Thursday, December 29, 2016

Concurring (From the Left)- Two China's-Not One

I have recently read Mr. Carden’s article “Two Chinas- Not One” in his blog the Carden Chronicle’s. 
I have known Mr. Carden for many years.  He sees the world from a much more conservative view point than I do,  I am a self-described liberal,  I am sure he is not.  Despite the fact that on many levels our politics are very different, it is amazing how much common ground still remains.  This is true of our view of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  In this article, he calls for standing up to the People’s Republic and for the recognizing of the Republic of China (Taiwan).  Let me look at his reasoning and try to determine if there is common ground in this area.

The article states a list of reasons  why the Republic of China is far more deserving than the People’s Republic of China to receive benefits from doing business with the US.  He lists the fact that it is a democracy, this seems to be tough criteria for the United States to apply in the world we find ourselves  today.  The US has to ask itself if this is something that we should support on its own merit, too many times we are faced with the choice between a pro- United States dictator or a Democratically chosen Jihadist government.  The article also goes on to argue, Taiwan being capitalist should be considered in its favor.  Capitalism is not a philosophy that creates friendships, it puts countries in competition.  Mr. Carden then goes on to describe conditions in the People’s Republic of China both currently and historically, and this is where Mr. Carden and I find our common ground.  The People’s Republic of China has a long track record of being on the wrong side of human rights. The PRC is a place where workers have no rights.  They work six days a week in poor conditions and work 12 or more hours a day.  There is no such thing as overtime in the PRC or the right to collective bargaining.  The PRC also has a horrible track record on women’s rights. For decades the People’s Republic had a one child rule.  Yes, abortion was legal in China, but not because they believe in a woman’s right to choose.  No, it was very much the opposite, a woman could not have a second child in the People’s Republic, they are forced to kill their unborn child without any say. And just months after PRC reverses policy on one child, they go after Guo a lawyer once recognized as a champion for woman, the PRC in February of this year closed her NGO after 20 years of providing legal service to poor woman in Hong Kong.  Woman’s rights have always been on attack in the PRC. As the article states there is also no freedom of speech or right to dissent in the PRC, those of us who were alive have no trouble remembering  the scene at Tianaman Square. For those who were not alive the Peoples Republic of China attacked protesters at “the gate of heavenly peace” killing hundreds and perhaps thousands.  It is estimated that over 10,000 people were arrested for doing nothing more than peacefully protesting.  The People’s Republic also does not give its people the right to worship freely as they choose.  Even removing democracy and capitalism from the list laid out by  Mr. Carden it is still a very large list of reasons to oppose the PRC.

Workers’ Rights, woman’s rights, the rights of a free press, freedom to worship or not worship how you please and the right to peaceably disagree with your government are lynch pins of the progressive or liberal agenda.  The People’s Republic does not just limit one of these but all of them.  As a liberal I agree with Mr. Carden and say it is time we quit doing business with the People’s Republic and also that we formerly recognize Republic of China.  It is very simply the right thing to do.  And as Mr. Carden states PRC will react, and taking a stand will cost us something but America has never been afraid to stand up and be counted on to side with what is right.

The “Two China’s- Not One” article goes on to say we should give the jobs that are currently in the PRC to the Republic of China.   While this is not a bad idea, after all Taiwan is a friend of America and is in a very strategic place for US interest in the region. I think this misses an opportunity to address another issue.  Both those on the right and the left believe in doing something on the subject of illegal immigration from Mexico.  Whether you believe in a limited amnesty program or building a wall and beginning deportation, they are treatments to the problem but are not the cure.  Mexico needs a growing economy that puts its own people to work.  Many immigrants from Mexico do not want to leave behind families and home to work in the United States but the lack of quality jobs forces them to do so in order to provide for their families.  If we took the manufacturing jobs that are currently taking place in the People’s Republic and moved them to Mexico we could significantly bolster the Mexican economy and help create a Mexico that can employ its own people.  The question many might ask is how much will this cost the American consumer.  Or to put it another way how much more will my Arizona Cardinals jersey or a new DVD cost if we do this.  Surely Mexican workers would make more money a Chinese worker?  I originally thought I would have to make the argument that yes it would cost more but it is a small price to pay but the truth is when researching this question, I found some interesting information.

A study by the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas at El Paso shows factory wages in Juárez are among the lowest in Mexico, and plant manager salaries are among the highest. When compared to manufacturing wages in China, Mexico is now 40 percent cheaper.

The jobs can be moved to Mexico without labor costs skyrocketing.  If the US does move the manufacturing taking place in the Peoples Republic of China it is an opportunity to raise wages and create jobs in Mexico which is the best long term approach to dealing with illegal immigration into the United States.  I believe doing so would not only send a strong message to the People’s Republic but allow us to address a critical issue effecting the United States at home.
The United States has failed to stand up to the People’s Republic for far too long.  It is time to support Taiwan and Mexico and call out a repressive regime for what it is.  And this is an area that Americans can find common ground and reject gridlock.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Change in Format- Encouraging Civil Discourse and Debate

Since 2003, I have hosted maintained and written the Carden Chronicles. For that time, I have
maintained the site providing my personal view on politics, world events, the Court and other stories that are current in the news cycle. In addition I've done stories that are often more investigative in nature.  In 2007, I chose to move the Carden Chronicles to the Blogger platform. Since that time I have been privileged to have over 130,000 "views" of the articles I have posted.  In general, I can say the majority of my readers lean politically to the right, and in many of my articles I am perhaps "preaching to the choir"

However since before the November election,  I've noted various stories in the media that have had me "concerned."

There have been stores about unrest, about the chaos with the US election, and about other elections going on throughout the world. In addition we have seen a variety of uprisings such as the attempted coup d'état in Turkey.

What caught me as unusual, is that some of my friends on both sides of the aisle- Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, have all noticed the same thing. On Facebook in particular I have seen several posts from people I highly respect on referring to and comparing today with 1914 and the "Guns of August" or the time between World War I and World War II. I have seen a great deal of anger expressed, and unexpressed. What I have not seen, is good civil discourse on the issues that are plaguing the world today.

As such, I have decided to use my blog, the Carden Chronicles, as a forum for dialogue and discourse; a way to encourage civilized conversation about politics, The Court, the Executive, Legislative, and world events. I have invited some new authors to join me on in this endeavour.

The authors I have asked to join me, represent different political views, some moderate, some liberal, and of course the conservative viewpoint.

Like the greatest Court and our land, the articles presented will not just have an opinion, but concurring opinions and dissenting opinions. My hope is that through this we can create and use this site as a forum for civil discourse; a forum for expressing opposing view points; a forum where we find perhaps we are more alike than we are different.

