Review: “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen

I’m preface by saying that I did not come into this album as a Carly Rae Jepsen fan, and as such cannot commit on how her latest album compares to her prior work. Like the rest of the general population, I was swept away by “Call Me Maybe” hysteria, however many summers ago that was, but that and “I Really Like You” were my only encounters with her music. “I Really Like You” was enough to make me interested in this album, and after someone at Billboard mentioned how it was already being called the best Pop album of 2015 I suddenly was very interested what sounded like an album with some good pop music.

Simply put, I was not disappointed by what I heard. “Emotion” is overflowing with amazing upbeat and catchy pop gems. The meaning behind most you can easily surmise by listening to Jepsen’s two major hits (so far) “Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You”; songs like “Run Away With Me”, “Emotion”, and “Your Type” are all great love songs I’ve come to like as much as “I Really Like You”
Some might use the standard pop criticism against this album; that modern pop songs sacrifice good lyrics and meaning for a good hook and beat. I don’t see that here and feel like Jepsen (who has writing credits on all the songs here) did a good job of making this album smarter than what is usually expected of the genre. And as Spencer Kornhaber put it over at The Atlantic, “Carly Rae Jepsen isn’t likely to inspire any graduate-level seminars on the poetry in her pop. But she should get credit for being more thoughtful than most.”

They are also some songs that stand out as diverting from the “Call Me Maybe” mold; one good example is “All That”, which is a slower love ballad that has a lot more lyrical depth. Now, while I’m not a huge fan of the song I do think it is noteworthy for being where Jepsen tries something different and I’d say succeeds.
Another interesting song is “Boy Problems”, where Jepsen’s been bringing down her friend with her relationship woes and then wisely chooses friendship over romance (What’s worse/losing a lover or losing your best friend?”). The chorus also hints that sometimes in life being in a relationship (and having it end badly) isn’t the most important thing in the world (“I think I broke up with my boyfriend today/and I don’t really care/I’ve got worst problems”)
Then there is “LA Hallucinations”, which is about a girl coming to L.A. with her lover only to let the city and fame come between them, “We said we’d always be the same/but we lost each other in the game.” She seems to eventually realize her mistake and try and make things right, “So take me into your arms again/and shake me from LA hallucinations”. Personally, I like songs about rejecting fame to get back to what’s really important, so I’m a big fan of this one.

All that being said, just like on her last album there are a few places on the album, where things get a real sensual and messages get a bit mixed. A good example being “I Really Like You” where despite being pretty sure that this isn’t the right guy for her, she still let’s things get physical between them (Late night watching television/but how’d we get in this position/it’s way too soon I know this isn’t love). At the end of the day, I guess, most of the edgy material here isn’t too objectionable as Jepsen doesn’t go too deep into details.

Conclusion:

Track Highlights: “Run Away with Me”, “Emotion”, “I Really Like You”, “Boy Problems”, “Your Type”

To be honest, I do like this album; I like this kind of love centered pop, I like Jepsen’s sound and some of the lyrics here are really good. As I said at the beginning, I’ve never heard Jepsen’s prior work, but I think now I might have to now. Will we be hearing all these great readymade hits on our radios in the coming months? Maybe, although considering we are talking about a tragically underrated artist maybe not. But I digress; I’ll give “Emotion” three stars out of five, a good album, consider giving it a listen.

Guide to Islam and the Global Jihad (Part 1)

It is, put simply, the most important issue of our time and it is time I wrote about it here. The global Jihad is, more or less, the attempt by a loosely united group of the followers of Islam attempting to spread their ideology through-out the world. No matter what the cost. This is by no means a new conflict considering the nearly 1,300 years of warfare between Islam and anyone who had the misfortune of living within striking distance of the Jihadists of the time. However, in the years since 9/11 governments and other groups the world over had to struggle to deal with the pressing question of what to do about Islam.
This piece, is going to try to be something I wish I had, when I first discovered the Jihad issue; a kind of FAQ to counter the modern propaganda surrounding Islam that each and every one of us has had shoved down our throats, in schools, in history books, in the news, in colleges, and at the feet of politicians who want to make sure we all have a very positive view of Islam. I only hope it is true what they say that God rewards based on effort and not results.

