mussolini, Franco and Peron) or race (Hitler) for a common purpose. Leaders of industry, science, education, the arts and politics combine to shepherd society in an all encompassing quest. Hitler’s premise was a pure Aryan Germany capable of dominating Europe.
While he feinted right, Hitler and Stalin were natural bedfellows. Hitler mimicked Lenin’s path to totalitarian tyranny, parlaying crises into power. Nazis despised Marxists not over ideology, but because they had betrayed Germany in World War I and Nazis found it unconscionable that German communists yielded fealty to Slavs in Moscow.
The National Socialist German Workers Party staged elaborate marches with uniformed workers calling one another “comrade” while toting tools the way soldiers shoulder rifles. The bright red Nazi flag symbolized socialism in a “classless, casteless” Germany (white represents Aryanism). Fascist central planning was not egalitarian, but it divvied up economic rewards very similarly to communism: party membership and partnering with the state.
Where communists generally focused on class, Nazis fixated on race. Communists view life through the prism of a perpetual workers’ revolution. National Socialists used race as a metaphor to justify their nation’s engagement in an existential struggle.
September 2nd, 2011
The Washington Post
Newly released e-mails in the controversy over the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation show that the program had been mentioned to a White House official, but the unorthodox tactics used by federal agents were not revealed in the documents.
Congressional investigators looking into the operation have been probing whether high-level Obama administration officials were aware of Fast and Furious.
The e-mails reveal that William Newell, former head of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, briefed Kevin O’Reilly on the Obama administration’s broader operations against Mexican gun traffickers. O’Reilly, a State Department official who had been detailed to the National Security Council at the White House, then shared the information with two other officials, including Dan Restrepo, President Obama’s senior adviser on Latin America.
The e-mails, turned over by the Justice Department to congressional investigators and obtained by The Washington Post, did not include details of the Fast and Furious operation, an ambitious plan to follow guns bought by illegal “straw purchasers” through middlemen and into the hierarchy of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel.
The exchanges add to a voluminous trail of documents and testimony in the long-running debate over Fast and Furious, which is the subject of a congressional investigation and an inquiry by the Department of Justice’s inspector general.
In one February e-mail to O’Reilly, Newell referred to Fast and Furious, the now-defunct operation that allowed some 2,000 illegally purchased firearms to hit the streets. The congressional inquiry began after it was revealed that a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in a gunbattle in which Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene.
Several other Newell e-mails referred to a large federal investigation along the southwest border. The e-mails did not specify the operation’s name, but U.S. officials said it probably was Fast and Furious.
Newell was clearly proud of his “very large ” case, but in one e-mail he made it clear he could not discuss details because it was an ongoing criminal investigation.
The e-mails “validate what we’ve said all along: that no one at the White House knew about the investigative tactics used in this operation, let alone letting anyone walk guns,’’ said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal communications.
Yet the disclosure of even peripheral White House involvement in the Fast and Furious imbroglio could ratchet up political pressure on the administration from congressional Republicans.
Becca Glover Watkins, a spokeswoman for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said committee investigators are “examining the role of White House officials in Operation Fast and Furious, including concerns that their interactions with ATF personnel may have undermined the chain of command in a law enforcement operation and increased risks to public safety.’’
But it was unclear if the cascading revelations of who knew about the ill-fated operation would continue. U.S. officials said they have found no further evidence of any White House knowledge of Fast and Furious, and Obama has said that he and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. would never have approved the tactics used in the operation.
The officials characterized the e-mails between Newell and O’Reilly as a “back-channel communication” between two old friends who had worked together in the 1990s.
Paul Pelletier, a lawyer for Newell, who is now working at ATF headquarters in Washington, said Newell’s e-mails provided “public or soon-to-be public information about the state of gun trafficking along the southwest border. No operational plans were divulged.”
The e-mails follow a major shake-up at the Justice Department stemming from Fast and Furious. Kenneth E. Melson, acting director of the ATF, was reassigned to department headquarters this week. Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney in Phoenix, resigned, and one of his prosecutors has been reassigned.
Law enforcement officials have said no further high-level changes are planned, and Melson, another senior ATF official and Burke have told congressional investigators that senior Justice officials were unaware of the tactics used in Fast and Furious.
The single e-mail that mentions Fast and Furious by name, sent from Newell to O’Reilly in February, cites an indictment stemming from the operation that had already been publicly released. “The first attachment is the press release, which goes into some detail of the other cases,’’ Newell wrote. “The Fast and Furious indictment is listed under U.S. v. Avila . . . all of these have been unsealed, they were unsealed the day of the press conference.’’
More from The Washington Post"
September 2nd, 2011
*Warning: SATIRE ahead...
BEIJING (The Borowitz Report) – Labor Day, one of America’s most beloved and longest-celebrated holidays, has been officially moved to China, U.S. officials confirmed today.
The Labor Day celebrations are expected to kick off Monday afternoon in Beijing with a barbeque attended by over seven million people and presided over by former NBA star Yao Ming.
The transfer of Labor Day to China represents the first time in American history that an entire holiday has been outsourced, experts said.
