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“Ben Carson; Hitler Is Coming”: The U.S. Is On The Verge Of A Nazi-Like Takeover, And Carson Is Ready To Save Us

There’s a great potential threat in the United States, more dangerous than the Leftist agenda and more powerful than Obamacare, immigrants and ISIS combined. It’s Adolf Hitler or at least the carbon copy of such a dictator. And Ben Carson has been warning about it for years.

On Wednesday at a campaign stop in New Hampshire the neurosurgeon turned conservative hero warned of the potential of a Nazi-esque force coming to power in the United States. And for those who think it could never happen here, he had something he needed to say.

“I beg to differ,” Carson said. “If you go back and look at the history of the world, tyranny and despotism and how it starts, it has a lot to do with control of thought and control of speech.”

“If people don’t speak up for what they believe, then other people will change things without them having a voice. Hitler changed things there and nobody protested. Nobody provided any opposition to him.”

He suggested that there is already somebody currently in the United States who is like Adolf Hitler. But is it Obama? No, of course not!

“I’m not going to go into that. I think that example is pretty clear,” Carson said when asked this question. When pressed, he denied that he was implying Obama was like Hitler. “No. I am saying in a situation where people do not express themselves, bad things can happen.”

This fear is not new for Carson. In fact, he’s been pretty damn scared of Nazis and the potential of their ideology taking hold in his country for years. In nearly all of his several published books, he makes references to Nazi Germany and Hitler.

He often suggests that the overreaching acts of the U.S. government into the private lives of citizens could give way to a mirror image of WWII Germany.

In the 2014 classic One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future, he writes: “Throughout history many societies have failed to push back and have allowed an overly aggressive government to expand and dominate their lives. Nazi Germany is a perfect example of such a society. One can only wonder what would’ve happened if people had not tolerated the foolishness of Adolf Hitler’s appeal to the baser instincts of greed and envy and his institution of an official weapons confiscation program.”

And it could happen soon. Dictatorial regimes in the United States are imminent.

“Such domination is considerably more difficult when people have arms and can put up significant resistance,” he writes in 2015’s What I Believe. “This is the reason that brutal dictators like Fidel Castro, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin tried to disarm the populace before imposing governmental control. Such domination could occur in America in the not too distant future if we are not vigilant.”

The real problem is socialism, which Carson says involves people giving up their personal liberties. When that happens, the country is just steps away from a Nazi-esque takeover.

“Sure, there are several different brands of socialism—at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people,” the doctor writes in 2014’s America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What This Nation Great. “But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises ‘security’ for everyone and government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform—a country in which government guarantees security and ‘equality’ in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans fall for the same scam?

“Since Americans are by nature individualistic and entrepreneurial, by definition, then, the socialist program is anti-American, to say nothing of totalitarian.

“Socialism is an old dream. Some dreams are nightmares when put into practice.”

This is a nightmare Carson will stop at nothing to prevent. His campaign has not responded to a request for comment about Carson’s concerns about Nazis.

While he’s generally concerned about it, Carson is a forgiving individual, one who is willing to let bygones be bygones.

“Every person makes mistakes, so it should come as no surprise that every nation of the world has made mistakes as well,” Carson writes in America the Beautiful, in which he also questions whether the rise of the Islamic State is similar to that of the Nazis. “Talk with a German national about the hope their country placed in Hitler’s rise to power on the heels of the Great Depression. Or consider our own nation’s internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and you’ll agree that the question is not whether a nation makes mistakes; the question is whether a nation learns from its mistakes, builds on that knowledge it gains over time, and grows in wisdom.”

For Carson, this question remains. Has the U.S. learned anything or is another Hitler just waiting around the corner?

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, October 4, 2015

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Adolph Hitler, Ben Carson, Socialism, U. S. Government | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“A Moral Idiot”: Rand Paul Compared Taxation To Slavery And Betrayed The Emptiness Of His Political Philosophy

Rand Paul brought some libertarian philosophy into the Republican presidential primary this week, in the form of the old “taxation is slavery” bumper sticker. He even indexed it to a handy percentage scale! Andrew Kaczynski has the tape: “I’m for paying some taxes. But if we tax you at 100 percent then you’ve got zero percent liberty. If we tax you at 50 percent you are half-slave, half-free.”