This first part (of two) will deal specifically with Islam’s doctrines, teachings, and history, while the next part will discuss more with contemporary issues related to Islam and Jihad.

Question 1: Isn’t Islam a Religion of Peace?
Just about the first thing everyone learns about Islam is that it is not inherently violent; the numerous deaths caused by Islamic terrorist organizations such as, Boko Haram, Islamic State, Hamas, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda (among many others) is chalked up to a tiny minority of extremists. Arguably, the sheer number of deaths caused every day by Islamic terrorists should make anyone question how peaceful Islam really is.

Either way, there are no fewer than 109 verses in the Quran calling for Muslims to make war against non-believers. If that is not proof that Islam is not a peaceful religion I don’t know what is.
Some people argue that just because Muhammad urged his followers to practice Jihad doesn’t mean he called for violence; since Jihad (they claim) literally translates to “struggle” as in, “My jihad is to pray five times a day.” To quote author on Islam and director of the documentary “Islam: What the West Needs to Know” Gregory M. Davis,
“As in any case of trying to determine Islamic teaching on a particular matter, one must look to the Quran and the Sunnah. From those sources (see above) it is evident that a Muslim is required to struggle against a variety of things: laziness in prayer, neglecting to give zakat (alms), etc. But is it also plain that a Muslim is commanded to struggle in physical combat against the infidel as well. Muhammad’s impressive military career attests to the central role that military action plays in Islam.”

Again, the 25,000 deadly terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims since 9/11, and nearly 1,300 years of warfare with various nations and religions should clearly show that Islam is inherently violent and that ergo, where Islam is more widespread so will be violence between said Muslims and (in most cases) anyone who has the misfortune of living with or near them.

Question 2: But, aren’t Most Muslims Peaceful?
I’ve heard numerous great answers to the question of why more Muslims aren’t terrorists despite Islam’s clear mandate of warfare against non-believers. The one I always use is, “I no more believe every Muslim follows what is in the Quran than I believe that every Christian follows what is in the Bible.” Or as Davis put it more bluntly, “Hypocrites are everywhere.”
They are various reasons for the discrepancy between what Islam says and what individual Muslims do. As with all religions and ideologues, they are people who are very devoted to the cause and those who are just there the ride; their religion is merely a symbol they have on the outside. Also, due to the decline of the Islamic Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century Islam went through a period of secularization, leading to many Muslims around the world being simply unaware of their religion’s true teaching.

But, the bottom line is that you do not judge what a religion does or does not teach based solely on the actions of some or many of its followers. Many use Stalin and Hitler as examples of “bad Christians” and indeed they were, because they completely disregarded and ignored Christ’s teachings; why don’t critics of Christianity look to the best followers of Christ, people through-out history like St. Francis, Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Katharine Drexel and countless others? So too, if we apply the same methodology to Islam, than (based on the teachings of Muhammad) the greatest follower of Islam is probably Osama bin Laden and other ruthless Islamic terrorists like him; from this point of view, it is true that the only good Muslim is a bad one, because a good Muslim follows what I doubt many would argue is a bad religion.

As to the idea that just because all Muslims don’t practice violence means that not all Muslims are radicals, overlooks one thing; one need not be violent to be radical, after all the Westboro Baptists have never killed anyone, but no one would hesitate to label them as radicals. Ben Shapiro, once made an amazing video showing how Muslims around the world hold and support incredibly radical positions. Using this methodology, the idea that there is moderate Muslim majority becomes unfounded.

Question 3: Aren’t Other Religions Just as Bad?
First, what another religion does or does not do has absolutely nothing to do with how violent Islam is or isn’t and instead it only serves to deflect attention away from Islam’s darker side. However, as I pointed out earlier how many other religions can you think of that have international terrorist organizations? (Yes there are Christian terrorists, but they are pathetic groups compared to the mass murdering Jihadists around the world)
Furthermore, it is difficult to justify much of the Christian terrorism and violence of the past using the Bible or any other Christian teachings; the same cannot be said for the Jihadists around the world who frequently invoke the Quran to justify their crimes.

