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 Democrats 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 Control Laws, beginning with those passed by Democrat controlled 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:


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!


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.


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


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.”