Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Next Supreme Court Gun Case- Either a Landmark or Nothing

It is amazing how a subject can be incredibly simple and incredibly complex at the same time.   The greatest example of this is the United States Constitution- in particular the “Bill of Rights.”  In grade school we are taught of the Bill of Rights; the first ten amendments to the Constitution.   We were taught in very simple terms what these Amendments meant- Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and so forth.   By high school we learn that although these rights are enumerated, there are
caveats.  We are taught, for example, that Freedom of Speech does not include shouting “fire in a crowded theater.”  By college or early adulthood, for the most part we understand just how “complex” the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are.   Rather than being something that “everyone” can understand, Constitutional Rights have become a subject which lawyers and judges cannot agree on, and deciding what the Constitution means falls to the Nine Supreme Court Justices seated in Washington, D.C.

This fall, the Nine Supreme Court Justices are scheduled to take up a case which may have a profound impact on what the Second Amendment actually means.   This will be the first major case since Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010).   The District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was the landmark decision that held (for the first time) that the Second Amendment was an “individual” right, not a collective right or one which only applied to “the Militia” or membership in “the Militia.”  McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), held that the Second Amendment applied to the States.   These two cases, however, have left a great number of unresolved issues.  Now, the Supreme Court is poised to take up one such issue.

New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York, New York has the potential to be another landmark decision, or “much ado about nothing.”  Potentially the case could decide the meaning of the words “bear Arms” as used in the Second Amendment.  At issue is a New York City regulation that prohibits any person with a license to keep a firearm in their home from transporting that firearm to any place other than one of the seven shooting ranges within the city limits of New York.   Under this regulation, if one has a second home in New York it is illegal to take the gun licensed to be in one home to the second home- even unloaded, in a locked case with ammunition locked up separately.   Under this regulation it is illegal to take a handgun licensed to a home in New York City to a shooting range outside the city.   Under the regulation it is illegal to participate in a shooting completion outside the City of New York with a handgun that is licensed to be in a home in New York City.    Under this regulation it is even illegal to take a handgun licensed to in a home to a gunsmith- even a gunsmith inside the City of New York- without special permission of the Chief of the Police Department License Division.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) case states the City of New York regulation is unconstitutional in that it violates the Second Amendment “Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and it violates the Constitutional “Right to Travel” – an unenumerated right, but nevertheless a right guaranteed by the Constitution. 

The “Gun Control Crowd” has weighed in with an interesting set of arguments.   The Brady Foundation is asking the Supreme Court to dismiss the case, stating that New York City will be changing the regulation and therefore the case will be moot.   New York City has yet to make any changes to the regulation.   The second argument- both of the Brady Foundation and the Giffords Law Center states that this case does not deserve “strict scrutiny.” They argue that the City of New York’s concern about having “more guns on the street” outweighs the Constitutional questions involved and “intermediate scrutiny” as applied by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is appropriate.   However, neither organization nor the City of New York can explain how forcing gun owners to only use ranges in New York City and not take guns out of the city reduces the number of guns on the street.   Logic would seem to indicate that allowing gun owners to take licensed, unloaded, locked guns to homes or ranges outside of the City would reduce the number of guns on the streets inside the City of New York. 

The final argument of the Brady Foundation is that this case could result in the “creation of a new right.”  For some reason, the Brady Foundation believes that the right to “keep AND BEAR Arms” only involves keeping those arms within one’s home.   This argument of course does not hold with Heller or McDonald.   The Supreme Court held that “bearing arms” means to carry those arms outside of one’s home for the purpose of self defense or for other lawful purposes.   Although the Court ruled that the need for self defense was most acute in one’s home, the Court in no way limited self-defense to the home.

It seems this case has several possible outcomes; two of which would place this case into the "much ado about nothing" category.   New York City could actually change the regulation.   Should they change the regulation and allow licensees to travel outside of New York City with their firearms. this case would likely be dismissed. 