Question 4: Don’t Other Religions and Women Receive Better Treatment in Islam than in other Faiths?
In a word, no; many like to argue that Islam is a religion that produces pluralistic societies where woman are accorded equal rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap, nineteen of the twenty worse nations for women are Muslim majority nations. This is not at all out of line with the Islamic teaching, to quote the “Myths of Islam” page on the prominent Islam learning site, The Religion of Peace:
“There is no ambiguity in the Quran, the life of Muhammad, or Islamic law as to the inferiority of women to men despite the efforts of modern-day apologists to salvage Western-style feminism from scraps and fragments of verses that have historically held no such progressive interpretation.”

As for how Islam treats other religions, The Open Doors’ World Watch List (an annual compiling of the nation’s with the worst persecution of Christians) reveals that forty of the fifty listed nations are Muslim majority nations, with the top ten consisting of nine Muslim nations. Obviously, near daily accounts of crimes perpetrated against Christians by both Islamic terror groups and average Muslims the world over shows just how “tolerant” Islam really is.

You could say Muhammad was treating women according to the standards of his time and that it is unfair to single out Islam when plenty of people from history were misogynistic or racist because that was the society in, which they lived. This leads us to…

Question 5: Does It Really Matter How Muhammad Acted?
First, you would think that the prophet of the self-proclaimed true religion would be more morally outstanding then the average person of any time. Either way, what people don’t realize about why it matters how Muhammad acted is that the Quran strongly emphasizes that Muhammad is the most perfect example of human conduct. That should be particularly worrisome considering, Muhammad was a brutal cult leader and hate preacher who had people murdered, tortured, and stoned; was a slave owner, who gave his men the permission to rape women in front of their husbands and urged his followers to wage endless wars against anyone he spoke ill against.
One example of how Muhammad’s conduct centuries ago still has repercussions today, is last year when Pakistan’s legislature was discussing a bill enforcing (the generally ignored) ban on child marriage the countries’ Council for Islamic Theology opposed the law saying it was against the teaching of Islam. It was against Islamic teaching because Muhammad married his favorite wife Aisha when she was six (and he was fifty-four).

There are many more falsehoods and misconceptions about Islam I could cover here, but won’t for the time being, but be sure that I will cover this vital topic in future posts here. In the meantime, I hope that some of you, readers, will go beyond what politicians and the mass media tell you about Islam and use the sources I’ve linked to here and learn more about what Islam actually teaches. In the war against the Jihadists I won’t say knowledge is the greatest weapon we have for turning the tide, but it may be the greatest weapon for at least starting a genuine attempt to roll back the terror and human rights abuses of the world’s most misunderstood religion.

The Big Green Myths: Overpopulation and Climate Change

Today, we are going to look at two of the largest environmental, social, and scientific myths and alleged issues of the age. Let’s start with the one that is so easy to debunk I’ve often said it is an argument you can never lose (assuming you now all the facts that is): overpopulation.

Overpopulation is actually an older issue than you would think; an English vicar Thomas Robert Malthus first warned of the dangers of overpopulation in 1798; Paul Ehrlich more or less began the modern obsession with overpopulation in 1968 when he published his book, “The Population Bomb”. Since then, many proponents of the threat of overpopulation have said that in order to address this rapidly approaching crisis we (i.e. the U.N./government) needs to push reproductive health services on anyone who doesn’t want them.

First things first, there are about seven billion people in the world currently; that is a lot of people, but who says that is too many? If we took all the people in the world they could all live in the state of Texas with a better population density than New York City. Some maintain that too many people is the cause of poverty and while it’s true that poor Niger has a population density of fifteen people per square mile, that is not even half of America’s thirty-five people per square mile. The Netherlands has a population density of five-hundred people per square mile and in Hong Kong it’s over 6,800, but they are also both very wealthy nations.
Now, no rational person thinks that the sheer number of people is the problem; they will at least admit that there is room for all of them. Thus, they often raise the concern that even as man’s population grows we still only have the same amount of fuel to meet their energy needs and the same amount of land to grow food to feed them all. This does not take in to account that thanks to advancements in agriculture people have learned how to grow more food on less land. Having left the plow behind, we have synthetic fertilizer, modern irrigation, and hydroponics (the science of growing food without soil). And according to some scientists if the continent of Africa were cultivated using modern farming methods it could produce enough food to feed the entire planet. But, that would probably be overkill, because the world right now produces enough food to feed ten billion people. I’ll get more into how there can be hungry people if that true later, but first it’s time to answer the question: what about energy needs? Aren’t we almost out of oil?
Simply put, it seems there is plenty of oil. In the book, “Bottomless Well” from Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills explains how man’s energy needs can be met for centuries to come; sounds like energy won’t be a problem in the future.