Paul is probably getting his argument from Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which famously argued: “Taxation of earnings from labor is on a par with forced labor.” (Note that not even he went so far as to say taxation was literally identical to slavery.) His book was probably the most convincing case that can be made for this stone-cold form of libertarianism, where all “redistributive” policy is morally abhorrent and only the night watchman state is permissible.

Nevertheless, it’s still garbage. Nozick’s book constructs a detailed procedural account of justice, arguing that redistributive taxation is theft because it is a coerced transfer. He was a smart guy, and it’s very hard to get one’s hooks into his argument. The weakness, as with all extremist accounts of property rights, is not with the logic but the premises — particularly when it comes to the very beginning of property.

Go back far enough in history, and there would have been no property of any kind. The moment somebody fences off a piece of land, it necessarily destroys the liberty of everyone else in the world, since they no longer have the right to access that land. Nozick admits this is the case, but still wants to set up initial property rights. So he embraces a concept that he calls the “Lockean proviso.”

This proviso allows appropriation of unowned things, so long as it does not worsen the situation of anyone else. And what about people last in line, so to speak, who can’t appropriate anything because everything is already taken? Well, they will benefit from the general prosperity brought on by market capitalism.

Note what kind of argument this is: It rests on the overall welfare-enhancing consequences of adopting Nozick’s ideas.

The whole point of the “taxation is slavery-ish” argument is that infringing liberty to increase general welfare is morally impermissible. Yet here is Nozick, leaning on a boon to general welfare to justify a violation of liberty so he can get property rights going. This is no different from taxing the rich to provide food stamps, or from the kind of single-payer health insurance system that socialist Bernie Sanders endorses.

The upshot is that the austere libertarianism implied by Paul’s statement is fundamentally unworkable. The horse stumbled right out of the gate, and has to be put down. Neither Milton Friedman nor Friedrich von Hayek went nearly so far. Even Nozick himself apparently abandoned it after a few years.

Let me also comment on Paul’s gruesome tin ear on display here.

What is slavery really? In the U.S. context — and given the reference to Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, this is clearly what Paul was getting at — slavery was full property rights in human beings.

It was also incomprehensibly brutal. Owning a person presented a challenge to Southern capitalists, since slave labor has no monetary incentive to work. They solved this problem neatly, with daily violence. Set a steadily increasing daily work quota (pounds of cotton picked, typically), and if it was not achieved, make up the difference with an equal number of stripes with the whip.

In this way, Southern slaves were forced to increase their labor productivity by some 400 percent from 1800 to 1860, achieving a level that was not matched until the development of the mechanical cotton picker. Southern slavery thus robbed both the body and the mind, using systematic torture to force slaves into inventing and spreading techniques of extreme manual dexterity (picking cotton by hand is very difficult).

So if Rand Paul really believes that 1 percent taxation is exactly equal to 1 percent slavery, why doesn’t he sound like an abolitionist? Why not seize one of the federal armories in an attempt to start an all-out war against a monstrous injustice? Indeed, by this measure there would be more slavery today (about 27 percent of GDP taxed) than in in 1860 (1.4 percent taxed, 12.6 percent of the population enslaved).

Only a moral idiot would think to make such an equivalence.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, July 9, 2015

July 14, 2015 Posted by | Libertarians, Rand Paul, Slavery | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“You’re Not Worthy Of Respect”: Clarence Thomas’s Disgraceful Definition Of Human Dignity

During a break on my reporting trip to Ferguson, Missouri this spring, I visited the museum inside the Old Courthouse, a magnificent, green-domed federal-style building that sits in the shadow of the St. Louis Arch. It houses artifacts and displays relating to the Dred Scott case, tried there in 1847; ten years later, in 1857, the United States Supreme Court would hand Scott—an enslaved man suing for freedom for himself and his family—his final judicial defeat. In arguably the worst decision ever handed down by any American court, in words that are displayed today inside that museum in large, bold, white letters, Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that African Americans were “beings of an inferior order,” so much so that they had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Taney’s statement is anathema to the very idea of equality. But he asserted that the Founding Fathers, as indicated in the Constitution itself, would have thought the same of people who looked like Scott, or me. In historical terms, Taney wasn’t far off. The Constitution needed correcting, and it wasn’t until the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, eleven years after the Scott decision, that this got cleared up.

