Sunday, April 26, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favourite historians. The following is a list of some videos of the man himself in intellectual action.

On Pat Buchanan's WWII historical revision book

On the Peleponnesian War

Conversations with History at Berkley (yes Berkley...)

War in a classical context

The Great Depression - An Alternative view

Source: The Right Nation
By Howie Rich

History is written by many people, but those who write government school textbooks tend to hold disproportionate sway.Sadly, their vision of America – which has driven conventional wisdom and popular opinion for decades – is built on many myths.The biggest myth of them all?

That capitalism and our free market system caused the Great Depression – and that only a massive expansion of the federal government saved America from permanent economic ruin.Nothing could be further from the truth – and yet as the true history of government meddling repeats itself all around us (with the direst of consequences for future generations), America seems incapable of learning from these mistakes for the simple reason that no one has ever taught them how destructive interventionism has been in the past and present.

Over a decade ago, Lawrence Reed of the Mackinac Center – a Michigan-based research and educational institute – penned an important analysis of the Great Depression.
Written at the height of the dot-com boom (and shortly after President Bill Clinton told us that “the era of big government is over”) Reed’s treatise breaks the Depression down into sections and analyzes the cause and effect associated with each new development.His conclusion? It’s a complete reversal of the textbook myth, an unflinchingly-candid, meticulously-documented proof that “government intervention worsened (the Depression) and kept the economy in a stupor for over a decade.”

“The calamity that began in 1929 lasted at least three times longer than any of the country’s previous depressions because the government compounded its initial errors with a series of additional and harmful interventions,” Reed writes.Anyone who follows things like money supply and interest rate adjustments knows that the Federal Reserve’s policies in the months leading up to the Great Crash of 1928 courted disaster.But it was the effect of government interventionism after the crash that did the real damage – which given the unprecedented $13 trillion intervention currently underway in our country should send shivers up and down every American’s spine.Perhaps most importantly, Reed’s paper shatters once and for all the myth that President Herbert Hoover was the laissez-faire capitalist recalled by American textbooks.

For starters, Hoover’s administration – with Congressional support – dramatically increased government spending from 16.4 percent to 21.5 of GNP in one year. Hoover also signed a foolhardy tariff that crippled trade, as well as the largest tax hike in American history in the spring if 1932.On top of that, during Hoover’s tenure the Federal Reserve imposed the biggest interest rate increase in its history.High tariffs, huge subsidies, deflationary monetary policy, tax increases – does that sound like a laissez-faire capitalist to you?

Ironically, Franklin Delano Roosevelt – whose New Deal policies were later revealed to have been taken straight out of Hoover’s playbook – won election by blasting his predecessor as “reckless and extravagant,” and presiding over “the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history.”Roosevelt, the “limited government” advocate, even bemoaned Hoover’s desire to “center control of everything in Washington.”Obviously, Roosevelt flip-flopped after he was elected and put Hoover’s interventionist approach on steroids – much as President Barack Obama has done with the failed bailout mentality of his predecessor.The reality, though, is that none of these leaders differ all that much in their ideological approach to recession.Now the question is this – does the big government approach work?Absolutely not.

Prior to the Great Depression, no American recession had lasted longer than four years. Most were over in two. The Great Depression dragged on for nearly twelve years, however, with unemployment reaching as high as 25% at one point. And just as it is doing now, government over-taxed and over-regulated the economy the whole way through, starving it of desperately needed capital while consolidating frightening levels of power in Washington.But that’s not the story told by government textbooks – just as it’s not the story that’s being told today by the America’s mainstream media.Politicians are relying on big government’s myth to make – and promote – some of the most monumentally foolhardy economic decisions in our nation’s history.

Frankly, it’s past time that we started telling the truth about our past – and applying common sense to the future.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arab Israeli Conflict - forgotten facts

Source: Steve Shamark

The term "Palestinian" is itself a masterful twisting of history. To portray themselves as indigenous, Arab settlers adopted the name of an ancient Mediterranean tribe, the Philistines ("Invaders" in Hebrew), that disappeared almost 3000 years ago. The connection between this tribe and modern day Arabs is nil. Romans, in order to conceal their shame and anger with rebellious regions, changed the references to Judea and Samaria by naming them Palestine.