This leads us to the second big issue, Climate Change, the idea that man’s overuse of fossil fuels is heating up the planet with devastating consequences. Now, I understand that they are different things people mean when they say climate change and that it is the opinion of many people (although not as many scientists as people think) that the science of climate change is so settled that it shouldn’t even be discussed anymore. I completely agree, the science of climate change is settled and the verdict is that this is not a crisis—man made or otherwise.

Obviously the planet is warming, although not as much as everyone believes. After all, there has been a global warming pause for the last eighteen years, not to mention that the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods were as hot as anything we’ve seen this century. After the warm period came what some scientists call “The Little Ice Age” when temperatures fell. Further evidence that carbon count has less effect on earth’s temperature than many believe is the fact that there have been ice ages when the carbon count was four times greater than it was today. So, the world has been much hotter in the past regardless of man’s carbon footprint and you think people are the main cause of climate change? That doesn’t sound like a crisis to me; in fact, Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish scientist who had long been a proponent of climate change, has said that were it not for modern instrumentation (i.e. satellites that measure earth temperatures from space) we wouldn’t even have noticed that the earth was getting hotter.

My argument against climate change scare is essentially this: climate changes and has always changed regardless of what people at the time were doing and thus, that we shouldn’t worry about something we can’t change or effect.

There is something else overpopulation and climate change have in common, the fact that the doomsday prophets keep failing in their predictions. Thomas Malthus said mass famines would hit in 1890, Paul Ehrlich, the author of “The Population Bomb” said the world would run out of food in the 1970’s,there have been dozens of warnings saying how long man had to reverse climate change before apocalypse. Time and time again the predictions failed.

According to the World Food Bank, the chief causes of hunger are poverty, conflict, and lack of infrastructure. No overpopulation to be seen. There is plenty of food, but what good is it if can’t get to people who need it for various reasons. If the government over regulates the economy or doesn’t protect the rule of law and property, than people have no incentive to become entrepreneurs since they might not be rewarded for their hard work. If the government spends all its time hording the food and aid sent by clueless western nations than it won’t build infrastructure that will let food get to the hungry; conflict can also lead to “William T. Sherman” tactics that end up destroying crops and infrastructure. Aside from perhaps conflict there is a common trend to these causes; bad governments or more precisely, overgrown anti-capitalist governments. Think about, when was the last time anyone ever starved due to an actual lack of food? The Ukrainian Famine of the 1920’s, which killed about five million people, was caused by the cruel Soviet government set on crushing Ukraine’s national spirit. The Free Market is the reason America and a lot of countries that emulate it are rich; most of the starving countries in the world are ruled by cruel governments who squish free market principles and property rights. The number of people doesn’t matter the causes of hunger will still be there.

It is often argued that overpopulation will lead to ecological disasters as man gobbles up everything in his path. I’m sure this conjures up images from Hollywood movies of greedy capitalist destroying the environment to get rich(er) at the expense of Mother Nature, however, it should be noted that communist and socialist nations have a pretty bad ecology streak too. The Soviet Union, for example, more or less destroyed the fourth largest sea in the world, the Aral Sea, by pursing a government river diverting scheme.
The free market gives people an incentive not to abuse the environment since it would mean destroying their lively hood, that’s not to say that capitalism is not also guilty of “eco-crimes”, but it doesn’t have nearly as bad a streak as command economies.

There are many other facets of the overpopulation and climate change myths that many people believe, but don’t realize are also not true. No, we aren’t running out of drinking water, the polar bears are just fine, extreme weather has nothing to do with climate change, we have more natural forest than in the seventies and the list goes on.