To all readers who have been following me over the years, I hope you will not be disappointed and will continue to follow this site.

To our new readers and to our new authors, I bid you welcome. I encourage your feedback your comments and civil discourse and debate.
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Scapegoating Russia to Deflect The Public

The US Government and FBI says a Russian Group was trying to hack the DNC since well before September 2015.   The FBI warned the DNC several times in September 2015 that they were being targeted.

Now supposedly this was all to help Donald Trump.  The problem with the story is that there were still a dozen or more candidates on the GOP side at that time.  So the Russians somehow knew in June-August 2015 when the first attacks started, that Donald Trump would be the nominee of the GOP out of 17 candidates?  The Russians knew before the first primary or caucus that Trump would get the nod?

Really? That was very insightful of them.  They knew who would drop out and who wouldn't and when.

Of course Matt Stone and Trey Parker did a South Park episode of Garrison as Trump last year- Maybe South Park is also connected to Russian Intelligence hacking ops?!

Or maybe the hacking was just hacking meant to embarrass the US, and the DNC's systems were broken into before the RNC's.

The attacks against the DNC were the oldest in the book, phishing attacks- the email you get from a hacker that says your bank account has been accessed, please change your PIN here.  This type of attack has been around for forever in the IT world and people are constantly warned of this type attack.  The DNC said we are a poor non-profit, we can't afford all the security systems we need- except there are plenty of freeware tools they could have used.

The one thing we HAVEN'T heard- that any of the emails were fake or that the data was wrong.

We have heard the Russians tried to hack the DNC to help Trump (when there were 17 candidates on the GOP side) and we've heard the MEDIA should not have published the emails, because the media knew they were acquired "illegally". We didn't hear the President say that about the illegal acquisition of Donald Trump's tax returns though.  We also have yet to hear that the information in the emails, such as pay to play at the state department was wrong or faked.

Maybe instead of blaming the Russians for accessing incriminating information, the DNC should be looking at itself and consider the possibility that maybe it shouldn't have been doing things that would be considered incriminating in the first place.

Blaming the Russians at this point is no different than saying it's the Washington Post's fault that Watergate occurred.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Two China's - Not One

It's been a week or so since the President-Elect spoke to the President of Taiwan.  The world has not ended and so far all we are hearing is a US Automaker (unnamed) is going to be penalized.  Besides a lot of drum beating and chest pounding the PRC has little it can do.  


It is time we come to terms with the fact that there are TWO CHINAS (and my post just got blocked in one of them) - the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan).   
The People's Republic of China are communists, and  
People's Republic of China Flag
have in the recent past forced abortions on women who violated the one child policy (up to an including killing full term children just before it took its first breath), suppresses religion brutally, executed God only knows how many in Tianaman Square and is responsible for more executions than old Adolf.  


The Republic of China (Taiwan) is the last hold out of the
Republic of China (Taiwan) Flag
last legitimate government of China led by Chaing Kai-Shek.    When the Mao Revolution came after WWII, the government fled to Taiwan- the last Chinese territory.  This would be analogous to a rebellion in the US. The President & Government flees to Hawaii and continues to call Hawaii the USA while the lower 48 changes its name to the "Associated States of America" - same idea.


The Republic of China, is for all practical purposes a democracy. Many people in that small island speak English. When I visited Taipei, I was stunned at the number of churches-practically one on every corner if not more. The "Bible Belt" seems to have fewer churches than the Republic of China.  The Republic of China believes in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press -unlike their communist brethren across the Taiwan Strait. 


Perhaps even more importantly, the Republic of China believes in capitalism not communism. There is absolutely nothing which we import from the PRC that we could not get from the ROC.
The human rights abuses in The Peoples Republic of China alone should be enough for the United States to stop doing business with them. We have a huge trade deficit with the PRC, and they need our money much more than we need their trinkets. Thailand, Japan, the Republic of China, and many other places in Asia would gladly pick up the business if we stopped sending our money to China (PRC). 


If we were to acknowledge the Republic of China-Taiwan-as its own country, yes the PRC would react. Aircraft orders from Boeing would be canceled. Equipment orders from Catapillar would be canceled. There may be even a ban on the sale of US vehicles in China.
But by acknowledging Taiwan, the Republic of China, as its own government, we would be sending the strongest message that we could. America stands for self-determination, for freedom of speech, for freedom of expression, for freedom of religion, and for freedom of the press- concepts on which our country was founded.


Acknowledging the Republic of China, would cause a reaction from the peoples Republic of China.  Would they launch nuclear missiles at the United States? Probably not. They would shut their doors to us. But the fact still remains, that our trade agreements with the Peoples Republic of China, and the products we buy from the Peoples Republic of China are not being purchased from private enterprise for the most part, they are being purchased from government owned factories. The Peoples Republic of China is after all a communist country. 


We must stop supporting a government that in-prisons
Unknown man stopping tanks in Tienanmen Square
or executes people for having religious beliefs, that in-prisons or executes people for speaking out against their government, that prevents freedom of speech, that prevents freedom of expression-even to the point of having a national firewall to block anything on the Internet they don't like-and that will execute people, for no other reason then what those people think. We saw it at Tiananmen Square. We saw it during the Cultural Revolution.  We saw it during the "Great Leap Forward", where 45 million people were starved beaten or worked to death. Most outshines Hitler, and Stalin, in the number of people he had executed...in fact neither Hitler or Stalin come close to Mao's numbers.  


The difference between Hitler or Stalin and Mao? The country of Germany and even the country of Russia admit Hitler and Stalin committed mass atrocities- and that they were evil men, while the People's Republic of China, bows and "worships" at the feet of Mao, and carries his "Little Red Book" in the pocket over their hearts. 


It's time we stop playing games. It's time for us to call the Peoples Republic Of China what it is, and the Republic of China what it is. They are separate countries. 


There is more than just one China. 















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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bolton's Warning to Obama on Israel and the UN

Sunday, the new administration provided the out going administration a warning, via former Ambassador John Bolton.  The warning- LEAVE ISRAEL ALONE - don't pull any "stunts" before you leave office.

The "stunts" the new administration, and I personally am concerned about, a UN Resolution demanding a return to the "pre-1967" ceasefire lines, or acknowledgement of Palestine as a nation.   The second is a grave concern, but the first would be tantamount to a betrayal of every Jew around the world.  Both would be a betrayal by the US of an ally and the only true democracy with freedom of speech, religion and the press in the region- as well as the only country in the area where gays and lesbians can live without fear of arrest, torture and possible execution, and the only country in that area where women have the same rights and freedoms as men.   Israel, after all, elected the World's fourth female Prime Minister, Golda Meir, years before the British would elect Margaret Thatcher.