But I wondered again this morning, as marriage equality became the law of the land, what Constitution Clarence Thomas is reading, and in what America he lives. On Friday, Thomas—a black man who grew up in the Jim Crow South, a man who should know precisely the meaning of equal protection under the law—issued one of four individual written dissents in the case, Obergefell v. Hodges. It begins in the strict constitutionalist vein that Thomas is known for, but broadens to cover not only the Constitution but also the nation as a whole. For Thomas, the decision isn’t so much about laws as it is about principle:

The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty. Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a “liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect. Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Government.

Let’s consider this passage literally, and let’s consider the kind of liberty that the “Framers” recognized. The Constitution was ratified in 1787, in a new nation in which the enslavement of kidnapped Africans and their descendants—to say nothing of the abuse, murder, and rape they suffered—was already a national institution. Their notion of liberty didn’t include folks who looked like Dred Scott, me, or Thomas himself; Thomas’s “liberty” wasn’t open to gay or lesbian Americans in that day and age, either.

In a paper written in time for the nation’s bicentennial 39 years ago, Louis Crompton noted that homosexuality was punishable by the death when this country began. Its abolition plodded through the states over the next few decades. (In 1792, Thomas Jefferson, Crompton notes, called for the castration of those found guilty of sodomy in a Virginia bill.) Penalties were reduced to imprisonment in most cases; South Carolina, perennially the last state to act in the name of its most vulnerable citizens, was slowest to change, repealing their death penalty only eight years after the Civil War. To use Thomas’s words, I’d argue, strongly, that all of this constitutes the government stripping away the dignity of those suffering legal punishments for being who they are.

Thomas, however, appears to define dignity more strictly, as the quality of being worthy of respect. That’s strange to hear coming from a man who, while the head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexually harassed Anita Hill and likened criticism of his reprehensible behavior to a “high-tech lynching.” But I’ll allow that the idea of preserving dignity and therefore proving oneself as worthy of respect is an idea Thomas, a high-achieving student who nonetheless chose to study English literature in college to help him shed the burden of his Gullah dialect, is quite familiar with.

What I can’t stomach, however, is Thomas’s tendency to ignore the systemic effects of prejudice, and in the process serve as an agent to foster them. By not recognizing what plagues so many, he allows hatred and ignorance to swell. Thomas clearly wants marginalized people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, all while he’s committed to taking those same bootstraps away. This is his legacy, a disgraceful sequel to the term of the man he succeeded, Thurgood Marshall. Granted, Thomas sometimes interprets symbols—such as burning crosses or Confederate flags—as offensive. But the actual, institutional bias those symbols promote escapes him. Thomas frequently infuses respectability politics into his rulings, which demonstrates his continued obliviousness to reality: It is not the responsibility of a vulnerable people to convince the powerful they are worth protecting. It is not the duty of the marginalized to prove they have dignity and therefore become worthy of being treated as equals; that task lies squarely across the shoulders of the rulers. And, in this regard, Thomas’s blindness shows. This is a person who, during the demonization of black people in the Reagan era, thought we were the main problem.

He returns to the notion of dignity later in the dissent in a passage that is even more shocking and incorrect. Citing the Declaration of Independence’s “all men are created equal”—a phrase that in an increasingly gender-aware nation, should already raise alarms about a lack of inclusion—he writes:

…human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

We live in a nation whose industries, cities, and towns grew out of fertile soil wet with the blood and sweat of slaves. The United States has long been full of unmarked geysers of prejudice, blasting their ignorance on continuously marginalized people—including the LGBTQI Americans who in many ways continue to live, despite this ruling, as second-class citizens. Marriage equality does not close the housing, employment, and healthcare disparities that exist between us cisgender straight folks and those who are not. It is only the beginning of another long march.