Now, there is one last argument made by the more rational population control advocates that shows very well the mindset of the overpopulation and climate change crowd. The question is not how many people the world can feed, but how many rich people it can feed. In other words, there is simply no way that people in the third world can live like as rich westerners and therefore, they need to adopt (or have forced upon them) population control methods and cut back on their industrialization before they ruin the planet for everyone.  As has been shown by very serious scientists and researchers when you look at the world’s resources you really can have a “more-the-merry” attitude about population. More people mean more minds to invent new technologies and come up with new ideas and make the world a better place.

In the end the anti-population growth argument is very narcissist; the idea that anyone has the right to say who can and can’t have wealth and comfort is, quite frankly, disgusting. The third world has every right to walk down the path the western world took long ago without worrying about myths like climate change and overpopulation. In the meantime, the U.S. and other Western nations will continue to spend countless dollars trying to “fix” climate change as well as fund population control in third world countries via the United Nations. All this, because of two of the age’s greatest myths.

Sources and Further Learning:

Overpopulation is a Myth.com: The Science

Pop.org: Overpopulation Debunked in Three Easy Steps

Climate Depot.com: Marc Morano, Bill Nye Debate

“The Bad War”: Should The Allies Have Fought World War Two?

Should the Allies have fought World War II? It is probably a question that has not occurred to you before; this is certainly forgivable considering for generations the Second World War has been immortalized as “The Good War” and is considered by some to be the last moral war. Too bad the truth of that terrifying conflict is very different then the often repeated myth.

One of the darker parts of World War 2 that it seems people are becoming more open to discussing is the conduct by the allies at varies times of the war known simply as Allied War Crimes.
You might have heard about some of these ignored events of Second World War during your history class, but it is unlikely that any of them took the next step and called the entire morality of the war into question. Now, this is perfectly logical, just because something immoral occurs during a war does not change whether it was a just war to begin with. Of course, the list of atrocities committed by the Americans, French, British, and other Allied Powers in World War 2 is actually quite lengthy and ugly. For instance, when the Dachau concentration camp was liberated several American soldiers simply lined up and executed several nearby S.S. troops without anything resembling a fair trial. Operation Keelhaul saw Allied soldiers force Russian refugees and prisoners on to vehicles at gun point back to the oppressive Soviet Union they had tried to escape and some had taken up arms with the Nazis to fight against. Several times during the war (at Normandy for example) no quarter was offered by Allied soldiers to surrendering Nazis. No quarter was particularly brutal in the Pacific where, according to historian Neil Ferguson, the Americans saw the Japanese soldiers the same way the Nazis saw the Jews and Communists, as “untermensch,” life unworthy of life. The firebombing of Tokyo was another fine example of Allied terror bombing and took more lives than either of the atomic bombings, which themselves were highly immoral.
As I’ve said, war crimes committed during a war do not invalidate a war’s just cause, although they should, of course, be discouraged and punished, but they do not suddenly turn a just war into an unjust one.

Many students of World War 2 history know that the two situations in Europe and the Pacific were separate and unrelated situations (aside from the defensive pact between Germany and Japan) and I will thus deal with them individually.
The main basis for the morality of the war in Europe is basically this: the evil Adolf Hitler and his Nazis wanted to take over the world and commit mass genocide against the inferior races. If it weren’t for “the greatest generation” we would all be speaking German.
I won’t try in any way to say Hitler and his cohorts were not incredibly evil and morally depraved, (because they were) but I will disagree strongly with the common justification for the war; no I don’t believe world domination was on Hitler’s agenda, nor do I believe that the Holocaust was anything other than a war crime—but what if there had been no war?
Patrick Buchanan author of the landmark work on the causes of the World Wars, “Churchill, Hitler, and The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost its Empire and How the West Lost the World” has argued that if there had been no world war there would have been no Holocaust. After all, when the war started Hitler had reduced Germany’s Jewish population by 50% and killed “only” hundreds in the process (and many of those killed were not Jews). Most of those Jews either fled Germany (mainly due to the oppressive Nuremberg Laws) by their own will or were deported by the Reich. However, it was not until the war was halfway through that alternative solutions to “the Jewish question” were brought forward. To quote Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, in 1942, “Fortunately, a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.” Essentially, it was the Second World War that put most of Europe’s Jewish population in the clutches of the Nazis and it was the war that moved the Nazis to begin the extermination of Jews, whereas before they had been content to force Jews out of Germany through less violent means.