The second outcome, one hoped for by the Brady Foundation and Giffords Law Center- is that the Court leaves the ruling of the Second Circuit intact and makes no ruling on the issues of what level of scrutiny to apply to this case.   The court could also state that "intermediate scrutiny" is appropriate- in which case there is very little chance of ever overturning an "anti-gun" law if the state pulls out the "public safety" card.

It is also a possibility that the Court will decide this case by addressing the "commerce clause issues" only.   The Court could invalidate the regulation by saying it restricts interstate commerce by preventing the people of New York from freely using shooting ranges in New Jersey or other areas outside of New York City.  In theory, the Court could "skirt" the Second Amendment issues in the case and make no ruling on whether the regulation violates the right to "bear arms"

The best possible outcome, is that the Court finally states in no uncertain terms, that a political entity cannot ban the ability for an individual to "bear arms" outside the home for self defense.   This would then finally open the door for action against states like California, who so severely restrict the ability to carry a firearm that in effect the bearing of arms is banned. That would make this a "landmark" ruling, while in the other scenarios, the case will fade to "nothing."   Of course, this case will have to be heard.  As of this time, this case is scheduled to be heard in October 2019 and it may be June 2020 before we find out how the Court will rule.


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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Nation Reborn or The Gathering of the Flock

On May 14, 1948 an event occurred that had never happened in the history of the planet- a nation which had been destroyed by Hadrian in 136 AD, and a people who had been scattered to the four winds returned- and declared their Independence.  On May 15, 1948, the British Military lowered the Union Jack throughout the “Mandate of Palestine” (which was not then, nor anytime before then a nation) and turned over forts and arms- not to the roughly 500,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors and immigrants from countries which had slaughtered Jews for centuries, who had bought swamp and desert and turned it into fields of grains and orchards of fruit- but to the 50 Million Arabs who had refused the United Nations partition plan and instead pledged before the UN nothing less than the eradication of all remaining Jews or nothing less than a rebirth of the Holocaust and completing Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”


On May 15, 1948, the Israeli War of Independence began. 


The Prophet Jeremiah (23:3) had foretold  the Lord “will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have scattered them and will bring them back to their own land which I, the Lord, hath given them.”  


Israeli F-16’s in flyby of Masada - IDF ImageThe Army’s of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon may have expected “the remnant of My flock” to be like “lambs to the slaughter” - and every military leader and expert in the world expected Israel to we wiped from the map within days or weeks.  Instead of meek and timid “lambs” the united Arab armies encountered a “flock” that was more like “Bighorn Rams” in the autumn rut.  The small bands of Haganah, Palmauch, and Irgun fought to hold every inch of land and in many places fought to the very last man, woman or child.  


The Israelis of course won the War of Independence, and it would be nice to end with “they all lived happily ever after,” but in many ways that war has continued in battles like the Six Day War, or Yom Kippur, or the untold number of times organized armies of Arab states, and terrorist organizations have attempted to complete “the Final Solution.” 


And yet, Israel remains. 


"I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. - Jeremiah 23:4



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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day- NOT Happy Fourth

By Matt Carden

For the last couple of years I have reposted this article on Independence Day-  Today it seems even more relevant-
"We hold these truths to be self evident..."

Several times already this week, I have heard something that bothers me. It is not "spin" on particular legislation. It is not the latest theory of why a Justice voted the way he or she did. It is not an interpretation of some obscure policy or Executive Order.

It is being wished a "Happy 4th of July"
"...that All men are created equal..."

Over the years, it seems to me that almost every one of our Holidays has lost some of its meaning. Merry Christmas has been replaced by Happy Holidays in an effort to become more "sensitive" and "politically correct." Thanksgiving has become less about a day of thanks and time with family and more about looking at the store ads, who is opening when for Black Friday, and what is the plan to make the most of the biggest shopping day of the year. Memorial Day has ceased to be a day where we remember the fallen, or visit the graves of the departed, and has become "the Official Launch of Summer."

