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Monday, June 3, 2013

Don’t Look for a Smoking Gun in the Oval Office

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions”. — Saul Alinsky. Rules for Radicals, Rule No. 12

In January 1942 a group of high ranking Nazi officials held a conference in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Nazi departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews that Reinhard Heydrich had been appointed as the chief executor of the "Final solution to the Jewish question". In the course of the meeting, Heydrich presented a plan for the deportation of the Jewish population of Europe and French North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) to German-occupied areas in eastern Europe, and the use of the Jews fit for labor on road-building projects, in the course of which they would eventually die according to the text of the “Wannsee Protocol”, the only extant copy of the minutes of the meeting. Instead, as Soviet and Allied forces gradually pushed back the German lines, most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe were sent to extermination or concentration camps, or killed where they lived.

The Wannsee Conference lasted only about ninety minutes, and for most of its participants it was one meeting among many in a busy week. The enormous importance which has been attached to the conference by postwar writers was not evident to most of its participants at the time. Heydrich did not call the meeting to make fundamental new decisions on the Jewish question. Massive killings of Jews in the conquered territories in the Soviet Union and Poland were ongoing and new extermination camps were in preparation at the time of the conference. They knew that in this case the decision had already been made, and that Heydrich was there as Himmler's emissary to tell them about it. Nor did the conference engage in detailed logistical planning. It could hardly do so in the absence of a representative of the Transport Ministry or the German Railways.

German historian Peter Longerich has written that one motive for Heydrich's calling the conference was to ensure that all the leading ministries were accomplices in his plan.

“From Heydrich’s point of view", he writes, "the main purposes of the conference were, firstly, to establish the overall control of the deportation programme by the RSHA over a number of important Reich authorities and thereby, secondly, to make the top representatives of the ministerial bureaucracy into accomplices and accessories to, and co-responsible for, the plan he was pursuing. To reiterate: the plan was to exile all Jews in the present and future areas under German rule to Eastern Europe, where they were to be exposed to extraordinarily harsh living conditions and fatally exhausted or murdered. Heydrich had pursued this deportation plan since the beginning of 1941; in July 1941, Göring had given him the authority to execute it; and with the first deportation of Jews from central Europe in October, the first stage in that pan-European design had been realized. With his first invitation to the conference, Heydrich had waited until the second wave of deportations to Riga, Minsk and Kovno had already begun. He clearly wanted to present the representatives of the supreme Reich authorities with a fait accompli.”

Adolf Eichmann recorded that Heydrich was pleased with the course of the meeting. He "gave expression to his great satisfaction", and allowed himself a glass of cognac, although he rarely drank. He "had expected considerable stumbling blocks and difficulties", Eichmann recalled, but instead he had found "an atmosphere not only of agreement on the part of the participants, but more than that, one could feel an agreement which had assumed a form which had not been expected".

At the conclusion of the meeting Heydrich gave Eichmann firm instructions about whatBundesarchiv_Bild_146-1969-054-16,_Reinhard_Heydrich was to appear in the minutes. They were not to be verbatim: Eichmann would "clean them up" so that nothing too explicit appeared in them. He said at his trial: "How shall I put it — certain over-plain talk and jargon expressions had to be rendered into office language by me". As a result, the last twenty minutes of the meeting, in which, as Eichmann recalled, words like "liquidation" and "extermination" were freely used, were summed up in one bland sentence: "In conclusion the different types of possible solutions were discussed". Thus the minutes must be read in conjunction with Eichmann's testimony to get as near as is possible to a full account of what took place.

At no point in these minutes or any other documents from the Third Reich will you find the name of Adolph Hitler mention in conjunction with the final solution of the extermination of Jews, Slavs, or anyone else. The Nazi bureaucracy gave him absolute plausible deniability and the only references to Hitler’s feelings about Jews, Slavs, and other Untermensch is to read Mein Kampf. Even to this day Holocaust deniers claim that the extermination of six million Jews and five million Russians, Poles, and other Slavs never took place. They will claim that since edicts from Hitler were ever found that the so-called Holocaust was nothing more than mere bureaucratic babbling. They claim than in the top-down dictatorial nature of the Third Reich no such program could have ever taken place without Hitler’s knowledge and approval.

What is overlooked is that every Nazi knew Hitler’s feelings on Jews, Race and Lebensraum. It was spelled out clearly in Mein Kampf. They did not have to ask what der Führer wanted to do about the Jews — they knew and Hitler knew they knew.

In Mein Kampf Hitler wrote:

“If the National Socialist movement really wants to be consecrated by history with a great mission for our nation, it must be permeated by knowledge and filled with pain at our true situation in this world; boldly and conscious of its goal, it must take up the struggle against the aimlessness and incompetence which have hitherto guided our German nation in the line of foreign affairs. Then, without consideration of 'traditions' and prejudices, it must find the courage to gather our people and their strength for an advance along the road that will lead this people from its present restricted living space to new land and soil, and hence also free it from the danger of vanishing from the earth or of serving others as a slave nation.”

As the Obama administration descends into a whirlpool of scandals, a race has begun among Congressional committees and news organizations to find the proverbial smoking gun — the document that will link President Obama directly to the IRS's targeting of conservative groups, or to the Justice Department's unprecedented legal actions against the Associated Press and Fox News reporter James Rosen, or to the Pentagon's ghastly failure to launch a rescue mission when our consulate in Benghazi came under attack last September.