When addressing Hitler’s war aims I think it really comes down to accepting one of two Hitlers—Hitler the idiot and a Hitler who was expansion minded, just not in the direction everyone thinks he was.
Historians point to numerous points in WW2 where it seems that Hitler was utterly incapable of conquering the world; most accept this as evidence that Hitler just wasn’t a mad genius, but I say that it is because Hitler simply did not want to take over the world. Why let the British expedition force escape at Dunkirk? Because Hitler was hoping that he could still make peace with the British who had declared war on him. He let the French keep their fleet after they surrendered in 1940 because he knew his plans needed no naval force. He built a Luftwaffe based on a short-ranged bomber that couldn’t reach Britain from Germany and built a Kriegesmarine not even half the size of his World War One predecessor the Kaiser. Is it possible that Hitler’s goal was not to take over the world, but instead the much less objectionable goal of destroying the Soviet Union and by extension global Communism? If you look at Hitler’s writings he states that the Germanic people needed to continue their halted migration eastward, which would set Germany on a collision course with Russia. Certainly, Hitler also wanted to rebuild the Germany destroyed at Versailles, which is why he seized Austria and Czechoslovakia, but he made no claims for lost German territories in the west, another sign of which direction Hitler had his sights on.

And what of the event that started the war in Europe, the Nazi invasion of Poland. As writers on this subject like Buchanan and Thomas Woods Jr. pointed out, the British actually thought that the German desire to return the Polish City of Danzig to Germany was a reasonable grievance to be rectified. It is well noted by historians that German resentment against the Versailles Treaty that ended World War One was one of the main causes of World War 2 (after all Hitler gave a speech titled, “The Treaty of Versailles” almost a hundred times). The treaty stated that Germany must surrender a tenth of its land and a tenth of its population to other countries, hand over its navy, and pay the equivalent of one billion dollars in reparations to the Allies (a debt not paid off until 2010). Worst of all, for many Germans, was that the Treaty said that the blame of the war was strictly on Germany, as if the Allies were completely innocent in the affair. Eventually many of the Allied leaders wanted to reverse some of the treaties’ harsher measures, unfortunately, this come too late for the weak Weimar Republic who was replaced in the early thirties by the Third Reich. Danzig was made up of about 95% ethnic Germans, many of whom wanted to rejoin the Reich. Despite this, the ability to start a massive world war was put in the hands of the Poles via the Polish War Guarantee.

Let’s now look at the Allies stated war aims, which I think many, would agree were left unfulfilled by war’s end. It was certainly a noble aim to stop the Holocaust, but nearly two-thirds of Europe’s Jews had been killed by war’s end; if the goal was to save Poland from an evil dictator then why was it basically handed over to evil Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin after the war ended along with almost half of Europe who would live under Soviet oppression for decades to come.
The blunders of the Allies are not confined to deals with the Germans alone, in the early 30’s Italian dictator Benito Mussolini wanted to make an alliance with Britain and France in order to draw a line in Western Europe Hitler could not cross, which presumably would drive Hitler against the empire of evil that was the Soviet Union. Instead, the Allies sanctioned and isolated Mussolini, following his invasion of Ethiopia and as Patrick Buchanan put it, this ended up, “…driving him straight into the arms of Hitler.” The end of the Anglo-Japanese alliance has a similar effect on the Japan who restrained their brutality and imperialism for the sake of a prosperous treaty with the respectable British. Once the alliance was over (mostly on the urgings of the Americans) Japan was alone and resorted to imperial ambitions to protect itself from a vicious Soviet Union to the north. Indeed, President Herbert Hoover did not involve American in the Second Sino-Japanese War both because he saw no reason for America to take part in that war and because he thought the Japanese need for a buffer zone between the home islands and the Soviets was a legitimate one.