Unfortunately, as have gone these aforementioned days, so is going Independence Day.
"...and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Of all Holiday's on the American Calendar, Independence Day is unique. With Independence Day, no American can complain of "religious" overtones as they do with Christmas and for a few Thanksgiving. It is not about whether one supports the Troops or necessarily remembering those who gave "the last full measure of devotion." It is not a day where we celebrate our right to freely assemble and associate ourselves with others like us to demand concessions in the workplace (Labor Day- for those who have forgotten the original intent of that day as well). Nor is it a day set aside for the celebration of the foundations of Christianity.

Rather it is the day we set aside to Celebrate the declaration of those Rights that include our Freedoms to Celebrate or Protest all other Holidays.
"...that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness..."

Independence Day is just that…the day where we celebrate our Independence. Recently, a radio show I listen to was talking about the US Citizenship test that immigrants are required to pass before they become citizens and how many natural born Citizens would fail that test. That conversation caused me to question how many know what it is we celebrate on Independence Day.
"...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the Governed..."

We are not celebrating the beginning of the Revolution- that began in 1775. We are not celebrating the birth of our Republic, as the Republic was not truly formed until the Constitution was ratified in 1789. We are not even celebrating the founding of our Government, for it can well be argued that our first Government, under the Articles of Confederation, was a dismal failure. Most surprising of all, we are not even celebrating the day when the Continental Congress voted to Declare Independence from the Crown (John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail after the vote to declare independence, “The second of July 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival”). New York did not approve the Declaration until July 19, 1776, and the actual signing (for most of the signers) was on August 2, 1776.
“...That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it..."

We celebrate Independence Day on July 4th because on that day the final wording was approved, and the document was sent to be printed and distributed to We the People.

Independence Day is about Freedom. It is about Self-Evident Freedoms which are Endowed to us by our Creator-not given to us by Man. It is about those freedoms which are both Enumerated and Unenumerated in our Constitution and exercised each and every day by each and every one of us, no matter our Political, Religious, or other affiliations.
“...But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security..."

It is about the hundreds of thousands who shed their blood and gave their lives, to fight for the very freedoms we exercise when we disagree with each other and our Government. It is about Celebrating the right to express ourselves and our differences.

And yes, it is about Celebrating the Freedom to say, “Happy 4th of July” instead of “Happy Independence Day.”

Gone are the days when Independence Day was "commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty;" when the day was celebrated by the whole town, gathering in the square, listening to a reading of the Declaration of Independence; A day "solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other."
“…That these united Colonies, are and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States…"

But the reason for our celebrations remain, the Divine and Self-Evident right, endowed to us by our Creator, to be Free and Independent.

So the next time someone wishes a “Happy 4th,” reply, “Happy Independence Day”
“…for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes , and our sacred Honor.”

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yes, It IS Hot in Phoenix! (what else is new?)

By Matt Carden

Every year about this time, it is the same-- the excitement, the frenzy, the panic, the flurry of news stories all about one thing that is completely unchanging. It is hot in Phoenix.

It is treated as “breaking news,” as if this was an unusual occurrence. It is the topic of conversation- specially among those new to the valley. People inside buildings enjoying the cool comfort of air conditioning, are constantly checking the internet to see what the temperature is outside, whether they will go outside or not. Inevitably, some television producer will attempt to fry and egg on sidewalk, and someone, somewhere will make some “apologetic” comment about “at least it’s a dry heat”- as though that really makes a difference over 118F (in the shade mind you). Someone else will say, “But with the wind-chill it only feels like 114.” And finally someone else during the day will say “It’s only 48…Celsius”-which helps only as long as it takes to do the math or take a deep breath outside.

The fact is, this is Phoenix. This is the Sonoran Desert. In the summer, it is hot.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a Phoenix Native. As a young boy I ran across the “blacktop” barefoot, my friends and I ran around the neighborhood with our toy guns, playing “army.” We climbed trees. We rode bikes. We ran through sprinklers in our shorts, we swam in the neighbor’s pool, and we even drank water straight from the hose. Somehow we survived. Perhaps what contributed to our survival was KPHO-TV 5 in Phoenix ran “Wallace & Ladmo” (you have to have been from here) at 3 pm, and most of us were inside watching TV by the time the heat really hit between 3-4 (the hottest part of the day here is about 3:30-4:00 pm- not just after noon like in many places). Or perhaps it was we knew that the biggest part of staying cool was to come in out the heat- black and white TV or no.

