Monthly Archives: March 2017

How Socialism Ruined My Country

Published by PragerU on Mar 30, 2017

Is Bernie Sanders right?
Are people living under socialism better off?
Brazil is a good case study. Felipe Moura Brasil, a journalist and Veja magazine columnist, explains how his country has fared under socialism.

Many American millennials seem to be drawn to socialism.
They came out in big numbers for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primaries. They rail against capitalism on their college campuses. They wear Che Guevara t-shirts to signal their socialist virtue.

I know a lot about socialism. I live in Rio de Janeiro and I work throughout Brazil as a journalist for a popular magazine.

In the early 2000s, Brazil’s economy was growing rapidly.

The government had enacted economic and monetary reforms and divested holdings in some state-run companies, giving the private sector more room to breathe.

Inflation—a chronic problem in Brazil—was dramatically reduced.

Foreign investors poured into the country, eager to catch a portion of our expanding economy.

The future seemed promising.

But today, our economy is in shambles, unemployment and debt are massive and powerful politicians are being investigated for involvement in the largest scandals of fraud and corruption in the country’s history.

What happened?

In 2002, a socialist politician named Lula da Silva ran for the presidency. He was a socialist, but painted himself as a modern, cool kind of socialist. He would be the politician who would heal national divisions and unite everyone. He even had a nickname, “Lulinha paz e amor”, which means “Little Lula peace and love” in Portuguese.

But the old message about the need for income redistribution to decrease inequality was still there. The media, academic elite and celebrities assured Brazilians that by transferring the money from the rich to the poor, the poor could finally be richer.

But the only ones who really got rich were Lula and his corporate and political friends.

It only got worse under his successor, Dilma Rousseff.

The socialists increased government spending, deficits, and debt. They called it a stimulus.

They increased the minimum wage and the benefits of social programs. They called it social justice.

They increased the salaries and retirement benefits of the civil service. They called it investing in the future.

They handed out thousands of jobs in the government and state-owned companies as favors to their political allies. And they called it good governance.

It worked for a while. Socialism always works at the beginning.

But government spending just kept going up and then Lula’s socialist paradise fell apart, and the economy fell with it.

The outcome: from 2008 to 2015, government spending grew nearly four times as fast as tax revenue.

The economy shrank 3.8 percent in 2015, the worst result in 25 years.

That same year, a World Bank survey found Brazil’s economy to be one of the world’s worst. Out of 189 countries, we were the 16th hardest place to open a business, the 60th most difficult nation in which to register property, and the 12th most complex place to pay taxes.

Economically and morally, the almost 15 years of socialist policies have greatly harmed Brazil. We also remain among the world’s leaders in murder and robbery, and we rank near the bottom of industrialized nations in terms of education and health care.

JPFO – Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) is a group dedicated to the preservation of gun rights in the United States and “to encourage Americans to understand and defend all of the Bill of Rights for everyone”. The group was founded by former firearms dealer Aaron S. Zelman in 1989.
The JPFO interprets the Second Amendment as recognizing a pre-existing natural right of individuals to keep and bear arms. It is based in Hartford, Wisconsin.

JPFO takes the position that an armed citizenry is the population’s last line of defense against tyranny by their own government. The organization is noted for producing materials (bumper stickers, posters, billboards, booklets, videos, etc.) with messages that equate gun control with totalitarianism. The most famous of these are the “All in favor of Gun Control raise your right hand” materials, which features a drawing of Hitler giving a Nazi salute.
The organization also attempts to prove that genocide is linked to gun control, by showing that most countries where a genocide has taken place had gun control first.

Members do not have to be Jewish. The only membership requirement is that you be a “law-abiding citizen,” by “obeying the Bill of Rights.”

JPFO’s political positions

The JPFO is probably most noted for its claim that parts of the text of the Gun Control Act of 1968 were translated from Nazi legislation.
The German Weapons Law, which existed before the Nazis came to power in 1933, was altered on 18 March 1938 by the Nazi Government.
The JPFO’s claim is based in part on the fact that the 1968 GCA introduces the “sporting purpose” test to distinguish different types of weapons, similar to the “sporting purpose” test that existed in the German law in question.
Senator Thomas Dodd was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials and had reviewed copies of the Nazi Germany firearms laws, and in 1968 requested translations of these from the Library of Congress.

Bernard Harcourt, professor at the University of Chicago Law School, in discussing this fundamental proposition advanced by the JPFO, notes, “On January 13th, 1919, the Reichstag enacted legislation requiring surrender of all guns to the government. This law, as well as the August 7, 1920, Law on the Disarmament of the People passed in light of the Versailles Treaty, remained in effect until 1928, when the German parliament enacted the Law on Firearms and Ammunition (April 12, 1928) a law which relaxed gun restrictions and put into effect a strict firearm licensing scheme.”  Harcourt continued, “To be sure, the Nazis were intent on killing Jewish persons and used the gun laws and regulations to further the genocide”, but he concluded that the firearms laws were not central to implementing the Holocaust.

Attorney and author Stephen Halbrook, in his law article “Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews”, asserts that German arms laws were extremely lax, and even under the 1920 “Law on the Disarmament of the People”, only items such as grenades and machineguns were banned and small arms such as rifles and pistols remained in common use. Valery Polozov, a former advisor to the committee on national security in the Russian Duma, claims in his book “Firearms in Civil Society” that Germany did not in fact have comprehensive gun control legislation up until 1928, which created the legal framework later built upon by the Nazis. Halbrook did clarify in the first sentences of his article that, “Gun control laws are depicted as benign and historically progressive. However, German firearm laws and hysteria created against Jewish firearm owners played a major role in laying the groundwork for the eradication of German Jewry in the Holocaust.”