Study history, and you will understand why no such document is ever likely to be found: That just isn't how these things work. Very few people are aware of this, but as I stated above there is no document — not one — linking Adolf Hitler to the Holocaust. Why not? Because Hitler didn't need to sign a document ordering the slaughter of six million Jews. All he needed to do was to demonize his enemy in speeches at the Reichstag, on the radio, and from one end of Germany to the other — then hire thugs like Herman Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, and Josef Goebbels. They knew what der Fuhrer wanted, and der Fuhrer knew he could trust his henchman to get the job done — no matter how, no matter what may be the law — and to not bother him with the gory details.

Nowhere in this blog post will I suggest, or even imply, that President Obama plans the mass murder of his opponents the way Hitler murdered his. That's absurd. Iam merely pointing out that President Obama has been going about the business of demonizing his political enemies, and then hiring thugs to destroy them without regard to the law, in precisely the same way that Hitler and his fascists did it in Germany. This isn't an accusation; it's an observation. After it’s the Chicago and Saul Alinsky way — direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.

Look at the record: From the moment he took office in January 2009, President Obama has spoken before Congress, on television, and at countless rallies across the country describing his political opponents in terms we haven't seen before in the United States. Time and again he's insisted that Republicans aren't merely wrong, but evil. Hardly a week goes by without yet another sneering comment about "millionaires and billionaires" — by which he means those men and women who actually built the businesses that created jobs for all the rest of us, not the ones he and the First Lady party with in Hollywood and on Martha's Vineyard.

His rhetoric heated up fast after the Tea Party movement gave the GOP enough oomph to win back the House of Representatives in 2010, and as the president geared up for the 2012 election. He urged Latino voters to help him "punish our enemies and reward our friends." He told his supporters at one rally to think of voting for him as "an act of revenge." Did you see the president at that Georgetown University forum on the future of Medicare when he trashed Paul Ryan's own plan, then went out of his way to publicly insult Ryan, while the Congressman himself was sitting in the front row too stunned — and too decent and respectful of the presidency — to respond in kind? Do you remember that television campaign ad describing Mitt Romney — one of the most capable, financially astute, thoroughly decent men who ever graced public life — as "not one of us"?

And while demonizing his political enemies, what sort of people did the president appoint to key jobs in his administration? His attorney general is Eric Holder, a sleazy Democratic operative who not only called the American people "cowards" for their approach to racial issues — this after the majority of us elected a black president — but who played a crucial role as deputy attorney general in the scandalous and still-uninvestigated pardon of Marc Rich in the Clinton administration's dying hours. The national security advisor is Thomas Donilon, another Democratic Party operative who got rich while serving as executive vice president for law and policy at Fannie Mae. And who was our secretary of state when the consulate in Benghazi came under attack? The same Hillary Clinton who, as the wife of Arkansas' up-and-coming governor, made an overnight $100,000 killing by trading cattle futures — a feat no professional cattle-futures trader has ever been able to explain, or duplicate.

No one who's spent time in our nation's capital comes away with a romantic view of party politics and the people who do this for a living; the Saint-Per-Square-Mile ratio in Washington has always been fairly low. But David Axelrod and David Plouffe? Have you ever come across two Chicago-style, hardball-playing creeps like these clowns? They make Richard Nixon's two White House thugs, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, look like choir boys.

Demonize your political enemies, then hire people like these, and the result is precisely what happened in Germany after 1933 and what's happening now to us: a kind of bureaucratic coup d'etat in which the legitimately elected government overturns the established relationship between the individual and the State and replaces it with something very different; a relationship that no one voted for, saw coming, or imagined could happen so quickly and so quietly.

Obama is great at giving flowering speeches at universities, political rallies, and even high schools. He aims his remarks at the young and impressionable who have very little knowledge of the Constitution or our history. They see him as a glamorous and charismatic figure — a figure that fills their heads with platitudes and failed progressive gobbledygook that would turn Woodrow Wilson’s face red. He has a cadre of zealots who are absolutely loyal to him no matter what the facts say otherwise. He has a Hollywood following that would make Leni Riefenstahl green with envy. Even his first nomination event in Denver at Invesco Field was reminiscent of Triumph des Willens as we were introduced to the anointed one. All that was missing was were the lonely man looking out the window of the Fokker tri-motor as it’s shadow passes over the assembled crowd and the torchlight parades.

He does not have to issue orders or directives to his sycophantic minions to do his bidding. All he has to do is make an Alinsky-like speech and they will march out like robots to do what they believe to be his bidding. Like Hitler in the 30s motivation is his chief weapon.

This is the United States in 2013, not Germany in 1933, and there's no real possibility that President Obama will get away with his attempted coup d'etat. We have something called a Constitution that separates the powers of government — when it works. There are members of Congress in both parties who are appalled by what the president has been doing, and even a few liberal news organizations are starting to wake up. But while the hunt for some document that would be the smoking gun will be entertaining — and while it would be nice to see a special prosecutor appointed who'd throw at least a few members of this administration who've perjured themselves before Congress into prison.

Education is probably more important than prosecution. Right now, the best use of their time and energy would be to expose the Obama administration's wrongdoings; to illuminate for Americans just what's been going on in Washington and to show voters — especially young voters — what sort of country we'd be living in if the president had gotten away with this. Never before have our politicians and our news organizations had a better opportunity to demonstrate just what happens when we vote carelessly, elect a zealot who appoints operatives with no sense of honor or comprehension of right-and-wrong, then parties with rock stars while his coup d'etat unfolds.

Yes, I realize that throughout this essay I've used an analogy that some people will find offensive or even repugnant. But I've done this deliberately, because this is no time to hold back or to mince words. And if the president doesn't like being compared to a Nazi — he should stop acting like one.

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