We live in a nation where a young white man with a racist manifesto can study the Bible with a group of African Americans and then murder them, and in the aftermath the chattering class will engage in debates about whether a racist act has occurred. We live in a place where Matthew Shepard can be slain for being gay in 1998, and Wyoming, the state where he died, can remain one of five without a hate-crime law nearly two decades later. This is a place where, since its founding, the government has had a strong say over just how much dignity a person is allowed. The right of same-sex couples to marry was one that many straight men were not bound to respect, depending upon their state. There are still many of these men, but they cannot remove the dignity the government has today bestowed.

Dignity may be innate, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be taken away from you. It can become a two-way street. You can consider yourself worthy of honor or respect, as Oxford defines it, all you wish. But if institutional discrimination deprives you of such basic human rights as health care, education, and the right to marry whomever you love, honor and respect is not afforded you. Sometimes, in the course of history, states and people need to be bound by law to respect you. Relying upon human nature, or the Founders’ supposed intentions is ridiculous when you consider yesteryear.

Thomas, having lost the argument over marriage equality, chose to offer a pernicious, unsympathetic dissent that gives short shrift to the forces of discrimination and subjugation legalized by government while further emboldening his self mythology, this legendary story he keeps feeding us. Thomas would have you believe that because he himself could survive the indignities forced upon him by Jim Crow—a system of legal discrimination that eventually came to be made illegal, after a variety of Supreme Court decisions very much like today’s ruling—and that somehow, others should be able to endure something similar without the benefit of the very legal recourse that he can deliver from his perch. Using himself as the basis for a legal argument is asinine. Doing so in the service of discrimination is inexcusable.

 

By: Jamil Smith, Sr Editor, The New Republic, June 26, 2015

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Clarence Thomas, Marriage Equality, U. S. Constitution | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Immoral Worldview Common Among Republicans”: Police Violence Is Putting The Lie To The Tea Party Conservatism

As with so much else in modern America, the experience of Ferguson and Baltimore has turned police brutality into a partisan issue. With a few rare exceptions, Democrats and progressives tend to fall on the side of the victims of discriminatory and violent behavior by police, while conservatives tend to go to bat for the authorities.

The primary reason for this is racism: conservative whites tend to see urban minorities as either subhuman or guilty of cultural sins that are supposed to explain their endemic poverty. In that context, any police violence is excused as the necessary quelling by any means of an aggressively violent population unable to fit into civil society and unworthy of the civil rights afforded to non-minorities. It’s an immoral worldview, but extremely common among base Republicans.

The other reason is discrimination against the poor in general. Conservatives wrongly assume that the wealthy are society’s job creators, and the poor are simply moochers who eat off the generous fruits of the holders of capital. The military defends the righteous and free producers in America against the socialist and Communist freeloaders outside the U.S., while the police vigilantly defend property rights and social order against the ever-dangerous fifth column of parasites from within. That Objectivist viewpoint is just as factually wrong and immoral as the racist one, but it’s also far more acceptable within polite society largely because it’s so convenient to the wealthy elite and their enablers.

The problem, of course, is that these views run directly counter to supposed conservative stances on liberty and the 2nd Amendment. Republicans claim to be the defenders of freedom against big government tyranny. More disturbingly, they insist that deadly arsenals be permitted in every American home and even on the streets–primarily as a defense against the potential for infringement on civil rights by a totalitarian state.

But where we see the government most actively and destructively impinging on the rights of its citizens, not only are conservatives mostly silent on the abuses but they stridently stand on the side of the unaccountable state enforcers.

The reason is obvious, of course: the only government tyranny conservatives truly fear is one in which the poor–and particularly the non-white poor–have the ability to constrain their property rights. Cliven Bundy becomes a hero for threatening to shoot law enforcement that holds him accountable for stealing water and land, even as killer cops are lauded for killing unarmed black men for no legitimate reason. Welfare via taxation is seen as a greater evil than corporate malfeasance.