If Hitler had not been dragged into war by the Allies he might have stormed into Soviet Union and begun the Great Nazi-Soviet War, in which two of the worst empires in history would have torn each other to shreds leaving the West unscathed and ready to deal with the winner. Yes, Hitler might have won since he was able to hurl all his strength against one front instead of two, but it is just as likely that history would have repeated itself with the Russian winter defeating the invading Nazis. Either way, the West would not have gotten involved in a war that was none of its business, nor compromised its morality by allying with Stalin to defeat the alleged greater of two evils (despite the fact that Stalin’s total murders was about five million more than Hitler’s). I say alleged because Nazism was built on a race, if not a man, and therefore had little appeal in the greater world. The American Nazi Party of the 1930’s did not get off the ground until they extended membership to non-German Europeans. Contrast this to the huge appeal Communism had to all peoples of all nations; following the war several nations fell to Communism sometimes with the direct aid of the Soviet Union. If Hitler had crushed the U.S.S.R. in the 1940’s would Communism had been able to spread so far?

To end things where we started, the moral justification at the time, and indeed today, for outrageous war crimes was that Hitler and his Nazis needed to be stopped at whatever costs—the best “the end justifies the means” argument I’ve ever heard. This rationale also applies to the admittedly sketchy activities of F.D.R. leading up to American entry into the war. Such activities including the forging of a map “revealing” a Nazi plan for an invasion of South America (not that anyone believed the Nazis could cross the Atlantic Ocean at a time when they proved they couldn’t cross the English Channel) and his ignoring of Congress’ neutrality legislation. In the Pacific, when the American minister to Japan begged F.D.R. to enter negotiations initiated by the Japanese who even offered to withdraw their troops from certain areas of conflict the president snubbed them, cut off Japan’s American assets and waited for the attack he knew would “Awaken the sleeping giant,” and galvanize an America unwilling to send it’s men to die in foreign wars that did not concern it. Pearl Harbor, of course, was that attack.

Many questions are frequently repeated to crush such unwanted deviation from popular opinion that I have written here; is not all this talk against World War 2 unpatriotic? Doesn’t this dishonor the memory of the greatest generation?
I say, that we Americans cannot sweep such important moral questions under the carpet because we must face up to the evils of the past so we can build toward a better future. Not to mention, it is very hypocritical to endlessly remind the Germans and Japanese to never forget their war crimes when we have done the exact same thing when it comes to our crimes committed in that very war. On the unquestionable valor of the Allies in the war, I’ll echo the sentiments of Buchanan, “The Americans and British fought nobly, but only after they got themselves into their predicament.”
One last thing, the things I have written are less unique than you would think; Buchanan and Tom Woods I’ve already mentioned have both written at length on this subject. Contemporary British historian Neil Ferguson, who wrote the massive one-volume history, “The War of the World”, had this to say about the Second World War:

“It’s hard to see this as a good war in any real meaningful sense except that it had a good outcome compared with the old available alternative outcome of an Axis victory. I’m certain that that would have produced a worst world than the world that we inherited in 1945. That is as much as I think one can say about World War II.”

I, for one, highly doubt that and maybe someday most Americans will think the same.

Selected Bibliography/Further Learning:
“The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History” – Thomas Woods Jr.
“Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War” – Patrick Buchanan
“The Tom Woods Show: Pat Buchanan on Churchill”
“Harry Truman and the Atomic Bomb” – Ralph Raico
“Did Hitler Want War” – Patrick Buchanan

Review: “Not an Apology” by Bea Miller

Bea Miller rose to fame on the X-Factor, when I don’t know because I discovered her this past April through her “Young Blood EP” which came out last year. I really enjoyed the four songs included on it and thus I’ve been looking forward to the release of Miller’s debut album all year. Easily one of my top three most anticipated albums of 2015 (“Pageant Material” by Kacey Musgraves and Chvrches’ sophomore album due in September being the other two) and did it live up to my expectations? Read on to find out.

What are my impressions of “Not an Apology”? Well, first let me say that my most obvious thought has been articulated better by both Brian Cantor at Headline Planet and the guys at Billboard magazine; Miller’s personality strongly comes through on every song on this album, whether you like it or not or like what she has to say, you can’t deny that if you listen to this album you will hear it loud and clear. I suppose in this respect it makes for a perfect introductory album. Angst, overflowing confidence, and defiance to authority, are all to be found here on “Not an Apology”.

Track-by-Track:

First track both here and on the EP is “Young Blood” Miller’s most successful song so far. It certainly is one of the best exemplifiers of Miller’s attitude and a great anthem.