When President Obama first took office, I was not as concerned about Israel, because Rahm Emanuel was Chief of Staff.  Mayor Emanuel left the US in 1991 to serve with the Israeli Defense Forces in the Gulf War.   Rahm Emanuel's father, Benjamin Emanuel, was born in Jerusalem.  His uncle was killed in the revolts and riots in 1933 in Jerusalem, ordered by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,  Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, after he had consulted with the Nazi German  Consulate in Jerusalem.   Benjamin Emanuel was a member of the Irgun- a pre-1948 highly militant pro-Jewish organization that the British labeled a "terrorist" organization.   Where the Haganah (the other major pre-1948 Jewish "militia") would smuggle arms and people into the country, the Irgun was more "active" - such as blowing up the British military headquarters at the King David Hotel.   Rahm Emanuel's pro-Israeli stance is at least for me, one I would not question.   Since he left the White House, I have been concerned.

There are two things with regard to Ambassador Bolton's statement today and President Obama's prior statements that must be made perfectly clear.   First, a return to the pre-1967 borders, which President Obama has advocated in the past, means one specific surrender of territory which will not be tolerated by the Likud Party, Zionist, many Orthodox, many Christians and may start a war.  Returning to pre-1967 borders means the SURRENDER OF JERUSALEM, and the Western, or Wailing Wall.   Other portions of the West Bank are not as "volatile" of an issue.  Jerusalem is a flashpoint.  The Golan Heights, seized also in 1967, are of paramount strategic importance, as these mountains, prior to the 1967 Six Day War were used to hammer settlements in the Galilee region with artillery from Syrian gun emplacements.

Secondly, and perhaps the most inconvenient truth of the matter, is there has NEVER BEEN A NATION OF PALESTINE.  What would be done would be to create a new nation called Palestine which historically has never been a nation.  To explain, a review of world history is required.

We know Israel existed under King David.   This is now proven history with archeological backing outside the Bible.   The Tel-Dan Stele Inscription speaks of a battle won by the King of the House of David (possibly King Asa but that varies by archeological interpretation).  The same battle is also recounted in I Kings.  Israel, being the crossroads of Africa and Asia, and having a huge salt supply (area surrounding the Dead Sea) was in the ancient world of great strategic importance, and was subject to being attacked by every nation from Egypt under Pharaoh Sheshonq (Shishak), to the Babylonian and Persian Empires, to Alexander the Great (and the Ptolemy's) to the Roman Republic and Empire with periods between the Empires being self ruled.

It was during the 5th Century BC that the Greek historian Herodotus used the term Palaistinē to refer to the lands northeast of Egypt.  This was derived from a Hebrew and Egyptian word, "peleshet" to describe the area occupied by the Philistines.

Under the Second Triumvirate of the Roman Republic, the joint rule of the Empire by Marcus Antoninus (Marc Anthony), Octavian Caesar (later Caesar Augustus) and Lepidus, King Herod the Great was named, by Marc Anthony (eventually approved by Octavian and Lepidus) King of the Jews, with his territory being Judea, Samaria and the Galilee (modern Israel's territory).  King Herod pledged allegiance to Octavian when it became apparent Marc Anthony and Cleopatra were doomed.  Uprisings in 70 AD, led to the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, built by Herod the Great. The uprising culminated with the siege of Masada, by General Flavius Silva.   Empires Hadrian in 118 AD promised a right of return of Jews who had been deported after the previous revolt and a rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Hadrian went back on his promise.  This resulted in the Bar-Kokhba Revolt of 132-135 AD.  After this, Hadrian essentially outlawed Judaism.  Empire Hadrian had maps changed to say PALÆSTINA, to reduce Jewish association with the land.  Like with the Roman persecution and outlaw of Christianity, the religion survived.   Some Jews remained in Israel, but many hundreds of thousands (estimated) were en-slaved and deported across the Roman Empire.  In 330 AD the Roman Empire split into the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, with the eastern eventually being named the Byzantine Empire.  The Byzantine-Sasanian War of 602-628 resulted in the loss of all territory from Egypt to Syria to the Sasanian Empire of Persia.  It should be noted that Jews of Judea, Samaria and Galilee fought against the Byzantine Empire.  The Sasanian Empire came under Muslim rule as this was also the time of the ascendency of the Islamic faith.

The Crusades eventually placed Jerusalem and much of Israel under the rule of the Catholic Church. Godfrey of Bouillon was first King of Jerusalem in this period (although his brother Baldwin I was the first to use title King) with the last being Henry II in 1291. 

In 1299 the Ottoman Empire was established.  Constantinople fell. The lands of modern Israel were part of the Ottoman Empire as were the lands of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, parts of Iraq and lands to the horn of Africa.   The Ottoman-Turk Empire joined with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in WWI against the British Empire, France, and Russia.

Historically, from the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, until the fall of the Ottoman-Turk Empire, no nation of Palestine ever existed.  Under the Ottoman-Turk Empire, the area was called South Syria.  Palestine was a "map label," first used by Rome as an anti-Jewsish measure to eliminate their homeland.  These maps were then used by early the early Catholic Church of the Roman Empire to refer to the Holy Lands. The maps since Hadrian had been using the term Palæstinia, and the Latin Church continued this.

In the late 1800's saw the beginning of the First Aliyah- the return of Jews to Eretz-Israel.  The pogrom's in Russia in the 1880's were a catalyst.  There was also a large migration of the Jewish community of Yemen.  Twenty-eight colonies were established, much of it on swampy land and land considered uninhabitable by Arabs and Jews living in the area at the time (some few Jews have always lived in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas since well before the fall of the Roman Empire and before).   This land was purchased from Arab owners by the Jewish settlers with some funding come from American and European Jewish families.  Colonies founded in this time include two neighborhood s of Tel-Aviv, although this city was not founded until the Second Aliya.  Generally the Ottoman-Turk Empire, and it's Arab citizens lived peaceably with the Jewish Settlers of this period.  The Jewish settlers drained the swamp lands, created irrigation, and generally created a growing agricultural base. The Kibbutzim were also formed. 

World War I, is the heart of the current controversy.   The defeat of the Ottoman-Turk Empire was of great importance to the Allies, as was the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary.   To aid in the defeat, the British entered into two separate and in some ways conflicting agreements- the Balfour Declaration and the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence. 