1. Nationhood and Jerusalem - Israel became a nation in the 14th century B.C.E. Two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

2. Since 1272 B.C.E. the Jews have had dominion over the land for up to 1,000 years with a continuous Jewish presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

3. The only Arab dominion since the Arab invasion and conquest in 635 C.E. lasted no more than 22 years.

4. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

5. For over 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

7. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray facing Mecca (often with their backs toward Jerusalem).

8. In 1854, according to a report in the New York Tribune, Jews constituted two-thirds of the population of that holy city. (The source: A journalist on assignment in the Middle East that year for the Tribune. His name was Karl Marx. Yes, that Karl Marx.)

9. In 1867, Mark Twain took a tour of Palestine. This is how he described that land: "A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human".

10. In 1882, official Ottoman Turk census figures showed that, in the entire Land of Israel, there were only 141 000 Muslims, both Arab and non-Arab.

11. A travel guide to Palestine and Syria was published in 1906 by Karl Baedeker; The book estimated the total population of Jerusalem at 60,000, of whom 7,000 were Muslims, 13,000 were Christians and 40,000 were Jews.

12. As the Jews came and drained the swamps and made the deserts bloom, Arabs followed. They came for jobs, for prosperity, for freedom. And, they came in large numbers.

13. In 1922, with what was widely acknowledged as the illegal separation of Trans-Jordan, the Jews were forbidden to settle on almost 77 per cent of the Palestine, while Arab settlement went unrestricted and encouraged by British mandatory authority.

14. Prior to the Second World War Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine, proposed the idea "that all the Arabs of Palestine will leave and be divided up amongst the neighboring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will leave and come to Palestine."

15. Did you know that Saudi Arabia was not created until 1913, Lebanon until 1920? Iraq did not exist as a nation until 1932, Syria until 1941; the borders of Jordan were established in 1946 and Kuwait in 1961. Any of these nations that would say Israel is only a recent arrival would have to deny their own rights as recent arrivals as well. They did not exist as countries. They were all under the control of the Turks. Over 80 per cent of the original British Mandate land was given to Arabs without population transfer of Arabs from the land designated for Jews.

16. In 1947, the Jewish state huddled on 18 per cent of the original British Mandate land. The Jews accepted it gratefully. The Arabs rejected it with a vengeance and seven Arab states immediately declared war against Israel.

17. In 1948, the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Most of them left in fear of being killed by their own Arab brothers as traitors.

18. Some 850,000 Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab countries, due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

19. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is claimed to be around 630,000 (where did they get this number?). Based on population census, estimated number of Arabs who left Israel was around 460,000. They were ordered to leave by Arab leaders at the time.

20. From 1948 till 1967 Arabs made no attempt to create a Palestinian state. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated, 58 synagogues in Jerusalem were destroyed and the Jews and Christians were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

21. Arabs began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1964 only, on the initiative of Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat. The idea became popular Arab propaganda tool after Israel re-captured Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the defensive 6-Day War of 1967.

22. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, Arab-Palestinians are the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples' lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel.

23. Arab refugees INTENTIONALLY were not absorbed or integrated by the rich Arab oil states that control 99.9 per cent of the Middle East landmass. They are kept as virtual prisoners by the Arab power brokers with misplaced hatred for Jews and Western democracy.

24. There is only one Jewish state. There are 60 Muslim countries, including 22 Arab nations.

25. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

26. Pan-Arabism or the doctrine of Muslim Caliphate declares that all land that used to belong to Muslims must be returned to them. Thus, Spain, for example, must eventually be re-conquered.

An Eye Witness Account of the Armenian Genocide

As written by Grigoris Balakian

The German officers on their way to Palestine and the Mesopotamian front had no choice but to pass before the Bagche [Asia Minor] station [train]. All of them used offensive language with regard to the Armenians. They considered us to be engaging in intrigue, ready to strike the Turkish army from the rear, and thus traitors to the fatherland…deserving of all manner of punishment.