I do suppose the one good thing about having days like this, is it dispels the notion from “foreigners” (people from states other than Arizona) that for some reason we actually need daylight savings time here—We DON’T. After all, who needs an extra hour of 118 in the shade!

Advice from someone who grew up here--- Keep hydrated, keep out of the sun, and stay indoors!!!
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Monday, January 16, 2017

#CitizenshipForHeroes

By Matt Carden
with Eric Chamberlain

Yesterday, we wrote the story of Marine LCpl Jose F. Jimenez, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who will be laid to rest next to his mother, in Glendale, Arizona.  But, in that story, we did not discuss the issue of receiving citizenship in this country, after serving honorably in the armed forces.

Should non-citizens who serve Honorably in the US Military be granted United States Citizenship if they request it? Of course.  Really, this should be a non-partisan issue.

We have a LONG military tradition of NON- Citizens serving in our Military- dating back to the War of Independence.

Major General Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Inspector General of the Army and later Chief of Staff was not made a US Citizen until well after the end of the Revolution- by acts of Pennsylvania and New York. His development of the entire training program for the Continental Army changed the War, as the Battle of Monmouth showed.  It can also be argued, the Baron was also the first known "gay member of the military"- as he had been dismissed from other countries militaries, for having "taken 'liberties'" with young men. Gen. Washington must not have cared.

Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski  (born Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of Ślepowron (Poland)) was a nobleman who joined the Continental Army at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin.  Not only is he known for saving the life of George Washington, but also for reforming, reorganizing and being the 'father' of the American Cavalry.  He was killed in action during the Siege of Savannah, October 11, 1779.  Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski was granted Honorary Citizenship, in a resolution of Congress authorizing the President to make the honorary grant in 2009.

Major General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette did not fight under the French Army in the American Revolution- but under the Continental Army. At age 19 defied the orders of King Louis XVI and came to America to fight and was wounded in battle in the Revolution. He remained though a citizen of France.

The Marquis de Lafayette was finally granted Honorary Citizenship, by an Act of Congress in 2002.  Although his body lies in France, he is buried under both French and American soil.  His son, Georges Washington de La Fayette, covered his father's coffin with dirt gathered from Bunker Hill, honoring his father's wish, as a Hero of Two Nations.   He is buried in Picpus Cemetery in Paris.

On July 4, 1917, after the American Expeditionary Force arrived in France to fight WWI, General "Blackjack" Pershing, and his aides went to Picpus Cemetery in Paris.  The words, "Lafayette, We are here!" were uttered.

At the end of World War I, an American Flag was raised over Lafayette's grave.  Every year since, on at 11:00 a.m. July 4, there is a ceremony in Paris, by members of French and US Military and American & French dignitaries, for the Changing of the America Flag over the tomb of Lafayette.  Both La Marseillaise and the Star Spangled Banner are played as well as Taps and Aux Morts, and then representatives from the US Military lower the American Flag, and raise a new one.

LCpl Jose F. Jimenez was in the US legally.  He may not even technically been an immigrant, legal or not, since his mother worked for the Mexican Consulate-he would have been considered a member of a family under a diplomatic law. But really, who cares what his legal status was? He is an American Hero who wanted to be an American "payback" the Country he had grown to love. That, he definitely did, and more.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan wrote to Basillia Jimenez, the mother of LCpl Jimenez. “He gave his life for his buddies and for the United States. His was the Marine Corps creed, ‘Semper Fidelis’ (always faithful), and I know you have that spirit.”