The Balfour Declaration, made by Lord Balfour, British Foreign Secretary in 1917, and included in the Treaty of Sèvres (the treaty ending the war with the Ottoman-Turk's and the Allied Powers) and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and Trans-Jordan stated:
"His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country"

The purpose behind the Balfour Declaration was to encourage Jews fleeing the pogrom's of Russia and other parts of Europe to join the Jewish Legion, five brigades of the British Army who fought the Ottoman-Turk's.   This was also an attempt to destabilize the Bolshevik's, as there were many Jewish members of the Bolshevik Party, and it was thought this might prevent a Russian withdrawal from the war- or at least encourage Russian Jews to continue fighting.  There is also conjecture that the Balfour Declaration was made to encourage American Jews, of which there were approximately 3 million at the time, to encourage US entry into WWI.  Two of President Wilson's senior advisors, Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter were believed by the British to be avid Zionist.

The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence was a series of letters between Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner of Egypt.   In the correspondence between July 14, 1915 and January 30, 1916, Sir McMahon promised independent nation status to wholly Arab occupied lands in the borders proposed by the Sharif of Mecca.  There were several caveats to this, including that this not interfere with interest of allies of the British Empire, namely France.  

There are two very important points of the McMahon correspondence.  First, the letters named Arab occupied lands.  The area of Jerusalem, as well as the area south and north was not only Arab occupied.  By the time of the correspondence, there were 28 Jewish settlements in the land.  A number of Jews had lived in Jerusalem- since long before the Roman occupation.  Additionally, there was also a Druse population in the area.    

Secondly, even the Sharif of Mecca did not ever use "Palestine" or create an area called Palestine, on the
Map from Sharif of Mecca to Sir McMahon
maps he sent in the McMahon correspondence.  The area around Jerusalem was to be the Independent Sanjuk of Jerusalem. North of Jerusalem, the New Testament Samaria, home of the Good Samaritan, was to be the Sanjuk of Balqa, and the Galilee was to be the Sanjuk of Acre.   This again shows that even in the 1915-1916 time frame, in the agreement for Arab Independence, the leaders of the Arab world did not acknowledge any land known as Palestine nor a people know as Palestinians.   British Colonel T. E. Lawrence, known to most by the name "Lawrence of Arabia" obtained the blessing of the Sharif of Mecca, and raised any Arab army to fight the Turks, in the name of the Sharif's brother Prince Faisal.  Lawrence assured the Arabs they were fighting for a new Arab Nation- which had not existed for hundreds of years.   Lawrence was responsible, at least partially, for uniting the various tribes and was an advocate of Arab independence.

However, prior to both the Balfour Declaration and the McMahon Correspondence, a separate agreement, the Sykes-Picot Agreement.  The agreement was made between France and the British Empire, Russia (pre-Bolshevik Revolution, with notification to Japan, who was a member of the Allied Powers and who had sent hundreds of ships to assist the Allied Powers against the Central Powers and actively engaged the German Imperial Navy in the Pacific and Indian Oceans maintaining Great Britain's sea lines of communication to its Empire, and allowing the British Royal
Sykes-Picot France (A) and Great Britain (B) dividing the MidEast
Navy to be used to control the North Sea and keep the Atlantic open.   Additionally Japan exported several dozen destroyers to France.

The summary of the Sykes-Picot agreement was that it divided the Middle-East between Great Britain, France and Russia.  This agreement was made with Tsar Nicholas' government, and was not disclosed to the Sharif of Mecca in the McMahon Letters.  Lawrence of Arabia denied knowledge of Sykes-Picot to Prince Faisal, although it is possible that Col. Lawrence suspected some agreement as to the division of the Middle-East had been made despite assurances to him, and his assurance to the Arab Tribes.   Sykes-Picot was exposed in 1917 by the Bolsheviks and then western press, after the agreement was found within the papers of the deposed Tsar of Russia.   Prince Faisal was aware of Sykes-Picot when the Arabs under Lawrence took Damascus, and questioned General Allenby about it.  Again, Col. Lawrence stated he had known nothing of Sykes-Picot.

1919 Proposed Eretz-Israel
After the defeat of the Central Powers, the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 began culminating in the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of Sèvres.   Col. Lawrence was present as was Prince Faisal - now King Faisal.  The Balfour Declaration was included within the Treaty of Sèvres which in essence broke up the entire middle east basically into the countries we see today between the French and British.  It should be noted that the "drawing of boundaries" was somewhat arbitrary, without due regard to culture, tribes or other considerations.  "Trans-Jordan" was drawn on the map which included the entirety of the borders of modern Israel and Jordan.  A proposed map of Eretz-Israel was presented at the Paris Conference.  The League of Nations granted the Great Britian the "Palestine Mandate" in 1920 with a portion of the Golan Heights ceded by the French in 1923.

The years between 1919 and 1923 saw the Third Aliyah.  Jewish population was over 90,000.  Land was purchased. Swamps were drained and roads built.  Agriculture increased.  An elected assembly and the Haganah were also established.  Anti-Jewish policies in Poland saw the Fourth Aliyah between 1924 and 1929 with an additional 60,000 Jews permanently settling.  This also saw the expansion of industry and the growth of Tel Aviv.

The rise of the Nazi Party in Germany led to the Fifth Aliyah.  Approximately 230,000 Jews emigrated bringing the total Jewish population to approximately 450,000.  The port of Haifa was constructed.   It was during this time that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem called for violent attacks upon the Jewish population, which until that time had lived generally in peace with local Arabs.  The British referred to these attacks and murders as "disturbances."  This also led to British restrictions on Jewish immigration, which resulted in the Haganah beginning the Aliyah Bet - clandestine immigration.

The main purpose of Aliyah Bet during WWII was the rescue of Jews from European extermination.  During the war years, the Jews again volunteered to fight with the British and the Jewish Brigade was officially organized.  Made up of Zionist and Jews from "Eretz-Israel," the brigade served until it was disbanded in 1946.  After the war, the British limited Jewish immigration to 18,000 per year.  The British also imposed a naval blockade of the coast and forced ships, such as the Exodus with her 4500 passengers, to return to camps in Europe.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem took a radically different course during WWII.  After being expelled by the British in 1937 following the 1936 Riots.   He met with Hitler in 1941, and recruited Muslim men (primarily European Muslims) to join Waffen-SS auxiliary units.  Although he was captured by the French on a War Crimes warrant, he escaped to Egypt and continued working to destroy Israel until his death in 1974.

UN Partition Plan of 1947.
The magnitude of the Holocaust, with the extermination of approximately 6 million Jews, helped sway world opinion that a Jewish Homeland was needed.   The United Nations created a partition plan which was approved by the Jewish Assembly.   This partition was voted on and approved by the United Nations on 29 November 1947.   War began immediately after.  Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan invaded.  British RAF fighter aircraft escorted and flew along side Egyptian attacks.  Four British fighter aircraft were shot down by the Israeli's on January 7, 1949.

As the Israeli Constitution guaranteed the free practice of religion, Arab residents of the lands partitioned to Israel were encouraged to stay.  Citizenship would be granted with all rights of any other citizen.   However, this was discouraged by Muslim leadership.   Israel declared independence and the formation of the Nation of Israel on May 14, 1948.