Although most of the Armenians living in Turkey had been deported, scattered, and martyred in the spring of 1915, a few hundred thousand survivors still perishing in the deserts to the south—wasting away to nothing. Nevertheless the German officers’ Armenophobic fury continued, and not a word of compassion was heard from their lips. On the contrary, they justified the Ittihad government, saying, “You Armenians deserve your punishment. Any state would have punished rebellious subjects who took up arms to realize national hopes by the destruction of the country.”
When we objected, asking if other states would dare to massacre women and children, along with men, and annihilate an entire race on account of a few guilty people, they replied: “Yes, it’s true that the punishment was a bit severe, but you must realize that during such chaotic and frightful days of war as these, it was difficult to find the time and means to separate the guilty from the innocent.” This was also the merciless answer of the chief executioners—Talaat, Enver, Behaeddin Shakir, Nazim—and their Ittihad camarilla.

The German officers pretended ignorance of the widespread slaughter of more than a million innocent Armenians, irrespective of sex and age, and referred only to deaths by starvation and the adversities of travel during the deportations. Thus they exonerated the Turkish government, saying that its inability to provide for hundreds of thousands of deportees in a disorganized land like Asia Minor was not surprising. Meanwhile Turkish government officials prevented the starving refugees from receiving bread distributed by the Austrians and Swiss, stating, “Orders have come from Constantinople not to give any assistance. We cannot allow either bread or medicine to be given. The supreme order is to annihilate this evil race. How dare you rescue them from death?” The German officers would often speak of us as Christian Jews and as blood sucking usurers of the Turkish people.

What a falsification of the wretched realities prevailing in Asia Minor, and what a reversal of roles! Yes indeed, there was an oppressor. Either the Germans were consciously distorting the facts and roles, or the Turks had really convinced them that the Turks were the victims and the Armenians were criminals. How appropriate it is to recall here this pair of Turkish sayings: “The clever thief has the master of the house hanged” and “The one who steals the minaret prepares its sheath in advance, of course.”

Many German officers had no qualms about turning over to the Turkish authorities Armenian youths who had sought refuge with them; they knew full well that they were delivering them to their executioners. If an Armenian merely spoke negatively about a German—be he the emperor or [Baron] von der Goltz Pasha [a German military aide to the Ottoman Empire], or the average German—or dared to criticize German indifference toward the Armenian massacres, he was immediately arrested and turned over to the nearest Turkish military or police authority. And if the Germans found a certain Armenian particularly irritating, they pinned the label of spy on him.

Mistaking me for an Austrian, a few German officers boasted of having turned over several Armenians to the Turkish police, adding with a laugh, “Only the Turks know how to talk to the Armenians.”

Bias in the Movie Kingdom of Heaven

Taken from Zombie Times

The Controversy Begins The controversy over this film was first revealed in this eye-opening article in the British newspaper The Telegraph in January of 2004. In it, highly respected historians are quoted as saying the film is "complete fiction" and "panders to Osama bin Laden":
Sir Ridley Scott, the Oscar-nominated director, was savaged by senior British academics last night over his forthcoming film which they say "distorts" the history of the Crusades to portray Arabs in a favourable light.

The £75 million film, which stars Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson, is described by the makers as being "historically accurate" and designed to be "a fascinating history lesson". Academics, however - including Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades - attacked the plot of Kingdom of Heaven, describing it as "rubbish", "ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations". The film, which began shooting last week in Spain, is set in the time of King Baldwin IV (1161-1185), leading up to the Battle of Hattin in 1187 when Saladin conquered Jerusalem for the Muslims.

The script depicts Baldwin's brother-in-law, Guy de Lusignan, who succeeds him as King of Jerusalem, as "the arch-villain". A further group, "the Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians", is introduced, promoting an image of cross-faith kinship. "They were working together," the film's spokesman said. "It was a strong bond until the Knights Templar caused friction between them." The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said. "At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct." Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense".

He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics. "It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality." Prof Riley-Smith added: "...There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians.

That is utter nonsense." Dr Jonathan Philips, a lecturer in history at London University and author of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople...said: "The Templars as 'baddies' is only sustainable from the Muslim perspective..." Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride. Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists." ...Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."...

This article was noted briefly in the blogosphere (most notably on Dhimmi Watch, and a short but funny parody of the script by Blogger Ben Kepple, who tossed a Buddhist into Scott's "nonsensical" religious Rainbow Coalition), but the film was still a year and a half away from release at that point, so there was otherwise little comment in the media.

Dor the rest go to: