Book Review: Hitler in Hell

 

“Hitler in Hell” by Martin van CreveldMartin van Creveld is an Israeli military theorist and historian, professor emeritus at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and author of seventeen books of military history and strategy, including The Transformation of War, which has been hailed as one of the most significant recent works on strategy. In this volume he turns to fiction, penning the memoirs of the late, unlamented Adolf Hitler from his current domicile in Hell, “the place to which the victors assign their dead opponents.” In the interest of concision, in the following discussion I will use “Hitler” to mean the fictional Hitler in this work.

Hitler finds Hell more boring than hellish—“in some ways it reminds me of Landsberg Prison”. There is no torture or torment, just a never-changing artificial light and routine in which nothing ever happens. A great disappointment is that neither Eva Braun nor Blondi is there to accompany him. As to the latter, apparently all dogs go to heaven. Rudolf Hess is there, however, and with that 1941 contretemps over the flight to Scotland put behind them, has resumed helping Hitler with his research and writing as he did during the former’s 1924 imprisonment. Hell has broadband!—Hitler is even able to access the “Black Internetz” and read, listen to, and watch everything up to the present day. (That sounds pretty good—my own personal idea of Hell would be an Internet connection which only allows you to read Wikipedia.)

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Report: “Automation Risk Is Concentrated Among Low-wage, Low-skilled Workers”

 

In my new The Week column, I briefly examine whether my fellow American humans are experiencing a “technopanic” right now, and if Silicon Valley is making things worse. (Spoiler: yes and yes!) Indeed, one look at recent headlines about automation — and by “recent” I mean this week — is enough to at least slightly unnerve any worker who’s not a recreational therapist or emergency management director.

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Quote of the Day: Treason

 

I’m taking this Ben Franklin quote from the musical 1776 that I watched on the 4th, as I do most years. I’m not certain whether he said it, but most of the lines in that movie are authentic, although frequently not in the place and time depicted, so I’m going to assume that Franklin actually said it. (If only there were some resource I could use to look up answers to these sorts of questions.)

“Treason… Treason is a charge invented by winners, as an excuse for hanging the losers.”

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Why Would You Want Putin as a Friend?

 

Leaving aside the question as to whether there was actual collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election, it is undisputed that candidate Trump was eager for a friendship between our two nations. The most recent accounts of the president seeking out more one-on-one time with Putin at the G-20 dinner – using only a Russian translator – is the latest evidence that this enthusiasm is undiminished.

Mr. Trump has offered scores of comments about Vladimir Putin over the past four years, many times leaning over backwards to doubt whether Putin was really guilty of assassinating reporters and opposition figures. Had Putin “been found guilty,” Trump demanded? On many occasions, Trump gushed that Putin was “very nice” to him, and praised the dictator’s “strength.” On May 5, 2016, he told Fox News’s Bret Baier that “I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago – Miss Universe contest – which is a big, incredible event, and incredible success … And you know what? They want to be friendly with the United States. Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got [along] with somebody?”

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Summer Scandal: Trump Tower Russia Meeting Revisited

 

September 5, 2017, Washington: Looking back at this summer’s scandal around Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in his Trump Tower office, revelations have come so quickly that the editors are providing this recap for readers struggling to keep up.

Mid-July: When news of the meeting first broke, we reported that it was just between Mr. Trump, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and the lawyer. But soon Washington was rocked by the news that an interpreter, a show-business agent for Russian pop star Emin, and a representative of a family worried about Russian adoptions were present too. In Georgetown salons everyone asked, what shoe would drop next? The next day, Congresswoman Maxine Waters demanded the President’s impeachment.

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The Heritage Without the Manure?

 

My nephew’s family just returned from a multi-week (amazing) trip to Europe. They (mom and four children 13-6 — dad joined them for the final week) hiked and toured in many countries. I was exhausted watching them via Instagram. As “payment” for parking their car in our side yard, instead of the airport, they brought us some Belgium chocolate, and an adorable little carved wooden Brown Swiss cow. It is about four inches long.

See, my nephew knew (correctly) that I would be absolutely delighted by this tiny gesture because he knows his aunts well. No matter what else we do in our lives, our identity will always be defined by our dairy farm upbringing.

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Operation Dynamo

 

My paternal grandfather served in WWII. He regaled my father with stories of working in the RAOC (Royal Army Ordnance Corps) and later in REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). He was a Motor Vehicle Fitter at various locations in England and later a REME instructor. My grandfather met my grandmother when she, as a member of the ATS (Auxilliary Territorial Service), was his supervisor in a motor vehicle workshop. They married in 1946, both in their demob suits.

My grandfather died in 1974, before my parents were married. My grandmother died in 1987 when I was young. Recently my father applied for his parents military service records. They revealed some interesting information.

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Boo! Lives Matter

 

Once again a person, Justine Damond, has been shot to death just because a cop got scared.

Ms. Damond had summoned the police, and when they arrived she approached the squad car to give details as to why–but– boo! —something, or someone, made a “loud noise” (y’know, like you hear all the time in urban or suburban areas) — and blam!!

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Attention Republicans in Congress: Voters Will Repeal and Replace You!

 

The failure to get Obamacare’s repeal and replace puts our Republican majorities in the House and Senate in danger – not from Democrat challengers, but from the wrath of angry Republican voters and Trump supporters. If any Republicans lose in 2018, I pray it’s in the primaries to an “I’m not a wuss” challenger, and that these new candidates get elected the following November. The last thing I want is a Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer.