There are eight people who have been named honorary citizens of the United States- only two while they were still alive- Mother Theresa and Winston Churchill.  In addition to the ones already named, Swedish diplomat Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg  - who saved tens of thousands of Jews in the Holocaust, Bernardo de Gálvez - for services in the Revolution while serving under the Army of Spain, and William and Hannah Penn - founders of Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, WE CALL ON the ENTIRE Arizona Congressional Delegation of the House, from BOTH sides of the aisle, to rise on the Floor of the House and ask Senator's McCain and Flake to stand in the Well of the Senate and propose that LCpl Jose Francisco Jimenez, USMC, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honour, who gave, as President Lincoln said, "the last full measure of devotion" for a country that was not even his; be granted honorary Citizenship in the United States of America, by an immediate Act of Congress.   

Every recipient of the Highest Honor the United States can bestow, the Congressional Medal of Honor, should be immediately be named a citizen of this country if he or she wants to be... and Congress should make any who are still not citizens, honorary citizens at least...

Really, it is the least we can do...

#CitizenshipForHeros



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Sunday, January 15, 2017

CMH Recipient Finally "Coming Home" to Arizona

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, LCpl Jose Francisco Jimenez, USMC, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, will be buried with full military honors at Glendale Memorial Park, in Glendale, Arizona.  He is being re-interred, from a cemetery near Mexico City, where he had been born.  He is finally "coming home" to a country he adopted, and country he loved, to rest next to his mother.

Jose's mother, Basillia Jimenez, was employed by the Mexican government, working in Arizona.  His family moved to Arizona when he was 10. He graduated from Red Rock Elementary School, Red Rock, AZ in June of 1964.  Jose then graduated from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in Eloy, AZ in June of 1968.

Jose had friends from high school who had been drafted. He had other friends who had volunteered for military service.  Although, as a Mexican national, whose mother worked for the Mexican government, he had no risk of ever being drafted, and had no moral obligation or duty to fight for the United States, he wanted too.  He loved the United States, and chose to defend her.  He volunteered to join the United States Marine Corp.

That choice would send him to Vietnam, where he was Fire Team Leader with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. On 28 August 1969, he was killed in action, fighting for his "adopted country."
LCpl Jose F. Jimenez, USMC

After Jose was killed in action, in 1969, he was buried in a cemetery near his place of birth, in Morela, Mexico.  It would take 17 years for the headstone, provided by the United States and designating him as a Medal of Honor recipient to reach him.  In 1969, his family could not afford to have the 135 pound  granite stone shipped to Mexico.  After learning of this in a news story, Marines who had served with Jose, and many who didn't, arranged to have his family, and the headstone sent to Morela.

A service for LCpl Jimenez was held in 1987, according to a story in the Arizona Republic. Sixty people attended a graveside service along with a Marine Corps honor guard- although there was some controversy, because of tensions between Mexico and the United States over the Vietnam War. President Ronald Reagan wrote a personal letter to Basillia Jimenez, Jose's mother, consoling her for her loss. It was read at the small ceremony.  President Reagan said, “He gave his life for his buddies and for the United States. His was the Marine Corps creed, ‘Semper Fidelis’ (always faithful), and I know you have that spirit.”

After the death of his mother, Basillia, the family wanted him to be moved to the United States, to be buried next to her in Glendale, but could not afford to do so. Individual Marines, active, reserve, retired, Marine families and others, learned of Jose's families wishes. They contributed and helped arrange to have LCpl Jimenez "come home" to Glendale, to rest next to his mother.

Medal of Honor citation for LCpl Jose F. Jimenez, USMC reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Fire Team Leader with Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 28 August 1969. On that date Lance Corporal Jimenez' unit came under heavy attack by North Vietnamese Army, soldiers concealed in well-camouflaged, emplacements. Lance Corporal Jimenez reacted by seizing the initiative and plunging forward toward the enemy positions. He personally destroyed several enemy personnel and silenced an antiaircraft weapon. Shouting encouragement to his companions, Lance Corporal Jimenez continued his aggressive forward movement. He slowly maneuvered to within ten feet of hostile soldiers who were firing automatic weapons from a trench and, in the face of vicious enemy fire, destroyed the position. Although he was by now the target of concentrated fire from hostile gunners intent upon halting his assault, Lance Corporal Jimenez continued to press forward. As he moved to attack another enemy soldier, he was mortally wounded. Lance Corporal Jimenez' indomitable courage, aggressive fighting spirit and unfaltering devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

And this Tuesday, he will finally be laid to rest, in HIS country.