Conservatives can’t be upfront and honest about their immoral beliefs because only about 30% of the American population shares them, and it’s not OK to say most of these things in polite society. That’s why they’re so angry, why they feel oppressed, and why they “want their country back.”

But honesty here is necessary. We can’t move forward as a society without honest conversation, and if conservatives refuse to be openly honest about what they believe, it falls on us to provide that honesty for them.

But most of all, it’s time to stop pretending that Republicans care about liberty or government abuse of power. They really care about keeping poor people and minorities from having access to the same quality of life they purport to enjoy, and they’ll use every lever of tyranny to keep it way–whether through the ballot box or the ammo box.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 2, 2015

May 3, 2015 Posted by | Baltimore, Partisan Politics, Racism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Corrupting Influence On Politics”: Will Influence Of Big Money Be A Big Issue In 2016?

For many years, Democrats have wanted more restrictive campaign finance rules, while Republicans have wanted to loosen restrictions. But it’s likely that the 2016 campaign will feature more outside money than ever before, as millionaires and billionaires take advantage of an almost-anything-goes environment to buy themselves candidates and shift the race in their favored direction. The Koch brothers alone plan to spend nearly a billion dollars (with the help of some friends) on the election.

Nevertheless, the consensus on the campaign finance issue has long been that while voters are generally in favor of reform, it isn’t a motivating issue for many of them. They care more about the economy or health care or foreign policy, and while they might shake their head at the influence of money in politics, in the end the issue won’t make much of a difference in the campaign’s outcome.

But is it possible that 2016 will be the year it finally does? Matea Gold has a piece in today’s paper arguing that it might:

At almost the same time last week that a Florida mailman was landing a gyrocopter in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the influence of the wealthy on politics, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was getting pressed about the same topic at a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H.

“I think what is corrupting in this potentially is we don’t know where the money is coming from,” Christie (R) told Valerie Roman of Windham, N.H.

The two moments, occurring 466 miles apart, crystallized how money in politics is unexpectedly a rising issue in the 2016 campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton announced last week that one of the top planks of her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination will be reforming a “dysfunctional” campaign finance system. And several of her GOP rivals — quizzed by voters in town hall meetings — have begun lodging their own criticisms of how big-money interests dominate politics.

It’s the last part that’s really a surprise. Republicans have usually put the emphasis on maximal liberty, arguing that restrictions on contributions and outside spending infringe upon the First Amendment. Democrats counter that a liberty that’s available only to the super-wealthy isn’t much of a liberty at all, and all this money, particularly when it’s so hard to know where it comes from, inevitably has a corrupting influence on politics. But now even Republicans seem to be saying things have gone too far.

Of course, it’s easy to just shake your head and say, “Yeah, it’s gotten really bad,” before you head off to your next fundraiser or meeting with Sheldon Adelson. And that’s how lots of candidates have handled the issue in the past: some general words of agreement or a vaguely worded position that doesn’t lock them in to doing much of anything about the problem.

But even if most voters don’t put campaign finance at the top of their priority list, there’s an opening for a candidate who can connect disgust over the political situation in Washington (which has become almost universal) with displeasure over the funding of campaigns to devise a broad reform agenda.

There are already ideas out there. For instance, Rep. John Sarbanes has a bill that would provide refundable tax credits for political contributions and give significant matching funds for small-dollar contributions in an attempt to amplify the voices of ordinary people who can only give a limited amount. That might not put the billionaires out of the politics business, but a candidate could use that idea or something like it to demonstrate his or her commitment to specific policy change, as opposed to just saying they wish the system were cleaner.

Clinton could be that candidate — though she hasn’t yet said anything specific about what she would change. But a Republican could as well. For the last couple of decades, presidential candidates have been saying they’ll change Washington by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to transcend partisanship, something no one believes anymore. But if (nearly) everyone thinks there’s too much money in the system and too much of it is unaccountable, there’s a political opportunity here. Will any candidate seize it?

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, April 20, 2015

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Campaign Financing, Election 2016, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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