The War of Independence ended in 1949.  Additional wars would follow. In the Six Day War of 1967, Israel captured the Golan Heights- the source of repeated shelling of Israeli settlements in the Galilee- East Jerusalem- site of the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock, as well as the West Bank, which had been occupied by Jordan.

The Treaty of Versaille, the  Treaty of Sèvres and the Sykes-Picot Agreement are, without question, the catalyst of many problems in the Middle East, as well as contributing to causing WWII.   In May 2016, on the 100th Anniversary of Sykes-Picot, ISIS released a statement staying, in part "By Allah’s permission, the coming days will witness more events that result in removing borders of Sykes-Picot..."   Sykes-Picot can also partially account for the number of ISIS attacks against France.

It cannot be denied that the British and French actions during WWI and after were deceitful to all
Six Day War Cease Fire Lines
parties involved.   However, it also cannot be denied that despite the Mandate under the League of Nations, no nation of Palestine ever existed as an independent state.

Historically, there has never been a nation known as Palestine.  Palestine and Palestinians are a modern name applied to those Arabs who left their homes in the 1948 War-- a war begun by Arab Nations with standing militaries against a people who had to smuggle, build or use any firearm they could find- including Winchester rifles used by the US Cavalry in the 1800's.   Despite beginning the war, and encouraging the displacement of Arab inhabitants, the Arab nations have also done little to assist the dislocation of those peoples.

Should there be a nation of Palestine? Although one has never existed previously, there probably should.  Israel has previously given up land for peace to facilitate this- including the Sinai, which was captured from Egypt in the Six Day War.

Should Israel give up Jerusalem? I cannot say no loudly enough.

Should the Obama Administration pull an 11th Hour Stunt in the Security Council and demand Israel give up Jerusalem or create a Nation of Palestine within the borders of Israel?  ABSOLUTELY NO.  

History shows that having the "West" redraw the maps of the Middle East, only leads to death, destruction and war. Let the people of the region come to their own solution, rather than imposing one.


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Sunday, November 20, 2016

One Year On - NO Progress, Thanks to Sec Army

One year ago this month, on November 25, 2015, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.   

Contained within the authorization, passed by both Houses and Signed by the President, is Section 1087- authorizing the transfer of handguns from the army to the Civilian Marksmanship  Program.   This would allow the CMP to sell surplus M1911/M1911A1's to Civilians through CMP- and perhaps within a few years surplus M9 Beretta's once they reach surplus status as they are projected to do- although the act will need amended. 

On November 25, 2016 it will have been 366 days since the law was signed, yet not a single M1911/M1911A1 has been made available to the CMP.   

This is not the first go-round the current administration has had with the CMP.   Under Secretary Clinton, South Korea wanted to return to the US some 700,000 M1 Garrands  and 400,000 M1 Carbines.    They all would have gone to the CMP and sold to qualified civilians and approved organizations- such as the VFW and other approved organizations.    Secretary Clinton refused the transfer- claiming it was for public safety, despite the fact that no properly obtained CMP firearm has ever been used in a crime.  (It is possible that one M1 Carbine was used, but it had been stolen from its lawful owner). 

The Civilian Marksmanship Program was started some 113 years ago.   Originally a part of the US Army, it provided civilian training on bolt action rifles - as the US Army had just adopted the 1903 Springfield and most Americans had a lack of familiarity with bolt action firearms.  

In 1996 Congressional action made the CMP separate from the military creating a 501(c)(3)  named the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. although CMP is still used.  The Congressional Mandate of the CMP is:

  1. To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
  2. To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
  3. To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors.

The law specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.

While serving as an NJROTC Cadet and a member of the Rifle Team (back when .22 Rifles were used in 3 position smallbore competition), I participated in CMP sanctioned matches.  My uniform bore medals from those matches.  Unfortunately, those Olympic Class Anschutz .22LR Single Shot Competition rifles were stripped of JROTC Units and delivered to local military bases.   The final disposition is unknown.  JROTC units are now relegated to pellet gun competitions. 

So what is the reason for the hold on the 1911's?   The lame-duck Secretary of the Army - who has yet to sign the transfer order authorizing 10,000 1911's per year to be sold.   

At least we will have a new Secretary of the Army soon- who may finally do what Congress says.  


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Friday, November 11, 2016

An Irreplaceable Loss

While much of the United States has been distracted with a political campaign, which had to say the least, a surprise ending, we missed some of the other stories and events that happened while we were caught up with election night.

Corporal George James, Sr., 5th Marine Division, USMC (Ret), age 92, veteran of The battle of Iwo Jima, died on November 9, 2016.  He was Navajo. Born and raised in the Red Valley of the Navajo Nation. 

George James, Sr, age 17 circa 1943
At age 17, he left his native land to join the United States Marine Corps, and would eventually become a member of the one of the most legendary groups in Marine Corps history- The Code Talkers. 

The code talkers were a group of Navajo men, all Marines, Who took their native language and turned it into a code that was unbreakable. Over an open circuit a member of the code talkers could say in Navajo "five turtles are crossing the hill" and the Code Talker on the other end of the frequency would hear in his native Navajo and translate words they had chosen to mean something of a military nature.  Navajo had no word fyor Tank-- so the Code Talkers figured "Turtle" would do just fine.  

 There were no code books required-
And therefore nothing for the enemy to capture. Each young Marine had grown up speaking Navajo as his native language.  The code, per se, within each Marines head.

It was also the fastest code United States Marines could use. No decipherment keys, notebooks to reference, each man just spoke in his native tongue. How much faster could "encrypted" communication be?

Japanese High Command was utterly confused by Navajo. Very few people outside of a reservation at ever heard the language and even fewer non-natives spoke the language. Frustrated, by the end of the war, it was the code good Japanese never broke.

Immediately after the war, the code talkers were told to forget everything and return home. They were told never to speak about what they had done.  As such, immediately following World War II, there was no recognition publicly for what they had done.

It would be years before the Marine Corps could acknowledge the existence of the Navajo code talker's, and even more years before they received the public recognition they so greatly deserve.

Because the existence of the code talkers was classified until 1968, and because of the way service records were kept, it is unknown how many code talkers are still alive today.

The one thing we do know for sure, is there is one less.  

Make God bless the memory of Corporal George James Sr.  United States Marine Corps, and all the men and women who served like him both before and after. 

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Monday, September 26, 2016

FBI Crime Data For 2015 - Inconsistencies in the Data

FBI Crime Data Statistics - including extended data have been released for 2015.

I am letting my readers know, in  the spirit of full disclosure, because I often cite the FBI data in writing and discussions. 