The only chance they have now is to go for total repeal first. What we had before Obamacare was far better than what we have now. The next step would be to introduce necessary reforms to the system, the biggest (to me) being able to buy across state lines. It works for auto, home, and life insurance. All the other stuff (deregulation, high risk pools for pre-existing conditions, etc.) can be done at a later date.

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Jim Crow Comes to San Francisco

 

San Francisco Public Defender Matt Gonzalez is protecting Sheriff Ross Mikarimi, not “defending” Kate Steinle’s killer.
In an attempt to influence the jury pool for the upcoming Kate Steinle murder case, Public Defender Matt Gonzalez wrote a mawkish San Francisco Chronicle op-ed in which he portrayed the alleged killer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, as misunderstood and maligned.

He penned, “the truth is he’s never previously been charged with a crime of violence. He is a simple man with a second-grade education who has survived many hardships. He came to the U.S. repeatedly because extreme poverty is the norm in many parts of Mexico. He risked going to jail so that he could perform a menial job that could feed him.”

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Turning the Tables at Reagan Library

 

This will not exactly come as a surprise announcement for any Ricochet members, but I’ll filling in for Peter Robinson on his Uncommon Knowledge program at a special taping this Sunday at 4PM at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. My special guest will be the fellow who penned Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech, the same Peter Robinson.

That historic address was delivered 30 years ago, and that will be the focus of my time with Peter. However, I expect our conversation will take some twists and turns before I ask “one last question.” My research has dug up some pretty exciting stuff, including his stint as a bullfighter in Tijuana and his failed attempt to open a nationwide chain of marionette repair shops.

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Why Should We Heavily Regulate or Break Up Big Tech?

 

It wasn’t long into my reading of last weekend’s Wall Street Journal essay “Can the Tech Giants Be Stopped?” that I realized the author must be the same one who wrote “Is It Time to Break Up Google?” back in the New York Times last April.

Indeed, the writer of both is Jonathan Taplin, director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. I found that first essay sort of odd because I really didn’t discover a strong argument for government action. Oh, Taplin made some assertions and declarations such as “It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale” and that we need to stop “pretending that unfettered monoliths don’t inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.”

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Has Any Nation Ever Chosen Communism?

 

I’ve been reading John Lewis Gaddis’s book The Cold War: A New History, and a question occurred to me that I’d never actually thought about before.

Communism, at least as formulated by Marx and pursued by Lenin, was supposed to be a natural consequence of the failings of capitalism. It was supposed to be the masses, the proletariat, overthrowing the small minority that was oppressing them. As such, it was supposed to be what would make life better for the vast majority of people.

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Maternal Inadequacy and a Musical Son

 

I’m not a music person. I’m just not. Yes, I used to play the piano. Still do, when I happen across one, but otherwise? I barely even listen to music on the radio anymore.

I wouldn’t have said that my children’s dad was especially musical either, yet somehow we managed to produce Peter. Who has been working on, working with, working toward music — specifically the drums — since he was about 11 years old.

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Cutting Tax Rates Leads to Larger Tax Takes

 

After reading James Pethokoukis’ latest piece and the comments following, I thought members might be interested in this exchange in the British House of Commons today. The issue under discussion was the corporate tax rate which has fallen from 28% to 19% since the Conservatives-Liberal coalition came to power in 2010. Conservative backbench MP Philip Hollobone asked:

“Will the Minister tell the House by how much the corporation tax take has gone up since the corporation tax rate was cut?”

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Jamie Gorelick and the Persistence of Memory

 

I awoke on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at about 7 Mountain Time in Arvada, CO. I needed to get to the campus of the Colorado School of Mines for class that morning — a multidisciplinary engineering lab having to do with measuring water flow — and I was running slightly late. Getting into my Blazer and turning on the radio, the local morning hosts on 103.5 The Fox weren’t telling the funny jokes I was so accustomed to hearing. I specifically recall them using the term “Day of American Tragedy” which seemed pretty serious for a Tuesday.

As we all know now, the nation was under attack by the icy, nettled hand of Islamofascism. I recall thinking to myself (as memories from that day tend to be painted in sharp relief) “How could our intelligence agencies and counterterrorism people miss something this big?”

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Causing Offense from the High Ground

 

In recent passionate, well-written, and engaging posts, Susan Quinn and “Martel” (I can only assume his first name is Charles) call for a new boldness, a kind of rhetorical trench warfare that rejects the strictures of nobility, decorum, and the high ground in favor of what the left has demonstrated actually works: insults, personal exposé, and relentless attack.

There’s a lot to like in this. I agree that timidity is a signature trait of conservatism, ill-suited for engaging an opponent only too ready to abandon any pretense of reason and moderation and dive down into the muck. Calls to meet our political foes on their own level are growing more common and more strident – largely, I’d argue, because the left has sunk to such depths of discourse that effective yet principled engagement seems impossible.

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The Single-Payer Siren

 
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The United States is facing another crisis in organizing its health care system. It is clear that the private exchanges concocted under the Obama administration are failing at a record rate for the simple reason that they violate all known sound principles of insurance. The planners who put these programs together unwisely thought that universal coverage would overcome the standard insurance problems of adverse selection and moral hazard.

But that didn’t happen. Under the Obamacare plans, the insurers are allowed to compete only on the cost of providing a fixed set of government packages of mandated services. They have no power to select their own customers, or to charge those customers rates sufficient to cover insurance expenses. People are allowed to game the system by signing up just before they need treatment, only to leave once the treatment is received. The young dump plans that require them to pay for the insurance of the old. The old sign up in droves. Systems with cross-subsidies are inherently unstable. Yet the insurers are unwisely limited in what they can spend on administrative expenses, which unhappily limits their ability to recruit new customers or to monitor the behavior of their existing ones.

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