#CitizenshipForHeroes




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Friday, January 13, 2017

New Cold War? Russia and NATO Moving Troops, ICBMS, Tanks to East Europe

By Matt Carden

Being born in the late 1960's, I remember the Cold War well.   I clearly remember the tensions of the 70's and 80's.   I remember the 1983 shootdown of KAL007 by the Soviets and the tensions it caused.

I remember almost every movement of "the Doomsday Clock" (since the late 70's) and how in 1984 it was moved to "3 Minutes to Midnight"- the closest the Clock got to midnight since 1953 while Stalin was still in power.

I remember Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and finally Mikhail Gorbachev.

I remember arguing for a grade school "persuasive paper" the superiority of be B-1 to the B-52.

I remember Titan II missiles outside Tucson, Arizona, and knowing if I ever saw streaks in the sky to the south of Phoenix, arcing from ground toward the north and eventually across the pole, I would probably have less than 30 minutes to live- maybe a bit longer, depending on being killed in the original nuclear blasts that would surely target Scottsdale, Glendale, and Tucson, Arizona-- Tucson, being the location of multiple missile silo's until the mid 1980's, Glendale because of Luke Air Force base-- the largest fighter training base in the US at the time, and Scottsdale due to the number of companies involved in strategic arms development.  

I remember my dad working for Strategic Electronics Operations at Motorola, and knowing that whatever my dad was working on was "need to know"- and I didn't- but still knowing it was all related to classified military technology. I remember the names MX Peacekeeper, Titan and,Minuteman and even in grade school knowing what "overkill" was.

I remember "The Day After" and how the entire country was talking about it (my wife's family owned the Lawrence, Kansas farm where the movie was partially filmed).

We didn't know at the time how close we actually came-- much closer than even the Cuban Missile Crisis-- to total nuclear war with the Soviets in November 1983-- two months after KAL007, and ironically about the same time "The Day After" was aired.  The Soviets under Andropov had been running Operation RYAN- an attempt to learn if the US was planning a nuclear strike.  A NATO training exercise- ABLE ARCHER 83, caused the Soviets to believe we were about to strike- and the Soviets started preparing for a preemptive nuclear strike.

I also remember the night "the Wall" fell-- and then the lowering of the Flag of the Soviet Union on Christmas, 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The Cold War had ended without nuclear exchange, and the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

Why do I mention all this Cold War History?  Partially because those in their 30's and younger do not have the same memories of what it was to live during the Cold War.  We have no common reference between those who spent the first twenty years of their life or more during the Cold War, and those who have grown up after.  But, I also mention it because, although history does not repeat itself, it often rhymes a lot.

In December, I wrote of how the Russian hacking discussion was being overplayed to distract the public.   Since then we have had more and more information that allegedly has come from Russia that has captured headlines- this time about President-Elect Trump.   

I am convinced now more than ever before, that the public is being distracted, perhaps intentionally, to keep people from noticing that the the Cold War may be back, and we maybe creeping closer to conflict with Russia. 

Numerous indicators of heightening tensions are beginning to appear.   Recently, Moscow announced the deployment of four new Strategic Missile Regiments to the Western end of the the country.  These four regiments are equipped with the RS-24 YARS ICBM, with each missile holding ten MIRV's (independently targeted warheads).   

A regiment of SA-21 Growlers has been deployed to Moscow.  These missiles are an advanced SAM (Surface-to-Air-Missile) system that Russia claims is capable of destroying ballistic and cruise missiles as well as aircraft.  Four more regiments will be deployed to the Western Military District of Russia this year.  Details of the SA-21 (S-400 is it's Russian Designation) can be found here.  The SA-21 is mobile and can fire about 96 missiles.  
SA-21 Growlers

One of the more "interesting" facts coming out of Moscow, is the SA-21 Growler regiment deployed to the west of Moscow, was announced on January 11, 2017; This is the same day word was getting out about NATO Troops were arriving in Europe

Russia also announced the increase of military hardware and personnel for the Baltic, as well as for the west and southwest this year.  The Russian mobile SS-26 short-range ballistic missile system (Russian name - Iskander) has also been deployed in the region, as well as the SS-C-5 Stooge anti-ship missile system (Russian name - Bastion).