This is the normal time of year when the prior years datasets are released.   The timing of this release is completely normal.  This is the normal time of year when the prior years datasets are released.  It takes sometime for the FBI to gather all the information from every jurisdiction and agency in every US state and territory.  

However, there are conflicts in the data.

For every year, there a huge number of tables- MS Excel spreadsheets- that are released.  The tables for each year, have  columns showing the previous five years of historical data.   For example a table that may show 2014 data would also have columns for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. That same dataset for the year 2015- it would have columns dataing back to 2011. 

Normally, one would expect the data in the report for 2012 would be the same for each report, the 2012 data should be the same on each page it appears. The number of people murdered by drowning, for example in 2012 should be the same in the 2012 column in the 2013 report - with the column 2013 data added-- we should not see the numbers for 2012 (or any other prior years) be different than they were in the previous years  report. 

I have sent an email to the FBI asking for clarification.  I will share any response I receive. 

Until that time, I am concerned with using the 2015 data in posts online.  



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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Protecting Those That Protest Them


 

From 1988- 1995, I worked as a Firefighter and in EMS.  I worked Emergency Room. I drove an ambulance or rode in the back of one caring for patients, I sat the "jump seat" of the fire truck.  I responded to hundreds of accidents and fires.  I packed up and made entry into burning structures, crawling on my hands and knees in dark, smoke filled rooms with fire dancing across the ceiling, just moments from flashing over looking for wounded or injured.  I fell partway through the roof of a burning structure.   I fought grass fires to save crops and property.   I crawled into overturned vehicles to stabilize the c-spine of combative patients who may have been drinking.  I did chest compressions on patients until my own chest hurt, hoping beyond hope that we would somehow get a pulse.   I used my bare hands over gunshot wounds to stop bleeding when a patient would be "dumped" at the ER door.  I drove in heat, in rain, in snow and ice responding to accident and injury all the time hoping and praying that in responding I would not cause another or that my partner or I would become ones ourselves.    I also responded to crime scenes. 


In every response in the ambulance and most in the fire truck, we responded with, or sometimes at the request of a law enforcement officer.  

Every night I worked in the ER, there was always an officer of the law somewhere in the department  - either doing reports in the break room, bringing in patients, getting treatment for suspects, helping victims or just getting a cup of bad "break-room coffee."  

More than once, when working ER in San Diego, a police officer volunteered to put my bicycle in the back of a squad car and give me a ride home, just because it was raining.  

More than once, law enforcement officers- State Troopers,  County Sheriff or Local Police would jump in the back of the ambulance on a "purely medical" case to lend a hand with chest compressions or bagging - even though another firefighter would be available- and even though they knew that with the patients down time, the response time and distance, it was probably hopeless.  

More than once a police officer would put a hand on my shoulder and say a kind word, when we had fought a loosing fight.  

And more than once we all attended funerals, for Emergency Responders - Firefighters, Law Enforcement and EMS; for one of our fallen brethren.   

In all those responses and indents, I can never remember a Law Enforcement Officer, fellow Firefighter or fellow EMT-D or EMT-P ever base a response or action at a scene on race or ethnicity.  I never knew the race of the accident victim on the way to the scene.   We never heard a police officer call in a structure fire saying "smoke showing over residence- and oh, the people who own it are [insert race here]."  

Truth be told, I personally only remember the ethnicity of ONE patient I helped treat.  I was 19 years old and working in the Emergncy Room at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.  She was almost 2 years old.  She was Native American.  She was in an automobile roll-over accident on reservation land south of Tucson.  She was not in a car seat, and her mother had an elevated blood alcohol level.   It was the morning of January 1, 1989.  I helped wheel the mother up to the little-girl's room and watched as the girl's heart rate kept getting slower and slower- until the nurse finally shut off the ECG.  I also remember walking outside, picking up a phone and calling my own mom in tears, partially because my mom was a nurse and I knew she would understand.  But I mostly I called to say thanks for being a great mom.    

Does racism exist? Of course it does.  Are there racist Law Enforcement Officers and Emergency Responders- Yes, I am sure there are.  

But we need to stop painting every police officer, every deputy sheriff, every state trooper or highway patrolman with the same brush.   The majority of officers and first responders are good people.   They do a job that many times is unappreciated. They deserve our thanks and our appreciation.  

Most of us only interact with law enforcement in awkward situations at best or in situations that are just plain bad.   We have been pulled over.  We have been in an accident.  The house has been robbed.   We are, understandably in a stressful situation and then we have a person with a badge prying into our lives.   For the most part we don't often see law enforcement when we are at our best.  Working with law enforcement often paints a different picture.  Law enforcement officers are just like every single one of us.  They have the same human strengths and weakness.  They have good and bad days.  They laugh.  They joke. They even cry.   

One thing I knew without question - if a gunman had come into the ER I worked in (one did in an ER up the road from where I worked when I was in California - two were killed and two injured in the Mission Bay ER shooting), or if a scene I was working "went south," the officers around me would have my back and put themselves in harms way to protect me if need be.  

Yes, there are those that have cause to be angry or have cause not to trust law enforcement.  But the actions of individuals are not the same as the actions or attitudes of all law enforcement.  

There are over 1 million Law Enforcement Officers in the US.  Not all of them are paid- many are volunteers or other reserve officers who don't receive pay- but all risk their lives with every traffic stop or response to a scene.  

Out of over a million officers, yes there are some who do now or previously have brought dishonor to themselves or their profession.  But we should remember- the vast majority have not. 

One of the great beauties of our Country is that we have the right to protest.  Lawful protests are wonderful.  Even better is that the very police officers and departments being protested will protect the protests and protestors.  

It is really something that is actually quite special and quite impressive; those who are the targets of protest, will protect with their lives those that are protesting them.  

That's something we should never forget.  

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Auto Deaths to Set Record- Time for Action!

While the Left would have us believe that guns are the deadliest "mechanism" man uses, the word comes that Automobile Deaths will likely exceed 40,000 this year alone.   And though it may be hard to believe there are far more Guns in the US than Cars (in May 2016 there were over 1.87 Million NICS background checks alone - or in other words more than 1.87 million people had their backgrounds run for the purpose of purchasing at least 1 firearm in just May 2016- you can purchase more than one on the same NICS check).

So of course we must do something here- 

1. We must ban all Jeeps and Hummers- they have a military appearance and we can't have that.  A military appearance makes things more dangerous.  Suburbans and other quasi-military looking vehicles also should be restricted.  

2. All vehicles must be limited to a tank quantity of less than 10 gallons.  That way you can't drive as much.   You must stop to reload (the tank) more often. 