“It may be just as well,” said the University of Minnesota’s Davis Logsdon, who has lectured extensively on Labor Day traditions. “It’s been getting harder and harder for Americans to remember what labor is.”
Tracy Klugian, 37 said he was sorry to see his annual Labor Day barbeque relocated from his home in Medina, Ohio to Beijing, but is taking the loss in stride.
“I used to really look forward to Labor Day,” he said. “But to be honest, getting a day off isn’t as special as it used to be.”
While Mr. Klugian said it was “a little strange” for Labor Day barbecues to occur in China with no participation by Americans, he added, “Maybe someday we’ll be able to make illegal fireworks for them.”
Meanwhile, U.S. officials said it was looking “more and more likely” that Thanksgiving would be relocated this year to India.
“At the very least, Americans will still be able to celebrate Thanksgiving by phone,” one official said. “But they should listen closely because some menu options have changed.”
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September 2nd, 2011
The phone rings - a busy Nichole Broome answers. She pushes her blonde hair back away from her face, holds the receiver with a delicate hand, and listens. A recording contract? An aggressive touring schedule? "But I’m a wife, mother, and schoolteacher," she says. I would be able to write my own music? And have creative control and be able to minister to people worldwide? "The contract is worth how much?" she asks incredulously. Nichole reaches down to cradle a tiny hand in her's. She plants a kiss on the forehead of her daughter, Cadence, and sighs. "I’m sorry, your offer is very tempting, but I’ll pass for now, thank you."
She hangs up, gathers her child in her arms, and tells her husband David of this ridiculous conversation. They share a laugh, and a knowing look passes between them. I imagine this is how a conversation would play out with vocalist Nichole Broome and her husband David. This is the kind of confirmation a man and a woman have when they are connected to God and each other. There is no doubt or anxiety. There is obviously a kind of divine connection this particular woman has to her music. When the time and situation are right, Nichole Broome will know.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Nichole. Wearing a sparkly, form-fitting top, dark blue skinny jeans and stiletto heels, I couldn’t imagine who this girl could be. Nichole is a different kind of Christian vocalist: wholesome, beautiful, and drop-dead gorgeous, with a figure that looks nothing like a church lady. She looks like a farmer’s daughter potentially on her way to corruption, but not quite there. Still, there is an obvious holiness and purity that runs all through her. And when she opens her mouth, you want to fall to your knees and worship her.
I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see her live at her CD release party at City Café in Mount Holly, North Caolina. Her debut CD New Eyes is a deeply personal, soul-stirring project that was therapy for a young woman who seemed to have everything: a handsome husband, two squeezable babies, and a satisfying career as a music teacher. Still, she found herself almost crippled by an overwhelming anxiety disorder that offered her little peace.
Nichole, who admits she is a born worrier, knew something had to give. So she did what every good church girl had been taught to do; she bent her knees and cried out to God. Apparently, He was waiting for her, and began whispering in her ear. Hence, New Eyes was born. Nichole takes her fans into her heart and mind during a time of revelations and discoveries about herself as a Christian and a woman.
On this night, blue-haired old ladies and excited little children all came together in one place to hear the voice of an angel, and I discovered I should have worn a blue shirt.
33: What is your story? You were deeply personal and shared a lot of things tonight.
Nichole Broome: Well, my story is, I studied classical music at Appalachian State, and then came home [Charlotte] and became a music teacher. I teach music, and through that time, I personally struggled with worry and anxiety. It came to a head in my life. Through my personal journey of His Word, I just felt songs become real to me. I had never really written a song before and couldn’t write the notes down fast enough, and I don’t consider myself a piano player. I had a little nightlight, and I was plucking out keys on the keyboard and writing everything down.
"New Eyes" was the first song I wrote, and then from that, in the middle of the night, God was waking me up with these songs. It was almost always in the middle of the night. One song I wrote in the parking lot of a fish camp! I just feel like I have a message to share with other people about God’s restoration.
33: Your husband is your biggest supporter. I heard you met him at age sixteen and dated for five years before getting married. Tell me about that.
NB: Yeah, we met at sixteen, went to prom together, all of our proms. I went away to App State, and he stayed here. We made it through those four years, and I graduated a semester early so I could come home and get married because we had been together for so long. And so now we are going on eleven years. We’ve been married about five and a half years and have two beautiful little babies - 22 months and 5 months.
September 2nd, 2011
Rick Perry, the new front-runner in the Republican race for president, has fallen victim to the first attack ad of the campaign season, courtesy of Michele Bachmann’s followers.
Supporters of Mrs Bachmann, currently third in the Republican stakes, took aim at the Texas governor’s record on spending in a television spot due to air in the crucial battleground of South Carolina.
“Rick Perry says he’s one tough hombre on spending,” the narrator intones. “But what’s his record? Rick Perry doubled spending in a decade.....And he’s supposed to be the Tea Party guy?”
The ad finishes with an image of Mrs Bachmann and the line: “There is an honest conservative, and she’s not Rick Perry.”
At the same time, two minor candidates also made jibes about Mr Perry. Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and US ambassador to China, referred in New Hampshire to Mr Perry’s security details, saying: “I might not have the Texas Rangers here. I might not have a large entourage.”