All credits to: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Molon labe – Come and Take

Molon labe (Greek: μολὼν λαβέ molṑn labé), meaning “come and take [them]”, is a classical expression of defiance.
According to Plutarch, Xerxes, king of Persia, demanded that the Spartans surrender their weapons and King Leonidas I responded with this phrase. It is an exemplary use of a laconic phrase.

The phrase was reportedly the defiant response of King Leonidas I of Sparta to Xerxes I of Persia when Xerxes demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and surrender.
This was at the onset of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). Instead, the Greeks held Thermopylae for three days.
Although the Greek contingent was defeated, they inflicted serious damage on the Persian army. Most importantly, this delayed the Persians’ progress to Athens, providing sufficient time for the city’s evacuation to the island of Salamis.
Though a tactical defeat, Thermopylae served as a strategic and moral victory, inspiring the Greek forces to crush the Persians at the Battle of Salamis later the same year and the Battle of Plataea one year later.

The source for this quotation is Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica 51.11, found among the Moralia, a collection of works attributed to Plutarch, famous for his Parallel Lives.

Modern use
Molon labe has been repeated by many later generals and politicians to express an army’s or nation’s determination not to surrender.
The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps and the Cypriot Second Infantry Division, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).
The expression “Come and take it” was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.

Molon labe has been used once again in Greek history, on 3 March 1957, during a battle in Cyprus between members of the EOKA organization and the British Army.
After someone had betrayed his location, the British forces surrounded the hideout of the second-in-command of EOKA, Grigoris Afxentiou, near the Machairas Monastery. Inside the hideout were Afxentiou and four of his followers. Realizing he was outnumbered, Afxentiou ordered them to surrender themselves while he barricaded himself for a fight to the death.
The British asked Afxentiou to come out and surrender. He replied with the phrase Molon labe, imitating the ancient Spartans.
Unable to get him out, and after sustaining casualties, the British set fire to the hideout, and he was burnt alive. The British buried his body in the yard of the central jail of Lefkosia, where it lies today.

Currently In the United States
The original Greek phrase and its English translation are often heard from pro-Second Amendment citizens as a defense of the right to keep and bear arms.
It began to appear on web sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In the Second Amendment or firearms freedom context, the phrase expresses the notion the person uttering the phrase is a strong believer in these ideals and will not surrender their firearms to anyone, especially to governmental authority.
In college football, the Michigan State Spartans football team wore alternate jerseys featuring the phrase in their 2011 rivalry game with the Michigan Wolverines.

American Revolutionary War
Sunbury, Georgia, is now a ghost town, though in the past it was active as a port, located east of Hinesville. Fort Morris was constructed in Sunbury by the authority of the Continental Congress. A contingent of British soldiers attempted to take the fort on November 25, 1778. The American contingent at Fort Morris was led by Colonel John McIntosh (c. 1748-1826). The Americans numbered only 127 Continental soldiers plus militiamen and local citizens. The fort itself was crudely constructed and could not have withstood any concerted attack.

The British commander, Colonel Fuser, demanded Fort Morris’ surrender through a written note to the American rebels. Though clearly outnumbered (he had only about 200 men plus artillery), Colonel McIntosh’s defiant written response to the British demand included the following line: “As to surrendering the fort, receive this laconic reply: COME AND TAKE IT!”. The British declined to attack, in large part due to their lack of intelligence regarding other forces in the area. Colonel Fuser believed a recent skirmish in the area, combined with Colonel McIntosh’s bravado, might have reflected reinforcements and so the British withdrew.

The British returned in January 1779 with a larger force. They later conquered and controlled nearly all of Georgia for the next few years. Col. McIntosh’s defiance was one successful and heroic event which inspired the patriots as the War moved to the Carolinas and then north.

The Fort Morris Historical Marker is on Martin Road, Midway, Georgia. It is located at the visitor center for the Fort Morris Historic Site. The center is located off Fort Morris Road, at the end of the Colonels Island Highway (Georgia Route 38). The marker memorializes the battle and notes the “Come and Take It!” response.

In recognition of his valor of defending Fort Morris in Sunbury, McIntosh was awarded a sword by the Georgia Legislature with the words “Come and Take It” engraved on the blade.[4] McIntosh later served in the War of 1812 as an American General, still protecting the Georgia coast. He served honorably, receiving honors from the City of Savannah for his service.

Texas Revolution
In early January 1831, Green DeWitt wrote to Ramón Músquiz, the top political official of Bexar, and requested armament for defense of the colony of Gonzales.
This request was granted by delivery of a small used cannon. The small bronze cannon was received by the colony and signed for on March 10, 1831, by James Tumlinson, Jr. The swivel cannon was mounted to a blockhouse in Gonzales and later was the object of Texas pride.
At the minor skirmish known as the Battle of Gonzales—the first battle of the Texas Revolution against Mexico—a small group of Texians successfully resisted the Mexican forces who had orders from Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea to seize their cannon.
As a symbol of defiance, the Texians had fashioned a flag containing the phrase “come and take it” along with a black star and an image of the cannon that they had received four years earlier from Mexican officials.
This was the same message that was sent to the Mexican government when they told the Texians to return the cannon; lack of compliance with the initial demands led to the failed attempt by the Mexican military to forcefully take back the cannon.

Replicas of the original flag can be seen in the Texas State Capitol, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Sam Houston State University CJ Center, the University of Texas at El Paso Library, the Marine Military Academy headquarters building, the Hockaday School Hoblitzelle Auditorium, and in Perkins Library at Duke University.

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