3.  We must place an breathalyzer interlock on ALL cars and trucks- regardless of whether the person had ever had a DUI- they might try sometime even if they NEVER drink. 

4. All states should adopt "MAY ISSUE" laws instead of SHALL ISSUE.  It should be up to the wim of local sheriffs to decide who gets to drive and who doesn't.  With the Shall Issue law if a person passes the Drivers License test and has a clean record, the state MUSt issue a drivers license.   Obviously this is bad. 

5. One state should not be required to accept another's Drivers License.  Places like New York,  California, DC etc should be allowed to ban drivers from other states from driving in their states.  To hell with the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that interstate travel is a right.

6.  All drivers should be requires to have a background check-- UNIVERSAL Background Checks- even in the case of someone being willed grandfather's old car.  The person buying could have a background of speeding or DUI

7.  Ban the private sale or transfer of autos, and all internet sales. The person buying the car MUST have a background check.   This includes all "car shows" - OK so even though all car dealers at car shows may be licensed  dealers AND they would already do a background check, who cares.   You can buy parts at shows and that means a bad driver "could" get a hold of a car at a show.

8.  Ban all vehicles that are in theory even capable of exceeding the highest local speed limit.  No one "needs" that type of car.

9.  We must limit AAA.   The problem is they are to powerful.  EVERY TIME a multiple vehicle accident occurs it is because of their members and the lobbying power they have.  If it wasn't for their political influence and stranglehold on Congress and State Legislative bodies there would not be such a problem.

10. A 5 day waiting period on all car sales.  

From what I understand, these are all VERY reasonable measures - and any car owner should support them. I have also heard that banning the private ownership of ANY vehicle is a valid argument- trust your local city "professional's" to take care of you.  To hell with any emergency where having a car could help- there are professional's out there- just wait.

If you haven't picked up on my sarcasm, well you should.   You should probably also know that I am really talking about "gun control." EVERY example I have listed as a reasonable idea, is actually  a "reasonable" proposal from gun control advocates.

The big difference between cars and guns?  There were only  8124 homicides with guns in the US according to the FBI for the last full year data.    That's only 31,000 less than the number of persons killed by autos.

Or maybe we really should be talking "car control"..... 

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Mostly Ignored Olympic History in the Shooting Sports

Kim Rhode, age 37, has made history.   She is the FIRST person ever to medal in SIX consecutive Olympics. While Michael Phelps may have more medals in his FOUR Olympics (Athens, Beijing, London and Rio- he competed in Sydney but did not medal), Kim
Six time Olympic Medalist Kim Rhode
has won medals in Women's Trap in Atlanta,  Sydney,  and Athens, and Women's Skeet in Beijing, London and Rio- and there is no reason to believe she will not compete in Tokyo.

In both Trap and Skeet, a "clay pigeon" that is roughly 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick (roughly- Olympic rules use metric measurements on the "pigeon" size).  In Trap the "pigeon" flies away from where the shooter is - at about 60 mph.    In Skeet, the "pigeon" flies across the shooter's position- left to right or right to left.  

If you want to see how difficult it is, go to your local Trap and Skeet club - in Phoenix go out to Ben Avery Shooting Facility and give it a try.   The clubs usually use American rules, so the clay pigeon will fly at a slow 45 mph- although Ben Avery does have an Olympic Trap (or "Bunker Trap") and Olympic Skeet ranges if you want to have a go with Olympic rules!  

The best thing about this, and almost all the shooting sports, is it is never to late to start shooting.  You don't have to be in your early 20's and as fit as Michael Phelps to compete. Literall, just about anyone could start today and with the next four years to practice, could, in theory, be on the medal stand in Tokyo in 2020.

One does have to wonder why Kim's accomplishment has been downplayed if not ignored.   Perhaps it is because she is doing something incredible and historic with a gun?  

Of course, that could never be the case...

For more information about Shooting Sports or the US Olympic Shooting Team visit the USA Shooting website at http://www.usashooting.org

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Racism and Gun Control Origins

As the GOP Convention gets underway, at some point a plank in the party platform will be adopted in support of the 2nd Amendment, Protecting Heller and McDonald, SHALL issue laws- basically a plank against arbitrary gun control.   The GOP took the position back in the late 1860's that the 2nd Amendment applied to ALL Americans and States could not interfere.  Why then? Because the GOP wanted freed slaves to be able to protect themselves and stay free.   

This year at the Democratic Party Convention, the DNC will likely propose a plank supporting Gun Control.  Southern Demorats started passing gun control laws in the 1860's and 1870's to strip former slaves of their 2nd Amendment Rights- along with a host of others.   

Gun Comtrol Laws, beginning with those passed by Democrat controled state governments at the end of the Civil War, Gun Control, have an origin in Racist Ideology.    
"A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge [ammo] box." -Frederick Douglass, 1867

It was because of the "black codes" passed after the Civil War that the 14th amendment  was proposed and then passed.   One of the stated goals of passage was to protect the right of African-Americans to possess and carry firearms for thier own defense.  
'The black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms,' and that, until he does, 'the work of the Abolitionists was not finished.'"  -Frederick Douglass, May 10, 1965 

Now, according to  a Pew Research Study, 54% of African-Americans view gun ownership in a positive light.  It is also being viewed as a matter of Civil Rights 

This is not a new phenomenon.  Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Applied for and was denied a concealed carry permit.  The best argument for SHALL ISSUE laws is it helps remove human  factors- such as racism - from the process.   If you are old enough and meet background requirements you cannot be denied- as Dr. King was.

It is well worth reading Associate Justice Clarence Thomas' opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010) on the Second Amendment, its history, and racism.   The Washington Post called it "...a scorcher of an opinion that reads like a mix of black history lesson and Black Panther Party manifesto..."  

(I am not going to cite MTV as a source here, but I am going to provide a link to an interesting article on MTV on the Racist origins of Gun Control).

The bottom line is Gun Control has origins in post-Civil War racisim.  But, the Constitution, and our laws as American must and should be absolutely color-blind or there will never be real Freedom and Justice for all.

Reference Links:








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Thursday, July 14, 2016

ISIS Attack on Nice and Article 5

At what point are we going to realize ISIS is a Clear and Present Danger to all freedom loving peoples?  Not just the French, the British or the US.

It should be clear by now that ISIS just wants to kill.  This is not an attack because of support of Israel or because "troops desecrated holy soil" by allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia.  There is NO other reason for this attack other than to kill indiscriminately. 

The last attack woke the French up and they began to fight back.  I have never been one to praise the French but I was impressed with their actions after the last attack.




I hate to say it,  but perhaps it is time for France to call for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and declare this an Article 5 attack. 