In December, Russia promised Serbia 30 T-72 Battle Tanks, and six MiG-29 aircraft and 30 other combat vehicles.   These are all from Russian reserve equipment stores.

On the NATO side, the Czech military has contributed troops and equipment, from the 74th lightweight Motorized Battalion to Training Bridge 2017.  Not only will Czech troops exercise in Slovakia, but also in the Baltic States of  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  Czech troops will be training along with Lithuanian troops over the next two months- being joined soon by Slovkian, Polish and Hungarian troops.

Yesterday, the 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division crossed into Poland. The commander of the unit stated on arriving in Poland “I have no doubt we will credibly deter any threat in the area....It doesn’t take long to put it (my unit) together and get ready to fight." This Armoured Brigade will be deployed around Poland, with exercises again in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well.

In February, the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, based in Fort Drum, N.Y. will move to Europe, with 50 Blackhawks, 10 Chinooks, and 1,800 troops. An additional 400 personnel and 24 Apaches from a Ft. Bliss aviation battalion will be attached to the 10th CAB.

The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, will be operating out of  Romania and Bulgaria as part of Operation, and in April- unless moved sooner- a squadron from the 2nd Armoured will be moving into northeast Poland.

The commander of US European Command, General Curtis Scaparrotti stated, “The European infrastructure and integrated support has enabled our force to rapidly be ready and postured should they need to deter Russian aggression.” (emphasis added).

The British and Canadians are sending 2000 troops to Estonia and Latvia.

A NATO Brigade formed under German Command is set to deploy to Poland and the Baltics this month as well. A German-led armored battalion is being deployed in Lithuania for the first time since WW2. This will be seen as extremely provocative by Russia.   German Troops entering Poland toward the Russian boarder will definitely catch the Kremlin's attention- as well as the attention of the majority of Russia.  Russia and Germany fought two wars last century WW1 and WW2- with millions and millions of both Russians and Germans killed.

An additional movement of US Troops is also historic.  Wednesday, a  reinforced company of US Marines has been landed in Norway.  They will participate in Arctic Training (they couldn't train in the Alaskan training bases?)  Additionally they will be deployed to Baltic states.  This is the first time foreign troops have been deployed to Norway since WW2.  In October, when this planned deployment was announced, Russia informed Norway they would become a nuclear target should the Marines deploy.

The deployment of the US Troops alone, not to mention the additional six NATO Brigades, makes up the largest troop deployment to Europe since the end of the Cold War.   Moscow is feeling threatened.

Although this troop movement was under planning since earlier in 2016, deployment was not scheduled until after the inauguration. Interestingly, the move started November 7, 2016, the day before the election,  However, three days later the President Elect and President met, and foreign policy must have been discussed at some point. Further, the President Elect (and his transition team) start receiving very detailed national security briefings after the election.  Gen. Mattis and SecState Nominee Tillerson have both made statements within the last two days that are hawkish towards Russia, with Gen. Mattis stating he supported permanent troop deployments to the Baltics and that Russia must be "confronted."

The movement of troops is not cheap- either financially or politically.  As late as last October, there were budget questions on whether the 3ABCT/4ID would be deployed at all.   Further, it would be disastrous for US Foreign Policy- as well as to NATO- for this deployment to occur this close to a change of US Administrations, only to have it reversed after January 20, 2017 at noon Eastern Time.

The only possible conclusion that can be drawn is that although President Obama ordered the initial movements, President-Elect Trump is on board, and will continue the deployments.  The hacking news, as well as the latest "sexually explicit" releases from the media, are only serving to distract the public from the bigger story- the massive movement of troops near the Russian border.

Welcome to the "New Cold War."


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