#2 “Fire N’ Gold”, is probably her next most successful song, and my least favorite off the EP (because I like the other three more, not because it a bad song), but still a good performance by Miller is found on here.

#3 “I Dare You” is a lot of fun and continues the album’s defiant confidant tone, as does next track “Paper Doll” which is probably one of my favorite songs off the album.
Tracks five and seven, “Perfect Picture” and “Force of Nature” are not necessarily forgettable, with “Force of Nature” (the single released after “Young Blood EP”) being notable for being one of the few songs to slow things down, but they just don’t resonate as much with me as some of the other songs.

#6 “Enemy Fire” is a great song off the EP, and it is still one of the best ones here; this is one of the few songs on the album where the lyrics really drew my attention and, of course, it has a great sound although I’ve been told this is not her best performance.

#8 “This is Not an Apology”: the titular track and is about a girl (Miller?) calling things off with a guy who seems completely incompatible with her. It also features some fun lines like, “I like it loud/you turn it down, you want to talk/but what about,” “Don’t need two hours to get out the door/you’re supposed to be the guy/why do you need more?” “I needed a hero/and I got a zero.” For me, it’s a real gem.

#9 “Dracula”: my favorite song off the EP, it is a song essentially describing Miller’s attraction to—“darker things” especially her taste in boys apparently. (I love, I love/the tragically beautiful) Even though Miller has said that this doesn’t really fit her anymore, I still like this song a lot for what it is about.

#10 “We’re Taking Over”: This is a stand out anthem and, like most of the messages on this album, really good when it’s put in the right context.

#11 Rich Kids: This is an interesting song as it is essentially in the archetype of songs taking shots at rich people. On it Miller sings, “Rich kids never have to pay/ everything’s funny when you’re young with money and mommy and daddy will pay the way. Although I’m a bit cautious about jumping on something detracting from the rich (because I believe everyone should be treated fairly, not because I support big business) this is still in the best of fun I think and further more a good song. Plus, Miller herself admits on the bridge, “Maybe they’re just like me…you can’t judge a book by the cover.”

An important question, for me, to evaluate is: what exactly is Miller saying on this album? Well, as I’ve mentioned already this album is overflowing with confidence and self-assertion. Now I’m not going to be too hard on Miller because she is obviously not exceptional in the promulgation of what could be called the obsession with confidence. In so many words, confidence in oneself is a good thing when it is in proportion, but it is most certainly not the greatest virtue in existence—that would be humility, which (ironically) places belief not in oneself, but in other things and people.

So, aside from rampant narcissistic messages of self-confidence and such, what are some other questionable messages here? Not too surprising in the culture we live in (although certainly not as prominent on this album) is that some lyrics get a little edgy here and there sexually. “Force of Nature” has Miller singing, “I can taste the danger/but I don’t want to run/so hold me to the ground and I won’t put up a fight.” “Dracula” also features the line, “If you were Dracula/I’d be letting you take that bite.”

Finally, “We’re Taking Over” is supposed to be an anthem for the underdog, great, but it does support the flawed Gay Marriage movement (“this is for the ones who took their lives… this is for the chicks who like chicks”). Now, I applaud any attempt to defend the persecuted, I just don’t like how Miller (like a lot of people) alludes to the tragedy of suicides by homosexuals due to bullying and helps over-magnify an issue that has already been blown out of proportion for the sake of building a victim narrative.

In Conclusion:
Track Highlights: “I Dare You”, “Enemy Fire”, “This is Not an Apology” and “Dracula”.

In the end, while I do object to some of the messages here, and it might limit how much I listen to some of these songs in the future, I do really like this album. It is right up my alley as it is pop, but with a few rock tinges, Miller has a good voice, and there are some fun and good lyrics here. It is also technically a teenager marketed Disney pushed album (although Miler is not a Disney starlet), but I think it certainly rises above the genre to be a very good album.
Now, I’m asking myself how much I will replay this album after the initial hype is gone; well I think some songs I won’t like as much, I do think they’re a lot of greats songs here and this album will definitely be on my list of my favorite albums of 2015. It met all my expectations, four out of five stars, if you like pop check this out you won’t be sorry.