Unfortunately I do not sit on the NATO Council.  All I can do is point to the words of 'La Marseillaise' and give my endorsement to any military action the French may take.

La Marseillaise

Allons, enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes!

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

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Monday, July 4, 2016

An Anniversary of a Fight for Freedom

Sunday, July 4, 1976 was a day of celebration throughout the United States. I was eight years old. I remember the bicentennial coins that were issued and collecting the new quarters and even the new silver dollars that were released.   Flags were flying everywhere. I remember a special flag with 13 stars in the blue field and the white number '76 that were being flown for this particular occasion. Patriotic hymns were sung that morning in church services across the nation and that night brilliant firework displays lit up the sky.  This was in celebration of the bicentennial of our Declaration of Independence. It was a celebration of freedom for a nation. The celebration was tremendous.

What the majority of Americans did not know, was about another celebration taking place that very same day, several thousand miles across the Atlantic and Mediterranean; across the world from the United States.  It was a celebration taking place on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion International Airport.  This celebration was also a celebration by an entire nation about freedom. But this celebration was specifically about the freedom of 102 people- mostly Israelis and the crew of a French airliner- who had been hijacked a week before. 

On June 27, 1976, Air France 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris via Athens, Greece, was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.  

After leaving Tel Aviv, the plane headed to Athens Greece, for a scheduled stop.  The aircraft, an Airbus A-300, boarded an additional 58 passengers, including the hijackers. All told, 246 passengers and 12 crew where onboard the aircraft. Shortly after leaving Athens the aircraft was hijacked and diverted to Benghazi, Libya where it sat on the ground and took on fuel.  After refueling and sitting on the ground for seven hours, the hijackers ordered the aircraft to fly to Entebbe, Uganda.

Lt Col Yonatan Netanyahu
After arriving, the hijackers were greeted by "president for life", Field Marshall Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda. The Israeli and Jewish passengers were separated from the non-Israeli and non-Jewish passengers (there were some ultra-orthodox Jews who were flying under non-Israeli passports or not Israeli citizens; and there were some Jews, a member of the Israeli military for example who was flying under his British passport as he held dual citizenship, who were not separated out due to having non-Israeli passports).  Some of the passengers bore tattoos from the Nazi death camps. Several would say the "separation process" was as they remembered it from the concentration camps.  

By July 1, all the passengers, except those that had been separated out as Jewish or Israeli, where released by the terrorists including the 12 members of the French flightcrew. However, in an act that can only be described as selfless heroism, Air France Captain Michel Bacos and his crew said they would not leave until every single one of their passengers were released.  They chose to remain behind.  

Idi Amin, the "president for life" of Uganda, visited the hostages several times during their stay at the airport.  Although his military did not "actively" participate in the hijacking, they certainly provided assistance to the terrorists who did. Uganda provided the terrorists with a safe haven at the Entebbe airport. 
Hostages from Air France 139 returning to Tel Aviv after the "Raid on Entebbe"

From shortly after the hijacking became known, the government of Israel, as well as other parties attempted to negotiate with the terrorists. Some of this was to buy time, although there were doubts that any rescue could be undertaken by the Israelis because of the vast distance between Uganda and the nation of Israel.  Partly because of this distance, and partly due to the "support" of Idi Amin, the terrorists felt safe.

However, in the late night hours of July 3 and early morning hours of July 4, 1976 the Israeli Defense Forces pulled off the most audacious, brilliant, and amazing rescue operation ever attempted in modern military history. That operation was Operation Thunderbolt (also referred to as Operation Entebbe and Operation Yonatan) 

Just over 100 Israeli soldiers and airmen in four Israeli C-130s and two 707s flew, mostly under radar coverage at low altitude, from Israel, south and over Lake Victoria to the airport at Entebbe, Uganda.  The 29 man "Assault Unit" led by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan (Yonatan) Netanyahu hit the terminal where the hostages were held. 

All of the terrorist were killed. Three hostages were killed in the crossfire during the gunfight between the Israelis and the terrorists.  

As the rescued hostages were being led to an awaiting C-130, a Ugandan soldier opened fire from the airport control tower, wounding five Israeli soldiers and killing the only Israeli soldier to die in the operation, Lt Col Netanyahu. Jonathan ("Yonni") had been born in New York. At the time of the operation his father was a professor at Cornell University. He was survived by two brothers, Iddo and Benjamin- the current Prime Minister of Israel. 
Hostages from Air France 139 returning to Tel Aviv after the "Raid on Entebbe"

There were other casualties as a result of this operation. Dora Bloch, a 75-year-old grandmother, who held both Israeli and British citizenship had been taken to the hospital days before the raid after choking on a chicken bone. She was recovering in the hospital at the time of the raid, and had been visited in the hospital before the raid by the British Consul. Sometime after July 4, officers of the Ugandan military went into her hospital room, dragged her from her bed and executed her. Her remains were discovered in 1979, after Idi Amin had been deposed. Her body was returned to Israel for burial.

Kenyan Minister of Agriculture Bruce MacKenzie also became a fatality of this operation.   Because of the great distance between Israel and Uganda, part of the success of the operation lay in finding a place in Africa where the aircraft could refuel for their return flight home. Minister MacKenzie persuaded the Kenyan president to allow the Israeli Air Force access to the Nairobi airport. He was also instrumental in granting the Mossad access to the airport in Nairobi for intelligence gathering prior to the operation. Because of this Idi Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate McKenzie. He was killed by a bomb on May 24, 1978.  Director of the Mossad, Meir Amit, had a forest planted in Israel in MacKenzie's name to honor what he had done to help assure the success of the operation.  

Coming four years after the disaster in Munich, this operation showed how a small, intensely well trained, special forces group could deal with a near "impossible" hostage situation. The operation was so successful that several countries, including the United States, very quickly developed special operations teams based on this model, that was demonstrated so well in Entebbe. 

Today, July 4, 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Entebbe, Uganda, in what must be a "bitter-sweet mission" for him personally.  On the one-hand he is there to commemorate the victory of the IDF and the rescue of people who were kidnapped and threatened with death solely for their religious beliefs and nationality- for being Jews.  On the other hand, he is there to mark the place and moment his brother died to save others.  

This raid, which occurred 40 years ago today, has often been called the "Miracle at Entebbe." The use of the word "Miracle" usually denotes involvement of God's hand in the outcome. 

In this case, I believe, "Miracle" is right.






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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Death of a Man Who Made Sure We Would Never Forget

Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Prize, died at 87- he also bore a tattoo on his arm "A-7713." 

Elie Wiesel

After being liberated from Buchenwald at age 16, he spent much of his life working to make sure the holocaust would never be forgotten. 

Alav hashalom

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Not Happy Fourth - Happy Independence Day (annual repost)


"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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